Heart Choices: 2009-05-03 -->

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Then Sings My Soul Saturdays ~ Creation Calls

I always look forward to Saturdays. I do my house cleaning on Saturday but believe me, that's not why I look forward to Saturday.

I love to go blog hopping.

Is that a word? At least, I didn't say bar hopping. I love to listen to the songs people have chosen for Then Sings My Soul Saturdays. I join up with Amy of Signs, Miracles and Wonders where you can link to find other participating blogs. If you have some time, it's well worth it.

For a long time, I didn't participate but now I'm so glad I joined in. I find that throughout the week I'm on the lookout for the perfect song and video that touched my heart ...so I could share it with you.

The video I chose for today is the song "Creation Calls" by Brian Doerksen. The footage is from the BBC Planet Earth series.

I first viewed this one on Laurie's blog Beauty for Ashes and it was so awesome. I was overwhelmed by the beauty of God's creation. My response is worship. I pray you will also be blessed as you watch.


Fitness Friday ~ Stretching

On this Fitness Friday, I want to talk about stretching.

Stretching is often the most overlooked form of exercise. However, it really is such an important component of a complete fitness program.

Everyone can benefit from stretching but if you've been sedentary for some time, begin slowly.

Here are a few of the benefits of stretching:

  • Reduces muscle tension
  • Relaxes your body
  • Increases your range of motion
  • Helps prevent injuries (by keeping muscles loose)
  • Improves your muscle's resistance to stress
  • Increases your body awareness
  • Promotes better circulation
  • Promotes muscle balance
  • It generally feels good and ...calming!
Here are a few guidelines and safety precautions for stretching:

  • Don't rush. Allow plenty of time so you can hold the stretch until you feel the muscle has been stretched. If you hold a stretch for 30 seconds you'll maintain your flexibility. But if you really want to increase your flexibility, hold the stretch longer.
  • Stretch to the point of mild tension but never to the point of pain.
  • Try to relax your muscles when you stretch instead of tightening up.
  • Don't forget to breathe.

Here are just a few standing stretches to try:

Hamstring Stretch: Place your right foot on a low support in front of you. Keep your foot flexed. Bend from the hips, keeping your back straight. Press your hand on your right thigh until you feel a stretch in the back of the thigh and behind the knee. Repeat with your other leg. I sometimes use the edge of the treadmill or my outside steps to do this stretch before begin my walk.

Quadricep Stretch: Bend your right knee and bring the bent leg up behind you. While grasping your ankle with your right hand, gently pull the thigh parallel to the left leg. If you can't reach your ankle, grab the back of your pant leg or you can loop a towel around your ankle. Repeat with the other leg.

Calf Stretch: Place your hands on a wall at should height and width. Bend your front leg slightly and place weight on it until your back leg feels the stretch. Press the back heel into the floor and keep that leg staight. Repeat with the other leg.

Believe me, stretching is so good for you. And it can really improve your flexibility. No matter how old you are, this is an area that can be improved over time.

My grandfather used to be able to easily bend down and touch his toes with his elbows! Can you believe that? But me ...I'm not very flexible! I have to work at it. But when I'm consistent with my stretching and flexibility exercises, I always notice such an improvement. So, keep at it.

And as you already know, stretching is just one component of an overall exercise program. So, don't forget the aerobic and strength training parts too. I know ...enough already, right?

My fitness partners are also posting on Fitness Friday. Sandy of God Speaks Today is sharing some random thoughts on fitness. If you know Sandy, you know she'll do it with her particular brand of humor which I love. And Sarah of All Pain, No Gain has a challenge for you. So, be sure to hop over to their blogs and say hi.

How about you? Do you remember to stretch when you exercise? I really want to know.


Thankful Thursday ~ Mom

It's Thursday today, so it must be Thankful Thursday. Lynn of Spiritually Unequal Marriage is hosting this month. So, you can link there to visit other participating blogs.

Lynn chose the topic of moms for this week. After all, Sunday is Mother's Day. And Lynn asked that we share about our hearts for our mothers or why we are thankful to be a mom.

Well, I have a little confession to make to you. Mother's Day has always been hard for me. You see, I always imagined I would grow up and be a wife and mother. But I had a medical situation and was unable to have children. It's a long story but ...we ended up not having kids.

I'm at a place in my life where I'm at peace about it though. I was even interviewed for a story in the Arizona Republic on infertility. I guess I was the only respondent who had gotten to a place of peace so the reporter called to interview me. I was even able to share my faith in that story but I'll save that for another time.

But I have to say that I'm very grateful for my mom. She went to be with the Lord four years ago and I miss her more each year. I thought it would get easier but as more time goes by, I seem to realize the impact she really had on me. It's a good reminder not to take loved ones for granted.

This is a photo of my mom when she was about my age. Isn't she beautiful? She was actually discovered.

My sister had an appointment with a modeling agency in Tampa many years ago. My mom tagged along for support. My little sis (who is very pretty) didn't get the job but then ...they saw my mom.

The modeling agency told her they had lots of work for an 'older woman'. So, for a few years my mother posed as a model for many Florida brochures and did TV commercials. Maybe some of you Floridians have seen her!

But more importantly, my mom was beautiful not only on the outside but more importantly ...on the inside.

I'm so thankful for her and I'm so glad I will see her one day in heaven. I can just picture us sitting together on our porch in our mansion in heaven. Maybe it will look like this!

And just maybe ...we'll have chocolate dessert and it won't have any calories. LOL!

And we'll have lots of time to catch up, laugh and ...talk!

So, on this Thankful Thursday ...I'm thankful for my mom. I love you Mom.


Does Love Change Your Perspective?

Does love really change your perspective? Do you live a life of love?

I think it's easy to love people who are similar to us.

You know, people who view the world as we do. Maybe it's people in your church or your closest friends or just maybe ...your family (or not).

But how do you view people who are not like you? What about people who may have a completely different view of life from you? Now, I'm not saying that you should invite any person you meet on the street into your home but do you look beyond the exterior and ever wonder what's going on in that person's life?

Several days ago, I read Andy Sernovitz's blog post about how to make a viral video. He interviewed Rhett and Link who are two life long friends from North Carolina. They performed at a recent BlogWell conference.

And if you're not familiar with Andy Sernovitz, he's the author of a very popular book called Word of Mouth Marketing. BTW, it's a great practical how-to book on spreading word of mouth and ...Andy's a very nice guy too.

But, back to Rhett and Link's viral videos. These two guys create videos with no money and yet ...they've had over 20 million views on YouTube!

I posted one of their funny videos several days ago about ordering healthy when you go through the fast food drive-in. If you haven't seen it, you can link to it here.

But as I watched the following video, I had much to ponder about how I live my life. Do I look at people and ever wonder who they really are?

I grew up in New York so I'm very familiar with the food vendors. But I don't think I ever interacted with the vendors in the way that Rhett and Link did. I learned much from watching this.

Do you ever wonder about people like Jack, Amyn, Andrea, Sam, Abdul, Danny and Mohammed? What are their dreams? Who are they?

Did you notice how awkward the hugs were at first? Poor Andrea appears to be a typical New Yorker (sorry about the stereotype but remember I come from NY too). She's apprehensive about hugging a stranger. But I really think ...she likes it!

What about the vendors you interact with in your life? The grocery store clerk or the waitress at Applebee's or dare I say ...the person at the fast food drive-through (no way Fitness Friday readers).

Would it change your perspective if you truly lived out what you claim to believe? I'm going to end this post with the words of Jesus:

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself'. All the Law and the prophets hang on these two commandments." Matthew 22: 37-40 (NIV)


The Beauty of Spring

I love spring. Even in Phoenix, it's a time when it's comfortable to be outdoors and yet ...the temperature hasn't reached those hot but dry triple digits.

I've been so inspired by many other bloggers who post photos of spring blossoms. I love how many of you are teaching your children about the changing seasons.

So, the other day I went outdoors for a walk and I took my camera along. I wanted to look at nature and find things of beauty that I could share with you.

I wanted to show you ...Phoenix in the spring.

You can find cactus everywhere. There are many different types. But beware!

You don't want to touch them or brush up against them. They will stick you and it's very hard to get the little stickers off.

I even found this cactus with yellow blooms. As I tried to get a close up shot, I realized there were bees inside. Yikes! I stepped back very quickly.
Now before you think all we have is cactus, we do have some very pretty spring blossoms.
I don't know if you can see the pink bouganvilla and the pretty purple buds on the trees.
And by the time I returned home from my walk, I was almost ready to take a dip in my pool. But, I still think the water is too cold. I know many of you Northerners will laugh at me. But you do get used to the warmer weather after living in Phoenix for 25 years.

I've been asking God to give me a new perspective as I go about my day. Instead of taking nature for granted, I want to see with my eyes the beauty of God's creation. I remember hearing Beth Moore say one time ... "show off for me God". I echo that statement.

I memorized Psalm 19 and love to say the words as I look up at the sky or at the mountains or flowers or listen to the birds as they sing.
"The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge." Psalm 19:1-2
Will you make the choice to open your eyes and see the beauty all around you?

I'm so glad that we can get a glimpse of spring from a variety of places in this world with bloggers from all over. Why not share what spring is like where you live?
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