Monday 24th September 2018

Thank A Teacher. #LifeThisWeek 26/52. 2018.53.

Thank A Teacher. #LifeThisWeek 26/52. 2018.53.

It’s coming up to end of first semester or end of term 2 2018.  School holidays are about to commence, or have and are not far off in most states and territories of Australia. I know that folks in the Northern Hemisphere are also on the long school summer vacation.

My old Primary School: I went here and taught here for 2 practice teaching times.

There’s a saying around that ‘teachers have it so good’ :

         9.00 a.m to 3.00 p.m. It is a great career. Look, the hours AND the holidays!

 

 

 

 

 

Do you believe it?

Well, here I am to de-bunk that myth right now!

These days here’s what most teachers are up to in the so-called holidays….

  • attending professional education conferences as attendees and presenters, most often at their own costs
  • planning the work that they will be presenting as part of the beginning of Term 3 called ‘SDD’ or ‘School Development Day’
  • meeting colleagues in schools and other venues to share ideas, make programs and plan for the educational needs of the students in the schools for Term 3 and beyond
  • marking essays, projects, assignments and adding to the program requirements for the term ahead to enable kids’ best learning to occur
  • making most of the child-free environment in their classrooms/halls/libraries and faculty areas to plan, file, cover books, accession records, add information and ‘get the work’ done so that when the kids return the priority is teaching and learning
  • attending to their personal and professional development by working on their portfolios and making plans for meeting the teaching standards as per the Australian Curriculum and their Education Authority.

 

My first…and last photo! This High School was where I attended 1962-67. Then in August 2015 I re-visited and presented for the last time to a professional meeting of teachers.

  • attending Winter Residential schools as they complete their post-graduate courses or degrees. Others may be teaching at Universities which often have holidays outside school holidays.
  • volunteering to help kids in school holiday care settings & camps where they may be paid to supplement wages.
  • One person who is very close to me, completed her Masters In Education (Teacher/Librarianship) over the years during HER school holidays, taking some long service leave to finish the last semester (busy single mother with 4 differing needs’ kids) She also volunteers at a Museum in Sydney in her not-spare time.

My Graduation M.Ed & our daughter’s over 23 years later!

They also make some time, I am hopeful, for caring for themselves physically and mentally by having some time out to personal care, relax, meet with friends and spend time with family as it is important to come back to school well and ready to go and….

Term 3 here we come. but not quite yet..

Maybe when you see your child’s teacher(s) next how about saying ‘thanks!’

My very best wishes to my family and friends who are teachers.

I KNOW how much you needed the ‘break’ and how hard you work.

The ways in which to thank a teacher are many but I always loved those who took the time to tell me face to face or to write it. It was never about the gifts. Always about how I was made to feel. Appreciated.

Once a teacher, always a teacher. It’s in me. I cannot let it go but I also love that too!

End 2009 official last days as a teacher. Unsurprisingly there were a few more!

Denyse.

Joining with Alicia here for Open Slather. She is a teacher too.

Life This Week 26/52. We are HALF-WAY everyone!!

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: 27/52. Taking Stock 3. 2/7/18.


 

 

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Appearance Matters. 2018.11.

Appearance Matters. 2018.11.

When I knew that Sue from Sizzling Towards Sixty and Leanne from Cresting the Hill were starting up a link up for the Over 50s I decided it might be just the place to be…for me!

I’ve been blogging for more than 8 years now and my blog has changed a lot in the past 2-3 years. It has become a personal space for me to connect and be in conversation with a range of readers who vary in age, interests and career status.

My audience till the past year or so has tended to be mothers of children who are at school or at the beginning of their school lives. I love that too because I am a parent of 2 adult children who have kids (our beloved grandkids) and I sometimes see the similarities of the life I had as a parent with what is happening now. The significant change though is SOCIAL MEDIA and PHONES. This is something for another time!

What do I mean by ‘appearance matters?’

In my case it has two meanings:

  1. that my appearance does matter to me
  2. that it matters that I take care of my appearance

But why should I?

In the past 2-3 years I have had to face mental challenges that came as a big shock to my system. They included selling a beloved family home, moving to a completely different area of NSW AND finally stopping the care of our grandchildren which had formed a part of my weekly routine for over 6 years. Oh yes, and I stopped my final professional role as an educator of pre-service teachers at University.

These events proved to be much bigger as a challenge to my feelings and mental well-being than I ever considered. I thought (yes, thinking is an intellectual move) that all the transitions we went through towards our longed-for retirement were well-reasoned and totally accepted by me.

But they actually were not well-received by my inner being.

My life spiralled down into a self-centred and sad one despite on the outside it seemed OK.

Here’s what transpired so that I did finally accept the changes emotionally and could move forward.

I got cancer.

What the??

I do not downplay this at all but my diagnosis of cancer in my upper gums came last May (read here if you would like to know more) after almost a year of troubles with my mouth and a bridge attached to my front teeth.

I literally had to step up and find emotional strengths and courage to manage myself as well as I could with such BIG news and a HUGE change in my life. And that of my husband’s. I was well-cared for by my psychologist who had already given me the tools to manage situations that were threatening to me and my then-new GP was also part of “support Denyse as she supports herself” team. I have since not needed the counselling and use my inner strengths and knowledge more over time with some top-up reminders from chats with my husband and GP.

Introducing Appearance Matters! 

I admit that when I was feeling down, even before cancer, I was not much into clothes. I was overweight for a LONG time in my life. Read my post where I confessed to my long-time weight issues. Yet, in 2015 and onwards something happened to me that has never happened before without diets and restrictions. I started losing weight (I did need to but it seemed too easy) and it became evident that my clothes were too big. I did see that and feel it too but as a decades long overweight person I thought it would all return. It did not and slowly I needed to give away the BIG sizes and down-size my wardrobe.

Me with my late Mum. I felt I could never measure up to her appearance-wise so I did not bother. Mum died in 2007. This pic well before that.

This was a chore. I had no interest in buying the clothes around late 2016 and into 2017 because I figured we could not afford new clothes for me (on a limited pension) and that I did not deserve new clothes. Again, my inner self was not a happy camper. I hung out in casual beach clothes and nothing which was tight nor showing off my shrinking body.

I had the cancer surgery in May. I could barely eat and that sure did prove to be a weight loss success that no-one thought I should be aiming for as I needed to become well via nutrition as well. I learned what I could deal with and what went down with virtually no teeth and a very restricted space in my mouth. I received on-going medical care for wounds and yes, loose beach pants and tops suited just fine.

Until they didn’t.

I made the choice to begin taking care of my daily appearance AND to add to my very limited wardrobe. I knew how to shop cannily and I began slowly as my physical body recovered to be able to shop and browse. I found to my delight I had missed this kind of self-care.

Now it was on.

Visits to the shops, finding my old jewellery stash which was packed, getting my wedding and engagement rings re-sized so they did not fall off me and finding some fun foot wear in the back of my wardrobe I had abandoned.

I began seeing the purpose of the Outfits of The Day posts here on Styling You and a blogger called Jan (who blogs here, had me write a guest post ) had been posting pics of her daily outfits for a while and I decided it was time to

Make My Appearance Matter! 

I may not have anywhere in particular to go to anymore but I decided from 30 October 2017 and onwards that my day would have purpose and getting dressed in something flattering and appealing to me along with added accessories was important. I also added a daily outing, even if it is only for a coffee to my day. It has been amazing! I have written about it here and here.

I am delighted that it is helping my recovery from cancer too as I am far less focussed on what is wrong and more on what is right with me!

Does Your Appearance Matter to You?

Tell me more!

Denyse.

It’s the Midlife Share the Love Linky and is the direct link to the Link Up. 

 

 

 

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My Intention & ‘Word’ for 2018. #LifeThisWeek 2/52. 2018.3.

My Intention & ‘Word’ for 2018. #LifeThisWeek 2/52. 2018.3.

Here we are, one week into the New Year and whilst I do not make them any more, it was clear in the media (who are, let’s face it in the business of selling their stories!) that it’s time to make New Year’s Resolutions.

The reason many of us choose not to any more is the real and perceived lack of willpower or character when we ‘fail’ to live up to them. This link re anxiety which can be heightened by making New Year’s Resolutions. So, it is not good for us it seems to do these!

In becoming more mindful over the past years to enable me to live more in the moment I note that my teachers, from the Buddhism area, talk of setting an intention each day. It is in doing this, and appreciating what we already have, that our present moments are valuable.

Last year my intention WAS to set an intention weekly but I ended up giving myself too much pressure to perform over it!

Not helpful in my mindful pursuits.

In 2017 I made KINDNESS and being KIND to myself and others a priority and in fact, the lightbox above where I am writing now, held this message for the year. It did help me centre myself more in the times when I became more negative about myself.

I also embraced gratitude as a mental and written practice. I was not consistent every day and there were days (as you can imagine when I first knew I had cancer!) that I did not feel grateful at all.

What is it to be for me in 2018? I was struck and somewhat humbled by various comments to me personally and in writing about how I have been managing the news of cancer, the surgeries and the long recovery times. The word which arose time and time again was BRAVE. I certainly saw myself as someone who usually actually rose to which ever occasion that was a challenge but didn’t quite think of it as being BRAVE.

Neverthless I am continuing to tell myself that perhaps this word IS a message for me to carry into 2018 as more surgery and recovery times await. So, my WORD was to be BRAVE….and then I listened to Brene Brown in her latest publication Braving the Wilderness and considered B R A V I N G. Here’s what Brene writes on page 149:

B     BOUNDARIES

R     RELIABILITY

A     ACCOUNTABILITY

V     VAULT

I      INTEGRITY

N     NON-JUDGMENT

G     GENEROSITY

Yet still, this was no quite what I wanted. For some weeks prior to this post I have had these words on my locked screen on my iphone and I thought they would be the intention for 2018:

BE THE BRAVE OTHERS SEE IN ME.

And that seemed sufficient until 5 days ago when I thought of a WORD..which was both self-contained and an acronym. Here it is:

B.  Be (brave)

O. Optimistic

L.  Loving & Learning

D. Determined (Denyse)

So, that is it. I am content with this and already have it here….and on my wrist! No, not a tatt! But an old-fashioned way: an engraved plate on a sweet little bracelet I will wear 24/7. My eyes can go to it and be reminded when my brain and confidence may be lagging and I can be:

B.O.L.D!

My “message to me” bracelet.

Sign Above Where I Blog.

There it is. An intention and a word with more!

Do you have a word or intention for this year?

Have you found that you forget them as the year goes along? I confess to that in a few years gone by!

Thanks for reading, commenting and hopefully linking up too!

Denyse.

On Mondays I also link up here with Alicia for Open Slather! Do pop over, her blog is always interesting and I learn a lot!

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: 3/52 My Favourite Weather. 15/1/18.

 


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Cancer and Me Four Months On. 2017.108.

Cancer and Me Four Months On. 2017.108.

Really? It’s been four months since I found out that cancer was in my mouth….and by this Thursday coming, 11 weeks since it was removed. Oh. Then that has  gone both fast and slow!

I did say I wasn’t going to have cancer at the centre of my blogging but I cannot deny that it’s there/here/everywhere around us. My community nurse who visits each week to change and check on my leg wounds’ dressings has cancer. Hers is breast cancer. I know of on-line friends recently diagnosed too and one, very sadly, who has passed away. And the country was saddened to see the recent death to cancer of Connie Johnson from LoveYourSister.

CANCER.

I don’t use the ‘f’ word in front of it though. Many do with the #f…cancer. It’s just not me.

Today though  I am actually wanting to share the lessons having cancer has taught me. I am not going too ‘woo woo’ or having had a new experience from beyond. But it’s true.

Having cancer has taught me these 10 lessons:

  • I am not alone in getting a rare cancer and a most unusual one like mine …even if I did  know that someone else has had it might make a difference. The point I am making is I am not special”.
  • The surgeons know more about how to fix me than I do so I am better leaving things in their capable hands rather than trying to control where my cancer is taking me.
  • About kindness. Of strangers. Of friends. Of people I may only see a few times. So. Many. Kind. Words & Deeds. I am forever grateful.
  • When I need to be, I can be patient and wait. This is a huge life lesson for the previously still  impatient moi!
  • I have more inner strength and resilience than I have previously given myself credit for. It has made a psychological shift in me that has been noticed by those closest to me and the professionals I see more frequently such as my GP and psychologist. I am going well in so many ways, I can see & feel that now. 
  • To appreciate the little things in life. Sunshine on a day where I can go outside and soak up some vitamin D. A warm bed after an early shower (my husband still needs to help by sealing my right leg in a plastic bag. Time to talk. To my husband and to friends who call.
  • My creativity and independence give me great strength each day as I endeavour to feed myself for healing, wellness and enjoyment. It IS a challenge but now I am on my own two feet and fit to cook, I enjoy making meals for someone (moi!)  who has 8 teeth on the bottom jaw and a strong tongue. The rest…is attitude and being aware of how I can eat safely.
  • I can be calm about what is ahead because I am fortunate enough to be able to know (within a small likelihood) that my cancer is unlikely to metastasise.
  • What I face in the next 6-12 months is to get my mouth ‘fixed’ from the inside. I do trust my surgical and dental team 100% that their goal is for me to be cancer free (check!) and back to eating as I might have in the past (on the way) and to have my full smile back (it is half at the moment).
  • Every day is a gift and I need to be more in the present than I have ever been in my whole life. I am a work-in-progress in this as I often spent times in the past (regrets, sadness) and projecting into the future. I know that the only moment we have is NOW. 

What About You?

None of us have to have cancer to consider making life changes. Some of the last 2 years I had been on my way using daily meditation, creative arts and reading & doing on-line courses to better understand the various life transitions that were mine. Retirement. Ageing. Leaving Family. Selling Our House.

What do you do to help yourself?

Thank you to my readers here who have continued to be wonderful supporters and friends of mine as I continue to journey. I am buoyed by your care and words on-line whenever we connect!

Denyse.

Joining with Kylie Purtell (who is cruising along right now!) for I Blog on Tuesdays here and with Leanne here for Lovin’ Life Linky on Thursdays.

 

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I Am Grateful Today. Cancer Surgery #1.Part 3. 2017.98.

I Am Grateful Today. Cancer Surgery #1. Part 3. 2017.98.

For those of you who have been following my story of having cancer, the surgery for cancer and the recovery, this post is bringing you up to date with my first month at home.

Going home! Are there any better words when you have been in hospital? I do not think so! I spent the whole of the journey back home being very grateful for my discharge from Chris O’Brien Lifehouse and being entrusted into my loving husband’s care. I think I talked all the way home as it had been some time (ok, 10 days!) since I had been outside the walls of the hospital.

The following photos will tell part of my story of gratitude.

However, throughout all of this ‘cancer journey’ the one person I am most grateful to is my husband:

the yin to my yang, the calm to my panic, the voice of reason to the voice of worry, the patient man for the patient who is often less than patient….I dedicate this post to him.

And even though he dislikes the attention, I have told him often enough that without his care, love, compassion, practical skills and commonsense my time becoming accustomed to have cancer and facing the serious surgery would have been much, much harder.

I am very grateful to B:

 

Here I am …within one month even I can see the differences and I know I feel different inside and much more ‘like me’ so I am incredibly grateful for healing time, a good body, great medical and surgical support and my outlook!

Taken on 12 August 2017, 4 weeks after my arrival home from hospital.

I am most grateful for YOUR support and care via your comments, your Facebook updates and those on Instagram. Thank you all!

Denyse.

Joining with Kylie Purtell for I Blog on Tuesdays and Leanne for her link up called Lovin Life on Thursdays.

The gratitude post in photos!

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My Mondays. #LifeThisWeek 19/52. 2017.65.

My Mondays. #LifeThisWeek 19/52. 2017.65.

http://successify.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Monday-Motivation.jpg

Mondays do have a flavour all of their own don’t they? I’m going to tell about some of My Mondays. As a Principal. 1999-2003. As a Grandma. 2008-2014. As a Retiree. 2015 – All three Mondays have memories for me, and of course, the present status as a retiree means that this one is the freshest!

As a Principal. 1999-2003.

http://www.lovethispic.com/uploaded_images/111441-Monday-Again.jpg

Mostly Mondays would actually start on Sunday afternoons and evenings as my planning for the week ahead continued and I heard from staff members who may need to be absent the next day. I would spend Sunday night getting ready for my Monday mornings and from memory, not one was ever the same!

  • Leave home after breakfast and reading at least the front page of the paper and drive the 30 minutes west to school. No mobile phone so no idea of what might lie ahead when I arrived.
  • Often 2nd to arrive in the carpark as one staff member was always there before me!
  • School was unlocked as the cleaners were still there. Phew, no evidence of any vandalism over the weekend meant a less stressful start to the day.
  • Into my office, unpack my bag and computer and check that the morning’s organisation (and the week ahead) was on the whiteboard and planner for staff as they arrived.
  • Say g’day to most people as they arrived via the staffroom and grab myself a cuppa on the off-chance I might drink it hot. Put lunch in fridge and hope to actually have it at lunchtime.
  • Out to the playground as the children and parents start arriving to say hello, and to see that all is as ‘ship shape’ as it can be in an ageing play area and in classrooms.
  • Once the line-up bell goes, I’d step up the microphone and lead the school in the weekly anthem, flag raising and announce any messages, wishing everyone a ‘good morning’ as the classes and teachers left for their rooms.
  • Walking back to the admin block and office, chat with my staff and see what phone calls I will need to return and what mail (snail) there is to manage. Emails were only starting as I finished up as a principal.

As a Grandma. 2008-2014.

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Even when I had returned to work part-time (after my principal role had finished) we offered to care for our grandchildren while their parents worked and studied. For more than 6 years this was a part-time role and much loved. We cared for up to 3 grandchildren at one time. When some came to us they were as young as 4 months. It was a learning curve again but much loved. My most recent memories of Mondays are documented here!

  • In the years gone by the children’s parents would bring the kids to us but in 2013-14 the crazy roads of NorthWestern Sydney meant that the parents would battle traffic twice getting to us, then getting to their workplaces, so I made the offer to drive to their house on Mondays to do ‘pick-up.’
  • Leave home after breakfast and reading at least one part of the paper to arrive and pick up two little people I love and help them into car seats and hopefully have a non-tearful departure. Most times it was.
  • Drive slowly home to our place via places with no traffic…we’d sometimes drive out to Riverstone and the back of Rouse Hill (this is pre-BIG developments) and see the horses and the animals in the paddocks.
  • At our place and warmly greeted by their Papa and into the house.
  • I would have placed the various toys and activities out for the day and the children would head for where they were.
  • A morning of play, chat, snacks and engagement with our grandkids mean outside, inside and sometimes to the park.
  • Morning tea of course and time for a cuppa for us.

As a Retiree. 2015 –

http://leftbrainbuddha.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Mindful-Monday.jpg

It still is quite a shock that my Mondays are ’empty’ of roles and activities based on other people’s needs as well as mine and it actually makes Mondays not as distinct as the beginning of the (formerly) working week. However, there are some routines and that is always helpful I find in retirement.

  • With no reason to be up nearly as early as in my previous life, I might be up around 8.00-8.30.
  • Morning paper brought in by my husband who will have been up for a while and had his breakfast.
  • Every 2nd Monday he goes to his brother’s to do some outside renovation work so I am alone for the day.
  • After my breakfast with the paper…which I can read all the way through as I have time, I turn to social media.
  • The blog needs attention and as it is Monday and my hosted Link Up there is some work to be done.
  • Later in the morning I will meditate as is my daily practice.
  • Morning tea might be quite late – but is often a cuppa with something homemade and I may read some of the magazine supplements from the weekend.
  • Art will be something else to do and perhaps a walk outside in the garden.

So, what do your Mondays look like? Ever had Monday-itis?

I am joining Alicia here this Monday for Open Slather and Kell here for Mummy Mondays.

Denyse.   Thanks for linking up today for Life This Week. Here are the rules for the link-up “Life This Week” is a link up that runs every Monday and remains live for until Thursday at 5 p.m.during that 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! Do come back next week. Next week’s prompt is “Favourite Junk Food”.


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