Heart Choices: 2014-01-12 -->

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Five Minute Friday: Encouragement

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


What does encouragement feel like?  I find it comes in many different ways.

  • A thumbs up for a job well done
  • A hug when I most need it
  • A kind word
  • A friend who prays with me
  • A written note with words of kindness
  • A comment after writing a blog post
  • Hearing the voice of my dad on the phone
  • A personal email from a blog friend I've never met
  • The voices of little children calling Miss Debbie
  • Watching four year olds play 'teacher' 
I've received encouragement from others. And I love to encourage others.  I pray that Heart Choices is a place people come to receive a word of encouragement.

Words matter.  It often seems the ones that stick aren't always words of encouragement.  I try to keep that in mind as I interact with both adults and children.

I remember the words of my pastor some years ago. We were asked to greet one another and welcome any who were new.  Often people go through the cursory 'hi' and sit down.  However, he shared a story of an older woman who once told him the only hug she receives each week is at church. I want to remember that and be mindful.

1 Thessalonians 5:11

New International Version (NIV)
11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.


Blessings and love,


Have You Lost Your Wonder?

Have you lost your sense of wonder?  The Merriam Webster dictionary defines wonder as a cause of astonishment or admiration, the quality of exciting amazed admiration and rapt attention at something awesomely mysterious or new to one's experience. So I ask you again.  Have you lost your wonder?

I work with little children.  Three and four year old children are filled with a sense of wonder. Everything is new to them. I love to watch the look of excitement in their eyes as they observe a bird or a flower that has bloomed. The simple every day things we take for granted are viewed so differently through their eyes.

To continue reading please go to Laced with Grace.

Blessings and love,


New Year Blessings Continue

It's a new year and I continue to count my every day blessings.  When I'm on the lookout for those blessings, my perspective changes.  I focus on what is good.

Philippians 4:8 says:
"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things."

I've passed the #1,000 blessing mark and I want to keep going.

Was I in the movie "Frozen"?  No, but I was so excited when Greg agreed to go with me to see the movie.  I wanted to see this movie as most of the children in our preschool class have been talking about it.  My after school class of four and five year old children even act out the scenes on the playground and know many of the words to the songs.  I hear "Do you want to build a snowman?" from sweet little voices.  So of course, I wanted to see it for myself.

I was also very excited that the scenery was ...Norway, the land of my ancestors.  I even entered a Disney contest to win a trip to Norway.  That's why my Viking photo is inserted into the Frozen frame.

I'm back at school after a two week vacation.  How fun to work at a school and have that time off.  As a nurse, you have to work many holidays.  On our first day back, the children were entertained by a puppet show. How fun to watch their faces and see them transfixed as they watched the puppets interact. They were invited to sing along if they knew the songs.  Of course, they did!

Did I mention that I love children?  Three year old Brody was making believe he was a bumble bee. He kept making a buzzing sound around my face and I pretended to be scared.  He looked at me and said, "Miss Debbie, it's me; Brody". I had to laugh as kids say the cutest things.

#1013 The cute sayings of little children
#1014 The excitement and wonder of new things
#1015  Seeing "Frozen" the movie
#1016  Red geraniums blooming in my window box
#1017  Beautiful weather in Phoenix in the middle of winter
#1018  Using a few gift cards I received for Christmas
#1019  Spending my two weeks off with Greg

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

Blessings and love,


My One Word for 2014

For the past few years, I've selected one word for each year.  Here's my list from the past few years:

  • 2011: TRUST
  • 2012: ADVENTURE
  • 2013: SURRENDER
After much prayer, my one word for 2014 is LOVE.  As I've learned (and continue to learn) to trust the Lord, I embark on an adventure with Him.  I don't always know where we're going but I'm learning to trust Him. Along the way, I've been learning to surrender it all to Him. After all, He loves me and has amazing plans for me. I'm a work in progress.  But through it all, He is changing me and for that I am so thankful.

As I read the Scriptures, I see an overall theme of love.  God created us in His image to be in relationship with Him.  Then Adam and Eve sinned.  That perfect order was disrupted as God cannot come into the presence of sin. But in His love, He already had a plan. Jesus, the Messiah, came into the world and lived a perfect life.  He paid the price for my sins when He died on the cross.  He was resurrected and now lives, interceding for me at the right hand of God, the Father (Romans 8:34). Now that is LOVE!

As my vertical relationship with God is right, my horizontal relationship with others begins to change. After all, He is working within me and transforming me as I cooperate with Him.

How thankful I am to be working with little children. So many spiritual truths are played out right before my eyes every day.  They teach me so much about life and love.

The Scriptures have much to say about faith and children:

"He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me." ~Matthew 18:2-5

"People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them." ~Mark 10:13-16

Children are teachable.  They are like little sponges as they learn about life and relationships.  I want to be teachable.  After all, I don't know it all.  I want to be a life long learner.

My prayer for 2014 is that my cup will overflow with the love of Jesus towards others.  I don't always agree with everyone but I want to respond with respect and love and not anger and hatred.

"Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God." ~ Ephesians 5:1-2

So how about you?  Have you chosen your one word for 2014? I'd love to hear about your word.

I'm linking up with Bonnie of Faith Barista for One Word for 2014 Jam.

I'm also linking up with One Word 365 as we share our one word for 2014.

Blessings and love,

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