things i like about my life right now {part 4}

happy if i had to describe the last month of my life in one word, it would be blah. my usual over-the-top enthusiasm for life and all its stripes got zapped somewhere in the beginning of 2012. i think i’ve let myself harp about it too much. and deep down i’m just not a negative nancy, even if i try! it has genuinely been a rough patch, but honestly, let’s face it, my life is awesome. so i’m dusting off my rosy glasses and sharpening up on my actually oft-practiced skill of embracing a new life with a tablespoon or so of gusto and pizzazz. life has brought me to just where i am, undoubtedly for some beautiful albeit currently mysterious reasons, and i prefer to be happy.

to facilitate in this attitude readjustment, here’s a new “things i like about my life right now” list (here is part 1, part 2 and part 3):

-i am in the habit of going to bed early and waking up between 6 and 6:30 to exercise. i feel so, so good getting home from a workout at 7:30 or so awake, alive and invigorated. i feel a lot of pride in the fact that i have developed this early to bed/early to rise habit. if you’ve ever lived with me, you know why. usually mornings and i really don’t get along and i just relish staying up late. i am honestly impressed with myself and my self control.

-morning runs at baylands park really make me so happy. there’s a good 5 mile loop, and i run into the bursting sunrise. it’s misty and golden and crystaly and such a spectacular brand of bleak beauty. i always think i should stop and take a picture, but the adrenaline and the crisp air and the good music in my ears just gives me too much momentum to halt. oh! it is such a cleansing, glad feeling pushing forward and breathing deep and seeing with all my eye neurons and feeling so aware of all my muscles.

-eating steel cut oatmeal (that i cooked in the crockpot overnight) with fruit and coconut and almond milk for breakfast. it is honestly the last thing i think about before i fall asleep and the first thing i think of when i wake up. i also have been making protein pancakes or yummy smoothies for breakfast and gosh, i just really love breakfast.

-i have been getting really, really into cooking. it’s a bit weird, but most nights i would rather stay in by myself and cook up something fabulous and healthy than do almost anything else. there’s just something so incredibly satisfying and gratifying about creating food that is both delicious and wholesome and then enjoying what i single-handedly created. i owe a lot of this point on my “things i like about life” list to pinterest. i have found so many cool recipes on there. here is a sampling of what i’ve tried so far:
--sweet potato, chickpea and kale coconut curry stew
--protein pancakes made from just egg whites, oatmeal (or almond meal) and cottage cheese (or greek/coconut yogurt) with my tropical jams/jellies from hawaii
--white bean chicken chili
--no-flour cookies sweetened only by ripe bananas
--quinoa, avocado, cumin and lime salad
--pearl barley, chicken sausage, lentil, lemon, basil and poppyseed salad
--stir-fried chicken, kale, bok choy and radishes with lemon and salt (that one i made up)
--ground turkey mexican lettuce wraps

-i work with some of the smartest people ever. and – bonus! – they are also really fun, easy-going and kind. although it has been a really big adjustment for me to work at an office in front of a computer for 9 hours a day, i really couldn’t ask for better co-workers to do that with! i am learning so much from them and am grateful for their patience and encouragement. we have some fun times in the office.
on february 1, it was national digital learning day. we went to the office at 6am to watch the town hall meeting broadcast from washington dc. we had party blowers, yummy breakfast treats, a pizza party, and plenty of candy on hand as we tweeted about the days happenings. it was such a fun day!

-i am learning so much at work….about education policy and government and websites and writing and the social sector and work dynamics and focus and myself. my mind has been so stimulated and enriched in the last month. and i really understand the importance of the work that i am a part of. my passion for it is kindled and growing. i’m still exploring how i fit in and where i can make the most genuine impact, but i am so grateful for this experience as a truly wonderful step on my career path.

-listening to npr on the way to and from work, and talking with my co-worker meg about what we heard.

-having my own room.

-i live with good people. my roommates are just good, good hearts. there is great peace and happiness in sleeping every night in a house full of people that i genuinely admire and respect.

-adventures with my dear friend josephine. she came over the bridge to see my new place a few weeks ago, and then i met her in oakland a couple weeks later. we strolled through charming fourth street in berkeley, and then took in the views and the sunset from the marina. we ate amazing food in downtown oakland and cozied up on her couch to watch “the help.” i love living near josephine. we always have such stimulating conversations and fun happy mini-adventures together. she shows me corners of the bay area that i’d never find otherwise!

-there is a really pretty courtyard outside of my office, and the camellia trees just started blossoming. those pink flowers are gorgeous. they make my heart smile. i am always tempted to pick one and put it behind my ear. every afternoon i take a walk to get some fresh air, and i love those flowering trees.

-the weather in palo alto is really, really awesome. i seriously have had to remind myself that it is winter a few times. the sunshine is just so kind. i never wear a coat. and i never feel too hot.

-downtown palo alto is just so magical. all the trees on university avenue are lit with white twinkle lights, and there are so many good restaurants to try and the old theater, where i really want to go see a movie asap. i also love stanford campus. these are two areas that i really want to spend some good quality time with in the near future. even though i coil at the fact that i’ve become a suburbanite, i recognize that i live in a really beautiful, charming, swell place. there’s lots for me to explore on the peninsula. i’m ready to get started. i need some adventure buddies (or, just one good-looking male one…).

-i’ve had some delightful sunday dinners since i moved, and i want to make a goal to have a nice sunday dinner with guests (or as a guest) every week. i just love sunday dinner. my roommates and i were invited to our neighbors’ a few weeks ago, and then a couple of weeks in a row i invited friends from san francisco down to eat with me after church. i’m realizing that along with cooking, i really enjoy entertaining – hosting small get-togethers. there’s something so cozy about a good sunday dinner, right?

-the stanford 2nd ward is truly extraordinary and i feel blessed to go to church (and so many other activities) with such fine, good, accomplished, diverse and wonderful human beings. although i feel i’ve lost so much of my drive to make new friends, i do know there are people here with whom i can build very valuable relationships.

i am genuinely astonished by how long and fantastic this list became as it poured out. dear reader, there are always little things – really, truly great things – to like about your life. being human is so. stinking. great.


  1. You're like a breath of fresh air! Trying to find out where you belong in a new environment is always tricky in the beginning. I love how you embrace the stage of life you're in at that moment- as a mom of three young boys (3 & 20 months twins) it's something I have to remind myself almost daily to do. I'm pretty sure if you lived in a cardboard box I'd want to visit- your descriptions are so vivid and exciting!

  2. Sunday dinners...when you've got one open and are ready for a little drive, you're invited!!

  3. Yay for PINTEREST and NRP! I never thought that they would both make the list at the same time, but you could say that I am well pleased and grinning ear to ear.
    Miss you!

  4. Thank you again for your wonderful optimism. Life seems like it can be one big giant adjustment and I feel so lucky that I stumbled onto your blog because you always know how to put things in perspective and I've been trying to be more optimistic lately (unfortunately being a debbie downer or negative nancy comes too easily to me) but you never cease to bring a smile and dash of positive attitude into my life and I will forever be grateful. Thanks.

  5. Love this entry. I really like your blog. Do you have any recommendations of blogs that are similar to yours? Or just good blogs in general?

  6. Cooking is the best! Another good place to try for good healthy recipies is I want to try the "sweet potato, chickpea and kale coconut curry stew" that sounds amazing!

  7. I want the recipes! sounds delicious! PLease Please share!

  8. Wait, you never wear a coat? You made a wise decision Charity. Loves!

  9. Sometimes I forget why I instantly thought you were a soul sister when I first met you in Provo that night at your old apartment. In India, it was almost confirmed. But when I read things like this, I know it for sure. When are we going to hang out??! xo Amy

  10. I don't expect you to remember me (I met you briefly at a POM retreat at your folks' place in Park City), but I couldn't let this post --and your comments about cooking for yourself --go by without mentioning a great blog I think you'd love:

    It is my friend's blog and she posts amazing recipes, among which are some with the tag "MOMO" ("meals on my own" aka recipes to feed just one person). She has some divine dessert recipes too, like, out of this world. Anyhow, take a look and enjoy. Your blog is so fun to read, you have a great gift for communicating your ideas and feelings! Keep it up!

  11. Great post! Seems as though this month has been pretty spectacular. So many good things in your good life! It matches you perfectly!