Valentines Day 2019…Let’s Do This!!

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All right people…it’s crunch time…8 days till Valentines Day.  And whether you love it or hate it, it will be in your face soon demanding your attention.  Allow me to help you with your Valentines Day plans…so whether you are celebrating the day before the big day, on the big day or after the big day, we have you covered!  Now on to the list….

  • Cosmic Skate Night at Midsouth Ice House Every Saturday night in February the MidSouth Ice House turns down the lights, turns up the music and brings out the disco ball for an event that is fun for the entire family. Can you say Black Light Couple Skating??!!
  • Maybe painting is more your thing.  Pitter Potter Studios is offering a special painting night for couples from 6pm-9pm on February 14th.  Reservations are required.
  • Phillip Ashley Chocolates is hosting the first Chocistry Experience Tasting of  2019 on February 14th from 7pm-9pm at Memphis Botanic Garden.  Enjoy eight designer chocolates paired with eight different wines and heavy hors-d’oeuvres.
  •  Romantic movie trivia will be going on at Pimentos, Maciel’s Highland and Memphis Made Tap Room are the places to be to test your trivia knowledge of all things Rom-Com!  February 14th at 6:30…this is a free event, but reservations are strongly suggested.
  • Have you always wanted to take a Memphis Riverboat Cruise?  The Valentines Day Dinner and Music Cruise is perfect for you!  The two-hour cruise will begin boarding at 6:30om and includes live jazz music and a delicious meal.  If you haven’t seen our Memphis skyline at night, this is the perfect opportunity!
  • Speaking of amazing views of the Memphis’ sky-line  The Lookout Restaurant located on top of the Pyramid is serving a special Valentines dinner.
  • Here is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate while giving to a very worthwhile cause.  The 4th No Show Ball is a fundraiser for the Forrest Spence Fund.  This wonderful non-profit helps support families of critically or chronically ill children by assisting with non-medical needs.  And guess what?  You don’t even have to leave your house for the ball!  They will deliver a meal for four in a cooler to your door (complete with wine or apple cider) on February 9th between 10am-1pm.
  • Celtic Crossing is hosting a special three-course dinner complete with chocolate hearts and piano music…all set in beautiful Midtown Memphis
  • Primas Bakery and Boutique has put together a Valentines Truffle Tasting on February 9th at 4 pm. Truffle flavors include Nutella, Salted Caramel, White Chocolate Rasberry, and Chocolate Peanut Butter.
  • Blue Suede Ballroom is offering a Valentines Day dance class on February 14th at 5 p.m, 6 p.m., and 7 p.m.  These 45-minute classes give you the opportunity to practice the Rumba, Tango, or Salsa.
  • The Memphis Shrine Circus starts on February 14th this year and runs through February 17th at the Agri Center Showplace Arena. A Valentines Day treat for the entire family!!
  • Woodruff-Fontaine is hosting a Galentine’s Day Tea complete with your favorite hat and fan!  Come celebrate in style on February 17th from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m and have a proper afternoon tea along with a tour of the museum.
  • Felicia Suzanne’s is serving a fantastic three-course dinner complete with take-home chocolate dipped strawberries from Dinstuhl’s
  • Trolley Stop Market is throwing a Valentines’ Day Celebration that celebrates the love of family and friends. It will include face painting, door prizes, and even a movie and will be held on February 14th from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

So there you have it, a variety of fun things to do to celebrate Valentine Day in Memphis and the Mid-South.  You need to make sure you call ahead and make reservations and or purchase tickets to ensure your spot.  What are your plans to celebrate this year?  If you have any other suggestions or ideas, please share them in the comment section below…Happy Celebrating!!!

Self-Care Sunday…Just Say No To the Snooze Button!!!

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We all have done it even though we know it is a horrible idea….somehow we think if I could just have 12.5 more minutes of sleep our life would be better….we know this is not the truth…we know we will not get good solid rest for those 12.5 minutes….that we will have those crazy Captain Kangaroo and Mr. Green Jeans kind of dreams.  The snooze button…we think it is our friend, but in reality, it is one of the biggest deterrents to having a successful morning routine.  I promise this isn’t just me saying this. Hitting the snooze button repeatedly inflicts “cardiovascular assault” on the body and abuses your nervous system, a neuroscientist has warned. I don’t know about you, but the words cardiovascular assault makes me feel a bit anxious inside.  According to  Huffington Post

Why snoozing can be bad for you now: Like we said, the body needs some time to get you ready to wake up. When you let yourself go back to sleep, your body thinks, “False alarm! I guess I didn’t need to do anything because we’re not getting up after all,” and settles in. When that buzzer goes off a second time, Pelayo says that your body and brain are taken by surprise, resulting in that groggy, fuzzy-headed feeling called sleep inertia. The more you snooze, the more confused your body and brain get (“So are we going back to sleep or not?!”), so you’ll probably feel more out of it even though you actually spent extra time in bed. What’s more, this type of sleep inertia can persist for up to two to four hours, research has found.

 

And I know that when I hit the snooze, I am immediately hit with self-deprecating thoughts.  Thoughts like “You are so lazy and worthless, you can’t stick to a routine for even a day.  You are a total loser”…and on and on it goes; a vicious and unrelenting assault.  And as an added bonus you are throwing off your internal clock.  Getting up at a different time every day confuses your brain.  Those stolen minutes are just not worth it, so make up your mind once and for all to just say no to the snooze button.  I know it’s not easy, but I promise it is so worth it.  Try putting the alarm clock across the room, where you have to get up to turn the phone off.  If you are a coffee drinker, try setting the timer on your coffee pot a few minutes earlier than your alarm…the smell of coffee brewing helps you wake some people up.  One thing I have found that helped me is to have something to look forward to when I get up, to do something I really enjoy doing.  For me, this is reading and journaling.  I have also found that if I have some sort of physical activity as soon as I get up, it helps keep me up.  Nothing crazy or excessive…think 10 jumping jacks or a few toe touches.  It’s that initial five minutes that is the hardest for me.   How about making a pledge this week with me, a promise to just say no to the snooze button, and see how your mornings go. You can do it, I believe in you!  I can do it, I believe in me!!  We are worth it!!!

Elmwood Cemetery….Your History Lesson Awaits

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I am guessing when you think of fun things to do in Memphis, visiting a cemetery isn’t something that you think of…that is unless you have been to Elmwood! Established in 1852 and placed on the National Register of historic places in March of 2002 it has become the final resting place to over 75,000 inhabitants including mayors, governors, madams, blues singers, suffragists, martyrs, generals, civil rights leaders, holy men and women, outlaws and millionaires, paupers and slaves. It is Memphis’ oldest active cemetery. They have guided tours throughout the year and an audio car tour is available to rent anytime. It is an amazing history lesson to both young and old alike. So check it out on the link below…it is truly a beautiful adventure!!
http://www.elmwoodcemetery.org/

Self-Care Sunday…Listen to Yourself

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When we hear the word listen, I think we automatically think about a skill we practice on others, not one we practice on ourselves.  But I think we would greatly benefit from practicing this self-care skill on ourselves as well.  We have been trained, especially in the south, that it is polite and expected of us to extend this courtesy to those we interact with on a daily basis, but we are never taught to extend this same courtesy to ourselves.  We do ourselves a grave injustice when we don’t treat ourselves with the same kindness that we treat perfect strangers.  If we are tired, we are taught to push through and continue to do what we are doing, resting is for the weak.  If we begin to feel sick, or slightly under the weather, we usually suck it up and continue on the same path as we were when we felt perfectly healthy.  Now if we had a friend who appeared to be tired we would immediately advise them that they needed to rest, to recharge, and take care of themselves.  The first sign of a sniffle or a cough from one of our children normally will lead us directly to the doctor.  Why do we extend this grace to others, but not ourselves?  More times than not it is because we don’t put the same value on our own wellbeing, We don’t feel as if it is as essential.  This always leads to negative feelings.  Resentment, feeling like a martyr, and eventually anger and it’dangerous counterpart bitterness will take hold.  And we all know nothing good can from feeling this way.  So this first Sunday of 2019, chose the better way.  Listen to yourself with love and respect and act accordingly. It is the very foundation of self-care.   You are worth it!!!

Listen….​

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Listen

To hear something with thoughtful attention; to take notice of and act on what someone says; to concentrate on things around you

 

Since 2013 I have chosen a word to represent the year ahead.  Past years choices have been words like joy, create, bloom and nourish.  I usually don’t know the word I will choose until New Year’s day, but this year was different.  I knew listen was my word for 2019 in June.  It’s really not a very exciting word, is it?  Kinda the oatmeal version of words of the year….something that warms you up and sustains you….but gets taken for granted in day to day life.  So many times I am guilty of listening with my ears, with the intent to reply, to be heard.  This year I want to listen with my heart, with the intent to understand.  To listen to my Savior, myself, my family, my friends, my community and my world.  To pay attention with my ears, my eyes, and my heart.  To hear more than the words being spoken, to hear stories and the feelings behind the words.  I want to listen to people the way I want to be listened to, I guess it’s kind of like The Golden Rule of Listening.  I am so guilty of looking for a place to jump in the conversation, to preach or solve the problems being presented, instead of slowing down and allowing the person that has trusted me with their words to get their full thoughts out.  I will stop thinking about how I am going to respond, and start thinking about how I can be there for the person in front of me.  I will also listen to myself with grace and understanding.  Boundaries don’t have to be explained or justified to others.  If I need rest, then it is rest I will give myself, no questions asked.   I will listen to myself with the same respect and attentiveness that I am giving others.  After all, everyone longs to feel heard and understood, and this is a gift we all have the ability to give freely to the world around us.  Happy New Year!!!

Doing This Gratitude Thing

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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!!

Sunday Self-Care

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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.

 

 

Grace…Not Just For Others

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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!

What Is Your Passion?

camera marine hospitalAnother way to practice self-care is to find time to pursue your passions.  Our lives can get very hectic, with people pulling at us from every direction.  Many times our own passions and interest are the first things that get cut from our overbooked schedules.  This can leave you feeling resentful towards the very people you love and care for.  Over time this can cause you to lose your joy and zest for life.  It seems like a quick and easy fix at the time, but it actually is an expensive one in the long run.  Just like with routines, continuing to pursue your interest during the busy seasons of your life doesn’t have to take a lot of time, just a little planning, determination, and belief that you are worth it.  Maybe you,

  • Join a book club at your local library
  • Take an online class through Skill Share
  • Find an outside walking trail and start collecting leaves…bring them home and press them old school style between wax paper.
  • Pick up a book to help you identify the leaves
  • Pick up a camera and begin to notice your world in a different way
  • Take part of a Saturday and explore an art museum in your area
  • Buy an inexpensive set of calligraphy pens and check some books out of the library on hand lettering
  • Start a journal…with a little washi tape and some pictures and memorabilia you have a scrapbook!!
  •  Find a YouTube video and learn how to crochet, knit, embroidery, cook, make soap, raise chickens, build birdhouses…you get the idea!

And maybe it’s been so long since you allowed yourself to think about what you are passionate about that you have no idea where to start.  That’s ok too. Sit down and make a list of anything you have ever been remotely interested in learning about.    Pick something from the list to explore weekly, and if it doesn’t interest you move to the next item.  I can promise you will eventually find something that will inspire you.  And remember…YOU ARE WORTH IT!!!

Is Self Care Selfish?

fullsizeoutput_484As women, we are taught at an early age that we are the caretakers and nurturers of others.  And that is a beautiful job, one that I take seriously and feel honored to do.  But to keep pouring out into and for others, we have to remember to refill our own cup.  If you have ever traveled on an airplane, the following sentence should be a familiar one; “In case of emergency, air masks will drop from the ceiling.  If you are traveling with a minor, please put on your own mask before helping the minor”; but how many times do we really follow these directions in our daily lives?  When life gets hectic, your to-do list is never ending, your calendar is jam-packed, and you feel like you are pleasing no one, who is the first person to get pushed to the back burner?  If you are anything like me, that person is the one that actually needs the most self-love and grace, that person is yourself. While self-care may seem indulgent and a luxury we can not afford, it is actually crucial to your physical, emotional, mental and spiritual well-being. And honestly it doesn’t have to cost anything.  However, one very important thing to remember about self care is that it is a practice, it isn’t something you just do once.  By making it a part of your routine you are sending a message to yourself and others; that message is “I am worth it.  I believe in myself enough to make myself a priority.”  The benefits of self care are amazing:

  • Reduce the negative affects of stress
  • Your relationships will flourish
  • You begin to appreciate and notice the small things
  • Your physical health will improve
  • Your emotional health will improve
  • Your spiritual health will improve (do you see a pattern here?

This is just a very small sampling of the benefits.  If you begin to practice self care I can guarantee you will add more to this list each time you take the time to make yourself a priority.  In the coming days I will be giving you some suggestions of how to make self care  part of your routine and not just something you dream about doing someday….I think you will be surprised at how little time and money it will take…and remember YOU ARE WORTH IT!!!!