Tuesday, March 28, 2006

True Confessions

Ever done something so ridiculous that you look around to see if anyone saw you...then you pretend you didn't do it? I think that's the story of my life. At least today, anyway! I left my house at 6:30 AM to go to Fayetteville, NC for a middle school choral festival. I could've ridden on the bus with the kids, but I knew that I'd have to literally fly back to make it back in time for my 3:00 piano lesson. So, with a full cup of coffee, I started on my 2 and a half hour voyage.

CONFESSION #1: When I listen to CDs of musicals in my car, I can't merely listen, or just sing along. I feel it's my obligation to "perform" the musical as if I'm living out my life-long dream in the spotlight. So...if I don't like the way I sing a particular song, I back it up and try again until I like the way it sounds...to myself...alone in my car. (My brother does this too, so I think it's genetic!) Well, as I was singing the soundtrack to "Thoroughly Modern Millie" at the top of my lungs this morning, I failed to notice that I turned onto Hwy. 50 South instead of North. Not only that, but I proceeded to drive an extra 25 miles--in the wrong direction. I totally freaked out because I didn't think I was going to make it in time to play for my first group, so I called the director and...

CONFESSION #2: ... LIED and said that I had car trouble but I would be there as soon as I could!!! I know, Go ahead and judge me. I just couldn't possibly admit that I was so wrapped up in performing my musical for NOBODY that I turned the wrong direction on the highway...and kept going.

Luckily, I made it just in time (literally within 3 minutes) for my first group, and they did a great job. Everything else went fine at the competition. As soon as my last group finished, I jumped in my car to hurry home. I was deliriously tired and really hungry, so I stopped at McDonald's (my favorite place...not really). Thank goodness I don't know a living soul in Roseboro, NC: population 546, because I did something I have never done before...

CONFESSION #3: I walked straight into the MEN'S restroom like I owned the place!!! I don't know what I was thinking...I WASN'T thinking. It wasn't until I was in the stall and actually using the restroom that it dawned on me what I had done. There were no men in the restroom, so I prayed that none would decide to come in. I dreaded walking out that door and everyone seeing what I had done, so I left the bathroom and McDonald's without making eye contact with anyone. I was mortified!

I was about 3o miles away from my first student's house, and my eyes started getting SO heavy. My head was bobbing, I couldn't stay awake for the life of me, and driving through "Podunk-ville USA" wasn't helping! I looked at the clock, did some quick math, and realized that I had about 15 minutes to pull over and take a quick nap, so I leaned my chair back and set my cell phone alarm for 2:20.

CONFESSION #4: I OVERSLEPT!!!!!!! Not only did I oversleep...I overslept in a Family Dollar parking lot! I guess I need to figure out how to work the alarm on my cell phone. Frantically, I started driving again...this time WIDE awake with adrenaline. I pulled up to my piano lesson at 3:01 PM, thank you very much.

Some days it just doesn't pay to get up...then again, what would we have to laugh about later if days like this one never happened? Here's to a great tomorrow everybody!

Friday, March 24, 2006

"Be joyful always; pray continually." I Thessalonians 5:16-17

I had a wake-up call this week about how "continually" I really do need to be praying. I won't ever write too many specifics about Ryan and what he's doing in Iraq (mainly for safety reasons), but I have to share what happened this week. Ryan emailed on Wednesday and sounded SO beaten down, frustrated, and exhausted. His job right now is really testing him and is keeping him too busy to eat, sleep, or relax even for a little while. And to top it off, he's in a combat zone, which just adds more stress to the mix! The sole purpose of his job is to make things run smoothly for about 200+ people, and in order to do that, it's taking more energy than he alone can muster right now. His mom and I truly believe that he was experiencing some major spiritual warfare. When he is with Marines, he is alone in his faith for the most part. It's not the "Bible-belt" anymore where it's odd for someone to not be a Christian. He is definitely set apart from just about everyone he works with. It's not like him to let his guard down and tell me how hard things are while he's away. He always tries to protect me from worrying about him, but I'm glad he opened up this time because I learned a profound lesson!

I started praying extra-hard, right then. I don't think I stopped until I fell asleep that night. When I woke up at 4 am to let the dogs out, I prayed again. I woke up at 7:45 and prayed. I prayed on my way to the post office. I prayed while I drank my coffee. I prayed while my piano students were playing their scales. I prayed in the car on the way home. I prayed for his endurance. I prayed for his patience. I prayed for him to find REST. I prayed continually. Not only that, but I knew Ryan was praying too. When I got home that evening, I checked my email and Ryan had written again. This time he sounded like a new person. He said that the way his day had gone could only have been a miracle. He had only gotten 4 hours of sleep throughout the night, but he felt completely rested. He was in a good mood, and little things weren't getting under his skin as badly. He made progress with some "people issues" he was dealing with. His mind was clear for the first time. This all happened in less than 24 hours.

Now, I know that sounds so simple. We prayed...God answered. I don't know why I was the least bit surprised! Why does it take my husband literally hanging on to his sanity by a thread for me to pray that hard? Why do I not do that EVERY DAY? I can't imagine how much easier things would be. So, that's my challenge...to myself and to you. Lately, my prayers happen to be for Ryan most of the time, but whatever it is you are facing, God answers. It's that simple.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Three's Company!

What a nice change of pace it was to have company this past week! Brad & Kendall flew in on Saturday afternoon (despite a delay at DFW...what do you expect?) and stayed through Thursday. Granted, I don't live in the most exciting area of the country, or the state of North Carolina for that matter, but we managed to have a good time just hanging out & visiting all of the little towns nearby. You can see in the pictures what an adorable couple they are. Watching them together reminds me of Ryan & me four years ago when we had just gotten engaged, and honestly it made me miss Ryan like CRAZY! I felt like such a 3rd wheel all week, which is silly because it's my brother & future sister-in-law for heaven's sake! No really, I appreciate them coming more than they'll ever know...my house is awfully quiet now that they aren't here. When I got home on Thursday night, the dogs were running back to the guest room looking for Kendall, then they would pout because she wasn't there. (And Harley especially misses her "Uncle Brad"!) As much as I wish Ryan could have been here to hang out with the three of us, I can only be excited about all the fun times we'll all have once we're back in Texas.

OK, I can't honestly say that my house is really that quiet right now. After my company left, it was Jack & Harley's turn to have a houseguest. I agreed to keep Robin's puppy (a Jack Russell named "Pumpkin") until Tuesday, and let me just tell you...don't EVER try to have 3 hyperactive terriers in the house at once if you can help it! Luckily, the three of them are quickly becoming friends, and I think Jack & Harley are even teaching the puppy a thing or two.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Is "Busy" Really Better?

I've always been a busy person...I admit that I even thrive on it at times, though I'm not sure that's always a good thing. My rule of thumb has been to stay as busy as possible while Ryan is away because it seems to make time pass faster, which makes his homecoming sooner! But after the past week, I'm wondering if I can continue at this pace for another 6 months and 25 days. I shouldn't complain...I mean, I have the easiest, most flexible, and fun job in the world. I get to do what I love best (playing the piano) all day long, but maybe ALL DAY LONG is the problem. After rehearsing most days from 7:30-2:00, teaching piano from 2:30-6 or 7, sometimes 8, then adding church choir to the mix, I feel like if I have to play the piano one more second I might just have to eat my fingers off! My worst nightmare would be to get so burned out on music that I don't enjoy it anymore. (Molly, Mom, can you relate?!?)

I'm definitely looking forward to this choral festival being over on Friday because on Saturday, Brad & Kendall (my future sister-in-law!) are coming to visit me. They think that they're coming to relax and get away, but really it's a vacation for me too. It will be so nice to have most of the week off, and to have other humans in my home (no offense to Jack & Harley). I'm so honored that they would choose the lovely town of Hubert, NC to spend their Spring Break!

Friday, March 03, 2006

When Friends are Like Family

This week has proven to me how lucky I am to have such great family & friends in my life. I know everyone thinks that their family & friends are the best, but I know that mine REALLY are. In the midst of missing Ryan incredibly and getting used to life on my own again, everyone has been so great to check in on me and keep me busy.

In particular, I had the best "Girls Day Out" with Robin today. We went down to Wilmington & spent all day shopping and just playing around. It was a much needed getaway for both of us. When we met over 3 years ago, she was my loud crazy neighbor in Virginia. (Sorry, Robin...you know it's true.) Little did I know, she and her husband Will (and of course their darling daughter Jackie Rose) would become our "family" away from Texas. We have definitely relied on each other during some tough times these past few years in the Marine Corps, and I can't imagine not having her right across town anymore! I'm going to have to figure out some way to keep them from moving this summer. Anyway, this entry is a big "Thank you" to all the amazing people in my life who really keep me going. You know who you are & I love you each dearly!!