Lessons in emotions, bottles and siblings.

While out for a family dinner the other night I realised something new. You know how if you’re close to your family, you tend to think they know you the best out of anyone there is? They see you at your worse and hopefully at your best and so you feel known. That is one of the key beauty’s to family and this is something I’ve always been aware and grateful for.

When we were younger my brother’s favourite thing in life was to irritate me. My sister came along and as soon as she grew out of being a toddler he realised he had hit the jackpot because he now had two sisters to irritate (Poor guy was probably just bored to death and didn’t feel like playing Barbies and Concerts all day long). My brother and I were talking about how sometimes it’s difficult for men to understand women and we ended up talking about sometimes he feels like he doesn’t understand me and sometimes I feel like I don’t get him. He casually mentioned that he learnt very quickly about what irritated both me and my sister individually and from that he learnt a lot about who we were and what we were like. At least, he did with my sister. He learnt a lot about her by the way she responded to his jaunts or his annoying little boy things and through that he learnt about her character. He said I was the opposite. He learnt what irritated me and how he could annoy me best, but that was it. He told me that I used to shut down and switch off when I was irritated or hurt, and he learnt nothing about me.

I’m not saying as a child he had some crazy scheme to try and get to know us better through irritating us, but I do think he accidentally learnt more about my sister and the way she operates and he understands her better. I am still, somewhat unknown.

I’m not at all worried or concerned that my brother loves me less because he understands me less – that is the key, key beauty to family – but it got me thinking about the way we all process life.
It’s pretty easy to classify and identify what happened in psych style terms. When insults or sibling issues came my way – I bottled it up and shut off. When annoyances or pain came my sister’s way, she let it all out. I’m not a psychologist so I can’t tell you which is technically the right or wrong approach. I think they probably say a mix of both, learning to guard some emotions but also not bottling it all up so you explode blabla. Exploding wasn’t necessarily my problem. I was a professional bottler. I still am.

If someone hurts my feelings, wrongs me or treats me in a way that I don’t appreciate – I shut down. I completely switch off and don’t wish to discuss the matter any further. Which I always thought was a bit of a character flaw but I didn’t realise the deeper effect this has on relationships.
By bottling up your emotions or shutting them off altogether, you rob people of the ability to know you.

Blech – are you like this too?

I’m not saying people purposely pushed you so they could see what you were made of, or that people will never hurt you again if you simply let it all out right then and there, tears, tantrums, the works. But if you never let people see what’s going on underneath, why their words hurt you the way they did, why that push is backing into something deeper they don’t know about, if you never let them in there.. they eventually give up. “I don’t understand this girl”. “That guy is too closed off.”

I’m not saying you need to be the type of person that wears your heart on not only your sleeve but your jeans and your jacket and your shoes so that people take advantage of how vulnerable you are. But I am saying – let people know you. Don’t shut off when you’re hurt. Don’t bottle. Don’t hide.
Pain and heartache reveal to the world our true nature. I am most myself when I am under pressure as my calm, cool exterior – ‘my façade’ – fades away. It’s not always pretty but it is extremely real. If you want to be known.. have someone really know and understand your character, you have to learn to stop shutting off. Let someone in.

To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything. It liberates us from pretence, humbles us out of our self-righteousness, and fortifies us for any difficulty life can throw at us. Timothy Keller

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I won’t forget.

Tomorrow marks the 97th anniversary of Australian and New Zealand army troops landing at Gallipoli in 1915. Tomorrow is a day we stop and remember all Australians who serve and have served in all wars, conflicts and peace-keeping operations. At least some of us stop and remember.

Some of us are just excited for a day off. Some of us are excited to sleep in. Some of us are excited to party and get wasted tonight. Some of us will post a token ‘Lest We Forget’ status on facebook and use tomorrow as a much needed study day. That last statement was going to be me in case you’re already judging me for being too judgemental.

As a nation, we’re somewhere down the middle when it comes to patriotism. Most of us are aware that we are lucky to live in Australia and we’re happy to don an Australian Flag tattoo on Australia Day but we are kind of embarassed when we see ourselves represented on American television. We’ll fly flags out the windows of our cars, but hardly any of us have a flagpole installed at home.

I come from a military family. My uncle is in the air force, I’ve got a cousin the army and even closer to home, my father has been serving in the Army for many years and in the last couple of years my brother followed in his footsteps. I’m extremely aware of the sacrifice Australians Service Men and Women have made for our country. I’m aware, because for me, the sacrifice is personal.

I’ve said goodbye at the airport and watched my loved ones depart for over-seas operations. I’ve received letters from war zones and delayed crackly phone calls where we sort of talk in code. I’ve grown up and spent my adult years separated at times from the two men I love the most. And trust me, I have it easy. I haven’t gotten married without loved ones present. I haven’t had to give birth to my child alone because my husband was away on deployment. I haven’t had to bury ones I love because of war. I have it easy.

I’m so aware of what tomorrow represents. I’m so aware of how painful and lonely military life can be. I’m so honoured to know people who serve our country. I’m so honoured to call those people my family. I’m so grateful for their sacrifice. I’m so grateful for this country and the people who have died and will die to protect the freedom we take for granted.

I won’t forget.

Blessings

It’s one of those things you know in your heart but is difficult to belive ALL the time, that I am always truly blessed.

Sometimes life gives you a tough run and you struggle to find the blessing in each and every day, and other times, it truly feels like your cup runneth over.

My life is currently a cup runneth over sort of time. Where I could count blessings on my hands and toes and maybe even the hairs on my head.

I’m so blessed to be in a job where after 2 months, I’ve already been promoted. My days are full, my mind is challenged and positive working relationships are growing every day.

I’m so blessed to live with two amazing bride to be’s. I get to experience their joy and excitement in one of the craziest best times of their lives.

I’m so blessed to have a mother who cares about me SO much. Not every mother would buy their daughter a new ghd when the old one died because she understands and appreciates the importance of hair, at least to someone like me.

I’m so blessed to go to church that believes, firstly in Jesus Christ and his resurrecting power, but that believes in nourishing the potential of an individual.

I’m so blessed to know couples that are so excited to include me in their life that they create special date nights. How exciting to be a part of the epic romance that is Laurilliam. One day when those two win a ‘we saved the world and we’re married and cute and stuff’ award, I can totally say that I knew them. (Yeh, I said epic, deal with it).

I’m so blessed to have lived at Suez Street for the last year, but am so excited to move back home. Hazelnut Close is a place that is warm, well lived in, wi fi friendly, stocked with dvd’s and endless makeup resources and my two favourite ladies, Mumma and Georgia.

I’m so blessed to be a recipient of grace. I’m honestly the worst person in the world, but Jesus loves me so so completely that most of the time it leaves me quite speechless. And knowing my fondness for words, His grace means a whole lot.

I’m so blessed to live in a country that I can so easily study and learn. This semester at uni has been relatively easy almost stress free.

I’m so blessed to have friends that consider me a good enough friend to share in their special day. This year I get to be a bridesmaid at the wedding of Tegan Churcher and Blaine Swanborough. These two are massive favourites of mine, and after knowing them a combined 22 years (which adds up to my whole life) I’m so happy these two found each other. I also have the priviledge of being a bridesmaid at the wedding of Laura Fraser and William Swanson. These two are a seriously kick butt couple and such amazing friends on their own as well. I’m so so excited. Nicole Steers and Elliot Kidd are also getting married this year, in the mania. (What Tasmanian’s, or mostly just Nicole, call Tasmania) At this wedding, I shall be the MC for the reception. It will basically be the best party bar none. I’m secretly calling it the ‘Steffany Spectacular’ and charging admission. I’m so so honoured to play this role on their wedding day, to me the MC is basically the most important decision in the wedding process.

I’m so blessed to have Peter Willis as a Dad. I got so teary after writing that sentence because I love him so much, and he’s had the biggest impact on my life besides Jesus. My life is better, richer, warmer, happier, crazier because of him. No one has taught me more about the love of Christ, sacrifice, moral integrity, forgiveness, justice, cars, finances, public speaking, self confidence, righteous living and how to serve the kingdom. If I find a man in this world, that is half the man my Dad is.. I will be SO happy.

I’m so blessed to have so many new-ish friends lately. I’m overwhelmed by the amount of amazing people that fill this world. People who aren’t perfect, but that each have something amazing they can contribute.

I’m so blessed to have stunningly good health. After a rough patch a couple of years ago, I’m so blessed to only come down with a flu every now and then. God has been amazingly good to me considering how awfully I treat my body.

I’m so blessed to have access to many many books. I’m currently reading 3 different books. I’m so blessed that I can read whatever I want.

The best thing about blessings is that I’m actually blessed 100% of the time. Even when it doesn’t feel like it. Even when everything feels like it’s going wrong. I have access to food, clean water, shelter and a God who loves me. I’m truly blessed.

December

Everyday at work I have to type the date multiple times – and by multiple, I mean like 200 times. So I was very excited today when I got to type the date

01.12.10

December is without a doubt – the great month of the year. After a fairly dodgy November, I am even more excited than normal to welcome this festive month. 31 days of Christmas orientated activities – what could be more brilliant than that.

Reasons for a great December!

  • Christmas lights. By December, anyone who is gonna do Christmas lights – has them up! This year my Mum is using her Solar Power Christmas lights. Saving the planet and looking pretty at the same time. Yay for Mumma Willis!
  • PANTO! It’s a pure priviledge to be involved in this year’s Christmas Panto ‘Neverland Christmas’. Rehearsals have been underway for nearly two months now and it really helps me get into the Christmas mood! It should be a brilliant weekend – Dec 18 & 19 @ Nexus Church.
  • Christmas shopping. Being a gifts person, I love love shopping for presents. I never seem to have the money that I’ve been allocating to Christmas presents all year long. But doing it on a budget is kind of fun too – I love thinking about what a person would really love to receive at Christmas. I choose to ignore the crowds and the awful parking and just focus on the fact that there are Christmas decorations and Christmas music everywhere!
  • Christmas movies. Christmas movies get played on the tv and at the movies and I love to snuggle in under a blanket (in cranked air con) and pretend it’s snowing here like it is in all the Christmas movies. Favourite is definitely The Santa Claus with Tim Allen. But there are other goodies as well!
  • Wrap up parties. Everything is having a break up and it’s fun to go to so many parties. Looking forward to the reverb break up – Dec 10th – dont’ miss it!
  • Christmas baking.
  • Christmas services – Nexus does such a brilliant job! Looking forward to that.
  • Family – so much of both sides of my family are going to be around this Christmas. Special mention goes out to my Aunty Deanne from the States who hasn’t been home in 4 years!
  • Weather – things aref finally warming up this summer. Will be nice to hit the beach once or twice. I shall try not to get skin cancer while I’m outside.
  • HOLIDAYS! Arghhh – I can’t wait for work holidays. This year we are closing the office on the 23rd.. which means I get Christmas Eve off! Which hasn’t happened in so long!

Ah December.. you make me happy!