Heart Choices: 2009-06-28 -->

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Happy 4th of July!

Happy 4th of July!

In honor of this special day, I wanted to decorate my house ...but I didn't get around to it.

So, instead I thought I'd post a photo of how I would have liked to decorate if this was my house. (This is not my house.) I found this beautiful patriotic house on the Country Home magazine website.

I wanted to share a few items with you on this special day in our country's history. Brent Riggs published the latest edition of Serious Life Magazine; the July 4th edition.

You're going to enjoy reading this one. The cover is so patriotic.

There's a modern English rewrite of the Declaration of Independence and The Bill of Rights done by none other than Brent Riggs. How did he get so smart? It's in language you and I and your kids can understand. I'm all for that.

Did I mention that it's ...FREE?! So, go check out Serious Life Magazine.

I'm also participating in Then Sings My Soul Saturday. You can link to Amy's Signs Miracles and Wonders to find other participating blogs and sing along.

I saw this video first on Debra's Clothed With Scarlet blog post yesterday. I almost cried as I watched it so I thought this would be the perfect video for today.

Here's Lee Greenwood singing "God Bless the USA". I hope you enjoy! Have a safe and fun 4th of July!

There's one more thing I want to share on this 4th of July. I think it's most important too. Edie of Rich Gifts Graphics & Blog Designs has generously offered the code to this Independence Day Scripture Tag. You can link to Edie's blog to put it on your own.. Edie is so talented so check her out.

I think this verse is one we should take very seriously. Many of us have taken our freedoms and the many blessings the Lord has given us in the USA for granted. Let's heed the warning and commit to follow His Word.

Free Scripture Tags by Edie at Rich Gifts Graphics & Blog Design

MckLinky's Weekly Blog Hop ~ Introductions

Have you heard the latest about MckLinky? MckLinky is having a blog hop and ...you're invited. The theme for this month is to simply INTRODUCE YOUR BLOG. Easy enough?

The focus of my blog Heart Choices is that your day to day choices will determine what your tomorrows will become. And those choices impact your body, mind and spirit. I share from my experience of 25 years as a cardiovascular nurse but more importantly ...as a Christian who loves the Lord.

MckLinky Blog Hop

It's Blueberry Month

Did you know that July is Blueberry Month?

I know it's the 4th of July but it's also Fitness Friday.

So, in honor of the red, white and blue ...let's hear a cheer for blueberries! After all, they are so healthy and good for you.

According to researchers, a serving of blueberries provides more antioxidant activity than most fresh fruits and veggies. Antioxidants help protect the body against free radical damage and chronic diseases often associated with aging. Hmm ...if it helps keep you looking younger? Sign me up!

During the month of July, blueberries are in season. So, you know what that means? The price of blueberries is lowest at this time of year. I know that my local grocery stores have lots of specials on blueberries right now. I often buy extra and freeze them for use later in the seasons.

Blueberries taste great on top of my cereal. They can be a refreshing dessert with a low fat whipped topping. So, go ahead and eat those blueberries. And take advantage of those great prices and freeze your blueberries.

Don't forget to check out Sandy's God Speaks Today to read what she has for Fitness Friday. And Happy 4th of July to all!

Thankful Thursday ~ Freedom

Today I am joining Lynn at Spiritually Unequal Marriage for Thankful Thursday. I'm a bit late in adding my post but I felt I still needed to write on thankfulness today. It's too easy to get caught up in the 'woe is me attitude' and I won't do that. Lynn chose the topic of freedom for today.

How perfect with the 4th of July almost here!

I don't ever want to take for granted the freedom that I have living in the US. I want to always be able to worship God without government interference. I want to be able to speak the Truth and not go to jail for that. I want to be able to share the love of Jesus with others without ...worrying about breaking a law.

Right now it seems that a few of our freedoms might come under attack more and more. I don't like that. Our country was actually founded by people who came here so they could have freedom of religion. I do not want to impose my beliefs on anyone else. I simply want all to have the ability to choose to worship in freedom.

So, thank you Lord that you have given us the freedom to choose. You don't force us to do anything. You offer the freedom to choose. If we didn't have the choice, it wouldn't really be love. You know what's best for us but you don't impose it on us. I'm so grateful and thankful for that. Help me to never take these freedoms for granted.

Check out Lynn's blog for other Thankful Thursday posts.

(photo credit: Teleflora)


Wednesday's Walk ~ Sumstad

I'm excited to participate in Wednesday's Walk Down Memory Lane. This meme has brought me much joy. Thank you Lynnette!

I always enjoy meeting new people. But after I wrote about my Grandpa Sumstad, I was contacted by a person who said ...we're related.
I know, I know. You have to be careful on the internet. Some people might be skeptical but he's the real deal.

Bill Sumstad had family photos. And we were able to compare details. He lives near Seattle, WA with his wife Sharon. Check out the photo with their grandchild. And he put me in touch with other family members, including Ogee who lives in Oslo, Norway. How cool is that?

Do you know what else has brought me joy from this? My niece Katie Sumstad wrote something on my Facebook wall that made me smile. She wrote that she actually reads my Wednesday posts ...because she enjoys learning new things about our family!

She hasn't left a comment YET but I'm just glad that she reads it. Thank you Katie! Love you!

I had the opportunity to visit Norway one time. It was in the mid 80's and I went with my parents. That worked out great since they are fluent in the language. I know a little bit, along with many phrases but that's about it. Of course, I hope that changes when I can finally focus on my online Norwegian lessons from L-Jay of My Little Norway.

I want to share a few memories and photos of Sumstad. Many people who know me, especially old friends from high school (Facebook has been great to reconnect), knew me as Debbie Sumstad.

What they may not know is that Sumstad is the name of a little town in northern Norway. My family name was Hagen. It was common for people who left and immigrated to the US to take on the name of the town. So, Henrik Hagen became Henry Sumstad, my grandpa.

The map on the right shows Norway and the red A is where Sumstad is located. I was thrilled to spend time in Oslo, Bergen, Trondheim and then ...Sumstad. My dad's cousin Kjell took us for the long drive to the family farm.

Ogee is another newly discovered family member. He lives in Oslo, Norway and he sent me a few photos. He recently had the opportunity to visit Sumstad and sent this one on the left. It's a very peaceful place to visit.

The photo on the right is the original house. I think that must have been where my grandfather lived growing up.

This is the grave stone of my grandfather's mother and father. His mother was Helga and his dad was Kristian.

I know I have many more photos but I think this is enough for right now.

It's kind of funny because I have lots of pretty photos of my mother in her bunad (traditional Norwegian costume) but I only have this one of me. My husband Greg would laugh and say ...that's my Viking!

Now, don't forget to visit Lynnette to check out other's posts on Wednesday's Walk Down Memory Lane.

In Other Words Tuesdays ~ God's Best

I enjoy participating in the meme "In Other Words Tuesdays". It gives me the opportunity to ponder a quote each week and then share my thoughts about it. I find that I enjoy visiting other blogs who also joined in.

The focus of Heart Choices is ...your day to day choices determine what your tomorrows will become. And that impacts body, mind and spirit. I've found that it's good for me to make the choice to participate because it exercises my mind. How's that for burning off calories? Yeah, I wish.

Today we welcome our guest hostess, Jennifer of Scraps and Snippets. Here's Jennifer's choice of quote for this week:

Do you want God's best for you? I know that I do. But how often have you heard people say "He'll probably send me off to Africa and I really don't want to go there"?

I think it helps to remember who God is. He is sovereign, the creator, knows everything, sees everything (yes, everything), is perfect love, full of grace and is perfectly holy. And I question whether He knows what's best for me?

I believe it comes down to dealing with our flesh. When you become a Christian, your spirit is alive but you still have to deal with your flesh. It doesn't go away this side of eternity. One day but not yet. And in the meantime ...we have moment by moment choices to make.

Satisfy the flesh or live by the Spirit?

When we live by the Spirit and abide in Christ, He leads us to His best for us.

When we satisfy our flesh, we do what feels good or what we want now instead of ...God's best.

It comes down to a matter of trust. Do you believe God has your best interests at heart? Or do you think you know better because who can you really trust?

I encourage you to take the time to link to Scraps and Snippets to find other participating blog posts on this quote.


Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett's Deaths

Death is a fact. Nobody gets away with it. We're born into this world and one day we die. It doesn't matter how much money you have or how famous you are. One day we'll all experience death.

Last week there were several high profile deaths, including Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett, Ed McMahon and now I just read about Billy Mays, the Oxy Clean pitchman.

Death isn't a very popular topic but I thought a lot about it this past week.

Farrah Fawcett; how well I remember when I got my hair cut to hopefully look just a bit like Farrah (yeah right, wishful thinking). In the 70's, Farrah's famous poster was displayed on many young men's walls, including my brother's garage. She was gorgeous and that smile and perfect teeth! I always remembered her birthday because she was born one day after me; February 2nd. However, she was six years older than me.

But this Texas beauty became a woman that girls wanted to look like. I was surprised to read that she was only on Charlie's Angels for one season. I guess she made quite an impact. I thought she did a great job in the movie, The Burning Bed and it was obvious she could act. I think she didn't want to be known only as a pretty face. But Farrah lost her battle with cancer, just like many other women. It's sad because she still had much life in her.

Michael Jackson; I like to remember him as he looked in this photo. I remember when Michael used to sing with his brothers. This little dynamo was so talented and sang so beautifully and definitely stood out. He was a force to be reckoned with. And what a creative genius. He contributed so much to the music industry and ...also to dance. He was definitely unique!

I remember his Thriller album in particular. Greg and I were newly married and we had a boat on Lake Powell. We would play this album as we water skiied and drove around this enormous and beautiful lake. Michael Jackson music brings back memories of those days. I also loved his Man in the Mirror video; very memorable.

While both Farrah and Michael had issues in life that were broadcast all over the world, they were individuals too. I think fame seems to bring more opportunities for good or ...for bad. I'm sure there are more temptations too.

But whenever I hear of someone dying, do you know what is the first thought that goes through my head? I wonder if they knew Jesus.

Because at the end of our lives, that is the only thing that is important. Not how many awards you receive. Not how much money you have. Not how many children you adopted. Not how much money you donated to charity. But what did you do with Jesus?

I want to leave you with a link to Rick Warren's Purpose Driven Connection. There was an interesting article about Michael Jackson. I hope you'll take the time to read it.

Only God knows our hearts intimately. My hope is that I will not only talk about my faith but live it out IN LOVE. After all, I want to allow God to work in and through me for His purposes.

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