Heart Choices: 2009-06-28

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I'm Hosting In Other Words Tuesday


I am thrilled to be hosting "In Other Words Tuesdays". Thank you Loni of Writing Canvas for the opportunity. I had some time to think about the quote that I wanted to use today. Here it is:

How many people do you know who follow this pattern?

Maybe it was how you were brought up. You go to church, maybe you read the Bible (especially at Christmas or Easter) and you don't commit the "big sins".

Is that enough? God doesn't just want our outward submission to rules. He doesn't want us to 'do church' to be seen by others.

God wants our hearts.

Romans 12: 1-2 says that we are to present our bodies daily as a living sacrifice to God. As Christians, we allow His Word to transform our minds and thus our lives. When we do this, we are submitting to the Holy Spirit's guidance. The byproduct will be the fruit of the Spirit evidenced by ...love.

If God doesn't have our heart then all our church attendance, the money we give, the time we devote to Bible studies and other good works ...won't matter. They are being done in ourselves by the power of our flesh.

In contrast, when we submit ourselves to the Lord, He guides us by the power of the Holy Spirit. Going to church to worship will be done with the right heart motive of love instead of out of obligation. And that's pleasing to God and ...counts for eternity.

So my answer to the question in this quote is NO that is not passionate, wholehearted love for God.

How about you? What do you think?

I'm using the new Mcklinky so you can sign up below and add your specific blog posts for this week's In Other Word's Tuesdays.
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Blog Hop ~ Favorite Photograph


Am I a kid or what? This is a favorite photo because I'm doing what I love to do; being a kid with other kids. My hubby loves it because nobody is posed; it's just natural fun.
MckLinky Blog Hop
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Mom's 80th Birthday


Today would have been my mom's 80th birthday. It's hard to believe that she's been gone a little over four years now. It seems like only yesterday that we were celebrating her 75th birthday at T. Cook's Restaurant in the Royal Palms Hotel in Phoenix. She and my dad had come out to visit. Little did I know that would be ...her last time to visit me in Phoenix.

Here we are outside T. Cook's Restaurant.

And inside the restaurant to celebrate. Mom didn't have much of an appetite at this point. She'd been suffering with pain for so long. I remember as we were driving to the restaurant she told my dad and me that she was ready to go whenever the Lord called her home. Of course, we said that we weren't ready for that ...yet.

Later that same year on Christmas Day, I had a big surprise for my parents. My brother Steve invited them to his house but they didn't know that I was flying to Florida from Arizona ...to surprise them. And boy, were they were surprised! I think this is the last photo I have of the two of us. My mother died only two months later. I was so glad I made that trip on the spur of the moment.

My mom always loved to set a pretty table. Whenever she had dinner guests, she had linen tablecloths and napkins and a flower centerpiece. I even found her notes for each dinner party including the table setting details. So in honor of my mom's birthday on July 6th, here's a beautiful table that she would have enjoyed.

I'm so glad that I know I will see her again one day. But until that day, I miss her very much and haven't forgotten her special day.

Happy Birthday Mom!

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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
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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
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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!
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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)

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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.
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