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.

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.

Grace to Grace

Over the last couple of weeks God has been reminding me how perfect His plan is. I have been reminded how detailed He is and how much more He has prepared for us. I have been reminded that Christ didn’t just die so that we could have a happy/normal life, attend church and repeat, but so that we could actually live, live with power, purpose and a whole heap of supernatural glory.  That I am called to carry His glory where ever I go, and that even my shadow can bring him more glory than I can really comprehend.

I have been reminded that regardless of all this, while I am still human, there is gap between Him and me that has been filled by Jesus… regardless of how big or small… and I have been reminded, that Jesus didn’t just love us, which He does… but that He knew there was more to come, something that we can not yet see, something worth keeping and saving us for… something we can all have because of His grace.

So this Easter I am not just thankful that Christ died for me, although I am thankful for that.  I am thankful because grace is more than just afterlife salvation, it is 100% salvation now, restoration to who we are in Him, strong, powerful children of God, living in the wonder of his Grace. That for God, we were worth the sacrifice of Christ… even though we might not feel worth. Let me leave you with the lyrics of a song Hillsong released this Easter that puts some of these thoughts of mine, much more eloquently.

IMG_1480If love endured that ancient cross
How precious is my Saviour’s blood
The beauty of heaven wrapped in my shame
The image of love upon death’s frame

If having my heart was worth the pain
What joy could You see beyond the grave
If love found my soul worth dying for

How wonderful, How glorious
My Saviour’s scars, Victorious
My chains are gone
My debt is paid
From death to life
And grace to grace

If heaven now owns that vacant tomb
How great is the hope that lives in You
The passion that tore through hell like a rose
The promise that rolled back death and its stone

If freedom is worth the life You raised
Where is my sin, where is my shame
If love paid it all to have my heart

How wonderful, How glorious
My Saviour’s scars, Victorious
My chains are gone
My debt is paid
From death to life
And grace to grace

When I see that cross I see freedom
When I see that grave I’ll see Jesus
And from death to life I will sing Your praise
In the wonder of Your grace