How do you react to things that are beautiful?

pray.

I’ve been listening to a couple podcasts recently that I LOVE. It’s nice to have people talking in the background while cooking and driving so I don’t feel as alone.

One of them is called the Poco a Poco Podcast (by the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal) and the other is the What God is Not Podcast (by Fr. Michael O’Loughlin and Sr. Natalia — two Byzantine Catholics). Obviously they are both centered around Catholic things, but I genuinely think that they are relevant to anyone’s life and point towards universally good things like peace, joy, freedom, and beauty. Highly recommend!

In an episode of What God is Not, Fr. Michael talked about how one reacts to things that are awesome (in the truest sense of it evoking a deep sense of awe). He said that one time when he was overlooking a valley in Joshua Tree National Park, he realized that something so beautiful demands some sort of reaction. It seems impossible to just say, “Oh nice,” and then move on.

He goes on to talk about how his reaction, due to his faith and family upbringing, is to say, “Thank you,” because the awesomeness of nature’s beauty is a gift from God. This stood out to me because that is exactly how I react when I see a sunrise, sunset, stars, or any amazing view; I whisper, “thank You,” to God.

Florida 2017

His question and my question for all of you (whether you are religious or not) is: How do you react to things that are awesomely beautiful? Do you say something? Are you physically or emotionally moved in one way or another? Do you relish the moment in silence?

No one reaction is better than another; I would just love to hear what other people say!

eat.

I felt like a bottomless pit yesterday, so I ate many different snacks, including these Jif Power Ups (pb chocolate chip creamy clusters) that I found randomly in our pantry. And they were GOOD. I never know what to expect with odd snacks like those, but they were perfectly sweet and there was a niiiiice dollop of peanut butter in the middle of each granola cluster. Mmm mm mm.

move.

Rest day yesterday! I walked a bit and stretched at night. My appetite was like that of a growing boy though, so that’s how I ate.

groove.

I got tested for COVID antibodies because there were free tests nearby, so I thought it would be beneficial just to see if I’ve ever been exposed. The poor nurses had quite the trip trying to find my brachial artery, so they stuck me twice in my right arm and once in my left.

I was negative for the antibodies. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Results were supposed to come back within 7 days, but I was surprised to be texted about the results at 9pm!

Happy Friday!

So tell me:

How do you react to beautiful things?

What is your favorite processed snack as of late?

Have you ever gotten tested for COVID antibodies?

When will I be who I’m supposed to be?

pray.

In a time requiring a lot of patience and wishing I could just be out there saving the world in whatever way God wants me to do so, I have been praying about feeling good enough/not good enough for… whatever it is that I am hoping for right now — a job, a vocation, some cool opportunity to end all the evils in the world, I dunno.

Obviously I’m not the only one waiting for opportunities, and I am in no way complaining about my situation. But whether stuck in circumstances out of my control or just feeling “not good enough” for _____, something that I find myself thinking is: “When that thing starts, I’ll be who I’m supposed to be.”

But my new priest friend, Fr. Denis, said in his first homily ever that our first vocation is to holiness. It does not matter where we are in our state of life; our primary vocation is to holiness, and that in and of itself is very good. Holiness (i.e., love for God, love for neighbor, and finding ways to do both no matter what the circumstances are) gives purpose to the mundane, the interim, and the seemingly pointless and hopeless situations of life.

No title (doctor, PT, nun, wife, mother, etc.) can fully define who I am created to be, nor does it define who you are created to be. Today is a day to become the man or woman you are created to be, just by the way you live your life as it is in this moment.

eat.

I’ve been eating plums as my fruit of the week, and I’m rather enjoying the humble stone fruit. I don’t like them as much as peaches, but the plums I got from Trader Joe’s are still juicy and sweet.

move.

I did some fun BURPEES yesterday! It is so freeing to just move in whatever way I want to move each day, not following any strict training schedule. This is what has made fitness truly fun for me, allowing me to be consistent.

I did 10+ of each of the following types of burpees:

  • jumping lunge burpees
  • spiderman pushup burpees
  • neutral grip pull-up burpees
  • candlestick burpees
  • KB hopover burpees

For demos, check out my Instagram stories or the end of my “moves part 3” highlight if it has disappeared by the time you read this!

groove.

Check out this sweet and special gift that my brother and his girlfriend gave to me!

Peep the blog motto on there! I am so grateful. Thanks, Elaine and Ben! ♥︎

Also, my friends and are continuing virtual book club with The Devil’s Highway by Luis Alberto Urrea, which is a book about the devastation caused by U.S. border policy. Excited to learn more and delve into those challenging conversations.

Happy pre-Friday!

So tell me:

Have you been struggling at all with feelings of not being good enough?

Which fruits are you loving currently?

What is the most fun form of fitness for you right now?

Patience, young Padawan.

Tropical Storm Isaias (how do you say this name? eye-ZAY-uhs or ee-sah-EE-ahs?) showed mercy on my area in New York, and I hope that’s the case for you too, wherever you are!

pray.

Definitely praying for healing, restoration, and peace in Beirut after the massive explosion that left dozens dead and thousands injured.

On a personal level, I am praying for a lot of patience as I try to open doors of opportunity and then see many of them close after the attempt… or at least close temporarily due to circumstances. In no way is my situation dire or hopeless, and I for that I consider myself very blessed, but my trust in the process and God’s plan during this time is being tested for sure.

As Yoda would say: “Patience, young Padawan.”

eat.

My favorite way to eat is with my hands. It’s a big part of Laotian (my mom’s ethnicity) food culture to eat things with your hands while sitting on the floor. The rice is so sticky that you HAVE to eat it with your hands. *heart eyes*

So yesterday, my lunch and dinner included things I could eat with my hands (at least partially).

Lunch/Snack: lettuce cups / crackers with tuna salad + a nectarine + dried pineapple + pistachios

Dinner: leftover roasted broccoli (yeah I eat that with my fingers cold and right out of the tupperware) + turkey cheese and spinach rollups + lots of roasted fries with mayo-ketchup sauce

Disclaimer: This particular day sounds kinda like a rabbit food type of day, but I ate a hefty amount of everything and also ate more than just this 🙂

move.

My legs were a little tired and sore, so my moves yesterday included a couple walks (before and after the storm) and some upper body training.

  • 3×2-3 pull-up negatives (8-10 seconds lowering)
  • 3 sets:
    • 12 lateral delt raises
    • 15 KB chest press + leg raise
  • 3×5 pushup negatives (4 seconds lower + 1 second hold)
  • a few sets of an exercise that I got from @daniellegertner

These were all fun and challenging to do!

groove.

I passed the National Physical Therapy Exam! Which means I am now a licensed physical therapist who can practice, baby!

What. a. relief. Now to secure a job 😀

So tell me:

What are some things you need extra patience for these days?

Do you like eating with your hands? Or are you a “use utensils whenever possible” type of person?

Potato is my favorite word in the English language.

Apparently there’s a tropical storm coming today??

My brother texted me yesterday, saying, “Make you sure you have a flashlight, dry foods, and bottled water ready.” So this blog post hopefully is up before any power outage occurs.

I stated in my last post that I want to focus my blog on the founding principles/actions/pillars(?) of this blog — “pray, eat, move, groove.” I am hoping to share more edifying, positive content that is still aware of and honest about current events.

Let’s try it out.

pray.

My friend from Boston University, Denis Father Denis, just got ordained a PRIEST this weekend!!

My uncle is a priest, but Denis is my first close friend who has been ordained a priest, and there are many more to be ordained in the coming years. A lot of my prayers this weekend were for Denis and his family, and also just in gratitude for the gift of good and holy priests.

Despite the horrendous acts of many priests in the Catholic Church (which I responded to a while ago), the role of priests in allowing people to access God in such a real, tangible, and healing way makes me want to internally combust because it’s so amazing. To have young, diverse, intelligent, fun, kind, loving men of great integrity willfully becoming priests today — when they could be doing literally anything else with their lives — is really a miracle, and a much-needed one.

To have people witness with their lives that God is enough is so stunning to me, in the best way. I had happy tears all weekend!

Also praying for my new baby cousin, Luke Sebastian, new baby brother to these cutie patooties, and their rockstar parents!

eat.

Late last week, I made impromptu tuna burgers with what I had on hand. I wish I could tell you the ratios / measurements, but you don’t want to know them anyway, because they were a little too loose… BUT THEY WERE TASTY.

  • canned chunk light tuna (I hate that it’s called chunk light)
  • shredded zucchini (squeezed and drained within paper towels)
  • minced / grated onion
  • an egg
  • mayo (regular or light)
  • sweet relish
  • bread crumbs / cornmeal
  • salt and pepper
  • Philip’s seafood seasoning (can use Old Bay or just omit)

Mix those together, shape them into burger type shapes, slap ’em on a hot pan with olive oil, and cook until golden brown on each side.

I served mine on a toasted potato bun with light mayo, sweet relish, spinach, and melted pepperjack cheese.

It tasted like a poor girl’s crab cake, so I call that a win.

I randomly received a free large bag of russet potatoes (and other fresh vegetables) from the community health center where I got a free COVID test in Boston. I’m not sure why (maybe a farm share??), but I’m not complaining because I have baked loads of steak fries with them!

  • Slice russet potatoes into 1/5-1/4 inch wedges. Lie them flat on a paper towel to absorb some of the natural moisture.
  • Toss wedges in a large bowl with olive oil, salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, and parmesan cheese (or just salt and pepper if that’s all you have).
  • Lay out seasoned potato wedges in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake 40 minutes at 450° F (flipping halfway through).
  • Serve immediately and dip in your fave sauce (I did a mayo-ketchup-garlic salt combo).
  • Leftovers can be reheated via oven at 350° F for 5-10 minutes or a toaster oven if you have one.

I love potatoes. Also, fun fact: potato is my favorite word in the English language (hence the title of this post).

Fun fact #2: This instagram page exists.

move.

I’ve been posting most of my workouts on my Instagram stories (and highlights) the past couple of months if you want to see the video demos! Yesterday was a really fun and quick workout that I did at the park:

3 Rounds:

  • 100-80-60 double unders (100 on the first round, 80 on the second round, 60 on the third round)
  • 10 side shuffle burpees
  • 15 bulgarian split squat hops each leg
  • 10 decline cross knee pushups
  • 12 squat hops to a low step

I ate a lot of cake on Sunday, so this was a little challenging the day after, but I had fun!

groove.

This category will just be my miscellaneous category — dancing, life, work, whatever the groove of life is.

Now that I’m home, I drink cold water from a Brita in the fridge, which I have not had in so long. Usually it’s cool-ish tap water (which is totally fine by me). Nor AC. My body is not used to having external regulators of my temperature (I would just sweat profusely every second of the day in Boston to stay cool). Cold water + cold air means that I sometimes get too cold in a 75° house and need to go outside to warm up LOL.

I hope you all have an excellent Tuesday. Let me know if you enjoy this format of blog post!

So tell me:

Are you in the path of Hurricane / Tropical Storm Isaias? Stay safe if you are!

Have you cried happy tears recently?

What do you dip your french fries in?

What else is new in your life?

An Interview with Myself

I’ve been thinking about how I should format this first blog post in TWO MONTHS.

The best thing I can come up with to make it as concise yet comprehensive as possible is to do a sort of “interview” with myself.

First of all: how are you? It’s been quite the summer year so far. I consistently feel like the gif of Elmo in a sea of fire. It hits deep.

So here’s the interview with myself, in case you were interested.

What have you been doing since you last posted on the blog?

I was studying for the national physical therapy boards examination, which I took on July 28th. I am currently awaiting the results, and I am honestly nErVoUs; it was a challenging exam.

Last Saturday, I moved back home to New York (although “home” is a relative term, because I feel like Boston is a very real home to me now). So a lot of the last two months was also filled with relishing as much time as possible with loved ones in Boston while studying and keeping social distance.

Why did you decide to go back to New York?

Some practical/financial reasons mostly, which are now even more pronounced thanks to COVID. From the spiritual side of things, I feel like New York is where I am supposed to be, and I cannot pinpoint the specific reason for that. In retrospect, moving to Boston for college was a result of both practical reasons and a feeling of peace, even if I did not know what was ahead… and look how well that turned out 🙂

a pic from 2017 that sums up how I feel about leaving Boston

I am very grateful for my family allowing me to stay at home during this time!

So when do you start practicing physical therapy for real?

Good question. Given the current employment climate, your guess is as good as mine. I applied to a couple residency programs earlier this year, one of which I did not get into, and the other was cancelled due to COVID. Currently, just doing my best to seek and find!

Besides applying for jobs, I’m taking this interim to help around the house, work on some new/old fitness skills, BLOG (hi!), pray, and find different ways to serve and grow here in NY. Oh, and dance in the kitchen unapologetically.

Any follow-up to your last blog post re: justice for black lives?

There has been continual reading, listening, learning, aching, discussing (sometimes debating), supporting, and growing going on in my own life and in the community of people around me (even if through social media).

I can now highly recommend the book Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates. My friends and I shared great conversations over the book, and I believe that it has changed us to be more aware, less passive, and more active against deeply planted racism in America and, in many cases, our own hearts. It’s a pretty quick read and very beautifully written.

The division about nearly every human issue in this nation is heart-wrenching. But the triumph of Goodness and Truth, although subtle and sometimes hard to sense, is always there, and I trust in that.

By the way, you can sign the new petition for Breonna Taylor here.

What is currently on your heart?

(I put this question in here because that’s what this blog is about, so I was going to share it sooner or later anyway.)

Well, besides all of the above, the current thing I feel I need to improve upon is staying true to my authentic self when I’m in any sort of social situation — with family, friends, strangers, anyone. Not saying I’ve been acting differently or “I’ve been hiding who I am!” Nah nah nah. What I’m saying is that sometimes I think I need to stand my ground more when I want to say something that I think is true OR refrain from any conversations / actions that I don’t think are the best, morally speaking.

I am the wettest noodle of all wet noodles, who is too agreeable for her own good. I know very well the standards I strive to maintain in my life — the integrity and love with which I want to live. And I need to start living by those things with more confidence, even if other people don’t necessarily feel warm and fuzzy about it all the time, including (especially) myself.

“There is no truth without love and no love without truth.”

Will you blog more now?

Hopefully! I think this blog/world could use some more light and things that edify the heart, so I am hoping to share more of my blog’s founding principles — prayer, eating, moving, and grooving — in a simple and engaging way to keep you feeling hopeful as well.

I just used hope three times. Get after that stuff.

Happy Friday! I truly hope you are doing well and staying healthy. ♥︎ Thanks for stopping by.

So tell me:

What have you been up to the last two months?

Do you ever struggle with being too agreeable? Or perhaps too confrontational?

What’s one great thing that has happened to you this week?