Heart Choices: 2009-05-10 -->

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Then Sings My Soul Saturdays ~ I Never Lost My Praise

I'm excited that it's Saturday which means it's ...Then Sings My Soul Saturdays.

I hope you get in the habit of going blog hopping on Saturdays to check out all of the participating blogs. You'll certainly find a wide variety of songs to get you worshipping. You can link to other TSMSS participants on Amy's blog Signs, Miracles and Wonders or just maybe it's time to join in and post your own video.

This week, I chose the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir's version of I Never Lost My Praise. I've visited the Brooklyn Tabernacle several times when I was in New York City. I took my nieces with me on the subway to attend Sunday services. There's nothing like hearing this wonderful choir in person. And Pastor Jim Cymbala is excellent. If you go to NY, I would highly recommend it.

But back to my song choice for this week.

No matter what you're going through in these challenging times, keep your focus in the right place. Keep your eyes on Jesus. Then you will never lose your hope and your praise.


Fitness Friday ~ Aging Gracefully

It's Fitness Friday. Sandy of God Speaks Today started Fitness Friday and she's had many requests from other bloggers who want to join in. So, now she's going to do the Mr. Linky thing so we can all write and link to each other's posts. This is so good because more people will write about ways to get fit and more importantly ...healthy.

I'd like to focus on aging today. It may not be a very popular topic of conversation because most people want to stay and look young. But take it from someone who has noticed a few body changes; it happens to us all. Can you still be fit and healthy as you get older? I believe you can but you'll have to make a few adjustments.

Remember when you were just graduating from high school?

This was me, way back in 1971. I know, I know ...that was probably before many of you were even born. I guess I could actually be your mom, right?

When I was in high school, I was very active. I used to be the Captain of our high school twirling team. It was great exercise and you could always find me in my yard practicing.

I even twirled with a fire baton! Can you believe that? It's true.

At this point in my life, I burned lots of calories. So if I overindulged occasionally it didn't make much of a difference in my weight.

Well, now it's many years later. And I have to say, I'm not as active as I used to be.

Sometimes, this is how you might find my hubby and me. That's not really us in that photo. But it could be us since we're on our computers most days.

Because of this, I have to schedule in my exercise. Because if I just sit and work, I'll gain weight.

Here's what happens. As we age, our bodies need less calories. That's because we progressively lose muscle mass. It's a function of age. Our metabolic rates (the energy used to perform basic body functions) drops by about 10% by the age of 75. In addition, as we get older people tend to be less active physically.

So, we don't need as many calories as we get older.

You have a choice to make.

Eat less to maintain your weight.

Or exercise more so you can consume the calories you're used to eating.

Something has to give ...or else you're going to get fat as you get older.

Sometimes, it's hard to be objective about ourselves. We look around us and see how our friends look. And we all look about the same.

But let's be realistic. We often see ourselves as we once were.

Since we are all getting older each day, let's get in the habit of becoming more active. Get outside and go for a walk. Ride your bicycle. Swim laps. Just get moving.

And make healthy choices in what you eat, especially if you're cutting back on the calories.

Don't forget. According to the American Heart Association, walk more + eat well = live longer. And it's never too late to get started.

Now, don't forget to hop over and visit Sandy of God Speaks Today to link to other participating blogs on this Fitness Friday. Have a great weekend!

Thankful Thursday ~ Wisdom

On this Thankful Thursday, I am linking to Lynn's blog at Spiritually Unequal Marriage. Lynn is hosting today and you can find other participating blogs there. The theme Lynne chose for this week is wisdom.

The world offers wisdom in many ways including pursuing higher education, philosophy, reading, traveling and mentoring. There is nothing wrong with learning new things. I've written and stated many times that I consider myself a life long learner. I don't know everything and I'm always eager to learn and grow.

But many people settle for living their lives being wise in their own eyes. And often, this kind of wisdom can change depending on the society, culture and times.

I'm so thankful that I have a place to go to find ...wisdom that doesn't change.

I'm realistic to know that I need all the help I can get and I know where to go for that wisdom ...the true Word of God; the Bible.

On this Thankful Thursday, I want to share with you a place of wisdom that's been such a blessing to me. It's called Opening His Word Together.

Scott Samter teaches a Bible study in his home every Monday. His wife Jill downloads his teachings for all to listen. Many of you may follow Jill at Forever n Ever n Always where she shares her life of raising 8 children according to Biblical principles. I've learned so much reading her blog for the last year.

I often take the freedom I have for granted. I have many Bibles in different translations. I've attended many Bible studies. I attend church every Sunday. But there's nothing like reading God's Word and allowing it to penetrate my soul and spirit and then ...applying it to my life.

If you want to be challenged to live out what you believe, take some time this week to visit Scott's blog. Maybe you've never studied the Bible for yourself. You may have depended on your pastor or priest to teach you. But if you are a true believer, you have the Holy Spirit within you to help you understand.

You can study Hebrews or Romans verse by verse. Scott reads each verse and is well prepared with background information on the author, the times it was written, the culture at that time and so much more. You will be challenged to walk your talk before others. It takes a little bit of an investment of time since each chapter runs about 45 minutes. But it's well worth the time. My life has been impacted greatly by this free ministry.

That's why on this Thankful Thursday, I am so thankful for this ministry called Opening His Word Together. I pray that you will discover it for yourself and stop by and say hello to Jill or Scott. I can guarantee that ...you'll be greatly blessed.

And don't forget to visit other participating blogs by linking to Lynn on this Thankful Thursday.


The Gift of Receiving

The gift of receiving. Why write a blog post on the topic of receiving? You've probably heard the phrase "it's better to give than to receive". But how well of a receiver are you?

I love to give gifts to others. My sister and I tend to love many of the same things and so it's easy and actually fun to find a gift for Chris. I know that if I love something, so will she. But it's a little harder to shop for other family members and friends. I have to think in terms of what they would like and not necessarily what ...I like.

Think for a moment about how well you receive gifts.
  • Do you sometimes feel uncomfortable receiving a gift, especially if you know that person doesn't have much money.
  • Or have you ever received a gift and thought "oh no, I didn't buy her anything for her birthday. Now I'm going to have to get something for her"?
  • Or have you ever felt indebted to someone because of a gift? Did you feel there were strings attached?

I think our society has a harder time receiving gifts than giving gifts, but that's just my opinion. I know there are people who are takers and not givers. But the majority of people I've been around seem to be better at giving. I think sometimes we rob people of the pleasure when we are so uncomfortable receiving.

However, there's one gift that is offered to ALL PEOPLE! Not just a select few who are good enough or done enough for others. The Bible is clear that this gift is for WHOEVER BELIEVES.

John 3:16-17 "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him."

I'm sure most of you are familiar with these verses. But some people that I know have never received that precious free gift. They still think they need to do something to earn it.

But that's what grace is all about. You're right; you don't deserve it. And you can never do enough good deeds to deserve it. It's free but ...you must RECEIVE it for yourself. You don't inherit it because your family goes to church or prays before meals.

Jesus died on the cross for ALL. He didn't want us to be condemned so God sent Him into this world and He lived a perfect, sinless life. Jesus showed us what God is like. And then He died and rose again. Jesus already paid the penalty for our sins. So, we can be set FREE ...if we receive His gift of salvation.

That's what grace is all about. It's a gift that's free to all who make the heart choice to receive it. And you can do that by talking to God in prayer and receiving His gift of life.

Although many of you may already be believers, I don't ever want to take that for granted. I've always wanted Heart Choices to be a blog that attracts all people who are interested in making healthier choices. And I believe this is the most ...important heart choice of all.

So, let me ask you something. How well do you receive gifts? Have you received this free gift of God's grace?

There is a READY button on the right bar of my blog with more information or you can always contact me privately through my email. It's on my ABOUT ME page.


In Other Words Tuesdays

It's Tuesday so this must be "In Other Words Tuesdays". Loni of Writing Canvas is our host for this week. You can link to other participating blogs there. Loni chose the following quote for this week:
Hmm ...isn't that true? I love it when I pray and get an immediate answer. Or the times when it's so obvious God is working in the midst of a situation I've been praying about. But what about those times when nothing seems to be happening? It's easy to wonder if God is listening and what He is doing.

It's times like these when I take out my journals. I can look back to a period of seeming darkness when I thought my prayers were hitting the ceiling and realize that all along ...God heard my prayers.

He was working in the situation but in His perfect timing and His perfect way.

It also helps me to remember some of the names of the Lord:

  • El Roi: The God Who Sees
  • El Shaddai: The All-Sufficient One
  • Jehovah-jireh: The Lord Will Provide
  • Jehovah-rapha: The Lord Who Heals
  • Jehovah-nissi: The Lord My Banner
  • Jehovah-raah: The Lord My Shepherd
  • Jehovah-shammah: The Lord Is There

So, instead of going by my feelings ...I learn to trust by faith. Even when I can't see, feel, hear or sense that He is at work. I've learned to trust that His Word is true. And yes, ...I can trust Him.

And in the midst of it all, I will praise, worship and thank Him even when I don't seem to have an answer.

How about you? Do you get frustrated when you don't seem to have answers to your prayers? Or have you learned some faith lessons that you care to share? I always enjoy hearing what others have learned.


The Amazing Race

I love the CBS TV show The Amazing Race. I've watched every episode and last night was the finale. I was so excited! Who would win the Amazing Race and the $1 million prize?

Would it be:
  • Cara and Jaime, former NFL cheerleaders
  • Tammy and Victor, brother and sister attorneys
  • Margie and Luke, the mom and her son who is deaf
Cara and Jaime were the first team with two women in the final three. Way to go, girls! However, Cara had a problem with impatience especially in dealing with taxi drivers who get lost or were too slow. Would they be able to work together and win the race?
Tammy and Victor are successful in the world's eyes. They're graduates of Harvard law school so they're both very smart attorneys. But could they overcome the dynamics of a brother who tends to be the powerful more aggressive leader while Tammy has a different way of relating?

I have to admit that I was cheering for Margie and Luke. I tend to go for the underdog in most races. Margie is 50 years old but very competitive and Luke is her son. He's had to overcome much in life with his deafness. But could they work together using sign language and show the world that deaf people can run an amazing race?

I learn so many lessons watching The Amazing Race!

To run the race you need to:

  • Pack lightly. If you're backpack is too heavy, it weighs you down.
  • Work together. It's called team work.
  • Be patient. Impatience only causes more frustration and then mistakes are easily made.
  • Think clearly.
  • Be persistent and don't give up.
  • Focus on the goal.
As I was writing these down, I realized how similar this is to Christians running the race towards our goal. Those same lessons can be applied as well.
  • Don't get weighed down with earthly possessions that so easily distract.
  • Help one another. After all, the Christian life isn't meant to be lived alone.
  • Patience is a fruit of the Spirit. As we spend time in the Word of God and prayer, His Spirit will manifest changes in our countenance.
  • Clear thinking is so important. Take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. Don't allow the world to muddy your thinking.
  • Persistence is so important. Don't give up when things get tough. After all, Jesus said we should expect suffering in this world.
  • Focus on the goal; Jesus. Our real home is in heaven; we're just passing through this one.

Check out what 1 Corinthians 9: 24-25 says:

"Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever."

On The Amazing Race only one couple wins the prize. And that winner was ...Tammy and Victor. Congratulations for running a great race!

However, I think each contestant learned something about themselves along the race. These are life long lessons and what they do with that is their choice.

We also have a choice as to how we run our race to the finish line of life. Will we focus on Jesus or the world and all it has to offer? He gives us a heart choice to make.

And by the way, I would love to compete on The Amazing Race. Since I hate to starve, would not wear a bathing suit on TV, and I wouldn't lie, Survivor is out for me. But running around the world? Now that would be fun and challenging.

And I know the perfect person who could be my team mate.This is my niece Kristin Sumstad. I think we'd be very compatible on The Amazing Race. She's smart. She's graduating with her graduate degree in Speech Pathology. She's a clear thinker. She's competitive. And she's got Norwegian genes ...the Vikings! And we love one another too.

So, what do you think? Are there any Amazing Race fans out there? What do you think of the comparison to our Christian race in this life? I can't wait to read your comments. :)


Mother's Day Tribute

Mother's Day is a time to pay tribute to moms. My mom died four years ago and I miss her so much.

But there is another mom in my life.

She's an independent and very smart woman.

She tends to like doing things her own way.

A number of years ago, she broke her leg when she fell off a ladder. She was painting her house! She laid there for three hours because she insisted she didn't need a cell phone. BTW, she now has one.

There are times when I still find her mowing her own lawn if her grandson hasn't been by to help her out.

She's known for her special recipes like poppy seed cake and hot dog pizza. If I need a cup of tea and someone to talk to, she always makes herself available. But she has lots of opinions and ...willingly shares them too.

She was the valedictorian of her high school class and could have had a full scholarship to Columbia School of Journalism. But her father didn't want his daughter going to New York City alone so instead she stayed in her New Jersey home town to work.

However, she's always loved to write. She wrote articles for our family newspaper. And now, she has just had her first fiction novel published!

The name of her book is "Love, War and Eternity ...a Woman's Journey" by Lori Dare Lewis. You can find it on Amazon. She's thrilled to finally accomplish her life long goal of writing a novel. And I even think she's starting to write the sequel. I really think Oprah needs to interview her!

Here's what the back of her book says:

"Shamelessly, Laurel takes you on her journey through life. From the abusive, but secure atmosphere of her parental home, she traveled to Texas with a soldier she befriended. He offered her the safety and support she needed at this desperate point in her life. Little did she realize her decision would present social consequences she wasn't prepard to handle. Complicated situations continued to arise and, at times, felt she was in a constant battle with the fate she brought upon herself. After the death of her husband she planned to return to South Jersey with her son. It was the opportunity to claim the man she once vowed to love forever. Would he welcome her with open arms, abandon his family and resume the relationship they once had? Yes he did, but not as Laurel had expected!"

I can tell you something. If you enjoyed The Notebook ...you'll enjoy her book.

Her favorite companion nowadays ...is Barney. Barney is her beloved cocker spaniel. The two of them have their dinner together in front of the TV watching the news. She falls asleep listening to talk radio.

She raised her one son and three daughters pretty much by herself, providing each with the opportunity to go to college. She's so proud of her seven grandchildren who are growing up very quickly.

I wanted to tell you how proud I am of you.

And I'm so glad to call you ...Mom.

Happy Mother's Day!
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