menopausebarbees
... the tales of two sisters

Dana lives in Seattle, and Tracie lives in Germany. We are businesswomen, writers and humorists. We write about life, dating, and today's modern women.

Dim the Lights

And once again, the menopausebarbees dim the lights in honor and remembrance of the three hundred and fifty-nine innocent victims who had their lives snuffed out in the incomprehensible terror attack on humanity in Sri Lanka.

What will it take for us to see the light?

Something for Your Easter Monday Toolbox

Tears from the Seine to the Mississippi

This was smoke of another kind. 

I couldn’t help but to be drawn to the tongue of smoke rising to the heavens. The closer I got, the more I smelled the scent of beeswax. I’d never seen anything like this before. I am spiritual in nature and love all things ancient and therefore I was mesmerized. This was after all the Notre Dame Cathedral–an icon of Catholicism,  one of the most iconic structures in the world. It is the most famous of the Gothic cathedrals of the Middle Ages.

The smoke was arising from a three legged incense burner, set close to the altar. Incense burning symbolizes the prayers of the Catholic faithful rising up to Heaven. 

This is Holy Week and normally tomorrow, Good Friday, the Notre Dame would display some of its ancient and priceless relics to the public. Unfortunately the massive fire that engulfed this sacred site on Monday destroyed many of them. 

Horrifying. Thankfully some treasures have been saved.

A bit closer to home for the Menopausebarbees friends stateside, fires destroyed three churches in Louisiana’s St. Landry’s  Parish over 10 days during the end of last month. These were St. Mary’s, the Greater Union Baptist Church and Mount Pleasant. These were historical Black churches–all over 100 years old. Parishioners baptised, married, and buried their loved ones in these houses of faith. Now all is gone including handwritten sermons and bibles and documents. Treasures saved only in hearts and minds.

 Horrifying. Decades of history gone forever.

Well, despite the tears across the Seine to the Mississippi, and amidst the charred remains of these houses of worship, there lies hope. 

According to the French presidential cultural heritage envoy Stephane Bern, donations to rebuild the Notre Dame Cathedral have also skyrocketed. Nearly $1 billion had been pledged as of Wednesday.

And since then, over $1.8 has been raised to rebuild the sanctuaries in Louisiana. 

https://www.gofundme.com/f/church-fires-st-landry-parishmacedonia-ministry?member=&utm_medium=email&utm_source=customer&utm_campaign=p_email%2Binvitesupporters

I always try to find the good in something bad. In this case, it would be that we as a human race have the desire to move forward in the face of destruction; that basic values like dependability, justice and generosity and the commitment to the good lie at our core; that we want to help each other, that our faith will not be shaken.

And that not all has gone up in smoke…

BREAKING NEWS!

I must say that I am still reeling from the news yesterday that I have been invited to speak at the 2019 World Pediatric Cardiology and Cardiothoracic Surgery Congress this coming September 9 and 10 in Dubai.

I am more than humbled and honored. I intend to present a speech/lecture/interactive story telling event entitled : A Parent’s Perspective: Incompatible with Nature-A Mother’s Story. 

For those of you familiar with my story, (Amazon location English version: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1537201298 and German version: https://www.amazon.de/gp/aw/d/3775158057) you will surely cheer for my opportunity to influence esteemed doctors and caretakers to be conscientious, competent and compassionate for their patients. And to above all else leave their egos outside the hospital doors–you’ll get the full meaning of what I am referring to in the Chapter of my book entitled Shame on You.

Should there be any parents, patients or anyone affected by any health issue present,  I will stress, stress, stress that we not only have the right, we must be proactive in our healthcare–under no uncertain terms may we leave anything to chance especially when we are dealing with white knuckle medical situations.

And 

I will tell them as Daddy always told me: “There ain’t no givin’ up and no givin’ out,” and I will feel his presence urging me on as I spread his message in a land he’d never been. 

And 

I will tell them as Mama always told me: “Have faith,” and I will feel her presence and call her afterwards.

And 

I will tell them as I always told my son: “Believe in miracles! Only a Force greater than we counts the stars!

You know, sometimes in life we find our purpose through our pain. Telling my story is mine. Though my son and I suffered, truly suffered–his condition is found in 1 out of 100,000 people–we survived. My son is alive and well and for this I will be something more than eternally grateful.

What I know to be true is that it is my responsibility to pay it forward.  If I can help to save the life of one person–just one–then I will be truly blessed. 

Wish me luck.

Phenomenal Women

Yesterday, they were babies… Wearing braces, making funny faces.

Three besties, I have watched morph from childhood to womanhood.

Grace, who grew tired of me begging for her to sing and play the piano on sleepovers. Blessed and talented, Grace is a gifted performer. No matter what she majors in, I still plan on being her agent one day!

Helen, an accomplished basket-ball player. She made the varsity team at Prep as we cheered her on from the stands. Only Helen could bare the confidence to trade in her heels for her beloved crocs on Prom (she rarely leaves home without them) and still rock it! I see an advertisement for Crocs right here!

Taryn, finding her lane on the swim team, she made it to State with her relay and earned the inaugural award, Pride of Prep. Taryn, my baby whose compassion for others is limitless is also the pride of this family.

Today, the Menopausebarbees salutes the next generation of Phenomenal Women. Look out world!

Maya Angelou said it best….

By Maya Angelou Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size   
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms,
The span of my hips,   
The stride of my step,   
The curl of my lips.   
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,   
That’s me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,   
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.   
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.   
I say,
It’s the fire in my eyes,   
And the flash of my teeth,   
The swing in my waist,   
And the joy in my feet.   
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.

Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Men themselves have wondered   
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them,   
They say they still can’t see.   
I say,
It’s in the arch of my back,   
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.   
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.   
When you see me passing,
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It’s in the click of my heels,   
The bend of my hair,   
the palm of my hand,   
The need for my care.   
’Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Something for Your Toolbox

National Sibling Day

Although today we celebrate National Sibling Day, as these reflections and photos will show; no matter the season, there’s always a reason to celebrate your siblings. They are a part of your history and there is no mystery that LOVE always wins! Today, and everyday, I celebrate my sister, co-blogger, author and best friend, Tracie. Through the laughter and tears and all through the years, The Delaney Sisters we will be! xoxo

Talk to Me

There is probably nothing more ancient in the world than language. Communication is an art and expressed in many different ways. When I met my ex-husband, a lot of our communication at the onset of our love affair was with hand and feet because I didn’t understand his mother tongue, German, and his English was broken at best. 

When you think about this phenomenon of communication, we must take into consideration that feelings can be expressed without words; take for example certain emotions like compassion, love or fear. You don’t need words to communicate these feelings. And the same idea can be applied to art and how the artist expresses himself without words. 

The sculpture from Russian-Ukrainian artist, Aljosha, spoke to a throng of admirers last week in Saint Peter’s Church in Cologne. Built in the year 1513, St. Peter’s also happens to be where the flemish artist Rubens was baptised. 

For this exhibition, the stained glass windows in the church are covered, blocking out their narrative and brilliance enhancing Aljoshas’s idea of the solemness of penitence. The massive sculpture itself, (made of acrylic fibers), a black eerie cloud, represents the 40 days of observance and preparation for the celebration of Jesus’ death hovers from the church ceiling. On Easter Sunday, this artwork will be replaced with another same in shape and form, but in a radiant blue transparent color and the sunlight from the uncovered stained glass windows will enrich its gloriousness. 

Before this particular vernissage was over, guests were invited to a room where wine and bread was served, clearly representing The Last Supper. Just brilliant! 

Visual communication doesn’t just happen in church or in an art gallery. Be observant of all the things that speak to you today. Be curious and open-minded. Block out the noise.

What are you hearing

With the artist
Room with a view

Purple Reigns

The hit songs are too numerous to count. When Doves Cry… Little Red Corvette…I Wanna Be Your Lover…The Most Beautiful Girl in the World…Delirious…Purple Rain… Darling Nikki…Diamond & Pearls…Kiss..Let’s Go Crazy…U Got the Look…I Would Die for You…

These hits have sold over 100 million records world wide. These hits are a part of my coming of age, and they bring fond memories of a pop icon which made me believe eccentricity was indeed a cool thing.

Prince through his style, often suggestive lyrics, unimaginable creativity, and pure brilliance all come alive again at MoPop https://www.mopop.org/

As a proud member of the MoPop Board, I was thrilled to be a part of a team hosting an exhibition about this legendary funk/R&B/multi-instrumentalist/producer.

We have almost 50 artifacts (instruments, photographs, artwork, clothes and of course the music)

So get in your Lil’ Red Corvette and head to MoPop! You may come away Delirious- Prince has that effect!

The King of Cool

When I heard that the 44th President of the US was coming to town to speak at the GEDANKENTANKEN World leadership Summit in Cologne,  I scrambled to get a ticket. There was absolutely no way I was going to miss out on not breathing the same air and experiencing  the extreme oratory charisma and intelligence of Barack Obama. And I wasn’t the only one with this sentiment: 14,000 people filled the Lanxess Arena to witness this once in a lifetime experience. I sat next to a beautiful twenty-five year old Peruvian German nurse who came from the Salzburg Austrian Alps who sold her car to experience this. 

I have always been enamored with his grace, eloquence, intelligence and his ability to say what he wants to say in the highest form. The day I viewed him singing Amazing Grace at the funeral of a pastor killed in a Charleston shooting, deepened my admiration for this man. Go to Youtube, open your hearts and minds to the magnitude of the moment and get a spiritual chill. 

Obama’s sister Rita Auma Obama (educated in Germany), an activist and the Executive Chairperson, of Sauti Kuu Foundation, a non-profit that helps orphans and other young people struggling with poverty in Kenya introduced him in German. 

And suddenly there he was, gliding onto the stage into the spotlight where he belongs. The audience roared! A rock star was in the house! He and the interviewer took a seat at a small table center stage and with that the one hour of questions and answers began. 

Here are some highlights: 

President Obama said that one of the greatest things about leaving the presidency was that he and Michelle could live their lives without having so many people around. That they now have the time to rediscover each other. More time to spend with their girls and just read a book. 

One of the first things he did when he left office was to learn to make the coffee machine work. Tasted terrible. Laughter. He fights with wife and youngest daughter for closet space. Laughter.

Six months before leaving office, he began to consider what he would do with the rest of his life. He was after all, one of the youngest elected presidents and would be one of the youngest retiring presidents. He wanted to be productive and so he asked himself what he deeply cared about. Amongst those things are climate change and growing inequality in our societies. “…significant change is a group effort,” he said.  Applause. Indeed, The Obama Foundation wants to support young leaders all across the globe in their efforts to make change for a better world. 

He drew applause when he said that one of the most important things he has learned to do is to listen. “That is the first requirement of being a great leader: hearing and feeling what people care about.”

How does a good leader manage to keep ego out of the process? 

“The vanity that comes along with seeing your name in lights and the applause doesn’t last very long. What will keep you going as an effective leader is the work. My advice to young people going into politics or leading an NGO or any leadership situation is to focus on what you want to do, not what you want to be. People say that they want to be president, prime minister or chancellor but when they get there they don’t know what to do with it because the goal is to be somebody. If  we focus on what we want to get done, we can always make a difference–holding a specific office or position is not a requirement for this.” Applause. 

You’ve got to have people around you who share your values and your vision and then build a culture that ensures people are there for the right reasons, that they treat people with respect, that their job is for them because of service, not greed; that they are less interested in taking credit rather than for getting the job done and know how to work as a team.” 

 After eight years of office, he said, “We never had a scandal, no one went to jail… Applause. We were able to hold ourselves to a certain standard of integrity.”Applause.

We learn to make decisions based on probabilities: analyze every option, figure out what exactly is the nature of this problem, get as many perspectives as possible. Have as many women around the table as possible.” Applause.  “Studies have consistently shown that organizations that have boards of directors with significant numbers of women, performed better than organizations without.” Applause.  

Regarding his decision making? “…my goal, he said was to make sure I had all the facts.” Applause.  “And all the data.”. 

One of his long term goals is to create education programs for young people, give them a sense of hope and purpose so that organizations like Al Quaida can’t recruit young vulnerable people. Applause.  “To be moral in this world we have to be willing to dig our hands into the very messy realities of life which means that your decisions are not going to be perfect, you certainly won’t be perfect, but you do the best you can based on hopefully the best information you have to work with.” Applause. 

 “I am a big believer in enlightening values like facts, and reason and logic.” APPLAUSE!!  “We need a consensus around basic facts. A democracy by definition has to operate with differences of opinion, but it can’t have differences of basic facts.” Applause. “If I say this is a table, you can’t say this is an elephant. If we agree that this is a table, we can say I don’t like that table or we should set it there, or it should be higher or lower, then we can have a dialogue. But if you say this is a tree…then I won’t know what to say.” Laughter. Applause. “Then we’ll end up having a fight that cannot be resolved because we are addressing two different realities… This is what happens in our current information age: people just look for the facts that reinforce their opinions rather than shaping their opinions around the facts. “APPLAUSE!!

Before the hour was over, he spoke of the former First lady, Michelle, as a picture was shown of her flexing her biceps. Michelle, he said is “ unique, smart, strong, (Applause) and beautiful.” What they both share is that they were both born into fairly modest circumstances. Their success was not preordained. They were lucky enough to have good solid values from their parents who taught them that they were smart and there was nothing they couldn’t do but they had to work for it and not expect that the world would give them what they wanted served up on a silver platter. They have lived, like most of us, an ordinary life and know the everyday struggles of trying to pay the bills and looking for affordable childcare. 

And speaking about childcare, the former president said that we need to instill confidence in our girls. They should be assertive and have high expectations for themselves. He also thinks that we should also be teaching our boys a lot more.  We need to break the mindset that they are in charge simply because of their maleness. Applause.

And before the hour was up he said “ We need to be conscious of creating environments where everyone feels valued. . .with that things will greatly be improved. And even though we may think we’re all doing the right thing, there is always more that we can do.”

And suddenly, there he was, The King of Cool– I mean the former president– waving to the audience and gliding off the stage…

Wow!