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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 29, 2020

The Peak of the Week! 01-29-20

Happy Wednesday!! You know I don't like to think of it as Hump Day!! I like to think of it as the Peak of the Week!! The highlight of each week is an important day. It's a day I like to share things that are piquing my interest around the Internet and in life in general!!

I have been doing a hashtag challenge with some bloggers that I follow. It is good for me because it makes me post!! This month it's been #winterwhitewednesday. It has made me shop my closet and pull out some winter white that I've forgotten about. These jeans are an example. I had forgotten about them. They are a little vintage looking and have a small amount of fraying which I like!! I bought them at The Loft many years ago!!

Here are some things piquing my interest this week!!

Modern Mrs. Darcy Reading Challenge- If you don't follow Ann Bogel, you really should. She has some great suggestions for books. This is a challenge if you feel like you want to add some interesting reads that you might not otherwise read. It might be a great thing for book clubs to follow as well.

Middle Age Success Stories- I talk to so many women my age who feel a little lost when the kids are gone, when the job has ended, when the marriage has ended, or when the spouse has died. I certainly what it is like to be lost in a new reality!! Why do you think I write???? Here are 40 stories of people who have done something completely new in their lives. So my question to you is, what would you do with your life if there was no way you would fail at it?

To The Woman Who Is Slowly Fading Away- I had a friend tell me the other day that the older she gets, the more invisible she feels. This is a short article that speaks to that notion.

This is how I went to the grocery store today! I went right after a pedicure and needed to keep my toes free!! The only problem is that we won't get out of the 30s today!! Oh well!!

 1,000s of free audiobooks- Many classics are on this list you can download.

Guide to Letting Go of Sentimental Things- Becoming Minimalist is another great account to follow. Why is it so hard to let go of things that have meaning in our lives?
I love this line from the article:
"memories and love I have for my grandmother grow more on my heart and less on her furniture"

What I'm Reading- The Wives of Los Alamos A friend came to visit and bought this book at the history museum here. She keeps asking me if I've read it. I finally am. It shows the sacrifice that the wives (some PhDs themselves) made to have their husbands live here and develop the atomic bomb during WWII. I highly recommend it. It's is quite interesting. 

(If you click on the link for the above book and purchase it, I might be compensated because I'm an Amazon Affiliate.)

Room I'm concentrating on- My closet!! Although the house in New Mexico is about the same size as the house in Texas. The master closet is about 1/4 the size. Needless to say, I need to get rid of a lot of stuff and organize!!!

What I'm listening to- Billie Eilish, Bad Guy. I love the 60s vibe!!!

I hope this gives you some things to think about this week!! It certainly has kept me thinking. I really do thank those of you who reach out to me! It means so much. I heard from several of you this week. 

January 27, 2020

The First Morning- Life After Loss

Like so many of you, I am so shocked and saddened by the death of Kobe Bryant and all the others in that helicopter crash. How in the world could something like that have happened?

I've been thinking so much about Vanessa Bryant and the other spouses, parents and loved ones who woke up this morning to a nightmare. I can't help but think back to my own personal nightmare and what it was like to wake up that first morning after loss.

Many of you could tell your own story. You get it. An unexpected loss is like a bomb has exploded in your life. Any loss is difficult, but an unexpected loss carries its own weight. It's a heavy loss for many reasons.

I tried to imagine what it was like for Vanessa to wake up this morning in her new reality. Her husband is gone. Her daughter is gone. Each loss as individual as a fingerprint because her relationship with each was so different. The man she turned to for everything, who would have helped her cope with the loss of their daughter is not here to comfort her. The loss of a child is an unfathomable loss that makes life seem so unfair!!!

The whole trajectory of Vanessa's life changed yesterday. That is a hard reality to come to terms with.

I "talk" to my daughter every day through Google Chat. These deaths were some of the first things we talked about this morning. The overall sadness of the situation was heavy on our minds. Our own experience with waking up that first morning was also on our minds.

My beautiful daughter and I woke up together that first morning after her dad unexpectedly passed away. She refused to let me sleep alone until she had to go back to college to finish finals. We woke up in such a fog that I really don't remember much about that morning except I had some phone calls to make.

Family members had been called the night before, but I had to call his work that first morning because they were expecting to see him. There is very little about that phone call that I remember.  I caught his coworker still driving. What a terrible thing to find out while stuck in traffic.

Friends started coming over immediately after finding out so the rest of the day was spent reading text, answering phone calls, and being loved on by people who stopped by. It's all still a blur. It's all still a nightmare.

Any of you who have lost someone unexpectedly know- the shock carries you for a while. Decisions have to be made, but most of those are made on autopilot. I'm so fortunate that I had my adult children with me. I'm so lucky that my sister and my parents dropped everything in their lives to be by my side. I could not have done it all without them.

Because of my life experience, I'm thinking of the spouses on this first day. There will be so many FIRSTS this year. Let's all remember to keep them all in our prayers these first days, weeks, and months.

Vanessa will come to terms with her reality. She will be OK. I and many of you are living proof of that. 
January 22, 2020

Peak of the Week 01-22-2020

It's my birthday!!! I don't take birthdays for granted or bemoan birthdays anymore. A birthday every year means that I'M ALIVE!! I'm here living this amazing life that God has given me. I'm so fortunate to be in good health!!! Yea for me!!!!

I got an early birthday gift from my sister yesterday. She called like she does almost every morning. After I told her about my long weekend, she started to tell me how thankful she is that we are sisters. I didn't interrupt like I tend to do because I feel awkward getting a compliment etc. I let her talk. In the end, of course, I told her that I feel the same way about her. She gave me the greatest gift- the gift of WORDS. I told her how much it meant to me. Words have power!! Words are important. Who do you need to give some WORDS to today? You won't regret it!!

There have been so many interesting articles and links come by way over the past week. Here are the things piquing my interest!!

If you follow my blog on Facebook or Instagram, you know that I ran my first trail race in the Big Bend area of Texas last weekend. I hadn't run any kind of race in over 2 years. I really hadn't been running very much, but that changed when I told a friend that I would meet her in Big Bend and run. This article shows the power of running!!

Training Can Cut Years Off Your Cardiovascular Age-  This article is about a study done on people training for a marathon. I would think as long as you are out moving for an extended period of time, the results would at least be similar if not the same.
 The final word is to Put On Those Shoes and Get Outside!!

A Retreat Under The West Texas Sky- I fell in love with my great state of Texas all over again this past weekend. The mountains of West Texas are breathtaking!! We only drove through Marfa, but I'm already planning a trip to go back. It was magical. This tells a little more about traveling in this part of Texas. 

I've always wanted to see this "work of art" outside of Marfa, Texas. Now I have.
I loved it.
It was so much fun to be there!!
Can you say the world's biggest ball of twine? 

Six Mental Secrets To Push Hard During Grueling Workouts- I often think about how much my running life mimics my personal life. Everything about running and preparing for a run is similar to getting through challenges in life. These mental secrets are NOT just for workouts!! Do you need to push yourself in any area of your life? Read this article!!!

This Wine Train Takes You Through America's Top Vineyards-  A Bucket List train ride! What fun this trip would be for a Girl's Trip. Be sure to invite me if you plan one!!

14 Things That Are Different About Life In France- Gabby Blair from Design Mom is living my dream. I would love to someday live a few months out of each year in France. It is the only European country that I've visited multiple times, and I love it!! This is the 2nd time for her family to pack up and move to France to live. She has wonderful perspectives on the French way of life. I highly recommend following her blog. Her stories are great because she shares the remodeling of an old house that they just purchased in the Normandy region of France. 

These are just a few things piquing my interest this week? What have you found interesting? I'd love to hear!!
January 15, 2020

Peak of the Week- Here's a List of Things Piquing My Interest 1-15-20

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I hope things are beautiful out your window on this Peak of the Week!! It is a glorious day in the New Mexico mountains, but tomorrow will be a different story. SNOW is in the forecast. I can't wait!!

Here are some things piquing my interest on this Peak of the Week!!!

 2020 Calendar to print- I find that I search online for a calendar to print out several times throughout any given year. This calendar is the type that I always look for- large squares and not much else!! I hope it is useful to you if you need one!!

These are the exact pages from the calendar. Beautiful!! I'm definitely following her blog now! 

Biscuit and Gravy Recipe from Texas Monthly Magazine- I have made homemade biscuits twice since Christmas. I have to admit, they weren't very good. I am determined to find a recipe that works for me- especially at high altitude cooking. I think I may have found the perfect recipe with this one from Texas Monthly!!!

My Life With Tea- by Dr. Andrew Weil I want to learn about tea. I want to find a hot tea that I like as well as I do coffee. This all may take some time, but this article is a great starting place!! My favorite quote from it:

"Above all, make your tea drinking a happy affair, not another opportunity for stress and worry about “getting it right.” Tea is a gentle, forgiving drink, adaptable to Zen monasteries and vending machines alike. Experiment, explore, enjoy!"

The Unbearable Heaviness Of Clutter- I'm trying so hard to get rid of the "junk" that I need to get rid of. I don't want my kids to be left with my mess someday!! It's hard though- every item seems to have sentimental value. I have a whole post I need to write on that alone!!! It's a new year, I need to set some decluttering goals!!

What I'm Reading- Ask Again, Yes 

I'm loving this book. It can be purchased HERE.
I'm still reading for my long-distance book club with a friend- The Screwtape Letters
One of the most thought-provoking books I've ever read!!! We are also watching lectures on Youtube about C.S Lewis and this book.

Can be purchased HERE.
What I'm listening to- Dr Hotze Podcast-  Everything he says makes so much sense!!! January is my BODY month in my 2020 vision of the rest of my life. I need to write about my health issues this month!!1 Dr. Hotze has helped me form a plan!!

Area of my house I'm concentrating on- The Utility Room- I have some ideas for what I want to do, but I'm having trouble finding exactly what I want in terms of storage!!

January 13, 2020

Appliances - Christmas Gift Recap

Appliances seemed to be the theme for Christmas this year!! I guess Dr. T and I were really good because we got some really cool appliances from the kids!

I have told my kids that we really don't need anything from them for Christmas or birthdays. I love what Jackie Kennedy Onasis requested from her grandkids instead of gifts- a poem. I've told my kids that if they give me words (in any form) that is all the gift I need!!

Words did not happen this year. We received some great appliances to definitely add to the quality of our life!!  I love all of the gifts that we got so much, I decided to share!!

First, we bought this for ourselves. A robovac. I had been thinking about it, and as we were researching these vacuums to give as a gift to someone else, we found one that we felt would work great for us without breaking the bank!! The best feature of this one is that it senses the stairs and won't go over them!! We opted for one that was random that we could just sit down and use anywhere. Some of the really nice ones have laser navigation. We just didn't think we really needed all of that. Our house is split level, so I want to be able to set it downstairs and not worry about it.

Merry Christmas to us!!! Why didn't we get one sooner?!!

I think this ad is showing over $200.00. The price is closer to $150.00.
As an Amazon Affiliate, I make money off of qualifying purchases if you buy from any of my ads.

As you can see from this video, there are sensors, so it avoids our stairs. This feature is the main reason that we got this one.

I realize we are a bit late to the party as far as these vacuums go, but in case you are like us and don't know it, they head back to their dock for recharging as soon as their battery gets low.

Using this vacuum has become our  (almost) nightly routine. We get dinner eaten, get any chores done that need to be done for the night, and right before we head downstairs to watch TV, we turn on Hazel. She vacuums all of the upstairs areas that we want her to. We just shut the door to rooms we don't want her to go into.

Yes, we named her. I wanted Mr. French (from Family Affair), but Dr. T won with Hazel!!

We were given a great outdoor heater as one of our gifts!! It didn't take long to assemble. One of my favorite things to do is sit outside and especially eat al fresco!! This heater will undoubtedly help with our outdoor living!!

As an Amazon Affiliate, I may make money if you buy from one of the links I share.

Even though we live in the mountains of northern New Mexico, we can still sit outside sometimes in the winter. This is an excellent addition to our deck!!

And, we were also given an Air Fryer/ Toaster Oven!! I feel like I've been to an Oprah great giveaways, "Everybody gets an Air Fryer!!!"

I have wanted one of these!! I'm looking online for all of the great things I make with it. I've heard from friends who are watching carbs that they put the cauliflower tater tots in one of these, and cannot tell they aren't real tots. That alone sold me. My daughter sent me a video the other day on cooking bacon in one!!! Another win!!!

This one looks great with all our other stainless steel appliances. I love that it is also a regular toaster oven as well!!

And, one last thing that I got, and now I'm not entirely sure how I'm going to use/ wear it, is a new band for my Apple watch. Did you know that Amazon has a shop like Etsy? It's "handmade" on the search tab. I love my Apple watch, but the band is for workouts because my watch is what I like to use to track workouts and runs! That workout band does not look good when I go out to dinner or to something nice, so I wanted to find a band I could use. Enter this!!
This is repurposed from real Louis Vuitton material. You can search by any designer. I found Burberry (which I love) and Gucci!!

I picked out the Monogram LV pattern as my gift from Dr. T. He swears he never knows what to get me, so I usually pick what I want, and in this case, I order it!!! The traditional monogram design seems to be out at the moment.

I love this watch band. My only issue is that now I'm not sure how I'm going to use it. I've been afraid to change out the band frequently because I certainly don't want to lose my watch. I'm worried the more that I change out the band, the greater the chance I'll have of losing the watch. What do most people do? Do I just workout in my LV band??? What a problem to have. If this is the worst problem of the week, I'm one lucky person!!!

But I would love to hear how all of you handle this!!!

There you have it... I highly recommend all of these items. We had such a great Christmas, and these gifts had nothing to do with it!!! But, they sure were nice to receive!!!

We opened our gifts in our matching PJs!! It was so much fun to get comfy at night or get up in the morning and see everyone (well, almost everyone) wearing our family PJs!!! It warmed my heart!! I highly recommend doing it for fun.
I found ours at Macy's after much looking!! I didn't give over $25 a set!!

January 08, 2020

Peak of the Week - 1-8-2020

Happy Peak of the Week!! Here are some things piquing my interest this week!!

I'm also sharing some pictures from my life lately!! They are very random, but so is my life!! :)  

Gardening Could Be The Hobby That Helps You Live To Be 100! - I have always enjoyed gardening or working in the yard. After my first husband died, my mom encouraged me to get more help. Either get a full-time housekeeper or get someone to do your yard work. She told me to pick the one that brought me the most joy and hire out the rest. I hired the housekeeper. I LOVE to mow the yard!! We are in the process of building a raised bed garden here in New Mexico. I hope I can share pictures of it in the spring. I also hope that it helps us both live to be 100!!

I ran into this guy on my run/walk yesterday! He was beautiful!!

Estate Information- No one wants to think about the death of someone they love. Believe me, I know, I've lived it!! But, everyone in the family needs to know final wishes. I certainly wish my late husband and I would have talked about it more than we did. This is a great resource for estate planning, probating a will, and trusts.

Between 65 and Death - I'm about 10 years away from 65, but this list of how to live during these years really spoke to me. What great advice!!

I love this quote from Beth Moore's new book. I don't in any form consider myself an "influencer" as we see now on Instagram!! I just hope and pray the some of what I put out in the world resonates with other women who are in the same stage of life as me!! We all have influence... I sure do want mine to be positive!!

How Steinbeck used the diary as a tool of discipline, a hedge against self-doubt, and a pacemaker for the heart of creative work- Wow!! Steinbeck doubted himself? This article is fascinating to me!! My favorite quote from the article
"It stands, above all, as a supreme testament to the fact that the sole substance of genius is the daily act of showing up."

Show Up- keeps coming at me!!! That is why it's my 2020 word!!

This is my reality at my house in Texas right now. Sadly, the color of shingles that I agreed on with my contractor is a lot lighter than either of us thought they would be. I was so sick at first when I found out. The old me would have been upset to no end. I finally told myself that I cannot control this!! I can only control my response to it. I wasn't going to be rude to my contractor. I wasn't going to let it ruin my life... Life goes on. I will learn to live with this new color!!! 

Every book of the Bible in one word- I loved looking at this. It takes the major theme from each book of the Bible and condenses it into one word!! It's worth printing out and hanging on to it!! I have this in my bible now.

I hope you are having a great week!! How are you choosing life? I'd love to hear!!!

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January 06, 2020

My Word for 2020 and My 2020 Vision

Happy New Year!! We were still in Vacay mode until this morning. My new year/ new you started today. I got up at 6 to get my bible study done!! Not having a specific time for study and reflection was one of my worst failings last year. I knew I had to do something about it this year. I like to get up semi-early in the morning. Most mornings I was up between 6:30 and 7 anyway. Getting up at 6 is really not any big deal!! So today was the 1st of what I hope is 6:00 a.m. bible study and quiet time!!!

I started picking a word or phrase to be my "word of the year" at least 10 years ago. I did it with a friend with whom I worked. We would let each other know our word or phrase and keep each other updated on how it was affecting our lives-- we usually discussed this over a great cup of coffee!!

All of those years, my phrase for each year never changed. Especially after my first husband died, I had to have this phrase in my life "still waters." I got the idea from one of Beth Moore's associates at Living Proof Ministries. I read a blog post that one of the young women who works for her wrote. She wrote about being out on a ranch in Texas and looking out over a tank where the water was very still. She could see the reflection of everything around that tank. She likened that to our lives. If I wanted my life to reflect Jesus, my "waters" have to be still. My life had to be still enough for Him to shine through!! That's what I wanted and needed in my life.

For the first time in all of these years, I've picked a different word. Wow!! I'm actually growing in my journey! This word came to me back in August when I went to a creativity conference in Santa Fe, New Mexico. One of the speakers was talking about writing, and she said you have to always remember that if you want to write, and possibly publish something that you've written, you have to SHOW UP and write. You have to SHOW UP to your ideas. You have to SHOW UP at your computer. That concept really stayed with me.

Later, the word/phrase SHOW UP was used by my pastor and my pastor's wife the day I was interviewed about grief for my church- neither of them knowing that I was going to use that phrase in an interview I was doing on a Sunday morning.

Show Up!! What a concept!!

What's your 2020 Vision?

I am going to use 2020 as a catalyst to start some positive behaviors for the rest of my life. What am I waiting for? My 2nd half is going to be full of good things because I'm going to work for those things!!! Each month I plan on concentrating on one behavior/ habit/ goal that is part of my 2020 Vision for the rest of my life.

I have 12 things, but if you have something that is really on your mind that you think would be good, I can make my topic more general and possibly add it to my list. January is to focus on my body- health, skin, exercise, diet, etc. These are not in any specific order, but I thought since I have some pounds to drop my body is a good place to start!!

I have heard from several of you lately, and I love it!!! My email is if you ever want to drop me a line!!! It makes my day to hear from you!!!

So, how about you? How are you planning on showing up in your life? I'd love to hear!!

photos from: