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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”!

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.

Big change ahead for early breast cancer treatment? – CBS News

Please take a look at the link below. It talks about early breast cancer treatment.

Getting Up After The Fall

There was a great article in the Star-Telegram written by Marty Sabota concerning falls in people of a certain age.  You can read the article at this link:

Fals 1In the article there are several tips to cut the risk of falls.  As we mature, we need to do more balancing exercising.  Recently talk show host Wendy Williams talked about a fall she took while wearing athletic footwear–not her trademark heels.  She even laughed at herself.  As Wendy stated, she did fall, but she was able to get up easily, and she was not sore the next morning–she exercises.  You have to keep moving.

Just try sitting on the floor and getting up without assistance, if you find that you can’t or it’s hard, then you need to get to work on getting in shape. Believe it or not yoga can assist in working on balance.  There are many forms of yoga to fit your age and your ability. Don’t think you will ever fall, maybe not, but will you be able to help someone up if they fall?

Remember “thisisyourbestyear“.  Most of us will fall, but how many of us will be able to get up?

Beyond Words–Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth Presents Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic

From September 20, 2015 to January 10, 2016 the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth (Texas) will be presenting the art work of Kehinde Wiley.  Mr. Wiley has been a professional artist for about 14 years, but he has been an artist for most of his 38 years. 

Photography by David Woo

Photography by David Woo

The art lovers of Fort Worth and Tarrant County came out for a one of a kind book signing. The lecture that proceeded the book signing was one of the most successful the museum has held.  There was standing room only in the main hall with just as many being seated in Café Modern. All were informed and entertained by Kehinde’s conversation with Eugenie Tsai of the Brooklyn Museum.

The exhibition–Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic showcases about 60 of Kehinde’s body of work.  The exhibition starts with a piece painted just before his graduation from Yale University and gives you some background into his life as an African-American male.

When you visit the exhibition, you will find yourself stepping up closely to examine the pieces, then stepping back to see them from a different angle.  There are huge paintings, smaller paintings, sculptures and one of my favorites–beautiful stained glass pieces. I suggest that you take the guided tour (at least the first time you go, you will go back again). The guided tour will give you insight into Kehinde’s vision, and how it has evolved.

To find out more about the world-famous Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth go to:  You can also read more about Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic at

As I tell everyone, there may be bigger (modern art museums), but there are none better than the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth (Texas).

*Great girlfriends outing, date night or going it alone.

Remember ” thisisyourbestyear”.

Pitch Your Product At The Texas Conference For Women

On October 15 in Austin, Texas at the Texas Conference for Women Vista Print is giving some lucky women the chance to pitch their product to Tory Johnson. Tory appears every Thursday on Good Morning America and presents the newest hottest brands around–it could be your product.

You must be registered for this great conference to pitch your product.  There is still time! For more information on how to pitch your product at the Texas Conference for Women and to register for the conference go to:

Tory Johnson

To find out what Tory is looking for in your pitch, go to:

Remember “thisisyourbestyear” why not spend a day with some amazing women at the Texas Conference for Women?  See you there!!

State Fair Of Texas And Food


Nothing else to say. I am getting ready.

Originally posted on thisisyourbestyear:

I’m channeling Pharrell Williams and we are singing “because I’m happy”.  It is State Fair of Texas Time, and I am ready,  I’ve waited for this day, and I am starting to count down the days until I can be happy!!!

After I walk in and speak to Big Tex, I can walk right pass all of the fried foods in the fair to get to the one thing that is on my mind.  I will slather my food of choice with mustard, drink something carbonated and be HAPPY!!

My food of choice is not fried Coke, fried butter, fried Oreo or even funnel cake–it is the original State Fair of Texas cornydog–Fletcher’s.  Do not, I repeat, do not let them try to sell you a knockoff corny dog, they are there, but continue to walk until you find the original. You must eat a Fletcher’s corny dog with mustard.  It is…

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Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth–Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic

Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic

The city of Fort Worth is widely known as “Where the West Began”, but it can also be known as “Where Great Works of Art Are Seen”.  The world-famous Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth will be presenting Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic which will highlight the range and scope of the artist’s 14-year career .  The street life of Harlem will start the exhibition as Wiley focuses on African-American men.  In later works Wiley examines the European tradition of portraiture while taking paintings by such masters as Titian, Manet, and Van Dyck.  He replaces the historical subjects with more contemporary young African-American men dressed in urban fashion.  Wiley is known for his large decorative canvases which have become part of his signature style.  It seems fitting that the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth would feature A New Republic at this time when issues of class, race and gender are in the headlines today. Also featured in this exhibition are examples of the artists’ stained-glass paintings and bronze busts.

On January 21, 2015, Wiley received the United States State Department Medal of Arts.  An illustrated catalogue published by the Brooklyn Museum and DelMonico Books/Prestel accompanies the exhibition.

This exhibition is organized by the Brooklyn Museum and Eugenie Tsai, the John and Barbara Vogelstein Curator of Contemporary Art at the Brooklyn Museum and made possible by the Henry Luce Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. It will run September 20, 2015 – January 10, 2016.

Kehinde Wiley (American, b. 1977). Shantavia Beale II, 2012. Oil on canvas, 60 x 48 in. (152.4 x 121.9 cm). Collection of Ana and Lenny Gravier, courtesy Sean Kelly, New York. © Kehinde Wiley. (Photo: Jason Wyche)

Kehinde Wiley (American, b. 1977). Shantavia Beale II, 2012. Oil on canvas, 60 x 48 in. (152.4 x 121.9 cm). Collection of Ana and Lenny Gravier, courtesy Sean Kelly, New York. © Kehinde Wiley. (Photo: Jason Wyche)

To find out more about the wonderful Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth and this exhibitions and others, go to:

If you are in the area, take the time to visit the Modern Art Museum in Fort Worth–Remember “thisisyourbestyear”.

Grandmothers–Memories of Sadie

Each of us has that someone special that makes us smile when we think of them.  I can remember both of my grandmothers with fondness.  My paternal grandmother lived In the same town as I did so I saw her almost every day.

This post was written by Connie Formby who allows us to vividly remember Sadie, her grandmother.

ConnieConnie lives in Fort Worth and spends her time with her husband Grant, a pastor and accomplished chef, and her two dogs, Lady and Sadie. (Yes, named in fond memory of her grandmother.) She loves working in the yard and creative sewing in her spare time.

Grab your favorite beverage, sit back and remember Sadie, She is sure to warm your heart.

The vision of her short stout stature sitting on the chair in front of her sewing machine is as clear today as the figure that sat before me in the small rural neighborhood in which we lived in Pennsylvania. Cattle grazed just on the other side of the fence bordering the backyard we viewed through her bedroom window. She lived with her cousin while we lived in a house just four streets away. As an older child, I could walk to her house to visit my grandmother.  

grandmother sewing 4The room was simply decorated. A glass plaque, hand painted in her favorite color purple, hung on one wall. On another wall hung her heavy round mirror, (a cherished treasure I have ownership of today), bordered with a hand painted quote. A light colored wooden dresser with a lamp sat between her bed and her sewing machine, and a rug lay on the floor. Simple curtains framed the one bedroom window. The hum of the sewing machine, the sun coming in the window; the contented smile on Sadie’s face, something about her stirred a connection I had yet to understand.   

For hours unending as a child, within this environment, I sat silent on her bed. Few words were ever spoken. They did not need to be.  A thread of communication was stitching our hearts together where our spirits had already met.  

She reflected both a deep love for me and a very dark distance from my life because by that time she had already lived through hardship unimaginable to me. No one meant more to me than Sadie. Our quiet hours shared, Sadie at her sewing machine and me on her bed lost in a world of colors, textures, compositions, and the shapes of her buttons poured from a collection of cookie tins onto her white Chenille bedspread. Sometimes she sang from her heart or laughed, more to herself than to me, as her mind followed the threads of memory through the fabric of her life to church and her childhood. The sound of her voice warmed my heart as she sang her beloved songs.  It seemed to me, happiness came to her when she was transported to a happier place or time across the threshold into her world of sewing or music. She was not especially talented as a singer, yet even today I hear her voice as she passionately sang her beloved songs.

Somehow I know she holds a place in the heavenly choirs of angels. It is as if I can see her there. As a seamstress, she was quitesewing with grandmother 9 talented, often making her own patterns. She would lovingly hand craft clothing for herself, my mother, my two sisters and me.

Silently, a transcendent force deep within myself was guiding me to be like her.  It was never a conscious decision. It was a choice made involuntarily and genetically.  I was influenced spiritually by simply spending time with her, being close to her and learning to love her deeply.  

Time spent in grandma’s room wove threads of cherished memories which formed the tapestry of my life. Quiet aloneness became the atmosphere in which I made a spiritual connection with sewing.  Seemingly endless threads of color, texture, shape and composition comprised the myriad of components of sewing. Each one was somehow woven into my heart. I became passionately connected, all the while never losing touch with the intangible force which led me there.   

In these times of aloneness, her spirit tenderly led me to a place which remains a place of sweet quietness and peace. Contentment and inspiration, from a greater being than mankind, flows out of this place as I apply the gift passed down to me through the spirit of my grandmother. The life flowing through her veins was her love and ability to make clothing.

Through my veins flows a passion for artistry through fabric applique or creating pictures out of fabric. As I view each developing “canvas” before me, I easily recall her connection to the different stages of the process each time she made a garment.   

I did not understand her paranoid schizophrenia and it hurt deeply when she would leave and visit that side of her life. She was incredibly sad and troubled in this place that was so unknown by me. She cried often and said many things I could not comprehend. I hurt for her and as the years went by, I longed to reach her to bring her back. I felt as though the scissors used to cut out her wonderful clothing creations was being applied to my heart cutting away someone I felt attached to like the other half of the piece of fabric being cut. As a child I missed her and did not understand when they took her to the hospital. I missed our times together.  I missed her tins full of buttons. I missed my place of escape.  

grandmother sewing 7It is interesting how life turns. After years of spending hours on grandma’s bed with her buttons, grandma had the opportunity to share a bedroom with me. These memories are priceless treasures to me. Yet pulling at my heart strings are the heavy memories of an increasing number of times she would leave and go to her place of deep sadness and darkness. I longed for a better understanding of who she was. I was angry because I could not reach her or reason with her. I did not understand her or the thief who continued to take her away.  

In our room were two sewing machines. Stitched by these cords of memories are the pictures I cherish of both of us sewing at sewing with grandmother 8the same time.  First, I recall the Christmas prior to starting Kindergarten. I received a pink sewing machine in its own small wooden carrying case with decoupage pictures on the outside. When led by her love and guidance, joy and pride surged through my being as I sat beside her sewing small simple clothing articles.  Many years later while sewing my own clothing beside grandma, I experienced the same feelings of pride and joy.

Often during these times, I was able to invite Sadie to revisit her childhood and happier days. Side by side as I led her back to the happier times, she recounted for me what she remembered.  Orchestrated with the patterned hum of the sewing machines was the duet of our laughter. Through the stories she recounted came a clear picture of the creative and colorful person Sadie was.  I loved the happy, creative, mischievous, and witty person she was in the stories. This Sadie was an Ann of Green Gables sort of person.  Sitting by her I watched as the threads of memory spun a web that captured an account. One day, in the one room schoolhouse, while studying Science, her stoic elementary school teacher asked the class if anyone could identify the crusts of the earth. Sadie quickly raised her hand. With a smile on her face, she wittingly responded, “bread crust and pie crust.”  She was promptly reprimanded. It was my pleasure to experience some of this playful side throughout my years with her.  

grandmother sewing 6When Sadie was taken to the nursing home to live, I missed her.  For the years she was there, I visited her whenever I had the opportunity to return to Pennsylvania. When she passed away, I was left without a very dear friend. However the gift of her spirit remains in me and continues to live through me, expressed through each picture this artist paints, using the mediums of a sewing machine, fabric, buttons, and thread.

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”.  Remembering those that made an impact on you are wonderful memories.  I smile when I remember “MeMaw” and “Grandma Ruth”.

2015-2016 Dallas Black Dance Theatre


dallas black dance theater 2

Photo by Amitava Sarkar

One of my favorite things to go to is the performances that the Dallas Black Dance Theatre puts on each year.  They have just announced their 2015-2016 season which they have titled “VISION RENEWED”. The Dallas Black Dance Theatre is Dallas’ longest continuously operating dance company.

dallas black dance theater 3

TruPhotography by Jamie Truman

This will be their 39th season which speaks volumes of the following that the company has.  This year as they have in the past, the company will perform at their home base, the Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre.  They will also perform at Dallas City Hall and bring their performances to Fort Worth and Richardson before going to other cities including, Denver, Colorado and even traveling internationally to Matamoros, Mexico, Belize City, Belize and Iquique, Chile.

Subscriptions are now on sale with single tickets going on sale September 10, 2015.  Tickets can be purchased by calling the AT&T Performing Arts box office at (214) 880-0202 or

To see a list of performances and times, go to

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”–why not dance?

Photo by Sharen Bradford--The Dancing Image

Photo by Sharen Bradford–The Dancing Image


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