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Now Choose Life

Choose to Live Your Life in Abundance in the after--- after the spouse dies, after the marriage ends, after the kids leave. Join me on my journey of CHOOSING LIFE in my after. This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live- Deut 30:19

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December 12, 2018

It's Wednesday- The Peak Of The Week! Here are some things piquing my interest today! 12-12-18


Happy Peak Of The Week! I haven't wrapped one gift! I know I'll get to it, but wrapping presents is my least favorite thing about the holidays! A huge Thank You to whoever invented gift bags!!

Dr. T and I had such a cozy, small-town Christmas last weekend. We attended a community-wide Creche show and saw nativity scenes from around the world. We also attended our town's Light Parade Saturday night! I have been visiting my daughter on this particular weekend the last two years so being here this year was really special, and we didn't want to miss these things. I'm sharing pictures of the weekend as I share the things piquing my interest today!!

From China
I shared a blog post this week about a lesson I learned years ago about priorities- Especially this time of year. Here is the link if you missed it-
How To Host A Perfect Cookie Exchange.

This blog post titled Lost- Jesus reminded me of my lesson learned!!

Kenya
I'm ever mindful that this can be a tough time of year for people. I still have my moments. I love this article written by Katie Couric on the loss of her husband.


A friend recently shared this article on this famous Texas bookstore- Book People. It is worth a trip if you are ever in Austin. I have great memories of going there with my daughter to browse the stacks and take her to book signings!!


We loved seeing the American Flag in lights!!



I always like to have a link to an article about books. This article shares Tom Hank's favorite books. I think these would make great gifts- especially for any men on your list to buy for!!
9 Life-Changing books That Inspired Tom Hanks to Live His Most Purposeful Life.

I hope these links enhance your Wednesday in some way!! Happy Peak Of The Week!! It's all downhill from here!!

Please share on Facebook, Pinterest, or Instagram!




December 10, 2018

How To Host A Perfect Cookie Exchange

There are videos in this post so if you receive my posts in email, you may need to click here to see the videos. If you like what you read, please share on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.


I hope the title of this post isn't too deceiving! I think those who have been reading my blog know that I don't profess to anything in perfection. I try to keep this space as organic, raw, and real as possible!! So just humor me with this, and hopefully, I can appropriately articulate a lesson I learned many years ago!!

I hosted a Cookie Exchange Party for women in my church and their friends last night. It was a great time!! As you all know, hosting anything at your house can be somewhat stressful. But, I can honestly say that at almost 55 years of age, experience has taught a lesson about getting too stressed over having people over.

Many years ago, I hosted an evening for women in my church at my home in Texas. I know my family grew sick and tired of me as the week wore on, and I became a very unpleasant person to live with! My high school aged kids quickly became exhausted by my focus on keeping the house clean- every dirty sock had to be picked up immediately, no crumb could be left on the countertop to be dealt with later, the house became almost unlivable!! And, then the water pipe busted!! Not a pipe in the house. Thank goodness. A waterline pipe burst which made my late husband have to cut off the waterline to the entire house. I was not happy!! He was out until midnight one night fixing that pipe!! The party for church was still on much to the unhappiness of my family! The day of the party arrived. I got home from my job at school that afternoon and went about the last minute preparations for the evening. As I anxiously awaited hearing the doorbell of the first guests' arrival, I walked through the living room to discover that our dog, Scout, had pooped in the middle of the living room floor. What in the world? He hadn't needed out. He never pooped in the house, but he decided to at that very moment.

I quickly cleaned up his mess and went to my bathroom to wash my hands. Crying in my frustration, I glanced up at myself in the mirror, and a moment of clarity swept over me. "This evening isn't about you. This evening isn't about your house." Wow!! I know that if God can use a donkey to get through to Balaam in Old Testament times, he can surely use my little Scout to speak truth to me!!

Story of Balaam 

Scripture: Numbers 22: 21-39

Growing older does have its perks because I went into the preparations for my Cookie Exchange party with a very healthy and positive mindset. This party wasn't about me. It was about bringing together women. It was about allowing women the opportunity to get to know each other better. It was about celebrating Christmas in a fun and casual way.

My experience also reminds me of the story of Mary and Martha!



Scripture: Luke 10:38-42

My Martha has become a Mary over the years. You see, my house really wasn't ready to have people over. We are a bit under construction at the moment. We are adding bookshelves in our office. Everything that had been on temporary bookcases is now in lining our hallway. My stairs are in the middle of a renovation- risers are unfinished awaiting a special project "refresh."

Hallway lined with boxes of books from the office.

Spare bedroom had office spillover as well. 


I can honestly say that I didn't stress over my house at all this week leading up to the party. I just kept my priorities straight, and kept my thoughts on the most important guest!!!

For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.
                                                                                              Matthew 18:20 



So I guess in a sense, I did have a "perfect" Cookie Exchange party. New friendships were formed. We celebrated Christmas in a unique way. And, it was really fun!!

Here are some ideas if you do want to host a Cookie Exchange:

Have an empty space for the platters of cookies that everyone brings to be exchanged. Ask each guest to bring at least 2 dozen cookies. If you have more than 24 women coming, you'll want to increase the number of cookies each person brings accordingly.

Have a variety of drinks ready. I served water, tea, lemonade, and sparkling grape juice. I also asked those coming to bring a snack to share as we visited before grabbing our cookies.

























I added three small door prizes that we drew for. If women attending don't all know each other, I suggest name tags too.

After eating and visiting has gone on for a while, hand out the containers for the cookies. Each person walks around the table and gets one cookie each. After everyone has had a chance at one, guests can go back and clean off the platters.
A finished cookie container!
Other scenes from the Cookie Exchange:







December 06, 2018

Great Reminder From This Week Of Honoring Bush 41

Source

I have truly enjoyed watching the news coverage of President George H. W. Bush's memorials this week. Such wonderful lessons about life can be gleaned from learning more about his life. His life well lived is a great example to all of us on public service (we don't have to be in politics to serve), patriotism, and LOVE.

One thing that you may not know about me because I talk so much about the memoirs that I read is that I Love a good Love Story!! It just makes me feel happy to see people in love. But as I've heard many times, "Falling in love is easy; Staying in love is hard."

Source


I've always loved reading and hearing about George and Barbara Bush's love story. I grew up with an example of a great love story in my own home. My parents worked at their marriage and loved each other very much. I feel that I have been blessed with TWO love stories in my life. My first marriage and my current marriage have both been tremendous blessings in my life.

As anyone who has ever been married knows, marriage is hard.  What I learned many years ago, when  Dr. Jeff Williams of First Baptist Church, Denton, Texas was my pastor, is that Love Is A Choice!! I know there are times when we all look at our spouses and just think "YUK!!" It is a choice on those days to love them.

Hearing that Love Is A Choice early on in my married life changed the trajectory of my marriage. That concept made a huge difference to me in how I LOVED my husband. It made me realize that there were some days that I just had to love R through his lousy mood or my bad mood. I had to choose to love him on those hard days when his laid-back, patient style of parenting clashed with my action driven parenting approach. I had to choose to love him and try to see things from his perspective when he worked long hours, and a considerable portion of caring for the kids fell on me.

In my 2nd marriage, it's the same thing. Dr. T and I choose to love each other. I've told him many times that he got the "new and improved" version of me. I love his look of horror at how bad it had been when I say that to him!! But, I have changed so much after experiencing such devastating loss in my life. Although we are incredibly compatible and don't have the stress of raising kids in our marriage, we still have to offer each other grace on occasion. No relationship is without conflict. 

Source

I think my biggest take away from learning about the Bush's marriage is how they made each other feel cherished!! One example that I love is towards the end of her life Barbara told someone to be sure to tell her husband that she adored him. I honestly believe that most marriages would be saved if each spouse made sure that the other felt cherished!! Making a spouse feel cherished and adored is done by making sure that we put our spouse's needs above our own. It is done by SEEING them. That is one way that I feel cherished by Dr. T. There are many times in the course of our life together when I think to myself, "He really sees me." He accomplishes this by tiny gestures and comments about my seemingly insignificant habits that he notices. He even once watched how I like to make my coffee in case he needed to make it for me sometime. These acts of kindness by him make me feel extremely loved and cherished!!

I hope that after this week of civility in our country, we can move forward and continue on with graciousness and respect. I pray that I continue to remember that Love Is A Choice that I make daily in my marriage and other relationships. 

One last word- I just finished watching President Bush being sent to his final resting place on the Texas A&M campus. Wow!! It made me so proud that both of my children are graduates of A&M. It was moving to hear The Aggie War Hymn played as his coffin was lowered off the train that took him to College Station. To simply see "Here" on pictures of the plane flying over College Station on its way from Washington DC to Houston was very touching. (see Aggie Muster) Aggie Pride was shown well today for all to see.
November 16, 2018

What I Wore- Camo


I have joined a Bible Study here that is very similar to one I took my kids to when they were little. It has been a huge blessing in my life. There is nothing quite like studying scripture one passage at a time to bring clarity to one's life!! I'm loving it!!

I wasn't sure about wearing camo to bible study, but it is very casual so I went for it!! Here is what I wore.


Camouflage seems to be everywhere right now. I even have a pair of camo yoga pants that I work out int. Not knowing if I would wear them very much, I didn't want to spend a lot of money on a pair of camo jeans. I found a pair on Amazon (here). They are very comfortable and I like the color.


I have so much black in my closet! (I think it is my inner New Yorker) I wanted to branch out a bit and find some tops to add a bit of color for fall and winter. I found this top at Francesa's. They were having a great sale the day I was there so it made this purchase even better. 


I'm so glad I got these pants! I've worn them a couple of other times and have gotten several compliments on them!!



November 14, 2018

It's The Peak Of The Week! 11-14-18



We started our week off with a beautiful snow. I thought I would share some views of my world on this PEAK OF THE WEEK!! I'm also sharing some things that piqued my interest this week!



Dan Crenshaw and SNL- Finally a story where someone says something "offensive" and no one goes bat s**t crazy over it!! Such lessons to be learned from this. Can we please all have a new start in 2019 and stop the HATE? I don't think I can take much more of it.

** Watch how you talk to people at home, at school, at work, and out in the community. Watch what you post on social media. Think about the negativity you are spreading before you share a post or a thought!!



Flu Shot- It's still not too late to get your flu shot. Here is an easy to follow lesson on how the flu shot comes about each year and how it works!!



The Secret To Keeping Your House Clean Most Of The Time- Of course, we all know that the secret to keeping a house clean is to hire a cleaning lady!!! I have had wonderful cleaning ladies over the years. But, honestly, I don't work outside the home now so I need to appreciate that there is a way to have a home that I enjoy without slaving too much. I enjoy following Clean Mama!! She has a great plan for homekeeping and I honestly do try to follow her plan. Life seems to get in the way much of the time, but she has some great ideas!!

It was such a cozy day inside! As it came time for us to go out and go sledding, I started thinking about just staying in, but I reminded myself that #imalive and that I needed to do it #becauseican and out we went!!


Dr. Hotze-  The Hotze Health & Wellness Center is in Houston, Texas. Dr. Hotze believes in natural treatments for what ails us. I have started listening to his podcasts when we travel. Dr. T even listened to his podcast titled "6 Things Men Should Know About Women's Hormones."
                    Of course, like anything else, check with your Dr. after listening, but I do feel like I have learned so much. His way of thinking is very similar to how I have viewed my health for years. I love learning about how different vitamins affect my body!! I highly recommend his podcast "Vitamin C: Why is it so important?" I learned so much!!!
November 09, 2018

What I Wore- to a recent wedding



Dr. T and I spent last weekend celebrating another wedding!! Many of the weddings we have gone to are for young people that I have had the pleasure of watching grow up!! This time it was a young woman who Dr. T had the joy of seeing grow up. He is actually her Godfather so that relationship is extra special.

Here is what I wore:


fashion over 50

I found this jumpsuit at Francesca's. I love the wide-legged pants on this! The lace top is beautiful!! I can't find this jumpsuit on the website, but I found these others that will be great for holiday parties.


This outfit is very similar to what I wore except the back has a criss/ cross. I wouldn't wear this, but it would be very cute on a young woman!! It can be found here.


This is another adorable jumpsuit. I love the wide legs and the fact that it is velvet makes it perfect for holiday parties!! It can be found here

fashion over 50


what to wear, fashion over 50

what to wear to a wedding

You don't have to break the bank to find something fun and festive to wear to a wedding or holiday party. It just takes some conscious looking!!

I know I have many followers who live in New Mexico. There is a new Francesca's at the Santa Fe mall. Be sure to go by and check out what they have!! I got some really good deals the day I was there.

Don't forget to follow me on Instagram and Facebook. There is also a Pinterest share button at the bottom of the post!
November 07, 2018

Peak Of The Week- Things that piqued my interest!! 11-7-18

Happy Peak Of The Week. Here are some things that piqued my interest this week!! I hope you find them interesting as well!

It's still beautiful in the mountains of New Mexico, but it won't be long until all the pretty leaves are gone! Here are some pictures from my world!



Well, we as a country made it through the election!! I'm thankful for that. I think we should all commit to pray for our country. It is certainly my hope and prayer that we all come together and remember that we are ALL Americans first!! I'm working on a post about getting along with people with differing viewpoints based on a bible study I've done!! I'm hoping that it resonates with people. I'm really hoping that I can put my thoughts into something that makes sense!!! ha ha It seems to be taking me a while!!

Jelly Drops - So many of us have people that we love who are in nursing care facilities. Dehydration is a huge problem with elderly people no matter where they live. This is a great idea and something that I will be following!!

23 Tech Gadgets - There are some great gift ideas on this list. I have to admit that # 13 the hidden USB camera is a bit scary to me!!



Coffee May Protect Against Alzheimers and Parkinson's Diseases - Dementia seems to be taking over the lives of many people that I know and love! It's good to know that one thing I enjoy may help in the fight!!

Aldi Advent Wine Calendar -  I love Trader Joes as much as the next person, but I've been hearing about Aldi for several years. There is one fairly close to my parents' house in Texas. I hope to go the next time I'm there!! This is a fun idea for the holidays!!

Aldi Advent Cheese Calendar- This is not as pricey as the wine advent calendar and just is a fun way to celebrate the season!!

Do any of you have an Aldi nearby? If so, what should the rest of us know about shopping there? My daughter shops at one in Chicago and really likes it!!

Have a great rest of your week. It's all downhill from this Peak Of The Week!!

I hate to keep reminding, BUT, be sure to like my blog on Instagram and Facebook. Also, I'd appreciate likes, comments, and shares. All of these actions make a huge difference as to who sees accounts!
October 26, 2018

I'M ALIVE!!!

Yes, that's snow on the tops of the mountains!!

What started out to be a quick Instagram/ Facebook post suddenly became a blog post while I was out for a morning run/walk!! Funny how that happens sometimes!!


It is a beautiful day in the mountains of New Mexico today. After dealing with some health issues for the past few months, I have gotten out twice this week to attempt (once again) to get back into some form of a running life!! I'm still not 100%, but I'm so much better than I was. It felt so good to be out in nature today. Here are some random thoughts that I have to get out of my head!!


Over the years, a mantra that I've said to myself while out running (and at times out just participating in LIFE) is "I'm Alive." That phrase carried so much meaning with it today. I know what it feels like to feel dead inside. I know what it feels like to be a walking corpse. I lived that way for many, many months after R passed away. It is hard to put one foot in front of the other when we are living with a constant, heavy heart. I'm reminded of how far I've come but also reminded of what it feels like to be living that way because my cousin's 29-year-old son died yesterday. This death on the heels of a high school friend of Dr. T's losing his son about a month ago had me thinking about LIFE today. Trying to imagine the unimaginable that these families are going through was where I found myself out on my run this morning.


With each pounding of my foot on the pavement this morning, I was reminded that I'm ALIVE!! How lucky I am to be alive today! How lucky I am that although life certainly isn't perfect, things in my world are pretty good today. My children and their significant others are happy and healthy! My family, for the most part, is happy and healthy! And, I'm ALIVE today!!!



It was interesting that the last two songs on my playlist were both titled MOVE- one my Toby Mac; the other by Mercy Me. I've included them below if you want to listen.






I was reminded on my run/ walk this morning that we have to keep moving forward in life. Fall is such a perfect picture of our lives. We have to experience these seasons of our lives. Some seasons are hard and raw while some seasons are full of happiness. I wish we didn't have to go through the hard times. I wish we didn't live with cancer diagnosis and grief, but we do. I've come to realize that it isn't really these different seasons that make up our lives,  It's how we handle these different seasons that make up our lives.

For everything there is a season and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
   a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
   a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
   a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
   a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
   a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
   a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
   a time for war, and a time for peace.

                               Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8

One thing my daughter and I have talked about many times is how fluid our lives are. We want to try to always remember that LIFE CHANGES. If we are going through a hard time- remember that change is coming. The same thing when we are going through a really good phase- CHANGE IS COMING- savor every moment of the good!!

I'm going to choose to live my life today as if I'M ALIVE!! How about you?

Don't forget to follow on Instagram and Facebook!!


October 09, 2018

Fall-2018 The only thing piquing my interest this week!!


One thing really piqued my interest this week- Fall Colors!! The New Mexico mountains are full of beautiful fall colors. It has really cooled off, and my hummingbirds have all left so I'm ready for a change of season.

I wasn't going to decorate very much this fall but got inspired when I watched a friend's little boy one morning and we talked about pumpkins!! One of my new mantras is "I better do it because I CAN"!!!

I have to say that a big help to me while getting out my decorations was one of my new favorite things- a collapsible basket!! I found it at my local grocery store and now don't know how I got by without it. From laundry to moving things as I organize, this Pop and Load basket has come in handy!! I collapse it for easy storage when I'm not using it.

This  Pop and Load basket was a huge help in getting out my fall decorations.
#popandload  

The dark grey section collapses so you can see that it is really thin for storage.


Here is a glimpse of my fall decor'.




Serving cart belonged to Dr. T's grandmother.




My Parents gave me this butcher block. It is my favorite thing in my kitchen.

Fall mantel. Dr. T painted that picture when he was a boy.


Sunsets have been beautiful lately!!

My view from downtown. photo from Los Alamos Daily Post