Heart Choices: September 2013

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Be Thankful

Be thankful.  Maybe you are going through difficult circumstances right now. Maybe your life isn't turning out the way you planned.  I've learned that despite challenges, choosing to be thankful is the best way to live.

Each day you have a choice to make.  Will you dwell on what's wrong or will you look for what's right and good?  This doesn't mean you should ignore the issues that need resolving.  But I can tell you from personal experience that when I choose to be on the lookout for those every day blessings, my day is so much better. I make the choice to be thankful.

I work in a classroom filled with children who are 3 or 4 years old.  There isn't a day that goes by when I'm not greeted by little children who clamor to me for hugs.  If that doesn't bring a smile to my face, nothing will.

Last week, the children were learning the letter "C". Here they are with paper cameras on the lookout for things that start with the letter C.  Of course, camera starts with C.
I get to work with some amazing women.  Megan and Heidi are too cute. Rancho teachers do rock, you know. :)

I was so happy to see my good friends Pete and Susan who are missionaries overseas.  They were on furlough for several weeks.  Today they leave to return to the mission field.

They were interviewed in my church on Sunday.  When asked how our church family could pray for them, Susan provided an acronym; WE GO.  She asked for W=wisdom, E=energy, G=glorify God, O=ongoing opportunities.  I will remember so it makes it easier to pray specifically for their needs.  What a blessing to see them and pray for them.

Our church is in the process of memorizing Colossians 3.  I am reminded of verses 14-16 (ESV):
14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

#968  Sweet greetings each morning from little children
#969  Seeing children beginning to learn
#970  The excitement on the children's faces when they can answer correctly
#971  A wonderful sermon from Colossians 3:12-14 by our Minister to Young Adults Scott Savage  (a fellow blogger at The Joshua Collective)
#972  Listening to the beautiful voices of New Life New Life Singers from Grand Canyon University
#973  Getting to talk and worship with Pete and Susan

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

Blessings and love,


Five Minute Friday: True

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. Our word for this week is TRUE.

True stories.  What do I share? I read many stories mama bloggers write.  I laugh and I cry as they share. They encourage one another. They teach one another.  I love how they help one another realize they are not alone.  There are many mamas trying to do their best out there.

But ...I am not a mama. 

It's something I always wanted to be.  I dreamed about having a family since I was a little girl.  I played school in my upstairs bedroom with all of my dolls lined up on the window seat.  My little sister Christine was plopped right in the middle of them all.

I imagined a story book life; loving husband, several little ones and a house with a white picket fence.  But my life didn't turn out that way.  I've certainly had an exciting life in so many ways but it wasn't what I planned.

But God intervened in my life.  He took my circumstances and made something beautiful.  Because He is God and He is good.  He has plans for my life.

I have a loving husband.  Even though I wasn't able to have children, I have many nieces and nephews.  And I've been placed in a preschool classroom with many children to love.

What can I say that's true?  God is good.


Blessings and love,


Can you do it? Yes You Can!

Can we do it?  Yes we can!  Those phrases are repeated every morning during our entire school year. Little three and four year old children learn the letters of the alphabet and the sounds they make.  Heidi and I try to make learning fun.  So with each new school year, the children learn to move their arms as we shout 'YES WE CAN'.  It's important to be motivated and have fun while learning.

This can also be applied to us older students.  As I journey along to a healthier lifestyle, I need motivation to keep going. And I need HOPE that I can do it.  Yes I can!

I love to watch the TV show "Extreme Weight Loss". Chris Powell is such an amazing motivator and fitness expert.  By the way, Chris and his family live in my neck of the woods: Phoenix, Arizona.


Chris added a comment to this photo on one of his Pinterest boards.  Can you guess what he wrote?
"Today is your day!  You can do this!"
Here are a few additional motivational tips from Chris Powell's Pinterest boards.

I'm always saying this.  One day at a time.  One step at a time.  It's often a moment by moment choice.

So when my alarm clock goes off, I rise with enthusiasm.  At least that's what I tell myself.  My husband has index cards with positive affirmations written on them.  He shared that one with me.  Zig Ziglar used to call his alarm clock an 'opportunity clock' in his talks.

I try not to engage my brain too much as I get dressed in my workout clothes and hop on my treadmill.

By the time, I'm finished with my exercise session, I'm singing along with Mandisa and TobyMac to the Good Morning song.

So ...can you do it?

Let's say it loudly and with some conviction.


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


To What are you Clinging?

To what are you clinging?  I see it every day.  Children cling to their moms as they are being escorted to their classroom at school.  The little ones don't want mama to leave.  That separation is so hard, especially for moms. :)

There are times when children cling to my legs.  It's like Velcro that sticks.

And then the children find one another and cling to each other.

According to the dictionary, cling is defined as:

  1. to adhere closely; stick to
  2. to hold tight, as by grasping and embracing; cleave
  3. to be or remain close
  4. to remain attached, as to an idea, hope, memory, etc
I have a confession to make.  I tent to cling.  To continue reading, link over to  Laced with Grace ...

Blessings and love,


Five Minute Friday: SHE

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. Our word for this week is SHE.


No matter what season of life I was in, I could always talk to her.  She was the best listener.

When I was a teenager, my friends would love to come to our house to hang out. My mom was always available to talk or to ...simply listen.

One time I came home to find a guy I used to work with sitting at our kitchen table talking to my mom about his new found faith in Jesus.

When I moved cross country to Phoenix, she encouraged me.  When she met my future husband for the first time, she welcomed him.

She loved children and babies and I guess just about everyone.  She always had a joke to share even when she was in pain.  She loved flowers and candles. She loved to laugh.  And she especially loved my dad and her children and grandchildren.

After she died, we discovered all of her recipes typed on cards.  She even organized all of her dinner parties with recipes and table linens.  She left a personal letter for each of her children.  She planned her funeral down to the songs she wanted played.

It's been eight years since she's been gone.  But I can still hear her voice in my head.  And I'm so thankful I can see her face reflected in mine when I look in the mirror.


Blessings and love,


Prepare for a Healthy Lifestyle

I'm on a journey to a healthier lifestyle.  In order to be successful, I need to prepare.

When I go hiking, I prepare.  I live in the city of Phoenix.  And Phoenix is a desert.  The temperatures can get hot even though it is dry.  Too many people go hiking unprepared.  There are way too many unnecessary rescues of unprepared hikers.

So how do I prepare?

  • I take plenty of water.  
  • I apply sun screen.  
  • I wear hiking boots.  
  • I pack a cell phone for emergencies.  
  • I take my camera so I can take photos to share. 

On my journey to a healthier lifestyle, I also need to be prepared.  After all, if I simply do what I want and eat what I want ...I will never achieve my goal.

So here are a few practical tips that have helped me. I'm sure you could add to this list.

  • Make a list before going to the grocery store
  • Don't shop when you're hungry
  • Shop the outer aisles where there's fresh vegetables and fruits
  • Purchase produce in season 

If you're going to be gone from home, be prepared. Those hunger pangs can hit and if you have nothing healthy, it can be way too easy to be tempted to eat unhealthy foods or what I like to call empty calories. That's when I can get into trouble.

Here's what I've found to be helpful.

  • I pack a lunch to take with me to work.
  • I always have my water bottle handy.
  • I take a few healthy snacks along.
  • I insert an ice pack in my lunch box to keep everything fresh.

I also prepare to exercise every day.

  • I have my exercise clothes ready the night before.
  • My Kindle is available so I can read while walking on my treadmill.
  • Water is readily available.
  • I mentally recognize that I WILL get up, exercise and not think about whether I want to or not 

Zig Ziglar has been one of my favorite motivators.  I want to remember that I'm on a journey to a healthier lifestyle.  One day at a time.  One choice at a time.

I'm linking up with Kim of Just For Clicks for Weigh-In Wednesday.

Blessings and love,


I Choose to Be Thankful

I choose to be thankful.  Every day we make choices. Life happens.  Challenges occur.

Our response to challenges shows our true colors. 

After all, it's easy to be thankful when life is going well. But what happens when bad things happen and life gets hard?

This past week I've been busy.  Since Heidi wasn't there, I got to work with Barcia.  And as four year old Indira always says 'she's Miss Debbie's friend'. Barcia loves the children.

One of the little girls in our class is named Sara.  I call her Sara Smile.  Hall & Oates had a song called Sara Smile many years ago.  Sara keeps asking me if she can hear her song.  So Barcia pulled up a YouTube video of the song for her.  She loved hearing the words 'Sara smile'. Of course, Brody and the other children had to gather around to listen to Sara's song too.  :)

My next door neighbor Caroline is celebrating another birthday.  So how does she celebrate?  She hosts a birthday celebration of exercise!  Caroline has been teaching a weekly exercise class at a local church for over 30 years. Maybe that's why she's in such great shape.  She certainly looks much younger than the number of candles on her birthday cake.

What a fun evening as we did a combination of step aerobics, Pilates, weights, and stretching.  Caroline creates her own tracks of Christian music.  She also begins and ends with prayer.  I loved exercising with a roomful of people of all shapes and sizes, ages and backgrounds.  A little taste of heaven maybe?

Susan (front), Anna May, Linda, me, Helen 
And then there was Sunday!  At church, I got to see my good friends Pete and Susan who are missionaries overseas.  They're on furlough for three weeks.  I'm looking forward to spending more time with them while they are here in Arizona. The photo above was taken a number of years ago.

I'm so excited about something that happened on Saturday.  My friend Sue's husband Jim was able to work on my broken computer and he fixed it.  My computer crashed in June, along with the book I was writing.  It was in Word and I wasn't able to access it.  I was so discouraged and have been trying to rewrite it from scratch.  Well, now I have my document so I'm back writing.

I continue to count my every day blessings ...

#953 Good friends
#954 Celebrating a birthday with Caroline
#955 Visiting with Pete and Susan
#956 Watching Sara's face as she listened to her song
#957 Getting my computer fixed
#958 Access to my book
#959 A sermon that spoke to my heart
#960 A sermon that confirmed what I am writing about is right
#961 Finally creating a Facebook page for Heart Choices
#962 Receiving 82 'likes' the very first day
#963 Heidi will be back to work today
#964 Hearing my niece Katie's voice on the phone
#965 Walking, swimming and enjoying exercise
#966 Receiving a personal email from a lady  named Vangie who reads Heart Choices
#967 I was blessed by her words of encouragement to me

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

Blessings and love,


Five Minute Friday: Mercy

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


Mercy can be defined as kind or forgiving treatment of someone who could be treated harshly.

To be in the presence of God, I need to be holy and perfect. No blemish, no speck of sin.

I don't meet the requirement. 

No matter how many good deeds I perform. No matter how many mission trips I go on.  No matter how many people I help.  No matter how often I attend church services.  No matter how much money I give.

I don't meet the requirement.

But then mercy entered the world.  His name is Jesus. He bridged the gap that I could never cross to God. He was perfect, spotless, blameless.  And He offered me mercy.

He paid with His life. He died on the cross for me and for you. He lived a sinless life so He could be our substitute.  He offers us peace with God ...through Jesus.

In His mercy, He forgave me. I am free.  I am loved. I am forgiven.

How can I not love and have mercy towards others?


Blessings and love,


The Challenge of Getting Back in Shape As We Get Older


It's challenging to stay in shape (much less get back in shape) the older I get.  I am one of the baby boomers. That's a person born between 1946 and 1964; those born during the post World War II baby boom.  Since there are so many of us, we tend to believe we're still young and can do anything.

However, today's culture tends to celebrate youth.  So we attempt to hold on as long as we can.  After all, inside I feel the same way I did when I was in my twenties.  That is, until I look in the mirror or attempt to run up the mountain.

Yesterday, I read this revealing post on my friend Liz's Facebook profile. I've included it today after requesting her permission.

As anyone can attest to, getting out of shape is very easy. This year due to major depression lasting 4-6 months, I decided not to work out or swim. I did actually go to beach 2-4 times (no exercise involved) and pool same as above.

Well Liz is back and I'm working out in house and pool until the pool gets cold around November. This is necessary for body and mind/brain, as well as my age of 60 years. I'm already hurting, but I don't care. No pain no gain.

Have a lovely day and thanks for reading, love you all Liz

Almost immediately, I noticed a barrage of comments from many of my high school friends.  Many offered advice about walking and starting slowly.  Others shared how they suffered from a variety of ailments, including back problems, arthritis, fibromyalgia, and depression.  But what I came away with was that it's easy to gain weight as we get older but much harder to get it off and keep it off.  

One of my high school friends Elisabeth continues to be in great shape.  She responded to Liz with encouragement and wrote that over time the workouts will become a habit.  Isn't that what I've been saying? Btw, Elisabeth teaches Water Dance, a warm water therapy session and wellness classes. And she's the same age as me.
According to Biomarkers: The 10 Determinants of Aging You Can Control, a person's basal metabolism drops about 2% per decade starting at age 20.  As your metabolism decreases you need less calories.  So to simply maintain the status quo, you need to take in about 100 calories less per day with each decade. Too many of us continue to eat as those we were 20 years old!

So what do we do about this?

  • Decrease the amount of calories eaten each day
  • Choose what we eat carefully so as not to waste them on empty calories
  • Increase muscle mass with weights
  • Increase aerobic capacity through exercises such as walking, bicycling, swimming
  • Include stretching in your daily routine
There are many practical steps to getting back in shape as we age.  This is just a start. I hope to continue this series.  

Even if you're young there's much you can learn now to prevent problems as you get older.  After all, it happens to the best of us!

I'm linking up with Kim of Just For Clicks for Weigh-In Weigh-In Wednesday. Oh and by the way, I'm sticking with my exercise plan which has now become a habit. I still need to modify and improve my eating habits though.  But it's a work in progress and I'm committed.

Blessings and love,


Overflowing with Thankfulness

Overflowing with thankfulness.  Did you know that is how we are to live the Christian life?

I've been studying the book of Colossians.  Paul was writing a letter to the believers who lived in Colosse while he was in prison in Rome.  There were many ungodly influences in this city that was on a main trade route.  Paul wanted to encourage them in their faith. The words he wrote continue to help, inspire and encourage us today.

Overflowing with thankfulness is a wonderful way to live.  Of course, life has its many challenges.  But if I only focus on what's wrong, I miss out on what's right and good and pure.

It's been too long since I sang Don Moen's song "Give Thanks".  But it's a good reminder of how we are to live.

If you cannot view this video, click here.

I just had to include this collage my niece Kristin put together of little Kenzie 'driving' the car.  Isn't she just too cute?

And so I give thanks:

#935 Rain, rain, and more rain in Phoenix
#936 Learning through the eyes of children
#937 Lessons learned through Scripture reading
#938 September is here!
#939 The kindest & most loving email from my Uncle Bob
#940 Learning more and more about the teaching profession
#941 Watching the three year olds learn to write their name
#942 Seeing photos of my family who lives cross country on Facebook
#943 The flow of writing
#944 The joy of seeing my photos
#945 Smiles on the faces of children
#946 Giggles from little Ronnie as I pretend to tickle him
#947 Children falling asleep during nap time as we rub their backs
#948 Swimming laps in the pool when my feet are too tired to go on the treadmill
#949 Reading books
#950 Holding hands with my husband
#951 Remembering how far we've come in our relationship
#952 Viewing a video from my parent's 50th wedding anniversary

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

Blessings and love,


Who Do You Resemble?

Who do you resemble?  I'm often told I resemble my mother.  I take that as a compliment.

However, a little four year old girl insists that she and I look alike.  Mind you, Melika has the most amazingly beautiful green eyes, olive skin and dark curly hair. Miss Debbie has blue eyes (with maybe a slight tint of aqua), blonde straight hair and light skin.

But Melika will look closely at me and point to my eyes.  She tells me that Miss Debbie has the same eyes as hers.  And they are green eyes!

Since she was in our class last year and I now have her in my after school class, I think she takes a few liberties.  After all, I know her well and she knows me. I often have to remind her to listen to me the first time.

I asked her why she doesn't always listen and she thought for a moment.  She smiled and said "because I love you".  While that was very sweet, I told her that if she loved me she should listen to me and not give me a hard time.

I realized there's a spiritual lesson in this for me and maybe ...you.

As a Christian, I love the Lord with all my heart. As I grow in my relationship with Him, I become more like Him.

2 Corinthians 3:18 (NIV) says:
And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord's glory, are being transformed into His image with ever increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

1 John 3:2 (ESV) says:
Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when He appears we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him as He is.

So how can I become more Christlike?

  • Surrender to the Lord
  • Grow in my relationship with the Lord
  • Follow and obey Jesus
John 14:23 (NIV) says:
Jesus replied, "Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching.  My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.

I think that's pretty clear.  

If you love Jesus, obey His teaching.

My hope is that as I spend more time with the Lord the fruit of the Spirit will become more evident in me.  

How about you?  Who do you resemble?  Do you listen and obey those you love?

I'm linking up with Charlotte for Spiritual Sundays.

Blessings and love,


Five Minute Friday: Red

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


Red just happens to be my favorite color.  When I moved cross country to Phoenix, I drove my red corvette.  I was in my twenties and single, after all.

Red seems like such a bold color for a gal who isn't all that bold.  But in many ways it symbolizes much about me.

I was the child who was forced to sit on the sidelines because of a heart defect.  I was the child who walked door to door with my mother raising money for the American Heart Association as we carried our red signs.  I was the adult who became a cardiovascular nurse.

Red to me is passion.  And I am passionate about Jesus, my family, the many people I took care of over the years as a nurse, and the children I get to work with every day.

Yes, red is my favorite color.


Blessings and love,

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