If you are like most people, myself included different scares you. Different job, different route to work, different topping on your pizza, it doesn’t matter how big or how small the difference is, there is some degree of comfort in sameness. But I can tell you beyond a shadow of a doubt that some of my biggest blessings have come from the times when I have taken the different path, made a decision that was out of my comfort zone and embraced the chance to be, well, to be different. That is the time when different moves out of the uncomfortable and scary and into the exciting and blessed. If I were to ask you for a picture of your friend group, your tribe, the ones that you get into the trenches with and do life alongside, what would that picture look like? For a big part of my life, my picture looked a whole lot like me, very little difference at all. But my life took a big turn about 7 years ago, a completely different way than I ever expected. And with that new way came the chance to see situations, circumstances and people with fresh eyes. God pushed me out of my comfort zone and taught me so much during this time. And my life has been enriched in ways I could never have imagined in the process. When we intentionally seek out people who are different than we are, who have different points of view, different life experiences and challenges, whose family structure may look different from our own, our lives become more colorful and vibrant. And we often learn that people who seem so different than us on the outside are actually kindred spirits on the inside…and that is when the blessing occurs. So look for ways this week to embrace different and watch your life explode with color, just like the flowers of spring! Happy Sunday!
By now you have probably heard of Marie Kondo and KonMari method of organization and tiding your home. If not, let me share a few links to get you started! Her website, which offers a wealth of tips and information, her first book, which was was a New York Times best-seller, and finally, the trailer to her new show on NetFlix, Tiding Up with Marie Kondo. She states her mission in life is to spark joy through cleaning and tidying. Now before you roll your eyes and quit reading, hear me out. I was very skeptical of this method at first. As someone who has loved organizing and tiding all my life, I felt like I had a good handle on all of this and the last thing I needed was to learn a whole new method, the proverbial you can’t teach an old dog new tricks mentality. But after reading the books and most recently, watching her show on Netflix, I have changed my tune. This old dog is excited to report she is happily using new tricks and having great results! Throughout the next few months, I will be reviewing the different aspects of this method and how it can help you make the best possible use of the space you have been blessed with. I honestly feel that whatever stage of life you are in, this method can benefit you, not only in organizing and caring for your possessions but in dealing with the mental clutter that plagues us all. When your surroundings are cluttered and messy, it affects your entire life. While the terms neat and clean are subjective, everyone performs better in an environment that has some semblance of order to it. And the feelings of pride and self-confidence that come alongside getting control of your space once and for all are genuinely life-changing.
“The moment you start tidying, you reset your life.”
Her system is a daunting one, as you will see on the trailer for her show. Most cleaning and organization methods have you go room by room, and what typically happens is you move one pile of stuff from room to room. With the KonMari method, you are attacking one category at a time. While this does make a bigger mess in the process, it is quite eye-opening to see all your things gathered in one place. It will not only shock you, but it will also help you to realize how much you have to be grateful for in your life. That is the ultimate goal of tidying up, to learn to cherish everything you have so you can achieve happiness within yourself and appreciate what you have. So take some time in the upcoming weeks to check out Marie’s new series, or check out her book (she has two books, but I highly recommend reading the first before beginning, it lays the groundwork for the entire system). I can promise you that a decluttered home will help you achieve an uncluttered mind, and that is something we all need more off in our lives!
.Located at 9336 Davies Plantation Rd in Bartlett TN, Davies Manor is the oldest existing home in Shelby County and quite possibly the oldest in West Tennessee. Built somewhere around 1830 the original owner is not for certain. We do know that William Davies bought the home in 1838 and his two sons Logan and James farmed the land and created the plantation part of Davies Plantation by expanding the farm to 2,000 acres. Ellen Davies-Rogers left the home to the Davies Manor Association upon her death in 1994. There are several outbuilding that’s make up the grounds including a small tenant cabin. There are also several gardens on the property that are maintained by Memphis Area Master Gardeners that help explain some of the aspects of pioneer life including a kitchen garden and a herb Garden. The home and grounds are open for tours Tuesday thru Saturday from 12-4. Admission is $5 for adults $4 for seniors and $3 for students. To read more about this historic home, please click on the link below.
So this blog post is going to be a bit different from what I normally post. I had a post already written, a happy little upbeat post complete with a pretty picture. And then I woke up this morning to the news that a dear friend, someone that I looked up to and admired had ended his life. The world would no longer be blessed with his amazing photographs, photographs that were so good they many times looked like paintings. After enduring a very dark time in his life, a time where he felt like he had nothing left to give to the world, nothing worth sharing, he decided that he was too tired to continue. People who have never felt this darkness will not understand these feelings. And that’s ok. You don’t have to understand a person to show them empathy and compassion. To quote the very wise Atticus Finch,
“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view…Until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”
There are certain temperaments, the innate intricate way a person is created, that makes them more prone to depression. People who have this bent have to work twice as hard as someone who is naturally more upbeat and positive to not feel the hurt and the pain of this world profoundly and passionately…in their very core. I have always been a glass is half full kind of person, many times just thankful I even have a glass. But there was a dark time in my life. A time that I felt like the world was closing in on me. A time when I felt like the people I loved more than life would be better off without me. And those feelings were very real. They were not something I could “positive talk” myself out of. I couldn’t just read a great self-help book and those feelings just disappear. They were overwhelming, all-consuming and very frightening. And I was very ashamed and embarrassed to be feeling those feelings. I never reached out to anyone. By the grace of God, my suicide attempt was not successful, and I was given the gift of another day and another chance. And I got the help I needed. My friend didn’t get that chance, he chose a permanent solution to a temporary situation. And my heart hurts because of that. I had talked to him just days before and actually confronted him about my fears that he was considering taking his own life. And others had reached out to him recently, checking on him, asking him to lunch, trying to get him behind the lens of a camera again, all to no avail. When I first heard the news, I was hit with a wave of guilt that took my breath away. I should have tried harder to reach out. I could have stopped him. The dreaded “shoulda, woulda, coulda” syndrome. But after reaching out to some good friends and talking through these feelings, I realized that I couldn’t allow myself to dwell on these thoughts. I did the best I could. I wish with all my heart the ending could have been different, but I can’t let it keep me from reaching out to others. I must continue to listen to others, to hear their hearts when their words fail them. I must continue to feel empathy towards others who are in the trenches with this dreaded monster called depression. To remember how it feels and how alone and isolated you can feel in the battle. And I must extend grace to myself in the process. I am not called to fix people, only One Person can truly do that, and I am called to point people to Him. I can not feel personally responsible for the decisions of others, because as we teach our children from an early age, the only person you truly have control over is yourself. But I can continue to share my story, to share the lessons that I have learned throughout my journey.
And I will.
Companionship; a fellowship of interest; friendship; comradeship;
In today’s social media-saturated culture I find myself becoming more and more isolated. And I don’t think I am the only one. We feel like we are staying connected to our family and friends by reading short blurbs about their lives, but in reality, you are missing a key ingredient, fellowship. Face to face, sharing life kind of fellowship. As human beings, we are created for relationships. It is part of our DNA. So to be the best version of ourselves, which is the very definition of self-care, we have to make sure this need for relationship is being met. Fellowship is a two-way street, and spending time with friends and investing in relationships will also contribute powerfully to my own self-care. Is it always convenient? Nope. But the good things in life seldom are.
But it is so worth it. Fellowship doesn’t have to be elaborate or expensive. All it really needs to be is authentic and from the heart. There is the satisfaction that comes from long term relationships that you have invested time in and done life alongside. And there is also the joy that comes from developing new friendships. But with so many things competing for our time and attention these days we have to be intentional in making this a priority. For the last 7 years, I have chosen a word that I want to investigate and live out in my life for the upcoming year. This year I chose the word listen. To myself, to God and to others. One way of listening to others is to provide an environment for people to come together. A few weeks ago I posted an invitation for anyone who wanted to get together for some fun, fellowship, and food that my doors would be open. Was I nervous? You better believe it, entertaining is not my strong suit. But was it worth it? Absolutely! I watched friends who hadn’t seen each other for a long time reconnecting and catching up. I watched people who had never met begin to talk and share and realize they had shared interests and experiences. I saw tears shed and hugs freely given. I heard laughter and memories being shared. And it filled my soul. We need this. Every single one of us needs this. I am making myself a promise, a promise to do this more often. To open my home and invite people to come in and share their stories, their struggles, their victories, all of it, the good, the bad and the ugly. To maybe create something, or teach others a new hobby or skill to try. To inspire each other to be the very best version of ourselves that we can be, and it is going to be amazing!!!
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….
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!!!
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!!!
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!!