Heart Choices: January 2011

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Thoughts on "Marley and Me" and Dogs

(Google images)
I watched the movie "Marley and Me" on TV yesterday.  It was the second time I'd seen the movie so I knew what it was all about.  But there's just something about the unconditional love a dog gives to his owners that intrigues me. 

Here's a quote from John Grogan, the author of the book "Marley and Me: Life and Love with the World's Worst Dog":

"A dog has no use for fancy cars or big homes or designer clothes. Status symbol means nothing to him. A waterlogged stick will do just fine. A dog judges others not by their color or creed or class but by who they are inside. A dog doesn't care if you are rich or poor, educated or illiterate, clever or dull. Give him your heart and he will give you his. It was really quite simple, and yet we humans, so much wiser and more sophisticated, have always had trouble figuring out what really counts and what does not. As I wrote that farewell column to Marley, I realized it was all right there in front of us, if only we opened our eyes. Sometimes it took a dog with bad breath, worse manners, and pure intentions to help us see." 

Let me ask you?  Who wouldn't want to be loved like this?  Isn't that something we humans crave and seek from others?  How often we are disappointed?  It's so easy to erect walls around our hearts to prevent more hurt.

After posting on Facebook that I'd seen the movie, there were a variety of responses.  Here are a few of the responses I received:
  • I'm avoiding that movie like the plague.
  • Really dislike tear-jerkers; no thank you.
  • Don't like sad movies.
  • Deb, I watched it with my 13 year old over Christmas break.  I was not ashamed at all, crying in front of her.  Been there, done that with my beautiful Dalmatian Abbey.
As you can see ... a range of responses.

Growing up, we always had a dog.  One vivid memory I have is when our poodle Cherie got hit by a car.  My brother, sister and I were already in bed but my dad woke us up to come downstairs.  He held Cherie in his arms so we could say goodbye to her.  We all cried, including my brother Steve.


My mother-in-law has a cocker spaniel named Barney.  He is her constant companion.  She prepares his meals and they eat dinner together in front of the TV watching the nightly news.  Sometimes she complains about him but it's so obvious that she loves him.  And once more she begins to throw Barney's ball for him to fetch.  Barney is such good company for her.

Opening your heart to love can be painful, even if it is to a dog.

So, I sit in front of the TV with my box of tissues handy.  I loved the movie and I'll probably watch it again sometime.  Even Greg joined me and held my hand as the ending drew close.  And no; I won't tell you the ending but it's well worth any crying involved.

Blessings and love,


Walk a Mile in My Shoes

Have you heard the saying?

Walk a mile in my shoes

It can be difficult to fully understand when a person is going through trials.  It can be easy to judge and offer human solutions.

2 Corinthians 1:3-5 says:

 3 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. 4 He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. 5 For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ.

I've found such wisdom and comfort in the Word.  I've also found that there are many people who have experienced hardship.  They seem to be the ones who understand best.  Someone who has been there and walked a similar path.

I continually pray and thank God for providing me with comfort through the gift of friendship and love.

Have you experienced hardship and heartache?  Is there someone you know who is going through something similar? 

May I encourage you to reach out to them.  Pray for them, send a card or simply listen.  It's a wonderful gift to offer.

Blessings and love,

Friday Photo Flashback ~ 1958

Friday Photo Flashback

I've been looking through old photos and found one that probably dates back to around 1958.  So I decided to join in on Friday Photo Flashback today.
Check out those drapes.  Yikes; what was my mom thinking?  My brother Steve is on the far left next to my grandmother, then my dad and mom and ...me.

Treasure those precious memories!

You can link up with Alicia of More Than Words to share your pre-digital photos.

Blessings and love,


Are You Peaceful?

Are you peaceful?

Our world is anything but ...peaceful.

So how can you have peace when there are:
  • Wars 
  • Terrorism alerts
  • Financial uncertainty
  • Loss of jobs
  • Unsaved loved ones
  • Decrease in home values
  • Cancer
  • Chronic illness
  • Loss of independence
  • Miscarriages
  • Infertility
  • Rebellious children
I could go on and on.  I'm sure you could add a few more to this list too.

So, how can you have peace in the midst of a changing and uncertain world?

Jesus warned us that we would have trouble in this world.  But the beginning of John 16:33 says:
"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace."

We won't find peace in this world.  No amount of money, fame or success will provide the peace that comes from being in relationship with Jesus.

This morning I was reading the January 24th devotional from Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. 

My peace is the treasure of treasures: the pearl of great price.  It is an exquisitely costly gift, both for the Giver and the receiver.  I purchased this Peace for you with My blood.  You receive this gift by trusting Me in the midst of life's storms.  If you have the world's peace -- everything going your way --you don't seek My unfathomable Peace.  Thank Me when things do not go your way, because spiritual blessings come wrapped in trials.  Adverse circumstances are normal in a fallen world.  Expect them each day.  Rejoice in the face of hardship, for I have overcome the world.

How timely was that?  So, I ask again: Are you peaceful?

Blessings and love,


Children of God

All week long I've heard this song on the radio on my way to work.  I love it!  It's by Third Day and it's called "Children of God".  It's such an awesome reminder to me. 

I am a child of God. 

I've linked up with Amy for Then Sings My Soul Saturday.

Happy Saturday!

Blessings and love,


Guest Post on His Love Covers our Sins

Lisa Shaw of Sharing Life with Lisa invited me to write a post for another blog she authors. 

I worked as a nurse for many years.  In fact, I was in the middle of my OB/GYN nurses' training in New York in 1973 when the Roe vs Wade decision allowed abortion to become legal in America. 

Although I've never been pregnant, I have a heart for women who have gone through this procedure in the past.  Many continue to deal with emotional issues related to this decision.  I wrote about my impressions as a student nurse during that time period.  If you like, you can read it on His Love Covers our Sins.


Where Do You Look in Your Trials?

I have the pleasure of hosting "In Other Words Tuesday" this week.  Since I get to choose the quote, I decided to use one from a book I've been reading.  It's called Life is Hard by James MacDonald and it's been such a timely read for me.

So, here's our quote for this week:

I've been going through a tough season of trials.  It seems to be lasting much longer than I'd prefer.  My question to the Lord is often: 'How much longer Lord?'.  But the season still has not ended.

I am an intelligent and often practical woman.  I look at problems and try to solve them.  I pray and ask the Lord for wisdom and guidance, of course. 

Due to a changing business, my husband and I have found ourselves in the position of moving out of our dream home into a temporary house owned by a dear friend.  We are down to one car.  I'm clipping coupons and I stay out of the malls.  It's been a bit discouraging and depressing.  I returned to full time work but the job entails almost two hours of commuting each day.  When I get home, I'm so tired and haven't been exercising regularly. 

So, where do I look in these trials?

I look to the Lord.

It would be easy to complain to friends or even become bitter.  I could fight with my husband and constantly question why.  But I've found that there are important lessons to be learned in the midst of trials.  And only this morning, Greg and I sat and talked about all that we've learned through this difficult time. 

God is sovereign.  He knows all that I'm going through.  And He knows exactly when it will end.  In the meantime, I can tell you that I feel His presence even more so during this challenging time.  When I pray and read His Word, He speaks to my heart.  I have no doubt that He will not allow this time to go on any longer than He deems necessary.

God changes my perspective.  I may see the long commute to work each day.  But He gently reminds me that He has provided me with a job involving little children.  For years, I longed to have children of my own but was unable.  I get to go to work and feel the love of 18 three year olds.  How good is that?
  • When I step onto the playground, I'm greeted with "Oh there's Miss Debbie" and lots of hugs around my legs.  I can't help but smile! 
  • I work with a wonderful teacher who is so easy to get along with.  Heidi and I work hard.  But we get to dance and sing and have fun with the children. 
  • I get lots of exercise between knee bends and running after the children.  I've already lost some weight.
  • Little Evan looked up at me as I was helping him form his letters and said "You're my best friend".  It doesn't get much better than that.
  • Three year old Rachel told me "I love you Miss Debbie".
I don't know where this trial will end up.  But I do know this:

God loves me.

I am learning to look to Him and trust Him every step of the way.

If I hadn't gone through this time of trials, I might be inclined to depend on myself, others or things.  But I know where to look now.  How about you?

I invite you to join in and write a blog post on this quote.  You can link up below.  If you prefer, feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments.

Blessings and love,


Touched by an Angel

"Touched by an Angel" was a popular TV show back in the late 1990's.  Greg and I used to watch it every Sunday evening.  We always loved the part of each show when the angel Monica would tell the person how much God loved them.  John Dye played the part of Andrew, the death angel.  He had such a kind face and was the the one who would take the person to heaven when they died. 
(Photo Credit: MSNBC)
Although I enjoyed the show, I had one problem with it.  They spoke of God's love but never finished the message.  I wanted them to add the Truth.  Yes, God loved them.  He loved them so much He sent His Son Jesus to pay the penalty for their sins.  But they needed to receive that gift personally to receive eternal life when they died.  But this is TV!

I had listened to the song "Testify to Love" in my car this week and had written it down as a reminder to post for "Then Sings My Soul Saturday".  This song was sung by Wynonna Judd in an episode about a little boy named Petey who was dying.

This morning as I was sitting at my computer to write this post, I clicked on KLove.  That's the radio station I often listen to on my way to work.  In the section titled "In the News: Most Clicked Stories", one headline caught my eye.   It read 'Touched by an Angel Star Dies'.  I quickly hit the link and read that John Dye, the actor who played Andrew, died of a heart attack at the age of 47. 

I remembered the trip Greg and I took to San Francisco with my nieces Kristin and Katie.  We were having brunch in a hotel restaurant.  The girls were loading their plates with food when they came running back to our table to tell us that the angel Andrew was there!  It was John Dye who was having brunch with some friends.  They wanted to go up and get his autograph but we didn't want to disturb him.  But I have to say he did have such a sweet face.  How sad that he died at such a young age. 

I was planning to post the Avalon version of "Testify to Love" but changed my mind after reading of John Dye's death.  Here's Wynonna singing in the episode I mentioned.

Blessings and love,


Hosting In Other Words Tuesday Next Week

I will be hosting "In Other Words Tuesday" next week.  This is a great opportunity to share your thoughts on a quote that is chosen by the host (me for this week) and link up together.  It can be short or long.  Put on your thinking caps.  Pray about it.  And then write ...

Here's next Tuesday's quote:

"God loves you.  He loves you so much that He's allowed this trial to push you to the point where you have no choice but to look to Him."
When Life is Hard by James MacDonald

I've been reading When Life is Hard at the suggestion of my good blogging friend Lisa of Lisa Shaw Ministries.  If you've been going through a difficult time lately, this is a great book to read.

So, I encourage you to join in on Tuesday, January 18.  I'll have a linky up and ready to go.  See you then.

Blessings and love,


Training Children

Training children is something I'm learning all about these days.

With a classroom of 18 three year olds that is so necessary.

I'm amazed that they are just like little sponges.

But it reminds me how careful I need to be as to what I teach and model for them.

For more Word Filled Wednesday, you can visit Lori at The Internet Cafe.

Blessings and love,


Where's Your Focus?

Laced With Grace
I'm over at Laced with Grace today. 

I encourage you to hop over and read about where you focus might be. 

Are you focusing on the things of this world and getting so rattled by troubles?

Or are you focusing on things above and receiving the peace that only the Lord can provide?

Blessings and love,


Happy SONday!

Happy SONday to you!

Taking attendance in a classroom filled with three year olds can be challenging.  How do you keep their attention long enough to get an accurate count?

I love how Heidi asks each child to repeat a phrase when their name is called. They must have their listening ears on so they will be able to answer when their name is called. Saying “Happy Monday” or “Wacky Wednesday” or “Fun Friday” is a great way to teach them the days of the week.

Rachel and Raghav excitedly answer correctly each day. But Christopher is easily distracted. When his name is called he often makes up a day or …he simply smiles.

The other children are invited to help Christopher out. They yell out “Happy Monday” all together to remind him.

So, what day is today?

It’s Happy SONday!

In case you've forgotten, it's a special day.  God loved you so much He gave His Son  Jesus to die for your sins.  And all you have to do is receive the gift of life given through His love.

Today you may encounter people who don’t realize it is ‘Happy SONday’.

May I make a few suggestions?

• Greet someone with a smile and say ‘happy SONday’
• Take time to really listen with your heart to someone today
• Shake the hand of someone new in your church
• Call someone who may be lonely
• Send a card to a hurting friend

I invite you to add to this list.

So, are you paying attention?  What day is it?

It's Happy SONday!

May you spread the love of Christ today.  Did you know you can even share it without words?

Does the world see something different in you?

Happy SONday to you!

Blessings and love,


Then Sings My Soul Saturday ~ To Know You

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

I usually listen to CD's while driving in my car.  However, I've not taken the time to change out the Christmas CD's yet.  So, I've been listening to a local Christian radio station on my way to work each day. 

I tend to like a variety of music styles.  I embrace the traditional hymns of my youth but I also love many of the more contemporary music selections too.  I've enjoyed listening to such a variety these past few weeks. 

This song sung by Casting Crowns had such a beautiful message.  Last year, my focus was to begin to live fearlessly.  This year, my focus is to know Him more and more. 

I hope you were blessed by the words to this song.

Blessings and love,


How Do You Stay Motivated?

How do you stay motivated?  It's a new year; 2011.  Maybe you've made a few resolutions this year.  But it's day five and you've already messed up.  Does this sound familiar?

May I suggest that your underlying motivation may be the problem?

Believe me ...I've been there and done that.

If you are a Christian, you have been given a new life.  But too many people continue to live out their 'self life'.  They indulge their flesh in so many ways. 

  • Do you struggle with eating too much food?
  • Do you lack the discipline to say no to all that sugar?
  • Do you desire to be included with the 'in crowd'?
  • Do you love to go shopping for things you really don't need?
  • Do you give in to gossip in the name of sharing things to pray?
  • Do you have a hard time saying no for fear of rejection?
I'm sure you could add other examples to this list.

As Christians, we have the Holy Spirit within us.  We have everything we need to live a Christ centered life.  The problem is ...we continue to love to indulge our flesh.

I've been reading and studying the book of John.  So many passages speak of the link between love and obedience. 

John 14:15 says: "If you love me, you will obey what I command."

Scott Samter of Opening His Word has awesome teachings verse by verse that are available to all.  I've been blessed by taking the time to listen and learn.  And yes, he is Jill's husband of Forever N Ever N Always.

Love is a powerful motivator.

(I love these notecards but ran out of them.  They are such a good illustration of how I sometimes feel.  I can't remember where I bought them. If anyone knows, please let me know.)

May I make a suggestion?

Instead of focusing on the lists of "don't do this" ... focus on spending more time getting to know and love Jesus. 

It's amazing how the things you thought were so very important tend to fade away.

  • Surrender every part of your life to Him.
  • Ask Him to guide you and lead you each moment of the day.
  • Spend time in His Word.
  • Speak to Him in prayer.
  • When you mess up, talk to Him about it.
When you realize how much He loves you, you will be overwhelmed by that love. 

And you will begin to obey Him and say no to your flesh. 

Love is the best motivator.

Blessings and love,


Happy New Year

I love to watch hummingbirds!  The speed of their wings is so fast.  I read on Hummingbird Facts that their wings move about 80 times a second with a normal flight.  But when courting a potential mate, this speed increases up to 200 times a second.  I'd say that's a whole lot of showing off, if you ask me.  LOL.

So, what do hummingbirds have to do with me?

Well, I had two weeks off work for Christmas.  And I feel as though the time has flown by so fast.  I can't believe it's already time to go back tomorrow!

I had to take an unexpected overnight plane trip back east.  It ended up being a wonderful opportunity and I got to meet some very awesome people.  I now have another new friend named Jill!

After a very tiring day, I was seated in the middle seat on the return flight.  On my right was a woman who had been visiting her parents for Christmas.  On my left was a twenty something gal who had been visiting her mom.   

Despite a delayed flight and a very loud crying baby in the seat in front of us, the time went by so fast once we started talking.  We discovered that all three of us were Christians.  We were each at a different place in our journey.  But we were able to encourage one another and agreed to pray for each other.

Isn't that so like our God?  I know He placed us in those seats.  It was no accident.

I got to spend some time on Saturday with my friend Linda.  She's a third grade teacher at the school where I'm working. And she's also the pastor's wife of the church I'm attending. 

This is Linda and her husband Pastor George.  Their whole family was visiting for Christmas and so I took a few family photos for them.

So happy new year to all of you!  And don't forget that God is sovereign and in control. 

Blessings and love,

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