The Scars Of Breast Cancer Are Not Pretty In Pink

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and everyone will be wearing pink in the form of ribbons, shirts, tee shirts and more.  What we see doing this awareness month is everyone being “pretty in pink”.

We have all known someone who has been affected by this horrific disease, or we may be that person. Most survivors carry scars from their treatments to defeat breast cancer.  Some of the scars are physical, but some are mental and not only affect them, but their loved ones too.  There are those women and men who carry both types of scars. Breast cancer is an equal opportunity disease, it does not discriminate when it comes to who is affected by it.

Sometimes the chemo may cause the hair to fall out, it can even affect the color of ones skin tone.  The scars of mastectomies may be covered, but they are there nonetheless.  Some survivors have lymphedema in their arms after the mastectomies.

Mammograms do not catch every type of breast cancer, but they do aid in the detection of many.  This imaging can be expensive if you do not have health insurance.  There are places in every community that offer free or low cost services.  Below is a list of  some of the ones in Tarrant County and the surrounding counties in Texas.  Please share with us those in your area so that everyone can benefit from these services.

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”.  Breast Cancer Awareness Month is about more than being “pretty in pink”.  It’s about being informed and finding a cure.

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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.

 

A Love Like No Other–Being Grandparents

Who would have thought that becoming a grandparent could be so enjoyable?  From the time that little bundle of joy is put in your arms you find yourself on cloud nine. The love you feel for this tiny person swells up more each time you see them.

Grandparenting has always been special to those that were fortunate enough to know and love their grandparents.  My paternal grandparents lived less than 15 minutes from our house, and my material grandparents lived about an hour away so grandparents were always present.

The ones that lived closer took us to piano lessons on Saturday, picked us up for Sunday School, and had homemade delicious snacks after school.  You know things like hamburgers, french fries, cake, pie–do I need to go on. Those were special times that even now bring a smile to my heart.  The love I had for my grandparents only came in second to my parents.

So when I heard that we would become grandparents 9 years ago I was excited.  I could just image combing the little girls hair, putting in pretty bows, buying cute little dresses, dolls and more.  Then they told us they were going to give us a grandson.  I told them to give him back because we didn’t do boys–just girls. We now do boys.

Who would know that Joseph Foster II better known as Joey to us, and JoJo to his parents and aunt would steal our hearts. I can remember when he was not even walking, and the Dallas Cowboys had an open practice at the stadium–my sister and I picked him up from the sitter and took him to the practice.  We were so excited telling his parents about our outing. Even to this day I know that he enjoyed looking at the big screen.

His aunt and I taught him how to fly a kite when he was about three. Somehow he seemed to always find the one power line, but it was fun.  We decided to make a cake and decorate for his moms birthday.  He used this mixer, decorated the cake and the table.

Even when he was younger and just starting to walk we took him home to Longview to visit our neighbors.  We stopped to have our favorite burger, and he threw so many fries on the floor that we asked the manager for the broom to clean up.  He got a way with things that his mom and aunt could never have done.

No I don’t see him every day, but when I see him, I try to always make it special for both of us. This summer I ask him to write me a letter each week telling me about his week. I love my updates.

Does he like seeing his grandparents all of the time–of course not, but hopefully the memories that we make will mean just as much to him as they do to me.  He knows that his Paw Paw and Honey love him unconditionally.

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”.  You can love your grandchildren, give them love and send them home to be with their parents.  Grandparents need rest after visits. Enjoy your day.

HAPPY GRANDPARENTS DAY!

Go to our facebook page and post a picture of your grandchildren. Share the joy and love!

If It Works For You

Most people have read or heard all of the information on what makes a successful marriage. How to keep a husband/wife happy, the 5 or 10 or 15 steps to a happy marriage. How to fight fair. Men are from wherever and women are from some other place.

On August 4 I celebrated my 40th wedding anniversary. People asked if it felt like 40 years, did the time just fly by and other such nonsense. They also wanted to know how we made it work, was the relationship 50/50, how did having children change the dynamics of the marriage, who was the one with the last word?

There is no magic in having a successful, most of the time happy marriage. I love those people who say that every day it was almost perfect because they married their perfect mate. I personally don’t know who they married because I don’t know two perfect people.

First of all we were parented by different people. That plays a big part in the marriage. Whether we want to admit it or not, we learned from our parents–good or bad, and our parents learned from their parents and so on.

So I thought I would give you some of the myth busters that I have encountered.

  1. Never go to bed mad. Stop it! You still have to go to work because there are bills that must be paid. So go to sleep, sleep on the problem, and for the most part it may solve itself with a nights sleep. In all honesty sometimes when you sleep on something you see the other persons position.
  2. Hide some of “your” money, you never know when you might need it, and make sure you don’t let the spouse know. They know. Put it in an account with your name on it and move on.
  3. Always put your money in a joint account. You can if you want to. You know what has to be paid, and when it should be paid. Some people are not good with money. I have found that a lot of couples have separate accounts and everything works out for them.
  4. Marriage is 50/50–of what? I will leave this one alone.
  5. Marry your best friend. If I married my best friend then who am I going to have to vent my frustrations about him with? My best friend has known me since second grade.
  6. Happy couples never disagree. Who wants to be with someone who thinks exactly like they do?
  7. You should share the same interest and do everything together. We don’t even like the same movies. I’m a happy movie fan, and he’s a kill 15 people in the first five minutes fan. We compromise, well at least I compromise and go with him. He suggest that I go with my best friend to see my type of movies.
  8. You complete each other. If it takes another person to complete you, then you will never be complete. You are your own person. That’s what drew them to you in the first place.
  9. Never sleep in separate beds/bedrooms. My paternal grandparents never slept in the same room, and they were married over 60 years–they seemed very happy. They could see each other from their rooms.  I know some people who sleep in separate rooms because one snores and keeps the other one up. One suggestion is to purchase an adjustable bed–it helps if snoring is a concern.

What makes a successful marriage? I wish I knew. I can tell you that it is always a work in progress. The one thing that is a constant with us is that no matter what, prayers are said before we close our eyes and when we open them in the morning. We truly believe that prayer helps everything. He will never be a cat person, and dogs are growing on me.

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”. If it works for you…….

Be Selfish–Take Care Of Yourself

As women of a certain age, we were always taught to not be selfish.  We were told “don’t be selfish” when it came to our toys, but now I am telling you that it is okay to be selfish.  Women of a certain age have earned the right to want and do something just for themselves–we’re not going to hurt anyone.

Some things that you can do that will make only you happy or at least the happiest in your family.

  • Cook a meal that only you like–sit down and enjoy it.  How many times have you eaten what everyone else likes?  I can almost guarantee that someone will eat with you.
  • Hire someone to help with the housework–schedule the way it fits your budget and needs.
  • Get regular manicures and pedicures–again your schedule, your finances.
  • Take your time when placing your order at a restaurant–ask questions if you so desire.  You want what you want.
  • Say no to babysitting the grandkids every time they ask–you love them, but you have a life.
  • Watch a movie that you like while sitting in the comfy chair.
  • When they ask you to watch the television in the back so they can all watch something on the bigger tv tell them no and keep watching.
  • Go shopping and only buy for yourself.
  • While shopping don’t call and tell them about a sale because you know you will buy the item(s) and never get paid for it.
  • Sleep late or take a nap for no reason except you can.
  • Take a vacation day from work and don’t tell anyone–do what you want to do on that day.
  • Play the music in your car and in theirs that you like–they do this all the time.
  • Hide your good candy.  They don’t know the difference between Belgian Chocolate and milk chocolate.

These seem like simple things, but we as women of a certain age were taught to put others before us, and stop being selfish.  If taking care of yourself is being selfish, then I am all for it.

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”.  You’re not being selfish by making yourself happy.   Take into consideration that they would want you to be happy.

Share with us any other ways that we can be “selfish” and not hurt anyone.  We are looking forward to reading them.

Support The Movement–Victory Over Violence

Just by walking and/or running you can assist the Women’s Center win their battle with sexual assault and child sexual abuse.*  You can participate in their 22nd Annual Victory Over Violence (VOV) Walk/Run on Saturday, April 14, 2018 at the Duck Pond at Trinity Park.

 

Public awareness of sexual assault has increased with the advent of the #MeToo and #TimesUp campaigns.  Rape Crisis centers across the nation have seen an increase in the reporting of sexual assault, harassment and abuse. The Women’s Center has itself seen over a 13 % increase in hospital accompaniments during forensic rape exams from 2016 to 2017.  Year to date, they have seen a 16% increase year to date compared to the same time period in the year 2017.

Many people participate in the VOV Walk/Run to acknowledge and remember those whose lives have been affected by sexual assault or intimate partner violence.  It is their way of giving back.

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To participate, volunteer or learn more about the Women’s Center, please click The Women’s Center Victory Over Violence Walk/Run.  The 1K Fun Run will begin at 8 am with the 5K Walk/Run starting at 8:30 am.  This years emcee is Courtney Gilmore, reporter at NBC DFW.

The proceeds from the Walk/Run are used to support The Play it Safe!® program.  This program has been designed for children Pre-K through high school and uses materials in ways they can best learn and respond.

Remember, “thisisyourbestyear”.  Take a walk or run and help the Women’s Center and all that are affected claim Victory Over Violence.

*We incorrectly reported that this run was focused on stomping out domestic violence.  While it can be a part of sexual assault there are many other organizations that specifically address domestic violence.

 

Red Is Your Color

by CY Cooper

Last week, Thursday, March 1st, to be exact, the 2018 Tarrant County Go Red for Women Luncheon took place at the Omni Hotel in downtown Fort Worth, Texas.  The annual event, in conjunction with the American Heart Association drew women, and some men, from all over Tarrant County to come together in their quest to end heart disease and stroke in women. Heart disease kills more women than all forms of cancer combined, and 1 in 3 women die of cardiovascular diseases each year.

The Go Red for Women endeavor began in 2004 and every February/March, women all across the country proudly wear red, telling their stories of survival and raising awareness of heart disease and stroke as the Number 1 killer of women.

This year’s Tarrant County Go Red Luncheon not only raised much needed funds for lifesaving research and awareness, but it also featured keynote speaker, Kathrine Switzer, the first woman to officially enter and run the Boston Marathon.  Switzer told the packed ballroom, it doesn’t matter what age, size, gender or stage of life you may be in.  It’s never too late to make a change for the better for yourself and for others.

Before the luncheon got underway, attendees were treated to a mimosa reception, complimentary health screenings, cooking with heart demonstrations and a silent auction.  During the luncheon all were encouraged to donate to this year’s fundraising effort by opening up their hearts along with their checkbooks.  Members of the Fort Worth Fire Department were present to assist in collecting the donations.

With the tremendous success of this year’s event in their rear view mirror, organizers have begun planning for the 2019 Tarrant County Go Red Luncheon for Women, scheduled for Friday, February 15th at the Omni Hotel.

Remember “thisisyourbestyear” the color red looks good on everyone.

 

An Interview With Fort Worth’s Rare Diamond–Author Amara Russell

Fort Worth native, Amara Russell is the author of the much talked about novel “A Rare Diamond”. Even though this is her first novel to be published she is no stranger to writing.  Her love for writing has been evident to those around her since elementary school when her first article was published in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. It was our honor to have a great conversation with her.

Who are some of the authors you enjoy reading today?

Some of the people I enjoy reading are Priscilla Shirer. Her book “A Jewel in His Crown” is one of my favorites; it has brought me through a lot of things that were occurring in my life at the time. Another author that I like is Lysa Terkeurst.  Her book  “The Best Yes” is about making wise decisions when going through certain situations.

Who and what do you read just for fun? Also, what is a book that you have read more than once?

I love romance novels.  There is a book by Eric Jerome Dickey called “Friends and Lovers” about different relationships.  He adds a lot of humor to his books and I enjoy that. It’s a thick little novel, and I have read it several times.

Was “A Rare Diamond” the first manuscript that you finished?

It was the first manuscript that I finished.  It took me a year to write it.  I was laid off my job in 2015, and for the first couple of months, I spent my time trying to find employment. When I didn’t find anything I decided to use the time to do something that I liked–writing.  Writing helped to heal my stress. I put my frustrations into the manuscript.

Writing became my full-time job.  Every day when I woke up, I poured myself into writing.  It was something I loved to do.

Tell us about the inspiration for the novel–was any of it born out of personal experiences?

Actually, there are a lot of bits and pieces of the story that are related to my life, and things around me. I would visit coffee shops, relatives houses and observe activities that I added to the story.

When I found employment, I wasn’t able to put the time I needed into the writing of the book.  When I loss my mom I  was able to relate to Celeste, the main character in the book who loses her mom.  This event inspired me to get back to writing nonstop.

That’s interesting what you said about being able to relate to Celeste after the loss of your mother.  That’s something people tend to think they can relate to but can’t when they have not experienced that loss.  They know what to say, but they can’t relate.

Right, when I would express to people that I was still hurting they couldn’t understand because they had not experienced it, and until they do, they won’t understand.

I understand, and God will get you through it, but you never get over it, and it is never the same.  There is a void that is always going to be there.

Right.

Now Celeste is the main character in your novel.  Tell us a little about her.  I know that you said she loss her mother at 5.  Without giving away the story tell us a little bit more about her.

Celeste is witty, smart and beautiful.  She is courageous, and she doesn’t bite her tongue about anything, but she says what she means in a subtle way.  She takes her characteristics from her mother who was filled with integrity.  Her mother could walk into a room and capture everyone’s attention.  Celeste picked up a lot of those qualities.

The story is about her life from the age of 5 to 25. She is a young woman trying to find her way, her identity without her mom.

What other characters in the novel play a pivotal role?

Derrick is a childhood friend of Celeste who grew up in the neighborhood.  Really he was her brother’s friend first.  As they grew older they were able to relate because he had suffered the loss of his father at an early age, and he had older siblings who were all girls, and her older siblings were boys.

Another main character is her brother Craig. Celeste and Craig have a very close relationship.  She leans on him, and he leans on her in certain situations.  I would say that Derrick and Craig are two of my other main characters.

From some of the comments that we  have read people say that the book kept them on their toes until the very end.  So if we were going to the bookstore what two sections would we find “A Rare Diamond”?

Probably in the Faith-based section and also in the Romance section.

If you were to have “A Rare Diamond” made into a movie, who would you have to play the main characters?

Oh my God, I knew you would ask that, and I have those people written down (laughter).

It’s important because when people read a novel they picture certain people.  I have to read the book before I see the movie.  I remember going to see “Waiting to Exhale”, and none of those people were the people I pictured except Loretta Devine.  She had the sass that was in the book.  I met Walter Mosley and told him that I did not see Denzel Washington as Easy Rawlins, and he said he didn’t either.  I told him I pictured a young Laurence Fishburne.  He told me when you sell the rights to your book, then the studio picks the actors.  So who do you have as Celeste?

For Celeste, there were two people. I had in my mind LeToya Luckett could play her or Keisha Knight Pulliam.

Oh, why those two?

The similarities when I envision my character, I see them as her. And then their personalities when I see them in films or on television.  Those personalities fit Celeste.

Ok, what about Derrick?

Derrick, the minute I started writing I don’t know why but I envisioned the actor Lance Gross.

Oh, okay, yes.  That’s a good one.  What about Craig?

Craig because he’s so hilarious–even when I was writing the novel I would crack up from some of the things he would say.  To me, I always said Mike Epps (laughter) .

Oh my God! (laughter).  He would be a wonderful big brother. 

Just to add one more, the mother because she is such an inspiration.  It’s like I didn’t want to kill her off at the beginning so I was kind of going back and forth, but Angela Bassett always came to mind when I was writing the story.

She would be good.  Even in her personal life, she seems to be into her family and her faith. You are going to have a hometown book signing.  Tell us about it.

The book signing will be downtown Fort Worth at the Marie Antoinette Parfumiere and Spa which is located at 101 West 2nd directly across from the Worthington Hotel.  It will be on Saturday, February 10 from 3 to 5.  A pre Valentine event.

Are you working on a sequel or another novel?

I am actually working on a trilogy to “A Rare Diamond”, I’m going to break it up into three parts.

That will be nice.

Well, we thank you for your time.  We’ll see you at your book signing.

Thank you so much, I appreciate it.

 

“A Rare Diamond” can be purchased at Amazon, the Barnes and Noble website or on http://www.nspired2write247.com.

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enjoy Yourself–You’re Worth It

by CY Cooper

It seems like it was only a day or so ago we were all enjoying the sights and sounds of the Christmas season.  It’s really hard to believe that we are now moving toward the middle of January 2018 and getting set for the next BIG holiday, which is Valentines Day.  It didn’t take the retail stores long to move forward as they were putting up hearts and flowers the day after Christmas.

You know it’s not a secret that the holiday season is just plain busy for everyone. Whether it’s family, friends, co-workers, church or other organization functions, most of us find ourselves so busy we don’t have time for ourselves or to just look around, sit for a quiet moment and ENJOY the season.

Well during the holiday hustle and bustle I did a couple of activities for yours truly.  I registered for a total of (3) cooking classes.  Two of the classes took place at the Fort Worth Cooking School at Central Market and the other at Sur La Table in Fort Worth.  Let me tell you, all (3) classes were hands on, educational and a lot of FUN.  Besides taking home the recipes and instructions on what we accomplished in class, all participants took home a nice sampling of our finished baked goods.  Now I’m sure you’re probably thinking that you want to do anything but cook/bake, BUT as stated earlier it was FUN, a lot of FUN. It was an activity where you could go with a friend or by yourself and meet other people with an interest in cooking/baking.  Plus, for about 1 1/2 – 2 hours you were away from the holiday rush.  I learned to bake everything from buttermilk biscuits in a cast iron skillet, Parker House rolls to eggnog cranberry swirl bread just to name a few.

I didn’t just stop with the cooking/baking classes.  My sister and I attended the Texas Ballet Theater’s THE NUTCRACKER at the wonderful Bass Hall.  It’s become a family tradition and it’s a MUST SEE.  If you’ve never had the chance to see this ballet, you should.  It just may become one of your Christmas traditions.

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And finally, yours truly is a fan of tea, and The Ashton Hotel in downtown Fort Worth starts their Holiday Tea Service the day after Thanksgiving.  This was my first time attending but I can tell you it won’t be my last.  I tried to reserve a couple of seats for the week before Christmas but they were all booked up.  I made a reservation instead for a date after Christmas and even then there wasn’t an empty seat to be found.  Holiday Tea at The Ashton Hotel runs through the end of the month of December.  The tea was EXCELLENT and so relaxing.  DEFINITELY put this activity on your TO DO list for the 2018 Holiday Season.  

The Christmas of 2017 was busy and it sped by quickly, but I can truly say it was FUN and memorable.

It’s 2018.  Remember “thisisyourbestyear”.

Christmas In Songs

As a child the songs of Christmas and the holiday season were always some of my favorite tunes.  At that time they always made me happy.

Even today some bring back memories of times gone by.  While in elementary school I was a member of the choral club, and doing one performance I actually had a solo.

Once I entered fifth grade I was made a member of the famed girls group at school–the Charmettes. This group sang on the two annual school programs. The winter program was called “Winter Wonderland”, and we always closed the program with it. Every time I hear it now I call my best friend and we break into song and laughter.

While working at a high school, the choir would do caroling through the halls. A lot of us would follow them to hear our favorite song.

I remember the great Christmas celebrations on Della Lane at home.  How much fun we had decorating the tree.  It seemed that everyone had a picture window where they displayed their tree.  The memories of home always come to mind.  I can’t go back to that time, but each year I do go home for Christmas–if only in my dreams.

Merry Christmas to all.  Remember “thisisyourbestyear”. What’s your favorite holiday song?