Meet Four Beautiful Women from Our 50 Over 50 Challenge
Aug 7, 2020 | By: Misty Westebbe Photography
For 2020 we are bringing in 50 women over 50 to photograph and show their true beauty shining through their eyes, tell their story of life through images to show women that aging doesn't have to bring you down but instead can lift you!
Meet Patti and hear her story...
I thought turning sixty would bother me. After all, I was not getting any younger and I wasn’t thrilled with where I was working. I’m too old to start a business, right? But circumstances led me to do just that. I opened my boutique firm, An Inside Job Interior Design last October. Much to my surprise, it has been a challenge that has strengthened me and my sense of purpose. I have come to realize one is never too old to follow their dreams and with God’s grace, I will have many years ahead to turn those dreams into reality. So, maybe there are a few more lines on my face and many more gray hairs adorning my head. But beauty isn’t really about how we look anyway. It’s about how we serve to bring joy and beauty of life to those around us.
Meet Shelly and hear her story...
I've been married for 37 years. My husband and I have four wonderful sons, four beautiful daughters-in-law, and 7 of the sweetest little grandbabies. I'm a dreamer at heart and a lover of words and stories. I enjoy spending time with family, tending to my flower beds and traveling.
I met my husband in 1979 on a high-school band trip from Oklahoma to Nashville. In those early years, we dreamed of having a family and growing old together, but we never realized it would go by so fast! When our youngest son went to college almost nine years ago, we pulled up our Oklahoma roots and came to Nashville. The move brought us full circle back to the very place we started so many years ago, and also back to just the two of us. The change for me was more than a little bit daunting. I'd spent most of our married years raising boys as a full-time stay at home mom and was now entering the beginning of a new journey in many ways. I'll never forget one of our first days in Nashville. I went for a drive to acquaint myself with our new surroundings and was amazed at how deeply the natural beauty of the area struck me. As I turned down a winding road that led through a natural tunnel of trees and greenery, I had a calming and delightful sense that I had just stepped into Narnia. I've joked about it since then, that Nashville is my Narnia, but it was a gentle reminder that even when life changes, there is always room for dreaming and appreciating the new.
We asked her if she had anything to say to others about aging and this is what she had to say, "Aging is a beautiful thing and brings many new possibilities to our lives. The days we've traveled have filled our hearts with stories and lessons to lean on and guide us forward to the purpose God has for us today, even if we find everything around us changing. Find those things that spark joy in your life and spend time cultivating and growing them. Fully embracing our gifts and talents is more than personally gratifying. It lends us the incredible opportunity to bless others from the pool of an overflowing heart. Most of all, never stop dreaming."
Meet Shannon and hear her story...
I am a 55-year-old survivor just trying to make the best of each day and opportunity. I am a retired medical professional, artist, and mother. I have had many other careers in my lifetime, such as executive secretary, small business owner, comptroller, administrative assistant, event coordinator, waitress, bartender....but somehow, I always seem to make my way back to artist. Of course, Mother is the best gift of a profession I have ever been awarded. You see, I was not 'awarded' motherhood easily. I had endometriosis on the extreme, and one of the reasons I am a survivor is because I survived a 9-pound ovarian tumor that destroyed my right ovary. Three years later, after many other treatments, procedures, and medications, I gave up. Once that stress was gone, I was finally blessed with a viable pregnancy. My awesome son, Evan, will be 22 in August.
At my age, (by the way, I never thought I would see past 40) I have learned to be thankful for what you have. I have been thru two separate occasions in my life where the loss was tremendous. Not just emotionally and financially, but also with the loss of property. The first time was to divorce, and the second was to fire. I have been thru multiple health crises, some near-fatal, and one near-fatal with a near loss of limb, but I am still here! I am just trying to discover my purpose! So, if telling my story helps just one person, then it has all been worth the journey.
We asked her if she had anything to say to others about aging, and this is what she had to say, "Aging, isn't it all just a ridiculous roller-coaster ride? I am 55, I look in the mirror and wonder who is that old lady? I have to laugh because I still think of myself as that 20 something gal that just wants people to be happy and things to be fair. I have learned that 'happiness' is a choice, but that 'want of fairness' hasn't changed, just the vessel that carries it. Some days I feel great, other days not so much. After my journey so far, I am just grateful to still be here... So basically, I just want anyone to know that during your journey, don't forget to be fair to yourself too. Life, It's not about the destination, but what you make of all the stops along the way. Be kind and those stops along your journey will be a blessing. By the way, roller-coasters are way more fun than the merry-go-round!!!"
Barbara Cliff is a minister of the gospel and Associate Pastor of World Covenant Ministries International in Brentwood, Tennessee. She received a degree in Theology in 2007 from the Beacon University of Ministry in Columbus, Georgia. She currently substitutes with Nashville Public Schools, Nashville, Tennessee. Barbara is the author of Seeds I Have Sown, the testimony of a sinner saved by God’s Grace; her first book. It is available online at Amazon and Barnes and Noble Book Store.
She facilitates Keys to Freedom study, through Mercy Multiplied Ministries under the umbrella of World Covenant Church, for those to receive personal deliverance in Jesus Christ. She and her husband James are the parents of three daughters and grandparents to one granddaughter, and they live in Nashville, Tennessee.
Meet Barbara and hear her story...
The Passing Away of My Mom and Dad
My Father, James Edward Young. Passed away on September 2, 1986. January of the same year, my dad called me and shared that he had the flu. He didn’t sound good over the phone. To my knowledge, he had never been sick. Not even a visit to a Dr’s office for treatment of anything. So when he called to say he was ill, that really scared me. I had a wonderful RELATIONSHIP with my mother. Dad and I had a special bond between us.
I can remember when I was around 12 years old. I gave my life to Christ. In the 1960’s we didn’t own a family car. I was to be baptized that next Sunday. Because we did not have transportation, my Dad got up early that Saturday morning and walked to locate someone to come by and pick us up to attend my baptismal service. He did not return home until much later that evening. Being older now, I view that as a huge sacrifice for me and the family. It is certainly humbling for me.
Since I was old enough to remember, my dad would always have a cough. He would always say he had a cold. In my mind the answer was understandable, and I never questioned him after that. However, I often wondered why he would be coughing up blood. I think he tried to hide that part, but I noticed what was happening. He would always still respond to me, “Honey it’s just a cold” do not worry about it. So, I stopped asking him and forgot about it. That was in 1963.
My father was a very hard-working provider. Over the years he provided for his family by way of sharecropping tobacco. All 4 of my brothers helped him in the effort.
He inhaled smoke in his lungs during the fall of the year because he had to build fires under the hanging tobacco, in a tobacco barn full of smoke. He did that for years. When I go the call about him being sick. I knew it had to be related to inhaling all those fumes during the latter years of sharecropping.
He was diagnosed with advanced-stage lung cancer. He went through many rounds of chemotherapy. He was a fair-skinned man. After he was done with the therapy he ended up with a very dark complexion. I saw my dad go from a very funny, strong, handsome, vibrate man, too frail, weak, and non-responsive. I was hurting so much that it was hard to be around him because I could not stand to see him sick. He was my Rock of Gibraltar. Because I had never seen him in that state it was literally making me sick to see him in that state of being. Looking back. That was so selfish of me.
On the morning of September 1, 1986, my dad, James Edward Young, was rushed to the hospital. He could not breathe. It seemed that the doctors worked on him for hours before we could see him. His face was full of distress. He was having the hardest time just trying to breathe. I left the hospital the next morning to make sure my daughters got on the school bus ok, then got back to the hospital. When I got back, he had already passed away. Which could not have been more than 2 hours later. I could not even make sense of this. My dad is gone. I was sick. The feeling of losing a loved one such as your parent is a terrible feeling. I lost my buddy, My comedian, My Father. I was miserable.
My Mother was our big focus after that. She had to be taken care of now and to make sure she was alright. After all, she lost a Husband. He was there way before I came on the scene.
My Mother, Ivory Dell Babb-Young. Passed away on December 20, 1991.
Mama as I called her was a quite sweet woman. When she smiled so would her eyes. When she did speak, you took notice to listen to what she had to say. She was a woman of profound wisdom, of which I never took appreciation for because I wanted things my way. Don’t misunderstand. I respected my mother to the highest. I was just stubborn. When it came to my mom and dad sharing with me anything about life, they were both closed lip. My mom was a Housewife. She did everything at home, including making her clothes and some for us as kids. She occasionally worked outside of the home. I remember helping her can vegetables, and what she did not can she would put in the freezer. She would use cabbage out of the garden and make her own sour kraut. She raised chickens, she would gather tomatoes and would make her very own Chow Chow. We would gather cucumbers from the garden, and she would make dill pickles and sweet pickles. My mother enjoyed turnip greens. We would drive a distance to find a field within the neighborhood, that had turnip greens, of which she was welcome to gather. The owners knew she liked them apparently. She would grab me up. We would go and bring them back home. Then, she prepared them for the evening supper. Oh gosh, she would cook them and they would smell so good cooking. She would have fried chicken, turnip greens, mashed potatoes, cornbread, and iced tea with plenty of lemons. Back then, that was my favorite meal and hers too. My mother was an excellent cook. And my dad knew it. My dad loved to eat. I believe my mother loved to feed him. She waited on my Dad hand and foot. When I think about it, she really spoiled him and he loved it.
We had our most intimate moments in those turnip green fields. When my dad planted a garden, it was big enough to feed the community. My mom would give away lots of vegetables. She did not like to waste anything. It was seven of us and we needed all we had. We never went hungry a day in our lives. She always had food prepared for us to eat.
Mama would wash and straighten her Mother’s hair every week. I remember my grandmother having long straight gray hair. She was gray at 30 years old. My mother was so attentive to her. I could tell they loved one another very much.
I believe my mother showed me how to die in dignity. By Mama being so quiet, you had to literally pull information out of her. She would share just enough, and then we would have to cross-examine her to get the full story. She was such a sweetheart. I loved her so much.
She was a wonderful mother. When I went out on my own, and then came back to visit her, I would just love to hug and kiss her. She loved it too. I remember when I came through the door her face would just light up!! Have you known a person to be so sweet you feel like you could just bite into them? I miss her so much. She gave birth to 7 kids. Four boys and 3 girls.
Maxine-Is full of wisdom-sweet
Jimmy- Is a quiet giant-compassionate
Bobby-Is a Comedian-friendly
Wilbert- Very Unpredictable-friendly
Barbara- Is Loving-Giving
Roosevelt- Is quite Sarcastic-funny
Yvonne-Can be Wild-Friendly
Mother’s health began to decline around 1988. She underwent a hysterectomy and they found cancer. They were not able to remove all of the cancer. She was diagnosed with Cervical Cancer. She also had a huge mass in her stomach area. She refused surgery and Chemotherapy. She did not want to stay in the hospital. Instead, she desired to be in the surroundings of her own home. I know she felt comfortable there. Mother never complained about anything. We made sure she was comfortable. We made sure that we carried out her wishes. I remember some outside family members did not agree with her decision and wanted her in the hospital. They did not know that we were just abiding by her wishes, not ours. There were enough siblings involved that we could just make that happen. We would take turns staying with her to make sure she was taken care of. She was never put in a nursing home. We were thankful. We were so blessed.
With the help of the Lord God almighty, we were glad to do that for her. She was comfortable being there at home. One morning, she became terribly ill with pain. We took her to the ER. They knew her and what was going on with her. Since she had refused surgery etc., she would go back home with medication for pain. She was also sent home with hospice.
I remember her telling me when I started coming on weekends to take care of her “Barbara I want to wash myself up. There will be a day when you come that I won't be able to do that.” This was new to me. Totally not like my father’s passing. Shortly after that, I came on a Saturday morning early to prepare her for her bath. She was not up. She asked me if I could wash her up. She had become weak and could not wash herself.
It was all about taking care of her. Making sure she was clean and comfortable. I did not know the first thing about doing that. I needed help. I finished up and she smiled. She said thank you so much. “I never thought one of my children would have to give me a bath”. I thank God for the added strength He provided me at the time.
Mama died a week later. I had stayed with her on Wednesday, and Thursdays December 18-19, 1991. Friday morning, I went back to Nashville to work. Almost as soon as I arrived at my job, my brother called me to say the nurse said Mama’s heart had slowed down, and she was near the end. One of my friends drove me back to her house, but she had already passed away.
My mother, soft-spoken, extremely sweet. I dedicate this memory to you. For being
My mother. I love you dearly. –Barb Ann
We asked her if she had anything to say to others about aging, and this is what she had to say, "Sometimes it’s very difficult to understand the natural changes that come with aging. I think it’s a mistake to try and compare yourself to another’s aging process. You were created beautifully by an amazing creator, God the Father. As we age our bodies begin to go through different stages. Some changes are not too cute to look at, but this is your body so we must try hard to keep our bodies maintained and beautiful. There are enough beauty products and adjustments in the market place to help you out. The natural way I believe is better. Exercise into the size you desire to be. It takes work to be and stay beautiful. Look in the mirror often. Don’t deceive yourself in believing you won't age. Some age beautiful and graceful, others may have a different outcome. Observe your body often during the aging process; the whole body. Even the part you try to hide from yourself. That’s a funny statement, but it’s true. Lastly, celebrate those women 50 and over that’s holding everything together and looking like a million dollars. It shows you are self-confident. I think it’s a beautiful gesture."
At Misty Westebbe Photography, we specialize in all your family photography needs! This includes maternity, newborn, baby, children, family, and high school senior portraits. Our Cottage Garden studio is nestled in downtown Franklin Tn on 2.5 acres, and services clients in Nashville, Franklin, Leipers Fork, Brentwood, Belle Meade, Green Hills, Thompson Station, Murfreesboro and more!