Heart Choices: 2011-12-25 -->

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

What One Simple Thing Could you Do to Take Care of Yourself Today?

I'd love to share some profound wisdom as a new year is fast approaching.  But today, I needed to do something simple to take care of myself.

I need my car.  It's almost 12 years old and has well over 100,000 miles on it.  I used to take such good care of my car; keeping up with maintenance and having it washed every Saturday.

However, lately it seems that I put the key in my car, get on the freeway to go to work each day as I pray that it won't break down despite the brake light being on for some time now.

I'm happy to report that during my two weeks off from work, I got new brakes and four new tires!  I  know my work partner Heidi will be happy to hear this news.  :)

Many years ago I read a book called "One Minute For Yourself".  I remembered that one of the questions in the book was to ask yourself the question "what is one simple thing you could do right this minute to help you feel better?"  The author gave an example of getting his car washed.

So on this December 31, 2011 morning I took my car to the car wash.  Not a big deal but ...check this out!

My 2000 Lexus looked almost brand new!  And it worked as I did one thing to take care of myself right now.  The inside is clean and I feel better driving it.

And since I've changed my perspective as I've been counting my everyday blessings, I even noticed the beautiful waterfall at the car wash.  Go figure ...

There's beauty all around us.  We just have to take the time to notice.

Let me ask you the question.

What one simple thing could you do right now to take care of yourself? 

Blessings and love,


Word-filled Wednesday ~ He is Always With Me

These past few years have been very challenging for me.  I haven't been able to see in advance what would happen next. God asks me to walk with Him even when I don't know where we're going.  It's called walking by faith and He has my best interests at heart.

What I'm learning is that ...God is trustworthy.

I'm linking up with the Internet Cafe Devotions for Word-filled Wednesday.

Blessings and love,


Interview with Lisa Shaw

Lisa Shaw has become a good friend to me.  You may know her through her blog Lisa Shaw Cares.

I had the opportunity to meet Lisa in person and I can say that ...Lisa really does care.  She's the real deal and is a joy to know.

Lisa published her first eBook entitled "You Are Beautiful in God's Eyes".  I asked Lisa questions regarding this new venture and I want to share her answers with you.

1.      “You Are Beautiful in God’s Eyes” seems to be so personal to you Lisa.  Why did you choose to write this book now?

For 10 years I have tried to finish writing a book. I have several started on my hard drive or on paper but never completed.  Several reasons for that but one day, the end of May of this year, I was at lunch with my friend Johnine.  I was showing her a very small pocket-sized booklet written by Marilyn Hickey that I’ve had since 1999. It spoke about how God uses women in His kingdom purposes, a subject that has always been important to me especially in the roles in which God uses my life.  As I shared with Johnine she was not very interested in hearing about that booklet but rather she asked the question that has changed my life and the lives of others and I’m so humbled by that and grateful to God!  The question she asked was, “Lisa, where is your booklet?”  During the 30 minute ride home from lunch I pondered that question. I asked myself, “Lisa, where is your booklet?” I began to cry. I began to pray. With hot tears streaming down my face I heard myself ask God, “Abba Father, where is my booklet”.  Within my heart I could hear Him say, “Within you”.  I began over the next day or so.  I prayed and asked God what to write about. He gave me the topic from the heart of which I’ve lived and from which I’ve ministered to many women over the years; helping them to see themselves through God’s eyes.   I laid my hands to the keyboard and the Holy Spirit took over.  Within two months You Are Beautiful In God’s Eyes was completed by God’s grace.  By the beginning of September it was published and in my hands. That was all God!

2.     In your ministry, do you see many Christian women who struggle with these issues of not feeling beautiful?  Doesn't becoming a Christian heal those areas of hurt?

Yes Debbie, many women struggle with seeing themselves through God’s eyes--the eyes of His Word.  Often women in certain positions of ministry or business are apprehensive about admitting that.  I have also found that at times women who have been saved a long time are also timid in being transparent in this area.  We must get beyond the masks, titles and positions and be transparent about the wounds we carry around so that we can seek Jesus for full healing and wholeness and live the lives He’s provided for us to live abundantly.

Becoming a Christian does not automatically heal the hurts.  That is why we can be a Christian for so many years and live discouraged, depleted and defeated.  The healing begins when we walk in genuine fellowship with the Lord and answer His question.  He asks, “Do you want to be made whole?” as He asked the man at the pool in John 5.  We have to be willing to answer that question. We have to want the healing that Jesus provides. The woman with the issue of blood in Mark 5 went after her physical healing.  The sinful woman in Luke 7 went after her spiritual healing.  Jesus wants us to be healed and whole but we have to want what He is offering to us and then go after it in His Word and in prayer and receive all that He has for us. Not an easy thing to do but doable with His help.  Healing and wholeness in the area discussed in my Book is often not instantaneous.  It’s often a process and that’s ok as long as we begin the process to define ourselves by the Word and not the world by learning what God sees when He looks at us and then daring to believe Him!!

3.     I loved how you addressed 7 reasons why women find it difficult to see themselves as God sees them.  Straddling the fence was a chapter that could have been taken from my life story.  Do you think we in the church miss opportunities to help new believers grow in their faith?  Or is it that people believe that when they pray the prayer inviting Jesus into their heart they have a ticket to heaven and don’t focus on how they are to live NOW?  

Sadly yes, we often do miss opportunities in the church to help new believers to grow in their faith. I would add not just new believers Debbie but struggling Christians and even Christians who have been saved for a very long time. Often when people meet me in ministry circles they ask me one main question:  What church do you attend? I think a better question is, “Do you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ? How long have you been really walking with Him?”  There’s usually the date we become a Christian and then the date that we really begin to walk with Him up close.  Not true for everyone but often true for many people.

If we reached the heart of the person and not just asking surface questions then we’d probably see people open up more as we show them that we care in Christ about their lives, and that gives opportunity for us to help people more.

4.     How are you getting the word out about the book?  Who is marketing it?  Have social media platforms been helpful to you?    

My hubby and I published the book by God’s grace with a very good company.  Then, God has put this book into hands I would not have anticipated in the last three months. Women of various ages and backgrounds, young ladies and teenagers have read it. I have been told that some husband have read it as well! My book has traveled to India and that blessed my heart.  Our pastor and congregation have embraced the Book without my pursuit or request.  My pastor actually read it at night while on a very intense mission’s trip to Madagascar!   God has opened doors for me to do the Book as a 9 week Bible Study beginning January 4th at the church. As a result I am also working on a Study Guide. I’m excited about the doors God has opened already. I’m looking forward to being invited many places to share God’s story to penetrate the hearts of Christian and non-Christian women!

5.     Do you think this would be a good book to share with women friends who are not Christians? 

Absolutely.  My sister in law, Kenya said that one of things she loves about the Book was that it was not “churchy” sounding and that it was conversational, relatable and relative.  I believe that all women can benefit from the message and prayerfully by the time they read Chapter 7:  Living Apart from His Truth will cause them to give their hearts to Jesus Christ. That chapter was written for that purpose.

6.     Lisa, you are beautiful.  Have you finally come to the point where you truly believe that and see yourself through the lens of God’s eyes? 

 Debbie you are beautiful too!  Yes, I truly believe that I am beautiful in God’s eyes and that was a long journey my friend!  I truly believe that I am defined by His Word and not by the world.  There are times when the enemy will whisper his lies but I have learned how to handle him through 2 Corinthians 10:4-5.  There are times when negative thoughts will creep in my mind or the hurtful words of others will attempt to distract me from my purpose in God but I grab those negative thoughts and hurtful words and cast it down out of my mind and make it subject to Christ. I then fill my mind and my mouth with His Word. I speak His word aloud and encourage myself and fill myself with His truth over and over until my mind is at peace.

 If I could I would hug every woman who reads this and tell her that she is beautiful in God’s eyes. I would encourage her to read His Word and find out what He sees when He looks at her and then, dare to believe Him and live her life based on that truth!

Debbie, you are beautiful in God’s eyes and I love you! Thank you for the opportunity to share more about my book: You Are Beautiful In God’s Eyes.  For Book details and Book purchase or Kindle or Nook information: www.lisashawcares.com

So now go and check out this book of Lisa's.  I read it and loved it.  I was not asked to conduct this interview by Lisa nor was I given anything in exchange for this recommendation.

Blessings and love,


The Habit of Counting Everyday Blessings

Counting everyday blessings has finally become a part of my life.

When I first began to participate in Multitudes on Mondays with Ann of A Holy Experience, I had to intentionally make the choice to focus my attention on searching for everyday  blessings.

I wasn't in the habit of giving thanks for those seemingly ordinary occurrences in life.  But the habit is taking root and for that ...I am thankful!
The weather in the Phoenix area this time of year is beautiful.  The temperature ranges from nights in the low 40's with daytime highs in the 60's.  I'm originally from New York so I grew up with snow and cold winters.  I love to bring out my sweaters but I also get to experience flowers and sun and mountains.

Greg and I had a quiet Christmas this year but much time to spend together.  After all, I'm on a two week break from work.  That's the beauty of working in a school.  When I worked as a nurse, I worked many holidays over the years.

I'm so grateful to my friend Terri for an annual invitation to the Phoenician Holiday Tea.  This tradition began about 14 years ago when Terri's mom was a patient in the cardiology practice where I worked. The three of us went each year at Christmas.  However, Terri's mom died but we've continued the tradition now including her cousin Janet. As we sip tea, we often reminisce about all three of our mothers in heaven.
I wrote about my family's Norwegian American Christmas traditions here.  I was delighted to learn that my niece Katie is interested in continuing many of these traditions.  She lives in Brooklyn, New York as she works as a colorist in a hair salon in Manhattan.  She was home visiting her parents in Florida for Christmas.  I received a call from her mom asking for the family recipe.  So we had the smell of cardamom in Arizona and in Florida!
My dad is in his 80's and is currently living with my sister and her husband.  He's had numerous health issues with his heart over the years but we're so thankful he's doing well now.  He used to love to paint using oils.  But it's been some time since he picked up his paintbrush.  He recently asked me to send him a picture I had taken of The Lone Cypress along 17 Mile Drive in Carmel, California.  He thought it would inspire him to begin painting again.

I was happy to do so but instead I entered a giveaway on Jennifer's Studio JRU blog.  She was offering a 16" x 20" rolled canvas print from UPrinting.com.  I could use the photo I had taken of The Lone Cypress and possibly win a canvas print of it to send to my dad for Christmas.  So I entered and ...I won!
My brother took a photo of my Dad with his gift as I wanted to see what the finished product looked like.  It was beautiful and I hope it will inspire my dad to begin painting again.

#277 Beautiful weather in Phoenix
#278 Two weeks of vacation from work
#279 Wonderful friends who share fun experiences 
#280 Norwegian traditions that are being continued in the Sumstad future generations
#281 The smell of cardamom in the house
#282 A beautiful Christmas church service 
#283 Singing Christmas carols together
#284 Helping a friend begin blogging
#285 Receiving a box of Norwegian treasures from my Aunt Ruth
#286 Seeing the face of my dad smiling despite the miles that separate us
#287 Praise that Greg's mom is getting stronger everyday after several health issues this past year
#288 The fun of reconnecting with friends and family on Facebook
#289 The joy of watching a family friendly movie called "Dolphin Tale" on my new Kindle Fire
#290 The gift of Jesus
#291 Peace with God through Jesus
#292 Joy despite ongoing challenges in life

Will you begin to make the daily choice to be on the lookout for those everyday blessings?  It will change your perspective on life.

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=]