Power and Love and Self-Control

There are a million words yet no words at the same time. I’ll give this post my best shot, because it’s worth it.

Black lives matter. The murder of George Floyd is an act that ought to be condemned. There needs to be justice for George Floyd, his family, and for all people of color who have been oppressed and, evidently, suffocated to the point of death under systemic racism in America since its onset.

If you have followed this blog for a while, you know that I am not too shy about my views on life issues (i.e., divisive ones like abortion), and the issue of racism is one of those life issues.

This post from @rachel.cargle is striking. The actions we take and the words we speak in the Black Lives Matter movement are not to be in vain. This is what I am hearing from many black people, whether they are close friends or strangers. The gist is: “It’s a marathon, not a sprint.”

Yes, this should be true for ANY life issue. Yes, this movement is getting a lot of attention right now. But major events that gain attention, despite the chaos, can stir up genuine good and necessary change. We are not forgetting other causes nor minimizing them, but for something as important, real, longstanding, and stifled as the issue of racism in America, there is a very clear need for action and tangible, expedient change.

It is easy to be complacent and tired of all of this, but if we can muster up a little bit of energy to, in some minuscule way, lay down our life for a brother or sister, please Lord, help us to help.

Act. It is not wise to “sign x, y, z because everyone is signing this and it’s probably good.” You have the faculties given to you to make an informed, conscientious decision about which petitions to sign, which organizations to support, or which posts to share.

Make the decision because you know what you are doing, why you are doing it, and the implied WORK it requires you to do after you donate, sign, post, etc. Please be responsible, not just reactive.

Be honest in your research and be okay with hearing “both sides.” You might find a sense of good in both sides of the conversation. You might find discomfort or disgust in elements of both sides of the conversation. Ask yourself why. Talk to people with an open heart. Seek to understand.

In all of this though, the priority is to listen to those who are being oppressed (i.e., black people).

If you are not sure where to even start, here are suggestions:

  • For a concise, honest, and helpful understanding of the Black Lives Matter Movement, watch this. Although I do not condone any sort of violence or crime, this video provides perspective on the deep, unspeakable pain that is yielding such actions. Additionally, I have seen and heard of many instances where black people are the ones preventing others (of various races) from destroying businesses and hurting others. There are riots, yes, but there are many necessary peaceful protests, where a majority of the protestors actually condemn any violence and destruction. Nevertheless, I am learning more and more that the riots and looting are coming from a place of extremely long-standing oppression and systemic inequity against black people (watch this). There can be an understanding of rioting and looting without condoning it. And most importantly, in understanding why it is happening, it has pushed me to realize the urgency and duty of addressing the “why” — to seek out true reform; to get dirty and serve underserved areas; to speak with my vote; and to empower young people of color with my time, energy, and money so that change can happen from the bottom up. In other words, I need to do what needs to be done so that black people do not ever feel that their only chance to be heard and loved is by rioting and looting. Who put them in such a position in the first place? Even if I did not ever personally place a black person in a position of poverty and inequity, to not do anything about it now is to do just that.
  • For my Catholic friends who are not sure how Catholics are responding or how they ought to respond, watch this and this and read this. Pray and fast for justice for George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, for real upheaval of systemic racism (which will take a lot of time, so you’ll probably be praying for it for your whole life), and for respect for black lives. Ask God to shine a light on any prejudices in your own heart, and ask Him to uproot them. Pray about how God is calling you to act against racism, and follow.
  • For those who are wondering why the Black Lives Matter movement seems to be getting so much more attention and momentum vs. the fight for unborn lives (hint: the issues are not dissociated from one another), watch this (I have linked the particular part of the video that addresses this question).
  • For petitions to sign, organizations to support, and a plethora of other resources, go here.
  • For a history on police in America, listen to this.
  • For Boston friends who seek to support local organizations that empower young people of color, consider donating to African Community Education and Boys and Girls Club of Dorchester. One of my friends, who is an immigrant from Ethiopia, said that he believes real change will happen only if black people are in positions of power, and that starts with true nourishment and quality education from a young age.
  • Support local black-owned businesses (Boston list of black-owned restaurants).
  • Start a book club with friends. Be open to conversation, and remember that you can use the opportunity to LISTEN. Discuss what you agree and disagree with, but listen. My friends and I will read Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates. I also recommend Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin.

Systemic, but always interpersonal. Someone told me that change still comes down to the interactions that we have with the people in front of us. And this does not mean to shut out the world and live in one’s own bubble, because ignorance of the sufferings outside of one’s own immediate environment is part of the problem. But truly, how do you love the person in front of you today?

Does loving them mean having a tough conversation about the reality of racism? Does loving them mean reminding them of their worth, power, and love, so that they can go and pour out to others and be inspired to do something bigger than themselves?

And then after being informed about the the injustices and atrocities against black people in America, after honestly praying and educating yourself about the history of racism, how can you go to black people within your community and love them? Or at least donate to them? And if you are really not physically amidst black people, then how can you reach out beyond your community?

Look to those who do it well. I will share below some Saints who I know have worked against racism and slavery as Catholics. White people within the Catholic Church have indeed participated in racism in the past and some likely still do today. Please remember these people are imperfect and sinful human beings who act of their own accord. What is important, however, is that even their evil racism did not keep black people from the Love of Jesus Christ in the Church.

For example:

Above all, I find that Jesus Christ proves to be the answer to everything. He knows unjust condemnation. He knows racism. He knows judgement from others. He knows contempt. He knows poverty. He knows the pain of being brutally murdered for no reason.

Yet He, the Victim, gives Wisdom. He, the Victim, gives Mercy. He, the Victim, gives Power. He, the Victim, gives Peace. He, the Victim, gives Joy. He, the Victim, gives Love.

He is everything broken, impoverished, and slandered, yet He is everything good and triumphant.

My friends, my words here are not perfect. This is important though. And please, teach me more if you can, and help me to amplify black voices. Help me to love others more.

“For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control.”

2 Timothy 1:7

“‘Teacher, which are the two greatest commandments?’ Jesus replied, ‘”Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” The second is like it, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.'”

Matthew 22:34-40

Go forth in power, love, and self-control. Black lives matter.

Alleluia!

He is risen! He is risen indeed!

IMG_7954

Oh mannnnnn. Easter just gets better every year — more meaningful, more beautiful, more joyful — because “God is infinitely interesting,” as Fr. Barnes once said!

It’s been a wild ride this week, but I think what makes Holy Week leading up to Easter so special is that:

a) people are getting baptized, confirmed, received into the Church!

b) everyone is laser-focused not on themselves but on God Himself. Work, worries, fears, doubts… nothing seems to matter in the face of the reality that Christ gave Himself for us and rose from the dead as He promised. It’s something Christians/Catholics know, but it’s not always something we stop and truly, deeply think about. Holy Week is the time for it, and it is like nothing else in the world.

Festivities included the longest (but most beautiful) Mass ever on Saturday night, followed by a party to ring in Easter!

17990376_10211090556691104_387620030744175892_o

I made carrot cake for the occasion using Alton Brown’s recipe. ‘Twas a hit (only because I made sure to make some with AND without raisins and walnuts).

IMG_7835IMG_7836IMG_7839

My body was ready for allllll the food after [just a little bit of] fasting.

IMG_7840

like these mini chicken and waffle bites that Veronica made!!

I got to reunite with peanut butter after giving it up for Lent, and it was quite an event. I literally packed half a pb&j sandwich to bring to the party because I’m ridiculous.

My face can be described as “blissful baby chipmunk” whenever I eat things I enjoy.

help

left: last year at a relay race where we had to eat bananas // right: breaking the peanut butter fast this year

Eating, drinking, and being merry 🙂

IMG_7841IMG_7899IMG_7888IMG_7877

On Sunday, I helped prepare brunch for the masses of people after the Easter Mass.  First, I ate my first peanut buttery overnight oats in 40+ days for breakfast.

IMG_7916

I thoroughly enjoyed it.

My friend Louis headed a bunch of people in flapjack flipping, ham carving, table setting, and dessert plating.

IMG_7917

Then we feasted!

IMG_7919

It was a hot and gorgeous day for Easter yesterday too!

IMG_7941

Louis the brunch MVP

IMG_7920

junior ladiez

IMG_7931

Special shoutout to Fiona who rucked (sped-walked with 35-lb. of army gear on her back) 26.2 miles for the Tough Ruck Marathon on Saturday!!! You’re my hero.

IMG_7936IMG_7925IMG_7934

IMG_793817991365_10211096714725051_6340274203764604591_o

Lauren is my dance partner of choice for life

I also FaceTimed my family + worked out by the river yesterday since it was so nice out!

IMG_7956

At the end of all the celebration madness, when everyone is gone and moving on with their lives, we remember again the One who this is all about. To the quietest, most precious Source of Life — all glory and honor to Thee.

IMG_7955

Hope you all have a wonderful Monday! We have the day off because it’s Marathon Monday/Patriot’s Day 😀

So tell me:

The best thing about your weekend!

If you celebrate, what did you do for Easter or Passover?

One beautiful thing in your life.

 

When You’re Feeling Off + Life Lately

It’s finally warm!

IMG_7766

Thank the Lord. It got up to a steamy 76*F on Tuesday!

HI. It’s been pretty quiet on Moves and Grooves lately, but it’s been a busy and weird couple of weeks. The weirdness was mostly attributed to me feeling very “off” in my faith life — prayer wasn’t the easiest, and I felt a lot of confusion, frustration, and guilt over some things in my life.

It’s not something I haven’t experienced before, but it’s always disorienting. However, I’ve learned to not depend on feelings or be driven by them all the time. This apples not only to matters of faith, but also matters of recovery, school, life in general. It makes sense (e.g. just because you don’t feel like sharing cake with your friend doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t), but feelings can be LOUD, so it’s good to remind ourselves that feelings are just feelings. We often need to follow what we know instead.

Know that God does not speak through confusion.

Know that God is infinitely loving and merciful.

c10eec76fbbc81b2430cff83862c216e.jpg

[source]

I’m not usually a pinterest quote person, but this Bible verse made it to my phone lock screen this week

And with God, every trial just yields more wisdom and peace. Holy Week has helped too! This year, it has been profound yet beautifully simple, and now we are all so ready for Easter 🙂

Let’s catch up though!! So much has been happening.

I went to my second spin class ever at Cyc with Christina (@foodietunes) last Wednesday. Once again, Sarah Gaines, founder of Fit University, taught the class and kicked. my. BUTT. My last spin/Cyc class was last year during Sarah’s first “tribe ride”!

IMG_7741

Christina texted me the night before:

Screen Shot 2017-04-14 at 11.35.40 PM

And so I dragged my butt out of bed to move my legs faster than they ever do, but I still couldn’t keep up with Sarah.

IMG_7743

I had squatted heavy for the first time in a long time THREE days before this class, and my quads were still crying by the warmup.

IMG_7746IMG_7745

Christina: “Can we pick you up?” // Sarah: “Not up here.”

IMG_7744

Thank you so much, Sarah, for a great class and for being an all-around inspirational gal!

After the Cyc class, I stopped by Whole Foods to get some yogurt, and this little fella was patiently waiting outside.

Corgis are my favorite kind of dog. They’re awkward, cute, and loyal. We need more men like that in the world.

Here are a couple solid dining hall meals I’ve eaten:

IMG_7759

breaded fish with seasoned rice and green beans

IMG_7754

empanadas on Latin night + salad

And I’ve been cookin’ up some fine things in the apartment as well!

IMG_7735

(from three weeks ago!) the last of the chicken + beans from the bomb enchiladas I made with cheese, avocado, and roasted brussels sprouts

IMG_7762

meatballs (actually, just mini muffin versions of this meatloaf), brown rice, cheese, and roasted paprika asparagus

IMG_7764

classics with a side of anatomy

IMG_7791

tomato, basil, feta, pepper, and olive oil

Last Sunday, Megan and I hosted “Assisi Night” for our Catholic friends. Essentially, it was an even that we made up because we’ve been obsessed with Assisi ever since we visited during our break while studying abroad. So we invited all our friends to hang out with us for an Italian food potluck, a movie about St. Francis and St. Clare, and good ol’ fellowship.

IMG_7777

the oddly large “T” is actually a tau sign, symbolic of the Franciscan order

IMG_7778

Dinner was complete with salad, caprese, focaccia, several kinds of pasta, and many desserts. Megan and I cooked most of it, but our friends came through with lots of delicious foods as well!

IMG_7774IMG_7770

this focaccia disappeared before the event started

IMG_7775IMG_7782IMG_7776

my attempt at cacio e pepe

IMG_7780

‘Twas such a fun night!!

Sunsets have been magnificent this week thanks to the clear blue skies.

IMG_7829IMG_7830

I wish I could go to a remote place so I could see stars too! (I’m asking for a lot, I’m sorry. I am very grateful for these sunsets.)

Exams, papers, projects, summer planning, etc. is all happening still. It’s a good kind of chaos.

I hope you all have a blessed Easter or just a joyful weekend! Eat lots of carbs for with me!

So tell me:

Do you ever have to ignore your feelings and go with what you know?

Two fun things you’ve done recently.

What are you doing this weekend!Easter and Marathon Monday, baby!

 

Greater Love

I feel spring coming!!!

tumblr_ni8i0wnqrn1sajg7no1_500

[source]

The days have been sunny and warm here, and this week it’s supposed to get up to a high of 63*F! Bye, snow. You were fun for 12 hours.

This weekend, I went on a retreat with the Boston University Catholic Center to Kennebunkport, Maine (which is where “the way life should be” according the state border sign). The theme of the retreat was Greater Love, a theme intended to help the attendees understand and grow more deeply into a truly loving relationship with God, with themselves, and with others.

IMG_7149.jpg

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. – John 15:13

We often ask ourselves what love is, where to find it authentically, and whether it will last. From a Christian/Catholic perspective, phrases such as, “God is love,” and “Jesus loves you,” are often thrown around, which is great, because both statements are absolutely true. But knowing those truths cerebrally is very different from encountering them personally. This weekend was about both aspects— learning and experiencing the Love that is greater than all else, God Himself.

img_7291

This retreat was a little different from all my last retreats (herehere, here and here), because this time I was on the retreat team as the skits producer. Basically, during every retreat there are a few skits throughout the weekend to help animate the theme. I won’t get into much detail, but the actors (i.e. my friends who kindly volunteered to act) delivered hilarious, thoughtful, powerful skits, and I cannot thank them enough for giving their time and effort for the glory of God.

And now for some other nuggets of wisdom from the weekend about L-O-V-E. Huge thanks to Fr. Mark Murphy for being our insightful speaker this retreat!

“We are most authentically human when we give ourselves in love.” – Fr. Murphy

Fr. Murphy also said, “Charity always requires difficult things.” In other words, love is sacrificial. If God sacrificed Himself out of love for us, there is no way that we can love without sacrifice as well. But the difficulty that love requires is nothing compared to the peace and true freedom it yields.

img_7125

the coolest retreat directors in all the land

img_7298

channeling our inner “From This Moment On” Shaina Twain 

Love is not just a feeling; it is an act of the will. Emotions are a gift, and they can point us towards authentic love, but they are not everything. If people loved others in word and deed only when they felt like it, marriage and friendship would never ever work. It only works if you choose to love every day, sometimes despite your feelings or lack thereof.

shoutout to the kitchen staff at the retreat house! thank you for the delicious food all weekend!

img_7218

Angelica, one of the stars of skit team

img_7260

Charity is love of God above all else for His sake, and it is love of neighbor out of love for God. – Fr. Murphy

img_7252img_7131

God speaks silence. – St. Padre Pio

Get rid of the noise and clamor for a bit and let the gentle and loving God speak to you in the silence. Just you and Him. It’s all He longs for.

img_7323

Dan, another star on skit team

img_7132img_7223

“There isn’t any torture that you couldn’t suffer for the souls God has entrusted to your care.” – Fr. Murphy

In other words, suffering has value if you are willing to offer it to God out of trust and love. He will give you the strength to suffer for the sake of other souls, even if you don’t currently see why you’re suffering or who you’re suffering for or when the suffering will end. Suffering sucks, but how beautiful it is that God chooses to entrust us with suffering for the sake of His children.

img_7150img_7266

“He’s just so sausage-y!”

img_7277

The means of holiness is already there in the Church — it is Jesus Christ. – Fr. Murphy

The Church has good people in it. It also has people in it who do terrible things. The bottom line is that the Church has sinful humans in it, but Jesus Christ is always good, no matter what His children do.

img_7156img_7320img_7250

The more the soul lowers itself in prayer, the more the Lord lifts it up. – St. Teresa of Avila

The more we recognize our lowliness, the more God will raise us up to Himself.

img_728016832083_10208643399427001_1892918098198567127_n

Acknowledgement of the truth is authentic humility. – Fr. Murphy

It is the truth that we are weak and sinful. It is the truth that God is Love and Truth itself and that we need Him. Acknowledgement of who we are and who we are not is authentic humility.

16649245_10208958836072871_2477503049256877441_n

img_7174

Contemporary people learn more from other people’s witness than from their words. When people do learn from others’ words, it’s because of their witness. – Fr. Murphy

Basically, don’t just talk the talk. You have to walk the walk in order for people to learn from you and to know that what you stand for is good and true.

img_7147

best friend tradition ♥︎ 

We have a God who prefers littleness. – Fr. Murphy

God, the Creator of the universe, came as a little infant to a little manger in a little town called Bethlehem. He loves our littleness and comes to us when we feel the most insignificant and least powerful in the world.

img_7205

retreat team family photo (aka one of my most favorite pics of all time)

Fr. Murphy told us a beautiful story about an elderly married couple. The wife was bedridden and crippled, and her husband took care of her lovingly every day. The husband told Fr. Murphy that he loved her more in those bedridden and crippled days than he did on the day he married her.

This is because when you love someone who is crippled, bedridden and most helpless, your sacrificial love is most pure. Your love is the greatest because you are giving of yourself despite the other person’s inability to give back. It’s the same thing with the Church and with the world. When the Church is most broken and helpless (like it is today), that is when we love her and care for her most purely.

img_7169

~contemplative~

Thank you so much to all who made retreat possible. You are all stellar humans.

This is the most faith-filled post I’ve written in quite a while. I plan on addressing how my blog space has changed recently (in case you haven’t noticed it yet), but when God makes His way into your life, ya just have to talk about Him everywhere. He’s on the brain, on the heart.

If there’s one thing you can take away from this post, it is that you are loved so deeply by Love Himself. If you need more on that, check this out ➔ He thirsts for you.

And I LOVE YOU!!!

So tell me:

What is love? (← big question, but let’s chat!)

One beautiful thing you experienced this past week.

Other things on your heart that you’d like to share. Let’s get cozy.

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.

IMG_1025

growing their own wheatgrass of course

IMG_1027

“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 (!!!).

IMG_1030 IMG_1034

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.

IMG_1035

IMG_1040

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!

IMG_1052

“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!).
IMG_1068

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.

IMG_0529

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.

IMG_0577

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.

IMG_0694

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.

IMG_0745

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.

IMG_0704

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.

IMG_0280

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.

IMG_0539

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.

IMG_0573

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!

Thinking-Out-Loud

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?