The Secret Garden.

I am not a gardener. Any house I’ve lived in where I was responsible for a garden, turned into a bit of a disaster. It became necessary to bring in a professional to clean up the overun lawns, weeds and various other things that turn crazy. The few times I have put on the cutest pair of gardening gloves (serious impulse buy!) and spent hours on my knees in the dirt pulling up everything cos I couldn’t tell what were weeds or actual plants – gave me great insight into my own life.

I’m not a good gardener.

If you’ve been around anywhere, surely you’ve heard people compare life to a garden. Sometimes, actually.. quite often, you need to get down in the dirt and do some weeding. Sometimes, you have a dry season and some plants start dying and you realise you need to water everyday. Like physically water everday. Sometimes you have natural rain and so the garden is extra nutrient. Do you see where I’m going here?

I’m a bad life gardener. I obviously planted a lot of “low maintenance” plants into my own life and as such, have convinced myself that my life needs very little maintenance. While that is sort of true – I’ve definitely neglected my life lately. I’ve taken on too many things, filled my life with this and that and now my life garden is kind of overun. I got lost in it and now I’m tripping over vines and the shrubbery is pretty out of control. You might not know this because my garden is only at the back of my house. No one really knows unless they step out on the back patio (or take a look at the inside of my car) and they notice what a mess it is. I’ve got a bit of a Secret Garden situation going on. Except my Secret Garden is definitely like the first part of the movie where it’s all messy.

Maybe, like me, you can’t tell what is a weed and what is a valuable plant. I have many things in my life that seem like positives – but they are actually really subtly unhealthy. They are killing off unnecessary things. Did you know that some weeds actually look pretty? They have flowers and everything and are so deceptive that you want to leave them there. DON’T. Ask a professional gardener and say ‘Is this actually a plant, or is it a weed disguising itself as a plant?’.

Sometimes lawn maintenance is long term. Like you can’t just hack away at a plant and hope you got all the bad stuff. I think when I weed, I just cut off what I can see. Nope – ever heard of roots? Same goes in your life garden. When you start on a weed, you have to keep going til you get all of it. Otherwise there is no point – you just broke your back and got dirt in your fingernails for no reason. The weed is still there and it will still come back and bite you.

Do you get what I’m saying? Did I overload you with metaphors? Maybe you can look past the random style of this blog post and comprehend the crazy thoughts inside my head.

I’m saying all this because maybe you need to do some gardening. I’m saying it because maybe you actually have never heard of the garden/life metaphor before and it’s all new and enlightening. I’m saying all this because humans are bad at maintenance and we only fix a problem when it’s really really broken.

Assess. Weed. Stick it out. Keep weeding. Plant new healthy plants. Water. Maintain.

SUCCESS!

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Thanks for the memories.

I have a brilliant memory. It’s selective, but brilliant all the same.

I will be singing along in the chorus before a brand new song is over, I will ‘know’ it the second time through and by the third time I have the lyrics down. I can remember songs from my childhood with surprising clarity and I’m one of the only girls I know who can seriously rap.

Give me a script and I’m the first actor to have their lines down. I can recite all the books of the bible with amazing speed. I can remember birthdays of people I never see. I can easily remember when you are re-telling a story and I definitely can remember what you got or didn’t get me for my birthday 3 years ago.

Having a great memory is something I’ve taken for granted but lately realised is such an asset. I’m pretty good with names and details. I might forget that I had a date with someone, but there’s no way I’ll forget their middle name, birthday, email they used in high school or the joke they told me two weeks ago. Its’ selective, but brilliant.

The best thing about having a great memory is also the worst thing. The things I do remember, I remember with absolute clarity.

I remember the first time I listened to the Dreaming Out Loud album by One Republic. I was in the car with my family on the way to visit by brother during his initial training. My ipod must have been dead and was using my Mum’s for entertainment. This was the only album that seemed worth listening to and I remember how I felt listening to ‘Goodbye Apathy’ and ‘All Fall Down’. I remember the goosebumps and I remember the Australian scenery that whisked by. It’s an album I still listen to regularly now.

I can clearly remember the first time I met someone. I remember the exact words that I said. I remember how I felt. I can, with absolute clarity – transport myself back to that place. A place when I knew things changed and wouldn’t be the same anymore.

I can remember the day I had a big car accident. I can remember driving and then sliding and I can easily remember the weird state of calm panic I felt as I tried to find my way out of a car toppled on it’s side. I remember feeling so grateful for life. I can remember the pain from being in a neck brace for hours. I can remember how hungry I was and I can remember by Mum’s expression as she fed me tiny pieces of chocolate. I can remember asking the doctor if I’d be able to attend my friends engagement party the next day. I can remember asking them not to ruin my ‘Saturday’ jeans by cutting them off. I can remember the needle. I can remember the ambulance officer asking me if I’d had a chance to vote yet.

I can remember seasons. I remember seasons of pure joy. I remember seasons of hard work. I remember success. Failure. I remember it all.

That is in fact, the problem though. I remember it all. Whatever situation.. if it’s in my memory – it is in there for good. Which means I remember wonderful moments, life changing moments – but I also remember the ugly ones.

When I remember a painful experience – it’s so clear to me – that it actually isn’t so much of a stretch to immerse myself in the memory so deep, that I feel whatever emotion I felt at the time. Now THAT is a risky skill. It truly is a case of the best and the worst thing all at once.

When I’m sad, I can easily remember a wonderful time and find myself grateful again. However when I’m sad and trying to move on from something, I can easily remember the words spoken, the look given, the opportunity lost that caused me to be sad in the first place – and down, down, down I go.

It frustrates me that God gives us a beautiful gift – and then it’s so easily turned around to be our downfall. I have the ability to recall amazing things – sometimes useless, sometimes critical. I won’t let that be squandered.

The only thing that really helps is to ask the Helper which things to remember and which things to forget.

Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies. Philippians 4:8 MSG

Hanging by a moment.

Life, to me, is a series moments all flung together. I made it my personal goal at the beginning of the year to relish and enjoy each and every moment. The good ones and the bad ones. To stop and take stock of moments.

I think it’s ridiculous what can happen in a moment. A car accident. When your heart skips a beat. A fall. That look. Things that just happen, that come out of nowhere and catch you by surprise.

But so often moments don’t just arrive out of thin air – they are in fact, many many moments all strung together that normally culminate in a decision, a move towards something, a wrong choice, a good choice. I find myself dictating my life by moments. I find myself making decisions based on the moment and in the moment. ‘Oh he looked at me like this, I think I’ll make this stupid decision’ ‘I feel this way, so I will act this way’. I can’t count the amount of times I’ve done something or said something that took me 2 seconds to decide on – and then I spend the next 2 hours wondering why I ever thought impulse was a helpful decision making tool.

I’m adding to my list of personal goals – that while I will live in and enjoy the moment, I won’t be dictated by it. That mistake I made yesterday, I can’t say I was completely caught up in the moment, because I know a bunch of other ‘moments’ led to that point. I won’t use moments as an excuse.

I believe in our generation. I believe we are the future and that we bring something unique to this world. However we’re terrible at moments. We’re all about impulse living and living reactional lives. We don’t think through what we say or what we do and when we make mistakes we’re not very good at admitting it was probably our fault. We live for the fun of living and damn those consquences – in the moment, it was the right decision – who cares if we regret it in the morning?!

Maybe I don’t want to stop living in the moment – but I want to become good at it. I wonder if you can train yourself to make good decisions in the moment? I think you probably can.

I want to stop and be grateful in the moment. I want to realise the significance of certain moments. I want to stop and realise in the moment, how blissfully happy I am. I want to take opportunities when the moment arrives. I want my moments to have meaning and purpose. I want to laugh and cry because in the moment, that joke was so funny. I want to squeeze each moment I have here on this earth and get everything out of it that I can.

When I’m in the moment, I won’t waste it.

Framed Fridays

I like to use the framing app on my iPhone to create little framed pictures. I often take more than one picture but of the same kind of thing or at the same event and I like to collate them. You may have noticed that if you follow me on instragram or that I ever like to do it for this blog. Either way, I’ve been a bit slack with posts lately and I have to admit it’s because I’ve been busy living. Busy working, busy with uni and busy with an almost too active social life. Here are some framed shots you might enjoy.

Apart from our hair colour which we kind of swapped and the obvious stunner factor – we’re basically the same people. I love my sister a lot!

Brother hangs, reading on a bed on a balcony and fun in the grass. Thank you McEwans.

SHOES! I love taking photos of my shoes!

Stefan’s parents came to town so we had a bit of a mid-week party. It was great.

I always find the prettiest things to take photos of!

I love this place, it’s people and the coffee.

Don’t mind a Saturday catch up with these long time lovelies.

Saturday Morning Saint Session.

Dance like Steff’s not taking pictures for her blog.

If it’s a public holiday and you HAVE to study.. you may as well study with friends nearby.

I don’t mind a good and colourful Swalisswasen evening.

I just really love coffee.

We went out for dinner and then off to the theatre to celebrate Brett’s 25th. These people are some of the best and I’m so lucky I get to spend time with them.