Heart Choices: 2018

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6 Things I Learned in 2018




As 2018 is coming to a close, I want to pause and reflect on some of the things I learned. I think it's important to learn lessons. After all, I want to move forward and not repeat the mistakes I've made along the way.

"Those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it." 
Winston Churchill

1. You can lose weight, but you need a plan to keep it off for the long term. 

I started off 2017 with the goal of losing weight. For most of my adult life, I weighed 120 pounds. But over time, with the stress and seasons of life, I'd added almost 25 extra pounds. And I felt it. My clothes were tight and didn't look good on me. It took me longer to get ready in the morning since I had to try on numerous outfits before finding one that looked decent. And I was tired of this!

So, I gave in and signed up at Red Mountain Weight Loss. It was one of the ketosis diets.  In years past, I would never have considered it, but I was determined. I kept it up diligently for two months and lost the 25 pounds. Because of the low-calorie diet, I was told not to exercise. And I discovered I had extra time in the morning because I didn't have to go on my treadmill.

Then maintenance began. I slowly added some fats back into my diet and was told I could begin exercising again. But I'd come to enjoy the extra time in the morning, so I didn't get back into the habit of exercise first thing in the morning. And that was a mistake!

I gained back about 10 pounds by November, and I wasn't happy. So, now I'm back to a regular routine of hopping on my treadmill first thing in the morning before I can think about it. I stopped eating the goodies so available during the holiday season and returned to my healthy way of eating. Snacks are now apples and oranges, instead of Hershey's Kisses. I'm down 4 pounds and have 6 more to go. I can do it! Yes, I can!

2. Audiobooks are a lifesaver.

I love to read but don't have lots of time. So, I joined Audible through Amazon and downloaded books on my Kindle Fire. I have earplugs so I listen without disturbing anyone else. It makes my time on the treadmill go by so fast! I've heard of other people who listen while they clean or do laundry. I guess whatever works for you.

3. Working as a preschool teacher is both challenging and rewarding.

I love my preschool students. Are there challenges? Yes, of course. But I see these little faces, and I can't help but smile. They are little sponges soaking up what they learn. I have to be careful what I say because they repeat everything. It's so rewarding when I can almost see the lightbulb go off in their head and they get it. One mom told me that they play school at home. Her daughter is Ms. Debbie, and she is the student. It's so funny to hear these stories. It reminds me of when I was a little girl playing school with my dolls and little sister in the middle of them.

4. Getting old is challenging.

In my head, I still feel young. But then I look in the mirror, and the reality hits me. I'm getting old, and I work with young teachers every day. I could easily be their mother. But I have to say that I love it. I enjoy talking with them and sharing insights. And I learn much from them too. It's certainly a different generation from when I was growing up in the '50s and '60s. But I think it's good for me to continue to grow, learn, and be stimulated.

I am thankful that my health is good. So many friends my age are beginning to have health issues. I am on my knees and up and down throughout my day as a preschool teacher. I had a recent injury to my knee that got better with a few physical therapy sessions. I have a few aches and pains by the time I go to bed at night but Tylenol or Motrin seems to help. I try to stay awake but end up falling asleep early and then it starts all over the next day. And so it goes!

5. Writing takes a commitment of time and energy.

I've written two books but haven't yet self-published either of them. Am I afraid nobody will read them and like them? I guess I have to admit yes. But more than that is the time it takes to self-publish and promote a book. I will complete this soon but in the meantime, I have a fulltime job and I'm helping my husband in his latest venture. So, hopefully, it will all come together in a good way.

My latest book is called "Kids Say the Funniest Things in Preschool". I accumulated many of the funny things students say and added a section on tips for parents. It's a gentle reminder to put down your phone and pay attention.



6. My family is most important to me.

My dad will be turning 90 in February. When he was 60 years old, he suffered a sudden massive heart attack. He was on life support as I flew cross-country to be there with my family. At the time, we didn't know if he would live or die. But God gave him many extra years and we're grateful for that. He's had a few recent hospitalizations and his health is on the decline. He is so thankful to be living in his own place with help from family and friends. My brother and sister live close by in Florida but I live in Arizona. So, it's difficult to visit as often as I'd like. I talk with him at least twice a day though. I just don't want to have any regrets. After all, we never really know when we will breathe our last breath. I've learned that it's important to not leave things unsaid. My dad knows he is loved.


How about you?

If you look back at 2018, are there lessons you learned? I hope you will take the time to ponder and maybe write them down. I encourage you to leave a comment about one thing you learned in 2018.

Happy New Year!

Blessings and love,

QuickEdit

Five Minute Friday: Value



It's Five Minute Friday when I link up with other writers. We get a one-word prompt and get to write for five minutes flat. Our word for this week is VALUE.

START

The word value brings to mind something that is important. I've heard it said that you can easily see what's important to you by looking at your receipts or your checkbook log. We usually spend money on what we value most.

Yesterday was Thanksgiving; a time to celebrate with friends and family and to feast on turkey and the fixings. I love this holiday because it focuses on thankfulness.

But I watched the local news last evening and discovered that many people waited in line all day to secure their spot for Black Friday deals. I felt sad to think they would miss out on a day of thanks so they could purchase a great deal. 

I think of my own family. Most of them live across the country in Florida while I'm here in Phoenix. My dad is currently in a Rehab facility after a fall injuring his back. He needed more intense Physical Therapy to rehabilitate him for his hopeful return home. I spent the day with my husband, Greg. I bought two turkey dinners from a local gourmet grocery store (AJ's), and we grazed all day. I made frequent phone calls to my dad throughout the day, watched the Macy's Thanksgiving parade, and thanked God for my many blessings.

I value God, my faith, family, and my health. I get to teach little children and write in my spare time. I have life-long friends and a church family. I'd say that's something to value.

END

Blessings and love,

QuickEdit

Five Minute Friday: WHO




It's Five Minute Friday when I link up with other writers. We get a one-word prompt and write for five minutes flat. Our word for this week is WHO.

START

I am a woman who is older than I feel inside.  As I look back on my life, I realize I've had so many experiences. Most of the younger people I work with have no idea.

Growing up in the 60's I experienced the turmoil of teenage years during that time. The war in Vietnam, protests in the streets, free love, drugs. Not that I was involved in all of that, but it did surround and impact me. A friend attended the infamous Woodstock in upstate New York. I was working part-time in a record store selling music on Long Island as I was going to high school.

I dabbled in the world despite my Christian upbringing. There were people in my life who pulled me back. And I am so grateful.

My grandparents were a visible example for me. They prayed for me until the day each of them died. A friend named Connie invited me to church when I was in my twenties. A mission trip to Haiti in 1980 changed my perspective.

My grandmother's funeral changed the trajectory of my life. Although I professed to be a Christian, my life didn't truly reflect that. I felt a strong nudging deep in my soul to start attending church. And so I did.

I've had many people along the way who encouraged me.

Who am I?

I am a child of God. I am loved and accepted by Him. And I am so grateful for His patience, love, and faithfulness.

That's who I am.

END

Blessings and love,

QuickEdit

Priscilla Shirer Conference



 Priscilla Shirer is a Christian speaker, author, and actress. About one year ago, my friend Shelia asked if I wanted to volunteer as a prayer encourager for the event. I didn't hesitate since I knew this would be something I would love to participate in.

As Saturday approached, I discovered I would have to be at the Grand Canyon University Arena by 6:45 AM for training. Yes, I am an early riser, but I love my quiet Saturday mornings at home! So, I left my condo at 6:20 so I wouldn't be late.



I watched as the women waited to enter. It was sold out with 5,300 people attending!


I was so thankful for a seat in the fourth row on the aisle. Close up to see the speaker and yet available to leave and go to women who needed prayer. Priscilla focuses much time praying at these conferences. She asked the women to fill out a prayer request card. I was one of the volunteers who walked up and down the stands collecting the cards. It brought tears to my eyes as they called out so I wouldn't miss their requests. So many with so many needs!


 Priscilla Shirer shared from her heart. She's a dynamic speaker as she shares stories to illustrate Biblical principles. She walked around the stadium as she looked into our faces.

"The cure for exhaustion is intimacy with Jesus."

 She encouraged us to come away from the busyness and social media and spend time alone with Jesus. Instead of complaining about what you don't have, redirect your energy to what you do have. God can supernaturally multiply what little you think you have.

Anthony Evans led the time of worship. He is Priscilla's younger brother and he was so inspiring. I remember him as a contestant from Season 2 of The Voice.


I loved having the opportunity to reconnect with women I'd not seen in years.

Shelia and me

Mary Kaye and me
Mary Kaye is a worship leader at her church.  We worked together years ago in a women's leadership group called Woman to Woman. We organized a yearly conference for women, along with Shelia and many other women. She had no idea that my life had turned upside down in 2010. As soon as she heard a bit of my story, she cried and prayed for me. What a blessing!

I wish I had taken a photo of my dear friend Helen. She attended the conference with a group of women from her church. We used to spend so much time together when she lived closer and both of us weren't working. We were prayer partners for so many years. But time turned back as we tried to catch up during the lunchtime. We chose to stay in the stadium and munch on hotdogs so we could savor every moment together. I'm so grateful for that time.

It poured all day in Phoenix. At one point, Priscilla asked what that noise was. She probably assumed it never rained here but it poured. The Holy Spirit was surely pouring down. :)

I drove home in flooded streets but it was well worth it. If you ever have the opportunity to attend one of these events, I'd recommend it. I'll leave with the trailer from the movie War Room. Priscilla is one of the main characters in this film.



Blessings and love,

QuickEdit

Five Minute Friday: PRAISE



It's Five Minute Friday when I link up with other writers. We get a one-word prompt and get to write for five minutes flat. Our word for this week is Praise.

START

It's easy to praise God when life is going well. I sing praise songs. I love to worship the God who sustains me and gives me all I have. I thank Him for blessing me.

But what happens when life gets turned upside down?

I had that experience happen to me. Circumstances occurred, and I didn't feel I had any control. What was I to do?

I made the conscious choice to praise Him in the storm. I remember clearly listening to a song that Casting Crowns recorded. I would sing the words through my tears. And it helped me as I remembered that God hadn't forgotten me. He was with me in the storm.

Praise You In This Storm
I was sure by now, God, you would have reached down
And wiped our tears away,
Stepped in and saved the day.
But once again, I say amen
That it's still raining
As the thunder rolls
I barely hear your whisper through the rain
I'm with you
And as your mercy falls 
I raise my hands and praise
The God who gives and takes away

And I'll praise you in this storm
And I will lift my hands
That you are who you are
No matter where I am 
And every tear I've cried
You hold in your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise you in this storm

I remember when I stumbled in the wind
You heard my cry you raised me up again
My strength is almost gone how can I carry on
If I can't find you
As the thunder rolls
I barely hear you whisper through the rain
I'm with ...

Even to this day, life hasn't returned to what I envisioned to be the answer to my prayer.  And yet, I will praise Him.

"Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you." 1 Peter 5:7

"I will praise the Lord no matter what happens. I will constantly speak of His glories and grace. I will boast of all His kindness to me. Let all who are discourged take heart. Let us praise the Lord together and exalt His name." Psalm 34:1-3 

We are not promised an easy life. But God is sovereign, and I choose to trust Him, even through the storm. 

END

Blessings and love,

QuickEdit

Become Aware of the Promptings



Have you ever felt prompting deep in your soul?

I seem to be perpetually busy. It's not that I sign up for too many things. But I like to do things well, so I put much effort into what I do. I've also discovered something else about myself.

For me to focus, I need solitude. Otherwise, I'm so easily distracted.

But there are times when the distraction is where God wants me to be.

The other day, I was in my classroom trying to get organized for the next day's lesson. A teacher friend stopped by to chat. Inside I have to admit I was a little bit annoyed since I was intent on what I was preparing. However, as she began to share from her heart, I felt that prompting inside.

"Put aside what you're doing and listen, Debbie."

Yesterday, I was in the teacher's lounge making copies for the following week. One of the teacher aides brought one of my students to me. He is just over two years old and was crying and calling for me. I took him in my arms to comfort him. After a short time, I proceeded to take him to the playground where the other students were.  I was anxious to finish up so I could go home. But inside I felt that prompting again.

"Just sit with him for a time, Debbie."

I get to work early since one of my duties includes a holding room for students whose parents drop them off. Many parents work, and so at 7am, I set up chairs and quiet activities to keep the students occupied. A video plays in the background to keep others entertained for the half hour before I release them. I love this time since I get to see many of my students from previous years. It was almost time to dismiss when a third-grade girl I've known since she was a baby came to talk to me. I gave her a hug and was about to dismiss her, but once again I felt that prompting.

"Listen to her and take some time, Debbie."

She proceeded to share and began crying softly.

How often do we miss out on those seemingly ordinary but so important moments because we don't listen to the prompting?

As a Christian, I believe that prompting is the Holy Spirit who lives inside of me.  I stay close to God through prayer and reading the Bible. I ask for His guidance throughout my day.

And when I listen to those promptings, I have to smile. After all, God knows what's really important.

Blessings and love,

QuickEdit

Five Minute Friday: Share



It's Five Minute Friday when I get to link up with other writers. We receive a one-word prompt and write for five minutes flat. Our word for this week is: Share.

GO

It can be hard to open up. After all, are people really interested in hearing my sob story?

At least, that's what I thought.

Keep a stiff upper lip and do something about your situation. Quit complaining.

But I discovered that when I am authentic and share from my heart, people tend to feel more comfortable sharing their story.

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God." 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
My life turned upside down in 2010. I went from living the life of my dreams to losing all my material possessions. I wrote a blog post about it titled "Brokenness Can Lead to Blessing". I received more comments and support than any of the other blog posts I wrote. And I've been blogging since 2007! You can read about my story here.

Sharing has helped me heal and move on. I can identify with others who are going through difficulties. It helps when you understand what it feels like.

STOP

Blessings and love,

QuickEdit

You Complete Me



It's Five Minute Friday when I link up with other writers. We get a one-word prompt and get to write for five minutes flat. Our word for this week is COMPLETE.

START

Do you remember this scene from the movie "Jerry Maguire"?  It's a 14-second clip.


You complete me. How romantic is that? But can another person really complete you?

I'm so grateful for the love my husband and I have for one another. Our marriage isn't perfect, but we enjoy sharing life together.

A good friend suddenly lost the love of her life just months before he was set to retire. They looked forward to spending more time together, but it was cut short. It can be so heartbreaking to lose a loved one.

We want to be known intimately. I thank God for the gifts of relationships and also of community.

But the only One who can truly complete us is Christ.

END

Blessings and love,

QuickEdit

Five Minute Friday: Crowd


It's Five Minute Friday when I link up with other writers. We receive a one-word prompt and get to write for five minutes flat. Our word for this week is CROWD.

START

When I think of the word crowd, what comes to my mind is following the herd. Like cattle, one person does something, and people go along with it and do likewise. It's so easy to get caught up in crowd think.

I listen to conversations. What's the latest fad? What Netflix series are you watching? Do you fit in with your style of clothing? Do you have the latest technology gadget? What celebrity do you follow?

As a Christian, we are called out of the crowd. Yes, we still live in the world, but this is not our permanent home. We belong to Jesus.

We are called to be a light, shining in a world of darkness.

"You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl; instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven." Matthew 5:14-16 NIV  
Are you trying to fit in with the crowd? Or are you following the One who can meet your every need and love you like no other? His name is JESUS.

END

Blessings and love,

QuickEdit

Five Minute Friday: Rain




It's Five Minute Friday when I link up with other writers. We are given a one-word prompt, and we get to write for five minutes flat. Our word for this week is Rain.

START

I live in the desert of Phoenix, Arizona. We rarely get rain. When it does rain, it's usually during the monsoon season. This occurs late summer into September. And when it rains, it pours! The result is flooding since the ground can't absorb it quickly enough.

But I still love rain. The temperature drops and the wind picks up. It's a rare occurrence,

Every morning in my preschool class, we sing a song about the weather.

'What's the weather? What's the weather? What's the weather like today? Is it sunny? Is it cloudy? Is it windy or is there rain?"

Ninety-nine percent of the time, the response is sunny. But once in a while, it rains. The children love to say that and then run to the window to look out. They stand on their tippy toes peering out the window to see the rain with their own eyes.

But one of my favorite things about the rain is the rainbow that follows. It reminds me of God's promise to Noah in the Bible after the flood.

"I have placed my rainbow in the clouds. It is the sign of my covenant with you and with all the earth. When I send clouds over the earth, the rainbow will appear in the clouds, and I will remember my covenant with you and with all living creatures. Never again will the floodwaters destroy all life." Genesis 9:13-15

Thank you, Lord, for the rain.

END

Blessings and love,

QuickEdit

Open My Eyes



Are your eyes wide open? What do you see?

Maybe you see people who are different from yourself. Do you tend to shy away from spending time with them and instead gravitate towards people who are similar to yourself? I think that's our natural human tendency.

Whenever I travel to New York City, I love to attend Sunday services at the Brooklyn Tabernacle. It's well worth the subway ride to worship in this place. Located in an old theater, the congregation is comprised of people who represent a wide variety of backgrounds and skin colors. As my eyes and ears take in this experience, I'm reminded that heaven will contain people from all backgrounds.

"After this, I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people, and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb." Revelation 7:9

Let me ask you a question? How do you feel about going to the airport and flying with so many different people? Do you secretly hope the person sitting next to you will keep to himself? Do you size them up by their appearance?

I have to admit there have been many times when I hoped for a quiet flight so I could read my book or write. But if I insisted on no interruptions, I would have missed out on numerous divine moments. Let me explain what I mean.

On one flight I ended up in the middle seat, not one I cherish. I felt scrunched between two women. One had her head buried in a fashion magazine, and the other was arguing with the flight attendant because she didn't want to turn off her electronic device. It was a five-hour flight, and I figured I'd start reading and minding my own business.

But I always pray that God would open my eyes to see people as He sees them.

As the flight attendant served drinks and peanuts, I put down my book and began a conversation with one of the women. It turned out she had been visiting with her elderly parents and was upset about her father's declining health. This began a conversation that eventually turned to faith. By the end of the flight, the other lady joined in and we were exchanging emails. To this day, we are Facebook friends. The three of us were hugging and commenting on how encouraging an experience this was for us.
This is not the first time this has happened to me.

I wonder if you might see people differently if you asked God to open your eyes. See people with eyes of love, See people as Jesus sees them.

I came across this video that is worth the four minutes it takes to watch. May I encourage you to open your eyes? So many people hide behind masks but they are hurting inside. 


Blessings and love,

QuickEdit

Five Minute Friday: Rush



It's Five Minute Friday when I link up with other writers. We get a one-word writing prompt and get to write for five minutes flat. Our word for this week is Rush.

START

Sometimes, it can be hard to stop and take a breath. Does your to-do list seem to get longer and longer? Are you rushing from one activity to the next?

Rushing about is something I'm quite familiar with. My husband tells me he's never seen anyone get more done so quickly. I feel like I'm on a treadmill and can't get off. There aren't enough hours in the day.

I used to get much of my shopping done during my lunch break from work. That was when I had an hour for lunch. (Those were the days!)  I had my list, and I'd race to accomplish as much as I could and get back to work on time. A sales clerk looked at me and mentioned that I looked like I was on a mission as she jumped out of my way. I didn't have time for interruptions.

Since that time, I had a time of retiring from work. Life was much different as I had didn't have to rush about. I noticed people, and I was open to interruptions.  My eyes were open to see much of what I'd missed.

Now, I am back at work and busy as ever. Even though I continue to move about quickly, I try to have a more balanced perspective. I notice the clouds in the sky. I hear the sound of a helicopter and stop to look.

Do you know what is one thing has helped me to make this change?

Little children!

My class of preschool students has helped me. They're curious and make time to watch a hummingbird, as they squeal with delight. They point to the moon in the sky. They laugh and skip and love to play.

So, I make the effort to stop rushing. It's amazing what children teach me about life.

STOP

Blessings and love,

QuickEdit

Five Minute Friday: Loyal



It's Five Minute Friday when I link up with other writers. We are given a one-word prompt and get to write for five minutes flat. Our word for this week is LOYAL.

START

I consider myself to be a loyal person. I value honesty. I've learned through tough times how important that is in relationships, whether romantic or friendship.

It's through loyalty that relationships can grow. How easy it is to give up on each other when things don't go our way.

Love requires perseverance. What happens when a spouse or friend gets sick and is no longer the person they used to be? Will I be patient with someone who has trouble remembering or has become a bit slow as they move about? Will I be loyal? I know that as I get older, my face and body have certainly changed. She ain't what she used to be, despite trying. :) Will others be loyal to me when I can't do what I used to do?

"Commitment means staying loyal to what you said you were going to do long after the mood you said it in has left you." Anonymous
"Never let loyalty and kindness leave you! Tie them around your neck as a reminder. Write them deep within your heart. Then you will find favor with both God and people, and you will earn a good reputation." Proverbs 3:3-4 NLT 

END

Blessings and love,

QuickEdit

Have You Lost Your Sense of Wonder?



Have you lost your sense of wonder? The little children in my preschool class teach me so much about life. As an adult, I often go through the motions. Sometimes, I'm so deep in thought driving to work that I miss my exit. I forget to notice the clouds or the hot air balloons rising in the sky.

Outside a window of our classroom, we heard a commotion. Ms. Patricia peeked out and told me there were a few roadrunners. Before I could say anything, my students quickly headed for the window to take a peek. But they weren't tall enough. That didn't stop them as they climbed on the bookshelf to get a better view. The birds darted behind the shrubs. The minute they stepped out, the children squealed with delight.

"I see the birdie." "Look, he's hiding."


"All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up."
~ Pablo Picasso ~

Children have a natural curiosity. They live in the present moment.

I notice this when I observe them at play. Addy is engrossed with her two little dolls. She pats their back, puts them to bed, and even asks Ms. Debbie to hold one of them.

Oliver loves to line up all the plastic animals on the shelf. He thinks nothing of emptying everything else, so he has room to march his elephants and tigers and monkeys. All the while, he is talking and sometimes even singing.


As we get older, we tend to lose that childlike sense of wonder. I have a few suggestions to re-engage that part of your self.


  1. Slow down. Don't be in such a hurry. Look around and notice the clouds, the moon, the flowers, people. 
  2. Observe children at play. See how they become excited when they spot a butterfly or a hummingbird. We can learn from them.
  3. Be on the lookout for things to photograph. I love photography, and it's opened my eyes to notice even the simple and seemingly ordinary.
  4. Be curious. Ask questions. Don't assume you know everything you need to know. 
  5. Learn something new. This summer I learned an Adobe program InDesign. I ended up using it to write my book for parents of preschoolers. Who knew?
  6. Get out in nature. Observe mountains or lakes or the ocean. 
  7. Take deep breaths. Simply be. Forget your to-do list for at least a while. Enjoy the day.
  8. Do something fun. Remember what brought you joy as a kid.
What could you add to this list? I'd love to hear in the comments. 

I'll leave you with the words to a song recorded by Lee Ann Womack. 

I hope you never lose your sense of wonder
You get your fill to eat but always keep that hunger
May you never take one single breath for granted
God forbid love ever leave you empty-handed

I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens
Promise me that you'll give faith a fighting chance
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance

I hope you dance, I hope you dance

I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance
Never settle for the path of least resistance
Livin' might mean takin' chances but they're worth takin'
Lovin' might be a mistake but it's worth makin'

Don't let some hell-bent heart leave you bitter
When you come close to sellin' out reconsider
Give the heavens above more than just a passing glance
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance

I hope you dance, I hope you dance
I hope you dance, I hope you dance



(Time is a wheel in constant motion always rolling us along
Tell me who wants to look back on their years and wonder where those years have gone)


Blessings and love,

QuickEdit

Five Minute Friday: Loved



It's Five Minute Friday when I link up with other writers. We are given a one-word prompt and get to write for five minutes flat. Our word for this week is: LOVED.

START

Oh, to be loved! I remember my mom used to tell me I was in love with love. I had all these romantic aspirations. Words of love and affirmation, flowers, candlelit dinners ... you get the picture.

But love doesn't always play out that way. The pain of rejection and unfulfilled promises can cause people to shut down emotionally.

How thankful I am to have a husband who loves me the best way he can. He looks for ways to make my life easier, even if it's something as simple as making me breakfast in bed or programming a reminder on our Alexa app to tell Debbie he loves me each morning. He also has her play the "Good Morning" song by Mandisa and Toby Mac. He knows I love that song.

But the best love that impacts every part of my life is God's love. When I consider how often I mess up and miss the mark, I'm amazed that He really does love me. He offered me the gift of salvation through Jesus, and I'm forever grateful.

Because I know how much He loves me, that love overflows to others. That's the best part. I can spread His love to people who may not be like me or agree with me. In myself, I can't do that. But with God all things are possible.

END

Blessings and love,

QuickEdit

Put Your Busyness on Hold



Is your life busy? Are there enough hours in the day to get everything done on your to-do list?

The conversation often goes like this:

How are you?
Fine
What are you up to?
So much. I'm so busy.

Busy, busy seems to be a mantra I hear all the time from women. It almost begins to sound like a badge of honor.

But do we really need to be so busy? Why do we fill our schedules with so many activities?

Sometimes I say yes to things because:

  • I don't want to disappoint someone
  • I'm afraid of missing out
  • I want to keep up with the crowd
  • I know it will be fun
  • I enjoy the friends who are participating
In the morning, I begin my day in quiet time with the Lord. I read a devotional, my Bible, and pray. Lately, I've been asking God what He wants me to do with my time. 

When I crowd my calendar with good things to do, I sometimes miss out on God's best for me. 

That best might be something as ordinary as sitting with a friend as she shares her heart. Or maybe it's taking time to call a lonely relative who could use a listening ear.  Or time might be best spent playing a game with your child or grandchild. 

How many times have you ignored someone because you were in too much of a hurry? I'll admit that I've done that.

So, don't jump at the next invitation or opportunity presented to you. Of course, there are certain things we really need to accept. But too many activities don't leave us enough time to pursue what God has called us to do. 

Blessings and love,

QuickEdit

The Power of Habit



For many years, I cultivated the habit of rising early to exercise on my treadmill. I didn't think about it. I just did it.

But along the way, stress interfered, and my habit got thrown to the wayside. Instead of getting up early, I stayed in bed. Over time, I almost forgot. Instead, I gained twenty-four pounds and felt sluggish. My clothes didn't fit anymore. This didn't happen overnight. But slowly my lack of discipline showed up in ways I didn't like.

According to the dictionary, a habit is 'a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up.'

Habits are things you do without thinking. In the book, The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg, he describes the habit loop. It starts with a trigger that signals your brain to begin an automated mode. The routine is what you do, feel, or think. And then there's the reward. What do you get out of the behavior? Remember that our brain tends towards the short term; instant gratification.

Habits can be negative such as overindulging in food, sweets, alcohol,  or drugs. I'm amazed that some people are shopaholics, always buying the latest fad or acquiring things to feel good about themselves. (I don't like shopping)

Habits can be positive such as eating healthy, exercising, getting enough rest, reading good books, and staying in touch with family and friends.

Establishing healthy habits makes things simple. So, it's important to take the time to think about what you do on a regular basis, especially in response to certain triggers.

For me, it took losing everything to break my healthy habits. Over a short period of time, my husband and I went from living a life of luxury to being totally broke with no home or savings. We sold everything that was worth anything to pay our bills and keep our heads above water. You can read more about my story here.

As I look back, I can certainly understand the shock and depression that enveloped my day to day existence. But life goes on and I had a choice to make. Would I settle into a new normal that wasn't very healthy? Or would I once again, establish new habits that would meet my long-term goal of being the best I could be, no matter what my age.

It took time but I am now back to my normal weight. I lost the twenty-four pounds and can fit into my clothes easily. I don't have to try on three outfits because my slacks are too tight. I can even buy things online to avoid shopping.

I checked email this morning and received a timely newsletter from Rob Hatch. He's a business coach, President & Co-founder of Owner Media Group, Inc. His partner is Chris Brogan, a social media marketing consultant. My husband and I worked with him on a project a number of years ago.

Anyway, in Rob's newsletter, he wrote about 6 simple habits. Here's his list:

  • Start
  • Finish
  • Eat
  • Sleep 
  • Move
  • Connect
His message was about simplifying. How do you start and finish your day? Eating and sleeping come next. Getting enough sleep and eating healthy can change the way you feel. Moving, no matter what form, can change your body chemistry.  Go for a hike, ride your bike, take a brisk walk early in the morning or stretch out on your mat. It really does change how you feel. Rob's last point was to connect. That is such a good habit as we need one another. Sometimes when you're stressed, it can be all too easy to isolate yourself. Instead, talk to a confidant or exercise with a friend.  

So, what about you?
  • What are your habits? 
  • Do you have any unhealthy habits you might need to reconsider? 
  • What triggers prompt you to lapse into behaviors that may not be the best? 
  • Have you established any good habits? 
  • How did you deal with the old triggers? 
I'd love to hear about your struggles or your successes in the area of habits. After all, it's a journey and we can help one another. 


Blessings and love,

QuickEdit

Five Minute Friday: Woman




It's Five Minute Friday when I join up with other writers. We receive a one-word prompt and get to write for five minutes flat.  Our word for today is WOMAN.

START

I'm glad I'm a woman. Some cultures don't value and celebrate women. But how thankful I am to be free to be who God created me to be; a woman.

I cherish my friendships with other women. I have many lifelong friends. And along the way, I've developed relationships with women from a variety of backgrounds. I've even grown to know and care about many blogging friends, and I never met them in person. But you do get to know people when they share their words from the heart. I  love that.

There's something different about women. I don't mean to stereotype, but we tend to love to share our lives with one another. My husband laughs because he doesn't quite get it.

There was a popular song back in the early 70's that Helen Reddy sang titled "I am Woman". I remember singing the words. We've come a long way and women have so many choices today. Let's be who God created us to be and use our many unique gifts and abilities.

STOP

Blessings and love,

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Five Minute Friday: Anniversary



It's Five Minute Friday when I link up with other writers. We are given a one-word prompt and get to write for five minutes flat. Our word for this week is Anniversary.

START

Anniversaries are days to remember special events.

My husband and I will soon celebrate our 34th wedding anniversary. I remember our wedding in Vail, Colorado like it was yesterday. We exchanged our vows in a church on the mountainside and celebrated with close family and friends at the Lodge.

I always remember the anniversary of my open heart surgery. 1960 was so many years ago, but that date is marked on my calendar. My congenital heart defect was corrected when I was a child. But the events that transpired are also etched in my mind like it was yesterday.

Anniversaries are events that changed the course of my life. Not all are happy events. I think of the day my mom left this earth. But I mark them down on my calendar so I will not forget. It's good to celebrate. And it's good to look back and remember.

STOP

Blessings and love,

QuickEdit

What I Learned this Summer



Summer is over for me despite the triple-digit heat in Phoenix. But school is about to start, and as teachers, it's time to get ready for our new crop of students.

Before moving on to the next season of life, I like to look back and review what I learned.

I'm so thankful that I had nine weeks off to rest up and get refreshed for a new school year.

Here are a few things I learned this summer:


  1. Family first. My dad was hospitalized with congestive heart failure. He lives in Florida, and I am in Arizona. So, the distance was frustrating as I'm also a nurse. I hopped on a plane and spent time helping him in his time of need. If you missed my post about this, you could read it here. He will never be a burden to me, and I was so glad I didn't have to be concerned with taking time off work.
  2. I am a life-long learner. I never want to feel like I'm too old to learn something new. The Technology Integration Specialist at my school offered free courses throughout the summer to staff members. I took advantage of this. I learned an Adobe program called InDesign. It's perfect for creating newsletters. But I realized it was also a useful program for the parent book I've been writing. So, I continued the learning process through online courses and YouTube videos. I'm not an expert, but I do have a better grasp on this program.
  3. It takes persistence to complete a project. I tend to go from one project to another. It's like the three or four books I read at one time. :) I've been accumulating funny things kids say since 2010. I  write down the cute things students say and toss the paper into a jar I kept on my desk. As you can imagine, over time, it was getting filled up. I put together the sayings along with tips from Ms. Debbie, using InDesign. 
  4. I enjoy working with people from around the world. Since I'm not an expert on using InDesign, my husband suggested I check out a site called UpWork. It's a place to find freelancers. So, I discovered a guy from Malaysia, who is an expert using InDesign. He helped me with fonts, spacing, and format for my book titled "Kids Say the Funniest Things in Preschool: What Your Children are Saying". Even though he was 14 hours ahead of my time zone, we managed to work it out to accomplish my goal. The only thing I'm missing is a photo to use on the back cover of the book!
  5. I miss my students. Even though I enjoy the break, I miss the kids. Yesterday, I returned to work for professional development. One of my students from last year is a teacher's child. So, the daycare was provided. I stepped into the room to say hello, and before I knew it, Max wrapped his arms around me and wouldn't let me go. Oh, what a blessing! He kept saying, "Ms. Debbie" and I could have cried. Yes, this is a good job for me at this stage of my life.
  6. I don't always complete everything on my list for the summer. Life doesn't often go as planned and so I want to be flexible. I did accomplish much on my time off but not everything I hoped for. I got together with a few friends but not all on my list. Friends are important to me, and I want to make time to nurture relationships. Hopefully, I will be able to catch up with my friends even during the school year.
So, now it's back to work and a new season of my life. I can't wait to meet my new students.

I'm linking up with Emily J Freeman as we share what we learned this summer.

Blessings and love,

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