Sunday 26th June 2022

Beginnings. Life This Week. #ltw1. 366/256.

Beginnings. Life This Week 1. 366/256.

Welcome to the first week of the new Link-Up called “Life This Week.” I’ve been writing about the  topic I named “life this week” all year each Monday.

Today’s prompt, which I am following is:-

Beginnings. “Let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start” sang Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music. I began my life in Wollongong NSW as the first born to my parents.

At The Dapto Show age around 4.

At The Dapto Show age around 4.

Life was pretty ordinary in a good way from 1949 until 1959 when we made another beginning…. I began living on Sydney’s northern beaches and went to primary school in Year 5 & 6 there, and onto Manly Girls High School until 1967 where I was in the beginning… of the Higher School Certificate cohort. Yep, the first ones to do 6 years at high school instead of 5.

2nd Year of our 6 Years at High School.

2nd Year of our 6 Years at High School.

I knew I wanted to be a teacher but I didn’t get to teachers’ college at the beginning of the intake. No, I was not ‘good enough’ to be given my teachers’ scholarship in February 1968.  Instead, my offer came at the beginning of the first week of the first prac in April so I was thrown in the deep end and swam because I was ready to begin learning to be a teacher! That beginning was awesome and I knew it was the career for me.

In 1970 I began my first year of teaching and left home to teach in country NSW. That was it! Talk about a “get real” beginning. From a spoiled kid with Mum doing pretty much everything for me, to going into a shared house with other teachers. I was soon sorted out by them and I began to learn more about being independent, how to prepare a simple meal, and, reluctantly, how to clean the house. Later that year my life began the path of ‘forever love’ and more as I met my now husband and we began this life of ours that has been 46 years in the making this October.

At our Wedding Reception

At our Wedding Reception

Beginning life as a new bride, teaching in a new (to me) position at a two teachers school (with a male chauvinist boss – not the hub!), setting up a house together, and being pregnant were HUGE beginnings. Mothering a daughter in 1971 and staying home were contributing factors to my beginnings of over-eating to compensate for unhappiness and lack of social contact. There “were” always diets to begin..and we know they didn’t work out of course.

I love(d) being a teacher, especially those kids aged from around 5 to 8. These kids are at the beginning of their learning and I so enjoy being part of that. My teaching career took me, following my husband’s career path because that WAS how the NSW Dept of Education did that then, to places where I had to begin again in new, rural, and isolated communities. This was a challenging time to a couple in the 20s but we did it. And those 8 years hold great memories.

Many years of hairstyles, ages and weight up & down! LIFE!!

Many years of hairstyles, ages and weight up & down! LIFE!!

Then to the beginning of living in a house we mortgaged and lived in for over 14 years in Sydney’s northwest. We had a second child, after thinking that would never happen and we settled into suburban life with 2 kids, 2 cars, mortgage and 2 of us in full-time teaching jobs. In 1980 my career took off as my unwell husband had to medically retire. It didn’t feel like a ‘choice’ but I did it anyway.

Thus began for the next two decades more beginnings…as I studied two degrees (bachelors and masters of education over 7.5 years via distance education) as I taught and lead in K-6 schools in Western Sydney. I began many different programs to help kids improve learning and was committed to staff development and did all I could for teachers to improve and learn new skills. I was promoted three times to executive positions, finally as principal, in 5 primary schools.


Worked Hard For These….from 1970 to 2006.

Twenty years ago this year, I began a new role. That of grandmother. This was and remains one of my best ever gigs! Our 2 children have 4 children in each of their families and grandparenting 8 has been a wonderful time. We also began as regular carers to some of these lovely little people when I took some leave from teaching, and later, once I had partially retired. By the time I got to 60 it was time to retire. Again.

The first time was not one of choice but of ill-health. I had started my role of Principal in 1999 with great hopes and endeavoured to make the necessary changes within a school community but after almost 4 years it took its toll on me. I did have time out and whilst I was grateful, I really needed to be ‘back in schools’ so I made a beginning as a classroom teacher and ESL teacher in 2004. This was the school from which I was given a ‘retirement’ that I missed before. I began an education consulting role in pre-schools and also began a part-time, casual role as a University tutor and was an external observer for BOSTES. I chose to leave each of these paid roles with the last ones completed in  August 2015.

End 2009 last days as a teacher.

End 2009 last days as a teacher.

What about now? Before I finish, of course I made beginnings as a blogger in late 2010 and have been blogging in different platforms since then. Whilst I had hoped to make a niche for myself based on my education and schooling experiences, readers did not grow.  But I began to meet loads of lovely bloggers in both real life and virtually! Always fun. Mrs Whelan & Mrs Woog Early 2015, we made the beginning of the next part of our lives when we moved away from Sydney to start a life for two on the Central Coast and I “knew” then that blogging would be my daily go-to and it has proven so. I am so very pleased with how I have been accepted by the blogging community as I am way older than almost everyone! denyse whelan facebook profile picture Now, I am beginning my first link-up here, on the blog where I blog about many different topics. Today’s is Life This Week, and that is the name of the link-up! I hope that many bloggers decide to come on board and post here too!

What beginnings are you thinking about right now after reading some of mine? Thank you for reading….I realised that at my age there are loads of beginnings to note! Warm wishes to you all. Denyse. life 150

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 and 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!
  • Respect and tolerance however, are the hallmarks of acceptable on-line social behaviour and as my blog is family-friendly I will reserve the right to delete comments that may be offensive to me or others.
  • Tweet with the hashtag #ltw (adding the numeral for prompt) if you like.

life this week icons 150 2



I am linking up with Alicia from One Mother Hen for Open Slather and with Kell at All Mum Said for Mummy Mondays. Thank you both for your bloggy friendships!



  1. Weeeeeeee! You’re off and racing … and I got pole position!
    I’m happy you chose to blog Denyse. You add value and I love hanging out with other Deep Fried peeps like me. Which is a great segue into the blog post I linked about why the hell I called my blog Deep Fried Fruit.
    Happy Monday!
    Happy new linky!

    • Yay!! Congratulations for getting pole position!! I am so happy to have you be there….and for your encouragement! I’m not normally awake and commenting ‘this’ early but had to see if it all worked. It did. Thanks too Leanne for your encouragement and I will be back to read your post and comment too!! Denyse. xx

  2. inthegoodbooksblog says:

    I loved reading about your beginnings Denyse. I hope that my book review post link is acceptable, as it doesn’t really tie in with the theme of beginnings.
    If it’s ok, I look forward to joining in every Monday! 🙂

    • Thank you for joining in! Of course your book review post link is acceptable and I will be delighted for you to come on board each week!! I’ll be back to read and comment…I had to get up “early” to see if this linky worked…and it did!! Denyse x

  3. We always have beginnings – some important, some enjoyable and some just slip by unnoticed. Yet here we are. Glad you’re hosting. Monday wouldn’t have been the same…

    • So true, Lydia. And sometimes we just do not remember the ‘beginnings’ until much later. Thanks so much for your support of this blog and its new link up! Shall be popping over to your post soon!

  4. I’m hoping to link up a bit later Denyse. Am heading back home in an hour or so… it’s only about 4hrs drive, but hopefully I can join in after that!

    Love this post about all of your beginnings!

    • Thanks so much Deb! You have been a stalwart of my blog over the years and it makes a difference to have friends come along on this journey. Safe travels today. You have had a HUGE weekend!! Enjoy the new place…certainly a BEGINNING for you!!

  5. I chose strawberries this week because I feel I have come a long way from my beginnings. When I started I was seedling stage, haven grown towards plant stage and ripe for picking or at blogging stage. Good luck.

    • That sounds delightful Maria! Thank you for your supportive comments! P.S. Next time, would you please link back to one blog post? I love your enthusiasm but I, like most who have link-ups, ask for one post per weekly link up. It can be a previously published one and it is only a suggestion that prompts are followed. Thanks!

  6. Loving the beginnings of a new link up! Yay!

  7. This is one of third career goals and blogging was a wonderful way to start. Look forward to following your Monday blog.

  8. Thanks for setting this up Denyse! And it was great to hear more about you and your beginnings. Those pictures of you as a child and at your wedding are so lovely!
    I decided to use my first blog post for today’s prompt – about moving to SF from Sydney. Hope it’s right!

    • Yay for you and blogging too! That sounds not only right but perfect!! Thanks for your kind words and consistent support here! Comments are bloggy gold!! I am looking forward to reading your post soon! Congrats!

  9. You have lived a busy and accomplished life. You still have that gorgeous smile you had on your wedding day xx

  10. Thanks for organising this for us Denyse! I loved learning more about you. Mine’s a short post this week but I hope to join in more for the next one 🙂

  11. I think you are an inspiration!

  12. I loved reading this and learning more about you. It’s surprising that we haven’t crossed paths because I’ve lived and gone to school in western Sydney for my whole life. And now my boys do. I went to Blackett Primary School in the 70s and Bidwill High School in the 80s. It had a terrible reputation at the time but it wasn’t so bad.

    I wish I’d had that feeling of knowing a career was meant for me. I’ve never had any idea what I wanted to do and have drifted through life. Sigh. You’re amazing the way you’ve embraced change. Very inspiring!

  13. We lived in 3 different ‘north west’ suburbs from 1978-2015. I was DP and rel Prin at Shalvey PS from 1988-1998 so definitely know the schools you mention!! I visited those schools for meetings and knew the bosses and DPs and the ‘druitt’ is not always as people in other areas picture it for sure. I wouldn’t have stayed as long as I did if I had not enjoyed the professional interactions, the students and the community. As far as a career path, I have been fortunate to find teaching and like it. In terms of embracing change, I often battle it (thanks anxiety & IBS for letting me know) but I do seem to make it! Thanks so much for your support of this blog too, Ness. I appreciate it.

  14. Now I feel like we have known each other for years. Congrats on your first linkup. I know it will be a great success.

  15. Thank you for a new link up and enjoyed reading about your Beginnings!

  16. I think you have a success on your hands here D! I’m number 18 today!!! I’ve linked up an old post about ending special education and beginning mainstream. I love learning more about you and the future prompts are awesome. I will do my best to link up each week with an old post if I haven’t anything new to contribute. I sort of liked not having the pressure to write yesterday, although it was weird not having a linkup to organise myself. Good luck with this but I have a feeling you are not going to need it!

    • Oh how lovely of you to say, Kirsty! I have been so buoyed by your support. Your success with the 5 year bloggy/link up hit called I Must Confess is part of my inspiration to ‘give this a go’. I imagine Monday must feel different but in a week or so, I also think as school hols kick in, there will be less sadness! Thanks for joining in today!

  17. Okay… the beginnings blogs I started just aren’t happening so I’ve linked yesterday’s. I realise one probably overshared a little about my family and the other… well, it’s about what I what to focus on next – though I realise I’m still thinking about it! xx

    • I think any of us would ‘get’ that. Blogging can tempt us down paths of oversharing and I too need to be very careful. Next week’s prompt may not ‘spark’ much for you so use this one or none!! No real rules other than only one post per link up week. I am just “glad” you joined up. I am also incredibly chuffed to see this many people join in today!! Denyse x

  18. Congrats on your new link up! It was lovely to learn more about you in this post. I look forward to popping back and joining in each week 🙂

    • Hi Erika, thank you so much!! Once I started the ‘beginnings’ story I realised it was going to a long one! Next week is favourite family meals…a little less then I think. I so appreciate you coming by and look forward to seeing you next time too! Denyse x

  19. Wow!! Look at you now!!
    I really do enjoy reading your blog Denyse. Always interesting and relevant. Congratulations.

  20. You are amazing and I love you. I have nothing to link but I will try for next week. Love your work, Denyse x

  21. I know the blogging you Denyse, and a bit about the educational you – but I’d never seen that wedding photo, and my goodness, what a beautiful photo it is. I haven’t written my post yet, but I do hope that will be my beginning – to blog regularly again and link up at least frequently (not promising weekly, because #life). But I love that you’ve taken this on and so quickly too, and I really like that you’ve made it easy for commitment-phobes like me to participate. Thank you. (And if I get that post written, I’ll have a bit more to share about my beginnings in that …)

    • Bronnie, you are so lovely! Thanks for your kind words too. I look forward to you posting here whenever you get the chance. The world needs to read your blogging voice again. I miss it. Denyse x

  22. Congratulations on the new link up! Those are a lot of great beginnings 🙂

  23. Look at little tiny Denyse!!! I love it!

    Also love the idea of this linkup, so here I am! I hope I can come every week.

    We also got your little parcel in the mail, you’re such a lovely soul. So glad I know you xo

    • Oh how sweet of you to say. Yep, she got dressed up for The Show is those days!! Glad the little parcel arrived and so happy you are planning to join in whenever you can. Next week it’s ‘favourite family meal’ if you choose the prompt!! Love your support and care as always. Denyse xx

  24. It is nice to know a bit more about you. Looks like your new link up has been successful.

    • Thanks Anne! I am beyond pleased with the response from others who have joined in and now you have too. Look forward to seeing you here again. Cheers, Denyse.

  25. To be part of this, your first link-up is a privilege Denyse. What a great career you have had. I recall you commenting on my International Womens’ Day post about some of the challenges you had as a woman in education way back in the early days and you’ve alluded to it again here. It’s such a credit to you to have achieved so much over the course of your career. Yet you are so humble.

    My new beginning started 8 years ago when I changed careers and I live in hope that blogging might take me down a new path yet again, maybe bring about a new beginning. But I’m at a bit of a loss as to what that would entail. All I know is I love it and am learning more and more each say. For now and that’s enough for me. Thank you for hosting this link-up. I will be back for sure!

    • Your post and now this comment have been a wonderful way for the first link-up here to finish for Week 1. Thank YOU so much Shauna. I am most grateful for the new ways in which I get to interact socially now here in the world of blogging. Yes, keep on blogging…and I can tell that what you are already doing and saying about Early Childhood education needs more blogging about it too!! Warm wishes, Denyse

  26. You’ve had such an amazing journey so far! Glad you keep blogging and must admit, I’m in awe of your daily blogging. Hopefully, once I move up the coast and settle in, we could organise a blogger’s meetup there.

    • Thank you so much Sanch, I appreciate your kind words. I do like to have purpose of course, and daily blogging gives me that along with connections to the world outside. Stopping work, leaving Sydney and the family caring I did took their toll but blogging has been my go-to constant! Good luck with your big move too.

  27. Thank you for sharing so much of your life with us Denyse.

    • That’s why I blog I guess..also trying not to ‘overshare’ and I so appreciate your comments and glad you are ‘back’! I smiled when I saw your comments roll in via my emails today. Cheers, Jan.