Stuffing and More Stuff of Life

The onslaught of Christmas music around every corner is approaching and I am not mentally/emotionally prepared.

Two months has passed since my last blog post, and boy have those two months been PACKED with… STUFF.

Also packed with STUFF is my belly right now after a delicious Thanksgiving feast. Happy belated Thanksgiving 🙂

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This was probably one of my favorite Thanksgiving meals in a while. It’s going to sound really inflated of me, but I cooked 90% of the food. It was cathartic for me to be cooking all day though, and Madre took care of the turkey, which turned out PERFECTLY (unlike last year when we undercooked it ha). My brother’s girlfriend also made delicious crostini w/ a balsamic reduction and burrata, as well as Thai tea (!) pumpkin pie. My contributions included stuffing, mac and cheese, roasted brussels sprouts, roasted potatoes, cornbread, cranberry sauce, and apple pie. I don’t mind domesticity at all; I was thriving.

HOWEVER, my apple pie bubbled over in the oven, so the juices to start burning pretty badly at the bottom of the oven, causing the smoke alarm to go off in the middle of dinner…. We needed the excitement (running around, opening doors, fanning the alarm) to facilitate digestion…is my excuse.

The food was great (and I didn’t feel terribly stuffed, which was good because I definitely felt stuffed after the two Friendsgiving dinners I had this past weekend), but of course the gift of family was the best. We went to Mass together in the morning to worship the God deserving of all thanksgiving, and then Ben and I even got in a fun workout at a gym that my high school friend owns!

Ben and Pop also played some Christmas tunes on the piano/clarinet together between dinner and dessert, which was so sweet.

To combine a life update and a Thanksgiving post, here are just some of the many things for which I am grateful from these past two months.

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The last thing I told you in my previous blog post was that I was going hiking in Maine with friends, and that was a glorious weekend. A bunch of us drove up from Boston and stayed at our friend Connor’s place, where hospitality abounds. His family is so warm and fun, and his mom makes some KILLER lasagna, banana bread, egg casserole, and pumpkin bread (she also has a beautiful singing voice, yeesh). The main event of the weekend was hiking up and down Mt. Washington, which was a sufficiently challenging hike. It started off as a pretty sweaty hike (tank top conditions), but with elevation came high winds and frigid temperatures (hat and heavy coat conditions).

We also went to the famous Fryeburg Fair on Sunday for Mass and all the fried food you could ever think of. My face was sweating bloomin’ onion oils.

Grateful for: nature; autumn leaves in the northeast; breathing hard in the fresh air; prayerful, joyful, loving, and hilarious friends (and their families!); fun fried foods.

PT school has been quite enjoyable this semester! One of my favorite aspects is that our neurological systems lab allows us to work with patients who have actually had a stroke (rather than just practicing on healthy, young peers), which makes the experience so much more realistic and meaningful.

Grateful for: education; an increase in knowledge and understanding of the human body AND the human person; friends who support both my mind and my spirit through the PT school process; academic failures and successes.

My best friend Rachel and (her now husband) Austin got MARRIED. I had the honor of being the maid of honor, and it was one of the best days of MY life. Of course, I’ve always thought marriage is beautiful, and family life is one of the best reflections of God’s Love active in the world. However, a wedding has never made these truths penetrate my heart so deeply until Rachel and Austin’s wedding. Maybe it’s because I know their relationship from the inside pretty much, but I was m o v e d by their Sacrament of Marriage. Ugh, I can’t really articulate it fully, but it was so good. Rachel and Austin were beaming all day.

The wedding reception was also LIT. I love wedding dancing, as some of you might know, and it’s even better when it’s with your best friends who ALSO love dancing. If you could find me “in my element,” it would be on the dance floor at a wedding reception.

Grateful for: the Sacrament of Marriage; Rachel and Austin; holy friends; the triumph of joy despite trials; wedding dancing.

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There have been a lot of tears (what’s new though??) of every kind. But if I could boil all the tears down…it would be salt. No just kidding. If I could boil all the tears down into one common theme, it would be that the Lord is making all things new (Rev 21:5). I have cried a lot because of emotional pain. In these cases, I have repeated daily that the Lord is, in each moment of pain, making all things new — better, more beautiful, more good than I could plan or do on my own.

I have also cried tears of joy and deep gratitude, because He shows me that things are indeed made new. There have been certain relationships and struggles (either my own or those of my loved ones) in this past year that have seemed to crush my insides, but as long as those are all laid at the foot of the Cross for love of what is good, the Lord has shown that He can and will make those relationships and struggles new — somehow better than they could have been if the pain never occurred. It’s a continuous process of pain and beauty though; it never stops. And sometimes He chooses not to show us what exactly it is He is doing, but I am learning that this is what life is. HE KEEPS YA ON YOUR TOES.

Grateful for: pain that turns into growth; newness; knowing that life will never be void of pain and struggle, but that does not mean it will void of joy.

That’s a wrap for now! As always, thank YOU for reading along despite the spottiness of my blog posts in this season of life. Thanks to mom, dad, and my brother as always 🙂 And THANK YOU, GOOD LORD, FOR THIS LIFE.

“…In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

– 1 Thess 5:18

So tell me:

One thing you’re grateful for, based on a recent experience?

If you celebrated Thanksgiving here in America yesterday, what did ya eeeeat? 

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First Week at the New Unpaid Job

Also known as my 6-week PT clinical.

My heart overflows with gratitude for this past week! As part of the graduate PT program, I have been placed at an outpatient orthopedic physical therapy clinic to learn from the PTs and start doing some “real life PT” stuff. You can liken it to an internship or rotation. I have already learned oodles, grown as a PT student, and grown as a person just in this first week.

I have two clinical instructors who are basically my mentors, and both of them are welcoming, open to my input, supportive, and just fun people. They are also fantastic, experienced PTs, and I look forward to learning more from them these next 5 weeks.

The staff at the clinic asked for a fun fact about me during a meeting, and I told them about this blog that I’ve been writing for almost 5(!) years now. So if any of them are reading this, HELLO! You are all great.

My commute (by bus + train) in the morning takes about an hour, and the way back takes about 1.5 hours, which is not ideal but not terrible by any means. Lots of time for prayer and people watching.

I even get a day off during the week! I work four days per week, with some days 7:30-4:30. Other days I work 10-7. That makes my out-of-work schedule a little wonky, but we’re makin’ the best of it. Although, one night I stayed up until almost midnight cooking food when I needed to get up at 5:20 the next morning. I ended up sleeping through my alarm but THANKFULLY, Rachel happened to know when I needed to wake up, AND she woke up at around the same time as me that particular day (she usually wakes up a little later), so she knocked on my door and asked, “Aren’t you supposed to be awake??”

Omg yes, tysm, Jesus and Rachel.

Since I can’t make it to Mass on work days, I’ve been praying in the evenings with the sunset.

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one night Kelsey invited me to go with her to adoration and confession

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most other nights I’m here

The Lord blessed us with gorgeous weather last week (besides one day of torrential rains that soaked me to my underwear LOL), so these nights were refreshing as heck. This week’s forecast says it will storm almost every day. Still tempted to watch the “sunset” through the clouds though. What’s a little water and electricity, right?? (answer: danger and potentially death, don’t do that, Alison)

Bible study + belated international ice cream day celebration:

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Favorite moves and grooves from last week:

Supersets (3x each):

  • 12 step ups each leg (25”, 25#) // 40 side jump lunges
  • 10 pistols each leg // 20 hamstring ball curls 

12 min EMOM:

Favorite song of the week:

Rachel and I went bucket listing on Saturday at The Gallows for their Scotch Egg, which is a soft boiled egg, surrounded by pork sausage and deep fried with panko crust.

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’twas perfectly savory and crispy

I hadn’t eaten pork in a while, so my tastebuds were like OOO YES PORK, THE NEW CHICKEN.

We also shared the breakfast skillet, which was phenomenal and everything we needed (i.e. potatoes, cheese, bacon).

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Great food, just a little pricey. Cool atmosphere, except the wall looks like a ouija board, which is like, ehhhhhh…..pass.

After brunch, Rachel and I deep cleaned our apartment to prepare for the new tenants (my friends Casey and Zoe!), as well as our own peace of mind. It took us 6-ish hours, but we cleaned, scrubbed, swept, mopped, reorganized 5/6 rooms in the apartment and moved me into a different room.

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f l o o r space!!!

I have never been happier living in this apartment without the ten thousand pounds of dust bunnies and grime that have been accumulating. We are hygienic people, but we are also lazy/busy young adults who are not the best at maintaining an already old, grody apartment.

Rachel made us Dark and Stormy’s to celebrate a clean apartment. I am seriously so grateful for this gal for motivating me throughout the day and having such an organized plan of action.

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The only really negative thing that happened this week was a random man asking if I wanted to come over and “do something” and commenting on my a$$ on my way to work. I may have definitely cursed at him in my head…but mercy is better.

It’s been a long but beautiful week. Not because anything spectacular happened, but because…

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I found my favorite devotional (Come Away My Beloved by Frances J. Roberts) during the move and all the sticky notes that my friend left in it. His sticky notes highlight a lot of wonderful reminders.

Hope you have a lovely week!

So tell me:

Highlights of your week!

How is your commute to work?

Have you ever eaten a Scotch Egg?

“It is all for you. I love you.”

Snippets of the mind and nuggets of the heart from last week:

Tuesday

Despite the woes that can result from the internet and social media these days, it has wonderful effects as well. For example, meeting people like my friend Casey, who is one of the fittest and most genuine people I know.

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why does my box of food look like froyo with toppings

We spent time together by working out by the river and then noshing on some Whole Foods hot bar (treat yo$$$$elf) al fresco. The Whole Foods mac and cheese is dreamy as heck, but the real star of the night was Casey. Big heart, that gal.

Also the workout that she came up with was super fun. We had both worked out already in the morning, so we went for something “laid back.”

100 reps of each exercise total between two partners (so we each did 50 of each exercise):

  • squats
  • pushups
  • situps
  • jump lunges
  • burpee bench jumpovers
  • bench dips
  • plank jacks
  • pistols (20 total each person)

Wednesday

This was my last day volunteering at Little Sisters of the Poor (a skilled nursing facility/hospice for elderly people with very low income) for a while, and I am quite sad to be leaving the folks there (for now!). I have nothing but gratitude for the joy in this place, which, without the right workers, could easily be a depressing and neglected place. God put the right workers there, and I pray that I can be as joyful as they are.

They had a fun Casablanca-themed dinner party that night for the residents, and they went ALL OUT.

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I was nearly floored when I saw this cake. Amazing what technology can do to our desserts these days.

I also FaceTimed with my dear friend Emma tonight, which was like chicken noodle soup for the soul, along with this glowing urban sunset.

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Thursday

I started my day RUNNING??????!!! And I ended up running 6.65 miles, which is the longest distance I’ve ever run. Haha. I threw in couple longer stretch/catch-my-breath-post-hill breaks, but I still felt accomplished and texted all of my friends who would care.

This has been my favorite breakfast recently: overnight oat smoothie topped with PB Puffins.

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Beats the heat and doubles as a prank to make others think you’re eating pea soup with cereal on top for breakfast. I’ve never done that, but please try it on my behalf and report back.

In the eve, I had dinner al fresco (loving the weather this week) with my friend Briana and then walked over to another friend’s place for our weekly Bible study/deep chat time. On the way over, my heart was hurting over something, but I felt as though God was telling me in my pain, “Hey, hey. Look. Look at the sky. Look at all these things I have given you today. It is all for you. I love you.”

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Oh, how joyful and loving the Lord is.

Friday

I walked to Mass and then ate delicious pasta at Bottega di Capri with my friend Denis, a seminarian who just came back from Italy, the land of pasta. He took two weeks off from Italian food, but then the heart just yearns for it again, ya know? (Really, it was I who requested pasta, and Denis is just a good friend who let my desires be fulfilled.)

I had cheese and porcini mushroom ravioli in vodka sauce. The restaurant definitely threw some lobster ravioli in there on accident, but I was NOT complaining.

Later in the afternoon, I visited a friend who is recovering from a rather involved surgery. She is a warrior. The occasion also gave me an excuse to buy two pints of Mint Oreo ice cream, one for her and one for myself, as they were on sale 2/$7 😀

One of my apartment mates, Lauren, is moving away so we hosted a killer farewell party for her, complete with flash tattoos, pizza rolls, and the Fake ID dance.

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I will miss you lots, Lo ♥

Saturday

…and then my pal Ben and I figured it was a good idea to do a longer “Spartan” workout the morning after at 8:30 am!!!

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“how to be a tool and a white girl at the same time”

Ben came up with this workout to increase our running endurance on grass/dirt a bit more. We have a Spartan Super coming up in less than a month!

0.5 mile run ➔ Circuit (20 reps each) ➔ 1.0 mile run ➔ Circuit (15 reps each) ➔ 1.5 mile run ➔ Circuit (10 reps each) ➔ 2.0 mile run ➔ Circuit (5 reps each)

The Circuit:

  • burpees
  • squat jumps
  • tricep bench dips
  • step ups
  • cross punch sit ups

Surprisingly, the last 2 mile run was the easiest and funnest. From the 0.5 mile run to the 1.5 mile run, I would precede it by saying, “I don’t wannnnnaaaa runnnnnnn. I don’t want itttttt.” But we did it, flash-tatted and pizza-rolled up.

The rest of the day included FaceTiming another fit internet friend, Colby, a genuine and inspiring soul as well. At night, I dined in with yet another beautiful friend, Kelsey. She helped me practice my PT skills too, because clinical starts tomorrow and Lord knows I have forgotten 50% of my skills already.

Sunday

This post is super long already. Okay, so I boxed in the morning, watched the World Cup Final with Kelsey (yo, that game was FUN TO WATCH), swept the floors, ate ice cream, went to Mass, watched the sun light up the clouds a bit, and am now writing this.

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To conclude, a quote from someone greater than I:

“The devil may try to use the hurts of life, and sometimes our own mistakes to make you feel it is impossible that Jesus really loves you, is really cleaving to you. This is a danger for all of us, and so sad, because it is completely the opposite of what Jesus is really wanting, waiting to tell you…He loves you always, even when you don’t feel worthy.” — St. Teresa of Calcutta

Have a blessed week! I START CLINICAL TOMORROW. SO I NEED TO GO TO SLEEP IN 20 MINUTES. But I also just ate tapioca pudding so I have a lot of sugar in me.

So tell me:

A few highlights of your week!

What is your favorite Ben and Jerry’s flavor?

Pasta. Do you ever get sick of it?

One Word

I have this idea to select one “word of the day” for each mini blog post that I’m now doing. It came to me in a vision (i.e. random shower thought probably).

Sunday, April 15

Restore

Today was a good day. However, today was also an emotionally hard day, and honestly, many days have been that way these past few weeks. But at Mass today, the priest preached about the difference between rightful sorrow and just plain ol’ wallowing.

I’m a wallower sometimes. If I’m sad about something, turn up the sad songs and cue the heavy hearts, because sometimes, I’d rather feel melancholy than feel nothing at all. But w h y. Yes, there is so much to be sorrowful about, because there are many things that happen in this world that ought not to happen. But this is not how things end. Christ gives us hope through His Death and Resurrection, and He restores our joy. He weeps with us, but then He raises us to new life with Him.

I cried many tears tonight, but this thought remained with me and consoled me.

Monday, April 16

Heart

We had pancakes and mimosas to start the day!!

Because it’s Monday. Also, because it’s marathon Monday / Patriot’s Day here in Boston, and some of us had a day off from work/School. Rachel, Zoe and I celebrated with some goods to start our day off on a highly sweet note.

I only watched the marathon for about 30 minutes to catch two of my friends running it. The conditions were disgusting out there — torrential rain, wind, 40 degrees. I had to keep myself from complaining walking in it all day when so many people were running/arm biking/walking/rucking 26.2 miles in it.

This year more than ever — perhaps because my heart has been drinking in every ounce of inspiration and encouragement it can get (or perhaps because it was straight up miserable outside) — I noticed how much the marathoners endured the course with their hearts, more so than their bodies. Trudging through that weather at mile 23 (where we were spectating), was symbolism and grit at its best, and I am so grateful to have witnessed it. No better way to start the week, I say. #GoDesi!!

It almost makes me want to run a marathon. But the other day I told Rachel that I don’t see the need to run 26.2 miles in my life. If there’s an apocalypse and I need to run 26.2 miles from zombies who are about to eat my brains, I’m willing to take the L on that one.

Tuesday, April 17

Waiting

Alllllllright, we are ready for warm weather here. It’s crisp and beautiful outside, so I’m grateful for that, but winter jackets need to go. May is almost here, so we’re just waiting for those consistent 60-70 degree temperatures to hit any time now…

Other things I’m waiting for:

  • Graduation
  • A couple fun trips this summer (dying to go camping to see stars)
  • Rachel’s pre-wedding festivities/actual wedding
  • …just whatever the next hour/day brings, because “life is a highway; I wanna ride it all night long.” ← name that artist!

Today’s moves and grooves was a quick 20 minute workout, 30 seconds on, 10 off, 5 rounds:

  • TRX rows
  • around the world ball toe taps
  • TRX ab rollouts
  • TRX atomic pushups
  • ball jumper-over burpees
  • situps

 

 

Taking a Piece of Last Year Into the Next

I rang in my new year watching the Times Square countdown on TV while eating celery with hummus, drinking (sparkling) watered down pomegranate juice, and making overnight oats.

And I gotta be honest, I was pretty darn content with all of it (except the watered down pom juice; that was disgusting).

Here we are in 2018! Oooh I just realized that this is an Olympic year in PyeongChang! (Had to google that.) I doubt I’ll be able to watch any of it this year though, since it’ll be happening right at the beginning/middle of the semester :/

Here’s another collage of the past few days’ happenings. I’ll call this collage: “Food and fun, feat. the back of my head.”

new year collage

Breakfasts have still been of the peanut butter banana variety, and I don’t foresee that changing in 2018. Top left is an overnight oat smoothie blended with spinach in the morning, and below that is a Greek yogurt bowl with banana, cinnamon, honey and peanut butter.

I think breakfast with pb and banana will always make me feel…at home. It’s something I enjoy, and it gives me a sense of familiarity. Like, “Shhhhh, everything will be okay. There’s pb and banana here.”

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throwback pic from when I was in FL 3 years ago

The other day I was running around the neighborhood because it was gorgeous here in FL last week (now it’s all gloomy and blah). I had run 3 miles and was mentally prepared to go for another 1.5 mile loop, but just as I was passing by the house, Madre called me and asked, “Where are you? We’re eating lunch now. I made tuna tataki!” Running more vs. eating fresh tuna? The latter won, and boy was I happy about it. Thanks, ma!

I’ve been into @tanyapoppet‘s workouts these past few days. I’ve always loved her creativity and minimal use of equipment / time. I also feel like she performs at a level that is more advanced than my current level, but it’s still manageable and attainable. I did three rounds of this workout one night at, like, 11pm + this one yesterday. Good grief, I have not done these kinds of complex moves in a while, and my two-cookie-a-day lifestyle this past week did not make the workout easier.

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(Top middle photo on collage): On New Years Eve, Mom and Pop took our family friends (and me) out to Crazy Buffet for some MSG-loaded fun. Despite it being mainly an Asian buffet, my favorite thing I got was probably the mac & cheese and the coconut tapioca pudding HAHA.

(Bottom left corner photo on collage): Yesterday I made crab cakes using this recipe, and they were fabulous. The only setback was that I had to make fake Old Bay Seasoning, since I forgot to pick some up from the store and didn’t feel like getting a whole container for one recipe. We had about half of the spices used in Old Bay available in our pantry, but I had to grind up whole bay leaves with my fingers as best as I could. It was a pitiful sight, I’m sure.

Lots of Mass and prayer have been going down, as always. A lot of my prayer has guided me towards what I talked about in my last post — living for God and saying yes to Him today.

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this year as with every year, Lord: Thy will be done

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I’m not a resolution person, because I dunno…December 31st was just as important and opportune for change / improvement as January 1st. Rather than making a new resolution for 2018, I think I want to take what I learned from 2017 with me into 2018, so that those lessons can foster growth in new ways.

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hahaha Spartan Race with my friend Ben was definitely a highlight of 2017

What do I mean? Well, the best thing I learned in 2017 was to say yes to God every day in the littlest ways. I know the basic things that God wants me to do: Love Him. Love others. Do my best in school. Take care of myself so that I can take care of others. 

I learned that persistently and consistently saying yes to any little thing that goes towards one of those things has somehow, by the grace of God, made me a better person (I think).

For example: Making someone feel important and heard by turning my shoulders squarely and intently towards the person while he/she is talking to me, instead of looking semi-annoyed and staying half-turned toward my laptop (do you know what I’m talking about???)… Even saying yes to little things like that matters.

Being obedient to God in all the tiny things has made life richer, because even mundane details become meaningful and even beautiful.

Thus, I just want to continue practicing saying yes to Him all day, every day in 2018 (and forever).

I neverrrr knowwww iffff anything I sayyyy makes senseeeee. Hopefully it does.

Happy First Tuesday of 2018! An occasion for some champagne, yes?

So tell me:

How did you ring in 2018?

Are you a resolution person? If yes, what are your resolutions? If not, do you do anything else going into the new year?

What is a food that always makes you feel “at home”?