Tuesday, November 7, 2017

When things don't go as planned

My life isn't going as planned and that's ok -  is what I want to scream from the rooftops when people
ask me how I am going. Maybe because I want to reassure or convince myself or maybe because I feel the need to let people that sometimes when things don't go as planned that's ok.
I never in a million years thought I would maybe going back to study next year, but I'm ok with it.
I thought when I was 23 I would be married by now or at least have a boyfriend, but I don't and I am seriously ok with it.
When I was younger I thought medication would 'fix' my anxiety but it doesn't alone, so I see a psych and do regular exercise and try to eat a high protein diet and I've never felt better.
I used to think volunteering was overrated and I could never find time to volunteer regularly or find an organisation I would be so passionate about. But then I discovered ReachOut and it's been almost 3 years of being a Youth Ambassador and I have no desire to stop anytime soon.
I didn't think I was a good enough writer to have anything published other than this blog, but I took a chance and submitted an article to The Mighty which got published and I am so proud of myself. I have since had multiple articles published and it's been a great confidence boost.
This past week things have started to go as planned, I got a job interview (it was only a first round interview but it was something!), I got accepted into a ReachOut program which seemed like a far fetched dream when I applied, I got a certificate recognising that I had raised $380 for ReachOut with my last fundraising activity along with an encouraging letter from them, I bought two cute tops from Jeanswest that made me feel confident and life in general seems great. But I can't help wonder how long this will last, sure life seems to be on the up but when will it start to crash down around me again? I am a planner by nature yet when things do go as planned I can't help but question when they won't. Over this past year I have shed many tears and felt hopeless too many times too count but I have gotten through it. I questioned what was going on and there were times I just wanted to give up (and nearly did) but through it all God had a plan and he helped guide me through it.
Yes things haven't gone as planned and I have no idea why, but I've survived it and I now know that when things don't go as planned that it's ok because at the end of the day God has a plan for me and he will guide me through it all and that's pretty amazing to think about.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Five Friday Favourites and why I'm maybe going back to Tafe next year

What a strange fortnight! I've had both busy days and quiet days, but nothing to really write home about. I had a stall for ReachOut at a school last Wednesday and while I knew it was happening I wasn't fully focused on it until the night before it hit me. Thankfully it came together despite the wind and my lack of focus and I got to speak to lots of kids about ReachOut.

I've also been looking into doing some study at Tafe, as the job market just isn't improving and I'm feeling very trapped by it all! I would love to work in admin but if I can't land a job in that area then maybe it's time to do something different. I had my heart set on doing a Certificate in Mental Health but after looking into it I realised that it wouldn't lead anywhere and at the end of the day I need a job and it's pointless doing study that won't help me get a job.
So I thought back on what I enjoyed studying in high school, what lead me to wanting to do admin and most importantly what would lead me to getting work. I realised that maybe I should look into studying something computer related, I enjoy computers and it's an industry that is booming, plus being a girl means that I'm an minority so more places are likely to hire me. I rang up my local campus and chatted to someone regarding the courses offered to do with computers, the course I had in mind (Cert.4 in Computer Systems Technology) seemed like a good fit and having done a Cert. 3 in business I wanted something that would compliment that. In the end she agreed with me and said that I just should apply and I can always refuse my enrolment if need be for whatever reason. So I sat down and applied to do a Cert. 4 in Computer Systems Technology which will not only lead me to getting a job, it's also a course that is subsided by the government as it's a skill that they want and if I do one additional unit I can also complete my Cert. 4 in IT at the same time. A bonus is that by also having a cert. 3 in business I am more hireable as I know how businesses work so the course compliments that well too (plus my previous employment is also relevant too). I soon got an email saying that I qualify for a place in the course and to wait further information on my enrolment. The campus I have selected to attend is also 2 minutes down the road which is great as it's local and means I won't have a big drive each day.
I have no idea whether I will accept it or not (I have until mid January), but its a step forward and something to fall back on. I am still going to apply for jobs and I'm in no way giving up, I am just going a different route and seeing where that leads me. If it was up to me I would be working part time in admin environment being a typical young adult but nothing in my life has been straight forward so why did I think finding a job would be?
I have always said that God is in control of this journey and maybe what I want isn't what God wants, maybe doing another course is a step in the right direction. For now I am going to continue to pray and take it one day at a time.

Moving on to Friday Favourites:

Bed Bath N Table Christmas Range - I LOVE Christmas and if it was acceptable I would decorate the house in November and every year I have to restrain myself from buying all things Christmas from Bed Bath N Table. This years ranges are really cute and there is something for every decorating style. This is currently on my to buy list, I also think this one is cute and I'm tempted to buy this one too.

Blue Ridge Sunrise by Denise Hunter - the blurb reads:
Former free spirit Zoe Collins swore she’d never again set foot in Copper Creek or speak to the man who broke her heart. But return she must when her beloved Granny dies, leaving the family legacy to Zoe--a peach orchard nestled at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
When Zoe returns home with her daughter and boyfriend Kyle, she finds that she’s the only person in town who doesn’t expect her to give up the life she’s established far away from Copper Creek. Everyone believes she was born to run the orchard, but how can she make it her home after so many years?
Cruz Huntley never quite got over his first love Zoe Collins, the little sister of his best friend Brady. Not when she cheated on him during their “break,” not when she took off to parts unknown with good-for-nothing Kyle Jenkins, and not even now—five years later.
As life-changing decisions and a history with Cruz hang over Zoe’s head, tensions rise between her and Kyle. Even as she comes to terms with the shifting relationships in her life, Zoe still isn’t sure if she can remain in Copper Creek with her new responsibilities . . . and her first love.

I love all of Denise's books and Blue Ridge Sunrise did not disappoint! It's a story of redemption and of living in the present while also dealing with the consequences of the past. I wasn't too sure what to think about Zoe at first but I soon grew to love her and realised that she felt broken and unsure how to handle the challenges she was facing. Cruz was someone who had been hurt deeply in the past and pretended like he was over Zoe and moving on with his life but in reality he wasn't. It was great to see these two characters reconnect and see what God had in store for them. Life rarely goes to plan and this book showed it perfectly and how sometimes where God leads us can be better than expected.
The story was a delight to read and I loved how Denise incorporated the past with the present so you could see the whole story. I wasn't quite sure where the book was going at times but it was a great read and left me wanting more!
If you are after a page turner filled with surprises and love then this book is for you!

Blue Ridge Sunrise comes out on the 7th of November.


Best Ever Loaded Brownies - everyone needs a good brownie recipe and this is mine! I probably make these once every 2 weeks as they are popular and easy to bake. Unless its a special occasion I normally just put in choc chips but it's fun to go crazy with mix ins too. For an easy dessert I serve them warm with ice cream and hot fudge sauce for a brownie sundae which is a crowd pleaser.

The Engagement Plot by Krista Phillips - the blurb reads:
Six months ago, William stole Hanna’s heart and shattered it in front of millions of people on a reality TV dating show. And now the big-wig CEO is back on Hanna’s home turf in Minnesota and wants her to forgive him? Fat chance of that. But life is swirling around faster than snow in a blizzard, and despite her objections, teaming up with William seems like the only option to rescue her reputation.
William has never regretted anything more than the day he gave that ill-fated interview for the reality show, The Price of Love. But while he can’t change the past, he’s determined to fix the future. He just needs to convince Hanna to forgive him—and pretend to be engaged with him. Simple, right?
When the media erupts with even worse accusations, teaming up and pretending to be engaged seems to be the only way to salvage their reputations. Despite the media frenzy that swirls around them, an attraction neither of them can fight off begins to surface. Could this love run deeper than a scandal, or will old wounds tear them apart once and for all?

This was a fun read and if you love watching the Bachelor or Bachelorette then you will love this book! At first glance it seemed like a typical girly read but it was filled with faith and once I started reading I couldn't put it down. Hanna is someone who every girl can relate too in some way and who just wants her happily ever after. William is a business man who has turned his back on God and thought that by going on a reality dating show would make the people around him happy. Somehow both of them get sucked up in a scheme that should help both of them, it seems fool proof and what could go wrong? Of course God has other plans and the more you read the more you get to know about their pasts and what the future could hold.
If you want a light read with some faith filled moments then this book is for you.

The Engagement Plot is out on the 1st of November.

The Good Doctor - I have been trying to find a show that will fill the void Saving Hope left in me (but I am still not recovered from that final episode!) and came across The Good Doctor. Its about Shaun Murphy, a young surgeon with autism and savant syndrome who relocates from a quiet country life to join a prestigious hospital's surgical unit. Alone in the world and unable to personally connect with those around him, Shaun uses his extraordinary medical gifts to save lives and challenge the scepticism of his colleagues. I've only watched the first few episodes so far and I'm really enjoying it. It's great to see more disabilities shown on tv and it's really clever how they show what is going on in Shaun's head.  It's due to start airing on channel 7 soon so give it a shot and you might be pleasantly surprised, like I was.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Five Friday Favourites

Another fortnight means another Friday Favourites. I walked into Big W the other day and Christmas stuff was already out which is crazy when you think about it! I have to admit that I LOVE Christmas and I have a feeling once I get my own house I will start decorating in November just because I love the lead up to it. I have also started my Christmas shopping, I find its best to spread it out over a long period of time so it doesn't destroy my bank account.

I've applied for a couple of jobs this past week so praying that I see some results soon. There's not been much out there in the job market so for me to apply for two jobs this past week is good, when I've been lucky enough to apply for one in previous weeks. But at the end of the day it's in God's hands and I know in his timing I will get a job.

Onto Friday Favourites :

Revlon Ultra HD Matte Lipcolour in Metallic in Gleam - I bought this the other week and really like it, the staying power is decent and unlike some matte lip colours it doesn't dry out your lips. I really like the colour and its a more subtle pink than my go-to lip colour so perfect when you want something minimal which isn't a nude.

Greenhouse Academy - I know I mentioned this last fortnight but since finishing the series I am watching it for the third time it is that good. Its a about a private boarding school for gifted future leaders, mysterious events draw kids from both competing houses into a secret investigation. They uncover a deadly plot to destroy the planet. Only by joining forces, will they be able to save the world. It's such a different show and I can see a lot of people loving it, I can't wait for season 2 and what it will hold.

Riverdale Season 2 - there is a reason so many people are hooked on this addictive show, its dark (but not too dark), mysterious, the actors are amazing and there are so many layers to it that leave you wanting more. It's one of the only shows my sister and I both watch which can be tricky when only one of us has seen the latest episode. Season 2 has just started and so far so good, if you haven't started to watch it I highly recommend you do!

Booko.com - being a big reader of books I buy a lot online (yes I have an e-reader but sometimes hard copies are best) and it can take a lot of time to shop around to find the best price. Booko is a site I use often, you type in the title and/or author and it comes up with the cheapest options INCLUDING POSTAGE (which can be a killer with online shopping). You can select the format if you want it in hard or soft cover or even in ebook form and it includes where you can buy the book second hand if that's an option, it evens shows you price trends. It even does it for DVDs if that's more your thing. I have a few books to buy for people for Christmas and this site will be getting quite a workout.

The Giving Keys: Classic Key Necklace - keys are one of my things and I was gifted with a bronze key necklace stamped with 'inspire' and I love it. I recently discovered The Giving Keys an initiative in LA that aims to help the homeless by employing them making this awesome key jewellery. There's such a huge range and you can pick from a range of words to get stamped on (including breathe, love, hope, inspire, faith, create, fearless, let go, brave... just to name a few!) or choose a custom word (up to 9 letters) for an extra $5.  I couldn't resist ordering one for myself (me and online shopping are never a good combination!) and a piece for a Christmas gift for someone. It was a hard decision to make but I got a classic key necklace in silver with Faith stamped on it and I can't wait for it to arrive. You can view the full range here and if you want to purchase one for a Christmas gift for you or someone else I recommend ordering one now.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Not Caring

Still unemployed and nothing has changed, no jobs on the horizon and it seems at every employment
agency meeting I feel like they are doing nothing, but I don't care. But two months ago I was in the same position and feeling really annoyed and angry, I have no idea what has changed but my mindset has changed.
There's been very few jobs I can apply for, I haven't applied for a job in almost 2 weeks because there is nothing out there and I don't care. I want to care but that won't change anything and I check Seek every day and a few other sites on a regular basis but nothing has popped up and that's ok.
I would love a job but if I am doing everything I can, why should I worry?
I'm a planner by nature and a bit of a control freak (mainly due to my anxiety), so for me not to care about this unemployment situation is a big deal. I used to think that once I got a job other things would fall into place but why should I put my plans on hold due to not having a job? I am lucky to get money from the government and while its not a lot, its enough to live off and save a bit. I would do anything to have a job but maybe I should just stop worrying about it all and let God deal with it?
I still pray about getting a job and it's still a huge prayer point for me but at the same time I know God has a plan for me and while being unemployed isn't fun I know there must be a reason for it. So maybe not caring at the moment isn't a bad thing?
Image from 2017's Sadie Robertson calendar you can order 2018's here

Friday, September 29, 2017

Five Friday Favourites

It's been a crazy couple of weeks! Last weekend was the annual inter-church sport competition which was full on but loads of fun, I also only got hit by one flying object which was a record! I've been applying for jobs, recovering from yet another cold (which wiped me out for a few days) and starting my next ReachOut fundraising activity.

I went shoe shopping at the outlet shopping centre on Wednesday to find some shoes for my cousin's wedding in December and ended up buying 2 pairs (there was a buy one get the next pair 40% off) from Wittner. I got these silver wedges and these white block heels and ended up spending just over $110 in total for both pairs (my budget was $100 for one pair so I am thrilled!). I am unsure which pair I will choose to wear but figure I have 2 months to wear them both in and will see what I am feeling on the day.

Onto Five Friday Favourites:

Swatch Colorush watch - I had it in my head that I wanted a watch for my birthday from my parents and I love Swatch watches. I spent ages looking on the website trying to find one I liked and I eventually settled on this one. It's such a different fun watch, while still being classic and having the metal band which I like (it also means its easier for me to get on). I've gotten loads of compliments on it.

2018 Sadie Robertson calendar - call me organised but I have already bought my calendar for next year! I got given the 2017 one for Christmas last year and I loved it, even now it makes me so happy when I see it so I couldn't resist ordering it for 2018 (I had a 25% off code for Koorong). I am obsessed with Sadie Robertson's range (these cards are on my bedside table and they are so encouraging) and just love the messages behind everything, plus the water colour style is so pretty.

Kikki K 2018 Weekly Diary Small: Cute - I like to think I am sorted for 2018 now! If you're a member at Kikki K you get a $10 voucher for your birthday each year and every year I like to use it to buy a diary for the following year. I always go for the same diary as it's the perfect size for my handbag and I am a creature of habit. I just can't get in the habit of using my phone for a diary and like to be able to write dates down far in advance where possible. Plus it's the cutest diary and it's perfect to use for work and study.

Dear World by Echosmith - this is a song that I think everyone needs to listen to at the moment and its so beautifully written and sang. Also Echosmith's EP is released today so go download it now, you won't regret it :)



Taylor Swift VS Ed Sheeran Mashup
This popped up on my Facebook feed and I loved it. I tend to get sucked into YouTube holes quite easily and I spent my Wednesday night watching a lot of videos but this one came out on top by far. The way the songs flow, its just a fun video plus you can't deny that these guys are talented.

Bonus entry:

Greenhouse Academy - I must say that Netflix is killing it on their original stuff and Greenhouse Academy was amazing! I won't give too much away but it's one of those that will have hooked from the first episode and it's a new concept with a relatively unknown cast too.

Friday, September 15, 2017

22 things I have achieved my 23rd year

 No Friday Favourites this week as I am 23 today! I am feeling a bit old today, I have heard from
various people that once you turn 23 you are officially an adult and I am starting to agree with them. This past year hasn't turned out how I would've hoped but at the same time I have achieved so much (I have also binged quite a few TV shows! Parenthood, Friends, The Office, Every Witch Way, Good Witch, The IT Crowd ... I will stop now!) and done things I never in a million years thought I would do. I realised that my self worth wasn't in the fact whether I am employed or not, having a job shouldn't give you an identity or self worth when so much else shapes you. While I don't currently have a job and I have no idea when I will get one, I am not just my job status and if people can't see that then they don't deserve to be in my life.
I have no idea what this year will hold but I do know that whatever happens God is in control and I will be ok with whatever happens.

I thought I would write a list of things I have achieved in my 23rd year, so I can remind myself that despite still being unemployed it hasn't been a disaster and I've done so much.

  1. Survived 3 months living alone while the rest of the family was overseas. 
  2. Had multiple articles published on The Mighty.
  3. Catered (and did d├ęcor for) a quiz night for church with only one weeks notice.
  4. Attended a ReachOut Youth Ambassador one day intensive/refresher course.
  5. Continued to be a ReachOut Youth Ambassador.
  6. Gotten off my P-Plates which means I have my full drivers license!
  7. Started doing regular exercise and kept it up.
  8. Been stabbed 2 times by my doctor to get a mole (which I thought was cancer but turned out it wasn't) and a cyst removed (which turned out to be pre-cancerous). Which means I now have 2 new scars.
  9. Saw The Next Step in Concert (this was exactly a week after I turned 22) with Megan.
  10. Did a speech (twice!) at a mental health expo about exam stress.
  11. Closed some doors that needed to be closed.
  12. Continued to stay on top of my anxiety despite having a few 'life traps' (as is the correct psychological term for them).
  13. Learnt how to stand up for myself and be assertive when the time has called for it.
  14. Baked an amazing 3 layer cake for my parents 25th wedding anniversary.
  15. Learnt how to really trust in God and rely on him through some really hard times.
  16. Helped organise a car wash for missions at church (despite not being able to actually wash cars due to having stitchers in from a cyst removal).
  17. Did 2 terms of mentoring at the local youth centre, which got me out of my comfort zone while also being really rewarding.
  18. Grown more as a Christian.
  19. Gotten hit by a flying gym matt and Frisbee (I was spectating our team warming up and got hit in the eye!) all on the same weekend!
  20. Shared more of my story.
  21. Continued to serve my church doing various things including: projector, young adults and ALOT of baking!
  22. Started to stop believing the lies my anxiety tells me and believing that I am worth something.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Mental Health Expo - ReachOut Stall and Exam Stress Presentation

After a lot of hard work and the mental health expo is over! This is a long post so you have been
warned, mainly because I want to document it but also so it can be used as a resource for other ReachOut Youth Ambassadors if they ever get the chance to do something like this.

How the expo ran was that there was a morning session between 9.00am and 10.30am then morning tea followed by breakout sessions (where I was presenting) from 11.10am -12.20pm (with a 10 minute break in the middle), then lunch and the afternoon session between 1.00pm-2.30pm. All stall holders were welcome to join in any sessions they wished but I didn't do the morning session so I could focus on my presentation, though after lunch (and after I had packed up) I went in to the afternoon session which was good (though the first half was on sport so I kinda switched off for that). I was asked to be there for a 7.30am set up and to expect people before the morning session, recess and lunch. I was thankful that a forum moderator (the only one in my state) could be there to help for the bulk of it which was helpful. I had to set up in the theatre for my presentation during recess which was really busy so it helped to have her man the table while I did that.


The Stall - I kept it pretty simple once again with my light box (best $20 I have ever spent!), a blue tablecloth, lollies (I buy mentos and mini chupa chups in bulk from The Reject Store as they are cheap and individually wrapped), brochures and bookmarks with the Caption Game (see below) in the middle. Thankfully table and chairs were provided though the table was narrow but I made things work, I also took a freestanding banner. I find that the light box and banner makes everything seem more professional and once again I got confused as a staff member from ReachOut!
As I was catching the train in, I found it make sense to pack everything (including my laptop and food for the day) into a small roll along suitcase which made things so much easier. I think from now on I will do this for stalls rather than carrying everything in a crate.

The Presentation - the irony of this was that it caused me a lot of stress and it was about exam stress haha! I spent a good amount of time writing my talk and powerpoint to go along with it, I also rehersed it on and off for 2 weeks leading up the expo.
For the content I just picked and chose what would work in well from this page. This meant that I could use it as a point of reference at the end of the talk and direct people to check it out.
I did the presentation during both break-out sessions and I will say that the second presentation did go a lot more smoothly which was expected. Despite me thinking that both talks should come close to 30 minutes they came in at 20 minutes which was fine. Including a video was a good idea and it was something that they could all related to and tied in with the talk perfectly (Rahart Adam's your 'There's Life After' video helped make my talk!).


Caption Game - I always find it helps to have some sort of interactive element on stalls, to get people talking and act as an ice breaker. I have previously made a memory game but from experience at last years expo I knew it wouldn't work so instead I made a caption game. The concept was based on the game What Do You Meme where you match captions to memes but I wanted this have to have a mental health twist and the captions not be so long. Instead I had some basic captions (some mental health related) and a variety of images and people could match them as they pleased and leave them in the middle of the table for other people to see them.

Captions -  I used a variety of captions all kept to one sentence. I just typed in a text box on Word keeping the format the same. Some captions I used included: what a good day feels like, what a bad feels like, me and my friends, words of advice, when I try to explain myself to people. how people react to mental illness, how people should react to mental illness, when I realise I have responsibilities, how I feel today, when your favourite song comes on in the car... I had a total of 22 captions but that included some repeats.

Images - I found these over a week (when I took breaks from writing my presentation) and printed them off every time I had a couple of pages of them. I tried to use a wide variety of images and made sure that the bulk of them had some wording on them (as in quotes from tv shows) rather than just images. I also included some quotes from popular young adult novels including: Harry Potter, Tomorrow When The War Began (which is common book high schoolers read in school), If I stay and Everything, Everything (as the movie has just come out).
Images I used included: Friends quotes/memes, Degrassi: Next Generation Quotes (I had a heap saved in my images that had to do with mental health), movie characters (including Big Hero 6, Inside Out, minions and a Princess Bride quote), Parks and Rec quotes, The IT crowd quotes, Brooklyn Nine Nine quotes, a pic of a celeb ambassador (Rahart Adams) for ReachOut wearing a ReachOut hoodie and a few other random images. In the end I had a total of 41 images.

I then printed out the images and captions in colour and the tedious work began! I really wanted to make sure the game lasted, so after I printed them out I cut them out and stuck them on white cardboard, then cut them out and laminated them and finally cut them out again! You could totally skip the laminating part but I am lucky enough to have access to one and figured that it will make them last. I do suggest at least gluing them onto cardboard as paper isn't going to handle much wear and tear.

I was able to do the cutting out while watching Netflix so it wasn't too bad and its nice to have access to another game when it comes to stalls.

This game went down really well and a lot of teachers were impressed by it (one even took a photo it so she could recreate something similar), some kids also liked flicking through the images and having a laugh.

All in all it was an extremely successful (but tiring) day and I am thrilled that I get opportunites like this because of ReachOut.