Heart Choices: 2009-09-06

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Then Sings My Soul Saturday ~ I'm Clean


It's Then Sings My Soul Saturday when I link up with Amy of Signs, Miracles and Wonders. On the day after 9/11, I wanted to share a story of transformation.

If you've never heard the testimony of Calvin Hunt, I hope you'll take the time to listen to this video. You'll be encouraged as you hear his story and amazing voice.

If you still have any unsaved loved ones, do not give up. Keep praying and sharing the love of Jesus. There is nothing that is ...too hard for our God.

Calvin Hunt is a man who was once addicted to crack cocaine. His wife prayed continually for him. Listen as Calvin is interviewed and learn how his wife's prayers were answered in an amazing way. He now sings in the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir. The words to the song "I'm Clean" have such meaning when you realize how the Lord forgave him and ...he's finally free.



Do you have any doubts that God can change any man's heart?


QuickEdit

Remembering 9/11


We must never forget 9/11/01. The US has not been the same since that fateful day. We still live in a world that is uncertain and ...we must be on guard.

I was at home that morning. Since I live in Phoenix, AZ we are three hours behind NY time. I had Fox Cable News on while I was getting ready for a Bible Study Fellowship leader's meeting. I watched in horror as the plane hit the second tower.

How could this be happening? I was thankful I was able to pray with the other BSF leaders as we gathered for our meeting that morning.

I was born and raised on Long Island, New York. I've been to the city so many times and always remember the NY skyline with the Twin Towers. I've returned to NYC many times since then and each time I go I always visit this site.


It's eerie to see the hole where the Towers once stood. There is a list of all of the names of the people who lost their lives on September 11, 2001.



I love Alan Jackson's song "Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning".

We need to continue to pray for our country, now more than ever. Let us not become complacent. And let's never forget"



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Thankful Thursday ~ Undeserved Kindness


It's Thankful Thursday and I realize how good this meme really is for me. When you're going through many trials (challenges), it's easy to dwell on what's wrong. But that's not how I choose to live.

I choose to remember that I can be thankful ...in the midst of the storm.

The reason I can live this way is because ...I trust the Lord with my life.

And anything that happens to me is first filtered through His fingers of love. He has a purpose in it even though I may not understand right now.

So, how can I not be thankful?

Laurie of Women Taking A Stand is our host and she's chosen the theme of ...undeserved kindness.

I've always enjoyed being on the giving side. However, there are times when we must learn to receive too. And right now, I've been so thankful for much undeserved kindness.

Take a look at this, would you? I recently met two of my favorite bloggers, Iris of Grace Alone and Laced with Grace and Lori of Lori's Reflections. Iris made this beautiful page from our luncheon and gave one to Lori and one to me. I love it, Iris! I'm thankful for your creativity and ...your kindness.

I'm so thankful for my friend Sue. She has prayed with me and for me over many years. She's always been there to invite me to coffee or lunch and has showered undeserved kindness on me is so many ways. This photo was taken at a women's conference. Sue is on my left and her sister Barb is on my right. BTW, I met Sue when her son Mikey was a patient of mine when I was working as a nurse.

And my prayer partner Helen has provided me with much undeserved kindness. She's the one who gets to listen to my rants and raves, tears and laughter. I thought she'd give up on me but she hasn't and ...for that I'm so thankful.

My mother-in-law Gloria has given me such undeserved kindness. She's a little shy when it comes to photos but I know she likes this one. It says much about her as she's so smart and always curious. And have I mentioned that she's a first time author? Her book "Love, War and Eternity" by Lori Dare Lewis (I told you she's shy) can be found on Amazon. It's not a Christian book but it's a good read about a ficitional love story set in the background of WWII. I may be biased but I think she's a great writer.

Our relationship has grown so much over the years as we've come to appreciate much about each other. Of course, we have the common bond of love for her son, my husband Greg.

But I've also seen how she shares love with others. She's always eager to give. There are many times when she stops by with extra groceries or a meal she made. Her excuse is always "there was a sale and I had coupons" or "I made extra and I know Greg loves this". She even includes peach yogurt which is my favorite. This undeserved kindness has been much appreciated. Since my mother died several years ago, Gloria has assured me that I too am her daughter and not just a daughter-in-law. And I'm blessed by that and so very thankful.

I could go on and on but I don't want this post to get too long. I began this post a little late for a Thankful Thursday but I'm so glad that I chose to write it. I'm feeling so much better as I focus on this topic of being thankful.

I am also reminded to keep my focus on Jesus, my source of hope and strength. He provides me with all I need ...just when I need it.

Happy Thankful Thursday!


QuickEdit

Our First Home



For our weekly meme "So We Don't Forget", our host Lynnette has asked us to write about our first home after we were married. You can link to Lynnette's blog Dancing Barefoot on Weathered Ground and join in or read other blog posts on this topic.

Greg and I will be married 25 years on November 3rd of this year. When we dated and got married, we each owned our own place. After all, I was 31 and he was 35 at the time. I ended up renting out my place and moved into his two bedroom patio home. This is the front entrance. We had to have the iron bars put on the windows because we were burglarized once when we were both at work. It wasn't the best neighborhood in Phoenix.

Greg's taste in decorating was much more contemporary than mine. I had more of a country French look. But we hadn't planned on living here too long so I tried to add some feminine touches. Little did I know that it would end up being 14 years! LOL.

Since the place was fairly small at 1400 square feet, we used lots of mirrors to give the appearance of being larger. Here is the dining room, which we hardly ever used. Some things never change as we never use our dining room in our home now.

And this was our kitchen. I well remember a hummingbird who built her nest right outside my kitchen window. We didn't want to come in the front door because we didn't want to disturb her little babies. But we got a ringside spot watching her as she fed them.

Everything was done in light colors to also help it appear larger. This was our bedroom with built in dressers which made it very convenient.

And finally, this was our office that we both shared. We were even able to fit our treadmill in this small room because we both used it on a regular basis. That is when we weren't outside riding bikes or running the canals in Phoenix. Hmm ...come to think of it, we used to take 25 mile bike rides during the weekend. Haven't done that since we moved!

I hope you enjoyed the tour of Greg and my first home. We had many good memories but have even better ones now.


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Giveaway on Laced with Grace


Fall 2009 Giveaway_400

Material from Kitty Designs' kit "Dream of a Blue Sky"

And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. ~ Matthew 8:26

They're talking layoffs at work, slowdowns in the economy, flare-ups in the Middle East, turnovers at headquarters, downturns in the housing market, upswings in global warming...Imagine your life, wholly untouched by angst. What if faith, not fear, was your default reaction to threats? (text taken from Max Lucado's website)

To find out more about the book itself, please visit our very own Lori from Lori's Reflection. She read the book so she can share her thoughts with us: Fearless by Max Lucado.

Now to the niddy-griddy part of the giveaway (LWG writers are not eligible to enter - sorry, girls :wink: ). The package includes: Fearless - Hard Cover, Fearless - DVD Study, and the Fear Not Promise Book. You have four chances to enter your name into the drawing. Wondering how to get your name four times into the drawing -- pretty simple...

Please leave a comment on Laced with Grace for every entry you make. The giveaway will end next Tuesday, September 15th (midnight - EST) with the winner to be announced on Saturday, September 19th.

Remember, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control (2 Timothy 1:7)

So head on over to Laced With Grace and enter the fall giveaway ...today!



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In Other Words Tuesdays ~ Authentic Faith


It's In Other Words Tuesday and our host for this week is Tami of The Next Step. The quote Tami chose for today is:



"Without faith it is impossible to please God." Hebrews 11:6
As a disciple of Jesus Christ, do I really believe Him ...by faith?

Or do I need to have external validation of that belief?

As a human being living in a physical body, it's easy to live by my senses. You know, what I can see, hear and touch.

But faith requires spiritual belief. I may not always get to see, hear and touch with my physical senses. But I believe by faith.

According to the online Dictionary, authentic means "not false or copied; genuine; real".

As a follower of Jesus (disciple), my faith is in Him. I believe His Word. I trust Him. I love Him. He is the object of my faith.

There are times when the benefits of my faith include success in ministry or mastery over difficult Scriptures. That is a blessing from the fruit of my relationship with Him.

But how tempting it can be to begin to trust in these experiences instead of trusting in ...God Himself.

As an authentic disciple, I may not always have supernatural experiences. I may go through times of seeming draught.

So, I go back to what I know that I know ...by faith.

As a follower of Jesus (disciple), my faith is in Him. I believe His Word. I trust Him. I love Him. He is the object of my faith.

To join in or read other takes on this quote, please visit Tami of The Next Step.

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Faithful Bloggers Launched


Have you heard of Faithful Bloggers? I often come across new blogs and websites and love to share the ones I really enjoy with you.

Faithful Bloggers is a brand new Christian community. Their 'About' page states that they want to "help you use your blog for the glory of God".

Courtney and Kelly are the founders and they're stay at home moms who are also ...very tech savvy.

Courtney's very first post was titled "Have You Given Your Blog to the Lord?" and she gave me some things to consider.

Faithful Bloggers has a Blog Directory and you can sign up to be listed. You choose a category that best describes your blog. It's a great way to attract new readers and to find others. And did I mention the badges? You can choose one of several to post on your blog. How cool is that? I have one on my left sidebar.

I hope that you'll visit Faithful Bloggers and check it out for yourself.


QuickEdit

Favorite Things of Summer



This summer was a busy work time for me. I would have loved to have the opportunity to go on vacation but ...it was not to be.

So instead of feeling sorry for myself, I thought I'd share a few of my favorite things about summer. I love the beach and can picture myself in the photo above reading a really good book. That's my idea of relaxing!

I love to go barefoot. When I'm not barefoot in the summer, you'll find me wearing my flip-flops. I've written about my vast collection of flip-flops in a prior post.

Peaches are in season during the summer. And they just happen to be my favorite fruit. I still remember the best peach I ever tasted. I purchased it at the open market in Seattle. That's how much I love peaches. Yummy!

I love Victoria magazine. Lazy summer days are the best time to sip a glass of iced tea and read the latest edition of Victoria.

Country Living

I love this naturalistic tabletop with assorted shells from the beach.



Country Living

I love summer picnics. The red and white checked cloths remind me of years growing up when we enjoyed family picnics.



Country Living

And food always seem to taste better on the barbecue in summer, doesn't it?

Country Living

I can picture myself sitting on this porch swing with a cold glass of lemonade.

Hmm ...I'm actually having a good time on my virtual vacation. There's nothing wrong with my imagination, is there?

There are seasons in our lives. You may be in the season of:


Raising your children
Financial uncertainty
Sickness
Caring for elderly parents
New job
Moving
Retirement

So, if you weren't able to fully enjoy this summer don't be discouraged. Trust in the Lord's timing and ...He will direct your path.

How did you spend your summer?


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