People I admire | Shows I admire

Who do you admire? What sort of person makes you proud to be a part of the human race?

What sort of TV shows give you a real feel good feeling?

One of the things I have always dreamed of doing is working with an organisation like Habitat Homes to help a needy family build their own home so the concept of the Home Free show was really fantastic to me.

People I admire and Shows I admire

Today I decided to write about a person and a number of shows I admire.

Currently we are viewing a show on TV called Home Free, and it is a Mike Holmes show where he teaches people how to do renovations and gives away each house to the needy family.  The twist is that the needy family is one of the pairs of people that have been working on the renovation. I love the shows that Mike Holmes has been involved in over the years.Mike Holmes

The show that started it all for me is his regular show “Holmes Inspection” where he goes in and helps families that are struggling as a result of bad contractors.  In this show he goes into the home and inspects the work and the whole building usually from the foundations up and as a result he then repairs the house and then also does it up.  He has been doing this for a number of years in Canada, making families very happy and providing great advice for homeowners through his company “Make it Right” however when he took the show and the crew to Louisiana to help Brad Pitt with fixing the houses after Hurricane Katrina that was great to see. I really admire the people that are able to make a huge difference in people’s lives.

I  love the work that Mike Holmes does on the houses making them work for whoever the person in need is. He is always teaching people the right way to do things and completing things above code so the house has many more years of family living left in it.

Who do you admire? What sort of person makes you proud to be a part of the human race?

What sort of TV shows give you a real feel good feeling?

One of the things I have always dreamed of doing is working with an organisation like Habitat Homes to help a needy family build their own home so the concept of the Home Free show was really fantastic to me.  It gave the people who had actually done the work on the house the opportunity of their life to actually live in the house they have worked on.  The concept is that as the show goes on the houses get bigger and bigger and the competition crew get smaller and smaller but more skilled all the time.

Habitat Homes

Habitat homes for humanity insist that the new owner of the home they are creating invests a minimum of 500 hours of their time to build their own home or another Habitat home for others in their communities. This concept enable them to have their own house and also to pay it forward to others.

I love it when the people that are getting the house have made some effort in the building of the house, or in the case of another show I love “Extreme Home Makeovers” have been a big part of the community.

Extreme Home Makeover

With this business I intend to be able to travel to Africa and help some of my friends there, I intend to be able to spend my time doing charity work, things like helping build homes for Habitat homes or other similar organisations, I would love to be able to do as some of my other friends have done and volunteer to help re-build places after a major weather disaster.

If you want to know more about how this business can help you sign up below and we can talk.

If you want to meet me, I would love to chat to you on Facebook

Have a great day and remember every step we take to success enables us to us another person.





My Story | Who is Leonie Henskie Part 5

In this blog I discuss the last few years of events that have been happening in my life and come to where we are today.
Today we discuss, deaths, Joy and sorrow and redundancies.

The next major event in our life was the Christchurch quakes. These affected many people in New Zealand and they affected me because my family lives down there.

Fortunately for my family no one was hurt but the city will never be the same again.  What effected my family most were the aftershocks.  And the ongoing mental and physical damage they did to people.

We, up in Wellington, have no real idea of what they went through. Even though we have always been the city forecast to have the quakes, so have always built above the rest of the country’s code.  When I used to ring my Grandmother, Nan would tell me that she could hear the quakes coming as my parents had got her a dresser where the handles rattled, so she could brace herself for the aftershocks.

April 2011 Brian finally gave up the struggle.  He was in hospital for Easter and I remember Betty told us he really held on until he could receive his Easter communion which was a couple of weeks after Easter because the hospital chaplain was so busy.  The day he received his communion he died that night.  We had been in the hospital earlier in the evening and had seen him then.  This time he had suffered a stroke on top of everything and that was making his limited breathing very hard and he had no concentration for reading which was his life. Betty got the call at about 9.30 that night that the orderlies had just been going to collect Brian to take him back to MAPU ward so he could go on the ventilator and when they got back he had passed.

Brian Photo

When we saw him laid out he was the most peaceful we had seen him for a long time.  He was no longer struggling.  Brian died when Alan had only been in a new role for a couple of weeks but Telecom were great and made sure he had the support he needed.

We went down to Christchurch for the Christmas of 2011 and I caught up with my family . The damage to Christchurch was heartrending.   Alan and I were staying in a motel in Riccarton and were able to walk around and see the damage that had happened.   So many of the landmarks I had grown up with were no longer there, or were damaged beyond repair.

In  2012 we were down in Christchurch again this time to say goodbye to my grandmother, the last surviving grandparent I had, while she was hospitalised for the last time.  I am glad we managed to get to see her one more time before she passed . I was not able to make it to her funeral so once again I did not grieve properly until a later time.

The other big thing that happened to us in 2012 was we met our friend Heni who has made a huge change to our lives.   I have spoken before about how Heni has changed our lives and also how we have changed hers so I will not go into detail here.  If you want to read more about this then read it here .

And one thing that was not so good in 2012 is our cat that we had had for 18 and a half years, and she was 4 and a half, when we got her, finally passed on.  Here is a photo of Spliffy. We knew she was old and getting ready to pass but she managed to hold on until the 15th of February and died in our arms.  She was cremated on the 18th of February which was my birthday.  She was a beautiful cat and a big part of our lives.

After Spliffy passed we got our deck done.  For us this was a major piece of work as we had been in the same property for 20 years and not really experienced any outdoor living space as the front lawn had been a bull nose.  That deck has made such a big difference to us.  Even today while it is raining heavily we have the deck door open so the cats can come in and out at will. Once the deck was complete we introduced Raspberry to our family.  It was the first time we had ever had a kitten so it was a big learning curve for us and watching her grow was amazing.  I have never really been a big photo taker but with Raspberry we have made sure we have had lots of videos and photos of her growing up.

Here is what she looked like when we first met her.

Raspberry 1


Things have gone reasonably smoothly since the end of 2012.

We got another cat in early 2014 exactly a year younger than Raspberry and he is called Coffee.

Alan and Coffee

I did a really good contract at Telecom/Spark at the end of 2013 which turned into a permanent role at the beginning of 2014 and life was looking pretty smooth.  Then things started happening around the office.  The first big change was the name change from Telecom to Spark. Then they started restructuring. Alan was in the thick of things and the strain was really showing, he had already survived two other cuts, so when in December 2014 Alan was made redundant he was jubilant.  To him it was an opportunity to start a business of his own and he would have at least 6 months of redundancy to get things going with. As usual I was a mess, crying all the time as I was coming to terms with the fact that for the first time in about 25 years I was going to be the only breadwinner until his company kicked in.

Over the Christmas break I immediately went into action starting to work on a plan B in case anything else happened as once Spark started re-structuring you knew it was going to be an ongoing process.  That is when I came across this business and started doing the training.  I loved what I saw so much and the company really  rang my bell as something I would love to be involved with, that I went all in as soon as I could.  To me it was the best decision I could have done as the training I have done with this company and work on self-development has helped so much this year.

The next thing that happened to us was Alan’s Grandmother passed in her 101st year.  If you want to read more about this I have written about it at the time last year.  You can read it here,  Once again my birthday is now associated with a different event as the funeral was on the 19th of February,  It was at Gran’s funeral that I finally said goodbye to Nan.  So many of the things the speakers were saying about Gran Henskie made me think of my Nan.  My girlfriend who also attended with us found it cathartic for her to finally say good bye to her grandmother and mother as well.

We knew it was coming so when it did it we were a lot more mentally prepared than in the past.  I was made redundant on the 14th August 2015.

Now we had two of us out of work.  Alan’s business was not yet making a sustainable income and neither was mine. And this time around getting a new position was harder than it had been in the past.

I continued to work my business every chance I got and was starting to get more interest all the time. However it could not pay the bills yet.  We thoroughly enjoyed the time we had together.  We were able to go swimming mid-week, spend relaxed time together and get an idea of what life will be like when we are leading the life we really want to.  Just in future there will not be the financial stress.

This year has been a year of learning.  I have met some amazing people online and in person.  I have done some amazing training setting me up for success and life.  I have prepared my mind for success and will continue to do so for the rest of my life.

Everything happens for a reason and just as we were about to fill out the papers seeking government assistance fate steps in the way and I manage to pick up temporary work.  This happens every time so I know no matter what we will be OK.  And the good news is that after a solid 4 months of looking Alan has a contract role starting the 11th of January so we are excited for this year.

This year has been a year of learning.  I have met some amazing people online and in person.  I have done some amazing training setting me up for success and life.  I have prepared my mind for success and will continue to do so for the rest of my life. We have learned to live life to fullest on a budget and I have even managed to help a Kenyan family over the year as well.

The teeshirt at the top of this blog I think says it all.  This was designed by my husband and he is going to re-launch that side soon.  If you do not suffer scrapes and bruises along the way you are not living life.  However you also need to learn from those scrapes and bruises so each time you fall down you can get up again.

I hope that going through my experiences like this has helped you understand a bit more about me. And shown ways I can help you to get through your challenges what ever they might be.  As you can see I have had to deal with grief, Redundancy and illnesses of various sorts over the years so I have a wealth of experience.

Have a great day.  And if you have missed the rest of the series they are available here:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

If anything I have said resonates with you.  Leave a comment below, and catch up with me on FaceBook.  I would love to chat.



My Story | Who is Leonie Henskie part-4

This was my first overseas trip since my 21st so I was really excited. We flew to Brisbane and then caught the train to Surfers Paradise where we had an apartment for a week. We did three days of Conference meeting many of the leaders and picking up lots of information not just on the business itself but that could be transferred to life in general. When the Conference was over we then had the most amazing holiday.

Here is the next part of my story.  I hope that some of my experiences will help others.

I worked at home for 10 years.  The reason for that was we were hoping to start a family, however that did not happen.

I decided I wanted to go back to work again so I could socialise with people again because over the time I had been at home all my friends were working as well as Alan so I  did not have any one to socialise with and not having children I was not involved in any young mother’s groups.

When I decided I wanted to return to the workforce a role came up at EDS where Alan was working at the time. It was an administration role looking after a number of department heads so it was right up my alley. I just love making life easier for other people, organising their diaries and doing all the nitty gritty tasks to make life easier for managers. I did this for about a year until I was offered a role as a Project Facilitator. Project facilitator was a EDS specific role but was basically project Administrator. This was my first introduction to Projects and I loved it. I was looking after a team of about 10 Project Managers and was doing all the quality control and programme coordination for the support projects. It was great for me to be working again and I had a great time.

But all this normality was about to change.

It turns out that the second part of 2007 was going to be a big year for us.

At that stage we were working with a multi level company called ACN and we had the opportunity to go to Surfers Paradise, Australia for a Conference.

This was my first overseas trip since my 21st so I was really excited.

We flew to Brisbane and then caught the train to Surfers Paradise where we had an apartment for a week. We did three days of Conference, meeting many of the leaders and picking up lots of information not just on the business itself, but stuff that could be transferred to life in general. When the Conference was over we then had the most amazing holiday.

Activities we did were going to Jupiters Casino for a show.  The show was called Zingara and one of the amazing things it included was stunt motor-cycle riding. Going to MovieWorld Amusement park where I went on my first roller coaster, even if it was only a child-size one, watching the Police Academy driving demonstration and riding on a log ride where a photo is taken as you come out of the final tunnel descending into a pool of water. We also went shopping, seeing, what was to me, a huge mall called Pacific Fair which was across the road from our apartment. We did a lot of walking and I also got to visit my first Sushi Train restaurant. As we do when we are anywhere we found the local takeaways and shops as well going to the tourist places as well.


Our Austrlia Collage


During this time Alan had been going to Australia every couple of years for exams and just after we got back from Australia as a couple Alan was going to be  heading back again for an exam about 4 or 5 weeks later.

Alan has a blood condition which means that he is 10% more likely to get blood-clots so he needs to have aspirin for a few days before he flys and wears travel socks for travelling. During the conference we didn’t think about him wearing the socks as we thought we were moving enough, but it appears the accumulation of the conference followed by another trip to Australia and a three hour exam were bad and he should have been wearing the socks during those events.

Because, when Alan got back from Sydney a few weeks later, he started getting a really sore leg that could not be relieved any of the normal ways, so visited the Doctor. Doc took one look, ordered us over to get Ultrasounds, and from those results we were immediately sent to hospital. Alan had Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) below the knee. The hospital gave him one injection and organised for a district nurse to come and teach him how to inject himself. For the next four weeks Alan had to give himself an injection in the stomach everyday until his bloods were stable again. He was confined to the house, and was told specifically that he could only walk from the bedroom, to the kitchen and not outside of the house for six weeks unless he had to attend a medical appointment. Alan was put on Warfarin, and was on it for another year until the medical people were certain that his blood was at a normal clotting level.

During this time one of Alan’s friend was working early shift so was able to visit Alan everyday after his work and also because he was retail he had his weekends midweek so he was able to take Alan to his place from time to time so he was not seeing the same four walls all the time.

Over this time, because of his health issues,  Alan got depression and put on weight and generally got down. So having his friend around was good for him.  Fortunately, Alan  can tell when he is getting depressed and now can work out what he needs to do to get out of the depressive episode.

The other thing that happened was about four weeks after we got back from Australia I noticed that I was getting less and less work to do and a lot of the tasks that I used to do before I went to Australia were not been returned to me. The next thing I was taken aside and told that my job was no longer required. I was made redundant. This was my first time and it hit me hard. Now when I am under stress I cry.  This can be very unfortunate in the workplace because I might be coping pretty well but the simplest thing can set me off crying again.  Fortunately EDS were very good to me and put me through some counselling sessions and through a wonderful re-training and career preparation course which taught me how to write CV’s, Cover letters, and present at interviews. It was a high detail course and to me it was wonderful and I have used its resources time and time again.

It is amazing what you go through when you are made redundant.

I highly recommend that if counselling is available you take up the offer, as you don’t know when things are going to hit you. For me, issues of rejection came out, from a former role.  This counselling let me clear my head so that when I now go from job to job I know it is not rejection of any kind, just that that job is finished now and I can move on.  When you are highly stressed all kinds of baggage can come out.   As a result of the counselling and the training before I finished at EDS I had another job to go to. Fortunately for me on this timeline I went through the redundancy before Alan’s DVT was revealed.

This was the beginning for me of multiple jobs, Temping, Fixed Term Contracts, Contracts and even permanent roles. So I am used to finishing roles and moving onto the next one. Things were going reasonably smoothly for the next period of time. I was changing jobs often so getting good at interviews and working my way through the change of job each time.

We were still visiting hospital regularly for various family members. Betty had a dose of Bowel Cancer. Had the operation to fix it and chemotherapy and now has been cancer free for a few years now. Gran Henskie was admitted to hospital for Pneumonia a couple of times and was never the same again. And Alan had an operation that his blood specialist made clear was for health not vanity to remove his varicose veins. And Brian was gradually getting worse with more and more hospital visits but he was still going strong.

More to follow in the next post

To read the rest of my story please read the posts that have come before this one.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

To get to know me personally please contact me on Facebook.  If anything I have said has struck a chord please leave a comment below and share this blog.

My Story | Who is Leonie Henskie? Part 3

I have been thinking more about this and reading Brendon Burchard Millionaire Messenger it has made me think of putting a lot of more detail into my adult life as really so much has happened.

Events that stand out and I am going to go more into more detail for me have been generally related to dealing with sick people. I can also talk about rescue training I have done as well.

In the last two posts I discussed a quick overview my childhood and an overview of my adult-life.  I have been thinking more about this and reading Brendon Burchard Millionaire Messenger it has made me think of putting a lot of more detail into my adult life as really so much has happened.

Events that stand out and I am going to go more into more detail for me have been generally related to challenges I have faced. I will also talk about a number of positive things I have done as well.  There are lots of great things that happen.

I am only going to talk about things I was living through daily.  The other half of my family were going through a lot as well but because I was based in Wellington I was not living through things like my grandfather’s illness and the various setbacks my parents have had.

Let me start near the beginning.

I met Alan at CIT Heretaunga Upper Hutt.  He was doing Computer studies and I was doing Pharmacy school.  That year I found out that that exams and I just did not agree.  I had been top of the class in some subjects and after exams found that I was middle of the class.  I also failed some papers so my parents said after Specials it was better for me to stay in Wellington as the job situation was better there.

Once Alan and I had our own flat we got involved in Civil Defence training and were part of the Wellington Emergency response team.  Through this training we learned to do everything related to civil defence and emergency training however I am happy to say that in the time we were doing the training there were no civil emergencies but we were involved in a number of exercises over the years we were practising.  This training I believe has prepared me for the rest of what life has thrown me over the years.

Not long after we got married I got a call at work to say that Alan was been taken to hospital as he had had an electric shock.  That was the first of many hospital visits over the years, whether it was my husband, father-in-law, brother-in-law, Mother-in-law or Grandmother-in-law.  I have only personally been in once or twice for myself.

You get very good at immediately getting into action.  That was the first time and Alan was home before I got home because he had been discharged already.  What had happened was a computer monitor had discharged into him when he was turning his monitor on.  He had been seated in a wheelie chair and next thing he knew the chair he was on and him were on the other side of the four chair pod. He walked into his bosses office and they immediately organised for him to be transferred to hospital. The hospital found the entry point and a discharge point and the result of it was his body was a C for the next few days while the muscles contracted on one side and extended on the other.  That was probably the most minor of the hospital visits or illnesses we have had to deal with.

We have also had to work our way through financial challenges.

Even though my parents put in to help us with the deposit for the house mortgage rates were high, and  we were dealing with the early 90s interest rates.  Our mortgage rates were the equivalent to credit card rates.  We were both working three jobs and we had a boarder just to have enough to pay the bills.  We were working our day jobs, doing telemarketing for a time share company in the evenings and we were also doing door to door surveys in the weekends for a research company (and we were both in what was considered well paid jobs for our age group). One really good thing about that night job is we got ourselves a timeshare in Taupo where we have gone on holiday for a further 20 years.  That was what we consider a good investment.  Because it has given us a resort quality holiday every year for seven days for a quarter of the price of a resort holiday normally.  So today we laugh at the fact that the mortgage rates are so low(mid single figure) and that people are worried about a 1 or two percent increase.

Alan’s father also started a bookshop in the mid nineties.  By then we had stopped doing multiple jobs and were only doing the main day job but we did still have a boarder.  Not long after he started it Alan decided to pick up half the shop and create a games shop out it  and that meant that from then on, we were busy every weekend working the shop, doing our own jobs through the week, and also going to Games clubs.  We used to to go to Wargames club in Upper Hutt, Wellington Central, Johnsonville and even Levin once a month.  We had sales tables at these clubs and Alan was also a gamer.  It was nothing unusual for Alan’s fellow gamers to call us in the evening and ask if some order had come in, come and pick up Alan, go to the shop collect their order and then drop Alan home again.

We had the shop for about four years until Brian had to close it as his health had deteriorated  too much for him to be able to run it.  He offered it to us but it really was not making the kind of income we were getting through our day jobs.  Alan’s father had Emphysema and as a result once he was on Oxygen 24 hours a day and we knew that it could be anytime that we could get bad news.

Brian broke a lot of health records, he was on Oxygen 24 hours a day for 10 years and  still driving him self around up until about a year before he passed.  He had a portable oxygen unit which enabled him to go everywhere.  He would go into hospital many times for his emphysema, with complications like Pneumonia, and even just colds but he was stubborn and it was not until he had a stroke on top of everything else that he finally gave up. There were many times I would have to organise to pick up his vehicle from where it had been abandoned because an ambulance had to pick him up or he had been admitted to hospital.

He was nicknamed Darth Vader by a number of our friends because of the portable oxygen tank that he carried everywhere with him. Because of these frequent hospital visits Alan and I got very good at working out whether we had to drop everything to go to the hospital or if it was just another quick visit and he would be home again in a few days.  As a result of this need for quick response we did not like to travel very far as we knew that we had to be able to get home quickly to help Alan’s mother, Betty  at any time, especially as I was the only one other than Brian that drove.

It got to the stage where Betty and Brian knew the names of all of the Wellington Ambulance staff and the staff knew that they would need two people at all times to lift Brian into the ambulance and that it was a really difficult drive to manoeuvre.  They also knew that when they were called a paramedic would need to be ready as Brian would normally need morphine to help get his breathing under control.  As Brian’s health deteriorated he needed a wheelchair and Betty had to wheel him everywhere.  Betty became very good at manouevring that chair everywhere and was an extremely patient woman.  Because of the mobile oxygen tank Betty and Brian were still able to go on holiday, but they always needed to have the oxygen refiller with them and could really only drive as Brian could not go on planes.

It is the dedication that these Wellington Free Ambulance people showed to our family that has made Alan and I say that one of the things we want to do with our life is be able to buy and equip and crew and maintain an ambulance for the Wellington Free Ambulance.  That is one of the whys of me doing this business.

Betty and Brian tried to live as normal life as possible, they still would go to things like the movies etc for as long as they could. Betty and Brian helped a lot of people over the years.  They had both been heavily involved in scouts for many years and it was only natural that Brian would be instrumental in organising a local COPD support Group (Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) to help others in the community.

Often when we were away we would get a call from Betty to say that Brian was in hospital.  We would talk it through with her and work out if there was any need for us to rush home or not.  Fortunately I do not remember anytime when we actually rushed home. But there was always that chance.

Early on in our marriage Alan suffered a dose of Chronic Fatigue syndrome.  This was bought on because Alan used to drink about 12 filter cups of coffee a day and his adrenal glands stopped working.  When his doctor said he would be off work for 6 months his boss suggested he go and see a naturopath.  We did and by use of vitamins and stopping coffee drinking he was back at work again in three months instead of six months.  Fortunately another friend of ours was also off work at the time because of a mental illness so she was able to take him along to some of the therapy classes she was doing so he didn’t go stir crazy.

At the time I working as a professional temporary so often could not be around when I wanted to be.  I would get a bit sidetracked sometimes worrying about Alan so when Alan went back to work it was time for me to leave office life for a while.

At the time I was starting a new venture.  I was working from home doing international wholesaling, doing data entry and also having my first experience of web marketing.  We  did a night course on Small Business Management together during this time and loved working with other people designing their businesses. Other activities we did over this time was arrange a series of big dance parties which got international visitors. We were very proud of these and we had newspaper coverage at the time.  The last of these parties was run in 2002.

When my grandparents got to their 60th Wedding Anniversary, Alan and I managed to get the Cards they received from the Governor General and Prime Minister of the time, framed and gave them that for their gift.  To me this is a great achievement and I want for us to reach our 60th as well.

Nan and Grandad had moved into a retirement village some years before as they wanted to be in charge of their own fate.  They knew they wanted to be somewhere where they could get help at the touch of a button, but still live life independently for as long as possible.  Where they were they had a beautiful rose garden that was their pride and joy.  Grandad loved tending the garden and when he couldn’t do it any more it was tenderly looked after by the retirement village groundskeeper. Nan loved looking at and smelling the roses.  I think that is possibly where I get my great love of taking photos of flowers comes from.  Grandad could paint but I do not have that creativity so instead I take photos like the one at the top of this post.

Grandad’s funeral was the first funeral I had ever attended.  It was beautiful because the people that spoke at it had such amazing memories of Grandad as a younger man.  All sorts of anecdotes came out about him that I would never have known.  To me he had only been my grandfather that had been there for me and stood up for me for years.

There is a lot more to tell and I will tell you more in the next installment.

Please let me know if I can help you with anything I have talked about today.  Come and meet me on Facebook, I would love to chat and please if anything here has caught your attention today please leave a comment.



My Story |Who is Leonie Henskie part 2

This is part two of my life story, covering adult life and Entrepreneurial leanings.

Heretaunga is where I met my husband to be.  I was doing Pharmacy school and he was doing Business Computer Studies.  We met in the common room of the Halls of Residence.  He and a mate were throwing darts at a photo of one of their tutors and it caught my attention.  We hit it off as a group of friends immediately however it was not until the third term that Alan and I officially started going out.

One of the tings that happened to us at Heretaunga was we got caught in the middle of a street fight.  One of the members of our group saw his sister been hassled by some drunk children and he stood up for her.  The boy said I will get my big friends onto you and we did not think anything of it.  When we were heading back to the train station after we had done our time in Upper Hutt. We were accosted as a group.  Two of the guys in our group had Martial arts back ground and Alan was a brawler however he got the brunt of the attack.  The guy that attacked Alan caught him in the jaw so as we raced to the station to get help we were also working out that we would be calling for medical help as well.  I remember spending some time with Alan in Lower Hutt hospital while they took xrays fortunately he did not have a jaw that needed wiring however he was on complan ( a meal substitute for about a week afterwards.  The police caught the guys and when the rest of our party that were not in the hospital went to identify them they were barely recognisable as they had resisted arrest.

In the halls of residence at Heretaunga you each had your own dorm room in a community.  I was in a community of mainly pharmacists and podiatrists and where we did all our socialising was the kitchen area of each community.  This was a totally different kind of halls of residence to what we had in Dunedin but you were able to have your privacy.

Unfortunately I found out at Pharmacy school that exams and I did not agree.  I had been near the top of the class for a number of my subjects during the year but as soon as exams came along I failed a couple of subjects and even after doing specials for those papers I still failed them.

Instead of getting a job this holiday or going away with the family my Christmas holidays that year were spent studying for the Specials exams.  I was also keeping in contact with Alan so that may have been a distraction, but I remember studying at my grandparents over the holidays while the rest of my family went away as usual. When I went back to sit my exams I remember I still had access to the Halls of Residence but while I was waiting for the results I was staying at Alan’s place.  When I got the results that even after Specials I had failed two subjects, my parents said that it was not worth doing a year of only two subjects and it was time for me to find a job.  They also said that it was better for me to stay in Wellington as job prospects in Christchurch were not good at that time.

Alan’s family took me in until I managed to get my first flat and job.

So that was my first real experience of the big bad world. I went through a short term role and then was lucky enough that a relative was able to refer me to a job at an insurance company where they had worked most of their lives. I went through a temporary job doing records filing as my first introduction to working for someone else and then I got my first permanent role.  I was with that company for 4 and a half years  until I resigned and went temping.  As soon as I had my first real job I got into my first flat, that was great until the owners decided to sell it out underneath us. This was a flat share situation with two other people and we all got on very well.  It was a great introduction to flatting for me.  When we all went our ways  I found another flat closer to the main shopping centre in our suburb which was OK except that the flat was owned by a male that expected me to do all the “Female” chores and did not share responsibilities very well. When I had enough of that I moved into a flat with another couple and Alan was eventually able to join me as a flatmate.  In that flat we had such a great time.  The other couple were fantastic and we still see them from time to time locally. We had a lot of fun there and I even had my 21st birthday there , well the Wellington celebrations anyway.  I also had a formal 21st birthday in Christchurch with all my family and childhood friends.

For my 21st my parents gave another chance to travel before I settled down.  They gave me an 18 day Contiki bus tour where I got to join a busload of youth, all under 35 from Sydney to Adelaide and back again.  It was an amazing trip. There were people from a number of nationalities on there and we all got very communal.   I saw some amazing scenes and one that stood out to me was at Mt Buffalo the Lorikeets were so tame they would use you as a perch. I learned a lot on that trip.  It was the first time I had been away by myself ever and I had a ball.  My parents sent me on that trip in the hopes I would meet different guys as I was spending all my time with Alan. It was great I had a wonderful time but my heart was still there for Alan.
Alan got the opportunity to accompany the international Diplomat bag over to Sydney with his job while I was away so gave me a big surprise and turned up in Sydney when I was there for my final few days.  That time is special to me as it is the first time Alan proposed to me, but at that stage I said let’s wait and see because I knew there was conflict with my family. We lived together for another few years as flatmates until we finally committed as I had decided then that I could take anything Alan could throw at me.  We have now been married for 23 years.

When that couple who were the leaseholders decided to move into their own house we found our first flat together which was for us only. It was wonderful, we got to know each other really well and we had other flatmates come and join us from time to time. After a couple of years of this we got serious about looking for a house of our own, decided we would rather build new than buy existing and started looking at plans.  When we told my family that we were buying a house we did it in the wrong order and said we are buying a house together and we are getting married.  It should have been said the other way round.  I basically left most of the Wedding arrangements to my family. As far as Alan and I were concerned we just wanted to be together, and we always say that the day we practiced our vows with the Minister is when we really felt the commitment.  My family set the date for the 19th of September as it had history I do not know the relevance but to me it is the most wonderful day as it was when Alan’s and my life really started together.  We moved into our new house on the 23rd October a month after marriage and we are still there today.

Wedding photo

We started getting involved with ML M and other entrepreneurial ventures a long time ago.  The first one we got involved with was a company called Echos and they were doing a high quality imitation of the big name perfumes.  We had a bit of success with that company and enjoyed the products.  I can’t remember exactly what happened with that company but after that we did our first stint in Amway, then I found Neways which I loved and am thinking of getting back in again because of the products, then picked up Amway again and as soon as possible I got back into Neways, and then we did ACN while I was still doing Neways as a wholesale buyer.  We have also done Indian Perfume and Oils importing,  and organised some big dance parties and more intimate public events and imported and wholesaled magazines and other products not readily available in New Zealand, so we have always had an entrepreneurial spirit.

Over the years Alan has been in stable work, in fact through company changeovers and outsourcing his history is 20 years with one company.  However I have moved around a lot including been home-based for 10 years which is when I first started exploring Internet options.  Over the years I have been a temp, a contractor and a permanent staff member so for me getting made redundant was not a big issue except that the job market this year has been crap. In the past when I have been made redundant or out of work Alan has always had a steady income.

When Alan got made redundant at the end of last year he was excited because of the fact he was going to start his own business and I was fully supportive of that. He started doing all the research and trying to network which was fine while I was still working but when I was made redundant as well in August things started getting tough.

We have worked through this and all I can say is thank goodness I was with Empower Network as it has given me the courage to keep going, to remain positive no matter what comes my way and know that no matter what happens things will work out.  For instance we were just about to request assistance from the government when I got the temp assignment I am on now and that has kept our heads above water for another month. I am enjoying my assignment but really I want to get to a stage where I can enjoy spending time with Alan and not worrying about whether we are going to have a roof over our heads.  I have enjoyed my taste of freedom and I want more of been able to devote my time to this business and enjoy the full entrepreneur lifestyle.

When I came across Empower Network,  Alan had just been made redundant and was looking at setting up his own Business Coaching business and I loved the products and could immediately see the potential so I went all in.  The potential I saw was that the information provided by the products could be used by any business owner to improve their business and having a fully supported blog platform where all the hard work was done for you was fantastic.  Since then I have done two boot-camps, been made redundant myself, and generally been through the school of life in one year.  I have learned so much about myself and know that as soon as possible this business is going to be Plan A because the job-market is very bad and I just want freedom to spend time with my husband and friends and not stress about how the basic bills are going to be paid.  I want to be able to enjoy travel and everything else I have missed out on over the years because we have been doing jobs for people.  Ultimately I want to be able to help people achieve their freedom and also give to charities that are dear to me in time and money.

I know I have missed out heaps of highlights and influences. As I am writing this I am remembering more and more things so I will share more about things that have happened in my life.

I want to share more with you, but to do that I need you to come along on this ride with me.

Have a great day

My Story| Who is Leonie Henskie Part one

Today I talk about my childhood, the death of my mother, school and travel

I was the oldest child in a middle class New Zealand family in Christchurch.

We did all the normal things growing up however, it was only once I was an adult that I realised that we did a few more of them in luxury compared to other people.

My mother was diagnosed with cancer at an early age. So I lived with illness in the family from a young age.

My siblings were two and three years younger than me so they did not really know what was happening but in the last year Mum was in and out of hospital a lot.

The year before Mum died our dog was killed on the road.    The day that our dog was killed on the road the school was told and I cried a lot.  That was Standard 1 New Zealand schooling – equivalent to 2nd grade, or Year 3 in modern NZ schooling.  Not long after that the family got another dog which was still alive when I left home.  During this time we also had a cat which we had found as a stray when she had kittens. We had found her under an old house and I had the privilege of naming her and when her kittens were old enough we gave them away to friends.

I was leading a fairly normal childhood at this time, I was doing ballet and guitar, and as the oldest I was allowed to see my mother in hospital as well.  When I had to have my adenoids out in Standard 2, Mum came to hospital with me.  That year I also broke my arm and I had to make the decision to stop ballet or guitar.  I stopped ballet as I was never very good or light on my feet.  Then nearer the end of the year Mum died.  We were told in the morning before we went to school and then we went to school as normal.  We were considered too young to go to the funeral and I do not remember crying again for the rest of my childhood until I was 21 when I finally grieved for my mother.

I started at the school my mother had enrolled me in as an infant in Form 1 or middle school equivalent. I only recently acquired all my documents and in them was the fact that when I was only 1 year old Mum enrolled me in Rangi . I loved school and met some wonderful people who are still friends now. I had seven years at that school and it gave me a lot of privilege. I was able to excel in sciences and we only worked with the boys schools from time to time.

My first form year was also the year that my family decided to give us a taste of travel.  I was the only one over ten and treated as an adult so it was a good time to travel.  My extended family went to California for the August school holidays.  We hired a car and we drove from LA right down to Tijuana Mexico and all the way to San Francisco and everywhere in between.  Memories I have of that trip was my first introduction to hotcakes and maple syrup for breakfast.  Numerous TV Channels which we had never dreamed of, at that stage I believe we only had two TV channels in New Zealand. Going to Disneyland and Knotts Berry Farm, and Universal Studios.  Universal Studios was amazing seeing how props were used on films.  Disney we had a ball of a time going on the monorail each day and one of the rides I will always remember is Small World.  Another highlight for me was seeing squirrels at Carmel on the 90 mile Drive.  An eye opener for us all was when we did a day trip from San Diego to Tijuana Mexico.  We went through the border and drove through to Tijuana.  We had never seen anything like this in our lives.  It was the first time this middle class New Zealand family had ever seen squalid conditions.  We stayed in the car the whole time and couldn’t get back to the border fast enough.  To us this was not a good introduction to Mexico.  The other main highlight of this trip was going to the Yosemite National Park and staying for one night at Lake Tahoe.  One side of the hotel was in California and there were no slot machines or anything else.  The other side of the hotel was in Nevada and the adults were allowed to gamble.  Yosemite National Park was amazing and we went through just before the winter season so there was no one visiting and we had the park to ourselves.  We only drove so did not see much of the park but what we saw was stunning.

The next time we travelled was in my third form year and that was also a car trip from Brisbane to Sydney.  Highlights I remember from that trip were going to the Grundy’s amusement Parlour in Surfer’s Paradise and winning a number of ornaments which I still have to this day.  I remember we stopped in Coff’s Harbour and saw the Pelicans there and another place we went was the Pineapple Plantation on the Gold coast.

That was the last of my international travel until I turned 21 when my parents gave me an 18 day contiki bus tour with some extra days in Sydney for shopping purposes.

School went pretty smoothly I was a B student most of the time that hung out with a lot of the A students.  I was goalie for the school B Hockey team, got involved in Cricket when we started a girl’s cricket team and dabbled in soccer when we tried to convince the teachers it was a good idea.  In my sixth form my parents went away for six weeks and instead of getting someone to look after us at home we all went into the boarding facilities at our schools.  I loved boarding for the short time I was there.  The comradery from the girls was amazing compared to what I was used to.  I only really made one close friend at school and that was Jane whom I see occasionally now and she was my Matron of Honour. I was heavily involved in drama and I did Speech and Drama upto grade 5, I remember in, I think it was the fourth form, doing a recital of Pam Ayres “Oh I wish I had looked after my teeth” in front of the whole school assembly of about 600 girls and the teachers. I think I stopped Speech and Drama in the fifth form however my friend Jane went on to do Speech and drama up to teaching level, and became a speech therapist.  I continued to dabble in drama and was involved in school plays every year whether on the crew or actually on stage.  I even did it in the seventh form when my parents wanted me to stop that extra-curricular activity so I could concentrate on final exams.

I was involved in theatre a lot over the years and even spent time as a prompt and tea lady for the Canterbury Children’s theatre.

Camping was a big part of my childhood. My one set of grandparents were in the local caravan club and when I was young used to go camping often with them.  At Christmas every year the family would take us first to Woodend and then to Alexandra where we would meet up with other relatives.

Another big part of my early childhood was Hamner Springs. Part of my family had a business in  Hanmer Springs so from a very young age we were sent up there for weekends and most winter holidays.  I remember the fun we used to have playing around the grounds, visiting the hot pools  going walking up Conical Hill, doing forest walks and when it snowed using sacks on the hill round by the camping ground.  We spent so many happy times up there totally unaware of what was going on at home.  Hamner Springs was also where we went for our Standard 3 school camp. I loved it as I was able to show a lot of my classmates a lot of my favourite hangouts.

When I was at high school we started camping on the side of Lake Aviemore, one of the hydro lakes in the South island.  The parents had a fully self-contained caravan with shower, and 12 volt facilities so the fridge and all the power could run off the car battery.  My siblings and I had our own pup-tents so we got the idea of proper camping even though the caravan was just beside us. We had a canoe and would swim all day in the freezing lake. Starting in the morning with a wake-up wash and swim.  We had many good years at Lake Aviemore. We even started learning to drive there so we could assist with backing the boat trailer around.

One holiday I remember just before I started high school we did a tour of the North Island, we stopped in all kinds of places and we went all the way from Christchurch, up to Russell in the Bay of Islands where we saw the Treaty House and a few other memorials of New Zealand history, stopping wherever we felt like it in the caravan.  One place that stood out to me was Tolaga Bay just north of Gisborne.  The water was amazingly warm and I seem to remember picking up some very unique shells on the beach.

My parents made sure that we knew our country before we travelled.  I remember from a very young age travelling all over the South Island so later in life we knew what people were talking about when the said the had visited such and such a place.

We also used to go camping or picnicking at a number places within a couple of hours drive of Christchurch. For Easter we would often go to Coe’s Ford and in winter we would go with a group of people to Lake Linden and play on the ice and in the snow.

We were lucky when I was growing up that the indoor ice-skating rink was just around the corner from home, so, I think it was every Friday night or Saturday Afternoon during Winter I would go skating.  I was not any good but it was a fun activity.  We also went Roller-skating with our youth group and other friends once some roller rinks opened in Christchurch.

All of my school holidays were spent working in the family business.  I worked in the family business until my first University holiday when I went Cherry picking with the other students. As a result  I was taught a strong work ethic from a young age.  I did driver’s education through school and as soon as I was confident I was given a company branded Escort van and a weekend job to do.  I was allowed to take the van to school in the seventh form and another friend of mine who lived on a donkey farm and I used to take turns car-pooling. When I went to Otago University in Dunedin to study Pharmacy,  I took the van down with me so I could continue to work in Dunedin.  I was privileged because of this job and had a steady income so I was able to afford to do things all year. I was not the typical struggling student.

Because I had the van in Dunedin I was able to take a group of us swimming regularly up at the main indoor public pool and a few other activities that others might not have been able to do otherwise.  I was also involved in Hockey and Soccer socially in Dunedin so got to see quite a bit of the city by car.  One of the things I remember in Dunedin was the first time that a number of the students in the halls of residence saw snow. They were amazed at it.  Of course to me it was just another hazard I had to deal with when driving, and soon got used to it.

I had a lot of fun in the halls of residence in Dunedin.  The comradery  was great and I made some good friends some of which I still run into from time to time.  Sharing a dorm with another couple of people all year was good.

My second year of tertiary education was in Wellington.  I went to Heretuanga Central Institute of Technology because I was accepted into the Pharmacy school there.  One of my other students from my halls of residence in Dunedin also came up so I knew someone else when I got there.

See Part two for the continuing story


The Sifuna Family – My Kenyan Family

Today I am going to do a passion piece about a family I have met online called the Sifuna Barasa’s.

I met Peter chatting online on Facebook early this year and have been involved with the family ever since.

Peter and I just started chatting and he started to teach me Kiswahili the native official language of Kenya.

Peter told me that he was a security guard at a resort 575km away from his family home near the town of Bungoma.  He showed me pictures of his wife and four beautiful daughters that he was missing dreadfully.

One day while we chatting he tells me that he has to rush home quickly because his mother has just been diagnosed with cancer and has to have an operation.  At this stage he is earning the minimum wage in Kenya of around $120 US a month I think it was about 18500 Kenya Shillings.  The bus fare home was about 3000 Kenya Shillings so it was a huge expense every time Peter had to go home.

At this time when Peter is home he manages to lease the only piece of land he possesses to pay for for his mother’s hospital treatment.  His mother had a successful operation and as a result we thought all would go ok from here.  Peter went back to his workplace and started work again.  About this time his bosses came to him and said because the tourist trade was pretty low at the moment they were going to lower the wages of most of their staff to part time rates so suddenly Peter’s monthly salary was lowered to the equivalent of $70.00 US a month.

Peter is back at his work for another four weeks and he gets another call from his wife Janet to say that their oldest daughter who is nine at the time has been admitted to the Bungoma Referral Hospital with Malaria and the bill for this is going to be 31,000 Kenya Shillings.  At this stage I manage to get the equivalent of about $3000 Kenya Shillings over to Peter so he can catch the bus home and another friend of mine also manages to send a similar amount over.  This enables Peter to get home and see his  daughter however it does not make a dent in the hospital bill.

Now the trouble starts.

While Norlan is in hospital she has her 10th birthday and then she is officially discharged by the hospital.  Now you would think that when someone is officially discharged they can go home but not in this case.

The hospital then told Peter because he could not pay the bill.  This all happened at the end of June, because Norlan turned 10 on the 2nd of July still in hospital.  Peter was told that because the bill could not be paid Norlan would remain confined to hospital however this would also mean the bill would continue to go up daily.

Meet Norlan


At this point I put out pleas every where for people to help pay the bill but have little traction, however the other day when talking to my mentor She suggested I do some real research so I did and found that although it was a common practice in Kenya to keep patients or deceased patients families hostage until the bill was paid it was in fact illegal.

I found an article in the Kenya news online about a case where this had happened and it was taken to court and the decision was that this was an illegal  practice.

Here is the article that got things moving.  After finding out this information Peter first presented the hospital staff with this information who gave him a very rough time and then he went to his lawyer who put in action an order to sue the hospital and present an order to the court to get Norlan released from hospital after  she had been held hostage there since July.

Here is Peter’s own words

just got home from meeting the lawyer, and he went to court to sue the hospital and present a court order to release our lovely daughter Norlan before Friday and clear the outstanding bill later, he adviced me not to waste much time on research rather give him time to fight our battles, i spoke to the person who was our manager told him a bout my case and in good faith he send me ksh 10000, which will refund him later i gave to the lawyer, so far things are going on well, if there will be no changes dear, Norlan will be released before Friday, your brilliant advice has positively worked in a very short time,Janet has never failed to ask me say jambo to you and your mume, bless.

The next bit of news

was to the office of the lawyer, he submitted a court order to the hospital where Norlan is held hostage asking them to release Norlan as soon as possible and allow us pay the bill when we can, and not to increase the bill any farther, so hopefully dear Norlan could be released tomorrow if things go the way are moving, we thank God because of you dear, Janet has said jambo to both of you, bless
And the news I got this morning

Mzuri sana most dear rafiki Leonie, sorry for delay to respond dear, today was very busy day for us, but eventually Norlan was released from hospital after being there for some months, my wife was moved to tears in disbelieve after Norlan was safely handed over to us after confirming she is ok and stable, she mentioned your name several times while thank God through for the effort while made our daughter released, she was excited to re join the family after missing them for some months, we held a part for her, she is okay, we left the bill of 2500$ in hospital, which we should try to pay up to December 31st, no additional charges, harassment from the hospital till we freely pay the bill either once or in installment, may God greatly reward you and our most lovely friend brother Alan.

At this news both Alan I burst into tears.  It was such wonderful news.

Also during this time Peter lost his job at the resort where he was working because it was taken over by new owners so is currently seeking work closer to home.  I have encouraged him to be closer to his family and not have such a great travel cost.

Now with the bill at a finalised amount I need your help to pay it.  I have set up a givealittle page which accepts credit cards.  All money raised will be sent to Peter via Western Union so the bill can be paid.

Please go and check it out here.  At the moment it says it still needs to be donor verified which means that two more people need to make a donation.  Once that happens then the site will be available in the search engines.

Thank you for your time and support

Have a great day