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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 06, 2017

Dealing With Hardships During The Holidays- living with the unimaginable!

There is a video in this post. Please click here to see the entire post to be able to view the video. 

I've had several posts that I've wanted to write about this time of year and how hard it can be. I know so many people are going through such hard times.

Marriages are crumbling.
Families are facing Christmas with someone missing.
Friends are dealing with cancer.


R's birthday was Monday. I have been doing so well. I thought I was ready. But, I was wrong. It was a tough day. After 5 years, it was still a hard day. He would have been 56. But, he never even got to see 51. That is a hard reality to sit with sometimes!

I was lucky to get to spend the past weekend with M. We were going to celebrate her dad's birthday just like we did last year. And, we did. There was a lot left unsaid. We knew. We just know. Sometimes there are just no words.

One very special thing that we did for ourselves was to go see Hamilton. I would go again to see it today if I could. Yes, it is that good!!! I really didn't know anything about Alexander Hamilton before going. Rest assured, I'm reading a biography now. Although his life's story is fascinating. His wife, Eliza, is the more significant story to me. I love hearing the stories of strong women!!! I think throughout history, so many stories have a strong woman who sat quietly in the background and lived a great, inspiring life.

Alexander Hamilton had an affair which Eliza found out about. Soon after, their oldest son is shot and killed. Eliza is faced with living with all of this. At this point in the musical, an incredible song, "It's Quiet Uptown" is sung. That song did for me, what live theatre is meant to do-- It brought me to tears. Even in our nosebleed seats, I felt so connected with the characters and had tears streaming down my face. I haven't been able to get the song out of my mind. Lin-Manuel Miranda knew about hardship and grief when he wrote that song.


The great thing about Eliza Hamilton's story is that even after Alexander Hamilton's death, she went on to do great things. She learned to live with the unimaginable.

So I write this today, knowing that so many are hurting this holiday season. I just want to reach out and let you know that you are not alone. I know this can be a lonely time of year, but the real meaning of this time is so personal. It's not about the get-togethers, it's not even about family- not really. It's about a lonely night all those years ago, and the implication that this one birth has had on the world since. It's about Jesus. That is where we find our hope. That is where we find the peace that passes all understanding.

I'm not saying that our hurts are not valid. Pain can overshadow the most wonderful of moments. I'm just saying that for me, I need to sharpen my focus on the one thing that really matters this time of year. Not the food, the gifts, the decorations, the loneliness, the sadness, the family, the hardships, the beauty, the celebrations because those all co-exist together this time of year.

It's the Christ. My focus needs to be on Christ.

To quote the great Dr. Seuss in his classic How The Grinch Stole Christmas
        It came without ribbons! It came without tags.
It came without packages, boxes or bags!

God doesn't need our celebrations or decorations to be glorified at Christmas time! We are blessed, and He is glorified through our actions, thoughts, and praise! He meets us where we are this time of year. The Bible teaches us that Jesus understands our grief. He experienced it himself. Give what attention you can give. That's all we can ask of ourselves.


It takes work to change our focus. It isn't easy, but it can sure make this time of year more bearable.

If you are living with the unimaginable, I pray that you will try to focus on Christ. 
It is only through Christ that we find our healing.
November 17, 2017

Airing My Dirty Pantry

A Place For Everything And Everything In Its Place


I really do believe this quote. I especially believed it when my kids were young. My house wasn't messy, but it certainly wasn't perfect when they were little. I always tried to find the balance of a tidy home and a fun life for all of us. But, I'm in a very different stage of life now. I was in the process of organizing all the pictures, newspaper clippings, report card etc of their childhoods that had been thrown into plastic bins in our hurried lives of raising kids when R passed away. After his passing, it was too difficult to deal with all those memories. Now that I'm in a better place emotionally, I feel ready to take on all those mementos.  

I am trying to be better organized! I organize areas in the New Mexico house and when I travel back to Texas, I try to spend some of my time there organizing. This past week, I organized the medicine cabinet and my bathroom cabinets in Texas. I feel so much better!!!

Before I left for my trip back to Texas, I worked on cleaning my pantry at the house in New Mexico. I had organized the pantry a few times, but I discovered that without baskets or bins to use in organizing, nothing stayed straight. It had really gotten out of hand when I decided I had to do something to keep it organized!!

I ordered these wire baskets from LTD Commodities. I also used other baskets that I found at Tuesday Morning. They all made a huge difference.



These are the before pictures of the pantry.



And here are the afters:



It is amazing how something as simple as an organized pantry can change how you feel, but it does!! I'm ready to tackle more!!  What I'm finding that for me when I have a space organized I won't buy more because I have nowhere to put it!! Now I just need to have that attitude in my closet! Why is clothes shopping so much fun???

I'm eager to find more organizing tips!! One of my goals for the new year is a completely organized home!! What are some of your best organizing strategies?



November 03, 2017

So this happened...handling life when bad things happen!!

Molly and Harper!!
"I want a day where I don't hear any new bad news! I can rehash old bad news, but I need a day without new bad news." That is what I've been saying to my friends and The Suze lately.

I made reference in my Peak Of The Week post that I have had a "drop to my knees" week so far. I didn't go into specifics because it wasn't about me specifically but my kids. But M texted me yesterday afternoon asking if was going to write about what happened to her. So with her permission, this was her Sunday.

Sunday morning, she left her apartment with her sweet pup, Harper. She stayed gone all day, and when she returned Sunday evening, she realized before even entering her place that something was wrong. She had been robbed!!

She called her landlord who came over immediately with his wife. They live on the property so luckily she didn't have to wait very long. She also called a friend who came immediately. The police came also and started their report.

I have been so worried about her for the past few months. She ended a relationship with someone that we all love. It has been hard on her. She is now living in a big city without anyone to talk to at the end of the day to make sure that she is home- safe and sound. I've been worried about her going out. I've been worried about her getting up in the early morning hours and running to her gym. I have had that mother's worry that I know so many understand!! I've prayed and prayed, but haven't quite been able to completely give it all over to God. I still worry as if I think my worrying and obsessing over it all will make a difference!!

I'm so thankful that she wasn't there. I'm so thankful that she didn't walk in on them. I'm so thankful that she had sweet little Harper with her!! I have so much to be thankful for. BUT there is still a knot in my stomach!!

They took so much of her stuff. She loves expensive things- designer purses and shoes. C has spoiled us rotten by buying us these things for Christmas for the past few years! They took most of the purses and shoes. They took her laptop, important paperwork, but the hardest thing to accept is that they took so many sentimental things-- like the phone she had when her dad passed away that had his voicemails on it. Those sentimental things break my heart. So many things gone- just gone. The bottom line is that when you have lost someone you love, you have experienced an Ultimate Loss- we truly live in an "after" world where so many "things" don't matter. So yes, it is hard that she lost so much, but she really isn't THAT upset. Like she told me, "It's just stuff." We are just concentrating on helping her have peace and a feeling of being safe!

She spent Monday getting things taken care of, and I tried to help where I could. By the end of the day, she sent me a text saying that this had been her anthem all day.

10,000 Reasons- Bless The Lord Oh My Soul


That song let me know that she was in a good place in her soul which is what I want for her. She reminded me of a great talk we had on a hike when she was here visiting me. I told her about this Super Soul Sunday episode that I watched and how much this segment made me think about accepting things in our lives that we don't want. I've told so many people that one thing about losing R was having to accept something that I didn't want, that I never in a million years would want-- and yet it was my reality. I had to accept my reality and learn to live with it. 


When I talked to her later, she said she was doing what we had talked about on our hike. She is breathing in what has happened. She will have to live with the reality that she isn't as safe as maybe she had thought, and she will have to accept that her things are gone, and she will have to overcome her fear of living there alone and take more precautions!

I also had another "drop to the knees" moment the very next day. Luckily, things with that situation have turned out OK. We will do some follow-ups and keep moving forward from it as well!! 

I guess it's just the reality of life that bad things happen. Things out of our control enter our lives, and we have to be prepared to handle them. I've heard that it isn't what happens to us that makes our lives, it is how we handle what happens to us that makes our lives. The scary thing is that I can't play my "widow card" and not have anything bad ever happen to me again. Life doesn't work that way, and I think for anyone who has experienced tragedy knowing that we can't play the "tragedy has already struck" card is hard to live with!! 

But I'm choosing to look for the blessings!! And, they are here. Both of my kids are happy and healthy today!! Today that is all that really matters to me!!

I'd love to hear what others tell themselves in order to deal with the "out of control" things of life!! What is your elevator music on this subject??

     As my great philosopher son told me one time when I was having a bad day and crying to him--
                                                                     "It's Life."


So just like M the other day, this will be my anthem today!!


Bless the Lord oh my soul

Oh my soul

Worship His Holy name
Sing like never before
Oh my soul
I'll worship Your Holy name



The sun comes up
It's a new day dawning
It's time to sing Your song again
Whatever may pass
And whatever lies before me
Let me be singing
When the evening comes
Bless the Lord oh my soul
Oh my soul
Worship His Holy name
Sing like never before
Oh my soul
I'll worship Your Holy name
You're rich in love
And You're slow to anger
Your name is great
And Your heart is kind
For all Your goodness
I will keep on singing
Ten thousand reasons
For my heart to find
Bless the Lord oh my soul
Oh my soul
Worship His Holy name
Sing like never before
Oh my soul
I'll worship Your Holy name
Bless You Lord
And on that day
When my strength is failing
The end draws near
And my time has come
Still my soul will
Sing Your praise unending
Ten thousand years
And then forevermore
Forevermore
Bless the Lord oh my soul
Oh my soul
Worship His Holy name
Sing like never before
Oh my soul
I'll worship Your Holy name
Bless the Lord oh my soul
Oh my soul
Worship His Holy name
Sing like never before
Oh my soul
I'll worship Your Holy name
Yes I'll worship Your Holy name
I'll worship Your Holy name
Sing like never before
Oh my soul
I'll worship Your Holy name
Jesus I will worship Your Holy name
Worship Your Holy name



Songwriters: Jonas Myrin / Matt Redman
10,000 Reasons lyrics © Capitol Christian Music Group

November 01, 2017

Peak Of The Week- a list of things that piqued my interest this past week 11-1-17


Happy Peak Of The Week!!!


Happy Peak of the Week!! It is going to be ALL DOWNHILL for me. I have had a "drop to my knees" kind of start to my week. There is no doubt about it- Life is hard!!! Things have settled down for me, and I am choosing this morning to have a "drop to my knees" day in thanking God that things have turned out OK!!!

We never know what life is going to bring us each day!! I try so hard to make my days count!! When the hardships come, as we all know they will, I hope that I can accept my reality and turn to my faith without complete panic setting in!! That is a life goal!!

Here are a few things that piqued my interest this week.

Einstein Note- I love this story of the note that Einstein wrote to a bellhop stating his "theory of
happiness."

                       A calm and modest life brings more happiness than 
                    the pursuit of success combined with constant restlessness.

Dr. T and I watched all of the Genius series that was about Einstein's life. It seems that he really did live by this moto! In his late years, he walked to his office and tutored school children in his neighborhood. It is such a lesson to me. I want a "calm and modest" life.

Vertellis - I just ordered this game for the holidays!! Its purpose is to have more engaging and meaningful conversations with family and friends by the questions that are asked on the cards. One of the most special Thanksgivings that I can remember happened when I hosted Thanksgiving at my house in 2013. A few weeks before, I emailed everyone a template for a fill in the blank poem that I wanted everyone to fill out and have ready to read. Here is a sample of the I Am From poem. This poem template is a little different than the one my family did, but I really like it!! At first, some family members didn't really want to do it, but they all rallied for me and brought their poems. We read them over dessert after our meal. What transpired was something I'll never forget. Of course, The Suze and I cried, but I will say that everyone got a little choked up while reading theirs. I'll always cherish my parents' poems. They are so special.

All that to say--- When I saw this game, I thought it would be another great way to really connect with the people that I love so much. Order yours in time for the holidays!!!

Nurse sings to patient- This has been everywhere the past week!! Such a sweet picture of a nurse going out of her way to be there for a patient. May we all be so lucky to have someone like this with us someday!!

Have a great rest of your week!! As we approach this time of Thanksgiving, may we all find many reasons for gratitude. Sometimes I have to look for the blessings, but I know they are there!!!

October 29, 2017

What I Read--- and saw the movie!!





As I have said many times before, biography is my favorite genre! There is something about seeing the twists and turns of a person's life that makes me realize all the more that God and His plans for our lives have to play a key role in our journey. I go back and forth with my thoughts on how much of our lives are predestined. I guess I won't really know until I get to heaven. I just want to make sure that I don't miss out on being in tune with my path and make sure that I make decisions that are in line with what I know would be pleasing to God.

That is what I see in the story, Same Kind Of Different As Me. In this memoir, we see a man who has been unfaithful to his wife. In the process of trying to reverse the damage of the affair, Ron Hall begins to follow his wife's lead in helping others at a homeless shelter in Ft. Worth, Texas. The deeper this couple plunges into the call to help the homeless, the more their marriage is restored.

 After Debbie dreams of a black man who will save the city, she asks Ron to befriend one of the scariest men who enters the shelter. Although Ron thinks she is crazy, events lead him to befriend Denver. This begins the friendship that will see Ron through some of the darkest days.

  

SKODAM  really is one of my favorite books. I first read it in 2010 after a friend recommended it on Facebook. There have been very few books in my lifetime where I laughed as hard as I cried in the same book, but this book did that to me. If this story were fiction, I would hate it because it is so implausible-- and I think its implausibility is why I love it so much. Only through obedience to that still, small voice of God can something like this happen. Obedience for Ron as well as Denver to trust each other enough to start a friendship. We witness certain obedience on Debbie's part as she continues to work towards her vision of making the shelter a place that is worthy of the children of God who need it so desperately. In this story, we see Debbie choose to see all of these people as God sees us-- we are all the same in His eyes. 

Although the general storyline is the same, the book and movie are very different. I truly believe that reading the book and seeing the movie should go hand in hand to get the full effect of the story. I reread the novel before going to see the movie which helped fill in some of the parts the movie doesn't have time to cover.

The movie skips Ron's upbringing and his early days going to TCU trying to find a date-- those are the laugh out loud moments! This film stars Greg Kinnear, Renee Zelwegger, Jon Voight, and Djimon Hounsou who does a remarkable job portraying Denver. 

I highly recommend the book and the movie!! I hope the movie does well so that Hollywood will be willing to share more stories like this one!



October 19, 2017

Only The Brave- my experience being part of the making of a movie

Only The Brave





The summer of 2013, I had been a widow for a little over a year. I had made it through the first terrible year, but when I heard of the Granite Mountain hotshots perishing in a wildfire leaving behind many widows and small children, it brought back some emotions that I thought had been put behind me.

If you are not familiar with the story of the Yarnell Hill fire, here are a few links:

Sept 2013- The True Story of the Yarnell Hill Fire

Dec 2013- Last videos and radio contact.

Of course, I relate closely to the families left behind. Here is an interview with the widows. It is still difficult for them. Hearing them even four years later is heartbreaking.

During the summer of 2016 several movies were being made in my area. When I found out one was the story of those hotshots, I was very intrigued.  I was so glad the story was going to be told. After having the privilege of being a very small part of the project, I have a lot of respect for the director and actors who seem to have felt a big responsibility to get this story told correctly!!



I started seeing the call for extras on our local Facebook group and decided to check it out. It so happened that my friend Alison and her son were going to also be extras. My car is a 2013 model so it just made the cut to be able to be used in the film. Before I knew it, we were headed up to the local ski hill to be in an evacuation scene. There was a lot of sitting around waiting after we were checked in. While I was waiting, one of the women working with extras came up and asked if I would be willing to go back that Friday to be a court stenographer. I immediately agreed.

We worked all day on that one evacuation scene and had a lot of fun being part of it all. The following pictures show how we spent the entire day. If this scene makes it in, we are all parked going down the mountain. We are upset and looking back at our burning homes. The Hotshots come walking through the middle of our cars.




That Friday, I went back to film the court scene. They had me take several outfits that looked like a court stenographer. Alison previously worked in the probation aspect of criminal justice and helped me pick out the perfect outfit. When I got to wardrobe and showed them what I had, the women in charge said she had been watching old episodes of Murder She Wrote and had the perfect outfit for me. She had a completely different idea of what a court stenographer looks like than I did, but I certainly wasn't going to complain!! I ended up wearing a lavender colored double knit pantsuit!! Being used to the librarian stereotype, I realized that I just needed to go with the flow!!

I sent this picture to my family and Alison. You can tell by the look on my face that I'm not happy about my wardrobe selection. 

We used a local courtroom for the scene. Not many people were involved so I was able to be up close to all that went on. The director,  Joseph Kosinski, was very nice. This court scene involved Miles Teller. When they brought him in the first time, he glared at me. We were always warned not to talk to the stars so I tried not to go "I Love Lucy" on him, but he was glaring at me so terribly, I had to look at him. Then it hit me--- he was in character. He was playing the part of a teen who had gotten into trouble. I had been stared at like that numerous times by teenage boys at school. I was certainly used to that look by young men. He proved what a great actor he is to me just by that moment!! It seemed very real!

I went back a few weeks later for the third scene. It was another evacuation scene. This time we were evacuating a neighborhood. Again, it was all day, but such a great experience. I randomly got put with a woman who I found out during the course of the day was good friends with my daughter's 3rd-grade teacher--- it is such a small world!! This particular scene has made the movie trailer. It is the scene with cars driving crazy and people running down a street. I was so close to the director and camera that I don't even know if I will make it into that scene.

I had a great day with Annie! I was so shocked to find out she knew M's teacher!!

This is how close I was to the director and the camera so I really don't think I'll make it into this scene.



Alison and me after a long day of acting!! The guy in the background is a real actor from Los Angeles. He was filming another movie nearby and worked as an extra on Only The Brave on his days off.

One very special aspect of being in this movie was what my daughter, M, got me for Christmas last year. We all exchanged gifts, and before I knew it, M was standing in front of me with a laptop showing me my page on the IMDb website. She created it for me and got it approved with the website. I will more than likely never have anything to add to my IMDb page, and they may take it down if I don't make it in the movie, but my 30 seconds of fame has sure been fun!!

Being part of this movie was a great experience, but I know for so many it is so much more than a movie. It is a glimpse at a terrible time in their lives. It is the story of 19 young men losing their lives way too soon!! And since I now live in an area that has been ravaged by wildfires in the past, it is a story that will bring back horrific memories for many that live in New Mexico and other parts of the country.

Only The Brave is extremely timely now with all the wildfires that have been burning over the past few months as well as the ones still burning. I'm so proud to have been a very small part of telling the story of true American heroes. I hope many people go see this movie, and that it is a great success!!









October 18, 2017

Peak of The Week Wednesday, October 18, 2017

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Where will today take you?

It's the PEAK of the week. It's all downhill to the weekend after today. I'm spending the day shopping with a friend after a checkup with my ENT. I plan on having a great day-- I hope yours is as well!!

On this Peak of the week, here is a peek at some things that piqued my interest this week!!
(Dr. T told me I should say that!)


College Fair App
Luckily I'm done with the college years. I remember those senior year struggles of filling out college applications and waiting to hear. This blog post tells about a new app to help students decide on which college is best for them based on their personal information-- Yes, there is an app for that!!
http://www.freetech4teachers.com/2017/10/college-fair-app-by-kickwheel.html#.WdrIPEuGO00


Most Popular Book Club Books of the past decade
I love to read book reviews. I guess it is the years of reading them as a school librarian that makes me still want to find those great books. I have read many of the books on this list. Since the ones I've read have all been wonderful, I know that ALL the books on this list are worth a read!!


Ebates
My daughter told me about ebates because she knows that I do a lot of online shopping. It is free money!! So far, I have nothing bad to say about it. I have already gotten a check for about $50.00. My next check will be over $100.00. I have researched it and can't find a bad review online that warns about using it. All I do is activate it when I'm going to shop and ebates does the rest. If you sign up and use my code, I get $25.00 and you get $10.00 to start you out on your account.

Here is my code:
https://www.ebates.com/r/SHARON40174?eeid=28187

I hope today is a great day for everyone!! I hope to make it a great day for myself-- the choice is mine!!





October 16, 2017

What I Wore- Church 10-15-17 AND Showing Off My Hometown's Fall Leaves




It is the height of fall in my New Mexico mountains, and I'm loving it!! I know that in a few weeks, it will get really cold and SNOW will come. I've had such a crazy summer that I feel like I haven't had a summer at all so I'm really not ready for winter yet, but I am looking forward to a few cold, snuggly days!!

Here is what I wore to church this Sunday--


It is sometimes hard to know what to wear on these beautiful fall days. I want to embrace the cooler weather, but I'm not ready to pull out the heavy sweaters. One thing that can easily be done is to add a pair of riding boots to your outfit. I did this a lot when I lived in South Texas-- it was the only way to feel like it was fall!!

I bought this dress in College Station, Texas when M was in college there. I stayed with her for her sororities'  (Chi Omega of course!!) Mother\ Daughter weekend. This dress reminds me of that time- plus it is very easy to wear. I love these boots because they are so plain. (similar boots). I just don't think I'll be able to bring myself to wear the over the knee boots that are so popular!!


I had the funniest thing happen in church. I thought this necklace had crept up because I could feel something on my neck towards the end of the church service. When I reached up to move it, I realized it was a bug!!!! Not a little bug either- a medium size bug!! I told Dr. T that he is very lucky that I didn't scream! Wouldn't that have added some excitement to the service? I love this necklace because it is the diamond out of my wedding ring from R. I wear it a lot!! 

Dr. T gave me these earrings for my birthday. I know many people love to go to Taos, NM. These earrings are from Emily Ruffin Goldsmiths in Taos. The shop is close to the John Dunn Shops and prices are really reasonable!! Be sure to stop by there when you are in Taos! 


Dr. T normally plays golf on Sunday afternoons, but his golfing buddy had surgery so he has been home with me. He loves to watch football on these afternoons. I try to keep Sundays holy (set apart). My days are all so much alike since I don't work. I never do cleaning or regular chores on Sunday because I want to keep it a special day. I try to use Sunday afternoons as a time for relaxing and reflecting while reading or watching specific TV shows. A good friend of mine tells of "shoulder to shoulder." She heard about it at a couple's bible study. It is just spending time with your husband without talking. Most men are not big talkers. Being there while he does something he enjoys without me yapping in his ear is important. I've made a point to sit with Dr. T while he's watching the game. I read blogs, magazines, and books because I don't care that much about football. Every so often he will rewind a play so I can see it and we talk about it, but other that, not much is said to each other. 

I read several widowed women's blogs who talk about football season without their husbands. There is such a distinct sound of a football game. Many of these women didn't necessarily watch the game with their husband, but miss the sound terribly now that their husbands are gone. Several have written that they turn a game on just to feel that feeling of having him there watching the game again. 

It really is the little things that make a marriage, a home,... a life!!

How about you? I'd love to hear other "shoulder to shoulder" examples. I'd love to hear how you spend your Sunday afternoons!!

If you like what you see, please be sure to pin this on Pinterest. It will really help me reach some blog goals. My pin button is at the bottom of the post. Or you should be able to click on a picture to pin this post. 
October 15, 2017

Test Post

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I'm doing some additions and work on my blog. Sorry for this test post.

Sharon
October 08, 2017

What I Wore- Church 10-8-17

Church services around the country have become very casual. I still think it shows respect to wear something a bit more "dressed up" than what I wear every day. I recently went looking for new riding boots, and while I was shopping, I found a couple of other items that I really wanted. One thing that I couldn't say no to was this new pair of shoes! It didn't matter what I was wearing to church today-- I was wearing these shoes!!

These are Karl Lagerfeld from Dillards
So many colors for this shoe! I had a hard time deciding what I wanted. I wear black so much I decided to go with the solid black, but this was a close second! It can be found here.









These styles can be found here.





I chose this two for one, tie cuff top from The Loft. The color of the top in these pictures is not true to how the top looks in person. Everything is shades of grey, not the blue hue that is shown in the pictures.
 Similar tops here.






This picture shows the true color of the cuff and "under" shirt.


Happy Fall Y'all. What are you wearing to take you into fall?

If you like what you read/see on the blog, please share with friends. It has become my goal to up my readership. I'm learning so much about social media. I'm learning about the importance of search terms, social media sharing, and many other things. It is fun and keeps me feeling creative and fulfilled! I still don't feel confident with these fashion posts, but they seem to get so many views from all over the world that I keep doing them!! Thanks to YOU for stopping by!!
September 27, 2017

Peak of the Week- 9-27-17



It is the Peak Of The Week-- it's all downhill from here!!! I returned to New Mexico to a great chill in the air. As I drove up "the hill" to return home, I loved looking at all the beautiful colors in the New Mexico mountains!!

Here are some things that have recently piqued my interest!!!

Blog Post about Grief- Call Your Realtor  - I so understand this post and highly recommend Christina Rasmussen to help with dealing with any type of grief. It is so hard to birth a new life for yourself when all of your surroundings are the same. The summer after R passed away, I completely redid my bedroom. I just needed a physical change in there as a start to my new life.

9 Things That Make You Unlikeable
I really liked this article because it lists some concrete characteristics and actions that people might find offensive. This list definitely made me do some self-reflection!!
Carl Jung:

I loved this article on Jung's factors for living a happy life. Such great quotes in this article!!

Reading this article featuring Jung, made me think of him and his work. I am fascinated with Carl Jung's work on Synchronicity. Because I have experienced such events, I started studying the ideas of coincidence. I like to also call them "Godwinks", and I highly recommend the books titled Godwinks. Jung studied and came up with the concept of synchronicity, and I can't read enough of his work!!

Here is a post I wrote before I started researching the concept of synchronicity. It was odd happenings in my life like this one that caused me to start searching. This post talks about our cat, Hemingway.

Video on Synchronicity- You can watch this video to understand a bit of Jung's beliefs.



Booklists:

Books to read when you are in a rut
 I have read many of the books on this list, and the ones I haven't read are on my "to read" list!!

11 books all writers should read
If you have any interest in writing, these titles are great to read to hone your craft!! I have set a goal to read all of them. So many books, so little time!!

Let me know if you read or have read any of these books as well as your thoughts on them. I love a good discussion over books!!!

Have a blessed rest of your week!!
September 20, 2017

Peak of the Week- 9-20-17

Peak Of The Week- Happy Wednesday!!
Here are some links that piqued my interest lately!!
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I haven't posted regularly in a very long time. I have somewhat lost my voice! Life happens, doesn't it??? I've had some life issues that have silenced me, but I'm slowly digging my way out- I have a post titled "bloody nubs" which is a whole "thing" that the Suze and I have to encourage each other. I'll share it sometime!! Anyway, I had to combine two Peak Of The Week posts because I had been working on them and then didn't feel like posting so some of these links might be a bit old, but they are some that I really enjoyed and wanted to share.

Let's all keep praying for and encouraging each other! I know I can sure always use both!!

A year of saying No- Why is it so hard to say NO? The older I get the more I am learning how, but it is still a difficult battle!!

What Returning Your Shopping Cart Says About You - I really hate driving up to a parking lot and seeing carts out blocking spaces! Since I am a "cart returner", I love hearing what this says!!

Your Online Identity After You Die- What Facebook Has To Say About It - This was something we faced when R died. M didn't want her father's Facebook account to be open to anyone writing on the wall of the account so she had it memorialized. Here is what Facebook says about options. I'm not sure what we will decide in the future. It is such a personal decision.

Travel Apps  -- I hope I remember these for future travel!!







August 26, 2017

What I Wore To Church August 20, 2017

Dr. T and I have not been to church all summer. It has been a strange summer because we have been gone every weekend all summer, and so it was nice to be back today.

We started with this scripture: Galatians 3:26-29

26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

I'm very thankful for our church here. I'm extremely thankful for the Chinese ministry that is offered. I hope to someday become more involved with it.

This is what I wore to church today:

While we were in Brighton, England, there was an unexpected heatwave. I hadn't packed for the heat and humidity that we experienced so I had to go shopping for some clothes to wear for a few days. Poor me, right? Luckily, there was an H&M nearby. I found a couple of cute, black very casual dresses to buy. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw this dress. I loved the bell sleeves. I loved the paisley print. I had to have it. (similar)

I bought this bracelet from a young woman who was in M's sorority in college. She started a nonprofit while in college which helped Ugandan girls pay their school fees to attend school. All the jewelry was handmade, by Ugandan women. I think she closed the business because the website has been taken down. I've always loved this bracelet!


Dr. T bought these earrings for me in Aspen. We had so much fun at a Farmer's Market while we were there. I met the artist and loved all of her glass jewelry.  My favorite thing is to have a memory attached to something that I buy like this. I love meeting the artist or jeweler when I get to meet them. I love hearing the story behind the piece!! 


Wedges will never go out of style for me. Since I've pretty much ruined some cartilage and joints in my toes from running, if I want to wear heels, it has to be a wedge heel.  These are so comfortable. I wore them when I worked in the library. They are Coach. (Similar- here and here)





August 22, 2017

My Colonoscopy!!

My Colonoscopy!!

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I know I'm warped, and I've raised two warped kids because we are all Seinfeld freaks-- still after all of these years. I couldn't go through my colonoscopy prep without thinking back to one of my favorite Seinfeld episodes!!




I'm 53. For the past 3 years, I've remembered what my San Antonio gynecologist told me the last time I saw him before I moved to New Mexico. -- He took my hands in his and said, "Sharon, get your colonoscopy. If colon cancer is caught early it is easily cured. If not, just having it will ruin your life." He knew firsthand because his wife had to end her OB/GYN practice because of her colon cancer diagnosis.

Since then, I've unfortunately had several people that I care about diagnosed, and still, I haven't gone yet. When I was back in Texas this summer, I went to the beach for a couple of days with some of my closest friends. Of the four of us, three still hadn't gone in for a colonoscopy. The three of us did a pinky swear that we would schedule ours within a few months. I'm the first!!!

Since getting the appointment, I have been a bit surprised at what the build up to "the day" entails. I thought I would be able to eat my normal diet up until the day before, take the laxative starting that afternoon, and let my body take it from there.

My prep started five days before. I  had to start eating a low fiber diet. I didn't realize what a high fiber diet I do eat until I saw the list of things to avoid for five days.  Here is how the diet went:

Thursday: I ate frosted flakes for breakfast. Usually, I eat a nut bar in yogurt with my coffee. For lunch and dinner, I had macaroni and cheese. I rarely eat mac and cheese, and if I do I would eat spinach or some sort of greens with it along with a protein, but Thursday, it was just mac and cheese.

Friday: I again had Frosted Flakes for breakfast. I met a friend for Chinese Food for lunch. It was a buffet so that helped. I piled my plate with rice, noodles, and chicken. I made sure to leave off any vegetables which normally would have filled my plate. Dr. T and I went to a concert in the park that evening and we normally would grab a burger, hot dog, or Frito pie there, but I can't eat red meat. We ended up running by Sonic and I just got a milkshake-- not too bad.


Saturday- mid morning I made us breakfast tacos. I can eat eggs and cheese so this seemed like a normal meal. I bought a rotisserie chicken for the rest of the weekend. By the chickens, they had pre-made mashed potatoes so I bought those too. I cooked a roast for Dr. T who does not eat chicken!! For dinner, I had chicken and mashed potatoes with gravy.


Sunday- After church, I made a chicken salad sandwich for lunch. For dinner, I had chicken and white rice. Dr. T has teased me that wine is a clear liquid. I didn't drink any wine on Monday- my clear liquid day.

While planning how I was going to survive these 5 days of low fiber meals, I decided that I was going to embrace these days. I love pasta, potatoes, white rice etc, but I don't allow myself to eat them very often. So my Dr. was giving me permission to eat starch, and I was going to embrace those days!!

Monday- I had coffee with no cream and jello for breakfast. I took a friend to Santa Fe for a follow-up Dr. appointment from a surgery she had last week. Luckily, that helped me keep my mind off of not eating solid foods! I really didn't have anything else the rest of the day besides a soda and water. I never really got very hungry so I'm very thankful for that!
We stopped at Camel Rock on our way to Santa Fe to watch the eclipse. It was very overcast, but we were able to see our 72% eclipse!!

Monday afternoon started my true cleanse. I was very nervous about drinking so much of the gunk, but I have to say, it wasn't terrible. I had to drink half of the jug Monday afternoon.  I got up at 4:30 Tuesday morning to finish it off.

I'm happy to report that the colonoscopy is over. I got very good results. And, the best news is that I don't have to do it again for ten more years!!

I don't mean to make light in any way of this very serious subject!!  I know several people whom this disease has devastated. I think Dr. T was shocked that I was will to share something so personal on here, but I really am doing it to encourage others to go have it done. It could quite possibly save your life.  Please let me know if you schedule one!!

                     I'm so grateful for my good report today!! I don't take days like this or news like
this lightly! I'm alive and healthy. I'm so thankful!!!
June 21, 2017

2nd Anniversary!! Choosing Life After Loss


Our first night in Brighton. The English Channel behind us- water was very cold!!

It is very hard to believe that Dr T and I are celebrating our second anniversary! Our lives have changed so much over the past few years. Knowing that we are starting our third year being married is an indescribable feeling!!

He and our relationship grow more special and more important to me as the days and weeks go by.   He is so good to me, and we just seem to "get" each other.

Maybe it's the grief thing that we have in common. Maybe it's the deep friendship that started with that 15/16-year-old girl and that 17/18-year-old boy who were such special friends in high school. I like to believe that it is those things plus a huge "God Thing." I truly believe that God placed a special place in each other's hearts for our friendship.  He made sure that we got to know each other and have a special bond because he knew how desperately we would need each other later on in our lives. As a great friend once told me, "God moves the puzzle pieces of our lives." That surely seems to be the case for us!!

As I sit here in a hotel room in Brighton, England, writing and thinking about my life today, I am so thankful for what has been, grateful for what is, and hopeful for what is to come. I look back over the past 2+ years and I see the miracle that has been my life. I see stresses and strains. I see joy. I see pain. AND- I see growth. It hasn't always been easy these past two years. We have had our struggles. We both brought baggage into this marriage from our pasts that needed to be dealt with. I shared a quote with Dr T one time, "Everyone comes with baggage. Find someone who loves you enough to help you unpack." I think that I have helped him unpack his, and I know he has helped me unpack mine.


Over the past two years, we have truly tried to live our life together abundantly!!  But we have said and done things to hurt each other as well. We have had to join two completely different lives, and that is not an easy task. One thing  I know for sure is that although it hasn't been easy, it certainly has been worth it.

It is interesting being in this life together-- being each other's Chapter Two!! I made a quick dash into a store before we left the US to find an anniversary card so I would be sure to have one while we were here. What I thought would be an in and out quick trip turned out to be over half an hour looking for a card. First, I wanted to try and find one to convey to him how much I love him and appreciate him. But I also wanted it to be real and honest. Dr T and I aren't each others' "one and only." We aren't each others' "only true love." We are each other's support and strength. What we do have is a bond that runs extremely deep. We have an affection for each other that goes way beyond the surface level of a mutual attraction to someone. I have come to realize that my soul is in need of his soul.

And I was able to finally find a card that said what I wanted and needed it to say. It speaks of wanting to "savor every moment" and "feel deep gratitude for every single day." That is what our life together is.

We have a tradition- a kissing selfie in front of a famous landmark or natural site. The list includes:
The top of Ajax Mountain in Aspen, Hoover Dam, Sunset in Jamaica, A Corner in Winslow, Arizona,
Old Faithful... the list goes on. Not bad for two years!!

Our latest from this trip-- Kissing Selfie in front of Buckingham Palace!! ( I know you probably think "how stupid" but it has been fun to do. And we get a sweet kiss in the process) My kids would be gagging right now if they read my blog!! But I wonder where else we will get to take a "kissing selfie"? A girl can dream, can't she??

We were so hot! We were living on the fumes of only 2 hours sleep on our flight to London, but it was a very special day-- We were in London for the festivities of the Queen's birthday!!

The past two years have flown. I'm looking forward to what the future brings with my adventure partner, soul mate, and best friend!!!