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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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July 18, 2018

Peak of the Week- July 18,2018

Here are a few things that piqued my interest this week!! Happy Peak of the Week- it's all downhill from here!!

Hemingway- Plan Your Weekends- Interesting to know that Hemingway was as disciplined with his leisure time as he was with his writing! What do you think of his idea? I have to admit, I'm quite a planner. I like to have things planned out whether it is work-related or free time!!

10 Ways to Have a Better Conversation- A friend shared this on Facebook. I am not good at small talk. I wish I were more like my dad and my sister. They can talk to anyone. I am much more reserved. I like to observe rather than be involved!!

Will Reeves- Note To Self-- Grab a tissue. I sure needed one. This is Christopher Reeves' son who lost both parents within 1 1/2 years of each other. He writes a "note to self" to his 13-year-old self after his parents die. He talks of it being his lowest point- There is nowhere to go but up. I remember sharing with my kids after they lost their dad that I've never read a biography of a person who has accomplished a great deal with his/her life who had not suffered a great deal at some point in life. I think this point is very true. When you have experienced the unimaginable. When you have fought back from "rock bottom" you gain a strength that is different than any other. It is really good to see this young man doing so well!!

I'm already looking forward to the weekend.  How about you??

July 13, 2018

Alaskan Plane Crash- Health Issues- Random Thoughts

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I'm sure by now you have seen the news coverage of the plane that crash-landed in Alaska. I first saw it and thought, "Wow- what a miracle that they all survived." A couple of days later a friend posted on Facebook that her husband and his brother were on that flight. It shook me up a little bit!! I never know what will be a big trigger or a small trigger to get me thinking about my journey with loss. This trigger was not a soul-searching one, but it did make me pause and realize once again how quickly our lives can change. How one phone call, one doctor walking into the room with news, one decision can change our lives forever.

This particular friend isn't a "best friend." She is a "church friend." Aren't those church friends sometimes the best!!! I remember that every time I saw her after R passed away, she encouraged me like so many women from our church did. She was supportive; She asked how I was, and she always encouraged me. So, to know that she came really close to following in my shoes of losing a husband really bothered me. But, the good news is that God performed a miracle that day. Everyone survived that crash. She doesn't have to go through the unimaginable!!! Praise God!!! I know her well, and I know she is praising God today for this miracle!!!

I've been having some health issues as of late. I have always been very healthy so the past 9 months to a year have just been weird for me. I knew something was wrong, and it has been a gradual progression into a really bad place. The first of the snowball started with some kidney issues. I got great news last Monday when I went for an appointment to get all my lab results. I knew in my heart it wasn't anything serious, but Dr. T went with me because I knew I would need someone with me if it wasn't all good news. But, it was fairly good news. I will be monitored for a while longer, if there is kidney disease, it is slow to no progress at this point.

I  also made an appointment to discuss my cholesterol for later that week with a primary care doctor. All the weight I've gained since moving here has also increased my cholesterol. I was planning on begging this new Dr. to send me on to a cardiologist because I have been having major issues with my heart, dizziness, trouble breathing- like a weight on my chest among other things.

You see, I'm the patient who goes to the doctor with my diagnosis ready!! I've googled, read, and asked others' opinions until I have a diagnosis ready to tell them--- to save the doctor time of course!!

She didn't buy my diagnosis when she looked through my blood work. I confessed that I had trouble climbing the few stairs to her office- proof that I need to see a cardiologist pronto!!! She asked me how long I had lived at this high altitude and then proceeded to tell me that I was probably anemic.  I have never had an issue with iron deficiency. I thought you just got really tired if you were deficient in iron.

By the end of the day, my additional bloodwork had come in and her nurse called to tell me that I immediately needed to get on an iron supplement. I was severely iron deficient. I started googling the symptoms, and much to my surprise, I had experienced many of them. I've been a little MIA this past week because I just didn't have the strength or the mental capacity to do very much with this blog. If I don't take a nap, I've been exhausted by the end of the day.

Again, Dr. T and I were rejoicing that I had received good news. Although there is no quick fix to my deficiency, there is a fairly easy fix--- just take my supplement religiously!!! Halleluja!!

Unfortunately, this was so me. I was so negative to myself. I would be out trying to run saying terrible things to myself about how out of shape I was. After my diagnosis, I'm trying to be kind to myself!!! Why are we so hard on ourselves?

I was so relieved. I had been trying to wrap my brain around how I was going to tell my children that I had heart issues when they had lost their dad to a heart attack a few years ago. That is something no one should have to think about.

I remember the first time I realized that I was all they had left of our little family!! It was a sobering realization that I was their sole parent!!! I wrote about it here. It was a scary situation, but the really scary part was later when I thought of the enormous weight I felt at being the only one they had left. I know they are adults; I know they have each other; I know they have extended family; I know they have great friends, but my pity party was still needed on my end!!!

I'm am rejoicing today that I am in good health. I know of too many people who are battling cancer or other very serious illnesses. I am thankful today that I get to pop a little pill each morning for the next few months to get my iron levels up.

I have so much to be thankful for today!! How about you? What all do you have to be thankful for today? I know there are many things!!!

Once again, I realize how an attitude of gratitude is essential in life. I choose to be thankful and have good reason to be thankful. 

Life as we know it can change in an instant. It sounds so cliche' but it is the truth. Give hugs, love, grace freely!!! AND Eat The Cake!!!!
July 12, 2018

Viking River Cruise- Paris and the Heart of Normandy Day 4

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AT 6:00 a.m. the morning of Day 4, we could feel the ship start moving. We would be arriving in Rouen at 1:00.

The morning of cruising down the river was a great respite from the busy days we had so far. It was also beautiful to see the French countryside and little villages that we passed by. Our Excursion choices for the day were varied:

Picturesque Honfleur on foot
Rouen Farm & Countryside
Jumieges Abbey & Country Bike Ride 
Rouen Walking Tour
You also had the option of touring the town on your own if you wished

Although it was a bit pricey, we opted for the Abbey and bike tour. 

This is a sample of what it is like to sail down the river and see the quaint villages as you go by. I loved every minute of it.

Frist, the  Jumieges Abbey. The abbey was founded in 654 and was a Benedictine monastery. The ruins are beautiful. 

Our guide on this day was not the greatest. She rushed us through, but we were all ready for our bike ride!!

This was one of the most special family things we did. It was great being outdoors, biking and watching these two having so much fun!!

One of the few group pictures that we got!!

Coming up on some serious cyclists!! 

Dr. T stayed behind us to make sure no one had any problems. He also stayed with an elderly man who was with us. 

I loved seeing all the old buildings on these farms.

I loved seeing them race each other and have so much fun!!

Visiting with the natives!!

Not many vineyards in this area of France, but we passed by this one.

Notice the church in the background. Every small town we passed had a church with a beautiful rooster weathervane on the top!!

Overall, it was a great day!! It was a great way to see France!! I would do the bike tour again in a heartbeat!!

July 01, 2018

I found my "secret sauce" for life in the book of Revelation!!

I am doing a long distance book study with a friend. We wanted to do something meaningful this summer, and I discovered that our former pastor was doing a series of sermons on the book of Revelation. I had Anne Graham Lotz's book, Vision of His Glory so we thought her book along with the sermon series would be a great way to spend our summer!!

A little about the book:

Written in 1996, Anne Graham Lotz explains the book of Revelation. Her anecdotes and examples help relate these scriptures to real life. I bought my copy in 1996, but never finished it. Luckily, I still had it on the shelf!!

The sermons: Jeff Williams is the pastor at First Baptist Church in Denton, Texas. He was the pastor at my church in Texas when R and I were raising our kids. Being friends with his family was one of the greatest blessings of our lives. His wife and I remain extremely good friends today!! He is an excellent speaker and teacher. This series of sermons can be found at FBC Denton.

It was during our first discussion this week of chapters 1 & 2 of the book, and Jeff's first two sermons that I had a great moment of clarity!!

I have a really hard time with people!! I'm just being honest here!! Things people do just really bug me sometimes! Lately, people have really been getting on my nerves!! I've talked to some friends about it, my mom, my sister... and I always say "There aren't any stories in the bible that deal with this situation. How am I as a Christian supposed to handle this?"

Bring on the epiphany!!!

My friend, Pam, and I were discussing Revelation 1:15 (2nd half)

"...and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters."

Both Lotz and Williams referred to times that they had been around truly rushing waters and how loud that sound is. Lotz describes it this way:

"The sound of rushing water conveys not only energy, power, and life; if you stand close enough to it, it drowns out all other sounds. Have you ever stood at the base of a waterfall? The sound is so great it fills the air, and you cannot even hear yourself speak." pp. 36-37

I wrote in my book, "Am I standing close enough to God's voice for all other noises to be drowned out?"

We also discussed the 2nd half of verse 16, "...and out of his mouth came a sharp double-edged sword."

We started discussing these thoughts and verses, and it came to me. I need to be so close to God's word- Jesus's voice- that His voice is all I hear above all else. Above the chatter of the news, above the gossip, above the lies that people tell, above the obnoxious things that come out of others'  mouths- God's word/ Jesus' voice needs to be the loudest voice in my life. 

That's it- the "secret sauce" to life really isn't so secret!!! I need to be filling my life with God's word- not just a smattering here and there but filling my life to the brim with God's word.

Now, of course, I knew that!!!! But I have really, really been struggling in this particular area of my life recently. People lately have been getting on my nerves!!! People that I know personally as well as people in the public have done things lately that let me down- have disappointed me, and it hurts!!!

Pam and I also came to the great aha moment that if we would be truly filling our lives with God's word daily instead of just when we are worried or upset, we probably wouldn't be worried or upset to start with.

I have devotionals that I do, but I know I need more. One of my new year goals was to have a "spiritual practice." This spiritual practice was going to be to read my "read the bible in a year" bible every day and write down my thoughts. Well, I am a failure at this!!! But I am picking myself up and starting over once again!!

The beauty of studying the bible is that there is ALWAYS something new to learn! It depends on our stage in life, life circumstances, and our openness to it, but there is always something new that I can apply to my life!!

I want my life to be such that when a friend isn't honest with me, I hear God's word saying, "Turn the other cheek" instead of dwelling on why she/he can't be honest. (Matthew 5:39)

When I feel that someone has been insensitive about my grief over losing R, I can remember that Jesus cried over Lazarus' death, and he knows that I'll never "be over" the loss of my husband. He understands. (John 11:35)

My life's goal from now on is for God's word- Jesus' voice to be the loudest voice I hear.

I especially need His voice to be louder than my own!!!!

** The Bible that I quoted the verses from is The NIV Study Bible- New International Version**