new year

Happy New Year’s Eve!

2015 was one of my greatest years so far. I have seen myself grow so much just in the past few months and look forward to how much I will learn about myself and my future in the next year as well. God has blessed me beyond what I deserve this year. My highlights of 2015 include:

  • Gaining my beautiful, healthy baby nephew
  • Getting nominated, interviewed, and selected as Presidential Scholar
  • Spending prom night in Nashville with my very best friends (whom I miss so much)
  • Being Valedictorian for the class of 2015 and the great experiences that entailed
  • Spending two lovely weeks at the beach with my family
  • Taking my first, REAL yoga class at Glow Yoga in Gulf Shores, AL
  • Relaxing over the summer and reading some extraordinary books
  • Shadowing a cardiac electrophysiologist at Vanderbilt
  • Attending NEEDTOBREATHE and For King and Country concerts
  • Moving to Belmont, living with my amazing roommates, and making lifelong memories
  • Getting the opportunity to conduct biological research in neuroscience
  • Finding my niche at Ethos church
  • Continuing to learn through difficult times and lean more dependently on God
  • Realizing life isn’t perfect, and it never will be. But that isn’t what makes it beautiful.

In 2016, I have decided to change up my blog posts! I am going to post more frequently and hopefully I can help others with some of the things I have decided to write about. As you probably know, I am a college student studying biochemistry and wanting to pursue medicine. I would love to incorporate more of my study techniques, my ways to navigate through difficult material, and different things related to my course of study. I am going to post more about my journey through yoga and how I became interested in yoga. I will continue my posts about concepts and ideas, and I look forward to sharing more of my opinions on philosophical texts and ideas. I also want to spend more time focusing on Christianity and spirituality. So if you are interested in very different hobbies and interests, I welcome you to my blog!

For 2016 you can look for posts that center around:

  • My journey as a science major and pre-Med student
  • My ways to find happiness and motivation in high stress situations
  • My thoughts on various scientific and philosophical texts, concepts, and ideas
  • My journey as a yogi, health and wellness tips, and ways to find healthy eats in different places
  • My occasional beauty post or recommendations
  • My raw and vulnerable thoughts as I navigate through difficult times
  • My reasons for being a Christian and some of the readings I find helpful

I am excited about this change for my blog, but I look forward to continuing the types of posts I have been about since day one. I hope many of you can find ways to help me in various aspects of my life as well. I pray for all of you to have a happy new year, and find many joys and successes in 2016!

 

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

Thoughts of Thanks

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This morning, I rolled over onto my side and looked at my clock. 7:57. I decided to wake and embrace the quietness before this undeniably busy, beautiful day begins. As I was climbing out of bed, I reached over to turn on my bedside lamp. Warm, saturated, yellow light filled my perfectly messy room. I put on my record player and brewed myself a cup of coffee. The tranquility of these simple tasks evolved into an array of simple, thankful thoughts. There are many misconceptions about the reality of people only being “thankful” on Thanksgiving, but I am inclined to believe that this premise isn’t true. It is very obvious that attention is brought to what we are thankful for on this day marked as “a day of thanks giving”. But I truly believe people are thankful every day, even if in a very small way. I know I have been thankful for something as odd and miniscule as my eyebrows before (for preventing an influx of sweat into my eyes!). I have been thankful for bad situations that have turned into intricately developed lessons learned. I am always thankful for my ever loving parents, sisters, and brother. I am not boasting, however. Because there are times I am stressed beyond my control (or so this is what my mind believes). I have been ungrateful for many things in my life. I will never be able to fully comprehend the merciful grace my God has bestowed upon me. He, after all, is what we should be most thankful for. I have watched my family, friends, and strangers go through unthinkable times and remain thankful. Victims of robbery that have asked for prayer for the robber. Families that have had their children, brothers, and sisters murdered and have asked for mercy on the killer. I pray my heart becomes as tender and compassionate as the hearts these individuals possess. Life, so many times, can make a genuine person shallow and unappreciative. And that is why I am thankful for days like today. Where we are consciously and incessantly reminded to “be thankful”.

Along with my inundation of grateful thoughts this morning, another thought rose to my mind. I am not entirely sure why or what triggered it. The only explanation I can come to is that sometimes God places thoughts on our minds for dwelling and understanding. I thought to myself the repetitive phrase I have heard many times from exposures of marketing techniques and, of course, my parents. “Nothing in life comes free” I thought to myself. Proceeding this thought was that this statement is wholly and utterly false. I started thinking to myself all of the things in life that are free. My family offers love and devotion to me for absolutely no price. The moments I spend with my sisters discussing projects we want to do, the anticipation we share for our little Ezra, the excitement we have for Christmas, and the always present, meaningful support we extend to each other has no price tag. The care, advice, and generosity my brother in law shows towards my education and college decisions are things I couldn’t pay for and am so thankful for. The generous sacrifices of time, money, labor, comfort, energy, and passion my parents undoubtedly and unthinkably show me on a daily basis are things I don’t deserve. Love is eternal and absolutely, positively free. Materialistic things, though I do favor them and get trapped in the worldly perception of them, are not free. My hope for today is that I can shatter my love for “things” and nurture my love for people and emotion. I will keep this thought at the forefront of my mind today as I am enveloped by the love from phenomenal people I am blessed to call my family.

I want to wish everyone who reads this post a very Happy Thanksgiving. May you spend it happily engrossed in conversation and delectable food!

“I always thank God for you because of His grace given you in Christ Jesus. For in Him you have been enriched in every way, in all your speaking and in all your knowledge” 1 Corinthians 1:4-5 NIV

#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