No Money Needed For This Gift

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Our USA Today Best Years Magazine Interview

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

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

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

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

Embracing Midlife

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

It’s Never Too Late–Just Ask Me

It was a great evening being interviewed by Matt Blake and Casey Sanders of the show “Inspired to Greatness”. The discussion was about the subject It’s Never too Late.  As a woman of a certain age, it was an easy conversation for me to have.

Hope you will enjoy the conversation

 

To hear more conversations with Matt and Casey go to Inspired to Greatness.  Enjoy the conversations, and remember it’s never too late because “thisisyourbestyear”.

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.

Victory Over Violence 2

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.

 

Eat A Great Meal And Give To A Great Cause

by Julie Williams

**If your organization is looking for a volunteer opportunity, please contact The Taste Project.  

Fort Worth’s newest nonprofit restaurant, Taste Community Restaurant, launches its Spring menu today.  Chef Jeff Williams and the team, consisting mostly of volunteers, encourage all Fort Worth residents to come taste and see a new approach to solving the issues of hunger in our community.

Taste’s new menu includes spring items such as croquettes with leek, sundried tomato, and bacon; bruschetta made with ricotta cheese, avocado, and sweet peas.  Honey-soy chicken lettuce wraps.  And a house-cured bacon and green tomato sandwich.  But the menu still has many fan favorites including our Carrot Curry Soup, South American Arepas, and our Traditional Burger with Texas-beef, house-processed cheddar cheese, house-made pickles, and our Tasty Sauce all served on a bun baked on site.

Taste Community Restaurant is the first project of the Taste Project organization designed to help feed, educate, and serve Tarrant County’s food insecure population, a total of 18.1 percent of Tarrant County’s overall community.

Taste’s solution is a fresh and healthy pay-what-you-can restaurant where everyone in the community, regardless of financial means, can enjoy a healthy, high quality meal, made from seasonal ingredients from the surrounding area. The menu has no prices. Patrons are simply asked to:

  1. pay what you can afford;
  2. pay what you would typically pay; or
  3. pay what you would typically pay, plus a little extra to help a neighbor in need.

To-date, Taste Community Restaurant has served over 5,000 meals; some guests are in need, and others want to help.  “This place blew me away.  Great environment, great people, and even better food; all wrapped up and there for an amazing cause,” said Trenton, a guest at Taste Community Restaurant.  Another guest, Bri, left a note that said, “…you’ve showed us that there are still good people in this world.  Thank you for being so nice to us and helping us get through another day without going hungry.”

Fort Worth and surrounding area residents can come show support for the underlying issue of food insecurity in our community.  Enjoy a wonderful meal.  And meet some amazing people.  Lunch is served from 11am – 2pm, Tuesdays thru Sundays.

Take look at our great spring menu.

Indulge Restaurant News assignment at Taste Project

Taste Community Restaurant

1200 South Main Street

Fort Worth, Texas 76104

Open for Lunch: 11:00am – 2:00pm

Tuesdays – Sundays (Closed on Mondays)

Now taking reservations for Easter Brunch.

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”–enjoy a great meal for a great cause.  How hard is that?

taste 2

Enjoy A Great Meal and Make A Difference

I would usually put this post in the What “I” Like section because the food is amazing, but this is more than what I like. It’s about an idea that is not only changing the food scene in Dallas, but it is teaching future chefs and others life skills. It is not a culinary school, it’s not your typical classroom, and these are not your typical educators or your typical students.

Cafe Momentum is a non-profit restaurant and professional training facility that is located in downtown Dallas. Cafe Momentum is in the restaurant business, but more importantly it is in the business of transforming the lives of young people who have been inside juvenile facilities. The restaurant, culinary school, life skills university is the brain child of Chef Chad Houser. Working in collaboration with the Dallas County Juvenile Justice Department, Cafe Momentum strives to teach young men and women that it is possible to break the cycle–the cycle of crime, violence and poverty.

The students rotate through a 12 month paid internship program where they do work in every position from dishwasher to server to working along side world class chefs. In addition to culinary skills, they are taught anger management, money management and other life skills. Upon successfully completing the intense program the interns are placed with partners of Cafe Momentum for employment.

The food was scrumptious to the eye and to the palette. Making the night even more enjoyable was the knowledgeably, friendly, professional and courteous staff. We tried and shared several items, but one of my favorites was King Oyster Mushroom Scallops. I love scallops, but I hardly order them because if they are not done correctly they are not very appealing to eat. The mushrooms reminded me of the best scallops that I have ever tasted. They had the same buttery texture–they were wonderful. If I had not been told they were mushrooms, I would have thought I was eating scallops. It is usually hard to fool me when it comes to taste. You know how they say “it taste like” and it doesn’t–this did.

We started with a pickle plate that contained bourbon pickled green tomatoes, sweet cucumbers, hot, very hot jalapenos, Italian cauliflower and more. it was a great taste mixture of sweet, tangy and hot. Everyone at the table seemed to have their favorite. The next item that we shared was the magnificent Charcuteri Plate–it was magnificent. It featured torchon, duck ham, homemade sausage, two types of goat cheese which they lovingly called Lucy and Ethel, and so much more. To see more about this amazing plate (video) go to our Facebook Page–thisisyourbestyear.

Another amazing dish that everyone wanted to have a bite of was Ninny’s (fried) Okra Salad. I am one person who likes okra almost anyway it can be prepared, and this dish was one of the best ways that I have eaten it.

At this point I was a bit full so I order the Ninny Okra Salad for my entree, and nibbled off of everyone’s plate. Someone ordered the Smoked Fried Chicken with mashed potatoes, collard greens, biscuits and gravy. I tasted it–OMG. The Pork Chop with brown butter, green tomato salad and a 4 bean salad was ordered by a couple of people. I didn’t taste this one, but there wasn’t much left on their plates so I think that makes the point.

The fish of the day was an Opah, yes Opah, not Oprah. Having never heard of it, I was interested in it, but too scared to order. This Opah fish was tasty, not a fishing fish, but a flaky light fish.

At the conclusion we ordered the Olive Oil Cake and the Chai Ice Cream with a chocolate brownie. Everyone at the table got a bite of the Olive Oil Cake while one person hoarded the Chai Ice Cream and chocolate brownie.

Dining at Cafe Momentum is not only an amazing culinary experience, but it is chance to give back to the community of Dallas and beyond. Take some time to learn more about Cafe Momentum and see how you can assist this great endeavor.

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”. Eat, drink, be merry and assist a worthy cause.

Help For The Victims Of Hurricane Harvey

For those wanting to donate financially to help the people of Houston and the other affected areas, you can donate to these sites:

Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund (Houston)

YouCaring J J Watts (Houston)

American Red Cross (All areas)

  • Call 1-800-RED-CR0SS
  • Text the word HARVEY to 90999 to make a donation

Salvation Army (All areas)

  • Call 1-800-SAL-ARMY
  • Text the word STORM to 51555

Covenant House Texas (All areas)

Here are some things that we can start to collect to donate to the people in the devastated areas that will assist those in shelters:

  • disposable diapers
  • baby formula
  • water
  • toothbrushes
  • socks
  • soap
  • toothpaste
  • feminine products
  • deodorant
  • shampoo
  • hand sanitizer
  • towels
  • children’s clothing
  • toys (children need some sense of normality)

If you are a member of a Greek organization, check your national website–they will have information as to how you can assist.

Please remember that home insurance does not cover flooding, and most of these people will have lost everything.

If you know of other legitimate organizations offering assistance, please post in the comment section.

 

The Taste Project–Founded On Love of Humanity

I didn’t quite know where to put this post because it is about many different things.  First of all it is about a man and his vision, a vision that is about to become a reality. Chef Jeff Williams is a man with a passion for food, and a heart that believes in the goodness of mankind. So what better place to hold this interview than in a great restaurant over lunch.  So we had a great lunch and a wonderful, informative conversation about a vision to feed a community.

2017-06-04 16.36.27
The future home of the Taste Project

Chef Jeff’s love of his vision–The Taste Project, a not for profit restaurant is evident when he tells someone about it. The vision came to him years ago in 2003, but it was not until 2012 that he began to bring his vision to life.

The Taste Project will be a restaurant where everyone will be able to get a great tasting meal (Chef Jeff will be the head chef when it first opens). The Taste Project restaurant will be one where you pay what you can, pay what you would normally pay for a meal of that quality or if you can pay a little extra that would be great.  This is a restaurant for everyone, but especially for those that have food insecurity which is a term that I was not familiar with.  Food insecurity means that a person/family may not

Food Insecurity
Food Insecurity

have access to adequate food because of a lack of money and other resources at certain times during the year. This could mean that someone you know may be going without adequate healthy food, food that will sustain them.  They may have something to eat, just not what they need to lead a healthy life.  For the most part, the people who have food insecurity do not qualify for other types of supplemental assistance.  They are in essence between a rock and a hard place.

The restaurant belongs to the community.  Chef Jeff is quick to point out that the more people who the restaurant is able to assist, the better the community will be. He has worked at 4 other not for profit restaurants learning by doing so that he can make the Taste Project a success.

2017-06-04 16.38.58
Chef Jeff Williams and construction foreman getting the Taste Project ready to open

The Taste Project will be located in the Near Southside of Fort Worth, Texas on 1200 South Main Street, and is scheduled to have its grand opening on August 22 at 11 am for lunch.

Secondly, since this is the North Texas communities restaurant, it will need to be staffed by volunteers from the community.  There are many volunteer opportunities from servers, painters to paint the building, graphic designers, food tasters, writers and so much more.  If you have a skill, the Taste Project probably has a position for you. In order to help The Taste Project feed one community at a time, they need the assistance of the community.

If you are interested  go to The Taste Project and learn how you can help to feed one community at a time at “our” restaurant–we are all owners.

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”–The Taste Project is making a difference.

 

 

Put On Some Pink For A Great Cause

It’s time to put on your pink and get ready to see some great fashion, participate in great raffles, but most of all get ready to help the women of North Texas get the medical attention they deserve.

“Puttin on the Pink”  is hosted by the Kupferle Health Board of the Texas Health Resources Foundation.  The proceeds from this fashion luncheon helps fund their mobile unit.  This mobile unit is the doctor’s office on wheels that provides much needed service to women who might otherwise not have access to healthcare.

This year’s event is co-chaired by Sharon Crockett and Heather Senter.  These ladies have worked hard to make sure this years event continues the legacy that the volunteers started years ago to raise awareness of the mobile unit so that all women in the North Texas area have the opportunity to get the services they need.

Sharon became involved in the Puttin on the Pink when she learned that her best friend was diagnosed with breast cancer.   She soon realized that almost everyone knew someone who has been affected by some form of cancer.  Realizing that some people don’t know about the medical exam they should take, or they knew but didn’t have resources they needed to attain these services she knew she had to try and make a difference.

At the luncheon many men and women will learn about the services the mobile unit offers–these people will get the information out to many more people.  They will be able to tell that the mobile unit does:

  • Breast Cancer Screening Mammogram
  • Clinical Breast Examination
  • Cervical Cancer Screening
  • Sink Cancer Screening
  • Colon Cancer Screening
  • There is also Prostate Cancer Screening for men

This years’ Puttin on the Pink fashion luncheon will be held at the Fort Worth Convention Center on April 5, starting with a reception at 10:30 with the fashion luncheon at 11:30.

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”.  Put on your Pink for a great cause.

The Ladder Alliance–The Ladder To Independence

When most people think of domestic violence they generally think of black eyes, concussions, broken arms and more.  They think of a man and a woman physically fighting with the children crying. This falsehood tends to make all of us think that we don’t know anyone who is being abused, but we do.  There is emotional abuse.  Remember when our mother would tell us that “words hurt”.  They do, and so many victims (usually women) are victims of a verbal and emotional domestic abuse, not physical abuse. Most victims think there is no one out there to help them, but there are a number of places that are available

Even as the victims seek assistance, they seek a way for a fulfilled life after leaving the abuser.  They are looking for a ladder to help them climb out of a life that has left them with little or no job skills to support themselves and sometimes their children.  They are looking for the The Laddder Alliance.

The Ladder Alliance provides women domestic violence victims or low-income women with employment skills that will enable them to be self-reliant, independent and to lead successful lives. They are enrolled in classes that are taught by professional educators and business people. Their classes cover computer, professional and life skills that include Excel, professional writing and customer service.

20160914_122344
Sharon Cox, Executive Director and Founder leading a lunch and learn event.

This program offers a full size clothing boutique with new and gently used professional clothing that are “purchased” by the students not with money, but earned professional rewards (being on time, assignments, etc.). There is also childcare assistance and even homework assistance for the children if needed.

The Ladder Alliance offers several programs.  They offer basic computer skills training and professional office skills training. The cost for this is $20 or less covering all course material.

To find out more about any of the programs, the sites where classes are available and any other questions, call 817.834.2100 or go to Ladder Alliance.  There are several volunteer opportunities available.

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”–climb your ladder to success, then extend a hand to help someone else.