Heart Choices: February 2011

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Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are

One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You AreI began reading Ann Voskamp's book entitled "One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are" this weekend.  It was a gift from another good blogging friend. 

The words in that title captured me.  A dare to live fully right where you are?

Where I am right now is not where I want to continue to be.

But if God is in control, He knows all the details about where I am right now.  Everything that happens to me as a child of God has been filtered through His fingers of love.  I've written countless times about how I long to praise Him in the midst of the storm.  And I do want to learn the lessons that are intended for me to learn.

John 10:10 (English Standard Version):
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
I want to live the abundant life in Christ each and every day. That begins with giving thanks.  I want to notice the simple things. 

So, I decided to take the dare; to live fully right where I am.  I'm joining Ann at A Holy Experience and starting my list of 1000 gifts of thanks.   

1. Learning to live a more simple life. 

2. Signs of spring in the air as I appreciate the beautiful flowers in my neighbor's front yard.

3. The beauty of our flag.  On this cloudy and windy day, it stood proudly.  So many in our area are retired military.  I'm grateful for their service and sacrifices made to fight for our freedom.

4.  Working with children.  I smile as I watch them run across the field during PE.  Such energy they have!

5.  One step at a time.  A thankful reminder that I need to take one day at a time and one moment at a time.

6.  Retro t-shirts.  If you hang on to things long enough, they seem to come back in style.  I had to chuckle at the style of clothing worn by children these days.  It's very reminiscent of my youth in the late '60's.  I'm thankful for the smile they bring to my face.

7. A friend to carpool with to work.  So thankful for this opportunity to get to know Tara.  The trip goes so fast as we share and laugh with one another.

8. New opportunities to view my life through the lens of thankfulness.  And I don't have to wait for Thankful Thursday.  I can now fill my journal daily with simple everyday things.

Blessings and love,

Word Filled Wednesday ~ Teach Your Children

I'm linking up with Internet Cafe for another Word Filled Wednesday.

Since I've been working with children, I realize what sponges they can be.  They listen to everything you say and watch everything you do. 

What a responsibility! 

God's Word teaches us how we are to teach our children.

So, teach your children well!

Blessings and love,


Seasons of Life

I've learned that there are seasons of life.  I've lived through seasons of good times, fun and laughter.  And I've  also had my share of sorrow, uncertainty and turmoil.

But one thing I've learned is that no matter what season of life I am in ...God is with me.

I've been reading a book called  "Be Still: Let Jesus Calm Your Storms" by Cherie Hill.  It was a gift from a kind blogging friend. 

Listen to a quote from the book:

When God allows a storm in your life ...it has great purpose; if you miss the purpose, you may miss God's will for your life.

How I want to learn the lessons from the storms in my life.  I don't want to complain and always ask why.  I want to allow God to develop and grow my faith.  I want to learn to trust Him, no matter what.

Another quote:
You see, He wants to take you through it.  Not over it, not under it, not around it, not between it ...through it.  It is through the storm that we come to know God better.  He is revealing Himself in greater ways: He's working in us and through us, so that we can reflect His glory even more.

That is my prayer.  It's sometimes painful but I know it will be worth it in the end.

How about you?  How do you deal with the stormy seasons in your life?

Blessings and love,


Six Years Ago Today

Six years ago today ...I got the dreaded phone call.  My mom had died at home in her sleep. 

I wanted to honor her on this day.  After all, this was her entrance into heaven and the day she met Jesus face to face.

This photo was taken the last time my mom visited me in Phoenix.  We were celebrating her 75th birthday at T. Cook's at the Royal Palms Hotel.  

Here's me and Mom on a trip to California.  I think this was taken in La Jolla.

Back in the 70's, my parents moved to Florida from New York.  In her spare time, she modeled.  Even as she was getting older, she was still very beautiful.  Check out this ad for American Airlines below.  And no, that's not my dad.

Here are a few more ads she did for magazines.

Mom was always such an outgoing, friendly person.  She loved people and ...people loved her.

She always had a joke to share.  She loved babies, dancing, playing the piano, her Norwegian heritage, friends and especially ...her family.

Mom always had time for her family.  Coming home was like going back to being a child in many ways.  I was never too big to find comfort from my mom.  She was the best listener.

I'm looking forward to the day when I get to see her again.  Until that time, I always want to honor her memory.  She was so loved and is greatly missed.


The Gift of A Listening Ear

(Photo Credit: Victoria Magazine)
Valentine's Day has come and gone.  The TV commercials and advertisers have a vested interest in promoting this holiday.  If you listen to them, your expectations were so high.  If you didn't receive flowers, jewelry, chocolates and/or a romantic dinner ...you must not be loved.

But don't believe that nonsense!

Sure, it's nice to receive a gift from your loved one on Valentine's Day.  But this year I'm so thankful for the gift my  husband Greg has been giving me each day.  When I come home from work, he has me sit down and tell him all about my day.  He's actually interested in hearing my stories.  For many years, Greg bought me the flowers, the jewelry, chocolate and we had many romantic dinners.  But right now, he gifts me with his attentiveness and eagerness to truly listen to me.  And I love that!

So what do I share with Greg? 

I tell him the stories of the three year olds I get to spend time with each day.  The parents of our children decorated our classroom and hosted a Valentine's Day party.  They planned the crafts and prepared the food.  They did a fabulous job and it was such fun getting to spend time with them.  I had to laugh as a few of them couldn't believe how many details the children share with their teachers.  LOL.

Greg gets to hear about Lily and Deetya and Dax, among others. 

He also get to hear about my first grade after school class.  I have to admit that they can be challenging at times.  They don't always listen and they have so much energy.  I have to make sure they complete their homework before their parents pick them up. 

But it's so touching when they make me homemade cards like this one.  The message Suparna wrote inside was so cute.  She wrote that she knew the class sometimes makes Mrs. Debby crazy and she offered me a suggestion to keep them in order.  Nothing like getting good advice from a seven year old!

Since this is Thankful Thursday, I'm glad to link up with Laurie of Women Taking A Stand

Blessings and love,


The Best Valentine's Day Gift for Your Man

What's the best gift you can give to your husband for Valentine's Day?

If you really want to know, head over to Laced with Grace.

I'm sharing my secret with all.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Blessings and love,


Thankful Thursday ~ Special Moments

I'm so thankful for Thankful Thursday!  It provides me with an opportunity to look at my life through a different lens.  It's all too easy to find what's wrong and get annoyed by circumstances.  And learning to praise God in the midst of a storm can be challenging. 

Thankful Thursday helps to keep me on track.

I'm so thankful for the little children I get to work with all week.  They are such good medicine for me. The Lord knows I have a heart for the little ones.  He has blessed me with a job where I get to spend time with three year olds all day.  Seeing their smiling (and sometimes tearful faces) does wonders for my heart.

With all the stress in my life, I've not felt very attractive lately.   I look in the mirror and see the changes that worry can bring to a face.  But I'm slowly learning to surrender the worries to the Lord.

But, I must be honest with you.  I love makeup, skincare products and even highlights for my hair.  And lately I've not been able to do much of that.  I'm learning that I'm not going to look the same way I did when I was 30 or 40 or ...even 50 years old. 

Amar's feet

But how thankful I am for my first grade after school girls.  Three of them were combing their hair.  One of them asked me to help her.  She had a mirror and was smiling after observing the ponytail I put in her hair.  She turned the mirror towards me and I quickly put my hand up and said no, that's OK.  Amar looked at me with such a questioning look and simply said "You're beautiful Miss Debbie".  I could have cried and I gave her a hug and thanked her.

And then last evening I returned home from work.  I opened the door and my husband Greg was standing there simply looking at me.  He told me he'd spent a long time reading my blog. 


And guess what?  He was smiling!  He said he felt honored to be married to me and that reading my blog allowed him to really see another part of my heart.  I was so thrilled and happy.  I want my loved ones to truly hear my heart.  And that's what I do on Heart Choices. 

Even though this has been a very challenging week, I've been able to notice and appreciate those special moments that are a gift from the Lord.

And for that I'm so thankful.   How about you?  Can you try to look through a thankful lens to see your special moments?

I encourage you to visit Laurie of Women Taking A Stand for more Thankful Thursday posts.

Blessings and love,

IOWT ~ God's Timing

It's In Other Words Tuesday.  I'm linking up with Deborah of Chocolate and Coffee.

Here's the quote Deborah chose for us to write about this week:

When I first read this quote, I realized I had to participate this week.  Right now, this is such a huge challenge for me.  It's so easy for me to run on ahead of God.  After all, it only makes sense to do something, right?

But sometimes the Lord seems to allow me to continue in a trial even when I think I've learned the lesson.  My temptation is to question why.  But His timing is perfect and His ways are so much higher than mine.

So, I learn to live by faith and ...not by sight. 

But what does that involve?


For me, that's a struggle.  But I long to learn to trust.  I must not give in to my feelings.  Instead, I make the daily and sometimes momentary choice to ...wait and trust God.

And in the midst of the waiting, I also learn ...
  • Patience
  • Dependence upon Him
  • To view life differently
  • To be sensitive to others who are suffering
  • To realize that this life is an opportunity to glorify God
So I make the choice to WAIT on God's timing.  And I'm learning to praise Him in the midst of the storm.

How about you?  Are you running ahead or resting in the Lord, trusting His ways and His timing?

Blessings and love,

Do You Need to Lose Weight?

(Google Image)
Losing weight can be hard!  The past two years have been difficult and I must admit I've indulged more than I should.  And I know better!

But I've found that food can be such a comfort.  But it's only temporary and then ...I feel worse.

I've been hearing more and more about a new book by Lysa TerKeurst called
Made to Crave: Satisfying Your Deepest Desire with God, Not Food.

Check out this short video as Lysa introduces this book:

I've lost a few pounds since I began working all day with little children. But I know I need to get back to a consistent routine of exercise and portion control.

Instead of running to the refrigerator for comfort, I want to run to the Lord. Only He can provide that comfort I need.

How about you? Do you struggle in this area?

Hang in there. You are not alone. And I'll share my thoughts about Lysa's book after I use that gift certificate.

Blessings and love,


Before the Morning

My song choice for Then Sings My Soul Saturday is a song by Josh Wilson called "Before the Morning".   The words have much meaning to me, especially as I've been going through a difficult season in life. 

Do you wonder why you have to
Feel the things that hurt you
If there’s a God who loves you where is He now
Maybe there are things you can’t see
And all those things are happening
To bring a better ending

Someday somehow you’ll see you’ll see
Would you dare would you dare to believe
That you still have a reason to sing
Cause the pain that you’ve been feeling
It can’t compare to the joy that’s coming
So hold on you gotta wait for the light
Press on and just fight the good fight
Cause the pain that you’ve been feeling
It’s just the dark before the morning

My friend you know how this all ends
You know where you’re going
You just don’t know how you’ll get there
So say a prayer

And hold on cause there’s good for those who love God
But life is not a snapshot
It might take a little time but you’ll see the bigger picture

Would you dare would you dare to believe
That you still have a reason to sing
Cause the pain that you've been feeling
It can’t compare to the joy that’s coming
So hold on you gotta wait for the light
Press on and just fight the good fight
Cause the pain that you’ve been feeling
It’s just the dark before the morning

Once you feel the weight of glory
All your pain will fade to memory
Once you feel the weight of glory
All your pain will fade to memory, memory, memory

Would you dare would you dare to believe
That you still got a reason to sing
Cause the pain that you've been feeling
It can’t compare to the joy that’s coming

Would you dare would you dare to believe
That you still got a reason to sing
Cause the pain that you've been feeling
It can’t compare to the joy that’s coming
Come on you've gotta wait for the light
Press on and just fight the good fight
Cause the pain that you’ve been feeling
It’s just the hurt before the healing
Oh the pain that you’ve been feeling
It’s just the dark before the morning

Before the morning

Happy Saturday!

Blessings and love,


Friday Photo Flashback ~ 1953

Friday Photo Flashback

I wanted to join in today with Alicia of More than Words for Friday Photo Flashback. 

My Aunt Ruth sent some old black and white photos of me that I'd never seen before. So I thought I'd share them with you.

This photo probably dates back to ...1953!  I loved my Grandpa.  I had to laugh because my mom always dressed me up like a little doll.

And of course, I loved my Nana too!

Happy Friday!

Blessings and love,

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