Heart Choices: February 2010

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Thankful Thursday ~ Change

It's Thankful Thursday and Iris of Grace Alone is our host.

Iris and I have both committed to living fearlessly in 2010. We are making the heart choice to trust God in all things instead of depending on our "selves".

It's a moment by moment choice and some days I have to admit I fall back to my old ways. However, the more I walk by faith, the more I see that ...God is trustworthy.

Change is in the air. We sold our home and have been packing all week. It's amazing how much stuff you can accumulate. Our last move was 12 years ago. We left our 1,400 square foot townhome and moved to a 4,000 square foot home. At the time, I thought I'd never move again. Well, never say never!

In the midst of this change, I'm so thankful for God's peace. This didn't happen overnight, believe me. I struggled and struggled for so long and questioned why and where Lord. I'm learning the secret of contentment and Philippians 4:12 says it so beautifully. I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.

When I am weak ...He is strong.

And I don't have to manufacture peace. Peace is a fruit of the Spirit that flows from a life lived ...in Him.

I'm actually thankful for change because it allows the Lord to teach me life lessons. I'm learning that He is trustworthy even if I don't know exactly what the future holds.

Blessings and love,


Missing Mom

Five years ago today, I received the dreaded phone call. My mom had died. She was 75 years old but in her last years had suffered considerably with pain. I had been preparing for that day but of course, when it happened ...I cried and cried.

I was actually the last person she spoke a word to the night before. My dad held the phone up to her ear and I told her I loved her. She whispered back to me that she loved me too. My father told me she became so weak and those were the last words she spoke.

My mom and dad always held hands when they went to sleep at night. It was the same that last night. But when my dad awakened, my mom was already gone. She had died in her sleep. I was grateful that she didn't have to be rushed to the hospital on life support as she didn't want to go through all that.

Susan of This Day posted this video one Saturday and I added it to my favorites on YouTube. It reminded me of my parents.

Did they have a perfect marriage? No. But I doubt there's such a thing.

Mom and Dad met when they were teenagers and were married for more than 50 years. And there was never a doubt that ...they loved one another.

I'm so thankful that my mom loved the Lord. I know that one day soon I will see her again in heaven. We'll have lots of catching up to do. :)



TSMSS ~ My Life is in Your Hands

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

I love Kathy Troccoli's voice and music. BTW, she's a Long Island gal too. I grew up with many Italian friends. :)

The Lord has been waking me up this past week to the song "My Life is in Your Hands". How perfect and comforting as I go through this season of challenges.

Life can be so good. Life can be so hard.
Never knowing what each day will bring to where you are.
Sometimes I forget and sometimes I can't see
That whatever comes my way You'll be with me.

My life is in Your hands.
My heart is in Your keeping.
I'm never without hope not when my future is with You.

My life is in Your hands and though I may not see clearly
I will lift my voice and sing cause your love does amazing things
Lord, I know, my life is in Your hands.

Nothing is for sure. Nothing is for keeps.
All I know is that Your love will live eternally.
So I will find my way, and I will find my peace
Knowing that You'll meet my every need.

When I'm at my weakest Lord, You carry me.
Then I become my strongest Lord in your hands.

My life is in Your hands and though I may not see clearly
I will lift my voice and sing cause your love does amazing things
Lord, I know, my life is in Your hands.
I trust You Lord, my life is in Your hands.

Did you hear the last line of this song?


Believe me, I'm learning that this is so true. He is trustworthy, no matter what is going on in my life. And I'm so very thankful.

Blessings and love,


Lindenhurst High School 1971

Friday Photo Flashback

Today I'm participating in Friday Photo Flashback and linking up with Alicia at More Than Words. This meme has become such a fun time as I search for old photos. So many memories ...

I graduated from Lindenhurst High School in 1971. I know that most of you probably weren't even born yet; lol. This is my graduation photo.

The Village of Lindenhurst is located on the south shore of Long Island in New York. I grew up across the street from the canal where the clam boats were lined up ready to take off early every morning.

My Aunt Ruth (dad's sister) taught me how to twirl a baton as a kid. I tried out for cheerleading but didn't get chosen.

Instead of being discouraged, I worked on my twirling. I even attended a summer camp on my own to improve my skills. I made the twirling team as a high school freshman. And in my junior year, I became the Captain of the Lindenhurst High School twirlers.

I love Facebook as I've reconnected with so many of my Lindenhurst High School friends. After 39 years, we've all changed but it's such fun to share memories from those earlier years in our lives.

I've been following a local blogger named Lylah Ledner of Simple Home Living and La Maison Et Le Jardin. She writes about her Phoenix area Cactus Farm and loves all things French. BTW, if you've never visited her blogs ... you must.

We've emailed each other about eventually getting together.

And guess what? Through Facebook, I discovered that I went to high school with her husband Mike and his brother Bob! I was one year behind Mike and two years behind Bob.

It really is becoming a small world after all!

Blessings and happy Friday,


Love Month

February is the month of LOVE! After all Valentine's Day is in the month of February. Oh and did I mention I open the month of February with my birthday on the 1st and my dad ends it on February 28th. LOL.

But today I'm over at Laced with Grace. And I'm writing about love. I hope you will hop over there to read my post ...


Random Dozen

I'm joining Linda of 2nd Cup of Coffee for Random Dozen. I know I'm a little late but life has been very busy lately. This is a fun meme and I love to get to know other bloggers as I read their answers to the questions.

So here are Linda's questions and my answers:

1. If you could compete in one Olympic event (not necessarily winter sports) what would it be? I'd have to say running. I can sprint very quickly.

2. Do you remember a specific Olympic moment from the past? I remember many years ago when the world fell in love with Nadia Comaneci of Romania during the Montreal Olympics. She was 14 years old and she scored the first perfect 10 in women's gymnastics.

3. Have you ever known anyone who competed in the Olympics? No

4. If everyday activities were Olympic-worthy, which activity would you have a gold medal in? Running up and down the stairs in my house

5. Do you know anything about your ethnic heritage? Anyone who reads Heart Choices on a regular basis knows that I am 100% Norwegian. Both my paternal and maternal grandparents are Norwegian but my parents were born in Brooklyn, New York.

6. Do you enjoy sleeping late? No, I'm an early riser. It's a rare occasion that I sleep late and 7:30 am would be late for me.

7. Have you ever performed CPR on anyone? Do you know how? Yes, I've performed CPR during cardiac arrests many times. Working for 25 years as a cardiovascular nurse ...I'd better know how. I've defibrillated many patients too.

8. Name one country you'd like to visit and explain why. Switzerland. I had the opportunity to cross the border into that country once but only spent a day. I'd love to return and explore and take lots of photos of the beautiful mountains. It would be fun to hike too.

9. Have you ever fixed a couple romantically? Yes, I introduced Pat Andrzejewski to Dennis Benatar in high school on a class trip. They eventually got married and then divorced but that's how Pat Benatar got her last name. :)

10. What is the last book you read? The Heavenly Man: the remarkable true story of Chinese Christian Brother Yun with Paul Hattaway.

11. What is the last movie you saw? Julie and Julia ...and I loved it.

12. What is your favorite meal at your favorite restaurant? Since my husband and I rarely go out to eat I'd have to say El Bravo. I love their Navajo Taco. It's not very low cal but once in a while I can't resist.


In Other Words Tuesday ~ Freedom

I'm excited to be hosting "In Other Words Tuesday" today. As the host, I get to choose our quote for this week. :)

This quote is perfect for me, especially during this season of my life. After much prayer ...trust and obey is my theme for 2010.

I struggle with trust and I tend to prefer staying in my comfort zone. I've written about this often. I believe the Lord is teaching me life lessons as I learn to walk by faith and not by sight.

I love this photo of my cousin Rod with his baby son. To me it's a picture of total trust. The smile on his son's face shows the freedom of knowing Daddy will not drop him.

That's the kind of freedom I long to live in ...day by day.

But I have a heart choice to make moment by moment. As a believer, I have the promise of God's love. He will never leave me nor forsake me.

The whole chapter of John 15 is devoted to Jesus teaching how to ...abide in Him.

But abiding is a choice. On this side of eternity, we still have our flesh to contend with. But the Lord has provided His Spirit to empower us to overcome the flesh.

I believe it comes down to TRUST.

If I truly believe God's Word, I will obey Him. As Scott Samter of Opening His Word Together teaches ..."abiding manifests itself in obedience".

The only way I can obey is when I abide in Christ and trust Him.

I can then lay down:

  • My life
  • My fears
  • My personal preferences
  • My way
  • My loved ones
  • My desires

I can submit my plans to His since only the Lord knows my deepest desires. He has a plan and a purpose for my life. And He knows what's best for me.

I don't want to get to the end of my life and find out I missed out on His best for me ...because of fear.

How about you? Will you allow God to work in and through you? Do you want to live in true freedom from fear?

Remember that God is love and He is trustworthy and faithful.

Blessings and love,


The Perfect Valentine's Love Letter

Valentine's Day is almost over. It's a day to demonstrate love to our special someone. But my heart goes out to the people who don't have a spouse or a special person in their life.

Our culture makes a big deal out of Valentine's Day. I know that selling cards, candy, jewelry and flowers is a business. However, many people who never receive those gifts can feel ...let down and unloved.

On Saturday morning, I had a coffee for a few of my neighbors and this very topic came up in our conversation. One of my friends is a widow who greatly misses her husband.

I mentioned that Mother's Day can still be a bit difficult for me as I was unable to have children and my own mom died five years ago. Of course, life goes on and ...I'm able to be happy for others.

But there can be a hurt in our hearts and in reality no earthly relationship can fully satisfy that piece of our heart.

Sara Dawn, my friend and blogging buddy of Splashin' Glory shared a beautiful message the other day. I added my comment to her post and she wrote back to me such words of blessing and kindness.

I searched on YouTube to find a video of this perfect Love Letter from God so I could share it with you. Sara Dawn has the words and verses written out on her post so I hope you'll also visit her.

May you feel loved perfectly as only your Heavenly Father can love you.

Blessings and love,


Then Sings My Soul Saturday ~ Song of Love

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

Since tomorrow is Valentine's Day, I'd thought I'd share Rebecca St. James' rendition of "Song of Love".

Jesus is the hope of my heart. He loves you and He loves me.

Have you made the heart choice to ...receive His love?

Even if you may not have a special someone this Valentine's Day, know that ...God loves you.

Blessings and love,


Thankful Thursday ~ Love

It's Thankful Thursday and Iris of Grace Alone is our host for the month of February. Iris is the originator of this meme and might I add a wonderful friend to me. Love you Iris!

I'm so thankful for God's love towards me. Without the precious gift of His Son Jesus, I don't know how I could go on some days. But as I have a personal relationship with Him, I know I am never alone. And I know that I know ...I am loved.

The Bible tells me so and I believe it.

As I've been in a prolonged season of trials, I've been so encouraged and loved by others. I'm so thankful for the blessings I received this past week. It was my 57th birthday on February 1st. I thought I would just forget this one but:

  • My friend Terri took me to Postinos for lunch. It's one of my favorites.
  • My friend Helen stopped by with beautiful tulips and drove me around town to do errands and split the most delicious panini at Bertha's Cafe (another Phoenix favorite of mine).
  • Greg's mom and sister Amy got me a gift certificate to get my hair cut and highlighted at Mane Attraction. I haven't had this done in quite some time. I got the haircut but have an appointment later today for a few highlights. Heather did such a great job too. There's nothing like this indulgence to make a gal happy. :)
  • My friend Pauline called me and sent me the most beautiful card. She lives in Clearwater, Florida and we worked together as nurses years ago. She hadn't heard from me lately and called to check in and wish me a happy birthday.
  • A dear friend and my former Bible Study Fellowship teaching leader stopped by my house to give me a hug and special birthday greetings.
  • My friend Sue who is always there to share a word of encourgement and love.
  • Anna May is another godly friend who calls me and loves me. Her hubby Jack even asked her the other day to be sure to call Debbie. Thanks Jack!
  • My small group Bible study who has blessed me in so many ways with their love and prayers.
  • Pastor Dan who calls me and prays with me at times.
  • I'm thankful that a new friend has been attending church with me lately and is now bringing her 2 and 3 year old daughters. How thankful I was when we picked them up after church and found them smiling and happy.
  • Peggy of Amazing Grace who has taken the time to share Scripture verses and special songs that have touched my heart. You're awesome.
  • A blogging friend who gifted me with an amazon card and I was able to purchase Ann Spangler's book "Praying the Names of God". I can now participate in the meme on Jill's blog Forever N Ever N Always beginning March 1.
  • My realtor's assistant Judy who gave me the book "Then Sings My Soul" which contains 150 of the world's greatest hymn stories. It's amazing to read the stories behind the hymns.
  • The love of my family and husband.

I kow I'm missing many thanks to others but since it's after midnight, I am tired and need to go back to bed. But in the midst of the storm, I want to be praising God. He is in control and nothing happens that surprises Him. He is teaching me valuable lessons in the storm and I'm so thankful for His love.

Blessings and love,


Where Does My Strength Come From?

Have you ever felt so tired and exhausted? Have you felt like you have no strength left?

Lately, I can identify with little Rachel in this photo.

I'm really amazed at how emotions and uncertainty drain my energy. I'm a person who prefers to:
  • Stay in my comfort zone
  • Set goals and discipline myself to stay on schedule
  • Plan my future
  • Study and read up on things I don't understand

That's fine when I'm walking by sight. I can pretty much keep things under control.

But right now there are circumstances in my life that:

  • I didn't plan.
  • I didn't ask for.
  • I dislike going through.
  • I don't know what the outcome will be.

However, I believe God is teaching me ...to walk by faith.

(Photo: Niece Kristin in Philadelphia)

Instead of relying on my own strength, which is pretty strong given my Viking heritage, I need to rely on the Lord. I need to stay close to the Lord and trust and obey Him each step of the way.

This has been a difficult lesson for me to learn.

But in the midst of my trials, I know that the Lord has a plan and a purpose for my life. And I'm thankful that nothing happens to me that isn't filtered first through ...His fingers of love.

So when I feel weary and burdened by troubles in this world, I need to be reminded that I'm not alone. I can have peace in my soul regardless of life's circumstances.

Where does your strength come from?

I'm learning that my strength comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth. He is El Shaddai and nothing is impossible with Him.

Where are you getting your strength to handle the personal challenges you may be facing? Are you looking to your spouse, finances, social position, power or the government to meet your needs? I encourage you to share a comment below.



Then Sings My Soul Saturday ~ El Shaddai

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

I've been reminded this week that our God never changes. He is the God of the impossible. He is unchanging, the same yesterday, today and forever. How comforting that is to me!

May you remember that our God is ...El Shaddai.

No matter what challenges you may be facing He is the God of the impossible. I'm learning to trust and obey.



Wear Red Day

Today is National Wear Red Day. The American Heart Association aims to educate the public about heart disease.

Did you know that the #1 killer of women is heart disease? We often think it's breast cancer which seems to be impacting more and more women every day. But the statistics prove that ...heart disease is the #1 killer of women.

As many of you know, I worked as a cardiovascular nurse specialist for 25 years. Although I no longer work in this field, I try to keep up as best I can.

I was born with a congenital heart defect called an atrial septal defect. Although today this is a simple defect to correct with open heart surgery, I was born way back in 1953. This was before our modern surgical techniques.

My parents learned of my diagnosis when I was two years old. The recommendation given to them was to wait until the surgery became less dangerous. As a result, I was a very sedentary child during those early years. At the age of seven, I finally had open heart surgery at Columbia Presbyterian Children's Hospital in New York City.

At that time, we needed 30 blood donors with B+ blood. They were required to travel to NYC to donate blood the morning of the surgery. I'm amazed at how the techniques have changed and improved. My mom was having a hard time locating donors with B+ blood. So, she turned to the newspapers.

A Newsday article "Mother Pleads for Blood to Save Life of Debbie, 7" got the attention of the public and thankfully we had enough blood donors. The good news is that I came through the surgery and I've been healthy and active ever since.

For years, my mom and I would do all we could to help the American Heart Association by going door to door collecting donations. Mom felt this was the least we could do for this organization.

There's a simple online test you can take to check your risk for heart disease.

Here's the link to get started. It only takes minutes and will show you how to get started taking better care of your heart health.

I want to encourage you to wear RED today! I love the color RED so I have no problem wearing it. :)

Heart Choices is all about how your day by day choices determine what your tomorrows will become. These choices impact your body, soul (mind, will and emotions) and your spirit.

Let's take care of our bodies and our hearts so we can be about the work the Lord has called each one of us to do.

I'm going to link to Sandy of God Speaks Today for this Fitness Friday so you can read more about ways to take care of your health.

And don't forget to wear RED today!

Happy Wear Red Day Friday!


In Other Words Tuesday ~ A Child's Heart

It's In Other Words Tuesday and Nina of Mama's Little Treasures is our host for this week. The following is the quote she choose for us today:

There's something about children that touches my heart. They're like little vacuums as they absorb and learn from all the influences in their lives.

I always wanted to have children but was unable to have them.

However, I was honored to be asked into leadership in Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) as a children's leader. I loved every minute of the 8 years I served in that capacity.

I clearly remember the first day I shared the bible lesson with my group of four year olds in the Panda class. As soon as I completed the bible story, the entire group came running to me with open arms, giving me a group hug.

At that moment, I felt the Lord saying to my heart that He never forgot my desire for children. He was blessing me by giving me the privilege and the opportunity to teach the children about Jesus.

Oh how my eyes filled ...with tears of gratitude and joy!

At the conclusion of each BSF year, there's a sharing day. The women who attended that year have the opportunity to stand and share something they learned that year. I would often hear young mothers stand up and share lessons they learned from their child who was being taught in the children's class.

Many times there were grandmothers who enrolled their grandchild. They often shared stories of how the child would ask their parents if they could pray before they ate, just like they did at bible study. And several even asked for a quiet time when they would lie down on their blanket. This is something they were taught in their class. They would have a time to quietly talk to God or think about God but it wasn't a time for sleep.

How precious is that? Talk about a child's heart reaching the world's heart. It doesn't get any better than that.

Can you tell what touches my heart when you look at this photo?

I just want to add a special thank you for all the awesome birthday wishes yesterday. My blogging friends have touched my heart in such a special way too and for that ...I'm so grateful.


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