Thankful For 4 Generations

Just wanted to share some of the fun we had at Thanksgiving this year with four generations under one roof. It was our daughters idea to gather the family together which we do every Thanksgiving, but this time to do it under one roof. So we had family from the age of 10 to soon to be 97 for Thanksgiving.

We all decided that an airbnb would be the best way to go, and it was my assignment to find the perfect one that was not too far from home, but far enough. Our selection was Shepherd Lodge in Kingston, Oklahoma. From the pictures we were in love with it, and had our fingers crossed that it would live up to expectations–it did and more.

There were four generations that would be staying under the same roof for three nights. Like most people we were hoping there would be enough to entertain everyone, enough space so that we wouldn’t feel crowded and other things. There was nothing to worry about, our airbnb had everything we wanted and needed from board games, card games, pool table, ping pong, three fireplaces with two being outside, televisions in each bedroom and one in the great room plus so much more including a piano. Everything for preparing Thanksgiving dinner was there–there was even fresh ground coffee in the kitchen.

If someone had wanted to gamble there was a casino down the road, and a lake that my grandson did get to see. Take a look at a few more pictures of our four generation Thanksgiving.

Enjoy family because there is nothing better. Remember “thisisyourbestyear” and give thanks every day.

Grandparents As Parents

Being a grandparent is one of the best things this side of heaven. Each grandparent thinks their grandchildren are the cutest in the world. Their grandchildren are the smartest, so much smarter than their children were at that age. When grandchildren come to visit, grandparents give them almost anything they desire. They let them do whatever their hearts can imagine and more. This is so true for the preteen grandchildren. As they grow into teenage years it’s another story. Grandparents love grandchildren because after all the fun they have, the food they have eaten, the playing they have done and much more they are packed up and sent home to their parents. Grandparents can then go back to whatever they want to do–they’ve earned it.

Some grandparents can’t send their grandchildren home to their parents because they have become the parents. There have always been grandparents that raised their grandchildren for some reason. There was always Big Mama Susie, Granny Louise, Paw Paw, Daddy James and more who took on the role of raising a grandchild.

In the state of Texas alone there are approximately 823,750 children under the age of 18 living in homes where the householders are grandparents or other relatives with the majority living with grandparents.

According to the Grandfacts State Fact Sheets there are over 315,000 grandparents that are raising grandchildren. Of those:

  • 67% are under the age 60
  • 62% are still in the workforce
  • 23% live in poverty
  • 23% have a disability
  • 26% are unmarried (grandchildren are living with a single parent)

These grandparents having raised their children have once again taken on the responsibility for the day-to-day maintenance of a home, schedules, meals, homework, play dates and more. These items may seem simple, but homework is not the same as it was a generation ago. Years ago play dates consisted of going outside and playing with the kids in the neighborhood. There was no scheduling of activities. Birthday parties consisted of cake, punch and a few games in the backyard or den. There was no social media, cell phones and internet. In addition to time, the majority of these things carry a monetary component.

The grandparents who are raising their grandchildren now have to redo their lives, their dreams and much more. They have to give up their independence and start all over again. Their finances will ultimately take a hit, and retirement may not be in the picture in the near future. That dream of finally starting their own business has again become just a dream.

All of this is not to say that grandparents do not cherish their grandchildren, it’s just that their lives or at least the idea of what their lives should look like at this stage of life will have to change. Their new normal is not the normal they day dreamed about.

There are programs that will assist the grandparents in their new role as primary parents. At my church a senior group meets once a month to talk about the good, the bad and the ugly of raising grandchildren when you thought you would only see them on the weekends. It allows the grandparents to learn from others who are in similar situations, and to give guidance to those that need it .

In every state there are organizations that will assist those that are raising children for the second time. AARP has great information in the Grandfacts sheets for the United States and for your state. There are local programs that can assist also.

Grandparents may need a little help when raising grandchildren. Those that take on this task are indeed “grand”. Remember “thisisyourbestyear”, and just in case you didn’t know my grandchild is the cutest and smartest.

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.

Best Dad Ever Giveaway

It’s almost Father’s Day.  The time when we honor the father figures in our lives whether it is our father, uncle, grandfather, the father of our children or a male figure who stepped up–we want to give them credit for being “the best dad ever”.

This year “thisisyourbestyear” has teamed up with The Boardroom Salon For Men. The Boardroom gives men more than just a haircut; it gives them the ultimate grooming experience in an elegant country club-like atmosphere.  Complimentary beverages, a pool table, a chess board along with plush leather chairs and a great atmosphere will make the “best dad ever” in anyone’s life have a great Father’s Day to remember. We will be giving away a gift certificate for the “best dad ever” in your life.  The gift certificate will entitle the holder to a great service from the Boardroom–their Signature Cut. It’s more than just a haircut.

The Boardroom’s Signature haircut service, The Benchmark, which is valued at $60 includes:

  • Personal consultation
  • Tailored cut
  • Pressure-point facial massage
  • Precision neck shave
  • Rejuvenating paraffin hand dip
  • Energizing shampoo and conditioning
  • Scalp massage
  • Steamed towel
  • Stress relieving hand massage
  • Cleansing rinse
  • Finishing touch styling

In order to win this great gift for the “best dad ever” you must do at least 2 of the following items (the more you do, the more chances you have)

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”.  Don’t you think that you know the “best dad ever”–I do.

The winner will be announced on Monday, June 11.

Find out more about the services and locations of The Boardroom here.

 

Alzheimer’s Caregivers–“Til Death Do Us Part”

It attacks the brain and is the most common type of dementia–this is Alzheimer’s. There is no age requirement when it comes to the early onset of Alzheimer’s. We tend to think of our parents and grandparents when we think of Alzheimer’s, but the youngest person diagnosed with it was only 27.

The stories below are some of the examples of what it means when one states in their wedding vow: “til death do us part”. Each one of these has taken a different approach.

Mike and Carol’s journey was one that Mike was determined to make with her at home. Over the course of 10 years, and his health failing both mentally and physically he had to make a decision. A decision that was the best for both of them. Mike made the decision that even with 24 hour a day caregivers Carol needed more. He made the decision to put her into a facility.

As some caregivers think back over time, they realize there may have been signs they may have missed. As Barry Petersen talks about his wife, he tells how she changed years earlier before she was diagnosed.

All of the caregivers vowed to always take care of their spouse. They came to the realization that taking care of them meant they must face the difficult decision to put their love one into a care facility, not only for their care but the care of themselves.

Take a look at Barry and Jan and their journey with Alzheimer’s. Jan has since passed away.

Dan and B were the “it” couple that I watched on her weekly lifestyle show. From their beautifully decorated home in Sag Harbor to her wonderful restaurant that I visited in Washington, DC. They seemed to be living the dream until….. As of the writing of this article, B. Smith still remains at her home in Sag Harbor with Dan.

One important take away from all three of these cases is that couples should talk about their wishes if they become afflicted by this disease. The caregiver should have instructions that will make his/her decision on care much easier, and with less guilt.

As we mature, we do seem to forget more which does not mean that we have Alzheimer’s. The chart below is a simple way to explains the difference.

alzheimer anddementia

Alzheimer’s came to my family with my paternal grandmother. It was something that seemed to strike out of nowhere, and life-altering decisions had to be made immediately. My grandfather had died years earlier, but I know that he would have been like the spouses above, he would take care of his wife as she had always taken care of him. Even though in the later years of his life he was in failing health, he would be determined–“til death do us part”. Some conversations are hard to have, but a necessity as life continues.

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”. Taking care of someone does not mean doing it all alone there are resources.

Try these sites and others for information on being a caregiver for someone with Alzheimer’s.

Alzheimer’s Support Programs and Information

National Institute on Aging

AARP Help and Support for Alzheimer’s Caregivers

As I Look Back And Celebrate My Birthday

Today, October 2, 2017 I have officially done something neither of my parents was able to do.  I was able to celebrate my 65th birthday.  Daddy passed at 49 and mama left us at just a month shy of 65.  So on this birthday in particular I am thinking of them, and that little girl who loved to play in the dirt in East Texas. The little girl who could not wait for the birthday parties held on the front porch with all the friends from Fox Hill.

When I tell friends that I worked on my birthday, they are a little confused since it is a day that I should be celebrating.  My children inform me that they don’t, and will not work on their birthdays. At one time that was my position, but as life would have it circumstances change. Working on my birthday does not upset me since I have decided to celebrate my birthday everyday.  There may not be an official celebration with cake, gifts and such, but nontheless there will be a celebration–a celebration of life for myself and those that did not make it to celebrate their 65th.

2017-10-01 18.07.46

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”.  Happy Birthday–celebrate everyday.

Dirk Nowitzki Does Baseball With A Little Help From His Friends

Dirk Baseball 2The Heroes Foundation presents the star-studded, fun-for-the-family celebrity baseball game.  Benefiting the children’s charities of the Dirk Nowitzki Foundation and Heroes Foundation.

GREAT FAMILY FUN FOR A GREAT CAUSE

Who:

People to see include:

Dallas Mavericks

  • Dirk Nowitzki
  • Deron Williams**
  • David Lee
  • Chandler Parsons
  • J. J. Barea
  • Devin Harris**
  • Wesley Matthews
  • JaVale McGee
  • Salah Mejri
  • Justin Anderson
  • Jeremy Evans
  • Dwight Powell
  • Rick Carlisle (head coach)**

Dallas Cowboys

  • Cole Beasley
  • Byron Jones

Texas Rangers (former)

  • David Murphy
  • Michael Young

Actors

  • Geoff Stults
  • Chance Crawford

What:

Dirk Nowitzki’s 2016 Heroes Celebrity Baseball Game and Fireworks Finale

Dirk Baseball 3When:

Friday, June 10, 2016  (7 PM)*

Where:

Dr. Pepper Ballpark, 7300 RoughRiders Trl., Frisco, TX  75034

Why:

The Dirk Nowitzki Foundation  awards grants annually to organizations focusing on children’s wellbeing, health and education. With this he offers all of us an opportunity to help give positive experiences to children around the world.

*5:15 PM–The Heroes Special Olympics All-Star Softball Game

**Will appear, but will not play

Tickets are now on sale for $9, $13, $17 and $20 at Ticketmaster or at the Dr. Pepper Ballpark Box Office during office hours.  Tickets are also available at the door. LAST YEAR WAS SOLD OUT!

For more information, go to Dirks Foundation.  Like the Heroes Foundation on Facebook for the latest updates.

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”.  Enjoy some family time or a great girlfriends night out with a little baseball where everyone wins.

Dirk Baseball

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

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

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

men's health month

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

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

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”.

 

Honoring Our Father–Our Own Personal SuperHero

It’s that time!! We want to honor your SuperHero–your father!  Remember when he was the tallest, biggest, smartest man in the world?  He could leap tall buildings with a single bound–my dad didn’t even have to jump. He took care of you, he protected you and was always so proud of you. He was your Super Hero.

Father’s Day is coming up, so let’s honor our fathers.  Please email a photo of your dad to us by June 14, 2015 so that we can honor your SuperHero.  You can email us your photo at:  thisisyourbestyear@gmail.com. Please make sure to identify everyone in the photo.

Help us put your dad in the picture.  Remember “thisisyourbestyear”.

SuperDad.indd

Marriage–You Pray For Me–I Pray For You

It’s been a bumpy, happy, funny and whatever else kind of road there can be including the long and winding road of a marriage.  There are no magic potions to a happy marriage–basically no two are alike. When people are asked what makes a marriage work there are many different answers. Some people say they married their best friend. They say he’s the Ying to their Yang.  They say they are the pieces to their jigsaw puzzle.  They say they never go to bed angry.  They say a lot of things.  After 36 years I can say we have gone to bed angry.  We had to go to work the next day!  I will tell you though the one thing that we have done each night and each morning for the life of the marriage–we pray for each other.  He prays for me, and I pray for him.  I’ve even prayed on the anniversaries that he has forgotten.  We know that prayer works.

On this anniversary we are still praying because we remember “thisis(our)yourbestyear”.