Admirable Women! The Quiet Strength of Laura Bush!

Admirable Women!

There are so many loving and gracious women from my mother and grandmother, to wonderful teachers, friends and neighbors, as well as influential public figures, who have enriched my life in so many ways, that I have decided to start a new series here on the Tribute Journal spotlighting some of these admirable women!

Admirable Women!

In today’s society, it often seems that more attention is paid to the women yelling obscenities into a mega phone, rather than those who show by their untiring efforts to make a “real” difference as they lead with gentle fortitude and steadfast commitment to their families, churches and communities.  These are the kind of women I want to rally with, so to speak; these are the women I want my children and grandchildren to be inspired by when they face tough times and hard decisions, so they can still remain hopeful and happy in this ever evolving world.

The Quiet Strength of Laura Bush!


(via White House Portraits)

Laura Welch Bush was the only child of Harold and Jenna Welch.  Mrs. Bush states in her autobiography, Spoken From The Heart, that although her beloved parents lost three other babies, due to either miscarriage or infant death, they loved and laughed; nurturing her with kind, supportive care to help her become the capable, educated and considerate woman she is today!

Laura Bush grew up in Midland Texas, a place she describes as ice cream sundaes…and Saturday morning pony rides.  Mrs. Bush graduated from Southern Methodist University in Texas with a degree in early childhood education and later went on to receive her master degree in library science.  One of the things I probably admire most about Laura Bush, is the fact that as a teacher, first in Dallas, then later in Houston, she championed community causes such as literacy and elementary school programs long before she became a high-profile public figure.  Mrs. Bush was a major driving force behind the local book fairs that are common in many of the grade schools even now.

Admirable Women! The Quiet Strength of Laura Bush!

(via Laura Bush Foundation)

“Libraries allow children to ask questions about the world and find answers.  And the wonderful thing is that once a child learns to use a library, the doors to learning are always open.”  Laura Bush

In 1995, as the wife of then Governor George W. Bush, Mrs. Bush established the Texas Book Festival, an annual event that promotes literacy; when her husband became President of the United States in 2001, she launched the first National Book Festival, which featured authors from every state across the nation.

Laura Bush also became involved in the Reach Out and Read program, which is an early childhood development initiative geared to helping parents and other caregivers to prepare children for formal instruction in reading.

In 2002, Mrs. Bush launched the Laura Bush Foundation for American Libraries, that grants awards worth more than $1,000,000 to US schools every year.

Children's books by Laura Bush.

Laura Bush has also written two delightful children’s books with her daughter, Jenna Bush Hager, that my granddaughters love me to read to them. 

As an avid reader, myself, who loves to share good books with family and friends, I greatly admire the remarkable efforts of Laura Bush in setting a higher standard for literacy, libraries and education in America!

Laura Bush quote.

September 11, 2001, not only brought the horror and devastation of terrorism to America, it shed light on the cruel and inhumane treatment of Afghan women in their homeland.  Mrs. Bush, along with other thoughtful and influential women, including Condoleezza Rice, became outspoken advocates for expanding rights and opportunities for all women worldwide!

Laura Bush, Condoleza Rice advocate for Afghan women's rights.

(via Condoleezza Rice archives) 

On November 17, 2001, the White House assigned President’s Bush’s weekly radio address to First Lady, Laura Bush.  It marked the first time that a presidential wife was given this opportunity.  Mrs. Bush stated that the war on terrorism was “a fight for the rights and dignity of women everywhere.” 

“Islam is a religion that respects women and humanity and condemns the brutal degradation of women and children by the Taliban regime.  In Afghanistan, we see the world the terrorists would like to impose on the rest of us.”  Laura Bush

Anyone who considerately seeks after proper treatment of women and children with dignified finesse, is for me, someone who is worthy of deep admiration!

Admirable Women! The Quiet Strength of Laura Bush!

Perhaps one of the things I admire more than anything else about Laura Bush and her husband, is how honorably they have conducted their post presidential years.  According to, the former president and first lady enjoy an active and enjoyable life at their home in Crawford, Texas, that includes the love of gardening for her, and painting for him.  (Pres. Bush recently published a book portrait paintings he did of former Veteran’s titled “Portraits of Courage”.)  Mrs. Bush also remains actively involved with many of the causes she championed during her more public years.

The Laura W. Bush Institute for Women's Health.

(via Laura Bush Foundation)

Laura Bush continues to promote current women’s issues and the improvement of women’s healthcare worldwide, which includes raising funds for “The Laura W. Bush Institute for Women’s Health” founded in August of 2007 as part of Texas Tech University’s Health Science Center in Lubbock, Texas. 

Admirable Women! The Quiet Strength of Laura Bush!

(via George W. Bush Institute)

The former President of the United States and Mrs. Bush visited Botswana and Namibia, Africa on April 4-7, 2017, as part of their George W. Bush Institute’s work on global advancement of women’s health and leadership that has now made available breast and cervical screening tests in that country. 

As a maternity and NICU nurse, with a degree in health education, I understand well the need for all women to make their health a priority.  I’m in awe of the work the Bush’s have done to make health information and aid available to so many in need throughout the world!

Laura Bush quote.

Of the women you find admirable, what are some of their character traits that inspire you?  Also, I’d love your input on other women, from all walks of life, that you’d like featured in this series.  Would you be interested in being a guest writer on my blog and presenting a woman you admire? 

–Love always, Mary


Creating Your Home Sweet Home! Baby Love Nursery Design!

Creating Your Home Sweet Home!  Baby Love Nursery Design!

As a Maternity/NICU nurse, I can vouch for the fact that there is nothing more wonderful than the birth of a sweet, new baby…and springtime seems to be an especially favorite time of year to have a precious, little one!  (I have a spring birthday and all my children were born during the first part of the year.)  Aside from the thrill of welcoming a new family member, parents love to prepare a special space for the baby as they anticipate their arrival.

Baby Love Nursery DesignLike any other room in your home, you want your baby’s nursery to be a unique extension of your family’s personality and style…while at the same time allowing for it to be a place where your baby can grow and develop his/her own special characteristics!

Things To Consider As You Design A Nursery!

My husband and I now have five grandchildren–three of them arriving just last year!  Not only has it been wonderful to welcome each of these adorable babies to our family, it’s also been fun to see the darling nurseries designed for each one!  Here are a few ideas I came across, as well as some my kids and their spouses shared with me for creating a special nursery that not only includes decorating ideas, but safety tips from pediatricians too.

Style That’s Safe!

While creating a safe and secure nursery for your baby should always be a top priority for expectant parents, it doesn’t need to take away from the of excitement of deciding paint colors, gathering fabric swatches, or other fun design elements you want to incorporate.  Here are a few of the top recommendations from the American Pediatric Association for you to consider as you decorate that special room for your little one!

  • Use minimal, lightweight artwork over your crib to prevent any future mishaps of it falling on your baby as they grow.  If you do decide to add framed pictures or other heavier design elements… sure and anchor them securely with earthquake-proof hooks and pull the crib away from the wall a little.

Scallop wall nursery design.

Baby Love Nursery Design!

My daughter, Malia, and her husband created this unique textured wall by installing individual cedar scallops that they sanded and painted and hung securely on the main wall of my granddaughter, Maylan’s nursery.  This design element added such a fun impact to the room and goes so perfectly with the vintage feel Malia wanted to create, that all she felt she needed above the crib was a simple, lightweight name banner with a few extra strands of lace.  

Stylish and safe nursery design.

Painted wall murals or designs, as well as vinyl decals would also be a good décor option for above a crib.  My youngest daughter put a beautiful macramé wall hanging above her little girl’s bed.

  • Obviously, buying a crib is always a big consideration when creating a baby’s nursery…getting a good night’s sleep is a common desire for any new parent to be-for their baby and for them!  When assembling a crib, take time to make sure each screw is tightened securely.  The slats on a crib should be no more than 2-3/8 inches apart.  Also steer clear of any cutouts in the headboard where a baby might get stuck.  An adjustable mattress is a must too.  

Baby Love Nursery Design!

Another important safety factor to consider is to avoid any window treatments with fabric or cords that the baby can reach.  My son and daughter-in-law live in Germany while he serves as a dentist for the Army.  The darling nursery they’ve set up for their sweet little boy, Elliot, who they adopted last September, has a fun European vibe to it.  I love the fact that the windows there have retractable shutters built within the window itself!  Such a brilliant idea–and certainly child-proof!  (You can read more about their adoption journey here.) 

Baby Love Safe Nursery Design!

Any stuffed animals and blankets should also be kept to a minimum when putting your baby down to sleep.  If your thermostat is set at a comfortable temperature, the pajamas and swaddle blanket used to wrap your baby in, is warmth enough. (Eli is one lucky little boy!)

♥ Convenient Comfort!

  • As a designer, my daughter will tell you that a room’s design and décor shouldn’t collide with the normal ebb and flow of your everyday living!  That seems to be especially true for all the activity that takes place in a nursery!  

Babinski nursery rocking chair.

Nursery rocking chairs.

You’ll want a comfortable place to rock your baby or offer late-night feedings.  As you can see from my grandchildren’s nurseries, there is a wide variety of rockers available that will suit your décor style. 

(Eli’s sleek rocker is from Ikea, Malia ordered her’s from Babinski’s.)

Modular baby night light.

Modern nursery lights.

Overhead lighting on a dimmer or an extra source of ambient light to help keep the room soothing while you care for your baby during the night without fully jarring you both awake is a nursery plus too. 

(The modular Ikea lamp is similar to the one that Mandi put in her nursery and fits her fun, ecclectic modern design style.  The unique natural wood cylinder table light on Eli’s dresser/changing table is also from Ikea.) 

Nursery rugs 2

Having soft, durable floor coverings or rugs with lower fiber pile for easy cleaning is nice to have in a nursery since they will more than likely become a frequent play area for you and your little ones! 

(Rugs make a big design statement–I like the selection of rugs from USArugs.  I also love the Oh Joy brand from Target and Land of Nod for nursery decor! )  

 ♥ Trends and Treasures!

  • I remember trying to incorporate the latest trend styles into my nurseries when I had little babies, but I think the prettiest home design is most often created when you use a thoughtful mixture of both trendy décor items and timeless treasures that have a sentimental value–as well as special pieces that have been passed on to you from previous generations. 

Baby Love Nursery Design!

Hanging on the wall as you enter my granddaughter, Maylan’s cute nursery is a picture I had in my girl’s bedroom when they were little.  I had it reframed after my sweet grandmother gave it to me; looking at it always makes me feel like somehow she’s watching over us!

Vintage baby shoes.

These little vintage shoes on Maylan’s dresser were another special treasure passed on to Malia and add a unique touch to the room.

Baby Love Nursery Design!

 Sitting on top of Eli’s bookshelf is the sign his parent’s held for their adoption profile pictures–he’ll know that he joined their family in a very special way!  Nursery décor doesn’t get much better than that! 

My mom used to say that a child’s room should mostly reflect love– she often told me she was a better person for having children…..and grandchildren!!  I echo her sentiments!

Baby quote.

Our families truly do provide us with our greatest adventures in life!

What’s something you love to incorporate in nursery décor?


Cinderella Days! Let’s Party!

Cinderella Days!  Let’s Party!

Cinderella Days! www.mytributejournal.comI don’t know of too many little girls who don’t love American Girl dolls.  My daughters loved them and now my granddaughters are enjoying playing with their life-like dolls; (the new 14 1/2 inch WellieWisher dolls are darling) along with the books, movies and varied accessories, they create the best make-believe fun!

On a recent trip our local William and Sonoma kitchen store, I found out that the American Girl franchise has expanded the enchantment of their product to include party planning and baking books for even more fun with the real little girls in our lives!  I gave my two older granddaughters the party planning book for Christmas accompanied with a note that said we’d plan a few parties for family and friends throughout the year!  For our first official Cinderella Days of 2017, we threw a party a few weeks ago to celebrate all the things we love about our family!!

American Gilr party book.

The American Girl Party Book is full of fun and easy ideas for little girls who want to help plan a special party for their family!

American Girl dolls. "Lets Party!"

Of course, Makena and Marli’s American Girl dolls were included in our first big party event!  (I ordered their cute, little aprons with matching ones for their dolls from the fun Etsy shop, Sweet Apronz N Cupcakes.)

A week before their party, the girls and I got together and planned what we wanted to do and made a list of the things we’d need to buy at the store.  The anticipation and preparation for the party was almost as much fun as the actual event!

Americn Girl "Let's Party!"

There are several darling party invitation ideas included in the book, but one of the things I loved the most about our party was the cute, handmade invitations that Makena made–complete with scented stickers!  I mean seriously…how adorable is this!!!

Cinderella Days! Let's Party!

I’ve always been a firm believer that if you want your children to take a personal interest in a special project–get them involved!  These cute girls were a whirlwind of activity and culinary creativity as they helped make every detail of this special party come to life!

Makena and Marli had little menus, seated their “guests” with great decorum and served the food like well-trained maître d’s!  Their enthusiastic role-playing was simply too cute for words!

American Girl Party book food.

Food served in miniature size is always a hit at any party!  The menu included mini sloppy joes, ham rollups, veggies and chips…

Mini No-Bake Cheesecakes

…and mini no-bake raspberry cheesecakes–which were admittedly the most favorite entrée to make and eat!

Here’s the adapted version we made of the Mini No-Bake Cheesecake recipe that was in the American Girl Party book.

No-Bake Cheesecake recipe

Single mini no-bake cheesecake

My granddaughters loved garnishing the tops of the cheesecakes!  You could change out the jam and fruit for what you love best.

It tickled me so much to see how this activity sparked the spirit of camaraderie, organization and unabashed creativity with these two cute granddaughters…mostly it was just so much fun!  We’re all looking forward to planning our next party!

American Girl Party book!

“You rarely succeed in life unless you have some fun along the way!”  Vikas Runwal

This cute party book gave a lot of darling suggestions for fabulous party planning, but left plenty of room for children’s imaginations to run wild!

Any fun parties you’ve planned or attended lately?  We are always looking for more fun ideas!