Fog and what not.

I was away this last weekend for my uni graduation. I studied externally through a uni in Toowoomba which meant a small amount of travel time to my graduation. I didn’t want to be stressed driving up the day of or tired driving home that night, so I booked a small place for my family to stay the night before and after. As much as the graduation was amazing, it was also fun to go away for a weekend. Some of our oldest family friends now live in Toowoomba and so we planned to have breakfast with them before we headed back home. They picked the cafe, a cute little place heading up the range in Highfields.

I was riding shotgun as we drove up the hill and to be honest I was a little bit freaked out. Ahead in the distance, was a pretty thick covering of fog. We don’t get a lot of fog in Brisbane and so I am extremely unaccustomed to driving in it. I kept my feelings hidden as I didn’t want to freak out my younger sister who was driving. She turned on her lights and we climbed higher and got closer and closer to the fog.

The longer we were on the road the more I became aware of the fact that we didn’t know where we were going. How would we see the turns in the road? Would we miss the turn off? Would we completely drive off the road and down the range, hurtling to our death? Fog is freaky enough but if there had have been fog on my way home from work, it wouldn’t have been so bad. I know those roads well. I know it all sounds pretty dramatic, but for a fog rookie – it can be pretty daunting.

As we climbed I kept expecting us to ‘hit’ the fog and be surrounded by it but we drove and drove and it never happened. All of a sudden I realised that we were actually IN the fog. That as much as it looked thick and overwhelming, as soon as we entered the fog, it practically disappeared.

Have you ever found yourself crazy anxious about something in the future.. but that when it actually happened, when you were actually in the midst of it, it wasn’t as bad as it first seemed.

I know I felt like this as soon as I finished uni. I felt somewhat anxious because the future was unknown and all I could see was fog & a winding road ahead. Yes I knew my stuff and had my degree, just like I know how to drive and I have a licence BUT what did the road look like? Did I need to break for an upcoming turn? Would my visibility be so impaired that I’d drove myself off the road?

The future is a lot like driving I’ve realised. Sometimes life is like a long stretch of road. You can see what’s ahead and while it can be boring or require a lot of preserving, you take comfort in knowing what’s ahead. Sometimes life has bends and sharp turns that you weren’t prepared for. Sometimes life is a little like a 4 wheel drive off-road adventure, where you purposefully detour off the safety of the road. It’s crazy and just plain FUN.

And sometimes, life is like that winding hill headed towards the fog. Fog is a weird thing. It is both incredibly freaky and incredibly beautiful. I often see it in creepy movies but I also see it in beautiful scenic photographs. Just like the fog, the future can be both scary and beautiful.

Don’t fear the fog. You’ve got both the skills and the experience to navigate it. Turn your headlights on, take it slow. Don’t be worried about the future and being thrown into darkness, you might find yourself kilometres into the fog without even realising it.

My Means to an End

I had this great and confronting thought a little while ago when I was chatting to my housemate about people who hate their jobs. Those people who find themselves in what is neither a dream job nor a ‘I need to do this right now in order to be able to achieve something else’ job. You know the working part time at the Fish and Chip shop while you study type of job. There of course, is nothing wrong with working at a Fish and Chip shop, or at Woolworths or as a government admin officer if you legitimately love it – but the problem is that most of us don’t love it. It’s a means to an end and what I started to dwell on and couldn’t get out of my brain is what happens when the means to an end never ends and we find ourselves, knowingly, or unknowingly – stuck.

Depending on how well we know each other in the real world – you may or may not know that I am a part time university student. I’ve been studying for so long now that so many of the people in my life weren’t around before the study journey began and what led me to it all.

When I graduated high school – I had no idea what I wanted to do. It’s become a lot more common now but the concept of the “gap year” was fairly fresh and I was one of the few people who didn’t go straight into a degree or into a trade. I had some vague ideas about a communications degree but not wanting to force it and make a wrong decision at such an early stage of life – I deferred my degree and prayed that the “gap year” would resolve everything. As a way to pass the time and earn some money I landed a full time job as a Receptionist at a Real Estate. It wasn’t the dream by any means – but “gap year” for me wasn’t about fun times, it was about trying to figure out what I wanted to do in life.

A means to an end is something you are not really interested in but that you do, grudgingly or otherwise, because it will help you achieve something else. Gap year was my means to an end.

I didn’t love my job – in fact, I think I sort of hated it. I wasn’t being paid much and after 14+ weeks of school holidays I very quickly got over the phone ringing and it being my responsibility to answer it. However even though I hated it – I got used to it. The year rolled by and when a somewhat better Receptionist role came up – I moved on without giving my waiting deferred uni degree another thought. In fact, if I’m being honest – I think I purposefully forgot it.

After so many years of retrospective thinking – I think I can say that I was subconsciously afraid of university. Perhaps I was fearful of having no money after a year of a stable (albeit tiny) income or perhaps I was nervous that I wouldn’t like the course and I would waste my time by dropping out or if I was in fact, just straight up afraid that I wasn’t smart enough for uni –or some awful cocktail of the three combined. I didn’t want to be a “student” and so I pushed it from my mind and tried to focus on my Receptionist ‘career’.

What sucked about this was that the longer I stayed in what was initially my means to an end – the more I became dissatisfied with the means. It had way passed its expiry date and I began to resent it. I worked poorly on purpose, become one of those people who lived for the weekend and wished themselves sick in order to avoid work. It wasn’t a pretty picture but I wasn’t super prepared to change it. I was comfortable. Unhappy – but comfortable.

One Sunday I was chatting with an amazing couple at church and they were telling me about their daughter who was just about to graduate from the very degree I’d deferred. We talked a little of this and where I was at with work and while I don’t even remember asking for it he gave me the best advice said quite simply. ‘You should go and study now Steff – if you don’t do it now, you never will’.

For some unknown reason – his words rang true and I applied to university the very next morning. Was I scared? Absolutely! I had no idea how to even apply for uni let alone be a uni student. I was still afraid of failing but in the end, I was more scared of staying where I was forever – of not living up to potential I knew existed somewhere.

It would be so awesome if this was the end of the story but in so many ways it is only the beginning. While it was and still is one of the best decisions of my life – it has not been easy. I kept my admin career going as a way to pay for rent, bills and to metaphorically and literally fuel my weekends and despite the goal of achieving my degree – it was hard not to be overtaken by the soul crushing occupation that is Office Administration – my new means to an end. That sounds dramatic – but most ‘means to and end’ situations feel that way.

Now I only have mere weeks left of my degree and after many tough years where it felt like it would never end and after many tough jobs that I really didn’t love – the light at the end of the tunnel is practically blinding. I am equal parts ecstatic and afraid. When this ends, and I finally walk across that stage and get that darn piece of paper I will have to face the music and try and get started on my career – something for the last 7 years I’ve just been ‘working on’. My means to an end needs to come to an end and that scares me a little.

There’s something about the means to end process in which the longer we stay in it, the harder it is to get out. We learn to accept that seasons are hard and then we spend so long accepting it that when it comes time to leave the season behind, we don’t. Sometimes we go through a valley and a trial and there’s an important lesson to be learnt in those moments but so often, the valley season ends and God is standing on top of the mountain, applauding your learnt lesson and wondering why you won’t join him there. Sometimes we stay because we think there isn’t another option, that there isn’t a way out of our unhappiness. That is a lie.

I wanted to tell you this because I want you to know that you can do anything you want. If you can at all relate to what I’ve been through, then I want to give you that uncomfortable but necessary push that someone gave me. If you aren’t happy, you do have the power to change that. We need to learn how to swallow our fear or our pride and go do what needs to be done in order to live a fulfilling life. We can’t be the type of people who complain about our lot in life when we could quit that awful admin job and go learn how to fly a plan, or scuba dive, or be a mum, or become a florist. I’m not saying that you should quit everything that’s hard work – in fact, I’m saying the very opposite. Sometimes living the life God has called you to involves hard work. Sometimes it involves a ‘means to an end’ phase – but you have to make sure it ends. Don’t linger around the means because it’s comfortable – push forward. It’s not always easy but it will be worth it.

March Madness

Things I can be thankful for/excited about in March:

  • The opportunity to celebrate. I think everyone I know is born in March! That’s probably the first lie I’ve told on this blog because so many people are born in July too. But March is an especially big birthday month for me, which is great, I love celebrating people and birthdays.
  • University. Look, I don’t always love university. In fact, mostly I don’t. But I CAN be grateful for it. I start a new major (I think it’s actually more of a minor but I can never tell with my uni) this year and I think it will be a big challenge.
  • I’m grateful for grace. I think I will need God’s grace this month. So many things, so little time.
  • I’m excited about the Hunger Games movie which comes out in March. I LOVED these books and I think they actually won’t destroy them in the movie. I get goosebumps every time I see the trailer and I’m so glad March is here.
  • I’m excited for sweet little moments. I’ve been having so many moments lately where I am so overwhelmed by life. Someone will let me know how much they love this blog and I just die a little with happiness. God whispers in my ear that he’s proud of me and I die a little with happiness. Someone sends me a text that just makes me laugh so hard that I die a little with happiness.
  • I’m grateful for the last year when I’ve been able to see my brother every weekend. He moves to Sydney this month and our relationship will be long distance, along with my Dad. It really sucks to have half your family live in another state but I’m know I’m still lucky.
  • I’m grateful that once Pierson does move, the 4th bedroom will return to the old scrapbooking/study room that I know and love.
  • I’m excited about COLD weather! Well, not freezing weather, but I’m grateful that the sticky, sweltering Queensland summer is on it’s way out. I love scarves and jackets and I want them in my life.
  • I’m so grateful for how wonderfully happy I feel nearly all the time. I’m excited about life and what all of Autumn holds.. but I will especially appreciate and enjoy March, because it is here now.

Happy March everyone! I hope it’s the perfect mix of warm days and pleasantly cool evenings.

Love and hot cups of tea,

.Steffany.

Wait it Out

I’ve been neglecting my blog a little bit as of late so for those blog stalkers (yeah you know who you are!) of mine – I’m sorry. I’ll try and be a bit more consistent.

Went to Tasmania on the weekend and for a few extra days. Went for a wedding and a bit of a family holiday. I’ve got a lot of pictures so I might post them next time. Tried my hand a few nature-ish type shots.

Love this photo.

And sit here cold?
We’ll be long gone by then.
And lackluster in dust we lay
’round old magazines.
Fluorescent lighting sets the scene
For all we could and should be being
In the one life that we’ve got

Imogen Heap – Wait it Out

The Cherry Blossom Girl

Does anyone else have the words with friends ap on the iphone? It’s scrabble and you can play with your friends! It’s great!

I’ve got an assignment due on Monday that’s worth 60% of my grade, I started in yesterday. Whoops.

Going to see Paramore on Sunday night with Georgia. Relient K are supporting. Should be a pretty sweet gig. Hope my assignment is finished in time. And that it doesn’t rain.

Love Sophia Bush. Quite the hottness.

“There is no surprise more magical than the surprise of being loved. It is the finger of God on a man’s shoulder.” Charles Morgan

I love Friday’s. It’s so quiet in the office that I can steadily work whilst listening to my ipod, blogging and preparing mentally for assignmenting. Anyone is free to bring me study treats this weekend! I’ll be cooped up in the office at Mum’s for sure.

I’d sooner buy, defying gravity. Kiss me goodbye – I’m defying gravity! And you can’t hold me down! – Wicked

.love.love.

September Wrap Up

Have been a bit MIA lately and that’s due to busy weekends and busy weeks filled with all kinds of different delights that I might post up soon including some pictures of my birthday and birthday gifts.

Got to catch up with Pierson on the weekend for a bit and it was SO good to see him. Also managed to get some footage of him for my ‘LIFE’ movie. Oh I haven’t told you about that? I’m making a movie of my life. Actually, more like my life lately as I haven’t been filming for the last 22 years. Would really love a better camera for filming.. my camera actually does a great job, but something to do with the format.. I have to convert it to use on my mac, and when I convert it, the quality drops. Not sure why anyone would want to know that?

In the meantime.. please enjoy – if you haven’t already seen it, my Hillsong 2010 movie.

Saw Charlie St Cloud on my birthday. Went mostly cos I love a bit of Zac Efron in my life, and especially on my birthday.

Was a bit of a strange sort of movie with an interesting (strange) kind of plot line. The character of Charlie St Cloud was pretty believable. Despite the fact that he talks to ghosts, he doesn’t come across as too ridiculous. Wasn’t as sad as I thought it was going to be either. Two girls were chatting about the movie as we left the cinema and one girl was all ‘Wow, I’ve never heard Zac talk so much, didn’t like that at all’. Haha! However I think Mr Efron’s acting skills have definitely improved and I think I’ll love anything he does – BUT I still prefer him as Troy Bolton. You really can’t beat the cheesy over the top HSM.

three stars

In other news, university is kind of crazy at the moment hence the lack of blogging. I realise that I don’t blog when I’m busy, I blog when I’m bored. Mostly finished a presentation off on the weekend, and just got one more big assignment before I’m done with assignments for the year. I think I just have one exam and then I’m done for a while.

I got two pairs of shoes from Blaine and Tegan for my birthday! Below is the pair I could find a picture of online! How lucky am I?

Confessions

2 weeks ago I started watching Alias and I’m already half way through the entire series.

I’ve been using the work photocopier to print out uni notes.

I actually had a dream the other night about Zac Efron.

Sometimes I worry that I think a lot more about clothes and shoes than I do about Jesus.

But.. I really do love Jesus.

Really going through a stage where I appreciate my girlfriends.

I really enjoy snacking on frozen peas.

I hate most heeled ankle boots.

Right now. I’m loving tumblr more than I love wordpress. But at least I’m honest.

Last week, I think I had a maxibon ice-cream, nearly every day.

I miss reverb.

I miss my best friend.

I honestly don’t like any boys – but am struggling not to flirt with randoms, like the Subway guy.

For the last six months I didn’t display the correct registration sticker

I believe in a thing called love.

I’m yet to complete anything off my List of 100 things to do while I’m still Single.

I listen to the Jonas Brothers.

I’m shocked when I get uni marks back and I did well.

My showers always take more than 15 minutes. Sometimes 20. Every day.

I care more about what is right than what looks right.

I think Laura should be getting paid for her blog and Emily should be getting paid for her art.

I often forget about other people’s feelings and focus on my own.

I like writing about myself.

Learning

Quite accidentally, I’ve been on a university break for the last year.

I meant to enrol for subjects.. and actually just forgot, twice. I realised that if I didn’t enrol again this semester, I might never do it. I do want to finish this degree – maybe before 2020 – so I made sure I enrolled. Left it to the first day I officially started my degree but that’s not really important.

I think maybe I’ve never really realised how fortunate I am. I mean I have moments when I realise it, during a compassion tv ad or something like that. But I can’t believe that I can so easily educate myself. I think learning is such a valid part of life. If I could afford it, I’d probably be a full time student forever. I enjoy learning. I take a strange sort of pleasure in it.

However, I do not like assessment. I wish universities trusted me enough that I knew the material. Like maybe they pull us in for a conversation over coffee and chat about what I learnt throughout the semester. This post is basically just a warning. Either that I’ll be MIA for the next 6 months.. or you are about to get a ridiculous amount of blogging out of me. Fun facts about Marketing or Crisis Management or an amazing amount of fashion blogging.

Also.. I think I forgot how to reference. Remind me to never forget to enrol again. I could be 2 and half years down out of my 6 instead of just 1 and a half.

University..

Hi all,

I am currently in my second of six years at University. And I have a confession to make. I have touched my uni at all this semester. I mean really, I should know better, I’ve been caught with weeks of uni work to complete, and then study for, all in the 12 hrs before an exam. I’ve seen the difference between my uni marks with preparation and without preparation. And I definitely need the preparation. So why is it that I haven’t started this year’s work and I’m already 3 weeks behind? Why do we do things that we inherently know are bad for us? Why do we still choose to do them.. it’s more than just uni procrastination, more than just laziness. I think this kind of thing can be found all throughout everyone’s lives. Not just their studies, although this is a prime example. We chase after relationships that are bad for us, we eat lots and lots of fast food and don’t exercise, we speed, we neglect reading the bible.. whatever it is. We know it’s bad, and in the end will lead to our demise – yet we do it anyway? Are we just.. bad people.. who always make bad choices. I think that’s probably actually the case.

What’s that verse about wanting to do good, yet always doing the opposite. Oh yeah, I found it.

 

Romans 7: 18-20 ‘For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do – this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it’. 

 

Just an not so biblical thought that turned into one.

Things I love

I’m naturally a negative person — so every now and then I try and remember all the great things in my life by writing crazy lists like the one you are about to read.

Things I’m loving at the moment:

  • After tomorrow, I only have 3 pieces of assessment left for the end of the year. 1 year down — 5 to go!
  • My mug I got from Jess Greenwood for my birthday.
  • That Designing Women is this weekend — I love it when our church does something really cool
  • http://stufffchristianslike.blogspot.com/
  • Tupperware — my order arrives today!
  • The Office – The American Series
  • The weird but wonderful spring weather
  • Entering competitions – I have to win something someday!
  • Bec Mumberson, Nathan Whitecross & Boardgames

Desktop of the day: