Ruth perspective

Fall 2014 is in the books! Although it was pretty traumatic for the both of us, Mr. Smartypants survived and did very well. The semester had some great moments, but I think we were both thankful to see it come to an end. In addition to John’s first semester law school stress, I had to swap my planning period for an extra class. It was kind of like a marathon…from what I understand about marathons.

In the midst of heavy stress and anxiety, I confess that I found myself wishing the time away. Often, I would catch myself thinking, “If we can just make it through these couple years…”

…then what? Then all of our stress will be gone and we can finally take a breather? Then things will be grand because we can finally embark on the next chapter of our lives for which we’ve been waiting so very impatiently?

Discontentment is so toxic. It poisons spiritual fruit, and makes it easier for bad things to nestle in and take over.

John spent the better part of recent months covering the book of Ruth. Ruth had nothing as most would see it today, but she never felt as if she deserved any better. She was thankful to glean in the fields and provide daily sustenance for her mother-in-law. She didn’t dwell on the past, and expected nothing from the future. She had food and raiment – she was content.

Ruth found grace in the sight of Boaz, a picture of Christ. I have the real thing, I have Jesus.

When I then compare Ruth’s perspective to my own, I’m met with great humility.

If I had a resolution this year, I suppose it would be to work on my perspective. I will need lots of help, that is for sure. 😊

As always, sending lots of love from NOLA!
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St. Charles Romance

I had a dĂ©jĂ  vu moment yesterday. John and I were driving down St. Charles Avenue on our way to a concert at Loyola (my idea), and I thought, “This town is so romantic.”

And it really is. Two years ago, John brought me to New Orleans for the first time. Loyola was actually the first place we visited – he wanted to show me all of his old spots (“Ah…walking around campus with a girl on my arm, just like old times.” He ducked before I could pop him on the forehead.). At that point, I was already in love with the town. It only took one drive down St. Charles for that. Towering oak trees, streetcars, the old architecture, the leisurely pedestrians. Just romantic.

Yesterday, however, our St. Charles romance was tinged with a little more reality. We got to Loyola half an hour early, it was pouring down rain, we didn’t have an umbrella, and John was exhausted after preaching that morning. So, we sat in the car and waited.

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We watched raindrops pool up and run off the sunroof.

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He told me that he would be collecting his two Get Out of Jail Free cards.

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In the un-perfectness of the situation, we had to find something to smile and laugh about. Eventually, if you’re with a person long enough, you’ll run into those moments – and sometimes those moments can stretch out into days, or weeks, or more. Even a setting like St. Charles Avenue won’t make your life picture-perfect. It takes a little effort, but with the right attitude, those moments can be turned into happy memories.

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Hearts

Where I teach music, we close out each semester with a larger-than-life choir concert. We have hundreds of students singing, hired musicians (string quartet, percussion, flutes, harp, guitars), decorations…the works. It’s so breathtaking when it all comes together, even for the teachers who have poured their blood, sweat, and tears into its production for weeks on end.

Though the sensory impact is wonderfully gratifying, it still isn’t my favorite part of the concert. My favorite part is the impact that I can only catch in little glimmers–the impact that it has inside the hearts of my students.

Sometimes I see it at the dress rehearsal. This is the first time that all of the classes are together–the first time they will hear all four voice parts together. The instruments start up, and I cue the breath before the very first word. At that moment, looking into their eyes, you’d think they were locking hands, preparing to jump off a cliff. But then they release their voices into 4-part harmony, and their eyes light up. And their shoulders relax. And the corners of their mouths turn up just a little. In this moment their hearts understand music.

Another time I see it is the day after the concert. They file into my classroom in their plaid skirts and Doc Martins, with faint bits of makeup on their faces from the night before. I ask them, “So…? What did you think?”

“OMG…I loved the string quartet. I was like….staring at them.”
“Did you see the parents talking and texting while we were singing? How rude!”
“Mrs. Yadamec! I saw you crying in that first song!”
“I mean…we sounded really good. Don’t you think we sounded really good?”

I nod and smile while they all flush their systems with comments, then ask, “How did it feel to sing in harmony?”

A silent pause, and then:

“It was like we were on a team. If I forgot something I just listened to the girl next to me. And the sound was so big. Like, I really liked it.”

That’s when I feel like the concert was a true success. I know that their minds may forget how many beats are in a dotted half note, or what it means to dimuendo…but their hearts will not forget what it’s like to be truly in the moment with each other, making music. Hearts have a hard time forgetting that.

I also know that this is the only job that my bleeding-hearted, idealistic, hopelessly right-brained self could ever be happy with. As much as I wish I could trade my personalty in for a more practical one sometimes…this makes me thankful for the gifts, and the challenges, that I’ve been given. And it makes me ready to start again in January.

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Things

After a loving six-year relationship with Facebook, I’ve decided to take a little break. Nobody made me mad, and I’m not just doing “the adult version of running away from home,” as I’ve heard it put. I just need to spend time and energy on other things for a while. I do plan on keeping this site a little more up to date, however, if you’d like to follow along!

In the past year and a half, we’ve made some great memories here in our beautiful New Orleans. We bought a great little 1950s cottage and have had a blast fixing it up. I’ve had a wonderful experience with my teaching job. We now have a 1 year-old schnauzer that we’re both a little too in love with. More importantly, we have been extremely blessed with an awesome church family.

We’ve learned quite a bit as well. We’ve learned to hang on to one another when nearly everything in our lives was new and unfamiliar. We’ve learned the energy required to maintain a house. We’ve learned what it’s like when both spouses are working full-time, and one is going to school full-time as well. We’ve learned that life is not always perfect, and that we certainly aren’t perfect either.

I have also learned that it is true what they say: “The more you know, the more you know that you don’t know.” There is always a new lesson and things always change.

The only “things” that haven’t changed are God and the Church. I don’t know much at the age of 24, but I do know that He loved us before the world began, and that He’s with us every day. In the midst of our lessons, mistakes, joys, and failures, that is a good peace in which to rest.

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Sending love to you all from NOLA!

Lilies

And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, wherewithal  shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

I have been extremely blessed in my life. My parents both worked hard so that I had a stable, secure childhood. They took me to church every Sunday, whether I wanted to go or not. They read to me. They (read: Dad) let me jump spread eagle into a kiddie pool off the top of a slide. They took me to Disney World. They made me use an outhouse after sundown at a tiny, old church somewhere in Iowa (took me a few years to see the blessing in that one). As I approached adulthood, they prepared me for a great experience at college. When I left home, I had the blessing of knowing that they were there if I needed them. When the right guy popped into my life much sooner than I or they ever expected, they were supportive and welcoming.

I say all these things to show that, although things weren’t always picture perfect, I have had it pretty doggone good, and I’ve never been faced with any truly difficult trials in my life. I certainly don’t think I have any credit to talk about any experiences with perseverance that I think I might have had. I also say these things to show that I have no excuse, not even a bad excuse, for the lack of belief I had that the Lord would continue to bless and teach me as John and I moved to a new city to start our life together. Nevertheless, I had it.

My unbelief mainly centered around whether or not I would find a job in the field of work that I had spent the previous 4.5 years studying. I spent the better part of 4 months staring at my resume and mailing it to what seemed like every school in New Orleans with a music program. I started out optimistically, but after a few months of no replies, my attitude became, “Well, if nothing turns up, I’ll just branch out to other entry-level jobs in the area.” I also started praying that I would be content with whatever job I ended up with, eventually.

Thankfully, the Lord abideth faithful. A few weeks after I had basically given up finding a teaching job, I received a call out of the blue from one of the top private schools in the area. The vice principal told me that she had found my information from an online database where I had posted my resume 3 months earlier. The only reason I even knew about the database was because a principal from another school had taken the time to respond to me with the information, even though she didn’t have any positions open. She was one of very few principals that actually responded. And, instead of being encouraged by her advice, I half-heartedly went to the website and posted my information, even thinking to myself that the thought anything actually coming from it was too good to be true.

After meeting with the administration and some of the students, I was floored by how wonderful the school really was. It was so amazing to see a school where the students were cared for so deeply, and where prayer and faith were just as instrumental in their education as Algebra or English literature. What’s even more is that they were looking to hire someone with my specific skill set who could help develop their growing music program. Such a supportive environment. Literally a dream job. I was hired shortly after.

It’s amazing to me how good the Lord is when I least deserve it. But isn’t that how He loves us? And doesn’t He clothe even the grass and the lilies of the field? Praise be to Him for showing His love in a situation where I, ashamedly, didn’t truly believe He would, and for instilling the desire within me to strive to love others with the same compassion when they may not be doing their best. Thank you, Lord.

gorgeous day lily!

The day before the big day

Well just like everyone said it would, the day came and went, and we’ve already been married for two weeks. And just like everyone said it would be, the day was a complete blur. That being said, it was still probably the best, most joyful day of my life…and literally NOTHING went wrong! All of the little fears I had about the day (tripping down the aisle, tripping up the steps, not being able to remember the vows, forgetting my name, forgetting John’s name, etc.) totally disappeared and everything was just seamless and beautiful. I did realize once we left that I had accidentally forgotten to toss the bouquet to all of the single gals. In the words of our governor, “Oops.” But, if the girls there were anything like me, I’m sure they weren’t too heartbroken about it.

I have to be honest, though…the day before the wedding, I was not doing so well. It started out wonderfully…mani/pedi appointments with my bridesmaids and flower girl, followed by a very sweet luncheon with them, my sister-in-law, and my mom. That whole morning, I would say I was mildly anxious about everything…I was enjoying myself, but definitely starting to feel the “bride pressure.” But once we started to get ready for the rehearsal, the anxiety really started to get to me. There I was, surrounded by all of my loved ones who were all having a wonderful time, and I was LOSING IT on the inside. I literally couldn’t stand it when my dear sweet father and husband-to-be were cracking jokes during the rehearsal. Couldn’t they see that I wasn’t laughing? Couldn’t they see that I wasn’t doing so well? Couldn’t they see that I was ready to get down to business so nothing went wrong the next day?? I tried giving them both The Glare whenever I would catch their eyes. One thing I have learned about men in two weeks is that even though you may be shooting flames and lasers out of your eyeballs, they do not, and cannot, pick up on The Glare.

After the rehearsal, we all went home for the night, and I thankfully fell asleep without a problem. I set my alarm for 6am, but woke up around 5am with my heart racing and my stomach in knots. All I could think about was walking down the aisle with 150 pairs of eyes looking at me. Although I’m not as debilitatingly shy as I once was, that much attention is definitely not my cup of tea. I felt awful. I prayed that God would help me find peace so I could enjoy one of the most important days of my life.

After a couple minutes of panic, I noticed that my mom had slipped a card underneath my door. I opened it and read the simple, sweet message that she had written. At that moment, I also heard my dad walk into the kitchen and start making coffee. As I held my mom’s card and listened to my dad, I became so aware, and so thankful, that I had them both with me on my wedding day. I started to think about everyone else that would be at the ceremony…my brother and sister-in-law, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends…and I was so overwhelmed with gratitude that they would all be with us that day. Suddenly, my fears disappeared and were replaced with the deepest feelings of thankfulness that I’ve felt in my entire life.

So often in life, I let myself get so caught up in all of my unimportant anxieties that I take for granted the precious time that I have with my loved ones. How very blessed I was that on the morning of my wedding day the Lord helped me to see this. With the understanding that He granted, our wedding day was truly joyous to me, just as it should have been.

Since I’m a human being and imperfect by nature, there will be times, I’m sure, when this realization goes out the window. I will get caught up in all of the little details of life and will need to be reminded to step back and be thankful for the time I have with my loved ones. I hope that this post will be a reminder to my friends who are reading, and that in turn, you will bring me back down to earth when I myself need that reminder yet again!

My family.

Three weeks, y’all.

At this point in graduation-Christmas-wedding month, my poor right-brain struggles to crank out something that resembles a coherent thought. Here’s what’s going on in my synapses at the moment:

– Don’t I need a job? I need a job. I hope I get a job.

– Fingertip-length veil? Floor-length veil? No veil? I hate veils.

– I can’t believe I just bought three veils.

– Is Starbucks hiring?

– I need to move all of my stuff to John’s. I have way too much stuff.

– He has three times as many clothes as I do. It’s gonna be fun when we move all of our stuff to New Orleans.

– Let’s look at Craigslist again for jobs…

– Why did I have to study something I love and have a passion for and limit my marketability to education?!?!

– A minor in human development? What does that even mean??

– I’m getting married. Weird.

– Pinterest is not for me.

– My mom is an angel.

– Can I get a z-pack twice in two months? Or is that being whiny.

– I can’t believe I just cried for no reason. Poor John.

– I am marrying a really wonderful person. I don’t deserve him.

– Why does my dad keep talking about “the grandkids”??? Who is he??

– My bridesmaids are extremely fun.

– Is it Sunday yet? What Sunday is it? Where is John preaching? Do I have to pack?

– etc.

I hope y’all realize I’m not complaining. In all seriousness, these are really happy times, and a lot of the time I’m trying to comprehend why these wonderful things are happening to me. But my brain has been an extrememly entertaining place in the last few weeks, and I just thought I’d share.

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas…enjoy the time with your loved ones!

 

need to start practicing that last name 😉