What If?

Messy room

When I was in my teens I came across some thoughts by Lois Kendall Blanchard that powerfully presented God moving into our hearts and lives and being exposed to all our plans and actions.

Here’s what she said:

“If Jesus came to your house to spend a day or two—
If He came unexpectedly, I wonder what you’d do.
Oh, I know you’d give your nicest room to such an honored Guest,
And all the food you’d serve to Him would be the very best,
And you would keep assuring Him you’re glad to have Him there—
That serving Him in your own home is joy beyond compare.

But—when you saw Him coming, would you meet Him at the door
With arms outstretched in welcome to your heavenly Visitor?
Or would you have to change your clothes before you let Him in?
Or hide some magazines and put the Bible where they’d been?
Would you turn off the radio and hope He hadn’t heard?
And wish you hadn’t uttered that last, loud, hasty word?

Would you hide your worldly music and put some hymn books out?
Could you let Jesus walk right in, or would you rush about?
And I wonder—if the Savior spent a day or two with you,
Would you go right on saying the things you always say?
Would life for you continue as it does from day to day?

Would your family conversation keep at its usual pace?
And would you find it hard each meal to say a table grace?
Would you sing the songs you always sing, and read the books you read,
And let Him know the things on which your mind and spirit feed?
Would you take Jesus with you everywhere you’d planned to go?
Or would you, maybe, change you plans for just a day or so?

Would you be glad to have Him meet your very closest friends?
Or would you hope they’d stay away until His visit ends?
Would you be glad to have Him stay forever on and on?
Or would you sigh with great relief when He at last was gone?
It might be interesting to know the things that you would do
If Jesus Christ in person came to spend some time with you”.
– Lois Kendall Blanchard

This too often describes us. God would not be comfortable with
most of our everyday experiences? Major changes would have to
come both on the inside and outside? He probably would not want
to stay on and on.

Robert Boyd Munger wrote a classic story about this titled, My
Heart, Christ’s Home. He divided the house of his heart into distinct
rooms: the Study, the Dining Room, the Living Room, the Work
Room, the Rec Room, and the Hall Closet. As he walked through
each room separately he noticed they all needed to be carefully
evaluated, changed and given to the Lord for His control. Munger
had given God the deed to the house of his heart, but then realized he
had not surrendered possession of each room specifically. When he
did that the Lord became not only a Guest in his heart but the Master
of his life.

In light of the “ifs” of our lives, we must meticulously commit
everything to Him. He has promised to always be with us (Hebrews
13:5). Personally, powerfully and daily He gives strength, insight, and
wisdom so each step is in His path (Proverbs 3:5-6). He continues
to ask us to give Him not most but all. This really makes all the
difference in the world.

Till next time, Don Johnson, KP Chaplain

Seeing Clearly: Healthy Eyes

Eye Exams

Eye examinations are an important part of health maintenance for everyone. Adults should have their eyes tested to keep their prescriptions current and to check for early signs of eye disease. Doctors check your eyes for signs of eye diseases, assess how your eyes work together, and evaluate your eyes as an indicator of overall health.

There are some symptoms that are considered “normal” when aging. Those would include dry eyes, cataracts, loss of peripheral vision, as well as spots and floaters. 75% of those over 65 experience dry eyes due to the lessened production of tears. Cataracts are also frequent among older adults. Cataracts can cause blurry, hazy vision that worsens over time. Also, oversensitivity to light are signs that an opaque spot on the lens of the eye may be growing and obscuring vision.

Eye ExamsSerious eye conditions that are seen with aging are glaucoma, macular degeneration, and diabetic retinopathy. Glaucoma refers to diseases that cause optic nerve damage, some of which are related to an increase in intraocular pressure, which cause progressive vision loss. Symptoms are very few until diminished vision is noticed. Conventional treatments can be pretty drastic but research is showing that vigorous exercise may reduce the intraocular pressure associated with glaucoma. Macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness among Americans over the age of 65. Dry macular degeneration causes gradual central vision loss and results from aging and thinning of tissues in the macula or deposit of pigment. Wet macular degeneration arises from the body’s attempt to make up for lack of nutrients by building extra blood vessels beneath the retina, but the new blood vessels leak fluid which causes permanent damage to the retinal cells. Studies are showing that AMD is a nutritional and lifestyle responsive eye disease. Diabetic retinopathy is vision-threatening damage to the retina caused by diabetes. Blindness is largely preventable if the patient and doctor work together for proper use of medications, blood sugar testing, and proper diet and lifestyle.

Here are some of the easy steps to keep your eyes healthy. Having a healthy lifestyle, you want to have a healthy diet and exercise regularly. There are certain nutrients and vitamins that help ward off age-related vision problems. Your eyes need good blood circulation and oxygen intake, and both are stimulated by regular exercise. You want to be sure to wear sunglasses to help protect your eyes from the sun’s UV rays. Too much UV exposure can boost your chances of cataracts and macular degeneration. Keep these simple steps in mind to help protect your sight and see your best.

Please join us January 16th at 1:30 pm in the PAC for our Smart Moves presentation on Eye Health.

Walk Across America

Walk Across America with Kirby PinesKeep your New Year’s resolution and sign up for the Walk across America Program that The Oasis is offering. Registration begins January 2, 2019. The program will run from January 14 through March 11 lasting 8 weeks. We will keep track of how many miles each participant walks or completes on the Nu-Step or treadmill. You may want to use a pedometer, your Fitbit or your smartphone Pedometer App to record your steps. Turn in your mileage/steps each Monday. Everyone’s mileage will be kept up individually and as a group total to see how far we can walk; pointing out interesting landmarks along the way. Last year, 45 participants walked Route 66 and accumulated over 2694 miles. This year we will follow The Great River Road along the mighty Mississippi River from Itasca, Minnesota, through Memphis, to New Orleans, Louisiana. We’ll have photos along the hike and follow our progress on a map. If we have enough participants, we could make it all the way- almost 3000 miles. We’ll have helpful tips each week, awards and surprises for everyone, as well as the reward of beginning and continuing a great exercise habit of walking for strength and endurance. We will have weekly door prizes and a Grand Prize of Dinner for Two at the Exquisite Cuisine for the most miles recorded. Sign up in The Oasis or the Life Enhancement Office. I can’t wait to get our hiking shoes on again.

Be More Flexible: Stretch

Be More Flexible at Kirby Pines

Stretching helps ease joint pain and muscle aches and also improves mobility, flexibility, coordination, and circulation. On top of the physical benefits, it also reduces stress and boosts mood. Chair exercises like stretching are perfect for seniors because they can be adapted for physical limitations, minimize the risk of injury due to falls, and still give health benefits. The only equipment needed is a sturdy, non-slip chair. The Sit and Stand classes on Tuesday/ Thursday at 11:00 am and the Yoga Stretch class on Wednesday at 10:30 am use a variety of stretches.

Gaining flexibility takes time. Go slowly, and listen to your body. One stretch doesn’t fit everyone, but there are many variations. For example, if you can’t sit on the floor to stretch your thighs, try a standing thigh exercise. As you improve flexibility, you’ll be able to reach farther with the same stretch—or try different stretches for the same muscle.

Other tips to keep in mind:

  • Warm up by walking in place for five minutes. This will prepare your heart, muscles, and joints for activity.
  • Never force a stretch. Don’t bounce or jerk to get deeper into a stretch. Smooth, gentle movements are safer.
  • Don’t lock your joints. Your arms and legs can be straight while stretching, but they shouldn’t be stiff. If it’s more comfortable, bend your elbows and knees slightly.
  • Keep breathing. Like your movements, your breath should be slow and steady. Hold your stretch for 30-45 seconds.
  • Aim to stretch every day. Try it for 10 to 15 minutes a day, at least three days a week. Stretch each muscle group three to five times each session.

Ultimately, flexibility is about enjoying your life. By increasing your range of motion, you’ll be less prone to injury while exercising, traveling, or playing with your grandkids. You’ll feel less stiff and more comfortable going about everyday activities like walking, lifting, bending, and even driving. You’ll improve your posture, circulation, and balance while relieving pain and stress.

A Brand New Year at Kirby Pines

HAPPY NEW YEAR! I know you have heard these familiar words before, so perhaps a better way to begin the year 2019 is to take a moment to thank you for another wonderful year at Kirby Pines. It doesn’t seem possible that I will begin my 17th year of service to you and Kirby Pines this January.

The year 2018 was a great year for Kirby Pines. We ended the year by completing the new Kirby Boulevard and installing test LED lighting for our parking lots to our main entrance. We welcomed dozen of new residents and sadly said goodbye to far too many members of our Kirby family.

I read once that Thomas Edison discovered more than 1000 ways, to not invent a bulb of light, but eventually, through determination, he found the solution to get it just right. If he had stopped at nine hundred ninety-nine, we might still be reading by candlelight. It’s that understanding of persistence that can help us all develop more patience as we sit waiting for new and improved things to finalize.

So with that in mind, know that in 2019 we are diligently working on creating a better internet service and cable television system for Kirby Pines; along with improving our work order system and emergency response service. And by the end of the year, hopefully you will discover that we have been moving much closer to our goals. It won’t happen January first, but with faith, hope and action, we will get the job done.

The year will go by quickly, so make the time to enjoy it. Take care of yourself.

Appreciate your life at Kirby Pines, don’t take it for granted. Keep your eyes focused on the good things and let God be your guide. Happy New Year everyone!

Michael Escamilla,

Executive Director, Kirby Pines

Resident Spotlight: Charles & Laura Parrott


Charles and Laura Parrott

Charles William Parrott, Jr. was born February 27, 1930, in Memphis, Tennessee. His father, Charles, Sr. was a maintenance man at the old Ford Motor Company plant on Riverside Drive. His mother, Mary Blanche, became an LPN and worked at St. Joseph’s Hospital in the emergency room. Charles, Jr. (Charlie) eventually had two brothers, one 11 years and the other 16 years his junior. He attended Southside High School and went on to get his Bachelors Degree at Memphis State University. At one point he had to leave school to work for the Post Office to earn money to go back. He ended up serving in Korea with the Army Infantry. Upon his return in 1953, he was able to finish school on the GI Bill and enrolled in medical school.

Laura Ann MacDougall was born December 3, 1936, in Braintree, Massachusetts. Her father, John Wallace MacDougall, was a fireman, then a railroad engineer, and drove for City Oil. (According to Dr. Parrott, his father-in-law had the ability to set out and do whatever he dreamed of doing.) Laura’s mother, Mildred Ruth, was a kindergarten teacher. Laura had one older sister and a younger brother and sister. She graduated from Braintree High School and went on to earn her RN at the Children’s Hospital School of Nursing in Boston. She worked as a scrub nurse for Dr. Gross, who was a pioneer in children’s cardiology. Because of her experience, she was offered a job at LeBonheur Children’s Hospital, wherein 1958, she assisted with the first successful open heart surgery on a child.

At that time, Laura was living at the Park Tower Apartments, which was walking to distance to work, and Charlie just happened to be living at LeBonheur while attending UT Memphis Medical School. Charlie was able to earn tuition money, room and board by cleaning medical equipment and assisting at the hospital. One of the pieces of equipment he cleaned was a Heart and Lung Machine, used by Laura, they became friends.

Charlie, Laura and their friends would have pizza parties and would spend the day on McKellar Lake in Charlie’s father’s boat. They were having a great time and working hard. On December 20, 1959, they were married in Laura’s hometown. The newlyweds had to be back in Memphis for New Year’s, so they honeymooned at Niagra Falls – with only one other couple – it was freezing cold in December, but beautiful.

Charles and Laura Parrott
Wedding Day – December 20, 1959

Charlie finished school at UT that year and went to work for Baptist Memorial Hospital. They lived at 653 Jefferson Avenue, then moved to Whitehaven, where Charlie opened his practice at 4299 Highway 51 South. They had four children, Chip, Linda, Thomas and John. Laura stayed at home once Linda was born. They enjoyed life. The kids went to private school, they had a place on the lake, they loved fishing – Charlie claims he’s caught more crappie than any man in the south – Laura was a Girl Scout Leader, Charlie was involved in the Boy Scouts and they attended Whitehaven Baptist Church, where Charlie taught Sunday School. In 1988, the kids were grown and Charlie sold his practice.

Charlie then worked for the IC Railroad out of New Orleans, they were able to ride the train for free. He had a list of doctors the train workers could see and opened an extended hours clinic just for them.

Charlie and Laura moved to Gulf Shores, Alabama. They lived on the beach for seven years then finally built a house just north of there. They both played golf, and Laura even became the women’s champion for two years at Craft Farms. Charlie would travel to Indian reservations in Oklahoma and Nevada providing healthcare to those without access. He was instrumental in having “Samaritan Laws” changed to get people help without being sued. They opened free clinics in Alabama with the help of the Alabama Medical Society. The clinics were staffed entirely by volunteers helping those without insurance, most of which were migrant workers. They gave away samples of meds and talked to the local hospital into delivering babies, doing x-rays and more. With the success of the free clinics, they began looking into a permanent retirement plan.

They looked around Mobile, Alabama, but Charlie’s aunt had lived at Kirby Pines, and their children lived closer by. The family also grew to include children’s spouses and nine grandchildren. After learning about LifeCare, their decision was made and they moved to Kirby Pines in August of 2010. They love the beautiful grounds and are thankful for the security they have. They stay active and involved in so many things, but say they don’t do as much as they used to. Charlie is in charge of the Garden Club – with the help of Laura – he tinkers in the Hobby Shop, is a member of the Men’s Christian Fellowship and started up the Red Ribbon Project, also known at Kirby as the Prayer Warriors. Laura participates in Water Aerobics, Garden Club and volunteers at The Blossom Shop, to name a few. They are always willing to help, always have a smile on their faces and are two of the nicest people you will ever meet. So Thank You, Charlie and Laura, for deciding to make Kirby Pines your forever home.

How to Tackle Winter Health

Snowballs at Kirby Pines

What usually happens in the winter? We have shorter days with less sunshine, cooler temperatures, more germs spreading, slicker surfaces and more holidays with food. All of these side effects of winter can affect our health. So how can we stay healthy during the winter season?

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, older individuals live more independently, have fewer health costs, and remain healthy if they engage in preventative services and practice healthy behaviors. Five preventative services and/or healthy behaviors include:

1. Soak Up The Sunshine

To help avoid the winter blues, soak up 10-15 minutes of sunshine a day. Winter has limited daylight, so try to sit next to a window to get sunlight when it is available. Though it might be too cold to go outside, it is still important to get some sunshine. The sun is a great source of vitamin D which helps decrease inflammation, depression, and illness while promoting bone growth. The sun also helps to enhance your mood by increasing your serotonin levels. Serotonin is
known to positively affect your mood and behavior.

2. Get Your Flu Shot

The winter time brings dryer air and colder temperatures, thus creating an environment for germs to live longer. To prevent disease, get vaccinated. As we age, our immune systems become weaker and therefore we become more susceptible to become ill. People 65 and older are 90 percent of flu-related deaths and 60 percent of flu-related hospitalizations. Once vaccinated, it takes two weeks for our body to develop an immune response which means, ideally, we should get vaccinated in mid-October.

3. Healthy Eating Habits

What comes with the winter season? Many holidays with great food! While we eat, we should be mindful of the amount and types of food we are putting into our bodies. Remember these simple phrases:

“Out of sight, out of mind”
This philosophy teaches you to place your food on your plate and then walk away from the food. Many times individuals consume food just because it is right in front of them. However, if we adopt the “out of sight, out of mind” philosophy, we will remove ourselves from having easy access to food.

“Smaller plate, smaller portion”
Where you taught to clean your plate? Sometimes this can cause us to overeat even when our body tells us to stop. To help avoid overeating, use a smaller plate. The smaller the plate, the less food we will eat and if we have the “out of sight, out of mind” philosophy, we will not go back for several servings.

“Colorful plate, healthy weight”
What are the most colorful foods? Fruits and vegetables. According to the World Health Organization, insufficient consumption of fruit and vegetables have caused 1.7 million deaths worldwide. Eating colorful foods can prevent obesity as well as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Fruits and vegetables contain adequate amounts of vitamins and fiber.

4. Safety

What else can occur in the winter season? Slippery walking surfaces and occasional outings. Walking outdoors can be more difficult than walking inside our homes. There are sidewalk cracks, curbs, and changes in walking surfaces. Now place some wintery mix on those sidewalks and it can create even more safety hazards. To prevent slipping, always ensure you have someone with you and try walking flat-footed. We also have to be mindful of safety in our family and
friends homes during the holiday season.

Items to consider in homes other than your own:

  • Are there throw rugs?
  • Are there steps?
  • Is there room to navigate with my walker, wheelchair, or cane?
  • Do their chairs have arms to aid with standing?
  • Is their toilet raised or have grab bars to aid with standing?

5. Physical Activity

Cooler temperatures are brought on by high air pressure which increases our blood pressure and can trigger thickness in the fluid around our joints causing joint pain. Cold weather also thickens our blood which can cause more heart complications. For this reason, it is important to stay active all year around. Exercise can help reduce blood pressure, arthritis pain, and heart disease.

Healthy Eating at Kirby PinesIf you feel ill and weak this winter season, therapy can help. Therapy can assist in developing a wellness plan that will help prevent loss of strength, range of motion, and falls so you can continue living an independent and active lifestyle. Let’s be preventative this winter season and not wait until something happens for us to take action.

Please join us December 19th at 1:30 pm in the PAC for our Smart Moves presentation on this topic.

White Christmas at Kirby Pines

On Saturday, December 8, 2017, The Kirby Pines Entertainers and the Orpheum Theater Cabaret Singers presented a program called White Christmas at Kirby Pines!

In case you missed it, here’s a taste!

Walk the Halls of Bows and Holly

Santa on a treadmill

Don’t let the busy-ness of the holidays steal the progress you have made this year in your strengthening exercise program. With special parties and a full schedule of events, remember to schedule some time for the Oasis or your favorite exercise class. Bring your family with you to the warm pool. Take walks with the kids around the lake or show them all the wonderful decorations around the halls of Kirby Pines. Christmas can be hectic and overwhelming, but a good walk outside can bring some peace and quiet, solitude and retrospect. Take the time to unwrap the gift of comfort and joy as we celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus.

Come join us for a Christmas Stroll through the beautifully decorated halls of Kirby, on Wednesday, December 19. This “Walk with Ease” Class Reunion will meet in the PAC at 1:30 to do our warm-up and stretches, walk for about 30 minutes and then gather back in the PAC for some Christmas treats. Invite your friends to join in on this fun event.

Walk Across America

Great River Road Kirby Pines Make your 2019 New Year’s resolution to include signing up for the Walk Across America Program that the Oasis will be offering in January. Participants may begin registering January 2, 2019. The program will run from January 14 through March 11 and will last 8 weeks. We will keep track of how many miles each participant walks, or completes on the Nu-Step or treadmill on their schedule. You may want to use a pedometer, your FitBit or your smart phone Pedometer App to record your steps. Everyone’s mileage will be kept up individually and as a group total to see how far we can walk; pointing out interesting landmarks along the way. Last year, 45 participants walked Route 66 from Chicago to Santa Monica, California and helped accumulate over 2694 miles. This year we will follow The Great River Road along the mighty Mississippi River from Itasca, Minnesota, through Memphis, to New Orleans, Louisiana. If we have enough participants, we could make it all the way almost 3000 miles. We’ll have helpful tips each week, awards and surprises for everyone, as well as the reward of beginning and continuing a great exercise habit of walking for strength and endurance. We will have weekly door prizes and a Grand Prize of Dinner for Two at the Exquisite Cuisine for the most miles recorded.

His Light Leads the Way at Kirby Pines

The Holiday season at Kirby Pines is hard to ignore. From the sixteen foot Christmas tree in the lobby to the decorations residents have placed on their doors, a walk around the community provides everyone with a smile and feeling of joyfulness.

Many, however, say that until you feel the spirit of Christmas – there is no Christmas. The decorations, musical events, and various edible treats are all here to enhance the Christmas season, but it is the true meaning of Christmas, that truly lifts our hearts. George Adams said that the birth of Jesus Christ stands as the most significant event in all history. Significant, because as George Adams said, “…the birth meant the pouring into a sick world the healing medicine of love which has transformed all manner of hearts for almost two thousand years… Underneath all the bulging bundles is the beating Christmas heart.”

Adams’ words make you stop to think about just how blessed we are. After all, we have ample food, a comfortable place to live and one another. Yet one’s heart cannot help but beat for many less fortunate Americans.

The hurricanes in early fall followed by the ravishing fires in California have left many fellow Americans without a place to call home and the uncertainty of where the next meal will come from. This Christmas, for many of them it will be a day of prayer and hope. A day in which to think of everything and everyone they love and have loved.

And so to you and those who have lost so much this year, on this Christmas lets all pray that they and we alike remember, “His light will lead the way.”

Merry Christmas,
Michael Escamilla,
Executive Director, Kirby Pines