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Welcome to This is Your Best Year!!!

Welcome to your best year.  You and I are on this journey together.  Together and collectively, we will give suggestions on living life to the fullest.  This is a blog for women who thought that when they reached this age, life was over.  This is for all of those women who thought their mothers were old at this age–well they may have been, but that’s not the case anymore. maricia 21

We will discuss everything from health, beauty, faith, life, children, grandchildren, exercise, careers, retirement, starting all over again in love and/or career. We will talk about learning the word no, taking time to be who we are.  With this blog we will have fun, we will talk fashion, food,travel and all kinds of products–in other words, we’re going to talk about us.

You can always email me at: and “like” us on Facebook (thisisyourbestyear).

Let’s get excited ladies, and stay tuned.  Remember–“THIS IS YOUR BEST YEAR”!

Take Your Man To The Doctor–Men’s Health Month

Even though this is a blog for and about women of a certain age, who better to get the males in our lives to the doctor than us?  It seems that most men do not go to the doctor to take regular checkups.

There are guidelines for the ages at which certain tests should be taken.  Why not go to the doctor with your husband, friend, son or dad to ask the questions you know they won’t ask?  Ask the male(s) in your life to see if their insurance plan covers certain tests since cost seems to be another factor in men going to the doctor.

men's health month

As men mature (not age), there are certain exams that should be taken such as the Digital Rectal Exam (DRE) and the Prostate Specimen Antigen (PSA) which test for Prostate Cancer.  They should be taken annually for men 50 and over, and age 40 for African-American males.  The Testicular Self-Exam should be done monthly for signs of Testicular Cancer.  Just as with most cancers, if found early, the patient can be cured.

Maybe the doctor should call these exams part of the Well Man Checkup–just like our Well Woman Checkup.  Even though it may take a bit of coercing, take the males in your life to the doctor for their annual checkup.  They will thank you–even if they don’t, they will be healthy.

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”.


Holiday Weight And Exercise

I love those people who say eat this instead of this for Thanksgiving and/or Christmas and even New Year’s. You know those people who say eat one cracker, a carrot, a lot of celery and drink sparkling water and you will be fine.  We’ve waited the entire year for this food, and we know the consequences of overeating and under exercising. It’s the holiday season which means it’s the no exercise and way too much food season. I mean good food, you know cakes and pies with specialty alcoholic and nonalcoholic drinks to help the food go down. The holiday season probably started with Halloween when we ate the left over candy that we had.

wine and food trayThere is cheese other than American or Cheddar with a sprinkle of carrots and celery for show. There is Christmas shopping on Thanksgiving Day for gifts, for more food and drink and much more. There is so little time and so much to do so who has the time to exercise? What’s a girl to do? As we have matured our metabolism has gone down, and hips, bellies and everything else seems to get bigger doing the holiday season when they say we will gain 6 to 10 pounds in less than a month.

Let’s try to figure out what we can do to get our exercise in, and control our eating habits. I love the people who say eat before you leave home. Sounds good, but not feasible—it’s holiday food, not regular old food. There is someone bringing Christmas Cookies (I love that song by George Strait) everyday to work, and besides it is the holiday season.  Have a cookie or two; who eats one Christmas cookie if they are good? Go to the Christmas parties at work, eat the “good” cheese, another cookie, drink the punch and have fun. Don’t beat yourself up when you think about it. After the party grab your coworker and walk for 20 minutes, too cold outside then do it inside. If you have someone to walk with you, it will go fast. Walk at a brisk pace, but walk. You had your Christmas goodies and exercise too. Walk as much as you can atStarbucks-red-holiday-cups work during the holiday season. The party was at night then go home and put on old disco music, you know when you were in college the kind that lasted 15 to 20 minutes and dance like you did back then. If you want a special coffee drink, and there is a coffee stand close by—yes walk to it. Sit there and drink it and walk back to home or work. Take your marker with you so that you can draw your own Christmas design on the red cup.

You’ve got 2 or 3 parties in one weekend and you want to attend them all. What are you going to do?  A friend of mine says to wear the that body hugging outfit—the one that you can get away with. She says that since you are a woman of a certain age, and you can still rock it, you will not eat too much because it would spoil the effect. Sounds good to me. Food or fashion?

Another friend says never go in eating, wait for a while, talk with the people at the party. Find someone interesting even if it is just the hostess or the person you came with. Don’t sit for a while, stand and walk. Finally get food and drink, yep get them both. It’s kind of hard to eat a lot when you have two items to hold. Remember how hard it will be to take the weight off after the holidays. If nothing else, decide on which party you think will have the best food and drink. Be polite at the other parties eating a small amount. Save your calories for the good stuff.

Still running to the mall and shopping center to buy gifts. Make it an exercise day too. If you don’t have to go back to your car after buying your gifts, go back to the first store and walk the entire property once or twice as fast as possible in the Christmas rush. Don’t stop to look at something else, just walk.

You can start your walking routine during the Thanksgiving holiday. A lot of places have Turkey Trots featuring 5K and FB_IMG_144762941666510K races the morning of Thanksgiving. Make it an exercise tradition to do one of these walks. I am not a Black Friday shopper, but just to get some exercise go to the mall—leaving your credit/debit cards at home. Just walk.

Do not bring food home with you—leave it there no matter how good it is–not even Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. Dream about it for the next holiday, but leave it there. Why do you think they are giving it to you?

Have to bake something for the Christmas season, bake your least favorite cake, pie or cookie, one that you rarely if ever eat. Make sure what you bake is tasty, just not what you like. The ones you like taste even better warm. Skip the cleaning lady, and deep clean your house after the holiday season, mop, vacuum, dust and more–it’s a great workout.

Do other things instead of just eating for the holidays, see what is going on in your area because who is going to eat carrots and celery for the holiday season?  Not me cause George and I sure do like those Christmas cookies.  Eat, enjoy and exercise.  Remember thisisyourbestyear”.


For all those who served–“thank you for your service”.  For all those who assisted you in your service, those that parented alone, those that moved from pillar to post to keep the family together, those that welcomed you home and assisted in your reentry into civilian life–thank you for helping them serve our country.

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”. 


A House Where “Sunny” Shines Bright

When I drove up to the Thornton Inn Bed and Breakfast in Arlington, Texas I was in Sunny 3love with the beautiful wrap around porch with the rocking chairs– this was my dream house.  I was there to meet the owner, businesswoman Sunny Graham.

Having heard so many wonderful things about Sunny, it was a joy to finally meet her.  We had been trying to have this conversation for well over six months.  She is exactly what her name says–Sunny.

We were given a tour of the beautiful bed and breakfast by Terrance Graham who is Sunny’s (sunny) husband.  His tour and his telling the history of the house seemed to make the house come alive. The house was constructed in 1905, and has been used for many things including a family residence and a fraternity house.

Sunny1Each of the five  bedrooms is furnished beautifully with Sunny 11equally beautiful baths.  There is a living area downstairs as well as one upstairs.  The house also features a cozy library, and a beautiful dining room where breakfast is served to the guests each morning.

Sunny 9My favorite thing about the house is the wrap around porch with the Sunny 10rocking chairs and ceiling fans. I love the idea of rocking on the porch (that’s the East Texas in me).

While Terrance was finishing up the tour, Sunny arrived.  She is a bundle of energy, and a ray of sunshine.  Sitting in the library Sunny and I talked about a lot of things and much more.

Sunny’s story of success is one of the American dream.  She is originally from the Philippines, and had always known that she would live in the states. One of my favorite stories that she tells is of her first taste of chocolate given to her by a G.I. who told her there was a lot of chocolate in the United States–in her young mind she could only imagine.

Getting to the states would take a lot of planning. Sunny learned about being an exchange student, and was selected for the program. After her brothers convinced her father to let her go, she was on her way to the land of chocolate.

Fast forward to Sunny being asked to sell houses with no experience while leaving a job that she was very comfortable in. She took the job and the rest is home selling history. She was a success. In fact she was a huge success. While selling homes she started educating her clients about the home buying process. Others started to ask questions, and she gladly shared her knowledge. She is still mentoring today.

The Thornton Inn Bed and Breakfast was supposed to be the real estate office for Sunny, but somewhere along the way things changed, and she and her husband decided that a bed and breakfast might be something to look into, and the rest is history. There is so much more to Mrs. Sunny Graham.  This woman of a certain age is an entrepreneur extraordinaire.   She knows that “thisis(her)yourbestyear”, and she is still in the process of sharing her knowledge with others.

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To find out more about the Thornton Inn Bed and Breakfast go to:  Sunny and I will meet you on the porch.  Be prepared for Sunny’s next big project–it’s in the making.

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”.

Before I Die. . . .

This 3 sided board was an outstanding idea at The Texas Conference for Women.  Reading what others wrote was inspirational. I did write on it.   I wanted to live life to its fullest.  Share what you would like to do before you die.  Remember “thisisyourbestyear”.

Before I Die

A Different Look At Domestic Violence–Stop The Violence

What happens when as a boy he was taught to never hit a girl.  He was taught to never say hurtful things to the woman he loves.  What happens when he is the one getting abused?  Don’t laugh, it happens.  Keep the conversation going. It’s not just a “girl” or even a “child” thing.

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”, stop the violence.

Movies At The Modern Art Museum Of Fort Worth

The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth will host their “Magnolia at the Modern” Film Series starting on November 13 and going through December 20.  Below are just a few of the films that will be shown.  To see a complete list, please go to  Tickets will go on sale beginning November 3, online at, by calling 817.738.9215, or at the Modern’s admission desk. Café Modern offers dinner before or after the film on Friday and Saturday, and brunch on Sunday.
Magnolia at the Modern is an ongoing series featuring critically acclaimed films. Tickets are $9; $7 for Modern members; $6 for Reel People. The Sunday noon show time is half price. Advance sales begin two hours prior to each show.
November 13-15
Friday 6 and 8 pm; Saturday 5 pm; Sunday noon, 2 pm, and 4 pm
“A haunting portrait of identity, loss, and the search for answers in post-WWII Berlin.”
Scott Foundas, Variety. After undergoing reconstructive surgery, a concentration camp survivor (Nina Hoss) tries to find out if her husband (Ronald Zehrfeld) betrayed her to the Nazis.
98 minutes; PG-13; English, German
November 20-22
Friday 6 and 8 pm; Saturday 5 pm; Sunday noon, 2 pm, and 4 pm
“A heady brew of theories about the essence of human nature, and a Peter Sarsgaard performance that catches Milgram in all his seductive, megalomaniacal brilliance.” Scott Foundas, Variety. In 1961, social psychologist Stanley Milgram (Peter Sarsgaard) conducts controversial experiments designed to measure conformity, conscience, and free will.  108 minutes; PG-13
November 27-29
Friday 6 and 8 pm; Saturday 5 pm; Sunday noon, 2 pm, and 4 pm
A young Bedouin boy uses his nascent survival skills to outwit potential enemies in Theeb, a classic adventure film of the best kind, and one that’s rarely seen these days.” Jay Weissberg, Variety. In the Ottoman province of Hijaz during World War I, a young Bedouin boy experiences a greatly hastened coming of age as he embarks on a perilous desert journey to guide a British officer to his secret destination. 100 minutes; Arabic with English subtitles

“The” Texas Conference for Women

The state of Texas always does it BIG, and it held a BIG, Texas Conference for Women in Austin.  Not only was it BIG, it was educational, fun, exciting and much more.  There was something for every woman no matter what age, educational level, etc.  There were local speakers, speakers who talked on social media, national speakers such as Robin Roberts and Tory Johnson.  The conference had great motivational speakers including one of the few men at the conference–Bert Jacobs, the CEO of “Life is Good”.  Tory Johnson of Good Morning America held a “Pitch Your Product” section. Patricia Arquette gave an impassioned talk on women, and Robin Roberts kept us laughing.  The First Lady of Texas, Cecilia Abbott greeted the crowd.  There was so much to see and do–it was great!

Tap each picture to see who was there.  Enjoy!

Remember thisisyourbestyear”, and as Jake says “Life is Good”

Breast Cancer Awareness–Prayers For Paulette And Her 8 Children

Bishop T. D. Jakes says it’s your Destiny, you know that happening that was not planned. Rev. Jerome B. Price said it is God talking to you. Who knew that browsing Facebook would lead to something thought-provoking for me, and hopefully for you.

Paulette 19I came upon this site–Prayers For Paulette8Children.  Well you know me, I am assuming there is a mistype, and it should read Prayers for Paulette & Children.  Don’t ask me why I thought that, I just did.  Maybe because I saw this beautiful. bright-eyed young lady with the gorgeous smile smiling at us on most pictures, and besides who has 8 children?  As I read more, I found out this beautiful lady was Paulette McKenzie Leaphart, and yes she has 8 children, and yes they do need our prayers.   Paulette is a breast cancer survivor, she is a fighter, a warrior whose faith continues to keep her, but above all she is a mother of 8 children both biological and adopted.

The following is my interview with Paulette, and I hope I give her and her children the loving justice they deserve.

It took a while for Paulette and I to start the interview, we started by me inboxing her on Facebook, and  connecting by phone to set up the interview. Paulette lives in the Big Easy, and from her tone, she loves New Orleans. 

Paulette’s life before her diagnosis was great, she was beautiful and talented with 8 great children.  She was happily Paulette 15living her life–that is until in a dream God told her she had cancer. Yes, Paulette said God told her she had cancer.  There were no symptoms, but she knew it was the voice of God.  Getting her doctor to believe her was another story.  After finally agreeing to have her do her first mammogram, and it coming back negative, her doctor tried to assure her that she was cancer free.

Paulette knew what she knew, and she was not cancer free.  After seeing how persistent she was he agreed to have her do an ultra sound.  After the radiologist came in and looked at the ultra sound, Paulette knew he had found something, but he did not tell her. A few days later she got a letter telling her to go in to see her doctor because they had found something suspicious. Her doctor performed a biopsy since they had found a tumor–finding breast cancer.

Paulette 16Even after hearing she had breast cancer, Paulette remained calm because she already knew. When talking with her doctor, she was informed that she had a very aggressive cancer, it was stage 2, grade 3.  The doctor told her it was a fast-moving cancer, and because of her family history and the type of cancer, he suggested a double mastectomy.  This was the first time Paulette was at a lost for words, she thought she had been prepared for anything, but a double mastectomy had not ever crossed her mind. Even though she trusted the doctor, she immediately went for a second opinion, and they agreed with the first doctor–a double mastectomy was advised. The surgery was scheduled, and immediately after the surgery there would be breast reconstruction or so she thought.

The doctor who was to do the reconstruction surgery reviewed her files and came to the conclusion that reconstruction surgery would be too taxing on her body since she had other medical ills one of which is a blood clotting disorder.  Paulette thought that this can not be happening, but the doctors explained why they could not recommend the reconstruction, and she agreed and was okay with it.  She had made peace with the idea, but she still sought a second opinion who told her of another procedure that could be done for reconstruction–she decided not to do it.  She was at Paulette3peace with her decision, it was hard, she cried, got angry, but eventually decided no reconstruction was best for her.  In her own words  she told herself “Baby Girl, you still got your sexy”.

When it came to telling her children about her breast cancer, it was hardest telling her youngest daughter who is now 8.  Her baby had just gone through seeing someone die from this disease so her only reference to cancer was death.

Her oldest daughter started the Facebook page because she knew they all needed prayers.  Paulette’s first time reading the page was about 3 months after the surgery. After reading and responding to comments, Paulette decided to take over the page herself.

When she had to lose her hair it was hard for her–after all she is a woman. She did everything to keep her hair, researching, buying products, but in the in the hair came out. She was determined that cancer would not win this battle since it was gong to come out, she thought I’ll cut it off myself which she did, and the barber did the rest.  Even her youngest daughter decided to be just like her mom.Paulette 13

Even though it has been hard for Paulette and also hard for her children, they constantly draw strength from each other.  They had been without a home for a while. Since Paulette did not have health insurance, she had to decide on medication or a roof over their heads. Notice that I did not say they were homeless–they always had the love of family and friends and each other, but most of all they had their faith in God.

Her life has changed, but it is not for the worst.  She has been hit, but not knocked down. Paulette has decided to share every step of her journey with others in the hope they can draw strength from her testimony.


It seems that even In the mist of all her troubles, there were those who are determined to do more to make her unhappy.  Paulette did not lose weight, the treatments made her gain weight.  She even seemed to always be smiling so she can’t have cancer some people thought.  It was amazing to me that people could be so cruel, but again her faith in God keeps her strength up.

On good days she takes her youngest children to music and dance while continuing to make their new house a home.  They all attend church together.  I ask Paulette why she decided to adopt children when her children were just about adults, and she told me it was a promise she made to God when she was an abused child.  Her children keep her strong.  Even though they are children, they step up to fill in the gap when Paulette is unable to do so.

Her doctor says she is in remission, but can’t say for sure if she is cancer free.  Paulette says there is no need because God told her she is.

To see more about Paulette’s story, go to her Facebook Page at :

Her story will inspire you.  I look forward to meeting Paulette and her 8 children in New Orleans when she celebrates her 50th birthday.

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”.

For two of the bravest women I know–Carol Cooper and Renae Ruffin.

The Amon Carter Museum Of American Art Presents “Self-Taught Genius: Treasures From The American Folk Art Museum”

First they invited you to Party On The Porch with great food, drink, conversation, music and even great weather.  Now the Amon Carter Museum of American Art in Fort Worth, Texas is inviting you to another stellar event–their latest exhibition, and it promises to be an outstanding event.

Their newest exhibition Self-Taught Genius: Treasures from the American Folk Art Museum will be open from October 10, 2015 through January 3, 2016.  This free exhibition showcases the works of self-taught artists whose bodies of work offer a look at the history of America through eyes that were sometimes overlooked.

Ralph Fasanella (1914–1997) Subway Riders, 1950 Oil on canvas Collection American Folk Art Museum, New York Gift of Ralph and Eva Fasanella Courtesy MTA Arts & Urban Design

Ralph Fasanella (1914–1997)
Subway Riders, 1950
Oil on canvas
Collection American Folk Art Museum, New York
Gift of Ralph and Eva Fasanella
Courtesy MTA Arts & Urban Design

The executive director of the American Folk Art Museum, Anne-Imelda Radice, Ph.D., states that this exhibition serves as a landmark.  It showcases the genesis of a field that has grown and become even more complex than ever before. Self-Taught Genius: Treasures from the American Folk Art Museum is providing new insight into the critical role of artists whose works were previously not given wide national recognition.

There are 100 works from a diverse group of artists whose works date from the mid 18th century through the early 21st century.  It represents over 50 years of collecting by the American Folk Art Museum.

This exhibition of self-taught artists is a first for the Amon Carter Museum of American Art.  Adding to the exhibition will be other works in the galleries showcasing self-taught artists from Texas–Texas Folk Art which comes from private collections.

The local presentation of this exhibition is sponsored by the Kleinheinz Family Foundation for the Arts and Education.  To find more about the Amon Carter Museum of American Art and the exhibition Self-Taught Genius: Treasures from the American Folk Art Museum,  go to:

Remember “thisisyourbestyear“.  Visit the Amon Carter Museum of American Art for this wonderful free exhibition.


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