New Year, New Me (or Something Like That)

Did you make New Years resolutions? It’s week 3 of January and I’m wondering how those are going! When I think of resolutions my thoughts immediately jump to goal setting. What is a realistic thing I can accomplish in this month, in the next 2 months, perhaps in the next year?

Here are my new years goals for 2017 –

  1. Camp 10x this year
  2. Eat less sugar
  3. Be generous with my time
  4. Quality over quantity – relationships, material items, experiences, etc
  5. Ask good questions
  6. Be present

Each day is a new opportunity to be better my friends.


This month I’m doing a Whole30 challenge. It’s going well so far – day 15! – and I’ve gotten to try a ton of new recipes. I’ve officially successfully prepared a pot roast and last night I made my very own Tomato&Squash soup. Yum!

In the spirit of giving, here are some of my favorite food bloggers –

Molly Yeh My Name is Yeh – the soup recipe was from her book, “Molly on the Range”. Lots of tasty bread recipes for after Whole30

Danielle Walker Against All Grain – paleo, simple, and delectable!

DanaMinimalist Baker – easy recipes with 10 ingredients or less, though I usually add some type of meat

Uno mas, por favor

Happy Blog-iversary!!!!

It has been one full year – 12 months, 52 weeks, 365 days, 8760 hours – since I started on this journey in finding the grace within our everyday lives. I want to send a big THANK YOU out into the universe for all of you that have read my posts in this last year. Thank you for your words of encouragement, it really means the world to me [x10000000000 thank you].

I’ve enjoyed having this space to share my thoughts, struggles, and adventures. Writing posts for my blog has come to be something I look forward to each week – something I use to help reset after a crazy, busy week at work or even as a way to form complete thoughts on a theme that keeps appearing in my life. Normally I am not super creative, as a scientist I practice creativity in a very different way from the traditional sense. We carefully design experiments and then meticulously execute them with special attention paid to precision and accuracy. Writing Glimpse of Grace has allowed me to become creative outside of scientific rigor, and for that I am thankful.

As I jump into this new year – 2017 – I do so with a continued desire to be present. To be intimately engaged with this wonderful life we’ve been so fortunate to have been given. I have 6 months left in Atlanta, and my greatest fear is that I will spend those months checking the days off the calendar. Deep within my soul, I desire to make the most of those days in a way that honors God, presence, and connection. I don’t have a clear vision of what that will look like yet, but I will continue to share my journey along the way.

I’ve always been a storyteller [ask anyone from my childhood], so here I am writing down my story. Let’s see where this narrative takes us.


*The tea I enjoyed was from the local coffee bar – Taproom Coffee & Beer. I highly recommend this place for catching up with friends.

Breath In

2016 is winding down rapidly and like the whirlwind this year has been we will soon find ourselves in 2017. I cherish the changing of the seasons and the new year both as time to reflect. Time to look back, think deeply, then celebrate extravagantly how far we’ve come. There’s hardly anything I love more than raising a glass to the wonderful experiences and people in my life.

Cheers to the moments this year that brought you closer with your loved ones.

Cheers to the new experiences you tried and failed at, but then tried again.

Cheers to being strong, to working hard, to connecting.

Cheers to following your dreams and realizing that sometimes  all the time, timing is everything.

Cheers to laughter.


In the final weeks of 2016 I’m heading back home to CO. My suitcase holds more yoga pants, snow gear, and ski socks than it does regular clothes. I can’t wait for the adventures and laughs to come. I’ll probably write about them here later – until then, have a very merry christmas and maybe try your hand at the following recipe! My friend Haley made this for me and now I’m hooked —

Golden Milk [serves 1]:

Heat on the stove ~1 cup almond milk.

Sprinkle in a dash of cinnamon, ginger, and tumeric.

Mix until combined and simmering.

Top with marshmallows and serve with a cinnamon stick.

Happy Holidays!

 

happy Tuesday

I know, I know. I’ve been M.I.A.

Even the bus driver today asked me where I’ve been, and the easy answer is that I’ve been busy. Really busy. But also, the good kind of busy, where you sleep like a rock at the end of the day and all most items get scratched off the to-do list.

It feels good to have a solid routine worked out – even though I haven’t worked in time to write blog posts yet. I figured those would come as my week went by and things happened that I wanted to share about [It would be so much easier if my subconscious would magically write out a post while I thought about it].

Today, I offer you boots & copper string lights because these are the things that are currently bringing me peace. You see, I’ve had these lights for over a year now but when I moved I never got around to hanging them again [Mostly because I read a design article on how string lights can make a space look like it belonged in a college dorm]. I wasn’t sure how to style them without hanging them so I just left them tucked away in a corner of my closet until this weekend.

On Saturday night I was feeling inspired. I was feeling the weight of always conforming to other people’s standards and ideas of what is right/stylish. I decided that by no means do I want my decisions to be influenced by the way other’s perceive them, so I did the damn thing and hung the lights in my room.

THEN… on Sunday I went shopping for new shoes, and in the middle of the store I found myself crafting messages to my sister asking if she thought the shoes were cute, while simultaneously asking myself if I could pull them off. Asking myself if other people would think they were cool, or if I was just crazy, and this is where I stopped myself.

I realized I was completely wrapped up in how my appearance and actions would be interpreted by others at the expense of my own joy. I thought the boots were cute, so I did the damn thing and bought the boots.

What lies have you told yourself about how others see you? What can you do today to love and to be true to yourself?


 

Green Thumb

“Don’t dig up in doubt what you planted in faith” – Elisabeth Elliot

Spring is a time of new; a time to rejoice in fresh growth. It’s a time when things wake up from their wintry slumber and burst forth into the world – “Helloooo I’m here”.

If you take a moment to peruse my instagram feed you will probably pick up on my obsession with spring. The streets and trails in Atlanta are lined with fifty shades of pink, green, red, and white, and the grass is suddenly this vibrant, full-of-life color.

Besides the fact that I love flowers I know very little nothing about gardening. However, I do have some pretty distinct memories from a childhood spent outside in the garden. I would occasionally help my parents weed or sometimes if I was lucky my mom would let me help her with the flower pots. Every year she plants flower pots that live on our front porch. They are vibrant, neatly arranged, and will absolutely bring a smile to your cheeks as you walk through the front door. Someday when I have my own home I will line my front porch with dragon snaps, pansies, daisies, and begonias.

I remember planting bulbs in the ground; carefully digging a hole several inches deep, gently laying the bulb, covering it with dirt, then watering and waiting.

…Lots of waiting…

Growing plants is an exercise in patience. It requires you to have faith that with the right conditions (sunlight, warmth, water to name a few) something living with come up through the dirt. Most often it is painfully slow. Usually it’s a process that you can’t appreciate with the naked eye, but rather a process that you can sometimes catch glimpses of.

A hard lesson I’m always learning is that you can’t rush the process of growth either. I never fail to water my plants too much because I think that doing so will help them grow fast, but in the end I wind up drowning them. It would be so much easier just to buy my plants already grown. Each time I kill a plant I think will be the last time that I try and that next time I’ll gladly let someone else do the work of nurturing baby ferns.

But wait. Isn’t that the point?  Should we really be putting such emphasis on the end result and ignoring the path we took to get there?

In this world of constant motion how likely are we going to stick it out for the long term or give up the moment we lose sight of the horizon? Instant gratification is ingrained in us. Hell, amazon prime has same-day delivery because we need that thing we ordered an hour ago right now. That being said, I don’t think it’s impossible for us to endure – to dig deep, plant a bulb, and wait for it to grow. (I’m not suggesting that it’s easy, just that it’s possible).

This season of my life is feeling like a never-ending lesson in patience. I started working on my medical school applications last February. As in February 2015. In July I submitted my primary applications and then waited a month. Then I rushed to write my secondary applications, only to wait another 5 months before hearing from many programs that while my application was competitive, there wasn’t enough room for me. I interviewed at the University of Colorado 34 days ago and have yet to hear a peep from the admissions committee. I think its safe to say that I’ve been in it for the long haul.

This season of my life has been a struggle, but I’ve carefully planted this bulb in faith and I refuse to overwater, dig up, or give in to the pressures of waiting. I refuse to dig up in doubt what I planted in faith because when the time is right it will bloom.

Today I allowed myself to pause while passing some blooming flowers and I simply thought to myself, how beautiful this life truly is.

 

 

I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead

– Rest – 

What does it mean to rest? What does it look like to take a moment to pause and slow down?

These questions have been tugging at my heart the last few days as I headed into my weekend – the first weekend in a while that I didn’t have visitors or was traveling. Now don’t get me wrong, I LOVED every minute of sharing my home with my friends and spending time in Colorado, but I was really looking forward to a weekend with no agenda…then…halfway through the week I found myself making plans and filling up Saturday and Sunday with activities.

After years of booked weekends with dance or gymnastics practices, skiing, hiking, studying, or working, I have conditioned myself to being uncomfortable with stillness and I don’t know how to rest. Does it mean I have to sit perfectly still, confined to the space within my apartment? That would prove to be a real challenge considering my “rest” days from the gym usually consist of a run or hike. They are better described as active rest, doing the things that I enjoy. So, not only do I feel this need to be physically active at most times, I struggle with calming my mind, and to be honest meditation scares the hell out of me. Anna, one of my lovely sisters, claims that meditation is important. She says that it clears your mind and helps you reset, but I just fall asleep or reach for my cell phone. Or, even worse, I start concocting visions of vacations I will take, places I will see. Easily distracted, not so easily refreshed.

 

The shore line along the Homestead Trail at Red Top Mountain.

So, I’m searching for ways to find peace and I’m asking for a friend – how do you find it? What tricks do you reach for when you feel the rush of the tide coming in, threatening to pull you under?

This weekend I went hiking, I ran outside to take advantage of the beautiful weather, and I spent my birthday money on a house plant. A dragon tree to be specific (God help me not kill it).

I joked earlier in the week with a friend about why we had become so old and grumpy all of a sudden and I suggested maybe our feng shui was off. This weekend I rearranged my apartment. Now I guarantee that I didn’t follow any of the redecorating rules, but my elephant faces the front door so I’m golden. Besides, as I sit snuggled on my couch with a glass of wine within arms reach I feel content. I may not have spent my weekend doing absolutely nothing, rather the complete opposite of that, but the things I chose to do I chose with my whole heart; I did them with intention and for now I’m calling that rest. When tomorrow goes fabulously my new plant can take all of the credit and that’s a-okay with me.

Next weekend I may decide to try a different kind of rest and that’s a-okay as well.


As an aside, I stumbled across this poem while exploring the Carter Center here in Atlanta last week. It invokes in me a sense of peace. I felt it was fitting to the mood I have found myself in for the last week so I thought I would share it with you – Enjoy

“I wandered lonely as a cloud – that floats on high o’er vales and hills – When all at once I saw a crowd, a Host of golden daffodils; Beside the lake, beneath the trees, – fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine – and twinkle on the milky way – they stretched in never-ending line – along the margin of a bay; Ten thousand I saw at a glance, tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they, out-did the sparkling waves in glee; A poet could not be but gay, In such jocund company; I gazed – and gazed – but little thought, What the wealth the show to me had brought;

For oft, when on my couch I lie – In vacant or in pensive mood, they flash upon that inward eye, Which is the bliss of solitude; and then my heart with pleasure fills, And dances with the daffodils”

William Wordsworth

So Worth Loving

 

 

3, 2, 1 Go – Four little words that cause my palms to sweat, my pulse to quicken, and my muscles to tense up. When the clock beeps it’s go time and I start moving towards the goal of the day  – rounds, reps, time, or just plain finishing. Though I have many favorite parts of CrossFit these four little words are some of my favorites.

After years of gymnastics, dance, and then working out at the athletic club I started at an unassuming box in Denver last May. I quickly fell in love with the technical movements, the variety of workouts, the community, and the way I felt each time I left the gym with my legs shaking, my lungs burning, and my muscles beginning to ache. Doing CrossFit makes me feel strong.

Mid-double Fran on “Wheel of Fran” day. Spin the wheel for your version of Fran. I was lucky enough for the chance to do it 2x: 21-15-9 Thrusters, Pull ups

Growing up I had many identities – gymnast, dancer, bookworm, sister, daughter to name a few – but I never viewed myself as skinny. I related to songs like “Booty-licious”, “Ms. New Booty”, and “Baby Got Back”, and I desperately wanted to be skinny like the other girls in my classes. I wanted to wear a bikini, have a flat stomach, and a smooth butt. But I also desperately wanted to eat spaghetti for dinner instead of a salad. In college I worked out so that I could eat, and while I began to experiment in the kitchen and my diet expanded to include vegetables, I also started tracking my calories. Measuring out my meals down to the number of carrots I had with lunch. I hated it. I hated feeling bad about myself when I was hungry and ate too many calories. Or when we got home from the bars late and decided to order pizza. I hated comparing my body to my friends’ bodies and I hated that I couldn’t love myself.

CrossFit has been instrumental in helping me change my attitude. Yes, I have muscles, but my muscles serve a purpose. They are strong and powerful and they allow me to do things I’ve never imagined. Not only does CrossFit make me feel strong, but it makes me feel capable. CrossFit has helped me shift my perspective. My body is “femininely badass” and I love that I can say those words, while also believing it deep within my soul.

1601_CFG_Open_Badge_Rookie_SMLThis week I registered for the CrossFit Open. A 5 week competition that anyone can participate in. Each week a workout is posted that everyone completes. They then post their scores online and the top 20 men and women in each state will advance to regionals. There is no way that I will fall into that category, but instead participate in an act of celebration. To be a part of the community that is changing my life, to prove to myself how far I have come since starting in May, and to challenge myself to push harder than ever before. I’m excited and you better believe I will update you as the Open progresses. 


PS. For a little peek inside my brain —>

When I sit down to brainstorm what I will write about each week I start with a list of the things that happened –

  1. Spend the entire day airport hopping on Valentine’s day
  2. Work
  3. CrossFit

Usually the list is longer and there is at least one thing that stands out as “blog-worthy”. One thing that I find more interesting than the mundane items I see on my list above. I even considered not writing a post this week because in my opinion nothing exciting happened, but then I remembered my purpose for starting this blog in the first place and I gave myself a little kick in the butt. When I took a closer look at the events of my week there were moments of grace and joy, moments “blog-worthy”, and dare I say, moments worth celebrating. This week I’m thankful for my body. For being healthy and strong, for being able to do CrossFit, and for loving myself – because I am so worth loving.

Direct Hits

The morning is bright after a cold and gloomy Saturday. It’s still a bit chilly out but with the sun on my skin I pull on my backpack and head for the trail. The shadows dance across the arch that welcomes hikers to the Appalachian Trail, ~ 2180 miles of wild.

We are here for the day, not making even the smallest of dents in the distance, but here we are nonetheless. The plan is to climb the 700, or so, steps at Amicalola Falls State Park and then head out for a jaunt on the A.T. Approach trail. The park ranger has warned us that the stairs are very strenuous, gaining 1000 vertical feet in under 1 mile. She laughs when my dad and I tell her we know what that kind of gain is like from hiking 14ners back in Colorado (aka – it should be no problem). Apparently we must “RESPECT THE STAIRS”…

Off we go, snow crunching under our boots with each footfall. We reach the steps in no time and begin the ascent. Ice clings to the metal grates the closer we get to the falls, passing each landing I am counting the number of steps in my head – 1, 2…10…100. My breath catches, I exhale, “wow”. The falls are giving off a blue hue that is magically brightened by the rising sun and the snow covered ground. Now this is something I’ve never seen before.

We push on and with the passing hour the day has begun to thaw. As my dad and I walk out past the state park and toward the A.T. the ice wrapped trees begin to break free.

crack  crack  crack  crack

Ice is falling to the ground, carrying tree branches and leaves along for the ride. Occasionally skimming my shoulder or even less occasionally achieving a direct hit on my head. Though it stings I can’t help but laugh – it’s become a game for us and adrenaline is pumping through my veins. How many times can we dodge an icicle?

 

Our hike continues – dodging falling objects and jumping puddles – and I am reminded why I enjoy being outside and exploring so much. One of my favorite quotes comes to mind by Ralph Waldo Emerson.

“Live in the sunshine, swim in the sea, drink the wild air”


Isn’t our world a beautiful thing? I am so thankful for little adventures and the chance to breath fresh air. It helps me reset my intentions and reminds me that all things are possible. The grandeur of nature humbles my struggles because my worries are insignificant when compared to the span of the horizon.

The constant pressures of life are big and I know mine aren’t decreasing but rather increasing in number. So what am I doing to handle the stress?

Building a bigger beaker

Meaning: Imagine measuring life using a beaker. Now fill it with all of your emotions – I’m mostly thinking of stress versus happiness. Depending on the size of your beaker your stress might take up 1/2 of the space (maybe even 3/4!). That doesn’t leave very much room for your happiness so instead of trying to decrease your stress, build a bigger beaker. The recipe for success?

  • Do more of the things that make you happy
  • Do less of the things that don’t

At the end of the day if something makes my heart feel full then it was good and I’m thankful for that.

 

Easy like Sunday morning

I went into this past weekend with zero plans and it went fabulously.

On Saturday, I went to my one of my favorite coffee shops and sipped on my favorite drink, watched a movie at the movie theater, went to a bocce ball bar but did not play any bocce ball, and discovered a restaurant that dedicates their menu to various flavors of grilled cheese and tomato soup. The place is appropriately named Tom and Chee.

Then on Sunday I made a plan. I set my alarm for 8:00 am in order to get up and get my day going with a trip to CrossFit. If you know anything about me then you might know that I am often always ambitious when I set my morning alarms.  (Confession, I am the snooooze button’s biggest fan).

I can imagine you’ve guessed by now that I somehow overcame my desire to press snooze one more time and made it to the gym. Well… I hate to break it to you, but you would have guessed wrong. It turns out that bad habits simply don’t go away just because its the weekend. Although, I did manage to wake up enough to check the WOD (workout of the day) and find out that it was none other than Murph*. This promptly influenced my decision to stay in bed.

Okay, well now I’ve rambled on and on about something I didn’t even do. But, even if I had, my weekend would have remained fabulous. You see, because while all of the things that happened brought me joy there was one thing that really made it magical, and it came in the form of a 3-tier industrial style shelf.

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Exhibit A. This shelf has found its permanent home in my small (very small) kitchen. Now I have more storage and chopping space for when the cooking gets wild. 

Who knew a $30 purchase at Target would make such a difference? Seriously – SO. HAPPY.

Just goes to show that the simple moments are the ones that matter. I’m trying to cultivate more of those and I’m excited to keep sharing them with you.


*Sidenote: For those of you that don’t know CrossFit. Murph is a Hero WOD. It’s done to honor the fallen Navy Lieutenant Michael Murphy. He was killed in Afghanistan in 2005 and this was his favorite workout. It is killer. The workout (for your fastest time):

1 mile run – 100 pull ups – 200 push ups – 300 squats – 1 mile run

If you complete the workout without scaling anything then you also wear a 20-lb vest. Like I said, killer.