So Long Summer…

Um… I know I was late to the party with my January post, but I can’t believe that I am already sitting here typing up a reflection for February… how does this keep happening? Time running away… faster and faster… It does seem fitting that I should be typing this so late tonight though… Right now it is 11:07pm and I have just got home from a wonderful evening with my friend Lisa.  An evening that we have used to soak up the last of the summer warmth as we sat outside and enjoyed delicious food and honest and refreshing conversation… the world needs more people like Lis.  After missing the heat of the day today being in an office for almost all of it, it was really nice to spend these last moments of summer outside and warm.  I am hoping that the end of summer doesn’t mean a quick end to the heat… and looking at the forecast, there seems to be some more ‘summer’ days to come… but hey!  This is Melbourne… consistent, appropriate weather is not our strong suit.

The end of summer also means the end of a month… so in my attempt to keep my list posts up to date, to reflect on things in the moment and to celebrate the little things it’s time to say thanks to February and give you all an update of the list adventures that it brought with it.  February has brought some super fun events:

And… My list game has stayed strong this month too… maybe not as strong as January… but not too bad considering it’s almost half a week shorter… and well… life…  But I have managed to cross another 5 things off the list and here they are:

30. Get a Haircut – completed: 03/02/2017
I know this doesn’t sound like a big achievement, but it was… even though I have previously confessed my love for my time at the hairdresser (in fact I have written about the hairdresser 3 times… that’s a lot for a topic that I don’t think about anywhere near as often)… my apparent blog love for the hairdresser has not equated to any kind of consistency over the past 12months… in fact, I did not do anything to my hair for almost all of 2016… in March last year I got a haircut… there was some rescheduling issues… I decided to be a little tight and now… fast forward to Feb 2017… my hair is crazy long and I am so ready for a life changing haircut (and by life changing I mean a small change that I can handle… and not much more).  So here we are… the first free appointment for my hairdresser in 2017 and I am back to me… regular standard long hair Emma… Rapunzel length no more… it was really really long… there is a picture hiding here if you want to check….

26. Have a spa of some sort – completed: 12/02/2017
You can’t really go to Daylesford and not visit the springs… well you can, and I did a number of times while living in Castlemaine, but when you are there for a romantic weekend away, you should enjoy it all I say… so we did, Dave and I visited the Hepburn Bathhouse and while it wasn’t quite a spa… it was kind of… it is beautiful, relaxing and the water is apparently magical… what more could you want for a spa.  Plus it was a good reason to cross something off the list… and I am unlikely to convince Dave to just go on a whim…

12. Go back to school – completed: 17/02/2017
My first call in this year and it feels good to be back.  I had been feeling a little nervous going back to school, there are lots of children… and sometimes just the presence of lots of children sends me to a sad place where I think about all that we should have had with Josh… going back to school was also the last ‘normal’ part of my life that I needed to go back to, so I felt like jumping this hurdle was kind of a big deal… but now it is done, I not only survived the day, but I also survived 2 hours of MacBeth and I think I may have finally worked out the story… so that is 2 wins.

44. Use my new outdoor reading chair – completed: 25/02/2017
For a little while now I have wanted a ‘relaxing chair’ for the backyard, somewhere I could just read or watch the world go by and for Christmas, my brother Dustin and his wife Jess fulfilled my wish.  They gave me a super cool, yellow outdoor chair. Since Christmas I have sat in my chair, I have looked at my chair, but until now… the last week of summer, I had not stopped to read in it… but that is also now rectified… I have sat in the chair and read and loved life… stopped for a little ‘me’ moment… I need to do this more… especially while the weather is still warm.

18. Go on a Picnic – completed: 26/02/2017
On Sunday, I not only had a picnic, but I picnic’d in style at the ‘Teddy Bears Picnic’ at Rippon lea Estate and it was wonderful…  There was not a cloud in the sky, and because I am a lazy picnicer I had a food truck lunch on a picnic rug supplied by my lovely friend Annie and just enjoyed the day.  I also got to sing some Jazz standards with the Salvo Big Band for the first time in a number of years and I loved it.  I just loved the whole day… I loved singing, I loved eating, I loved seeing all the teddy bears, I loved the weather, I loved hanging out with Annie and the band… it was just a great day… Probably not the picnic I had imagined when I added it to the list, but a great picnic all the same.

So that’s the 5… I am really enjoying the simplicity of the list this year… just some good old fashioned fun… Oh and just like in January I have been really good at taking my photos and doing my one second video… so here is February in photos….

And one second video snippets:

February, I am sad that reflecting on you means that Summer is officially over, but I have really like you… thanks!

Five Minute Friday: Slow

It’s Friday… I am home from work and it is time for my Five minute Friday (if you want more info you can read all about it here, or you can read my last one here)… Today’s prompt is slow… and just like always I have 5 minutes to write about it… no guidelines, no pressure (other than the clock…) but just a reason to post something.

Slow

There are three things that came immediately to my mind when I saw today’s prompt…

1.  I am slow… I am not a sportsman by any stretch of the imagination and slow is the category of all things physical I feel most comfortable in.  I am not particularly sad about this… it’s just the way it is and that is ok.

2. I need more slow… while I was on extended leave from work life slowed down, the daily stress and pressure of work… well even just having to attend a job was no longer part of my routine and I had time to do odd jobs, clean things out, take my time and enjoy some simple pleasures… like having a leisurely breakfast on our back deck… Now that I am back into real life… I want desperately to get more slow in my life… I want to extend my summer feeling of less, relaxing and taking my time.  I know some of this is unrealistic… but surely I can find a better balance than all or nothing.  I need more slow.

3. And… while I was thinking about no. 2 as I typed my intro, the lyrics of one of my favourite worship songs popped into my head.  They have been and continue to be a constant reminder to slow down…  It is a song that has come out of Bethel Church… I am not really sure who wrote it, but the version I have is sung by Kristene DiMarco (I think it her’s… and I am hanging out for her/them to releases it)… these are the lyrics:

Slow down, take time
Breath in, he said
He’d reveal what’s to come
The thoughts in his mind
Always higher than mine
He’ll reveal all to come

Take courage, my heart
Stay steadfast, my soul
He’s in the waiting
He’s in the waiting
Hold on to your hope
As your triumph unfold
He’s never-failing
He’s never-failing

Sing praise, my soul
Find strength in joy
Let his words lead you on
Do not forget his great faithfulness
He’ll finish all he’s begun

And you who hold the stars
Who call them each by name
Will surely keep your promise to me
That I will rise in your victory

What a great reminder… Take courage, slow down, He has got this… I am not sure why all of these Five Minute Friday’s have ended up being about my faith journey… but I am glad they have… I needed this reminder again today….

I will leave this Five Minute Friday with a the video of the song… maybe take some time, like I will be once I push post, to stop and just soak in the lyrics and His goodness… May your weekend be filled with the best kind of slowness…

Five Minute Friday: Weak

Ok so last week I forgot… but not this week, no this week  I am ready for my Five minute Friday (if you want more info you can read all about it here, or you can read my first one here)… Today’s prompt is weak… and I have 5 minutes to write about it… no guidelines, no pressure (other than the clock…) but just a reason to post something.

Weak

Weak is a word, a label and a feeling that makes me uncomfortable, it is something that I am always avoiding… I never want to look weak, unless of course I am playing the role of damsel in distress, in which case it is totally ok to look, well act, weak.

Weakness is vulnerability, out of control and frightening.  Weakness is seen to be less, damaged, unwanted, broken.

Weakness is not good enough.

Weak is something that I have learnt to embrace, to be ok with, to use as a guide for what happens next.  Over the last couple of months I have been weak, and I have felt all of the things that I listed above… but in my weakness I have found strength, hope and grace.  I have found love and support and I have found ‘ok’.

When I try to be strong all of the time I inevitably fail, I can not do life in my own strength.  Until now I never really understood the verse in 2 Corinthians 12:10 that says “for when I am weak, then I am strong”.  But now I know… I can hold on because He is strong, I can live in hope because He is in control, and I can pour out my love and my pain because His grace and love are more than sufficient.

So while I am getting used to the idea that I am not as strong as I thought I was, I am learning.. I can be strong and courageous, in fact, I am actually the strongest, because He is my God, and I am with Him.

Thanks January…

At the end of each year I find myself in a mad rush to make sure my pictures for each month are collated and sorted, that the list is as finished as it could possibly be… and that I have photos for all of them… and still have time to reflect and take it all in… but not this year… no, this year I am going to reflect as I go… granted I am already a little bit late for January… but it’s a great reason to have a ‘Thankful Thursday’ in February, plus it’s still summer so it’s ok if things are a little slow!  In fact, I think that’s why I haven’t gotten around to writing it until now… because my brain is still in denial that January is over… that summer is almost done… seriously it’s the middle of February… how did this happen?

This year I have been making an effort to cross things off my list asap… also to avoid the rush at the end of the year and it seems to be working out pretty well, a nice casual, but regular pace.  This year, even without my holiday heavy loading of the list that we saw in 2015 and 2016, I have still managed to cross off 8 things… which I think is pretty good, especially since January has also seen me return to real life, with all it’s work and life demands which I had really enjoyed living without since October.  8 things is pretty good though… Here is the run down:

99-img_152799. Clean out the Kikki.K Folders – completed: 05/01/2017
This felt good!  I love these folders, I love the order the bring, I love that everything has a spot and that they make sense… but I hate routinely going through them… so they had been left pretty much abandoned for a number of year… maybe as many as 7 years… too long!  But now they are clean, sorted and accessible… and I am really really really trying to keep them organised like this.  It really does make finding things much easier… but it is going to take some discipline.

23-img_099123. Swim in the ocean – completed: 06/01/2017
I feel like this is the first proper summer Dave and I have had in a few years, we have been in town and it has been hot which has meant heading down to our favourite beach spot, Inverloch, and getting in the ocean.  I really love swimming and I wish I didn’t let my laziness and the effort of getting ready for a swim and getting de-beached post swim stop me from doing this more often… I hope that this isn’t my only month that includes and ocean swim.

10-img_094610. Go back to park run – completed: 07/01/2017
It’s really good to be back!  I like that my exercise for the day gets done early, I like the stats and I love the community… At the moment I am still on restricted running, hopefully not for too much longer, but I am still there almost every week running for a minute and then walking for 5 and repeating until the 5kms is done… which at the moment is slow… but at least I am moving right? And hopefully I will just get quicker which will help me with no. 96… hopefully!

11-img_105811. Go back to work – completed: 11/01/2017
I was going to say that it was really good to be back here as well, which it is and it isn’t… but it is necessary.  As much as I have loved not working, having some routine and structure has been good for me, so in that sense it is good to be back… and equally it has been good to get my brain working on some stuff that isn’t all about me… plus I work with wonderful people, so it is nice to see them again too… maybe it is better to be back than I realised.

img_113097. Do some colouring – completed: 18/01/2017
I am all over this, this year… and I love it… It is much better for me that playing mindless games in front of the TV at night… and I get a nice little sense of accomplishment.  At the moment I am working through a colour by numbers book that my sister in law gave me, which is filled with patterned pages with no indication of the picture that lies within… just waiting for me to colour and work it out.  It is taking all my will power not to look at the back and find out what it will be… but it is worth it.

45-img_128645. Blow some bubbles – completed: 20/01/2017
Something so simple and so fun… all adults should have a go at this regularly… it is just fun… just really good fun.   Seriously… do it… don’t laugh, don’t roll your eyes, just go and get some bubble mixture and give it a go.  I prefer the giant bubbles because you can actually just swing around and make lots of perfect bubbles… but any type will do, just promise me you will give it a go… Oh and just FYI… this list item and the next one were done with the help of Pheebs and we enjoyed both equally.

85-img_128985. Try Daniel’s Donuts – completed: 20/01/2017
Rumour had it that Daniel’s Donuts contained the best donuts in the state… so what else could we do but check it out and confirm.  It turns out that without trying more wonderful donut places I can’t really confirm that they are the best, because I just don’t know… but what I can confirm is that Daniel’s Donuts are darn good and were worth the drive… plus there are lots of flavours to try… I had a white chocolate and raspberry one and it was amazing.

75-img_142775. Make a quiche – completed: 25/01/2017
At the end of last year I became a little obsessed with quiche… I think it was just because they are delicious… but I decided that they couldn’t be that head to make, and that I should have a go… so that’s what I did… Having your vegetarian brother over for a couple of weeks in a row also encourages you to expand you recipe range… so a vegetarian quiche not only fed Jake, but also crossed this off the list.

So there you go… 8 things done and dusted… This year I am also making a little one second video each day to go with my photos of each day, which is a bit of fun… so here is my month of photos:

jan2017

And my video:

January, you have been just wanted I needed, some relaxation, some routine and some fun… and I am thankful for you!