Heart Choices: 2013-02-17 -->

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Five Minute Friday ~ What Mama Did

It's Five Minute Friday when I link up with The Gypsy Mama.  Lisa-Jo gives us a prompt and we get to write for five minutes flat.  This week our prompt is:

What did your mama do that makes her your mama?


It was eight years ago yesterday since my mom died.  At times it seems like it was only yesterday and other days it seems like a long time ago.

When I think of my mom I think of laughter.  No matter how much pain my mom was in she always found something to laugh about. She always had a joke to share and never wanted her pain to be the center of attention.  She was not afraid of being seen as silly.  I couldn't help but join in on her laughter.

But the thing I remember most about my mama was how she listened.  She was always available to stop what she was doing to sit down and talk.  I talked to my mom about everything.

As a child, she was with me as I went through open heart surgery. We waited together in clinics that took all day long.  And we talked and talked.

As a teenager, she listened to me talk about boys.  She gave advice when asked.  She never tried to cut me off or think I was silly.  She listened and I always knew she would make time for me.

As an adult, she listened.  We talked about our faith, life, family. She listened when I was heart broken when I was unable to have children.  She knew how much I'd wanted a family.  Even when she was in such pain, she walked up the stairs in my home to comfort me when she knew I was hurting.

I miss my mom.  But I have to say that I am comforted to know that one day I will see her again.  You see we shared our faith in Jesus.  And that is what makes it bearable.


Blessings and love,


Where Does Loneliness Lead You?

It's another Faith Barista Jam and the prompt we've been given for today is the following:

How has loneliness been a part of your faith journey with Jesus?
 Ah loneliness.  Loneliness is a feeling I certainly don't long for.  In my futile attempts to change my state when I'm feeling lonely, I can easily reach for some instant gratification.  Come on; you know what I mean.  How do you handle lonely?

  • A huge scoop of ice cream when you've been determined to lose weight
  • Calling that person you know isn't a good influence but is so much fun
  • Spending hours on Facebook
  • Going shopping as you buy things you can't afford 
  • Crying
  • Escaping by sleeping or self-medicating
I'm sure you could add your personal favorite to this incomplete list.

I like to think that loneliness leads me to ...Jesus.

In the past, I've not always gone to Him first.  But I can confidently say He has never let me down.

When I run to Jesus in my loneliness:
  • He comforts me
  • He reminds me that He loves me
  • He is always there
  • He rejoices over me with singing (can you believe that?)
  • He reminds me that I am His child
  • He teaches me through His Word and His Spirit
  • He is my refuge in the storm
  • He reminds me that He is all powerful
  • He reminds me that He can make things happen
So I'm learning to run to Jesus FIRST in my loneliness.

Zephaniah 3:17 (59 kb)

I'm linking up with Bonnie of Faith Barista.

Blessings and love,

photo credit: VinothChandar via photopin cc

The Power of Social Media

I'm amazed by the power of social media.  The writing life can get pretty lonely at times.  This is the view I see in the very early hours of each morning.  Working full time and trying to live my life doesn't provide many extra hours to simply sit, write and be inspired.  So I get up very early in the morning and ...write.

I was getting pretty down on myself the other day.  Have you ever had one of those days?  I didn't feel like doing anything or going anywhere.  Notice how I wrote feel.  I've been one who often says 'just do it and the feeling will follow'.  I think I learned that from one of the motivational tapes I used to listen to years ago. (Thanks Zig Ziglar and Tony Robbins.) But on this day I couldn't even manage to do what I needed to do so I could allow that feeling to follow.  It just wasn't happening.

My husband noticed that I didn't seem like my normal self.  Greg knows me so well and he's good at asking me probing questions to get to the bottom of it.  I answered with all those little things that were bothering me.  But he knew that wasn't the real crux of the matter.

I was having a hard time finishing my book.  

I began writing my book last summer.  I'd just finished reading Sarah Mae's How to Market and Sell Your eBook on my plane trip back to Phoenix from Florida.  Sarah Mae sold over 25,000 copies of her eBook 31 Days to Clean: Having a Martha House the Mary Way in two months!  Can you believe it?  And I'd just finished reading how she did it.  I knew I could do it.

I've been editing and rewriting a lot lately.  I realized I'd been feeling a bit insecure.  After all, who am I?  I've never written a book.  Sure I journaled for years and years but that's different.  I read tons of blogs.  And I read many books.  The popular authors seem to write totally different from my style.  Without realizing it, I'd changed some of my writing style to be more in sync with what people seemed to like.  I gave my husband one of the chapters to read and Greg knew right away.  He told me I had stopped writing from my heart.  We talked for some time about this and I felt so much better.  I am not an Ann Voscamp or a Margaret Feinberg.  I am Debbie and I just need to share what God has placed on my heart.  I'll trust Him with the results.

The next morning I awakened very early and began writing.  It just seemed to flow so easily.  And what I was writing came from my heart; Debbie's heart.

I was so excited so I wrote the following on my Facebook profile page:

How thankful I am to my husband Greg Petras. I was frustrated with the progress of my book. He read parts of it and told me I had stopped writing from my heart. I realized I was trying to be more like popular writers instead of being myself. I may not sell tons of books but I must be true to myself and share the stories with others with the gift God gave me. This morning I've already written almost 2,000 words.

Suddenly and right before my eyes likes and words of encouragement began to appear.  I was amazed!  Friends from work, family, childhood friends, relatives from Norway wrote comments to encourage me.  My heart was overflowing with gratefulness.  And they kept on coming...

I learned so much from all of this.  If you've started something but feel discouraged, don't quit!  I found this quote on Pinterest that fit the situation so well.

I started to write because I believed God gave me a message to share with others.  And I will not quit!

Now I'll have to leave you as I need to continue writing my book.

Blessings and love,


Unexpected Blessings

I love those unexpected blessings.  I had the pleasure of spending time with two and a half year old twins this past week.  They are in the Mini-Mustang class at our school.  I knew their mom was a Christian so when we had time alone I began to sing "Jesus Loves Me" to Lizzie.  She looked at me, smiled and began to sing along. She knew all of the words!  When her mom came to pick them up, I told her and she hugged me.

I had the opportunity to attend a morning conference last week on the campus of our high school.  As we spent time in several of the classrooms, I couldn't help but notice a book I knew well.  The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom is a book I've read several times.  I pointed it out to Heidi and shared the story with her.  How glad I was to see that this book was being discussed in the high school (which is not a Christian school).  But this true story of the ten Boom family is a story of a family who stood up for what they believed was right.  As devout Christians, they made the decision to provide a refuge or hiding place in their home in Holland for many Jews so they wouldn't get sent to the death camps.  Unfortunately, they were discovered by the Nazis and were also sent to the camps.  The whole family died there except for Corrie ten Boom who eventually came to the United States and shared her story.  I remember my blogging friend Sonja of Bits & Pieces sharing stories of Corrie ten Boom as she came to visit in her parent's home when she was growing up.

How thankful I am to be working with Heidi.  She finds fun in just about everything.  We were checking out the student's chairs that swivel around.  Before I knew it, Heidi was clowning around.  I love that about her.

I love to spend time with the staff of teachers.  They are all younger than me but I enjoy that.  I get to see all the latest fashions.  Annie (in the middle) often meets me on Sunday mornings for iced tea at AJ's.

And here I am in what we call Red Room.  Of course, I had to wear something red.  All I can say is that I love working here at our school.

So I continue to count my every day blessings.  I love that there are many unexpected blessings too. :)

#688 Singing "Jesus Loves Me" with the sweetest little girl
#689 Learning to live out my faith without words at times
#690 Finding glimpses of God in the classrooms
#691 Having fun with Heidi
#692 Getting to know younger people
#693 Observing children draw, color, do puzzles and play outside
#694 Taking photos of the teachers and children
#695 Having an extra day off this weekend (President's Day)
#696 Getting back in touch with childhood friends on Facebook
#697 Finally feeling better after taking a Z-pack of antibiotics

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

Blessings and love,

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