Our Friendship Goes The (Running) Distance…

I have a little sister, her name is Lola.. Oh wait..hang on… wrong opening line!!

Actually, I have a little friend, her name is D….. and I lub her very much!

D and I have been friends for a little while now (thank you social media!) and we have a common interest (among many) of running. She introduced me to the wonderful, supportive, online group Operation Move and I haven’t looked back! Recently I flew up to see her for a visit, but also because she had convinced me to sign up for the Tour De Tambourine 10K run! Talk about crazy!!!

Flying to Queensland, I got off the plane and was immediately wrapped in a warm blanket of lov…..no, not love…it was humidity!! Oh My!!! That stuff is thick..and sticky!! Not used to that at all, but yay… Queensland.

Leading up to November, D and I had undertaken a 12 week training program with Operation Move, but had completed the training a few weeks before. Both of us were a little struggling with fitness, and decided we’d just spend this run as a fun run, not for any record times. This is why I think, and want to absolutely stress…. running with friends makes it fun!!!! I know that running can be a wonderful, individual time out from anybody (mostly the kids), pushing yourself to get your pace and fastest time, but running with a friend (my first time!) was soooo much fun!

tourdetamboWe picked up our race packets (so easy!) and I was so surprised that it had MY NAME on it!!! I was so bloody excited that I forgot I’d be pushing through 10k the next day!!!!

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You know how running can be a mind game, and there is no “only” about it..if you do 1km, you do 1km, no matter how slow you go?! Well the lady who took our photos asked what distance we were doing and I made the mistake of saying “Only 10k”…both her and D corrected me, that it’s not just “only”….. remember that… no matter the distance, it counts! She also said to us “The Journey is Now” … that was really sweet. All the hard work we put in, and maybe the work we didn’t, now mattered! Not much else to do, we relaxed and drank coffee… a staple in our diet… and friendship!

We had a yummy Indian dinner, go check out the restaurant Masala Shanti if you’re ever there!

Race Day Ready …. lucky for the band aids in the cars first aid kit! I have a tricky little toe and without band aids I’m not sure I’d have a toe left …hah. tambostuffHow good does the Operation Move shirt look?? So incredibly honoured and proud to be able to wear it. This wonderful, online group of women prove every day that you can be all shapes, sizes, and ages to succeed, just by Moving!

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Mandatory Pre-Race Coffee It’s good for the lungs…seriously!

The event was well set up, and a great course. The only downfall, the lack of photographers on the course (We’d even discussed our photographic poses in the week leading up to the event!), and few marshals around the outer parts of the course (Oh, and the lack of bling *sob*) …Apart from that, it was a top notch event. Lots of hydration stations, although the water spraying we got at the end would have gone well throughout the course!!!
Since there were no photographers, it was lots of runfies and selfies!! So Much Fun! Going up

The hills...so many hills!!!

The hills…so many hills!!!

the hills killed, going down the hills..not so much! It was also nice to see other people out on the course from Running Mums Australia who were very supportive of their team mate who was walking/jogging with injury..I swear they clocked up heaps more mileage through doubling back!

The running community I’ve been able to witness really is a great one. As long as you’re out

ONE MORE KILOMETRE TO GO...we can do it (just don't stop on a hill - that was the advice of a pro running past us!)

ONE MORE KILOMETRE TO GO…we can do it (just don’t stop on a hill – that was the advice of a pro running past us!)

there – running, jogging, shuffling, or briskly walking…you’re a part of a super global community! There’s always someone there to encourage you to keep going, and someone letting you know you’re doing a great job, even if you’re internally struggling!

We finally got to the finish line and crossed over at the EXACT same time!!! *all of the smiles*

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WE DID IT! …And all we got was a wrist band! I wore the ShIT outta that wrist band the next day! But seriously..we did it!!!

I’m so glad I got to go to QLD and run an event with a friend. No record for finishing. But it was all about the friendship, and going the distance.

I’m so glad that D is in my life. I’m so glad that she is my friend. Although we live in different states, our souls are still entwined.

The End.

Kara-Goucher

Exciting Book Cover Reveal – Happily Evan After – Michelle Irwin

I don’t usually do book reviews on this site. Whilst I read, A LOT, I usually keep my reviews and thoughts to myself, or on my Goodreads feed.  However, when a friend puts out a call asking if anyone would like to help her out with a cover reveal, I couldn’t resist in helping! After all, that’s what friends are for!

I’m very excited to support Michelle, as she embarks on publishing her first books, this year! There’s nothing better than watching friends bloom and grow, and have their dreams come to fruition!

sooo… without further ado..I give you the BLURB for “Happily Evan After”  ..a paranormal romance, with a difference!

Evan is a reluctant cupid. Facing an unknown term of servitude to repay his debt to the world, it is his responsibility to guide couples together. Despite initial hesitancy, he has learned to handle every case with care and he now basks in the afterglow of new-found love and relishes in the energy it provides him. But his end goal is still the promise of paradise in return for his penance.
It’s all going according to plan until he receives an assignment that is inconceivable to him. He has to find a mate for Becca, within whom lives the reincarnated soul of his one true love. Bound by his duty to find her a match, he must resist her charm and suppress his own desires. It is his job and he cannot fail, even if his own paradise now seems lost.
For a cupid, falling is love is against the rules.
Isn’t it?

Sounds exciting, yes?!? *everyone nod your heads and grin* … who wants to see the cover?!?! Check it out …….

 

 

 

Happily Evan After - 3d Cover

(Cover by: Soxsational Cover Art)

How cute does it look and sound?!! I can’t wait to read it!!  Publishing Date: TBA soon! So make sure you scroll down and add Michelle to your Goodreads and Facebook and Twitter and just basically, all social media!


Author Bio:

Michelle Irwin BioMichelle Irwin has been many things in her life: a hobbit taking a precious item to a fiery mountain; a young child stepping through the back of a wardrobe into another land; the last human stranded not-quite-alone in space three million years in the future; a young girl willing to fight for the love of a vampire; and a time-travelling madman in a box. She achieved all of these feats and many more through her voracious reading habit. Eventually, so much reading had to have an effect and the cast of characters inside her mind took over and spilled out onto the page.
Michelle lives in sunny Queensland in the land down under with her surprisingly patient husband and ever-intriguing daughter, carving out precious moments of writing and reading time around her accounts-based day job. A lover of love and overcoming the odds, she primarily writes paranormal and fantasy romance.


I am very excited to read lots of words, by Michelle, and I hope you are too! Thanks for stopping by today!

Like I said, I love to read, all genres (besides horror, and maybe graphic crime, I’m boring like that, so head down to comments, and let me know what you’re reading, or your best recommendations that I just HAVE to read when I finally get that break from uni!!)

I apologise ….

I’ve had something on my mind for the past couple of days. Ever since I heard about the English cricketer who has gone home from the Ashes with stress-related illness. It can happen to anyone. And it does.  This is my post in response to that (which is actually pretty unrelated)…..

I think I need to make an apology. What for? You might ask… You see, at the beginning of this year I was traveling a very dark path. There were no streetlights, and there was no end. There was a street sign with the name of the street, but you would have to look really hard to read it because it was so dark. When I looked forward, there was no hope; There was no future. I was at a crossroads and they were marked Depression Rd and Anxiety Way.  The thing is…there were so many things happening in my life, in my head, and I had no way of filtering them, of sorting them out, and getting through them. From the outside looking in, it probably seemed as if I had it all. I had a husband, a home, 3 beautiful children, a stable income and a car. I was studying at uni and there was sunshine in the sky. That’s where my apology comes in. The sun wasn’t shining for me.  I locked myself away, and didn’t come out at all. I would drop the kids off to school without getting out of the car, so that I didn’t have to talk to anyone, or didn’t have to get out of my pajamas. I declined every invitation to get together and socialize because I didn’t know what to talk about, and I didn’t want to leak my sour mood onto anyone else. I didn’t want to get out of bed, and would quite often go straight back to bed as soon as I returned from school drop off. Only now, now that I am finally at the end of those streets and finally walking along It Gets Better Street do I realize, by doing this, I had the potential to jeopardize friendships I’d had for months/years. To the outsider who doesn’t know, my behavior could be perceived as uppity, and snobbish. As if I was acting like I was too good to talk to anyone. Or to good to go out and share a meal and have a drink.  The problem is. That’s not the truth. The truth is that when you are in the deepest parts of depression, nothing seems appealing. Hiding in my house all day. Looking things up on the internet. Getting lost in books. Watching tv without even seeing it. Those were all the things I was stuck in. It was like a loop and I couldn’t stop it from happening.  Just the thought of having to talk to people would cause a physical reaction and I’d cry. I couldn’t breathe at the thought someone would talk to me. I know that a lot of people suffer in silence. They don’t want to burden anyone with how they are feeling, and what they are going through. That’s exactly where I was.

If not for a couple of friends who gently persisted on being a friend and never giving up, I would still be in that pit of despair. They listened without judgement, they asked questions, and they were there, often just through a small phone screen. So……to all the people in my life, both on screen and off who felt the brunt of my struggles. I am sorry. I’m sorry if I bought you down. I’m sorry if I ignored you. I’m sorry if you thought I didn’t value our friendship, because I do. I do so very much.  There may be nothing that can turn things around, but just know… everyone has their journey they’re traveling. Sometimes it just takes one friend to ask the question and make sure everything is okay. Just be there. Be present. Know it’s not personal, it’s the person.

I also want those people who may be reading this and are still walking along those Roads and Paths marked with lights that have blown out… I am here for you, and you will get to the end of it. It might not happen tomorrow, it might. Either way, you are not alone. Never, ever, ever…. And remember YOU ARE IMPORTANT.. even if you don’t believe it.

 

IF you’d like to know more about how I was able to turn myself onto a better path please feel free to ask. I’m more than happy to share my story. It might just be similar to yours!  You can email me at sydneygen04@yahoo.com

I don’t think my journey is over yet, in fact I know it’s not, but I am glad to see a lot more streetlights burning bright. Let’s turn some on for you, too!

Friendships, Tattoos & Motor Oil … Oh My!

So, I have a friend. Well, I have a few friends, but this friend is special. We’ll call her Bee. I met Bee online (through Twitter) through a mutual love of reading fan fiction, and listening to music. That’s the great thing about the internet, it connects you to people you might not otherwise meet. So, I live in Sydney, and Bee lives in Brisbane. Same country, different state. I can’t even put into words what makes Bee such a special friend, because there is so much, and there just aren’t words to describe other things! Bee has helped me pull through some very dark times in my life, and she has lifted me up to celebrate some wonderful times. Bee never judges, and always listens. Bee is awesome.

So.. last week I paid Bee a visit in Brisbane. It was wonderful. We spent a few days hanging out and just chilling. It was good for the mind, and good for the soul. We also forever ingrained our love and friendship by getting matching tattoos!!! There’s a song by a Sydney-based artist named Jack Carty, it’s called One Thousand Origami Birds. It’s wonderful. It inspired the tattoo. For that, I thank Jack for singing and sharing his music. Bee got hers on her foot, and I got mine on my arm. I love it. So much, just like I love Bee. We each have our own meanings to the tattoos, but a lot of meaning to me is friendship, and battling anxiety and coming out of the battle with depression. The musical notes represent the part of the song that says “Peace Will Come” … it’s to remind me that in all the chaos of life, and in the moment, peace will come, eventually, as long as I weather the storm. I also like that the musical notes end in a smiley face!!!! 🙂

Image       Image  I also got to hang out with another friend, we’ll call her Bale. She’s awesome, too. She made awesome food, and supplied great entertainment. We watched Friends… what better way to spend time with Friends?! There’s NONE!

So, what does that have to do with Motor Oil? Weeeellll… I am going to be reviewing Castrol Magnatec Motor Oil on behalf of SOUP (an online reviewing company). I’ll be blogging about it over the next few weeks, but it got me thinking. Friendships are exactly like motor oil. They help to keep things moving, they help you to not burn out, and they also stick with you, and you need it.

The new Castrol Magnatec Oil has intelligent molecules (ooooo!!!) and is designed to stick to your engine, rather than drain off when you stop the car! Stay tuned for more interesting and fun facts in the very near future!!!

In the meantime, I urge you to listen to Jack sing … magic happens *winky face*

Wasn’t that great? So worth the listen! Go to Youtube and look up his other stuff, too! Click for Jacks YouTube Channel

This was the one pic from the weekend in Brisbane that Bee & I could agree that we looked fabulous….

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So whether you have friendships near, or friendships far… treasure them. Always. And remember.. friendships are like motor oil…. they stick with you, even when your engine has stopped!

R U OK? – It’s OK To Say NO

Today is once again, R U OK day in Australia. This initiative started as a movement to raise awareness and open channels to help people struggling with life. According to the RUOK website www.RUOKDAY.com:

The R U OK? Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to encouraging all people to regularly and meaningfully ask ‘are you ok?’ to support those struggling with life.

R U OK?Day is our national day of action on the second Thursday of September (12 September 2013), and dedicated to reminding people to regularly check in with family and friends. We also have Resources for You to use throughout the year to help you ask ‘are you ok?’ regularly of family, friends and colleagues.    Stephen Fry

You might remember that last year I wrote a blog post about it, and at the time, I was NOT OK. You can read all about the reasons here: R U OK 2012.

Since then I have had many struggles, up and down, and I am still working through them, but for today, I can say, “I am OK”. Who knows what tomorrow brings. My anxiety peaks and waves, comes and goes. Some days I feel like I can conquer the world, and some days I feel like I want to hide out in my room all day and not talk to anyone.

The reason I’m bringing this up is because I want to ask YOU the question: ARE YOU OK? R U OK? ARE YOU ALRIGHT? Nothing is ever black, and white. I know nothing can ever be solved with a cup of tea, but it sure can ease a burden! Let me be your tea-maker. I am HERE for you. I will listen, I will not judge, and I will not set out to solve the worlds problems. Sometimes all you want is a friend to listen and acknowledge, not judge, not try to solve the issues, or tell you where you might be going wrong. I am your friend.

Not AloneIf you don’t want to talk to me, just know that You are NOT alone. With the progress in social media and the access we all have to the internet, I have found that you are open to a world of opportunity and hope. If you have anxiety about being in public situations, you can be comfortable in your own home and reach out. If you don’t like the way you look and it makes you depressed, you can be behind a computer screen asking for advice. You don’t have to put yourself in situations that may cause you to be even more “not OK”.

So, today, at this point in time, why am I feeling OK? I think it has something to do with finally seeing a psychologist. It took me a couple of goes, and it’s not always first one is the best choice, but the one I have been seeing was not trying to read my head, or solve the worlds problems of why I am the way I am. We were simply letting it be and working with how we can work with that. It’s hard work, and it’s not all roses and sunshine, but the one thing I have learned is, FriendsEveryone needs someone to talk to. By talking about my issues with someone who was non-judgmental, my whole attitude changed. I’m no longer holding onto feelings inside myself, and no longer taking it out on my loved ones. Again, not always having great days, and yes I regress, but I know that I’m getting better. You can too. All you need to do is ask the question.

I hope you are aware that you are not alone. You will be OK. There is help available. If you go to one doctor and they say they don’t believe in ‘depression/anxiety’ then go to a different doctor. Start doing Yoga (I know it sounds naff, but it did help me!). Start exercising, even just a 15 minute walk outside in the fresh air will clear your mind and help.  If you want to send me a private message, then please do. My email is: sydneygen04@yahoo.com .

I’ve listed some resources that you can go and check out and maybe gain a little further information and maybe some help?

Take-The-First-Step

RESOURCES:

Beyond Blue

R U OK Day

Dancing with the Black Dog – A blog

and just remember:

You__ve_got_a_friend_in_me__by_pocket_full_of_posy

Talking About Dogs..NOT the Furry Fun Kind….

We interrupt our regularly scheduled program to talk about dogs….

That’s right. I was supposed to write about the school holidays that have now long gone, but instead I feel the need to post about the dog that visited me for snuggles yesterday.

I love dogs. I would definitely be classified as a Dog person, unfortunately this is not the type of dog I like to pet, snuggle and visit with. This was ‘the black dog’. I just wanted to document, mainly for my own self, how easily it can be to go from high to low in one day.

I had a lovely morning yesterday. I got the kids off to school and daycare, and then the youngest and I went to have a coffee with a wonderful friend. WE don’t catch up enough in real life, but I so do enjoy it when we do. We had coffee, chatted and took Little Miss to the nearby park. It was lovely, relaxing and enjoyable.

How can you not LOVE and SMILE at this?!?!!

After a couple of hours, I got some lunch and headed home. My problem began when I walked into the house. I have been studying and neglecting housework so very much, and it was evident yesterday. The amount of ‘toys’ and “useless crap” that was lying around, dishes not done, kitchen a mess, was completely overwhelming. I ate lunch and put Lil Miss down for her nap.

Now here would have been a good time to get up and start clearing and cleaning away all the mess. I didn’t have distractions of a child following behind pulling things out, it was a lovely day, I had a full belly from lunch., but you know what I did? I had a sudden overwhelming urge to give up. It was a feeling inside me that crept up so gently, all I could feel was my chest hurting and the need to cry.  That was when I realized, the black dog had come knocking at the door. Not so much knocking, as showing itself in through the doggy door and settling in my lap.
All I could do was lie in bed and cuddle my blanket wondering why I could be feeling this way. My life is wonderful, I have a supportive husband, a great house, a car, I’m studying. Just another example of how this damn thing doesn’t discriminate. Luckily for me, I feel that my journey through this and the impact, or ‘length of visits’ seem to be assisted and shortened with the help of social media. My twitter followers are great, and all I have to do is tweet something about how I’m feeling and I’m overwhelmed with new ways to think and cope, and distractions to get me back on track.

At the height of my snuggles with the Black Dog

I’m also amazingly lucky to have my husband in my life. For all the pressures he is under at work, he always ‘just knows me’ and knows when I need him, even without telling him. Unbeknownst to me, he had thought I needed a break from having to wake Lil Miss and get Mr5 from school, so came home early to do a brief stopover, before continuing with his work! He was able to come home, hold me and understand.

While he left to get Mr5 I decided to have a shower and reclaim my day. There was to be no more snuggling with the black dog, things needed to be done.  Showered and dragging myself away from the computer, I started slowly… just as I had finished cleaning my kitchen, and hanging the dishcloths to dry, there was a burst of sunshine through the back doors. I smiled, for the first time in hours, realizing that the signs were there telling me to just do it. Move and keep moving. All will be ok.

By the end of the night, I’m happy to report, I had reclaimed my living room of all the children’s toys, moving them into a separate area, away from the living room. My anxiety peaks whenever I see so much mess from the kids. I’ve decided that if I take that mess away, and it’s out-of-sight, I can get my anxiety under control.

My house is now clean, tidy and I am feeling much better today. I wasn’t impressed with the visit from the dog, but I’m grateful I was able to push through it and come out the other side. It’s just amazing to me, how quickly it can creep up and take over every thought, every feeling, every sense of your being. Even when you are internally telling yourself you do not want to feel this way, You are chanting for it to go away.

Time heals all things, and with help, I know I Will get through this. I have been terrible about getting further assistance with this, but yesterday affirmed for me, I need to make it a priority.

That’s it for now…. I’ll try to post about the school holidays next… and then I’m starting to blog as a part of a Mummy blog challenge….. I’ll fill you in more soon!!

Like I said, this post was more for me, but I thank you for reading….

 

~ Something else I forgot to add, which was an incredibly important part to not succumbing too much to the black dog, was the fact that I have gained 4kgs since my weight loss journey ended, well really 6 when I was at my optimum. I am struggling with getting back on track and doing the right thing food wise. Knowing it’s 80% food choice is a mantra I keep telling myself. Yesterday when I was at a low, I kept chanting to myself – I am not hungry, I am not hungry…this is the black dog talking.. do not eat meaningless food to make yourself better….. I will admit that It was HARD! In the past I would have opened the cupboards and eaten ANYTHING and EVERYTHING, regardless of what it was. I’d make something if there was nothing. With the education I received on the 12WBT program, I was able to convince myself not to eat. A little win for me!!