The thing that is worth it.

pray.

Last week brought several challenges at work that have caused me to grow and {hopefully} become a better clinician and communicator to my patients. I am grateful for compassionate and wise mentors who are my colleagues as well, who continue to support me in this journey as a brand-spankin’-new physical therapist.

Last Sunday, when I committed to staying off Instagram for the next few months, I also committed to silent prayer for 20 minutes per day and 10-15 minutes of prayerful reflection at the end of the day. I also committed to being more mindful about avoiding emotional eating at the end of long, draining work days. And importantly, I committed to staying accountable to my great friend, Sarah, with a checklist of whether I actually stayed faithful to those commitments each day. All she has to do is read my text (and give me a little bit of tough love if I was not faithful).

When I committed to these things, as small as they are, I wanted to make so many excuses as to why I should not or could not do them. But what I knew in the depths of my heart was that there would be every amount of doubt, fear, and pride in me that fights against me sticking to these commitments, because actually following through with them would be worth it. Whatever that means… it would be worth it.

Even after just one week, staying faithful to all those commitments has been worth it, because I now get so much more time intentionally spent with the One who Loves me and the One who I love. And doing that makes all the difference in how I handle work; in how I live singly; in how I can give to others; and in the degree of freedom, joy, and peace within me (which grows exponentially as I spend more time with Him).

A word of encouragement: If there is something in the back of your mind and the depth of your soul that you have been thinking about doing to improve your faith life, your relationship with God, your inner peace — whatever you want to call it — do it and commit to it today, because it will be worth it. And don’t be afraid to put up a little fight for it against all the things/feelings/perceptions that hold you back.

eat.

I made Bisquick pancakes yesterday after Mass — the “ultimate” version on the back of the box, along with banana slices in there — topped with plain Greek yogurt, pb, and maple syrup and served with a glass o’ milk. I was a HAPPY gal.

I also have been working through a very large batch of frozen tilapia, which I have been seasoning with Costco seasoning salt, fried in olive oil with sauteed onions, some other vegetable (either kale or spaghetti squash) and topped with feta cheese, and it is dynamite. Often followed by some sort of carby thing because I’m not trying to be keto.

move.

I am currently typing with both of my hands wrapped intricately with athletic tape thanks to some gnarly rips from Kettlebell Sunday Swings yesterday. We did a snatch ladder going up 5-6-7-8-9-10 each arm and then back down the ladder. OWWW.

Other fun moves included a hike up Bear Mountain on Saturday with a new Sunday Swings friend, Charlie (@teamwagon)! It was an absolutely GORGEOUS weekend here in NY, so we took advantage of the weather while the fall foliage is still magnificent.

Great convo, moves, and grooves!

God is good.

groove.

I played the game “Among Us” virtually with some friends last night, and I must admit that it was a hysterically fun time. I must also admit that a 10-year-old patient of mine told me that he was playing it with his friends a couple weekend ago, and this was my reaction: “*gasp* I’m going to play that with my friends TOO!” Felt like a weird point of connection with someone younger than half my age.

Hope you all have a blessed week 🙂

So tell me:

What is something to which you have committed for yourself that was worth it?

Have you ever taken a social media break of any kind/length? How did it go for you?

What was the most fun thing you did this weekend?

Have you played the game Among Us?

“Discipline equals freedom.”

pray.

I first saw the above phrase on my new friend @rebecca.rouse ‘s instagram. The idea is that choosing to do what is good, even if it is dang hard in the moment, will ultimately make you free to be the best version of yourself and to be able to serve others well (or at least, that’s my interpretation of the phrase). It can be applied to fitness (Rebecca is an absolute B E A S T) of course, but I’ve actually been praying with the phrase a lot, as I think it can apply to all areas of life — physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual.

Recently, the decision to be more disciplined in several different areas in my life has been brewing in my heart.

  1. Less time on social media. I started this year with a 15 minute time limit on Facebook + Instagram but quickly realized that I kept plowing through that time limit and pressing “ignore time limit for 15 more minutes.” But even a 1 hour time limit went by pretty quickly once I gave myself more leniency… It’s not that social media has been toxic for me (as it may have been in the past), but I still feel attached to it. I thoroughly enjoy sharing my moves and grooves on there, but I felt myself caring a bit too much about the whole shebang. I also found myself browsing through mindlessly at night to drown out my stress from my work day, which is not entirely how I want to fill myself up at the end of the day. Now, I do love that I got to meet my new Kettlebell Gains family through Instagram, and I am very grateful for them. But at this time, I think I will focus my attention on other avenues through which I can connect with loved ones and truly restore myself when I need a break from stress.
  2. More time in silence. I’ve talked about silence on here many a time, and for good reason. Silence is something so uncomfortable but necessary in order to actually be with God and also to confront the messes that are inside of me. For only then can those messes be cleaned up and transformed into new, productive, and fruitful things as I move into the next day. No built up junk in the heart, please!
  3. Morning prayer. UGHHH getting up 20 minutes earlier to pray is so good but also so hard for a night owl like me. But I gotta do it. Praying is my life source.
  4. Awareness of emotions + eating, especially at night. Ooooof stress eating is real. Even if my emotional eating is not severe by any means, I still catch myself snacking quite mindlessly and then being aware that I am stressed and chomping on extra crackers because of it… Again, I am grateful that I can be aware of this and stop at a reasonable point, but it’s something to work on. Working on this couples well with the silence piece ^^^

Hopefully this will all make more space for meaningful conversations, learning, blogging, writing letters, and tbh cleaning the floors and ironing my work shirts.

eat.

I made these pumpkin cookies with brown butter frosting last night for an All Saints’ Day celebratory dessert (also #fall), and they were fantastic. Mine turned out not nearly as pretty as Jess’ cookies because I don’t have an ice cream scooper to make them all uniform.

My friend said my unfrosted cookies looked like fried chicken and he is 100% accurate LOL. And then my brown butter frosting just looked like mashed potato schmeared on the fried chicken.

BUT THEY TASTED GREAT.

move.

I get < 10,000 steps per day during the work week because a) there is limited time to go on longer walks because of work; b) it’s cold and dark for most of the time when I can go on walks; c) I choose to not devote my energies just to hit that step count these days. I miss the days when I could easily get 15K+ every day in Boston, but ’tis the season of life. I am uber grateful that I get to be on my feet and moving all day at work though, so that is a blessing.

Otherwise, workouts have been short, sweet (or not), and as efficient as possible. Despite that, I feel stronger than ever, mostly thanks to the kettlebell crew! Up until yesterday, I have been posting my workouts on my Instagram stories (which are now on my highlights!), so you can see what’s been going down on there. I’m also up to 7 consecutive wide grip pull-ups now! Goal is 10 by the end of 2020.

groove.

It was so heartwarming to see all the ways my neighbors made halloween happen for the kiddos in a COVID-safe way. Many people put out individual baggies of candy on a table outside, but I also saw one neighbor stick candies on their garage door with masking tape so people could just pull the candy right off.

Creativity amidst the challenges.

For my PT clinic’s team costume, we dressed up as the Cobra Kai cast. I wore a blonde wig because I somehow chose to be Johnny from the show/movie… People loved it but also couldn’t recognize me. It’s the most I’ve ever committed to a Halloween costume.

Thanks for stopping by, as always! Hope you all have a wonderful week ahead. Happy All Souls’ Day, and happy nOvEmBeR whaaaaat!?

So tell me:

Do you like the phrase, “Discipline equals freedom”? Why or why not?

Have you made any pumpkin things yet this fall?

Did your neighborhood participate in any halloween festivities?

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?