Heart Choices: August 2011

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Are You a F.A.T. Disciple?

It's "In Other Words Tuesday" and I'm linking up with Karen at In Love W.I.T.H. Jesus.

Karen chose the quote for us to write about this week:

I love acronyms as they help me to remember.  And I can use all the help I can get ...

But F.A.T. disciples?

It makes sense though.


I believe I am faithful.  In fact, I think I'm pretty loyal.  For the past 15 years or so, I've grown in my walk of faith.  The more I study God's Word, the more I'm amazed by His love.  Why would He send His Son to die for me when I don't deserve it?

But He did and I'm so grateful for His grace and mercy.

And in response ...I'm faithful.


I want to be available.  I often pray that God would open the eyes of my heart to see what He has for me this day.  You see, I find that some of the interruptions in my day are actually Divine appointments.  But if I'm not available, I'd  miss them.  I have to admit I've probably missed many of His appointments but my desire is to be available.


I've always wanted to be a life long learner.  I remember my pastor talking about this and how important it is. None of us has arrived and there's always something new to learn.  In my walk of faith, I've got a life time to learn. I'm so thankful that God hasn't given up on me as some things take me a long time to learn.

I'm finding that TRUST is something that I learn all too slowly.  And it often takes trials and testing for me to have to depend on the Lord.  But through it all, I believe I am learning.  He is sovereign and in control of ALL things.

So I guess I must admit that I want to be a F.A.T. disciple.  I never thought I'd want to be a FAT anything but this I can strive for.

I also find that I do best teaching others things that I struggle with too.  I need to be accountable and that's a very good thing.

How about you?  Do you want to be a F.A.T. disciple?

Blessings and love,


Grateful for Everyday Blessings

I'm counting everyday blessings as I link up with Ann of A Holy Experience.

I have to drive quite a distance to get back and forth to work each day.  While I find working with little children all day can be fun, it is very tiring.

Upon arriving home one evening, I was greeted with this sign posted across the stove in the kitchen.

As I walked into the rest of the house, I saw another sign posted.

My husband had created a new dish for dinner.  Greg is very creative in his cooking.  He never follows a recipe and is great with leftovers.

Since he works online from home, he surprised me with a pasta dish using frozen artichokes he found in the freezer and a variety of other ingredients.  I have to say ...it was delicious!

#140 A husband who takes the time to help out at home

#141 Greg gives me lots of love

#142 Our marriage relationship has grown closer in the midst of our trials and challenges

Although the temperatures in the Phoenix area are setting heat records, we do have air conditioned rooms in our school.

Our three year old class learned to hold their pencils last week.  Some of them still need some help.  But they are beginning to learn to write their names.

#143 Seeing children write letters and see their names

Children at this age do not like to share.  I guess that's our human nature.  But in PE, they had to find a partner and share a ball.  They learned to pass it back and forth.  A few of them struggled and some of them didn't like the partner they were assigned but in the end, they seemed to have ...fun.

#144 Observing the children as they play together

#145 Seeing children begin to share

Yesterday in church, we sang several songs of praise that were very meaningful to me.  One of the songs was called "In His Time" and I hadn't heard it in such a long time.  I thought the lyrics were worth posting as I know I struggle with God's timing.  I seem to want my prayers answered NOW but that's usually not God's perfect timing.

#146 Learning to trust God's perfect timing




My niece Katie lives in Brooklyn, NY.  I also have many friends who live on Long Island where I grew up.   I was praying for them as Hurricane Irene was heading for their area.

#147  Thankful that my loved ones and friends are safe

Blessings and love,


God Given Passions

Bonnie Gray of Faith Barista "serves up shots of faith for everyday life".  I love to participate in her Thursday Faith Barista JAM sessions whenever I can.  I'm a bit late in publishing my Thursday post but I didn't want to miss out on this one.

This week Bonnie asked if we had any God-given interests and passions that we've put to the side.  She suggests that it might be time to "start believing God placed them in you for a purpose".

As I began to consider answering her question, I started jotting down a few thoughts.  This wordle says much about my passions and interests.

It's very interesting to me that many of those passions had been placed on hold for a variety of reasons.


I always imagined being married and having children.  But alas, I had fertility issues.  Despite several painful surgeries, we were unable to have children.

But God ...

In the midst of some very challenging circumstances, I had to return to work last year.  Since I had worked as a cardiovascular nurse specialist for 25 years, that might have seemed like a logical choice.

However, since I had retired from that career path more than five years earlier I would have had to return to the university for a refresher course.  So I took a job in a private school working with little children.

God knew what I needed and exactly when I needed it.  
I get to spend my days with three year old children who are delighted to learn new things.  Just last week they were each given a popsicle to see what happens to them in the Phoenix heat.  Of course, they started to melt but not before they each got a taste.  They used the melting popsicles to paint a picture.


Since becoming a Christian, I've had a heart filled with love.  I get to share that love with my husband and family.  But now I also get to share it with children.  And that ...makes me smile.


I love to write.  I've kept journals for years.  I've written a few short stories (never published).  I guess writing goes along with my love for books and reading.  And blogging has become a natural extension of that.

I began blogging as a way to help my husband in a technology company he was starting.  Social media was  becoming  a new marketing means.  But in the process, I found something else I loved.  The surprise for me were the relationships that developed online with other bloggers.  I've come to love so many and have actually met about a dozen face to face.  There's something so special when you already know a person's heart and then get to meet them.


Photography is something that I've loved since the late 1970's.  I purchased my first 35 mm camera and took a photography workshop.  We learned about f stops and ISO and composition.  We even took a field trip for night photography.

It's become much easier now with digital photography.  My Nikon D70 is my constant companion.  And yet, I've never even completely read my manual.  I figure things out as I go.  I've not taken the time to focus and learn all I could learn to develop my skills.  I believe God has prompted me to get more serious now as I love to photograph the children at work.


In the past 15 years, I've become more passionate about my faith.  I long to grow and reflect God's love more fully.  I've found that it's in the midst of trials, that I cling to Him.  And He chisels away at  my 'self life' and asks me to trust Him.  I'm learning and growing and it's an ongoing project.

I'm so thankful that Bonnie asked us this question.  It has stimulated many thoughts in my mind.  My prayer is that God's desires for my life would become my desires.

How about you?  Do you have any God-given interests and passions that you've placed to the side?


Blessings and love,

Second Week of School

I'm continuing to count those everyday blessings as I link up with Ann of A Holy Experience.

We just completed our second week of school.  A few tears continued to flow from a few of the little three year children.  But when mommies and daddies learn to leave quickly or drop their child off at the gate, it really helps. It's hard to say goodbye but the kids do so much better.  And they actually have lots of fun at school!

Stacking cups can be such fun!  The kids love it.  And when each fourth grader teamed up with a three year old child ... it only got better.

Of course, there's always someone who wants to build a high tower.  People never change, do they?

#133  The smiles of children learning new skills

#134  Watching older children work with the little ones

#135  The sounds of excitement as they learned to stack their cups and build towers

The children each have a cubby with their name on it.  When they complete an assignment, they are asked to place it in their cubby.
Little Maya would ask me each time "is this my cubby?"  I would ask her to look for her name and she would point to it.  Finally she felt confident and placed her item in her cubby all by herself.

#136  Seeing the delight as children learn to do things for themselves

I never realized how many details need to be taught.  Teaching in a three year old class was new to me as this is only my second year.  But things like how to hold a crayon or a pencil is something that needs to be learned.

The children are learning their colors.  They are also learning concepts like "on, over and under".

The youngest child in our class is named Raja.  I had been helping him to correctly hold his pencil.  He  called out to me "Miss Debbie, is this right?"  And it was right!

#137  Seeing the evidence of children learning important skills

#138  Seeing little hands as they explore and learn so quickly

#139  The blessing of working another school year with Heidi

Heidi and I work so well together.  It can be very tiring to work with little children all day.  But having a friend who is an encouragement and support makes it so much better.  And she is such a good teacher.  The children are fortunate to have her.

Despite having a cold and sinus problems all week, I can still count many blessings.  How about you?  Are you looking for those everyday blessings?

Blessings and love,


Trust in Jesus

I've missed participating in Then Sings My Soul Saturday.  So I thought I'd join in with Amy of Signs, Miracles and Wonders since I heard a song this week that really spoke to my heart.

It's called "Trust in Jesus" and it's sung by Third Day.

Have a wonderful weekend.  And remember SONday's coming!

Blessings and love,


I'm Over at Laced with Grace

Laced With Grace

Have you ever had a really bad day?  All of your best intentions seem to have fallen apart. By the end of the day, you just want to crawl into bed and be done with this day.

I'm over at Laced with Grace today so to read more click here.


WFW ~ Where Are You Planted?

I'm linking up with The Internet Cafe Devotions to join in on Word-filled Wednesday.

I thought of this first Psalm as I was walking in my neighborhood.  A tree planted by streams of water bears fruit in season.  

Where are you planted?

Blessings and love,

A Daily Choice to Sit at His Feet

Today I have the pleasure of hosting "In Other Words Tuesday".  This is the quote I chose for us to write about:

I made a decision many years ago to begin my day spending time with the Lord.

In some seasons of my life, I had the luxury of spending an hour or more reading my Bible, praying and reading devotionals.  In other seasons, my time was more limited. But I learned an important lesson.

I need to begin my day sitting at His feet.  

When Moses led the Israelites through the wilderness, God provided them with just enough manna for each day.  They had to collect their supply each morning.

That's how I look at my daily quiet time.  It's manna for my day.

It's not something to check off my to-do list.
It's not something I HAVE to do.
It's something I choose to do.


It's hard to live a Christian life in a world that doesn't share the same values.  There are so many outside influences.  Not everyone gets to spend all their time with other  Christians.  And we are told to be salt and light to a world that doesn't know Him.  So we are to get out there and not stay in our holy huddles.

I need this daily quiet time.

"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.  And be not conformed to this world; but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God."
Romans 12:1-2 

I memorized these two verses in the King James version as a child.  They are so important to living out the Christian life.

Every day there is a spiritual battle going on.  I have to make a choice.

  • Will I listen to that soft still voice of the Holy Spirit?
  •  Will I listen to my emotions and give in to what I want and when I want it?
I have the power within to make the right choice.  Having time each morning at the feet of Jesus helps to remind me and readjust my thinking for this day.  I see the world through a different lens.  And that lens is LOVE.

When I'm filled to overflowing with His Spirit, that love can overflow to others.

How about you?  Will you chose to spend time at His feet?

I encourage you to add a comment of write a blog post on this quote and link up below.

Blessings and love,


Monday Blessings

Counting my blessings changes my perspective.  Instead of focusing on problems and disappointments, I'm able to recognize God's blessings in my everyday life.

This past week was the beginning of the new school year at Rancho Solano.  It was exciting to see many of the children from our last year's class.  Some of them were in our summer camp.  But it had been several months since I'd seen many of them and they seemed to have grown during that time.  I had missed them.

We had a classroom of 19 three year old children who were saying goodbye to their mommies for the first time.  Oh there were many tears!

And did I mention that now all of the children at the school wear uniforms; even the Pre-K kids?  They looked too cute!  But they still got to wear their own choice of shoes.

#127  A brand new batch of three year olds to love

#128  Hugs and love from last year's students who are now in the Pre-K 4 classes.

#129  The excitement and smiles of Rachel and Kambria who were so excited to be in the same class

#130 Ishan's smile; he can melt any girl's heart!

Our new class had their first PE class.  It was a bit challenging to teach them how to pass a ball to one another.  But I think they had fun, despite some frustration on the teacher's part.

#128 Three year olds learning to work together

And it was frustrating for a few of the students too.  As you can see, Ava wanted to keep the ball to herself.

I got to attend church with my friend Helen and her family.  We used to go to the same church in central Phoenix but she moved to the northwestern area of town several years ago.  It had been a long time since I had the chance to worship together with her.

#129 Meeting my friend Helen and her husband John and grandson Joseph for church

#130  My mother-in-love was discharged from the Rehab facility after her hip surgery.

My father's cousin in Norway sent me an email with a copy of an article his granddaughter wrote after experiencing the terror on the island of Utoya.  She was hiding in a latrine for two hours during the shootings.

#131  Relief that Kristine is safe and able to talk about her difficult experience of losing many friends

#132  Grateful for Google Translate since it is so helpful to communicate with relatives in Norway

I'm linking up with Ann of A Holy Experience as I continue to count my blessings.

Blessings and love,


I'll Be Hosting In Other Words Tuesday

I'll be hosting "In Other Words Tuesday" next week on August 16.

How does this work?

I post a quote for you to think about.  That's why I'm sharing the quote with you today.  Write your thoughts on this quote.  Be sure to include the quote in your "In Other Words Tuesday" blog post.  Come back to Heart Choices next Tuesday and link up your specific blog post so we can stop by and read it.  If you don't have a blog, I welcome your comments on this quote.  

The quote that I chose for us to write on is:

“I must make a conscious, deliberate, daily choice to sit at His feet, to listen to His Word, to receive His love, to let Him change me, and to pour out my heart’s devotion to Him. When I get into His presence, the whole world looks different.”A Place of Quiet Rest by Nancy Leigh DeMoss
I hope to see you back here on Tuesday!

Blessings and love,

High School Reunion

The Lindenhurst High School Class of '71 is having a 40 year reunion next weekend.  Yes, you read that correctly.  I can't believe it's been 40 years since I graduated from high school.  

The years go by so quickly!

I'm sad because I'm not going to be able to attend.  But I've had such fun catching up with old friends through Facebook.  

A new group recently formed called "If you're from Lindenhurst you probably remember ...".  It was a bit addicting because people would share memories that would trigger other memories.  So many of us were adding our thoughts and memories and ... I loved it!

I thought I'd share a few photo memories I have with you.

My dad bought this house without my mom ever seeing it.  He came home one day and said he bought a house and we were moving to Lindenhurst.  It was located across the street from the canal where the clam diggers had their boats lined up.  For my blogging friends, this is on Long Island, NY.

On the top of the roof was a lookout.  We climbed rickety stairs to get to the roof and would be able to look out at the Great South Bay.  I used to parade all my friends up there.

Lindenhurst Movie Theater
I saw my first movie in the Lindenhurst movie theater on the corner of Montauk Highway and Wellwood Avenue.  It was "The Unsinkable Molly Brown" with Debbie Reynolds.

I was a Lindenhurst twirler in high school.  Our town loved parades!  This photo must have been taken about 1968.  I'm the second from the left (with the flip).

I eventually became Captain of the Lindenhurst Twirlers.
My dad was always renovating our Lindenhurst house.  There was always some project going on.  The house looked completely different from when we first moved in.
  This is my graduation picture for the yearbook.

This photo was taken at our Junior Prom which was held at Narragansett Inn.  This place burned down years later.  I'm at the top of the stairs with my date John Donohue (Babylon, NY).  I was the prom queen that year.

Fast forward many years to 2008.  

Ron Pastore organized a small reunion in Florida for our class.  So many New Yorkers move to Florida and I have family living there so it was convenient for me to attend.
Seated: Tim Marks, Debbie Sumstad
Back: Joann Hoza, Mike Schroeder, Lois Copozzi, Maryjane Mazzapelli
Later that same year, Ron Pastore was visiting his brother who lives in Arizona.  So the Pastore brothers stopped by to see me.

Although I won't be with my friends next weekend, I'll be thinking of them.  

I hope to connect with many of them on Facebook or on Heart Choices.  And I hope to make the next reunion but I don't think we should wait 10 years!

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