Competence and Confidence

pray.

WOWEEEEEEE. What a week it has been! I finished my first three days of work as a physical therapist last week, and it was a TRIP.

I’m working at approximately 50% of a full caseload since they’re easing me into it, but the combination of new setting + learning the electronic medical record + remembering everything from my last three years of education + communicating with patients as they need… all after just putzing around for nearly 6 months of quarantine season… *internally combusts*

It has been a challenge to say the least. It’s objectively not anything crazy, but subjectively, I whispered under my breath every hour on my first day of work: “I’m dying.”

It’s really f i n e. Of course there is a learning curve, so I am trying to be gentle with myself. I was (and am) stressed though, and I acknowledge that. But this phase, too, shall pass.

Needless to say, a lot of my prayer has been focusing on the grace to do the very best for my patients and to sharpen my competence for them. However, I have also been praying for the ability to truly separate my anxieties and insecurities at work from a) my identity; b) my internal peace.

Let me know if there is any way I can pray for you as well! It is consoling to offer up the stresses of the day for others.

eat.

I made these apple muffins Saturday night, and they are excellent smothered in peanut butter + a glass o’ milk. But I’m sure you knew I was going to say that 🙂

my friend: “it looks like the golgi apparatus”

It doesn’t look pretty, but it’s tasty! I made homemade applesauce just for it (also because I bought apples in bulk and overestimated my ability to eat them all in a timely manner).

move.

I joined one of the COOLEST outdoor workout groups ever yesterday. It’s essentially a group of kettlebell lovers/beasts/experts led by Alex @kettlebellgains for a warmup, workout, and some straight up PR-hitting. I am NOT a kettlebell expert by any means, but after 6 months with just Ketllbellarmine (what I call my 35# KB) as my heaviest weight, I’ve become fond of utilizing it in different ways to build strength, endurance, balance, and coordination.

I found a few awesome people on Instagram who all went to this “Sunday Swings” session, so I asked if someone unexperienced like me could come, and they welcomed me with open arms! I felt so out of my league showing up there (after stalking some of the people who show up to this thing #musclesonmusclesonmuscles), but they were so supportive and fun, and I felt stronger and more confident than ever in that space.

Something in me knew that going to this workout group and doing my very best, despite feeling out of my league, would help with my confidence. And it did! I deadlifted a 220# KB for 4-5 reps x3, which I did not think I would be able to do. I also snatched 44# for a few reps, which was exciting.

I have NOT been feeling confident starting work as a physical therapist, and those feelings of insufficiency are affecting my performance for sure. So this KB class gave me a confidence boost that I want to bring into my professional work this week and going forward!

look at that KB!! they name it Wakanda

groove.

Today is my mom’s birthday! I cannot say enough about how incredibly generous and loving that woman is. I love you and appreciate you more than you know, Madre. ♥︎

MONDAY LET’S GOOOOOO!

So tell me:

How did you feel when you started working your first “real” job?

What kinds of things give you confidence?

Do you like working out with kettlebells?

What have you been cooking / baking recently?

Don’t lose yourself.

pray.

Gosh I hate how cliche that title sounds, but it’s the topic of this post and the thing on my heart as of late.

First of all, I’ve been praying for a lot of grace and gusto going from six months of having virtually no hard schedule to a full-time work schedule soon. Even just training this week tuckered me out, but that was also due to the stress of wondering, “HOW WILL I REMEMBER EVERYTHING AND ALSO BE THE PT THESE PATIENTS WANT ME TO BE?!” I’m filling the position of another PT who is moving to another position within the same company, and her patients love her (for good reason; she’s awesome at what she does and super kind to boot), so I’m definitely feeling the pressure of filling big shoes.

As I said in my latest day in the life vlog, prayer is major key for everything in my life. So I have been telling God about the pressure I am feeling to be exactly like this amazing PT who is leaving, as well as the fear of losing my mind a bit due to having much less time to pray during the day (and mostly just my mind being filled with thoughts about my job).

There are productivity numbers to hit, patients to care for, nuances to remember, hours to work. No one by any means is putting any undue pressure on me, to be clear. But the internal pressure to rise to the occasion makes me panic and want to just do anything I can to conform and please. But I have to remember what I believe as a physical therapist, given the education I have received. And from a personal standpoint, I have to make time around my schedule for the things that build up my relationship with the One I love and to be intentional about sanctifying my work as one biiiig prayer to God.

I am 1000% having newbie professional stress that I know will subside with time. I am very open to new ideas and experiences, but in all of it, I do not want to lose myself.

eat.

On Sunday I made baked cinnamon sugar donut holes (mini muffins) using this recipe, since I don’t have a donut mold. They were everything I wanted in a homemade donut.

For work I’ve decided I will he making ham, cheese and lettuce sandwiches with mayo and mustard. Let me tell you, I LOVE this classic brown bag type of sandwich. Untoasted. It’s nostalgic somehow, even though I barely ate ham and cheese as a child?

move.

I’ve still been posting my workouts on my instagram stories (which are saved on my highlights!), but here was one of my favorites from the past week:

  • 100 American KB swings (broken up any way you’d like)
  • 100 goblet squats (I broke up into sets of 25)
  • 50 pushups (I did sets of 5-10 at a time for form)
  • 50 burpees (i did in sets of 10 any style you’d like)

This was a simple and quick workout that focused on form over anything! I’ve been really honing in on perfecting my form as much as possible with every rep to increase the effectiveness of the exercise and make my workouts more efficient.

groove.

On Sunday night I learned the dance moves to the bridge of the song “Amigas Cheetahs’ by the Cheetah Girls (go to 3:15 to see the part I learned). I have always loved that part of the song and also the dance moves but it only took me ten years since first seeing the movie to learn it. #disneydreamsdocometrue

I do the dance like twice a day at least now.

I typed this whole post on my phone because my laptop has decided to do magic tricks and make my whole operating system completely disappear??? Getting that checked out this weekend.

Hope you all have a great weekend!

So tell me:

Have you ever felt like the hustle of life / work made you “lose yourself” to any degree?

Have you ever made homemade donuts?

What is a silly childhood dream of yours? Has it ever come true??

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 😀

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?

God, why did you seem so mean?

pray.

Gosh I feel like I could say so much here. I guess the big thing on my mind yesterday was the Sunday Gospel reading.

At that time, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 
And behold, a Canaanite woman of that district came and called out,
“Have pity on me, Lord, Son of David! 
My daughter is tormented by a demon.” 
But Jesus did not say a word in answer to her. 
Jesus’ disciples came and asked him,
“Send her away, for she keeps calling out after us.”
He said in reply,
“I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
But the woman came and did Jesus homage, saying, “Lord, help me.” 
He said in reply,
“It is not right to take the food of the children
and throw it to the dogs.” 
She said, “Please, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps
that fall from the table of their masters.” 
Then Jesus said to her in reply,
“O woman, great is your faith! 
Let it be done for you as you wish.” 
And the woman’s daughter was healed from that hour.

Matthew 15:21-28

I’ve heard this reading so many times in my life, but it never fails to make me feel confused and unsettled. Why does Jesus use such harsh and…mean words to this woman who is genuinely asking for help? Jess @thelivingheart.co also had the same questions on her Instagram story.

Before sharing my own reflections, I must share that I found Fr. Mike Schmitz’s homily on this reading to be particularly helpful. He gives good Scriptural context and takes on an interesting perspective that I hadn’t heard before.

As great (and important) as it is to listen to other people’s narratives on Scripture, I needed to pray about it real hard on my own too. Here are some nuggets of what came to my heart while spending time with this Word (please note that I’m not a Scripture scholar):

  1. I notice how, although the disciples ask Jesus to send the Canaanite woman away, Jesus never actually obliges. He does not want her to be sent away.
  2. The Canaanite woman has a faith and humility that I have seldom seen in my life, if ever. It is a faith that I myself would not have if I was faced with those responses from Jesus…so what is it that gave her such conviction to keep asking Him for help (besides maybe desperation for her poor daughter)?
  3. It seems that, in everything Jesus replied to the woman, He knew that she would win over His Heart all along. He knew what her desires were, and He knew He would give them to her in the end. And in a way, the woman also knew, in her “great faith,” that Jesus did in fact care and love her enough to grant her exactly what she asked. Sort of like… He knew that she knew, and she knew that He knew that her daughter would be healed.
  4. So why did Jesus have to do it in such a way? Why did He make is seem like this woman had to be degraded and humiliated just to receive help? What came to my mind were images of Jesus’ Passion and Death, where He Himself was made docile and subservient to mankind, whom He created, for the sake of mankind’s reconciliation with Himself. In those moments of His brutal death, He showed the most powerful love and faith in His Father’s plan, to which He was completely obedient until the very end. Moreover, He allowed the Canaanite woman to demonstrate a similar extraordinary grace of love and faith that endures, even when it truly feels like God has forsaken you (though He never does).

If you are familiar with this Scripture passage, I’d love to hear your thoughts and reflections on it as well.

eat.

On Friday night I hung out with another high school friend and had my first ever “créme ice” from Ralph’s Famous Italian Ice! Créme ice (aka sherbet on their menu) is essentially like shaved milk (?) instead of shaved ice, which gives it a creamier texture and the ability to add mix-ins without it being weird. It was pretty good, but I definitely don’t prefer it over ice cream.

I got a “Twister,” which is créme ice sandwiched between layers of soft serve, which was the move. I got strawberry cheesecake créme ice. It had a bit of an almond extract flavor to it, which wasn’t bad.

Other eats highlights since I last checked in:

  • yogurt bowl with banana, blueberries, granola, and pb
  • teriyaki salmon with rice and broccoli (such a bro meal)
  • overnight oats in a jar!
  • warm banana muffins with yogurt and pb
  • eggs + avocado over rice with soy sauce, sriracha and rice vinegar
  • SUSHIIIIIII
  • random pandan coconut cupcake that I found in the fridge LOL (it’s the green muffin in the middle bottom row)
  • green overnight oat smoothie bowl! I haven’t had this in forever because I didn’t have a blender back in Boston.

move.

Lots of walking, working on pull-ups, a leg workout… I’ll highlight this “fun” burpee workout yesterday from @trainerkindal:

EMOM (every minute on the minute): do 10 burpees ➔ rest for the remainder of the minute

Repeat x20 #ouch

groove.

This week will be busy but exciting! I am hoping and praying that I can say yes to a job soooooon.

Hope you all have a good-kind-of-full week too!

So tell me:

Have you ever questioned God’s kindness or care for you or others?

Have you ever had a créme ice before? Do you like it? Do you like Italian ice?

What is the best thing you ate this weekend (the sushi was it for me!)?

What’s on your schedule this week?

How do you introduce your friends?

pray.

This is another reflection inspired by the “What God is Not” Podcast. In one episode, Sr. Natalia and Fr. Michael were talking about the misconception that we need to “earn” God’s Love (spoiler: we do NOT need to earn God’s Love, because we could never deserve it but He gives it to us wholly and unreservedly anyway).

Related to that, they talked about the culture of utility that is prevalent in society. “What is your job? What have you accomplished thus far? What kinds of things can you put on your resume? What are your goals in life? How can you contribute to this world? How do you earn respect?”

Perhaps as a result and/or contributing factor to this, they noted that many people introduce their friends to other people by stating (1) their name and (2) their occupation. I think I typically do that, and I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing, since a full-time job takes up the majority of someone’s hours; if the person truly enjoys and believes in their job, then that could say a lot about their personality and values.

However, the dangers with introducing someone by stating their occupation are that (a) not everyone has a job; (b) some people don’t like their jobs; (c) some jobs may be seen as more or less impressive/helpful than others, thanks to societal norms. Thus, it may feed into this underlying assumption in people’s minds that the more you do or the “better” your job, the more you have to offer to the world.

But each human person inherently has wonderful things to offer to the world. Of course, we are responsible for harnessing and utilizing the gifts we have been given, but what comes of that (i.e., our occupation and successes) does not define us or make us any more worthy of love.

So how might I introduce my friends then? Again, I don’t think it’s necessarily bad to state someone’s occupation, but maybe I can think of other qualities and interests of a person to mention as I introduce him/her. Perhaps this can promote a culture of appreciation for ~the human person~ vs. a culture of “what-are-you-good-for?”.

For example: This is my best friend Rachel, someone who loves fiercely and has a heart for hospitality.

I dunno. Just some thoughts, but what do you think about this topic?

eat.

I am a big proponent for real dessert and eating non-diet types of snacks, but sometimes I want a sweet snack that won’t knock me out for a nap in the middle of the day. The other day, I decided to eat a bowl of plain Cheerios with almond milk BUT THEN I mixed in half a scoop of this s’mores protein powder (I think my brother’s girlfriend gave it to me a while ago) in with the milk… and it was delicious.

If you don’t like protein powder, you obviously wouldn’t like this, but if you have a protein powder you like, you might enjoy this. All we have in the house is plain Cheerios, but the s’mores protein powder dissolves in the milk and gives it that beloved “cereal milk” vibe.

move.

Walking, stretching, and practicing titibasana (firefly pose).

groove.

When I was on a walk in the neighborhood last night, a sweet little girl (still in her chub chub toddler days *heart eyes*) yelled, “Hiiiii!” and waved to me as I walked by. That made me very happy and grateful.

So tell me:

How do you introduce your friends usually? How do you yourself like to be introduced?

What is a snack combo that you’ve been liking recently?

What is something that made you happy yesterday?