Summer in St. Louis

On this Memorial Day, we remember all the men and women who sacrificed their lives for our country.


Summa timeeeeee (almost officially)!!

Meanwhile, I’m still listening to my “winter grooves 2019” playlist on Spotify.

After finishing up the semester, I spent a week at home in NY with the family for Mother’s Day and couch time down time. My body probably needs 10 hours of sleep per night to make up for my lack of sleep this semester, but anything >7.5 hours is a MIRACLE, because this brain of mine can’t shut down for much longer than that. I’ve been a fan of using a blindfold to sleep at night so the light doesn’t wake me.

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despite our insistence, she is still washing dishes in her beautiful red dress as we speak 🤦🏻‍♀️ happy Mother’s Day, @yeungvictoria500 I love you very much and am so grateful for your life of self-sacrificial love —————————— a prayer for mothers (adapted from a prayer at Mass today): For all our mothers - for those who are joyful and those who are mourning; for those who are strong and those who are weak; for those who are loved and those who are unloved - thank You, O Lord for the gift of mothers who share in the gift and the power of creation. Bring them closer to the Immaculate Heart of our Blessed Virgin Mother and to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

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Moves and grooves have been happening, just a little less intensely and less frequently these days. I’m just pooped. I’ll probably write a post about fitness/food life these days, since it’s been a minute since we have discussed!

But I still love getting in some good ol’ burpees. Forever and always ♥︎

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“be strong and courageous” (Joshua 1:9) has been the theme this week - in final exams, maintaining prayer life, choosing the good, exercising, sleeping after watching a scary movie (#regrets; still traumatized). aka normal things. but I’ve found that I need the most strength and courage for the most mundane and small things in life, because I’m a naturally lazy, procrastinating, fearful person. the Lord, our God is with us always though, so be not afraid!! hop to it! 🐰 —————————— 3 rounds (I took lots of breaks) • 10 tuck jump burpees • 10 squat cleans • 10 strict presses • 10 triple lunge jump kicks • 10 inclined clapping pushups (you can see I took a break halfway thru) • 10 prisoner squat jumps (#ouch) #moveandgroove

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So the situation for summer: I’m doing my second PT clinical in St. Louis!! I’ve completed my first week already, and I am grateful to say that I am loving it so far. I am here with three other friends from my program, which has made the transition a lot more enjoyable and comforting. You can see the Boston University crew on the top right corner of this nifty collage.

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The scrubs lifestyle is superior to all work attire. No question. Except for the fact that we also have to wear a lab coat with pulse oximeters and gait belts in the pockets too, so it’s a hefty uniform.

The gym that is affiliated with our hospital is LIT. It has a sled (see bottom right of collage), pull-up resistance bands, free fitness classes, a tire, and TOWEL SERVICE INCLUDED. I actually have only used the towels once so far, but there is something bougie about having the option, I feel. The student rate is also great!

Speaking of fitness, I did a Tough Mudder Classic Race with one of my uncles (who lives in STL) last weekend. It was a relatively impulsive, last-minute decision, but it was on sale via Groupon and my uncle kindly treated me to it as an early birthday gift (thanks, Uncle P!!). I figured it would just be for fun, and since I am missing the Spartan Race in Boston this year with my friend, Ben, I thought this would suffice as a substitute, despite not being trained at all…

It was a blast!! It’s less of an athletic race than the Spartan Race, IMO. The obstacles overall require less strength and conditioning, but if you’re claustrophobic or afraid of heights / cold water / electric shock, the Tough Mudder helps ya get over those real quick, haha! I would do it again with friends!

I got to hang out with my uncle, aunt, and cousins before starting clinical, which was fantastic. These kids are so fun and fit, man.

We even did a tabata together!

Throwback to our first tabata together ever (before their 4th child was even born!):

In other news, there was a big tornado watch in STL last week, as some of you might know. It seemed legit enough that we moved from the third floor of our apartment building to the first floor lobby entrance with our plates full of dinner (see far left second row)…priorities, ya know? Girls gotta eat. Thanks be to God, we were all okay in our area. Praying for those who were not as fortunate.

I’m actually standing in LaGuardia airport right now because after my first week of clinical, I already got a four day weekend (#spoiled). I took that opportunity to join my family and relatives in Maryland to witness my uncle being ordained a deacon! I flew into NY and then drove down to Maryland with my family on Friday. Then we drove back up to NY Saturday night after the long day of festivities and now I’m headed back to STL. Good grief.

But GOOD > grief. What an incredible, blessed weekend to be with the whole family, especially those who I had not seen in ages, to witness my uncle’s ordination. My uncle who was ordained, as well as his family, were beaming the whole weekend. There were lots of happy tears shed. It’s difficult to explain what his ordination means to each of my family members, including myself, but the best I can say for now is that we are all filled with deep joy and gratitude.

That’s the update for now! Keep an eye out for more posts this summer; I’m hoping to do a day in the life and some chats about recent fitness/body image thoughts soon!

Hope you are doing well 🙂 Thanks for reading along.

(I almost just signed, “Best, Alison” lol.)

So tell me:

Have you ever been to STL? Tips on what to do / where to eat / how to stay safe (jk but not really)? 

Have you ever done a Tough Mudder? What about a Spartan Race? Both (if so, which do you like more and why)?

What are you up to this MDW, Americans?

A highlight of your weekend otherwise!

 

 

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The Great and Small Things I Learned {Grad School Year II}

Well well well.

If it isn’t the old BLOGGY BLOG. It pains me to see that I have only blogged twice in 2019 thus far, but I am hoping that will change as I head off to clinical this summer and look forward to a (hopefully…please, Lord) lighter semester in the fall.

I realized that I didn’t do a “things I learned” post after last semester, to which I *GASPED* because it has been a tradition to post one after every semester…

Talk about a trip down memory lane! Just looking at that long list of blog posts reminds me of the great privilege it has been to have had such a rich college experience — one full of the most wonderful joys and the most aching heartbreaks in every aspect of life. God is good.

Enough sap for now. There will be more sap sometime later in this post, I’m sure.

Here we go — a list of the GREAT and s m a l l things I learned in this second year of DPT school:

1) B’s get DPT degrees, man. Sometimes you just gotta celebrate that B-level grade with all the joy and gratitude in the world and then mmmove on with ya life.

2) I need to get more sleep to be a good human.

3) There is so much grace and beauty in witnessing your best friend enter into the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony *heart eyes x1000*.

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[Nicole Ellen Photography]

4) Evidence-based health care practice is possible and very important.

5) The why, how, and when to “crack someone’s back” (read: not for everyone and not super often). This is one tiny aspect of what I learned, in addition to a heck of a lot about treating many neurological conditions and neck/back pain, which involves mostly EXERCISE!

6) I’m a big Khalid fan. Also H.E.R. Just into those R&B vibes, I guess.

7) I am capable of taking lukewarm/cold-ish showers for 90 days straight (it was a fasting thing that happened before Lent and through Lent).

8) I have an endless list of weaknesses that seems to grow by the day, but this has caused me to learn how to lean hard into God’s strength and grace.

9) How to really think, pray, and reason through a relatively big decision, even if others do not approve of the decision I make.

10) Young people living out their faith steadfastly and truthfully can and will be persecuted for it.

11) There are many ways that I as a Catholic need to love others better. Through reflection and prayer, I have actually learned a great deal about how to be a better Catholic from my friends who do not share my faith. God has no limits and continues to humble me as a human being.

12) I COULD run a half marathon if I really wanted to run one. I have NOT yet, but I COULD.

13) My sides have gotten pudgier, but I have learned to embrace them and, honestly, I think I perform better in my workouts having them around ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

14) It is important and good to call my parents more often (love you, mom and dad!).

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15) Sometimes, if it’s past 10pm, conversation with friends is more important than studying.

16) “Athleisure” is the way to go, baby (95% of the time). Whether I exercise or not that day. Because studying in jeans is not a comfortable lifestyle.

17) I realized in the last month of school that having a daily goals list is a good idea. Go figure!

18) Studying with friends is very encouraging, motivating, and sometimes it even saves my butt when I’m like, “Wait, I didn’t know she posted lecture that we’re supposed to do on our own…”

19) Talking out loud to myself / a friend to study is helpful and probably my study method of choice. Writing things down is second place.

20) There are plenty of things that I need to constantly reflect upon or let others reflect back to me in order to know how to improve and grow as a person.

21) It’s never too late to ask for forgiveness, and it’s never too late to forgive.

22) Pioneer Woman’s cinnamon rolls are the best cinnamon rolls of all time (thanks to Sarah’s mom and to Zoe for making these and introducing me to such a heavenly treat).

23) How to not take straightforward confrontation/comments personally all the time.

24) I need to work on my spine mobility.

25) Using kitchen scissors to make a “chopped” salad is highly effective.

26) I’m starting to like my overnight oats a leeeeetle more liquid-y than I used to… just 1/4 c. more of milk perhaps.

27) A sense of how to teach and manage an inclusion dance class for children with and without disabilities.

28) I can make it to literally the last pair of underwear / socks before doing laundry, and that takes approximately 2 weeks only HAHA.

29) Talking to trusted, holy people about my inner turmoils and battles is very good and allows for a lot of room for grace to help me emerge from the struggles.

30) Even if I do not have make time to sit down and pray for 20 minutes each day, it is fruitful and good to talk to God throughout the day in between everything that is happening. It’s like texting/calling your best friend to keep them updated on every last detail 🙂

31) The people who have journeyed with me during my time in Boston are some of the most precious gifts I have received these last 5 years.

32) I have to start thinking about real-life things like jobs and ~the future~ in less than one year, even though I still feel like I’m just in school for the rest of my life. AGH!!!

33) I missed blogging. ♥︎ It was kinda hard getting the wheels turning, but here we are.

One more year of grad school to go, and I am both terrified and stoked. It’s been a trip so far, but I’m grateful for each day of the journey.

Thanks for tuning in, friends! I hope you are having a great May so far. We are almost halfway through 2019 — w-h-ho-hooaaaa. Why is it still < 50° outside right now though!?!?

Have a great week!

So tell me:

How has 2019 been for you?

What are some of the great and small lessons you’ve learned so far?

College/Grad school students: what’s new!? How was this year?

What is everyone doing for the summerI have a 12-week clinical at a hospital kinda far from home, which will be an adventure, I’m sure!

 

 

 

Remember Those Life Lessons You Learned When You Were 5 Years Old?

…Well we still out here learning ’em!

My heart is so happy to be picking up the pen again typing as I always do, except this time on my blog and not on my class notes! I honestly am smiling as I type this. How have the first three months of 2019 been for you? We’re already almost 25% of the way through the year; HOW ABOUT THAT!?

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I am currently eating a freshly fried clam cake (like a crab cake except made with clam meat) with one hand as I type this, so you know ya girl is home eating mom’s delicious home-cooked food. Boston University is thankfully on spring break right now, so I am taking advantage of the extra time to sleep, spend time with the family, and eat something other than overnight oats in the morning (as much as I love my oats).

I’ve been limiting my social media time as well for Lent, which has allowed a lot of extra time to think, reflect, and pray in that scary, mindful silence. This semester has been filled with many good lessons, as every semester is, but I feel like God has particularly brought me back to some timeless lessons that are likely on every elementary school poster in the nation.

Lessons such as…

Sleep is good for you.

OHHHHH, WHO KNEW!? I used to naively think, “What’s 7 hours vs. 6 hours of sleep? I still function just fine either way.”

Answer: The difference between getting 100% of my work done vs. getting 75% of my work done. The difference between remembering what I studied vs. not remembering what I studied. The difference between having the energy to be a kind and compassionate person vs. brushing past anyone who is in my way because I just want to get done what I need to get done. The difference between needing tea (I’ve been on that black/green tea train for the purpose of caffeine lately. Haven’t made it to coffee yet, but the drive for caffeine has commenced) vs. feeling spritely in my natural state.

I’m sure you get the point, because you likely have discovered the power of sleep early on in your life.

Think before you speak.

One of my greatest weaknesses is being impulsive when I say things. I’m not an impulsively angry person, but sometimes I say things out loud before thinking just to smooth over an awkward moment, to protect myself from contempt, or to avoid conflict. I do not desire to do these things, but the problem is… I end up doing them anyway because I don’t always shut up and THINK before I speak. I hate discomfort, and saying any words, even thoughtlessly, can help remediate that discomfort for a time. But we all know that can bite ya in the butt real hard, kids.

Silence and discomfort have been good for me in this respect. Not always having an answer has proven to be better than me opening my big mouth.

Love your neighbor as yourself.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, this is a lifelong lesson that everyone needs hearing all the time. This one, however, hits me on a more personal and sensitive level currently, because I have been slowly but surely realizing that I have let down several people in my life who I love very much. I’ve been that gal who has taken advantage of others’ kindness, of the good things others provide for me, and of the time and care that others share with me so that I can be at peace. And those people keep giving to me and loving me, which is what makes it all the more painful.

Without going into the gory details (I say that as a colloquialism; there has been no actual gore involved), I have reflected that I need to be less selfish and more focused on how others feel. So it’s time for less talking, more listening, less “can you,” and more “how about you.”


As for the moves and grooves — they’ve been happening almost daily still, thankfully! These past few days have been rough because I’ve been eating a lot of junk food whilst spending time with friends and family, but c’est la vie, ya know? Some days when I’m in school, I only have time to do 100 burpees for time in my apartment; other days I get to do long strength workouts; other days I feel like running outside and up a b r u t a l hill near my home. And many days, I just walk, and that’s my workout for the day. I am grateful for the ability, knowledge, and time to move. Makes me happy.

And YOU make me happy for being here! Thanks for sticking with me and reading along. I hope you all have a wonderful Wednesday.

So tell me:

What are some basic life lessons you are still learning today?

What is the best thing you’ve eaten in the past week? I think the winner for me is the massive burger (wiiiiith bacon, cheese, guacamole, BBQ sauce, and coleslaw….) from Mr. Bartley’s Burger Cottage in Cambridge 😀

Tea or coffee?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Never a Dull Moment

Merry Christmas!!! Happy New Year!!! I am so late in posting this!!!

I hope you all have had a joyful and peaceful Christmas, New Year, and holiday season. I am very grateful for all the blessings that God has brought about this semester and this Christmas, as He always does.

Second year of PT school is off to a fine start! This past semester was lighter in terms of work load, and that might be a reason why I enjoyed it more than others, but was also very genuinely interested in our first neurological systems course, especially since we had the privilege of working with patients every week who had actually had a stroke in their past.

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Of course, Christmas was a joyous and heartwarming celebration of our Savior’s birth! I spent lots of quality time with Madre, Pop, Ben, and Ben’s girlfriend, as well as my aunt, uncle, cousins, and John! We’ve been eating so. much. of Madre’s killer food. My arteries need a break from all of her delicious meats and all of the buttery Christmas cookies (still), but I am not that mad about the cause of the predicament.

Here’s a hodgepodge of snapshots from the latter half of the semester + Christmas! Blessed times, man. And selfies forever.

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On Christmas Eve, I meditated on His name “Emmanuel,” meaning “God with us,” and felt much gratitude for Our Creator becoming so close to us, becoming LIKE us in humanity, to be with us through every emotion and trial in this here earthly life. What Love.

Last Saturday, we drove down to Florida to stay at my parents’ vacation home for the week, and it’s been a lovely, relaxing time in this balmy Southern climate! One highlight was visiting the NASA Kennedy Space Center, which made me both awe-inspired and terrified of outer space. I wonder how people can get rockets to the moon while I can hardly get myself out of bed in the morning. Other highlights have included lots more food, my friend’s cat dressed in a sushi costume, learning how to play Settlers of Catan, and being able to walk in the Florida sunshine. My mother also gifted me a new iPhone X, so pic quality has improved!

Another collage to display the Florida fun:

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So…last year. This year. New Year. That kind of ~soft~ stuff.

There truly was never a dull moment in 2018. It was one of the most emotionally difficult years of my life. If I could guess the number of days that I cried (for better or for worse) in 2018, I’d estimate 300/365 days of the year. I’ve cried and seen others cry enough this year that at one point, a drop of water rolling down the side of my WATER BOTTLE provoked sadness in me because of its mimicry of a tear rolling down someone’s cheek. HAHAHA #melodramatic.

But you bet your bottom dollar those tears came with a lot of growth. I learned…

…how to communicate better, in a way that is both loving and straightforward/sometimes brutally honest. 

…how to better make decisions for myself.

…to allow myself to be uncomfortable and to not push away the feelings of loneliness or brokenheartedness, no matter how major or minor those feelings are, because the Lord makes Himself KNOWN in those feelings.

…forgiveness.

…to care a little less about what other people think.

…to be very comfortable in my own body through its ups and downs, ins and outs, gains and losses.

…God works legit miracles in my own life and the lives of my loved ones.

…a heck of a lot about physical therapy.

…the beauty of a man and a woman laying down their lives for one another in marriage (@Rachel and Austin).

…gratitude truly is the will of the God (1 Thessalonians 5:18), and it always brings a lot of light and clarity to life.

Although some of the non-dull moments of 2018 were quite difficult and painful, there were many moments that made my heart SOAR with joy. Instagram has some evidence of  the latter:

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hearts that are His #retreat #totustuus

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In 2019, I’d like there to be “never a dull moment” as well. Even in the monotony of work and life, it’s impossible for there to be a dull moment when there is so much that can be extracted from the moment — so many things for which to be grateful, so many ways to remain in His humble and simple love.

Hopefully the non-dull moments are more joyful than not, but whatever the weather, I am HERE FOR IT. Because God is good all the time.

Have a fabulous weekend! We are hittin’ the road back to NY already tomorrow!

So tell me:

What were some of the never-dull moments of 2018 for you?

What did you do for Christmas/the holidays/New Year?

What are you excited for in 2019?

 

 

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?