hello again!

I would like to start off by saying that I apologize for my prolonged absence from my blog. With graduation coming up in less than a month (YAY), college coming up within the next few months, and everything that has to happen in between those two events, it is safe to say that I have been very busy! I have missed writing on my blog, but I have honestly enjoyed spending my time doing other things like reading classic novels, tutoring, and spending time with my family. When college rolls around I know my treasured moments spent in solitude or with my family will be no more. And although I am very excited to begin college and start studying what I love, I am very sad about leaving behind my family and current life. So I have just been enjoying the simplicity of my currently easy life (besides a few tests here and there). I encourage you to step back sometimes and love the small, seemingly unimportant moments in your life. For me, they are movie nights with my mom, coffee dates with my sister, random visits to my sister and brother-in-law’s home to see my new and adorable nephew, and nightly walks with my dad. I know come August, the days of spare time and recreational reading will be no more. So, I shall cherish the present with a “present” mind, even if that does mean I have to neglect my blog a little bit.

I have written two lengthy blog posts in my journal that I really want to communicate to you guys. But I have decided that I don’t want to do that today; today, I want to just offer some brief advice and encouragement. These two concepts are directly targeted towards myself, but I hope you derive something out of them.

  • Be individualistic. What do I mean? Be you. Be the weird girl or the geeky guy. Or be the stereotypical girl and the athletic guy. If you are a combination of very opposite characteristics, be them all! No one declares that you have to be pretty and preppy or ugly and nerdy. Nobody says you can’t wear all black, listen to Arctic Monkeys and not be a Christian. Nobody says you must fall under the categorization that people perceive you as. Society is cruel; but it isn’t the law. It is something we create and it is something we can change. So be authentic, be original, and be you. You will be a happier person when you are in love with the life you have created for yourself. I have struggled with worrying about what others will think if I am “too much” of something. “Too happy” or “too nerdy” or “too weird” or “too overdressed” or “too optimistic” or “too quiet”. I have definitely experienced the repercussions of these qualities that I possess. I am often “too quiet” which is then translated as being “too good for everyone” when in reality I am just generally an introverted person. I have been “too nice” which translates as being “too fake”. Can’t someone just be sincerely nice? I have been “too nerdy” which translates as being “conceited about intellect”. No, I just am infatuated with knowledge. You like sports, I like science. You like to play video games, I like to read. You like to hangout with your million friends, I like to stay home with my family. No two people will ever be identical in personality. We must accept this as individuals and learn to express silent appreciation for the difference in interests. Stop criticizing someone who doesn’t like to talk all of the time or hangout every night. And if you are the one behind the book or with a closed mouth, be more open to conversation and social interaction. We need to eradicate the judgmental behavior that is so, SO prevalent in our society!
  • Be proactive. This is huge. I recently read The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy. What a life changing book! In simple, The Compound Effect is a term for the concept of simple, everyday actions making a huge impact on the trajectory of one’s life. For example, eating 200 calories more than your suggested caloric intake for one day won’t be harmful. Eating 200 calories more everyday for the next six years will eventually show compounded, residual effects though. The Compound Effect can improve your life or destroy it; it can create an empire or bury you below it. By being proactive in your life, you are living your life and not letting your life live you. That might sound odd, and if it does that probably means you aren’t in control of your life. You aren’t in the driver’s seat of the vehicle of Life (of course, God is controlling the steering wheel, you are just pushing the pedal). Whenever you start making decisions in your life that improve your future, you will feel empowered! For me, being proactive means waking up at 5:30am every morning and reading my bible. It means taking the time to read books that I may not be initially interested in but will increase my reading comprehension. And usually, I end up loving the book anyways! It means suppressing the anxiety I have about my future. Being proactive means working out for at least 30 minutes a day and trying to eat balanced and healthy meals. Being proactive doesn’t mean a lifestyle change – it just means to start making meaningful, calculated decisions about how you spend your time! (Start by going to read The Compound Effect because it’s relatively short and is honestly eye-opening).

So those are my thoughts for the day. They aren’t related, but I wanted to share them. They are random, but I am hopeful they might resonate with someone. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

i feel it in my fingers, i feel it in my toes

grunge roses <3

Something has compelled me to write about love. Hold on, don’t click out of the screen yet. I’m not talking about the “Oh you’re so cute, I love you” kind of love. Or the “thanks for the money!” kind of love.

I am talking about the raw, unexplainable, but totally authentic type of love. The kind that your grandparents show you when they offer you enough food to feed a third world country. The kind you feel towards the victims of those who have experienced a tragic loss. The kind of love that propels us forward everyday. The kind of love that makes people inseparable, created by a bond that can only be felt and described by the ones experiencing it. The kind of love that makes us want to forgive people, just so that area of void within ourselves can be exchanged for peace. The kind of love that makes us express affection towards ourselves, others, and our lives. Love is, in my opinion, the strongest, most abundant, and most violent emotion we can feel.

The word “love” turns off so many. I know people who are overly attracted to the word love, and I know some who are completely repelled by it. I think it is very important to develop a comfortable relationship with this emotion. Whether you are one to hide your emotions or you are (like me in most instances) a very expressive person, loving and being lovable are very important attributes. Love creates happiness. It creates something unique with every person you let it grow between. Love is very powerful.

Being lovable. The first of two perspectives.

Being lovable to me, means letting others explore your mind. Letting them inside of your most reserved and protected thoughts. Let those who surround you and offer you sincerity in their words take an adventure through your mind. What you have in your head is so valuable and so essential; let others hear it. Express to those around you your issues. Allow others to love you wholly and relentlessly. Let others offer help to you when you are at your most vulnerable state. Being loved is one of the greatest feelings in the world. There is nothing like the love of someone who chooses to love you. Someone who, in the chaotic and busiest times of his or her life makes it a priority to pick you is something worth noticing. To exchange precious time in their life for you is remarkable and something we take for granted far too often. Destroying boundaries is so critical to being lovable. Allowing others to tread on your grounds and taking the risk of being hurt is a sacrifice worth making. Open your heart to those around you and become lovable. Life will become a new shade of beautiful when you do this.

Loving. The second perspective.

The moment you see a homeless person ask for money and you feel a sense of compassion. The time that you sat beside your loved ones at the funeral home and listened to the saddening words of a preacher talk about someone who continues to hold a place in your heart. The time you see someone take up for you, make you feel included, or make a point to reach out to you. During all of these times, love was residing in your heart. Loving people is one of the two most important commands of all time. Loving others is so beneficial, so rewarding, that those who don’t do it will never live a life of optimal happiness. Sacrificing oneself for someone else is the most important action of all. Selflessness and love are codependent of each other. Love people. Just do it.

This may have been a sappy post, but I honestly do not care. Too many times people spend their whole lives harboring so much hatred for people who aren’t worth it. It takes the same amount of energy to love someone as it does to hate them. As cliche as it sounds, yes, life is too short to spend your time disliking others. Loving others will sometimes leave you hurt and heartbroken. But sometimes it will leave you with a life surrounded by those who care for you, people who love you, and satisfaction with who you are as a person.

Spend 2015 trying to love and be loved, and I promise it will be a year full of abundant happiness for you : )

weighting on the world to change

I am not a writer. I cannot formulate words into the sentences I want them to be read. I hear my thoughts and I want other people to hear them, but it is often hard for me to communicate my thoughts to other people. I am an awkward person. I am a real person who gets uncomfortable in situations. This post is going to be careless. Not careless in the way that I don’t care what I am writing, but careless in the fashion that my grammar may be wrong at times. I may not make sense. Actually, I probably won’t make sense (that is how my brain functions). I am going to write my thoughts as I think them, not as I want them read. I have always enjoyed writing, whether it be prose fiction or research papers. I enjoy writing, but why?

I enjoy learning. I thoroughly enjoy learning. I am a creative thinker. I love to create things in my mind. Scenarios. Problems, realistic and scientific. Stories. I love learning about new people. I love discovering new places. I am passionate about gaining knowledge in every aspect of my life. I have always said I have a curious mind but honestly I think I have a curious heart. I am passionate about learning about other people. Their likes, dislikes, loves, hates, emotions, worries. I love learning about people. I often silently watch others and just soak up what I observe. How they speak, how they articulate their words, how they choose to love, how they choose to breathe even. Every body is different. And I mean that in every body is different.

I hate the media.

We as women are so often, for lack of better words, tricked into believing lies. Skinny women are everywhere. NO, photoshop and hungry celebrities are everywhere. This post is written for myself. The average weight of an American woman has gone up 11 pounds in 20 years according to thehuffingtonpost.com. The ideal weight for an American woman is 140 pounds. We, on average, weigh 156 pounds. Now, I don’t weigh 156 pounds. Or 140 pounds. I know women that do though. I have a petite frame. I have always been naturally skinny, but I am just as victimized by the unrealistic idea of beauty that is portrayed in the media as my other lady accomplices that weigh 156 pounds.

I hate the media.

I looked myself in the mirror this morning and kind of freaked out. Not because I was embracing my typically atrocious morning hair. But I thought to myself (prepare for the messy thoughts I conceive), this is who I am. I am this face, I am this hair, I am this body, and these eyes. I am those feet and these hands. To other people, this is who I am. But to myself, I am not those things. 90% of the day I never see my face. The other 10% I am taking snapchats or fixing my messy hair in the bathroom mirror. The 90% is who I really am. I am my thoughts. I am my actions. I am my words. I am not my body weight or jean size. I am not my brown eyes or green nails. My body is merely a camping place for my brain and my heart. One day, my two most important inhabitants will get up, and leave. And my body will be left here. The exact thing I have been agonizing over and perfecting for all this time will be left behind. What will be left of me?

Oh yeah, those two things we oh so frequently forget about. The first, my brain. What did I leave in this world. Did I make a difference? Did I learn all of the things I wanted to learn? Did I learn about people and places and things and emotions? I want to learn about those things before I leave. Did I create something beautiful? Or did I destroy something beautiful? Did my thoughts build me up or break me down?

The second, my heart. Did I love passionately? I hope I gave. I hope I graciously and openly always gave. I want to give to others. Love, hope, and faith. Did I share my feelings? Did I tell every single person I knew that I loved them? I hope I created something beautiful. I hope I loved openly. I want to embrace my heart. I hope I was sensitive. I want to be sensitive to others. I want to invite others into my tent. If someone can make it past the flaws in my camping place, they can fully embrace my delicate brain and complex heart. If someone can see past their own camping grounds. Their own flaws. The rocks they have lying around their grounds. The wind that affects their tent. The trouble that storms have left on their place. If someone can move past all of those imperfections and enter into the tent of their beautiful mind and heart, they have won. They have beat the media, their own minds, the words and actions of others, and the war against themselves. See past your imperfections. See past your flaws. See past your weight and hair and face and clothes and image. Look inside your tent and care about your mind and your soul. Care about the things you hold inside you.

Our bodies are a camping place that one day the greater things inside us will get up and leave. Make sure what you take with you is greater than what is left in the ground behind you.

some thoughts

  1. We are more than the things we see every day
  2. We are the words we say and the actions we perform
  3. A weight cannot make you beautiful
  4. You can beautiful at any weight
  5. The media lies to us
  6. We choose to accept those lies
  7. We need to stop accepting those lies
  8. Everyday is a beautiful day
  9. There are ugly moments in every day
  10. We must embrace them
  11. Beauty truly comes from within you
  12. A heart that gives is more beautiful than a hand that gives
  13. number 12 might not make sense
  14. Give loving words in private not loving gifts in public

I love you guys and I pray we all, talking directly to myself here, love ourselves for what we are worth on the inside. Not the outside.

xoxoxo

mary catherine

#GetFitWithMe Workin’ It Out In Paradise!

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Well it’s that time! I have arrived at paradise! Today, I stepped foot onto the beautiful white beaches and prepared myself to remove the coverup…whew, this is the skin-baring moment I have been anticipating since January when I started this journey. During my difficult runs and long, tiring workouts, this is the moment I had been preparing for. Now let me tell you guys – this is not where it ends. Actually, it will never end. Being fit and healthy isn’t a destination. You don’t get to the point you have been working towards and say, “Oh, well, I have reached my goal, time to slack off and start eating like I was.” NO, fitness is a process. Its a long, never-ending process. That may sound scary and intimidating but let tell you guys, IT IS WORTH IT! As long as you are working your body beyond its limitations, you are improving yourself. Improving your mind. your body, and your soul. So don’t give up, ever. What you do today, whether it be a 20 minute workout or a 2 hour workout, it is going to make you a better you. And don’t we all want to be the best version of ourselves?! That has been my mindset lately. I wanna be the best me possible. The best daughter, the best girlfriend, the best athlete, the best Christian, the best chef, the best sister, the best student, the best friend, I want to make myself proud at the end of the day! I encourage you guys to set these same standards for yourself. Start taking every opportunity you have to improve and run with it. Look challenge in the face, and tell it you are stronger than the fears that are placed upon you! “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” -Isaiah 41:10. Even the Creator of all things told us not to fear!

So as you read, I was nervous about exposing my imperfect body to the entire beach..but I remembered, regardless of how many squats I did, or push-ups I completed, or miles I ran, I am fearfully and wonderfully made by an Almighty God. Don’t forget this ladies! Working out only perfects the beautiful bodies God has given us! Tonight I wanted to provide you guys with a basic workout and a simple, healthy Memorial Day meal for the upcoming holiday. I will be spending mine at a beach with people I love!


Basic Workout #1:

I like to workout in a gym. I understand most people may not be equipped with a gym membership or the access to a gym. If not, all of these exercises can be completed using any type of weight! Try cans or bottles if you have those!

 

  • 30 Jumping Jacks
  • 3 sets of 10 each arm Bicep Curls using 10 pounds of weight
  • 20 Burpees (stand, jump down to plank position, push-up, back to plank position, jump up and start over)
  •  3 sets of 10 Shoulder Press using 10 pounds of weight
  • 20 Push-Up Jacks! (normal push-up position and when elbows are at 90 degrees, legs are push apart like a jumping jack)
  • 3 sets of 10 Lateral Fly Aways with 10 pounds of weight (arms are held down against the sides and brought up to the sides horizontally)
  • 20 Jump Squats (stand in relaxed position, go into squat, explode out of heels into the air and repeat)
  • 3 sets of 10 Bicep Curls into Shoulder Press with 10 pounds of weight (normal bicep curls extended up into a shoulder press)
  • 30 Russian Twists (sit on floor with booty on the ground and body in a “C” shape, twist from side to side with the weight in hand, abs engaged. One side = 1 rep)
  • 3 sets of Front Raises with 10 pounds of weight (hold weight down in front of you and raise until parallel with the ground)
  • Burpee Challenge to end! Try doing Burpees with correct form until failure (cannot complete anymore reps with correct form)!

You have completed the Basic Workout #1! Disclaimer: I am not a personal trainer. This is just a guideline to those who may be confused on what to do or how to do it. Depending on how many times you complete this circuit will change how long it takes you to complete the workout. This is very basic workout for mostly the arms and core but, of course, it works those legs and glutes some as well! If you feel you are more advanced than 10 pounds then I say go for it. Just never compromise form! Get up and get moving! You got this! 🙂


 

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Next I wanted to share with you guys a quick and easy recipe for when you are in rush but want to prepare something healthy and delicious. I will pretty much eat anything you put in front of me, so it isn’t difficult for me to find and try new things. I encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and try some new healthy foods that will really impact your body. And never forget – you can’t out work a bad diet.

On tonight’s menu we have Seasoned Salmon with Parmesan asparagus and a sweet potato. YUM!

For the salmon I simply took frozen Alaskan Sockeye Salmon and thawed it, placed it on some aluminum foil and seasoned it with Mrs. Dash’s no-salt-added seasoning. I cooked it for about 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes (these times and temperatures are just estimates, when I cook I usually just watch my food for when it is done!). For the asparagus I took fresh asparagus, washed it off and chopped off the brown part of the stem. Then, I wrapped them in tin foil and drizzled about 1 tbs of Extra Virgin Olive Oil and made sure they were all evenly coated. I took a pinch of Parmesan cheese and sprinkled on top. Add some salt and pepper to taste and cook at 400 degrees for about 10-15 minutes. For the sweet potato I just baked it on aluminum foil at 400 degrees for 1-2 hours (or put it in the microwave for 15 minutes)! And there you have it. A meal that takes a maximum of 30 minutes that’s full of nutrients, vitamins, essential fatty-acids and deliciousness!


 

I hope you enjoyed this post! Let me know if you tried the workout, the recipe, or if you want to share your story and journey with me! We are in this together! We are told to carry each others’ burdens right? (Galatians 6:2) Love you guys!

xoxo,

marycatherine