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Then Sings My Soul Saturday ~ Take My Life

It's Saturday when I link up with Amy of Signs, Miracles and Wonders for Then Sings My Soul Saturday. The Lord placed this particular song on my heart while I was praying Romans 12:1.

I have to admit I couldn't honestly pray that for so many years as I struggled for control. I won't have complete consecration this side of eternity but I'm growing and learning as ...I trust and obey.

As I open my hands and relinquish control of my life to His loving care, He works in me and throuh for my good and ...His glory.

May this song speak to your heart as it did mine.

Thank you for visiting Heart Choices.



Friday Photo Flashback ~ Family

Friday Photo Flashback

It's Friday Photo Flashback when I link up with Alicia of More Than Words. I've been having such a good time locating old photos to share.

It looks like my brother Steve and I weren't in the mood for having our pictures taken in this one.
We look happier in this photo but after all ...it was Christmas time!

I think this was my birthday and I loved my dolls. I believe I was about four years old here.

This is a family photo of the Sumstad's and the Haugli's. All of us kids are first cousins.

My mom is seated on the left with my baby sister Christine. My Uncle Ivar Haugli is on the right. He is my mother's brother. My Aunt Rose Marie is next to him and my dad is on the left behind my mother. I am in the lower left hand corner.

I have to laugh because I'm going to upload this photo to Facebook. Many in my family are online. My cousin Linda (in the lower right corner) is married to Pastor Ron Braaten and they are on the mission field in Belize. They are grandparents. My cousin Susan is sitting on my mom's lap next to Christine. She was on the mission field for many years and she and her husband have grown children.

Time passes much too quickly!

This is a photo of my Grandma and Grandpa Haugli. They are my mom's parents. They are both gone now but are missed.

I loved sharing these family photos with you. Most of these photos date back to the late 1950's to early 1960's. Stay tuned for next week as I just located many more photos to share.

Have a great weekend!



Thankful Thursday ~ Unexpected Joys

It's Thankful Thursday and Lynn of Spiritually Unequal Marriage has been our host for for January. She suggested we share about unexpected joys the Lord has brought into our lives this week.

This season in my life has been very challenging but I have to admit there have been a few unexpected joys this week.

I just want to share that prayer brings joy to my heart. I truly believe in the ...power of prayer.

Although I wish I would get an answer quickly to my prayers, it's often in the times of waiting that I learn to trust. I am learning to walk by faith and not by sight.

I'm thankful for the unexpected joys of:

  • The prayers of many awesome blogging friends.
  • Praying with my realtor's assistant Judy as we sat outside my house. I discovered that she grew up on the mission field in Costa Rica. We had the opportunity to talk of lessons learned through tough times and God's goodness.
  • Peggy of Amazing Grace who personalized Scripture with my name and sent it to me.
  • Jennifer of Smelling Coffee who emailed me this week after the Lord impressed my name on her heart. She prayed for me.
  • Sonja of Bits and Pieces and I have delighted in discovering the many similarities in our lives.

As I think about this, I'm amazed at how the Lord is faithful. He provides me what I need exactly when He knows I need it. And He fills me with ...His joy.

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

Edie of Rich Gifts sent me this image of JOY at Christmas time but I thought it was so appropriate for this Thankful Thursday post on unexpected joy. Thank you Edie.

May each one of you be on the lookout for those unexpected joys in your life.

Blessings and love,


Have You Experienced God This Week?

holy experience

On this Walk with Him Wednesday, Ann of A Holy Experience has asked us to write about how we've experienced God recently.

When I read that request, my first thoughts went the Henry Blackaby study called Experiencing God. That study impacted my Christian walk more than any other study except of course, the Scriptures themselves.

You see, at the time I knew I was a Christian but I didn't quite understand how to live that out in my life. I heard how people would claim that God spoke to them but at that time ...I never heard His voice.

But God ...He met me right where I was, a bit skeptical and unsure. I'm forever grateful for His tender love and patience. And that's when I met Helen, my prayer partner.But the question Ann posed was how have I experienced God lately. Here are just a few:

  • I am experiencing His presence as I know that I know I am never alone.
  • He speaks to me through His Word, the Bible as there have been many times recently when a Scripture practically leaps off the page. It's as if God highlighted it just for me and my situation.
  • He often awakens me with a song in the morning. I've shared many of them on my Then Sings My Soul Saturday posts with you.
  • He has been providing me with opportunities to pray with people I would never have imagined. My realtor Cionne held my hand and prayed with me before the buyer came to my house to pick out the furniture they want to keep.
  • I am experiencing God's love for others as a blogger from another state reached out to me to ask if I might meet her sister who lives not far from me. We went to church together last Sunday and it was a joy getting to know her. She's not been to church recently and she's returning next Sunday with her two little children. Praise God for this. The children's program director met her and explained the process of enrolling the children and was so kind to her. And the people in my church were very kind and welcoming to her which made my heart so happy as God's people stepped up.
  • I've experienced God this week when I received yet another phone call from my Pastor Dan. His encouragement as I go through my current storm has been so helpful and my church family has rallied around me.
  • I've experienced God through a Christian couple who do not want to be named and have provided just what Greg and I need for housing.
  • I've experienced God through the Book of Hababbuk as I listen to Scott Samter's teaching at On Opening His Word Together. I never realized how this little book could teach me so much as I see what is happening in our world today.
  • I'm experiencing God as He provides me with opportunities to share where my strength comes from and give Him the glory.
  • I'm experiencing God with a new tenderness for people going through their own seasons of difficulty and challenge. 2 Corinthians 1:3-5 has become more real to me.

Have I been experiencing God lately? Oh, yes I have!

I leave you with this beautiful graphic and verse. Love should be the distinguishing mark of how the world sees Christians treat one another.

How about you? It's easy to remember things from years ago but what about today?



In Other Words Tuesday ~ Knowing Jesus and Conflict

It's "In Other Words Tuesday" and Esthermay of The Heart of a Pastor's Wife is our host. She has chosen the following quote straight from the Bible for us to write about today.

When a person truly accepts Jesus as their personal Savior ...their lives will change.

While Jesus walked on this earth with His disciples, He preached about His Kingdom that was not of this world. The Roman occupation probably weighed heavily on the people and they hoped Jesus' Kingdom would change everything and bring peace on earth.

But the peace that Jesus was speaking of was ...peace between God and man.

Jesus came to this earth to provide the only way to have peace with God. His death on the cross and how He overcame death by rising again to sit on the right hand of the Father and continually interceding for us ...changed everything.

Sinful man could be in a personal relationship with the one true God who created all things. When we fully realize what that means for us for eternity ... how can we remain the same?

I can tell you from personal experience that when I truly understood what Jesus did for me and how much He loved me, I was overwhelmed with love. And I couldn't keep silent.

My relationship with Jesus impacted:

  • My work as a cardiac nurse
  • My relationship with my husband
  • The desires of my heart
  • It changed what was important to me
  • I had no taste for things I used to love
  • Everything looked different like I was seeing with new glasses

And let me tell you that can create conflict.

When people who've known you one way suddenly see a 'new Debbie', an inevitable reaction occurs. I stopped getting invitations to parties and drinks after work. People I'd known forever suddenly felt uncomfortable if they slipped and said a curse word. When I attended a reunion, people commented that they heard I became very "religious". Many felt like I was judging them even though I wasn't.

However, I have to say that over the years much has changed for me personally. When I stopped preaching, leaving Scriptures or Christian books opened to a specific page and instead allowed the Lord to deal with loved ones, there was less conflict.

I still live my life as a believer and disciple of Jesus Christ but I've found that living a life of love speaks way more than words. There is a time for words; don't get me wrong. But I pray for the Holy Spirit to prompt me when to speak and ...when to be silent.

The more time I spend in a daily quiet time praying and reading the Bible, the more I reflect His love to others. The fruit of the Spirit becomes more evident and noticeable and I know and others know that's not Debbie.

It' the work of His Spirit within me and I can give Him the credit.

If we hide what's in our heart for fear of offending or simply keeping peace, are we truly His disciples? I think there will always be conflict between righteousness and unrighteousness. How can that not be?

I look forward to reading other participating bloggers take on this verse. Be sure to visit Esthermay of The Heart of a Pastor's Wife.



Top Ten Blogs for Christian Women

I received an email on Saturday morning from Kim Avery of Life Coaching for Christian Women. Here is the email she sent to me:

Hi Debbie,

Congratulations! Blog readers have chosen Heart Choices to be on the list of Top Ten Blogs for Christian Women in 2009.

Here at Life Coaching for Christian Women our vision is to equip and encourage Christian women to daily live Christ saturated lives. Thankfully, we do not stand alone. In 2009 hundreds of faithful bloggers, like you, have enriched our Christian community with your wit, wisdom, thoughts, musing and prayers.

So that even more readers can be blessed by your contributions, this Top Ten List will be posted on our Living in Love with Jesus blog on January 25th.

Attached is an award graphic for you to display on your blog allowing readers to see the results of their faithful votes.

Thank you for sharing your life with us.

Kim Avery, Certified Life & Career Coach

To say I was honored and humbled is an understatement.

I thank God that I've rediscovered my voice through blogging. What started out as a heart health blog developed into so much more. The Lord provided me with a ministry to encourage others. I am so grateful.

To God ...be the glory!


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