Monday, November 26, 2012

Last day of Halfway to Ninety - or is it?

Tomorrow I will be Halfway to Ninety-Two! But I like the title Halfway to Ninety so I think I will just leave it at that! :)

A letter I needed to write but will never send

Dear Tenancy Manager Lady,

Thank you so much for showing me the error of my ways. Without you I never would have realised where I was going wrong.
I thought that being a busy mother of 5, a supportive wife, volunteering for 2 charitable trusts, having 2 part time jobs and keeping my home fairly tidy would be considered doing okay!
WRONG! I am obviously supposed to be a domestic goddess too.

You told me when you came to inspect the house the first two times that the "house looked wonderful and it didn't need to be perfect"
WRONG AGAIN. The last time you came it wasn't perfect. Thanks for the list of 10 things I need to improve on.
The Property Manager seemed very happy when he came back 10 days later even though I had only done 3 of the things on the list.

Because of my experiences this year I have learnt the following:

- I never ever want to be in the position of not living in my own home ever again
- It ticks me off having a complete stranger poking through my bathroom cupboard
- That in property management, reasonably tidy means PERFECT
- That I never want the sort of job you have, where you go into someones home and look for people's shortcomings
- I didn't realise that property management included parenting advice
- That I know that I am not a very tidy person and actually that's who I am and I would rather give my time to other people than live in a show home!

So thanks for the education. I've learnt a lot this year.

Kind regards
Anthea

P.S. I will be the judge of what is an acceptable time of day for my teenagers to get out of bed.
P.P.S. Sorry - sarcasm runs in my family :)


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Family and Friends

It's been a big day.

Today my middle child Olivia turned 17. How did that happen? It was only a few moments ago she was born! We had a fun morning with crumpets and presents for breakfast. (our family tradition) and off to school and work! Olivia said that today was amazing - she deserves to have had an amazing birthday.  She does so many things to help me - always obliging. So much so that I have to remind myself not to take her for granted! (Actually always obliging EXCEPT when I ask her to tidy her room!)

Only a half day at work today because this afternoon I went to the funeral of the Mum my dear friend Denise. Eileen was a very kind, thoughtful, loving positive lady who approached everything in her life with grace and courage. I felt so sad to say goodbye to her. She was always pleased to see us and she and Denise's Dad invited us to their combined 80th party, 5 years ago. They asked Glenn then if when the time came, would he take their funerals. Yes of course he would, hoping that would be many years ahead in the future.
Sadly that time for both of them came this year, Denis in May and Eileen today. It felt surreal, we sat in the same church 3 months ago and it felt to so strange to be back there today. Too soon. I listened as Denise spoke about her parents - she was so brave. Far braver than she would believe herself to be. Denise and I have been friends for 16 years now. I am so blessed to have her as my friend.

We had extended family here for dinner tonight. It was a fun evening and I was reminded how lucky I am to have such a fabulous family. I was also mindful how lucky we were to be celebrating for a happy reason.

Something else incredible happened to me today. I got a text out of the blue this morning from a relatively new friend. It simply said : "thank you for being you and for being part of my life. I am grateful and humble to be part of yours"
This friend every Wednesday does things for others with no expectation of anything in return and appreciates the chance to be grateful for all that they have. What an amazing thing to do!

This text had a profound effect on me (it's been a day of tears). That someone would take the time to text that to me, or someone else is wonderful. It made my day and made me realise how grateful I am for my amazing Family and  for my amazing Friends (old and new).

It's the small things that matter isn't it! xx

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Rebuilding Christchurch by Dancing (and Singing)

I think, in our own way, all of us who live in Christchurch are doing our bit to rebuild our City. Whether it's checking in on our neighbours after a sizeable after shock or dumping of snow, or contributing to the Share an Idea for our city plan. Or even just committing to stay in Christchurch is an important part of rebuilding it. We need people to be living here as we rebuild our lives and the Government and Council rebuild our infrastucture! (Not sure the Government will spend money on us if no-one is planning to live here)

I wanted to be doing something specifically directed at helping Christchurch recover and move forward and so I jumped at the chance to join the Rebuild Christchurch Foundation. I came on as the Acting Chair in September 2011. I talked about Rebuild Christchurch in this post :)

On July 12th 2012, I officially became a Trustee. And at the AGM on Tuesday 24th July I officially became the Chair of the Board. What a proud moment! It's so amazing to part of a dedicated Team that puts the needs of the people of Christchurch at the forefront of their mission.

The Foundation has been on the ground helping those who need it most post quakes. It feels so good to be able to do something to help those most badly affected, when we have got off relatively lightly.

Last year we launched Project Christmas - This was what happened in our garage!
It was so much fun to organise and there was plenty of laughter and a few tears. I visited a family who had lost a family member in the February 2011 quake. I told my daughter Olivia that there might tears, and there were - they were mine!

We have started planning Project Christmas 2012 and to raise funds we are having a Dance and Charity Auction in October. Please think about coming along! And tell your friends to pass it on. Tickets available here! And I'll see you there :)

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Back to Business!

Shock! Horror!! Two posts in two days. I know - How amazing!

Now that I have your attention...
I re-launched my business blog tonight. It's been two years in the making but you know what they say - Good things take time!

So if you have a spare moment, head over here for a read... And let me know what you think :)

Monday, August 6, 2012

Educating Anthea in the Art of Blogging

My Niece Jenny is teaching me how to do more with my blogging. She is an amazing blogger - check her out   here! I have loved watching how her blog posts have become more innovative and I never miss her Wardrobe Wednesday and how to mix and match clothes you already have, to create new looks. I really missed it one week, when Jen was unable to post a Wardrobe Wednesday (I can hardly complain as she was visiting us all here in Christchurch).
The best part about following Jen's blog is being able to watch my Great-Nephew and Niece - Noah and Isabelle - grow up. Even though they live in Hastings and I just met Isabelle for the first time last month, it felt like I had always known her as I vicariously have watched her grow and blossom!
Isn't it great to always be able to learn something new - And Jenny is an amazing teacher and a wonderful mother, as you can see in her blog!
Thanks Jen - for educating your Aunty!! xx


Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mothers Day

Happy Mothers Day to all who are Mothers and all who have Mothers (thats pretty much everyone) lol

I have come on to do a quick blog and see that many things at Blogger have changed since I last posted! I can hardly believe it was February 22nd the last time I was on here. I have been working hard on my Diploma which started around then and everything else has had to go on the backburner! It's not that I haven't had anything to say but just not had the time to say it!
Anyway will just make this short tonight as need to get to bed soon but wanted to acknowledge all the amazing Mums I know. But especially my Mum. I was thrilled to able to make lunch for her here and we had a lovely relaxed family day catching up and relaxing. And we certainly don't do that enough of that :)
I am very lucky to have very thoughtful children who made me feel very special today. My eldest Matthew (20) bought me a little bottle of Lindauer Fraise - my favourite sparkling wine. That was a first! The first time a child of mine has bought me alcohol - and I was very touched that he knew what to buy - what a giggle!! Kirsten bought me slippers (what I wanted) and Livvy gave me Peppermint chocolate. The little ones gave me flowers and a new novel to read. So - very spoilt and very grateful for the thoughtful people in my life xx
I'll be back soon and I want to work out how to use all these new gadgets on Blogger when I do! Thanks goodness I have technologically savvy children to help me work it out :)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

One Year On.

Well - we made it! It is February 22nd 2012. One year ago the Earth underneath Christchurch unleashed its energy yet again. This time with fatal consequences.

I was watching from Melbourne. At 11.01am Australia time I received a text from my Daughter Livvy. "Mum. We're having another big earthquake". This text arrived within 10 minutes of the 6.3M After Shock. Liv had sent it straight away.

I had just arrived at the hotel I was staying at but as my room wasn't ready I went up to the room of Gayle Taylor - another Christchurch Director - to get changed into my Director Suit for the start of our conference in the afternoon. As Gayle opened the door we said big hello's and then my phone buzzed. I read the text aloud and we all went straight to the TV - after 2 minutes Channel 9 switched to Live coverage of what was unfolding in Christchurch and there was the Cathedral - Broken. How could that be? I'd just left and everything was fine. Ironically, at this stage, I knew more than most people in Christchurch about how bad it actually was.

I knew what I had to do - I apologised to my consultant Carolyn and to Gayle and said "I'm sorry but I'm going home". I got on the phone straight away and Air New Zealand put me on a flight to Christchurch leaving at 5pm.

It was the most terrible feeling. I wanted to get to my children and husband. I wanted to know that they were alright. I wanted to get straight to school and I couldn't. I felt so far away.

A lot of people have said to me how lucky I was that I wasn't here. I didn't and I still don't feel lucky. I have never wanted to be closer to my family than that moment. It was the most terrible feeling. It remains the worst experience of my life. And to that end I do feel lucky - lucky and blessed that this is the worst experience I have ever had and that all my family were and are safe. My heart goes out to all who lost a special someone on this day last year. You may have read in an earlier blogpost of mine of how close we came to losing one of our own. And my niece Jenny blogged about her sister last night http://mendandmakenew.blogspot.co.nz/2012/02/reflecting-on-2222011.html

Gayle Taylor's sister Bev was badly hurt at the Tasty Tucker in Sydenham and her rehabilitation will be long and slow. She will spend the rest of her life in a wheelchair. But her family are grateful she is alive.

Even though I didn't experience the actual physical violence of the 6.3M Shock on February 22nd, I still had exactly the same adrenaline rush that day, that I had experienced on September 4th 2010. This adrenaline got me to the train station, on foot, no taxi's available that lunch hour! From the train to the airport where our plane unable to land in Christchurch, was diverted to Wellington. I met the lovely Robyn and her cousin trying to get back to Christchurch too and we met early in the morning at the Ferry terminal where we stuck together and my Hero Glenn came and picked us up in Picton and drove us home to Christchurch.

I cannot describe the feelings of relief when we arrived at mt Brother Simon's home and there were all my children and my Mum. Safe and Sound.  Lucky me - Home at last. And this is where I'm staying. Christchurch - It may be broken but our heart is still beating.

Kia Kaha Christchurch. - Our year of mourning is over - Time to step forward and embrace our exciting future xx

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

New Year - New Home :)

Wow - It's the end of January already! We have packed in so much to the month that it has disappeared in a blur. Just before Christmas we found the perfect house to move to on the East Of Christchurch. And it's not that easy to find the perfect house on the East since 4th September 2010.
So we grabbed it and moved on Friday the 13th of January - The Livingstones always like to add a bit of drama to everything we do!
We had exactly 3 weeks, from the day we signed up to the day we moved, to pack our house. And these 3 weeks included a 6.0 After Shock on December 23rd, Christmas Day, Boxing Day and Our Anniversary on New Years Day. So we had to be organised and we did it!
So here I am sitting in our lovely new home typing this blog.

Everything is ready for the first day of school tomorrow. It's a bit further to school now so I'll have to be organised - I'm not known for being early to school :)

Last Saturday my second baby turned 18. And she went out to a bar with all her girlfriends who have turned 18 before her! It's hard to believe that my older babies are becoming young adults.
Happy 18th Birthday Kirsten - you are turning into an amazing young woman xx. Enjoy starting University this year! You will love it :)

Wow - February - another month of new beginnings ahead! Isn't Life exciting :)

Friday, January 6, 2012

A Year of Endings and a Year of New Beginnings

2011 is finished and 2012 has begun. I wonder how many other people feel as if last year disappeared in a blur. It certainly was a year of endings. Huge Endings for some! I know I've said it before but the families of the 182 people who died in the February 22nd earthquake are often in my thoughts and prayers. Moving on from that will take a very long time. The number could and probably should have been higher than 182 – if you look at the destruction in the central city.

After February several of the consultants in my team left Christchurch because they didn’t feel safe anymore. I understood – there were times when I didn’t feel very safe either. Many of my consultants told me they didn’t want to go out at night to do parties any more. I understood – I didn’t want to go out at night either. Suddenly selling lipstick didn’t seem so high on the priority list any more. Many of my customers lost their jobs, or their husbands did. Skin Care and Cosmetics were now a luxury item. Although I was still using Skin Care, I wasn’t wearing much makeup for quite a few months after February. It was more common place to be wearing gumboots!

New Zealand is such a small place and it came to my attention that someone in Mary Kay had said at the end of May that apparently I simply gave up. One of my consultants from the North Island was attending a retreat in Wellington and said to this person. “I feel so sorry for Anthea, it’s been so difficult this year?” and the reply went something like this “Well it’s been hard for all of us but the rest of us didn’t quit!”

Perhaps if this person had given me a phone call after they heard I was resigning, they would know why I chose to move on. I did a lot of soul searching in those first few months after February. I wasn’t here on the 22nd. And the most important thing for me now was to be close to my children, for as long as it takes for all of us to feel okay about being apart. I knew that I didn’t want to go to Wellington to the retreat and I knew that I couldn’t be the best Director I wanted to be.

So I chose to resign. It wasn’t easy but it felt right. I have much to be thankful about in my time with Mary Kay. It was the perfect job for me with pre-schoolers. It was a privilege to be able to guide and train my consultants. Mary Kay paid for our family trip to Australia in 2007. It paid for all of eldest daughter’s orthodontics and most of my middle daughter’s orthodontics. I made some awesome friends and enjoyed some wonderful trips. I was able to work but still be at home for my family when I needed to be. But suddenly it didn’t feel right anymore. Time to move on! Scary and exciting at the same time!

And I would like to say to this person who said that they were able to hang on while I chose to quit – "Maybe saying that about me that helped you to feel better about your own situation. You are welcome to borrow strength from me. I have plenty. I’m so pleased that you made the choice to move forward with your business. I wish you every success now, and in the future. Cosmetics certainly can make a woman feel great and Christchurch women certainly are in need of that. And you are offering a career to those who have had to move on from their jobs. How fantastic!"

My wise Mother always said that when one door closes, another one opens. With every ending comes an opportunity. And I have been grabbing opportunities with both hands. And it feels good and it feels right. 2011 has come to an end. And 2012 will bring new beginnings and isn’t that a wonderful thing J

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

Wishing everyone and Happy and Peaceful 2012. May it be filled with many positive moments and few shaky moments :) x