Sunday, December 19, 2021



You may be asking quit what? I have come to the conclusion that in reality, my life will be happy and I have made a choice to be joyful if there are 5 things that I remember to quit doing. Sounds easy. I can attest that it is not always easy. If I remain aware of them, it does help. So, I thought that I would share. 

Who knows the exact key to success? It is different for most of us; however it is a for sure thing that the key to failure is trying to please everyone. It simply can't be done. If I just believe in myself and do what I know is right for me, then I know it makes me a happier and more positive person. If others don't like it, then let them be. As I have stated before, happiness is a choice. Life is just not about pleasing everybody.

There seems to be a fear of the unknown and of being judged which leads to being shamed. It is a good lesson for me to stop regretting past choices. They are over. There is nothing wrong with asking others for help if I need to have a sounding board to talk out where I am and where I want to be. 

Really, I have to state to myself to remain happy then live in the present. Forget the past and as for the future, that is something to work and look forward to. If I ground myself in the present and stop putting myself down for what I have perceived as past mistakes then I am a much happier person. To dwell on the past is a way of just overthinking which I can tell you is a way to go in a downward negative spiral. I like to call it decluttering my mind and focus on the present.

A very good way that I use to visualize staying grounded in the present is to look at this illustration below:

I do not want to hold the honor of creating problems that really were not there to begin with. 

Nothing is wrong with thinking through my situations, like the statue of The Thinker. Where it all goes wrong is if I decide to plop myself down and overthink my situation. Mindset shifts will take me out of there. I like to find things that make me laugh. It can be a story, a book, something on social media...really the list goes on forever. Just like finding what I am thankful for. Most of the time these gratitudes are right under my nose.

Learn to laugh!


Sunday, December 12, 2021



The holidays can be as warm and fuzzy as you want them to be or they can be a horrible nightmare full of stress. I have come to the conclusion that I am over allowing our holidays (talking about Thanksgiving through the New Year) to add stress to our lives. Looking ahead and planning is the key. It can be easy to lose yourself in the shop till you drop syndrome and bake until you have everyone's favorite dish completed for the major holidays. You may be asking yourself, how did I manage this?

Actually, the idea formed in my mind throughout the pandemic. The times that we could not get together allowed me to see that it is ok to allow more "me time" and do what I want. Why? Well, actually there was no one to stop me? The vaccines had not been out and we could not be together. A new plan and way of thinking came forward.

It was just my husband and our two dogs. We used the phone and FaceTime to communicate. Along with shipping gifts to one another and opening while on Zoom. FINALLY! We had what I consider a close to normal Thanksgiving this year. We had just the two of us for the actual day that is Thanksgiving. Steve and I did none of the cooking. We ordered from a wonderful place that makes traditional Thanksgiving meals that actually (in my humble opinion) were as good as I could make them. We purchased small amounts and it was so worth it.

The next day, our daughter and granddaughters who live close by came over with our one son who lives nearby. Everyone had been vaccinated. The granddaughters' Dad worked the night shift at the busiest package delivery company in Memphis so he needed to try to sleep some before the next shift. Still, I chose to take the stress off and enjoy everyone. I put together a charcuterie board.

The board had things that I normally keep in the fridge, plus with a little thought of my grocery list, I was able to add some items that I know everyone would like. The major thing to note is that there was no cooking involved. I did need to put the brie in the oven with the fig and walnut topping in for a few moments. No big deal.

I think this was the most relaxed Thanksgiving we have had in years. Not a lot of dishes, pots and pans to keep someone in the kitchen washing and scrubbing. It was delightful. At some time in the future, we may end up with larger groups of our family and that will be fine. There still will be prioritizing how to make it work so that I am not stressed. Many dishes will be bought in larger portions and other things will be made ahead at our own time. It is a great way to keep negative feelings at bay. It means do not set unrealistic expectations for myself. 

  • Get the sleep that I need 
  • Stop for a cup of tea 
  • Eat as healthy as possible 
  • Take those vitamins
  • Schedule those spa days
  • Do those workouts 
  • Close my eyes and meditate  
  • Write in my journal reflecting on what I am grateful for
  • Read and paint 
  • Keep the smooth jazz playing on Miss Alexa
  • In other words, be creative

Dashing through the snow does not happen often here in Memphis at this time of year but I think you get my drift. Dashing off everywhere to pick up this and that...just adds to the stress. Why dash off anywhere? I try to shop locally and have it delivered and do it at my speed. Not the shop till I drop mode:

Wrapping as we go and writing down what has been received is a positive way to keep track of what has been purchased, has arrived and has been wrapped.

Also it is a matter of good planning from last Christmas. All of the Christmas decorations are in one easy location that the two of us can manage. Plus in boxes that are not too heavy to lift. This includes the wrapping paper, cards, bows and tags. It was a breeze this year. I must give some credit (most of it, actually) to one daughter who helped take downstairs the boxes that I pointed to that would be needed. What a trooper she is! Plus, when all was down, Steve and I could take our time to decorate. 


One more method that I incorporated on taking good care of ourselves through what could be an otherwise stressful time is that we BOTH have December birthdays. This year we decided to splurge and NOT buy gifts for each other. Instead we went to a fabulous dinner place and watched the sunset over a lake. Treated like royalty. The shrimp and grits and crab cakes with corn brulee were delicious. Then, because it was our birthdays, they brought out two small ramekins of a raspberry creme brulee with candles. How special!

Then to top it all off, the next day we had reservations at the famous Peabody Hotel for High Tea. Again...treated like royalty. Started off just walking around looking at everything. The lobby, as always, was full. When we made it over to the restaurant we seemed to have received the best seat in the house. A curved bench seat for two facing out at all of the other tables. Perfect!

My ending question is:
Do you have a plan to take good care of yourself through not only the holidays but for the New Year?

Sunday, December 5, 2021



"Stress is an ignorant state. It believes that everything is an emergency. Nothing is that important."  
Natalie Goldberg

This is exactly how our brain is wired. I know that it is time for me to have a one on one conversation with myself to take back control. My brain is just like everyone else's brain. It is there to steer me from danger and that sometimes means to give in to the worries. A good question that I ask myself is will it help and change things if I worry. The answer is always a loud NO! There must be action. Take a thinking moment to reflect on the stress that is bothering me then focus on what would be the appropriate way to solve the problem.

First, I tried a little test in a magazine that had questions to ask myself and based on my answers it determined that I did not try to avoid my worries, nor did I get stuck in a rut mode with my worries and best of all, I was not someone who put every worry into a catastrophic state. I was quite happy that I ended up as a wise worrier. This simply stated told me that I was on the right track by dealing with issues as they popped up while keeping them in perspective. 

We all have a lot on our plates. This pandemic doubled up on all the stress that we have ever known before. Even making a list of how I was going to de-stress seemed to be overwhelming at times. It really is a matter of self-care. There will always be stressors to deal with so changing my habits of dealing with stress seemed to be the healthy way to go. Even Dr. Fauci needed a reminder from his wife to slow down and take care of his health. Think of what all he deals with in his job. And he is a healthy 80 year old because he does what he knows is good for his body. 

Stress hormones are not healthy for our bodies, yet stress is all around us. Too much is way too depressing and dangerous for all of us. The best thing that I have discovered and actually read an article that Dr. Fauci wrote is to let what you can just go; like in the Disney movie.

There are many ways to do this. Gaining power over stress is one of the healthiest things you can do.

It is so important (and yet I still MUST remind myself) to relax more, exercise more and get enough sleep. These things help to make our immune system stronger. I have a physical therapist who has shown me the types of exercises that are right for me. If I skip a session, my body can tell it. Same thing with sleep. I know when I have not had enough. My body feels it and reacts and those are days that a power nap is in order. Even when I have had enough sleep, I find it is a good idea for me to take a relaxation period on the sofa and just close my eyes a bit, cuddle up with one or both doodles, listen to some smooth jazz, read a book, paint or write. Something that is just for me. I am most definitely better for that. I can hear the song by Bobby McFerrin:

It has been proven in studies that sleep makes us smarter, better looking, more creative and can add years to our lives. 

Of course, we all know there are major crisis events that fall into our laps and we must deal with them. I believe for me that remembering being defeated is optional when it comes to allowing worries and challenges to defeat me. It is a matter of being strong and taking care of myself. Also, allowing others that help to support me...being aware that they are only trying to help me not to be defeated when things seem to go topsy-turvey. I must open my ears to listen to them.

We are in this together!