Heart Choices: 2013-01-27 -->

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Together we are powerful. Let's unite and get to the heart of good health.

Did you know that heart disease is the #1 killer of women?  Too often it's thought of as a men's disease.  But women suffer from its effects too.  I worked as a cardiovascular nurse specialist for 25 years so I witnessed this first hand.

The National Heart Lung and Blood Institute is sponsoring The Heart Truth, a national awareness campaign for women about heart disease.  They have established the first Friday of February as National Wear Red Day.

This year it falls on February 1st ...which just so happens to be my birthday!  

And did I mention that red is my favorite color?

The following comes from The Heart Truth:

Ten Commandments for a Healthy Heart

  1. Know your risk factors for heart disease.
  2. Talk to your doctor about reducing your risk of heart disease.
  3. Have your blood pressure checked regularly.
  4. Know your cholesterol numbers (total cholesterol, LDL, HDL, triglycerides)
  5. Have your blood sugar level checked for diabetes.
  6. Do not smoke cigarettes.
  7. Eat for your heart health.
  8. Get regular physical activity. (at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity daily or most days of the week)
  9. Aim for a healthy weight.
  10. Know the signs and symptoms of a heart attack and the importance of seeking help immediately.

I was born with a congenital heart defect and had open heart surgery when I was seven years old.  Although I am now healthy, I still have the scar down my chest as a reminder.  I will share more personal stories with you throughout the month of February.

So wear red on February 1st.  And get out and do some exercise.  Here's to good heart health!

Blessings and love,


Don't Miss Out on your Yes

Yes is a very powerful word.  When I say yes to something, I say no to many other good things.  Did you catch that?  Why would I say no to good things?

I say no to many good things so I have time for God's best yes during this season of my life.

What does that mean in practical terms?

I believe God has called me to something specific in this season of my life.  However, there's a potential problem.
  • I need to work 
  • I love to read 
  • I love to spend time with my friends 
  • I love to go hiking
  • I love to read blogs
  • I enjoy Facebook
  • I love Bible Study Fellowship (BSF)
  • I want to get my home more organized
  • I want to start an herb garden
  • I want to design something pretty but practical for our back patio
  • I want to invite friends over for lunches
  • I have a beautiful tea set and would love to plan a tea
How do I do all of those good things if I believe God has called me to do something more specific?  I need to examine how I'm spending my time.

Speaking and Writing

Many years ago, I believed God was calling me to speak and write.  I attended CLASSeminars where many Christian communicators are trained.  I signed up for the speaking module.  I attended the Dale Carnegie course so I could continue to improve my speaking.  I graduated after receiving five pen awards for my speeches.  I was asked to become a graduate assistant and I said yes.  I had the opportunity to demonstrate each type of speech to the new classes.

But I still tend to get nervous speaking in front of people. I worry that I will forget what to say or that people will see my nervousness.  However, as I look back whenever I forgot about my self and instead focused on the audience and the message I wanted to share with them, I remained calm inside and did well.  But I still have this tendency to procrastinate doing something until I believe I have it down perfectly.

Moses' Assignment From God

I think of Moses.  Exodus 3-4 gives the account of Moses' encounter with God.  He told Moses that he had been chosen to go to Pharaoh to bring His people out of bondage in Egypt.  What was Moses' response to this calling on his life?  Did he say yes Lord?

Moses responded with doubts and questions:
  • "Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh?" Exodus 3:11
  • "Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you' and they ask me, 'What is his name?' Then what shall I tell them?" Exodus 3:13
  • "What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say 'The Lord did not appear to you'?  Exodus 4:1
  • "O Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant.  I am slow of speech and tongue."  Exodus 4:10
  • "O Lord, please send someone else to do it."  Exodus 4:13
As I read about Moses being called by God for an assignment, I have this inner dialogue going on. "You've got to be kidding Moses.  The Almighty God is calling you to do something and you have all of these excuses.  He's told you He will be with you.  He even told you He will give you the words to say.  What's wrong with you?"

But as I think about this, I have to think of my own responses to the Lord.  Instead of immediately saying yes, I offer excuses or I procrastinate too.  

My Assignment for this Season

In this season of my life, I am writing an eBook.  I have it about 70% written.  But I get distracted and want to have fun.  I realize days have gone by since I've written.  But in order to say yes to what I believe the Lord is calling me to do now, I need to say no to many good things.

So what do I do?
  • I set my alarm early so I have time to write before work
  • I delay getting my home designed just the way I want it
  • I postpone many of those lunches with my friends
  • I cannot participate in BSF at this time but I can have my daily quiet time
  • I limit my Facebook time
  • I exercise on my treadmill when I come home from work
  • I spend many hours during the weekend writing
  • I pray!
So let's get personal.  Has God called you to something in this season of your life?  Are you so busy with many good things that you're not doing a good job with the assignment He has given you for this season?  

I remember hearing Anne Graham Lotz talk about the years when the only conversation she had was with her little children and all she seemed to do was to clean up messes.  However, in another season of her life her children were grown and she said yes to a call God had for her life.  She began to speak and write and impacted many people, including me.

I ask you to not get so caught up in so many good things that you miss out on God's best yes for this season of your life.

I'm linking up with Bonnie for this Faith Barista Jam on the topic of YES.

Blessings and love,

photo credit: vasta via photopin cc

Motivation and Habits

Motivation and habit are the two requirements I need to achieve my goal.

Here is my motivation that gets me going:
  • I want to lose some weight
  • I want to have more energy
  • I want to fit back into my 'good clothes'
  • I want to feel comfortable again in my clothes
  • I was tired of trying on three outfits before deciding on one for work
  • I'm getting older and know that the risk of heart related problems increases 
  • I have a family history of heart disease
  • I want to stay healthy
Since habit is what will get me to my goal, I decided to return to the habit of eating healthier and exercising regularly.  I used to be in good shape.  I also knew what it felt like to have more energy and feel and look good in my clothes.

So I began.  I agreed to participate in a private Facebook group, a place where we encourage and motivate one another. We are presented with a weekly challenge in addition to our regular exercise and healthy eating.  The challenge for this past week was to drink at least 48 ounces of water every day and do at least two planks per day.  

I have to admit that I had to 'Google' what a plank was.  Once I realized what it was, I decided to participate.  

I was showing them to Heidi at work and as you can see, I had an audience of little children from our class.  What was Miss Debbie doing?  Miss Debbie is working on getting back in shape!

I may never have the flexibility like the children but I can certainly work at it.  After all, being more flexible helps to prevent injuries.

As for drinking increasing amounts of water, I had to measure out how much 48 ounces was.  Because I'm busy all day, I had to place reminders for myself.  I also gave up the Diet Coke I enjoyed at lunch and replaced it with water.  I feel good about that decision but it was hard at first.  

So I'm sticking to my plan.  So far, I've only lost four pounds but that's OK.  I realize it takes time and I'm in this for the long haul. It's not about losing a bunch of weight on a diet and eventually gaining it all back and then some.  I have to be able to live long term with this plan of healthy eating and regular exercise.

I'm motivated and I'm establishing healthy habits.  And I'm linking up with Kim of At Home with Kim for Weigh-In Wednesdays.  It's not too late for you to join us. 

Blessings and love,


The Blessing of Rain and Good Health

Rain is a rare event in Phoenix.  However, this past weekend we experienced rain.  My red geraniums loved the rain.  As I count my every day blessings, I'm so thankful for the rain in the desert of Phoenix.

There have been many children in our school who have been out sick.  Children tend to forget to cover their mouths when they cough. So, our Pre-K 3 class had a lesson from Nurse Brandie.

The children learned about washing their hands with warm water and soap.  They had to sing "Happy birthday to me" two times so they would realize how long they should be washing.

The next day when we were in computer class, Sam asked to go to the bathroom.  In the quiet classroom, the computer teacher and I looked at one another and laughed as we heard singing coming from the bathroom.  "Happy birthday to Sam, happy birthday to Sam ..." He remembered to sing it twice as he washed his hands.

The children practiced how to cover their coughs.  They use their elbow instead of their hands so they don't pass germs when they touch someone.  Now I hope we will all stay healthy through the rest of the school year.

Source: facebook.com via Pat on Pinterest

And so I continue to count my every day blessings ...

#650  Rain in the desert of Phoenix
#651  Beautiful flowers in bloom
#652  Hearing my dad's voice on the phone
#653  Reconnecting with more friends from my past on Facebook
#654  Looking forward to seeing my friend Kathleen of Sassy Granny
#655  Hearing the sound of rain on my roof
#656  The consistency of eating healthier
#657  Feeling stronger as I continue to do my exercise
#658  Encouragement from my Weigh-In Wednesday Facebook group
#659  Sharing what God is teaching me in this season
#660  Rereading "Abide in Christ" by Andrew Murray
#661  Almost finished with "A Heart that Dances" study by Catherine Martin

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

I'm also linking up with Kim of At Home with Kim for Morning Moments.

Blessings and love,

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