Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Can't Choose Your Parents

Over the weekend I was introduced to the TexasMonthly Magazine. I loved it! It is about all things Texas, so I am trying to read up!  Although, Georgia is still on my mind J

Thursday, November 1st Cover

One article that I read has absolutely resonated with me. The Innocent Man Part I is about a Texas man wrongly incarcerated for the murder of his wife. He spent 25 years behind bars and lost everything, because he grieved differently than expected and became a target for the local police.

This article got me thinking about my own parents. The choices they made, some good, some bad. My mother made countless sacrifices to raise my brother and I on her own. Never, remarking about my father's poor choices. I know it is a stretch to think about a man who suffered losing his family and his freedom, but somehow, it fits. 

I was without my dad for close to 16 years of my life.  I don’t have many happy childhood memories of him.  We have a great relationship now.  Did he love me when I was growing up?  Honestly, I can’t answer that, I don’t know.  He had other things in his life that were more important back then.  Does he love me now?  Absolutely, without a doubt.  Would I trade that absence from him?  Sure, I would want to erase the pain and hardship my mom endured, but the choices that my dad made almost 20 year ago helped make me who I am today.  God had a plan.  I don’t understand why.  Will I ever be able to write about my childhood completely?  I don’t know.  I can tell you this, my parents’ choices affect me daily.  I am so thankful for my mom.  I don’t have the words to express how much she means to me.  I am also thankful that my kids will know my dad as their Papa. 

Those of you that are already parents, remember that all of your choices affect your kids.  All of them.  Unfortunately, they are the ones that end up with a pretty raw deal when things head south.  Just always be open and honest with them and love them more than your own selfish desires.  I am definitely not mom of the year, far from it.  I am sure there will be lots of times that my kids will hate my decisions.  I just pray that I can be like my mom and do the very best that I can for them.  That is all that I can do. 

Isn’t it funny how an article, a song, or even a simple statement can pierce your heart?  Who would have thought?!  Check out the TexasMonthly magazine, you won’t be disappointed.  Part II of The Innocent comes out next month.  I am going to be a regular subscriber.      

Sunday, October 21, 2012

I have left my Comfort Zone

Stream of Consciousness Sunday!  Brought to you by Jana's Thinking Place


Today’s (totally optional) prompt:

What have you done recently or would like to do that’s outside your comfort zone?

I feel like I have been out of my comfort zone since June.  I am really tired of feeling this way.  I am tired of thinking about our move and I am really tired of not being settled.  This is out of my comfort zone. I like to think of myself as pretty easy going and laid back...
Maybe, I am not, maybe this is the real me?!  Now, I guess that would be even more out of my comfort zone lol!  I guess the real feeling right now is not knowing which way is up!
I have never been good at directions.  I even taught Geography for two years, guess that is why they let me teach History after that :-)  I am out of my comfort zone by not knowing simple things like which highway to get on to get back home when I am lost.  I know, I know, I have a GPS, but the constant "rerouting" message really gets on my nerves!  When we lived in Atlanta, all I had to do was drive around until I hit 75 or even 85.  Eventually, I would make it home!  LOL!
Ok, that is it, my time is up!  5 minutes did not go by fast enough for me this time!  LOL!
Make sure to visit Jana for the rules!  Join in on the fun!!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Pinterest Inspired Mail

So I am completely addicted to Pinterest... no I am not crafty at all, I have a gazillion "pins" but no products or success stories to my name... until today.

I have had a very special friend on my mind for quite some time.  She has been an inspiration to me as a Christian, wife, mother, and friend.  She is now battling cancer.  I hate it so much.  It is hard to wrap my brain around how someone who does and has done so much good can be in the fight for her life....  Unfortunately, we all have a person just like this in our lives... someone who we think the world of, but are facing a beast like cancer. 

I first found the picture on pinterest and then followed the link to figure out how to make my own Box of Sunshine.  When I first saw the picture, I thought, "Cute" "Fun", "Surely, even the likes of me can make this!"  I did it, well, my 7 and 4 year old helped me, but that made it just that more special

We really had a blast making it.  We just stayed with our theme of yellow :-)  I really hope it will brighten our special friend's day when she receives her very on Box of Sunshine!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Back on the wagon... again

I have been a terrible so-called blogger lately... for obvious reasons, I have not written in like forever!  I have plenty of excuses... just moved to a new state, 3 kiddos, learning how to be a stay-at-home-mommy, the list goes on and on.  I am sure most of you can relate.  Life is just busy, I think it is especially busy in the fall, well, probably any of the 4 seasons, lol!  So, excuses aside, I am back on the wagon!

My girls and I have still been writing letters each week, from thank you cards to birthday cards, to just because cards.  I am really surprised that the girls haven't gotten tired of it yet, but it is still a treat for them and something that they look forward to each week. 

This past Saturday, my hubby and I celebrated 11 years of marriage.  It has been a road of many highs and lows....one adventure after another! 

I am happy to report that he gave me the best gift ever, a letter.  My heart was filled with joy and I cried like a baby as I read it.  He wrote on one of my old Thank-you cards and a folded up piece of copy paper... how cute right?! ;-)  Honestly, I could not have been happier.  I finally had something in my hands that expressed how he felt about me.  I know, a little corny, sappy, whatever, it was exactly what I needed!  So, it only took me 11 years for him to get it right!  LOL!
As I have been thinking about this gift, Dr. Gary Chapman's book, The 5 Love Languages, has come to my mind several times.  It came up in my bible study group last week and then again as I was chatting with an old friend today.  I have not actually read the book yet, but I went to his website www.5lovelanguages.com today and completed an assessment.  You guessed it... my top love language is Words of Affirmation...go figure! 
Marriage is a work in progress!  Real work!  Somedays, you love 'em to pieces and then sometimes you want to cut 'em into pieces!  I completely relate... but at the end of the day, I am proud to be a Garrett and so thankful he is MINE!! 
**Comment if you know your love language or your favorite anniversary (marriage/relationship) present... I would LOVE to hear from you!!  I have a thing for words... LOL!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Mail Call: Go Greek!

It is that time of year again!  Fall recruitment for Greek Life!  I am proud to be a member of Alpha Delta Pi Sorority http://www.alphadeltapi.org/.  It was one of the best decisions I made while I was in college.  I made life long friends, learned vital leadership skills, and have been able to network as we have moved around for my hubby's job. 

This time of year, the Greeks are getting ready for their annual membership drive.  As an alumna, I take great pride in writing letters of recommendation for membership into Alpha Delta Pi.

This year, I had the privilege of writing letters for young women entering the University of Georgia http://www.uga.edu/, Georgia College and State University http://www.gcsu.edu/ (my Alma Mater!), and Auburn University http://www.auburn.edu/ (War Eagle!). 

Greek life may not be for you, everyone has different experiences, but I would suggest to anyone entering college to at least check it out.  It is a great way to meet new people and helps with finding your place in your new surroundings.  Even 12 years later for me, I have found alumnae groups in the different cities that we have lived in.  I have an instant connection with these women, even though we had different experiences on different college campuses.  I have even kept up with people that went through recruitment at same time as I did, although they joined different organization.  Keep an open mind and have fun meeting new people!!

The following article is a great look at the benefits of Greek Life today that one of my ADPi sisters, shared on Facebook this morning.  Check it out!
Examining the benefits of Greek Life | USA TODAY College

Sunday, July 29, 2012


I am participating for the first time in Stream of Consciousness Sunday... check it out and feel free to join!  See the rules below :-)


Today’s (optional) prompt is: Anticipation.

Your five minutes starts now!
stream of consciousness sunday


I feel like I live in a constant state of anticipation.  The most thing I am anticipating is my new life in Texas... I am just ready to be "HOME" already.  I don't like all the time I spend trying to figure out where to go, meet new people etc.  I mean it is good to think of the new life we are starting here, but it is also a little frightening.  So, far God has been so good as usual and has provided.  I have not been sleeping much lately, because I feel like everyday is a new adventure.  That is the fun part, taking the kids to new places that we have never seen before and trying new things.  My girls amaze me at how well they adapt to all types of new situations.  I think back when I was a child and I remember how I worried about everything... like my mom wasn't going to come back to pick me or something... LOL!  Although, sometime I think it must have been in the back of her mind, but knew, I would find my way back to her.  Haha!  Seriously though, I have been excited and we have met some great people here, it is just a whole new ballgame each day we get in the van!  Good times are ahead though, I can feel it!!  Wow!  Time is up already!  That was pretty fast!  What do you think?!


From www.janasthinkingplace.com

This was my 5 minute Stream of Consciousness Sunday post. It’s five minutes of your time and a brain dump. Want to try it? Here are the rules…
  • Set a timer and write for 5 minutes.
  • Write an intro to the post if you want but don’t edit the post. No proofreading or spellchecking. This is writing in the raw.
  • Publish it somewhere. Anywhere. The back door to your blog if you want. But make it accessible.
  • Add the Stream of Consciousness Sunday badge to your post (in the sidebar).
  • Got to www.janasthinkingplace.com and link up your post.
  • Visit your fellow bloggers and show some love.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Pics, Postcards and Prizes...

This has been a great week for the girls.  They are still on the letter writing train...they have turned it into playing "office".  It is totally cute, until Trace comes in and tries to destroy all their precious work!  This week I got an email from a friend in Marietta with pictures attached of her girls reading their letters from my girls.  Here is Maggie reading her letter from Ann...

 and here is Maggie's sweet little sister, Charley, reading her letter from Kate...


Seeing these sweet girls has been a great motivation for us to continue our letter writing campaign.  How sweet are they!?!  Love and miss them tons! 

Mimi, Anma and Granddaddy have been out to visit us this month.  We were able to take them all to the Sixth Floor Museum (http://www.jfk.org/) in downtown Dallas.  I highly recommend this museum if you ever come to Dallas.  It is by far one of the best museums that I have ever visited.  I picked up a couple of postcards to send to one of my favorite young historians... Keaton!

The girls got a very special care package from their Aunt Channon, Uncle Lee, Emileigh, Sara and Garrett.  They were ecstatic!  I could barely get the box away from them to make a quick pic of all the goodies they received... it was like Christmas in July!!

There were goodies inside for all three kids...you would have thought that Aunt Channon had packed Disney World right into the box... they were enchanted by all of the contents.

I am so grateful for all the letters, postcards, stickers, goodies, everything that people have sent to the kids.  They love it all!  The girls are adjusting well, but there are times when the move is hard for them to understand.  Anyone who has moved across the street, across town, or across the country can understand that change can be difficult.

If you have new people moving into your neighborhood, visiting your church, or starting a new job at your office, make sure you welcome them... it makes you feel good and you have no idea the effect you have on the new people.  From kids to adults, it makes the transition a lot easier.  I would also suggest showing support to a friend or colleague that moves on to another place.  It speaks volumes.  I would go insane without the support of my family, friends, and most importantly knowing that this is all just another part of God's plan for us. 

We received this housewarming plant from some of our best friends, Molli and Kevin, the week after we moved.  It was such a great feeling to receive support from home... changed my whole outlook that week... it was exactly what I needed!!  Now, if I can only keep it alive :-) 

Who are you writing this week?!  Happy writing!!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

My trials with the DMV...

I have always had problems with the DMV.  I guess it is really a love/hate relationship.  I LOVE having my drivers license, but I hate going through the red tape to get the dang thing.  It started when I got my license for the first time.  I passed the driving test with a flat 70.  I was honestly pretty proud of my 70.  When I was 16, my mom drove a Cadillac, this is what I had to take my test in.  Let's just say I didn't do very well with parallel parking... or making a left turn, now that I think of it. 

My next run in with the DMV was when I got married.  My parents have always called me by middle name, Layne, so I thought I would just drop my first name and take on my husband's last name.  After a lot of arguing, I prevailed yet again.  The real problem came when we moved to Nashville, TN.  They informed me that I must change my name legally through the state.  They made me take my first name back and were not very nice about it.  One point for the DMV...

When we moved back to Georgia, I thought I could argue my first name back off of my license... no such luck... although they were very nice about it, even let me think that I had won the argument.  I realized the DMV had won again when I got my license back with ALL my names listed...

The Texas DMV has been the most trying.  First of all, the town we live in is over 100,000 people and the DMV here can only hold 50 at a time including their employees.  The rest of the people have to wait outside until someone leaves, although they do allow 3 people at a time to wait in the foyer of the building.  I went to this place twice and after being rejected both times, I drove 30 miles north to another town to finally get my license.  I can tell you it was totally worth it.  I was able to stand in line in the A/C, although I still have 4 names on my license.  Maybe one day I will get my name changed legally and save some time and trouble at the DMV. 

Monday, July 2, 2012

Monday Mail

This week has started off with a bang! The girls have continued with their writing fun time. A big thanks to Kristen and Jennifer who suggested I check out the dollar tree for cards.  I don't know why I had not thought about that before! We were even able to get Trace to add his own personal "touch" to some of the letters we sent out. He really enjoyed himself, especially having a little taste of crayon on occasion!
The girls received letters back from some of their friends this week. They were so excited to see an envelope addressed with their name. It made me think of a time when I wrote myself a letter. I was probably in the 3rd or 4th grade. I was so proud, rode my bike to the post office and dropped it in the big blue box. I believe that stamps were only like a quarter then. When the letter made it to me, I had forgotten (for some strange reason) that I had done this just a day or two before. I ran in the house with my letter only to be a little let down to realize it was from me. So, you can imagine my delight when my daughters actuallly received letters from "real" friends... LOL!

It really has been a blessing to recieve letters, stickers, postcards, care packages, or whatever :-) in the mail.  It is so funny to see how excited the girls get about mail.  I think that our routine of letter writing has also helped with our move.  It has become a contest everyday to see who gets to check the mailbox.  Kate was even a little sad on Sunday when I told her the mail did not run.  I hope that some of you are having as much fun as we are with this.  If your child wants a pen pal, email me your mailing address to laynegarrett@hotmail.com  my girls would love it!  Happy writing!!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Mailcall Monday!

Today, the girls and I started mailcall Monday. We continued with the list we made last week and wrote several more letters. The girls were a little more excited this week after getting a letter from their Papa Saturday. We also mapped out our calendar for the next month to send out birthday cards. Thank goodness Wal-Mart has cheap cards! We hope you are enjoying this project too!! I was so happy to hear that several of you have been working on this too. Happy writing!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Got Mail?

I LOVE getting mail... commonly referred to now as snail mail.  I am afraid it is becoming a lost art.  One of my New Year's Resolutions this year was to start sending out birthday cards to family and close friends... needless to say, some months are better than others.  I feel like my grandmother, telling myself, "Well.... I just didn't get to the store this week".  Of course, I am able to drive so I really should do better.  The post office is often a sore subject for me as well.  It never fails.  The line is always super long, the self serve machine is down, and there are only 2 people working. 

I remember in elementary school, we would have a day where we would attach our home address to a helium balloon and release it in hopes of someone finding the balloon and writing a letter to one of us.  I can't remember how many times we did this, but I only remember one person actually receiving a letter.  Any peeps that went to Hunt Elementary School in Fort Valley, GA remember this activity?  I am sure today this would be a HUGE breech of security. 

This week, I was feeling a bit nostalgic (the new move and all), so I got my girls to sit down and write letters to a few of their friends from back home.  We made a long list of people we wanted to write.  Kate ended up writing to 3 on her list and Ann wrote to 2.  We also sent out postcards from our trip to the rodeo last week.  I must admit that I was probably more excited than they were, but they were good sports.  I am sure they will be super excited if they receive any letters in return!

For about 15 years, my daddy and grandmother wrote to me almost every week.  At the time, I would read it and go on my way.  I did not write them as I should have.  I wish now that I still got those letters and that I had kept them all.  Being that I am a pack rat, I did keep a lot.  I am glad that I did.  Today, I got a letter from my daddy and a flood of memories came back from those precious times that I took for granted.  Try writing a loved one a letter... they will appreciate it... Let me know how it goes.  Happy writing!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Caring that leads to praying

I have had several sweet families on my mind lately as they are experiencing a lot of stress right now.  Watching a loved one suffer through Cancer or some other dreadful disease is practically unbearable. I have been thankful for the websites that these families have been using to communicate updates to friends and families.  Caringbridge www.caringbridge.org and Carepages www.carepages.com are two that are great resources and free.  When Ann was in the hospital, we used the carepages site, it was so comforting to read messages of encouragement at the end of a long day.  Once she was home, we were able to print out all the messages from our family and friends.  We created a book to keep those precious words of Love for Ann to enjoy one day.  It was also very therapeutic for me to write each day about what we were going through. 

I think that these sites are wonderful tools to let people know how to pray for loved ones and to rejoice in progress that is made.  Take some time today to pray for your loved ones that are experiencing difficulties... there is nothing like the power of prayer! 

Friday, April 27, 2012


As I am preparing for our move to Texas in June, I have had a lot of time to reflect.  I won't lie, I have spent a lot of time arguing my case with God of how Texas is not the place for us.  Daily, He convinces me that He does know what He is doing.  It amazes me that day after day, month after month, year after year, that I think I know best....

It dawned on my that this week 5 years ago was a major turning point in our lives.  This week marks the last time that Ann was in the hospital.  We were living in Dickson, TN at the time.  Ann had a major asthma attack and aspirated and had to be in ICU at Vanderbilt's Children's Hospital www.childrenshospital.vanderbilt.org/ for 14 days. We received the best care imaginable.  That period of time was such a whirlwind, it was hard for me to focus on what was happening or how serious the situation was. 

What I found out in those days, that seemed never ending,was that God was in control.  There was nothing that I could do to make things better or worse.  Having to go through that situation was obviously not fun or on my bucket list, but it finally gave us answers on how to care for Ann.  We found wonderful doctors (www.gppa.net) that have been able to control her Asthma with medication. 

As, I look back on my life, there are many events that I would have never imagined the Lord allowing to happen in my life - good and bad.  I have learned a lot.  I thought moving to Tennessee was a big deal, and now we are packing for Texas.  Who knew!?!  God has brought so many special people into our lives.  Our short time in Tennessee was very special and helped David and I to grow.  I am so thankful for our special friends in Dickson, TN. 

I am so thankful for Ann's health.  We still deal with Asthma on a daily basis, but she is a very active 6 year old.  We started off rocky, being told during pregnancy that she would be severely handicapped, then in and out of the hospital for the first several months of her life... you would never know it today.  God is so good!  Thank you to those of you that have prayed over this precious angel.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Confessions of an Eggplant Lover

Today, Kate and I found an eggplant at the store, she was curious, so we bought it.  She promised to help me cook it.  I love eggplant!  I really love it fried, but tonight I wanted to take a healthier route.  A few weeks ago, we visited my dear friend, Trellis Payne, in Savannah, GA.  She took us to an Italian restaurant called Bella's (www.bellascafe.com), which is fabulous!  I had a grilled eggplant dish that was to die for, I thought I could recreate it tonight...

Instead of grilling the eggplant, I thought I could just pan sear it and then bake it for approximately 30 min. It was pretty hard to cut up, as you can see.  Kate thought that she could have done a much better job... I have to agree.

I layered with spaghetti sauce and cheese.  Now, doesn't this look just fabulous...
I even made a smaller casserole with just eggplant and cheese, because my girls don't like sauce.

Well, I guess you have figured it out by now, this meal was an epic fail.  The girls took one bite and hated it!  I choked down mine thinking it had to be better with the sauce, but I was sadly mistaken.  Trace did eat his portion, but I really think that he is part garbage disposal.  So, friends the lesson for tonight, when trying to introduce your children to a new food, make sure you know how to prepare it! 


I decided to start a blog in hopes of recording our new adventure in moving to Texas. My world has been turned upside down since the birth of my 3rd child, Trace. The Lord has blessed me with more than I deserve and for some reason thinks that our family needs to move Texas. It is going to be an amazing ride, so I invite you to stop by when you have time for a quick glance into our world. There will be lots of prayers, tears, but mostly laughes! Enjoy!