Australia · Lifestyle · Love and Happiness (and all the fun bits in between) · Wives, Husbands and Marriages

Why I love being a Bonus (Step) Mum

The expectation when you are growing up is to meet the guy/girl of your dreams, and build your life together. For some people (not all), that dream extends to having children. To building a family, and loving that family, hard.

While I was growing up, I never had those marriage fantasies. I dreamt of far away places, of travel, of writing or creating movies. There was a small period of time where I actually tried to change my name to something horribly embarrassing. Most people laughed at me, my best friend Meagan backed me and immediately started rolling with it. Because she is amazing.

The thing is, I didn’t dream of my wedding. I didn’t dream of the family. The white-picket fence. Being pregnant. They all seemed like great things but they just weren’t on my ‘list’.

I had boyfriends. I had love stories. I had break ups. I did the thing. I have a lot of wonderful memories. The love of my life was always travel. I would work myself into the ground, saving every $ I had. Creating travel plans. Dreaming of my escape and throttling those holidays by the neck when I was on leave.

When I started to head towards thirty, something changed. I wanted that special someone. I wanted the text messages and the calls. The cuddles and the kisses. Holding hands. Being nauseatingly in-love in public, pissing-off all who saw.

I made a list. My now-Husband doesn’t know about the list. Because let’s face it, the list is something all of us girls keep hidden. Whether it’s in your diary, on your blog, in your notes, on your phone or just in your head. We ALL have the list. If you say you don’t, then you’re lying.

For me, my list looked something like this.

Taller than me. Has a job. Brown hair. Kind eyes. Great sense of humour. Likes to travel. Is honest. Is respectful. Hasn’t been married. Doesn’t have kids.

Your list might look like mine, or it may not. No judgement, #womensupportingwomen.

On my 27th birthday, I was out with my girlfriends, far from home. I met a man. He was the perfect man for me. We hit it off straight away. To say it was love at first sight, is an understatement. I KNEW this was the man I was going to marry.

The list wasn’t so much as a role-call as it was a guide. Find a man who doesn’t treat you like shit and wants to hang out with you and only you. The rest, was completely negotiable.

Fast-forward five years and I’m a Step-Mum. My dream man has two kids. Two gorgeous, intelligent, funny and loving kids. It was an adjustment. It wasn’t easy. For any of us. There are many extenuating factors when it comes to being a step-parent.

As much as you love them, you haven’t been a part of their firsts. You haven’t watched them grow. They aren’t yours. Now before you read that as a negative, I need for you to know that it isn’t. It’s anything but. Being a step parent is hard. It’s challenging, heart breaking and rewarding. All at the same time.

Do you know why this love feels insanely pure? It feels pure because there is no biological link. Your steppies are not a part of you. You are not biologically wired to love one another. The maternal instinct cannot be compared to that of a mother. That would not be fair. Unfortunately we have Cinderella to thank for the awful banshee portrayal of a step-mum. Step-dads are painted as self-serving, violent or cruel. Step-mums are painted as jealous, baron, nasty bitches.

We aren’t. When you choose to love children that aren’t yours- it shows dedication, commitment and intentional love. They are an extension of the person you love. When you look closely, you see the physical similarities, you also see the biological traits which do not match your partner. A reminder of where and from whom they were created.

You know what though? Children are innocent. Children do not choose where they come from. They don’t choose their future and they certainly cannot be expected to navigate the complexities that blended families bring.

So, in a painfully long-winded post, let me tell you this. Never shy away from a challenge. Never think that someone with children has “baggage”. You are only doing yourself a disservice. It means you have someone who can love others more than they love themselves. They are raising, loving and protecting kids and that is noble and attractive as HELL.

So….

To my two bonus-kids. I love you. I am proud of you and I thank you for allowing me to be a part of your life. Consider me part of your cheerleading team. We all want the best for you both. I love your Dad and I love you. I could not be prouder to call you my bonus-kids xxxx

Are you a step-parent, are you a step-kid? I want to know!

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed this post. If you did, please ‘like’ or share the post so I can see! 

To follow me on Instagram click here – courtneygaye_travels

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Lifestyle · personal growth

‘To the dark’ – c.g

It wasn’t always the darkness that found her. Sometimes she went looking.

Her feeling of sunshine sometimes extended to her fear of lightness. Lightness in her mind, in her heart and in her soul.

She was more familiar with the dark. Those sharp corners, that heavy feeling. It had been her friend for so very long. The way someone who stabs you in the back and sits on your shoulder, whispering criticisms in your ear.

Although the light brought with it feelings of hope, sometimes she was simply…overwhelmed. Surely they would see that it was all a facade. Her colour was hardly yellow.

Sometimes it was just safest, to return to those sharp and shaded corners.

To return to the dark.

c.g

 

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Copyright © 2018 by Courtney Gaye
All rights reserved. This poem or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of Courtney Gaye unless credited.
Australia

5 Activities to do in Brisbane this weekend…

Spring has sprung! It won’t be long now until those beautiful Jacaranda’s start blooming, the cardies are no longer needed and the air changes. Seriously, is it just me that smells that beautiful change in the air?!

There is so much happening in Brisbane in September, it is a shame I will miss a good portion of it, but there is no reason why you should!

So, here we go – my roundup of my favourite upcoming events:

1. Boaters & Beers at Newstead House Brisbane – a pretty unique Father’s Day idea or really an amazing relaxing day for anyone in the Brisbane area. Celebrate Brisbane’s oldest surviving residence with one of the best views on the river.

2. Wildlife Photographer of the Year at BRISBANE POWERHOUSE. Not only is the exhibition free but it has 100 award-winning images – this event goes back to 1965 all thanks to the BBW Wildlife Magazine competition.

3. Valley Fiesta is on again, bringing you five days of live music, theatre, food, workshops, visual arts and performances across the Val’s laneways and in more than 40 venues.

4. Seadeck, Brisbane is heading out tonight, Saturday and Sunday for its cruise along our river. Tickets start at $25 and you are guaranteed a fun time on this 42m luxury floating oasis.

5. Ballistic Beer is having their Dogs Go Ballistic festival tomorrow! It is a festival with beers and dogs guys and prizes and events. I cannot make this one, but I would love to see the pictures if you DO go!

If you do get to any of the above or for any other activity / festival you attend, please tag us in Our South-East Queensland #ourseqld !

~ Courtney Gaye ~

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Australia · Courtney's Travel Tips & Tricks · Lifestyle · Travel

The danger of #begpacking

city man person people
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Wherever there is a human in need, there is an opportunity for kindness and to make a difference ~ Kevin Heath

I have often said that if you cannot afford travel insurance, you cannot afford travel. I work my arse off to save and pay off my trips, sometimes this means a lot of sacrifice and sometimes it can result in two years between trips. Do you know why I don’t deserve your pity or empathy on this one? Because it is completely my choice.

That being said, I want to talk about “beg-packers”, entitled Western travellers who head overseas with no more than a flight and maybe enough money to carry them through their first week in whatever hostel they are staying in, who then have the audacity to sit in the likely third-world country they are in and beg for money to continue to fund their travel.

When you have had the luxury to fly to another country for travel, this actually puts you in the top 1% of the world, financially. So to sit in a country in which you should be contributing to the economy and then beg for money is, ridiculously tone-deaf and ignorant. Let’s not minimise the actuality of poverty.

photo of children forming line lane
Photo by Denniz Futalan on Pexels.com

It goes along with GoFundMe pages for generic things – I once saw a lady asking for a bowling ball, gym shoes and a treadmill – perhaps GoFundMe was in her eyes, the grown up Santa-list?

The ethical implications of being a guest in a country without any financial security or means to support yourself, is further damaging that countries economy. How do you set up outside of an airport and beg for money with your gear and passports and camera/phone (to put your #begpacking on social media, obviously), in a country which has 1.2 million homeless children (Philippines), 180000 people living in informal settlements (Cambodia), 78 million people -0 including 11 million children (India), 30 000 homeless (Mexico City) & 15000 homeless people – 4500 of which are children (Buenos Aires); is….disgusting.

backpack bag blur commuter
Photo by Porapak Apichodilok on Pexels.com

Your international travel is not the responsibility of others. We are living in a time where we are far too quick to put our hands out and say “help me”. Please do not travel if you cannot afford it. please do not make your financial burden become that of your host country. Give YOUR money to those who need it. Be prepared. In case of emergency, make sure you have travel insurance. If you cannot afford to stay abroad and need to come home and start again, then that is what you need to do. Our world needs our help, if you are reading this – remember we are the top 1%. You may not think it, but we are the most fortunate people in the world. It is our job and luxury that we are in a position to help.

To donate (every dollar helps!)

Australia – StreetSmart – Action Against Homelessness – https://streetsmartaustralia.org/donate/

WorldWide – Homeless World Cup Foundation – https://donate.homelessworldcup.org/au-en

Cambodia – Habit for Humanity – https://www.habitat.org/donate/?keyword=header

Bali Children’s Project – registered non-profit in Bali, helping children escape poverty through education – https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/BCP

If you see any of Australia’s friendly ‘Big Issue’ distributors and you have cash, please purchase one of these for $7. For every magazine sold – the distributor keeps half. Say hello to them, they all have a story to tell – they’re people like you and I. Give where you can & be thankful for how fortunate we are.

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed this post. If you did, please ‘like’ or share the post so I can see! 

Please note, I have not been paid any sponsorships at all for this post, however some of the links in my blog posts may be affiliate links, meaning that at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

I only ever talk about my own personal experiences and adventures, places and locations which I love and think you will too!

To follow me on Instagram click here – courtneygaye_travels

To follow me on Facebook – you can do so here – Courtney Gaye Travels FB

If you are a Pinterest fan – you can find me here – Courtney Gaye Pinterest

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Health and Wellbeing (mental, physical, emotional & spiritual) · Lifestyle · Love and Happiness (and all the fun bits in between)

Personal Freedom & the human spirit.

The women in my family carry guilt and regret like you would not believe. In many ways, it is slightly ridiculous – you shouldn’t be thinking about something you said in 2006, at 2.30am on a Sunday night/Monday morning (as I was this week).

Personal Freedom – doesn’t it sound fantastic? The thought of it is absolutely liberating, how I would love to have better control of my emotions – to no longer be my number one enemy. I found my next book through a list on Pinterest or the internet somewhere, under the guise of ’20-something books you should read’ (apologies, I cannot remember exactly the context of the list, but it was generally along the same lines).

The Four Agreements (A Toltec Wisdom Book), by Don Miguel Ruiz (1997): A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom. I borrowed this book from the library when I was feeling very down and disjointed, I thought maybe I could (as well as counselling and new medication), try to obtain knowledge on how to stop beating myself up so much. Don explains that Toltec knowledge has been embodied and passed on through generations, veiled in secrecy, ancient prophesies and it arises from the same essential unity of truth as many sacred traditions found around the world. It is not a religion as such, but it does honour spiritual mastery taught on Earth.

The Four Agreements[Thank you to Jill Conyers for the images – via Pinterest]

1Be Impeccable with your word – speak the truth. Speak the honest truth. Live your honest spoken truth. This is the hardest one to master and I definitely think after reading Don’s book, the hardest one to honour. It is the reflections you have with yourself and with others. Your word has the ability to permanently wound or lift another person up (or yourself). The words you speak, form agreements. What you say about yourself – becomes an agreement (you believe what you say). What you say to others is also an agreement. As Don very powerfully wrote – ‘the power of the word is completely misused in hell. We use the word to curse, to blame, to find guilt, to destroy. Of course, we also use it in the right way, but not too often. Mostly we use the word to spread our personal poison – to express anger, jealousy, envy and hate’. After reading this I most certainly will be more mindful of the ‘black poison’ I too spread both within myself and on others. Our spoken word becomes an agreement, the words/thoughts/message is out there. We all need to be a little more mindful, a little gentler and certainly more honourable.

2Don’t take anything personally – Nothing other people do, is personal. Other people’s actions are completely outside of your control. This goes for actions and spoken words. Don’s states that we ‘take it personally because we agree with whatever was said, as soon as we agree, the poison goes through us and we are then trapped with this’. Just remember – nothing other people do is because of us, it is because of themselves. Just remember ‘whatever people do, fee3l, think, or say, don’t take it personally’.

3Don’t make assumptions – As Don states and as we all know, we, as humans, make assumptions about everything. When we make assumptions, we then assume and believe this to be the truth. Don writes that all the sadness and drama we have lived is due to assumptions we have made. Whilst I am not prepared to blame all of my sadness and drama on assumptions, I ABSOLUTELY believe this statement to be, in part, the truth. The quote for this agreement I have noted is ‘Whenever we make assumptions, we’re asking for problems. We make an assumption, we misunderstand, we take it personally; and we end up creating a whole big drama for nothing’.

4Always do your best – Under any circumstance, just do your best. You cannot be criticised for not doing your best. Your best will change over time, and as you develop the above three agreements, this fourth one will also develop. My favourite quote for this one is ‘Doing your best, you are going to live your life intensely. You are going to be productive, you are going to be good to yourself, because you will be giving yourself to your family, to your community, to everything, but it is the action that is going to make you feel intensely happy’.

So I myself personally, will be working on breaking my old agreements. I am striving for personal freedom, at the moment I am not free. I am not free from negative thoughts or destructive patterns, I am not free to be who I want to be, my spirit is not yet free.

I will continue to work towards this though and if you, like me, every suspect your personal freedom is at risk – then what have you got to lose reading this book?

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed this post. If you did, please ‘like’ or share the post so I can see! 

Please note, I have not been paid any sponsorships at all for this post, however some of the links in my blog posts may be affiliate links, meaning that at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

I only ever talk about my own personal experiences and adventures, places and locations which I love and think you will too!

To follow me on Instagram click here – courtneygaye_travels

To follow me on Facebook – you can do so here – Courtney Gaye Travels FB

If you are a Pinterest fan – you can find me here – Courtney Gaye Pinterest

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