Heart Choices: March 2012

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Blessings in the Midst of Chaos

I've spent the last week moving.  I didn't realize how challenging it would be to downsize.  However, in the midst of chaos ...I had a reprieve.

Some of you may recognize the smiling faces of Charlotte and her husband Clif.  Charlotte hosts Spiritual Sundays along with her personal blog Charlotte's Weblog. Clif is her hubby and fellow blogger at Musings of a Minister.

It turns out that they live several blocks from where I work in Scottsdale, AZ.  I was invited to breakfast at their lovely home on Saturday.  Afterwards, Charlotte and Clif came to Rancho Solano's annual Spring Show.

They donned their hats and sunscreen as it was a warm and sunny Arizona day.  And they even got a tour of our classroom.  Clif wrote a blog post about his reaction to this event.  You can read it here.

This is Heidi with her husband Al.  How thankful I am that we work as a team.  This is our second year together and we have such fun with the Pre-K 3's.  Heidi and I anticipate each other's moves and can tell what needs to be done.  We offer one another encouragement just when it is needed.  I look forward to next year with Heidi!

While our class was waiting for our turn to be called to the big tent and stage, we kept the children occupied.
It's amazing how simple games can be such fun with 3-4 year old children.  I taught them to put their hands on top of one another.  Then the hand on the bottom pulled out and placed that hand on the top of the pile.  Then the next hand would pull out and go on top.  They giggled as they sometimes got mixed up and put the wrong hand on top.  It was a fun activity!

Finally ...our Pre-K 3 class was summoned to the stage.  Here they are performing their number "In the Jungle".  They did a fabulous job!

#386 Enjoying the hospitality of blogging friends
#387 Beautiful Arizona weather
#388 An amazing co-worker Heidi
#389 A school that encompasses people of all ethnic backgrounds
#390 A classroom of 20 precious children I've come to love
#391 A family fun day outside
#392 A respite in the midst of moving
#393 Amazing friends Anna May and Jack who hosted a garage sale to help me sell my 'stuff'
#394 Friends Helen and John who also helped with the garage sale
#395 Sister-in-law Amy who has helped us with painting our new place
#396 My husband who has been working so hard trying to fix up the new place for me
#397 A closer drive to work
#398 Sleeping in my own bed
#399 Having some of my old furniture back
#400 Feeling the love of God in the midst of these changes

Are you counting those every day blessings yet?  It has helped me so much to focus on the good things each day.

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

Blessings and love,


Why is Change So Hard?

Why is change so hard?

I am in the midst of moving again and I'm really struggling.  I'm so thankful to be relocating back to a more central Phoenix location.  But the upheaval of moving and having to pick only what is necessary is hard for me.

I've been on spring break but it's been a time of painting, packing and decision making.  This isn't something I enjoy.  As a life long book lover, I am having to let go of my collection of so many books as we have no room in an 860 square foot condo.  Thank goodness for my Kindle!

As I go through this time of change, I want to share my struggles with you.  My life is not perfect.  My response to life issues isn't perfect.  But I'm so very thankful for good friends and that God is my strength.  I don't know how I'd get through life without Him.

During this time of transition, I thought I'd share a few of my favorite things.  I love my Pinterest finds.

I love flowers, candles and simple settings.

I love children.  I'm looking forward to going back to work in our Pre-K 3 class tomorrow.

I love times of solitude.  I enjoy people but need balanced times of being alone.

I can definitely say that God isn't finished with me yet.

But since this blog is called Heart Choices ...I choose joy!  After all, it's a fruit of the Spirit.

Source: etsy.com via Debbie on Pinterest

Will you pray for me during this season of change ...again?

I remind myself of God's Word:
"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."  Isaiah 41:10

Thank you!

Blessings and love,

Photo Credit: The Cottage Journal

I'm Over at Laced with Grace

Today I am over at Laced with Grace writing about living a life of love.

I have to admit that in the midst of moving, I almost forgot to write my post.  But I'm thankful for my reminder list on my computer and I posted it.  I encourage you to link over and read it on Laced with Grace.

Blessings and love,


How to Live Without Fear

I am fearless!

My husband says I'm scary sometimes.  He brings up my Viking heritage but he's only kidding (I think).

But if you know me or you've read Heart Choices for any length of time, you know that I struggle at times with fear.  I tend to prefer my comfort zone.

But life isn't always predictable.

As I've gone through a long season of changes, the Lord has been teaching me important lessons.

Isaiah 41:10 is laminated and sitting right in front of me at my computer screen:
"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."
God knows the beginning from the end.  He knows all the details of my life.  Nothing takes Him by surprise.

On my own, I may become fearful.

So how do I live without fear?

  • I remember what God's Word says.  
  • I choose to believe God's Word.
  • I don't allow my emotions to control me. 
  • When I stumble, I run back to His open arms of love and forgiveness.
  • I remind myself that He is always with me.

I'm jamming today with Bonnie of Faith Barista on the topic of fearless.  Bonnie is in the midst of writing a book.  I look forward to reading it after it's published.  If you've come to know Bonnie through her blog, I encourage you to pray for her as the date for her manuscript submission is fast approaching.

Blessings and love,


Be Who God Created You To Be

Be the person God created you to be.  It can be all too easy to compare yourself with others.

Even Evan and Max were measuring themselves against one another. Who is taller?  It was quite cute as they each thought they were the same height.  It's all a matter of perspective.

But God created each one of us with gifts and abilities to be used for His Kingdom purposes.  I for one, don't want to waste time worrying about how I stack up against another.

How about you?

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

Blessings and love,


God's Grace

It's In Other Words Tuesday and Urailak of Living for God has chosen our quote this week:

"Any concept of grace that makes us feel more comfortable sinning is not Biblical grace. God's grace never encourages us to live in sin; on the contrary, it empowers us to say no to sin and yes to truth." ~Randy Alcorn

God's grace makes some people uncomfortable.

I remember a conversation I had with a friend of mine.  Kevin is from Ireland but is now a US citizen.  However, he travels back and forth often to visit family.  He was discussing grace with the priest of his local Irish parish one day.  Kevin asked him why he didn't spend time preaching about God's grace.  He brought up specific Scripture passages and the priest laughed.  He said if he taught that the people would simply do whatever they wanted.

Now, I'm not here to single out this priest but to make an important point.

If I truly understand:

  • There is nothing I can do to earn my salvation
  • There aren't enough good deeds to tip the scales in my favor
  • Comparing myself to people who commit the 'big sins' isn't Biblical
  • Going to church doesn't buy my salvation
  • Being baptized doesn't grant me a ticket to heaven
Ephesians 2:8-9 says:
"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith --and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God -- not by works, so that no one can boast."
Sometimes it can be hard to receive a gift.  But when we examine the Truth of God's Word, we see that we are all sinners by nature.

Romans 3:23: "...for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."

Our sin separates us from God.

Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."

But God is love.

Romans 5:8 "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this; While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

That's what grace is all about.  When I accept and truly realize what this gift means, I don't want to sin more.  

As long as I live on this side of eternity, I will sin.  

But the closer I grow in my relationship with the Lord, the more I want to please Him.  It's amazing but over time, He begins to change the desires within me.  

And it's all based on LOVE not rules and regulations.

I encourage you to share your thoughts on this quote or link up your own blog post to Living for God.

Blessings and love,


The Blessing of Perspective

Counting every day blessings has been fun for me.  It has caused me to focus on all that is good in my life and to thank God.

But I recently hit a snag!

This week is all about moving.  I have to admit that I allowed myself to wallow in self-pity for a time.  Instead of being grateful, I spent too much time thinking about what I've lost over the past few years.

I remembered that it was two years ago to the day, that I had to leave my dream home.  This was how our house looked on March 13, 2010.

It was such a sad day for me to leave this place behind.  I went from almost 4,000 square feet to a 1,000 square foot home much further out of town.

We sold our furnishings.

We replaced them with a few items to use during this transition.

What we didn't count on was new visitors each day.
Wild bunnies, jack rabbits, quail and even coyotes ran in the backyard.  Greg and I fed the rabbits and loved watching them nibble away at the carrots we scattered.

And now, it's time to move ...again!  But this time it will be to an 860 square foot place closer in to town and work and family.

Have I mentioned I don't enjoy change?

In the midst of this change, I was able to buy back some of our original furniture!  How thankful I am to sleep in my own bed with the linens I carefully chose.

I am so grateful for friends who reminded me of things I needed to hear.

My friend Terri reminded me that she grew up in a one bedroom apartment in Queens with her parents and those were some of the happiest times in her life.

My friend Ruth lives in New York City.  She wrote: " That's bigger than the average Manhattan one-bedroom (750 sq ft).  And my friend lives in a 450 sq ft studio in The Village."

As I link up with Ann of A Holy Experience  for Multitudes on Monday, I want to count my every day blessings.

#374 A place to call home once again
#375 A quicker commute to work
#376 Friends who tell the truth in love
#377 Realizing that wherever I go ...God is with me
#378 Recognizing that material goods are just stuff and none of it is lasting
#379 Greg's family who are going to help with painting and moving
#380 The surprise of being able to have some of my original furnishings back
#381 A smaller place to clean
#382 Saving gas money as the commute to work is much quicker
#383 I will be able to ride my bike to a few of my favorite places like Bertha's Cafe and Le Grande Orange
#384 I will have my office furniture back
#385 We will be close to Greg's mom

Blessings and love,


Become Like Little Children

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

Sometimes we make things too complicated.  I remember inviting my friend to church with me.  She heard the Good News of the Gospel very clearly.  When we left, she turned to me and said "but that's too simple".  Don't I have to do ....

She came from a church background of working her way towards salvation.  So it was hard for her to accept the free gift of salvation.

Children have no trouble receiving.  They love to learn new things.  Their smiles are contagious when they finally get something.

Have you received this precious gift yet?

Blessings and love,


The Blessing of Change

Counting my every day blessings has greatly impacted the way I view life.

Change is in the air!  

The people who know me well know that I don't do change very well.  I tend to stick to the familiar.  But change is inevitable in life.  Just when the dark clouds seem to overshadow, the sun comes shining through.

Greg and I will be saying good bye to the bunnies in the backyard.  It's been a unique experience having lots of wild rabbits, quail, and coyotes wandering through.  But we will be moving closer to town and work so it's a good change.  But it's change nonetheless.

Even the children at school are changing.  I was going through my photos and found this one taken on the first day of school back in August of 2011.  They have grown so much!  In May, they will be graduating to the Pre-K 4 class and already I'm starting to feel sad.

The children have brought me so much joy.  They are so open and loving.  They haven't been hurt by life and circumstances and ...it's refreshing.

They are learning to share.  They are learning to use their words to talk to one another instead of always tattling to the teacher.

As I gaze into their sweet faces, I thank God for bringing me to this place.  My heart overflows with love.

They make me laugh!  We were having PE outside last week and it was very windy.  One of our teachers had goosebumps on her legs as she was cold.  Little Anika immediately grabbed her legs to make them warm.  Too cute!

I can't believe I titled this post "The Blessing of Change" but I think it's true.  I am learning to trust God with each day.  Sometimes I need to remind myself moment by moment but I am learning.  And for that, I am thankful.

I'm linking up with Ann of A Holy Experience as we count our every day blessings for Multitudes on Mondays.

Blessings and love,


Who Do You Trust?

Who do you trust?

Little Jake looks so relaxed as he trusts his dad (my cousin Rod) to catch him.  It seems like forever since I felt that way.  And yet I'm learning but sometimes ever so slowly ...

I believe my faith has grown through trials.  

I hear people say something like 'God doesn't give you more than you can handle.'

But the more I think about that ...I disagree.

I think God allows us to go through trials and challenges that are too much for us to handle.  You see, that's when I cling to Him.  He is my refuge.  If I could handle it myself, why do I need God?

After a long season of challenges, I thought I had learned to trust God with everything.  I look back and see how He has provided for my needs, not necessarily all my wants.  He has been at work in many situations I've prayed about.  I might not see all the answers yet but I have hope for tomorrow.

I long to be at a place in my faith walk when I don't slide back into fear and anxiety.  But I have to admit I still have those moments.

In the next few weeks, my husband and I will be moving AGAIN.

I thought I would never leave my home that I loved but two years ago we moved.  We've been living further out of town and it's a long drive to work and family responsibilities.  I think this is a positive move.  But it's another change.

I will have to decide what we can take with us as the place is even smaller than where we are currently living.  On the bright side, it won't take me long to clean.  But I still have boxes in the garage I need to sort through.  This causes me anxiety.

Greg finally told me to decide what I want to take with me instead of what I have to get rid of.  I think that's a good idea.

So who do I trust?

I am making a daily choice to trust my God.  I believe He sees all and knows all.  Nothing takes Him by surprise.

How about you?  How do you deal with change?  Do you ever waver into fear and anxiety?

I'm linking up with Bonnie for a Faith Barista Jam as we discuss TRUST.

Blessings and love,

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