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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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January 28, 2019

Mary Poppins Returns- My Thoughts

I finally saw Mary Poppins Returns. I wasn't very excited about it when I first heard of it. I was very intrigued when I learned that Lin Manuel Miranda stars in it. I think he is so fabulously talented!! But what really made me rush to the movie was the fact that the movie touches on grief.

Yes, grief has a role in this sequel to the wonderful original. When the movie opens we learn that Mrs. Banks has passed away. There are so many things about grief that this movie gets right!! And although it's hard to see people grieving, it's nice to see it done!!

We learn right away that the wife/ mother in the story has passed away. It is their reality! We start seeing the signs of what this grief has done to the family immediately too. Grief appears mostly in the financial issues that have arisen because of her death.

When she was sick, Micheal took our a loan against the house to help pay for medical expenses. After her death, he doesn't keep up with the bills--- She always took care of the finances. I know this happens so much. It is so painful to take on the duties of the loved one who has passed.

In my first marriage, I took care of the day to day finances and my late husband took care of our "big" financial obligations like paying property taxes, personal taxes, and insurance. When I had to take over those tasks, it was excruciating. Seeing his signature on documents almost brought me to my knees.

In the movie, Michael quickly realizes that he is about to lose his home. What he says is, "W can't lose our home. She is everywhere here." That line really spoke to me. I know exactly what he means. So many memories in a home you share! We designed and built our house in Texas. So many details in that house bring back memories of planning and working on that house. I'm fortunate that I didn't have to sell it when R died. I know stories of so many women who can't afford to keep their homes after their husband dies. The loss of the house would only multiply the grief if you aren't ready to sell.

We see in Michael's sister a great picture of supporting someone going through grief. She is there. She doesn't judge, but she does gently push him into action on several occasions when she sees that he needs to act. She helps him tear the house apart looking for paperwork that can help him pay off his debt and not lose the house. We all need someone who knows when we need a nudge back into reality!!

There are many other aspects of the movie that I loved! I didn't feel as if 54 years (according to Wikipedia) have passed from the first Mary Poppins to this one. It is a seamless transition! The colors and the animation along with real people were wonderful.

The bathtub scene looked like it could have been taken right out of the original movie.

And valuable lessons are also taught. My favorite song was The Cover Is Not The Book!! Being a former English teacher and librarian, I have a great love for this song on many levels!!

The above shows Lin Manuel Miranda's great talent- not to mention Emily Blunt!! 

I know I'm late to the party with only now seeing and sharing my thoughts on this movie, but it is still showing in theatres. I highly recommend seeing it!! 

January 15, 2019

What I Read- Where The Carwdads Sing

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I recently finished Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. A friend recommended it after she saw it on Reese Witherspoon's list of books to read. This book did not disappoint. I couldn't wait to see what happens to these characters.

I was instantly drawn into the book at the prologue. It begins in 1969 when the dead body of Chase Andrews is found in the nearby swamp. It is quickly evident that this young man has been murdered.

The plot quickly shifts in Chapter one. We go back in time to 1952 and are introduced to Kya who is six years old. Slowly everyone in her family leaves and she is left to fend for herself in the swamp.

This little piggy stayed home.

The rest of the novel is built on these two plot lines going forward simultaneously until they both converge.

I fell in love with Kya and cheered at her self made successes. I felt her loneliness at being an outcast to so many.

I highly recommend this well-crafted story and am so glad to hear the Reese Witherspoon is turning it into a movie!!

If you've read it, let me know your thoughts.

If you want to find more books on Reese Witherspoon's list go to her online book club, Hello Sunshine. 

January 09, 2019

Peak Of The Week! 1-9-19 A list of things the have piqued my interest this week!

Here are some things that I've enjoyed reading this week! What has piqued your interest this week? I'd love to know.

I've had several friends ask about our snow situation after our massive snowfall over New Years. I took a few pictures while I was out today so you can see that we still have a lot of snow piled everywhere!!

Most residential streets still look like this one. One lane of driving snow on the sides of the street.

The Major Thing-- A reflection from the funeral of George H. W. Bush shows what the writer saw as the major take away from Bush's life. I have a wise friend who has always said, "The number one thing you can do for your kids is- love their dad."  I hope that when my kids look back to their childhoods, their first memory is LOVE!

Why Reading Makes You A Better Person According to Science- I have actually had people tell me that they are too busy to read. I don't understand that concept. I have to have a book going at all times! In fact, I usually have several that I'm reading at once. The love of reading and of books was instilled in me by both of my parents. If you need proof that you need to be reading, here it is!!

Foreigner donates proceeds from remake of classic song to ShrinersAnother reason to love Foreigner!! 

Roads are clear, but every parking lot has piles and piles of snow!

The Unbearable Heaviness of Clutter- Great article for this time of year when we all seem to be cleaning out our homes! This is one of my main goals. I don't want my kids to have to deal with my mess. 

Pictures don't do it justice!! These piles are 10' high!!

Happy Peak Of The Week- It's all downhill from here!!
January 02, 2019

Peak of the Week- 1-2-19

Happy Peak Of The Week- Here are some things that piqued my interest lately!!

I'm sharing pictures from December. It was a good month!!! I'm calling these shots my priceless pictures!!! Nothing in this world could mean as much to me as these memories!!

I love these girls!! My daughter, my daughter's lifelong friend, and my future DIL!! I found these vintage mink stoles at a fur shop in Santa Fe!!! I also bought one for one of Dr. T's nieces who likes to go out. I think they are adorable!! They will be so much fun for the girls to wear with jeans when they go out with friends etc.!!

Podcasts- This is an excellent list of podcasts. Dr. T and I have gotten to where instead of us each listening to our own thing, we listen together so we can talk about what we've heard. It is a great way to pass the time on a road trip!!

My first time to get a fruit basket sent!! We got this from a couple that we traveled with earlier in the year. I loved getting it!!

Mary Poppins Returns Gets Grief Right- I wasn't excited for the new Mary Poppins movie until I realized that Lin Manuel Miranda was staring in it. Then when I read this article, it makes me really want to go see it. How about you? Have you seen it yet?

My mother picking lemons off of my lemon tree in Texas!! These lemons are great. I put a 1/2 lemon in my water!

Resolutions Can Be Small and Fun- This is a short and sweet article by a Widow Blog that I follow. It applies to all, not just widows. Life indeed is made by the small moments. May our resolutions be small as well.

Dr. T's niece and her boyfriend stayed with us one weekend. We went to the plaza in Santa Fe!!

2019 Literary Horoscopes- The Best Books For Your Year- I'm really not a horoscope person, but I love all things book lists. I'm an Aquarius, and mine was an interesting list!! I think I'll put many of them on my "to read" list!!

Dr. T and I share a great childhood friend in this guy. He was in both of our first weddings! We actually considered having him perform our wedding!! He came last weekend to ski, and Dr. T got this great shot!

Drone Used To Capture Soldiers' Graves After Wreaths Were Laid On Them- There is something about a military cemetery!! There is a weird and upsetting beauty to them. This video makes me want to donate a lot of money so that no grave is without a wreath!!

My sister and I when I got to hold my great niece for the first time! This is the first great-grandchild for our side of the family!! OMG- how can I love this little being so much?!!!

10 Things You Absolutely Must Give Up This Year To Be Healthier & Happier- This is a great list. I'm working on every single one of these things!!!

Dr. T's family

January 01, 2019

I Can Do Hard Things

I'm sharing some snow pictures from the last few days. As I sit and write this, I'm looking out our office window to snow falling once again. We are expecting 12-20 more inches on top of the foot of snow we received last week! It's beautiful, and I'm so thankful I'm here to see it!! #i'malive #becauseican

When my kids were little, we took a long road trip every Christmas to visit family. On the drive home, we would talk about the new year coming, and each one of us would share our 1 year, 5 year, and 10 year goals. That is a great memory that I have. Mine usually consisted of the usual-- lose weight, read my bible more, have more patience, etc.

I still like to look ahead and have plans, visions, and hopes for the new year and beyond, but this year I'm doing something a little different. I'm actually looking back. To be honest, this is the first year since R died that I can look back with what I think is clarity and indeed gain strength from the past 7 years.

I am finally at a point in my life where I can tell myself  "I can do this because I know from my past that I can do hard things." This knowledge is one thing that comes from living life after loss or another tragedy. I do have a strength that I never would have had without doing the hard work of GRIEF.

The years of working through my grief when I was a school librarian, I worked out almost every morning at 5 a.m.  Two of those mornings consisted of meeting friends to run in a nearby neighborhood. We ran between 3.5 and 4 miles those mornings saving our "long run" for Saturday morning. I remember several times when I was dealing with a much larger than me, teenage boy, telling myself- "Hey, you were up running in the dark streets at 5 this morning. You can handle this tough teenager."

The point I'm trying to make is that even if you haven't experienced a terrible tragedy, you can look back on your past and realize that You Can Do Hard Things. Before the loss of my husband in 2012, I led a pretty idyllic life, but even then I had done hard things to draw from when I needed the reminder. I had been married for 26 years. We all know how hard marriage is. I had raised two kids into their 20's- super hard work!! I had graduated from college and taught school. Again, hard.

Those things in my pre-loss life weren't anything compared to losing my husband, but they are still examples that we have all done hard things. The longer we live, the harder the "things" become.

I encourage you on this first day of this new year to spend some time looking back, as I know most of you will undoubtedly be spending time looking forward, and remember that You Can Do Hard Things. It would certainly be my hope and prayer for each of us that we don't have to remember that phrase in 2019, but I know that won't be the case.

Today and for the first few days of this new year, I hope to reflect on what I've been through that has made me stronger while I'm looking ahead to a new year that I'm more excited about than I have been in a very long time. I still hope to lose weight, read my bible more, and have more patience, but I'm also excited to have some even more specific goals.

May we all be proud of what we have survived and use the strength and knowledge that we have gained from it to be the new foundation of our lives in this new year and beyond.