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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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March 31, 2017

What I Wore- Wednesday Night Church

I wrote this post quickly and then headed out to church Wednesday night only to find that we didn't have a Wednesday night service because it is our spring break!! Oh well- hopefully I'll learn the ropes here soon...

Here's the post anyway!!

I lead a grief support group at my church on Wednesday evenings. GriefShare was a huge help in my healing after R passed away. When I moved to New Mexico, I realized there wasn't a group like this in my new town so I reached out to the ministers at my church and they supported my idea to start a group.

Since I don't work outside of the house, I don't really get "dressed" every day. I am a great supporter of yoga pants!!! Poor Dr T comes home many nights to me with no makeup and my hair in a ponytail!! I sometimes miss having to get up and rush to get dressed and out the door, but I'm very thankful for my quiet life now!

Here is what I wore:  

This is the bell sleeve top I bought whenI went shopping with my sister.
It's on sale now too!!
#loveloft  here

Sandals are Coach- mine are like Jellies (similar)

Trying to show off the bell sleeve!!
Jeans are from H&M.

The top is a bit sheer so I wear a cami under it!
I adhered to the quote, "Life is short. Eat the cake. Take the Trip. Buy the shoes" by buying the yoga pants! I won't show pictures of me wearing these! Only my friends at my class at the Y will have to suffer through that...

March 29, 2017

Peak Of The Week- It's Wednesday, Time for things that piqued my interest this week!!

Happy Wednesday everyone!! It's been a busy week. Here are a few things that made me stop and think this week!!

Non-fiction books are my favorite genre. Here is a list of life changing books! These are all short and although some have hard subject matter, they are easy to read!

We always hear of ways to stage our homes for selling- this article shares how to stage our home for living. It really made me think of what I keep in my home!!

I love this idea! It would be so fun to do with students as a fun activity using books!! It reminds me of the old "game" you can play with fortune cookies when you get one at a Chinese food restaurant- you all have to know this--- You read your fortune cookie and add at the end "in bed." We have laughed so hard over the years with that as the context of the fortune cookie. Of course, when my kids were with us we added "on the pot" instead. Fortune cookies are pretty funny in that context as well.

So here is my favorite book with the phrase added: 

When he was nearly thirteen my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow. And then the murders began.

All pictures in this post were downloaded from Pixabay and are copyright free under Creative Commons. 

If you like what you see/ read here, please share with others. I'm learning how important it is to share things on Pinterest to grow a blog so if you can, please use the Pinterest icon at the bottom of this post to share on Pinterest. You can also follow me on Facebook and Instagram
March 27, 2017

What I wore- My date with myself to the movies!

 Dr. T plays golf after church on Sundays so I often go see a movie that I don't think he would want to see. Today I'm seeing The Shack. I know it if quite controversial, but I read the book before it became popular and was so intrigued by it. My belief is- It's Fiction.

Here is what I wore-

I love the colors in this top. I actually got several compliments from people at the movie theatre. 
I love that it is longer in the back to cover my bum!!

Tunics are my favorite tops. They are flattering and hide so much! I bought this at a shop near Molly's work in NYC. The Suze and I walked in and saw an entire wall of Tunics! So fun to pick some out!!

These are some of my favorite jeans. I bought them at H&M. The finish is very smooth.
Sandals are Michael Kors (similar).

By the way- I loved the movie. It had been so long since I'd read it that I had really forgotten so much of the story. It was well done and a great message!! Several lines of dialogue really resonated with me. I thought it was great!!

I'm really trying to grow my readership. I have several personal goals with this blog. I'll try
to share those at some point. One main goal is to grow my readership. If you like what you see/ read
here, please share with friends!! Facebook and Instagram

March 22, 2017

Random Thoughts of Prayer While On My Run

I continue to be overwhelmed by the number of people who are following my blog. If you have signed up to receive emails of my blog, please be sure to activate it when you get the email. You will get an email from Feedburner and will need to click on a link to be officially signed up to get emails. Feedburner is telling me that there are still a few people who haven't activated their account.

I spent last weekend with my parents. I am still blessed to have both of my parents fairly healthy!! My dad has had some issues, but he is well cared for by my mom and is so happy and content!! They are a huge blessing to me. We were busy and had a great time together.

My parents live on some land that they bought out of my grandparents' estate. Their house sits on land that butts up with a farm that my grandfather owned. I have great memories of going to this farm as a little girl to fish with my grandad. After R passed away, I came several times that summer- especially when C had to be out of town. It was during those visits that I started running through the farm up to the top of a hill which is the highest point on the property. It seems like one can see forever up there, and I love being there! For the past 5 years, I've run up to the top of that hill, sat for a while, and prayed so hard for so many things. I mostly prayed for C and M. I did not know what our future held, but I knew I could pray to the one who holds that future.

This past Thanksgiving, C and M ran with me up to the top of that hill. They run much faster than me, and it made my day to see those two ahead of me laughing and being silly the whole way while I ran with all my might to keep up with them! We got to the top and M used her camera timer on her phone to take some fun pictures. It was while we were standing up there that it hit me-- "Did they have any idea that I had prayed for them up here?" I know they know that I pray for them, but suddenly I had this great desire to make sure that they knew and saw the physical spot where so many prayers had been said for them. So I, through a few tears, got it out. As much as they both hate to see/ hear me cry, they stood there and smiled and acknowledge the moment for me. It was an important moment for me- and then it was over.

Over until this weekend. While I was up there I wondered if it would have made a difference to them growing up if I had made a point to tell them specific ways, places, ideas that I had prayed for them like I did during our Thanksgiving run. I have always told them I would pray for something specific, but I don't know that I really followed through that much and made sure they knew the specifics that I actually did. Maybe it doesn't matter, but maybe it could have. Maybe if nothing else, it would have made a difference for me.

Playing around with the timer on my camera!! I'm by myself so much this will be the
only way I can get pics of me for the blog!!

As I said at the beginning, I'm overwhelmed by the nice comments and emails that I've received about the blog. I love for people to reach out to me. I love hearing your stories even though some are very sad!! I am trying to grow my blog, so if you like what I'm doing, please share through Facebook or email with your friends! I really appreciate your kindness!

March 17, 2017

I Feel Bad About My Neck!!

I truly enjoy writing this blog whether or not I have many followers. Since making it public and being featured on the Design Mom blog, I have gained so many people who have been so kind. I can't thank you all enough. If you want to be sure not to miss a post, be sure to sign up for emails on the right-hand side of the blog page! Thanks for following, I hope you find this a fun, inspirational place to land every once in a while. And, don't forget you can follow me on Facebook and Instagram.

I really do feel terrible about my neck!! I was not careful to always use sunscreen, and I now have severe sun damage there.

One of many days at in the backyard with best friends!!

I have always loved being in the sun. I'm from the generation where we laid out in our backyards slathered up with a mixture of iodine and baby oil. Not until I was older, did I really start wearing sunscreen. When my kids were little, summers were spent with weekly day trips floating the Frio River or going to the beach in Texas. I wore sunscreen, but never paid a lot of attention to my neck.

Enter the 2013 New Orleans Rock & Roll Marathon. I signed up to run it with two friends. I needed it in my life. It was huge in my healing after R passed away. We spent every Saturday morning doing our long runs. As time went on in the fall of 2012, the runs got longer. Weekday runs were done at 5 a.m. so I didn't have to worry about the sun. I spent several hours each Saturday morning pounding the pavement to train for the distance, and I always made sure I wore sunscreen on my face, but not on my neck.

Me with my Marathon Buddies. We ran two half marathons while training. This was at
the San Antonio Rock and Roll Half Marathon which was in November in 2012. It was so hot with full sun.
No sunscreen anywhere near my neck!!

Even though my mother had always warned me to put sunscreen on my neck and decolletage. I didn't think about it while I was out running. I also didn't think about the tops of my hands.

The Damage!!!

The Suze (my sister) wanted in on the action and agreed to
share her neck. She calls it her "waddle."

My neck is a combination of discoloration
and "waddle."

So for all of you young women out there- don't forget about your neck, decolletage, and hands when putting on your sunscreen. It is easy to forget because I think we all look for makeup with sunscreen in it. It is an extra step in our already busy lives. But it is a step that has to be taken!!

Be sure to look for a sunscreen that contains titanium dioxide as well as zinc oxide. M and  I have been wearing Tarte BB Tinted Primer with spf 30 after finding it while shopping at Sophora. However, I don't use the makeup on my neck. M recommended CeraVe and that is what I now put on my neck, decolletage, and hands before I go out. Take the time to check your makeup and all sunscreen for titanium dioxide and zinc oxide.

Articles about an aging neck: 1    2     3

And then there is Rita Wilson. I love strong women like her. I noticed this picture on her Instagram the other day, and I thought to myself, "She isn't letting her bad neck ruin her life so neither will I. I will keep Choosing Life even with a bad neck."

Where did I get the title of this post? It isn't originally mine. It is actually the title of a book by Nora Ephron. It is her intimate and funny look at aging!! I highly recommend it!!

I hope this post acts as a PSA to save the necks of you young women out there everywhere. My neck is ruined, but you can save yours. Now, don't even get me started on my eyebrows!!
March 14, 2017

WOW- Featured on a blog that I have love!!

I can't believe that I have been featured on a blog that I love to read!!  Gabrielle Blair writes an international blog called Design Mom. I reached out to her last fall, and she said she would love to share me on her blog.

Design Mom  If you are looking for a great blog to read for great ideas about decorating, cooking, just living, I highly recommend her blog.

I started following her when she was living with her family in France. I loved hearing about her life. She has since moved back to the states, and I still like following her family and learning from all of her creative ideas.

It is such on honor to be on her blog now after all these years!!

March 12, 2017

What I Wore

If you have already subscribed to the blog using email, please do me a favor and subscribe again using the widget at the right-hand side of the screen. I was having trouble with my email subscriptions and had to redo the information. Sorry for the inconvenience, but it will really help me out!!

I drove up to my house after running an errand last week to find this sitting at my front door. Isn't this a sweet gesture? Not much of an expense on the part of the person who did it, but it meant so much to me!! Makes me realize that I should do more things like this for people. So creative!

Last week was a busy week. I had a Dr. appointment in Santa Fe on Wednesday. My ENT was a little discouraged that one of my sinuses is a little inflamed. I have an extra step in my sinus rinse procedure that I will have to do for a while. Hopefully, that will take care of everything with my nose!! I'm really tired of my nose dictating things to me! It needs to stop.

After my Dr appt., I ran a few errands. Since I live up in the mountains of New Mexico, I don't get to do a lot of shopping. I had never been a huge TJ Maxx shopper, but I have become one living here. I was so happy to go in that store to "look" last week. You would have thought I was walking into Neiman Marcus if you had seen the smile on my face. I wasn't planning on buying any clothes- I was looking for lamps and lampshades. But I did happen to find a great pair of shoes!!

Dr. T and I went back to Santa Fe on Friday to finalize an order for hardwood flooring that we are having installed in our living room. ( I can't wait to share the new floors- It is going to be so beautiful!)

I'm wearing the new shoes (similar) I found at TJ Maxx for $25.00. I have been noticing this style of shoe on several fashion blogs that I follow so I was glad to find a pair so soon and at a great price.

I'm wearing on of my favorite necklaces. It is from a jewelry designer in Santa Fe- Bittersweet Designs. I wrote a post about my experience there last summer when one of my best friends came to visit (link here)

I know many people come to Santa Fe for fun trips. I highly recommend finding the Bittersweet shop on Canyon Road. It is so worth stopping by.

My purse is one of my favorite Burberry finds. My mom and sister like the purse so much, they each bought themselves one. This one happens to be another Christmas gift from my sweet son. He sure does know how to spoil me and his sister!

Unfortunately, this bag is starting to fray at the bottom a bit so I'm very disappointed with that.

We tried a restaurant in Santa Fe called The Tune-Up Cafe. They have been featured on Diners, Drive-in, and Dives. The food did not disappoint.

We split our plates. The El Salvadran Pupusas was delicious!!

And, Sunday was church. I spoke in front of our church a few weeks ago about a ministry that I'm starting- GriefShare. I was nervous so I wore a dress that makes me feel very comfortable, but I forgot to take pictures. I remembered to take pictures today, though.

My dress is from JCrew from a few years ago- maybe their factory online store. The idea behind Bittersweet jewelry is to layer with a lot of her pieces. I have to buy her pieces for special occasions only so I only have one necklace so far!! I've layered mine with other much less expensive necklaces until Dr. T buys me some more!!  By the Way- my mom now calls my husband Dr. T!!  She likes it, and I think it's going to stick!

I"m trying to grow the blog so please share, like, comment- anything if you like what you read/ see here!
You can follow me on Facebook   or Instagram            Search nowchooselife30 in either one as well.
March 10, 2017

Dear John-- A Life Gone Too Soon

M, R, Me and John

One week ago marked four years since the untimely death of our great family friend, John! Everyone has a story with someone they care about. This is my story with John.

I first met John in the summer of 2011. He flew R, M and me to New Orleans for a much needed long weekend.

This was the second time in about 10 years that I had taken over and TOLD R that he needed a break, and I planned a trip and just told him he was going. Work was extremely stressful, and I could tell that his long hours at work were taking a toll. New Orleans sounded like a great getaway.

R had been coming home for quite a while talking about John. John was a new engineer he had hired. Young, smart, fun to be with- were all words he used to describe him. John's mother had passed away years before and he was recently divorced trying to find his new normal. When he found out we were going to NOLA, he insisted on flying us! I talked to R one night about being a little nervous to fly in his small plane, and he assured me that he completely trusted John. There was nothing to worry about!

I fell in love with John that weekend. He was so much fun. He doted on me and Molly and wanted to show us what he knew of the city. Even though he stayed with friends, he came with us several times on tours, meals etc.

I didn't see much of John over the next few months, but R still came home almost every day telling me how he was doing. John was staying busy flying on the weekends to visit friends and family. We had plans to have him out for dinner.

M, me and John on a swamp tour

And then- The unthinkable happened. April 29, 2012. R collapsed and I heard the words that no one wants to hear, "We did all we could, but he didn't make it." R was gone. I know I talked to John on the phone soon after, but I don't remember anything about it. There is so much about that first week that I can't remember.

I do remember a packed funeral home for the family visitation the night before R's memorial service. And I remember looking across the room and seeing John. He was there at the very beginning. He made his way to the front and sat with my mom and sister as I talked to all those who came to give us comfort. He stayed there the whole time. He told me that he just couldn't leave. He wanted to be there with us. He talked to my mom and sister, and of course, they fell in love with him too. That was John. He had that special knack for making everyone feel like they were the most important friend in the world to him. He told me one time that he loved remembering friends birthdays. He loved making people feel special!

Life moved on whether I wanted it to or not. I spent several late nights over the next few months talking to John. He even called me one afternoon saying, "My mom is gone. R is gone. I'm calling you because you are the closest thing that I've got to the both of them, and I need some advice." We talked about his issue, and I told him what I thought. It was during one of those late-night phone calls that I told him that I was running the New Orleans Rock and Roll Marathon. He immediately told me that he wanted to fly M there so they could be there when I crossed the finish line. It was only a few months away so we started making plans for how to make it work.

He flew her to NOLA for the February marathon. By then he had a girlfriend who came with him. Unfortunately, I ended up with a stomach virus and felt terrible. I went to dinner with everyone and sat while they ate their charbroiled oysters!! John said several things to me encouraging me about moving forward in life. He always encouraged!!! I didn't get a chance to tell him how I was really doing. I was too sick and too worried about how I would finish the race. Having him there and knowing that he and my sister would make sure Molly made it back to college was a huge relief!

I was able to finish the full 26.2 miles- a miracle in itself. We made it home, and life was getting back to normal, our new normal. A week went by and a weekend. I was up Monday morning getting ready to go to school, and I saw on the news where a family had been killed in a plane crash leaving a ski resort in New Mexico. Mother, Father, two kids killed during take off. I thought "how sad" and went on with my day.

I had a library full of middle school students coming in all day so I was going to be busy. The phone in my office rang, and I picked up to hear C's voice. "Did you know that it was John's plane that crashed in New Mexico?" I asked how he knew for sure and he confirmed that he had checked. At that point, I fell to my knees. Literally fell to my knees which I had never ever done before. I was so devastated that I could not physically stand. So many thoughts went through my mind, but the one that kept creeping back in was that M had been on that plane just the weekend before in NOLA! I couldn't get past that thought at first. Then other thoughts, memories, emotions came slamming down.

John was our link to R and the work they were doing in the aircraft industry. John was a link to memories. I had plans to follow John's life and see what directions he took. But plans don't really mean anything. He was gone. There were no more plans with John. It was less than a year since we lost R, and now we had lost John too.

It has taken me four years to be able to process John's death. With R's passing, there was so much to do that I dealt with it on a daily basis. John was different. He wasn't family, but he had walked into our lives and become like family.

So where does that leave us? M and I have discussed this topic on several occasions. It leaves us where John left us-- he left us a great example of how to live our lives. He left a legacy of kindness and friendship that M and I want to emulate: Make others feel special; Remember important dates; Physically be with people whenever you can; Make an effort even when others don't. It all matters in the end. In fact, these things are really all that matter.
March 08, 2017

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

It's the Peak of the Week!! I hope you are choosing life today. I have a Dr. appointment and errands to run. That is my life today, and I plan to live this day abundantly!!

Things to eat to help with perimenopause -I guess it's my age. Anything that has perimenopause with it will be read by me!! I still feel great, but because of some slight physical changes, I know big changes are around the corner. I want to be ready and have an easier transition than some of my friends.

Cute Sandals    --- When I lived in South Texas, I wore flip flops all of the time. Now that I live in the mountains of New Mexico, I find that even in the summer, flip flops can feel a little cool at times. But I still love sandals, and I love the gladiator look. I really like these sandals, they are simple and the price is definitely right!!

20 Extra Long Books to read-- This is one of my favorite blogs-- Modern Mrs. Darcy. I love the name because I love Pride and Prejudice and because it is a blog mostly about books. It is a life goal of mine to someday have a donkey named Mr. Darcy!!! When she was writing this post, she asked for recommendations of our favorite long books. I suggested East of Eden, but it didn't make the list.

Well-behaved Women Rarely Make History - I love Maria Shriver's perspective on things. Since March is Women's History Month, she is going to spend the month empowering and motivating women to reach their goals. I tried to find a quote to share here, but there were so many thoughts that I loved I couldn't pick just one so please go to the link and read it. You'll be glad you did!!

I hope you find these as interesting as I did!!!
March 05, 2017

Carry On, Carry On- My Experience Traveling To Europe With Only A Carry On!!

I am not an astute traveler. I don't have a huge amount of travel experience, but I have learned a lot about traveling through my limited travels. I recently traveled abroad to Europe for a quick trip. Since I was only going to be gone a week and wanted to make sure that my suitcase made it with me, I decided to only pack a carry-on. I know that is not a new concept for many, but for me, an over packer, it was a big deal.

I like to mix classic, designer items with fad items that I haven't spent a lot of money on. So I took my designer outerwear paired with my (mostly The Loft) inexpensive pieces, and I don't think my look screamed "TOURIST" as I walked through European cities!!

My outerwear consisted of my Burberry coat and boots and my LV cross body purse.

C bought me this Louis Vuitton purse for Christmas a few years ago. He is a great son!!


 I never really needed snow boots before, I decided to buy a really good pair from Burberry since I'm living in the mountains now. I bought these at Saks while visiting M in NYC last year. 

Most of the rest of my items came from The Loft. I love The Loft for so many reasons. Their styles are up to date and well made. The reason I love The Loft most of all is because of their pricing. I can't find anything I like better for the price. 75% of my closet is Loft purchases.

                         Here are the items I packed and mixing and matching worked out great.

Jeans- 1 pair, leggings- 2 pair, t-shirts- 4, vest- 1, rain boots, tennis shoes, outerwear.
I washed out t-shirts in the sink so I could re-wear them when I wanted.

Leaving the US- Me and my carry on!

I loved these striped T-shirts so much.  I bought two- one has gold designs
on the front. I bought mine at the Loft Outlet in Santa Fe- similar here.

Please excuse the selfies, but I was on my own most days so I was the photographer.

 I know leggings aren't pants, but I loved these faux leather seamed ponte leggings- and yes I wore them as pants. I also wore a cardigan sweater to cover my bum!

It was cold and rainy so I bought this great "rain or shine"
hat made by this beautiful French woman. I love it and plan on wearing it when working
in the yard.

Action shot at a Carhartt store. Being from Texas, I'm used to seeing the classic Carhartt tan jackets on many young men who have been out working on ranches so it was unique to see a shop in a European city!  They had great items when we went in to look!

I bought this scarf while out shopping. It always amazes me how much a good scarf helps at keeping me warm. We were headed back to the states, and I wanted comfort for the long flight. 

I  had room to pack my boots so I was able to wear these great Taos shoes for the flight home. They were the best to travel in. The footbed is removable, and it is oh so comfy!!

A few things to remember if you are a novice traveler:
 1) Be sure to go on the TSA website to be certain of what you can carry on with you.
 2) Be sure to remember the TSA 3-1-1 rules- this will help you with your liquids so be sure to check.
 3) Make sure you take the proper hair styling tools with you. In Scotland a few years ago, my straightening iron was ruined trying to use it with only an adapter. I bought a Revlon 2 in 1 straightener and curling iron which is dual voltage from Amazon. I can't say that it is the greatest hair styling tool that I've ever used, but it was great for travel. It is a curling iron and straightener all in one.  All I had to do was push a button for either one. 

I'd love to hear other advice from people who are more traveled than me!! I was very pleased with only packing a carry-on. It worked out well for me!!

And to all- Safe Travels!