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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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April 24, 2018

Poetry Tuesday - 4-24-18



I love this quote by Goethe so much!! I used it one year when I taught summer school and have a fun story about it. I guess I'll save that story for another blog post!!

April is poetry month. Here is my poem for this Tuesday!!

Verses upon the Burning of our House


In silent night when rest I took,
For sorrow near I did not look,
I waken’d was with thund’ring noise
And piteous shrieks of dreadful voice.
That fearful sound of “fire” and “fire,"
Let no man know is my Desire.
I starting up, the light did spy,
And to my God my heart did cry
To straighten me in my Distress
And not to leave me succourless.
Then coming out, behold a space
The flame consume my dwelling place.
And when I could no longer look,
I blest his grace that gave and took,
That laid my goods now in the dust.
Yea, so it was, and so ‘twas just.
It was his own; it was not mine.
Far be it that I should repine,
He might of all justly bereft
But yet sufficient for us left.
When by the Ruins oft I past
My sorrowing eyes aside did cast
And here and there the places spy
Where oft I sate and long did lie.
Here stood that Trunk, and there that chest,
There lay that store I counted best,
My pleasant things in ashes lie
And them behold no more shall I.
Under the roof no guest shall sit,
Nor at thy Table eat a bit.
No pleasant talk shall ‘ere be told
Nor things recounted done of old.
No Candle ‘ere shall shine in Thee,
Nor bridegroom’s voice ere heard shall bee.
In silence ever shalt thou lie.
Adieu, Adieu, All’s Vanity.
Then straight I ‘gin my heart to chide:
And did thy wealth on earth abide,
Didst fix thy hope on mouldring dust,
The arm of flesh didst make thy trust?
Raise up thy thoughts above the sky
That dunghill mists away may fly.
Thou hast a house on high erect
Fram’d by that mighty Architect,
With glory richly furnished
Stands permanent, though this be fled.
It’s purchased and paid for too
By him who hath enough to do.
A price so vast as is unknown,
Yet by his gift is made thine own.
There’s wealth enough; I need no more.
Farewell, my pelf; farewell, my store.
The world no longer let me love;
My hope and Treasure lies above.

I have always loved this poem since first reading it in a college American Literature class years ago. It reminds me that everything I possess is just stuff. How wonderful it was that Ann Bradstreet could fix her eyes on the eternal even though she had lost her family's home. She teaches us all that our true home is not of this world. When I get too upset over my earthly possessions, I try to remember this poem. I hope you do as well.   
April 18, 2018

Peak Of The Week- A List Of Things That Piqued My Interest On This 4-18-18




It's Wednesday!! The Peak Of The Week! Here are some things that piqued my interest this week.



Why American Students Haven't Gotten Better At Reading In 20 Years- A friend shared this article on Facebook this week. It makes a lot of sense. I still believe that much responsibility needs to be placed back on parents. Children need to be read to. Children need to read aloud to their parents. Current events need to be discussed at home. I may not have done many things right as a mom, but I did read with my children. We also discussed history and current events. They were fortunate to have an engineer for a father- so much of their childhood was a science experiment. But of course, children don't have to have an English teacher for a mother and an engineer for a father to do well in school. But an emphasis on education in the home matters tremendously!!

7 Habits Guaranteed to Make You Happier - All of these habits are at a basic level just living in the moment and not taking our lives for granted!! Number 4 spoke to me the most. It is something that I am really working on. How about you? Which habit speaks the most to you?

Finding Meaning and Happiness in Old Age - Two of my favorite lines from this article:
1. ...not what we accomplish in spite of aging, but because of aging.
2." ...'older people  knowing they face a limited time in front of them, focus their energies on things that give them pleasure in the moment,' not on a future that may never be."

Nerves Of Steel - Article about the Southwest Airlines flight that lost an engine this week.

American Woman Wins Boston Marathon - I loved that fact that an American won the women's division fo the Boston Marathon this week.

Both of these articles are timely for me given the past year was so full of revelations of such heinous abuse of women. These are the stories that I want our daughters to remember!!!

Ellen Surprises Rockport, Texas!! - The Texas Coast is still rebuilding after Hurricane Harvey. What a wonderful thing for Ellen to do!!!


April 17, 2018

Poetry Tuesday

Remember that April is poetry month!! Just sharing some of my favorites!!!

I loved teaching poetry when I taught English. Students always brought in songs that they loved, and I think that is great!! I love music as poetry!!!

I'm sharing today a song that I heard the other day! I was listening to Freebird station on Sirius Radio. Someone from the Lyndard Skynard band was being interviewed about the song Simple Man. He said he and another band member wrote it one afternoon when they were talking about their mothers!! I loved that!

He also said that when they sing this at concerts (especially concerts for our service men and women) he sees so many people crying out in the audience.

They played the song, and I hadn't heard it in so long. It was such a treat to hear it again!! It made me think of my son, and what mother's want for their children!!

So here you are. I hope you enjoy it!!!



Simple Man
Lyndard Skynard

(Gary Rossington - Ronnie Vanzant)

Mama told me when I was young
Come sit beside me, my only son
And listen closely to what I say.
And if you do this
It'll help you some sunny day. Oh Yah!
Oh, take your time... Don't live too fast,
Troubles will come and they will pass.
You'll find a woman, yea yea, you'll find love,
And don't forget son,
There is someone up above.

[Chorus:]
And be a simple, kind of man.
Oh be something, you love and understand.
Baby be a simple, kind of man.
Oh, won't you do this for me son,
If you can?


Forget your lust, for the rich man's gold
All that you need, is in your soul,
And you can do this, oh baby, if you try.
All that I want for you my son,
Is to be satisfied.

[Chorus:]

Boy, don't you worry... You'll find yourself.
Follow your heart, lord, and nothing else.
And you can do this, oh baby, if you try.
All that I want for you my son,
Is to be satisfied.

[Chorus:]

Baby be a simple, be a simple man.
Oh be something, you love and understand.
Baby be a simple, kind of man. (Fade out)



Happy Poetry Reading!!
April 16, 2018

My Thoughts On Running on this Boston Marathon Day!!


Running... I have had a love/ hate relationship with running for many years. Running isn't easy!! But days like today- the Boston Marathon- I love running. And, really I guess since I started running in my mid-30s, I've always loved running much more than I hated it.

Later in my life, I came to realize that running is a lifesaver in so many ways. It is a lifesaver in that it physically makes you stronger, leaner, healthier. But, after R died, it became a mental and emotional lifesaver for me.

Yes- I can honestly say today that running saved my life. How is that for dramatic? But it is true!!

I was prescribed an antidepressant in the days following R's death by a very well-meaning Dr because I had developed Shingles in my eye. Shingles I found out is closely related to stress. And, I was under a tremendous amount of stress. I'm not against antidepressants. But for me- it just wasn't the right path. I needed something that could help me get through the agonizing days and months that were to come, and I didn't want it to be a drug.

I set out on a road of exhaustion as my drug of choice. Running fits in well with exhaustion!!! Running at 5am with friends definitely helps aid in the exhaustion! And so that is one way that I coped with my grief. For me, it was the healthiest way.

So for many years, running has been my healer. That is why now, I'm missing my runs and am desperately trying to get back into the groove of running.

Days like today help to cement in my mind that I want to run. I will never run Boston, but I can run. I can train and run fun, local races. Boston is the inspiration!!
I bought this shirt shortly after the Boston bombing of 2013. Proceeds went to victims!!

I had just run my first and I'm sure the only marathon in February 2013. Boston was upon us, and I was excited to follow along and cheer those runners on. Then the unimaginable happened. A bomb exploded at the finish line. How could that be?

April is a hard month for me, and that first April waiting for the 29th to dawn was especially hard. I was physically sick before that date. Watching the news and all those hurting people of the bombing was emotionally draining on me.

That next Saturday, one of my great running friends planned a #BostonStrong run for us on a Saturday morning. It was just our way of showing our compassion for what had happened. Once again, we turned to running as a healer!!


I have followed the Boston Marathon every year since. I've had some years where I knew people who were running and that is always fun. This year, the only person I knew running is not a personal friend, but an ex-news anchor from San Anontio, Sarah Lucero. She now how a fitness company. I follow her on social media and have followed her training for today's race.

Today, I tracked her during her bitter cold run!!! She was gracious enough to even put up some videos during the run!!! She had a finish time of 3:57. Not bad, especially considering that the weather was terrible today!! It has been such an inspiration to watch her train and see her results today!!

I'm once again trying to get back into running. I've been doing pretty well with my routine. I take Scout out for a mile walk. I then go out for a three-mile run/walk. I am still struggling with the hills here, but I'm getting better!!

I started this post by saying that I love/hate running, but really I LOVE running. There is no better feeling than the feeling I get after a good fun. I have made so many good friends through running. We always say- what happens on the run, stays on the run. There is something about being out on a run that makes people share their truth- and sometimes the truth in our lives is not good. The running community is a great group! I have met some of the most encouraging and compassionate people that I have ever known. Runners are very inclusive!! They love what they do so much, they just want everyone to feel that way!!!

Running is a perfect picture of life on so many levels. I was just sharing with Dr. T this weekend how much my running life mimics my real life. The idea of "just put one foot in front of the other" speaks volumes in both lives, doesn't it?

Here are some other great running quotes-- Read them and don't think about running. Think about your life...











Aren't those all such good quotes for life!!

Of course, I had to run (and walk) this morning since I knew so many people were miserable out running in the cold, wind, and rain in Boston. I will leave you with some scenes from my run!!








Being out in nature does something for my soul that I can't get anywhere else. I'm so looking forward to nice weather and many more runs!!

I know running isn't for everyone. But, getting out, walking in nature, and soaking up the sun is good for everyone's soul. If you find yourself in a slump, get outside and go for a walk. It cures many ails!!! 
April 13, 2018

The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People - Habit 1



I am that person that has four or five books going at one time. I'm also that person that starts a book, and after a few chapters- puts it down only to pick it up again a couple of months later. So it has been with this book, The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People.

Over 15 million copies of this book have been sold. It has withstood the test of time, and is one book that people come back to time and time again!! This is the one book that I told my kids at Christmas they need to read this year!!

The author, Stephen R. Covey recommends that one not simply read straight through this book. I have to admit, that would be hard to do. It is not an easy read. It requires thought and reflection. Perhaps that is why it has been THAT book that I've put down for a while. He suggests two paradigm shifts that he believes will "greatly increase the value you will receive from this material." p. 59

1. Don't read straight through. The material is meant to be a companion as you grow through what you are learning.

2. Shift from learner to teacher. Read it with the plan to share or discuss with others.
                                                                                                                         p. 60

Lucky you- you are my person with whom I am acting as teacher. I can't think of a better person to share what I have learned from this book than you-- the person reading my blog right now!!

So on to the habits:

Habit One- Be Proactive

Being proactive is more than taking initiative. It is the realization that we are responsible for our own lives.

LOVE- "Look at the word responsibility - "response-ability"- the ability to choose your response. Highly proactive people recognize that responsibility. They do not blame circumstances, conditions, or conditioning for their behavior. Their behavior is a product of their own conscious choice, based on values, rather than a product of their conditions, based on feeling."   P. 71

I love his idea that our responsibility is our ability to choose our response. I would have loved to have understood that concept when I was teaching or raising my children!!! We always want our children or students to be responsible, but I never looked at it on these terms before!

Covey shares the difference between proactive and reactive people.

LOVE- "Reactive people are often affected by their physical environment. If the weather is good, they feel good... Proactive people can carry their own weather with them. Whether it rains or shines makes no difference to them."  P. 71

He discusses "listening to our language" This is what I believe Dr. Phil later coined as our elevator music. What we tell ourselves- our language. This really made me think...

"The language of reactive people absolves them of responsibility." P. 78

LOVE-

"That's me. That's just eh way I am." I am determined. There is nothing I can do about it.

"He makes me so mad!" I'm not responsible. My emotional life is governed by something outside my control.

"I can't do that. I just don't have the time." Something outside me-- limited time-- is controlling me.

"If only my wife were more patient." Someone else's behavior is limiting my effectiveness.

"I have to do it." Circumstances or other people are forcing me to do what I do. I'm not free to choose my own actions.
                                                                                                    P. 78

Did I just hear a collective OUCH??? I know those words hit a little too close to home with me!

There is so much more to the first few chapters of the book than what I have shared here. If you have read this book, I'd love to hear from you!!








April 11, 2018

Peak Of The Week- A List Of Things That Piqued My Interest!!

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I love the above picture!!! There is always a beautiful bloom after the dead of winter!!


It's Wednesday- The Peak of the Week!! Here is a list of things that piqued my interest this week!!!

1.  With spring comes the idea of spring cleaning!! Decluttering has been on my mind for quite some time. Every time I've been back to the house in Texas the past year, I've done some decluttering. Sometimes it's been big jobs like my whole closet and the entire pantry other times it has been as simple as the medicine cabinet. I'm also in the process of decluttering the house in New Mexico. I am now waiting on bookshelves to be built so I can tackle the boxes and stacks of books that Dr. T and I have!! The bottom line is that I don't want my kids to have to deal with all of my crap someday, and I really only want items that have purpose and bring joy to fill my spaces!!!

This is a great decluttering article for ideas for different amounts of time you might have: 1 day or 1 hour or 10 minutes or just 1 minute
Declutter your house

And another:
30-day clutter detox plan

Along with decluttering a house, I've seen several articles on spring cleaning our lives that really piqued my interest!!

This post on spring cleaning your entire life is by one of my favorite bloggers in Dallas. She is so cute and reminds me of one of my daughter's really good friends. She includes a downloadable link.
Tidy Up Your Life


2.  This commercial for the Book Of The Month has had me laughing so hard!! So creative!! So
     funny!!





3.  Something else that has made me laugh this week was a skit on SNL. I normally don't watch Saturday Night Live. I used to love it, but I frankly don't find it funny anymore, but this was funny. I joke with my friends all the time that I live my life in my yoga pants now!!! This really made me laugh!!





4.  I'm not really sure why I found this article as interesting as I did. I used to love to read the wedding section of the New York Times. Some of the articles are better reading than any best seller. As you know if you have read very many of my blog posts, my favorite reading is nonfiction. Give me a biography and I am extremely happy. I guess the glimpse into this widow's life and her words just really piqued my interest this week!!

"Romeo and Juliet never had to grow older together or put their kids through college,” said Ms. Mead-Armor, now 67, in a phone interview from her home in Waynesboro, Va., on the southern fork of the Shenandoah River. “Juliet never went through menopause. You don’t live happily ever after.

Real Life Can Be Raw, in marriage and death

And do yourself a favor and periodically find the wedding announcements in the Style section of the NY Times. Some of the stories are fascinating!!!


I hope you are enjoying your Peak Of The Week!!! I know I am- beautiful weather in my little hometown in the mountains!!


April 10, 2018

Poetry Tuesday- April is Poetry Month





April is poetry month. I have always loved poetry. I like rhyming poems better than free verse, but I love reading powerful words and poetry always packs a punch of meaning!!

One of my favorite memories with my sister is when we went together to hear Caroline Kennedy speak in San Antonio on April 28, 2011. She had just published her anthology, She Walks In Beauty, A Woman's Journey Through Poems.

She told a story about her mother that I loved. She said when she was a little girl, she and her little brother, JFK Jr. didn't buy their mother presents for her birthday or Christmas. All her mother wanted was for them to give her a poem that they had picked for her. I love the idea of having children learn the importance of poetry by having them give it as a gift. I also love that they will have a mental library of great poems they have memorized! I plan on using that strategy with my future grandchildren. There will be no gifts for this granny-- All I will want is a poem recited just for me!!!



April is a month that really makes me miss my job as a middle school librarian. I had a great English department to work with, and we had nurtured a very special day at our school. Every April we celebrated a great day of poetry with "Poem In Your Pocket Day." It was an idea we took from New York City and made it our own special day of poetry reading, sidewalk chalk poems, poetry slams during lunch-- a love of all things poetry. I miss that special day!!!

In honor of Poetry Month, I will devote every Tuesday to one of my favorite poems!! Be sure to check back each Tuesday because I probably won't publicize them all!!

So here is today's poem: I hope you enjoy it as much as I always have.


I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud 
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.



This poem makes me think of my grandmother who grew daffodils in her yard. There are numerous 
daffodils blooming all over my little hometown right now- I love it!!


My kids with my Grandmother's daffodils in OKC- 1997.