November Foodie Pen Pals Reveal Day!

Friday, November 30th, 2012 | Posted under Health + Fitness

This is my second month participating in The Lean Green Bean’s Foodie Pen Pal project and it just keeps getting better! This month, I received my package of yummy goodies from Sarah. Sarah is a Northwest transplant originally from New Mexico, so she included a little bit of both of her home cultures.

Sarah included Northwest favorites like Alaskan smoked salmon and Vietnamese Pho (there are a lot of Asians on the West Coast), plus Starbucks individual insta-coffee packs and Stash Pumpkin Spice tea. The smoked salmon was delicious on some stone wheat crackers, and I really enjoyed the Pho. I’d never had it before!

Courtesy of her Southwestern heritage are the diced green chiles and Sweet Potato Tomatillo soup. I gobbled up the soup. Who would have thought to mix Tomatillo with Sweet Potato? But I’m so glad they did! I haven’t had an opportunity to use the chile yet. Maybe in some Friday night nachos?

For December, instead of sending food packages, Lindsay has decided that all would-be participants should donate to NY Cares to benefit Hurricane Sandy victims. I think this is a brilliant idea and a great use of money. During the holidays, we don’t really need any extra food, but the people devastated by Hurricane Sandy certainly do! I’ll be donating what I would have spent on a foodie package to NY Cares (which is an excellent organization, btw).

Sign-ups for the Foodie Pen Pal program resume on December 18!

The Lean Green Bean

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Tell Me Something Good

Thursday, November 29th, 2012 | Posted under Tell Me Something Good

I usually do my “Tell Me Something Good” post on the last day of the month, but I have something else that needs to be posted tomorrow. So we’re doing it today!

My Something Good: I just found out today that my lowest grade in my Anatomy & Physiology Lab will be dropped! Considering my lowest grade is an F, I am thrilled. This actually means that I have a chance to get an A in the class! Woohoo!

What’s your Something Good?

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Holiday Card Exchange

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012 | Posted under Friends + Relationships

I don’t know about you but I love mail and I’m so excited to send out another batch of holiday cards this season. Like other bloggers, I’m welcoming all my readers to send me their mailing address so that I might send a little holiday love via the postal service (the actual postal service, not the band).

I promise to keep your address uber-secret. Swearsies.

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Tuesday Wisdom

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012 | Posted under Tuesday Wisdom

I love the font. And the quote.

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Becoming a Runner

Monday, November 26th, 2012 | Posted under Health + Fitness

I’ve written on and off about my weight loss journey. I’ve had some success, what with losing 15 pounds before my wedding, and some failures, what with gaining all of it and then some back the following year.

The other day, I was thinking about how I’ve always been focused on losing something, rather than gaining something. When you think about it, losing has a negative connotation to it. You lose stuff, you lose people, you lose at games. Lose is not really something people want to do, except when it comes to weight. Gaining on the other hand is something that people usually like: you gain employment, you gain friends, you gain respect. Yay gaining!

Except when it comes to weight.

In losing weight, you’re sort of at the mercy of your body’s metabolism and whether or not it feels like losing weight that week. There are also things can you choose to “lose.” For example, you lose calories or types of food that you eat and that can feel like deprivation, and you lose time to do other things you might enjoy because you have to exercise.

It’s all very Negative Nancy, isn’t it? Oh poor me. Looking at all the things I have to give up in order to lose weight, and that’s only if my body chooses to cooperate.

I realized I would much rather focus on what I’d be gaining in my journey toward being healthier, rather than losing. I also realized that by focusing on what I’m gaining, I can focus on the activities of becoming healthier, rather than the goal, which may not happen when I want it to and can discourage me from trying if I don’t see progress. I mean, a moving scale is a much greater motivator than a plateau, am I right?

This is all to say that I’ve decided that I really want to commit to becoming a runner and gain the ability to not only do it, but do it well. I’ve started running this fall using a 5K training program on the app Runkeeper, and while I haven’t been able to keep up with it like I wanted (because I threw out my back, there was a hurricane, and then I came down with the worst headcold ever), I have improved and I’ve realized that I really like getting better at running.

What I’m going to focus on from here on out are the things that I’m gaining in my life, not losing (even though my end goal is to lose weight).

I want to gain strength and endurance to run a 10 minute mile.

I want to gain more days of the week that I spend exercising.

I want to gain more fruits, vegetables and clean ingredients in my diet.

I want to gain more flexibility and balance by taking yoga or Pilates.

I want to gain a stronger core by doing my PT exercises and other strengthening exercises.

My hope is that my focusing on what I want to gain, what I need to lose will happen naturally and in time.

Last Thursday, I started the Runner’s World Holiday Streak, where you run at least one mile everyday from Thanksgiving until New Year’s. I’m incorporating the 5K training plan and Jillian Michael’s circuit training (I have it on an app) into the streak. So far, I’m 4 for 4! I’m looking forward to seeing what my fitness level will be at the start of 2013, and I hope it means good things for the New Year.

 

What do you want to gain?

 

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Desiderata

Friday, November 23rd, 2012 | Posted under Tuesday Wisdom

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 22nd, 2012 | Posted under Home Life

Wishing all my US-based readers a wonderful and happy Thanksgiving full of fun times and delicious food with family and friends.

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Thankfulness

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012 | Posted under About Me, Personal Essays

 

I was thinking the other day about how I never seem to have a completely amazing year. Every year has good and bad. Sometimes tons of good, and a little bit of bad. Sometimes a ton of bad, and a little bit of good. And sometimes it seems like a perfectly swirled mix of awesome and awful.

This year is definitely a perfectly swirled mix of awesome and awful.

That being said, I’ve found it’s always important to focus on the awesome and move on from the awful. Nothing you can do about the awful now, save for trying to avoid it. In Marc and Angel’s 10 Happy Habits to Start Now, they write as #6 “Count your blessings one by one.”

Here are a few of my blessings for the year:

#1: My husband. Dear Lord, what this man puts up with. He is sweet, patient (usually), loving and kind, and totally embraces my crazy schemes like going back to school, launching an Etsy shop, and training for a half-marathon (more on this next week!!).

#2: My friends. Last year was rough in the social department. Living in Westchester made me feel very isolated, and I didn’t feel like I had many people to talk to. This year, I have new friends through our church Quarter Life group, our Young Professionals meet-up, and Junior League. Plus, I’m developing more friends in the D-community and the twentysomething blogger community. I also greatly appreciate the friends I had before this year, who have stuck with me through thick and thin.

#3: My family. My family is awesome. Through all the craziness that my life may involve, they always just want me to be healthy and happy (and, if my dad had his way, out of debt).

#4: A roof over my head. It’s not hard to be thankful for this, considering the trauma the New York metro area has suffered over the last month, and also what we personally went through last year when we were evacuated from our building for seven weeks. You never know what having a home means until you don’t have one, or aren’t allowed to go anywhere near it.

#5: Modern medicine. Hello, insulin! Thank you so very much for existing. It’s very awesome to have you a part of my life. Thanks to Dr. Banting, for inventing you. Thanks to pharmaceutical and medical device companies for inventing glucose meters and insulin pumps to make the administering you a little bit easier. And thanks to the laboratory researchers, the high-powered microscopes, and the hundreds of thousands of tiny mice who are working to find a cure!

#6: Social media. Even though I closed my blog for six months this year because of the stress of maintaining it, I’ve always been very thankful to have access to social media. I love being connected to so many different people, and have a wide range of conversations on Facebook, Twitter, my blog, other people’s blogs, wherever! I’ve learned so much by being involved in social media and it’s inspirational in so many ways. I’m really grateful to be part of it all.

#7: Travel. I know that a lot of people are not as fortunate as me to see as much of the country. I always bemoan the fact I haven’t been to that many other countries (just three as of right now), but my list of states is steadily climbing. I know I’m very fortunate to have the resources and opportunities to travel, and I never want to forget how lucky I am to have that luxury. We have a really beautiful, awesome country and it’s a shame so many people aren’t able to experience more of it.

#8: My cat. We have the cutest little furbaby on the planet, even if she does bite and attack our legs when we walk past her. I guess she’s just very playful. But without sounding like a total crazy cat lady, it’s so nice to have someone around the apartment when Erik is at work. She’s not a complete replacement for a human being, but it’s nice to have her around.

I should also add that I’m very thankful my husband is not allergic to her.

#9: Pursuing my dream career. Not everyone is lucky enough to return to school just because they feel like another career. I’m definitely blessed to have this opportunity (even though it’s a lot of work and sacrifice in the financial department), but we are lucky enough that Erik has a great job, and I have a steady freelance work with DiabetesMine. I’m also thankful to have so many supporters and cheerleaders, because it’s always a risk starting something new. Knowing that there are so many people who believe I can do it definitely helps when my nerves get rattled.

#10: Jesus. Last but certainly not least, my Lord and Savior. There’s not much I can really say here other than thanks.

 

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Magical Kittens

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012 | Posted under Personal Essays

Before I begin, I have to tell you a story. Otherwise nothing will make sense. It’s actually a story that a friend of mine in my church’s Quarter Life small group told us last week. I thought it was such a smart, wise story that I wanted to share with you all and then get your thoughts.

My friend is a counselor here in New York, and last year he was working with a 14-year-old girl who was incredibly troubled and angry. I don’t have the details, but she is just angry all the time. She skips school, talks back to her parents, everything. One thing that this girl really wanted was a kitten. Her mother wouldn’t give one to her (presumably because this girl is irresponsible) and so the girl was incredibly angry about that. She even had a temper tantrum for a whole weekend because she wouldn’t get a kitten. The girl was insistent that if she would only have this kitten, then her entire life would be better, so why wouldn’t her mother give her a kitten? My friend said to this girl, “With everything you’ve given up and all the stress you’ve gone through to get this kitten, this must be one magical kitten! This kitten must possesses some kind of magical power to make your life better.” He, of course, was using hyperbole to show the girl that the idea that the kitten would solve everything, but the girl didn’t fall for it. She still wants the kitten.

As part of our small group last week, we talked about our own magical kittens. What do you believe would make your life so much better if you only had it? That’s your magical kitten. And believe me, it’s probably not so magical.

I think most of us realize that there is no singular goal that will make us “complete” or happy, but damn it if we don’t hold on to some magical kittens of our own! Whether it’s a relationship, a baby, a better job, more money, a nicer house, a newer car… whatever. I think we are all like this 14-year-old who just hold onto this idea that if we could just have a kitten, all would be right in the world.

I have a few magical kittens, some I’ll share, and some I won’t. I think the magical kitten I’ve had for awhile now is the idea that I will be happier if I could just lose weight. I’m not alone in this thinking — and Amy wrote a wonderful post about it last week. I think for a lot of people, the idea that if you looked different meant that you would not only be different, you’d be better.

Moving to the East Coast used to be a magical kitten. When I was in college, I was desperate to get out and see the world. Move out of Oregon and live the big life in the Big City. I was convinced that if I moved away from home, I could “re-do” myself when I landed. I would no longer be the shy, awkward, “what the heck do I say in a large group of people?” kind of girl. I’d be a cool, confident, charismatic girl. Yeah, that didn’t really happen just because I changed time zones.

This conversation actually grew out of a video that we watched for our discussion, a short five minute video by Pastor Rob Bell. In the video, he shared a story about how his two-year-old son really wanted some cheap, badly made toy that they came across at the mall. Meanwhile, Rob knew that they were about to go buy a kickball (a much better, nicer toy) across the street. His son was so mad that he couldn’t have the toy. The little boy wailed, “But I neeeeeeed it.” Meanwhile, he had no idea the awesomeness that awaited him.

I think that often times we hold onto our magical kittens because they make us feel safe. They feel like they give us purpose and direction, even when they might be leading us down a bad path. The 14-year-old girl was so obsessed with a kitten that she didn’t realize how unrealistic her expectations were. She didn’t really need the kitten, she just wanted it.

How many magical kittens do we have in our own life? How many things have we convinced ourselves that we need? That if we only had it, life would be the best life that ever could be?

Obviously, Pastor Rob is making the case for Christ being the only thing that we need in life, and that His plans are better than any magical kittens we could want. But I think this works for anyone, spiritual or not. I think we all hold on to these magical kittens that are serving us, aren’t necessary, and actually probably aren’t very good. Or even if they are good (like losing weight), they can lead to unintended consequences like poor body image and low self-esteem. Having dreams and goals are good, but we should remember that they are only part of who we are. Our accomplishments and possessions — or lack thereof — are not who we are.

If you feel like sharing, what’s your magical kitten?

 

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Music Monday: “Hall of Fame” — The Script

Monday, November 19th, 2012 | Posted under About Me

This is probably going to sound really cheesy, but I heard this song on the radio a few weeks ago and it literally brought tears to my eyes. It took awhile to find out who the song was by, because it wasn’t an artist I immediately recognized. Thankfully, between YouTube and the radio’s website, I was able to figure it out! There are so many songs that are about sex and relationships that it was refreshing to have something that is just a feel-good inspirational song.

What’s your latest fave song?

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