Sunday, September 25, 2022

WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

 WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD


Just as the song from Louie Armstrong states it really is a wonderful world. Look around. The lyrics are still true. 
I see trees so green, red roses too
I see them bloom for me and you.
And I think to myself what a wonderful world.
I see skies so blue and clouds so white.
The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night.
And I think to myself what a wonderful world.

The colors of the rainbow so pretty in the sky
Are also on the faces of people going by.

I see friends shaking hands saying how do you do.
They're really saying I love you.
I hear babies crying, I watch them grow.
They'll learn so much more than I'll ever know.

And I think to myself what a wonderful world.

I can listen to the news and hear other things in the world that are not so wonderful. What we all must remember is to concentrate on putting one foot in front of the other one and moving on. There is lots of joy out there. We sometimes have to definitely acknowledge these hideous events and remember that what faces us in a moment will remain with us the rest of our lives. The one thing to not forget is this important message: "Even damaged, even fraying at the seams, the world remains stunning and full of stubborn wonder."  Megan Mayhew Bergman

This quote is what continues to make the world go around. It is what helps each and everyone of us put that one foot in front of the other and move on to a more positive world. Our world really demonstrates this to us again and again by continuing to shine and thrive despite us. It is designed to heal itself if we can just remember all is change. Listen to the stubborn wonder and have faith and trust.

Things are not always just black and white. There is a much larger gray in between. Rules are not always black and white. That is much too subjective. I have to always ask myself if there is something that I can let go of. I do not believe it to be healthy to be so stark and fierce. Closing my eyes and letting the breeze in to blow away the negative vibes. Not forget them. Just to let go enough to continue on in the world with more positive thoughts.
Here is an example:


There was a beautiful well-versed lady who always woke each morning at 8, dressed stylishly from head to toe, and put on her make-up along with completing her hair fashioned appropriately. After her husband died, she wanted to sell the house and move into a retirement community. It all made perfect sense.

The day that she was ready, she sat in the lobby of the Village that she was moving in to while they prepared her room. When they told her that it was ready, she wheeled her walker with the employee toward the elevator as she was being told of the room's set up. She exclaimed with excitement that she loved it. The worker seemed surprised and said to her that she had not even seen it yet.

This remarkable woman stated that it did not matter. Happiness is something you decide over time. Whether or not I like my room doesn't depend on how the furniture is arranged, it depends on how I arrange my mind. I have already decided that I like it. I make this decision every morning when I wake up. I have the choice; I can spend the day in bed, going through the difficulty I have with my body parts that don't work, or get out of bed and be thankful for the parts that do work.

She continued on that every day is a gift and as long as I open eyes, I will focus on the new day and the happy memories I've stored just for this time in my life. Happiness is like a bank account in that you withdraw from it what you deposit. Her advice was to always deposit a lot of happiness into your memory account. According to her (and I believe her to be a smart lady) there are five simple rules to remember:

 




Sunday, September 18, 2022

LISTENING TO MY OWN ADVICE

 LISTENING TO MY OWN ADVICE


This week there is no weekly blog. Sometimes we all have days like no others. Just hard to get motivated. Feeling a little burned out? Really not knowing why and still so wanting to go by my "TO DO" list. 

I just thought that it would be a wonderfully energetic day and it turned out not to be. So instead of getting all 'antsy' with myself, I decided to just let it be. My husband and I did work together to get on the slow cooker pork chops and fresh hull peas. We did even change the sheets. Finally, we are getting the routine down with a split king size Sleep Number bed, which we needed lessons on how to put on the sheets after washing them. (I kid you not!) 

My one BIG accomplishment was to do my physical therapy routine, read and watch football. And then to let my readers know that this is all of the blog I can write today and you know what? It will all be OK!



Sunday, September 11, 2022

IS THIS MEMPHIS?

 IS THIS MEMPHIS?

The last couple of weeks have been very hard in Memphis. We have been on national and international news for all the wrong reasons. Murders happen here, just as in other big cities and even out in the suburbs across the country. In my opinion, there are several reasons. 

First of all, guns are just way to easy to get. Any 18 year old can go into a store and buy one. (Yet they can't go into a store and legally buy alcohol.) And if they don't go buy a gun, they can easily steal one or get one on the black market. In this state, no one needs a permit to carry a weapon. There are no extensive background checks. It is just too easy.

Secondly, so many children grow up without a role model. Some single moms do a great job while others are struggling with poverty and how they are going to get food on the table and a roof over their head (and all of this with 4 or more little ones running around). This is where I totally believe in mandatory Pre-K programs. At least they are in schools being taught social skills and early academics. Schools can't do it all alone. It really takes home supervision and curfews.

When small, petty crimes take place have strict punishment. Vandalism, shoplifting, or stealing in the schools or neighborhood should have consequences. I am talking community services - so many hours for the crime. Teaching early that crime has consequences surely would send a strong message to most.

Then, when the crimes become more severe and involves Juvenile Courts, there should be programs in the quarters for some academic time and also for rehabilitation time. Many of these children do not have empathy. They have never known it. In the Memphis area, as well as other cities, they turn to gangs. They feel a part of something. It does not matter if it is good or bad, it simply means they belong to something. This is not where empathy is learned.

Let me ask you if you have ever been sequestered in a court case as a juror for a murder case? I have. It was horrible. I saw these teenagers being called up to testify how to become a gang member. They had to kill a rival gang member. They spoke as if killing a human being was nothing more than stepping on a bug to squash him out. If that was not enough to open the jurors' eyes, we learned that this was not the first time they had been through the doors of Juvenile Court. It truly did and still does seem to be a "revolving door!" Now they were in 201 Poplar. 

Who knows? If while they were in Juvenile Detention, perhaps they could have been saved from going through and causing all of the pain to so many families. I know that as jurors, we were stared at by the accused as if they wanted to come after us. One young man, even with shackles on and handcuffs started to ram himself into one of the guards and they escorted the jurors out on the other side quickly. It was quite scary. We were there for a week. Breakfast and lunch served to us there, while each night we were escorted out to a van by two guards and taken to nice restaurants to eat. We just could not talk to anyone in the restaurant. Once sequestered, we had to turn over our cell phones, our hotel rooms had no radio and no tv. If a juror wanted to read, the book(s) had to be approved. No books on crime scenes, etc. To be honest, I felt like I was in prison. 

Once the lawyers were finished with their cases, we the jurors were sent to deliberate. I thought it was cut and dry. Wow, was I wrong. There were people on the jury who felt sorry for these gang wanna-be boys. I did feel sorry, but not to the extent of opening the door and letting them free to go and do it again.

This is what we have just had in Memphis. It was a week like none other here. And in both circumstances, Eliza, a teacher and mother of two young children out for a morning jog, kidnapped and murdered by a man who had kidnapped before, served some but not all of his time and then got out just to rape again and had not been charged, even with DNA evidence. He should have been behind bars. Just as this was going on there was another man who decided to carjack cars and go on a wild shooting spree. He was out with a warrant for his arrest for first degree murder. My question is why was he out? He ended up carjacking several cars, shooting 6 random people all over the city, 3 of which died, and our amazing police, sheriffs, FBI and TBI officers were still working on Eliza's case of where the murderer hid her body. 

So this is 901 - Memphis, TN. Yes, it is. We need to embrace it. We need to work together in a spirit like none other before. Things can't change if we don't make it happen. We can't be in denial. Just remember that it is all not just here in our city. A man hijacked a small plane and threatened to fly into a Walmart in a small city in MS. He was not even a pilot. (Luckily they did get him down safely). Suburbs of larger cities, such as Memphis, Chicago, New York City, and others have had major crime activities too. Memphis could be the start of a new era trying new ways. 


 The saying that, "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results," from Albert Einstein is so true. We must not let this just pass. Let's go to work now.

Through social media, a run in Memphis a week after Eliza took her last jog was scheduled to take place. About 100 were expected. Instead, it was more like 1000 and it was not just in Memphis. Joggers around the country did this very same thing. As tired and as overwhelmed as our police and sheriff officers were, they rode along on bicycles and flew in a helicopter overhead to be sure all were safe. 

My plea is to not let this be the end. Let's get busy changing our ways of doing things to stop this kind of violence. I love Memphis and it really does upset me when I hear others say they are moving out due to all of the violence. My question is where are you going to get away from it all?

 Instead, let's put our spirits together to try to change things for the better. 

Saturday, September 3, 2022

LABOR DAY

 LABOR DAY


Labor Day became the official day to honor those working Americans (and Canadians) in 1894. I may be retired, however, I still am working as a writer and have some wonderful family plans this Labor Day weekend. So go out and enjoy it yourself. You deserve it. We plan on having lots of fun, even if the rain comes in. Let it be!

Saturday, August 27, 2022

HOW IMPORTANT IS IT THAT MY 'TO-DO' LIST IS COMPLETED?

 HOW IMPORTANT IS IT THAT MY 

'TO-DO' LIST IS COMPLETED?


We all have 24 hours in a day. That can't be changed. What can be changed is how we spend the time available to us. It is a matter of prioritizing. I am not saying that it is not a good thing to have a 'to-do' list. I am the QUEEN of making these lists. And, now I will openly admit if I did not get through all of my list, I would just mentally beat myself up, even in retirement. I knew that this had to change. The world did not come to a grinding halt if I did not get something on my list complete. There is always tomorrow. No little elf is going to come in and magically do it for me overnight.

Now let me be clear on this topic. I am now retired. Really, I do not know how I worked and still managed to get things done around the house, along with appointments and just ME time or OUR time. Let's back up and give me a chance to talk about the 'to-do when working in the 9 - 5 world. (I say that lightly because my world, nor my husband's world was 9 -5. It was more like 7am - 5 or 6pm. I am sure we were not alone.) 




There comes a time when we had to make decisions. My way may have been different from his or yours. That is ok. Just find your own comfort zone. I put a plan for my next day in place at the end of each day. That way, I knew if it was urgent to be at work at 7 or could I scrunch it in at 7:15? It was a matter of prioritizing based on what my supervisors wanted and their deadlines. If it happened to be too much for one person to handle then I had a choice of delegating something out or giving them a call to ask which was highest on their priority list since I could not possibly do it all.

There has to be some time in the day to have some ME time. For example, my husband used walking the campus at work for some walking meetings. It gave him the exercise that he needed, the fresh air, as well as talking out strategies for marketing. The expression of killing two birds with one stone fits this plan very well. For me, as an assistant principal, I liked to just wander into classrooms and read to some students, or just watch, not evaluate. Kids really do bring out the best in others and can make us see how there are times to just find our own happy moments. It puts everything else on hold for a moment and that is empowering. 

Always find a way to choose joy and happiness within your days. My desk is full of petty post-it notes of do this and do that. It does not mean that I couldn't take a moment to breathe and feel joy. Doing something creative like writing my blog and soon finishing up my novel and also the pictures that I have wanted to paint are all things that bring me joy. When I taught first grade and the thing to do was Center Work, I had a station set up of the Must-dos and the Want-to-dos. Each student could make their own choices. I thought it was a great skill to learn. I was always sure that there were enough Must-dos so that I could check to be sure each child grasp the skill. The other to-dos were for fun, like finishing up a puzzle, an art work project, the dress-up center etc. 

It all boils down to how we spend the time we have. We all can't just go around and not do what does have to eventually be completed. It is all about thinking about time...and how we want to spend it. 

First of all accept that your to-do list will never be done one time in any one day. If it is then, by golly-gosh, go celebrate.

Secondly, learn to say, NO more often. You will regret it less when you learn this rule. Breaking up focus time into larger blocks of time to not be distracted is another good way. After that time is your time for a while. It is a matter of trying to do everything on your list before you can have any time for what you truly want to do.




This is my perfect to-do list! Try it. You may like it?

                                 



 

Saturday, August 20, 2022

SHOWING UP FOR ME

 SHOWING UP FOR ME


There is something to be said about the phrase, "Showing up for yourself." There is a written definition of what that means. It is most definitely being there for me first. That may sound selfish. It surely is not. There is no way I can be there for others if I have let my cup become empty because I have been too busy filling up everyone else's. Plus it is important to show up for myself in the same way that I would do for others. It is extremely easy to show up for others before taking care of myself. Sort of like a bad habit that is way too simple to get in to. It could be my colleagues, my children, my spouse; whoever I prioritize over my own needs. It means they are only getting bits and pieces of me and so am I. There is so much more of me to give if I do not empty my cup only to fill others. One example is thinking about the directions that the flight attendants give on a jet ready to take off. They show you that if the oxygen masks come down it is important to take care of yourself first, then help those around you if they need assistance. Same principle that I am writing about.


It is a matter of knowing what my purpose is by asking myself what it is that I want. I must be specific. A journal is a great place to write about this and helps me to become more centered so that I can be there for others without emptying my soul only to others without first taking care of me. I want to be able to offer all of my expression to those that I love without depleting myself.



The book by Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love is a good example of a place to start for each one of us. Now I don't know about you, but I can't go off on a trip around the world for a year to find my spiritual self. Also, others thought that it was a selfish thing to do. I say that we should not be too quick to judge others. For me, I would not be able to stand being off on my own for a year, traveling around the world without my husband, children and grandchildren, furbabies...it is just not who I am, nor even care to be. So to each their own. Maybe my issues are not as deep as this author's. Perhaps? It all boils down to finding my relationship with myself. I feel that I do not need to go off for a year to accomplish that. I use my journal to write what I feel. It is my own personal quest. Each person must find their own way and it is not being frivolous or irresponsible or selfish. I also use a meditation time to find my own realities that I want to work on. 




For many women, it has been brainwashed within their minds that they are not supposed to desire anything beyond home and family. For most of us, that is not enough. And that is perfectly okay. Find what will be your happy place and go there to discover what you need - I use that phrase metaphorically. As my HAPPY PLACE is the beach. Out on a patio, sipping a glass of wine, listening to the waves coming in and feeling the ocean breeze. All I have to do is imagine I am there and I am. That is when I do my best meditating on what it is that I want out of life. This is not like a spa vacation. I know that I deserve to search and figure out who I am and what I want. We all do. It is like a road to our own freedom of inner peace.


It simply is carving out a special time for yourself. Peace of mind does not require peace and quiet. The crashing of the waves is what does it for me. It is different for each person. Up on a mountain top is not going to bring inner peace to me, however, for others it might be just the thing. Examining where my turmoil within my mind is and what I can do about it is the important thing.

 


First things first. Know where your happy place is and what it is. Then know this:


Show up for yourself. Doing what I know that I need and want to do will bring me joy and my universe will come together. ALWAYS!

Sunday, August 14, 2022

GEOFF CALKINS IS MEMPHIS


 GEOFF CALKINS IS MEMPHIS

If you live in Memphis, you would have to live under a rock somewhere to not know about Geoff Calkins. He has been a part of Memphis for well over 20 years. Geoff is a sports journalist, but there is so much more. He writes human interest stories like no one else can. He gets to the nitty gritty - the love - the heart of the matter; whether it is about his own parents, his adorable Bernese Mountain dogs, or special unknown facts about Memphis athletes.

Geoff Calkins was born the 8th child of 9 children to Evan and Virginia Calkins. They also had 30 grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren. Both were physicians and were amazing in their own rights. Evan, his father, lived until 99 1/2 years of age. He stopped seeing patients at age 93. This is a picture of Evan Calkins sailing at age 98. 



Also, at age 98 and his Mom, Virginia, at age 94 went to Disney and apparently loved it. Who wouldn't? They were so special to each other and took care of one another through their 73 years of marriage. Evan brought her coffee each morning and had a system where she could wake him if she needed to in the middle of the night. He was more physically able to get around than his wife. It was one tragic night that he went down the stairs and fell which caused his death. Somehow Virginia did manage to get help when he did not come back. 

Let's think about this for a moment. How many women in her day and age went on to be physicians and raise 9 children? That is one very amazing woman. At age 96, after being vaccinated what did she want to do? Well, go to Disney of course. So off they went one more time. When Geoff wrote about his parents it was an inspirational memorial to both of them. Beautiful to read. His parents were full of Grit & Grind and this was most definitely passed on to Geoff.



He worked for The Commercial Appeal and went on to The Daily Memphian. Geoff won the Best Sports Columnist in the US from the AP. Also, he has a radio show. I would say that he made the right decision after graduating magna cum laude from Harvard and then Harvard Law School and practicing law for three years to move on to his love of writing. He does have a book out called After the Jump, which does delve into more of his sports journalism.

On a personal note, he has three sons and also beautiful Bernese Mountain dogs and focuses on the positive energy of Memphis. 

Even when talking about the heat of Memphis summers. Gotta love it!



He wrote about Sidney, an off-spring of one of his own pups and how Sidney was never trained to be a therapy dog, however...Sidney went to work with his owners and calmed everyone daily at Crosstown. When it became time for Sidney to cross the rainbow bridge his owners made sure that he was not in pain and that he saw only their smile. He got a slurp of whipped cream and went on to a pain-free life. After a while they did get Mimsy, another Bernese Mt. dog. She is not quite ready to take over Sidney's job...maybe soon. They love her just the same.

Even with the FedEx-St.Jude Golf Classic going on he found a way of helping others let go of the LIV golfers who deserted the PGA for the money of Saudi. Then all of a sudden some of them wanted a judge to rule in their favor to let them play in Memphis. Hmmm...in my opinion you can't have your cake and eat it too. As Geoff wrote FedEx-St.Jude is so much more. It is not about the money. It is about saving lives. Geoff wrote about how each year a child is chosen to have their name painted on a FedEx Purple Eagle jet. This year it is Riley. How special is that?




Another Memphis story related to FedEx Tournament was all about Will Drennan. He had volunteered at FedEx as a standard bearer for a number of years. From all that speak of him, he was just a good guy all around. He coached flag football and a torrential downpour came along at one of the practices and there was a gully-washer. He saw a child near the water. He quickly jumped in to try to save the child, as did the child's father. They made it out but Will did not make it. He was a hero larger than life. Saturday and Sunday, the volunteers at the Tournament had a purple heart for each volunteer to wear to honor him. Will's own son does not have a Dad now. His son, Hayden may have lost his Dad but all of his friends say that they will be there to help care for Hayden and that now he will have 12 - 15 uncles to help take charge. They will never let him forget that his Dad was a HERO. FedEx volunteers are so very special. Many taking vacation days just to work there. It takes so many. When I watch the Tournament, I must say that when I moved here, I was very lucky to be asked by a neighbor who knew my interest in golf to be one of the volunteers who walk with a team of golfers to keep their score and talk into the booth about what is happening out on the course. It was a nerve-racking volunteer job but one I cherished. Even when the golfers, their caddies and I walked into the trailer to announce our scores. I could breathe after my scores matched theirs. Then I would receive an autographed golf ball...or my FedEx visor signed. How special it is to be a volunteer for such a miraculous tournament. Like no other! 

Another story that does have a FedEx glow to it. Mike Glenn had worked for 35 years at FedEx. He was an EVP and was brilliant at marketing. He had 3 children. His wife, Donna and Mike had their first child on Christmas and the nurses put the newborns in a stocking. It was not long after that when they learned about the life facing this precious child. They worked their way through it for many years and went on to have two more children. It was now a time in his life that he had to make a tough decision. He knew what needed to be done and after talking it through with Fred Smith, the outcome was announced. He needed to be at home helping to care for his child. He was there when he could be while working but felt it was all on his wife. Their daughter was getting stronger and harder to control when she went into uncontrollable seizures. Afterwards she would apologize for what she could not control. He continued to take her out and always had a bag with him to help restrain her when needed. He knew that he was needed to be able to focus on his family. As it all turned out, the name of her disease was discovered and it was not something that he and his wife could change and she needed to be placed in a home nearby for her safety. They are able to go and see her a few times a week. Sometimes, even taking her out for a meal. And, they are there for their other two children.

Mike Glenn was a part of getting the Grizzlies here to Memphis. The stories that Geoff writes go on and on. I would like to end with a touching story. If you were one who did not follow the Grizzlies in the NBA playoffs then you missed the way the team came together. Part of it was due to Ja Morant. He was a HUGE motivator. His smile was infectious. His style was unmistakable, both on the court and off. His daughter was always a big part of his life. Someone snapped a picture of him holding her with all the love that a father could share with his child. A local artist saw this picture and started sketching it. Somehow it got on Twitter and Ja saw it. He absolutely wanted this picture in the worse way. Matt Terhune was the local artist who sketched it. It should be titled, "LOVE."


I believe that just like my last blog, Love Actually, Love Is All You Need. That is why Geoff writes the way he does.