Tuesday 12th November 2019

Women Of Courage. #13. Alicia O’Brien. 86/2019.

Women of Courage Series. #13. Alicia O’Brien. 86/2019.

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

Here is the introduction to the series.

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

I have known Alicia who is 46, for many years thanks to ‘the old world of Australian blogging’ where I was first a reluctant entry into ‘link ups.’ This blogger friend has had a link up called Open Slather for years. It was on Mondays and now she has moved it to Friday. Do join in! Alicia impressed me from the beginning with her images: photos of her cooking and outdoors where she captures nature in her part of Australia so well. I welcome Alicia to share her story today, and love this image, captured by one of her young daughters! 

 

 

 

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

 

Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometime courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow’. – Mary Anne Radmacher

 

There have many times in my life I have had to call on my courage stores. Plenty of times come to mind when I hadn’t been courageous.

My earliest memory was crossing the rail lines to get to school in the morning. Scared the crap out of me. I may have been a cautious, anxious kid, because it used to frustrate the hell out of mum that I’d turn around and walk back home than to cross the lines.

When I talked to her about it, a true story of courage arose. That of my mum. Twenty four years old with five kids in a small country town, a working husband, no car. She’d walk me half way to school, torn, wanting to take me all the way, but four kids at home on their own. We as women are all courageous, in the way we are responsible for, we struggle and care for our loved ones.

Another time is when Mum asked me get out the car and herd the sheep from behind along the roadside. I would NOT get out of the car. My three-year-old sister did the deed. Gee did mum give me a serve about that. My little sister was the courageous one.

My biggest regret in not being courageous is when as a young mum, I stood in line at the checkout while an older man spewed racist hate at an Asian man who was holding up the line. I could not believe what was coming out of this man’s mouth. My regret was that I never stood forward and said something. No one did. I was angry that my daughters had to listen to such racist filth in this current age. I wish I had of been courageous enough to tell him to stop. Life teaches us many lessons and I will never ever hold back in the same situation again. The Asian man was the one who was courageous.

Most of my calls for courage, I guess anxiety and self-doubt have played a part. I have noticed that calling on my courage stores was easier when I was going through more confident stages of my life.

Meeting new people, taking the step of starting a new job, getting through tough things like my sons’ diagnosis of schizophrenia and the crap that was involved before and after that. It takes courage to keep pushing on in the face of uncertainty.

Even to this day, I must occasionally talk myself into making phone calls or walking into the school gates and be social! I know it’s easy and doesn’t take that much courage, but I let my brain convince me it’s a difficult task!

 

 

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

I am not sure if it has changed me in any way. I guess it’s made me more aware that I can get through things that maybe my brain was telling me were going to be hard. The funny thing is when it’s all over, it really isn’t that bad. It has given me the tools to face adversity the next time and made me realise I am capable and worthy of confidence in myself that I can do the hard stuff.

I feel I am more persistent and resilient in my approach to tasks.

I am often amazed at how well I cope in a crisis. My brain then seems to snap into survival mode, and I push through under pressure. My brain doesn’t have time to talk me out of it. This ability would come after some experience too. It’s the time after that I need a break to re-centre myself.

 

 

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

I learned that no matter how tough you think something is going to be, the courage to get through it is already inside of you. It is not something you have to make, it’s there. Don’t overthink the situation and only cross bridges once you come to them. In most situations, your brain can be your worst enemy, the key is to listen to the positive more often than you listen to your negative talk. Tell yourself, “I can do this!”.

 

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

The more I put myself out of my comfort zone, the more confident I become in facing life’s hurdles. The hurdles are bloody inconvenient, and I often question the universe if it thinks I’ve had my fair share already. They say practice makes perfect!

I am however aware that my problems are dwarfed by others, there are so many who are doing it way tougher than me and I am amazed at how courageous they are. They provide inspiration for me to draw on.

The courage of others always inspires me. I have learned that some of those courageous things are just everyday ordinary things and some life changing. Everyone is challenged by something, no matter how big or small.

 

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

The more steps you take everyday out of your comfort zone and facing your fears, the more able and confident you become in facing fears. Life is hard. I think having supportive people around you to help is important and not being afraid to accept that help. I think it is also helpful to have someone who knows what you’re going through at any time to talk to, so you don’t feel so alone in your struggles.

Oh wow. Lots of messages there for me to learn too. Thank you so much Alicia. I loved that we have been on-line friends for ages. Maybe one day we will actually meet!

Denyse.

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/alleychook

Facebook Page : https://www.facebook.com/One-Mother-Hen-243699915749847/

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

 

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

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

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

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It’s My Favourite. 11/51. #LifeThisWeek. 26/2019.

It’s My Favourite. 11/51. #LifeThisWeek. 26/2019.

Why I wrote “it’s MY favourite” as an optional prompt is a mystery. You see, I am the worst at selecting favourites.

I like and love a LOT…so how can I proceed?

By words and in pictures of course.

That IS MY FavouriteBLOG POST!

 

Routine

Getting out of the house every day, dressing with purpose IS my favourite routine along with the refreshing and reviving double shot, small latte somewhere before midday! One coffee a day.

Walk

I like walking more these days and try to get around 6,000 steps a day in. Some walks are slower than others. And that too is a good thing. A favourite walk on Manly Beach 11 years ago is here introducing my grandson to the sand and the water. Even further back in memory, is the 3 generations of us who “walked” as part of Bridge Climb well over 16 years ago.

Patterns.

I cannot go past nature for favourite patterns. These are but a few. Yes, they are close-ups and are part of the wonder that IS nature: colours and shapes we can barely replicate.

Celebration

I have been the one to make memories via celebrations, little photo books, parties, gatherings and more in our family. As we live away from the city this is much harder and the family is getting older and bigger. However, using the word celebration I believe I have found MANY favourites indeed!

 

Experience.

To have my ‘upper prosthesis’ added to my gums following cancer and then to smile (and eat again) was a BIG favourite. I also loved being part of this book “Women Kind” and in 2006 had the experience of a solo trip to the US where it was a favourite to visit Alcatraz.

Colour

Yes it’s the hue of blue. But I do love other colours too. However, it IS to blue I return to over and over.

Memory

I have been blessed as they say with a good memory and I did have many images to choose from for my favourites. Even these are but a few favourites!

 

Creation

I think the more my brain is not thinking work (job)  anymore it is allowing me to create. I love the ways in which I can be inspired but my favourites are almost always based on shapes – triangles being wonderful to design with and mandalas. In 2016 when I discovered how to design and colour mandalas my creative life was enriched.

So, do you find it hard to select favourites too?

Tell me more in the comments.

Denyse.

On Mondays I link here with Kell 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’s optional prompt: 12/51 Memories I’d Like To Re-Capture 25/3/19

 

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

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My Daily A-Z Challenge On Instagram. 8/2019.

My Daily A-Z Challenge on Instagram. 8/2019.

By the end of January 2019 I admit this had started to be ‘over- challenging’ me in some ways, so I have admitted I want to do my instagram photos with greater flexibility and that perhaps I am now less likely to need a challenge! Go figure. I continue to do a daily post with what I am wearing because I enjoy this and will add other photos to my collages. Thanks for your interest! Denyse 

I like to have a daily photo of me taken as it helps me remember why I started to #dresswithpurpose in 2017. See here for more.

I do tend to get a bit bored after a while with myself AND what I post on Instagram (then to Facebook and Twitter) so in 2019 I came up with this idea for the first half of the year. Goodness knows whether I will continue it after that but there IS a way to go.

For me, Instagram is photo-centred and I am visually- oriented. It is a quick way for me to connect each day. BUT, the snag for me is this. I cannot connect universally as my account is private. For the very good reason : hacked in May 2017. Ask for follow: @denysewhelan

Each week, starting on Tuesday: because 1 January was a Tuesday, post a photo with the letter of the alphabet and its word I have listed loosely themed around the collage I post. Here is one example from each of the first weeks. 

 

1 Jan: Week One: Appreciation

8 Jan: Week Two: Beauty

15 Jan: Week Three: Connection

22 Jan: Week Four: Details

 

29 Jan: Week Five: Exciting

5 Feb: Week Six: Flourish

12 Feb: Week Seven: Gratitude

19 Feb: Week Eight: Hope

26 Feb: Week Nine: Inquisitive

5 Mar: Week Ten: Joyful

12 Mar: Week Eleven:  Kindness

19 Mar: Week Twelve: Love

26 Mar: Week Thirteen: Mindfulness

2 Apr: Week Fourteen: Noting

9 Apr: Week Fifteen: Optimism

16 Apr: Week Sixteen: Pleasure

23 Apr: Week Seventeen: Questioning

30 Apr: Week Eighteen: Read

7 May: Week Nineteen: Scenic

14 May: Week Twenty: Teach

21 May: Week Twenty-One: Understand

28 May: Week Twenty-Two: Voice

4 Jun: Week Twenty-Three: Wonder

11 Jun: Week Twenty-Four: eXtra

18 Jun: Week Twenty-Five: Yay

25 Jun: Week Twenty-Six: Zest

So, how about it? You sure do not have to post every day. That is just me. But should you choose to, use this hashtag (I hope to remember it!)

#denysewhelanAtoZchallenge2019

I look forward to sharing more of these – as my creative brain can find examples – over the next 6 months. Gosh, almost the end of January….the next five months!

Denyse.

Joining the lovely Leanne for Lovin’ Life on Thursdays here.

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November Notes #4. 2018.122.

November Notes #4. 2018.122.

At the beginning of 2018 I decided to make myself accountable on-line.

To ME!

Accountable by sharing on Instagram and then via Facebook and Twitter three daily posts.

Every.Single.Day.

I did!

Well, I did until the reason stopped having meaning for me.

Routine.

Despite being retired and recovering from what was then “only” two surgeries on January 1, I committed to posting:

  • A Daily Outfit post: #outfitoftheday #dresswithpurpose
  • A Daily Creative post: #creating #process #product
  • A Daily Nature post: #gettingoutside #noticingnature

I remain committed in many areas of my life: career, partnership and more and so this was going to be keeping me:

  • accountable to ME for 3 different reasons
  • every day had 3 opportunities to share on line and enjoy interactions
  • help with a daily structure
  • less likely to sit around doing little
  • to keep my mood steady and somewhat elevated as I had interactions outside the house…and via connections on-line
  • managing my life with cancer by having 3 separate interests and reasons to connect with others
  • finding new people on-line, including groups of people with Head and Neck cancer
  • using my eye for noticing …and my creative brain for making…and helping my recovery by dressing each day for a photo

Here’s how it went, via a few examples from each category, until it stopped…on 30 October 2018.

Why Did I Stop?

I had had enough. Once something serves its purpose it IS time to move on. But there was also another landmark I had passed and I think it also had something to do with the decision.

On 30th October I had posted a “photo of me” every day for the previous 365 days (maybe a couple of exceptions) and I know how much I was both encouraged and buoyed when I first started doing this as I had only had cancer (and just one surgery!) for a few months. It fed my need to be ‘seen’ even with my face and body taking some blows and then recovering after surgeries 2, 3 and 4. BUT, I was knew things had changed for me.

From 31 October, I decided to post ONE instagram/facebook/twitter snap a day based on Daily Gratitude.

I still show me in whatever I wore that day, but on the side of the collage I group 4 similar reasons for gratitude for me.

I am finding this something meaningful as I wind down till the end of the year.

I will still, on occasion, post other pics but no longer via the need to do 3 a day for 365 days!! I cleared out a lot of my Instagram feed too now, keeping mostly the images of me as they help me see my progress.

So, that’s it.

This is the second last November Notes and I have decided not to do a Thursday post in December unless there is a need. I did enjoy the challenges of thinking more for my creative space…

Just for July, Appreciation in August, September Stories, Observations in October & November Notes.

When the reason has changed, change what we do. Do you?

Love to know what you think about habits that keep on going on and maybe they are no longer needed.

Denyse.

Joining the bloggers who link here with Leanne for Lovin Life on Thursdays. (I will still link up a post, even if it is not a newly published one!)

 

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Just For July #2. 2018.60.

Just For July #2. 2018.60.

Thank you so much for the generous response to my new post series for July. I hope to continue these into the remainder of the year…when I come up some names for the series! Denyse x

Noticing.

Do you do a lot of noticing? I am a visual person first and foremost and whilst I do not notice “some things” I notice more than some. Here’s what I noticed recently.

Pansies: Can there be a more beautiful dainty flower than this? Such colour, lines and textures. Growing in a pot on our back deck. Giving me a smile each day, could there be a more beautiful dainty flower than this? Such colour, lines and textures.

Generosity: My lips have been so dry since last year’s surgery. I have at least 8 creams, ointments etc and none have been as good as the large tube here. Lanolips saw a plea from me and sent me these to try. I use this one overnight and my lips are better in the morning.

Really? OK, this is in the toilets of the public hospital where I see my prosthodontist and it seems necessary I admit, the loos there do need a firm flush! The hospital is 40+ years old.

Black: What colour density and texture does this crow have! I am awe of its beauty.

STOP: I stop every time I ascend or descend steps or walkways to the beach. I just have to watch and try to take in the beauty and symmetry.

Texture: I see the bases of the decorative palms at the local super centre and have to capture their ruggedness.

Ever-changing: The waves, the patterns on the water, the colours of the ocean are never the same. I am fascinated by this and reflect on it as a metaphor for my life.

Humour: My sense of humour is one I share with my husband but this might have gone too far. MY new ‘teeth’ from the lolly bag. Girl has to dream!!

Teaching: Angela nailed this. She gets it. So do the teachers. Parents we think do too but there is a minority who take entitlement too far. Oh, and if the administration of teachers and education could reduce,  then kids will have the best opportunities. Record-keeping is taking over.

Surprise: I do always notice mandalas in nature but this one, a tree stump at my rest stop on my way home from Westmead was photographed and shared with a mandala friend. She screen shot it and sent it to me saying “do you see the face?” I do now. Do you? It is weirdly creepy.

Teamwork: My prosthodontist is adjusting my stent with a fine scalpel to reduce its bulk for comfort in my mouth and his nurse is holding the ‘sucker’ to take away the debris. These two, who I see as my friends now, have been working together for 13 years and it shows.

Look: I fail to notice time moving on, at times, when I am into social media, but I decided to go outside recently close to sunset and captured this over the neighbours’ houses.

Do you notice the world around you?

What is your dominant sense?

Denyse.

Thanks for having this Thursday linky, Leanne. Join in here everyone.

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Just For July #1. 2018.57

Just For July #1. 2018.57

What is “Just for July?”

I was reviewing my blog posts recently and there have been some pretty heavy and detailed posts written.

I know they are helpful for me to do and some of the loveliest people in the blogging world comment when I link up with a post I wrote on the Tuesday to cover my linking up for the next two link ups …on Wednesday here and Thursday here.

So, shaking things up a bit and to help me just chat and share about whatever comes up I am going to do this for Leanne’s Lovin’ Life Link Up for the 4 Thursdays in July!

Mandalas. 

They attract me and I am drawn in when I see some in nature and in the man-made world. I cannot help but notice them.

Do you notice mandalas?

I am going to post more about the why sometime later this year but for now, here’s one in my back yard:

I cannot love this flower more. Mandala!

Social Media and Food Posts.

In my quest to be whinge-free (works some days, others not!) I now scroll right through. I used to be envious of those who could eat that food and make a comment of how wonderful that looked but that I could not eat that (yet). Then I realised I do not need to tell anyone that and in fact, that might even make them a bit sad. So, scrolling on….

Do you post food pics or are you someone who looks at food pics…and drools (such a weird word). This meal did not go on Instagram.

I cooked cutlets and the way I could kind of eat the meal, was cut meat added to mash & insides of a tomato over it. Sadly I could not even chew on the bones.

The Beach.

I wish I had better words to describe why I love the beach. In fact I rarely swim anymore (OK, tell the truth, have not been in the surf for over 2 years) but I remain captivated by it. I walk on the sand, I collect shells and pebbles (sometimes) and I dip my feet in the water.

It makes me feel better when I am sad. It helps me focus on a wider world when mine appears to be closing in.

I do know that the smells, the sights and the sounds along with the sensory experiences do something magical to my soul.

Is that what the beach is like for you?

No better place…and this day I was alone. Even better

Driving My Car.

I love my car. It is red. I chose red very happily for this car – the Nissan X-Trail – and I smile when I return to it in the carpark. I want to hug my car because it carries me safely to where I need to go and it is like an extension of my personality.

Is that something that makes me strange? What do you feel about cars?

Off to coffee somewhere!

Blog Roll is BACK.

Recently two bloggers began a facebook group called “Old School Bloggers”. Many of us who started back in the early to mid 2000s and onward had slowly let their blogs go or put in a resting space. My blog, as regular readers know, has had a few changes of direction. So, from this initiative of Caz who blogs here and Jacqui who blogs here, quite a few people linked up on Monday for #lifethisweek which made me a happy linky host! Check out the right hand side of my blog to see “Blog Roll is Back” and if your blog is not (yet) listed, do add your URL and blog name to the comments!

Thank you!

 

That is it for Thursday 5th July.

I am off to the Podiatrist this morning at Budgewoi and we will chat about his newborn daughter while he cares for my feet. After that I will go to a great coffee shop there for my daily fix. I may even take some photos as well.

Thanks for reading …and maybe even commenting with responses to my questions!

Denyse.

Joining with Leanne and crew here for Lovin Life Linky on Thursdays.

 

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Share Your Snaps 5. 25/52. #LifeThisWeek. 2018.51.

Share Your Snaps 5. 25/52. #LifeThisWeek. 2018.51.

Dear Readers and Fellow Bloggers,

THIS is our fifth ‘share your snaps’ and….takes us almost to being HALF-way through 2018.

Didn’t we just post our ‘words and intentions’ for the year ahead?

Please tell me it’s not just me who thinks T I M E is a-flying!! Oh, and it is June equinox this week: longest nights for us in the southern hemisphere, longest days for those in the  north!

Beach Writing by Me! Not right now, though ’tis a bit cool!

Sharing My Snaps here for the fifth time as a prompt was a bit of a challenge: what NOT to post! So I did this instead. A quick update of what I have been up to recently, then more below.

If you would like to know more about Head and Neck Cancer & the support from BeyondFive via their Facebook page, here’s more: LIKE their Facebook page here https://www.facebook.com/beyondfiveorg/

Now: My Share Your Snaps: From a visit to the Hawkesbury River after coming off the Bridge on the M1 to (use the loo, as is tradition) have a break from the drive home from Westmead (done twice in 4 days!) on Friday afternoon.

Are you familiar with this place? For me it has significance in that it is the first stop…if I need one, on the way HOME to the Central Coast…or the last stop …on the way to SYDNEY! The drive on the M1 used to scare me…I wrote about that a long time ago here. and here .

Once I met that challenge once, twice…then I was fine.

I’ve been taking myself to all of the Westmead Prosthodontist visits since early March. My husband drives us to the Lifehouse appointments as he either needs to be there for me post-surgery or he wants to be part of the consultation.

I hope you have enjoyed seeing my snaps of late…and I look forward to seeing yours too if you have shared.

Thanks for joining in and reading too.

Denyse.

Alicia has a Monday link up called Open Slather here and I join in there too.

 

Life This Week 25/52.

 

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: 26/52. Thank A Teacher. 25/6/18.


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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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