Monday 18th December 2017

Christmas Plans. #LifeThisWeek 49/52. 2017.133.

Christmas Plans. #LifeThisWeek 49/52. 2017.133.

This Christmas our plans are very simple as on the day itself we will be ‘just us’.

And, shhhh, we actually don’t mind that much because for decades Christmas was a day of travelling, entertaining, eating and then resting…on Boxing Day! My lovely husband is going to cook a non-traditional Christmas roast of lamb as that is the meal I was able to eat some time ago. I am making a lemon meringue pie. It does not have to be tradition if I cannot eat something. I have missed Christmas cake, mince pies and of course anything crunchy but I reckon I can last till next Christmas for these!

So here’s a little photo collage of what Christmas is for us, two retirees living away from their adult kids and grandkids:

Every Christmas I get a ‘favourite’ tune or song and LOVE it …so much so it can be all I play in December. I love Christmas songs for their memories of teaching them to kids and being in choirs myself. This year I have found Sleigh Ride. One with no singing. Just this wonderful version added for your listening and viewing pleasure.

 

Then there is this one: only just found for those who like the words and choral voices.

Now, indulge me a little more with my look back at Christmas. I am still a bit of a kid with Christmas and I never actually let on to our kids Santa wasn’t real (he is too!) so I was determined, this year, to get a Santa photo. Here I am last Sunday. I have also included some other examples of Santa pics!

And so this is Christmas. I hope whatever your plans are that things are Merry and Bright.

Thank you all for being part of this community in 2017.

Life This Week is a special place of sharing and caring and it has sustained me through my difficult times.

For that I am most grateful.

We finish on 49 link ups because there is not one on Christmas Day and I was in hospital for 2 of them

We did well though I do believe!

The prompts for next year are on the Home Page and are part of this post too.

All good wishes to you and yours for now and into 2018.

Denyse.

Joining Alicia for Open Slather and Kell for Mummy Mondays for the last time in 2017. Thank you both.

 

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!


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Today I Will. #LifeThisWeek 48/52. 2017.131.

Today I Will. #LifeThisWeek 48/52. 2017.131.

Today I will.…I wondered what I thought about when I made this prompt! It was a while back so when I re-visited it to write I decided to add in what was current for this week coming AND, by popular request, post my recipe for Lemon Meringue Pie! Oh yes….the first 10 Prompts for #LifeThisWeek 2018.

  • Drive to Sydney’s suburb of Dee Why to see my almost 94 year old father. Dad remains very well and independent and has many friends where he lives, some of whom he tells me are only a few years older than me. Thanks Dad! I cannot believe it but in checking my calendar this year there will have only been 3 trips to see him in total. I got very stressed about driving on M1 relating to my IBS back in the early part of the year and so did not go anywhere near that road. Until I had to. In fact, the first time I had to I wrote about here and it was the start of me overcoming my fears and anxiety with exposure therapy. So, Dad got his first visit for the year from me  in late April 2017. We talk on the phone each week as well. Then my life imploded with the news I had cancer…you can read about that here if you weren’t following the blog back then. The second time I drove down solo to see him was in early September and then my recent planned visit was cancelled as I had a bad virus. So…..off I go today.

The day I finally went to Sydney for the first time in almost 5 months.

  • Congratulate our daughter on her graduation from Charles Sturt University (Wagga Wagga campus)  with her Masters of Education (Teacher/Librarianship). She has spent more time doing this part-time than she ever imagined when she began the 2 year part-time course and was the Teacher-Librarian in one school until the end of 2014 and then BEGAN a brand-new school’s Library from January 2015. Family and health issues of hers and her grown kids meant she had to take some breaks from Uni (study is on-line) but for her to keep the role she loves in her school the course was to be completed. Today she graduates! We are so very proud of her achievements under difficulty and that next year she is back to school full-time and in charge of the School Library once more! She and her 4 children are attending the Graduation ceremony at Wagga Wagga on Monday at 9.30 a.m. We will be there in spirit!

 

  • Complete the cupcakes for the 21st Birthday Picnic next weekend for our eldest granddaughter who is 21 just before Christmas. We are so happy to be able to see her for her birthday and we will drive down to the park where it is all happening. This young woman has faced quite a few personal health challenges when she was diagnosed with Crohns Disease but she makes the very most of her life and as you might recall I wrote about her here and she allowed me to add her YouTube. It was an amazing and memorable day when I met you, JR, in the San, on a Monday and there you were..a beautiful little girl who would one day call me “Grandma”.

 

  • Add the recipe here for lemon meringue pie which has been  synonymous with celebration in my family from when I was a child. Once I learned to make the pie I added the variation of sometimes making it in little tartlet cases. It really IS a simple recipe but you make it to your taste in lemony-ness. I recall requesting it on special occasions and when we had all of our kids/grandkids for a meal back in the ‘living in Sydney’ days, lemon meringue pie would make an appearance. Since my mouth is severely compromised for eating I search for food ideas I can literally eat and swallow and this lemon meringue pie passes! My dad totally loves it too and will have some memories of Mum’s cooking when I take him a container of mini Lemon Meringue pies in January to celebrate his 94th Birthday!

What better way to say “Congratulations” on completing your degree KT…than Lemon Meringue Pie!

  • The Recipe: You will need 2 eggs, separated. One can of condensed milk. 2 lemons. Small amount of castor sugar. A baked pie shell. Can be your own or purchased as I did.

First: Oven should be pre-heated at around 150 degrees. It is just to help the pie ingredients mix and to get a nice brown look on the meringue.

Method:

1. Separate the eggs so that you have two yolks and two lots of egg white. I do this one egg at a time into a glass to ensure there is NO yellow in the egg white or it will not whip into meringue. I put both egg whites into a small bowl. Nearby I have my castor sugar ready.

2. Cut and squeeze the juice from two lemons. If you like a really tangy lemon, you may add a bit more juice (from a 3rd lemon) as you taste test the mix. You have to really. Leave juice in juicer. For now!

3. In a separate bowl you place the two egg yolks and the contents of the condensed milk tin. Yummo. You may lick a little bit but not the lid. Ouch. Mix with a spoon to ensure all the egg yolk is combined and add the lemon and keep mixing until it is all together. Taste test to see if ‘lemony’ enough. Leave this for now.

4. Get your electric mixer and beat the heck out of those egg whites and as they begin to combine and go lovely and smooth white, add up to 2 tabs of castor sugar gradually. To know meringue is done, when you lift the beaters, the mix should form peaks.

5. Place the lemon mix in the prepared shell. It all fits in one this size above.

6. With a tablespoon, add some of the meringue to the top of the pie so that edges are covered. It does not have to be neat!

7. Place the pie in the oven  and DO NOT go far. It does not take long for the top to get a nice bit of brown on top and then it can be removed.

8. Eat it in slices when it is warm (mmm) or leave it to cool where it might be easier to slice (mmmm) and ENJOY!!

 

  • Add the first 10 prompts here for #LifeThisWeek 2018. THANK YOU for joining in #LifeThisWeek in 2016 and 2017 and do come along, when the mood takes you, to join in 2018. Every 5 weeks will be a photo-based post of any type you like. With the loss of many link ups relating to photos, I suggested this on the blog as a place to SHARE YOUR SNAPS and I hope you will! Without further ado: here are the first 10 Weeks of #LifeThisWeek prompts for 2018. 

  • 1/52. “Bye to 2017”. 1/1/18.
  • 2/52. Word or Intention for 2018. 8/1/18.
  • 3/52. Favourite Weather. 15/1/18.
  • 4/52. What is Kindness? 22/1/18.
  • 5/52 SHARE YOUR SNAPS 1. 29/1/18.
  • 6/52. Starting School Stories. 5/2/18.
  • 7/52. Who’s a Worrier? 12/2/18.
  • 8/52. February is… 19/2/18.
  • 9/52. TAKING STOCK 1. 26/2/18
  • 10/52. SHARE YOUR SNAPS 2. 5/3/18.

I will add this list to the Home Page soon.

Next week the last prompt for 2017 is Christmas Plans. Then there will be no #LTW on Christmas Day. First day back on the blog for me will be on Monday 1 January 2018. The prompt is always optional. Link up an old post if you are in holiday mode or not. It would be great to see some links but being New Year’s Day I would understand why there might not be many!!

Thank you for joining in this year. We never got to 52 weeks of the prompts thanks for my cancer surgery but hey, only missing 3 is not a bad innings!!

Take care and I look forward to reading your posts and responding soon!!

Denyse.

I do not know what breaks Alicia or Kell are having but for this last time in 2017 I will link up too. Thanks for sharing your space ladies!

 

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!


 

 

 

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Views From Here. #LifeThisWeek 47/52. 2017.129.

Views From Here. #LifeThisWeek 47/52. 2017.129.

I made a change to this title…to viewS from here! I also realised I had used this prompt before. Ah well.

In 2018 there will be a photo-based prompt called “Share Your Snaps” as part of #LifeThisWeek and it will be for each week ending in 0 or 5. i.e. 5/52 falls on Monday 29 January 2018 so add your post about anything or ones with photos or a mix of both!!

This post, for me, is a practice one but I am sure along the way I will change my ideas.

For today’s ViewS from Here, I looked back at November 2017 and found photos I had not posted on Instagram or my Facebook page. These tell the stories of my life on these days in November. Enjoy!

That my blogging friends and followers are my viewS from here.

I hope to see some of yours too.

As the year ‘winds down’ …and everyone is busier than usual, please come here and add an old post rather than think you need to follow the prompts!

No Christmas Day #LifeThisWeek.

But #LifeThisWeek for 2018 returns on….1.1.2018….with a retrospective of YOUR choice or an ‘old’ post from 2017.

I am sorry we can’t have a Christmas or End-Of-Year party but coming along and adding some comments and visiting others in ONE heck of a substitute.

I can eat cake!! I can make cake and share…with you virtually.

I hope the first week of December is treating you kindly.

Denyse.

Joining with Alicia here for Open Slather and Kell here for Mummy Mondays.

Thanks for linking up for #lifethisweek 47/52.

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 Prompt: Today I will.

And I will publish the first 9 prompts for 2018 next week!

Week after is last for 2017: Christmas Plans.

 


 

 

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Best Birthday Ever. #LifeThisWeek 46/52. 2017.127.

Best Birthday Ever. #LifeThisWeek 46/52. 2017.127.

I chose this prompt in one of the ways I select prompts…via the calendar.

This coming Thursday, 30 November is my 68th birthday. I look at those numbers….and remember how ‘concerned’ I was about turning:

40

50

60

and look what’s ahead…all things staying well. This:

70

So I shall re-group. Ahem. I am very grateful to have been born and that I continue to have birthdays, memorable or not. Because that is the way of life these days. Some great memories of birthdays is how I am interpreting this prompt. But there was ONE birthday which stands out: When I turned ONE. My dad tells me that the best and worst year of his life was 1950. I was born in late 1949. He was sent by his company (alone) to do work and training in Melbourne while Mum and I (young baby) stayed in our Wollongong home. Mum had great next door neighbours for love and support but it was not the same as having Dad home. He made a vow to be home for my first birthday and to never travel away like that again. And he kept his word. In fact he left that company and joined a new one…and he did travel again but never for as long a time as that first year of my life. I wrote about this here last year. I wish I had more photos to share of birthdays but it turns out, like many of us, I was the photographer at family events…and as contrary as it may seem, I may not have wanted my birthday to be a great celebration with me at the centre…but if I was forgotten then I was upset. But I do recall a few of the more memorable birthdays and here they are:

  • turning 4. A family and friends from the neighbourhood party.
  • my 16th. Mum and Dad organised some of my friends to surprise me at home and that was fun. My present from them was the LP Album of The Sound of Music.
  • my 21st. I have written about THAT extravaganza that went for days here.
  • my 30th was a bit of fun as we had a young child not yet 1 and a daughter who was 8 and teacher friends with a similar age gap between their kids so we had a celebration at Maccas. I know, cool! It was 1979!!
  • my 50th was interesting! I was in my first year as principal at RPS and unbelievably one of my executive team shared exactly the same birthDATE. She and I had a double celebration with a cake each from the staff.
  • in 2015 I went back to see the family for my birthday and caught up with my Dad and brother here.
  • last year I was determined not to focus on how sad I was away from our family (our second year of living on the coast) so I made myself ‘dress well’ and my husband and I celebrated afternoon tea (with cupcakes I made!) when he got home from Lifeline work.

My 66th Birthday.

My 67th Birthday.

My mouth is still very sore from recent surgery (eating is a challenge anyway since the first surgery) that my birthday treat this coming Thursday will be a coffee and cupcake shared with my husband for morning tea.

Do you find birthdays (your own) somewhat less than wonderful yet you celebrate those of others?

No? Just me then.

Yes? Do share!

Denyse. Joining with blogging friends who also have Monday Link Ups: Alicia here for Open Slather and Kell here for Mummy Mondays. 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: My View From Here…. it’s a busy time of year, so make this a visual prompt with few words! Practising for next year’s Share Your Snaps!

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Last ‘Taking Stock’ in 2017. #LifeThisWeek. 45/52. 2017.125.

Last ‘Taking Stock’ in 2017. #LifeThisWeek. 45/52. 2017.125.

Making plans for be more mindful every day especially when I am facing experiences that I find challenging.

Cooking not a lot recently as the freezer is pretty full from recent ‘batch-cooking’. 

Drinking more cups of tea each day so..I can dip my biscuits!

Reading social media, the daily newspapers, blog posts, some books even though I am still unable to become absorbed in them.

Wanting good health news for anyone who is unwell.

Looking up at the sky every day and noticing the clouds which change every minute.

The Lake Views Near Our Place.

Playing a word game on the Ipad which keeps my brain active and my frustration levels high when I cannot make a word from the letters.

Wasting more time on the above game than maybe I should.

Creating art of every kind I love, every day. Paint is my favourite medium at present.

Wishing that the world stays safe. 

Enjoying the times at home in between hospital stays and doctors’ & dentist visits in Sydney.

Surprise Delivery this week from a friend.

Waiting as patiently as I can for my long recovery and reconstruction of my mouth to be finished sometime in 2018.

Liking that I am learning, from my cancer experience, to be more patient than I was.

Wondering from how much my grandchildren have special memories of us, their grandparents. 

Loving the blogging community I am part of and follow. 

Hoping that I can continue my newly-embedded acceptance of “going with what the present is offering”.

Marvelling at my improvement in my thinking and emotional health to the point it is no longer keeping me scared and fearful.

What I Noticed on the walkway to the Beach last week.

Needing reminders that it is nearly Christmas but to be honest, we don’t ‘do Christmas’ much anymore but we will do a tree with lights.

Smelling my husband’s after shave and enjoying the aroma.

Wearing a different outfit every day because I have decided doing that makes me care for and about myself more and it is fun.

Following the increasingly annoying news from the Australian political arena.

Noticing that the jacarandas are nearly finished and the frangipanis are blooming.

Knowing that by the time this post is live I will be at home recovering from my 2nd surgery inside my mouth.

Daily Outfit post..but fewer smiles as mouth is swollen from recent 2nd surgery.

Thinking that the surgical team who care for me are very competent in their roles.

Feeling a lot more confident than I used to be about getting out and about up here and even taking myself to Hornsby recently.

Bookmarking all the wonderful comments that people make to buoy me up when I am feeling a bit down.

Opening cans, bottles and jars with much more difficulty these days

Giggling at some very cute kids of blogging friends who post their pics and vids on Instagram.

Feeling lucky to be receiving the best health care and having the support of my family and friends as I do.

Very relieved Me…about to head home after 2nd surgery. Less than 3 hours since the operation! I am a good recoverer!!

Do you like the taking stock prompts?

They can be changed or adapted of course. I use the ones from Pip Lincoln’s blog Meet Me At Mikes with acknowledgment here.

There are five weeks until Christmas Day which falls on a Monday. No #LifeThisWeek that week!

#LifeThisWeek returns on Monday 1 January 2018 with this prompt: Bye to 2017.

I promise to put the prompts for first 9 weeks of #LifeThisWeek 2018 up on the Home Page before then!

Denyse.

Linking with Alicia for Open Slather here and Kell for Mummy Mondays here. Thank you ladies!

Thank you for linking up.

 

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: Best Birthday Ever!


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My Last Year of High School. #LifeThisWeek.44/52. 2017.123.

My Last Year of High School. #LifeThisWeek.44/52. 2017.123.

Regular readers know I decided to become a K-6 school teacher way back in Year 5!

But what no-one really knows till this post is how that may not have even happened!

Oh!

I graduated from primary school and went to the recently opened Manly Girls High School in 1962. I was part of the cohort who would do the first School Certificate (end of Year 10) and Higher School Certificate (end of Year 12). This meant those who started in 1962 as I did would be at High School for 4 years minimum (for those who wanted to leave to train or do a course or had a job waiting) and 6 years if tertiary study at University or Teachers’ College was the plan.

Who actually knows in Year 7 what they want to do or be? Well, for me, I had a plan to teach in the back of my mind but I thought of a few other jobs but, let’s just set the scene for how much of a student I was.

Year 11. In the new senior uniform.

I started really well. I was put in the top Year 7 class and that continued for Year 8. I was studying: English (compulsory) Maths (compulsory) Science (compulsory) Modern History, French and German (all my electives) and we also had Music, Cooking and Sewing, Physical Education.

My life as a scholar is that I really am quite lazy  unmotivated more likely and much preferred the times at school and out of it to be talking to my friends about: boys, music, surfing, boys, dancing classes with boys, reading (a lot) and caring for little kids as a neighbourhood baby sitter.

I went down a grade for Years 9 and 10 and did not get maths or science much at all. Nothing has changed. Still. 50+years later. Sigh.

But I got through the School Certificate and then it was onto: the last 2 years of school! Where I was…down another grade to the classes which ended with C. But hey, I was having a good social life. Writing for the school magazine, being in school musicals with the local boys’ school and socialising at fellowship on Sunday nights (the place where you pretended to be part of the church but actually went to socialise afterwards). Legit I say. My second boyfriend came from fellowship whereas my first boyfriend was from dancing classes after school.

Typical report #1 for me.

Typical report for me #2

Into senior school. OK.

They did give us a new uniform and it was a bit different but like us, the teachers were winging it all a bit too. For my last two years of school I was able to drop science. Thank goodness. My subjects for Years 11 and 12 were English, Maths, Modern History, French and German. I did well in Modern History because the teacher was very engaging and I survived the Maths and English classes. French was OK and German was boring. But then again, it could have been the young teacher who was, now I think about it, only 3 years older than us. She actually sent me out of class for talking in Year 12. Imagine. Ha!

Musical in Year 11.

Around the early Year 12 time I realised, with great shock and surprise, that my life to now, pretending to study ( I was nagged but I got away with not studying by having a room on a different level to my parents), and getting a new boyfriend who was in his first year at Uni. was NOT going to get me into teachers college if I still wanted to be a teacher.

I DID.

The motivation of having a study competition between me and the bf helped as did the realisation that I actually had to do more than write notes to my friends and pretend I was studying at home. I also liked the social side of school and kept up some of my fun by helping organise the Year 12 formal and edit the school magazine. My friendship group of 3 were not interested in tertiary study and I had to move away from them at times just to ensure I was beginning to learn how to catch up and pass the Higher School Certificate.

The girlfriends. We went to each others’ weddings but lost contact after we went to the country teaching.

Once it was over, I got pretty good marks – even though they were not marks then they were levels like 1, 2 and 3. I got 2 Level 2s and 3 Level 3s. By January the next year I had matriculated and earned a Commonwealth scholarship to the new Macquarie University to do a BA Dip Ed. but I did not want to do that. Sadly when the first round of offers came for teachers’ college scholarships my name was not there. But, later I did score what I wanted. My scholarship to Balmain Teachers College to train as a K-2 Teacher (later K-6). I was one very relieved new teacher-t0-be!

Mrs Whelan. K-6 Principal.

I will let you into a secret. I know what kids get up to in class…and whilst I was not ‘bad’ bad…I could be over-talkative and bit naughty. It is said that those who are like this make good teachers…and look where I ended up. School Principal!

So, how was your last year(s) at High School?

When did you leave?

Did you have any idea what you wanted to do after school?

Tell me more in the comments.

Denyse.

Linking every Monday with Alicia here and Kell here.

Thank you for linking up today.

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: Final Taking Stock in 2017.


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Meditation. Yay or Nay. #LifeThisWeek.43/52. 2017.121.

Meditation. Yay or Nay. #LifeThisWeek.43/52. 2017.121.

Yay for Meditation from me.

But, over time meditation has changed (me) for the better and I will outline why.

Before we go there, I want to clear up some misconceptions about meditation.

It is not:

  • where you turn off all your thoughts (impossible)
  • a session where you ‘chant’ or repeat a mantra (unless you choose to)
  • something you need a special time and place for (although you might find that helps you)
  • a magical panacea to life’s stressors ( if only!)
  • something to be done occasionally if you want to gain from it (i.e. missing days/weeks/months) 
  • is not always a cost to you (there are some programs I have used at the end of the post)

My brief history as a meditator.

I began formal (i.e. making myself sit in one place, with my eyes closed for 10 minutes) meditations shortly after enjoying and noting the benefits from a half-day course here at the local Buddhist Centre. I wrote about it here too on the blog back in 2015. I think I confused the two words: mindfulness and meditation as being one. They can be joined for sure but mindfulness can be practised in all kinds of settings whereas meditation tends to be in a quieter space often alone. Some meditations occur in  group setting such as the course I went to and on-line but for me, I have only ever meditated alone. More about what I got up to in the early days here.

I started with headspace via their app and did the first 10 sessions for free. I was IN. I then paid for the next stages and that has gone on now for a continuous time. I pay around $75 USD for annual membership.

This gives me the access to so many different topics all based on coming back to the breath and letting your brain note and let get has been worth it. I often repeat a group of sessions. Some are 30 sessions, others 10. I pick my time I want to meditate from 10mins, 15 mins to 20 mins. Right now, I am doing a work-based session called Productivity and it is 10 sessions for my choice of 10 minutes.

“But Denyse, you don’t work anymore says you”….true but I sure know I am liable to be distracted and wander off to do tasks and then get somewhat overwhelmed if I do not have them more organised. So, it is helping me with gentle guidance in a life skill.

So far here are the stats of my meditations history. I am not sure it is entirely accurate as I did have an account double and my date may not have transferred…but what the heck, it gives me a bit of a boost to see how I am going.

Total time meditated
191 hours

Sessions completed
924 sessions

Current run streak
35 days

Last time meditated
17 hours ago

This is reminding me that I have yet to meditate today (Saturday afternoon as I write, so I will be back!) I am back.

Where I meditate and why.

My default behaviour is rule-keeper. That means for me, starting as a meditator I made a special place within my bedroom where I had some items like a candle I would light, a high backed chair with cushion making sure my feet could touch the ground and of course, no interruptions. I also had a special time for it and reminder via my phone. I relaxed that somewhat this year and just have it as a general reminder. My iphone as the app for Headspace and each day it would be ready with the next session I had chosen.

As time went on, and we moved house, I did not have a set place or space devoted to meditation anymore other than not to be disturbed. I now meditate (often) outside in a comfy chair with my back supported and feet up on a seat. I sometimes meditate lying on a bed in my art room. I have meditated in bed at night if I have not done so in the day and I have meditated in my car (parked!) on some occasions.

It has made no difference to me how or where I meditate even though I did think in 2015 I had to do it ‘right’ to get the benefitsWhat I now know is the only doing it right is to actually do it! I have missed a day here and there (and I did not meditate in hospital because of the constant interruptions) and I feel the difference not doing it. I thought it would cure me of my anxiety and IBS and it hasn’t. But what it has done is made me more aware of not getting too carried away with my thoughts and to bring myself back to the breath. Not only via meditation but anywhere. My husband does a walking meditation too.

My breath is my anchor.

But what about mindfulness? 

For me, mindfulness is something I need to attend to more each day. And generally I do. I am more mindful because I notice things and look around me often. I feel the touch of where I am sitting and when driving the car. I smell the smells and inhale the good and pleasant ones as great memories. Of course I eat mindfully MORE now as I literally have to take great care eating and do not want to choke! I also listen more attentively to nature. The bird song here is just wonderful.

So, mindfulness + meditation is about attending to the session I guess. However, in my case, the founder of Headspace, Andy Puddicombe really just asks that we pay attention to the breath, and to let passing thoughts come and go..noting them but not getting caught up in them.

I have tried and still check out three other meditation apps/sites. Here is Smiling Mind which is Australian-based and used in schools now too. This one is called Calm. This is one on my phone too and is free. It’s Insight Timer.  Sometimes I do a meditation from my favourites Pema Chodron, Tara Brach and Jack Kornfield on their CDs. I have one more to add. Comedian and writer, Ruby Wax has had many episodes of depression and it was only through meditation and mindfulness practices with some of the best Dr Mark Williams at Oxford that her health improved. She has now done a Masters there and produced a great book called Frazzled. I have listened to the audio version and she does a great job helping guide people as first time meditators.

I hope that you have found some of this helpful. Please ask me any questions in the comments. I am always happy to share and help.

How about you, are you for Meditation or not?

Denyse.

I link up here for Open Slather with Alicia and here with Kell for Mummy Mondays.

Thank you for linking up today.
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!


 

 

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Travel Tales. #LifeThisWeek 42/52. 2017.119.

Travel Tales. #LifeThisWeek 42/52. 2017.119.

I have enjoyed travel a lot.

In fact, I am considering some travel next year but my surgical team and my ability  to eat properly will determine that. However, I can still plan. High on my list in 2018 is a visit to Canberra around Autumn to capture the leaves and to maybe visit with some blogging friends who live there! Yes, I am thinking of you Leanne and you too Claire and Lauren of course.

My favourite form of travel is SOLO.

Yes, organised by me (with help from a travel agent as necessary) and enjoyed by me!! Look, honestly, I spent all those years on holidays with the family and then with the spouse and half the time is spent negotiating who wants to do what and where and when and by my 50s I was O V E R that. And I am not afraid to travel solo and I actually enjoy experiences of meeting other people when and if I choose. Seriously. Have you tried it?

Where is this travel tale set?

It took me a bit of tossing up and it was between my OS (only one!) trip to the U.S. West Coast, Las Vegas and Hawaii OR this area: Far North Queensland. I know this is not its name now but it is how I refer to it!! Three Travel Tales To The Magical Tropics of Far North Queensland. 2002, 2003 and 2010.

Regular readers know that I left my role as a school principal due to ill-health. That was in September 2002 but in October 2002 I had already planned to attend a conference in Palm Cove and was being supported by my employer to attend. Work cover was fine about that so I went. It could not have happened at a better time as I needed both distraction and enjoyment back in my life. Here is what I found I loved about this first trip:

  • the warm air and water – it was not quite stinger time so I ventured in once I think to the actual sea, but the rest of time was the resort pool.
  • the ambience and the beauty of the surroundings.
  • the colours.
  • the part of the reef I ventured to was Green Island.
  • the hinterland.
  • so much to take in and enjoy it was hard to come home!

Mid-year 2003 when I was indeed now fully retired from the role of principal and my husband was about to finally stop his part-time teaching role, we wanted to mark the occasion with a special place to celebrate. I chose Port Douglas this time and B was happy to agree. Until the plane trip up. I am fine travelling economy (well, fine enough) but my poor  guy with spinal pain and well over 6’2″ was NOT. At all. He could barely express how hard it was to travel well over 3 hours like that: add in the airport trip from home, even though we did use a hire car, the waiting at the airport, the disembarking and the drive from Cairns to Port Douglas: So that put a LARGE dampener on the trip at the start, and if I tell the truth, most of the stay. I had selected a one bedroom apartment with air con and all comforts but did not know there was no lift and it meant up around 4 flights to our room. There were days, B did not leave the room.

He actually said “I cannot go home like that” and I agreed. We then changed our tickets home to business class at a cost of (back then) $1500 to enable him to have some comfort. When we did go to fly home we were delayed at Cairns due to the late incoming Qantas flight which was bringing up a tiger for a local zoo. By the time we embarked on the same plane we were ready to enjoy every part of the $1500 worth and yes, it was awesome travelling that way. At the Sydney end on the June evening, our then son-in-law was picking us up and the huge storm that we encountered out of Sydney and on landing did slow down our going home as the luggage handlers could not go out on the tarmac in the storms. We eventually got our ride home…and that, dear readers, is the last time I have travelled on a plane with my husband!

The Next Time I Retired. September 2010. My dear spouse had not been well for the past year or so and even though we found out some two years later due to HIS investigations and proactive work and seeing a new GP that he did NOT have Parkinsons Disease, it was timely for me to have a little break. Where else did I choose? Far North Queensland. From the drop off to the airport to arrival in Cairns and picking up my rental car for the trip to Palm Cove I was fine. In fact, it was a bit sad to be away from B because we thought he was unwell. Yes he was but not from what the Drs said. Grrrr. Story for another time maybe.

I had picked a one bedroom studio overlooking the water. And the resort had one of those magical beach type pools. It was great. Except, again, for the long walk UP 3 flights of stairs to my room. Why, resorts, why do you not put in lifts?? I made the most of the spa on the verandah and swam in the pool. Ordered some room service but mostly walked along the wonderful Williams Esplanade to a cafe for breakfast. I did some day trips in the car to my much loved Mossman Gorge and went on a day bus trip to the Tablelands. I LOVED up there too. I could get on a plane right now and be back there. I feel an affinity spiritually and physically to the area. I am adding some poor image quality photos to this post as a memory of what it was for me then.

Do you have a special place that forms part of your travel tales? Denyse. Joining with Alicia here for Open Slather and here with Kell for Mummy Mondays.

Thank you for linking up here everyone  for Life This Week.

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! 

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