Sports and Faith

I thought I could consider myself an athlete.

Until I watched the Olympics.

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But then I saw the Ford (?) commercial about how “we are all athletes” and was like, well, fine, if you insist.

In all seriousness, check out Krista’s post about how you know you’re an athlete. Anyone can be an athlete. You don’t have to have 21 gold medals like someone.

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I watched the #PhelpsFace shenanigans live on TV, and it was the most appalling and hilarious thing I’ve seen all year.

Anyway, we all know that Olympic athletes are downright inspirational. I was a little girl who always strived to be athletic in her younger years but never had natural athletic ability. However, I have really taken off in a burst of confidence these past couple of years as I’ve grown to love fitness.

Although I don’t participate in organized sports right now, and I definitely don’t even train like a middle school athlete, I am proud of how far I’ve come just dabbling with new feats at home. In some of my harder workouts and accomplishments, I feel like I’ve finally gotten a minuscule taste of the drive of a great athlete.

I’m sure you agree that it would be SO COOL to be an Olympics athlete (p.s. my blog/fellow BU Terrier pal, Gemma, is running track for Ghana in Rio this year!!! check out her guest post WIAW from last year here). I have glimmers of hope inside me that I could at least be a competitive athlete again if I really wanted to.

But I don’t want to. There are many ways to achieve your purpose in life, and sports are probably not my way. If you asked me, “What is your purpose in life?” I’d say something about doing God’s will and bringing others to Him.

That being said, there are so many parallels in the journey of an elite athlete and the journey of finding your purpose in life, whatever that may be. In my case, I’ve found that I can draw major inspiration from athletes for my own faith journey.

1) It’s difficult to start.

It takes a very special breed to say as a beginner, “I can’t wait to do that workout that will set my lungs and muscles on fire.” Likewise, I never said, “I can’t wait to go to church!” until maybe a year ago (read: 15+ years into being taught about and teaching the Catholic faith).

It’s a choice to start doing what will make you better every day, whether you’re in training or you’re trying to grow closer to God.

2) You have good days and bad days.

Pretty self-explanatory. Athletes get tired, sore, probably hungover every now and then. They don’t break records every day and they don’t get better every single day. But they use those off days to get better overall, and that’s how it is with the faith.

There are days when I am welling up with enthusiasm for prayer and good works. And there are just as many days when I don’t want to think of God or I don’t feel like He’s there.

The only way to get through those bad days is…to get through those bad days, with a constant reminder of the end goal and a reflection of how you can learn from the trial.

3) It’s easier with a community.

CrossFit raves about the community of support all the time, which I think is why it is such a success as a sport and an industry.

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I’ve talked about how my faith has grown leaps and bounds thanks to the incredible community of men and women at BU’s Catholic Center.

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You push others, they push you, everyone falls over, and that’s the end.

This is where I say, “just kidding, you help each other back up and move forward.” 😉

4) It hurts.

There is so much we don’t see elite athletes experience “behind the scenes.” The sacrifice, the pain, the internal turbulence and pressure… But they know that those are necessary experiences in order to become a resilient and freaking amazing athlete.

There is so much we don’t see in people who are faithful, joyful, and unbelievably at peace. Maybe they did have a great life, but maybe they didn’t. There is sacrifice, pain, and internal turbulence behind the most peaceful and joyful people I know. Getting through those trials is what makes them resilient and freaking amazing human beings.

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^^^One of my favorite quotes ever.

5) It’s worth the blood, sweat, and tears.

Watch Aly Raisman’s documentary and see how difficult her training was before London 2012. Now look at this chick—3 Olympic gold medals (and counting?). Seems worth it.final-five-medal-ceremony_ap

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The end goal at the end of this journey called “life” is eternity with our Creator, which I think seems preeeeeeetty worth it. And He told us it would be hard. And it is hard, but…

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In all honesty, publishing this post is hard. I know my audience, and I know this doesn’t cater to everyone, but my slogan up top there is “pray. eat. move. groove.” Pray comes first. Faith comes first. God comes first. And I wouldn’t be sharing this if I didn’t believe in the depths of my heart that you could possibly feel the same about Him, some way, somehow.

Whatever your creed is, I like to believe that people have goodness in their hearts to want to help others and spread joy in their lives, which is never easy. So here’s to using athletes as inspiration!!

(pretty terrible flow of paragraphs at the end there, but guatever, I need to go to sleep.)

So tell me:

How do great athletes to inspire you (if they do)?

What would you say is your purpose in life? Have I asked this before?

Dealing With Irritating People

It took me a few minutes to think of the title for this post.

What I really want to title it is: “What I do to calm myself down when I perceive others to be irritating, but really, I’m just hungry and tired and every little tick makes me slightly rage-y,” but that’s too long.

But first, thank you all for your feedback on my fitness post! I’m glad that it was helpful and that many of you related to my outlook on working out.

Before we get to Five Minute Friday, here are some scenes from the week:

It has been hot but gorgeous (just like you 😉 ) this week, so I’ve taken advantage of the green space at work to picnic outside during my lunch hour.

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utilizing the Sriracha 2 Go keychain that Christina (@foodietunes) gifted me at Christmas ♥︎ 

This was nice until yesterday. I think I sat on an anthill or something, because ants were crawling all over me and almost into my pants.

Overnight breakfasts made my {sleepy} mornings a little more exciting.

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Kylie’s banana pudding for breakfast

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overnight oats in a Nuttzo jar

Madre has been killin’ it with meals this week. I love cooking, but it’s nice to have dinner cooked and ready for you when you get home from work 🙂 Thanks, Madre!

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quinoa with mok fish (salmon and a little bit of egg binding steamed with lemongrass in a banana leaf) and roasted vegetables

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Last night’s dinner was easy, simple, and so satisfying.

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caprese + avocado toast

…followed by Greek yogurt + pb with dried figs.

p.s. my dinners look so puny here, but I promise I eat so many things before I get home for dinner…and then after dinner (I’m just trying to simulate those multiple-course cruise meals I guess).

And lastly, I just noticed that my leg looks painted with bruises. I was trying to “feel the steel” on my squat cleans yesterday, and I think I succeeded. Here was yesterday’s workout (after two lovely days of rest):

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This might mean absolutely nothing to you. Decoded version:

I actually did three squat cleans at 85#, because I was feelin’ good (I had a good amount of rest between sets while changing the weights). Not heavy by any means for avid weightlifters, but I just started squat cleans with an empty bar just 6 weeks ago, so I’m proud of myself! If I went to the actual gym more than once per week, I could speed up the progress, but…eh it’s guatever.

Now for the vlog!

link to video!

Hope you all have a fun weekend! Madre just poured a crap ton of kettle corn right in front of me so imma eat some.

So tell me:

How do you deal with irritating people/situations?

What was the best dinner you ate this week?

Have you eaten al fresco recently? 

Any accomplishments/progress (fitness or non-fitness-related) you’d like to share!

Sometimes I Can’t Stand Humans, But They’re Awesome

I forget that the end of daylight savings time means everything is darker sooner, which makes me a little sad.

But on some bright notes! It was a fun Halloween weekend (“Halloweekend”, whatever), the weather has been beautiful, I’ve {nearly} cried of joy several times this weekend, and God is super good.

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clouds doing cool cloud things on Friday

I didn’t even do anything on Halloween, but I did dance my butt off at a Halloween party hosted by the Catholic Center on Friday! I danced pretty much non-stop all night. I had been craving a dance party since the wedding I attended this summer, and dance parties always remind me why I named this blog daily moves and grooves.

Plus, I dressed up as my favorite thing ever…

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peanut butter!

…along with my best friend, Jelly (aka Rachel). Rachel was the one who suggested this duo costume, and it seemed perfect for several reasons. I probably emit the smell of peanut butter on a daily basis already, so I was halfway there from the get-go.

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Several cookies fueled my dancing for the night, but I didn’t even have any candy this weekend! I wasn’t avoiding it by any means; I just never encountered any candy that I wanted. Cookies, cake, dining hall desserts sounded better. #snobby

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On Saturday morning some of my friends and I from the Boston University Students for Life club participated in the Out of the Darkness Suicide Awareness and Prevention Walk. Suicide awareness is something near and dear to many of us in one way or another, so it was a blessing to walk with so many other people (especially college students) in solidarity and support.

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I look really tall in this picture, but that’s an optical illusion

Also, they had free Stonyfield “Oh My Yog!” yogurt at the walk. We all ate it and agreed that it was some next level yogurt. This was the gingered pear flavor. Ooo la la!

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trilayer? whole milk? CREAM TOP!?!?

Saturday night was wild and crazy with lots of studying with Rachel (or at least, a lot of attempting to study on my part). I can let myself get very distracted with social media, and I very much dislike myself every time it happens. But it was Halloween, so I made myself think I was justified.

{As I just come back from 20 minutes on my Instagram feed. HELP.}

Anyway, the other nooks and crannies of this weekend were filled with Mass, choir, eating, some exercise, and best of all, truly awesome people.
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Let me tell you something. I have three types of days when it comes to interacting with people:

  1. Normal day: Happy to see my friends, interact with strangers politely.
  2. Especially negative day: Yo, people are the worst. I want Jesus to be my only friend ever.
  3. Especially positive day: PEOPLE ARE AMAZING. HELLOOOOO, BEAUTIFUL STRANGER, YOU’RE GREAT!

If my especially positive days occurred all the time, I’d probably end up losing friends because of my insanity.

In all seriousness though, more of the negative, mundane, or irking interactions with that I can have with some people (strangers or not) have lately been transformed into meaningful and fruitful interactions. For example, I can learn about virtue, reflect on my faith life, or be urged to evaluate my actions. In addition, regular interactions with friends have been deepened.

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What is the “secret” to this transforming and deepening? I think it’s something I learned yesterday: shared life. 

In other words: sharing your experiences with others and being genuinely interested and excited about others’ experiences, and then learning and growing with one another as a result!

Grab a meal with someone. Ask someone what his idea of a perfect day is. Ask your gal friend how her heart is doing (figuratively, not the actual organ…but you could ask that too). Tell him about your dream job. Describe to her what made you happy or sad this weekend.

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Some people may not care about what you have to say, but that doesn’t mean you can’t care for another person. Humans are awesome, and sometimes they’re just waiting for someone to be interested in them (personally, not romantically…but that could be true too).

By no means is it easy for me to “share life” with others. I think I will always have those especially negative days/moments when I feel like I need to be in a bubble, please and thank you. Nevertheless, in general, by sharing more about myself and by being more interested in other people, I have learned a lot about myself and about other amazing human beings. It’s really cool.

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my girl Fiona shared this with me last night

P.S. That’s what makes blogging really cool!!!

So tell me:

Did you dress up or do anything in particular for Halloween?

Did you eat any sweet treats this weekend?

What made you happy or sad or angry or anxious this weekend?

Recharged

Beautiful people of the earth, how are you?

Yes, I guess you could say I had a freaking-fantastic-wonderful-awesome time on retreat in Maine this weekend! Although we always experience a Jesus “high” during and right after retreat, the point of the retreat was to equip and instruct us on how to go out and proclaim our faith through our daily lives— through the highest of highs and lowest of lows. Our speaker for this retreat, Michael Lavigne (he has a blog!), called it “the art of living.” Dig it.

The weekend was packed with delicious food made by the most amazing kitchen team, lots of laughs, contemplation, community, and of course, deep conversations with Christ through prayer. I cannot put into words how much I enjoy retreat and love Jesus.

That being said, we’re back at school and work awaits. It’s going to be a loooong week, so if I don’t post again this week, please forgive me. Life is rolling faster than I can keep up sometimes!

Here are some scenes from the weekend:

Rachel’s birthday was on Friday, but since we left for retreat on Friday night, we celebrated on Thursday night at a lovely little Mexican restaurant. I ordered a beef taco and fish taco, and my soul was happy.

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FYI— bottom left pic is us trying to imitate the statues behind us. In case you were wondering what we’re doing.

Several wonderful people kept us {more than} well-nourished during retreat. French toast, chili, CHEESE BISCUITS OMG, trifles, pesto pasta, carrot soup… They put the dining halls to utter shame.

Carbs were my best friend this weekend and I am so okay with that.

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P.S. they also had peanut butter ♥ 

Last but not least, the people with whom I spent the weekend are truly a gift from God. My friends here, there, and everywhere (I’m talking to all you readers out there!) are constantly inspiring and humbling me. Thanks so much.

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From far away, it looks like we have mustaches on our shirts. They’re not mustaches.

Not gonna lie, I feel slightly anxious for the week ahead because of all the work and studying that needs to get done, but the retreat has certainly recharged me and prepared me to take on each day the Lord gives us.

Oh! I cannot forget to address the fact that this week is National Eating Disorders Awareness (NEDA) Week. Gah, now I definitely want to try to put up a post regarding that. Tonight I will actually be speaking at the BU Nutrition Club’s NEDA lecture and discussion, where I will be giving my personal account of my past eating disorder following a lecture by Jennifer Culbert, RD, LDN. Pray for us!

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Hopefully, I will be back later this week to recap my talk that I will be giving tonight, as well as discuss more about eating disorder awareness. It’s something that I am passionate about, and my recovery journey is what led me to create this blog. So stay tuned!

You’re beautiful. Catch ya later, kids.

So tell me:

What are three things that made you smile this weekend? 

Recent Eats {and the Lowdown on Lent}

Hey we didn’t have a snow day this week yet! And it’s Ash Wednesday!

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while the past week, you might know that I’m Catholic and incredibly proud of it. Today is the start of Lent, aka 40 days of fasting, prayer, and almsgiving in preparation for Easter. That means yesterday was Fat Tuesday, aka Mardi Gras, aka do and eat everything you want to give up for the next 40 days.

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In case you want the lowdown on what we Catholics even do during these 40 days:

We only really need to fast (only one full meal and two smaller snacks that do not add up to one full meal) on the first Wednesday and last Friday of Lent, so it’s nothing crazy. We abstain from meat on every Friday though (meatless Friday instead of meatless Monday!). Also, we are strongly encouraged to give up unnecessary things that we love and/or do something extra as a sacrifice throughout the 40 days. It forces us to remember that there is nothing that can satisfy or fulfill us like God’s love and mercy can.

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^^^Not what Lent is.

Even if you’re not Catholic, it could be a refreshing experience to give up something for a month or so that will help you stay more focused or grateful. It doesn’t have to be food-related at all— it could be trash TV, profanity, petty complaining, gossip, looking at your phone at the table, etc.

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Just for the record, here’s what I’m doing this Lent:

  • Giving up music (I won’t voluntarily play music for myself, even when I work out ahhhhhhhhhh) and spending my quiet time praying instead.
  • Giving up scrolling through Instagram (I might still post photos of my own, but I won’t look through my feed at all.)
  • Reading Scripture every day

So yes, I was listening to music and looking at Instagram all day yesterday.

Some other things I’ve heard people are doing or have done for Lent: only getting one plate of food at the dining hall, giving up complaining, elevators, social media, makeup, meat, cheese, hot water (that means cold showers!)… People can be hard core.

I want to focus on making sacrifices that don’t have to do with food, so I’m not going to make any changes to my eating during Lent. With that said, here are only some of the delicious things I’ve been eating in the past few days!

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whole wheat French toast with banana and pb + scrambled eggs + glass o’ milk

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oatmeal with shredded coconut, pb, banana, and honey + scrambled eggs

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lentil and veggie African stew with sweet potatoes (YASSS) + some saucy-brothy Italian chicken 

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a five pound salad with romaine, carrots, tomatoes, roasted veggies, beets, and blue cheese(!!!)

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chipotle chicken (buried under there) with greens, barley salad, and feta

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roast beef, provolone, hummus, and veggie sandwich on wheat + more veggies and hummus + major veggie food baby 😛

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pork gyoza + scallion pancake + ramen with pork and a soft-boiled egg at Shabu and Mein when my parents came to visit!

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vanilla soft serve with frozen blueberries and granola (like, 10x this amount of granola)

Ahh food is so good. But not nearly as good as God.

Have a blessed day, everyone!

Side note: Fasting can be tricky if you are struggling (or have struggled) with an eating disorder. Fasting should be a challenging sacrifice, but it should also be reasonable and attainable in regards to your individual situation. If you are struggling with an eating disorder (which can be categorized as a mental disorder), you are exempt from fasting [source]. We fast to reiterate that our earthly needs cannot give us anything as valuable as God’s love, not to make ourselves miserable or unhealthy. Take care ♥

So tell me:

If you’re Catholic: Are you giving up anything/doing anything special for Lent?

If you’re not Catholic: What would you give up or do as a sacrifice for 40 days?

Do you like blue cheese?

Do you ever wish you didn’t eat so many vegetables at a meal?