Another Busy Summer

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The reason that I have not been posting as often, isn’t because I don’t have things to share. In fact, it has been the opposite. I have so much going on! 2014 is turning out to be one of those whirlwind years.

The weather in Marquette has been slowly transitioning to summer. We had ice on the lake until the middle of June. It was actually really cool to see the beaches packed on 90 degree days, with people sun bathing ON the icebergs (beach towels and coolers included). The freighters were very eager for the ice to break up so that they could get their shipping started for the season. At some points, there were 6 of them waiting in the harbor for their turn to load/unload.

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10427280_10100718941183307_8988791885624255947_nNic had an enduro bike race in Copper Harbor on Memorial Day weekend. He did really well and it was fun to get up North. It was a hot weekend and there were no bugs, which is rare! We camped and hung out with friends. We also took the bike shuttle one day and that was a blast. The shuttle is a van with a trailer for bikes, and it drives you to the top of the mountain bike trails, so you don’t have to bike up.

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My brother, Oliver, is getting married next week to his high school sweetheart, Alex. They have been dating for ten years and Alex is like a sister to me, so this is a very exciting event. Alex’s bachelorette party was in Grand Rapids the last weekend in May. I went down there to celebrate and had a great time. It was fun to get dressed up and spend time with Alex.

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Oliver and Alex had their coed bridal shower 2 weeks ago in Boyne City. I wasn’t able to go, but I recruited a friend to take photos for me. The theme for the shower was “Where are they going for their honeymoon?”. Guests did not bring gifts, but rather bet on what country they thought Oliver and Alex would go. There was a large map, and you could “buy” a country and then if yours was the chosen one, you won a gift certificate and all of the money went to their honeymoon fund. Everyone that I talked to loved it! What a unique idea. They are going to Jamaica.

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Between Oliver’s upcoming wedding, and planning for my wedding in November, things have been crazy! I am looking forward to both, but it will be a relief when it is all done.

On top of preparing for 2 weddings…. I started playing on a women’s adult soccer league this summer. It has been a great time so far. I didn’t know I still had skills after ten years without playing, but I swear it was like I never skipped a beat. Our team is doing well and I have met some new friends. I have scored a couple goals so far and had several assists. It is quite a change being competitive again! Go Lime Green!

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I have been biking a lot, and started fishing again. The garden is doing really well now that it is getting warm out. The chickens are growing every day and that is a new learning experience. We expect eggs by the end of summer. Fish and Stick haven’t killed them yet. They are actually a little afraid of them.

In April, I also started volunteering with the YMCA in the Reach and Rise Therapeutic Mentoring Program. This program is a little more intense than most volunteer opportunities. I went through 6 weeks of training and mentors have to be committed to 1-3 hours per week for an entire year. Once a week, I pick up my mentee, and we go do something, then I bring her home.

Everyone always asks me why I would want to do something like this. “Don’t you have enough on your plate?”. Yes and no. I work 3 jobs, I am active, I am planning a wedding. But there comes a point in your life where you wonder if you are really doing something to better the world. Some people have jobs like teaching or social work, where they get to help people everyday. I don’t feel that way about my work. I love my jobs, but I don’t directly help anyone’s life improve.

This has been a very interesting experience. It has been mentally challenging, to the point where I wonder why I would even want to continue. But it has also been so rewarding and emotional for me. My mentee is a 13 year old girl. I can’t say too much more about her because of confidentiality, but I can say that she is definitely someone who needs a positive adult role model. We are only 3 months into our meetings, but we have been through a lot. My favorite meeting was a bike race. She is not the most athletic person, but she agreed to do a 16 mile race from Ishpeming to Marquette with me. She was very nervous. It was a big challenge. It was 55 degrees and rainy and stormy. We were freezing and the bugs were eating us alive. She wanted to quit half way and have her mom pick us up. I felt so bad. But I wouldn’t let her quit. And we did finish the race. With numb fingers and soaking wet clothes. Her family and others were waiting for us at the end. I have never seen her smile so big as when she crossed that finish line. Everyone was so proud of her. And most importantly, she was proud of herself. To be honest, I don’t know if she has had that feeling before, or accomplished something so big. That single experience reminded me of why I am doing this program. It was very emotional and made me so happy that I am a part of her life.

I made a video for the bike race. Since most of the proceeds from the race benefited the Reach and Rise Program. It shows some of the mentee and mentor pairs in our group. Please check it out.

10452360_10100697705090607_135588335888646105_nNic participated in the race also and has been my support through this whole mentoring process. He has put up with me being gone a lot and helped me put the video together. He even brought us hot cocoa and dry clothes at the finish line. AND he got first place in the race!!! He rocks!

*Don’t forget to click on the photos to enlarge them.

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