Monday, May 31, 2010

Cute Camp Idea!

If you are sending your son or daughter off to camp, there are lots of fun ideas of things to do. I always send our children with new stationary from Preppy Paper Girl and fun things like a set of glow in the dark bracelets to share with their friends. I have been known to send pictures of their siblings, friends, grandparents, and us parents too. One fun idea is to make a collage of pictures or simply to put several pictures through a laminating machine. This way the pictures do not get wet and your child can enjoy them all summer long! You can also write sweet messages around the pictures. Enjoy!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Come Thou Fount

Sunday is a day for rest. It's also a day to worship our Lord. There is nothing like communing with a group of believers and worshipping the Lord through song, prayer, and good teaching. One of my favorite hymns I learned at Camp Greystone. You've probably heard it at your church as well. It is a beautiful hymn!

Come thou fount of every blessing
Tune my heart to sing your praise
Streams of mercy never ceasing
Call for songs of loudest praise
Teach me some melodious sonnet
Sung by flaming tongues above
Praise the mount I’m fixed upon it
The mount of thy redeeming blood

Oh to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be
Let your goodness like a fetter
Bind my wandering heart to thee
Prone to wander, Lord I feel it
Prone to leave the God I love
Here’s my heart Lord,
Take and seal it
Seal it for thy courts above

Bridge: Prone to wander, Lord I feel it
Prone to leave the God I love
Prone to hear you and not heed it
Prone to scorn you in your love
Prone to wander
Prone to wander

Oh to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be
Let your goodness like a fetter
Bind my wandering heart to thee
Jesus sought me while a stranger
Wandering from the heart of God
And He to rescue me from danger
Interposed his precious blood

Thursday, May 27, 2010

End of the Year Gift for your Teacher

It's that time! The end of the school year is HERE! At this time of year, most of us like to thank our teachers. A large cash gift or gift card is always appreciated as teachers can always use a special treat. However, you may want to be a bit more creative. You can go to a place like Color Me Mine in Hyde Park and make a special plate or bowl with the handprints of the entire class.

Another idea is to have an artist like the famous Kennedi Benjamin help your class make a cooperative art project. If you're interested in her contact info, please leave me your email address in the comments section. She can help your class create an AMAZING piece of art for their teacher. Below are some samples of Kennedi Benjamin's other works.

We made photo books for our teachers. The books hold pictures of every child in the class participating in events throughout the year. This is something teachers will treasure for years to come.

A few years ago our class created a precious photo tote bag. You can submit photos or artwork to LL Bean and they will create a wonderful bag for you! What individual or class gifts do you give your children's teachers?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Tuesday's Tip... Be a TOURIST in your TOWN!

Are you wondering what in the world you are going to do with your children this long, hot summer? Have you already been to the pool so many times your hair is green? Do you hate the very idea of schlepping your children to the hot, crowded beach? Well, does Mama Henley have an idea for you!
It's time to be a TOURIST in your hometown. That's right. Pull out those tennis shoes, strap your camera and around your neck, and get going. If possible, take some form of city transportation whether it be the Tampa Trolley, Raleigh Trolley, city bus, or a train. Pay for you and your spouse or you and your children to do that. You may decide to later splurge on a carriage ride, Segway, or rickshaw for more entertainment and to see more sights. One of our favorite family memories in Savannah, Georgia was of whizzing through town on a rick shaw! It took two drivers to carry all of us but it was fun!
Go downtown first. Explore the museums, walk around, go into shops, find some antiques, and eat a good lunch at a local restaurant. If possible, try a kind of food you've never tried before or a restaurant you've never visited. If your town has skyscrapers, go to the top floor of one of them. Feed the pigeons in the park. Sit on a park bench eating ice cream and observe the other locals. Walk in an art gallery and show your children the work of a local artist. Buy some postcards of your town, write the grandparents or aunts and uncles, and mail them from the downtown post office. See all that your downtown has to offer.
If you live in a location that is frequented by visitors, then visit all of the sights, especially if you have never seen them. If you live in the capital city, then visit the Capital and Legislature Building. Walk as much as you can! Stop and have local ice cream or a Krispy Kreme doughnut. If you live in a city where a food or drink was created, be sure to have it during the day. For example, order an RC Cola and a Moon Pie if you're in Chattanooga. Drink a real Coke if you're in Atlanta and visit the Coke Museum. Go to your aquarium if it's in your town.
Perhaps you live in a small town. Walk around the square and see all of the buildings and businesses in your town. Sit and visit with a neighbor and swap stories about the time your husband accidentally ate all of the deviled eggs the neighbor had made for a party because they were in the shared fridge. Reach out to someone who may be the town Boo Radley. Once you've seen your town, explore other towns in your state.
When we lived in North Carolina, I always wanted to take the Tarboro Tour. I had the whole thing planned. We were going to get some of our friends who were from Tarboro to get their mamas and their mama's friends to show us the town. Tarboro is a small town, but it, too, has a lot of history. The homes are beautiful, the churches are old and glorious, and the people are wonderful. We were going to take a tour bus, walk around town, and end the day with cocktails in one of the homes and dinner on the square. If you've never taken the time to do something similar in the place where you live, now is the TIME, honey! You will be so glad that you did.
This summer we will be exploring the wonderful place where we live. There are restaurants to be visited, grouper sandwiches to be eaten, and beaches to explore. The world is our oyster, right?!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Dear Mrs. Smith...

*Names have been changed in this letter to respect the privacy of others*

Tonight I learned that another woman has stolen my son's heart. He can't bear to let her go. Neither can I! He loves and adores this woman. He has learned so much from her and he can't bear to leave his side. She is his 2nd grade teacher. I found our precious boy in bed writing her a letter. I read it and cried. Then, he wept with me. We wept together and I thanked God for a teacher who would touch our son's heart by teaching him so well. Mrs. Smith loves our children. She has taught them patiently. She will not let them leave school discouraged. She has protected them, disciplined them, taught them, and walked beside them. DH & I are forever grateful. Our children are too, as you will see from our boy's letter to Mrs. Smith.

Dear Mrs. Smith,

I will miss you always and forever. I will miss you this summer. I am so sad that I half to go. I will miss your smile and everything you do. I will see you at the playground at lunch. I will miss being in your class. I will miss being your helper. I will miss you being there to help like on Math when I am stuck on it you can't help, only Mrs. Jones (teacher for next year). I will miss that. I will miss everything you do. I will miss your joy and gladness. I will miss you when you are sad or angrey. I will miss you no matter what.
Mama Henley's boy

I have posted before about the Disney dive sticks. They are a family favorite! The great news is that they are on sale at Target this week for $8. Stock up now as they make fabulous birthday gifts! When we're at the pool, little girls literally try to sneak and steal these! Your daughter and her friends will love them!

Friday, May 21, 2010

I just realized...

I just realized that I am about to no longer have a Kindergartner.

I just realized that summer starts in a week.

I just realized that my triplet babies are no longer babies. They are children. They are children who are about to be third graders.

I just realized I don't have a baby anymore. My baby is now 3.

I just realized that although those first days and years are so difficult, I would go back in a minute!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Summertime FINDS!

One of our favorite summer essentials is this ADORABLE chair from Tookie's Toys! It comes with its own umbrella and a little zippered pouch for holding a snack or sunscreen. The chairs are easy to store and easy to carry! Katherine, the owner of Tookie's Toys, will even ship a chair to you! You can also visit their fan page on Facebook by clicking here. I believe the chair retails for around $23 and is a perfect gift for a birthday party or special friend! You should see them when we have 5 of these chairs lined up on the beach! Too cute! Tookie's will gladly personalize the chairs as well at no extra charge. Cute cute!

They also have a new selection of Silly Bandz for all of those littles in your life who love them. In fact, they have special necklaces and bracelets for holding many of the bands at one time. Again, I have to ask myself: Why didn't I think of that?!

Happy Shopping!

What I've Been Busy Doing

I've been busy doing a whole lot of this....

I ran home for a quick trip to meet the cutest nephew in the world. All I wanted to do was hold him!!! What a sweet boy he is! I also had time to take our two-year old niece out for ice cream. She entertained me the whole time and loved her chocolate ice cream. I will not share pictures of their precious faces since I haven't asked for permission!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Tuesday's Tip

It's Tuesday! Having a pool is so much fun. We are enjoying our second pool season Chez Mama Henley. Thankfully we have a great cabana boy! There are many things one needs when you have a pool, so I've composed a list of some things that make life easier here!

-Have a large supply of sunscreen with a high SPF. We have found that the sprays make it easier to apply but that you MUST reapply. We use the Neutrogena or Hawaiian Tropic face sticks for faces and ears. The children can do this themselves! I even put a stick in each child's lunch box for super hot Florida days.

-You need LOTS of towels. We have a stack per child in our linen closet. Yes, there are five stacks of beach towels! We are always ready to share a towel with a friend.

-Goggles are another must-have. Visitors will often need to borrow a pair.

-Pool toys and floats. It never gets old to pour water in and out of a pitcher or to paint with paintbrushes or to ride in a float. Floats also break or pop, so it's nice to get a new one each year.

-WATER I keep our second fridge filled with bottled water. Of course we also use faucet water, but sometimes it's easier to just grab a bottle and then you know how much your child has ingested.

-I also keep Capri Sun or MinuteMaid lemonade on hand for a quick drink.

-Children LOVE popsicles. The best ones are the all-fruit ones, but any cool treat will do!

-I bring out bowls of goldfish, pretzels, grapes, strawberries, blueberries, cheeze-its, apple slices, sliced carrots, etc. It's amazing how children will eat anything that is served in a pretty bowl. I keep these things on hand at all times.

-We also keep plenty of hot dogs in our fridge or freezer so that we can have an impromptu cookout. I buy big bags of chips when they're buy one/get one free for this very reason.

-I also keep extra ketchup and mustard and other condiments on hand.

-I also keep fun drinks and things on hand for adults, along with cute napkins so that I can serve the adults as well.

-If we are having a true pool party, then I hire a lifeguard. I pay about $15 an hour, and it is always worth it! Saving lives is priceless.

Happy Summer, friends!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Summer Sandals

I love this festive green! Our Bug LOVES green!

I know these aren't sandals, but what a fun espadrille!

Every preppy girl loves HOT PINK! And I believe this one is metallic too. Summer Raspberry!

Lavender is my favorite color. This purple sandal has a great heel!

Jackie O made these famous!
Have you bought your summer sandals? Here are some favorites that I have seen in the stores. They are Tory Burch and Bonannos. However, you can also buy sandals with the same look at Marshall's, TJ Maxx, or even JC Penney. You don't have to spend a fortune to look like a million dollars!

Sunday, May 16, 2010


DH and I were married almost 15 years ago. FIFTEEN YEARS AGO! I can hardly believe it. I feel like I was 23 and young just yesterday. Suddenly I have become a woman in her late 30s who is older than many of her friends! Where did the years go? I am thankful that they have been 15 very happy years. DH & I had a very happy beginning in Dallas, Texas. We just LOVED living there and making our own new friends. Our 3 years there were such a great adventure for us as a couple. No one loves their state more than Texans. They own it. We attended Park Cities Presbyterian Church where we made our best friends. Our Sunday School class was a huge blessing in the marriages of many young couples. We were challenged and stretched and learned so much! We used to have a group that would meet in the evenings to sing and pray. Darwin Jordan and his wife, Kay, opened their home to us so many times. They were probably about the age we are now. I remember wanting to be just like them with a beautiful home full of children who were being raised to love the Lord. And here we are! On those sweet evenings, we sang many songs I just love. At least two of them were written by Chris Miner. One of my favorites is listed below. You can imagine how excited I am whenever we sing it at church. In fact, I love it so much that I sing at the top of my lungs, and I always feel like people are turning around to look at me. This song always gives me chills and often makes me cry. The words are so touching! Happy Sunday!

From the depths of woe I raise to Thee
The voice of lamentation;
Lord, turn a gracious ear to me
And hear my supplication;
If Thou iniquities dost mark,
Our secret sins and misdeeds dark,

O who shall stand before Thee?
(Who shall stand before Thee?)
O who shall stand before Thee?
(Who shall stand before Thee?)

2. To wash away the crimson stain,
Grace, grace alone availeth;
Our works, alas! Are all in vain;
In much the best life faileth;
No man can glory in Thy sight,
All must alike confess Thy might,

And live alone by mercy
(Live alone by mercy)
And live alone by mercy
(Live alone by mercy)

3. Therefore my trust is in the Lord,
And not in mine own merit;
On Him my soul shall rest, His word
Upholds my fainting spirit;
His promised mercy is my fort,
My comfort and my sweet support;

I wait for it with patience
(Wait for it with patience)
I wait for it with patience
(Wait for it with patience)

4. What though I wait the live-long night,
And ’til the dawn appeareth,
My heart still trusteth in His might;
It doubteth not nor feareth;
Do thus, O ye of Israel’s seed,
Ye of the Spirit born indeed;

And wait ’til God appeareth
(Wait ’til God appeareth)
And wait ’til God appeareth
(Wait ’til God appeareth)

5. Though great our sins and sore our woes
His grace much more aboundeth;
His helping love no limit knows,
Our upmost need it soundeth.
Our Shepherd good and true is He,
Who will at last His Israel free

From all their sin and sorrow
(All their sin and sorrow)
From all their sin and sorrow
(All their sin and sorrow)

©1997 Christopher Miner Music.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Let's talk about CAMP!

Summer is almost HERE for many of us and it's time to think about CAMP!!!! I attended the best camp in the WORLD, and our girls will be there in the next few weeks!! It is always helpful to know what to pack and more importantly, HOW to pack for camp. For the sake of this post, I am going to say, "HER", but I can't wait for our son to go to camp too!

First of all, you do not want to send expensive jewelry or your absolute favorite children's dress to camp because they could get lost or ruined. We all love Lilly Pulitzer, but only send it if you're okay with it being damaged or ruined. For every session except for Junior Camp, your precious dahlin's clothes will be sent to the laundry, and the laundry DOES NOT SEPARATE colors and whites, to the best of my knowledge.

Your daughter will need some pre-addressed and stamped envelopes for writing letters. You should also type out a list of addresses for her, in case she wants to write extra letters. Be sure to ask her if she has some friends she'd like to write while she's at camp. Crane's Stationary and William Arthur are always precious, but the cute notecards at Target are fine too.

I always send my girls with some fun pens. It makes letter writing more fun! Stickers are great too!

Buy your daughter a disposable camera so that she can take her own pictures. You may not think the new foal is important, but she may. We have a whole slew of barn pictures from one of our girls!

If your daughter is older, send her with a digital camera. However, unless she is 16 or 17 and a photography major, I would not send her with your new Nikon D500!

Collect some family and friend photos for her so that she can hang them in her bunk area. Bring tape to help her hang the pictures.

Pack a warm jacket or sweatshirt for cold nights. Most camps do not have heat or a/c. You will also want to pack a personal fan. The battery operated fans can be found at Walmart or Bed, Bath, and Beyond.

Pack a BPA-free water bottle. Be sure to put her name on it with a sharpie pen.

Use a black sharpie marker to label everything.... clothes, cameras, pillowcases, towels, fans, books, underwear, bathing suit, goggles, etc. Put a sharpie in your purse so that you can use it on Opening Day if you buy her a new shirt at the camp store.

Pack her goggles!

Write a stack of letters to her BEFORE camp. They can include the reasons you love her, Bible verses, or cute funny pictures that you draw. Leave these in the camp post office and have them marked with your daughter's name and the day of the week. This way, she will have mail each day! For example: Bailey Rice - Monday

Be sure to share your daughter's (or son's) camp address with friends and family so that she will receive some mail! Encourage everyone to send mail early! You never know if a letter will take 2 or 5 days to arrive.

Remind your daughter that CAMP is the GIFT and she will not be receiving a package while she is away.

I buy gallon-sized ziploc bags and use them to pack an outfit per day. In the bag, I place underwear, a t-shirt, shorts, and socks. If she doesn't use the socks, they can stay clean in the bag. This makes it easier for a young girl to decide what to wear!!

Do pack a fun princess dress or dress up clothes. Evening programs usually incorporate such fun things.

If your daughter has a lovie or favorite stuffed animal or pillow, let her bring it!

Stay at a hotel near camp and if you see other young girls or boys, ask them if they are going to camp too. It's always fun to make a new friend before camp even starts.

Send an extra blanket for cold nights, but don't bring an interior decorator to put things together in her cabin. This is CAMP, not the Royal Palace. Some camps sell precious sweatshirt-material blankets with the camp name on them.

If your child is going to a longer session, you may want to bring a small gift for her camp counselor.

My friend, B, made cute devotional books for each of the girls in her daughter's cabin. At our camp, there is a daily Morning Program devotion and a cabin devotion at night.

Be sure to tell your child how much you will miss her, but that she is missing NOTHING at home!!

Be early. Your daughter will want to be early on Opening Day to choose her bunk, and you will want to be early to pick her up.

Encourage your sweet girl to have fun! If you find yourself with no children at home, make it a point to go enjoy some time ALONE with hubby! Take off work for a few days and explore the area near your camp or have a staycation at home without all of the normal distractions.

Sign your daughter up early for next year!!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Big Buddha Bag

Do you have a Big Buddha bag? They have been the rage for a few years. I love the quilted body of the bag and how big they are. I do not own one, but I think they would be especially great for traveling. You could probably fit a toddler in your bag!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Do You Feel Overwhelmed?

As the end of the year approaches, parents and children are pulled in many different directions for the last recital, the last lacrosse game, and the School Musical. All of these are wonderful events, but it makes for a very full calendar in May. My personal challenge is that the daily chores associated with running our home are enough to kill me. In fact, I feel like they are indeed, killing me. My temper is short and I have snapped unnecessarily. I am trying to serve our family with gladness but sometimes I feel like running and hiding!:) Do you feel this way?
Since Christmas, I have been unable to do it all. I battle laundry every day, washing 3-4 loads a day. Load # 3 is in the wash right now. I wash one child's bed in entirety per day. This means that I am always washing sheets and towels plus our uniforms and other clothes. The dishwasher was was just emptied for the second time today. I am waiting on my hubby to come home before I eat dinner, so I snuck away from serving the children dinner just so I could sit and blog for a minute:).
Our bedroom is a wreck between the clothes that need to go to Goodwill, the piles of paper I need to file, and the clothes that need to go in the attic. But when will I have time to do all that I want and need to do? I feel like I have raced from one appointment to the next, and we are not talking about racing from a mani/pedi to a massage. Yesterday I had children at school by 7:45, picked up my next carpooler, took my youngest & her friend to the grocery store, dropped them at school, and then raced to a meeting. The meeting was from 9:30-11am, and then I raced to an 11am goodbye lunch w/ a friend who is moving. I had to cut it short to drop off the groceries that had been in my car since 8am. I unloaded and put away the cold stuff and rushed to 12:30pm preschool pick up. Hennie had a friend over and then the children were home and homework and activities began. I managed to make dinner and do homework in the midst of all of that. Where in that schedule was time to put anything away or make progress on our messes? Sadly it is already time to vacuum the whole house again. I feel like I did it yesterday. How do YOU do it all?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Tuesday's Tip...Children's Choice

Do you ever have a night where you just have no energy left to cook or you just can't think of another meal? I try to cook at home as often as possible, but sometimes my creativity or energy just gives out. Other times we just want to save money and eat in without cooking a big meal. In comes.... CHILDREN'S CHOICE!! This is one of their favorite nights! I allow them to make healthy choices of what each individual would like for dinner. If you choose ravioli, you must eat a fruit or veggie with it. On a recent night of Children's Choice, 2 ate macaroni and cheese, our son ate the rest of the refried beans in a bean and cheese tortilla, one ate yogurt and fruit, and one ate her favorite egg noodles cooked in chicken broth. The children helped clear the refrigerator AND ate much cheaper than a night at Chick Fil A! Try it... you'll love the feeling of knowing that $30 for eating a fast food meal for a party of 7 stayed in your pocket!

Sunday, May 9, 2010


Today my thoughts turn to those who may face Mother's Day with sadness, fear, or emptiness. I am praying for those who will spend their first Mother's Day without their dear mother. I am sad for the children who do not know their mother or whose mothers neglect or abuse them. My heart also aches for those mamas who will never again see their children on Mother's Day because their little ones are now in Heaven. I especially pray for my friend, Nita, on this day and for all of those who have lost a child or miscarried. There are women whose arms ache in hopes of one day holding a baby that is their own but they are plagued by infertility. Still others are mothers to heroes who are spending this day in Iraq, Afghanistan, or any other place defending our country from the threats of terrorism. Some mothers are alone by choice, but still others long to be with their children. I am blessed to celebrate with my family, but I am praying for all of the others.
I am so thankful and blessed to be a mother to 5 children. As I woke up this morning, I thanked my husband and the Lord for making me a Mama. It is my highest calling.... high above names like doctor, CEO, CFO, President, Madame President, School Board leader, or any other title. Mind you, those are important too, but for me, being a Mama is the highest calling. I love it. I am so blessed! I spent many years aching to hold a baby of my own. There were times of great sadness and desperation. It's hard to believe now that I am the mother of 5. But I will never forget our struggles, and I am grateful for them as they have given me more compassion for others. Of course I still need a lot more, but God is still at work in me! :)
This Mother's Day may you relish the time with your family. Call your mama if you haven't done so already. Reach out to a new Mama and congratulate her and hug a friend who still wants to be a Mama. It's a special day!! Happy Mother's Day

Friday, May 7, 2010

Do a Ditty dum Ditty Do!

Every girl needs a Ditty Bag by Vera Bradley. "Why, Mama Henley, I've never heard of such a thing as a Ditty Bag," I can hear you all say in your best Southern drawl. Well, don't you worry even one little bit, Mama Henley will explain. A Ditty Bag was a genius idea from Vera Bradley. It is a small bag with a drawstring that is LINED with plastic. Yes, you read that right, it is LINED with plastic. If you still don't understand why I am so excited, I will explain. You can pack it with your makeup and it doesn't matter if it spills. Or, you can put it in your beach bag with all of your items in it that need to stay waterproof like your camera, Flip video camera, keys, and money. I often keep an empty one in my beach bag for holding wet bathing suits on the way home! You don't need just one, so you may want to buy two! I promise you will love it. Ours is packed in our beach bag for a boat ride tomorrow!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

What Every Beach Bag Needs!

Life's a beach, right? Well, it is here in Florida where the sun is always shining. Where we live it is common to jaunt on over to the beach for the morning or afternoon for a dip in the ocean or a walk on the sand or a grouper sandwich at Frenchy's.

Our family has even driven to Indian Rocks Beach just for a Lighthouse Doughnuts apple fritter on a sunny winter morning. In fact, I think it's time to do that again! In Florida, one spends a lot of time at the beach or by the pool. I can't wait to rent a cabana at the Don CeSar for the day.

Living so close to the beach, it's important to know HOW to pack your beach or pool bag!! I have become quite the expert as I pack the bag for all 7 of us. First of all, you need a durable beach bag. I love the traditional LL Bean boat and tote Bag. With a family our size, we need the extra large. Plus, I love having a monogrammed bag.

Inside the bag, I pack LOTS of sunscreen. We prefer the Neutrogena and Hawaiian Tropic 30 to 50 SPF sticks for faces as they are super easy to apply. I like the new Neutrogena Sport spray, but we have also enjoyed Coppertone and Banana Boat sprays. The sprays make the application much faster, but I am a firm believer in re-applying. Dermatologists often sell some other sunscreens that you may prefer.
I also pack goggles as our whole crew loves their goggles! Target sells nice ones from Speedo with the middle nose piece as part of the goggle itself and those are the ones we love. Be sure to pack those goggles!

Old burp cloths or cloth diapers make a great cloth for wiping sandy eyes and hands. You can read more about it on this Tuesday's Tip.
We also pack beach toys like buckets or shovels, dive sticks, or any other fun pool or beach toy the children may enjoy. The older children like to take their fins to the pool and our little one brings her princess diving sticks and princess dolls that can swim. Of course it is understood that one must pack a camera in a plastic bag, possibly a Flip video camera, some money, sunglasses, and beach towels!
You may also want to bring a cooler filled with LOTS of water, ice, lemonade or juice boxes, snacks like juicy strawberries or cheese sticks and a Diet Pepsi or two for mama. If it's later in the day, you may wish to pack some beverages with a little more punch! We also bring plenty of snacks to share like bags of pretzels or Goldfish. Each child has a pair of beach/pool shoes and a change of clothes, including underwear. The children also wear rash guards/swim shirts as often as possible! Happy Beach Days!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Tragedy at UVA

By now many of you have heard of the absolute tragedy that occurred at UVA on Monday. A beautiful young female lacrosse player was allegedly murdered by a former boyfriend. Both students were from a strong upper middle-class background and were set to graduate in just a few weeks. They were both lacrosse players who were finishing well at one of our leading universities. As you can see from her picture, Yeardley was BEAUTIFUL. George Huguely is a nice-looking All-American twenty-two year old.
My mind is filled with so many questions, including, "WHY?" What on earth made him so angry that he lost it enough to break down her door and then traumatize her to the point of banging her head against a wall until she was left in a pool of her own blood on her bed. Did he not realize the severity of his actions and call 911 afterwards? No. I believe she was found by a roommate. This beautiful young girl will never graduate, she will never see another sunrise, and she will never be a wife or mother. Her parents are left with the knowledge that a boy she once cared for has now killed her... brutally. Why did this have to happen?
If he was so angry, why did he need to hurt her? It is so senseless and now his life is also ruined.
After processing this a little more, I have looked inward. How can I help avoid a similar situation for our daughters? As parents, what can we do to help our children and to shelter them from the evil of this world? Well, evil has existed since the Fall of Man when Eve took a bite of the forbidden fruit. We are all sinful for the Bible says, "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God". We all have the ability to hurt and kill. However, if we have a relationship with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, read our Bible daily, and go to a church where we can be taught and where we can worship the one true God, we can learn to turn from our sin. Yes, we will still sin, but when Christ lives in your heart, and you are truly communing daily with Him, things such as this will not happen. Christians are not perfect; I am not saying that at all. I am just saying that when Christ lives in us, our lives are changed.
My prayer is that our children's lives will also be transformed as they are sanctified by His grace each and every day. I also pray that they will have wisdom to choose wisely their friends and later in life, their significant others or spouses. Just recently, I tried to explain to our children that we must all be careful when choosing our friends because we can be guilty of something just by association. Recently some teenagers killed an elderly woman, and one boy was simply there when it happened and he has spent many years behind bars because of it. He was guilty by association. I am praying now for godly friends for our children.
I also firmly believe that trash in is trash out. Our society today is filled with a lot of trash. What we see as innocent lyrics about boy meets girl are not what our young elementary students need to be listening to, focusing on, and learning. I know I am going to step on some major toes with that thought, but it is true. Does your 8 year old really need to know all about sneaking out with a boy or about pole dancing at a club going "Low Low Low"? Now I am a girl who loves to dance, but I have been convicted that the music we let our children hear puts thoughts in their minds. Those thoughts might later become actions.
I know I have opened a whole can of worms here. I am not trying to put myself on a pedestal because I do not do everything right. I am the first to tell you of my many faults. I have more than anyone!!! I just am so heartbroken and saddened by this awful tragedy. I mourn for BOTH families and especially for beautiful Yeardley. After reading about this senseless murder, I am praying for wisdom in raising our children and for Christ to be Lord of their lives and mine. It is by grace alone we all are saved.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

How you can help with the oil spill

No matter where you live, you should be considered with the disaster that is happening as millions of gallons of oil are pouring into our waters. The impact is widespread. Seafood prices will rise, we will lose plants and animals and fish, and we humans will also be in danger. This is a mounting concern for all of us. Today I learned of a little something we can ALL do. What part of you attracts the most oil? The answer is your HAIR. Matter of is collecting hair and nylons (panty hose) to create booms that will attract the oil and aid in the clean up efforts!! Call your hairdresser TODAY. In fact, call all of the salons in your area and urge them to visit the Matter of Trust website. It will take little effort for them to send the daily hair clippings in to help clean up our shores. Who knew that a little hair goes a long way? Please do your part to help. If you live close to the coast, do what you can to help. If you don't live close to the coast but want to help, find an organization worthy of your donation. This crisis affects ALL of us!!!! Remember, a little hair goes a long way:)!

Tuesday's Tip...ribbon solution

Do you have rolls of ribbon that roll around your gift wrap organizer? Are you always searching for your roll of pink ribbon? If so, you will love my friend, MN's, idea. She has a great room that belongs to her and it holds gift wrap, cubbies, items to return to the store, et cetera. I would LOVE a room such as this. On the counter, she has a paper towel holder filled with ribbon. What a delightful way to store your ribbon! You, too, can be that organized. Simply re-purpose (here you go being green again!) a paper towel holder into a standing RIBBON dispenser! Voila! Aren't you fancy!?!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

I have a NEPHEW!!!

I am so blessed to be very close to both of my brothers and their fabulous wives. We have the most precious niece, M, whom we all love very much. Her big, blonde curls and contagious laugh make her the object of all of our affection. She and Hurricane are best buddies and their 7 month age difference is bridged quite easily. They are the best of friends whenever they are together! The hardest part of being so far away is not being near our family on either side. The day to day interactions are greatly missed, though we enjoy our times together on trips home.
Imagine our delight when our first nephew (on my side) was born on Friday night! The little prince was born to my youngest brother and his wife. He is just perfect!!! The pictures they have sent us show another perfect baby. It was all I could do not to abandon my family and hop on a plane the minute I heard she was going to be induced. It was even harder to stay back when I found out they were going to do a c-section. When the first pictures arrived by email last night, our whole family sat around and cooed and cried at his precious little face. What a sweetheart!
Since the prince was born 2 weeks early, it made it more difficult to leave as DH must have help with our 5 children and our helper is not available this week. Therefore, I will wait with my hands tied until the date when my tickets were booked. It'll be here soon and I hope Mama and Baby will need even more help then. This weekend we have been rejoicing over the birth of yet another miracle. Thank you, Lord!!!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Feelin' the Love

Last night was one of our sweetest nights in Tampa. Our dear friends invited us for dinner at their lovely home. Despite the fact that they have 3 young children, the house was quiet and lovely music filled the air. We were invited into the kitchen for a great glass of Conundrum, my "go to" white wine favorite. As we rounded the corner, W said, "Look! This is for you!" She had created the most beautiful movie of our first 15 months in Tampa. Of course I cried. We have been bonding lately over our Macs, and she had taken the time to make a movie of our friendship from its inception to the present. What a lovely gift!
At the dinner table, W had made place cards out of pictures of us. At her own place setting and that of her husband, the pictures were of them with one of us. Is that not the sweetest thing? Then, they served the most incredible dinner of beef tenderloin, fresh asparagus, and creamy mashed potatoes that would make Kim Bailey jealous. YUM!!!!
Following dinner, we retired to the family room where we introduced them to Mad Men. I am not an avid tv watcher, but Mad Men is very interesting. I have a lot of issues with their morals, but the study of the 1960s culture is interesting. I was not born at that time, and I love to see the clothes and how people interacted in society. This was the time of hats and lovely couture, while today we have flip flops and Juicy Couture. W & D were great readers of character in this show. I am not as attuned to the show's characters and the progression of the show, but our friends are smart and they were right on in their character evaluations. We laughed and enjoyed the show before going home! Thank you, W & D, for making us feel so special! We love you:)