Heart Choices: June 2016

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Simple Act of Kindness

Every Sunday morning, I meet my friend Theresa at AJ's for an iced tea before we head off to church. We sit on AJ's patio and catch up on all that's been happening in our lives. This Sunday was no different.

While we were busy talking, I noticed a very unkempt woman rummaging through the garbage can behind our table. There's always the occasional homeless person who tries to hit the customers up for some cash. But the store managers quickly chase them away. This woman was wearing a dirty t-shirt and missing a few teeth.

Before I could say or do anything, a very nicely dressed lady came alongside of her and told her that she'd like to buy her breakfast. She moved her gently into the store and about ten minutes later, the woman emerged with a styrofoam container filled with food. She found a table on the patio and consumed her meal with pleasure. It was a simple act of kindness that satisfied her hunger pangs for the moment. How easy it is to ignore these people.

It reminded me of the story of the Samaritan in Luke 10. The religious 'experts' of that day were trying to trick Jesus with their questions. In verse 27 Jesus says:

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind. And love your neighbor as yourself."

The man wanted some clarification so he asked who was considered his neighbor. So Jesus shared the story about a man who fell into the hands of robbers, was stripped, beaten and left half dead. A priest was coming down this same road but when he saw the man, he passed by to the other side of the road. The next person was a Levite (another religious man) and he also walked on the other side of the road to avoid the hurt man. But then there was a Samaritan. When he saw the man he took pity on him. He took good care of him and even paid for him to stay at a nearby inn. This Samaritan had mercy on the man. Jesus told the religious expert that he should be like the Samaritan.

The kind lady who bought the food reminded me of the Samaritan.

I remember when I had plenty. I gave to charities and donated time to help others.

I also remember when I was in need. I can't tell you how much I appreciated a basket of Thanksgiving goodies and a gift card to the grocery store.

It's so easy to tell people "I'll pray for you". And yes, it's important to pray for others.

But there are times when doing something is the best thing to demonstrate love for your neighbor.

"As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead." James 2:26 (NIV)

Have you ever witnessed a simple act of kindness?

Blessings and love,


Five Minute Friday: Lose

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


The first thoughts that come to mind when I see the word LOSE is all that I've lost since 2010. I'd been living in my dream home for 12 years and living a life I  never thought I'd be living. My home was featured in magazines and even on HGTV's  Homes Across America. I never imagined my life would be like that but it all came crashing down.

Due to circumstances that were beyond my control, I had to sell most of my belongings and now live in a 760 square foot condo. After working for 25 years as a cardiac nurse, teaching children in an international Bible Study as a volunteer for seven years ...I had to return to work.

We don't always get to choose the circumstances in our lives. But we do get to choose our response to those circumstances. 

As I look back over that loss, I realize I would never be where I am today if that hadn't occurred. Is there some sadness? Yes. But life goes on. Through that loss I've gained much.

  • I am now teaching in a private school. My little Mini-Mustang class is a blessing to me. They keep me young at heart. 
  • My husband and I are closer now than we ever were when we had lots of money. We are working together as what I like to call our HOME TEAM. 
  • Writing has become more important to me. I've always journaled but now I use words to inspire and encourage others. I'm back to working on completing the book I've been dabbling with for too many years.
  • I've made so many new friends through my work and writing.
To LOSE is painful. But I've discovered that there's always something to be learned through the losses in life. And character is built in the struggles.


Blessings and love,


Christina Grimmie's Legacy

Photo Credit

With so much awful news coming out of Orlando lately, I wanted to focus on a tragedy that occurred last Friday. I'm a fan of the TV show The Voice. Each season America is introduced to new talent. I'm amazed at how many talented singers there are who have not been 'discovered'.

Season 6 was no different. Christina Grimmie had been creating videos and posting them on YouTube up to this point. When she sang for the judges, all four turned their chairs as they recognized the talent of this young woman. Christina chose Adam Levine as her mentor for the show.  She came in third but her talent had now been 'discovered'.

This past weekend, I heard the tragic news. Christina finished a concert in Orlando and was signing autographs when she was shot and killed. Such a beautiful talent snuffed out much too soon and in such a horrible way.

Yesterday I wrote a blog post about an American Ninja Warrior contestant. His story and stand touched my heart. He had a Bible verse tattooed on his chest.

"Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms." 1 Peter 4:10

Christina Grimmie also had a gift. She was given this talent from God and she was sharing it with the world. She was a Christian and openly shared her faith. I searched her YouTube videos and discovered one of her singing "In Christ Alone". You have to listen to this.

(If you can't view this video, click here)

Although Christina Grimmie's death was a tragedy, her message lives on.

  • Life may be shorter than you think. We really don't know how long we're going to live on this earth.  
  • Use the talents God has gifted you with and continue to grow them.
  • Although death sounds scary, Christina knew where she was going when she died. 
Her early death caused me to consider how I'm using the gifts God has given me. I think of the words to a children's song "hide it under a bushel ...NO. I'm gonna let it shine."

Don't hide your gifts. I'm gonna let it shine. How about you?

Blessings and love,


A Reminder From American Ninja Warrior

Photo Credit
American Ninja Warrior is a TV show I've grown to love.  Competitors go through a grueling obstacle course that takes strength, balance and determination. I especially love to hear the stories about the individuals who are competing.

One story touched me last night and reminded me of something important. It was the Indianapolis city finals and Drew Knapp had an interesting story. His younger brother Dalton had been diagnosed with an aggressive form of leukemia. Drew watched him fight this disease with courage and was inspired. Drew trained for four years on his backyard Ninja course and when he turned 21, sent in his application and was accepted as a contestant on the show.

Standing on the sidelines during Drew's run was his brother who is currently doing well. I watched with baited breath as he careened through the course eventually making it to the top of a very steep wall to hit the buzzer. He pulled off his shirt and waved it toward his brother. I noticed a tattoo on his right chest that said 1 Peter 4:10.

I read my Bible but I couldn't recall this verse without looking it up.

"Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms."

Wow; what a timely reminder for me! Everything we have is a gift from God. Drew had strength and perseverance. He used that gift as he trained diligently. But it's a gift and he recognized that.

I thought about the gifts I've been given. Am I using them faithfully to serve others?  It can be all too easy to make excuses for not using and developing a gift. Maybe you think you're not really talented in anything. After all, you're not that athletic. But just maybe you have the gift of hospitality or the gift of patience or making people laugh.

Are you using your God given gifts?

Blessings and love,


Five Minute Friday: Want

It's Friday so I'm linking up with Kate Motaung for Five Minute Friday. We get to write for five minutes flat and our word for this week is ...WANT.


When I consider my wants, the list is endless.

I want:

  • No worries
  • No problems
  • World peace
  • More time with family
  • Publish a book that will help others
  • Be in the best shape
  • Travel all over the world
  • Walk on the beach
  • Great health; no aches and pains
  • Great relationships with family and friends
  • Become a better photographer
  • More time to write
  • Become a better teacher
  • Be more patient with others
But my time is limited on this earth. This is reality.

I often pray for all my troubles to go away. I remember something that Lysa TerKeurst said to me a few years ago at a conference. I had to write it down as I knew it was something I needed to hear and absorb.

Sometimes it is in the mundane every day occurrences, I find my wants are overshadowed by my blessings.

As I listen to the little children in my Mini-Mustang class, I learn patience. I glance at Miss Patricia and we smile knowingly. Three year old Avery is hugging another student and giving him a high five for doing something good.

I don't want to focus so much on my list of wants that I miss out on the blessings of this day.


Blessings and love,


Losing Weight and Keeping it Off

Losing weight and keeping it off are a challenge. And let me tell you it gets harder the older you get. Trust me.

For most of my life, I exercised regularly and ate a fairly healthy diet. However, when major life challenges occurred a number of years ago, I discovered the instant gratification that can come from indulging in sweets and fun food and ...not exercising. It didn't take long before the extra 20 pounds accumulated.

Last year, I made a decision to make changes in my life. I didn't like how I looked or how I felt.

So, I prepared the night before. I had a mental checklist.

  • Exercise clothes ready
  • Water bottle filled
  • Kindle charged and easily accessible
This became my daily habit. Upon awakening, I put on my workout clothes and hopped on my treadmill. I've tried joining gyms in the past but I found I wasn't consistent. Doing my daily workout in my home simply makes it easier with less excuses to not do it.

I also planned my meals in advance. I had oatmeal with fruit for breakfast. I had a fig bar mid-morning. I brought a salad to work for lunch. I had a piece of fruit in the afternoon.

I discovered a store called My Fit Foods. For dinner, I usually ate one of their entrees. After awhile, I got used to the portion sizes and stopped buying them as they were kind of expensive. But starting out with them helped me to reassess the amount of food I was consuming at dinner time.

Fast forward to today. I've had some issues with my lower back. So I've been stretching, massaging and icing it. The last few weeks of work were busy. And there were many parties and celebrations. I got out of the habit of exercising and began to indulge again. I've been noticing my weight slowly creeping back up!


So I'm back to recording my daily weight and exercise pattern. I remember Zig Ziglar saying that if you write down your weight and exercise, you will be able to notice when you're getting off task. I may skip a day now and then but if I see a pattern, I'm aware and can do something about it.

My goal is a healthy lifestyle. It's not a diet; it's a way of life. Do I occasionally have sweets and foods that have lots of calories? Yes I do. But I quickly get back to more healthy foods as a way of life.

I find I have more energy when I exercise and eat healthy.

OK, so how about you? How are you doing with a healthy lifestyle? Do you go on a diet and lose weight and then only gain more pounds back again?  Do you identify with any of the excuses above?

Blessings and love,


We Did It

I did it!  I really should say we did it! Another school year is over. But along the way, I had such a good time. This year I had nine students in my Mini-Mustang class. Mind you, my class is the Pre-K 2 class. So nine was plenty and I loved each one of them! 

I didn't have much time to commit to my writing and blogging and visiting my blogging friends. But I hope to catch up during this summer. 

I have to give you a little glimpse of how I spent my days. Because of privacy issues, I can't show you their faces. But I think you'll get the idea.

There were times of laughter.

There were times of comfort.

Last year I won a giveaway on Meaningful Mama's blog. It was a whole package of books and activities on teaching children the concept of filling a bucket. When they do something kind, they fill that person's bucket. When they are unkind, it empties their bucket. It was fun to teach them.

Every day when we had playground time, we gathered together in a circle. We put one hand in and made some agreements. "No pushing, we're all friends."  Of course, the little ones often added things like "no spitting, no hitting, no potty words". I had to chuckle. 

Of course, I couldn't have done it without Miss Patricia. She helped me every day with the children. We make a great team!

I look forward to time off this summer. But I will miss each one of these children. 

We had a great school year.  I know they learned much but they also taught me as well. 

Take time to enjoy the  moments. Put the cell phone down, stop texting for a bit and enjoy the moment. Kids grow up so quickly. Laugh with them. Play with them. 

Yes we did it. Now I look forward to some rest and relaxation and visiting family and friends. I plan to get back to writing too. I hope I still have some readers who haven't given up on me as a blogger. I do look forward to catching up with you.

Blessings and love,

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