Heart Choices: April 2011

Theme Layout

Boxed or Wide or Framed

Theme Translation

Display Featured Slider

Featured Slider Styles

Display Grid Slider

Grid Slider Styles

Display Trending Posts

Display Author Bio

Display Instagram Footer

Dark or Light Style

The Voice of Truth

Although I'm late in adding my song, I didn't want to miss out on Then Sings My Soul Saturday.  I'm linking up with Amy of Signs, Miracles and Wonders.

"The Voice of Truth" is a song that really spoke to my heart this week.  I love how Casting Crowns sings this one.  No matter what happens in my life, I pray that He would be glorified and that I would always listen to His voice.

Happy Saturday!

Blessings and love,


One Thousand Gifts Countdown

It may be Monday but I'm still thinking of Sunday.  How wonderful to sing "Christ the Lord Has Risen Today" in church yesterday.

When Pastor George said "He is risen"; we all responded loudly with ... He is risen indeed.

Happy Easter to all!

I'm continuing my one thousand gifts countdown.

#44 Being free from the burden of my sins.

#45 Celebrating the resurrection of Jesus on Easter Sunday

# 46  Observing children of varying backgrounds as they learn to get along.

#47  The excitement in the voices of the first graders as they proudly show me their mouths with missing teeth.

#48  The smiles of the children who run to show Miss Debbie their shoes.

#49 The carefree fun of playing hopscotch after school.

#50 The site of the flag on the field at our school.

#51 Being amused to watch children having fun

#52 Downloading free Kindle books

#53 The sight of horses running in a field on my way to work

#54 Spending Saturday with Greg's family as we got to see our  niece Megan who was visiting from Baltimore.  

Megan teaches reading to little children so we had much to talk about.

#55 Having the opportunity to see my niece Julie's artwork.  She is so talented!

# 56 Watching Carrie Underwood and Vince Gill sing "How Great Thou Art" on a CBS special honoring women in country music

I'm linking up with Ann of Holy Experience as we continue one thousand blessings countdown.

Blessings and love,


I'm Over at Laced with Grace Today

Laced With Grace

I'm over at Laced with Grace today.  If you want to read about the power of hugs, I encourage you to click this link and read on ....

Blessings and love,


Counting One Thousand Gifts

I'm continuing to count one thousand gifts with Ann Voskamp of Holy Experience.

#39 Sharing a hymnal with my friend Linda and her granddaughter Trinity as we sing "The Old Rugged Cross".

How I wish I had my camera with me at that moment!  Trinity sang clearly as she read each word.  Linda and I smiled as we sang along.

#40  My  husband Greg spent days fixing my computer and ...it's working!

I'm amazed at how much my blogging friends have come to mean to me.  I miss visiting all of your blogs.  I hope to be back again soon.

#41 Seeing our youngest three year old student finally learning to write his letters.  Way to go Evan!

#42  Beautiful roses in bloom

On my way to work, I pass a field with the most amazing rose bushes of all colors.  They posted a sign recently.  You can pick a dozen roses for yourself and it costs $8.

#43  A wonderful co-worker named Heidi

Heidi has been such a joy for me to work with.  She always has a smile and I love that we work so well together.

#44  A great carpool buddy

Tara and I come from different worlds in so many ways and yet ...we've become fast friends.  I love to discuss life and really listen to her views and thoughts.  We appreciate the differences and yet also find much in common.

I'm a bit late in posting but I didn't want to miss out on counting my blessings.  No matter how challenging life may be, there's always much for which I can be thankful.

Blessings and love,


Where to Find Comfort and Peace

This has been a difficult week for me.  Life is filled with so much uncertainty.

I was so troubled and anxious as I was driving to pick up my carpool buddy Tara.  I turned on the radio and this song was playing.  I can't tell you how much it ministered to me.

So often life isn't simple.  I have a tendency to want to keep things peaceful.  But that isn't always possible.  After all, I cannot control others.  But I can choose my response to circumstances and people.

I find that I can come to Jesus and ...find comfort and peace.  

The world cannot provide that but He can.  How thankful I am that He is always with me.

I encourage you to visit Amy at Signs, Miracles and Wonders to listen to other songs for Then Sings My Soul Saturday.

Blessings and love,


What's Around the Corner?

It's In Other Words Tuesday and Deborah of Chocolate and Coffee is hosting.  The quote she choose for us to write about is:

“God is not concerned about what is around the corner.  He created the corner.”
I have a tendency to want to know what's going to happen next. I've even been known to read the last chapter first in a novel.  I know; that's weird.  But I think I always wanted to manage expectations since I was a child.  I always seemed to want to brace myself for what was next.

My life is very uncertain in this season. I have no idea where I'll be living even two months from now. So much depends on what's around the corner.

Google Images
How thankful I am to be a child of God.  I may not know what the future holds but He does.  And through the difficult times, I'm slowly learning that He is trustworthy and I can depend on Him.

As my friend Jill always says: "It's an opportunity to trust God."

So, I don't need to know what's around the corner.  Instead, I make the choice to take one step at a time.

My part is to pray, read the Word and be attentive to His soft whisper throughout my day.  I want to walk in obedience.

What about you?  Do you dread what's around the corner?  Or do you look forward to it? 

Blessings and love,


Simple Blessings

As I continue to count one thousand gifts, I am so much more aware of the simple things that I might have otherwise taken for granted.

#32 Rain and cooler temps

Our weather in Phoenix made an abrupt change on Saturday.  We went from summer temps in the high 80's to the mid 40's and rain.  But I love rain!  The photo above was taken through the sunroof in my car.

#33  My new favorite flavor of tea is Mango Black Tea from Trader Joe's.  They used to have this tea during the summer only but now ...all year long. :)

#34 Receiving a child's travel journal in the mail from a blogging friend

I hope to take the journal to my first grade after school class.  We will have the opportunity to write about Arizona and take a few photos to send to Jillian.  I was so excited when I recognized several blogging friends who contributed to this project including my Norwegian friend Felisol of On the Far Side of the Sea.

#35  Highlights for my hair

It may sound vain but I cannot tell you how much better I feel after getting my highlights done.  They were long overdue.  I really think they brightened my face and ...I needed a little brightening.

#36  A substitute teacher who became a new friend

On Thursday, Heidi wasn't in school so I had a substitute teacher to help with our class.  Often the substitutes are just there but not so very helpful.  Well, Barbara was ...fabulous.

She anticipated everything I might need and was willing to 'get her hands dirty'.  She was loving on those little children and making sure I took my break.  As the children were resting on their nap maps, we had some time to talk.  Wouldn't you know that she is a sister in Christ?

I felt that in my Spirit as we worked together that day.  I'm so glad that she is often at Rancho so I'll be able to see her again.  Although we don't speak the name of Jesus in the school, both Barbara and I can be a light and share the love of Christ without words.  And we both pray!

#37 Having my voice back

Last week I had laryngitis and allergy problems.  I am finally feeling so much better and I'm able to talk.

#38  A chance encounter with the Arizona State University (ASU) shuttle

Let me explain this one.  I carpool with Tara since we both live quite a distance from work.  She has been accepted into law school at ASU this fall.  For two days we didn't share a ride as she had a few commitments involving welcoming activities at school.  She told me about the shuttle that runs from each of the three campuses and how convenient this service was for her.

Well, I was driving alone to work on Friday.  But I noticed a bus with ASU written on it and figured this must be the shuttle Tara had spoken about.  Wouldn't you know that next time I went on Facebook Tara had sent me this message:
Debbie! I just had a Special Moment! I'm riding on the ASU shuttle down to Tempe, and I realized, "Oh, Debbie is probably driving to work now," and then, "Maybe I'll see her on the road," and then -- literally -- I looked out the window and you were passing the bus on Thunderbird!!! You must have been thinking of me, too. (I just saw you again, at the I-17 light, while writing this note!) Oh, the simple pleasures...
I love it when stuff like this happens!

These simple blessings are gifts from God.  I'm linking up with Ann Voskamp of A Holy Experience.

Blessings and love,


God You Reign

It's all a matter of perspective.  I had to laugh.  In my previous life as a cardiovascular nurse, I was often paged at the hospital for life threatening emergencies.  Most of them looked something like this.

Photo Credit: Google images
Now when I am paged, it's a bit different.

At the end of the school day at Rancho, I head to a holding room so I can escort a group of little children to the gate where their parents pick them up.  The other day, I suddenly heard a frantic message from my walkie talkie.

"Miss Debbie, do you have your walkie with you?"

"Yes" I responded.

"Briana is having a meltdown at Gate G.  Do you know where her gray elephant is?"
Photo Credit: Amazon 
I chuckled to myself but quickly responded to the call.

"Tell Briana I packed her gray elephant in her backpack."

The result: a calm and much happier three year old girl

My, how my life has changed!  But how thankful I am that God is in control.  I'm learning to walk by faith and take one moment at a time. I'm also beginning to enjoy the moments as I no longer feel like I have the weight of the world on my shoulders.  Whether the urgent call is for a life threatening problem or simply a lost toy ...I respond quickly and thankful that I can be of some help.

I'm linking up with Amy for Then Sings My Soul Saturday.  I chose the song "God You Reign" by Lincoln Brewster since I heard it several times this week and loved it.  The images in this video are awesome.  But my favorite part is the end with children singing too.  :)

Have a great Saturday!

Blessings and love,


Word Filled Wednesday ~ No Fear

Its Word-filled Wednesday and I'm linking up with The Internet Cafe.

"WFW is not about books, authors, artists ...it's about God and HIS WORD ONLY.  WFW is about celebrating the gift of creativity through God's Word."

I took this photo from an overlook along the highway in Big Sur, California.  There's something so special about the incredible beauty of God's creation and being reminded that He is my refuge and my strength.

Blessings and love,


Under the Weather

Google Image
I've not been feeling well lately; a bit under the weather.  I guess working with little children who forget to cover their coughs plays a part in it.  And then there's springtime in the Phoenix valley with all the orange trees in bloom.  One year I actually broke out in hives after spending too much time walking among the citrus trees.

I hope to be back at work tomorrow.  But in the meantime, I am focusing on those everyday moments and gifts from God.

My good friend Jamie from San Antonio was visiting family in town this past week.  She took the time to drive to Rancho Solano Private School to see me.  I was so excited that she had all four daughters with her too.  When they pulled up in their rental car, out burst Ellie with her arms wide open to hug me.  I could have cried.  I had forgotten my camera but here's a photo of Ellie from last year.

Her birthday was the following day; April 1st and she turned 13 years old.  I met Ellie when she was in my Bible Study Fellowship children's class and she was only three years old.  In fact, that's how I met her mom Jamie.  We became fast friends and continue to stay in touch even after they moved away from Phoenix several years ago.

Ellie has grown into such a wonderful godly woman.  She is still going to BSF studying Isaiah this year.  She shared one of the Bible stories that touched her in this study and my heart was warmed once again.

#26 The gift of seeing a child grow into a teenager and still in love with the Lord

#27 Smiles and hugs from Jamie, Ellie, Marybeth, Karli and Rachael.

The children at Rancho are used to Miss Debbie having her camera handy.  And they also know I love any unique shoes.  Elle was so proud that she could model her fabulous new sneakers for me to photograph.

#28  Children eager to pose for photos, even if it's only their shoes

Every day I thank the Lord for providing me with this job.  I often look out at their faces and pray silently for each one of them.
I know God loves each one of them.  And I'm so thankful for the love He gives to me to share.

#29  The sight of the children each morning as they greet Miss Debbie

I had to laugh.  On Friday I lost my voice; laryngitis.  It was April 1st (April Fool's Day).  When Heidi told the three year olds that Miss Debbie lost her voice, they didn't quite understand.  She explained it to them.  But later that morning, little Rachel smiled and said to me "The birds took Miss Debbie's voice; April Fool's Day".  Of course, the others had to get into the fun of this and had their own opinions of who took my voice.

But then Dax looked up at me with that innocent face and said "No, Miss Debbie's voice is still inside.  It just can't come out."  Out of the mouths of babes!

I was glad to have Surya's very booming voice in my first grade after school class.  He became my spokesperson for the afternoon.  Of course, he loved it.

#30  An appreciation for having a voice to speak.  It is back now and I don't want to lose it again. :)

During the past three days of resting, I've had more time to read and pray.  Standing on the Promises is a song that brings me much comfort.  Even though I cannot sing it aloud YET, I love many of the old hymns.

#31  Memories of old hymns sung in church

Despite feeling a bit under the weather, I'm thankful for the time of rest as I sip my hot cup of tea.  I'm participating in Multitudes on Monday ~ One Thousand Gifts with Ann of A Holy Experience.

Blessings and love,


What Love Really Means

I've been hearing a song by JJ Heller alot lately and it's stuck in my head.  "What Love Really Means" is a song that has a beautiful message.  People long to be loved.  But how often do they look in the wrong places to find it or try to meet the expectations of another to earn their love? 

How thankful I am that God loves me.  I don't have to do anything to earn that love.  He created me and longs to be in relationship with me.  How incredible is that?

I'm linking up with Amy of Signs, Miracles and Wonders today for Then Sings My Soul Saturday.

Blessings and love,

[name=DEBBIE PETRAS] [img=http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-2CDrwq9-7eo/WV6tdbP-QgI/AAAAAAACfb0/ViqQSnSVaDsMLXyz3AEEzZ5-78luBHOGgCK4BGAYYCw/s1600/Debbie%2BFace%2Bblog.JPG] [description=]