Faith-Accepting Reality

There was a time in my life I thought everything had to be perfect and if something went wrong I had to make it better immediately. When I couldn’t make it get better I’d lash out in anger.

I think this stems from my childhood. My brother died when I was 2, and I am sure I didn’t understand why my parents were always upset and why my love was never good enough to make it better. This conclusion has been reached after many discussions with close friends and not from therapy, so who knows if it’s accurate.

I’ve matured a lot in this area. My quick-to-anger personality has mellowed. I am able to accept reality and breathe and know that life moves on even when it’s not perfect and that I am loved anyway. Today, though, I was quick to anger at my friend and I knew immediately it stemmed from something I was going through that currently isn’t “perfect”.

I put “perfect” in quotations because my perfect is different from God’s perfect. God’s perfect is more tolerant of mistakes, diversity, and human fallibility. My perfect depends on if things are going according to my plan and everyone is perfectly happy.

Back in January one of my friends/mentors sent me a devotional. She suggested I read it and reflect for ten minutes and write whatever I want. I fell out of the habit because (insert stupid excuse here), but today when I snapped at my friend I knew I needed to work on my emotional stability again. So I didn’t wait until tomorrow, I opened it up today. God’s timing is perfect. Read this and tell me that isn’t true.

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Devotional here

Love and prayers,

Sarah

Finance- The wasted $2 avocado

I spent about 1.5 years of my life working my butt off and being financially frugal so I could pay off my $25,000 worth of student loan debt. I worked every extra shift, covered every spin class, never went to concerts, didn’t go on vacations or extra excursions, had my parents help me by buying food from Costco, I didn’t buy dunkin donuts or go out to eat often, I didn’t buy clothes unless it was a necessity. I was really extreme and I don’t apologize for it.

After I paid off my loans in August I went on a little splurge. I bought into a few kickstarter projects. I replaced my sports bras that would give me clothing burn after 3 miles running. I bought really nice sport tights made out of recycled plastic water bottles. I bought a trip to Europe. Then, in late August I also started my food study program.

The food study provided all my food for me for the next nine months of my life. So right when I allowed myself to go out to eat or even eat meals on the go, I started a program where I couldn’t do that.

That program ended three weeks ago. I now need to make my own food. I can sometimes (read: a lot of times) over pack my schedule. When all your food is made for you, this isn’t an issue. Last Monday was the first time I resorted to going to Panera in a pinch to buy dinner. I bought a $10 salad that was over rated. I felt guilty at the time. How could I spend that much on food? What about my other financial goals? Are they going down the drain? Seriously… could I be more dramatic?

My boyfriend pointed out to me that it was ok I bought the salad. It was sad that he had to even point that out to me in the first place. That’s what 1.5 years of frugality will leave imprinted on you.

Which leads me to the $2 avocado. For my lunches I buy ready made salad mixes  and add either an avocado or grilled chicken strips from Trader Joe’s. I have this natural talent of timing avocado ripening just right. Not sure how it happened, but I do. On Wednesday we had a power outage at work and we were told it would take two hours to come back. I have always wanted to do a spur of the moment lunch with my boyfriend, so while he’s still only a half hour away I texted him and we decided to meet up for Indian. My salad with avocado was in the kitchen, ready for me to eat and be healthy with a perfectly ripened avocado.

After planning something that I’ve always thought would be a fun thing, the thought in my mind was “what if my avocado is too ripe by tomorrow and I’ve wasted it? Avocados are expensive”.

Avocados are two dollars. TWO DOLLARS.

Sometimes  More often than I’d like to admit I have to remind myself that it’s ok to live life and not be perfect. To waste. To spend the $10 on a salad. As Ramit Sethi says, it’s not the $10 salad that’s going to be the deal breaker. It’s your financial systems and your income.

Fitness-Osteoperosis workout 2

Set 1:
10-12 reps
1. Squat with Bosu ball and arm extension (Bring the arms out and in at the bottom of the squat)
*To increase intensity, add more weight
*Add pause at top to increase intensity
**Slow and controlled movement
*Add hold in the down position
**She does it kneeling, but I think standing in a lunge position is better.
Set 2:
10-12 reps
*Use a weight for balance then eventually for strength and increasing difficulty
*Started with 6lbs
**Slow and steady
***Keep shoulders high on ball to help discomfort in neck area
*20 sec hold
**Start to make circles with your elbows as you advance
Replacement exercise for dead bug in Workout 1:
10-12 reps
She complained that dead bug gave her back problems so we switched it out.
I am the star of the video of chest press on Bosu ball!

Faith-Yume Wo Katare

A couple weeks ago I went out to dinner at a Ramen Restaurant in Central Square called Yume Wo Katare for my boyfriend’s birthday. Roughly translated from Japanese it means “Tell Your Dream”.

When I first looked at the menu I thought I was missing something. There are only two items. The second item is simply a larger portion size of the first. Regardless, I was open to whatever and I’m not a picky eater so I went with it.

This is a popular restaurant, but there wasn’t too much of a line at the time. After waiting about twenty minutes on a rainy Friday at 7pm, we were seated with four other people in line with us.

Before you enter the hostess has you do a quick hands in cheer with your group, whether you know them or not, usually “1-2-3 ramen!”. I thought this set the mood quite well! It doesn’t look like much on the outside, but I like the simpleness.

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Once inside there’s a great cheer from the cooks welcoming you. They take your order of either the smaller portion or the bigger portion of ramen and pork. I chose smaller and it was a great decision. Then the fun part- they ask you if you have a dream. Of course I do! They hand you a little placeholder stand with a note saying “I have a dream”. More on this later. Warning, they are cash only!

You’re then asked to grab a spoon, chop  sticks, and to grab a seat on a bench. We were right in front of the kitchen which made it interesting. The restaurant (essentially a room) was decorated with Japanese writing and notes of peoples’ dreams.

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Before I knew it I was being asked if I wanted garlic and my ramen was ready. It was DELICIOUS. It was plentiful.

When you’re finished your food the host asks you to stand up, say your name, and share your dream. Throughout our meal we heard things like “I want to make the world a better place when I graduate college” and “I want to move into my own apartment”. Everyone cheers for you and wishes you the best to accomplish your dream. Then they “grade your meal”. You get a “good job” if you’ve eaten most of it, and a “perfect” if you’ve eaten it all. Supposedly your dream only comes true if you’ve eaten it all.

There’s a “dream fund” at the front. If you donate to it the host announces it and everyone claps. I’m not sure what it’s funding, maybe a new location?

At the end of my meal I got a “good job” and my dream was to own a fitness center some day. I also announced it was John’s birthday so he had the whole room singing to him.

I would highly recommend this experience to everyone. It far exceeded my expectations and I would go back in a heartbeat with an emptier stomach.

This is in the faith category because, well, it may take a little more than finishing a bowl of ramen for your dream to come true. 😉

Faith-Resisting Happiness

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I’m not really sure what constitutes a copyright violation, but this is from the book Resisting Happiness and if you click the link you can get a free copy.

I picked it up for free at a Church in Stowe, Vermont I  attended. It’s really nice that Churches provide resources for their parish community. I almost felt guilty taking it, but that’s the devil for you.

I would give the book about 8/10.  the chapters were really short and to the point; very much my style. The most important part is what you take away from the book two months later. Here’s what I still remember.

  • Write down one thing you took away from Mass that week
  • Praying ten minutes a day can change your life (this is something I started doing in January and got out of the habit. Now that my schedule is less crazy, I will start again)
  • This is something I’ve really become conscious of over the last year. What am I hungry for?  So many times I   would turn to eating to fulfill something- comfort or good feelings. Instead of addressing the real issue at hand. Now I can acknowledge when I’m eating to fill a need. That’s a huge step- being self aware. I’m not yet perfect at addressing it from there, but I recognize it happening. My nutritionist said that I need to step off the guilt trip train. That it’s ok to eat to feel good once in a while. It’s ok if the scale doesn’t change. Yeah it can be frustrating but life moves on. So what? Move on. What’s beating yourself up going to do?

Ask yourself, what are you hungry for? Maybe it’s not food, maybe it’s for relationship. Maybe it’s for God. Maybe you don’t know. The only way you’ll know is by eating. Maybe you eat the wrong thing and throw up. Maybe you feel terrible. Well, then, you learn. And you grow. And you won’t eat it again. Or maybe you do. Eventually you’ll figure it out if you keep trying to be the best you you can be. I think that’s what Sainthood is all about. I think this is a great book to get you closer. It’s a quick read.  Pick it up sometime!

Ask and you shall receive

A little over two weeks ago I had my last day at my first ever side gig, the Framingham YMCA. I will do a whole separate post on that and what it did for my life. This post is about jumping ahead to the next thing.

There are many benefits to working at a YMCA that I knew I would sorely miss. The community, the comprehensive fitness options, the extra money. So what’s a girl to do but apply at a YMCA near my new home?

The one closest to me has little to no fitness classes and I didn’t want floor hours. So I looked at the next closest YMCA, the Cambridge location.

There were no job postings, so on a whim I emailed the director. He emailed me back relatively soon and we set up an interview and demo. I had never had to do a demo before- great way to get out of my comfort zone. For the record, a demo is typically a fifteen minute long class plan for the person interviewing you.

The interview and demo went great. I landed the job! Everything’s sunshine and roses! Ha, if only.

Turns out there’s no parking lot. To park, it’s metered parking. Its like $2 worth of quarters every time you park, two hour maximum. The most annoying!

Then, because I’m technically only a “sub”, I didn’t get a membership. WHAT?! that’s the main reason I wanted the job.

This isn’t panning out to be how I expected. Well, after mulling back and forth about maybe quitting, I decided to email her back and ask if I could get a membership. Worst she says is no?

I had a rough draft of what I would say and I ran it by my boyfriend. Here’s what I said-

“Also, I would like to discuss getting a membership as a staff member. I think that agreeing to teach every other week would be considered more than subbing. At one point I’m teaching four weeks in a row. Could that benefit be reconsidered? It was a big reason I wanted to start working for another YMCA.”

He said it was too wordy and wrote back

“Dear ________,

I know I am a sub and we are not eligible for membership, but since I am working as a long term sub over the summer I am passing up vacation opportunity during this time. Could this benefit be reconsidered?

Thanks,
sarah the dork :)”

And I said “but I don’t agree that I’m a sub!” And he wrote back-

“Dear ________,

I am a sub and we are not eligible for membership, but since I am scheduled to work every other week over the summer I am passing up a lot of vacation opportunity during this time. Could a basic membership benefit be reconsidered in my situation?

Thanks,
sarah the dork :)”

HAHAHA. So in the end I wrote-

“I am wondering if you could reconsider my eligiblility for a basic membership. I am scheduled to work every other week over the summer-at one point I’m working four weeks in a row- and I am passing up vacation opportunity during this time. Since I am technically a sub, I am not eligible for membership but could this be reconsidered in my situation? It was standard at my old YMCA, I didn’t think to ask before I started!”

Sometimes I have to be reminded that telling the other person I think they’re wrong probably won’t get me my way. Thanks, John! Does the wording need to be perfect? Probably not. Just be considerate of the other person’s ego and opinion, let them know that you hear them out, and bring your point of view. I ended up getting the membership, woot!

Most importantly, ask and you shall receive. I’m glad I took the “risk” and asked.

What can you ask for that you may think is a big risk but probably really isn’t that could be really beneficial for you if you get it?

Faith-Dating App Gems

In honor of deleting my dating apps I was asked to post some gems. Here are my favorites:

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A: I don’t even look that fit B: Flattery. Just, no.

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Good luck, dude.

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NEXT

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When a guy just won’t take no for an answer

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Do you want my LinkedIN? Snap? GooglePlus too?

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When your deep spiritual life is considered “shallow”

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Well unfortunately I’m not your type!

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Sometimes when I get ghosted I like to have fun with it.

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This guy watched one too many Rom Coms. 

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Man with big muscles. 7’11” Me like. **sarcasm**

Yes, I deleted them because I have found someone I am very happy with. 🙂

Minimalism Game-Day 31, Last Day

This is a long overdue post, better late than never!

I know this isn’t technically 31 items, but it’s one really big one. My first MacBookPro. I remember being incredibly anti-Apple back in the day. After my third PC in four years was slow and frustrating me, I decided to cave and buy an Apple. That was in 2010. 7 years later, it died officially. I never regretted that purchase.

I ended up selling the shell that was this computer for $200. Everything works except the hard drive. It wasn’t that sad or hard to sell, but it carries sentimental value. At the time the computer was an expensive purchase. I used my own money. It was probably $1200. $1200/7=171.43 a year. Thinking of it this way made buying my new laptop a lot easier decision. Did I want to spend a good chunk of my house downpayment on a new laptop? Not particularly. But now I don’t have to worry about this again for another 7 years as long as all goes well. Same with my car. I didn’t want to spend the money on it, but I would’ve had to dump money into my other one soon enough for repairs. Additionally, my Venza is a family car. Who knows where I’ll be five years from now, but I’m covered either way. Plus, it’s good in the snow, and I can be seen better on the highway and it’s safer.

My point is, it’s not always about the price tag. It’s about the value.

Which leads me to the minimalism game wrap up. I’m really satisfied with my results. I didn’t make it all the way to Easter, but I made it to a point where I walk in my room and love how everything is organized and cleaner feeling. There’s only one thing I miss-an extra pair of crappy sweat pants. I’m going to feed goats with my parents tomorrow (##youknowyou’refromruralMAwhen) and I didn’t have a pair to bring. I’ll manage. I mostly only have things that have value. The next time I move I’ll have way less stuff.

Now, the new game is to keep my life minimalist and not buy a lot of stuff! So far so good.

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