13 October 2008

MY SWEETHEART LOVES ME XXX
{BOM challenge No.8 FAMILY}
Can't believe we are only at the 8th challenge with our BOM (Book Of Me) ... it feels like we should be at the 80 by now! Don't get me wrong now, I love every minute working on my BOOK, its just seems that I am forever journaling pages and pages of written words ... definitely not use to saying so much about my really simple life.
I have decided to restrict this challenge to my very immediate family i.e. my darling husband, Conroy. The reason being that I would like to do some comprehensive journaling on each of my family units (my side and Conroy's sides of the family). Should some of the future challenges not allow me to do this, I will just add additional pages to my BOM to incorporate it.
Some of you regular Doing Life visitors during the past nearly 3 years, probably have read the entry on Conroy's autobiography, which I have decided to also include in my journaling for this layout as it incorporates a great deal which explains why he is the most important person in my life. The journaling for this layout (which is incorporated behind the 'You're', 'the Best', 'Friend' journaling cards), reads:
{Friday, 10 October 2008} I would like to quote from Conroy’s autobiography he has written during 2007, which conveys how he came to be the very special person he is. "Autobiography of Conroy Fourie: Born 12 January 1961
{The Early Years…}
My mom (Marie) and dad (Coen) married in Oudtshoorn, and soon thereafter moved to a small mining town on the Cape Westcoast called Kleinzee. My older sister Louise was born on 18 November 1959 and I was born on 12 January 1961 in Kleinzee. I also have a younger brother Leon, and a younger sister, Moira, born in July 1963 and February 1967 respectively.
During our formative years we relocated frequently, first to Oranjemund, another small diamond town in the southern part of Namibia. When I was 6 or 7 years old we moved to Oudsthoorn and when I was 9 we moved to a small town in the Eastern Cape called Uitenhage.
We always had a very tight knit family unit, within our immediate family and also with our extended family relations.
{My School Years…}
After initially moving a few times during my “Sub A to Standard 1” school years I spent most of my primary school career at Innes Primary in Uitenhage from middle Standard 1 to Standard 5. I chose to enroll at the local “Academically Orientated” secondary school in Uitenhage and started Standard 6 in January 1974. During my Matric year, I managed to secure a place on the Veld & Vlei Leadership Adventure School held close to the Wilderness on the Garden Route. This leadership school took place during the winter school break in 1978 and was for a full 3 weeks. A vivid experience that I believe played a strong role in some of my later decisions in life. It really taught me a lot about myself, and what I was capable of. I passed my Matric with full university exemption and a “C” average.
{National Service…}
Oblivious to the political environment of the time I complied with the formalities of the day, registered, and was instructed to join the army for two years’ compulsory National Service in January 1979. I was allocated to the support corps - the Army Chef School. After basics and the Chef’s course, I volunteered to join 1 Parachute Battalion in Bloemfontein. I had the notion to do the qualifying course for Parachute Training but never pursued this further once at the unit. The association with an elite army unit rubbed off even on the support staff in the base and we were subjected to excellent discipline and built a really good spirit. We worked extremely hard and maintained excellent standards.
During 1980, my second and last year of national service, I firmed my plans to go to university and enrolled for a degree in commerce, with Professional Accountancy (CA route) as the major discipline, at the University of Port Elizabeth.
{Varsity!!…}
Although UPE was only 30km or so from my parents’ home, I elected to stay in university residence. This was a great time of my life. I had a close circle of friends that worked hard but also played hard. I was probably top 20% in my class most subjects. In addition to the academic and social life, I played a lot of sport socially and formally. Eventually I redirected my degree majors and settled on Accounting and Business Economics rather than following the CA route.
The largely carefree first year continued into the second year, especially now that I was a senior in the residence. At the start of my third year, on Valentine’s Day 1983, our flat entertained a ladies residence flat and I met my lovely wife-to-be Desíre. This serious-looking lady with her white windbreaker sitting around the fire with her friends really was a sight to behold. My varsity life and beyond changed forever. We got engaged December 17th 1983; I was a mere 22 years old and she 19!! I still remember my future father in law going silent when I asked him if I could marry her…he must have thought we were too young! We got married 30 November 1984 and I received my B.Com degree in December 1984.
{My Professional Career…}
Towards the end of my fourth year, as I prepared for the responsibilities of marriage, I started working for my “part” university sponsor, Goodyear Tyre & Rubber Company, in their finance division at Head Office in Port Elizabeth, as accountant, on 17 September 1984. An interesting conversation just prior to me starting was with the HR manager and he asked me something to this effect: “you won’t have a problem reporting to a coloured person?” I was bemused – suffice to say, Len Van Wyk (“The Coloured”) and I had a magnificent relationship. We had many discussions about our individual experiences and built an excellent rapport. I attended his wedding roundabout 1986 or 1987 in one of the “coloured” townships and what an experience this was. We got lost driving to the church and had to ask a few of the local residents the way – as I opened the car window I heard one of the children in the street with eyes widening saying something like: “hier’s wittes!! (here are whites!!)”.
While at Goodyear I completed a B.Com Honours in business economics and in my last year at Goodyear (1988) started my MBL masters (MBA) through Unisa’s School of Business Leadership. I finished this degree while at Toyota. To meet my aspirations to move into a General Management career path, I joined Toyota SA Marketing (1989) after nearly five years at Goodyear.
At Toyota, I spend most of my ten years’ tenure in a Dealer Development capacity, in various managerial roles. I received several promotions, relocated to Pretoria (1991 December) and gained extensive experience in General Management. After ten years at Toyota, I felt that to stimulate further career growth, I needed to expand my horizons and take charge of the redefinition of my career. As I had an interest in Information Technology, when an opportunity arose, I accepted a position as Project Manager at Kerridge Computer Company in their Motor Dealer Management Systems division (1999). At the time, it was my view that the IT industry offered an interesting career option, and the move to Kerridge allowed me to pursue this while at the same time remaining close to the Motor Industry.
In 2001, Shell approached me to join Shell Autoserv as General Manager. This opportunity offered me great scope to leverage my General Management career in a key area of the Motor Industry, after-sales service. I joined Shell Autoserv in December 2001, and as a result of this appointment relocated to Durban. While working at Kerridge I started a Masters in IT through the University of Pretoria which I completed in 2003 while at Shell Autoserv.
As a result of a Shell Group portfolio decision, the local Shell Autoserv business has been made available for sale in April 2005. After a deal failure in October 2006, I was asked to take over the divestment project management role. I successfully negotiated a sale of the branches of the business at 30 April 2007.
{Desíre and I, A Partnership For Life…}
Desíre and I have been together for 24 years, and our bond is now as strong as ever. We have not been blessed with children, but with one another. She is the most supportive, loving, loyal person. We enjoy being together and doing hikes or just breaking away for the odd getaway to preferably somewhere in a mountain. We have done some major multi-day hikes such as the Outeniqua (1995), Swellendam (1998), Fishriver Canyon (2002), Otter (2004), Tsitsikamma (2005) and numerous smaller hikes in between. From about 1995 to 2001, while in Pretoria, we were regular road runners; however, the move to Durban has broken the cycle we were in then. Now we particpate in road runs (jogs/walks) irregularly and go to gym occassionally.
{Seminal Events…}
1. Choosing my secondary school to be an academic track as opposed to a technical track stimulated my university career and subsequent professional general managerial career.
2. Securing a place on the Veld & Vlei Leadership Adventure School during my matric year – an intense physical and psychological experience that taught me a lot about myself, and what I was capable of.
3. Attending University and the resultant stimulus for lifelong learning that this exposure left me with.
4. Meeting Desíre and getting married; apart from the wonderful richness of our personal relationship I also gained parents-in-law that added immense quality of life to me.
5. Joining Toyota and subsequently relocating to Gauteng from Port Elizabeth. This consolidated my career decision to be in general management rather than in a finance specialist role.
6. Leaving Toyota to stimulate further career growth was the right strategy but joining Kerridge was the wrong implementation and a sobering experience. This move subsequently led to my career at Shell Autoserv and relocation to Durban. Furthermore, the move from Toyota (in 1999) stimulated nine years of introspection and an examination of my leadership style – an exciting although sometimes daunting journey.
7. A Shell Group portfolio decision (April 2005) to divest the Autoserv business unit in South Africa and my decision to stay with the business to influence a positive divestment outcome. This lead to a period of intense emotional roller coasters and culminating in a successful sale of the branches of the business, but the closure of the head office, with the resultant redundancy of head office colleagues including myself.
{Most Influential People In My Life…}
1. My parents for teaching me sound life principles and values, supportive, encouraging, and for always seeing the good in everyone.
2. My life partner Desíre for being a natural peoples person, loving me unconditionally, supporting me, having a bias for action (as opposed to my sometimes analytical paralysis), being unselfish, demonstrating loyalty and commitment, and just for being there – by her actions she truly shows me how to enrich the lives of others.
3. My first boss Len Van Wyk for demonstrating the true meaning of respect for diversity and thereby transferring the seeds of this quality to me.
4. My second boss Harold Barnard, my first “unintended” mentor and coach, amongst others for demonstrating the qualities of a truly people and team focused leadership to me in my early career.
5. Brand Pretorius, an icon in the motor industry – for being a role model for inspirational and charismatic leadership.
6. To all the people that I had the privilege to interact with in the past and for those I will interact with in the future - for the richness of experience and learning this brought to me and will bring to me in future."
oooOOOooo
That very first meeting the evening of Valentine’s Day, 1983 was definitely not a butterfly, heart-skip-a-beat moment for me. Back then I was relatively cautious and shy around the opposite sex and did not trust Conroy’s first advances. Later that evening when I was dropped back at the varsity hostel, I turned a cheek when a goodnight kiss was coming my way. I have just come out of a serious year-long relationship which I had during my first year at Tygerberg Technical College in Cape Town.
But, Conroy was not going to let this ‘sight to behold’ slip through his fingers and came round the very next day to reinforce his feelings. So, bit by bit the resistance crumbled and I could not stop myself from falling in love. For the duration of our nearly two years of Res life I was often spoilt with a bunch of red carnations fondly placed in my Res post box and always accompanied with a cute card with sincere words. I have kept all these cards and still have them today.
What attracted me the most about Conroy and is still the case today are his sincerity, honesty, very small heart and gallant demeanor. My Mom always said that, the best way to determine how a man will treat his future wife is to observe the relationship he has with his Mom. And this is very true as Conroy till this day, treats his Mom & Dad with endearing love and huge respect. Needless to say, this also shines through in our relationship. The physical attraction of course is his nearly 2m frame, warm brown eyes and his size 12½ feet.
We got engaged on 13 December 1983 and married a year later, on completion of our studies on Friday, 30 November 1984 at the ‘Vanstadensrivier Gemeente’ situated between Uitenhage and Port Elizabeth. We did not go on a honeymoon, as we have both started to work full time at the beginning of November 1984 and only stayed for 2 nights at the Beach Hotel in Port Elizabeth ... and of course this was all we could afford at that stage. But, we have shared, enjoyed and experienced wonderful memorable getaways/adventures the 24 years to date.
Through all the years Conroy has ...
• opened the car door for me, leaving home and at the destination • brought breakfast in bed for me • put his own washing in the basket • said thank you for every meal I have served • left the kitchen neat when he has prepared a meal • never forgotten our anniversary • packed his own clothes for business trips My Mom’s advice for an everlasting marriage was to make sure that you are home before your husband returns from work (if possible) and never go to bed cross with each other.
I cannot imagine life without Conroy by my side. My life is Conroy and life is Conroy in my world. He is my only soul mate and confidante. In a way I am what I am today, at the age of 44, mainly because I have Conroy by my side unselfishly, lovingly supporting me in everything I do and still want to do. Life ahead can only be a loving adventurous joyride with him by my side.
- Signing Off Blessed

18 comments:

  1. What gorgeous layouts you do - nice to "meet" you.

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  2. a beautiful layout Desire,
    such lovely words..xx

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  3. Absolutely stunning and I just love the journalling.

    You and Conroy are everything that you have written about and more and are both an inspiration to others.

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  4. i love these layouts they are gorgeous and such lovely words too,obviously you two were meant to be:)

    sue
    xx

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  5. Wow Desire this is stunning, Love the layouts!

    My birthday is also on the 12th of January!!!
    Born one year later ;)

    Fairytales do come true!!!

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  6. Beautiful layouts and stunning writing - soul mates forever.....

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  7. What a stunning layout. I could feel the true, intense emotion in the journalling. A lovely fairytale story that has come true!

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  8. You really shared so much with us today....so refreshing and transparent. You seem to be a couple that would be wonderful life long friends. PS: Just have to mention the principal of Innes at that time I think (Mr Geyer) is an old family friend. The world is so small. It would be wonderful hearing how you grew up as well. (or have you posted it already?)

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  9. As always Desire, outstanding journaling, my hat off to you...

    Love this LO of the 2 of you...

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  10. Wonderful pages and the journalling is fabulous. great work

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  11. Well done on a lovely layout darling teacha! Your love story is truly inspirational!

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  12. Dis baie lekker om te sien wat mens kan doen met so pragtige sensitiewe liefdesverhaal en foto's. Dit laat sommer so warm gevoel in mens se hart.

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  13. jacki janse van rensburg5:37 PM

    wow! that must be one of the most beautiful love-letters i have ever read. wow!

    thanks for sharing those personal feelings, i feel enriched because of them!

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  14. Ooohhhhh!!! That is beautiful.
    Heather xxx

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  15. I'm sat here staring at the keyboard - I just don't think anything I said could in any way being to express how overwhelmed I am at reading your journalling Desire, thanks so much for letting us into your world

    hugs Bev x

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  16. Stunning .... love it !!!!

    As I said on my blog, Conroy could certainly give us all a run for our money in the journaling dept ... tee hee ...

    Love, Tracy

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  17. I missed this and I'm glad that I was scrolling... loved sharing the intimacies of your history together. Too many more years together.

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  18. A real love letter. Thank you for sharing it.
    You both are very lucky that you found each other.

    Eija

    ps. .. you have wonderful cards.

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Crafty hugs
Desire