Heart Choices: 2010-07-18 -->

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Finding Freedom

What does freedom mean to you? 

Some people think it means being free to do whatever they want to do.  They don't want anyone to tell them what to do and don't want to answer to anyone. 

That can be a recipe for disaster as someone always seem to get hurt in the process.

Christ came to set us free.

As believers, we are free from the condemnation of sin.  Jesus paid the penalty for our sins.  I'm so grateful to know that I am already declared righteous before God.

But I still have to live in this world and deal with my flesh. 

I want the acts of service that I do to come from a heart of love.  I want my motive to be pure and not feel pressured by others or to please others. 

However, it can be so easy to say yes to so many good things. 

Have you ever agreed to serve on a church committee or felt pressured to volunteer?  After all, if you say no who will do it? 

But there are times when we can become so busy serving that we longer take the time to be still before Him.  We  may find that all of those good things weren't what He called us to do after all.  And wouldn't it be sad to find that we missed out on His best for us because we were simply too busy?

I love to  read from a devotional called Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence by Sarah Young.
I can't tell you how many times these writings have touched my heart.
Here's an excerpt from the July 22 message:

"Find freedom through seeking to please Me above all else.  You can have only one Master.  When you let others' expectations drive you, you scatter your energy to the winds.  Your own desire to look good can also drain your energy.  I am your Master, and I do not drive you to be what you are not.  Your pretense displeases Me, especially when it is in My "service."  Concentrate on staying close to Me at all times.  It is impossible to be inauthentic while you are focusing on My Presence."

How about you?  Do you ever feel so overwhelmed with activities?  Have you ever felt resentful that you always seem to be the one who voluteers?  What is the motive for your busyness?

Many people are involved in activities and ministries they are truly called to do.  But I think it's important to examine our motives. 

I hope this gives each one of us something to think and pray about, including me.


Thankful Thursday ~ Encouragement

It's Thankful Thursday and we're linking up with Lynne at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
It really helps me to write these Thankful Thursday posts because I'm on the lookout all week.  It's really a matter of perspective.  And there's always something to be grateful for.

I'm so thankful for:
  • Meeting my blogging friend Barbie of My Freshly Brewed Life and her two friends
  • Receiving a beautiful Norwegian cookbook from Sonja of bits & pieces and her sis Carol Joy
  • The opportunity to have lunch with my prayer partner Helen
  • A surprise airline ticket from my friend Terri to attend my niece's wedding in Florida 
  • The air conditioning has worked all week without problems
  • Spending time online with Joan Davis of The Beauty in His Grip (I recommend that you follow this one)
  • Receiving an email from Martha, my neighbor at my previous home.  She wrote that I was missed and invited me to attend their monthly coffees.
  • My Uncle Bob sent me a precious note tellling me he was proud to be my uncle.  It doesn't get any better than that.
You know encouragement is a wonderful gift.  And I've been blessed by so many of you and I really appreciate that. 

Iris of Grace Alone and Laced with Grace and I had the opportunity to speak on the phone this past weekend.  Just hearing her voice was an encouragement to me.  

So take those opportunities to encourage one another.  Life is hard enough.  When we join together and pray for one another and love one another ...it makes life sweeter and more enjoyable.

Blessings and love,


Cooking and Love

What does LOVE look like in your home?

Love is in the air at my home again this week!  I was on the lookout for it. 

This is Greg and my dad.  Another reason ...love is in the air.

It's really been a very challenging season for Greg and me. 

But cooking and love?

Greg took the time and effort to make me several meals this week.  He's so creative and never uses recipes.  He's the master of taking leftovers and whipping up the most tasty food you can imagine.  A little of this, a little of that ...and yummy!

On Saturday morning, he made me breakfast in bed with eggs, pancakes and sausage.  I know it's not the lowest calorie meal but it was made with love

Greg loves to use the crockpot because he can really gook it all up.  He made a fabulous stew that will last for a few more meals.  Thank you honey!

Love was also demonstrated as Greg sat with me and watched my favorite movie for the upteenth time.  It is "Chariots of Fire".

Whenever it gets to my favorite line in the movie, Greg looks over at me when I say "God made me fast.  And when I run ...I feel His pleasure."

Now, I have to reciprocate and watch all of the Rocky movies with Greg.  But I guess that's part of LOVE, isn't it?

If you have any stories of love to share this week, link over to Joanne at One So Blessed. 

Blessings and love,


Heart Renovation

I was born with a broken heart. 

It wasn't the kind you may be thinking.  I had a congenital heart defect called an atrial septal defect.  It's a hole between the two upper chambers of the heart.  Mine was about the size of a fifty cent piece.

Today with all of the advances in technology it's quite easy to repair, even on infants.

But in 1953 when I was born, it was a different story.  After all, the heart lung machine had only been in use for a short time.  The risk of complications and death was quite high.  So the cardiologist told my parents to keep me quiet and wait until the technology advanced and improved.

It's weird but I always knew I was different.  Since I wasn't able to run and play with the other children, I spent much time alone.  In my childish mind, I tried to imagine how the surgeon would eventually repair that hole in my heart.

My heart was fixed in two different ways in 1960.

On July 20, 1960 (50 years ago today), I had open heart surgery at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York City.  I was seven years old.  The surgery was a success and I'm in excellent health today.  I have no restrictions on my activities.

This is Dr. James Malm (my heart surgeon) and me when I was 18 years old.

I had a more permanent fix in my  heart that same year. 

I prayed to received Jesus Christ as my personal Savior.  Mrs. Anderson, my grandparents' pastor's wife asked me to go for a drive with her several days before my surgery.  She explained why I needed Jesus and if I had any questions.  I'd heard the Gospel before and understood. I prayed at that time to invite Him into my heart.

However, it wasn't really until about 15 years ago that I really surrendered my heart to Him.  I was in desperate need of a heart renovation in my attitude and actions.  Instead of simply holding a free ticket to heaven, I wanted to grow in my relationship with my Abba Daddy.  I wanted the God sized hole in my heart to be filled to overflowing with His love.  And that could only happen when I gave myself fully to Him. 

He could then work in me and through me as He began to change me ...from the inside out. 

I'm so thankful for this heart renovation that continues to this day.  He teaches me lessons and prunes me.  The trials and challenges in my life are more opportunities to trust Him and to allow Him to conform me to His Son's image.  My suffering is never wasted.

How about you?  Is your heart pliable?  Are you willing to continue to grow?  Or do you feel like you've already arrived and are comfortable where you are? 

I believe the Lord will continue to peel away those layers from our heart but we must cooperate. 

So, are  you willing to allow Him to do His work in you?

Blessings and love,


A Bloggy Meeting

Have you ever met any of your blogging buddies in person?  I've had the pleasure of meeting about a dozen over the course of my blogging life and I have to say ...I've never been disappointed.

Today was no exception!  Guess who was crazy enough to be vacationing in Phoenix in the middle of summer? 

Besides having the pleasure of meeting Barbie for breakfast at Paradise Bakery (a favorite of mine), I also got to meet two of her closest friends Laura and Kristin.  So now I have two more wonderful friends.

When the three of them arrived, I had to laugh.  The atmosphere in Paradise Bakery changed.  There was laughter and smiles and hugs all around.  Who would have guessed it was the first time we met?

Barbie is from Northern California where it's much cooler right now.  Kristin moved to Phoenix several years ago, so she and Lauren came to visit her. 

I loved each one of these gals!  There's something about Christian sisters.  We all had something wonderful in common ...our personal relationship with the  Lord. 

This is a photo of Barbie and me.

This is Laura and Kristin. 

Of course, Barbie and I had to share some of what we've learned through blogging and the relationships we've formed.  We promised to email each other some of our favorite blogs we often visit. Of couse, now I will be Facebook friends with Laura and Kristin.  I'm so glad Kristin lives locally as I hope we get to visit again.  And as I was sharing during our conversation, Laura stopped and started praying for my concern.  I was so touched by this!

I think the Lord knew that I could use a dose of real life bloggy love today.  And that's exactly what I received. 

I encourage you to visit Barbie at My Freshly Brewed Life

How about you?  Have you met any bloggy friends in real life?

Blessings and love,


My Norwegian Sisters

If you've followed Heart Choices for any time now, you probably know that I'm Norwegian.  Yes, I was born in the US and so were my parents.  That's my mom in the photo above.  But both sets of grandparents were immigrants from Norway. 

There's even a town north of Trondheim that is called Sumstad, which is my maiden name. 

It was common to take the name of the town as a last name when people left their homeland to go to the US.  That's what my grandfather did.

Some of you may know Sonja from her blog bits & pieces ...

Her mother was born in Tromso, Norway.  We've discovered so many commonalities between us that we just know we must be related. 

I'm originally from Long Island and Sonja's father once pastored a church on Long Island.  Hmm ...

Sonja and her sister Carol Joy are like adopted sisters to me.  They recently traveled to Tromso, Norway where Carol Joy's daughter got married.  You must stop and visit Sonja's blog to see the photos.

Much to my surprise, I had a special package sent to me.  Sonja and Carol Joy bought a Norwegian cookbook for me and signed the inside cover with the most beautiful messages.  I was so touched by their kind words. 

I posed my Norwegian doll next to the cookbook so you could see it.  It will be treasured by me for years to come.

And one day I hope to be able to meet my new Norwegian sisters in person.  Thank you Sonja and Carol Joy.

Blessings and love,

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