Category Archives: Life

An ugly sweater winter christmas

happy

June in New Zealand usually means grey and dreary wet winter days… so we pulled out our ugliest sweaters, dusted off the turtle necks, went 100% tacky on the decorations and held an ugly sweater winter Christmas party at our new pad (the S.F.C HQ – Sunday Funday Club HQ).

Highlights included terrible presents & setting the sky alight with floating lanterns (see more here)

What a night of festivities & merriness!

We had a giant blow up snow globe that actually snowed!

midwinter

Posed like family:

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Made a head wreath:

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Made a human table:

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Placed hands on shoulders:

cheesey

Got mildly wild!:

cheese

Made a human pyramid:

pyramid

Got our Prom on:

prom

Mastered an ‘awkward family photo’:

haha

Posed angelically:
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Placed hands on eachothers hips:

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And were glad my husband was wearing undies:

family

Christmas feels so much better in winter!!!

We’ve moved!

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Hey Stud Muffins!!

Guess what! we have packed house and moved to a new farm! it is all kinds of wonderful… The best part? my Husband LOVES his new job 🙂

What I didn’t expect was that although we are a good 20 minutes closer to town, we are completely out of range for broadband so we’ve been forced offline for a solid 3 weeks (Gasp!, shock!, horror!) while we waited for satellite internet to be installed.

Drama mama! Sorry for the unexplained absence!!

So, here’s the skinny…

-I’ll be uploading videos to my beauty & lifestyle channel shortly (my laptop ALSO packed it in – I’m getting a newbie)

-I’ve got some secrets in the pipeline I’ll be sharing once I make some definite decisions… Eeeeeee!!!!

-I’m loving this new season I’m in, prepare yourselves for sharing ‘friendsies’ overload!!… I’m just so appreciative of the people in my life… I was once terribly shy, incredibly anxious, insecure & most definitely someone that purposefully only kept few close friends – as you can read here, there was a massive catalyst in my life… my eyes have been opened, I’m living in freedom! I’m living, not just existing!

So with that, I’ve missed your faces! I hope you’ve kept well, lived well and all that kind of goodness… and with that, I’ll see you soonie loonie!!

 

xx

 

Dear Miss Laurie – February 2013

 

Dear Eva aka. Miss Laurie,

 

Ten days ago you turned 3.

We woke you up, told you that you were no longer two and you practically said, “I think that’s pretty good. Three.” As if you had come to terms with it, had analyzed it and decided it was something you could live with. You accepted the idea of your age like it was the best interest rate your mortgage broker could get you.

Your locks are golden, your legs are long, you’ve obtained purple glasses and you lied to the checkout woman at Countdown by saying I farted, when I DIDN’T! that was an outright LIE Eva! The worst thing is EVERYONE believes three year olds, they’re as honest as the day is long. Except you in this moment, when you proved to me that you’re gonna make a great Lawyer one day.

Today is my birthday and within the first 10 minutes of waking you screamed “Herpy burrday Mummy” in 5 different ways, it was beautiful. I love how the veins on the side of your head throb and the earth shifts in orbit with such joyful exertion.

Right now you are yelling “NO DADDY!, MUMMYS HOLY!” – it doesn’t make sense, but it doesn’t have to. You’re a fighter babe, I can see you fighting for justice in that courtroom already. My early retirement ticket…

It delights my heart when I watch just how much you want to be like me, we have to do our hair and nails TOGETHER. But even more so, how much the idea of wearing a dress is like someone telling you they’re gonna shout you a 10 day all expenses paid trip to Disneyland. The joy in your eyes is like you have just ‘seen’ for the first time after being blind your whole life.

Everyone that knows you, knows you dance. Our biggest joy is encouraging you to be your “Lively” self. Sundays are so much more fun with you in our lives, Worship is a dance party to you. I’ll be lying if I say it doesn’t make me emotional watching you.
I can imagine revival coming from the babies… with little people like you dancing and over throwing environments and atmospheres with your simple joy and love – we won’t have to teach you to change your thinking… we just need to teach you from day one to live in fullness… to keep doing what you’re doing and knowing that what anyone else thinks of YOU (especially in the midst of your Worship) is none of YOUR business. To live everyday walking hand in hand with your Papa in heaven, however that looks. ‘However that looks’.

6 things I’ve so far learned in my 20’s:

  1. Money is important but not the end goal. Keep your hands open, one that gives and one that receives…Your Daddy and I are believers in the idea that giving isn’t ‘giving’ until you feel it… it’ll amaze you to see how much you are blessed when you bless others.
  2. Compare negative words or thoughts with your own truth. They won’t measure up, so don’t believe them, delete them from the memory bank.
  3. A flourishing garden of friends is better than a weed ridden bunch… keep your circle open because everyone needs friends… nurture the quality and rid the weeds.
  4. Sunscreen is underestimated. Slop that stuff on like it’s mayonnaise and you are the bread. Wrinkles are cool when you earn them with age, not with sun damage. As much as Melanoma sounds like a tropical fruit, it is something to beware of… just like poppy seeds on bagels.
  5. Embrace your body, work with what you’ve got… trust me, the sooner you accept that you and every other person are different in looks, shape, weight – the more time you’ll have to be happy and the more time you’ll have for the things that matter.
  6. The best ever investment you could make is the investment into your relationship with God. It will never give you a bad return. Think about it, the more time you spend with someone, the more you begin to learn about them. The more deposits you put into a good investment, the more it has benefits. The more you sow into something, the more you reap.
    This isn’t a ‘works’ thing, as in you look at it like ‘I need to do stuff to get to know God more’ – no… stay away from that train of thought.
    Going deeper in your relationship (with anyone), there is a natural overflow of doing things because of your love for them… I love your Daddy, it’s natural to tell people how much of an awesome guy he is, because I love him… because being with him blesses me…. the same with our heavenly Father. Sow in to your relationship, let that overflow happen, if people are uncomfortable with you stepping out in such ways, don’t be discouraged, just be glad you’re doing something and ‘catching that bus’. (That’s another blog post all together). Pray for the ones who stare. That they will find freedom and liberation too… even if it comes by watching you walk in it. You don’t need anyone elses permission to ‘step out’.

My little Miss Laurie, you’re so girly but so tough. This morning you were break dancing on your colouring book, lost footing and scored some mean carpet burn on the back of your thigh, you flinched, and then shrugged like it was no big deal, just a little flesh wound. And then you reminded us about that one time you crashed your helicopter in ‘Nam. You’re so cool, you’re like those cool guys that don’t look back at explosions. You are my favourite person. Your dad is also my favourite person. I checked the ‘New Zealand Constitution’ and the Bible and there isn’t a single word in there about it being illegal or immoral to have multiple favorites. But you are, you’re my favourite person.

I love how you wake me up in the morning and ask me to sing songs about Icecream and flowers. I love how you sing me songs about Milo drinks and dresses. How you blame your own farts on others. How you want to help me with everything. How you camp out in stealth mode, waiting for the very moment your dad or myself  walk over to sit on the couch, only to ambush us and launch your long Dutch/Maori body on to the very seat we were about to sit in like you we’re throwing yourself on to a grenade Bruno Mars style. How you say ‘Hi’ to EVERYONE. How you call every older woman with grey hair “Grandma”.  I cannot contain your spirit, not that I would want to. But watching you maneuver through life makes me think you are on to something….

You make me feel like I’m doing something right.

I love you forever Eva Laurie, you make me smile everyday.

 

xx

Happy 29th Birthday to Daddy from Eva

ALL ABOUT MY DADDY

By Eva, recorded before her 3rd birthday

My Daddy’s name is NEENIL

He is 2 FEET TALL

He weighs 3 KG

Today he turns 5

His hair colour is YELLOW & BROWN

His eyes are GREEN

His favourite TV shows are DIEGO & BUBBLE

He likes to go ON THE BIKE

His favourite food is MY TOAST & CAKE

His favourite drink is JUICE

For fun he likes to GO ON A HOT SLIDE & EAT MY MEEMITE TOAST

I love it when my daddy HOLDS MY HAND

My favourite thing about daddy is DANCING WITH HIM

5 things I love

Hello fine faces!

Here are 5 things I’m loving this week:

1. WEDDING ANNIVERSARIES – Seven years ago yesterday, the man of my dreams and I jumped the broom into wedded bliss!
He still won’t put his washing in the laundry. I still don’t rinse my coffee cup. I can’t wait till we get to the age where we wiggle our dentures at each other, or when he wears his pants up to his nipples and I wear my lipstick on my teeth. Love you babe!
We celebrated with mussells, a movie and a cheeky wee family photo 🙂

2. HOME GROWN PLUMS IN BROWN PAPER BAGS – These things are so expensive right now, they’re like the Caviar of the fruit section at the Supermarket. No doubt there is a thriving underground market based in Calcutta for this type of commodity.

3. REARRANGING MY PERSONAL SPACE: My cute Nana gave me the coolest painting that I’ve used to update my dressing table. Little two year old hands keep shuffling and stashing my things in toy boxes so I decided it was time to change things up a bit. I like minimalism (unless it has anything to do with dessert), so in this instance, I climbed it like a tree.

4. IMPROMPTU PHOTO SHOOTS WITH MY BABY LADY: How is it that laid back Dan and I are the parents to the most social, lively personality we’ve ever seen in a child. She says “Hi!” in the most excited little voice to everyone she walks past (not an exaggeration), twirls and dances at every given opportunity, sings at the top of her lungs in the supermarket and is either constant noise or is silent with sleep. Who is this little girl going to grow up to be?! No we don’t load her up on sugar, yes we’re firm on her with boundaries – she is just being who she was made to be! (Her name DOES mean ‘Lively’ after all)

5. THRIFT STORE SPOILS: Gotta say, my sad face comes out when I see just how much my fave thrift store has hiked up their prices – but in saying so, I do manage to find the odd bit of trusty loot here and there.
My three dollar “Anything” jar – I’m using this to record all the encouraging words or prophetic words people give to me throughout the year. It’s also recording the prophetic words or pictures I am shown. Can’t wait to be rockin ‘Fonz’ thumbs over my year when I finally read them all.
$1 records and $0.30 classic books – you can’t go wrong with Kantong!

Well love letter, I hope your week is wonderful and that you ponder at least a couple of things in your everyday that you are loving or are grateful for!

XoXo

A New York Memoir – Part 4 (*WARNING* a lengthy finale)

newyork

It’s 3.30am, Sunday the 21st of October.

The sunroom I’m sleeping in becomes illuminated by the alarm blaring from my cellphone. I didn’t really need the alarm, I didn’t sleep anyway.

My husband will be getting up in an hour for work… it’s strange not being woken by the same alarm together. I’m thinking of my daughter who is still in bed. I can almost see those deep blue eyes she was given from her daddy, closed with a deep sleep, tucked up in her new red puppy pyjamas. I bet shes dreaming about singing or dresses or washing her hands or the colour purple. Those things are what preoccupy her every day.

I’m two hours from home at Aunty Lyndas beach house in Manly, which is located on the Whangaparoa Peninsula. Seashores, craft stores and Italian restaurants are in abundance.
I’m homesick but I’m gonna do this. I know all it takes is to follow my footsteps. I get up in a dewy foggy morning and make the hour trip to the airport.

About 6.20am and I’m on the otherside of customs. I thought I’d be able to stomach breakfast but water is the extent of it. I sit down at the nearest table and burst in to tears. I’m doing this, I really am. I’m doing it alone. Do I want to get murdered? – “God is telling you to step out of the boat” – I’m reading this over and over from my journal.

Even though it’s not the last time I cry, it’s here I decide I need to enjoy every moment.

As hard as it is being on my own, I need to shut that emotional tap off or it’s going to sabotage everything.

3.5 hours later I’m in Sydney. An hour after that, I’m boarding the biggie. The one that takes me to the U. S and A. Seat 64K – right on the window side of a wing.

An elderly couple in their 70’s sit next to me. Americans. He’s in the middle and his knees are touching the seat infront. Poor guy. He would’ve had movie star looks back in his hey day.

He sits hunching forward to see the screen infront and watches Men in Black 3 on the inflight entertainment. Every now and then giggles and holds his lady-loves hand. I can’t help but wonder about their lives. How old were they when they married? How many children do they have?

I imagined their names were Howard and Ann. That it was the 50’s when they met at a local dance made up of shiny shoes, Brylcreem, ribbons and little white gloves. That they were married before Anns twenty first year and managed to buy the house of their dreams with Howards paycheck. He was a mechanic in the army after all. There were hand written love notes, picnics by the lake, vacations to Chippewa Falls in Wisconsin. Now here they were, in their 70’s, a lifetime of laughs, loves and lessons littering their wake…flying home from the trip of their dreams down under. More memories to their love story.

13.5 hours on a Qantas plane in Cattle class, and then another 5 hours on a Qantas plane in Cattle class – It’s kind of like child birth. In the moment, its the worst experience your body could ever go through. The cramps, the claustrophobia, someone constantly kneeing you, the gas… but this time not gas that comes in a bottle, its coming from the trouser cough of the woman in front of you.

You get out on the other side of it all, and see the sunshine and you forget exactly what it was all like. Only moments earlier you’d sworn to yourself that you would never put yourself through this pain again – but then you find yourself thinking, “Oh, it wasn’t that bad…I got a beautiful baby out of it… infact, I think I WILL do this again.”

This time I wasn’t getting an 8lb 11oz bouncing baby with dimples. Instead, I was taking my first few steps on to American soil, and from a billboard – I was being welcomed by big beautiful Barack Obama and his ears.

I’d just completed 26 hours in transit and I’d done it.
It was 10.30pm and I was in New York City!
The lights… the lights of New York City at night… it was magical. Approaching the city and over the Brooklyn Bridge, I get my first glimpse of an illuminated icon, the Empire State building! I’m here! I’m really here!

My hotel is on Broadway, THE Broadway from the movies. I know that my accommodation isn’t anything to be excited about, but its somewhere to sleep in a safe area at least. It’s on a sleepy street in the Upper West side of Manhattan that is lined with sweet gum trees slowly losing their yellowed leaves with the New York “Fall”. There is a Deli at one end, a Laundromat in the middle and a Diner with three dollar omelettes at my end. The actor Chevy Chase has an apartment here and four streets down, Matt Damon has a townhouse.
I’m on the 10th floor in room 2010.

When I opened the door for the first time, I’m smacked in the face by the smell of stale cigarettes. It’s a smokers room and the windows are taped shut.
The decor is from the 80’s, the carpet is sticky, but the room is spotless. The tv is a giant box from the 90’s, the remote glows in the dark, the cabinet has a broken door, but the bed is amazing. I climb in and cry for the last time. I’m far from home, I’m exhausted and now I have to sleep with my mouth open. I pray… and then I know tomorrow will be a better day.

The next day and the days to come were like a dream. I walked. I took everything in. One moment I can smell hotdogs from sidewalk vendors, then the smell of laundry detergent from a Laundromat, and then pee… it was always like that… if it wasn’t hotdogs or laundry detergent… it was pee.
I did so many different things (< click this link!)

Did I ever tell you about Canal Street?

Canal Street is a place that is notorious for replica designer bags, belts and sunglasses. Extremely popular with tourists and residents alike.

My guidebook tells me its legal to buy them, but it’s illegal for someone to sell them. Go figure.

I have a good nosey around the place – there are bags, framed photos of New York, scarves, sunglasses, cellphone cases, belts, mini Statue of Liberties, snow globes, a guy standing with a sign that reads “Need money for weed”, you-name-it everywhere.

It’s about 2.30pm and I think its time I head off to explore other places.

I read that you may walk past someone and they will whisper under their breath “Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Coach”, all the while keeping their eyes to the streets, looking out for the police. These guys sell the better quality fakes. I also read to not be surprised if you are led to a room where they lock the door behind you. All of their ‘goods’ are in makeshift locations ready to move in an instant incase they catch wind of a raid.

I begin walking toward a good looking black guy standing with his wife next to a bus stop. Just as I get within earshot I hear the keywords “Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Coach”. I laugh and just go with it, “Okay”.

He tells me to go with his wife, her name is Lisa and she walks me over to the window of a shoe store. She flips open her cellphone and shows me a gallery of the replica bags in their possession. I point to a quilted ‘Chanel’ with a gold chain, and with that, she closes her phone and tells me to wait for her at Starbucks in the next street.
I wait for ten minutes before she walks in with a black rubbish bag tucked under her arm. She takes out the ‘Chanel’ and with a naked flame from a lighter, she lets it lick against the surface of the bag to show me the materials are good quality.

I say okay, hand her a Benjamin and we go our seperate ways  –  I’m walking away feeling like I just participated in a drug deal.

On the Friday, I decide to just walk and see where I end up. By now I’ve got the staring through people thing down pat. You have to. EVERY single street you have people standing by trying to engage you in conversation to give money for something, to do a cruise, a tour, a halloween special, presidential propaganda, comedy show tickets, happy hour specials, takeaway deals, we buy gold pamphlets, give money to this charity, that charity, greenpeace – EVERYTHING.

I got fed up and picked up some tips from the every day New Yorkers I observed: put ear phones in and keep your eyes forward, don’t stand around too long, don’t carry a camera bag, DO NOT wear a “I heart NY” shirt – you might as well have a lit sign with “VULNERABLE TOURIST” flashing above your head.

Horns in cars aren’t a warning, they are to let everyone know you need to change lanes. When someone bumps in to you, you need to immediately check for your wallet. “Do not walk” signs are a suggestion. Eye contact is a sign of aggression. If you think you might want to sit down somewhere to rest your feet, you’d better plan that little break in before hand because there are no benches found street to street, that what the parks are for.

As much of a culture shock as this place is, I don’t want to leave. I imagine what it would be like living in a one bedroom apartment paying $600 a week like they all do. Little do I know, that within the next few moments, I’ll be heading down a track to cut my trip early and to fly home the next day.

I’ve just finished shopping for cosmetics at a drugstore in midtown. I exit the front door, turn right to continue on down town with the other masses when I spot a familiar face. The Kiwi woman who sat behind me on the Plane from Sydney and again in LA! We briefly talked in L.A, about our plans, where we were from and then wished eachother the best in our endeavours. Then in a city of over 8 million people, we run in to eachother again!

We’re chatting like we’re old friends, what we’ve thought of the city so far, the food, the bargains we purchased etc., then she says something that changes my thought track entirely, “I’m really freaked out about the hurricane rolling in”. At this point I hadn’t even turned the TV on. I was still jet lagged and by night time, I was well and truely ready for bed. “What hurricane?” I ask. She gives me a bewildered stare, “Have you not even turned a TV on?”.

She was talking about Hurricane Sandy. I was supposed to fly home the day it hits.

I get back to my hotel at around 6pm, this time I turn the TV on. Every single channel programmed to that TV was dedicated to tracking the hurricane. It was pretty eerie. They showed footage of home owners in Jersey sandbagging and boarding everything. They closed all the parks. The Mayor was declaring a state of emergency, they were calling this thing “A storm of a lifetime” and were setting up halls and emergency accommodation for people in vulnerable areas to stay. I called the airlines and according to the Qantas lady, I had booked THE VERY LAST SEAT on the VERY LAST FLIGHT out of New York. And that was it, I was going home the next day.

I slept well that night and wake up around 11am the next day and go to grab some breakfast from the Diner across the road. I begin noticing all the sandbags lining footpaths and set outside doors ready for use. I notice plywood going over grates to the subway, plywood going up over windows. I notice people leaving wholefood grocers with bags packed full of canned goods and water.

I can’t help but feel so protected and free. Of all times to go to New York and have the experience of my dreams, a thing like this happens at the very end of my trip that shows me Gods faithfulness and favour. That of 8 million plus people, I run into a woman I’ve met… and she warns me of the coming storm. I learn that regardless of the scary things that happen in the world, if God gives you a dream, He will fulfill it…. if a hurricane is coming, it won’t stop Him. I can see that we need to stop putting Him in a box labelled “God” and expecting Him to only move within the confines of that box…that He doesn’t want to be in a box…He wants room in our lives to be Himself. When we allow Him that room, He blows our mindsets apart and blesses and guides our every step in ways that we would had never believed.

I can see so clearly that faith without deeds is dead. We need action to show our faith – when we actually do put action to it, things begin to happen and we inspire others to set off chain reactions in their own lives. You have one life to live, you might live it and do it in freedom.

“Step out of the boat”.

 

(When I finally got home, my story has made the front page of the paper!)

xx

A New York Memoir – Part 3 (a list of memorable experiences)

Memorable things that happened:

  • Saw the Halloween decorated city – carved pumpkins, pumpkin spiced lattes, pumpkin pies
  • Saw a city that was also preparing to vote again in the Presidential elections – candidate buttons, flyers, billboards everywhere
  • Grayline double decker bus tours of both uptown (Harlem) and downtown
  • Experienced the top of the Rock
  • Went to the top of the Empire State and imagined Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan meeting up there like in Sleepless in Seattle
  • Had a massive slice of New York pizza
  • Sang the “Money, money, money, money” song while walking by Trump International Tower
  • Ate a genuine red velvet cupcake from the famous Magnolia Bakery
  • Ate chili fries
  • Had a rickshaw ride around Central Park
  • Saw where John Lennon was shot
  • Went to the John Lennon memorial – there was a man there playing a guitar singing John Lennon songs, there are petals and flowers that get placed there daily, and every Sunday Yoko Ono brings a bouquet of flowers herself
  • Saw a dog with wheels for legs
  • Saw Ice Cube getting a horse and carriage ride
  • Got hit on by three African Americans – holler
  • Saw 30 Rock being filmed in the street
  • Saw a filming of Good Morning America with a little known guest they had called OPRAH – never heard of her
  • Saw ‘Bring it on’ the broadway show
  • Ate some ‘shrimp’ at Bubba Gump
  • Saw an ad being filmed
  • Got a lousy caricature drawing
  • Frequented Times Square and Broadway for the obnoxious lights, crowds, TV characters, and unnecessary candy stores
  • Saw the famous ‘Naked Cowboy’
  • Got a yellow cab ride
  • Did a TV & Movie tour and spun the most elaborate story to the tour guide and a bus load of people that I’m Jermaine Clements cousin – I committed to it for the whole 3.5 hour tour
  • Saw the ‘projects’
  • Saw drug deal going down
  • Played on the ‘Big’ piano
  • Got a ‘Zoltar’ card
  • Stocked up on $8 OPI!
  • Saw paparazzi waiting outside Tao for Tom Hanks
  • Bought a $20 Guess wallet
  • Got some Seinfeld ‘Jujyfruits’
  • Had a black and white cookie
  • Ate a $1 hotdog from a sidewalk vendor
  • Window shopped Jimmy Choos
  • Navigated the subway
  • Had a group of older black men sing gospel songs in my subway car
  • Got a free hug
  • Got handed a “what to do if everyone gets raptured and you get left behind” pamphlet
  • Had cream cheese bagels, giant pretzels and a black cup of joe
  • Went on a harbour cruise where the miracle on the Hudson happened
  • Saw the Statue of Liberty
  • Saw the dock that the Titanic was supposed to arrive at
  • Tried my first Bud Light
  • Walked down Carrie Bradshaws street
  • Saw where Katherine Hepburn lived
  • Saw where Heath Ledger died 😦
  • Saw the library where Slimer first appears in Ghostbusters, which is also the same Library on “The day after tomorrow” where they burn the library books
  • Went to multiple F.R.I.E.N.D.S locations
  • Went to DASH
  • Saw a man feed a homeless person
  • Saw old men playing chess on a door stoop
  • Ate a cake pop outside Madison Square Gardens
  • Saw where Marilyn Monroe sang happy birthday to JFK
  • Finally made it to the World Trade Centre site. I even booked a walking tour with ‘Bill’ a Firehouse Chief and a first responder. A few quick decisions decided his fate from his co-workers, he was the only survivor from his unit. He cried a few times talking about his friends he lost and loved. He described how it was a life and death situation looking up to dodge the debris and bodies falling if you try to run from the building, and how he made everyone in the stairwell hug the wall as tight as they could when they heard things collapsing (not realising it was the other building). As he stepped out the door to leave himself, his building started collapsing.