Out of the Mouths of Moms

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms. Your words of wisdom will carry your children throughout their lives and beyond through generations. We thought we would ask our readers to share with you some of the wisdom their mother’s shared with them.

“You can’t live your life by other people’s standards, you must do what is right for you…if you want to be happy.”
Mrs. Alvin Johnson, mother of Carolyn Alexander
“The secret of life is JOY
Jesus first, Others second, Yourself last–JOY“.
Mrs. Edith Kelley, mother of Nancy Amos
“You can be whatever you desire to be/do if you put God first, be committed and never give up”.
Meshelle Stewart’s mom, Betty Hill
“The word dumb doesnt exist. Do the best you can with what you have to do it with”.
Mamie Coby Abdul-Raheem’s mom, Emma Coby
“Treat people the way you want to be treated”.
Mrs. Irma Rose White, mother of Pamela Berry
“(You) being present is important”.
Mrs. Mary B. Howell, mother of Rev. Dollie Howell Pankey

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY, REMEMBER YOU ARE SPECIAL–“thisisyourbestyear”.

Sheltering In Place Movie Watching

There are a lot of things that I have been doing since I have been sheltering in place. So far I am not bored yet. A lot of people are binge watching television, but for some reason I can’t binge watch. I have, however, found some things that have caught my attention on television. Here are three movies/documentaries that I found interesting and entertaining. Each of them is different than the others.

The first one is the beautiful movie–“Of Mind and Music”. It is literally about the mind and music. This story is about a doctor whose mother has died from complications of Alzheimer’s, and his struggle to get his life back together after her death. The location of the movie is New Orleans which should tell you about the music.

While taking time off to mourn the death of his mother he encounters two street musicians, one being a beautiful singer with a name just as beautiful as the songs she sings. She is known as Una Vida to some and Queenie to others. Una Vida has the voice of an angel as long as she is singing, but also has demons that rob her of her life when not singing. This is story of voices lost and found not only Una Vida’s, but those that know and love her.

You will enjoy the sights, culture, music and sense of loss in this beautiful movie. This movie will move you.

It’s something about seeing the place where music legends started from. Seeing the piano with the keys labeled, the bathroom where they went into record that special sound and so much more will bring a song to your heart. In Detroit it’s the sound of Motown. But if you can’t get there soon try looking at the documentary “Hitsville the Making of Motown (Berry Gordy and Smokey Robinson).

The two legends talk about life before Motown and more. There are interviews with some of the music legends, and those who help to make them legends. Berry Gordy tells about his organizational plan for Motown which by the way was sheer genius. It’s nice just to see two friends whose friendship is a true friendship, and of course the music is timeless. There are things discussed that you already know, but there are tidbits that will amaze you. You will enjoy the information, and the big sing along.

“Faith, Hope and BBQ”, yep you read it correctly. This true story is about a small church, their faith, their hope and their barbeque. Throughout the movie they remind you that the church was built because of the selling of barbeque.

You will meet the man who cooks the barbeque who is also the pastor of this congregation. The story of the church that barbeque built in a small town is more about the love the congregation feels for their faith, family and community.

You will meet the members of the church who volunteer their cooking talents for the betterment of the church. The smoke from the pits will have you thinking you can actually smell and taste the meat. When one who works in the kitchen tells you she is famous for her collard greens, you will believe her.

This small, rural church and their love and faith are just a joy to see. They will have you saying Amen and pass the hot water cornbread, and the napkins.

These three things on television caught my attention and kept it throughout the films. Take a look, I don’t think you will be sorry. Remember “thisisyourbestyear”, and be safe.

Girl Talk #3

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Surviving Social Distancing

So we have been told to stay at home, and some of us are having a hard time while others have found new callings, and our new wardrobe. Why is it so hard for some of us to be alone when really in todays world we are never alone? You know with all the social media there is always someone there.

I actually don’t remember my first few days of social distancing since I was frantically converting my face-to-face classes to online classes. It had to be done, and done quickly. After working furiously and relentlessly it was time to rest. So my next few days of social distancing were spent in pajamas. It was time to catch up on rest (you can catch up).

My first days were spent going from the bed to my favorite chair(s). There was a lot of looking at magazines, trying to find something to watch on television–I can’t binge watch. It helped that it was raining all day and night.

I kept in touch with friends and family by calling, texting, social media and more. My kids and I could see each other over the phone/computer. So all in all it wasn’t that bad. My husband was still going to court for a few hours a day, and that helped.

When you can’t go anywhere it makes you want to go more, and it was beginning to happen to my friends and me. Then we all decided that there was things that we could do.

Here are some of the things that we did:

  • Got up and moved. There were those that could do an exercise program via the internet, social media, television and more. You can do a different one every day. I have found out that I have no rhythm–Latin Zumba and I do not see eye to eye. I did however keep moving. There are some people who took walks around the block or on the track. Some that finally used that stationary bike and other equipment that was collecting dust.
  • When the sun finally came out there was yard work to be done, mowing the lawn, trimming the hedges, repotting plants and even planting flowers and that vegetable garden. I repotted plants, planted a vegetable garden, but then ran into a snake so no flowers were planted in the front flower boxes (and they may not get planted this season).
  • Many of us were a little bit more culinary inclined. Instead of preparing what we always prepared, we tried different things. We took out those gadgets, you know the Instant Pot, the airfryer, the electric skillet–we finally figured out what the convection button was on the oven.
  • Some of us even briefly went out. My sister and I went to the location of Hardie’s Fresh Foods truck, and got fruits and vegetables. They did social distancing. You never got out of the car–they bought everything to your car and loaded it.
  • We held our first Meet and Greet–Girl Talk via Zoom. Our next one is April 3 at 8 pm CST via Zoom. (Use the ID 843-171-852).
  • Deep cleaning your house is always an option. My shutters and blinds are getting deeped cleaned, and are now their original bright white.
  • Hopefully creative juices will start to flow like a river and not a slow moving one.
  • Read just for pleasure. I’m reading another Robert Parker book. It helps that I imagine Tom Selleck as Jesse Stone.
  • Prayers..no need to say anything else.

There are so many other things that people are doing and dealing with during this pandemic. Reach out to those that are truly alone, give them a call, send them a quick note. There are a large group of people who do not do social media. Remember “thisisyourbestyear“, please be safe.

Our next Zoom “Girl Talk” will be on Friday, April 3 at 8 PM CST. Please use the ID 843-171-852. See you soon.

let’s get together

We’ve been social distancing for a few days so let’s get together and have a little girl talk. Join us for about 40 minutes of getting to know each other, and sharing our tips on surviving social distancing.

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USE THESE 5 STEPS TO MAKE YOUR FIRST CRAFT SHOW A SUCCESS

*Guest post by Tina Martin

**I know a lot of crafters–people who make things, and are actually good at it. In fact one of my friends just rented a space to showcase her handy work. This article will assist you in hosting a successful craft fair and put you on the road to becoming a successful entrepreneur.

Are you a maker or an artisan who is gearing up for your very first market or craft show? Then you should know that making your booth a hit with customers can take some planning and effort, especially if you want to increase your sales. So, before you begin setting up your table, take note of these simple ways that you can attract customers and sales for your new business. 

Streamline Management and Operations 

If you were building a house, you wouldn’t dream of getting started without the proper tools. Before you take your arts and crafts business to the next level, make sure you have the right tools to help build yourself up to success. For instance, getting your operations under control is crucial when you need to focus on setting up at your first craft show, and doing so can be effortless when you have business management tools, such as software to make point-of-sale operations more efficient, in your small business toolbox. Another way to enhance your operations and reduce your stress is to download productivity apps to keep yourself on track. You will need a solid smartphone to use those apps, so be sure to complete the next step. 

Upgrade to a More Powerful Mobile Device

If you don’t have a fast, efficient smartphone, you could be missing out on a lucrative revenue stream: mobile credit card processing. If you need a smartphone to handle all of those swipes as well as other essential business tasks, consider a next generation model. Phones like the iPhone 11 Pro and Samsung Galaxy S10+ can help increase sales and even help promote your business. Contact your wireless provider to see if they offer any trade-in deals where you can swap your older model phone for a discounted new model. 

Create and Post Engaging Social Media Content 

How do you get people excited about your products when you don’t have an actual storefront? By using social media, of course. Start by selecting the best platform to showcase your products and connect with your target audience. Many makers opt for Instagram since photos and videos are at the heart of this popular social media platform. You also need followers to boost your business, so don’t be shy about asking folks to like, share, and follow your account, or even printing business cards featuring your social media info. 

Promote Products with Organized, Attractive Displays 

Now that you have all the right ingredients to get folks to visit your booth or table, you need to make sure they are really “wowed” by what they see. That means taking some time to educate yourself around a few visual merchandising basics. First, find ways to showcase your products, including large-scale photos and clever signage. Next, try to set up your displays so that shoppers can easily browse and even touch your products. Touch can be especially important since people are more likely to buy items when they can touch them first. 

Connect With Customers Through Quality Service 

Your displays and products will entice shoppers to visit your booth or table, but your personality is what will drive people to actually make purchases. So, before you set up at your first market, show, or event, be sure to refresh yourself on some ways to offer excellent customer service. Showing up to your booth with a friendly attitude and a genuine smile can go a long way in helping shoppers connect with your business, so try to get a positive start to each day you will be working your booth so that you can attract loyal customers to help boost your business. 

Your first craft show can be a success so long as you take the time to plan out some key strategies. Planning is always essential for ensuring these events are as stress-free as possible, but know that keeping a positive attitude is crucial as well. So, be mindful of the way you present your products, and always be mindful of the way you present yourself. Good luck!  Remember “thisisyourbestyear”.

*Tina stays busy as a life coach and works hard to help herself and her clients achieve a healthy work-life balance.

**Check out the crafts of friend to the blog Steffany Villalobos. You can find her creations–Freestylecraft at the Mercantile #313, 7200 Camp Bowie Blvd, Fort Worth, TX 76116.

a CULINARY EXPERIENCE At The Biltmore

by CY Cooper

In my last post for THIS IS YOUR BEST YEAR, I told all about my trip to see the Incredible Biltmore Estate for the Christmas Holidays.  As I explained in my last communication, I actually stayed at one of the hotels on the estate grounds…..The Village Inn.  Not only can you stay at one of the two hotels on the estate but there are also amazing restaurants on the property where you can dine.  The Biltmore has seven restaurants that offer a wide range of fine and casual dining choices.  The menus showcase fresh produce and meats that are raised and harvested on the Biltmore estate.  

Since we were arriving in Asheville, North Carolina in the afternoon, I went online before the trip and checked out the menu, reviews and made a reservation for the dinner buffet at DeerPark Restaurant.  If I have to say so myself, it was a great choice.  This buffet had everything from slow roasted prime rib, herb crusted turkey breast to citrus roasted salmon.  Let’s not mention the many appetizers, soups, salads, side dishes and of course numerous desserts including, a crepe station, black forest pavlova and eggnog cheesecake.  ALL the food was DELICIOUS.  

Now since we were staying at The Village Inn and had purchased the Christmas Tour Package, breakfast was included with the stay.  As you may know, I absolutely LOVE breakfast and the morning meal at the Village Social restaurant definitely started off each day in the correct way.  For some reason each morning I ordered the Social Breakfast which included two eggs (over medium) heirloom potatoes, toast and thick cut bacon.  Service was exceptional right along with the food.  

Because each day was started off with a satisfying breakfast, there really was no need for lunch.  Maybe a stop here and there for snacks but not a full blown lunch.  Next to the actual Biltmore estate,  there’s a section where there are shops and a restaurant called The Stable Cafe.  It’s a fitting name as it was once the estate’s actual horse stable.  The Stable Cafe features Appalachian comfort food for lunch including house smoked meats, Carolina barbeque, classic burgers, and salads.  The Dinner Menu at the Stable Cafe is simply OUTSTANDING. The dining room for dinner is located on the 2nd level.  Decorated beautifully for the holidays, the dining experience at The Stable Cafe was simply AMAZING.  Service was fantastic and the food was wonderful.  I ordered the Bone-In Pork Chop with sweet potato puree, fried brussel sprouts & apple sage butter.  My friend ordered the Shrimp & Grits with sauteed shrimp, Anson Mills blue corn grits, lobster butter, andouille sausage & scallions.  Please note at the end of the meal there was nothing left on either plate.  

As I mentioned in the previous post, this was my second visit to this magnificent house.  On my first trip I enjoyed afternoon tea in the Library Lounge at The Inn on Biltmore Estate.  The Inn is a 4 star hotel located on the grounds with incredible sweeping views of the estate.  On this trip I booked their Holiday Tea located in The Dining Room at The Inn on Biltmore Estate.  With Mount Pisgah in the background, we enjoyed a full service afternoon tea with delicious scones, sandwiches & desserts.  As you have come to expect with anything associated with The Biltmore, service along with the food was impeccable.  

Enjoying the sights and sounds of the holidays at the Biltmore was a dream come true for me.  BUT there was another perk that was added in that I didn’t see coming and that was……The Downton Abbey Exhibition currently on display at the Biltmore until April, 2020.  More about that in my next post.  

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”, and savor the moment.


Holiday Magic At The Biltmore

Guest blogger CY Cooper

Happy Holidays, one and all.  My family and friends know that yours truly is a history enthusiast.  So, in the spirit of the season I began my celebrating the holidays by traveling to Asheville, North Carolina the first week of December and visiting the magnificent Biltmore Estate.  It’s simply known as the Biltmore or as I like to call it, America’s Downton Abbey. No matter what time of year you go to see this incredible structure, it is breathtaking BUT during Christmas it’s even more amazing.  


Biltmore was the family home of George Vanderbilt, his wife Edith and their daughter Cornelia.  The house, over 175,000 square feet and 250 plus rooms, was under construction for over five (5) years.  On Christmas Eve in 1895, George Vanderbilt officially opened the doors of the grand house to family and friends.  At the time it was constructed Biltmore had all the latest conveniences for a home in the late 1800’s.  

During my visit, I stayed at one of the two hotels located on the grounds of the estate.  The Village Hotel and the The Inn are not far from the main house.  When you stay at either one of the hotels there’s a shuttle that takes you back and forth from the house, to the winery, gardens, conservatory, equestrian center, shopping areas and restaurants.  In fact, you don’t have to leave the estate grounds unless you want to explore Asheville.  There are several tours available pertaining to the estate, including a guided house tour, roof top tour, a tour of what went on through the eyes of the servants’ garden tours and my favorite, legacy of the land tour.  Biltmore is not just a large home with beautiful gardens, it’s a brief but fun and fascinating glimpse into the past of America.  


Thousands of people visit the estate during the holidays to view this spectacular home with its beautiful decorations during the day and also in the evenings where the house is illuminated by candlelight.  There is so much to talk about regarding my visit that I can’t put it all in one post.  Look for upcoming posts regarding reviews of the restaurants on the estate as well as a recap of The Downton Abbey Exhibition currently running at the Biltmore.

My stay at the Biltmore was wonderful, but there is no place like home for the holidays. Have a wonderful holiday season, and remember “thisisyourbestyear”. Merry Christmas!

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.

Conversation, Movie, Museum and More–A Fun Night!

Another one is in the books! We had a great time at our latest outing with a great group of ladies. This time we decided to do a number of things in one outing, and it worked. There was something for everyone. There is no schedule as to when we will do an event, it is just when we think that something may interest some ladies, and we go for it.

When we heard that the Magnolia at the Modern (Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth) would be showing one of the most talked about movies around –The Farewell, we knew this was what we had been looking for.

Then we decided why not tour the Modern before the movie and see the great art work it contains. Entry into the museum on that day was free–that’s a win, win situation.

Touring the museum is always enjoyable. There is wonderful artwork inside and outside. The weather was beautiful so we were able to enjoy both. We even had time to go into the museum store to look around and make a few purchases.

So that we could get to know each other better, we had a reservation at Cafe Modern where we enjoyed cocktails, snacks and great conversation. Having time just to talk was fun and entertaining.

Then it was off to see the movie in the comfort of the theater at Magnolia at the Modern. It may not have all of the amenities that the newer theaters have, but it is cozy, and yes each lady was given snacks because everyone knows that you can’t go to the movies without snacks.

The movie lived up to its billing. I really can’t wait to see it again and see the things I missed. I will tell you though that there are subtitles because much of the movie is in Chinese and even a little Japanese with some English thrown it.

All in all the conversation was good, the museum was fun, the movie was great and the night was a lot of fun. We look forward to our next outing, and hope that you can join us. Remember “thisisyourbestyear”.