As you wake up to your positive alarm clock, POWER UP, thinking positive thoughts of abundance, healing, joy, happiness and what a great day you are going to have. Be grateful you woke up and started counting your blessings. “Always count your blessings, even if you have to count them through tears.” (Eleanor Roosevelt)
A dear friend sent me an email with the most precious story I want to share with you, my readers. It is priceless.! A group of students were asked what they thought the present Seven Wonders Of The World were today. Though there were some disagreements, the following received the most votes: 1. Grand Pyramids 2. Taj Mahal 3. Grand Canyon 4. Panama Canal 5. Empire State Building 6. St Peter's Basilica and 7. China's Great Wall. While the teacher was gathering the votes, she noticed one student had not finished her paper. She asked the girl if she was having trouble with her list. The young girl replied, “Yes a little, because I couldn't quite make up my mind because there are so many.” The teacher said, “Well, tell us what you have and maybe we can help.” The girl hesitated before reading and said, “I think the Seven Wonders Of The World are: l. To See 2. To Hear 3. To Touch 4. To Taste 5. To Feel 6. To Laugh 7. To Love.”
The room was so quite you could hear a pin drop.
As I pondered on these Seven Wonders Of The World, I personally feel sometimes we overlook these simple and ordinary blessings we have been given and taken for granted. A gentle reminder.......the most precious things in life cannot be built by hand or bought by man.
“He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those he has.”(Epictetus) Sometimes we forget the value of a blessing or a moment until it becomes a memory.
Modern psychology research confirms that gratitude is an important social emotion that can benefit the lives of religious people as well as non-religious people. Studies show that being thankful will enhance your well-being and is a powerful tool for strengthening interpersonal relationships. Gratitude can create social networks and help individuals work towards goals, challenges and over all.... have stronger coping skills for life's hardships. Think about it.... when you are doing something for someone else you don't have time to dwell on yourself or your problems. Personally, I love writing thank you notes, sending cards, calling someone to check on them or being a sounding board if they have a problem and need an ear to listen. Beautiful quote by Booker T. Washington, “Those who are the happiest are those who do the most for others.” Being grateful and thankful will help you physically and mentally to have a better life. I am my happiest when I am extending my hand to help another person.
During this devastating time of uncertainty in our lives because of the COVID-19, there are many lessons to be learned as we think about what is really important in our lives. It has made me realize just how blessed I am by counting my blessings each day. We must continue to keep a positive attitude and hope as we face many adversities in our lives and not let them defeat us. A meaningful quote by Nelson Mandela, “The greatest glory in living life is never falling, but it is rising every time we fall.” I am most thankful and grateful for each day. “Blessed is the one who trust in God and whose confidence is in Him!” (Jeremiah 17:7) Stay strong and may God bless each of you, my readers, and keep you safe.
What Are Your Seven Wonders Of The World?
As a former Ms. Texas Senior America 1997, it is my privilege to interview our reigning Ms. Texas Senior America Queen, Joyce Brown. The beauty of our MTSA Queen Joyce is not in the clothes she wears, the figure she carries or the way she combs her hair. The beauty of Joyce is seen through her eyes, because this is the doorway to her heart where love resides. When you shine within....you don't need a spotlight! Joyce has proven to be an example of our mission statement for the Ms. Texas Senior America Pageant.
This Pageant is redefining the senior woman championing healthy aging, wellness and mental well-being. Joyce has had many opportunities during her reign to empower senior women, exemplifying the “positive image of aging,” promoting the senior woman in all her glory. She is a wonderful role model to her peers and the younger generation.
Joyce lives in Flower Mound and married to Lennel. They have 2 children and 2 grandchildren. She has a B.S. Degree in Electrical Engineering Technology. Joyce worked 38 years in the technology field at two major companies. She had the opportunity to manage, mentor, develop, and empower many of her employees for 28 years. She retired from Abbott Laboratories after 30 years of service.
At the age of 59, Joyce felt she had to define 60 for herself instead of letting 60 define her. She started attending boot camp classes four to five times a week. She began losing weight and in four months lost 30 lbs by changing her diet, eating healthier, and working out. In 2018 Joyce became a Certified Health Coach. Her certification supported her platform of Health and Fitness, while understanding the poor lifestyles that cause many diseases and the challenges and control food has on people. Her goal is to educate and encourage people to make better choices to improve their health and confidence.
Joyce felt good about herself and decided to step out of her box and do something she had never before entertained and that was to enter a senior pageant. She started searching on the internet and found the Ms. Texas Senior America website. You have to be 60 years young to enter the pageant and she had just turned 60. She called Dr. Syntha West , Contestant Coordinator and signed up for the MTSA pageant in 2018. She hired a choreographer to help her with a fitness routine to music for her talent. Joyce didn't win the title, but because of her positive attitude, she felt she was a “winner” in that she had the courage to even participate.
Joyce decided to enter the pageant again in 2019 and her choreographer changed her talent to a dance. She was stunning in her top hat and tails as she danced to the song, “I Won't Dance”, (from the musical Roberta) which starred Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. After winning the coveted title of Ms. Texas Senior America, she competed in Atlantic City last October in the Ms. Senior America Pageant. She represented Texas and made us proud!
Joyce is a self -starter and has made over 70 appearances including parades. Several of her highlights were when County Commissioner Bobbie J. Mitchel presented her with a Proclamation proclaiming February 2020 as “Joyce Brown, Ms. Texas Senior America 2019 Month in Denton County in honor of Black History.” Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson invited her to be the Moderator for her Annual Senior Living Conference held in March at the University of North Texas Campus, Denton. Joyce also received her 2nd Proclamation from Texas Senator Jane Nelson who represents District 12.
As a MTSA title holder, her platform is to encourage women of all ages to step outside of their comfort zones and stretch themselves to live their best lives. She feels we should live our lives intentionally and purposefully, because we were not created to live average lives, but to be much more, overcoming our fears and become the best we can be! One of her favorite scriptures, Ephesians 3:20 “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power.” The choices we have made in our lives are lessons learned we can apply to future endeavors. Her goal is to inspire and empower her peers and the younger generation letting them know that failure is impossible when they put their best foot forward regardless of age. At 62 years young Joyce stated...”My life has really improved tremendously because I kicked open the box I had created for myself. I am stretching myself in ways I never would have considered 5 years ago.”
Please come and watch Joyce take her last walk across the stage as 2019 Ms. Texas Senior America, DoubleTree Hotel, 4099 Valley View Lane, Dallas, Saturday August l, beginning 1:00 pm. Tickets $20 each. Scott Murray and I will be emceeing the MTSA Pageant again this year.
Interview with Joyce Brown, Ms. Texas Senior America
“No Act of Kindness , no matter how small is ever wasted”
Love and kindness make such a difference in people's lives. Not only do they bless the person who receives them, but also blesses you. When you help other people your life will most likely become happier and more fulfilling. Personally, I am my happiest when I am extending my hand to help another person. It gives me a sense of value and being more fulfilled. I feel what people give out will return back to them. Some people call it Karma.
A beautiful quote by Jonathan Huie, “The more love that is given, the more love returns. The more a helping hand is given, the more hands are strengthened and empowered to help. We can help each other to all be winners.”
Numerous studies have shown there are strong correlations between helping others and happiness. Wonderful quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Giving is one of the most beautiful compensations of life, that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.” Scientific studies show helping others boosts happiness, increase feelings of competence, improves our moods and reduces stress, because when you are doing something for someone else, you don't have time to worry and think about yourself.
Jonathan Huie quotes are so meaningful to me.... “Generally, your greatest service to someone in their time of trouble, sorrow, or confusion, is your comfort. Take the time to listen to their troubles and concerns with patience, kindness, and empathy, but without offering unsolicited advice or suggestions. Your kindly hand on their shoulder, supportive hug, and patient listening are often the greatest gifts you can offer.”
Dr. Ritchie Davidson, Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and the Founder and Director of the Center for Healthy Minds, says.... “Kindness is contagious. Acts of kindness produces the Love Hormone Oxytocin which aids in lowering blood pressure, increases self-esteem and optimism.” Studies show practices like prayer or meditation, which evokes feelings of love and kindness, have a calming effect on the body reducing stress hormones and pain.
Spanish researchers say, “ Praying for others or simply sending love and well wishes can help take your mind off of your own worries and can lower your stress by 63%.” Dr. Koenig is Director of the Center for Spirituality, Theology and Health at Duke University Medical Center, and has published extensively in the fields of mental health, geriatrics, and religion, with more than 500 scientific peer-reviewed publications, nearly 100 book chapters, and over 50 books in print says, “Prayer reduces stress hormone in minutes and can be incredibly healing even if you are not religious.” Thinking about someone or praying for them can improve your day.
Daniel Gregory Amen (born 1954) is an American celebrity doctor who practices as a psychiatrist and brain disorder specialist as director of the Amen Clinics. A five-times New York Times best-selling author as of 2012 says, “ Daily prayer or meditation keeps your brain healthy and improves memory. In fact studies show regular prayer improves memory and focus by 45%.”
The word of God tells us we are to pray for one another and even pray for our enemies. It is so comforting to know that people care enough to pray for one another. There is power in prayer!•
Helping Others Will Help Yourself
We flew to Rome, Italy, on October 12th to start our wonderful vacation by revisiting some of the amazing sights starting with the Pantheon, Spanish Steps, Coliseum, Trevi Fountain and the Vatican!While in the vicinity we dined at Al Fresco, our favorite outside restaurant in the Piazza Nervona. We started with classic Pizza Margarita followed by traditional spaghetti while we were serenaded by musicians in the Piazza. The next morning we took the train to the port in Civitavecchia to start our exiting 16 day transatlantic cruise. We chose this cruise because it had 9 different ports of call, and the ship had only 6 sea days that were broken up by our various stops. There are usually 7 straight sea days on these crossings.
One of the greatest things about these long cruises, you meet so many interesting people from all over the world. Since Texas is a country of it's own, we felt proud to say we were from the big “D,” Dallas, Texas. On our the first day of our cruise we were fortunate to meet the “perfect couple” of 37 years, Russ and Helena who were from Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. This couple were so charming and delightful, we spent a lot of time with them, Helena is a proud Native American of the Creek Nation. We learned so much about their customs, rituals and language. Helena is a beautiful woman not only on the outside, but her “inner beauty”radiated. When they found out Richard had performed as a Singer/ Impressionist Headline Entertainer on many cruise ships, they immediately wanted to recommend him to the Creek Nation Entertainment Committee for their annual Valentine Party, which is held at their Casino in Oklahoma. Of course, I had to brag on my fabulous husband, (his greatest admirer) and told them to go to RichardBarryProductions.com and they could see how talented he is.
While blessed with fantastic weather for our entire trip,we enjoyed eating outside during the day on Deck 12 . We were greeted each day as we entered the dining area by a Filipino crew member playing his guitar and singing along with the happy “washi washi greeter ” spraying our hands as we entered to insure our health and safety. They were precious and so much fun!
Our lst port of call was in Livorno, Italy. From there, we took a train to Luca, a Medieval Walled City dating back to the 3rd century BC, which became a Roman colony in 180 BC . On our way back to Livorno we stopped in Pisa to revisit the “Leaning Tower of Pisa” to make sure it hadn't fallen over. (lol) To climb to the top is 297 steps and takes about 30 minutes. (We did that in our in our younger days! ) Our next stop was in Cannes, France, where we strolled along the sea on the Boulevard de la Croisette to see the famed Palais des Festivals, and of course, stop for a Cafe Aulait. Most of you probably know it as the place for the Cannes Film Festival. Our next port of call was Barcelona, Spain. We always admire the breath taking architecture and needless to say, Gaudi's famous unfinished Cathedral, la Segrada Familia, which went under construction in 1882, and is still under construction today. We also witnessed the hundreds of people protesting against their government. You may have seen it on the world news. At this point we had a chance to catch our breath with a relaxing sea day. We sailed through the straights of Gibraltar, which is a narrow strait that connects the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea and separates Gibraltar and Spain in Europe from Morocco in Africa. Later we arrived in the south of Spain at Cadiz. This is one of the oldest continuously occupied cities in Europe dating back 3100 years. I must say, shopping was fantastic with great selections at fabulous prices. From here, we cruised up the coast to where we arrived in Lisbon, Portugal. The streets were filled with excitement as they were having their annual 42k Marathon Run which is held every October. We had another relaxing sea day and a 900 mile journey to the Azores, where we visited Ponta Delgada. This island is noted for hot springs, botanical gardens and crater lakes. We were pretty well worn out by this time and welcomed three restfull days at sea as we continued across the Atlantic to Bermuda. We had an overnight at the Royal Naval Dockyard on this beautiful island surrounded by crystal clear waters. It is a haven for divers and snorkelers alike. From Bermuda we headed for our first stop back in the USA, Port Canaveral. Many passengers were interested in visiting the Kennedy Space Center, while others were off to see Universal Studios and Disney World. After 16 days on the ship, we arrived at our final destination, Miami, Florida. We got up early and sat on the open deck drinking our coffee as we watched the beautiful sunrise on the Miami Skyline.
We can now add Bermuda and Ponta Delgada to our list of places we have visited. This now brings us to 138 countries and all 7 continents. Richard and I feel so blessed to be travel consultants for Celebration Senior Travel and continue our adventures with so many of the wonderful travelers we meet over the years through Celebration. I encourage all my readers to check out our upcoming trips in 2020, and see which ones you want to put on your bucket list. As George Burns once said, “You can't help getting older, but you don't have to grow old!” You are never too old to set a new goal or dream a new dream. As seniors, we want to keep on keeping on until we can't keep on any more!
As an added note.... I'd like to add a funny story of a day at sea I am sure will make our fearless leader, Debra Saxon, laugh. I am not a t-shirt person ,but I thought it would be nice to wear my Celebration Senior Travel T-shirt. Lo and behold..... I forgot there was writing on the back that said, “If you want to win a free cruise, follow me to booth 363”. (This is just one more example of husbands not being very observant of what their wives are wearing.) I had people coming up to me, “ Where is the booth to sign up for a free cruise?”(lol) After a little confusion on my part and a good laugh, I explained it was the 2019 Travel Show in Dallas Texas. This was a great way to get a plug in for people to read our fabulous Celebration Magazine on line from wherever they live!•
December 2019/January 2020
Our Exciting Sixteen Day Transatlantic Cruise
People will come into our life for a reason and for a season. Some will leave footprints on our hearts and some will break it. Life can be tough at times, but we know in reading God's word...”There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens....a time to weep, a time to laugh, a time to mourn, and a time to dance.”
Life is a journey full of challenges and losses and no one is exempt. All of a sudden our body doesn't work perfectly, the weather doesn't work perfectly, the economy doesn't financially work perfectly and no relationship works perfectly. As we go through life, understanding some truths that will give each of us better perspectives as we face our trials, tribulations and losses in our lives and rise above them.
We all have experienced some kind of grief over our disappointments, losses, and our failing health as we age. Tragedy always produces strong emotions. I feel grief is essential for our health. It is a painful emotion, but it can also be a healthy and helpful tool in coping with our own individual situations.
As I was reading an article about grief in a book it stated ... if a person doesn't grieve over some things that have happened to them in their lives, such as, hurts, disappointments or a loss in their family, it may mean they are out of touch with reality, or they are out of touch with their own emotions.
“When I kept things to myself, I felt weak deep inside of me. I moaned all day long.”Psalms 32:3
Unfortunately, some people never deal with grief in their lives and have a tendency to stuff it or push it down deep inside which causes them to struggle with emotional stress. Grief is a normal response and is a tool that helps us get through the transitions of our lives. “God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” Matthew 5:8
A great quote on the Power of Attitude. “Our lives are not determined by what happens to us, but by how we react to what happens; not by what life brings to us, but by the attitude we bring to life. A positive attitude cause a chain reaction of positive thoughts, events and outcomes. It is a catalyst, a spark that creates extraordinary results!” - Anonymous
We all go through seasons of life. When I personally get down with what I call “situational depression,” I don't stay down long because I get back up stronger than ever! I refuse to let my negative attitude override my positive attitude. There is a lesson to be learned in every challenge we face. I start counting my blessings to overcome my negative thoughts because I know things could be worse.
Alonzo Mourning, a professional basketball player. was faced with a traumatic challenge. At the height of his professional career, he was diagnosed with a kidney disease and underwent a kidney transplant. “Tough times don't last, but tough people do. I've been through some tough times and I know a lot of people can recall tough times, and may be are going through some tough times now, but they don't last.” Alonzo Mourning
We all face challenges in our lives. One choice can make us slaves to our circumstances, while the other choice empowers and motivates us to appreciate life more. It will give us a better understanding what it means to persevere, to overcome and to have faith. We must embrace our adversities as our teachers and refuse to never give up. Quote from God's word,“Let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap if we do not give up.”
There Is A Time And Season For Everything
Change is great when you are younger and it is adventurous. For some of us seniors, sometimes change is hard and we become resistant to it. We are creatures of habit and routine becomes automatic. We become set in our ways and are comfortable living our life styles. ”Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don't resist them that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow natural forward in whatever way they like.” LaoTzu
I grew up in the 50's known as “Happy Days!” Unfortunately, I compare living 50 years ago to today, because life was so different. How many times as seniors do we start our conversations with...”back in our days?” My how things have changed. I know each generation faces changes. In my era there are significant changes as we move out the World War11 generation into the 21st Century.
Modern technology is changing our society and our everyday lives. We didn't have microwaves and only black and white television, no computers or cell phones. 50 years ago most everyone only had a home phone. Most people today do not have home phones because 77% of people now have smart phones and they don't feel the need to have a land line. If we needed to get in touch with someone we just picked up the telephone and called them. People interact with each other completely different today. Talking on the telephone has been replaced by texting or sending an email. 78% of American people have a laptop or a desktop at home according to the Census Data.
It is amazing how many people work from their homes now, in lieu of going to a physical location. Paper books are now being replaced with digital versions. So many people order on line, and retail stores are now being replaced by the internet.
Back when I growing up …....the authority figures were Dad and your teachers, not government services. There was no talking back to authority figures, that just wasn't done. We had a different set of social rules. Respect was demanded from our parents. There were no birth control pills and no sex before marriage. Neighbors watched out for each other and if you broke a rule, your neighbor would inform your parents and you would get a spanking on your bottom. We had to be polite to everyone. There were no supermarkets only grocery stores. Grocery shopping was done maybe a few times a month. My mother planned all of our meals and even had plans for leftovers. So many people now order their groceries and food on line and have them delivered. We didn't have fast food restaurants therefore we only ate out at restaurants on special occasions. It was a real privilege to eat out and children were on their best behavior. I remember going to the movies for 25cents. Writing thank you notes or letters and sending them by “snail mail” is now antiquated and not the norm. These are just a few things that came to my mind as I was reminiscing.
Sometimes when I get overwhelmed with all the modern technology and changes I stop and recite the Serenity Prayer, “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.”
Moving forward …..I know in order to embrace changes we must “roll with the punches” and embrace changes with a “positive attitude.” This is one of our greatest assets to help us enjoy the world around us, living one day at a time, enjoying each moment,. There is good in everyday life …..so find it!
Moving Forward While Embracing Change
Repeatedly my articles reflect...“We are what we think!” We are fearfully and wonderfully made and the Bible says, “As a man thinketh in his heart so is he!”
Each of us has amazing power within us. We are powerful human beings and this power lies within our subconscious minds. This is why it is so important to fill our minds daily with positive affirmations, not only for ourselves, but for others. We never know how many people our positive attitudes will touch. Attitude is such a little thing that can make a big difference. “People are like sticks of dynamite; the power is on the inside and nothing happens until the fuse is lit.” Mac Anderson
We have all made mistakes in our lives, also called wrong choices This is why they are called lessons learned. We have hurt many people and many people have hurt us. We must learn to release our negative thoughts and hurts of the past and create new and happy thoughts which lead to positive outcomes.
Each day is a gift from God, and as long as we wake up with our eyes open, we must focus on a new day with stored happy memories. Old age is like a bank account and we withdraw what we put into it. Let's deposit lots of happiness.
Align yourself with positive people who encourage you,who inspire you, those who only bring out the best in you. “Love one another and help others to rise to the highest levels simply by pouring out love.” Sai Baba Do not spend your time with negative people because you could possibly become like them. You will find yourself picking up their habits, behaviors, energy and their attitudes. You need to be with people who can contribute to your growth and not your death and you will be happier.
Here a few things that come to my mind we must do to become a happier person and not dwell on our past. We must learn to forgive and forget, apologize, admit our mistakes and take responsibility for then, maintain high standards and make the best of things, showing respect to others and loving them unconditionally. I know this is a tall order, but we must try daily to slip in as many of these secrets of happiness as possible.
We all have choices how we are going to spend our days. When we wake up each morning we can spend the day in bed recounting the difficulties we have with the parts of our bodies that no longer work...or get out of bed and be thankful for the ones that do! I likened our body to a car...evidently our parts wear out.
The thoughts we have consume our lives. I love the wonderful quote by Maya Angelou, “If you don't like something change it. If you can't change it, then change your attitude.” I would like to close with a live wall art plaque I saw hanging on a store wall capturing the joy of savoring things that can make us happier.
LIVE – Like heaven on earth, LOVE- Like you have never been hurt, LAUGH- Like no one is listening, SING – As if no one can hear, DANCE – As if no one is watching, GIVE- Like you have plenty, SMILE -Until your face hurts, CHERISH – Your family and friends everyday!
A thought–provoking quote from CS Lewis, “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” Live life to its fullest and embrace each day with thoughts of gratefulness and positive affirmations. Live simply, give more and expect less. May God bless each of my readers and keep you healthy.
Create Power Within You
“Today is your day to paint life in bold colors, set today's rhythm with your heart-drum, walk today's march with courage, celebrate today as your celebration of life.” Jonathan Huie
We need to make the most of each day. Some people are so preoccupied with their past or so focused on their future, they miss the joys of today. “This is the day that God has made let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalms 118:24 I am most grateful I still have a choice to fill my mind with “positive affirmations” regardless of my circumstances. I try and make the best of my situation. Confucius says......”Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but is rising every time we fall.” Life is full of challenges and overcoming them makes life more meaningful. There are many ways to make our lives more meaningful and live each day to the fullest. Let me share a few with you.
If you are feeling depressed or out of sorts, try and forget yourself and concentrate on what you can do to bring joy to someone else. There is always someone who has more problems and in much worse distress. Sometimes we have a tendency to think our problems, our concerns,and our needs are the most important. When we focus on others,we become less self-centered and more self-less. Mother Teresa says....”Unless life is lived for others. It is not worthwhile.” When you give of yourself you are truly giving. Taking time and showing love to someone else is a special commodity. I once heard if people are all wrapped up in themselves, they are over dressed.
Call someone you haven't seen or talked to in a long time. They may need someone to just listen to share their problems and a phone call shows you really care. You will never know what a simple call might mean to someone who just needs someone to listen with empathy and without interruption. This is why God gave us two ears to listen and talk less. Listen to their fears and feelings, and give them words of encouragement.
Shower family and friends with LOVE. Let them know you really care about them. We get so busy we sometimes neglect telling them just how much they mean to us. The lyrics of the song, “Have I Told You Lately That I Love You”are so meaningful and touching. People never outgrow the need to be loved whether they are young or old.
Find someone who needs a SMILE and give them one of yours. I love the song...”When You Are Smiling The Whole World Smiles With You.” Smiling is an universal expression. Sometimes when we smile at a stranger it is worth a million dollars. Smile at each other, smile at your spouse, smile at your children, and smile at your friends. It doesn't matter who it is because...... a smile will help you grow in greater love for one another.
Smiling not only brightens your day, but brighten those around you. Research shows it not only makes you feel good, but it makes others feel good too. It gives you energy, makes you look younger and not so grumpy. Smiling will give you power if you are down, and it will lift you up. Practice SMILING for no other reason than,,,,,,YOU CAN!!!!!