Heart Choices: 2010-09-12 -->

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Happy Birthday Katie

Happy Birthday Katie!

Katie is my niece and she lives in Brooklyn, New York.  So, she's away from family today. However, I know she has lots of friends to help her celebrate her special day.  She turns 23 years old.  My, how fast time goes by!

It seems like only yesterday Katie was a little girl.  She always knew exactly how to pose and look so cute.  She was even in a television commercial in the Tampa Bay area once.  What a little actress!

But Katie is all grown up now and still looking so cute!

I love this photo of Katie with Aunt Debbie.

We had so much fun when we went to New York City after her high school graduation.  She loved the city so much she moved there after graduating from beauty school.

Katie has many faces.  I used to call her my Katie bird because she is so free and fun.  She doesn't get upset and excited too often.  She is unusual in that she loves to hear stories from our growing up years.  My brother Steve and sister Chris and I have lots to share and Katie is all ears.  She loves music from the late 60's and 70's.  She loves vintage clothes and peace signs.  She would have fit right in with her parents and my generation.

She can be glamorous or just plain funny!

She loves her mom!

She loves her sister Kristin.

Katie was her sister Kristin's maid of honor recently.

Here she is with her dad, my brother.  Aren't they cute?  She knows her daddy loves her. I kind of think she has him wrapped around her little finger.  :)

Katie, you are so precious to your Aunt Debbie.  I love you so much and wish you a very happy birthday.

I figured Katie would appreciate the Beatles singing happy birthday to her.

Blessings and love,


Friday Photo Flashback ~ 1968

Friday Photo Flashback
I recently was tagged in a photo on Facebook.  That's something that has been so fun as I become reacquainted with friends from so long ago. 

I really love Facebook! 

Pictured left to right is Linda, me, Kathy, Donna, Chris and Christine 

The Lindenhurst High School Twirlers

We were marching in a parade.  Parades were always a big deal growing up in Lindenhurst, New York.  That's on the south side of Long Island in Suffolk County.  Most of the town turned out to celebrate each holiday.

Notice the pizzeria in the background offering 25 cent slices.  A friend also pointed out the telephone number.  That's how it used to be.  We'd call TU 4-6540.  After that prompt, I actually remembered my phone number from that time.

The American flag and the older model cars are seen in the background if you look carefully.

You can hop over to Alicia's blog More Than Words to link up and add your pre-digital photos for Friday Photo Flashback.

Blessings and love,


Faith Barista Jam ~ Unexpected Encouragement

Today I'm joining a Faith Barista Jam. Do you know what that is?

I'll let Bonnie of Faith Barista explain it in her own words:
So, What’s a Faith Barista Jam?

Well, it’s what musicians do — a jam session. It’s free form and imaginative. Everyone’s invited to bring their improvisation to the table.

Instead of talking about scales and riffs, we serve up shots of faith.
The topic Bonnie choose for this week is: Unexpected Encouragement
So grab yourself a cup of java.  It's not too late to join in with us.  Just link up on Faith Barista and share your thoughts.

As many of you know from my previous posts, I've been in a very challenging season. I loved my home and never thought I'd ever move. I was volunteering in Christian ministries like Bible Study Fellowship and serving on the Woman to Woman Ministry Leadership Team for my denomination.  Security and stability are my comfort zone.

But life happens and not always as I plan. My world seemed to turn upside down and there have been lots of changes. We recently moved, sold all of our furniture and most of our personal belongings. But as I'm learning, it's ...another opportunity to trust God. (Psst Jill, I really am learning.)

Today in this Faith Barista Jam, I'd like to write about the unexpected encouragement I receive every day from blogging. I've made so many new friends through this bloggy world.  I've even had the pleasure of meeting many in person.

See if you can pick out any familiar faces in this collage.  There's Lisa Shaw of Sharing Life with Lisa, Melanie Dorsey of The Bella Mella, Mary of Pile of Smiles, Kathleen of Sassy Granny, Sara of Splashin' Glory, Barbie of My Freshly Brewed Life, Marty of A Stroll Thru Life, Donetta of A Life Uncommon, Sherry of Country Wings in Phoenix, Lysa TerKeurst, Charlotte of At Home in Arizona, Iris of Grace Alone, Lori of Lori's Reflections, Michele of Beelieve You Can, Joyce of Sounds of Hope and Jackie of B.I.K.E. with Jackie,  I hope I'm not missing any other bloggers I've met. 

Blogging has been such an unexpected encouragement to me.  I've always journaled and I find blogging is an extension of that.  But I also get to meet fabulous new friends and I love that.

So when life doesn't always seem to be going along as you expect, trust God and appreciate the unexpected encouragement you recieve along the way.

Blessings and love,

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BSF Headquarters in San Antonio

I had the opportunity to visit the headquarters of Bible Study Fellowship several years ago.  It's located in San Antonio, Texas and that just so happens to be where one of my BFF lives.  So, when I was visiting Jamie and her family we stopped by BSF headquarters. 

Since I'd served as a BSF Children's leader for seven years, I was looking forward to this visit.  The grounds are beautiful and everything is so well taken care of.  Jamie and I came to be friends through BSF.  Her daughter Ellie was in my class when she was 3 years old. 

BSF has a huge printing press.  It's so interesting to see how this works.  We were given a tour of the facility and I was able to see our lessons being printed.  Almost all of the work is done by volunteers.  In fact, people come from all over the country to spend time volunteering at headquarters.  I once met a woman who told me she volunteered every year in the kitchen.  Her husband paid for her trip as her birthday present and she loved it.

This is a walk down memory lane.  I believe this might have been 2005.  As I see Jamie's son Braden looking so young, I had to laugh.   

Jamie sent me this photo of Braden this morning and ...he's driving.

How fast times goes by!

Hop over to the Goodwin Family blog to participate or visit other blogs taking that walk down memory lane.

Blessings and love,


In Other Words ~ Godly Friend

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

Patricia choose the following quote for us to write about:

When dealing with a friend who is going through problems and challenges, it can be tempting to just go in  and try to fix things for her.  But I believe that in the midst of our trials, there are important lessons to be learned.  So jumping in to fix them isn't always the best answer.

I've been going through a long season of challenges.  These are challenges I'd prefer not to have to deal with.  And right now, they seem to be unending.  Some friends don't know what to say so they avoid you.  Others feel they have to give just the right advice and when they leave I feel worse.

And then there's Kathleen of Sassy Granny .  We've had the pleasure of meeting in person and spending time together on a number of occasions.  That is until she moved back to the Seattle area.  However, she's just a phone call away and I find it so easy to talk to her.  She's a good listener and will give me feedback but doesn't take over and tell me what to do. 

I noticed that everytime I called Kathleen or we spent time together discussing things, she always ended our time together in prayer.  She didn't have all the answers but she knew where to point me to; Jesus.

In fact, I sent her an email thanking her for doing that.  And here was her response:

There were so many days when I was a younger believer that He was my last thought (when all else failed).  Life brought me many trials, enough so that I had to lean on Him first lest I die of heartbreak.  I forget sometimes ... then I remember again.  He is faithful, and I am so honored to honor Him. 
It's a lesson for me to learn.  Run to the One who has all the answers.  He knows what I need better than me.

Blessings and love,


Preparing the Bride

Laced With Grace
Today I'm over at Laced with Grace.  What am I writing about?  I'm glad you asked...

Since I had such a wonderful time at my niece Kristin's wedding, I realized there were spiritual lessons to be learned.  Brides take such time, care and attention to the wedding preparations.  There are detailed arrangements that must be made for the menu, the table setting, the choosing of the bridal gown and getting pretty for the big event.

Kristin and Kevin made a beautiful couple.  I couldn't resist sharing a few photos of their wedding in my post.  And just so you know, I have lots more pictures.  :)

So, hop over to Laced with Grace ...if you will.

Blessings and love,


A Makeover of the Heart

Are you ready for a makeover?  I don't know about you but when I hear the word makeover, I think of a beauty makeover or a home makeover. 

Traci Berta of Thirsty for Him is leading a Bible study entitled "A Makeover of the Heart".  This type of makeover is different.  It's a ...transformation of the heart

You're invited to join in by linking here

I've had much experience with heart surgery.  I had open heart surgery to correct a congenital heart defect when I was seven years old.  I also worked as a cardiovascular nurse specialist for 25 years.  There was a time when I took photos within the operating suite during the heart procedure.

It's amazing when you see all that's involved to perform a surgical makeover of the heart.

The Bible speaks much about our heart.

Free Scripture Tags by Edie at Rich Gifts Graphics & Blog Design
Traci invites us to allow God to perform a complete "heart transplant". 

I know my heart has a few layers that have formed to help keep myself from being hurt.  I also know that in my flesh, there are areas that need attention. 

How thankful I am though that I received a new heart when I became a born again believer in Jesus Christ.  However, I want to grow in my faith and open my heart up fully to Him.

Traci gave us several questions to ponder:

What are the desires of my heart?

Read what Ezekiel 36:25-28 says:
I will sprinkle clean water on you and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols.  I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a  heart of flesh.  And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.  You will live in the land I gave your forefathers; you will be my people, and I will be your God.
I want to be transformed and allow God to remove the layers of my heart so ...I can love more.

I also want to grow in my trust and to learn to obey Him right away.

Traci has a worksheet that can be downloaded so you can participate and answer the questions.  I encourage you to do so.  This is the prepping for surgery part of the journey towards "A Makeover of the Heart". 

Just as heart surgery takes much preparation, we need to prepare our hearts.  I want to allow God to do His work on my heart.

Blessings and love,

Do You Want to Study the Bible?

Do you want to study the Bible? 
According to Isaiah 40:8, the Word of God endures.  The things of this world will fade.  Look at how many people are losing their jobs and material possessions. 

In the midst of economic turmoil, where does your source of help come from?

By studying the Bible you can:
  • Learn about Jesus and how much He loves you.
  • Store up treasures that last
  • Listen to God speak into your heart
  • Grow in holiness
  • Have more intimacy with God as you spend time with Him
  • Learn how to live the Christian life
  • Understand prophecy and the signs of the times
If you are new to studying the Bible, I'm amazed at how many good Bible studies there are and ...for free.  We live in a nation that has been blessed with the freedom to worship how we want and when we want.  Many countries do not have that freedom.

I want to share some information wtih you about a Bible Study program that is worldwide.  It's called Bible Study Fellowship and you can be in different parts of the world and still be on the same page.  There are classes in Singapore, Paris and all across the United States.

I completed all seven studies through BSF several years ago.  But now, BSF has introduced a new study on the book of Isaiah. 

So, count me in!

If you don't know where BSF is offered in your area, you can click on this link to find a class that is close to you.  There are day classes and night classes. And btw, there are a few men's classes.  If you have children, there are programs for them too.  I taught for seven years in the children's program of BSF and what a blessing it was.

Who wouldn't want to be taught by one of these two ladies?  Marlene (on the left) is the teaching leader for the Phoenix women's night class.  Julie is the teaching leader for the Phoenix women's day class.

Julie's BSF class is held on Tuesday beginning at 9 am.  If you have a child under the age of five, there's a class for them too.  Even babies are welcome now.  The children are taught the same lesson the moms learn but on their level.  The goal is discuss the lessons learned with your child during the week.

Marlene's BSF class is held on Monday nights.  In this class, school age children are invited to attend.  They meet in a church in the west valley just off the 101.  It begins at 7 pm.  All of the classes in total last two hours. 

There is also a Scottsdale women's day class.  This is the one I attended in the past.  However, this year I will attend the evening women's class since it is closer to where I'm now living and the time is better for me.

Even if you don't live in the Phoenix area, the same program has been established all across the world.  I love it because when I traveled, I knew I could find a BSF class wherever I was going and still be on the same lesson.

I can't wait to get started tonight in the book of Isaiah.  If you have any questions, please feel free to email me or leave a comment below.

Blessings and love,

A Grateful Heart

My heart is overflowing with gratefulness right now.  Contrary to my human understanding, God's timing is always perfect.  Have you ever prayed and prayed and see no obvious anwer?

I know I have.  But I tend to look at things from my human perspective and not through ...my eyes of faith. 

Faith takes TRUST. 

And that's an area of life where I've struggled.  But I'm learning an important life lesson through this season. 

God is faithful!

Recently, I wrote about how I had gained some weight. 

When we moved, I sold our treadmill and other exercise equipment.  The weather has been so hot in Phoenix this summer.  So I didn't go outside to walk.  I was amazed at the difference not exercising has made in my post menopause body.  I absolutely need to have exercise a part of my daily regimen.  Why?
  • I feel better.
  • I sleep better.
  • I have more energy.
  • It helps with depression.
  • My clothes begin to fit better.
I could go on and on but you get the message:

Exercise is good for us.

I believe the Lord used a friend and her young son to totally bless me on Saturday.  The doorbell rang.  By the time I got to the door and peered out, nobody was there. However, there was something that was left behind on my doorstep.

A treadmill and two bags of groceries!

I was shocked and tears appeared quickly.  It was an answer to prayer.  Also included in the package was an envelope with a $50 gas card. 

I've been so humbled as we've gone through this challenging time.  And sometimes the ones who are used by God are people that surprise us. 

I'm pretty sure I know who came bearing gifts on Saturday morning.  Although no mention of name was given, D and V ...thank you from the bottom of my heart.  You will never know fully how grateful and thankful I am.  And I know you are teaching V many important life lessons.

Blessings and love,

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