Valentine’s Day- A Simple Act That Can Touch a Heart!

Many friends and family tell the widow, “Let me know if there is anything I can do.” In shock, struggling with deep grief and overpowering waves of loneliness and confusion, she doesn’t know what it is that she needs.

Her whole world has drastically changed.  Many mental-health professionals gauge the death of a spouse as the number one most stressful event a person will face in their lifetime.

She misses her husband terribly. Everyone is careful to not mention his name, for fear that will make her cry. Yet, that is the very thing she wants to hear; to know that people remember that he was alive and that he hasn’t been forgotten.

Fast forward a few short months, when the casseroles, the cards and the phone calls have stopped. Those who told said, “let me know what I can do” never called. Others stopped trying when she didn’t answer the phone, not realizing that she was in the middle of a crying jag and simply could not talk.

When faced with the greatest darkness she has ever felt, everything seems broken and friendships gone.  The pain is overwhelming and she doesn’t want to be alone. Her heart is begging friends to not give up on her. Please don’t stop trying to reach me.

Widows usually experience thoughts of…My world will never be the same….This is forever….Is this all there is?…Why bother getting out of bed when there is nothing to look forward to?…Why am I even here? Where do I fit in?

Instead of letting on that she desperately needs something as simple as a phone call or a bit of advice on how to change the AC filters, the widow forces a brave smile, says she is fine and keeps the pain inside, so she isn’t a burden to anyone.

The day of his passing, his birthday and hers, their anniversary and holidays are extremely hard days. Valentines’ Day can be the most painful of all holidays as television and even the pharmacy bombards her with reminders of this special day. She realizes this is yet another day where she will be left out, feeling alone and forgotten.


  • As death is inevitable for each of us, many wives will face this lonely road, alone.
  • More than 100,000 Oklahomans are widows.
  • Stress and depression, caused by deep grief and loneliness may be misunderstood by those who have not been affected by the loss of a spouse. Only another widow can understand the excruciating pain that can last for years.
  • A widow, in shock, doesn’t know what she needs when friends first ask. Yet, support from friends and family drops off significantly, as the weeks pass. It has been that 75% of the friends they had as a couple will drop her.
  • Many mental-health professionals gauge the death of a spouse as the most stressful event a person will face in their lifetime.


Maybe you know a widow– your grandmother, or mom….. a friend, neighbor or someone at church? One simple act of kindness, no matter how small, can mean the world to someone. Valentines Day (February 14, 2015) is a Saturday. Something as simple as a homemade Valentine card and some candy kisses, to let them know that they are remembered, can make someone’s week.

Why not share this idea with your church? (Some churches have begun having a widows luncheon to honor the ladies in their church.)

 Recipe for Chocolate Covered Strawberries for Valentine’s Day! Only 2 ingredients

Posted in All in Fun, Baby Boomers, Blessings, Grandkids, Great ideas!, Inspiration, Neighbors, Oklahoma, Oklahomans helping Oklahomans, Parenting, Senior Citizens, Things to see and do in Tulsa, Widows | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

When My Grandmother Became a Widow….

Widows tend to suffer in silence. Not wanting to be a burden, it is typical for a widow
to put on a brave smile.  A strange noise in the house that awakens them  2 a.m., keeping
them terrified and unable to go back to sleep,  is nothing compared to the emotional
pain of feeling alone and forgotten. Most widows will not mention that people stop calling
after a couple of months. Widows won’t hint that they desperately desire something as simple as a phone call, but when asked directly about it many, with tears in their eyes, will nod. 

When my grandmother became a widow, we were all there that day, for the service.  Grandma had lived through the depression. She was tough and she’d get over it.

When my co-worker became a widow, we took up a collection and bought a ham. Her husband had been sick and now we figured, she will be free to go and do more things.

When my neighbor became a widow,
I didn’t know her well, but I saw some cars at her house and knew that she had some friends.  I bought a card, had some of the other neighbors sign it and then dropped it off.

When my mom became a widow, lots of people came to Dad’s celebration of life service. Hugging Mom, several people told her to let them know if she needed anything … so I was sure that she’d be just fine.

When my sister was widowed early, her husband had been such a people person that lots of flowers were sent. Surely some of those friends or someone from the church will check in on her, from time to time. 

It is a real possibility that a married woman will become a widow.  Every year, in the US  251,000 men  become widowers and 600,000 women become widows . Currently there are 100,000 widows and widowers in Oklahoma. If someday,  you are widowed, wouldn’t you like to know that there will be someone there for you?

Google this string of keywords: loneliness is a silent killer

WHERE TO FIND HELP: After 18 months of research  Stand in the Gap for Widows offers, at no cost to churches, an implementation manual with simple training for widow helpers within the church, to help supplement the church’s current outreach to widows.  The Stand in the Gap for Widows program, which has already been adopted by 25 Christian churches in OK, brings widows together in small groups and guides them in prayerful, honest conversation.

The video in this link: Stand in the Gap for Widows, though just a few short minutes long, explains the program well.

If you feel like your church could benefit from the information, then please contact Stand in the Gap Widows to have the program presented in your church, to those who oversee and provide widow care.

There will be an informational luncheon from in  January 21 at Stand in the Gap, 3939 South Harvard.  Please call  (918) 585-6112 to make your reservation.

 Isaiah 1:17 Isaiah 1:17 “Learn to do Right; Seek Justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the Fatherless: plead the cause of the widow.”


Posted in Baby Boomers, Blessings, Great ideas!, Oklahoma, Oklahomans helping Oklahomans, Senior Citizens, Tulsa, Widows | Tagged | 3 Comments

Why You Need to Beware of Reverse Mortgages

Numerous TV commercials make a reverse mortgage sound simple. As more and more people are qualifying for reverse mortgages it is important to consider the large number of pitfalls in taking out a reverse mortgage, which can end up being  harmful both financially and emotionally.

ARE THERE ANY DISADVANTAGES?  Yes! It is important to evaluate the reverse mortgage disadvantages before taking out one. Proceed with caution. Many financial consultants believe that not only do reverse mortgages have definite disadvantages but that lenders for these types of mortgages don’t fully disclose all the terms, or  tell you how high the front-load is.  HUD estimates that several hundred seniors nationwide have been cheated by unscrupulous lenders and third-party “estate planning” firms that take advantage of consumers’ relative lack of knowledge about reverse mortgages; enticing them to agree to unfair or illegal contract terms. A woman in Norwalk, California alleged that she paid $5,571 to an America’s Trust, Inc. in return for a visit from an agent, who came to her home and simply referred her to a reverse mortgage lender. She also alleged that America’s Trust never informed her that she would be charged 10% of her loan amount for that service.

WHO GETS REVERSE MORTGAGES (which are considered a loan-of-last-resort for seniors without any other options of getting the capital they need in any other way).   Many people have a strong distaste for reverse mortgages, as they feel that it is the poorest people, who will take out a reverse mortgage while banks take a massive cut of everything these people have worked all their lives to acquire. Reverse mortgages have been described as a way for wealthy to scoop up the poorest families homes, while the poorest families become poorer.

REVERSE MORTGAGES HAVE SEVERAL OPTIONS BUT THEY ARE ALL STILL A MORTGAGE THAT MUST BE REPAID!  Reverse mortgages are a mortgage. There are several options to receive money in a reverse mortgage: lump sum, a line of credit or monthly payments for a specific period of time or for the remainder of your life.

Just as with a traditional mortgage, you borrow money and that loan must be repaid to the lender at the end of the reverse mortgage term. The “end of the term” is when you move out of the home for 12 months or if the home is sold (whichever comes first) or at your death.   The lender has an agreement to take possession of the house to satisfy the balance owed. Typically this is handled by selling the home and using the proceeds from the sale to pay off the reverse mortgage balance.  The bank takes the portion of the sale that it is owed, plus interest. The lender gets a premium over what they lent as payment because the loan amount does not go down; it goes up!  The loan you receive on a reverse mortgage is worth less than or equal to the value of your house and interest is accruing each month on the amount you still owe, thus the amount you owe increases each month as  payments are distributed to you or when you take out money on the line of credit. ) This is why it has been referred to as selling ones house slowly, because the equity in your house is lost over time.


READ THE FINE PRINT It’s imperative to read the fine print, ask lots of questions and make sure everything you are promised is actually in the contract! (Have the loan company highlight in the contract, each point they tell you. Read it over carefully or have some other person, such as an attorney take time to read it, to make sure that is exactly what you were told, before signing anything.)

You may be told:  There are no income, credit or medical requirements to qualify and no other qualifications like there are with a regular mortgage (RED FLAG!)

REALITY: While it may be true that your income and credit are not a factor, the fees associated with establishing a reverse mortgage are very expensive, while promising an uncertain amount of benefits. It is important to understand that on a reverse mortgage, interest is accruing each month on the amount owed to the lender. That  means the amount you owe increases each month as tenure/term payments are distributed, money is taken out on the line of credit, etc.  For example, a typical reverse mortgage borrower receives approximately $300 per month from the lender with a monthly compounded interest rate of 1%. Over the course of ten years, you will receive $36,000,  in total but by that time you will owe almost $70,000. This means that you are repaying close to twice the amount you are receiving PLUS the bank receives a limited ownership claim in your house in exchange and will eventually own your house!   A reverse mortgage works like a credit card in the respect that if the payments aren’t made it goes into default, damaging your credit and most likely you get sued,  but the difference is you also lose your home.

What you may be told by the loan company:  Some lenders claim that the homeowner doesn’t have to pay anything upfront.
REALITY: RED FLAG BE VERY CAREFUL WHEN ANYONE TELLS YOU THAT!! Many lenders simply add the upfront costs into the loan so while you do not pay them upfront you certainly do pay them. Lenders, of course, love not making you pay the fees upfront  because you will have to pay the loan company more interest. This is because, in reality, you are borrowing the extra money from the lender to pay the fees it costs in order to get the reverse mortgage from the lender!   This is extremely profitable for lenders. Ka-Ching! (Guess who is the loser!)


Front-loading encompasses the upfront costs which will be paid out of your home’s equity at closing and will include interest, origination fees, points, mortgage insurance premiums, closing costs, appraiser fees, servicing fees, shared equity or “maturity” fees, and shared appreciation fees.


  •     The origination fee will be double compared to the amount you pay on a normal mortgage.
  •     The interest rates and fees are all determined based upon home value and what loan you decide to go with. Reverse mortgages often have very high fees and interest rates.

Bottom line: You will  pay an excessively large price for a reverse mortgage. (You will be paying a higher interest rate than on other loans, have less equity in your home, and you may run out of the money sooner than you think.)

Numerous other front-end and back-end fees can quickly drive up the cost of a reverse mortgage. The case of the San Mateo County Public Guardian v. Commonwealth Life Insurance illustrates how some of these fees generated allegations by a class of 1,505 borrowers that they were charged tens of thousands of dollars in artificially inflated loan fees.

CONFUSING AND COMPLEX TERMS OF A REVERSE MORTGAGE  Reverse Mortgages are more complicated and have more  confusing terms and conditions than a traditional mortgage. These complex contract terms of a reverse mortgage can greatly impact the overall cost to you, the borrower. There can lead to serious repercussions to borrowers, when lenders or third parties involved in arranging reverse mortgages do not fully disclose a loan’s terms and fees.

A lawsuit filed by the San Mateo County Public Guardian alleged that Transamerica Corporation  charged Berta Gray, an 83-year old woman what was in effect a shared appreciation fee. This fee gave Transamerica an automatic 50% interest  that automatically paid TransAmerica  50 percent ownership interest in the difference between the base value of the home when the loan was established and the appreciated market value of the home when the loan terminates, even though the fee bore no relation to the amount she actually borrowed.

The cost of her reverse mortgage soared when TransAmerica also required her to purchase an annuity, financed out of her home’s equity to provide monthly payments to TransAmerica immediately and that interest began compounding on that fee even though she was not due to receive any payment on the annuity until six years after the loan began, at age 89. Under this arrangement, if Ms. Gray died before the six-year period ended, her estate would see no benefit from the annuity purchase, although she had paid in full for it.

WHAT ELSE DO WE HAVE TO PAY TO GET A REVERSE MORTGAGE? Don’t forget that you are still responsible to pay not only the loan but also the annual real estate taxes, homeowner’s insurance, all home repairs and other maintenance, HOA fees and mortgage insurance (which covers the lender – not you-should the property value decrease, or if the mortgage is held over a very long period )

The amount that the homeowner can borrow depends on the age of the youngest borrower, the current interest rates being offered, & the value of their home.
Payouts to the homeowner are based on actuary tables  The bank estimates how long you have to live & how much your house will be worth to them at that time of your death.   A person age 90 can borrow more as a percentage of equity than someone aged 70. The older you are, the more your home is worth, and the lower the interest rate – the more money you can get.

No. It is impossible to calculate the true cost of a Reverse Mortgage, without predicting how long you will live and what future interest rates and home appreciation rates will be.

All reverse mortgages are going to have different costs, based on whether there’s any monthly repayment and the ages/health of the people requesting the loan.

Red Flag It is a very real possibility and this should be a serious consideration before you decide to do it. The proceeds from a reverse mortgage could prove to be a serious barrier to allowing you to qualify for Medicaid because your proceeds from the loan are counted as an asset! Each state differs, however, any untapped equity you currently have in your home will not be considered an asset when determining your Medicaid eligibility so long as you continue to live in your home. Make sure you speak with a Medicaid specialist before obtaining a reverse mortgage, as you do not want the cash proceeds prohibiting you from Medicaid eligibility.


NO! BIG RED FLAG: NEVER take out a reverse mortgage specifically to buy an annuity. An annuity is a type of insurance, in this case, using the equity in the home to pay out the monthly reverse mortgage payments to the borrower. This means that the borrower is charged the cost of the annuity immediately, with compounding interest even though the annuity is not due to start making payments for a certain period after it is established.    For example, if the annuity is set up to start paying out after a six-year period, if the borrower dies before the six-year period is up, the estate of the borrower would not benefit from the annuity even though the borrower had already paid for it in full.


A session with a HUD certified counselor, who is supposed to explain the disadvantages of reverse mortgages to you, might not help protect you.
During the process of obtaining  a reverse mortgage the senior borrower should attend a counseling session with a HUD certified counselor, who has no financial interest in if the senior borrower gets a reverse mortgage or not.  The counselor should explain the disadvantages of reverse mortgages, as many are really bad deals for the borrower.   However,  there have been  situations where reverse mortgage counselors are affiliated with the lender. Thus, in reality, that counselor in not a neutral party. Unfortunately, this practice is encouraged by the fact that Fannie Mae will purchase reverse mortgage loans from loan originators who themselves provide “counseling” to prospective reverse mortgage borrowers.  The current system of reverse mortgage counseling is not enough to protect potential borrowers against financial fraud and abuse. There needs to be  established consumer protections that explains the current pitfalls and hazards for consumers.

Lastly, remember, that the deal you make may not be directly with the lending bank, but with someone planning to profit on your home’s rise in value.  

Posted in Baby Boomers, Oklahoma, Oklahomans helping Oklahomans, Reverse Mortgages, Tulsa | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Bad real estate photography

Google the words bad real estate photography and check out the different websites, if you need a good laugh….or just check out the links below. However, if you have your home for sale and it is languishing on the market, you won’t find it nearly so funny, if your see your house on there.  Some of these might clue you in why your Realtor keeps suggesting you cut the price again and again…. and again.

Been there, done that….because we foolishly believed all Realtors knew what they were doing when they whipped out their cell phone and took pictures. They didn’t want to take
a dime of the HUGE commission they were going to be paid by us, to pay for professional
photos. That meant  our house did not sell for awhile. Thankfully we did not
have a mortgage on it or otherwise we’d have been paying for two mortgages, along with real estate taxes, insurance and HOA fees, while cutting the price lower and lower, thanks
to the Realtors cheapness.

Next time we sell, we will interview several Realtors and look at pictures they have taken.
Realtors are hired and paid really good money to sell the house, so they should not focus on the space that people want to buy and not  furniture or flowers or the family dog, stretched out and drooling on the carpet.

Google your prospective Realtor  and see what the pictures look like on their listings.   This will help you decide if you want to remove the prospective Realtor from your short list   because a lazy and/or cheap Realtor  may cause you to have trouble selling your nice home.

  1. Bad MLS Photos
  2. Terrible Listing Photos
  3. What not to do when selling
  4. Hooked on homes
  5. Bad real estate photos
  6. Lessons bad MLS photos teach
  7. So Cal MLS Hall of Shame
  8. Lovely Listing
  9. Terrible real estate agent Photographs
  10. Realtors- What not to do photos
  11. terrible real estate agent pictures
  12. Really, really bad real estate click on any of the pictures here





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will release it to post.


Posted in All in Fun, Ask the Readers, Photos, Real Estate | 1 Comment


When a husband dies, church members attend services and console with casseroles, visits, cards, and promises of prayers. After a few months church members, and even
some family members, move on. The first year, after the death of her husband, the
widow is in shock, struggling with deep grief, loneliness and confusion. The widow
tries to hide her frustration and fears, yet the suffering stays with her.

Research tells us that only another widow can understand the pain of a widow.

Stand in the Gap for Widows, which has already been adopted by 25 Christian
churches in OK, brings widows together in small groups and guides them in prayerful,
honest conversation.

Stand in the Gap for Widows offers, at no cost to churches, an implementation manual with simple training for widow helpers within the church, to help supplement the church’s current outreach to widows.

The video in Stand in the Gap for Widows, though just a few short minutes long, explains
the program well.

It is the desire of Stand in the Gap Ministries to share this  information with all 7,000 Christian churches in Oklahoma to reach as many of the 100,000 Oklahoma widows as possible.

If you feel like your church could benefit from the information then, please feel free to share this link with others.  Even better, your church may wish to contact Stand in the Gap Widows to have the program presented in your church, to those who oversee and provide widow care.

There will be an informational luncheon from 11:30-12:30 on Wed December 10, 2014 at Stand in the Gap, 3939 South Harvard.  There is no charge.  Please call  (918) 585-6112 to make your reservation.

Click to read more about widows on this blog.


James 1:27 “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”


Tulsa World story from earlier this year: New ministry helps churches meet needs of widows ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

You may comment to this post anonymously. It won’t post immediately, but will as soon as I can see that it is not spam.

Posted in Ask the Readers, Baby Boomers, Blessings, Oklahoma, Oklahomans helping Oklahomans, Senior Citizens, Tulsa, Widows | Tagged | Leave a comment

Black Friday Strategies

I don’t participate in Black Friday but thought others might enjoy reading these tips. You must have a plan. One group claims to be in and out of the store in 10 minutes. Here is how they do it: First, Thanksgiving is moved to Wednesday so they still have enough time for Black Friday prep. Black Friday planning session.

  • Everyone on the team (about eight – fifteen people) will go to the home of one person home and scan advertisements, screening them for the best deals.
  • Destination lists and want lists are compiled, in order to maximize efficiency.
  • During the planning session, team members will be assigned different jobs and stationed at different stores.
  • The shopping list is divvied up so that each person can scramble off to a specific department once they get to the store.
  • Some stores match advertised prices of other stores which can keep you from going so many places. That makes for a shorter list of destinations, so bring the ads.

As a team goes into a store one person (usually a tall person so the team can spot him /her easily over the other shoppers ) grabs an empty shopping cart and flies to the register to save a place by standing in line  while other team members scurry off to grab items-one gets this, another gets that. Team members race back to throw items into the waiting shopping cart as it moves ahead to the register. Meanwhile the tall person you brought along can sprint to bring the car up to the door and then be available to lift the heavy purchases into it. You are out the door and on to the next store! Not only can you watch movies on your phone while you wait in line outside but the  retailmenot app on your smartphone helps save you money

NOTE: BLACK FRIDAY ISN’T NECESSARILY THE BEST TIME TO BUY: The best deals on electronics are from Nov 3-15; toys from early to mid Dec and clothes will be the 10 days before Christmas.

Posted in All in Fun, Thanksgiving | Tagged | Leave a comment

Thanksgiving Dinners ~ Tulsa, OK November 2014


Taco Bueno opens at noon on Thanksgiving.

20% discount to Veterans, every day (with proof of service)

Find a location


Bluestone Steakhouse 10032 S. Sheridan Rd 918-296-9889

11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. seatings, buffet

Café Savannah’s at Forest Ridge 7501 E. Kenosha St., Broken Arrow 918-357-4407 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., buffet
Cracker Barrel 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. all locations

  • 8008 E. 31st St. 918-610-0414
  • 7128 S. Olympia Ave. 918-447-4505
  • 9475 N. Owasso Expressway, Owasso 918-272-3445

Daily Grill  ~ Hyatt Regency Hotel 100 E. Second St. 918-295-7748

10 a.m. to 11 p.m., special menu
Delta Café 11101 E. 41st St. 918-627-4700 4515 E. 51st St. 918-488-8883

11 a.m. to 5 p.m. both locations, special menu
Fox & Hound 7001 S. Garnett Road 918-307-2847

2 p.m. to 2 a.m., regular menu

French Hen 7143 S. Yale Ave. 918-492-2596

11 a.m. to 3 p.m., special menu
Jamil’s 3823 E. 51st St. 918-742-9097

11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Thanksgiving dinner, regular menu
Marriott Tulsa Southern Hills 1902 E. 71st St. 918-493-7000

11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., buffet
Maxxwells 2636 E. 11th St. 918-748-5550

6 a.m. to 10 p.m., special menu, limited regular menu
Michael V’s 8222 E. 103rd St. 918-369-0319

11 a.m. to 2 p.m., buffet

Mimi’s Cafe 8215 E. 71st St. 918-254-6333

8 a.m. to 8 p.m., special menu

Ruby Tuesday 7806 E. Skelly Drive 918-622-0781

11 a.m. to 9 p.m., turkey dinner, regular menu
T.G.I. Friday’s

  • 5359 E. 41st St. 918-280-8443
  • 8221 E. 61st St. 918-250-7825

11 a.m. to midnight both locations
The Chalkboard 1324 S. Main St. 918-582-1964

10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

  • Buffet
  • Regular breakfast, dinner menus

The Restaurant at Gilcrease Gilcrease Museum 1400 N. Gilcrease Museum Road   918-596-2752

11 a.m. to 3 p.m., buffet
TiAmo Ristorante Italiano 6024 S. Sheridan Road 918-499-1919

11 a.m. to 2:45 p.m., buffet

Posted in Thanksgiving, Tulsa | Tagged | Leave a comment

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