thankful for the moment

I’m sitting in a hip, jazzy cafe in Palo Alto, California. I’m sipping on some water because I just indulged in a milk tea with boba that was absolutely delicious. I arrived in California this morning around 11:00am, after leaving my apartment at a shockingly early time of 3:30am (shout out of appreciation to my boyfriend, Avery, for waking up and driving me to the airport). All day, I’ve jumped from plane to plane, city to city, to finally land in this spot. This comfortable spot of sitting in a worn-out leather chair in a young and busy coffee shop in a beautiful city.

It is no accident that I’m here; it took years of hard work, focus, dedication, sacrifice, and perseverance to get to this place. It took planning, purchasing a plane ticket, organizing accommodation, and a lot of thought to get here. Yet, I keep thinking to myself, This must be a mistake. What if I show up to the interview and they say, “Sorry, we have no records of you. It must have been a miscommunication.” At least then it would all make sense. I don’t say these things to self-flatter or to self-deprecate, only to give a voice to my darkest fears in this moment. Tomorrow, though, I’m interviewing at Stanford Medical School and that is a reality I never dreamed of coming true. Flying in, over the beautiful city of San Francisco and after coming in from Los Angeles, I thought about my hometown and how drastically different this is from that. I feel like I don’t belong here, like it is all a big mistake and I’m the butt of the joke, but somehow I know this is where I’m supposed to be.

I’m overwhelmed with appreciation at how far I have come and how beautiful this moment is, like finally letting air out of a balloon that has been way too full for way too long. I never expected this moment, but I know I worked hard for it. I never felt entitled to anything but felt indebted to giving this dream everything I’ve got; I reflect on everything I’ve worked diligently for and how I have sacrificed some of the ordinary joys of a 20-something to make it this far. Those moments lost are worth it, because the feeling of accomplishment in this one is so, so sweet. I reflect back, and I feel grateful.

Grateful for the people who helped me get here, financially, emotionally, spiritually, and physically. Thankful for the people who have continuously believed in me, even when I was down on myself. I’m thankful for the people who pushed me to keep going when I wanted to give up. I’m thankful for the people who let me cry on their shoulder when I needed to. I’m not in medical school yet, and I’m certainly not a doctor, but I think it is worth celebrating this moment, no matter what happens in the future.

I have no idea what will occur in the next few weeks, but right now, in a warm and inviting cafe in Northern California, I am so happy. Happy for opportunities, for growth, and for truly having the chance to chase my biggest dreams.

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!

gloriously happy and alone

I am a Friday night watching Netflix. I am a table for one. I am midnight reading sessions. I am early morning writing therapy. I am a thought. I am a moment. I am reflection. I am alone.

I have recently started reading Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking and I feel as if I am overwhelmed with revelation. Most people perceive me as a “social butterfly” – always eager to openly express my thoughts and emotions in writing on my blog, but let me reveal to you. I am an introvert by definition and principle. Yes, I can sit down in the solitude of my own thinking and non-bounding expressiveness and share what I feel and think. I am more than comfortable formulating my thoughts and expressing them in written forms. I thrive off of reading and writing and thinking, and I generally prefer to be alone.This is who I am most familiar with as a person. I have always chosen to be social and outgoing. I have chosen to be a leader in various clubs, events, and situations. I am outspoken in discussions but often find myself wishing I were alone and buried into a book or writings. I find myself at social events, enjoying the company of others but soon thinking about how much I would love to be at home with a big, fluffy blanket with a large dose of Netflix (Grey’s Anatomy preferably). I often accounted this to being lazy or antisocial, but now realize it’s not laziness; in fact, my brain is far more active and engaged when I am influenced only by my constantly thinking mind. This isn’t a post about me telling you how I enjoy individual activity compared to group stimulation. This is a post for all of my fellow lone wolves out there.

  • Find who you are and be comfortable with that person. If you are not outgoing or talkative or the most popular person in the room, IT’S OKAY!! This is coming from someone who has always felt the need to talk to others and make others feel “welcome” or “wanted”. This has led to an exhaustive perspective when placing myself in social settings. I am not at all saying ignore others, always be kind when speaking with those around you, but it shouldn’t feel emotionally demanding to feel the need to constantly please others or even feeling like you have to “shatter” the presupposing perspective that others might have of you by being overly talkative or generally gregarious. This is especially hurtful when others don’t extend the same energy towards you, and sometimes you become the one who feels isolated, weird, or unwanted. So just find who you are, if that is sometimes talkative, sometimes quiet, or a combination of both, and be that person. People will ridicule you, probably be curious about your initial desire to remain quiet, but they will learn that you are who you are; and you will learn to love the introverted but happy soul you are.
  • Don’t be fearful of not being an extrovert or of enjoying time alone. If you like to sit in a classroom and read (like I do), then do that! I wake up everything morning at 5:30 (if I’m not too exhausted from the previous night) and read and reflect. This is so nourishing and rejuvenating to me and is often my favorite part of my day. I’ve been called many different things because of oddities like this. I might quite possibly be a “loner”, but I know someone personally who took alone time like this to reflect and gain energy for the day ahead.

Jesus Christ.

He took the time to relish in solitude and embrace the time to grow closer to God. That’s a good enough example for me to accept the weird girl comments. You might do things or feel things and think you are alone, but I promise you are not.

Take time to think. Not enough people do it these days. Think before you speak, think before you act, and do not fear thinking that you are different because you feel alone.

  • I am mostly writing this post to tell you that you aren’t alone. You aren’t alone if you get anxiety when you think about social situations. You aren’t alone if you prefer to walk alone in the hallways or stay in on Friday night. You aren’t alone if you despise small talk. You aren’t alone if you feel socially awkward, isolated, or different. You aren’t alone if you feel like others don’t understand you or comprehend why you choose not to talk. You aren’t alone if you force yourself to speak more to others, speak out in discussions, or stand in the front of the room and address people. As ironic as it sounds, you aren’t alone.
  • Although there are all of these classified “downfalls”, we among the silent are the quiet, the sensitive, the over-thinkers, the creative, the thoughtful, the meek, the useful, and the happy. Satisfied with our own thoughts and personal space; never demanding the attention or approval of others. We are okay. We are more than okay.

If I write this post and ease one person’s mind about the insecurity of the quietness, then I am satisfied with that. I may come across as outgoing and charismatic, I am those things, but I also completely relate and fall definition to the introverted. You can be both. You can be talkative and quiet. You can be outgoing but reserved. Just be you and don’t let others influence the perception of yourself.

You may notice how “vocal” (ironically) I seem on my blog, compared to my periods of quietness in person. This isn’t a false representation of who I am. It isn’t me “shielding” my words/thoughts/actions from the real world through a computer screen. This is me taking the thoughts conceived in my lone atmospheres – whether that be physically lone or mentally lone – and formulating them into a concise and somewhat clear manner. I may stammer over word selection or fail to deliver a perfectly viable thought in person, but seamlessly execute it in writing. This use to be conveyed to me as a personality flaw. Now I view it as a new dimension to a strength of avoiding “thought conformity” – a term I use to describe the way conversation tends to conform to a certain pattern of words in person, but flows with its own identity when harbored in my mind and delivered through conscientious writing.

I encourage all of you to write down your thoughts in a journal, on a blog, through conversation, somehow. And go ahead and read Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Won’t Stop Talking, it’s a life changing book.

I love you guys and hope someone can relate to my raw and exposed insecurities disclosed in this post.

byyyeeeeee!

: )

#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

 

MUSIC FESTIVALS.

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It’s music festival time! I was supposed to be going to Bonnaroo for the first time with my sister and brother-in-law this year, but sadly, we are going to pass up the opportunity (for a trip to California to see my boyfriend!). Not a bad trade I would say. I am sad, though, so I have been pumping the good music into my ears. I cannot lie to you guys – I am not exactly musically informed. I’m getting better though! 2 years ago I attended the Hangout Festival in Gulf Shores, Alabama and to say it was fun is SUCH an understatement. I wasn’t very familiar with the bands, but I still had an amazing time! I saw GirlTalk and The Black Keys. Both amazing performances! This set off the spark in me though… A light bulb came on and I thought, “I want to learn music and expand beyond my limited knowledge of country music songs!” I was very excited about attending Bonnaroo this year. The whole experience – camping, not having openly available showers, finding food, GREAT music, festival outfits (I will still wear mine), and spending time with people I love and care about – it all had me excited! Anyways. this post isn’t about my disappointment of not going to a music festival. It is to let YOU guys know some of MY favorite songs. I will warn you, there is quite a variety of genres! I encourage all of you to listen to them and let me know which ones you like and dislike, or any suggestions! I am very open to listening to new things – I like pretty much all genres (Yes, even classical!).

Black Flies – Ben Howard
Flowers In Your Hair – The Lumineers
One Thing Remains – Passion
On The Hill – Pak X Emh
Youforia – Mac Miller
I’d Need A Savior – Among the Thirsty
White Blank Page – Mumford & Sons
More Than Life – Whitley
Sunset – Kid Ink


Also thought I’d go ahead and throw in some of my favorite Festival Wear outfit options. You may know, or you will learn, I LOVE flowers. I love wearing them in my hair, on my clothes, planting them, real ones, fake ones, all flowers. They show life and I think they are beautiful. All different and unique in their own ways! I also am a big fan of thrift store clothes. My favorite shirt of choice is a blue and green flannel from Goodwill (I actually have it on right now!). High waisted shorts, cardigans/sweaters, Vans, combat boots, my list of fashion favs is HUGE. Anyways, here are 3 outfit ideas I would wear to a music festival, shopping, to the beach, or just hanging out with my friends and family!

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Flower crowns = Love

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I thought this guy was cute too..”Girls at music festivals”:

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