Give Yourself a Gift This Year!

With Christmas so close, our thoughts turn to gift giving. What would bring a lot of joy and happiness to our loved ones? How about something that is not very expensive, that develops with time using a little persistent effort and no wrapping required?

“The run-up to the new year is the perfect time to place more focus on the priceless gift of good health. From less stress and a smaller waistline to a stronger immune system and reduced risk for disease, it’s hard to think of another holiday gift with such powerful long-term benefits.

As you build your plan for better health, begin by taking a look at the amount of time you spend moving. Whether it’s a dedicated half-hour at the gym or a walk each morning with a friend (furry or otherwise), almost any kind of exercise will allow you to unwrap a whole host of health perks.

“Think of exercise not only as a way to burn more calories, but also as a very strong medicine to help you avoid developing a chronic condition or to control a condition you already have,” said Stephen Compston, a registered dietitian at Renown Health. “Your long-term goal is a minimum of three days each week totaling 150 minutes of exercise.”

Getting at least this much exercise each week can help fend off chronic disease by decreasing blood pressure, promoting better sleep, improving cholesterol levels for better blood flow, boosting mood and elevating energy.

Once you’ve pinned down a get-moving goal for the new year, turn your attention to the food you eat in order to gift yourself with another long list of health benefits. Compston said it’s smart to start eating more non-starchy vegetables and add an array of colors to your meal plan.

Another food-based tip especially relevant during the holiday season is to take steps to avoid overindulging during festive parties and family feasts. One of the biggest pitfalls is going hungry to one of these events, which can set you up for eating way too much.

Along with strengthening your focus on diet and exercise for the holidays and through the new year, other simple ways to bolster well-being include regular hand-washing, staying hydrated and making a commitment to see your primary care provider at least once a year.”

Good Health is hoped for, prayed for, and celebrated. So as we celebrate the birth of our Savior and peek under the Christmas tree, pull out that gift of Good Health and begin to unwrap it for yourself and for the ones you love. “To your Happiness and To your Health!” Merry Christmas!

Reflections by Maxie Dunnam


Apart from Peanuts, Dennis the Menace may be my favorite comic strip. In a recent cartoon Dennis is in his room with his dog; the cookie jar is open, and Dennis has put four or five on the plate for his dog.

It must have been on Sunday. His mother came into the room, and we can only imagine what she said, but Dennis responds, “Didn’t you hear the preacher say, The Lord helps those who help themselves?

Most readers, with Dennis, will know that proverb, believing it comes from the Bible. George Barna, a well-known Christian pollster and religious sociologist, opened one of his survey reports with this indictment, “Americans revere the Bible- but, by and large, they don’t read it. And because they don’t read it, we have become a nation of biblical illiterates.”

Some of the data behind that summary is:

Fewer than half of all adults can name the Four Gospels. 

Sixty percent of Americans can’t name even five of the ten commandments. 

Eighty-two percent believe that the proverb “God helps those who help themselves” is found in Scripture. 

Dennis may have heard it wrong. I doubt if any preacher would say that. I hope the preacher would say, where human power and resources are sufficient, divine power will not be put forth.

So I ask, Is it possible to be too dependent upon God?

I know full well that the message of the Gospel is that God helps those who are helpless – not just those who are down–and-out helpless, but like so many of us, who by the grace of God come to an awareness of an up-and-out-helplessness.

The insensitive philosophy of “pull yourself up by the bootstraps” is also too often stated. The problem with that philosophy is that there are too many who don’t have boots, so there are not straps to pull on.

Yet, I pose the question: Is it possible to be too dependent upon God? It may very well be that when and where human power is sufficient, divine power will not be put forth. That challenges each of us to see the needs around us and respond to those needs with the resources we have. 

-Maxie Dunnam  

Congratulations to Our Champion of the Month

Barbara O’Neal

Front Desk Receptionist

Describe your family: We are quite large and are very close. We do everything together.

Describe yourself in five words: Honest, loyal, dependable, caring and great work ethic.

What do you do for fun: Power walking, reading, movies.

What are some of your hobbies: Cooking & Painting.

What is your favorite thing about your job: Great residents and great coworkers.

What is your favorite food: Ice Cream.

What is your favorite song: Time to Say Goodbye by Andrea Bocelli.

What is something you are proud of: My caring, hard-working, successful children.

What would you like people to know about you: That I care about everybody as a Christian.

Barbara is a constant, showing up every day for her shift. She is always there to assist the residents and employees. She does it all with a smile and a helpful attitude. Barbara is dedicated and kind. She answers calls, sorts package deliveries and takes residents menu orders. She is truly an asset to Kirby Pines.

– Martha Fitzhugh, Resident Services Coordinator

Veterans Day – November 11

Veterans Day, in the United States, national holiday (November 11) honoring veterans of the armed forces and those killed in the country’s wars. The observance originated in 1919 on the first anniversary of the 1918 armistice that ended World War I and was known as Armistice Day. It was commemorated in 1921 with the burial of an unknown soldier from World War I at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia. Other countries that had lost soldiers in the conflict, such as Italy and Portugal, conducted similar ceremonies that year. The previous year, unknown soldiers had been interred at Westminster Abbey in London, England, and at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France. Veterans Day is celebrated on Friday, November 11, 2022.

November 11 became an official national holiday in the United States in 1938. In 1954 the name was changed to Veterans Day to honor those who had served in all U.S. wars. Ceremonies are held each year at the Tomb of the Unknowns, and floral tributes are placed on the graves of service men and women and at memorials throughout the country. Naturalization ceremonies have come to be an important part of the day’s activities.

In Britain, Canada, Australia, and France November 11 is observed in honor of the veterans of World Wars I and II. In Britain the second Sunday of November is observed as Remembrance Sunday, and in Canada November 11 is observed as Remembrance Day. In Britain and the Commonwealth countries and in countries of Europe, it is common to observe two minutes of silence at 11:00 AM on November 11, the time and date of the World War I armistice in 1918. Poppies have long been associated with World War I memorials through the poem “In Flanders Fields” by John McCrae, and in several countries paper poppies are sold to raise money for the support of veterans and are worn in the lapel as a sign of remembrance.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Giving the Gift of Gratitude

The holidays are quickly approaching, which means it’s time to start thinking about giving gifts and spreading kindness. One of the best gifts we can give is that of gratitude. Gratitude, or the quality of being thankful, is something we can give without spending money, and can be just as beneficial for the giver as it is for the receiver, if not more so!

We are all familiar with how we can show gratitude for others – saying “thank you,” paying it forward, showing a random act of kindness – but we often overlook showing gratitude for our own health and well-being. Recent studies show that being grateful can improve our health, relieve depression, and broaden the mind. Experiencing positive emotions, as opposed to negative ones, leads to optimal levels of well-being, emotional wellness, and resilience.

While the “power of positive thinking” may not fix everything, it can certainly help. Acknowledging the good doesn’t mean denying the bad. Expressing gratitude for yourself can help you become more resilient, while also boosting your mood. When you feel good about yourself, others can feed off that. In addition, spreading gratitude into the world is infectious. Think of a smile – when you see someone smiling, you often smile back, don’t you? Put kindness, gratitude, and positivity out there, and you might just get it back!

Fun Fact: World Kindness Day is November 15th! Be kind to yourself and others!

Here are some ways to show gratitude and kindness for your own health and wellness:

Take a mindful walk. Spending time in nature can improve mood and memory, reduce stress, and increase levels of compassion. While on your nature walk, take in all the sights, sounds and smells around you!

Start a gratitude journal. Expressive writing can help process negative events and emotions but can also help focus on the positive ones. Becoming more aware of what you have can make you more resilient to stress and hardships. Start by making a list of the 5 things you are grateful for every day – your health, your family, your surroundings, etc.

Try a new exercise class or activity. Challenging your cognitive and physical wellness is a fantastic way to celebrate and honor yourself. What better way to show gratitude for yourself than to push to new limits? Try taking a new exercise class, learn a new skill or language, or a participate in a new activity such as wood working, gardening, playing cards or painting.

Do something for YOU! It’s easy, especially around the holidays, to get wrapped up in ensuring everyone else’s needs are highlighted. An important way of showing gratitude for yourself: Make sure you are carving out time for YOU!! This might look different for everyone – maybe it’s taking time to practice meditation, read your favorite book, walk outside, or spend time with your loved ones. Whatever it is, make sure you dedicate time for yourself.

Whatever method you choose, expressing gratitude is a win-win for your emotional and physical health and wellness! For more information on how you can improve kindness to your body and mind, contact the Functional Pathways Therapy Team!

Just as water lilies retract when sunlight fades, so do our minds when positivity fades”


A Balanced Exercise Program

Just like your need for a balanced diet of vitamin rich vegetables and fruits, protein, and carbohydrates, your body needs a balanced routine of exercise that includes cardiovascular, strengthening, and flexibility.

Any exercise that raises your heart rate slightly is considered Cardiovascular, such as walking, biking, or swimming. In the Oasis, the Nustep, the treadmill, and the recumbent bike will increase your heart rate. As we age, it is not necessary to push ourselves to the point of being out of breath and heart pounding. Slight perspiration and increased respiration rate is good and still being able to carry a conversation is a sign of exerting enough energy to utilize our hearts and lungs without overdoing it. If you do experience shortness of breath, heart palpitations, dizziness or pain – SLOW DOWN or STOP to rest.

Strengthening exercises build muscle and endurance. Lifting weights, and using Upper body and Lower body resistant equipment in the Oasis are strengthening exercises. Noodles and barbells in the water and water walking use resistance to strengthen arms and legs. When exercising, a little soreness is normal, but constant or a sudden sharp pain for more than two hours following exercise may mean “you overdid it.” Always begin a new program gradually, beginning with using lighter weights for a shorter period of time. On the bike or Nustep set the resistance on a lower number for 10-15 minutes. Each week add a few more minutes and increase resistance slightly.

Exercise classes provide a balanced program for cardio, strength, and stretch. Gentle stretching with deep breathing before and after an exercise session restores muscles and helps blood flow to muscles and joints to remove waste products (lactic acid) and bring oxygen and nutrients to replenish muscle cells. Stretching and drinking a tall glass of water may help prevent muscle cramps. Here is a quick review of the classes we offer here and how they can help keep you fit. Water Aerobics and Sit/Stand classes provide Cardio, Strength and Stretch. Yoga Stretch and Exercise help with strengthening, stretch, and range of motion (reach and flexibility).

Always drink water before, during and after exercising. Check with your medical doctor before beginning a new exercise program. Begin exercise sessions with 15 minutes three times per week. Gradually work up to 30 minutes five times per week. That is 150 minutes of moderately strenuous exercise each week which is recognized by the Arthritis Foundation, American Heart Association, and Centers for Disease Control for Cardiovascular health and healthy Joints. Visit the Oasis and/or join a class this week and experience that “good” feeling that comes with exercise.

Reflections by Maxie Dunnam


During the last few weeks, when I awake in the middle of the night and don’t return to sleep quickly, not to awaken Jerry, I sing in my mind. Interestingly the most frequent songs that come to mind are Gospel Songs that we sang in the little country church of my youth. I’m 88 years old, and these are songs I heard and sang over 70 years ago. 

The first verse and the chorus of the one that comes most frequently is “When we all get to Heaven,” 

Sing the wondrous love of Jesus 
Sing His mercy and His grace; 
In the mansions bright and blessed 
He’ll prepare for us a place. 

When we all get to Heaven, 
What a day of rejoicing that will be! 
When we all see Jesus, 
We’ll sing and shout the victory! 

I’m sure, since all of us here at Kirby are in my age category, my hunch is you can identify with that, some of you have sung it. We are strongly aware of our mortality, and we think of life after death. We think of that in terms of some vision of Heaven. But let’s get it straight… 

Heaven is Here, not There. 

I often express it this way: Our Father sent his Son, Jesus, not to get us into heaven, but to get heaven into us. By His death and Resurrection, He saves us, but more. In his ascension, through the Holy Spirit He leaves His presence, and his ongoing ministry is getting heaven into us. 

So we share in answering Jesus’ prayer, 
Thy Kingdom come… 
…on Earth as it is in Heaven. 

We seek to live now as though 
the Kingdom had already come. 

How? By being continually open to the Holy Spirit, and “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23) 

Doesn’t all that fruit look like and sound like what we have thought Heaven might look and feel like? Well, that’s the heaven Jesus wants to get into each one of us. 

-Maxie Dunnam  

Congratulations to Our Employee of the Month

CJ (Cecil) Moore

Dietary Utility

Describe your family: My family is fun, we like to go bowling together. 

Describe yourself in five words: Happy, nice, respectful, honest and hard working.

What do you do for fun: Movies and video games.

What is your favorite thing about your job: The nice people.

What is your favorite food: Pizza.

What is something you are proud of: My mom raised me right.

What would you like people to know about you: I’m a good guy.

CJ is a model employee. Always with a great attitude, constantly willing to pitch in and help where anything is needed, never a cross word to say. Having CJ in the dietary department makes everybody’s job a little easier, and our day just a bit better.

– Mark Simpson, Director of Culinary Services

The Hobby Shop Recycles Railings

Storage Rack

Months ago when building J’s corridors were under renovation Curt Wilson and I (Ray Tanner) noticed that the old hand railing was being discarded. We suspected that the hard oak rails might be useful for various projects in the Kirby Pines Hobby Shop. Also it appeared that the discarded railing brackets might be of use to the National Ornamental Metal Museum. 

Bistro Railing

Much of the railing from buildings G and F were saved and are being utilized in the Hobby Shop by several of us. Items made so far include: the Harold Petty memorial stool, coasters, jewelry boxes, paper weights, a pedestal table, a 4-leg table, foot massagers, a large wood storage rack, an antique desktop, and replacement railing for the Bistro. We’re looking forward to obtaining more surplus railing from buildings A and H. 


The old handrail brackets from buildings B, C, F, G, J & M were salvaged and transferred to the National Ornamental Metal Museum, totaling just over 700 pounds of cast iron. Due to their shape and size they are ideal for loading the iron furnace which is only fired on special occasions. 

By the way, the corridor renovation crew has been very cooperative in allowing us to secure part of the wood railing and nearly all the brackets. 

The Hobby Shop provides a furniture and lamp repair service for all residents. Its tool maintenance expense is funded through the funds raised by furniture and lamp repairs, along with gracious donations.

10,000th Game of Pool

The Billiards Group at Kirby Pines recently played their 10,000th game. Watch the video below!