March Madness

Ok… my super on time Feb reflection seems to be an anomaly, but 2 days late isn’t too bad, especially when you consider that I have been pretty slack with my blogging the last couple of weeks… sorry.  So far this year I am still remembering to blog more regularly than previous years, but just as I feared, as life has gotten busier… the blogs have slowed down… but that’s one of the reasons why I wanted to make sure I did these reflections at the end of each month.  To help me live in the moment a little more and be thankful as things happen, rather than trying to do a big reflect later on… although there will be a little of that coming up in the next week or so.   Anyway, in a another blur of weeks, March is gone and it’s time to give you all an update of the list adventures that it brought with it. Keeping myself accountable to the list each month has really helped me to seek list opportunities when they present… not just to save them up for later… because sometimes later doesn’t happen… this month we crossed another 9 things off the list, which means this year we have already crossed 22 things off the list… that’s a pretty solid start… 8 in Jan, 5 in Feb and 9 in March… maybe this will be the year I finish it all? Maybe…

Here is March’s list contribution.

37. Participate in a Scavenger Hunt – completed: 03/03/2017
I wasn’t really sure if this would happen or not, but when I saw that scavenger hunt was listed as a youth group activity this term, I decided it was now or never.  I had no idea how I would get myself involved, or even if I would be allowed to.  I just wanted to be there.  I offered to anything, collect money, give out clues, serve super… all I needed to do was be there… but I got to be an honorary youth member for the night and went out in a team… and while I may have made them come second because I could not run home… it was still a cracker night.  Plus my team was pretty amazing… what a flipping incredible bunch of kids we have at church!  Thanks for letting me tag along, get covered in off magnum and keep you humble in second place… Hopefully next time I will be allowed to run and we will take our rightful place in first!

78. Check out Hungarofest – completed: 04/03/2017
Late last year Dave and I started seeing advertising for Hungarofest… a biannual Hungarian festival held at the Hungarian cultural club which happens to be around the corner from where we live.  So given that we LOVED our time in Hungary last year, we decided that I should put it on the list and check it out… and… well it was pretty fun.  They knew we were not Hungarian straight off the bat, but they still feed us a ham hock and we got to see the start of their 2hour musical theatre spectacular… Not bad for a whim on a banner we saw in December.

2. Learn to make a paper crane – completed: 11/03/2017
I have always loved origami… but I am terrible at it, I can never hold the instructions in my brain to repeat my creations without the guide and even with the instructions I often find myself getting in a quite a muddle… But while we were down at Inverloch for the long weekend I purchase a new colouring book… a colouring book that was also an origami book.  So after choosing some paper and colouring it in… I attempted to create my very first paper crane… and I think it turned out pretty well.  It’s pretty sweet… I am not sure I could repeat it over and over again without the instructions yet, but I have learnt how to make one paper crane… and that my friends, was all the list required.

96. Improve my 5km time – completed: 11/02/2017
So one month after the 11/02/2017 I had another very slow morning at parkrun… after weeks of getting quicker I have started going backwards again.  So just in case… I am crossing this off the list now… because it may never get better, particularly if my injuries don’t improve.  I am not giving up… this is not a pity party… this is just a realistic chance to cross something off the list when it happened, rather than waiting to see if it gets better and still having to go back to Feb to cross it off anyway…

38. Do some trivia – completed: 12/03/2017
Long weekends are also good for digging out your old PlayStation and crossing things off the list.  After a weekend of Jazz with the Salvo Big Band, Dave and I had our friends Annie and Ben over for tea and we played some buzz.  Annie and I had had a few practice rounds while the boys were at a big band planning meeting, but buzz is always better with a full four people.  I had forgotten how much I loved buzz, and just trivia really.  I like knowing things no matter how trivial or silly they may be… plus  I am also pretty competitive.

18. Play a video game… not on my phone – completed: 13/03/2017
Once the PlayStation was out for Buzz, it seemed silly to put it away without playing some Crash Bandicoot.  Growing up I only ever played Crash when we visited my Auntie Lyndel and Uncle Brad, because they had a PlayStation.  Our house was a Nintendo house, where Mario and his friends reigned supreme… but way back then I developed a love for Crash.  So when I was a teenager and SingStar and Buzz came out on PlayStation, I had to have them… but I also purchased Crash… because what is a PlayStation without him?   Little did I know, that Dave had grown up with Crash and was a boss on the PlayStation.  He quickly put me to shame as we played life for life that Monday Morning.

82. Remember Joshua – completed: 15/03/2017
This one had it’s own Wordless Wednesday but I thought I would still take a little moment to tell you how much I love this little pendant.  One side has Josh’s name and handprint and the other has his birth date and his footprint.  It is something that I can wear without any fuss, but have him close to me all of the time.  I know that I won’t forget him, ever, but it’s nice to have these little reminders of the massive impact this little tiny man has had.  To be able to take him with me physically in a way.  Getting this pendant is only one way we will remember him this year, but it was the first one I could take a picture of… so here it is.

14. Build something – completed: 25/03/2017
It is no secret that I love Ikea… I love everything about it, even the maze they make you take through the store…  So when we found an Ikea voucher at home it did not take me long to pick my next little project.  This totally sweet bedside table to match the bed I built (with Dave) last year.  It is super cute and even though it belongs to Dave’s side of the bed, I still love it.  It looks even better now that it has books on the little shelf, some things in the draw and a single book on the top.  Plus I think Dave is enjoying having his own little table.

67. Read the book of Joshua – completed: 29/03/2017
At the beginning of the year, our Pastor Phil encouraged us to join him reading the whole bible through the year.  I decided that I would start with them and see how long I could keep up, but I didn’t really commit to the idea, just in case I fell behind.  I didn’t want to get overwhelmed by trying to catch up, I just wanted to see how far I could get with out the pressure of having to do it… Anyway, here we are in March and so far I am still on the wagon and up to date, which meant that I got to read through the book of Joshua.  Between all the land allocations, there are lots of gems in Joshua, more verses and reminders of God’s faithfulness for us to hold on to… but I think that Joshua 1:9 will always be my favourite.

So there you go… 8 more things off the list… But not only have I been good with the list, I have also been remembering my daily photos and videos… so here is March in photos…

And one second video snippets:​

Thanks for being another winner March… and hello April!

Pathways in the Wilderness… New Things for 2017…

So this is something new for this year, Thankful Thursday.  It may not be every week, but according to the list it will be at least once a month, and it is something I am looking forward to doing.

Learning to be satisfied and content with who I am, what I have and where I am at, is something that I have struggled with.  Sometimes this dissatisfaction has been helpful, as it has pushed me to change things, try things or even improve myself… but sometimes it’s just a misunderstanding of my life compared to the highlight reels that I look at daily on social media.

I have often thought about having a break from Facebook, Instagram and twitter, however, there are lots of things I really like about all of these platforms, but I have to constantly remind myself, that I am only looking at what people want me to see, the sections of their lives that they have chosen to include.  That I am not seeing everything, and often not the bad bits, but rather, if it isn’t a ‘highlight’ it’s still just the bits they haven chosen to share, often things they wish they could change or do differently in an attempt to get some motivation to change, or some accountability.

So, to combat this in my own life (but probably make things worse for someone else as I add more to the highlight reel, sorry, but see above)  I have decided this year to get better at practicing gratitude.  That means being thankful for the things I have, the people in my life, and that stage of life that I am in.  Sometime it will even mean looking for the good when life isn’t as rosy or easy as well as I would like, or think it should be.  Stopping to see the good things God is doing in my life even when I have to work a little harder to bring them into focus.

So this is the first one… a Thankful Thursday…  and to be honest right now I am just thankful to be feeling pretty good.  I am definitely not where I thought I would be when I was planning January 2017 last year, but where I am is ok.  For the last couple of weeks my Facebook memories and Timehop app have been flooding my phone with memories of our adventures to Europe and New Zealand and for the first time in a long time I am feeling ok about not having a holiday planned.  It’s been really nice to be able to reminisce without getting jealous of my summers past, and to actually just take a minute to appreciate how lucky we were to have had those experiences.  It’s also the first summer for a long time that I haven’t been bitterly jealous of my friends on school holidays.  Although it has probably helped that I have only just returned to work after 3months, I think that for the first time in a long time I am ok with my current lot in life.

This summer I have been able to look back on all of the things we have done and smile.  I am so thankful for the things we did, the places we saw, the people we met and the fun we had.  I am also really thankful to be having a ‘proper’ Australian summer for the first time in 3 years… where it is hot and the beach is wonderful and inviting.  I am thankful for the time I have had to get some little projects done, to clean out the house and to just rest and be restored.  I am thankful for the fresh start that 2017 has been, even if it has just been a mental one.  I am thankful that God promises new things… Over the past couple of months some Old Testament verses have really stuck out and popped up regularly, so I am thankful that I can claim them for my year ahead… here is what I am holding on to…

 “I am about to do something new.   See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?  I will make a pathway through the wilderness.  I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.” Isaiah 43:19

“The kindness of the Lord has not ended, his mercies are not spent” Lamentations 3:22

”This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

I am really excited and thankful in advance for new things, pathways in the wilderness and rivers in wasteland… new mercies and kindness and the encouragement to be strong, bold and courageous, because I am not alone.

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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.

Dear Joshua

Dear Joshua,

I don’t really know how to write this blog/letter… It’s been a month since we met you and had to leave you… and I still don’t know how we even start to say goodbye?

Well I guess we start by saying this isn’t the end… mummy and daddy will be with you again one day.  Time will go so fast for you, partying up in heaven, but we will need to wait a little longer.  Either way we will be together again one day.  I will be able to hold you again and kiss your nose.  Daddy will be able to tuck you in and tell you how good you are, and we will both be able to tell you how much we love you.

Even though we didn’t get to meet you in person we are so proud of you.  Of your cheeky and defiant nature that we saw at your scans.  Of your perfect little body with your beautiful face and perfectly long hands and feet just like your dads.  And of your appetite… Turkish Delight milkshakes and pink donuts won’t be the same now that you are gone.

You were so strong and courageous, you held on for so long, right up until daddy told you it was ok, that if you needed to go to heaven without us, you could go.  Thank you for being so brave and making that tough decision for us.  We aren’t surprised that you chose heaven, I have heard it’s pretty incredible, but I really wish you had have stayed.  Earth could have been pretty fun too.

Daddy and I are so sad that you aren’t going to be staying with us.  This isn’t what we wanted, but we are so glad that we got to meet you just for a moment.  I am heartbroken that I never got to hear you cry or laugh or watch you fall sleep, but I loved every moment I spent with you, holding you and soaking it all in.

Life is really hard now that we have known you and had to say goodbye.  Our house feels empty without you and I feel like I have lost part of my purpose.  For the 24weeks I carried you, my life was all about you, keeping you safe and growing you to be strong, but now you are gone. We are trusting that Jesus has saved both you and us from something even more devastating, but right now, not having you here really stinks.  Even though I only knew you for a short time, part of me feels like I have known you my whole life and losing you has left a pretty big hole in my heart.

My precious and perfect Joshua, be strong and courageous, don’t be afraid, don’t be discouraged.  Remember the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.  We will try and be strong and courageous without you, we probably won’t be as convincing as you, but we will try.

Please know how much we love you and cherish you.  You are the best and most perfect thing your dad and I have ever created, or ever had the privilege of calling ours and we are so proud of you, every inch, every kick and every minute we had with you.

Thank you for making me a mummy,

I love you my sweet one.

Rest well,

Mummy