Bird’s Eye View…

36828590_2612310985461250_485312041519677440_n

Did you know from 1959 thru 1970 Mud Island was a one runway airport?? Mud Island as we know it today opened in 1982. The River Museum was closed this summer as they plan for the next phase of the park’s history, but the scaled replica of The Mississippi River is still rolling right along!! If you have never seen this model, you need to go! This hydrologic model shows the river from Cairo Missouri and empties into one acre ”Gulf of Mexico ” that holds a whopping 1.3 million gallons of water(Bud Boogie Beach to old-time Memphians😊). Plus, as an added bonus, has some of the best views of the city’s skyline..one might say a bird’s eye view 😊

House or Home?

fullsizeoutput_2045

“A house is made of walls and beams, but a home is built with love and dreams” William Arthur Ward

So what is the difference between a house and a home?  If you looked up the definition, you would see how similar they are.  But when you ask people their interpretation, you quickly see there is a big difference between the two.    A house is a structure, something very concrete.  A home, however, has a much more personal meaning.  It evokes a feeling of belonging, and many times comfort and security.  While money can buy a house, it takes heart and soul to make a home.  The good part about this is heart and soul is something that every single person has.  And it doesn’t matter the size of the house, the number of people living in it or where it’s located, you can make it a home.  Many people spend so much of their lives waiting for perfect that they miss living.  Life is made up of thousands and thousands of everyday ordinary kind of days. It is in those everyday ordinary kinds of days that a house becomes a home…that heart and soul are added to the brick and mortar, and the beautiful transformation occurs.  This transformation doesn’t require large amounts of time or money, just a desire to celebrate the ordinary.  Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

  • Find a space where you can have a seasonal display
  • Have rituals that celebrate first… the first day of school… the first day of fall….first snow
  • Burn seasonal candles
  • Change your door decorations and outdoor flags monthly
  • Keep fresh flowers in your home-grocery store bouquets can last a long time when you change the water daily
  • Cook in season 
  • Hang your sheets outside for a fresh sunshine smell
  • Play music and dance
  • Display pictures of family and friends throughout your home
  • Start a collection or, if you already have a collection, display it in a unique way
  • Buy a chalkboard and collect quotes to write on it
  • Find a small Christmas tree (thrift stores are excellent sources for these) and decorate it for different holidays and seasons
  • Grow herbs in pots on your kitchen window sill…and use them in cooking
  • Fill your home with laughter
  • Entertain often…and by entertain, I don’t mean elaborate dinner parties.  During fall and winter have a tray with assorted teas and hot chocolates…stick some slice and bake cookies in the oven, and you have a party.

As we approach this busy time of year, a time where people, time, and resources are stretched to the breaking point, slow down and savor your surroundings and take the time to create a haven for yourself and those you love.

Beginning To Look a Little Like…

fullsizeoutput_1fe3

The Town of Collierville came together last night for its 18th annual Christmas tree lighting. The festivities kicked off at 5:30 pm with over 210 gallons of hot chocolate being served by Board of Mayor and Aldermen.  As the crowds grew, they were treated to a selection of beautiful Christmas music performed by Tara Oaks Elementary School, Crosswinds Elementary School, West Collierville Middle School, and Collierville High School.  The stage was then turned over to the Germantown Baptist Church Jazz band.  As anticipation grew, Mayor Stan Joyner announced that Santa and Mrs. Claus had arrived in Collierville and were being escorted to the tree lighting by the Collierville Fire Department.  With his words still hanging in the air, the sound of the fire truck siren could be heard in the background to the delight of young and old alike.  As Mr. and Mrs. Claus made their way up to the stage, the countdown began. 

1Q2+0WSQRiy4VSW5CpA6bg

And just like that, the Christmas season was officially underway.  As the Collierville United Methodist Church’s Handbells rounded out the musical portion of the tree lighting, all the good boys and girls of Collierville lined up for a chance to talk to Santa in the gazebo which was decked out in all its Christmas splendor.  Other chose to stroll around the square admiring all the beautiful lights and decorations.  This is the first year the town has used LED lights, and the effect was breathtaking.  With over 125,000 pure white lights adorning the surrounding greenery and railing, and, for the first time ever, over 500 white lights adorned the Executive Train Car.  The 30-foot cedar tree that has been used for the town’s Christmas centerpiece for over 20 years also got in on the LED action with 400 colored lights being added bringing to total light count to 4,500.  Each year, town crews spend over 3 days attaching lights and decorations to the tree and have been hard at work since the first of November decorating the rest of the square. 

fullsizeoutput_1fe6

A new addition this year is an 18 foot Christmas tree placed at the corner of North Rowlett and Main.  This tree is covered with over 1,100 RGB lights in addition to the traditional red and green ornaments and is programmed to create animated light shows that are coordinated with Christmas music. 

With many of the shops on the square getting into the spirit of the season with shop windows decorated in their Christmas best, make sure Collierville Town Square is on your list of places to visit this Holiday Season.

DSC_0050

Beauty From Ashes

ellis building

 For as long as I can remember, I have been fascinated with abandoned buildings.   But this fascination always came with a side of sadness…a melancholy feeling of sorts.  The thought of something that was once so vibrant and full of life left to stand in silence, all alone and no longer serving its intended purpose would make me feel a longing deep within my soul.  Looking back, I can also add another word to those melancholy feelings, hopelessness.  I felt that the purpose and plan for these places had passed them by somehow.  They had been created for a single purpose, and once that purpose had played out they were no longer needed.  I didn’t have the ability to cast a new vision for these places, to see them in a new light.  Beauty from ashes…

   I turned 51 in August.  As a little girl, I saw my life going in a very specific way, I had a plan and a purpose, and those words were all singular.  There was no backup plan, I didn’t need one. To say life hasn’t turned out quite like I planned is an understatement.  After 25 years of marriage, I found myself starting over with my 3 children.  I begin to question everything in my life.  My purpose, my plan, had it somehow passed me by?  Beauty from ashes….

   It was during this time that the way I looked at life began to change.  I felt a spark of excitement, something I hadn’t felt in a very long time.  I was not hopeless.  My purpose, my plan was being reshaped, remodeled and recast.  I began to see the beauty in what was and also the beauty in what was to be.  But more importantly, I began to see the beauty in the process; the very messy, uncomfortable at times, unable to be planned process.  And I fell in love with my life, with all the unexpected twist and turns, the imperfect edges and corners, the amazing chaos.  Beauty from ashes….

   As I began to fall in love with my life, I began to see things with different eyes.  Eyes that truly saw beauty in the broken and abandoned, through the lens of hope.  It was during this time that I picked up a camera for the first time and began to explore my city and photograph what I saw.  I began to see that the buildings that I remembered from the past, the ones that were abandoned, whose purposes and plans had passed them by, were, in fact, being given new life.  There were warehouses that had once been central hubs of commerce and community that had stood empty and forgotten for years being given a new lease on life.  What appeared hopeless and abandoned became loft apartments, cafes, medical clinics, office buildings, the sky was the limit.    All it took were vision casters, people who not only remembered the beauty of the past but saw beauty in what could be.  And it didn’t have to be what it had once been.  There was a good strong foundation, the buildings had good bones.  With a little imagination and a lot of elbow grease, it could become something completely different and perhaps even more beautiful than it had been before.  There were some buildings that had been neglected too long, the destruction and the damage to the original structure was beyond repair and had to be torn down.  But even in these cases, there was hope.  The land the building had stood on was still a good solid foundation and a new building was built there.  Many of the pieces of the old building were able to be salvaged and found new life in their new home.  As I looked through my camera lens all around me I saw hope, new life, and fresh vision.  Beauty from ashes…

I realized that I could learn a lot from the abandoned buildings that I loved.  I could learn lessons of hope, perseverance, and patience.  That the scars from being neglected and forgotten for so long could become beautiful when seen through the lens of hope.  That a good strong foundation, many times the part of the building that you never even see until a storm passes through, that foundation is more important than the beautiful parts of the building that you can see.  There is beauty in the hidden part because a strong foundation represents a strength of character that doesn’t fade away like outward beauty. I learned that people, just like buildings, can have many different purposes and plans throughout their lives.  That all the different purposes and plans are important in creating the rich history of the building and the person. But most importantly I learned to view things that appear hopeless and damaged beyond repair not with a heart full of sadness and mourning of what was, but with eyes of hope, anticipating what is to come.  Truly Beauty from ashes.

Doing This Gratitude Thing

IMG_5281

Gratitude:

the quality of being thankful;

readiness to show appreciation for and

to return kindness….

 

I have been a journaler for most of my life.  But in the last few years, I added another practice to my journaling routine, gratitude journaling.  It doesn’t take long at all, just a few minutes before bed every night.  I made it a goal to write down 3 things I was grateful for every night, but I quickly learned that gratitude breeds gratitude.  What started out as something I was “making” myself do became something I looked forward to doing, and 3 grew to 5 and sometimes even more.  This doesn’t mean that some days coming up with just one thing to be grateful for isn’t a stretch. But an attitude of gratitude goes a long way in changing the way we see things.  When we take time to notice the small everyday things in our lives, we begin to celebrate the beautiful life we are creating.  There are so many benefits to living a life of gratitude, improved relationships, better physical health, improved psychological health,  increased empathy,  reduced aggression, stronger self-esteem, better sleep, and increased mental strength. And gratitude journaling isn’t the only way you can get more gratitude in your life, there are numerous other ways.  Pick a particular person in your life each week and seek out ways to show them your appreciation.  Find ways to involve your family in your new mindset, challenge them to begin their own journey of developing an attitude of gratitude.  Make it part of some task you are already doing on a daily basis, like brushing your teeth or washing the dishes.  While we are doing those things that we do on auto-pilot every day, we can take that time to reflect on the many blessings we take for granted every day.  Take the time to write a letter to someone from your past that has encouraged you or played an important part in your life.  Even when bad things happen in your life, try to find the good in the situation….be the person known for specializing in silver linings!  But remember, habits are hard to break, so when you let that negative mindset creep back in, show your self some grace and compassion.  Then pick yourself up, dust yourself off and challenge yourself to once again find the beauty in the ordinary!!

The Mid-South Coliseum​

37638129_2636609759698039_4847311201345994752_n

Mention the MidSouth Coliseum to any longtime Memphian, and they will immediately have a story for you. Either a concert they saw there, a graduation they attended, or my personal favorite, Monday Night Wrestling(but it is pronounced Rasslin😊). Built in 1963 it was added to the National Register of Historic Places in December 2000. The 10,085 seat arena was also used as the home for the original Central Hockey League team the Memphis Wings from 1964-1969. When the league reformed in the early ’90s, it was the home of the Memphis Riverkings. The Memphis Rogues indoor soccer league also played their 1979-1980 season there. And let’s not forget all the Tiger basketball that was played there. And there are so many concert memories.  One of the few stops on the Beatles’ final American tour, the band played 2 concerts there on August 19,1966.  Elvis recorded Live on Stage in Memphis March 20th, 1974. The Rolling Stones, The Who, The Carpenters, Alice Cooper, Ozzie, John Denver, Shaun Cassidy, Prince, Tina Turner, Journey, Waylon, Willie, Merle, The Gap Band, The Boss, Bob Dylan…they all played at the Coliseum at one time or another.  If you lived in Memphis as a child/teen, it’s probably the place where you saw your first concert.  Mine was Shaun Cassidy in 1976.  So many great concert memories, from Barry Manilow riding an elephant in on “Copacabana,” to  AC DC firing a real cannon during “For Those About to Rock,” my best concert memories took place at 996 Early Maxwell Blvd.   The Coliseum closed in 2006 but has remained a subject near and dear to many people’s heart.

Sunday Self-Care

IMG_5095

There is a saying that goes “A Sunday well spent brings a week of content,” and I am a firm believer in this philosophy!  For the last few years, I have made a point of taking some time every Sunday to plan out the week to come.  Does this mean that everything always flows smoothly and goes according to my plan?  Absolutely not, but by taking the time to review my calendar and doing a few simple tasks, even if I am thrown a curve ball during the week, my week is much less likely to completely unravel.  This planning doesn’t have to take an enormous amount of time or complicated systems to complete, but the benefits are many, so maybe give some of these suggestions a try tonight and see if it helps your week run a little smoother.

 

  • Check your calendar for anything out of the ordinary.  This could include birthdays/anniversaries, assignments that are due, projects, children’s activities, spouse/significant other’s activities…you get the picture.  Now is the time to transfer these things over to your personal planner/calendar and make sure everyone is on the same page for the upcoming week.
  • After transferring dates to your calendar, write any upcoming gifts/cards you need to purchase, project materials you are lacking or anything other than food that you need to pick up for the next week.
  • When filling in your calendar, make sure and write in some time for self-care..something as small as 15 minutes a day will add up to almost 2 hours at the end of the week.
  • Also, make sure you plan in some time for physical activity for the upcoming week.
  • Make a meal plan and grocery list.  After getting a general idea of your commitments for the upcoming week, you can better plan out your meals.  One thing that has helped me in this regard is to have a regular plan for certain days of the week.  For example, Mondays are CrockPot or InstaPot meals, Tuesdays are ground beef, Wednesdays are breakfast, Thursdays are chicken or fish, Fridays are leftovers, Saturdays they are at their dad’s, and Sundays are homemade pizza night.  After coming up with a meal plan make out a grocery list and make sure you have everything needed for all meals you have planned.
  • Roughly plan your wardrobe (and your younger children’s wardrobe) for the upcoming week.  Make sure everything is clean, mended and pressed if needed.  Many people do laundry on Sundays, this has never worked out for me.  But remember, systems are personal, and you need to find what works best for your particular stage of life.
  • I use Sundays to pick up around the house after a weekend of activities. De-cluttering major clutter spots (mine are the kitchen counters and my car)and making sure things are returned to their rightful home goes a long way in giving me peace of mind to face a new week.
  • Get finances in order.  I always balance my checkbook on Sunday nights and file away any stray receipts.  I review my budget and make any adjustments, and review what bills are due during the upcoming week.
  • Fill your car up with gas…not something you realize you need when you are trying to get to work or school Mondy morning!

While Sundays do mark the end of your weekend and the beginning of the new work week, by implementing a few of these suggestions you can make Sundays one of your most productive days and prepare as much as possible for the week ahead.

 

 

New Traditions…

fullsizeoutput_17f5

Traditions are meant to be kept, right?  I mean even if they aren’t working out for your family and the stage of life you are in, they are traditions and therefore like the Ten Commandments written on stone tablets, you have to keep them, right?  Wrong!  Change is good.  While I have learned to embrace that philosophy over these last 6 years, I am not going to lie, it scared me to death at one time.  Even if something is uncomfortable and even unhealthy, many times, we hold onto it.  Why?  Because the unknown is frightening.  With the uncomfortable and unhealthy we at least know what to expect and therefore don’t have any disappointments or unmet expectations.  Wow, that got deep and emotional fast didn’t it?  Let’s back up and talk about what this post was supposed to be about…traditions.  As changes occur in our lives, it is only natural that traditions change as well.  And maybe we have been guilty of trying to make our family traditions resemble something we have seen on Pinterest or Instagram, even though it isn’t a good fit for the people living under our roof.  Confession time…that’s what I have done with Halloween in the past.  I mean what is the perfect Halloween meal???   Chili of course!!  With chips and cheese and sour cream in rugged crockery with cornbread and crackers…or at least that was what I saw it as and therefore was determined to make this tradition fit my little family.  One problem, not one person in my family likes chili…including me.  I have finally accepted this is not my family’s ideal Halloween night meal and have come up with the following game plan:

IMG_5027

On the menu tonight is mummy hotdogs (aka crescent roll wrapped hotdogs), dip and chips, apples and caramel dip, and sugar cookies dyed orange (like pumpkins…get it??!!). And after a big night of trick or treating popcorn and The Great Pumpkin.  Nothing Pinterest worthy about this new tradition but I have a feeling it will be a hit with my crew, and that is what traditions are all about!!  So, the moral of this story is to use Pinterest and Instagram to inspire you to try new ideas, but let the people you love have the final say on the traditions you start and then be open to changing them as needed.  Find things that fit your stage of life and celebrate them.  And it is ok to create traditions that are just for you.  I change our mantle with the different seasons and holidays…now my kids think this is silly, but I love this tradition and plan on keeping it up no matter how silly they think it is!!

Grace…Not Just For Others

35406339_10212102065007638_4645526430824792064_n

We are all taught from an early age to be gracious to others, but I don’t ever remember a lesson on extending this healing grace to ourselves.  If I talked to others the way I talk to myself on a daily basis I can assure you I would have no friends, as a matter of fact, I would not just have no friends, I would gain a whole bunch of enemies!  I am brutal with myself…I kept up with it for a few hours this week, and here is a small sampling:

  • You are a failure as a parent, your kids are going to be ruined for life
  • My pictures are horrible, I can not possibly post them
  • I can’t believe I ate that
  • I can’t believe I didn’t work out today
  • I deserve to be alone
  • I should have read instead of watching that episode of The Office yet again
  • My kids should listen to K-Love….not the Foos
  • No one wants to read what you write…what are you thinking??
  • Good Lord look at the dust on that ceiling fan…
  •  If I were a better daughter, I would not let words hurt me
  • If I were a better Christian, I would pray more
  • Where did all these wrinkles come from?
  • I should dress more my age, I look ridiculous…
  • No wonder my kids keep a sinus infection, I should cook healthier food
  • I am so stupid
  • I can not believe I didn’t get those last things 2 things on my to-do list done

And let me preface this by saying this is a few hours IN ONE DAY, not even an entire day of cut downs and insults that I tell myself.  And I wonder why I end up feeling defeated and like a complete failure.  I would NEVER talk to anyone else like this, as a good southern girl I was taught to value politeness above everything.   Why are we not taught to extend this to ourselves?  This is a huge part of self-care.  It doesn’t matter how many routines we implement, how many hobbies we begin, massages we get, or classes we take, if we continue this toxic dialogue with ourselves it will never matter.  We have to stop that little voice that whispers in our ear night and day, recounting every mistake we have ever made.  And I think I have found the kryptonite for this unwelcome guest, gratitude.  Such a simple thing, but so much power in this word.  It isn’t easy to form a new habit, we all know that.  That whole 21-day thing can seem like 365 days when you are trying to replace a bad habit with a good one.  But the payout is worth it, I genuinely believe that.  Small victories deserve to be celebrated as much as big ones….so maybe I didn’t get those last two things on my to-do list done, I did the other four things, and that makes me pretty amazing! Perhaps there is dust on the ceiling fan, but we all have clean socks this week….so go me!  See how it works?  It’s like we have always been taught, garbage in, garbage out.  When we truly start valuing ourselves as the beautiful souls we are, we will begin to change this inner dialogue we have with ourselves every day. None of us are great at everything, but every single one of us is good at something, and those somethings are what we need to look for and celebrate. Living in guilt and despair is such a joy sucker. There is too much goodness and possibility, let’s grab a hold of that and live this beautiful life, extending grace to everyone, including ourselves!

The Orpheum

29D4498D-F2D0-48AD-98C9-6C03EB5C14BADid you know the Orpheum theater was almost demolished in 1976?? The original structure, called The Grand Opera House, was built in 1890. It became known as the Orpheum in 1907 and was home of some of the finest Vaudeville acts in the south. This building burned to the ground in the famous fire of 1923. In 1928 it was rebuilt and reopened with much fanfare. The new building was twice the size of the original and built to show both live performances and silent movies. The building was purchased by M. A. Lightman for only $75,000 in 1940 and begin its run as a first-run movie theater. After over 30 years as a theater, the Orpheum showed its final film in 1976. Malco sold the building and plans were made to demolish it in favor of office space. Luckily, a group of concerned Memphis citizens formed the Memphis Development Foundation and purchased this treasure off the courthouse steps a year later. It was one of the first buildings in Memphis to be added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1977. The grand theater reopen in January 1984 and in the last 34 years has presented more Broadway touring productions on average than any other theater in the United States.  Another good Memphis save!