Saturday, August 27, 2022




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



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, 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



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. 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.

Saturday, August 6, 2022



Forget the fact that this movie, "Love Actually," is my favorite movie of all time. I really could not even begin to tell you how many times I have watched it. Always several times over the holidays but many other times too.

The opening scene in the airport is what grabbed me immediately. All of the diversity, all of the signs being held up to greet those arriving, all of the hugs and is this all going to be pulled together in a story. Then as the characters were all introduced, again it was hard to figure out how it would all be pieced together. I can assure you that it did and in such a marvelous manner.

The one thing that is so very true is that love is not always what can make us happy. Sometimes, as the movie demonstrates, you can have love for the wrong person in the wrong way. Without going into detail with spoilers, all I can say is to watch or re-watch the movie and it does explain more of what I am talking about.

There are research papers out there to prove my point about all you need is love. Arthur Brooks, a Harvard Professor, is a columnist for the New York Times. He also has a best seller book out about finding success and happiness. His study was for over 30 years observing the habits of happy, healthy people from their age of 18 until they passed away.

Dr. Brooks does say that yes it is important to be healthy when there are things that we can control like eating healthy and exercising. Genetic diseases are out of our control, however, following what our doctor tells us can help if we remain positive. That also includes stop the worrying. In other words, be able to, "Let It Go." Reading all that we can get our hands on helps to keep our thinking young and aware of what is going on in the world. Change up our genres.

For him, especially the older that we get, we need to look at healthy and unhealthy and happy and unhappy. In his words, the most important is happy. Happier is more important than healthy. It is my own conclusion that being happy can help make one healthier. 

Dr. Brooks has a quote that he uses, "Happiness is love, full stop." This is so true and is basically what the whole movie of "Love Actually" puts up on the big screen. The trick is to find the love that is right for us. There are many facets and faces of love, not just the traditional, romantic love. Love is an emotion, a way of life and even one of the most important emotions that we have as humans. It reflects a path of self-discovery for us; to do better in life, to set new goals and to always strive for the best.

"Love Actually" is just one of many movies or books about all you really need is love. For me, I just do not care for the old black and white movies but there are loads of them out there and plenty of people love to watch them over and over. The one that comes to my mind is "Casablanca." Older movies to me mean movies like "Love Story, Endless Love, Titanic and If Only." These are super movies on love that show the trials and tribulations of getting there.

This is one of my MANY favorite scenes from "Love Actually." Always brings tears to my eyes. 

Even The Beatles are into this love thing: