Category Archives: Lifestyle

109-year-old independent woman speaks of what she knows for sure

Working in the fields plowing and chopping cotton was one of Mrs. Emma Primas favorite things to do as a youngster on her family farm back in Cold Springs, TX.  The 109-year old now is one of Houston’s oldest and most vibrant resident. “I did everything on the farm until I was about 10-years-old.  We didn’t start school until we were around that age because we had to work in the fields.  I loved to plow.  I had an old mule name Julie. We would plow and plant together.  Old Julie loved that.  But when it came to 12 o’clock, old Julie wasn’t going another step.  That mule could tell time by looking up at the sun.  And she would call out ‘wonk, wonk wonk’, to let me know it was time to stop.  You could whip those legs all you wanted.  Old Julie wasn’t going another step,” said Primas.

The 109-year-old Mrs. Emma Primas is joined by her granddaughter, Denise Mickey at their home.
The 109-year-old Mrs. Emma Primas is joined by her granddaughter, Denise Mickey at their home.

 

                Farm life for Primas was one that taught her about balance in life — hard work, money management and enjoyment.  After a working through the day and helping to care of family business, Primas would go to the farm lake to relax and fish.  “We had a mill on our property for grinding whole corn.  We also raised sugar cane. Everybody had their own and would help each other.  We were a community” Primas said.

                The Japanese would come by and go to all of the neighbors and collect sugarcane and process it.   Each neighbor would have it grind up and cooked.   They would also grind it into sorghum.  It’s something like molasses, not as sweet though.  I really liked it, “she said.               

                As a community, Primas detailed how children were brought up during her childhood era.  She said that people in the country helped raised each other’s children.  If the children were not behaving that the neighbor would “get after them” and that the discipline didn’t stop there.  “Neighbors didn’t mind whipping other neighbors’ kids. And then they would tell the parents and the parents would sometimes whip them again.  Not today, if you touch somebody’s kids, you better have a 45 (caliber) and some money,” she said.

                                                                                Finding Jesus 

                Born in 1905, Primas grew up in Cold Springs in east Texas rural area off Texas Highway 156 about 63 miles north of Houston in San Jacinto County.  She had an extraordinarily awakening at age of 10.  Primas told the story of her very first encounter with the Spirit of God and the Mona Bench.  It is a backless long bench made original of stone.  But at Primas’ childhood place of worship it was made of wood.   It puts you in the mind of a long wooden backless church pew. 

             “We had to go before what you call a “Mona Bench.” [mourning bench, the place to prepare for spiritual conversion and baptism] during revival meetings.  There certain people would pray for us; then touch us in the back.  We would run all over the place.  One night we all got happy.  We found Jesus.  Then, the old people told us that we hadn’t found Jesus.  So they made us go back to the ‘Mona Bench’ again,” Primas said.

                “And when we got back there, we couldn’t stay there.  We were so happy.  And we had what you called the Holy Ghost.  We were saved,” said Primas.  This perfect state of euphoric Primas said had her feeling light as a feather. And that it was like she wanted to fly all the time.  As though she could take up wings and fly.  She said it was like a feeling she had never felt before.  “Lord, I prayed so hard.  They told us how to pray and what I felt, I knew it could have only been the Lord.  And it wasn’t man that had me like that.  The ‘Mona Bench’ was there to save our souls,” she said.

The Houston Sun's Sheila Ray-Reed shares a special moment with Mrs. Emma Primas.
The Houston Sun’s Sheila Ray-Reed shares a special moment with Mrs. Emma Primas.

                                                                                School and Work

                                As a teenager, Primas enjoyed going to school and working.  After school, she would go to white people homes and wash dishes where she got paid $2.00 to $3.00 for a day’s work.   “And baby, we were rich with that money.   That was big money.  You could buy 10 sticks of candy for a nickel.  Oh baby, we got a dollar and we thought we were ‘nigger rich’ because we could buy anything we wanted.  And we enjoyed it so much,” Primas said.  Her favorite subjects in school were reading, arithmetic and geography, and while reminiscing and smiling, she said, “I really liked reading geography,”                                                     

Working Woman

                After she moved to Houston, she married and had one daughter.  She enjoyed Houston but heard that jobs and opportunities were plentiful in California.  She and her family packed-up and moved.  “I got word that things were real good in San Francisco.  I got me a job working at The Sir Francis Drake Hotel where I was a salad girl.  Every other week, I made $40.00.  I told my in-laws that I wanted to do something I never done before.  I wanted to drive a street car.  So I got a job operating a street car until I got tired and wanted to quick,” Primas said.

                 Primas didn’t quick and continued to work for an additional year based on a promise from management for better jobs.  “We were told if we kept working and give the soldiers a rest; since the war (WWI) was over, that we would get promotions.  They didn’t do what they said.  So after that year, I found me some other work,” Primas said.

                Finding new employment in northern California was no problem for Primas.  She landed a position as a dietician assistant for a school and within months found herself over cafeteria menus for five schools.   “I made $15.00 dollars a day for each of those schools.   I saved my money, and when I came back to Houston, I was loaded,” she said.

                                                                                Taking Care of Business

                Primas has always been a money manager and kept her eyes on the money even when she was married.     “I saved money, paid bills and didn’t allow my husband to pay the bills.  You have to stay on top of things.  I had one husband who bought a lady a pair of shoes”, she said.

                “I notice that five dollars was missing from the household.  So I went down and wanted to see my husband’s check that had been cashed.  They showed it to me.  I told him about it.  He told me ‘I didn’t work for that check’.  That it was his check.   I then told him that he was my husband and that’s my check too and that he didn’t pay the bills: that I did,” said Primas.

                She further explained that’s why men want to pay all of the bills, so they can have full control. “I was strict and I could be, and if they didn’t like it, they could keep going.   I wasn’t like a lot of women waiting on a man to give me a few nickels.  I worked.  And I knew how to do a whole lot of work.  Work that some people with lots of education couldn’t take care of,” Primas said.

                                                                                Miracle  

                Sickness has only come Primas way when she was 92-years-old and she almost didn’t make it.  She was celebrating her birthday at a local restaurant the day before she fell ill.  She was laughing and talking with family and she started coughing up some dairy food she had consumed.  The following day after church, she came home and had a big bowl of ice cream.

                About 30 minutes later she started experiencing terrible stomach pains.  She said the pains were  just about to cut her into two.  At first, she didn’t want to go to the hospital but family and the severe pain had changed her mind.  At the hospital blood was taken numerous times and it was determined she had ptomaine poison. (Ptomaine poison is colloquially referred to as food poisoning; any illness resulting from the consumption of contaminated food, pathogenic bacteria, viruses, or parasites).  

                During Primas’ illness she said, “There were two white doctors seeing about me; a young one and an old one.  The young doctor told me that I needed surgery to remove part of my intestines.   The old doctor was trying to talk over him and said it was little to be done for someone my age.  My daughter told him that was not a nice thing to say.  The old white doctor didn’t open his mouth after that,” Primas said.

                The young doctor continued with Primas’ assessment.  He then reached into his medical jacket and pulled out a Bible. “The little young doctor began reading some scriptures, and wanted to know if it was okay if we prayed.  These are the words the young doctor prayed: Father there is nothing I can do.  But through you I can do all things.  He then ordered a bed so that my daughter could stay overnight with me and told me he would operate on me in the morning.  He took the bad part of my intestines out and sewed everything else back together.”  

                Primas’ granddaughter, Denise Mickey who she now lives with her has been working in the medical field for over 25 years said what that doctor did for her grandmother is unheard of in the medical field.  “Doctors normally don’t do what this one did for my grandmother.  He had a Bible, asked to pray and acknowledged that God was working through him.  And that God has all of the power. Now that’s what you call amazing,” Mickey said.

                On Primas’ last post-operative check-up, the young doctor had her daughter to take her down to the old doctor to see how well she had recovered.  “That old doctor was amazed to see how well I was living and looked.  And he’s the one that told them I was too old for an operation.  If I had been his patient, he would have not touched me.  He would have sent me somewhere to die,” she said.

 Dr. Michael Radcliff of Northwest Memorial Hospital is the young doctor who used the Word of God to save Primas still keeps in contact with her today.  He has attended her 100 Birthday Celebration as well as her 101 and 105 Birthday Celebrations.  “Anytime I am having something special and we invite him and he comes,” said Primas.  “I put my trust in God. Nobody can do these things but Him. Certain things that have been in my path, I know that have only come from Him.  My trust and faith are in Him,” Primas said.

                                                                                 Politics

                Voting has always been important to Primas. She said back in the day only white men could vote and the white women were mad because they wanted to vote too but couldn’t.  “They didn’t let the white women vote at first with them because they thought women were unpredictable.  Soon as blacks were allowed to vote, I voted in California.  You just had to be 18 there and nothing else. So when I knew I was moving back to Houston, I bought my poll taxes so I could vote in Houston,” Primas said.

                On President Obama, she though in her lifetime, she would never see a black man in America become President of the United States.  She said even though they are giving him a hard time he is sticking in there. “People should get out in vote.  It makes a difference.  If it didn’t, they wouldn’t be trying to do everything to stop you from voting.  So it just makes sense to vote.  Just don’t sit there,” she said.

                                                                             Religion

                Primas said many churches today have lost their way.  That ministers and pastors need to instill the Word into their members, but they do not and just focus on the money.   “There are only a few churches now that really help people today.  “Many churches have gone money crazy.  Just greedy!    One wants to out-do the other to see who has the biggest church and the most memberships.  They don’t care what the Word says.  They just want that money while they are here.”

                                                                                Death

                Primas just recently lost her only daughter who died at 88-years-old.  She says some days she can talk about it and some days she cannot.  But she knows the Lord.                        

                                                                                Living

                At 109-years old, Primas still attends civic and community functions. She enjoys watching the Steve Harvey Talk Show and would also like to meet him.  She says she likes his style. “He takes care of himself.  He is a good dresser like me and plus he talks a lot, just a no nonsense man, and I like that.”

 

 

sheilarayreed@houstonsun.com

                               

 

 

 

 

Amy Purdy: Oprah’s The Life You Want Tour

Snowboarding champion and “Dancing With The Stars” finalist, Amy Purdy who lost both of her legs from a bacterial meningitis infection 16-years ago has a lot to be thankful for and she is sharing her story and inspiring others on Oprah’s “The Live the Life You Want” Eight City Tour which kicked-off in Atlanta in the early fall and will end in San Jose in November.  The Houston dates are October 17 -18 at the Toyota Center.  Purdy is representing the tour’s title sponsor, Toyota as the Toyota Athlete and Brand Ambassador.

Toyota Athlete & Brand Ambassador, Amy Purdy snowboarding
Toyota Athlete & Brand Ambassador, Amy Purdy snowboarding

Her story is one of inspiration and courage.  She refused to succumb to a disease that shut down her kidneys, robbed her of her spleen and legs.  Instead she decided to fight back and she triumphed. Within seven months after receiving her prosthetics she was back on the fresh white snow doing what she loves; gracefully descending down mountains and standing tall on her snowboard.

“With a grateful heart anything is possible no matter what the circumstances are.  You have to push off the obstacles to move forward.  I don’t look at myself as a victim or someone who lost their legs. I am thankful for my prosthetics. They have allowed me to travel the world and afforded me many opportunities,” said Purdy.

Purdy was invited by Oprah to share her triumphant story on the “The Live the Life You Want” tour.  In addition, Purdy also joins Oprah on stage to recognize extraordinary people in each of the cities who have made a profound difference in their communities. Purdy the presents the recipient(s) with the Toyota Standing Ovation Award, a $25,000 grant to help the recipient(s) to further fund their causes.

Toyota Standing Ovation, recipient Tawanda  Jones is flanked by Oprah and Amy PUrdy
Toyota Standing Ovation, recipient Tawanda Jones is flanked by Oprah and Amy Purdy

 

“I am so honored to be a part of this.  I was really touched by the Newark, New Jersey Toyota Standing Ovation recipient, Tawanda Jones, founder of the Camden Sophisticated Sisters Drill Team.  This lady has made a huge impact on the lives of the students in her community where only 50% graduate from high school,” said Purdy.

She continued, “Ms. Jones has empowered and inspired these kids to move forward.  The amazing factor is that 100% of the kids that has come through her program have all gradated high school. Right now there are 400 students on the waiting list.  I hope that the $25,000 will help her find a building and expand.”

Purdy doesn’t like to call herself a motivation speaker but a storyteller and sharer of life stories.  She believes in working hard and she sees herself as a perfectionist. I really enjoyed “Dancing With The Stars.”  As an athlete, I was used to training for long periods.  So, I didn’t mind the intense training.  I enjoyed the experience and actually came out as a pretty good dancer. ,” said Purdy.

When speaking to audiences throughout the nation.  No matter if the setting is a college campus or a large corporation; there are always two common questions that people asked Purdy.   One refers to her pivotal moment in overcoming her crisis and the other refers to her tenure on “Dancing With The Stars.”

“I always tell people that you don’t necessarily overcome but you make it through any difficulty with gratitude.  You have to believe and be grateful through situations.  Most people    wait for things to perfect and that is not it.  It is about pushing through an obstacle and moving forward which can open new doors and opportunities,” said Purdy.

Purdy’s story has opened many doors for her and she travels nine months out of the year.  When Purdy is not on the road with her speaking engagements, television appearances and acting, she relaxes at her home in Colorado.

Amy Purdy relaxing and enjoying some me-time.
Amy Purdy relaxing and enjoying some me-time.

And the day I was speaking with her she was at home carving pumpkins before she got back on the road with the Toyota Standing Ovation Award/Oprah’s Live the Life You Want Tour.

 

sheilarayreed@houstonsun.com

Red Turns Heads in New Orleans

The great thing that I love about New Orleans, it is the one city whenever you visit; you know you are going to have a good time and experience some unexpected pleasant surprises. During my visit that is exactly what I experienced a fantastic time with some grand surprises.

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I was told about the Annual 5K Red Dress Run but had no idea of its magnitude. Pictured this, there were at least 5,000 guys and girls decked out in their fancy crimson dresses and running shoes in the early daylight starting out in downtown New Orleans and making their way throughout the assigned running route as they raced toward the narrow historical streets of the French Quarters.

It was a spectacular sight to see all of these people in red gowns, minis, maxis and even tutus running for a worthy cause. Many appeared to be season runners while others like in any other marathon mark their own time as they made their way to the finish line. As for me, I fitted right in as I just happened to have on my red dress although I didn’t donned any running shoes.

Once in the Quarters, the red dress runners did what most people in the Quarters do feast on libations and scrumptious food. It sounds so licentious. And yes it was, all for a good cause with proceeds going to various charities.

One of the loveliest surprises was my hotel, Hotel le Marais, part of the New Orleans Hotel Collection. It’s an upscale hide-a-way in the midst of the Quarters located on Conti Street just around the curve from Bourbon Street. This lavish French Quarter boutique gives no clue of its extravagance from the outside, but wow when you stepped through the front door you are engulfed into an opulent sanctuary.

Hotel le Marais prides itself on casual elegance and that theme is repeated throughout the picturesque property that boasts a fashionable lobby that leads to the lively sophisticated and stylish Bar Vive where I met Marc Becker director of sales development for the New Orleans Hotel Collection, and some of the locals who gather there monthly to socialize and talk shop.
Adjacent to the Bar Vive are French doors that open to a relaxing salt water pool centered in the middle of an intimate French style courtyard that is decorated with high-end designer outdoor sofa chaise loungers and dining sets.

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I really relished sitting in the courtyard each morning enjoying the scrumptious continental breakfast. It was so tranquil. This was a nice way to start your day before stepping outside into the festive French Quarter.

Well there is an interesting aura about the breakfast. When I thought of continental breakfast I was thinking more along the lines of juice, coffee and pastries. That is not the case with Hotel le Marais complimentary morning cuisine. It’s more on the lines of a marvelous traditional breakfast selection of sausage links, bacon, scramble eggs, boiled eggs, variety of cereals, milk, pastries coffee, tea, orange juice, cranberry juice and apple juice, yogurt, biscuits , toast, bagel, bananas and apples.

This is just a classy hotel all around. My room was the double bed deluxe. It came with all of the amenities one expects from a first class establishment: Wi-Fi and high speed internet access, flat-screen television with multiple cable channels, plush pillow-top comfortable beds; and my favorite was the soothing grey wall porcelain walk-in shower complete with all of the deluxe bath amenities. Love it.

Being in New Orleans one has to dine at some of it fabulous restaurant and I did. I had lunch at the Red Fish Grill. It was so delicious and the manager, chef and staff were gracious and on point. The Red Fish Grill located at 115 Bourbon Street and is owned by Ralph Brennan the family name that is synonymously with fine Cajun cuisine.
Executive chef, Austin Kizner prepared me a super delicious meal starting with flash fried BBQ Oysters with Blue Cheese Dipping Sauce. You have to try this appetizer. It is so delicious and if you have to share you probably should order two portions. This was one of my favorite dishes along with my entrée the award winning Wood Fired Grilled Gulf Red Fish and crabmeat with Tasso fritters.

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What do you do after a good lunch in the French Quarters; well you walk it off by taking in the talents of the street performers, people watching and stopping by the specialty and antique shops and making a purchase or two.

Then when you need to retire for a while, you can walk right down the street to your sanctuary, Hotel le Marais and enjoy the lobby for a while and visit Bar Vive and get a cool refreshing beverage and relax.

Dinner that evening was over in the business district at Vitascope Hall located inside the Hyatt Regency. This is a great place to take a break from the French Quarters and see another side of New Orleans. It is a sophisticated lively huge bar that offers a selection of craft beers and custom-made cocktails where you can enjoy sports on the big flat screens. What better food to order when in a sports bar then beef ribs and fries. This is a cool hangout to watch sports and the atmosphere was very lively.

The following day, I was in for a treat. I had dinner at the remarkable Arnaud’s restaurant. This is a very enchanting and historical establishment that offers numerous dining options under one roof. There is the Jazz Bistro, Main Dining Room, The renown French Bar 75, Remoulade known as the casual side of dining at Arnaud’s, and a collection of private dining rooms.

Upstairs houses the Germaine Cazenane Wells Mardi Museum. It honors the daughter of the restaurant founder, Count Arnaud. Germaine was a diva in the true sense of the word. She reigned as queen over 22 Mardi Gras Balls from 1937 to 1968. The museum displays 13 of her elaborate Mardi Gras gowns in huge glass showcases. It is a phenomenal sight to see and quite spectacular. It just leaves you in total awe one being the intricate details of the gowns resonates pure royalty.

Lisa Sins of Arnaud’s showed me the many wonders of the restaurant. She introduced me to a beverage name after the French 75 Bar. It is a mixture of fine Courvoisier, lemon juice, Moet and Chandon champagne. It was superb and smooth.

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The dining experience was equally impeccable. It began with Arnaud’s famous Puff Soufflé potatoes. These delicious crispy potato puffs are beloved for their tastes and texture. Next on the menu were the turtle soup and the seafood gumbo. This was the best gumbo I have ever eaten. The roux wax cook to perfection. The deep thick dark base could have stood on its own without the shrimp, chicken or sausage. It was divine. For my entrée, I chose, Pompano Duarte, a sautéed fillet topped with gulf shrimp, tomatoes, garlic, fresh herbs and crush chili peppers. The entire dining experience at Arnaud’s was splendid.
The evening was capped off with a sensational jazz trio at Irvin Mayfield’s Jazz Playhouse, a very warm and upscale setting.

On your next visit to New Orleans, Hotel le Marais is a must. You will be talking about it for days.

sheilarayreed@houstonsun.com

Venetian Las Vegas: Do Come Inside

There are many stylish casino designed hotels and resorts that line the 4.2 miles of the Las Vegas Strip. Glitz, glamor and eye-catching attractions embellish one of the most well-known skylines worldwide. However, there is one hotel that is one of a kind. The Venetian Resort Hotel Casino’s exquisite architecture sets this landmark apart from the rest.

You can actually hear the people admiring the hotel’s beautiful Renaissance artwork on the high arch ceilings with bursts of oohing and ahhing during check-in and as they stroll through the hotel’s palatial promenade.

The Venetian provides all of the guestroom amenities that one expects from a first class hotel and much more. When I walked into my suite, it was much grander than I had imagined. I was greeted by 650 square feet of pure luxury and marble flooring. My bed chamber included a plush king-sized pillow-top bed with a relaxing lounger at the foot and a flat screen stylishly mounted on the wall surrounded by spectacular art work.

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Just a few feet away was the sunken living area with its own flat screen and a comfortable full sized l-shaped sofa-sleeper and an office area that offered all the technological amenities to conduct business as well as a dining area and an oversized bay window with remote control handcrafted curtains and tailored-made pleated drapes that overlooked the lively Vegas Strip.
The bath area reflected the spaciousness of the bed chamber and sunken living quarter. It provided a 130-square ft. sanctuary with a Roman tub and a separate glass enclosed shower. The sink was a double sided vanity and a 17 inch flat-screen hung inside as well, but I can tell there was no need for me to watch television because the ambiance was so plush there and just pure relaxation. The quality body wash, shampoo/conditioner and other bath amenities kept my skin supple and my hair soft and shiny. I really didn’t want to leave my suite. But The Venetian has so much more to see and experience.

The Venetian offers over 30 restaurants from fine dining to casual dining. I chose to enjoy my meals at the Grand Lux Café which is located on the casino level, which is more on the casual dining side. I really enjoyed the atmosphere plus the wide selection of food. My favorite was pasta with ground beef and with pieces of slow roasted short rib, smoked bacon, sautéed mushrooms, a touch of garlic and a mildly spicy marinade; and of course a Greek salad- Yummy. By-the-way the Grand Lux offers breakfast, lunch and dinner.

One of the best ways to shop is just to sometimes browse; known as window shopping. The Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian will give you an eyeful of beautiful things even if you don’t make a purchase you can add to your wish-list for later. The Grand Canal Shoppes has more than a 160 signature stores and for us shoe-nistas; Tory Burch, Jimmy Choo, Christian Louboutin are among the favorites. And the ever-popular Michael Kors right in sight has a signature shop with a host of handbags that range from the high-end to the moderate price point. And in the midst of it all is The Venetian famous gondola ride, this is a must, even though I didn’t partake but will on my next Vegas outing.

One huge attraction that I didn’t missed out on was the Motown Human Nature Show exclusively at The Venetian. This stage-show will dazzle you for days. Okay, picture this, four talented blue-eyed Aussies, yes I mean the kind from Australia. They have the Motown sound down complete with all of the steps, moves and oh-yeah those voices, with blended perfect harmony.
Venetian CDC 2014

These guys; Andrew Tierney, Phil Burton, Toby Allen and Mike Tierney brought all of Motown’s favorite songs, showmanship and impeccable sleek polished image packed in a 2 ½, hour-show and entertained with their melodic and energetic renditions of “My Girl”, “Tears of a Cloud”, “Stop in the Name of Love”, “Uptight-Everything is Alright”, “I Will Be There”, “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg” and “My Girl” and “Get Ready” among other Motown top picks. These musical selections and Human Nature’s intoxicating performance had the crowd rocking and standing to its feet throughout the performance.

The group voted best singers by the Las Vegas Review Journal and Trip Advisor’s #1 show in Las Vegas, Human Nature: The Motown Show is one not to be missed. Ticket prices range from $118 to $74.00 and the performance is held at The Venetian Sands Show Room.

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Human Nature  live at the Venetian

Currently The Venetian is running a special on its Luxury 650 square feet Luxury Open Floor Plan Suite at $159.00 per night. Now that is an awesome deal! For more information on accommodations and Human Nature Motown please contact guest relations at (702) 607-4644.

sheilarayreed@houstonsun.com
#The Venetian @ Las Vegas
#Human Nature Motown @ The Venetian

New Parents, Jessica and Ryan celebrate Mother’s Day

Gabriel Michelle Harden born on April 27, 2014 at 8lbs and 10ozs., with a head full of dark glowing hair is the beautiful baby girl of proud parents Jessica Combest-Harden and Ryan Harden. This Mother’s Day will be a special one for the new parents especially Jessica as it will be the beginning of her first and many to come.
“I told Ryan that he has two gifts to get this Mother’s Day one for his mom and one for me,” Jessica said with a smile. Ryan replied, “I’ll get Jessica a little something-something, she doesn’t have to worry.”

The most exciting moment for the couple during the birth of their daughter was when they heard baby Gabriel’s welcome cry into the world.

“It was a real beautiful experience to hear her voice,” said Ryan. Jessica’s sentiments were much the same, “To know that she was finally here and that she was on the outside and healthy was a relief and a blessing,” said Jessica.

The arrival day at the hospital for the Hardens was one of nervous anticipation and some unexpected circumstances. Ryan said he found himself pacing back and forth for the most part.

“I didn’t know it would take all day. I thought she would be in labor for several hours and the baby would pop out. But Jessica was in labor most of the day and finally that said they were just going to perform a C-Section,” Ryan said.

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“I got up that morning around at 9 a.m.,” said Jessica. “I thought I was going to the restroom on myself but my water had ruptured. I was having contractions and everything was fine. Then by 5 p.m., the doctor told me I was five centimeters. And by 7 p.m., I was still five centimeters and then at 8 p.m., the doctor was like ‘were are going ahead and do a C-Section. That was nerve-racking because I know you have to be woke and still,” Jessica said.

“She was freaking out at first and I had to calm her down, but she got through it,” said Ryan. He continued,” I was in the room during the C-Section; a curtain was up, so I couldn’t see anything but I could hear everything. You could hear a couple of tugs and pulls with them trying to get Gabriel out. And then we heard some crying, and we started to cry,” said the proud father.

After the birth, the exuberant parents saw their baby and Jessica fell fast asleep. “We were in the hospital for three days,” said Jessica. “Just spending time with our baby and bonding with her at the hospital, it was a rewarding experience. From the time they moved us into a room, Gabriel has been with us the whole time. Just holding her and having my baby and the fact that she is finally here just made me cry some more. I just wished everybody could have been there to see her but looking back that was our special time.” Jessica said.

“This is something like I never felt before,” said Ryan. “It’s magical, every time I hold her or when she is sleeping on my chest; and when she makes a cute little noise. It just something that grows on you. It’s beautiful.”

The only time that Ryan left his girls during the three days was to go home and feed their beloved pet, Tricia who is also a special part of the family. “It was so funny when we brought Gabriel home, Tricia came down and looked in the car and had this puzzled looked on her face, ‘like what is this?’ But we let Tricia sniff one of Gabriel’s blankets and they have been best buddies since,” said Ryan.
“Tricia is so protected of the baby. She has really adjusted.” said Jessica. When she hears Gabriel cries, Tricia will hop on the bed to make sure that the baby is okay. It’s really funny to watch, but I guess they bonded the whole time I was carrying her. Even Tricia’s barking doesn’t frighten Gabriel. I guess she’s just use to it,” Jessica said.

“Just being a family and having our baby girl is so special. I am a momma now, and I would not trade anything for it. Gabriel is here and we love her,” Jessica said.

The number of new mothers who gave birth in the United States within the past 12 months is 4.0 million according to www.census.gov/fertility. Mother’s Day has been observed in the United States since May of 1908 and became a national observance day for mothers in 1914 when Anna Jarvis of Grafton, WV asked Congress to set aside a day to honor mothers which is always the second Sunday in May.

New Orleans a quick-get-a-way

By: Sheila Ray Reed
The great thing about New Orleans is that it is about a five hour drive time from Houston and even less by air; 50 minutes via airline. It is the perfect get-a-way, whether for a birthday celebration, a girl or guy hang-out trip, and oh yeah, a romantic adventure or even for an overnight trip like what I did. It was just a spontaneous get-a-way.
Yes, we have heard it time-and-time again, the delicious unforgettable “Nawlings” food. Yet, it is ever so true, for whatever season you decided to venture in the wonderfully festive city of New Orleans, there is something good to eat.
One of my favorite places for an early midday feast is the Court of Two Sisters. I love the courtyard and the live jazz ensemble; it is like food to the soul. The indoor dining area is swell too but you get the total experience by sitting down and dining in the courtyard.
Here comes the part that has your mouth watering, the scrumptious Creole entrées. The hot buffet that serves up gumbo, turtle soup, shrimp etouffee, crawfish etouffee, jambalaya, red bean ‘n rice, slow cooked Cajun-veal, red or brown chicken and duck, blacken and fried fish, truffle bourbon mashed sweet potatoes, beer-grilled corn with spicy compound butter variety of breakfast sausages and the omelet and hotcakes station that cooks it up for you to your liking.
On the other side is the chilled buffet. That area serves-up a variety of Creole influence appetizing favorites such as chicken and macaroni salads incorporated with Andouille and celery root dressing, cooled shrimp based in Andouille dressing, greenbean and artichoke casserole, grilled Creole mirliton (chayote squash) ratatouille and an assortment of fresh salad greens.
To sweeten your palate the desserts included New Orleans style bread pudding with bourbon sauce, the classic Banana Foster, Mardi Gras King Cake, pecan pie and pecan lace cookies, Julaines cheese pie and Red Velvet Cake and butter milk beignets and yes-tasty brownies, etc. The only thing missing from the buffet on this trip were the Alaskan crabs legs which are a favorite of mine.

I am sure you are with me on this, but when you travel you want your hotel accommodations to be the best. The Hotel Modern provided this. I love the mosaic and sophisticated chic upscale ambience of this hotel. Breakfast at Tivoli and Lee, the hotel’s southern bistro was simply delicious. The in-house Andouille sausage, with a side of medium fried eggs, French toast and grits was also a yummy addition. They served you the right portion where you are able to leave a clean plate.

I loved my room and its luxurious king-size pillow-top mattress. I had a good night’s rest with the comfort of the down bedding. I must share this with you; the shower was like stepping into your own personal spa. It was spacious and fabulous with porcelain mosaics tile; very relaxing like taking a Vichy shower. The workout room was the best with the latest-state-of the art equipment with web access and the elliptical machine.

The Hotel Modern is located on the St. Charles Avenue Streetcar Line in the Historical District, and it you prefer walking to the French Quarter it is only a 10-mintue walk Reservations can be made at (504) 962-0900.

Hotel Modern in New Orleans
Hotel Modern in New Orleans
sheilarayreed@houstonsun.com

Vanessa Wade: Connecting the Dots

Vanessa Wade, Public Relations Specialist and entrepreneur
Vanessa Wade, Public Relations Specialist and entrepreneur

Ever since Vanessa Wade was a teenager she had dreamed of being featured in Black Enterprise Magazine. Well for the 32-year-old entrepreneur Public Relations Specialist that dream has become reality.

Wade is one of the featured women on the cover titled Incredible Women of Power which is to hit newsstands sometime in early spring 2014.

“I picked up my first issues of Black Enterprise when I was in high school. I told my friend oh, I want to be in this magazine. I want to be on the cover. So now to be in there it’s a really good thing and it started with me pitching them ideas about eight or 10 months ago. As well as following them on Twitter and Facebook and making comments. They reached out to me and asked, ‘As a black business owner how do you help the black community?’ That was an opportunity for me to say well I partnered up with African American or minority organizations and give them a business check-up to see how they are doing enhancing their businesses. They even sent someone out to my office to do a photo shoot. Now I am looking forward for the issue to come out,” said Wade.

Wade says professionalism is one of the main keys to a successful business, and she finds that some African American businesses can fall short in that area by becoming a little too comfortable with their clients.

“We can become too friendly and professionalism goes out of the window. The ‘hey honey’ and ‘hey boo’ is not the greetings to be used by business owners. It’s okay to be approachable and friendly but business owners must be professional because if you are too friendly then people feel they have free range and do not have to pay you. It’s just best to keep it professional,” said Wade.
She also encourages her clients not to give up so easily and that people pay attention when you are doing a good job. Wade says, some business owners can become impatient and figure that their dreams are dashed if nothing happens in two weeks after any kind of investment.

“I work with them and tell them to keep at it. Someone will recognize their efforts,” said Wade.
Wade has a top client list and has been quite successful in her approach to assisting authors, attorneys, entertainers, athletes, non-profits and business owners to take the limits off and be patient. “I start with the basics. Sometimes great success and going to the next level can happen quickly but in most instances it takes some time. I encourage my clients not to give up so easily. And that people pay attention when you are doing a good job. Entrepreneurs can sometimes become impatient and figure that their dreams are dashed if nothing happens in two weeks after any kind of investment.

“I worked with them and tell them to keep at it. Someone will recognize their efforts, and someone always does,” she said.
Wade has been in public relations for a little over 10 years. She launched her own agency, Connect the Dots Public Relations in 2006.

“I was in a job I didn’t like. I was under the impression from the job description that I would be a communications specialist but I was actually getting coffee and setting up rooms. I was on the outside looking in, not doing anything public relations related. But I even learned from that experience. Even though you have the ability and skills sometimes you have to start on the ground floor. I just kept at it and one day someone came to me and said, ‘hey, I am getting ready to start a business and I need a letter.’ I wrote the letter and they were like wow this is really good, this is perfect,” she recalled.

Wade’s dreams almost became dash as she battled a severe Sickle Cell Anemia crisis. At the time, she was living in the Washington, D.C. area where her sister was also living. Business was good. Then one day, she experienced a terrible pain in her leg and broke out in huge boils on every part of her body, and could barely walk.

“My sister took me to the doctor. I was hunched over in terrible pain. I walked into the doctor’s office and immediately everyone got up and started to leave. I thought wow, ‘I would never do anyone like this.’ The doctor started giving me all types of medication for the pain, and told me I had Bronchitis. I did inform him that I had Sickle Cell Anemia. For some reason there is a stigma associated with Sickle Cell Anemia patients. Medical personnel treat you like you are a drug addict. He just prescribed all of this medication and told me I should get better.

Wade’s sister had to leave her at the doctor’s office so she could get to work. Wade called a friend to pick her up but forewarned her on her condition-the way she looked. She said when her friend arrived to pick her up, she started screaming and crying.

“Oh my God,” my friend cried out. I told her that I still was not feeling well and to take me to the hospital. She did. At the hospital they gave me more medication and I told the nurses that I think it was too much because I was feeling worse and very loopy. The next thing, I passed out,” said Wade.
Her conditioned had worsen and she had to be airlifted to another hospital. She had problems breathing and her body felt like it was shutting down.
“I felt like I was dying, I could even hear the inflight medical staff express concerns about my condition,” said Wade.

When Wade finally arrived at the hospital she was unconsciousness. Once she woke, she saw her sister crying, a minster trying to console her sister and people praying.

“I thought I had surgery because I was in so much pain. Seven nurses were working on me. They told me that I didn’t have surgery. Come to find out the combination of medication that was administered to me had lowered my blood pressure to a lethal level. As a result of this crisis, my legs were damaged and I could not walk. I could not do anything for myself. I even had to wear a diaper. Things you don’t think about when you are 29-years-old. We are taught to be vibrant and unstoppable,” she said.

Wade said she would pray to God that if life was not going to get any better she did not want to wake up. Her health didn’t get better right away but she just changed her perspective.
“What turned that terrible situation around for me was the support of friends, church, the way I started thinking. For instance, I would say what is the one thing I can feel good about today? What is the one job I can get to today? Who is the one person, I encourage today?” she said.

Wade’s story is somewhat like that of the story of Job in the Bible who had it all, lost it all, suffered with poor health and had it all restored. Well today, Vanessa Wade is walking tall, looking beautiful with flawless skin and has a profitable public relations firm in Houston, TX that is taking her clients to the next level.

CHRISTIANITY & THE LAW OF ATTRACTION and THE ONE COMMAND

Daood Obaid Aka Soul Detective
Contributing Writer

beverly jones

Daood: Ms. Beverly Jones you have a book signing Feb. 15th at Dock BookShop and will be reading from your new book Christianity, The Law Of Attraction And The One Command.” Exactly what separate this book from your contemporaries?

Ms. Jones: My book is written with Christians in mind. It doesn’t just tell you that you can ask for what you desire. It provides scriptures that tell you exactly what to do with examples.

Daood: For those of us not familiar with the One Command, from a general perspective can you expound?

Ms. Jones: the short answer is that The One Command is a six step technique that takes you into a meditative state where you connect with your creator to ask for what you desire. It takes away the negativity and self-doubt.

Daood: 13 chapters and this book is equivalent to an encyclopedia wealth of information which must have took great effort and ingenuity?

Ms. Jones: Daood, I did a lot of research for the book. As I was gathering information I was led to different books, TV programs, church services. It was as though I was being given the information to share. Each time I would stop working on it, a little nugget of information would arrive. I didn’t work on it consistently however it came together over a period of about two years. In putting the book together I didn’t know how the chapters would work until one morning the idea came to me to let each chapter stand on its own except for the first two which are the foundational chapters. That way my audience could read what they needed.

Daood: Were there any unique or vexed circumstance/s in accomplishing this book completion?

Ms. Jones: Mainly how the book should be organized. I have written course material and it must follow a certain order. A novel has one chapter that follows another until the climax. However this book is more like a text book. in that you go read understand and do what you need at that time. An example would be Chapter Six. Fear and The One Command. If you are experiencing doubt or fear of some type, this chapter will help you conquer that fear by recognizing what you really want and then asking the Creator for that specific thing.

Daood: Within the preface you question why so many people whom believe in the bible take issue with the Law of Attraction. Can you briefly elaborate as to Bible and The Laws Of Attraction precedent to each other?

Ms. Jones: If you are asking how they are related let me first explain the definition of “The Law of Attraction.” It is getting everything you want out of life through the power of your own mind. That which you think about most is what you will receive. The Law of Attraction is associated with new age thinking however the Scriptures tell us the same thing. In fact, my signature scripture is Matthew 9:29 “According to your faith let it be done to you,” they both tell you the same thing only in different words.

Daood: Dock Book Shop Feb. 15th from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. That is a very famous bookstore in Fort Worth Texas. Exactly where is it located, and should be people arrive there earlier to get a parking space?

Ms. Jones: It is located at 6637 Meadowbrook Drive, Fort Worth, TX 76112. Meadowbrook Drive is off of 820 just south of the I-30 exit. It is located in a strip mall so parking is not a problem.

Daood: Well I think you for this opportunity and in closing communicate for us the important of the usage of words as it relates to the Bible & The Law’s Of Attraction?

Ms. Jones: The words that you speak are a blessing or a curse on your life. Speak only of what you desire as though it was already yours. If you desire to be debt free imagine what it is like (not would be) to be free from debt with a certain amount of money in the bank. Mathew 7:7-8 Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened”

Thank you Daood for this opportunity to share with you just a little about what “Christianity, The Law of Attraction, and the One Command” will give to the reader. See you all on the 15th in Ft. Worth

Dock BookShop
Ms. Beverly Jones Book signing
February 15th at 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
6637 Meadowbrook Drive, Fort Worth, TX 76112
http://www.thedockbookshop.com

Ms. Beverly Jones
http://commandingyourlife.com
http://silverfox.silvacourses.com
https://www.facebook.com/CommandingYourLife
http://www.meetup.com/Commanding-Your-Life