Heart Choices: August 2013

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: Worship

It's Five Minute Friday when I link up with The Gypsy Mama.  We receive a one word writing prompt and get to write for five minutes flat.  This week we are linking up on the (in)courage site and our word is WORSHIP.


When I think of worship, I think of terms like adore, love, respect.  Lyrics such as "Bless the Lord, oh my soul, and all that is within me bless His holy name" come to my mind.  I worship the Lord because He is the One I adore, love and respect. He is holy and perfect and faithful and perfect love.  I'm sometimes amazed that He chose me and loves me as His own. When I consider that Jesus died for me, how can I help but receive His free gift of salvation and peace with God?

So I worship because I know this.  I may not always feel this.  But I know deep in my heart.  And so I worship with all my heart.  He is worthy of all my worship. Only Jesus.


Blessings and love,


Achieving Fitness Goals

It's Wednesday so it must be Weigh-In Wednesday. I'm linking up with Kim of Just For Clicks as I work my way towards getting back in shape and creating a healthy lifestyle.

I've achieved a major goal I set for myself this year.

Exercise has become a habit.  

Every morning (before I engage my brain) I step on my treadmill and work out.  I have my exercise clothes ready along with my water and Kindle.

Yes, I read while I exercise.  I'm a book lover since childhood which I might add, is a good time to start that habit.  I upload many books on my Kindle and I look for bargains.  I receive a daily email from Inspired Reads and I often find books for free or very low cost.  Not having enough time to read is no excuse. Combining reading and exercise works for me.

Here's an important tip for you:

I don't stop to question whether I FEEL like exercising or not. I simply DO IT! 

Believe me, over time it gets easier. The key is to be consistent.  Of course, if I had a day when I was sick I wouldn't exercise.  But so far I've been healthy.
  • I've lost about five pounds.  
  • I've cut back on my calories. 
  • I'm not snacking on sweets.  
  • I'm drinking mostly water all day long.
  • I do weight lifting every other day (light weights).
  • I stretch out after each exercise session on my mat.
  • I do sit ups.

I decided to make a few changes to my routine.  I added interval training.  I can't report any noticeable results but this is only my first week.
I alternate between high and low intensity periods while on the treadmill.  Right now, my high intensity portions are about two minutes and then I crank down the speed for the next few minutes.  Then I go back up for the next two minutes.

My exercise time seems to go by faster. And I sweat a lot more when I do interval training.  I'll report back on the results as time goes by.

So let's get personal. How about you?  Have you been doing some exercise to get fit or maintain a healthy lifestyle?  How about going out for a walk or dusting off that bike?

It starts with one step at a time, one foot in front of the other.

Blessings and love,


The Solution to Worry

I have a confession to make.  I have a tendency to worry.  I think I inherited the worry gene from my mother.  But the older I get, the more I realize that troubles are a part of life.  As a Christian, I sometimes need to be reminded that I am not promised a carefree life.

To continue reading, please hop over to Laced with Grace ...

Blessings and love,


Children at Play

I love to watch children at play.  They enjoy many of the planned activities at school.  

Some children are very coordinated even at this young age.  Score!

Some children enjoy cheering others on.  I actually think they were taking a rest on this hot day.

They love to color.  This little kitty was given a name; Tuna!

I especially love to watch the children during free play time.  They love to dress up.  Notice the ruby red shoes!

In the midst of play acting, the children love to include me.  They make me tea and offer to serve me.  How lucky can I get?

They say the cutest things:
  • Hilton offered me a cup of tea but insisted it would be calming and not keep me up.
  • One of the girls appeared to be crying and another said, "If she's fake crying, it doesn't count."
  • One four year old girl told me she thinks she's falling in love with Sam.  I assured her that there was plenty of time when she's older to think of boys.
  • Violet was so excited when she found out she was going to be a big sister.
  • Hilton described how it felt when the baby brother in her mommy's tummy kicked her.
As I observe the children at play, I can't help but hope I never lose the child in me.  You know, that part of our personality that loves to laugh and play.

I was posting some old photos on Facebook for my dad this weekend and came across this photo of my mom.  

My mom is the one in the black dress in the middle having such a good time. And yes, that's me in the pink and white dress.  My mom loved life.  She loved to laugh and always had a joke to share.  She died eight years ago.  But sometimes I find myself thinking of her when I'm pretend tickling a child.  Babies and little children always seemed to love my mom.  She always could make them laugh.

I continue to count those every day blessings:

#913 The sound of laughter
#914 Squeals of laughter from three year old Lizzie, Mary and Ronnie when I 'threatened' to tickle them
#915 Observing children at play
#916 Remembering how I used to line my dolls up in a row on my window seat and pretend I was the teacher as a child
#917 Having a younger sister who I placed right in the middle of my dolls
#918 Being 'served' tea by sweet four year old children
#919 Memories of my mom
#920 Posting photos on Facebook and interacting with old friends who remember
#921 Some rain in Phoenix (we still need more rain)
#922 The sound of rain on the roof
#923 Sitting on the patio listening to the rain

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

Blessings and love,


Five Minute Friday: Last

It's Five Minute Friday when I link up with The Gypsy Mama.  Each week we receive a one word writing prompt.  We get to write for five minutes flat. Our word for today is LAST.


Being first is the place to be.  After all, who wants to come in last?  Who wants to be the slowest?  It's all about winning, right?

  • Being at the top of the class
  • Winning the race
  • Being the boss
  • Having lots of money
  • Accumulating the latest possessions 
  • Being independent
This seems to be the way of the world.  

But in the Kingdom of God it's turned upside down.  

It takes faith to walk in the Spirit.  It requires trust in God.

When it seems like:

  • People have all they need and you're struggling  
  • Someone else gets promoted when you know you deserved it 
  • People get away with things
  • Others receive praise and you feel unappreciated
 I make the daily choice to submit to the Lord.  I allow Him to lead and guide me throughout my day.  At times, it seems hard. And many times I fail.  But I persevere in His strength.

"But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first."
Matthew 19:30


Blessings and love,


My Experience at the Pritikin Center

Creating a healthy lifestyle can be confusing.  You'd think with the volume of information available at our fingertips in this day and age, it'd be easy.  Just do a Google search on 'losing weight' and you'll find a variety of results.  There are so many different diets and of course they all claim to work.

It used to be less confusing. Eat less and move more. But it turns out that the type of foods we eat is important too.  

How thankful I am that I had the opportunity to stay at the Pritikin Longevity Center and Spa two times.  The first time was January 1, 2000 when Greg and I were determined to live a healthy lifestyle.  We stayed for two weeks.  We exercised in their gym every morning. Our program consisted of aerobic exercise using the treadmill, weights and stretching.  They were designed specifically for us by Masters educated exercise physiologists.  Our target heart rates were calculated according to the results of our Treadmill tests.

We stayed in their beautiful facility at the Santa Monica Hyatt.  Pritikin has since moved to Miami Beach. Our room was ocean front so we got to sit and watch the sun set every evening.  The Santa Monica pier was easily seen from our room as well.

Each day we ate our meals in their dining room.  We were encouraged to eat breakfast, morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack, dinner and evening snack.  And we lost weight.  Can you believe it?  No starving. But we ate lots of healthy food and attended classes during the day.  We even had cooking classes to teach us how to cook healthy so when we returned home we'd be prepared.

Every afternoon, Greg and I would take walks along the Santa Monica pier.  We often roller bladed along the path from Venice Beach to Malibu.  What a fun time!

We stayed for two weeks.  When we returned home, we tried to maintain a similar lifestyle but it was more challenging.  But we absolutely made major changes and as a result lost weight and felt more energetic and healthy.  We even returned the following year for one week refresher program.

I wish I could go back!  

Unfortunately, Pritikin is an expensive program.  I do subscribe to their newsletter though.  But it's hard to stick to it if you like to go out to eat.  I enjoy an occasional popcorn and when I returned home from Pritikin, I couldn't believe how salty it tasted.

In the meantime, I have the knowledge and know how.  As many of you know, I worked as a cardiovascular nurse for 25 years.  I taught many heart patients how to live a healthier lifestyle.

So I'm sticking to my plan which is now finally becoming a habit for me.

  • Treadmill for 30-45 minutes each morning before work and even on the weekends
  • Weights every other day
  • Stretching daily on my mat
  • Sit-ups, planks and a few more Pilates moves daily
  • Water, water, water
Most days all I drink is water.  But if I occasionally go out to eat, I do enjoy an iced tea.  I'm happy to report that my clothes are not as tight.  My scale hasn't gone down as quickly as I'd like but it's heading in the right direction.  I have more energy.  But I  must confess that by the end of the day, I'm tired.  However, that might have something to do with the fact that I work with children aged 3-5 all day long.  And they are active!  :)

Accountability is important so I'm linking up with Kim of Just Just for Clicks for Weigh-In Wednesday.
Blessings and love,


Can You Hear Me?

Can you hear me?  Children are so funny.  I observe Shaan talking into the megaphone.  So I sneak up on the opposite end of the play equipment and say something back to him. I watch as he laughs and looks around.  Who is talking? And then his little friend stands beside me and speaks to Shaan as she laughs and laughs. Can you hear me?

Three year old Lizzie is all decked out for the first day of school.  She even sports her new bright pink watch. When I ask her what time it is, she immediately looks at her watch.  But then she smiles and looks up at me.  Silly Miss Debbie!

I love to see children interacting with one another. Our Pre-K 3 class had the opportunity to participate in Buddy Reading for the first time. Our three year old children were paired up with fourth grade students. The older students attempted to form a relationship and read to the younger ones.

What a joy to watch these interactions.  Not all of the younger children cooperated but most of them eventually sat and listened.  Can you hear me?  Yes they did!
Diego is a fourth grader that I know fairly well as I've had him for several years in after school programs. He's a popular sanguine personality who has a challenging time simply sitting and not talking.  He tends to like to do his own thing.

Well, he was paired with three year old Sammy who has similar personality traits. There wasn't much listening going on between the two boys at first.  Diego kept looking over at me, shrugging his shoulders.  He thought it was too hard to engage the little one.  I had to chuckle as he was beginning to realize what it was like when the tables were turned.

But eventually, he discovered what worked.  Excitedly, he called out "Miss Debbie ...look".  He found a book about colors. And Sammy was identifying each color as Diego pointed to the crayons.  They were interacting and enjoying this time together!

I have such a heart for reading.  As a child, I loved to sit and read my books.  I could spend hours lying on my bed with a good book.  That love for reading can begin at an early age so I love the Book Buddy system in our school.

I continue to count my every day blessings ...

#902 Books, books ...lots of books to read
#903 I used my Barnes and Noble gift card and received all of the books I ordered
#904 Children learning to interact with one another
#905 Children learning to read
#906 Diego finding a solution as to how to engage a younger child
#907 The gift of laughter
#908 The excitement of seeing familiar faces of teachers, students and parents after the summer break
#909 Observing the physical growth of many of our former students
#910 A wonderful sermon on Galatians 3:10-14
#911 Getting to see two of my blogging friends Clif and Charlotte
#912 A weekend of rest

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

Blessings and love,


Five Minute Friday: Small

It's Five Minute Friday when I link up with The Gypsy Mama.  Each week we are given a one word prompt.  We get to write on that word for a total of five minutes.  Our word for this week is: SMALL.

They are small but they are a big deal.  That's for sure!

They've entwined themselves into my heart.  They greet me each morning with huge smiles and hugs.  I find myself looking forward to going to work each day at our school.  The three and four year old children keep me on my toes and laughing.

Yesterday these small people had me laughing.  Hilton kept repeating "ay yi yi yi".  I looked at her and asked where she learned that.  She shot a quick look at me and exclaimed "from you Miss Debbie".  I realized that I had become a little bit exasperated at one point.  And I will admit I may have muttered "ay yi yi yi" under my breath.  But did I say it out loud?  Obviously!  Be careful what you say as the little ones learn and imitate.

I love their imaginations as I observe them during free play.

  • Sid dressed up in a leather vest and held a microphone to sing.  
  • Hilton pulled a cheer leader outfit over her head and on top of her uniform. She told me her mom signed her up for cheer and she wanted to see what it felt like.
  • Melika made soup and toast for me in our play kitchen.
  • Mackenzie dressed up in a fancy dancy dazzle outfit with feathers.
  • Nila wore a bride outfit with a veil.  I noticed Sid walk beside her in his vest.
They are small but ...they are a big deal!


Blessings and love,


Weigh-In Wednesday: Don't Give Up

Weight loss and fitness motivation
It's Weigh-In Wednesday and I was determined to post today.  I got a bit off track for about five days and I didn't exercise.  For me, it's got to be a daily appointment.  I'm trying to get back to making it a habit.

I don't want to get out of bed and ask myself if I'm in the mood to get on that treadmill.  I have a confession to make.

If I indulged my emotions, I'd never do it!  

I decided that for me to live a healthy lifestyle daily exercise is an integral part of that life. It's just something I do to get and stay healthy.

There are mornings when I have to cut it short.  I like to work out for 45 minutes.  But there are days when I barely get in 30.  That's OK.  It's the consistency that's important for me right now to get back in the habit.

So here's my routine:

  • I walk on the treadmill for 30-45 minutes.
  • I continue to use free weights every other day.
  • I stretch on a mat to become more flexible.
  • I do a series of sit ups and a few Pilate moves.
  • I'm working on trying to remember to drink lots of water.

I'm not an all or nothing person.  If I mess up, I simply recognize there will be those days.

For example, yesterday was the first day in our classroom of 3 year old preschoolers.  One of the teachers (thanks Dorothy) placed a cute little cupcake on each of our desks.  Now I've been avoiding sweets (which I love) because I realize the extra calories from the sugar aren't worth it.  But by the end of the day, guess what?  I ate my cupcake!

Tomorrow is another day.  

I've been making great salads and meals that are lower in calories.  I bring my lunch to work every day. I appreciate many of the recipes shared in our private Facebook accountability group.  By the way, accountability is a good word.  It keeps me on track. And writing a Weigh-In Wednesday helps too.  :)
Way better
I'm looking forward to the day when I can easily fit into my good clothes.  I've a huge box of clothes that I love but are a bit tight.  I can get the slacks on but can't get the zipper up comfortably.  So, I continue to work on losing those extra pounds I accumulated over the last few years.

I have to remember that my goal is a healthy lifestyle. I don't want what I eat to become such a huge focus in my life.  And exercising helps me with endurance so I can keep up with those little children I work with each day in our school.

What about you?  How are you doing?  Are you sticking with healthy eating and exercise?  Do you realize it's a healthy way of life and not a DIET?  Are you being reasonable about it?  Or are you one of those all or nothing people?

I'm linking up with Kim on her new blog Just for Clicks for Weigh-In Wednesday.

Blessings and love,


Back to School

Back to school.  Our preschoolers don't start until Tuesday but the upper grades begin on Monday.  As a child growing up in New York, we always began school after Labor Day.  But not in Arizona.  All I can say is ...thank goodness for air conditioning!

We held a Meet and Greet last week at school.  Many of the parents brought their three year olds in to meet Mrs. Rosetti and Miss Debbie.  It was fun to see their little faces.  Some were a bit shy but others quickly began playing with the toys in our room.

I loved it when some of our former students peeked their heads in to say hello.

When I stepped outside our door to go home, I was greeting by a child jumping into my arms with her feet wrapped around my waist.  Nila had been in my class during summer camp and was so excited to see a familiar face.  She was new at our school.

Tuesday will be interesting as the newbies spend the day at school making new friends and learning new things.  We've encouraged the parents to drop their child at the gate where friendly teachers will guide them to their classes.  It's always hard that first day.

I'm anticipating a good school year.  Heidi and I work so well together.  We'll have lots of new children to teach and to love.

And of course, I'll continue to count my every day blessings.

#893 Seeing the sweet faces of many former students
#894 Getting to meet many of our new students
#895 The excitement of seeing teachers after summer vacations
#896 Happy that I got to teach summer camp this year
#897 Grateful for a Barnes & Noble gift card for books
#898 Receiving a copy of Jeff Goins latest book "The In-Between"
#899 Lunch with my good friend Helen (finally)
#900 Many spiritual insights studying the book of Romans
#901 Spring cleaning our condo this past week (in the summer)

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

Blessings and love,


Five Minute Friday: Lonely

It's Five Minute Friday when I link up with The Gypsy Mama.  We receive a one word prompt and get to write for five minutes flat.  Our one word for today is: LONELY.


Writing is a solitary activity.  I sit quietly in front of my computer screen sharing from my heart.  I am surrounded by photos of people I cherish.  I try to keep my writing area neat but it tends to accumulate things for some reason.  :)

Writing on my blog isn't lonely for me.  I feel like I'm reaching out to friends.  And I get to meet many new friends through blogging.  When I finish writing a blog post and hit publish, I usually stop to visit other's blogs and leave a comment when I can.

But writing a book?

Now that's lonely!

I struggle with:

  • Sitting for much longer periods of time
  • Doubts about whether anyone would read it
  • Losing many chapters when my computer crashed
But I keep on writing and one day ...it will be complete.


Blessings and love,


Wednesday's Hodgepodge

This is my first time participating in Wednesday's Hodgepodge.  However, I enjoy reading Lea's answers at Cici's Corner each week so I decided to join in today.  Here are my answers to the questions for this week.  

1. The first week of August is National Simplify Your Life Week...what's one thing you could do this week to qualify as a participant?

Right now I'm literally in the middle of attempting to clean out my closet.  My desk and computer are located in a corner of the living room.  There's a closet that contains all of my supplies, photo albums, and everything else.  I have it emptied and am trying to get rid of what I don't need.  I always have a hard time with this though.  But I do want to be organized. Does that count?  

2. It's also National Peach Month...peach pie, peach cobbler, or please pour me a Bellini? What's your peach pleasure?

I love peach anything.  In fact, ripe peaches are my very favorite fruit.  I like peach pie and peach cobbler but I actually prefer peaches by themselves.  They are so delicious they don't need anything else.  

3. Eleanor Roosevelt once wrote, "Do one thing every day that scares you."Agree or disagree...explain.

I agree.  However, I tend to love my comfort zone but I realize that is not where I need to stay.  In order for me to grow I need to leave my comfort zone.  Since I'm determined to be a life long learner, I must agree. :) 

4. What's your favorite household chore?  Yes, you have to choose one.

 Doing laundry if you can believe that.  I remember many years ago I used to roll my cart to the laundromat.  The man who worked here commented that he'd never seen anyone who enjoyed doing laundry as much as me.  But I think I love the smell of clean clothes.  I wish I could hang my laundry on a line outside as I love the scent of freshly cleaned sheets.

5. Fodor's recently listed (what they've dubbed) the ten most beautiful sunset spots in America. Click here to read more or see pretty pictures, but this is their list...Butterfly Beach in Santa Barbara CA, Mount Haleakala in Maui HI, Old Fort Marcy in Santa Park Fe NM, Laguna Beach California, Hopi Point in Grand Canyon AZ, Four Seasons in Miami FL, Santa Monica Pier in Santa Monica CA, Gay Head in Martha's Vineyard MA, Ensign Peak in Salt Lake City UT, and Mallory Square in Key West Florida. 

I love Santa Monica!  Greg and I have spent many weeks here over the years.  I have such fond memories of my time here.  I loved watching the sunset from our beach front balcony.  I also enjoyed roller blading along the beach path.

6. What's your favorite or most used app?  If you don't use apps, how about your favorite or most visited website?

Facebook is where I spend much too much time on every day.  But it's my connection to family in other parts of the country and world.    

Kenzie trying to go up the slide
Kenzie trying on her mom's sunglasses
I get to see photos like these every day on Facebook. And you wonder why I love Facebook?  And of course, I need to check each morning to see who has a birthday.

7. We've recently passed the halfway mark for 2013...write a seven word sentence that sums up your year thus far.

I am determined to get in shape.

8.  Insert your own random thought here. 

The school year starts next week.  I'm excited to meet our new batch of three year old children but will miss our class from last year.  I get so attached to each one of them.  I hope many will stop by to say hello to Miss Debbie.  I love to see them grow.

I'm linking up with Joyce of From This Side of the Pond for Wednesday's Hodgepodge.

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=]