Wednesday 27th October 2021

Best Gift Ever. 3/52. #LifeThisWeek. 7/2019.

Best Gift Ever. 3/52. #LifeThisWeek. 7/2019.

The best gift ever has given me food for thought.

I have had some great gifts in my life including these:

  • parents who gave me life, shelter, education, care and loveand who were wed for over 60 years.
  • a man I met and married within 3 months who has loved me for over 48 years now as I have him. This is on our wedding day, 23 January 1971.

  • the first gift of a child: our daughter (story is here) and then much later, our son (story soon!) and even though we did not know much about parenting, both are doing well in their adult lives.
  • a career in K-6 education in New South Wales schools which took me from probationary teacher to school principal thanks to the gifts of others who saw the potential in me, degree courses I completed with loving support from my family, and the children, teachers and parents of the many schools. Latterly I enjoyed teaching and supervising pre-service Masters’ students at University. On many occasions I was glad I could help these people and share what had been shared to me as gifts in my career.
  • the gift of meeting people and socialising is one I enjoy and to this end am doing it in a new area and loving making new connections socially: on-line and in real life, as they say!
  • I love the gift I have been given as someone who notices nature, enjoys solitude from time to time, and has learned so much about herself during some times of turbulence in recent years.
  • The gift I have been given of enjoying art and especially making mandalas has also seen me make 100s of bookmarks to help a charity called The Big Hug Box.
  • How good is it to give back! My story was also in a book that was published. What a gift that was.

But what about cancer? Is THAT a gift? 

I cannot finish this post without mentioning my fairly recent brush with the big C and what a gift that has been.

  • Life is a matter of how it’s viewed by the individual.
  • I do not like having had cancer because of many of the ramifications in my life, yet I know its presence has been a present. Let me explain more!
  • I was in a major life transition which had, in its own way, strangled my confidence and demeanour because of the grief involved. Yet I had some ideas of how to help myself.
  • That series of ideas was supplemented by the gift of amazing professional support, amazing and unending personal support and many hours of time to both learn and absorb.
  • When it was found that I had cancer, up from within me, emerged what had been hidden for almost 3 years and over time, my personal qualities of determination, belief in my surgical and oral health teams and in my capacity to heal and that I could share my story with others as I have and do.

The Best Gift is:

  • A return to “Denyse”. She had been long gone and I am so glad she is back.
  • This is my best gift: I am back. It does not matter I am ageing – that’s a privilege, nor that I have some physical scars I cannot overcome – they’re part of my history now and I am so glad to be here and look at my image in the mirror to say:

Hello, looking OK for someone who’s been through so much.

Well-done, you!


What is your best gift?


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

Next Week’s Optional Prompt: 4/51. What Is Hope? 28/1/19.



  1. Such a bounty of gifts and well done you, indeed! It’s been so inspiring watching you not just overcome, but triumph over so many challenges the past three years and now you’re positively blooming! As a minimalist, all my best gifts are of course, the things money can’t buy, after my own brush with the big C, I’ve realised that good health is my favourite gift of all and one that I’m certainly not going to take for granted. My post this week is a bit off topic but not too much because books and reading is another great gift – my life would be so much more boring and not nearly as relaxing without books to read!

    • Thanks so much Sammie for your unconditional and constant support. It is amazing the lessons life teaches us but as my husband says from an ancient quote “when the student is ready the teacher appears.’

      Look forward to reading your post too.

      Denyse x

  2. How wonderful Denyse that you can see and appreciate all the gifts in your life. Many people don’t take the time to acknowledge or even recognise what they have. Your smile on your wedding day is gorgeous and you look so happy and ready to start on the wonderful journey together. It certainly hasn’t been a dull ride especially the last few years but to be able to see the positive to having Cancer is remarkable and inspirational. Thank you as always for the link up but most of all thank you for the gift of YOU! Have a beautiful week. xx

    • Thanks Sue. We were both so happy to be marrying and whilst the road has had many bumps we remain together, still smiling and loving each others. There are not as many these days who can say that. Sadly within our family as well. Still, we all do what we can with this life of ours.

      I admit I spent some time thinking of this prompt and how I would approach it and this seemed like the natural path.

      I am glad it resonated with you too.

      Denyse x

  3. I love how you see gifts all around you. On this day 2 years ago we bought our house up here on the Sunny Coast. While I’m so grateful for what we have, I’m actually more grateful for the events that brought us up here. I have my husband back again – healthier than he’s ever been – and that’s an amazing gift.

    • Two years! My goodness for me that has gone fast.

      I love that you too can see the very gift that means most: your husband ‘being back’.

      My husband is similarly pleased with “my return”. It feels great too.

      Denyse x

  4. I love that you’re back Denyse and I love that you took your cancer journey and made it about becoming your best self – it’s so easy to wallow in self pity, but you stood tall and conquered – such an example to the rest of us xx

    • Thanks Leanne, I have allowed myself to be sorry for myself but on very limited occasions and after a bit of a rant and a few tears, I tell myself ‘that’s it’.

      It is working. It would not have in the years before I learned so much about myself and then I got cancer. I have mentally and emotionally grown into a place and space that I like a lot!

      Self-criticism, self-dislike and self-comforting with food have just about taken their leave of me. It takes a lot of work but the result is much easier to live with now.

      Denyse x

  5. It’s lovely to see all the gifts you’ve received Denyse. And yes, one of the biggest ones is your attitude towards your cancer journey and having yourself back. Also, the most precious gifts are always those that money can’t buy

    • Thank you Sanch,you could not have told me this would be the outcome for having cancer two years ago. This was when I “knew”: I was not well emotionally and was fighting to quell what it was.

      I have to credit the GP here who we found in April who gave me practical help via meds for IBS that also contributed, over time, to my greater well-being.

      Yes, indeed, this life ours is a gift alright.

      Denyse x

  6. Welcome back Denyse, your story is one well worth telling and you tell it so well. So glad you recognise your gift 🙂 . I’ve shared an older post where I talked about earthly gifts.

    • Love your welcome, thanks Deb!

      I often do not know how a post is going to pan out until I begin writing and that’s what this one was.

      Hope that all is well your way.

      Denyse x

  7. You have such a great lease on life to be able to look at something we consider bad (cancer) and see it as a gift. That is truly a gift.
    I loved seeing these older photos from your life, Denyse. Thanks for such an uplifting post.

    • Oh thank you Jodie. That is most kind. I can be (and sure have been) somewhat pessimistic and now work hard (it’s getting less so) to see the good and the positive.

      Denyse x

  8. How wonderful, Denyse, that you see all the gifts in your life and you’re back. Every new day is a present to me and I try to receive it with as much gratitude and appreciation as I can.