Heart Choices: 2009-03-22 -->

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Sweet Escapes

Sometimes, it's great to escape from the stress and busyness of life.

I love to visit blogs like Melissa's The Inspired Room. Each Friday she posts A Beautiful Life and invites other bloggers to participate and link to each other. I know I'm a day late but I wanted to join her anyway.

I'm a dreamer. Ever since I was a little girl, I would daydream of places far away or imagine in detail the home in which I would one day live.

I love the beach, the sound of the surf and seagulls. Even now, this picture brings back memories of Santa Monica and Laguna Beach in California. If I close my eyes, I can imagine feeling the cool ocean breeze and the heat from the sun. Greg and I spent much time there on vacation.

For me, it's even an escape just to think about these places.

Sometimes, if I can't get away to escape, I can take some time to listen to soft music and take a bath. I don't do this very often.

But as I think of ways to escape the stress of daily life, it certainly sounds very inviting. My tub is so pretty and I have candles to light. It's a great escape even ...if only for a short time.

I also find that reading a few of my favorite magazines is actually ...a sweet escape.

I love Victoria, Country Living and House Beautiful. I'm never disappointed when I look at their beautiful pictures and articles.

Here are just a few of the photos I enjoy. The first two are from Country Living. Can't you just picture yourself sitting on this porch sipping an iced tea or lemonade? A sweet escape ...
Victoria magazine had great photos of the cherry blossoms that are in bloom in our nation's capital. I was instantly transported back to trips I took to Washington DC with Greg and also with my nieces Kristin and Katie. Another sweet escape... Here's another beautiful photo from House Beautiful magazine. Can't you just see yourself sitting in one of these chairs enjoying the beautiful view? Another sweet escape...

Maybe you can't get away for a sweet escape. But you can always go for a walk, listen to music you enjoy, light a candle, sip an iced tea or a cup of hot tea. Pray, read your Bible and be still. Even a short break can be ...a sweet escape.

The focus of Heart Choices is how your day to day choices will determine what your tomorrows will become. Your choices impact body, mind and spirit. Making time for a sweet escape is good for your heart.

How about you? How do you escape from the stress and busyness of life? I'd love to hear from you too.

Then Sings My Soul Saturday ~ We Shall Behold Him

I look forward to Then Sings My Soul Saturday. I join Amy of Signs, Miracles and Wonders. I find that I'm on the lookout each week for a song that I love. And then I get to visit other participating blogs to see what songs they posted so I can sing along and ...praise God.

This week I chose Sandi Patty's version of We Shall Behold Him. She was one of my favorite Christian singers when I first got serious about my walk with the Lord. A friend at work was so proud that she came from the same city as Sandi Patti; Anderson, Indiana. So, Tonya gave me a cassette tape of her music. I used to play it over and over on my way to work.

Sandi Patty has been blessed with such a beautiful voice. I long for the day when I see Him face to face.


Fitness Friday ~ Accountability

It's Fitness Friday and I had several ideas for topics today. I want to share the reason I decided on the topic of accountability.

You see, it basically comes down to this ...I need accountability!

Yesterday I participated in Thankful Thursday. I wrote that I was thankful for spring and described the beautiful weather we were experiencing this time of year in Phoenix. I began thinking that it would be a great time to go for a hike after completing my post.

Well, you know how it is. I got distracted with other things and didn't go for the hike.
Kate AKA Jottin Mama left a comment asking me if I went for my hike. She's been a part of our Fitness Friday Fanatics blog.

And I suddenly felt very convicted. So, I put on some sun screen. After all, you don't leave the house without it in Phoenix. And off I went for my hike.

Thank you Jottin Mama. I needed that accountability so I could respond to your comment honestly and say "yes, I went for my hike". Check out this cute photo with her hubby and little boy. Did I mention that she's also pregnant?

OK, so let's get back to acccountability.

Maybe you set a goal to lose weight, to get in shape or to simply adopt a healthier lifestyle. I believe an important step to accomplishing your goal is to set up some accountability.

It might be a friend that becomes your walking partner or someone who takes a spinning class with you. It could be simply keeping a log of your food intake and exercise for each day.

My friend Georgann recently lost quite a bit of weight through Weight Watchers. When I asked her about keeping the weight off, she told me that her motivation was that she doesn't want to have to pay a monthly fee to continue to participate. I guess in Weight Watchers if you meet your goal you get free maintenance.

So, for Georgann her accountability is the scale. When she weighs in at Weight Watchers, she doesn't want to gain or else she'll have to start paying fees again.

Here are a few online resources to keep you accountable:
  • The Daily Plate: They were recently acquired by the Lance Armstrong health website. But this is a free place where you can log all of the food you eat in a day, along with your activity. You can track your progress towards your weight loss goals. I used this for some time and found it quite helpful. You can also calculate how many calories you should be consuming depending on your goals.
  • Fit Day: This is another free online site where you can keep a diet and weight loss journal.
  • Nutridiary: A free site where you can keep an online food and exercise diary. You can track your weight loss, obtain information on calorie intake and energy expenditure for different exercises and group support.
  • Diet Nation: This site has some handy weight loss tools including a calorie and activity calculator. A waist to hip ratio calculator helps you determine your body shape.
  • Shape Up America: You will find tools that include a meal and snack calculator and a body mass index calculator. You will be able to track your progress to add some accountability.

One of the best ways to add accountability, especially if you don't like to track your progress with a log, is to have an exercise buddy. If you make a commitment with a friend, you're more likely to continue it so you don't let your friend down.

Several of my neighbors hike together three mornings a week. Kate tells me that there's pressure to join in because everyone's waiting for you. I'm sure there would be mornings when she'd rather stay in bed but knowing that her friends are outside waiting provides accountability.

So, how about it? What's your plan for acccountability? Do you have any stories to share of successes or failures?

If you'd like to join our Fitness Friday Fanatics group, be sure to link to Sandy's blog called God Speaks Today. Send her your email and she'll send you an invitation. It's a private blog so if you're a little shy about sharing your weight and struggles, this might be a good group to join and at the same time, have some accountability.

Speaking of Sandy, have your ever wondered about organics and natural foods? Well, Sandy's Fitness Friday post will provide you with all the information you need to make informed food choices when it comes to these foods. She'll help you decipher what's really healthy and the benefits they provide.


Thankful Thursday ~ Random

I'm glad this is Thankful Thursday. I think I need an attitude adjustment. Making the choice to focus on what I'm thankful for changes my perspective and my attitude.

So, thank you Lynn, of Spiritually Unequal Marriage for hosting this week's Thankful Thursday. You can link there to view other blog posts.

I'm thankful for the Internet! Helping my husband with his company has opened up a whole new world to me. I felt like a baby when I was first learning about blogging, social networks, twitter and all the other fun social media applications.

Spending most of my day in front of a computer can be difficult, especially when I'd rather be out having lunch with the girls. But I can always take a break and visit other blogs and find whatever I may need at that moment.

My bloggy friends have become such a source of comfort, encouragement, laughter and best of all ...friendship.

I can't wait until I can meet some of you in person.

I'm thankful for spring! Even though I live in Phoenix and we don't have a real winter, spring is a wonderful time to get outside and enjoy temperatures in the 70's.

It's a great time for hiking up the mountain behind my house. Hmm ... maybe I'll go for a hike after finishing this post?

I'm thankful for comments on Heart Choices! It can be a bit solitary writing almost every day. You don't always know if anyone reads the posts or has another opinion unless they add a comment. I really appreciate it when people share through their comments.

Gee, do you know something?

By making the choice to focus on being thankful ...my attitude has changed.

Isn't it interesting that the focus of Heart Choices is that "your day to day choices determine what your tomorrows will become"?

Will you choose to be thankful?


In Other Words Tuesdays

In Other Words Tuesdays is being hosted today by Susan on her blog Forever His. You can link there to find other participating blogs.

Our quote for this week is:

“To ease another’s heartache is to forget one’s own. ”
~ Abraham Lincoln

There are times when I can become consumed with circumstances that are impacting me personally. My focus turns inward and frankly I'm probably not much fun to be around. I'm so thankful for friends who have stood by my side through thick and thin.

However, when I take my focus off of myself and see what others are going through ...it changes my perspective.

Yes, I may still have obstacles to overcome but so do many other people.

When I was working as a nurse, I became so aware of the pain of others. I focused on the needs of my patients and their families and not myself. They were often dealing with major issues like a heart attack or a diabetic about to lose a limb. It really helped me put life in perspective.

I want to share a video of a person who is a wonderful example and personification of Abraham Lincoln's quote.

His name is Nick Vujicic and if you think you have challenges, you've got to see what he deals with ...each and every day.

Nick was born with no limbs and yet he is joyful and gives to others. He inspires others to overcome the obstacles in their lives and to glorify God. He obviously can't forget that he has no limbs but as he focuses on helping other people through his story, he is such a positive role model.

You can't help but be inspired by Nick. I can assure you that your perspective on your own challenges will be in for an adjustment.

Isn't he incredible? I want to have an attitude like Nick. How about you?

What Part of Spring Are You?

You Are Chirping Birds

You are a very caring person. You especially feel for innocent beings, like animals and children.

You are keyed in to the world and very peaceful. You believe that everyone is connected.

You remain focused and in the moment. You are not easily distracted.

You have a good memory, especially for things that you hear. You listen carefully.

I discovered this spring quiz through Marsha's Musings. So, I linked to Blog Things and took the quiz for myself. It was quick, easy and ...fun!
Why not check it out for yourself and leave a comment to tell me what part of spring you are?
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