Tuesday, 12 November 2013
Your mind is raging war with itself. Dozens of doubts and fears pop into your mind, swirling around until you feel drowned by your fear. 'What will the others think of you?' a thought will ask. 'What if no one else gets up?' they say to you. You sit there in a confused state of mind, wanting desperately to stand, yet being drowned by the great fear of what others will think, as you enviously watch those around you rising to their feet.
You wish you could be like them. You wish you had the confidence.
Does anyone else ever feel like this, or is it just me? I faced this very same situation this morning at a conference put on for the older girls in my school. The speaker, Carly, had been telling us all that confidence is a choice, a decision you have to make. She'd asked those who felt that they often lacked confidence or were too shy to stand to their feet and be prayed for. In my heart I cried out, 'Yes! That's me!' but my head gave me a dozen reasons to keep myself seated. I sat and fretted for a minute until the last call was made, and with my heart in my throat I slowly rose to my feet.
Although I still felt like I was recovering from a minor heart attack, I began to feel a sense of freedom wash over me, as I realised what Carly had been saying was true - confidence is a choice. In that moment I had made the choice, and it had worked - I'd gotten over my fear of what others would think of me, and chose to be confident.
Later in the afternoon, I went down the road with a team of girls to go and visit some elderly ladies in a nursing home. I was feeling pretty comfortable as I sat at a table with a lady called Gwenda and one of my teachers, because the teacher did all the talking, and all I had to do was smile politely and 'ooh' and 'aaah' over countless pictures of Gwenda's old lounge room or her great-great-grandkids. I was safe inside my comfort zone - that is, until I noticed an old lady on the other side of the room who was all alone, and I felt bad that no one was talking to her.
Definitely lacking confidence, I got out of my seat and made my way over to her. In my head another battle began. My fears told me things like, 'She probably doesn't want your company,' and 'You'll just make things awkward.' Then suddenly I remembered Carly's words. I stood up straighter, pulled my shoulders back, put on a bright and cheery smile, and skipped over, saying, "Hello! I'm Maddy, what's your name?"
You see? I decided to be confident. I stepped out of my comfort zone. I was terrified, but it worked.
For the next hour I chatted away to Rita, a lady who'd only been at the nursing home 3 weeks and didn't have any friends yet. Before going into the nursing home I had asked God to use me to bless someone, and I believe he did.
Later on, back at school, we had a debriefing talk. The teacher asked if anyone wanted to share something of their experience, and everything went silent. Heart beating fast, mouth going dry, I tentatively volunteered.
I then spoke quite freely, (though I don't really remember what I sad, my nervousness seems to have fizzled my memory of that part), sharing with the hundreds of girls sitting there about how I've always lacked confidence, and how Carly's words on choosing to be confident had really spoken to me. When I was finished, everyone sat there clapping for me with big smiles of encouragement.
In that moment, I felt free. I had done it. Stepped WAY out of my comfort zone, and conquered my fear.
So you see, it really is as easy as that. Just CHOOSE to be confident!
Have a great week everyone :)
Wednesday, 7 August 2013
Early this morning my family and I set out from our home to the train station, embarking on our 8 week long Europe trip. I've just gotten off a 7 hour flight to Singapore from Sydney, and after a couple of hours shopping here, we'll be taking off again to Frankfurt, Germany. I've been having a lot of fun, walking backwards on those travelator things, as you do, when you're racing your sisters...
I'm in 'The Zone' right now. You know, the one where your ears are still blocked, and your mind is consumed with the pat-pat of your footsteps, the beat of your heart, and your breathing sounds 10 times louder than usual! It's weird, because my family never experiences 'The Zone' - it seems to be just me.
I don't mind it though, really - it gives me a chance to take a step back from life and look at things from a different perspective... Everything seems so much clearer, like you can literally hear your own thoughts!
So, I guess I'm just letting you all know that I may not be posting for a while - but keep an eye out, though, because when I do, my posts will be filled with pictures of me sun baking in Greece, having my hair braided in Thailand, and touring ruins in Rome.
Well, there's only 7 minutes left on this computer! I'd better go now - 'duty-free' shopping is calling me!
I hope you all have a lovely time, wherever you are, whatever you're doing. Stay safe everyone, as I'll try to!
Enjoying being in 'The Zone,'
5 minutes to go....
4 minutes left...
Okay, I'd seriously better go before this thing logs me out. Bye guys! :D
Saturday, 3 August 2013
Nervously I arrived at the sports stadium, anticipating the 800m, the first event of the day. Even as I write this now I have butterflies in my stomach, just remembering my nervous anticipation from this morning! I went for a jog, stretched, and then waited in the marshalling area anxiously. All too soon it was time for my age group to make our way onto the track. I was put in lane 4, and adrenaline pumped through my veins as I crouched in the starting position, ready to go.
The gun fired, and with a burst of energy I bolted from my starting position. Driving my arms and legs hard, I set about to overtake the other girls. By the time the first corner came around I was winning. I heard the commentator make some remark about what a great pace I had set, and I grinned. I ran fast, and kept my eyes focused on the track ahead thinking, 'Hey, this is great - I might actually win!' I turned the corner and ran along the last 100m stretch of the first lap. My dad was there, encouraging me and taking pictures, my grandparents clapped and waved, and the other competitors from my school were watching and cheering me on.
The problem was, I hadn't done enough training. I'd been sick, I didn't rest enough, and I forgot about dad's advice to 'pace myself.' I gave the race everything, but in the end it that wasn't enough - I wasn't fit enough, I needed more training, and I just wasn't prepared.
Having said all this, my experience last Monday reminded me of another race - a more important one - that we're called to run in. In Philippians 3:13-14, Paul encourages to run the race towards the prize of Christ Jesus:
'Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.'
The thing is, this race is a lot like the one I ran in last week. This race requires training as well - perhaps even more so. You see, if we run the race on our own merits, we'll fall and stumble. We need to run the race relying on God, putting our trust and hope in him. To be the best, an athlete needs to train, get fit, and constantly improve.
Like an athlete, we should be diligent in 'training' ourselves, and seeking advice and techniques to help us run a better race. One way we can 'train' ourselves is by reading God's word - his teachings, advice, and techniques. Reading the bible prepares us for the challenges that face us along the track ahead. When the doubts, fears, and worries rear their ugly heads and tell us to quit the race, the bible will show us exactly what to say to them!
The bible offers us so much wisdom - but it often seems that so many other things in my life get in the way of my time with God, reading his word. I've put other things first in my life, and as a result, I haven't been 'running' too well lately.
This week I'm challenging myself to wake up just a little earlier and spend time with God in his word every morning. Its something I need to do a whole lot more often - besides, I don't want to blow out during the race like I did last Monday!
What about you?
How's your 'running' going?
Sunday, 30 June 2013
Hair and Makeup
|Okay, yes. I admit it. I MAY have been caught in the act of exuberantly singing on the stairs. Which was a common occurrence in my over-the-top excited state each morning...|
|My friend and I found great fascination in just about everything, especially taking photos in the light up mirrors in our dressing rooms!|
|Ready to go on stage with ALMOST perfect wimples in place. What a rare sight!|
|There's me, on the far left of the 'balcony,' trying to keep a straight face!|
|And finally, after all the backstage mayhem, we put on a spectacular show - here are all the nuns at Maria and Captain Von Trapp's wedding. I'm in the top right of the photo, contentedly singing from my balcony!|
Tuesday, 25 June 2013
Monday, 10 June 2013
I tutor a gorgeous girl named Lucy. We meet everyday instead of morning break to work on maths together. I must say, it really is SO much fun! We get to play maths games, have a laugh, and I find it so rewarding to see her improvements week after week.
At the beginning of the year the Senior School students in the programme were
told how rewarding it would be to tutor these kids. The teacher told us about all these studies that suggest that it's really the tutor who gets the most out of tutoring, not the kid.
To be honest, I was pretty sceptical about this. I really only wanted to do the programme because I thought it would look great on a resume for work and on my school records.
At our first tutoring session Lucy and I were both quite shy. I found it slightly awkward helping a girl I'd never met before with her maths, and I was really nervous about how she'd respond to my teaching. Over the weeks Lucy and I have grown very comfortable with each other. She comes waltzing in the door at the same time, every day, and we spend half an hour laughing, playing games, and practising times tables.
It hasn't all been easy, though. There are some days when I sit at the tutoring table with my head in my hands, thinking to myself, 'please don't show up!' On those days I'm so emotionally drained and physically tired that tutoring Lucy is the LAST thing I feel like doing - It seems to take a lot of energy to keep up with her, and to try and smile just as brightly and sound enthusiastic and encouraging all the time. Ironically, however, Lucy is the ONLY tutee to have had 100% attendance to all of our sessions, all year - something that I can't even boast of!
Tutoring Lucy has taught me many things. I've learnt to be better at encouraging and giving words of affirmation, and my patience has definitely been improving. Lucy has brought me so much joy in these past few weeks. It's such a blessing to see her bright little face light up when she gets the right answer, and to hear her laughter as she beats me at bingo for the gazillionth time! I love hearing about her weekends, getting high-fives from her, and the way that she runs up to me in the playground so enthusiastically.
Who would have thought that tutoring one small girl would leave me grinning for the rest of the day, so thankful for the opportunity to have an input into her spirited young life? I wouldn't have. And that's because of my attitude at the beginning of the programme - I was only in it for 'brownie points' with teachers, and an impressive resume. I didn't expect to get anything out of it - but I did.
This month I've been trying to have a positive attitude when it comes to trying out new things. I'm not naturally good at it, so it's something I have to work really hard for. The point is, it all depends on how I see things. If I go into something thinking, 'This is going to be terrible!', then I won't get the most out of it. But, even if I'm unsure about a new situation, I can choose to have a positive attitude, and that way I'll be happy, whatever the outcome.
Next time I'm faced with something new or different, I'm going to remember to be positive - are you?
I guess that's it for now - hope you're all doing well! :)
Sunday, 9 June 2013
Is it the way she does her make up, how she styles her hair, or the clothes that she wears? Personally, I believe that beauty comes from more than just the outward appearance. To me, beauty comes from the heart.
For graceful arms, '...reach out with compassion to those in need.' Romans 9:15
For sparkly eyes, '...always look at the good side of other people.' Philippians 2:4
For tender lips, '...speak only kind words toward others.' Colossians 4:6
For a charming face, '...always smile with a happy heart.' Proverbs 15:13
God already made you beautiful. You are his creation, and you are more precious than rubies.
Next time you're curling or straightening your hair, putting on make up, or deciding what to wear, remember that God looks at your heart. What will he see there? Will it be beautiful?
Monday, 3 June 2013
'What's better then baking cupcakes on a rainy afternoon?' I asked myself. 'Nothing!' was the obvious answer. So, I decided to make cupcakes. And not just any kind - a seriously fantabulously scrumdidliumptious kind - the chocolate-banana kind! *licks lips and gazes at the leftovers in longing*
Warning: These cupcakes are highly addictive and may cause excessive indulging.
25 mins to cook (depending on the efficiency of your oven - mine didn't take as long)
150g butter, soft
3/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1tsp vanilla essence
2 ripe bananas, peeled and mashed
200g good-quality dark chocolate, coarsely chopped (although I would recommend milk chocolate)
2 cups self-raising flour
1/4 cup milk
6. While the cupcakes are cooking, melt 100g of white chocolate over a pot of hot water.
P.S. For the original cupcake recipe, click here :)
Saturday, 1 June 2013
I hope this story helped to give you an idea of the kind of battles that former child soldiers go through - remembering their horrific pasts, and not being able to escape their memories.
If you're interested in finding out more about child soldiers or what YOU can do to help, visit this website.
P.S. The font sizes are doing something weird, so I'm sorry about that - I've tried fixing them, but it's not working. So yeah. Bye!
Wednesday, 24 April 2013
Monday, 11 March 2013
You are one of a kind! Just like this little guy...