The art of choosing

pray.

The past several days have been challenging with some unforeseen things that have popped up with my job situation, but I have hope that it will all work out for the best.

In light of all the decisions I have been making, I have asked God a lot these days: “What should I do, Lord? I don’t know what to do.” There’s no thunderous or clear answer that comes to my heart (usually), but what has been giving me consolation through this week is the Lord saying, “You will make a decision, Alison. I am taking care of you in all of this. Where you go, I will be with you.”

There is no force from God to make a certain decision. There is also no promise that any one decision will be easy or perfect. He just promises that He will be with us, and that is everything.

My friend Elayne reassured me the other day that sometimes there is no right or wrong decision; we make our choices based on our values and the information that we have, not necessarily knowing what is on the other side of that choice. Those choices lead to more necessary decision-making, over and over again. We choose, we live with the consequences, we learn from those experiences, and we keep on keeping on.

eat.

Two dishes have ROCKED my world this past week. One was peach cobbler a la mode, but not just ANY a la mode…Tillamook’s Oregon Dark Cherry ice cream ūüėÄ

Second was toasted multigrain sourdough (from Trader Joe’s) with canned sardines and a homemade spicy tomato sauce. I thought of making this dish a couple weeks ago when I spotted a can of sardines and a can of diced tomatoes in the pantry, and last Friday I finally made it happen. Mmmm mmm mmm it was such lovely a Mediterranean-inspired meal.

move.

Monday and Tuesday’s workouts have made me quite sore everywhere.

Monday was a lower body workout that involved a LOT of concentration:

  • 3×5 weighted pistol squats each leg
  • 3×8 squat to toe tap backs
  • 3×12-15 deficit stationary lunges each leg
  • 2×10 staggered good mornings each side
  • 3×10 kneel to squat jumps

Yesterday involved some upper body circuits:

5 rounds:

  • 5 double pushup burpees
  • 1 wall walk + 20 shoulder taps
  • 12 hollow rocks

4 rounds:

  • 8 tuck handstand to kick through
  • 5-6 Russian pushups
  • 15 plank hip dips each side

3 rounds:

  • 2-3 neutral grip pull-ups
  • 10 KB hang cleans each side
  • 10 tabletop sit throughs

All the demos can be found on my “moves and grooves part 4” Instagram highlights!

groove.

I went for a quick “glamping” (glam + camping) getaway in New Hampshire with some (masked) pals this weekend! Sleeping in tents outside but also having access to a kitchen and indoor plumbing as needed (although I still peed in the woods usually; it’s honestly just so much easier).

We swam, hiked, bonfire’d, ate, and shared in some bonafide fellowship. The best parts were the company and also looking at the sky full of stars (and the Milky Way faintly!) two nights in a row. Seeing a sky full of stars is one of my most favorite things in the entire world, and I don’t get it often being a city girl.

Literal words from my mouth: “I don’t usually consider myself a city girl, but it really comes out when I’m here in the nature.”

THE nature???

So tell me:

Are you a confident decision maker? What was the last decision that you made that caused further challenges (can be as big as marriage / having kids or as small as choosing to stay up late)?

What is the best dessert you’ve eaten recently?

What is your favorite part about outdoorsy types of trips?

Your Story Matters and It’s Beautiful

I am alive and well, and I hope that you are too!

This weekend I went up to New Hampshire with nearly 70 other students searching for one or more of the following: alone time with God,¬†fellowship¬†with friends who are seeking God, fresh air and serenity away from Boston, a new experience, and/or answers to any deep, personal questions. Whatever the reason, I think it’s safe to say that everyone who went on retreat is coming back to campus with something new and¬†good.

Even if you’re not Catholic (heck, even if you’re an atheist), I am willing to bet that you can connect with some of the lessons I learned from this retreat and which I am about to share with you presently.

Wait, first, can we just appreciate how my lab partner (Christina, a nutrition major) and I order the same breakfast and bring our own peanut butter to the dining hall? There are many signs of friendship, but this one takes the [whole wheat pan-] cake.

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two eggs scrambled with mushrooms, tomatoes, bell pepper, and broccoli + whole wheat pancake with peanut butter

The difference: she doesn’t like banana¬†and I don’t like coffee.¬†Fair enough. There’s something wrong with both of us.

Anyway, back to this retreat and all the beautiful things that it entailed.

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The theme of the retreat was “Called to Greatness,” which sounds inspirational to many, but also kind of daunting. As someone who is extraordinarily ordinary (and often sub-ordinary), I knew I would be challenged by the messages I would hear on retreat. But challenge = change, so leggo.

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Dreams. We all have ’em, and we want to chase after them. Whether that’s an “MD” at the end of your name, creating a world-famous blog, making “gainz”, having a family, becoming Beyonce’s personal assistant, or becoming Beyonce, our dreams¬†drive us.

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Some people find peace in chasing that dream. Peace doesn’t mean it’s easy, but through all their hard work and sleepless nights, they know that their work is truly fulfilling.

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But sometimes (probably often), chasing those dreams can disappoint us. Even if we get what we want, there is something gnawing at us that the success and happiness is just skin deep.

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brought my own peanut butter (and shared!) #notsorryatall

An example from my own life: Fitness. I’m sure many of you are familiar with my love of exercise, which I believe is at a healthy state now. However, just a few years ago my life was consumed with a dream to achieve approval, attention, success, and self-worth through fitness. I literally worked myself sick to obtain a body that¬†was not my own.

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I dreamed about being fit. Even after my disordered thoughts started to dissipate, fitness was at the forefront of my mind more often than not.

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I mean, look at my blog title.¬†“Daily Moves and Grooves” is a reflection of how much I love to move.¬†Although this blog has been a wonderful outlet for my fitness and health journey, and although I am in a healthy place mentally and physically,¬†food and fitness just can’t fill my heart.

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Maybe you’ve felt this way about a certain path in your life.

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Or maybe not. But for those of you who have, how did you come to realize that your life was a little empty? Where did you turn?

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For me, God directed my footsteps towards Boston University–the Catholic Center in particular.

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kitchen staff rockin’ it as always¬†‚ô•Ôłé¬†

He taught me through the people I’ve met that my pursuit of¬†a life fulfilled by food and fitness was completely in vain. Health is important to me, but I was letting health be a part of my life for the sake of health, not for the sake of being a better student, friend, daughter, sister, or servant of God.

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I may have taken risks. I may have been bold in doing physical tasks that I never thought I could do (and don’t get me wrong, I’m proud that I did). But¬†that kind of boldness was for myself. It was a selfish boldness.

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As I spent more time with the people at the BU Catholic Center, I observed how they channeled their energies, talents, conversations, trials, and joys towards helping others‚ąí helping others and themselves draw closer to¬†Love (aka God).

[k, so maybe this isn’t for atheists too, but feel free to stay anyway]

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These people have been humble and generous enough to share their stories with me and their other peers, and each story that I hear is unique, glorious, and ever-unfolding. Like my story, each of their stories has elements of confusion and disappointment. But most of all, each of their stories involves¬†being called to transcend something that “should have” been fulfilling.

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And in sharing their stories, they reveal¬†one piece of their journey in answering the Call to Greatness. In continuing to live each day with courage and trust in God, they are saying “yes” to that call. They are filling a space in their lives that cannot be replaced by anything or anyone but Love.

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To sum up what this weekend’s¬†speaker, Fr. Eric, said so well: Our stories are unique and beautiful, but they are not about us. Nothing that we do deserves praise. Rather,¬†our stories¬†of greatness and boldness are¬†ways that God uniquely and beautifully¬†works through us to bring others to fulfillment in Him. Our stories are about God.

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What you choose to do impacts more people than you know, and even the littlest acts of love can have the biggest impact.

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That seems like a lot of pressure, especially since we’re weak, “squishy mortals” (in the words of Geraldine). But He called you to greatness, and like any loving parent, He’s not going to leave you alone in your journey. He came to the earth and poured His life out for us, so there’s that.

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This got a lot more religious¬†than I originally intended, but I guess I just want to say that¬†your story matters, and it’s beautiful.¬†It’s still unfolding, as all of ours are, but you are called to greatness. Whatever that means to you, strive and pray to answer the call with boldness. Share it with others, because that only reveals more beauty and hope to the world.

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one of these is not like the others…for a few reasons

My call to greatness is to leave behind my pride and selfishness. There are many specific ways I can do that, so with every part of my day, I can depend on God to help me along.

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Blogging is just one of the many ways I can share my story, and I am eternally grateful for all of you who listen, share with me, and encourage me to be better.

Literally don’t know if any of this is coherent, but hopefully it makes some sense. If not, just know that you’re great, and that’s the truth.

Thank you to all who made this retreat amazing. You teach me so much. Thank you to God for being faithful (and for letting us see the stars, despite clouds on Friday and all of Saturday ūüôā ).

Have an awesome Monday!!!

So tell me:

Thoughts?

What did you do this weekend?

Beautiful Weather, Beautiful People

Well HOWDY.

I’ve missed you all as much as I’ve missed overnight oats!! That’s a whole heck of a lot of missing, guys. You’re special.

I know I posted weekly workouts on Sunday, but I actually want to talk to you about life and what’s been happening these past five days! I mentioned last week that I would be going on a weekend retreat with the Catholic center, and retreat we did.

The site was a summer camp in New Hampshire, and I’ve never felt so rugged and one with nature in my life. Can you tell I’m a city girl? (<‚ÄĒ never thought I’d say that, but it’s true I guess.) My Girl Scout roommate was laughing at me when I told her about my experiences. She said I missed out on childhood.

Daddy long legs everywhere, sleeping in the freezing cold cabins, only using hand sanitizer to wash our hands, and SPIDERS IN THE SHOWER.

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What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger

On the positive side, the stars in the night sky made me giddy with joy because we don’t see those where I live in New York. I was seriously giggling like a child and I could have looked at the sky all night. This view wasn’t too shabby either.

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The weather was utterly perfect during the day throughout the weekend.

We were also fed mighty well thanks to Catholic center staff member, Fran, and her husband Doug! Can we take a moment to appreciate the provision of banana pancakes and peanut butter? Amen.

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Aside from living camp life and eating delicious food, the actual core of the retreat was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. We prayed by ourselves, with each other, for each other, and for our loved ones. We adored, praised, and worshipped Christ our Lord. We reflected in the beauty of nature, and we reconciled ourselves to God.

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Hi, PJ!

Seriously, I don’t think I’ve cried¬†as much in one day as I did on Saturday. Listening to my friends speak about their journeys of faith and just being in the presence of amazing people who love God so passionately melted my heart and made me pour out waterfalls of tears.

I think I saved at least two bathroom trips thanks to all the tears that came out of me.

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As wonderful as it was to get away from “reality”, it was still a tiring experience. I was (literally) sick¬†and exhausted coming back from the retreat. So worth it though.

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Creds to the cool kid, Liz

Thank you a million times over to all the people who worked behind the scenes to make the retreat such an incredible experience! I can’t wait for the spring retreat ūüôā

Back on campus…

Monday night involved a swanky-ish Rose Banquet for all the freshmen in the College of Health and Rehab Sciences (Sargent College) of Boston University. The food was fantastic and the company was even better. <‚ÄĒ I am grateful to say that that seems to be the theme lately!

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And yes, I did eat that whole chocolate cake, and it was pretty divine. I guess I can no longer say that I don’t like chocolate.

Lastly, some miscellaneous notes on life:

  • I wore rain boots for the first time in my life¬†yesterday.
  • I like having dance parties with my roomie.
  • I really need to do my nails.
  • I am an apple and banana hoarder in my dorm. Welcome, fruit flies! Sorry, roomie.
  • I despise statistics.
  • Do any of you have questions to ask me about ANYTHING? College, food, fitness, faith, fashion, anything else that starts with and “f”?
    • I’m thinking about doing a Q&A if anyone is interested, so comment or shoot me an email if you have any inquiries!

I hope you are all having a great week so far. We’re halfway to the weekend, y’all!

So tell me:

Do you have any questions for me? 

Do you like camp life?

Three fun things you’ve done recently!