Archive for the Friends Category

Last Year, This Year, and New Beginnings

Posted in Academia and Research, Dreams for the Future, Family, Friends, Graduate School, Internships and Work, Love, Miscellaneous on December 22, 2010 by aprilpalo

Wow – it’s been one hell of a year!

I haven’t posted on this blog in a long time. I’m not sure why; a combination of restlessness and busy-ness, maybe. I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to come back, but here I am! As Sam Seaborn said to CJ Craig, “Let’s move past the fact that you’re a little late to the party and just embrace the fact that you showed up at all.” 😛

2010: Ireland, summer, and fall

At the beginning of 2010, I left for the city of Dublin in the Republic of Ireland. What followed was one of the most extraordinary, challenging, amazing, inspiring, and fun experiences of my life. It’s hard to pin down the best part…

  • Going shopping for books at Dubray’s Bookstore on Grafton Street?
  • Hitting up the weekly farmer’s outdoor market in Temple Bar?
  • Seeing a play at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin’s Chinatown district?
  • Touring the Guinness Factory – two Americans and an Australian, no less?
  • Speaking of Australians, making awesome dinner parties every week with half the Commonwealth?
  • Classes on Irish history, folklore, and religion?
  • Working in the National Archives in the department of Irish Folklore?
  • Exploring the seaside town of Howth, climbing around a centuries-old abbey, and bringing home a fresh salmon?
  • Checking out the cute, funky, fun town of Malahide, in which the local castle was less fun than the awesome town?
  • Hiking around the ancient monastic site in Glendalough and taking pictures in front of a pristine mountain lake?
  • Kayaking and mountain biking in Killarney National Park?
  • Staying in a hostel/bar in Cork, including drinking with the local Irish kids?
  • Biking around Inis Mor, the largest of the Aran Islands, off the west coast of Ireland?
  • Hanging around Galway, sampling the local Italian fare and fish-n-chips?
  • Wading in the Mediterranean off the coast of Barcelona while eating an ice cream cone?
  • Climbing to the tops of Barcelona cathedrals?
  • Sharing a huge frying pan of paella in Spain?
  • Seeing the Sistine Chapel?
  • Seeing La Pieta?
  • Wandering around the Vatican’s St. Peter’s Basilica?
  • The best spinach and tomato pizza we’ve ever had, from a street vendor in a backstreet in Rome?
  • The Coliseum?
  • That time we found that amazing little restaurant just off the Piazza Navona on a glittery, rainy night?
  • That amazing hostel room with the insane blue bathroom and huge linen curtains?
  • Napping in front of the Notre Dame with the pigeons?
  • French Onion soup in an amazing little cafe not far from the Notre Dame?
  • Exploring Montmartre and checking out the hippies?
  • Pigalle subway station?
  • The Champs Elyseees and that awesome McDonalds? (Yeah, we went to a McDonalds in Paris…)
  • The view from the Sacre Couer?

Well, looking at all that, it’s really impossible to say! But after a whirlwind adventure around Ireland and Europe, we were happy to be back and settled into familiar territory in the Midwest.

In Summer 2010 I started working for the Interfaith Youth Leadership Coalition, doing youth programming and funding/development work. Chris started working full-time as a tech support and networks intern for Wells Fargo in downtown Minneapolis. We couldn’t have been luckier!

Our luck only continued.

Fall 2010 was an amazing semester for me. I completed a full courseload with some of the most challenging classes I’ve ever had, including classical Greek; I kept my research afloat and applied to the National Conference of Undergraduate Research; I had an AMAZING start to my interfaith social justice campaign; I enjoyed a great semester facilitating weekly Multifaith Alliance sessions; and I got to participate in some great reading and reflection with the Mahle program. Meanwhile, Chris made an excellent professional choice and stayed on fulltime with Wells Fargo. He is currently building transfer applications to computer science continuing education programs, where he will be finishing up his degree with WAY better credentials and industry standards.

2011: New beginnings…

In January I’m going to be taking a J-Term course, then I’m going to be completing a full courseload and my degree in one fell swoop. With any luck, I’ll be completing my senior honors thesis, presenting in Ithaca, New York, and defending my thesis before a defense committee. Plus, I’ll be wrapping up the Better Together campaign by holding monthly interfaith meals and volunteering/donations for free-case refugee resettlement in Minnesota. I’ll be finishing up my fourth year as a student leader with Multifaith Alliance [:(] And I’ll participate in the Mahle lecturer programming with Sara Miles!

By May, I’m going to graduate from Hamline, and just a month later, we’ll be getting married at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival grounds in Shakopee, Minnesota. Our wedding is going to be a beautiful little afternoon affair, full of blues and yellows, whimsy, and fun! We’re going to have some great clothes, yummy food, and the best friends and family anyone could ask for!

We’re planning a honeymoon road trip around the country (Australia and New Zealand just wasn’t in the budget, I’m afraid). Afterwards, we’ll be closing up shop, packing all of our belongings into a U-Haul, and moving to one of three cities: New York, Boston, or Chicago. In September I’ll be starting a master’s program at a theological seminary or divinity school, and Chris will be starting the last two years of his computer science degree. We’ll share a cute apartment, our cat, and — God willing — a family.

New beginnings…

I am unbelievably fortunate. By birth, circumstance, choice, and hard work, I have a whole host of assets that I can barely even comprehend. I’m a young, able-bodied woman, successful in my career, with a great home, a wonderful family, and a close-knit circle of friends. I’ve got the best partner in the world — who else gets to spend every day with their best friend, and always find something new to enjoy? I’ve had a goddamn amazing year and look forward to only more and better!

But like everyone, I’ve had some struggles. Balance and mindfulness are particular concerns for me. I’m a natural workaholic and often get so wrapped up in what I’m doing that I do not focus on my home, family, and friends.

I’ve worked hard to change that over the past year, and in the process, I have identified some core values/nourishments I want to shore up. In particular, I feel most dedicated to and most nourished by my relationship with God/religion, my relationship with my mind and body, and my relationship with my partner/family/friends.

So, this next year, I’m going to be embarking on a 12-month long “happiness project”! My happiness project will formalize these three values through 6 months’ worth of fun projects to enjoy every month, then spend 6 months developing these projects to fulfillment! Deep cleaning the apartment, scrapbooking, knitting, perfecting my bread recipe, getting back into yoga again — all of these are examples of some small projects I’ll be developing over the year. I can’t wait! I can post more on this later, I think.

Anyway, 2010 and 2011 have been amazing, and I can’t wait for the journey. Happy holidays to all!

Hello, world!

Posted in Academia and Research, Dreams for the Future, Family, Friends, Graduate School, Internships and Work, Love, Miscellaneous, Multifaith Alliance and Interfaith Activism, Notes from a Small Apartment, Oracle and Opinion, Study Abroad: The Great Adventure, Wedding on November 17, 2009 by aprilpalo

It’s been awhile, hasn’t it? I suppose it’s about time I crack my knuckles and fill you in!

There are a lot of things I’m preparing for. First and foremost: studying abroad. We’re moving out of our apartment sometime around December 17, and our flight leaves January 10. We should be in Dublin by 8:30 am the morning of January 11, and won’t be back until mid-May 2010.

I can’t believe I’m going to be living, working, and studying in a new home for nearly six months! The University College Dublin campus is the largest in Ireland and teaches nearly twenty-two thousand students per year. Dublin is one of the oldest cities in Ireland – it’s been been a capital city and port since well before Christianity, Vikings, or the Roman Empire. Ireland itself is an island unlike any place I will ever live, a bizarre mix of old and new, ancient and modern. Everything is going to be different there – even some parts of the language! I am absolutely thrilled to go, and I’m only one $3000 loan away from making it happen.

Other parts of my life revolve around what I’m going to do when I get back:

  • I’ve got my academics all planned out for my senior year; it’s hard to believe that I’m only two Hamline semesters away from graduating!
  • On top of that, I’m applying for a Mahle Scholarship. The Scholarship is actually a paid stipend position dedicated to progressive religious education, reflection, and service. It would be a really great way to dedicate myself to interfaith justice on campus, and I’m already buzzing with ideas!
  • I’m also coordinating the next leg of my research project. After the incredible success of last summer, it’s back to the drawing board to see what I can hone, expand, or focus more deeply. I’m going to take advantage of some Ireland resources, and when I return I fully intend on spending Summer 2010 working through additional research. Then I can spend my senior year dedicating myself to my Religion senior honors’ thesis.
  • In terms of interfaith/social justice initiatives, I’m also dedicating myself to Multifaith Alliance’s future. We’ve finally lined up an amazing new student leader for Multifaith while I am gone, and when I get back, I’m really excited to tackle some new projects as a team. I’m in touch with Hamline administration regarding a potential interfaith living community on campus, as well as introducing some interfaith dialogue into freshman orientation programming!
  • But academics, research, and extracurriculars aren’t everything; I’m also focusing on my employable future. I am currently applying for an internship position with Saint Paul Area Council of Churches, ideally working with the Saint Paul Interfaith Network and the Interfaith Youth Leadership Coalition. I am so excited at the possibility of working with these teams, and I can’t wait to find out what’s next! What’s more, my dream goal is to attain a position in the Interfaith Youth Core’s Fellows Alliance program – it’s a year-long paid position and the ultimate in youth interfaith leadership. It’s a dream goal for me and I’m really working hard to make it happen!

Of course, all of this stuff is happening on top of writing for The Oracle and working three jobs in IT, so I’m busting my ass on a regular basis. It’s worth it, though. Now that I know what I want to do and how to work towards it, I feel unstoppable. I feel like my calling is definitely leading me somewhere – I just have to keep up!

I’m really working on making my projects my own priority, instead of comparing myself to other students and friends. I’ve got some friends who are attaining serious career success right now, but the thing I have to remember is that I am, too. And I will continue to do so! I’ve just got to buckle down and follow my vocation wherever it takes me!

Let’s see, what else? Well, I’m also preparing for what comes after graduation. I’m obviously planning for graduate school, and here is my current list:

  1. University of Chicago
  2. Northwestern
  3. Chicago Theological Seminary (Can you tell that Chicago is a running theme?)
  4. Columbia
  5. NYU
  6. Harvard
  7. Yale
  8. Duke

Yeah, so I’ll admit I’m not setting my sights particularly low. But what’s the worst that can happen? They say no? Big deal – I find somewhere else, and I turn it into the best decision I ever made. 🙂

I’m also flirting with the idea of pursuing a Fulbright. I hadn’t considered it very much before, primarily because I was also thinking about the Peace Corps, the potential language barrier, and whether or not it would work for our plans as a couple. But I got to talking and thinking about it, and I realized: There is no realistic reason why I couldn’t pursue a research future in the United Kingdom. Why not apply? I can always defer grad school until I get back, and Chris can always pursue employment abroad if the Fulbright grant doesn’t support him.

Mentally/Emotionally/Physically, I guess I’m in this really powerful transition mode. My mind, my heart, my body – every part of me is moving forward. I’ve written before that I’m in a really peaceful, motivated place in my life; I am both deeply tranquil and brimming with passion, and I think that’s a really good place to be. My happiness must always be balanced with a reflective gratitude, and I try never to let a moment go by that I don’t thank God* for what I have been given.

* This might also be a good time to touch on my spirituality. You’ll notice that I put an asterisk by the word “God”. Usually I write “the universe” or “life”. I definitely still believe in those things; I certainly don’t believe in a personified, reified God. But I am starting to identify with a Jewish/Christian tradition, and part of living a Jewish life and living by Christ’s example is recognizing the depth of my faith and the value of community. In terms of faith, it’s important for me to stop running away from the concept of God and instead approach it thoughtfully, flexibly, and with utmost love and gratitude. Rather than obfuscating the words “universe” and “life”, I can take a page from Soren Kierkegaard and engage in a subjective, faithful relationship with “God”. Do I believe in God the same way others do? No, but that doesn’t mean I can’t engage in a relationship with It. In terms of community, it’s important for me to stop talking and begin living. I can’t just keep speaking and hoping I find something; I’ve got to jump in and practice my identity fully and passionately. I’ve never pulled punches in any other part of my life. Why should I start now?

So, that’s a process and I’m very excited to see where it goes in the future.

All told, I think we’ve touched on a lot of the important things in my life right now! It’s a pretty hectic way to live, but it’s a powerful, thrilling, and enjoyable way. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. There’s a lot I didn’t discuss – there’s been a lot of social justice issues I’ve been tackling, and wedding plans I’ve been considering – but I’ll leave those for another time!

Stay tuned. Thanks for listening. 🙂

Brief Updates

Posted in Academia and Research, Family, Friends, Love on October 7, 2009 by aprilpalo

[Whew! So much has been going on recently! Between the IFYC visit and paganism last week, my head is practically spinning!

Plus, I’ve been up to a lot in other areas of social justice and interfaith activism, including the Boykin address and my new column for the Oracle.]

Speaking of which! My new column is up! Check it out here: www.hamlineoracle.com. And, you can check out my very first article – my first column ever at Hamline – right here: Midway Not So Scary.

In other news, I’ve been doing a lot of meditation and practicing my self-awareness recently, and I am very proud of where I’ve come to be. My mind, body, heart, soul, and life are continuing to move forward positively, and I am continuing to work on balancing my idealistic ambition with a reflective, generous happiness. It’s a journey, and I’m thrilled to be on it!

In more practical news, both members of my family undergoing procedures this week are doing just fine. My Grandma had a brief surgery yesterday, and this morning my mom underwent a laser surgery to help with some health issues she’s been having. Both women are doing great, and are well on the road to recovery!

On Thursday, Multifaith Alliance is undertaking our first-ever service project, so I’m really excited about that! Check out my thoughts about service (and my dreams for Multifaith) at the blog, located here.

Also, this weekend Chris and I are picking up my other Grandma and going to visit my folks in Iowa, so I’ll be a little MIA as I spend time with them and catch up on various projects. So fear not, dear readers – I’ll be back!

I’ll keep you posted. Have an awesome day!

New Skirt

Posted in Dreams for the Future, Friends, Love, Miscellaneous, Notes from a Small Apartment on September 28, 2009 by aprilpalo

This is just a brief update to share a little bit of awesome. I ought to be working on my archaeology essay, but… I’d rather listen to sweet music and post cool pictures instead.

Here is a skirt that Abbie made for me!
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Straight from Abbie’s adorable blog, thInk Blots:

Through this process, I really realized that I love designing things for other people, particularly people I know fairly well. I know what sort of thing they like, and how to personalize it to suit them specifically. Very, very fun process. It really didn’t take me long – probably 5 hours all together, and the outcome is fabulous. She loves it, I love it, and it looks GREAT on her!

This is what she told me she likes: Mermaid skirts, buttons, and lots of threads/DIY stuff everywhere.

Knowing her, I know she wears a lot of warm colors. So I accented with some orange yarn (so you could see the threadwork), and put in buttons. Made sure the inserts started above the knee, so that her mobility wouldn’t be restricted, and added some “kick pleats” or inserts on the side seams to add to the mermaid effect.

All in all, I’m very proud of this garment.

And, because Abbie is just as adorable as her blog:

There she is! In a dress she MADE!

There she is! In a dress she MADE!

Yay for skirts, good friends, and procrastinating from homework!

Incandescence

Posted in Academia and Research, Dreams for the Future, Family, Friends, Graduate School, Love, Miscellaneous, Notes from a Small Apartment, Study Abroad: The Great Adventure on September 21, 2009 by aprilpalo

So, today is going very well. After a long while of buckling down and doing some hard reading, I managed to get all my homework done for today, tomorrow, and Wednesday! That’s right – I am two days ahead in my homework!

I’m very lucky to have a good schedule this semester, especially one that allows me to work ahead in my homework and maintain a good balance of work and life. Counting my blessings about this has inspired me to take a break and post a little about fortune and happiness.

I’ve mentioned before that I’ve found myself in a position where I can finally, in all facets of my life, reach out and take hold of certain hobbies, goals, and ambitions. Yesterday, I walked a labyrinth for the first time in my life, and while I was walking there came to me the following idea: such incredible opportunity must always be paired with a reflective, generous sense of happiness. Ambition is nothing without self-reflection, and success is nothing if not shared.

Upon this realization, I wrote my gratitude on a little slip of paper and left it near the candles and bowl at the center of the labyrinth. Filled with positivity towards my future, I practically danced out of the labyrinth, so excited to continue forwards!

Later that night, Chris and I went for a late-night walk around our neighborhood. Going for walks together is a great way for the two of us to wind down, compare notes on our day, and spend some time connecting with ourselves and with our future. While we walked, I shared a little more of my experience. Primarily I expressed that although it’s fantastic to have found some direction, the happiness and positivity that I currently feel is what makes that direction so special to me.

Allow me to go into it a little more.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, there a number of little things I want to reach out and work towards. Some are superficial, and some are simple; others, however, are rather personal. Improving my body through diet and exercise is one of them.

But in addition to this, I am also working to nourish my mind through challenging research and academia. Opening up new books and exploring new topics is like setting a bowl of fresh salad in front of my mind; it’s as delicious as a crunch of carrot and as delectable as a strawberry!

I’m also dedicating myself to interfaith activism and planning my career – most notably, planning Multifaith Alliance’s inaugural service project, organizing networking opportunities when I return from Ireland, and scheming towards graduation and graduate school (maybe at the University of Chicago)! All of these strengthen my mind as well, and keep me focused and active and inspired.

But the body and the mind isn’t everything. There’s also one’s heart, and I’m proud to say that I’m nurturing mine. I’m finally learning to let go of the past, and to dedicate myself to my current love, family, and friendships. I am incredibly lucky to be surrounded by the people I am with, and it’s high time I let go of regret, fear, and anxiety in favor of simply enjoying the ride. For too much of my life, I’ve kept resentment and hurt stewing way down inside, and that degree of discontent always had the capacity to mar my optimism. My heart is finally letting those go, in favor of unbridled happiness!

Quitting Facebook in favor of Twitter and this blog is actually part of that. Reducing my communicative quantity in favor of quality goes a long way towards letting go of pettiness and focusing on productive positivity. Striking a good balance between work and life is part of it, too. Being gifted with such a nice schedule is allowing me to explore new projects and hobbies with a full heart and passion.

Last but not least, my spirituality has also found some momentum. I am typically the sort of person who wants to convert to everything, but since establishing my relationship with God and developing my Judeo-Christian affinity, I have begun to be able to discern. Being able to discern and discriminate between options tells me that I’ve finally found something I can stick with, something that matters, something that won’t get brushed aside by the next simple fancy. My Buddhism class is starting to provide that shove, but I am overjoyed to find that my spirituality is standing its ground, and instead of bowing to some new thrill it is growing ever broadened and stronger.

So, I guess what I want to express is this: Finding myself in a place where I can reach forward with intention and passion must be – and thankfully is! – coupled with a reflective, generous joy. This is true across all my endeavors of the body, mind, heart, and spirit, which is why I am so happy and can’t wait to approach my future.

Weekend of Amazing Food

Posted in Dreams for the Future, Friends, Love, Notes from a Small Apartment on September 20, 2009 by aprilpalo

This has been a really fantastic weekend! And it was chock-full of amazing food!

On Friday I felt like I was coming down with something, so I took a two-hour nap after work. Fortunately, this left me feeling revived and refreshed, so I put on some nice clothes and drove to Temple of Aaron for Friday evening Erev Rosh Hashanah services. We didn’t have tickets, which was awkward at first, but we were able to get in and enjoy with little trouble. I liked their new High Holydays book (printed in honor of ToA’s 100th anniversary); it was very educational for a novice like me. Of course, the songs and prayers were incredible, and Cantor Howitz’ voice was – as always! – a spiritual performance.

Shana Tova! Happy New Year!

The next morning, I got up early and went with Chris and Emily to the Minneapolis Farmer’s Market! It was AWESOME!! I’ve been working hard to become healthier and eat more ethically, and I found myself in a place where I could do both! Tons and tons of fruits, veggies, and produce of all kinds, and it’s all fresh, local, and frequently organic! By the time I came home, I had:

  • A whole bag of juicy, delicious cherry tomatoes
  • Crunchy, amazing organic carrots
  • Three enormous cucumbers
  • Two bell peppers (green and yellow)
  • A huge bag of incredibly fresh lettuce
  • Two loaves of homemade white sourdough
  • A half-pound of homemade spicy Thai pasta
  • Another half-pound of homemade basil garlic penne
  • A block tomato-basil cheddar
  • A block of 4-year-old sharp yellow cheddar

… and all for less than $28! It was an amazing trip, and we’re making plans to go back every other week. I’ve decided to allocate some grocery money to this, I’m that serious about it. It was so cool!

Minneapolis Farmer's Market. Om nom nom nom!

But because it happened to be necessary, and because the Farmer’s Market can’t provide everything, I went grocery shopping. Armed with a carefully-composed list, I honed my ninja grocery shopping skills and came home with three REUSABLE bags stuffed full of groceries – all for less than $50! It was so nice to put up my bags on the counter, put away all of our fresh, lovely groceries into our cupboards, and stack the bags away for next time. Something about full cupboards is so wonderful and homey… It was really nice, and it felt good to be so fortunate and secure. In such troubled times I have to acknowledge my gratitude!

Then I went to Como Park for Guy’s birthday party. It wound being a little nuts, but eventually we were all able to show up and spend some quality time together. It’s always nice to catch up with everybody, especially around a particularly bizarre game of Apples to Apples. (Man, I’ve sure got a food theme going, don’t I?)

And speaking of food, while we were there, Abbie gave us all some of her amazing homemade honey wheat bread! It was delicious, and so of course, we begged her for the recipe. And here it is – Five Minutes A Day For Fresh-Baked Bread! It seems seriously easy, and given my desire to start making stuff homemade, I think I want to try it as soon as possible!

Seriously, folks. Give it a shot!

Coupled with Chris’ recent desire to make his own peanut butter and jelly, how awesome would it be to have our very own homemade peanut butter and jelly sandwiches? I know, right? WAY AWESOME!!

Plus, I seriously want to add another thing to the “make it ourselves” list – ApartmentTherapy’s banana ice cream. All it takes is a banana. I know, I couldn’t believe it either – but I guess if you whip up a frozen banana in the food processor, it comes out very similar to a frozen custard! The banana has the right texture and enough natural sugars that it makes a fine replacement for ice cream. How cool is that?!

Just one ingredient!

Just one ingredient!

Whew!

With that, dear readers, I’m going to sign off – I think I’ve probably mentioned enough food to make you drool by now, huh? Off to work and the Leadership Summit in a little bit. Maybe they’ll have food there!

Who I Want To Be

Posted in Academia and Research, Dreams for the Future, Family, Friends, Graduate School, Internships and Work, Love, Miscellaneous, Multifaith Alliance and Interfaith Activism, Notes from a Small Apartment, Oracle and Opinion, Study Abroad: The Great Adventure, Wedding on September 17, 2009 by aprilpalo

I’m going to share something with my readers that I don’t usually talk about.

Generally speaking I am a very happy person. I consider myself to be positive and excited for my future most of the time, and while I may have certain fears or anxieties, I try to be honest with myself about what they are and how to deal with them. On the whole I am very pleased and proud with where I am in life – my physical, mental and spiritual health, my calling, my classes, my organizations and involvements, my work, my love life, my friends, my family. This is a fantastic place to find myself!

On a more specific level, though, there are certain things that I want to improve on. They’re never really huge things; they’re typically more along the lines of… how I would be if I took advantage of all my ambitions? What would I look like if I really went after all the little things I say I want to do? So I’ve made a list.

Some of the items are superficial, and include how I would dress if I had the money and how I would decorate my home if I could. Others are essentially sketches of how I am right now – for example, my art, literature, and music tastes.

And yet, some are rather personal: activities (religious studies, research and academia, interfaith activism and organizing, world travel and culture), talents (studying, teaching, writing, working, organizing, travel), and interests (pinup, tattoos, film, writing, fantasy, and computers).

Right up there with improving my mental and spiritual health (such as quitting Facebook and embracing my spirituality), the most personal of all refers to how I want to improve my physical life. It’s no secret that I’m learning to simultaneously love my body and stop ignoring it, and physical health is part of that. There are a number of ways I want to do this:

Nutrition

– I’m debating between: 1) switching to organic, farm-fresh, free-range meat at home (and going veg when I can’t be sure), and 2) going veg all the way. We’ll see.

– Increase the mixed veggies and mixed fruit

– Get some healthy snacks: veggies, fruit, trail mix, yogurt, or cheese are good!

– Eat a little breakfast in the morning, so I don’t pig out at lunch. Have a light snack in the afternoon so I don’t wolf down dinner.

– Eat in moderation. Don’t be afraid to leave food on your plate.

– Decrease the pastas and boxed/processed food.

– Avoid sweets. No more donuts and pastries, and no more handfuls of Hershey’s Kisses every meal.

– Avoid oils. Less butter!

Exercise

– Do some kind of exercise every day

– Go for a bike ride every day

– Work up to some cardio and resistance training

And… the announcement of the century:

I have actually been achieving some success!

I have begun to eat more healthfully, including more fruits and veggies and eating in moderation. I feel better, and I feel more fit! But most importantly, I have begun going on long walks at night, and last night…

… last night…

… Last night, I went for a run. It’s the first time in my LIFE that I have ever voluntarily gone for a run. Previous times it’s always been because I’m part of a group or a class that is forced to jog, and I always hated it. But it occurred to me last night: “It’s dark, it’s quiet, no one can see me… Why not?” So I threw on some shorts and a tank top and went out and did it.

I didn’t go far – only around about a block and a half – but I made it. I didn’t stop once! When I returned to the house, I slowed and walked around about a three block area, finally doing some stretches before going back inside. On the whole it didn’t take me more than fifteen to twenty minutes.

It’s not much, but it’s a start. It’s a big achievement for me, and I wanted to share it with all of you!