Heart Choices: 2009-08-09

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Then Sings My Soul Saturday ~ We Believe


It "Then Sings My Soul Saturday" and I'm linking up with Amy of Signs, Miracles and Wonders. We share a song for the week that has meaning for us and link to one another. You'll find a variety of songs by linking to Amy.

Last week as I was blog hopping, I came across an artist that I hadn't heard in some time. It was Steve Green singing "The Mission". I used to love singing the words to that song. So thank you Peggy of the blog Mission for posting that one last week.

I'm posting another Steve Green song called "We Believe". This was actually taped in my church in Phoenix but I wasn't yet a member then. It's another beautiful song so I hope you'll enjoy and ...sing along.



I feel like standing up and praising God as I listen to this one. Happy Saturday and remember ...Sunday's coming!


QuickEdit

Do You See the Glass Half Full or Half Empty?


On this Fitness Friday post, I'd like to talk about attitude. That's right; you heard me ...attitude!

So, here's a question for you. Are you a naturally positive or a negative person?

We each have natural inclinations that may be influenced by:

  • Upbringing
  • Genetics
  • Circumstances
  • Social surroundings
  • Environmental surroundings

Are you naturally optimistic and see the glass as half full?

Or do you have a tendency to be more pessimistic and see the glass as half empty?

The latest news is that ...your attitude may impact your health.

The American Heart Association's medical journal called Circulation recently reported on a new research study. The results were that:

Women who were optimistic have a lower risk of developing heart disease or dying from any cause ...when compared to pessimistic women.

The lead physician in this study was Dr. Hilary A. Tindle, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Pittsburgh. Here's a quote of hers regarding the study:

"The majority of evidence suggests that sustained, high degrees of negativity are hazardous to health."

Hmm ...that's something to pay attention to, especially if you happen to be one of the women who tend towards being more negative. The method of defining optimism versus pessimism involved answering questions.

Optimists tended to answer yes to: "In unclear times, I usually ...expect the best."

Pessimists tended to answer yes to: "If something can go
wrong for me ...it will."

Now, the world may say that you can't change who you are. But I say that with God ALL things are possible.

I love the book of Proverbs. Here are a few verses to consider from chapter 15:

Verse 30 "A cheerful look brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones."

Verse 13: "A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit."


There may be lots of negative things going on in our world today. But we do have a choice as to ...how we respond.

In the midst of trying times, may I offer a few suggestions?

  • Be on the lookout for what you can be thankful for. For me, writing a weekly Thankful Thursday post has helped me to look for the positive.
  • Keep a sense of humor. My mom used to always have a new joke to tell us. It was so good to laugh.
  • Take time out to journal your feelings of frustration or sadness or joy
  • Pray and tell God all that's on your heart. He knows anyway but wants us to come to Him.
  • Spend time with a friend who is positive.
  • Go for a walk and notice the beauty of nature
  • Swim laps
  • Hike up a mountain
  • Watch comedies

OK, now it's your turn. My list isn't complete but maybe you could help me out?

How do you keep positive? If you are naturally pessimistic how do you handle this? Do you have any tips to share?


And by the way, don't forget to SMILE! You'll be surprised how smiling can change the way you feel and your attitude. And I've heard ...it can be very contagious.

And don't forget to visit Sandy at God Speaks Today for another one of her Fitness Friday posts. You'll be glad you did. She's writing about eating healthy on a tight budget. And I think we can all learn something from Sandy on this topic.


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Thankful Thursday ~ Hope



It's Thankful Thursday and my friend Iris of Grace Alone is hosting. I'm writing this one before I have the chance to see what Iris will choose as our thankful Thursday theme.

But this time I decided ...I'm going against the grain. (Friends who know me well won't be suprised; LOL)

I feel compelled to share about ...HOPE!

These are challenging times in our world today. I read about people who have marriage problems, financial problems, health issues, death and ...taxes.

These are very real problems. I do understand better than many may know. The reality is that we live in a world that's been mired and soiled by sin ever since Adam and Eve.

But as a Christian, I know this isn't my real home. I'm just passing through. And one day when my life here is over, I will find that in terms of time it was just a blink of an eye. It helps me to keep perspective.

Then when people ask me how I can deal with the issues I'm going through, I can point to my relationship with Jesus. That is the reason I can have HOPE!

And I always try to do it with gentleness and respect. As I go through my trials, I want to stay close to Him. When I listen and obey then ...He will get the glory!

Remember Peter who eagerly began to walk towards Jesus on top of the water. When he kept his eyes on Jesus ...he was fine.

But when Peter chose to take his eyes off of Jesus and looked down at his circumstances ...he began to sink.

Where do you choose to focus in the midst of these challenging times?

On this Thankful Thursday, I choose to be thankful for HOPE. And the object of my hope is ...Jesus.

You can visit other Thankful Thursday posts by linking to Iris at Grace Alone.



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Wednesday's Walk ~ Haiti Mission Trip



Today is Wednesday and I'm joining Lynnette of Dancing Barefoot ...on Weathered Ground for Wednesday's Walk Down Memory Lane.


I'd like to share some memories of a mission trip to Haiti. It was 1980 and a very turbulent time in Haiti's history. I know I'm dating myself but ...that's OK.


I was sitting in church one Sunday and the pastor was telling us about the desperate need in Haiti. I was living in Florida at this time. Pastor Charlie asked the congregation to pray about how we might help. He had received a cry for help from a pastor in Cape Haitian. By the end of the service, almost everyone was in tears and I was ready to sign up and go. After all, I was a nurse.


Little did I know that my parents and my Uncle Ivar and his wife signed up too. There were about 25 of us, along with Pastor Charlie Martin and his wife Stephanie.


We arrived at Port au Prince Airport and boarded a rickety old bus that looked like it would fall apart. We drove for several hours sitting on seats that were broken and the springs were sticking out. The roads were rough as our bus navigated around hairpin turns and along mountain edges. A little scary for me but who could complain? When I got a glimpse of how the majority of people lived in Haiti, I was overcome with such sadness.


In 1980, Jean-Claude Duvalier (or Baby Doc as he was nicknamed) was the President. His father had been the previous President and had been loved by the majority of the people. But when Baby Doc came into office, he married a woman named Michele Bennett, who was a mulatto divorce with a questionable background. The wedding cost about $3 million US dollars. Meanwhile, the peasants lived ...in extreme poverty.


These were the kinds of shacks in which many lived. This was also a time of great fear because of the outbreak of AIDS. In 1980, there was much misinformation about this disease. And at the same time, there was a scare over the African Swine Flu (ASF). It plagued pigs in this area and there was widespread fear because it was contagious and fatal. The US was concerned it would spread to our country. So Baby Doc had the Haitian pigs slaughtered. The peasants were very upset about this because ...it was their livelihood.


Prior to departing on this trip, I had to obtain all kinds of immunizations including malaria shots. Here I am working in a makeshift medical clinic as the women brought their babies for treatment. The mortality rate for babies was so high. There were so many tiny coffins that were made and I could see them in the villages. Many contracted malaria and the little children's bellies were swollen from malnutrition. I remember feeling so helpless by the overwhelming needs. There was a great voodoo influence in Haiti along with many superstitions. I could almost feel this dark influence.


My dad and uncle joined the construction crews to help build housing for the pastor of the Baptist church.


The Haitian pastor got all dressed up for Sunday services, despite the heat and humidity. There was no air conditioning either and the services lasted for hours.



But these people didn't complain. They were so excited to have the opportunity to worship God. I never heard people sing with such joy. I had seen where they lived and the death and poverty that surrounded them every day, along with the evil influences. And yet, here they were ...singing their hearts out to the Lord.


My mom always had a way with the little children.


And here she is getting ready to get on the back of a mule. We rode the mules to the top of a mountain to a deserted fortress that overlooked the ocean. What a view!


We eventually arrived back home but I knew I would never be quite the same again. I remember thinking about all that I'd been blessed with. And after eating goat and pineapples for the entire time in Haiti, I lost about 10 pounds. Believe me, that's not the way to lose weight!

Maybe you've experienced a different culture or adopted children from countries such as this. I know that my heart was touched. And it causes me to be so grateful. This was an experience I've never forgotten. And it's a perfect post on the day before Thankful Thursday. Now how could I not have much to be thankful for?


I hope you'll visit Lynnette to link to other participating bloggers' posts on Wednesday's Walk Down Memory Lane.



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In Other Words Tuesdays ~ Loneliness


It's "In Other Words Tuesday" and Loni of Writing Canvas is our host today. You can link there to join in or visit other participating blogs.

The quote for this week is:

I've found there are seasons in life. And not all of those seasons are fun and carefree. Psalm 23 says:

"The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside still waters, He restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for His name's sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever."

How often I wished the Lord would lead me in a different path because sometimes life can be hard. But since He is my shepherd, He knows what's best for me and so I follow.

There are seasons when it may be for my good to be alone and to experience loneliness. It seems those are the times when I learn to depend more on Him and grow closer to Him. He fills my cup each day and ...He is sufficient.

People may disappoint us but ...God never does.

If I'm constantly filling my life with activity and busyness, I may never learn how dependable and faithful the Lord really is. So, I'm grateful for the gift of loneliness because those are the times when I learn to cling even closer to my Abba Daddy.


QuickEdit

What (in)courages you?


Have you hear about (in)encourage? It's a new website that begins today, August 10, 2009.There are about 20 bloggers who will be writing for (in)courage and they describe it as:

"When we asked ourselves what kind of place we were
building, we finally came to see it as a bit like a beach house. You can put your sandy, dirty feet on the coffee table, laugh late into the night with friends, and also hear God’s voice clearer than perhaps anywhere else. Life just feels more vibrant and real, as if you’ve stumbled upon a glimpse of heaven and it’s nothing like you ever imagined but everything you’d always hoped."

The Christian subsidiary of Hallmark is Dayspring and (in)courage is a part of this.

Today, they're inviting bloggers to share what encourages them. I thought it would be fun to participate so here's my list:

  • Knowing that God loves me
  • Seeing a baby smile
  • My family and friends
  • Hearing my husband say he loves me
  • The beauty of nature
  • Hearing birds sing
  • A rainbow in the sky
  • My blogging friends
  • Comments on Heart Choices
  • When my real life friends read my blog

There's much more but I'll keep it brief today. You can join in and link up on (in)courge. I encourage you to do so. Get it? LOL.

Have a great day and ...encourage someone else.


QuickEdit

Kristin's Graduation


My niece Kristin is very special to me. This past Saturday, she graduated from the University of South Florida with a Master of Science Degree in Speech Language Pathology.

I wish I could have been there to see this important event in her life but I'm so thankful for the internet. Greg and I were able to watch the graduation ceremony live online! I think we actually had a better view than her parents and sister in the audience. Greg captured this photo from the live streaming video.

This is the invitation to the commencement exercises. We are so proud of you Kristin! I know you have worked hard for this.

And I can't believe you already have a job in the school system working with children. You will be so perfect for this.

I wanted to share a few photos of the special moments Kristin and I shared after her high school graduation just six years ago. Remember our trip to NYC?


Kristin at the top of the Empire State Building

Kristin meeting Charlie Gibson

And Robin Roberts of Good Morning America was so nice!

I love this photo of Kristin in Central Park.

I'm so grateful to my brother Steve and my sister-in-love Barb for sharing their daughter with me. I feel like a second mom to her.

Kristin, congratulations from Uncle Greg and me and ...we love you.


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