Growth this year so far…

Now that we are almost halfway through 2021, I figure it’s a good time to check in again.

On the for real though, I thought about coming back to blog at least ten times in the past three months, but it was one of those things that felt too far gone to just pick up again because thinking about how much I could say was too overwhelming. It still is, but what can ya do?

My last post was published just before Lent. Those 40+ days were lonely at times as I gave up videos, music, and podcasts (except for the daily “Bible in a Year” podcast, because I didn’t want to be 40 days behind on that). I found myself really being averse to silence, trying to fill it with other things like calling friends, playing Words with Friends, or just scrolling on social media instead. But I really tried to embrace that silence and talk to God more about everything, and it was a very rich time. Giving Jesus a chance is the best decision you will make, day in and day out, no doubt.

I feel like I’m finally getting into the swing of things with work now as well. My colleagues do feel like a family, and I believe I am growing in confidence and competence overall, which help foster a positive feedback cycle. So many people are teaching me nuggets of wisdom, whether they know it or not. I am definitely still asking questions and trying to figure out what the heck I’m doing sometimes, but I am grateful to be serving others in this profession of physical therapy.

I’ve had the privilege of visiting some of my friends’ babies in Boston a couple times since February. You read that right. I have (several) college friends with babies now. I don’t think there was a time for me to process that this the new norm, so it just is. I am somewhat stunned still, because I still feel like I’m the 14-year-old baby sitter coming over for the evening when I show up to their houses. But I am also incredibly joyful that this time has come. Cool auntie Alison is HEREEEEE.

Kettlebellarmine (aka my 35lb KB that I named last year when I got it during the lockdown) now has a 97lb/44kg friend that I have named Goliath. Swinging kettlebells has continued to be an excellent way for me to grow in strength, motor control, and patience above all.

Occasionally, I’ll bust out some dance moves and grooves, like this one time I choreographed a little bit to “Name” by Justin Bieber and my fave girl Tori Kelly (in many ways, I’m the same 2015 Alison).

Felt good to dance again πŸ™‚

I am thankful to have had more opportunities to see family and friends as people become vaccinated and feel more comfortable going out into the world within < 6 feet of each other. Hugging people is just the best. I never thought I was a physical touch kinda gal until last year. *slaps your shoulder as I laugh*

The biggest area of growth has been in my desire for God, to just be with Him. Something a friend recently told me was that my desire for Him is only ever a response to His first desire for me. By no means does this mean that if you do not desire God, He must not desire you. Rather, it is one’s prerogative to choose to just listen for His call β€” His desire for you β€” in the first place. If you even at this moment have the desire to know what He’s all about, that’s Him inviting you. He is the most unimposing host.

Happy May! Holy taquitos, it might as well be the Year 3000 (@jonasbrothers); time is flying so quickly. Here’s to more blogging this season! *clinks a glass* that’s probably filled with nothing but water

So tell me:

How have you grown this year so far?

What are some highlights of the spring time for you (if you’re reading from the Northern Hemisphere)? Or the fall for you (Southern Hemisphere friends)?

Love and Lent

And I guess it’s President’s Day in the United States so….Love, Lent, and…Lyndon B. Johnson?

a wagyu beef burger I had a couple weekends ago πŸ˜€

Love

I am typing this at the very end of Valentine’s Day β€” such a GOOD day! I love seeing people celebrate their relationships. One of my friends (hi, Kelsey!) got married yesterday too. Many of my friends are also in flourishing dating relationships, and I am HERE FOR IT.

If you are single, dealing with heart break, or have lost your significant other, you might be like, “k bye.” But wait! Truly, you have a Pursuer, who delights in you greatly and wants to give you e v e r y t h i n g. I cannot overstate how important and freeing this is: God Loves you and wants everything that is true, good, and beautiful for you. *clenches fists and throws head back at how much I want you to know this*

But talk to Him about it, because I can only tell you so much about the One who actually loves you infinitely.

This year I have spent much more time alone with God, and I am so incredibly far from perfect in loving Him, but He has been the sweetest in every way He sustains me at work, allows me to see stars faintly at the end of a late work shift, allows me to see a stunning sunset when I get off work early enough, strengthens me through trials, and supports me through my loved ones from afar.

Seven(!) years ago I wrote this “Letter to My Future Husband,” and I also put a “p.s.” in there saying if my future husband doesn’t exist, then I’ll be a single person for Christ, and to be quite honest, the latter is not looking like a bad option, Β―\_(ツ)_/Β―

Lent

Not gonna lie, I am nervous for Lent this year! I am giving up all music, Youtube videos (my preferred streaming service), and podcasts EXCEPT for Fr. Mike’s Bible in a Year Podcast, so that I can keep up with listening to the Bible from start to finish. But I usually listen to that first thing in the morning. The hardest part about this fast will be coming home from a long, stressful day of work (happens often) and being in silence.

I have prayed for weeks about this and knew a while ago that this was the move for Lent this year. I think it will help a lot with my sleep discipline, and it will also allow me to give more of my heart and my time to God, especially when I’m the most irritated/stressed/tired.

But dang, this will be so hard, good grief. There is nothing seems to be nothing like dancing to music and listening to other people talk about their lives on Youtube when I’m all wound up from work. I know there is something even better, but I’m sure it will take some grace to find out.

Moves and grooves

I’ve been posting a workout on Instagram stories every Sunday now, which I think is a good amount of Instagram for me at this time.

In other news, I’ve gotten up to 7 strict pull-ups on a really good day! I’ve gained a bit of weight so I’m generally pulling more weight than I did when I first moved to NY, but my back is getting stronger!

Hope you have a wonderful week, friends. You are loved!

So tell me:

How was this Valentine’s Day for you? Joys or sorrows?

If you observe Lent, what are you fasting from this year (if you care to share)?

What did you do this weekend?

WEEKEND IN THE LIFE VLOG {winter 2021}

Happy snow day if you’re out here in the northeast!!

I made a vlog this weekend, so I’ll let it do the talking. We’re talking addictive candle scents, mac and cheese, burpees, and COVID vaccine.

Click here if the embedded video isn’t working.

Enjoy! Would love to hear your thoughts πŸ™‚

“Alison, this year will be hard.”

“Alison, this year will be hard. But I will carry so much of the burden with you if you let Me. You will grow in so many ways, in more ways than just one. You are ready for it. I am with you always. It will be very good.”

I was prayer journaling on January 3, 2020, and these are the words I had in my heart that God was responding to me after I probably word-vomited a bunch of my anxieties and fears to Him.

This journal entry was written before COVID-19 became a global pandemic, before I left Boston, before my relationship ended, before political and social battlefields blew up, before death and anxiety consumed everyone’s minds, before starting my new career, before being in solitude for 6 months. I’m no prophet, because this could apply to many different years of my life, but it was made very clear to me this year that things would be particularly difficult.

“I will carry much of the burden with you if you let Me.” There were many times I did not let God carry the burden with me this year, because I thought I didn’t have time to think about anything except all the things I just listed. Those were the times when “difficult” became “crushing,” and when I felt the ground beneath me collapse. But in all the times I allowed Him to come and be with me, “difficult” became “difficult but peaceful.”

I’m not here to say that every hardship can be turned into a happy ending now that it’s December 31st. There is a bitterness that humanity tasted this year that won’t go away by holding hands (definitely not that) and singing kumbaya. Hard days are made harder when you specifically asked God to help make the day easier and He didn’t. Death and loss are harder when you prayed that God would perform a miracle and He didn’t.

But God is not wrong. Do not be mistaken β€” COVID (and all the other bad things of this year) needs to die in H-E-double hockey sticks; I hate it all so much. But as Fr. Mike Schmitz says in this video: God never promised we would not suffer, but He did promise that He would always be with us. “I am with you always.” (Matthew 28:20)

My last post about solidarity is an ode to this fact. I said to God about 20 times before 8:00am this morning at work: “I can’t do this, Lord. I can’t do this.” But He made His crown of suffering readily visible in my mind. On January 3, 2020, He promised I would grow, and I would not have grown on this day, in this year, had He not let me suffer with Him, as much as I wished He didn’t let me.

“It will be very good.” Death is not good. Suffering is not good. But into whatever I allow God to enter, suffering and death included, it will be very good. Just like the day Jesus suffered and died is called Good Friday.

Some things I still feel have not shown to be very good at all β€” continued death, continued division, continued hopelessness. Some things I can see are indeed very good β€” the Zoom calls with relatives; the virtual book clubs; the new, rediscovered, and transformed relationships; the job that both drains and sustains me; the time I received to fall in love with God again.

“You are ready for it.” The times of the past are now 1000x sweeter when I think about them. Seemingly dumb and insignificant memories and experiences of friends, family, and faith have become powerful motivators for me when I’m feeling very low. I am grateful for every sweet and bitter moment that has readied me to be standing in my kitchen typing all of this half asleep right now (before 9:00pm, might I add).

God has kept all His promises this year, and at first it seems to be at my dismay. I wish it wasn’t so hard and I wish He didn’t ask us all to go through 2020. But even the “best” year is not good unless the One who is Goodness Himself is with us. He is with us, if we allow Him to be, and that is very good.

Happy 2021!

So tell me: Anything you want about how you feel about this year or the next!

Solidarity!

pray.

A big thing for which I am grateful these days is the solidarity I feel with my family, friends, patients, colleagues, role models, and strangers quite honestly during these times…and just during life in general. I am realizing more and more that one of the things that ENERGIZES me and gives me motivation is knowing that there are others who are laboring and toiling alongside me (in the theoretical sense, not the physical sense because…you know).

I have been praying a lot about the Holy Family (i.e., Jesus, Mary and Joseph) being with me in my mundanity and also in the stresses of work. I imagine their humble yet incredibly loving actions in their daily work, and that brings me a good deal of consolation.

Pin en Moyers
painting by Mike Moyers

eat.

I made these pumpkin cheesecake crumb muffins this weekend, and they are perfectly sweet and moist. A good crumb wins me over every time.

move.

Workouts continue to be planned approximately 5 minutes before I do them depending on how I am feeling and how much time I have. Last night I had 40 minutes from start to finish, so after a warmup, I did 5 rounds of 10 KB snatches on each arm (35#) followed by a 15 minute HIIT:

3 rounds (30 sec hard work // 30 sec rest):

groove.

I put up some Christmas lights this past weekend inside and outside the house, and it’s really quite pitiful humble, and I call the decor setup my “frat house festivity,” but seeing even just a glimmer of cheer makes me happier than Christmas decorations ever have.

Also, I tried to learn this Kyle Hanagami choreo to the song “Monster” by Shawn Mendes and Justin Bieber, and I’ll say it was moderately successful, though I don’t look as good as these dancers, and there are a couple links in the choreo that I have not gotten down. But learning choreo again made the dancer in me very happy!

This was a quick post, but I have been wanting to pop in for a while now! Hope you guys are having a marvelous week so far πŸ™‚

So tell me:

What is something that FIRES YOU UP to keep going when things feel like a drag?

Are you decorating your house for any of the upcoming holidays?

Crumb topping – yay or nay?

Do you ever watch videos a million time to learn the dance (“yes,” say all the Tik Tok fans of the world)