Oh yes…shackles are loose – I am back!

I have to fess up – I have missed writing these blog posts!!!

I really just could not keep up with all I had on my plate these past two months but I am looking forward to getting right back into stamps of the month, project posts, the all new Seasonal Expressions II and loads loads more! I have had to rethink my approach to a few things and will hopefully cope better with the other job in the future. In the last two weeks I have had such awesome contact and support from CTMH sisters I really do feel in a happy place when I am with them. We really did feel special at the team builders event.

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If you have been following along with me on Facebook or Instagram you will have seen how we celebrated. Close To My Heart went out of their way to make sure we felt valued and special. #ilovesctmh Monica Rocked with us, teaching us how to not be afraid to hashtag and take selfies! You can see us all having some fun if you jump onto your favourite platform and search #ctmhteambuildersau  We also got to be informed and inspired, learned all about the value of popcorn, and of course we played with NEW product!

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April is going to be such an exciting month. Not only is it Easter and school holidays for us, we have the all new Seasonal Expressions II, we have National Scrapbooking Month in May, and some fabulous deals, stamps of the month and more. Only a few short evenings ago we hosted a very special launch of our new products in Mildura and I am pleased to share this photo with you. Our numbers continue to grow at these events and we continue to learn from the experiences so next time we can do it all better. What I loved about this event is to be in a room full of people who really do believe our pictures are worth preserving, a hand made card is worth making and even better, what we do is therapeutic for us!

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Everyone had a lovely time and two more awesome people have the Creative Hearts Team in the CTMH fanily since this event. I can’t wait to see them with their lovely new shoulder totes! If you would like to know more about joining in on the fun. laughter and camaraderie as well as getting yourself well on your way to owning and running a crafty business of your own let me know. You can also find out more right here.

We have an awesome shopping announcement starting tomorrow with our GRAB BAGS – you need to head to this site in the morning to find out more! Make sure you have created your online account at my online store at the creativeheart.ctmh.com.au  and follow us along in social media to find out what is in a grab bag for you! I do hope you get some awesome goodies. Remember to have your order included in a host rewards order! The more online orders there are the more opportunities to gain the Host rewards there will be. Of course if you would like to have a real gathering with a few of your friends over I am looking for you and I will drive to nearby towns within reason.  You deserve some special treats and I would love to help you and your friends make something special in time for Mother’s day! Contact me to find out about what is on offer for a free home class for you!

Be sure if you have Facebook that you follow me. I hope you have also spotted and followed Sticky Boy – if you are not sure just use hashtag #whereintheworldisstickyboy He is naughty and entertaining!  I am also on Pinterest and if you would like to be kept up to date subscribe so I get into your inbox!

Looking forward to a fabulous April with you – and my happy happy return to my blog. I have missed it. I hope you are happy to have me back!

Jen

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Do you have a photo of the single best moment of your life?

And if so, how do you share it?’

My CTMH director shared this post with our team and it is heart-warming to know that we can find a photo that in a specific moment in time we might define as our single best moment in life. I suspect in a year or two some of these photos could be replaced with another ‘single’ best moment as our life continues and perspectives change. The more I think about it the more I have decided I would struggle to pick just one as you can see below.

Is it the birth of my child? Seeing one of them all dressed up like a princess for her Deb ball? The birth of my Grandson?….I would easily make a book of the single best moment of each year, but for a lifetime I would be hard pressed to choose just one defining moment. What would you choose? Why? How would you share it with others?

I guess this is why I scrapbook. Every photo I put into an album is there to show some aspect of my life I want to share with the fuuture generations of my family. It was fantastic seeing how people looked over my albums at my 50th birthday! There is a shelf of books of moments for future generations of my family to enjoy. Their story is preserved in pictures, with words, and with journalling, all lovingly embellished so the record was both enjoyable to create and will be enjoyable to read.

I am not sure who will enjoy my scrapbooks, or when – but they have been created to record my defining moments! I am proud to share them even if my handwriting is crappy. The important thing is, my family will know what I thought was important to celebrate and acknowledge.

So…did you see the original tweet or share your photo?

Here is the film clip about a tweet that got ‘hot’ on twitter. The fountain of humanity – alive and well 🙂

Phots of life’s best moments

Do you have a photo of the single best moment of your life? 

When Sports Illustrated writer Richard Deitsch saw this photo on Twitter two weeks ago of brothers celebrating Yale University’s national hockey championship, he was inspired. 

Deitsch sent a Tweet of his own, asking his followers, “How many of you have a photograph of the single best moment of your life?” 

Within minutes, answers, in the form of photos, came rushing in: Parents’ first moment with a newborn, the moment he asks and she says yes, the moment of homecoming from the danger of war. Dozens, then hundreds of photos streamed in, in what Deitsch describes as a “fountain of humanity.”

So…Do you have one single defining moment captured in a photo? what might it be? Perhaps you can tweet it 🙂  @nenifoofer #definingmoment or head straight to the man who began this @richarddeitsch

All of the photos could be defining moments for me. If I had to choose just one and one only I am going to have to say the sponsorship for International Exchange and tripping off to Mexico. That experience changed me completely and opened my eyes to a world I could never have imagined. I felt honoured and humbled, I learned a new language and I suddenly understood what poverty, and faith, and cultural tradition really was. (At 15 I also found a fun way to live;) )

But really…how do you choose from these moments? They all matter – and they are all recorded in a scrapbook!

Seeing my daughters dressed as princesses for their Debutante Ball

Seeing my daughters dressed as princesses for their Debutante Ball

Being nana - A defining moment the day my Grandson was born
Being nana – A defining moment the day my Grandson was born

Capturing my parents cuddling on the beach in their late 60's

Capturing my parents cuddling on the beach in their late 60’s

Having two beautiful girls all dolled up in beautifully crafted dresses made by my sister

Having two beautiful girls all dolled up in beautifully crafted dresses made by my sister

Being sponsored by Rotary to go on Exchange to Mexico

Being sponsored by Rotary to go on Exchange to Mexico

Seeing my daughters graduate Year 12

Seeing my daughters graduate Year 12

Turning 50 in grand style

Turning 50 in grand style

The Sisterhood

We have travelled awkwardly from Freaky Friday to Terrific Tuesday and we now can really hope for more!

I must admit, having faith in ‘administrators’ of a company I love and that (as far as I knew) was doing well economically was an extremely tough call. Especially when it was so sudden, so without warning, so devastating to 100’s of consultants and customers who had plans for their photos, parties and workshops.

What does it mean to be a scrapbooker?

What does it mean to be a scrapbooker?

My hesitation to stay rigidly hopeful came down to basic economic reasoning. A looming election and increased living costs aside, a business operates on demand and supply of a product or service. Until Freaky Friday we had a superb product and service to deliver to many who love and enjoy what we do. Our service as consultants, our lovely albums and embellishments, our signature tools, our software (my personal favourite) and our opportunities are the core ‘things’ we supply. The less tangible also matters (perhaps even more)  – our mission to ensure photos get out of boxes, off jump drives, phones, camera disks and computers and into beautiful albums to share. The Creative Memories brand is top of the range and our customers know and respect this.

With the parent company in America moving into Chapter 11 ( a course of action to deal with potential bankruptcy in America) and not being able to supply us here in Australia, in spite of ‘hope’ I was doing a mental battle over supply not meeting demand and what that would mean for us. This got worse when it became apparent the administrators in place had little care for the people that make Creative Memories Australia and New Zealand real, not just a cast of characters in a poorly performing play that can be closed down. Our top leaders were forced into a state of powerlessness and the administrator was (to me at least) not doing what they should – to work with us and help a company move forward and avoid the worst case scenarios. (I refuse to even label those)

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To read the statements, click on the image and you will see a more readable view.

In spite of all this economic logic I could still hang on to one very intangible element of this business. We are committed to our mission. We are Independent Consultants (aka sole traders) so this IS our business. We believe what we do is extremely important and have a set of belief statements that reflect this. We believe it so much all we could do was stay positive, have faith that those who could would and meanwhile adopt a whole new strategy. Keep Calm and Scrap.

So…I did, sometimes with tears of sadness, sometimes with gratitude for the opportunities no matter the future, and sometimes with the determination that has been clearly evident in others to not let this be taken away from us!

Virtual Crop has become a regular daily feature of my life as the numbers of the Facebook group grow and scrappers all over Downunder take up the challenges and share their work and their praise for others. Regular emails from CM directors kept us up to date with what they knew, and advice on how to proceed. Consultants, including myself revised our calendars, contacted customers, spread the word of hope that our mission still mattered most and we would find a way.

I stayed strong on the outside, consoled the consultants in my team, and only really broke down once myself, grieving selfishly over the loss of long term outcomes from all the travelling I had done. Many in our CM family could potentially lose much much more as their hard work and success in the business has become their family income. Bang..like that…taken away. No notice for them – no opportunity to find alternate income sources or take a redundancy – just nothing but hope that the administrator will be fair to the customers and consultants as well as other stakeholders. This wasn’t happening.

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Today I…a reminder to be grateful and have hope

Clearly the power of sisterhood has prevailed. Communications have been rife since Freaky Friday and the outcome of that is astounding. Consultants share stories of supportive customers, consultants supporting each other, reminding each other to stay calm, and hope things will stabilise, and dare we even – yes we will – hope that at the end of it all we will come out better at the other end.

24 hours before Tremendous Tuesday a flurry of emails, faxes, and original documents passed through the internet and Australia post. The power of a vote was at hand. Our leading directors and business manager were arming themselves to do battle with the administrators and remind them this was OUR business they were dealing with. Armed with the right information, and the required votes Leading sisters and support crew were able to vote the administrator out and send them packing. You could pretty well hear the cheers and congratulations that went around in electronic form after the announcement was made. Our sisterhood had rallied, our leaders went in on our behalf and took control back.

Similar but different. You may remember Shepparton SPC workers rallying to save the company that had employed them for so long – taking cuts in pay, leave and personally investing in what for them was their life blood. I recall how adamant they and the town were that the company had to be saved. So…it is with extreme gratitude and humility I say a resounding Thank You to all those who told me to hold tight, believe in the mission, believe in our leadership team, and trust that we are in good hands and will still have a business to be a part of . Thank you CM sisters! Keep networked, stay informed, use suggested strategies and above all else tell yourself and everyone else to just Keep Calm and scrap.

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Another scrapbooking is page…it is so much I cannot say it all on just one page!

 

Our future is still foggy, but ironically and in spite of this it is very clear that the waters are calm, the compass has been correctly positioned towards a positive outcome for all of us and we still have the demand for our products and service. Plan B to supply his exists, it now has the opportunity to become a reality and we have absolutely no reason to think that it won’t happen. So go ahead – scrap your stash while we wait the future to arrive.

 

The power of the voice of the sisters in CM AU and NZ has regained control of the management of the company. At the other end of all this we may not look the same, we may not feel the same, but the mission will be just as it is now. WE believe that photos and memories need to be safely preserved, stories need to be told and we want to be the ones to help others achieves this.

Scrapbooking is...

Scrapbooking is…

Terrific Tuesday heralds a new chapter – or perhaps a new book in the CM story in Australia and New Zealand.  I want to be there – will you? If you do then stay in touch – consultant or customer. Read your emails, go to your consultant’s events and show them your support, go to team meetings if you are a consultant -we gather strength and unity- and join appropriate groups on social media such as the Summer Virtual crop group (open to everyone) and above all else ENJOY your photos and memories as you scrap your stash in the short interlude between what was and what is to be.

Go scrap sisters and say a cheer or three for our leadership team in control of our ship!

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Stay Scrappy!

 

ANZAC Day

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, We shall remember them.

In the morning, we shall remember them

This morning I wake to the vivid sounds from memories of the haunting The last Post played on a Lone Bugle at the funerals of my grandfather and great Uncle, and at ceremonies every school year. ANZAC day services have taken place all around the country and in schools this week. It brings to mind all that have been lost in war, not just those tragically lost at ANZAC cove.

I live in the ‘lucky country’. But we have not been so lucky that we have not been affected by the impact of War and the need for soldiers to defend our country. In fact anyone who argues Australia is lucky because it has never been subject to war is clearly forgetting the fact that Darwin was in fact Bombed by the Japanese during World War II

Bombing of Darwin

as the Japanese Emperor attempted to build his own empire throughout Asia and the Pacific; and the fact many Australian men and women have given their lives to war in support of our allies, ultimately protecting our own country. They also forget the many bloody massacres and battles that have been hidden from us now being told as we acknowledge Indigenous people in our History books (at last).

Sometimes it is difficult the remember we have bee to and at war. The bombing of Darwin is as close as this country has ever been suffering the bloody chaos of a long drawn out war. The Japanese break through and take over our shores. I sometimes wonder what would our life be like if they had. (If you child has read Tomorrow when the War Began they will see how author John Marsden has answered this question)

If you have not been to the Australian War Memorial in Canberra,

Australain War Memorial, Canberra

you should, and be sure to take your children along with you. If not, jump online and do some research right here. Try to teach them about the ANZACS and what happened at Gallipoli. Teach them about the tenacity of the Australian Soldier. Educate them about ANZAC cove, about POW camps, about the Burma Railway, about Edward Weary Dunlop, about The Somme and the trenches of  World War One. Teach your children about conscription, and the white feather, the subbing or returned soldiers from Vietnam, and why we currently have had debate about our soldiers in Afghanistan.

 

Be sure your scrapbooks include the history of your family in times of war.  I have included those of my family who have been engaged in war in my scrapbooks – they are fondly remembered.

My Great Uncles in Uniform during World War II

My Great Uncles in Uniform during World War II

Australian children need to understand why this country needs its allies, why we engage in war that is not of our doing, and invite them to see that Australian soldiers, and supporting nurses and their reputations are part of the folklore of this land. They are the ultimate representatives of tenacity, of mateship, of being ‘Aussie’.

There is nothing nice about blood, guts, mud, sweat, death, killing enemy soldiers and dying in the process. There is plenty that is heroic about a man or woman called to serve doing their duty, following orders, attempting to save themselves, his or her fellow soldier, and from afar protect Australia from invasion by another country.

There are many films, novels and biographies about war and the more of these that our children become familiar with the more they will be able to discover and discuss man’s inhumanity to man, the causes of war, the impact or war, the way in which war today is so different from what it was on this day at ANZAC cove and question what the act of war achieves. They may well struggle with the moral question of how we justify war, why some returned soldiers have been treated as heroes and others have not, and why the role of women has in the past been neglected by the history books.

Above all, do not let them grow up thinking this country is lucky to have not experienced war. This is factually inaccurate. It has.  Australia has been at war numerous times because of our alliances which are essential given the size of this land and the coastline we need to protect from invaders. In our history we have been close to being invaded as submarines  got close to Sydney Harbour, and Darwin was bombed. It can happen again. And it will not be the so called ‘boat people’ we are warring with.

In teaching texts as an English teacher I have sadly often had to include the history of the war experience covered in the text. It saddens me that Australian pupils do not have a general knowledge about their own country history that includes our engagement in Wars that ultimately protect the ‘lucky country’ from invasion and persecution. I urge all Australians to watch or read suggested texts to educate the young about the Australian war heroes who we remember both today and on Remembrance day.

To participate in stopping the advance of an army representing a country hungry for power is heroic. Today we especially remember those who lost their lives fighting at ANZAC Cove, arguably the bloodiest of battles Australians have endured.

ANZAC Trenches

Lest We Forget.

Lest We Forget

Lest We Forget

War films and books you can watch, read and share with your children to raise their awareness of Australian War experiences:

The best films according to the Australian War Memorial

Some Texts that come to mind for consideration:

      • Gallipoli
      • Braker morant
      • The Rats of Tobruk
      • The Odd Angry Shot
      • Blood Oath
      • Changi
      • Kokoda
      • My Brother Jack
      • Beneath Hill 60
      • Paradise Road ( A must for any consideration of Women in war)

There are so many books, I will not list any, but the better ones are the biographical – the life stories of individuals, collections of letters and journals by veterans themselves.

One last thing…have a world map handy for the student…it does help them visualise thw where along with the what, when, how and why 🙂

‘Ave a Great Day

 

 

 

The value of a simple page that is journalled.

I did a presentation last night and one of the customers showed us and talked about a page she had made for her children’s baby photos. Her first child was very premature so she does not have those gorgeous birth photos we all try to capture on the arrival of our full term bundle of joy. She even shared that people had asked ‘why’ she had kept photos like that. Her answer is simply because that is how it was. She explained her approach to putting the photos on show in an album was to make them beautiful with the journalling.

The page she had made had the ‘ugly’ shots – a first photo of each child. Both are precious to her because her babies were alive and made it through being premature. For that she is grateful. This page includes a verse she has written journalling how she felt at the time. When the children grow and look over their albums they will feel special and precious, just as she felt about them. The fact there is no *oooh gorgeous baby* kind of photo is replaced by words of the heart from mum. This page gives the reader insight into the power of love of mother to child, regardless of the birth circumstances. There is nothing exciting in the photo or the layout. It is the power of the journalling that makes this page priceless. I was so pleased to see how creating the page had empowered her to feel pride in her children and share that with them when they are old enough to read it.

How about you? Do you have photos that illustrate the fearful or traumatic times of your life that with the right words in a journal box can make the page more special than a page of gorgeous photos? Please comment and share!