Monday, January 29, 2024



The New Year is a fresh start and a new chapter waiting to be written. We write our own book.

In reflecting on the past year I have to imagine what excited me the most? What made me the happiest?

I believe that we all glow when we are at our happiest so it only seemed fit to think back on what happened to actually get me excited last year. I used my journal from 2023 to read my own words about the people, my habits, and choices that I made that helped to bring me joy. From that point, it was easy to continue and expand on those ideas. 

One of the best decisions that I made was to take a healthy journey and learn great nutritional habits that will be with me for my lifetime. It was amazing as the weight started melting off. Even more impressive was how much better that I felt within myself. I had so much more energy, my joints did not ache, my closet and drawers were cleaned out slowly but surely of clothes that were WAY too big for me. 

Which in turn, I did have some older clothes that I loved and did hang on to hanging in the back of my closet and drawers. Guess what? Now they fit! As time goes on, some of these are even too big and I am now buying a few new things along the way. Being a clothes horse, it really makes me happy that I now enjoy getting new clothes in regular sizes. This picture is in a new and fun sweatshirt about my feelings of Winter. I am 83 pounds down when this one was taken.😃To say this makes me happy is definitely an understatement.

The people who brought me joy were my family; both those that I live with and those that live away and we all visit each other from time to time. Also, my good friends - those that I see on a regular basis and those that I don't get to be with except on social media. The person who helped me get on my healthy journal - My COACH! She is the best support system for me and is always there to answer my questions and help me along the path. I am almost there and then she will be there to get me through maintenance and beyond. She is more than a coach; she is a very good friend!

The next question that is important to reflect upon is to think about what it was that drained me. Things or people that brought me down. Events and situations can happen that may be totally out of my control. Some of what seemed to drain me, if I allowed it to, would be situations when out driving, or coming face to face or on the phone with a rude customer service representative (that is an oxymoron). Luckily, that did not happen often but when it happened, my ticket out of being sucked down the drain with them was to just think of one reason to remain joyful. Something that I am grateful for. OK - to be totally honest with you, there are times that I must think of more than just one reason to remain joyful. Imagine? It is not that hard to think about what I feel grateful for in my life. Those reasons are all around me and always swirling about in my head.

The third and fourth questions for 2024 go together. What do I want more of and what do I need less of for this upcoming year? I definitely want more of the good way that I am living my life. To continue to stay on my healthy journey, definitely to continue to shop for new clothes (without going overboard - which kind of fits in what I need less of, such as shoes, handbags and just general clutter). One question that I now stop and ask myself before purchasing something is if I already have something similar, where am I going to put this new item and is it really necessary? 

Spending more time in the kitchen being creative makes me very happy. I miss spending my time cooking with Steve so very much. Many times, I can feel him with me as I add a little of this and a little of that to my recipes. Or even as I search for new recipes. 

After reading a book called, The Gifts They Left Behind by April Rohde really opened my eyes and allowed me to feel what I was truly feeling. It validated my thoughts about Steve being all around me. He seems to come to me in the form of a cardinal. I got busy getting the bird feeder ready outside my window after the snow and rain left our area and every day the same cardinal comes to get the special seed that I put in it. My daughter gave me a cardinal snow globe that lights up and one of my granddaughters saw a page of cardinal stickers when she was out shopping for other things and she thought of me and cardinals/Steve (or as he is known to all of the granddaughters - Smiley). I have a picture of the cardinal outside of my study window through the shutters. So it is not exactly perfectly clear. The windows need a good cleaning when Spring Time comes but I am sure that you get the idea.

When cardinals appear, angels are near. This is my belief and for me, my cardinal is very special to me. The book that I mentioned above reminded me that when I believe beyond what I can see, signs from heaven show up to remind me that love never dies.

This is my story and I intend to always make it beautiful.

Saturday, January 20, 2024



What exactly is great about Memphis? There are a lot of nay-sayers out there but I am not one of them. In fact, I am of the belief that they are most definitely in the minority. Look at that beautiful "M" bridge that looks so majestic lit up over the Mississippi River. There are so many good things about Memphis and some things that need work on. There also are some things that we do not need to take too seriously. Let's be real and be able to laugh about some things.

Things like when there is a rumor of snow coming everyone goes out and stocks up on bread and milk. I have always wondered if they were going to make themselves a milk sandwich?

This is rather amusing. The past few days it actually happened. We did get about 6 - 8 inches of snow which pretty much paralyzed the city. We do not have the equipment to handle that so everything shut down.

The few who braved it (for whatever reason) were stuck or in fender benders or just slid right off the road. It did finally get a little better but it has been a week since many businesses have opened and when groceries did open their shelves were bare. Big trucks could not get in to deliver the food and there were not enough workers who could drive in to stock the shelves.  In other words, it was a big mess. 

Throw in the fact that the temperatures were below freezing - like single digit below - and now we have water pipes bursting for many people. We were instructed to let all faucets drip water and open the cabinets so that pipes did not freeze. This in turn led to low water pressure with all of the city water mains and pipes bursting so now we all were instructed to not drink the water. We must boil the water for at least a minute before drinking it or using it for cooking. It makes it hard for a family but think about the restaurants. Most of them have no way to get that much water in order to wash produce and to cook, much less to wash dishes, have ice for drinks, etc. It sort of boggles the brain to just think about.

That is where we are right now. So to move on to other things about Memphis that is great - there are people out there setting up places to distribute free cases of water and delivering food to those who can't get out for it. Along with warming centers opening for those who are homeless or living without electricity during these cold and unbearable circumstances. People helping people. We are known for that.

Some other things that Memphis is known for are:

Ahhh...the BBQ. I am not going to put it out there of which is my personal favorite. We all have favorites and no matter where you go - no BBQ is quite like Memphis BBQ.

There there are polls for the BEST of and let's just say Memphis may have the BBQ but it is not where one would expect to get fresh seafood. We are landlocked. However, let's think about this one. For several years in a row Red Lobster won the best seafood restaurant. I am not putting them down, really, I am not. I just am not so sure that they have fresh seafood brought in. The one thing that I do remember about them is that they had the best Cheddar Biscuits ever. 

There are some restaurants in our city that get fresh seafood and serve delicious seafood entrees and appetizers, such as Coastal Fish Company, Tsunami and I am sure others that I have not had the pleasure of dining in yet. There is even a trailer that comes in to a large parking lot with fresh Gulf seafood catches. Paradise Seafood will even give you tips on what is the best way to prepare the seafood that you purchase from them. They send out e-mails in advance to let you know what they have and the days they will be in a particular location. 

Some tourist interests could be the giant pyramid that is amazing looking and and at one time was a venue for sports, concerts and other events. It went on to become a pyramid with a big fish on it. Bass Pro Shop bought it and have an amazing store within the pyramid. There is a pond where you can fish to try out rods, along with other outdoor sporting events. A luxury hotel and a restaurant at the top with a view of the city top it off.

If you notice, there is also a duck below the Bass Pro Shop sign because Ducks Unlimited have joined the outdoor theme at the Memphis Pyramid. Did the Egyptians have all of this?

Memphis also has the Memphis Redbirds, affiliated with the St. Louis Cardinals, we have 901 Soccer, and our NBA team of The Grizzlies. The University of Memphis (formerly known as Memphis State) has a wonderful following for both their basketball and football teams. 

Let's not forget that Memphis is home to Graceland.

Many visitors come daily to go through the Elvis mansion and other attractions there. Probably, I get most frustrated at tourists who believe this is the only thing to see in Memphis. There are so many other worthy sites like Sun Recording Studio, The Civil Rights Museum, STAX Records, Gibson Guitars, The Peabody, and the list goes on. I sort of lose my patience with locals who say there is nothing to do in Memphis. And let's not even talk about the wonderful theaters and museums that we have here in Memphis. PLUS it is a city of the ARTS! 

Some seem to think that literally everyone in town has been shot and/or robbed. And yes, Memphis does have a problem that is being worked on and trying to solve, especially with a new team of leaders coming in. Let's give them all of the support that we can. The crime rate is high. We all must be vigilant when we go out and be aware of our surroundings. 

As far as rush hour traffic, the lack of using turn signals, Union Avenue with that left lane and Poplar Avenue that is just way too narrow in most places and the right lane is as bad as the left lane on Union. If those complaining have ever driven daily in rush hour in Houston, Chicago, Boston, Dallas or other larger cities then there would be a whole new meaning of rush hour. Speed is definitely a problem. The number of police officers is a problem. All problems that are being worked on. 

Working together instead of complaining would be a great start. The quote about being a part of the solution, not the problem definitely fits here. We don't want more people to leave Memphis. So let's make a good city GREAT again! The city of Memphis, as well as the suburbs need to come together and help find solutions to these problems. They are more prevalent in the city of Memphis but as we all know, they are in the suburbs also. 

“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” – Walt Disney

Sunday, January 14, 2024



There really is a way to train our brains to help whenever we find ourselves becoming increasingly frustrated when things go wrong. Because, let's face it. "STUFF" happens. It can be as simple as spilling coffee over our white shirt to our flights being delayed or even canceled. There actually are some ways to work on training our brains to cope better when difficult things happen. 

Reading about some of the coping strategies helped to make me more aware of what I was already using, as well as some new things to go about coping. One new way in particular was called the 'Rule of 12.' Dr. Daniel  shared this trick when things don't go as planned. The trick is to remember to write down on paper or jot it down in the notes on your phone each thing that irritates you as it happens. Where the trick comes in to play is that you express anger only after the 13th event happened. That way we are saving ourselves from the exhaustion of constant frustration. This helps us to stay psychologically healthy and mentally strong. The very fact of knowing that we have the power to change our negative thoughts by being aware of them rather than consumed by them.

If you think about it, just a ten mile drive to work can cause things that irritate us. That guy who is honking his horn because you did not start up the very second the light turned green, or the guy who butted in front of you on the interstate with barely enough room between you and the car in front of you...the list can go on and on. Not to mention things at work or going in the grocery store, or completing tasks on the computer. We all come across frustrating events. The trick is to get the right mindset to deal with these events. Taking a step back and asking ourselves what exactly is going through our minds at the time that we felt that emotion. Asking ourselves what would a specific, positive friend say in response to the situation and then ask whether it will really matter that much in a day, a week, a month or even in a year. 

Challenging our negative thoughts, rather than accepting them is a way to work on training our brains. I, for one, must remember that it may just be my perception rather than reality. Our brains get in the habit for looking for the bad in each day, so we need to look for the good instead. Looking for opportunities instead of seeing frustration always seem to help my thought patterns. Believe and Hope were my words to live by in 2022 and 2023. This year it is Imagine. 

This helps me use the right vocabulary to get through my days with less frustration. Instead of saying, "Get through my days," I like to think of it as being able to choose what I give my attention to and set my own boundaries. Choosing what is really important and what I can just let go of. 

Another way to look at it is accepting my emotions and stop judging them. Always look for that dose of HOPE! And then IMAGINE!

For me, the key is HOPE!


Sunday, January 7, 2024



This quote struck a bell with me because until I found my special weight loss journey, it was exactly how I felt. Up until I made my decision to take a life long journey for my health and started to see actual results, I never knew the feeling of the release of that weight. And, I might add, I am not talking about just the release of pounds. That is a big release but there is so much more involved.
    Up until the time that I made my decision, I was feeling like nothing would ever work and this is just how I would be for the rest of my life. It seems that I had tried everything. I was the typical yo-yo dieter.

Finally, after much research I found a healthy plan for me. It is not a diet. It is a lifestyle. It is the way that most people eat who do not have a weight problem. It was a big decision.

Yes, losing weight is hard but for me being fat was harder on me. My joints, my energy, my attitude - none of which were in a good place to be so I had a BIG decision to make.

My journey had to be healthy. After doing my own research several things kept coming up over and over again.
  • Calories matter most for weight loss. To be honest, I don't do well with counting those calories. I just want to be in a calorie deficit so that I can lose weight. I found my journey that gives me that.
  • Protein and fiber are important - It helps to read up on which ones are better for you and how much you can eat to keep you in a calorie deficit.
  • High volume eating helps - for me this means eating healthy food with low calories often throughout the day. Basically eating in spaced out time frames so that I don't get hungry and grab something that I should not have.
  • Exercise is not as important as you may think for weight loss. It is healthy to get up and move. Yes. But hard core exercise was not the answer for me. My recumbent bike works perfectly. 

  • When I chose other "diets" it was true that I lost. Remember that 'cabbage' diet. But just as soon as you go back to normal eating, or whatever one believes to be normal, the weight will creep back on. If it can't be maintained then the results won't be maintained. And who could live on cabbage forever?
  • Weighing myself once a day or even once a week may not be the best approach for me. My weight fluctuates so much that weighing monthly is my new way of checking out how I am doing. Truly, I can tell more in my clothes and how they fit than what the scales say. I have noticed that I feel happier and my emotions are not tied to that number on those scales.

  • Getting back on track after 'slip-ups' and thinking long term is a MUST. I had a good plan for the holiday season. Something that I thought would work for me. Then, I became ill with what finally was diagnosed as a bacterial sinusitis and ear infection. I was placed on a very strong antibiotic. I had positively no appetite. No energy and spent 5 days in bed sleeping and resting. When I did eat and drink, it was a half a mug of chicken noodle soup and ginger ale plus some water. One would think that when I did start to feel better that weight loss would have happened. NOPE! It took me a while to get back on track. My first light meal consisted of a grilled cheese sandwich with the soup. I then made my goal to get myself back on track on New Year's Day. I won't say it was easy. Getting back into drinking my 8 cups of water each day has been harder this time around. My small meals were working but having the energy to make salads to go with my protein took a little more effort. I am proud to say that I am now back on target. With my motivation, getting enough sleep and seeing my energy levels returning to where they were is what has helped to work for me. 
  • The big thing to remember is what works for me might not work for you. We are all individuals so it is important for each one of us to find what will work for us. 

Monday, January 1, 2024



Imagine is my word for 2024. I stopped making resolutions quite a few years ago and began choosing a word that would mean something to me throughout the year to help me become a better person all around, hopefully. 

First of all, I love John Lennon's song. It has so many levels of creativity and does make me think that if we all could imagine all of the people living life in peace it would be a beautiful world. He even goes on to say in his lyrics that some may say he is a dreamer but he knows he is not the only one. So many of us wish that the world will live as one! What a wonderful place that would be. 

In my own opinion and in my own little world, I know that more and more people need to come together to make things better in our world. Starting small is not being overly optimistic. Just do what we each can do in our own ways. 

Setting goals for yourself to make this a better world is just one place to start. For example, I plan on saying, "Good morning or good evening or even, have a great day," to at least 3 strangers every day that I am out and about. Also, giving a smile as I say it. A smile is free. Being kind is free. It can snowball to other people.

If I can imagine then I can create. Create a great story, a beautiful picture, a delicious dinner, a stylish room decor...the list can go on and on. Anything that I can imagine is real. It can take me to another world because the world of imagination is boundless. The world of reality has limits. I have decided that I do NOT want to live with limits.

Today is the first day of 365 days that I can work on using all of my gears. I know that I have some gears that I have never used but I plan on trying them out - step by step. 

The good news is that I actually have started already. With my word from last year (hope) spurring me on to take a healthy journey for myself - it was then easy to move on to my word 'IMAGINE'.

With my goals in place, I can totally picture and imagine my health continuing to improve, feeling better and better and working on finding and accepting all of the signs that Steve leaves for me that he is still around me. Whether it be the red cardinal looking in and staring at me when I am sitting at my desk, or a ladybug that lands on my car windshield or the robin in the yard singing. 

Also, there have been little things that have happened in our home that have no reasonable explanation except that Steve must had a part in it. One example is the kitchen clock. Twice my daughter saw both hands spin around backwards very fast and then stop after a couple of minutes on the exact time that it was. By the time someone came in to see it, of course, it had stopped. Except one time I was in with her when it happened. We both were watching in awe. It never has happened since then but what is the explanation for that? 

There have been a few other examples and just as the lyrics to John Lennon's song, "You may say I'm a dreamer," and you may. Meanwhile, I will just keep on imagining a better world and saying yes to new adventures. I want to make every day count and to always be curious, embracing my journey. There is so much to see.