2017

In my last post, I covered a few topics that I feel passionately about. However, they were more serious than I usually keep my posts and I’d like to now share with you some good things that went down in 2016, and my hopes for the coming year.

I learned to stand on my own two feet.

Albeit not always successfully, but I’ve become, as Grace likes to put it, “A Grown Ass Woman” since my parents left in July. I’ve held down my job for over a year, and while working part time, I got A’s and B’s for the third semester in a row.

 

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One of those B’s is in Biology…That’s right people, I CAN SCIENCE!!

 

Along with that, I bought my own groceries and managed to still pay most of my school bills. I’m still having a hard time with those pesky overdue library books though…

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True story Charlie Brown…

 

I made friends with my roommate and have managed to work with her to rearrange our room, and make it closer to what the both of us want…I still can’t get away from those posters though…

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Isn’t it beautiful…?

Hands down, the best thing to happen to me this year has been Mark.

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This kooky and amazing young man has been my stalwart knight this year. His kindness, affection, joy, and faith both in me and even more so in God has been a constant help in this season of change and stress. He is the first to remind me to pray about what’s bothering me, and the first to remind me to pray for those I love. He’s the first to encourage me when I’m feeling lost, or concerned about what’s going on around me. He’s the first to comfort me when I’m hurt, angry, sad, or having an epic spiraling existential crisis of a panic attack.

He makes me laugh, boisterous, crazy, wild laughter of the kind that only Hope and Grace have managed to wheedle out of me.

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We’re riding a merry-go-round…yes, we’re six, yes, we’re okay with it.

He never fails to do so… even when I’m upset with him he manages to make me smile, and I find it nearly impossible to stay angry. Hell, I think I can only really admit to being ready to yell at him once, and even then, I’m learning carefully to let go of moments of anger and I’m finding that grace comes easily when you care deeply for someone.

We dance so easily together. Our “offstage” chemistry, translates to our dancing, and I find him easier to follow than anyone I’ve ever danced with. You could attribute it to constant practice together, but I prefer to credit our trust in one another, and our natural habit to fall in step and in sync.

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As President and Vice-President of our swing dancing club, we’re constantly doing demonstrations and teaching basic skills.

We don’t dance much right now. In April, Mark tore his ACL and is out of commission following a reconstructive surgery on the muscle. He’s walking again, and we’re all thanking God and continuing to pray for his safe and speedy recovery…he doesn’t like to be stuck sitting around, and he has been for far too long. He’s a nearly impossible patient, and often refuses to sit still, but he’s getting there. 😉

Which brings me to his family. His wonderful, fun, supportive, all around great family. They’ve welcomed me with open arms, and a whole bunch of fun. A weekend with them is a weekend well spent, full of meaningful conversations, video gaming, poking fun at one another, and amazing food. I’m so thankful for how they’ve given me a chance to get to know all of them, and how they’ve gotten to know me. Christmas came with a gift from them I couldn’t have expected. The new pair of Docs was an amazing beautiful gift, and I was so happy with it, I cried. Their welcome, and acceptance of the strange creature that is America is just as amazing, more so, because I often find that it’s hard for people to do. I’m so thankful for that.

Mark is a goof, he’s constantly cracking jokes, or stealing my glasses…

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But. When I need him to stop and talk to me, and listen. He does. He’s taken and is still taking the time to learn my quirks, my habits, my small changes in facial expression that mean I’m actually having an internal panic attack and need someone to pull me aside and tell me it’s okay. He’s figured out that I’ve been locking things away for so long, that it takes poking and prodding and ten times of asking me if I’m okay, knowing I’m not, to get me to tell anyone what’s wrong. He’s coming to understand that I don’t distrust him, in fact, he’s one of the few I trust, but that I have an issue with being vulnerable. I hate it. Crying doesn’t make me feel better, it makes me feel small, and I don’t like being small, or potentially weak in someone else’s eyes. I’ve found, with him, it’s okay to be vulnerable, and to cry…I’ve done my fair share of that this year, more than I have in a long time, and that’s okay, because he listens, and he talks with me, and he doesn’t dismiss it as just being emotional.

I could go on forever about him, but I’ll end with this. Mark has a beautiful, energetic, kind, and loving soul. He’s almost universally liked, and he makes friends wherever he goes. He is handsome, not just physically, but he exudes the kind of handsome that only comes from a person that is strong in their faith and lets the Spirit work in them.

 

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He has a strong moral compass, a love for children, and dreams for a bright future. He sees God’s work in the tiny everyday things we pass, constantly pointing out His creation in the nature around campus, or in an insect that he finds online. He is seeking Christ passionately, and encouraging me to do the same. I couldn’t ask for more in a partner, and that’s what I feel we are more than anything else. Partners. In relationship, in crime 😉 , in learning, in fun, in whatever God leads us to do. My prayer for this new year of 2017 is that God will lead us in this relationship, that he will continue to teach us about each other, and that we grow in Him, and follow His plan, not ours. Whatever that may be.

“Men can be such jerks, but then…God created Italians.”

I’m thankful for my wonderful Italian Spider-Mark, may 2017 be just as wonderful, and more so than 2016.

Much Love,

MAE ❤

 

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Grace The Great

To my amazing Gracie on her 19th birthday… I know… I’m late.

Deal with it.

You like me too much to care.

This is for you:

Grace, you are so wonderfully amazing. Today, yesterday, and all the days.

For almost eight long years, you’ve stood by my side without qualms. Sure, there were a few years in the middle that we lost contact, but those only matter because we both grew, and came back with a stronger basis for our friendship.

Today, on this, the start of your 19th year, I want to remind you of a few things:

You are BEAUTIFUL

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Seriously, look at you. Even in that tiger onesie, you’re gorgeous. And, I might add, effortlessly glamorous…

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I mean seriously, you’re Marilyn Monroe reincarnate, albeit, a geeky homeschooled version, but, you’re just plain gorgeous.

You are so f****** STRONG

You have seen some s***, real and hard, but you have not only overcome it, you have blossomed.

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I cannot even imagine what it is to live through what you have, and still manage to have such a beautiful outlook on the world and the people in it. Your grace (no pun intended) abounds for everyone, even those who annoy you the most, and your heart goes out to those in need, so much so, that I worry that you care for others more often than you care for your own needs. Your determination in this and many other matters is something I envy at times, and your fierce wit is something I can only aspire to someday match.

I remember running around in your backyard, taking photos (something you were prodigiously talented at even then) like it wasn’t almost five years ago. We were some crazy kids back then….and still making questionable hair decisions…

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Your excitement for life is abounding, insane, and without end. Even on your worst days, you can’t help but find excitement in the small and inconspicuous aspects of our daily monotony.

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You love unconditionally. Your siblings, your friends, my sister, me, your grandmother, your parents. All are your people, all matter to you so much, that your anger when they are injured, or disrespected, is uncontainable. And your joy in their presence, the same.

You are so damned confident. I often can’t believe how confident you are. I couldn’t go out into the world doing half the things you do and come out the other side bravely. I’d be a complete mess. This confidence exudes in your every action, I know you like to say “Fake it till you make it” a wonderful cliche, but really you don’t fake it as much as you’d like us to think. You are just that confident in yourself, even if you don’t realize it yet.

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Lastly my friend, you’re such a beautiful soul, brave, kind, and good too. You make me laugh, with reckless abandon, so, a few lifetime quotes to end….

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“Get your vehicle out of the driveway Zach!”

“YOLO Bitches”

“Lord have Mercy……….On his soul…..”

and finally, always remember….

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“BUTT CONFIDENCE!!!!!!!”

Happy Birthday Grace, may 19 be one of the best,

Much love, and don’t you dare forget it,

Mae

 

 

Falling Off the Horse

Hello all. It’s been far too long since I posted anything. I don’t have a video for you yet :/ life’s been crazy and I’ve had very little motivation to get anything done that isn’t an absolute necessity. However, I do have a life update, so here we go!

I’m no longer moving in with my grandparents for the school year. My father (spreadsheet maker extraordinaire) helped me figure out my finances so that I can live on campus this year! Which is SUPER exciting!! I got my roommate assignment, we’ve been talking a bit, and she seems pretty cool 🙂 Those of you who are praying individuals can be praying that we get along as well in person as we have over text message.

(For those of you who are wondering, yes, in my last post I did mention a boyfriend. 😀 however, for now, he chooses to remain out of the spotlight, so no posts about him for the time being. Maybe someday 😉 )

My parents and sister made it safely to the sunny shores of California. IMG_5060

Where they are enjoying the sun, the surf, and the multitude of opportunities that await them.

Grace is around a lot right now. We spend a lot of time going on mini adventures, and wreaking havoc on the populace. haha, not really, but we do get ourselves in trouble. 😉

I think that’s all for now…

OH! My next post will be oriented around questions that you (my lovely readers) have for me. So please, comment with any questions you may have, and I’ll answer as many as possible!

Love to all, as always,

Mae

 

 

Quiet and Chaos

So, as many of you may, or may not, at this point know, by mid to late July my parents are packing up our house, my little sister, and Minnalouche the meow, and moving to California. That’s right. California. Land of beaches, Disney Land, Hollywood, YouTubers galore, and most importantly, Silicon Valley.

See, for the past few years, my dad has been slowly training himself in the art of web development, and as it turns out, he’s pretty amazing at it. He’s done a ton of stuff to improve the website for his current employer, but he’s also built websites as a freelance developer for local companies. He’s ready, after 8 years (maybe more) with this company, to move on, and he discovered that he really can’t find the kind of work he’s looking for here. So…the question that has come up several times in the 10 years of my parents’ marriage reared its ugly head once more:  “Do we stay here, in a job that isn’t going anywhere anymore? Or, do we uproot and move across the country?”

Honestly, I think for dad, this was always going to be the final decision. He’s originally from Santa Cruz, and California has SO many opportunities for people in his field.

Of course…that leaves me.

What was I going to do? I’m settled at a good school, I’ve got close friends, a steady boyfriend, a steady job, and have finally settled into a place where I don’t feel like the “odd one out.” I fit where I am, for the first time in a really long time. So I chose to stay here, which of course brought with it its own set of questions. “Will I live on campus?” “Where will I live during the summer?” “Will I live in Cali during that time, and only be here for the school year?” “Can I even afford to stay on campus?”

Thankfully, my in state grandparents answered a fair amount of those questions, and the prayers we’d been sending out. They have an empty(ish) bedroom, and are both in state, and close enough to school that I’m not adding too much time to my commute. This means, I don’t have to live on campus, and I don’t have to move to California.

However, this also means that I will be living, not only apart from my family for the first time, but an entire country (almost) away.

I’ve been asked a lot how I’m feeling about this. By friends, family, my boyfriend asks constantly if I’m okay. And, I tell them, over and over, “I’m fine, it doesn’t bother me that much.” and “I’ll be okay, this is the right thing.”

Here’s the thing that they all know, I’m sure, but aren’t going to say to me, because they know how stubborn I am. I’m not okay. I just can’t say it aloud. I can barely write it. The days are stressful, and I’m basically panicking half the time. I spend a lot of time shrugging it off, and hanging out with friends, distancing myself from the situation.

I heard somewhere that a blog is supposed to be like a diary, only it’s public, and you have to be willing to be vulnerable. I’m not. Never have been. Probably my epic trust issues coming to the surface, but I don’t cry in front of people, and I don’t release my feelings very well.

So…In an effort to release some of them:

  1. I wrote this post. No it’s not all that I’m feeling, no, you probably won’t hear the rest of it here, but hopefully this has broken some of the ice still lingering.
  2. I recorded another video.

This song is from the musical version of Roald Dahl’s Matilda. It’s called quiet, and it pretty much sums up how it feels to be surrounded by stress, and how I feel a lot of the time right now. There are so many thoughts running through my head at once, that it’s a sort of chaos, and I’m not sure how to express it to those around me.

 

Love to all, As always,

Mae

P.S. Please click the title of the video and go watch on YouTube if you can.

 

Museum Visit

So, no singing today, as between work and a fun visit this morning I haven’t had time to record another video. Instead, I’m going to highlight a few of my favorite things at the Public Museum here in Grand Rapids.

We’ll start with the new Wildlife Explorer exhibit. It’s a National Geographic exhibit, that’s only visiting for a few months before it travels to the next town. Usually these smaller traveling exhibits aren’t that great, kind of small, and kid based, not something I’m often too interested in, but I have to admit that this particular exhibit was pretty cool.

It featured a dog sled (pulled here by my little sister’s porcupine Pricilla) and a scuba diver:

And a giant polar bear, who my sister was approached in trepidation at first:

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But they were fast friends after that:
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It was a pretty great exhibit, and a cool learning opportunity for kids like my sister who love animals and all the special things that make them amazing.

The rest of the trip was spent visiting some old haunts. I’ve been to this particular museum a hundred times, and I know most of the exhibits’ little quirks and secrets. My two favorites are the Spillman Carousel, and “Old Grand Rapids.”

The Spillman Carousel was built in 1928 and is still in working order. In fact, its music still plays music from the original Wurlitzer Band Organ!

 

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Not the best picture…but there were about 40 screaming children getting off the carousel at the time…best I could do.

The main carousel is made up of 44 hand carved horses, with real horse hair tails. They’re all painted in bright colors and dressed to the nines in their jeweled saddles and bridles. There are also two chariots, and, besides the horses, a whale, a tiger, a giraffe, a deer, a goat, and a camel.

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This guy was my riding companion today. Pretty handsome, don’t you think? 😉

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Rides are only a dollar, and if you’re a museum member, they’re free, as many times as you want to ride. 🙂 Little sister and I have taken advantage of that fact many, many times.

My very favorite part of the museum though, is “Old Grand Rapids.” A cobblestoned and historically accurate blast from the past, this exhibit hosts many different venues, often manned by museum volunteers in period (turn of the century) costume.

There’s a grocer, which is packed to the brim with both real and fake goods. For example, the boxes of cereal and other goods of that kind, are all real. However, the wonderful looking cherry pie on the counter? Not so much.

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There’s the print shop, which wasn’t manned today, but usually has a volunteer making museum bookmarks on their pedal powered printing press.

There’s also Rudell Drug Store, which is not just a replica. This is the actual store, that was transplanted “as is” to the museum after it closed. There’s an old school soda fountain, a crazy cool cash register, and my favorite bit, all the old medicine’s and perfume bottles. They all still have the original liquids and medicines in them!

Of course, a trip to Turn of the Century GR wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Herpolsheimer’s. Those of you in the know concerning the literature world, will know that this store was featured in Chris Van Allsberg’s famous Polar Express. The museum has recreated the iconic storefront, and filled it with items left over from the store’s glory years.

Of course, the surrounding streets are just as exciting. There’s an antique car, the train station at the entrance, a horse drawn street car, and an old fashioned bicycle that you can actually ride, and much more!

That’s only a small taste of what we visited and revisited today, there are so many more exhibits to see, and so much more to interact with. It’s hardly ever boring, and with a multitude of events year round, the museum is keeping it’s patrons busy and interested.

Hopefully I’ll have another video for you guys in the next few days, but for now…

Love to all, as always,

Mae

 

Letter to my Little Sister

Dear Kate,

You are beautiful, you are strong. You annoy the HELL out of me, but you’re my beautiful courageous little sister and I love you.

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You have a HUGE personality, one that constantly gets me an “Oh my GOSH! Your little sister is SO CUTE!” Which usually gets the “If you lived with her she wouldn’t be so cute” response from me. The truth is that I’m jealous of your carefree attitude towards life, the things that make you cry are so trivial and your innocence is makes me wish I could return to age four.

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You’re imagination is ten times the size of any other kid I know, don’t lose that. Ever.

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Even though you constantly drive me batty, with your incessant interruptions and constant noise making, I can’t help loving you.

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You’re my little sister, someone that I had hoped and prayed for for a very long time before you were born. Maybe you contradict me every few sentences. Maybe you make it hard for me to have a serious conversation with anyone because you HAVE to have your say. None of that matters, as you would say after we’ve had a fight, “Sisters forever! Right Mae?” Yeah Kate, you’re right, you’re gonna grow up, and there’s probably gonna be some times when we hate each other, but at the end of the day, we’re gonna stick together, because you’re right.

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Sisters Forever…

Stuff and things

I’m rubbish at math. And by rubbish I mean that most of the time it looks like this:

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I’m sure I’m not the ONLY person in the world who has trouble with math, but it does make some aspects of my life harder. For instance, I have to take the ACT this June. I’m good in all of the subjects except…you guessed it. Math. So I’m working with a tutor every Wednesday. My tutor is a Bio/Chem major who likes sports… While the Bio/Chem part comes in handy for math tutelage, we have very little in common. So, at the end of the session when we run to the cafe for a free coffee, we have nothing to talk about and sit there in awkward silence until one of us thinks of something to say… I’m a pretty social person, so this is hard for me. 

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On another note, today is dress rehearsal #2 for Les Mis. We made it all the way through the show last night! YAY! And most of us got to go home before midnight! This was completely unexpected. Anyway, seeing everyone in costume was great! Some of the scenes made a lot more sense when the costumes (and all of the props) were added. Tonight should go more smoothly and we should be done even sooner than last night. (Knock on wood)

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I’ve also begun to notice the extreme amount of superstition in the Theater community a lot more than I used to. For instance, people are constantly saying things, then knocking on the wood of the stage. (Hence the “Knock on wood” above) The other thing is that everyone believes that Civic is haunted. While I don’t believe in ghosts, I do believe in the power of suggestion. So when you’re constantly hearing that the Peanut Gallery, or the backstage  area, or the flies are haunted, being there late at night can cause you to start seeing things that aren’t there. I learned a long time ago not to let that kind of suggestion get to me. I have two extremes, either I won’t care about the stories and they won’t bother me. Or I’ll let them get into my head and send me into what I call THE SPIRAL OF DOOM!

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This usually ends with me crying in a corner and hiding from everyone…Why is a spiral of doom? Because I spiral out of control and end up in a hole I can’t climb out of by myself. I associate that with spirals, not sure why. I just do.

So. Yeah. Another fun adventure into my brain!

Love to all, As always,

Mae