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Now Choose Life

Choose to Live Your Life in Abundance in the after--- after the spouse dies, after the marriage ends, after the kids leave. Join me on my journey of CHOOSING LIFE in my after. This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live- Deut 30:19

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December 28, 2016

What I learned December 2016



1.  People who market shampoos and conditioners are not very smart. If advertising/ marketing is still geared towards baby boomers (of which I am a part- born 1964 so I barely make it in), they should know to have the words SHAMPOO and CONDITIONER written in large letters. I don't take my reading glasses into the shower. I'm sure I look hilarious trying to figure out which bottle is which!!! Please marketers-- Do Something About This!

2.  It is my husband's job to tell me if I have a chin hair that needs to be plucked.  I don't like coming home to my 10X magnification makeup mirror to find that I have a wild hair on my chin.  He knew he was marrying a 50ish woman when he married me.  He should have known that it comes with the territory!!

3.  On a much more serious note, I've learned that grief will be with me forever. It isn't the same as it was in those early years, but the ache of loss is still deep in my soul. The whisper of "he's not here" is always faint in my mind.

4.  Pets cure a thousand ills. I got my little Scout over the Thanksgiving holidays so he has been with me in New Mexico. He has brought so much joy to me and Dr. T!!  We have laughed about the things he does and how he reacts to us. He has been so much fun. I have had a skip to my step this season and it is so nice to have a bit of it back. I've listened to Christmas music, baked some treats, and watch Hallmark Christmas movies. Things I haven't done in 5 years!!!

Dr T and Scout

6. I love my husband. Dr T supports me on so many levels. He listens to my feelings about this time of year and understands. He listens and tells me what he thinks or just listens to me and hugs me. I love him so much for that. My soul deeply loves his soul, and that is a wonderful love!!
December 21, 2016

Party Top!!!

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I wrote earlier in the season about wanting to find a velvet party top for an upcoming party, but then I got an email from The Loft!!

I fell in love with this blouse when I saw it. The off the shoulder style and tie at the sleeve gave it a bit of a party feel.

I usually wear a S or M, and I ordered a M in this. I think that is the perfect fit for me because it fell back to the perfect spot off my shoulders after I did something like pick up my arms or take my coat off.

This would be a great NYE Party top. I didn't feel self conscious because I still felt fully covered in this. I would absolutely buy this again.

Here are my pictures. I'm sorry for the quality of my pictures. This truly is a start up blog and I don't have a professional photographer- just a very supportive husband!! Which shows I am not getting anything for this post!  I love this blouse! 

Love that it covers my bum.

Looked great with this amazing necklace from 
                                                      Bittersweet Designs
My blog about my love for Bittersweet Designs can be found here.

December 20, 2016

Fritos Trail Mix

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I just heard of this great snack this year. I'm very disappointed that I haven't known about it all these years. It is one of the best "snack to give as a gift" that I have ever made. I have now made 4 batches of it. I wanted to make sure I have enough to take to our families over the holidays after I gave some to friends.

I heard about this snack on a recipe Facebook group that I'm part of. They shared the blog post- Fritos Sweet and Salty Snack Mix with the recipe so I want to make sure that I give her credit. Be sure to go over an see other great recipes that she has on her blog.

I just like to call it Christmas Crack because it is so addicting!!!

I'm also going to list it here so you'll have it on this page along with my personal pictures from my baking day!! I had some toasted quinoa that I made a week ago. I ended up adding that to the liquid mixture right before I poured it over the dry mixture. I think it added a great flavor!!
Ingredients
  • 1 bag (10.5 oz) Fritos
  • 2 cups Rice Chex Cereal
  • 2 cups pretzels (any shape)
  • 1 1/2 cups mixed nuts
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup (like Karo)
  • 1 cup chocolate candies (like m&m's)
Instructions
Steps:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In large bowl combine Fritos, chex cereal, pretzels, and nuts. Set aside.
  3. In small sauce pan, over medium heat, combine the brown sugar, butter, and corn syrup. Let come to a boil, then boil for 4 minutes without stirring.
  4. Remove pan from heat and pour over the Fritos mixture in the large bowl. Stir together to coat evenly.
  5. Dump the snack mix onto parchment lines cookie sheets (you may need 2) and cook for 8 minutes. Take out, stir mix, and cook for an additional 8 minutes.
  6. Pour onto a wax paper lined counter top and let cool completely. Brake apart and add in chocolate candies.

Step 2

 Step 3


Step 4


Step 5


Step 6 


Always at the ready- Scout never left my side!!


I will be honest. This is the first Christmas that I've felt like doing any baking or making of special treats in many years. Grief is still my companion, but I refuse to let it ruin my life. I'm choosing life!!  I hope the rest of you are choosing to live an abundant life during this special time of you.

Merry Christmas!!!!!
December 15, 2016

Call Me Ishmael! Really- Call




When I read a good book, I always want to share it with others. I love it when others are passionate about what they are reading. It's great to get a good book suggestion.

Unfortunately there are sometimes when the book I love isn't the Cup Of Tea of others. I still want to be able to share my thoughts on why I love a particular book.

Enter Call Me Ishmael. A website where anyone can go to tell the world why they love a book. I recently went back on and wonderfully, To Kill A Mockingbird (my favorite novel) was featured.


What a great way to share the love of a good book!!!
December 09, 2016

Decorating For Christmas- Or Not

I like having some Christmas decorations out in the house. It makes the season a bit more joyous. 




In my old life, I went all out to decorate the house for Christmas. Especially after my kids were in college, I wanted them to come home to a home filled with Christmas cheer.

I placed a tree and nativity scene in almost every room. My collection of vintage Santa mugs lined the window sill in the kitchen. My open shelves were decorated with individual ornaments and my white cabinets were adorned with red ribbon where I placed my Christmas cards.

But my home hasn't been decorated like that for 5 Christmases. Since R passed away, I could not muster the strength to get into those boxes of decorations. The first Christmas, I found a bare tree at Walmart. It looked exactly as I felt- no life. It really was pretty in its own way.


I used that tree for a couple of years. I eventually placed a red bird on a branch.

I then moved on to a couple of trees- again with no ornaments. I love looking at lights, and it added some warmth to the room.

Decorating for Christmas is still difficult. It is easier in a new home, but I still don't seem to have the energy to go All Out. Dr. T understands and wants me to do what I feel like doing. I have a hard time deciding what I want to bring from the house in Texas to the house in New Mexico. There are so many decorations that have such special meaning to my old like- I feel like they should stay at the house in Texas. I don't understand it myself, but a friend last night encouraged me to start collecting new ornaments and decorations and not to think about those others until I want to deal with it. I think I will follow that advice.

So here are some pictures from my old life: (these are from my last Christmas with R)














Here is my much simpler new life decorating:






December 07, 2016

What I'm Reading


This was NOT a good book to lug around an airport while traveling to Chicago this past weekend, but I had started it and want to finish it!!

I have had this book for years, but had never read it. As a former educator, I'm always interested in stories like the Columbine massacre. This book has proven to bring back those horrible feelings after the initial shock of the shootings all those years ago. It has been a while since I read anything about Columbine so I want to go back and see how accurate some of the incidences he places in the book really are.

The narrator in the story is a teacher whose wife is a school nurse at Columbine. He is away on the day of the shooting, but makes his way back to find his wife.

I love Wally Lamb's writing. She's Come Undone  is one of my favorite books. If you haven't ever read it, I do recommend it!

I put a hold on this book today- I hope to get it before Christmas!!

Buy It here

December 01, 2016

The Sound of Silence



Dr. T works very long hours so I've found myself alone most of the time for the past 1 1/2 years. I went from a school full of middle school kids and teachers to nothing!! I went from hearing 500 kids talking in a hallway during passing period to nothing.

I like sounds and noise. I like the sound of a busy city street. But I've learned that I also like the sound of silence. A firetruck drove by my house this morning with it's siren on. I haven't heard a siren in many, many months. It certainly got my attention. This afternoon I sit here needing to pack for a trip tomorrow, and I have everything turned off and I'm enjoying the sound of silence.

I think the reason that I like to keep the TV or radio on is that in the silence, I think too much. With R's birthday coming up this weekend, I'm thinking about him, and I always think about what he's missing and it makes me a little sad. This is the time of year when I revert back to the early months  and years after loss, and I cry for no reason. I don't usually stay sad for long, but just a short burst of sadness and then is subsides- that is my life now, and that's OK.

So as I sit here this afternoon during the start of the Most Wonderful Time of the year, I know that there are so many hurting people out there. I know that the holidays are a hard time for so many. I know that silence can be hard at times. But I am going to try to conquer the silence. I'm going to try to embrace what is my life, and be so thankful for the many things that are so right with my world at this time.

I have found that there is a "sound" to silence. It is whatever I tell myself- what Dr. Phil calls our  elevator music. I can feed my soul with negative thoughts or I can feed my soul with positive thoughts. It is my choice. I choose positive- it just feels so much better.

I've always loved the song, "The Sound of Silence." I get something new out of it every time I hear it. I think it is very appropriate for what so many people feel if they experience loneliness especially this time of year. I can feel the emotion of walking alone down a cobblestone street. We attempt to turn from the cold and dampness of loneliness. One very common feeling of people experiencing grief is that they feel alone even when they are in a room full of people. The line in the song of seeing 10,000 people maybe more always makes me think of that feeling.

I remember being at a friend's house for a party during the first holiday season after R passed away. I was ready to go home, and a few people (especially M) didn't want me to go home to an empty house. What they didn't realize is that had been my life for months- I went home every day to an empty house.

In my life today, I don't ever go home to an empty house, and Dr T doesn't have to go home to an empty house- we have each other, and I will never take that for granted.

I'm enjoying the sounds of my silent house this afternoon. It is calm and relaxing. Even after 5 years, I still can't play a lot of Christmas music like I used to, but I'm getting better. I may just put some on today.

I hope that we can all find some time for silence during this very busy time of year. I hope that it is in that silence that we can reflect on what is right with our personal lives and also rejoice in all that is right with our world! I hope you are experiencing peace today!
November 29, 2016

What I Learned In November 2016

I hope that I continue to learn, and I hope the lessons become more profound as I age.  Some months it seems to be simple lessons learned while other months, the lessons learned are much more profound.

Here is what I learned in November:

1.  I have an extremely supportive husband.  Several things have happened over the past few weeks and months where Dr. T has shown his love and support.  I always knew that that he was behind me and there for me, but this month he has read and and helped me edit a piece I wrote for another blog. He has allowed my sweet little dog, Scout, to come and live with us ( he will have to dog sit for me next weekend). He keeps telling me that he wants me to be happy. His love and support make me very happy!

2.  You don't need two spaces after periods!! Where have I been? Really- where have I been? I guess I'm a dinosaur. Dr. T and I had a conversation about my double spaces, but I told him that when you double space it supplies the period automatically. However, I guess that is just when I'm texting. I really never paid any attention to it while typing. I have very spastic fingers while typing and since I just verbally vomit on the page when typing my thoughts, I really never paid any attention. This month, I read an article on the "double space", had a conversation with Dr. T, and had to correct all double spaces in a blog post I wrote for another blog.

3.  I like to linger. I like the word "linger." According to Dictionary.com, linger is defined as- "to remain or stay in a place longer than is usual or expected, as if from reluctance to leave." I love the phrase, "reluctance to leave." The older I get, the more I find that I enjoy to linger. Linger over a glass of wine, linger at the dinner table, linger in a hug with my husband or family members. To linger is a great show of affection to
someone. You are reluctant to leave their presence! That is a nice thing. This realization came to me at my parents' house over Thanksgiving. The whole family gathers in the living room with coffee and a breakfast snack in the mornings, and we tend to linger there. Topics of discussion vary dramatically from politics to funny retelling of stories, but still we linger- every time. That's a great memory that I have.

4.  Unconditional love and grace are necessities in life. Maybe it's been the election and how truly mean I've seen people be to each other, but I believe that if we can't show unconditional love and grace to others, we are honoring God with our lives.  We really have nothing else of any substance to give to the people in our lives.

There you have it!!  All valuable lessons!
November 02, 2016

I would drape myself in velvet if it were socially acceptable



I love velvet for winter!!  I don't go to a lot of parties during the holidays.  When my kids were young, our social life revolved around their activities.  After they grew up, we just enjoyed the simple times of being together and just hanging out.

In my new life in New Mexico, I don't really have any friends to be invited to a lot of holiday parties so I'm not expecting any invitations.  However, Dr T does have one friends who has a great dinner party every December.  He calls it his birthday dinner party, but it is really a way to get his friends together to celebrate the season.  I've been looking online for something to wear- isn't that half the fun of having a special event to go to???  The dinner party will be festive, yet casual.

One thing that has caught my eye is the velvet blouse!!  I have a couple of pairs of velvet pants for the winter months, but haven't had a velvet blouse in years.  Here are a few that I'm thinking about.

1.
Anthropologie - velvet halter

2.

I love the vintage look of this blouse.

3.  
 
Anthropologie off the shoulder-  I love all the colors available in this!!

4.
Soft Surroundings- Boyfriend Shirt-  I love the bold color of this shirt!!

Please help!!!  Which one should I choose??
October 31, 2016

What I learned in October 2016

I always learn lessons.  I love to think that for the rest of my life I will be a student of life.  I want to continue learning and growing until my dying day!!

Here's what I learned this month:

1.  I am at a point in my life where I just get to love and support my kids.  Maybe it was C turning 27. Maybe it was M making the decision all on her own to move to Chicago. I'm just one day realized that I don't need to try to steer my children in a certain direction anymore like I tired to do so often.  I am not their judge (I've shared before how judgmental I have been over the years).  It is such a freeing thought to know that my job now is to just simply love and support my kids.

2.  Life is still hard.  Not that anything that terrible has happened, but enough has happened that it makes me remember what I read several times in the first couple of years after R passed away-  I can't play the "widow card" for the rest of my life so that nothing else will ever happen to me.  I know that bad things do happen.  I've lived through a terrible thing, and more terrible things can happen still.  No one is immune.  Bad things are going to happen.

3.  Slow and steady wins the race.  I realized this when my kids were little.  I think young moms tend to feel anxious when they see other kids doing things that their kids aren't doing whatever that might be.  I always told myself "slow and steady wins the race."  Don't force anything with your kids.  They will be fine, and they did turn out to be wonderful adults.  But as I see most of their friends getting married or even starting their families, I sometimes feel anxious again thinking that isn't that paths that either of my kids are taking.  I just have to remind myself that what was still is.

4.  What I relearn every month.  Grief will never leave me.  Grief has taken up residence in my life and is not going away.  As time goes on, I realize more deeply that if a bit of pain in my life now means that I had something really good, and healthy, and lovely then I will take the pain.  The pain is a sign that I had something very special and nothing will ever fill that void that was left when R left this earth.

5.  A picture really is worth a thousand words.  My kids have communicated with me more on Snapchat this month than any other form of communication.
October 27, 2016

Count Your Blessings

I love fall.  I have been reading many blogs about decorating for fall, and I love looking at all the pictures.  I like to decorate for fall.  It is a great time to use beautiful colors and be able to keep them for more time than Christmas decorations.

I have pumpkins around the house, fall leaves on the mantel, garlands at my front door, but I have a simple area in my house that I love looking at every day.  Dr. T's parents gave us a piece of furniture that belonged to his grandmother.  She called it a server.  I love it and have it in our dining area.  I have a simple vase with aspen leaves filling it.  There is a small sign that says " count your blessings" on it.


This simple vignette is what is bringing me joy these days!!  I hope you are counting your blessings today. 
October 15, 2016

New Kicks

I recently had an ad pop up on my Facebook feed with some really cute shoes.  I don't normally click on sponsored posts on Facebook, but these were really cute from Taos Footwear.  The shoe- The Star.  The website claims that it is "all about the footbed."  That one quote had me hooked!!

My browsing took me to Amazon where a great shop, The Foot Spot, had me ready to buy.  The reviews were good for this shoe, with one warning- "go up 1/2 size" so I followed that advice and bought an 8.  I really think that for me, I could have been fine with a 71/2, but I am planning on traveling in a few weeks with a lot of walking so these will be great.  I can't say enough nice things about The Foot Spot either.  My shoes arrived promptly with no damage to the box.  I can't ask for more than that.  They also sent me an email to make sure everything was good on my end!!  So easy to use!!

As for the footbed... it is wonderful.  The arch support is fabulous, and I can't wait for my walking excursions exploring a new city in a few weeks!!  These shoes will be perfect.  I like to wear a lot of black when I travel just to make things easy to mix and match so the gray wash will be just the right color to complement my comfy joggers for my flight!!




 I need to fix my laces, huh?  And, what are you supposed to do with all the lace in the shoe??
 I also got new skis and poles today.  I'll get my boots at a ski shop in Santa Fe.  I want to be sure I get the correct fit with those.