Heart Choices: 2009-10-04

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Then Sings My Soul Saturday ~ Worship



On this Then Sings My Soul Saturday, I am posting a song that was new to me. I first heard it on Paul Cobb's blog A Grace Filled Life and it was so impactful to me.

It's called "Clear the Stage" by Ross King.


Worship is more than a song.

Who occupies the center of your stage?

Don't forget to visit Amy at Signs, Miracles and Wonders to visit other participating blogs or to join us and add your own song.


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Faithful Blogger Interview



Have you heard about Faithful Bloggers? I wrote a post about them when I first discovered them here.

I love Faithful Bloggers for several reasons:

  • Provides an opportunity to be listed on their blog directory
  • Pick up a cool badge to display on your sidebar
  • Receive inspiration
  • Learn new ways to generate income
  • Make new bloggy friends
  • Great giveaways
  • Courtney and Kelly are so cool
  • Find new ways to use your blog for good

I could go on and on but just maybe you need to go and visit them yourself.

And did I happen to mention that they used me as their featured blogger today?! How about that? I hope you'll leave a comment to let them know you visited.

Maybe you could be featured in the future? You'll never know unless you visit Faithful Bloggers.


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A Transparent Role Model


It's Fitness Friday and I think it's time for me to get back in the saddle again. I've heard it said that it's hard to understand another unless you've walked a mile in their shoes.

I have a confession to make. I've been a consistent exerciser for the past 30 years. I began understanding the importance of exercise in overall health after I attended a certification program at LaCrosse University in Wisconsin so I could manage a Cardiac Rehab program as a nurse.

My mom was a very disciplined person and I'm glad I inherited that gene from her. So, I doubt I've missed more than a day or two of exercise since that time (except after major surgery).

When my friends say they just can't get into the habit of exercising, I have to admit that inside I'm thinking ..."just do it please"!

Well, I haven't exercised for the past month! I know, I know ...what kind of an example am I?

After all, I write about health and fitness. I know how important eating healthy and exercising is. So, what's going on?

For the first time, I've allowed life to get in my way. I've been dealing with some major life challenges and have been struggling with depression. I'm amazed at how draining this can actually be!

Greg snapped this photo of me one morning as I was sitting on our upstairs front porch. I should have been exercising on my treadmill or hiking those mountains but instead ...here I sat!

This time has allowed me to walk a mile in another's shoes. I understand what it feels like to feel drained and have no energy.

My friend Anna May called me the other week. She reads Heart Choices even though she doesn't comment. As she was encouraging me with her words, she told me that she can picture me bounding up that mountain or walking on my treadmill the way I used to do. And do you know what? I started remembering how good that felt. So, thanks Anna May.

Since then, I've started walking to the mailbox which is not located in front of my house. And after I get the mail, I walk around the block the long way which is uphill. I began getting on the treadmill again for a shorter time than my usual 45 minutes. And since the weather is beginning to cool down a bit in Phoenix, I'm going to start climbing my mountain again.

Now, since I've walked a mile in your shoes I have some advice for you ...just do it!Just start walking. Put one foot in front of the other. You don't have to jog! Over time, it may surprise you when you realize you're not so tired and you have ...more energy.

I've said it before. Exercise gives you energy. It sounds contrary to common sense but believe me, it really works. I can go into an exercise physiology reason but I won't bore you with that now.

Are you going to just do it? I really want to know.

And don't forget to visit Sandy at God Speaks Today. She's back writing her Fitness Friday posts too.



(Photo Credit of walking girl: Martha Stewart)

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Thankful Thursday ~ Count Your Blessings


It's Thankful Thursday and Lynn of Spiritually Unequal Marriage is our host today. She has chosen the theme of "count your blessings".

No matter what I may be going through at this time in my life, I can always stop and focus on the many blessings I have been given. As I'm writing, the words to the song "Count Your Blessings" keeps going through my mind. Count your blessings, name them one by one.

Here are a few of my blessings from this week alone:

  • Cooler temperatures in Phoenix (finally!)
  • A beautiful rainbow yesterday after a bit of rain (OK; sprinkles)
  • A phone call of encouragement and prayer from Pastor Dan
  • Frequent words of encouragement from blogging sister Lisa Shaw
  • Connecting with another new relative from Norway through Facebook (Hilde)
  • A surprise lasagna for dinner made by my mother-in-love Gloria
  • Studying 1 John on Scott's blog Opening His Word Together
  • Precious emails with another blogging sister Debra
  • Reading Forever N Ever N Always and seeing Jill's example of trusting God
  • Looking forward to a get together with Sarah Dawn of Splashin' Glory (Yes, we will find a date that works)
  • Reading comments of encouragement on Heart Choices
  • Denise of Shortybear's Place who faithfully comments words of love
  • Receiving the book "His Princess: Love Letters from your King" as a giveaway winner and already blessed by reading the first few letters
  • Winning a one hour consult with professional organizer Debbie Pendall as a giveaway from Faithful Bloggers
  • Being chosen as a featured blogger on Faithful Bloggers tomorrow. I hope you will check them out.

Count your blessings, name them one by one. Count your blessings, see what God has done.

Yes, there are many blessings in my life. I'm so glad I wrote this post today. You can visit other participating blogs this Thankful Thursday or maybe even join in and ...count your blessings.


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Whispers of God's Love


Do you ever have moments when you doubt God's love for you? Do you wonder whether He really sees all that's going on in your life? After all, it's a huge world and there's lots of people to consider.


I've been going through many challenges lately. I even wrote about my depression on Monday's post. I'm not a person who chooses to dwell on topics like this. But I know that many people are going through trying times. The circumstances may be different but ...so many are hurting.

Let me tell you that God does see ALL that's going on in your life! He knows your pain, your fears, your needs. He's not forgotten about you.

Yesterday, I received a phone call from my pastor. I hadn't expected it but I have to say that my heart was warmed to hear his voice. Pastor Dan heard that I was going through a difficult time and he wanted to tell me that my church family was there for me. The tenderness in his voice was ...music to my ears.

My church is a large congregation in mid-central Phoenix. We have people of all races, colors and income levels. One of the songs that we frequently sing is "The Ground is Level at the Foot of the Cross". And oh, how I believe that!

But when you belong to a large church, it can also be easy to get lost. Joining a Sunday morning Bible study provides a place where you get to know people, grow, learn and fellowship. It also helps with accountability.

But I have to say that whenever I've experienced a major challenge in my life, Pastor Dan has been there for me. I remember once calling the church office and hesitantly asking if he could call me as I needed to talk. Without hesitation, his secretary had him on the phone listening to me. The next Sunday as the service ended, I got up to exit my pew and Pastor Dan was standing there with open arms. I will never forget that!

Yesterday, Pastor Dan prayed with me and for me. And I was so grateful. It was a ...whisper of God's love.

This morning I had to be in Scottsdale at 6 in the morning. I was on my way home, enjoying the cooler weather (it was in the 60's). There were even a few sprinkles of rain. And then I saw it! The most beautiful rainbow in the sky dropping down to the earth right next to Camelback Mountain. I quietly thanked the Lord. I knew that He knows all about my concerns. I know that He loves me. That rainbow was another ...whisper of God's love.

And then when I arrived home and checked my email, I had received an e-card from my blogging sister Lisa Shaw. The words she wrote touched my heart. Thank you Lisa. Another whisper of God's love!

And my friend Jamie from San Antonio sent me words of encouragement in an email. She shared a quote from Joni Eareckson Tada with me:

"When I was on my feet, big boisterous pleasures provided only fleeting satisfaction. In a wheelchair, satisfaction settles in as I sit under an oak tree on a windy day and delight in the rustle of the leaves or sit by a fire and enjoy the soothing strains of a symphony. These smaller, less noisy pleasures are rich because, unlike the fun on my feet, these things yield patience, endurance, and a spirit of gratitude, all of which fits me further for eternity. It is this yieldedness that gains you the most here on earth."

Another ...whisper of God's love!

If you're going through a difficult time, ask the Lord open your ears and your eyes. He often uses a friend, your pastor or even a rainbow ...to whisper His love to you.

Are you listening?

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In Other Words Tuesdays ~ Believer's Difference


I'm excited to be hosting "In Other Words Tuesdays". This week I have the privilege of choosing our quote.


"Christians make a difference in this world by being different from this world; they don't make a difference by being the same."
from Unfashionable by Tullian Tchividjian

This quote really caused me to sit back and evaluate my Christian walk. Do people see a difference in my life because I'm a Christian? Or am I just like everyone else?

The Bible says that the difference should be ...our love for one another.

And John 13: 35 continues "By this all men will know that you are my disciples ...if you love one another."

But is that really what the world sees in us? As a believer, I've been given a new nature. But as long as I'm on this earth, I still have to contend with my flesh. There's a battle going on inside of me every day.

When I submit to the Lord and allow Him to rule within my heart, He works in me and through me.

  • He loves the unlovable through me.
  • He enables me to forgive when the other person doesn't deserve it.
  • He opens my eyes to the needs of my Christian brothers and sisters.
  • He stirs my heart in unique ways to fullfill the calling He has for my life.

My job is to submit and lay it all down before Him. Allow Jesus to be Jesus in me and through me. He provides all I need. And He is perfect love.

Are you making a difference in your sphere of influence?

When we yield every part of our lives to the Lord, we will be obedient to His call. And love in action causes people in the world to notice.

The world can't help but stop and take notice of the difference that ...love makes.



QuickEdit

Dealing with Depression


Depression can be overwhelming for some. You've seen the commercials on TV. For some, depression is due to low seratonin levels requiring medication. For others, it may be situational and temporary. But it doesn't feel good and it can ...zap the energy out of you.

I'm normally a very upbeat optimistic person. I tend to have a view that the glass is half full opposed to half empty. But there have been a few times in my life, that I can count on one hand, when I've become depressed for a time. I've always come out of it and it never lasted for years, but months.

I wrote a post recently called "Why You Should Read Heart Choices". One of the points I mentioned was that I was learning to be more transparent and real.

I wrote a post titled "Being Transparent and Real" on August 3rd because I really wanted to know how others felt. What we write on our blogs is out there for all to read. I tend to be somewhat private about certain things in my life. But I do believe that there are times when revealing something we're struggling with might help someone else. And for me, it helps to know ...I'm not alone.

Everyone who looks happy on the outside doesn't always feel that way on the inside. I spoke with my sister Christine yesterday about this very thing. She is a very optimistic outgoing personality. She also views life from the glass is half full mentality. But she's gone through so many trials in her life, including a very real challenge with her eyesight from a partially detached retina. She still must adhere to a strict schedule of positions to allow the retina to reattach and doesn't yet know the outcome. But Chris' faith has been growing through this latest trial. We've been able to talk about what we're each learning.

And last week, I got reacquainted with a family friend from Charlotte, NC. Lauri and my sister Christine used to play together as children. Our parents were good friends. Her mom was a bridesmaid in my parent's wedding in 1950. When Lauri read about Christine's eye surgery, she sent a card of encouragement. Chris read to me what Lauri wrote on her card as she was so touched by her kindness. The photo above is of Lauri with her daughter Jessica. Aren't they both so beautiful?

My mom always had a smile and a joke for everyone. Unless you really knew her, you'd never know how much pain she suffered inside her body. It was only when she was with those closest to her, would she let down her guard. She never wanted to spoil anyone's fun by talking about pain and suffering.

I've found that in the midst of these difficult times ... God is faithful.

I had one of those very down days this week. Normally I write my Thankful Thursday and Fitness Friday post weekly. But I didn't even have the energy to participate this week. Instead I took a time of rest, reading and praying. I also listened to Scott Samter's online Bible teaching from 1 John which is all about love.

During the course of the day, I had phone calls from three of my closest friends (Helen, Terri and Sue). They didn't even know what was going on with me that particular day. But each one offered encouragement, prayer and a listening ear. They didn't judge me for feeling the way I did. But they also reminded me of who I was; a dearly loved child of Almighty God; my Abba Daddy. My friend Jamie from San Antonio sent me an ecard and I got an email from one of my newly discovered relatives, Bill and Sharon Sumstad on that very day. How could I ever doubt God's love? He uses His people as His hands and feet in this world.

I have the most awesome bloggy friends and I'm so thankful for them. Lisa, Jill, Noreen, Lori, Debra, Iris, Jennifer, Sandy, Edie and so many more ...I thank you! I know I'm missing more of you but you know who you are.

Oh and by the way, I got an email from Sarah Dawn of Splashin' Glory. She's pictured above with Jill of Forever N Ever N Always when they had their surprise get together last week. Don't they look fun? Sarah Dawn and I are trying to find a day to get together too. That will definitely brighten my day. If you've never visited her blog ...you must stop by and say hello.

And if that weren't enough, I won a blog giveaway on Faithful Bloggers! I will have a one hour consultation with professional organizer Debbie Pendall. Oh my office needs this so badly.

Gosh, just writing this post has actually helped me. When I focus on all of the wonderful people the Lord has brought into my life, I really am thankful. And the smile does return to my face and it's genuine. Yes, life still holds many challenges but God is faithful and good. There's nothing like being refreshed by Him.

(Photo Credit of sleeping woman: Mihaly)

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