30 things before 31

Somehow it is my birthday again tomorrow… a whole year has apparently gone by since I last wrote a post like this.  But this birthday feels different and I am not really sure why… usually I start my birthday blogs talking about how I don’t really feel ready to switch over to the next age… but this year I just don’t really feel that fussed about it, which is really strange.  It is super odd… since I was 17, I have had a love hate relationship with birthdays, but now as I turn 31… it suddenly doesn’t feel like such a big deal.  Maybe I have finally grown up? Maybe I am still in denial about being 30 at all… but either way its nice not to be upset about it.

Each year I like to take just a minute (although it seems to be getting longer as I add more and more years) to stop and reflect on how the past year has shaped who I am now.  Things that I have loved, learned or just lived during year 30… 30 of them, before 30 becomes 31 tomorrow.

  1. 30 wasn’t so bad… it happened and the sky didn’t fall, I didn’t fall apart… in fact it was kinda nice
  2. I finally feel like an adult… I know I have been one for a long time now, but I feel like I am actually living an adult life now… trying to save money, considering my long term health, fixing things at home and being more comfortable in my skin.
  3. My body is my body… it’s far from perfect, but it’s done some pretty great things, it may never be the body I want, but it’s the body I am most comfortable in.
  4. Sometimes the things you fear the most, aren’t the things you should have been worried about
  5. It turns out my boys like to come fast and very very early… neither traits they get from me
  6. We live in a country that is incredibly blessed with amazing health care and hospitals
  7. There is a place for coffee in my life, and after years of being an exclusive tea drinker… I am now partial to the latte… I would imagine it’s the sleep deprivation.
  8. Even when you think you have had all you can take… there is usually more, and you learn you are stronger still.
  9. God is good, all the time… and his plans are better, even when you think yours a pretty great.
  10. Isaac is the toughest kid I have ever met
  11. I will do anything to hear a baby giggle, especially if it is my baby
  12. Best laid plans are now a pie in the sky kind of goal… yet I continue to make them anyway
  13. I like making improvements on my house… but the greatest home improvements are when everything has a place in the room in which it belongs… it turns out I am a house micro manager
  14. Banana bread is from heaven
  15. Babies are hard to take selfies with
  16. Motherhood means getting to join a gang of incredible women who you can talk to about anything even if you’ve never met before
  17. You can sit in the same chair all day every day for months if it is with the ones you love
  18. Babies grow fast, sometimes they only wear clothes once, although you can get so much joy from putting a child in a seasonal costume.
  19. Tiny face-washers save many things at many times
  20. Life goes fast… you should always celebrate the small things
  21. Turkish delight milkshakes and pink donuts will forever be sacred
  22. People are good more often they are not, and we are surrounded by so many people who love us and truely do want us to thrive and succeed
  23. Being a mum is better than I could have ever comprehended, although it comes with its own bag of guilt and expectations that I am continually trying to work through and balance
  24. Breastmilk is magic… not just for the baby, but for the mum who can offer nothing else to a baby in NICU… even long after they have left… although not pumping today for the first time in 8 and bit months was acutally really nice.
  25. I am married to the most patient, servant hearted man I have ever met… he has kept us going, kept us fed and kept the house functional… he is also an epic dad and has actually been doing the majority (like at least 85%) of the overnight feeds solo.
  26. I can’t stop crying… everything pulls at my heart strings.  This week I cry at every happy story at the commonwealth games… so many tears it is embarrassing… and don’t you dare show my a picture of a baby in hospital, I will not cope.
  27. I am looking forward to a year of not being pregnant and eating all of the foods (in moderation of course)
  28. I am pretty sure I am addicted to my phone and social media… maybe 31 is the year to get this under control because real life is definitely more satisfying.
  29. Hail does a lot more damage than I had realised….
  30. Even though I am further away from a lot of the goals I had over the last couple of years, I feel like I am simplifying and making way for other goals which somehow now seem more significant, even though they wouldn’t have previously made the cut… I think this is another sign that maybe I have just started growing up.

Thanks 30, you have certainly been another challenging year, but you have also brought a lot of joy and wonder, lets hope 31 is just as joyful, but less dramatic… I feel like my 30s could be my best years yet.

Five Minute Friday: Privilege

Ok it’s been a long time since I have done one of these… almost a whole year… but I figured if I want to be deliberate about keeping my blog going with a baby… five minutes was a good place to start… and it comes with no other pressure than the clock… which is good… and necessary.  Anyway, if you want to know more about Five Minute Fridays you can click that link just a few words back, or you can look at the last one I did here.   Ok… 5 minutes here we go.

Privilege

Ok… firstly I don’t think I knew how to spell privilege before this… I am pretty sure I have been doing it wrong… thank goodness for auto correct.

Privilege is a word that has been getting a lot more air time than ever before… and I think it is one that I have been thinking a lot more, about my own privilege, the things I get to do just because of the circumstances I was born into… and I often find it overwhelming.  But that’s not the kind of privilege I really want to talk about… because as I sit here typing this my little boy is asleep next to me and he has me thinking about what a privilege it is to be his mum.

Privilege can be defined as “a right, immunity, or benefit enjoyed only by a person beyond the advantages of most”…. It’s a good thing, something enjoyable beyond the advantages of anyone else but sometimes I lose the enjoyment part because being his mum is also a huge responsibility.  I get to help shape this little man as he grows, teach him, guide him and help him.  There is a verse in Proverbs (Proverbs 22:6) that says “Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.” and that’s what I am aiming for… There are so many things that I would like for him, things that I hope to teach him, things I hope to show him and things I hope to watch him achieve… and in that sometimes I feel overwhelmed… because I want to do a good job, and lead him in the ‘right’ way.  But when I get caught up in the responsibility I lose sight of the incredible privilege it is… the fact that while trying to lead him in the way of the Lord, I also get to know him probably better than anyone else on earth ever will… I am his person… and while my role might change as he grows… it can’t be taken away, I am always going to be his mum and that, right there is the privilege.  I get to share in his joys, his sorrows, his challenges and his achievements.  His victories are my victories.  At least for the next little bit we will do it all together… and that is an amazing thought… that is privilege.

 

29 things before 30

So tomorrow I turn 30… and just like every other birthday for at least the last 10 years I am not excited about getting another year over… but this year I feel a little more ready for it.  30 has been something that has been looming for a while… 30 years in fact, but more so in the past 12 months.  Something that I have spent a lot of time thinking about and something that I have finally decided won’t be as bad as I think it will be.  So I thought I would continue my new tradition (from last year) to take a moment before it happens to reflect on the year that was 29 before it is gone altogether.  But before I can reflect on the last 12 months… because 30 is also the end of a decade… it only seems right to look at the last 10 years as well…

20-30 is a big time of change… a lot of growing up… and while I don’t think I have being an adult down pat yet, I certainly feel more like an adult than a young adult.  I am not sure if it’s my new found love of a quiet night in? Or my change in thinking around having to stand up and make a change if I don’t like something… but I feel like where I am at now, even though it may not be where I am forever, is an achievement…

20-30 has also been home to some of my happiest times as well as my most challenging…  I have changed and grown, physically, mentally and spiritually.  And while I wish I hadn’t grown quite as much physically… unless I could have gained some extra height… I am thankful for the lessons I have learned and the paths I have taken that have made my faith and mind stronger.

I have done so much in my 20s that I am not sure how my 30s will catch up, but I hope that they do… although, I am hoping our hardest path has already be walked… and the rocky patches ahead will not be quite as devastating.

Since I turned 20 I have…

  • Completed… well attempted to complete my very first list (2007) and since attempted 8 more… I am currently on my 9th
  • Returned to China to hang out with Dad and cross ‘Hong Kong Disney Land’ off my life long Disney visit bucket list (2007)
  • Had my life outlook changed by a uni placement to Bourke (2008)
  • Had 2 massive 21st parties
  • Finished my Bachelor of Nutrition and Dietetics (2008)
  • Started running the Kids Church at Church and had the most epic YP Anniversary of all time with ‘Talkin’ about my generation’ (2009)
  • Continued my red dirt obsession with trips to Broken Hill (2009) and Uluru (2016)
  • Got a job in the country… Castlemaine to be exact… moved out of home and spent a year blogging about it (2009-2010)
  • Had my 5 year and 10 year High School Reunions (2009 & 2014)
  • Starred in Box Hill Salvos “Nativity Play’
  • Got my first iPhone
  • Ran 2 Half Marathons (2008 & 2013)
  • Meet a cute little guy named Dex… and he moved in (2009)
  • Bought my first new car and said goodbye to my faithful Saabie (2010)
  • Experienced some snapshots of Europe… first with the Big Band in Sweden in 2010… then with Davo in 2015/2016
  • Got Engaged (2010) and Married my very own Prince Charming (2011)
  • Auditioned for Broadway (2010)
  • Visited Disneyworld with my new Husband (2011)
  • Visited NZ and my NZ family a couple of times (2012 & 2014/2015)
  • Watched one of my little brothers get married (2012)
  • Said goodbye to my second job as a Dietitian and moved to my current workplace at Link, where I have been able to expand my dietetics skills in to Marketing and IT (2013)
  • Been Bridesmaid for 2 of my best friends (2014 and here)
  • Brought my first house (2014)
  • Graduated from uni twice… one for dietetics and then again for my teaching degree (2014)
  • Watched both of my parents get remarried (2014, 2015)
  • Worked out how to long distance best friend (2015)
  • Recorded my first CD… well sung vocals on a Big Band CD (2017)
  • Became a mum and had to say goodbye to my little man (2016)
  • Got back up (2017)

A big 10 years… but I think the past 12 months have challenged who I am at my core more than any year before and I think lots of the things that I have done over the past decade have somehow prepared me for what happened…  But there has also been lots to be thankful for and I have learnt a lot… so in my new tradition… here are 29 things I have learned, loved and lived in the past year that have helped me prepare for 30…

  1. Birthdays are excellent… No matter how much I have been nervous about embracing them… they are always fun… especially when Dave helps to plan them… tomorrow will be good.
  2. Epic milkshakes are indeed epic… and often overwhelming, they should be consumed with caution… and preferably with no other sources of lactose.
  3. Having a celebrity like a post… even if they are a fake one… is more exciting than it should be… they are just people…but it was Russell Coight
  4. Dave makes driving a bus look grand
  5. Trimester 1 of pregnancy is the worst… it is hard keeping a secret, especially a when you feel like poop and you have to convince everyone else you are fine… lets hope that the next one is somehow easier.
  6. Jells Park is way more beautiful than I ever gave it credit for growing up… I am really glad that it is my local Parkrun venue.
  7. Dex looks great in a bow tie
  8. Family is messy and hard to fit on a wall, but I wouldn’t change any of it
  9. Pregnancy cravings are weird… but turkish delight milkshakes are the bomb
  10. Having Josh was the best thing I have ever done, but it was also the hardest knowing he wouldn’t stay.  Even if I knew what would happen I wouldn’t have swapped those 24weeks for anything.
  11. Colouring really is as good a distraction as they say it is…
  12. I still love my list, and I am really enjoying the simplicity of it this year, lots of local fun.
  13. 29 has been a year of home, embracing family, learning to breathe and dreaming for the future.
  14. This time last year I wrote ‘I am stronger and more capable then I think… I should remember this more often’, this is more true now then ever before.
  15. Whatsapp is great, but seeing your bestie face to face is greater, especially when you have time off to be able spend with them.
  16. I like being in the IT and Marketing teams… I also really like teaching.  I am pretty blessed to work for such great places that encourage me to grow and learn new skills.
  17. Dancing in a strawberry suit isn’t as embarrassing as you think it will be, you should just embrace it.
  18. Dave is still the best person to have ever entered my life.  He is strong, wise and loyal and I love him more than ever… plus he gets even better looking with age… who would have thought that was possible.
  19. I am getting better at throwing things out… lots of times you have to get rid of something old to make way for the new.  I don’t need to be a hoarder to keep the memories.
  20. I have good people around me, my community if vast and wide and I often take it for granted, but Dave and I could not have gotten through the last 6 months without them.
  21. I love the country
  22. I love the AFLW and I am glad I was part of the first season.
  23. I love singing in a recording studio… it makes me feel like a superstar.
  24. New cameras are the bomb… but I desperately need to improve my photography skills.
  25. Practicing gratitude is important… my new daily habit of writing down 3 things is helpful… it’s making me see the good… I should keep this going because I still can’t make happiness, or just choose to be happy, but I can choose to fill my life with people, things and places that make me happy, I can choose to see the good and I can choose to seek better.
  26. I still love blogging… and I think I am getting better at it… I suppose that’s the plus side of honesty.
  27. I love to worship… I love learning about worship and I love Jesus… He is the only one worthy of my worship.
  28. My plans for my life might be good, but as hard as it is to accept sometimes, His ways are better.  Life often seems unfair sometimes and we can’t always see the bigger picture… but we have to trust.
  29. I am still getting better at looking after myself, but just like last year I still have a long way to go… but this remains a top priority.  I can’t do what I am called to do, if I can’t function.

29 you have been a challenge, you have been hard, but you have been worth it all… in fact 20s you have been great… better than I had ever hoped and totally different from what I expected.

I am holding on to the promise that my 30s will bring better things… I hope that I continue to learn more, love more and live more… 30 I am now ready for you.

Five Minute Friday: Abandon

Woah… it’s late Friday night And I almost forgot to post my YAY!!!  It’s Friday Five minute Friday!  If you have no idea what than means… well firstly welcome… and secondly you can read about it with the hyperlink above… or you can read my last one here…

Today’s prompt is abandon… and I have 5 minutes to write about it… no guidelines, no pressure (other than the clock…) but just a reason to post something… here we go

Abandon

So… the prompt is here and I am lost for words… abandon is such a loaded word, such a heavy word… yet thankfully one that I don’t really understand in full. I don’t think there has ever been a time I have ever felt abandoned… I am blessed, I have been surrounded by good, loving people all my life… I belong… I am not alone… I also know the one who knows me best… I know I am never alone because I walk with Jesus.
Yet there is another type of abandon that keeps popping into my mind as I type… the type of abandonment the Hillsong song ‘The Stand’ takes about:

‘I’ll stand, with arms high and heart abandoned,

In awe of the one who gave it all,

I stand, my soul lord to you surrendered

All I am is yours’

An abandonment by choice, a decision to walk away from my desires and to step into His with no other agenda…

I guess I wasn’t lost for words after all… I am thankful not to be abandoned and to be able to stand abandoned from the world in His glory…

Five Minute Friday: Purpose

YAY!!!  It’s Friday which means it’s also Five minute Friday time!  If you have no idea what than means… well firstly welcome to my blog… and secondly you can read about it with the hyperlink above… or you can read my last one here

Today’s prompt is Purpose… and I have 5 minutes to write about it… no guidelines, no pressure (other than the clock…) but just a reason to post something… hope you get as much enjoyment out of what I write as I do writing it.

Purpose

I really like when God is super obvious and everything just lines up… all the prompts, all the teaching and all the songs… that has been my experience this week and I shouldn’t have been that surprised when I saw what today’s prompt was… because this word has been one of the key themes of my week this week… I have used other words for it like… intentional, deliberate, goal and plan… But really they are all the same.

This week I have been super challenged to do two things… 1. Give all of my plans over to God, because even if mine are good… His will be better and 2. I need to live with purpose.  I need to be an intentional kingdom bringer and I need to seek him deliberately.

These aren’t new concepts to me by any stretch, but they are the ones that I constantly need reminding of.  I often try and do it all my self, I think I know best and often think that if my plans and purpose are good (according to me and often the Word) then I am set… but my good isn’t always God’s.  His calling and purpose are far greater than I will probably ever understand… but that’s what I need to seek and I need to do it with purpose.  I need to be intentional, even when it is hard and my good plans aren’t the course my life seems to be taking.

I need to pursue my purpose with purpose.  I am called to be set apart, I am called to bring the kingdom and above all I am called to love, because he first loved me.

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.