Resolutions

So, with less than a week til 2015, it’s getting to that time when we look back over the highs and lows of the year that’s ending, and start planning those resolutions.

On the one hand, I think the whole New Years resolutions thing is a bit ridiculous because if you really wanted to change something you could do it on any day of the year, and so often New Years resolutions barely make it past the first week in January! but I also think it can be just the kick start some people need to gain the courage and enthusiasm to try something new/change something/start something etc.

I have several ideas of resolutions for 2015. Some are typical things like not eating so much crap and maybe doing a little more exercise to try and counteract the stomach I’m developing. Others are more personal and challenging about my character, personality or faith.

One of the things I want to work on more is confidence. I’ve actually been told on several occasions lately that I seem a lot more confident than I used to, and I can see that a little. But on so many occasions shyness, awkwardness and lack of self-confidence still cripples me. I try so hard not too, but I care what other people think. I hate standing out from the crowd, or thinking other people are looking at me or judging me. I’m a firm believer in ‘being who you are’ and have been known to encourage friends on many occasions to ‘just be yourself’, but I’m so bad at doing it myself. I can be painfully self-conscious and according to one of my friends, I often adopt a ‘turtle-like’ position if I’m nervous or uncomfortable (I raise my shoulders and become really tense..almost like I’m a turtle trying to retract my head into my shell so I can hide), which is strangely accurate lol! I know it’s part of who I am, but I’d still like the try and counterbalance it a little better!

Faith wise, I’m confused. Very confused. If you’ve read any previous posts then you’ll know I am a doubter. I question things allllllll the time and my faith, or often lack of it, is something which gets questioned the most. And the past couple of weeks have caused it to be questioned maybe more than normal. There have been so many terrible incidents on the news – Sydney siege, Pakistan school shooting, vanishing aeroplanes, constant atrocities in various countries in the Middle East we’re so used to hearing about its almost mundane, and closer to home the tragic accident in George Square in Glasgow this week. Why do these things happen?

The siege and the shooting I can just about comprehend people’s responses – God gave us free will and there’s the devil who tries to poison us or whatever, and so one person or a group of people cause these incidents to happen. But things like the George square tragedy, or the disappearing planes, or natural disasters – what’s the ‘everything happens for a reason’ answer behind them? You can’t blame them on an individual. You can work out the science behind an earthquake or tsunami, or the faults that could cause a plane to vanish, but if God’s really up there, supposedly taking care of all of us, why does he let these horrible things happen? Why does He let hundreds of people perish in these disasters? If he’s so omni-benevolent, why doesn’t he prevent them?
It really gets to me when some sort of disaster, natural or otherwise, happens and people who narrowly escaped injury or death say things like ‘someone was looking down on us’ or ‘God was watching over us’ – because to me, that’s essentially like saying, ‘God was choosing to save us and ignore the ones who didn’t survive’ – and I just don’t understand how people can accept that as being plausible or even humane. The whole thing makes no sense to me at all.

Something that really gets me about being a ‘senior soldier’ in the Salvation Army is that there seems to be no room for error or uncertainty. Once you make that commitment, which is in no uncertain terms, huge(!!), that’s it. In my opinion and experience, questioning things isn’t encouraged or allowed, and if anything it feels like it’s discouraged. It feels like once you stick that uniform on you’re supposed to have everything worked out, when really that’s just the first step, or second at the most. Everyone makes mistakes and does things wrong – that’s obvious – but there are so many rules and regulations that if you make one mistake, you have to lie and hide it for fear of being reprimanded like a child, it just feels so silly!
For the record – I’m not saying I’m hiding any earth shattering mistakes (touch wood haha) – it’s just the way it seems to me to be.
And being a natural doubter, not to mention excessively confused about a great deal of God-related stuff, this makes me struggle even more. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not just having a moan about the army (even if I have been known to do that on many an occasion..) I’m just being, honest I guess. And that’s something I think I need to do more of, in relation to my faith. It’s scary and what I have to say might not please everybody, because basically, I question all our major beliefs and belief systems on pretty much a daily basis, but I’m never going to develop it any further, in either direction, if I don’t speak up a bit. I think anyway.

Which I guess relates back to the confidence thing – I need to have the confidence to be honest about how I really feel faith-wise rather than just turning up on a Sunday and pretending everything’s fine if I’m really sitting there struggling.
So essentially, 2015 is going to be all about working on confidence.

“confidence is like a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger it gets”

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2014

I think 2014 might be my favourite year of my life so far! It has been incredible for about 100 different reasons, and so this blog post is pretty much going to be me telling you about the best bits, followed by a soppy bit about my nearest and dearest to sum up this year!

I saw in the New Year with nearly every one of my favourite people in the same room, which was definitely a good start. Followed by the first trip of the year to London with my lovely boyfriend, which I seem to remember included a very good steak, Wicked, and a fun but extremely cold open top bus tour!
The next exciting load of stuff happened in March, with the arrival of Matt’s brother, sister in law and nephew over from Australia! After almost 6 years together, I finally got to meet Gareth, and much to Matt’s delight, we got on well! Matt’s nephew Angus is also absolutely adorable, and I had a lot of fun getting to know them all, firstly at the League cup final where Aberdeen won (yay! I even enjoyed it!), then in Berlin for a week!
Berlin was fab – lovely city, and great to spend it with Matt, his parents, his sister, brother, sister in law and nephew – it was a busy apartment! A crazy but very fun week! Followed immediately by a weekend in London with Matt and my parents, seeing Miranda at the O2 (such fun!!!) and some hilarity whilst catching up with my aunt and uncle!
Soon after this my big cousin Alan became a dad to the most gorgeous little girl Cora, who I’m so excited to meet in Australia in 2015(!), and a very good friend Sharon had a beautiful little girl named Sophie, who I immediately fell in love with, made me get over my anxiousness around babies (well, almost) and I’ve become very fond of the cutie that she is 🙂
The next big adventure was our summer holiday in June! Matt and I flew to Orlando, Florida, for a week before meeting my parents and driving down to a beautiful beachy place called Marco Island for the week. I was surprised by how well Matt and I coped getting to, navigating and surviving on our own for a week in Orlando, and we had the best time. Photos with the Simpsons, plastic rain ponchos, winning lots of toys in Animal Kingdom and a crazy last minute shop in downtown Disney are memorable crazy moments, but so much fun was had! The second week included loads of floating in the sea and lots of money spent in the outlet malls – what’s not to love about that?!!

Music school was the next highlight – i wrote a post about it before so won’t go into it much, but it was full of the usual ups and downs music school entails! My favourite part as always was strengthening friendships with people, and this definitely happened with several people!

Since then, I was lucky enough to go to New York City for my 21st birthday with Matt and my parents, which was incredible! It is my favourite place in the world (so far, at least!) and it was a brilliant week full of amazing food, fabulous views and surreal realisations of just how fortunate I am!
I’ve also moved into my own flat, permanently, which is even more surreal! I don’t feel grown up enough to own a flat or live on my own and have to clean bathrooms and wash windows, but it’s amazing. My flat is perfect, and everything I could want it to be. I love it, and I love living there. Lots of people ask me how I find living on my own, but it’s perfect for me. And I still get to come see my parents as often as I want, since they’re just half an hour away!
In amongst all this, I passed my first year exams and started my second year of uni, which is going okay so far!

Overall, 2014 has been incredible! These are just some of the most momentous occasions, but there have been dozens of days out, parties and nights in with my closest friends which stick out as perfect memories too! And I’m so grateful to all of the people who have made this year so special! I have a group of friends who are vastly different from each other, which I think actually works out perfectly, for my benefit at least, because each of them teaches me something different. I’m so thankful for all of them:

To Rachel for never giving up on me and encouraging me to be myself.
To Fiona for being my little sister and always inspiring me to be stronger.
To Kirsty for encouraging me to ‘follow my dreams’, and not care what people think.
To Emma for reminding me to have fun and always look out for my friends.
To Sharon for never failing to listen, and reminding me to encourage others.
To Karen for inspiring me to be the best version of myself I can be.
To David for always being there and inspiring me to be kinder.
To Michael for reminding me to stick up for myself and what I believe in.
To Dean for reminding me to be loyal.
To Chris for reminding me to put in effort and work hard.
To Gary for reminding me to never give up.
To Adam and Ian for encouraging me to inspire others and be there for those who matter to me.
To Suzanne for reminding me to embrace those awkward moments.
To Philip for reminding me to use my talents.
To Bethany for inspiring me to be positive.

And most of all to Matthew, for doing all of the above things, and loving me unconditionally, even when I annoy him the most. Thank you for telling me I’m beautiful even when I won’t believe it. And thank you for being you!!!

Anyway, soppy post over! But there have been so many reminders lately of how precious life is and how short it can be, and I really think it’s important to tell the people we love that we love them!!! So what better time to do it than at the end of an incredible year, which they helped to make so special!

I am exceptionally fortunate and I am grateful for all I have in life, and all of my wonderfully crazy and loving family and friends. Thanks for a fabulous 2014, here’s to an amazing 2015!!! Xxx