Monthly Archives: September 2014

All Changes Have Their Melancholy

Hope your week is off to a good start! I wanted to share a quote about change. I wrote about my struggle with the transition from grad school to working full-time a couple of months ago, and I finally feel like I have adjusted. I always prided myself on being open to change, and I was surprised by feeling down about finishing school and starting work, especially because I have an excellent first job. However, now I can see that it was normal for me to feel like that. The quote below by Anatole France perfectly sums up why I think some negative feelings about positive changes are still to be expected and validated.

“All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another.” – Anatole France.

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4 Bridges Training {Week 10}

Greetings! How was your weekend?? I had one of those great, rare weekends when you have fun AND get a lot of things done. I spent Friday night over at my best friend Jenna’s house drinking wine and watching the Shonda trilogy– Grey’s AnatomyScandal, and How to Get Away With Murder. Saturday was spent around the house with Derek. We did a lot of cleaning and organizing, which was much-needed. We also started watching Brooklyn Nine-Nine. It absolutely cracks me up; I definitely suggest checking it out if you haven’t already. Today we had our friends over to watch the Panthers game. The game was not pretty, but we had fun and ate a lot of delicious food. On Tuesday, I will be sharing a vegetarian chili recipe that I tried out for the party. NOM.

On a sad note, I did not run last week. My foot wasn’t doing well, so I decided to rest and just do my long run today. At first I felt great. My legs were much better than they have been in a couple of weeks. Then, around mile 4 of 10, my left calf suddenly started to hurt. It wasn’t bad at first, so I kept running. By mile 5 the pain got so bad that I couldn’t continue. I actually had to call Derek to come pick me up. (He’s the best.) I’ve been limping around since then because it hurts just to walk. I am so bummed. I’ve been training for 2 months, and I really hope things will get better so I can run on the 19th. 😦

Needless to say, I’m not sure how running will go this week. I’m hoping this is just a strain, and I’ll be good to go in a couple of days. Cross your fingers for me, please! Anyway, below is my tentative plan for this week.


4 Bridges Half-Marathon Training – Week 10

Monday: Yoga + strength

Tuesday: 3 miles

Wednesday: 5 miles or cross-train

Thursday: 3 miles + strength

Friday: Rest

Saturday: Cross-train for 50 minutes

Sunday: 10 miles

A Swift Kick In The Butt {Fun Friday}

Hallelujah, it’s Friday!!! Work was absolutely crazy this week. Obviously I know that protecting confidentiality is of the utmost importance, but sometimes I REALLY wish I didn’t have to abide by HIPAA regulations. You would not believe some of the things I see and hear with my cases. My friends Brittany and Caroline, who are also social workers, devised a plan for us to write a book called I Can’t Make This Sh*t Up. We can all attest to the cliché that truth is stranger than fiction.

Anywayyyy, on to some Fun Friday stories, pictures, and videos!


Let’s get this party started with a dog video. (I have a dog video problem.)

He is so perplexed by that fountain.

Next up is a “Lip Flip” segment from The Tonight Show. Have you seen this yet? This one with Jimmy Fallon and Billy Crystal is by far the funniest one to me.

I find it unsettling and hilarious.

Below is an amusing Calvin and Hobbes strip that I want to put up in my office.

pt6Ol1v

 

Sometimes we all need one. 🙂

Finally I want to share an NPR segment called, “Beyond Charity: Turning The Soup Kitchen Upside Down.” While charity is certainly necessary in the short-term, it is often not the best way to help people long-term.  Robert Egger, the founder of DC Central Kitchen, noticed that many of the individuals eating at local soup kitchens were battling addiction and facing incarceration in addition to dealing with unemployment and homelessness. Egger decided to take a “teach a man to fish” approach and created a culinary job training program, which teaches individuals how to cook and earn a food handler’s license. The individuals in the job training program help produce approximately 10,000 meals each day. About 5,000 meals are sent to local nonprofit organizations and another 5,000 meals are distributed to local, low-income schools.

My graduate school classmate Allison is starting up a non-profit with a similar model in Chapel Hill, NC. It’s called Made With Love Bakery. Made With Love Bakery is a “faith-based transitional employment bakery sharing the love of Jesus Christ with individuals experiencing or at risk of homelessness, giving them a second chance at employment and equipping them with the training and support they need to overcome poverty.” You can find out more on the website or her blog.

Sheesh, I’m supposed to turn off the social work for these posts. What can I say? I love seeing people find creative ways to address social issues. It inspires me.

Have a great weekend!!

Never Miss A Chance to Celebrate Life

Instead of sharing a quote, this week I want to share a story from our wedding that continues to inspire me. Hands down, the best part of our wedding was having all of our family and friends in the same room. The amount of love and support we felt that day is something that I will never forget. There were many memorable moments with our guests, but one interaction in particular has stuck with me.

One of Derek’s dad’s friends, we’ll call him Mr. G, traveled from Boca Raton, Florida to Lexington, Kentucky for the wedding. We were pleasantly surprised that he and his wife could make it, given the lengthy trip. When we talked to Mr. G, he gave us the best, most touching advice. Derek and I told him how happy we were that he and Mrs. G made the trip to be a part of our special day. Mr. G then told us that his sister passed away from breast cancer at a young age, and now he never misses an opportunity to celebrate life and love. He was grateful that he could be there to witness that beginning of our marriage.

Our encounter with Mr. G reminds me to appreciate every moment. It reminds me that there will be hard, dark times in my life, but I still need to choose to celebrate life. It reminds me that every day is a gift, but especially those days when we get to celebrate love, friendship, and new life.

 

4 Bridges Training {Week 9} + Meal Plan

Less than a month until race day! Last week’s training was just OK. As I mentioned in my Week 8 post, I’ve been having some trouble with plantar fasciitis. I ended up lowering my mileage substantially last week. I ran 2-3 miles on Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday, and I ran about 5 miles today. I’m still experiencing some pain, but it’s definitely improving. I started doing some Runner’s World yoga classes, and it seems to be helping. I’m glad I rested some last week. I’m going to attempt to get back to my normal mileage this week and see how things go.

On a good note, I finally have a gym membership again! Derek was able to get me an inexpensive gym membership at UNC since I am the spouse of a student. We worked out together 3 times last week. I am SO sore, but it feels great to lift again.

I’m keeping things pretty simple on the food front this week. The latter part of the week is forecasted to be cool and rainy – perfect for breaking out the crock pot. I’m really excited for next Sunday. Derek and I are having friends over to watch the Panthers game, which of course means delicious food is in order. Also, I promise to share a recipe this week. I’ve been really bad about that lately. I keep forgetting to take pictures while I cook. Whoops!


 

4 Bridges Half-Marathon Training – Week 9

Monday: Yoga + strength

Tuesday: 4.5 miles

Wednesday: 3 miles or cross-train

Thursday: 4.5 miles + strength

Friday: Rest

Saturday: Cross-train for 50 minutes

Sunday: 10 miles (Double digits!!!)

Meal Plan- Week of 9/22/14

Monday: Homemade Hawaiian/Veggie Pizza + Salad

Tuesday: Turkey Meatballs + Sweet Potato Tots + Green Beans

Wednesday: Maple Glazed Salmon + Couscous + Broccoli

Thursday: Provencal Beef Stew

Friday: Dinner Out

Saturday: Fiesta Chicken Enchiladas + Salad

Sunday: White Chili + Cornbread + Snacks + Beer

I Love Ears {Fun Friday}

Happy, happy Friday!! I don’t have any big plans this weekend, but I’m still really excited about it. I have some CRAZY cases at work. I’m enjoying work because it’s so interesting right now, but I definitely need the break over the weekend.


If you haven’t seen a Fun Friday post yet, I compile pictures, stories, and videos of things that make me smile or laugh. My work can be emotionally draining and making these posts helps me  leave work behind for the weekend.  Anyway, let’s get this party started . . .

Lend me your ears! The commercial below advertises headphones in a very . . . creative way.

It’s that kind of humor that makes you squirm and laugh at the same time.

I have a confession: I’m one of those people obsessed with all things pumpkin. Given my affinity for pumpkin everything, I had to laugh when I saw the picture below.

I definitely think we need some delicious pumpkin desserts happening on Brown is the New Pink.

Next up is an entertaining Batman video.

I love that he makes his own sound effects.

I’ll wrap things up with this video from Kid Snippets. The video depicts how two kids imagine job interviews. Their version of salary negotiation is particularly accurate.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Health Equity {Social Justice Issue}

I am FINALLY posting another piece in my social justice series. I love social justice posts, but they take longer to write than most of my posts. If you haven’t read Food Deserts and Swamps yet, read this one first. This post provides a broad overview of the relationship between social justice and health. It helps explain my perspective on health and well-being, and sets the stage for future social justice posts.


Health Equity

What is health equity? 

Healthy People 2020 defines health equity as “attainment of the highest level of health for all people. Achieving health equity requires valuing everyone equally with focused and ongoing societal efforts to address avoidable inequalities, historical and contemporary injustices, and the elimination of health and health care disparities.”

Health Equity

What is the difference between health equity and equality? 

Health equality focuses on fairness and involves equal distribution of health-related resources to all people regardless of pre-existing differences. Health equity focuses on people attaining the same optimal level of health, which often means that some people get more assistance or resources than others. Particular attention is paid to groups that have experienced major obstacles to health associated with being socially or economically disadvantaged. The image below is helpful for understanding the difference between the two.

equity

Source: theequityline.org

Unlike health equality, a health equity approach acknowledges that some individuals have a better chance of attaining optimal health than others. Therefore, the goal of health equity is to level the playing field so that everyone has the same opportunity to be healthy. An essential component of leveling the playing field and ultimately eradicating health disparities is addressing social determinants of health.

What are social determinants of health? 

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), social determinants of health are “the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age. These circumstances are shaped by the distribution of money, power and resources at global, national and local levels.”

In simpler terms, social determinants of health include a person’s

  • socioeconomic status,
  • neighborhood,
  • employment conditions,
  • education,
  • access to healthcare,
  • race,
  • ethnicity,
  • sexual orientation,
  • gender,
  • and personal behaviors.

The video below illustrates social determinants of health by using “Chad” and “Jeff” as examples.

For another example, as I pointed out in my last social justice post on food desserts and swamps, people who live in low income neighborhoods or communities are less likely to have access to affordable and nutritious food. And as we all know, a healthy diet is absolutely essential for overall health.

Why does health equity matter?

Health is a basic human right, and it affects every part of our lives. While some factors of health are beyond human influence, we have the power to address the social injustices that lead to health disparities. By building on individuals’ strengths and mitigating the effects of social and economic disadvantages, we can work towards equal opportunity for optimal health and well-being.

Resources and Additional Information

Healthy People 2020

WHO – Social Determinants of Health

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