Heart Choices: April 2014

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Envy is a Green Eyed Monster

When I see or hear the word jealous, I have a vision in my head of a green eyed monster. Not a pretty picture either.

But in our world today, it's quite common to read "I'm so jealous" in a comment after a friend writes something good that happened in her life in a Facebook post. While I realize this may be a common idiom of the times in which we live and certainly not meant to be hurtful, I can't help but have that vision in my head.

My good friend Jamie posted a photo of her young daughter after a tennis match. She just won her match but her friend lost hers.  I loved this photo Jamie captured of the two friends. Marybeth won but is consoling her friend who lost. No gloating; just kindness.

I love this Scripture:
"A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones." Proverbs 14:30 (NIV)

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

Blessings and love,


Cling to the Vine

Learning to walk with Jesus is a lifelong pursuit. After committing my life to Christ, I knew I needed to grow in my spiritual walk.  I remember years ago thinking “now how do I live?” I knew I was saved by grace through faith. But the day to day living was a challenge for me.

How thankful I am that the Bible teaches us how to live in Christ. In John 17, Jesus was preparing His disciples for the time when He would soon depart from them.

“My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world even as I am not of it.” John 17:15-16 NIV

This life can be very challenging. Sometimes I wonder why God doesn't just take His own home now. But that wasn't His plan. As a Christian, I have to remember that although I live in this world, this isn't my real home. But while I’m here I am to reflect Jesus to others.  

To continue reading, please link over to Lisa Shaw Cares.

Blessings and love,


Are you Carrying Heavy Loads?

Do you carry heavy loads?  The other morning I was lugging my large black plastic garbage bag to the dumpster. As I slung it into the receptacle, I accidentally threw my cell phone in too. Luckily, it landed right on top of my garbage bag.  I figured I could reach it and all would be well.

Not to be!  I couldn't reach it as hard as I tried. I attempted to pull the garbage dumpster over but it was too heavy and full. I was also concerned that my cell phone would sink deeper into the garbage and be lost forever. So I hoisted myself onto the garbage as I attempted to reach it with my hand. Before I realized it, my legs were up in the air but ...I got it.  I quickly looked around and was relieved that nobody was around to see this crazy woman in the dumpster!

I actually have a spiritual lesson in my garbage story. I wonder how many of you are carrying around heavy loads every day. My bag was heavy!  I think of the Scripture verse:

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." Matthew 11:28-29 (NIV)

As we approach Easter, I'm reminded of the Cross. Jesus lived a life of perfect obedience to God the Father. He took on my sin and yours upon Himself. All the guilt and burdens in life. He paid the penalty for it all. I recognized and admitted that I was a sinner and invited Him into my heart and life. So now I have peace with God.

Jesus paid it all. All to Him I owe.

Jesus didn't stay on the Cross. The tomb is empty. Jesus is alive and sits at the right hand of the Father. He intercedes for us today.

"The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After He had provided purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in Heaven." Hebrews 1:3 (NIV)

"For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him." John 3:16-17 (NIV)
What burdens are you carrying around with you?
  • Guilt
  • Fear
  • Insecurity
  • Responsibilities for others

Will you consider leaving those burdens at the Cross?

I'm linking up with Bonnie of Faith Barista for Whitespace Thursday.

Whitespace Community Linkup @ faithbarista.com

Blessings and love,


The Blessing of Blooming Where you're Planted

Bloom where you're planted. I've heard that many times and I do agree with it. But I have to say when I look at this photo, I wouldn't mind sitting in one of those chairs.  Just saying ...

Back to reality.  I feel like I'm blooming right here in the desert of Phoenix.  Last week was very hot but today it was in the low 80's and windy.  Figures that I wore a skirt of all days. Between the wind blowing and the kids lifting it up, I'm glad I wore shorts underneath. I didn't want a Michelle Obama moment!

I took these photos while I was driving home from an afternoon spent with friends at their Scottsdale home. Many of my friends from back east didn't realize that we have so much green in Arizona.

The children in our Pre-K 3 class go to Art Class every Friday. This past week we had one of my favorite substitutes; Mrs. Thomson.  Every time any of the preschool children see her they always recognize her as Miss Debbie's friend.  Well, I do consider her my friend but she's been subbing at our school before I even worked there. So we get a chuckle out of this!

The children loved using their creativity to make necklaces using the outer border of paper plates.

And speaking of blooming ...my very own little garden is blooming. My roses are looking pretty good.  I love tinkering in the mornings as I trim and fertilize. I'm putting together an herb garden too with fresh basil, rosemary and parsley.  I can't wait to go on this year's Arcadia Edible Garden Tour Tour to get more ideas and tips. I already purchased my ticket.

So yes I will bloom where I'm planted; even in the desert of Phoenix. And when you start to look around there are always many blessings to be seen.

#1068 The beauty of the desert
#1069  Flowers in bloom
#1070  Spending time with amazing co-workers each day
#1071  An afternoon of catching up with a special group of friends
#1072  Knowing that I am prayed for by these friends
#1073  Writing a blog post that was difficult for me and receiving such thoughtful feedback and comments (in case you missed it you can read it here)
#1074 Brokenness is not a bad word after all
#1075 I get to teach Culinary Camp this summer to 7-11 year old children
#1076 Learning more and more about gardening

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

May I encourage you to look around at your life and begin to notice those every day blessings. I can guarantee it will change your perspective.

Blessings and love,


Brokenness Can Lead to Blessing

Broken can be the best place to be.  I would never have written those words several years ago. But after going through incredible life changing experiences, I'm at a point in my life when I can acknowledge this fact.

I don't want to stay broken. But it's the place where I got out of the way and allowed God to work in me and through me to ...impact others.

I'm fairly competent in myself. After all, I am blessed with good health, a good mind and a desire to work hard.  I prided myself on the fact that I took care of my health through regular exercise and I choose what I ate wisely. I kept my weight steady. I love to read and can sit for hours devouring great books.  I worked as a cardiovascular nurse specialist for 25 years.  I love people.  I love children but was unable to have my own.  I loved creating a nurturing home environment.

I lived in the house of my dreams for 12 years. I spent months with a designer as we picked out every fabric and piece of furniture. I volunteered two days a week teaching little children in a national Bible study organization. I served on the Leadership team for my church as we planned and organized a yearly women's conference bringing in speakers like Lysa TerKeurst, Beth Moore, Liz Curtis Higgs and Jennifer Rothschild. I enjoyed my friends and going to lunch. I loved frequent visits back east to visit my family. I loved taking vacations in Europe. 

But life happens and not always as I planned.  My circumstances changed drastically in 2010.  Suddenly, I had to return to work.  We had to move.  It was survival and no longer self actualization.  I began to indulge a bit more in sweets. I didn't have easy access to a treadmill.  I became depressed and felt shock and denial.  What was I doing wrong? Why was this happening?  I had appreciated all I had and not taken it for granted. So why was it all gone?  What was I to do now?

I had reached the end of myself. I felt broken. Living far from familiar surroundings with little hope of recovery, I turned to the One I always told others to turn.  To Jesus.  He is my hope and source of love and encouragement. But I continued to try to understand the why of it all. I prayed and asked the Lord to show me. Was I doing something wrong?  I prayed that He would reveal that to me but no answer ...

I realized we can't always choose our circumstances but we can choose our response to those circumstances.

Fast forward to today; 2014.  I'm not living in my dream home but I am living several miles from my former neighborhood. I'm creating a nurturing environment in a much smaller place. I have a job working with preschool children. I realize that the Lord answered my heart's desire for children in a way I wouldn't have anticipated. I get to love them and teach them and then send them home to mommy and daddy.

I'm exercising once again on my treadmill each morning and starting to lose the extra pounds I gained during this difficult time. My husband discovered the main cause of our upheaval and now he's starting another company.  Such is life with an entrepreneur!

These Scriptures have become so real to me through my journey.

Philippians 4:12-13 (NIV):
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.  I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.

God is so good.  God is so faithful. He's taught me that material possessions can be easily taken away. I'm learning to be content in all circumstances. Counting my every day blessings has been so helpful for me to focus on what's good and right in my life. My eyes have been opened to life in a new way and ...I have joy in my heart. He's showing me the plans He has for my life and they are good.

I'm linking up with Bonnie of Faith Faith Barista for this Faith Jam Thursday as we lead up to Easter.

Blessings and love,


Beautiful Weather Blessings

When you choose to live a thankful life, you begin to notice many blessings all around. I've found this to be so true in my life.  I pray that God will continue to give me eyes to see.

I'm enjoying the beautiful weather in Phoenix. Sunny and in the 70's is my kind of weather.  Soon enough it will be triple digits so I'm taking advantage of this season and getting outside.

I was able to take a walk to the semi-annual parking lot sale that is close to where I live. So many vendors displayed their goods including vintage, antiques and lots more. I always enjoy looking and getting out in the fresh air.
One of the vendors just happens to be my next door neighbor Caroline. She specializes in vintage and everything Marilyn Monroe.  She is always a welcome sight with her sweet smile.
It was perfect weather for our school's annual Spring Show. The children have been practicing for many weeks and they did a fabulous job with their song "Walk Don't Run in the Hallway".  We were so proud of them.

They looked so cute with their beanie hats that were spinning on top with the wind. It was such a fun day to see so many children with their parents and other relatives.

#1058 Simply beautiful weather
#1059 Starting to lose weight
#1060 Enjoying the feeling of walking easily
#1061 Having the gift of a Christian neighbor
#1062 A fabulous spring show
#1063 Seeing the smiles on the children's faces
#1064 Crowds of families having fun
#1065 A wonderful sermon at my church
#1066 Remembering that God is so faithful
#1067 Singing some hymns in preparation for Easter

I'm linking up with Charlotte for Spiritual Sundays.
Spiritual Sundays

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

Blessings and love,


Comfort One Another

Comfort one another. But how do you comfort another person?  Do you find yourself at a loss for words when tragedy strikes someone you know? What do you say to a friend who is grieving after the death of a loved one?

As I watch the news, it seems there are more and more tragedies occurring lately. I don't know if it's that information is spread more rapidly online. Or is it that we are witnessing people in this world openly acting out what's in their hearts?

  • A 29 year old woman randomly shoots people she doesn't even know
  • A man recently released from prison and wanted for a probation violation opens fire on police, killing a detective leaving behind a wife and three children
To continue reading, please go to Laced with Grace.

Blessings and love,

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