There She Goes

The girl my heart adores. She’s moving. Tomorrow.
She has heard a whisper in her heart and is obediently following it.

I am so proud.

I needed a friend just like her, and in the most perfect of timings our friendship began to grow to a depth like no other. It’s always been raw and honest, open and kind. There’s nothing quite like finding a friend who you know will be in your life forever no matter the season. There’s nothing quite like a friend who can make you laugh like a child, but also ask you a question that leaves you undone.

She carries my triumphs, and she carries my trials. She lifts my head when I need to be reminded of Who is in control, as I do for her. This last year for us has defined our friendship so much. I’m not really sure what I’m going to do with out her so close to me.

Souls who follow their hearts thrive; fools bent on evil despise matters of soul.
Become wise by walking with the wise; hang out with fools and watch your life fall to pieces. – Proverbs 13:19-20

She is following her heart and I know she will thrive.
She walks with the wise and has made me wiser.
She inspires me.

I hope that you have a friend like her; one that pursues dreams, challenges you and makes you laugh like no one else. And if you don’t, I know you will find one right when you need it most. Just like I did. X

 

 

 

The Year That Was

Last year I wrote a post on New Years Eve, so I thought I might make a tradition out of it.

I thought I might just show you some of the highlights of my 2015! So here they are… Some of my top moments of twenty15

(these are in no particular order)

B A B I E S – Two of my sisters and my best friend had babies! Which means that I’m an auntie five time now (and yes, I realise that “technically” I’m not Eli’s auntie, but I’ve known Sarah my whole life so I’m claiming it haha). These are the first pictures that I had with my 2015 cuties (except the one of Marli, that’s the second because I like it better).

W E D D I N G S – We had a few weddings this year also but my favourites (if that’s allowed) were Sarah’s and my sister Megan’s. I was honoured to be a bridesmaid in Sarah’s wedding which was in beautiful Stanley. Megan’s wedding was a delightful small family wedding (as small as it can  be when you’re one of 7 kids). We also had a few friends get married this year which is always exciting – it’s so fun celebrating people’s big life moments with them. Here’s a couple photos from both Sarah & Megan’s…

D Y L A N – He’s always a highlight. We have laughed, cried, cheered, celebrated, believed and loved our way through this year. He is my all time favourite person to spend any of my time with. This year we spent the most time apart than we ever have since we started dating when I went to America. One of my best friends asked me when I got home “Did distanced make the heart fonder?” To which I replied, “Yes! I am very fond.” I adore Dylan wildly, and I was so happy to come back home to him.

A M E R I C A – This was the first time I have ever been overseas and it was so good. It already feels like a lifetime ago even though it was only last month. I went with Tiffany (one of my best friend & Dyl’s sister). It was so much fun. New York City was my favourite, followed by San Francisco and Chicago. I wouldn’t want to live in the States, but I would definitely go back. It’s such a huge place, with so much to see and do. It was definitely an incredible adventure and one I’ll remember for my lifetime! America ended with a trip to Melbourne to see Taylor Swift which was just the icing on the sweetest holiday cake!

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C H U R C H – this year I’ve seen hundreds of young people each Friday night come and meet God for the first time, and those who have been meeting with Him for a while. We, as a family, celebrated B I G at Easter and Christmas because God deserves it – there’s no simpler way I could put it. Our Wonders Conference happened in July and fell on my birthday so that made it all the more fun! There were so many things about those few days that did my heart so much good. I’m still wearing my Wonder’s band in faith for all the things I know He’s promised.

What a year it has been. I’m incredibly thankful for the friendships that I’ve made and sustained, the adventures that have happened, the moments where God’s spoken and I’ve listened, the family time, the Dylan moments and everything else that fills my life.
But what a year this next one will be! I have so much faith and expectation for the coming year, it’s crazy. I know I’ll see miracle after miracle; I’ll see moment after moment where God changes someones life radically and I’ll get to be apart of those moments! I’m dreaming big for 2016. xo

1000 Days of Dating

Today marks 1000 days of dating Dylan, so I’m going to write 1000 things I love about him…

  1. He is incredibly good looking
  2. He can sing! (Seriously, he’s so good)
  3. He is very smart

…Just kidding. What a boring post for you all.. Even though Dylan is incredible and there are so many things I love about him, I thought I would share just a couple of things that I’ve learnt over the past 1000 days. Maybe they can help you with your relationship, or help prepare you for one.

Here we go…

PATIENCE IS KEY
Patience has been one of the biggest things I’ve learnt. Probably the biggest. It isn’t at the top of the list because of anything negative.. It’s just been a big part of how we function. He is patient with me when I don’t understand things and he’s explaining something for the millionth time (probably should work on my listening skills haha), I am patient with him when he is playing guitar and all I want is attention (haha). There are a lot of other examples I could give as to where patience has come into things, but I don’t quite now how to put them in words just yet. Life doesn’t always go the way I plan (surprise, I’m not actually in control) and to be honest, sometimes I really struggle with that. I want to know the next move, I want to know what’s going to happen in the next month, year, or even five years, that’s just part of my personality. This adventure with Dylan has seen me slowly (sometimes very slowly) let go of the things I think I desperately need straight away. I know that patience is something I’ll forever be learning about, but it’s definitely been one of the biggest area’s I’ve grown in.

IT’S MORE THAN A FEELING
It’s a choice. Everyday, no matter how I am feeling, no matter what else is going on, I will always choose Dylan. I will choose to cheer him on, I will choose to listen, I will choose to understand, I will choose to love. I know that life will never be perfect, that things happen that are out of my control, that we are both human beings and are flawed. But I know that Dylan has so much greatness still that I’m yet to see, and I know that he is so good to me and for me so despite how I feel (happy, sad, angry, excited, scared etc.) I’ll choose him.

IT’S NOT ALL ABOUT ME
Isn’t it just the worst when we realise this one. I feel like God kinda laughs (kindly) at me when I have the mindset that I know what I need, when I need it, and that the world revolves around me. But again, surprise, I’m not in control and it’s not all about me. I like to see my relationship with Dylan as being a part of a team. Now, I haven’t played in a sport team since Grade 6, but I do know the saying “There’s no I in team”. We work together, we see the other persons potential, we cheer the other person on. If I had the mindset that this relationship was purely about me and what I get out of it, I know that it would fail. It would be frustrating; it would probably be a mess. But I’ve been learning it’s not all about me. Sometimes I have to put my plans, my opinions aside for the benefit of us. I don’t see it as missing out either. All great loves require a sacrifice. That sacrifice may be time, it may be plans, money, whatever… But realising it’s not always about me, I think, helps keep things nice and balanced (because I know there’s been times where Dylan’s had to do the same).

KINDNESS RULES
This is something that I have intentionally worked on over the last few years even before dating Dylan, but it’s something that’s grown so much more so because of him. Mostly for me, it’s kindness in what I speak. I have learnt about how much words matter and how much kind words matter. “I told you so” isn’t a helpful phrase…at all. It doesn’t build the other person up. I intentionally praise Dylan, I intentionally show him kindness because I know for myself, when someone is kind or goes out of their way or tells me what they love about me, it shifts the way I’m feeling. I always want to be a person who makes people feel good about themselves, so being kind to Dylan is no exception.

GOD IS BIGGER…ALWAYS (last but not least by any means)
Always, always, always, always. No matter the feeling, the health level, the job, the dreams, the goals.. God is bigger. I’ve learnt that I don’t have to have it all mapped out because of this. I’ve learnt that God is in every single moment of my life, and that He has been since the day I was born and He will be till the day I die. He’s working a plan, and all I’ve got to do is listen and go where He says, when He says. That’s easier said than done, however, especially when things are hard, or when we’re sick, or when we seem to be facing a giant, but I love that God is bigger than my feelings. Over the last 1000 days, God has proven time and time again this – that He is bigger and that He is always faithful. How can I ever worry about my relationship, or anything in my life for that matter, when God has already done so much for me and for Dylan. I know that not a day has gone by, or will go by where God won’t have mine and Dylan’s best interests at heart and it’s such a sweet and comforting feeling.

I can’t wait to see what God does for us over the next thousand days. X

Thought of the Day

I am so overwhelmingly thankful that I changed the path I was headed down before I had a chance to convince myself it was too late.

God has been nothing but gracious and kind to me. It’s unbelievable! I honestly see it as being rescued. I was rescued from a life that relied on what others thought of me, it revolved around doing what everyone else was doing so I didn’t feel left out. It was ruled by self doubt and disbelief.   

I now live the best life. It’s far from perfect, but those things that had my heart bound are no longer there. I live freely, I live with friends whose friendship is legitimately unconditional, I live out of a place of grace. I now make decisions based on what is best for me and I don’t make them alone. I have a heart that is full – I’m no longer striving for others to fill it for me. I’ve found a place where I can be whole-heartedly, and unashamedly ME! 

I live my life with a constant Companion who’s there when I have a crappy attitude about my job, and there when I have a sour thought about a situation. A Companion who, in-spite of all that, still whispers in my heart “You are my Beloved, in whom I am well pleased.” [You got it, I’m talking about Jesus.] 

I have no doubt in my mind that I would of found this place to live in eventually, but I am so glad I’m living in it now. I’m so glad that Jesus looks at me with eyes full of love and kindness. I’m so glad that with compassion in His voice He calls me close to Him. 

My hope is that you’re encouraged by this. My hope is that you understand that’s it’s never too late and you’re never too far gone to ask Jesus to come rescue you. He’s there, waiting to sweep you off your feet with His incredible love and kindness and compassion. 

Hann. X

#365daysofpraise

c213102d2e44111b8958520934b9e7deA few days into 2014 I decided that I was going to start #365daysofpraise… A post a day of something I’m thankful for.

I love Psalm 63:3 – Because Your love is better than life my lips will glorify You. It’s from a moment in my life where a lot of things changed for me in the best kind of way. It reminds me to always keep when comes out of my mouth honest, pure, kind, full of faith, hope and love. Naturally, I can be quite a sarcastic person, I’m happy to admit that. It’s part of my character, but what isn’t part of my character is unkindness and probably more times than I’d like to admit, that is what my sarcasm came across as. Over the last four and a half years I’ve found myself on this adventure of watching what comes out of my mouth. God has designed me to sing and worship and change atmospheres over people and their situations through that and I’ve been learning that what I say outside of those moments matters just as much as what’s sung within them.

Ephesians 4:29-32 says this:

Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift. Don’t grieve God. Don’t break his heart. His Holy Spirit, moving and breathing in you, is the most intimate part of your life, making you fit for himself. Don’t take such a gift for granted. Make a clean break with all cutting, backbiting, profane talk. Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you.

I was blown away that I could grieve God and break His heart by what I say. That alone makes me want to always be praising others, cheering them on, and speaking well of myself (that’s a biggie).

I really want praise, honour and kindness to be the first response to whatever comes my way in life. I want helpful and compassionate and honouring words to be what flows out of me so I decided I was going to make an investment into that.

The Goal:

  • Post one photo a day for 365 days with something I was thankful for
  • To grow in praise, honour and kindness
  • To purposely seek out the good in each day
  • To make thankfulness a natural response

The Outcome:

WOW!

I’m constantly left astounded by how God uses everything I face to build up within me greater character. By no means do I think that I have the ideal character, I fall short often, but because I know who I belong to I can recognise all the times and different ways God speaks to me and corrects me. This simple, yet large idea of being thankful intentionally for something every single day for 365 days on Instagram is something that I believe has altered the way I go (and will go) through life. I know that life won’t always be rainbows and sunshine. I know that death happens, sickness happens, sadness happens, but I also know that God is far bigger than any of that and that fact alone deserves absolutely every ounce of my praise.

I want thankfulness to be a natural response. I want it to be the first response; the knee-jerk reaction. The thing I do without even realising, yet with intention. I’d challenge you to spend some time investing into praise, honour and kindness. How you do it may look different to how I did, but I can guarantee that you won’t ever loose out on anything by spending time being thankful. To wrap this up, here’s what I wrote on my 365th post, it sums it all up perfectly for me.

“365 days ago I decided I would post one photo a day attaching something that I was thankful for. Today is day 365. I am incredibly thankful that I stuck with this. I am incredibly thankful that I took the time out in each day to find something to be thankful for. I have actually been surprised at how much doing this has affected me. I’m thankful that God is always good and His love never stops. I’m thankful that I’ve allowed a whole year for my heart just to soak in thankfulness and praise. I’m thankful that it has kept me accountable to have a praise attitude in the real world as well as on here. I’m mostly thankful for what this has set me up for.. What that looks like exactly, I don’t know. But I know that doing this has shifted something in my spirit and been incredibly good for me. Praise doesn’t stop just because a countdown does.. Can’t wait to see what God has for me in the next 365 days! 🎉”

As Iron Sharpens Iron…

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At this very moment I am sitting in my bed, in a hotel on the eve of my best friends wedding and I couldn’t feel more honoured if I tried. I’ve been thinking of all the fun and mischief we have got up to over the past 20-something years and can’t help but think that I’ve got the best best friend in the world!

My best friend is one of a kind. I’ve known her my entire life – that alone makes me feel incredibly grateful. She is brave and bold, she is kind and creative, she is honest and loyal. She is beautiful. She is who she is and doesn’t apologise for it. I’ve seen her through all her highs and all her lows in her life and know that all of the above is 100% true.

I love God positioned friendships. I love that it doesn’t matter if I see her every day, once a week or once a month, we pick up where we left off and that is my favourite. I love that no matter what I know I’m accepted and valued; I know that what I have to say will be listened to without judgement. I love that the bible talks about what having a good friend does to you.

As iron sharpens iron,
    so a friend sharpens a friend.

I can’t help but think that I am a sharper friend because of my best friend. I often feel like I’m in a constant challenge of who I should be spending more or less time with because the reality is that people either add or subtract to your life. They will either lift you higher and propel you further or they will pull you down and hold you back. I feel incredibly honoured that I am surrounded by friends who want to see me be the best version of myself and do (and say) what needs to be said so that can happen.

I really would like to leave you with this… I feel like people feel like they need to have a million and 1 really close friends, but I challenge you to think & pray about those that you let into the deeper parts of your life. I’m not saying don’t have a heap of friends, but what I am saying is, you don’t need to please everyone. You don’t need to share every detail of your life with everyone. I really believe that God places the perfect people in your life at the perfect time so that you are never alone; so that you always have someone you can fully rely on.

Now, I’m off to sleep! Tomorrow is my best friends BIG day! Yay.

Hann x

The Year That Was

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When I was growing up New Years Eve was always spent at my Grandma and Grandad’s house with my mums whole family. We had a cricket match that we played in one of Grandads paddocks then we would head back to their place for a BBQ and to see the New Year in. Sometimes Grandad would even have his own fireworks show. It was always my favourite night of the year. There was always so much excitement that filled the place. Party poppers. Sparklers. Talking about the grade we were now in at school. I have so many fond memories.

Now that I’m older, I still love New Years Eve even though we no longer spend it at Grandma and Grandad’s. What I love about the new year now is thinking of the possibility of what’s to come. What are my goals for 2015? Where do I want to be at the end of 2015? What am I going to take from 2014? What am I going to grow in and learn from the previous year? Did I achieve my goals for 2014? There are so many questions. One of my favourite things about a new year is that people see it as a chance to try something new, to better themselves, to go on a journey. I find that people don’t want to make the same mistakes as the previous year so they use January 1 as the building block to do things even better than the year before.

2014 for me has seen two family weddings where I gained two sister-in-laws. It has seen me reach my goal of being debt free. It has seen me grow in praise and honour and kindness (things I’ll forever being growing in). It has seen my best friend get engaged too! 2014 has seen some sad times too. My younger sister moved interstate which to be honest, broke my heart a little. I’d never had someone so close to me move away before. Even in the last few months of the year there has been loss that has affected the people that I love most.

Through every good and bad, high and low, happy and sad moment that has been in the last 365 days, God has always been faithful. He has always answered when I’ve called. He’s protected, He’s lavished love, He’s shown up and to me, that is what defines a good year.

To finish, below is something that my mum wrote for the school newsletter where she’s the chaplain. I think it’s beautiful. It sums it up perfectly.

Believing your 2015 will far exceed any expectation you have. Believing you’ll be blown away by God’s kindness and love through every situation in the coming year.

“Beginnings and endings are inevitable and, ultimately, all serve a purpose. If we allow it, they bring about greater depth of character, promise, growth, achievement and possibilities. This is not to say that there is not struggle, suffering or pain; in no way do I intend to minimalise the depth of feelings we experience during these times. But, whatever your beginnings and endings have been this past year and as we approach the end of 2014, I trust and pray in it all you will experience the love, peace, grace, comfort, courage and presence of God.” – Annie King

Kindness is Key

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Whoever goes hunting for what is right and kind finds life itself—glorious life!
Proverbs 21:21

The AOK Challenge.
One act of kindness a day, for twenty days.
Easy peasy.

Cultivate means “To grow or maintain in culture.”
How cool is that. A life goal of mine is that I am always growing in kindness; that it becomes a lifestyle not just a 20 day challenge. I love the verse above from Proverbs about kindness bringing life. Jesus showed the greatest act of kindness the world has ever seen or known (and will ever see or know). I didn’t deserve His kindness at all, yet it was still freely given to me. I really think the least I can do is show kindness to others.

I had this thought the other day that no matter how big or small an act of kindness may be, when it’s done in partnership with Jesus there is always a heavenly exchange that happens. A beautiful exchange. An exchange where heaven and earth collide. Kindness is a key that will unlock a lot in your life. I personally believe that kindness towards others shifts something in my heart, resulting in a life of joy. And to be honest, I can’t think of a better way to spend my life.

I hope you will join me in this challenge. I hope that it changes your life as well as those you’re being kind to.
I pray that you cultivate kindness; that it becomes part of your DNA.

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

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I love this time of year. I love the joy. I love the excitement. I love the presents. I love the kindness. I love the lights. I love the songs. I love the food. I could go on…
I had a conversation with someone the other day about Christmas time and how they don’t like it as they feel it’s all a commercial thing. I get that, I do, but my challenge to them was what if this is the only time of year that people even remotely think about Jesus. What if it’s the one shot I get to talk to someone about who Jesus is, why He was born, why the whole world sets a day aside to celebrate Him being born.

I love reminding myself of that when I start to get a little overwhelmed by all the events that pop up around this time of year. It can really become quite stressful but, as always, once I focus my thoughts on Jesus, everything else subsides. Sometimes I feel like I should understand by now that when my focus is on Jesus, it is well. So often though I find that I’m focused on myself and that often leaves me feeling like the world is caving in…right on top of me. Ha!

Jesus at the centre of it all. Always. Even when life is busy. Even at Christmas time.

It really is the most wonderful time of the year.