The Joys of Being a Bachelorette: There’s Someone In My House

I’ll admit it. Living alone in a two-story townhouse with a basement has brought out and heightened my awfully darn cute sense of paranoia. Oh, the joys of being single!

Y’all. I’m not kidding. I haven’t NOT shared a bedroom since April 2010. I’ve been blissfully paired with some of my favorite people over the years in a confined 10X7 jail cell room. First it started with Tessa on summer project in Daytona.

Sweet Tessa!

It continued with my favorite little bunkmate I ever did have, Aimee.


Then I got to share a small room with two foam mats on the floor in Africa with Whitney, who mind you, laughs in her sleep so there really was never an hour I wasn’t interacting with people.

Love her.

Finally, I was sandwiched for 10 months between LB and Elaina every single night.

Elaina, me and LB
Our bedroom in Senegal. It was cozy.

Let’s fast forward to today. I am living outside a major city in the Mid-West across the street from my aunt, uncle and grandma. Even though they are close, I still feel pretty isolated and in the back of my mind I’m thinking that any point in time the guy from Unsolved Mysteries could sneak into my house and be a “squatter.” Don’t think it could happen? HAVE YOU SEEN THIS NEWS ARTICLE?

Okay, I’m being a little dramatic. But today y’all. Today made me thankful I’ve given up on this state and am moving back to good ol’ Rocky Top Tennessee.

I was fixing a bowl of cereal, minding my own business mind you, when I heard this really loud thud. It sounded like it came from the stairs. I said to myself, “Mary, it’s nothing. Eat your cereal confidently.” {Who says that?! Right, because me chewing Frosted Flakes like a boss is going to make a killer back away saying, “Oh, my bad. I don’t attack people who eat cereal with a Tiger spokesman confidently.“} I walked upstairs into my room and started working on a few freelance applications and heard, “BAM! BAM! BRRUUUM! BAM!”

I kid you not. The Memphis blood in me is still good. I hit the ground in two seconds flat, belly down, eyes positioned to where I could see out from under the bed only to realize the shadows were coming from my other side. I glance up at my window hoping to see Jesus, but instead I saw the shadow of a man!! But instead of the notorious killers I’ve seen on UM, I saw a man cutting down some branches off of the tree in front of my house.

I was scared of a lumberjack.

The loud “thuds” and “bams” came from him setting up his ladder on the awning above my stairs, climbing on top of the garage, and starting his chainsaw to trim back some of the branches.

I’ve decided the single life just isn’t for me. I’m ready for some roommates. Even if they are ones that huddle in another roommate’s room with me while we call the cops about someone walking on our front porch, only to realize it’s the neighborhood dog with 22 toes. ‘Cause that happened too.


Woman Crush Wednesday #WCW

I was talking to a dear friend yesterday about how life is just hard sometimes. There are trials beyond measure, and those of course are promised to come. There are sin issues, which let’s be honest, we all have that leave our souls unsettled. But in the midst of that, those who have faith in Christ and have Him as their Lord, there are rays of His goodness and faithfulness. Some of those rays shine most brightly into my life through the body of Christ.

I am amazed at the Lord’s provision with Godly community in my life. Looking back from Daytona Beach Summer Project to now, the Lord has blessed me with some pretty great roommates who seek to daily love and glorify the Lord and walk through life well with other believers. So, this begins my Woman Crush Wednesday posts. I wish I was as diligent as Kristin and could keep up with the #WIWW posts, but due to my lack of motivation to be presentable for the job I don’t have, you’re stuck with my WCW blog. 😉

Today is a double whammy: LB and Elaina.

{Bless their hearts…}

Elaina, LB and I all met each other for the first time in the Windy City at our weeklong STINT briefing. Shannon, LB, Katie, and Elaina were all put in the same room and I was put in with another African team {of course that would happen to the girl with  the Little Sister Syndrome}.  So, I moved my bags into their room and we pushed the two full-sized beds together. I slept in the crack every night that week, thus commencing the development of the roommates M+E+LB style.

Y’all. We arrived in Senegal in October 2012 and moved all of our things into a small two bedroom apartment. Not wanting anyone to have to room alone {Little Sister Syndrome again}, we brought in all of our mattresses to one room and made the other room our closet. This was how large our bedroom was:

Why yes, our beds did always look this nice. Just kidding.

And that’s how we slept the whole year, minus a week. Our beds weren’t originally positioned that way. We discovered on a day that the temperatures were well over 95 degrees F (35 Degrees C) that our air conditioning unit in the bedroom worked. There were tears of joy from the new teammates as we had all sweat through our clothes that day. We repositioned our beds so that we could all be hit in the face with frigid, and potentially dusty, air that escaped from the air conditioner that would only blow out air set at 18 Degrees C (we later learned that 18 degrees C meant 64 Degrees F and $120 in electricity bills just from using it three times). I cried later at the lost hope of not being able to use the AC due to the outrageous price.


Some of my favorite roommate memories include getting matching jammies {they fidn’t dit}, hoarding chocolate chip cookies {they weren’t mine to share!}, watching She’s The Man {“My favorite’s Gouda!”}, being on Team Serer for the Survivor Challenge, giggling until the wee hours of the night, making music videos, making wall decor out of printer paper, and eating cheese grits in bed.

Go team Serer!
They brought me breakfast in bed. 🙂

While we did have a great time as a triumphant trio, I did learn so much from each of them individually.


My all time favorite memory has to be from our team’s briefing in Chicago. It was our commissioning ceremony night, so naturally we were all dressed up. We all got to have a banquet where the Vice President of Cru came and spoke, commissioned us, and we all worshiped together. Now, before all that goodness we had a banquet dinner. The man who put my plate in front of me tipped it a little too far to the right and sauce went all over my dress. I looked at Elaina and we just laughed about it. She took her water and napkin and helped me get as much of Bessie off my dress as possible. Not even two minutes later, Elaina begins cutting her steak and all of the sudden, with angst of returning to parts of Bessie I’m sure, Elaina’s steak flies off her plate and straight into my lap. The most hilarious thing: I don’t think she realized what happened until I hysterically grabbed her arm and pointed to my lap. Oh my gosh, so funny.


When Elaina isn’t flinging meat at people’s dresses, she has a serious side too. This past year I learned a lot about how to thrive in my relationship with Christ despite hard circumstances. We had many a pep talks this year that were to the tune of, “Mary, He hasn’t quit on you. You’re quitting on Him.” Ha, I’m not joking. Sometimes the conversations were that straightforward. But can I tell you something? That was absolutely God’s provision in my life. I need a good, hard kick in the rear sometimes. It might have been straightforward, but I know her heart was always communicating out of love. The truth hurts sometimes, if it’s fluffed up or not. I am thankful for friends who call me out of apathy, complacency, defeat and hopelessness because it shows although those places are “comfortable” they aren’t what God has called us to. I am thankful for friends who show me that passionate lives marked by zeal and adoration for Christ and His kingdom may be rare in the world but shouldn’t be rare within the body of Christ.


And then there’s Laura Beth, LB or ElBee. 🙂 Two of my favorite memories with LB was when we went to Goree Island and of course her engagement to Tyler Staton. We walked by this beautiful turquoise blue door that we wrongfully assumed led to nowhere. I said, “LB, get in front of the door. I want to take your picture. That’d be such a great contrast with the background.” {Taking her picture is easy because she’s so beautiful.} She asked if I wanted my picture taken. I said sure, got into position, and leaned slightly against the door that led to nowhere. Boy were we wrong about that door! It was somebody’s front door. And as I begin to lean against it, on the other side a man is trying to leave his house. He opens the door and in falls a toubab, straight into his arms. Haha, manna from heaven! I apologized over and over again in French and in Wolof to make sure all my bases were covered, but the shame was there and not leaving.


ImageMy second favorite memory with LB was getting to be a part of her engagement and taking her engagement pictures. So much fun! I love taking pictures and I forget to so often, but I was honored to be a part of their photo shoot! Again, both of them are beautiful people, so there wasn’t one bad photo.

He put a ring on it.

I think by being a bystander to Tyler and LB’s relationship for a year taught me a lot about relationships. I’ve been able to see them work through conflict, choose to be faithful to Christ in purity, and believe the best in each other. I love how much fun they have with each other. I remember LB watching videos they took before coming on STINT. I would sit on the couch watching them with her and just love the way they interacted. I asked her what her favorite thing about their relationship was and how it was different than other relationships she had been in. She responded with, “There is freedom to be ourselves and we just think it’s funny!” Such a  grace-filled and confident answer. Some of my favorite things about LB: consistency in the word. Stable personality. Her deep laugh. Her ability to quote anything, isn’t it? 😉

I’ve loved the Lord’s provision in my life through these two women! I’ve learned a lot through you two. 🙂 Excited for where the Lord will take you and how He will use you! Excited to have front row seats!


An Island of Bugs

On our less than leisurely stroll to campus this morning, my sweet roommate Whitney turned around and asked, “How long was I laughing last night?” Random question I suppose, but not too random because little miss Whitney laughs more than any other person I know. Nonetheless, I was slightly confused as to what she was talking about.

told you.

“Huh?,” I said. “Last night, when you were sleeping.”-Whitney. Okay. This conversation is getting weirder and weirder. “What are you talking about?!”-Me. Whit responded, “Last night, I was laughing in my sleep and it apparently woke you up. You sat up in your bed and told me to stop laughing, and that you were on an island of bugs.”

Ladies and gents, I knew I responded to people  in my sleep, but I had no clue that I arise out of my REM to let the world know the ridiculous thoughts that are livestreaming across my mind. Nonetheless, I cracked up and tried really hard to remember doing that. I couldn’t remember anything except for hearing Whitney briefly laugh in her sleep. I thought I decided not to wake her up because that would be rude, but I guess subconsciously I just wanted her to know that I was living on an island of bugs.

This story holds no weight to the one I’m about to tell. My other little roommate, Rachel, yells in her sleep. This story takes place in Chicago at STINT briefing. Rachel, Whitney, Michelle and I shared a hotel room that week. Rachel and I shared a bed.


We celebrated Lil' Rachel's 24th birthday at STINT briefing in Chicago.


In the middle of the night on our third night there,  Rachel quickly sits up and screams, “There’s a rat in here!” I shoot up, turn on the light and start searching for the rat. Out of the corner of my eye I see Rachel start slowly slipping back under the bedsheets and then her head calmly hits the pillow. What? “Rachel, where is it?” She responds, “Where’s what?” Me: “The rat. You just screamed about a rat.” And the sweetest most innocent chuckle and reply came, “Oh, I did? Sorry about that.”

So.. there’s no rat? I lost it. I uncontrollably, hysterically laughed for a good 10 minutes. I laughed so hard that I woke up Michelle, and couldn’t fall back asleep for another hour. I’d finally get control of my giggles, and then silently lose it not even four seconds later. Gosh. It was so funny.

So, ladies and gents I would just like to let you know, I talk in my sleep. Normally that kind of stuff would make me feel really insecure and crazy, but my one roommate laughs in her sleep and the other one screams. I guess I’m pretty normal.