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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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February 28, 2017

Shopping With My Sister!

I don't write much about my sister, The Suze!! I have an entire post about her in my head, but it needs to be perfect before I write about her because she deserves that!

My brother-in-law had to be in Albuquerque for business last week so I drove into town and spent the day shopping with her. We had said before that we didn't want to spend any money and would "just look." Funny how it never works out that way!!!

Here is The Suze!! Isn't she the cutest!!!???

She quit work a few years ago and now her look is very casual for running errands. She also spends a lot of time helping our parents as well as her mother-in-law with appointments. 

We spent the day at ABQ Uptown. It is a nice shopping center in Albuquerque. I had never been there. I usually shop when I go back to Texas, but Uptown was very nice and we had a great time on a beautiful day.

I chose my usual black for the day. I bought this purse in California and it is deserving of its own blog post so you'll have to wait to hear about it!!

Susan picked out this cute top and jeans for an upcoming trip to Florida for Spring Training. We said we were going to take pictures of everything we bought, but we talked so much we forgot to get pictures of most of our things!!

This is at The Loft    jeans     blouse 

I have been wanting to get a bell sleeve shirt. I saw this one and thought it would be so cute to wear with jeans. The Suze thought it would be overpowering on me, but after I tried it on, we both decided it fit pretty well!!  
The Suze started a fashion blog a few years ago and stopped doing it soon after. I'm trying to convince her to start it back up. She has a great sense of style and you would love what she puts together!!

This was my favorite non-sale purchase at Banana Republic. I love it!

I loved this at Ann Taylor

We ate lunch at California Pizza Kitchen. I usually like to eat at local restaurants instead of chains, but since I don't know very much about Albuquerque and we were pressed for time, we chose this. It was a great lunch and of course even better conversation!!

We ended the day with purchases from The Loft, AnnTaylor, Banana Republic and Anthropologie. Not bad for a "just looking" day!!!
February 22, 2017

Peak of the Week- Here are some things that piqued my interest this week

It's Wednesday- the peak of the week!! I hope all is well for everyone!

Gut Bacteria
I know read every article that I find on gut c. It really is a fascinating subject. I am trying really hard to be sure that I eat so that the bacteria in my gut will keep me healthy. Here is the latest article that I've read on the subject.

Free Pictures to use online
When I was a librarian, I went to Austin every year to a technology conference- TCEA. I learned so much every year. They shared a list compiled by an attendee of places online to find pictures to use online!

60 year old starts running!!
I loved this because it shows that it is never too late to do something that we really want. Since I am struggling with getting back into running in my own life, this article really spoke to me.

Neti Pot  - I use a neti pot twice a day right now. I will have to use a neti pot at least once a day for the rest of my life. This article made the rounds on social media this past week. I had a conversation about this at my last appointment because I was going to be traveling to California and I wanted to know if it was OK for me to use bottled water instead of the purified water that I normally use. He told me that I can use tap water. The chances of getting the ameba are very slim.

Since I am perimenopausal- This article was good
So many of my friends have had issues with menopause and I want to make sure that I am as healthy as I can be while experiencing all of the changes going on in my body.
February 21, 2017

Sit Down and Shut Up!!!

If you are receiving this post by email, please go to the blog to be sure to see full content.

Here's your chair- Sit Down and Shut Up

                                                                                     photo by:Hernán Piñera

I say it all the time, "I am so lucky." Even though my husband passed away way too young, I am so lucky for so many reasons.

One way that I was lucky- blessed was with the people in my life. I never felt judged by the choices I made following R's passing. There is only one person who ever said anything negative to me about my relationship with Dr. T, and although it hurt me, I really didn't expect anything different from her. She had always been critical of me so this was no different.

One thing that grief does is change the people who experience it. I am a very different person than I was before losing R. One of the biggest ways that I've changed is in my opinions of others. I feel I was way too judgemental of people. I looked at their lives and formed my opinions because of course my opinion was what mattered... WAIT... Did I really feel that way??

I guess I did, but I don't anymore. So when I read this recent blog post by The Good Men Project, it really struck a nerve with me. I love what he has written. I love how simple the concept is... When I feel the need to judge someone, I need to "Sit Down and Shut Up." It really is as simple as that! This post is written in the context of widowed people finding love again, and the people who feel the need to judge them because of it. However, I think it is just great advice for all of us!!

What do you think of this article? Are these words you need to remember?

Sit Down and Shut Up
(click to go out to The Good Men Project)
February 17, 2017

I didn't get 1st place! Valentine's Day Writing Contest

I didn't get first place in our local Valentine Story contest, but I did get my story published in the local paper. The contest was to write your Valentine Story so this is what I wrote!!

Yes, I’m In Love With Two Men

I know it sounds strange, but I’m in love with two men.

Although my story really starts when I was in high school, I will fast forward to a beautiful Sunday night, April 29, 2012, when my husband collapsed right in front of me while we were getting ready for the start of a  new week. We had just celebrated our 26th wedding anniversary on the San Antonio Riverwalk. We had both been traveling for work the week before so one night on the Riverwalk was all we could fit into our busy schedules that year. Before I knew it, the ER physician was telling me that they had done all they could, but they couldn’t save R’s life.

I was devastated. There were no signs of trouble with his health. He hadn’t complained about not feeling well or pains in his chest. He was simply there with me one minute and gone the next. My life would never be the same because the man I loved the most whom I depended on for everything was suddenly gone from my life.

Our children who were in college at Texas A&M at the time both came home to help me deal with arrangements. Family and friends filled our home, and I wanted for nothing except to have my wonderful husband back with me.

The church was full with family and friends for his memorial service. While greeting a co-worker of R’s, I noticed someone waiting to speak to me. I looked up to see Dr T, one of my best friends from high school. It was so wonderful to see him standing there. I grabbed him, hugged him, and told him how much I had thought of him that week. I had thought so much of him that week because he had lost his wife a few years before. While talking to high school friends who had come to support us, I made sure to tell him that I wanted to be in touch with him. I knew that if anyone could understand what I was facing it would be him. I knew from past experience that if someone could help me process all this and deal with my new reality, it would be him.

Time passed and my daughter, M, was about to leave for her study abroad in Europe. I was dealing with all the “business” that goes along with losing someone- probating the will, dealing with insurance, dealing with bankers, dealing with lawyers, dealing with all the well-meaning people- the list goes on and on. My son, C, was making plans to return to college. I felt my life spinning out of control, and I decided to reach out to Dr T to find out how he dealt with all of it.

I emailed him one night and verbally vomited onto the page all the emotions, thoughts, and feelings I was having. He emailed me back soon and dealt with each issue honestly and practically and helped me so much. Thus began our email counseling sessions that would become a lifeline for me. Eventually, the emails became phone calls. Those late night phone calls helped ease my mind at the end of long days. Phone calls became visits with each other. He came to see me in Texas, but it was the first trip I made to these beautiful mountains of New Mexico that began the soul healing for me. I usually slept most of my visits as exhaustion was my “drug of choice” while dealing with my grief. Being with someone who had been so special to me and who truly understood what I was going through was just what I needed.

Our relationship picked up right where we had left off all those years ago in our early 20’s. I hadn’t seen Dr T in many years, but I knew the special relationship that we had. That special bond that we had always had with each other was still there. I felt comfortable and calm in his presence. I knew I could trust what he was telling me. I knew that God had planted a very special seed in our relationship all those years ago, and now in this difficult time in both of our lives, that seed was beginning to grow.

And then, one night during a late night phone call, my mind had a big “wait a minute” moment. I was telling Dr T about an idea I had for my school where I was a librarian. I was telling him the quotes that I was going to use with this project, and before I knew it, he was reciting a poem that I had never heard before. If you are a lover of words as I am, then you know how powerful words can be in our lives. These words Dr T was speaking were more than words, they were feeding my soul, and I knew that our relationship was moving into a new dimension.

The next time we saw each other, things were different between us. He still made me laugh. We still talked about R and V and our losses, but we also knew that things were moving in a direction away from great friends and into a romantic love that was very scary for both of us.

The next step was dealing with the emotions that come with finding new love after losing a spouse. Dealing with guilt, anxiety, fear, doubts and all the other emotions that came our way became our new normal. We worked through things and decided that the distance between us was too far. We didn’t want to be away from each other any longer so we decided to get married.  I quit my wonderful job, left the greatest friends in the world, and moved to New Mexico to start a new life.

Being married to someone who was such a close friend has been fun. We still talk about R and V and the lives that we had. But luckily for us, we also get to dream of a bright future with each other.

So, yes, I’m in love with two men. I’m in love with the man of my past, the father of my children, the man with whom I grew up and with whom I created a beautiful life that was lost way too soon. I’m also in love with the man of my present and my future- the man who still lets me cry when I need to, who always makes me laugh, who has given me my life back.

I’m so thankful for second chances at love on this Valentine’s Day.
February 15, 2017

Peak of the Week-- Things That Piqued My Interest This Week

It's Wednesday- The peak of the Week!! I hope you are enjoying your Wednesday. I'm writing from the Oakland, CA area today. It is supposed to be sunny today with rain coming back in, but so far today it is very cloudy!!

There were many things I found interesting this week!!

Sweet Potato Fries
These just looked so good that I had to share!! I love sweet potatoes and they are so good for you!!
If you are looking for a healthy, low-fat meal, bake a sweet potato and only eat it with Ranch Style Beans on it. The flavors together are great. Dr. T and I have this for dinner with a salad on many No Meat Monday dinners!!

Remove political posts from facebook feed
I don't know if I can handle 4 years of the negativity!!! I may come back to this post and remove political posts from my Facebook. I honestly don't know what to believe anymore!!

Cute bookmarks-- These are heart shaped for Valentine's, but you could keep them as cute little fluffies at the end! Aren't they cute??

Memorable Funerals
Some of these are really funny! It reaffirms my belief that people really are crazy!!

Promise Rings- ward off the new way of cheating!! I read about these on a recent flight to California. I guess I would rather worry about Dr T cheating on my with Netflix rather than another woman!!
These are rings that keep your partner from watching your show without you!

Overthinking Things - How to stop damaging your relationship when you're an overthinker
This article isn't new, but someone shared it on Facebook and I read it at 3 in the morning when I couldn't sleep. I had a Eureka moment!! Things I wish I had learned about myself in my 20's!! This is it!! I am an overthinker, and I didn't realize it was a bad thing!! I thought it helped me deal with stuff!!
I love the analogy in this article where she compares overthinking with looking in a microscope!! It is so very true. I'm going to try to do better- I really am!!

February 07, 2017

Lady Ga Ga and a Lesson at Church

I loved Lady GaGa's Superbowl performance! I love that she started the show with patriotic music. I love that she told everyone she wanted to make us feel good. I LOVE that she said "Hi" to her mom and dad in the middle of her performance. I thought it was such a classy performance when there had been such speculation as to what exactly she would do, and it she would try to make a political statement during her performance. I wasn't surprised because she did such a class act job with our national anthem last year.

I will admit, I noticed a small "roll" on her stomach during her performance. I didn't think of it as being "fat" but instead, I thought that she should have had a better fitting with her outfit. It seemed as if it hit her at a really bad spot and made a "roll" appear. That was a brief thought that I had, and then I went back to enjoying the show!

To my dismay, I learned later that many people were critical of how she looked. Twitter was all a twitter with some saying she had a beer belly!  Really?? Did people really go there? Yes, they did. Only a few other performers could have put on the show that she did, and people are going to criticize.

 It is so easy to sit behind your phone or computer screen and tear someone down.

Oh wait- how many times have we heard that lately? For me?-- I just heard it at church that morning. Our pastor had a great sermon on encouragement. He used this story to make a point.

-- A church needed to remodel their sanctuary. It was 35 years old and they had never done any remodeling so it was in great need. The pastor got anyone who wanted to come in to help with the demolition. Different church members came, and without knowing anything about construction, began tearing out the carpet, tearing up the sheetrock, and completely gutting the inside of the sanctuary. He told them that it would be fine for him to tear out the sheetrock, but they sure wouldn't want him to help hang the sheetrock-- that takes a special skill.  It doesn't take any skill to tear it down, but putting it up is a different story.

Wow- what a lesson. It doesn't take any special skill to tear someone down. Anyone can do that. But it does take special skill and love for someone to lift them up.

Isnt' that a great analogy? I wish I had thought of it when I was raising my kids. It could have come in handy the times that they were hurt by words, or the times that I know they hurt others with their words.

So- I pretty confident that Lady Gaga won't let the negative change her day! I think she has more confidence in herself than to let it tear her down. Unfortunately, not all of us are Lady Gaga, and the truth is that words hurt- no matter how old and no matter how much life experience we have.

And by the way, I've always liked Lady Gaga's music, but after her halftime performance, she has gained a new fan. I really like her!!
February 03, 2017

I Had Sinus Surgery!

For your viewing pleasure- a video of polyp removal. I spared you the videos of people getting the packing removed, but if you want to see it, just go to Youtube- there are several to choose from!

Awww the nose! When things are good with it, they are very, very good, but when they are bad, they're awful!!!  Isn't there a nursery rhyme that goes a little like that? --actually, I just looked- it is from a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. I didn't realize that, I just know my mom used to say that to the grandkids!

I have had severe sinus issues for the past 15+ years. When my kids were little, I started having sinus issues and feeling terrible and tired all the time. One day I even blew a strange object out of my nose. It looked a lot like a navy bean. At that point, I knew something had to be done!!

After finding an ENT in San Antonio and learning that I was suffering from polyps, I decided to have surgery to remove them. That was about 15 years ago. I tried to keep up with treatment afterward, but motherhood and life got in the way and took the priority in my life. My nose was put on the back burner. I would occasionally go in and get a good dose of steroids and go on with my life. I loved my ENT in San Antonio!!

However, recently, my quality of life was dramatically affected by my sinus problems. Constant stuffiness, no smells, no taste in my food, and the worst was that I could see a polyp up in my sinus cavity when I looked in my make up mirror. I knew I had to do something.

Last summer I started doing some online research about polyps. I ordered an ebook off of Amazon about them. I learned about a polypvac and looked it up online. From the website, I thought I could just find a Dr who had one, go to his office and get him to vacuum away my polyps!!

I am the patient who always goes to the Dr. with my own diagnosis courtesy of  Google.-- I know, I'm sure that doctors just love me!! Since there were no doctors in the entire state of New Mexico that had the Polypvac, I looked to Texas, but my ENT there did not use the Polypvac. I found another doctor in San Antonio, and I went to him with the expectation that he would vacuum them away and my life would go on as planned! But I was wrong. Not only did he not want to use the Polypvac on me, I had the strangest experience with him! It all had to do with a wedding I was in town for, and I will save it for another blog post under the title- Yes Weird Things Always Happen To Me!!

I found myself at square one in my polyp saga. I started researching ENTs in New Mexico. I kept returning to the Southwestern Ear, Nose, and Throat clinic in Santa Fe. I was glad to find a place that looked promising where I wouldn't have to drive to Albuquerque. I started looking at doctors in the practice and kept returning to Dr. Matthew Hinsley. Most of the blog posts on the front page of the website were written by him, I liked his credentials, and his age appeared to me to be old enough to have a great amount of experience, but not so old that he would be retiring any time soon. I made an appointment telling myself that if I didn't feel comfortable with him, I would find someone else.

Luckily, I felt very comfortable with him. He has a very calming demeanor and what he told me was so much like my original ENT in San Antonio whom I trusted so much! I agreed to the surgery and things got underway to have it.

X-rays, additional visits, and phone calls were all it took to get scheduled for surgery. The office staff at Southwestern were great as well as the people I dealt with at St Vincent's Hospital where I had the surgery.

Surgery was Thursday, January 19th. Check in was easy and the nurse who prepped me for surgery was great. Before I knew it I was in recovery with Dr. T by my side. I woke up with a tissue taped under my nose and quite a bit of blood draining from it. I spent the weekend resting and sleeping propped up, but nothing out of the ordinary occurred. I took my prescription pain meds the first night just in hopes it would help me sleep. I wasn't in pain, but didn't sleep well so I never took it again. Dr. T took great care of me. I kept emotions at bay. When I had the surgery before, it was R who took me and took care of me. I don't ever let myself "go there" and compare Dr T or R with things. My life is just so different now and sometimes emotions just come. Living life after loss is full of those ambush moments when memories flood in. I focused once again on how lucky I am to have Dr T in my life!! He was wonderful and helped me all weekend.

Dr. T took pictures to send to my kids, mom and sister!! I look terrible, but I try to keep it real on here!!

Beautiful flowers a friend sent me for my surgery and my birthday!

The next step was my follow up visit. I was dreading it because I knew he would remove whatever packing or stents were up in there. It was not pleasant, but not terrible either, and it only lasted a few seconds. After that visit I felt like I was on the road to recovery. I could smell, blow my nose, taste my food-- life was good.

I felt really good one week out when I went for my follow up. I wanted to share what I wore to my appointment because I've always wondered what to wear this white vest with and I paired it with this beige sweater- which I ended up loving the look!! So easy and looked great with gold jewelry! Everything of course is from The Loft!

I have made a promise to myself that I WILL keep up with my nose this time to keep these dreadful polyps at bay. Dr. Hinsley has a plan for me and I intend to follow it to a T!!

I'm ready to get back to running as I'll have no excuse about it now. I have to do it! So thankful to Dr. Hinsley and the staff at Southwestern ENT in Santa Fe!! I highly recommend them if you find yourself in need of a good ENT in New Mexico!
February 01, 2017

Peak of the Week- Things that piqued my interest this week

Happy Wednesday. It's the Peak of the Week!!  It's all downhill from here!

Here are some things that have piqued my interest this week.

1.  Best Marriage advice from a divorced woman --  I thought this was a good list. So many things that I saw I did in my first marriage that I certainly don't want to repeat in my second. Age brings wisdom and I'm so glad that I've learned from past experience and don't want to repeat those mistakes or negative actions that I made with R.

2.  Giant Peg Board-- Many people have a large wall somewhere in their house. I think this could definitely take the place of bookshelves! I love the look.

3.  Floor made out of pennies-- Not sure if this is legal, but it sure looks cool! I'm wondering if the resin being so glossy would show every shoe print etc. I'd love to see it after it has had kids walk on it all day!!