2016 – Photos, Lessons and Thankfulness

Ok so today is the last day of 2016 and I can’t tell you how ready I am for 2017.  It’s not that 2016 has been all bad, it hasn’t.  There is a part of me that will actually miss the things and events of 2016, but I am ready for something new.  Ready to start again.  2016 has held lots of my best and most treasured moments, our travels around the world, new friends, old friends and meeting and holding my baby boy for the first time.  But the second half of 2016 has also been my hardest time to date, saying goodbye to Josh way too soon and learning to live in world where he was and now isn’t.

Much of 2016 was unexpected, but through all of this I have grown.  I have learnt more about myself, who I am, who I want to be, and where I need to make changes.  More about my family and friends, just how important they are, and how much they love Dave and I through both good and bad.  And more about what is important in life, how much trust I have in Jesus and that even though I may not see the whole picture I can trust that this is part of something much bigger than me.  That this year has been and will be way more important that I will understand for a long time.  I have learnt to hold on to the things that I know are true and good and to hope and celebrate joy in really really crappy places.  I know that “God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” (Romans 8:28, NLT).

Looking forward to 2017 I must “be strong and courageous! I must not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord my God is with me wherever I go.” (Joshua 1:9, NLT with my paraphrase).  God has this covered, he has Dave and I covered in his love, in his grace and in his mercy.  His love brings joy and peace beyond understanding and circumstance.  We have good things ahead and my hope is that we will see some of these in 2017. 

Usually at this time of year I would right a blog looking back at the year through the photos taken on my iPhone which I am still going to do, only this year instead of writing a highlight of each month, I am going to write about the things I am thankful for.  On most occasions these are also the highlights, but practicing my gratitude and highlighting the blessings brings me a lot more joy than just telling you that something was good.  It’s also better for my brain. So this is what 2016 looked like through the eyes of my iPhone with my gratitude lens on.

January…

I am thankful for:
•  Travel, exploring Europe and having my mind opened to more of the world with the best travel buddy I could have ever asked for, Dave.
•  Meeting new friends.
•  Polka bands and spoons in Austria.
•  Exploring London, Paris and Disneyland with my best friend.

February…

I am thankful for:
•  Warm weather and food with friends old and new.
•  Parkrun and it’s ability to engage my fomo so I actually exercise.

March…

I am thankful for:
•  More food and sharing it with more people – this seems to be a theme of my life.
•  Inverloch and the opportunity that it gives me to step back and slow down.
•  Beautiful cards from Happy Mail that I have been able to share.
• Learning about snapchat filters and the fun they have brought… even though I still haven’t quite conquered snapchat.

April…

I am thankful for:
•  The outback and red dirt and the feeling that I get when I am standing surrounded by it.  By the incredible landscapes and history our home holds.
•  Camping, hiking and exploring new and beautiful places with Dave’s family and how much closer I feel to them after having these experiences.
•  Getting over my fear of bugs, I don’t know how, but I do know it happened in April and now they don’t bother me… at all, it’s really nice.
•  Birthdays and the wonderful excuse they are to catch up with people and eat delicious treats… see I told you it was a theme.

May…

I am thankful for:
•  School and the community that it is, for the wonderful and talented kids, for our trip to Mt Gambier and watching them perform in the Lion King.
•  5 years with Davo as married couple.  Marriage just keeps getting better and better and it is still the best decision that I have ever made, to say yes to him and to get married.

June…

I am thankful for:
•  Finding out we were pregnant, even if I wasn’t quite ready.
•  For work and the fun things I get to do, talks, presentations, adventures and be creative.
•  Bram and Jean and the impact they had on Box Hill Salvos, but also on Dave and I.  Their wisdom, humility and enthusiasm is something that I greatly value.  For Bram and I’s competitive parkrun spirit and his encouragement of my running.

July…

I am thankful for:
•  Anti-nausea medication and the difference it makes.
•  The generosity of friends and the wonderful and relaxing weekend in the city it provided for Dave and I.
•  Catch ups with new, but great friends.
•  The joy of sharing good news with family.  For how excited they were and how much they loved Josh, even before we new he was Josh.

August…

I am thankful for:
•  Sharing my pregnancy with one of my best mates and having an endless supply of food at our shared desk.
•  Scans and how incredibly detailed they are, for seeing Josh move around and starting to get to know who he was.
•  The joy of sharing our news of Joshua with our wider group of friends and family and the amount of love that was poured out.
•  More sunny days as winter started to disappear.

September…

I am thankful for:
•  Cleaning things out and making way, decluttering and letting go.
•  Our Babymoon to Lakes Entrance and time spent with just Dave.
•  The incredible example my grandparents are in their marriage, 60years strong and still so in love.
•  Tiny baby clothes and toys.
•  Another scan and the detail in which we were able to see our perfect baby growing.
•  Turkish Delight milksakes and pink donuts.

October…

I am thankful for:
•  Dust and Jess and the exciting news that our Baby was getting a cousin.
•  Spending time with friends for the grand final, birthdays and mario party.
•  Holding Josh and being about to spend 3 heartbreaking days with him, for how perfectly he was made and how beautiful he was.
•  Watching Dave with Josh and falling even more in love with him as he became a father to our tiny boy.
•  Being able to sing, kiss and cuddle my precious little one.
•  Friends and family that stood in the gap for us as we grieved, for food and gifts that filled our house and for love that was poured out so abundantly.

November…

I am thankful for:
•  Learning to breathe again.
•  Sunny days to spend out on the deck and catching up with family.
•  Gingerbread, Christmas Trees and the Christmas Movie Marathon voting system.
•  Our photo wall and being able to put our whole family up there.
•  Singing to celebrate on of my old teachers at school and the impact he had on our musical lives and just singing in a choir again.
•  Heartfelt and their gift of beautiful photos of Joshua

December…

I am thankful for:
•  Polaroid photos.
•  Having Kirsten home for a couple of weeks and getting to hang out with here.
•  Crafting and blogging and having time to due some fun projects.
•  Perfectly wrapped Christmas gifts.
•  Christmastime – meals, celebrations and time spent with those most important to us.
•  Joshua’s tiny hand prints on our tree.
•  More time on the deck.
•  Summer, heat and our new air conditioners.
•  Time to reflect.

There has been so much to be thankful for and really this is just a snap shot.   Despite the pain and turmoil of moments, 2016 has been pretty good, really good actually, but I am still looking forward to 2017 with the hope of even more joy.  I will be strong and courageous, and I will trust that there is good because I love God and he loves me and will be with me whatever 2017 holds.

Wedding Wonders

Weddings are wonderful, there is no two ways about it… and I love them.  But more than just a regular wedding I love weddings of those I love, weddings I get to share in, support and embrace.  And lucky for me, on Friday I was honoured to share in another wedding of a wonderful friend.

The thing about weddings is while there are a lot of things that remain similar between them, they are always different, coloured by the personalities of the bride and groom and all that makes them and their love for each other unique.  Watching and attending weddings is always special, always a little magical and Friday’s was no exception.  On Friday one of my dearest friends married the love of her life, and I was privileged enough to not only witness their marriage, but stand by Sia as one of her bridesmaids.  I know that in my last wedding post about ‘My Best Friends Wedding’ I talked about the incredible blessing that being a bridesmaid has been and those feelings remain the same.  It was such a special honour to be part of  Sia’s wedding day, before, leading up to it and in the day itself.  And it is something that I will continue to carry on now after the wedding, a responsibility to continue to pray for and cherish their marriage and life together.

Sia and I haven’t been friends for all that long, in fact its less than 3years, but I feel like she has been a friend that was hand picked for me, by God, for just when I needed her.  A friend whose counsel is as Proverbs would say as sweet as perfume and incense (Proverbs 27:9).  She has been such a blessing to my life and I know that our friendship is more than just chance, but something that has been designed for a much greater purpose.  So to be able to share such a significant moment with her and her new husband Ben is something more wonderful than this blog can really do justice.  So just like Kirsten’s wedding I thought it might be easier to just share a few wonderful moments captured through out the day.

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The 2014 List

I am a little bit excited about this years list, I feel like the whole idea is taking off… and I like the fact that except for the last couple of months my blog has now made it into its forth year… and just because I really love having a list here is my 2014 list of 100 things that I would like to do/achieve in the coming year.

Once again the list is a mix of things, some of them I have attempted in the past and even blogged about them (my old ‘lists’ can be checked out by clicking the year 2006, 2007, 2012 and 2013), and some of them I have never done or at least haven’t done for a long time.  As always it’s a mixed bag of all things weird, normal and wonderful… Things are always more fun when they are done with someone else, so if you see anything on the list that you might want to try… let me know!

Hopefully as the year goes by I will once again be able to tick them off this not so little list and put a photo or a blog up about it… so here it is… the 2014 list:

  1. Do the 1000 steps
  2. Make a loaf of bread
  3. Use my day off productively
  4. Cook dinner at least once a week
  5. Do mine and Dave’s family trees
  6. Try a green juice
  7. Go to two weddings
  8. Eat something from my veggie garden
  9. Run 5km without walking
  10. Be a more informed consumer
  11. Go 1 week without a sometimes food
  12. Embrace home cooking
  13. Read the New Testament
  14. Stop back dating blogs…. Post it when it happens or not at all
  15. Go Low FODMAP for a week
  16. Do another boot camp
  17. Get a sun reflector for my car
  18. Help someone set up a blog
  19. Review the books I read on amazon
  20. Send one handwritten note of gratitude to someone each month
  21. Complement a stranger everyday for a week (different strangers otherwise it would be creepy)
  22. Break a rule
  23. Swim 50km, not all at once, but over the year
  24. Update my resume (Not because I want a new job but to reflect on my accomplishments)
  25. Walk/Run 300km
  26. Buy a house
  27. Do another fun run
  28. Cuddle a baby less than 6months old
  29. Get a massage
  30. Be Vegan for 24 hours
  31. Go in a sea vessel… Kayak, Canoe, Paddle boat… whatever
  32. Go out in country Victoria for the day
  33. Build a sand castle
  34. Write at least 3 letters to my prayer pal
  35. Play a board game with friends
  36. Enter a colouring competition
  37. Make a cushion
  38. Cook fish
  39. Learn a song on clarinet without Dave’s help
  40. Plant something in the garden
  41. Play Mini golf
  42. Follow through with Dave’s Christmas present again
  43. Take Dex for a play date with Abe or Diesel
  44. Learn a song on the guitar
  45. Go to Costco
  46. Try 1 recipe from each recipe book I own
  47. Take Dex for a walk every week
  48. Work as a teacher
  49. Get some fresh flowers to brighten a room
  50. Hire a bike and ride around the city
  51. Get a fake tan
  52. Go to a pump class
  53. Go to a spin class
  54. Do something truly Melbournian
  55. Make my own advent calendar
  56. Find a train free route to work
  57. Get a timer for our Christmas lights
  58. Go to Bright
  59. Put Pa’s videos on DVD
  60. Try Pilates
  61. Use my new paper diary more effectively
  62. Be better at visiting my grandparents
  63. Go to the cricket
  64. Cook all meals at home for a fortnight (no lazy takeaway or eating out just because)
  65. Go fruit picking
  66. Get awesome Christmas jumpers for Dave and I
  67. Start my Australia camping pictures map
  68. Go camping
  69. Walk across the bridge in Kilcunda
  70. Go to a cemetery
  71. Join a book club
  72. Read 12 books
  73. Try some regular yoga
  74. Do 5 different exercise classes
  75. Do a trail walk/hike
  76. Go a month without playing games on my phone
  77. Put some nets on my veggie patch
  78. Take a photo everyday
  79. Get there and stay there
  80. Have a picnic in the backyard
  81. Swim in the ocean at least 5 times
  82. Actually finish our wedding guest book
  83. Update our displayed photos
  84. Keep my corner clean
  85. Pretend to be a morning person
  86. See the movie Frozen
  87. Exercise 4 times a week
  88. See ‘Saving Mr Banks’ at the movies
  89. Have dinner and go bowling with Dustin and Rachel
  90. Do my chores and pull my weight around the house
  91. Just stop picking
  92. Play Super Mario Bros
  93. Save some of my pocket money each fortnight
  94. Cook something from each of my Donna Hay magazines
  95. Try at least one thing from each of my Women’s Fitness magazines
  96. Do my 2012 and 2013 scrapbooks
  97. Wash my car by myself
  98. Go on a push bike adventure with Dave
  99. Finish going through my cooking magazines and either save them or throw them out
  100. Drive a bus

So there you go… thanks to all the people who helped me put this years list together, sing out if you want to help cross something off, or if you have a list of your own I would love to hear about it.

Here we go!

2013 – Through the eyes of my iPhone

Another year done and dusted… and once again it’s time to reminisce on what the year has brought.  It’s kind of overwhelming to look at the year in one go like this.  In many ways it feels like 2013 just started, but when I look at all the things i’ve done this year, it feels like a long time.

2013 has been another busy busy years, with lots of excitement, fun and laughter, some tears and sadness but it has all played an important part in the year that was… and without it.. it would have been pretty boring.  There are still things I wish I had have achieved this year, but there is lots of things that I have done which have been bigger and better than I could have imagined.  And just like the last couple of years I have taken a photo everyday, some good ones, some boring ones, and some in-between, but it gives me a good recap of all that happened in 2013… so here is 2013 through the eyes of my iPhone…

JANUARY

Jan

Highlight: January was fun month full of all good things about summer… sun, friends, family and the beach.  There was a lowlight of my computer dying, but that was outweighed by weddings, new puppies, dinner with family and some time at the beach with rellies from overseas… well played january.

FEBRUARY

Feb

Highlight: All things outdoors – my new herb garden, a new sleeping bag, moonlight cinema, young adults camp, oh and an indoor night with Keith Urban…

MARCH

Mar

Highlight: New apple products – a new laptop and my iPad mini… Fun weekends in Inverloch where Dex met Abe oh and Kate got married… March was a winner month.

APRIL…

Apr

Highlight: My Birthday and everything that went with it… crossing things off my list… although I am not sure if bikram yoga is a highlight or lowlight… but the most exciting moment of all is getting the call that said my best friend was engaged!  So much love and joy in one call.

MAY…

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Highlight: Dave’s school production of Les Mis… hands down… it was simply the best, such a wonderful bunch of talented kids and teachers… well done WCC…. Also Jake got enrolled as an adherent and that was pretty awesome.

JUNE…

Jun

Highlight: Camping… I have decided I love it… I love the tent, I love the adventure and I love our new tradition of timer photos.

JULY…

Jul

Highlight: Jake turned 21… and it was fun!  Oh and there was more camping which was also fun.

AUGUST…

Aug

Highlight: Well actually it’s a lowlight, in August we said goodbye to Dave’s Nanny, which was sad, but it did mean I was able to learn a whole heap about Dave and his family, look through lots of pictures and reminisce which I love.

SEPTEMBER…

Sep

Highlight: September was a big month, we went on another road trip, I got an awesome Tupperware haul, the Hawks won the flag and I finished my teaching rounds.  Overall a pretty impressive month.

OCTOBER…

Oct

Highlight: The highlight for October definitely has to be upping the anti on 2012 and completing my 21.1km half marathon at the Melbourne Marathon Series with my Dad and Davo.

NOVEMBER…

Nov

Highlight: Kempy got married, I got a veggie garden and we crammed in a whole lotta date days…

DECEMBER…

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Highlight: Another December, another year of Christmas being the highlight… In particular this year a special mention goes to Carols by Candlelight, the fireworks and Bruce, my penguin snow globe.  Man I love Christmas.

So that’s it… another year condensed into pictures and a highlight or two… so much madness compacted…

Here’s to 2014… I’m hoping its even better…

Here we go again… The 2013 List

Wow… I am a little bit excited that this blog has now survived to see the beginning of another year… and because I really love lists here is my 2013 list of 100 things that I would like to do/achieve in the coming year.

Like always some of them I have attempted in the past and even blogged about (in fact you can check out my old ‘lists’ here, here and here), and some of them I have never done or at least haven’t done for a long time anyway. It’s a mixed bag of all things weird, normal and wonderful… Things are always more fun when they are done with someone else, so if you see anything on the list that might tickle your fancy… let me know!

Hopefully as the year goes by I will once again, be able to tick them off this not so little list and put a photo or a blog up about it… so without further adieu… I give you the 2013 list:

  1. Have a Star Trek Movie Marathon
  2. Cook all meals at home for a fortnight (no buying take-away, or going out)
  3. Finish my Dip Ed
  4. Go in two fun runs/walks
  5. Complete a month’s photo a day challenge without missing a day
  6. Attend a Step Class
  7. Read 12 books
  8. Stop buying breakfast regularly
  9. Complete a half marathon
  10. Use my diary more effectively
  11. Start a list of restaurants Dave and I like to go to.
  12. Watch all of my Disney Movies
  13. Clean out my wardrobe
  14. Go to the beach at least 5 times
  15. Get a herb garden
  16. Be deliberate with my TV time
  17. Go Camping
  18. Do something I have never done before
  19. Be on time to things
  20. Build something from Ikea
  21. Throw something old out/give something away every week
  22. Go to the library
  23. Visit Mum in Mornington
  24. Start a list of all the common dishes Dave and I like to eat
  25. Blow Bubbles
  26. Smash a Pinata
  27. Play Badminton
  28. Try Yoga or Pilates
  29. Get down to my goal weight… and stay there
  30. Establish a morning routine
  31. Establish an evening routine
  32. Exercise 3 times a week
  33. See the Myer windows
  34. Wash my car regularly
  35. Eat 5 new foods/dishes I haven’t tried before
  36. Finish a puzzle
  37. Make Home Made Jam
  38. Make a gratitude jar and use it
  39. Do a clean out of my Kikki.K folders
  40. Make something out of origami
  41. Exercise everyday before work for a week
  42. See Dave’s school production
  43. Hear a big band live
  44. Finish our Wedding guest book
  45. Sort through my Cooking magazines and take the recipes I like for my folder
  46. Make something I have seen on Pinterest
  47. Lie on the ground and look at the stars
  48. Have high tea somewhere
  49. Crack 5 eggs in a row without having any shell accidents
  50. Try at least one exercise from each of my Women’s Fitness Magazines
  51. Have a spa
  52. Actually stop pushing the snooze button
  53. Go to a Trivia night
  54. Paint my nails and toenails regularly
  55. Take a photo everyday
  56. Clean out my computer properly
  57. Hear live music
  58. Have 5 different groups of people over for a meal
  59. See some fireworks
  60. Pack up after myself more often than I don’t
  61. See a Musical
  62. Try at least 1 recipe from each of my Donna Hay subscription magazines
  63. Actually go into the Zoo
  64. Cook a three course meal
  65. Go through my house/lifestyle magazines and cut out or throw out
  66. Follow through with Dave’s Christmas present
  67. Visit a country town I haven’t been to before
  68. Give Dave back his bedside table
  69. Actually stop picking
  70. Stick to a devotional/reading plan the whole way through without missing a day
  71. Be more deliberate with my fruit and veg intake
  72. Participate in another table tennis tournament
  73. Tidy up my iTunes library
  74. Ride my push bike more than once
  75. Go away for a full weekend
  76. Get a library card
  77. Have fish and chips on the beach
  78. Hear Keith Urban live… again
  79. Do my chores before Dave does more often than not
  80. Go to two different Christmas carols
  81. Take Dex to the park
  82. Have a picnic
  83. Eat breakfast outside at least 5 times
  84. Get the new Star Trek movie on bluray
  85. Have a milkshake
  86. Floss once a week
  87. Cook something on the BBQ, by myself
  88. Eat red meat at least twice a week
  89. Use a sewing machine
  90. Fly a kite
  91. Walk along the Inverloch beach to Eagle’s Nest and back
  92. Pop a cork
  93. Play a gumleaf
  94. Go to 7 open house inspections
  95. Mow some lawn
  96. Do some colouring
  97. Write to our sponsor children
  98. Try something other than a McChicken or nuggets from McDonalds
  99. Go to a live sports event
  100. Drive a bus