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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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May 31, 2017

Peak Of The Week- 5-31-17

I am trying to be self disciplined enough to train for a half marathon that I want to run in September. If I can just get to where I can run consistently here, I will start adding miles to my run in July. That is the plan that I've lined out for myself anyway!! Today, I ran/ walked 3+ miles at the track then went to an Insanity class at the Y. I'm hoping that  track run will help me be able to run 3+ miles without stopping very soon!!

Here are some things the piqued my interest this week!! I hope you find them interesting too.

Summer Reading List from Ted Talks
There is something about summer time that just says READ to me!! I can't wait to be able to curl up on the couch on our deck and read for an afternoon very soon. I just finished a book by Carrie Fisher- very odd, but I love to read biographies so it was interesting!! I hope to find several books off of this Ted Talks list to read as well. I couldn't sleep last night so I got on my Overdrive app and added several books to my "to read" list from my local library!!

Parodies for Teachers - From the great TCEA- The Texas Computer Educators Association has had some really good blog post lately!! Some of these songs are really cute.

18 Summers: Is All We Get I loved this article!! It is so true. When you think about it- 18 summers with our kids is not very many. I can say that I think I gave my kids a lot of good memories during the summer months. I feel so blessed that I worked in education and had summers off to be with them!!! We did many day trips to the beach and to the river with special friends. I am so thankful for those memories!!!

Biggest Regret- I love to see social experiments. This one isn't surprising. A chalkboard is put up in NYC asking people to write down their biggest regrets. There is a common three letter word to all of them.

Password Protection Strategies: Use these strategies to protect your password.

How a Password Changed My Life:  The above link about having a strong password made me think of an article I shared with teachers during training one year. I loved the idea of using a pass phrase to help you change your attitude-- and Change Your Life!!

May 26, 2017

What I Wore- Brunch!

I don't have many friends here. I miss my great friends in Texas tremendously!! I miss the things we did together- running, beach trips, church, pool time, AND getting together every Thursday afternoon for snacks and wine.

For years I along with two great friends got together every Thursday afternoon to eat and share a bottle of wine! We often joked that we did it to "talk about our daughters." - which many times we did. But we have also talked, laughed and cried about what was going on in our lives on many occasions! Those Thursday afternoons together never meant more to me than they did after R passed away! That simple "normal" activity helped me heal in so many ways! I miss my friends soooo much!!

There is just something about getting together with other women to talk about life in general that is so enjoyable! So I was very excited when I was invited to a brunch for women who attend classes at the local Y. I have come to really enjoy seeing the women that I have gotten to know here at the classes.  We all have a  goal of being healthy so that is a great commonality to share!

I luckily had time to go home after a class and get cleaned up before the brunch!  Here is what I wore:

Blouse- Shein, Jeans- H&M (similar)

I am 10 pounds heavier this spring than I was last spring! I guess I hibernated a little too much this winter. But I am really watching my diet and have committed to correctly train for a half marathon that I'd like to run in September so I hope to get the weight off!! My goal at this stage in life is to be healthy- this extra weight does not make me feel healthy!!

It was really fun to see these women that I've gotten to know away from our exercise class. The women that I've met here are all very accomplished. Most are from various places all over the globe which adds a unique dynamic to knowing them. It is interesting to see the different opinions about Texas when they find out where I'm from. (some are not very kind) But, I'm proud to be from Texas!! I just try to always show that great Texas kindness and friendliness no matter what has been said to me!!

May 24, 2017

It's Wednesday!! A list of things that piqued my interest on this Peak Of The Week!! 5-24-17

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Summer Reading 
When I worked as a middle school librarian, I learned so much from an organization called TCEA- Texas Computer Educator Association. They have put out this summer reading guide with some great resources for students.

Adult Summer Reading
One of my favorite blogs, Modern Mrs. Darcy has released her picks for summer reading!! Let me know if you are reading any of them.

I guess I have a reading theme going on this week!

I found out on Tuesday that a sweet friend from college passed away. She had been suffering from cancer. She was a year ahead of me in my sorority, and she always stood out. She was sweet and always fun to be around. I feel so sorry for her husband and children!
I came across this list of an updated bibliography of books about loss and grief so in loving memory of Shannon, here it is. I hope it can help others!! Grief Bibliography 

Bill Gates' Summer Reading List - Pretty self-explanatory. I always like to see what people like Gates read!

Kids don't want parents stuff
I find it so interesting that millennials live so differently than my generation and older! I see it in the blogs I read as well as in my own children. I think that my kids will want some of the things that were important to my family. I know all too well thought that it really is just "stuff."

Have a great ending to your week!! I hope these links give you something to think about!

May 22, 2017

What I Read-- and you should too!!

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I just finished reading Victor Frankl's book, Man's Search For Meaning. I've heard about it for a long time, but I had never read it until know. Although it is very disturbing, I enjoy reading about holocaust survivors. I find such strength in reading about others overcoming hardships. Living through the holocaust is the extreme of hardships!!

Frankl's book was first published in 1946. The English translation was first published in 1959. Since then more than 12 million copies in 24 languages have been sold.

Victor Frankl did overcome his time in the Nazi concentration camps. He went on to help counsel others who survived. He used a form of therapy that he developed called logotherapy.

"...Inasmuch as logotherapy, in comparison with psychoanalysis, is a method less retrospective and less introspective. Logotherapy focuses rather on the future, that is to say, on the meanings to be fulfilled by the patient in his future."

 His belief was that true happiness is found when a person realizes their meaning in life. I have seen this at work in my own life- which I will write about at another time!!

There are so many quotes in this book that are heavy with truth and relevance to our lives today. I am going to list some that gave me pause and made me think of my own life. I hope that you read these quotes and see how they apply to your life. Or- better yet, read this amazing book!!

As I have said many times, I love words. I love the power that words have in my life. God speaking our world into existence shows how powerful words are. I share some of the quotes that spoke the most to me in hopes that they will speak just as powerfully to you. I hope these empower you today! Keep in mind that many of these quotes come in relation to the events of the holocaust:

"The way in which a many accepts his fate and all the suffering it entails, the way in which he takes up his cross, gives him ample opportunity- even under the most difficult circumstance- to add deeper meaning to his life."

"Suffering is an ineradicable part of life, even as fate and death. Without suffering and death, human life cannot be complete."

"The prisoner who had lost faith in the future- his future- was doomed. With his loss of belief in the future, he also lost his spiritual hold; he let himself decline and become subject to mental and physical decay."

"...any attempt to restore a man's inner strength in the camp had first to succeed in showing him some future goal. Nietzsche's words,' He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how.' "

"We must never forget that we may also find meaning in life even when confronted with a hopeless situation when facing a fate that cannot be changed. For what then matters is to bear witness to the uniquely human potential at its best, which is to transform a personal tragedy into triumph, to turn one's predicament into a human achievement. When we are no longer able to change a situation- just think of an incurable disease as inoperable cancer- we are challenged to change ourselves."

"For the world is in a bad state, but everything will become still worse unless each of us does his best.
     So, let us be alert- alert in a twofold sense:
      Since Auschwitz, we know what man is capable of.
      And since Hiroshima, we know what is at stake."

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” 

“An abnormal reaction to an abnormal situation is normal behavior.” 

“No man should judge unless he asks himself in absolute honesty whether in a similar situation he might not have done the same.”

“Life is not primarily a quest for pleasure, as Freud believed, or a quest for power, as Alfred Adler taught, but a quest for meaning.” 

I have experienced in my own life that before I could move forward after losing R, I had to at least think about the future. I called it my Plan C and Plan D. I had to have a glimpse that I could make it and that things would be OK. Those plans C and D are for a future post. I don't want anything to take away from the significance of the words in this post!

We all experience suffering in our lives. What makes the difference in life is our attitude to that suffering. The last think I want in my life is pain and suffering. I've been through the worst that I've ever experience when I lost R. As terrible as that was, I will say the experience has made my life today sweeter. I love more deeply; I experience life at a different level; I certainly laugh more!! Although I would never have wanted it to happen, it has changed my life, and I have worked to make that change positive. 
May 19, 2017

What I Wore- College Graduation Day!!

As I hit "publish" on this post, I'm watching it snow outside my window in these beautiful New Mexico mountains! I'd love to be back in the Texas sunshine today!!

When I married Dr. T, I added to my wonderful bevy of nieces and nephews. One of those sweet souls graduated from college last weekend. Isn't it wonderful that our hearts have an infinite capacity for love? Isn't it marvelous that we can instantly fall in love with others- especially children? These added nieces and nephews are so easy to love because they have loved and accepted me so freely!! I didn't get to watch them grow up like I did my niece and nephews in my family and in R's, but they hold a special place in my heart, just like those precious nieces and nephews that I got to see grow up!!

It is already hot in Texas so I had to find something to wear that would still look nice after a day in that Texas heat!! I chose a pair of jeans and a new blouse that I ordered online. I discovered this online shop on a New Mexico fashion blog that I follow called More Than Turquoise. Jamie likes to mix designer pieces with inexpensive items which is what I like to do as well so I always like to see what she has put together. Several of the things she shares come from Shein. That is where I found this cute blouse.

Blouse from Shein, Jeans- Seven, Shoes- Coach (similar)
                                       You won't believe the price on this blouse. Wearing my favorite
                                                        necklace- Bittersweet Design. Purse- Burberry 
With the graduate!!

With my sweetheart! I'm so thankful for this man!!

                                                                                            We are ready for summer!!

May 17, 2017

Paris Can Wait

I can't wait to see Paris Can Wait!!

When I saw that this movie was coming out, I remembered the night that R, M, and I went to see Midnight In Paris.  Molly and I loved it. R was OK with it. But we all came away saying-- "OK, we are going to Paris." Unfortunately, R passed away before we could go, but the kids and I went on that trip. It was wonderful, magical, and very bittersweet. I will never forget the beauty of that city juxtaposed against my broken heart while we were there!!

If you haven't seen Midnight In Paris, I highly recommend that you read Hemingway's A Moveable Feast, and then see the movie. Understanding Hemingway's Paris years will enhance the movie a bit!!

But back to Paris Can Wait!!!
After a going on a Vinyard tour last year during a quick trip to France and seeing the beautiful French countryside from our tour van, I want to see the Paris countryside in this movie. I want to see the food that they eat! I want to vicariously experience the travel, food, adventure found in this movie!!  I think it will be the greatest escape. I know I will walk away saying, "OK, we are going back to France." Paris is great, but I think driving across the French countryside would be a great adventure!!

Paris Can Wait take me away!!!

If you have seen Midnight In Paris or Paris Can Wait, let me know what you think of them!!
May 10, 2017

It's Wednesday- Here are a couple of things that piqued my interest on the Peak Of The Week!

This photo pretty much sums up my relationship with my mother. I have always felt her arms around me- literally and figuratively!! She has never wavered in her love for me.

With Mother's Day this weekend, I reflect on my childhood and how fortunate I was to be raised by a wonderful mother. My mom and I have always been so close! I've always known that I could count on her for anything. One of my most vivid memories from my teen years is that she and I always woke up early on Saturday and Sunday mornings. We were usually the only two in the house up and we would sit in the living room, and I would tell her about the night before. I didn't go out a lot in high school, but if I did I would tell her about the evening and what went on. We talked about friends, boyfriends, fears, hopes and dreams. She always just listened and didn't judge me.

Mom usually had an opinion, and I grew up with hearing "Times may change, but God's laws do not change." She was STRICT, but I was never in a situation that I didn't know with absolute certainly what the "right thing to do" was. I didn't always choose to do the right thing, but my moral compass had been instilled in me at a very early age.

I'm so thankful for a Godly mother. And, as a mother, I hope that my children can look back on their childhood and say the same of me.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom!! You continue to be one of the greatest blessings in my life!!

Me and my mother in our local newspaper. She is an avid reader and instilled in me and the Suze a love of reading-- always. We always went to the library when we were growing up!! I love this picture so much! Doesn't this just look like the 1960's!!

Here are some things that piqued my interest this week.

A Mother's Day Letter - from John Stamos to his mother.

10 Benefits of Workouts on the Hard Days- Written by one of my favorite bloggers, One Fit Widow. She describes how exercising helps us when we are going through really bad days- like her days after her first husband passed away. 
May 08, 2017

Big Weekend- for me

As someone who stays home a lot, I like to have time away and out of the ordinary experiences!! This weekend fit the bill! I'm not used to these action-packed weekends, but I'm not complaining!!

While packing on Friday, I took a flat mama picture of my running outfit for a local running group that I'm part of.
top Old Navy - similar, leggings Title Nine, shoes Solomon
These are my favorite running shoes. They are trail shoes, but I've had this same style for years. I think this pair
is my 5th pair. There is just something about them that keeps my feet from getting in too bad of shape!


I  signed up to run a 1/2 marathon in Albuquerque (ABQ), and a bit later we found out that Los Lonely Boys were going to be in concert in ABQ the same weekend. We decided to make a full weekend out of it!

We got up Saturday morning early and drove to Albuquerque. I needed to pick up my race packet and run some errands.
I got received several compliments on my top. It is from The Loft!

We were excited that Dr. T's cousin and his wife could go with us to the concert! Since I don't know very much about eating out in ABQ, I was so happy for Kimberly to suggest where to eat for lunch. The concert was at the Sandia Resort and Casino. Kimberly suggested that since we were ending up there and it was such a beautiful day, we should have lunch at the pro shop restaurant. It was the perfect place for lunch!
This was our view while catching up over lunch! I would go back here in a heartbeat!

This was the coziest place for lunch. I can't wait to bring friends here! The view was beautiful and the margarita was great!! I highly recommend eating here if you are in ABQ.

Next was the concert! We walked over to the venue through the casino so I was able to see the inside! It was very nice!!

If you are not familiar with the Los Lonely Boys, go to Youtube now and find their music. Then order whatever you can off of your favorite music site to download. Los Lonely Boys are three brothers from San Angelo, Texas. Their music is positive and upbeat! They are very family oriented and spread good vibes about just being alive and thanking God for our lives! I love them!! We have seen them twice this year.

We have seen them twice this year. The first time, they brought out their father to sing with them. Saturday, they had their kids with them and they came out and played with their dads. So much fun!

Me and my Sweetheart!!

The whole crew! We had a great time!

Even if you don't know any other Los Lonely Boys songs, you have to have heard this one!

This is one of my favorite songs that they sing besides "Heaven."

And then the 1/2 Marathon!!

I woke up at 4 am Sunday morning. My alarm was set for 4:50, but I couldn't sleep any longer. Ate a bit, got dressed and made sure that I had everything I needed before walking out the door at 5:30. I drove my friend Alison and myself to a park and ride lot. The race started at 7 am. I'm not particularly proud of my time, it is by far the slowest that I have ever run a 1/2. But considering that I didn't really train for this, I'm glad I finished under 3 hours!

The Start!

We were so exhausted!!
I admit I was very foolish at my age to run a 1/2 marathon without proper training. I am in fairly good shape, but I like to say that I have this cute layer of flab on top of my muscles. The issue isn't with being in shape to do it. The issue is with not training in a smart manner.
I have always run by this notion: "The truth is, more mileage is better only up to the point where you can achieve your potential. After that, each additional mile only increases your injury risk" From this Runner's World article. 

The key to running injury free is to never increase your miles by too many in any given week of training. Train over weeks and add a reasonable amount each week until you reach your race goal. I didn't do that. I had been running 5Ks for a bit and then all the sudden added 10 miles into the mix twice. Not smart!! My legs could handle the miles but my joints were not eased into those long miles. Needless to say at about mile 10 my knees and ankles started really bothering me. After the race, my knees were killing me!!! 

I'm trying to talk a great friend from Texas into coming and running a 1/2 here with me in September. I will have plenty of time to train correctly for that one!!!

This was Alison's first 1/2 marathon as swimming is her main sport, but I think she is hooked after her high of finishing this 1/2!! That's the thing about running--- you can't beat a good runner's high!!

I really am planning on doing a training plan for the 1/2 marathon in September. I will post what I'm doing and how I'm doing with my training. You can help hold me accountable!!

I know I have a few readers from ABQ. I loved this city this weekend. Trent's cousin and wife live in a beautiful area. We drove through some beautiful neighborhoods while running errands. I also ran through an unbelievable neighborhood at the end of the run.
 I would love recommendations of great local restaurants etc. I like some chain restaurants, but we love to eat at locally own places!!
May 05, 2017

The Power Of Words

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For a blessing,  read this article:  from She Loves magazine.

I love this article about blog writing. Writing about one's life is opening a soul to a world that is very judgemental. I am lucky that so many people have been so supportive of my ramblings!! Although this article is meant to encourage bloggers, I think it has a great meaning for everyone. We all have thoughts, musings, hopes, dreams. We have the ability to verbalize these gifts.

I've heard from many people in my life how much journaling has helped them deal with a tragedy. I know when I reached out to Dr. T after R passed away, I would literally verbally vomit on the page. It was truly a stream of consciousness email of all of the thoughts, emotions, fears and small victories (my first day I made it all day without crying) with no censorship or editing!!! He read each word and had a word or advice or encouragement to offer me!! I just know that after each email to him, I felt better and stronger. Words have a way of cleansing the soul.

I guess words are like tears. We can't keep them bottled up. We must let them out. Words come to me like tears. The process of putting my thoughts on the page is very cathartic, therapeutic, and much needed.

I once had a conversation with my wonderful mother about people who regret the things that they didn't say to a loved one who had passed away. We wanted to make sure that there was nothing left unsaid between us. That is what I want my life to be. I don't want it to be filled with regrets of things left unsaid. I believe that everyone in my life knows what they mean to me. They know how much their help and support have meant to me.

When R died, I had no regrets in this area. We had done that for each other. We had said what needed to be said to each other. We had started affirming each other and our relationship regularly! I'm so thankful for that. And now, my family and close friends tell each other "I love you" on a regular basis. Dr. T is bombarded with my words to him of how much I love him and how much he means to me. I won't ever stop telling him how important he is in my life.

Writing a blog can be daunting. It can be scary. It can be emotional, revealing, and raw. This blog has been the best thing that I could have done at this stage fo my life. I know it isn't to everyone's liking, and that's OK. What it has done for me has been remarkable- it has filled a void with something that I love and need in my life-- ideas, thoughts... WORDS. It has been a balm to the rawness and rough edges of my life.

My favorite thoughts from this article:

"Your words are a testament to God’s presence at work in ordinary human beings like you."


"If we are lovers of Jesus, then hoarding our gifts is not an option."   

"The heart of living a Jesus-centered life is a selfless sacrifice. And if you have been given the gift of words, then you are meant to share them."

I don't know how "gifted" I am with words, but I do believe that God has gifted me with the desire to write and share ideas. I have such a different perspective on life than I did five years ago. If nothing else my words have helped me and a few others who have reached out to me to let me know. I don't worry anymore about what people think. I try so hard in my life not to judge others and their lives so my hope is that others don't judge me. But if they do judge me negatively, that has nothing to do with me. -- I've come a long way!!

We have all been given the gift of words in the sense that God has given us emotions and feelings and most importantly LOVE. We all have the capacity to put these things into words. Do the people that you love in your life know how you truly feel about them? Have you told them lately that you love them? Have you told them lately specifically what they mean in your life? If not, don't hoard these gifts of relationships that God has given you. Tell those people... before you don't have the chance anymore. 

It is my prayer that through this blog, my "little my become much" in the lives of those who read it. 
Thanks for reading it today. You are a blessing in my life!!

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May 03, 2017

Peak Of The Week- Happy Wednesday, Here are some things that piqued my interest this week!!

I think we already knew this, but it's nice to know that 75 years of research has confirmed it.
Key to Living a Fulfilling Life

Eight step plan for mastering grief --Of course there is no way to really "master" grief, but I think these concepts are very true! Whether it is grief or other tragedies or disappointments, these are always good to remember!!

Sweet Home Oklahoma --In my life quest to watch all things TRASH on TV, I have stumbled upon this sweet show. I watch most of the Real Housewives shows, but this is so different than those. It is a Bravo show, but there is no fighting, just sweet friends who support each other and love to laugh.  It is a great break from the others that I watch!!

Marriage Advice From A Divorced Man -- Several weeks ago, I shared an article of marriage advice written by a divorced woman. Today it is a divorced man. I think this advice is good for a husband or wife!!