Hey y’all, I’m Mandy! I live in Louisburg, NC. The south. The country, to be more exact. My back yard is a tobacco field, my neighbors bring us fresh vegetables from their gardens, and we have just recently become the adopted family of six little ducks who think they are children. My husband, my two girls ( 3 and 5), and I make up our little family. Though in the south, as you know, “family” is a relative term. Literally. It grows by the day, which I love. You just never know you might run into at the super market who will introduce herself as your cousin, twice removed, and squeeze your babies cheeks and ask about “your mama and them”. Speaking of family, my work is really just an extension of my family life. I work for my very dearest friend, Susan, and I feel like the Lord created this little piece of heaven just for us. Technically, I am the Operations Manager of Pea Pod Paper and Gifts, but in reality, I am the Organization Queen of the South. That’s the title I give myself. It’s a better fit, I think, and one of these days I’ll have a sash made.
How do you take care of yourself so that you’re physically and mentally prepared to be your best self for others?
I start and end every day in prayer. I actually visualize the Lord, in His full glory, listening to my every word and thought. I do this because I believe that He IS listening, and it also helps me stay focused. A mama’s mind so easily wonders. This simple prayer and meditation keeps my attention all day long. Whenever I start to stray from the goodness of life to the land of “things that could possibly happen that are TERRIBLE but probably never actually will”, I just come back to those quiet moments with me and Jesus, and I am enveloped in the peace that passes all understanding. I am ready for anything.
I have also learned to let myself enjoy the things that I love, that may not serve any other purpose than to make me feel good. Sweet tea, Lilly Pulitzer, banana pudding, Mary Kay Andrews, and brightly colored office supplies, for instance. And so what if I have to watch Dirty Dancing EVERY SINGLE TIME it’s on TV? Who is that really hurting? I think the two most important things we can do for ourselves are to give our whole entire hearts to Jesus, and to give ourselves a break. He gave us this life to enjoy it. And to do whatever we can to help other people enjoy theirs. Love deep and wide, and don’t ever apologize for it.
In your home, how do the mundane parts of life get done?
I may be one of the few southern women left in the world who actually enjoys chores. Cleaning, cooking, laundry, I love it. My very favorite chore is cleaning out. Give me a messy closet and a few giant trash bags and I am in hog heaven. For me, cleanliness provides deep satisfaction. Sure my floors need scrubbing and my shower grout needs bleaching, but overall, I like things tidy. This is my idea of simplified life. Keeping things tidy, everything in it’s place, refrigerator shelves lined with cute polka-dotted covers (that’s right, refrigerator shelf liners), this keeps things simple. I love to make lists and check things off, hangs clothes neatly by category in the closets, and dress us all in sort of coordinating outfits with giant monogrammed matching hair bows on my children’s heads. I believe this compulsiveness is deeply rooted in southern tradition. Not quite a disease, but close to it.
What is one tradition or routine that’s really important to your family?
Night time prayer is our most treasured tradition. This began as me saying prayers over my babies as I gently, okay sometimes desperately, rocked them to sleep at night. I would thank God for the best parts of the day and plead for more patience and guidance in the more difficult bits. And as the babies grew, they joined in the thanksgiving and pleading. And as my husband listened to the sweet gratitude for sunny days and best friend’s birthday parties, and the serious requests for the healing of boo boo’s and more new Sofia’s, he even began to lift up a prayer or two. And because I believe the absolute most important thing that we will do in this life is raise our children to be faithful followers of God, this tiny piece of our day is the most important. It defines who we are as a family.
Your PICK SIX: What 6 things can you absolutely not live without?
1. Emily Ley Simplified Planner
Let’s just start with the tie that binds. While I am admittedly planner obsessed, this one has been a game changer. The vast open white spaces leave lots of room for color coding without clashing, because we can’t have that, and lists of all kinds. I adore the large spaces on the monthly calendar, the weekly prep list, and bright colored tabs. While I am giddy over the new designs, I think I’ll be going for the signature stripes again for 2015. It’s hard to improve on perfection.
2. Monogrammed Hair Bows
When I was younger I just could not believe my mama put those giant bows on my head. I whined and swore I would NEVER do that to MY little girls. Well guess what. No outfit for my girls is complete without a monogrammed hair bow that is nearly the size of their heads. They look naked without them! Luckily, we have a friend who hand-ties them and another who monograms, so we never have to go without. Just precious.
3. Bright pink blush
My current favorite is MAC Proenza Schouler Blush Ombré in Ocean City. Southern women should never leave the house without a pretty pink blush, a coat of mascara, and lip gloss. Basic rule of thumb. Call me old fashioned if you want to.
4. Good Home Co. Beach Days Glass and Surface Cleaner
This all purpose cleaner is both powerful and all natural, keeping all the harsh chemicals and additives of most cleaning products out of your home. But most importantly, it smells so much like the beach that I want to strip down to my unmentionables and lay on the back porch with a pina colada every time I wipe down the kitchen counter. Get some. Your husbands can thank me later.
5. Carolina Herrera 212
Oh this perfume. This smell. It is absolutely intoxicating. People stop me when I walk by to ask what I’m wearing. Of course I tell them I don’t know what in the world they are talking about, it’s just my natural scent. But actually, I owe this sweetness to the lovely Ms. Herrera.
6. Jesus Calling by Sarah Young App
This daily devotional changed my life. It speaks directly to me every day. And I know I am not the only one who feels that way. I have gifted it to so many friends who feel the same way. Sarah Young has a way of interpreting scripture that brings the Bible to life in a whole new way. It’s an absolute must have.
Anything else you think our readers would love to know? Any additional tips or systems that help you keep it all together?
After attending Making Things Happen in 2012, Emily and Lara became a driving force in helping me find my way back to my roots. And my purpose. While I have taken some time off from writing, I have certainly found myself. I have learned to say no to some things that I used to love so that I can YES to what matters. I encourage y’all to do the same. Remember the times in your life when you felt the MOST full. The most complete. Remember who you were then . Even if you haven’t felt that way since you were in high school, or a little girl without a care in the world. That still matters. It’s still relevant. Even though circumstances change, who you are meant to be never does. Simplify your world. Bring the innocence back. Let’s go back to a less more pure way of life.
Follow along with Mandy:
The Simplicity Series features busy gals, in different stages of life, making what matters happen and tips and tricks they’ve found to be helpful. Simplicity is about building margin into your life and spending time on and with that which fuels your heart. While we love to share products and services that help us day to day, but simplicity is about HEART and intentionally choosing the thing that matters most (your TREASURE) more than anything money can buy. We wear many hats and we know you do too, so we’d love to hear your thoughts as well! For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Luke 12:34
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