Power and Love and Self-Control

There are a million words yet no words at the same time. I’ll give this post my best shot, because it’s worth it.

Black lives matter. The murder of George Floyd is an act that ought to be condemned. There needs to be justice for George Floyd, his family, and for all people of color who have been oppressed and, evidently, suffocated to the point of death under systemic racism in America since its onset.

If you have followed this blog for a while, you know that I am not too shy about my views on life issues (i.e., divisive ones like abortion), and the issue of racism is one of those life issues.

This post from @rachel.cargle is striking. The actions we take and the words we speak in the Black Lives Matter movement are not to be in vain. This is what I am hearing from many black people, whether they are close friends or strangers. The gist is: “It’s a marathon, not a sprint.”

Yes, this should be true for ANY life issue. Yes, this movement is getting a lot of attention right now. But major events that gain attention, despite the chaos, can stir up genuine good and necessary change. We are not forgetting other causes nor minimizing them, but for something as important, real, longstanding, and stifled as the issue of racism in America, there is a very clear need for action and tangible, expedient change.

It is easy to be complacent and tired of all of this, but if we can muster up a little bit of energy to, in some minuscule way, lay down our life for a brother or sister, please Lord, help us to help.

Act. It is not wise to “sign x, y, z because everyone is signing this and it’s probably good.” You have the faculties given to you to make an informed, conscientious decision about which petitions to sign, which organizations to support, or which posts to share.

Make the decision because you know what you are doing, why you are doing it, and the implied WORK it requires you to do after you donate, sign, post, etc. Please be responsible, not just reactive.

Be honest in your research and be okay with hearing “both sides.” You might find a sense of good in both sides of the conversation. You might find discomfort or disgust in elements of both sides of the conversation. Ask yourself why. Talk to people with an open heart. Seek to understand.

In all of this though, the priority is to listen to those who are being oppressed (i.e., black people).

If you are not sure where to even start, here are suggestions:

  • For a concise, honest, and helpful understanding of the Black Lives Matter Movement, watch this. Although I do not condone any sort of violence or crime, this video provides perspective on the deep, unspeakable pain that is yielding such actions. Additionally, I have seen and heard of many instances where black people are the ones preventing others (of various races) from destroying businesses and hurting others. There are riots, yes, but there are many necessary peaceful protests, where a majority of the protestors actually condemn any violence and destruction. Nevertheless, I am learning more and more that the riots and looting are coming from a place of extremely long-standing oppression and systemic inequity against black people (watch this). There can be an understanding of rioting and looting without condoning it. And most importantly, in understanding why it is happening, it has pushed me to realize the urgency and duty of addressing the “why” — to seek out true reform; to get dirty and serve underserved areas; to speak with my vote; and to empower young people of color with my time, energy, and money so that change can happen from the bottom up. In other words, I need to do what needs to be done so that black people do not ever feel that their only chance to be heard and loved is by rioting and looting. Who put them in such a position in the first place? Even if I did not ever personally place a black person in a position of poverty and inequity, to not do anything about it now is to do just that.
  • For my Catholic friends who are not sure how Catholics are responding or how they ought to respond, watch this and this and read this. Pray and fast for justice for George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, for real upheaval of systemic racism (which will take a lot of time, so you’ll probably be praying for it for your whole life), and for respect for black lives. Ask God to shine a light on any prejudices in your own heart, and ask Him to uproot them. Pray about how God is calling you to act against racism, and follow.
  • For those who are wondering why the Black Lives Matter movement seems to be getting so much more attention and momentum vs. the fight for unborn lives (hint: the issues are not dissociated from one another), watch this (I have linked the particular part of the video that addresses this question).
  • For petitions to sign, organizations to support, and a plethora of other resources, go here.
  • For a history on police in America, listen to this.
  • For Boston friends who seek to support local organizations that empower young people of color, consider donating to African Community Education and Boys and Girls Club of Dorchester. One of my friends, who is an immigrant from Ethiopia, said that he believes real change will happen only if black people are in positions of power, and that starts with true nourishment and quality education from a young age.
  • Support local black-owned businesses (Boston list of black-owned restaurants).
  • Start a book club with friends. Be open to conversation, and remember that you can use the opportunity to LISTEN. Discuss what you agree and disagree with, but listen. My friends and I will read Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates. I also recommend Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin.

Systemic, but always interpersonal. Someone told me that change still comes down to the interactions that we have with the people in front of us. And this does not mean to shut out the world and live in one’s own bubble, because ignorance of the sufferings outside of one’s own immediate environment is part of the problem. But truly, how do you love the person in front of you today?

Does loving them mean having a tough conversation about the reality of racism? Does loving them mean reminding them of their worth, power, and love, so that they can go and pour out to others and be inspired to do something bigger than themselves?

And then after being informed about the the injustices and atrocities against black people in America, after honestly praying and educating yourself about the history of racism, how can you go to black people within your community and love them? Or at least donate to them? And if you are really not physically amidst black people, then how can you reach out beyond your community?

Look to those who do it well. I will share below some Saints who I know have worked against racism and slavery as Catholics. White people within the Catholic Church have indeed participated in racism in the past and some likely still do today. Please remember these people are imperfect and sinful human beings who act of their own accord. What is important, however, is that even their evil racism did not keep black people from the Love of Jesus Christ in the Church.

For example:

Above all, I find that Jesus Christ proves to be the answer to everything. He knows unjust condemnation. He knows racism. He knows judgement from others. He knows contempt. He knows poverty. He knows the pain of being brutally murdered for no reason.

Yet He, the Victim, gives Wisdom. He, the Victim, gives Mercy. He, the Victim, gives Power. He, the Victim, gives Peace. He, the Victim, gives Joy. He, the Victim, gives Love.

He is everything broken, impoverished, and slandered, yet He is everything good and triumphant.

My friends, my words here are not perfect. This is important though. And please, teach me more if you can, and help me to amplify black voices. Help me to love others more.

“For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control.”

2 Timothy 1:7

“‘Teacher, which are the two greatest commandments?’ Jesus replied, ‘”Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” The second is like it, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.'”

Matthew 22:34-40

Go forth in power, love, and self-control. Black lives matter.

Cheers, Dublin

HELLO, AMERICA!

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could not wipe the smile off my face when I saw this

I can hear Frank Sinatra singing, “New York, New York”.

It’s like I never even left this side of the pond. I’ve gone right back to eating sushi, driving, and using toilet paper that comes in roll form.

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I swear I did not ask for this to be taken, but Madre takes as many random photos as I do

No, but seriously, my brain is still processing the fact that I studied abroad in Ireland for the past 3.5 months. It was a whirlwind, a challenge, and a blast. I’ll save the reflections for another post and just focus on the transition from Europe back to America in this post.

My peers and I celebrated what felt like the end of an era during our last days in Dublin. Megan and I were basically obligated to go to one last brunch:

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The Lovely Food Co.1 was the first brunch place we ate at in Dublin, so we chose it as our last brunch destination to bring it full circle. ‘Twas a fabulous decision because this was the best brunch we had in Ireland. She ordered the eggs benedict, and I ordered the eggs royale (same thing except with smoked salmon instead of ham).

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The crusty bread was unconventional, but it totally worked. For brunch dessert, we split an order of their brioche French toast, since that’s what Megan ordered her first time there, and she could not stop thinking about since.

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For good reason!! This little guy was perfectly crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Served with cream, berry compote, and classic maple syrup. #dead.

We may or may not have bought two desserts from the bakery to take away.

After walking around city centre to look for books for our plane ride (I ended up buying the fourth HP book because I needed to return the one I had to the library, but I still had 200+ pages left), we had a late farewell lunch with all the students and program directors at Il Corvo Italian restaurant.

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I had the lasagna with a side of veggies and happily finished it all. I also almost cried after one of the program director’s farewell speeches. All good things here!

Later that night, a few of us walked back to city centre for some gelato and store-perusing.

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“Florence cream” flavor from Gelato di Natura (it tasted like saffron!)

Megan and I also watched Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them while eating our sneaked-in dinners in the back of the theatre.

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sandwiches and salads — your typical theatre fare 

p.s. the movie was great! a little confusing, but fantastic nevertheless. Eddie Redmayne *swoon*

And then, of course, we had to join the rest of our friends for one last night out on the town!

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baby Guinness shots (the first and last shot I will have ever had in Ireland…until next time!)

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I wish I could say I was cool and went pub-hopping that night, but I went home after the first bar and called it a night.

Saturday morning called for a quick workout and the last scramble to pack our whole lives into our suitcases (“It’s TWO POUNDS over 50!!!”). Eventually, we made it through the airport and onto the plane. My last meal in Ireland was this sandwich with veggies, relish, and an absurdly thick slice of cheese.

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Followed by a pretty tasty airplane dinner a few hours later. They served us turkey and stuffing meals with pasta and veggies, soda bread and Kerrygold butter (♥︎), and raspberry white chocolate mousse. What luxury!

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“milk in a stick”

Purchasing Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire for the plane ride was one of the wiser decisions I’ve made in my life. It occupied me for the almost the whole 7 hours! (It also blew my MIND.) I was also very surprised that I never napped or even got up to pee during the entire flight.

When we arrived in New York, my family greeted me at the airport, and I almost cried again. I was so happy to see them. Also, one of the first things my brother told me after I hugged him was that they bought me Lloyd’s carrot cake. I appreciate how well they know me.

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Even though it was past midnight Dublin time, it was only 7:30 pm when I met up with them and they hadn’t eaten dinner yet. By then, I was pretty hungry for a midnight snack/dinner too, so they took me to eat some delicious sushi, since I had not eaten any in Europe (I had trust issues).

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Also, Madre bought me a portable massage table for Christmas (upon my request, since I’ve been learning how to give good massages in Dublin), so Pop broke it in for me as I gave him a massage that night. The gift that keeps on giving, I say!

Regarding jetlag, I’m actually pretty adjusted already! I persevered and stayed up until 11:30pm NY time (4:30am Dublin time) and woke up at 9 am yesterday.

I was feeling ready to move and groove in the morning, but I had limited time before Mass, so I did 100 burpees for time. I tied my previous PR (6:12), but not without my heart feeling like it would explode. Holy smokes, I had not done a “sprint” like that in a while.

This dinner last night was nothing out of the ordinary except that I cooked the eggs on a gas stove (instead of electric like in our Dublin dorms, which I didn’t realize until now takes 10x longer to heat up) and that I topped it with SRIRACHA. Oh, how I missed thee.

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Followed by cake for dayyyyyyz.

Today I’m headed up to a very special city for a couple days 🙂 More to come!

I have so much to say and reflect upon in regards to my study abroad experience in Ireland, but for now, I’ll say:

Sláinte, Baile Átha Cliath (Cheers, Dublin)!

So tell me:

What did you do this weekend?

What is the best airport/airline food you’ve ever eaten?

Are there any things about coming home that you didn’t even realize you missed during an extended vacation/trip?

20 Things From My Life That I Regret (But Not Entirely)

I just finished a rather colorful bowl of oatmeal this AM.

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Sprinkles were welcomed onto my classic bowl of banana chia egg white oats, because I’m turning 20 today! Two decades and no longer a teen. I’d say that I feel closer to fully #adulting, but did I mention that a waitress gave me a kiddie menu in Vermont three weeks ago?

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I hope that all my fellow Americans had a lovely Memorial Day! The ‘rents and I took it easy. We attended our local Memorial Day ceremony, Mom and I went shopping, we all napped a bit, and some killer moves went down in honor of the fallen.

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the superintendent of my high school!

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salad with sautéed onions, mushrooms and chorizo (← new fave)

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Memorial Day 5/30/16 Workout

5 rounds for time: 30 pushup burpees + 16 alternating weighted pistol squats

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dinner was eel and Asian roasted brussels sprouts over brown rice (I LOVE EEL)

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new favorite late night snack: Greek yogurt and almond butter with dried figs

In honor of twenty years since emerging from the womb, I decided to make a list of twenty things, because that seems like a socially acceptable way to subtly scream on my blog that I have turned twenty years old.

I have learned plenty of lessons in these past twenty years, but instead of listing the lessons themselves, I am sharing twenty things that I regret doing/happening (but not entirely, because they’ve taught me that I am a foolish human being who constantly needs improvement/they’ve given me the best memories). So I do not necessarily condone all of the following things, but I am appreciative that God allows me to learn from mistakes.

1) Filming a plethora of home videos of my brother and myself dancing to Pokemon songs and Backstreet Boys.

2) Showing said home videos to my friends in high school and college.

3) Having a bowl haircut.

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4) Complaining to my parents that I didn’t want to go to Hawaii when I was seven years old because I had no interest in pineapples (they still dragged me along, thankfully).

5) Wanting to have hamstring muscles just like my figure skating friend when I was seven years old (the dawn of body comparison).

6) Waiting until the last minute on one of my elementary school math projects and getting a terrible grade.

7) Crying and getting mad at God because I didn’t get a lead role in my middle school’s musical, Willy Wonka, Jr. I got the part of an orange-faced, green-haired oompa loompa.

8) Any and every time I stomped through the house in an unreasonable rage.

9) Begging my mom to take me to buy Crocs. And Uggs.

10) Not paying attention to directions whenever my parents drove.

11) Not reading Harry Potter (and then the heavens rejoiced that she repented).

12) The whole phase of my life when I started wearing makeup and getting interested in fashion.

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blue eyeshadow and 10 lbs. of jewelry

13) Not keeping up with stretching after some time off of figure skating. It taught me early on that muscles do not stay flexible forever.

14) Counting calories and finding healthy living blogs that pushed my disordered eating further (but finding healthy living blogs was ultimately fruitful).

15) Discovering my love for nut butter. A blessing and a curse.

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16) Attending one high school Halloween party where there was a single handle of vodka, touchy people, and really bad lighting. But it taught me that I was not missing out on anything by not going to those parties.

17) Thinking that I did not want to study abroad because of FOMO (fear of missing out) at Boston. My friends who know what’s logical and good urged me to reconsider, and now I’m going to Dublin this fall!

18) All the times I did not engage in conversation with people because I did not think they were interesting enough or that I was interesting enough.

19) Not trusting in God’s mercy, which has plunged me into my darkest times yet ultimately brought me to my greatest joys after seeking Truth.

20) Not following politics. I need to inform myself more, but I’m also happy that I’m not stressing over the hubbub.

This was a lot more fun to write than I was expecting. And embarrassing!

Off to work now! Hope you all have a wonderful week!

So tell me:

What are some things you regret (but not really)? Can you relate to any of mine?

What did you do for Memorial Day?

Do you have any birthday traditions? Going out to dinner with the fam!

Virtual Breakfast Date

virtual breakfast date

…I would wish you a blessed Memorial Day (if you live in the US)! If you have the day off, I hope it’s filled with relaxation, sunshine, reflection, and good food! If you’re working/not living in the US, I hope you have a great day anyway 🙂

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Always grateful for the valiant and selfless men and women who protect our nation.

…I would tell you that I can check off week one of work at the rehab hospital! It was a looooong week, (but not luxuriously long like our time at Fiona’s summer house the week before). Starting a new job, meeting new people, and not doing anything stupid being on my best behavior is exhausting, which is to be expected. That being said, I am so stoked and thankful for this job. Example of excitement: I get to help with pool therapy!!!

…I would tell you that breakfasts this past week have been fabulous. With work, I’ve had to make a lot of quick yet filling breakfasts. And they must have the “trifecta” because I’m stubborn and obsessive.

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Greek yogurt with cinnamon, nutmeg, blueberries, banana, granola, and maple walnut peanut butter (probz one of my favorite peanut butters ever)

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overnight oats with berries and granola

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peanut butter banana toast + Greek yogurt with cinnamon, nutmeg, and berries

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Kylie’s “banana pudding

…I would tell you that weekend breakfast = pancakes.

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Kylie’s simple paleo pancake with Greek yogurt + maple peanut butter + maple syrup + glass o’ milk

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Davida’s green silver dollar banana pancakes with all the same works

…I would tell you that I will be that gal who wears dress pants with sneakers. I am on my feet all day at work, and I care about my feet (as a future physical therapist and as a bipedal human being), so fashion will have to take the back seat. Not that I’m fashionable anyway.

…I would tell you that I get employee gym perks! The employee gym is a dungeon, but it’s nice to have access to some heavier weights and machines.

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…I would tell you that moves and grooves have been downright sweat fests thanks to the hot weather.

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On Wednesday, I walked + did some random plyometrics and drills outside, and I’m pretty sure tiny bugs were flying into me and dying in my sweat.

…I would tell you that I had something akin to baby food before my workout yesterday.

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My girl Christina @foodietunes gave it to me one day this past semester (or two semesters ago?), and I actually really liked it!

…I would tell you that I had these Performix BCAAs (that I won from a Fit University giveaway) after a couple workouts this weekend. I need to go back into my exercise physiology notes to see what BCAAs actually do, haha. They’re super tasty though! “Blue Razz Ice” flavor— so nostalgic.

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thank you for sending me these, Sarah!

…I would tell you that I need to shower so badly as I type this, but I locked a fat fly in my bathroom, and I don’t want to deal with it right now.

…I would tell you that I saw Daliza this weekend!!! She got us into a movie for free since she works at the theater. We watched Love & Friendship, which is a smaller-scale movie based on an early Jane Austen novella.

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I was expecting the movie to be very serious, and I could barely understand the characters’ old-fashioned British accents at the beginning, but as the movie went on, I was pleased to discover that this film is HILARIOUS. If there’s a small indie-film-theater around you, check this out! (Julia, I feel like you’d love this!)

Then Daliza treated me to Cold Stone (I got “Cheesecake Fantasy” in a waffle cone, OMG), and we walked around, catching up and inadvertently pouring melted ice cream all over the streets/our hands/faces.

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…I would thank you all very deeply for your condolences and love regarding Katie’s passing ♥︎

…I would tell you that I’m going to go shower now and face that fly. With God, all things are possible. Matthew 19:26

If we were having breakfast, what would you tell me?

What is your favorite quick and filling breakfast?

What is the best movie you’ve watched recently?

What are you doing today?

Under 24 Hours in Kansas City

Greetings from St. Louis! Sorry I’m posting this update so late, but the past 48 hours have been a whirlwind. If you follow me on Snapchat, you might have seen that my travels to the Midwest did not go quite as planned.

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At 6AM, overnight oats in tow, Pop kindly drove me to the small local airport for my scheduled 8AM flight to Washington DC (where I had connecting flight to Kansas City).

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Long story short, my flight out of New York was delayed four times due to a broken plane, so I had to change my connecting flight a few times before they finally sent me to another [larger] airport in the city for a direct flight to Kansas…7 hours later than I was supposed to leave New York.

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I arrived safely though, so that’s all that matters!

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You might be wondering: Why the heck was I in Kansas? Well, we used to live near Kansas City over 10 years ago, so my mom wanted to walk down memory lane by visiting our old house, church, school, etc. It was pretty cool to revisit some bits of my childhood again!

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our old church

Our gracious friend invited my mom and I to stay at their house (which is like a palace, to be quite honest) for the night, so we ate some delicious home cooked food…

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…and snuggled their Yorkie who is better-groomed than I ever am.

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Now that I’m older, it’s wild to see how different the Midwest and Northeast cultures are.

Midwest: mostly white people, lots of land, huge houses, competitive suburbia, more Christian radio

Northeast: diversity, small houses for way too much money, people mind their own business, better food (had to say it)

Those are generalizations of course! 🙂

After a quick sushi lunch yesterday afternoon, Mom and I hit the road for St. Louis.

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Mom and I passed the time in the car with some great conversation. We checked in at our hotel at around 7PM and then headed to dinner at a fantastic little eatery called The Hot Pot.

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local chicken hotpot with all the veggies (“rake up the garden” is what they called it) and lemon mango curry sauce — finished every last bite!

We finished our day with some TJMaxx shopping, House Hunters, and face masks. Girlz nite.

I’ll catch ya later today with a little celebratory post… 😀 I’m seeing my little cousins today! I love babieeees.

So tell me:

Have you ever had crazy travel delays?

Do you notice regional differences in your country?

Have you ever been to the Midwest/do you live here?