My sister-in-law is an anomaly. I don't think she intends to be, I think that in just being herself that's what happens.
She's a dichotomy between being the ultimate "girl" and the ultimate tomboy. She has no fear. When something interests her, she jumps in 100% and makes it happen. Over the years that I have known her, I've mostly watched her take on endeavors paired with my brother. But this year, she is taking on a solo mission that is blowing my mind.
In getting to know her first off as the family of her boyfriend, the conversation and discussion turned mostly to the story of her pre-natal and early childhood years. But once that has become mundane, and you talk to her about the things that she has done as an adult, you realize that the situation of her childhood is the boring part of her story. I could rattle off the list of things that she has done in her life, like that she went to college in Guam and worked for a glass-bottom-boat operation as the scuba-diving fish-wrangler, or that she modeled fashion in Asia; but those are just things that you do and anyone might end up doing were the circumstances right.
The things that amaze me about Mary are the stories like this:
She wanted something to do over a college break and decided to take an elephant (or was it camel, either way - not a car/train/plane) trip across Asia to India. And while on this journey, she volunteered at a leaper colony cleaning wounds.
After college she joined the Peace Corps and went to work in Zimbabwe before the Americans were evacuated.
I think about these things all the time because I have photos from her experiences on the walls of my living room.
Her uniqueness affects my family too. When we are together, she bridges the divide that sometimes comes up between the women who are interested in fashion, make-up, and accessories to those who are more interested in camping, being dirty, and going for a hike.
In fact, I think she is more brave than all of my brothers, and is always willing to jump in and take on any kind of challenge.
This year, she is embarking on a life-long goal - she is going to compete in the Mongol Derby.
This is a woman who has been living in Brookly/New York for the past 4 years, focusing her life on fashion and styling, and now she needs to get physically strong, and build up an athletic endurance.
She took our advice and is building up her strength to sit on the back of a horse and ride over 1,000 km across Mongolia.
She found a horse facility near her home in Miami where she helps exercises horses every day, and she is making her way to being a contender.
As part of this initiative, the riders need to raise money for a charitable contribution to Mongolia.
Mary and my brother are very humble, and they don't like asking people for things; so they have been very quiet about this, relying on their good friends to add to the kitty.
But I think that Mary deserves more attention than that!
I think she should be helped to reach her goal and contribute to this life-changing event.
So, if you follow her TwistedLamb blog, if you know her through MartyParty, or just know her through me, please consider visiting her fund-raising page and making a contribution.
(A photo by her friend Elliott)