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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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June 19, 2019

Peak Of The Week 6-19-19

My evening happy place!!
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Happy Peak of the Week!! 
Here are a few things piquing my interest this week!!

Aesop's Fables Interactive Book- I'm a big believer in Cultural Literacy. I think it is of significant importance for children to read the classics. Here is a great way to share these classic stories with children.

Gardening Help You Live Longer- Anyone who has done yard work knows that it's hard work!!! This article goes into the health benefits of gardening and says the gardening can help you live to be 100!!

The Simple Thing That Makes The Happiest People In the World Happy- The title pretty much says it all. I hope you are able to SAVOR reading this article.

Rakuten- The Old Ebates- If you shop online a lot, you need to know about this extension you can add to your web browser. I've shared it before when it was ebates. Different companies pay a % cash back to you for shopping with them. If you click on the link for Rakuten, you'll be taken to my referral. Every few months I get a check in the mail. 25 or 50 or sometimes more!!
June 17, 2019

Guest Post- My Life Is A Deflated Balloon

I love hearing from people who follow my blog. It means the world to me to get an email or comment about something I've written. I tend to forget, with all the blogs I follow, that there is a real person on the other side of those words and stories!! I love it when someone makes that personal connection with me and takes the time to reach out!!

That happened recently with one follower in particular. She reached out to me through email to share a breakthrough she has had. She realized in the form of an analogy the reality of her life right now!! It made her pain and grief more clear to compare her life to a balloon!



I thought it was so good, and knew that many of you could relate to her story. Grief isn't just the death of someone we love. Grief occurs with any loss!! When multiple losses occur in a short amount of time, we can feel as if our life is completely thrown off course. Accepting our reality is the first step in moving forward!!!

I believe this dear reader has done just that. She has accepted her reality and now is coming to terms with how to move forward. As most of you know, it's baby steps. We may not see the progress, but it's there with every step forward we take.

Here is her story:


2017 was a great year. We all loved where we lived, had so many activities and friends, my husband had a good job, our son had a great school with good friends. My balloon was fully inflated.


Then came 2018.


The year started with us having to put down our cat in January. April came, and my husband was laid off from his job. We knew this meant leaving our dream town and home. We were devastated. And I was deflating. My fully inflated balloon was losing air fast.


My husband was lucky and found a job in July, but it meant moving. As the move was happening, my husband was and still is struggling with his health. We still don’t know what is wrong. Despite many doctors and tests, he is sick and getting worse. Even simple tasks like walking up the stairs can wear him out.


More deflation came when my dad passed in August. My dad had battled cancer for almost 10 years, and he fought hard. I could not be more proud of how he and my mom handled all the doctor’s visits and the fighting they did to keep him alive. But now my dad, who was always there to inflate my balloon when needed, is gone. I am currently a fully deflated balloon.





I find myself living life as a deflated balloon. Little things bring me joy like my son doing something good at school, or my mom and I having a good laugh on the phone, and then something comes along and deflates it again: my husband in fear of being laid off again or grimacing in pain, my son struggling to find friends, etc. I’m struggling to find air to fill my balloon. I have found some “fillers” in my running group, my swim team, and a new church that we love. But the balloon still feels like it’s flopping around, half empty. I need to remember those places of air and the happiness they bring, in order to overcome the deflating parts of the days.


I worry that the people I meet here in my new town have never seen me fully inflated. They see the deflated me and don’t want to continue to be with me. They see someone who talks happily (and probably too much) about my inflated life in 2017, and then I come back to reality and deflate. I long to find friends who will carry air and help me.


I feel that people dealing with grief and loss (loss of a job, home, etc.) feel like deflated balloons. We may be surviving, but we aren’t thriving. Eventually, there will be air, and it will inflate that balloon again.



When I led a GriefShare group, I always told them when something they were doing was "healthy." I believe that by sharing her story, this Now Choose Life follower is showing healthy grieving!!!

I'm always willing to share others' stories. I am such a believer in writing down our hurts or pain. It is one of the most cathartic things we can do.

Can I share your story? Not only will you help yourself, but you will also help so many others!! Reach out if you want the freedom that comes with telling your story!!

If this post was meaningful to you, please share on Facebook or Instagram and encourage others to follow my posts!!

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June 10, 2019

How To Make A Great Chopped Salad

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I love salads. I judge a restaurant many times by how good their salads are. It's one thing that I pretty much always order when I'm eating out.

One of the best salads I've ever had I shared with Dr. T at Farina in downtown Albuquerque, New Mexico. The salad was so big that it had to be shared. It had so many different vegetables chopped in little bits. It was delicious.

I spent that summer trying to recreate this salad for us to have with meals. I had a hard time doing it, but I recently, after many attempts, found a way to cut my lettuce so that it is in as small of bites at all the other veggies.

My favorite veggies to put in my chopped salad are: lettuce, cucumber, carrots, red onion, zucchini, yellow squash, cabbage, and bell peppers. Those ingredients make the best flavors with any dressing!!!

So here are a few pictures of the last time I made this salad. I didn't have all the ingredients listed above, but it was still wonderful.

I found this chopper on Amazon and it was a game changer as far as finishing some of the vegetables with a final CHOP!!

 
I make money on anything bought off of these ads.

These double bladed chopper knives are extremely sharp. I had to find a special place at the back of a drawer to store it. It has been a good purchase!!


I started with purple cabbage which is pretty easy to chop.

The trick to "chopping" the lettuce is to start by cutting thin lines.

Next, cut thin lines going the other way.
I then use my new chopper to finish any pieces I think are too large.

Add any other veggies that have been chopped along with the lettuce.


Toss

Finished product!! It is oh so good!!



I'm ready to make this easy, healthy salad as part of most meals this summer!!

June 06, 2019

Normandy-Our Visit- Day 5 Viking River Cruise (Paris to the Heart of Normandy)

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With the 75th Anniversary of the invasion of Normandy upon us, I've been thinking about the cruise we took last year to the Normandy region of France on Viking Cruise Line. It was a fabulous trip and the day we went to the beaches of Normandy was the highlight.

 The excursion to the beaches of Normandy on Day 5 of the cruise is the longest day of all the excursions. It starts early in the morning with a bus ride through some quaint villages in Normandy where we stopped at one museum, as well as stopping at some old German bunkers that are still standing.

Overlooking a beach where part of the invasion took place. What struck me the most the closer we got to the beaches is the fact that our American flag proudly flies on foreign soil. It filled me with pride!!

My son reading a memorial.


The first stop at a museum and beach where some of the vessels still remain. 


Narrow streets in these villages.

I loved all the old churches. Notice the rooster on top. Every church steeple has a rooster weathervane.
One of the German bunkers.
 We stopped for lunch at a beautiful golf course. The great thing about traveling with Viking is that everything you do is first class!! Our meal was completely ready when we got there including a great dessert.

We then went to the American Cemetery in France.

A memorial area at the cemetery where nearly 9400 men and women are buried. It had rained a lot so we didn't get to walk through the graves to see any names.

The cemetery overlooks a portion of Omaha Beach. 



This trip meant so much to Dr. T. We watched and read a lot about the war before going. 
The most special part of the day was that Viking arranged for our National Anthem to be played for all of us. I had people come up to me afterward asking what we were doing. We were also given a flower that we could lay anywhere in the cemetery that we wanted. 


As I turned to face the graves after the playing of our National Anthem, I saw grown men crying. It was one of the most moving experiences of my life.

We then went to Omaha Beach. Along the way, our tour guide told stories of the invasion. It was interesting and overwhelming.



Flags of the countries that invaded proudly fly here.


As peaceful as this beach is, it is hard to imagine what happened here 75 years ago.

Dr. T and C gathering sand from the beach as a keepsake. The souvenir shops sell containers to put the sand in.
Seeing our flag proudly fly in a foreign country, experiencing the French people's love and appreciation for Americans, turning to face our flag and all those graves while our national anthem played at the US cemetery and seeing grown men cry will all stay with me for the rest of my life. Standing on those Normandy beaches knowing how many boys died there was very emotional. I am so thankful for those who gave so much!!!

On the 75th anniversary of such an important event, may all Americans come together and remember what we stand for--what our duty in this world is. May we all be proud to be Americans every day, but especially on this day.
June 05, 2019

Happy Wednesday- The Peak of the Week 6-5-19 Here are things piquing my interest this week!!

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It's National Running Day!! I went out this morning and did my run/walk!!! How about you? These are some pictures I took while I was out this morning along with some things that piqued my interest this week!!!



What is an Enneagram and Why is Everyone Talking About Them Right Now?- Enneagram seems to be the big topic right now. I see people talking about going to workshops or sessions to determine their type. I'm still researching it, and I hope to have more information later in a blog post.


12 Fun Facts For Peony Lovers- I love peonies. This article was fun to read.

I don't have much luck with indoor plants so I often resort to silk flowers. I'm working on a post in which I show some of mine. Since this article talks about peonies, I thought I'd share my faux peonies and where you can get them. See below:
You can buy these by clicking on the picture.

I love how these peonies turned out looking in my house. They are a great size and are bound like a bouquet. I left them bound, but I'm sure it would be easy to separate.



New York Time Summer Reading List-- If you can't find a book to read for the summer in this list, you aren't going to find a gook to read this summer.  It's a great list!!




Facebook Is Spying On Me- We have probably all had our weird stories of an ad for something we have recently talked about showing up on Facebook. This example is about as funny as mine. I was talking to a groomer about my dog, Scout's, anal gland. A few days later ads for helping with a pets glands started showing up!!!


13 of Julia Sugarbaker's Best Take Downs on Designing Women-- I loved watching Designing Women when they were on in the '80s!!! This article made me smile, but thinking about those women!!

My Poppies are still blooming!!



How Many Roses Go Into A Bottle Of Chanel 5?-- I love Chanel #5. It isn't my favorite perfume, but there is just something about that classic scent that makes me want to wear it for special occasions. This is an interesting article (the flowers are picked by hand) and the photographs are beautiful!!

Crustless Zucchini Pie-- Does anything more need to be said??? I can't wait to try this recipe!!
May 23, 2019

A Marriage


Their Wedding. 


My parents have been married 60 years today-- I can't imagine. 60 years of marriage is something that I will never see. My first marriage ended at 26 years with the death of my first husband. Dr. T and I will never see 60 years together. Many of you reading this will never see 60 years. It is a rare and precious milestone!!!

My sister and I as well as our children love to hear the story of how they met. (Sorry Mom & Daddy if I get this wrong) My mother's roommate wanted to date my dad so she convinced my mother to go on a double date with my dad and his friend. When the guys came to pick them up, my dad took my mothers' hand and led her to the front seat of the car as his date--she was who he was interested in getting to know better. They became engaged after knowing each other for three months. Shortly after they became engaged, my dad left to serve 13 months in Korea. It was just after the war, and he spent some time on the 38th Parallel between North and South Korea.

I love this picture of them. They took us all to Hawaii in 1996. This was taken on that trip. 


During those 13 months, they wrote each other letters. My mother wrote him a letter every day. Do you know of any young women who would do that today? I certainly don't.

Theirs is a great love story. Not a Hollywood version of a great love story, but a story of faith, commitment, hard work, and perseverance. Those qualities aren't very glamorous by today's standards. My sister and I were lucky to have a front-row seat of watching two people "stick with" a promise made!!

My mother and I talked earlier in the week, and I asked her, "When you made those vows of 'for better or worse' and 'in sickness and in health,' did you have any idea what that really meant for You?" Of course, her answer was a resounding "No." There is no way when we make those vows that we can know what is to come. Isn't that why it's so hard to stay in marriage at times?



I believe that theirs is a great love story because each loved each other and the family they had created so much that they always put those things ahead of their own desires. I have no idea the times they were tempted to make a choice that was just for them. I never saw either of them make a selfish choice. Every decision they made was for the benefit of our entire family.

Loyalty to each other in their marriage was all I ever knew. Put God first in your marriage and the rest seems to fall into place. That means that they lived according to what they knew God wanted for their lives, not necessarily what they wanted every time.

The past 60 years have not been rainbows and unicorns. Life was sometimes hard, but I saw them deal with the few hard times the same way they dealt with the great times-- hand in hand with a lot of prayers.

What a great example their 60 years together is to our family. What a blessing it is for my children to see love, commitment, and faith put into action forming a life well lived in a marriage well lived out!!

Happy Anniversary Mom and Daddy!!! We love you!!

This is what 60 years of marriage looks like. But, this is what every year of their marriage looked like. 

60th Wedding Anniversary.


May 22, 2019

Peak of the Week- 5-21-19

Links I Love


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She brought the sunshine for the week. We went on a great hike every morning!!


I had an excellent friend visit me last week. You know it's a good friend when they come to visit you because your husband is going out of town for the week, and she doesn't want you to be alone all week. We had a blast. Here are some pictures from her visit!!

Here are some things piquing my interest lately!!


Best Products From The Ordinary- I am a big believer in taking the best possible care of my skin as I can. Unfortunately, I am playing catch up from my days as a teen when I laid out in my back yard with baby oil and iodine to get the perfect tan!!! My mother warned me that I would regret that! My daughter told me about The Ordinary last summer. They are excellent products for skin care at a fraction of the cost of a lot of other skincare lines. I have been using them since last summer, and I think that they are making a difference!! This article shares some of the products... and there are many. You have to decide which vitamin C you want to buy!! I just went to the description of each one, and if it said anti-aging, that was the one I bought!!

You can buy the products at Deciem. You can see the guide to products on their regime guide.  If you want to spend around $10 per item for skincare, this is your brand!!

I love this little church in Chimayo, New Mexico. This is a great day trip to this quaint small village if you are ever visiting Santa Fe. 


Design Mom on Abortion- The abortion issue is such a hot topic!! I really appreciate Gabby Blair's thoughts on the subject. She puts some responsibility on the male in the relationship. This article is meant to be thought-provoking, and she does just that!! CAUTION: Her ideas are controversial, and this is a graphic article. Reader beware!!!

We stopped for a break at Rancho de Chimayo before heading into Santa Fe for the rest of the afternoon!!


Modern Mrs. Darcy Summer Reading Guide- I love to follow the Modern Mrs. Darcy blog about reading!! You know, "I likes me a good book!!!" This link takes you to her Summer Reading Newsletter. I've started my list, and am reading The Last Romantics now!!

Rio Grande River!!


No Bake Energy Balls- This link is really for me, so I don't lose it!! As usual, I'm trying to lose weight!! It seems to be an ongoing battle. I have trouble with breakfast... so I want to try these and see if this is a good treat to have with my morning coffee!! I'll let you know.

Online Classes as low as $10.99-  Have you heard of Udemy? There are several sites out there on the internet that host classes of all kinds. I had a friend tell me about Udemy a while back. The choices are limitless. I need to buckle down and take one. This article shares what this writer thinks is the best of what Udemy has to offer.


May 20, 2019

Nothing But The Kitchen Sink

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My son taking a bath in my grandma's kitchen sink 29 years ago!!


There will be no before pictures for this post. I don't want you to know how gross things around here can actually get!!  But, I digress...

Let me start by saying that I am not the world's best housekeeper. When I worked, I always had a cleaning lady who came at least every other week. Now that I don't work outside of the house, I try to keep up with all of the household chores myself. I enjoy it if I'm in the right mood. There is a great sense of accomplishment. It's great exercise. And, Dr. T and I can enjoy a clean, organized house.

I started following a great cleaning guru a while back. In fact, I think I've shared her before. Her blog is Clean Mama (blog found here). Her premise is that is you do one chore a day Monday through Thursday, you can keep your house clean. Friday is a catch-up day, and Saturday is for sheets and towels.
You can buy her book here.




You can buy her book here:



It's a great strategy that I've shared with many friends. We have fun texting each other on Tuesdays asking- it's dusting day... Are you dusting? Her idea is that you always keep your kitchen clean so there is really no day to "clean" the kitchen since you use it every day and clean up when you are finished.

That leads me to Sunday afternoon. Dr. T was working on a project for our office (he usually plays golf), and I found myself with some time on my hands, so I decided to tackle the mess under the kitchen sink. After I emptied it all out, I decided to use the contact paper I recently bought to use in my bathroom for under this sink too.

  I found this paper on Amazon, and I love it.

You can click here to buy it.



Next, I organized and put only the items back that I use in the kitchen. I made the Clean Mama nightly sink scrub and added that in a pretty glass bottle. I'm planning on keeping the area looking like this all the time. There is now a place for everything, and hopefully, everything will stay in its place.

It feels so good and clean under the sink now!!


Be sure to check out Clean Mama. She has so much more than just daily chores. She sells eco-friendly products too!! I love following her on Instagram because she reminds me of what I need to do each day at home. Plus she has more information on each day if required.


Clean Mama has a nightly sink scrub that you can buy from her, or you can make on your own. The recipe is here.

I'm choosing life this next week by making plans to clean out from under our utility room sink and my bathroom sink.  How about you? How are you going to choose life this week? 
May 06, 2019

What I Read- A great companion piece for Educated

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The Great Alone and Educated

My sister-in-law is a voracious reader. We like to talk about books and often recommend books to each other. She mentioned the author, Kristin Hannah to me a while back. She recommended her book, The Nightingale.

I had so many books that I had purchased on my Kindle still unread, so I set out on my Overdrive app to see if my local library had it in ebook format. I rarely sleep all night any night. One thing I like to do is get on my Overdrive app and save the books that I want to eventually check out. That way, the minute I finish a book, I have another ready to read!!

Unfortunately, the library didn't have the ebook version of The Nightingale, but they did have Hannah's The Great Alone. That was good enough for me, and I checked it out. I had never even heard of this book, so I had no expectations.

I will say that it was not the best book that I've ever read, but it was entertaining. The majority of the book takes place in Alaska where a dysfunctional, abusive family goes to live. It kept me intrigued enough that I finished and that was going to be that.

I wasn't planning on writing a review because I don't always write one unless I really like the book I've read. But, Oprah had Tara Westover on Super Soul Sunday to discuss her book, Educated this past Sunday.

I WANT to read Educated!! It was on Bill Gate's and Barrack Obama's lists of best books to read for last year. It has been on every "must read" list that I have seen. I've put off getting it because my book club has mentioned wanting to read it, and I want it to be a "fresh read" for me if we decide to do that!!

As I listened to Westover speak about her life growing up in Idaho to a family of fatalists, I thought, "This sounds so much like The Great Alone. Of course, Educated is a memoir, and The Great Alone is a work of fiction, but if you like to pair books, I think this will be a good pairing.

If you have read Educated, I'd love to know what you think!! I can't wait to read it.


May 03, 2019

A Funny Thing Happened On My Zara Shopping Spree!! or A Wife's Worst Nightmare!!


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Don't miss this black, floral maxi!! Perfect!
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"Funny Thing" or "Nightmare"

Dr. T and I stayed a couple of days in Texas after my son's wedding. We had some things to do at the house and also wanted to help care for the dogs while my son and WONDERFUL, new DIL were on their honeymoon. I told him beforehand that I really wanted to go to San Antonio for a nice dinner while we were there. We just don't have many great places to eat out where we live, and I miss it so much!! I also had an ulterior motive---- I really wanted to peak in Zara at the La Cantera shopping center. Great shopping is also something I miss so much where I live now.

Dr. T is always pretty good at doing whatever I want-- I'm so lucky!!! So off we went. He has a couple of conferences this summer that I'd like some new things for, and I hadn't been shopping in a very long time so going to Zara was so much fun!!

If you aren't familiar with Zara, it is a Spanish clothing store selling women's and men's clothing. Their prices aren't outrageous, and the clothes are different and really cute!! They also have a home store. The only way to shop at Zara Home is online. The only brick and mortar stores I've seen have been in Europe. They also have kids' adorable clothes- Zara Kids

I went a little crazy and was planning on using my credit card and paying it when the bill came. I do have my own money!!! When I went up to pay, I was informed that they were having a problem with their credit card machine and only a small amount could be charged. The rest would need to be paid in cash!! Talk about a wife's worst nightmare!!! Dr. T had been waiting in the beautiful sitting area outside the store but was walking in to find me right as I was walking out to get him.  I told him my dilemma, and he said he had the cash. My night in shining armor rescued me!! AND- he didn't say a word about the amount!! He did raise his eyebrows, and that was it!!! haha

We then had a great meal and conversation which is one of my most favorite things right now!!!

I thought I'd share my favorites from Zara: I have a "thing" for black. I guess I was born to live in NYC!!

Found Here. I love this dress. No, I won't wear it with pants and tennis shoes!!

Found Here. I love this!!! I don't plan on wearing it as a dress, but I hope to wear it over leggings!

Found Here. This just screamed Santa Fe to me so I had to get it!!


Found Here. Unfortunately, I didn't see these! But I did buy some other joggers. I think I'll order these-- so cute!

Found Here. I bought this in red and black. I wore the red dress on Easter Sunday with my French Poppy Scarf. I won't wear it with pants as shown here. It's a great dress that hides a lot!!

Found Here. Living in South Texas all those years, I never understood jackets for summer. The rest of the country understands! Living in the mountains means jackets in the evening. I'm not complaining!! I love this one. You can't beat a good denim jacket!!

Found Here. This is my favorite!! It will be perfect for Dr. T's two conferences this summer. 
Love this peasant top!! Found Here


I wore this to my bible study this morning. I don't need to know who wore it better!! I love it though!!
So what do you think, was it a "funny thing" or a "nightmare" to have my husband see how much I spent on clothes? 

Do you like to shop at Zara? What do you think of it?