Reflections by Maxie Dunnam

choir singing

We call it “The Jesus Prayer.”Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner”.

It is often continually repeated as a part of personal devotional practice. The prayer is particularly esteemed by many of the spiritual fathers as a method of cleaning and opening up the mind to the presence Christ.

This prayer bears the heart of prayer in the petition, have mercy on me a sinner, and the strength of all prayers in the name, Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God

In my writing and teaching prayer, I often focus on NAMING as a primary dynamic of prayer: we name God as God is in our experience, we name ourselves as we are before God, and we allow God to name us. A new perspective on that has come to me.

Almost every day my wife and have a devotional prayer time together and we often sing as a part of it. Just recently it has “hit me” that the naming dynamic is powerful in our singing as well as our praying. John Newton, the converted slave trader sang about it.

How sweet the Name of Jesus sounds 
In a believer’s ear! 
It soothes his sorrow, heals his wounds, 
And drives away his fear.

It makes the wounded spirit whole, 
And calms the troubled breast; 
‘Tis manna to the hungry soul, 
And to the weary, rest. 

O How I Love Jesus is a “Jesus Name” song that expresses the Gospel clearly and powerfully,

man praying

There is a name I love to hear,
I love to sing its worth;
It sounds like music in mine ear,
The sweetest name on earth!

It tells me of a Savior’s love,
Who died to set me free;

It tells of One whose loving heart
Can feel my deepest woe,

Who in each sorrow bears a part
That none can bear below.

It bids my trembling heart rejoice,
It dries each rising tear,
It tells me in a still, small voice
To trust and never fear. 

With that fresh perspective, let us pray, and let us sing,

Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!
How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’r!
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
O for grace to trust Him more.

-Maxie Dunnam  

Congratulations to Our Champion of the Month


Medical Staffing Coordinator

Describe your family: Caring and loving.

Describe yourself in five words: Caring, loving, helpful, determined and bossy.

What do you do for fun: Hanging out with my great nieces and nephews.

Do you have any hobbies: Reading urban fiction. 

Do you have any pets: An English Bulldog named Bohdi Brown.

What is your favorite thing about your job: Working with the entire medical team.

What is your favorite food: Catfish.

What is your favorite song: Goodness of God by CeCe Winans.

What is something you are proud of: The day my son graduated from high school.

What would you like people to know about you: I will help anyone.

Genova Brown wears many hats throughout the day, by assisting in any area needed to get things done. She is a team player who will handle situations that may arise on her own before seeking help. If a family member or resident has a problem, she immediately begins working on a solution and keeps everyone updated on the progress or action taken to fix it.

– Anna Bradford, Nursing Administrator

Kirby Pines Celebrating 40 Years 1983-2023

In the late 1970’s, a young pastor had a vision concerning the need for senior adult housing and care in the Memphis area. The name of this young pastor was Dr. James Latimer, at that time Senior Pastor of Central Church located on Poplar Avenue. His dream and vision was to build a senior retirement community to take care of senior adults as they grew older.

Come see Dr. James Latimer speak about Kirby Pines and his vision at this years

Lighting of the Lake

September 9 | 5:00 pm

people breaking ground
Breaking Ground in 1983
group of people
Kirby’s First Residents

Resident Spotlight: Steve & Linda Tittle

The Tittles


It was as though a “breathe of fresh air” came when Linda and Steve Tittle moved to Kirby Pines. Their youth and joyful spirit were a welcome addition to our community. After losing their only child, Brian, at the age of 26 to Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD), the Tittles were finally able to transition from life focused on survival to one of a “normal” existence. How did this couple who seem so compatible meet? Well, they lived only three houses apart!

Linda (Lott) Tittle was born in Selmer, Tennessee, in 1946, but her family moved to Memphis when she was one year old. They moved again when she was in the sixth grade, a move that would later become an important one.

Linda graduated from Kingsbury High School in 1964. She was a member of the Latin Club but admits she was not involved with many school activities. As an only child, she welcomed the opportunity to play with the neighborhood kids, occasionally babysitting with some of the younger ones.

Following graduation from high school, Linda enrolled in Draughon’s Business College and worked in secretarial jobs until her son, Brian, was born. Following Brian’s diagnosis at the age of three years, Linda (and Steve) cared for Brian until his death. According to Linda, “Everything centered on Brian’s care and comfort.”

Steve Tittle was born in a small town in Alabama in 1942. Steve describes life there as resembling the song words, “Coal mine, moonshine, or move on down the line.” Soon after Steve’s birth, his father was called to serve in WWII. Steve and his mother lived with his father’s parents; life with his grandparents was good. Steve was three years old when he was re-introduced to his father. 

Steve and his family eventually moved to Memphis, three houses from the Lott family. Steve graduated from Kingsbury High School in 1960, and then spent three years in the Army as a Specialist 4th Class, stationed primarily in Germany. Following his return to Memphis, Steve attended Memphis State University for one year. Unable to decide on a major, Steve chose to enlist in a steamfitter school sponsored by the Steamfitters Union. For 35 years, Steve worked as a steamfitter. According to Steve, “I enjoyed working with my hands, doing construction in chemical plants, installing air-conditioners, building boilers, and running natural gas lines for heating equipment.”

While Steve was in the Army, Linda became acquainted with the Tittle family, occasionally babysitting Steve’s younger brothers. The difference in their ages and the Army service kept Linda and Steve from meeting. According to Steve, this is how they finally met: “I had just returned from the Army and was talking with a neighbor in the front yard. He asked me if I had met the young lady who lived up the street, who, at that moment, was playing ‘stick ball’ with neighborhood kids. I told him I had not noticed her. He said, ‘Do I have to tell you what to do?’ I left my neighbor standing there and hurried down our street to meet a very pretty young lady named Linda.”

Linda and Steve dated for two years before marrying in 1966. Their first and only child, Brian, was born three years later. When he was diagnosed with DMD, Linda and Steve knew that there would be limited time for Brian to have a normal life. “When we found that his fate was sealed,” admits Steve, “we vowed to make the most of his early years. We went to every theme park you could name, visited museums such as the Smithsonian, attended special celebrations, and, of course, Tiger basketball games! We went until he couldn’t.” 

When Brian became homebound, a friend from church who was a nurse came to their home and stayed with Brian one afternoon a week, giving Linda freedom to leave her responsibilities for a few hours. That nurse is now Kirby Pines resident—Sylvia Statham! “She was our angel,” declares Steve. Sylvia became a good friend to Brian and, knowing that his favorite band was Chicago, arranged for Brian to attend a concert in Memphis AND visit with the band afterward. “Brian was on ‘cloud nine’ and refused to wash his hands for a week,” laughs Steve.

The Tittle’s Wedding Day

It was time for rebuilding for Linda and Steve following Brian’s death in 1995. One life with all the struggles and dreams had closed, and a new life with different goals began. According to Linda, “We became roller coaster fanatics; we rode the biggest and best. We were also heavily into line dancing, attending classes twice a week.” Steve adds, “We are past that now and hoping to make the grade as ballroom dancers.”

For 14 years the Tittles occasionally visited Kirby Pines. “One day, while visiting the new ‘L’ Wing, we loved one of the apartments and decided this was no longer a dream,” states Steve. “We moved in, we love it, and we have never looked back,” he adds. They are now involved in many activities of Kirby Pines, including the Theatre Group. 

When asked to summarize their feelings about life at Kirby Pines, both Linda and Steve agreed: “Not until we moved in and met the residents did we realize that Kirby has a hidden quality—special people live here! They practice the ‘Golden Rule.’ We were accepted immediately and made to feel like family.” 

Written by Joan Dodson, Resident, Kirby Pines.

Hooray for Healthy Aging Month


It’s Health Aging Month! From the day we are born, we are aging. People all around the country celebrate and honor this month by incorporating habits like exercise, eating healthy foods, and getting adequate sleep into their daily routines. It is also an opportunity to encourage others to stay active and take positive steps towards improving both physical and mental health. If you are already participating in a healthy and active lifestyle – CONGRATULATIONS! Take this time to evaluate your activities and see if there is something additional you can do!

Pick an activity. Choose TODAY to make a change in your lifestyle. Choose something you enjoy – walking, gardening, or incorporating more water into your diet – and commit to it.

Did you know? Physical activity and exercise have TONS of benefits. Some of them include:

Playing with their granddaughter
  • Exercise stimulates the growth of new brain cells.
  • It can help slow down the aging process.
  • It can help make your skin healthier by clearing dead cells and debris from pores when you sweat during exercise.

Age is simply the number of years the world has been enjoying you!


Health Aging Month is a great time to remind ourselves (and others) to stay healthy. If you are unsure of where to start, consider a Functional Fitness Test. The assessment focuses on determining health and wellness strengths, as well as areas of opportunity. 

What’s Assessed?

Upper Body Strength
Examples: Carrying Grandchildren or Groceries

Lower Body Strength
Example: Climbing the Stairs

Examples: Reaching the Top Shelf, Fixing Your Hair

Examples: Walking Further, Playing with Grandchildren

Example: Fall Prevention

Examples: Problem Solving, Remembering Things

Celebrate your health and wellness and encourage others to do the same. If you are unsure of where to start for your own fitness journey, or if you are interested in learning some additional areas of opportunity, reach out to your Functional Pathways Therapy Team!

The Benefits of Walking

feet walking

What’s not to like about walking? It’s free. It’s easy to do, and it’s easy on the joints. And there’s no question that walking is good for you. Walking is an aerobic exercise; a University of Tennessee study found that women who walked had less body fat than those who didn’t walk. It also lowers the risk of blood clots, since the calf acts as a venous pump, contracting and pumping blood from the feet and legs back to the heart, reducing the load on the heart. Walking is good for you in other ways as well. 

Walking improves circulation. It also wards off heart disease, brings up the heart rate, lowers blood pressure and strengthens the heart. Studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder and the University of Tennessee found that post-menopausal women who walked just one to two miles a day lowered blood pressure by nearly 11 points in 24 weeks. Women who walked 30 minutes a day reduced their risk of stroke by 20 percent – by 40 percent when they stepped up the pace, according to researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston. 

Walking shores up your bones. It can stop the loss of bone mass for those with osteoporosis, according to Michael A. Schwartz, MD, of Plancher Orthopedics & Sports Medicine in New York. In fact, a Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, study of post-menopausal women found that 30 minutes of walking each day reduced their risk of hip fractures by 40 percent. 

Walking lightens mood. A California State University, Long Beach, study showed that the more steps people took during the day, the better their moods were. Why? Walking releases natural painkilling endorphins to the body – one of the emotional benefits of exercise. 

Walking can lead to weight loss. A brisk 30-minute walk burns 200 calories. Over time, calories burned can lead to pounds dropped. 

Walking strengthens muscles. It tones your leg and abdominal muscles – and even arm muscles if you pump them as you walk. This increases your range of motion, shifting the pressure and weight from your joints and muscles – which are meant to handle weight – helping to lessen arthritis pain 

Walking improves sleep. A study from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle found that women, ages 50 to 75, who took one-hour morning walks, were more likely to relieve insomnia than women who didn’t walk. 

couple walking outdoors with their grandson

Walking supports your joints. The majority of joint cartilage has no direct blood supply. It gets its nutrition from synovial or joint fluid that circulates as we move. Impact that comes from movement or compression, such as walking, “squishes” the cartilage, bringing oxygen and nutrients into the area. If you don’t walk, joints are deprived of life-giving fluid, which can speed deterioration. 

Walking improves your breath. When walking, your breathing rate increases, causing oxygen to travel faster through bloodstream, helping to eliminate waste products and improve your energy level and the ability to heal. 

Walking slows mental decline. A study of 6,000 women, ages 65 and older, performed by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, found that age-related memory decline was lower in those who walked more. The women walking 2.5 miles per day had a 17-percent decline in memory, as opposed to a 25-percent decline in women who walked less than a half-mile per week. A study from the University of Virginia Health System in Charlottesville found that men between the ages of 71 and 93 who walked more than a quarter of a mile per day had half the incidence of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, compared to those who walked less. 

Walking helps you do more, longer.Aerobic walking and resistance exercise programs may reduce the incidence of disability in the activities of daily living of people who are older than 65 and have symptomatic OA, according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Outcomes Management. 

The Wonderful Gift of Prayer at Kirby Pines

This September, Kirby Pines Life Care Community celebrates a milestone – its fortieth anniversary. As with any anniversary, a lot of planning goes into making this celebration one that will be enjoyable and memorable. Each year, a theme and a color are selected for the anniversary year. This year the color is Digital Lavender, and the theme is Prayer. 

Digital Lavender is a term used to describe various shades of the color lavender. Did you know that the color represents devotion, serenity, grace, and calmness. Much like our sixty-acre campus does when you drive off the hectic streets of Memphis. The lake and manicured grounds bring a sense of calmness, serenity, and grace. The color is also associated with high purpose and spiritual connectivity. Much like the annual celebration we have come to know as Lighting of the Lake. 

This year’s theme for Lighting of the Lake is “Prayer”. A fitting theme as we look back to the founding of Kirby Pines, its current existence and hopes for the future. Although I was not in Memphis when the concept for our retirement community was first introduced, I am certain that prayer was part of the development and progress needed to open its doors to the first residents. Throughout these past forty years, prayer has led the community to a place where we honor and give credit to the many individuals in service to residents and to thank the many residents who give us the confidence to move forward daily. 

So don your digital lavender attire and gather near the lake on Saturday, September 9th to join in the fun as we celebrate another successful year of growth and service to all who work and live at Kirby Pines. 

Michael Escamilla,
Executive Director,
Kirby Pines

Reflections by Maxie Dunnam

Are You Listening? 

man with hand up to ear

I hear it too often, “Are you listening? 

The speaker wants to be sure I am listening. 

Being with another person we often sense the person is pleading, “Please listen.” 

Nothing enhances our feelings of worth more than being listened to? When you listen to me you say, “I value you. You are important. I will hear and receive what you say.” 

Martin Buber, a great Jewish thinker, spent his life seeking to share with others the importance of the relation between “I and Thou.” For the clue to this meaning he referred to the role of Spirit. “Spirit is not in the I but between the I and Thou.” The Spirit is known in relationship – Buber would say only in relationship. 

When we really listen to a person, listen with ears and heart that hear, it becomes revelation, and the Spirit comes alive in the relationship. 

Perhaps not only, but certainly in relationship is the primary mode and place of revelation of Spirit. So when I listen, the gap between me and the person to whom I listen is bridged. A sensitivity comes that is not my own. I feel the pain, the frustrations, the anguish— sometimes feeling these, and identifying a problem even when the other is not actually sharing the problem or the feelings. I listen in love and the miracle of I/Thou takes place. The sharing moves to the deep and intimate levels where the person and I really live. The Spirit opens doors hearts effecting change. 

The miraculous thing is that I do not have to have an answer for the person with whom I am sharing. In my listening I become the answer. If something specific is needed the Spirit reveals the “answer” in the listening relationship. 

Are you listening? 

When two people relate to each other authentically and humanly, God is the electricity that surges between them.”

– Martin Buber

-Maxie Dunnam  

Congratulations to Our Champion of the Month



Describe your family: My family is well and happy. We always try to stand by one another. 

Describe yourself in five words: Quiet, hardworking, humble, efficient, friendly. 

What do you do for fun: I like to go out to eat and to the movies. 

What is your favorite thing about your job: My favorite this is to always do the best I can. 

What is your favorite food: Baked Chicken. 

What is something you are proud of: I am proud of my children. 

What would you like people to know about you: I am a good person once you get to know me. 

Ms. Shelia is remarkable because she possesses the easily defined but hard to find qualities in an employee: honesty, reliability and compassion. She is driven by something deeper than just a desire to do a good job. She truly cares for the residents at Kirby Pines so thank you Ms. Shelia and keep up the great work. 

– Jada Mullins, Environmental Services Director 

Puzzling Friends

puzzle pieces

The residents’ puzzle assembly is a hallmark of Kirby Pines. If a person wanders around the hallways of the independent apartments, they’ll find residents in adjoining atriums of many wings assembling puzzles that are in various stages of completion. The Grand Kirby Pines Puzzle is located on a large flat table near the Kirby Pines Postboxes. The puzzles that are assembled here are mostly 1,000-piece puzzles. The table is large enabling the size of puzzles which is usually close to 24” x 36” rectangle, considerably larger than the 300 or 500-piece puzzles in the apartment areas. The goal is to complete this puzzle within two weeks. A small number of residents are dedicated to work on the current puzzle; other residents stop by after getting their mail and try to insert a piece here or there. 

Since puzzles are often located in retirement communities, benefits to residents must exist. Studies have shown that assembling jigsaw puzzles can help improve visual-spatial reasoning, short-term memory and problem-solving skills as well as combat cognitive decline, which can reduce risk of developing dementia. Additionally, working jigsaw puzzles can reduce stress, spark imagination and increase both creativity and productivity. 

Four Kirby Pines residents, Carolin & Ken Thomason, and Sheryl & Mark Maxwell have been assembling various 300 to 500-piece puzzles in the J2 – M3 Atrium. After taking a picture of each completed puzzle, they find they have completed 194 puzzles since January 2022. These have included the “no straight-edge type” as well as Bits and Pieces brand which may not have regular rows and columns of pieces, but instead pieces swirl. Recently they began to assemble a difficult puzzle. The puzzle contained 530 pieces, had an irregular shaped border and imbedded custom cut out pieces (a cat, a star, a bunny, an umbrella, a half moon, a flying goose, and broken heart etc.) The winter scene pictured 18 ice skaters. This challenging puzzle had a backing of cork, with no definite rectangular border. They had no idea if all pieces were present or what the entire puzzle looked like, as part of the box’s finished puzzle picture was hidden by an advertisement. Undeterred, they forged ahead with the goal of completing it within several days. They believed this puzzle had never been completed by a past owner, so they decided to immortalize the puzzle by gluing it together, placing it on a white surface and framing it. Mark Maxwell built the frame out of salvaged wood handrails and painted the wooden pieces black to complement the roofs of the buildings. A plaque was procured stating their names and the date of completion. It is now proudly placed on the wall of their joint atrium with many fond memories of their puzzle experiences. 

We invite ALL to come to the J2 – M3 atrium to view this unique puzzle, near the round table, currently scattered with our newest puzzle on the nearby table. Try to find the hidden, umbrella, moose, or horse in the memorialized framed puzzle on the nearby wall. Perhaps you too will become a puzzle person! There are many benefits, the best being fellowship! 

framed puzzle
Mark & Sheryl Maxwell and Carolin & Ken Thomason