Heart Choices: 2010-01-10 -->

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Happy Birthday Sis

My sister Christine celebrated (dare I say?) her 50th birthday today. I wish I could be with her to join in the celebration but I'm so glad she has lots of friends.

Chris owns a consignment shop in Clearwater, Florida and her customers have all become her friends. I think she takes after our mom.

Christine loves people.
I found some old photos that I had to share with you. This is right after Christine was brought home from the hospital. I was thrilled to have a little sister. My brother Steve had hoped for a brother but I think he was pretty happy with her, after all.Here my brother Steve is holding Christine who looks like a little doll. Of course, I had my own doll to hold.

Here she is when she was about two or three years old with our cousin James. She had fallen down the stairs and broke her ankle. That's the truth too. She still had a smile!
Here she is all grown up. I think she was in her twenties here. Hmm ...I think that's my dress. We used to borrow each other's clothes.
Chris was my maid of honor at Greg and my wedding in November of 1984.

Here is Christine with her family. Her husband Pat and her stepsons Zach and Taylor. And she's a dog lover. Ren has since died but she now has Jack.

So, happy birthday Chris!

I miss you and wish I could be there with you to give you a hug.

Love you,


Then Sings My Soul Saturday ~ God Will Make A Way

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

I had chosen a song earlier this week that I planned to post. But the Lord has been waking me up for the past few mornings with this particular song.

I love this Don Moen song "God Will Make A Way".

The words are so perfect for my life right now.

I kept singing it for the past few days, especially when the emotion of FEAR surfaced. As many of you now know, trust and obey is my theme for 2010. And that means NO FEAR.

Happy Saturday and thanks for stopping by Heart Choices!


Friday Photo Flashback ~ 1950's

Friday Photo Flashback

I needed to have a good laugh today since there is such serious stuff going on right now. So, I decided to join in with Alicia for Friday Photo Flashback for the first time.

My cousin James Haugli has been posting our family photos on Facebook. You know the ones that you totally forgot about. Well, now the whole world gets to see them. There's no hiding so I thought I'd post a few of them for a good laugh.

That's me on the left with my cousin Linda. I'm one month older than her. I have no idea what we were looking for in this photo.

This is my Grandma Haugli reading to her grandchildren. I'm the second girl from the left and my brother is next to me. I hope I wasn't picking my nose in this photo. I think it was just a scratch; LOL. (Remember the Seinfeld episode?)

I wonder what my brother Steve is pointing to. I'm standing next to him in my girly girl clothes. That's my cousin Mark with his brace on. I had almost forgotten about that. And my cousin Linda is next to him. Notice the older car in the background.

This is my cousin Linda and me. I'm the one with curlers in my hair. My mom used to always roll my hair in those pink little curlers each night. BTW, my cousin Linda and her husband Ron Braaten are serving as missionaries in Belize. They are grandparents. Gosh, we're getting old.

And this photo is the Sumstad family minus my little sister Christine. She wasn't born until 1960. This photo was taken in the early '50s in New York.

I hope you enjoyed a good laugh at these old, old photos. I have plenty more where they came from.

Have a great weekend!



Thankful Thursday ~ God is Sovereign

It's Thankful Thursday and Lynn of Spiritually Unequal Marriage is our host for this month. I missed posting last week and realized how important it is for me to write a thankful post.

In the midst of uncertainty, I can easily lose my focus and get caught up in my day to day challenges. I start grumbling and complaining instead of making the choice to be thankful.

It reminds me of the Israelites as Moses was leading them through the wilderness towards the Promised Land. God performed some mighty miracles and yet as soon as they came upon another obstacle, what did they do?

They grumbled and complained and talked about returning to Egypt. Did they forget that they were slaves there?

Before I laugh at the absurdity of their complaining, I need to take a look at myself. When life is uncertain, I can easily look back on how life used to be. But God wants me to look forward ...to trust and obey Him every step of the way.

I'm thankful that:

  • God is with me.
  • God is trustworthy.
  • God is sovereign.
  • God provides me with His strength.
  • God loves me.
  • God knows all about my situation.
  • God's promises are true.
  • God's Word is true.

So, this day I choose to ...trust God.

He is who He says He is.

I believe that and I'm thankful for that.

Happy Thankful Thursday! It's good to be back.


A Titus 2 Woman In Today's Culture

Extravagant Grace

Today, I'm joining eLisa at Extravagant Grace. One of her themes for this new year is Becoming Titus 2 in 2010. She's asked us to share about becoming a Titus 2 woman in the midst of today's culture.

Titus 2:3-5 NIV says:

"Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God."

I was born in the '50s and grew up in the turbulent '60s; a time of unrest, change and rebellion. The unpopular Vietnam War, women's lib and free love; you get the picture. I read Betty Friedan's book The Feminine Mystique and Cosmopolitan magazine.

Women were no longer going to be barefoot and pregnant but instead have equal rights with men. The workforce changed as more women tried to have it all; family and career.

During that time, I wasn't living a life of dependence on the Lord. I claimed to be a Christian as I had invited Jesus into my heart years earlier. In retrospect, Jesus was my Savior but He was not Lord of my life. Debbie was in charge and I was ...independent and strong.

I wasn't a Titus 2 woman, that's for sure.

I've since grown in my faith. I've learned what it is to walk with the Lord and to feel what it's like to be truly loved by God. He has done a work within my heart. I still have my mind, will and emotions but I choose to yield them to Him out of love. And what I've found is that ...there is great peace in that.

It's a peace I never knew when I went my own way, was concerned with my rights, and determined to be equal with any man.

What does it mean to be a Titus 2 woman?

  • Her life is characterized by love which comes from the close relationship she has with the Lord.
  • She's not dependent on her husband and/or children to fill her needs.
  • When her family does something wonderful, she loves it but isn't dependent on how they respond to feel significant or to be validated.
  • She realizes that she won't always have that "in love" feeling all the time with her husband but knows that love is a choice.
  • She shows respect to her husband and looks for ways she can verbally tell him so.
  • She has a daily quiet time for prayer and reading the Bible and ...listening.
  • She enjoys sharing lessons she's learned with the younger women but also learns from them.
  • She's a life long learner.

What is the general sense in the Christian community?

I've been encouraged by young Christian women who are living their lives in the power of the Holy Spirit. Many are home schooling their children so they can teach them Christian values.

What is the world's response?

I think many do not understand and think that we are narrow in our beliefs. Some think that we are being subservient to men and do not understand the strengths of men and women in a godly relationship. There are always Christians who pervert and take Scripture out of context for their own benefit. I think this is wrong and gives the wrong impression to the world.

What are the challenges as we pursue the mission of becoming a Titus 2 woman?

We need to put Romans 12:1-2 into practice. We offer ourselves as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God because of what Jesus did for us. And then we don't conform to the world's standards and patterns. Instead, we study His Word and allow Him to transform us ...from the inside out.

We yield our lives to Him so that He can do a work in us and through us to impact others. When we do this, His love overflows from us and others will notice the difference. And God gets the glory. Not Debbie, that's for sure.

Where do we find encouragement and support to press on?

I can tell you that I have been personally blessed and encouraged through blogging. I've met women of all ages who have a desire to live a Titus 2 life. We learn from one another. As we become more transparent in our blog posts, we identify with each other. I've received emails and prayer requests and I have to say how honored I am by this.

I've wanted to mentor younger women and the Lord has brought them right to my home through the internet. And at the same time, they teach me. How good is that? I am so encouraged by these women who already are so much more spiritually mature than I was at their age. My heart is warmed and encouraged for this next generation.

Wow; I never intended to write such a long post. I didn't realize I had so much to say about being a Titus 2 woman in today's culture. Don't forget to visit eLisa at Extravagant Grace to join in or read other's take on this topic.

Blessings and love,


Living Fearlessly

Living Fearlessly in 2010 began with Iris of Grace Alone. Iris recently read Max Lucado's book Fearless and it made quite an impression on her. She's challenged us to join her on a journey of fearless living in 2010 and this is our first week.

Fear is something that I've struggled with from time to time. I prefer to live within my comfort zone. I'm a loyal person and tend to stick with something for a long time because it's familiar.

Iris asked us to remember a time in our past when we dealt with fear and overcame it.

I remember 1983. I was single, living in Florida, and working in a position as a nurse that I should have left long ago. But I was:

  • Comfortable
  • Owned a condo
  • My family lived nearby
  • I had lots of friends
  • I knew my job well

I received a job offer as a cardiovascular nurse specialist in Phoenix, Arizona. I had taken a full time six month course at the Arizona Heart Institute but had returned to Florida after I completed the program. Now I had a job offer to consider.

Fear crept in. I knew I was ready for a change but what if I didn't like it or I missed my family? Doubts began to fill my mind.

I remembered back several months when I had prayed to God about the direction for my life. I knew I needed a change. Maybe this was my answer? I decided to take the plunge. After all, what was the worst thing that would happen? I'd move back.

So, I sold my condo and packed up my belongings. My dad drove with me in my Corvette (I was a single gal at the time). In retrospect, it was the best move I could have made. It was the start of a new and different life for me.

Within a year, I met, fell in love and married my husband of 25 years. I loved the Arizona lifestyle, the dry climate, the desert, the mountains and the fairly close proximity to the California beaches. A one hour plane ride isn't too bad. I grew and learned so much in my nursing career.

I wish I could say that I never fear anymore but I still struggle with it from time to time. But I desire to live a fearless life by ...trusting and obeying God.

In 1983, I wasn't walking closely with the Lord. But today I've grown to know Him so much better. My desire is to yield my life to Him for His purposes. This is much different than the way I lived years ago.

If you want to join us in living fearlessly in 2010, I encourage you to visit Iris this week on Grace Alone. If you have a blog post you're welcome to link up there or simply add your thoughts in the comments.

Here's to living fearlessly. It begins with trusting and obeying the Lord. And that has become my theme for 2010.

How about you? Do you struggle with fear?


Laced with Grace Devotional

I'm over at Laced with Grace today.

Take a guess as to what my devotional is about today. I'll give you a hint.

My theme for 2010 is to ...trust and obey.

The title of my post is "Are you Growing in your Faith".

In order for my faith to grow ... I must trust and obey God.

I encourage you to stop by Laced with Grace today and read more ...

Blessings and love,


Tasty Kitchen

I'm a Tasty Kitchen Fan

Have you heard of Tasty Kitchen? How about Ree Drummond of Pioneer Woman? Well now, I've got your attention.

I've followed Ree's humorous blog for some time now. In case you don't know her story, she fell in love with a cattle rancher and married her Marlboro Man. She's got such a flair for writing that captivates me. I love how she shares her everyday adventures as a home schooling mom, photographer, gardener, and ...cookbook writer.

The Pioneer Woman Cooks by Ree Drummond is on the New York Times bestseller list. Way to go Ree!

On her book tour, she came to a local Tempe, Arizona bookstore. I really wanted to go so I could meet her in person but it didn't work out. However, the following day I read that the line was so long and the store was so crowded. So I guess I'll have to meet her another time.

Well, back to Tasty Kitchen. It is a social network that is for people who love to cook. Ree created a community for people to easily share recipes. I joined it only recently and already have lots of new friends. I plan to add a few of my own recipes soon. There's a guide that easily walks you through the requirements to add your recipes. And you can search for recipes to print or add to your profile.

Whenever I find fun things, I love to share them with my blogging buddies. So, check out Tasty Kitchen. BTW, my profile name on the site is Panda444. There's a story behind that name but I'll save it for another time.

Happy cooking!


Life Group Fellowship 2010

It's easy to get lost in a large church. You can attend and never really get to know people.

Years ago, when I first started attending my church, I sat in the back pew and quickly exited after the service. But I missed out on so much by not getting involved and meeting others.

Now, I attend a small group Bible study called Life Group. My friend Marcia started this particular class as a place for people to really get to know one another. We go through good times and bad times and times of challenge. In the midst of it all, we know that we can count on each other to pray and lend a hand.

And we do Bible studies. We're currently doing Chip Ingram's study on Romans 12 called R12. It's really a good one.

But today we had a fellowship. That's always fun since we each bring a dish to eat; yum!Since we have several new members, Kathryn and Dave printed off handouts and we were asked to complete them. They asked questions like:

  • where you were born
  • your first car
  • how many countries you've visited
  • high school colors and mascot
  • most unusual job
  • favorite TV show
  • favorite music
  • favorite Bible verse

Then Dave started reading the answers and we had to guess who it was. It was such a fun time and we got to know one another better.

What a great ice breaker! There are many people in our group originally from Texas so there was plenty of Texas humor.

Nancy, Amber, Tom and Steve who really isn't sleeping; LOL. He and his wife Tesa brought the Starbucks coffee.

Hue and Andreas are originally from Indonesia
Marcia, Martha and Mickey

Kathryn and Ruth seem to be listening intently.

Rex and Jess having a good laugh

It was a fun Sunday morning for me. It's easy to isolate yourself when life is challenging. I'm so glad to know I have friends in real life too.

Happy Sunday!

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