Nebraska.

I’ve been trying to write a blog post for the last 10 days. I’ve been trying my very hardest to describe exactly how I’m feeling. I’ve sat in front of my laptop screen that many times and I haven’t been able to write. All the emotions are right there but nothing flowed like it normally would. I couldn’t understand why.

Last night I became very overwhelmed with all the emotions I was feeling and had been feeling over the last 12 days of being in beautiful Lincoln, Nebraska. I came to realise that I wasn’t able to express myself because I wasn’t sorting through all the things I was feeling. I started speaking to my mum, my roommate and one of my new best friends from America about what was going through my brain. I realised I feel torn. I feel torn because I knew that I would absolutely fall in love with Nebraska, I knew it but I didn’t know I would be blessed enough to experience the feelings I am feeling right now. I didn’t know that I was going to make friends with some of the most incredible human beings I’ve ever met, Ones that are kind and genuine, ones that lift you up everyday, constantly make you laugh and give you cuddles whenever you need it, friends that I now consider my family and I’ve know them for less than 2 weeks. I din’t know that I was going to be blessed to live in a host home with the most beautiful family! I didn’t know that Nebraska would be so damn beautiful, the city, the landscape, THE SUNSETS, the corn fields, the s’mores! I didn’t know that I was going to be blessed enough to work in a place where you instantly feel the presence of Jesus as soon as you drive into the driveway. I didn’t know how much I would feel like I belong at camp Sonshine. I didn’t know that my relationship with Jesus was going to go to the heights that it has because it’s just me and him on this crazy, incredible journey. I didn’t know that my heart was going to be filled with gratitude when I hear what my campers learnt through the day, when they pray to God or that they are just as thankful for me as I am for them. I feel torn because I feel like this is home and that in its self is conflicting because how can I feel more comfortable here than I do when I’m back in Australia? I feel stuck because I just don’t want to leave and I don’t know what’s next.

I was having some quiet time with the Lord just praying and seeking for answers.

He answered instantly with three things…

  1. Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.
  2. Isaiah 43:19 – See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.
  3. Genesis 12:1 – “Leave your native country, your relatives and your fathers family, and go to the land that I will show you”.

I’m forever on a journey of trusting the Lord, having patience and having faith. I know that he knows what’s best for me and he knows exactly how my future is going to play out.

I’m embracing this season of Nebraska with all of my heart because I am experiencing more than just happiness being here, I’m experiencing pure joy.

Try and imagine your favourite everything – The things that instantly make your heart bubble up with joy and bring you complete peace. Now times that by 10 and that’s about half of the happiness I’m experiencing.

I am so thankful for this journey so far and I am beyond excited to see what the next 9 weeks will bring if this is what I’ve gotten out of the first 12 days of being here.

By Bethany Calverley.

Courtney Watson!

My Beautiful Courtney! I met Court about a year and a half ago studying the same course at Tafe. I didn’t ever think that we would be as close as we are and I am beyond thankful that we share the friendship we do today. Courtney is a forever friend and a soul sister. She has done nothing but blossom into this beautiful, wonderful and crazy confident woman! Her beauty Journey is amazing. Thank you for letting me capture you and thank you for your honest words my incredible, fearless, courageous friend xxx

Written by Courtney Watson.

Age 21.

1. What is your idea of beauty? Beauty is you. Beauty is all of us. Beauty is the world that we live in and what and who we surround ourselves with each and every day. Our minds. How different each of us are and how we all look and experience all things so differently. Our minds, our bodies and our spirit. Beauty truly is endless. Beauty is feeling, feeling joy, feeling pain, feeling sadness, giving love and being loved. Our mental capabilities are incredible and it is these things that make us who we are and individual with our own spark of magic to share in this world.

2. Where do you place your worth?My worth is up to me, it sits in my hands and my heart. I struggled when I was younger with my self worth but I think that all just comes with time and truly understanding and learning about who you are and once I came to peace with who I am and had the ability to love me, I was proud. Proud of who I am and all that I’ve been through to become me. Just like we all have and will.

3. What has been your biggest obstacle in your self worth journey? If you asked me this a few years ago I would have said how I saw myself. But ask me this today, and that would not even enter my mind. Through all experiences there was always a struggle but each obstacle made me who I am and gave me the outlook I have on life and everything that is thrown in my direction. As much as I sometimes wish that I didn’t have the body image struggles that I did in my school years I am also grateful because it gave me the strength and love that I do today! There is always a positive in every negative.”Change your thoughts and you change your world”

4. What has been your greatest achievement in your self worth journey? My mental and physical abilities and strength. A lot has stemmed from finding what I love to do and what/who makes me happiest. I would always push my own feelings and needs to the side and always take care of others before me. I have finally found my balance between loving others and myself all in one and eliminating all negativity from my world. I have never been more content with all of the people that play such a big part in my life today. So yes, my biggest achievement is me.

5. How do you view yourself today? Strong, loved, empathetic, positive, healthy, wise and incredibly blessed.

6. What are the three things you do to practice self love? My exercise time is me time. I forget everything and focus on me with my headphones in and music playing as loud as I want it too. I’m constantly surprised of what my body is capable of and is definitely a self-love favourite of mine that I am able to do for me. It is something that I have learnt to push myself mentally and physically more and more and has certainly helped mould me into who I am today and how I see myself.

Writing and reading is an important part of self love for me. Writing especially gives me the outlet to write down whatever it is that is in my head in that moment is such a beautiful outlet that can also give me the opportunity to reflect back on later but to also know that there is never any judgment. My words are for me.

 I also find self love when I am around people. The ones who know me best and that I appreciate more then words could ever describe. I constantly feel loved and beyond lucky when I am around my closest friends and family that always make me feel supported and over all happy and loved. When you are blessed to meet someone who makes your life flow easier and makes you laugh a lot, keep them, thats all you need.
7. If you could give advice to your younger self in regard to self worth and body image, what would it be? You are beautiful, even if you don’t see it. Your going to go through lots and lots of great times and your going to have to conquer hard times that will test you and how you see yourself but your going to make it, make it all on your own and when you truly know you and the women you become your going to appreciate all these things that now seem like big deals but will later be looked at as little pebbles in your road to finding you. Love you baby and who you are today, your one of a kind and keep on doing you! Embrace everything and everyone in your journey and love, you wear your heart on your sleeve and don’t let anyone or anything take that away from you.

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Ziggy Alberts.

On the 16th of December 2016 my friend and I travelled down to Sydney to watch Ziggy Alberts play at oxford arts factory.

I struggle to put into words how flipping beautiful and wonderfully talented this man truely is. I’ve seen Ziggy Alberts twice now and this time absolutely blew my mind. I was fixated by his perfect melodies. There is nothing in this world that is more incredible than watching someone so in love with what they are creating. Ziggy’s songs are filled with stories, passion, pain, love and experiences. He is able to connect with an audience so damn well. The vibe and atmosphere in the room that night was amazing.

This gig taught me to keep pushing and striving for what I want in life, to be more gentle with our environment and to be more expressive.

Be Vulnerable.

When people think of being vulnerable mostly scared, anxious and fearful words come to mind, right?

Up until recently I would have thought the same thing and in some cases I still do, being vulnerable can be bad but why don’t we start to change our perspective and think of vulnerability in a good way? Most times being vulnerable means being thrown into the unknown of whats going to happen. Let try and embrace that as an adventure.

These last few months in my life have really shown me a new perspective and a greater outlook on life than I would have ever imagined, did I imagine being where I am right now a year ago? Nope. I don’t have my life sorted and thats fine. Im taking it as it comes and you should too. Embrace and accept the journey you are on for exactly where you are at right now. Ive learnt that as humans we are always wanting more and we are wanting to better ourselves, thats wonderful and Im a big believer of goals and achieving your dreams but our happiness shouldn’t be based on a satisfaction we get when we are finally at the top, it should be based on the journey we go on to get there.

Contentment comes with accepting your circumstance for what it is. With vulnerability comes growth in yourself that you didn’t think was possible. Its all about perspective and your thoughts and views on things.