Heart Choices: April 2013

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Thankful for Smiles and Laughter

Smiles and laughter ...you get both with children.  I treasure this photo of Kenzie on her first birthday celebration.  She eats with gusto when she likes something.  And this cupcake was devoured by this sweet girl.  If only I could eat like this but then again I'm trying to lose some weight.  :(

This past week was Spirit Week at our school.  We had an assortment of cute hats on Crazy Hat Day.

It always makes me smile to see the children having fun. Sometimes the simple things like peeking out give them such delight.  

And then there was this special moment.  Sawyer's mom is pregnant.  She came on to our playground and all of the children swarmed around her.  Sawyer was showing them her tummy.  He held his hand on her tummy and kissed it.  He is going to have a baby brother.  So cute ...

This last photo is one that is near and dear to my heart.  Kristin and Katie are my brother Steve's daughters.  How thankful I was to have been included in their lives as they were growing up.  Now that Kristin is married and has her own little girl, I can't help but smile.  I wish I lived closer but I treasure these photos.  How sweet is this?

#797 The joy of eating a cupcake without worrying about calories
#798 A fun filled but a bit tiring week at school during Spirit Week
#799 Playing peek a boo with the twins
#800 Laughing with the children
#801 Watching the children touch Sawyer's mom's tummy
#802 The excitement over a new baby
#803 Kenzie is now walking on her own
#804 Getting to watch videos of Kenzie and hear her voice
#805 Sitting in my garden entry in the early morning hours
#806 Getting back into the habit of regular exercise
#807 Spending time with my good friend Helen

Yes this is Tuesday and not Monday so I'm a day late.  However, I didn't want to miss out on counting my every day blessings.  So I'm linking up with Ann Of A Holy Experience for Multitudes on Mondays.

Blessings and love,


Five Minute Friday ~ Friend

Five Minute Friday
It's Five Minute Friday when I link up with Lisa-Jo of The Gypsy Mama.  We are given a writing prompt each week.  We have five minutes flat to write and that's it.  Our word for today is ...FRIEND.


I am so fortunate.  I have many friends.  I don't take that lightly. Each one is near and dear to my heart in a different way.

I have childhood friends.  We go back many years and thanks to Facebook I can still keep in touch to find out what's going on in their lives.

I have friends I met in church.  Some have moved so I don't get to see them as often as I like.  One is on the mission field far away but I love to see her when she is home on furlough.  

I have friends I met through Bible Study Fellowship.  We laugh together, pray together and cry together.  We've experienced sickness, struggles and even a recent death of one.  

I have friends I met through work, past and present.

I have many blogging friends.  Some I have met and others I've yet to meet in person.

I have friends who are neighbors.

I have friends who also happen to be my family.

How grateful I am for the gift of friendship.  Life isn't easy.  Friends make the journey more fun.  

Thank you Lord for my friends.


Blessings and love,


Thankful for Children

I'm so thankful for children.  I always dreamed of one day having my own but was unable.  However, I'm so blessed with a heart of love for children, even if they aren't my own.  

I'm reminded of the Scripture in Isaiah 54:1-2:
Sing, O barren woman, you who never bore a child' burst into song, shout for joy, you were never in labor; because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband, says the LORD.  Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes.

 Our Kenzie will be celebrating her first birthday on Friday.  She is my brother's first grandchild.  I love this photo of Steve with Kenzie. It warms my heart to see how he enjoys spending time with her and getting down on her level.  She is fascinated by the bubbles.  Don't you just love to see a child experience something for the first time?  

How easy it is for us adults to live life going through the motions, not noticing simple things that can delight.  We can learn much from children.

This little tapper certainly had me smiling.  She was so cute as she performed her routine for our class.  

I had to chuckle as little Sawyer demonstrated his love for soccer. What a perfect outlet for him.  He's really good at kicking that ball.

Yesterday was twin day at our school.  I was taking a photo of the three year old twins and they began making faces at Miss Debbie.  Aren't they so cute?

There are days when I feel so tired working with these little ones. But then they will do something silly or cute or just downright special and ...I am re-energized again.

So I continue to count my every day blessings even though I'm a day late.

#788 Seeing my brother Steve with his first grandchild
#789 Loving each and every new photo of Kenzie
#790 Grateful for a job I never imagined I'd be doing
#791 Experiencing the love of many children
#792 Getting to see the excitement as children learn new things
#793 Seeing the world through the eyes of children
#794 Laughing each day
#795 Getting to silently pray for each one of them
#796 Watching the children interact with each other

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

Blessings and love,


What Kind of Aroma are you Spreading?

What kind of aroma are you spreading?  When people have an encounter with you do they leave feeling better?  Or do they try to avoid you?  Maybe you tend to be negative or talk nonstop about all of the terrible things going on.

I've been blessed by God with a neighbor who spreads joy.  We live next door to one another and share the same entryway.  Our doors are literally next to each other.  We each have our own garden area. But this entry is common ground between us.  That could be potential problem if you're stuck with a not so nice neighbor. But God gave Greg and me ...Caroline!

In the early morning I love to sit in my wicker chair on my side of the entry area to our condo.  It is still quiet so I hear the sounds of birds chirping.  I can see my beautiful roses in bloom.  I see the shadows disappear as the sun rises in the sky.  I am quiet and I pray.

I was surprised when I noticed a green envelope placed on my chair one morning.  When I opened it up, I was so moved.  It was a lovely card of encouragement from Caroline.  She wrote that she was praying for me.  When we moved into this condo, I would never have imagined that I would be so blessed with a sister of Christ living so close.  And we just happen to be the same age and we get along so well.  How good is our God?  He knows what we need and just when we need it.

I can smell the aroma from my roses in my garden.  They are blooming and the colors are so pretty.

As I thought about Caroline, I had to smile.  She spreads such a sweet aroma wherever she goes.  Between her job, her volunteer work with a hospice organization and her ministry of teaching exercise classes she spreads sunshine and love.

So I ask you?  What kind of aroma are you spreading?

2 Corinthians 2:14-15
But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of Him.  For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.

I'm linking up with Charlotte for Spiritual Sundays.

I'm also  linking up with Joan of The Beauty in His Grip.

Beauty in His Grip Button

Blessings and love,


Five Minute Friday ~ Jump

Five Minute Friday

It's Five Minute Friday when I link up with Lisa-Jo of The Gypsy Mama.  We receive a one word writing prompt each week.  And then the timer starts.  Five minutes is the limit.  Ready, set, go ...

Our word for today is ...JUMP


I have a confession to make.  Jumping scares me.  Just the thought of taking a leap into the unknown is frightening.  You see, my personal preference is to know what's ahead.  I like to plan my life and then work my plan.  But I'm learning that life isn't always so cooperative.  Life happens.  Plans may even fail.  

I want to walk by faith.  That involves trust.  And it often means taking a leap of faith even when I don't know where I'll land.  

I've learned that my circumstances and my feelings don't always match what I know to be true.  

So do I trust my circumstances or do I trust God's promises to me?  

Even when I feel like He is not intervening according to my timetable, I remind myself that His timing is perfect.

Even if there are times when I feel so alone, I remember and cling to His promise that He will never leave me nor forsake me.

So I choose to jump and trust the Lord in all things.  This is what it takes to walk by faith and not by sight.  


Blessings and love,

photo credit: A6U571N via photopin cc

If I Were a Worm ~ Book Review

If I Were a Worm is a children's book written by Carson and Davis Hill.  I read this book when I received it in the mail and thought it was very cute.

But who would be the best judge of a children's book?  Why not let our Pre-K 3 class decide?

So, I grabbed my camera and took photos as Heidi read "If I Were a Worm".  The children sat quietly and listened.  They enjoyed the darling illustrations by Sherrie Molitor.  The book was short which is a good thing since the attention span of little ones isn't very long. They learned something about the life of a worm.  They answered questions.  They even got to wriggle like a worm back to their desks after the book was read to them.  They loved that!  :)

It was perfect timing for the book.  This past week we've been learning about the life cycle of the butterfly.  We've been planting seeds for flowers.  We even got to see and touch real live worms.  Can you believe even Miss Debbie held a worm in her hand?

Since our class enjoyed the worm book, we offered it to Miss Annie who teaches another Pre-K 3 class next to ours.

She reported back that her class also enjoyed the book and sat quietly through the reading.

I received this book for free for the purpose of reviewing it.  I have to say that I would highly recommend it for children aged 3-5.

The authors Carson and Davis Hill are brothers.  I was very impressed that 10% of the royalties are donated to an organization called Compassion.  Their motto is releasing children from poverty in Jesus' name.  That says much to me about their hearts.  I was impressed that these two young authors were already concerned for others.  I think Carson and Davis have an amazing future in front of them.  In fact, there will be more releases in the future like "If I Were a Fish" and "If I Were a Frog" and "If I Were a Bee".

You can purchase the book on Amazon for only $8.99.  There is even a Kindle version which is currently FREE.

So if you have little children or grandchildren, go and check it out.

Blessings and love,


Grateful for Tender Moments

Posted with permission from Mom, Mrs. G
Those tender moments are ones I cherish.  It's such a pleasure to observe children interacting with one another.  So often we're correcting them and teaching them.  But there are times when they teach us.

The twins, Lizzy and Mary were celebrating their third birthday. Everyone was excited.  I captured this special moment when Sam was blowing kisses at them.  How precious is that?

And this was another tender moment I couldn't resist.  Little Eric was excited to be standing next to Sawyer during flag.  They stand with their feet on the blue line as they say the Pledge of Allegiance each morning.  Eric wrapped his arm around Sawyer.  So cute!

Our science teacher Mrs. B was holding a jar with cocoons or chrysalises.  The children are learning about the process of transformation from a caterpillar into a butterfly.

Our school now has a special butterfly garden.  This will be the place where the children will eventually release the butterflies.

And speaking of gardens ...I am working on my entry garden to my condo.  I'm still not finished but it's coming along.

I love having my early morning quiet time outside.  It's cool but not too cool.  So I sit with my Bible, journal and cup of coffee.  It's a wonderful time as I get to hear the birds singing.  The complex is still quiet so I cherish these moments of peace.

I continue to count my every day blessings ...

#778 Moments of tenderness between the children
#779 The excitement on the children's faces as they learn new things
#780 A visit to the butterfly garden
#781 Beautiful flowers in bloom
#782 The best next door neighbor Caroline
#783 A lesson in living expectantly from our pastor
#784 An amazing book called "Empty" by Cherie Hill
#785 Learning lessons from Jesus' encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well
#786 Receiving a children's book to review
#787 Beautiful sunny weather in Phoenix

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

Blessings and love,


A Lesson From American Idol

I learned a lesson from the TV show American Idol.

What did I learn?  After all, I'm not a singer.  Yes, I do sing with our Pre-K 3 class but I don't think that counts.  :)

Photo Credit: American Idol
I wish the show was called something other than American Idol. When I think of an idol, it's not a good thing.  But I notice there are many Christian singers who are contestants on the show.  Many churches have amazing singers.

Angie Miller is one of the contestants this season.  In fact, she's currently in the top five.  And they are all women!  I don't know if she will win but she does have a beautiful voice.

As the contestants learn and grow they are given advice from many professionals in the industry.  I'm sure it must be overwhelming at times to put that advice into practice.  And all of this in front of millions of TV viewers who are voting.  How do you please everyone?

You don't and you can't please everyone.  Angie Miller is a good example of this.  She had some amazing performances.  But then she began to try to show another side of herself to the judges and audience.  She dressed more seductively and sang songs that were more fun.  But it didn't seem to work for her.

One of the assignments last week was for each contestant to sing a song they wished they had written.  Angie choose Kari Jobe's song "Love Came Down".  She played the piano and sang from her heart. And the judges and audience loved it, including me.  See for yourself.

Angie Miller's Anointed Performance of a Kari Jobe Song on American Idol from theremix on GodTube.

So what did I learn from this?

Know who you are.

Stay true to who you are.

I can apply this lesson to my writing.  Sometimes I try to please everyone.  Yeah, like that works.  No way!

I have to be true to who I am and write from my heart.  Not everyone will want to read what I write.  Not everyone will agree with what I write.

If God has given me a message to share I want to be obedient even if nobody chooses to listen.

I'm linking up with Charlotte for Spiritual Sundays.

Blessings and love,


Five Minute Friday ~ Here

It's Five Minute Friday when I link up with The Gypsy Mama.  Lisa-Jo gives us a word as a writing prompt each week and we get to write for five minutes flat.  Our word for today is: HERE.


Here I am.  I spend hours here.  I read.  I write.  I study.  I pray. The hours slip by all too quickly.  I long to spend even more time writing from my heart.  But I must leave to go to work, to do errands, to visit, to live my life.

This wasn't the here I imagined I'd be at this point in my life.  In fact, parts of me just want to cry out that it isn't fair.

But then I remember that life isn't always fair or easy.  I am not entitled.  I have lessons to learn, a faith to be lived out in the real world of hurts and disappointments.

So I cherish the happy moments.  I am thankful for what I have.  I seek out those every day blessings.

Here is the life I've been given. I may not get to choose all of the circumstances in my life.  But I do have a choice in how I respond.

So I continue to read, write, study, pray and live my life by faith in God who loves me and cares about me.


Blessings and love,


How Do You See Yourself?

How do you see yourself?  There's a way you can discover the answer to this question.  If we could listen in on your self-talk, what would we hear?

  • I am so scattered
  • I am unfocused
  • I am fat
  • I am ugly
  • I have no patience
  • I am depressed
  • I am lonely
This is just a list of possible things one might say in their head.

To continue reading head over to Laced with Grace.

Blessings and love,


Fun with Kids

Reading books is one of my favorite past times.  However, my Kindle is typically the way I now read books.  Although I love the feel of a book in my hands, I don't have room to store many books. I love how I'm always prepared if I have to wait for an appointment. My Kindle fits right into my purse for those occasions.

Developing a love for reading in childhood is the best.  My mom used to sit and read to me and I treasure those memories of time spent alone with her.  The children in our Pre-K 3 class are already learning to read.  Can you believe that?  They learn sight words each week like 'can, have, I'.  I love to see how excited they get when they learn a new word.  May we always have that excitement for learning no matter how old we get!
I love to see the children play on the playground.  This piece of equipment is such fun when they are able to hear one another clearly from different ends.  I've found it especially fun when I see a child with their head inside.  I go to the other end and speak their name when they least expect it.  They have a questioning look and then ...they start to laugh as they say my name back.  Too cute!

The children love to color and a few are extremely good at it.  Heidi once told the kids that she loves the sound of coloring.  Now when they are in the middle of coloring, one will inevitably shout out "we love the sound of coloring".  I remember how I also enjoyed coloring when I was a child.

I had to chuckle at this shirt.  I'm sure his mom picked this one out with a big smile!  We all had a good laugh; loved it.

I'm continuing to count my every day blessings ...

#766  I love my Kindle Fire
#767  Listening to the little children read beginning books
#768  Laughter of children
#769  The sound of coloring
#770  My new rocking chair I ordered from Amazon for my patio
#771  Working on our front entry patio area with Greg
#772  Having Monday (today) off from work
#773  An extra day to get caught up
#774  An extra day to write
#775  An extra day to read
#776  Fun catching up with an old friend over iced tea on Saturday
#777  Beautiful weather

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

Blessings and love,

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