Celebrate GOOD Times

SO much life has happened.

I have no excuses or apologies but I will say that I absolutely miss writing – I miss updates and thinky thoughts. I miss having time and making time to do what I’m passionate about. This semester of school is full of doing things I need to do, which is fine haha I just miss the other stuff.

It’s so beautiful. I have the MOST beautiful friends here.

I think lately I’ve forgotten to celebrate the things that deserve a celebration. Life feels a whole lot like life lately and not quite like it’s exciting or BIG but honestly it’s freaking huge.

  • I’m engaged.
    Phill asked me to marry him a few weeks ago, or maybe it was a month or two – (Honestly this is my issue, school has been so full and fun this semester that it has been THE HARDEST thing ever to actually keep up with my own life.) So we are getting married at the end of November (just a few days before I graduate Hillsong College) and we begin more life together. He makes life feel like it was always meant to be this way, both very normal and very exceptional at the same time. He makes awesome feel like it is a standard that should have always been tied around my days, weeks, months… That is why I say we will begin MORE life together 🙂

[The Engagement: It was a Saturday and Phill and I were supposed to be spending the evening with a few friends but I text them to confirm and they bailed on us. The reason I didn’t think anything of it was because it had already happened the same way the week before as well haha. So Phill asked me if I wanted to drive in the mountains to go get some spring water (I don’t really think any of his requests are weird anymore although I realise how odd that sounds). So off to the mountains we went – we got some McDonalds on the way because we are really classy. I forgot to tell him I had to pee (this is relevant I promise) so when we pulled off in the middle of no where I told him he had to wait on the other side of the car which gave him the perfect opportunity to sort out the ring in his pocket. I did my business behind some bush and thanked the Lord for our Maccas (McDonalds) napkins. We walked down to this beach thing inside the mountains where we fist EVER hung out together. We weren’t even dating at this point although Phill was totally trying to date.
I saw a random fire set up and told Phill how irresponsible some people are to set a fire and leave it unattended. I didn’t drop this for a while. Phill told me this is where he knew he wanted to date me (no surprise, I’m pretty awesome) and said since this is where he decided he wanted to date me that maybe this is where I wanted to tell him I’d spend the rest of my life with him (awwwwwww). I was in disbelief, I knew the ring would be coming sometime but I thought it was still being built or designed or something, I believe my first response was “Wait you don’t have the ring?!” and then a few more sentences expressing my concern for the people who bailed on the fire pit. It all felt very surreal. I said yes and we sat out on the beach for a little while before decided to get pizza and celebrate with some housemates 🙂

The fire was set up by some of our friends and they even cut down a tree to build a seat.]

  • We had just about the most irritating month ever as soon as we got engaged; things just weren’t going our way (for lack of liberty to share the details).
    But if you can imagine the best soccer player you know was running straight at you but then instead of actually playing soccer he is just kicking you in the gut. It was like that for about a month. But thank the LORD for undeserved favor and stuff is getting back on track.
  •  Which brings me to my next thought: marriage counselling was awesome. We had the most amazing couple to talk us through all the marriage things and we did so well that they thought we cheated.
    ((Another thought: you deserve someone that you’re compatible with – so compatible that the online survey thinks you’ve cheated. I get that some opposites attract and as far as Phill and my personality goes we are quite opposite. But we ARE like-minded, more than I think we realised.)) It was such a relief to walk into conversations with a couple that had been married 35 years and for them to give us their blessing on our lives. I think too many people settle. Heck I’ve done it. We all have. So stop judging. But also stop giving up on the ‘someone out there’ who is perfect for you. I have as many reasons as many other to think otherwise but guys GOD IS GOOD and has stuff under control.
  • Another exciting part of my life is that 8 (EIGHT) of my family members will be here with me in a very short amount of time to celebrate this three-year journey of college and the lifelong journey of marriage. I seriously don’t know how I get to be so blessed. Seriously. I could cry. I feel very loved and honoured and SO EXCITED to show them this place. Australia has been so wonderful to me.

  •  Which brings me to my next point
    – lets be real this blog is an intro back into writing and the form is all over the place –

This one is a little nerve-racking.

I’m staying for a little while.

In January 2018 I will transfer into my Bachelors degree of Theology with a focus on Biblical Studies.

BIG GULPS HUH.

Australia has felt like home since the first few months of being here and although it still sort of throws my head for a spin I’m happy to announce that I’ll be here a bit longer. Phill and I will continue working here in OZ while I work on my degree.

  • FINALLY – PHILL AND I SIGNED A LEASE ON A COTTAGE!

How adorable is that sentence? Phill moves at the beginning of October and I’ll move after we get married. I forget what a miracle life actually is. What is my life that I get to live in Australia in a cottage and marry the man who spoils me with breakfasts on the weekend and support for all things my heart dreams up.

Life should be celebrated and I am thankful.

Thanks for letting me update.

I’m organizing my chaotic life to let me do what I love (actually writing more than once a year). As I said… no excuses, no apologies. It’s just how life has been

(ABSOLUTELY FREAKING CRAZY… and so SO wonderful)

Broken Worship

Own this heart broke sound // singing Holy is Your Name

Lord, would you own the broken worship sang from hearts so full of anxiety that they aren’t even singing anymore? Would you claim it as your own and allow it to be our true and proper worship? Let our minds align with Yours and focus on Your name even if that’s the only singing we can do. Sometimes to battle in our minds is the only worship we can afford.

There isn’t much you can do when you’re full of anxiety except to sit and think – and overthink. I’ve heard a murmuring of that word a lot lately – in prayer requests, in conversations, in other blogs on “how to deal with your friend with anxiety”.

Repost.

That’ll preach.

But it only preaches if we give it a voice.

I’m not typically one of those “weird Christians” because they’re weird. But I AM done giving a voice to anxiety because as soon as I do I can’t tell the difference between it and my own. You see anxiety is a master mimicker and picks up lingo faster than a teenager trying to be cool. But its skill in daily sounding more and more like me makes it harder to kill because then, if I miss, I feel like I’m removing some of myself as well.

I have had my anxiety journey and I must admit to you all, I’m not having any more of it. But this time my fight isn’t really for me – I’ve in the past struggled with empathy, but I get this one. I get this fight and I understand the frustration. Something in me sparks and stirs when I see my college prayer requests full of my peers struggling. I instantly feel it right where my heart holds stress – which I guess I don’t mind holding (for now) so long as you know I’m praying. I’m just done. I’m done having this be a crippling part of our leadership and I’m done with it being a hindrance on my friends being fully who they are. I’m done with the shortness of breath. I’m done with the cloudy thoughts. I’m done with any one of you who might be reading this being less than who you were made to be.

 Own this sound forever // heart and heaven together

I’m just so thankful that He owns us – that Jesus would call us HIS well before we can fathom what that means. I’m thankful for this community, however broken, and their journey to wholeness and freedom.

Family, you aren’t fighting alone.

I know we love to say that and believe that, but if I have one thing catching my attention in church life and chapels it’s depression and anxiety. I need you to know that when you’re too exhausted to try that you’re COVERED.

 ((There are no principles in this blog… just prayers.

Don’t Trust Fauxtographers Who Aren’t Photographers

Please don’t try and reload page – the image is posted as it was taken, no need to readjust anything.

I think there is a mentality running around that you shouldn’t have to pay for quality if you can fake quality. As if no one will tell the difference if you sweep it under the rug and act like it’s all the same at the end of the day. Now, this isn’t a full on rant – but just some thoughts on shortcuts. And bad pictures.

The picture you see above was shot at my birthday celebration this last year. We were at Darling Harbour in Sydney, Australia.

FREAKING CRAZY, sometimes I still can’t believe I’m here. 

Now, I really like this picture despite the decapitated friends and the lack of seeing anyone’s face, but, that’s because I wasn’t expecting a QUALITY photo when I passed the iPhone off to Joe (no offence Joe). I wasn’t trying to build a solid new Facebook profile picture and I didn’t need any of it to be professional level for anything. Seriously, it just ended up on my blog. But that gets me wondering if I limited the use of this photo by not setting it up for a win. I’m not in the mood for leaving this at a metaphor – So, I’ll give a more direct example. Do you reckon that you can actually limit your usefulness when you pretend to be more than you are? To have more certifications than you do? To have more skills than you do? It’s like passing off an iPhone (5) camera to Joe Schmo and waiting for something wonderful to happen. Honey, you might look cool holding the camera but nothing magical is about to happen. Your quality of work ends up with high expectation and low productivity.

Guys, YOU ARE WHERE YOU ARE AND THAT’S OK.

I had the BIGGEST hissy-pride-fit in coming back to college at 23(ish) years old – I wished I had done more at that point with my life but I’ve had to come to terms over and over that I’m actually exactly who I need to be right now. And I am NOT a photographer.

 If I needed to be more I would be – and it’s ok to be honest about who I am.

When we use something to paint a less quality picture, we can create a reproachable picture. Sketchy. Dodgy. Fishy. Honestly, just a picture/person you look at and think, huh, that’t not totally kosher. Don’t be people who are sketchy. Be real, you, faulted and talented at once. When you try and create something bigger than yourself (without help) people find out REAL quick how inflated you and your act is.

Mate, not cool.

When you try and pretend like you’re someone you aren’t, you cheapen the value of the real thing. I think it goes without saying that people take a hot-minute to rebuild trust so IF you act like you’re all that and WHEN you get found out that you’re just you, you cheapen the quality of the view people hold of you. Honour should be given WHERE IT IS DUE, but if no one owes it to ya then you aren’t left with much hey?

I feel like this blog has the potential to sound like I’m calling someone out but I’m totally not – just having a think about quality and becoming more of a quality person based off of WHO I AM and not if I can paint a pretty picture of who I’d like to be.

GET BETTER by all means – seriously, you should know I’m all about educating yourself for the sake of others and adding to those around you so this isn’t a ‘give up’ blog either.

Like I said, I’m just having a think about quality. And Joe’s lack of photographing skills.

Isn’t She Lovely?

I feel like I haven’t written a post in this style for a long time now, but something has been on my thoughts and floating around my heart lately that I thought I might share.

I’ve been thinking about Brides… 

**First I feel like I need to make an authors note to my parents and anyone who thinks they have the gift of reading between the lines to clarify that I am currently NOT betrothed. I didn’t elope. I’m not secretly planning some ceremony and picking out dresses.

Y’all chill.

I just have a LOT of friends in the old Facebook feed who are either having children, or on the path to make that happen (engaged/married). I wish I could fully understand what it is about bridal pictures that have everyone secretly creeping through the shots. We as a culture tend find beauty at its purest form when our friends get dressed in white and commit the rest of their lives to their loves.

I personally think that the reason brides are so stunning is the time they put into the wedding day. They carefully planned every detail, from trim and the flowers, to making sure crazy Aunt Sally wasn’t sitting next to anyone she could get into trouble with at the reception.

Brides spend hours picking out their dress, how they will wear their hair, what shoes they want and testing out what makeup style is most flattering. Finally, it all comes together in the moments sweetly exchanged between families, now forever united.

The result?

“You are the most stunning bride!”

“Simply gorgeous!”

 “The most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen!”

I have a feeling that what sets apart the brides from everyone else that day is the preparation. I think brides are beautiful because they are prepared.

 “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.” Ephesians 5:25-27

Scripture shows us some beautiful imagery of Christ and the Church being His Bride. I feel like maybe we also have a role to play in being prepared, and in that readiness I think we carry an attractiveness that the world wants. I think G-d shows up in the everyday things and I very much see Him in the holy commitment of matrimony. Brides have to prepare themselves, but we as the church have the blessing of trusting the bridegroom to be a big part of our preparation.

 “And in that day, declares the Lord, you will call me ‘My Husband,’ and no longer will you call me ‘My Baal.’ For I will remove the names of the Baals from her mouth, and they shall be remembered by name no more.  And I will make for them a covenant on that day with the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens, and the creeping things of the ground. And I will abolish the bow, the sword, and war from the land, and I will make you lie down in safety. And I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy.  I will betroth you to me in faithfulness. And you shall know the Lord.

Hosea 2:16-20

 

I hope I’m preparing the Church to be ready – I hope I’m adding to the attractiveness of knowing Jesus AND that I’m trusting Him when He says that HE is the perfector, He is the one keeping me in commitment and in preparedness.

There is so much of His story that I want all over mine and I guess that’s why I’ve decided to commit to this all these years. I know that if I join with the creator in a sweet exchange to be united forever that I will carry His name.

I will be His and He will be mine.

// I like the idea of belonging.

 

Bro, Do You Even Blog Now? (And a Happy New Year)

2016 – It kind of reminded me of when you hit black ice on the road and wonder…

“What JUST happened?” 

Is black ice BAD? No, It’s just something that happens and the only thing that really changes how someone feels about it is how well they react when they hit it.

Guys, 2016 was one of the hardest years I’ve had the privilege of living through. Nothing crazy drastic or life-altering happened per say, but I was challenged more than I thought possible and asked to take on more than I thought I could handle. Hillsong College has taught me the art and creativity inside of calling and discipline and I’m becoming hyperaware of how connected those two things are. 2016 was one of the most fun years I’ve ever lived though. My best friend ever lives in Sydney as well my crazy housemates who keep life grand. I’ve developed countless ‘friends like family’ that I got to celebrate holidays with and my Australian boy still lives here. So that’s also fun. I have countless blessings on top of blessings that I try and remember to thank G-d for daily but it came with the territory of getting to know Jesus more.

I had some personal, mental victories this year as well as some commitment failings. I wanted to blog more but I didn’t. I wanted to be a lot further along with my book, but I am where I am. I was blessed to find not JUST a job but the perfect job that works so well with my schedule and is such an encouraging environment. It honestly fit all of my prayers – now my prayer that grows the biggest is more discipline.

I want to read more, and write more, I want to inspire more and colour more 🙂

I feel like I don’t have heaps of thought-provoking words today – just an update and a Merry Christmas one more time for you and your families. I will be posting weekly again as long as my discipline allows. I have to be forgiving with myself because I’m walking into a very unknown third year of college but my personal goal again this year is back to weekly. I think it would be lovely to have a week-to-week update on what this looks like down the road.

 

Thank you for reading, I’ll write again soon.

Happy New Year

Happy Birthday

Hillsong College has been booming with end of semester presentations and performances lately, which has been great fun mixed with a little nervous excitement. The first year songwriters had their performance this week and as I sat at the packed out café and listened to their beautifully composed songs I began comparing (as you do). But it wasn’t a negative comparison or even a “me against them”. It was more reflective of my first year songwriting self – I began to wonder if there was a difference between my time before college, last year and this last weeks performances and the caliber of songs that I was producing. I think this was Jesus – because I am not this clever – but I felt in my heart that it wasn’t a measure of “are my songs better” but:

“Am I better? Am I better at being a songwriter?”

I got stuck on the thought that if I haven’t improved in my discipline of songwriting, then, I haven’t improved. I feel the same can be said of my character and life. I question a lot if I’ve changed much year to year being at a Christian Leadership college and spending most every day at the church. We are invested into almost hourly and are exhausted by the second week of school. It’s beautiful here and it is hard. This has been the most demanding semester I’ve been a part of and I have felt stretched and sometimes broken. I didn’t address my infrequency of writing this semester in my previous blog because I didn’t want to.

But just so you know, I KNOW.

In my questioning if I have changed, if I’m the same, if I’m different but revert quickly back to the worst of me, I again felt that drop of a discipline thought – If I haven’t improved in my discipline, I haven’t improved. I can’t actually gauge how I’m doing by how I feel because that changes every time I change my diet. If I don’t see my journals filled, if I have more books to read than books that I’ve read, If I have more abandoned coffee dates than friends then I am no better.

But tomorrow, I get to start a new journal, I get to start reading Joshua, I have a coffee date with a good friend and I get to choose to believe that He who began a good work in me will carry it out unto completion. I’ve learned more this semester than ever about getting into the Word of God and APPLYING it to my life. Technically there is a model to look at them, us, me – but that’s more of an in person conversation and it’s my blog so naturally I’m talking about me.

The Word of God is active and is most useful when it is USED. Of all my disciplines I pray this increases the most.

My life isn’t about the caliber of my accomplishments but the consistency of my growth – and I pray that yours never becomes about what you produce but the daily producing of fruit and great things to build your community and to grow you closer to Christ.

I love you all, Happy Birthday.

– Ignorance Is Bliss –

Let me rant a little bit, in the most loving way…
Ignorance is NOT bliss, it is a disservice to the community that you’re involved with. There is such a thing as a stupid question and I believe the demand to understand should be placed on us if we claim to be followers of Christ. I don’t sugar coat many things other than baked goods so please, if I haven’t offended you yet, follow me until the end with this one.

We are often told to be faithful with what is in our hands and to use what we are given, the weight that carries is outstanding – but the mantle should weigh heavy with us, we live in a generation with information at our fingertips and access to a lot of work that someone else had to labor over. We are blessed and FLOODED with facts, information and ‘life hacks’, but what are we contributing to those that we do life with?

We see generations filling up universities to seek understanding on theologies, science, law, public service, and many other topics that they willingly spend days and nights to absorb. WE as the body of Christ should be adding to ourselves because WE AS THE BODY of Christ are called to give of ourselves. How can we give useful, powerful and relevant thoughts if we are hiding safely behind, “oh, I didn’t know”.

I’m not saying you need to know everything in the world but turning up to your community with something to give and something to help grow others is a great place to start.

“For ever since the creation of the world His invisible attributes,
His eternal power and divine nature,
have been clearly seen,
being understood through His workmanship
[all His creation, the wonderful things that He has made],
so that they [who fail to believe and trust in Him]
are without excuse and without defense.

For even though they knew God [as the Creator],
they did not honor Him as God or give thanks [for His wondrous creation].
On the contrary, they became worthless in their thinking
[godless, with pointless reasonings, and silly speculations],
and their foolish heart was darkened.
Claiming to be wise, they became fools,
and exchanged the glory and majesty and excellence of the immortal God
for an image [worthless idols] in the shape of mortal man
and birds and four-footed animals and reptiles…
because [by choice] they exchanged the truth of God for a lie,
and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator,
who is blessed forever! Amen.”
Romans 1:20-23; 25 (AMP)

I reckon, if a secular and broken generation can turn up and form an educated opinion about refugees, the election, war, trafficking, child soldiers, and come prepared for conversations in lectures and small group settings – we should all the more hold tightly to being an informed, dynamic, powerball of information and be a little more true to living life without excuse of unknowing. I don’t think we should be allowed that luxury.

“Go, and tell this people:
‘Keep on listening, but do not understand;
Keep on looking, but do not comprehend.’
“Make the heart of this people insensitive,
Their ears dull,
And their eyes dim,
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
Hear with their ears,
Understand with their hearts,
And return and be healed.
Isaiah 6:9-10 (AMP)

I wish I could say this sweeter but hopefully you know my heart.

Make educated decisions and share that education – not to persuade others to decide with you but to allow them a little more information to chew on and to change the environment you live in. A passionate generation is a dangerous generation if the change they are seeking is based on feelings and “well this is how we’ve always done it.” Change things for the better but know what is worse and why it is worse.
Learn to converse without judgements and learn to listen with grace.

Pray that I do the same.