Friday, January 20, 2017

A year ago today

Today is the 20th of January a day I don't think I will ever forget (not just because its my best friends birthday!). On this day last year I walked into the (scary) driver and vehicle licensing centre prepared to take the theory test the first step to getting my license back after loosing it (which we won't go into!). I had arrived before work trying to ignore the anxiety in my chest and doubts that I may never get my license back (and thinking that maybe it was worth selling my car which I had just paid off). I walked in there took a number and had this urge to pray, I don't think I had felt such a need to pray like this before so there in the licensing centre I started to pray shutting off the world around me and asking that if there was any way possible that I could get my license back that day. In my mind it was so far fetched that I had more of a change of winning a million dollars (which I could then pay for a chauffer to drive me around!) than getting my license back.
I remember doing my breathing exercises as I walked up to the counter when my number was called and anxiously waiting as the lady at the counter said there was a chance I could get my license back while continuing to pray that I would soon be on the roads.
The joy I felt when she told me that I could get my license back that day was indescribable and that moment it really sunk in that all along God had a plan and would provide for me.

I am currently in a transition season with being unemployed, I never wanted to be back here but I am trying to find any job. Yet even though I may not have a job yet God has been providing for me, I have an amazing employment support agency I cannot sing their praises highly enough! They are the people that see me as not just a number on their books but as a person who has struggles but with enough support I will get through them. They push my resume on any company that may be suitable and believe that its only a short amount of time before I get a job. Whenever I feel the doubt start to creep in that I won't ever get a job, I just have to remind myself that God provided for me in what seemed like such an impossible situation and he will once again provide for me in this situation. God provides for us even when we have no idea what he is doing and are starting to doubt it and this time last year was a huge reminder of that fact.

A year ago I got my license back, a year ago I rang my Mum up with tears of joy in my eyes telling her to think of the impossible and that it happened, a year ago I texted my Dad the good news who then texted as many people as he could telling them, a year ago I wanted to shout it from the rooftops that my God is an awesome God and a year ago I learnt what it means when God provides even though at times I doubt it.
Here's the post I wrote on this day last year.

Friday, January 13, 2017

First Five Friday Favourites for 2017

It's the first Five Friday Favourites for 2017, this almost didn't happen as on Thursday morning the house lost power and it finally came on late this afternoon! Thankfully nothing defrosted in the freezer and the worst damage was to my budget as I had to eat out for 3 meals to avoid opening the fridge and freezers.

Skype - so if you don't know all my immediate family is in Peru at the moment and Skype has been a big help in helping us stay connected. Its amazing how I can have conversations face to face despite them being on the other side of the world.

Degrassi Next Class - I almost jumped for joy when I saw that this on Netflix and the latest episodes are really good (watched them all in a day). I love how they aren't afraid to face the big issues that young people face and it provides a way for these issues to be brought up in conversation. I can't wait to see what next season brings.

The Women's Weekly Best Ever Kids Cakes - growing up my bedtime stories were more often than not cake decorating books, so I couldn't resist getting this book. Its an amazing book and I love reading it and planning what cakes I should do (now if only I could find someone who has a birthday soon!). It's a huge book and weighs a tonne but it's been a great coffee table book and conversation piece, people see it and they immediately want to open it and look at all the cakes (also I have no where to store it as of yet so the coffee table is where it lives). It also includes some of their vintage cakes from the first book they ever did (which my Mum owns). I purchased my copy from Big W for $30 but you can get it from all good book stores and websites for between $30-$45, its a purchase that I know I will have for some time.

Alphabet Sprinkle Ball Keyring - these are super cute and the perfect back to school gift for the student you know! I just love how bright and colourful these are, plus if you went to school like mine where everyone had the same backpack then its a great way to personalise it :)

John Crist - this guy is a Christian comedian and his videos and facebook posts are hilarious. I find it can often be hard to find things that are genuinely funny and clean at the same time and his posts are stuff I want to share Facebook because they make me laugh. Plus he's a pastor's kid so he gets points for including some of that in his videos too :)

Saturday, January 7, 2017

New year new goals: a list of what I hope to acheive in 2017

I wasn't too sure whether to post this or not but I figure I might as well. I don't do New Year resolutions I just find that they are so easy to break and once you break them that its over so instead I set goals. I never set anything major but things that I would like to achieve and are doable so here are my 2017 goals:
  • Eat healthier and get into a regular exercise habit - I am pretty sure everyone has a goal similar to this and while last year I did start to do it this year I want to step it up.
  • Go to events where I know very few people and push myself out of my comfort zone - I honestly didn't realise just how my anxiety affected this until recently. I don't like going to events where I don't know very few people or with people I haven't seen in ages, so I make excuses. I think it would be good if I said yes to more of these events and it would help with my communication skills.
  • Find a job, get the job and stay in the job - of course first I have to find a job first (praying for a miracle here!) but once I do have a job I have no intention of leaving and will do everything I can to keep it.
  • Grow more as a Christian - self explanatory, I want to read my bible more and just lean on God on not only the big things but the little things as well.
  • Listen more - I talk a lot and 98%  of the time its because I am anxious or in a new situation and I have no idea what to do. I want to be able to listen more and direct the conversation back to people (if you see me often, feel free to remind me of this!). My eye contact has slowly gotten better in these new situations so this is the next step.
  • Do a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle - no idea why but I would like to do one, of course that would be made easier if a certain ginger cat didn't sit on the pieces in the box consistently! (see photo below for evidence).
I have no idea how much of the above I will achieve, but I am looking forward to seeing what 2017 has in store for me.
You can read my recap of 2016 here.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Dear 2016

Dear 2016,

I can't believe you are finally over and I am super happy for it to be 2017!

This past year has been hard and I have felt like I have reached breaking point so many times.

Lets start at the beginning, on the 20th of January I walked into the licensing centre expecting to have to resit many tests to get my license back but by something that I can only see as an act of God I got it back that day. I couldn't believe it and even now many months later it still feels surreal (here's the post I wrote on it).

In February things just went downhill I made the decision to leave my job on the advice of my doctor, psych and employment support agency. This came as a shock to many people as I didn't talk about just how much I was struggling and refused to let anyone fight my fights. It had seemed up to that point I always had someone to fight for me (which is in no way a bad thing) but when I got that job I had made a decision that I was going to handle it the best I could and stand up for myself.
It took me quite a while to rebuild my self confidence back to the low level it was initially at when I started the job and my mental health took a beating because of it.
Looking back that job clearly wasn't right for me and I had no voice there and got very little support.

The rest of the year on the unemployment side has been uneventful and the job market is non existent, I've had a couple of interviews (including a somewhat disastrous group interview) but they have lead to nothing.  When I left my last job I decided that I would trust God during the whole process and not stress about it, which is easier said than done but I KNOW that God has a plan and he has a hand in everything.

At church this year's focus was on prayer and I have definitely learnt to pray more! I find myself praying non stop during the hard days and as I am drifting off to sleep I find myself praying and just getting rid of anything that is worrying me. I have prayed a lot but its been great to focus on it and get to hear about people's stories when it comes to God answering their prayers and their prayer life.

This year I said goodbye to some friends as they moved away, reconnected with others and met some awesome new people. I find when you are going through tough times you discover who you're friends are and its been great know that I have all these people I can call on when I need it.

I am still single and sure I would've liked 2016 to be the year of the boyfriend but hey maybe 2017 will be the year (a girl can dream haha!) :)

I continued with being a ReachOut Youth Ambassador and I am so thankful for the opportunities its given me. I ended giving up my laptop for the month of May to raise some funds and was mentioned under the fundraising section on! I also ran a few stalls and did another 5km walk, all while getting to raise awareness for mental illness and the awesome work ReachOut does.

Two huge posts were written on this blog both covering my experiences and struggles with anxiety and bullying. I never in a million years thought I would be able to write these posts but I did and its been really therapeutic and just great to share my story in more detail.

Of course lots of fun things happened in 2016: I got to see The Next Step in concert with Megan which was an amazing experience and I was in awe of the talent of the dancers. I played lots of board games and had many laughs with friends on Saturday nights. I binge watched way too many tv shows. Sat in cafes and read, prayed and just watched the world around me go by. Experimented in the kitchen and baked some yummy treats. Attended an ethics and the bible course, just to name a few things which made 2016 a memorable year!

I feel that I have come out of 2016 stronger and more determined, 2016 has proven not to be easy but its also shown me that God always come through even if at times we can't see it.

Thanks 2016 for a mixed year, here's praying that 2017 is better.

Love Erin

*new calendar was a Christmas gift but you buy it here - pictures don't do it justice it makes me so happy to look at it!

Friday, December 23, 2016

Merry Christmas!

Just a quick post to say Merry Christmas and I hope that everyone has a relaxing day :) We are keeping it low key this year on Christmas day with just immediate family but then on Boxing Day/night (the following day) we are spending it with my Mum's side of the family which should be fun. Be sure to remember that Jesus is the reason for the season and that he is the best gift of all.

Below is my favourite Christmas card I have received this year of course I may be biased as ReachOut sent it to me and I just so happened to design it (all Youth Ambassadors were invited to design a card it just had to have the ReachOut logo on it somewhere and my design was chosen. Not bad for only using Word, Paint and a lot of patience and trying not to kill the computer!).

Merry Christmas from my part of the world to yours!

Friday, December 16, 2016

Five Friday Favourites

This will be the last Five Friday Favourites for 2016! I can't believe how quickly the year has gone by and I am excited to see what 2017, stay tuned for a 'Dear 2016' post in the next couple of weeks.

Touchable Bubbles - I was in Australian geographic the other day and there were all these bubbles everywhere and kids were touching and stacking them. For something so simple it brought so much joy, so I ended up buying some and I can confirm that they are just as fun in your own home (and for those wondering they do not leave any sticky residue once they pop!). They would make great stocking stuffers or secret santa gifts too.

A Royal Christmas Wedding by Rachel Hauck - I love Rachel's books and I was super excited when

she released her latest book! The Royal Wedding series are such fun books and this one has a Christmassy twist to it. I have only just started it but so far its a great Christmas read and I know it will only get better.

Christmas cupcakes - I somehow managed to have 3 end of year events this past week and I volunteered to take cupcakes to all because they are fun to make and easy to transport. I needed a quick and easy to make them Christmassy, so I grabbed some oreos and using a star tip piped green buttercream around the outside and added some pretty sprinkles to make them into wreaths. I then put them onto the (nicely iced) cupcakes, it added another element and you got an oreo as well. Megan of course couldn't resist taking some pics with her tablet so here is the least blurry pic she took :) the rest of the cupcakes I (fine Jocelyn the expert cupcake piper) sprinkled mini M+Ms in red/green/brown (we just removed them from a normal pack and saved the rest to be used or eaten at a later date).

Klutz books - Summer is slowly starting to hit over here and when it gets to over 35 degrees I just want to lock myself inside with the air con on and craft away. I recently picked up a couple of Klutz craft books when they were on special at Aldi to keep me busy and I am really enjoying them. I grabbed the Shrink and Link Jewelry and Glitter Clay Charms books, both a great books and anyone can craft with them. I am tempted to order this book as well as no doubt it will be a long summer!

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen Pentatonix version - this is one of my favourite Christmas carols and I love the twist Pentatonix put on it, the video is also really well done too :)

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Anxiety Anonymous

I have come to the conclusion that I should go to AA meetings not that kind of meeting (I rarely
drink haha) but Anxiety Anonymous meetings which aren't a thing (yet!) but need to be created. Think about it anyone with anxiety could sit in a room full of people who have gone through similar experiences and just vent about what has set their anxiety off recently, what they can't let go of and what keeps them up at night. Here are some (real) examples:
  • 8 months ago I texted a guy friend without thinking it through and I never got a response and sometimes I wonder if I said the wrong thing (it was an invitation to join me and some friends for a games night). When in reality he was probably too busy to respond or he just forgot but sometimes I still wonder if there is something wrong with how I worded it.
  • Even if I just think about a driving test I freak out and if any characters are learning to drive on TV shows, I can't watch it as it brings back all these memories about me failing the test.
  • I am doing everything I can to get a job, yet I have friends who seem to be doing very little in terms of job seeking but still managing to get jobs.
  • I didn't leave my indicator on long enough before I made a turn even though it was down a quiet road (near my house) and there were no other cars in sight.
  • I am scared the one day when I am home alone a snake will get in the house and I will have an anxiety attack and have no idea what to do (this is my current not quite rational fear with Summer getting in to full swing and a few snakes being sighted near my house)..
So many people think that anxiety is just worrying about things which it is, but it's also not being able to let go of the past and things you can't change no matter how hard you try, the things that you obsess over and keep you up at night and the things that pop up randomly when you think you have forgotten about them and moved past them. This is why I think Anxiety Anonymous needs to exist and be a thing because sometimes you just need someone who understands what its like to tell you its ok to worry about all the small things or to let them go because you really need to move on.