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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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November 27, 2019

Being Thankful!

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Have you taken the time to stop during this busy season to think about all that you have to be thankful for? It's easy for me to get caught up in the planning, shopping, and traveling leading up to Thanksgiving and not really give it a thought until the time before the meal when we go around and say what we are thankful for. Then, it's a scramble to think of something profound to say!!

I remember one year before Randy died, I had actually thought about it because there was a family of squirrels that lived in a knothole of an oak tree that I drove under every day down our road. Many times several of them would be out on the limb or sticking their heads out that knothole as if they were sending me off on my day. I came to look forward to their sweet goodbyes as I headed off to the school where I worked as a librarian. I shared that sweet family of squirrels as one thing I was thankful for that year because I truly was.

One year when my son was a young teenager, we had an issue with his orthodontist's office. It was a family operation, and the orthodontist's wife was the office manager. I had to do what was right for my son in this situation, and at what was to be our last visit, I went to her in tears to explain my decision. The week before Thanksgiving that year, I got a card from her. She said that every year, she sends out three cards to people she is thankful to know. I was one of her people because of how I handled this very difficult situation. Wow!! This practice is something I've wanted to add as a Thanksgiving tradition, but I think I've only done it once!!

My biggest experience with gratitude came in the months after Randy passed away. I'm not sure where it came from, but I knew that I had to be OK with my life. I knew that one way to do that was to be thankful for the things that I did have, not the huge things that I didn't have in my life anymore because of his death. As the new school year started in the fall of 2012, I felt overwhelming gratitude for my life every time I walked through the front doors of my school. Anyone who works in education will tell you that there are some extremely sad stories in kids' lives every single year. How could I not be thankful for my life when I saw middle school students every day who were living in much more difficult situations than I have ever known in my life.

I've heard of so many women lately who have recently their husbands. It is heartbreaking to me to know the pain that they are facing this holiday. It is hard to be grateful when your world has been torn apart. But, in my Facebook memories, a post showed up recently. From Thanksgiving of 2012. In that post, I shared what I was thankful for on that day. Although I was heartbroken, I still had so much to offer thanks to God for.

Here is a great article on GRATITUDE.
My biggest take away is this quote from the article:
"Fox said it’s a mistake to think of gratitude as a cure for pain — something that can be applied when things get bad to lessen the blow. Instead, he said, it’s a regular practice that shores up our reserves and changes how we perceive the bad times."

I admit, there were some days when I didn't feel grateful for anything in my life. I remember several times when I was thinking of what I had to be grateful for, and all I could think of was that I was grateful that I wasn't a widow in a Third World Country. That reality did make me feel somewhat better.

How about you. What are you grateful for this year? I urge you to take time to think about it before you have to share right before your Thanksgiving meal!!!

Many people have been sharing this video on Facebook.

Happy Thanksgiving!! It surely seems to have gotten lost in the flurry of all that is Christmas this year. Let's let tomorrow be all about giving thanks!!
November 22, 2019

What I Wore- Leopard Print

Two things that are very popular for fall and winter are animal print tops and snakeskin boots!!

I recently spoke at my church. As I looked in my closet for something to wear, I suddenly realized that I have nothing to wear in there!!

Because I was anxious about getting through my interview, I knew I needed to feel very comfortable in what I was wearing!! I headed to my local Bealls and found this cute top!!

This blouse can be found HERE.

I also love these animal print tops from Amazon.

Found Here.

Found HERE

Found Here.

November 19, 2019

A Conversation On Grief (and a Godwink)

There are videos in this post that, for some reason, don't always come through on RSS feeds. If you receive my blog posts through email or through a blog service, please click HERE to have full access to the post.

I was so honored to be part of my pastor's sermon on grief this past Sunday. I was honored and also extremely anxious!! It's hard to tell our stories, isn't it? I'm not sure why I have such a desire to tell others my story. I hope to get a dialogue started about our journeys. That's for sure. I hope to inspire, not necessarily through me, but through what I've learned, so I guess that's a big part of it.

When my pastor asked if I would be part of the sermon, I agreed, but definitely started having feelings of anxiety!! The topic of grief is so emotional. Everyone is dealing with a different situation and a different relationship. My concern came from wanting to make sure that my part of the sermon was clear and without mistakes which could take away from the meaning and purpose. (I hope that makes sense).

Here is the conversation with my pastor. He did such a great job preparing and leading this discussion!!! He made me feel so at ease, and I'm so grateful!!

If you want encouraging messages, you can subscribe on Youtube to get his sermons HERE.

And now, here is my precious Godwink.

First, in case you aren't familiar with the term, let me explain a Godwink!!

"A Godwink is what some people would call a coincidence, an answered prayer, or simply an experience so astonishing that it could only have come from God." from Beliefnet.

I've had several Godwinks with music since Randy passed away. I will write about those next week!! Yes- God has used Aerosmith to wink at me!!!

I guess if these other musical Godwinks hadn't happened, I might not have thought as much of what happened Sunday morning. Here is the story:

Although I felt fairly prepared for Sunday, I woke up feeling pretty anxious. The topic is so important to me that I let my fear of misspeaking get the best of me. I don't want my verbal typos to take away from the message. I looked over my notes one more time and felt the most anxiety I had felt since I started preparing for this day. I prayed but still felt anxious. 

As I walked into the bedroom where Dr. T was listening to the songs that were going to be sung that morning (he plays the drums some Sundays). I heard Kristene DiMarco's "It Is Well." I walked in just before the part where she sings the words from the old hymn, "It Is Well." (just about 3 minutes into the song)

I told Dr. T that I had just had a Godwink. The hymn "It Is Well" was sung at Randy's memorial service. God has used it before in my life to get my attention. If you don't know the story behind the hymn, you can read about it HERE.

I've always loved the hymn as I remember singing it in church with my family so many times. After my Grandad passed away, I remember going into my Nana's room to check on her. She was sitting on the side of her bed, and as I sat by her, she told me she was just saying over and over to herself, "It is well with my soul." I knew when Randy passed away that I wanted to have it sung at his service because it had such significance for me. 

I don't believe in coincidence. I believe that God used that old hymn being sung in a new way this past Sunday to just give me a little wink. He used it to say to me. "I'm Here. I am in control!! It's all going to be OK. You will be OK this morning, no matter how badly you mess up what you intend to say. I can still use it!!"

I felt such a sense of peace after hearing that song. Before Dr. T left, he reminded me of two things. First, he reminded me that this wasn't about me!!! And, also, he let me know that we would be singing that song right before I sat down with my pastor, Mike. Both of those things I needed to hear!!!

So as I stood in church Sunday singing the last song before I was called up, I sang "It Is Well" with a grateful heart. Thank you, God, for caring so much about me!!!

Have you experienced a Godwink? If you haven't, I'd be willing to bet you haven't been looking for them!!!

Here is my favorite Godwink book.    
It can be purchased HERE

 Other Godwink books and movies can be found HERE.

November 08, 2019

It's Still Fall, Y'all!!

I honestly don't have anything against anyone putting up their Christmas decorations early. Although, it does seem that for some it gets earlier and earlier every year.

I happen to still be enjoying my fall colors around our house as well as in what I'm wearing!! It's not too late to put out some fall decorations. Here is a look at my world of fall colors!!

I love decorating with books. I love the different colors of old books. These were weeded out of the library where
I used to work. I'm so glad I got them!!

Fall decor

I also love decorating with flameless candles. These are on a timer so I never have to turn them on or off.

 You can find similar candles HERE.

As an Amazon Affiliate, I profit from qualifying purchases that you make.

Although, I don't usually wear earth tones, this time of year I make an exception. Here are a few outfits that I'll continue to wear through Thanksgiving!!

I have loved this green blouse. It is comfortable and easy to wear. 

This could be a great outfit for Thanksgiving!

I've shared this vest before. There are so many colors to choose from.

It can be found HERE.

November 06, 2019

Rebuilding From The Ashes

being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6

I got in 6.2 miles this morning. It wasn't pretty, but I'm done. It's a deposit made into that mental strength bank that I'm going to need when I run my 10K with my friend in January. I'm sure it's also what I will need to keep going in this round of training leading up to the race.

While I was out, I had some random thoughts that I thought might be good to share.

As a side note, I mentioned Kanye West's Jesus Is King album last week. I finally downloaded it and am listening to it while I'm doing some work on my computer. It is really good!!! I can't believe how much I like it!!!

I like all the songs on the album, but I keep going back to this one!!

Back to my morning run... I wanted today to be my long run day because our weather here is supposed to get colder. I knew I needed to get a 10K in to see how I feel. Because of all of this, I had to run down a street that I've never been down before. I looked up a hill and noticed a house at the top that was so pretty!!

I then realized that I was running down a street that had been devasted by wildfires years ago. Many of these houses have been rebuilt. As I ran along looking at these lovely, new houses, I started trying to imagine what this area looked like during and right after the fires. I can't imagine. During one of the fires, the entire town had to be evacuated, and so many people lost their homes.
The new growth is finally taking over!!

What I was witnessing is an excellent picture of our lives. We sometimes have to rebuild from the ashes. Ashes left by death, divorce, abuse, mistreatment. I was so encouraged today to be reminded of the hope that exists in all of our lives.

Looking towards town.
I don't know what ashes you are rebuilding from this morning. You may be at the beginning of a journey that you never thought you'd be on. I have been there.

I encourage you today to do something for you. Sip a cup of tea or go for a walk. Do something that will get you in a good mood and the right mind to face whatever it is that you have to heal from!!
 You can rebuild from the ashes!!

November 01, 2019

What I Wore- A Little Black Dress for winter!

Can you have too many? I think not!

Thanks for all the sweet comments on my Instagram and Facebook stories from the other day! I feel so self-conscious doing those!! Usually, my sister is my great cheerleader so when I heard from several of you, it made me feel good about doing them- especially that one!! So Thank You very much!!

I'm sharing an easy way to bring in the cold weather fashion- a Little Black Winter Dress! This is such an easy look to put together. Most of us have a black dress and black boots in our closets. Remember- we want to be shopping our closets as much as possible!!
                                These boots are older, and I love being able to go bare-legged a bit longer!!

I love to wear black! I know I'm supposed to live in NYC someday and wear black on black on black!
I really thought this dress would be sold out by now, but Guess What??? It's not, and it's a steal!! I bought this dress at Zara for $19.90!! It can be found HERE. Believe it or not, $19.90 is the regular price!!

If you don't have a great, black winter dress, this one won't break the bank!!

One of the best things about this dress is that it hides my tummy!!

No tights, with boots, is a perfect way to wear this for fall.
I'm already thinking of how I will wear it this winter. What do you think about wearing it with black tights and snakeskin booties? I've been eyeing these booties.

These snakeskin booties can be found in the picture below.
As an Amazon Affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Amazon has so many booties to choose from. You can go here to see most of them:
snakeskin booties

If you like what I post, please share it to your social media accounts. Links are at the bottom of this post!!

October 30, 2019

Peak of the Week- 10-30-19

Happy Wednesday, the Peak of the Week!! I'm sitting at my desk looking out on a frigid day!! If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you might have seen my stories today. It's frigid here, and I had a choice of running outside or going to the gym and getting on a treadmill.

Because of a post I saw yesterday from Hungry Runner Girl, I decided to add coins to my mental strength bank and run outside in our freezing temperatures! It ended up being a pretty good run. I feel stronger mentally, physically, and spiritually!!! The whole idea is to run in all different conditions- especially the bad ones because you don't know what conditions will be the day of your race. Just like running- we don't know the conditions our lives will be in tomorrow, next week, or a year from now so we also need to do things to add coins to draw from out of our Mental Strength Bank for life in general!!

Feeling really good halfway through my run!!

I believe that our foundation of faith and what we do to grow that faith is the most important thing!! That's certainly what I'm trying to work on in my life!!

How about you, any tips for me on what you do to develop mental or emotional strength?

That's what I'm thinking about today, and here are some things that have piqued my interest this week. I hope you find them as fascinating as I did!!

What your response to typos says about you- As a former English teacher, this resonated with me. It also resonated with me because just this week, I sent out an email with some errors in it!! Uh Oh!! I learned a new word- "grammo"!! Are you a grammar snob? I certainly don't want to be!!

Woman continued to text her father's phone after his death- This is such a heartwarming story.

Best movies on Netflix- It's wintertime, the best time to sit around and watch movies!! Here is a good list.

10 Insider skincare tips from an Esthetician- I believe in taking care of my skin!! Although this article mentions one particular product line, she speaks of general types of items which I appreciate.

If you are looking for a great "clean" product line, I have been using a few products from Beautycounter. If you are interested, I can put you in touch with my consultant!!

I also highly recommend these products from The Ordinary. I have been using them for a while, and I love them. They are incredibly reasonable in price too!!

The Ordinary line of products are plainly packaged products that carry a big punch where skincare is concerned!! Most items cost under $15.00 so they are extremely reasonable! Click HERE to see the many products in their line.

What I'm reading- Searching For Sylvie Lee- this book had me at Chapter 1! It's clean with an amazing storyline. I'm about halfway finished, and I read it every chance I get.

What I'm listening to- Jesus Is King by Kanye West. I am not a Kanye West fan, but when my pastor recommends something, I pay attention. Not only did my pastor recommend his album, but my bible study lead teacher also did. It's interesting!!!

October 28, 2019

Wants VS Needs

I had a great revelation the other day while out on my run!! I did not want to be out running. I had done everything I could think of to keep myself from putting on my shoes and going out the door. And finally, I just told myself, "You really NEED to get out there and run."

So while I was out, I started thinking about the idea of our wants vs. our needs. Remember when our kids were little, and we talked about only buying them things that were needs? Wants were for special occasions.

So it's really the same thing as an adult. Of course, we should all live frugally and only buy what we really need. Saving the wants for special occasions. This concept goes deeper than that. We should always go with our needs in every situation!!

So many choices in our world today!

I need to take care of my body as I age. Therefore, I need to exercise and eat correctly. I may want to eat an entire pizza or a plate of cookies, but I need to consume those treats in moderation.

Every Tuesday afternoon this month, I've gone to a class to be a docent at a nearby museum. I guess it's my age and the fact that I stay home alone so much, but I've gotten a small bit of anxiety as the afternoon class approaches each Tuesday. I do so much by myself in this new life. I usually go to something and don't know a soul there. So there were a couple of times this month that I really wanted to stay home, but I knew that if I desire to be a docent, I need to go.

There are some Sundays when we would much rather stay at home than go to church. I may want to stay in my PJ's all day. However, I know that I need to be fed with the word of God, and so most of the time, when I feel that way, I get myself up and dressed and go.

The need is usually of eternal value and always more important 
 than the temporary desire of  a "want."

A synonym of "need" is essential. I love to think about that. We should always do what is essential for the life we are creating for ourselves.

A synonym of "want" is a desire, a fancy, a craving. Most of the time, what I fancy is short-lived.

It reminds me of the definition of self-discipline that I've heard many times. --  Self- discipline is:                         Doing what you don't want to do so that you can do what you do want to do.

I love that definition because I can relate to it so much in my life. Am I going to live a life based on my fancies, my cravings-- my wants, or am I going to live my life based on what is essential to an abundant life?

I pray that the majority of the time, I pick my needs!!

How about you? What is needed in your life today? Are you willing to do what it takes? It's not easy, but it is so worth it in the end. 

October 25, 2019

What I Wore- shopping my closet

My closet in New Mexico is quite a bit smaller than my closet in Texas was. Because of this, I have to switch out my clothes with the seasons. It has really been a good thing for me because it forces me to look at all of my clothes and purge what I don't wear. With the purging always comes a lot of guilt that I've bought way too many clothes and that I haven't worn some clothes enough or been a good steward of what I have bought.

While I was moving my fall/winter clothes into the closet, I decided to shop my closet and really look at those clothes that I haven't worn in a while. Enter this cute, black blouse. I bought this blouse a few years ago on clearance from The Loft. I almost put it in the box to take to Goodwill, but something stopped me. I decided this was going to be one piece that I would try again and see how I liked it. I  wore it to my bible study last week and felt so comfortable. I honestly don't know why I quit wearing it. 

I challenge you to shop for your closet!! I once went for 9 months without buying any new clothes. It was a way to challenge myself. I think I'm going to try it again. It certainly changes your outlook on what is hanging in the closet when you are committed to no buying anything new!!

In all honesty, I did recently buy these jeans from Old Navy during their 40% off online sale. I believe in keeping up with trends and this is my first pair of high waisted jeans. I also love that there is a bit of a flare leg. 

Jean can be found HERE

This blouse is perfect year-round! I love the pockets. I'll be wearing this a lot this winter!!

Have you shopped your closet lately? 
If not, go shopping and see what you find. Be sure to let me know!!

As always, please share my posts on your social media of choice!!!
October 23, 2019

Peak Of The Week - 10-23-19

We had company this past weekend. It was filled with good hikes, great food, and fun memories made!! I'm sharing some pictures from the weekend, along with things piquing my interest this week.

Me and Dr. T overlooking the Rio Grande River.

I am Why Do I Need Venmo years old- I laughed when I saw this. My daughter and her friends use Venmo all the time. I had a young woman at church ask me the other day if I use it? I don't want to use it!!! This is more than Venmo years old too. Let me know if there are any that you really relate to...

Switchback section of one of my favorite trails to hike. It ends in Bandelier National Park!

Southwest Chase Credit Card Promotion:
I don't think it's a good idea to get started using credit cards unless you are willing to discipline yourself to pay them off every month. However, sometimes it's smart to use a card for weekly or monthly purchases when you get points. I have gotten many free flights due to the points on my Southwest Airlines card. Here is a link that they sent me. If you sign up using my link, I'll get points added to my account.

Click HERE to go to the link.

From the New York Times- How Guilty Should You Feel About Flying?  This is a thought-provoking article on how much our travel contributes to over carbon dioxide emissions. I'd love to know your thoughts on some of the creative suggestions to get people to fly less.

You Can Heal Yourself Using the Chi Energy of Trees According to Taoist Masters- This article fascinated me because I truly believe that nature can heal us!! I know the New Mexico mountains that I now live in certainly helped "heal" my grief!! I read a book by Yolanda Hadid, Believe Me, about her battle with Lyme Disease. She talked about going outside and laying down on the grass to feel nature!! I loved that!! I feel better when I'm out in nature!! God's creation is meant to bring us pleasure. Nature is certainly a balm for what ails me!! Believe me, you'll never look at a tree the same way after reading this!!

How are you choosing life on this Peak of the Week? I made myself get out and run this morning. We are expecting SNOW tomorrow!! Here are some pictures from my run along with a video of my quiet moment!!

I love the fall colors.

I'm not ready for these beautiful colors to leave and winter to take up residence!! 

Isn't this peaceful!! I never run alone out on the numerous trails we have around. My mother made sure that I read books about Ted Bundy before I left for college. (She knows me well enough to know that all it would have taken is for me to see a good looking guy who was a law student, and I'd be accepting a ride in his VW Bug!!!) All that to say that I'm a conscientious person. I always run on the paved trail in town where I usually see many people running, biking, and driving. However, today was different. It was so quiet and desolate throughout my whole run. I was able to stop and take in this beautiful scene without any cars driving by. I loved it!! 

October 21, 2019

Best Fall Items At Trader Joes!!

Run, don't walk to Trader Joe's and buy all of these items before they are gone!!

I was blown away recently when I tried these fall foods from Trader Joe's. Why am I surprised that TJ's has done it again with the taste and quality of items?

Every single one of these products is delicious!!
My son, daughter-in-law, daughter, and daughter's boyfriend were here last weekend!! They all came here to celebrate my son's 30th birthday. He isn't much of a cake eater so I got all these mixes from TJ's and had them ready to eat when everyone got here.

It was great to have a variety. My son even said it was really good for a bunch of  "pumpkin spice" stuff!!  

Add caption

First, the Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese- I didn't get a picture of the finished product, but you can read about it here. The box shows that there are two servings in this package, but there are definitely more than two servings! Dr. T really liked this too. There is a definite taste of squash, but it isn't overpowering and adds so much to the savory flavor.

The Pumpkin Chocolate Chunk Oatmeal Cookie Mix is heavenly. I would really watch the time on the cooking of this. I didn't cook them for near as long as it called for. These are crisp cookies, and they were oh so good!!

The Maple Pecan Mix is unbelievable!! The size of the pecans is amazing!! I've never gotten a mix with the size and freshness of these pecans!! I didn't make the cookies. I made a loaf!

The Pumpkin Bread & Muffin Mix was moist and delicious! The pumpkin taste was mild and wonderful!!

Sorry, I couldn't get a photo before we demolished all this yummy food.

 I loved having this great variety for everyone to grab and try. All the kids really seemed to like it too!!

Don't miss out!! These are great products!! If you have tried other products, let me know!!

As always, if you like what you see here, please share on your Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest accounts!!

October 19, 2019

What I Wore- a warm fall day!

Sharing what I recently wore on a warm fall day.

Most fall days are a Tale of Two Forecasts!! It's hard to know what to wear because the mornings are usually quite colder than in the afternoon! I had a dark vest on with this in the morning, but by afternoon there was glorious sunshine and much warmer weather!!

I love this top from Zara. It is a perfect color for early fall.
 Zara has many other tops in this color too. It is a perfect transitional color heading into colder weather!! It isn't the pink of summer, but it isn't the orange of fall! I love the color!!

I bought these shoes in 3 colors many years ago from Lands End. Here is a similar pair. These are
some of the most comfortable shoes I've ever worn!!


I'm loving my fall mantle!! 
How are you transitioning into fall?