Wednesday, May 29, 2024



This is one of the best ways to look at the inevitable - aging. I have personally never liked the term of aging
gracefully but I suppose there is a trick to it and I do like the way that Emma Thompson frames it. The trick is to make it look good so that everyone looks forward to it. It means to go ahead and accept the number of candles on your birthday cake without trying to look or act younger than you are...SOMETIMES! For others, like me? It comes down to attitude, not what you look like or what activities you can or cannot do but making my own rules by choosing my attitude and approach to change. Everyone is different. We all have unique challenges and strengths.

Just consider the origin of the word "grace". It comes from the Latin term "gratus" which means pleasing. Like many others, I believe one benefit of growing older is that we come to the realization that we don't have to please anyone but ourselves. Therefore, it is important to feel good about ourselves. It is a time to celebrate our accomplishments and the knowledge that we have gained through experience. 

We should not regret growing older. It is a privilege denied to many. We seem to be surrounded by messages telling us that aging is a negative experience...but growing older is not a bad thing especially when you consider the alternative. In fact, there have been studies that show our overall happiness levels tend to rise with age. One reason might be that we face fewer stressors such as work-related and other relationships as we grow older. Yet many psychologists also speculate that we acquire a more balanced perspective through hard-earned experience.

Our feelings about aging can play a big role in how we approach it. This is one reason why many seniors don't see themselves as "old" at all. From a research study, about 50% of young adults aged 18-29 say they feel their age. But 60% of adult over 65 say they feel younger than their age. Only 3% feel older than their actual age. In contrast, about 25% of people in the 18-25 age group say they feel older than their age. 

The saying you are only as young as you feel may be a good guide to gracefully aging. Our ability to remain open to new experiences and to grow and change may also be a key component to aging with dignity.

Another important fact to remember is that not all changes are bad. Our brains undergo some positive changes with age, such as giving us calmer reactions to negative experiences. We know this is not always true of everyone. The question may be then why do some people remain more open to new experiences as they age than others who seem to be more set in their ways?

Basically, it comes down to whether or not we feel proud of our lives. If we do then we are in a state of ego integrity. This does not mean that we have never made any mistakes but that we feel fulfilled when we look back on the things that we have done. OR if we are bitter about life's disappointments then we may be in a state of despair. These people are fearful of death because they may feel that they haven't done enough with their lives. Depression and anger can set it. 

Simply put: we all age differently. Since we can't control time, aging slowly isn't possible. Those birthdays are going to arrive each year no matter what we do. Some people do seem to look younger than others of the same age. Even when we are told that  "60 is the new 40," there is an assumption that being 40 is better than being 60.

DNA certainly plays a big role in aging but there are strategies for maintaining health and aging gracefully. It is with good nutrition. Limiting processed foods from our diets is a good thing. More fresh fruits and veggies while also limiting red meats and definitely enjoying essential fatty acids such as those found in nuts, seeds, and avocados; all of which support brain health.

Exercise is also advisable. Just 30 minutes a day helps in staying healthy. Walking, yoga, or even chair yoga helps to stretch muscles and increase heart rates. Muscles need to be worked. As the saying goes, "Use them or lose them." 

Let's not forget mental health. It is just as important as physical health. People who socially isolate themselves are lonely and have greater risks of developing cardiac and lung disease, as well as depression and cognitive decline. It is very important to maintain social connections by joining in groups and expanding our social circles. 

Self-care is not selfish. Practices such as yoga, mindfulness, journaling, meditation, prayer, and affirmations all help to reduce stress. Along with picking up new hobbies such as sewing, woodworking, or learning a new instrument. Sleep is also a part of self-care It is a misconception that as we get older that we do not require as much sleep. People over 60 need to sleep for 7 - 9 hours every night. Do I even need to mention the bad habits of smoking or drinking too much. Health care monitoring is crucial. Don't forget those routine check-ups. 

Breaking all of this down simply means that aging gracefully isn't about trying to look like a 20 something. It is about living your best life and having the physical and mental health to enjoy it. Like a bottle of wine, you can just get better with age with the right care. It is more about being health and happy than keeping wrinkles at bay. Surround yourself with people you love and do the things that bring you joy.

Saturday, May 18, 2024



Many times when one thinks about translation when communicating with others, they tend to think about it being another language other than their own. Well, trust me, until I moved from the South to the North, I really never thought too much about it. 

Some of the Southern sayings that I grew up with just continued to slip out of my mouth - just a mouthful of sayings that I seemed to have no control over when I moved to the North. It is like a particular way of getting my point across, even if the other person looked at me as if I were from another planet. These sayings are sometimes known to others usually via the media, unless they knew a Southerner. Let me just go over a few of the ones that I use all the time and grew up with my family and friends using these sayings

Hankering  -  In the summertime, I get a hankering for a tomato sammich meaning that I am in the mood for it. (But only if it is a good home-grown tomato). There is just no other kind to get a hankering for.

Full As A Tick  -  This is not my favorite saying basically because I am not a friend of most bugs, especially ticks. Let me say that after eating that big tomato sammich, my Papaw would say, "I am now full as a tick." 


Bless Your Heart  -  Truly this is a universal word in the South. It can and does have an edge to it. Almost always it is said in a good-natured way, perhaps exaggerated and maybe with a shake of the head? It can also express empathy or judgment, or it can be said in place of a person's true feelings. 

Gimme Some Sugar Every time we pulled up in the driveway of relatives, I jumped out of the car, and 
 went running to the house, my Great-Grandma would say, "Gimme some sugar." She did not mean sweets. She meant a hug and a kiss.


Well, Butter My Backside and Call Me a Biscuit  -  This has nothing to do with biscuits, of course. It is just a long descriptive way to show surprise at something unbelievable that you may never have thought would have happened. (usually positive)! My Mom always used this expression, however, many used the word, 'butt' instead of the backside. She would not allow us to say it any other way. 

A Rooster One Day And a Feather Duster The Next  -  Just a creative way, in my opinion, of saying that we shouldn't crow like a rooster about our wealth and belongs today, because it could all disappear tomorrow.

Plumb  -  Perhaps you may be not just truly and completely tired, but plumb tired. My Papaw said this all the time when he came home from work or finished working all of his grape vines in the backyard.

Three Sheets To The Wind  -  In reality, this saying is a nautical term referring to the sheets that controlled the sails. When the sheets are loose, the ship rocks uncontrollably. In the South, this phrase is the polite way to say someone who has had too many cocktails and is very drunk.

Well, let's just Hold Our Horses. Which of course means to let's just stop here and now. It is definitely self-explanatory, but try to imagine it originating back in the days of stagecoaches - best to slow down. So for now, I will slow down on communicating some of my Southern sayings because I am Fixin' To Take A Little Afternoon Nap.

Sunday, May 12, 2024



Mother's Day is a very emotional day for so many of us. Those of us who have lost our Mom's try to hold on to all of the loving memories that we have of them. The picture above happens to be my Mom and Steve's Mom who seemed to get along famously when they met for the first time at our home. Even though Angela lived in Coventry, England before she passed and my Mom, Joyce, lived in so many places before she passed. From Memphis (born in Raleigh, TN. Then on to San Antonio, TX where I was born. Northern Mississippi, New Orleans, and Houston were also her homes at different times. They also passed away just months apart from one another.

There are times that I want to just pick up the phone and ask her advice on something and to this day - it then dawns on me that I can't do that anymore. I always think of her but on Mother's Day, I think of her even more than usual.

As a Mom myself, I have two wonderful children. They are about 19 months apart. My life was a crazy one for sure with two in diapers at once, yet at different stages in their lives. Definitely not easy but I would not have traded those hectic days for a million dollars.

Their father traveled quite often so it was basically up to me to get them where they needed to be, as well as being the disciplinarian parent. When one was in softball and the other one was in baseball, not to mention all of their other sports and activities, I had to work out how I would accomplish getting them where they needed to be and how to get them picked up. Lucky for me, I had some good friends who helped out. (other parents on the teams or activities that they were involved in)

Twenty years later a divorce happened. My children were off at college - one at Tulane in New Orleans and the other one in Waco at Baylor. We lived as a family in Katy, TX at this time. I had to decide where I wanted to live. My Mom helped me through this whole ordeal and I moved back to Memphis. After all, most of my family lived in this general area. 

After a year or so I met my soulmate. He also had two children; a son and a daughter. They seemed to get along very well when they were together. His son, Thomas actually made the decision to move to Memphis from England. Neither Steve nor I ever wanted to use the words step mother or step father or step son or daughter. All 4 children were OUR children. Both of us knew that we did not want to be called Mom or Dad. They already had that person in their lives. So they just used our first names when addressing us. Interesting enough they always said when introducing us as my Mom or my Dad, just as they did when introducing each other - this is my brother or my sister. It really confused many people about the British accent and the American accent. Too funny!

Family is so special. Being a Grandmother (they call me Lola) is a wonderful privilege. I have a special picture that reveal my blessings.