My recent days have been spent echoing Willie Nelson’s country music anthem: On the Road Again. It’s that time of year, when you may meet many a fourth-year medical students interviewing for a residency position in your town. The “interview trail” is quite a treat, as you get to experience the country’s many different show-and-tell experiences through sweet serendipity.
If serendipity could get any sweeter, it does. What could be sweeter than getting to spend 2.5 weeks, 5 states, 45728934 bathroom stops, and unlimited priceless memories in a white Lincoln Town Car with your 80 and 81-year-old grandparents? Not much. My only regret is not purchasing a Go-Pro for one of the most epic journeys of my ~2.5 decades of life.
We did it all:
After these last few weeks, the Turkish proverb, “No road is long with good company,” now resonates even louder. It is a blessing to travel a long road, but even more special with genuine company. And, possibly even more importantly, remembering to enjoy the present, as the present is what allows us to make our most cherished memories.
So, watch out for this band of gypsies. We could be on our way to YOUR town (with the help of Google Maps and Siri, of course).
A month or so ago, I had the pleasure of having my “sister from across-the-sea” visit after FIVE YEARS of being separated by undergraduate classes, travels, graduate school, the large body of water between us, etc, etc. I met Jessica as an undergraduate student at NC State when she was an international exchange student from the UK (she is now onto big things at Oxford University). As you know, it’s a rarity and a blessing to have friends that you can pick right back up where you left off.
In Jess’ 72-hours +/- whirlwind trip to the great state of NC (I keep telling her, NC is her true home…), we explored Chapel Hill, Raleigh, Boone, Asheboro, and this frightening gas station somewhere along Hwy 311—I felt like that stop just had to be mentioned for the sake of psychological recovery. But more notable than the adventures and situations that people would only believe if captured on a GoPro (of which we didn’t have), we laughed. A LOT. So much that we cried, and then we cried a lot.
It was pure joy. We all get busy and start putting joy-eliciting situations on the backburner. It’s like we think we don’t deserve to experience joy if item #42 on ‘The Infamous To-Do List’ isn’t completed. But maybe, just maybe, stopping at item #41 to take time for joy-eliciting activities is exactly the rejuvenation that we need.
So, I challenge you to find your own definition of a great day and GO FOR IT. Life’s too short to have mediocre days, because you deserve more! Find the people and situations that allow you to skip your ab workout because your abdominal muscles have been contracting out of pure joy.
I challenge you to find your great days.
North Carolina weather gifted many with an “Ice Day” today, a.k.a. a perfect day for baking in your PJs while jammin’ to your favorite bluegrass bands (ok, maybe just me). Here’s a healthier alternative to satisfy your sweet tooth—a Jammer Bar (in the spirit of good music and good jam)! A simple recipe for one OR to bake with your little ones, teaching them about nutritive ingredients.
Oh, and a shout-out to my great aunt Dot for the homemade blackberry fig jam for my Jammers.
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Preparation time: 10 mins Bake time: 30 mins
2 cups of quick oats or old-fashioned
1.5 cups of whole wheat flour (yay fiber!)
0.5 cup of brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
6 tbsp of egg white substitute/ 2 egg whites (low fat protein!)
1 tsp of vanilla flavoring
1 cup of unsweetened applesauce (versus butter or vegetable oil)
Sugar free jam (flavor of your choice) or Homemade Jam
Combine dry ingredients and stir lightly. Add in wet ingredients and stir until batter is well mixed and resembles a cookie dough.
Apply non-stick spray to an 11x7 inches or 9x13 inches pan (if you want thinner bars, go for the 9x13 inches pan). Spread half of the batter on the bottom of the pan. Use enough of your jam of choice to cover that layer. Apply the remaining half of the batter on top of the jam layer (I found it easiest to crumble the remaining batter on top and press into the jam layer, as it’s difficult to spread without mixing it in the jam layer—but, feel free to get creative!).
Place on middle rack at 350 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for 30 minutes (my oven cooks quickly, so cater the time to your oven).
Let cool for 1 hour, cut in bars, and enjoy! Can be wrapped individually to enjoy as a snack throughout the week for all ages (great for lunch boxes) or paired with a low-fat yogurt of your choice!
Wishing everyone a wonderful (or honorary) "Ice Day" and "Jammer-time " with your loved ones.
It's been a lovely few days of post-Christmas downtime with the spanglernest Crew (AKA the fam). We've been 'gypsy-ing' up and down the NC coast, letting the humid NC coastal breeze guide our adventures before having to return to our vocations in the mysterious/exciting/quickly approaching 2016.
Whew. 2016. The Crew, like many others, has spent the last couple of days squeezing out their last reflections/sensei-like wisdom of 2015. Here were 5 of our heavy hitters:
1. WHERE DID IT GO?!?
2. Perceived trials are actually 'blessings in disguise'...
3. One should have utmost discernment with Candy Crush life usage (ahem, Mom and Sis)...
4. One should always be prepared to geocache; however, there are appropriate times and places. Those stories will be funny later, right Dad?...
5. And, how are we going to increase the "AWESOME Factor" of 2016?
The beauty of the New Year, and really of each New Day, is the opportunity to seek challenges. And, to each their own. Be your biggest competitor and more importantly, be your biggest motivator. Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither is the person that we are striving to become. So, be patient (personally, still working on this one...). To quote a grandpa with some actual wisdom, "Continue to grow, grow, grow. You've got to keep growing." Therefore, we, just like this December has learned new meteorological tricks (record high temps in NC!), can too learn new tricks.
Embrace your past journeys, enjoy the future adventures, and I'm wishing you endless positivity in 2016.
P.S. Check out 'geocaching'--a great way to be active and spend quality time with your loved ones!