Human Appreciation Post

Today I was walking (surprise) and thinking about the awesomeness of people.

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recent folks and feasts (feat. pancake Friday TWO WEEKS IN A ROW)

Don’t think I go around frolicking in a field thinking about this all the time though. It is a gift to be able to see the goodness and awesomeness in other people, so I’m seizing the moment to write a post about some people, random and not-so-random, who I think are awesome.

A human appreciation post, you could say.

People who clean public bathrooms.

People who drive 18-wheelers with 20 other cars stacked on it on the highway. If that does not make you think of the frailty of your life and the lives of others while driving on the highway, I don’t know what will.

Drivers who let me as a pedestrian have right of way, even if I haven’t started crossing the crosswalk, and it would be totally fine if they kept driving. (Honestly, I’d prefer if you took your right of way, but I APPRECIATE YOUR THOUGHT.)

Roommates who surprise me and do my dishes.

People who are constantly willing and excited to go way out of their comfort zone for the sake of growth and adventure and seeing what God has in store.

Construction workers who go into manholes at 10pm.

Construction workers who build bridges.

All construction workers.

Friends who think to have a pancake party on a Friday night.

Friends who are always down to eat ice cream with me.

Friends who go to Mass with me.

People who peacefully stand up for what they believe in. Whether I agree or disagree with those people, I appreciate the courage and passion for defending and fighting for what they truly believe is right.

People who run more than 1 mile at a sub-8:00 pace. Hahaha.

Priests and religious who wear vestments/habits in the summer heat. Also, people who wear shirts, ties, and slacks in the summer heat. Dedication all around.

People who lovingly correct my actions. Thank you for caring for me enough to say something to me. I’m a weenie and have such a hard time showing tough love like that (confrontation ahhhhhhhhh).

People who genuinely smile and laugh a lot.

Musicians, writers, photographers, and artists of any kind who devote themselves to an art because they believe in the power of beauty to save the world (← see my photojournalist friend’s article!!!).

Any fitness instructor who teaches a class before 9am (and any fitness instructor).

People who can be hilarious without being vulgar at all.

Primary school teachers (← this video kills me).

Researchers. Trial, error, abstracts, experiments, no. thank. you.

Parents who raise and love their children who have disabilities/congenital abnormalities (and all parents who lovingly raise children, period.)

That guy (or gal) who says hi to someone but that someone doesn’t hear and accidentally ignores the guy. I see you. Thanks for your friendliness.

Whoever keeps Boston’s water system so clean so that I can drink tap water without worrying.

People who always walk on the street without headphones because they want to be present. You are better than I.

People who love so deeply, truly, and vulnerably, even when their hearts might be broken.

Happy Sunday, friends!

So tell me:

Who are some random and not-so-random humans you appreciate?

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The Aftermath of Inspiration

This is the diary of an extraordinarily ordinary person.

Also the diary of a person who has not worked consistently nor been in school for almost a month, so I’m just derping around, reflecting on life, wasting time, and finding things to do. Luckily, work starts on Monday.

Recently (not just during my post-school intermission, but even throughout this past semester), I’ve noticed that I have rarely felt passionate about the things in front of me, whether that’s school, relationships, activities, fitness goals, or just life in general.

Please do not take this the wrong way! It’s not that I’m not enjoying life, but I’ve been lacking some intrinsic “oomph” that drives me to set my heart on something.

The only thing that my heart is truly set on is pursuing a deeper relationship with God, which I guess is fine because that’s the foundation of everything else. But I still can’t help but feel frustrated that my disposition has been kind of bland and aimless recently.

It’s easy to be inspired to do great things (or small things with great love) through prayer, enlightening conversations, beautiful songs, thoughtful articles, and Facebook videos with heart-tugging montages (#honest). What’s not easy is facing the aftermath of inspiration. The aftermath that involves…doing normal, everyday things.

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The aftermath of inspiration that involves seeing and choosing to love the face in the mirror that has zits all over her forehead (including one particularly pesky and red one).

The aftermath of inspiration that involves emptying out the sink trap, my least favorite thing in the sanctuary that is the kitchen.

The aftermath of inspiration that involves re-studying notes from the past year at the dining room table.

The aftermath of inspiration that involves responding to emails.

The aftermath of inspiration that involves conversations that don’t inspire or excite you at all.

The aftermath of inspiration that involves sweeping the floors of the millions of hairs that three long-haired girls shed in their apartment (haha ew, but I know some of you can relate).

The aftermath of inspiration that involves NOT looking at inspiring things anymore and just doing what you need to do.

The aftermath of inspiration that involves dirt-ordinary things that are necessary in order to achieve greatness, to change lives, to become the men and women who we are created to be.

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I feel like I get on an inspiration high with so much consumption of social media. It’s obviously a great thing that there are so many uplifting, inspiring, loving people out there; I am grateful for everyone who puts out positivity in this world. There’s never enough of that. However, recently, that’s where the inspiration seems to stop for me.

I watch the inspiring videos, read the inspiring articles, and then go back to the tasks of life with very little passion. I really do believe that some people go forth with a “get after it” mindset 24/7, but I…just don’t. Like, I’m doing what I need to do and seeking opportunities to be better, but I’m not trying to “get after it.” I’m just doing what I ought to do.

Perhaps it’s because I don’t have many goals right now, and for the goals that are already set out for me (i.e. finish school with a doctorate in physical therapy), I’m kind of lackluster about them (except for the Spartan Race in August; I’m stoked for that). So I do what needs to be done, expecting it to either fulfill me in the moment or expecting myself to feel some sort of passion because, “This little task will pay off in the end when I reach my goal, right!?” … But nope. Neither of those things stirs in my heart.

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throwback to last year’s Spartan Race lol

That’s the problem though. I always want to feel like I am fulfilling some profound inspiration that budded in my heart at one moment, but the aftermath of inspiration involves emptiness sometimes. It might involve wandering. It might involve doing things cerebrally for a while instead of doing things emotionally. It might involve doing little things with great love but not feeling love at all, because love is a choice, after all.

(I do believe that you should be at peace with what you are doing; how you feel is so important and should not be forgotten!!)

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if you feel like 1-year-old post-nap Alison all the time, re-evaluate what you’re doing

Speaking of inspiration, I just read this in a Sisters of Life magazine, and I think it’s relevant to my situation:

“We have tried to learn the great art of being with others… It’s a way of receiving another — looking at the person before me, not as a project or a problem to be solved, but as a gift, a unique masterpiece of God’s love. It’s developing the habit of gazing at this person with the heart…” – Sr. Maris Stella

I think this can apply not only to people, but to every task that may or may not feel like it’s lending to my ultimate fulfillment.

So I guess the aftermath of inspiration isn’t really “aftermath” at all, but rather a true gift in and of itself. The dirt-ordinary task, the people in front of you right now, the opportunities and experiences you are given today — this is the greatness, the life-changer, the essence of becoming who we are created to be. And seeing it as such is a habit that needs to be developed, so maybe that’s what God is helping me to do now.

I think it’s time to let life inspire me as it happens rather than feeling the need to do everything because I am inspired. Does that make sense? And if passion for something does take over my heart one of these days, I will be all the more grateful.

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idk this is an old gif in my media library, but Beyonce is always a good choice

Have a great Thursday! God loves you. I love you.

So tell me:

THOUGHTS!?

 

On the Verge of Internet Addiction?

Thoughts are flooding my mind like:

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[source]

…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 🙂

The Great and Small Things I Learned {Sophomore Semester II}

My legs are ombre.

They’re pale on top, medium-shade at the knee, and dark at the bottom. And then I have a sexy ankle sock tan. #aeriereal

Besides my tan lines signaling the start of summer, the end of spring semester also signals the bittersweet time when everyone in college parts and goes their separate ways for a few months (or longer if you’re a senior or if you’re studying abroad like I am).

I am so grateful to be spending this week in Boston with my friends without any studying required of us. Rachel and I have checked off a few food bucket list places, the sun has been shining, and I’ve been SLEEPING. Oh, sweet sleep.

On Monday, Rachel and I walked over to Jugos in the morning for acai bowls (from our bucket list). I felt so Californian and trendy.

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growing their own wheatgrass of course

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“Sao Paolo” for Rachel + “Los Verdes” for me

In my hipster-wannabe pride, it pains me to say that acai bowls do indeed live up to the hype. They were fantastic. BUT I do feel like I could make them at home. They’re pricey, but we were very full for a while after these, and it was lovely to have something so fresh.

We enjoyed a leisurely walk back to campus since it was such a gorgeous day and it wasn’t like we had any studying to do (!!!).

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Monday night involved going to a fancy playground with friends, ungodly amounts of white cheddar popcorn, chocolate pudding eaten with a plastic knife, and Psych.

Solid.

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Tuesday included another bucket list place— Emack & Bolio’s for their cereal cone (basically a rice krispie treat wrapped around the cone). The cereal cone was a cool concept, but Rachel and I agreed that the ice cream was just average. But it was still ice cream, which is delicious, and I thought the cone was good!

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“beantown crunch” with a cocoa pebbles cereal cone for Rachel + maple walnut with a rice krispie cereal cone for me

Followed by hours of girl talk.

Yesterday I helped my brother move out of his apartment, ate lunch with him and my mom, played outside for a bit (perfect weather), and helped cook a dinner at the Catholic Center for the graduating seniors (and they let me join in on the feast!).
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Grateful.

As with all my previous semesters here (I, II, III) at college, I have learned many lessons— some beautiful, some painful, all gifts.

the great and small

Lunch dessert is fabulous.

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I don’t have to go to the gym most days of the week, and I’ll be okay. I can still stay active and do challenging things without a gym.

Working out with friends outside might be one of my favorite things.

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We cannot attach ourselves to people. We can only attach ourselves to God. (via my friend Rachel via our friend Sarah)

Pride is probably my biggest vice and the root of all my internal struggles.

Social media can be pretty toxic for me. I need to take regular breaks from it.

I am an abstainer, not a moderator.

I don’t need to eat as much protein as I thought, and I feel best with a more carb-heavy diet.

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I cannot be complacent with my faith. I need to address my doubts, as little as they may be, and actively seek truth. (appreciate Julia’s honesty on this topic)

It is so painful to see good friends move away, but God has a beautiful plan for each of us and we need to trust Him.

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Walking is such an amazing human mechanism (thanks, biomechanics!).

I hold a lot of tension in my head and neck when I dance.

Electroswing music is a thing, and it. is. ART. (shoutout to my girl Lauren for introducing me to it)

I like plain yogurt better than cottage cheese these days.

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I can track my calories/macros objectively without restricting.

I am definitely an emotional eater.

Boston weather is more mercurial than Donald Trump’s words.

Writing at least one thing for which I am thankful in my planner every day before going to bed was a game-changer for my perspective.

Going without makeup for a while ain’t so bad.

I am at a pretty good place regarding my body image, but I am not immune to hard times and temptations to restrict.

My best friend and I have the same brain sometimes, and it’s freaking weird.

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It is improbable that we’ve had the friends, experiences, and circumstances that we’ve had.

God can show you very clearly that He is near. Sometimes He won’t make it clear though, but that doesn’t mean He’s not near.

Talking out loud to myself is the best form of studying for me. I need to hear it said.

I should be aware of my face in lecture, or else the professor might call me out with a laser pointer in front of my classmates.

I embarrass my friends sometimes/often/always.

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I need to make sure I bring enough snacks to work.

My friends are like my personal trainers, except spiritually. They push me outside of my comfort zone to become a better human.

Cycling is HARD.

VO2max test equipment is really flattering.

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I’m over trying so hard to impress boys. OVER IT.

^^^I will tell myself that I am over it, but still fall into that trap. C’est la vie.

It’s okay if I don’t have all the answers/advice for someone. Being a good listener can be what exactly someone needs.

Tori Kelly continues to slay with her music that describes my life.

Tears are truly a gift from the Holy Spirit.

God continues to show how much He loves us, and it is the most beautiful, amazing, heart-wrenching, humbling thing ever.


I’m linking up with Amanda for Thinking Out Loud today! I’ve missed this party!

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Hope you all have an awesome Thursday ♥︎

So tell me:

If you are a college student: Lesson(s) you learned this semester/year.

If you are not a college student: Lesson(s) you learned since the beginning of 2016.

Have you ever tried/do you like acai bowls?