I woke up at 5:05 a.m., it was Friday the 5th and I felt grand. With the daily newspaper in my hands, I thought about Hispanic Heritage Month.

It seemed so natural to read about Emmy-winning actress America Ferrera, the 23-year-old star of "Ugly Betty." America was born in Los Angeles with her five sisters and a brother. She was named Hispanic Woman of the Year as a consequence of her devotion to the progress of Hispanics in film, television and music.

My childhood included the blessings of growing up with five unique and beautiful sisters. These ladies could be any successful American woman that you know, with a beautiful family. This is a tribute for all women, all gracious ladies. Real names will not be used.

Aaa and Bee are both active in the mainstream workforce. Aaa's earnings meet her modest daily needs, but at the same time she is happy. Aaa continues to be active in her community, even though she is a decade beyond retirement. Aaa keeps busy with volunteer work, her hobbies and full-time employment in an exciting work environment.

All my sisters have great smiles, yet Bee has a contagious, gorgeous smile with a youthful exuberance. Bee is a financial sage with the extensive experience that helps start-up hospitals succeed with those essential computer medical billing-procurement procedures.

Sea achieved financial independence about five or 10 years ago. Her work skills and industrious work ethic eventually rewarded her joys of being a world traveler. Australia, Canada, Japan, Italy, Mexico and Peru are some of her two-week vacations spots. Widowed at a young age, she proved Hispanic women could be successful in a major city with the right amount of survival savvy, confidence and resolve. Her greatest delight when we talk is all about her adult children and the family's spiritual awakening.

Dee lived at home until she was 25 by choice and already had substantial earning power. Dee helped pay the bills. She gave me my first car. She taught me that we do have control of our lives, of what we decide to say and do. We have free will with that ability to choose. Sometimes we just make the wrong choices and regret it.

Effe could have easily acquired her license as a registered nurse because of her experience in the medical field. Instead, Effe sacrificed her education, earning potential and career. She chose to provide care, transportation, medical expenses, and financial guidance as caretaker for our parents in their twilight years. This turned out to be a 24-7 job that was taken out of pure maternal love.

I continue to learn from my sisters. They are all my heroes. They are not perfect, but who is a perfect human being? Our Hispanic culture is extremely diverse and rich in many ways because of our ladies. But the "machismo" challenge lives on. Changes are slow. Still, my sisters represent the noticeable and documented growing number of influential women in America.