Heart Choices: 2009-12-13 -->

Theme Layout

Boxed or Wide or Framed

Theme Translation

Display Featured Slider

Featured Slider Styles

Display Grid Slider

Grid Slider Styles

Display Trending Posts

Display Author Bio

Display Instagram Footer

Dark or Light Style

Then Sings My Soul Saturday ~ Emmanuel

It's Then Sings My Soul Saturday when I link up with Amy of Signs, Miracles and Wonders.

I had the opportunity to watch a movie on TV yesterday called "The Perfect Gift". Emmanuel (You Are With Me) is from this movie and sung beautifully by Mark Smeby. The movie dealt with a broken family, "religion", people trying to take Jesus and the term Christmas out of this special day.

I don't know if Peggy of Amazing Grace will be joining us this week for TSMSS. But I wanted to say that she's been on my heart and on my mind. So, if you read this Peggy, know that I'm praying for you!

Christmas should be a time filled with joy because ...of the birth of our Savior.

But for many, it can also be a difficult time especially if they've experienced painful times and loss of loved ones.

My heart goes out to Melanie of Bella Mella and the loss of her precious son Andrew. So many have been praying for him.

And Loren of The Magoo News who just lost her dad after a long battle. We've been praying for him too.

Let us remember each one of them as this Christmas will be a difficult one for their families. I'm so thankful for the blogging community and how we can each encourage one another.


I'm At Laced With Grace

Today, I'm over at Laced with Grace.
What am I writing about?
Christmas Joy

Christmas Decorations at Rich Gifts Graphics & Blog Design for Christian Ministry

Merry Christmas to each one of you!

Blessings to you and your families,


Thankful Thursday ~ Gift

It's Thankful Thursday and Laurie of Women Taking A Stand is our host this month. Laurie is writing on the theme of gifts; using the gifts God has given to each one of us.

I'm thankful for the gift of encouragement. I love relationships with people and enjoy getting to know them better. However, sometimes the encourager needs encouragement. I feel blessed by the many friends who have walked beside me through the challenges in my life.

I'm thankful for the gift of writing. Although I'm certainly not an accomplished writer ... I enjoy it. I've journaled for years and have so many notebooks filled with writings. But blogging has become such a wonderful outlet for me. And in the process the Lord has brought many new friends into my life.

I'm thankful to be asked to write guest posts from time to time. Melissa Mashburn of Mel's World invited me to write in her series called Godly Gals. I have a post there today so I hope you'll take the time to ...visit her site.

However, the gift I'm most thankful for is ...the gift of Jesus.

Without Him, I don't know what I would do. He is my life line; the One I call on throughout my day. I'm learning that He is trustworthy and He is perfect love.

Throughout this Christmas season may your focus be on Jesus; the reason for the season.


What Happens on Facebook

What happens on Facebook can be kind of surprising at times!

But, I have to say I'm enjoying it. I've connected with so many of my cousins who I've not seen in years. And we all grew up together on Long Island.

I'm going to write more about it next week but just wanted to leave you with a teaser of what's to come!

That's my cousin Mark, me, cousin Linda and my brother Steve peeking out at you!
This is my cousin James who is the culprit. He unearthed all of the old slides and took lots of time to tag and post so many of them on Facebook. I'm actually having a ball looking at them and remembering the 1950's. So, thank you James.

Just so you know the relation. This is Grandma Haugli (my mother's mother), her brother (my Uncle Ivar) and my mom.

My cousins are Uncle Ivar's kids, now all grown up. There are five of them. And my brother Steve, my sister Christine and me made up our family. We had lots of good times growing up so I'll share more next week. It will be fun to see before and after photos of how they look today. :)

BTW, tomorrow I will be doing a guest post for Melissa on Mel's World. I was so honored to be asked to write for her Godly Gals Series. How's that for a contrast in topics? Facebook to Godly Gal; LOL.

I'm off to my annual Christmas Tea at the Phoenician Resort this afternoon. My friend Terri invites me every year and I love this time together. I'll try to post some photos as the resort is always beautifully decorated at Christmas.

Don't forget to visit Mel's World tomorrow. I'll post a direct link in the morning.


In Other Words Tuesdays ~ Trials of Life

It's In Other Words Tuesday and Loni of Writing Canvas is our host this week. Here's the quote that Loni has chosen for us to write about: This one really hits home for me during this season in my life. But God has a purpose and a plan for my life.

And I have a choice to make.

Do I choose to embrace God's plan?

Or do I choose my own plan which might seem easier and less painful?

What do I do?
  • Walk by faith ...even when I don't understand.
  • Or walk by sight ...when I can figure things out for myself and see where I'm going.

I consider the story of Paul in the Bible. Acts 16:22-24 provides a description of painful circumstances.

  • Stripped and beaten publicly
  • Thrown into prison
  • Placed in the inner cell
  • Feet fastened in stocks

I don't know about you but I've never experienced trials that can compare to what Paul went through.

And yet, how did Paul respond to these trials?

"About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them." Acts 16:25

I'm not sure I would respond in the same manner, particularly when I complain about my own trials. But Paul's response teaches me how to respond.

When life seems overwhelming, troubling and uncertain ...I can still have joy.

Christmas Decorations at Rich Gifts Graphics & Blog Design for Christian Ministry

When I don't understand the why's in my life ...I can still praise and worship God.

When I feel like I'm not in control ...I can trust God who is in control.

When I am afraid ...I can remember that He has promised to never leave me nor forsake me.

I can have joy because of my relationship with Jesus. I trust Him in the midst of my trials. I can trust Him with the outcome of my trials. I know He has a purpose ...for my good and His glory.

Did you notice that in Paul's trial "the other prisoners were listening to them"?

What do people see when you are going through your trials?

The world is watching. Is your response any different from the response of people who don't know Jesus as their Savior and Lord?

Will you choose to trust God with your trial and allow Him to provide you with His joy and peace in the midst of it?

It will speak volumes to those who are listening and watching you.

Joy image credit: A gift from Edie of Rich Gifts Graphics & Blog Design


Christmas Tour of Homes 2009

Christmas Tour of Homes with The Nester

The 2009 Christmas Tour of Homes is being hosted this year by The Nester. For the past few years, this was BooMama's project but I know that Nester will do a fabulous job.

The purpose of this tour is to provide an opportunity to visit other bloggers during the Christmas season. This isn't a competition as to who has the best decorations. After all, the reason for the season is to celebrate ...the birth of Jesus Christ our Savior.

And from all I know of The Nester, she's a very down to earth girl and so very nice. Feel free to join in by posting a few photos and thoughts on your blog and then adding your link to The Nester for the Christmas Tour of Homes 2009.

Here is a peek inside my family room. The star on top of my Christmas tree is a little crooked. My husband kept trying to straighten it up but it just wasn't cooperating.

White and red poinsettias surround our little bronze fisherman at the foot of the stairs.

Most of our Christmas tree decorations focus on the birth of our Savior.

However, there are a few momentos Greg and I picked up on our travels over the last 25 years.

And with my family's Norwegian background, there are always little trinkets and memories to place on the tree.

And then there's Bullwinkle and a little Julenissen. Strange combination ...I know!

Christmas Tea has become an annual tradition. My friend Terri invites me to the Phoenician Resort for their Christmas Tea. We've been going for at least ten years or more now. I'm so excited to be going this Wednesday afternoon. I'll have to bring my camera for blog photos to share.

And of course, a plate of freshly made cookies to have for a treat.

And a bowl of fresh seasonal Clementine oranges; love them.

I love the smell of scented candles. The winter forest scent from Williams Sonoma is my favorite this time of year.

Even a sleigh of Christmas flowers on top of the TV.

The bells that jingle every time I open the back door.

A view of the Christmas tree from the hallway.

I have to say that it's a bit sad for me as this will be our last Christmas in this house. Greg and I have been blessed to have lived here for 12 years. That's another reason I wanted to participate in the 2009 Christmas Tour of Homes. It will be a way to remember.

The Nester always say ...it doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful.

I just found out that Melissa of The Inspired Room is also having a Christmas home tour. She is such a blessing to so many, including me. I love this gal and hope you'll also take the time to visit her.

No matter where I may live this side of eternity, I have to remember ...this isn't my permanent home.

I'm just passing through on my way to my real home one day ...in Heaven.

Now I hope you'll join in and go blog hopping with the 2009 Christmas Tour of Homes and also The Inspired Room Christmas Home Tour.

Merry Christmas and may you keep Jesus at the center of your celebration.

[name=DEBBIE PETRAS] [img=http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-2CDrwq9-7eo/WV6tdbP-QgI/AAAAAAACfb0/ViqQSnSVaDsMLXyz3AEEzZ5-78luBHOGgCK4BGAYYCw/s1600/Debbie%2BFace%2Bblog.JPG] [description=]