Heart Choices: October 2014

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Weigh In Wednesday

Exercise, exercise, exercise! I know it. I promote it. I believe it. So why don't I always do it?

The older I get, the more I realize how vital exercise is to my health. You see, I can't take my good health for granted. I'm at the age when I'm hearing reports of friends dying of heart disease. It used to be my parents and grandparent's generation but it's starting to impact mine.

It takes so much more work to stay and get in shape since I passed the 60 mark! The flat stomach disappeared and ...I don't know where it went. I want it back. :)

I work with preschool children each weekday. And I love how they go to PE two times a week. They are learning from a young age how important it is to get moving.


More stretching

I've allowed too many Wednesdays to go by without posting on this important topic.

After all, Heart Choices is about making wise choices body, mind and spirit.

So I am back in the saddle again!

I am happy to report that I've not gained weight since losing about five pounds this summer. That's what working summer camp will do. But I'm determined to tighten up any sagging muscles. I'm determined to get moving more as I want to maintain my good health. I want to have energy.

How about you? Will you join me each Wednesday as we encourage one another to get back in the habit of exercise and healthy eating?

Blessings and love,


Weekend Blessings

Happy Fall! It's finally beginning to cool down in Phoenix. While it's not yet sweater weather, I'm so grateful for morning temperatures in the low 70's. What a welcome relief from the triple digits of a long summer.

I stopped by Trader Joe's (a favorite of mine) to pick up a few items and couldn't help but take some photos of the colorful flowers and pumpkins. I love anything pumpkin!

This weekend I actually spent some time in the kitchen. Since Greg works from home, he often fixes dinner during the week. I love to come home to discover what he concocted for us to eat. He never uses a recipe but has a creative knack for using leftovers.

But this weekend I took over and made several recipes from Pinterest.
Chicken Dijonaise is a quick skillet recipe that is so easy and low calorie too. It took me less than 20 minutes and got a thumbs up from both Greg and me. You can find the recipe by clicking on the link under the photo above.

I spent two hours on Friday evening watching a live webcast with Kay Arthur. I've done many of her Precept Studies and they helped me to learn to study the Bible in depth. But I have to say that she looks fabulous for 80 years old!  She continues to be energetic and beautiful inside and out. And she has a passion for getting people into the Word of God. The conference's topic was "How to be Holy in an Unholy World".

Living in a world that is constantly changing with 24 hour news coverage can be scary. How easy it is to get tough in order to protect ourselves. I love the graphic by Holly Gerth.

When I learn to trust God fully, I can live with a soft heart in a hard world  I can live by faith in an unholy world.

As I choose to cultivate a heart of gratitude, I continue to write down my everyday blessings.

#1104 Beautiful weather in Phoenix
#1105 Pumpkins abounding in this season
#1106 Amazing teaching by Kay Arthur in the comfort of my home
#1107 Words of encouragement from a dear friend I admire (thank you Georgann)
#1108 A rare weekday dinner with friends
#1109 The smiling faces of children in our preschool class
#1110 Amazing 3D mascara (I will be sharing more about this soon)
#1111 Yummy new recipes to try

I hope you have a wonderful week!  Will you make the choice to write down your everyday blessings? It makes all the difference as you focus on the good and lovely and pure.

Blessings and love,


What Do You Do When Life Gets Tough?

There are times when life seems to be going along well. Maybe you're in one of those seasons. You know, the kids are behaving and doing well in school. The bills are getting paid and you're able to take family vacations. Or maybe your children are grown and it's a good time for you and your husband.

I remember a season in my life when life seemed very good. I was living in my dream home. I was able to retire from my nursing career and spend time on activities I'd postponed for years. I volunteered and taught children in an international Bible study. Vacations in Europe, a new car and beautiful clothes were the order of the day. I loved to be able to help my family and provide the extras for my parents. I was so grateful to Jesus. I thanked Him for the blessings in my life. I appreciated all I'd been given. I didn't take it for granted.

But life doesn't always continue on the mountain. Sometimes we go through valleys.

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

Blessings and love,


Fall Break Blessings

I've been writing down my blessings for some time now. Something amazing seems to happen when you're on the lookout for everyday blessings. It can be so easy to take those blessings for granted but when you write them down, it really does make a difference. You develop a heart of gratitude which is pleasing to the Lord.

My pastor preached a sermon on contentment yesterday.

 He had us read from Philippians 4:4-7 (NLT):

"Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." (emphasis mine)

Today was the last day of a one week break I had from work. So I chose to take a long walk through my neighborhood. The weather is beautiful and I wasn't rushed. I took my camera along.  I enjoyed the sounds of the birds chirping and catching glimpses of Camelback Mountain. I think I'll try to do this on a regular basis since it felt so good.

During this fall break, I determined to spend my time writing. As some of you may know, I've been working on a book for almost two years now. You'd think I'd be finished ...but I'm not. So I didn't make plans and instead spent hours pouring over my journals to get my stories straight. I am sharing lessons I learned from the dying about life. I wrote pages and pages and I hope to complete it by the end of the year.  I had moments of laughter, sadness and a few tears as I remembered each person I am including.

However, I did make time for a coffee break one morning so I could meet with Heidi. We worked together for four school years and made quite a team. She left at the end of last school year to work with her husband in his business. I miss talking with her every day so of course, we had to catch up.

(Btw, I work with a wonderful teacher this year named Mandie. She is so much fun and we get along wonderfully too.)

As Heidi and I sat outside Paradise Bakery, another dear friend just happened to be stopping to pick up a cup of coffee before work. What a blessing to see Marcia! We used to get to spend lots of time together but work and lack of time has interfered. I just need to stretch my time I guess.

So many blessings for which I can be thankful!

#1093 Beautiful weather in Phoenix
#1094 Uninterrupted time to write
#1095 A special encouragement from an author I admire about writing one page at a time (thank you Bonnie)
#1096 Feeling inspired and disciplined in my writing
#1097 Reminding myself that not everyone will love what I write and that's OK
#1098 Coffee time with a friend
#1099 Unexpected meeting with another friend
#1100 Baking bread with my husband
#1101 Talking on the phone with my good friend Helen for almost an hour
#1102 Thankful for Theresa who accompanies me to church each week
#1103 Amazing new 3D mascara that really makes my eyes pop (from a company called Younique through my blogging friend Jill)

It can be so easy to focus on what's wrong or needs lots of improvement. Although I don't ignore those areas in my life, I make a daily choice to remember to focus on the blessings.

So how about you? Will you make the choice to count your everyday blessings?

Blessings and love,


What Obituaries Teach Me

This morning I spent time perusing my boxes of journals as I'm determined to finish writing a book I started two years ago. I learned so many lessons about life from the dying as I worked as a cardiac nurse for 25 years. Slowly, I've been writing chapters but I wanted to go back to read the stories of the people who inspired me.

In the process, I discovered so many newspaper clippings of obituaries I'd saved.

Now before you think I'm morbid, let me tell you what I feel when I read their obituaries. I remember each person and the encounters I had with them. I've written about each one in my journals. Their stories, the sorrows and regrets they shared with me. The laughter and joy we shared. And sometimes the pain they endured.

Every person's life is a story.

What will your life story be? We all have choices to make each day.

I love this quote and graphic by Margaret Feinberg.
Along the way, we sometimes make choices that have a negative impact on ourselves and others. For example, bitterness can poison a person's outlook on life. If a mom or dad harbors bitterness in their heart from wrongs done to them, this attitude is often transferred to their children.

So many people who outwardly appear to have it all together are a mess inside. Dealing with life and death issues has a way of allowing them to open up and be real. I've seen long standing family feuds healed at the deathbed. But I've also encountered stubborn people who refuse to let go of their anger.

As I continue writing, I will give you some glimpses into lessons I've learned about life from the dying.

But I want to end with a question for you.

Imagine you are on your deathbed. Is there some unfinished business in your life? Are you harboring anger, hatred, people you have refused to forgive? What's the state of your heart?

Blessings and love,


Finding Rest for my Soul in Carmel

Soul rest. I've been craving it. Time to simply be. No laundry to do. No check list to accomplish.

I've been reading and rereading Finding Spiritual Whitespace: Awakening Your Soul to Rest by Bonnie Gray of Faith Barista. I have my daily quiet time. I look forward to waking up, sipping that first cup of coffee and being in the Word. My spirit and soul need this.

But I've been longing to hear the sound of the ocean waves and smell the salt air. I listen to the sound on my computer but it's just not the same as the real thing.

And then I received the invitation. My friend Terri wanted to send me a plane ticket to Carmel, California. It's one of my favorite places to visit. She and her husband rented a house on Pebble Beach for the summer. She spoke of long walks on the beach, dinners in Carmel and Pacific Grove, time to write, time to simply be.

Thank you Lord!

So off I went for a long weekend in September.

If you can't view this, click here.

I felt refreshed. I'm so thankful for times of quiet and solitude, for good friends to share meals with, to laugh, for the beauty of God's creation, for times of prayer, for fresh air and a cool respite from the Phoenix heat.

I return to Phoenix and daily life. But I know that each day I can find that soul rest in God alone.

Where do you go to find rest for your soul?

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

Blessings and love,

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