Happy Engagement

So there I was… lying in bed, just over a week before my engagement party and my lovely fiance jokingly said we should turn it into a wedding…. That was all the encouragement I needed. And so was born, our surprise wedding. We would like to thank those who were able to share this special occasion with us.

I think I summed it all up in my speech…. Have a read.

Love and hugs.

12899628_10153930497561970_1131844607_o12896478_10153930496341970_112644484_o12896440_10153930495321970_519648280_o12896321_10153930495116970_383543629_o20160325_125415 Mrs Johansson-Hale


“Whilst you may have been surprised by many things tonight I am sure you will not be surprised to learn that I am having the last word.

I won’t keep you from the cake for much longer, I just want to say my own heartfelt thank you for being here tonight. You are our nearest and dearest and your support, love and friendship has meant the world to us, not just tonight but ongoing.  To my family, I’ve been blessed with caring parents, wonderful aunts, the best cousins and… some uncles. Uncles whose advice I suggest you don’t listen to Ross, not looking at anyone in particular… Dave.

But seriously, I thank all of you for everything over the years, I wouldn’t be who I am without you. And whilst these relationships have with stood the test of time and are very special I can’t look past those who I’ve been lucky enough to meet in recent years, even if I didn’t really like them at first, aye Marc?  In all seriousness it’s amazing to think of the connections and friendships we’ve made in often such a short time. This obviously includes Ross and I finding each other not even three years ago and now I never have to look far to find a graphic designer to do all my school stuff for me.  Great things can happen in such a short space of time.  I’m certainly glad my journey in life has led me to such a wonderful group of people and to this wonderful man, and a precious little 8 year old.

Charlotte you are such a treasure, and we make such a great team.  Poor Ross doesn’t have a leg to stand on at times.

Rob and Robyn, thank you for all your help to make this event a success. You always go above and beyond and our appreciation is indescribable.  Thank you for welcoming me into your family.

Mother and Father, thank you for putting up with me the longest and dealing with my dramas, helping me chase my dreams and never giving up on me. I’m sure you’ll be relieved to know it’s now Ross’ job to put up with me. A special thanks to my Dad, you’ll always be my first true love and I will always be your daughter bear.

Thank you to the muso’s, who will be playing later tonight, such talent and especially to Sasha & Melissa for performing My same, a song that sums Ross and I up quite nicely. You did an amazing job learning that song in the space of a week. But I’ve been witness to your talents for 4 years now and knew you would.

It must just be the Tokoroa attitude and way, nothing is too much trouble. Trish was exactly the same when I knocked on her office door asking her to marry us about a week ago. As per usual Trish you’ve been supportive, helpful and have once again shown your way with words. Thank you so much.

Another person who was more than happy to help with all but a weeks’ notice was Shannon. I’ve watched you grow your photography over the last few years and you continue to amaze me with the gorgeous work you produce and am honoured to have you take our photos. Thank you so much.

Kendall, I don’t even know where to start. You look stunning tonight, as usual. We’ve had 22 years of friendship, crazy adventures, laughter and tears so it is no surprise to be sharing this occasion with you. And despite your terrible co driving we got here, relatively on time. Thank you for adding this event to the list of things we have done together and standing by me. I guess it means you have forgiven me for the time I pushed you out of the pram, left you to wet the bed, and all the times I ran away from you because you were annoying. I’m not sure what 8 year old me was thinking. You’re certainly far from annoying in fact I’m not sure where I would be without you. I certainly wouldn’t be here because if I’m honest it was Kendall who told me to give Ross a shot when I had decided I wouldn’t date him because he was too nice. It was her that reminded me I actually deserved someone nice. I love you to the moon and back x infinity.

I guess I can’t end my speech without mentioning my new husband, but where to start?

When I first met Ross I’d decided he was too nice and too short and quickly put him in the ‘just friend’s basket.’ He continued to be charming, supportive and quite funny (not that I’d admit this to him) and soon I found myself falling for Mr too nice. When I decided it was about time to tell him this (or rather when Kendall told me to hurry up and sort my crap out) I discovered during his stint in the just friend’s basket he had in fact started to move on and was dating someone else. What did I expect? A guy this fantastic wasn’t always going to be on the market was he? For a day I was upset I’d missed my chance, but I quickly remembered, I don’t give up that easy. And so I waited patiently, something I’m known for…. Then a few hours later created a new plan of attack. I frequently reminded the poor guy I wasn’t going anywhere and how wonderful I was. Eventually my pestering wore him down and he admitted to me he was no longer seeing ‘miss not so right’ and finally realised how perfect I was. Or at least he realised that I don’t give up very easily.

Basically the poor guy was stuck with me. Although he doesn’t seem to cut up about it. He certainly doesn’t act like he doesn’t want to be here, quite the opposite. I’m tempted to talk about all the amazing things he does for me on a daily basis, but I don’t want to make all the other woman jealous, and I’ve already had to fight for him once.

Let’s just say, I know how lucky I am. Ross, you are the kindest, most giving, person I know. You challenge me, support me and amuse me. You’re so much more than you realise and I love you from the bottom of my heart. Thank you for all that you do, especially holding your tongue on the few occasions you want to tell me that you were right and I was wrong.  Thank you for making me a better person. Thank you for sharing your life with me, and creating a family with me. I am excited about our future together. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous about all the milestones to come but I know that as long as you’re by my side I can face anything.”

True Friendship

So there I was, contemplating drowning my sorrows in a bowl of ice cream, (or several bowls of ice cream) feeling sorry for myself and in a funk. No good reason, no logic, no switch, just me, alone, in a down and out mood. Content to wallow in my own self pity I turned down a friends offer of going over for dessert (cheesecake!!!), got comfy on the couch and switched on a movie.  Even Channing Tatum half naked did not cheer me and before long I knew I needed to get my sorry self out of the house. 
“Do you still feel like a visitor” I text my friend. Just an hours escape then it would be late enough to justify crawling into bed and sleeping my bad mood away. I was out the door before I even read her reply, “Yeah, Bub.”

True friendship, Not knowing why you are needed, but knowing you are needed and being there. Another sign of true friendship is not knocking at the door but bowling on in and making oneself at home. I plopped down on the floor in front of the couch and absentmindedly started helping her fold some towels.

Four hours later, a new day was about to begin, I figured I should get myself home to bed.  “I hope I got you out of your funk even for a bit” my friend said as she walked me outside. What funk? I thought to myself, realizing that I had forgotten the mood I had been in earlier. I drove home reflecting on how a person can do so much, whilst saying so little. I wonder if she even realizes what she means to me? She will if I tell her.  Leigh, you’re a star. 

Through thick & thin, good times & bad, laughter and tears, worries and fears, excitement and adventure, I’ve found a friend who will accept my crazy and show me hers. She judges not, but listens with care, lends me a shoulder or an ear. Lorde sums it up, ” and you know, we’re on each others team.” I’ve got her back, she’s got mine, no questions asked, no answers needed.

8. Sport (Part one – to be continued)

 As I reflect on tonight’s social sport battle, (victory) and contemplate the next few days,  which include netball training, cross country, Saturday morning sport, Ethan’s weekly Basketball game and catching up on my share of Super 15,  ANZ Championship and some NBA, I realize that I am surrounded by sport.  I think it is safe to say, I am not alone in this.
 Considering the 100’s of sports out there it’s fair to say my sports of choice (Soccer, Rugby, Netball, American Football & Tennis) may not be everyone’s first choice but a significant number of people, play/ support/ watch or have some form of involvement in sport.  Personally I don’t think ‘a significant number’ is enough. Everyone should indulge in a little sport where possible, there really is something for everyone, from Paddle Sports, Air sports, snow sports to climbing sports and shooting sport.  The word ‘Sport’ covers a wide range of activities. To me sport is a form of physical activity that is governed by a set of rules or customs in which an individual or team partakes, often competitively. 
It boggles my mind to think that some people are fully obsessed with or immersed into a sporting culture whilst others ‘don’t like sport.’  Working in a secondary school I hear this occasionally and I want to scream. I am sure PE teachers get the full extent of complaints and excuses and to be honest I am not sure how they cope.  I understand we all have aspects in life we do not like or enjoy, take myself for example, I do not like high jump and it does not like me (the joys of being vertically challenged) but I would not rule out all sports in one swift movement.  These ‘haters’ of physical activity need their xbox’s, couches and lazy attitudes removed and their eyes opened to the many benefits of sport.

A Challenge for the Adults

So there I was, walking briskly toward my car with a dress jacket in one hand and a laptop bag in the other feeling strangely grown up. The staff meeting was over and it was home time. Moments later I find myseIf collecting the mail from our letter box, intrigued by the this weeks issue of ‘Time’ magazine and it’s bold title about curing cancer cementing the fact that I am now immersed in adulthood.  When did I become surrounded by the adult world?

Maybe it’s the fact that I work in a high school and I am frequently reminded of life at high school but I do not know where the last ten years have gone. When did I start wearing Jackets, taking my work home and reading ‘Time’  magazine?  Cancer used to be a word associated with other people. Jackets were worn by the lawyers on Boston Legal.  Making sure I completed homework on time, gel pens and knowing what everyone got up to on the weekend is now irrelevant.

Growing up is a funny thing. It snuck up on me when I was not looking. I am sure I got my first wrinkle the other day. It likes to play hide & seek in the mirror. Some days it’s there and on a good day it is not.  

As the calendar rushes, all too quickly, towards another birthday I find myself wishing time would stand still so I could enjoy the moment. Instead many moments fly in and out and leave little time for reflection or enjoyment. My challenge to myself and you (yes you reading this) is to enjoy the small things, observe, feel, and don’t think. Don’t use unnecessary energy wondering what could be, what has been or what is. Just be. Bonus points if you can add Happy to that. Just. Be. Happy.  

“Once we accept our limits, we go beyond them.” Albert Einstein