Heart Choices: January 2015

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What Feeds My Soul

What feeds my soul? That is the question posed by Bonnie Gray of Faith Barista as she begins her Spiritual Whitespace book club. I've read her book Finding Spiritual Whitespace: Awakening Your Soul to Rest. It's the kind of book I will read and reread.

All week I pondered this question in anticipation of this post. What feeds my soul?

1. My morning quiet time feeds my soul.

Over the years I've learned that the best use of my time in the early morning is to spend it reading my Bible and praying. It has become a priority for me.  It's like water in the desert. His Word has sustained me through the hard times as well as the good times. Even though I must get up very early to have time before work, it's so worth it to me. I love it when I'm reading a Scripture I've read many times before but the Holy Spirit opens up my eyes to understanding in a new way.

2. Music feeds my soul.

I'm amazed at how busy I can get and somehow forget to turn on music. When I stop and do this, it makes such a difference. Yes there are times when I need the quiet and still. But there's nothing like listening to soft piano music to quiet my soul. The sounds of David Nevue often fill my home. The sounds of classic hymns fill my soul with worship. Many of the newer Christian music often energizes me. I often exercise on my treadmill to the sounds of Mandisa and Toby Mac singing their Good Morning song. But I also love my 60's music. Sounds of Motown, Frankie Vallie and the Four Seasons, and many others remind me of my high school years. I had to laugh as only yesterday my husband turned on the DirectTV channel to 60's revolution. As I was getting ready, their sounds filled the air as I rocked out.

3. The sound of the ocean surf feeds my soul.

I grew up on the water. My house was located across the street from the canal. Boat yards lined my street. Clam boats were tied up within my line of sight from my bedroom. The smell of salt air is very familiar to me. Now I live in the desert of Phoenix and I miss the ocean. But how thankful I am when I get to travel to California or back east to Florida or New York. In the meantime, I listen to the sound of the surf on my computer. It's not quite as good but still feeds my soul.

4. The smiles and laughter of children feed my soul. 

I think I'm still a child inside. I love the sound of laughter and I get plenty of that each day at work. When I step on to the grounds of our school, I can't tell you how many times I'm greeted by a child sticking their head out of their mommy's car window shouting, "Hi Miss Debbie". This totally feeds my soul. Children express their emotions so easily. Over the years, I learned to hold my emotions in but I'm learning through the eyes of children. I laugh more when I'm with them. Recently I had the opportunity to see a student who now goes to a different school.  She lives in the same general area of town as I do so she asked her mom when she could see Miss Debbie. Her mom reached out to me and we made a date to meet on a Saturday. As I waited for her at a local restaurant, she spotted me and ...came running. Her hugs lasted so long as she told me how much she missed me. How can this not feed my soul?

5. Feeling loved feeds my soul.

I've been through lots of ups and downs in my life. My mom used to tell me as a teenager that I was in love with love. I think she was right. I had to learn the hard way as most do. My husband and I have been married for 30 years. I'm so thankful that we're in a place in our marriage where we appreciate and love one another. It hasn't been easy at times but we stuck together through the hard times. I know I am loved by God. That changes everything for me. Earthly people may let you down but He never does. Knowing Him through Jesus feeds my soul like nothing else can. My perspective on life and people changes as I view them through His eyes.

I'm linking up with Bonnie of Faith Barista for Beloved Brews Thursdays. I am a day late but decided to go ahead and post.

So now I ask you. What feeds your soul?

Blessings and love,


Five Minute Friday: Send

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


The words we speak matter. They can cut down or build up. They can hurt or encourage others. It can be all too easy to send out the wrong message when emotions run high.

"For out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks." Matthew 12:34

"Words are powerful. Take them seriously. Words can be your salvation. Words can also be your damnation." Matthew 12:34 MSG

As a Christian, my words matter. If I am filled with the Holy Spirit and spend time in the Word, they should overflow in my daily life. I want to speak words of love; words of encouragement.

But there are moments when I'm surprised what can come out of my mouth. A driver cuts me off in traffic and almost causes a collision. A false accusation. There are times when the words I send out are not such a blessing.

So I take words seriously. I remember how He sends me out into this world to shine His light wherever I go.

"Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer." Psalm 19:14 (ESV)


Blessings and love,


Children Keep you Young

Working with children can keep you young. They have such a wide eyed innocence as they view the world around them. The clouds fascinate them. The sound of a jet flying overhead alerts them to look up. How easy it is for us adults to become dulled to the amazing sights and sounds of the every day.

Children tend to be teachable. This past week I began a new role in my school as the teacher of a new class. The Mini-Mustangs are the youngest children who are just beginning their education. Our private school goes all the way up to high school but I get them when they're just beginning. And I love it!

Children love to learn new things. They are beginning to learn the alphabet, the letters and the sounds they make. 

Children become engaged with the seemingly ordinary and love it. Every day items like bubble wrap fascinate them and at the same time help with their fine motor skills.

Children have unique personalities. I get to observe them at play. I see them gravitate towards things that interest them.

Children have great imaginations. They play out roles and take them seriously. This past week I've been served macaroni and cheese and every kind of pizza imaginable. I love how they use their voices and repeat what they hear at home.

 I never imagined I'd be doing this at this point in my life. But God is so good! I find myself giggling and sharing their stories with my husband when I get home from work. 

Although I changed classrooms mid year, how thankful I am to continue to interact frequently with my last class. I love their hugs and greetings as I see them on the playground. One little boy was so excited about his birthday and invited me to his Ninja Turtle celebration. 

Remo suddenly paused and looked intently at me and asked, "Are you still Miss Debbie?"

I assured him that I was still Miss Debbie and that even though I wasn't in his classroom, he could always come to me and talk to me. He was satisfied with that explanation.

During this first week with the little ones, my quadriceps were so sore from squatting down to their eye level. But I'm getting used to it and I'm less sore. I get good exercise! 

I've said it and written about it before. I am a life long learner. And I learn every day from children.  

Blessings and love,


Five Minute Friday: Welcome

It's Five Minute Friday when I link up with Kate Motaung. We are given a one word writing prompt each week and then we write for five minutes flat. Our word for this week is: WELCOME.


It can be all too easy to stay with the familiar. My comfort zone is what I know, whether it's a place or people. I know what's expected and I've learned how to do it. The people, quirks and all, are what I know. I've learned to adjust. But what happens when it's time to venture out into the unfamiliar?

Will I feel welcome?

I recently changed jobs within the same organization. A new class was beginning in my school and I was asked to be the teacher for the youngest children; the 2.75 to three year olds. It would be the beginning of their school career and they would be starting as Mini-Mustangs. A change for them and a change for their teacher.

After the announcement was made, I felt so welcomed by the other preschool teachers. They called me out of my room to officially welcome me into their group. Many offered help and materials. And they presented me with a beautiful lanyard.

The first morning with my new students I wanted them to feel welcome. I remembered how one of our Music teachers always seemed to have the ability to bring out a smile on each child the first day. She greeted each child by name and shook their hand.  As she said their name, she smiled and shook fast. They laughed. She held up a bumble bee and they giggled.

And so I took my queue from Miss Storme. I sang a hello song to each one of my new students and smiled and shook their hand. They laughed and appeared to feel welcome.

Sometimes it's just a little gesture or a smile that can change the atmosphere into one of welcome.


Blessings and love,


Peaceful Sleep

Do you sleep peacefully? My husband Greg took this photo of me the other night. He tends to stay up later than me. He often tells me how peaceful I look when I'm sleeping. Of course, there are nights when I'm probably drooling as the evidence is on my pillow. And very rarely, there might be a snore or two coming out of me. But ...not very often! :)

Well, Greg suggested I post this photo on Facebook. I was hesitant as I'm cautious about what I post on any social media. But I went ahead and posted it. I had to laugh as the 'likes' and comments came in very quickly! My friend Linda immediately pointed out that I was praying. Others commented that I looked peaceful and comfortable. And one friend wrote that she was waiting for a photo that I would take of Greg sleeping. Payback! :)

Well, this morning I was doing my Bible reading during my early morning quiet time. I'm using an app on my Kindle from YouVersion. There are many reading plans available but this year I'm doing Bible in One Year. So far, I'm loving this one!

One of the readings for today was Psalm 4.
I love when this happens! As I read this verse, I also read the accompanying devotion. True joy and peace are found in relationship with God. God alone is the true source of joy and peace. Prosperity and material abundance doesn't necessarily lead to a peaceful sleep. I can attest to that. Been there and done that! Only in God's will can we truly 'dwell in safety'. 

When I'm ready to go to sleep, I say my prayers. As you can tell from this picture, I often do fall asleep praying. Giving my burdens to the Lord helps me to sleep peacefully. 

Will you give it a try? How do you sleep? And should I post a photo of Greg sleeping?

Blessings and love,

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,

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