Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Oh! The Places You Will Go!

When I look back on 2014, I think of the challenges that have been overcome, the progress that's been made, and most of all, the many adventures that took place along the way! One of my favorite poems has always been Dr. Seuss's "Oh, The Places You'll Go!" and I can't help but think of it when reminiscing on the opportunities that training presents. Yes, training is an impetus of improvement and a means of achieving goals, yet it's also a fun and exciting way to experience and engage in the world around me. To close on 2014, I'd like to share a mini collage of the fun that has taken place this past year.


Oh, the places you'll go! 
There is fun to be done! 
There are points to be scored. 
There are games to be won. 
And the magical things you can do with 
that ball will make you the winning-est winner of all. 

Boston
Los Angeles
Burkes Garden (Tazewell, VA)
The Pacific Coast Hwy
Just down the mtn :)
Knott's Island, NC
Wrightsville Beach, NC
OH! THE PLACES YOU'LL GO! 
You'll be on your way up! 
You'll be seeing great sights! 
You'll join the high fliers who soar to high heights. 
And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! 
(98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed).

Early morning adventures running through farm fields
Post ride cooling off in a river

As seen at the local aquatic center
Outdoor early morning yoga sessions
And taking the sunrise before embarking in a marathon of a journey
[Virginia Beach Boardwalk - Shamrock Marathon]
Early season training hanging out in the snow!
Mid-season training in the California sun! 
Late season fall vibes!
Welcome back, snow!
Oh, the places you'll go! There is fun to be done!
There are points to be scored. there are games to be won.
And the magical things you can do with that ball
will make you the winning-est winner of all.

Racing in new localities: Colonial Beach, VA
And seeing similar sights from a whole new angle.
Taking time for a mid-ride splash!
[The New River-- 2nd oldest river in the world!]
And enjoying scenic overlooks! [New Castle, VA]
Sharing in the training experience with family [W&OD Trail in Northern VA]


And celebrating birthdays in a unique way [run to Dragon's Tooth on the AT]
Talking to cows: Mooooo.
Yelling at a computer...
Saying hello to some local sheep! Baaaa
More beautiful country side in southwest VA
The little 'ol town of Narrows, VA [where many long rides took place].
Virginia Tech Smart Road
Farms!
Intercostal waterways!
Go Hokies!
You're off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So...get on your way!

Thanks for a great year, 2014.
Looking forward to many more adventures in 2015!


p.s. This will be my last post on here on Blogger, but please do join me as I continue to write about my adventures in 2015 and beyond at my newly designed website HERE.


Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Tuesday Thoughts & Wishing You A Merry Christmas

Success is the Sum of Small Efforts

Inspiration often comes from the most unlikely sources. Sometimes, it's just a matter of slowing down and opening our eyes to see it amongst the busyness of everyday life. Yesterday, I walked into a room of one of our new skilled rehab patients to conduct my standard assessment interview. This so happens to be an individual I've met and talked with in the past. The resident is chair bound with limited mobility, but as soon as I walk in she lights up to greet me with a huge smile.

I ask her about her appetite. "I don't have one at all, but I eat because I know it will make me stronger." Then, I ask about her progression in therapy. She tells me how every day she pushes herself to try something new. "Today," she said, "was a milestone for me," and she proceeds to show me as she stretches her arms together overhead. "Yesterday, I could not do this, and today I can." It was something so simple that I am able to do daily with ease, and here she was SO proud and glowing with excitement regarding her progress.

The moment warmed my heart, and though I was having a rough morning, I left with a refreshed perspective. Here was this sweet lady, comparative to most standards had so little to work with sitting in that chair, yet she had a joyful heart and looked for ways to push herself beyond her comfort zone. In the face of so many obstacles, she is keeping this attitude of hope, perseverance and progress. Little steps in the right direction. While many of my goals and efforts are centered around race outcomes and career objectives, here she was working to build up the strength to go home, one milestone at a time.


Gifts of Lasting Impact

This Christmas will be a little different than years past: It will be just the two of us, I will be working, and most of the gifts have already been exchanged. I will be spending my time serving residents so that they may fully enjoy the gift of the day. Some will have family visiting to celebrate with them, and for others, we are their family.  In that, I am thankful for the reminder of how each day we have the opportunity to give of ourselves and be a blessing to others. Often, it's not gifts that require wrapping that bring the most joy, but perhaps the more simpler things in life: words of encouragement, a warm embrace, or a sincere smile that says "you are special to me."



Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays from the Changs


<3 Jordan, Kristen & Kenya

Monday, December 15, 2014

Recipe: Sweet Potato Parfait

Insufficient energy for blogging r/t inability to synthesize coherent sentences secondary to overstimulated brain AEB inability to finish a blog post (despite many started) and this being my first post in two weeks!

If you're a dietitian or dietetics student, then you'll understand the lingo behind my opening sentence. If not, eh, don't worry about it :)

This past weekend, my husband finished this crazy thing called the Hellgate 100k. That's 66.6 miles of torturous mountain running starting at 12:01AM, thanks to race director David Horton. It was his 8th time crossing the finish line of this special race, so you can say it's sort of like a December tradition for us. This year, however, his finish meant the completion of the Beast Series, 530 miles of ultra-running raced in 2014, to earn this extra special (and heavy) award:


I don't have much more to say about this other than he's crazy and I'm a proud wifey!

Today I also administered the final exam of my first semester of teaching! It's been a fun semester, though I will say there is a huge learning curve when it comes to effectively managing a classroom of 40 seniors and graduate students AND teaching them something in the process. Needless to say, my brain is feeling a bit over-extended and blogging has been pushed to the wayside. So, I'm keeping this one short and sweet, sort of like this small and subtly sweet snack parfait that I've been meaning to share with you all for quite some time now.


Sweet Potato Parfait

Ingredients


1/2 small sweet potato, baked until soft
2-3 tbsp vanilla greek yogurt
2-3 tbsp granola
Sprinkle of cinnamon
Sprinkle of coconut
Sprinkle of chia seeds

Directions


Mash the sweet potato (skin, optional) and top with yogurt, granola and remaining ingredients. For an extra special snack, melt and drizzle 1 tbsp creamy peanut butter. Use gluten-free granola and coconut yogurt to make this one gluten-free, dairy-free.

A filling yet light treat, the combination of protein + complex carbs + cinnamon in this snack will help stabilize blood sugar levels and keep the afternoon munchies at bay.

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