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.

It’s 2017 List Time!

Hey 2017, I have been waiting for you… waiting for a good reason to start lots of things again… all the usual suspects, like getting my eating and exercise on track, but also a brand new list.  I am really excited about this year and it’s list.  I am not really sure why, but it has a good feeling about it, which is enough for me to go with.

This year will be my 9th list… 9, can you believe it? That will take me to 900 things that I have ‘listed’ and attempted.  You can check out all the old lists by clicking the year they were attempted here: 2006, 20072010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 or 2016.  This year’s list is once again full of little goals, 100 of them all up… Some big, some small, some fun, some serious, some new, some re-dos, some very deliberate and some very very random but all things that at some stage last year I decided I wanted/needed/should do this year.

I really love doing these lists each year and the last couple of years I have been lucky enough to have been on some overseas adventures, in fact last year we started the year in Venice and the year before we were in New Zealand, so I jam packed those lists with the things we would do while we were away.  But this year we are regrouping and staying home, which means the list looks a little more like the lists of old… all home grownish, localish fun which means if you live near me… or want to visit me, you too can join the listing fun.  Seriously let me know if you want to help me… crossing things off the list is always more fun with someone else.

I am also hoping (like every other year) that 2017 will be the year that I get more consistent with blogging it when it happens… so that I can remember them all, not just all the big ones… anyway, that’s enough rambling about the list… here it is:

  1. Play some table tennis
  2. Learn to make a paper crane
  3. Do something special to celebrate my 30th
  4. Go on a book blind date
  5. Make Mrs Kaye’s cookies
  6. Have High Tea
  7. No more games in the morning… even if I am sick
  8. Try again
  9. Keep getting closer
  10. Go back to park run
  11. Go back to work
  12. Go back to school
  13. Paint something
  14. Build something
  15. Drink a bottle of water most days
  16. Have a ‘no screen time’ day or hopefully a couple of them
  17. Make some smores
  18. Go on a picnic
  19. Find out how floating lanterns work… how they are made etc.
  20. Go to the drive in
  21. Go Camping
  22. Go on a  road trip
  23. Swim in the ocean
  24. See a musical
  25. Do a fun run
  26. Have a spa of some sort
  27. Write a letter to myself to open in 10 years
  28. Help change something at home
  29. Start learning guitar again
  30. Get a haircut
  31. Take a photo everyday
  32. Exercise at least 3 times a week and make the most of my gym membership
  33. Send 20 hand written cards
  34. Eat/make paella
  35. Bake a lemon meringue pie
  36. Get a massage
  37. Participate in a scavenger hunt
  38. Do some trivia
  39. Try those multi fill water bombs and have a water fight
  40. Remember the important things: God, Dave, Health, Family and Communication
  41. Get better at shopping for my body
  42. Watch Hocus Pocus
  43. Go on a bush walk
  44. Use my new outdoor reading chair
  45. Blow some bubbles
  46. Play a board game
  47. Play a video game… not on my phone
  48. Go berry picking
  49. Have 5 different milkshake dates
  50. Try yoga again
  51. Visit a museum/gallery
  52. Blog regularly
  53. Seriously… be on time
  54. Get to work earlier and leave on time
  55. Keep my photo storage up to date
  56. Keep my computer up to date
  57. Meet Baby Lewis
  58. Try to make Turkish Delight… or just eat some real Turkish Delight
  59. Read 16 books
  60. Read at least 3 christian/devotional books
  61. Bake/cook something from 6 different countries
  62. Visit 3 different national parks
  63. Create an outdoor cinema in the backyard
  64. Go to a country town I have never been to before
  65. Watch a sunrise
  66. Get my car washed properly and then wash it least 5 times
  67. Read the book of Joshua
  68. Find some new blogs I like and read them regularly
  69. Cross at least one thing off my list each month
  70. Go to the fancy McDonald’s in Clifton Hill
  71. Finish cleaning out the spare room
  72. Three words… ‘home cooked meals’
  73. Have a spend nothing day at least once a month
  74. Get up at 7am on work days
  75. Make a quiche
  76. Have a non liquid breakfast at least twice a week
  77. Finish Gilmore Girls
  78. Check out Hungarofest
  79. Stop using Eastlink… just leave earlier
  80. Find out if our house has a legit hidden fireplace… or just get some proof of hope
  81. Find out where our local swimming hole is and use it
  82. Remember Joshua
  83. Try the crochet thongs/uggs
  84. Stay at the Langham
  85. Try Danny’s Donuts
  86. Finish sorting and storing the VHS tapes
  87. Blog about being thankful at least once a month
  88. Get my steps up again… ideally to >10,000 per day
  89. Learn how to play a new game
  90. Go interstate
  91. Get both the Europe and New Zealand Photo books ready for print
  92. Finish watching Star Trek Next Gen
  93. Go on a romantic get away
  94. Try 4 more local cafe’s in the search of our new local
  95. Finish my sentence a day book
  96. Improve my 5km time
  97. Do some colouring
  98. Go to bed earlier
  99. Clean out the Kikki.K folders
  100. Be deliberate about filling the house with good things like flowers and music

And there you have it… 2017 I am so glad you are here!

2016 – The Wrap Up

Wow… so that was 2016… probably one of the craziest years of my life.  I don’t think any other years of my life have had quite as many extreme highs and lows, and the list has once again been there through it all.  I am really glad that this year I chose to include some of my more deliberate holiday adventures.  I like that it has given me a reason to document them properly and that now I have them sitting right here to look back on whenever I want as many of them have a blog post just for them.

What about the rest… well that’s here too.  Some have links, and some I will tell you about right here, including the ones that didn’t… but they are all there ready and waiting for you to read all about…

  1. Start 2016 somewhere outside of Australia – completed: 01/01/2016
  2. Make a summer fruit platter in a watermelon – completed: 19/02/2016
  3. Send 12 hand written cards/letters – completed: 23/04/2016
  4. Make a lolly cake – completed: 31/11/2016
  5. Rearrange a space – completed: 17/02/2016
  6. Play my flute – completed: 29/12/2016
    This year was the first year in a long time that I have missed Christmas caroling, I didn’t miss it enough to get my flute out during caroling season, but I did get it out this week and play some carols.  It was really nice to play again and to know that I haven’t lost it.
  7. Go to Disneyland – completed: 24/01/2016
  8. Find out is our house has a legit hidden fireplace
    I am pretty sure that we do… but I have no proof and while my intention was to just kick a hole in the wall and find out what was there, some other things came up and I will have to wait a little longer to find out for sure. 
  9. Visit something older than colonised Australia – completed: 14/01/2016
  10. Have tea in London… Queen optional – completed: 19/01/2016
  11. Do a ridiculously cheesy tourist photo with a famous tourist attraction – completed: 22/01/2016
  12. Go to a country I have never been to before – completed: 02/01/2016
  13. Find a geocache – completed: 06/04/2016
  14. Hide a geocache – completed: 06/04/2016
  15. Watch the Prince of Egypt – completed: 18/03/2016
  16. Go in the 2016 Melbourne Marathon festival somehow… 5, 10, half or full
    When the 2016 Melbourne Marathon was on I was 23 weeks pregnant and running was even less of a strong suit than it was earlier in the year.  Maybe next year.
  17. Be a Victorian tourist and go somewhere all the tourists go – completed: 09/07/2016  
  18. See my bestie face to face – completed: 18/01/2016
  19. Get back in the pool and swim at least 5 times
    I am not really sure why I didn’t swim this year… I really enjoy it, I think that maybe it’s the thought of the effort of bathers, towels, public showers and goggles… sometimes it all just seems too hard.
  20. Go to the Zoo – completed: 03/02/2016
  21. Make some kind of festive seasonal dish – completed: 02/12/2016
  22. Use the fire pit – completed: 19/02/2016
    Not only did we use it, but there a perfect circle of dead grass where it was.
  23. Go skiing or snowboarding or tobogganing – completed: 03/01/2016
  24. Do you want to build a snowman? I do – completed: 04/01/2016
  25. Go Camping – completed: 04/04/2016
  26. See some Northern Hemisphere stars – completed: 06/01/2016
  27. Run with at least 3 different people – completed: 27/02/2016 
  28. Make a photo book or our Europe Adventures – completed: 29/12/2016
    Just sitting there waiting for the Christmas budget to cool it’s jets before we print it.
  29. Save money each pocket money
    It was not a good year for our fiances… well Dave’s pocket money card might be ok… but mine not so much.
  30. Go on a bush walk – completed: 05/04/2016
  31. Go to a farmers market – completed: 27/03/2016  
  32. Make some meringues – completed: 03/10/2016
  33. Learn how to spell meringues without having to check it every time – completed: 03/10/2016
  34. Keep my emails under control – no extreme amounts of notifications on my phone – completed: 31/12/2016
    Not at all times, but for most of the year I made a special effort to keep the notifications under control.
  35. Get and keep my photo storage under control – completed: 29/12/2016
    This is one I am really proud of, I love our photos and I am a little paranoid about losing them, but now I have them all backed up and safely stored, I just have to keep these backups up to date. 
  36. Sew something – completed: 30/12/2016
    Let’s not get too excited I repaired a jumper of Dave’s and pair of my pants, but I had to get the sewing machine out and use it to do so… that counts as sewing.
  37. Do some trivia – completed: 05/06/2016
  38. Bake some snacks – completed: 02/10/2016
  39. See a musical – completed: 13/05/2016   
  40. Read 16 books – completed: 20/11/2016
  41. Do a water aerobics class
    I am putting this in the same category as swimming, the whole idea was just too much for me this year.
  42. Do a spin class
    So I don’t really have an excuse, I left it too late and then when I could do a class again, I just didn’t want to.  Bikes and me… maybe we will never be.
  43. Have a BBQ Wednesday
    I wish we had, I really do, but we didn’t.  BBQ Wednesday’s seem a lot harder to organise and make happen than they ever did before.
  44. Go to a state of Australia that I haven’t been to before – completed: 03/04/2016
  45. Touch my feet to some red dirt – completed: 06/04/2016
  46. Clean up my iTunes playlists – completed: 29/12/2016
    Yep all clean, lots deleted and hopefully just the good ones left… I’ll just have to work my way through them again and check.
  47. Visit another international thermal pool – completed: 07/01/2016
  48. Clean my car more regularly
    Nup… it is really dirty and will be until next year… I really need to clean it more often. 
  49. Sort out my 2014 and 2015 scrap books – completed: 12/12/2016
    Turns out there were a few more years that I hadn’t done, but they are done now too… Now I just have to do 2016.
  50. Try at least 2 new park runs – completed: 12/03/2016
  51. Keep my apple things updated properly – completed: 31/12/2016
    This actually took a lot more work than this little list item implies, but it is done.  Laptop, iPad and iPhone.
  52. Go to Inverloch at least 5 times – completed: 15/12/2016
    I am not really sure what to say about this, I went down there 5 times… and really I should do it a lot more often.
  53. Swim in the Ocean
    I really wish I had done this too… but it just didn’t happen, when we were at the beach it was too cold, but when it was hot, we were no where near the beach. 
  54. Have high tea – completed: 09/07/2016 
  55. Walk to the end of a pier – completed: 30/10/2016
  56. Get some Fro-yo – completed: 11/02/2016
  57. Go roller skating
    Also a no for 2016… even though we live right near a skating rink… turns out I am just not that passionate about skating.
  58. Ride a bike – completed: 17/01/2016
  59. Have some pasta/ pizza/gelato in Italy – completed: 01/01/2016
  60. Have some processed meat in Germany – completed: 05/01/2016
  61. See the Myer windows – completed: 21/12/2016
    Dave and I spent a night strolling around the city checking out all the Melbourne Christmas fun… and that includes the Myer windows… but because it was a beautiful night and we went at peak time… I just looked through the very long line and Dave read the book to me.
  62. Go to a place I can’t pronounce – completed: 06/01/2016
  63. Do some more work as a teacher – completed: 29/02/2016
  64. Take a photo with an English Guard – completed: 20/01/2016
  65. Take the Eurostar – completed: 22/01/2016
  66. See an Emu – completed: 05/04/2016
  67. Experience the outback – completed: 04/04/2016
  68. Follow through on the date box again – completed: 27/12/2016
    Each year these seem to get harder to fit in, but always more important than they were the year before.
  69. Go to Sherbrook forest – completed: 09/04/2016
  70. Be on time… it’s time
    I don’t think I could honestly cross this off, but I am getting better and I am definitely making more of an effort to be on time.
  71. Have another Star Trek Movie Marathon – completed: 29/12/2016
    We had planned on doing this a little earlier in the year, but it didn’t quite happen, so this week I sat down and watched the two first movies back to back… which counts as a marathon.
  72. Make my own dumplings – completed: 28/11/2016
    With a trusty Donna Hay recipe which is always delicious.
  73. Be confronted by WWII – completed: 11/01/2016
  74. Go on a Gondola ride – completed: 01/01/2016
  75. Visit a real life old time castle…. like one that would inspire Disney – completed: 08/01/2016
  76. Visit at least 4 museums –  completed: 12/01/2016
  77. See the Berlin Wall – completed: 14/01/2016
  78. Taste some dutch cheese – completed: 16/01/2016
  79. Have a Shakespeare moment – completed: 02/01/2016
  80. Do a 3D jigsaw – completed: 21/09/2016
  81. Ride a Camel… or at least see one in Uluru – completed: 05/04/2016
  82. Have one of those epic milkshakes – completed: 09/04/2016
  83. Have a Random Acts of Kindness week
    This should have happened, and I even started a couple of times, but either forgot about it or started missing days.  Either way it didn’t happen.
  84. Go on  a Road Trip – completed: 06/05/2016
  85. Have a wardrobe purge – completed: 29/01/2016
  86. Do another Pinterest project – completed: 19/12/2016
    This year I made some DIY Pinterest Christmas gifts, including some sprinkle candles and something special for my friend Pheebs.  I like Pinterest!
  87. Help change something at home – completed: 20/11/2016
  88. See some carols by candle light – completed: 11/12/2016
    Thanks city of Monash, they were fun and I learnt that ‘Boomeranging’ fireworks is the best.
  89. Get a massage – completed: 23/11/2016
  90. Keep getting closer again
    I did for most of the year, but the back half of the year has not been great for my weight goals… but I have had some other things on my mind and I can try again next year.
  91. Make the most of my gym membership
    I don’t think I could honestly cross this off either… I have used the gym, but not as much as I could have or should have… I am going to put this with no. 90 and say I will try again next year.
  92. Get my menu planning and home cooking game on – completed: 31/12/2016
    I may have taken me all year… and I may not have written anything down, but at least I now think about what we could cook and plan ahead if I need to go to the shops… which is such an improvement from where I was that this is getting crossed off.
  93. Spend some time in the Old testament (Study at least 2 OT books) – completed: 29/12/2016
    This has been really good for me to do, I think I often forget about how much God has packed into the old testament because I spend so long focusing on the new one… but this year I have studied the book of Daniel and Judges and it has been really interesting.  I have learnt a lot more than I thought I would and I am hoping this is just the beginning.
  94. Eat something from out veggie garden – completed: 22/02/2016
  95. Play some badminton – completed: 28/12/2016
    So despite the very hot weather this week Dave and I went to the oval across the road and played some badminton, just for a few minutes because as well as the heat the wind had a mind of it’s own which doesn’t work well with a shuttlecock.
  96. Make sure I remember my secret list – completed: 29/12/2016
    I don’t think I could honestly say I have achieved my secret list, but I definitely thought about it, especially as the year has been coming to an end which is all this list asked me to do.  The secret list was just one to remind of the perhaps more important things that don’t often make it on to the regular list as they are hard to quantify, but that doesn’t make them less significant.  It included a reminder to slow down, work on my communication and to make time for God, Dave and myself in my sometimes way to busy life.  I have really liked having these little side goals to help me focus on the bigger picture.  We only get a short time on earth and I want to make sure I am making the time I have better and not worse for myself and those around me.
  97. Run 5km without walking
    Another thing I wish I could have crossed of the list but just like number 16 my motivations changed and it just didn’t happen.  It is still something that I want to do, but I think it is going to take a little longer than I had hoped.
  98. Have the parentals over for dinner… all of them… separately
    Well we did have them all over at different times but not for meals.  Well, sometimes we had a mid-meal…. like afternoon tea or morning tea and sometimes even lunch, but not a deliberate dinner.  I have certainly seen them all more this year than last year, and after this year will continue to see them more.  Their strength and support has been invaluable and I am truly blessed to have all 7 of them in my life. 
  99. Be more domestic – completed: 29/12/2016
    So given that Dave is the more domestic one in our household, he was the judge of this one and he says, and I quote “this was your best year so far”… a pretty overwhelming ‘more’
  100. Take Dex on a Doggy Adventure – completed: 07/10/16
    So the photo isn’t great but we took Dex to visit his friend Abe when we went to visit our friends Dust and Jess… he had a great time.  

So there you go… another year of listing done… and I think I have done pretty good… well actually I think this is my best attempt yet with 84 things crossed off.

Here’s to 2017… may it’s list offerings bring even more joy than 2016’s.

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.

Using My Good Days For Good… Finishing The List

Ok so 2016 is quickly disappearing and I figured that seeing as I am currently on leave from work… and I have good days and bad days at home…. but thankfully more good days than bad ones… I am going to use the rest of my good days this year doing 3 things…

1. Working out how to remember Joshua when things are good and joyful
2. Getting my Christmas shopping and planning sorted and…
3.  Finishing this year’s list.

This year’s list got a little ignored when I found out I was pregnant, because I was tired, some of the things were no longer possible and lets face it… my priorities had shifted… but now I am no longer pregnant and unfortunately don’t have little Josh to distract me… so the list has been bumped back up the priority list.  And lets face it… it’s supposed to be filled with things I want to achieve/do/try… so crossing things off it should bring me some joy… and I could do with some bonus joy.

So here is a recap of what I have done… and probably more importantly… what I haven’t…

  1. Start 2016 somewhere outside of Australia – completed: 01/01/2016
  2. Make a summer fruit platter in a watermelon – completed: 19/02/2016
    This one was actually crossed off way back in Feb… and it should have had its own blog because it is glorious… This delicious watermelon bowl of goodness… yep that’s it just on the right hand side there… was made for a girl’s night which I was privileged to lead for youth group… and both the evening and the watermelon bowl were spectacular. 
  3. Send 12 hand written cards/letters – completed: 23/04/16
    This one has also been done for a while thanks to my new subscription to ‘Happy mail‘ which I love… It has given me a reason to write more as well as pretty much the perfect card for every occasion.  
  4. Make a lolly cake – completed: 31/11/16
    Thanks to my Father-in-law and his trips to NZ this one is done… Turns out Eskimo lollies are harder to get in Australia than I had imagined… but once I got my hands on some of those the lolly cake happened… and I have it on the authority of a NZ local… (my father-in-law)… it was pretty good. 
  5. Rearrange a space – completed: 17/02/2016
  6. Play my flute
  7. Go to Disneyland – completed: 24/01/2016
  8. Find out is our house has a legit hidden fireplace
  9. Visit something older than colonised Australia – completed: 14/01/2016
  10. Have tea in London… Queen optional – completed: 19/01/2016
  11. Do a ridiculously cheesy tourist photo with a famous tourist attraction – completed: 22/01/2016
  12. Go to a country I have never been to before – completed: 02/01/2016
  13. Find a geocache – completed: 06/04/16
  14. Hide a geocache – completed: 06/04/16
  15. Watch the Prince of Egypt – completed: 18/03/2016
    This probably doesn’t need a lot of explaining… it happened and I enjoyed it… I had probably talked it up too much in my mind, but it was still good… I really love the music from The Prince of Egypt… just in case you were wondering.
  16. Go in the 2016 Melbourne Marathon festival somehow… 5, 10, half or full
  17. Be a Victorian tourist and go somewhere all the tourists go – completed: 09/07/16
    Dave and I were incredibly blessed by some parents from Dave’s work who spoiled us with a weekend away in the city and it was perfect and wonderful and just so overwhelmingly generous that I haven’t been able to put it down in words and do it justice.  But as part of this weekend we got to hang out in the city and go where all of the tourists go… we visited the National Gallery, hung out at crown, had scones with jam and cream at the Langham and window shopped in Bourke St and the Emporium… just like the tourists.  
  18. See my bestie face to face – completed: 18/01/2016
  19. Get back in the pool and swim at least 5 times
  20. Go to the Zoo – completed: 03/02/2016
  21. Make some kind of festive seasonal dish
  22. Use the fire pit
  23. Go skiing or snowboarding or tobogganing – completed: 03/01/2016
  24. Do you want to build a snowman? I do – completed: 04/01/2016
  25. Go Camping – completed: 04/04/16
  26. See some Northern Hemisphere stars – completed: 06/01/2016
  27. Run with at least 3 different people – completed: 27/02/2016
    My running game was strong for the first half of the year… it’s pretty average at the moment which certainly puts some doubt over some of the other list items, but not this one… I have run with more than 3 different friends, but the first three were Parkruns with Amy-Ruth and Annie and a fun run around the zoo with Kev and Suz. 
  28. Make a photo book or our Europe Adventures
  29. Save money each pocket money
  30. Go on a bush walk – completed: 05/04/16
  31. Go to a farmers market – completed: 27/03/2016
    Do you know what’s even better than a regular farmers market?  A twilight farmers market ’cause you don’t have to get up super early to be there and get things… you can sleep in and still enjoy all the spoils… it’s almost like you can have your cake and eat it too.    
  32. Make some meringues – completed: 03/10/16
    I don’t know why I don’t do this more often… I love meringues! 
  33. Learn how to spell meringues without having to check it every time – completed: 03/10/16
    While making my meringues I also learned how to spell the word… M E R I N G U E S… ta da! 
  34. Keep my emails under control – no extreme amounts of notifications on my phone
  35. Get and keep my photo storage under control
  36. Sew something
  37. Do some trivia – completed: 05/06/16
    There is not enough trivia in the world… I love it… although I am always disappointed if my team doesn’t win… especially if we don’t win a Disney themed trivia night… but despite my disappointment… the trivia was participated in which means it is off the list.
  38. Bake some snacks – completed: 02/10/16
    Being a little food safety paranoid while I was pregnant meant that I made some of my own snacks instead of purchasing them… which is probably just better to do anyway and they are even more delicious that store brought snacks. 
  39. See a musical – completed: 13/05/16
    When you work with a dancer extraordinaire who tells you that she is performing in Australia’s first Amateur theater production of Wicked… you get there as quick as you can, you fall in love with Wicked all over again and you celebrate this friend like never before… that’s what happened in May for me at least anyway.   
  40. Read 16 books – completed: 20/11/16
    Like I said at the top… I have had a little bit of extra down time… and reading is a good way to get out of your own head and into another land… so my book quota is now achieved, here are this years books:
    – The Revenant, Michael Punke
    – The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins,
    – Cinder, Marissa Meyer
    – The Case for Christ, Lee Strobel
    – Scarlet, Marissa Meyer
    –  The Happiness Project, Gretchen Ruben
    – The BFG, Roald Dahl
    – Cress, Marissa Meyer 
    – Simplicite, Dominique Loreau
    – Winter, Marissa Meyer
    – Jesus Is, Judah Smith
    – The Concrete Blonde, Michael Connelly
    – The Black Echo, Michael Connelly
    – Inferno, Dan Brown
    – The Black Ice, Michael Connelly
    – The Last Coyote, Michael Connelly
  41. Do a water aerobics class
  42. Do a spin class
  43. Have a BBQ Wednesday
  44. Go to a state of Australia that I haven’t been to before – completed: 03/04/16
  45. Touch my feet to some red dirt – completed: 06/04/16
  46. Clean up my iTunes playlists
  47. Visit another international thermal pool – completed: 07/01/2016
  48. Clean my car more regularly
  49. Sort out my 2014 and 2015 scrap books
  50. Try at least 2 new park runs – completed: 12/03/2016
    I mentioned before that my running game had been strong in the first half of the year, which made crossing this off easier.  We ran my home away from home Inverloch Parkrun and headed to Westerfolds parkun to celebrate our friend Bram’s 100th parkrun with him.
  51. Keep my apple things updated properly
  52. Go to Inverloch at least 5 times
  53. Swim in the Ocean
  54. Have high tea – completed: 09/07/16
    Technically I crossed this one off when I had tea in London – way back with no. 10, but while we were in the city on our little get away we also had a pregnancy friendly high tea at the Langham… well scones with jam and cream and of course tea… that’s pretty much all you need. 
  55. Walk to the end of a pier – completed: 30/10/16
    Well it’s not much more exciting than what it says… we walked to the end of the pier in Inverloch… and now it is off the list. 
  56. Get some Fro-yo – completed: 11/02/2016
  57. Go roller skating
  58. Ride a bike – completed: 17/01/2016
  59. Have some pasta/ pizza/gelato in Italy – completed: 01/01/2016
  60. Have some processed meat in Germany – completed: 05/01/2016
  61. See the Myer windows
  62. Go to a place I can’t pronounce – completed: 06/01/2016
  63. Do some more work as a teacher – completed: 29/02/2016
    This year has also seen the return of Mrs G.  Still just filling in every now and again, but still teaching. 
  64. Take a photo with an English Guard – completed: 20/01/2016
  65. Take the Eurostar – completed: 22/01/2016
  66. See an Emu – completed: 05/04/16
  67. Experience the outback – completed: 04/04/16
  68. Follow through on the date box again
  69. Go to Sherbrook forest – completed: 09/04/16
    Birthdays are a good reason to cross things off the list… and lets face it, you never really need a reason to visit Sherbrook forest because it is beautiful.  We went, we tried out our new little festival chairs and had a birthday picnic… it was perfect. 
  70. Be on time… it’s time
  71. Have another Star Trek Movie Marathon
  72. Make my own dumplings
  73. Be confronted by WWII – completed: 11/01/16
  74. Go on a Gondola ride – completed: 01/01/2016
  75. Visit a real life old time castle…. like one that would inspire Disney – completed: 08/01/16
  76. Visit at least 4 museums –  completed: 12/01/16
  77. See the Berlin Wall – completed: 14/01/16
  78. Taste some dutch cheese – completed: 16/01/16
  79. Have a Shakespeare moment – completed: 02/01/2016
  80. Do a 3D jigsaw – completed: 21/09/16
    While we were away on our little babymoon in Lakes Entrance I found a little 3D duck puzzle, which if I am honest looked very very lame… which made me think it would be easy… turns out I was wrong, the puzzle was not easy… and it turned out to be pretty cute… but in interest in decluttering our house to make space for baby George we left the little duck for the next guests lucky enough to have our room in Lakes Entrance.
  81. Ride a Camel… or at least see one in Uluru – completed: 05/04/16
  82. Have one of those epic milkshakes – completed: 09/04/16
    So birthday list days are also a great reason to have an epic milkshake… and I am talking mammoth honeycomb overflowing milkshake that hits that the lactose limit harder than you will ever know
  83. Have a Random Acts of Kindness week
  84. Go on  a Road Trip – completed: 06/05
    A road trip to Mount Gambier in SA, with 20ish of our closest student friends from the Jazz Band and Jazz Choir.  Sometimes it’s fun to be a music teachers wife and to go on band trips, especially when the kids are so much fun, incredibly talented and you get to stay at the most amazing homestead in which homemade treats appearing every time you look around.   
  85. Have a wardrobe purge – completed: 29/01/2016
    I started the year with a massive wardrobe purge and then since then I have had another couple, each time clearing out more bags of stuff than I care to admit I had… At first it was just for me to make space to appreciate what I had and to stop feeling guilty about the things I had that I didn’t want or use.  Then the task expanded from my wardrobe to every cupboard and every other room as we tried to clear out space to make way for Baby George… 
  86. Do another Pinterest project
  87. Help change something at home – completed: 20/11/16
    So this was going to be the almost finished nursery… but it didn’t really happen, the nursery is still a junk room and currently not required… so instead, we just built the new bed we brought at the same time as some of the nursery furniture and ‘changed’ the bedroom
  88. See some carols by candle light
  89. Get a massage – completed: 23/11/16
  90. Keep getting closer again
  91. Make the most of my gym membership
  92. Get my menu planning and home cooking game on
  93. Spend some time in the Old testament (Study at least 2 OT books)
  94. Eat something from out veggie garden – completed: 22/02/2016
  95. Play some badminton
  96. Make sure I remember my secret list
  97. Run 5km without walking
  98. Have the parentals over for dinner… all of them… separately
  99. Be more domestic
  100. Take Dex on a Doggy Adventure – completed: 07/10/16
    So the photo isn’t great but we took Dex to visit his friend Abe when we went to visit our friends Dust and Jess… he had a great time.  

So there you go… still a lot to go… at the moment we are sitting on 61% complete… which is pretty good… but it’s going to be a big run home… some may say impossible… but not me… bring it on… hopefully with lots of ‘good’ days… oh and if you want to help with the things that are left… I would really appreciate it…