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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 26, 2019

Peak of the Week! 6-26-19

I'm in beautiful Florida with Dr T at a conference!! I've had long, lazy days and feel so rested!!! Here are a few things piquing my interest this week- plus a few pictures from the week!!

Lobster Hoagie- I'm eating as much seafood as I can!!

Natural Treatment For Menopause- Midlife!! What a wild ride for women!! Since this is probably the thing I think about the most these days in terms of my health, I thought I'd share. I'm trying to do things as "naturally" as possible, but it's been a bit hard at times. There are so many conflicting articles to read. I hope these ideas help someone!!

Cocoa Beach- hot and crowded!!

Cocoa Beach Pier for lunch!! I'm going to look for these pasta straws!!!

A 50-Year-Old Can Have The Brain Of A 25-Year-Old- Hey, I'm good at this!! I hope it works!!

Private Party at Universal Studios City Walk!!

Dr T with the natives!!

Puzzles that mimic Alzheimer's- I don't know of anyone who doesn't have someone they love dealing with dementia! It's so sad to watch someone's mind leave them. These puzzles are eye-opening as to what it might be like!!

Pool Time every day!!

Creative Personality Test- When I was a teen I loved doing the tests in Teen and Seventeen Magazines that told you something about your personality!! Now all those types of tests are online!! I'll share more about my enneagram results at a later time, but this test tells about our creativity!! Pretty Cool!!


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!!

You can also follow me on Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest.

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.


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!!