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.

Reset and Reinvigorate by Rethinking Your Career in 2019

*Guess post by Eva Benoit

If you’re stuck in a rut, there’s no better time to pull yourself out than now. It’s never too late to make changes that will improve your quality of life. Starting a new career is one of these changes, and it’s a big one that comes with both enthusiastic anticipation and fear for the future. However, you can’t let fear of the unknown get in your way. Keep reading for a few tips on how to cross this fragile ground no matter where life has taken you to this point.

If you are stuck in a rut, there’s no better time to pull yourself out than now. It’s never too late to make changes that will improve your quality of life. Starting a new career is one of these changes, and it’s a big one that comes with both enthusiastic anticipation and fear for the future. However, you can’t let fear of the unknown get in your way. Keep reading for a few tips on how to cross this fragile ground no matter where life has taken you to this point.

Do You Have What It Takes?

What do Oprah Winfrey, Sofia Vergara, and Arianna Huffington have in common? They are all successful female entrepreneurs who aren’t afraid to take risks, they’re all tenacious and a little stubborn, and they give of themselves 100 percent of the time. They are adept problem solvers who aren’t happy unless they’re on the move. If this sounds like you in more ways than one, you were undeniably born to be the boss.

You Are Not Alone

Our mothers and grandmothers were expected to stay home, raise babies, and make life better for their men. These social standards weren’t necessarily bad, but considering that women-owned businesses are growing at a rate of more than twice that as standard businesses, it’s safe to say that we got restless. Coupled with an ever-growing need for dual incomes, women-owned businesses, according to American Express, are more prominent than ever, with approximately 39 percent of all US businesses being led by women.

Despite the rise in female entrepreneurship, it’s not always easy. Today, experienced women are offering their guidance to new business owners. Reaching out to a mentor is one of the best ways to access information and receive help navigating the seas of success. Experian touches on mentorship, funding obstacles, and other statistics regarding women in business here.

Like a Boss

Starting your own business isn’t something you do on a whim. If you want to stand out from the crowd, you’ll have to take stock of your skills and define your niche. Have a heart-to-heart with yourself by drafting a business plan and recognizing your strengths and weaknesses. Test the waters by seeking clients via word-of-mouth and working on small projects first. FindLaw.com underscores this point by stating, “By starting small, you ensure that you can survive the inevitable hiccups associated with running a small business.”

Once you get into a groove, you can take steps to nurture and grow your business. This is achieved by being consistent and having the right tools at your disposal to get the job done. If you work from home, for example, you’ll need to set up a well-equipped office space with a comfortable working area and a computer that can keep up with your demands. Further, don’t make the mistake of thinking you know everything; listen to your customers. They will tell you what you’re doing right and what you need to change. As the face of your business, it is your responsibility to hear these voices and to provide services that will add value to your relationship. It can help to take a customer service training course to help you learn how to communicate and respond to both praise and criticism.

It doesn’t matter how old you are or how long you’ve been in your current profession. Even if you’re retired, it’s still possible to earn an income doing something you love. It may be a rocky road in the beginning, but with determination and a willingness to adapt to an always-changing market, you can both love and live your passions this and each new year.

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”. It’s a new year, and time to reset and
reinvigorate your purpose by rethinking and your career.

*Eva Benoit is a professional life, career and wellness coach. She specializes in helping people with anxiety and welcomes working with people from all walks of life.

Dementia–Might Just Be Menopause Transition

Just read this article The Brain Fog Of Menopause Can Burn Off by Jane E. Brody. It talks about the effects of menopause on memory, and the misdiagnosis of the symptoms leading to some doctors falsely informing patients that they have frontotemporal dementia.

I don’t know about you, but I have been there, and am still there. I’ve started to read with intention, and I even take pictures of where I park at the airport. Don’t laugh it helps.

Take a look at the article, and remember “thisisyourbestyear”–this too shall pass.

Cervical Cancer Awareness

Somebody is probably saying another month and another disease–what color ribbon are we wearing this time? It’s about our health, the health of our daughters, mothers, grandmothers. It’s the health of all women.

We tend to do for others, but forget about ourselves. Getting that husband to the doctor is sometimes a hassle, but if we persist we can get him there. Let’s take ourselves to the doctor when things seem a little out of kilter.

Cervical cancer is one that can take years to form. This is one major reason that we should take the uncomfortable pap smear every year.

Even though the the death rate has fallen over the years for those that are diagnosed with cervical cancer any death is too many. Cervical cancer usually does not strike younger women under the age of 20, but as we mature we tend to think we are immune to this form of cancer. In fact women over the age of 65 make up over 15 percent of the cervical cancer cases in the United States. A few myths are listed below.

As we mature our bodies change, and as we know things happen that did not happen before. Do not take these changes lightly, they may not be anything, but it is always best to have them checked out.

Here are some of the symptoms of cervical cancer that should not be ignored.

  • Bleeding after intercourse
  • Bleeding after menopause
  • Bleeding between periods
  • Bleeding after douching
  • Bleeding following a pelvic exam (spotting is normal)
  • Having heavier menstrual periods than usual or ones that last longer than usual
  • Unusual vaginal discharge
  • Pain during sex

Take time to talk with your doctor. Remember “thisisyourbestyear”. Know why you are wearing that ribbon and spread the knowledge. Our lives depend on it.

They Gave So Much For Me To Vote–I Have An Obligation To Let My Light Shine

Women were not always able to vote, and even when they were given the right to vote it was only for white women.  Native American women were the next group of women given the right to vote.  Some 32 years after women were given the right to vote Asian women were allowed to cast their ballot.  It took 44 years for African American women to be given the opportunity to do the same.

As an African American woman of a certain age, I owe all of these women for giving me the right to vote.  There are many men who I also must remember, but on this day I remember Fannie Lou Hamer who was “sick and tired of being sick and tired”.  She made it possible for my grandmothers, mother, and aunts to have the opportunity to cast their ballot, and they did.  I owe it to all of the women who fought, lost homes, husbands, children and even their lives for me to cast my ballot every time there is an election.

Take a moment to listen to Fannie Lou Hamer as she speaks before the Democratic National Convention in 1964.  The full written transcript is below. I owe so much to Mrs. Hamer and her peers.  She was put out of her home and beaten all for trying to register to vote. Through all of this, she continued to always sing her favorite song “This Little Light of Mine”. The debt can never be repayed.

Mr. Chairman, and to the Credentials Committee, my name is Mrs. Fannie Lou Hamer, and I live at 626 East Lafayette Street, Ruleville, Mississippi, Sunflower County, the home of Senator James O. Eastland, and Senator Stennis.

It was the 31st of August in 1962 that eighteen of us traveled twenty-six miles to the county courthouse in Indianola to try to register to become first-class citizens. We was met in Indianola by policemen, Highway Patrolmen, and they only allowed two of us in to take the literacy test at the time. After we had taken this test and started back to Ruleville, we was held up by the City Police and the State Highway Patrolmen and carried back to Indianola where the bus driver was charged that day with driving a bus the wrong color.

After we paid the fine among us, we continued on to Ruleville, and Reverend Jeff Sunny carried me four miles in the rural area where I had worked as a timekeeper and sharecropper for eighteen years. I was met there by my children, who told me the plantation owner was angry because I had gone down — tried to register.

After they told me, my husband came, and said the plantation owner was raising Cain because I had tried to register. And before he quit talking the plantation owner came and said, “Fannie Lou, do you know — did Pap tell you what I said?”

And I said, “Yes, sir.”

He said, “Well I mean that.”

Said, “If you don’t go down and withdraw your registration, you will have to leave.”

Said, “Then if you go down and withdraw.”

Said, “You still might have to go because we’re not ready for that in Mississippi.”

And I addressed him and told him and said, “I didn’t try to register for you. I tried to register for myself.”

I had to leave that same night.

On the 10th of September 1962, sixteen bullets was fired into the home of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Tucker for me. That same night two girls were shot in Ruleville, Mississippi. Also, Mr. Joe McDonald’s house was shot in.

And June the 9th, 1963, I had attended a voter registration workshop; was returning back to Mississippi. Ten of us was traveling by the Continental Trailway bus. When we got to Winona, Mississippi, which is Montgomery County, four of the people got off to use the washroom, and two of the people — to use the restaurant — two of the people wanted to use the washroom.

The four people that had gone in to use the restaurant was ordered out. During this time I was on the bus. But when I looked through the window and saw they had rushed out I got off of the bus to see what had happened. And one of the ladies said, “It was a State Highway Patrolman and a Chief of Police ordered us out.”

I got back on the bus and one of the persons had used the washroom got back on the bus, too.

As soon as I was seated on the bus, I saw when they began to get the five people in a highway patrolman’s car. I stepped off of the bus to see what was happening and somebody screamed from the car that the five workers was in and said, “Get that one there.” And when I went to get in the car, when the man told me I was under arrest, he kicked me.

I was carried to the county jail and put in the booking room. They left some of the people in the booking room and began to place us in cells. I was placed in a cell with a young woman called Miss Ivesta Simpson. After I was placed in the cell I began to hear sounds of licks and screams. I could hear the sounds of licks and horrible screams. And I could hear somebody say, “Can you say, ‘yes, sir,’ nigger? Can you say ‘yes, sir’?”

And they would say other horrible names.

She would say, “Yes, I can say ‘yes, sir.'”

“So, well, say it.”

She said, “I don’t know you well enough.”

They beat her, I don’t know how long. And after a while she began to pray, and asked God to have mercy on those people.

And it wasn’t too long before three white men came to my cell. One of these men was a State Highway Patrolman and he asked me where I was from. And I told him Ruleville. He said, “We are going to check this.” And they left my cell and it wasn’t too long before they came back. He said, “You are from Ruleville all right,” and he used a curse word. And he said, “We’re going to make you wish you was dead.”

I was carried out of that cell into another cell where they had two Negro prisoners. The State Highway Patrolmen ordered the first Negro to take the blackjack. The first Negro prisoner ordered me, by orders from the State Highway Patrolman, for me to lay down on a bunk bed on my face. And I laid on my face, the first Negro began to beat me.

And I was beat by the first Negro until he was exhausted. I was holding my hands behind me at that time on my left side, because I suffered from polio when I was six years old.

After the first Negro had beat until he was exhausted, the State Highway Patrolman ordered the second Negro to take the blackjack.

The second Negro began to beat and I began to work my feet, and the State Highway Patrolman ordered the first Negro who had beat to sit on my feet — to keep me from working my feet. I began to scream and one white man got up and began to beat me in my head and tell me to hush.

One white man — my dress had worked up high — he walked over and pulled my dress — I pulled my dress down and he pulled my dress back up.

I was in jail when Medgar Evers was murdered.

All of this is on account of we want to register, to become first-class citizens. And if the Freedom Democratic Party is not seated now, I question America. Is this America, the land of the free and the home of the brave, where we have to sleep with our telephones off of the hooks because our lives be threatened daily, because we want to live as decent human beings, in America?

Thank you.

There are so many others to thank, to them I can say

I voted 1

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”  you have a privilege that many before you didn’t. Honor them by casting your ballot, and letting your light shine.

Why Sit When You Can Stand?

It is amusing that people try to dictate when people should revert to rocking in the good old rocking chair.  Don’t get me wrong, I love rocking chairs.  There is something about rocking in a chair that reminds me of the comfort of home.  But saying that I was recently asked by someone who I considered to be a good friend when I was gonna sit down.

I didn’t answer, but it was a question for thought.  She said that it seemed that I was always on the go, always doing something, and even when I was just at home, it seemed that I was busy even if I was doing basically nothing.

Then it hit me, this person was one who loved to talk about age.  You know the person that loves to tell you how old they are, and the things they can’t do anymore.  Why is it that we are constantly telling others and most importantly ourselves what we can’t do anymore?  Most children think they can do just about anything, it is only as we age that we embrace what we can’t do.  My grandson recently attempted a gymnastics routine as I call it where you slide down the slide, propel yourself up and catch the monkey bars.  He did catch the monkey bars, but as the broken arm will attest he let go.

Even with the broken arm, he has decided that he is not to young/old to attempt this feat.  He goes go school, tutoring, plays sports, participates in worship at church, has play dates, studies, and so much more.  He knows exactly what has to be done, and those that he and his parents consider to be of less importance.

I say all of this just to say when he gets tired, and believe it or not he does get tired–he sits down for a rest.  But guess what, when he regains his strength, he is on the go again.  I know, I know you will probably say that he is all of nine years of age. But it should be the same for any age.

For once I am taking Honey’s Baby’s lead  (that’s my name for him).  When I get tired, I’ll sit down and rest for a while then get up again. My mother always told me that one day I might not be able to do the things I want to do so go for it.  I am also taking her advice.  So when I can’t any more, I will have great memories to bore my grandchildren with.  They will see that Honey had a ball even when she sat down and rocked.

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”.  You will know when it is time to sit down and rest.

rocking chair 1

 

Walking The Walk

I am sure there are others, but Mrs. Doreetha Daniels at the age of 99 is one of my inspirations.  After taking decades off she decided to give college a try. This lady has had a successful career, successful marriage, raised a family and has great-grandchildren. Getting a degree was something that she always wanted to, but as it is with a lot of us life just got in the way.

Her story is one that many people have endured. Some of things that she endured are listed below.

  • Unable to meet state residency requirements
  • Got married
  • Raised a family
  • Death in the family
  • Illness
  • Too old
  • Transportation problems
  • Unable to use technology
  • And on and on…..

None of these things deterred Doreetha Daniels from doing what she sat out to do.  She received her Associate’s Degree just before her 100th birthday and has not decided what she will do next–maybe a Bachelor’s Degree.  Sounds kind of like the average college graduate.

Take a look at Doreetha.  Let her be an example for all of us. She is a woman of a certain age who sat a goal and accomplished it.

What’s stopping you from accomplishing your goal of a new career, starting a business, traveling, writing, becoming a chef or anything else?

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”.  You can do it. Read more about Doreetha’s journey here.

 

Things That Make You Go Hmmm

As we grow up, things that happen to us can make us go hmmm and scratch our heads at these new symptoms. Some call it the aging process, others say it’s just Father Time catching up, and most of us just say it’s life.

There are ailments that pop up with symptoms that we have never had before.  What are some of these you might ask?  Well here are just a few.

  • The nerve in your tooth dies–seriously.  Warm liquids seem to make your tooth radiate, but not hurt.  This means that you need a root canal to stop this awful feeling.
  • You have sharp abdominal pain after eating.  You are now diagnosed as being lactose intolerant.  No more cheese, cream based entrees or ice cream.  In other words no milk based products for you.
  • Bloating from eating bread has started.  Not really all bread, but most.
  • Eye floaters start to bother you.  It’s kind of like you are swatting gnats.  They are harmless, but they are very annoying.
  • Heart palpitations which are scary.  Causes could be sugar, caffeine or alcohol.  You think to yourself which one do I have to give up?  I have become a decaf (yuck) coffee drinker, giving up most sugar except on birthdays and weddings (I love wedding cake).  There is no more chocolate for me since it is a double whammy with sugar and caffeine.  But there is a silver lining–wine is okay.

There are many other things that happen to us as we go through life, but I have a sorority sister who always finds the silver lining in things. The one silver lining I see from being lactose intolerant (and I hardly ever ate ice cream anyway), cutting out most sugar, most breads and caffeine is that I am able to control my weight and I can still have wine.

It’s my new normal, and it’s not so bad. We do what we have to do.  Remember “thisisyourbestyear”, and cheers!

Does anyone know of a good decaf brand of coffee?