Saturday, 31 January 2015

Wedding flowers surprise

 Got a nice surprise yesterday when one of my wedding flowers ladies sent me some pics that she had taken of her wedding with the flowers that she had ordered from me last year and even gave me permission to use them for advertising. Thank you!

I was so happy for her as I try to keep my sets within a budget to make them more affordable for women and their families. My interest in making up wedding sets started in 2001 when I began planning for my wedding in Fiji and knew that it would be difficult to try and organise for flowers and colour matching there.

So I decided to make them up myself after looking at many different materials and silk (artificial) flowers and was able to match up the colours as I liked. I made up 7 bridesmaids bouquets, 10 special buttonholes for groom/smen, fathers and 3 flowergirl baskets with smaller mothers sprays.

When I finished high school, whilst trying to figure out whether I wanted to go to Uni, I did apply for and got an apprenticeship at a
printing firm. One of the tests that I had to undertake was a colour matching test in which I was given lots of hues of a one colour, say yellow, and I had to line them up in order from lightest to brightest. I was that I received the highest mark in NZ at the time.

In short, it means that I love colours and coordinating/contrasting them. I also did a similar Facebook test and again received a high mark regarding matching colours. Hint: I love colours - my fascination with art hence you'll see that I always paint with bright colours.

Pictured here is a blues with white wedding set which included a teardrop bridal bouquet, a bridesmaid's bouquet and featuring a buttonhole.

I'm not particularly interested in turning it into a business as it's more a hobby that I enjoy plus the fact that I love weddings and what it stands for in a union between God, a couple and their families for the next generation....

Friday, 30 January 2015

God's not dead - The movie

Been watching a few Christian theme based movies and will be posting short reviews about them from my perspective starting with "God's not dead" based on the song by one of my favourite contemporary Christian bands 'The Newsboys'. This weekend they came to the 'Cloud' concert in Auckland just after I'd watched the movie - no coincidence.

In fact, it was my younger sister who watched this movie first and recommended it to me to watch with my children. The story centres around a first year College/University student who wants to take a particular paper and ends up with a lecturer/professor who challenges him to defend his statement that God is 'not' dead.

It reminded me of when I had to take a level 1 Physical Anthropology paper at Auckland Uni as an undergraduate student to complete my course of studying History, Geography, Art History and English papers. I was very scared about taking it as I felt that with all of the research resources that Universities had that my faith would be challenged with the 'evidence' that this paper would present to me from it's pro evolution position.

I went to my Teachers College mentor, at the time, who was a Christian and he encouraged me to take it up and to listen to what they had to say. Needless to say, I read all the books and studied the theories that were presented and came to the conclusion that the Bible had more answers to life questions than the one or two skeleton remains that was used as their 'evidence' from archaeological digs.

That faith has remained strong over the years passed on through my parents Christian faith legacy, my grandparents' especially amazing in my 95 year old Grandmother and some neat friends. I would highly recommend this movie to view with family/friends to answer this simple question to yourself about whether you believe that 'God's not dead' in your life.

Monday, 26 January 2015

Happy 175th Auckland Anniversary Day

Painted Jan 25, 2015 "4 Ls on life"
It's neat having another day off work to do things together with family like painting last night till after 1 am in the morning just for the fun of it and then continuing this morning with my littlest asking to do some painting herself. It's amazing what children pick up as we role model to them.

Today we are celebrating our Auckland Anniversary in fact there's been advertising about Auckland celebrating it's 175th year. It has been said that the name for our city originated as being named by Baron William Eden after the first Earl of Auckland who was originally from England of whom he was a descendant.

So there are many celebrations around the city but I prefer to take it easy with my family and see what the day brings. I've also had time to watch a couple of the movies that were released last year and will be writing some reviews that will later be placed in the movie reviews section.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

More beautiful summer days

 Loving these summer days and spent my youngest sister's birthday, this weekend, by the sea at Mission bay. Another lovely summer's day, swimming, looking over to Rangitoto Island and cooling down under breezy trees. This is the life.

Was also good to go over to view the Savage Memorial Grounds where a Prime Minister is buried and where a monument and gardens were established as a tribute to his contributions to the society of his time. Born 1872 died 1940.

Close by is also a reminder of the controversial occupation of Bastion Point by local Maori in 1977. The government at the time did not recognise full rights of indigenous Maori to lands that had been confiscated and tried to dismiss it but wasn't expecting Maori protests and land occupation that lasted over a year.

The outcry brought about a resolution that paved the way for the Treaty Tribunal to uphold their rights to the land that had been proposed to be used for upscale housing.

From this vantage point there is a beautiful panoramic view of Auckland harbour, the beaches close at hand and Auckland city. It is a place that all New Zealanders can enjoy with many overseas tourists.

Loving these summer days

Mission Bay fountain in the evening changes colour
Mission Bay park with our littlest loving the swings

Have been very busy enjoying these summer days and especially spending it with my children and going to local parks. Been going to Mission Bay park near the Auckland CBD (central business district) and they just love it there. The above pic shows the fountain changing colour in the evening and the pic below with our littlest enjoying the swings. There's so much to see and do for children, teens and adults.

It was also the setting for the first date that Fritz took me on at Mission Bay in 2000 Feb 14. I thought it would be either a day I would like to forget or one that I would remember for the rest of my life. It was the latter. At the time, I did think it was a little too romantic for the first date but it turned out just fine. There he said that he thought he could spend the rest of his life with me and almost 15 years later, we're a busy couple loving our children.

It's a busy little area with lots of tourists arriving daily and youth playing ball sports or for just picnicing and enjoying each other's company. There's also kayaking and water sports or going for a walk, playing sand castles or reading a book to the soulful sounds of the gentle waves breaking on the sand. Just love it!

Friday, 16 January 2015

Summer days at the pools

I love these Auckland summer days with beautiful weather - great for hanging washing (environmentally friendly), going to the beach or swimming at the local pools with my children. I remember with my last two children, my middle child was born in January and my youngest was born in March and I spent much of the last trimester at the pools to cool down.

Water plays an important part in our lives, not only as our most favoured drink but my children also started swimming lessons within their first birthday and continue to enjoy leisure time swimming at the pools or at the beach.

As a young adult, my favourite water sports was outrigging with 5 other paddlers on an outrigger and still enjoy kayaking which I started out on at various camps that I attended. I've also tried Dragonboat paddling but still enjoy outrigging as you can paddle on both sides.

So that when we visited the resorts in Fiji or at my parents home in Samoa taking a small craft out to paddle is enjoyable and not so daunting. Fritz and I, as well as my parents, also enjoy seafood - but that's another story.

Enjoying this incredible weather while it lasts as daylight savings gives us an extra hour although we do have to get up an hour extra. Oh well... zzzzz

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Weekend learning about leaving a legacy...

Just found out over the weekend that one of my teacher colleagues died before Christmas with many tributes on a Facebook page made up for her. It made me reflect this new year that we really don't know when I time is up and that we should live in such a way that there are no regrets.

I also went to a church service (pic of the entrance above at our Life church) with my children and enjoyed watching a review of "Saving Mr Banks" a movie that explores the relationship between the writer of 'Mary Poppins' and her background growing up and also with Walt Disney, the founder of Disneyland etc. (a movie review following).

I was interested to learn that she had written the book series in her 30s but then did not sign over the rights of the book to be made into a movie for 20 years of Walt Disney trying to persuade until she was 64 years old when she finally relented and met with his team to work through it. I found out that she later died at age 96 years in the 1990s, a multi millionairess but unloved. So sad.

What would you like to leave as your legacy? My children are so important to me so that for me it's about leaving a legacy that my children can be proud of and to learn from or add to. I think it's always important to say that you love your loved ones rather than to leave them guessing.

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Summit mountain climbing last day of holidays

I enjoyed my last day with my children before starting work again for the new year next week. We decided to walk up our local mountain with a summit of approximately 100+ metres above sea level. Nothing like the Mt Everest that I read about in Bear Grylls' book but still offered the experience of climbing a mountain.

You might be able to spot my eldest who is more adventurous, like her dad, and wanted to climb directly up the mountain path, that you may be able to trace, to the summit. With my other two  children, we decided to go around the longer way and a lot easier for my youngest (3 year old) to negotiate. (I have a poem that I wrote about a childhood experience that I had that I'll post later on in the poetry section.)

After about a 30 minute+ walk, we made it to the trig station on the summit and enjoyed the panoramic view of Auckland as well as viewing the local scenes. My eldest had been waiting there for some time and we were able to share about our experiences of having taken them to play local club soccer and softball (baseball) a couple of years ago as well as ballet classes when they were younger.

I've majored in Geography since high school and shared some of the stories that I remembered growing up locally and how things have changed since then. Like how there used to be oxidation ponds (sewage treatment centre) that used to smell there and how the local council is hoping to develop that area into a recreational area for sport.

After the climb we returned to our car taking different paths, my elder two down the steeper slope and I took my young one on my back and walked back down the way we came as she was tired from the sun and the long walk. It was a good thing that we had brought along cool drinks and then we decided to pack our gear and go to the local swimming pools to cool down after 5pm when most people had left. What a day, with neat memories and rewarded with a fun time at the pools.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Floral artistry and relaxation

It's been a relaxing first week of the year with my children where we're able to sleep in instead of waking up before 7am each morning to get ready for work and school. It's also been a time for them to go biking with their new Christmas bikes having needed to upgrade them for the next tryathlon later on in the year.

I've also had time to work on a couple of wedding buttonhole ideas with another light blues and whites wedding set that will be sent to Otorohanga (will post up pics later). And working on a couple of new paintings that I'll post up later. Funnily enough I still get up early usually around 6am and start my day sometimes after dropping Fritz to work and then having some 'quiet time' to read the Bible in the morning for my devotions and reading through Genesis.

This is my last week before going back to work and still have some organising to do with a garage tidy up, working out the budget and activities for our family for the week. Looking forward also to another beach trip this weekend with the neat weather. Hope you're having a neat first week for 2015 too.

Sunday, 4 January 2015

First weekend of 2015

 Hope you're having a neat first weekend of 2015. My family decided to go to Long Bay this weekend but as I was driving I overshot the exit and ended up driving another 11+ kms to the next exit and decided to then visit Orewa instead

Loved it as we were able to park our car behind a grassy bank which was only a couple of metres and then below us was the sand and the beach. Our children loved the picnic on the grass over looking the beach, swimming and playing in the warm water as well as making sand castles.

But they especially liked playing the family softball game that we had. And then as evening wore on, we went for a family stroll up the beach and back with a final play at the park when it was dark. Just loved spending time with family and having fun in a relaxed atmosphere and we also got to pray on the beach which was neat.

It also helped me to recall how beaches have played a significant role in our lives as my first date with Fritz was at a beach near the city (which I thought was far too romantic and it happened to be on Valentines day as well) it was the same beach that our 2 children were baptized in last year.

Fritz proposed to me on a beach in South Auckland; we went near to a beach at Sonaisali Resort Island in Fiji to get married and then had our honeymoon at Broadbeach in Brisbane, Gold Coast. Both our parents live near beaches in Samoa, our best family holidays have been spent at beaches ie. Kirra Beach, Coolangatta in Brisbane; Denarau Island beach in Fiji; family beaches in Samoa at Fasitoo (my parents home) and Siumu (Fritz' family) as well as our annual beach trips to favourite Auckland beaches in the summer.

Maybe for the rest of the summer months you'll find us on some weekends playing at a beach and enjoying time together. It also goes towards ticking the box for having at least fortnightly some family fun activities together, as one of my monthly goals for the new year that I have planned over the years. Because as it's been said that as you grow older you'll be regretting time spent working rather than getting to know your child/ren well.  All the best for the first month of the new year....

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Happy New Year for 2015

Happy New Year and welcome 2015. I feel that this year is going to be a special year, an amazing year which holds so much promise and have started planning and organising things although I do believe that we make our plans but God has the last word. Wishing you too the best for the year ahead.

The Gardenia flower is one of my mum's favourite flowers that I have in my garden. It is beautifully fragrant and has a lovely waxy white flower with contrasting green leaves. Often when I see lots of these growing in a garden, I wonder if there are Pacific Islanders living there. To me, it symbolizes the beautiful prospects that this year holds.
So for 2015, so far, have scheduled in regular date nights which started last night with my beau, and we went out (with our 3 year old in tow) to a local fave Chinese restaurant (gotta keep those romantic fires burning ha ha) and planning regular family outings like dinners out or taking walks at a park or beach etc. Anniversary and Birthday plans for sure! and other important activities.

Remember, it's been said that 'if you fail to plan, you plan to fail' and that it's more likely for you achieve your goals if you write them down and regularly review with a plan of attack. Will also be sharing more plans and activities as the month unfolds and looking forward to God's hand and blessings for the year ahead - bring it on 2015 with lots of prayer in the background.