Saturday, August 20, 2011

Grad school and believing

Hello folks,

I haven't posted on this blog for a while...sorry about that! Since I also blog about our Aussie experience over at Aggies In Oz , sometimes I just forget to update this little old blog over here. There is also the whole 'working on my PhD' thing that sometimes takes my time as well.

As I sit here in Australia at 11:25 am Sunday (Australian time) it is 8:27 pm Saturday night in that I love. My little boy and I are staying home from church today because we both aren't feeling well, we have your typical winter cough with a chance of an upper respiratory infection coming, so we are trying to take it easy and get some rest.

Life here is good. It seems like when we first got here we thought life was a slower pace here and from talking to my Aussie friends, that is the case here on the coast but when you get up closer to Sydney, it is just as fast paced as what I am used to, they think. However, now that we are settled and working and schooling and everything else, it does seem like has sped up a little.

I am teaching 3 classes this semester in Tourism Marketing and I love it. Classes are set up differently here, you have one big lecture that includes all the people in the subject and it could be as many as 800 people, I hear. Then, each lecture is broken into sections of 25 people and I teach 3 of those sections. So, I get more direct experience with the students and I do the grading and such. So far, it has been great and I do like it although it does make life seem a lot busier.

My thesis work is moving along and it is always a juggling act. When you are in academia, there is this balance among going to conferences, presenting, writing in academic journals, writing your thesis/dissertation, teaching, researching, etc. that seems to be a real juggling act. I think I spent the first semester just figuring out what everything was and what it entailed. I feel like I have a better idea is a little daunting but who ever said this would be easy? As big of a task as a PhD is, you just have to take it one step at a time and just keep on plowing through...just like everything in life. Sometimes it is hard, sometimes it is intriguing, sometimes it is exciting, sometimes you feel dumb, sometimes you feel brilliant, and sometimes all those emotions happen within a 15 minute span! However, through it all, I fell blessed to have the opportunity to be here and I feel like I have already learned and grown just in the last 7 months.

7 months, we have been here on our adventure 7 has flown by! As we are ending Winter, I am excited to have the Spring come because I am sure it is breathtakingly beautiful here. I can already start to see the budding of a few flowers and can only imagine the splendor of Spring in bloom here. I am sure it is magnificent!

A few weeks ago, some friends of mine went and spent a day up in Sydney for a women's conference called 'Time Out for Women'. This is a program put on by Deseret Book and it was a full day of speakers and singer Hillary Weeks. It was really one of the most wonderful experiences. There were almost 2000 women there from all sorts of cultures and backgrounds but they all had one thing in mind, making themselves a better person. I came away from the day feeling inspired and grounded. It was something I needed, it was a nice break from studying, it was fun to be with my friends, it was fun to laugh and share in our struggles as women, and the presenters were wonderful and you just felt like they were speaking right to your heart. It was one of those weekends where you feel like your bucket is full and you want to go spread the message that you are a loved child of God and that times may be hard but you can become something great. The theme was "Choose to become" and that referenced the scripture in Mark 9:23 that says "all things are possible to him that believeth." We all left there believing that we would be okay, that we would try harder, not be as hard on ourselves, and that we were in this thing together. We are here with each other and with our Heavenly Father to make it through this life and to truly become what we are destined to be. It is a beautifully basic concept but one that it is good to be reminded of from time to time.

So, as I head into my birthday week and get another year older (gad!), I am reflective on the last year or so and am just amazed at the change my life has taken, but it has been a good change and one that has been great for our family too. We didn't really know we were in a rut, but we were and I am glad to be out of it, even though it was an uncomfortable and unexpected climb, but the view is much better back on the road. We all have ruts in our lives, times where we are just in a routine and not really growing or expanding and just kind of surviving. Although I think there are times when we have to do that just to survive, I hope we can all see clearly enough to want to see the view from back on the road, moving upward and onward and stretching ourselves to grow.

So, this week, look for the beauty in yourself and see what you can do to polish yourself up a little and give you more shine, because you are so worth the effort.

Love from Oz,


A few pictures from our fun weekend!


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