During the glow of new year optimism I managed to finally wash everything in my clothes hamper. Those pesky whites, the lace skirts…even the dress with the sequins that legitimately needs to be hand washed (not my makeshift hand washing consisting of individual bra bags on the gentle cycle). I then ironed everything and put it away. …Well, I attempted to – except I ran out of coat hangers. Some tops, dresses and skirts were already sharing!  I had a problem and it was time to do something. First week back, 3rd of January, I walked into work and pledged to the ladies at work I would not repeat an item until March. I had to collect their jaws from the floor on the way to the next meeting. How would I keep track? Everything was now ironed! And now here I am in March. How did I go? What did I learn from my 8 week challenge? I have waayyy too many clothes. I really missed wearing my favourites and my Christmas presents from my sister. Even an 8 week challenge couldn’t stop me from buying a cute Marcs skirt on sale! Eeekkk. The black business skirt I bought in August 2012 for my first ‘office job’ still fits and it’s actually great. I rediscovered a bunch of things I had totally forgotten I owned. The slightly too tight size 6 Review dress I bought on sale for $99 2 years ago is now definitely zipper-likely-to-bust tight now and its cost per wear is still very hiiiiigh. I really did not miss ironing my week’s worth of work clothes on a Sunday night. I lost a lot of time during the mornings lying in my towel on my bed overwhelmed by the decision. A staple style makes for easy outfits. Choosing a new outfit was exhausting…particularly with slimmer pickings in Week 6-8. Making it ‘dress week’ or ‘skirt week’ made it soo much easier. A uniform of sorts! I love dresses and skirts, but with only 3 pairs of cropped pants, despite it being 80%+ humidity, I missed wearing pants. I foolishly found myself in jeans on a 30 degree, 85% humid day just because…pants. I loved being asked if an old dress was new…particularly when I avoided it because it was frumpy / tight / pink etc. I really don’t like pink. I realised my old favourite dress didn’t bring the same joy as it used to. And I longed to wear my new favourite. Guys have it soo much easier, particularly when I see them wander through the city with their 5 dry-cleaned shirts for the week. Could I get away with only 5 dresses? Hmmm. I need more shoes to go with all my dresses. #kidding. But seriously I think I wore about 6 pairs over the 8 weeks, with 1 pair of summer sandals at least 3 days each week. I could have gone at least another 2 weeks. Not.Even.Kidding.        which led me too…  Looking past the token Charity ‘bin’ option into more sustainable clothing recycling options. After 8 weeks I was left pretty embarrassed and confused. How did I get here?  I have a dozen dresses and skirts I have made myself. I fix items that break. I avoid buying from H&M, Cotton On, Zara and other retailers providing the means for the never-stopping fast fashion treadmill (Although frustratingly those same brands have actually some of the best ethical production ratings in Australia…although output volume, item life and environmental toll isn’t factored into the mix). But in reality, I’m the same as everyone else. I get bored easily, I struggle to let go and I really love Marcs (and their sales). And so with another move on the horizon, this past weekend I decided to clear things out. I took a bag to church on Sunday (*only half pictured) and many found lovely new homes. The dozen work tops I seldom wear. Gone. My old favourite dress. Gone. The crop pants that had been collecting dust. Gone. One of the ladies is off to India in a couple of weeks, so I’ll give a few items to her. But what about the rest? How do I avoid my carelessness + frivolous spending ending up costing the environment more? I did some research and worked out a plan. I now have 2 bags in my car. The few items left that are work environment friendly and good quality I’ll drop off for Suited to Success, and the rest will go to H&M. As for my sanity, I’m feeling much better post-wardrobe cleanout. Everyone has their own individual hanger, it’s not a battle to put things away and I have a dozen hangers spare! – – – And if you made it all the way down here, past all my self-talk to convince myself I need to do a Phase 2… What did I wear today? My new favourite dress of course. I call it my Queensland dress. 🙂 Care to share?Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)
Eeeek, and like that we’re more than a week into 2018. And today every treadmill, elliptical, bike and stairclimber were occupied in the gym at 5.30pm; the new year’s resolution game is evidently strong. But y’all know this girl doesn’t make resolutions. Goals. This girl sets goals. This girl kicks goals. Well most times. If we’ve spoken of late, you’ll know it’s gonna be a big year. But big or small, I keep moving forward. Fitness goal/s After last year’s half marathon (and subsequent injuries) we’re keeping it short and sharp this year… and aiming for speed. Let’s go sub-25min 5km. PB is sitting at 26:22mins at the moment, so it looks like carving off 10-12secs per km. Seems achievable if I can get these little legs moving again…prefs without the dull aches or sharp shooting pains. But as I learnt last year, focus solely on the bottom half and your top half becomes useless. I finally lost out to commercialised fitness and joined a gym last year, and slowly the upper body strength is increasing. You can only go up when zero pushups was the baseline. This year, I’m aiming for 5 unassisted pull ups. I’m still only lifting about half my weight at the moment, so a few more kgs to go… Intellectual goal If you caught my 17 in 2017, you’ll know that I epically failed reading 17 books last year so the goal remains. Categories remain: 4 x novels, 4 x non-fiction, 4x theology, 4 x professional + 1 bonus read. And because I set the rules in which I play, audiobooks are in. Good thing my Netflix parasitising has come to an end. Sigh. Socially responsible living goal I dug every ep of The Chaser’s War on Everything and so when I hear any of the crew have new projects, I’m 100% in. Craig Reucassel’s War on Waste on ABC was fab. I’ve had so many conversations where the program has genuinely prompted them to start consciously caring about their waste and environmental impact. And I’m there. Throw in a few more docos and after some judgemental digs on everything from eggs to plastic straws, I had my mother ask if I’d become a hippy at Christmastime. Remember reduce, reuse, recycle? This year I’m committing to buying no more new plastic products for food storage, reusing packaging where possible and recycling as much as possible. I have three bins: paper/cardboard/glass, soft plastics and finally landfill. A slow shift in behaviour last year, it’s not been convenient to wash and reuse snaplock bags, nor easy to remember to grab the soft plastic waste when ducking to Coles. But in time, I’m hoping separating waste becomes second nature, as does carrying canvas bags with me. I’m also committing to exploring environmentally-friendly cleaning products and even reducing my meat + dairy consumption. But bacon is staying in 2018. Maple bacon particularly. Professional goal Another goal I didn’t achieve last year, but learnt from the journey. Adventure awaits. Character goal We’re all on our own journeys. And in the words of my manager, we all have not “weaknesses” but “areas for development”. And my goodness I hope God sustains me for a long time, ’cause I’m going to need it. Irony is, because of grace and mercy, we’ll can all be made brand new in a perfect new heavens and earth. Alas. I’ll leave this one for an offline chat. Faith goals “But you’re leaving soon enough, why do you even care?” was probably the most hurtful thing said to me last year. Life takes us to different places and for different seasons. But however long and wherever we are, whoever we’re surrounded by, we laugh with, grieve with, celebrate with…do life together with. The grass always seems greener somewhere else, but it rarely is. So I’m committing to the people around me. Money. Time. Energy. Loving people. Serving people. Listening to people. Praying for people. Whether it’s a dinner to provide company, cleaning the floor, bringing in washing, providing rest, throwing in extra $$, i’ll take the cost. Less cash flow, head lice, bruised toes or a messy home. Whatever the personal cost, I’m committing. But then again, I’m not perfect and I’ll fail, and i’ll inevitable offend or overstep the mark, and for that I’m thankful for forgiveness + grace.   And there’s my direction set for 2018. I expect they’ll be a challenge but keen to give them all a red hot go. I love talking goals and pushing beyond a seemingly comfortable life.What are your goals? Let’s chat. Finally, if you bothered to read my dreary thoughts on this largely abandoned blog and made it all the way down here – a reward. Thank you. Care to share?Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)
It may be 4 days into 2018, but I’m hoping I’m still in the window to reflect on the year that was…before I launch too far into 2018. Last year I did an original ‘16 in 2016‘ and because I’m super lazy again, and this is largely for my own benefit, I’m going to do, wait for it, 17 reflections on 2017 – in no specific order. 1. Exploring Australia + New Zealand If there was any doubt where my cash went this year, the 26 flights might have something to do with it. I managed, 22 within Australia + 4 to/from New Zealand. Scrolling through Insta was fun to relive the adventures and I am constantly amazed at the diversity of the land bestowed to us. Despite having a country the size of all of Europe, Australians do a terrible job of exploring our own backyard. And that I did in 2017. (…and because my sister moved across the ditch, it got a couple of visits too.) Quick calculation of nights away = 52 January: Surfers Paradise (3), Melbourne (2) February: Sydney (3) March: Sydney (2) April: Sydney (5) May: Noosa (2) June: Rockhampton/Yeppoon (1), Mackay (2) July: Forster (4), Sydney (1), Queenstown (5) August: Sydney (5) September: October: Outback Queensland (3), Auckland (3), Sydney (1) November: December: Sydney (10) 2. Half Marathon A 2017 goal, I ticked this bad boy off in May up in Noosa. A minute shy of my sub-2 goal, alas. Never a runner, I would never thought running 21km would be achievable, let alone enjoyable. 3. Injury Unfortunately much of this year was juggling shin splints that progressed to stress fractures and continue to haunt me. It wasn’t until I couldn’t run that I realised how much I enjoyed it…and needed it to run out + process life. I accrued a nice physio bill…but, Mr Turnbull, still remain cost neutral without private health insurance. 4. Swimming + Cycling I swam laps of a pool for the first time in a decade, and the only time outside of my largely participatory efforts at school swimming carnivals. I’ve got a long way to go, but it’s strangely relaxing…amongst the overwhelming feeling of drowning from exhaustion mid-lap. I bought Laura’s bike and learnt to ride a road bike. After running, you can get so far on a bike over the same time! 5. Loss + loneliness I said goodbye to my last grandparent in April – my grandpa who was weeks shy of his 90th. I said goodbye to friends + family who moved away. I had a number of periods of sheer loneliness that took me by surprise. 6. New home After a few months of anxiety, I moved out and made a place of my own – possibly the best decision I made last year. I love my little apartment – it’ll be sad to say goodbye! 7. Insecurity Big girl pants were necessary on a number of occasions as I negotiated contract extensions and overcome a significant moment of job insecurity. 8. Tears Despite popular opinion, I can report the tear ducts are still functioning. The stone-hearted girl broke out in tears a number of times fare-welling Grandpa and, a first, late one night reading ‘Still Alice’. 9. Reading fail Aiming to read 17 books was an epic fail. I shamefully managed to complete very few… Big little lies, Liane Morriety Still Alice, Lisa Genova Dreams of my father, Barack Obama The Rosie Effect, Graeme Simpson The Girl from Aleppo, Nujeen Mustafa In progress: Mere Christianity, CS Lewis Screwtape Letters, CS Lewis Option B, Sheryl Sandberg Prayer, Tim Keller 1984, George Orwell Buyology, Martin Lindstrom Nudge, Richard Thaler + Cass Sunsteen Thrive, Ariana Huffington 10. Netflix + Movies This list is way too long to list and directly contributed to the above reading failure…although I’m glad 3 Australian movies made it on my list this year. 11. Buying local and less Although challenging to track, I aspired to shop from local stores and markets wear possible. There were pockets were i slipped back to my online ways, particularly in the lead to Christmas. But by the very nature of avoiding chain stores, I bought much less…particularly clothing (except Marcs) 12. Leaving church “I’m thinking about leaving church.” I had way too many of conversations that started with this line last year, from the valid to the hurtful. Leaving church isn’t easy for anyone – the person leaving nor the people left behind. Unfortunately I found myself exhausted for various periods challenging and/or encouraging friends I’m at church with and others at various others through the process. (Don’t get me wrong, there are very valid reasons to leave churches, but also some lazy reasons too). 13. Gym Yes, this anti-gym evangelist i-hate-commercialised-exercise joined a gym. It was was time to build strength after completing my half marathon in hope of a ripped back and toned arms… yet to be seen. (As are any pull-ups.) 14. Mel + animals. A gallery. Cute animals, it’ll win every time…or just a photo of someone so completely terrified that it’s hilarious. Instagram was proof.    15. Answered prayer Ask me and I’ll happily share. From healing to housemates, jobs to joy. 16. 17. New adventures Although a mic-drop was contemplated back in September when the paperwork came through, I’m looking forward to new adventures in 2018. Care to share?Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)
Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically, as something done for the Lord and not for men, knowing that you will receive the reward of an inheritance from the Lord. You serve the Lord Christ. And with the rising of the sun streaming through the curtains came a new year – a new year of the Lord’s unfailing love and mercy. A year of blessings and no doubt pain. A year of adventure and memory making. A year of patience but also one of yearning for a time to come.  Care to share?Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)
We all have love hate relationships with new year resolutions. We love making resolutions because new years mark new beginnings. They provide the opportunity to start afresh. Stop doing something; start doing another. We hate them because we’ve all been there before and we know they don’t last. We finish holidays, we go back to our routines and our old habits quickly start again. goal |gəʊl| noun 2 the object of a person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired result Alas, rather than make resolutions, I’m going to set four goals for 2015. I want to look back on 2015 and know that I’ve achieved something. I want to be outcome focussed. After challenging my manager to make her resolutions measurable, here are my SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time specific) goals for 2015: 1. Read one book per month I like reading but like many things we like doing, I don’t read enough. I read about 6 books this year. I have another 6 I never finished – a growing pile on my bedside table. 2. Complete my Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award I started my Duke of Edinburgh’s Award 24 March 2005. I received my Bronze and Silver Awards in successive years and continued on to my Gold Award when I turned 16 in 2007. And, well, I never finished. The Award programme needs to be completed by a participant’s 25th birthday and so I’m running out of time. I have two components outstanding: Learn a skill for 12 months, showing regular commitment Select one physical activity and train regularly for a minimum of 40 hours spread over at least 12 weeks. I hope to complete the first component half way through 2015 with the first anniversary of MelaniePennington.com.au. The second I’m now also working towards with my previous goal of losing 5kgs and an ability to run 5km at less than 6min/km now complete. Yay! When the weather begins to cool I’ll restart lunchtime and post-work runs and clock those 40 hours of running! 3. Finish 2015 in a different role to the one I started I enjoy my workplace, my team and the work that I do, but I’m young, energetic and keen to progress my career. In the interests of sensitivity, I’ll keep the specific cards related to this goal close to my chest. Ask my offline and I’ll be happy to share. 4. Keep a daily prayer schedule I suck at prayer. I’ve read books on it. I’ve prayed about praying more. I’ve repented about praying infrequently. Unfortunately this one this is probably my least thought through goals in 2015, but I do intend to work out a schedule that will work for me very shortly. But I do want 2015 to be characterised by this: Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. // Colossians 4:2   Finally, help me out would you? Ask me how i’m going, how God’s answered my prayers, what book i’ve read recently etc. I’ll happily do the same for you. Happy new year friends! Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. // 1 Peter 1:3       Care to share?Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)