Heart Choices: 2009-03-29 -->

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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!


March Kettle Club

The Kettle Club is a monthly club that's sponsored by Exemplify Online. It was started for bloggers who often feel pressured to come up with ideas and inspiration to keep on blogging. Sometimes, it can become such a huge focus in our lives and ...that's not always good.

The Kettle Club encourages us to spend at least 5-10 minutes or more in prayer and Bible reading ...before getting engaged online with blogging.

I think that's a great idea. Sometimes, I wake up and can't wait to check Heart Choices for any new comments. Then I want to see who has written a new post that I can read. Time can easily get away before I realize I need my quiet time. So, making a commitment to have my quiet time first is a good thing for me.

Each month the Kettle Club posts devotional questions for us to answer and offers encouragement and accountability. I get to link up with other bloggers and we're able to learn from each other. I've made a commitment to be a life long learner so this is another way to accomplish this goal. After all, Heart Choices involves body, mind and spirit.

Here are the discussion questions for March:
  1. What are some practical ways you maintain a consistent "in the Word" time?
  2. Do you have a certain morning system that accompanies your quiet time? If so, share it with us! A special place in your home you go to read? A special devotional or Bible you use? Do you journal, drink tea, pray out loud or have a picture board of those you are praying for?
  3. In what ways have you been applying what you are learning in your devotional time into your day?
  4. If you are working on memorizing Scripture, can you offer a few tips that help you for our other Kettle Members?
  5. Share a standout lesson you’ve learned this month and why it has made such an impact on you.
I absolutely need my morning quiet time!

For the past 15 years, it's been a consistent time for me. Very rarely do I miss and I don't say that with any degree of pride. You see, for me it's become a necessity.

Some days I have more time than others. But what I've found is that the more time I spend with the Lord ...the more I desire to spend with Him.

I have my Bible, devotional, journal and pen all ready to go in the morning. When I first started doing this, I would sit at my kitchen table. But now I have my own office in our home so it's quite comfortable. I have the coffee ready to go because I need it first thing in the morning. I don't have to use an alarm clock because I naturally wake up early. It helps that this has become my routine.

I've also discovered a wonderful Bible teacher named Scott Samter. His messages are downloaded and available on his blog called Opening His Word Together. I found him through his wife's blog called Forever 'n Ever 'n Always. I've been studying the book of Hebrews verse by verse.

The main lessons I've been learning is about walking by faith and not by sight. This has been important for me lately because of the challenges I'm currently facing. When my emotions get out of hand and I become anxious, I remember from what I'm learning to ...keep my focus on Jesus.

I'm learning that my physical senses can be deceived. But faith reaches beyond the physical and takes hold of the unseen. The physical world can be the great temptation to forget God. These have been important lessons for me.

I've also memorized verses that help me to deal with fear. I written them out on cards and have them posted in front of me as I work on the computer. For example:

"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." Isaiah 41:10

All I have to do is look down and that verse is right before me to remind me that God will strengthen me and help me. I believe that by faith.

I would encourage you to check out the Kettle Club. While you're there, you might also subscribe to Exemplify Magazine. It's a free monthly online Christian publication that offers Bible studies, devotionals, and lots of encouragement.

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