Friday, April 18, 2014

Good Friday

   And they will mock Him and spit on Him, and flog Him and kill Him. And after three days He will rise.
-Mark 10:34

Good Friday is the really difficult part of Easter weekend. We know that Easter is coming and the joy and hope it represents, so it can be easy to forget today. But it's important not to forget today--to forget that our salvation came at a price, that God asked His son to do something unimaginable, all because He loves us so very much.

The part of the crucifixion story that is most painful for me to read is when Jesus cries, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" Jesus' humanity, his divinity, and both his physical and emotional suffering are all wrapped up in this cry. His pain was real. 

Good Friday is a sad day for Christians but without it, the joy of Easter wouldn't be half as bright, and wonderful, and brilliant. May we all remember what this day means and be thankful.

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

An Easy Choice

Tulips for Easter and Springtime and new beginnings

Finally, the cat's out of the bag! Thanks so much to my dear, sweet readers for being excited and happy with us! Charlottesville is a vibrant, wonderful little city and I'm pretty sure we're going to love it there.

These last two years in Alabama were very much not a part of our plan, as I'm sure you have gathered from my posts. We thought we would live here together as a married couple for three months, max, but it's been close to 24. We also thought we'd be in a very different situation by the time we left Alabama than we currently are. Life has surprised us.

But you know what I've learned? That this trying, frustrating, patience-testing, worry-filled, big unknown phase of our lives has been one enormous blessing in disguise. God had a plan for us and my husband and I both honestly believe that we are in a better place as a result of the chaos of the last few years (the details of which I won't get into here). If that isn't a praise-worthy revelation I don't know what is.

We are moving to Charlottesville because my husband got the unexpected opportunity to go back to school in order to pursue a career change (a career of the "dream" variety). We're moving there to be close to our families--my in-laws are a little over an hour away and my parents are a little over two hours away. We are moving there so that I might feel more stimulated artistically and creatively and hopefully grow as a musician and a teacher and a writer. We are moving to Charlottesville because it's a beautiful and interesting part of the country. Simply put, we like it there.

Last week we signed a lease on a cute house to rent and--get this--we did it all sight unseen! Something I wouldn't have imagined doing in a previous life but I guess I'm getting gutsy and learning to be flexible. To be fair, my mother went to see it and proclaimed it adorable and perfect for us. (Also, it has a red door and a screened porch. Sold.) We can't wait to see it and move in.

It's a wonderful feeling to have made this relocation decision together as a couple and to know that it is the right one for us. It was weird, sometime over this past summer I started to feel a pull to Virginia generally and Charlottesville specifically. As we thought about it more and more the decision pretty much made itself. It was an easy choice and after months of hard choices or too few choices, that felt great.

It goes without saying that there are still unknowns in our lives (there always will be) and issues to overcome (of course!) but we feel so hopeful for this new chapter and the changes it will bring.

(Not least of which is the happy reunion that will take place when I get to unpack the boxes filled with wedding gifts. I've had many a daydream about Grandma's china and our white embroidered pillowcases and our pretty dining room chairs.)

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Monday, April 14, 2014

At Long Last

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Friday, April 11, 2014

When Life Endears You

Sometimes life has a quirky way of endearing us to it.

Yesterday at my hair appointment, my hairstylist was describing her sixth-grade son's "serial killer handwriting" and her story and hand gestures were so funny that I was laughing and leaning forward in my chair (I'm a forward-leaner when I'm laughing hard) and there were tears in my eyes.

I spoke to two different customer service representatives from two different companies yesterday and both were as cheerful and helpful as can be and my problems were resolved in a matter of minutes (that never happens, right?!).

And then there was the lizard quandary.Yesterday afternoon I got in my car to drive to the grocery store and noticed that a cute little lizard was peering right at me from the hood of my car. I pulled over in my neighborhood and got out to shoo him off. He ended up jumping down into the tire and at that point I didn't know what to do--I didn't want to crush that little guy! Just then, a few Saudi Arabian flight school students (they are trained at Fort Rucker) stopped because they thought I had car trouble. I explained the lizard situation and they both jumped out and got on the ground and tried to see if he was still in my tire. One of them said that snakes like to get into the hood of the car so we should check there, and I said that it was actually a lizard and I knew he was in the tire. He didn't know the word lizard so I described to him what they look like. I think they thought I was way too weirdly nice to be so concerned about hurting one of those.

Anyway, we couldn't find the lizard so I decided to just start driving very slowly and the guys who helped me were going to drive in front and look back to see if the lizard jumped out. Sure enough, after about 3 seconds of creeping along slowly, I got an ecstatic thumbs up and a hand signal that could only have meant that the little critter skittered off safe and sound! The whole thing ended up being hilarious and sweet.

Then later in the day I had a very honest, real, meaningful text-chat with a dear friend. Let me just say that she's a keeper, that gal.

It was a regular yet oddly endearing day. One of those days when you connect with people, friends and strangers alike, in a way that makes you feel happy and grateful.

Have a wonderful weekend friends!

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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Mid-Week Musings

I'm reading The Luminaries and loving it. This novel won the Man Booker Prize and its author, Eleanor Catton, is in her twenties! I'm always amazed by people who reach such success at such a young age, aren't you? I'm only about halfway through (it's over 800 pages and extremely complex and winding) but I think the writing is brilliant. I recommend it if you're in the mood for an epic read (that will take you straight into the month of May!).


I'm so into houseplants these days. I'm not too good at taking care of plants but I've realized that many houseplants are actually quite easy to keep alive. Did you know that certain plants can help purify the air in your home? I also love how vibrant green plants add a freshness and a pop of color to a room.


I'm not completely sure why, but I've been thinking a lot lately about how proud I am of my family--husband, parents, brothers, in-laws. I just feel so lucky that they're mine and that I get to be Kate Zinsmeister Harvey.


I think Alabama is trying to butter me up with this terrifically gorgeous weather we've been having. There have been a few rainy days but also plenty of days that to me, are perfect--in the 60s, sunny with a cool breeze, not at all muggy. What a gift.


Do you watch Call The Midwife? Season 3 started last week and so far it's just as lovely and earnest and poignant as the previous two seasons. There are a lot of births on the show, as you might imagine, and I think I cry pretty much every time.


What's on your mind today?

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Monday, April 7, 2014

Illustrated Quotes

Here's something light-hearted to start the week out! I stumbled upon these illustrated quotations by designer Ryan McArthur and I think they're quite clever and fun. My favorite is this first one.

I think this one below would make for some cute office decor, matted and framed in white.

And I think that last one is really sweet! What do you think of this quirky artwork?

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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

I'm Doing Just Fine

Scene from yesterday: a billowing curtain and fresh April air.

Sometime last week, I was having a bad day. I was discouraged and getting worked up and not feeling super happy. On that same day, my mom sent me this WSJ article called, "Advice For A Happy Life." My bad day and the timing of her email had nothing to do with each other--purely coincidental--and my mom meant nothing other than to send me an article she knew I'd like. But I do remember reading just the title and thinking--ok good, yes, this is what I need to read right now. What am I doing wrong?! Why aren't things going according to plan?! I'm not having a happy time of things right now, and maybe it's my fault. I need this advice!

And then I read the article and realized, I'm doing just fine.

Here are the author's five pieces of very wise advice for leading a happy life:

Consider marrying young.

Learn how to recognize your soul mate.

Eventually stop fretting about fame and fortune.

Take religion seriously.

Watch "Groundhog Day" repeatedly.

Here I was, thinking I was going to get a very welcome spiel on not taking yourself so seriously, focusing on the present and choosing to let tomorrow's worries go, learning how to laugh in the face of difficulties. After all, that's usually how these kinds of articles go and honestly, I would have been all ears had this been the advice. My fears were getting in the way of my happiness that day, and I suppose I wanted some justification that I was unhappy for good reason. I suppose I wanted to be told that if I can only laugh at myself, I'll feel better. I wanted to be told that these thoughts were normal but ten deep breaths would go a long way toward feeling peace. I guess I wanted this article to sympathize with me and then provide a quick fix.

But this article wasn't fluff. It was wise and honest and true. And it provided me with something much more valuable than justification and some flimsy pick-me-ups. It made me realize, I'm doing just fine.

I don't know what my one-year plan looks like, let alone my five-year plan, but I've got a husband and he's going through every step with me and we're going to look back on this time of not knowing and be so glad for the richness and the lessons and the love in these early years of our marriage.

I don't have control over a lot of the things my heart desires, but I've found my soul mate. My heart has found its resting place and even on days it feels heavy, my heart isn't lost. It belongs.

Wondering how successful I will be as a piano teacher and a musician and an artist scares me, and I don't know what my niche in the creative world will be just yet. Thank goodness I never cared about fame and fortune! I was talking with one of my students last week about when we are planning to move, and he told me that things just won't be the same without me. We started his lessons the same month he relocated to Alabama with his family so he's seen me every week for the whole time he's lived here. It was so touching and helped me to remember that if I can influence and inspire even just one young pianist, I'm doing ok.

I have so much to learn about faith and trust and godliness but I am 100% committed to the discovery. And I'm realizing that God teaches us so much through our trials, I need only be open to what He is trying to show me.

I've only seen "Groundhog Day" once, but I've got time on my side.

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