Brain Gyms

My student teaching and first teaching job in the U.S. were both at inner-city schools. Most of our kiddos came from pretty tough neighborhoods. My first graders knew more about rap and gang gestures than me. Some of my older students were bigger and scarier than me a (although I never let them know it). They often came to school in torn-up hand-me-downs clothes and some serious “hand-me-down” stress.
Read More


“Hell Yeah” or “No”

I am a habitual stress case. When I quit my full time teaching job I thought I would calm down a little but what I discovered was that I was so used to being stressed, I didn’t know how to chill out. I found so many things to fill my time. I made these to-do lists and would practically have a melt down if I didn’t accomplish everything. I had to take immediate action so as not to waste this season of my life on stress.
Read More

Black Bean Brownies

There’s no way around it, I LOVE CHOCOLATE. It is truly one of my weaknesses. Fortunately, veganism does not mean you have to give it up, just be more discerning about what kind and in what form you are eating it. These brownies, adapted from, are not only gooey and chocolaty, they are jam packed full of fiber, protein, and omega 3’s—making them ideal for a not-so-sinful treat.
Read More

Watch Your Back, Girls.

I love running solo. It’s not that I don’t enjoy running with others, it’s just running alone energizes me like nothing else. Running creates a sanctuary for me – a time for me to reset my brain chemistry, pray, and reflect. Running alone is also when I have my best ideas. In grad school I’d be out running in the beautiful hills of Cape Town and before I knew it, I’d outlined an entire research paper. Sometimes, when I’m starting to doubt myself, all I need is a good run to get my confidence back.

My desire to run alone has often troubled people and left my family feeling a little nervous at times. Its not that I’m fearless or naïve—I know I’m not invincible and that bad things can happen anyone anywhere. In Cape Town I was constantly reminded of this. I met so many girls at my university who would say, “I would love to run but I just don’t feel safe here.” I wouldn’t have it. Cape Town was the most beautiful place I’ve ever lived with the most incredible hills and accessible trails. I was not about to let fear keep me from my long meditative runs.

This was one of my favorite hills to train on in Cape Town--sometimes shared it with the baboons. When the mist moved in the sun made the air sparkle and it was magical.

Read More

Rosemary Roasted Vegetables with Balsamic Dressing

This is one of our favorite dishes. It is especially delectable in the colder months—we probably eat it a few times a week during the winter. It’s filling, healthy, and easy. It’s a great way to use up the veggies in your fridge that are on the cusp of becoming inedible. To my demise, I don’t have access to butternut in Korea so I substitute with pumpkin and it’s delicious. Don’t be afraid to stray from the recipe and try different types of veggies, squash, and potatoes.

Read More

What’s on MJ’s Feet?

In the past couple of years the Barefoot Running trend has become a hot topic for discussion. I won’t lie, I was skeptical at first. Conventional wisdom told me that the more “protection” my feet had the less likely I was to get injured. “Experts” at running stores told me I needed arch support, pronoation control, extra padding for the distances I was running.

The week following my participation in Comrades, a 90 KM road race in South Africa, I was distraught with horrible knee pain that left me hobbling around and kept me out of my running shoes and off the trails. After trying to fix it on my own for a couple of weeks, I ended up with a double knee injury and a very gloomy spirit.
Read More

A Salad a Day Keeps the Doctor Away–MJ’s formula

“A salad a day keeps the doctor away” is one my food mottos. In our home, we dedicate at least one meal a day to a mondo salad filled with delicious high nutrient foods. When people ask me for nutritional advice and I tell them they should eat a huge salad for lunch or dinner, I often hear, “Salad just doesn’t fill me up.” MJ’s salads aren’t your ordinary salads. By using nutrient dense ingredients your body will be satisfied and energized. Be warned: these salads are not for sissies.

Last Nights Salad: lots of greens, dried nori, carrots, green peppers, broccoli, cherry tomatoes, apple slices, raisins, almonds, olives, hemp seed oil, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, salt and pepper.

Read More