Saturday, November 24, 2018

Leavers/Prac Recap

I got home yesterday afternoon and I am exhausted but I also want to write down all my experiences
before I forget about them!
I will say that I actually didn't end up getting my hours signed off on because my lecturer had emailed me telling me it was pointless and to just enjoy the experience. I did attend the meetings for the other prac students just as it was nice to have the extra support and I was still technically a prac student.
I drove down on Saturday and arrived at the zone ready to help set up, all the main tents had been set up but there was still a lot of work to do. We had to roll carpets out the tents and help put up signs identifying exits and entry points. We did that for a couple of hours and then we headed to the resort where we were staying.
All the TAFE students roomed together among a few chalets (3 bedrooms each with 2 beds, a living/kitchen area and a bathroom/laundry, the master bedroom also had an ensuite) and this is where I felt isolated I have no doubt if I was rooming with different people my experiences would've been different. All the TAFE students were from another TAFE location and there wasn't a rivalry as such but more they wanted to challenge me on how my TAFE ran things. In their prac booklets they just had to get ticked off for experiences and do 'assignments' where as in mine I had to write down examples for and my whole book had what they called assignments in. I was also the only Christian in my chalet and the girls I was rooming with hadn't seen a real life Christian before (their words) so during the week I got asked a lot of questions about where I stood on controversial issues.
I also just didn't really connect with them all and despite how much I tried, it was a me and them. I felt that my concerns weren't heard, we only had 2 keys for the chalets and it would've been nice to rotate who had the keys as despite being told that they would make sure someone was always around who had a key, I was locked out a few times and had to get the resort staff to unlock the door for me. There was also only one parking pass and one of them decided it was theirs and that was that, so the rest of us had to park outside the resort a few hundred meters away. I also caught them talking behind my back a few times regarding my snoring (I warned them cause allergies) and other stuff. Once I realised that it was who I was rooming with was causing a lot of my anxieties I could let it go and I tried to hang out with other people and focus on building those relationships.
Moving on the next day we went back to the zone and continued to help set up, that afternoon the rest of the team arrived. At night we all went to nearby Baptist campsite and met with the other services for dinner. This was the G teams way of welcoming everyone and it was really fun night.
During the week my mornings were pretty much the same, after waking up, I just stayed in the chalet and read a book, answered emails or did some ReachOut work (I am giving a speech on Tuesday so I had to write that). I then would go to lunch and chat with different people and in the afternoon either participate in the activity that the G team would put on, attend the TAFE student meetings and just try to recharge before the night began.
At 3.30pm everyone was invited to meet on the tennis courts for some singing, devotion and prayer, this really helped me feel recharged spiritually and I looked forward to it everyday.
At 4.00pm everyone would meet and we would get into our groups for the night, you know how I broke my ankle earlier this year? Well guess what decided to make my life challenging, my ankle decided that standing on it all night wasn't the best idea so I had to find areas of the zone where I could sit down for some of the night. This wasn't great considering all areas required standing and I was thankful to have the TAFE student coordinator help me find a different area and negotiate me sitting for some of the night. I ended up doing First Aid on Monday and Wednesday nights - you just helped get people triaged and help those find their friends so I could sit down between those times, movie tent on Tuesday night - so in between stopping kids making out, picking up rubbish and putting different movies on I was able to sit down and on Thursday night the final night I did one of the silent discos - which was a lot of standing but I was also able to sit down when I was collecting and cleaning the headphones from the leavers and we rotated locations twice during the night.
After each night we cleaned up our areas before a quick debrief and were bussed back to the resort. Everyone in my chalet would stay and talk for an hour except for me who needed my sleep and was desperately requiring some self-care. Also the one time I stayed up tried to chat with them none of my opinions were acknowledged and one of the girls stormed off when I mentioned that the Headspace people at the zone were volunteers and not staff like she had thought (in her words I couldn't let her be right about something). We were encouraged to debrief with those in our chalets at the end of each night so instead I messaged some friends about my experiences and they would respond when they woke up a few hours later, so I did my version of debriefing in a way.
On the final night (Thursday) we were able to ride the rides at the zone which was fun and made the extended pack up time worth it. We rolled up the carpets in the tents and put them in skip bins and doing a thorough rubbish pick up. None of us went to bed until 4.00am which was super late especially as we had a checkout at 10.00am the next morning!
On Friday if we were able to we were encouraged to go to the zone to help with the final bits of pack up, I left there at 1.00pm before driving home. I ended up stopping twice - once at the rest stop RAC had set up for the leavers and other travellers where they were giving out refreshments and once to get fuel.

Highlights for me was making new friendships and just chatting to people whom I wouldn't normally chat to. There was a wide range of ages of those who were volunteering with the G team and it was great to see. I also ran into quite a few people who knew my parents or had known me when I was younger (one couple knew who I was as soon as I smiled which I found amusing). I also enjoyed getting such a wide range of experience with young people and knowing what first hand they could be like under the influence of drugs and alcohol.

Anxiety wise I had a few starts of panic attacks and I will say not sleeping much did take its toll on me! I also felt really isolated in the chalet but I was fine when I was with other people, I did try not to feel isolated and have conversations with those in my chalet but it didn't work out. My ankle still being sore didn't help and I honestly didn't think it would cause me so many issues down there! I know that some people thought I was making my ankle up and by now it should be fine. The reality was I didn't know it was broken for 2 weeks then it was another 2 weeks before I got a moonboot and that delayed the healing (my doctor told me had I realised it was broken sooner it would've heal a lot quicker and I would have minimal long term issues), also everyone is different with injuries some heal quicker than others and unfortunately I heal slowly.

Things I learnt:
  • It's ok if you don't get along with people and sometimes it can't be helped, you just need to accept it and move on.
  • Anxiety sucks and it's ok if it rears it's ugly head as long as you push through it and don't run away.
  • Meeting new Christians (and people in general) is awesome and I am so proud to be a part of this huge family :)
  • It's (sometimes) good to get out of your comfort zone. 
  • Surround yourself with awesome people even if it's not in person and instead over Facebook or text message. Having that support is invaluable to helping you manage your anxiety and mental health in general. I loved being able to message my bible study group asking for prayer points and Facebook messaging my friends when I needed support, 
  • Be honest with people when it comes to your mental health. If you need space just say so, don't feel bad about putting yourself first.
  • Broken ankles take forever to heal and I am over my right ankle.
  • It doesn't matter what your age you can still stay up until 2.00am helping run an awesome zone.
  • You will come home to a sooky cat who needs cuddles and will follow you around because you left him for 6 nights.
  • Teenagers will do anything to sneak in drugs and alcohol to a drug and alcohol free event. I did know that one already but I have learnt their ways now. 
  • The correct amount of layers for the zone is five - single, long sleeved shirt, G team shirt, water resistant jacket and G team hoodie.
  • The zone is awesome and more states need to implement it.
Will I do it again next year? At the start of the week I just wanted it to be over, but then I started enjoying it and as of yesterday I think I will do it again next year. I also really want to get a group of young adults from church to come down with me and I'm trying to convince my sister too.

*Photo is me before my first night at the zone (wearing the fluoro vest to identify me as a first aid person) chilling in the movie tent before it all started! 

Friday, November 16, 2018

Prac and Prayer Points

So on Saturday I am off to prac for a week!

I have had a lot of questions asking what am doing for prac and what it involves. So this post is to explain what I am doing and what I would appreciate prayer for :)

What is it?
Every year thousands of high school leavers head to places to celebrate the end of their schooling and blow off some steam after the stress of exams. Unfortunately how they decide to celebrate can have serious consequences on themselves and the community. This is where the G Team comes in, they are contracted by the police to create a safe zone for the leavers to have fun and celebrate. Each year they build the zone in a paddock and set it up from scratch. The zone has many different areas include: silent discos, rides, chill out tents, movie tents and first aid. The first aid tent is fully equipped with hospital beds, registered nurses and doctors and I am told it is like an army hospital tent set up.

The zone operates from 7.00pm-1.00am Monday - Thursday night which is the duration of the end of school celebrations. During this time around 8000 leavers come through the zone, though the zone can handle up to 10000 graduates!

The G Team
I had heard about G Team and it's advertised in my church (and at the inter-church sports competition)  but I never had the courage to take the plunge and do it. Then this year I am studying community services and as soon as a couple of my friends (who do it every year) found out they told me I had to do G Team for my prac if I was able.
So once I had been accepted into the diploma, I took the plunge, signed up and proceeded to have a mini panic attack. That night I prayed to God that if it was meant to be that he would handle it all and help me not to feel so anxious about it.
Many TAFEs actually advertise the G Team as a way to do your prac hours and the G Team can have around 30 prac students doing their placements.
Due to my ReachOut work I was able to complete the prac booklet during the holidays using my moderating work to fill it out and my lecturer was so impressed by it that I am officially signed off and done with this semester. However as the G Team is an amazing experience I am still going down as a prac student and getting credit for the hours.

This is waaaay out of my comfort zone (read about why it is important here) and I have no idea how I will go with it, but I know that all things are possible with God. I am excited but anxious at the same time but as I keep reminding myself I feel excited and anxious about lots of things even events I attend yearly so it's totally fine.

I would love it if you guys could pray for me, the rest of the team and the leavers. I have broken up the prayer points into three sections:

Prayer points - for me:
  • I will travel safely. 
  • That my energy levels will stay consistent.
  • My anxiety will keep at bay and not affect me.
  • I will make friends and building long lasting relationships. 
  • I will walk away with new skills and opportunities.
  • I will survive the week and walk away in one piece.
Prayer points - for the team:
  • That everything will run smoothly.
  • That the team leaders will be supported.
  • For good health for all the team.
  • That there will be opportunities to share the light of God with the leavers.
  • That everyone will have a good time.
Prayer points - for the leavers:
  • That they will have a safe and fun time.
  • That they will arrive safely to their destinations.
  • That none of them will be seriously injured or require major medical care. 
  • That they be well behaved and not cause a negative impact on the community.
  • That there will no arrests or issues requiring the police.
I can't believe that after what has felt like so far away that prac is finally here and I have no doubt when I return I will be exhausted and have lots of stories to share! 

Thursday, November 15, 2018

2018 Christmas Gift Guide

Believe it or not I actually started writing this in October but then life got in the way and as I was determined to get this published before I went away on prac I spent much of this week typing away on it with (so not) cheesy hallmark and Netflix Christmas movies on in the background. I am proud to get this out and I hope it will inspire you :)

Also full disclosure I am one of those crazy people who has all their Christmas shopping done and wrapped in November (I also have a small Christmas tree up in my bedroom haha!) but that's just because I LOVE Christmas.

Christmas can be an expensive time and it can be hard to not go overboard before I launch into this years gift guide here are some ways you cut down on costs:
  • Write a detailed list of who you want to buy for along side an expected budget -  then once you have purchased the gift write down the actual cost and what you bought them (I use an excel spreadsheet for this). This is great way to keep yourself accountable while also not going overboard. 
  • Start shopping early - I actually started my Christmas shopping in September and gradually bought gifts on a week to week basis. This meant it wasn't a huge hit to my bank account and I could put thought and time into each gift. 
  • Online shopping is your friend - I swear by the book website Booko as it tells me the cheapest place (including shipping) to buy the book I want. I also take advantage of those 'online only' sales where possible.
  • Use the store reward programs - so many stores have different reward programs and you can great savings from them. If you're shopping for gifts you might as well be rewarded or get discounts.
  • Think outside the box - are you a crafty person? Can you paint amazing pictures? Put those skills to work and make people gifts. Do you have kids that love to paint? Give them a roll of butchers paper and paints in Christmas colours and let them go wild making wrapping paper. Sometimes the best gifts are those handmade!

Easy as 1, 2, 3 Gifts:
These are gifts that take a bit more effort to put together but are still easy, they are simpler version of a gift hamper and only require 3 items. Here are a few suggestions:
  • Movie night - grab a newish movie or an old classic, microwave popcorn and your favourite sweet treat. 
  • Pamper/self-care box - a bath bomb, a nice candle and a face mask.
  • Adventure box - a multitool/pocket knife, book of survival skills and a torch.
  • Games night - a pack of cards, a list of traditional card game instructions and a favourite snack will make for a night of family fun.
  • Puzzling time - a puzzle of some kind, word search/sudoku/crossword book and a pack of fun pens.
  • Beach day - beach ball, sunscreen/hat and some sort of sand toys.
  • Gardening - a pot, seeds and watering can. 
  • Cooking - apron, spatula, cute sprinkles.
For the kids:

General ideas:
  • Experiences - kids really don't need more stuff and experiences can help create lasting memories. Movies tickets, theme park passes, aquarium passes, zoo passes, ice skating rink passes … are all great ideas and will also keep the kids occupied during the holidays.
  • Art and craft kits - another thing to keep the kids occupied during the holidays and there are so many awesome craft kits for a range of skill levels.
  • Books - get the kids reading and pick a fun new book for them to read. 
  • Beach towels - you can never have too many towels and beach towels are great for Summer. 
  • Pyjamas - my grandma always used to buy me and my sisters PJs for Christmas and I still think they make a great gift. 
Away We Go Travel Journal - with a lot of people travelling over the festive season what better way than to record it all down in a cute journal from Smiggle? It also comes complete with stickers and a pen along with writing prompts and questions to help record all the important information. 

Kids Glitter Tumbler - kids are prone to spilling things and it can be hard to get them to drink water, but these tumblers make it fun.

Metallic Light Lantern - these lanterns are so fun and are a great addition to a room or prop for many make believe adventures.

Lush Fun mouldable soap - a great way to get the kids actually wanting to take a bath! This soap smells amazing, can be crafted into whatever shape they desire and will get them squeaky clean.

Silicone Laces: Rainbow - kid's are always wanting to take their shoes on and off and tying laces can be a hassle. These silicone laces mean you don't have to fiddle with the laces and give the kids some independence too.

Korimco soft toys - in June this year I was after a toy cat for a cat obsessed little girl and I was told that Korimco makes the best soft toys by a worker in a local toy store, they were not wrong! The cat I purchased was the softest fluffiest cat ever and is much loved. I know kids probably don't need more soft toys but if you are going to buy one look at Korimco.

For the adults:

General ideas:
  • Indoor plants - indoor plants are really in right now and they make great living décor. Pick a hardy plant like a succulent and you will be good to go.
  • 2018 diary/calendar - one of those things that everyone needs and will be used for the whole year.
  • Subscription to a streaming service - think Netflix, Spotify or Stan, something that they will use regularly and give them a chance to unwind.
  • Battery pack - if you're one of those people whose phones often run out of battery a battery pack will be a great useful gift.
  • Tickets to something fun - movie tickets, concert tickets, tickets to an exhibit, sports games, whatever they are interested in. 

Roamer Roll Up Picnic Rug - I have a Kathmandu picnic rug and I love it. The quality is amazing and it's great to keep in my car, everyone always compliments me on it to and wants to know where to buy one. 

Rope Quoits - this is an old school outdoor game that's fun for the young and old. I used to play this growing up and my mum bought a set a few years ago that get's brought out when people are over. 

BBQ Multi Tool - perfect for the king (or queen) of the BBQ and with Summer about to start this tool will get a lot of use.

Lush Christmas range - this range is always popular and there is something for everyone. With festive scents 

Kobo Forma 8" eReader -  I'm including this on the list as this is what I want for Christmas :) I know the price is steep but Kobo's are the best e-readers in my opinion and this one takes them to a whole new level. I use mine daily and are rarely without it and while I don't need to upgrade mine (it's still going strong) it would be nice.

Funemployed (game) - this game is hilarious and whenever I play it with friends it ends in tears of laughter. There's a job and job characteristics and players have to justify to one player why they think they are the best for the job. The jobs can be anything from lawyer to pirate to the bachelor and the characteristics are just as fun; knife skills, fluffy, French accent (in that case the player should talk with said accent) etc. 

Hive (game) Pocket Travel Size - another game but this a great one if you want something with strategic thinking, it's similar to chess but simpler to play and without a board. The aim is to surround the other opponents queen bee. This set is a great size for traveling and everyday play, the tiles are great quality and just feel nice. 

Light Box - these are great décor items and you can change up the words to suit whatever mood your in. I use mine to write celebration messages, inspirational quotes and use them at ReachOut stalls. 

Cooler Bag - I bought a cooler bag on impulse a couple of years ago and I get a lot of use out of it. It
doesn't take up much space but it can carry a lot and is perfect for picnics and for when you need to keep things cold. 

Stila 3D Glitter & Glow Liquid Eyeshadow - it's the season for sparkles and this gift set is perfect for the person in your life who loves glitter. It contains 3 deluxe sample sizes of Kitten Karma, Perlina and Golden Girl. I say from experience that once on they do not budge and I refuse to use any other glitter eyeshadow.

Kikki K Gift Sets - rather than just link you to just one, I thought I would link you to them all. I love Kikki K and these gifts sets are beautifully packaged and great value. Anyone would be thrilled to unwrap them under the tree on Christmas. 

Tartiest PRO Amazonian clay palette - this is one of my favourite palettes and a must have for any make up lover. The quality is amazing and you can create so many looks with the shades. Tarte has also just released a Remix version of the palette which looks so fun and is great for those who want some colour.

Insulated mental drink bottle - these are really popular at the moment and I love how they keep drinks cold for 24 hours or hot for 12 hours. 

Dusk Candles - candles are such a go-to gift for those hard to buy people and I love Dusk's range and variety. Their 8 pack soy sampler makes a great gift and it means they can find their favourite scent before committing to a bigger size (I am partial to the watermelon lemonade and raspberry rosewater scents). 

Google Chromecast - this gadget is amazing and can turn any TV into a smart TV. You also don't any special apps or software to use it.

Sunnylife See Thru Pouch - These pouches are cute and practical, I got one last year for Christmas and I use it often. I have used mine to store my phone and keys when I go to the beach or pool and as makeup bag. 
Places to find fun gifts:

  • Sunnylife - I love their ranges and they are home of the extremely popular fun pool floats. All their products are great quality and perfect for Summer.
  • Tarte - one of my favourite make up brands and their limited edition gift range looks amazing and is great value to.
  • Mecca - I could spend so much here and I am loving all the makeup gift sets.
  • Smiggle - kids and kids at heart love Smiggle and the stationary and products are really fun. From pens and pencils to keyrings to craft kids there is something for every kid and their interests.
  • The Giving Keys - when you buy a key you help a person get out of homelessness. I love the model of this business and the keys are beautiful. 
  • Hard to Find - this website has a load of items from personalised to the unique and different. It's a great place to get ideas and find presents for those people who are impossible to buy for. 
As always remember that Jesus is reason for the season and the greatest gift of all and to you get you in the festive spirit here are two favourite Christmas songs of mine:

Previous years gift guides: 2017, 2016, 2015 and 2014.

***I am also linking up with Brittany and Jessi

Friday, November 9, 2018

Five Friday Favourites

It's hard to believe in just over a week I will be on prac, I am praying that it goes smoothly and am starting to look forward to it (kinda).
I am almost finished my Christmas shopping, I just need to buy one more thing (which I will probably grab on Wednesday) and I am done! I have also wrapped up everything to, you are probably thinking that I am crazy but November/December are shaping up to be busy times for me.
This weekend is quiet-ish with tomorrow a safe church workshop for all volunteers at church in the morning and a baptism service tomorrow night being the only things on the agenda. It will be my last night at church for four weeks as due to prac, then a trip over east and a cousin's wedding I am unable to go which will be weird and I feel a bit guilty that I am missing so many weeks despite not being able to help it!

Onto Friday favourites:

Urban Decay All Nighter Makeup Setting Spray - I never thought I would be one of those people who spends $50 on setting spray, I mean surely the brands you can buy at Priceline are just as good right? But after trying quite a few and not getting great results, my sister gave me a travel size of this cult favourite setting spray and I am loving it. My make up will not budge and I have worn this in the middle of the city wearing all black feeling like I was melting. It's well worth it and I doubt I will be using anything else, also as part of the Christmas range at Mecca you can buy a two pack for $78 which is a great deal.

STILA Shimmering Heights Shimmer and Glow Liquid Eye Shadow Set - I love Stila's glitter eye shadows they do not budge are the pigment is amazing, so I thought it was time to try their shimmer eye shadows. The shadow's are super pigmented and the staying power is great, I love how you get three colours to try and they are super easy to apply. I have a feeling I may be splurging on a full size one in the future.

Naomi A line Skirt - I have had trouble finding denim skirts and find that they can be to figure hugging which isn't what I like. I can safely say I have found a skirt that looks great on me and ticks all the boxes! I did find I had to go up a size to get the fit I wanted but it's well worth it and I have no doubt I will be living it once it starts to warm up.

Metal Star Wreath - I love Christmas time and seeing all the sparkly decorations. I try to limit myself to what I buy and only buy things I really love and are classic. This wreath fits the bill and I love it, it's the perfect addition to the metal star decorations I bought last year. What I also love about it is that you can dress it up each year depending on your colour scheme and style preferences. I like the suggestions of using greenery but you could also tie ribbons, attach small decorations or use it to help display Christmas cards.

Five Feet Apart movie trailer - in high school I read a biography about a teenager who had Cystic Fibrosis and it opened up my eyes to what people who have it go through. Five Feet Apart is about two teenagers who have Cystic Fibrosis but due to catching each others bacteria have to stay five feet apart at all times. The trailer looks really good and I am looking forward to seeing the movie next year.