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Posts Tagged ‘home’

“Excuse me. Is your name Jessie Mae? Are you the author of those books?”

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My days of stammering and stuttering when I feel so flattered are apparently behind me, because, even with a giant case of jet-lag and a time-crunch that would usually have debilitated my mind, I managed to have a decent conversation with the stranger/fellow author at my nephew’s kindergarten graduation. I loved walking into my old school to be greeted by a giant hug from Younger Nephew (who apparently missed me), a warm reception from a dear friend (whom I had missed), and a vibrant narration of the school year’s events by Elder Nephew (during the graduation slideshow).

 

This is home. And if I’ve learned anything on my trip, it’s that I belong here. Taking a step back, I have seen the impact I have here in my small town life and the impact the people in my small town life have on me. And I’m truly grateful.

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The people I met and the experiences I had overseas are as vast as they are significant. My toes were dipped in the Jordan River, the Dead Sea, and the Red Sea. They reached the top of the Eiffel Tower, climbed the Arc de Triomphe, tread wIMG_4487here Moses tread on Mount Nebo, strolled through Notre Dame, and walked almost every inch of Paris. My taste-buds experienced Syrian food, French french fries, and Turkish coffee, while my mind interacted with people of all kinds in all places and my eyes saw the Mona Lisa and Monet’s Water Lilies and Venus de Milo. And as for my body, it has been trapped on a Metro, trapped in an elevator, trapped on an airplane, and trapped on a camel heading for a swim–just to name the tame parts of my trip.

 

All of these experiences will become a part of me. But so will the experiences of home. People have already started asking me what my next adventure will be. And my answer? Life. Just regular old life. For perhaps the first time, I’ll turn my eyes of wonder onto the world that’s nearby and see everyday as an adventure. For a girl who has never done things traditionally in her life, I think that ordinary life has some pretty big surprises in it for me to uncover.

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The frost heaves have left pits that could eat small cars. So much for driving in your lane. People cross at any time, more afraid of the race of giant, invading potholes than of other vehicles. What begins as cleansing rain lasts only long enough to wash the world in mud, but not long enough to remove the snow–which , by the way, it turns into during the later part of the day. The piles of snow are so high, the mud is so thick, and the trees so barren that it seems the sun will choose not to bring summer this year.

This is Maine. Red brick building against red brick building in Downtown, where a post office and a sheriffs’ department share an overcrowded parking lot and Stephen King’s two-housed mansion juts out on a street only a few houses up from mega drug busts. Yes. With all of its strangeness, this is home.

And I’ll miss it, if I ever leave. The booming metropolis that is seen as the appearance of Buffalo Wild Wing’s next to Hobby Lobby. The wild extravagance that is recognized as Starbucks. The mega church that is a couple hundred people. The weather that is only cold if it is below zero, not below freezing. I breathe in deeply, glad to have known this place, these people, this pace. But ready… oh so ready for change. It sings sings to me in the wind threatening to knock me over–or at least pull my scarf off. It whispers in the penetrating warmth of my fireside. It shouts in the morning as I rise to do my daily routine. Yet, routine, family, life here is so very good and sweet and deep.

Last Friday my coworker invited me to a concert. It was lovely. Not just because Phil Wickham is extremely talented and is one of realest, nicest artists I have ever discovered, but because I was able to enjoy time with a blossoming friend and, with her, true worship of my God. This is Maine too. More than strange contradictions and epic coldness. It is beautiful people, sincere friendship, and warm appreciation of the slower, truer parts of life. Oh, Maine… I’m glad I’ve known you.

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Being an introvert, and someone with limited energy thanks to my little pals the Spirochetes, I don’t usually accept evening invitations. Everything must be completed by 6:00, or 6:30 at the very latest, so that I may get home in time for my wind down and sleep ritual. But last night I broke with tradition. A beloved friend invited me for a family birthday party, so off I went–reaching home just a little before 9:00. I’m glad I breached protocol. Glad to be with good people, glad to eat cake, glad to invest in relationship…

And here’s my musing on the matter: I find it odd that I was better able to relate to my friend’s father–a mechanic who inspects planes–than I could to her siblings, all falling right around my age and all in what could be considered similar transition periods. Don’t get me wrong. The siblings were lovely. But I could have sat and listened to the dad’s stories all evening.

The older I get the more I realize that age doesn’t matter. That similarity isn’t all its cracked up to be. That people can be fabulous, even if you have nothing in common. So I’m raising a figurative glass to you (whomever you are), however different we may be.

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Most heroes initially want to get out of their home towns. But by the time their journey is over, they cannot wait to get back. As book two of a series opens and a call is placed again in the heroes lives, readers will typically see them struggle with the new mission. They do not want to leave. But what if a hero made a stop home in the middle of the battle? I think it would be ten times harder to keep going. There would be no knowledge of previous success, no memories of the struggle being worth it. Don’t go home in the middle of your adventure!

I should have listened to my own advice.

I jumped on a plane on Thursday after class and made it back to Maine. It was such a wonderful visit filled with doting nephews, a wonderful sister, nice meals and all around good family. I did not want to board the plane for the ride home. I wanted to stay in Maine, at my house, with the people I loved. I stopped home in the middle of my adventure and now the only place I want to be is home.

After some concerned facebook posts, let me just add, I am fine! I just love my home. Adventures have their value. Being away from home has its value. But I miss it and that’s okay.

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I miss my constant evergreen trees, the truthful sky, wider lanes and less trafficked roads of beautiful Maine! The constellation Orion would typically stand right in-between some trees and my garage so that when I would get back late I would feel as if he was saying goodnight and making sure I got home safe. My nephew’s sweet voice still rings out in my mind and his gentle rubbing of my back when I felt ill–at two years old. My parents workplace four minutes down the road just past Stephen King’s house. Watch out for the tourists! They don’t know how to drive. I miss the lady at Dunkin Donuts and at Angelo’s Pizzeria. I miss my brother’s hugs and my father’s jokes.

Even so dorm life has its perks. Its like inheriting a large group of sisters! I enjoy a fast-paced life and I certainly have that. I am getting to know a different culture–helpful for broadening my writing perspective. I found a church home, I think, which is awesome to get connected with. And anyone from Maine can comprehend how nice it is to be sweating in shorts every day at the end of September.

When you go off to college, just be cautioned: it will not be what you were expecting. It could be better or it could be worse but things level out. If not from your classes or chapel or church or friends, just from living on your own in a new environment you will learn a lot. Hang in there!

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I am quickly adapting to my new environment and beginning to feel like this is home. I absolutely adore my roommate. My next-door-neighbor is so sweet. Today all the freshmen and transfer students went to a camp for swimming and outdoor activities. I thought I would die of the heat and there was a girl who had injured her foot so we decided we would come back to school after spending a few nice hours at the lake. I pulled into my parking space, unlocked my apartment, did my dishes (again. How can they keep building up?), did some Rebirth Publishing stuff (like drafting a letter to the Asandra Insiders. You can subscribe by emailing asandrainfo@issym.com), read a book–Percy Jackson and the Olympians, The Titan’s Curse–(because I know my limits and it was time for some rest) and fell asleep. Later, my roommate and I teamed up with three guys I did not know and had a non-stop laughing, running, playing and doing stupid stuff evening scavenger hunt, followed by smoothies and a game of egyptian ratscrew in the student cafe with all the other freshmen and music blaring (I won the card game for the first time ever!). I came back to my room (my key to the building is not working so, for the record, not all adult stuff is fun or easy) and it felt like home. Home. I miss Maine, but I am glad to be here.

My morning coffee date with my next-door-neighbor turned into a hall party. Tuesday night I will be watching Psych with another girl on my hall. The waffle-maker is out in the cafeteria and I am out of the mostly shallow water (but if anyone else calls me just Jessie and not Jessie Mae, Jess, Jessica, etc, I think I will scream!). I am home.

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