Sunday 22nd May 2022

X Marks The Spot.43/51. #LifeThisWeek #WomenofCourage. 2/2.123/2021.

X Marks The Spot.43/51. #LifeThisWeek. #WomenofCourage. 2/2. 123/2021.

Last week, I wrote here,  about the first half of summing up for Women of Courage.
Now it’s time for the second part.

Before I move on, it’s been an interesting experience to ask people to be willing to share a story of courage.

Some women I approached not knowing them at all, and some said “yes” with no hesitation and yet others, who already have relatively well-known lives via social media and work, said “I am not a woman of courage” and “I have nothing of interest to share.”

Those responses made me sit back and think. Were they ‘threatened’ or ‘fearful’ or were they just not really interested?

If you are someone who wants to hold all the control in your life…well-done if you think you can because it is proven over and over again we cannot.

However, if you are willing to take a risk, and be vulnerable, then you will not only empower yourself but you may even encourage others to do the same. I did exactly that each time I reached out to ask a woman if she would consider this. More about this at the end of this post.

Here’s the second part from 2020 and with the final series in 2021.

Brene Brown has helped me learn to be vulnerable and to learn more about empathy in ourselves and fellow humans. I know many who read here will have seen Brene’s brief video about empathy but I reckon I can get away with sharing it again.

Thank you to the women here who were/are vulnerable. I also want to say, that in life’s many challenges, some who wrote posts have had their personal lives turn inside out/upside down via loss of a partner and health. I acknowledge this today and send my best to you.

The second part of the list of women of courage”
38. Tara Flannery
39. Natalie
40. Anonymous
41. Jo
42. Ann
43. Christina Henry
44. Anonymous
45. Laurie
46. Christie Hawkes
47. J.T.
48. Julie McCrossin AM
49. Rosemarie
50. Anonymous
51. Anna
52. Stella
53. Yvonne McLaren
54. Leanne
55. Tanya Selak
56. Cate Froggatt
57. Marsha Ingrao
58. Tracey-Lee
59. Denyse’s Relatives
60. Tracey Breese
61. P.M.
62. Juliette O’Brien
63. Cosette Calder
64. Anne Howe
65. Denyse Whelan
66. Jacqui
67. Terri Webster Schrandt
68. Gloria Hill
69. Bianca Hewes
70. Anonymous
71. Joanne
72. Alice Leung
73. Gillian Coutts
74. Ness

Do have a read of your post if you shared your story …all of them are found here on this page. Thank you for sharing.

Denyse.

Link Up #263.

Life This Week. Link Up #263.

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

* Please add just ONE post each week! NOT a link-up series of posts, or multiple posts. Thank you.

* 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. It’s a kind connection I value as a blogger! 

* Check out what others are up to: Leave a comment on a few posts, because we all love our comments, right!

* Add a link back to this blog in your post somewhere, or on your sidebar or let others know somewhere you are linking up to this blog’s Life This Week.

*Posts deemed by me, the owner of the blog & the link-up, to be unsuitable for my audience will be deleted without notice. These may include promotions, advertorials, sales and any that are overly religious or political or in any way offensive in nature.

Next Week’s Optional Prompt: 44/51 Young. 1 Nov. Link Up #264. Mr W. is back with his final post in 2021 on a different topic.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter


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Self Care Stories #6. #WomenofCourage 1/2. 42/51 #LifeThisWeek. 122/2021.

Self Care Stories #6. #WomenofCourage 1/2. 42/51 #LifeThisWeek. 122/2021.

In this week’s self care stories the words are not about me.

All the stories from the Women of Courage series are here.

They are about these women noted here and what they shared as Women of Courage back in 2019 for what became known as Series 1.

Further on are some of the women from 2020, which became Series 2.  In the final post where I will wrap the remainder of the women’s stories from 2020 and then those who were part of Series 3 which ended in September 2021.

 

How did Women of Courage start?

I am  introducing the series with  examples from (my!) life. That post will go live on Wednesday 15 May 2019.

After that, at certain intervals,  other “women of courage”, will be having their stories shared via a post here.

It is a goal of mine as a blogger to connect us all and to share our stories.

Thank you for your interest as a reader and commenter here.

I look forward to this series as the year proceeds and we all get to read about some different and wonderful:

                                 Women of Courage

And then what happened?

I am excited, interested and curious about these stories from real life…and women of courage!

I hope you are too.

If you would like to share your story of being a woman of courage* please let me know in the comments and I will email you. That would be great!

*there are no men included as I  think we women do not talk or not write about our stories enough which is why I have called the series: Women of Courage.

This woman here, Jane Caro AM, author, mother, and more, is a friend and I was delighted to hear her speak about the book Accidental Feminists which struck a chord for me, given my age and stage in life. I then put a post out about me, and already asked some people from the world of blogging to share their stories, and away it went.

Thank you to women of courage:

It had its challenges getting answers of Yes/No?Can I Get Back To You?/I Am Not Courageous…but I accepted all whose answers arrived.

Then if there had been an agreement to add their story, I sent off the same five questions to all.

 

Questions from Denyse:

  • What have you faced in your life where you have had to be courageous?
  • How did this change you in any way? Please outline further if this has been the case.
  • Is there something you learned from this that you could recommend to help others who need courage?
  • Do you think you are able to be more courageous now if the life situation calls for it?
  • Why is that?Is there any message you would give to others facing a situation where courage could be needed?

And then waited for responses. Some came fast, others came slowly but in the end 74 women shared! Not all used their real names and that of course was fine.

2019: Series One.

2020: Part of Series Two.

 

I pay particular tribute to dear friend and artist, Tracey Fletcher King who recently died.

Tracey had been an amazing and inclusive art teacher and I ‘met’ her virtually when I did classes with her in 2015. I knew then she had cancer but was free of it for some time.

Sadly, then around 2016 into 2017, hers became a nasty one, and she required on-going chemo which came at a price. Her last art exhibition was a monumental occasion and struggle but she achieved her goal to hold it. She supported me from day one of my cancer diagnosis and was a generous friend to me and many.

She was determined she share her story while she could, and because I am highlighting her here, this is the direct link. Vale Tracey. This is classic Tracey art…blue and white, and fruit. From her website.

 

Now on the right hand side of my blog’s home page, here is the roll for Women of Courage 1-37.

    1. 1. Sam Colden
    2. 2. Megan Blandford
    3. 3. Katherine
    4. 4. Debbie Harris
    5. 5. Kirsty Russell
    6. 6. Annette
    7. 7. Dorothy
    8. 8. Leanne
    9. 9. Min
    10. 10. Tegan Churchill
    11. 11. Kirsten
    12. 12. Megan Daley
    13. 13. Alicia
    14. 14. Veronica
    15. 15. Deborah
    16. 16. Sarah
    17. 17. Lydia C. Lee
    18. 18. Margaret Jolly
    19. 19. Jan Wild
    20. 20. Tracey Fletcher King
    21. 21. Deb Morton
    22. 22. Joanne
    23. 23. Lisa Greissl
    24. 24. Grace Titioka
    25. 25. Anonymous
    26. 26. Maureen Jansen
    27. 27. Sandra Kelly
    28. 28. Beth Macdonald
    29. 29. Lorna Gordon
    30. 30. Jayde
    31. 31.Cathy
    32. 32. Sue Loncaric
    33. 33. Sanch
    34. 34. Rebecca Bowyer
    35. 35. Jennifer Jones
    36. 36. Anonymous
    37. 37. Kathy

If your story is here, why not go back to the page here  and have a read to check out what you shared then.

Warm wishes to all,

Denyse.

Link Up #262.

Life This Week. Link Up #262.

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

* Please add just ONE post each week! NOT a link-up series of posts, or multiple posts. Thank you.

* 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. It’s a kind connection I value as a blogger! 

* Check out what others are up to: Leave a comment on a few posts, because we all love our comments, right!

* Add a link back to this blog in your post somewhere, or on your sidebar or let others know somewhere you are linking up to this blog’s Life This Week.

*Posts deemed by me, the owner of the blog & the link-up, to be unsuitable for my audience will be deleted without notice. These may include promotions, advertorials, sales and any that are overly religious or political or in any way offensive in nature.

Next Week’s Optional Prompt: X Marks the Spot. My post will be Part 2/2 of Women of Courage. Recap.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter


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Women of Courage Series. #74. Ness. 119/2021.

Women of Courage Series. #74. Ness. 119/2021.

Two years & five months ago… I tentatively courageously launched Women of Courage series on my blog and here was what I said then:

I got this idea from attending the Newcastle Writers Festival in April 2019 and hearing the wonderful Jane Caro speak about her book Accidental Feminists. IF you ever get a chance to listen to or read Jane’s works they are very good.

What I considered after that day and in the days to come is how we women have a tendency to underplay our achievements and whatever else we are doing in our lives. I know this is changing.

This third series of blog posts on Denyse Whelan Blogs to be found here will conclude today: Thursday 30 September 2021.

Over a couple of weeks soon, I will publish a round-up series of posts  of the women who contributed: not all shared their names and some used initials only but all shared their story and I thank them over and over for their courage to do so. 

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

 

Trigger warning: Miscarriage and infant death. Breast cancer. Information may be found at the end of the post.

 

 

Welcoming Vanessa or Ness for short to this series. Interestingly we have known each other via blogging for probably around 10 years and she turned 50 this year just as my daughter did. We lived within about 8 kms of each other too for a along time, and most likely crossed paths in the local big shopping centre! But we have not yet met IRL (in real life) as they say. So, my words about Ness will likely make her blush a bit but I am not sorry. And we share a love of Downton Abbey!!

I have seen this woman’s life as she describes some of it here via her updates on social media platforms we both were part of when Australian blogging was a much bigger ‘thing’. I remember health news. Cancer news I mean. I also recall the ways in which she had to get on with what was very anxiety producing in treatment and recovery. We are both fans of the work based on Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT) and there is a link at the end of the post.

May I add too, how proud I am to have seen Ness become trained in her work to be able to work in a library and even in Covid I see that she continues to make a contribution…and best of all, she has returned to blogging. Welcome back Ness. You were missed!

 

 

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

Over the years I’ve had an ongoing struggle with anxiety which eventually led to me figuring out that I’m on the autistic spectrum. I was officially diagnosed ten years ago at age 40.

In 2004 my husband was diagnosed with bowel cancer. Thankfully he is a survivor and going strong. It was a difficult period dealing with his treatment while we also had a toddler and a baby.

In 2007 I was expecting again but had a late miscarriage and had to give birth to my deceased baby which was very traumatic and devastating. Luckily I subsequently had another baby in 2008 and completed our family.

In late 2015 I was diagnosed with early stage triple negative breast cancer and underwent a lumpectomy plus chemotherapy and radiation.

 

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

I spent many years as a stay at home parent but a year or two after my cancer treatment I began volunteer work for St. Vincent De Paul Society Service Centre .

Eventually I went back to TAFE and achieved a Diploma of Library and Information Services.

I originally worked in libraries and had always thought I’d eventually get back into it.

I got a casual job with a council library in January and also  work for a library shelf ready service.

So I guess the change was I stopped putting things off.

 

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

Don’t be afraid to admit it if you’re struggling and need help.

I would not have gotten through any of the above without taking medication and seeing a psychologist .

 

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

I must admit that I’m currently struggling again so I’m not sure how to answer the question.

I guess I can be scared and struggling yet still take action however small whereas before I avoided things.

 

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

Try to be kind to yourself the same way you would to a friend or family member in the same situation.

Remind yourself it’s not weakness to seek any help you may need including medication if appropriate.

Take things one day at a time and when you’re going through hell, just keep going.

Do add anything else that you think would help others who read your post. For example a website or help line.

The book The Happiness Trap by Russ Harris and the techniques used in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy were helpful for me.

 

 

Thank you Ness, how pleased I am you have contributed to the series. And it is fitting that a fellow blogger’s story concluded not only Series 3 but Women of Courage Stories.

I so hope we can finally meet up in person too with cakies and coffee!!

Take care,

Denyse.

 

 

Social Media for Ness here:

Blog/Website

https://nessiville.blogspot.com/

https://www.facebook.com/Nessofnessville/

Instagram:

http://www.instagram.com/ness_nessville

 

Resources That May Help: 

These sites are Australian-based. 

https://www.panda.org.au/

https://www.sands.org.au/stillbirth-and-newborn-death

Lifeline Australia – 13 11 14 – Crisis Support and Suicide …

Russ Harris: Acceptance Commitment Therapy Information is here. The Happiness Trap is also another resource from Russ.

Breast Cancer resources: from Veronica’s  Women of Courage post found here. 

Pink Hope – Know Your Risk, Change Your Future

http://pinkhope.org.au

Be Dense Aware (Did you know dense breast tissue can make diagnosis more challenging?)

https://www.bedenseaware.com/

iPrevent – Breast Cancer Prevention Through Risk Assessment

https://nbcf.org.au/19/prevention-through-precision-medicine/

Sydney Breast Cancer Foundation – The 3 Step Breast Check

https://www.sbcf.org.au/resources/

National Breast Cancer Foundation – Zero Deaths from Breast Cancer by 2030 campaign

https://nbcf.org.au/

Joining with Natalie here for Weekend Coffee Share.

Copyright © 2021 denysewhelan.com.au – All rights reserved.

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Women of Courage Series. #73. Gillian Coutts. 116/2021.

Women of Courage Series. #73. Gillian Coutts. 116/2021.

Two years ago… I tentatively courageously launched Women of Courage series on my blog and here was what I said then:

I got this idea from attending the Newcastle Writers Festival in April 2019 and hearing the wonderful Jane Caro speak about her book Accidental Feminists. IF you ever get a chance to listen to or read Jane’s works they are very good.

What I considered after that day and in the days to come is how we women have a tendency to underplay our achievements and whatever else we are doing in our lives. I know this is changing.

This third series of blog posts on Denyse Whelan Blogs to be found here will continue to be published each Thursday into September 2021 when it will conclude.

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

Introducing Gillian Coutts who told me she is ‘just 50’ so I am guessing she was born in that year which was one I know well, having become a first time Mum then too. It was recommended to me by fellow educator and Woman of Courage Tracey here that I ask Gillian to do this story for us. And here she is. Mind you, we had the odd messaging conversation before the story landed. Something very familiar to many of us. On-line learning and also working on-line. From home. I am very glad she did commit her story to email, and with her images, I know the story ahead will be of interest to many. Thank you Gillian.

 

 

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

Until I was in my late 30s, I’d been relatively lucky in life.

I’d had an interesting corporate career, come from a great family, I’d married a good man and become an instant step mum.

I became a bio-mum when I was 38, and a year later was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Lots of people at that time would have said I was courageous about the treatment and balancing work and family, but to me I was just doing what you had to do.

There was no other choice.

But what I did next was – in hindsight – more courageous.

There’s something about those experiences that helps you see life is short, and there’s not much point in living the life others expect you to, but rather, taking the path that you want to.

This for me was about finding an alternative career.

I’d been a typical corporate ladder climber, and while I’d started out with a big heart for people and social justice, I’d ended up managing divisions of consumer goods companies which seemed to be more about making profit from people buying things that they didn’t really need.

My heart was definitely not in that.

So when my role was made redundant a few years later, I decided not to take another “job” for two years.

It was risky as I’m the primary bread winner for our family, but I knew there had to be another way.

So I stitched together a “portfolio” of things – consulting, becoming a partner in Potential Project here in Australia, board roles.

The only criteria was that I had to work with people I loved doing things I enjoyed.

I also had to say yes to opportunities if I felt scared (but not if I didn’t want to do them).  So that took courage.

The thing that really took courage though was when my friend and I started to join a folk rock band.  That was really pushing the boat out there!

 

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

Joining the band is a great example of the challenges I felt all the way through the last ten years, in all the things I’ve tried.

It takes courage to dream of doing something that you’re not good at… yet.

It takes more courage to book the venue, show up and play when you know you’re still not that good… yet.

The funny thing was that when I joined the band, I thought maybe I could be one of the lead singers.

It turns out that my voice wasn’t that good.  I was relegated to be one of the back-up singers and played the keyboard, while two great young singers took the lead.

Then I wasn’t that great at the piano, and the bass player decided he’d be better at keys, so I learnt to play the bass too.

Then the lead singers left, and my friend and I looked at each other and decided we had to go for it.

So we got some singing lessons and have slowly worked our way to the front.  We all take it turns to lead now, and have great harmonies too.

It’s been a lesson for me in continuing to turn up, even if you’re not perfect.

It’s taught me an enormous amount about performing in all aspects of life.

If you are content in yourself, and not too precious about how others see you, you can help other people have a really great time.

Even if you’re not the next person likely to win Australia’s Got Talent!

 

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

Letting go of the need to be perfect is so liberating!

It is also infectious.

People have loved coming to see us perform because they can feel free to sing along and just have a good time.

Many have come to tell us that they’ve also been inspired to pursue their own “not yet perfect…” kind of project and share their pride with us.

 

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

I think I’ve realised that what is most entertaining and engaging is when you as a performer are engaged, present and having fun yourself.

Sure, you need a base level of talent to not completely embarrass yourself, but fully committing to the present moment is a joyful feat in itself.

It’s rare and people appreciate it.

I’ve had to give a lot of talks and run programs for leaders all over the world now where I would have previously (and still sometimes do) have a massive imposter syndrome moment.

And then I remember that’s human, I know my stuff well enough and just commit to the moment.  And 99% of the time that’s more than enough.

 

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

When it comes to pursuing your dreams, think less about how others will see you, and more about what you want to do for others.

Compassion is an amazing catalyst for courage.

 

Thank you so much. Living life to the fullest with all its ups and downs yet finding a balance between work and family AND being yourself.

Denyse.

Social Media Connections for Gillian.

Blog/Website: www.potentialproject.com/Australia, www.vegasnerve.com.au

 Twitter: @GillianTPP

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/gillian.coutts.7

LInkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/gilliancoutts/

 

Book: One Second Ahead – Enhance your performance at work with mindfulness

Joining with Natalie here for Weekend Coffee Share.

Copyright © 2021 denysewhelan.com.au – All rights reserved.

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