30 Day Gratitude Challenge

Life happens. Life gets in the way.

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Work.

Family.

Friends.

Bills.

Relationships.

Mental Health.

Physical Health.

Self-Worth.

The world.

Life happens, and life gets in the way.

How blessed we are to live it, to wake up each day and know that we get another chance, another 24 hours.

I have been having some pretty shocking struggles in the last six or so months. So rather than sitting here struggling to think of topics to write about, working out what rabbit hole to send my mind down instead of circling the drain – where to go intellectually, emotionally and spiritually. Instead of uncertainty, confusion and the back and forth nonsense, I am going to focus on a 30 Day Gratitude Challenge.

Wish me luck, and please tag me in your comments or share my posts and let me know what you think.

x Courtney Gaye x

Lemon Delicious – my Paleo Lemon Curd πŸ‹ πŸ‹ πŸ‹

πŸ‹Β I adore Lemon Curd. Lemon Butter. Lemon Meringue. Lemon Tart. Lemon Water. Lemons. All of the lemon varieties.

There is just something alluring with the bitter + sweet collision any lemon desserts bring.

After consuming my body weight in homemade lemon butter before Christmas last year, I decided that I needed to find a better approach. I’ve tried other sweeteners, but I find the fake stuff to be too chemically in its taste and the natural sweeteners I find to be a little overwhelming with their taste.

So, I decided to try a few different kinds of honey. This has been a real trial and error process, but I can honestly say that my latest batch is my favourite. I was fortunate enough to be able to make this batch with organic lemons and organic free-range eggs from my brother and my Mum, which I think makes it even more special that this was the batch that finally worked!

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon zest
  • .5 cups of freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3 medium to large eggs
  • .3 cup of organic honey (you can use less for a more tart experience or more for sweeter. Remember that the honey is your only sweetener here so your taste will be quite personal)
  • 6 tablespoons of fractionated coconut oil

Method

  1. Zest the lemons, placing the zest aside into one bowl
  2. Juice the lemons (trust me, you do not want to try and zest an already-juiced lemon)
  3. Place the eggs, honest and lemon zest into a small to a medium saucepan, whisk gently (be sure not to split the mixture, stir it gently and make sure your yolks have been separated)
  4. Stir mixture over the low heat until the mixture is slightly thickened (the best way to test this is to lift your whisk above the pot and see if the mixture is slightly sticky as it drips)
  5. Once the mixture is a pale yellow and thickened (as above), slowly pour your mixture of oil & lemon juice in, one tablespoon at a time (a rough estimate from a pouring jug will be fine!), ensuring you continue to gently whisk the mixture.
  6. Continue whisking the mixture until it begins to gently bubble, this can take a while so no need to stir vigorously, just take your time and do not let the mixture burn.
  7. I like to can my curds, so if you are doing this, make sure you rinse any glass jars with hot water and sterilise in the oven before pouring your lemon butter into it.
  8. Make sure you strain the mixture before you store it, to ensure you have no cooked egg lumps or any lemon zest in your final mixture.

IMG_7420This mixture will last 2-3 weeks in your fridge, however, I am willing to bet it will be eaten before then!

If you try it, let me know!

Thank you for reading my post and supporting my charity-drives from month-to-month.

As mentioned on my Instagram, I am raising money this month for Black Rainbow Australia. This organisation is fantastic and you can read more about them here.

If you would like to donate to my fundraising cause for the month please feel free to donate through my PayPal account here:

You can follow me on Instagram here.

 

My business Facebook page can be found here.

If you would like to be kept up to date on items for sale, new arrivals, special discount and updates on my fundraising you can subscribe to my newsletter here.

x Courtney Gaye x

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Tired, Toxic & Stressed

At 33 to say I feel emotionally and spiritually congested is an understatement. I try to practice mindfulness, I read, I sleep, I stopped smoking, I eat relatively well. I exercise when I can but I still feel stuck.

I feel stuck in a way a car can be on soft sand not really able to go forwards or backwards (depending on the driver, if you ask literally any man near you). I feel congested. I feel emotionally and spiritually constipated. Which is a really feral way to word something but it is the aptest description of how I am feeling.

I want to feel clear, I want to feel light and I want to feel energised. I want to love myself. I know I need a detox, but of what exactly is beyond me.

I’ve tried massages and mostly just felt entirely freaked out. I went off the booze for several months and felt awful. I stopped eating meat four months ago and even that hasn’t made me feel any better. I just feel so heavy. I have no idea what would even work at this point.

This does not feel like a situation for a day spa, this is more…internal.

I believe in holistic help, I believe in Western Medicine, I believe in mindfulness, I believe in ghosts. I am really open to anything. So where do I go to seek assistance with my mind and my soul? I don’t want to spend thousands of dollars on a spa with indulgent procedures – my epidermis is not the problem here.

My pain is emotional, my spirit is disturbed and all of this comes out in physical ailments. I get sick, I get sad, my skin plays up, my hair falls out. There have been moments where I have nearly convinced myself that surely I am somehow possessed?

I have no clue where the source of the pain is, all I know is that this has been a long term drama. For the first time in my life, I am willing to push everything aside, drown out all of the naysayers and put my trust into someone who might be able to use some kind of intuitive healing or investigation into this problem within me. Is this a thing? Where does someone go for this type of help?

I am sure it is a combination of diet, exercise, inner cleansing, probiotics, massage, meditation, sweating or something but honestly. I cannot even begin to get my head in the right space to even try!

If you have any advice at all, I would love to hear it. How do I get my sh*t together when every method I have tried has not at all worked?

 

x Courtney x

 

Gratitude Journal Day 5 – I am grateful I can hear…

Gratitude Journal Day 5 – I am grateful I can hear…

Music

The sound of the Australian bush

The intro to my favourite tv shows

My little Niece and Nephew saying my name

The boarding announcements prior to an adventure

Campfires

The sound of an excited pet when you come home

The popping of champagne bottles

The perfectly executed high-five

The silence at the top of a mountain

The ‘I love you’s’

 

What are you thankful you can hear?

x Courtney x

 

 

Gratitude Journal – Day 5 -Financially

Gratitude Journal – Day 4 -Financially

It is said you should not talk about politics, sex or money in public settings or with people you do not trust. I have had people absolutely freak out in the past when I have asked them how much they earn. I suppose given I am Gen-Y, I really did not consider it to be a rude question, I was curious, I also never became jealous at someone else’s wage. We weren’t doing the same jobs, we had different industries and qualifications, why wouldn’t I just be happy for my friends?

In terms of gratitude, I might take a different route here.

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Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

I am thankful for how my parents taught me too look at and deal with money.

We were not rich, my parents worked two jobs each at any one time and my Mum was back at work within two months of having her babies. They worked so hard. They did not complain about it, it was instilling in us that there are no hand-outs. If you want something, you need to work for it.

When I was 14 and 9 months I started working. Here in Australia and back in 2001, that was the age you needed to be to start working. My parents had pretty high expectations of me in terms of being accountable with money. My first pay week I was paid $64 (such a strange thing to remember eighteen years later).

I remember paying $40 for a Billabong school bag, I bought a coke and a couple of magazines and that was that, pay gone. Yes, I said school bag. I had an old bag from a proper bag shop but I was 14 and I too wanted a brand-name bag. It was sky blue and gorgeous. It was completely impractical, squashed all of my things and was not comfortable but I was so proud that I had paid for it.

The next pay Mum and Dad let me know I would need to pay board weekly, buy my own toiletries and anything else I wanted. I had so many people around me freak out about this. They thought my parents were being unfair. Which they weren’t.

I have had a budget since I was 15, I know what needs to go where and when. I had an ING account at 16, long before it was easy to do so. That’s not to say I have been super responsible with money, I have absolutely blown the budget, ended up in debt, paid interest rates which would make your eyes water and purchased a stack of sh*t I in no way needed.

person writing debt on paper
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

I’ve also travelled around the world. I own my car. I have a few clothes, not from k-mart and I have a photography kit I am very proud of. My spreadsheet is still going strong, I manage my money well, and I have such a healthy appreciation for working for your money.

I work my butt off, I have my side business selling accessories for a very small profit which I donate to charity. I married a man who treats income and money the way I do. We have goals and plans and we know that we are the only ones who will achieve them.

The world owes you nothing. You are responsible for your own financial situation. Of course, I am not including anyone who has been the victim of fraud or who has been financially dependent on someone and had that taken away, but from two people who were raised by four people who still work their arses off to live the life they want, just know that you can do it.

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Photo by Lukas on Pexels.com

My tips *not at all endorsed by any financial advisor or with any actual technical knowledge*

  • Short-term payday loans are a horrendous thing. Do NOT do them. You will absolutely screw your credit rating and if you are not diligent in your repayments you are looking at incredibly high-interest rates.
  • Afterpay is NOT responsible for your debt. You are. Afterpay has been set-up to provide a take-home lay-buy service. You read the T&C’s, signed on the dotted line and committed to your repayments. If you end up taking on more than you can repay, then I am sorry that’s on you. It is not a financial ‘trap’, there is absolutely no additional money you need to fork out if you make your repayments on time.
  • Do not avoid debt collector phone calls. They are legally obligated to strike a deal with you to repay your debt. Ignoring these calls does not make the issue go away. It becomes more expensive and you are seriously jeopardising your credit rating in doing so. Take the call, accept responsibility and come to an agreement.
  • Do NOT declare bankruptcy there are always steps before this. Declaring bankruptcy may seem ideal because in some circumstances they ‘wipe’ your debt. Do you know what else is wiped? Your right to travel internationally, work in any insurance or banking field or obtain any credit for who knows how long!

Ask for help, speak up – contact your bank. As for extensions, ask for help. Stop taking debt. Know that you have choices, always.

x Courtney x

 

 

Gratitude Journal – Day 4 -Today I am grateful for

Gratitude Journal – Day 4 -Today I am grateful for

Is there anything you could be more thankful for, aside from being given the day to be asked this question? Even though some days are so incredibly difficult and dark – we are still able to answer the question.

For me, today I am thankful for having peace. My mind is at ease, my anxiety and depression are controllable and I am currently listening to two of my favourite people laughing in the other room.

I am able to sit and write, to go through photos I love, to plan for the future. To respond to my friend’s messages with ease and with want.

This week has not been perfect, my emotions have not been perfect but today, today I am at peace.

My Husband and I are making plans for the future, plans which are far more attainable than they were only 6 months ago. Our lives are improving every day, our relationship goes from strength to strength and we are surrounded by people who love us, love for us and love with us.

x Courtney x

Gratitude Journal Day 3 – Hometown

Gratitude Journal Day 3 – Hometown

I actually don’t have one? I would say that Brisbane is home, but there certainly is not a suburb or town that I would equate with ‘hometown’.

By the time I was ten we had moved ten times and I was already up to my fifth school. To define a home ‘town’ is too tricky. So instead, I will write about home.

Home was always where Mum was. We had learned from a young age never to have too much attachment to a place, a room, a tree or a house. Our home was our family, wherever our roots were at any one time.

Home was where the sounds of music blasted when Mum was cleaning or cooking. Home was where the smell of Dad’s work shirts and Mum’s perfume was. Home was where the three kids fought tooth and nail for the first/last/longest shower. Home was where after dinner the three of us would battle over who was doing the washing up, the wiping up and the cleaning of the table and chairs and benches (washing up was the best because you were in and then OUT – I hated drying up).

Home is where our good mornings, goodnights, Happy Birthday and Merry Christmas’ were said. It is where our dogs, Lucy and Gina were. It is where the five of us built our lives, and more importantly, lived our lives.

Home is where we would steam our faces over Tupperware bowls with Eucalyptus oils when we were sick, or fight to the death over finishing the cake batter from these same bowls. Home is where the house phone cord would be dragged from one room to another, the curly curd under a closed door – teenage conversations ongoing throughout the night.

Home is where I dragged my suitcases of saved magazines from residence to residence throughout all of those years. It is where I would rearrange my bedroom as many times as possible. Where I would adorn every wall/ceiling and cupboard with posters. Where there was always a huntsman to find before it found you.

It was where the air conditioner was only used on Christmas Day. Where caramel sliced was sneaked from the fridge at all hours of the night. Where coffees were zapped in the microwave and corned beef was only made outside. It was where there was a mad dash to the spinach quiches

Home was where Chrismas carols were blasted from the TV and Christmas presents brought out to be placed under the tree. Where little hands would reach in the dark to Christmas sacks to try and work out if Santa had made it, and what had he left.

Where Sunday pikelet mix was made, Monopoly games were played and loud, happy and mental laughing occurred.

Home was and is where my family is. Always.

x Courtney x

Gratitude Day 2 – Health

Gratitude Day 2 – Health

I guess that ultimately, given it is meant to be an essay on gratitude, this should be positive things about my health, so here goes.

I am alive and for all intents and purposes, I am healthy. I am able to get around day to day, I have no physical diseases etc., I have overcome several health issues, have gone under the knife many times and struggle with shoulders and knees and my spine – but in your thirties, who isn’t struggling?

I am thankful for my hearing, music and conversation are my main loves.

I am thankful for my eyesight. Nature and all of the things around me I love to look at. Always. Photography, reading and looking at those I love, I have my eyes to thank for all of these.

I am thankful for my height. I wasn’t always, I was gangly and tall and weird, sort of just standing out like a long, white-limbed, red-headed weirdo. I love being tall it taught me to stand up for myself, my posture is strong, I don’t need a little set of stairs or a stool to reach anything. I see more people. I observe others. I do not get lost in a crowd.

I love that I have the physical ability and more importantly, I am thankful for my physical ability. To be able to explore, to feel the grass under my feet, to wrap my arms around those I love. To feel the sensation of rain on my skin, wind at my back and sun on my face. How could we not be thankful for these gifts?

I am thankful for having a sense of taste, for a multitude of reasons. The sense of smell, possibly more than the sense of taste for me. The sense of smell is so unique to each of us. Memories which come rushing to the surface when we smell something we love. The ability to smell danger is also so important.

I am thankful for my heart and my soul for always being strong. For being determined. For marching forward despite their setbacks.

I am thankful for my brain for although she brings me trouble daily, she is doing her best to improve. I overthink, but I have the ability to think. I am sensitive, I overthink things and I am intuitive beyond a fault, but at thirty-three, my ability to sense absolutely BS and run the other direction is a wonderful thing to have. I although distressed, am as equally thankful for my brain’s ability to recognise distress as it is and try to pry its own hands out of its own clutch. To fight for normality. To fight for peace. To always fight to be better. Oh, dear brain of mine, you bring me so much confusion and yet I know that after thirty-three years you are doing your absolute best to grow with me, to support me and to love me.

We aren’t there yet, but we will never stop trying.

x Courtney x

Thank you to everyone who read and responded to my essay yesterday! I had no idea that a little reflection on my awesome-foursome family would get such a strong reaction! To be honest, I also had no clue that my essay would automatically share to my Facebook page, so it was quite raw and honest!

 

Gratitude Journal Day 1 – Family

About my family – who they are and why I am grateful for them.

I have a very small immediate family, there are four of us and we are fiercely protective of one another. There used to be five of us, but things change and disease can get in the way. It was a phenomenally rocky time. If I am honest, we all still struggle with it in our own individual ways each and every day.

I am thankful for my four. I have two siblings who would set this world on fire for one another and a Mother who has no idea how incredibly strong and amazing she is.

My family taught me to work for what I wanted. To be aware of how lucky we are to live where we do. To appreciate time with those you love, and to never expect anything. A sense of entitlement was not something which was bestowed amongst us. We valued each and every treat we ever received, we never complained about our parents being out of sight, because we knew that they were working hard to provide for us.

We all went through something uniquely traumatic and devastating, we came out the other side and met each other there, though our journeys were all different – we may have all entered the abyss together, but we all emerged from separate tunnels. Kicking, screaming, shocked. I have to tell you, for anyone who ever mutters the sentence ‘touched by cancer’ – take yourself away, rethink your sentence and have another go. There is no light touching involved. It is a demolition derby, created by fear and doubt and terror, wrapped up in an all-consuming and suffocating blanket of sadness. Followed by years and years of grief.

My family is kick-arse and I am thankful for all of them.

My Brother is a rock at all times, he may have intentionally moved as far away as he possibly could, prefers animals to people and is the only 27-year old I know who has no social media, but he is absolutely everything any and all of us need.

My Sister is the chalk to my cheese. We could not be any more different, and yet our similarities define us. We know what is and what is not important. We don’t hide anything under any rug. We rip that rug from the ground and expose all of the hurts and annoyances. We all speak a different language, have our own standing point and our own battles to fight, but if the battle comes from outside of our circle – then you will get all four of us defending who we are.

We are funny. We are arseholes. Our sense of humour is unique. Our Mum has barely been able to follow a conversation between her three children for twenty years. Nobody can quote a movie the way we can. We all have our Mother’s chin, tenacity, humour and resilience. We have our father’s approach to life (go now, look later), his looks and his confidence where it is rarely deserved. We love like both of them loved each other. We are the product of our parents and their love for us – our Grandparents had nothing to do with it. Our Mum and Dad made the choice every day to mark their own path, create new roles and display how they felt love should be displayed.

My family is small, but there is more love that could possibly be understood. We may be less one, but together we are five. Our spirit is unique, we are at the end of our family name, we all have different goals and adventures, but our love is the same.

Always.

x Courtney x