Eyes Wide Open

Who am I? Really.

I have been fascinated over the last two years to discover how many people don’t really know who they are – how when asked the question – who are you? Struggle to answer it with clarity.

Many of us go through the motions of our days – same as the last – being a human – but not really asking ourselves the tough questions – avoiding the mirror – in case we accidentally took a look – and realised we might not like what we see – or worse still – find the face in front of us unrecognisable.

That’s the thing – in a world that doesn’t stop – with a ruler such as time – we forget about the fact that we are a singular piece of a huge puzzle – a single character in a story playing out on stage. We become the consumer – a member of the audience – forgetting that we started off the writer.

Who are you? What makes you – you? Why do you matter? What makes you happy? What makes you sad? Why do you do what you do?

Many nights over the past few years I have been in bed – eyes wide open – as I think about the person I am becoming – the things that have made me, me. Asking questions and putting the puzzle together, being more aware of the things around me and how I fit into it.

I realised how much my childhood effected my life – how much of that story I would keep playing out over and over in my mind. Realising that the more you think about it – the easier it is to forget the original script. This mind of ours – it’s big and complex and adaptable. If you continue to tell yourself something – true or not – the more you begin to believe it. The more you change the narrative. The coolest part of this though is that we have the control to rewrite it – better than it was before. With self awareness – you can accept and know for sure – who you are – and make positive decisions on how to deal with the ending – of the scene, chapter or life.

Burying your head in the sand, never turning the page – never opening your eyes to truly see – is denying yourself a beautiful life. An honest and authentic one. One that you hold the pen.

Live your life with your eyes wide open. And you’ll fall in love with what you see.

Lucy, the 1964 Millard Caravan comes to life.

DECEMBER 2018

After having an idea in my mind for a number of years, I found a vintage caravan with potential on Facebook Marketplace. I head over to have a look and decide to dive in and buy her. A 1964 Millard Caravan – an unfinished project of someone else. Exactly what my husband thought she would remain for me 😀 Purchase price = $2880

I had to tow her home with a tow truck because I refused to drive her unregistered although it was proven she was okay to be towed.

I knew she had a rusted chassis, but it was still strong and roadworthy just needed to be cleaned up and repainted. Above are the photos showing the state we got her in.

Many people thought I was crazy and that she would take months to come to life, but I am relatively determined and had a vision and got stuck straight in.

THE DEMOLITION

Everyone got stuck into the demo – my family, my nephew and friends. It was at this point that I realised the previous owner had tried to hide some leaks and damage. We had to replace some of the floor, the entire ceiling and the rear wall and part of one of the side walls. It wasnt pleasant finding them but I knew identifying leaks and ensuring that the van had no internal damage mattered more now and would save money in the long running correcting immediately.

Id decided to remove the wardrobe and after some deliberation removed the kitchen also as I believed Id get a more modern look and also a better finish with installing new kitchen cabinetry.

Demolition is something you can definitely do yourself if you are not handy. Be weary of electrical wiring and that you dont damage any of these lines.

THE REBUILD

I used Airtasker for alot of this work – alot of the messy time consuming work because I believed it was worth the money. Handyman/ Labourers are on the app and many of them are amazing.

We had one de-rust the chassis which took three days. My husband then treated it and then repainted it black. I recommend it may be better to take this somewhere, get it raised and sandblasted. Would have been quicker.

We had a carpenter redo the part of the floor we needed fixed aswell as the resheeting for the roof and walls.

It was at this point I was lucky enough to find a handyman who had a number of weeks available to commit to the project full time and this accelerated her into life a whole lot further. He was super handy, loved cars and automotive and was also a welder.

This meant that not only was the internal able to be completed, the same person could do majority of the rest of the work and link in with electricians and automechanics when needed.

We had window seals to replace, a whole lot of painting to get done (three coats), new floor to get down, new electrical wiring. We kept the original seating in check and just replaced the hinged parts with stronger wood.

THE LAYERS

Once we had the new kitchen in, the bed base built I was able to start concentrating on the layers. Now the week after I purchased her I had already gotten the foam cut and dropped off to a local upholsterer as I knew this would take time. I recommend getting your upholstery done by a professional – it looks amazing and will last a lot longer.

So this meant that I had quickly chosen the pattern and coloured upholstery. This then became the base for everything.

I was soo worried about painting the interior grey but I was convinced it would be worth it. So I did and I was in love. I had never done a full project like this in a small space but just felt like everything would come together.

We had the curtains made by someone local with fabric I had chosen from Spotlight.

The interiors were purchased from places like Spotlight, Target, KMart, Temple and Webster, Etsy, Oxfam, and Op Shops.

THE EXTERIOR

Lucy was going to be the Little Van of Big Ideas. She would be seen around Queensland and people would meet with mentors and ideas would come to life. She needed to be inspirational and fun and eyecatching.

I love black and white so we went with that in the design. I also love quotes and so I found an amazing sticker artist locally and we brought the concept in my head to life.

She turns heads wherever she goes and so many photos are taken of her and her words of wisdom.

OVERALL:

The project took seven weeks to complete and I am absolutely in love with her.

This project would absolutely be cheaper if you are handy and did a lot of the work yourself. Here is a rough tally of the costs I can remember:

Van $2880
Upholstery $770
Carpenter $1800
Chassis Repair $800
Handyman $4500
Kitchen $1200
Foam Mattress and Seats $500
New brakes and tyres $2000
Paint $400
Stickers $400
Electrical Work $250
Auto Electrican $900
Interiors – cushions, linen etc $2000

= $17,600

My people are all people.

Yesterday some asshole, a terrorist, decided to kill other humans, because he thought he had to protect ‘his people’. WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK? His people. I am not your fucking people. You are not human. You are a monster.

What you have done, ASSHOLE, and with the power of the internet, you have exposed the amount of racism that still exists in our society. You have exposed other racist bigots and they have nowhere to hide.

What you have showcased to the world is how much HATE and RACISM still exists in our own neigbourhoods. You have highlighted the fact that many amazing humans still have to wake up and survive the day surrounded by people looking down at them, thinking less of them, and sometimes verbally or physically abused, just because of what they look like.

Many of my friends are effected by the mass murder that occurred in New Zealand. And for many of my friends, this is nothing new. There are mass murders around the world, ALL THE TIME. But because it wasn’t ‘us’, we turn our backs to it. It’s hard to relate if you see yourself as different. If you turn your back on the mass killings in Israel because you don’t look like them. Because they don’t speak your language. Because you cannot see what you have in common with them. You cannot see or believe that they are just like you. When horrific scenes happen like they did in Christchurch, it hits home. It hurts your heart. IMAGINE LIVING WITH THAT FEELING EVERY.SINGLE.DAY.

I am unbelievably uneducated when it comes to Immigration Policy. I do not have any understanding of the complexities behind who should be let into a country and who shouldn’t be allowed. What I do choose to see is the human face. The heart. Yes this may make me naive, maybe our country as we know it is going to change and for many reasons all I can say is THANK FUCK.

Thank fuck we have children running out of school to protest against climate change and the environment WE HAVE ALL FUCKED. Thank fuck we have RELIGION in the spotlight and that people who used to hold all the power are being questioned. Thank fuck more and more women are entering into positions of power. Yes. I am angry. Soo very angry at what the world looks like right now in the headlines but I know how much goodness there is out there around the globe.

The Prime Minister of New Zealand is the type of leader our world needs. Her words, her composure, her ability to relate, her skill to truly lead has never been more evident than yesterday.

We have a Senator here in our own country who has put out a statement of hatred and I CANNOT BELIEVE he was elected by other living, breathing Australians. Our political representation MUST change. Hatred has no place ANYWHERE in the world.

We need leadership, true leadership, more than we have EVER needed it. Our two options at the moment are not what we need. We deserve something greater, someone who can truly lead and unite our country, and work with other leaders (without ego) to unite our world. To continue working towards calm. I hope that we get this soon. In my lifetime so that my children can grow up in a fair world where the fact that they are white and male means absolutely nothing. I want them to grow up in a world that being kind, hard working, open minded, and accepting of everyone are skills that are valued in every human. I want them to have trees around them, breathe fresh air, know how to grow their own food and to give more than they take. I want them to be intelligent, emotionally, because this matters more than ANY academic result they could ever achieve. This is what our future needs. This is what our leaders need.

I want a world where you are not defined by how you look. The brands you wear. The size of your house. The amount you earn. I want a world where you are defined by your kindness, by your ability to give more than you take. I want a world where everyone could do a job that they loved. To go to school and become WHO THEY ARE MEANT TO BE, not like everyone else.

I can do more. I really, truly can. I could use less plastic. I could ensure I eat all of the food we buy each week. I could wear my clothes longer and I could reduce my impact on this earth. AND I am at least trying to be better.

I created and chose to focus on early childhood and to make an impact in raising true global citizens. Children who understood the environment, who learn to know what they love and to have the confidence to follow those dreams. To create a place where everyone was equal. Where smiles were evident, and sadness was comforted. Where each and every human that had anything to do with anything we did, could feel at home. Could feel accepted. Could feel loved. Could be themselves.

I am lucky. I have freedom here in this country. And I have an amazing life. But I could do better. Be better. So this is what I must try to do.

Because of you, I AM.

 

 

 

Moments x

There are moments in time you’ll never forget. Moments when your breathe is taken away, for good and for bad news but you have to choose how to move forward.
I believe that things are in front of us because of choices we make. We must remember these moments, make the choices and enjoy the journey we are on to become ourselves x

Looking back on life x

Do you know what I think about when I look back on my life?

I think about all the people I was lucky to have next to me in school photos. I think back of how many times we moved and how many schools I went to and how I thank Facebook for those reconnections. I realised that because we were always moving, I never really got to completely connect with anyone – just surface level stuff. I don’t remember all the detail but I remember snippets of life with most of these people and its cool to think about how many times we have come in and out of each other’s lives over the years.

It’s cool to have some of my primary school friends sending their own children to a centre I own. It’s cool to be moving back into the area after 16 years out of it.

I think about how much sport has kept my life together. How it has grounded me at every possible moment. It’s also what connected me to my husband and now I get to see my children fall in love with it all.

I think about the fucked stuff that’s happened and how those few moments dominated soo many lives for soo many years but how now as an adult it brings me closer to my family, my sisters and my mum. It shows me how strong our little unit is and how strong we had to be.

I realise that I’m pretty good at making the best out of any situation and that what I think I’m good at, I am and that since I was little I’ve always dreamed big. Soo many poems and letters and diaries with shit I still think of today. I really was lucky to go on that journey young, to discover what made me me and what I love about life.

I’ve had a pretty good life and as I get older I am more and more grateful for every single person I have met, and that each moment I really have tried to live it completely.

I know what I’ve always wanted, I know what type of life I dreamed of and I’m pretty much living it every day of my life x

The importance of the village…

I am a mother of two boys – a five year old and 16 week old. I am an entrepreneur with a growing business and because of my village, I am able to achieve great things as a mother and an entrepreneur.
Because of my village – I have the chance to sleep occasionally – unbroken by my babies – so I can think straight and make great decisions.
Because of my village – I can go to meetings and run workshops that help us change the world for all children – not just my own.
Because of my village – my heart and soul are full and I can create and be inspired and love with all of my heart.
Because of my village – I am a better mother, a better wife and better friend.
Because of my village – I am me.
In a world of ridiculousness and horribleness – we have never needed a village more than we do now. The people we surround ourselves with and spend our time with have never mattered more. We must ask for help when we need it, we must listen when we are asked, we must lean on each other and lift each other up so that we can all change the world.
We need more villages and stronger communities. We need more humanity and compassion and hope and love.
My village makes me who I am today and I am truly grateful to the amazing people in it.
I am the lucky wife to an amazing man who cooks and cleans and reads books to his children and who loves me unconditionally and makes me question things and challenges me to see things differently.
I am the lucky mother to two children I was able to grow and raise myself. This I am forever grateful and know how privileged I am to have this gift.
I am grateful that I have a relationship with my mother that grows better and better as we get older.
I am lucky to have three amazing sisters who in their own right, give soo much to me in different ways.
I am lucky to have a step family who bring joy and love into our world.
I am privileged to be accepted into another family and to have a mother in law who is so wonderful and supportive and a father in law who helps me want to become a better person.
I have amazing neighbours where our children climb the fence to play together – like I did in my childhood.
I have incredible staff whose faces make my day when I see them and who individually and collectively are changing the world for our children.
I have beautiful friends who I don’t see often enough but who share their love with me openly and who I can talk to about anything and be accepted for being me.
My village is amazing and I can’t thank them enough for what they have done and continue to do for me x

You have one life x

You have one life. However long it may be. It is not to be wasted. It is to be felt. Every emotion to its core. Life is about feeling each one in its entirety. The heart wrenching sense of loss, despair from a broken heart, the butterfly inducing sickness from falling in love, the anger and disappointment. The fear and the strength. You must feel it within you, with all that you have.

It is easy to take time for granted. It’s easy to just do the same thing Day in and day out. But for me – this is not what life is meant to be.

Life is meant to be felt. To be imagined and created. We are each meant to CREATE the life we want. To imagine and dream and then put our hands and minds to work to make it happen.

Happiness is in the littlest details and moments. For me it’s in the smell of buttery popcorn, or the taste of iced tea from the farmers markets whilst I watch people buy food from other locals and hear them engage in conversation that creates a buzz you can’t get anywhere else. Happiness is in the midnight feeds of a baby that’s mine – who looks at me as if I’m his whole world and smiles – even when I dragged him across the other side of the world.

Happiness is in the FaceTime calls with my family – blood and from marriage. It’s the talking and silence from the people who know me for me and choose to love me anyway. It’s in dreaming a dream and creating something with amazingly talented human beings I am lucky enough to have in my teams. Happiness is in moments where my five year old son teaches me something I had no patience for but without words – shows me how important that moment is to him – and doing it with him side by side. Happiness to me is having the privilege to argue with my husband and laugh with him all within a matter of minutes. It’s to wake up fucking tired but loved. It’s to realise whilst on the other side of the world – I dreamt this life up when I was 21 – almost exactly – and it’s bloody beautiful. The shit parts, the great parts – it’s all magnificent.

The shiny happy people version of life on Facebook is not life. Life is the shit you can touch and feel. Use your hands and create it. Because what your life is – is because of a choice you made.

Choose to create. Choose to live. Choose happiness and joy in all its forms.

What’s your next move x

Your life is in front of you, not behind you.

You will be put in situations where you have to make a decision, a choice whether you like it or not – and you will make that choice with the information you have at that time.

However it ends up, wherever it takes you, own it and look forward. That choice is going to lead you to the next one because thats what life is. A series of choices only you can make.

Don’t let fear keep you stuck in one place. Don’t let the fear of making one wrong decision stop you from experiencing life. Even if it doesn’t work out how you thought it might, it’s lead you right to where you need to be at the right time.

Here is where you ask yourself – what’s your next move?

Dear Owen x

Dear Owen,

Today we became a family of four.

We finally made it here and it feels more amazing than I could have possibly imagined.

After years of trying and after losing one, holding you has brought us to the end of one journey and on to the next.

Fertility is strange. It’s unfair and beautiful and cruel all at the same time. It’s unpredictable and comes with no guarantees.

You join our family after soo many years of imagining you. Of picturing what your face might look like, what your name might be and how you would fit in my arms, but also your brothers. How you would sit on your daddy’s hip and how your first steps would sound on the wooden floors of our home.

I’ve experienced every emotion available to us humans in the process of you entering our world. But there is no emotion stronger than the love I have for our little unit, for the life we have in front of us, the experiences we are about to have together.

You are one lucky kid. You have one of the most dedicated daddy’s in the world. He will love you more than Liverpool, he will do whatever it takes to protect you and to help you become an amazing guy yourself. He loves your brother ridiculously and his heart has already grown ready to love you just as much.
Just know that you’ll end up wearing a lot of red in your lifetime, and you’ll soon learn You’ll Never Walk Alone… Your daddy is an amazing example of how to be a great man and he will raise you to be one also. This is what our world needs my little one.

Your big brother has waited soo long for you to get here and he will probably try and get you to mark an afl ball before you can even sit up yourself. Go with it… he is a cool kid who has empathy and passion and loves something with all of his being. He is brave and strong and amazing and I cannot wait to see how you look up to him as you get older. It’s a relationship for life x you would kick when he spoke to you in my belly and he would hold his hand over you just to try and get a feel of what you were going to be like. He loved you before we had you x

The rest of your family couldn’t wait to meet you either and you will build some amazing connections with each and every one of them. We are soo lucky to have amazing people in our family x

Mummy has some amazing people in her life that are going to love you like you are family and this is going to be something you treasure. You may not be able to understand one of them with her Irish accent, but I know you’ll know her once she holds you because she has been around you before you were even an idea.
I am soo glad you have made it into my arms and I promise you that this big big world is amazing and anything you want to do in it, you can and I’ll be wherever you decide you want me to be. This is your journey and I’m here to walk beside you.

Let’s do this kid x

We only have a few x

There are good and bad things that happen in the world. At times it might feel like the good things happen to the same people all the time, and the bad keeps weighing the same people down.

To me, you need to change your mindset. Stop looking at what everyone else is getting and focus on your own.

Give us much as you take, word hard doing something you love, be grateful for the moments you have everyday, know what makes you happy and spend your time living out those moments instead of wasting them watching someone else live out theirs.

We have only a few – make them count