Heart Choices: February 2014

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If You're Happy and You Know It

Each weekday morning the children in our Pre-K 3 class line up outside our classroom door and I lead them in this song.  You may be familiar with the words.

If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands (clap, clap)
If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands (clap, clap)
If you're happy and you know it then your face will surely show it
If you're happy and you know it clap your hands. (clap, clap)

We go on to the next next verses that include stomping our feet, shouting hooray and then doing all three.  By the time we're finished singing, most of the children are smiling.  It's a fun way to start our day.

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

Blessings and love,


Weigh-In Wednesday: Teach your Children Well

It's Weigh-In Wednesday when I link up with Kim at Just For Clicks Blog.  I believe it's important to begin teaching children at a young age about living a healthy lifestyle.

In this day and age, it's all too common for families to eat meals on the run. Sitting down together at the dinner table is a good way to instill healthy habits that can last a lifetime.  It's also a great time to teach good manners and the art of listening to one another. Children learn much by observing what we do and not only by what we say.

My friends Lylah and Michael run The Simple Farm in Scottsdale, Arizona. Situated in a neighborhood, surrounded by gated communities, they are teaching many about a lost art in our families.  They offer classes on how to start your own garden of vegetables and herbs.  Lylah loves to sit and share her idea of coming together for meals without rushing.  She will grab an herb from her garden and have visitors smell it and taste it.  Her enthusiasm for community is infectious.  I love this about her.

I work in a private school working with preschool children. I am with them during their lunch time and work with them on eating and practicing good manners.  They say 'please' and 'thank you' and 'may I be excused'.  I continue to work with them on chewing their food with mouths closed and taking small bites.  I'm often amazed at how children eat until they're full and then stop.  A lesson for me ...

The children have PE twice a week.  They learn to do stretches to warm up and learn the basics of many sports.  It's a fun time for them.  Of course, every day they have time on the playground where they run and have fun playing games like 'duck, duck, goose'.

Last week our school held an outdoor assembly (yes we can do this in February in Phoenix) to raise awareness for diabetes. Our principal has diabetes. Each year our students and teachers walk to raise money for a cure.  I was especially touched this year when one of our Pre-K 4 students stood in front of the crowd to answer questions about his diabetes.  He held the attention of everyone as he spoke.

And then the student body walked ...

They walked for our principal.

They walked for this little boy.

They walked for people with diabetes to raise awareness and money for a cure.

This is near and dear to my heart as diabetes in a major risk factor for heart disease.

Children can begin to learn about living a healthy lifestyle from a young age. Practice what you preach. Talk to them about healthy choices.  And then go outside and ride your bicycles or take a walk together.

Do you have any ideas to share?  How do you teach your children about health and exercise?  I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas.

Blessings and love,


Women Walking With Jesus

Women Walking with Jesus.  I was so honored to be included with this group of writers.  After much prayer, Lisa Shaw brought together women from a variety of backgrounds, ages and cultures to share their personal experiences of walking with Jesus.  We each have our own unique areas of struggle and challenges.  But we know our help comes from the Lord.

Lisa has written a blog post to introduce the group at Lisa Shaw Cares.  I encourage you to pop over and see for yourself.

I've had the blessing of meeting Lisa face to face and she's the real deal.  We both come from New York and were greatly influenced by Christian grandparents.  I look forward to writing a monthly post.

So will you link over and check out Lisa's post?

Blessings and love,


Still Counting My Blessings

I choose to continue to count my every day blessings. My mother was an amazing example to me.  She always looked at the good.  Despite being in pain for years, she always had a joke to share with others. She never liked to focus on her pain and enjoyed interacting with others.  She loved people!  Oh how I miss her but ...her lessons live on in me.

I have to admit that at first I wasn't happy about returning to the workforce after a ten year absence. Working as a nurse was very rewarding.  But I was enjoying my pursuit of other things.  But I have to say if this didn't happen I would have missed out on so many blessings.

I get to work with Heidi every day. We're quite the team and love to have fun. Can you tell from this picture?

My Valentine's Day is so much more fun now.  I get to celebrate it with preschool children.  They get so excited as they present their sweet gifts often accompanied my a homemade card (which I love).

I love working with Miss Storme.  She teaches our preschool kids music and Spanish.  I even learn a few things along the way.  I'm brushing up on my high school Spanish with three year olds. :)

There's something so special and healing for me as I spend my day with little children.  I always longed for children of my own.  But God in His wisdom brought the children into my life at this time and for that ...I'm so thankful.

Even though I'm now working in a school educational environment, I'm so thankful that I was invited to be the Ambassador for a Day for The Heart Truth.  They asked me to chair the day when we got to share inspirational quotes.  I loved that and was so grateful for the feedback I received.

Once a nurse always a nurse!

And heart health is something I truly believe in.

As I consider where I am in life right now, a Scripture comes to mind.

Romans 8:28

New International Version (NIV)
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose.

So my counting continues:

#1029 Amazing co-workers
#1030 Watching children learn and grow
#1031 Seeing God at work in my circumstances
#1032 Opening my eyes to the wonder of children
#1033 A very special Valentine's Day at work and at home
#1034 The honor of being an Ambassador of the Day for The Heart Truth
#1035 Seeing my inspirational posts shared 90 times (that's a first for me)
#1036 Seeing my inspirational posts viewed 6,000 times (wow)
#1037 My husband has been helping me as I deal with bad allergies
#1038 Appreciating how helpful and loving Greg has been to me

I'm linking up with Ann of A Holy A Holy Experience as I count my every day blessings.

Will you make the choice to consider all the blessings in your life?  Maybe things haven't turned out the way you planned.  But if you focus on what's right and good it changes your perspective.  Take it from one who knows. :)

Blessings and love,


Happy Valentine's Day: You Are Loved

Love.  That feeling we all long to have; the emotion that sets all things right.  Or so we think.  It's Valentine's Day and expectations are in the air.

When I was a teenager, my mom told me I was in love with love.  I talked about love.  I loved to wear ribbons in my hair.  I was a romantic (and still am one).  I dreamed about my prince charming.  I day dreamed, planning every detail of my wedding and future home. I envisioned the beautiful garden and the white picket fence.  I named each one of my children.

But life happens and ..hearts get hurt.

Plans don't always work out as we envision.

Thankfully, I'm happily married to my hubby Greg for 29 years.  We've had our ups and downs (as any couple who is truthful will admit).  But I have to say we've reached a point in our relationship where we love each other more than ever. We've had lots of money and we've had not so much.  Going through the stress of the past few years has actually brought us closer.  And for that ...I'm so thankful.

Greg is my Valentine.

I'm also thankful for my dad. He's always been there for me. I always loved that my birthday falls on the first day of February and my dad's is the last day of February (at least most years).  He will turn 85 years old on February 28th.

God has blessed me with strong, loving men in my life.  But I know that not everyone is fortunate to have that.  I look at the sweet faces of the little girls in our preschool. I wonder how their lives will turn out.  Will they be happy?  Will they feel loved?

On this Valentine's Day, I want to remind you that there is someone who loves you very much.  His name is Jesus.  I've known Him for many years.

  • He never disappoints.  
  • He gives me strength for each new day.  
  • He gives me love that overflows to others.  
  • He never leaves me. 

Maybe you feel alone.  Maybe you don't have a special someone in your life. Just know that

You are loved.

I am linking up with Bonnie of Faith Barista as we write about LOVE.

Blessings and love,


Inspirational Quotes for Heart Health

It's February 12th; the day I was invited to be the Ambassador for The Heart Truth program. Just in case you didn't know it, February is heart month.  We want to get the word out.

Heart disease is the #1 killer of women.  

Too many people consider heart disease to be a man's disease but that's not true. I want to encourage women to take better care of themselves and to know their risk factors.

I was so excited that the theme for today is:

Share an Inspirational Quote!

Now that's right up my alley.  I love to inspire and motivate people to make healthy choices.  I worked as a cardiovascular nurse for 25 years after all.

So I will get the ball rolling and begin sharing:
  • "Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do." John Wooden
  • "You are what you repeatedly do." Aristotle
  • "You must do the thing you cannot do."  Eleanor Roosevelt
  • "Exercise in the morning before your brain figures out what you're doing." Unknown
  • "Worrying does not empty tomorrow of its troubles; it empties today of its strength." Mary Engelbreit
  • "A goal properly set is halfway reached." Zig Ziglar
  • "When obstacles arise, you change your direction to reach your goal; you do not change your decision to get there."  Zig Ziglar
  • "Hope is the power that gives a person the confidence to step out and try." Zig Ziglar
  • "Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible." Tony Robbins
  • "A year from now you will wish you had started today." Karen Lamb
  • "Don't wait. The time will never be just right." Napoleon Hill
I thought this was a great quote to end with.  I found it on a friend's Facebook page. Thank you Joani!

If you have a favorite quote, please feel free to add it in the comments.

If you want to check to see what your risk factors are for heart disease go here.

Let's do all we can to stay healthy!

Blessings and love,


Soul Rest Sunday: Reading Words of Love

Soul Rest Sunday

Soul rest Sunday.  Even the sound of those words sound restful to me right now. Bonnie of Faith Barista started a new community where we share and link up each week.  Her post today was about ...allowing love in.

Allergies, coughing and fatigue have plagued me for more than three weeks. I am so tired and yet I need to persevere.  (I am now on antibiotics.)  But when I get home, all I want to do is retreat to my bed and ...rest.

I've been using an app called YouVersion to read the Bible in one year on my Kindle.  The first think I do every morning (before getting online to check email and Facebook) is to open this app and read from God's Word.  I can't tell you how often I will read a verse that I've read many times before and see something new. Maybe it's because I'm at a different season in my life or maybe God is taking me deeper in my walk with Him.

Too many people read about God from other sources. There are many wonderful Christian books to read. And believe me, I've read many and continue to read many.  I find inspiration from reading other's experiences in their faith walk.

But there's nothing that can take the place of reading God's Word for myself. Too many people think they hear enough going to church on Sunday. Other people feel the Bible is too hard to understand.

I can personally tell you that the words of the Bible have changed my life, my perspective, my desires. We are not left alone to navigate this life.  As a Christian I have the Holy Spirit within me.  He will teach me and guide me. I pray for His wisdom as I read my Bible. It's one thing to go through the motions of reading. It's another thing to truly listen and obey what it teaches me.

It's all about LOVE.  As I spend time reading, I feel His love for me.

Jesus loved you and me so much that He took on our sins upon Himself. He lived a perfect life and sacrificed Himself so that you and I could live in peace with God. How can I help but feel that love?

Many of us have been hurt by people. It can be easy to close your heart to avoid getting hurt. But Jesus can heal those hurts.  As I meditate upon His Word, I feel peace and love.

Will you chose to open up His Book of love?  It will set the tone for your day. Don't leave it up to pastors and priests.  You can read it for yourself.  There are so many Bible study tools available for free online.

I've been touched by God's love for me as I spend quiet time with Him each morning. How about you?

Blessings and love,


Five Minute Friday: Write

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

I've been writing for years. It began as a young girl as I wrote in my diary with the tiny gold key.  I hid it under my window seat in my bedroom.  It was where I could pour out my thoughts and feelings with no one watching or listening.  Just me (and God).

I was chosen to attend a creative writing class during a summer between the fifth and sixth grades. Each day we had to write and stand up and read to our class. It was a wonderful learning experience for me to receive feedback.

For years I got so busy living life that I almost forgot about writing.  But then one day I purchased a journal and began to write once again.

I wrote about my everyday experiences when I was working with heart disease patients.  I walked with many families who lost their loved ones.  I didn't want to forget their stories so ...I wrote them down.

As I grew in my faith, I was learning and growing by leaps and bounds. I couldn't get enough of Bible studies and Christian books.  So I wrote down what I was learning.

I discovered blogging back in 2007 and have been writing on Heart Choices since that time.  I love writing.  I will continue writing.


Blessings and love,


My Secret Place

Where is my secret place?  In the past, I used to love to climb up the mountain behind my house.  All I had to do was to put on my hiking boots, grab my water and head out the door.  I was in great shape so the climb was vigorous but certainly doable.  I'd reach the summit and there I'd sit and look out over the valley of Phoenix I call home.

I always searched for the steeple of my church. I'd look out at the city landmarks in the distance.  And I would begin to pray for my city, for the people who lived in the homes below.  I knew one of my neighbors was fighting cancer so I'd bring her name before the Lord.  It was a time of solitude.  It was a time of reflection.

Usually on my quick (almost run) back down the mountain, I'd either be singing praise songs or writing a blog post in my head.  The words always came easily for me when I was alone on my mountain.

I'd return home and immediately sit down to write what was on my heart.  I could still see part of the mountain from my window and ...I loved it.

I no longer live here.  Life circumstances changed for me.  I was so sad about leaving.  In the midst of this sadness, I allowed the stresses of life to get the best of me at times.  I stopped exercising.  I indulged in too many sweets that really didn't satisfy. I ended up gaining about 15-20 pounds.  So now I'm trying to get back to those days when exercise was fun and I enjoyed hiking up  mountains.  I may not have such easy access to a mountain but I can do other things for exercise.

My quiet place is now at my computer.  I need to listen to soothing music more often.  I sometimes forget that I do have access to Pandora. I can easily exercise on my treadmill. On the weekends I can begin to hike up the mountains that are a short car drive from where I now live.  It may take time and effort to get back to the ease I used to climb but I know I can do it. Yes I can!

And I can take time to notice the beauty all around me. The roses in my front garden, the red geraniums I planted in my window box.  The amazing friend and sister in Christ who lives right next door to me.  How thankful God planted me right next to Caroline.  I need to take time to visit with her.

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

Do you have a secret place?

Blessings and love,


Will You Join Me and Wear Red This Friday?

Did you know that Friday is Wear Red Day?  You may be thinking 'what is wear red day?'  Well, the American Heart Association launched Go Red for Women after research revealed that heart disease is the #1 killer of women.  Most people think it's cancer but it's not. Heart disease is usually thought of as a man's disease. But after menopause, heart disease risk is just as high for women.

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

The reason I'm wearing red on Friday and joining the cause is to raise awareness that ...heart disease is the #1 killer of women.

Red is actually my favorite color!

I come from a family history of heart disease.  My paternal grandfather died of a sudden heart attack. My dad had his first heart attack at the age of 61.  I remember the night I received the dreaded phone call and had to take an urgent flight to Florida.  They weren't sure if my dad would survive.  After open heart surgery, 13 angioplasties, a pacemaker and implantable defibrillator ...my dad is still alive and kicking at the age of 85.

It really hit me as I just celebrated my 61st birthday on February 1st; same age as my dad's first heart event!

I had open heart surgery as a child of seven. It was for a congenital heart defect but I was born in 1953 so surgical procedures were not what they are today.  But I survived and ...thrived!

Here's some exciting news!

I was invited by Ogilvy to be the February 12th Ambassador for the 28 Days to a Heart Health Challenge.  I'm going to be posting inspiring quotes for women on their Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest boards.

I need your help.

If you have any inspiring quotes about women and health or women and heart disease, please share them in the comments.  I want to include readers of Heart Choices in this endeavor.  Do you have any stories you care to share? I'd really love to hear them.

And don't forget to wear red on Friday!

Blessings and love,


Thankful For Birthday Blessings

The older I get, the less I look forward to birthdays. However, I've discovered that birthdays can be so much fun when you work with preschool children. They get so excited about their special day.  I received flowers, cards, candy, books and the infinity scarf I'm wearing in this photo.  (Thanks Heidi)

The kids always ask 'how old are you?'.  Since the previous day was Backwards Day, I said I was 16 years old.  One of the teachers later told me that a boy in her class said 'wow, that's so old'.  I guess it's a matter of perspective! :)

Although my birthday is actually February 1st, that's a Saturday.  So on Friday during our daily flag ceremony our entire preschool sang happy birthday to Miss Debbie.  I loved it and the kids were so cute and enthusiastic.  I wish I could show you their faces close up but ...

There's nothing quite like handmade cards from three and four year old children. My heart is so happy!

On Saturday morning (the actual day of my birth), Greg made me breakfast in bed. What a great start to the day!

I visited my good friends for a barbecue in their backyard. It was great to spend some time with old friends.  We ate and laughed and enjoyed our time together.

I continue to count my every day blessings ...

#1020 The sounds of little children singing happy birthday to me
#1021  The hugs from the kids
#1022  Phone calls from my family in Florida and California
#1023  An overwhelming number of Facebook birthday greetings
#1024  A barbecue at my good friends Jack and Anna May's house
#1025  Breakfast in bed
#1026  My favorite flavors of Girl Scout cookies from Vicki
#1027  Chocolate kisses
#1028  Hugs, hugs and more hugs

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

I leave you with this Jib Jab video my friend and co-worker created for me. I hope you get a laugh out of it.

Blessings and love,

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