Heart Choices: July 2013

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What's Good About a Colonoscopy?

I finally had one week off from work.  So how did I spend the first two days?  I had a colonoscopy!  I can't believe I'm actually writing about this experience but it's something anyone over 50 years of age should do. This is my second one and although the prep is a LITTLE BIT easier, it's still a drag.  I wasted two days of my vacation but I got good news.  Everything is in order ...down there.

As a nurse, I know the importance of preventive care. Colon cancer is something that kills if left undetected. Although the prep is a bit unpleasant, the procedure isn't bad at all.  Once the intravenous injection was administered, I was out and didn't remember a thing. Which is a good thing.

I've learned that in life there are some things I need to do that are unpleasant. A colonoscopy is one of those things.  But in the midst of every experience, I can always find some good if I simply look for it.

I lost three pounds.  Although I do not recommend this as a weight loss method, I was happy to see my scale finally budge in a good direction.

I met some very nice people.  The nurses at the Endoscopy Center were wonderful. They asked me what I did and I told them about the children in our preschool.  I mentioned that I was also a nurse and had worked for 25 years in cardiovascular nursing. Next thing I knew I had the Head Nurse of the Center beside my bed asking if I wanted a job.  She told me to contact her if I decided to go back for my Refresher Course.  Good to know!

My doctor was the best.  I love going to female doctors, especially when dealing with a colonoscopy. She was so encouraging and kind.  I even have photos of my colon that I don't care to share with you, if you don't mind.  After all, enough is enough!

My husband was so good to me. Greg drove me to the Endoscopy Center and waited patiently for me.  I hadn't eaten anything solid for two days.  On the way home, he asked me what I wanted to eat when we got home.  The only thing that appealed to me was grilled cheese and chicken noodle soup. I was still groggy from the medications so I fell asleep when we got home.  Upon awakening, Greg presented me with soup and crackers on a tray.  The second course was grilled cheese.  He used ciabatta bread and grilled it perfectly. He used my favorite dishes and included a sprig of basil for the perfect presentation.  What a guy!

So what are you waiting for?  Many of you are still too young to worry about this.  But if you're over 50, I encourage you to get your colonoscopy.  Have you had one yet?  

Blessings and love,


What Are You Waiting For?

What are you waiting for?  That's the question I keep asking myself.  I'm one of those people who gets all excited about moving forward on something.

  • I've prayed about it
  • I research it
  • I read what others say
  • I try to learn all I can about it
But when I get into it, I start questioning myself.  Is this really what God has called me to do?  Maybe I heard Him wrong and it was just something I thought I should do.  Have you ever felt that way?

To continue reading, head over to Laced with Grace.

Blessings and love,


Five Minute Friday: Broken

It's Five Minute Friday when I link up with the Gypsy Mama.  This week Lisa-Jo's blog has been having some issues so we're linking up on her Facebook page instead.  Our writing prompt for this week is BROKEN.

I like to think of myself as strong and capable.  Maybe it's the Norwegian genes that I inherited.  Or maybe it's because I suffered as a child sitting on the sidelines before my heart surgery.  I was determined to be strong and capable, not having to depend on anyone but myself.  After all, I didn't want to be hurt and disappointed.

I work hard.  I give my best in all I do.  Isn't that enough?

But life happens.  We don't live in a cocoon after all. We are impacted by others. Challenges and trials came my way.

Everything changed in the last three years.  My life as I knew it became different in so many ways.  I felt broken.  I didn't know what to do. I came to the end of myself.

That became the beginning of a new adventure.  Instead of looking to self, I began to look to God.  I began to depend on Him to supply me with what I needed.  He became my strength and my anchor in the valley of difficulty.  In my brokenness, I discovered that He is the One to turn to.

"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 (NIV)


Blessings and love,


When it Rains it Pours

Rain is rare in Phoenix.  The monsoon season has arrived and Sunday we had a downpour.  It rained so hard that the drains couldn't keep up.  There are many washes in our area and they filled up quickly.  Some drivers had to be rescued when their cars became stranded in deep water.  

In our condo, we have a back patio that runs the length of our place.  Since we've downsized considerably, we still have many boxes stored in the back. When the skies were getting dark, Greg and I went into the back and began making sure all the boxes were off the ground and covered.  While we were working, it seemed like the skies opened up and down came the rain.  I got so soaked it looked like I just stepped out of the shower.  I struggled to open the side gate so the water would flow out.  We had about 5 inches accumulating in the back.

I'm so glad the rain came during the weekend and not during summer camp with the children.  After all, they love to go swimming.

Last week our theme for camp was Asia.  They are on a trip around the world. They learned to say hello in Chinese.  All week they were saying "Ni hao".  They learned about customs, chopsticks and panda bears.  I was so proud of them when they told our principal what extinct and endangered species were.  They had fun doing crafts.  I brought in a bag of fortune cookies. They were so excited when they discovered 'notes' inside each cookie.  They laughed when I read the 'notes' (that's what they called them).  I must admit that I changed a few of them to things like "Mackenzie's daddy loves her".

I especially love to watch the children during free play time.  I found our youngest child under the table talking to a doll.  

There's so much in life that we can't control.  But I've found that I do have a choice in how I view things.  I prefer to focus on what's good and to be thankful.
So I continue to count my every day blessings ...

#873 Much needed rain
#874 Greg and I got everything covered up just in time
#875 Hearing my dad's voice each weekend
#876 Spending time with Greg's sister who is visiting from Maryland
#877 My morning quiet time
#878 Looking forward to my daily morning workouts
#879 Seeing photos on Facebook of my classmates from years ago
#880 Only one more week of summer camp
#881 Watching the children interact with one another
#882 Seeing the delight on their faces as they discovered 'notes' in their fortune cookies
#883 Finally getting into a rhythm of changing 12 children into bathing suits and back into clothes again
#884 Discovering and trying new recipes from Pinterest

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

Blessings and love,


Five Minute Friday ~ Belong

It's Five Minute Friday when I link up with The Gypsy Mama.  We receive a word each week and then we get to write for five minutes flat.  Our word for today is BELONG.


Where do I belong?  As a seven year old girl, I longed to run and play with other children.  But a heart defect kept me on the sidelines.  As a teenager, I longed for fun during my high school years.  I had lots of friends.  I was captain of the twirlers.  Those were good times with many good memories.  Off I went to nursing school once again eager to belong.  How thankful I was for the friendships that developed as we studied but still had fun.  Every place I worked over the years, I loved the friendships that grew.  Even now as I returned to work in a new field, it's the people I get to work with that I treasure.  And the little children who greet me each morning with lots of love and hugs bring a smile to my face.

I'm a wife to Greg.  I love children and family and blogging and photography and cooking and home and travel.  And my mom always used to tell me I'm in love with love.  So where do I belong?

I realize the true place where I belong is in my relationship with Jesus. He is the only One who can give me joy.  He accepts me as I am and is always with me. He guides me and leads me when I listen and obey.  I belong to Him.


Blessings and love,


Working Together

Working with preschool children can be challenging. Everything in their world seems to rotate around ...them.  Trying to teach them to share and play together has its moments.

I love when the children get to experience doing something together and having it turn out better than if they did it alone.

Sometimes I have to chuckle to myself.  Many adults have that same independent attitude and 'don't play well with others'.

I love how God creates each one of us individually.  No two of us are exactly alike.  To one He may give a talent for organization.  To another a gift of hospitality. To another He may give a gift of leadership or a desire to help others. Instead of being jealous of someone else's talent, why not appreciate the gift He has given you and use it to glorify Him?  Maybe we can learn like children?  After all, the project just might work out better if we each use our gifts working toward a common goal.

In the meantime, we can still express our individuality in many different ways.  How about these awesome pink and white nails?

I continue to count my every day blessings.

#864 Another visit to The Simple Farm to see and appreciate how Michael and Lylah are using their talents to grow fruits and vegetables and make the most amazing goat cheese
#865 Wonderful conversation with other believers
#866 Teaching kindergarten through 5th grade children about 'money' for two days and helping them to differentiate between a need and a desire
#867 Watching them use their 'money' to make purchases while not forgetting to record each one so as not to overspend
#868 Playing along with the preschoolers when they hid behind the cubbies when they saw me through the window and then jumped out when I wondered where they were
#869 My car that is holding up well despite being 13 years old
#870 My body is starting to respond to the exercise I've been consistently doing for the past five weeks each day
#871 For the conversations I have on the phone with my dad in Florida
#872 That my dad is willing to go on Facebook and learn despite being 84 years old

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

Blessings and love,


Five Minute Friday ~ Present

It's Five Minute Friday when I link up with The Gypsy Mama.  We receive a word each week and we get to write for five minutes flat.  Our word for this week is PRESENT.


Today I'm only working a few hours.  I feel like I already packed much into this day.  I get to spend three hours with the children until their parents pick them up.  I step into the classroom and the only ones I see are Jennifer and two little ones still asleep on their nap mats.  I feign surprise and ask Jennifer where have all the children gone?

Next thing I hear are squeals of laughter coming from behind the cubbies.  Out jumped nine excited children shouting, "Surprise.  Here we are Miss Debbie!"  They were giggling and smiling.

As I began to unpack my camera (of course) and place my belongings in the desk, the children spot my bubble wrap.  Before I know it, they are on the floor trying to pop the bubbles.  Interesting how engaged they can be as a group using a common object for entertainment.  Priceless!

I notice one who is beginning to wake up.  She is always excited to see me so I sit on the floor next to her. A sleepy eye opens and I see the beginnings of a smile.  Her hand reaches out and she moves her head onto my lap attempting to open her beautiful green eyes.  Once she is fully awake, she's ready to show me that yes she can still count to 100 all by herself!

I remind myself to be present in this moment.  My  husband is always reminding me to treasure these precious moments.  Time goes by and life can change quickly.  I've learned that from experience.  So even on the days when I am working only a few hours, I choose to be present in the moment.  Live, love, laugh. Be present.


Blessings and love,


Weigh-in Wednesday Progress

Wednesday is Weigh-in Wednesday for me.  It was started by Kim of Making 40 Fabulous. We even have a private Facebook group where we share recipes, tips and advice.  It's been a wonderful place of support and encouragement for me. If you would like to join us, simply let me know.  I do believe group support is so helpful when making lifestyle changes.

So here's where I am today.  It's been five weeks since I made a commitment to make exercise a daily habit in my life.  This is what's happening.

I've been consistent in exercising every day except for three days. The latest research states that it takes about 66 days of consistently doing an activity before it becomes a habit.  I'm not quite to that point yet but I'm close.  The three days I missed were days when I had off work and figured I'd get my exercise in later in the day.  Big mistake! Before I knew it, time got away from me and ...I didn't do it.

That's a lesson for me as I discovered that I need to exercise first thing in the morning before my brain is engaged.  This way I don't need to make a decision every morning.  It's a done deal.  But I also need to prepare the night before.  I have my workout clothes assembled and ready along with my water bottle and Kindle.  I basically get dressed while I'm half asleep and step on that treadmill.

Believe me, I wake up very quickly!

I set a clear goal to establish exercise as a daily habit.  I knew the obstacles I faced to accomplish this goal and so I made adjustments to overcome them.  Accountability is important for me to achieve my goal.  Writing about my progress on Heart Choices and participating in the Facebook group are ways to stay on track.  

Many people never try to accomplish a goal because they cannot envision themselves achieving it.  I love the Ziglar quotes as they provide such encouragement.  You need to be able to envision yourself achieving your goal.  What I take away from this is that goals must be realistic.  I've seen too many people set a goal of losing 20 pounds within two months or something like that.  My goal is to live a healthy lifestyle so it's not a diet and exercise program.  It's a way to live from now on.  If I won't be able to stick with it, it won't work for me.  I don't want to gain and lose and gain even more.

It's not a diet but a way of life.    <Click to tweet>

I'm also working on cutting back on my calories.  I've discovered that sometimes it's the little things that add up.  My weight is coming down but a bit more slowly than I hoped.  So I've increased the intensity of my exercise a bit.  I still have about 12 pounds I'd like to lose but I'm doing it slowly.

How are you doing?  Do you look at losing weight as a short term goal or a long term lifestyle change?  What kind of support do you like? Are you a loner when it comes to making changes or do you prefer groups?

Blessings and love,


Learning to Trust

Walking by faith requires trust.  But what happens when you find it hard to trust.  After all, people you thought you could trust may have let you down.  That hurts!  And who wants to experience that kind of hurt again?  So we determine not to trust or depend on anyone but ourselves.  But how's that working for you?

This summer I'm working with preschool children in camp.  Every morning the children have swim instruction.  James was a new four year old child.  As we walked single file towards the swimming pool, he kept telling me he didn't want to go under water.  I introduced James to his swim instructor Jenna and told her about his fear.  I observed James throughout his first swim lesson.

Jenna worked on establishing trust with James.  She took off her sunglasses so he could see her eyes.  She told him she wouldn't let him go.  She held his hand as she taught him to blow bubbles in the water.  He still hadn't put his head in the water though.

Jenna finally got James to lie on his back so he could learn to float.  I could see him struggling for control.  Each time he took his eyes off of Jenna, he began to sink and get scared.  She kept asking James to look at her eyes and reassure him that she wouldn't let him go.  I could see his body relax and ...he floated.

When the lessons were completed, James was smiling and excited. Until the next day ...

Once again, James began to tell me he was not going to go under the water.  Jenna worked with James assuring him that she wouldn't let him go.  Finally, she talked to him about putting his head under the water.  He agreed as she held his hand.  His head went under and then up he came.  He laughed.  It wasn't so bad after all.  When he left to go home that day, he excitedly told his mom that he had gone under the water.

The next day James came to camp, he kept telling me he wasn't going to swim.  I asked him why.  He said he didn't want to put his head under the water.  I asked him if his eyes hurt when he went under the water.  He said no.  I asked him if his ears hurt him and again he said no.  Finally, he looked at me and said "I want to do it myself."

I don't know if James had an experience in the past that caused this fear.  But isn't this something we adults often say?  "I want to do it myself." We are afraid to trust someone else and depend on ourselves even when we don't know what we're doing.

God is trustworthy.  He isn't like humans who may have disappointed us in some way.  As a child of God, He holds our hand.  Sometimes I forget this and get scared.  Instead of looking to Jesus, I look to myself and I begin to sink.

"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

James continues to take swim instruction each day at summer camp. Jenna continues to work with him on developing trust and he is growing in confidence as he makes progress.

How about you?  Are you learning to walk by faith trusting in the God who created you and loves you?  Or are you depending on yourself?

I'm linking up with Charlotte for Spiritual Sundays.

Blessings and love,


Five Minute Friday ~ Beautiful

It's Five Minute Friday when I link up with The Gypsy Mama.  We are given a word each week and we get to write for five minutes flat.  Our word for this week is BEAUTIFUL.


There is beauty all around.  The flowers in my garden.  The mountains that are uniquely formed into shapes that resemble a camel's back or a praying monk.  The sun that shines brightly in the sky.  The flags that are flying half mast for 19 days to honor the firemen who died in Yarnell. The words to 'God Bless America'.  The music and fireworks as we celebrate the 4th of July.  The sweet faces of the preschool children in summer camp as they learn that freedom costs and we are grateful.  The faith God gave to me so I could believe.  Abiding in that love and experiencing His love in a personal relationship. Having that love overflow to others ...now that's beautiful. 


Blessings and love,


How to Beat the Heat in Phoenix

Beach Rules
What do you do when it's 119 degrees outside?  I'd love to be able to head to the beach and unwind.  But it's just not going to happen right now.  So I'm making the best of it and trying to beat the heat in Phoenix.

Summer camp with preschool children can be a challenge with triple digit heat.  Instead of running around outside, I plan fun activities and crafts to keep them busy and engaged.  Daily swim instruction helps too.  But I love to observe the children during free times of play when they have to remain in the classroom.  What do they do?

Violet reads a book about Madeline.  She doesn't know all of the words but that doesn't stop her from trying.  After all, she knows the story.

They form their own band.  One is playing an imaginary flute while the other is playing the violin.  And of course they need a conductor.

This coming week will be fun as I get to teach them about America on our around the world theme.  It works perfectly with the 4th of July.  I enjoy holidays more working with children.  We are going to make some cool patriotic crafts this week.  It will be fun!

I was thrilled to get two tickets to see "Sister Act" at Arizona State University's Gammage Theater.  My friends Terri and Steve have season tickets but were out of town.  So they offered them to me and guess what?  They were in the fourth row center; a great view.  I loved the play.  I'd seen the movie with Whoopi Goldberg years ago. The music was changed as it was set in the 80's when disco music was the rage.  My friend Theresa accompanied me and we both laughed and laughed.  A good way to be entertained and keep cool except when we had to get back to the car.  Oh well, that's life in Phoenix. 

So even in the extreme heat of the summer, I will continue to count my every day blessings.

#857 Air conditioning that works
#868 Observing children using their imaginations
#859 Having fun doing creative craft projects with kids
#860 Great seats to see "Sister Act"
#861 An entertaining afternoon of music and laughs
#862 Fun with good friends
#863 A pool I can jump into after work

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


Blessings and love,

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