Heart Choices: 2010-09-19

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Praise You in this Storm



It's Then Sings My Soul Saturady and I'm linking up with Amy of Signs, Miracles and Wonders.

This past month I participated in a 31 day commitment to Praise the Lord in this Moment at eLisa's Extravagant Grace.


Extravagant Grace

What a wonderful experience that was!  Despite the storms in life, we can still praise the Lord in this moment.  It was a good exercise for me and one I plan to continue. 

In the house where we are temporarily living, I strategically tacked up a small plaque above the toilet.  Here's what it says:

Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass
It's about learning to dance in the rain.
 
Not a bad place to post something you want to remember.  My husband Greg has even begun talking about learning to dance in the rain.  I guess guys have a better view.  :)

I had to post this Casting Crowns song for today.  What a good reminder for me and you~

No matter what's going on in your life, there's always something to praise God for.  Can you name a few?

Blessings and love,

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Flashback Friday ~ Books



I know I'm a bit late to link up for Flashback Friday

But when I finally noticed that the topic for today was BOOKS; well I just had to write a post.  I'm joining Linda of Mocha with Linda.

I love to read.  My love for reading began as a small child.  I had a congenital heart defect and couldn't keep up physically with other children my age.  My mom used to read books to me while I lay my head in her lap.  I could visualize every scene so clearly. 

(This building was the Lindenhurst Library when I was a kid.)

When I could read for myself, I would go to the Lindenhurst Public Library every Saturday and take out a handful of books. I would position myself comfortably in my bed and spend the day reading.  My mom used to interrupt me and encourage me to go outside to get some fresh air and play.  She used to tell me I was going to ruin my eyes because I was known to get so involved in my reading that I didn't realize it was getting dark.  :)  But I actuallly had 20/20 vision until after the age of 50.  Somehow those reading glasses now come in handy.

I remember reading Grace Livingston Hill books.  I discovered them one summer when I stayed with my Nana and Grandpa.  They had most of her books.  They were probably left by my Aunt Ruth after she moved out to California.  But I could immerse myself in reading these books.  To this day, I still remember one book where the main character found her long lost father and brothers.  She didn't reveal herself but came by the house each day and cleaned and prepared a warm meal for them.  The love she demonstrated still sticks with me.

Another favorite was the Nancy Drew book series by Carolyn Keene.  I lived across the street from the canal and the boatyards.  After reading these mysteries, I'd often go exploring the boatyards looking for a possible mystery.  Nancy Drew always seemed to stumble on crimes so I thought maybe it would happen to me.  It never did!
I never owned any of these books though. They were usually borrowed or taken out from the library.  It wasn't until I was much older and married that I began to seriously buy books. 

If I look back and see an area of spending weakness, for me it would be BOOKS.

This photo is just one side of my book closet.  I know it's ridiculous but at that time I could well afford them. And I used to loan my books out all the time to others.  When we had to move, I had no room to store my prized books so I sold and donated many.

I read most of the classics in high school including "Catcher in the Rye" and "To Kill a Mockingbird".  I didn't appreciate the classics at the time because once I was in high school, I got very involved socially.  Reading went out the window for a number of years as I discovered 'boys', twirling and high school dances.  :)

As an adult, I started reading many of the classics again and had a much greater appreciation for them.  Ken Boa has a great reading program that includes many Christian classics including authors like C.S. Lewis.  I used to subscribe to a monthly tape where he discusses the works of great authors.

My husband bought me a Kindle a few years ago in the hopes that I would read all of my books on it.  I love the fact that if I travel I don't have to carry many books with me like I used to do.  I enjoy the Kindle and the books are cheaper.  But there's still something special about the feel of turning the pages of a real book.

How about you?  Do you enjoy reading?

Blessings and love,

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Friday Photo Flashback ~ 1963


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

The whole idea behind this meme is to dig out those old pre-digital photos. 

I attended my niece Kristin's wedding over Labor Day weekend in Florida.  I spent a few nights with my sister Christine and found out she had most of our old family photo albums.  So I convinced Chris to part with some of them so I could scan them online.

I think you might be able to see the date May 1963 on the top of this photo.  However, most of you probably weren't even born in 1963. :)


Pictured is my little sister Christine, me and my older brother (by 18 months) Steve in our backyard in Lindenhurst, New York.

The story behind this photo is that we got two bunny rabbits as a gift from my parents.  I think the bunny in the picture is named Suzanne.  My dad built a cage and we were supposed to feed them and take care of them. It was a novelty at first  but then we got busy.  I'm ashamed to say that the bunnies weren't around too long.  :(

To this day, my brother Steve takes care of all the animals in his house. They  have rabbits and birds and a dog named Harley.  Steve is probably making up for the rabbits we lost; lol. But he always feeds them and makes sure they are well taken care of.

Maybe you have some old pre-digital photos you'd care to share?

Blessings and love,
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Letting Go of Worry


FaithBarista_Jam
It's time for another Faith Barista Jam!  This week the topic that Bonnie of Faith Barista chose is:

Letting Go of Worry

Hmm ...did somebody tell Bonnie that my theme for 2010 is ...trust and obey?

As many of you know, I struggle with worry.  All of the 'what ifs' and 'what's going to happen now' and 'what am I going to do if'.  I think you get the general idea.

But we are told in Scripture that we are not to worry.  If we trust God, we will be provided for.  Now provided for doesn't necessarily mean all of our wants.  It means our needs.  And who better to know our needs than the God who created us and sees everything that impacts us.

I love how God uses simple illustrations for me to learn important spiritual truths.  As I was sitting on the patio this morning having my quiet time, I noticed many hummingbirds.  They were looking for breakfast.  It's so fun to watch them as their wings flap so quickly.  I found this short video on YouTube to illustrate.


I don't think the hummingbirds wake up thinking 'oh where will we get our food for today' or 'if we can't find food we may die'.  They simply go about their business for this day.

Free Scripture Tags by Edie at Rich Gifts Graphics & Blog Design
Edie of Rich Gifts
The reality is that if I trust God and believe His Word, I can ...let go of worry.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
eLisa's Extravagant Grace
And the end result will be ...HOPE, JOY and PEACE.


Google images

"In repentance and rest is your salvation,
in quietness and trust is your strength"
Isiah 30:15
Now that's something I want to have.  How about you?

Blessings and love,
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Random Dozen



I decided to join in with Linda of Second Cup of Coffee for Random Dozen.  A few of her  questions were related to fall.  And since I live in Phoenix, Arizona it doesn't yet feel like fall.  It's hot!  So, maybe I can pretend.  :)

1. Have you, or has someone close to you, ever won an award for anything?

    As a matter of fact, I have.  I was the class valedictorian when I graduated from elementary school.  I don't know if they award them anymore but I had to give a speech to the graduating class. 

    I won four pens for speeches I gave in a public speaking program at Dale Carnegie.

    I was the Junior Prom Queen in my high school in 1970. Can you tell that's me at the top of the stairs?  I was also crowned Lindenhurst Centennial Queen for my hometown celebration.

2. Who is the nearest relative to you who has served in the US Military?

      My brother was in the Navy and served during the time of the Vietnam War.  My second cousin Ken was in the Army and spent time in Vietnam.

Cousin Ken, my brother Steve and my dad

3. Share something that stirs the patriotic spirit in you.

    I get tears in my eyes when I hear our national anthem.  I'm also very touched and thankful when I see soldiers in uniform.

4. Where are you in the birth order in your family? Do you think your "placement" made a difference in your personality?

    I am the second child of three.  My brother is older and my sister is younger.  I'm not the typical middle child though.  Since I was born with a congenital heart defect, I was different from the get go.

5. Name one trait you hope you carry that was evidenced in your parents or grandparents.

    I would have to say ... LOVE!
   
My parents and grandparents were very loving people.  They had a love for others and a love for God.

6. If female, do you prefer wearing a skirt or pants? If male, shirt and tie or polo?

    Definitely pants, although I love dresses for a special occasion.

I used to love wearing dresses!

7. Approximately how many times do you wake during the night? What do you do to go back to sleep?

    In the past, I never woke up during the night.  I slept like a baby the moment my head hit the pillow.  However, I cannot say that these days.  I'm past menopause and I've been under much stress lately.  So, I wake up during the night and toss and turn.  I don't want to wake my husband so I tend to get on the computer and ...blog (just like now).

Thank you Susan!


8. Share a favorite movie quote.

    "I believe God made me for a purpose but He also made me fast.  And when I run I feel His pleasure."  from Chariots of Fire

I have to thank South Lakes Mom for completing that quote correctly.  You see, I wrote this blog post about 1 am when I was groggy.  LOL.


9. What is your favorite Fall candle scent?

    I love the smell of pumpkin.

Paula Deen

10. What is one Fall activity you're looking forward to?

    Cooler weather in Phoenix  ...maybe?  I hope soon.

House Beautiful Photo

11. Tell us about a pleasant surprise that happened to you recently.

    I was surprised by the kindness of dear friends who supplied my need when I least expected it.  Thank you Diane, Sue, Lisa, Linda and the Wild Bunch.  You know who you are!

12. What was it like when you first met your in-laws-to-be?

    Greg took me to meet his mom soon after we first began dating.  He told her I was the one he would marry before he even asked me.  LOL.  I think she was taken back a bit since this was the first she heard of that too.  He took me to meet his dad and I was surprised at how talented he was.  His hobbies included artwork that looked so professional.

Happy Fall to you!

Blessings and love,


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WFW ~ Zephaniah 3:17


Today is Word Filled Wednesday and I'm linking up on Internet Cafe Devotions.

It's hard for me to even imagine that God rejoices over me with singing.  But that's what the Bible says so ...I believe it!

How awesome is our God?

Blessings and love,

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Let's Get Real


It's In Other Words Tuesday and Karen of In Love with J.E.S.U.S. is our host today. 

Karen chose the following quote for us to write about:

"You can't cling to a mask and God at the same time."
~ Dr. Juli Slattery~
Beyond the Masquerade: Unveiling the Authentic You

The first thought I had after reading that quote was:

Let's get real!

Why kid myself? 

God not only sees everything I do but He sees into my heart and sees the reason I do what I do. 

And I'm not talking about excusing behavior here.  I mean that He sees beyond the action ...to the motive. 

And that's what's most important to Him.

We can't hide behind a mask of doing all the "right things".  

Maybe you do a few or all of the following:
  • Go to church every Sunday morning and evening
  • Attend Wednesday night prayer meeting
  • Teach Bible study or attend a group study
  • Do volunteer work
  • Collect food for the food bank
  • Always saying yes to every request without praying about it 
You get the idea.  These are all good things and commendable.  But what is the motive behind your actions?

If you're doing it to be seen by others, that's not the right motive.
If it's out of the outflow of a heart of love for God, well now we're talking.

Hiding behind a mask of good works or perfectionism or always smiling and saying you are fine when your life is falling apart  ...

Is that really being authentic?

Yes, we must be a bit cautious with whom we share.  But I've recently been humbled by admitting I needed help.  How thankful I am for the awesome friends who have given from their heart so generously to me.  If I hid behind my mask of 'everything is just fine', I'd miss out on the blessing of receiving love.

I'd much rather be the one doing the giving.  It's harder for me to receive.  But the Lord provides opportunities for each of these.  After going through trials, we become more sensitive to the needs of others.  I know I will have many opportunities to share with others in the future.

Google images
So I am going to get real and take off my mask.  How about you?

Blessings and love,
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Makeover of the Heart ~ Week 2



I'm continuing the study "Makeover of the Heart" and we're into week two.  You can join in with Tracy over At the Well.  She's got videos and a printable guide for you to complete.  The topic for this week is:

A heart that delights in the Lord


Delight myself in the Lord.  What does that look like?  If I delight in the Lord, I will desire to spend time with Him each day.  I want to give Him the first fruits of my day; a priority.  Sitting at His feet.  Spending time with Him.

As I spend time with the Lord, yielding my heart to Him, He begins to transform me from the inside out.  I've been consistent with this time for many years and I can tell you from experience that it makes a difference in my day.  Even my  husband Greg notices the fruit of the Spirit in my life.  And that's a good thing!

Since I was a little girl, I've had the tendency to be a people pleaser.  As I've matured, I realize I'm not going to please everyone.  And frankly, it can be kind of exhausting attempting to do so.  So I guess I can call myself a ...reformed people pleaser?

Sometimes the desires of my heart can impact other people.  I think of a dog who comes out of the water.  What is the first thing he does?  You guessed it!  He shakes the water off and often someone gets wet.
(Photo Credit: LA Times Blog)
I'm so glad I don't have to figure it out myself.  As a child of God, He knows my heart better than me.  After all, He created me.  He gave me gifts to be used in the body of Christ.  And if I abide in Him, He will reveal them to me.
Google Images
I desire His will.  And I know that His desires for me may not be what the world would expect.  As I've been going through some very challenging times lately, He has opened my eyes to simple blessings.  He is teaching me to love more, to be more patient with others and to trust Him.

Because of past trust issues, I've had the tendency to attempt to protect my heart by not having expectations.  I remember my brother and me saying if we don't count on it, we won't be disappointed. 

I'm learning that people may disappoint but ...God never does.

He is trustworthy.

So, I want to give Him my entire heart.  I am going to pray for His will in my life and that His desires for me would become my desires too.

Blessings and love,

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Romans Road ~ Free Download


I recently participated in a Christian Group Writing Project at Faithful Bloggers

Each contributor had the opportunity to choose a verse from Romans.  The topic was:

 SALVATION

That is such an important topic and I loved contributing to this group effort.

Courtney of Faithful Bloggers compiled our posts into an e-book.  I'm excited to offer it to you. 

Feel free to download your copy and share it with others.
romansroad-gwp



Blessings and love,

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