Heart Choices: 2014-12-28 -->

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My One Word

As each new year begins, I choose one word that I focus on for that year. It's a characteristic that I desire to be present in my life. I spend time between Christmas and New Year's Day praying and asking God what He would have me to focus on.

My one word for 2015 is LOVE.

As I look around our world today, love doesn't seem to be present. I see fighting and hatred towards others, bitterness, racial divisions and denominational divisions.

"By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." John 13:35 (NIV)

"Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love." 1 John 4:8 (NIV)

Jesus Christ loved me so much, He died on the cross for my sins. I have peace with God now through Jesus. Now that is LOVE!

So in response how can I not have love for others?

  • It's easy to love people who see things the way I do. 
  • It's easy to love people who love me. 
  • It's easy to love people who haven't hurt me.
  • It's easy to love people who understand me.
But what about those who view life differently from me? What about those who are critical of me?

"But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect." 
1 Peter 3:15 (NIV)

I've been reading Pastor Jim Cymbala's latest book Storm: Hearing Jesus for The Times We Live In. He describes ministering to hurting people in his church.

"When people know you love and care about them, you can speak difficult truth and they will receive it." Jim Cymbala

If only this would be our approach to one another. I believe in sound doctrinal truth. But I also believe that truth can be spoken in love.

"May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you." 1 Thessalonians 3:12

Each day I get to work with little children. At three and four years of age, I would venture to say they haven't been hurt by the world. They tend to focus on themselves and want what they want when they want it. But I also love when I see their love in action.

They help one another. They come to school from different backgrounds. And when I see them being kind to one another, my heart melts.

I can't help but smile as I realize where God has placed me. Although I was unable to have my own children, He has blessed me with a job filled with little children. Now is that a God of love or what?

Have you considered your own one word for 2015? If so, I encourage you to share it with me.

I just received a FREE 2015  word image that Traci Michele created for me. You can get one for yourself on her blog. So what do you think?

Happy New Year!

Blessings and love,


The Blessings of Christmastime

This Christmas season has been a blessed one for me. Although it was fairly quiet, I was still able to talk with my loved ones far away and take time to ...be still!

My two week break from work started with me getting sick. But it was short lived and actually a way to force me to rest. I caught up on much reading. I read many of my favorite Christmas devotionals, including A Christmas Longing by Joni Eareckson Tada.

Thankfully, I was well enough to accept an invitation from a good friend to go to The Phoenician for their amazing Christmas tea. Terri has graciously invited me for at least 16 years. We began the tradition when her dear mom Eileen was still alive. So many memories of seeing her mom walk up to the piano player and sit singing familiar songs.
The food at this tea is absolutely amazing! I was definitely  not watching my calories as I accepted seconds. :)

I love my church! And I especially love my church at Christmastime. We have a wonderful choir with many talented singers. I love singing many of the familiar Christmas carols.

Greg and I had a quiet evening on Christmas Eve and then awakened to have our traditional bagels and lox for breakfast. I'm not sure how we got started with this tradition but we always look forward to it.

Of course, I always keep Norwegian waffles on hand though. There's something about the taste of cardamom that reminds me of home.

Although our condo is small, I do believe we've created a very warm and inviting place to live. Sometimes I think back on previous Christmases in our beautiful large home and feel a bit nostalgic. But then I quickly remember how far we've come these last few years.

I realize it's not so important as to where you live. It's really what's in our hearts that we bring to any home.

I love this photo provided by Edie Melson of The Write Conversation.
I came home from work loaded with so many gift bags and goodies from students, parents and co-workers. I felt blessed!

One special moment for me was when I was called out of our preschool classroom to see the faces of five preschool teachers. They welcomed me to their team and handed me a gift. It was an Origami lanyard locket to hold my work keys and photo ID card. Each teacher gave me a charm to place inside. One was a camera charm. Another was an apple, books and a cross. They knew me well! How special and touching this gift was to me and I will be able to wear it around my neck each day at work.

I am so glad that I was able to keep the focus on Jesus this Christmas season. After all, He is the reason we celebrate Christmas.

I have less than a week before returning to work full time in a new classroom filled with little mini-mustangs. I want to spend this time reflecting on the lessons of 2014. I always look forward to a new year and this one is no different. I want to learn from the past; both good and bad. I want to make wise choices.

Last Sunday, Pastor Scott Savage preached a wonderful sermon on John 15. The bottom line to his message about the new year was this ...Be With God.

How was your Christmas this year? Did you take the time to be still and focus on the reason for the season?

Blessings and love,

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