Monday, 25 July 2011

TOFW - Sydney

Mum and I just had the best weekend in Sydney.  We were looking forward to it for so long, and it's hard to believe that it is already over.  We flew out of Launceston to lovely sunny skies (although it was a little bit fresh when we left)...

and flew into drizzly, foggy Sydney.  Nothing could dampen our excitement though.  We were excited to see Chrish and to have a great weekend together. It was actually the first time I had ever been away on my own without Aaron or the boys.

Our plane had been delayed by half an hour, and by the time we found our way out of the airport and onto the right level to find Chrish (who would've thought it would be so hard to get out at the airport at the right spot!) time was ticking by very quickly.

We headed straight into the city and went to the markets for a quick look around (and a massage for me) and then to China Town to grab some tea, which was quite adventful and we had lots of laughs.

We wanted to make the most of our time while we were there as we only really had one and a half days, so we headed to Circular Quay.   It was great having Chrish drive us around everywhere as he is such a pro driver, as he is used to driving trucks in the city all day.  There is no way I would ever drive in Sydney.

We then jumped on a ferry to go to Manly for some dessert.  Because the weather was so bad we weren't allowed on the outside decks, which was lucky as it was so rough when we got out to the open water.  The ferry was rolling around everywhere and at one stage Mum stood up to move closer to the window, so she had something to lean against and went flying in front of Chrish as the ferry rocked! We couldn't stop laughing, but I was (not so) silently freaking out thinking we were going to die and posting all sorts of things on Facebook, telling people to help Aaron with the boys when I died! :)

Despite how rough it was, it was worth it for a bit of fun and to see the beautiful view as we headed out.

At Manly we had a quick look around and then grabbed a hot chocolate and some lollies for the ferry ride back to the city.

On Saturday morning we headed to Sydney Olympic Park for TOFW (Time Out For Women).  It was very exciting to see hundreds of women pouring through the doors.   There was a huge line up to get into the Sports Centre and as you came through to show your tickets we were able to drop off our two items that we were asked to bring along to contribute to some 'possibilities packs' - personal care items which were going to be put together in a pack and donated to women who were escaping domestic violence, and were in shelters. 

Later in the day we were told that Australia had set the record for the most packs being donated with over 430 packs being made up.   These boxes are full of the made up packs to be donated to a local women's shelter. It's great to think that just two small items that we were asked to bring along, helped to make up so many packs.

TOFW was absolutely amazing!! There were over 2000 women there from all around Australia, there was a lot of excitement in the air.  I was thinking how it was probably unlike any TOFW event in the USA which are held in certain cities, because there is only one event in Australia.  This meant that women came from all over the country and was really like one big reunion with friends and family catching up from different states.  We had a lot of breaks, and during the breaks people everyone would just run and catch up with each other.

It was so nice to see some of my cousins and also friends who now live in other parts of the country.  It was also wonderful having so many from Tasmania go to it.   I heard there were over 40 of us from Tassie there all together. 

One of the organisers came up to Leona and me as she spotted us with our 'good cameras' (as she put it).  She then asked if we could take some photos for her and email them to her to possibly be used in different publications, so we of course were excited to go around snapping photos of different people all day.  Sarah captured this on her phone :)

When we arrived we were each given a TOFW tote bag which are really cool.   I can just see us all now sporting our bags at church. 

We also got to meet all of the presenters which was great fun and it was very exciting to talk tot hem in person. 
The best thing about the whole day though was the amazing people who came to speak to us, and especially the messages they gave.   

I LOVED the first speaker Laurel Christiansen's talk so much.  She caught my interest right from the start as she talked about working out and training to run in a half marathon.   I loved her quote that said 'don't be the one thing standing in your way', which reminded me that the only thing stopping me from doing certain things in my life, is myself.

The thing that I got most out of the whole day was that although our lives may not be what we planned them to be and we have moved on from our 'Plan A' to plan b, c, d, etc. we are actually still on 'plan A'.    My life right now IS where it's meant to be, and is no surprise to God.  I never would've planned or hoped to have a child with a disability, but this is still my 'Plan A'.  I also loved Hilary Week's talk about 'the clicker' and how we can choose to focus on either the negative or positives in our lives and how for her focusing on the negatives really brought her down.

We can make a choice to 'click' every time we experience a positive in our life , even just the little things, and this will help us to be optomistic and cope with everything that we have to in our lives - big or small.  I guess I have always had this as my own philosophy in life.  I could look at all the negatives that come along with having a child with a disability, or I can choose to see the positives, no matter how big or small.  I know that if I focused on all the negatives I couldn't cope with the things that I need to do every day and I would also miss out on seeing all the blessing that come with caring for Noah and having him as a part of our family.  That is why I love the quote 'don't count the days, make the days count' as I could choose to focus on how many more days we have to spend together with him, or just make the most of every day, and I choose the latter.

I took a lot of notes on my phone all day, and have so many amazing quotes and stories and scriptures to look back on.  I really liked the quote from Laurel that said 'hope is wanting what I want, faith is wanting what God wants'.

A woman who works at the local women's shelter came to accept the 'possibilities packs' and spoke to us about domestic violence and how many women in the community are affected.  It really reminded me about how lucky I am to have the family that I have.

The Federal Minister for Human Services - Tanya Plibersek came at lunch time, and gave a speech about the donations for the women's shelter.   I spotted her in the crowd during the lunch break and knew I knew her from somewhere, and then it clicked who she was.  I would've loved to have been able to talk to her in person, but by the time I realised who she was it was too late.  I recently got a letter from her office as a reply to a letter I sent her to do with funding for disabilities (or the lack of it) and would've loved to have talked to her more about it, but obviously the timing wasn't right.

Another highlight of the day for me was Hilary Weeks.   It was wonderful to hear her amazing voice live, after listening to her on my CDs at home for many years.

It was a fantastic day and although it was a long day, we didn't want it to end.   Hopefully TOFW will come back to Australia again very soon after all the positive feedback from everyone who went and loved it so much. 

We had an hour or so to kill afterwards before we were meeting people for tea, so Chrish took me on my first visit to Ikea!   What a good brother he is to follow Mum and me around for an hour as we oohed and aahed over everything and complained that we still don't have it in Tassie :)  

We then met a few people for tea at the most amazing buffet place at a bowls club, which Chrish had suggested for us.   It was great to catch up with Penny and Wayne who we hadn't seen for years.

We had the most delicious tea - seafood galore, Chinese, fried food (my boys would've loved the endless hot chips, chicken nuggets, spring rolls, dim sims etc), roast meats and vegies, noodles, salads, soups, bread and desserts including freshly made waffles.   Bonnie and I will be working extra hard in Spin at the gym tonight! :)

At the airport Mum and I sat in the massage chairs and had a 15 minute massage before heading home.

The weekend went way too fast, but I was also glad to be home with my boys - glad to be back home to my 'plan A' :) 


  1. I love your mum! You are very lucky to have a mum like her!! :-)

  2. wow sounds like an amazing weekend away! you are making me so hungry now reading all about your different food adventures lol

  3. I thought, I wonder if Lisa has posted about TOFW yet...of COURSE she has haha. good times!

  4. Great photos and sounds like it was fantastic. Did you tell the presenters to come back next year so we can all go?! I think if we go, we should take an extra day just for sightseeing and shopping at Ikea. Did you buy anything at Ikea?

  5. yes I would love to coem up kid free next year!! or the year after or whatever - and an extra day at ikea sounds great too!!! so glad it was a great experience - its hard to accept that our lives are as they shoudl be soemtimes hey!

  6. Funny that you mentioned about Plan A Lee, because that is what stuck in my mind as well.
    How did you get a photo of the lolly shop?
    She wouldn't let Chrish take a photo, I think we bought enough lollies between us all to allow a photo!!
    I had a great week-end , but especially loved it because it was something for us two to share as mum and daughter thing. It was so great to spend time with Chrish, and know we were in safe hands all weeekend. Love Mum.
    P.S. Thanks for sharing your notes that you took as well.

  7. love the pic of the three of you together...Didnt you buy heaps of stuff at IKEA and get Chrish to send it down through one of the truck companies he must know....????? sounds like you all had a super great weekend... i am definately booking for the next one...

  8. it was an amazing day. so fun to be a part of. pretty cool you were asked to take some pictures... should we look out in the ensign or something? lol

  9. Looks like a fabulous trip!! I will definitely be going next time :)

  10. I'm so glad you got to go...TOFW is FUN! We've gone twice now. Great pictures!

  11. Those pics of the night skyline came up nice. Love the one of the lolly stand! Great weekend huh?

  12. Imigration :D hahaha What a cute lil lady. Glad you and Mum came up and made me laugh heaps.

  13. Good article, very nice informative picture gallery, gives more details about the story. Thanks…


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