The art of choosing

pray.

The past several days have been challenging with some unforeseen things that have popped up with my job situation, but I have hope that it will all work out for the best.

In light of all the decisions I have been making, I have asked God a lot these days: “What should I do, Lord? I don’t know what to do.” There’s no thunderous or clear answer that comes to my heart (usually), but what has been giving me consolation through this week is the Lord saying, “You will make a decision, Alison. I am taking care of you in all of this. Where you go, I will be with you.”

There is no force from God to make a certain decision. There is also no promise that any one decision will be easy or perfect. He just promises that He will be with us, and that is everything.

My friend Elayne reassured me the other day that sometimes there is no right or wrong decision; we make our choices based on our values and the information that we have, not necessarily knowing what is on the other side of that choice. Those choices lead to more necessary decision-making, over and over again. We choose, we live with the consequences, we learn from those experiences, and we keep on keeping on.

eat.

Two dishes have ROCKED my world this past week. One was peach cobbler a la mode, but not just ANY a la mode…Tillamook’s Oregon Dark Cherry ice cream 😀

Second was toasted multigrain sourdough (from Trader Joe’s) with canned sardines and a homemade spicy tomato sauce. I thought of making this dish a couple weeks ago when I spotted a can of sardines and a can of diced tomatoes in the pantry, and last Friday I finally made it happen. Mmmm mmm mmm it was such lovely a Mediterranean-inspired meal.

move.

Monday and Tuesday’s workouts have made me quite sore everywhere.

Monday was a lower body workout that involved a LOT of concentration:

  • 3×5 weighted pistol squats each leg
  • 3×8 squat to toe tap backs
  • 3×12-15 deficit stationary lunges each leg
  • 2×10 staggered good mornings each side
  • 3×10 kneel to squat jumps

Yesterday involved some upper body circuits:

5 rounds:

  • 5 double pushup burpees
  • 1 wall walk + 20 shoulder taps
  • 12 hollow rocks

4 rounds:

  • 8 tuck handstand to kick through
  • 5-6 Russian pushups
  • 15 plank hip dips each side

3 rounds:

  • 2-3 neutral grip pull-ups
  • 10 KB hang cleans each side
  • 10 tabletop sit throughs

All the demos can be found on my “moves and grooves part 4” Instagram highlights!

groove.

I went for a quick “glamping” (glam + camping) getaway in New Hampshire with some (masked) pals this weekend! Sleeping in tents outside but also having access to a kitchen and indoor plumbing as needed (although I still peed in the woods usually; it’s honestly just so much easier).

We swam, hiked, bonfire’d, ate, and shared in some bonafide fellowship. The best parts were the company and also looking at the sky full of stars (and the Milky Way faintly!) two nights in a row. Seeing a sky full of stars is one of my most favorite things in the entire world, and I don’t get it often being a city girl.

Literal words from my mouth: “I don’t usually consider myself a city girl, but it really comes out when I’m here in the nature.”

THE nature???

So tell me:

Are you a confident decision maker? What was the last decision that you made that caused further challenges (can be as big as marriage / having kids or as small as choosing to stay up late)?

What is the best dessert you’ve eaten recently?

What is your favorite part about outdoorsy types of trips?

Nothing is ever as expected (theme of the year?).

pray.

Things have changed and moved very quickly in my life the past week or so. Nothing huge, but definitely important. Thus, a lot of my prayer has been sheer surrender to God, asking Him to take care of everything.

Surrender to God does not mean be a potato and wait for God to do everything for you. His plan requires our cooperation, and most importantly our free will. But to surrender is to let go of expectation, willing to let go of desires for a greater good, and trust that whatever happens, He is with you.

So that’s been a big part of my prayer this week.

eat.

Yesterday was national potato day, so I air fried some Ore-Ida tater tots and crinkle cut fries as a (large) part of my dinner last night and ooooo baby I was happy.

move.

Last evening, I ran for the first time (continuously) since coming back to NY. The weather has been wonderful here this week, so I figured running in the neighborhood would be a good way to enjoy it while also doing something good for my cardiovascular system.

It was a slowwww 4 miles, but I’m making myself feel better by saying my neighborhood is hilly.

groove.

I have accepted my first big girl job offer! The new-grad-in-COVID-era job search has been the roller coaster that prompted the prayers stated above. The job for which I signed was not the job I thought I would take if you asked me 5 days ago, but nothing is as expected. Some doors close, some doors remain open, and some doors you choose to not walk through.I have a couple weeks before starting, so I’m trying to soak up this relative free time and prepare myself to practice physical therapy finally!

I’ll share more about this after I start the job, but please pray for me and my patients to come!

Nothing is as expected, which is a big theme of 2020… and honestly a big theme of my life. I should know that by now 🙂

So tell me:

What are some unexpected things that have happened to you recently?

Did you eat potatoes yesterday?

What are your weekend plans?

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?