40+ and Fabulous Moving Foward, Fierce, Focused and Full of Life by Sondra Wright

Moving forward fierce, focused and full of life!

40+ and Fabulous Moving Foward, Fierce, Focused and Full of Life by Sondra Wright - Moving forward fierce, focused and full of life!

An Unexpected Surprise: 56, Grandmother, and Pregnant – OH MY!

6-23I’ve been reading a lot lately about later-life pregnancy and the fact that many women today are waiting until their late 30s and early 40s to have their first child. The media loves stories of over-40 celebrity moms like Halle Berry, who became pregnant for the first time at 41 and gave birth to her second child at 47; John Travolta’s wife, Kelly Preston, who was pregnant with their third child at the age of 47; and Geena Davis, who had her first child at 46 and two years later, gave birth to twins! These women seem to defy biology as medical science tells us the chances of getting pregnant decrease with age and the probability of a woman conceiving in midlife is slim to impossible. I’ve even heard Dr. Joshua Klein, medical director of Reproductive Medicine Associates of New York-Brooklyn, refer to a woman’s ability to conceive naturally in her mid-40s as “nearly miraculous.”

Well, hold on Dr. Klein, because miracles do happen, and this story of pregnant grandparents in High Point, NC, is indeed miraculous.

When my longtime friend Sara Harper phoned me with the jaw-dropping news, I was happy not to be in public because my mouth literally hung open. My reaction was the same as it had been for Sara when grandparents Sally and Charles Brown, members of a support group of relatives who are raising relatives’ children, stopped at her home recently to share their good news.

The Browns, ages 56 and 65 respectively, are the adoptive parents of three children, ages 7, 9, and 14. One is their biological grandchild, whom they’ve raised since birth.

“After a miscarriage 10 years ago, we gave up on trying to have children, and that was when we decided to adopt,” said Sally.

Sally received the news during her yearly physical exam, after explaining to her doctor she was noticing some changes in her body. She admits to having a good cry at first, but is happy and glowing after the initial shock, and believes without a doubt, “God is in control.”  Sally, an ordained minister who loves to fish, said she dreamt one night about catching a big fish and began to call around the next day to see who was pregnant. It never for a moment occurred to Sally it might be her.

Sally works in the Guilford County Schools Special Needs Department. Her husband, Charles, is employed with Flowers Bakery in Jamestown, NC, and has not stopped smiling since the news. As a matter of fact, unbeknownst to Sally, Charles said he had been praying for this miracle.


NC Woman Says Birth Control Blood Clot Related Health Threat is Real: Warns Women to Take Precautions

A. BriggsA real and dangerous risk to women’s health is the life threatening blood clots that can form as a result of taking birth control pills. My sister, Angela Briggs of Durham, NC survived a recent, eye-opening scare that she has decided not to remain silent about.

On January 5th I was experiencing a terrible pain in my calf that just would not go away. Constantly massaging what I believed to be a pulled muscle, I finally heeded the encouragement of a friend and went to the ER. They sent me home, unable to find any reason for the pain.

Eleven days later I was jolted out of bed at 2am with a crushing pain in my chest. The pain was so intense, it rendered me immobile for the next several hours. By late morning it had eased and I pressed my way to work. But shortly after it returned; a stabbing pain in my chest that intensified with each breath, accompanied by additional pain in my right shoulder and arm.

I’m a pretty strong person but this was undoubtedly getting the best of me so, I left work and proceeded to the nearest Urgent Care. Although the results of the EKG they conducted were normal, they suggested I head directly to the emergency room for additional testing.

At the emergency room a second EKG was performed, which was also normal, so the attending physician decided to test my blood work for clots. About 45 minutes later he returned to explain that my levels were not in the normal range (≤ 0.50 mcg/mL ), but expressed he believed there was no real concern. He ordered a CT scan “just as a precaution,” and said afterwards I’d be on my way home.

Well, the results of the CT scan came back, and I was NOT on my way home. I was admitted into the hospital after discovering that SIX blood clots had traveled to my right lung. The ER physician said in my condition ‘people don’t make it to the hospital.’ Thank God I’m not ‘people‘. Not only had I made it, but I had survived the excruciating 7-hour wait in the ER that day!

The following evening I was discharged home to give myself shots twice a day, followed by a three month course of Coumadin® therapy (oral blood thinners or anti-clotting medication), and was immediately taken off of birth control pills.

Now, for those of you who may read this and think, “surely she had some additional factors at play for clots to form,” let me address that by saying I am very active, exercise regularly, am not obese nor have I ever smoked. I have no family history of blood clots, do not have a single varicose vein, and am neither pregnant nor going through menopause. My ONLY risk factor, was that I was on birth control pills.

There are a lot of articles on the internet that lull women into a false sense of security by downplaying your odds of getting a blood clot from birth control pill use, “Your chance of dying from a blood clot related to your contraceptive is about one in a million.” “The chance you’ll get a blood clot is well below one percent.” “Most women taking estrogen don’t get clots.” And then my personal favorite, “The benefits of birth control pills far outweigh the risk of developing a clot.” Really? Ask any woman whose life has been dramatically changed by a blood clot if it were worth the risk. Ask any parent who has buried a daughter who died of a blood clot after taking birth control pills, if it were worth the risk!

It was not my intention to share my experience publicly, but it’s too important that my sisters get this… Birth Control Pills DO PUT YOU AT RISK FOR BLOOD CLOTS.

Please ladies, if you’re on the pill, do not ignore ANY pain you experience in your body. Get checked IMMEDIATELY! And even if your physician diagnoses you with something else, insist on getting your blood checked for clots



40 Plus and Fabulous to Celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8

Happy Women's Day background with text 8th March.Embracing every decade of life and challenging the status quo of what it means to be an “older” woman in America. That will be the core message on March 8 as 40 Plus and Fabulous celebrates International Women’s Day with its 3rd Annual FabU Academy Lifestyle Empowerment Conference. The event will be a day of workshops designed to promote positive aging and enhance the lives of women forty and over.

This year’s event takes place on International Women’s Day. The goal is to help women make smart, strategic decisions in areas such as health, retirement finances, family and eldercare, long term care planning, and life balance. Additionally, the long-term impact is to spark creativity and reignite passions, so that positive, significant contributions can continue to be realized through social responsibility and community service.

Sondra Wright is the CEO of 40 Plus and Fabulous and founder of the FabU Academy Women’s Empowerment Conferences. She is a baby boomer on a mission to inspire equality in aging. “It’s a perfect way to celebrate International Women’s Day. Women are living longer than men but are also more likely in those later years to experience poverty and discrimination. We have to prepare by making smart choices today, but we must also demand greater visibility and better access to resources and opportunities as we grow older,” said Wright.

The daylong event which features presentations, interactive workshops, dancercise, lunch, and a “Bring on the Bling” fashion show begins at 10 am and will be held at The Clarion Hotel, Swing Rd. The 40 Plus and Fabulous Woman of the Year Award will also be awarded, in recognition of the outstanding contributions of a woman within the local community. Registration is required at www.fabuacademy.com; there will be no on site or same day registration.

“Whatever age or stage if life you are in, you are sure to glean something from this event,” Wright said.

She said she believes being a woman over forty is not an over-the-hill ending, but a bold new beginning. “This is an occasion to acknowledge and celebrate past struggles and triumphs, and more importantly, to look ahead to the untapped potential and opportunities that await us as well as the future generations of women coming behind us.”

The conference is co-sponsored by MetLife of the Carolinas, J W Wright & Associates, M and M Meetings and Event Planning, and SRH Travel.

Want to go?

The FabU Academy Lifestyle Empowerment Conference will be held Saturday March 8, 2014, 10 am – 4pm at the Clarion Hotel, 415 Swing Rd., Greensboro NC. Registration is required at http://fabuacademy.com


Divas In Defense: Legit or Scam?

11-24Divas In Defense is a self-defense program offering personal safety and self-defense workshops for women and girls. The company also offers a Train The Trainer program; a licensing structure touted as a “Business In A Box,” allowing individuals with no prior self-defense expertise the opportunity to certify as trainers and build their own Divas In Defense business. But is the opportunity real, or just another business scam?

If you have landed on my site, chances are you were impressed with a self-defense class or perhaps something you heard on a Divas In Defense Trainer Opportunity Call. You’re probably considering joining the Divas In Defense team and just want to make sure you have the information you need before making your final decision, such as the viability of the organization, their reputation, the demand for the products and classes, and the strength of the brand in the marketplace. I want to congratulate you for doing some research.

Once you decide this is the business for you, you’ll be asked to sign a licensing agreement. Since this is a legally binding agreement, you’ll want to do everything in your power to protect your interest before signing on the dotted line.

As you ponder this business investment there are naturally a number of question you are asking yourself in determining if a Divas In Defense operation is right for you:

  • What am I really getting for the money
  • Will my investment and fees be worth the return
  • Will I receive all the benefits promised in my training and licensing package
  • Will they live up to the full agreement
  • Will they provide extensive training or just a sketchy marketing plan
  • Will they provide the level of support I need and expect
  • Is the system designed with MY success in mind
  • Are there any unexpected or hidden costs
  • How responsive will they be to me
  • Will I get everything that’s promised before, in, and after the agreement

The last thing you want is for your dream of business ownership to become a nightmare so no matter how friendly or professional the owners, management, or sales team may be, you should not rely solely on those conversations. After all, they’re not working for you. If your preliminary research has you really interested, engage a qualified attorney to help you do your due diligence, thoroughly analyze all documents and help you with further considerations like:

Default/termination. What happens if they breach the agreement? Will they make corrections within a reasonable time? What happens if it’s not corrected in a reasonable timeframe? What are the consequences?

Legal issues. What happens if there’s a dispute between the two of you? Will they work towards an amicable resolution? Will you end up in court?

Remember, your objective going in is to make money; not to get scammed or be made a fool of. Don’t jump in with your eye wide closed! This is a business decision you are making so protect yourself by doing your homework, gathering information and facts, and asking lots of questions. The next step; talk to someone, like myself, who is or has been a Divas In Defense trainer and licensee. Getting the honest feedback of someone who has invested their time and money should be a very important step in finding out if this company and opportunity is a legitimate and safe investment for you.



What Are You Thankful For?

11-20This time of year brings our hearts, our thoughts, and our minds around to the things we’re most thankful for; to gather with those we hold most dear, and count our many blessings.  The 40+ and Fabulous Women’s Empowerment team wanted to drop by and tell you what we’re thankful for this year. We hope you’ll take a moment to share with us too!


I am so thankful for the opportunity to touch the lives of so many women and girls through the work I am blessed to do with our FabU Academy Women’s Lifestyle Conferences and FabU Academy Teen Girl Conferences.  I am thankful for the many women who believe in, support, and help to move my dreams forward, because I  certainly could not do this alone. I am thankful that my mother has been healed of cancer.  Many would consider a diagnosis of stage IV lung cancer a death sentence, but today I am grateful that my mother is cancer free. I am thankful for the love of family and friends, good health, and the freedoms I enjoy as a United States citizen.

Sondra Wright


I am thankful for God putting the idea of Go Free Pants in my heart so one day I will be able to do an endowment for hospice.  I am also thankful for all the wonderful people who have come into my life and have supported me in my passion and my business, and among them is Sondra!

Tina Ketchie Stearns, owner Go Free Pants


With so much going on in this world today, I’m grateful for God’s mercy and protection. He has not failed to provide for me and my family. Statistically, I should be here, but I am all because of Him. I’m grateful for my tribe of family and friends.

Yolanda Johnson-Bryant, That Literary Lady


I am thankful for my wonderful family and friends, both old and new. And I am especially thankful for the opportunities that have been bestowed upon me this year, and I look forward to making 2014 a year I can offer opportunities to others.

 Myra Gaddy, CEO of J.O.Y.


I am grateful for God’s amazing love and grace; that every single day I have the opportunity to serve others through my work as an attorney and through my GenesisPure business spreading the message of healing and wellness.  I am so grateful for my wonderful, loving family and friends, for my health and the health of those I love.  This has been a wonderful year of growth and personal development and I am so grateful for my abundant, joyful life.

Sue Hunt, Attorney


In 2013 I am thankful for the challenges that have forced me out of my comfort zone. This is a phenomenal year of growth, both personally and professionally

Christine Moore, Co-Owner M & M Meetings and Event Planning


I am thankful for the fact that I am alive and still kicking. I am thankful for a mom who has lived a life of example to me that I hope to be a woman as she is currently at 90 years old. I am thankful for family even though we may not be perfect. but then who is. I am thankful for great friends who keep it real without skipping a beat.

My life is wonderful, faults and all and I am not going to let anything or anyone take my joy.

With this being the season of Thanksgiving it is my hope that my life can make a difference in someone else’s life and that whatever I can do to help, I will. It is not always about MONEY, give of yourself, your time and energy

 Halcyon McKnight, Leap of Faith – The HM Academy


What I Know Now

9-21People often tell me I look much younger that my years and beg me to tell them my secret. While I sincerely appreciate the compliment, I always tell them what they see on the outside is a direct reflection of what I feel on the inside. Here is how I maintain a perfect glow from the inside out.

Age Ain’t  Nothing but a Number

Who knew getting older really was getting better? I said to my husband the other day, I feel more beautiful now than I ever have I my life, and in response, he gave me a kiss and said, “You are.” What do I attribute that feeling to? I believe I have an inner peace and calm now that makes me stand a little taller, walk a little more purposeful, and love and accept myself (and others) in a whole new way.

The Value of Patience

Boy there was a time when I thought everything had to happen right then, right now, quick, fast, and in a hurry! But impatience often comes with a high price tag. I think being an entrepreneur for the past 16 years has really helped to calm that right now mentality. Operating a business takes a great deal of patience and an enormous amount of faith. The ability to take a step back, center yourself and wait patiently, is a gift.

Happiness is a Song

Nothing lifts my mood like music. When I’m enjoying the rhythm, the melody, the beat of a song, there is just no room to think about anything else. I am completely lost in that song.  So for me, total escape is always just a song (or a solo Blurred Lines dance party) away.

Go With the Flow

Things change, that’s just a fact of life. Resistance to change breeds discontentment, that’s another fact of life.   I don’t expect to look like I did at 18, at 27, or at 35. What I want is to be the best version of who I am today. That means spending a few extra minutes on my appearance, stretching my body before I move, and taking a nap to refresh and refocus. After all, I’m worth it!

Laugh ’til it Hurts

How blessed I am to have a partner I can laugh with. The world will never be on short supply of negativity but some people revel in it and I’m sorry but I do not enjoy hanging with the “Woe is me” crowd. You know the ones, even when you try to help them see things from a different perspective, they always hit you with a, “But…” I am fully convinced that there are just some people who love to be miserable. Me, I want to wake up laughing and go to bed laughing.

Nothing Rocks Like Giving Back

I’ve been a volunteer Guardian ad Litem for a few years and I love it. The court appoints me to a juvenile in the foster care system and I am that child’s voice in court; making sure their wishes and desires get heard, and assuring that their needs are met. We also do an annual teen girl conference to empower and embolden our future generations of women. When a child wraps their arms around you, it’s so pure and so genuine; there is no better feeling in the world.


Kudos to Kmart for Making Frugal Moms Look Hot!

kmart-yo-mama-hed-2013Although not a parent of school-aged children my heart still goes out. Most schools (in my area anyway) have gone to a Standard Mode of Dress (SMOD), which many argue is a good move with major benefits, like reduced costs for parents and less peer pressure for kids. However, a kid who wants to be mean can still call you out, and make the distinction between social class and financial situation if their blue or green SMOD polo shirt came from Abercrombie, and yours from a discount brand store. Petty? Yeah! But trust me, no thrifty mom needs (or deserves) this back-to-school battle, when shopping for kids who just want to fit in.

Fast forward to why I am so completely and totally in love with the Kmart back-to-school commercial. In what to me is a very clever spin on the unfortunate schoolyard bullying of today, and a fun nod to the good ol’ fashioned yo’ mama jokes of my day, moms who shop Kmart can score some major cool points (do they still say that?) with kids.

It all starts with what appears to be a playground dis, in which one student asks another about the origin of his sweatshirt, something that could potentially horrify a student in real life…

“Julio!” he commands, “I need to ask you a question!”

“What is it com padre?”

“Yo mama get dat hoodie at Kmart?”

“Yeah dog.”

“Well yo mama must have cavities cuz that hoodie is sweeeeet!” And all the other kids on the black top react with a lively round of, “Oooohhhh!”

Now it’s Julio’s turn to give it back…

“Oh yeah? Well yo mama’s like a tasty cheese plate, cus she saved a bunch of cheddar on dem Kmart jeans!” and  once again, another lively reaction from the crowd.

But hey, don’t let me spoil it for you. Just take a look for yourself…


NC Insurance Companies Employ “Gangsta” Tactics to Strong Arm Homeowners Into Higher Premiums

7-23For those of you who have ever opened your mail and felt bullied by big business, you will definitely feel my pain here. But hundreds of thousands of unsuspecting NC residents have opened their mail this week and felt the sting of being bullied by their insurance companies, in a letter that goes a little something like this….

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Sucker;

At East Coast Gangbangers Insurance we value your blah, blah, blah. We are issuing this notice as fair warning of a brutal assault against your homeowner’s premium. Your homeowners policy is about to renew and at that time we will offer you an exorbitant increase that you WILL NOT refuse.

Since we recognize that the new rate is HIGHER THAN THE RATES OF THE NORTH CAROLINA RATE BUREAU, we have devised a predatory price scheme that will allow us to legally screw you over, while remaining compliant with NC Statutes. In order to do this, we will require you to sign and return the enclosed form, agreeing to Gangbangers increase to your coverage, at a rate that exceeds what is allowable by the NCRB.

Your failure to sign and return the form to your Gangbanger agent will subject you to high risk losses including GUARANTEED CANCELLATION OF YOUR HOMEOWNERS POLICY.

If you have any questions, don’t call us – we don’t care!


The Screw You Over Division                                                                                                                                                                                                             East Coast Gangbangers Insurance

I don’t know how you feel about this, but I liken it to someone holding a gun to your head, and forcing you to sign the suicide note. Talk about forced compliance and a true imbalance of power!

This post is solely the opinion of it’s author, Sondra Wright, and does not express the views of East Coast Gangbangers Insurance Company or the North Carolina Rate Bureau.


Safety and Self-Defense: A Woman’s Right to Fight

7-17We hear more and more stories everyday about women being attacked; almost 2.5 million women are victimized in personal crimes each year, and very recently the World Health Organization has described violence against women as reaching ‘epidemic proportions.’ This widespread problem certainly does not mean we should live in fear, but it does mean that women can not afford to be reactive about their personal safety and protection. Statistically, a woman’s odds of surviving an attack are much greater if she fights back but women often lack confidence about fighting because they haven’t been professionally trained. It’s important for women to know that we have the basic human right to be safe, and that you CAN and SHOULD defend yourself. The good news is, you don’t have to master complex techniques or have years of martial arts training to be able to do that. Enrolling in a good women’s self-defense program can build your confidence and give you the assurance to know – that YOU ARE ABLE to do a number of things if attacked.

Your Best Protection

When most women hear the term self-defense they automatically think of learning how to land a solid kick to the groin. While learning some basic kicks and strikes is a component of self-defense, it’s not the most important. The first and most important component of self-defense begins long before there is ever any physical contact; it’ awareness. We know the bad guys are out there studying women and choosing their victims. But, they also want it to be easy. They’d prefer not to have too  much of a challenge, so they are looking for telltale signs of weakness and are much more likely to choose a woman who appears unaware of what is going on around her, than a woman who appears confident and alert. So just knowing who and what is around you at all times, is one of the best ways to protect yourself and avoid physical contact altogether.

Everyday Weapons

It’s important to stress that if faced with an attacker your ultimate goal is not to win a fight; your ultimate goal is to get away to safety; to be the survivor.  So to that end, I want to stress running, as one of the best self-defense techniques out there. Having some non-lethal self-defense weapons on hand like pepper spray, is always a good idea. But women were born with some natural, innate defense mechanisms that we’ve been socialized, as good little girls, not to use.  And yes in polite civilization we wouldn’t dare bite, scratch, or poke someone in the eye. But I submit to you that there is nothing polite or civil when it comes to being attacked or defending yourself. So biting, scratching, a poke in the eye, everything goes when it comes to protecting yourself and your family. Plus, these are all techniques that can catch an attacker off guard, perhaps momentarily throw him off guard and present you with an opportunity to escape to safety.

Tips For College Women

Students will soon be heading back to school and violence against women on college campuses – this is a huge concern. Research suggests 1 in 4 college women today, that’s 25%, have been victim of rape or sexual assault. Because these attacks are so grossly underreported, we can be pretty sure the actual numbers are even higher than that.  So I encourage young women to establish some non-negotiable ground rules for your personal safety and protection:

  1. Avoid walking on campus alone at night. Becoming comfortable with your campus surroundings can give you a false sense of security. Walking alone at night from the from the library, work, class or the gym only increase your chances of being the target of an attack.
  2. Understand that awareness is your best defense so you must be alert and observant at all times. This means no dual ear buds in your ears; it is imperative you are able to hear what’s going on around you, and no texting while walking; your head and eyes should be up and scanning the environment.
  3. Remember to walk with confidence. You want to exude an air that says to anyone who may ne watching, that you would be extremely difficult to get.
  4. Always trust your instincts. If it doesn’t feel right, it’s NOT right, so get the heck out of there!!

Practicing simple habits such as these can greatly reduce your chances of being the target of an attack.  And please ladies, report any incidence of violence that you see or experience to your campus safety immediately.


Who’s Behind Your Mask? A Tale of Insecurity and Authenticity

Behind The MaskRecently I was asked the question, “If you could write a letter to your 18 year old self, what would you say to her?” My response was that I would tell her we’re all afraid, to put her big girl panties on, and just step out and do the thing.

See, the truth that I didn’t always know is behind all the flawless makeup, polished appearances, erect postures, impeccably coifed hair do’s, titles, degrees, perfect articulation and diction, is a woman who feels like a fraud and is totally afraid of getting called out as a fake. She is afraid she’s not a good enough mother, and is concerned you will discover her secret. She is afraid she is not a supportive enough wife, and fears you’ll uncover her weakness. She suspects real and imagined critics doubt her position was earned by her own merit, and works exhaustive hours to prove them wrong. She is reluctant to speak out against social injustice, for fear of isolating her network. She is afraid that her good isn’t good enough, because no matter her accomplishments, society has a way of making us all, at some point, like we just don’t fit in.

Too often in our lives, there is a disconnect between what we feel and what we do. We work when we feel like resting, we say yes when we want to say no, we slow down when we feel like we have more to give, we’re quiet when we want to speak up. We sacrifice who we really are and what we really want to the judgmental eyes and critical thoughts of others. I remember all the nights I worked into the wee hours of the morning, never enjoying a television show with my husband, and wearing the dark circles of sleep deprivation like a badge of honor because I believed that’s what productive people did. My quality of life and my relationships suffered as I made less and less time to nurture bonds, believing there would be plenty of time for that after I reached my goals. There was no balance and I believed I was totally justified in not seeking balance, after all, “Successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do,” right?

I was wearing the Superwoman mask at the expense of things that were much more important in my life, like sleep, family and friendships, and self-care. One day, after months of living and breathing a project, my young niece, clearly frustrated at not having seen me in a while, asked in the curt, perturbed innocence of a child, “What’s so important about it anyway?!” And I looked into her face, realizing in that moment, there was nothing more important than spending time with her, and the time I was losing, chasing whatever I was chasing, I could never get back. I drove down to the League of Justice, turned in my cape and mask; kept the fly boots because they were too cute, and denounced my Superwoman role forever.

I still believe in hard work, but when I gave myself permission to rest, relax and restore, something truly amazing and completely unexpected happened; I had also made room for my creativity to soar. And, as a result, I am able to accomplish more with less time and effort. Today, eight hours of sleep at least four nights a week is my new normal, and I have a handful of favorite TV shows that I try not to miss. The best part is, I am completely out of the closet about making time for rest, making time for family and making time for me, and I don’t care who knows it or what they think about it.

We all have insecurities, but I believe at some point we all have to find the courage to stand up and say, “This is my life doggone it and I will live it the way I choose. I don’t need anyone’s approval nor do I owe any explanations about my choices to anyone who does not pay my bills. I take full responsibility for my life and my happiness, and what people think or say about me is none of my business.”

Here’s hoping you can find the power to live your truth.