Self-Care Sunday-Fellowship Fills the Soul

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Fellowship:

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.

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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!!!

 

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/

Explore..It’s Good For the Soul!

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 Although it might just be the turning of a calendar page, Januarys seem to be so much more than that. New beginnings, clean slates, fresh starts, who doesn’t love phrases like that?  So how about you?  Have you made any resolutions for the coming year?  Perhaps you have significant changes looming on the horizon.  Maybe a job change, a marriage and starting a family. Perhaps you are on the other side of this with retirement, empty-nesting, and downsizing.   But I would also like to present you with a challenge.  How about resolving to explore your community this year?  To truly find out about the fantastic city you live in; the history, the people, the architecture, the local shops and restaurants, the parks and trails, the music….all the beautiful things that make Memphis and the surrounding suburbs so incredible. If this sounds like an adventure you would like to embark on, I can help!  I love my city and many times use this blog and my social media pages to bring attention to many of the incredible events and opportunities offered.  I will also be reviewing local shops and restaurants in the coming months to bring attention to the talent and creativity the area has to offer.  This is where you, the reader, play a part in all of this.  If you see a business you would like to know more about or think others need to know about, let me know.  Know about an event or celebration going on in your community…drop me a line so I can share it with others.  Know of an individual that is doing something amazing and making a difference, let me know. We all know how fast bad news can travel, let’s prove good news can travel twice as fast!   Now, on to some January adventures….

  • Inspire Community Cafe 510 Tillman Street Suite 110 (Sam Cooper @Tillman)-I truly can’t say enough good things about this place!  They offer a fantastic menu of breakfast, lunch or dinner items, provide an environment of love and acceptance, pay all their employees a living wage and give 10% of net profits back to the community…that is a win/win if I’ve ever seen one!!  Check out the link above and give them a try….you will not be disappointed!
  • January 15-January 20 the Orpheum host the musical hit Waitress.
  • January 18th-February Theater Memphis will host Harper Lee’s timeless novel To Kill a Mockingbird
  • If you are looking for something of a more adult nature, January 18th from 6:30-9:30 The Pink Palace will be hosting the 6th annual Science of Beer
  • Was getting more exercise and enjoying the outdoors part of your New Year’s goals?  If so the Wolf River 5k race is for you!  It will take place on January 19th at 8 am at Wolf River Greenway Trail Head on Humphries Blvd.  Proceeds will benefit the Wolf River Conservancy
  • And finally, one of my favorite days in the 901…MLK Days of Service.  This year there will be events taking place throughout the city January 18-January 21st.  This is a wonderful opportunity to give back to our city and serve alongside your family and friends.  Opportunities are child-friendly and show them that one person can make a difference.  I will cover this in more detail next week, but for now, check out this link for a more detailed listing of ways to get involved.

So get out there, explore your community and share with us, and your family and friends what a great place the 901 truly is!!

Self-Care Sunday

fullsizeoutput_2126In Sunday Self-Care I talked a bit about planning as a form of self-care.  When we take the time to invest a bit in our week on the front end, the pay off is a smoother and less stressful week.  Which leads to a more peaceful less stressed you…one of the main goals of these Sunday posts.   Many people view self-care as something you do when you are burned out and unable to keep up with the basic requirements of life.  But that is living life in reaction mode.  In order to have the abundant and fruitful life that we long for we must learn to live life more in the responding mode. We know ourselves better than anyone and know what we need to be the best version possible.  This is more of a preventative approach to mental and emotional health, the things we need to do to keep burnout from becoming a way of life.  And I know that sometimes you feel like adding one more thing to an already overfilled schedule is impossible, I promise you if you make the time to take care of yourself, the other stuff will fall into place.  It’s like the example of putting sand in the jar and then attempting to put all the rocks in, inevitably all the rocks won’t fit.  But, if you place the rocks in first and then pour the sand in you can fit so much more in your jar.  To me, planning is one of those rocks you should add to your jar first.  Planning is a very individualistic thing, and you have to find out what works for you,  Some people swear by electronic planning, however, I am an old school paper and pencil kind of girl, so that is reflected in the way I plan.  I have never found one planner that met all my needs, so I combine pages from several different sources to create something that best serves me.  I have always preferred ring-bound planners, they give e the ability to add sections and remove sections as seasons in my life change.  I would say that is a key concept in planning, realizing that your needs change, and adapting your planning system to meet you where you are at the moment.  Think of your planner as your very own administrative assistant, it’s working for you to make your life a bit less stressful and chaotic. On Sundays, I take the time to plan my week. The three things that have been consistent in my planner over the years are 1) a monthly calendar 2) a daily page and 3) a menu planner.  My monthly calendar contains appointments, school holidays and important events and birthdays.  Since I make it a habit of carrying my planner with me when I am out when I make an appointment I immediately write it down in my planner.  No scraps of paper, no appointment cards, no trying to remember what calendar it was written on, one central location.  Do you see how that could eliminate a little bit of stress from your life?  And I carry a full year of monthly pages in my planner at all times, so those 6 months out dentist appointments don’t get lost in the everyday part of life.  After I have checked my monthly calendar for any obligations coming up, I date a week’s worth of daily pages.  Now I know daily pages aren’t for everyone, some people find a week on a two page spread to be all they need. This is where your individual needs and preferences come into play.  I use my daily pages to track my spending, my water intake,  a gratitude journal for the day, along with a to-do list and schedule planner.  During my Sunday planning, I write appointments on the proper day, plan out work assignments, and finally place my weekly scheduled tasks on their proper day. Next, I plan our meal plan for the upcoming week.  It helps me to have a basic plan I try to follow each week; Monday-crock-pot or insta-pot meal, Tuesday a beef main dish, Wednesday quick and easy meal (think grilled cheese and tomato soup) Thursday chicken main dish and, Friday fish or non-meat main dish. While these three sections remain a constant in my planning, other sections come and go.  I like to have a section for each child, this is where I write down their school schedule, bus number, clothing size, wants and needs list…you get the picture.  I also like to have a section for goals, so I am able to look over it periodically and see how I am progressing.  Maybe you would like a section to write down books or movies or podcasts that people recommend. How about a section to write down inspirational quotes, a place to put your own wants/needs list or a place to keep notes on things you read or hear.  You get the idea, the sky is the limit.  This is your planner and your system, it as individual as you are. You can find plenty of free printables online or maybe, if you are creative, design your own to best fit your needs.  There are also plenty of places online to buy pre-printed pages. It can be something as simple as a blank notebook that you use to keep track of things, or as complex as a personally designed system of pages and sections, the important thing is that you use it. This is why a Sunday planning day works for me.   Now, does this mean that everything always goes according to the plan?  Nope, but I know if it is written down it is much more likely to get done.  As the saying goes, failing to plan is planning to fail.  This type of structure allows me to be a better steward of my time, which leads to a more productive day.  So maybe as we enter into this second full week of 2019, you give this planning thing a try.  What do you have to lose??  And if you have any questions about the specific pages I use, leave them in the comments below, I think I have tried every kind of planner out there at one time or another!!  Have a beautiful week!

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!!!

Beauty From Ashes

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 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

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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!!