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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)

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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

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