Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Catching Up - this past weekend, job applications and online workshops

Well I survived the weekend! Despite a major lack of sleep, my anxiety deciding to rear itself (which would not go away despite me using every trick in the book!), getting hit by various objects (more on that later) and weather that is so not Spring (where's the early 20 degree days not the 16 degree days and raining).
I left at 4.00 Friday afternoon and managed to skip the worst of the traffic as Gem and I were doing dinner and my idea of fun isn't sitting stop start on the freeway. After grabbing some pizza and chilling for a bit I got to the gym where we staying at around 8.30 and helped set up and figure out what sports I was volunteering at. We are so lucky that we get a gym all to ourselves rather than sharing with multiple churches and it really helps knowing that we all get our own space. There's also the option of sleeping on the gym matts rather than taking down air mattresses. One of things we had to do when we got to the gym was get down the matts from where they were stored and of course one managed get loose and hit me, thankfully I wasn't injured (I just laughed for a few minutes) despite getting an offer to call an ambulance! One of my friends was volunteering doing first aid at various sports and had decided that he wanted to call an ambulance, of course after realising that he would get very few major (or minor) injuries at the sports he was at he decided that I was his bet best. Luckily for me that didn't happen but it became a joke that if there was any chance that I could get hit by spectating something I would get hit.
The next day I was only down to volunteer for the morning session which meant I got the rest of the day off. I ended up watching some ultimate Frisbee in the afternoon where despite spectating I managed to get by a Frisbee in the eye no less. By this stage I was wondering whether I should result to wearing a helmet full time during the weekend! Thankfully that was the last of getting hit by items accidently (I did get roped into playing dodgeball on Saturday night but I was expecting to get hit then).
The rest of weekend passed ok but I found that I could not just get to sleep or get comfortable at nights so that didn't help with my anxiety levels. Thankfully Gem came to the rescue and offered me a bed (not knowing just how much I needed it) on the last night which I eagerly accepted, so I at least got a decent nights sleep before I had to drive back on Monday morning.
I didn't end up staying for the closing ceremony as I had an online workshop to start which I was eager to get into. But we came 2nd in small churches and 9th overall which isn't too bad!

Moving on to other news! I am proud to announce that I have been accepted into ReachOut's peer support program, which means getting involved on the forum side of things and was the online workshop I needed to start. I am super excited to get more involved with ReachOut, ReachOut has opened so many doors for me, so applying to do this program seemed like the next step and I am thrilled to do it.
I have also been accepted into a mentorship program run at the local youth centre, I applied on a whim and figured its something else to do and as I am enjoying ReachOut so much I might as well expand my horizons.

On the job application front its been quiet, I actually had a job interview on the 16th (the day after my birthday) but the moment I got the call I felt like it was a 'warm up' interview. I had applied for the job on the Monday as it was one of those jobs that ticked all the boxes on paper but didn't expect to hear anything back from, so to get an interview was a surprise. It was my first interview in 6 months so it was good to get back into that frame of mind, I went and gave it my all but in the end it wasn't meant to be (which I had accepted as soon as the interview was over). I just didn't 'click' with the people and while the hours were good I knew deep down this job wasn't for me and walked out completely at peace with it all.
I am still praying that I will hear back from the job I applied for a couple of weeks ago and know that it is in God's hands. These past few weeks have been so busy that I haven't really dwelled on it and have just kept on praying about it.
 I couldn't help think about how much can change in a year, this time last year I was working. I remember driving down to the gym in my work clothes after work and feeling exhausted from work. This time I drove down when I wanted to and felt exhausted from a concert the night before. I can't help but wonder what I will be doing this time next year? How much will things have changed?

I know that God has a plan for me and nothing he does is ever a coincidence, so for now I know I am where I am meant to be and I am feeling excited for what the future holds.


Friday, September 23, 2016

Five Friday Favourites

This weekend I am heading down south to volunteer at the inter church sports competition and I couldn't be more excited :) we are wanting to defend our title of the small church winners so if you guys could pray for that that would be awesome or just pray that everyone stays safe and no one gets injured doing anything stupid (mainly me!). Also that the weather won't be too bad there is a high chance of rain this weekend and playing sports in the rain is rarely fun (and scoring sports in the rain isn't fun either) so pray for decent weather too!

Last night Megan and I went to see The Next Step in concert and after months of counting down it was worth it! By the end of the concert I was just in awe of their talent and dancing skills and how friendly they were. They made an effort to interact with the audience and for the Q and A Trevor (who plays James in the show and is in FullOut) walked around with a microphone which was really personal and unexpected.
They had a good range of dancing to showcase their skills (and personalities how they managed to incorporate them into dance is beyond me) and it was really full on. We had really good seats, 5 rows from the stage and right in the middle and they were so worth it, we could see everything and it just made the experience that much better, if they ever do another trip over here then Megan and I will for sure go and see them.
We got there early and were able to grab some dinner at a nearby café before hand and then went to get some merch before the crowds got too bad. Surprisingly the merch wasn't as expensive as I thought it would be, posters were $10 ($40 signed) and that was the bottom end the most expensive thing was a hoodie at $70 (shirts were around $50).
It was such a fun night and I am still on a high from it all :)


Moving on to Five Friday Favourites:

Dance Academy The Movie - I spent my teen years watching this, I laughed, cried and just obsessed over every little detail and longed to have the coordination to be a ballet dancer. So I am super excited that next year a follow up movie is being released. I can't wait to see what Tara and the rest of the gang has been up to.

The Balm How Bout Them Apples - I have been wanting this palate for so long (since I got a tiny sample of one of the colours in a sub box a few years ago) but couldn't justify buying it. I mean $30

on a lip/cheek cream palate am I really going to use them all? Well my little sister bought it for me for my birthday and I am loving it! Its just a good quality multiuse palate and the 6 colours are great, they go on so smoothly and are long lasting.

Apples To Apples - I played this a couple of weeks ago at Saturday night games and it was such a fun game! Cards Against Humanity was based on this game, so if you've played that you know the idea you get a word and you have to pick whichever card in your hand you think will go best. The best part is when people justify certain cards which always ends in laughter.

Lauren Conrad Celebrate - growing up my favourite bedtime story was looking through cake decorating books, I used to love picking out my future birthday cake and planning my future party. Now days I stick to fiction before bed but I still love cake decorating books and party planning. This book is such a beautiful book and the party ideas are great, from baby showers to tea parties to weddings to birthdays this book covers it all. It would be a great gift for a friend who loves organising events or just a great bed time read!

Kikki K 2017 Diaries - call me organised but yes I have my 2017 diary already! I love Kikki  K diaries and couldn't resist buying one with my birthday voucher I got from them. I can't use an electronic diary (like a phone), I have tried but it doesn't work for me. Of course with a cute diary why would you even want to?! This is the one I have, its a great size not too big or small so I can write in it and it will fit in my bag, it also includes a notebook, fun stickers and a couple of pockets (I keep the odd business card I get in them). A bonus is that Kikki K every month has diary lovers rewards so sometimes you get an extra discount, freebee on purchase or another surprise so it keeps on giving.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

22

When I turned 21 I honestly thought this challenging stage of my life would be over, I would settle into this job God had given me, my license wouldn't be taken off of me (we were trying to appeal the decision at the time) and my anxiety wouldn't cause me grief anymore (and the medication I take could get reduced down to the initial dose). I was finally an 'adult' and I had thought after having more than my fair share of struggles it was high time that my life would get easy. But God had other plans, after 6 months in my job I had to leave it partly due to my anxiety, I lost my license for 3 months and my anxiety continued to cause me grief.
After leaving my job I felt defeated, drained and wondering if I would find the right job, I never wanted to be back in the unemployed position but here I was. To the people who didn't know my struggles it looked like I was walking away from a perfectly good (great even) job and I hated that people thought that of me that I wasn't a fighter or that I hadn't tried my hardest. I prayed so much about this and spoke to my employment agency, doctor and psych multiple times about if I was really doing the right thing. I had told myself that I would be able to find a job before my birthday, 7 months was plenty of time, generous even but here I am about to turn 22 with no job. I know God has a plan for me and its just a matter of time before I land a job, its just hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel at times. A while ago I was telling some friends how I had no idea what I wanted for my birthday and a friend goes 'a part from a job right?' and it couldn't be more accurate. Last Tuesday I applied for a job that looks promising and gave me some sort of hope (I saw the job after I prayed - God I just need one job to apply for!).

Of course I can't say my 21st year hasn't brought some positives along with all the negatives. I learnt how to push myself and went and faced my past which meant dealing with things I had pushed deep down. I wrote two major blog posts that left me feeling drained but provided relief and closure. I wrote down my anxiety story and showed everyone just how much I have overcome in order to get where I am today. I wrote down just how deeply bullying has affected me and how words can cause long term damage. Both posts were hard but they were stories that needed to be told and written down and I am so glad that they are out there.
I continued to do ReachOut work and am so grateful for all the opportunities it has given me. I love being able to tell my story and reduce some of the stigma surrounding mental illness. Its also been 10 years since I was first diagnosed with anxiety and its been interesting to see how the world opinions have changed and the help and support that is more readily available. I still get people telling me my anxiety isn't a big deal and I shouldn't use it as an excuse for things, but I am more prepared to stand up for myself and tell them that having a mental illness is a life changing thing and they need to be made aware of it.
I almost felt that 21 was the year I turned into an adult, I took control of all the little things in my life and realised that at the end of the day that only I could make the right decisions for me (along with some guidance from God!) and it was up to me to make them when the times called for it.



So tomorrow I turn 22 and its bittersweet! On one hand I am still unemployed but on the other, I get to spend my birthday doing some retail therapy with some awesome friends and enjoying the day rather than working.
I have no idea what my 22nd year will hold but I guess all I can really do is trust that God will guide me through it and that I can handle whatever happens and be prepared to back down..





Friday, September 2, 2016

Five Friday Favourites

Well in just under two weeks I turn 22, so it felt fitting for a change :) if one there is one thing I can do well it's grow hair, and I had been considering getting the chop for a while so on Wednesday I took the plunge and did it. My hairdresser is amazing and worked her magic (after assuring me it would look good and I could totally pull it off), I wasn't sure if I would love it but I did :) she made sure to shape it well which made all the difference and it feels so light now. I am *just* able to tie it up but it doesn't seem worth it, so instead I just clip up a few pieces to get it out of my face and I am able to go about my day.


This past week has been quiet on the job front, so I am feeling discouraged there but I know God has the right job waiting for me and I am praying I will find it hopefully soon. It does help to have a few fun things lined up this month, with my birthday on the 15th, then a week later The Next Step Concert and the following day seeing my best friend for dinner before the church sports competition starts.
I had my last psych appointment on Tuesday as she goes on maternity leave for a year and it feels strange to know I won't see her for a while but she assures me the college covering for her starting in January will be good (though no one can replace her!) and its only for a year.
Moving onto Five Friday Favourites:

The Flash - I am not a huge superhero fan but I am loving The Flash! I've almost finished season 2 and its a great show, the characters are all so likeable and the storylines aren't all typical saving the world stuff. My plan is to go onto Supergirl then Arrow (they are based in the same universe and you get a bit of character crossover at times) so I am looking forward to those.

The Afters Live On Forever - if you want good Christian music then check out The Afters, I have preordered their latest album (which is due to come out in less than a week) and I am loving all the available tracks so far. I have a feeling that it will be getting a lot of play time on my ipod in the coming weeks!

Smiggle letter keyrings - I am obsessed with these and have 3 (all in different patterns!), they are super cute and make it easy to find your keys. They also make great gifts and you can never have enough keyrings. They always releasing new patterns seasonally so there will be something for everyone.

 Nude by Nature Natural Mineral Cover - this is my go to in terms of foundation, I just want something that provides medium cover, lasts all day and is ideally natural and this is it! I just brush it on (after I've done moisturiser) and I'm good to go. It has SPF protection and is made using natural products, you don't need much so a container will do you a while (I've barely made a dent in mine and I've been using it for 4 months). If I need extra staying power I just apply the nude by nature primer before it and I am good to go.


RUOK day - Next Thursday is RUOK day, so its a good time to ask a friend if they are ok and really listen to them. ReachOut has some great resources available if your friend brings up anything that concerns you. Mental Illness is something as a society we need to be aware about and RUOK day allows you to bring it up in conversation without the stigma surrounding it. Its just one question and three words and it could improve or even save someones life.




Friday, August 26, 2016

Finding my rainbow

I rarely post photos mainly because A) I am too lazy to take them B) when I do take them they mostly contain a certain ginger cat or C) a mix of the the above! But today I have a few photos to share :) Recently I have been feeling like nothing in my life has been going right, the job market is non existant and I'm just not getting any interviews so despite me wanting to get employment its just not happening anytime fast.
A while ago I was craving to see a rainbow, I know its weird to crave to see something but I honestly just felt like that by seeing one it would remind me that God always comes through in storms and things would be fine. After weeks of praying and waiting I saw my rainbow, it might be kinda hard to see (which is why I circled it) but I saw it (if only for a few minutes before it faded).
On Wednesdays I take one of Megan's friends for a walk along the river after I pick her up from her art class and the local council decided that up on the hill to put a big shipping container rainbow. So this past Wednesday instead of our usual walk we walked up the hill and decided to take some pictures. It was loads of fun and it turns out being a model can be tiring :) here are some pics I let her take using my phone:
Sometimes when it rains it pours and it feels like it will never stop, it can be so easy to feel down about it and not get back up again or you can realise that eventually the rain will stop and a rainbow will appear it just takes time. Just like with some storms sometimes a rainbow doesn't appear but it will eventually appear, sometimes it will be faded and you have to squint to see it other times it will be vibrant and light up the sky.
One thing I have learnt throughout my unemployment journey (journeys?) is that sometimes no matter how hard you are praying rainbows are impossible to find and other times rainbows appear unexpectedly and when it happens you embrace it. At the end of the day though it's all up to God and he is the one to make them appear :)

Monday, August 22, 2016

Praying for an answer

One of the places I get a lot of thinking done is my car, my 1998 Ford Laser which isn't fancy but it goes well and its mine. I plug my ipod in through the tape aux and find some Christian music and just think, I talk to myself, ponder things and pray. I pray for friends and family, I pray for my church and I pray for what my next step should be. I have let the tears fall as I pray and ask God questions, I let myself be angry at God and let myself be thankful to him, I just let it all go and by the time I reach my destination I feel clearer and calmer.
Lately my main question/prayer to God has been 'What should I be doing?' I feel stuck at the moment and I can't help feel jealous of those who get offered jobs without looking for them or get the first job they apply for or find their niche so easily. When here I am stuck, not getting interviews and being lucky enough to apply for 4 jobs a week. People keep telling me that its only a matter of time before I find my niche but as the weeks and months go on I can't wonder if I will ever find a job.
But then theres this period of when I've finishing praying and I've turned the car off and I am sitting in silence, when I know things will work out and God will come through like he always does even if it means waiting just a bit longer.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Five Friday Favourites

Its Friday!!! I have honestly been feeling like Winter is planning on staying long term as we have been having lots of rain (including a severe weather warning on Wednesday!) of course when it rains Rikki gets drenched and that makes things interesting to say the least. He has always loved water which is strange for a cat and I think he just likes the new smells and creatures it brings out.

Last Monday I did a stall for ReachOut which went really well, it was up in the hills at a high school and for 2 hours we had kids dropping by the stall. I had spent the week leading up to it making Mental Health Memory and that was a huge hit. I had one set of cards (which were then mixed up and laid facedown on the table) with an app, fact sheet or service that ReachOut offered and the other had a screenshot of it and they had to match the cards, so for example on one card there was anxiety and on the matching card was a screenshot of a fact sheet all about anxiety. Kids then played it either alone or with a few of their friends to win a notebook/high lighter/post it notes it really helped them understand what ReachOut does and was a great interactive game. I was thankful that I reinforced the cards by sticking them to (blue) cardboard then laminating them, it was a bit more effort but it means I can use them multiple times for other stalls.

Moving on to Five Friday Favourites here are things that I have been loving these past couple of weeks:

Easy Caramel Cake - I made this cake for Bible Study last Wednesday and it was a huge hit! People are still talking about it a week later and I am pretty sure I have found my Mum's new favourite cake. Poke cakes are currently in and I have been wanting to try my hand at one for a while so when I saw this recipe I figured it was worth a shot. It turned out really well and tasted amazing, it was a bit sweet for me but the icing did cut down on it and while I don't think I could make it every week it, I will make it again. For the caramel sauce I used a jar of Coles brand Caramel Sauce which can be found with the baking ingredients (like chocolate chips, vanilla essence etc.) which I then warmed in the microwave for 1 minute and poured over then I topped it with salted caramel ice cream topping (also Coles). I also made another for Sunday lunch just using the salted caramel ice cream topping and it worked out well too. I would be interested to make it with home made caramel sauce but I was lazy and using store bought is what makes it easy.

Covergirl Colourlicious Jumbo Gloss Balm Sheers - I am kinda obsessed with lip gloss/lipstick/lip balm and I am always after something that can add a swipe of colour to my lips while not drying them out (liquid lipsticks terrify me for that reason) and I grabbed a couple of these balms when I was in Priceline last week and they are amazing. They have great staying power and feel so nice on, plus they are great alternative to LAQA&Co lip lube (which I also use regularly but are only available online).

How You Can Help Someone Who Is Going Through a Mental Illness - I did this post after people told me they found the tips at the bottom of my anxiety post helpful and I figured why not do a whole post based on what's helpful or not if you know of someone who is going through a mental illness. Its full of useful realistic ways that will actually help based on mine and other people's experiences.

The Wedding Dress Shop by Rachel Hauck - I have just started this book and its a really good read! I love how it combines history of the shop along with the shop in present day so you get to see just how big an impact the shop made in the past. The blurb reads (taken from Rachel's website):
Two women separated by decades. Both set out to help others find their dreams when their own have crumbled.
It’s the early 1930s, but Cora Scott is walking in stride as a career woman after having inherited her great aunt’s wedding shop in Heart’s Bend, Tennessee, where brides come from as far away as Birmingham to experience her famed bridal treatment. Meanwhile, Cora is counting down the days until her own true love returns from the river to make her his bride. But days turn into months and months to years. All the while, Birch Good continues to woo Cora and try to show her that while he is solid and dependable, he can sweep her off her feet.
More than eighty years later, former Air Force Captain Haley Morgan has returned home to Heart’s Bend after finishing her commitment to military service. After the devastating death of her best friend, Tammy, and discovering the truth about the man she loved, Haley is searching for her place in life.
When Haley decides to reopen the romantic but abandoned wedding shop where she and Tammy played and dreamed as children, she begins a journey of courage, mystery, and love.
As Cora’s and Haley’s stories intertwine through time in the shadow of the beloved wedding shop, they both discover the power of their own dreams and the magic of everyday love.

I find you can never really go wrong with Rachel's books and I am looking forward to reading more about Haley and Cora and their stories, in The Wedding Shop.

Tree Painting - I enjoy painting (in high school my blazer was always covered in paint much to my Mum's annoyance) and do it as a way to relax (more times than not while watching something). One of my friends is currently building a house and she is due to get the keys next month so I figured I would paint her a picture. Ages ago she showed me a photo of a painting on Pinterest that she liked so I did my own twist on it and its turned out really well! Painting all the dots was really relaxing and I did it over an afternoon.


***As I have said in previous posts I have been shortlisted for a job and was expected to have an interview a few weeks ago but have since heard nothing. I finally managed to get through to the person this afternoon and was told that the phone call never guaranteed a job interview and I wasn't to expect any follow up. This has left me feeling gutted, betrayed and annoyed as I spent so much time and effort following it up and no one could give me any answers! I just have no idea what I should be doing with my life!