Heart Choices: November 2013

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Five On Friday

It's the day after Thanksgiving and I don't want to go shopping.  I'd rather do my shopping online than brave the crowds. This morning I decided to link up with The Good Life Blog for 5 on Friday.

[ONE]  I started my one week vacation like this:

Working with preschool children can be a bit of a health hazard.  They often forget to cover their coughs and I'm right down there at face level.  So I did a lot of sleeping.

But by the end of the week, I'm feeling better.  I was able to go to Greg's family for our Thanksgiving meal. So thankful for return of good health!

[TWO]  I love being together with family.
Greg's sister Amy opened her house as we sat down to a wonderful Thanksgiving turkey with all the trimmings.

I had such fun sitting at the table with my niece Megan (middle) and her teacher friends who came with her.  I was so excited to get to catch up with Julie (front left in photo).  She used to work at my school but I hadn't seen her in a few years. So it was fun to reminisce and find out how she was doing.

I miss my family in Florida though.  I got to talk on the phone to my dad and siblings but it's just not the same as seeing their faces.  I loved my niece Kristin's family photo from Thanksgiving and had to share it with you. Take a look at that sweet little Kenzie's face; adorable!

[THREE]  I got to use a gift certificate for a spa pedicure and manicure!
I received it as a gift from a parent of one of our students from last year's class.  I was afraid it would expire so I'm glad I got to finally go.

As I was getting my toe nails painted, I noticed the woman sitting next to me.  She was reading a book by Priscilla Shirer so I took the opportunity to engage her in conversation.  She just moved from California and before you know it we were talking nonstop.  I love when that happens!

[FOUR]   Our Christmas tree is all set up.  I actually put it up a week ago but tried to keep my blinds shut. But every time I came home from work, Greg had the blinds open and music playing.  Oh who cares?  The house looks so warm and pretty with the tree.

[FIVE]  Be thankful. Make a choice to wake up thinking of all you are thankful for. It will definitely impact your outlook on life.  And that tends to spread to the people you encounter each day. So spread a little sunshine ...

Blessings and love,


What is Your Name?

My name is Debbie.  What's your name?  That's usually the first thing we say when we're introduced to somebody.  It's amazing how important our names are since we carry them with us through life.  I was born in the day when Debbie Reynolds and Deborah Kerr were well known for their movies. But today Debbie isn't a common name chosen for children.

To continue reading please click over to Laced with Grace ...

Blessings and love,


Faith Barista Jam: Be Yourself

I'm joining up with Bonnie for a Faith Barista Jam. It's been six months since our last jam and I'm so excited to participate again.  I'm a bit late in getting my post published but I really wanted to participate in this one.

Bonnie has written a book that will be published in January and I look forward to reading it.  She's been such an inspiration to me and many others.

Writing has become such an important part of my life. For years, I've kept a journal.  As I read my Bible, I take notes about how I can apply what I'm reading and what God is teaching me.  If I read a book, I often write down quotes that speak to my heart.  I record many of my prayer requests.  There are many times when I've poured out my heart in sorrow or pain.  I tend to write what I'm feeling instead of always talking about it to others.  The Lord knows my heart and I find it helpful to write it out.

At times I go back and read some of my older journals. What I discover is that even when I felt as though my prayers weren't being answered, I can see how God has been actively working in my life.  Often He answers in ways I don't expect. And in the  process it is me who is being changed and not always the other person I'm praying about.

Being myself is something that has been challenging for me. Growing up with a heart defect, I was very aware of how I impacted others.  I never wanted to cause my family any pain.  I knew my health created anxiety for them.  Maybe that's why it was easy for me to learn to be a people pleaser.

I've always been a hard worker, trying to do my best no matter what the job. Whether it was caring for patients as a nurse, visiting the home bound, cleaning my house, or working with preschool children ...I try to work as unto the Lord.

But who am I?  What do I really love?

Discovering my heart's desire has been a work in progress.  

The opening lines in Mark Batterson's book Soulprint: Discovering Your Divine Destiny really spoke to my heart.

There has never been and never will be anyone else like you.  But that isn't a testament to you.  It's a testament to the God who created you.  You are unlike anyone who has ever lived.  But that uniqueness isn't a virtue. It's a responsibility. Uniqueness is God's gift to you, and uniqueness is your gift to God. You owe it to yourself to be yourself.  But more important, you owe it to the One who designed you and destined you.

As I read Psalm 37:4 I've realized that as I delight myself in the Lord, He does give me the desires of my heart. And often those desires were so well below the surface that I wasn't fully aware of them.

Pain and loss often get written in my journals but I don't always understand the why's.  But lately, I find that in the midst of the pain of the last few years God has been comforting me and reassuring me that He is indeed in control.

Never would I have imagined returning to the workforce after retirement of almost ten years. Working with preschool children has been such a gift from the Lord. I was unable to have children of my own and yet longed for them.  I wrote about my pain in my  journals but told myself that life goes on so ...quit whining.

But God answered my prayers in such an unexpected way and in an unanticipated time in my life.  When I was in need of a job, my pastor's wife introduced me to her principal.  I've been working at the school now for three years.  I am surrounded by little children all day long.  Only God would use a very difficult time in my life to bring me such joy and love.

The God who created me surely knows me better than I know myself.  He has a plan for my life and my job is to listen and obey Him.

Deuteronomy 31:6 (NIV) says:

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Those words are such a comfort to me.  I'm learning to surrender to His plans for my life.  And those plans are good.

I'm linking up with Bonnie for this Faith Barista Jam.


Blessings and love,


What Kind of Legacy Will You Leave?

What kind of legacy will you leave?  Do you think about things like this?  I know I do.  When I'm gone from this earth, I hope I've made a positive impact for the Kingdom of God.

I had a wonderful example in my grandfather.  It's hard to believe that it was 42 years ago this past Monday since he died.  I was in nursing school when I got the phone call.

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

Blessings and love,


How I Try to Age Gracefully

Our culture celebrates youth.  I still feel young inside but when I look in the mirror, I see changes that I prefer not to see. :)

I try to do the best I can with what I've been given. My mom was a good example for me.  But I do believe keeping weight down through proper eating and regular exercise is vital for me.  After all, I need lots of energy working with 3 and 4 year old children all day.  And they help keep me young.

For this Weigh-In Wednesday, I thought I'd share a few tips I learned along the way.

I love to cook.  I have many of Giada de Laurentiis' cookbooks.  Her recipes are so yummy.  But I always wondered how she stays so slim with all those temptations around her.  So I pre-ordered her latest book and have been reading it.

Here's a quote from Giada about her number one philosophy on eating:

Eat a little everything, but not a lot of anything.  It's such a simple idea but it took me a long time to embrace it fully.  I don't believe in deprivation; it just fuels cravings and creates a vicious cycle of negative feelings.  On the other side, overindulgence with any one thing just dulls your taste for it, leaving you eating more of it, trying to get that same pleasure, which isn't a good thing.

I used to be able to afford lots of expensive creams for my skin.  I'd buy them through my dermatologist ...but no longer.  Skin Script is a local company and when I can I purchase their line of skin care.  They aren't as expensive as some other brands and are very hydrating for aging skin.  I think you can order it online. And when I run out I often use good old Neutrogena skin cleanser for dry skin. I never leave home without sun screen.  This light Norwegian skin burns easily and nothing is more aging than that.

In Giada's Feel Good Food book, she offers some advice for skin care.  I tried one of her suggestions.  I exfoliated my face with a homemade paste of three tablespoons of white rice flour mixed with two tablespoons of an inexpensive olive oil.  I applied it to my face and left it on for a few minutes.  Then I gently scrubbed in a circular motion with my fingertips and rinsed it off with warm water followed by cool water. My face felt very hydrated and smooth.  It wasn't very easy making it stick so I probably washed it off sooner than she recommended. But it still seemed to help. She does this every night.

I'm blessed with lots of hair on my head.  At my age, most women are starting to get grey but I've been fortunate to not have grey.  Watch, now that I wrote that, I'll probably start.  :)  But my mom went grey in her 30's so I'm surprised I'm not.  I do like highlights and low lights.  I only get them done twice a year though but I probably need them more frequently.  It always gives my hair more body.  I sometimes use good old Alberto VO 5 oil treatment.  I had to order it online as I couldn't find it in the drugstore.  But it does hydrate my dry hair.  Today I even tried using olive oil and wrapped a hot towel around my head when I took my shower.  I had to wash my hair well to get the oil out completely.

I try to exercise every day.  If I think about it when I wake up, I know I won't do it. But if I have everything ready before I go to bed, I awaken at the first sound of the alarm and ...simply do it.  No if's, and's or but's. This is what works best for me. No engaging my brain about this at all.

I'm sure you have many more tips on how to age gracefully and I welcome your advice.  But I also want to say that smiling and having a positive attitude keeps you looking young.  I had to laugh when my pastor joked about making sure our faces knew the joy and hope we have inside.  There should be no sour Christians.  Let your light shine!

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

Blessings and love,


Five Minute Friday: Truth

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: TRUTH.


I have to admit there are days when I wonder how or why things turned out the way they did. I never imagined my life would be this way.

I thought life would go on and only get better.  But disappointments come along. And life doesn't always go as I plan.  Seasons come and seasons go.  I remember hearing that voice in my head for as many years as I can remember.

But then I open up my journals and my Bible; the places where I pour out my heart to the Lord.  As I read, I see His hand at work in my life.  I see answers to prayers that I prayed years ago.  The answers may not be what I envisioned.  But I realize they are for my good and His glory.

So I choose to listen to the voice of truth.  I may look around and see others living life in a different way. But I will trust the voice of truth.  The chorus to Casting Crowns song "The Voice of Truth" plays over and over in my head as my doubt turns to praise and thankfulness.

But the voice of truth tells me a different story
And the voice of truth says "Do not be afraid!"
And the voice of truth says "This is for my glory"
Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth.


Blessings and love,


Give Thanks

There are days when life seems a bit overwhelming.  I had one of those days on Saturday.  One thing after another and before I knew it ...my emotions had taken over.

On Sunday morning, I awakened still feeling groggy. So I jumped on my treadmill, hoping to stimulate my body and get moving.  I wanted to go to church as I knew that would help me in my current emotional state.

How thankful I am that I pushed myself to go.  Our pastor has been preaching for the last few months on the book of Colossians verse by verse.  We are up to the 4th chapter verses 2-6.  I had to laugh as Pastor Jason loves to interject examples and humor as he explains basic principles from God's Word.  I found myself smiling and nodding.

There's something so amazing about praying, reading the Bible and singing praises to the Lord that energizes me and sets me in a better direction. Singing "through the storm He is Lord of all" from Hillsong's Cornerstone was just what I needed to be reminded of.  By the end of the service, I was able to ...give thanks in all things.  God is so good!

Our school celebrated Halloween with the little children getting dressed up.  Yes, I am aware of the negative aspects of this holiday.  But working in Pre-K 3 and a school that includes children of many faiths, I wanted to help make this a fun time for all.  Heidi and I used many of the cute decorations the children made to hang up in our classroom.  The little ones were so excited about dressing up in their princess and fairy costumes.  We had a few super powers and a butterfly; very innocent and cute.

Yesterday was Greg and my 29th wedding anniversary.  We made dinner together at home and it was a quiet time of celebration for us.  I wrote a blog post about our anniversary, including a song I dedicated to Greg.  If you missed it, you can read about it here.

So I continue to count my every day blessings.

#1001  29 years of marriage to Greg
#1002  God is faithful
#1003  A church who loves people and cares about them
#1004  Songs that inspire me
#1005  Amazing friends who encouraged me with their comments on Facebook
#1006  So many kind messages in response to Greg and my anniversary
#1007  My love for reading and writing
#1008  His mercies are new every morning.
#1009  Smiling faces of people who truly care
#1010  The excitement of the children in their costumes
#1011  All of the Pre-K teachers dressed up as crayons; I was a blue crayon
#1012  Resisting all the sweets that were before me except one

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

Blessings and love,


Happy Anniversary Greg

Greg and I were married 29 years ago today.  The years have gone by so quickly. It seems like only yesterday we were in Vail, Colorado with our families for that special day.  We said our vows in a small chapel in the village.  We celebrated at The Lodge. Greg had searched high and low for the perfect song to play for me. He choose Lou Rawls "Forever I Do".  I cry every time I hear that song and ...remember.

After 29 years, I have a new song for Greg.  I love the lyrics to Steven Curtis Chapman's "I Will Be Here".

Greg and I have had our ups and downs as most couples will understand (if they're honest).  But we've hung in there with each other.  I love how far we've come in understanding one another.  That really is a life long commitment.  I recall the vows we exchanged in that chapel ...'for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish 'till death do us part'.

How thankful I am that Greg understands me better today than when we first began. He makes me breakfast in bed.  He rubs my back after a long day at work.  He has our home prepared with lighting and music for when I get home.  So here's my song ...

If you cannot view the video, click here.

Blessings and love,


Five Minute Friday: Grace

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: GRACE.


Although I like things to be perfect, they never are.  I can plan all I like and inevitably something unexpected happens.  Working with little children teaches me much about God's grace.

I love to take photos.  My camera is always close by my side.  There are times when I want the perfect shot but the little ones don't always cooperate.  Shoes fall off, fingers start picking noses, tears begin to fall.

It causes me to ponder how the Lord sees His children. I don't always cooperate. Instead of obeying, I delay. I consider my own plans instead of His plans for me.

There's no hope for me.

But then I remember God's grace and mercy.  I can't do anything to earn it.  But I can accept it and be grateful for it.


Blessings and love,

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