Heart Choices: April 2009

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Thankful Thursday ~ Courage

It's Thankful Thursday again and our theme is courage. Laurie of Women Taking a Stand is our hostess and you can link there to visit other participating blogs.

I have to confess that I'm not all that courageous.

It's one thing to appear courageous. But what I way too often feel inside is ... FEAR!

It figures that this painting was done by a Norwegian. What happened to the courageous Vikings?

When I trust in myself ...I am fearful and not very courageous.

But, I'm so thankful that I know where to run when my courage is gone.

I was sitting next to an older woman I didn't know several weeks ago in church. When we stood to sing, she sat and cried softly. So, I sat down and put my arm around her and asked if I could help. She told me that the world had become so scary to her. She was afraid even though she was a Christian. I reminded her that we didn't need to be strong and courageous in ourselves, but we need to remind ourselves of who we belong to and ...to run to Him.

"When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God whose
word I praise, in God I trust. What can mortal man do to me?" Psalm 56:3-4

Here's my thankful Thursday list:

  • I'm thankful that I don't need to know everything that will happen in the future even though my natural "self" would like a clear road map.
  • I'm thankful that I don't have to be courageous in myself since I belong to the God who can do ALL things.
  • I'm thankful that I am healthy and I don't take that for granted.
  • I'm thankful that I have a sound mind and can replace the lies the world says with the Truth of God's Word.
  • I'm thankful that I know exactly where to run to be safe; my strong tower ...The LORD.
  • I'm thankful that I can pray and know I am heard and cared about.

How about you? Where do you get your courage to endure, especially when life becomes scary?


Have You Ever Had One of Those Days?

Have you ever had one of those days? You wake up expecting to accomplish your list of things to do. But life gets in the way.

I was greeted with this message on my blogger acccount:

Blogger had Heart Choices listed as a possible spam blog! Can you believe it? Of course, I reviewed the Terms of Service to see if I'd inadvertently violated something. No; I hadn't!

Notice that I was unable to publish new posts until the issue was resolved and ...my blog would be deleted within 20 days unless I requested a review!

So, of course, I requested a review. But in the meantime, I was scheduled to host In Other Words Tuesdays for the first time the next day. I had written my post but had been experimenting with the Mister Linky thing. After all, I'd never done this before and I wanted to be sure it all went very smoothly.

Isn't that how things can sometimes go?

It brought back memories of the morning I was scheduled to take my driver's license test. I guess I was 16 years old. My parents weren't available and so my next door neighbor was going to drive me there. Well, wouldn't you know what we were greeted with when we were ready to leave.

Two flat tires!

Not one, but two! Can you believe it? It was such an important day for me. I hoped to get my driver's license which at that time meant ...freedom!

Well, the two flat tires got fixed in time. Whew! And I got my driver's license. But I'll always remember that day.

And in case you're wondering ...Heart Choices is NOT a spam blog!

Blogger had a real person check it out and confirmed that it must have been one of their robot spy thing errors. So, thankfully I got back up and running just in time for hosting In Other Words Tuesdays. How's that for timing?

I had been reading Romans that morning. Here's what Romans 12:12 says:

"Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in

Hmm ...maybe I just needed to put into practice what I'd read.

How about you? Have you had one of those days that you'd care to share? And has anybody else's blog been labeled a spam blog besides me?


In Other Words Tuesdays

This is my first time to host "In Other Words Tuesdays". It's a great way to get a variety of opinions on a quote for the week. I love to visit all of the participating blogs to read their take on our weekly quote.

Maybe this week we might have a few new blogs participate. All you have to do is write a post and link below.

Here's the quote I chose for this week:

Do you ever stop and listen to the messages you say to yourself every day?

  • I'm not talented.
  • I can't speak in front of people.
  • I can't help it. I just have a short fuse.
  • I'm not pretty.
  • I'm fat or ...I'm skinny.
  • I'm not athletic.
  • I'm just not an exerciser.
  • I'm just not good with people.
  • I hate the way I look in jeans.

How many lies do we tell ourselves? What we continously say to ourselves often determines how we feel.

If you keep telling yourself that you're not athletic or you're not an exerciser ...you probably will avoid most physical activities.

If you don't like the way you look ...you may avoid interacting with others.

If you believe you can't speak well ...you will avoid public speaking.

But what would happen if ...you stopped listening to the lies and started filling your head with Truth?

Truth like:

  • "I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13
  • "I am God's child." John 1:12
  • "I have not been given a spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind." 2Timothy 1:7
  • "I am a citizen of Heaven." Philippians 3:20
  • "I am born of God, and the evil one cannot touch me." 1 John 5:18
  • "I am confident that God will complete the good work He started in me." Philippians 3:20

If you took Truth like this and meditated on it, would it change how you felt? Would it change how you act?

When I think on these Truths it changes my perspective.

After all, it's not about me. It's about Christ in me.

And nothing is impossible for Him.


Then Sings My Soul Saturdays ~ I Surrender All

It's another Saturday and I'm linking with Amy of Signs, Miracles and Wonders. The Lord has been working on my heart in the area of surrender. I think I've surrendered it all to Him but then something comes up AGAIN. I realize maybe I'm still holding on to it.

I checked YouTube for a version of the song "I Surrender All" that would be perfect. I love this song and it's one that I've sung for many years.

I happened upon Faith Hill's version when she and her band were on Oprah. I think I read that Faith Hill is a Christian but I don't know very much about her testimony.

But what also impacted me on this one was Oprah's face as she listened and ...sang along. Hmm ...

God gave us a free will to make choices.

I love though that He uses us to share and drop seeds, so no man is without excuse. And we can pray for others, even people we don't know personally.

How about you? Have you surrendered all? And do you have a heart for others who don't have this personal relationship with God? Instead of always criticizing high profile people, I think we need to pray.


Thankful Thursday ~ Provision

Our theme for this week's Thankful Thursday is God's provision.

What a timely topic with the economic uncertainty facing so many people. As I talk to friends, read blogs and listen to the news, I hear so many stories of people losing homes and jobs. I know I've not seen anything like this during my lifetime.

So, it's good to be reminded that God is sovereign and sees all that's going on in the world. And today I will focus on being thankful for His provision.

"And my God shall supply all your needs according to His
riches in glory in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:19 (NIV)

The Lord Will Provide

I notice that the Philippians verse does not say ...all of my wants.

God knows what I need according to His wisdom. I may not understand but I am learning each day to trust Him ...with today.

I recently spent the day with a few friends. Anna May and Jack will be leaving in May to go to Canada for five months. They go on mission to work with churches, offer hospitality and do lots of prayer walking.

Hmm ...good exercise, Anna May.

My friend Helen hosted the gathering at her home. We had the opportunity to pray together, make scarves for many of the pastor's wives in Canada, talk, laugh and of course ...eat.

We even got to speak with our good friend Susan who is serving in China. Helen put her on the speaker phone so we could all talk with her.

We miss you, Susan!

Throughout the day, we shared stories. One of my friends told us about how she prayed when she first became a Christian. It was many years ago and her husband had walked out and left her with two small daughters. She struggled to put food on the table.

She looked to God to provide and she prayed about everything. Nothing was too small. She said that she had worn out all of her bras and had no money to buy new ones. So she prayed and asked God for bras.

And guess what?

Before she knew it, people were giving her hand me down clothes and included were an assortment of bras in all colors. And they just happened ...to be the right size!

So, what did she do?

She thanked the Lord for ...His provision!

It was a good lesson for me to hear. I may not need bras but I can go to Jehovah-Jireh with all of my needs and He will provide ...according to His perfect will.

So, on this Thankful Thursday I am so thankful for God's provision. I am thankful that I can boldly come before His throne of grace and that He hears me and will answer. And that gives me peace regardless of my circumstances.

What about you? Do you look to God for your provision? Has He been faithful? I think it's good to share the stories of His faithfulness with others.

Don't forget to stop by Laurie's blog at Women Taking A Stand. She's hosting thankful Thursday this week. You can link to other participating blogs there.


8 Things

I was tagged by Michele on her blog Michele's Morsels. She wanted to get to know me better and what a great way to do that very thing.

Here are the instructions for 8 Things:
  • Mention the person that tagged you
  • Complete the list of 8 things
  • Tag 8 of your wonderful bloggy friends
  • Go tell them you tagged them
8 Things I look forward to:
  1. Spending time with my friends
  2. Seeing my mother in heaven
  3. My morning quiet time
  4. My first cup of coffee in the morning
  5. Reading your blogs
  6. Sunday morning bible study and church
  7. Getting an email from my dad
  8. Meeting my blogging friend Lori of Lori's Reflections when she visits her family in Arizona

8 Things I Did Yesterday:

  1. I was on Blog Talk Radio for a discussion on social media. I signed in to the show and the moderator asked me questions regarding the sound but I got to tell them a bit about our social media tool and company.
  2. Spent hours with Greg perfecting our business presentation.
  3. Had my quiet time in prayer and bible reading.
  4. Wrote a blog post for Heart Choices.
  5. Created several new widgets for Beyond Polls.
  6. Read many blogs and added COMMENTS; yeah!
  7. Spent time helping a friend use Twitter for her work
  8. Watched American Idol and voted for Danny, Adam and Allison
8 Things I Wish I Could Do:
  1. Take a long relaxing vacation.
  2. Spend more time reading.
  3. Visit my niece Katie in New York City.
  4. Visit my family in the Tampa Bay area of Florida.
  5. Spend a weekend with all of my favorite new blogging friends.
  6. Attend She Speaks Conference in North Carolina.
  7. Become a motivational speaker.
  8. Travel to Norway again but this time meet my two blogging friends L-Jay and Felisol.
8 Shows I Watch:
  1. American Idol
  2. NCIS
  3. Friday Night Lights
  4. Amazing Race
  5. Survivor
  6. JAG reruns
  7. Barefoot Contessa
  8. Giada at Home

8 Bloggers Tagged:

  1. Charlotte of At Home in Scottsdale
  2. Lisa Shaw of Sharing Life With Lisa
  3. Tiffany of Tea With Tiffany
  4. Grammy of Just Call Me Grammy
  5. Laurie of Women Taking A Stand
  6. Kate of Jottin Mama
  7. Teresa of Grammy Girlfriend
  8. Patricia of Caregiving and Beyond

I chose these bloggers because I'm just getting to know them. It's fun to learn more about each other.

Blogging makes the world a little bit smaller, doesn't it?


In Other Words Tuesdays

I enjoy participating in the meme "In Other Words Tuesdays". Each week a new quote is posted for us to ponder over the weekend. On Tuesday, we write a post about what it means to us.

It's fun to link to other participating blogs to read their take. I love that we often have different perspectives. It makes life interesting.
This week's "In Other Words Tuesdays" is being hosted by Nina on her blog Mama's Little Treasures. You can link to others there. Our quote for this week is:

I really don't like to be around people who are "know it alls". You know what I'm talking about; the people who have an answer for everything.

You have a problem with something and they always know what's best. Even if they have no experience in that area, they are suddenly an authority.

As far as I'm concerned, I love to learn. I've often said that I made the choice to be a life long learner. No matter how old I am ...I always hope to be learning something new.

So, I guess I don't really have a problem admitting I don't have all the answers. I know I don't. And do you know what? It's a relief!

I'm so glad that I am a child of God and that I can go directly to the Source of all knowledge. I don't have to have all the answers. I don't have to carry the weight of the world or maybe just my family ...on my shoulders.

I have the privilege of:

  • Praying and speaking directly to Almighty God who is Sovereign over all!
  • Reading the Bible which was inspired by God so I would have a roadmap to live my life
  • Sitting in His presence even when I'm in the comfort and privacy of my own home; He hears me, knows my thoughts and even ...the true motives of my heart.
  • Having a relationship with the One who created me, knit me in my mother's womb and knows me better than I ever could
  • Being in a personal relationship with my Savior who created me for His purposes and He even wants me to know what that is (if I'll only wait and listen long enough)

So, as I look at my list, I wonder why anyone would think they have to know it all. The most important thing is having a relationship with the only One who ...truly knows it all.

And that's fine by me. I like to spend time with Him.

I wonder about you. Do you have a teachable spirit or do you tend to feel like you need to have all the answers?


What Can We Learn From Susan Boyle?

You've probably seen the video of Susan Boyle when she totally shocked the judges of the TV show "Britain's Got Talent" last week. The YouTube video was so popular that they disabled it. I was able to embed this shorter version.

What does this say about the world in which we live?

People are quick to judge by outward appearance.

In our society, it seems that youth and beauty are more highly valued.

But just because a person is attractive and friendly doesn't mean ...they are competent and capable.

Or if a person is overweight that ...they are lazy?

I was so glad that Susan Boyle shocked the panel of judges that included Simon Cowell from American Idol. You could see the smirks and hear the sarcasm in his voice when he first questioned the contestant.

And then ...Susan sang her heart out!

Did you see the change on the judges and audiences' faces?

The Bible says in 1 Samuel 16:7

"...The Lord does not look at the things man looks at.
Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart."

I wonder how often we've missed out on a talent like Susan's simply because of appearance.

I have to say that I've seen people judge by appearance. There are times when I've run to the grocery store with no makeup, my hair pulled back, wearing sunglasses and sweats. And other times, when I wear makeup and fix my hair.

People tend to treat you differently when you look your best. It's just a fact. We may not like it but ...that is the world in which we now live.

But Susan Boyle has certainly got people talking. And maybe that's good because as a Christian, I don't want to be that way. I hope I would want to get to know a person ...regardless of outward appearances.

What about you? Do you treat people differently based on appearance? How about the little child that is adorable? Are they treated differently by people?

Before you leave your comment, I wanted to show you something.

I created a widget asking for opinions on Susan Boyle. I would love for you to try it out. It's easy. The cumulative results will be shown in real time. This widget can be shared and will continue to accumulate results across the web.

Here's how you do it:

  1. Simply select the words that best reflect your opinion or add your own.
  2. Then rate on a 1-5 scale with one=disagree and 5=agree.
  3. You can add an optional comment if you like.
  4. Click submit.

If you wish to share this widget, use this URL: http://qcwidget.com/widgets/48909cf8ecc1

Let's learn from the Susan Boyle experience.

And ...I really hope she wins the competition!

So, let's hear your comments.


Psalm 121

For Then Sings My Soul Satuday, I decided to post this video of Psalm 121. The words to the Psalm can be read with beautiful soft music in the background.

I received such a beautiful reminder of this Psalm from my friend Lisa Shaw after she read my devotional on Laced with Grace yesterday. I immediately opened up my Bible and read the words that were so timely. I am meditating on these words today. May you also be blessed as you view this one.

You can find other participating blogs by visiting Amy at Signs, Miracles and Wonders. Have a great weekend!


Fitness Friday ~ Start Walking

Since this is Fitness Friday, I thought I'd take the opportunity to tell you about a walking program that is sponsored by the American Heart Association (AHA).

According to the AHA statistics:
  • Walking is the simplest postive change people can make to effectively improve their heart health.
  • Walking has the lowest dropout rate of any physical activity.

Sounds good so far, doesn't it?

And the research also shows that walking for only 30 minutes a day can bring the following benefits:

  • Reduces the risk of coronary heart disease and stroke
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Reduces high cholesterol
  • Reduces body fat and helps control body weight
  • Enhances mental well being
  • Increases bone density, hence helping to prevent osteoporosis
  • Reduces the risk of cancer
  • Reduces the risk of diabetes

How many things can you do in only 30 minutes that will bring about ALL of these benefits?

I don't know about you but I'm becoming more aware of the cost of health insurance and health care costs as I get older. If walking 30 minutes a day can help so much, I'm all for it.

Making this one lifestyle choice has so many benefits. And think of the time you can be prayer walking, listening to music, and over time ...feeling more energetic!

What are you waiting for?

Get out there and as Nike says "Just Do It".

You can find lots of resources on a website the American Heart Association has established for the start walking program. It includes online community support, videos, a personalized walking plan and much more. Check it out!

And by the way, don't forget to stop over at Sandy's God Speaks Today to read her Fitness Friday post. Sandy's topic this week is "10 Commandments of Optimum Fitness".


Laced With Grace Devotion

Today, I wrote a devotion on Laced with Grace.

It's about perseverance. I think we all could use a few tips in this area, especially with all of the challenges in our world today.

Where do you focus when life is hard and you're discouraged or facing various trials?

I hope you'll take the time and link to Laced with Grace. I'd love get some input from you as you add comments.

Thankful Thursday ~ Thank YOU!

I'm so glad it's Thankful Thursday. I've been sick (nothing serious) for the last week and so I haven't posted much. I've actually spent time resting, drinking lots of water and tea, reading, praying and spending time with my hubby. I've been trying not to spread my germs to others so I'm glad you won't get a virus from me online. Lol.

But this brings me to what I'm especially thankful for this week; YOU!

I am humbled by your comments on Monday's post. I cried as I read your prayers and words.

  • Lisa Shaw: She is such a kind, giving and loving person. I'm so glad I'm getting to know her better. She wrote a beautiful prayer and then even came back later in the day to check in on me.
  • Saleslady371: She lives in my state of Arizona! We are slowly getting to know one another and yet she wrote out a prayer of healing for me.
  • Letters from Midlife: I love getting to know Cindy. I too am in midlife and I enjoy reading her blog and especially her Grace Notes. She finds something good in everything.
  • Bp: This young woman is so mature in her walk with the Lord. I'm amazed at some of her writings as she teaches her son important truths. I have to say that at her age, I wasn't quite there yet.
  • Beth in NC: What can I say about Beth? I keep telling her she is a breath of fresh air to me! She is always adding her comments on Heart Choices and how thankful I am. Of course, she would pray for me. Thank you Beth!
  • Kikolani: Kristi lives right here in Phoenix but I've never met her in person ...yet. She is so encouraging and comforting to me and I so appreciate her and thank her.
  • Laurie M: She is so intelligent and thinks deeply and yet loves the Lord. I'm so grateful for her prayers and that she always shares her heart and thoughts.
  • God's Girl: She's another local blogger that I hope to meet in person. She is such a kind, compassionate and beautiful woman inside and out. Thank you for your prayers.
  • Michele Williams: Can you believe another Phoenix blogger? Yes, she is. Michele struggles with chronic illness and yet reaches out to pray when someone else isn't feeling well. Thank you Michele.
  • L-Jay: For some reason, I have such a soft spot for her. She lives in Tromso, Norway. If you don't know where that is ...it's near the Arctic Circle. She is a transplant from Australia but married her sweetie who is a Norwegian. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers.
  • Jottin Mama: She is one of our Fitness Friday Fanatics (although I haven't been very active this week.) I'm getting to know her and love her too. She's got a little one and another on the way. I appreciate your prayers.
  • Meg Wolff: She has overcome so many health obstacles in her life and writes about living a balanced life. She's a published author too! And yet she always takes time to visit Heart Choices and she's been praying for me.
  • Anna May: She is my real life friend here in Phoenix. I'm so grateful that she's open to learning about my blogging life too. She takes the time to read Heart Choices and is now adding comments too!! Believe me, she has lots to contribute. Thank you for your friendship and your prayers and I'm sorry I wasn't there on Sunday when you were saving me a seat.
  • Laurie Ann: Thank you for your prayers. She is such an excellent, intelligent and thoughtful bible teacher. You've got to check her blog out!
  • Felisol: What a beautiful heartfelt prayer she wrote for me! Felisol blogs from Norway. She lives in the area of Bergen, a place I have visited but before I knew her. She is a very creative, thoughtful woman and I'm so grateful and thankful for her.

Well, I guess I have much to be thankful for this week! I am slowly getting back to normal so I thank you for your prayers.

Please stop by Laurie at Women Taking a Stand to link with other participating bloggers on this Thankful Thursday.


Under The Weather

I've been under the weather lately. As a nurse, I don't mind taking care of sick people. But I hate to be sick myself and it happens so rarely.

I even had to miss out on Easter Sunday services. I was so glad that my church's services can be viewed online live. So, even though I wasn't there physically ...I was worshipping from my bed. I got to listen to the message and hear the beautiful music. Every Easter Sunday, our Music Minister John Shillington sings "He's Alive!" and I actually got to watch him sing it.

I signed up to participate in Problogger's 31 day challenge and I'm already behind in my assignments. But I will catch up eventually. By the way, if any of you are interested in improving your blogging skills you might consider participating in this challenge. I've learned much from Darren Rowse, who is also the author of Problogger the book and is VP of blogger training for b5media. Did you know that Darren lives in Australia and used to be a pastor?

I have an upcoming Laced with Grace devotional. And then towards the end of the month I will host "In Other Words Tuesdays" for the first time. I'm trying to be sure I know how to do the Mr. Linky thing by then. I'm also working with the hubby on a new venture. So, I need to get well fast!!!

I want to ask for prayer. Please pray that I would feel back to normal (whatever that is; lol). But seriously, I have much to do and I need wisdom and clarity. Thank you in advance for your prayers. I hope to be back in action by tomorrow.

Then Sings My Soul Saturday ~ Happy Easter

I'm joining Amy at Signs, Miracles and Wonders since it's another "Then Sings My Soul Saturday". It's a great day to listen to great worship music. You can link to Amy and find other participating blogs.

Tomorrow is Resurrection Day or Easter Sunday. As a Christian, it's a day of celebration. Jesus didn't stay in the grave.

He's alive!

And because He lives ...I can face tomorrow.


Fitness Friday ~ Who We Are

This Fitness Friday, I wanted to post something different. After all, this is Good Friday. As Christian women, we have so much to be thankful for. I look forward to Resurrection Sunday. Without Easter, we wouldn't be able to rejoice.

But, as Christian women, how do you really see yourself?

Face To Face

How many of you look in the mirror and get discouraged by what you see?

How many of you are so dissatisfied with yourself? Maybe you feel too fat or even …too thin?

Are you influenced by photos of skinny models and movie stars who wear a teeny tiny size zero?

I hope you realize that most of the photos you see in magazines have been air brushed or touched up by Photoshop to look "perfect".

I want to be clear that when I talk about getting in shape and being fit on Heart Choices, I am talking about being healthy and having the energy to do what you want to do.

If you’re overweight and as a result become short of breath every time you do something, it may be hard to be active.

I do believe as Christians, our bodies are a temple of the Holy Spirit. So, I want to take care of my body as much as I can ...within reason. I will never have a perfect body but that’s not my goal.

And so this brings me to my topic for this Fitness Friday!

Do you know who you are …in Christ?

You are accepted.
  • You are God’s child. John 1:12

  • You have been chosen by God and adopted as His child. Ephesians 1:3-8

  • You have been redeemed and forgiven of all your sins. Colossians 1:13-14

  • You have direct access to the throne of grace through Jesus. Hebrews 4:14-16

You are secure.

  • You are free from condemnation and you cannot be separated from the love of God. Romans 8:31-39

  • You are hidden with Christ in God. Colossians 3:1-4

  • You are a citizen of heaven. Philippians 3:20

  • You have not been given a spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7

  • You can be confident that God will complete the good work He started in you. Philippians 1:6

You are significant.

  • You have been chosen and appointed to bear fruit. John 15:16

  • You are God’s temple. 1 Corinthians 3:16

  • You are God’s workmanship. Ephesians 2:10

  • You can do all things through Christ, who strengthens you. Philippians 4:13

  • You may approach God with freedom and confidence. Ephesians 3:12

Wow; I don't know about you but I love reading this. It's good to be reminded of who we are ...in Christ.

Yes, we may have struggles with our bodies and health, but can't you smile when you realize how much you are loved and cherished by Almighty God?

So, I hope on this Fitness Friday which happens to fall on Good Friday, you might take some time and remember that you accepted, secure and significant.

And it's not because you look a certain way. It's because you've received the gift of Jesus into your heart and now ...you're forgiven and FREE!

May you have a blessed Easter!

And by the way, don't forget to visit Sandy at God Speaks Today. She's got a totally different topic but one that is great if you want to step up your workout schedule a bit. Have you heard of High Intensity Interval Training? If not, you might like to hop over to Sandy's Fitness Friday post to learn more.


Serious Life Magazine ~ April Issue Live

Serious.Life MagazineI wanted you to know about this publication I’m a part of called Serious.Life Magazine. They just published a new issue today, and I am in their Featured Blog Directory. It’s a very high quality magazine… you’ll really like it.

The magazine includes a lot of great content from bloggers you’ll appreciate, as well as great features, photos and other content. The magazine is owned and published by a family who have seven kids, three adopted and one who has Leukemia (
www.riggsfamilyblog.com). The magazine gives away a bunch of ads to charities and ministries. Besides great articles on interesting people, there is a lot about family, adoption, personal finance, spiritual life, humor… all sorts of “life” topics.

Again, the subscription is FREE, and I know you’ll enjoy the magazine, so take a minute to check it out and sign up to get future issues.

In Other Words Tuesdays

Today I'm participating in the meme "In Other Words Tuesdays".

Our host for this week's quote is Denise on her blog Shortybear's Place. You can visit other participating blogs by linking there.

I always find it interesting to see how each person often takes a unique approach to our quote for the week.

Here is the quote for today:

In order for heaven to be in me, I must be ...in Christ. As a Christian, I have surrendered my life and invited Jesus to live in my heart.

However, I still live in an earthly body and I have moment by moment choices to make. You see, I still have my free will.

Sometimes, I think that's my problem. But I wouldn't want to be a robot who is programmed to make all the "right choices". I want to ...make the choice to love God and to obey Him.

I have a different perspective as a Christian. Even though for right now I live in this world, my true citizenship is in heaven. But at times, that can be challenging since I can't see, taste, touch and feel this with my physical senses. I take this by faith.

I believe if we are more heavenly minded, we will actually be of more earthly good. The opposite is often quoted. But if I choose to allow Christ to live in and through me, I can be His hands and feet to people in this world. And then I will be a blessing to others in word and deed.

So, I chose to remember that I'm just passing through and that heaven is my real home.

And in the meantime, I want to be used by God to touch the lives of both believers and even those who don't believe ...YET.


Fitness Friday ~ Mandisa

Today is once again Fitness Friday. Over at Sandy's blog God Speaks Today, she'll be sharing the story of Lisa Shaw, one of our blogging friends who lost LOTS of weight.

I think it's good to find out how people have been successful at accomplishing their goals. Lisa is a great example of that! I've only recently come to know her but I can tell you that I'm growing to love her more with each and every encounter I've had with her in bloggy land. She's such an encourager and motivator. You've got to read her story on Sandy's blog.

So, to go along with the theme of success stories, I thought I would share the story of Mandisa.

I'm sure you remember her from Season 5 of American Idol. She was one of the final 10 contestants. During her audition for American Idol, she quickly advanced to the next round. But when she left the room, Simon made a very derogatory remark about her weight. Mandisa didn't hear the comment ...until it was broadcast on TV for millions to see and hear. She was devastated and humiliated.

But the next time she was in front of Simon, she told him she was very hurt but that she forgave him and the two hugged. Mandisa is a Christian woman who speaks the truth ...in love.

Last November I was thrilled to attend the Women of Faith Conference. Mandisa was one of the speakers and she sang for us. She's beautiful both inside and out.

I took lots of photos and I was so fortunate to have a seat in the front row! Can you believe it? Thanks Marlene and Helen.

I recently read an article in Christianity Today about Mandisa's goal of losing 100 pounds. Her latest album is called Freedom. So far, she's lost 75 pounds and has changed her date to achieve this goal by April for the Dove Awards. Mandisa is so open and honest about her struggles. I'll let you listen to her as she shares from her heart. This video is only about 3 and a half minutes but well worth the time.

It's so wonderful for me to hear that she looks at this as a lifestyle change and not a diet. Because that's what I believe. Instead of thinking about all you can't eat, emphasize all the fruits and vegetables you can eat.

I love that Mandisa's new album is called Freedom. How wonderful to be free from bondage to emotional eating and food addictions. I love her music and voice. And I join in praying for this woman of God, that she will accomplish her goal and lose 100 pounds. I know she will inspire others to take their health seriously too.

I love examples like Mandisa. And I also love examples like Lisa Shaw. You'll have to hop over to visit Sandy so you can read about her story.

Thankful Thursday ~ Hope

Our Thankful Thursday theme for today is ...hope. Laurie of Women Taking a Stand is our host this week. So, you can link there to view other participating blogs.

Hope is defined on Dictionary.com as "to look forward to with desire and reasonable confidence, to believe, desire or trust."

I can be hopeful because of who I place my trust in; Jesus. He is trustworthy so ...I can be hopeful.

Even when life is hard, I know that He sees me and knows all that's going on in my life. And that gives me hope because He loves me and wants what's best for me.

As I grow in my relationship with Him, I learn to trust Him more and more.

So, here's my thankful list for today:

  • I'm thankful that I have the hope that He will provide for all my needs.
  • I'm thankful that I can have the hope that He will use my trials to teach me valuable lessons.
  • I'm thankful that I can have hope that He has a purpose for my life.
  • I'm thankful that I can share with others the reason I have hope regardless of all that's going on.
  • I'm thankful that I can share this hope with love and respect for others.

On this Thankful Thursday, consider being thankful for hope. You can read other thankful Thursday lists by clicking here.


April Fool's Day?

Some people think of April 1st as ...April Fool's Day. They think of it as a day to play practical jokes and to make sure their computer virus protection is working.

But not me! When I think of April 1st ...I think of Ellie!

Happy Birthday Ellie!

Ellie is someone I met when she was only 2 or 3 years old. This is about how she looked at that time. I was her Bible Study Fellowship Children's Leader when her family moved to Phoenix from Colorado. She was very shy at first.

But then one day as I was sitting in church, I turned around and I spotted Ellie in her daddy's arms as they were singing. Her family had joined my church and Ellie spotted Mrs. Petras and ...smiled and waved at me!

Well, needless to say, her mom Jamie and I became great friends. During what I'll call their Phoenix years, we spent lots of time together. Then Ellie's daddy got a company transfer and they moved off to San Antonio. I got to visit them several times and whenever they're in Arizona, they always take time to visit Mrs. Petras. I'm so glad. Jamie is the same Jamie that I've interviewed for two Fitness Friday posts. You can read them here and here, if you like.

In honor of Ellie's birthday, I wanted to share a few photos with you. If it wasn't for Ellie, Jamie and I wouldn't be friends today. So, thank you Ellie.

Ellie with a big bow in her hair.

Debbie with Mary, Ellie and Jamie

Ellie playing dress up with her friend and sisters

Ellie with Mrs. Petras at our church's annual tea
Ellie and I went to Build A Bear; how fun!

All dressed up for Easter

Ellie's been taking riding lessons and found that she loves horses.

Ellie loves her sister Mary.

Ellie is very smart. After all, she has a great home scool teacher.

Ellie and her dad riding the tandem bike.

When you move to Texas, you become a cowgirl. Ellie even has pink boots!

Ellie helps her mom, Jamie take care of her little sisters. And did I mention, her older brother Braden?

Ellie is growing up quickly but from all I see, I believe she's going to be a godly woman. She even prays for her dad every week before he teaches the men. Todd is the BSF Teaching Leader. And Ellie still goes to Bible Study Fellowship (BSF). And so it continues ...BSF brought this family into my life. And I know they will bless others too.

Happy Birthday Ellie and a big hug to you from Mrs. Petras!

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