Wednesday 18th July 2018

My Home Country. 28/52. #LifeThisWeek 2018.58.

My Home Country. 28/52. #LifeThisWeek 2018.58.

I do ask myself when a particular prompt comes up ” why did I choose this?”

I have no real answer except I thought it may be interesting to see what others write.

In my case I was stumped! Then I delved a bit deeper to realise that even though my home country is Australia there are more countries than this one in my history.

Let’s get started!

I was born in Wollongong, New South Wales (N.S.W. for short), Australia to a father who had also been born there and a mother who was born in Dapto N.S.W., Australia.

An oldie: Mum and Dad with me: 1999 becomes 2000

 

Easy? Not quite.

I did some history searching after knowing some of parents’ heritage and found this out.

Aboriginal Australia.

My mum’s family was a rural one from various places in southern N.S.W. and I could see her heritage was from generations born in Australia too. What is not noted but has long been suspected is that there is Aboriginal heritage from Mum’s side of the family and that includes me. In the 1800s not all births were registered and if there had been a liaison with a ‘white’ Australian for example, with a person of Aboriginal descent, then it was unlikely to be recorded.

I feel proud to know this may be some of my heritage and it makes sense to me over the years why. Teaching and living in remote and Western Sydney communities I have felt an affinity with the original Australians.

The symbolic meaning of the flag colours (as stated by Harold Thomas) is: Black – represents theAboriginal people of Australia. Yellow circle – represents the Sun, the giver of life and protector. Red – represents the red earth, the red ochre used in ceremonies and Aboriginal peoples’ spiritual relation to the land. source: Wikipedia

English Heritage.

My Dad’s mother was English-born and came to Australia to marry her Aussie groom following World War I. My grandmother and her mother (she followed her daughter to buy the family a house and live in it with them till her death in 1957) remained “very English”. Gran always talked about going “home” and I am sad to say it never happened. She was a sad lady because she missed her home country and the marriage was a hard one as she ended up as a mother to four in the Depression of the 1930s. In fact, her sadness turned to anger when her husband was killed in a workplace accident and she raised those children alone. Not quite, but she held a grudge about her life’s lot till she died in 1985.

All that aside, I loved seeing places on television where Gran may have been and I know my parents got to visit her home town, Warminster, on one of their trips. I feel an affinity to much of the areas I see from her part of England. I also follow and love the Royal Family which is another part of England I like. I think watching Downton Abbey helped fuel my interest as did a special on the landscapes of England made by Capability Brown.

St George’s cross. England’s flag.

The flag of England is derived from St George’s Cross (heraldic blazon: Argent, a cross gules). The association of the red cross as an emblem of England can be traced back to the Middle Ages, and it was used as a component in the design of the Union Flag in 1606. source: Wikipedia

Scottish Heritage.

So the Aussie soldier who fell in love with the English rose was actually Scottish by birth and his family migrated from Scotland to Wollongong. He fought for “the King and Country” under the Australian flag in World War I. I never met him as he died when my Dad was 11.

However, again, I feel a great deal of affinity with all things and places Scottish. Two years ago I went to a Highland Games held locally and I was stoked. I got to see my family’s tartan and learn much more about the Clans. Of course, I see a documentary about Scotland and I want to visit! Yes I do. I once learned highland dancing as a little girl and it was fun. Not sure why it did not continue. Suspect not made to be a dancer.

I love the Scottish flag as it is based on St Andrew’s cross and what is my Dad’s and his Dad’s name? Andrew. I was actually born on 30 November, St Andrew’s Day.

St Andrew’s cross & the Scottish Flag

What does this mean about my home country?

It is that like most of us, other than the original Australians, we are all here in Australia but there is another country or countries’ heritage on our past!

About our current Australian flag…I like it but would like it to have something representative of the Aboriginal people on it too.

The present Australian flag can be considered to consist of three main elements:

  • The Union Jack in the upper hoist quadrant or first quarter (also know as the Canton), denoting Australia’s historical links with Great Britain. The Union Jack itself is composed of red and white intersecting and overlayed vertical and diagonal crosses on a blue background,
  • The Southern Cross in the second quarter (also known as the top or head) and fourth quarter. Consists of five stars in a more or less kite-like pattern – Alpha Crucis (7-point), Beta Crucis (7-point), Gamma Crucis (7-point), Delta Crucis (7-point) and the smaller Epsilon Crucis (5-point). The outer diameter of each of the 4 major stars is 1/7 the width of the fly and the inner diameter is 4/9 outer diameter; the diameter of Epsilon Crucisis 1/12 the width of the fly and the inner diameter is 4/9 the outer diameter. The constellation of the Southern Cross is a significant navigational feature of the southern hemisphere, strongly places Australia geographically and has been associated with the continent since its earliest days,
  • The Commonwealth Star or Star of Federation, central in the third quarter or lower hoist, has seven points to denote the six states and the combined territories of the Commonwealth. The seventh point was added in 1909. The outer diameter is 3/5 the width of the Union Jack (3/10 the width of the fly) and the inner diameter is 4/9 the outer diameter. source: http://www.anbg.gov.au/oz/flag.html

https://www.countryflags.com/en/australia-flag-image.html

That seems to be a post on flags..not really…but they are symbols of the countries and people I identify with most, so that was how I decided to address this prompt! These are some historical buildings in Sydney which relate to our colonial past.

What is your Home Country?

Or is your answer a bit complicated too?

Denyse.

Joining with Alicia here for Open Slather.

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: 29/52. What Is Courage? 16/7/18.

#LifeThisWeek 28/52 What Is Your Home Country?


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Life Lessons. #1.2018.52.

Life Lessons. #1. 2018.52.

This may be a theme for one or more posts. Let’s see where the Life Lessons journey takes us!

The catalyst for this post was something that happened to me a few weeks ago. The story of that was this:

I have been a long-time sufferer (and yes, that IS what it is…suffering!) of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (diarrhoea mostly) for years. It became quite a debilitating condition for me, restricting work-related tasks and social events for some of 2014 and into the years following our move from Sydney to the Central Coast in 2015. I railed against it, I did courses to help me, I took meds, I had tests and in the end, I guess I had to admit it was MIND-GUT connected and my own stressors did seem to be behind it all. This actually did not help me, in fact I probably became more determined to beat it. Not sure how, as will-power had not worked.

So, my now GP first gave me some meds which helped and through the awful times of post cancer surgeries and other stressors in 2017 I know that my gut reacted and no immodium in the world could work against a gut which had not been ‘fed’ for ages. I learned that sometimes the reaction in my gut was normal and over time I accepted that. Kind of. I also made sure that any future anti-biotics were of the type my gut did not react to. Fingers crossed, that has worked so far.

Life Lesson.

Out of the so called blue on the recent long weekend, I had an episode of IBS. I could not ‘think’ of a reason why. In fact, that made me even more cranky with ‘it’. I got sad and had to stay home…close to the ‘loo because of it. Eventually, after immodium it did settle and I was able to drive to Westmead 2 days later to have a much-needed appointment with my prosthodontist.

In the meantime, I had to admit a truth to myself, and herein lieth the Life Lesson.

My week ahead, on the weekend I got an episode of IBS, was actually filled with a couple of items relating to my health that were NOT cancer- recovery related. I had decided two weeks ago that it was TIME I got myself together and did some regular testing that comes ‘at our age’  and my GP agreed. I did not know how much the anticipation of this and some other things I had planned would impact upon me emotionally until:

MY GUT TOLD ME WHAT I DID NOT PAY ATTENTION TO.

You see, I am a bit of an over-achiever…and my GP says I am ‘goal driven’ and I have to agree so I made a ‘rule’ that by now, a year post-cancer diagnosis, that I needed to be back in tune with normal activities. 

I.B.S. told me that I was not ready and in fact, reminded me brilliantly once I accepted it that I had made a promise to work on one thing at a time and that was to continue to recover from cancer.

Yep. I needed that and with  a chat to my GP, after my husband totally agreeing to what this life lesson had told me, I accepted it, cancelled the other things….and guess what, life settled again for me ….and I have learned my lesson.

I have photo on the left as my locked phone screen saver to remind me of my lesson!

What Others Say.

I asked for any Life Lessons via my social media and here are some responses.

Run your own race. It’s a cliche but it’s so important to know yourself, then do what you want to do and not to be swayed by others. The opinions of others are given way too much headspace. Make your own opinion the loudest. When I asked for any background to this conclusion here was the response: Life! Look around – who is happier? The person running after other people’s approval or the person who approves of themselves. “A.H”

Even on the darkest days and the most difficult of times you can always find something to be grateful for. It can be tiny, but there is always something. “D.C.”

Listen to your gut instinct. Other people may have opinions on what you should do within your life or your children’s but your gut instinct actually knows. Listen to it don’t ignore it just because someone else thinks they know best. Gut instinct is usually 100% right. “LofC”

Thank you to those people.

Last week Natalie from BeKind2You.com wrote a timely post which she has been happy for me to share. Thank you!

What Life Lesson(s) have you been taught?

Denyse.

On Tuesday this posts links with Kylie here

On Wednesday this post links with Sue and Leanne here

On Thursday this post links with Leanne here.

 

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What I Will Never See Again. 23/52.#LifeThisWeek. 2018.47.

What I Will Never See Again. 23/52.#LifeThisWeek. 2018.47.

I am not sure what I thought this prompt would be about when it came to writing. Then, upon reflection, I decided the photos and some words could tell the story…of just a few things…of what I will never see again.

Some things of course are still there: Warragamba Dam, Manly Beach and Los Angeles…however, it is more likely than not that I will never see them again.

I note career items from my years as a young Mum and teacher, onto my senior years as Uni tutor and as an Education Specialist. Whilst I do not mention my grandchildren specifically any more (privacy reasons) it is noteworthy to add a drive to Sydney at dawn as a new grandchild was born and the eldest grandchild in an individual drama performance in the NSW Public Schools Spectacular in a place that no longer exists! With reference to our aging as I said to my husband when doing this post, there is hair neither of us will see again, along with our teeth! Gotta have a laugh.

There are things we will never see again because of where they occurred – the pool and the flowers – but who knows over time if we may not have at least one of those experiences again! More likely the flowers than the pool.

Enjoy!

 

Thank you for reading, commenting and I hope LINKING up a post, old or new, on or off prompt this week!
Denyse.
Joining with Alicia here for Open Slather.
Life This Week. 23/52. 

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 Optional Prompt: 24/52. The M-Z of Me. 11/6/18. 


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My Head & Neck Cancer 1st Anniversary. Pt 1. 2018.44.

My Head & Neck Cancer 1st Anniversary. Pt 1. 2018.44.

Writing this post I feel a surge of gratitude for my cancer diagnosis.

Weird?

Well, for me, BEFORE I knew that there was a nasty cancer called Squamous Cell Carcinoma in my upper front gums, I was anxious, fearful and this had been building up for the 3 years since just before we left Sydney to come and live on the Central Coast. My life was reduced to managing a sense of fear any time I needed to leave the house. Whilst it was not quite crippling, because I have a very determined edge to my nature, it was not how I liked feeling. AT. ALL. Blog posts here and here tell more:

In early May 2017 after a series of medical and dental examinations, CT scans, X-rays, a biopsy for gums that were not only NOT healing after the teeth and bridge had been removed  but were growing ….the news came through about WHY. The posts about my cancer can be found here.

Words are few but pictures tell much of my story. Away we go. Oh, and I AM someone who takes lots of pics and am grateful to have this record.

Part One.

In the lead up to the first Anniversary of my diagnosis I had thought this post could be a ‘thank you’ one.

I did not realised until late March that I would need a 4th surgery. However, I accept that the mouth still needs more work ….and I am trying not to whinge too much about the fact I will be having the ‘mouthguard/stent’ in for much longer AND another skin graft….because whingeing is not cool. This post is going live AFTER my 4th surgery on 16 May 2018.

I have accepted that there is no real END time with cancer.

I will be having checks until mid 2022. Then, as with most head and neck cancer patients, there is more to come, such as management of my implants over time. See this wonderful Australian-based  support site: BeyondFive here.

So, no “thank you and farewell post” for Part Two. Just more gratitude and let me show you who those people are and why I am grateful!

Part Two is scheduled to go live on Tuesday 29 May 2018.

Denyse.

In many ways I hope, that as I am a teacher AND a learner, anyone who knows someone with Head and Neck Cancer might find my posts helpful. It is one of the reasons I blog: to share, to learn and to connect! My page above has my other posts relating to my cancer story.

On Tuesday this posts links with Kylie here

On Wednesday this post links with Sue and Leanne here

On Thursday this post links with Leanne here.

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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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Creativity Soothes Me. 2017.102.

Creativity Soothes Me. 2017.102.

It’s been a while!

I used to post more about my creativity way back when I was blogging more frequently so I decided today was ideal for a creativity catch-up.

Those of you who read my blog regularly know that since 2013 art, in one shape or another, has helped me bridge some of life’s changes and given me a great ‘head space’ in which to become more mindful. I wrote about mindfulness here yesterday.

I am visually dominant then my next sense as a preference is kinaesthetic with aural (hearing and listening) third. I wrote about that here. It makes great sense to me then to enjoy art and using a myriad of different resources. From 2013 when I joined a group called DaisyYellowArt here, I have learned so much about media and then what I prefer to use. It has also meant I have, ahem, spent quite a lot of money over the years investing in artist-quality materials as student ones just do not ‘cut it.’

Making patterns on the page which may be large, small or somewhere in between gives me a creative freedom which I love. Although I do like to share on social media what I have made, the value for me is in the process. 

That is when I am at my most mindful and that is so good for my emotional health. When I went to hospital I took some art materials and an A4 book with some mandala outlines on quite a few pages and once I was in the ward (and not so knocked out from the huge surgery) I could lose myself in art each evening. I was a happy patient for sure and I did show some to the nurses as a way to connect.

Here’s a few I’ve made recently in my creative times. I will often say throughout the day, “I’m off to the art room” and it is a most pleasant and soothing place to be. I listen to some CDs often by some of my favourite teachers including Brene Brown, Pema Chodron and Tara Brach. It does soothe me for sure! I will sometimes draw mandalas and colour them in bed or sitting watching TV. I have a book with art materials that moves from room to room with me!!

What do you do to become more mindful?

Have you tried something new creatively recently?

Do you know what learning style is your preferred one? (hint: post link has place where you can check it!)

Denyse.

Linking here with Kylie Purtell for I Blog on Tuesday link up and here with Leanne for Lovin’ Life link on Thursdays.

 

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Uncertainty Updated. 2017.57.

Uncertainty Updated. 2017.57.

This post was updated on Sat 10 June 2017.

Did this headline make you a bit wary?

I do not like uncertainty.

However, I am learning that there is no such thing as certainty. Except for death. Apparently!

It makes me nervous and curious and I know how I must remember  that somehow I need to accept uncertainty.

Why?

I would have to say because I have grown very weary of trying to control what I cannot control…but thought I was! Is that familiar?

My journey (yep, I like the word and it stays!) has taken me on a number of learning paths as I seek help to understand life as I don’t know it!

One such person is Buddhist nun, Pema Chodron, and her many books and teachings are in my library now.

I have this book beside my bed and read one chapter a night. Most nights anyway!

This excerpt is from chapter 14.

According to the Buddha, the lives of all beings are marked by three characteristics: impermanence, egolessness, and suffering or dissatisfaction. Recognising these qualities to be real and true in our own experience helps us to relax with things as they are.

The first mark is impermanence. That nothing is static or fixed, that all is fleeting and changing, is the first mark of existence. We don’t have to be mystics or physicists to know this. Yet at the level of personal experience, we resist this basic fact.

It means life isn’t always going to go our way. It means there’s loss as well as gain. And we don’t like that.

We know that all is impermanent; we know that everything wears out. Although we can buy this truth intellectually, emotionally we have a deep-rooted aversion to it.

We want permanence; we expect permanence. Our natural tendency is to seek security; we believe we can find it. We experience impermanence at the everyday level as frustration. We use our daily activity as a shield against the fundamental ambiguity of our situation. expending tremendous energy trying to ward off impermance and death.

We don’t like it that we age. We are afraid of wrinkles and sagging skin. We use health products as if we actually believe our skin, our hair, our eyes and teeth, might somehow miraculously escape the truth of impermance.

The Buddhist teachings aspire to set us free from this limited way of relating to impermanence. They encourage us to relax gradually and wholeheartedly into the ordinary and obvious truth of change.

Acknowledging this truth doesnt mean we are looking on the dark side. What is means is that begin to  understand that we’re not the only one who can’t keep it all together.

We no longer believed that there are people who have managed to avoid uncertainty.

Comfortable with Uncertainty. Pema Chodron. 2003. Shambhala Publications.

I am a life-long learner and I have been learning more lessons about life and me in the past few years than I ever felt possible. I have great respect for the words of Brene Brown and have signed up for this combo of courses on-line called Daring Greatly and Rising Strong. If you are interested in knowing more, here is the link.

Have you given much thought to what it is to be uncertain?

Do you struggle with the notion that we are not really in charge of many aspects of our lives as we might prefer to be?

I’d love to hear your comments.

Next week I am finally owning up to the vulnerability of telling my story. It won’t be confined to one post!

Denyse.

Less than one month after writing this post, I was diagnosed with cancer. More about that here. and here 

If ever there is/was a reason to feel even more uncertainty then this is now. I am doing my utmost to stay present and appreciate now but for someone like me, who thinks ahead, plans what she can and wants to know what’s coming, cancer has been sent to test me on many levels. This weekend, I know that within one month from now, my surgery will have happened. But it’s yet to come. I am grateful for support and care from many of course, but in the end there is one person who must do this and that is me.

Sharing especially today with Sammie who has been the most kind and understanding person as she has faced her cancer and dealt with it all incredibly well. I thank her for her presence in my life. Joining here for the Ultimate Rabbit Hole.

Oh and by the way, I am still reading the above book and am about to commence the second part of the course: Rising Strong.

Joining with Leanne and friends  here who are part of the inclusive and lovely link up Lovin’ Life.

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