It’s Finally Springtime at Kirby Pines

Spring Time!! Warm Weather!! Blue Skies!!

Things are humming here at Kirby Pines inside as well as out!

Let’s start on the outside…Mike Rayder and his team has a great start on the growing season. Flower beds are clean and ready for plants and flowers. Bushes have been trimmed back and are looking healthy! We will even be adding additional color around Pond #1 to really make our front entrance pop. Kirby Pines will be participating in the Memphis Garden Tour.

Now, what about the inside…First and foremost, our Marketing Team has had a phenomenal start to 2024! Our first event of the year was a Dinner Event, targeting prospects who have expressed an interest in Kirby Pines, but have said “they aren’t ready.” The title of our presentation was “What are you waiting for?” It was a sold-out event that was punctuated by testimonies from several resident hosts. Please check our Kirby Pines YouTube Channel for the video which we used. We had an amazing response! Consequently, we have several move-ins scheduled for March! Look forward to fresh introductions as we finalize move-in dates. We will be adding many new residents during 2024.

I want to thank all who participated in our first Exquisite Cuisine of 2024! What an amazing evening had by all! We received a very favorable response from our change in 2024 of the offering of wine with the meal. You may opt out of this service if you choose. This is just the beginning of many changes in culinary, including some menu enhancements to the Bistro.

We are so lucky to have such a talented Chef as Mark Simpson and his entire staff. Next month, I will dedicate my entire article on our 5-Star Health Center. “Stay Tuned” and see you around campus. 

Michael J. Brown, Jr.
Executive Director, Kirby Pines

Being Preoccupied with Self

Reflections by Maxie Dunnam

C.S. Lewis

Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching.” 

– C.S. Lewis
The Secret Tape Letters book

In his classic volume, The Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis offers 31 imaginary letters from Screwtape, the primary personality of Hell, to his nephew Wormwood, a junior devil just starting his first assignment on earth. The purpose of the correspondence, done humorously, is to show how Hell seeks constantly to divert would-be Christians from following the ways of Heaven. 

In one note, Screwtape tells Wormwood the most productive way to overcome good people is to not only work on their pride, but infect them with a sense of false pride… 

“Catch him at the moment when he is really poor in spirit and smuggle into his mind the gratifying reflection, “By jove! I’m being humble,” and almost immediately, pride—pride at his own humility—will appear. If he awakes to the danger and tries to smother this new form of pride, make him proud of his attempt— and so on, through as many stages as you please. But don’t try this too long, for fear you awake his sense of humor and proportion in which case he will merely laugh at you and go to bed.” [1] 

We need to stay sensitive to the danger of pride. We easily fall into the pit of being preoccupied with ourselves. Jesus told a parable about this. (Jn. 18:9-14) The story is simple and straightforward. Two men went into the Temple to pray. One boasted to God of all his good qualities; the other simply asked for God’s mercy. The reason Jesus told the parable is expressed in verse 9: “He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and despised others.” 

For years I missed the connection Jesus made: how we feel about ourselves has a result on how we feel about and treat others. Get it? They were righteous and despised others.” 

Two failures are implicit here: we look at ourselves in relation to others and fail to look at ourselves in relation to God. In either case the warning is clear: don’t fall into the pit of being preoccupied with your yourself. 

-Maxie Dunnam  

Congratulations to Our Champion of the Month: Tamika Washington


Security Guard

Describe your family: Very close, very tight. I am an only child.

Describe yourself in five words: Dependable, generous, adaptable, considerate and passionate.

What do you do for fun: Shopping and cruising (Ships).

Do you have any hobbies: I love planting vegetables.

What is your favorite food: Loaded Baked Potato Soup. 

What is your favorite thing about your job: I enjoy helping others.

What is Your favorite food: Chicken and Dressing. 

What is your favorite song: You Know My Name by Tasha Cobbs. 

What is something you are proud of: Proud of raising three beautiful children.

What would you like people to know about you: I am still my Mama’s baby.

Tamika Washington has been a Security Guard for Kirby Pines since August 2022. She has always been a stalwart on the Security Team, but on January 2nd, while performing her duties at the Main Gate, she observed a panel truck, with three (3) individuals attempting to steal the ATM Machine at Regents Bank. Tamika called 911! MPD arrived stopping the theft and apprehended the thieves. Thank you, Tamika!!

– Michael J. Brown, Executive Director

Thank You Dennis, For All You Do!

Dennis – he’s everywhere, he’s everywhere!! Has been seen in every hallway, delivering packages, mail, and verbally sharing the daily news. Seen in the greenhouse gardens, Hobby Shop, and in the wee hours of the morning, depositing b’day cards for surprises when residents awake. THANK YOU, Dennis! You are our hero. – Mary Ann Thurmond

Dennis, Your positive attitude and willingness to help others are blessings to all of us. Thank you for being such a great example of service. – Cindy and Fred Dabrowski

Thanks Dennis for all you do at Kirby. I would see you early in the summer mornings helping Dr Parrot with the garden growers moving and delivering plants to residents. I know you helped with the mail and packages before the holidays. We appreciate you – Donna Griffin

Thank you, Dennis, for all the many steps you saved me – and always with a smile. – Kay Daniel

Thank you Dennis for the Amazon deliveries and also for your help in the hobby shop with my woodworking. – Bob Small

Dennis, you are such a wonderful member of the Kirby Pines family; thanks for all you do! Love, Keith and Judy Weathers

Dennis is a “secret” weapon of effiency of day to day Kirby Pines life. He tirelessly delivers internal mail and packages to residents at their apartments. He is friendly to all. – John and Sally Coleman

Dennis, I appreciate your willingness to help when and wherever you can and always with your wonderful smile. You’re great and truly a blessing to all your Kirby friends. – Christine Martin

To Dennis—enjoy your visits to Gift Shop & our chats. U R the Best. – Rhetta Watkins

Dennis is our Clark Kent. He is flying around making all of our lives better. He has no telephone booth but he changes our lives with his servant heart. Thank you,Superman Dennis. – Jo Ann Ginn

Thank you, Dennis, for helping all of us here at Kirby! Your willingness and happy attitude is very much appreciated! YOU MAKE KIRBY A BETTER PLACE! – Marcy and Buddy Pugh

Dennis has been extremely helpful in the Garden Gro’ers club. He is always available from pulling weeds to hauling whatever is needed (as well and many many other things. Thank you Dennis! – Dale Jones

Such a great guy! A smile for everyone and ready for a conversation with anyone! Dennis is always ready to help with anything. He is a classic! – Janice Wall

“Helping hands” are often scarce, but around here Dennis is one of them! Thank you, for your cheerful spirit and helpful attitude. You make life easier for us, and we thank you for your kindness. – Philip Slate

Dennis, thank you for all your hard work. You are truly appreciated. – Banky and Hugh Wilson

Dennis Renick exemplifies the spirit of “Service” here at Kirby Pines. He is always good-natured, energetic, and helpful – eager to serve and to please staff or other Residents. Thank you, Dennis, for your positive attitude. You are a big blessing to all of us! – Pat and Bankie McCarty

Dennis Renick, I’m so happy to be living in community with you. Your serving attitude is inspiring and challenging. I always look for the news of our community you always have and want to share. Thank you and stay happy. – Maxie Dunnam

Dennis is such a giving person and always has a smile wherever and whenever you see him. I greatly appreciate his generosity in giving of his personal time to deliver my packages. Thank you Dennis for your kindness. – Sarah McCallum

Thank you Dennis for all you do around here to make us comfortable and happy! You are truly one of a kind guy, and we all appreciate you so much! – Diane Mullins

Resident Spotlight: Joy Wernet


In 1926, a “bundle of joy” was born to Joe and Kate Bennett. This baby daughter brought such delight to their lives, they named her Joy. She would be the only child born to this couple who lived in a rural community near Paris, Tennessee. There were many cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents, so Joy was never lonely or unloved.

Joy was born at the beginning of the Great Depression, and her family struggled like most families. To improve life, Joy’s parents moved to Illinois when she was two years old. Unhappy with the location, they moved back to their community. Joy says, “This was when my memory ‘kicked in.’ I remember crossing the Ohio River on a ferry, and I was cold and afraid. We were dressed in our Sunday clothes and traveling in a little green Chevrolet roadster with a cloth top and side curtains. This car would be our primary transportation for many years.”

The Bennetts were fortunate to find a nice house in their former community that was close to a school, church, a store, and good neighbors. Joy’s father returned to farming, and life was good.

One incident Joy vividly remembers happened when she was around two years old. Her grandfather kept bees. When no one was looking, Joy took the hearth broom and attempted to sweep all the bees off their hives. Her screams quickly brought her father, and holding her between his legs like a vice, he removed the stinging bees. “Somehow, I recovered,” remembers Joy, “but I started wearing a hat like the ‘flappers,’ and if anyone yelled ‘bees,’ I would grab my hat and run for cover!” Joy also remembered riding along with her mother in their little green Chevrolet to take the 1930 census in part of Henry County. They would make many life-long friends with this venture.

Joy as a child

In 1932, Joy started school but was placed in the second grade because her mother had home-schooled her. She lived a mile from the school, and her parents took turns walking her to and from school. During “muddy” weather, her father would put on boots and carry her across a field to avoid roads. Because of her advanced placement in school, Joy always felt the age difference as her friends were older. However, she excelled in school, graduating high school in 1943 at the age of 16 as Valedictorian of her class.

The week following graduation, Joy started work in Paris as a cashier and bookkeeper for a ready-to-wear store to help with college expenses. The following Fall, the shy “country girl” Joy enrolled in Murray State College in Murray, Kentucky. She says, “I never dreamed that I would be invited to join a sorority or become a campus favorite.”

After three years of college, Joy returned to work in Paris to help with college expenses. Soon Joy began dating Jim Hunt, Jr., a returning Veteran. Both their parents owned farms in the same community and attended the same Baptist church. Soon, a wedding was being planned. It would be 20 years before Joy returned to school, graduating with a degree in Business Administration, with majors in Accounting and Economics, from Bethel College in McKenzie, Tennessee. 

Joy in the office
Joy Hard at Work

After marriage, Joy and Jim continued their jobs in Paris. Later, they decided to try farm life. “At first it was fun,” says Joy. The couple had invested their money in dairy cows for their farm. They were members of the Home Demonstration Club, and Joy did some auditing for them. They participated in the county fair, winning prizes in many categories. Their only child, Joe, was born in I950. However; things didn’t work out as expected, and the “fun in farming” was waning! Jim started a new business, and when Joe was three years old, Joy returned to work, beginning a career in Accounting.

Joy’s first job was with the newly built hospital in Henry County. She became their first Chief Accountant. Just as the hospital was succeeding and expanding, the hospital administrator suddenly died. Joy says, “Most of his work fell on me, temporarily. Three months later, Jim had a fatal accident. It took all the ‘grit’ I had to make it through this ordeal.” Joy survived and became an active participant in the state and national organizations of the American Association of Hospital Accountants. She was editor of the state newsletter and wrote a paper which won first place and a trip to the National Institute as well as having her paper published in their national magazine.

In 1966, Joy’s life changed when she met and married Bob Wernet of Memphis. She acquired two more children, with whom she remains very close. Bob was a successful businessman, and soon Joy was working with him. They were active in many social organizations, and together, they traveled all over the world. “As much as we traveled, I never visited New York City,” admits Joy. After retiring in 1994, they bought a second home in Lake Tahoe, Nevada, and lived there and Memphis for the next 20 years, spending six months in each location.

In 2014, as their health continued to fail, Joy and Bob made the decision to move to Kirby Pines. They quietly celebrated their 50 year anniversary. Sadly, Bob passed away in January 2017. Joy has continued to be involved in activities at Kirby Pines, especially playing bridge. Joy says, “I’m glad to be living at Kirby Pines!” 

Written by Joan Dodson, Resident of Kirby Pines.

Alternatives to Pain Management


When mind, body, and spirit are in harmony, happiness is the natural result.” 

— Deepak Chopra 
Man with back pain

We have all experienced pain at some point in our lives – scraping our knee, hitting our “funny” bone, or perhaps something more long-lasting, such as migraines. Pain is a useful way for our bodies to tell our brains when something is a threat to our overall well-being. Don’t touch the hot stove because it burns; don’t try and lift something too heavy because you could hurt your back. However, sometimes experiencing pain, such as chronic pain, stops being useful and is detrimental to daily living. 

The goal of a comprehensive, holistic pain management program is to promote consistent participation in activities, exercise, and education to enhance quality of life. A holistic pain management program merges traditional western medicine with eastern medicine. While western medicine tends to view the mind and body as separate entities, eastern medicine views the mind and body as one. There are many programs and approaches that help those with chronic conditions increase their engagement in meaningful activities and improve their overall well-being. 

Chi is “that which gives life” and is a strong life force making a person totally alive, alert, and present. It can be used to help overcome illness and become more vibrant and enhance mental capacity. Finding your “inner chi” can help promote one’s quality of life, especially if they are struggling with constant pain. 

Woman relaxing

“You must find the place inside yourself where nothing is impossible.”

Finding Your Chi can: 

  • Promote your highest quality of life 
  • Use relaxation, visual imagery, and breathing strategies to address anxiety and depression  
  • Improve strength and postural stability 

Do you suffer from chronic pain? If you are interested in learning more about Pathways to Chi and alternative approaches to pain reduction, reach out to the therapy team at Functional Pathways! 

Heart Healthy Tips for This Valentine’s Day & Life!

Couple walking in the snow

Did you know February is American Heart Month? It’s the perfect time to raise awareness about heart disease and share a few heart-healthy tips for seniors. 

1. Follow a heart-healthy diet. Low in calories but high in vitamins, minerals, and fiber, colorful fruits and vegetables are great for your heart. Seniors should get at least five servings per day of these nutrition all-stars. Read all nutrition labels and limit saturated and trans fats and added sugars. Buy plenty of nuts and high-fiber foods. Avoid high-fat dairy or meats and limit the amount of alcohol you drink. Never skip breakfast. 

2. Stay active. Regular physical activity can help you lose excess body weight, improve physical fitness and well-being, and lower your risk for many conditions, including heart disease risk factors like high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Think brisk walking, dancing, or gardening—anything that gets you up and moving instead of sitting for hours every day. 

3. Maintain a healthy weight. The more body fat you have, the more likely you are to develop heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, breathing issues, and certain types of cancer. But losing weight can help to lower many of these levels and improve your overall health. Following a heart-healthy diet and being physically active can help you achieve and maintain a healthy weight. Try some of these additional tips for improving overall health and well-being. 

4. Keep your diabetes, high blood pressure, and/or high cholesterol under control. Two of the major risks for heart disease are high blood pressure, or stiffness of the large arteries which becomes common with age, and high blood cholesterol, which can lead to plaque buildup in your arteries. If these numbers are high, work with your doctors to lower them. 

Couple smiling outdoors

5. Minimize unnecessary stress. Studies show that higher stress levels can trigger a heart attack or angina. Stress can also contribute to high blood pressure and other heart disease risk factors. Chronic stress can affect your memory, learning, immune system, anxiety, and depression, especially as you age. If you’re feeling stressed, especially if you’re caregiving for a loved one, talk about your concerns with a loved one, your primary care physician, or a licensed therapist. Eat a healthy diet and get plenty of exercise, including relaxation techniques like yoga, tai chi, or meditation. 

6. Get plenty of sleep. Sleep is key to good health and well-being. It’s an important time to support healthy brain function and maintain general good health, but not enough Americans get the recommended hours of sleep each day. Over time, not getting enough sleep can raise your risk of heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke. There are several steps you can take to improve your sleep habits: avoid nicotine and caffeine, go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, keep your bedroom quiet and cool and dark. 

Managing the Ice and Snow at Kirby Pines

Do you remember back on December 23rd when we all were wishing for that “White Christmas just like the one we used to know….”

Well, it wasn’t on Christmas, but on January 14th & 15th we got our snow! And it was so beautiful! It turned Kirby Pines into our own Winter Wonderland. Then came sub-zero temperatures and the ice. Everything in Memphis came to a halt. That is, everything except for Kirby Pines!

Let me take a few minutes and brag. Once we realized there was no doubt the storm was coming (Wednesday, January 10) we started our planning. By Friday, January 12 our plan was in place. Our staffing was set. Management moved into the community on Sunday. Food and water was in stock and transportation started picking up staff at 3:30 a.m.! All of this couldn’t have happened without the total dedication of the Leadership Team. They worked side by side with their teams. The Leadership Team communicated well and set an example for all to follow. They were the first to be on the job and the last to leave. No problems were left unaddressed regardless of the issue, the time, or the effort necessary.

Our line staff were troopers! Some staff stayed in the building. Some drove themselves to work defying dangerous temperatures and road conditions, but many of our staff took advantage of our transportation services. Our drivers were the real “Hero’s” during this emergency! They began picking up Culinary & Care Staff at 3:30 a.m. and working until midnight to return staff to their homes. Everyday through the emergency, until 9:00 p.m. on Friday, January 19. The fact is, we could not have cared for you, fed you, and kept this community operating without our transportation team. They are “true heroes.”

There are literally 100’s of stories of staff dedication, commitment and sacrifice during the storm. It’s important to acknowledge and be grateful for the staff that we have put together here. We have the greatest residents and the best staff in all the Greater Memphis area!

I’m so very happy to be a part of this amazing bunch of people!

So, one last thing…..When is Spring in Memphis???

See you around the campus!

Michael J. Brown, Jr.
Executive Director, Kirby Pines

A Foretaste of Glory Divine

Reflections by Maxie Dunnam

Sheet music

Singing is one of our greatest expressions in the Christian faith and way, especially in the Wesleyan/Methodist tradition. We sing our faith. 

In our tradition, we happily express four “all” convictions about salvation: all need to be saved; all can be saved; all can know they are saved; all can be saved to the uttermost. 

As I contemplate the passing of time and our move into the new year, the third “all” is dominant in my reflection: all can know they are saved. There are few experiences that can provide more power in our lives than to have assurance of our salvation. Think what it could do for any one of us: 

Our timidity and uncertainty about witnessing would be dissolved. We would not be intimidated by those “buttonhole” witnesses who come on like gangbusters. We would know that tenderness, patience, and understanding are authentic testimonies, as well as words. 

We would not get overwrought with our Christian friends who insist on future security, for we would be assured of our present relationship with Christ. 

Fanny Crosby

We would be joyous in our service for God, but not driven in our works, or mistaken in the notion that our works would save us. 

We would be delivered from frantic preoccupation with taking our spiritual temperature minute by minute, because we could relax in our trust in the Lord. 

And all of that would help every one of us, wouldn’t it? 

We are certainly affirming the Gospel truth when we sing Fanny Crosby’s Blessed Assurance.

We can go into the new year in confidence, if we have this blessed assurance

Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine! 
O what a foretaste of glory divine! 
Heir of salvation, purchase of God, 
Born of his Spirit, washed in his blood.

– Hymn by Fanny Crosby 

-Maxie Dunnam  

Let it Snow!

See what Kirby Pines residents have to say about how our community handled Memphis’ recent snow, ice, and water challenges. Check out our video to see how Kirby Pines weathered the storm.