A Deep Breath of Gratitude

I could C R Y.

It’s been oh so long, friends. Posting this blog post (after a 2+ month hiatus) feels like a huge virtual hug to any person out there who is reading this right now.

This semester has been a wild ride. Graduate school (+ life / growth / relationships) has proven to be quite different and much more challenging than I could have expected, but c’est la vie, eh?

But in the spirit of {American} Thanksgiving tomorrow, I thought this would be a fine time to take a hot minute to breathe and show gratitude for the things of life — the happy, the hurt, and every detail in between.

This semester…

I’ve experienced profound friendships.

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I’ve studied more than I ever have, but at the same time earned the most humbling and disappointing grades in my college career.

I’ve eaten some good-for-the-soul food.

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I’ve doubted my ability to become a competent physical therapist several times.

I’ve been ceaselessly encouraged by friends, family, and God to keep on keeping on.

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I’ve seen blue skies, gray skies, purple skies, and orange skies.

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I’ve had fun nights filled with line dancing, cheers-ing, and singing at the top of my lungs.

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I’ve had nights that didn’t seem to end even when the sun rose.

I’ve seen friends, family and strangers with even longer nights of the soul than I could imagine.

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I’ve made myself some wholesome foods.

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I’ve made myself think I’m eating wholesome foods.

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I’ve felt hurt in ways that I’ve never felt before.

But I’ve felt joy and the feeling of being cared for in ways that I’ve never felt before.

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I’ve seen what it means to be among beautiful women of God, who love to the very end.

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I’ve hurt others in ways I never intended but still wish I never did.

I’ve had to humble myself and apologize for my wrongdoings, which happen more times than I can count.

I’ve accomplished things in mind, soul, and body through God’s grace, and I’ve seen others do even more.

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I’ve seen tears of sadness, tears of guilt, tears of anger, and tears of joy.

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I’ve cried until I didn’t know why I was crying, and I’ve smiled until I didn’t know why I was smiling.

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I’ve dropped the ball in some friendships and allowed others to help me pick it up.

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I’ve seen God in every single day, in all of these things which remind me that, although we are dying, we are living all the more. I am beyond thankful for every person and every motion of the heart that has made this semester, this year, this LIFE… something beautiful.

God is good. All the time.

p.s. if you want to read something nourishing for the soul, please do yourself a favor and check out my friend Kelsey’s blog – she writes about beauty and about humanity so eloquently it hurts.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I am grateful for you.

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On the Verge of Internet Addiction?

Thoughts are flooding my mind like:

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…but first, let’s do some happy small talk!

The temperature in the mornings has been just lovely. A little chilly to some, but I love me some light sweater weather.

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After breakfast, Mass, and a little morning nap (I start work at 12 on Mondays), I took my moves and grooves outside, naturally.

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banana bread baked oatmeal with cinnamon raisin peanut butter + glass o’ {Lactaid} milk

THIS WAS HARD:

  • 1 mile run
  • 100 burpees
  • 100 double unders
  • 1 mile run

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I couldn’t tell you which part was the hardest, but I can tell you that all I could think of on that last mile was, “Keep chugging away. Don’t stop.” Even though I probably could have walked faster than I was running at some points (thanks, hills).

Here’s me trying to smile at the end.

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But I’m proud of myself! I hardly ever run, and I went ahead and did two miles of it in a workout.

Today I might go for a walk or do my favorite 18 minute plank workout. Either way, my legs need a break.

So last night…

I was still feeling funky and down, but I knew that it wasn’t just because of the weekend’s events. I couldn’t really pinpoint why I was feeling so unsettled and just… off.

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part of yesterday’s lunch: salad with cherry tomatoes, dried cranberries, slivered almonds, and sliced smoked duck breast (from the farmers’ market)

Granted, I was pretty wiped out, and fatigue always brings me down. But Pop noticed at the dinner table that something was up.

“I’m fine.” ← Fortunately, Pop knows the true meaning of those words.

I don’t usually have qualms about telling my parents how I feel, but truthfully, I myself didn’t really know what was going on. However, when Pop entered my room (as I wiped a single tear from my eye), I just talked it out, discovering what exactly was bothering me.

The main thing is the internet. I just felt exhausted and more stressed with the internet lately— social media and even blogging. It’s not that I don’t enjoy keeping up with people and blogging (hello, here I am right now), but I feel a little bit enslaved to it at times.

I gotta check Instagram. *scrolls mindlessly and finds an account to “stalk”*

I need to do one thing on Facebook. *scrolls mindlessly and watches at least five of those Tasty videos*

I’ll take this time to read a couple blogs. *goes through the hundreds of unread blog posts*

I’ll check this person’s Snapchat story. *goes through everyone’s story* ← Okay, Snapchat made the stories continuous with one another, which is like a black hole.

I’ve been talking about social media’s toxicity in several different blog posts recently, but I still have not made too much of a change. I clicked on this article called “10 Things You May Not Know About Anxiety Disorder” via Arman’s Coffee Talk post yesterday (another thing: clicking on links), and one thing is that  “People who suffer from gambling or internet addictions are more likely to also have anxiety disorder.”

Do I think I have a legit internet addiction? No. However, I think I could be heading towards one at this rate. Internet doesn’t interfere with my daily work life or anything, but once I don’t have responsibilities, I feel like I can’t get away from it. There’s always something to do/see/like/comment/post on my phone or laptop.

Pop offered some good advice about practical ways to combat this sub-internet-addiction. I also added some strategies myself:

  • Unfollow people on Facebook and Instagram. I don’t need to be following every friend and every fitness junkie/foodie out there. Clean up the feed.
  • Limit yourself to just “liking” things, without feeling like you need to comment.
  • Read a select few blogs.
  • Read actual books more (shoutout to school teachers).
  • Before touching any piece of technology, make a list of what you intend to do when you’re on the internet. Stick to that list. Go in with intention.

This week is all about humility and self-reflection, ain’t it?

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I just finished the best overnight oats I’ve had in a while 

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It’s not fun knowing that I have a disorder-prone mind. It’s not easy to share weakness. But acknowledging my weakness is one way that God helps me knock down my pride and build me up in a way that is more beautiful than before. And vulnerability is the best way to connect to others!

#BeMoreHuman ← that’s a Reebok hashtag, but it works here.

(p.s. Yesterday, I said that I would talk about body image stuff today, but that’s not on my heart right now, so I changed the topic. In short, just know that you are so much more than your outward beauty!!! LIFE is so much more than outward beauty.)

Go get ’em, friends.

Comment or don’t comment. I’d love to hear your thoughts, but you can also just shut down your computer/phone and go on with your day 🙂

Overwhelmed with Goodness

So much to tell you. SO LITTLE TIME.

How in the world is it the last week of classes this semester? I can’t deal. I can barely deal with this weekend. I went to work on Friday, and two things stood out to me while I was working:

  1. I set off the fire alarm making steak (this is the second time I’ve done that now, but that steak was PERFECT).
  2. My boss told me I have “a look of wellbeing.”

I was very flattered and humbled by that comment. Part of me was thinking, “Really? This is the face of one tired lady.” But another part of me was thinking, “Well, I think I know why.”

If I do indeed have a look of wellbeing, it’s because God has filled overflowed my life with nothing but love. He always has filled my life with love, but I think I have learned to better appreciate and focus on His love, rather than sulk in my insecurities, trials, doubts, guilt, and fears.

Basically, I am overwhelmed by the goodness around me. Sometimes I feel unworthy. Sometimes I squander the gifts I’ve been given. Sometimes I’m afraid it will all disappear. But that’s humanity. We’re not worthy, we do fall, and the world will pass away. That’s why I need God. Like, NEEEEEEEED.

And yeah, this got religious real quick, but even if we don’t share faith, I hope that you can relate to this sense of gratitude and awesomeness (in the truest sense of the word) in your life.

So what’s all this goodness then? Time for show-and-tell!

-People who genuinely care about your life.

-People who wait 3 more seconds to hold open the door for you.

-Laughter, even when studying is stressing you out.

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me trying to figure out if respiration is hindered when lying supine

-Good conversations with people who I’ve just met.

-Really good hugs and high-fives.

-Running with your best friend, even though you didn’t really want to at first.

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-The wonder and beauty of the human body and being able to learn about it in depth.

-Soul talk. It’s fun talking about food, fitness, the latest party, and Justin Bieber’s comeback, but nothing is as satisfying and fulfilling as talking about, well, what truly satisfies, fulfills, and challenges our souls.

-Seeing and experiencing the beauty of God with and through other people.

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-Sharing food and fellowship.

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Mike & Patty’s for our food bucket list!

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“Egg Fancy” = two fried eggs, avocado, bacon, cheddar, and house mayo (OMG) on multigrain

That was one of the best sandwiches I’ve ever eaten.

My lab partner/friend/fellow foodie, Christina (go follow her on Instagram @foodietunes!), have been on many food adventures this weekend…

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breakfast before lab

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Indian night in the d-hall

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distracted by cupcakes during our walk on Saturday

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split a pumpkin gingerbread spice cupcake— OH WOW.

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grand opening promo event at Sweetgreen yesterday

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free {healthy} food? yes, please.

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One of my friends just came home after studying abroad in Australia for the past four months, and he gave me a Tim Tam to try! Very tasty.

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thinking about you, Arman

-People who affirm and encourage you constantly. It’s easy to be self-conscious or upset about your body, personality, or achievements. However, having people who truly believe that you are beautiful and who push you to be the best version of yourself— that helps you live a little more fully and confidently every day.

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So to YOU, I say: There will be many lies and doubts (both internal and external) holding you back from being the best version of yourself. It’s tempting to sit in grief until you feel good enough to finally do something great. This time of feeling weak and useless is the perfect time to start giving. In giving, you will receive so much. Give your smile, your thoughts, your talents, your love.

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I know I am currently living at a time of peak physical and social nourishment, so I understand that everything in my eyes seems like rainbows and unicorns. I have nothing to truly complain about. Maybe I’m naive and in a bubble. But I know for sure that “to whom much is given, much will be expected,” and I pray that I can just give from the overwhelming amount of goodness I am given.

Phew. Hope you all have a wonderful week 🙂 “Let us begin.”

So tell me:

The best thing you ate this weekend.

Three good things from last week/this weekend.

About the last time you set off the fire alarm (if ever).

Beauty.

I think it’s that time of year when I need to start carrying around an emergency frisbee, because hallelujah, the weather is gorgeous.

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Seriously— God is SO good! We are in the season of Easter and finally the season of beautiful spring weather! I’ve literally been bouncing around like a spring lamb because I’m so freaking happy that the sun is out and warm.

I am currently typing this outside in shorts and a T-shirt, overlooking the Charles River. Although, I should probably leave soon because I haven’t gotten used to putting on sunscreen yet. #sunscreensafetyfirst

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promise I’m not trying to be inspirational with the chapter title

Besides the beauty of the sunshine and warmth, I have encountered a heck of a lot of beauty these past few days. Some not-as-serious things to start…

Dancing.

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{courtesy of my girl Alejandra<— must say it with flare or else you’re not saying it right}

Here you see my friends and I off to a funk dance party, hence Albert’s fro. If a funk dance party doesn’t scream MOVES AND GROOVESI have no idea what does. Some of my moves and grooves may not have been beautiful, but dancing with some of my favorite people under disco lights on a Friday night was definitely beautiful in my opinion.

Seeing my brother and dad.

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My dad came up for my brother’s induction into a civil engineering honor society on Sunday, so we got to spend the morning together at the ceremony, Mass, and lunch! Much love to these men in my life.

Eating with friends.

Rachel and I adore our frozen bananas.

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I also adore this Teddie peanut butter ($3.99 at Whole Foods!!), which is evidenced by the fact that only half the jar is left. I bought it on Friday. Judge me, I’m used to it.

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Also (I wish I took a picture of it), when I was having dinner with my friends Albert, PJ, and Rachel in the dining hall, they asked me to “make a salad for the table.” IN THE DINING HALL. So I filled a bowl to the brim with veggies, got chicken from another station, cut up the chicken, shook everything together with the two-bowl method, and voila— a salad for the table. I should get minimum wage.

Morning outdoor workouts.

So many people are out movin’ and groovin’, which makes me elated! Jesus has risen from the grave and humans have risen from hibernation.

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Inspiring women who show me what beauty is.

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{courtesy of Sarah!}

The women of the Catholic Center met for a group talk about body image and the media on Sunday night (as we chowed down on pizza and cookies, heck yeah). Having struggled with negative body image and disordered eating myself, this group talk really struck a chord in me.

Some major takeaways from the evening about beauty:

  • In order to instill the fact in our society that truly everyone is beautiful, we need community, support, and solidarity.
  • Our words about our own bodies can have such a large impact on how others perceive their own bodies as well.
  • It often takes more humility to accept a compliment (just saying “thank you”) than to turn the compliment against yourself (“oh, but look at how bad my arms look”).
  • You are beautiful in the fact that you are a living, breathing human being. (<— Distinctly remember my friend Christina saying this!)

Beauty is not just in the eye of the beholder. Beauty is what you are and that is fact. End o’ story.

Go on and have a beautiful Tuesday. Put on your sunscreen and make sure you have an emergency frisbee.

So tell me:

Two beautiful things about your weekend.

Favorite thing to do outside when the weather is nice?

How many days will it take me to finish that jar of peanut butter?