Heart Choices: 2009-05-17 -->

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Then Sings My Soul Saturday ~ Kris Allen

It's Then Sings My Soul Saturday. You can link to other participating blogs by visiting Amy at Signs, Miracles and Wonders.

I'm a fan of the TV show American Idol. It's something my husband and I enjoy watching together. Everyone seemed to think that Adam Lambert would win, but no ...the winner was Kris Allen! He was described as the dark horse coming from behind.

I'm sure Adam will do well in the rock music industry.

But Kris is a different kind of musical talent and I'm thrilled to know that he's a Christian. Here he is singing "God of this City". What an opportunity for Kris to have a platform to share his special talent! He will need lots of prayer, friends.

Kris Allen Singing "God Of This City" from Rick Smith on Vimeo.


Thankful Thursday ~ Nature

It's Thankful Thursday. Lynn of Spiritually Unequal Marriage is our host. She's chosen the theme of ...nature.

Spring is such a beautiful time of year. I'm thankful that God created different areas of the world in such unique ways. Since I live in Arizona, our outdoors looks very different from those who live in northern places.

I want to share a few nature photos from Arizona.

Many of you will recognize the Grand Canyon. I'm so thankful I've had the opportunity to visit this awesome place of beauty. As I gaze out I'm overwhelmed by the majesty of our Creator.

I took this photo as I was walking through my neighborhood in Phoenix. I'm so thankful for the unique beauty of the desert.

Since it rarely rains in Phoenix, I'm thankful for the times when it does rain. The rainbow is a great reminder to me from Genesis 9:13-15. God set the rainbow in the sky as a sign to future generations that all life would never be destroyed again by a flood. I'm also thankful for His promise.

This is a photo taken from my back patio. You can often find me sitting in a lounge chair sipping a cup of coffee or iced tea, enjoying the view. I'm so thankful for the mountains and beautiful scenery.

I want to close this thankful Thursday post with a video called Creation Calls. I posted it another time for Then Sings My Soul Saturday. But just in case you missed it, I hope you enjoy seeing how creative our God really is.

I'm heading to the high country with my hubby for a much needed time of rest and relaxation. So, I probably won't be online. I'll miss my blogging buddies and will check your blogs when I return. Have a great Memorial Day weekend!


Enjoy Special Moments

Do you take the time to enjoy those special moments in your week?

I have a habit of going through my day with my to-do list. There's always so much to do and I'm afraid I'll get off track and ...forget things.

Be warned, that's what happens when you get older.

Before I know it, the week has gone by and I haven't taken the time to enjoy and reflect on the special moments. My blogging friend Lori writes a weekly Saturday post on Lori's Reflections called Looking Back. She shares what she's learned during the week and I find myself looking forward to reading her post each week.

So, I want to take this opportunity to share a few special moments from my week. And by sharing them with you, I get to ...enjoy them too.
I attend a weekly Sunday morning Bible study at my church. Our group is called Life Group. We're currently in the midst of a study called The Truth Project. Since our group is small enough, we watch the DVD and then have a chance to discuss it. Dr. Del Tackett of Focus on the Family is the instructor for this series. If you ever have an opportunity to do this study, it's well worth the time.

As I've written before, my desire is to be a life long learner. The Truth Project is a study that requires lots of thinking and stretching. But it teaches me about worldviews that are in contrast to my biblical worldview. It really helps me to understand how others look at life. I want to be able to discuss why I believe what I believe intelligently and respectfully, without fear of being ridiculed for my beliefs.

After church on Sunday, I went to lunch with two of my friends from our class. Nancy is on the left and Marcia is on the right. Postino is one of my favorite places to eat and they just opened up a new location down the street from my church on Central Avenue in Phoenix. Yay!! They have the best bruschetta in town!

Now, I have to mention a special accomplishment by my friend Jamie's son, Braden. Jamie sent me this photo of him. She said he spent four years of hard work, along with much fun and maturing and has accomplished his goal. On Thursday night, Braden went before the Board and passed as an official Eagle Scout. Woo hoo, way to go, Braden!

Jamie is like my adopted daughter/friend. She used to live in Phoenix but since her hubby got transferred a few years ago the family lives in San Antonio. I've written about her in other posts, including two interviews here and here for Fitness Friday.

Jamie's daughter Mary is celebrating a birthday today. And I'm so sad that I can't be there to join in and ...maybe have a piece of cake. Wouldn't you know I'm thinking of sweets?

Mary is growing up so quickly. But she is still just as sweet as ever. I have a few photos to share with you.

This is me, Mary, Ellie and Jamie outside their home when they lived in Phoenix.

I had to laugh at this photo of Mary on the right. I wanted to find an opportunity to use this picture for some time now. It's Mary's first visit to the dentist. Notice the sunglasses; too cute!
And here's Mary with her sister Karli. She lost another tooth at the beginning of this month.
So, on your special day I want to wish Mary a very happy birthday! Mrs. Petras loves you!

OK, I know this post is getting too long but when I think about it, there's much to enjoy and reflect upon.

But I have one more thing to share with you. I had my first Norwegian lesson on Monday! And I did it online at My Little Norway. L-Jay is one of my blogging friends. She's from Australia but fell in love with a Norwegian. What can I say? Those Norwegians are irresistible! She lives in Tromso, Norway which is so far north it's close to the North Pole. So, if you want to learn the Norwegian language, go visit L-Jay at My Little Norway.

And don't forget to savor those special moments and celebrate life! Life may be challenging but you have a choice ...as to how you respond.

Have you had a special moment this week? Have you learned something new that you can share?

In Other Words Tuesdays ~ Failure

It's Tuesday and I'm a bit late in getting my In Other Words Tuesdays post published. Miriam Pauline's Monologue is hosting this week. You can link there to read other participating bloggers take on our quote for this week.

Mi Pau choose the words to the chorus of a song called "What If I Stumble?" by DC Talk. I started out by going to YouTube and listening to DC Talk sing that song. I really focused on the words. It's a beautiful song.

I realized they were touching on a subject that I struggle with too. Could it be that others share this same fear? What if I stumble? What if I fall?

It's what keeps me from doing things that are out of my comfort zone. After all, who wants to risk failing? Not me. And yet, isn't that what God is calling me and you to do? To step out of our comfort zone and ...trust Him to work in and through us?

My flesh keeps getting in the way. My spirit is willing but the flesh cries out the words to this song.

Take a look at little Karli. She's learning to walk. You expect her to stumble and fall down many times before she gets the hang of it. Eventually she is able to stand up on her two feet and walk.

But when I try something new, why is it that I ...expect perfection?

Is it because I don't want to make a fool of myself? Probably.

I'm so thankful that God is patient with me. He even gives me words of assurance in Psalm 37:23-24:

"If the Lord delights in a man's way, he makes his steps firm; though he stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand."

Notice that it says "though he stumble". I guess the Lord knew I would stumble but ...He will uphold me with his hand.

Oh my, how cool is that?

The one, true, living God holding Debbie's hand!

Now that's amazing love.


Are You Living in a Holy Huddle?

Today I'm over at Laced With Grace. I wrote on a topic that I hope will stimulate some discussion. I think it's good to talk about these issues. I realize that not everyone will agree with me. But that's OK. Let's at least discuss it.

I hope you're curious enough to link to Laced with Grace and read all about it. And I love to read your comments. :)

I'll be back on Heart Choices tomorrow.

Norwegian Independence Day

Today is Norwegian Independence Day. It's called Syttende Mai or seventeen May in Norwegian.

Many of you may not care about this date but since ALL of my relatives are Norwegian, it was a big deal growing up in the Sumstad household.

Both sets of grandparents came to the US from Norway and settled in the Bay Ridge section of Brooklyn, New York. That was where both of my parents were born. At that time, it was like living in Little Norway.

Every year on this very important Norwegian holiday, the Brooklyn streets closed down for the big celebration. A huge parade with flying Norwegian flags was a sight to behold.

Of course, you could find all of the traditional Norwegian foods and crafts such as rosemaling (a type of painting), hardanger (needlework) and many little trolls.

My parents were very active in the Sons of Norway organization. Even when they moved to Florida in the early 70's, they continued their involvement. My dad was the lodge president for many years and mom was the musician. She played the piano for all their events.

My parents did Norwegian folk dancing. I have to admit that they taught us to do a few of the dances when we were kids. I think I could still do the Norwegian polka and another one called something like the shotish (sp?). I'm sure my Norwegian friends will be able to correct that one. LOL.

Here's a photo of my mom in her bunad. This is a traditional Norwegian costume and they vary according to the home town. Each area in Norway has a different bunad. My mom was always so proud of hers and loved to wear it for Syttende Mai.

I know that in Norway, the celebration is even bigger. They celebrate Norway's independence after a 500 year union with Denmark and the signing of their Constitution.

I still like to remember this date each year. Maybe I'll make some Norwegian waffles. My husband Greg has grown to love them too. And he doesn't mind hearing "uff da" every once in a while.

I'll end with the Norwegian anthem which is called "Ja vi elsker". I hope you enjoy the beautiful Norwegian scenery in this video.

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