Sunday 3rd July 2022

Grateful Is The Word For Me For Many Reasons. 38/2022.

Grateful Is The Word For Me For Many Reasons. 38/2022.

I chose ‘gratitude’ as my word/intention of the year in 2020 and actually posted a photo about gratitude for 365 days that year. I am not someone who does not follow through. Mostly. I also had the word engraved on a bracelet and I wear it still…and on the back of it is “for life”.

So I am grateful FOR life...and for the remainder of my life.

 

What Is Gratitude to Me Now?

Even more important!

It’s easy to think of something to be grateful for when things are going well.

It IS more of a challenge to find gratitude/appreciation/thanks on days when life is…rubbish and we cannot see anything to BE grateful for…and here’s where I now know to:

S T O P

and consider…..that I can change my attitude somewhat even in the darkest of time to find gratitude…yes, it’s a dig deep expedition sometimes but it helps shift my inner feelings.

YES it DOES.

Just a few photos here where I can share gratitude for the content and life experience!

Daily Practice and Routine.

Since my cancer diagnosis, and recovery, I have reaped the rewards of making a daily routine to help me manage my emotional health, recovery and relationships.

So, since late 2018….this has been aided by:

My morning routine, before I get out of bed, is to do my Calm meditation, reflect on the messages for that day by writing a response to the question, then completing a ‘sleep’ routine check, and finally (but never least) this:

What Am I Grateful For Today?

Calm also adds some other prompts too, in case they ‘feel more appropriate’… a few examples here:

  1. What made you laugh or smile today?
  2. Who made a positive impact in your life recently?
  3. What are some favourite moments from today…

Now of course, not all of these are morning-applicable so I also have the Self Compassion App which I use each evening.

Why This Works for Me….

I am someone who can pretty easily fall off the wagon of being grateful…. I am by nature a glass half empty person…So, I know I can, via the two apps, remind myself of how I was grateful on a particular day or how I found gratitude. Here are 3 examples from my record of gratitude in the Calm app.

I am incredibly grateful for blogging!

Blogging helped me find many more people to connect with than I may have ever in real life.

I began blogging in late 2010 to held me navigate (then) retirement and help me find new people to connect with. I did, over time, from the Australian Blogging Community back in March 2011 when the first ever weekend conference was held. I also got to attend a few more conferences for bloggers in 2012 and 2013 and then, as my emotional health changed and I needed to step back from education roles and my blogging almost stopped…until 2015.

In moving from Sydney to a new place further north in 2015 I was very determined to ‘do something every day on the blog’ and I posted every day. Gradually I reconnected with blogs and link ups. There was a link up almost every day of the week, and then in 2016, when Kirsty stopped her Monday link up, I put my hand up and made this happen!

And, now, for me blogging is continuing but I am winding up the link up which has had a couple of name changes this year but is known affectionately as Life This Week for just under 6 years.

A long time. And as happens, fewer bloggers are linking up these days as I chose to go monthly, then fortnightly, so in the interests of self care I made the choice to stop after 20 June 2022.

I wrote here about it and there will be a finale post about it on 20 June 2022. This will be the final link up from Denyse Whelan Blogs. Do pop in and link up a post if you can!

But wait...there is one more thing I am grateful for!

That there is a link up called Weekend Coffee Share in a country far from Australia but also part of the same Commonwealth of Nations that I belong to, in Canada. And it’s run by the very efficient, kind and helpful blogger called Natalie. Natalie’s link up invites people from around the world to share their posts, visit others’ and make comments. I am very grateful for her support over the years, and for the story she shared as a Woman of Courage in my blog series.

 

I am not stopping blogging going forward!

Not at all. However there may be different days of the week on which I publish. I have a blog lovin’ button on the top right hand corner of the home page if you would like to subscribe to my updates.

I am grateful to this person who gets me…in fact we laugh every.single.day. And he is kind enough to put up with my requests (at very short notice!) for a photo for #dresswithpurpose. B is my husband of over 51 years, and best friend through thick and thin since October 1970.

I am indeed grateful to be well, after my oral cancer diagnosis 5 years ago. This photo is from Friday 10 June as I was getting ready to go to do some shopping and have a cup of coffee. So grateful I can do this!

Do you practise gratitude?

Oh…in our version of English spelling, we have practise for the verb and practice for the noun.

Take care,

Denyse.

 

Joining in with Natalie for Weekend Coffee Share over the weekend. And grateful to be doing so!

Thank you Natalie.

https://natalietheexplorer.home.blog/

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Scenes From Where We Live (For Now). #LifesStories. 37/2022.

Scenes From Where We Live (For Now). #LifesStories. 37/2022.

I do enjoy sharing stories with images, and this post for the second last #lifesstories link up is just that!

Those who have read the blog for some years will know that we both decided, after selling our Sydney house, and having SOME money left, to buy new cars, and rent a place on New South Wales Central Coast while we consider life ahead and where we might live….

Oh how we think we are in charge of our lives but there are many forces at play aren’t there?

As it turned out, not quite the end game we imagined.

Not in our wildest dreams…OK, maybe an exaggeration but let’s say if we had “expected the unexpected” then maybe there would have been some more to consider. But nope, here’s a bit about where we live now…and some of the story. In photos. Mostly.

BUT before I start, this IS the second last link up here on a Monday. More info here, and for Monday 20 June, the last of the #LifesStories I hope you will join me in a bit of a sentimental journey that I have called Endings and Beginnings.

What we left and where we moved to settle (we thought) 

The reasons for moving house included:

  • I could no longer work. I was 65 and again, heading towards an emotional overload if I did not stop work. That was a big reason.
  • My husband had decided that Sydney was too busy with traffic and that it was time to live in quieter areas, which we then thought would be the southern end of Central Coast of NSW.
  • We needed to use the money from the sale, to pay off the mortgage, and have enough left for us to get two new vehicles (very important for the driving up and down the M1 as it would turn out in 2017…) and have a solid amount behind us to supplement our now part aged pensions and my husband’s super.
  • The extended family dynamics were changing and we had been told there was no need for “grandchild care” in 2015…and to be honest, it was somewhat of a relief, even though we knew a new (8th) grandchild was coming….

And we moved here: a decision made quickly, and with hindsight far toooo quickly. But I will say, it was also because we had a certain time to be out of our house and “I” needed to know where we were living next.

The House That Was a Mistake…And Expensive to Rent (even then).

What We Did Next. Sigh! 

My health suffered as I did what I could to try to transition to my ‘new life’.

My husband was actually very busy and loving what he was doing. Studying for his counselling degree, volunteering at lifeline and doing renovations at his brother’s house.

I did go back to Sydney quite a bit initially but no longer living there proved both sad and strange but we had made this choice, so “on with it’.

Except it was no easy with me getting more IBS, and the house being very uncomfortable so, a decision was made once we saw a single level house at the northern end of the coast for about $200 LESS per week, and we moved. Still had to keep paying rent on the old place as well until lease ran out.

Happ(ier) Life, Happ(ier) Wife?

We were both pleased with the new-to-us place, which was a similar vintage to one we had sold in Sydney. It was in Gorokan. And I admit there were a lot more places to explore for some time in late 2015 and into 2016.

We even celebrated our 45th Wedding Anniversary with our kids and their kids not knowing that life, as an extended  family, was going to change for some of the members and that it would not be great. It’s all settled to a certain degree but massive changes are hard on all.

In fact, 2016 into 2017 was a time of distress for me. B was still doing some of his study and had a counselling role with Lifeline, and did occasional work at his brother’s down south.

Unfortunately my health changed for the worst and cancer was diagnosed. There is all about that here.

The Central Coast And Scenes of Beauty Which Abound. 

I’ve been so fortunate in the past 7+ years to have places of natural beauty to visit, become part of, and enjoy in all the various weather conditions.

Nature is indeed healing and for me emotionally and physically it’s played a big role in distracting me from what my current health status was, and in healing.

I now seek refuge in nature to explore feelings which include appreciation for all that is good too.

So, a range of images from both the south and northern ends of the N.S.W. Central Coast and beyond. In all seasons!

So much has changed in the recent years for so many of us.

The escalating house prices meant that even ‘future us’ could no longer afford to even consider buying. What changes there have been in real estate. This year, our rent for this modern 4 bedroom home has risen $90 a week. And whilst we accept we are fortunate to be living in a comfortable house, other matters have made us consider:

  • Is this where we want to live our ‘older years’ lives? Not sure, specifically, but it is highly unlikely it will be continuing here.

 

  • Has our time here on the Central Coast been valuable to us both of the years? Yes. In some ways.

 

  • In our future years, will we be better moving closer to our extended family for some support. From us and for us, maybe?

 

  • The isolation of us from those we love most has been exaggerated by the two+ years of Covid and the resultant lockdowns and lack of ability to travel to and from family in Sydney. For example, my elderly Dad is on the Northern Beaches, and our adult kids are in places spread far apart but in a general area called ‘nor west Sydney’ and ‘the hills’.

 

  • As grandkids grew and their weekends became filled with sport and parental visits and more it was clear we would not be seeing them drive the almost 2 hours to and from our place to visit . We had hopes for most school holidays to have one visit but it was not always possible.

 

  • Seeing my elderly father in his independent unit and calling on his family only as needed made me think about our needs. This may not be a need for us for some time but up where we live, we have each other and that is it.

 

  • One catalyst for change and thinking our future health needs though was when our GP of over 5 years announced he was moving away and to an area at least 30 minutes drive away. This made us think carefully about our current health needs being met with a new group of G.P.s or what did we need to do?

 

So, how about popping back in two weeks to find out what we are now planning to do!!

Thank you for joining in this second last of the LifesStories link up too.

See you on 20 June.

Maybe add an old post if you choose, it’s going to be fun send off…except I cannot promise anything other than virtual fireworks…etc!!

Denyse.

Denyse Whelan Blogs Is a Community

You can link up something old or new, just come on in.

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Denyse Whelan.

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Dear 2015 & Beyond D….Love From 2022 Me. 36/2022.

Dear 2015 & beyond D….Love From 2022 Me. 36/2022.

 

Blogging has given me the chance to share some of my life’s story to date in the form of Telling My Story (my memoir, found here) and Head and Neck Cancer ( my story, found here) and as my link up called Life’s Stories draws to a close, I thought I would give myself a timely reminder of

all

that

I

have

learned

since

2015

about

me….

and life!

Dear D,

2015

You did it. You made the physical move from Sydney to the Coast, as planned after selling the Sydney house.

It would feel ok but also very strange at times.

One such time, was on the day of moving when you realised as you crossed the Hawkesbury River, that you were headed NORTH to home, not back home to Sydney in the south.

You made use of the new area for take photos, find beaches and return to Sydney as “grandma” when you were asked for school assemblies, care and on one very special occasion, meet the youngest granddaughter on her birthday.

You were torn inside a lot, in fact it played havoc with your gut so that you had many I.B.S. incidents which did not help your confidence at all. In fact, the stress grew in you so much, you stopped a lot of what you thought you could continue. You let go of any remnants of your last work life. That in itself brought more grief.

You did make one promise to yourself and kept it. You would blog daily no matter what and that continued for the next 2 years or more.

Life was full of very mixed emotions. And sadly, you did not accept them well, because to be honest, it would not be till 2016 that a psychologist would help you understand that feelings take a lot longer to catch up to actions.

Doing my best to ‘look’ OK but feeling anxious

2016

You loved your blog and it did give you a feeling of connectedness when there was no-one you knew in your new area. That was true. The blog got revamped thanks to Tanya & by September you had your link up called Life This Week start every Monday!

Your body was changing. From the very overweight one to a trimming down one but that was coming from the stress and concern about your anxiety AND I.B.S. As someone who FEELS so much, it was also very hard to absorb family issues and many challenges where you could do NOTHING about them.

You didn’t mind that you were no longer so overweight but you also did not feel well and that took any shine off  ‘wanting to look good’.

Despite learning so much through reading, meditating, art, getting into nature, you were still stuck somewhat and unsure of what it was about.

Your mouth’s soreness increased and you would need to find a decent dentist, after the last one in 2015 was like the others, telling you that not cleaning properly was part of the problem. Dear Reader: it WAS NOT. See 2017.

To Terrigal to see A.N.Z.A.C. display

2017.

Again issues within the family that you could do nothing about were very hard on your emotional health. Very.

It was getting worse for you. I know. Nothing seemed to get better, in fact despite all the medical and psychological help, and a kind listener in B, things went downhill stress wise…until

You could stand it no longer, and it was TIME for that mouth and its issues to be examined and in April that year you were so brave, using all your exposure therapy learning. You had the upper teeth and bridge removed. And then waited for healing of the gums that did not come.

And when you got the diagnosis of a cancer in your gums and lip, you were able to deal with SO much….despite the fear…and get on with things!

Family began to reconnect and it was likely that your cancer diagnosis helped with that and slowly, as with your recovery in the rest of 2017, things settled.

Your very much slimmed down body (hello, IBS and then oral cancer) became a great distraction and you re-discovered a love of clothes, colour and having photos of yourself taken that had probably last been seen in your 20s!

The blog continued but you stopped the daily posts as that was no longer practical. However your link up flourished and you found new bloggers and communities there too.

First haircut in 8 weeks and wearing a bright new colour

2018.

Having moved twice in the 3 years, you were very pleased to find a modern house and make that rental place for home…for then and now (2022) as it happens.

Your mouth needed two more surgeries and LOTS of patience (which you found mostly via gratitude) to wait for “teeth” for 14 months.

But your love of a coffee each day and somewhere to go and sit, after a photo of the day helped pass that time. You found solace in art and creativity.

Meanwhile, family life  back in Sydney kept on going of course, but the longer we had been away, we all found it somewhat easier to be feeling settled here.

You got disappointed from time to time that family did not visit but with heavy workloads and other commitments that was hard for them.

So, you accepted much of that, and turned your attention on your Dad, as he aged, visiting him more frequently, AND forming a more relaxed and adult relationship with him.

Your head and neck cancer story was shared with some places on line and you were invited to become an Ambassador for a head and neck charity.

You reached out to friends who might meet you for a coffee and your time on the coast was more relaxed.

Social media was a good friend (still is) as is the blogging community which would sustain you for years to come. And you shared stories on others’ blogs too.

And via a social media conversation, you ended up getting the farewell from NSW Dept of Education you should have had back in 2003.

You and B hosted family Christmas — first time since we lived in Sydney.

21 August: from no smile to smile.

2019.

You dealt with quite a few health challenges in 2019 but not yours. So, you were able to be more helpful and understanding of your dear husband on a couple of occasions.

You became far too concerned about the weight (healthy!) increase…vanity, thy name is Denyse!!

You have, by 2022 improved big time. ‘Nuff said!

We both turned 70.

You wanted, and got a wonderful celebration and are very grateful to have had those memories.

We planned to see our family in Sydney at Christmas but had to go solo as B was not well. Fortunately his health improved.

Late 2019: Ambassador.

2020.

None of us knew, of course what lay ahead in early 2020 when we got news of a ‘China’ virus.

You needed an eye check and had to get it in Sydney, where you saw your family for lunch at the shops you used to frequent when living in Sydney. Weird wasn’t it, to find your way around again!

Needing cataract surgery, that would come in March, over 3 days, just as Covid dramas and restrictions began.

But before that you appeared in a video for head and neck cancer…and you were the guest speaker at a fund raiser.

You would not have guessed about these back in 2015 would you!!

Covid did change so much, and you know that.

You and B got the vaccine. And fingers crossed now, so far have its eluded you.

You did need more surgery, one you had put off for ages but once it was done…and it worked, YOU were pleased, right?

Yes.

The rules and routines around covid were OK (ish) and you and B were your sensible selves.

Blogging was changing but you continued and did your best to showcase the various series including Women of Courage.

You decided if you couldn’t see the grandkids, you could send them little boxes of fun and treats.

Christmas? Just us, at home, after Sydney had quite a large covid outbreak.

Beach walks sustain me

2021.

More of what was almost familiar happened. But in-person anything was missed by you if it involved family.

You were OK about Covid but sometimes the social media about was very vocal and you needed to come away from it for a while.

You blogged. But your enthusiasm was waning but you did not want to stop either.

Your blogging communities were changing for sure. But you were (and are) a loyal blogger and supported others’ link ups too when you could.

In between Covid restrictions, you drove to the beach (to see the sea) and did not miss the city at all but you missed family.

You shared special birthdays via Zoom, sadly not a great compensation at all.

You cooked and sent treats to your 50 year old daughter. They were MUCH appreciated. She was teaching remotely, overseeing a grade and helping her youngest through on-line teaching.

You slowed down. You might not have realised you needed to but by the end of the year, your I.B.S. (or something like it) returned and it appeared, Dear D, that you were OVER doing things.

So, you slowed right down and took the change into early 2022 to review how you wanted your 72 year old life to be like in retirement.

My word for 2021….

2022.

You had a quiet January and reflected on a LOT.

You actually enjoyed the slower pace and your physical health improved too.

You learned to please yourself before anyone else.

Who knew?

You listened to your heart more than your head.

In fact, a ‘gut feeling’ really is true, you found!

Blogging lost some of its appeal for you. You felt like you had written and shared all you wanted to…but yet,

You would eventually close down the link up that lasted almost 6 years but you are keeping the blog open for reasons like NOW…when YOU have something to share!!

(NB: 2nd last link up Mon 6 June, and last one, 20 June. See you there?)

And on June 2022 you went to your fave place to give thanks for all your life’s changes that have helped heal you.

It was cold but hey, smile was there, as you were wrapped up in your new warm jacket.

So, continue to go well…

Lots of love,

Me.

P.S. Have you ever written a letter to yourself?

 

Joining in with Natalie for Weekend Coffee Share later this week.

Thank you Natalie.

https://natalietheexplorer.home.blog/

 

 

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‘Being Me’ In The Month That Was May. 35/2022.

‘Being Me’ In The Month That Was May. 35/2022.

Since I decided to join in this link up each month, I am also adding my post for ‘the month that was’…and what a month it turned out to be!

MAY 2022

Word Of the Year Link Up Party.

Joining in with these kind bloggers:

hosted by friends Deb, Sue,  Donna and  Jo too.

You too can join in, clicking on one the above links:

Look for this image, and add your post.

Those who follow this blog, and know me from either on-line conversations or in real life, will know that my highest (in terms of importance) value in life is ‘honesty’. And that has seen me make some choices to live better with ME!!

I guess another way of putting it, is to be ‘true to myself’.

I have been blogging for well over 11 years and seen so much change in this time. I have always reflected on what I want my blog and me to represent and along with honesty, comes vulnerability, truth telling and giving thanks.

So BEing ME has meant some reflection and change making…

Saw a recent Instagram hashtag  about ageing and owning up by #speakingyourage (words to that effect) and I have never been someone to hide my age…so this is something I do easily. Here:

 

And then just this week, to be honest, the work that was having a blog link up suddenly (or maybe stealthily) was not anything I wanted to do any more. I could have been someone who soldiered on, but that’s not me either. So, without anything else to add, here is the message to my blogging community…..

Well, now what has that meant for BEing ME?

A few changes within and they feel good.

I have reduced my in-person involvement with Head and Neck Cancer Australia and feel better for this.

I have decided to blog when I want to…and there have been examples of this recently.

I am allowing myself to feel uncomfortable too as changes like these are made. Instead of the old thinking of must get everyone’s approval I am being my own best friend and remembering what I REALLY want to do and be…and again, it’s part of my value system.

MAY MEMORIES.

FIVE years on from my cancer diagnosis was always going to be remembered and celebrated! I added a memento in the form of a bracelet with hearts on 17 May 2022 at 9.35 am. And wrote a post here. 

 

The feelings and experiences here are part of why I am very grateful to be well…following 5 years of recovering from a rare oral cancer…and I make the very most of all the in-person connections we can have with family. We had a lovely catch up here after 4 months.

Our son’s 4. We cared for these kids for years…sadly not Miss in heart top as she was born after we left Sydney.

Then there is this photo which means so much for my healthy recovery and emotional connections. Our four grandkids visited me just after surgery #1 (the big one) in August 2017, so I asked them to do a re-creation with me in May 2022. Love this!!

And that will do for now. I have been to see Dad in Dee Why twice in May and am enjoying the frank chats and helpful conversations we both have to better understand and appreciate each other and our similarities and differences. No more photos from him though. Fair enough! And no, he does not want to live to 100…..I get that.

How was your month of May..not quite finished of course…

And are you  using a word or words in 2022 like I am?

Denyse.

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