Heart Choices: 2019

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What I Learned This Spring

I've discovered that the best way for me to move forward in life is to look back. I don't keep my eyes on the past, but I try to reflect on what I learned. It's too easy to focus on what's ahead, but then I don't enjoy the everyday moments and gifts.

So, here are six things I learned this spring.

1. Change is good. 

I teach preschool children. Introducing the season of spring is one of my favorite times of the year. I ask my class a question. 

Who can tell me something about spring?

I hear answers from the mouths of excited children. 
Bunnies and caterpillars; 
Flowers and butterflies. 

Spring is a time of change. Caterpillars go through a process called metamorphosis. My students had the opportunity to observe as the caterpillars formed a chrysalis. We talked about being patient and what that word meant. 

Little Addy remembered and shouted out, "Are we there yet?" She knew the opposite of patience. 

Eventually, butterflies emerged. It was time to let our butterflies go. 

As I think about the ugly little caterpillar and how it eventually emerges as a beautiful butterfly, I realize change is good. I have a confession: change is challenging for me.  I prefer consistency, but change can bring out the best in us just like the emergence of the beautiful butterfly.

2.  I discovered the KonMari Method.

I stumbled upon Kon Mari on Netflix. I often become frustrated and overwhelmed with stuff. I laugh as I tell my co-worker Hillary that I want to be like her when I grow up. Mind you; I could easily be her mother. (That's what happens when you go back to work in your 60's; everyone is younger.) But, Hillary's classroom reflects her organization skills.  I tend to reshuffle my piles instead of discarding what's not working or necessary. 

Kon Mari is all about discarding items that no longer have value. So, I tried it at home and emptied my dresser drawers. I took each piece and thought about whether I liked it and how I felt wearing it. By the time I completed this task, I had a pile of clothes to donate to goodwill.  I then proceeded to fold my clothes carefully so I could find each one by color. 

I have to admit I've not perfected this method. It's a work in process. 

3.  I love flowers and sweet smells.

Even though I live in a small condo, that doesn't stop me from incorporating flowers and sweet smells. There's a small courtyard out front, and my roses bloom beautifully, especially in the spring. I added a hummingbird feeder. I enjoy cultivating my garden.  On my small back patio, I also have flowers and hummingbird feeders. Early in the morning, I sit quietly in my chair. I hear the sound of hummingbirds as they put their long beaks into the sweetness of the feeder. Often, they will come right in front of my face as though they were speaking to me. 

I decided to bring the smells of spring inside my home. I received many sweet gifts from the parents of my students for Teacher Appreciation Week. Flowers, candles, and distillers of sweetness. My desk,  located in a quiet corner of my living room, is a place of beauty.

4. I love the music of Lauren Daigle.

Lauren Daigle has such a rich, recognizable quality to her voice. During the latest season of American Idol, she served as a celebrity mentor to the six finalists. What I didn't know was that Lauren had auditioned for the show ten years earlier and been turned down. Despite the no, she's emerged as an amazingly talented singer. 

One of my favorite songs Lauren recorded is "You Say."

5. I learned the story behind the song "I Can Only Imagine" by Mercy Me.

The song debuted back in 1999, and I loved it from the start. But only recently, I watched the movie of the same name on Amazon Prime Video. The song was written and composed by lead sing Bart Millard. What I learned is that he grew up with an abusive father. His mom dropped him off at a Christian summer camp, but when he returned home, his mother had left the family.  He played football in high school, but a significant injury ended the possibility of any future football career. He had to enroll in an elective, and the only one not filled was the Glee Club. The teacher heard Bart singing with his headphones on and was thrilled to discover he could sing. 

The story continues as he joins a band and takes to the road to get out of his house and away from his alcoholic father. Despite touring, writing songs, singing to crowds, the band never made it. His manager recommends he deal with his demons and so he returns home. He discovers his dad is dying but no longer drinking. It's a story of forgiveness and healing between father and son. Bart proceeds to write "I Can Only Imagine" after his father's death. 

6. We never know how long we will live.

My father turned 90 years old on February 28. He had his first heart attack when he was sixty years old. I remember getting the dreaded phone call as the doctors didn't know if he'd make it through the night. I was a cardiac nurse but living across the country from him, so I hopped on a flight to Florida. Since then he's had bypass surgery, 13 angioplasties, numerous stents, a pacemaker, and defibrillator. Despite my mom's death at the age of 75, my dad has continued to survive and live independently.

God is good, and only He knows the day He will take my dad home. In the meantime, I enjoy our twice daily phone calls and visits when I can fly to Florida.

So, how about you? What have you learned this past season? May I suggest that you take some time each season and write down a few things you've learned? 

Blessings and love,


What Are You Searching For?

When I saw the one-word writing prompt for Five Minute Friday, I knew I wanted to participate. I have five minutes to write a blog post and link up with other writers. So here goes...


It seems like I'm always searching for something. I call them the "Debbie goes down the rabbit hole" moments. I start out looking for an idea for my preschool class on Pinterest. Of course, there are so many fun things to check out while I'm there. I rationalize that I can categorize all the recipes I want to make one day, the clothes I'd love to purchase, and the crafts that are too cute. I know where to go back to so I can find them. That is if I really remember and go back. (Yeah, right)

So where was I? Oh yes, searching. I end up on Teachers Pay Teachers, which by the way is a great site to help with lesson planning. I start out looking for something specific but spend way too much time looking at the many cool ideas there. I look at my watch and realize I've spent an hour and I almost forgot what I was searching for. Does that ever happen to you? Am I alone here?

I come back to my search. I want to do my best, whether it's teaching preschool children, helping my family, or cooking a great meal. But I end up all over the place in my quest.

How thankful I am that I know where to go to be accepted just as I am and that I am loved. My search for perfection and acknowledgment are my fleshly desires. But God loves me. I can be myself as I sit down and do my quiet time first thing in the morning. He guides me through His Word. I share my concerns and then rest in Him, knowing that He hears. 


Blessings and love,


Who Do You Influence?

Influence is defined as "the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something, or the effect itself" according to dictionary.com.

Influence happens to be the one-word writing prompt for Five Minute Friday. Since it's now Sunday, I'm late to the party. But that word is one that I take very seriously.


As I think back over my life, I've been influenced by many people and circumstances. Some are good and others not so good. During my childhood, my mom was always there for me. She was my biggest cheerleader. She taught me good manners, how to be a good guest, how to listen and not just talk, and she shared her sense of style with me. She's been gone now for almost 18 years, and yet I still momentarily forget and long to call her on the phone for one of our chats. She knew my strengths, but she also knew my weaknesses. And yet she loved me.

As an aunt, I longed to influence my nieces. Although we lived across the country from each other, frequent phone calls and travels bought us valuable time together. Trips to Washington DC, New York City, San Diego, San Francisco provided us many opportunities to share our lives with one another. I learned from Kristin and Katie, and I hope they learned from me.

As a nurse, I hope that I influenced the patients I cared for positively. I tried to model healthy habits as I taught them how to prevent future heart problems.

As a preschool teacher, I also hope to influence my students positively. After all, they spend many hours with me in our classroom five days a week. Besides teaching them academics, I hope to influence their character. I want them to be kind, to listen and not be so quick to speak 'me, me, me'. Of course, that's a challenge at the age of three.

Who do you influence? People observe you every day. What do they see? Are you stressed out? Are you impatient? Or do they see someone who cares and listens?


Blessings and love,

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