The Mess of Life

Hello.

Greetings from NY! I figured I should write a blog post while I’m on spring break. It’s sad and strange that I don’t automatically think to write a blog post in my spare time anymore. This blog means so much to me, but I feel it slipping through the cracks (JK it slipped through the cracks, like, 6 months ago).

This blog has evolved as I have evolved as a person. I still have great interest in food and fitness, but there are simply (or rather, less simply) more things to which I need to direct my attention and energy in this season of life.

One of those things is academics. Things are still busy, but now that the great learning curve of my first graduate semester has passed, PT school has become a bit more exciting, and I have yet to approach the brink of despair (*overdramatized for effect*) as I did last semester. I also completed a 6-week, part-time clinical in a long term acute care hospital, which I loved (not just because I got to wear scrubs aka the work-acceptable pajamas). It’s all still hard work, but I’d be worried if it wasn’t so.

could be worse

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Academics is 50% of life. The other 50% is just this wild freakin’ ride that my heart and soul are on right now. It’s like one of those rickety wooden rollercoasters (actually my fave kind) that have superb thrill factor but could also snap and break at any moment.

There is only so much I am willing to share about this roller coaster of my life, but overall, I have learned a lot.

I’ve learned about what is too much for my heart to handle.

I’ve learned about what makes my heart truly joyful and at peace.

I’ve learned how to be honest with myself regarding both of those things.

I’ve learned that I make so many mistakes over and over again, despite having good intentions.

I’ve learned about my weaknesses and what I really need from others.

I’ve learned about my strengths and what I can give to others.

I’ve learned to find the good in others, but also to put down my foot when others are not good for me.

I’ve learned that it is better to find beauty in pain than to find pain in what seems beautiful on the surface.

I’ve learned to be okay with all of the above, because life is a MESS. A. Darn. Mess. That’s my word of the year so far, and I’m okay with that.

I’ve learned that God is here in this mess and that I don’t have to run away from it all. He never changes and reminds me always that He has never abandoned me and He never will. He is faithful, and He makes all things new.

And on top of all that/to change subject, my best friend is engaged (and she asked me to be her maid of honor AHHHH)!!!

Rachel visited NY for spring break earlier this week too! It was nice to spend time with the bride-to-be. Truly just having heart to heart conversations from morning ’til night.

I also co-directed the Catholic Center retreat this semester with my friend Austin, so that was a doozy. But more than anything, it was a wonderful and humbling experience. The theme was “beauty through humility and obedience,” which I suggested in the first place, but I didn’t realize how much I personally needed that message this semester until we were on retreat.

hearts that are His #retreat #totustuus

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Me: “What’s something we both like to do?” ➔ Austin: “Uhhh, work out?” ➔ Me: “Okay, we shall flex.”

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the seniors ♥ 

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Sarah, a source of peace and joy

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sums up my friendship with Janice (so much love and appreciation for her)

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the killer retreat team

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“More tortuous than all else is the human heart, beyond remedy; who can understand it? I, the LORD, alone probe the mind and test the heart…”

— Jeremiah 17: 9-10

^^^Too true.

Alive and well. Breathing and smiling. Failing and learning. Praying and growing.

My mess is minuscule compared to others’ messes, but it’s all one big Jackson Pollock painting — pretty cool in the end.

So tell me:

About the mess in your life.

Something new you did this past month!

 

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Virtual Breakfast Date

Hey, hi, hello, let’s meet and eat.

virtual breakfast date

…I would {obviously} peek at what you’re having for breakfast. Here’s what I’m having this morning:

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To wipe that disgusted/confused look off some of your faces, I’d explain that it’s an overnight oat smoothie blended with greens this morning and topped with the crunchiest purple corn flakes (I just attempted to find which brand it was, because we threw out the box, but I’m not sure which one it is!). I would assure you that it tastes delicious. Wanna try a bite?

…I would say never mind, don’t have a bite. I came down with a fever a few days ago and I feel 95% recovered, but my throat still hurts a bit, so don’t take your chances.

…I would attribute my sickness to two days in a row of theme parks in less-than-ideal weather. But with an ideal theme park companion by my side! My dear friend, Lauren (fellow air saxophone and groovy tune enthusiast), visited us in Florida for a few days after New Years, and we had a grand ol’ time.

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The night she arrived, Madre and I (poor Pop was the first to get a fever that night) took her to Disney Springs for dinner and perusing. We shared so many hysterical laughs at the silliest things, and it was the best.

…I would exclaim that dinner at Paddlefish was STELLAR. They started us off with the fluffiest bread with honey cinnamon butter, and now I think honey cinnamon butter should be on every table across the nation. Lauren got the mahi-mahi special, which had a macadamia nut crust and sat on top of crab fried rice. Madre got the fish and chips, which came with two giant pieces of perfectly crispy fried cod and sweet potato fries (her absolute favorite). And I got the scallops with bacon, crispy brussels sprouts, and cauliflower puree. We all shared bites of each other’s dishes, and everything was blissful.

We finished the meal with their “charred carrot cake,” which was three times larger than I was expecting. It came with excellent vanilla ice cream, shortbread crumbles and little fried carrots *jaw drops*. We took most of it home.

…I would stop drooling over my past meal and continue the story of our fun evening. Following dinner, we walked around and admired the charm of overpriced Disney merchandise.

mom: “kiss the Lego girl!” *obey* mom: “alison you need to be closer” 🤭

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THEN WE DANCED…and participated in a lip synch competition that was 20 minutes longer than we were expecting. I posted some of the craziness on Instagram:

I was l i v i n g. This is basically what I do in my room by myself when I’m bored, except this time I was less loser status and actually had an audience! Having Lauren there was extra fun, because she’s often my groove buddy.

…I would tell you that we went to Universal Studios and Disney’s Magic Kingdom the next two days. It was rainy and chilly on Universal day, so some of the rides were down unfortunately.

after v. before the rain at universal studios #hunchbacksofharrypotterworld

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Lauren and I managed to have a nice time at Harry Potter World though, sipping warm Butterbeer, eating delicious ice cream from Florean Fontescue, and remarking at how Diagon Alley = diagonally, and Knockturn Alley = nocturnally. But the Revenge of the Mummy ride outside of HP World was our favorite. We went twice.

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Magic Kingdom was…fine. Mistake #1 was arriving at 11am, which is way too late for a theme park like Disney. It was utterly packed that day (the wait for Space Mountain kept teetering between 2.5 to 4 hours lol), and also utterly FREEZING for Florida. I was quite underdressed and just miserable by the end of the day, but it was still fun hanging out with Lauren all day and even meeting up with our friend Domenica and her cousins sometime in there (bottom middle photo)!

…I would say that Lauren really made the theme parks fun. If it weren’t for her humor and both of our “well…we’ll work with what we got” personalities, it would have been a rather disappointing two days. But anything can be a great time if you let it be.

…I would wish you warmth! As we road-tripped home from FL to NY this weekend, it felt like the movie The Day After Tomorrow when the ice was invading the city like a wave. Just coldness creeping and increasing with every pit stop. I’m such a baby when it comes to the cold. You’d think I’d be okay with it living in the Northeast for 12 years, but nah.

…I would say that I’ve been eating ohhhhh so well this winter break. But I’m sure you’ve noticed.

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Yes, we did go to Popeyes on our road trip. It was one of the greasiest most delicious things I’ve ever put into my mouth. Other things have included desserts from my brother and his girlfriend (she got me banana pudding from Magnolia bakery!), sushi (I think NY has the best sushi in the northeast), and mom’s homemade food (*angels singing*).

…I would laugh at how I had coffee date with a friend in a heated train station yesterday. My friend who I met abroad in Ireland, Cristen, and I got hot beverages and muffins from The Black Cow yesterday, but there were no seats left in the tiny coffee shop. Thus, I asked the cashier if she knew any place nearby where we could just sit and chat, and she suggested the train station… So we went.

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These chairs were actually attached to the floor because they were more like art pieces, I think. But it was heated in there, sort of. I had to push a button every 20 minutes that said, “PRESS IF YOU WANT HEAT.” YES WE WANT HEAT.

Cristen and I are up for anything though, and we had a lovely time catching up on life. I’m not a coffee drinker, so I had the steamed milk and honey (loved it) and a morning glory muffin.

Soul warmed by conversation and esophagus warmed by hot beverages.

…I would shut up now because this post is so long and ask you:

What are you eating for breakfast?

Have you ever had a less-than-ideal theme park experience?

Tell me about an odd situation you’ve experienced recently.

How was your first week of 2018?

Today.

This blog post is not even about today, LOL.

In its purest cliché description, this post is about living in the moment. The theme stems from the plethora of changes — mental, intellectual, spiritual, physical (← idk, maybe less so), emotional — I’ve experienced in these past few months.

I’m the kind of person who takes her sweet time (I’m the most inefficient person I know) to try to do things “right,” whatever that means.

I face normal, everyday questions:

Should I study by myself or with classmates? 

Do I take the train or Uber or walk?

What should I pack for dinner? Should I buy dinner instead? 

Should I listen to Tori Kelly or Young the Giant in the 4 minutes I have before I arrive at my destination?

And then there are some bigger questions:

Why has God placed this person/friendship/relationship in my life?

What are my professional goals?

Where will I be a year from now?

What path do I need to take in order to best serve God for the rest of my life?

What is the right thing to do so that everyone is happy in the long run?

It is these latter questions that wrack my brain 5/7 days a week, because I don’t have a single dang clue what the answers are. I have a hard enough time coming to a decent answer for the everyday questions; the big questions just sort of debilitate me.

Of course, I’m sure nearly everyone feels the same way that I do about big questions regarding the future. How can anyone be sure about the future? But somehow I still forget that the only thing I can do is love and serve God today. Our words and actions today do indeed have ramifications for the future, but your mind, body and spirit can’t be anywhere but here today. For our lives are made up of days.

SO TODAY IS GOOD AND IMPORTANT AND CANNOT BE AVOIDED SO LIVE IT, DANG IT.

That yelling was mostly for myself. A self pep talk you could say. I didn’t mean to yell at you.

All that said, here are some moments with my family that I tried to live fully in the moments they were happening.

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Ben and I took our parents out to Hemingway’s for dinner as a Christmas present, since the best gift we can really give to each other at this point in our lives is quality time and food. I got {absurdly expensive} crab cakes, which were delightful with the coconut grits underneath and perfectly cooked asparagus on top.

The rosemary sourdough rolls at the start were also fantastic, but they were no cheese biscuits (the complimentary bread that was served when we first went to the restaurant three years ago). RIP cheese biscuits. I will dream about thee forever.

We all split calamari as an appetizer and key lime pie for dessert as well. Both hit all the right spots.

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I’ve been peddle boating with Madre! There have been alligator sightings in the lake in the past, so I’m always a little on edge about that, but thus far we have not been eaten.

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On Wednesday morning, Madre, Ben and I (Pop was working from home — man of the year) went to Keke’s Breakfast Cafe for…breakfast, naturally. It’s apparently extremely popular, so we worked up an appetite and waited approximately 25 minutes for a table. ‘Twas worth it though because just LOOK at the food.

Ben got the apple cinnamon stuffed French toast with home fries and sausage; Mom got regular French toast with eggs and sausage; and I got the largest blueberry pancake in the world with eggs and {bomb} bacon.

^^^True story. I ordered two pancakes at first, but then the waiter asked, “Are you sure?? Have you seen the size of our pancakes? If I eat two then I pass out.”

In my head at first I thought, “You don’t even know me.” But then I was like #humility and #dontbegreedy, so I ordered one pancake instead. Good thing, because the pancake was like a literal 9-inch cake in height and diameter, guys. I had to take 1/3 of it home. I NEVER LEAVE PANCAKES BEHIND USUALLY.

But it was a large, high-quality pancake. So fluffy and buttery. High recommend. Butter and Aunt Jemima required.

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^^^Random: Saw this at Publix. This is bad. I hate this headline, and I don’t hate many things. If you lose 10 lbs in 48 hours, something is WRONG.

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To end on a positive note though, God is good all the time.

And as You speak
A hundred billion creatures catch Your breath
Evolving in pursuit of what You said
If it all reveals Your nature so will I
I can see Your heart in everything You say
Every painted sky
A canvas of Your grace
If creation still obeys You so will I

— “So Will I” by Hillsong United

(if you wanna hear something beautiful today, listen to ^^this song, especially the Tori Kelly version)

Enjoy today 🙂

So tell me:

Thoughts about living today.

Waffles, French toast, or pancakes?

What is something ridiculous you’ve seen recently?

 

Out of Blogging Shape

Merry Christmas!!! I hope you all had a fantastic day with loved ones yesterday!

Six months ago, you wouldn’t have to ask me once to remember to blog, but currently, I feel as though I’ve fallen out of “blogging shape”. Several friends have had to remind me that I could utilize my break from school to blog more, and I just respond by saying, “…Huh. You’re right. I almost forgot I had a blog.”

Part of the reason I’ve been hesitant to bite the bullet and blog more frequently again (besides grad school busyness finally dying down and my subsequent desire to do absolutely nothing) is that I feel like I have too much I could blog about. As I both implicitly and explicitly described in my traditional end-of-semester blog post, I have learned oodles of academic lessons and life lessons alike; I could probably write a short novel about everything that swirls around my head these days.

But as I would do when getting back into physical shape, I’ll ease into blogging shape again by starting light and slow. Let’s start with a recap of Christmas break so far.

(Also, I’m running out of media storage space on WordPress, and since your girl doesn’t have the time nor the money to upgrade to WordPress Premium just for extra photo storage, we’re gonna work with collages. Not ideal, but better than nothing!)

Christmas collage

We made it to balmy Florida last Friday, feeling climate-confused (i.e. hot and cranky) carrying our heavy winter coats out of the airplane and into the humidity of Orlando. I cannot complain about the 70 degree temperatures and blue skies down here though 😀

Most of our meals have been Asian home-cooked meals made by Madre. Everything from pho to spring rolls to sticky rice with Laotian sausage to Korean galbi jjim (aka the best beef dish I ever did taste). She snuck in steak with blue cheese sauce one night too, and that was SOULFUL. I love cooking for myself in Boston, but ain’t nobody got time for steak over there.

Other things I’ve eaten include oatmeal (classic), Cheetos (childhood fave), avocado egg toast (classic), fried bananas (omg), salads (nutrition), and fried pork belly (LIVE UR LIFE).

Moves and grooves have come in the form of hula hooping, peddle boating (Ben gifted the boat to the fam for Christmas!), Just Dance, Wii Sports, and some outdoor workouts.

Side note: If you peddle boat fast enough, it’s a decent butt workout. Should I peddle boat to a spin class playlist??

We technically started Christmas Day on the dot at 12am with midnight Mass, which was gloooooorious! Ladies dressed in red, trumpets blasting (legit trumpets were used during Mass, so fun), joyful spirits, and Jesus in the manger. UGH.

I also ate an embarrassing number of my aunt’s homemade cookies to celebrate. 🙂

After sleeping in, we ate brunch and then FaceTimed many of our family members for a couple hours. I fried some bananas for the masses and did 100 burpees for time and for… fun (?) before we headed to our family friends’ house for Christmas dinner!

The top left corner photo of the collage shows just a little bit of what we ate. Everyone’s mother is such a good cook!! Options included pot roast, galbi jjim that Madre made, sweet and salty ribs, pancit malabon (Filipino noodle dish), peanut oxtail with eggplant and bok choy, asparagus, and loads of white rice as the base for all that goodness. Dessert included fried bananas, brownies, and pistachio muffins. #blessed and #stuffed.

The “kids” (read: all of us under the age of 27) watched a hilariously and nauseatingly cheesy Hallmark movie before we switched to Beauty and the Beast, to which we sang along with passion and enthusiasm.

Back at home, I prayed with the Christmas Day Gospel (John 1:1-18) and reflected on the truly incredible and beautiful mystery of Christmas. This quote from the former pope also struck me:

God’s sign is the baby in need of help and in poverty. Exactly the same sign has been given to us… God’s sign is simplicity… God’s sign is that he makes himself small for us. This is how he reigns.

He does not come with power and outward splendor. He comes as a baby — defenseless and in need of our help. He does not want to overwhelm us with his strength. He takes away or fear of his greatness. He asks for our love: so he makes himself a child. He wants nothing other from us than our love, through which we spontaneously learn to enter into his feelings, his thoughts, and his will — we learn to live with him and to practice with him that humility of renunciation that belongs to the very essence of love.

God made himself small so that we could understand him, welcome him, and love him…

Christmas has become the feast of gifts in imitation of God who has given himself to us. Let us allow our heart, our soul, and our mind to be touched by this fact!

— Pope Benedict XVI

And with that, I wish you a blessed week ahead, friends. I think I’m going to go on a walk (step counts always plummet by literally thousands when I’m home vs. at school), work out… and maybe study a bit (I know, I am cringing too, but I must retain information!).

I feel like I used so many parentheses in this post. *shrug*

So tell me:

How did you celebrate Christmas (or any other holiday during this season)?

Best thing you ate this week.

Have you ever gone peddle boating?

 

We’re Gonna Freakin’ Make It

Hey hi hello.

This has officially been the longest blog hiatus in the history of Daily Moves and Grooves! Not that I’m proud of this new record, but alas, it happened.

Needless to say, grad school is kicking my gluteus maximus, gluteus minimus, gluteus medius, short lateral rotators BUTT.

It’s been hard, but I am grateful that each day has been its own beautiful adventure. God has blessed me with wonderful people, a solid education, food, shelter, health and more things than I could ever count.

My daily survival kit includes five essential things:

  1. At least twenty minutes of prayer.
  2. Moves and grooves of some sort.
  3. A good laugh.
  4. A hug.
  5. The phrase, “We’re gonna freakin’ make it.”

I miss blogging, and I wish I could catch you up on everything from these past 3+ weeks, but for now, I’ll leave with you some photos — just a fraction of the scenes from life lately. IMG_033421556199_368073360273627_1490380746_o

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omg the sweat was REAL

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Have a wonderful week, friends ♥︎

So tell me:

WHAT IS GOING ON IN YOUR LIFE!?