Goodness, I always forget how much I love two things:

Traveling.

My best friends from Eastman. 

I went to Memphis this weekend to visit these ladies and I am just so overwhelmed by how beautifully encouraging this time was. I almost didn’t go. I am so glad I didn’t make that decision. 

Going to Memphis meant I had to take a bus. Flights are too expensive and Husband wasn’t down for me driving all the way by myself (not to mention all those miles on my poor little car). I was so, so nervous about the bus. I read all these reviews online (I read wayyy too much about this stuff. (It’s like WebMD- I HAVE CANCER! Oh wait, it’s just seasonal allergies.) I get this from my dad though: research it.  Always research. But, then I see all these horrifying reviews about Greyhound and I almost chicken out. 

Let’s segue for a moment here: Greyhound is not a bad way to travel and I am so glad I did it. For anyone who is nervous about taking a bus, here’s the deal. It is SO cheap. $68.00 for a round trip ticket is a ridiculous deal. I couldn’t have driven round trip for anywhere near that cost and my car gets incredible gas mileage. It is TOTALLY worth it. When you get to the bus station, look for the door that says your destination- that is where you will line up. GET IN THE LINE. Don’t wait unless you have to. Get in the line. You need to get on the bus with the first half of the line to get a window seat, and window seats are way better than aisle seats on a bus. Not to mention, it is nice to have a bit of control over who you are going to share a seat with for 10+ hours. If you are first, you get to offer the seat next to you to someone who doesn’t look super shady. This is good. I have to say though, even the shady characters were pretty nice people. There is a communal “we’re all in this together” attitude. It makes it pretty fun, honestly. Seeing strangers bond over, “Wow! Someone actually flushed a t-shirt down the bus toilet, delaying us by an hour?!” is not un-fun. It isn’t my favorite thing ever, but it does restore my faith in the sense of humor of even the shadiest looking characters. By the way, the t-shirt down the toilet really did happen. So maybe I should say, traveling by bus is not for you if you cannot laugh at the ridiculous. If that would stress you out, just pay some extra money and fly. I lived in downtown Rochester, NY for four years. I can appreciate the ghetto-fabulous in all its glory. It makes me feel grounded and remember not to take life too seriously. There is beauty in the hilarious and you are going to see some funny stuff in a Greyhound bus. I had fun. It was colorful. However, guys, don’t complain when a baby cries on the bus. Seriously, that is the most maddening thing ever. To see a grown man complain when a baby cries, especially when the baby’s poor mama is traveling without any help annnnd is pregnant! Don’t you dare complain you jerk. 

While in Memphis, I had a really good reminder about why I don’t ever eat large quantities of meat. Oh gosh, that barbecue was yummy. But when you’re sitting around a card table playing games with a bunch of people and your stomach won’t stop gurgling, it takes a little of the delicious-factor out of the meal that caused the situation at hand. Embarrassing. Oh well. 

The best, best, best part of Memphis was seeing my beautiful friends and getting to hear them tell about where their lives have taken them and what God is teaching them. They are beautiful. They are my best friends in this world and I just can’t get over how special it is to have these friends in my life. They are so creative and so wise. They are so real and so genuine. I am overwhelmed by the things God is doing in our lives and how faithful He is to always provide a way for us to reunite each summer. Overwhelmed by His goodness. Simply overwhelmed.

I spend a weekend in a new town exploring new places with favorite people and I come home refreshed, seeing my life from a different angle. Seeing my life as it really is, unclouded by the pressure I felt before taking a Greyhound bus to Tennessee. A new angle. That’s how I want to see every student, every school, every colleague. I want to see my dirty laundry, my dirty dishes, and my chronically unswept floors from a different angle. Every dirty dish means we are well fed. Every load of laundry means we are clothed. And not just clothed, but clothed beautifully- extravagantly -so many outfits when so many people have just one or two. The unswept floor? I have a dream job loving on children and making music with them. If I am too tired and busy to sweep the floor everyday, who cares. I get to share JESUS with KIDS and I get to share MUSIC with KIDS. And I get PAID to do it. Seriously, what the heck? I am so, so, so, so abundantly blessed. My life is beautiful and your life is beautiful. Life is beautiful. Jesus, keep my eyes open and show me new angles from which to view my life. 

I love this life. Image

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Hey Internet Friends,

I love being a music teacher- it is such a fun job. I get to enjoy all of these cool kids and watch them learn and grow and develop. They are so great. One of my favorite things about my job is that I get to consistently learn right along with my kiddos. I have been able to discover so many things about how to play the clarinet just by having to explain what to do to make a sound to a bunch of students. At Eastman, I had to rush to learn things- it was always a hurry. Every week there were new etudes and excerpts and pieces of literature on which I was expected to make extreme progress. And I did make this progress and it was fantastic. But it was always such a rush from week to week. Sometimes I could really really really tell my teacher was really really really frustrated with me when I couldn’t just “get it” right there and then in my lesson. He has this habit of getting really really really loud in those situations. He really meant it! But he didn’t always say things clearly. He wouldn’t often attempt to say things in different words to try to help me understand the concept. This, I have found, is just so important for a teacher. 

When I find myself getting frustrated with a kid, I am oh so not perfect. Sometimes I also get louder and louder and louder until I start to see a look of “oh no, aghhh!” on the kid’s face. That’s a definite clue to chill. However, as I mature as a teacher, I am really attempting to chill before I see that look appear. This is the trick: find NEW words. Don’t just say the same thing. Most of the time, the student just needs to be communicated with in a different way. It takes patience. Oh my word, am I learning patience. 65 times a week, I am in my student’s clarinet lesson and my patience lesson simultaneously. And, the kicker? I’m also learning to play the clarinet more proficiently myself because sometimes my brain also needs to be communicated with differently and I actually teach myself when I change my words. It’s oh so cool. 

What have I learned from my students?

-How to voice my altissimo register

-That it is more than ok to cry

-That sharing music is the biggest blessing and playing duets with a 12-year-old is seriously fun

-That teachers are not always right

-Forgiveness is really important

-Sometimes, music isn’t the point of a 25 minute period of time because sometimes, just being human together can teach us both more about music and life than actually playing music ever could

-Imperfection is so beautiful so often

-Perfection is overrated (!!!) 

-Metronomes are really really really important

-Kids are totally full of wisdom

-Guarding my tongue vigilantly is absolutely a requirement of life 

-Being a mom is going to be really hard

-Trust God with the lives and development of the people He brings into my life and always be willing to share His grace with them

-My dream job is worth making a little less money than I would like

-Music is the best (Well, I already knew that.)

Love,

Katie