Friday, December 31, 2010

wait, it's new year's eve?

I'm telling you, folks, twelve days of travel makes for a bit of a chaotic/discombobulated return. I still haven't unpacked my suitcase. I've only done one load of laundry. We bought milk from the grocery store and that was it. We've slept A LOT. Until about 3pm today, I couldn't have told you what day of the week it was if my life depended on it. Out.of.control.

And while I know you're biting your nails to the quick in anticipation of the NYC and Christmas play-by-play, I'm not ready to roll that out yet. I'm still hoarding those memories in my mind. Pondering them in my heart, if you will.

What I will share with you, however, are our 2011 goals. We refuse to make resolutions because we always let ourselves down. But we LOVE working toward goals, so we're structuring it this way instead. Tricky, I know.

This time last year, Andrew was laid up on the couch with a broken toe, his adoring wife waiting on him hand and foot. We watched movies and ate appetizers and the popping of the champagne cork frightened Rudy and gave him the hiccups. We were 6 weeks away from his OCS departure and I don't think either of us could have prepared ourselves for the year ahead. And yet, here we are.

Tucking what we've learned in our back pocket, here's what we're aiming for in 2011:

  • Be more active (because endorphins make you happy)
  • Dry my hair, put on makeup and wear real clothes at least 3 times during the work week (because Andrew shouldn't have to come home to a ponytail and yoga pants every evening)
  • Find a way to study the scripture more heartily
  • Leave the house at least twice a week, to work from Starbucks or Panera (cabin fever + yoga pants Page = Andrew's worst nightmare)
  • Record more of this adventure, in words and photos
  • Work out more, possibly in preparation for dive school
  • Leave school for at least an hour a day to rest the ol' noodle (step away from the Power School)
  • Read more of the bible
Page + Andrew
  • Spend at least one evening a week and some time over the weekend unplugged (no computers, phone, tv, etc)
  • Study the same scripture/read the same book and then make time to discuss
  • Get serious about saving money and making some long-term goals for our family
  • Start keeping a food journal (this was Andrew's idea - surprised?)
Not too shabby, eh?

Now if you'll excuse me, we have a good bottle of wine, comfy PJs and some 24 to catch up on. It's the best New Year's Eve celebration I could imagine.

Happy 2011.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

and may all your christmases be white

I'm sure it's no surprise that we in the southeast are getting snowed on. I'm currently wrapped in a yummy blanket, watching the snow fall in my in-laws' backyard. If there was ever a scene that demands PJs, whispery movies, intermittent naps and a good book, this is it. My dad sent me a picture of our backyard, which is much more snowy than the one I'm looking at, which means our Christmas with them may be delayed. That backyard, when it's snowy, is one of the most beautiful scenes saved in my memory of home. And I'm a little heartbroken that I can't see it.


Fast forward to Monday, because I was interrupted by a lovely day-after-Christmas breakfast with the Castrodale family, which turned into a lazy (read: relaxing) day, full of good conversation and a late lunch at the local Mexican restaurant. The roads cleared up in time for us to hit the road this morning and now here I sit, watching my dad cook dinner. Clam chowder, flounder, crab cakes and cold slaw (cole slaw?). Is it good to be home? Most definitely.

Soon, we'll get re-settled in Charleston and I'll tell you all about our travels. About how beautiful and magical New York was and how precious the time with family was. I know you can't wait.

Merry Christmas, to you and yours.

Friday, December 17, 2010

i'm gonna park the cars and get the luggage, and well, I'll be outside for the season

Name that movie and I'll give you a yankee nickel. Also, I'd love to make a post of all my favorite movie quotes. That's a fun idea. Noted.

Moving on.

We're ready! Our bags are packed and we are And I would just like to say that I have made, with my very own hands, thirteen gifts in the last 3 days. I deserve a prize. Or at least a cookie. But I loved every bit of it. And I'm proud of myself for pulling it off! Everything is wrapped, grouped by family and sitting at the door. We have the vacation bags, separated into part 1 and part 2, also by the door. And the plants are watered. We are way ahead of schedule, folks!

So tomorrow, we hit the road tomorrow for day 1 of our Christmas Extravaganza. After spending some fun time in Black Mountain with family, we'll head up north. I'm so super excited about that. And also slightly terrified of how cold it's going to be. But that's neither here nor there.

So until next time, I hope you enjoy the week and find all kinds of joy in the truth of the season. A sweet baby was born to change the world. Hallelujah for that, amen?

Have yourself a merry little Christmas.

Monday, December 13, 2010

joy, unspeakable joy

I was struck by something in church yesterday morning: He came that I may have life, and have it to the full.

Yes, I knew that already. I knew it the same way I know every other wonderful reality in the Word that I hear and don't let sink in because it's too familiar. When I look back on my life, I love the times when I've come out of a season of sadness only to realize some beautiful truth that has been there all along, waiting for me to really grasp it in a moment of desperation.

But yesterday, that one hit me hard. I am so moved by music. And with the Christmas songs playing all around me these days (something I wish was more common, to be honest) I've found myself tearing up at "a thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices" and "word of the Father, now in flesh appearing" and "Gloria, in excelsis deo." Tears. Every time. I realized that He was born to give me life. He was born to strip away the yuck and the lies we too quickly believe. He was born to give us peace and happiness and hope and to take joy in His children when they experience those things. He came so that they may have life.

There's a Relient K song, "I Celebrate the Day," that stops me every time I hear it. It's so full of the feelings I feel every Christmas. And this year, I've realized the implications beyond just this season, praise God. What a feeling that day, to know what had just come into the world.

I celebrate the day, that you were born to die, so that I could one day pray for you to save my life. Pray for you to save my life.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

my paper chain is getting shorter

When I was little, we would make a red and green paper chain to count down the days until Christmas. We'd tear one off each day, inching closer to the Santa at the top. Anticipation = love.

This morning, Andrew's alarm went off at 4:15am (ew, gross) and for some reason, this is the thought that popped into my head and wouldn't leave: we're leaving in nine days for our Christmas travels. And even though there are 15 links left on the chain, these elves have to have it all locked and loaded in nine. That means all the presents ready, all the clothes have to be clean, all the nooks and crannies of the house have to be dustless and our bags have to be packed and ready to go by bedtime on Friday. Whoa.

And it's no secret that making lists takes me to my happy place, so let's just cut to the chase. Here's what I have to do prior to departing next weekend:
  • Finish Christmas shopping. We're hoping to knock that out this weekend as we venture downtown to see our beloved Charleston decked out for the holidays.
  • Wrap all of the presents.
  • Wash all of the clothes. I'm declaring next Friday pajama day to make sure every stitch of daytime clothing gets washed in time for packing that evening.
  • Complete the gifts I vowed to hand-make. The tally is currently at 9. Yikes.
  • Host our bible study's Christmas party.
  • Make peanut butter balls for the neighbors.
  • Watch Rudolph, The Grinch, Christmas Vacation and It's a Wonderful Life. We checked off all the others!
  • Clean. Because the thought of coming home to a dirty house gives me hives.
  • Finalize our NYC itinerary (!!!!) and make reservations where necessary

Oh, the Christmas spirit. HO HO HO.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

how i became a mrs. (part 2)

If you're looking for part 1 of this loooove story, you can check it out here.

So I got the braces off. (Note: if you're wondering what on earth this has to do with "the story of us" that I intended to write, I promise there is a point. Just go with it.) I got my braces off and my whole world changed. My whole 10th grade, awkward, are-you-going-to-her-bday-party? world just changed. Overnight. It was like, "that Gumby-like creature with brown hair is a girl? Ooohhhh." For real. And I had my first date. Dennis Mitchell took me to see John Q. And then we sprung for a burger at McDonalds. Romantic, I know. But for the first time in my 16 years, I felt pretty. That was big. The date didn't turn into anything, but I'm still thankful for it. It's a good day when a girl feels pretty for the first time. (If you're reading this Dennis, you were precious. Really.)

And then there was the boy that made me laugh in between 4th period and tennis practice. Who eventually became the boy that I loved with all of my 16-year-old heart. As much as sixteen-year-olds can be in love, we were. And it stayed that way through my sophomore year. And my junior year. And my senior year and if we're being honest, even into college. We broke up when I was still a senior in high school, but those things never really go away, you know. I still think that when my sweet daughter has her first heartbreak, he's the story that I'll tell. Your first love stays with you that way.

There were a handful of other boys in between, as is often the case during those dreadful years. But in college, after shaking off the high school-ness of my love life, I was determined to find a "nice Christian boy" to be my boyfriend. So I crushed on every nice Christian boy that I met. I didn't want to fall in love and get married, but I did want to meet a nice Christian boy. Like you can meet one and not marry him. Yeah right. Campus Crusade for Christ is like a long, drawn-out version of The Dating Game. The weekly meetings in the Spring were like giant engagement parties. I did meet one of these said Christian boys, who broke up with me after a few weeks by saying that I was like "opening a door to a new place and realizing I didn't want to go there after all." THAT was awesome. And good for the self-esteem. Christian Boys 1, Page 0. That talk resulted in a late-night milkshake run with Martha and Erin, where we decided that all boys are just dumb.

Next up was the boy who lived at the end of my hall. The first boy who made it all seem easy - he liked me for me (but not in an over-zealous way) and he was so good to me. It was like a lightbulb moment for me, where I realized that yes, you can be adored. And yes, you can always be treated well. And yes, he can be fun to be around. And yes, he can also be good-looking. He does exist! But the timing was off and our goals were different and even though it was one of the saddest right things I'd ever done in my life, I broke up with him outside of an ice cream shop. (After he had surprised me purple daisies. Burn.)

Again, I promise this all has a point. But what's a story without a little context? The truth is that all along the way, I was missing one major point: those boys didn't define Page Johnson. They didn't get to decide if she was pretty or funny or worth spending money on at McDonald's. There is Someone else that gets to call those shots. And He already did, long before I got my braces off. But not knowing that led me straight to one of the darkest seasons of my life. And I pray, pray, pray for the little girl that isn't even mine yet, that she may know that truth before it eats away at her. Because really, boys are just dumb.

Stay tuned for part 3...

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

so thankful...again

Yesterday, I felt the need to list out the things I'm thankful for. But because I was getting just a teeny bit wordy with my post already, I decided to save it for later. And at about the same time, we picked out our Christmas cards. They do NOT look like this:

But isn't that cute?

Love the idea, I just wish the colors weren't so un-Christmas. But this card inspired me! And since I owe you a thankful list, let's just roll it out as a Top 10. But they aren't in order, because I hate prioritizing things. So without further ado, the Castrodale Top 10 Moments of 2010...

10. After over a year of unemployment and several months of preparation, Santa brought Andrew a J-O-B! (Except it wasn't Santa, it was totally God. And technically the employment occurred in 2009, but the pay didn't start until 2010, so go with it.)

9. Andrew broke his toe and got OCS delayed by several weeks. That might not seem like a good thing, but it was a blessing in disguise for a lot of reasons. One being that he got to be snowed in with me during a rare NC "snow storm."

8. We went to Disney World! And it was as magical as I wanted it to be. Even now, when I think back on it, my heart gets fluttery.

7. Andrew went to OCS for three months and I made it! With a few tears here and there :)

6. Andrew went to OCS for three months and HE made it! And he gets to wear that handsome uniform. Win.

5. The Lord looked over us as we tried to make the move from NC to SC. And He gave us the perfect place to live for the next year or so.

4. Lots and lots and LOTS of awesome food. Really. It's ridiculous.

3. I almost lost my job, but then I got to keep it. Which made me realize how blessed I am to have it in the first place. (Note: self, please remember this more often)

2. We have the most amazing church family. Amen.

aaaaand, finally...

1. We are so happy. So blessed and so, so happy.

What do you know, maybe the #1 on this list really is #1 on the list :)

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