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Everyday life inspirational Personal

Home tour: Our new home

January 12, 2017

Early this year, the One and I bought a new home. An 80 sqm pre-loved unit built in the 1970s meant that it was dated, but I instantly fell in love with the timber floors and airiness of the space.

Upon purchasing the house we knew parts of it would require renovation and TLC. Little did we know that it would take 5 months to get it to a state to move in, and even then it wasn’t complete! It was sure a balancing act juggling full-time work, volunteering activities, morning sickness from pregnancy and this DIY project. Through this experience I saw firsthand the commitment and hard work hubby dedicates to everything he does.

We also had help from friends – we could not have done it without them. Micah the Builder came over most nights to work on the house. Stav the Electrician helped us change all the lights and switches in his spare time. Hubby the One painted the whole house on his own, with some assistance from Ashford, Will and me.

Photos of our home

The biggest transformation took place in the bathroom, where we demolished a wall and redesigned the entire layout. It is now my favourite part of the house, because we handpicked every single thing in that room, from the tiles to the grout and bathroom fittings. It also boasts underfloor heating which is a luxury in the cold Melbourne winter months.

I love our dining table

Lovedreamdo - Living room ideas

All our prints are either hand-drawn or from Etsy, this particular one is the Auckland city skyline which reminds us of home

 

Shoe cupboard designed by hubby, a great way to keep shoes neat and tidy in a small area!

Charcoal floor and carrara marble wall tiles with silver grout

Everyday life inspirational

How to stop… and find beauty in your world

August 1, 2016

Being up in the sky amidst the cotton candy clouds and has become routine to me. I have been doing the same thing for the past ten weeks, on repeat. But it wasn’t until last week that I stopped.. and was amazed at what I saw.

A snapshot of the travel life

On Monday morning my alarm goes off at 4:30am. It take a couple of snoozes to get me up but when I do, I pack the rest of my essentials. My toothbrush, my prescription glasses and contact lenses, phone charger and all kinds of moisturisers. I hop into my mode of transport and in a daze half in and out of sleep I arrive at the airport. Nowadays I have some sort of special status with airlines that I get to skip the queues so zipping in and checking in doesn’t take long. I have my breakfast in the lounge, it is always OJ mixed with water paired with a toasted sammie, scrambled eggs on toast or cereal depending on what I feel like. By the time I have boarded the plane my tummy is satisfied, it doesn’t take much for me to fall asleep again.

The week passes fast when you are busy trying to achieve goals and make things happen at the client’s site.

Then Friday arrives and at 3:30pm. I rush from my last meeting to the airport, have a bowl of soup with a bread roll and butter (yum) and we’re once again off in the air. At this time of the day I am either: trying to relax on the plane by listening to music, thinking about all the things I have to do when I get off the plane, or playing a game on my iPhone to unwind.  For the last ten weeks I had been so caught up in myself that I did not get the chance to stop, change my perspective and appreciate. Appreciate the view. Appreciate that the act of flying is magical and a miracle. How could I have missed this consecutively for the last ten weeks?

 

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Will you do this? Will you stop, pause and look around you? You will find beauty in the most unexpected places. Beauty that had always been there if only you had taken the time to stop… and look for it.

Everyday life inspirational

When you feel like decision making is weighing you down

June 15, 2016

Not every decision is a primary one. There are tough decisions, if you are like me I start writing a list of pros and cons. Then there are the easy and simple ones, the ones that do not cost you a thing.

Each decision has an outcome attached to it. Some are inconsequential, some are material.

On decision making

Most of the time decision making is like walking into a haze where you can’t see past your five fingers. Where will your next step take you? Will you walk into an open space or hit a brick wall?

The past me would be so paralysed with fear that I would just stop walking and stay stuck in my spot. Because I feel safer staying in the familiar than stepping out into the unknown.

The new me has learned that sometimes you just need to first trust, then keep walking. Because there are only two things that could happen.

You could be turning into a dead end street with no where else to go. So pick yourself up and turn back, with the knowledge that you have tried and learned and are closer to making the right turn next.

Or you could be making your way onto a flourishing path where flowers bloomed larger than you have ever seen and the air is fresher than mountain breeze.

Two rules to decision making

There are only two rules: You don’t stop making decisions and you don’t take short cuts.

A little short cut here and a compromise there accumulates and one day you find yourself in a place that you never wanted to be in the first place. I had my eyes on the end goal, and I didn’t care how I got there, you say. Honesty and integrity is the guarantee to staying the distance.

Don’t freeze when making decisions. Putting off on making a decision or not making one is worse off than making a mistake. At least you can learn from your failures rather than be stuck in the same spot.

After making a decision

Its passed the point of no return, like the song from the closing scene of the Phantom of the Opera. From here on is no longer about making the right decision but to run with the best decision to make next, in that situation.

Keep making the most out of it.

Everyday life inspirational

4 keys to confidence

June 8, 2016

The opposite of confidence comes in the form of nervousness building inside bubbling over like a stew simmering on the stove.

Heartbeat palpitating against your chest leaving you hiccuping for air.

That mind blank that is like a blanket that snuffs out the light leaving only darkness.

Something out there will try to rob you of your confidence

It could manifest in a joke that throws daggers at your insecurities like a bow hitting its target. Or when she walks pass you and says nothing to acknowledge your existence. Will you let the accidental unintentional rob your confidence?

You only lose confidence when you choose to throw it all away

The maybes, the perhaps, the I thinks, the I don’t knows. What you utter from your mouth reflects the very depths of your soul. Throw away those words that say you are unsure of yourself. But don’t throw away your confidence.

She stands in the crowd with quiet confidence, rising above the others. Some grow tired of doing good and toss at her a stone. It hits her arm and she shoos it away with her other hand, as if it was just a wheezing fly. Another group stand in the distance, snickering and gossiping at her, but she takes no notice, standing firm and secure in her source of confidence. She shines above the rest. It is the consistency of doing good and well and the flicking off of an negativity and cynicism that elevates her. She is beautiful beyond comparison because in her she does not let the darkness dwell.

Endurance cultivates confidence

He walks out on the podium with an immediate stage presence that demands your respect. He opens his mouth and speaks with authority, each word uttered with clarity. Not once does he have to refer to his notes, you sometimes wonder if he even had to prepare the night before. This is an authority that is cultivated through experience and endurance, through repetitive delivery of the same topic, each time refined, each time etched more deeply into his memory.

Giving up too early just makes you an amateur, a junior that is flaky and unreliable. But by honing your skill and your craft, you become a professional, a trusted somebody that people refer to and respect.

Remember what it was really all about

Remember the pure joy that burst and surged when you were first asked to do it? Remember the feeling of miraculous awe the first day you started? Remember why you chose the path that you are now on, the one that you now complain about? In moments of desperation, find time to revisit those moments. It was my dream, but now I complain? I asked to do this, but now I want to quit? Where is the reasonableness in this? But when we focus on the why and not the what, we often end up succeeding and triumphant.

Hebrews 10:35-36

Everyday life Work

What type of worker are you?

April 28, 2016

There are two kinds of employees.

The first kind comes in to work for a pay check that will steadily sustain them until they retire. Their core interests are to protect their role in the company, even if its to the detriment of the business. They clock in and out at the same time each day. On repeat. Every single day.

Then there is the other kind of worker. The kind who is passionate about what they do. They start work before everyone else does, puts in extra effort to help their clients and customers; and stay late if that means that the world is a better place for it. To put it in short, they do beyond what it takes to advance the company’s interests and they are fully committed to the cause.

Large corporates are usually full of the first kind of employee. It is easy to hide behind the masses. Job security is high. It is more about valuing the employee than it is about performance.

 

What kind of staff worker will you be? Are you only willing to do the bare minimum to keep a job, or will you be the one that goes the extra mile to advance the cause?

Everyday life Work

Word consumption: What words are you digesting?

April 21, 2016

Today I had an excruciating tummy ache that lasted from the moment I woke up till just before I went to bed. It hurt.

Words are like the food you choose to eat or not to eat. In my case, due to my hectic schedule of running around like a headless chook, I didn’t feed myself and got gastric.

My pain was caused by my lack of food consumption. It wasn’t that I was on a diet, I had donuts and chicken mcbites and watermelon, but the problem was that I didn’t have anything substantial. I wasn’t consuming the right food. Once i made myself eat well and frequently, the pain ebbed away gradually.

What negative and unhelpful words are you consuming? What encouraging and positive words are you not letting dwell on your soul? Why do you choose to swallow the negative, but don’t believe the positive?

You are great at what you do.

You do it so you can help others.

If others don’t think you can do it, you just haven’t had the chance to prove them wrong yet.

Be prepared, be on the attack. So when the opportunity comes, you are able to deliver and wow them.

You can do this.

Dreams come true Everyday life Work

Why a quarter life crisis could be the best thing that happens to you

June 10, 2015

This time last week, I turned 25.

People around me have mixed views on turning 25. To some approaching 25, it is terrifying and scary. To others who have passed the mark of 25, it was the best year in their lives. Some say 25 is the time to dream big dreams, 30 is the time to start working towards your dream. Others say I had imagined myself achieving a lot more by that age.

I did not have to go through quarter life crisis (If you want to know what a quarter life crisis is, read this – 25 signs you are having a quarter life crisis) because I went through one at the 23 – 24 age mark. This is how I knew I had a quarter life crisis:

  • I imagined myself doing the work that I was doing at the time for the rest of my life and wanted to bang my head on the wall
  • I started asking myself – “I’ve got a job, I’ve got a career, but what is my calling?”
  • I was so eager to make a difference in the world but my current place did not seem to be taking me anywhere
  • I seriously considered a 180 degree career change
  • What I considered my dream job back in university ended up getting complete revamp after receiving a reality check
  • I resented certain choices I made that had been dictated by family and society expectations
  • My best friend posted an article on my Facebook page after a rather honest conversation titled “Quarter Life Crisis: 25 disappointments that you deal with when you turn 25
  • I realised that change had to happen because the pain of staying the same was greater than the pain of change

Change happened. I moved countries. I quit my job following a huge emotional upheaval because the notion of quitting your job and ditching security is a very foreign concept in my culture.

Change was the best thing that happened to me.

Now I look forward to work. I love the people I work with. I love the type of work I do. I love that my work allows me to make a difference in the business world. I love that everyday I am helping businesses get better at what they do, give customers a better experience and employees better work satisfaction.

Change is possible. Change takes time and courage. Change always happens in a trickle; drip, drip, drip.

A quarter life crisis (or a mid-life crisis) could happen to you at 23 or 25 or 38 or 50. If and when it happens, embrace it. Be comforted in knowing that this crisis will not last long, and having survived it will make you a much bolder, stronger, better person.

Everyday life

5 things Social Media taught me about giving

October 21, 2014
Photo from engagement shoot.

Photo by danellebohane.com from my engagement shoot.

“I’ll be frank, I want more likes.”

“Man I can’t believe that I got 200 likes!”

If you have heard or made a statement like this, you can be sure that you are not alone. These were actual statements made by two of my friends who are between the ages of 18 and 25. The desire to be liked resonates with so many, social media users and non-users alike. I mean, as shallow as it may sound, who doesn’t want to be admired and liked by others?

For the last few years I have been on a journey of discovery on social media. There were times when I wanted to quit and times where it gave me much joy. Surprisingly one of my biggest lessons from social media is in the area of giving. Here are 5 things that social media, in particular Instagram and Facebook, has taught me about giving.

  1. Give, without expecting anything in return.

Have you heard of the like for a like phenomenon? On Instagram, this is where you trade likes. You will like his photo if he likes yours in return. The problem with this mentality is that you are dependent on another’s action. You are surrendering the control of your emotions to someone else.

It is so easy to fall into this trap of giving and taking. You want to give, but only if you can get something from the other person. This is such a tiring way to live. Let me tell you a secret to happiness: be generous and don’t expect anything of others.

  1. Be intentional about giving.

Social media enables us to so easily consume photos without even thinking of giving back. When I am looking to fill time, I find myself scrolling through photos in an instant and soon I am at the end of my news feed. Now I choose to be intentional about giving back to those that have spent the time creating.

  1. Give praise where praise is due.

When a photo or content has been crafted well, I show my appreciation. I want to be an encourager to those that deserve it. Be someone who acknowledges the effort gone into a well-thought-out post.

  1. A simple act of giving can make someone’s day.

I know that when a friend likes my photo, I feel the love from her. Choosing a simple gesture of double-tapping an instagram photo can instantly brighten up someone’s day. Why don’t we all do it more often?

  1. It is better to give than to receive.

This must be true because both psychologists and the bible say so. Giving lifts the focus off self and channels it to others. It enlarges our world. I cannot be more certain of this. Give it a go. You might surprise yourself at how good you feel in the end.

While I chose social media as a focus, these principles of giving are all-encompassing and apply to other areas of life.

Everyday life Work

How to push through when you feel like quitting

October 15, 2014

write

I have found that no matter what you choose to do, the desire to quit or give up will at some point appear in your mind. This has happened too many times to me. Take my blogging for example, often I struggle to take time out to sit down and write. Sometimes I just want to take a break from my weekly posting. When it comes to waking up at 6am for volunteering, I often ask myself just as the alarm goes off for the third time that morning “Why in the world am I doing this?”.

These three things have helped me when all I have wanted to do is quit.

  1. I remind myself that the feeling of showing up is ten folds better than quitting.

The feeling of euphoria and satisfaction from publishing my blog post is one of my motivations for writing. I have once heard that creating is the key to making your soul live. Creating reminds you of your creator and lifts the focus off self. While I have found it hard to start creating, once I started, the dread immediately dissipates.

  1. I focus on the why rather than the what.

Why did I start writing? I enjoy writing. I believe that in this digital age, writing in the form of short articles or lists is the way to break down wisdom from books into bite size chunks. Sometimes we simply don’t have time for a 500 page book, but we can spare 15 minutes a day for a blog post that is relatable and encouraging. It can be likened to the idea of consuming small snacks throughout the day to boost your metabolism rather than having one big buffet for dinner. So when I focus on my belief that if one person reads my blog post and is impacted, then that is worth my time spent on writing it.

  1. I focus on delivering promises.

On my about page, I promised that I would update my blog once a week. I want to be a promise keeper. I want to be someone who can be trusted to come true on her words. I don’t like disappointing others. Even though I may not have a large group of readers, if I can’t be trusted with a small following, I know I will fail when my platform grows.