God, why did you seem so mean?

pray.

Gosh I feel like I could say so much here. I guess the big thing on my mind yesterday was the Sunday Gospel reading.

At that time, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 
And behold, a Canaanite woman of that district came and called out,
“Have pity on me, Lord, Son of David! 
My daughter is tormented by a demon.” 
But Jesus did not say a word in answer to her. 
Jesus’ disciples came and asked him,
“Send her away, for she keeps calling out after us.”
He said in reply,
“I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
But the woman came and did Jesus homage, saying, “Lord, help me.” 
He said in reply,
“It is not right to take the food of the children
and throw it to the dogs.” 
She said, “Please, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps
that fall from the table of their masters.” 
Then Jesus said to her in reply,
“O woman, great is your faith! 
Let it be done for you as you wish.” 
And the woman’s daughter was healed from that hour.

Matthew 15:21-28

I’ve heard this reading so many times in my life, but it never fails to make me feel confused and unsettled. Why does Jesus use such harsh and…mean words to this woman who is genuinely asking for help? Jess @thelivingheart.co also had the same questions on her Instagram story.

Before sharing my own reflections, I must share that I found Fr. Mike Schmitz’s homily on this reading to be particularly helpful. He gives good Scriptural context and takes on an interesting perspective that I hadn’t heard before.

As great (and important) as it is to listen to other people’s narratives on Scripture, I needed to pray about it real hard on my own too. Here are some nuggets of what came to my heart while spending time with this Word (please note that I’m not a Scripture scholar):

  1. I notice how, although the disciples ask Jesus to send the Canaanite woman away, Jesus never actually obliges. He does not want her to be sent away.
  2. The Canaanite woman has a faith and humility that I have seldom seen in my life, if ever. It is a faith that I myself would not have if I was faced with those responses from Jesus…so what is it that gave her such conviction to keep asking Him for help (besides maybe desperation for her poor daughter)?
  3. It seems that, in everything Jesus replied to the woman, He knew that she would win over His Heart all along. He knew what her desires were, and He knew He would give them to her in the end. And in a way, the woman also knew, in her “great faith,” that Jesus did in fact care and love her enough to grant her exactly what she asked. Sort of like… He knew that she knew, and she knew that He knew that her daughter would be healed.
  4. So why did Jesus have to do it in such a way? Why did He make is seem like this woman had to be degraded and humiliated just to receive help? What came to my mind were images of Jesus’ Passion and Death, where He Himself was made docile and subservient to mankind, whom He created, for the sake of mankind’s reconciliation with Himself. In those moments of His brutal death, He showed the most powerful love and faith in His Father’s plan, to which He was completely obedient until the very end. Moreover, He allowed the Canaanite woman to demonstrate a similar extraordinary grace of love and faith that endures, even when it truly feels like God has forsaken you (though He never does).

If you are familiar with this Scripture passage, I’d love to hear your thoughts and reflections on it as well.

eat.

On Friday night I hung out with another high school friend and had my first ever “créme ice” from Ralph’s Famous Italian Ice! Créme ice (aka sherbet on their menu) is essentially like shaved milk (?) instead of shaved ice, which gives it a creamier texture and the ability to add mix-ins without it being weird. It was pretty good, but I definitely don’t prefer it over ice cream.

I got a “Twister,” which is créme ice sandwiched between layers of soft serve, which was the move. I got strawberry cheesecake créme ice. It had a bit of an almond extract flavor to it, which wasn’t bad.

Other eats highlights since I last checked in:

  • yogurt bowl with banana, blueberries, granola, and pb
  • teriyaki salmon with rice and broccoli (such a bro meal)
  • overnight oats in a jar!
  • warm banana muffins with yogurt and pb
  • eggs + avocado over rice with soy sauce, sriracha and rice vinegar
  • SUSHIIIIIII
  • random pandan coconut cupcake that I found in the fridge LOL (it’s the green muffin in the middle bottom row)
  • green overnight oat smoothie bowl! I haven’t had this in forever because I didn’t have a blender back in Boston.

move.

Lots of walking, working on pull-ups, a leg workout… I’ll highlight this “fun” burpee workout yesterday from @trainerkindal:

EMOM (every minute on the minute): do 10 burpees ➔ rest for the remainder of the minute

Repeat x20 #ouch

groove.

This week will be busy but exciting! I am hoping and praying that I can say yes to a job soooooon.

Hope you all have a good-kind-of-full week too!

So tell me:

Have you ever questioned God’s kindness or care for you or others?

Have you ever had a créme ice before? Do you like it? Do you like Italian ice?

What is the best thing you ate this weekend (the sushi was it for me!)?

What’s on your schedule this week?

I’m a nap supporter.

A lot of people answered on my Instagram story that they do not introduce their friends by their occupation! Now that I think about it, that makes sense to me. Some people told me that they introduce others by how they met, and I think I do that most often too.

One friend also noted that, anecdotally, people in healthcare professions may more often be introduced by their occupation vs. those not in healthcare or at various corporate jobs, for example. I replied in agreement from my own experience, and perhaps it is because healthcare is easy to understand, while many other jobs seem less concrete. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Good thoughts, friends!

pray.

These are a couple of the Church’s evening prayers from yesterday:

Creator of all things, your Son desired to work among us with his own hands,
– be mindful of all who earn their living by the sweat of their brow.
May your people praise you, Lord.

Be mindful of those who devote themselves to the service of their brothers,
– do not let them be deterred from their goals by discouraging results or lack of support.
May your people praise you, Lord.

I’m not even WORKING yet, but these prayers gave me a lot of peace, not just for myself but for everyone who is working and grinding away. It’s part of the human experience to labor, deal with people you don’t like, do the mundane things, and do the exciting things in work.

Work is a gift, but work is also hard (spoken from my clinical experiences and summer jobs that I’ve had). Whatever “work” is for you — both in and out of the home, both paid and unpaid — my prayer for you is that you feel loved and respected in your work and that you feel at peace in it.

Nothing too lengthy today; just a universal affirmation for you.

eat.

I had one small potato that I forgot to bake the last time I made these fries, so I baked it in the toaster oven last night for a 9pm snack. I was a happy gal.

Do you prefer nectarines or peaches?? Because I feel like they’re the same besides the skin. I had a nectarine yesterday and thoroughly enjoyed it, but I can’t tell the taste or texture difference from a peach.

this is from 2017, but nectarines haven’t evolved since then

move.

Yesterday’s workout was FUN and longer than usual, but I figure I can fit in some longer workouts these days when I’m not working yet. Usually my workouts are no more than 40 minutes, not including the warmup.

10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 reps of:

  • stair sets (I have 30 steps from my basement to top floor)
  • pistol squats each leg
  • thrusters
  • pushup burpees

(example: first round do 10 of each, next round do 9 of each…all the way down to 1 rep of each)

The sets of stairs are what made this quite a long workout. It took me 1 hour to complete and I was pooped afterwards.

groove.

I took a 1-hour nap yesterday. Purely knocked out on the couch when taking a break from some computer work.

I love naps. Some people hate napping because it messes up their nighttime sleep schedule or feel guilty because they feel unproductive, which I can understand.

But I support short-ish naps (mine yesterday was not that short though), because if I can afford one, a nap often makes me a happier person if I’m dragging and also makes my brain physically feel like it has been cleansed (the cerebrospinal fluid does some magic in there).

this is me as an infant waking up from a nap, crying because I was hungry, which is relatable to this day

So tell me:

How are you feeling about your (paid and unpaid) work these days? Cruising? Loving it? Indifferent? Hating it?

Peaches or nectarines? Or are they essentially the same to you?

Do you like napping?

How do you introduce your friends?

pray.

This is another reflection inspired by the “What God is Not” Podcast. In one episode, Sr. Natalia and Fr. Michael were talking about the misconception that we need to “earn” God’s Love (spoiler: we do NOT need to earn God’s Love, because we could never deserve it but He gives it to us wholly and unreservedly anyway).

Related to that, they talked about the culture of utility that is prevalent in society. “What is your job? What have you accomplished thus far? What kinds of things can you put on your resume? What are your goals in life? How can you contribute to this world? How do you earn respect?”

Perhaps as a result and/or contributing factor to this, they noted that many people introduce their friends to other people by stating (1) their name and (2) their occupation. I think I typically do that, and I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing, since a full-time job takes up the majority of someone’s hours; if the person truly enjoys and believes in their job, then that could say a lot about their personality and values.

However, the dangers with introducing someone by stating their occupation are that (a) not everyone has a job; (b) some people don’t like their jobs; (c) some jobs may be seen as more or less impressive/helpful than others, thanks to societal norms. Thus, it may feed into this underlying assumption in people’s minds that the more you do or the “better” your job, the more you have to offer to the world.

But each human person inherently has wonderful things to offer to the world. Of course, we are responsible for harnessing and utilizing the gifts we have been given, but what comes of that (i.e., our occupation and successes) does not define us or make us any more worthy of love.

So how might I introduce my friends then? Again, I don’t think it’s necessarily bad to state someone’s occupation, but maybe I can think of other qualities and interests of a person to mention as I introduce him/her. Perhaps this can promote a culture of appreciation for ~the human person~ vs. a culture of “what-are-you-good-for?”.

For example: This is my best friend Rachel, someone who loves fiercely and has a heart for hospitality.

I dunno. Just some thoughts, but what do you think about this topic?

eat.

I am a big proponent for real dessert and eating non-diet types of snacks, but sometimes I want a sweet snack that won’t knock me out for a nap in the middle of the day. The other day, I decided to eat a bowl of plain Cheerios with almond milk BUT THEN I mixed in half a scoop of this s’mores protein powder (I think my brother’s girlfriend gave it to me a while ago) in with the milk… and it was delicious.

If you don’t like protein powder, you obviously wouldn’t like this, but if you have a protein powder you like, you might enjoy this. All we have in the house is plain Cheerios, but the s’mores protein powder dissolves in the milk and gives it that beloved “cereal milk” vibe.

move.

Walking, stretching, and practicing titibasana (firefly pose).

groove.

When I was on a walk in the neighborhood last night, a sweet little girl (still in her chub chub toddler days *heart eyes*) yelled, “Hiiiii!” and waved to me as I walked by. That made me very happy and grateful.

So tell me:

How do you introduce your friends usually? How do you yourself like to be introduced?

What is a snack combo that you’ve been liking recently?

What is something that made you happy yesterday?

Where would you go just to be with the one you love?

pray.

Have you ever loved and adored someone so much that you have physically traveled to places you normally would not, gone out of your comfort zone, or done some otherwise unappealing activity just because you would get to be with that person? Because being with that person is enough joy for you, no matter what you’re actually doing with him/her?

I am sure many of you have experienced this, and I know that I definitely have.

Love schmuv. So what, Alison?

Yesterday at Mass I heard in the readings, “Jesus said to His disciples, ‘…where I am, there also will my servant be.'” And what I thought of in hearing this was exactly the experience that I just mentioned — the beautiful desire to go anywhere or do anything just because the one you love will be there with you. Moreover, I thought of how the weight of any hardship feels a little less heavy as long as the one you love is there with you.

I prayed with these words, because just as I have desired to go and do anything just to be with the one I love in my human relationships, I desire also to go and do anything just to be with the One I love in my spiritual relationship (namely, with Jesus Christ). I think of this as an opportunity to be okay with going wherever He has gone — into deep pain, obedience, grief, suffering, fatigue, hunger, loneliness, hard work — just because He is there, and I wouldn’t mind those things as much, as long as He is there with me. And ultimately, He shares His profound joy and peace even in those places.

Phew, these prayer reflections have been getting me emotional.

eat.

I cooked up some dang good pork last night using Stubb’s pork dry rub. I seared the pork steaks on all sides in a hot pan before roasting it off for 7 minutes in a 410°F oven. Served with roasted broccoli and some… sort of soggy rice… #DishonorOnYourCow (name that movie)

I made 2 cups of rice (= about 5 cups of cooked rice) without really thinking about how much I was making, so now I have an absurd amount of rice to consume all by myself.

move.

Yesterday was a packed day, so I had only 30 minutes for a workout. I decided on a little upper body bro session, since my legs were actually quite sore from the 1000 rep bodyweight workout from Sunday.

  • 3×3 negative pull-ups
  • 3×8-12 bicep curls // 3×8 single arm bent over rows
  • 3×12 Arnold presses
  • 3x tuck holds on yoga blocks as long as possible (10-20 sec is what I could handle)

As always, the demos are on my instagram story / “moves part 4” highlights!

groove.

I fell into a Disney channel throwback rabbit hole on Spotify last evening. I saw my friend listening to “Say OK” by Vanessa Hudgens, decided that I wanted to listen to it, and then… I dove deep into the Disney channel soundtrack archives. The best find? The Cheetah Girls 2 Soundtrack (which used to be my alarm clock wake-up in my figure skating days). Major solo dance party went down in the kitchen while I was cooking dinner.

Gosh those songs are a JAM AND A HALF.

So tell me:

Have you ever loved and adored someone so much that you have physically traveled to places you normally would not, gone out of your comfort zone, or done some otherwise unappealing activity just because you would get to be with that person?

What is your favorite Disney channel throwback song/soundtrack, if you ever watched?

What was last night’s dinner?

Accepting truth, no matter who says it or how you feel

Heyo! I hope you all had a wonderful and restful weekend. If you did not, I hope that you are still receiving many instances of joy and peace throughout.

pray.

Although God calls us to love our neighbor as ourselves and even to love our enemies, I’m sure we all know / know of people who we don’t really like (but who we ought to still love) OR people who we like but don’t trust fully because of certain things they regularly believe, say, or do (not that we can put full trust in any one person in the first place, but perhaps you get the gist).

Those people can be politicians, family members, friends, clergy members, bosses, colleagues, celebrities, anyone (i.e., human beings). I am talking about those people who, when they give some sort of advice or opinion, you instinctively react to defend yourself, oppose what they are saying, or criticize their argument in some way, because you know that they believe something differently from you or because they have said ludicrous things in the past. In a sense, you’re tempted to make an ad hominem argument, or attack the person’s argument based on your perception of his/her character.

I think most people know not to attack a person’s argument based on his/her character (although we see a lot of that these days anyway). But I can say for myself that I certainly do feel ~sOmE TyPe of wAy~ when someone with whom I don’t agree on certain things (not even hot topic issues, but just general approaches to daily life things) gives me their advice or thoughts. My immediate internal reaction is to push back somehow; there must be some disagreement here, because I subconsciously think (sometimes mistakenly) that we fundamentally don’t see eye-to-eye.

But that other person, whoever it is, can still say things that are good and true, even if not everything they say is good and true. They can still give me sound advice on specific things, even if they have given me unsound advice in the past.

That period of recognizing and acknowledging the truth in what that person is saying — and that period of taming my pride and replacing it with humility — is sometimes more painful than I’d like to admit.

So I have been praying for the grace of humility to accept and acknowledge truth when it is said and done, no matter who it comes from and no matter how I feel about it in the moment.

Oof that was a longer reflection than I thought it would be.

eat.

I bought avocados for the first time in a while, so I’ve been enjoying some classic avocado egg toast with sriracha the past couple days. Ooooo baby, this combo will never get old.

old pic but looks exactly the same – runny yolks FTW

I made Cookie & Kate’s whole wheat banana pancakes for a leisurely Sunday breakfast, and topped it with the usual plain Greek yogurt, pb, and maple syrup + a glass o’ milk on the side. I made the pancakes with “chia eggs” instead of real eggs, not because I’m actively trying to be vegan but because I needed to save eggs for ^^said avocado egg toast 🙂

also an old photo but looked the same (sorry, running out of media storage for new pics!)

Not gonna lie, I also baked Cookie & Kate’s banana muffins last night. I had many ripe bananas to be used, and I’m not mad in the slightest.

Lastly, I enjoyed a big ol’ ice cream cone while hanging out (socially distanced) with a high school friend last evening. I got blueberry cheesecake and “Captain Crunch Berry” flavors, and it was dreamy. Except that it was melting all over my hand at rapid speed, so I had to barbarically race to eat the whole thing.

move.

Friday’s workout was fun but hard. My quads were more sore the day after than they had been in a while!

5 rounds:

  • 200-300 meter run (I just ran down and back my cul-de-sac)
  • 10 asymmetric front rack KB squats (right side heavier)
  • 10 asymmetric reverse lunges R
  • 10 asymmetric front rack KB squats (left side heavier)
  • 10 asymmetric reverse lunges L
  • 10 double swings
  • 10 pushups

Be sure to check out my “moves part 3” highlights on Instagram if you want to see what these exercises are (it’ll be all the way at the end of the highlight)!

Yesterday I did Jen’s 1000 rep home workout, which is an old favorite of mine because it is composed of simple bodyweight exercises, yet it’s still challenging. I needed lots of breaks because it was so hot outside, and also I have not trained my stamina recently.

groove.

I went on a walk by the Hudson River on Saturday evening, and I can’t believe that after 15-ish years of living in NY, this was my first time walking this gorgeous boardwalk! It was a fun mini adventure.

lol @ the sunscreen-laden sweat dripping down my neck

My friends, Henok and Raymond, and I watched the movie Jojo Rabbit together (virtually) on Saturday night. I loved it. Both funny and heartbreaking, which is an interesting but good combo.

I also just realized that I can use “night shift” on my MacBook to make the screen easier on my eyes at night. I’m behind on the times.

Have a marvelous week, friends!

So tell me:

Do you have trouble accepting / acknowledging truth when it is coming from someone you normally disagree with?

What is the best thing you cooked / ate this weekend?

Have you watched any movies recently?

Do you use blue light glasses or night shift on your computer?