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.

Calling me home

This weekend Dave and I have been lucky enough to stay at ‘Somerset Cottage’ in Daylesford.  A refurbished and restored miners cottage that is just 100% perfect.  Even as I am typing this I have had to check that we weren’t just living in a home beautiful or country living magazine photoshoot, but that this beautiful little place is real.  It is cozy and picturesque and exactly what we needed, so thank you to the wonderful friends that made this happen.

But this blog isn’t about the cottage, or the lovely people in my life, but actually about a feeling I had as Dave and I drove up the western hwy on our way to our little escape.

For a really long time I considered myself a ‘city’ girl, the thought of being out in the country without the shops, the lights and the hustle and bustle was something that did not appeal to me at all.  That was until I moved to Castlemaine in 2009, where I discovered deep down I love the country.  It turns out I can live without the lights, the 24hour shops and the pressure that comes with everyone being ‘on and available’ all the time.  I love the relaxed pace, the friendliness of the people and the beautiful, beautiful scenery… in fact I really just love it all.  This transition probably actually started on that fateful uni placement to Bourke and was just confirmed in Castlemaine, but either way, it is something that has never changed back since moving back to Melbourne.  In fact my love for all things country has just become stronger since leaving… particularly my obsession with country music.

This change of attitude towards country living is something that I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about.  I do often think back to my time in Castlemaine fondly, and will talk to anyone about how much I love it if I get just a hint of them being interested… but it’s not as though I have been desperate to return, or to pack up my life here and move straight back.  I think I have just fallen right back into my city default mode and have my country life as a little memory that I love to take a minute to reflect on, but not something that soaks up my time anymore.  Yet as we drove towards Daylesford something strange happened.  The closer we got, the bigger the farms were, the taller the trees, the lighter I felt.  I don’t often take much notice of things like this, I mean, sure I notice if I am happy or sad, but I don’t often notice the process of this happening.  But on Friday night as we drove… I got happier, the stress of the week (although it hadn’t been any more stressful than normal), the business of life seemed to disappear and it was replaced with a nostalgic feeling of hope, safety and goodness.  This ‘longing’ for home was also noted by my phone, which highlighted the area as ‘home’ on the map, using an old addressed still saved in the depths of my data.

I am not really sure what this means because I love my Melbourne life… and I don’t get the same feeling on my way to a weekend away down at Inverloch, which I love just as much… but it just felt so good… it felt like home and freedom all packaged beautifully.  Maybe it was the country… or more specifically the goldfields region calling me home.  Maybe I was just under more stress than I realised and my mind was just excited about a weekend away from obligation… who knows, but l liked it and I need some more country living in my life.

P.S… this is out little Cottage and some pictures from our time away where I also got to cross no. 26 off the list

Five Minute Friday: Control

So this week once again I am trying some thing new… today I discovered on a friend of mine’s blog ‘The Carpenter’s Daughter’ something called Five minute Fridays which is facilitated by Kate Motaung which you can read all about here like I did… anyway today’s prompt is control… and I have 5 minutes to write about it… no guidelines, no pressure (other than the clock…) but just a reason to post something.

Control

amandajoaquim

Control is something that I have often felt a really strong need to have, but something I have realised is almost impossible to truly hold on to.

Control is a theory, an idea, a magical concept where if gained everything will be okay.  But to obtain it, and hold on to it costs a lot more than the freedom it pretends to offer.  It also makes me a lot more selfish.  It makes my world a lot smaller because I need to decide who, what, when and why… but the reality is, that’s not up to me.  I can shape my life, make decisions and have some ‘control’ over the who, what and when… but never totally.

As I have learnt to let go of my need for control… (I am sure there will be times I try and take it back) I have felt much freer than ever before… letting go and not trying to hold everything together creates space for others in my life, it removes the stress and anxiety of living up to a false standard set by me and no one else… and it gives me freedom as I hand the control back to the one who deserves it.

Control doesn’t equal freedom they way I hope, but letting go and trusting does… this is something I need to remember.