Thursday, March 9, 2017

Fours years on...

Yesterday marked 4 years since Daniel returned home from a month away at Manus Island, yesterday marks 4 years since an incredible experience but yet one I wouldn't choose to do again! 

I still remember the day sitting in the chapel and being told of this opportunity which had come about for some of the cadets, to do their summer placement on Manus Island working with those in detention, seeking Asylum. 

I leant against the wall just inside the door, and Daniel sat in the chairs across the room from me. As our Principal spoke of this experience, I knew so deep down in my soul that Daniel needed to go, without even speaking to him on wether he wanted to or not. As the principal spoke Daniel turned around and caught my eye,  to which I just nodded my headed and mouthed the words "go". 


Go...two little letters, with such a huge impact. I hadn't really thought about the impact, just gone with my gut.

Go...and leave me single parenting an 18month old whilst I still continue my studies and placement. 

Go...for a month, with us knowing it will be minimal contact between us during that time.

Go...being obedient to what we'd been called to do.

Go...because I knew there wasn't any other option, this would be a once in a lifetime experience for him. 

Go...because you have a huge heart for people, & you are needed there for such a time as this. 

Go...and I have an experience of single parenting which made me see how difficult it is for some.

Go...and be an example of Jesus in a place we really knew nothing about. 


The time came for Daniel to go, I can remember being so incredibly proud of what he was embarking on but also so terrified of the next month and what it would look like. As I stood with 3 other incredible mums, we said goodbye to our loved ones knowing that the community we were surrounded by would be our village that came together to assist us in parenting our children. 

Looking back now, fours years on I reflect on the experience that was mine, I can't write about Daniel's because that was his experience and whilst he shared some of it with me, I will never truly be able to understand the experience he had. 

Those 3 mums I stood with, they were my solid rocks though out that month, a simple message of "help", "you ok?", "let's eat together" was never left untouched, the friendship that was formed in that time was one I can honestly say I'd never experienced before. 

The community in which we lived, I truly saw what they mean when they say "it takes a village to raise a child". I had people willing to mind Emery so I could have some down time, people wanting to invest in her life. They assisted me with childcare pickups, assignment deadlines, meals & mundane chores of groceries and cleaning and for that I am forever grateful. 

I experienced life also as a single mother, in the middle of the night when your child is sick and admitted to hospital, being alone and feeling incredibly so, knowing that the people you want nearby are those that are a flight (or two!) away! I had experiences that helped me to see what life is like for those outside of my little world. 

I worked full time at my placement and raised a child and boy it was tough. Sometimes the most contact I had with Daniel was a "like" on a photo on Instagram, and at times that was all I needed to know he was ok. I missed him so much it hurt some days, and there were some days it was all to overwhelming and I'd hide in our apartment with Emery, just enjoying the time with her, where I could let me emotions go and not need to explain them. 

My most vivid moments from that time are the last few days when Emery was incredibly sick, and was admitted to hospital. I can remember counting down the hours until Daniel was to return, wanting so badly to be home for that, to greet him and not for him to need to come to the hospital. Sadly home was not an option and he was welcomed home at the hospital.

As I shut my eyes I can go back to that moment like it was yesterday. I feel the cool of the air conditioner on my skin, my tummy is hungry because I haven't been able to leave Emery and all I've eaten since 5pm the night before was popcorn, chocolate and a coke. It's now late in the afternoon and I am pleading with Emery to drink something or eat something so we can go home and see daddy, but she is pale and lifeless and refuses. Her little body is tired from the exhaustion of 13 vomits in a time frame of 5 hours. As I lean over the hospital cot, pleading with her, I see Daniel come around the corner of the ward out the corner of my eye, my heart leaps with joy, I tear up because he's home (just as I do now as I relive this precious moment). Before I can draw Emery's attention to Daddy, she too has spotted him and beemed with joy "Daddy!".  

The rest is really uneventful. With Daddy's return and much to my frustration, Emery begun drinking and eating and within 2 hours we were home. 

I did however have a moment where I was able to put myself in someone else shoes. I remember once Dan had been with us for a little while, I left him with Emery and went to get some food, as I returned with McDonalds, we were told we could go home. Earlier that day I had been placed in a room with another mum who like me, had not left the room, or eaten. When I returned with my food, knowing I was going home, I was able to pass on my meal to her and whilst I don't know if she ate it, I know the look on her face was forever thankful.  

Four years on as I reflect on that time, I am grateful for Daniel, because even though his time away was tough on us both, we are in this journey together and support each other 100% in the choices we make still to this day.

I reflect on the woman I am. I am incredibly resilient, I am strong and I am an beautiful mother. But not only that I look back and see that through that time I never let anything pull me away from what I was doing. I kept going with my healthy eating and fitness, yes it may of been moved a little to fit around my single my routine, but I did it. I completed my placements and assignments, again, yes I may of had extensions for those assignments but they were completed. I enjoyed the moments with my beautiful girl, who truly kept me going. 

I reflect on the moments I had that made me aware of others that I may never have thought about their experiences, and whilst I may of forgotten some of them, my hope is that I may be reminded of them when I need to and that I may be apart of someone's village to assist them in their time of need.

And for this experience I am truly grateful. 

my most favourite photo of these two...the moment Daddy came home!

Friday, October 28, 2016

Self care realisation

Sharing some recent thoughts that I wasn't quite ready to publish back then and honestly I am still learning how to do self care that works for me.

Monday 19th September. Somewhere in the air between Perth and Adelaide. 6.35pm

Here I am on my fourth flight since 4th September when we flew to Perth. Row 26, seat B, wedged between Emery and Elijah, both being entertained by the IPads! It's been awhile since I did a flight on my own with the kids, actually I'm not sure I ever have, but it's safe to say they are both well travelled and know this gig back to front! 

I guess I've heard it before in the safety demo, but today it sunk in as I listened to the attendant take us through what to do in an Emergency. 

"It is important you fit your own mask  before helping other guests..."

It was in this moment I realised, well maybe acknowledged to myself that I need to look after myself before I can be a mum, wife, seems a little selfish really when you think about it, but honestly what good am I to anyone if I don't care for self, a little self care will ensure I can give my best to others around me. 

Recently I  have made some changes in life which will hopefully see me be able to look after myself but also those closest to me, my family. As a mum of two preschoolers it's so easy to put them first in everything (well after work, which is the drastic change I have just made) , but after my experience in the past few days, when I don't look after myself, my parenting goes crazy. I yell, I'm short with them, I make crazy threats..."if you don't (insert request here) you won't have McDonalds for lunch/play on the playground (insert anything they are actually looking forward to!)" and yep the food choices are less than healthy, but hey they get a great collection of the latest movies icons...

Self care I feel is incredibly hard, for me anyway, others may find it easier, but I recognise to give the best for my family, this mumma needs some regular self care time - wether it be gym time, pampering, time for journaling, time for creating, time for things that fill my cup to then ensure that those around me get the best of me, not a tired worn out cranky mumma/wife. When I feel good about myself, life goes a whole lot smoother for those around me. When I have less expectations on me, life is a whole lot calmer for those around me.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Standing Strong

Thursday 18th August. 9.01am. Sitting in my car in the work carpark. (Edited days afterwards, lying on the couch!)

I remember the day of my Nannas funeral,  sitting in the second row of the Church I had grown up in, the church where I had sat and watched my Nanna play the piano many times, I now sat with my family as we said goodbye to the one we had all loved so much, and now mourned the loss of her physical presence in this world, yet knew quite confidently that she was now at rest but her memories in our hearts would live on forever.

We went through the service, I don't remember much about it except the church was full, I read 1 Corinthians 13 with my cousin and my Dad lead the service, which I always admired because of his strength in a time of loss and sadness. 

As the last song of the service was sung and I sung along to the words, I felt this urge to stand, to honour my Nannas life. As I continued to sing this battle went on inside me, I was afraid to stand, afraid for what others would say, I was front row, everyone would see. I was afraid that as I stood I would burst into tears and the silent tears that had slipped down my cheeks, would suddenly be on show for all to see. As I sung and battled this "urge inside me" I saw another relative stand, across the Church from me but still at the front. He stood so boldly and so strong as his hands were crossed gentle across his body and he continued to sing. 

As I drove to work, alone in the car that had been so faithful to us on our travels I put a CD in the player, as for once I did not have to listen to tunes requested from the back seat. 

As the music came on, and I battled the traffic to make my way to work I listened to the first two songs on the CD. I sung along as I normally do, but this time it was different. This time there was a broken heart singing these words as prayers, in between the songs there were prayers spoken from a heart that was battling. 

As I drove that day, I was taken back to that moment at my Nannas funeral as I sung "It is well", that moment of wanting to stand to honour her. As I prayed that day I felt a clear direction that in this time of my life I now need to stand to honour God in my life, to stand despite what people might think, to stand strong knowing that "through it all my eyes are on Jesus" and I am making this stand because of the prompting of his spirit in my life and being aware of the needs I recognise in my life. Recognising the things in life that God has given me yet I take for granted or have pushed aside. 

That 15 minute drive to work, was what I needed to start this day. Prayer with God, hearing from him by His Spirits prompting, and knowing that today whatever I face, He is with me. 

Thursday, August 4, 2016

9 weeks....

It is safe to say in the last 5 years since moving from Perth, I have spent my fair share of time at Airports. I still remember the day we left Perth. As I sat in my seat, clutching Daniels hand, tears streaming down my cheeks, holding closely to Emery who was just 5 months at the time. I looked out the window, and tears flooded my eyes as reality hit in of what was happening. Moving across the other side of the country, just [then] the three of us, chasing something that we felt so strongly would be the next chapter of our lives.

Living away from loved ones there have been many trips to and from Airports. Each time I have collected someone who is visiting us there is such happiness, and then taking them back so they can return home there is sadness as they leave. Holding tight to the memories we have made in those moments they have been with us.

When we return home to Perth there is such excitement brewing as in just a few hours we will be reunited with our loved ones.  As we come home there are many tears (more and more lately as both children realise the distance!) as we give lots of hugs and say goodbye, again holding on to memories made, and beginning to count down the days until we see them again.

In my many airport visits I have noticed others, sharing moments unaware of others around them.

I think of the young girl who traveled in the seat in front of us recently, unaccompanied minor, in care of the Flight Attendant, waiting until the plane had emptied to join us in the terminal. I didn’t know her story, I wondered, is she returning home? Is she holidaying? As she entered the terminal I watched from afar as she ran with such speed to another young girl, they held each other so tightly, tears of joy as they kept hugging. They then joined the adults waiting with them, and walked arm in arm into the distance. Sisters? Friends? Cousins? I’ll never know, but I know in that moment I was reminded of the many happy times of coming home to loved ones, feeling their embrace after 4 hours on a plane. Walking with them, many stories spilling out as we connected after months apart.

I remember being the young mother, saying goodbye to her children and husband and walking away from them as the children cried for me, pulling at my heartstrings, as I left for a course in Melbourne for two weeks.

I see the couple embrace for an extended time as one walks away, tears streaming down their cheeks.

I know the feeling of being the one coming off the Airplane, waiting for that moment you lock eyes with the one waiting for you, your heart leaps for joy as your walk speeds up so you can reach them that little bit quicker.

I have also witnessed the incredible amounts of Krispy Crème donuts that people bring when leaving Melbourne to loved ones waiting for them, or maybe just for themselves to enjoy in days to come.
Goodbyes are really hard, as you say goodbye to loved ones that have visited you and shared moments in your world. They are hard when you’ve been on holidays, living the dream and now needing to return to reality.  But the beauty of goodbyes is that there are always the times you are reunited with loved ones, where your heart is filled when you are with them, where the stories flow of times missed together and memories made in those moments.

Living away from family is hard it is bittersweet. It has made me stronger and it has made me appreciate my family so much more. It has made me realize what we take for granted. As I live away from them, especially now having my own children, it hurts each time I say goodbye, and the countdowns are getting bigger and bigger to give us something to be excited for.

But I know that Adelaide is where we are meant to be, for such a time as this. Who knows where we will end up, but what I do know is that my children love their family in Perth so much and I am so incredibly thankful for the times people call just to say hi, when they send a little note in the mail to surprise us and I am super thankful for Skype, Facetime and the internet!!

I am thankful for the friends and family we have now in Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth, because as we’ve moved around we have been blessed with more and more family to love and to do life with us.

Today I said goodbye to my Mum, I was brave….mostly. I fought back tears as I gave her the biggest hug, so thankful that she had come to visit with Dad, who had left just days before to return to work. I waited until she walked back past me for just one last wave, one last smile, one last kiss blown through the air, for now. I turned and the tears flowed, she caught me as I glanced back for one last smile.

All the while reminding myself that it is just 9 weeks until I see them again!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

I am a child of God

Written a few days ago, sharing now as I've played with the idea, but figure it may speak to someone reading...

This morning as I stood in my bathroom getting ready for the day ahead, hair straightener in one hand, hair piled high on my head, music playing I smiled as I saw the women I'd been created to be. This beautiful mess (which I say in a loving term) staring back at me, flaws and all, in my natural state before the application of cosmetics to hide the "flaws" and enhance the beauty. 

"I am a child of God" was sung out of my phone, "from my mothers womb, you have chosen me, your love flows through my veins". I think of the things I struggle with,  depression, anxiety, self loathe, homesickness, but in this moment it all faded away as I was reminded I am a child of God.

I thought about my own children, two beautiful little humans, each unique, but yet so similar. Their lives entrusted to me, to care for them, guide them, nurture them and encourage them to explore. The times that there's incredible frustration around the choices they make, their actions, but I'm quickly taken to the moments that they take my breath away, the heart over flowing love that I have for them, as I puff out my chest and say "yes they are my kids, aren't they incredible!!"

This is how God sees us, he sees our hurts, our struggles, but he also stands there as the proud Father saying "yes they are my children, aren't they incredible!!"

I love the moments where my children come to snuggle, where they tell me they love me completely out of the blue, where they just want to hang out with me and I am reminded that God longs for us to be just like this, to hang with him for no reason, to tell him we love him out of the blue, to just sit in his presence, to connect with him.

Today I am thankful for the 10 mins I got to get ready on my own and for in this time the way God revealed this to me. I am thankful for my family who love me just as I am, a husband who walks this journey with me and for parents who have loved, guided and encouraged me along the way. I am incredibly thankful for a God who pours out Grace, because as I have explored life I haven't always made the greatest choices, but I am welcomed arms wide open to sit with him, to be restored and to be encouraged as I walk this life, as I walk I am not alone, He is always there and at times when I've needed it he's carried me through those times! 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

My behind the scenes.....

Edits, filters, sharing the good parts of life, the bragging of accomplishments, social media actually gives us unrealistic views of what others lives look like, we see the good parts of their lives and feel connected, but we rarely see the trials, struggles and the parts where they feel so alone. People let us into their lives partially and often are screaming for the interaction with others but are afraid to let people in, incase they begin to see that there are long can you truly keep up the appearance of life is wonderful?

I remember reading a saying somewhere on social media (ironically) which stated:

"stop comparing your behind-the-scenes with everyone else's highlight reel"

How true is this? I know I fall victim to only really sharing the good from life, I put filters on photos which make my skin look better, the food more appealing, my day more interesting. I put unrealistic expectations on myself because of what I see others doing/achieving. But what about my behind-the-scenes? 

My behind the scenes, is a 29 year old mother of two, with an amazing husband. Living in Highett away from family, and where friends are spread anything from 20mins away to a plane flight of 4 hours. I'm planting a Church for the Salvation Army, and that brings many challenges, questions and frustrations and also expectations from what others perceive to be "church". This year has been one of the hardest times ever, moving away from a community where we lived for two years with constant support, people always willing to be sociable when we needed it. My dad being diagnosed with Cancer and multiple trips back to Perth, and then the tearing of the heart when having to leave the family to come "home". The struggle of wanting to be there but knowing its right for me to be here. The pain of other challenges in Perth and not being there to journey in person with loved ones when they most need it. Add to the mix of having our second child and learning to find the rhythm of life as a family of four. And that is just the big things!

Sometimes I cry, actually often I cry lately.

Somedays I want to pack everything up and move back to Perth, but then reality hits and I realise life won't be instantly better because that in itself would bring challenges. 

Sometimes I'm so content with being here in Melbourne, doing what I do. 

Occasionally I find I have no answers, no direction, no motivation. 

Often life is overwhelming and I want to run. 

I'm often trying to get life back to "how it used to be", when I was most happy, most feeling myself, most motivated. 

But I'm exhausted. I admitted I needed help. It was scary but I feel although I'm still feeling all of the above, I'm in a good place, to be able to move forward, pursue life to its fullest and to be content with the highlights and the behind the scenes. 

I'm on a journey and this one thing I know is that I don't do it alone. All throughout this year, I've held onto one verse in the Bible especially Hebrews 6:19 

"We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure."

Jesus keeps me grounded, he was human and he knows the struggles I go through. 
Jesus gives me purpose, he lived this world and he knows there are people struggling, he showed me how to live amongst them and do life with them. 
Jesus is my constant companion when things get tough and I have no-one to turn to, His Spirit guides me, comforts me & gives me the words to say when I don't feel I have any. 
Jesus is the hope of the world, the cornerstone, the foundation. 

My prayer is that Jesus be at the centre of my life, and then I can face anything thrown at me. 

I show you my behind-the-scenes, because I want you to see you are not alone, my life isn't all peachy that you see when I post photos, but I truly with all my heart believe that life with Jesus is so much better than what it would be if I didn't have him. My faith allows me to journey through this stuff, my battle with depression & anxiety, my struggles in life, my insecurities, because I know I was born for more than just the now. I hold onto those blessings that God has placed in my life - my Husband, my kids, the friends both near and far. I wouldn't trade them for life "as it used to be", because this is life, this is who I am, I am moving forward, not backwards. I've asked for help and I am seeing Jesus work in my weaknesses. Because it is in my weaknesses that He is the strongest. When I admit I can't do it anymore, that He proves He can do it, and He has been the one carrying me through the hard times. 

Each day I must bring everything to Jesus, and allow him to work in and through me. 

My behind the scenes picture, no makeup, no filter, just raw me!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Amazing Grace

On Good Friday I was sitting reflecting on the lyrics of Chris Tomlin's "Amazing Grace, my chains are gone" and I felt prompted to rewrite the lyrics to reflect my own language and journey.

So I thought I would share with you on this beautiful Easter weekend, as we reflect on who Jesus is and what he did so that we might live a full an abundant life in His name, for His glory. Tomorrow as we celebrate Jesus resurrection my prayer is that you too will come to know the amazing power Christ has through his death, and this power is available for all our lives. Want to know more, feel free to contact me!

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a sinner like me.
I once was walking along making decisions for myself thinking I knew best for me,
But now I walk being aware of, and guided by your Holy presence active in my life.
I once didn’t think I had any other options,
But now I see that your ways are so much better than I could of ever dreamt of.
It was your Grace that captured me and made everything in me respect you
 and want to live all my days for you,
It is your Grace that calms my anxiety of the future knowing that you are in control, 
all I must do is trust.
The moment I gave up fighting and begun believing, is when life suddenly begun to make sense and I had hope for my future.

The things that hold me back have been released in your precious name.  
Lord continue to work in my life revealing things that still hold me back.
I’m able to live life to my fullest potential realising all my ability and skills come from you.
My God, My Saviour, you have worn the abuse for my stupid and prideful ways.

Like a flood, your love, kindness and forgiveness just overwhelm me.

It will never run out, you never give up on me, Amazing Grace!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Where I see God

I was recently asked by someone the question “where have you seen God in your week?” and the first time they asked me I was really stumped. It took me awhile to answer, but upon answering I knew that it wasn’t a trick question. In fact it was to get me thinking outside the box, outside these white walls that I call “home”, and to see where God was speaking, guiding and showing himself to me, in amongst all of life.

As I have this blog, and although I don’t use it that much, I have plenty of drafts and ideas of what I’d love to share with you, and time permitting I will share them, but today I want to begin a little series.  Each week I will post about where I have seen God, whether it be through a photo or words, or even both. By posting my moments I want to encourage you that God can (& will) speak through many ways, He will show us glimpses of himself and He will catch us unaware sometimes. We just need to have our eyes open to the wider world, be open to allow him to reveal himself in ways he may have never used with us before. It is then we will see the true beauty of God, so awesome, intriguing and creative He is.

So to begin, I share with you a moment from last week…

Sitting in the Chaplains office at my placement, a gentleman came in carrying his guitar and he begun to play songs. I watched on as I saw him get lost into the music he played. He played with such passion, such emotion.  As his fingers moved up and down from note to note, I saw pain, beauty and hope in his eyes. As he begun to sing, in languages completely unknown to me, he shared through these songs, with me parts of his life. I have no idea about the history this man has, I know nothing about his background, where he has come from, but I know in that moment he took me on a journey of songs that meant something to him. Each of them reminding him of a memory from his past. As he relived them, I looked on, I encouraged as he finished and moved onto the next. It was there that I saw God. It was this mans hands that truly captured me, the way they moved so fast, then slowed right down, bringing so much emotion and life to the songs. I saw a man holding onto past hurts, but allowing music to touch his soul. I saw a man who had found a way to cope with life and all that threw at him. I saw a man sitting there, who whether he knew it, was made in the image of God. Held safely in the hands of God. And although he may be at the later years in life, I know God was still working in his life. In that moment I saw this gentleman through the eyes of God. He is valued. He is forgiven. He is unique. He is loved.