Breast Cancer–Be Aware All Year

We all know that October is

and we are asked to

We wear the pink ribbons for a month and even donate money.

We must continue to remind our friends, sisters, cousins–even ourselves that

and that there are certain things that put us at

but, we also know that

So don’t forget to get that yearly uncomfortable mammogram. We all know someone, or we are that someone who can say

Let’s continue to help those with breast cancer be a

We are all aware in October, but breast cancer occurs all year. All of us know someone that did not defeat this disease or are living with it, so let’s not only be aware, let’s

Let’s continue to support those organizations that you feel are working toward a cure. Remember “thisisyourbestyear”, and breast cancer has affected us all in one way or another. We are in this together.

No Money Needed For This Gift

I recently read an article somewhere that talks about how some elderly people can go for weeks without talking to another person. Then it hit me, no wonder they are getting taken in by phone scammers. They are lonely and just want to talk with someone. Most of us if we are honest have sometimes looked at the phone, recognized the number and just let it go to voice mail. Most of us have more than enough human contact.

Last year I got an idea, and it stemmed from an idea that my sister told me about. Her church makes Easter Baskets for the sick and shut in at their church. You know the ones that can’t make it to church because they are ill, don’t drive anymore or for any number of reasons. They even made the decorated baskets a contest–the most creative.

Inside of each basket were things that they thought the people would like such as candy, coffee, even the coffeemaker, a pair of slippers and so much more. It seemed that my sister had so much fun gathering the items, and creating her masterpiece. The church would then deliver the baskets to the members.

So I decided that we would do an Angel Tree for Christmas at my church. We would do it for the sick and shut in. It would be the same as a regular Angel Tree, and similar to my sister’s church Easter Baskets with a few exceptions.

After I gathered all the names, phone numbers and addresses it was announced to the church, and to my great surprise the first Sunday all of the names were taken. The instructions to participate in the Angel Tree were:

  • Select a name
  • Call and talk with the person
  • Ask what they would like for Christmas
  • Ask if you could come over–if they said no which some might for several reasons including a) not looking their best b) house not kept the way they want it to be kept c) just don’t want any company.
  • If they didn’t want any visitors, then ask could you call them from time to time
  • If they agreed a visit was okay you were then to go out and purchase the items
  • You were to take the gift to the person, and sit and talk for a while. Even though you were purchasing a gift, you a were the greatest gift.

It was a great success. I was able to go on two visits, one with a friend. We visited a member in a nursing home. We sat and talked with her. The gift she loved, but she asked for a cold glass of orange juice. The gift basket had wonderful things in it that she had said she wanted, but our conversation and that cold glass of orange juice made her day.

My next stop was the name I had chosen. She wanted magazines and chocolate candy. I decided to give her a sugar high with all the chocolate I bought. After inviting me into her home, we talked about family, church, careers and more. She showed me pictures of her in her younger years, and so many family pictures. Some of the pictures were of her dancing–she said she loved to dance. When others would call her, she would tell them about my visit, not about the candy. My presence was better than candy.

Both of these beautiful people are no longer with us, but they have inspired me to do the Angel Tree again, and expand it a little. This time the names will be on a tree along with the Angel Tree wishes of our adopt a school. So we don’t get them mixed up, we will color code them.

This year I’ve added one more requirement to our Angel Tree. Each gift giver is asked to call and/or send a card to their Angel Tree person at least once or more a month. I’m hoping they will continue to visit the person. Gifts are great, but the gift of conversation and maybe a hug is so much more. Maybe when they visit they will take their children and/or grandchildren with them.

Most of us will be paying for Christmas gifts until Easter, but the gift of conversation and human touch cost nothing. Remember “thisisyourbestyear” and make someones holiday merry because all they want for any holiday is just a little time with you.

Our USA Today Best Years Magazine Interview

We were interviewed by the award winning journalist Jennifer E. Mabry for the USA Today Best Years (Fabulous Living at 50+) 2019 Fall/Winter edition. The topic of the discussion was “50–Embracing Midlife”. It is a topic that “thisisyourbestyear” is very familiar with.

Adding to the conversation were three other women of a certain age. They were Amy Yontef-McCrath who is a volunteer extraordinaire who sat a goal of volunteering to at least 50 projects between birthday 49 and 50. She completed it with time to spare, and is now deciding upon the next goal for this part of her life.

Also included in the conversation was relationship expert and therapist Dr. Audrey Chapman. She gave insight into being mentally and physically healthy as we mature. Brigid Schulte who is an author and journalist discussed work-life balance as we enter different phases of our life.

It was our honor to be included in this conversation. The link to the article is below. You can purchase the magazine at your local news stands or on line on the USA Today Magazines site.

Embracing Midlife

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”. You are never too old to live your best life and do the “happy dance”–we are proof. Just go for it.

Rest–It Does A Body Good

You get that phone call and the voice on the phone ask what you will be doing later on. They seem confused when you say nothing. They are even more confused when they ask if you would like to go with them to their favorite restaurant, the movies, a concert–you get the picture, and you say no.

They want to know what you will be doing, and you tell them nothing. Nothing at all. You want to stay around your house in your pajamas and do nothing. You want to rest. You want to be left alone for a while.

Rest is something that most women of a certain age have to learn how to do. Women of a certain age can find something to do, something to fix, somewhere to go when others are struggling to do anything.

Now I’m not talking about that awful thing called a power nap. Which never gave me any power–it just made me want to sleep more. Meaningful rest is different for different people.

It could be:

  • Reading a book
  • Listening to music (that no one else in your house likes)
  • Wrapping up in a blanket and laying on the couch
  • Enjoying a glass or two of wine
  • Enjoying a cup or two of coffee
  • Just sitting and meditating
  • Just sitting
  • Sleeping

Meaningful rest is when we can rejuvenate our minds and bodies. Meaningful rest goes by many names such as self-care, self-love, self-compassion and more.

As our bodies and brains mature it takes longer to reenergize, heal and rejuvenate. We have to learn to turn the outside and inside world off.

Some of us have to go away to truly get meaningful rest, but with the state of travel now the rest will be lost because of transportation issues.

Meaningful rest is like a battery, you must leave it plugged up so that it can recharge fully. It can be used with only a little power, but it will soon cut off again. The same holds true for all of us.

Every so often “do nothing” just for you. You will feel better, look better and be better. Sometimes you just need to stop and smell the flowers. Remember “thisisyourbestyear”.

*Yep, I’m a cat person.

Things They Don’t Tell You About Growing Up

Remember when you were growing up, and at each step of the way there was someone there to give you guidance on what would happen to you as you aged. There was someone who would answer questions before you asked them. How to shave your legs, underarms and more.

It seems as time goes on, you have to figure out things for yourself. There are things that you never thought about that are happening to you as you mature (age sounds so old).

No one told you that a pair of tweezers would become a beauty necessity. One that you have to have multiple pairs of. One in each bathroom at home, and especially one in your carry on if you can get it past TSA, or at least one in your checked baggage. The hair on your head may start to thin, it just grows somewhere else–your face.

We can all remember when we wondered what the hell a lip wax was–well now you know. It’s not so much about shaving your legs as it is keeping hair off of your face.

No one told you that you would return to your childhood and remember that statement that your mom uttered many times when she would ask you if you had to go to the bathroom–“just go and try”. As you mature, it seems like you decide to check and see if you do have to go all the time. It’s better to be safe than sorry. There is no drinking soda or even water while traveling–especially on planes (bathroom is too little).

There are so many things that they forgot to tell us as we mature, but it’s okay, we were always quick learners. Share with us some of the things you’ve learned on this journey of maturing. You can now color coordinate your tweezers just remember “thisisyourbestyear”.

Maybe We Should Be More Like Millennials

So we have decided that we will continue to work after we retire. We want to do something different, something that we have always wanted to so. Something that feeds our soul and our passion. Maybe we just want to do something where we are productive, something where there is a chance to get out of the house and communicate with others. There are many reasons that women and men of a certain age want to continue to work after their formal retirement.

Most of us remember when we first started to work and people would wonder if we were old enough for the job. Guess what? Now they wonder are we too old for the job.

You see that gray hair can be a giveaway to our age, and age discrimination is real. I know there are millennials sporting the gray look, but for the most part they get theirs out of a box.

Take it from someone who has finally divorced hair color and decided it is what it is. It does seem interesting that most of the people in power around the world are gray haired or other unnatural hair colors, but when it comes to getting a job it is a deterrent to the interviewer. It’s hard to even get an interview or get through the interview when the interviewer sees you as his mother or God forbid his grandmother.

This article by columnist Mitchel Schnurman recently appeared in the Dallas Morning News. It is an opinion piece, but personally I think it speaks the truth. Does gray hair stop you from getting pass the interview?

Then it hit me, maybe we should follow the lead of the millennials. Remember when we wouldn’t hire them because their hair was blue, hot pink, too long, dredded or whatever? What did they do? They started their own businesses. Why not start our own business doing what we want? We have the time, the experience and education so why not go for it?

Millennials did not wait for baby boomers to hire them so why are we waiting on them to hire us? We taught them to go for it. Let’s take our own advice and just do it.

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”. What are you waiting for?

A Train Ride and Michelle Obama

The last two weeks have been hectic, fun, entertaining filled with laughter, good conversation and more. This post won’t be long since the pictures will speak for themselves.

We started out with a train ride to the Grapevine Mainstreet Arts Fest aboard the Trinity Metro from the T&P station in Fort Worth. We were able to meet new friends and have a great time walking Main Street, talking with the vendors, eating the food samples and more. Hopefully on our next excursion you will be able to join us.

The discussion of the Michelle Obama book “Becoming” that we held at Leaves Book and Tea Shop, lived up to everyone’s expectations. The participants sipped their ice tea while they discussed “Becoming” and life itself. There were no right or wrong answers which made it interesting. Once again we were able to connect with women that we didn’t know.

The participants were given a sway bag that contained items from Sephora (located on University). After receiving their bags, they were then presented with other items to add to their sway bags. Women entrepreneurs were then given a moment to tell about their businesses and products. They then had a surprise for each lady. Each participant received a beautiful gift box with a lovely bracelet in it from Melba Gordon Jones of Paparazzi Accessories. Ruby Powell of Ageless Perfection Skincare gave each of the ladies’ skincare products that were packaged in a lovely satchel. Beverly Gunter of Kay’s Hot Water Cornbread Mix bought samples to taste (they went fast), and then gave each lady a package of mix. Each of the entrepreneurs received a gift from Danette Wicker of Danette’s Urban Oasis. The ladies were then given tissue paper and ribbon to complete their sway bag.

Hope you can join us for our next event. Step out of your comfort zone because “thisisyourbestyear”.

New Isn’t Always Better

I am a sentimental person I will admit, but I can let go of certain things.  There are some things that make my heart smile , and I will always keep them. My husband does not understand this sentiment.  He believes new is better.

Take for instance this quilt that goes at the foot of our bed each day, and when the weather gets a little chilly it warms better than anything electric.

This quilt has been with me since moving to Fort Worth some 44 years ago, and was probably not new when I received it.  As I packed my car to come to Fort Worth, my neighbor Miss Callie came across the street with this beautiful quilt to keep me warm when I needed it.  It was not only meant to keep me warm during cold nights, it was meant to keep me warm from cold people, cold circumstances–it was meant to ward off the coldness of the world.  This quilt was meant to wrap the love of Della Lane around me. It has done all of this and more.

Over the years it has warmed my daughters and now my grandson.  This quilt has warded off all evil spirits. Everyone reaches for this one quilt.  It seems to warm you from the inside to the outside.  Miss Callie’s quilt warms your heart.

Maybe it’s the love that it was made from. Someone made it with love for Miss Callie, and she lovingly gave it to me. 

As the years have come and gone, we’ve had to mend “our” quilt.  My husband once, and only once told me that we should buy a new one.  But now even he knows that the coldness of life can only be warmed by a quilt made with love.  Each time I spread it, or wash it I think of my street on Della Lane, and it warms my heart.

Do you have a keepsake that warms your heart–if so share with us? Remember “thisisyourbestyear”. When you warm your heart it shows.

Cause She’s Not In The History Books

We at “thisisyourbestyear” take this time to honor those that should be in the history books, but are not. Their accomplishments, sacrifices and more all have to be researched and only given one month of the year recognition.

*Since we are a blog for and about women of a certain age, we chose this year to highlight women in American History who are Black. There were so many that it was difficult to narrow it down to one person, but we did. Her story is inspiring.

We are featuring someone that none of us really knew about, we are featuring Mabel Fairbanks who was a figure skater. Mabel was fascinated by skating when she saw a movie featuring then skating sensation Sonja Henie. As luck would have it she found a pair of skates in a pawn shop, and talked the owner down on the price. After purchasing the skates which were two sizes too big, she stuffed cotton in the toes and taught herself to skate. She would go to Central Park to skate in competitions making 6.0’s, but could not join a club because of her race. Therefore, she could not participate in any other competitions or practice at any rink.

She was persistent and eventually one skating rink allowed her to come in after the rink closed to practice. This story is about more than her finally finding her way outside the United States to skate, it’s about Mabel’s legacy.

She may not have gone to any competions because no club would take her, but she was finally able to skate in the Follies in the states, then barred from seeing her shero Sonja Henie by Sonja herself. Her legacy has come to the surface and lives on. Mabel became a coach. Not just a coach, but a coach of champions.

She is credited with helping the careers of US and world champions such as Scott Hamilton, Atoy Wilson, Tiffany Chin, and 1970s champions Tai Babilonia and Randy Gardner, whom she put together as a skating pair. She also coached Kristi Yamaguchi, the 1992 Olympic gold medalist, in her early days, and also first paired her with champion Rudy Galindo.

She’s not in the history books, but she should be. Her strength gives us strength. Because of her, and people like her we can.

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”. Black History is American History.

*Go to our Facebook page–thisisyourbestyear to see more Black women we honor during the month of February because they should be in the history books.

What Happens To The Spouse Of The Alzheimer’s Patient?

What happens to the spouse of an Alzheimer’s patient as they see the person they married slowly taken away from them? I remember first hearing about Barry Petersen and his wife *Jan, and now Dan Gasby and his wife B. Smith.

I’ve even written about the effects that it can have on the spouse, the toll it takes on them both mentally and physically in our April 28, 2018 post Alzheimer’s Caregivers “Til Death Do Us Part”.

These two spouses clearly have made difficult decisions. Are they wrong or right? Is this something that we talk about with our spouses before hand?

What are your thoughts? What are the spouses to do? Remember “thisisyourbestyear”, and sometimes life is hard. We really can’t say what we would do in a difficult situation until we are faced with it.

*Jan Petersen passed away in 2013 after being cared for by her husband.