Time flies when you’re having fun! And also not having fun!
Life is full to the brim, friends, and I know that maybe only a few people will read this now, but I do still love writing/blogging. But I also love vlogging. So to say hello again after 6+ months of not blogging at all, here is a video of a “weekend in the life” as of November 2021.
I started editing it back in November and have not had the opportunity to finish it until now. Pretty on par with my track record for blogging this year…
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.
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.
Monday and Tuesday’s workouts have made me quite sore everywhere.
Monday was a lower body workout that involved a LOT of concentration:
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.”
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?
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.
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):
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.
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)?
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.
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.
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)
In a time requiring a lot of patience and wishing I could just be out there saving the world in whatever way God wants me to do so, I have been praying about feeling good enough/not good enough for… whatever it is that I am hoping for right now — a job, a vocation, some cool opportunity to end all the evils in the world, I dunno.
Obviously I’m not the only one waiting for opportunities, and I am in no way complaining about my situation. But whether stuck in circumstances out of my control or just feeling “not good enough” for _____, something that I find myself thinking is: “When that thing starts, I’ll be who I’m supposed to be.”
But my new priest friend, Fr. Denis, said in his first homily ever that our first vocation is to holiness. It does not matter where we are in our state of life; our primary vocation is to holiness, and that in and of itself is very good. Holiness (i.e., love for God, love for neighbor, and finding ways to do both no matter what the circumstances are) gives purpose to the mundane, the interim, and the seemingly pointless and hopeless situations of life.
No title (doctor, PT, nun, wife, mother, etc.) can fully define who I am created to be, nor does it define who you are created to be. Today is a day to become the man or woman you are created to be, just by the way you live your life as it is in this moment.
I’ve been eating plums as my fruit of the week, and I’m rather enjoying the humble stone fruit. I don’t like them as much as peaches, but the plums I got from Trader Joe’s are still juicy and sweet.
I did some fun BURPEES yesterday! It is so freeing to just move in whatever way I want to move each day, not following any strict training schedule. This is what has made fitness truly fun for me, allowing me to be consistent.
I did 10+ of each of the following types of burpees:
jumping lunge burpees
spiderman pushup burpees
neutral grip pull-up burpees
KB hopover burpees
For demos, check out my Instagram stories or the end of my “moves part 3” highlight if it has disappeared by the time you read this!
Check out this sweet and special gift that my brother and his girlfriend gave to me!
Peep the blog motto on there! I am so grateful. Thanks, Elaine and Ben! ♥︎
Also, my friends and are continuing virtual book club with The Devil’s Highway by Luis Alberto Urrea, which is a book about the devastation caused by U.S. border policy. Excited to learn more and delve into those challenging conversations.
So tell me:
Have you been struggling at all with feelings of not being good enough?
Which fruits are you loving currently?
What is the most fun form of fitness for you right now?
Beyonce and the start of my fitness journey. I started gaining interest in fitness as a sophomore in high school. My cardiovascular health was never really great, so I had very humble beginnings that started with 15 minutes on our basement elliptical. Running a mile was a sTrUgGLe for me at this time as well.
As I was still just starting out my training, if I was feeling spicy, I would do a few rounds of Beyonce’s “Move Your Body” music video dance (which is really fun btw) to get my heart rate up. Yesterday I wanted to do it just for fun on my active recovery day, and I just remembered how I used to be winded at the end of it when I was in high school.
Not that I’m super fit (especially cardiovascularly, which is still a weak point for me), but this is all to say that you should never be ashamed of where you are in your fitness journey. You are not pathetic if you can’t run a mile without stopping, do a pushup, do a squat, whatever. You are not pathetic if you get winded with 15 minutes of elliptical like I did in high school. There are benefits to increasing cardiovascular endurance, but start and build up safely and consistently from where you are. That’s perfect.
Johnnyswim. Do you guys know this artist? It’s a husband and wife who make sorta folksy-pop music that is really beautiful. Their new quarantine project is called “Songs with Strangers,” where they select a person on their Instagram Live each week. In ONE DAY, they write, produce, mix and release a new song with the help of that person (usually the person just contributes their story, which becomes the basis of the song lyrics), who ends up getting half of the rights to the song. And let me tell you, these songs are wonderful. Here’s one of my favorites:
It’s also awesome that they’ve been posting the full 7-8 hour Instagram live videos of the entire process. Musicians are amazing.
So tell me:
What do you like to do on rest days / active recovery days? (Sometimes I don’t walk or really do anything. Yesterday was still pretty active!)
Do you remember some things you found difficult at the beginning of your fitness journey?
Do you like Johnnyswim? Are there any cool celebrity quarantine projects that you fancy?