Saturday 21st October 2017

Letter to 20 year old Me. #LifeThisWeek. 40/52. 2017.115.

Letter to 20 year old Me. #LifeThisWeek. 40/52. 2017.115.

Prefacing my letter with this photograph. My eldest granddaughter is the age I am writing about. In fact she will be 21 before year’s end as I was too around this time of year. Thanks J for the inspiration and the LOVE you share with me and many. In fact, by co-incidence, J has posted her Sunday night vid on You Tube about her at 20! Neither of us knew what the other was up to. Love this.


Dear Denyse,

I remember you being 20 so well. It was the last year of teachers’ college. You were acing the pracs at the schools you were sent to and in fact those schools were great but you had something else on your mind. You were ready to flee Sydney weren’t you as your boyfriend of almost 3 years was going to a regional area for his first job after graduating Uni?  No longer a Northern Beaches girl like your friends from school, you were about to go BUSH…in fact to Barraba NSW that January 1970 but wait. There is a little more to remember before you became loaded with class teaching responsibilities and being ‘dropped’ by the long-term boyfriend….and not being sure of what was ahead after that.

Graduation as a teacher aged 20. End of 1969.

Social life aged 20. Uni balls were the best!

Teacher’s College mates and yes, pigtails on me.

So, in 1970 you had some highs and lows. However, you also had one of the best times socially as in the country back then teachers tended to group together and have dinners and parties and it was good. On October 17 1970 something VERY important to you then and now happened. You met the man who would become your life’s partner. He was a young 21 year old in his 3rd year of teaching in a small school beyond the mountains where you were teaching. But once the love grew and GREW, you no longer wanted to be apart. In fact, after becoming engaged just before your 21st birthday something else grew. A wee baby was on her way – we did not know that yet – and even though that was a surprise, we both knew…we are together for life!!

Wedding Day 1971. Dad, Mum, Bro, Gran, B & Me, Poppy, Papa

It was not an ideal beginning to our marriage but you know what, Miss 20, you chose well as did your B. Despite some criticism from your parents, in particular your mother, you shone. Marriage is a hard road and you learned that early. B was and is always a great life partner and you know what? In all the ups and downs, health scares, financial matters, relationship changes with our kids, welcoming grandkids into our lives, having to retire early, and more, we have shown that OUR decision to be together for the rest of our lives was the BEST. Coming up to 47 years since we met this very week!!

So, a little bit of what was ahead for you in some snapshots. Gosh look at you. You have always been self-conscious of your weight. Do you remember in teachers’ college PE class you rated yourself fat? I know, a bit of something wrong there. I think though, that you also thought you were NOT a fashion plate like your Mum and that you actually enjoyed learning and education whereas your mum was the true home-maker mum who never worked once she had kids. Your dad supported you there but both parents often made you feel a little less than OK by veiled and actual comments about your weight. Yep. Always there and even now, as you have been diagnosed with cancer and lost a lot of weight I can tell that you ‘worry’ about putting it back on. Many women, in case you did not know, have similar battles in their hearts and minds, so take comfort and be kind. As your B would say “treat yourself like a friend”. I didn’t know how to do that properly until I was 67 so sorry, Miss 20 and beyond, you have had a rather torrid time with self-talk.

Let’s go with the show!

I would love to add some photos of our children, Miss 20,  but for privacy reasons I cannot.  We had two children in the end. Ironically after falling pregnant with our daughter it took another 7.5 years for our son to come along. I had a lot of medical and then surgical intervention for that to occur. I would add too, that as a young mother about to turn 30 you had another significant challenge in life occur when the severe and chronic illness of your B meant he was medically retired from teaching. The next 4 years, until he steered himself towards better health and recovery, were exhausting and busy to say the least. In fact, your parents stepped in to help out in  ways which supported  you so you are grateful for those times even though it is still hard to let the ‘judgy’ times heal and let go. But this time saw you embark upon more self-education and career path moves and you completed two degrees, B.Ed and M.Ed, along with raising two kids (by now B was at home helping majorly both in a physical sense as he managed the house and started a tutoring business) and going for a 3 work promotions where you eventually became a school principal.

Then came retirement for you. I know. In this day and age retirement is nothing like you saw for your dad. In fact, you retired a few times. Once in 2003 after having a health breakdown at work and not being allowed by your doctor to return, second when you had gone to a teaching role in 2004 and then by age 60 in 2010 had decided enough was enough…and thirdly in 2015 when you surrendered your part-time roles at University teaching pre-service students, closed your business as an education consultant and ceased working for NSW  BOSTES.

I know that at 20 I would have had no idea of what a blog might be or of course social media. But what I did know, into my late 50s is that I am an early adopter. I like technologies that work for me and do not need too much technical prowess from me. I also know that at 20 I loved photography but not nearly as much as I do now.

So, this next and current life stage Miss 20, is getting a little bit easier but also a little bit scarier as I approach 70. OK, not for 2 more years but hey, it happens. Life. And of course, death. You’ve experienced the deaths of 4 of the people who loved you from the photo at your wedding. Dad remains well and in fact praises you now. Yes. He has written you some healing letters and often shows his appreciation for you as his daughter and is proud of you. He tells you that! So, remember it. And in terms of new life…Miss 20 GD above might have been first, but since then you have become Grandma (Miss 20, I love that name!) to 8 children. 6 girls and 2 boys.

Of course, no-one ever wants to get sick, Miss 20 do they? You have always been fearful of that. The past few years saw your anxiety levels skyrocket as you made 3 major life transitions and your well-known IBS decided to return. It all helped you lose weight but that was not the point. Then, knowing your teeth were always trouble some you had gum problems. These were found to be cancer and you had major surgery. I am delighted to say it is highly likely the cancer has gone. But you will continue to need check ups just as you need more surgeries soon.

It is hard to decide where to end this letter so for now, it will be open-ended. I am hopeful that my recollections can soothe my 67 year old self as I recount some of the stand-outs told to my 20 year old self…and that you remember you are LOVED by many so it’s time to add you to that list too.

All my love,

Denyse xx

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

Thank you for joining this week’s link up here:


Love.#LifeThisWeek 7/52. 2017.25.

Love.#LifeThisWeek 7/52. 2017.25.

I selected this prompt LOVE because of the date being close to Valentine’s Day. 14th February.

Then I have wondered ‘what is love?’ And I got many answers but in the end I have decided to take a varied approach to this prompt and instead of making only a declaration of LOVE to my husband (of course I love him) I would also post some memes and quotes I LOVE.

Valentine’s Day.

On occasion I have given my hub (and kids) cards. I have also made crafty things with classes and grandkids but my belief is that love needs to be appreciated and shown each day. I did some research though, about Valentine’s Day if you want to know more.

The rose is red, the violet’s blue,
The honey’s sweet, and so are you.
Thou art my love and I am thine;
I drew thee to my Valentine:
The lot was cast and then I drew,
And Fortune said it shou’d be you

The modern cliché Valentine’s Day poem can be found in the collection of English nursery rhymes Gammer Gurton’s Garland (1784):


I associate these with love as do many people. I liked these images. I tend to see hearts in nature and make a heart shape when I am doodling in art. Neither are my images, sadly.


I’ve been struggling with aspects of this and I am certain I am not alone. I researched some quotes and liked these ones as I saw them apply to me. By the way, self-love for me is about self-acceptance…no matter what is ‘wrong’ or not going well, so this is my learning journey!!

Love of and for  My Husband.

We talked about this earlier as I was preparing to write. I fell in love with him, and vice versa, over 46 years ago. Love HAS kept us together when many things went wrong. I have struggled to like aspects of him from time to time as he has with me, but we both agree that LOVE has never changed and it is WHY we are still (and will be until parted by death) in LOVE. This poem from many a wedding we have attended is wonderful. It was not part of our ceremony but the essence of it was.


I wish you LOVE….today and always…thank you for reading this blog, commenting and linking up too!



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!
* THANK you for linking up today! Do come back next week. Next week’s prompt is “A Pet Story”.

I always link here too on Mondays: Alicia for Open Slather and Kell for Mummy Mondays. Do you?


Grandmothering. 366/129.

Grandmothering. 366/129.

It’s Mother’s Day today.

If you celebrate, then Happy Mother’s Day!

I’m honouring the role of grandmother today.

I love being a grandmother and it is truly a blessing to be loved by your grandchildren and to share their lives at the various stages. But today is not about me as a grandmother.

I had two grandmothers.

One, on my mum’s side, Nanny, was a hard working woman who had the responsibility of not only raising her own 3 children but two of her brother when his wife sadly died in childbirth with number 3. I remember Nanny as strict and I was never spoiled. She left that to my Papa, her husband. She was never happy but I also understand why due to her workload at home with 3 boys and 2 girls. Recently I have started researching family history and know she was one of 13 who grew up in a farming family on the NSW South Coast and Southern Highlands. I remember her being very unwell for 2 years before her early death of a stroke at 62 in 1958.

One of the few photos of Nanny - in the 1940s.

One of the few photos of Nanny – in the 1940s.

The second grandmother, Gran, was my father’s mother. She was distant and certainly not particularly affectionate but I recall her letting me have a 3d ice-cream from the local shop once! Gran had a great start to life born into an English almost middle class family sharing her parents with one sibling. The war of 1914-18 brought her love, and to Australia as a war bride, then her life changed over a decade to being parent of 4 children in a tough economic time in Australia. Her husband, my grandfather, survived the first world war but was fatally injured in a workplace accident in 1935. She never got over the loss and it clouded all of her relationships it seemed. Gran lived into her 80s dying in 1985.

I'm in Dad's arms at my christening in 1950, Gran is on the left of the photo and her mum, my great grandmother is on the right.

I’m in Dad’s arms at my christening in 1950, Gran is on the left of the photo and her mum, my great grandmother is on the right.

I watched my mum as a grandmother and I know she struck a pretty good balance as both a ‘spoiler’ and a ‘loving carer’. I had my first daughter at 21 and I know Mum got a lot of joy helping out with her when we came to Sydney and even had her stay as a bub for a week once. I was always grateful for how my mum helped me out…but the icing on the cake was that she got to do so much for her grandkids. Mum and Dad often had our kids stay and took them on holidays.

A few years ago, blogging friend and writer, Kelly Exeter was writing ‘manifestos’ and I offered my help towards this one. The one for Grandmothers. I did feel it was pretty pertinent to me. I haven’t shown any of my grandchildren’s photos here on the blog due to privacy reasons but I know that they love and as I do them.

Today, Mother’s Day I also reflect on what it is to hear a little voice say “Grandma….love you”.


Love you too….JR, SM, BJ, EC, HM, RK, EK, MN.

Tell me about your grandmother!


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Joining with Leanne for her link up on Sundays, here.



Why I Am A Teacher. 366/40.

Why I Am A Teacher. 366/40.

  • Each of us has been taught by a trained teacher if we attended a school.
  • Some teachers give us memories of learning we take into our everyday lives. Other teachers may inspire us to ‘go for whatever our dreams are’.
  • Not all teachers are like that, of course, and there may be the one or two we actually don’t want to think back on at all…..however, the majority of teachers can tell you why they are teachers….and why they remain teachers!
  • Even though I am retired from paid work, teaching is part of me. I am a teacher at heart.
  • I understand that the role has changed, and I have been in schools as a classroom teacher in the times of big changes.
  • I’ve led a number of school communities through change in the education systems, the ways in which we must document outcomes and more.
  • Never think for one minute I do not know of the load of work teachers carry and the responsibilities they shoulder to ensure all of the children have the best education outcomes possible.
  • Yet I need to share that the majority of teachers are here for the long haul unless there are underlying matters affecting them. That is another story told in other places. Not here. Today.

I am a teacher because I was born to be one. There I said it.

From My Bookshelf.

From My Bookshelf.

In 2014 when I was a tutor in a University I presented pre-service Masters of Teaching(Primary) students with these stories from teachers. With the permission of those people, I am sharing these with my blog’s readers and the wider community.

Teacher:- J.

I was very fortunate to have wonderful teachers as a primary and high school student. These people taught me that a passion for a subject and for learning is highly contagious. They knew how to engage kids, to allow them to ask questions and feel that their opinion was valued. I guess they became role models for me and I couldn’t wait to become a teacher.Sometimes I feel like the reasons I became a teacher change but lately when I’ve considered this and what I find myself telling people is that just as my family and friends do, teaching feeds my soul! Doing a relieving executive role, I have had to spend time away from my class and I find I really miss the action of a classroom.I love that is changes everyday, that it challenges me, that I get to play a big part in childrens’ lives and that I’m in the privileged position to see them grow and learn before my eyes.There are many parts of teaching that are hard work and demanding so it has to be the ‘coal face’ stuff that keeps you in the job.

dreamstime_m_11479749.jpg education



Assistant Principal:- A.

I came to teaching after ditching an unsatisfying former career. Mum said I wanted to be a teacher at age 4. I loved school myself and wanted to be able to help kids, particularly disadvantaged ones, to be able to “not just achieve” as it’s easy for some kids but go beyond what they’re capable of achieving. I am a ‘different’ sort of teacher as I feel many of the things schools and teachers do actually disengage kids. I want kids to have a voice in the direction of their learning.

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Early Childhood Teacher:- N.

I think teaching is a calling. That being said, I became one for a few reasons, some more virtuous than others! I was madly in love with a boy who was in his final year of his teaching degree when I applied. He broke my heart, but the degree stuck! I love learning new things, exploring ideas, thinking, creating, and for me, that’s what being an educator is – giving children a love of learning. I remain a teacher for similar reasons. To be part of the ‘village’ that raises a child – basing my practice now on the UN rights of the child, I’ve evolved as an educator over the years, and that love of learning keeps me inspired and in the classroom.



First Year Teacher:- K.

I have had the opportunity to ‘try out’ a few different jobs, and an entirely different career. Whilst finding success and enjoyment within these jobs I never felt as though they were a perfect fit for me.It was during a holiday that I took the time out to really focus on what I wanted from a job and I found where parts of my work included teaching or training others I was at my happiest.I enjoyed being with children, that my ‘silly’ side was a way that helped me build relationships with them & I decided that I needed to have a role that included nurturing and teaching children and ‘showing them the world’ through education. On my journey to become a teacher, and as a parent, I have seen the profound impact of ‘great’ teachers on children and this has inspired me further to try to find out how to be a ‘great’ teacher. I am a beginning teacher, but I imagine that I will want to remain a teacher because I hope to make a difference. That I continue to see the amazing impact a teacher can have on a child’s wellbeing and education. I hope that I will remain a teacher because I will continue to feel the intrinsic rewards in helping children to find success and be happy being themselves.

Untitled.jpg 5 kids in circle


Teacher now Educational Leader:-J.

I wanted to be a teacher from the age of 6. My sister had just become a teacher & I used to want to help her mark papers!!! Mum used to have to distract me! Then when I was 9, my brother became a teacher & I always did everything my brother did!!! However, my sister was a high school English teacher & my brother primary and I was maths. They are both principals now and I have become a leader of schools with DET. I stayed teaching for lots of reasons. Loved it, great satisfaction from making a difference to the students. Sometimes that was academically and sometimes wellbeing.I am often overwhelmed by the need some students have & if I can contribute to improving that in some small way I always will.



Thank you for reading this far…I hope you did! I also hope you found this post one which has ensured that the education of Australia’s children is safe in the hands of a range of teachers like these.


Joining Jess at Essentiallyjess for I Blog On Tuesdays!

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Colour Me Positive Week 3. 366/23.

Colour Me Positive Week 3. 366/23.

As I’ve written before, I am taking part in a year long art journalling challenge. This is from Week 3 where the prompt was about “living life now” and also to add, where we wanted to, some music lyrics. As today is our 45th Wedding Anniversary it is all the more appropriate to post what I made commemorating our first meeting and our first dance all those years ago. Below is my description on the Facebook page for Colour Me Positive.

3/52. Live LIFE. Using our upcoming 45th wedding anniversary (23.1.16) and love of & for music as being part of our lives…since “he walked up to me and asked if I wanted to dance…2 kids and 8 grandkids and careers, houses, ill-health, and more..we are still dancing! Created in my A4 journal on prepped page – frame painted earlier. Added my lettering in 0.8 micron pen, stripes are in Neocolour 11 (wet with waterbrush) for bright effect & added ’45 cut musical notes’. 45 hearts in gellyrolls. LIVE LIFE alright!! Happy Art Journalling everyone!


Happy weekend to you all and especially to the lovely bloggers and linkers from the Ultimate Rabbit Hole found over here.


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Generations. 268/365.

Generations. 268/365.

Many people pride themselves on being part of generational change.

I am part of the group which has become known as the Baby Boomers.

I have children who are known as (I think!) generation X..or is it Y.

Then I have grandchildren some of whom were born before the start of 2000 so they are not millennials..I have no idea of their ‘label.’

What I do know though is how we, the grandparents, have continued to have a loving relationship with these almost grown-up (OK, one is officially adult and has been for some time) grandchildren.

In fact, we were delighted when they asked to visit us for lunch this week. Of course, we said, come on up.

The good thing is that with one car being paid off by the adult grandchild, and with her being a good and sensible driver, she is fine to bring her siblings (and the bf) to see us.

It is very satisfying to have a continued and loving relationship with these three young people we have known since the day our daughter told us she was ‘expecting’.

What’s your generation called?

Denyse xx

SOOOO cold !!

SOOOO cold !! They all have a great sense of…humour and dramatic effect.


I Will Follow Him. 255/365.

I Will Follow Him. 255/365.

There’s a song…and the words, with some embellishment, go like this…

I love him, I love him, I love him

And where he goes I’ll follow, I’ll follow, I will follow him

…and I do and I do…..

Taken today, at Killcare Beach, after we had enjoyed morning tea and taken in the smells, the sights and the noises that is the beauty of the

B E A C H.

Love him…my loving man…met almost 45 years ago and he’s the one I have loved since then….and vice versa.

Denyse xx

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Happy Birthday Horses. 213/365.

Happy Birthday Horses. 213/365.

It’s August 1st.

That’s the Horses’ Birthday.

I think it’s the date given to horse because of the race horse industry. Happy to hear more if you know why.

I also have no idea if this is an Australian thing only. Now I know!

Quote: from today’s Sydney Morning Herald: August 1st is the official birthday for all thoroughbred horses in the southern hemisphere; their distant relatives in the northern hemisphere celebrate on January 1.

So, to celebrate Horses’ Birthday, here’s a few snaps from my album.

We’ve had some interesting grandkids’ stories about horses.

One who is nearly 6 loved horses so much when she was a bit younger she got to ride on a real horse at a riding school as a special treat. She also loved it one morning when we were on a drive called “let’s got for a drive around back of Riverstone for your baby sister to go to sleep” and we found these real beauties on a field. Probably there is a train station commuter set of units going up there soon. 🙁

One who is now almost 8 totally adored the old horse on his other grandparents’ farm and would spend times at our house when he was little ‘calling’ for the horse and having him eat pretend carrots from his hand. 🙂

One, who is now 18, was a Saddle Club devotee and I got ‘sucked in’ to buying the DVDs, horses for role play and more.

This GD….Jess let’s call her, because that IS her name, was also the instigator of “Papa, can you build us a rocking horse?” conversations. So, eventually in 2007, with her sister and brother we ventured to the Rocking Horse man’s workshop where we selected the accessories and Papa got to work. It took some time, and once ready, the three named her:

Flicka Beauty.

She has been part of our home for a while…but when we moved we left her behind for space reasons. Now she is back. And adults can ride her too!

Do you like ‘real’ horses? Can you ride?

Do you like rocking horses?

Denyse xx







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Looks like the Weekend rewind is back! Hope you all had a great break. Thanks for hosting!