Tag Archives: life

Who’s that girl? No idea, I’ve never met her.

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Have you ever thought about what super power you would have?

Well when I was at school my friends used to call me ‘The Invisible Girl’. It was a funny little joke about how teachers would regularly overlook me or miss when I answered a question. Many times in my life I have had the unwanted super power of invisibility.

Growing up in church you meet a lot of different people. There have been a lot of times when I would met someone and we would have ourselves a lovely conversation. Then the very next week they would ask if it was my first time there.

The Invisible Girl strikes again!

Until the last year or so being invisible felt like part of who I was, I often felt forgotten or un-noticed. That I was only known and remembered for the people I was around – the “oh your so-and-so’s friend” was a regular comment for me. I am not the loudest or most boisterous of people so tend to get lost in the crowd. I’m definitely more of a small group kind of gal!

Feeling invisible or being overlooked can really hurt. You feel less important than those who are louder than you. You feel like your input doesn’t matter. You feel like your personality isn’t as fun and outgoing as those who are the life of the party.

But I have come to realise that God sees me. I’m not The Invisible Girl to him. He notices and values me. Always. When I am sitting on my own at church. When I am studying. When I am having a bad day. When I am driving or cooking or crying. He sees it all!

And no matter what my personality is or where I am or what I am doing, He knows and understands what is going on for me. He doesn’t want me to change. He loves that I am awkward and a little shy, He loves that you have no fear and can talk to anyone and everyone or that you can sing to a bunch of people or that you would prefer to be at home with family.

So be an introvert, be an extravert, be shy, be loud, be creative, be logical, be strong, be kind, be thoughtful, BE YOURSELF.

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What was old is new again.

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Does anyone else love Op shopping? I love the searching. I love the bargains. I love giving something a new home. I do always wonder what purpose it served before it ended up at Vinnies though…

Did it sit in someone’s cupboard gathering dust? Did it have pride of place in someone’s pool room? Was it passed down through generations of a family? Was it made in another country? Did it survive a house fire? Was it just being a paperweight? What was its purpose?

Over the last 10 months or so I have often wondered what my purpose was. What am I supposed to do with my life? What is my next step? Where should I work? Who should I be? Am I a teacher? Should I study? Am I just the unemployed pyjama wearing Jess that has popped up so regularly (I do love my pjs but there is definitely more to me than that!)?

Recently I started working in a new job, a job in a cafe. I haven’t worked in hospitality since I was a uni and it was a really hard decision to start looking for work there. I ummed and ahhed about it for several months because I felt like I was talking a step backwards in my life. I felt like I would be a beautiful handmade statue being a doorstop, serving little purpose.

It was hard for me to put childcare behind me (at least for now) and go back in an industry I didn’t have the same passion for. But this job has turned out to be exactly what I need at the moment – giving me a new purpose. Just like turning an old fence into a brand new picture frame or a table getting a new lick of paint and looking snazzy again.

I always saw hospitality as a means to an end, it was the job I had to get me through uni the first time. I guess it still serves that purpose for me as I am currently studying again but it means more to me this time. It has brought stability back into my life after a long time of feeling like I was drowning. Stability in my finances, in my routine, in my happiness. I am feeling less anxious, I am feeling less overwhelmed and I’m excited to go to work again (which is nice after well over a year of not!).

So for any other How I Met Your Mother fans, it’s not like Barney says…new is not always better!

Humble or Haman?

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Anyone ever watched Veggie Tales as a kid? Or an adult? Let’s be honest it’s funnier as an adult! The tale of Esther is one of my favourite bible stories as well as VT episodes. For anyone who doesn’t know the story of Esther you should definitely go watch the episode or here’s the quick version…

The King’s Mrs has been given the flick because she didn’t come when he called so he is on the hunt for a new Queen. Haman is the King’s right-hand man and a little up himself. He travels around and collects all the eligible bachelorette’s and brings them to the King. The King chooses Esther. Esther and Mordecai are cousins. Haman is not a fan of Mordecai – a guard of the King’s gate – because he won’t bow down to Haman, so he decides to kill Mordecai and his family, including Esther who is now the queen, and tricks the King into signing off on this. Mordecai convinces Esther to go to the King without permission (which is a big deal) and she says something along the lines of “Hey dude, your 2IC is about to off me, your new Queen and my cuz over here, what are you gonna do about it?”. The King is not happy because he likes his new Queen so he pops Haman and his 10 sons up on a spiky 23 metre pole, which is kind of ironic because Haman erected said pole to spike Mordecai. Also, I think there is a feast that happens at some point.

Recently I was reading about Esther’s tale and came across Haman, a character I hadn’t really paid much attention to before (in the Veggie Tales episode he’s the butternut pumpkin shaped dude). He is the bad guy in this story – trying to get everyone killed and what-not. He makes a lot of dodgy choices and doesn’t really consult the King who has the authority.

But as I was reading I realised he probably didn’t think he was a super douche. He thought that the King was going to honour him with a parade and a robe and a horse. He felt so confident that he was right and Mordecai was wrong that he went ahead and created the super spiky pole.

It got me to thinking that sometimes we can be so confident that we are making the right decision we go ahead with it before consulting God or others that it may impact. Now there is much less people on spikes these days but the concept remains the same. We think we’ve made the perfect choice for our family or future and we go around telling everyone that we are going to have a parade in our honour or a royal robe or God coming down to Earth and saying “You are so much better at this than me so let’s swap places”. When really we are creating our very own 23 metre impaling device.

I don’t want to ever become to so sure my decisions are best without discussing them with others it might impact. Decisions like knocking out a wall in my house before chatting to my Landlord (don’t worry Aunty Gwen I would never do that!) or deciding that my shift at work should start an hour later without letting my boss know. That’s extreme but you get the picture!

I want to be humble in approaching others with suggestions, even if I think it’s the best idea in the world! I don’t want to go through life expecting a parade whenever I do something. I mean a parade with a fancy robe and people saying I am amazing would be cool but it shouldn’t be the reason I do things. My actions should reflect what is right for me and I should consult God or others who have more knowledge than me before I go around proclaiming I am all that.

Like Esther, who was humble and respectful, we should work hard in silence and let our carefully considered actions make the noise.

 

Scars and all.

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Personally, I am a fan of the Facebook ‘On This Day’ feature. Looking through each days’ memories is normally one of the first things I do in the morning, I really enjoy being reminded of things that happened 2 or 3 or even 9 years ago (side note: I cannot believe I have had Facebook for 9 years!). I just love the nostalgia of seeing a photo of something fun I did with a friend or reading a conversation that has zero context and makes no sense to me years on or re-reading the cringe worthy updates from back then.

The past is important, I’ve said it before – we shouldn’t forget it. A couple of days ago I had a memory pop up on Facebook about attending my graduation ceremony 3 years ago! I remember feeling so accomplished and so excited to be starting (actually having already started) work in a job I had dreamed about.

On that day 3 years ago I didn’t know the skills I would learn, the friends I would make, the hurts I would have or the scars I would gain from that job. 3 years on, life has changed and I spent most of the day working – in a restaurant – getting prune hands from doing dishes, spilling some sort of sauce on my shoe and being at the start of another journey.

Not really where I thought I would be 3 years on from the day of my graduation! A special day where I got to get my hair done, wear a nice dress and doff my cap at some old guy I had never seen before! But, that is something I am slowly coming to terms with, I may not be where I thought I was heading but that doesn’t mean it’s not where I am supposed be going. Who knows where I’ll end up? But I am trying to enjoy the journey that is getting me there!

The adventure of life is like a train trip – bit of a cliche, I know! But as we travel along, we pick up passengers and their baggage. We collect a range of different experiences and we learn different lessons from them all. Some of them leave their bags behind or create some damage to how well we function. There are some that depart without us even really noticing but there are others that cover us in graffiti and really make a mess in our carriages.

I know that I am lucky to not have many scratched up windows from my trip so far. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t have scars, they’re just not ones that you can see. It also doesn’t mean that if you don’t have scabby, pussy wounds to show off that you aren’t going through something that hurts! We all need to show empathy and patience because we don’t know what someone else is going through.

A person who looks all put together, always smiling, never seeming to have anything going wrong might be covering up some real pain. Their scars might be much more than skin deep, but heart deep. Their family might be in a crisis, they might be dealing with the loss of a friend or a relationship breakup. They may be sleep deprived from working 3 jobs or scared because they don’t feel safe at home. You just don’t know!

Each one of us has our own scars, inside or the outside, and we all have stuff to deal with. Why not use it to help someone else? We might be able to understand because we have scars from our own similar experiences. We know the way not to handle that situation and we have some strategies that helped us to get through it.

So, on this day in 2017 – look back on all the passengers that have jumped on to your train, leaving a mark and think of how you can embrace them and help others with what you have gone through.

I get knocked down, but I get up again.

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If I have learnt one thing from this past year it would be that life is never what you expect. And also, when you think you have it figured out – you don’t! And also, that it is always worth it to keep trying when things don’t go your way. And that things quite often don’t go your way. Ok, I guess I have learnt more than one thing!

In the last couple of months there’s been stuff in my life that if given the chance I would probably have gone without. But that’s the thing unfortunately, we don’t get a choice to what comes along to test us, break us, grow us and lift us up. We do, however get a choice in how we handle it.

In the wise words of the musical genius that is Chumbawamba – ‘I get knocked down, but I get up again. You’re never going to keep me down’. This 90s classic may a be a one hit wonder, but it simply states that we need to just keep on trying. We can choose to get back up when we get slapped in the face by life’s punches.

Not that Chumbawamba aren’t extremely eloquent, but I just think it is said better in 2 Chronicles 15:7 – ‘but as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded’. There have been many moments when I have wanted to give up because it seems too hard to take the step out into the unknown when each decision I have made seems to be the wrong one.

But hindsight is a beautiful thing! I can see, looking back on the choices I have made – even those that have failed – God has taught me something in each and every one. And I am sure that in years to come I will be able to see that at this moment on Easter Sunday 2017 He had plans for me.

Maybe not ones I knew about (which drives me a little nuts!) but ones that were more than I ever could have imagined. I may not have gotten there the way I wanted, but when are my plans ever better than Gods? That would be never! He did not put His one and only son through the horrors of dying on that cross so I could not get back up again when I am down.

So when I do get knocked down, you can bet I will get back up again, and again, and again. I will be resilient. I will be brave. I will keep trying to be worthy of the death that was not deserved but that occurred to take away my sins and makes Easter a time for praise (and for chocolate!).

What to do when your dreams don’t come true…

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So a week or so ago I wrote about following your dreams and how you should just listen to your heart and give it a go. It seemed so simple and straightforward. I was feeling excited about going after my dreams and studying my Masters in Child Play Therapy. I thought that was going to be my purpose for the year and it would open doors that I could only hope for. I was excited. I was pursuing what I thought was my dream.

And then…a couple of days ago I received an email to say I had not been accepted into the Masters course. I was devastated. I truly thought that this was the ‘thing’ I was supposed to be doing with my life. But it wasn’t going happen, at least not the way I had planned. I felt lost. I felt heartbroken.

What am I supposed to do this year then? How will I ‘change the world’? Why didn’t my dream become reality? What is my purpose? So many questions! So many emotions! For about 2 days after finding out, I felt truly broken. I was convinced that this was going to be the next step in my life, there were a lot of future dreams tied into this happening.

But then an Early Childhood job popped up and I realised I might have been using studying to avoid committing fully back into childcare. After being hurt (not physically) doing something I love so much, I’ve been avoiding it a little. I’ve been looking for alternatives – all of which have been linked to children in some way – and trying to not let my heart be broken again. But it’s in my blood (thanks Mum!), I can’t avoid it!

When you take that leap of faith and follow your dreams, there is definitely the chance of it not coming to fruition. But you know what? I would never have known what I wanted if I hadn’t tried. Sure, I am really sad because it had felt right and seemed to be such an obvious path to choose. There are other ways to study play therapy if that is really what my dream is.

All I know is that I have to keep following my heart, which means it occasionally might get broken. I won’t know exactly which way my life goes if I don’t try – if I stay where I am, I’ll be safe but I will miss out on a lot of opportunities, some of which might be life-changing.

There is no greater gift you give or receive than to honour your calling. It’s why you were born, and how you become most truly alive – Oprah

Follow your dreams, even if you have to make a detour to find out exactly what they are! It will all be worthwhile when you find what you were called to do.

 

Dream vs. reality

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The start of a new year always inspires me and motivates me, gets me thinking about all the possibilities to come. It’s weird how I can be so completely exhausted and drained from the year before, but somehow the new year rejuvenates me. Anyone else feel the same?

This year of all years my possibilities are endless. Not being tied down to a job at the moment allows me look into a lot of different options; studying, opening my own business of some kind, trying new things and having the time to be certain that the choices I make are the right ones for my future. The future that God has in store for me.

I have been having lots or conversations with different people who all ask the same question…so what are you going to do this year? And it gets me to thinking of all the dreams I have. The dreams I have career-wise, the dreams I have that are entrenched in Early Childhood and the dreams I have personally.

My dreams change from day to day but it can be a struggle when I sit down and really think about something I want to happen. How can this dream become a reality? What can I do to make it happen? Am I too poor to start my own business? Am I too shy to talk with people I don’t know? Am I too young to make a change? Will I fail?

Whatever your insecurities are, don’t let them stop you from pursuing your dreams. Sure, some of them won’t happen but you will never know until you give it a go! I mean, when I was younger I wanted to have musical stairs in my house. You know the ones that look like a piano and make a sound when you step on them? Let’s be honest, this is probably not going to happen – I’ve moved on a little since I was 10 – but I should never give up hope! Because you just never know, one day I might be playing Chopsticks on my front steps!

I think being practical is a really good idea when trying to pursue your dreams. If you really, really want to fly you probably aren’t going to be able to grow feathers. That’s not to say you won’t fly, you might just need to look into alternatives for flight. Don’t become discouraged if it doesn’t happen the way you expected. I think the key is to not give up, to try other avenues and ask others for help.

So from today I am going to start writing down all my dreams (not the one I always have while I’m asleep where my teeth fall out), writing down all the things I wish to accomplish in my life so that when an opportunity presents itself for me to open my own childcare centre or become an early childhood & family consultant in play or be a Mum or paint for a living or create dolls house furniture or get married or whatever it is God has planned. I’ll be ready and I’ll be prepared.

Don’t give up on your dreams! Make them into your own reality!