Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Taking stock: August

Read Pip's latest blog post and thought taking stock is always a good idea. So here goes.

Making: framed Bible verse prints to auction at this Saturday's SU NSW trivia night (you should come! buy tickets!)
Cooking: hmm...just realised I haven't cooked anything for ages!
Drinking: tasty shiraz malbec
Reading: Robin Hobb's new book (eee!) Fool's Assassin
Wanting: a new, healthy, energetic body
Looking: a bit weary - I never know how to respond when people say "oh you look tired". Should I be grateful they noticed, or disappointed that I wasn't hiding it as well as I thought?
Playing: Candy Crush Saga way too much
Deciding: to have a bath and putting on a moisturising mask and then rubbing in rose body oil. It was a good decision.
Wishing: I could have a long, proper break from work and start back with a clean slate
Enjoying: the way the garden looks so glistening and green and revived after all the recent rain
Waiting: for my brand new massage table, which should arrive tomorrow!
Liking: sitting alone in the silent house, listening to cars pass by in the rain
Wondering: if I will ever get married and have children, and whether I mind
Loving: liberally using the Jurlique goodies Elsie gave me (see above re: bath)
Watching: Friday Night Lights
Hoping: that the trivia night will run smoothly and we'll all have a great time - love event organising but there's always a bit of nervousness (hey, have I mentioned that you should come? buy tickets!)
Marvelling: at what I can get done even when I feel terrible
Needing: a massage (thankfully I'm getting one on Friday!)
Smelling: the beautiful Calming blend from SEOC (mandarin, cedarwood atlas, bergamot, clary sage, lavandin, vetiver)
Wearing: my comfy clothes - trackies, Bonds sloppy joe, ugg boots
Following: Jesus
Noticing: new lavender spikes on the Italian lavender plants at the front fence and buds amongst the daffodil greenery
Knowing: God is awesome and I am saved
Thinking: this list is really long
Admiring: people who quietly get on with life, even when it is hard
Buying: a cabin!
Bookmarking: my Red Cross online first aid course (I did 13% of it just now and haven't the headspace for more, even though it's pretty straightforward)
Disliking: this foggy head that won't clear
Giggling: at John Oliver
Feeling: like butter scraped over too much bread
Snacking: on green tea moon cake (pictured above)
Coveting: guitar playing skills
Wishing: the world wasn't so messed up
Helping: a friend at her dad's funeral on Saturday
Hearing: my cat's rumbly purr as she curls up beside me for bedtime

Saturday, 23 August 2014

I need thee every hour

As I got dressed this morning, I sang along to this hymn and I've long thought how good it is...why don't we sing it at church? Hmm. People are scared of thees and thous.

But I love what it says. I do need Jesus every hour.

I so love the Chelsea Moon & Franz Brothers style of music too.

I need thee every hour, most gracious Lord;
No tender voice like thine can peace afford.

I need thee every hour, stay thou nearby;
Temptations lose their pow’r when thou art nigh.

I need thee, oh, I need thee;
Every hour I need thee;
I need thee, oh, I need thee;
Every hour I need thee;
Oh, bless me now, my Savior,
I come to thee, I need thee.

I need thee every hour, in joy or pain;
Come quickly and abide, or life is vain.

I need thee every hour; teach me thy will;
And thy rich promises in me fulfil.

I need thee, oh, I need thee;
Every hour I need thee;
I need thee, oh, I need thee;
Every hour I need thee;
Oh, bless me now, my Savior,
I come to thee, I need thee.

Words by Annie S. Hawks, 1835-1918
Public domain

Fun stuff!

It's all been doom and gloom around here for so long, it's time to break the mood. Well I'm feeling a lot more calm and in control and while I'm not bounding around with energy, everything feels manageable again. So hurrah for that!

In the midst of all the depression, some cool things happened but I didn't write about them because I couldn't get excited about it. Which is really sucky, because the things are lovely things!

The catalyst for all this is money. I don't think I have a love of money in the way the Bible warns against, but the truth is it is a useful tool that allows you to do stuff. Mum and I talked about it, and prayed that we would have the right persepctive about it, and decided we would apply to refinance our mortgage and borrow a little bit more so we could do a few things around the place. I prayed that God would help me be content with whatever the decision was, whether yay or nay.

Our excellent mortgage broker, Paul, was not too optimistic and was very careful to try not to get our hopes up. But as with when he got us the original mortgage, everything just fell into place and all was approved quickly and with no fuss. It was quite something. So people if you need a mortgage or anything mortgage related, get in touch with Paul, he knows his stuff.

So now here are the amazing things I get to do:

Cabin in the corner of glory land my backyard
I've held this dream since we moved here two and a half years ago, to build a little studio type cabin in the backyard, to be a place where I could do work/creative stuff and not be doing everything from the clutter of my bedroom. We have a long block and it's got lots of trees right down the back, which we don't want to get rid of (they screen quite nicely from the neighbours). But the yard isn't used that well for all the space we have. There's a deck right in the middle, and a little courtyard.

So now we have some money, I'm going to build a little cabin on the deck. I did a bit of research but the one I kept coming back to was from Cabin Kits Galore. Made of wood, quick to assemble, under 20m2 so don't need council approval (it's considered a shed at that size) and reasonably affordable.

So very soon, I'll be set up in something a bit like this, to sew and work and do massages in:

Speaking of massages, I was also able to buy a new table which will be a bit over 2m long so my taller friends won't be hanging off the end of the table. On track to finish my Certificate IV by the end of the year!

And once the cabin is in with its little ensuite bathroom, we will make some changes to the house's bathroom. We have a stupid little bath that I try valiantly to relax in, but it's too short even for me. We're going to see if we can reorient things in our tiny bathroom to fit a longer bath under the window and a walk in shower, instead of the shower over the bath (which mum is worried she won't be able to manage climbing into forever). But if that won't fit, we'll just do a walk in shower and fix up the walls and window sills which are starting to show water damage issues.

Big Hearted Business Bali retreat
I was excited to hear about the BHB retreat in Ubud and applied for it, not knowing how I'd pay for it, but thought it was worth a go. It sounded like something that would be a proper holiday and also nourishing and fun at the same time (as opposed to travelling somewhere and just looking at touristy stuff). It was limited to 20 places, and they were going to be specially selected to try and create a harmonious group of people that would get the most out of the week. Unfortunately I didn't get in.

But a little while later I got an exciting phone call from Lisa at the BHB office - they had had so many applications they decided to run a second retreat in November. And because I was on the original short list, they wanted to offer me a place! Hurrah! And then we got the refinance and so I could pay for it! Double hurrah!

So I'm going to Bali in November. With Clare Bowditch, Pip Lincolne, Jesse Neave and 19 other excellent people. We're going to relax, drink coconuts, swim, have massages, do yoga, and learn/do a whole bunch of creative stuff for a week. Oh I am so looking forward to it.

This is where I'll be - at the beautiful Villa Gaia
It is so exciting! I know we're in debt to the bank, but my thought is you've got to pay someone, whether it's a landlord or a bank. I'd rather pay the bank and be able to do things to make our living space how we need it to be, and for it to be useful and welcoming for people. And to be able to go on a fun trip is just the icing on the cake.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

made it

This morning was an ordeal but I got through it! Hurrah!

I left the house at 8, slightly later than I'd hoped, but Google maps suggested two hours to get to the central coast, so I thought I'd arrive a little late but not too late. The real world, however, had other plans. Three hours and 20 minutes to get from Hurstville to MacMasters Beach. Two of those hours were from Hurstville to Ryde. Insanity.

Though I was mega late (and got two slightly concerned phone calls from my boss), I was resigned to taking my time. I arrived in time for the second half of the morning's sessions and everyone seemed pleased to see me - and I'm pleased to see them! Nice to get hugs from your co-workers and for them to say that they are so glad you made it. I really am blessed with this bunch of people.

I still think teleporting should be a thing. I'd be able to get out a lot more if I didn't have to worry about getting there. Though I did realise I do still actually enjoy driving - the drive up to the central coast after you turn off the Pacific Highway is really quite pleasant if you're going along at 110.

Though the effort was worth it. The house we're staying in for staff retreat is one of those perfect white and wood beach houses. The sea is huge and stormy and so close. Even though it's raining, it's just the perfect place to sit and stare out at the ever-changing seascape.

And soon I am running a session on social media. Ha!

Monday, 18 August 2014

time out

You might be getting sick of reading my daily recounting of this black dog bout. I will start writing about other things soon.

The weather this morning was wild, as any Sydneysiders who had to leave the house will have experienced. Crazy wind, heavy rain. My heart sank as I thought about having to drive in that weather, but I got up and showered and got dressed and packed my bag and packed the car. I just kept pushing myself...got to go...got to leave the house...got to go.

Then I started crying. It was kind of involuntary, but it was like this dread was sucking every bit of energy out of me. My body felt like it was filled with concrete.

I had no idea how I would be able to pay attention on the road to the office to do some printing and then up to Gosford to meet my staff team. Mum prayed for me. I left the house, got in the car, and was just wracked with sobs. Uncontrollable. I had been so focused on just putting one foot in front of the other, I had been ignoring that my body was trying to force me to stop.

I rang my boss. "How are you?" "Not good." I said I couldn't drive and would have to join the staff retreat in the morning. He understood.

I came back inside. Mum looked relieved. I crawled into bed and slept most of the day away.

Please God, let it be better tomorrow.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

faking it

Thing is, most of the time I put on quite a good public face. I guess that's why people who don't me so well are surprised to learn I struggle with depression.

This weekend I helped out at Astrid's 4th birthday...

Love this pic of me and Elsie
...danced at a bellydancing expo and sang at church (for a most excellent confirmation/baptism service). In between I lay on the floor or my bed or the couch. I can smile and laugh and contribute for only a couple of hours at a time before the batteries run flat.

I face the coming week with a bit of trepidation. It's staff retreat at MacMasters Beach. Sharing a house with 9+ lovely people...but a lot of conversation and face time and work and...I hope there'll be enough time to lie down somewhere.

Saturday, 16 August 2014

long haul flight

I've been gradually improving since the last post but still climbing up from the slump. I'm so tired and restless and sick of feeling that way.

I was trying to describe the feeling to mum last night and said it's like being halfway through a long haul flight in economy, when you're so uncomfortable you feel like your skin is going to burst, and no matter what you do nothing can ease the discomfort. You get up and walk a short length, you eat, you try to focus on something else like a movie or a book, but always there's this awful too-tight, too-hot, too-stale, too-cramped feeling that you just can't escape. And you know it will end in the near future, but the only way to get through it is just to ride it out.

So be grateful, all ye in premium economy and above.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

black dog day

Well today has been the most debilitating depression day I've had in a long time.

I woke up and just couldn't make my brain start. I got out of bed long enough to say goodbye to mum as she went off to work and then just couldn't think what I was meant to do next. Didn't want to eat. Didn't want to shower. And not just the usual early morning inertia. It was total fog brain.

I thought I'd sleep the rest of the morning and go in to work later, but thankfully my boss said I should just do whatever I needed to get better (that is a good response, by the way) so I elected to take the whole day off. And then I couldn't sleep anyway.

So I did an hour of yoga, thinking that maybe stretching and gentle moving would shift the mood. It felt good, but I didn't get that 'yay' feeling at the end like I usually do. The whole hour I was bored and wishing it was over, but I got through it.

Then cried. Hard and for no reason. It kind of hurt.

After a hot shower I felt a lot better (showers have magical properties). I considered going to a movie, but I didn't want to see something I'd normally enjoy (Guardians of the galaxy in this case) in case I just couldn't enjoy it and it ruined it for me. I decided to go to Bunnings to look at bathroom stuff (we're going to fix up our bathroom soon), and visit a patisserie (Baked) that I'd wanted to go to for a long time.

It took me another two hours to actually leave the house. Mainly because I was lying in the sun on the couch, staring at nothing and couldn't get up.

The Bunnings trip wasn't that useful, as I wandered up and down aisles, not really looking at anything much. But at least I got out of the house. And got some yummy dessert at Baked.

I'm still scared by days like this, even though I'm better at managing them than I used to be (i.e., recognising I need to stop and rest instead of trying to keep on going). I think it's the result of a long period of sustained stress, and the addition of monthly hormones just pushed me over the edge. And probably all the sad news this week  (esp Robin Williams) and all the talk of depression and suicide just making it top of mind. Not that I'm suicidal. At all. Don't worry.

But not being able to shake the black dog when his jaw is clamped around you is pretty terrifying.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Life is too busy

I haven't turned my sewing machine on in a really long time. That makes me sad.

I hate replying, when people ask how I am or how work is, "busy". I try to think of other things to say, but the truth is, I'm busy. And I hate it.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

musings on media

There's so much sad, awful and depressing stuff happening in the world at the moment. I watch the news at 7pm and glance at the SMH but I often find I skim down to Daily Life or the entertainment stories and feel a twinge of guilt that I didn't want to read about the latest atrocity happening in the world. I often think about that line in Crowded House's Don't dream it's over - "in the paper today / tales of war and of waste / but you turn right over to the TV page". But I think really, sometimes, it's just a coping mechanism.

I know the world is messed up. I know the stuff we read/hear/see about it is only a fraction of what actually goes on. I know sometimes we need to be jolted out of our comfortable lives to feel compassion for people in situations vastly different to ours. But how much before it is so overwhelming that you can't even take it in anymore? Is it helpful for the news these days to show bodies shrouded in sheets, or wounded people staggering away from bomb sites, or blood stains on the concrete? They never used to show that much graphic detail and now it's par for the course.

Sometimes the volume of negative stuff makes you crave a bit of light heartedness. I don't mean that to lessen the concern I have for world events and suchlike, but, especially for someone prone to anxiety and depression, it's often not very helpful to dwell on it. It was a revelation when Georgina said to me once when world news was making me feel particularly upset, "you don't have to watch the news. Just don't watch it. If something important is happening, you will find out about it."

It spills over into social media too, as Jess said this morning. Nathan also wrote a thoughtful post about it (particularly in relation to what's happening to Christians in Iraq). The main reason I don't change my FB profile pic to support people/things that are happening is I'm not too comfortable with the clash between having something serious in my profile pic next to an inane post about my cat. Yes, it's part of who I am (ie, I care about people in the world and I like cats) but it just doesn't seem the right juxtaposition (that's just me, by the way; please don't hear it as a criticism of those who do change their pics to support causes).

I think it's still important to talk about important stuff, no matter what the avenue - so occasionally I do post things about current events on FB or twitter, or rant on my blog. But sometimes the volume of it all is overwhelming and I need to...turn right over to the TV page.

I started off this post intending to write about pleasant event scheduling. Hmm. I think I will make that a new post.

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Hanging out in Redlands

So today we went to Coochiemudlo, a nearby island, to wander and eat hot chips. Wikipedia says "The nameCoochiemudlo is an anglicised version of the Yuggera words kutchi (meaningred) and mudlo (meaning stone)." It felt a bit like being in Pearl Bay from Seachange. It was nice to sit by the gently lapping water, chatting while the boys built sandmen. 

Back to the Baddeley homestead for some Octonauts play (I was Peso) and archery and generally just lying around. 

That's a good Saturday. 

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Stories can be dangerous

Thursday night is usually a pretty good one for chilling out in our household. I'll either have a massage appointment (giving a massage), which means I will get to see a friend and make them feel better. Or it's a good night for TV and crochet on the couch.

We will usually watch Offspring from Wednesday night, which is much better than watching it on Wednesday night because you can skip the ads. Then we will watch Time of our lives on the ABC.

I really enjoy both shows. But they are pretty much about messed up relationships, so there is always the danger that they will make me feel a bit strange. 

Last night's episode of Offspring could be the last one ever, and it was a cracker. Lots of tying up loose ends, still a bit of mess, but reasonably happy endings... And babies. So many babies.

Then Time of our lives was its usual incisive and poignant best, but sad as well. Mainly about the problems that those babies have when they grow up I guess. 

Well I had two strong reactions. When Offspring finished, I was all teary, partly because the series was over and it was a satisfying ending. But also because I looked at all these women having babies on screen, and thought, "that's an experience I'll probably never have, and it's looking less and less likely as time goes on."  I thought I was used to that idea, but maybe not.

Then, with Time of our lives, I felt sad when that finished because it made me think, "who on earth would invest in relationships or having children? It's all such a mess. What is the point?"

Mum and I talked it over, and she said "you've got to remember they're just stories". But stories can be dangerous, as any fan of Stephen Sondheim knows. 

I guess I take comfort in the fact that my story is unfolding, it's not over yet. And that the author is wise and he knows the ending. Actually I know the ending. I'll be with the author, and that is much better than any ending I could devise. 

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Two days of Oxygen

Oxygen is a big conference run by KCC at Australian Technology Park, with the tagline "fuel your passion for Christian ministry". There is a fantastic lineup of speakers, workshop leaders and musicians. It's so encouraging to be in a room full of people involved in ministry of some sort. Exhausting, but encouraging.

The thing that really gets me feeling good is singing with thousands of people. Our church is a small one and no matter how passionately people sing (which isn't always very passionate), you're never going to get that quality of sound that thousands of voices raised in praise generate.

I may write my notes up more fully - actually I was only really taking notes in the music ministry electives with Bob Kauflin. I don't have the energy to do that right now but I know some people who read this blog aren't on Twitter so thought I'd repost my tweets here so you can see what I've been hearing the last two days.

The main talks will be available to stream for free on the KCC app - as well as plenty of other talks from other KCC conferences. The ones I've heard so far are great and I have no doubt the rest of the week will be just as edifying. I won't be there tomorrow, sadly, as I have too much work on and am just too exhausted. But I hope to go back on Thursday to hear the last talk.

Tired Tuesday still has things to be grateful for in it

Today I'm grateful for:
  • Hanging out with Ella and Stu 
  • Cuddles with little bub E
  • Hearing nourishing teaching from Bryan Chappell and Bob Kauflin at Oxygen
  • Singing praises to God with a couple of thousand people 
  • Knowing with all my heart, soul and mind that God loves me and I love him
  • Jane L seeing me at the conference and ordering a bag from me
  • The present from Adobe waiting on the doorstep when I came home sick, just as I was thinking how impossible making a living out of creativity seems at the moment

Friday, 1 August 2014

party fail

It's been a really full on week at work (as I keep saying), and today I was trying to do a billion things at once (with mixed success). Though I was fading fast, I was looking forward to seeing some lovely friends tonight at a birthday party that also had a craft component - perfect!

Except because I was in an exhausted daze, I left my phone at home. Which had the address on it. Although I knew the street address because I've been there many times, I couldn't remember the flat number. Mum didn't have V's phone number in her phone. We tried a couple of people we knew would be there but couldn't get through (unsurprisingly they couldn't hear their phones while at the party). Meanwhile, the sudden icy winds were buffeting us around and making us feel a bit miserable.

We actually got into the building with another resident, but couldn't make the lift buttons work - I guess that must be a security feature, so that's probably good to know if you actually live in the building, that randoms like us can't just wander around!

We eventually gave up and came home. We're sorry V! And now we're going to have pizza and just crash. But it feels a bit like this:

It also makes me a bit concerned that I can't remember peoples' addresses or phone numbers anymore. But I guess not many people do, hey? I think mum's is the only mobile number I know from memory.