Heart Choices: September 2010

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Thankful Thursday ~ God's Love

It's Thankful Thursday and I realized I've not participated in the last few weeks.  Iris of Grace Alone is hosting and I wanted to join up with her.  Btw, did you know that Iris celebrated her birthday this past Tuesday?  Don't forget to wish her a happy birthday if you stop by.

Happy Birthday Iris!  I'm so thankful for you.  Did I mention that Iris lives in Arizona and I've met her in person? :)

I'm so thankful for God's love.  He knows exactly what I need and when I need it.

I'm participating in an online Bible study called "A Heart Makeover".  Tracy Berta has written it and is teaching through videos over At the Well.  This study has been so timely for me.  The Lord has been doing a major work in my heart as I honestly answer the questions each week.  This past week concerned a healed heart and it was very revealing for me. 

I'm not an openly emotional person.  I love people and I'm a hugger.  But I've had layers of self-protection over my heart for years.  As I've been spending time with the Lord each morning, He has been dealing with major heart issues in my life. I've found that tears come so much more quickly lately. 

Tracy wrote such a sweet note to me and mentioned a song by Natalie Grant called "Held".  I found it on YouTube and was so touched by it.  I sent a link to a friend who lost her young son.  I think the words to this song deal with major life issues such as divorce, death of loved ones, financial crisis and more.

I'm so thankful for our blogging community. I believe the Lord is doing something good as we get to encourage one another.  I pray you will enjoy this song:

Don't forget to be on the lookout for all you can be thankful for today.

Blessings and love,


Word Filled Wednesday ~ God of All Comfort

It's Word Filled Wednesday and I'm linking up on the Internet Cafe.

God is my comforter but how blessed I am that He has provided me with friends who continue to walk alongside me as I go through a difficult season in my life.  I'm also blessed that He has brought many new blogging friends into my life who encourage me, teach me and ...love me.

I also learn from the 2 Corinthians 2 verses that I am to reach out to comfort others.  After all, I know what that feels like.  I find that my heart has become more sensitive toward people going through difficult seasons in their lives.

Blessings and love,


Makeover of the Heart ~ Week 3

I'm joining Tracy Berta as she continues the Bible study "Makeover of the Heart".  You can join us At the Well where you can view a videotape and download a worksheet with questions to answer.

The focus for this week is:

A Healed Heart

The term 'a healed heart' brings several thoughts to my mind. 

I was born with a heart defect. 

My mom explained it to me when I was very young.  She said that I had been born with a hole in my heart the size of a fifty cent piece.  I didn't fully understand it at the time but I knew that I couldn't run around with other kids my age.  I'd become short of breath and my lips turned blue. I adapted by spending much of my time reading, coloring and drawing.  

By the time I was seven years old, my symptoms became worse.  It was now 1960 and the surgical techniques had improved.  They had no choice but to proceed with open heart surgery.  I wanted a healed heart so I could run and play and be like the other children.  I hated being different.

Yes, that's me!
I became a cardiovascular nurse specialist. 

I wanted to help others who had hearts that needed healing.  I worked in Intensive Care, Cardiac Rehab, Telemetry and with a cardiologist for many years.  Teaching people about their hearts and how to care for their bodies to prevent further problems. 

Healing of the heart requires trust.

Just as I needed to trust the cardiovascular surgeon to repair my physical heart, I need to trust God to heal my spiritual heart.  I must be honest and share that I've allowed layers of self-protection to form around my  heart.  Trust can be broken by people and often we resort to closing off our hearts in our attempt to control.  But these same barriers can prevent you and me from truly loving God and loving others. 

Listen to what Tracy wrote:

"Transforming our hearts includes putting our trust in the Lord. We easily trust ourselves, our friends, the media, and the “world.” We need to transfer this trust to God."

People may disappoint us but God is trustworthy. 
Photo Credit: Allposters.com
I've been going through a season of trials for several years now.  I've prayed and asked for the Lord to intervene.  I don't doubt that He sees and knows all that goes on in my  life.  After all, I am a child of His, chosen in Christ Jesus and loved by Him.  But I must admit there were times when I longed to know how He would intervene in my situation.  But 2 Corinthians 5:7 reminds me that I ...walk by faith and not by sight.

Looking back on the past few years, I can see God's hand at work in my life.  He's been pruning me for His purposes.  I've had to let go of so many material things that I loved and enjoyed.  I've prayed that I would not harbor bitterness and anger in my heart.  The only way that is possible is to make a daily 'heart choice' to trust God in the midst of the storms in my life.

The more I learn to trust God, the quicker I will obey Him. 

I'm discovering that only He can truly heal my heart. 

God is beginning to reveal things to my heart.  If I hadn't gone through these seasons of pain and trials, I wouldn't be at this point in my spiritual walk.  I can't believe I'm actually writing this but I might even be thankful for these storms because I have learned such important lessons:
  • God is my refuge. 
  • He is the only solid Rock on which I can stand. 
  • He is trustworthy. 
  • He created me and loves me. 
I choose to trust Him with my heart.  Only He can truly heal my heart.

How about you?  Are you trusting God with your heart?  Have you ever covered your heart with layers of self-protection?

Blessings and love,

Giveaway ~ God's Word From A to Z

Memorizing Scripture is so much easier as a child. 

To this day, I can recite most of Romans 12 because I memorized it as a child.  I also remember learning a song that included all of the books of the Bible.  If I have to search for a book like Obadiah, I find myself singing the song in my head and then I can go right to the place in my Bible.  I vividly remember as a 6 or 7 year old child singing this song in front of the Smithtown Gospel Tabernacle with a boy named Richard.

I received an email from Liza Philip asking if I'd be willing to do a giveaway for a CD she and her husband Abe created for their children to help them memorize Scripture.  After receiving a free copy myself and listening to it, I said YES!

Although I don't have little children, I continue to learn best as a child.  (Just ask my friend Jill.) 

This CD contains 26 songs that were written and arranged by Abe and Liza Philip.  The Scripture verses are read by their 4 year old son and 2 year old daughter.  The music style varies from classical, jazz, bluegrass, pop, rock and Celtic. 

You can find more information, including samples, on their website Philip Music.

This is Abe and Liza. Aren't they the cutest?

So, if you'd like to be in the running for this CD giveaway, be sure to leave a comment.  If you share this on Facebook or Twitter, leave another comment letting me know.  You will have more entries to possibly win.  Come on moms.  I think this is a great way to teach your children about God's Word.

A winner will be chosen on Friday.

Blessings and love,


I Love Weddings

I attended another wedding this weekend.  Jessica (my friend Julie's daughter) got married to Andrew on Saturday at the Scottsdale Bible Church Chapel.  The reception followed at the Paradise Valley Country Club. 
Jessica and Andrew

Saying their vows to each other

Presented as husband and wife
Jessica's sister Natalie was the matron of honor
Hope is the younger sister of the bride.  I taught Hope when she was just a child in the BSF children's program.
Proud Mom and Dad
Sharing a laugh after the wedding ceremony
It was such a happy occasion.  I had the chance to spend time with friends.  Let me tell you; we know how to have fun!  Can't you tell from this latest photo?

The table settings were gorgeous.  Red roses were the centerpiece for each table.

Is this setting the perfect backdrop for wedding photos?  That's Camelback Mountain in the background.  A lovely Arizona day of sunshine.

A few friends ...

 The wedding reception was a blast!

The DJ got the crowd going. We even had a scavenger hunt.  I'm holding a ladies' shoe.  It was one of the items we had to find.  LOL.

Lots of dancing and celebrating!

It looks beautiful but it tasted even better!

I think I've come to the conclusion that ...

I heart weddings!

Blessings and love,


Praise You in this Storm

It's Then Sings My Soul Saturady and I'm linking up with Amy of Signs, Miracles and Wonders.

This past month I participated in a 31 day commitment to Praise the Lord in this Moment at eLisa's Extravagant Grace.

Extravagant Grace

What a wonderful experience that was!  Despite the storms in life, we can still praise the Lord in this moment.  It was a good exercise for me and one I plan to continue. 

In the house where we are temporarily living, I strategically tacked up a small plaque above the toilet.  Here's what it says:

Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass
It's about learning to dance in the rain.
Not a bad place to post something you want to remember.  My husband Greg has even begun talking about learning to dance in the rain.  I guess guys have a better view.  :)

I had to post this Casting Crowns song for today.  What a good reminder for me and you~

No matter what's going on in your life, there's always something to praise God for.  Can you name a few?

Blessings and love,


Flashback Friday ~ Books

I know I'm a bit late to link up for Flashback Friday

But when I finally noticed that the topic for today was BOOKS; well I just had to write a post.  I'm joining Linda of Mocha with Linda.

I love to read.  My love for reading began as a small child.  I had a congenital heart defect and couldn't keep up physically with other children my age.  My mom used to read books to me while I lay my head in her lap.  I could visualize every scene so clearly. 

(This building was the Lindenhurst Library when I was a kid.)

When I could read for myself, I would go to the Lindenhurst Public Library every Saturday and take out a handful of books. I would position myself comfortably in my bed and spend the day reading.  My mom used to interrupt me and encourage me to go outside to get some fresh air and play.  She used to tell me I was going to ruin my eyes because I was known to get so involved in my reading that I didn't realize it was getting dark.  :)  But I actuallly had 20/20 vision until after the age of 50.  Somehow those reading glasses now come in handy.

I remember reading Grace Livingston Hill books.  I discovered them one summer when I stayed with my Nana and Grandpa.  They had most of her books.  They were probably left by my Aunt Ruth after she moved out to California.  But I could immerse myself in reading these books.  To this day, I still remember one book where the main character found her long lost father and brothers.  She didn't reveal herself but came by the house each day and cleaned and prepared a warm meal for them.  The love she demonstrated still sticks with me.

Another favorite was the Nancy Drew book series by Carolyn Keene.  I lived across the street from the canal and the boatyards.  After reading these mysteries, I'd often go exploring the boatyards looking for a possible mystery.  Nancy Drew always seemed to stumble on crimes so I thought maybe it would happen to me.  It never did!
I never owned any of these books though. They were usually borrowed or taken out from the library.  It wasn't until I was much older and married that I began to seriously buy books. 

If I look back and see an area of spending weakness, for me it would be BOOKS.

This photo is just one side of my book closet.  I know it's ridiculous but at that time I could well afford them. And I used to loan my books out all the time to others.  When we had to move, I had no room to store my prized books so I sold and donated many.

I read most of the classics in high school including "Catcher in the Rye" and "To Kill a Mockingbird".  I didn't appreciate the classics at the time because once I was in high school, I got very involved socially.  Reading went out the window for a number of years as I discovered 'boys', twirling and high school dances.  :)

As an adult, I started reading many of the classics again and had a much greater appreciation for them.  Ken Boa has a great reading program that includes many Christian classics including authors like C.S. Lewis.  I used to subscribe to a monthly tape where he discusses the works of great authors.

My husband bought me a Kindle a few years ago in the hopes that I would read all of my books on it.  I love the fact that if I travel I don't have to carry many books with me like I used to do.  I enjoy the Kindle and the books are cheaper.  But there's still something special about the feel of turning the pages of a real book.

How about you?  Do you enjoy reading?

Blessings and love,


Friday Photo Flashback ~ 1963

Friday Photo Flashback
It's Friday Photo Flashback and I'm linking up with Alicia of More Than Words.  

The whole idea behind this meme is to dig out those old pre-digital photos. 

I attended my niece Kristin's wedding over Labor Day weekend in Florida.  I spent a few nights with my sister Christine and found out she had most of our old family photo albums.  So I convinced Chris to part with some of them so I could scan them online.

I think you might be able to see the date May 1963 on the top of this photo.  However, most of you probably weren't even born in 1963. :)

Pictured is my little sister Christine, me and my older brother (by 18 months) Steve in our backyard in Lindenhurst, New York.

The story behind this photo is that we got two bunny rabbits as a gift from my parents.  I think the bunny in the picture is named Suzanne.  My dad built a cage and we were supposed to feed them and take care of them. It was a novelty at first  but then we got busy.  I'm ashamed to say that the bunnies weren't around too long.  :(

To this day, my brother Steve takes care of all the animals in his house. They  have rabbits and birds and a dog named Harley.  Steve is probably making up for the rabbits we lost; lol. But he always feeds them and makes sure they are well taken care of.

Maybe you have some old pre-digital photos you'd care to share?

Blessings and love,

Letting Go of Worry

It's time for another Faith Barista Jam!  This week the topic that Bonnie of Faith Barista chose is:

Letting Go of Worry

Hmm ...did somebody tell Bonnie that my theme for 2010 is ...trust and obey?

As many of you know, I struggle with worry.  All of the 'what ifs' and 'what's going to happen now' and 'what am I going to do if'.  I think you get the general idea.

But we are told in Scripture that we are not to worry.  If we trust God, we will be provided for.  Now provided for doesn't necessarily mean all of our wants.  It means our needs.  And who better to know our needs than the God who created us and sees everything that impacts us.

I love how God uses simple illustrations for me to learn important spiritual truths.  As I was sitting on the patio this morning having my quiet time, I noticed many hummingbirds.  They were looking for breakfast.  It's so fun to watch them as their wings flap so quickly.  I found this short video on YouTube to illustrate.

I don't think the hummingbirds wake up thinking 'oh where will we get our food for today' or 'if we can't find food we may die'.  They simply go about their business for this day.

Free Scripture Tags by Edie at Rich Gifts Graphics & Blog Design
Edie of Rich Gifts
The reality is that if I trust God and believe His Word, I can ...let go of worry.

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eLisa's Extravagant Grace
And the end result will be ...HOPE, JOY and PEACE.

Google images

"In repentance and rest is your salvation,
in quietness and trust is your strength"
Isiah 30:15
Now that's something I want to have.  How about you?

Blessings and love,
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