Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Yes I am continuing with my themed tree idea- leaving the Christmas tree up in hopes that can decorate it for each holiday or season.  I loved my Easter tree, but alas, as I tend to procrastinate in putting my Christmas tree up, I did the same with my Easter tree.  BUT, yesterday was a day of inspiration and I decided to decorate my tree to reflect several of my favorite things: the ocean, collecting shells, and the beautiful place in which I live.   So after a quick trip to Michael’s (my fav place to shop), I was ready to go!  P.S.  Here in Pensacola, there are sites on the internet where you can print downloadable coupons- and you can use a coupon a day for the whole week if you like.  Just type Michael’s daily coupon into your search engine and then look for the latest coupon.  

If you would like to decorate with a Seaside theme here is what you will need~
  • ·      Your Christmas Tree of course
  • ·      A strand of WORKING lights… I did find these at Michael’s in the bridal aisle.
  • ·      Sand Dollars
  • ·      Star Fish
  • ·      A Box of “Ocean Breeze” Potpourri… or something like it- mine contained shells, and starfish and other lovely sea items, and they smelled divine
  • ·      A bag of Raffia
  • ·      Any personal seashells you have collected!
  • ·      A drill with a titanium bit
  • ·      Aileen’s Tacky Glue

To start with, I drilled holes in all of the shells and the ‘potpourri balls.  You need a titanium bit to get through the shells, and for the most part I had great success without shattering but just one shell.   Use a solid object under the shells to drill~ I used an old book.  I did not drill the starfish, sand dollars, or pieces of driftwood.  
I just tied them on with the raffia!

Using a strand of raffia, double it, and then slide the looped end through the hole, just enough so you can push the other end through the loop and pull it tight to make a hanger!  Then tie with a bow on your tree…. SO EASY!   Let the ends dangle so you have raffia covering  your tree.

With the starfish, sand dollars, and drift wood, I just tied and knotted a piece of raffia around the object (the sand dollars have the little holes to make your loops~ just be gentle) and then tie onto the tree and make your bow!  Again, SO EASY!

With the perfumed balls… I did have the hole that I drilled.  I took a piece of raffia and doubled it, and tied a knot in the ‘doubled end’.  I stuffed the knot into the drilled hole and then secured with glue.  I allowed them to dry and then tied them onto the tree with the raffia and made another bow!

My topper was the left over raffia, which I allowed to dangle down the tree… so pretty.  This tree looks “BEACHY BEAUTIFUL” and smells divine with the potpourri sea creations!  I also love the many personal shells I hung, that I have collected over the years, and which bring back so many memories.  I put some of my favorite shells I have collected at the base, and a sea scent diffuser, as well as pictures I have made using shells and starfish.  (an cheap but great gift idea~ and another blog for another time!)

Now when I am teaching my violin lessons, I can take a quick peak at my tree, and think about my next trip to the beach which would be, let’s see, TOMORROW!

Loved the creative flow and today… off to the resale shops to find some more hidden treasures to recreate for my next blog!

"It is better to create than to learn! Creating is the essence of life."
~Julius Caesar

Hope you will find your creative streak today… it DOES THE SOUL SO MUCH GOOD!

Living, Laughing, and ABSOLUTELY LOVING my new Crazy Beach Tree!

Monday, June 27, 2011


Oh how I am enjoying my summer… but not so much that I can’t spend time writing a blog about a valuable lesson I have recently learned in my Crazy Life. There is so much fun to be had when a teacher has time off ~ time with my husband, children and friends. Time shopping and going to the beach, and creating! Just SO MUCH TO DO! But.....

also time to write my blog, I am devoting this blog to “the masks we wear”. And YES! We ALL wear masks~ good or bad!

Oh I will be the first to admit, that when I am having a very, down day and someone asks, “How are you”, I will immediately pop on my SUPER SUNSHINE SMILE MASK, and proclaim, “GREAT”. It is because I do not want to unnecessarily burden someone else with my problems. I have always been that way. 

But I am going to reveal to you my most FAVORITE mask to wear and that is: My ‘Fairy Godmother” mask. A Fairy Godmother is one who: is a fairy or person with magical powers who acts as a mentor or parent to someone. Trust me when I say I KNOW I do not have magical powers, although I often think about how much fun it would be to say ‘BIPPITY BOPPITY BOO” and magically fix problems for people I love! Or, I like to pretend that I have a magic wand that whisks true joy happiness and contentment into the lives of all that I meet. As a wife, a mother, a daughter, sister, teacher, friend…. I have always felt the need to make people feel good. I love to try to help people through their problems. I love to make people laugh. My desire is, that after people have spent time with me, they will walk away feeling good. Do I fail? OH MY YES! I have my ‘grumpy moments’, my “I am too TIRED moments”, my moments when I fall prey to the ‘fiery tongue’! We all do. But as I grow older, I realize the necessity of showing genuine kindness, love and compassion. NOT that I should be a doormat, or accept less than the best. But, it is when I strive to be my best, when I strive to: Do to others as I would have them do to me (Luke 6:31), that I am able to best fulfill my purpose here on earth, and the cool thing: I don’t need a ‘fairy godmother mask’ to accomplish kindness, generosity, and love for my friends, and fellow man! I simply need to practice kindness with those I love and those I meet. 
“Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” ~Mark Twain

Now onto another type of mask I have encountered recently. A mask that scares me, and makes me weary of those I meet. A mask that people wear that is deceptive, and used to hide their true intentions, or their true inner selves. The best mask I could think of for this type of “Mask Wearing Individual” is a Pirate’s Mask – AAARRRGGGHHH! 

A pirate by definition is one who: 
1. robs at sea or plunders the land from the sea without commission
 from a sovereign nation. 

2. One who preys on others; a plunderer. 

I would like to ‘go on account’ as saying that I have recently experienced a ‘Blow me down’ moment, with a “pirate like” “friend”! “Shiver me Timbers’ I was shocked when unbeknownst to me someone who I believed was a fellow ‘fairy godmother,
 was actually 
a fiendish pirate ~ showering me with words of kindness, friendship, laughter and encouragement ! But in reality they were “keel hauling me”! (Keel Haul - another term made famous by pirates. This is the act of throwing a man overboard, tied to a rope that goes beneath the ship, and then dragging him from one side to the other and hauling him out. Besides the torment of being dragged under water, this would drag the victim across the barnacle studded ship's hull and cause great pain and injury. This was a serious punishment and not administered lightly. YIKES!) My body suffered no injury, but my heart, and my feelings, did indeed take a blow, and for a few days I must admit I did walk with ‘sea legs’ (a sailor who has trouble regaining his "land legs" and swaggers on land). But, with prayer and meditation I have recovered, and my new motto is “AVAST YE”~ simply put “"stop" and give attention.” To me that means, that I am now praying for discernment as I meet people ~ that I would see their true character before forming a friendship. “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Hebrews 4: 12 
If someone that  I meet, is wearing a pirates mask, I shall simply have to give them the order~ “Walk the plank”! I really have no time, or need in my life to be ‘flogged’ or ‘fed to the fish’! And neither do you! AYE? : ) 


God has given you one face, and you make yourself another. ~William Shakespeare 

Here is a WONDERFUL article, that goes into great detail about why people wear social masks! 

And here is an excerpt I found fascinating! 

“Besides acceptance, yet another reason why people wear masks is to gain respect, attention or some other personal motive that satisfies them, or in other words to get something from other people. Certain people try to project a certain personality to achieve his or her own personal motives, such as the Casanova who goes out of his way to show a girl that he cares for her personally just so that he can get her in bed with him, or the insecure lady boss who goes out of her way to intimidate her employees to serve her so that she can feel powerful and in control of her firm. The masks that people wear allows the person to not only hide undesirable qualities that they possess, but also portray a false image about themselves that can be used either to make people like and trust them, or to deceive people to fall into their traps.” 

I pray that I will always attempt to live a life of character and kindness. I know that at times, out of selfishness, I will fail, but with prayer, and surrounding myself with good people, I will be closer to my goal on a daily basis… “If you constantly find yourself around people who want to have you for breakfast, lunch and dinner, keep running, until you reach those who will applaud you.” (

I choose to be a ‘fairy godmother’ sans mask! SO, with laughter, I say, Bippity Boppity Boo, and I wish you a magical day filled with sunshine, discernment, and the earnest intent of showing kindness and caring toward others. 

Living, Loving, and Laughing as I share with others... minus my mask!


Thursday, June 2, 2011

“CRAZY”...HER life passed before my eyes!

Psalm 127:3 - Children are a gift of the LORD



~irene santiago

Who knew that it was possible to relive 13 years of your daughter’s life during her one hour graduation ceremony?  And who knew the gamut of emotions could be experienced in that very short period of time.  Joy, tears, sadness that she was no longer my ‘little’ girl, excitement for her future, pride in her accomplishments!

As Pomp And Circumstance filled the air of the auditorium, I held my breath, until I saw my daughter walk to her spot on the stage (thank goodness she was right at the front, or I would have passed out~ I was starting to feel light headed)!  She looked confident and strong.  I was taken back to the times, when as a toddler and a young child she would fall down, or have a ‘discouraging’ moment.  I ALWAYS told her to stand up, brush off, wipe the tears and keep moving.  I constantly reminded her of how truly strong she was.  This attitude of strength, was so obvious in her walk across the platform.

A I looked at Katie, I saw the beauty of a young woman who so comfortable and confident in her own skin.  I taken back to her teen years, when she felt  "less than”, in her skin~ a time when NONE of us feels great in our own skin!  I remember constantly telling her how beautiful she was on the outside, but more importantly how beautiful she was on the inside.  I have always reminded Katie of the quote that I I truly love about inner beauty: 

"People are like stained-glass windows.They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed
only if there is a light from within.:

- Elisabeth Kubler-Rossm 

I watched Katie, so poised, so radiant so filled with the inner beauty of a young women who is comfortable with who she is, and who has a strong desire is to make others comfortable in her presence.

I thought about getting pregnant with Katie and the joy of carrying her for nine months, and preparing for  her birth, and loving the fact that I had a precious little girl.  I remember the ringlets and dimples that captured many a heart!  The first day of school, Christmases and holidays, birthdays, lost teeth, tears and laughter, vacations, and NOW graduation.  I realized that I had come to a moment where I was going to move into a new chapter in this young ladies life ~ whether I was ready or not!  When I think of Katie, I am comforted in knowing her foundation is strong, her personal standards are firm, and her belief in God is real, and obvious.  She is in God’s hands, and He loves and desires what is best for her… even more than I do! SO hard to fathom, but so true.

 I was so filled with pride as she received her honors, and as she walked to get her diploma.  And as we took pictures afterward, I was humbled to watch a young woman filled with charisma and charm and it was very obvious she was loved by her friends and faculty members.

I would love to encourage those of you with young ones coming up, to cherish each and every moment with your children as time goes by ~ SO QUICKLY!  We are reminded of times passing constantly, and I don’t know that we fully grasp the concept until it is right in our faces, and in my case, it was watching my daughter walk into a new stage of her life.

 "The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time."
~James Taylor

I am so thankful to have such a rare and special individual in my life.  I am thankful for the joy Katie has brought me over the past 18 years, for the lessons I have learned from her, and for the years that we have ahead of us.  Katie is going to do great things.

'To every thing there is a season, and time to every purpose under the heaven:A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing;A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace."  Ecclesiastes 3:18 

I embrace this new season with joy and anticipation of what God is going to do in Katie’s life!  I think tonight, after she has fallen asleep I may go place one more kiss on her cheek.  She’s never TOO OLD for her mom’s love!

Living, Laughing, and Loving the Changes,