Heart Choices: November 2012

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Five Minute Friday ~ Wonder

It's Five Minute Friday when I link up with Lisa Jo of The Gypsy Mama.  She gives us a word each Friday and we get to write on it for five minutes flat.  Our word for today is WONDER.


Wonder can be defined as an emotion comparable to surprise that people feel when perceiving something rare or unexpected.  What do I think of when I hear the word WONDER?

I think of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Three in one.  Amazing, awesome, overwhelming at times but ...oh so wonderful.

My heart overflows with thankfulness as I consider the real meaning of Christmas.

To think that God loved me so much that He wanted to be in relationship with me.  But the only way I could know Him was to be without sin and that wasn't possible.  So He sent Jesus into this world, fully human and yet fully Divine.  He lived a sinless life and died on the cross for my sins and yours.

When I received this amazing gift personally, my name was written in the Lamb's Book of Life.  I was forgiven and free to be in relationship with God.

Does that fit the definition of wonder?  You bet it does.    

The wonder of the gift of Christmas.  It's a gift that's free to each one of us.  


Blessings and love,


You Matter

Do you believe that ...you matter?

It can be easy to think that who you are and what you do really doesn't matter.

We live in a time when people want to be known.  With social media, anyone can become famous even if it's for five minutes and maybe for the wrong thing.

I enjoy watching reality TV shows like The Voice and The X Factor. I'm amazed by the talent that may never have been discovered. These platforms provide an opportunity to be heard and seen by millions.

There are moments when I wish I could sing.  Unfortunately, I didn't inherit that gene from my parents.  I'm glad that our classroom of twenty 3 year old children don't seem to notice if I'm a little off key as we sing "If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands".  :)

It can be easy to begin to compare yourself to others and ...feel disappointed.

Remember this ...

God created each one of us with unique talents and abilities. Maybe you'll never be discovered for your singing ability.

What you do with what you've been given is key.  You matter.

  • Offer the gift of encouragement to someone in need.  
  • Take a break from texting and read a story to your child.  
  • Pray for those you promised to pray for.  
  • Listen patiently to that person who takes forever to express themselves.  
  • Call a friend who is going through a rough time.  
  • Write a blog post even if you get no comments.  (That post may be just the one that touches another person's heart and just what they needed to read.)

What you do matters.  This list is just a beginning.  I have the feeling you can add to my list.  

Blessings and love,


It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas around my house.

I was sick for the past week.  So, our Thanksgiving was very quiet. I was supposed to make the stuffing for our family get together. Since we didn't get to attend, I decided to use all the ingredients I purchased for the stuffing. I made the stuffing on Saturday night.  So Greg and I have been having stuffing and gravy with Costco's rotisserie chicken and ...loving it.

Yesterday when I felt better, I rummaged through our boxes and found the Christmas tree and decorations.  I have a confession to make.  For the past two years, I didn't set up our tree.  We were in transition and living in a temporary place.  It had been very hard on me as I loved our previous home.  The photo above was taken there with the tree in front of the fireplace.

Well, I realized something.  This same Christmas tree looks very lovely in our small condo.  We may not have a fireplace and lots of room, but it's kind of cozy and warm.

I've been playing Christmas carols and getting into the spirit of the season.  And I'm feeling much better.

I had to include this photo of my niece Kristin with her hubby Kevin and baby Kenzie.  Aren't they the cutest?  I just wish I could be there in person to pinch those cheeks of little Kenzie!

I'm heading back to work tomorrow.  I've missed those kids but it's been good to have a little break.

Keep counting those every day blessings ...

#599 A quiet Thanksgiving
#600 Time with Greg
#601 Finally feeling better
#602 Phone conversations with family in Florida
#603 Time for rest and plenty of naps
#604 Watching movies in bed
#605 Seeing "The Magic of Belle Island" with Morgan Freeman (I enjoyed it)
#606 Unpacking my Christmas tree
#607 Listening to Christmas carols
#608 Unpacking my favorite Christmas books I love to reread this time of year
#609 Enjoying the beautiful Phoenix weather
#610 Hearing a great sermon by a missionary to Thailand
#611 Appreciating good health


Blessings and love,


Five Minute Friday ~ Thank You

It's Five Minute Friday when I link up with Lisa-Jo of The Gypsy Mama.  She gives us a word each Friday and we get to write on it for five minutes flat.  Our word for today is THANK YOU.


Every day in our Pre-K 3 class, there are opportunities for the children to practice good manners. When we catch them saying thank you, they receive a star on our highly visible manner board. After reaching a milestone, they are awarded a sticker.

You'd be amazed by their response.  When a child has a simple sticker placed on them, the class erupts with applause and shouts of congratulations.  Miss Debbie takes a photograph, of course.

The early years are when habits are formed.  Saying please and thank you may seem so simple but it can make such a difference in life.

Cultivating an attitude of gratitude is a gift you can give to your children.

Thanksgiving may be over.  But the attitude of thankfulness can continue throughout the year.

I want to remember to give thanks in all things.  Each day is a gift from God.  How I receive each day is a choice.  I desire to always have a thankful heart that reaches out in love.

I may not receive a sticker or applause or shouts of congratulations. But being thankful changes my perspective and brings a smile to my face.  So I choose to be thankful.


Blessings and love,


Thankful for Children

Children are such a blessing.  They speak their minds.  They are flexible.  They show their emotions easily.  They cry one minute and laugh the next.

It's such fun to spend the day with a classroom of twenty 3-4 year old children.  You never know what they will say.

Small kid, big deal
Since the weather in Phoenix has become a bit cooler, I wore a blazer to school.

We were on the playground and Sam told me I should button my blazer.

I laughed and said "That's OK Sam.  Miss Debbie needs to lose a few pounds first."

He replied: "You need to exercise."

I asked him what I should do.

Sam said, "The bike that doesn't move." He smiled up at me.

I laughed and said I would have to listen to him.

Before I left for the day, I peeked into his after school class and said goodbye.  Sam looked up, pointed at me and yelled "Do your exercise Miss Debbie!"

Needless to say I went home and exercised on my treadmill.  Thank you Sam for the inspiration.

Since I'm on the subject of exercise, our school participated in the American Diabetes Association School Walk for Diabetes.  The children learned about diabetes and ways to eat healthy and to exercise.

They colored fruits, vegetables and sports equipment.  They each wrote their names in crayon and we posted it on the wall as the walk progressed.

Everyone got to wear red shirts in lieu of their uniforms as they participated in the walk.

Since this post contains lots of red, I had to share Kenzie's photos.  My niece Kristin loves to dress her up and take pictures.  Isn't she the cutest?

#585 Children say the cutest things
#586 The refreshing honesty of children
#587 Teaching the children about exercise and healthy choices
#588 Being inspired by a child
#589 Raising money for diabetes research
#590 Cooler weather in Phoenix
#591 Seeing photos of sweet Kenzie
#592 A short work week
#593 A Thanksgiving feast with the children and their parents
#594 Thanksgiving with Greg's family
#595 Planting red geraniums in the front entryway
#596 Looking forward to turkey and all the trimmings
#597 Thankful for my church family
#598 Looking forward to hiking in the mountains

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

Blessings and love,


Five Minute Friday ~ Stay

It's Five Minute Friday when I link up with Lisa-Jo of The Gypsy Mama.  Each week we are given a word.  We get to write for five minutes flat, setting our timers.  Our word for this week is STAY.


There are days when I need to stay longer ...but I go.

There are days when I'm able to stay longer ...and I'm blessed.

As I stay in His presence each morning ...He changes me.  

When I venture out into the world ...He stays with me.

His Holy Spirit is within me.  He promised to never leave me.

How different my responses are when I stay in His presence even when I'm out in this world.


Blessings and love,


Do You Spread Joy?

Do you spread joy?  Or are you so consumed with your day to day problems that you don't see the big picture?

I've been reading through my journals.  I worked as a cardiovascular nurse specialist for 25 years.  I used to write down my experiences.  Stories of the many people I met along the way.

In a journal entry dated 6/15/96, I remember David.

Talk about joy ...
David had a heart attack.  As I stopped by his hospital room to check in on his progress, he was a joy to behold.
David worked as a janitor in a local community college.  He told me how he gets to know the kids who attend the college. Many of them have problems and David is a steady fixture on the premises.  His smile is contagious and he has a gift for listening.
Many in a similar job would mope around all day.  But not David.  He sees his job as an opportunity to spread joy.  He always points them to Jesus.  After all, he adds, only He can truly solve all their problems.
Even now, David is smiling.  He's grateful to be alive after his heart attack.  And I find him talking and encouraging all of the nurses, doctors and healthcare workers who enter his room.

David's joy is contagious!

I want to be like David.

How about you?  Will you chose joy?

Blessings and love,


Thankful Blessings

Veteran's Day

Today is Veteran's Day when we celebrate the service of all U.S. military veterans.  How thankful I am to those who have sacrificed to help keep us safe.

I remember so clearly the day my brother Steve enlisted in the Navy.  Our family was so tearful as we said goodbye.  I think this was July 6, 1970 during the Vietnam War.  Steve was leaving for boot camp.  He served his time and then remained in the Navy reserves for many years.

We had a beautiful Veteran's Day ceremony at our school last week. Many of us had tears in our eyes as the band played our national anthem and Amazing Grace.  A 92 year old World War II veteran shared memories with the children.  He was the great grandfather of two of the students at our school.

I loved to watch our little cheerleaders in action.  I cannot remember a day when I was ever so flexible as this!  Don't you just love those outfits?

Birthday Celebrations

We also got to celebrate Heidi's birthday last week.  The kids were so excited about the surprise.  Each one brought a single flower to place in a vase.

Little Hilton was so excited about the surprise.  She ran with a rose behind her back.  When she finally reached Heidi, she handed it to her with the flower crushed in her little hand.  But it opened up nicely in the vase.

I discovered an idea on Pinterest but changed it up a bit.  I found a small pail and placed styrofoam inside.  After using the Ellison press to make flowers in blue and red, I cut out photos of the children in our class and pasted them on.  I then used long sticks to stand them up in the pail.  It turned out very cute!

#572 Veterans who sacrifice to keep us safe
#573 Never tiring of hearing our national anthem
#574 Hearing Amazing Grace played by children from our school
#575 A cool weekend in Phoenix
#576 Breakfast outside at The Farm at South Mountain
#577 My Neti Pot that helps me with my allergies
#578 Time this weekend at home with Greg
#579 Power restored to most in my hometown of Lindenhurst, New York
#580 My niece Katie returned home safely from her overseas trip
#581 Katie's Brooklyn apartment was unharmed by Hurricane Sandy
#582 Celebrating the birthday of my friend and co-worker Heidi
#583 Celebrating a birthday with children is so much more fun
#584 An extra day to rest and refresh before returning to work

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

Blessings and love,


Weekend Wrapup

I was very excited to have a four day weekend.  I had many plans. Unfortunately, I only had the pleasure of meeting a friend for breakfast at The Farm at South Mountain on Thursday morning. The Challah French Toast at Morning Glory Cafe was delicious.

After that, my cold and allergies got the best of me. So I've been resting at home.  It did give me time to do some reading and writing.

A Few Tidbits

I forgot to post a link to my monthly writing at Laced with Grace.  It is titled After the Election.  I share Jeremiah's words in the Old Testament as he wrote a letter to the exiles living in captivity in Babylon.  It's amazing how words of wisdom from years ago can be helpful to us today. 
In case you missed the Allume 2012 Conference (like me), you can access the videos here.  You need to create an account on the site but then you can listen to the keynote speakers.  Just look for the Allume 2012 logo on the right sidebar.

Here are a few quotes I wrote down after listening to Ann Voskamp's keynote speech.
  • "You have to bury your fear in faith.  Other wise you'll bury your talent."
  • "The secret of good writing is good living in secret."
  • "Brokenness breaks us from our need to be right."
The weather in Phoenix is finally feeling like fall.  The high today will be in the low 60's and I love it.

Since I'll be spending time at home, I certainly don't want to waste this time.  So I'll leave you with this thought I found on Pinterest.

Blessings and love,


Five Minute Friday ~ Quiet

It's Five Minute Friday when I link up with Lisa-Jo of The Gypsy Mama.  Each week we are given one word and we get to write for five minutes flat on that word.  Our word for this week is: QUIET.


There are days when I long for the quiet.  But alas, that doesn't happen very often.  You see I work with twenty 3-4 year old children every day.  There's not much time for quiet with little children.  They want to talk and tell me all about their boo-boos and who isn't being a good friend to them.  Children tend to focus on themselves.

I'm a pretty balanced type of person.  I love people.  I especially love children.  But I also need some quiet.  If I have too much of one, I get cranky.  So I try to include times of quiet in my life.

Each morning, I treasure my quiet time with the Lord.  I place my heart before Him.  I read His Word.  I pray and listen.  This time of quiet prepares me for my day.

So I take that quiet with me as I venture out into the world.  This time of quiet comes with me.

As the children clamor for my attention, I remember how much God loves each and every one of them.  He gives me a heart of love for them.  And He provides me with patience.  I have to admit my flesh can sometimes get in the way though.  But then I breathe a silent prayer and take a deep breath.

Yes, I want to take quiet with me throughout the rest of my day.


Blessings and love,


Thankful for Special Days

I'm so thankful for special days.  Saturday was one of the very special ones for Greg and me.  You see, we've been married 28 years.

Anniversary Celebration

November 3, 1984 was a very special day for us.  We flew our families up to Vail, Colorado.  We said our "I do's" in a church beside the ski slopes.  We stayed at The Lodge and had our reception there.

Greg was so proud to play the song he had searched all over town (this was 1984 after all).  He had chosen "Forever I Do" by Lou Rawls.  It was the perfect song for us to dance our first dance as husband and wife.

On Saturday, we celebrated at home quietly.  Greg came up to me and asked me to sit and listen.  He found the Lou Rawls song on his computer.  He reached out his hand and ...we danced together. 

What a perfect anniversary gift!

Fun at School

Last week was an exciting time in our school.  The Pre-K 3 class got to dress up for Halloween.  I was glad that they chose to wear princess and super hero costumes.  I'm not thrilled with Halloween but who could resist those sweet faces that were super excited?

For weeks prior to this day, the children would share how they were going to be dressed.

Heidi and I decided to be doctors and nurses.  It really wasn't much of a stretch for me.  But we had a good time (as we always do).

I'm so thankful for special days.  

But I also celebrate the every day blessings ...

#563  Another anniversary with my hubby
#564  Greg's thoughtfulness in finding our special song
#565  Dancing with my husband
#566  Remembering how far we've come over the past 28 years
#566  That we never gave up on each other even when the going got tough
#567  Fun with the kids at school
#568  Seeing their excited faces in their costumes
#569  Tattoos, candy, games and a pumpkin patch
#570  The sound of laughter
#571   A fun co-worker who loves to laugh and dance

Are you counting your every day blessings?

Photo Credit: The Power of Giving
I'm linking up with Ann of A Holy Experience as we continue to count our every day blessings.

Blessings and love,

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