Thursday, 14 January 2016

Happy Birthday to me!

 It was a few months ago now that I had my milestone 30th birthday and I have just never made the time to sit and put this post together. I have been reminiscing about the year that has past and I really do want to share what a wonderful day my 30th birthday was and what it means to me to be the age I am now.

The day began with a visit to the new Farmers Market which opened at a local school just this very morning. Perfect start to a day in my books. Gracie and I strolled around enjoying some live music, taste testing, bumping into friends and of course purchasing some beautiful local produce- mostly, these delectable strawberries. Perfect for my birthday picnic in the park.

We then took our fresh strawberries and all the other food we had organised down to our favourite local park and waited for our friends and family to arrive. It was such a blessed time. Lovely cool sunny weather, a short rain shower (which involved about 10 of us standing under a picnic blanket which we held over the food table to protect the cake - hilarious), good friends, family, a scavenger hunt and lots of laughs. Speaking of cake...

My amazingly talented friends, Althea and Daniel made me this absolutely gorgeous on every level, cake, just for me on my birthday. To say I felt special is an understatement. Four tiers of gluten and dairy free delectable deliciousness. Amazing.

As I said in my short thank you speech on the day, I was so overwhelmed with gratitude and appreciation for everyone who came and everyone who has been in my life these past 30 years. The last few years have been quite challenging on a number of levels and they have also been some of the greatest years of personal growth I have ever experienced. To now be thirty, with an amazing husband by my side and two beautiful children, a family who loves and supports us unconditionally, friends who we consider simply an extension of our family, food on our table, a roof over our head and so much more... I feel so richly blessed and thank God for every single blessing. I am also almost at the point where I can be grateful for even all the challenges we've had. These have significantly shaped me over the past few years and even more so actually freed me from the chains and limitations that were inside me, even ones I didn't realise were there.

So at thirty years old, I don't ever wish to be 21 again. That girl is long gone. I am choosing to embrace all that I am right now in this moment. To love the woman I see in the mirror every morning. To courageously love others with a love that is so radical it could only come from God. To see others as the people they were created to be, in their own circumstances not through the lens of my own experience. To make my own decisions based on what is best for me and my family first. To learn to say NO (and be OK with it). To love myself as I am, fully. Christ as me, I am living each moment and experiencing all that this beautiful life has to offer. Diving in head first. Without fear, for fear has been my greatest undoing for too long.

I know there will be hard times and old habits die hard, especially mentally ingrained habits. I will continue to make many mistakes, that is a certainty. However that is just part of life. I am choosing to keep growing and learning and live more fully, in all the glorious messiness life is.

Oh and if the photos don't suggest it already, it will involve food. Lots of good food.

Boxing Day Timelapse Video

Boxing Day 2016 from Jessica Taylor on Vimeo.

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Melbourne and turning 30

So... I found this post just now. Written but not published. Oops! Such a shame, I thought. These are some great memories. And we were just reminiscing this a few days ago. So here it is. Better late than never. Our "Turning 30 Melbourne Trip".

Jonathan and I were exceptionally privileged enough to spend 5 whole days in Melbourne WITHOUT the kids last month.This has been a trip in planning for a couple of years now, as my wonderful friend Daniel and I have been preparing for our 30th birthdays this year. And as Jonathan and I are lucky enough to have amazing parents who cared for our kids while we were away, the trip became a reality. So Daniel, Althea, Suresh, Jonathan and myself boarded a plane and flew east for the JAD Birthday Melbourne Extravaganza.

While the trip was a rather early birthday event for me (I don't turn 30 until September), it was only a week before Daniel's birthday. Oh how I love Melbourne. Its many twists and turns, ally ways and hidden gems mean there is never a dull moment and always something interesting to see and do. Oh and how can I forget the food. I feel like really, all we did was eat. But boy did we eat well. We had some slow mornings (which was a very nice change to normal daily routine) and explored new restaurants and enjoyed being in each others company. Oh and in true fashion when we all get together, we laughed... a lot.

 Federation Square Station

 We found book shops galore which always feeds the soul.

 Look closely, I think the building is a little crooked...

 Just one of the amazing meals we consumed.

One of the major highlights for me was visiting the CERES Community Environment Garden. It was a hidden treasure which Althea stumbled upon last time she visited Melbourne and she was right in believing that Daniel and I would love it. We took a beautiful walk along the river, Ukuleles in hand of course.

 When we arrived at the garden, I just about started to cry. It was so beautiful and I realised that this is what I would love o do with my time. In Perth, especially the northern suburbs, there is nothing like this amazing space. Any community would only grow richer by having a magical organic space like this in its midst.

Turning 30 with these friends, in this place, was wonderful. Is it time to go back yet?

Boxing Day

For a few months now we have been collecting cardboard boxes. And I don't mean just a few cereal boxes or milk cartons. I mean every cardboard box that has passed through our house for the last 3 months. Big, small, thin, fat. Any shape or size. Needless to say the corner of our dining room was slowly filling half way to the ceiling.

Why, you may ask, did we begin such a conquest? For Boxing Day. Not the day after Christmas where we lazily sit all day watching the Boxing Day Cricket match eating Christmas left overs and drinking beer. No. We have been preparing for the day when we would unleash our creative selves onto the biggest pile of boxes we could manage to cultivate.

We picked a fairly cool day (it is the middle of summer for those playing abroad) and waited patiently for our friends to arrive and just as they did... Oh no! It's raining! Typical. We had to pick the one day it rains in the middle of summer. We rescued our boxes from a short shower and while we waited for it to pass, we energised our bodies with some morning tea. Then it was building time!

It took some time for the girls to plan, design, debate, organise and redesign before commencing building, but once they got going, they were unstoppaable.

Oops! Memory made. The girls were very careful to cutting the boxes with a knife but Ada's finger wanted to play.

  Jack in the box. Boo!

 Even the chooks wanted to see what we were doing.

  It started to rain again so we quickly rebuilt the castle fort and hid away while the rain came down. Good opportunity for some morning tea too. Second morning tea that is.

 Time for some Art and Craft

Best. Day. Ever. It was so amazing to see what their imaginations could create from something as simple as a cardboard box. Endless possibilities.