Heart Choices: 2010-04-18

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Temporary Home



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

This week I've been reminded several times that this is not my permanent home. I'm just passing through.  It can be easy to get comfortable in this world.  But I want to keep my eyes on the prize and not lose sight of why I'm here.

I've heard this Carrie Underwood song several times this week and it spoke to my heart.  I hope you enjoy it and hear the message she's really sharing with you.


Have a wonderful Saturday!

And remember that this isn't our permanent home; we're just passing through. The best is yet to come.

Blessings and love,

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Friday Photo Flashback ~ 1960


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

This photo was taken in the summer of 1960 before many of you were even born. 

Pictured are my father's parents; Nana and Grandpa Sumstad with my baby sister Christine and my brother Steve.  I'm standing in front of my grandfather and I look a bit sickly because I had only recently undergone open heart surgery for a congenital heart defect. 

As I remember back so many years ago, it seems like it was only yesterday.  It's amazing how that can happen when it concerns momentous occasions in your life. 

At the time, surgical techniques were not quite what they are today.  The surgeon told my parents that I had a 50/50 chance of making it through the operation.

At the time, 30 B positive blood donors were required to be at the hospital in New York City the morning of the operation.  They had to donate blood for the heart lung machine.  Nowadays, this isn't necessary.

My mom was interviewed by several newspapers since she was having a hard time locating enough blood donors.  The Smithtown Messenger wrote the piece above. 

However, Newsday wrote an article with the bold headline:
"Mother Pleads for Blood to Save Life of Daughter, 7". 

That got much attention and ...plenty of blood donors.

This was a follow up article after I was discharged from the hospital.  I am completely healed and have been healthy ever since.

I've been studying Ann Spangler's "Praying the Names of God". The focus for this week has been on God as healer or Yahweh Rophe.

Before I entered the hospital, many people prayed.  I was asked to come forward at my grandparents' church, Smithtown Gospel Tabernacle as the elders prayed over me.  (I have to add that when I checked the link for this church, I was so excited to see my grandfather Henry Sumstad's name recorded in their church history.  He began prayer meetings in his home in 1950 after moving to Long Island from Brooklyn.)

I know beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the Lord answered the prayers of the people and my family.  He healed me.  God had a plan and a purpose for my life and He wasn't finished with me yet. 

How grateful I am and so thankful to ...God my Healer.

Blessings and love,

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Thankful Thursday ~ Blessed by Love



It's Thankful Thursday and I'm linking up with my friend Lynn of Spiritually Unequal Marriage today.

My heart is overflowing with love today.  As I continue to study Ann Spangler's "Praying the Names of God" I've been so blessed as I continue to learn who God truly is.  The focus for this week is God as healer or Yahweh Rophe.

The Lord is opening my eyes and changing my perspective on life. 

I've been a Christian for many years but I believe that I continue to grow in my  understanding and am walking closer with Him now than ever before.  How grateful I am for that growth as He is the One drawing me closer to Him.

In the process ...I've been blessed by love.


Jill of Forever N Ever N Always is the person who began this study and encouraged my participation.  I've been blessed by reading about all she's been learning and sharing.  Thank you Jill!

Blogging has become such a joy in my life.  I've journaled for years but now I can write on Heart Choices and I get to meet so many new friends.

Iris of Grace Alone and Laced with Grace (and originator of Thankful Thursday) has been such a blessing and encourager to me.  Since she lives in Arizona, I've had the privilege of meeting her in person. Love you Iris!

Besides being a blogger, Iris is a fantastic photographer!  She recently completed a photo book and asked for suggestions for a title.  I loved that she involved her readers in this decision.  And guess what?  I was amazed that she chose the title I suggested.  You can read all about it here

Take a look at this front cover.  Don't you just love it?



I'm so proud of you Iris!  And btw, did you know some of Iris' photos are featured in the Exemplify Magazine?  I told you she's good.

I was also blessed by love this past Sunday when I visited with Kathleen of Sassy Granny.  I can't tell you how many fans she has in bloggy land.  I think they were green with envy as so many would love to meet her.  I'm taking advantage of the fact that she lives fairly close to me but will be moving in a few months. :(


I've also been blessed by love through my 'sister' Sonja of bits & pieces.  She wrote about our bloggy relationship here

Sonja's background is also Norwegian.  Her mother was born in Tromso, Norway and her dad was a traveling preacher from the US.  Her married her and brought her back to the States.  There are so many similarities in our families that it is uncanny.  I believe if we traced our roots back, we would be related. 

I know for sure that we are sisters in Christ though.  And I have to say that her sister Carol Joy is such a blessing to me too even though she's not a blogger.  She is so kind to visit me on Heart Choices on a regular basis.    I love you both and am so thankful for you.

I love Thankful Thursday, don't you?  God is so good.  I've been blessed by love this week and I'm so grateful that I have a platform from which to share. 

Blessings and love,

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Wednesday's Walk ~ Butchart Gardens



It's Wednesday's Walk Down Memory Lane and I'm linking up with Jenilee of The Goodwin Family.

One of the most beautiful gardens I've visited was the Butchart Gardens on Vancouver Island.  Talk about spring flowers; oh my!   If you love photography, this is a great place to visit.


Our trip to the Pacific Northwest was in June of 1993.  It was a beautiful time of year.  The gardens were  fragrant with the smell of the blossoming flowers. 


Every place we walked there were more gardens and fountains.  Every photo looked like a postcard.

Here's my husband Greg getting some shade under the huge tree.  I don't think I've ever seen so much green.  Remember we live in the desert of Arizona so this was a treat for us.

I was simply overwhelmed by the beauty of the gardens.  So many colors and varieties of plants and flowers.


Doesn't this look inviting? 

OK Debbie ...enough pictures! 
Check out those sunglasses.  After all, it was 1993; lol.
This week I've been focusing on God as Yahweh  Rophe (Healer).  There's something about the beauty of God's creation that inspires me.  I feel so at peace as I gaze at the beauty of His creation.  And to think that heaven will be even more beautiful. 

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In Other Words Tuesday ~ Calvary Love


It's In Other Words Tuesday and Patricia of Typing One-Handed is our host. 

Here is the quote she chose for us this week:


I find it very easy to demonstrate love to people who are kind and loving in response. 

But let me ask you a question and be honest:  Is it hard for you to love someone who:
  • Misunderstands you?
  • Takes you for granted?
  • Makes fun of you?
  • Calls you a Jesus freak?
  • Has adopted a lifestyle that offends you?
  • Always seems to find something wrong with what you say or do?
  • Refuses to receive your love and kindness
Often the hardest people to love are the ones who ...need love the most.

We are to love our Christian brothers and sisters.  But after all, there are some who may rub us the wrong way at times. 

And then there are the people who don't yet know Jesus as their personal Savior. 

Jesus had to deal with betrayal, humiliation, whippings and nailed to a Cross to die.

Stephen was stoned to death as a martyr and yet his last words were "forgive them ...they know not what they do".


John 3: 16 doesn't say that God loved some of the people of the world.  No, He loved each one of us even before we were saved.  That's why He sent His Son to die for our sins and take the penalty upon Himself. 

It was done out of love.

As I consider this, is it so hard to allow Him to work in and through me and ...love others?

I pray that the Lord would give me eyes to see beyond the difficult behavior I may find so offensive.  Instead I pray that I would remember how much Jesus loves me and extend that love to others. 


QuickEdit

Praying the Names of God ~ Yahweh Rophe



I'm continuing to study Ann Spangler's book "Praying the Names of God" and linking up with Jill of Forever N Ever N Always.  If you've not joined in, it's not too late.  For me, there's nothing like growing in my understanding of who God truly is that puts my life into proper perspective.

This week we're focusing on God as Yahweh Rophe; the Lord who heals. 

God was first introduced as healer in Exodus 15:26:
If you listen carefully to the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the LORD, who heals you.

Ann wrote that:
  • God is the source of all healing 
  • The New Testament reveals Jesus as the Great Physician
  • Jesus is the healer of body and soul
  • His miracles point to the Kingdom of God
She ended Monday's devotional with a prayer that ended with this:
I pray that you will heal whatever is bitter in our lives, transforming us in ways that glorify you.  Amen.

I don't know about you but my first thought about healing is people who are physically sick or have a disease.  So many people seek healing for cancer, chronic and disabling diseases or simply a cold or the flu. 

But have you ever considered bitterness a disease? 

Think about this.  It starts out with a root of bitterness but over time it can fester and grow.  Eventually, it has the potential to manifest itself in a variety of ways including depression, chronic fatigue, and many phyiscal symptoms.

This morning as I sat outside on the patio reading my Bible and praying, I asked the Lord to search my heart and reveal any areas of bitterness that may be creeping in.  I hate to admit this but I wrote three pages in my journal. 

My seeds of bitterness were small.  But God revealed to me that He can transform those seeds of bitterness into sweetness, if only I will entrust them to Him. 

I've experinced many changes recently.  Most of them are changes that I didn't ask for nor desire.  But I felt that I was adapting well and trusting God.  I've lost much in the way of material possessions but I realize they are only temporary anyway.  And everything I have is really the Lord's.


As the Lord revealed a few things to my heart that were personal, I asked Him to heal me of this bitterness.  I layed down everything and everyone at His feet.  And I know that true healing is taking place within me.

As bitterness is replaced with sweetness, He reminded me of several things this morning:

I always wanted to grow roses.  Last month when we first moved in to this house, there was a dying rose bush.  I've fertilized it and watered it, and now look at the beautiful red roses.  The Lord knew my favorite color of rose is RED!  How like God to bless me like this!


I couldn't resist showing you these buds.  Each day I look to see the new blossoms.  I'm new at this so any rose growing tips will be appreciated.

I am blessed with bunnies and lots of them!  They run so fast.  Greg always describes me as fast as a bunny since I tend to move quickly.  Well, the yard is often filled with rabbits and even jack rabbits.

And talk about fruit trees!  The bunnies look for fruit that has fallen off the trees.  I've been told I need to pick up all of the fruit that falls but there's lots of it and I know some of the wildlife gets to it before me.  Oh well ...

I now have a place to plant a vegetable and herb garden.  I've never done this before so I may have to ask my friend Lylah of LA MAISON ET LE JARDIN for some gardening advice.  She lives in the Phoenix area and owns her own Cactus Farm.  And btw, we found out that her husband and I graduated from the same high school in Lindenhurst, NY. And we were just one year apart. It truly is a small world after all!

My SIL Amy gave us this gift of a tomato planter.  I plan to try it out as I love fresh tomatoes.  I have the best recipe for gazpacho which is a perfect cold summer soup.

The Lord God Yahweh Rophe also reminded me of the blessing of ...quietness. 

No wonder I can now hear the symphony in my backyard.  The birds sing and chirp back and forth.  I hadn't realized how noisy a well maintained gated community can be.  After all, the loud blowers were constantly working to keep everything well trimmed and looking beautiful.  It may not be as pretty and manicured here but I love the new sounds. 

The two sounds that most frequently interrupt the quietness here are the sound of jets from the nearby Air Force base and the sound of an ambulance taking someone to the nearby hospital. 

The jet sound reminds me of the reality of war and yet I'm so thankful for the young men and women who are protecting our country in the military. 

The ambulance sound reminds me that life is fleeting and temporary.  This isn't my real home.  I'm just passing through and I don't want to waste my life on bitterness.

The Lord also moved me closer to a blogging friend.  Kathleen of Sassy Granny is awesome!  She is becoming a close friend and yesterday I spent some time with Kathleen and her husband Terry.  We went to church together and heard a wonderful sermon.  Afterwards we stopped by Paradise Bakery for a coffee and muffin.

So thank you Yahweh Rophe for revealing what was in my heart.  Thank you for the healing that only You can provide. 

I so want to be transformed into someone that can be useful for His purposes.  And I want to glorify God during my time on this earth.

Blessings and love,

QuickEdit

The Beauty of Nature


I’ve become more aware of the beauty of nature lately. I can think of two reasons for my increased awareness.

Photography has opened my eyes. I find myself constantly on the lookout for photo opportunities. Sometimes it’s a sunset or a rainbow or new bud that has opened on my rose bush. For far too long, I took these things for granted.

Reading and studying Scripture has also opened my eyes to the beauty of nature. As I consider that God created the heavens and the earth, I’m more awed by the beauty He created.

Head over to Laced with Grace to continue reading ....Laced With Grace



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