Heart Choices: October 2012

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

Five Minute Friday ~ Voice

It's Friday and I'm linking up with Lisa-Jo of The Gypsy Mama for Five Minute Friday.  We write for five minutes flat on a word given to us this morning.  Our word for today is:  VOICE.


When I first read this word, I immediately thought of the reality TV show "The Voice".  I enjoy watching this one as the judges listen to the voice alone.  Their chairs are turned so they cannot see the contestant.  Instead, they focus on listening to the voice alone.  If they like what they hear, they hit their button and turn their chair.  Often, they are surprised when they see the person their ears heard.  It doesn't always match to what they imagined in their mind.

Sometimes, I have to be like the judges.  To truly hear The Voice, I need to turn my back (chair) to all the distractions of the world and focus on listening.  No, I'm not talking about listening to music.  I'm talking about The Voice; the Holy Spirit.

How do I hear The Voice?

  • I get alone in a quiet place each morning.
  • I read my Bible.
  • I pray.
  • I write down what I learn in my journal.
  • I ask Him to help me be still enough to hear during my day.
  • I try to remember constant, conscious communication with the Lord.
There are many days when I get distracted.  But my goal is to always hear The Voice.  As I go about my day, I pray for that awareness.


Blessings and love,


Laughter is the Best Medicine

Laughter is the best medicine.  But when was the last time you really laughed?  You know the belly ache kind of laugh.

Last week in our Pre-K 3 class, we learned the letter F.  The children get to put on their 'I Spy' eyes and go on a hunt for the letter F in our poem.  They circle all of the F's they find.  Heidi and I formed an assembly line with the twenty children.  You just have to picture this in your head!

  • Heidi called each child by name and had them take off their socks and shoes.   
  • She painted the bottoms of their feet with white paint.  
  • We helped them to stand so we could get their footprints on a black background.  
  • I cleaned the paint off their feet.
  • I put their shoes and socks back on their feet.  
This simple activity was so much fun!

Some of them were ticklish.  Little Nevin started giggling the minute Heidi began painting his feet.  He couldn't help but laugh out loud.

It was so cute and ...very contagious.

We found ourselves laughing along with Nevin.  Even now, when we point out his feet in this poster, he giggles.

Recently I received a short video of my niece Kristin's baby.  Kenzie was laughing.  I can't tell you how many times I watched this video of that precious baby laughing.

Kristin and Kenzie
I know life can be hard.  Yes, there are struggles each and every day.  Moms need to train their children.  Teachers need to teach.

But in the midst of it all, I challenge you to find something to smile about.  Laugh like you mean it.  Time passes so quickly so take the time to enjoy those every day moments.

And I dare you not to laugh after watching this 30 second video?

I hope I caught you laughing.  It's OK and besides that ...it's good for you.

Blessings and love,


The Small Things That Delight

The small things that delight.  I spent an hour writing a blog post and ...it disappeared!

I think this little one is getting a good laugh about it.  Does she work for Blogger?

Well, I'm not going to let it get to me and hopefully I remember most of what I originally wrote.

I've been learning to enjoy the every day moments.  Laughter is so good for the soul.  I can't help but laugh when I listen to the children in our classroom.  After all, it's filled with boys and girls who are three or four years old.  They are still innocent and find delight in simple things.

Melika celebrated her fourth birthday.  She loves being silly when Miss Debbie asks to take her picture.

I love how the kids proudly tell me how old they are and then guess my age.  I tell them I'm 20 and they laugh and say "no way Miss Debbie, you're 8".  I smile at that!

The children wear uniforms to school but Friday we had a special day.  It was Farm Day so they could wear jeans if they liked.  Melika was so proud of her bright pink belt that went well with her stylish jeans.  The only problem came when she had to go potty.  It's kind of hard for children this age to unbuckle a belt even though it looks very cute.

Heidi and I chuckled when we noticed Marley in her cowgirl outfit. She looked so innocent in her Daisy Mae look.  She sported two long braids.  Check out those boots; so cute!

Speaking of small things that delight, the children get so excited when they learn a new concept.  They were learning to identify patterns.  This pattern was square, circle, square, circle.  The colors didn't fool them.  They smile when we tell them they must be wearing their Smarty Pants!

I wrote about Childish Enthusiasm on Saturday (in case you missed it).  It seems to be a theme with me lately.  I never want to lose that childlike delight.  Life can be hard but there's so much to delight in too.

And speaking of delightful things ...

Even though I live far away, I get to see photos of this little bundle of joy.  Kenzie went to her first pumpkin patch event with her parents, Kevin and Kristin (my niece).  Is she cute or what?  Now that makes me SMILE for sure.

I hope that you are delighting in those small things.  Take a look around.  There's always something to smile about.  And dare I say ...laugh?

Blessings and love,


Childish Enthusiasm

I stayed in bed this morning and watched a movie.  (And no, this isn't my bed but I took a picture of it in a shop because I thought it looked so comfortable and pretty.)  I almost felt guilty but ...I caught myself.  

After all, it was a Saturday and it was only 7 in the morning.  I usually awaken before 5 every day.  But this morning I indulged myself and thoroughly enjoyed my time.

The movie I was watching was Under the Tuscan Sun .  The lead character Frances purchased a villa in the Tuscany region of Italy after her husband divorced her for another woman.  She's trying to heal after her heart was broken.  And did I mention she's a writer?  (I could just picture myself in this beautiful scenery writing to my heart's content.)

Frances keeps bumping into a character in town named Katherine who is an actress.  She always seems to have such an enthusiasm and zeal for living.  Katherine explains her way of living and encourages Frances.

"Never lose your childhood and things will come your way." from Under the Tuscan Sun

It can be all too easy to lose our childhood enthusiasm.  Life can be hard and all too often we get hurt by someone or something.  As a result, many of us cover our hearts to avoid further pain.  But in the process, we sometimes forget to enjoy the moments and to laugh!

I spend most of my day with 3 and 4 year old children so I get to witness childhood enthusiasm.

They love to celebrate their birthdays and proudly tell me their age.

Yesterday as I was trying to leave for the weekend, I ran into an after school class with two of our students.  Although I had spent almost the entire day with them, they were so enthusiastic to see me.

Their smiles were contagious!

After the hugs, three year old Sam began showing me how well he is able to snap his fingers.  Of course, Hilton had to get in on the action and began shouting:

"Miss Debbie, look at me!  See what I can do."

She proceeded to drop down and do splits and then jump up and do jumping jacks.  Oh the energy they possess!

I began to say goodbye again but Sam came back and shouted:

"Miss Debbie, look at what I can do."

He also began his calisthenics but stopped.  He looked up at me with a smile and said:

"Sam loves his Miss Debbie."

I think my heart was smiling by this time.

If only we would keep that childhood enthusiasm.  I want to live, love and laugh.

How about you?

Blessings and love,


The Gift of Friendship

True friendship is a gift.  I'm fortunate to have many friends.  Some I've known since childhood, while others from later in my life.  They are all a blessing to me.

While I was on fall break, I entertained for the first time in our very small condo.  Nine women snuggled closely together as we had lunch.  At least, I still had my good dishes that I used to serve our Strawberry Spinach Salad.

Pinterest has become such an amazing resource for great recipes. The spinach salad recipe was contributed by Sandy of the Reluctant Entertainer .  She's known for simple recipes so the focus is on your guests and not fussing in the kitchen.

I'm counting those blessings ...

#555  Fall break
#556  Having friends for lunch in our new home
#557  Beautiful cooler weather in Phoenix
#558  Passion fruit iced tea from AJ's (my favorite)
#559  Receiving beautiful cards from Cindy of Letters From Midlife
#560  Staying in the White Mountains of Arizona
#561  Driving Amy and Paul's Rhino off road
#562  Spotting many deer close up in the woods

I'm linking up with Ann of A Holy Experience as we continue to count our every day blessings.

Blessings and love,


Keeping Eternity in Mind

The eternal perspective has been on my mind lately.  I try to keep this focus throughout my day.  I find that it helps me when unexpected challenges come along.

I find myself asking:

  • Has this come about because of the consequences of my choices?
  • Is it something that will help me to grow?
  • Will it be used to help someone else?
This morning I was reading from His Princess: Love Letters From Your King by Sheri Rose Shepherd. I received this little book several years ago from my blogging friend Jill.

I hope you will be encouraged as you read this love letter. 

Did you know that I have prepared a home for you in heaven?  It is more beautiful than you can ever imagine.  Your eyes have not seen nor have your ears heard the majestic beauty that awaits you.  But for now, my chosen one, I need you to learn to see your life with an eternal perspective.  When you cross over into heaven, you won't be able to bring anything from your home here on earth.  You're only here to bring forth My life-changing news of salvation.  Don't collect things; collect people.  I have called you to bring others to Me.  Remember, no one will grow closer to Me because of what you have.  Tell them how much I love them.  They need to know about My amazing plans for their lives and about the eternal kingdom that awaits them, too.
Your King and your Eternity Builder

You can sign up to receive these love letters on Sheri Rose Shepherd's website.

Do you have an eternal perspective or are you more focused on the here and now of life?

Blessings and love,

photo credit: Rob Crusoe via photopin cc

Five Minute Friday ~ Race

It's Five Minute Friday when I link up with Lisa-Jo of The Gypsy Mama.  We write for five minutes flat on a word given to us every Friday morning.  Our word for today is RACE.


And they're off!  I love the starting line to a race.  There's an air of anticipation and expectancy.  Watching Olympic athletes is inspirational to me.  They've worked so hard to prepare for this moment and ...they want to win.

The movie Chariots of Fire is one of my favorites.  It's about the 1924 Olympics and Eric Liddell is a competitor but he's also a missionary.  His sister doesn't understand why he wastes his time running.  He kindly tells her:

I believe God made me for a purpose, but He also made me fast.  And when I run I feel His pleasure.

To feel the pleasure of God; oh my!

To race to the finish line and have Him say "well done, my good and faithful servant".

That's my goal for my race.

My race may not sound as exciting as an Olympic competition.  But my race is important.  It's how I live out each day.  It's not a sprint. It's a long distance race.  I'm in in for the long haul.  I need power from on high.  Holy Spirit power is what it takes to run my race.

I prepare myself with a daily quiet time, soaking up the Scriptures and praying.  I get rid of anything that might hinder me by confessing my sins.  I ask for His guidance for my day.  I empty me of self and ask for to be filled to overflowing with His love and His presence.

This is how I run my race.  I don't do it perfectly.  When I fall, I get up.  And when I'm given those moments to share His love with another ...I feel His pleasure.


Blessings and love,


What's Your Perspective?

What's your perspective?  How do you navigate through life?  Are you a positive or a negative kind of person?  Is the glass half full or half empty?  What lens do you view life from?

It's all a matter of perspective.

I attended a funeral yesterday.  My friend awakened to find her husband of 57 years dead.  He died in his sleep.  He was not a young man and had many recent health issues.  But it still came as a shock to my friend Darrene.  

I listened to the eulogy of this man of God.  He left behind a legacy of faith.  His grandsons stood at the podium and tearfully shared what they learned from their Papa.  The overriding message was that this man lived out his faith for others to see.  I was sitting with a group of my friends.  I couldn't help but think about what we would leave behind when it was our time.  

As I was having my quiet time early this morning, I was contemplating my own perspective on life.  You see my friend's husband had an eternal perspective.  He lived his life by faith in Christ and others were impacted and influenced.  

I'm learning to have an eternal perspective.  

I recently completed a study by Catherine Martin entitled "A Heart To See Forever".  It is a study on the book of Revelation.  This is how Catherine defines the eternal perspective.

“The eternal perspective is the ability to see all of life from God’s point of view and have what you see affect how you live in the present. Simply stated, the eternal perspective is the ability to walk by faith in God’s Word.”~ Catherine Martin, from A Heart To See Forever

My eyes are open to notice other people's perspective on life.  I've been reading a book called "Beyond Cancer's Scars".  It is written by a dear blogging friend Elaine Olsen. I've followed Elaine for many years on Peace for the Journey.  She has weathered the storm of breast cancer and shares from her heart all that she's learned and continues to learn through this challenging time in her life.

Elaine has an eternal perspective.

I found myself highlighting and underlining her words.

"When we approach our pain without kingdom perspective, we rely on quick fixes.  We search for the shortest route between our suffering and its release. But with kingdom perspective, we willingly cede the shortest route to the road that includes a King's companionship. When we do so, something changes in us.  Something new moves in to replace the old, and eyes once blinded by temporal understanding are opened up to see with eternal perspective - a place to which only God can lead us."  ~ F. Elaine Olsen from Beyond Cancer's Scars 

Elaine's words continued to speak to my heart.

"With every new day and each new trust I'm given, I'm challenged to relinquish my easiest and shortest inclinations to an eternal preference that stays focused on God's greater gain." 

Is your perspective focused on the here and now?  Are you so quick to pray for a quick relief from your present pain and challenges? What if going through this present difficulty is just what will grow you?  What if others who see you go through this time can learn about the eternal perspective from you?

Are you willing to trust God in the midst of your trials?  Will you allow Him to grow you into the person He knows you can be?  It may take some suffering along the way. But if you have that eternal perspective in mind, it will be for your good and His glory.

Blessings and love,


Let Your Light Shine

Let your light shine.  It's amazing how a single candle lit can dispel darkness.

I love candlelight services on Christmas Eve.  In our church, we start at one end.  A single candle is lit and the person turns to the one sitting next to them and lights their candle.  This continues until all of the candles are shining brightly.  It's quite a sight to see.  The darkness disappears.

What would happen if each one of us let our light shine brightly?  ...

To continue reading, please link over to Laced with Grace for my monthly devotional.

Blessings and love,


Daily Choices

Every day we make choices.  Many of those choices become automatic.  You don't even think about them.

But if you consider your future, I believe it's important to examine your day to day choices.  After all, they determine what your tomorrows become.  I coined that phrase when I was working with heart patients.  As a cardiovascular nurse specialist, part of my job was to educate them about making healthier lifestyle choices.

We make choices in every area of our lives.

Consider some of the choices you get to make:
  • Hold a grudge or forgive someone who wronged you 
  • Complain about what you don't have or be thankful for every day blessings 
  • Question where God is or praise and thank Him for His love and mercy 
  • Become impatient with a slow sales clerk or smile and tell her to have a good day
  • Avoid spending money you don't have or charge it
  • Pop open that can of soda or drink a glass of water
  • Clench your jaw or take a few deep breaths
  • Sit and do nothing or go for a walk
  • Complain or pray, pray, pray
  • Give advice not asked for or simply listen 
What choices do you make each day?  Are your choices moving you towards a better future?

We may not get to choose all of our situations but we can choose our response.  

What choices can you make that will move you towards a better future?

I'd love to read your comments.

Blessings and love,

photo credit: Photo Extremist via photopin cc


Five Minute Friday ~ Welcome

It's Five Minute Friday when I link up with The Gypsy Mama.  Lisa-Jo gives us one word each week.  We get to write for five minutes flat on this one word.  Our word for this week is: WELCOME.


Every week day morning, I am greeted by the sweet faces of little three and four year old children.  No matter how tired I am when I arrive at work, the sight of the smiles and innocent tugs for my attention energize me.

Melika shows me her tattoo and her new heart bracelet.  "Look Miss Debbie."

Hilton tells me she's a pop star as she models her blue sunglasses.

Sid excitedly tells me he's Superman and will take care of the bad guys for me.  He has an invisible cape so he can fly if he needs to help someone.  As he runs off, he quickly turns around and says "I love you Miss Debbie."

Our newest student shyly tells me she wants a friend but hangs her head and won't leave my side.  I try to engage her in play with the other children but feel her hand grasping mine.

Sam shows me his latest boo-boo.

As I try to listen to each child, a small hand touches my chin to gently move my attention to their sweet face.


I don't think I know of a better way to be welcomed.  I thank God for this opportunity He gave me.  Three years ago, I would never have imagined this is where I would be.  But in the midst of pain and uncertainty, He answered a prayer that was buried within my heart.

Children are a blessing.  And children can be the MOST WELCOMING people in the world.


Blessings and love,


The Blessing of Friendship

As I count my every day blessings, I can't forget the people who came into my life at just the right time.  I had the opportunity to attend a baby shower this weekend.  Natasha and Eric are having a baby and we got to help celebrate.  The event was hosted at her mom's house, my good friend Linda.

Linda is one of those people I thank the Lord for each day.  She is Mimi to all of her grandchildren.  She's the reason I am working at Rancho Solano Private School.  When I was in need and living in a place not my own, she scooped me up and lifted me up.

The following verses from Matthew 25 remind me of Linda:

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom(V) prepared for you since the creation of the world.(W) 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,(X) 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me,(Y) I was sick and you looked after me,(Z) I was in prison and you came to visit me.’(AA)
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’(AB)

She provided me with friendship and love when I needed them most. Her husband George is the pastor of the church I attended while living in the west valley of the Phoenix metro area.  Of course, there were many others who were such a support to me as well.  But as I watched Linda open up her home to celebrate the upcoming birth of another grandchild, I felt to grateful to know her and call her my friend. I miss seeing her every day at school as she retired in August.

Are there people in your life who have blessed you just when you needed it?  Sometimes it can be all too easy to take people for granted.  I do believe that God uses people to be His hands and feet. I want to be willing to say yes when He calls me to be a good friend to another.

#546 Celebrating the upcoming birth of a baby boy
#547 Seeing friends I've not seen in too long a time
#548 Cooler mornings and evenings in Phoenix
#549 Upcoming fall break
#550 Seeing photos of Kenzie who is five months old
#551 Friends who hang in there through thick and thin
#552 Getting to know my co-workers better
#553 Receiving my friend Elaine Olsen's book about her journey through cancer
#554 Reading my cousin's children's book called "Shameka's Window: A Day in Belize" that was illustrated by her daughter Sondra

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

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=]