Thursday, October 21, 2010

Beach Trauma

I have decided that I am the world's worst about making time to keep this thing updated. I have never felt as if time was passing by so quickly inmy life. The months feel like weeks and the weeks like days. It's hard to put into words what is going on here at Hillsong college and in my life. I feel like I stay surprised.

I returned from our mid semester break a week ago. Some friends of mine and I decided to volunteer at the ACC conference in Port Macquarie for five days of our break and it was well worth it. I was asked to photograph the conference for my "volunteer job"... that's not a job for me at all. I got to do the hobby I love most for the entire trip. Which included paid accommodation, transportation fuel, and meals. Plus some of my favorite friends went on the trip as well. We had free time aside from helping with the conference and got to spend it on the beach, at the bay, or at some of the shops that were near where we were staying. There was only one minor set back of the trip. On the last full day of our stay, I went with the youth to photograph camel riding. The camel ride was so awesome, but what happened after... not so much. We climbed these huge rocks on the beach and as I was getting down I stepped on a ledge that was not stable. It broke and my foot came down on the sharp rocks under the ledge. My foot and toe were sliced open and the pain was surprisingly bearable. I looked down to find a huge puddle of blood under my foot immediately after it happened and it scared me to even look at what had happened. The two girls that were with me carried me to our group down the beach where they all bandaged up my foot well enough to get me to the ER. By the end of the dayI had 7 stitches in my left foot and did it all without a single tear. :) It really wasn't so bad and I am hoping that will be my last visit to the hospital while living in Australia.
Port Macquarie was a great and definitely unforgettable experience. I put together a highlight video of the trip, you can check it out here:

Now that school as started back, we are in the final count down. Only 3 more weeks of classes after this week. Thinking about that is crazy and really weird. I don't feel like I have been here long enough to be finished with my first semester. I am going to be home and spending time with my family and my friends before I know it. My birthday is in 9 days and I am pretty excited. Everyone here thinks I am a baby because I am only turning 19, last year as a teenager! I think we are all going to go camping in the Blue Mountains to celebrate. Fingers crossed.

Just because I am not elaborating on what God is doing in my life in this entry doesn't mean he is working any less. I am still left in amazement by how God continues to change and transform my life. I can't wait to come home and get involved and be a part of what's going on at Free Chapel over the break.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

I Wanna Go

A couple days ago, I was talking with Caressa and we both caught ourself talking about home like it was just a past memory, something that we aren't a part of anymore. This scared us, but also made me realize and see that I am settled here. Missing home and all the loved people there is a daily thing, but learning how to cope with it has become easy. I learn new things on a weekly basis, and living in a complete new world on my own has forced me to grow up fast. I am so thankful for this. I get so caught up in the big things happening here that I don't acknowledge the small lessons that are changing who I am and allowing me to grow. It is so cool to sit back and look at the big picture. I had no idea what I was getting myself into and my expectations have definitely been exceeded and I still have 2 months left, a break, and then 6 more months in Australia.

I have all of a sudden gotten the itch to travel. I want to go to every beach in Australia. I want to go to Fiji and I really want to go to Bali before I come home next July. To start checking off the list of locations, some friends and I are going to Port Macquarie. Here is a photo. It is about four hours from where we live and pictures I have seen are gorgeous. I am keeping my fingers crossed that I will be getting a plane ticket to Bali for Christmas so Caressa and I can go with new friends before school starts back next semester, but we will just have to see. Realizing how long and exhausting the flight is to get to this side of the world, I want to go to all the beautiful places here while I can.

School is still school, but incredible to be surrounded by students learning with the same passion as you. Students who hold you accountable, pray with you, and that you can be inspired by. Coming home and going back to normal college will be a weird transition, but what good would we be as Christians if we all stayed together in bible college and didn't do what we were put here to do, reach out. I have successfully taken God out of the box that I had him in before I came here. He has blown me away repetitively with how he's changing my life, the right people he has brought into my life, the relationships he has restored, his provision, and little things like a whole new meaning of the lyrics I sing when I worship. It is all so cool. I couldn't imagine another way to live and I would love for everyone to feel rescued, captivated, and embraced by God like I have. No words can describe it. Time is flying by here, one day it's the first day of the month then I blink and its the 30th. I love it because I am missing my family and friends back home so much!! The excitement of December first when I get off of the airplane builds daily. It wil be glorious.

A book that I just started and would definitely recommend is "Crazy Love." My house mate told me to read it and the first chapter alone was amazing. (and i'm not a big book reader) It is a really cool way to see God and the author has a unique way of explaining God's love.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


After three slammed weeks of having no down time, I have forced myself to sit down and try to sum up what has been going on here lately. Since school has now started and I have gotten use to my new schedule, I have also gotten use to having no spare time. I have class Tuesday through Friday, a two hour internship with the events team two days a week, work (on most Friday and Saturday nights), and I am at church all day on Sundays. On Mondays, I get just enough time to clear my head and prepare to start the madness allover again. I really am loving it. Staying busy all the time makes the weeks fly by. All the new friends I have made are becoming like family, especially the ones who live in my neighborhood. There is always something to do/somewhere to go at night or someone at the house. I started a new tradition, on Monday and Thursday nights we do yoga. It is my new thing, and I LOVE it! Caressa and I have decided on Mondays we are going to start to try and travel now that it is warming up here. Last Monday we went to Bondi Beach, which is a big tourist attraction in Sydney. It is a gorgeous beach withcute places to eat dinner overlooking the ocean. The weather was perfect. We were hoping for the same weather today so we could go to Manly Beach, but when we woke up it was raining. So instead, I made pancakes and eggs, we were lazy, and she made brownies. We all need days like that.
On another note, God has completely blown me away in just the last three weeks I have been here. It only keeps getting better weekly. In the beginning all of the students told me that it was going to really surprise me how much God would just transform and stretch me in ways I had no idea, and it is completely true! I have learned so much about myself and God in just three weeks. I have realized how much more you can grow spiritually when you are in God's word daily and how he speaks to you in the most perfect times. God has always been real to me, but the level of his realness in my life since I have completely surrendered to him is incredible. Last Friday in chapel was the most powerful service here yet. I hadn't felt God's presence like that in so long. I feel like I am reassured daily that this is where I am suppose to be and what I am suppose to be doing for this season of my life. I am determined to get everything I can out of this year and just seek God, grow and stretch myself spiritually and let him take care of the rest.
I am also currently applying everywhere for jobs. Let's just say I am not cut out for the whole waitressing thing. I think it would have been better forme if my boss wasn't a complete jerk. I haven't quit yet, but yesterday I was told that Meyer (a major department store like Dillards/Nordstrom) was hiring and a lady from church who recommends for hiring asked me for my resume. I am praying that it works out. I am so thankful for my job, but I would rather be doing anything but waitressing. It is not worth the stress. Last Wednesday night we had a big youth rally for the college age students called "The Gathering." We had over 1,200 students in attendance and lives were definitely changed. Since I have been here I have realized that I have a heart for teen age to young adult age girls who struggle with low self esteem or just need to be loved. I definitely want to come home and get involved with an organization that reaches out to girls struggling in that area. I am also pretty sure I am going to get my degree in psychology when I get home and would like to do Christian counseling. Then again, I change my mind all the time... but for now that is what I am thinking. I skyped with my family the other day and it is always so good to see them and catch up with them. I have learned that skype and a.i.m are gifts from God to get me through the time I am away from everyone that I love. I don't think I could manage without it. Everything here is becoming my new way of life and I am beyond adjusted, but there is still so much about home that I miss. My family loves hearing that, no more having to worry about losing me to the Australians. I really love it here for this time in my life, but home is where my heart is.
I must go to bed now, it is 2:00 am and I have to be up at 7:15 am for school.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Comfort Zone? What's that?

The more time I spend in Australia, the more I find myself having to step out of my comfort zone. Making new friends, attending a new school and church, learning the the habits of this new way of life, and trying to be comfortable just does not happen. I am learning to branch out and how to handle the situations where I do not feel comfortable. School started last week and I am already being stretched in ways that I know will allow me to grow. My expectations of classes were far from what it is actually like, I was somewhat shaken up with all the information and new understanding of what I am about to be a part of. There is not a doubt in my mind that it is going to be incredible, but it comes with sacrifice and dedication. I am learning to completely surrender to God and let him have his way with my time here. It is much easier said than done. But I must remember that this is not about me, it's about me being in God's will for my life and allowing him to work through me. Seeking him and allowing all else to fall into place.

Last week we had our first house dinner/meeting with all of the girls in our house. I am so thankful for all of the wonderful girls that I get to share a house with! All of them are so sweet, encouraging, and eager to please. It is going to be a great semester. For dinner, I made chicken and the other girls made salad and garlic bread. I was so excited! So many people back home doubted my cooking ability. It was a good start to my new hobby of discovering how to cook.

Last saturday I was job searching in Rouse Hill shopping center and got a job on the spot at a restaurant called Tequila's. I went in that night for my first trial, and it was by far one of the most stressful nights of my life. Trying to remember table numbers, names of entrees, names of coworkers, and starting on their busiest night of the week was quite the task. Everything went well and I was asked to come back, so I am praising God for a job! It is going to be great having the extra money to buy the adorable clothes here.
Second week of Intensives start tomorrow. They are very long and not the most interesting part of college, but only three days to go. I have decided that I am going to get involved with Fuel which is the junior high ministry at Hillsong. I have a passion for girls that age and I am considering being an RDG leader. This will allow me to meet with a group of middle school aged girls once every two weeks and lead/pour into their lives and hopefully them pour into mine. One of my housemates did it and said that she fell in love with the girls she met with. It all starts very soon and I can not wait to get back into a regular routine. I am expecting great things and am eager to see what Hillsong college life is like.

"The Lord is good to those who wait hopefully and expectantly for Him, to those who seek Him." -Lamentations 3:25

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Quickly Acquainted...With the Hospital.

Getting cut open and taken care of is a great way to get comfy with a new country ay? The last three days of my Australian extravaganza were spent in Norwest Hospital in Bella Vista, New South Whales. This was not only my first Australian hospital experience but my first hospital experience ever


I woke up Wednesday morning at Caressa’s apartment with a cramp feeling in my stomach. I tried eating a banana and it only caused the pain to get worse. I got back to my house around twelve o’clock that afternoon and still felt a bad cramping, it was now across my entire abdomen. Skype calls home to friends and family helped me get my mind off of the pain for a few hours and I had thought resting would relieve the cramp feeling. That night was a cookout for all the new college students and I was in so much pain I couldn’t go. It had reached the point of me not being able to get out of bed without excruciating pain. Some friends heard I was sick and came by with some medicine after they left church. Nothing worked, I knew this pain was not a pain I had felt before. It definitely was not a little stomach virus. I probably slept all of two hours that night and woke up around 3:00 a.m.. It felt as if all my pain had moved to my lover right side of my stomach, I knew it was my appendix. A friend took me to the nearest clinic the next morning (Caressa was in orientation during this time) and the doctor immediately knew it was appendicitis, he told me to go straight to the ER. The realization that I was about to have to go to an emergency room alone hit me. I began to cry to the doctor explaining that I had no one here with me and how I had never been to a hospital in my life. I was terrified. On the way to the hospital I texted Caressa and told her what was going on. Right when orientation was over she met me in the emergency room with Martha Stunt, from the church, my roommate Nastassia, and a box of Krispy Kreme doughnuts. She knows me so well. When they arrived it was like everything was all right. I really wasn’t scared anymore, just in a great amount of pain. The surgeon didn’t see me until six o’clock that night, I waited a long eight hours to be seen. It is a miracle my appendix didn’t rupture. Caressa and Nastassia wished me luck as they wheeled me back to where I would begin pre op and sweet Martha, who filled in for mom that night, followed me. At this point the pain had gotten so bad I was begging for them to put me to sleep and get my appendix out! But, since nothing is ever fast in Australia, it was another forty-five minutes before I was moving from my bed to the operation table. When I laid down he told me I would be falling asleep soon and I do not think I lasted another twenty-seconds before I was out cold. When I woke up I remember feeling no pain at all. Dr. Soo really did a great job. Martha Spent the night with me at the hospital in my room that night. Caressa returned the next day as soon as orientation ended and stayed all day and night with our life saver, seasons four and five of Grey’s Anatomy. There is no way I could have done this without her here with me. It made me feel so much better. Later on hospital day two, new friends from school came by to see with flowers. It was so sweet. They kept me company for a while and prayed for me before leaving. I will definitely adjust nicely to those kind of new friends.

I have realized I am far from the hospital type of person, the last two days of recovery I felt like I was locked in a dungeon. The food was awful. I absolutely can not stand sitting still. When I was disconnected from my IV to shower, before the nurse could hook me back up I was downstairs with Caressa getting a turkey panini from the cafe. It was the best and pretty much only thing I ate while I was there. Besides the Krispy Kreme, Mcflurry, and French fries Caressa brought me. She was the best nurse. Now being out, I still can not believe it happened. It’s crazy to me and I am so glad it’s over. Such a funny way to build trust in my new home, let them remove my appendix.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Free Time

Throughout the past week I have been learning all the places to go around the area. Some are great and some I will have to stay away from for my body's sake. There is a gym called fitness first that's about a seven minute walk from my place. Only 15 dollars a week for unlimited work outs, I say it's a deal. Last friday night Caressa Nastassia and I all went to the United service which is all ages of youth combined. Worship was amazing. After, some girls in my house invited us to all go to Max Brenner. This place is a chocolate cafe from heaven. We had a chocolate covered waffle, strawberries and bananas. According to all the new friends it was a must and it was definitely worth it. I just made sure to run a little further the next morning.
Last night I went out in the city for some of my favorite new friends farewell night. They just finished their year here and have to go home back to New Zealand now. I love Kellie and I am going to miss her a lot. Ten of us went out salsa dancing then walked through the city to a twenty-four hour restaurant called Pancakes on the Rocks.
It is right next to the Harbour Bridge and has the most delightful pancakes I have ever tasted. (but another place that's not good for the diet I'm working on) The night was long and by the time we arrived home it took about five seconds to fall asleep. Nights like those are the best. Good times with new friends, and it's only the beginning of my stay.

Thursday and Friday we go to the church to enroll for our classes. I am excited about getting my schedule and starting school, all of the students have said I will love it. I have also been dropping off my resume's at every place that will take them. Say a little prayer for me, I need to get one of the many jobs I have applied for.

Yesterday I found myself a little sad and missing home, but I have to keep in mind that that's a part of being away and to stay busy is key. Skype is a wonderful invention and will be the reason I make it through the next four months. I will post again soon!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Stop Go. Yes No.

From my arrival until now I have been non stop except for the time I made to write my last post. Moving and adjusting is a much longer process than I had expect it to be. Right when I think there is no possible way that we have forgotten a single necessity, I remember something else. I'm sure in about a week we will have everything settled and put together the way it should be. Each day it feels more and more like home.

Yesterday was my Mom's last full day here. We made sure to get all the big projects finished so we could spend her last day in the city. To get to the city from my house is about a thirty minute commute, which is not bad at all. Luckily I got a roommate who knows the bus and train system like a champ, because there is no way my mom and I could have gotten around without her. I have a lot of learning to do. Once we reached the city I was blown away by how gorgeous it really is. I have seen many pictures, but they do not come close to actually seeing it in person.
We saw the Sydney Harbor Bridge and the Opera House first. The area that they are in is such a peaceful place, especially for being in the city. We had lunch at the Opera Bar which is outside right next to the water. The weather was perfect but cold when windy. Everything you would want is within walking distance. One second you are looking at the water, then the next you are either in the Botanical Gardens or at some of the best shopping in the heart of the city. The Botanical Gardens are beautiful. The pictures above were taken there. I can't pass up a tree climb, and I'm glad Nastassia couldn't either. She is a lot like me.
My mom and I were blown away by the shopping. There are so many more stores here and all of them have cute and unique clothes. I already know General Pants, Dotti, and Just Jeans are going to be some of my new favorites. Now I just need a job. The city itself is unlike any other city I have seen. It is unusually clean and the designs of the stores and buildings are very plush.The day in the city was long, but a perfect last day for my mom. Each day I am falling more and more in love with Sydney, I have a peace about being here. God has already answered so many prayers and I am so excited for school to start in a week and a half. I am ready to grow and seek God on a level like never before, that is why I am here. No matter the chaos, I am not going to let myself forget that.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


After four hours from Georgia to Los Angeles and fifteen hours from Los Angeles to Sydney, Australia we made it to my new home. The flight was not as bad as I had expected, I slept for about eight of the fifteen hours. We arrived at eight a.m. which is six p.m. in Georgia. Even though we were very jet lag, we didn't let ourselves go to sleep so we could adjust to the time change. My mom and I shopped around and got to know the area the first day, then Sunday night we went to our first service of Hillsong Church. It was awesome, there is such a moving atmosphere about the church and all the people seem full of life. My mom, who only got two hours of sleep on the plane, crashed right after church and I went and had dinner with Caressa.

Day two came very early, we were up at 6:45 getting ready for move in day! We arrived at the church where I was assigned my house and it just so happened that my roommate and I arrived at the exact same time. Her name is Nastassia and she is from Austria. We have so much in common and share the same interests which is such an answered prayer. She can speak English German and French which blows me away. Getting to see our house and room for the first time was exciting. We are living in a gated community with a work out facility and a pool. Another answered prayer haha. As we walked in we were greeted by our other housemates (we have seven girls living in our house) and one is from Marietta Georgia! The others are from Sweden, New Zealand, and Hawaii. We have a lot of cultures in our house which I think will add to the fun. Two new guy friends that helped us moved offered to take us shopping for the things we would need for our rooms and I don't think they knew what they were getting themselves into. We started at ten in the morning and did not stop until ten at night. We got almost everything we needed in once day. We were exhausted.

Some things that I have already noticed that are quite different from home is the shopping. Not only clothing, but also groceries. The malls have everything in one, it would be like having a Publix and a Target inside the Mall Of Georgia. It is very convenient, but will be very tempting to buy clothing when I am suppose to be grocery shopping. In Australia there are less department stores and more smaller stores, and they are all awesome. I have definitely noticed that the people who live here are a lot more into fashion than at home, and I am loving it. I am hoping to get a job at a cafe/restaurant because I have heard they are good about working around students school schedules. The first grocery store journey was interesting. There is no Honey Nut Cheerios, Kraft sliced cheese, Quaker chewy granola bars, Jiff peanut butter, and so many other things that are delicious at home. But i am going to make the best of it and was introduced to some new things that will do for now haha.

Right now my my mom, Nastassia, and I are going to walk around in the neighborhood then head to get more things we realized we forgot yesterday. I will keep you posted as much as possible about more exciting things I will be doing coming up next week! Caressa and I are planning parties and trips, pictures are on the way!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Last Days

Six days is all that I have left. Something is still telling me that I have no idea what I have gotten myself into… but that’s what keeps it interesting. Right? There is not a great enough adjective to describe how ready I am to begin this next adventurous chapter of my life. With not a single idea what to expect, a completely clean slate. Sounds so refreshing, yet somewhat intimidating.

I am going to be using this blog to document everything I experience, learn, and see. Keeping in touch with everyone from home is not going to be easy with the 16 hour time difference, so I will do my best to include as many details and photos on this site as possible. The things God has already shown me and taught me, I believe, is only the beginning. I can’t wait to see how my life changes throughout the next year. Thank you to everyone who has prayed for me, encouraged me, and help me become who I am. Because now all of the learning is about to be tested when I “leave the nest” and live life on my own in a completely different country. It is all scary, but more exciting than I had ever expected. I’ll keep you posted!