The Evil Place

One day I woke up and went for a walk.
I was walking down a pathway on the street and I saw a man.
The Man told me that the place where I was headed was an evil place, and asked me if I wanted to be saved from it.
I looked at the man, he was missing his legs, and only had his body, and two slim, limp arms to support him up, he reached out his hand to me, as he was lying on the pavement by the side of the road, asking me to take it.
I didn’t take it. I was unsure.
I asked the man about this evil place.
He said that it was a place filled with heartache, anger, violence and abuse.
He said there was no escaping it unless I wanted to be saved.
I asked the man if he had been there before.
He said He hadn’t.
I asked him how he knew about the evil place.
He said someone had told him about it.
I asked him how far along my path will I come across it?
He said he doesn’t know how long it will take to get there, all he knows is that it is along this street.
I said no, and kept walking.

Further along, I came across a woman.
She wore a beautiful blue blouse, with black jeans and she had long flowing dark hair.
She smiled at me and asked me where I was going.
She then told me about a place not far from here.
I asked her about it.
She said it was a place filled with criminals, gang-members and bikies.
She said they would bring me harm.
I asked her if she had ever been there.
She said no, she’d only heard about it.
I asked her what it was called.
She said it was called the evil place.
I asked her how do I avoid it?
She said, she knew how, but I had to follow her.
I asked her where she was going.
She proceeded to walk into the middle of the street directly into oncoming traffic.
She told me, that in order to avoid the evil place, I had to surrender my life.
I continued on my path.

As I kept walking on this path, I came across a couple, dressed in coordination with each other, and a little baby. They looked so happy.
They stopped me on my path, and asked me where I was going.
They told me that they had just had a baby, and they looked like the perfect family.
They asked me if I had a family.
I replied, and said that I was single.
They asked me if I wanted a family.
I said one day.
As I walked away to leave, they grabbed me by my wrists, and tried to pull me onto the street.
I pulled my hands away, and began to run down my path, until I couldn’t see them any longer.

As I continued to walk, I came upon a doorway at the end of my path, attached to a building that I couldn’t get around.
The building was large, and stretched for miles to the left, and miles to the right.
I looked all around me, and there was no one. I could no longer see the couple, and there was no site of the man, whom I had met earlier on my journey.
I knocked on the door.
There was no answer.
I tried the door handle.
It rattled.
I wondered how I was supposed to get past the door. I couldn’t turn back, it was impossible unless I returned from where I came from.
I tried the door handle one more time.
I opened the door.
And then shut it behind me.

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Australia is My Home

 

Recently I went on a short day trip, with some girls, to the country area’s near my city to enjoy a day that is currently a controversial subject in Australia, and that is our country’s national day, “Australia Day”. It has been a time celebrated for over 100 years, to celebrate the day Australia became an official nation, under the British Monarchy, rather than an extension of Britain itself. Australia, originally a British Colony, was a land, people were banished to as prisoners, it was a place that people had no desire to go to. It was also a land, like many, that already had people living in it. The Aboriginals, the original land owners, were and are the most peaceful, kind people I know (reality being there is hate, abuse and violence in all cultures), however, their oppression lives on today through their people, having to acknowledge a day that they are reminded of forever, of their ancestors being imprisoned, and tortured, and bred to become Caucasian. You may be surprised to know that there are still people alive today that had to live through these settlement days of race discrimination.

Australia as a whole however, I believe it to be quite peaceful now, even though we still have our issues. I was born and raised here, and I try hard not to take for granted the freedoms that I have in this country. As a child, my mixed skin colour, was often called “black”, as myself and only 1 other person in the school at the time had the same skin colour as me, my Father being a Dark-Skinned Maori and my Mother being a Pale-Freckled Skin Maori, however I would not classify my skin colour as “Black” or “Brown” probably similar to Mediterranean for perspective. There were others who had darkish skin also, except they had a face similar to that of a European Structure, they didn’t have big lips, and round noses. Children didn’t know any better back then, maybe they do now. Although Racism isn’t something that is of a major issue to us, we are a bit more relaxed in our approach to different nationalities, and tend to say it like it appears. For example, people are unafraid of saying “the Asian girl” or “the African boy”. However we do not use the colour of someone’s skin against them, neither do we use their race or appearance, and those things people seemed insecure in as children, now they can openly share it. We do have our pockets of racism around the country, and in some areas more than others it is bad, especially the tourism capitals like Sydney and the state of Victoria.

In saying all of this, their is one big racism problem we have, which we are trying our hardest to overcome, and that is that many people want the Aboriginal People to become conformed to a society, that they had no choice in being apart of. I believe balance to be the biggest issue here, and I would love it if we lived in a world where Captain Jean Luc-Picard were pleasantly travelling around and inviting and studying other cultures and reaching out a hand that says “Let’s work together”, however the reality is, that we don’t.

I am not trying to be a voice for anybody of any race or skin colour, I simply wanted to write a blog about my day trip on Australia Day. But I also think it is important not to allow ourselves to be ignorant of the reality of Australia Day, we acknowledge it, we appreciate our lives, living in this beautiful country, and we appreciate the original land owners, we celebrate the freedom we have, and we hope to learn more about this land we call home, and the people living in this land, of all races, our now-multicultural land. I think it is also important to recognise the men and woman before us that decided to make a change earlier on in regards to racism, we are kind of lucky I guess, that it was prisoners that arrived here, the ones that were being oppressed also, for stealing a loaf of bread to feed their starving families. The families that decided to adhere to government rules, but also speak and act out against discrimination of cultural differences. Thank you to those people who opened the door of acceptance.

This blog post is not intended to push any political agenda, please understand these are all personal opinions. 

 


Who Switched Off My Brain? By Dr. Caroline Leaf

“Let all bitterness and indignation and wrath (passion, rage, bad temper) and resentment (anger, animosity) and quarrelling (brawling, clamour, contention) and slander (evil-speaking, abusive or blasphemous language)  be banished from you, with all malice (spite, ill will, or base ness of any kind)” -Ephesians 4:31 AMP

Dr Caroline Leaf was a breath of fresh air to the Christian Community when she first started making an international name for herself while, on her world-tour to promote her book “Who Switched off My Brain?” back in the beginning of the 20-teens. I remember as a tired, worn out Christian Servant, sitting in church and listening to her speak was life changing for me, and I thought, finally here is a Christian Woman, not afraid of Science, or the opinion of her fellow Christian Family, ready to revolutionise the way we think. I thought I was ready to hear, and change my negative thoughts as I sat in Church continuously trying to correct my attitude, thinking my imperfect thoughts, were the reason I was doing everybody else’s job and not receiving any recognition. So I purchased all the resources available at the time, made by Dr Leaf, and I thought I was ready to read them. Unfortunately, like most of the “Christian Self-Help” Books I bought, her materials stayed in my book shelf for several years, only to remain there as a reminder that I purchased way too many books from Evangelical Preachers telling me how to live a successful and prosperous life.

Opinion: Dr Leaf is unique, in the fact that she takes a Scientific approach, rather than a Philosophical Approach to what is considered a Christian “Self-Help” book. This approach I find is a successful one, as she communicates in a conversational way, as oppose to it sounding like an Essay on Motor Neurons and the detailed research that it undertook to come to the conclusions that she did. The Switch on Your Brain Process also known as The Brain Sweep in Leaf’s book, includes: Gather, Reflect, Journal, Revisit and Reach. This needs to be done before tackling what she explains to be The Dirty Dozen, “The Brain Sweep questions trigger this process, sweeping away each area of toxic thinking, the Dirty Dozen”(Part Three, “The Science of Thought”, p47). Dr. Leaf describes The Dirty Dozen to be (in order): Thoughts, Emotions, Words, Choices, Dreams, Seeds, Faith, Love, Touch, Seriousness, Health and Schedules.

Likes: Dr. Leaf, mentions in her book, the dangers of holding onto Bad Memories, by simply understanding that we can change our brain chemicals, which effect all aspects of our body, we can do this by changing our thinking. The Book that I purchased was the revised edition, with a workbook to follow along, as I read through the Dirty Dozen, that Dr. Leaf says are important to change in our thought life. For the sake of time, I did not go through every single exercise, nor did I reflect and linger on each part of the Dirty Dozen, but I will go back and do this, as I feel like it may be beneficial to do, for my own personal development.

Dislikes: While I thoroughly enjoyed Dr Leaf’s refreshing approach to science and merging it with philosophy, I do not recommend this book for anybody that is currently having a negative mental health experience, or who is currently living with a serious Mental Illness. I would recommend it more for the person who has maybe recently found a moments victory through their depression, or someone who is finally experiencing life again after a spell of grief. Dr Leaf remains positive throughout the whole book, and while that sounds like it would be beneficial, it is more likely not going to reel in someone who currently struggles to hear their own thoughts, let alone the writings of someone else. This is because Dr. Leaf approaches this method like a Neuro-Psychologist, rather than a Counsellor, and while she makes it sound simple, and provides us with a colourful, moving image to help us see what can happen if we change our thinking, the reality of making the choice to do this, I believe needs to come from a personal level, relatable to the individual receiving the information (however some may disagree).

Final Note: Would I recommend this book to everyone? Well, it has a lot of Christian Lingo in it, which can become confusing to people who do not identify personally as someone who lives as a Christian. There are similar books, with different methods, that teach similar ways, just without the Neuro-Science language and Christian Lingo. If you are not interested in Neuro-Science, I recommend you find another self-help book, however find something with rituals or simple daily habits, that you can do to improve your life, and improve your thinking, if that is what you are interested in. Otherwise, I really enjoyed this book, I personally enjoy listening to Dr. Leaf, and I follow her You Tube Channel and Podcast, as I find the way she explains information very motivating.

Rating 2.5/5


Sunrise: A Play by Jessie Cave

Jessie Cave, is a 30-something British Actress / Artist / Comedian / Mother / Fellow Millennial and has recently started selling copies of her successful comedy show “Sunrise”. I have personally been a fan of Cave, since her days in the Harry Potter films, and then I was lead to her You Tube Channel, before becoming a big fan of her Instagram stories and Post’s of all of her artwork, and now with her Comedy Play and her current tour of England, I was sure I was never going to be able to ever see a play of hers, so I decided to purchase a copy of the play written into a book, with art work featured, just before Christmas started. Of course, I was away in the United States of America, so I was pleased when I arrived home from trip to have beautifully wrapped brown paper package, covered in sparkly stickers, and pictures, with my name and address perfectly printed by Cave herself just for me!

Opinion: This book is perfect for the Millennial 25-35 year old (but anyone over the age of 18 is suitable to read it) who is learning the many lessons of life, love and relationships. I personally find her comedy refreshing, and like-minded, although, she is much more brave in her openness of sharing the intimate details of her personal affairs. The story or the play rather, revolves around Cave (for obvious reasons) while she simultaneously juggles motherhood, sisterhood, work/ business and her love life, while holding onto love for her old flame, who happens to also be the father of her two children. She goes into graphic detail about the complications of her casual relationship, as well feeling the guilt of leaving her children at home while she ventures into the world trying to maintain a personal life (she sounds like a brilliant mother by the way, and if you’re in doubt, follow her Instagram page, where she posts all about the reality of daily life as a mother two little ones!)

Likes: The brutal and honest truth Cave presents and shares with her audience is both confronting and yet, fulfilling. Almost like when you’ve been holding in a secret, or a surprise that has been weighing on you, and that feeling you get when you finally share it with someone, it’s both frightening and yet strangely satisfying (not in a crude way). I also enjoy the artwork Cave shares throughout the story, I think it is meant to be childlike, but presented in an adult way.

Dislikes: There is not much to dislike, and it is most likely I am being biased (because of the Harry Potter Films) but I am never going to meet this woman, so I am not going to need to impress her, so I will say with confidence this is a brilliant book/play for anyone over the age of 18! I should note that unlike Cave, I do not venture into the dating world to do the casual thing, but I have experienced many of the ups and downs of rejection from people who probably don’t deserve my attention.

If you’re someone who doesn’t generally enjoy reading as a relaxing or fun activity, then this book, may be the book to change your mind. It is simple to read, plenty of pictures, plenty of entertainment in the form of comedy, and it is only 70 pages long, so you could read it in a day! Or longer if you prefer :).

Rating 4.5/5


January Newsletter

Important Notes

Welcome to 2019! I know it’s been a fortnight since 2019 has started, but how amazing has the year been so far! I apologise that I couldn’t post the last 2 Christmas Posts of 2018, so I will be posting them this week, as I didn’t realise how busy I would be on my trip to the United States of America! I then chose to take the first Sunday of January as a break, and chose to start posting this week. I know there are those of you, who are amazing at keeping up to date with posts, and thank you so much! I hope you had a Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year! The whole month of January is kind of like the New Year for me, a month of preparation, and so far it has been incredibly productive. Whatever your goals and intentions of the year are, I hope that they find you well, and that whatever 2019 means for you, I hope it’s a good one!

Goals and Intentions

As I have been scrolling through the Word Press Reader, I have noticed many different blog posts titled “New Year, New You” or “New Year, Who am I?”, but not only have I seen this in the Word Press Reader, I have also seen these titles in my Twitter Feed, and when scrolling through Instagram. This season for many people, as I have noticed is a season, to find yourself, and what makes up who you are? Usually I am late to the party,  but for this one, I was a few years too early. As this is not the season I am in at all! I have spent the last few years learning about myself, among other things, as I had plenty of personal time to do this. However, I don’t believe we ever stop learning about ourselves, I just think, we learn at different stages of our lives, others opinions may differ on the topic, but this is my understanding.

If I were to describe what I am expecting for this year, it would be “laying the foundations” and “finding your tribe”, these are the key elements that have been jumping out at me over the last month or so, as well as four words “balance, wisdom, knowledge and serenity”.

Laying the Foundations: this means to me, that I am setting up the groundwork, for the future years in my life. What I decide to do right now matters! Not that it hasn’t mattered in the past, it’s just that it’s more intentional to do so now, and if I don’t seize the moment to lay down a straight path, and the foundations to build my future on now, then I will be working on uneven, and rocky ground. This applies to all area’s in my life, mentally, spiritually, physically, financially, even superficially (hehe, that last one I thought I’d throw in just for fun! Vanity is, well, it is very important what we think of ourselves! hehe!)

Finding your Tribe: A group of people, I can be myself with, a group of people that I can come together with, despite all our differences, and enjoy each others companies. Friends who I can play board games with, friends who love card games, friends who are loud, friends who are quiet, friends who are serious and friends who are positive, friends who aren’t too busy to sit with me at church, or go on camping trips with me. In all honesty, I am a bit of a lone wolf. I don’t mind being on my own, I find it easier, journeying alone. I can easily make friends, but I can just as easily walk away from them, without thinking about what my disappearance means to them, even just to clear my head. But a community of friends, that I can spend my life with, is very important to me, as it is to any person, and this has been on my heart for a while now.

Balance, Wisdom, Knowledge and Serenity: not that I have any, and not that I don’t have any, but these four words and their meanings are incredibly important to me and will be the theme I lay out for myself through out this year.

Balance // an even distribution of weight enabling someone or something to remain upright and steady

Wisdom // the quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgement; the quality of being wise

Knowledge // awareness or familiarity gained by experience of a fact or situation

Serenity // the state of being calm, peaceful, and untroubled

Upcoming Blog Posts

January 13th / Blog / January Newsletter

January 13th / Blog / Christmas at Hogsmeade

January 20th / Blog / An Idealistic Society

January 20th / Books / “Sunrise: A Play by Jessie Cave” Book Review

January 27th / Books / “Who Switched off My Brain by Dr Caroline Leaf” Book Review

Scripture

“But blessed is the man who trusts me, God, the woman who sticks with God. They’re like trees replanted in Eden, putting down roots near the rivers – Never a worry through the hottest of summers, never dropping a leaf, Serene and calm through droughts, bearing fresh fruit every season” – Jeremiah 17:7-8 (MSG)


Christmas at Hogsmeade

 

It happened… I finally got my owl post Hogwarts letter.

Well, the Hogwarts at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Orlando at least!

20181223_1023331620098517.jpgAshamedly I have to admit, that I had never read a Harry Potter book up until last year (2018), I am afraid that when I was 15 years old, and raving on about the latest Harry Potter movie to one of my Church Pastors, I was given a long, loving lecture about the implications the effects of a Harry Potter Book can have on my life and spirit. Of course, I listened, and hid my deep affection for Daniel Radcliffe’s dreamy blue eyes, and flowing raven locks, and Emma Watsons portrayal of the brave and beautiful as well as intelligent Hermione Granger, who had an admirable dedication to her work, and the loving Rupert Grint who showed Ron’s protective, wise and goofy nature, and effectively denied ever having any interest in the Harry Potter novels to anyone who cared to listen. After taking some time apart from my loving church family with whom I grew up with, and as I started taking care of myself, and learning about the things I am interested in, and what type of person I am, I couldn’t ignore the childhood wonder of the Harry Potter world, created by author J.K. Rowling. So I purchased copies of all of the books, and thought to myself, I’m bound to read one of them one day, surely!

20181223_101441341755802.jpgYears rolled by, until one day, I was sitting at my desk, trying to find the motivation to study as I had mountain-loads of work due in, I was tired, and the effect on me of the chocolate I was eating, had worn off, and I decided to put a “Ruby Granger” You Tube Video on, as she is currently studying the same course as myself, only quite significantly younger than I, and doing incredibly better than I, in her dedication to her work. Of course I compared myself to her, and saw the version of myself I had hoped to be when I was younger, but instead of following my dreams, I dedicated my life to becoming something I was never going to be, because I thought that was the only vocation for me. During one of her videos, which I was watching due to plenty of procrastination, she was asked which Harry Potter book was her favourite, and she replied “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” which I thought, well everyone likes that one! (so I’ve heard) Her answer as to the reasons why, were because of the chapter on Hermione Granger and her hard work and studying, mentioning that it inspired her with her own studying, and I thought to myself: That’s the Secret!20181223_021427608863165.jpg

I have always been a big Luna Lovegood fan myself, as I feel a kindred likeness towards her, even though she was created to be a unique character, I feel she has a deep wisdom, which many overlook due to her kooky nature, and her polar opposite Hermione Granger (as detailed by Rowling herself) whom I have never had a connection with, although I might share a name with the actress, I never felt a likeness to her at all, but maybe that was it, maybe I didn’t need to find her relatable, maybe I just needed to find some inspiration in her.

20181223_101959772519180.jpgSo I thought to myself, amongst the piles of paperwork surrounding my desk, why don’t I start reading the Harry Potter Series now, I think it’s time? And with that, I started reading the very first Harry Potter Novel, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, and I couldn’t put it down! Well I had to of course, to do my university work, but I didn’t want to. I found myself taking short breaks after studying just to finish the book, and within 2 days, I had written and edited and sourced a 1750 word essay, and x4 Reader Reviews and submitted them all in a timely manner and finished the first book of the series! I was so impressed with my self! I felt like I had gotten my love for reading back, that love for reading a novel for the first time, which I had ignored for a large portion of my 20’s. So if you enjoy the series, or if you are interested in finding out what all the hype is about, surrounding the novels, you can look forward to some book reviews of each novel in the future!

I have since joined Pottermore, and been placed in my Hogwarts House, as well as taken the Patronus Charm Quiz, The Ilvermorny House Quiz and the Wand Quiz. As you can see, I take my Hogwarts House Placement very seriously (hehe). Of Course, Harry Potter is not the only Fan Base I am apart of, I have never considered myself a Nerd, as that always brings a negative, immature tone towards someone interested in something unpopular, or only made popular by a specific group of people, but I am essentially what society might call a nerd, and I was able to enjoy many other places I travelled to in America, like visiting NASA, and witnessing the next Space Ship being built! I also visited the Grand Canyon, as well as other adventures, which will be mentioned in the next Christmas post. 20181223_032735830036162.jpg

I was able to enjoy a nice warm butterbeer at the Three Broomsticks Inn at Hogsmeade, as well as a yummy lunch. I also did a little bit of shopping at Honeydukes, before ending the evening with a nice view of the Hogwarts Christmas Light Show. I wanted to visit a few more places before leaving, like the Leaky Cauldron, and Ollivanders, but I also had a travelling companion with me, and we couldn’t spend the whole day in Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley, much to my dismay. We did take a photo with a Hogwarts Express Train Conductor, and he quizzed me on what my favourite class is at Hogwarts, of course by this time, I was only up to my third book, and I completely blanked out, and most of my answers were mumbles, and head nods. Poor Bloke, I think he must get that often, as he seemed to be used to it.

Overall, I enjoyed my time at Hogsmeade, and I look forward to returning in the future, and hopefully spending more time there. If you are interested, I made a short video, of Hogsmeade, and the last 5 minutes of the video is the Hogwarts Christmas Light Show, (which gave me very sore arms, holding the camera up for 5 minutes, hehe) it was made specifically for this blog post, so that you could see Hogsmeade as well!

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There were more photo’s of course, fitting them all in was hard! If you follow me on Instagram you can find more photo’s of my trip there! If you are a member of Pottermore, and have taken you’re Hogwarts House Quiz, I would be interested in learning what house you’ve been sorted into! I wonder if you can guess what Hogwarts house I have been sorted in? Anyway, this was the first of two Christmas Blog Posts, See you in the Next Blog Post!

 


The Christmas Secret by Karen Swan

 

The Christmas Secret is about a young 31 year old Executive Coach from New York City, who travels to the small community Island, Islay, Scotland a few weeks before Christmas to assist the CEO of Kentallen Distilleries, Lochlan Farquhar head of an esteemed Whisky Company, regain control of his business before his troublesome ways destroy the company.

Opinion: The book contains references to the past through descriptive diary entries, and then recollecting back to the present. This made the story difficult to engage in, as there was no connection to the past and present until later chapters, and there was no inclination as to what these past references were meant to mean to the main characters. The love story was predictable between the two characters, however, it took a very long time to play out, not until the very end are we pleased with the circumstances surrounding the two. In fact I would liken it to a movie or a television series, where the reader or in this example viewer is aware of the general direction of the story, but knows that space has to be filled in between in order to come to the desired conclusion, therefore they are prepared for the story to outplay during the allotted time given, however reading the story, meant there was a lot of unnecessary details given.

Likes: The Main Character was modern, stylish, and relatable to the desired target audience. The Scottish scenery is unique, but made the story very enjoyable, imagining a small village, in the winter at Christmas time.

Dislikes: I am not a huge fan of love stories, but wanted a Christmas book to read over the month of December, so I may be biased in my opinion, but the book, took too long to come to the conclusion of the two main characters falling in love. There was too much over description of some items or actions, and there was not enough description of the physical appearance of the main characters, mainly their demeanour and their outfits were described, but not their physical appearance.

This story was not necessarily a Christmas story as the title suggests, but rather a story that outplays during Christmas. The Author’s target audience is a woman of my age, however, I did not enjoy this book overall, but if you enjoy a love story, perhaps this might be the book for you to read, however, it does not need to be read at Christmas time, it can be read anytime of the year.

Rating 1/5