When You’re Waiting For the Job

I’m breaking out the blog today because there’s something on my mind. I’ve learned this about myself: It’s scary to share the honest truth sometimes, but I almost always am thankful that I did. Being vulnerable opens up an opportunity for others to relate to your struggles. It brings people closer together.

I want to write about marriage and what Ben and I have been up to, but I’ll save that for another day. Today, I want to talk about something that I’ve been going through, and maybe, someone else will read this and say, “me too.”

I’ve been on the search for a full-time teaching position and still haven’t found one. And I’ve been ashamed. I’ve been in hiding, to be quite honest. I’ve shared my fears and doubts with Ben and with a few close friends or family members. I’ve been asked by people many times how the job search is going. I know they mean well. It still feels like a punch in the stomach. My pride sets in. I want to snap, “Clearly it’s bad or you would have heard otherwise!” but instead, I crack a joke about being a loser and having no connections yet in Auburn. Making a joke seems to make it easier. I’ll get on Facebook and see yet another friend who has gotten their dream job at their dream school. Don’t get me wrong–I’m very happy for them. But of course, there’s also that aching feeling of “Why not me? When will it be my turn?” The jealousy hangs over me like a dark cloud. And then comes the guilt for being jealous. Does this sound familiar to anyone?

As I drove to a few schools around Auburn last week to deliver resumes and cover letters, I was feeling defeated and useless. I prayed and sure enough, God quietly answered. He assured me that even if nothing comes through right now, He will be taking care of me. I still wasn’t satisfied. And then He showed me a few things that are getting in the way of the truth for me:

Pride.
Impatience.
Comparison.

So, I’ll confess: It’s not about my fear of being able to contribute to my marriage financially. It’s 100% about pride. With every failed attempt, I’ve selfishly thought about how bad I’ll look to people if I can’t get a teaching position. How pathetic I’ll appear to just be subbing or working part-time. I was supposed to have this adult life stuff figured out by now, right?

Moving to a new city where I had no leads on a job was a bold move, but I have felt God’s hand through the whole thing. I am confident that He’s led us here to do great things. So why can’t I let go of the shame I feel when I think about the possibility of not having my own classroom when August rolls around?

Instead of praying for a job for me, pray for me to learn to find my identity in Christ rather than in my job description or my income. To be content with whatever comes my way. He very well might have a job waiting. I could get a call tomorrow. But maybe not. Maybe God’s preparing me for a season of focusing on our Etsy shop, or maybe something else totally unexpected. What I know is that the Lord has already figured it out. Pray that I can be rid of my pride and fear of being a “failure.”
“But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6

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The Wedding

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Our Ampersand Photography

“It’ll be over in the blink of an eye” said every person ever. I should’ve believed them. Our wedding day really did fly by! I even woke up super early to make the day seem longer and it still went too quickly.

I feel like it’s important that I document it now while it’s all still fresh on my mind. Maybe you’re slightly interested in hearing about the wedding day from the bride’s perspective. I know I’m dying to hear what everyone thought about it. I only thought about that day for months and months leading up to it! For example, was the cake good? Because guess who didn’t get ANY dessert from her cherished dessert bar?

Our Ampersand Photography

Our Ampersand Photography

For days leading up to April 18th, my biggest concern was the weather, of course. I knew that the Lord would answer my prayers, and HE DID! It didn’t rain on us.

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Our Ampersand Photography

No one was more surprised than me about how relaxed I was from the start of the day until the end. I woke up and had a few minutes of quiet time on my front porch with my cat. That was awesome. When everyone else woke up, we headed to our amazingly delicious bridal breakfast that was hosted by Catherine. It was amazing. My mom started running through a mental list of things we were supposed to remember to bring. I remembered then that I had gotten everything that I was supposed to except the actual wedding dress, which was still hanging up at my house. Of all the things, y’all. Thankfully, it was retrieved.

I can’t speak highly enough of my photographer, Jaime! She was such a joy to be around, and she didn’t waste any time. We got it done.

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Our Ampersand Photography

And I must confess, the photo above was taken….in the LaFayette Cemetery! Sorry, but when I see a brick wall covered in ivy in LaFayette, I don’t care what it’s next to. We’re gonna take the picture.

Suddenly, it was time to walk down the aisle. It was very strange to see things taking place that I had played through in my head so many times. The music was playing and everyone was walking and suddenly, I was hooking arms with my dad to start the walk down the aisle. I was immediately blown away by all of the people just in the ends of the rows looking at me. I finally got to the end and saw that Ben was tearing up, which was a score for me because he is not a crying person at all. And I most definitely am, yet I held it together for the most part.

Our Ampersand Photography

Our Ampersand Photography

Our amazing campus minister from BCM led the ceremony. He’s been a very important role model in my life, so it was really special to have him officiating. When he said the part where I’m supposed to say “I Do,” I was totally zoned out and it took a few seconds of him staring blankly at me before I realized that I was supposed to speak. I have some listening problems, I’ll be real with you. You’d think that of all the times that I could move past these issues would be during the ceremony where I’m getting MARRIED but apparently not.

My favorite moment of the day was right after Ben and I walked back down the aisle. We went out on the front steps of the church and had a sweet moment by ourselves. It was just this amazing moment of realizing that we’re husband and wife now. After so many months of anticipation, it was here and we could relax and celebrate! We took family photos and then headed out to the reception. The barn looked amazing, mainly because we had so many selfless people show up the day before to help decorate. I can’t even describe it. Nothing brings me the fuzzy feelings like seeing a group of people come together in joyful service and fellowship! It was beautiful and perfect.

I only forgot a couple of minor details, like I have no idea where the garter is that I intended to wear, but when they said, “Time for the bouquet and garter toss!” I suddenly realized that no garter was on me. This was fine though, at least to everyone except a few angry groomsmen who said, “there’s no hope for us now!” Sorry.

Our Ampersand Photography

Our Ampersand Photography

I wanted to hug and speak to every single person there, but it wasn’t possible. It felt like we were only at the reception for 10 minutes! Let me tell you, people. You’ll never be as cool as you are on your wedding day. I’ve never felt so popular in my life!

Ben and I were continually blessed throughout the day. I can’t believe how many people love and support us. Thank you to each and every one of you! We love you so much.

Our Ampersand Photography | East West Design Co

Our Ampersand Photography | East West Design Co

And now, I’m sitting at our apartment in Auburn. While I’m working on East West Design Co plenty now, I’m also job searching for a teaching position in the fall and also a summer job. Please be in prayer for me as I search for both jobs! Also, please pray that we will find community here, especially a strong church family. I’ll try to keep updating on our Auburn adventures!

If you want to see more of Jaime’s pictures, click here!

-Rachel

Currently – January

It’s been way too long! I actually have half-written many blog posts and saved them to my drafts because they just didn’t feel right. Blogging isn’t my passion or anything, but it does make me happy!

Today I want to link up with two bloggers, Jenna and Anne, to talk about what I’ve been up to lately. Hopefully I’ll write a longer post later to explain all of the changes happening in my life over the next month or so!

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PLANNING – LOTS of things, starting with my upcoming wedding in April! The big stuff is mostly finished but I still have all of the fun little things to manage and get together, particularly the crafts. And let’s be real, I’ve been planning that stuff since I discovered Pinterest in 2010. Aside from wedding planning, I’m also planning the next few months out. Next week, I move back home until the wedding. There’s this awkward gap of time between my graduation in December and the wedding that needed to be filled. I knew that I needed to work and save money. So, back to LaFayette I will be going. It’s been really fun planning and creating our future home with Ben. Last weekend we bought a chair and pillow at World Market to go in the living room and I’m pretty impressed with it.

HOPING – & praying–to find community in LaFayette while I’m there. I’m a little scared of going back because I’ve gotten so used to the community that surrounds me in Athens. I’m hoping to find a strong group of people who I can feel close with and walk through these exciting times with!

BAKING – I rarely bake. I have registered for the KitchenAid mixer, so when that hopefully comes around, I will be more enthused about baking! But for now, I am actually planning to make a Funfetti naked cake today! That counts, right?

WEARING – Since I’ve been in such a down season in my life.–mostly running errands, trying to get life in Athens finished up, packing, etc–I’ve basically worn leggings and a long tee shirt everyday. This is truly the life, even if it’s just for a short magnificent time. But when the weather kicks into gear, I’m looking forward to wearing my new DKNY peacoat that I got for Christmas!! We found it on sale on Black Friday and I could not be more excited. It makes me feel quite fancy.

RESOLVING – to be more intentional. With the time that I spend with friends, the food that I eat, and the decisions that I make.

Naked funfetti cake

I wonder how completely not like this Pinterest cake mine will look when I get it done?

Before you go, make sure to check out the new card listed in our Etsy shop!

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I hope you have a fantastic week!

-Rachel

To the B

In the spirit of thankfulness, I want to tell you a little bit about one important place that contributed to a lot of my growth over these past four and a half years.

When I was making plans to come to UGA, my parents pushed me to get involved in a campus ministry. I chose the Baptist Collegiate Ministries because… I was baptist. Scarlett and I came in looking for friends so we showed up for one of the first events in August 2010. We were welcomed by friendly faces that I still know today.

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When I think back to all of the high points of college, many of them are connected to BCM. What I didn’t know before college is that a great part of spiritual growth is having a strong community around you. I found that in mission trips to New Orleans and NYC. I found the community in the first small group I had ever been in. I found it in the hours between classes spent on the old couches, getting no work done at all. I especially found a strong community in Dinner Theater when I chose to get involved in that the last two years.

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I think one important thing I had to learn is that BCM is far from perfect. I believe God led me there to not only show me what I had been lacking in my faith, but to also teach me how to grow in an imperfect ministry. I also learned that a student ministry is not church! I’m thankful that I had friends there who helped me get connected to different churches in Athens where I could explore and also learn that–surprise–no church is perfect either!

I stuck with BCM because it didn’t take long for me to feel like it was home. Through my experiences there, I gained a stronger relationship with Christ and a desire to continue growing, friends that I love, mentors that I trust, and also a future husband. That doesn’t hurt. 🙂

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I’ll always be thankful for the welcoming arms of the people there who made me want to come back. For the upperclassmen who invited me to their apartments and showed me hospitality. That spirit of invitation led us to have an apartment where people were always encouraged to stop by. I’ll always be thankful for movie nights, tailgating, paint wars, long van rides, and delicious dinners cooked by Mr. Lee.

Thanks. 🙂

November

I think it’s time for another post. Things are happening around here.

I just finished up my student teaching semester. How did it go by so fast? I feel like I was just driving to my first day in the pitch black morning.

Someone reminded me the other day of how many changes and giant life moments are ahead for me, but for some reason, this hasn’t sunk in yet. I know these things are happening: graduation, my two-family Christmas, moving back home, planning a wedding, executing that wedding in April, moving to a new city/state, finding my place in said city/state, learning how to BE MARRIED…I think that’s about it for now. Why am I not freaking out yet?

For now, my focus should be on finishing up final papers for school. But instead my focus has been mostly on Etsy shop business. I probably drive everyone crazy posting about all of the new Christmas prints, but I’m just so excited about them!

IMG_9462Next week I’m going home and actually riding with my parents to visit my dad’s family in Kentucky. I plan on using that car ride to read all 19 of the books that I’m in the middle of. I’m exaggerating, but it’s seriously terrible how many books I’m currently in the middle of. After this, one book at a time. Maybe.

A couple of weekends ago, Ben and I had our friend Duane take some engagement pictures…we only have one back so far and I’m reallllly excited to see the rest! And by the way, those pictures are more awkward than they appear. The first thing Duane told me was to sit in between Ben’s legs. I just gave him a weird look. But what I learned is that you should always trust a Romanian med student. More to come later!

duane1I also had my sweet friend Michele Houston take some graduation pictures for me so I can send out some announcements. So, she obviously did a great job.

RachelGaddis_Finished-4 RachelGaddis_Finished-31 RachelGaddis_Finished-24Along with the end of student teaching has come extra morning time for me to ease into the day and feel no rush to get my quiet time done. Today, as I was doing the She Reads Truth study on thankfulness, I really felt like the verses hit home for me. Isaiah 40:8 –

The grass withers, the flower fades,

but the word of our God will stand forever.

and Job 19:25-26

25  For I know that my Redeemer lives,

and at the last he will stand upon the earth.

26  And after my skin has been thus destroyed,

yet in my flesh I shall see God,

The post talks about how as children, we think everything in life is permanent. We think this is how life will be forever. As we grow up we learn that people come and go, circumstances change, and your setting will be different. In college, I think we take on the opposite view as we did as children. Nothing is permanent. Your friends today won’t be your friends in a year. You won’t even live in the same apartment or dorm. You won’t be taking the same classes. I think I’ve been running  crazy circles around God for years and one thing I’m comforted to remember is that He has not changed at all. He remains the same everyday and will continue to do so.

Thief of Joy

I read this article recently called “Don’t Judge a Book By It’s Cover or a Couple By Their Instagram.” The blogger who wrote this was talking about how we tend to look at social media and compare our relationships to the beautiful pictures we see of couples. We think, “Wow, they look so happy. My relationship isn’t as sweet and loving as theirs.” Or maybe you might think, “Will I find someone like that someday?” These thoughts of insecurities can be endless.

Cute Pinterest couple I have swooned over and envied.

Cute Pinterest couple I have swooned over and envied.

I’ll admit, this article stuck with me. I’m guilty of the comparison trap. I compare my relationship with Ben to those of my already-married friends or my also-engaged friends. I fear that we’re the only couple who argues or can be selfish from time to time. I peruse Pinterest and wedding blogs for inspiration and only find myself measuring our future marriage against the ones I’m reading about. I often feel like I have to portray us as the perfect couple so that others will admire us and think we’re heading towards a successful marriage. It’s a sad truth.
The last time I posted, I told the story of how Ben and I got engaged. My first draft was terrible. I started it out thinking about other posts I had read from girls who had told their engagement stories. These stories were laced with perfection. They raved about how surprised they were and how perfect the scenery was around them, etc. I stopped halfway through my attempt to mimic this style because I realized that if I wrote that post, I would be putting up a front. I would have been leaving out the real life details–such as that I was super sweaty and freaking out at the possibility of the ring not going on my finger.  I took out the filter and told it like it was, and it felt really good to do that.

So happy. So sweaty.

So happy. So sweaty.

[Can I also just be honest and say that I had a massive bruise on my knee that day? When Ethan showed me the pictures, I immediately asked if he could edit that bruise out. I’m not gonna say that I wish he hadn’t. I’m not that vulnerable, people. I just thought I would let you know. This bruise was disgusting. ]

So I’m here to say this to myself and to anyone else who is struggling with these thoughts: it is perfectly fine to admit that your relationship has flaws. In fact, I wish more people would start doing that! I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of feeling like I have to carefully consider the caption on my Instagram post about getting to spend the day with my fiance so that everyone will know how happy we are.
Wouldn’t we all feel better if we just stopped with the comparing? The insecurities? The fear?
Ol Teddy Roosevelt said it best: “Comparison is the thief of joy.”

"Ugh! Was McKinley a more handsome President than me?!?!?"

“Ugh! Was McKinley a more handsome President than me?!?!?”

2 Corinthians 10:12 says,
“We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.” (NIV)
Straight up truth. I can only pray that I can take these words and put them into action–to stop measuring my success by others’. Instead, shouldn’t I be asking, “How does mine and Ben’s relationship measure up to what God wants?”
Join me in taking down the walls that cover our imperfections. As the author of the blog post wrote, “us being imperfect makes Jesus more important and necessary. Our failings and our weaknesses in our relationships point to Jesus.”

Final thought: I love Benjamin Ward Carter more than I’ll ever say in a caption because I don’t have to share that with Facebook or Instagram to know that our relationship is God-centered or awesome. It’s between us and God. I hope I can hold myself to that standard from now on.

What you see: Aww I love Ben, he's so cute and we are so cute! What it is: He better be smiling with his teeth this time, or else. Oh, good, he is, cool.

What you see: Aww I love Ben, he’s so cute and we are so cute!
What it is: He better be smiling with his teeth this time, or else. Oh, good, he is, cool.

Good Mornings

I don’t know about y’all, but the way I start out my morning often sets the tone for the rest of the day. Yesterday, I turned off all of my alarms in my sleep and woke up way too late for school. I felt totally undone the entire day and I came home feeling pretty rough.

Today, I woke up in a good mood. And somehow, that good mood lasted all day! I started to notice that things were just going my way. The kindergarteners were saying sweet things to me and just being really great today. I thanked God for each of them and felt myself smiling all throughout the day. Later, I took a moment to read the comments on our featured post on Madison’s blog, Wetherills Say I Do. Wow, that filled up my bucket, as we say in kindergarten. Just reading those made me feel even better. I thanked God again. I smiled some more. Then after school, I went by this new store in Athens that’s basically the Christian version of Anthropoligie. Does it get any better than that? Athens friends, go to Philanthropy. (Across from Creature Comforts, next to Ted’s Most Best [aka the best pizza place ever]). They donate 10% of your purchase to ministries in Athens! I made friends with the girl working there, and when she learned that I had an Etsy shop, she excitedly told me that she had heard of us and offered me so much encouragement. I left feeling so filled up and encouraged again. I noticed myself being friendlier to anyone I interacted with. I kept thinking, why can’t everyday be like this?

Maybe it can. Maybe if I start my days out thanking God for the good things instead of focusing on each flaw or mistake that I make, then I will end the day feeling spiritually renewed and thankful for what He’s blessed me with. I could’ve chosen to dwell in the mistake I made when I was being observed today at school, or all of the things I didn’t get checked off my to-do list. But instead I started counting my blessings. Today, I felt like it truly was well with my soul, and I liked that feeling!

Anyway, the rest of the evening was pretty great as well. I got to talk to someone in a downtown shop about selling some East West Design Co greeting cards there. It looks like our Athens greeting cards and the Georgia Home Sweet Home cards will soon be sold in stores!!! More details on that later. I couldn’t be more excited.

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Also, this happened tonight. There’s nothing like an impulsive trip to Target with friends, you know? The phrases “Um, I want to buy everything” and “I think I need these candles” were said multiple times, and Scarlett and I did both leave with candles.

TOMORROW. Only a few hours away. Jessica and I are finally heading to North Carolina for Emily Freeman’s writer’s conference: At The Barn. I can’t believe we’re doing this. I’m still not sure if this is for me. But something told me to go for it, even if I have to miss the Tennessee game tomorrow. I can’t wait to see how this will turn out and I know that it’s going to be a day of growth for us. We’re starting out the day in our sweat pants because…why would we wear our cute clothes in the car for 4 hours? And then we’re stopping in Charlotte for lunch, which I am PUMPED about because I’ve never been there. Pray for us, y’all.

What a wonderful friend. I love her dearly.

What a wonderful friend. I love her dearly.

september1Oh, uh here’s a nerdy student teacher moment…next week is apple week at school. I am a little bit too excited about this. A lot of apples will be eaten.

Custom South Carolina state print for a customer.

Custom South Carolina state print for a customer. Click here to order yours!

And just a little bit of extra, because I can’t resist pushing the shop on you guys in every post. 🙂

Thanks for reading!