Heart Choices: October 2011

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Blessings of Children at Play

Counting blessings each week is a blessing in itself.  I could easily revert back to remembering all of the difficulties and problems but instead I make the choice to treasure those everyday blessings.  It's all a matter of what you focus on, isn't it?

Sometimes I need reminders.  I get up very early in the morning to have my quiet time and to write.  I really want to get my exercise in too.  But I have to admit there are days when I miss out.

At our school the children have PE twice a week.  It is so cute to see three year old children learning how to do jumping jacks and to skip and gallop.  They have many opportunities to exercise and to simply play.

 #207 Watching little Evan do mountain climbers in PE

While the other children were following directions, little Will was doing his own thing.  I had to laugh!

#208  Watching little Will turn upside down

The children are also learning to exercise their minds.  They learn new site words each week.  A few of the words include "the", "and", etc.  They get to take home little books that include these words so they can read them to their families.

#209 Little children eager to learn at they sit at the word wall. 

#210  Max and Evan are becoming fast friends and have fun playing together

#211 Little hands and feet are so precious to me, especially when they have band-aids on their boo boo's

I learn so much from little children.  How often do we adults get to play?  Life seems so serious.  Yes, we have responsibilities but I think it's important to take some time to simply enjoy life.

My husband and I are both learning this from my work.  I wrote a blog post on Saturday entitled It's All Grace.  In case you  missed it, you can read it here.  I shared a bit about my journey that God has taken me on to learn many important lessons.

In the meantime, I continue to count my blessings and to link up with Ann of A Holy Experience.

Blessings and love,


Go Pink For a Cause

I'm joining other bloggers to paint the world Pink For A Day.  It's called Project Pink and the goal is to raise awareness for a nasty disease called breast cancer.  After all, October is the pink month.  So I'm linking up with The Artsy Girl Connection today.

I lost a dear friend to breast cancer.  Her name is Maria and we were good friends through high school.  We lost touch for a number of years but were brought back together at a specific time that I believe was God ordained.  She was in the process of going through tests to determine the cause of a lump in her groin.

Hmm ...I'm even wearing PINK!
I was so thankful for the time I got to spend with her after she had moved back to our hometown of Lindenhurst, Long Island, NY.  We had several days of visiting our favorite spots and reliving fun memories.  

We even drove over to our favorite beach to sit and watch the waves, smell the salt air and hear the sound of the surf.  We laughed and laughed on that special day.

Maria had the opportunity to come and visit me in Phoenix, Arizona too.  We went for brunch at T. Cook's in the Royal Palms Hotel.  We went to church together.  

Maria was by my side when I got the dreaded phone call that my mom had died.  She comforted me that day.  Little did we know that Maria would be gone a little over a year later.  

I have other close friends (Robyn, Lorraine, Lois) and my Aunt Ruth who have dealt with breast cancer.  

My mother-in-love also dealt with breast cancer when my husband Greg was only in his early twenties.  This impacted him so much as he felt he needed to be able to provide for his younger sisters in case his mother didn't survive.  Well, thankfully she did survive and thrive and is now in her 80's.

However, I look forward to the day when a cure is discovered.  
Created by Lori of Internet Cafe Devotions

Blessings and love,


It's All Grace

All is grace!  That's the topic for this week's Faith Barista Jam.  I'm late in writing my post and linking up.  But all is grace, right?

I have the privilege to see little hands like these every day.  Working in a private school with little ones has opened my eyes to see so much that I'd been missing.

Bonnie of The Faith Barista wrote about Brennan Manning's latest book All Is Grace.  A few of the quotes from the book touched my heart in a way that's hard to describe.  Brennan Manning became a good boy and learned to place a nuzzle on his emotions.

But it cost him his voice.

I could identify but for different reasons.

As a child, I lived with a heart defect that limited my activities.  Instead of running and playing with other children, I was sidelined.  I remember overhearing my parents talking when I was about five years old.  My mom was crying and I knew it was about me.

As I look back, I understand.  They had been told that I probably wouldn't live much longer unless I had surgery to correct my heart defect.  And at the time, the surgical techniques weren't advanced.  The doctor recommended that they wait until the risks were less.  In my five year old mind, I didn't want to cause my parents pain.  And I didn't want to make my mom cry.

So, I became a good girl.

At least as much as I knew how to be a good girl.

I tried not to cry.  I endured many injections and blood draws and was so proud that I didn't cry.

I tried to listen and obey.  But I often messed up and felt bad.

I tried to keep my room clean but ... I often failed.

Fast forward several years and I had the heart surgery.  I survived and thrived.

I wanted to make up for lost time so I worked hard at being fast.  I wanted to keep up with the other children.

I felt that I had something to prove to myself and others.

My heart surgeon Dr. Malm 1970

I spoke at a gathering of patients at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York City when I was 17 years old.  I told them that I was going to go to nursing school to become a cardiac nurse so I could give back.  I wanted to encourage others going through heart surgery or who were limited by their heart condition.

I worked as a cardiovascular nurse specialist for 25 years.  And then I retired.

Fast forward ten years and I found myself returning to work full time.  It was out of necessity not desire.

But in the process of working in a completely different field with little children, guess what?

I'm finding my voice.  

As I see little children learn and grow and make mistakes, I realize it is all grace.

I love to get messy as I help the children paint.

Sometimes they make mistakes.  Sometimes they say things spontaneously.  Sometimes they forget to brush their teeth or wash their hands.  But it's all grace ...

I'm discovering that I love photography and writing and playing and having fun.

I've lived most of my life in a left brain world but I realize I'm a right brain person.

No wonder I often struggled.  I always tried to keep up and do things right.

Praise God for His grace.

What about you?  Have you found your voice?  What has it taken for you to find it?

I'm linking up with Bonnie for this Faith Barista Jam.


Blessings and love,


WFW ~ Psalm 18:36

It's Word-filled Wednesday and I'm linking up with Internet Cafe Devotions.

I find great photo ops observing children's shoes.  These sneakers seemed to have good ankle support.  It reminded me of Psalm 18:36.

Blessings and love,


Learning to Live in the Moment

I am learning to live in the moment.  This is new for me as I'm a planner and a dreamer.  But I found I'd been missing out on the simple everyday blessings.  Writing down my blessings has helped me learn this important lesson.

On my way to work
I take a closer look
Driving 45 minutes each way to work can become mindless.  But I've been noticing the unusual sight of grazing horses in the midst of city dwellings.  I love horses and so I had to have a closer look.

#195 Seeing horses grazing in the early morning

Three year old children are just learning what it is to be a friend.  Instead of using their words, they often resort to their hands. Pushing and cutting in front of the line are common sights I see.  But we teach them to begin to use their words to communicate with one another.  And it's so sweet to see them making up and learning to be friends once again.

#196  Watching children in action as they learn to use their words
#197  The innocence of children learning to be friends

I love to observe the three year old children in computer class.  They have no fear!  So many adults are intimidated by technology but I see them clicking their mouse and having fun with the many child friendly games and puzzles.

#198 Children willing to learn and grow in knowledge

Maya came to school with a boo boo.  She fell at home and had quite a cut that required steri-strips.  All of the children gathered to see her boo boo.  Heidi and I signed her 'cast' to her delight.  Thankfully, she did well and was able to participate in most activities.

#199 The genuine concern the little children have over one another's boo boos

Every day I get to laugh at school.  There's something so special about observing children at play.  They find stepping in buckets funny.  And Miss Debbie finds it funny too.  I love coming home in the evening and sharing the fun with my  husband Greg.  He loves to hear all about the kids.

#200 The simple joy of laughter
#201 The funny things children do while playing 

Throughout the school day there are moments when our class of three year old children get to see a glimpse of an older sibling.  I'm amazed at the delight in their faces.  I was so glad I had my camera handy to catch this photo op.

#202 The joy of embracing a sibling

Mrs. Rosetti and Christopher holding hands
At the end of the school day, children are walked to gate so their parents can check them out.  Heidi takes a group that includes Christopher who was one of our students from last year.  He didn't like to follow the rules and had his desk placed next to the teacher so we could keep an eye on him.  He didn't like that one bit!

However, this new school year Christopher is growing and learning. And low and behold, he always wants to walk to the gate holding hands with Mrs. Rosetti.  I had to take a snapshot of this!

#203 Children who grow and learn to appreciate a teacher who cares

When you drop something is this what you do?  I know I don't but thankfully the children don't mind scrambling underneath anything to get what they want.  Oh to be so flexible!

#204 Flexible and willing children who find all kinds of things in places I'd never go

Every week a new letter is introduced in our classroom.  This week it was the letter "F".  The children go on a hunt for the letter "F" in our poem.  They get so excited when they spot one.

#205 The simple joy of seeing the light of knowledge go on in these little heads
#206 Children who are excited about learning new things

Are you learning to live in the moment?  I encourage you to write down those everyday blessings.

I'm linking up with Ann of A Holy Experience for Multitudes on Mondays.


Blessings and love,


Novica Giveaway Winner

We have a winner in the Novica Giveaway!

The winner is: Aubrey Lane!

I will contact  you via the email address you gave me.  You will receive a $50 award to anything you order from the Novica website.  Enjoy!

Love and blessings,


TSMSS ~ Blessings

It's Then Sings My Soul Saturday and I wanted to share a song that really touched my heart this week.  Sometimes we can pray and pray for relief from trials or pain and yet seem to find no relief.

But have you discovered any blessings even in the midst of your difficult season?  

I'm learning to keep my eyes and ears open for those everyday blessings.  

God is faithful.

God is good.  

And God is unchanging.    


We pray for blessings 
We pray for peace 
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep 
We pray for healing, for prosperity 
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering 
All the while, You hear each spoken need 
Yet love is way too much to give us lesser things 

'Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops 
What if Your healing comes through tears 
What if the thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near 
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise 

We pray for wisdom 
Your voice to hear 
We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near 
We doubt your goodness, we doubt your love 
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough 
And all the while, You hear each desperate plea 
And long that we'd have faith to believe 


When friends betray us 
When darkness seems to win 
We know the pain reminds this heart 
That this is not, this is not our home 


What if my greatest disappointments 
Or the aching of this life 
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can't satisfy 
What if trials of this life 
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights 
Are your mercies in disguise

Blessings and love,


A Cup of Encouragement

Have you offered a cup of encouragement to someone recently?

With all of the dismal news recently, it can be easy to become discouraged.  I can recall moments when I felt overwhelmed with circumstances and became discouraged.  There was so much uncertainty in my life and I was learning to trust God in all things. 

During this time, I was on the receiving end of encouragement.

To continue reading, please follow me over to ...Laced with Grace.

Laced With Grace

Blessings and love,


Sharing His Beauty

Beauty in His Grip Button

Sharing His Beauty is a new blog hop that was started by Joan Davis of The Beauty in His Grip.  I began following her blog in 2010 after she became a contributor to Laced with Grace.  I loved Joan's style of writing and I found many similarities in our lives.  We both recognize that we are on a journey of growth as we live out our Christian beliefs despite many challenges.

So, I decided to participate in Sharing His Beauty this week.

As I turn my focus to God, I'm so thankful for the beauty He has shown me through my blogging friends.  The internet has brought us closer together.  I would never have known many of you except through our blogging world.  There are many that I've shared personal emails with and I've received many words of encouragement.

When I returned home from a short trip this week to Florida, I had several messages from blogging friends.  How that warms my heart!

Sonja of '...bits and pieces' and Janette of Janette's Sage are two that I'll mention.

And even when I was on my trip, I had the opportunity to speak with Lisa Shaw of Sharing Life with Lisa.  She just released her new book called "You are Beautiful in God's Eyes".  I hope you will check it out.  Lisa is such an encouragement to others.

And I have to add that Joan of The Beauty in His Grip has been such a blessing and a source of encouragement to me too.

Have you made some special friendships through blogging?

Blessings and love,


A Novica Giveaway

Have you heard of Novica?  This is how it was described in an email sent to me in late August by Ricky Magana.
 NOVICA is one of the leading fair trade artisan websites. We work with National Geographic to give talented artisans around the world a place to express their artistic talents and provide access to the world market. We have thousands of top fair trade corporate gifts, accessories, jewelry and home decor items on our website.
Ricky invited me to check out their website and offered me two choices.

  • A $100 gift certificate OR
  • Two $50 gift certificates so I could use one and offer the other as a blog giveaway
I opted to accept the latter.  I wanted one of my blog readers to benefit from his offer too.  And of course, it's an opportunity for Novica to get some visibility.

After browsing a variety of products, I chose a black and white skirt that was made in India.  This price was $47.95 so I only had to add a few dollars to cover shipping.  (I did notice that the same skirt is now on sale for $43.16).

I work in a private school where there are a large number of children who come from families originating in India.  I thought it would be fun to wear a skirt like this to school.

A variety of views of my skirt from India
 Along with the beautiful skirt, I received a hand written postcard from the artist, Vijay Singh.  He thanked me for liking and appreciating his art.  I thought that was very nice.

I also want to point out the beautiful home decor products they offer.  I noticed some pretty vases and glassware.  

Novica is looking for consultants as they launch a new division called Novica Live.   Many people don't like to order products unless they can feel them and see them. There's an opportunity to host a party in your home and receive products to show to your friends.

So, now it's your turn.  Here's how to enter the $50 giveaway:
  • Check out Novica's products.
  • Leave a comment telling me which items you like.  
  • If you tweet about this giveaway, add another comment letting me know.
  • If you share this giveaway on Facebook, let me know for an extra chance to win.
I'll draw a winner next Monday so be sure to leave your email so I can notify you if you win. 

Blessings and love,


Feeding My Soul

Feed Your Soul is the topic for this week's Faith Barista Jam.

I view my soul as my mind, will and emotions.  That is the part of ME that all too often gets in the way of my spiritual growth.  But I cannot stuff it or neglect it.  I must deal with it.

This past week, I think I made an effort to embrace and feed my soul.

You see, I was running out of my sweet smelling and favorite Philosophy skin cream called Pure Grace.

I love reading, music, walking, fresh smells and ...family.

I got a good dose of all of that during my fall break.  I fed my soul.

  • I cannot remember the last time I was able to sit and read ...for hours.

This photo dates back to the mid 1980's when Greg and I frequently visited CA.
But that's what happens when you're stuck on an airplane for hours and have a three and a half hour layover in Las Vegas.  Thank goodness for my Kindle!

I was furiously taking notes in my journal.  I smiled when I opened it up and read the kind note from the parents of one of our students from school.  It was a gift at the end of last year.  Her mom wrote this beautiful message:

Dear Ms. Debbie
Many thanks for your patience and hard work.  I have seen how the kids admire you for the effective role you play as their good friend and mentor.
Best regards,

Underneath the note her now four year old daughter had signed her name; Anoushka.  Oh how that warmed my heart and yes ...my soul.

  • I love to hear the sound of the waves, the birds squawking, and the smell of the salt air at the beach.

  • I love to listen to music.
I packed my iPod shuffle and listened to so many songs I had previously downloaded.  I just never took the time to listen.  I laughed at the wide assortment of genres included.  Christian music, Michael Buble, the Carpenters, Jennifer Lopez, Carrie Underwood and many others.

  • I love to walk for exercise.
I took the time to go for long walks while visiting my family.  One day it was just drizzling and I thought nothing of it.  A little bit of rain wasn't about to stop me.  But in the midst of the walk, it POURED.  I returned to my brother's house soaking wet and ...loving it.

After all, we don't get much rain in Phoenix!

And guess what happened when I returned to Phoenix?

My husband Greg surprised me and ordered a new container of Pure Grace by Philosophy! I love that clean smelling fragrance.

How good is that for feeding my soul?


Blessings and love,
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