Sunday, July 30, 2023



The season is Summer. It is the end of July and we are about to go into August. We live in the Mid-South. Really, it does not take a meteorologist to tell us that it is going to be hot. They tell us in the early morning, mid-day and before we go to bed at night. It would be REAL news if it were COOL! But, alas, it is not. However, let's not go overboard. We are hitting in the 90's and sometimes, as today it was 93 degrees at 3 pm. The drama surrounding this should be up for award winning drama! Yes, that is quite warm and if one is out working in it, it can even be dangerous if precautions are not taken. Yet when the weather maps are being displayed for the country, there are places that are having temperatures of 100+ such as Lawnton, OK at 111, Abilene, TX - 110, San Antonio - 104, Fayetteville, AR - 103 and there were plenty of others. These either set records or tied records that were set back in 1996 or even 1936. Some were more recent than that but I am just pointing out that we have had these temperatures before. Not that I don't believe in the Climate Change/Global Warming and believe that it is a real thing. Yes, I do. We need to take care of our Earth. 

We also need to be sure to take care of ourselves. Dehydration is a real thing and therefore it is very important to be sure to drink enough water and possibly even add electrolytes through powders or Gatorade/Powerade, etc. It is also important to not leave our pets out in this kind of heat. If there is high humidity, the meteorologist will add on the heat index to let us know that the 95 degrees may feel like 105 degrees. This is one of the reasons that our weather has so many people talking about it. Just think of all of the jobs that involve working outside in this kind of heat. It is critical for these workers to wear appropriate clothing and to drink lots of water. 

In the high heat, it is very important to not walk your dog in the heat on sidewalks or tarmac. If it is too hot for you to touch then it is also burning the pads of their feet. They may also eat less and drink more water. It is intuitive for them to do this. For humans also, if we pay attention to what our bodies are telling us. Mid-day is not exactly the best time to go out for a jog on a hot summer day, yet I witness it frequently. About the only place to be is in a pool or inside in air-conditioning. This was a bit of a challenge when storms came through and knocked out the electricity for hundreds of thousands of homes. Some areas were without power for a week. There were cooling centers for some people to go to and those who could afford it went to hotels if they did not have family they could stay with who did have power.

It just reminds us of how vulnerable we really are without our electricity.

Sometimes we just have to sweat it out. 

Sunday, July 23, 2023



There is a journey that I have personally decided to take for myself. It is one to help me feel better, be healthier and I must feel good about the way I look for myself - not others - but for ME, MYSELF and I. In a way, some may actually say, "Well, that is a very selfish reason." I would respond quickly with a big fat, "NO!" My health and feeling good about my health and the way that I feel in my own body are very important and are not selfish at all.

Practicing kindness should be a HUGE gift that we give to ourselves. This in turn will become a wonderful thing to do for other people. It makes me want to do for others without expecting a thing in return. It automatically boosts my feelings of joy, as well as those around me. To put it even more simply: I know that I become more pleasant to be around if I am practicing kindness to myself because then I have a deep desire to practice kindness on others around me. Taking things less personally reduces stress by just practicing kindness and compassion throughout our days. Sending out good vibes helps me to feel more connected and I believe that we all know how good that feels. It is part of being human!

This journey of mine started out by changing some of my vocabulary. The two words that I had to work on were 'should've and could've. As I made unhealthy choices, such as the shirt above shows stressing over choosing a donut to eat. The vocabulary of saying to myself that I should've NOT eaten that. By taking my personal journey a bit further, I now know that instead of what I should've done, the more important step is what I could've done. Yes, I know sometimes things are easier said than done. For me, it was getting my attitude adjusted and my mindset where it needs to be. It is so not motivating me to tell myself that I should not have eaten that donut and I will do better tomorrow. The vicious cycle begins, at least for me it does. I know that I must tell my brain what it can do. I am in charge and I can make good choices. So I could've walked away and had a more nutritional snack that would not make me feel guilty and actually get me off the path toward my own healthy personal journey. And that is what I have been doing. Three months now on my personal journey and down 40 pounds. I really did not think that it showed as much as it did until my daughter took a 'now' picture and put it side by side before the loss of 40 pounds. 

I must admit that I started crying when I saw with my own eyes the difference. I just wonder why I did not start before now. Again, it is ok and I will be kind to myself and have compassion because I am now on the right road to a healthier me. It has become the bigger why of developing a greater sense of purpose in my life by connecting what I do now and how it is contributing in a positive way to something greater. It makes me feel like what I am doing has purpose. My stress levels seem to have dropped. My list of what I need to do each morning to maintain my healthy lifestyle is a way that I love to start my day. It is my own private to do list and that comes first before anything else. It is my BIG WHY! 

I now know what my BIG WHY is and that is what motivates me. 

Sunday, July 16, 2023



From his fields to his corner market at 1126 C Street in Cordova, Micah McDaniel has it going on. 

The Memphis area is blessed, in that we have many parts of our city and suburbs where we can stop off and pick up fresh fruits and veggies, along with other delicious homemade foods. 

One very special Farmer's Market happens to be close to my home. My husband and I discovered it a few years ago. Ever since that summer we have gone together to pick up the most delicious and fresh produce ever. And, yes, we have gone to other markets. This one is special. WHY? Because of the owner, Micah McDonald, and the rest of his wonderful family and friends that all work together to treat customers with such care and respect that they want to return to this local produce stand. Year after year we returned and each year, he remembered us.

This year was different for not just me, but for all. You see, I had to let Micah know that Steve was not with me because he had passed away last year in the late Fall. It was a bit shocking to him because the two of them talked a lot when we stopped in weekly. Add to the fact that not only was Steve the kind of person that he was, but he had such a strong British accent. It did bring tears to my eyes that Steve was no longer able to go over to the market with me and pick out things for our weekly meals.

Making it a part of the loving memories that Steve left for me is not always easy to do without becoming teary-eyed. Still a work in progress. He left so many happy and loving memories for me to cherish. 

Now that my daughter, Jenni, and Craig, along with Bailey and Skylar, my granddaughters, have moved in with me, we make one big happy family now. Sometimes we go together. In fact, my granddaughters were with their other grandparents from Mississippi yesterday and they took them to Sweet From the Vine for a BIG watermelon. The eldest granddaughter wanted one of the special Sweet From the Vine t-shirts and so she picked one out for herself.

To say they are now huge fans of this special Farmer's Market is an understatement. Another plus, for those of us who find it a little hard to tote the goodies purchased, along with the big watermelon, is that Micah or someone else who is there with him carries it out to the car for their customers. Such service! Impressive!

What more can I say, except that I think if you find yourself in the general area, you should stop in and discover this gem for yourself. Micah is on Facebook if you search Sweet From the Vine and he has pictures of the new produce or baked goods. We picked up the 'fairy eggplants' when they were in season. I even have some friends who live much closer to other farmer markets, but they find themselves coming to this one due to the hospitality and freshness of the produce. 

I will leave you with pictures of just some of the beautiful produce that you can find at Sweet From the Vine.

As you can see, there is no shortage of delicious fresh produce. It is such a wonderful and colorful display of all that is good for you. If you noticed, I did enlarge the picture of the Amish hand-held pies. It doesn't hurt to have a little splurge now and then if you are eating this healthy with all of these fruits and vegetables. I did not even show the jars of freshly canned pickles, chow-chow, okra and preserves. It is something to stop in and take a walk around. 

Please be sure to tell Micah that you saw this blog when you do. Or send him a comment on his Facebook page. He has many of these pictures and more, along with the days and times that he is open. (Thursday - Saturday 9 - 6 - Saturday it is until he is sold out so get there early!)

A very dear friend made this Farmers Market bag for me and personalized it with a picture of our two doodles in the truck, Maggie Mae and Davis. It always goes with me weekly to the Market  -  hope to see you there!

Sunday, July 9, 2023



Self-improvement books are everywhere in the book stores. Maybe you have even purchased a few of them. I know that I certainly have. A lot of my time in the past was spent thinking about what I should do or maybe even what would be the right thing to do. In order to answer that question honestly, I now know that I must understand the true me. I must truly know myself. We all want to get better but what comes into play is the need for self-discovery. We really must figure out how our life's journey can be shared with others using our own unique gifts.

It most definitely is not an easy process and it takes time. Small steps, which many times can lead us in the wrong direction that only we can discover ourselves.

When my own life was turned upside down with the death of the only true love of my life, I had such unbearable grief and no idea where I would be headed. He was my knight in shining armor and I could not imagine him not by my side ready to rescue me or simply holding his hand. My wonderful family were close by and oh yes, Steve's and mine two golden doodles. For a time, I simply went through the motions of day-to-day. I missed our life together. We basically did everything side by side and this is why all of a sudden I felt as if my life had been turned totally upside down. 

As I mentioned before, it is not an easy process to go on a self-discovery adventure. To begin this new chapter of my life took time and patience and will continue to be a work in progress. Not only was it a new way of day-to-day living, it was a time to work on what inspires me and fuels me. Yes, it took some deep thinking about which way to turn and what to do first. It is different for everyone and I can only share how I worked my way through self-discovering myself. 

First of all, I had to stop and think about what it was that I wanted from life. I took the step of deciding where to live. My precious daughter, Jennifer, and her family stayed with me in this very large home to help me in the beginning. We actually had three dogs now and both granddaughters had a bedroom upstairs plus another Master bedroom. Add on a large media/playroom with an enormous walk-in closet that would make for a perfect office for Jennifer. She could even hold Zoom meetings when necessary in this office. 

We all talked about it and everything seemed to work out just fine talking about it. We gave it time and then once we were sure that we all would be compatible to actually live together under the same roof, the process started in cleaning out what was not needed so that they could begin bringing their things in to make upstairs theirs. We had many trips, more than I could count, to charities for donations of clothes, furniture, books, DVDs, CDs...Really a total clean-out that needed to be done quite a while ago. Steve and I even discussed downsizing because we did not need this large of a home. Now with 4 more added residents...I am so glad that we never got around to selling this home and moving to a smaller one. 

Once the day-to-day priorities were in place, I felt like I could move on to search for my inner self and what I wanted to do. What would bring me enjoyment? Oh yes, living with all four of my new live-in family brought me joy...I could not be happier with that arrangement. What I needed to do was to adjust my mindset that things will not ever be the way they were with just Steve and me. There are no quiet mornings for the most part. What there is now in this home is a lot of love for one another. I know for a fact that if I were all alone without all four of them, I would be having many more meltdowns over losing Steve. But when I have a darling 6-year-old telling and showing me how she talks to "Smiley," as they all call Steve, it brings such joy within me. Yes, and at times tears of joy. Because he was so loved by his granddaughters and his daughter who he embraced as his very own, to the extent of walking her down the aisle when she married Craig. Craig appreciated his British sense of humor and getting into Dr. Who discussions with him. In a way, we all were in mourning over losing this wonderful, awesome man. We stuck together and made it work. 

That was a big part of my own self-awareness. I was understanding my feelings and desires. It helped me know where I was headed with my creativity and definitely helped with my self-esteem. I even started my own health journey to eating better and following my physical therapy exercises. I realized what worked for me to acknowledge and correct this issue. Getting out of my comfort zone and challenging myself would set me on one of the right paths.

Getting out of some of my old habits and trying new ways toward my own self-discovery took linking up with others to share my experience. Of course, my family would help as I shared my plans. The biggest help was my Coach toward a healthier me on this journey and joining other friends who are taking this path for their lives, too. Finding new habits, healthier ones is what seems to work for me, both mentally and physically.

Definitely, I am becoming more comfortable with myself. Journaling most definitely has always been a part of my life. Now, it is even more important for me. It helps me to organize my thoughts and to see how gratitude helps me see what is impacting my life and how I respond. It adds insight to the small things all around me and has become a part of making me aware of not only my feelings but the feelings of those around me also. So many times it is the little things that matter the most.

There is a way to practice trusting yourself. Self-discovery can be a very challenging experience. One that requires self-love and self-compassion. Trust yourself. As I think of my behaviors and values, it is important that I do not have negative judgments. Question more about why those thoughts are there, where they come from, and if there is something that I may need to rethink and try a different way. It is a matter of learning from failure and being intentional in setting my habits. This works for me because I am all about setting up plans. 

It is so important to be compassionate with yourself. I love John O'Donohue's quote above. This compassion allows you to trust in your own soul, which lets you guide your life. This is what self-discovery is all about. He wrote A Blessing which was for grief and helped me move forward and be more self-compassionate in my life after the loss of Steve. 

Never be afraid to explore your passions and go on your very own self-discovery. Remember this:

Sunday, July 2, 2023



All of us hear the word stress frequently. Usually it is in a negative way; such as we have too much stress in our lives. It can weigh a person down.  However, there is another way to look at stress. There is good stress and bad stress PLUS there is a very important thought for all of us to remember. Stress is normal and is not a bad sign or a good sign, just simply a fact of life. It is inevitable. It is a part of our day to day existence. What is very important is to remember the key phrase that it is not so much the stress BUT our reactions to stress. 

If even saying the word out loud makes you feel tired and anxious then it has been greatly magnified in your brain and is controlled by your mindset. Actually, there is such a thing as good stress and bad stress or healthy stress and unhealthy stress. Healthy stress is ultimately positive. It can help us grow by pushing us outside of our comfort zone while the unhealthy stress can take a toll on our physical and mental health. It can give us a feeling of helplessness, as if there is no escape from the situation in sight. 

Basically, it can be turned around by starting with our attitudes toward it. If we make a conscious effort to be proactive and take back control then we can change bad stress to healthy stress. Yes, I can hear you now saying to yourself that it is something that I can't control. That may be true but I know for a fact that I have the power to choose what actions to take over whatever uncontrollable situation comes my way. We all have that power!

I know that it is easy to have tunnel vision when it comes to stress so the important thing is to start taking control of our choices. 

Recognize that there is good stress. This is called "EUSTRESS." It is the kind of stress that we feel when we get excited and our pulse quickens, hormones surge, yet there is no real threat of danger or fear. This can be when we ride a roller coaster, compete in a game or sport or perhaps go to off to your first job.

The other kind of stress can come from many other sources, some of which may be personal while others not so personal, yet out of our control. Just remember that we do have choices of how we will handle it and this in turn helps to relieve some of the built up stress. Just the basic fact that we have a plan helps.

Some of the tips that I have read about and use religiously are:
  • identifying my triggers that cause stress
  • maintaining a positive attitude
  • trying to avoid multi-tasking - one job at a time
  • learning to say no, especially to make more time for myself (this is NOT selfish- it is keeping me mentally and physically healthier)
  • staying socially connected
  • exercising and eating healthy
Worrying is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do but it gets you nowhere!

Art work or anything creative can be very relaxing. There are many ways to help relieve stress as we focus on our positive attitudes.