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Then Sings My Soul Saturday ~ Celtic Woman

It's another Then Sings My Soul Saturday when I link up with Amy of Signs, Miracles and Wonders. Since this is the Christmas season, I'm posting a favorite song of mine; Away in a Manger.

I first heard this particular version on Kim's blog called Everyday Adventures in Faith. If you've not visited her, you must take the time. She and her husband and their five children are Americans living in Hong Kong for several years. I enjoy reading about their adventures. Kim spoke of the UK version of Away in a Manger that they enjoyed at the international school.

Here is Celtic Woman singing Away in a Manger. I hope you enjoy it.

Have a wonderful Saturday and thank you for visiting Heart Choices.

Merry Christmas!


Fitness Friday ~ A More Beautiful You

On this Fitness Friday, I wanted to share a music video with you. I won a CD called A More Beautiful You by Jonny Diaz on Kari's blog Just Another Day in Paradise.

I had never heard of this Christian artist before but ...I simply love this song.

It has such a positive message for women and young girls.

Each one of us was made uniquely by our God ...for His purposes.

We come in all sizes and shapes. Let's not judge ourselves by the skinny models and unhealthy lifestyles of many in the world.

  • Should we move and exercise? YES
  • Should we eat healthy and more natural foods? You bet

But let's make healthy choices and care for our bodies so that we can be about the work the Lord has called each one of us to do.

Don't allow laziness and obesity to interfere with your ability to have the energy to live your life ...to the glory of God.

  • Don't allow food to become an idol.
  • Don't allow your body image to become an idol.

My mother used to tell me; everything in moderation. I think that's good advice especially during this Christmas season with all of the extra food temptations.

I hope you enjoy this song and the important message it conveys:

Happy Fitness Friday! And don't forget to stop by and visit Sandy at God Speaks Today and Sarah at All Pain ~ No Gain to check out their Fitness Friday posts.


Thankful Thursday ~ Protection

It's Thankful Thursday and Laurie of Women Taking A Stand is our host for the month of December. Today Laurie has written about the gift of protection.

I'm so thankful for God's protection. As a child of the Most High God, I can choose to run to Him. I love this picture that illustrates Psalm 91:4a.

I find my protection ...in Him.

  • When life is uncertain and the pressures increase
  • When the "experts" forecast ongoing financial crisis and job layoffs
  • When I hear about war and families being separated
  • When I don't know what tomorrow will bring
  • When mysterious light spirals viewed in the Norway sky are unexplained or possibly a Russian missile firing
  • When God is being taken out of public schools and government
  • When tolerance replaces right and wrong

I am so thankful that I can run to God ...who is my protector.

I am thankful that He is my fortress; an ever present help in times of trouble.

I am so thankful for the Word of God that teaches me:

"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." Isaiah 41:10

I am thankful for His protection ...as I abide in Him.

When I am scared ...I run to Him.


Happy 101 Award (Blog Hug)

I was so excited to receive the Happy 101 Award (Blog Hug) from Maria of Personalized Sketches & Sentiments. Her daughter designed and created this award and she also has a blog called The Luckiest Mrs. I can see where she gets her talent as her mom is very artisic and creative.

Maria is one of the sweetest women I've met in our bloggy world. She's talented and even has her own Etsy shop. She's an artist and does the most fabulous sketches using your name. You simply give her the name to use and she will create a personalized sketch using that name. You must check out her work as they make wonderful gifts.
So back to the Happy 101 Award. What makes you happy?
Here are the rules:
List 10 things that make you happy.
Tag 10 bloggers that make you happy.
Make sure to link back to the person that tagged you.
My 10 things that make me happy:
1. Every time my husband Greg tells me he loves me.
2. Seeing and hearing from my family. Almost all of Greg's family is in Phoenix but mine are scattered in Florida, New York and California.
3. Hearing from long lost friends and relatives on Facebook. I've gotten back in touch with many that I totally lost touch with over the years. It's so much fun to see what they are up to now.
4. Babies and children make me smile. I love seeing all of the photos of my friends' children (that includes my bloggy friends too).
5. Getting licked by my mother in love's dog Barney. Since we can't have our own dog because of my husband's allergies, I visit Barney and roll on the floor and play with him. It always brings a smile to my face.
6. Discovering old photos. I smile as I remember many occasions or an outfit I wore back in the 50's, 60's, 70's and 80's.
7. Spending time with my friends.
8. Meeting so many wonderful bloggy friends from all over the world.
9. Reading each one of your comments on Heart Choices.
10. Realizing how much God loves me and that I am His child; precious in His sight. Now that really brings a smile to my face.
Ten bloggers who brighten my day:
1. Mary of Mary's Tea Cottage: Mary writes the sweetest, kindest comments on Heart Choices. She's the kind of person I know I would be so comfortable spending time together sipping a cup of tea and chatting.
2. Kim of Homesteader's Heart: Kim always makes me laugh and smile. She hosts a weekly meme called Friday Funnies.
3. Sandy of God Speaks Today: Sandy always has such a humorous style of writing. When I need a smile, I can always visit Sandy. As the host of Fitness Friday, she can be tough and funny at the same time.
4. Jill of Forever N Ever N Always: I can't help but smile when I see her beautiful photos of her 9 children! She is able to capture the most unique pictures and post them so beautifully. And when I learned that her 9th child Lilly will be joining her expanding family soon ...that really made me smile.
5. Mary of Pile of Smiles: I can't help but smile when I even read the title of her blog. She's got the prettiest smile too. I've met her in person.
6. Denise of Short Bear's Place: Denise gets around our bloggy land so quickly. She's always one to leave a comment and is so filled with love and joy despite many personal health challenges. She brings a smile to my face.
7. Jennifer of Smelling Coffee: Even the name of her blog brings a smile to my face. After all, I love coffee. She's such an encourager to me.
8. Lisa of Sharing Life with Lisa: I smile every time I see her picture. She's such an encourager and a good friend to me.
9. Lori of Lori's Reflections: Lori was my very first blogging friend and so I have an incredible soft spot in my heart for her. We've met in person and she's absolutely beautiful. She finds the funniest videos to post and I love her photographs of her boys.
10. Debbie of The Way We Are: Debbie is a fairly new blogging friend of mine. She's got the greatest kids and grandkids. Their photos make me smile. And Debbie doesn't just leave a quick comment; she's fully engaged and shares her heart. I love that.
Now that I'm on a roll I wish I could add more names. However, there's a Circle of Friends award that I have to give away so I'll be able to tag a few of my other good bloggy friends.
Don't forget to smile. When the grocery clerk is rude, smile back. When someone says to you "Happy Holidays" ... smile back and say and a Merry Christmas too.


In Other Words Tuesdays ~ God With Us

It's In Other Words Tuesday and Jennifer of Scraps and Snippets is hosting. Jennifer chose the following quote for this week:

As I read this quote, I thought of how we celebrate the birth of the baby Jesus on Christmas. What came to my mind was the song "Away in a Manger". Joseph and Mary had no place to stay for the night and Jesus was born in a stable with the animals. I remember one year attending a replica of this scene at a local church with actors and live animals.

But the reality is that the baby Jesus was actually ...God in the flesh.

The miracle was that He was fully Divine and yet fully human. He humbled Himself and came to us.

Read what Philippians 2: 6-8 says:

"Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself..."

Amazing love, how can it be? This was the greatest miracle of all. God came in the flesh.

God with us ...Emmanuel.

And because He came and died and was raised again to life, we can have the joy of knowing Him personally. Not in traditions and church rituals but in a personal relationship with the living God.

The omnipotent Creator of the universe came to this earth and fulfilled Old Testament prophecy. He was born as a baby into this world for the purpose of living a perfect life and paying for our sins.

How amazing is that? I have to say that this quote deserves to be a part of Bringing Holy back to the Holiday series.

Extravagant Grace
You can learn more about this movement here.

You can join in and write about this Tuesday's quote by linking to Jennifer's blog.


Bringing Holy Back Movement

Extravagant Grace

Bringing holy back to the holiday. What a concept!

Christmas is after all a celebration of the birth of Jesus; when God showed such amazing love to us. We don't deserve His love but He loves us despite ourselves and provided a way for us to be in relationship with Him ...through Jesus.

I don't know about you but when I really think of a perfect and holy God loving me that much ...it overwhelms me.

eLisa of Extravagant Grace began a movement called Bringing Holy Back to the Holiday. And it's not too late to join in. There's a place to link up or you can just follow along and add comments.

What does bringing back holy to the holiday mean? Well, eLisa describes it as "sharing His hope, joy, peace, love with others, instead of catering to the chaos we all know as Christmas."Now, that's a movement I want to be a part of. I don't know about you but I find so often the pressure of keeping up tiring. There's so much to do:

  • shopping
  • baking
  • card writing
  • parties
  • decorating

Don't get me wrong. I love to give gifts. I love to stay in touch with friends and family but the "doing" can take over the "being".

And with all of the uncertainty in my life right now, I need to focus on the true meaning of this special time of year.

I was reading this morning from Isaiah. BTW, did you know that Isaiah will be the new study next year at Bible Study Fellowship?

"Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of His glory."
Isaiah 6:3

Holy is repeated three times. When a word is repeated like this in the Bible, it really means God is infinitely holy.

I think of: perfect, flawless, pure, white as snow.

We tend to think we are doing OK when we judge ourselves by others. Well, at least I don't do that ...

Or I've not committed the worst sins. After all, I don't cheat, steal, murder. You get the idea.

But consider this. When a person smokes cigarettes, they become so immune to the smell of the smoke. But if a nonsmoker walks into the room of a smoker, you can immediately smell that odor.

We can get so immune to the sin in our world unless it is so blatant.

But God cannot be in the presence of any sin. He is holy.

All I can say is thank you God for giving us Jesus. He paid the price for my sin. When I receive His free gift of salvation I can come into your presence. And that's worth celebrating.

I'm set free from sin and the power of sin. What a gift of love!

Will you consider joining the Bringing Holy back to the Holiday this year?


Remembering at Christmas

I am participating in a special time of remembering at Christmas. Kelly of The Beauty of Sufficient Grace is hosting and I am so glad I "stumbled" (yeah, right) upon her beautiful blog.

The purpose of a time of remembering at Christmas is for those who have lost loved ones. Christmas should be a time of joy and thanksgiving for the birth of our Savior; Jesus. But for many it can also be a time of sadness as they miss loved ones who have died. Many of the women who participated have lost children and babies.

I'm thinking of my mom who died almost five years ago. She was a beautiful woman both inside and out. She had a wonderful sense of humor and always had a joke to share. She loved life and people.

My mom had lots of friends because ...she was a good friend.

She kept copious notes on her calendar including dates of other's loved ones who had died. She would often send a note to a friend who had lost someone special to let them know she remembered and wanted them to know she was thinking of them. My mom loved Christmas! We always celebrated on Christmas Eve in the traditional Norwegian way. And everyone got dressed up for the event.

The Christmas tree was always decorated with little Norwegian flags to remember my family's home land. And my mom always had my dad read from the Bible before we ate our special Christmas dinner. He read of the Savior's birth, just like my Grandpa used to do each year.

This photo is one I posted last year but it's such a wonderful Christmas memory. I think it was 1969. Don't laugh at my short dress and ribbon choker. Does anyone remember them?

Check out my mom's hairstyle. Years ago, she used to get her hair done every week where they would wash and set and then use lots of hair spray. When she and my dad left New York and moved to Florida, she gave up on that habit. LOL.

I'm just so thankful that my mom loved Jesus. I know that she's in heaven and out of the physical pain she suffered in her last years on this earth. It's such a comfort to think of her dancing and laughing with Jesus. And she's probably catching up with loved ones who've gone on before her.

Thank you Kelly for providing this opportunity to remember my mom at Christmas. If you would like to participate, it's not too late to link up at The Beauty of Sufficient Grace.

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