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Celebrating A Year of Recovery in Australia and A Giveaway

This month is my one year anniversary of moving to Australia. It crept up on me unawares and I can hardly believe it has been an entire year.

And what a year it has been.

If I was scared boarding the plane to move to Europe, (click here for story) I was absolutely petrified moving to Australia!

At least Europe was familiar to me. At any given moment I had only to hop on a train and I could be with family or friends. I knew where to shop, how to navigate the transportation systems, and I felt comfortable and at home in the culture.

Australia was truly a foreign country to me. I knew precious little about its history, nothing about its culture, and although they claimed to speak English, I soon found myself learning a completely new vocabulary after multiple queries of, “What in tarnation does that mean?”.

The few people I did know were part of friendships forged over long distance emails and phone calls, with only a short amount of face-to-face time. In my heart I knew they were safe, loving and true friends, but the time had come to see if what my heart felt would translate into reality.

Yep, I was scared, but under the fear was a deep peace, an unshakeable knowing that this was good and I was going to be just fine.

In true Krista fashion, the moment I stepped off the plane and saw my Bear, I burst into tears. Then laughter at the look of chagrin on his face. 🙂 I hastily assured him that I was very, very happy to see him, and that the tears were for something else entirely.

All the months of trying to be brave, trying not to give into fear, trying to press through every trauma that threatened to crush me, they were over.

I was safe.

I was loved.

I was home.

So I crashed. 🙂 Utterly and completely. It was like my body said, “OK, this whole holding on for dear life thing is stopping now. And you, dear girl, need to rest.”

Through no choice of my own, I went into hibernation mode. And if it weren’t for Bear and dear friends, I might have stayed there for a long, long time.

I had no strength left, and very little feeling. I would sleep 12 hours a night and still wake up exhausted. I was perfectly happy to sit on the back porch and stare off into the bush or get cozy in my big green chair and watch an endless stream of movies. Contact from people I no longer felt safe with made me instantly and violently ill. I had nightmares almost every night, waking me terrified, shaking, and sobbing my heart out.

Dear counselors assured me that however awful this state was, it was a perfectly normal reaction to the things I had gone through. They praised me for strength and courage I did not feel, and taught me to celebrate every little victory. Victories like sleeping through the night without a nightmare, responding to contact from my past with only one day of vomiting and migraines instead of five, making it through a whole day without crying. They told me not to force recovery, but to let it grow naturally. And best of all, they assured me that it would get better.

And you know what? They were right.It just took a while.

While the counselors helped me work through the bad things in my past, Bear and my friends helped me stay out of the Black Hole of Self-centeredness by giving me gardens to work in, animals to take care of, and encouraging me to keep cooking, taking pictures, and other things that used to bring me joy when I wasn’t in breakdown mode.

It was such good advice and I’m eternally grateful to them for giving me good things to focus on so I wouldn’t sink down into depression and self-pity. I’m even more grateful for the love they lavished on me when I had almost nothing to give in return.

Over the last few months I’ve seen a huge change in myself.

I fall asleep easily, hardly ever have nightmares, and wake rested and perky without an alarm clock. Even when I do have nightmares now, they are different. I fight back when the buggers try to rape, kill or torture me and mine – and they FLEE! That makes me grin. 🙂

I’m no longer ashamed of my past, or controlled by it. What happened, happened, and it’s all OK. I can think about the people who harmed me and it no longer makes me sick or grief-stricken or angry. They no longer have power over me, and I can see messages from them or pictures of them and not feel that gut-clenching awfulness. I truly wish them well and hope for their own healing, freedom and peace.

I feel alive and awake now, and that is pure bliss. I do NOT recommend zombie-ness.

The things I did merely by rote bring me such joy again. I feel my creativity surging on every front as a travel writer, photographer, recipe developer, website designer, and whatever else comes along. I look forward to waking up, and can’t wait to get out into my gardens or the kitchen.

One of the most precious changes is that I feel my own person again. Bear describes it as “standing tall.” I like that picture. There’s nothing cowering or frightened or weak about standing tall. But neither is there anything aggressive or angry or vengeful. It is a picture of quiet strength and inner fortitude.

I still have my “weepy days”, as we call them, but that’s OK. They don’t last long and I bounce back much quicker.And each bad day reminds me how lucky I am to have so many good ones.

In celebration of fresh starts, unconditional love, and second chances, I’m hosting a giveaway today. The giveaway will be a hand-packed box of Aussie treats and anything else I decide to throw in at the last minute. 🙂 I will ship anywhere in the world.

All you have to do to enter is leave a comment here or on Facebook telling me one good thing someone told you that helped you through a difficult time. Bear will choose one name out of a hat and I will send that person a box of goodness. I can’t wait to hear your nuggets of wisdom.

The giveaway will run until Sunday, October 28, and I will announce the winner on the following Monday.

Wishing you a beautiful week filled with hope and the sure knowledge that it is never, ever too late to start over. XO

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Jeanne Horak - Oh Krista what a glorious, hopeful, positive post! It should be required reading for anybody going through a crisis so that they can know that there is hope at the end of even the longest, darkest night. Sending you hugs xx

Lisa - Krista, had to comment on this post because I distinctly remember the day I saw your tweet about calling the police..then learning via our emails what happened to you. I am so happy to see how you’ve healed. You look sparkly and beautiful..and I must admit..the year of your travels not only helped you..but it always lifted my spirits reading about all the places you visited and looking at the gorgeous photos! May you continue to live well..safe and be happy..and I will continue to enjoy your beautiful blog! xoxo

Krista - Love you too, dear Beck! XO I’m so glad we have both found new homes in different countries with men who love us absolutely. 🙂 I’m delighted that the Brave Girls emails are so meaningful to you as well. What a treasure to find such women to cheer us on as we grow stronger and stronger. 🙂 Love you too, dear Beck. XO

Beck - That was a fast year! Sooo happy you’re loving your life and are surrounded by wonderful folks. It makes such a difference being wrapped up in the warmth and security of dear ones’ presence. Starting over in a new country was powerful for getting over the parts of our shared youth that I hate and resent. And you’re right – emotional, spiritual, mental, and physical healing take precious time – but wrestling through it is worth it. Thank you so much for sharing about the Brave Girls Club in the past. I get their emails and love them! A word fitly spoken…. Today’s about not living in regret is phenomenal. Love you!

Krista - And yes, I would absolutely LOVE to catch up over tea with you. 🙂 Methinks we’d have to set aside a whole day for that! 🙂

Krista - My dear Karen, you are so incredibly brave to express and write about something that is so painful for you. XO Wishing you peace and understanding and absolute freedom to love and be loved even in the midst of your grief. XO Love you.

Krista - My dear sister, @kitchen_butterfly:disqus xo These words mean so much to me: “It is well dearest. It is well.” I’m teary and grateful as I read them. Thank you. XO

Krista - The happiness you’re hearing feels SO good, Ayngelina. 🙂 It’s amazing what one year can do, eh? 🙂

Krista - Thank you so much, @d2275290be42764b5dedc07fc2f6ecee:disqus 🙂 I know you understand and are truly celebrating. 🙂 Listeners are the best, the absolute best. I don’t know how they never tire hearing us rehash the same things over and over again, but they are absolute treasures for doing so. 🙂

Amy @ Seven Grey Sweaters - Just wanted to tell you that this post made me SO HAPPY. I’ve re-read it a couple of times since you posted it. 🙂 And I can’t believe it’s been a year either!
Strangely, I just can’t think of anything that someone told me during my dark times that helped. But I certainly had a few special people who listened. And listened some more. Maybe that was all I needed. 🙂

Ayngelina - I cannot believe a year has passed already. So much has changed for you. I am so pleased to hear the words of happiness in this post.

Kitchen Butterfly - Dearest Krista. Standing Tall. Thank you. I am thankful for you, for the hope I get from you, for knowing that you decided to ‘live’ and truly live. It is well dearest. It is well. I love the phrase ‘A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle’.

Karen - Krista! So glad to hear all that God is doing in your life. I wish I could sit down with you over a cup of tea to catch up on all that has gone on in both of our lives. But for the sake of your tempting giveaway :-), I was thinking over the last four years of marriage, and perhaps the biggest trial we’ve been going through is my husband’s struggle with pornography. I never thought it would happen in my marriage, but God has used it to expose a lot of wrong beliefs I had (and perhaps still have) about sin and salvation. One night after I was up crying about it again, I told God I needed Him to show me what grace looked like, because I was tired of forgiving again and again with so little change. That was when the Lord began to show me that I CAN’T save my husband by anything I do– but that my husband DOES have a Savior who has saved him to the uttermost. It felt like the first time I had heard the word Savior– and it has given us both so much hope since then. I wrote more about it here: http://momcoloredglasses.com/healthy-living/faith-hope/counterintuitive-grace/

Krista - My dearest @facebook-508421472:disqus 🙂 Thank you so much for your words and your love and your dear, dear soul. 🙂 You made me smile so big today. I’m so thrilled to know that we are both safe now, both living in sunshine, and both so dearly loved. 🙂 Celebrating hugely with you today. 🙂 XOXO

Krista - Dearest @deeba:disqus , thank you so much for your kind words. 🙂 I had no idea you’ve been to Australia before!!! Hopefully if you come here again we will be able to meet up. 🙂 I’d love to visit with you in person. 🙂 xo

Krista - Oh Georgie – you’ve got me crying over here, and smiling at the same time. 🙂 “You are NOT ALONE and you are LOVED.” – what precious and incredible truths. Thank you for reminding me of them. 🙂 I can’t believe it’s been a year since Malta!! How crazy is that? I hope we get to see each other again soon as well. Once my visa is settled I’ll be able to start traveling again. 🙂

Georgie - Your story made me think about the trials and tribulations of my life and the comfort I have received at my lowest points. It has been received from different sources – from friends, family and through Spirit. It has come in the form of a vision, feeling, actions or words but the message has always been the same – You are NOT ALONE and you are LOVED.
I am so glad you have found peace in our wonderful country. Congrats on your year anniversary (has it really been that long since Malta??!) and I hope we’ll cross paths again soon! Georgie xxx

deeba - Krista … HUGS HUGS HUGS! Still cannot believe that so much can happen to someone as sweet as you, yet cannot keep reading the older posts for fear of the unknown. My heart is in my mouth…yet I am so glad you’ve come out shining! I ♥ everything Down Under – the good folk, the beauty, the entire living! Been there thrice but reading your post makes everything I have experienced seem so trivial. You go girl! Your spirit shines! ♥♥♥

Rebekah Fordon - Oh Krista, I’m so, so glad to hear of nightmares being conquered, and darkness turning into light, and brokenness being healed. It took me about three years be recover from my dark days. Its so strange to remember the way I was then. I couldn’t smile and mean it. I couldn’t drag myself out of my self-imposed banishment. God seemed so far away. I don’t think anything anyone said would make a difference at first. It was the friends who took me in and waited through my seemingly endless misery and never told me to “suck it up” or move on, but who just loved me and tangibly reminded me of how much I am loved by my God. Those are the friends I owe my life to. They affirmed my need for time to heal. And they gave me a safe place to do it. I’m so, so glad that you have friends who gave you the same.
Look at us! I’ve married the man of my dreams who *gasp* LOVES me. And I have so much love to give him I could burst. And you my beautiful friend are doing the same. God has been so good to us.
Love to infinity,

Krista - I’m so glad the photos gave you those feelings too, @c3c1a2f159aa371c7583c2d194f7aae2:disqus 🙂 They are such a comfort and cheer to me. 🙂

jenny_atasteoftravel - “Time heals all” Eventually it does but at times along the way, you have to question this. It is so beautiful that you can now write a stunning piece such as this and that you have come so far. Your Australian photos of photos of joy,hope and love. They give everyone hope…

Krista - I’m staggered by that too, @facebook-590845856:disqus 🙂 Thank you so much for all your blessings – you made me smile so big! 🙂 One DOES need to be brave. I love that. 🙂

Heguiberto R Souza - Krista,
I can’t believe your’be in Australia for a year!Time flies by! I am also happy to learn that your are all healed and looking ahead for the changes that life will inevitably bring. Good changes 😉 God bless you, Bear, Australia, the goats, the eucalyptus enfin you and your new land! Moving to another country is a bit scary. I did it twice in my life. One needs to be brave!

Krista - Thank you so much, dear @twitter-286462118:disqus 🙂 It is definitely a serene place. If you’re ever in Australia on your travels, you are always welcome to visit. 🙂

Christina Fields - Krista, I’m so happy for you! It’s amazing how much can change in one year’s time. It’s so inspiring to hear how you have found peace and comfort in Australia. I can see why your farm has been a place of refuge for you. It looks so serene. Congratulations on your one year anniversary. More good things are on the way, I’m sure of it. 🙂

Krista - I love that so much, @twitter-26028413:disqus 🙂 You CAN do it!!! 🙂 I think that might be the greatest surprise of all, learning just how strong we are when we think we’re weak. 🙂 xo

Krista - Yay for Uncle Randy, @google-2a9dde44113d4c20ffe43b4a6977074a:disqus 🙂 He rocks. 🙂 xo

Krista - Dearest Darlene, what a beautiful gift to hear such a precious message. 🙂 That makes me teary and smiley at the same time. 🙂 I love that you weren’t left alone in your pain, nor I in mine. We are so worth loving, and I hope that truth sinks in deeper and deeper with every year. 🙂 XO

Krista - A dear friend gave me that book, Carla, but I haven’t had a chance to finish it yet. I’m so glad it was such a help to you. 🙂 “always loved” – that is an amazingly precious truth. 🙂 xo

Krista - Dear Bronwyn, I had no idea you went through such a dark time too. XO I’m so sorry you had to experience such pain, but how happy I am that Heiko stood by you and believed in you. That is such a precious thing. 🙂 And I’m so proud of you for pressing through with hope even though it must’ve felt so terribly hopeless. I’m SO happy we are living in sunshine again!! XO

Krista - Dearest Tanya – I love that so much. 🙂 It is such a hopeful thing, a soul-rallying thing to know that there IS light inside, even if it is dark outside. 🙂 Thank you dear friend. xo

Krista - Thank you, dear Shari! 🙂 “the path of life” is such a beautiful thought. 🙂

Krista - Dear @wanderingsheila:disqus , thank you for that. 🙂 “new eyes” – that really makes such a huge difference, doesn’t it? I love that. xo

Krista - What a dear soul to come along just when you needed him most, @thefisherlady:disqus 🙂 I love those words. Such hope in the midst of awfulness. 🙂 xo

Krista - Thank you so much, @50a572df73a831fd21003be459dd9d3c:disqus xo Love makes all the difference in the world, doesn’t it?

Krista - Oh @facebook-1513742230:disqus , I am thrilled to pieces you are going to the beach and spending time with your hubby today!!! That is the best most wonderful thing. 🙂 xo

Krista - Oh Andi, you made me laugh right out loud with that one. I LOVE it!!! 🙂 What a hoot your Mom is. 🙂 xo

Krista - Your words made me smile, Jenna, because I’ve said them to myself so many times. 🙂 Thank you for reminding me of them. xo

Krista - Oh Pat, I don’t even know what to say. I’m just sitting here crying for you, so sad you went through such horror, so happy you have such a loving friend to stand by you. Sending you a big hug from Australia today, and wishing you continued strength and courage. You are truly amazing. XO

Pat R - After 2 vicious rapes, my dearest friend told me, ” I am with you through your entire journey.” She kept her word and because of her love and kindness, I have survived and am strong and “standing tall”. Thank you for your heartfelt blog; you help many people more than you know.

Jenna - “This too shall pass.” It’s a simple one, but it’s gotten me through the rough patches. Knowing that there will be an end and a new beginning.

Andi Perullo, L.Ac. - Oh this was such a beautifully inspiring post, I wish I could give you the BIGGEST hug right now!!!!!!!!!! I’m so happy that you’re in a better place emotionally and physically now. My Mom has always said to me, “Chin up, boobs out.” Hahahaha it always makes me laugh when I’m sad and has helped A LOT over the years.

Judith Burgess Thompson - “The force of God’s faith within you is greater than the weight of your problems”…my Dad. Thank you so much for sharing your journey Krista, it resonated within me so deeply as I think back on this past decade and all the ups and downs I have been through. It is so brave of you to share your story and touch the lives of so many people. In honor of your great victory and anniversary, I decided not to go into work today for another 60+ hr work week but unstead have brunch with my hubby and go to the beautiful beach to read! Thanks for the inspiration!

Jennifer Miller - Beautifully written, Krista. When a person goes through so a ‘dark’ time, the following is hard to believe but it’s true…. God is still on the throne. He is with you and loves you even through the darkest times.

Cathy - A beautiful heart felt post from you Krista. I’m so pleased to hear how well things have gone for you in Australia. You appear to be truly settled and no doubt you have reached a turning point and life is looking absolutely beautiful. You have your man, your farm, your animals and you fill your days with cooking, writing, gardening and you share your experiences here. Thank you. I like this quote as I’ve had to be adaptable through positives and negatives:

‘The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes’. – Marcel Proust

thefisherlady - Like the seagulls there on the beach or the many goat friends in the beautiful pastures, we stand here rejoicing to see healing and rejoicing… We thank our Father of all mercies for gifting you with such beauty and friendship in your new home 🙂 Blessings dear one

“It will all work out”… these simple words from a young one with faith helped me when I was low on the hope end… said with a big hug… the two things brought back smiles and healing!

Shari - Krista, your life, photos, and writing are bursting with fresh and vivid colors – as you say, awake and alive – and it is breathtakingly beautiful. During a very dark time in my life, I clung to one verse in Psalm 16, that God would show me the path of LIFE and in His presence was fullness of joy.

Tanya Lloyd - “There is a light inside you brighter than any darkness that can extinguish it.” A nugget of wisdom to myself when I felt most alone, unsupported and frightened of the impenetrable darkness before me. Thankyou for allowing us to walk with you on this incredible journey – the strength, hope and understanding you offer to those around you is precious. x

Heiko Bronwyn Deiter - Your photos are so stunning and vibrant…illustrating your “new starts” theme so well. The kids and I have enjoyed seeing some of your pictures of spring on FB as we head into fall here in the NW.
7 years ago I crashed physically and emotionally…true fatigue and the depression that goes with it are hard for people outside to understand, because there isn’t something “broken” and you look just fine…so just shake it off, right? I’m so glad that Heiko was able to believe me, and kept reminding me of truth beyond myself: I will never leave you or forsake you (-Jesus), I know the plans I have for you…a future and a hope, My strength is perfected in weakness. It takes a long time to come back, but I’m so glad to be healthy again and living in sunshine.
God bless you! Looking forward to more visual feasts from your travels. ~Bronwyn

Carla Hausmann Braine - “God is always good and I am always loved.” Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts
After several very lonely “valley” years, God lead to this book in a very random way and graciously taught me the centrality of giving thanks (or as Ann Voskamp calls it, “counting graces”). I never knew or understood the power of gratitude to create joy in our lives, especially after despairing circumstances. After so many years in the church and other Christian circles, how could I have missed it? This book has very literally changed my life and the way I relate to my God.

Thanks for posting, Krista. I’m grateful to know about your life and ponderings. May God bless you and give you more of Himself.

Darlene - Thanks so much for your post, Krista. It’s wonderful to hear the healing that has gone on in your life! I went through a very dark time 10 years ago this month – wow, I haven’t thought about that for so long and now 10 years have passed! Anyway, this is a little bit unusual, I think, but one day when life was about as black as it could be and despair was overwhelming me, I was walking out the door to take out the garbage and right in the doorway I very distinctly felt God say “I LOVE you, Darlene.” It was almost audible — I don’t think I really did hear it, but it WAS incredibly real and still very vivid in my mind. It helped me greatly then and has come back to me again and again and again over the years when I’m feeling very much unlovable. I know that God hasn’t retracted that statement OR his love — it’s just up to me to “remain” in His love rather than withdraw! “Love lavished on us when we have almost nothing to give in return” is a most incredible gift, isn’t it?!

Ruth H-B - Thanks for sharing! I’ve been told “you can do it” and you know what, I think I can.

Margo Millure - “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” – Uncle Randy

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