Saturday 19th October 2019

Women of Courage Series. #18. Margaret Jolly. 96/2019.

Women of Courage Series. #18. Margaret Jolly. 96/2019.

A series of blog posts on Denyse Whelan Blogs to be found here from mid May 2019: Wednesdays: each week.

Here is the introduction to the series.

Courage is strength in the face of pain or grief. It’s doing something that frightens you. We face situations that demand courage every day. These situations provide us with choices, and the way we respond to those choices determines our future. Dayne Shuda

There are some people who come into our lives you do not have to ‘meet in real life’ to know you would enjoy having a conversation and getting to know them. Margaret Jolly who is 57 is one such person to me. We may live states apart but Margaret took time during the early days of my cancer diagnosis to call me and to regularly see how I was faring. I too have taken a great interest in Margaret’s “story” around aged care as she has outlines in her words below. I totally love her photos particularly when they are of her dad and his brother and those from her travels in the UK. 

 

What have you faced in your life where you have had to be courageous?

Oftentimes the most courageous thing to have to do is to have a difficult conversation. I’ve been fortunate not to have suffered significant trauma, other than the death of my mother, but being brave, and vulnerable, in having courageous conversations, is a skill that is continually honed.  Most recently, I had to have the courage to tell my Dear Old Dad that it was time for him to go into permanent aged care – the toughest conversation I have ever had to have.  As an HR executive,  I had to have many difficult and courageous conversations which had to be rehearsed to some extent and this was no different.

 

How did this change you in any way? Please outline further if this has been the case.

It didn’t change me as such, but changed my life considerably.  You don’t know the burden of the weight you carry until it is no longer there

 

Is there something you learned from this that you could recommend to help others who need courage?

We put off difficult conversations for fear of hurting others, or of getting a negative response.  The longer you put it off, the more damage you do to yourself, and the harder it becomes.  There is a skill in raising difficult matters; much more difficult with someone to whom you are close, for fear that the relationship will suffer.  But not having the conversation is much more damaging.

 

Do you think you are able to be more courageous now if the life situation calls for it? Why is that?

Yes – honesty is always the best policy

 

Is there any message you would give to others facing a situation where courage could be needed?

It sounds trite, but honestly, in a situation which calls for a difficult discussion, you are often in no worse a position afterwards, and in most cases better.  When you find yourself running through hypothetical conversations in your head, it is time to have an actual conversation.

In the words of Dumbledore, Principal of Hogwarts – “It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.”

Thank you so much for your story which is told with honesty and candour. It “is” indeed one very very hard conversation that you had. I know you are not alone in this matter of future care for family members either.

Denyse.

 

Blog/Website: https://lookingafteredad.blog

Instagram: @meggsie62  @66theesplanade @imperious_george  @dogsofwoodgate

Joining each Wednesday with Sue and Leanne here for Mid Life Share the Love Linky.

On Thursdays I link here for Lovin Life with Leanne and friends and on Fridays, it’s Open Slather here with Alicia.

Copyright © 2019 denysewhelan.com.au – All rights reserved.

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What Is Love? 37/51 #LifeThisWeek. 95/2019.

What Is Love? 37/51 #LifeThisWeek. 95/2019.

This is about love.

Not all lovey-dovey love.

But love when it matters, how it lasts and the constant re-calibrating a long, long relationship thanks to:

L O V E

Whilst I grew up in a family which went to church on occasion, and I heard this verse a few times at weddings, I am quoting it today from the bible as I have always felt an affinity to these words:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, 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, always perseveres.

1 Corinthians 13 (New International Version)

Here’s what love is and looks like, in more recent times in our life together. 49 years in October since we met. Been together ever since!

Keeping our love for each other bright…is quite the journey.

Fortunately we enjoy very similar senses of humour, a love of kids, teaching and a zest for learning more. Always learning.

Whilst my husband endured more than anyone’s fair share of illness and medical conditions which saw him having to medically retire young, he got on with life. Changing his work, over time, to be a kitchen and cabinet maker as well as an educational tutor. In his latter years he too studied at tertiary level and used his qualifications to counsel others. Always a fantastic support to me during my career, his wisdom helped me through some challenging years.

We have parented two children: a girl and a boy. We are so blessed (yes we are) to have eight loving grandchildren, 6 girls and 2 boys. But more than anything…we have each other.

We are loving this post working, post child-rearing, post grandchild-caring life of ours very much. It will be more enhance with a house of our own again one day but for now, we love each other’ company but also do quite a bit separately based on our interests.

Here’s to love…and what it’s been more recently: Recently is from my cancer diagnosis in May 2017 (see here for first time readers)  until now. The amount of time he has given to take me to appointments in Sydney (I now do them alone and have since April 2018) and elsewhere, to ‘find’ a chocolate paddlepop if he could when I was first home from hospital, to be as patient as he could with ‘this patient’ and then to let me know (if I hadn’t already) it was time to get outside, go out and stop whingeing…. I do/did. Mostly. But he also understands I need to get the words out.

And here’s what some recent examples of love look like for us.

And I may not have photos for these but lastly:

  • He surprised me with my new apple watch to ‘celebrate’ two years since cancer
  • He got a new banjo. Just because. Not really, he loves playing his piano and guitars and regretted selling his old banjo, so now he has one!
  • He likes Bunnings. I don’t but I understand shopping!
  • I like arts and crafts. I kind of know how to spend a little less…even though he is very understanding
  • We have date morning tea once a week
  • We watch a session of recorded tv (The Block for now) each afternoon together. We have very different tastes in viewing. He is a Netflix fan, and a sports fan but I tend to just use social media.
  • We disagree. A lot. But we accept, generally, our differences.
  • We annoy each other. A bit. But we move on.
  • We are good for each other. I reckon ‘opposites’ attract. He is tall, I am not. He is ‘big picture’ I am ‘details’. He is…a bloke. I am not.

AND… one thing we always say we remember …even at our worst…is seeing each other for the first time on 17 October 1970, sitting at the opposite ends of a table, and we

S M I L E D…and that dear readers, was that!

I am grateful to have a long-lasting loving relationship.

Denyse.

You can link up something old or new, just come on in. * Please add just ONE post each week! * Feel free to go with the prompt for the week to add your ‘take’ on the prompt. Or not. * Please do stay to comment on my post as I always reply and it’s a bloggy thing to do! * Check out what others are up to by leaving a comment because we all love our comments, right! * Add a link back to this blog in your post somewhere. I don’t have a ‘button’ so a link in text is fine! *Posts deemed by me, the owner of the blog and the link-up, to be unsuitable for my audience will be deleted without notice. * THANK you for linking up today!

Next Week’s optional prompt is: 38/51 Your Go-To Easy Meal. 23/9/19

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Click here to enter


 

 

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Women of Courage Series. #17. Lydia C. Lee. 94/2019.

Women of Courage Series. #17. Lydia C. Lee. 94/2019.

A series of blog posts on Denyse Whelan Blogs to be found here from mid May 2019: Wednesdays: each week.

Here is the introduction to the series.

Courage is strength in the face of pain or grief. It’s doing something that frightens you. We face situations that demand courage every day. These situations provide us with choices, and the way we respond to those choices determines our future. Dayne Shuda

I have ‘known’ Lydia for more years than I can recall. She remains, however, a woman of some mystery, as this image is the only one I have seen. I am guessing it is Lydia. I also know though, that she is one very caring and helpful individual in my on-line world of friendships. She has offered me some good advice and in fact, some it relates to the person she references in her post. Thanks Lydia for sharing your words. One day, we WILL catch up in person!

 

While I was flattered Denyse asked me to be part of this series, I feel a little bit of a fraud, as I’m not sure I’ve done much with courage. However, as it would be a lack of courage not to accept, I will try my best to offer something useful. Courage is not just bravery, it also has the definition below:

Courage: Strength in the face of pain or grief.

When my father was dying, it was a long and drawn out painful affair. I had to drive two and a half hours every second day to visit him in the hospital. I was working myself into a tired and emotional state on the drive over there, and finding the visits understandably distressing. By chance, to quash my irritability in the traffic, I started listening to audio books. This found me at least on arrival, refreshed and in a good mood, as all my stream of consciousness had been hushed with the external focus.

By chance I listened to This is How by Augusten Burroughs.

This book was a life changer for me. He has a chapter on how to let someone die, and it really altered my understanding of what I could give my family at this most devastating time. The tips I express are his but they worked 100% for me and the by product from doing the small things is the courage defined above.

The first thing he called out is that you will want to find ways to avoid visiting. And it’s true. I kept thinking ‘I need to do this for the kids’ or ‘I have to get this work done’ and so on. The minute I heard his words, I realised it was all unimportant for now, and the visits were the only thing I would really regret not doing.

Secondly, he points out what matters. The special moments you will share that seem insignificant or even mildly unpleasant at the time become something you treasure. One of my favourite memories with Dad was when I took cake for my birthday and we ate it on his hospital bed and laughed at our gluttony and how much better it was than the hospital food. There was such a strong connection that day. In our shared lifetime, this was not one of the ‘big moments’ but it is something I often think about fondly now, and it brings me much comfort.

Thirdly, I’m the youngest in my family. My mother and sister were dealing with it differently to me, and that’s okay – I honestly believe there is not ‘right way’, only what is right for you, and most importantly, for the dying person. It gave me the job of making sure Mum was coping, and would not grieve the difficult decisions she had to make over the myriad of medical options and how to process the conflicting information from the many specialists involved. That job made me busy and feel productive and helpful in a situation where we were really all helpless to ultimately fix anything.

 

In a very strange turn of events, I had a number of concerts already booked, and I kept going to them, even if I didn’t feel like it or as happened one time, I cried in the taxi on the way to the venue. What I discovered was the dancing and energy of the audience was transformative. The endorphins from the exercise and joyous high I’d get would reset my emotions for the next day, so I was recharged to visit again and bring the little gifts of being truly present to share with him.

Our natural instinct is to shut down when facing grief but it’s actually the worst thing in my opinion. I became an expert at compartmentalising my emotions. It’s important to grieve and feel that loss and sadness, but it’s equally important to energise yourself so you’re ready for the next day’s emotional battle.  If worse comes to worse, just leave and go home early if it’s all too hard. I told myself that a few times but it never did pan out that way.

 

One of the benefits of this compartmentalisation was that I became very good at focusing on one step at a time. I could encourage Mum to stop the ‘what if’s’ and just make decisions on the information we had at hand, and make one decision at a time, not trying to second guess ahead. It reduces the enormity of what is happening and the overwhelming responsibility.

 “We do not have to become heroes overnight. Just a step at a time, meeting each thing that comes up, seeing it as not as dreadful as it appears, discovering that we have the strength to stare it down.”  Eleanor Roosevelt

In all things medical, one step at a time is all you can cope with.

Eat well. I ate my emotions – usually in the car on the way home from the hospital. It was not good for my weight or my energy. But long time readers will know I’m far from perfect so this one is a ‘do as I say, not as I do’. Had I not eaten junk daily, I might have felt better about things in those down moments. But as Augusten Burroughs says “Eat the brownie”. Sometimes food is the only happiness you’ll have that day. I’d probably do the same again so I’m not going to judge anyone on this.

If you can, during this time, exercise instead of drinking. Both will take the edge off, but one is better for the next day (and your waistline if you are eating a junkfest to feel good).

It is never a good time, but you can make it better for all involved, and for yourself so you don’t regret choices you made when it’s too late to change anything. Most of all, you are making it as best you can for that loved one who is finding their own courage when you aren’t there.

“Life is what you make it. Always has been, always will be.”  Eleanor Roosevelt

This is not medical advice, it is just what worked for me. If you are under stress and feeling it is too much, please see a doctor. Grief causes stress and disorientation and can lead to anxiety. Always seek medical help if you feel overwhelmed.

Wow, Thank you so much Lydia. Your recommendation of Augusten Burrough’s book was just what I needed to listen to last year. I am sure there will be readers here who will be nodding along with some of your insights gained personally and learning of others.

Denyse.

 

Social Media: https://www.instagram.com/lydiaclee/

Blog/Website: https://pandoraandmax.blogspot.com/

And Travel Blog https://holidazeandhellidaze.blogspot.com/

Twitter: @LydiaCLee

Facebook Page (not personal account): https://www.facebook.com/lydiac.lee.9

Joining each Wednesday with Sue and Leanne here for Mid Life Share the Love Linky.

On Thursdays I link here for Lovin Life with Leanne and friends and on Fridays, it’s Open Slather here with Alicia.

Copyright © 2019 denysewhelan.com.au – All rights reserved.

 

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Taking Stock #4. 36/51 #LifeThisWeek. 93/2019.

Taking Stock #4. 36/51 #LifeThisWeek. 93/2019.

It’s a great idea to ‘take stock’ in life and so it is here in the world of blogging too. Many of those who follow my blog already have established ‘taking stock’ practices and we have Pip Lincoln to thank for this notion for her original taking stock here.

Every 9 weeks is the practice to keep me ‘accountable’ and it’s part of my optional prompt menu. Noting this will be the second last for 2019. Gosh, where has that time gone.

 

Making: time for myself to just ‘be’ is a goal at the moment. I have always been a ‘do’ person.

Cooking: batch meals. Some for my husband (with a few for Dad). Always appreciated and oh so glad not have to answer the question “what’s for dinner” every night as a result.

Drinking: as I type, soda water. Feel the need to a refresh. Nice cold.

Reading: daily newspaper…which is no longer home delivered but I am happy to drive to our local friendly newsagent as she puts the paper away for us.

Wanting: MORE art supplies but not actually NEEDING them.

Looking: at so many art supply places on-line. I look for ‘free shipping’ but also notice, that is a bit of a furphy as the price of items is a bit higher than those where you pay for shipping.

Playing: mahjong on the ipad which I listen to Audible books

Wasting: not much at all

Wishing: for all of us who need better health or to stay well…get that wish

 

Enjoying: life

Waiting: for Monday….

Liking: this blogging community

Wondering: If what happens on Monday will work

Loving: my husband and my family. 

Meeting the youngest grandchild on her birthday in 2015.

Hoping: that we never have to wait so long again for another event like Monday’s

Marvelling: that I can ‘string’ out what is happening on Monday.

Needing: to tell you: we live in a rented house. It’s 4 years old. The dishwasher broke down 9 weeks ago and WE are waiting for MONDAY’S supposed repair of same.

Smelling: freshly made cupcakes which I need to ice now they are cool.

Wearing: the cute little slippers my friend sent me in 2017.

in 2017 I had bandages. Not anymore,

Following: the news of any relief from the drought in Australia

Noticing: that we are yet to see forecasts of much needed decent rainfall.

Knowing: soon there will be water restrictions here on the Central Coast as there should be.

Thinking: that unless everyone gets a greater appreciation of what the drought means for our country, then there will continue to be water wastage, especially when the government is prepared to “sell” the rivers’ water. Enough said.

Feeling: well.

Bookmarking: a real book. Trouble is, the bookmark falls out. Trying to finish “Never Say Die” by Chris O’Brien.

Opening: a new packet of art supplies. NB: I already had them, not ordered as I wrote the post!!

Smiling: at how much I love these pretty, bright and colourful items and getting to use them.

My art….

 

How are you at waiting for repairs?

This has tested us quite a bit as we would never have allowed (if we were landlords) this ridiculously LONG drawn-out process to occur. It was recommended by the first person who checked it …”replace” but…landlord thinks “no, I will source the part”. THAT has taken 6 weeks. THEN a repairer with the part still needs to turn up on Monday AND, if after putting part in machine, we sure hope it works…or….back to the hand-washing up. Over it!

UPDATE: the dishwasher is fixed. It was a broken switch. 9 weeks ago we reported it. The first serviceman said “electrical board” gone, replace machine recommended. Owners said no. Today: a simple fix. But this serviceman left the control panel unstable so…can be used …so will need a return visit. Sigh!

 

Right, now where was I?

Hope you enjoyed the Taking Stock…and understood my little add-on and the reason for it.

Thanks everyone!

Denyse.

You can link up something old or new, just come on in. * Please add just ONE post each week! * Feel free to go with the prompt for the week to add your ‘take’ on the prompt. Or not. * Please do stay to comment on my post as I always reply and it’s a bloggy thing to do! * Check out what others are up to by leaving a comment because we all love our comments, right! * Add a link back to this blog in your post somewhere. I don’t have a ‘button’ so a link in text is fine! *Posts deemed by me, the owner of the blog and the link-up, to be unsuitable for my audience will be deleted without notice. * THANK you for linking up today!

Next Week’s optional prompt is: 37/51 What Is Love? 16/9/19

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter


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Women of Courage Series. #16. Sarah. 92/2019.

Women of Courage Series. #16. Sarah. 92/2019.

A series of blog posts on Denyse Whelan Blogs to be found here from mid May 2019: Wednesdays: each week.

Here is the introduction to the series.

Courage is strength in the face of pain or grief. It’s doing something that frightens you. We face situations that demand courage every day. These situations provide us with choices, and the way we respond to those choices determines our future. Dayne Shuda

Sarah, who is 42,  and I go way back. To blogging days but also via photography. We’d already been to a blogging function in the city and Sarah offered to help me with my then new Camera. I spent an afternoon at her place with her then pre-schooler learning about how to use the various focus points and I still use that help today. I am so glad we did meet and even though we are no longer in Sydney, we connect on-line from time to time. Thank you Sarah for your willingness to share here today!

 

 

What have you faced in your life where you have had to be courageous?

The breakdown of my marriage was a slow and sad journey. Looking back I am grateful that neither of us broke it dramatically but with reflection, sometimes I think the gradual descent into unloving each other did more damage to us in the long run. Our differences, which had pulled us together when we were younger and in the trenches of parenting small children, were the same differences that were causing us such frustration in our personal relationship. By the time my husband was finally able to agree that our marriage was no longer something worth fighting for, the relief was immense for me. I could direct my attention towards something active, a collaborative separation rather than pushing emotional energy into a relationship that had lost its heart. At the time I thought that was the bravest I had ever been, but the courage I had to conjure up at the time of the separation was nothing in comparison to the courage I have needed in the eighteen months since. Navigating a huge life change is complicated, deeply traumatic and takes resilience and bravery and the support of everyone around you.

 

How did this change you in any way? Please outline further if this has been the case.

I was changed in every way by the ending of my marriage. The positives have been amazing, I have learnt that I can do everything I need to do, on my own, and that the support of people around me is a gift and should never be taken for granted. But the negatives have weighed heavily on me. I have two incredible daughters who have had their perfect childhoods turned upside down and there are days where the responsibility for that causes me almost physical pain. I have learnt that when bad things happen, the world doesn’t stop turning around you and that a positive attitude can lift you and those around you out of a trough of despair. I laugh more now, I am more present and I am a better mother, friend and ex-wife. I have learnt to let go of the small things and focus on the bigger picture and I am more positive and less pessimistic which has been a really fun and rewarding change.

 

Is there something you learned from this that you could recommend to help others who need courage?

I cannot express strongly enough that I believe courage is something that is compounded by sharing with others, like happiness, courage grows in the presence of people. I found it really hard to express how I was feeling after we agreed the separation. People were shocked that I was relieved, but I had to remember this was often the first time they had heard about the finality of our decision where we had been living the reality for years by this stage. For a while I retreated into my own headspace and found it easier to not talk about what I was going through but this was isolating and left me feeling lonely and misunderstood.

So I started opening up to the people around me and found that sharing my experience made it more real and people responded to my openness with their own stories. Hearing about how other people have dealt with tough situations made me feel stronger and better equipped to cope with the difficulties I was dealing with. I also felt better able to help other people around me and this has planted a seed in me.

Navigating the breakdown of a family unit and a separation is incredibly difficult even when we were doing it amicably under the same roof. There are so many ways of approaching the legalities of a separation and if I was finding it difficult, I knew that there would be so many people out there who felt completely out of their depth trying to work out how to proceed. I am hoping that in some capacity I might be able to help other people facing the same difficulties, maybe by volunteering, possibly by writing, definitely by talking to people.

 

Do you think you are able to be more courageous now if the life situation calls for it? Why is that?

I genuinely feel that I could face most things now. My vision and perspective has changed during this process and instead of being a confirmed pessimist, I see the future as containing possibilities that are beyond my comprehension. Being courageous for me looks a lot like not worrying about things I cannot control and the best bit about this is having heaps more emotional time to do things I love like hang out with my children, spend time with friends, read books and plan adventures!

 

Is there any message you would give to others facing a situation where courage could be needed?

Don’t be afraid to share your story. I know it can be hard to be honest about how you are feeling, but I have found that being as authentic as I can be about my situation has genuinely helped others going through similar experiences. The other really important lesson I have learned about courage is that asking for help is one of the bravest things someone can do. Fear of rejection or facing our own insignificance can hold us back from being honest about what our needs are but once I started to admit how hard I was finding things, people seemed eager to help. I learnt that even the smallest gesture carries great weight when you are struggling and through my own experience of receiving help and compassion, I am in turn more compassionate and empathetic and less judgmental!

 

Thank you so much Sarah for your frankness and lessons learned. I am sure that by sharing your story, others may take courage and comfort too.

Denyse.

 

Joining  with Sue and Leanne each Wednesday  here for Mid Life Share the Love Linky.

On Thursdays I link here for Lovin Life with Leanne and friends and on Fridays, it’s Open Slather here with Alicia.

Copyright © 2019 denysewhelan.com.au – All rights reserved.

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Share Your Snaps #7. 35/51. Life This Week. 91/2019.

Share Your Snaps #7. 35/51. Life This Week. 91/2019.

Dear Reader and Bloggers,

We have…..just on 4 months till the end of 2019. How did that even..??

Signed,

I Also Cannot Believe It.

P.S. At the end of this post are the optional prompts for the rest of 2019 and an announcement about Life This Week in 2020.

Onward: It’s our 7th Share Your Snaps!

Looking back to see what I have shared before, I can see that my ‘arty-crafty’ and creative side has been somewhat neglected for ‘show and tell’. It is still my go-to in times of de-stress, becoming more mindful and for good old enjoyment of a craft. I do admit to spending a wee bit   lot more than my ahem budget allows…if I had a budget of course.

So here we go:

I’ve written before about the Index Card a Day Challenge from here and the fact it helped ease me into the ‘new way’ of thinking about my creativity and capability. I began this challenge in 2013 which is to complete a set of regular index cards for 61 days of June-July. I did not do it in 2018 and loved being back in 2019. My blogging friend Alicia did too and shared here.

The person who challenges me (and many!) is Tammy from Daisy Yellow Art and she also had a challenge for those of us wanting something in August. I needed a new creative way to work and play so this went well for me and I courageously moved from timidity to greater bravery if you like with how I interpreted the one word challenges. Check out how I did.

Prompt: Level.

Prompt: Type

And I have been wanting to get more confident about art journalling. Which in itself is pretty open-ended but I needed to learn more so am giving different techniques a go to get out of my ‘rut’ of sorts. This was a 2 page spread, using a painted background, with added stamps, cut outs to fit the theme of “Spring” and lettering ideas I thought worked around the images I cut from a circle cutter.

 

I haven’t forgotten my mandalas and am doing some ‘dot’ based ones in September for a Mandala Day about dots in mid September.

 

Many here and those who follow me on Instagram know I also go out each day for a coffee and have my little art journal kit with me. This one, from May 2019 onwards is just about complete. I have a new one already started. It’s great for writing, playing with design and just enjoying being creative in a small space.

What have you been doing with your photography lately?

Have you been creative in your life recently?

What is your favourite way to create?

Tell us more in the comments.

Denyse.

Life This Week Optional Prompts for the rest of 2019. The list is also on the home page.

36/51 Taking Stock. #4 9/9/19

37/51 What Is Love? 16/9/19

38/51 Your Go-To Easy Meal. 23/9/19

39/51 Spring Stories. 30/9/19

40/51 Share Your Snaps #8. 7/10/19

41/51 “Your Choice of Prompt” 14/10/19

42/51 Self-Care Stories #6. 21/10/19

43/51 Your Favourite Book As a Child 28/10/19

44/51 Colours I Love 4/11/19

45/51 Share Your Snaps #9 11/11/19

46/51 Gift Idea For Teachers 18/11/19

47/51 Do You Celebrate “zero” Birthdays? 25/11/19

48/51 Self-Care Stories $7. 2/12/19

49/51 Taking Stock #5 9/12/19

50/51 Share Your Snaps #10 16/12/19

51/51 Christmas/Holidays: Prompt Optional 23/12/19.

Life This Week will have a break….even though I may be blogging.

The first week back on a Monday is 6th January 2020.

The optional prompt will be: What’s Planned For You in 2020?

You can link up something old or new, just come on in. * Please add just ONE post each week! * Feel free to go with the prompt for the week to add your ‘take’ on the prompt. Or not. * Please do stay to comment on my post as I always reply and it’s a bloggy thing to do! * Check out what others are up to by leaving a comment because we all love our comments, right! * Add a link back to this blog in your post somewhere. I don’t have a ‘button’ so a link in text is fine! *Posts deemed by me, the owner of the blog and the link-up, to be unsuitable for my audience will be deleted without notice. * THANK you for linking up today!

Next Week’s optional prompt is: 36/51 Taking Stock. #4 9/9/19

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter


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Women of Courage Series. #15. Deborah. 90/2019.

Women of Courage Series. #15. Deborah. 90/2019.

A series of blog posts on Denyse Whelan Blogs to be found here from mid May 2019: Wednesdays: each week.

Here is the introduction to the series.

Courage is strength in the face of pain or grief. It’s doing something that frightens you. We face situations that demand courage every day. These situations provide us with choices, and the way we respond to those choices determines our future. Dayne Shuda

I have followed Deborah, who is 51,  on-line for some years now. I am pretty sure I found her blog: “diet schmiet” (made me want to read as a serial diet/no diet woman) and then via other social media. She blogs about books and her life these days living away from the ‘big smoke’.I really want to sit down and have a cuppa with Deb (as I call her!) one day. I reckon it would be the best. Her story is here and I am so glad she decided to be courageous and share. 

 

 

What have you faced in your life where you have had to be courageous?

I think there have been a culmination of things – brought on by myself and circumstances – that have seen me again and again questioning my sense of self and my identity.

I’ve always been single and don’t have children. Work pretty much defined my life until I was in my early 40s. I kept assuming I’d have what everyone else had (love, family) but it didn’t happen.

By then I’d already had a number of career and life-path changes, some of which had been  pretty dire. I’d worked in the social sector in Australia, then international development in developing countries. I was then a diplomat before settling back into life in Brisbane in project management and government.

But I couldn’t imagine my world continuing as it was. I’d been waiting for the life I expected to start; I felt like I’d been biding my time, and suddenly I was confronted with the fact that half of my life had quite possibly passed me by.

So (at 44yrs of age), I took a redundancy package and made a seachange. I moved to a beachside town near my childhood hometown. I hadn’t been there to support my mother as much as I’d liked when my father was ill before passing away and I wanted to be there for her.

 

How did this change you in any way? Please outline further if this has been the case.

It was like a huge weight off my shoulders. I’d felt very restricted by my previous existence. Before ‘life’ was something I savoured for a few hours in the evening and on weekends.

Suddenly I felt free for the first time I could remember.

Of course at the same time I realised how much I’d been identified by what I’d done for a living. I was no longer sure ‘who’ or ‘what’ I was.

I’d also assumed I’d find it easy to get a job. I’d already decided I no longer wanted to be guided (or bound) by ambition. I love(d) writing and hoped to pursue my creativity now that I had more time and head / white space.

Of course, since then there have been ups and downs on the job front. I’ve secured some employment and found it unfulfilling, so leapt into something more substantial again… only to regret that and resent its impact on the rest of my life.

 

Is there something you learned from this that you could recommend to help others who need courage?

It occurs to me that although I’m still going through some existential crises in relation to my values; and for me there’s a constant struggle between financial security and wanting to live a life that feels more authentic. To become the ‘me’ I’ve always wanted to be.

However, while I may not know exactly what it is I want… (and isn’t that why they call it a midlife crisis?) I’ve realised I’m learning what it is I don’t want from life. And sometimes that has to be done by trial and error.

I still have an image in my head of who I think I ‘should’ be. I still feel guilty that I would much prefer to not-work than to work. I mean, women in previous generations fought long and hard for the opportunities I had (and still have).

But, I’ve now made the tough decision on several occasions to step out of situations that aren’t serving me. I would never have done that before. Responsibility reigned supreme in my world. I’ve done some weird and scary things and there’s been risk involved but it’s always been very measured risk. I’ve always had a safety net. Well… until recently.

 

Do you think you are able to be more courageous now if the life situation calls for it? Why is that?

I feel like I’ve failed. Or at least not succeeded. Others don’t seem to think I’ve hit rock bottom, but it’s felt that way to me… and yet I’ve survived. I haven’t given up.

I have some contingencies in place. I’m deflated each time I miss out on an interview or by the lack of opportunities, but if life has taught me anything it’s that there could still be something around the corner.

 

Is there any message you would give to others facing a situation where courage could be needed?

I’d never recommend anyone take a leap of faith as I think our paths have got to be ones we’re comfortable with, but I think sometimes we can give fate a little nudge.

I’m prone to overthinking and overanalysing EVERYTHING but it means I know myself pretty well and I’m a strong believer in ‘gut instinct’ (though I believe the pros call it ‘intuitive decision making’). We often know when something doesn’t feel right.

This has been the biggest learning for me. I don’t always know when I’m happy. But I know when I’m not.

 

Thank you Deborah. You make me think about quite a lot in my life too. Your story is one for many I am sure.

Denyse.

Blog/Website: https://debbish.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/debbishdotcom

Facebook Page : https://www.facebook.com/debbishdotcom

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/debbish/

 

Joining each Wednesday with Sue and Leanne here for Mid Life Share the Love Linky.

On Thursdays I link here for Lovin Life with Leanne and friends and on Fridays, it’s Open Slather here with Alicia.

Copyright © 2019 denysewhelan.com.au – All rights reserved.

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Self-Care: Share Your Story #5. 34/51 #LifeThisWeek. 89/2019.

Self-Care: Share Your Story #5. 34/51 #LifeThisWeek. 89/2019.

The past few weeks have been less about self-care and more about caring what others think and say.

I “know” that is not the ideal way to live my life going forward but in some ways I think it’s connected with a major life-experience which was about to occur at this time of year in 2002. I wrote about it here. I get to this time of year and ask myself ‘what’s wrong?’ when I have nothing much happening to make me feel a little less confident and emotional. Then I look at the date. So, knowing this helps and it reminds me to accept that I still have sad feelings about how I had to walk away from my principal’s role but that I also got on with my life as best as I could once the first 12 months of being treated for the effects had helped.

I have written about this in a series of posts last September if you would like to read them.

September Stories 1. September Stories 2. September Stories 3. September Stories 4.

I also used my story for my Women of Courage post, here.

Self-Care and What It Looks Like Now For Me.

Appreciation For The Support & Love. Moving On.

 

Doing this more. Getting Outside.

 

If I do not care for my mouth and prosthesis properly then I am not self-caring for my physical health. My daily routine.

 

This was something different. Very small pizza, takeaway. Two meals! Worth it? Not really but I gave it go.

 

Using some of my me-time for creating and liking the results.

 

My daily coffee, treat and using my mini art journal. Getting out every.single.day. whether I feel like it or not IS the best self-care I have.

 

Letting others know of my appreciation for them. Self-care is shared.

 

This was important to me from a self-care and love viewpoint. Top images this year, bottom ones a year ago. I was so pleased, despite some weight gain (with teeth!) I could still wear the clothes.

So I found some examples in the end. Thank goodness. I haven’t really lost the ability to self-care, it’s just a blip in the progress I am making and I am honest enough to share the reasons as I see why.

How is your self-care going?

What’s your best tip for when you are least feeling like being self-caring?

Denyse.

 

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