hail, all hail.

whew! it has been such a busy week.

in the future, so you know, any week leading up to or surrounding a celebratory holiday, you can pretty much count on me being out-of-sight for at least a few days.

because i’m sure it’s your greatest concern.

one big part of my job is that i plan all of our events and parties, etc.

this morning we had an easter egg hunt, which also included a breakfast.

and if you’ve done any sort of event-planning at all, you understand that this means you run around like a crazy person for at least three days prior.

hi, i’m the crazy person.


last year, i was still setting up the breakfast while the easter egg hunt was happening so i didn’t get to participate.

but…this year…


i got to participate!




and it is so funny to me how clever and creative god is when he blesses us. due to a little fender bender i might have caused a few weeks ago, i have had a few extra expenses lately for which i hadn’t budgeted. thankfully, i’ve had a lot of extra work in the last few weeks and, for all the extra cash flow i’ve needed, god has provided all of it. ALL OF IT. today was no exception.

yesterday, my two bosses and i stuffed over 600 eggs which included some cash prizes and others like a gas card and a restaurant gift card.

besides a whole lot of candy, i won $27.00 in cash prizes and a gift card to outback steakhouse, which i’m going to give to my friend david because he was looking in the right spot, just not quite hard enough. not only that, but i won an extra $10.00 for finding the most eggs! $37.00 is a lot of money to me, and money that i can definitely use.

* * * * * * * * * *

in addition to all the easter fun -because what is easter if not a celebration of the resurrection of our king AND CASH PRIZES AND CHOCOLATE- i also sang in the final chamber singers concert at my alma mater. we got a new president last fall and some real shady changes are taking place over there, including doing away with the whole music program all together.

(even though two of our professors were tenured.)

(which means, legally, they can’t be fired unless an institution is under financial duress.)

(but they were and it isn’t.)

(and even though there is an endowment in the name of mr. smith’s father.)

(and there are students who are music majors.)

(see? SHADY.)

it was so surreal to be singing there again, especially standing next to some of the same girls i stood there with 12-15 years ago. we laughed and cried and cut up the way we used to do, as if nothing had ever changed…except that everything’s changed. and i’m grateful for the gift life offered me to be a part of something so special for a time.

while there, i was able to thank mr. smith and ms. vance. i don’t think they realized how they truly parented me during that time. i’m not sure if i realized the full value of their care until i was far enough removed from it.

my parents were the chairs of the parent’s association for my first two years of college. it was after my first year that they seperated; after my second, they got divorced. my school was very small, all women, and i wasn’t exactly a shrinking violet there. that is, most folks knew my business, somehow or another.

but it was my music professors who always held their doors open for me, to talk or not talk if i wanted, either way. i cried with each of them {more than} a few times. they were very gracious and patient with me as i learned to balance life as a young adult and busy college student while i still felt like a little girl. they entertained my whimsy, encouraged my talent and looked me in the eye and spoke truth in love to my heart.

i will always be grateful for them, along with my theatre and art professors, for loving and caring for me so well.

and so, it was bittersweet to be on stage again for the last time under the direction of two of the finest, most gifted people i know, jim smith and jennie vance.

especially because i don’t think i’ll return to the campus ever again.

{by the way, that’s my beautiful light of god sister-friend catherine with me in the middle there, just so you can put a face to her name. i’ve mentioned her before, and surely will again.}

* * * * * * * * * *

this is mr. ritchie. (or ‘the reason i graduated from college’.)

during my final semester, i took 23 hours, which included a studio art class, performing in two theatre productions and chamber singers. and while it would seem like those wouldn’t be difficult and probably enjoyable, you can imagine they were also incredibly time-consuming and equal parts exhausting & energizing because when i wasn’t studying for my regular classes, i was logging hours in the art studio, at rehearsal for plays or traveling with the ensemble choir.

this, in addition to being in the library all hours of the night doing research for my senior paper.

plus, i was a resident assistant.

and also i worked part-time for the ymca early in the morning three days a week.

math has been my arch-nemesis for all of my life, WHICH IS PUTTING IT MILDLY. i enjoy math BUT I AM JUST NOT GOOD AT IT. never have been. i actually have a slight learning disability that directly applies to subjects like math and science. (remind me to tell you what my geometry teacher told me one time. it’s rich.)

so, in the second semester of my senior year in college, besides all that i mentioned above, i went to see mr. ritchie every. single. day. for extra help.

after all, this was only the second time i had taken college algebra.

still, for all those hours i was working my tail off, this was the only class i was in danger of not passing. even after all the help he was giving me. (i have tremendous test anxiety that always caused me to second-guess myself and/or make careless mistakes.)

i didn’t find out until college that i was ADD, which afforded me a private room and unlimited time to take tests. (being in a room full of people who always finished tests before me only made worse my paralyzing anxiety.)

(by the way, so you know, just because i have a learning ‘difference’ -which, again, really only affects things like math and science- and i’m ADD, i’m no idiot. i always excelled in areas of literature and the fine arts.)

(if/when i applied myself.)

(plus, i’ve got my street smarts.)


my algebra exam was my last exam and it was two days before graduation.

(so, basically, i lived in fear for about 10 days.)

when everyone else had finished, mr. ritchie came into the room next door where i was sweating & writhing turning blue from holding my breath  feverishly working and told me he would be down in his office and kindly encouraged me to take my time.

(seriously? i LOVE THIS MAN.)

it took me FOUR HOURS to finish. i was just. so. terrified. and kept going back to check all of my work.

and then went back to change what i had just fixed.

and then fixed it all over again.

when i finished, i sheepishly wandered across campus to his office and slipped it on his desk and then cried all the way to my room.

i was already late to a dinner my theatre director was hosting for his seniors so, in a foggy haze, i got in my car and headed downtown.

in my pajamas.

(it would seem as though i had been up for a good 36 hours, using up every spare minute i had for studying and not bathing.)

the next morning, the phone rang early, waking me up.

‘mary kathryn?’


‘this is mr. ritchie,’ he said sweetly.

‘yes?’ (voice trembling.)

‘i just wanted you to know…you needed an 82 on your exam in order to pass the class.’


‘and you made an 84.’

i hung up that phone, jumped out of bed, ran down the stairs, down the hall, into his office and threw my arms around that man, never more grateful for a teacher or a passing grade in all my life.

i’ve never worked harder for, or been more proud of, a ‘d’ in my whole life.

can’t call me an underachiever.

* * * * * * * * * *

may you receive unexpected easter blessings and be filled to overwhelming with gratitude for the folks in your life who have made the greatest impact.

{and may you always know that you have followed in their footsteps well.}


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15 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Sharon O
    Apr 21, 2011 @ 14:52:00

    I have always said especially recently that gratitude of the heart changes our perspective on many things. In fact the little one who I babysit at 20 months learned the word ‘gratitude’. I say to her ‘what is your word?’ and she will say with a huge smile ‘gratitude’… reminding her it means giving thanks. We have much to be thankful for.
    Have a wonderful weekend.

    • mary kathryn tyson
      Apr 25, 2011 @ 13:48:07

      sharon, i love that you have taught her the word ‘gratitude’. it’s something that is very important in aa also. one suggestion we make to one another is to keep a gratitude list every day so we don’t get self-absorbed and can see how god moves in our lives. love this, sharon. thanks. xo

  2. Angela
    Apr 21, 2011 @ 15:06:19

    Reading this post put a smile on my face, and in my heart. It is such a blessing to have people who support, encourage, and impact our lives in such a positive way. I am grateful for those who have done the same for me. I wouldn’t be who I am today if it weren’t for them. I know each of these special people in your life are all proud of the woman you’ve become. Many blessings to you this weekend as well. :)

  3. onegirl4god
    Apr 21, 2011 @ 15:49:30

    Whew! That’s a lot to take in! Jesus’ resurrection, chocolate, and winning prizes? Who would love that! It’s nice to read about people helping people succeed in life! ADD and learning difficulties? You and me both! I have not ever been diagnosed but, I am sure there are difficulties. Maybe someday I will have a name for my difficulties. Enjoyed the post!


    • mary kathryn tyson
      Apr 25, 2011 @ 13:50:27

      i could tell you the whole story but i think it may be hurtful to some folks. suffice it to say, i knew all of my life that i had learning ‘differences’ but just worked around them. plus, they didn’t apply to every aspect of my school-life, so it was hard to identify. didn’t learn about it officially until my senior year of high school, and then ADD my freshman year of college.

      i say it’s just part of our charm. :)


  4. kfsullivan
    Apr 21, 2011 @ 18:05:57

    So great the hear a little more about this season of your life. I’m glad you were able to spend some time with those dear souls who helped you to be who you are today!

    And I was glad to see you back on the blog, just sharing the turnings of your days ( in your always delightful style.) You don’t have to bring any more than that to make me smile.

    love you

  5. Melissa
    Apr 21, 2011 @ 20:19:25

    School subjects… I’m your arch nemesis in math minus that whole calculus thing… But socially, I was always termed a late bloomer and my encouragers were and are those who help me relationally. Like my sweet friend Jo. Who once asked me to house sit, primarily so I would have a way out of a tough relational spot.

    Thanks for the stories! And I do want to know what your geometry teacher told you. I’m curious now.

    • mary kathryn tyson
      Apr 25, 2011 @ 13:57:24


      he basically said to me…

      ‘most people who struggle in algebra are successful in geometry. *you* are someone who will never have a job that will require math. so i’m just going to pass you.’

      he actually was a really nice man.

      (and what he said was true. never been hired for my number-skills.)

      i would say i could help you relationally but i’m actually just learning a lot about that even now myself. perhaps we could help one another? :)


  6. Tay
    Apr 22, 2011 @ 00:07:37

    I love Easter egg hunts! I have to ask…where do you work that you get to plan Easter egg hunts and other fun events?! So fun!! :)

    Oh, and I am concerned when you don’t post often! :)

    • mary kathryn tyson
      Apr 22, 2011 @ 08:32:58

      I knew someone would be. :)

      I’m the Executive Assistant for a company who sells office equipment. It’s been family-owned since it opened 40 years ago so, while it’s successful, there are still some grassroots traditions.

      Like Easter Egg Hunts. :)

      (And, yes, it is very fun.)


  7. melissa
    Apr 27, 2011 @ 19:55:34

    Oh, MKT! I’m so so so so sad I couldn’t be at the Chamber Singers concert. It sounds like it was pretty emotional. I wanted so badly so show my support and see old friends like you. Booo for living across the country. Mr. Ritchie is also awesomesauce. I’m going to go cry in a corner now.

  8. Trackback: muy bueno. « beauty for ashes
  9. Trackback: identity crisis. « beauty for ashes

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