Archive | December, 2017

Bye 2017, Hello 2018!

31 Dec

My facebook newsfeed is full of people reflecting on 2017 and pondering what 2018 might bring. I haven’t taken any time to do the same, so now, between loads of washing and instead of doing the dishes, I’m reflecting on 2017 and pondering 2018.

I could go back and look at my various blogs from 2017 to think about all the details of what has been… but instead I want to think about what stands out to me.

In the world of exercise I have achieved goals I never thought possible. In 2017 I have swum 218km, run 1240km and  cycled 5320km (combined is the total distance from Brisbane to Cambodia!).

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I have completed two half ironman’s (a 1.9km swim, 90km ride and 21.1km run) and have managed to achieve personal best times in all event distances. I’ve come an agonising 44 seconds off a 60 minute 10km (still a personal best regardless), did a 21.1km fun run with my sister (she pushed me to another personal best), knocked 30 minutes off my Olympic Distance Triathlon at Noosa, and after finishing my first half Ironman in February, did the second half Ironman 30 minutes quicker in September.  All of this made possible with the guidance of my coach Emma Quinn, and with some wonderful training buddies.  Next year I’m lined up to do another half Ironman (Feb 10th) and then after that I regrettably part ways with my coach and will attempt to continue training on my own.  I’m so very thankful for all Em has taught me, for her guidance and care. But I look forward to continuing to work hard, consistently training across all disciplines.

Work has seen me continue to nurse in an Intensive Care Unit. By its very name it can be quite intense at times. But I’m thankful that I work with a great team. While it can be physically and emotionally exhausting, it is also extremely rewarding. I’m thankful for the opportunity to work in this area. I’m continually reminded of the massive impact health can have on one’s life, and I am incredibly grateful that for now, I am fit and healthy and able to do as I please, whenever I please. A luxury not afforded to all.

Dave and I continue to enjoy living in an apartment close to our work and to town. We’re known to often just walk into town for the heck of it, a trip that as a minimum is 6km – but depending on which way we go can often be more like 10km.  Dave has been a great running buddy, a constant support and he encourages me to keep pressing on. He comes to my events and is my biggest cheer squad. He even makes sure that I keep on training even on days when I really don’t feel like it. I’m thankful for his love and support in all aspects of our lives.

2017 as is the case for many, has also been tinged with sadness. The sudden passing of my friend Jane in April was heartbreaking. Most recently, just prior to Christmas my wonderful Uncle Brian passed away – again leaving me feeling incredibly sad. Two wonderful people, loved by so many. Both had a remarkable way of making you feel like you were special, important, valued and cared for. Both now calling heaven home, so I know that one day I will see them again. However, saying goodbye on earth is never easy.  It reminds me to try so hard to not take anything for granted.

There are so many things that I could make resolutions about doing better in 2018. The list seems like really it could almost be endless. However, if there is one thing that I want to work on and do better in 2018 than I did in 2017, it is improve my relationship with the one who both created the world, and yet loves me intimately. Just like my fitness improved with consistency in 2017, in 2018 I seek to be more consistent in my faith, more consistent spending time working on my relationship with God – through Jesus, thereby improving my spiritual fitness.

I don’t know what your 2017 was like, but I trust that 2018 is the best year yet. Happy New Year.

fitness

 

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69 years young, Vale Uncle Brian

28 Dec

IMG_7418I don’t have a single memory of you that doesn’t bring a smile to my face… from trips to your farm (which was somehow always way more exciting than our farm), beach caravan holidays (where you tried unsuccessfully to teach me to fish) and just the regular family get together. As we all got older and we moved to Brisbane the catch up’s became a whole lot less frequent. However, I’m thankful for the dinner we shared in Brisbane, and for the last time I saw you, at Mum and Dad’s. I was hoping to see you when I got home this Christmas, but it was not to be. Instead, I will be honoured to attend your funeral where we will celebrate a life well lived, and a man who won’t be forgotten.

Visits to your farm were always the best. When I knew I was headed there, the excitement was always very real. They were opportunities to chase rabbits late at night, hang out in the shearing shed, ride on a motorbike or a go kart, play some backyard cricket, or just sit in the family room watching the footy (your beloved Demons) or the cricket. Memories such as these always have a bit of food around too – because life is shared around food… though I’m not sure that you really shared if there were cashews involved… Of course these memories include not only you, but also your family. They’re a credit to you – they got their characteristics from the best, so how could they not be!

You were always such a character – someone who was just good fun to be around. I loved being wrapped up in one of your hugs. You were quick to smile, and just as quick to throw in a joke. Gosh, I even remember you smiling when you were doing hand therapy – working to rehab your hand after you decided that the header belt needed some of your fingers more than you did…

As every farmer does, you worked hard; not just at your place, but also to help a mate. You served your community in many ways, including volunteer firefighting and at the footy. I remember one Christmas in particular where storms were starting spot fires all over the district – you and Dad were out in it, endeavouring to help keep everyone safe. You wouldn’t have been anywhere else – if you were needed, you were there.

The last time we caught up, you thanked me over and over again for being a nurse. You’d recently had a hospital stay and you just couldn’t stop telling me how grateful you were to the nursing staff for all that they did. I’m pleased you had good care. I know I would have been honoured to look after you. Cancer is a rotten disease – an unwelcome guest in too many families. I’m sorry it’s impacted ours.

I’m thankful that recently you discovered that the God who created the world loves you intimately. So praise God you’ve now made heaven your home.  Say hi to Fred and Betty for us – but try not to tease them too much 😉 I’m thankful that I’ll see you again one day.

Uncle Brian, our family has been so very blessed by you. Thank you for loving us all well. Thank you for the laughs and the joy. Thank you for the memories – and right now for the tears – they demonstrate that you were indeed such a wonderful, loved, man. My heart goes out to Dawn, Kerri, Tim, Tessa, Abbey, Mark, Liz, Mila, Kate, Steve, Hunter and Yasmin; Mum, Dad and my brothers and sisters, and also my wider family, my Aunts, Uncles and cousins. There were also so many who called Uncle Brian a friend – some of those who have been mates longer than I’ve been alive. We’re all going to miss you Uncle Brian. Our loss is indeed heaven’s gain.

Until we meet again xo

Brian “Ajax” Murray Maidment
16/07/1948-22/12/2017

Are you ready for Christmas?

20 Dec

I feel like it’s saying to me “ready or not, here I come”…

Christmas seems to have snuck up on me this year. I’m not sure how, I mean, it isn’t like it is at a different time each year. Sure as the days keep ticking over, you know that December is going to come, and when you get near the end – Christmas! However, for some reason I’m just not feeling ready. I’ve done most of the shopping, and the presents are wrapped… but I haven’t even taken the time to put up the Christmas tree this year. I just don’t feel too festive.

This Christmas I’m acutely aware of those who may not be looking forward to Christmas… perhaps it is a reflection on the work I do, but I especially think of:

  • Those who face their first Christmas without a loved one (for various reasons)… and let’s be honest it doesn’t always have to be the first Christmas, but there’s an empty seat at your table this year…
  • Those who currently are, or who have family, sick in hospital – some may well make a recovery and be able to head home, others are unlikely to make a recovery and are spending Christmas in a situation far different to what they hoped or expected…
  • Those who are geographically distanced from family and simply can’t make it home this Christmas…
  • Those who are working this Christmas (or have family working) – there are plenty of 24/7 shift workers out there, in all kinds of industries. While many can stop to celebrate, for a large number of people Christmas will be spent in a work uniform. We all know that we’ll still celebrate “Christmas” with family and friends as the opportunities present themselves, but we also know that there is still something special about being able to celebrate Christmas on Christmas Day…
  • Those who have been let down by family, or those who are estranged from their family, and Christmas can serve as a painful reminder of what they lost…

Of course these are only a few reasons that some may find Christmas a little hard this year, or even not be looking forward to Christmas.

I know there are some that actually love the fact they can catch up with friends at Christmas instead of family, and there are those who welcome into their homes “Christmas Orphans”. Today though, I’m just thinking about those who don’t feel too festive. If that is you, today you are on my mind and my heart.

My prayer for you is that somehow, you’ll create a new memory this Christmas.  That you find joy in something during this Christmas period. I hope someone blesses the socks off you when you least expect it. I hope that there are some around you who can ease your worries, and maybe even mop up your tears as they journey through some of your pain with you. I pray that you will be able to look back at this Christmas period and wonder why you thought it was going to be hard, because the reality turned out to be something completely different.

In a time that can be so emotive, with the world telling us what Christmas should or shouldn’t be about, I want to point you to Jesus. Were it not for the birth of Christ there wouldn’t even be a Christmas.  You are loved beyond measure, you are cherished above all, and you are an irreplaceable gift.  For God loved the world (and you!) SO much that He gave His only Son so that should you believe in Him you can live eternally. It is my prayer that you experience His love this Christmas, as we celebrate the fact that He was born for you and for me. May He wrap you tightly in his arms if you’re struggling this Christmas, may He fill you with peace and joy when you least expect it.

Do you love Christmas? Are you looking forward to Christmas? If this is you, please keep your eyes open and be willing to share some of that Christmas love. There may be others around you who need to borrow some of your joy.

But to you, who find Christmas difficult… I’m thinking of you this Christmas. I’m praying for you this Christmas. I’m packaging up all my love and sending it your way this Christmas.

christmasprayer