Blog-tember Challenge: Day 1!

Hi Everyone! I decided to link up with Bailey Jean at the braveloveblog for her 3rd Annual Blog-tember Challenge! Today’s challenge is to introduce yourself!

My name is Mackenzie.
I am 24 years old.
I am married to an amazing man.
I have one giant dog (or you could consider him a small polar bear – his instagram is @practicallypyrfect )

And here is a short game of ‘Would You Rather’ to introduce myself!

  1. Watch, Star Wars, or Star Trek? Star Wars! Side note: it’s my husbands absolute favorite movie/series.
  2. Read on a Kindle or paperback book? Paperback is my favorite. There is nothing like holding a book in your hands.
  3. Go to a play or musical? Musical! And I’ll probably sing whatever musical it is for the next month. I love musicals! I was in musicals in high school, and I go to musicals in NYC whenever I can.
  4. Go to the theater or a movie? Theater!
  5. Hike or bike? I use my bike to get around the city, so I would have to say hiking.
  6. Wear jeans or chinos? Jeans
  7. Crash with friends or stay in a hotel? FRIENDS! Who doesn’t love time with their people!
  8. Visit Europe or Mexico? Europe.
  9. Vacation in Hawaii or Alaska, and why? Alaska; I want to see the mountains, feel the air, and my husband has always wanted to go!
  10. Go skiing or snowshoeing? Snowshoeing. I get farther and I don’t fall down as much!
  11. Travel by plane, train, or automobile? Train! If I have the time, I think train is so much more enjoyable. You see more, you learn more, and I think the experience is more enjoyable.
  12. Enjoy a houseboat or speed boat? HOUSE BOAT! How fun would that be!?
  13. Go climbing or zip lining? Zip lining
  14. Go to a comedy club or dance club? Dance club
  15. Have a night out or evening in? Evening in
  16. Watch TV or read a book? Read a book
  17. Go canoeing or waterskiing? Canoeing
  18. Camp in an RV or stay in a tent? Stay in a tent (possibly with a blow up mattress)
  19. Use Facebook or Twitter? Facebook
  20. Choose a free trip or money? Free trip! Gotta get to Europe somehow!
  21. Win the lottery or find your perfect job? Perfect job
  22. Swim in a pool or the ocean? The ocean. A pool doesn’t have quite the same breeze.
  23. Travel by sailboat or cruise ship? Cruise ship!
  24. Watch sports or play sports? Watch sports
  25. Play dodgeball or kickball? Kickball
  26. Coffee or tea? Tea (preferably at a tea party!)

 

The season of warm tea

While I recognize that most people are lamenting the close of summer, and some are still clinging to wearing shorts as they freeze in this weather, I not only accept fall but I revel in it. I am SO excited about today. The weather is cool and the rain is beating on my window as I write. Autumn is my favorite season. In the summer I have always rushed to get things done. Complained about the heat. And gotten annoyed at how sweat melts away any attempt to look professional by wearing makeup.

Summer means a lot of good things, but Autumn means my favorite things. It is the season that ushers in drinking warm tea. Trader Joe’s sells their Pumpkin Butter and I start to put it on my Gluten Free Toast Every morning. I can wear sweaters and warm fuzzy socks!

This Autumn, I have a new reason to be excited. I will be attending the English Nanny and Governess School to attain my certification as a Professional Governess! I am beyond thrilled to be starting this experience. It means leaving my job as a Nanny in Brooklyn, but it opens the door to being a Governess anywhere! Plus, I am a complete and total nerd. I love to learn. I love classes and books, and to some degree even homework. There is just something about feeling challenged by academia. I am so incredibly excited to start next week… Eleven days until I move in!

So, eventually I will keep packing. But for right now I am going to curl up with a fuzzy blanket, drink my tea, and enjoy catching up on episodes of Once Upon a Time…

Summer Days Driftin Away

Well… I can’t possibly sum up a summer into one post. But I can’t possibly create a thousand posts about my summer. So I am going to try to just share with you the important moments of my summer. Here they are:

June:

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My boyfriends sister got married! It was a crazy weekend of preparation, setting up, laughing until my sides hurt, dancing until my feet hurt, and smiling until I felt my face froze that way. Who could have a better time than surrounded by amazing people and having an amazing time? J and I really enjoyed the time that I got to spend with his family.

July:

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My beautiful Kels, college roommate and best friend, got MARRIED! What an honor to be a bridesmaid and stand next to her. What a gift to see how cherished and loved she is by her now husband. What an amazing and beautiful day… I loved to be there. It was a traditional ceremony and a beautiful family filled lunch after, with laughter and love as the theme of the day. I will never forget gathering my musical friends and singing “Kiss the Girl” to the groom in lieu of tapping a glass. And I will always cherish the look on her face as she walked down the isle toward her groom. Weddings have always been my favorite social event, but so far no wedding has been so special as this one.

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My little brother turned 16 and I was the one who got my drivers licensee. Let me tell you, I was pretty excited to have passed that test without any issues at all. And my brother was pretty excited that I could drive him around instead of my parents. That week I also turned 22. Twenty-Two is my favorite number, so I was pretty excited to start this year. Yes, I sang the Taylor Swift song and will probably continue to do so (at least in my head) when people ask my age. My birthday was a wonderfully quiet day. J took me out on a picnic in an old orchard and we enjoyed a quiet afternoon. And, he made me ribs for dinner, which is arguably the best birthday dinner ever.

August:

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I actually spent the month of August in Spain. I volunteered for two weeks at a Christian camp in Girona, Catalonia, spent five days in Barcelona, and then spent five days in Madrid. At the camp I worked cleaning, cooking, serving the food, cleaning and resetting the tables, and teaching ESL through conversation in the afternoons. We made a music video to the song Happy by Pharell, and no one loved it more than the kids. I felt like a visitor witnessing an amazing culture. To experience the amazing culture Spain had to offer was priceless. I would work again if it meant being able to go again. I’ll probably make another post about Spain. It really deserves it’s own post.

Before leaving for Spain I said goodbye to J. As I was leaving for my European adventure, so was he. He’ll be studying abroad in Lithuania this semester. I couldn’t possibly be more excited for him to have this opportunity! I don’t wish he would stay, I just wish I could go! But… I will be having my own adventure this Autumn, and I am pretty excited about it myself.

So, that is my summer in a nutshell.

Courage

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I love this quote… And what is courage? I quoted this line to myself as I went into an interview last week. I quoted this to my little charge as she fell off a balance beam last September. I whispered it to the little one I watch who bumped into a wall in her endeavor to run on her tip-toes yesterday. So what is it that I am whispering to those children as they grow? What am I telling myself as I walk into brave new worlds? And so began my pondering of the meaning of courage. Here is my feeble gathering of it’s vast definition…

Courage is acting upon truth with conviction. It is standing when you believe you should stand, though your legs threaten to fail beneath you. It is loving when you know it is right, even when your mind is screaming anger and hate. Courage is the roar of a lion in the barren Sahara. Courage is a mother who allows her child to run, and encourages them to try again as they fall. Courage is the child who swims farther then their feet can touch the sand. Courage is as love, an action over a feeling. Courage is the noun created to give meaning to a verb that is too extraordinary for description.

So, what is it that I mean when I repeat, “Courage, dear heart.” I mean to embrace the belief and conviction inside of you. Feel that belief like the lion feels the beginning of a roar tickling their throat. Courage dear heart, you were made to roar.

The Sweet Unexpected…

What could I write about the last week? Bagels? Australia? Hockey? Driving? Interviews? My man coming for a visit? A diamond in the rough purchase during thrift shopping? I could type a hundred sentence that should never string together and it all happened in the last seven days!

One of my best friends found herself in a mid college crisis and needing a beach weekend. Though I warned her that my beach is 23 degrees out, she loved me enough to fly in to this second home anyway! So in she flew, my Sherlock, and off we went on adventures. Many naps, coffees, and bagels later we found ourselves in a thrift store shopping for an interview outfit! In the midst of the 80’s vests, oversized jeans, and insanely creepy dolls scattered about we found some amazingly beautiful thrifting finds. I looked like a professional nanny in the amazing blazer! Sherlock gives the most amazing fashion advice, it was amazing to have her to shop with.

It was even more amazing to have her with me as I zipped off the next day for an unexpected interview for a full time Nanny position. I have to be honest, I have never interviewed for any full time position! I was shaking in my high heels! I had prepped a resume, gone over my techniques for childcare in my head, and read up on a philosophy that I knew the mom adhered to. After waiting twenty minutes in the lounge of the apartment building the mom made it down to interview me. Surprisingly, my nerves disappeared when she sat down to talk to me. I knew what I was talking about, what I had to offer, and what I needed to know. I felt like it went as well as it could have. And even if I never hear back from her, I feel good about the experience!

Later that day I met my Amazing Aussie friend Tori in NYC! She just happened to be visiting and I have not seen her for SEVEN years! We hopped on the train and headed back to my home town to watch my younger brother play hockey. We laughed that Tori learned the National Anthem watching Seventh Heaven on TV. Her exposure to hockey had been the Winter Olympics, so this was a fun experience for her. She loved it so much she slept over to go to my brother’s morning game too! We talked about Pride and Prejudice, and laughed all the while that we live on the opposite sides of the globe and are still so similar.

After waving goodbye to her I went off to work and was surprised to have my knight in a sweatshirt and patchouli show up with Starbucks coffee half way through my shift! It was a beautiful surprise, and I loved seeing him earlier than expected. After work we headed off to my brothers hockey games and he held my hand the whole weekend as I screamed my voice away cheering for Bubba and his team. Luckily my family and Jake could understand my scratchy voice in the days to come.

Endless cups of tea and honey later I can  finally recognize my own voice. It’s been seven days of insanity and now my house is quiet. My family is away on a retreat, my doggy is asleep, and I am settling in to cheesy shows on TLC. What a wonderful rest after the beautiful unexpected moments of the last week…

To love…

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.” -C.S. Lewis

And I have loved… And I have swam freely in the deep ocean of love. To feel the waves crash over me in a fit of surprise and giggles. To feel the water push me to an fro. To see the water go on longer than the horizon. I have felt the water wash the sand from my toes as I swam deeper than my feet could reach. And in that ocean of waves, there is vulnerability.

Lately I have discovered a different way that vulnerability affects me. I have been vulnerable and tasted the salt air and the freedom in love. And of late, I have been cast to the shore. I have been sitting upon the shore viewing that ocean before me and feeling as though it is just out of reach. It’s there! I am loved deeply. I am supported. I am encouraged. Yet the people who I love are far away. They have a busy schedule, just like me. I no longer walk back into a dorm room filled with faces.

I am teetering on adulthood. I am waiting for the moment I feel grown up and settled. I am staring at an ocean that I long to swim in fully, and feel as though I am merely on the edge. Every once in a while the ocean waves crash over me and I feel the elation of being vulnerable. In between those moments, there is a certain loneliness to vulnerability. But over all, being vulnerable is far better than hiding in a casket. I will not be broken. For the beauty and pain of vulnerability brings a fuller life than the emptiness of burying a heart before it dies.

So bring on the challenge of walking on the sand. For in these moments, I am aware of how loved I am. I have a stunning view of the beauty that spreads before me, an ocean that is deeper than I know…