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.

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!

So Long Summer…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And one second video snippets:

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

Thanks January…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

jan2017

And my video:

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

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.