Joy Studio - Christine’s story

I would love to hear your story? What are the experiences that shaped who you are today?

Hi I’m 52, married with 4 kids in their 20s. I have spent my life pouring out my heart and time to my family and community while also working to help financially support kids through school and University. I have had to move numerous times living in Hamilton, Auckland, Kapiti, Christchurch and now Wellington due to my husband’s job. Every community I have lived in I have heavily invested in running community programs and mentoring people who have been struggling including young families, solo mums, ladies with anxiety, depression and hopelessness. I absolutely love people and it’s my delight to invest in their lives. Despite my busyness & often lack of money & time I have always worked hard to love myself & look after myself. I’ve been able to share many DIY beauty tips with ladies without financial resources to encourage them to present the best version of themselves in every season they are in. Finally at 52 this season is a little bit more about me. Time to reflect on the many sacrifices & trials I have walked through, time to celebrate the now and 4 great adult kids who we have a rich relationship with, and time to dream of days to come, where I will be a vibrant loving crazy Nanna investing in a new generation.

Tell about the time in your life when you felt the most powerful?

I feel like I have the most impact in my life when I simply choose to authentically be me.  I believe that every person has God given strengths and abilities given to us to be used to enrich the lives of those we journey with, whether that be in a vocational capacity, or with family, friends and community. Often we limit ourselves by either comparing and copying others or holding onto hurts and disappointments from past seasons. Over the years I have worked hard with Gods help to become the best version of myself, to embrace and not apologise for my uniqueness, wrapping that in love, kindness, grace and empathy. Being willing to serve and pour out my life for others, particularly those who are walking through hard and vulnerable season in their life; is what makes me feel powerful and effective. I believe if you want to dazzle the world you live in – go be you.

What is your inner attribute that you like the most?

I think that attribute would be joy. I have learnt to find joy daily in the smallest and simplest of things and I have trained myself to be intentionally thankful in every situation. When you do that it can change your perspective on how you view the highs and lows of life. I have trained myself to become disciplined in my thought life, quickly letting go of negative thoughts about myself and others. Our thoughts lead to words, our words lead to actions and become habits. Habits form our character and become our destiny. I try to live a simple uncluttered life and that begins with capturing my thoughts and viewing everything from a position of thankfulness. The end result is that my joy, peace and happiness is not dependent or influenced greatly by other people or external outcomes.

Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him.

Are you at ease with your own body and age?

At 52 I am grateful that my body is healthy and strong and energetic and that I sleep well. I am also thankful to be journeying through Menopause with symptoms that are manageable and not overwhelming. I am carrying more weight than is ideal for my height (I like to think of it as a height issue instead of a weight issueJ) and this does rob me of confidence particularly when I see photos of myself.  I counteract this by wearing clothes that emphasize my positives and cover my flaws. I love wearing colour and makeup and presenting the best and real version of myself even if it’s not the perfect version. Having 4 children has meant many seasons with not a lot of personal spending money. I have become a dab hand at DIY beauty tricks, I love dressing well and get the most incredible clothes op-shopping. I trim and dye my own hair and have learnt great skincare and makeup tips on a tight budget.  You don’t have to be rich to look fabulous and I have loved passing on the skills I have learnt to other ladies, encouraging them to look after themselves, to dress in a way that flatters their body shape and to feel beautiful inside and out.

What would you try to do if you felt that you couldn’t fail?                                          

It has been liberating for me to know that all my short comings and failures, hard seasons and trials God has used to refine me and make me a stronger kinder and empathetic person. Romans 8:28 God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

I believe unconditional extravagant love can change lives, community and the world we live in.  Love isn’t something we do-it’s someone we become. Great love is about consistently showing up, it demands our time when we’re tired, our homes when were full or our attention when all we want to do is retreat. Great love makes itself available time and time again- It shows up in simple everyday ways, when we drop what we’re doing to listen to someone who needs an ear or when we honour our neighbours by knowing their names and being available to be interrupted by them when they have a need.

Love is patient, love is kind, it does not envy, it does not boast, It is not proud.  It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes and always perseveres – 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

If I could do anything without hindrance or limitation I would become more loving and available to people showing love that is powerful, unconditional and unselfish.

Joy Studio - Christine’s story

Research shows that a lot of women want to know that the work they do is significant, meaningful and embodies their highest potential. What do you think?

I think we all want to feel valued and significant.  Be the best version of you that you can possibly be – don’t be an imitation of anyone else.  

We simply can’t change and be our best in our own strength. For me it has been my faith in God that has helped me over many years.  Allow other people to invest in your life. Surround yourself with people who are good, who want to encourage and build you up and not tear you down. Intentionally seek those people out if you don’t already have them in your life. Read inspiring books and blogs and encourage yourself. Find a worthy purpose that makes a difference in other peoples’ lives and the world to pour yourself into.  When we let love flow into our lives and then pour it out again we remain fresh and vibrant.  When we stop pouring out is when we become stagnant and feel like we have no purpose.

What words of wisdom, based on your personal experience, would you like to share with others who struggle to see their own inner light and inner power?

Be the best version of yourself that you can be. Forgive others quickly and let go of disappointment so you don’t become negative and bitter. Find joy in small and simple everyday things. Align yourself with people who are good for you, who want the best for you and who can encourage and lift you up. If you don’t have people like that in your life, intentionally seek them out and initiate new relationships through a local community or seek meet-up group or at a church.  Explore faith in God-we are all created to want to worship something and to feel like we are part of something bigger than ourselves.

Jeremiah 29:11 I know the plans I have for declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

What do you do to let your hair down or as a self-care ritual?

Friends are very important to me so I love meeting up for coffee and chatting or going to the movies. I find being around water is so soothing for my soul so I take every opportunity to do beach walks, walk through the bush along a stream or to go swimming or sit in a spa pool.  When my week has been so full of people and I need some me time I love sitting in bed with my cat purring beside me reading a good book or watching a movie.

Who are the women that you find inspiring and have influenced you in some way?

The women who have had the most impact on my life are those who have been boldly and uniquely themselves and who have made themselves available with their time. When I lived in Christchurch for 7 years I had the best friends, ladies who initiated to me as a new person in the community. They were real and honest about their own lives, hopes, fears and dreams and they included and encouraged me through both joyful and hard times. They did that by simply being available with their time, to answer a text or meet up for coffee, to go for walks, have dinner, sit in a spa or catch a movie together.  They were all busy in their own lives but they made time for me and that was amazing and so appreciated.  It reminded me that how we manage our time and availability to people is so important, our time is one of our most precious assets and we shouldn’t waste it on unimportant things, but invest it in people. Many people have great intentions but fail to act on them because of where they invest their time and their lack of availability.

Why are beautiful photos of yourself important to you now?

I have always been very shy having my photo taken and I generally look terrible in photos, to be honest there’s not that many photos of me around.  I’m always the one taking them of everyone else or hiding from the camera.  I would love there to be some gorgeous photos of me, to celebrate my journey, to celebrate ME and to pause and say ‘I am worth it.  Recently I have been sorting through photos from when my children were young and it reminded me of the importance and value of photos.  They revived memories of things I had forgotten about when my children were little.  Precious beautiful items of clothing that were my children’s favourites, treasured toys and presents and seeing how simple and special and fun our lives were as a young family reflecting joy in being together enjoying the very simple things in life. Photos encapsulate memories and a moment in time and I think having some beautiful photos that I can be proud of will be a treasure for myself, my husband, my children and in time my grandchildren.