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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2016

2016 has been a year of trials, not only for singular members of our society, but for everyone. My second year at Aquinas began with my parents moving across the country, me moving in with my grandparents, and having to figure out a bill of over $1000 monthly to pay tuition as I lived on campus during the school season.

This year we lost many prominent celebrities that hold places in many hearts: 

 

David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Harper Lee, Doris Roberts, Prince, Muhammad Ali, Christina Grimmie, Anton Yelchin, Gene Wilder, Sharon Jones, Ron Glass, E.R Braithwaite, Zsa Zsa Gabor,  George Michael, and Prince are among those we lost this year.

 

Then, just when we thought we could make it through the last of 2016 without losing anyone else that was part of the glue of our favorite fandom Carrie Fisher, our favorite Empire fighting, fun loving, bi-polar, all around wonderful princess passed away on the 27th. Not 24 hours later, her mother the amazingly talented Debbie Reynolds who co-starred alongside Gene Kelly and Donald O’Connor in “Singin’ in the Rain,” passed away as well.

We will never forget these talented individuals.

The nation has also seen troubles of its own: 

*Flint Michigan has been without clean water for too long, people are still suffering effects of the contamination: Please donate or find information on how you can volunteer here: http://www.helpforflint.com/action

Those on the liberal side coped with the loss of their presidential candidate, and those on the conservative celebrated their victory. Along with this election cycle came riots, peaceful protests, and vandalism. It also brought about ruptures in homes, and the workplace. Even our normally tolerant campus lacked peace following the election as many “coped” with the country’s choice.

The election cycle, no matter who took the presidency, opened the eyes of many to the violence and prejudice inherent in our country. There was a resurgence of those groups that are racially and socially prejudiced, as well as a spike in their actions against the LGBTQ community, African-American Individuals, Muslim and Arabic families, immigrants (be they legal or otherwise), and refugees.

This saddens me. That our country could have regressed so far that we are prejudiced, and able to act with such violence of word and deed against our neighbors; that my Facebook feed is constantly full of news of another shooting, or a violent attack on the street; that muslim women should be asked by their families to remove their hijabs in fear of their being attacked on the street, when it is their right, living in the country they do, to freely express their religion in this way. It saddens me, because if someone tried to take the freedoms of the white, Christian communities away in this way, then, and only then, would many people consider it “religious persecution.” Just because we do not believe what they do, or the same way that they chose to worship, does not mean that we have the right to violently attack them, verbally, physically, mentally, on social media or off. Just because we are the majority, does not mean that we have any more rights than those in the minority, or any less for that matter.

The United States was built to be a country of equal opportunity, but we have become so ingrown to our own ideas and ways of life that we cannot possibly accept others. I might remind you that places like New York were built on the backs of immigrants. Not on the rich, white, Christian upper class. To top it all off, the colonies started as an escape from religious persecution in Europe, what we are doing to many minorities today seems to me an echo of what we came to this place to escape.

It has not only been the nation that suffered blows in 2016: 

Europe is making peace with the Brexit, England’s choice to leave the European Union, which, much like our election, left the country torn on many accounts.

Greater than Brexit, is the crisis in Aleppo. This civil war has been going on since 2012, but, as it came to its head these last few months, it began to get more and more media coverage. Aleppo, which as of 2011 was the largest city in Syria, and mainly full of civilians, has been bombed without qualms. Hospitals, schools, and other civilian buildings have been targeted, leaving thousands dead, and thousands injured. Since 2011 there are over 450,000 people dead, at least 50,000 of which are children. This crisis began as a small protest, and has expanded into the war that we are watching today.

During French class last semester when watching the international news, we were hearing more and more reports of Syrian refugees being turned away; The fear, of course, being that, “they might be terrorists.”

Matthew 25:35-40 says For I was hungry, and you gave me to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me to drink; I was a stranger, and you took me in: Naked, and you covered me: sick, and you visited me: I was in prison, and you came to me. Then shall the just answer him, saying: Lord, when did we see thee hungry, and fed thee; thirsty, and gave thee drink? And when did we see thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and covered thee? Or when did we see thee sick or in prison, and came to thee? And the king answering, shall say to them: Amen I say to you, as long as you did it to one of these my least brethren, you did it to me.” 

There are many nations, that although they state they have a separation of church and state, can claim themselves to be a Christian nation. Out of fear, we do not live this…out of fear, we treat customers differently, or go so far as to refuse refugees entry into our country. By rejecting those in need, we also reject Him. He who never rejects us, not even at our lowliest, and who asks us to act as He would…

“Amen I say to you, as long as you did it to one of these my least brethren, you did it to me.” 

I think we all need to remember this going into 2017…

“Amen I say to you, as long as you did it to one of these my least brethren, you did it to me.” 

Food for thought,

Love to all, As Always,

Mae ❤