Thursday, April 30, 2015

My Happy Place

Do you have a special place that makes you smile just thinking about it? A sacred moment that's just your own? For me, it's bath time. (Do you see the heart in the picture above?) Nothing is more relaxing than sinking into my deep tub full of warm bubbly peace. What sold me on this house was its big soaker tub!

Here are some things that help make this my happy place:

Reading. One of my favorite hobbies, and it's even better in the bath! It's one place where I can relax and usually get a good 30 minutes of reading in. Most of the time, my hubby watches the boys so I can take my time. Another post to come about my favorite authors.

Decor. For Christmas, Richard got me this elaborate timepiece to "pretty up" the space. He said it represents taking my time to enjoy the experience - no rushing allowed! It's a 30 minute timer, and I've been known to let it run out twice before emerging ;).

Another special decorative piece is the stained glass window depicting a harp and a Bible, made by my creative mother in law. She is an artist and made this piece for our wedding.

I love this consignment store treasure! It's just the most charming little bath print, and I love the artist's style. Looking at it from the tub makes me happy.

Bath Salts. Epsom salts are great to help you relax. Especially this brand, which has lavender oil infused into it. Perfection!

I'm still searching for the perfect bubble bath that's a bit more natural, while still being sudsy and not too pricey. Any ideas?

What's your happy place and what makes it special to you?


Mary Page

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

We Don't Retreat, We Charge!

This past weekend I was privileged to chaperone some of the greatest kids on the planet. One perk of being a youth minister's wife is the opportunity to experience spiritually uplifting events like this one. When I was a teen in the youth group, I remember thinking I never wanted to stop being involved with youth events. How blessed I am to be able to continue in this ministry!

Also, this is one of the first times I have been able to be involved at an event without my kids. Although I missed them, it gave me a nice little break and an opportunity to connect with the youth on a deeper level. Huge thanks to Granny, Grandaddy, Auntie Brooke, and Uncle William for babysitting!

The Peachtree City Church of Christ spring youth retreat was held at Camp Inagehi in Douglasville, Georgia. Eighteen young people and four chaperones made up our group. The theme was "The Dead Fish" and came from Isaiah 35 where it talks about strengthening the weak hands. We also discussed how we reflect Christ to the world and how it looks when we are a "dead fish" where our faith is concerned.

Some highlights of the weekend for me:

Singing! I loved the new song my husband wrote, "The Rooster Crowed," which tells the story of Peter. "He Will Come and Save You" was another new song we learned which is based on Isaiah 35. Bonfire singing was epic.

Leaning. Hearing the opinions of the kids in the discussion groups was inspiring. I especially enjoyed the opportunity to walk the camp trails and talk with one of our girls for an hour. Listening to her desire for God and pure heart were just what I needed.

Life Hack Groups. There were 3 sessions during which we had discussion groups based on the theme. My favorite was the final one, which ended with each person finding a secluded spot to have  individual prayer time. A special memory which ended with this view.

Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees.  Say to those who have an anxious heart, "Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you."  Isaiah 35:3-4

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Favorite Household Shortcuts

In this season of life with young children and my husband's busy youth ministry schedule, time for household chores is always in short supply. I recently started thinking, "What can I do to make running my household a bit easier?" Below are my favorite "household shortcuts." I will be posting more later on, so stay tuned!

1. Fold less laundry. Yes, you heard me.

Underwear was my first no-fold experiment. I thought, "Who cares if this looks wrinkly?" Turns out it never does because it's so stretchy!

I gradually stopped folding washcloths and kitchen towels, too. Just stick 'em in the drawer, and no one will be the wiser! The only problem with this could be if yours won't fit in the storage space unfolded. I have one drawer for towels and one for rags, so mine fit fine.

Then one day I read this post about a lady who stopped folding her kids' clothes. I decided to try it. Turns out, kids' clothing items are so small they really don't look very wrinkled! When putting away their laundry, I just lay each item flat and make one stack of shirts, one of pants/shorts, and one of PJs for each child. Then I put them in the appropriate drawer.

I still fold mine and my husband's t-shirts and pants. If I could figure out a way around this without them looking super wrinkly, I would!

2. Cook meat in bulk.

Y'all, I really hate cooking meat. Raw meat is gross! I wanted to figure out a way to do it less often, so here's what I came up with.

We mainly eat ground beef and chicken. I started buying them in 5 pound packages, cooking it all at once, then dividing the meat equally into 5 jars or bags (a pound per container) and putting it in the freezer.

For the ground beef, I chop 3-5 onions (depending on the size), then add all the meat and brown it. Drain off the grease and it's done! This is so versatile. You can add it to spaghetti sauce or casseroles, put in taco seasonings and beans for Mexican night, or make a quick chili with it. The possibilities are endless. You could certainly cook it without the onions, but we like them and it also stretches the meat a little further.

For the chicken, I buy 5 pounds of breasts and lay it all out on a large baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, add S & P and whatever seasoning you like. Bake at 350 F for about 30 minutes or until done. Then chop it up and put it in bags. I like to add mine to casserole and Alfredo sauce. Shout out to my sister Stephanie for this tip. These days, I've been even lazier and just buy the grocery store rotisserie chickens and shred them up!

This shortcut saves me so much time and I can throw dinner together in a snap. It is an especially great idea for when you're pregnant and cooking meat is a huge challenge. Get your husband to help you with this once every couple weeks and you won't have to deal with it.

Warm Lazy Days

After living in Scotland for 3 years, a place which is notoriously gray, wet, and cold almost year round, I don't take a single sunny day for granted. When we lived there, it seemed like the sun would peek out of the clouds for a minute, I would dash outside, and by the time I got there it would be cloudy again. It felt like the sun was playing a joke on me! There are lots of things about Scotland I miss, especially our friends (shout out to Rachel, it's her birthday!), but the weather isn't one of them.

Needless to say, Living in Georgia has been AWESOME for my sunshine deprivation. Now that spring is here, I'm super pumped to spend as many days as possible being lazy outside and watching my boys play while I soak up all the warmth I can. My favorite season has always been fall, but now spring is a serious contender.

This morning I enjoyed having breakfast outside with my family, then sipping coffee while I had Bible study and prayer time. Doesn't get much better than that!

What's your favorite way to experience warm weather?


Mary Page

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

I Am... Am I?

I am a bookworm. An ideal day for me would be spent browsing and poring over books at Barnes and Noble. Becoming a character in a story is rejuvenating, but my affinity for self-help books overwhelms me at times! College job? Library worker. All 4 years. And Page is my middle name - literally.

I am an editor. Greene County spelling bee winner of 1997, right here LOL! Senior year of high school included many hours critiquing my peers' articles as yearbook editor. Typed (much of) and edited (all of) my husband's 100-page Master's thesis. Grammar, spelling, and punctuation mistakes are my nemesis. The only problem is I tend to edit my husband's long-winded stories for him. Oops ;)

I am an artist. At least, I used to describe myself as such. I spent my free time as a kid in an awkwardly scrunched-up position on the floor, drawing in my sketch book. What began as copying Disney pictures led to pieces a bit more sophisticated (I hope)! Art gave me the desire to travel to Europe and see the Greats in person. Amazingly, God blessed me to be able to do just that in a study abroad program in Verviers, Belgium. Strange when the thing which used to define me - art - I now almost never do. Being an artist is also a convenient excuse for being disorganized, right? 

I am a mama. These days, my art consists of molding and shaping the lives of my little boys, ages 1 and 3. Wouldn't change it for the world. Kudos to their Creator, they are THE cutest boys on the planet. In typical parental fashion, I think people are looking at my children and saying, "I wish my kids were that cute."

I am a wife. Still can't believe Richard picked me! When I first met my husband, it didn't seem particularly special. But the day I saw him lead "The Pearly White City" in college chapel wearing a full suit and tie with Converse sneakers, I knew my life would never be the same. I was like, "I HAVE to marry this boy!" And I did.

I am a God lover. My life became His at age 13 and nothing has brought more meaning to it. Writing this paragraph gives me that I-am-overwhelmed-where-do-I-start kind of feeling. His gifts to me are innumerable and his Love incomprehensible.

Am I a writer? Guess I'll find out as I create this blog. The goal is for me to share the pieces of my life with you as a means of discovering more about myself and a life rich with His blessings.

How do you define yourself?


Mary Page