Stuffing and More Stuff of Life

The onslaught of Christmas music around every corner is approaching and I am not mentally/emotionally prepared.

Two months has passed since my last blog post, and boy have those two months been PACKED with… STUFF.

Also packed with STUFF is my belly right now after a delicious Thanksgiving feast. Happy belated Thanksgiving 🙂

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This was probably one of my favorite Thanksgiving meals in a while. It’s going to sound really inflated of me, but I cooked 90% of the food. It was cathartic for me to be cooking all day though, and Madre took care of the turkey, which turned out PERFECTLY (unlike last year when we undercooked it ha). My brother’s girlfriend also made delicious crostini w/ a balsamic reduction and burrata, as well as Thai tea (!) pumpkin pie. My contributions included stuffing, mac and cheese, roasted brussels sprouts, roasted potatoes, cornbread, cranberry sauce, and apple pie. I don’t mind domesticity at all; I was thriving.

HOWEVER, my apple pie bubbled over in the oven, so the juices to start burning pretty badly at the bottom of the oven, causing the smoke alarm to go off in the middle of dinner…. We needed the excitement (running around, opening doors, fanning the alarm) to facilitate digestion…is my excuse.

The food was great (and I didn’t feel terribly stuffed, which was good because I definitely felt stuffed after the two Friendsgiving dinners I had this past weekend), but of course the gift of family was the best. We went to Mass together in the morning to worship the God deserving of all thanksgiving, and then Ben and I even got in a fun workout at a gym that my high school friend owns!

Ben and Pop also played some Christmas tunes on the piano/clarinet together between dinner and dessert, which was so sweet.

To combine a life update and a Thanksgiving post, here are just some of the many things for which I am grateful from these past two months.

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The last thing I told you in my previous blog post was that I was going hiking in Maine with friends, and that was a glorious weekend. A bunch of us drove up from Boston and stayed at our friend Connor’s place, where hospitality abounds. His family is so warm and fun, and his mom makes some KILLER lasagna, banana bread, egg casserole, and pumpkin bread (she also has a beautiful singing voice, yeesh). The main event of the weekend was hiking up and down Mt. Washington, which was a sufficiently challenging hike. It started off as a pretty sweaty hike (tank top conditions), but with elevation came high winds and frigid temperatures (hat and heavy coat conditions).

We also went to the famous Fryeburg Fair on Sunday for Mass and all the fried food you could ever think of. My face was sweating bloomin’ onion oils.

Grateful for: nature; autumn leaves in the northeast; breathing hard in the fresh air; prayerful, joyful, loving, and hilarious friends (and their families!); fun fried foods.

PT school has been quite enjoyable this semester! One of my favorite aspects is that our neurological systems lab allows us to work with patients who have actually had a stroke (rather than just practicing on healthy, young peers), which makes the experience so much more realistic and meaningful.

Grateful for: education; an increase in knowledge and understanding of the human body AND the human person; friends who support both my mind and my spirit through the PT school process; academic failures and successes.

My best friend Rachel and (her now husband) Austin got MARRIED. I had the honor of being the maid of honor, and it was one of the best days of MY life. Of course, I’ve always thought marriage is beautiful, and family life is one of the best reflections of God’s Love active in the world. However, a wedding has never made these truths penetrate my heart so deeply until Rachel and Austin’s wedding. Maybe it’s because I know their relationship from the inside pretty much, but I was m o v e d by their Sacrament of Marriage. Ugh, I can’t really articulate it fully, but it was so good. Rachel and Austin were beaming all day.

The wedding reception was also LIT. I love wedding dancing, as some of you might know, and it’s even better when it’s with your best friends who ALSO love dancing. If you could find me “in my element,” it would be on the dance floor at a wedding reception.

Grateful for: the Sacrament of Marriage; Rachel and Austin; holy friends; the triumph of joy despite trials; wedding dancing.

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There have been a lot of tears (what’s new though??) of every kind. But if I could boil all the tears down…it would be salt. No just kidding. If I could boil all the tears down into one common theme, it would be that the Lord is making all things new (Rev 21:5). I have cried a lot because of emotional pain. In these cases, I have repeated daily that the Lord is, in each moment of pain, making all things new — better, more beautiful, more good than I could plan or do on my own.

I have also cried tears of joy and deep gratitude, because He shows me that things are indeed made new. There have been certain relationships and struggles (either my own or those of my loved ones) in this past year that have seemed to crush my insides, but as long as those are all laid at the foot of the Cross for love of what is good, the Lord has shown that He can and will make those relationships and struggles new — somehow better than they could have been if the pain never occurred. It’s a continuous process of pain and beauty though; it never stops. And sometimes He chooses not to show us what exactly it is He is doing, but I am learning that this is what life is. HE KEEPS YA ON YOUR TOES.

Grateful for: pain that turns into growth; newness; knowing that life will never be void of pain and struggle, but that does not mean it will void of joy.

That’s a wrap for now! As always, thank YOU for reading along despite the spottiness of my blog posts in this season of life. Thanks to mom, dad, and my brother as always 🙂 And THANK YOU, GOOD LORD, FOR THIS LIFE.

“…In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

– 1 Thess 5:18

So tell me:

One thing you’re grateful for, based on a recent experience?

If you celebrated Thanksgiving here in America yesterday, what did ya eeeeat? 

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October

It is WILD to me that it’s already October. On the one hand, I’ve already made pumpkin mac and cheese this season (which all my friends apparently think is appalling and gross). On the other hand, I don’t really know how to dress for 50°F weather.

I went into this month thinking, “This is going the be a rough month.” Midterms, bittersweet nostalgia, shorter days — meh. But Fr. Barnes, our chaplain at the BU Catholic Center, spoke earlier this week about how wonderful of a month October is, because we celebrate so many “powerhouse” saints — saints who knew how to experience hurt deeply, yet love even more deeply.

Something I find myself doing more often these days is putting my hand over my heart. I place my hand over my heart when someone says something touching; when I feel hurt; when I see or hear something beautiful; when I hear something that I know to be so true, even if if I don’t want it to be true in the moment; when I receive the Eucharist.

It’s kind of a habit now, but I think it started because my emotions have become more visceral this year. But as C H E E S Y as it sounds, I also think I feel closer to God when I place my hand on my heart, because I’ve been meditating on giving my heart completely to Him, whether it is filled with joy, anger, fear, nothing at all, or whether it’s broken. And because, before I can even offer Him my heart, He is the first to knock and seek to dwell within my heart.

LOL this was meant to be a post that took me 5 minutes to write, but thoughts just burst out of my head, so here we are with this more emotional post than I was expecting.

In case you were wondering, I still take selfies like a tourist in Disney World.

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I’m goin’ hiking in Maine this weekend and I. am. STOKED. You probably won’t hear about it for another month though, given my recent blogging track record.

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend.

So tell me:

What are you ~feeLiNg~ this October?

What are your plans for the weekend?

5 Years of Blogging + 5th Year in Boston

Coming at ya from the student union on a Friday night having eaten Ben & Jerry’s and Cheeto puffs.

We are out here living the quintessential college student life!!!

In all seriousness though, most days/nights do not look like this. However, I’m STILL HERE at Boston University in my 5th year of the (6 year total) physical therapy program, and I kinda feel like a big kid in the little kid zone. I mean, I’m just a graduate student, which is a normal species in the university world, but I still know and interact with so many undergraduates, and I’m still at the same exact campus.

So it feels like I’m…college student “plus”.

Anyway, we are going into our third week of classes now. I’m taking things like neurological systems, evidence-based practice, diagnostic procedures, and scientific basis of human movement, and I’m still teaching gross anatomy twice a week.

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a solid group of the BUPT students at the American Heart Association walk last weekend

Each day has been a gift. Each day has its wonderful joys, and each day has at least one moment in which my heart breaks for one reason or another. My friend checked to make sure I’m still having fun in my life, and yes, I am. Besides taking photos like the one below, I’d say the rollercoaster of highs and lows has been a new kind of fun.

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Sarah and me “studying” outside in the dark on a Friday night

There has been a deeeeeep (like sometimes hard-to-find deep) undercurrent of peace through it all though.


TOPIC CHANGE.

I’ve been blogging for 5 years!!! My “blog-iversary” was August 7th (peep this introduction blog post from 2013 — what a BABY), but here we are over a month later with a belated reflection post on 5 years of moving and grooving.

In 5 years of blogging, I have…

…recovered from an eating disorder.

…gained 30-40 lbs.

…grown to truly appreciate and respect my body.

…learned how to move and groove purely for the love of it.

…gone through the college application process.

…experienced miserable insomnia.

…learned to drive.

…potentially dodged death in a car accident.

…gone to prom.

…graduated high school.

…given a valedictorian speech.

…said goodbye to my best high school / dance company friends.

…moved to Boston.

…found a community of young men and women who are on fire for God.

…found incredible best friends.

…learned so much about the human body and many other aspects of the world.

…gone on a blogger retreat.

…met up with bloggers in person who I admire so very much.

…made many new real-life friends through social media.

…gone on 7 Catholic Center retreats.

…led a retreat.

…studied abroad in Ireland and traveled to several European cities (wow miss this).

…gone to two Us the Duo concerts and one Tori Kelly concert (you NEEEED to listen to her new album “Hiding Place”).

…met Us the Duo and basically became friends with them.

…seen my brother graduate college.

…had my first alcoholic beverage.

…graduated college with a bachelor of science in health studies.

…shadowed/worked at four different PT clinics.

…completed two Spartan races.

…learned to like running.

…gone to my first college-friend wedding.

…been asked to be a maid of honor.

…made so many mistakes.

…learned to take myself less seriously.

…seen hearts break into a million pieces.

…loved others so much it hurts.

…received and experienced love from others beyond anything that I can imagine.

…hurt others and been hurt by others.

…lost loved ones.

…seen my loved ones lose their loved ones.

…had the privilege of traveling deep into the scarred and wounded hearts of others.

…seen God work in miraculous ways.

…learned how to allow God, who pursues my heart, to love me and free me more fully.

This list is quite representative of the evolution of this blog. Daily Moves and Grooves started out as a very food and fitness-centered blog. I would do “what I ate Wednesday” every week, share recipes and workouts… and I honestly had more comments and visitor activity back then than I do now. But this blog has become a place more than anything through which I can share the stuff of life. Sometimes that does involve food and fitness, but more often than not, it is focused on the exciting, aching, rejuvenating, and saddening things that happen in just one heart of 8 billion in this world.

I’m just a person. It is so ridiculous and humbling to know that so many people have followed my life for 5 years (or any amount of time within that). If you are one of those people, or if you are here on this blog for the first time, I thank you. Thank you for caring about one out of 8 billion hearts. And to all those who have been a part of my life in these past 5 years, thank you.

Sap ends here. Talk to you again when I do. 🙂

Summer Catch Up {Part 2}: Spartan Race and Bachelorette Party

I meant to write this, like, two days ago.

This is my week off and my days have already been full enough to not have time to blog. SCHOOL IS COMIN’!!

It’s been full of mostly fun things though. Example: Last night I went out to dinner with my good pal Zoe and her family at Sweet Cheeks BBQ. We ate al fresco in the cool summer eve, noshed on giant honey-buttered biscuits, and ate lots o’ scrumptious meat. I truly don’t deserve this life.

Spartan Race

Rewind to…THREE weekends ago ALREADY. My friend Ben and I ran a Spartan Super race in western Massachusetts!

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It was 8.2 miles of epic fun. Well, the first 2 miles were miserable for me. Running felt really difficult at the beginning, and after the first wall obstacle, I told Ben, “Not gonna lie, I feel pretty damn terrible.”

But somehow I caught a first wind at around mile 3 and felt great for the rest of it. I owe Ben a lot of credit for leading the way at the beginning when I just wanted to go back to Boston to sleep and for lending his knee to help me up all of the tall walls. And just for being the greatest Spartan buddy.

FAVORITE MOMENT OF THE RACE:

So at last year’s Spartan Sprint race, I was *this* close to reaching the top of the rope climb, but I didn’t know how to use my feet for leverage, so my arms became super fatigued. I was a pull and a reach from the bell, but instead I slid down and got a rope burn on my ankle (in front of many spectators) that I still had by the Spartan Race this year. Since then, I’ve been determined to complete the rope obstacle, buuuuuut I don’t know where to find a rope for practice, so I’ve never trained for it ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Anyway, at the race this year, there were some Army men/women standing at the rope obstacle (idk, moral support?). I was struggling to even START climbing the rope, so I asked one of the Army guys, “Do you know how to do the foot thing to climb the rope?” Army man coached me through it, and after a couple of failed attempts, I finally got the hang of it and started my way up the rope. At half way I wanted to quit because I was already fatigued and felt like I wasn’t using my energy efficiently, but Army man said, “You’re halfway there, don’t give up.”

Fine.

I kept inching my way up (literally like an inchworm), and when I was at about the same place as last year, I reached for the bell but missed. But I honestly had to just think of Jesus Christ on the cross (#dramatic but whatever, He’s always relevant) in order to not let go. So the tired leggies and the super tired arms did one more pull, and then I rang the bell!

…and then I slid down and rope burned the same part of my ankle as last year, except five times worse (it’s still scabbed and healing). And when my butt made its grand touchdown to the mat, I thanked Army man and all his friends as if they had just saved my life. It was a proud and humbling moment all the same.

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had to assure people that I am safe and not being harmed by myself or anyone else; “it was just a spartan race”

Hardest obstacle: The bucket carry. It just felt so bad for my back, no matter how well I tried to maintain my body mechanics and use my core.

Honorary mention obstacle: Dead ball (maybe around 50-75# for the women?) carry with burpees.

The weather was overcast (which was actually lovely!) and slightly rainy towards the end, but everything was a cow-manure-smelling, soggy, muddy slip and slide. I almost ate it at least ten times. Monkey bar obstacles were complete fails, 30% due to the conditions, 70% due to my lack of grip strength.

But we did it! In 3 hours, 18 minutes.

Our post-race meal (besides the free banana/protein bar/electrolyte super water they gave us) was ramen and ice cream. A fine celebratory meal, I say!

We’re already thinking of doing another one next year.

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Rachel’s Bachelorette Party

If you didn’t know, my bff is getting married in a couple months, and she asked me to be the maid of honor ♥

This was just F U N. Part one was a surprise party complete with some of Rachel’s favorite foods, a gold fringe curtain, polaroids, booze, some G-rated question games (since pinterest bachelorette party ideas are really gross, tbh).

Then we went out on the town and danced up a STORM at a couple bars. We were living. Also, I learned that people are so dang generous and enthusiastic to bachelorette parties. Free drinks and hugs left and right, man!! Creepy men left and right, too, but we held our ground.

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The collage obviously shows our ~tame~ side as well. Part two of the weekend was a quiet getaway to an idyllic farm Airbnb in middle-of-nowhere Massachusetts. Rachel requested this type of weekend for just her and her bridesmaids, so we delivered! It was wonderful in every way. The Airbnb hosts were great (we stayed here — highly recommend if you wanna stay on a peaceful farm lol) and sold us a whole fresh chicken that we roasted for dinner. They even set up a bonfire for us, which we used for s’mores at night as we chatted under the intensely bright moon.

Ugh, it was just phenomenal. It was “glamping”, essentially — all the perks of camping without having to sleep outside nor deal with camp stoves.

Most importantly, Rachel loved it, so it was a successful weekend 🙂


School starts on Tuesday! Hope you all have a delightful weekend. Do we feel that fall air coming on yet!?

So tell me:

Have you ever done an obstacle race before?

Have you ever been to a bachelorette party?

 

 

 

Summer Catch Up {Part 1}: Clinical

Are we now in what people/Florence + the Machine would call the “dog days” of summer?

It’s hot and things are winding down before the start of school again (second year of grad school, baby, here we come!)

It’s been 5 weeks since I posted about life (besides this post), because, like I said before, life has been full. From ab-sore laughing to nearly punching walls out of frustration to crying happy and sad tears on the train, it’s all been very rich and very good overall.

I’ll split up the summer catch-up into a couple posts for everyone’s sake.

The 6-Week Physical Therapy Clinical Experience

I walked out of my 6 weeks working at an outpatient PT clinic b e a m i n g. Not because I was happy to leave but because I was beyond grateful for how much I enjoyed it.

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the sunset view from the train station on my last day of clinical

All the staff were incredibly compassionate and encouraging. My clinical instructors were laid back yet competent clinicians and teachers. The patients were welcoming and supportive of me while I treated them.

Usually, something like clinical — where I know I will be evaluated on my knowledge and skill base, ability to communicate, and ability to just be a good person — would make me feel anxious and stressed up the wazoo. But by the grace of God, I stayed pretty calm throughout the whole experience, and I think that helped me to think more clearly and bring my best to the table at each moment. I almost never did anything out of fear for being judged or ridiculed; I was able to speak, ask questions, and perform with a genuinely free heart, and from the feedback I received from my clinical instructors, all of that made for a successful clinical experience.

I made many mistakes and there is always so much room to grow, but I have learned that the two things that make me a good PT student (and hopefully a good doctor of PT one day) are honesty and humility always. This clinical experience has made me fall back in love with the profession of PT, and for that I am pleasantly surprised and grateful.

Odds and Ends

Outside of clinical, I’ve been enjoying lots of food and fellowship.

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I think the collage sums it up quite nicely. I’ve eaten many dumplings, seen my friends do many ratchet things (i.e. Sarah spreading dijon mustard on her sandwich using a baby carrot as we waited outside with all her stuff before dorm move-in), and spent a long weekend with nuns. Among other things.

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feeling small and weak and sub-amateur but He is not

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I’ve also been running more!

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I, like, kinda enjoy running now?? Sometimes?

This summer catch-up is to be continued… (Spartan Race and Bachelorette party!)

So tell me:

How’s the summer work/job been?

Are you headed back to school (whether yourself or your kids), and how are you feeling about it?