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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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January 31, 2017

Tuesday Technology Tip- Two Great Google Chrome Extensions!!

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When I was a school librarian, the library staff always shared technology tips every week called Tuesday Tip. I still like to keep up with technology- especially for schools. I no longer have teachers with whom to share so I will share on the blog!!
You can see all the tabs I have open at any given time!!

I LOVE Google. I love everything about GOOGLE. I use a Chromebook most of the time and usually have anywhere from 10-20 tabs open. I like the ability to go back and forth quickly from one website to another. However, two things that I love were slowing down my Chromebook. Grammarly and having all of those tabs open were not good with my need for speed while browsing the web and doing research!!

ENTER- The Great Suspender  It is an extension for Chrome that allows the user to decide how much time they want a tab to still be usable before it is suspended when not being used. I have mine set for a few minutes. When I go back to the tab, all I do is click the refresh button and the website is up and ready for use. While it is suspended, it doesn't use up any power from your machine. I'm sure this can be found on other Browsers, but like I said, I love Chrome.


The other great resource that I use with Chrome is Grammarly. Grammarly checks my spelling on any webpage that I happen to find myself, and helps easily correct any mistakes that are made. I have loved using it, but did find that it slowed down my Chromebook. I'm just now using it along with The Great Suspender so we will see how things progress

Oh, and Thanks to my daughter M for telling me about The Great Suspender!!  It has made a huge difference. She says that many people at her work use it!!
January 25, 2017

Peak of the Week- things that piqued my interest this week!

Wednesdays aren't just hump days... They are the peak of each week! It's all downhill from here!

Here are some things the piqued my interest this week:

1.  Am I really so boring that I can't pick a side???  Here are two sides of the great debate that we find ourselves in and I can completely see the opinions and understand!!


AND



2.  I love this video for so many reasons. What a great Daddy this little girl has!!



3.  Can you imagine living in a town where the streets are made of water? How fun!

January 24, 2017

50 THINGS EVERY WOMAN SHOULD HAVE BY AGE 50

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I love this photo of Iris Von Arnim a German fashion designer. Isn't she beautiful?

I turned 53 on Sunday- 53!! I don't feel old, in fact when M called to tell me Happy Birthday, she even told me that she (in her 24 year old mind) doesn't think that 53 is old. I can remember my parents at 53- I don't remember thinking they were old, they were just older than me and I've always known- much wiser!
But the older I get the more that I realize that I want to appreciate my life, and I want to live it to the fullest!! I wrote a post when I turned 50 (here) about having the blessing of days into my 51 year that R never got and how I never wanted to take those days for granted. I am beyond grateful just to be alive- I know that life is a privilege that is denied to some. I am grateful that I got to spend MLK weekend with my children! I got to see them ski. I got to share meals with them and hear their stories. I got to cook meals with them and listen to music that they like. I got to laugh with them AND just BE with them. It was glorious!!
You will never hear me complain about getting older- I never will. Age brings wisdom. Age brings gratitude. Age brings appreciation. Age brings Life! It's the best thing ever!!!
So, a while back I was reading a post in the blog Two Southern Sweeties, and I loved what I read there- a list of everything a woman should have by age 50. I enjoy the notion of bucket lists etc so I was all over that list to see what of those 50 things I've had the privilege of enjoying. M- if you are reading, keep these in minds.
Here's the list with my thoughts!!
1. An old boyfriend who makes you smile with melancholy when you remember him and an old boyfriend who makes you proud of how far you’ve come.--I have several old boyfriends whose memories make me smile! I never had a boyfriend who treated me badly so I guess I'm very lucky
2. A piece of furniture that has never been previously owned by anyone in your family that you bought with your own money and makes you happy.-- I have bought several new pieces of furniture over the years, however the ones that bring me the most joy are family pieces that have been given to me.
3. An outfit that makes you feel invincible if your future employer or man of your dreams calls to meet you in an hour.--I have outfits that I like, I always wish I were thinner and therefore don't ever feel completely comfortable- I wish that weren't the case!
4. A set of lingerie that you would not be ashamed to be seen wearing.-- Yes- I wrote a post about how I love to linger in the mornings with family and coffee- you have to be OK being seen in your PJs in order to linger!
5. At least one scar on your heart where HE hurt you.--Yes- of course. Love makes us vulnerable doesn't it? I've been hurt by R and Dr T- hurt deeply. But I also want to be a wife who extends grace!
6. A past juicy enough that you’re looking forward to retelling it in your old age.-- Not too much. I never really went through a wild stage, but I think I still have some good stories to share.
7. The realization that you are actually going to have an old age — and some money set aside to help fund it.--Yes- I'm a planner so I have planned for retirement. Since Dr T and I are in 2nd marriages, this was something that needed to be dealt with as well. I'm thankful that neither of us needed the other financially! We are certainly better together, but I would have been OK by myself!!
8. An email address, a voice mailbox, and a bank account — all of which nobody has access to but you.-- I have all of these things on my own, but I think in a marriage, your spouse has the right to have access to all. What do you think?
9. A dream so big it scares you.-- Uh Yes- This blog and making it public soon is very scary!!!
10. At least One friend who always makes you laugh and one who lets you cry.--I have the best friends in the world- more than ONE who is both of these for me!
11. A set of screwdrivers, a cordless drill, and a pair of totally unpractical shoes.--I've always had my own set of "easy" tools like hammers etc. Not so sure about the shoes, but I did spend a ton of money on a pair of Louis Vuitton rain/snow boots practical yet financially impractical!!
12. Something ridiculously expensive that you bought for yourself, just because you deserve it.-- My nude paintings in my Texas and New Mexico bathrooms- don't ask me why! They weren't that expensive, but I'm not an "art person" so I guess I'll count those.
13. The belief that you are worthy of treating yourself with respect.--I've always believed this. I had great parents and a great faith in a God who loves me!
14. A skin-care regimen, an exercise routine, a push-up bra and a great pair of spankx-- Yes, Yes, Yes, and Yes (check, check, check, check)
15. At least One recipe you cook well to impress the fussiest of guests--I don't have a large repertoire of recipes that are too sheee sheee, but I am a fairly good cook. I think I can please most people's palates!
16. A place to go just to think… where you can be completely alone with your thoughts.--My new life. I'm living my Walden!!
17. At least one child who looks to you for guidance and advice…even if he or she isn’t your own.--I think C and M look to me for guidance at times. When I was still working at my former school, I had a couple of young teachers whom I loved to no end. I feel they came to me for the sharing of ideas! I liked that! I feel that is what I do with my kids now too. We share ideas and thoughts. It’s really nice to have adult children!!
18. The knowledge on how to break-up with a man or confront a friend without losing your temper or your self respect.--I'm better, but I don't think I've accomplished this one. I usually choose to avoid confrontation.
19. At least one lover who knew exactly how to touch you to make your toes curl.--I've been happily married twice to wonderful men!! I don’t need to say any more!
20. The memory of a kiss so powerful…just the thought of it could sustain you into old age.--Not so much a kiss, but intimacy that could sustain me-- intimate moments (not necessarily physical) are the stuff that life is made of!!
21. The medical history that runs in your family so you can take care of YOU!--Yes!
22. The ability to live on your own and not be dependent on anyone.--Yes!! Emotionally and Financially!
23. An outfit that feels like you are in a cocoon and safe from the world…it’s usually fleece or flannel--I love my yoga pants and t-shirts!!
24. The ability to let go of the hurts from your childhood and embrace the fact that your parents did the best they could with the skills they had--Not many hurts! I know my parents did their best, and they did a good job! I think we can all look back and find things that we can find fault with, but I choose to look back and remember the good things!
25. One secret that makes you smile.--I'm too much of a "sharer" to have a secret to make me smile-- I'd have to share it!!
26. A memory that makes you cringe….because those memories were lessons that brought you to here--Yes- unfortunately the cringe comes from remembering my behavior!!
27. A journal full of your deepest thoughts--Of Course! I've kept a journal most of my life. I burned some at one point, but I've always kept one.
28. A person you can call at 4 in the morning because you’re in a bind-- Yes- my sister, and many friends! When I was getting married and moving my whole life for Dr T, one of my best friends who is a rancher told me that she was just a phone call away. She said that if I moved and realized that I’d made a mistake, just call her and she would be here in no time with her horse trailer to move me back to Texas! Luckily, I haven’t felt the need to call!
29. The knowledge of what you are willing to accept and what you are not in a relationship--Of course!! But I think even with this knowledge each experience has to be weighed for what it is!!
30. Something you do that’s just for you and no one else. Yes- exercise!!
31. A piece of jewelry that has sentimental meaning-The diamond from my wedding ring from R is now a beautiful necklace! I love wearing it!
32. An older woman in your life who embodies the traits you wanna develop in your old age.--Yes- several woman of faith who have influenced me! And, of course my mother!!
33. A spirituality that feeds your spirit and nourishes your soul.--Being spiritual and open to spiritual thoughts and experiences are huge for me!
34. A soundtrack to your life that when you hear it on the radio you sing at the top of you lungs--Yes- I actually have a blog post started on this topic! Music has been a big part of my life. I do get specific memories when I hear certain songs!!
35. Someone or something you LOVE with your whole heart--Not many "things" but many people!
36. A to do list that never gets completely checked off--Dr T makes fun of me and my lists. I'm a list maker-I don't apologize for it!
37. Enough money to run away in case you have to-Well, if I wanted to run away and live a very frugal life!!
38. A purpose to rise out of bed every morning--Even though I'm not working, yes, I still feel I have a strong purpose!
39. The ability to look in a mirror and love the ripples and bumps and wrinkles that stare back at you….because you earned them all over time.--Working on this one!
40. The ability to say NO without having to add anything further.-- Yes- at age 53 an accomplishment!
41. A hobby that you can get lost in for hours.--If reading blogs and articles is a hobby then yes. I get lost for hours reading online. It's too easy to read something and then go off on a research tangent!
42. A hole in your heart from losing someone you have loved deeply…Unfortunately Yes- losing R was the single greatest loss and hurt of my life. It took so much to move forward from it.
43. Done at least one thing kind for someone that has no way to ever repay your kindness…I hope many...
44. A “Been there – Done that” T-shirt to starting over from scratch..whether it be from a divorce, a career change, a massive loss or surviving life’s curve ball.--Yes- several of the above, but the thing about wearing that t-shirt is that it isn't the "been there, done that, don't ever have to do it again" t-shirt. I know all too well that I can't play the "widow card" and think that nothing bad will ever happen to be again. Life doesn't work that way!
45. A photo album full of memories..even if it’s on a flash drive or saved to the cloud.--Yes. I believe in taking many pictures!! I love pictures!
46. A passport… Up to date and ready to be stamped for the next adventure.Yes- and I'm already planning the next family adventure!!
47. At least one grey hair, wrinkled and saggy body part…. If you don’t.. Something’s wrong.-- Ha-- all of the above!! But I have a great hair dresser so gray hair isn't an issue for me at the moment. One day I hope to have beautiful gray hair!! Just like the woman in the picture. Wouldn't you love to sit and sip a coffee and visit with her? She's so inviting!
48. An accomplishment that’s all yours…outside of your children, not tied to your spouse…something you have done or created all on your own.-- My greatest single accomplishment is finishing the NOLA marathon!
49. The knowledge of who you are as a woman. What makes you happy and what is no longer tolerated.--Yes, but again, I feel that each experience has its own set of circumstances; everything is relative!
50. The understanding that 50 is not over the hill…its not even close to the hill…. There is no hill even on the horizon….cuz you still have shit to do….--Dr T and I had this conversation on my Bday this week. I'm 53. I don't think I will live to see 106 so simple math lets me know that I've already lived more years than I will see in the future. I'm OK with that. This perspective makes me take glory in each day and each experience!!
This list is just something that I came across, but it makes me think of what I'd like to have under my belt in the next 10 years. It makes me reflect on what I could/ should have done. I think I would add more experiences with my kids and family. I would add living in a foreign city- something that I never did, but have supported M to do on a couple of occasions. She still says that her summer living in Beijing was a great life changing experience! I would add service to the world in some way either something big such as Peace Corps or serving in my community and church.

So there it is- my response to the list. How many do you relate to? What should be added?
January 21, 2017

Women's March/ Election

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This blog speaks to how I feel about the Women's March today. I've been told on some that if i don't understand then I should just move along. I'm trying to move forward, but I feel like neither side will allow it. I'm sickened by both sides of this situation. I have friends on Facebook who are still trashing the Obamas!! What is going on?

Please, Please, STOP- both sides, just stop!! I can't take anymore!!

"If you can't relate to people's pain, move along."  Facebook post by John Pavlovitz       



I'm sorry, but I can't really relate to what some of these women are saying. I listened to Elizabeth Warren's speech and it was just full of soundbites! Every "key word" or "buzz word" that she could come up with is what she used in her speech- pathetic. At least be original and come up with your own words without just spewing every phrase that has already been said.

So here is the post- I tried to embed it, but couldn't get it to work, and I want to share it today. This says exactly how I feel.
Thanks Jonathan Turley for putting my scattered thoughts into words.
January 09, 2017

Coming Clean - What I'm Reading



I finished reading Coming Clean by Kimberly Rae Miller last night. Wow- what a read!! Memoir/ Biographies are my favorite genre. I love reading about people's lives. I gain strength from learning of what others have overcome.

I've written about it before, but the summer after R passed away, I read Unbroken. I was really amazed at how much strength I gained from reading about Zamperini's life and how he overcame the torture and other obstacles that he endured during WWII. I knew that I could overcome my personal tragedy if he could have overcome ALL of his.

I, like so many others, joke about being a hoarder when I'm trying to clean up the clutter that I've let accumulate at my house. But, Coming Clean is a real look at hoarding and how it affected a young girl who was raised in a home with parents who were hoarders. I loved understanding her thoughts as she shares how she maneuvered around friends picking her up and dropping her off so they wouldn't see the mess that was her home. I cringed reading how bad the filth grew until the family was without any water due to rotted pipes. Although the concept of hoarding is foreign to me, the family dynamics and relationship aspects are things we all relate to.

The most poignant aspect of the memoir was the fact that she loved her parents so much, and even though she was embarrassed by them, she still helped them "dig out" the trash on many occasions to try to help them.

It is a true example of honoring your parents to the fullest extent. I highly recommend this book.
January 06, 2017

Cadillac Ranch

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I grew up outside of Amarillo, Texas in the town of Hereford. Even thought we were so close to the Cadillac Ranch, I never went. I always heard stories about it. I loved to listen to Bruce Springsteen sing about the ranch, but I never really had a desire to go. My parents certainly never encouraged it!!

When my daughter M was in high school we were back visiting my inlaws in Hereford, and she and I decided to go see it. It was a very cold day and she loved it!!

December 2008- I love all the geese in the background.

Dr. T and I drive right by it when driving back to the Dallas area from New Mexico. I'm always fascinated by it and like to stop. It's a good excuse to get out and stretch legs! We stopped again while driving back from Christmas.


















I grew up hearing stories about Stanely Marsh- the eccentric millionaire who agreed to let the group of artists "plant" the Cadillacs on his property and pay for it. (more info)

A few months ago a friend texted me a picture of a strange sign. A friend of hers was in Amarillo and was finding all these weird signs, and my friend was wondering if I knew what they were. I told her I was sure they were Stanely Marsh's signs. He commissioned strange signs to be erected all over Amarillo.

To view more signs click here. (photo by Brandon Carpenter)


Thinking of Stanley Marsh reminds me of the saying that I love " In Texas (or the South) we don't try to hide our crazy people. We like to sit them on the front porch and give them a cocktail." I like the idea of being eccentric, but I'm afraid I'm too boring to ever be considered that way. It has been my goal for several years- to be the eccentric old lady in town. I think people who are truly their own selves live much happier lives.

Stanley Marsh died several years ago, but his legacy will live on for years to come. There are so many things that I hope for myself in 2017, but one is that I just want to truly be myself. I believe that getting older has taught me not to care what others think- something that I have struggled with in the past.

May we all be our true eccentric selves in 2017.