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)

BeliefStatement0712_20x30

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.

today

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.

scrapbooking is

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!

stay-calm-stay-scrappy

Stay Scrappy!

 

No matter the story, tell it anyway.

I came across this article ‘When family Stories Are Difficult’  shared on Facebook and feel the need to confess that telling the difficult stories is one of those things I have avoided. I love to journal as truthfully as I can not just what happened but how I felt, so leaving out the bad stuff enables me to celebrate good times and ignore the bad. The problem with that will be my world will appear to have been completely joyful and there won’t be an explanation for my life as a single woman about to turn 50.

I am now divorced from the father of my children. Since then I have had another relationship that I thought would be my happy ever after one that turned into a bitter battle caused by alcohol and lies that I struggled more than twelve months to recover from and even now wistfully at times wonder if it could or would be worth trying again I loved him so much. (But I do know better – it is he that needs to come to terms with his behaviour and lies, not me). Then there are a few months of one or another boyfriend or date that has not quite worked out. What should I do with these photos?

As a scrapbooking mum I find these and other stories hard to tell. I don’t struggle with reflecting on them, and some of them I do not have a problem talking about, but when it comes to including photos AND journalling the truth from my world view I do come to a striking halt. I have no problem including photos of my ex husband with images of our grandson – he does belong to both of us. The ex partner on the other hand is cropped out or left out of any event we attended in our brief 3 years together. I am not sure that it is my pain, or my shame that causes me to do this. I feel I was hoodwinked. But the bottom line is we did have many good moments too and he was an important part of my own growth journey. So…should I include my alcoholic ex partner, and if I do, what do I write?

This article talks about another kind of family issue – an adopted child. The excerpt suggests we need to journal all our stories, the good and the bad. In reference to adopted children Dr. Jane Aronson says:

Tell them with as much humor and openness as you can, she said. “Children deserve to be playful about who they are,” she said, “and to be proud, and to interpret their own stories into their own ideas.” And if a story brings up strong emotions for a child, let it. “Ask yourself if you’re the one who is uncomfortable,” she told me, and if I am, I need to either address it, or hide it, and let the children tell their stories.

KJ DELL’ANTONIA continues

I want my children to know that a story can be happy and sad at the same time, and maybe that’s exactly what the best stories are. We don’t even always have to feel the same way about our stories. One night, my younger daughter might be thrilled to talk about her foster family at dinner, and might even want to describe, again, the moment when she was handed over to strangers. At another time the introduction of the same topic by a sibling telling some other version of that time might bother her (and “bother” doesn’t fully encompass the available range of emotional reactions).

http://parenting.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/03/24/when-family-stories-are-hard-to-tell/

I know both my daughters will have different feelings about stories to do with their dad, and stories to do with my ex partner. But maybe I should scrap them anyway, with humour and honesty so they in turn can share these family stories with their own children.  I can do pages on people that had an impact on my life – good or bad. After all  scrapbooking is all about recording our story and we are perfectly imperfect in an imperfect world.

If I do not include the good with the bad or uncomfortable, what message about resilience and recovery am I leaving my Grandchildren? I want them to know that depression can be managed, and resilience is an important life skill. I guess I better illustrate that in my scrapbooks too!

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!