Heart Choices: 2010-05-02

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Mother's Day



Mother's Day is a time to celebrate moms.  But I know that it's not always a fun holiday for everyone. 

For some women, it's a painful reminder of their inability to have the children they dreamed about.  Others may be missing their moms who have since died.  And I  know that some women don't always hear from their children on Mother's Day; a painful reminder of challenging relationships. 

Those Hallmark moments aren't always as perfect ...as they seem.


My mom was beautiful, inside and out.  But she died a little over five years ago so I miss her greatly.

I also received news on Thursday that her only brother Ivar died after a battle with mesothelioma.  I was so glad that I had the opportunity to speak with him several months ago.  At that time, he was his usual joking self.  Uncle Ivar would have celebrated his 84th birthday on Sunday, Mother's Day.

Here is my Uncle Ivar with his youngest son James at Thanksgiving.  It's funny about timing as just this past Wednesday I wrote about my cousins (they are Uncle Ivar's children).  If you missed it,  you can read it here.

There may be reasons we don't always understand for why things happen.  I always dreamed of the white picket fence and a loving husband and children.  Well, I am so thankful for my loving husband Greg but the children part didn't happen.  I guess I can always put up a white picket fence, right? :)

A wise and very thoughtful blogging friend and sister sent me a precious email earlier in the day.

Debbie:

I read Lisa Shaw's recent blog and it SO reminded me of YOU! When she made mention of all the mentors and tireless helpers and Bible teachers, etc., as 'mothers' also!! You may not have a child of your own, but I know as I'm sitting here, that you have blessed the lives of so many of our children, and I just want to thank you for that. For my own 3... it was often the 'Debbie's' along the way that have taught, loved, and reinforced what I as a mother want so much for each of them.

Thank you Debbie! Remember, like my mom always said... "God keeps the records", and not one of the things you have done for these little ones, as unto Him, have gone un-noticed.

I love you sister!
Sonja

Sonja of bits and pieces, you have blessed me abundantly with your kind words.  You reminded me to focus on how good God is.  He allowed me to teach little children in Bible Study Fellowship.  He gave me awesome nieces and nephews to spoil.  He provided me with great friends who shared their children with me. 


I always want to bloom in adversity.  Instead of saying 'why me' I want to say 'YES GOD' to whatever His plans are for me.

And I do want to wish all of you moms a Happy Mother's Day!

Blessings and love,

QuickEdit

Then Sings My Soul Saturday ~ Be Still



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

The first time I heard this song was on my friend Jill's Forever N Ever N Always

Kari Jobe has such a soothing voice.  The lyrics of this song spoke to my heart this week.  I hope you will take the time to be still today. 

Focus on who God is. 

No matter what you may be going through ...
                                                      ...or what emotions you may be feeling

Be still and ...trust God.


Happy Saturday!

Blessings and love,

QuickEdit

Thankful Thursday ~ Freedom



It's Thankful Thursday and I'm a bit late in posting today.  But better late than never, right?  I'm linking up with Laurie at Women Taking a Stand.

Today is the National Day of Prayer.  How thankful I am to be able to celebrate this day with prayer, despite a US District Judge in Wisconsin's attempt to declare it unconstitutional. 

I believe our country needs prayer.  As Christians, we can pray for our country and government leaders.

God is sovereign but He gives us the privilege to come before Him in prayer.  How awesome is that?

As I read this Scripture from 2 Chronicles, what stands out to me besides the act of praying is ..."and turn from their wicked ways". 

Today I listened to Blog Talk Radio and Kristen Schiffman was our host.  You may know her as the editor-in-chief of Exemplify Magazine.  She was teaching a series called "Spick & Span ~ Becoming a Woman Who May Scale Mount God" and is based on Psalm 24.

Who may ascend the hill of the Lord?  Who may stand in His Holy Place?  He who has clean hands and a pure heart; who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false.

Kristen talked about living holy lives.  She gave an example of a little boy who was walking through Target being mischievious.  He would knock down things in the aisle like plastic items but knew not to knock down glass items that would break.  It's not unusual for us to reason away our plastic sin items as they don't break like glass.  But sin is sin and over time ...it leaves a mess.
  • Christ's blood through the will of His Father enables us to have clean hands.
  • Christ's blood gives us access to the throne of God. (Eph 3:12)
  • Christ's blood frees us up to serve the Living God. (Hebrews 9:14)
Our actions do matter.  Faith expresses itself through actions.  How thankful I am for that faith that He gives to me.

I have been given the freedom of choice. I can choose to obey God or satisfy my own desires.

This goes right along with what I'm learning in Ann Spangler's "Praying the Names of God".  The focus for this week is on God as a Consuming Fire, a Jealous God. 

God is holy and righteous.  Thankfully, I can come before Him because of the righteousness of Jesus.  He paid the penalty for my sins.  But in response I want to grow in holiness; to see things in light of His standard not the world's or my friends.

God is also a jealous God.  He knows that I will never be satisfied until I return His love passionately.  How often I seek after things that do not satisfy?  But God continues to pursue me.  How thankful I am that He never gives up on me.

Do you take your freedom for granted?

Many who oppose the Gospel may try to take those freedoms away. 

Let's stand together and pursue Godly living. 

Let our actions of love speak to those who do not know our God.

Blessings and love,

QuickEdit

Wednesday's Walk ~ Cousins



It's Wednesday's Walk Down Memory Lane when I link up with Jenilee of the Goodwin Family blog.

This memory is from way back around 1975.  Many of you probably weren't even born yet; lol.

My parents moved to Clearwater, Florida and my cousins came to visit. 

This is Susan and Linda.  They are the daughters of my mother's brother Ivar.  They also have three brothers.  Linda and I practically grew up together as we are only one month apart in age.

Don't laugh and remember it was about 1975 and check out my hair; yikes ...Farrah Fawcett was the rage!

This is my cousin Linda, my younger sister Christine, cousin Susan and yours truly holding Linda's baby Danielle.  

This is a photo of my Grandma and my mom.  My grandparents first moved to Florida and my parents followed several years later. 

Remember Danielle, the little baby I was holding?  She's married and is now a mom of two little girls; Allison and Kristen.  Can you believe how quickly time goes by?

My cousin Susan met her husband while working on a missionary ship.  They have two sons who are grown. 

My cousin Linda has been married to Pastor Ron Braaten since 1973.  Ron's mother and father were in my parents' wedding party in 1950.  Growing up we always attended each other's birthday parties. 

Linda and Ron continue to serve as missionaries in Belize.  Although they finished raising their own children, they have a heart for children and have raised several who needed a home.  I receive email updates and often read that another child needed a home so of course, they say yes.  They are truly serving the Lord.

This photo was taken in the states when their son Jeff performed in an opera.  Let me tell you this guy can sing.  I heard him sing at his sister's wedding.  Jeff is pictured in the orange top.

Life goes by so very quickly!

As I take this walk down Memory Lane, I'm amazed at the amount of time that has passed.  I encourage you not to take those family moments for granted. 

Treasure them in your heart and ...love one another.

Blessings and love,
QuickEdit

Congratulations Julie


Julie Fletcher is my niece.  She is my husband's sister Amy's daughter and she's graduating from high school this year.  As you can see, Julie has artistic talent.  This is a self-portrait that she drew and received outstanding recognition in the Tempe Union High School District Art Show representing Desert Vista High School. 

Julie was accepted at Arizona State University but in a special division of the school.  You might be inclined to think party school when you hear ASU.  But  nothing could be further from the truth in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts.  This is a special school for students who are really serious about their art.

Julie also has a talent for music.  She plays the flute, piccolo and keyboard.  She recently won the Outstanding Senior Girl Award for the Desert Vista Marching Band where she played piccolo for the last four years.  This was based on three attributes:
  • Dedication
  • Attitude 
  • Skill
Julie will probably be embarassed that her Aunt Debbie wrote this blog post about her.  You see, she tends to be a bit shy and doesn't promote herself.  But I think many artistic people are like this.  There is so much that goes on in Julie's creative mind and personally I can't wait to see what will emerge. 

Isn't this the cutest photo?  I love this shot of Julie sitting on her Uncle Greg's lap when she was much younger.  Precious memories!

It will be so exciting to see what God has planned for Julie's life.  As she receives training and guidance in the field of art, I just know ...she will blossom.


Julie, we are so proud of you. 

Congratulations to Julie ~ 2010 Graduate of Desert Vista High School in Phoenix, Arizona.


QuickEdit

Monday Morning Reflections ~ Consuming Fire



I continue to study Ann Spangler's "Praying the Names of God" and link up with Jill of Forever N Ever N Always.

This week our focus is on God as a Consuming Fire who is completely holy and eventually will destroy anything opposed to His holiness.  He is also a Jealous God and asks us for our complete devotion. 


Do not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is jealous, is a Jealous God. Exodus 34:14

What do you think of when you hear the word idol? 

I think of the Old Testament people who built Asherah poles to worship other gods. 

And today I think of the statues of images like Buddah.


Be careful not to forget the covenant of the LORD your God that he made with you;  do not make for yourselves an idol in the form of anything the LORD your God has forbidden.  For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.  Deuteronomy 4:23-23
However, I'm finding out that idols can be anything that you place first in your life above God.  Because God loves me, He cannot endure unfaithfulness.  My relationship with Him is to be exclusive; nothing else should stand in the way.

Last year, I completed a study by Kelly Minter called "No Other Gods".  She dealt with modern day idols.  Now, you may not bow down to graven images.  But think about the things you run to because you think they will give you what you need.

A well behaved family, a loving husband, success, money, fame, a beautiful home, lots of friends, chocolate, alcohol, drugs ...

Our God knows that nothing or no one can satisfy like He can.  He knows how easy it is for us to try to find things to fill us but they don't work or last.  Only God ...

He is the One to be exalted and honored above all.

Ann Spangler wrote a beautiful prayer:
Lord, you are holy beyond my understanding, perfect in a way I cannot perceive.  Help me to catch a glimpse of your glory and to grow more zealous for your name, that I might exalt it by the way I live and the way I love.  Send your refining fire to heal and purge my heart and send your all-consuming love to lead me home.  Amen.
Do you desire to grow in holiness?

Do you have any idols in your life?

These are tough questions if we're being honest with ourselves.  It's too easy to compare ourselves to one another and think we're doing OK.

But think about this. 

We are loved by the one, true living God. 

He is jealous for our love. 

He is holy and perfect. 

How awesome is that?  So, what will our response back be? 

Blessings and love,

QuickEdit
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