Sunday 13th June 2021

Was A Fave Vacation Place. #SundayStills. 63/2021.

Was A Fave Vacation Place. #SundayStills. 63/2021.

Terri here has now  moved into her new abode and her friend from Always Write  was caring for Sunday Stills while she did so. I will share this post soon too.

It’s almost Summer in the Northern Hemisphere, where minds turn to memories of vacations and also to planning them. Of course, Covid19 has put paid to overseas travel from Australia to anywhere as we slide into winter. We do, however, have places all over this country that are far better visited in our winter.

  • The Great Barrier Reef
  • Uluru
  • Parts of Western Australia
  • The Northern Territory

and for those who want snow…there are mountains in N.S.W. and Victoria. And cold spots too such as Tasmania.

My Fave Vacation Place is none of the above.

When we had a young family it was always easier not to drive too far from Sydney for a January (mid Summer school holidays) vacation of one week. Of course it was peak time so we paid a LOT of cash for that privilege but the drive took less than 2 hours from home and most things were in walking distance when we were in:

TERRIGAL

Fast forward about 30 years and this place has become an extension of the very expensive Northern Beaches of Sydney, so no affording to live there when we finally made our retirement move to the Central Coast in 2015.

But we can still visit!

I do from time to time when I am nearby at a meeting or going to the local larger shopping centres.

There has been a recent addition to help see the beauty of this place more directly in the form of a board walk…

Here are my images from Thursday 20 May a splendid Autumn Day.

This part is a gentler stretch of water called The Haven. I parked here, and walked towards the Boardwalk.

On the Boardwalk, trees in background, where I came from.

The boardwalk is beautifully made and the sounds of the waves crashing underneath and into the rocky walls made it even more special

 

The waves were quite small but as they broke against the sandstone they were pretty noisy.

The walk is relatively short but sure did show off the natural beauty and energy of this seaside mecca for tourists and visitors. I admit I find it very over-crowded in Terrigal itself now, and with prices of everything out of our budget, it becomes a place for me to enjoy what I can for free! THIS.

and this:

 

Terrigal Beach and its pines….and the almost ruined small pool which is washed by the ocean every day.

Next week is a week off Sunday Stills and I wish Terri a lovely family visit.

What’s your favourite vacation spot?

Has it changed over the years like mine has?

Denyse.

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Women Of Courage Series. #55 Tanya Selak. 62/2021.

Women Of Courage Series. #55 Tanya Selak. 62/2021.

Two years ago….around this time of year, 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.

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

Welcoming Woman of Courage #54 Tanya Selak today, as she helps this series begin. I love the world of social media, particularly twitter, where I get to ‘meet’ the most interesting and engaging humans. One of these is Dr Tanya Selak who is in her 40s.

I admit I am a bit of a groupie of hers and yet we have not met. I follow medical and surgical people – having a head and neck cancer diagnosis will do that to a person like me – and when I saw @GongGasGirl tweet photos from Wollongong…I was very interested. Even more, that some were coming from Wollongong Hospital where I was born over 71 years ago. We have engaged on numerous occasions since and I thank her wholeheartedly for not only her on-line connections, and her wonderful smile but the fact she returned this story within a day of being asked!

Her words gave me more than a sense of what it is to not only be courageous but continuing taking these riskier steps. Tough times we do not always associate with people in her field. I leave her now to share her words from the questions asked.   Thank you Tanya.

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

When I was an anaesthetic trainee in Auckland in my 20’s, my husband needed to travel to London for additional surgical training (he’s a colorectal surgeon).

For me, it meant leaving the training program in Auckland, which was very difficult to get into, and would interrupt my career progression, with no guarantee of continued training in London.

The risk was that I could become yet another trailing spouse, who never completes specialty training. I had no contacts in London, and had no job lined up.

At the time, I was nearing the end of the one year of study required to sit the first anaesthetic speciality exam. It is very difficult and has a low pass rate. I was so focused on study, that I had not arranged a job, but had an interview at a hospital the day after my flight landed.

Back then, social media didn’t exist and it was difficult to get helpful accurate information to set up life in London. I didn’t even know the basics like names of any hospitals or where it would be good to live.

My husband left for London to start work (while living on his cousin’s couch), I stayed and sat my exam in Melbourne (thankfully passed), flew back to Auckland and left my family and friends for London 2 days later.

Leaving a training program, your life and heading overseas with no job and no flat and no plan was considered to be quite courageous or reckless depending on your point of view!

 

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

We arrived in London very naïve and green and poor.

We used all of our savings to secure a flat (at the time the exchange rate from $NZ to GBP was 4:1) and it took a while to sort out the paperwork at both of our hospitals to be paid.

Even though the language was the same, culturally and professionally everything was different and difficult – even just getting a bank account was a struggle.

A few months in I remember looking at the McDonalds in freezing cold Waterloo Station wondering if we could afford to eat there.

I was appointed to a great anaesthetic job the week after arrival.

However, the work was very different and my colleagues and the patients couldn’t understand my thick kiwi accent – I had to learn to slow down!

We found our feet in a few months, lovely new friends helped us settle in, and we started to enjoy living in London, with all it has to offer.

I went on to work at incredible hospitals and was able to continue my training remotely.

It gave me the confidence that I had the resilience to thrive and push through uncertainty.

It showed me that good things can happen outside your comfort zone.

 

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

Despite no planning and many unknowns, sometimes things can just work out.

I see many people with ‘analysis paralysis’ professionally and personally.

Sometimes it’s OK to just leap in.

While we dither, time marches on.

What’s the worst that can happen?

 

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

Interesting question. I am probably more and less able to be courageous now than I was in my 20’s depending on the issue.

We now have three children to raise, a mortgage, consultant positions.

A radical life move like this would be very difficult now.

I am however more courageous in standing up for what’s right.

In the past, I have been deferential to authority figures even when they have not deserved it.

I’m in a position now where few things or people scare me, I feel safe to challenge those with power.

 

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

My dear friend recently sent me this from Ralph Waldo Emerson.

It’s a nice reminder to give up on perfectionism, do the best that you can, and then move on.

Don’t forget to gather and cherish your trusted support crew, hold on to them tightly especially when you need to be courageous.

 

“Write it on your heart
that every day is the best day in the year.
He is rich who owns the day, and no one owns the day
who allows it to be invaded with fret and anxiety.

Finish every day and be done with it.
You have done what you could.
Some blunders and absurdities, no doubt crept in.
Forget them as soon as you can, tomorrow is a new day;
begin it well and serenely, with too high a spirit
to be cumbered with your old nonsense.

This new day is too dear,
with its hopes and invitations,
to waste a moment on the yesterdays.”

Many thanks for your story Tanya, which tells of  considerable examples of courage…as you must face each day in your role as an Anaesthetist. I know that you are a teacher of others too and am not at all surprised to see that you do so well there too. Your support for me has always been appreciated. And yours is a face I would love to see in my anaesthetic bay! Take care, and keep tweeting.

Denyse.

This series continues over the next months.

If you have  story to share, please leave me a message in the comments.

Joining with Natalie here for Weekend Coffee Share.

 

 

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

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Share Your Snaps #4. 20/51 #LifeThisWeek. 61/2021.

Share Your Snaps #4. 20/51 #LifeThisWeek. 61/2021.

Every 5th Week on Mondays

Yesterday I saw the musical Hamilton. In preparing this post, a week or so ahead, I thought I would use images that are not related to Hamilton until I have seen it, decided if I loved it and wanted to share more.

So, in this Share Your Snaps edition I am sharing my great fun using photo apps which help me make interesting and different collages. I have paid small amounts for some. Can’t remember which ones but loving the variety I am getting. I still use an old favourite called a Beautiful Mess. Purchased years ago and no longer supported by still does what I need it to do. I used it to make the photo for share your snaps.

But first..today is the 4th anniversary of finding out I had squamous cell carcinoma in my gums….and yes, that was a pretty memorable day but even more so was meeting (for the very first time!) on 18th May 2017, the man who would give me the best chances of having no more cancer and a pretty useful mouth along with the best smile*(see end of post) ..so “My” Prof Jonathan Clark AM, is starring with me here today:

Professor Jonathan Clark AM

Director of Head and Neck Research
Lang Walker Family Foundation Chair in Head and Neck Cancer Reconstructive Surgery

Prof Jonathan Clark AM

 

With Jonathan last Sept, inserts: Me post surgery July 2017, Info re mouth cavity and head & neck cancer.

It took 4 surgeries and a LOT of time & patience for this head and neck cancer patient to get her smile. These images are all from Chris O’Brien Lifehouse records of my progress 2017-2018

Onto the showing of my photos via the apps.

I wondered about how to get more photos into my collection as I love their colours, shapes and sizes…and that was when I had my ah-ha moment. Visit local nurseries and take pics! Occasionally look like I am buying a few flowering plants too. I have done that!  And I went back in time for some family and other shots to play with.

Background: Nursery and my plants individually

 

Two areas inland from where we live are doing Autumn beautifully.

 

Six years ago: H&R at Lakes Beach having a holiday with us.

 

I will never delete these photos! My old home town of Manly N.S.W. in Winter 2014 when I drove from home to get the sunrise. So worth it. My shadow on the beach.

 

Autumnal Display. I am a pattern-lover so these apps are perfect.

 

Daily Calm quote, with my art…on a background of my washi tape collection.

 

Cannot resist these amazing colours in the flowers. Some from home, others at the nursery.

 

Pattern Play using flowers and colours in this app

 

Pretty in Pink…bright pink and using repeat photos for patterns.

 

This app…I loved it but I had it on trial. May end up signing up. It did a cut-out scrapbook affect. I got to move the photos around. Fun.

 

The same photo in different collage sections. Interesting.

 

All about purple and sizes.

 

Gentle pinks and bright pinks using an app and its photo in middle. Repeat patterns. Very pleasing to my eye.

I love colours.

I love nature.

I love getting outside to take photos.

This is a great way to do self-care for me….

I also love constructing the photos into patterns via the apps because…

I love patterns!

And all of this reminds me of my Word Of The Year: S M I L E*

How about you?

Denyse.

Link Up #240

Life This Week. Link Up #240

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, 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 and it’s a bloggy thing to do!

* 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.

* THANK you for linking up today! Next Week’s Optional Prompt: 21/51 Self Care Stories  #3. 24 May.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter


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Grey Images Today. #SundayStills. 60/2021.

Grey Images Today. #SundayStills. 60/2021.

Terri here has now  moved into her new abode and her friend from Always Write  was caring for Sunday Stills while she did so. I will share this post soon too.

Honestly when I saw “gray” or as we spell it, “grey” on the colour challenge list my heart sank a wee bit. I considered that to be dull, boring and …blah…but then I went to my photos and found images I am proud to share.

Without further ado, here is my version, from Australia, of GREY: a colour challenge.

This new school’s appearance has many tones of grey. This is now 2 years old and where our daughter teaches and her daughter learns.

 

The War Memorial at Wyong, N.S.W. which is made of  the grey slate and stone.

 

The grey floor and pillars in an almost deserted shopping mall during the more restricted times of Covid 19 in 2020.

 

With this fading sun behind them, the grey of these clouds is magnificent! Taken outside our house.

 

I often look to see the tiny flowers and plants in nature and these weeds (am pretty sure they are) are growing up amongst the grey rocks on the shore of the beach/lake area.

 

The iron arches of the Sydney Harbour Bridge are always grey (and re- painted frequently) but the grey weather emphasised this too. Taken on a grey day from Sydney’s Opera House.

 

One then 5 year old grandson, in grey shorts, checking out the grey stone fountain on our lovely day out in Sydney before he started school.

 

And here he is again, aged 4 with Miss 2, his sister, in his Batman grey outfit. Having the best time in what was the spare block next to our house.

 

Miss 2 enjoying the wonderful Brown Bear Brown Bear read  to her by her grey-haired Papa. 

 

Bye bye Christmas at Grandma’s and Papa’s ever again…2014 after we sold the house. Lovely Miss 5 and Miss 2 on the grey-stencilled driveway.

This was taken around 18 years or more ago. Family: my Dad, my brother, my niece and nephew, we are all in grey..the suits we had to wear to climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Expensive (I was a substitute on the day as my S.I.L. couldn’t make it) but oh so worth it.

 

Proving yet again how I actually can find images and meet these challenges.

Love this Sunday Stills. Good for my brain!

Thanks Terri.

Denyse.

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

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Women of Courage Third Series Is Here in 2021. 59/2021.

Women of Courage Third Series is Here in 2021. 59/2021.

Two years ago….around this time of year, 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.

Many of you know I have had the experience of a cancer diagnosis, treatment and recovery and I am aware I had to garner a lot of courage to come through much of what has happened. However in my  courage post  you will read something different where I believe I was courageous.

For those like me, who are interested in attending the Newcastle Writers Festival in 2021, here is the link to the website. I was fortunate to attend the first LIVE event earlier this year when Festival Director (and Woman of Courage #49 found here) Rosemarie interviewed former PM Julia Gillard.

 

All the women’s stories from Series One (2019) and Series Two (2020) are here. 

In the 2019 group, there were 24 women who used their names and one who was published anonymously at her request.

In the 2020 group, there were 25 women who went public with their stories and four who chose anonymity.

Total: 56 women’s stories shared! Jane’s and mine did not carry a number.

First post in 2021 will be Woman of Courage #54.

I am excited, interested and curious about these stories from real life…and  now so grateful to be sharing women in a third series.

I hope you are too. I have asked over 20 women to date  who said yes, and have five responses so far which go live each Thursday after today….

There is always room for more, so if you would like to share, email me! denyse@ozemail.com.au or tell me in the comments.

 

I asked the first Woman of Courage, Sam if she wished to share any updates for her first post, found here,

And she replied “happy to leave it as is”….but “I have a new photo” and this, dear readers, is Teddy Roosevelt, who is already a STAR on Sam’s Blog found here. Thank you both!

 

And again from my first post…these words from Brene Brown.

“Courage is a heart word. The root of the word courage is cor – the Latin word for heart. In one of its earliest forms, the word courage meant “To speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart.” Over time, this definition has changed, and today, we typically associate courage with heroic and brave deeds. But in my opinion, this definition fails to recognise the inner strength and level of commitment required for us to actually speak honestly and openly about who we are and about our experiences — good and bad. Speaking from our hearts is what I think of as “ordinary courage.” 

“Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage.” 

“The willingness to show up changes us, It makes us a little braver each time.” 

“Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome. Vulnerability is not weakness; it’s our greatest measure of courage.” 

Last year I began listening to Brene Brown here on her podcasts. She has two. I have checked out both from time to time, learning more and being inspired by other women of courage and some of  her guests are also from all genders and walks of life.

Next Thursday, 20th May, I welcome Woman of Courage #54 to this blog community for her to share her story.

See you all then too, I hope.

Denyse.

Joining with Natalie here for Weekend Coffee Share.

 

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

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Weather Is Variable! #SundayStills 57/2021.

Weather Is Variable! #SundayStills 57/2021.

About Sunday Stills:

Terri here has now  moved into her new abode and her friend from Always Write  was caring for Sunday Stills while she did so. I will share this post soon too.

Weather is variable.

Not a truer sentence ever, right?

I delved into my history of photos ….takes a while and found these examples from recent times and waaaay back.

What’s the weather going to be where you are today? It’s a question we often ask in our place.

 

East Coast Low: constant rain & wind April 2015 kept us without power & access out for 5 days. Not fun. We had just moved the the Central Coast too.

After the roads re-opened there was a lot of damage to them from trees and so on, but I needed to ‘get out’ so drove to local beach where there were huge waves as the east coast low retreated…and one keen surfer there as well.

 

A lovely day…to be on a ferry on Sydney Harbour moving from west to east, and I would eventually be going under the Sydney Harbour Bridge on my way to…I can’t recall…but a bright blue day on Sydney Harbour when we still lived there was irresistable. This was Summer.

 

Have you ever waited for the news of a new baby to have safely arrived in the world? I have, eight times of privilege have been granted to me. On this WET Winter’s  day, I was stopped at lights before going to local shops to buy a BLUE or PINK welcome baby card for a new grandchild who was to be born that day. She arrived around this time, actually, and when I got the word, my husband and I had the joy of collecting her siblings from school and pre-school to take them to meet their sister..who will be 8 next month!!

 

Back on a ferry on my favourite harbour : Sydney Harbour: the Bridge in the background, the Sydney Opera House on the left, and Fort Denison is the stone structure a mini-island….and I am outside loving the salt spray and the joy of being where I have loved since coming to Sydney as a 10 year old. Now, aged over 70 and living away from Sydney, the last time I did this was pre-surgery for my final mouth reconstruction. Must get back again..on the water! Summer time here.

 

The weather was fine, warm and great Autumn day to be able to show a first-time to Sydney friend around parts I knew well and are tourist favourites. This view is of Manly N.S.W. Beach (South Steyne) and I took this photo from the walkway around Fairy Bower to Shelley Beach. My niece swims this most Saturdays in  Summer as part of a group of surf swimmers. This day was glorious as you can see.

 

Now, we are back to the part of the New South Wales coast where we live and this is my husband, in Winter, looking for the whales who are making their winter migration north. It’s hard to see them but I have seen their water spouts a couple of times. They are already heading this way again from the Antarctic so best I take my binoculars again. Seeing a whale breach is such a huge event. I did via a whale watching cruise a few years back when the whales were coming back and I was on the far South Coast of N.S.W. that time.

 

What do they say about ‘after the rain’? Here it is on a winter’s day at Pretty Beach, near Killcare Beach on the Central Coast.

 

More from Pretty Beach on a windy day..sand in the eyes was not fun. Two (now adult) grandkids out and about with us to explore this amazing environment.

 

Our son’s children visited us another time those holidays on a much sunnier day, and here is Papa with Miss born on the winter’s day as we explored rock pools and her older siblings tried to jump over waves.

Exploring the water at low tide on a colder winter’s day did not stop these grandkids having fun writing in the sand and exploring areas for fish and shells..and I gave them a little camera so they had fun with that too. The was exactly opposite where we lived in 2015 – a most unsuitable house but it had this nearby. We moved away within 10 months.

 

A much younger me got to see the beaches of Oahu after being a ‘surfer girl’ fan of Beach Boys and Jan & Dean in the 1960s. I have to say, I was very underwhelmed when I saw no such waves I had hoped at Waimea Bay in Northern Hemisphere winter!  Got the photo right though!

 

And yes it was winter and wet and windy in San Francisco on my “one and only” trip overseas but I did not let anything like that stop me. This was my gear on the day of a very wet half day bus tour of San Fran…crossed the Golden Gate Bridge in fog so saw very little. I did however, see it more from the ferry taking me to Alcatraz and I loved SF. Reminded me of the city I will finish on….

A day around the rocks area, close to Sydney’s Circular Quay, and the overseas Terminal with my favourite icon in the background. “A Beautiful Day” as my Mum would say.

Do you have a weather app or three on your phone and Apple Watch as I do?

Denyse.

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Reflections On Mother’s Day 2021. 56.1/2021.

Reflections On Mother’s Day 2021. 56.1/2021.

 

Content Warning: Should any post about Mother’s Day be a concern for you, please don’t read…I am sorry for your situation whatever it is.

 

After a long period of reflection (years) I chose to write about Mother’s Day to be published on Mother’s Day, 2021.

My mother told me Mother’s Day flowers were chrysanthemums and were always white. She recalls her mother being given a white flower at church on Mother’s Day. I remember these things. But cannot find any pics of chrysanthemums.

Here it IS Mother’s Day 2021.

I cannot help but do a trip down memory lane to try to understand my mother and my mothering…OK. Not all of it, because much cannot be put into words.

Reflections.

  • I grew up in a 1950s-60s  household where Mother’s Day was remembered….by my father whose domineering and controlling manner meant I have had his words about this occasion rattling around my head since I could remember. Maybe 6 till my recent old(er) age.
  • It was a day where of course we gave Mum a card, probably some flowers and may be a gift. But I never thought of the occasion without ‘obligation’. This is who I am. Long memory.
  • Mum was a kind, sharing and shy woman whose care of her husband and us two kids was exemplary. She loved that she could care for us that way. In fact, it carried on to the ways in which our kids and my brother’s would remember “Noreen” for, and her three great-grandchildren who knew her before her death in 2007.
  • Dad….where will I start? Here at the point of the conversation I had with him only 3 weeks ago when I spoke of the courage his mother had coming to Australia to marry her fiance. His comments? “She was alway cranky and complaining and wanted to know, when we arrived to visit, when we were returning” OK. I understand but as I said, Gran having been widowed with 4 kids probably had a lot of grief.
  • So why did I begin to resent the forced nature of Mother’s Day? Probably for that reason. It did not come from my heart and then, as I had kids (strange but true) I believe I began to feel the old family history repeating itself.
  • Sigh.
  • I became entangled in the “event” that should be happening as I am a mother. Oh how embarrassed I am now about that. I did not demand anything (not my Dad) but I felt sad and disappointed if I was forgotten on Mother’s Day.
  • Cringe.

What Has Changed?

  • My mature thinking, a big dose of cancer and an obligation-free mindset
  • I honour MY adult kids as they make me so proud to be their Mum.
  • I actually asked my kids, a few years back,  to allow for my imperfections (there are many) as their Mum as I was, at the time, doing the best I knew.
  • I expect nothing back. At long last. Not anything. Thanks Dad…by the way, I have told him this but his memory is…dim.
  • I know that I am loved but I do not need to see evidence or whatever based on the ‘have to’ mindset we see far too often.

Two Posts: 1971 and 1979.

These two posts are about my mothering years, in particular giving birth to our daughter, and then after a long gap where we thought that we could not have any more children, we had our son.

My Mother’s Day 2021.

  • It’s a Sunday.
  • We will be cleaning the house on our fortnightly roster.
  • I will go out for my Sunday coffee.
  • I will reflect on my gratitude for a change of mind and heart and send my love to our kids and their kids…and Dad.
  • Forgiveness is powerful as is My Loving Kindness practice.

Take care of yourselves and each other.

Denyse.

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Telling My Story. Chapter 24. June 2018 – 2019. Part 2/2. 56/2021.

Telling My Story. Chapter 24. June 2018 – 2019. Part 2/2. 56/2021.

The backstory first:

FOUR years ago now ….I thought it was time, seeing I had a blog, to start writing my story. It was on advice from a blogging friend, now published author that I did. Then, for a long time I did not. Because cancer was diagnosed.

Nevertheless, I eventually returned to the story and now I am at Chapter Twenty Four. Telling the story in two parts. Today is Part 2.

So, in keeping with my ethical approach to all things, I am making the chapters about MY recollections to various changes in life for me, and us, and life as we knew it. I hope I can continue sharing the story without any intentionally negative or hurtful references to others who are in my life as friends and family members. All of the stories to date found here.

And with this chapter, a recent photo…taken overlooking the harbour at Dobroyd near where I grew up close to Manly N.S.W.

Tah Dah! This Chapter’s 2nd Part IS the last….for now…and into 2021 of Telling My Story. Only took 4 years!! 

The overriding memory I have of this period in my life is change. Change for the good. Change in my outlook as I moved further away from cancer surgeries and recoveries towards L I F E as I wanted to have lived it in retirement but far too many things were in the way. The series year of 2015 and 2015 tell more.

So, as best as I can, this rounding up of Part 2, thus ending my publication is going to have more photos and memories along with, fewer words.

Are you ready to come along?

Early April 2019.

As my confidence shot up and I was prepared  drive to places and see things I wanted to see and experience, Newcastle Writers Festival headed the list. A conversation (longish on twitter) with author Trent Dalton ended up with me LOVING Boy Swallows Universe and he would be there on the Sunday I was. However, I had booked to hear my long time friend & author Rick Morton speak on his first book One Hundred Years of Dirt and have a catch up if I could. I met my blogging friend Lisa for early/late lunch and we went to Rick’s session. I had also booked to see Jane Caro speak on her ground  breaking book Accidental Feminists which I had devoured. I hadn’t see Jane in real life but we were well known to each other from social media.

What a day!

The upshot.

This.

But wait there was more…I was stoked for this resurgence of my social life. Admittedly I was very tired and it was a challenge to find something to eat because of my mouth…but I was out there again. Yay. I also needed more than ever to calm and find peace within and I turned always to my art desk to find or create a new project.

Late April, Mother’s Day and into  May.

During the April school holidays, which coincided with Easter and one granddaughter’s birthday, so we entertained with great delight..always love seeing our family.

My daughter and I met at Berkelouw’s for Mother’s Day brunch morning tea and we rarely get ‘two of is catch ups. So that was awesome. My 2 year anniversary of head and neck cancer diagnosis was coming and my husband and I celebrated at one of our favourite places for morning tea. Then he said “time for your apple watch isn’t it?” YES. Please. Thank you. I had just joined a moving/walking challenge with the Department of Education so that was going to motivate me too.

About An Idea: Women of Courage.

Having read Jane’s book (listened via Audible too) and then seeing her interviewed about the findings and that women, are/were in general and in life, doing so much unsaid, unpaid work that it was women who suffered more in latter years because of separation/divorce settlements all favouring men. Her concern which is serious and major, and verified over time is that women, in Australia, over 55 are becoming the highest number and fastest growing cohort of the homeless.

Now, whilst I would like to have fixed all the issues Jane raised, and of course I could not, I did have this idea. It seemed to me that we women might feel empowered somewhat if there was a way to share some of our stories…as I saw them, of courage. That was it.

Women of Courage.

I knew many of there people, but would they be prepared to share something about themselves along this line. I set no targets, I asked politely, and received no for an answer with respect. I kept a list of those I approached on line with my proposal and by the time my launch time arrived I was ready with a great set of responses.

The first post, was mine, via introduction, and then it was time for Sam to share her story,

Ready steady….Women of Courage

In the weeks, then months that followed I pressed publish on  24 personally named posts and  one anonymous post in 2019.

I decided to stop sharing before December as I knew there would be fewer readers and then was ready to kick off again with Jane’s post

and onto 25 from named sources and 4 anonymous ones until it closed as series in September 2020.

This year, I am re-launching soon. 2021 series. From mid May…I like that time of year! Here is where all of the Women of Courage posts are.

June, July, August…..2019.

  • I can remember we had visitors for school holidays, my husband was unwell for some weeks with the flu even though the diagnosis took a while, I continued with my trips back and forth to Sydney to see the Prosthodontist less regularly but still needing reassurance and care…

 

  • I drove to Sydney in June and stayed overnight to see Vivid Light Festival from the harbour and to go to an event to celebrate the great work of the late Professor Chris O’Brien at the cancer care centre named for him. It was on this occasion I realised how hard it is for a post-surgery me to find food to eat unless I bring my own. I still grapple with this today.

 

  • I also made a quick trip to near where we used to live after a Westmead appointment and had an impromptu catch up with my daughter and granddaughter and a ride on the new-t0-me light rail.

 

  • I did quite a bit of cooking – as usual – because I need to cook for my needs. I also joined in the Soup for Soul Fundraising for then Beyond Five with my local Central Coast Head and Neck Cancer group with batches of small cupcakes. We did not know of course, that Covid, the following year would shut down all such gatherings, even restricting visitors to hospital to one for a patient or even no-one could accompany an adult.
  • I met with my local federal M.P. Emma McBride to get her support for World Head and Neck Cancer Day on 27 July. That is the date for it world-wide. I also shared more each week leading up to the date via my blog and social media in my role as an Ambassador.

Braver and braver and being prepared to say YES first rather than no continued to increase my ability to not only do hard things but to see them as small accomplishments building upon each other which is at the heart of exposure therapy.

Some Highlights: June to November 2019.

  1. Staying solo overnight in Sydney: to attend Vivid and then a conference the next day just as a supporter
  2. Driving to Hunter Valley Gardens to view what I had read much about
  3. Deciding that I really wanted to celebrate being 70 later in the year
  4. Getting great cancer checks with all GOOD news and not being as fearful of cancer’s return
  5. Becoming more interested in sharing what I could with the wider community: resources I made to The Big Hug Box and to Arterie at Lifehouse but also stopping when it became a little more of an overload
  6. Planning that I would like to invite blogging and social media friends to a morning tea to for me…turning 70 and being vulnerable enough to send invitations…Everyone actually said YES but on the day for a range of reasons sadly 3 could not come.
  7. Dealing with disappointment in a less personal way.
  8. Learning that living with I.B.S. and some incontinence might be a package* that came with ageing…and making allowances for myself with that. *In May – August 2020 I found a solution via surgery I was too scared to ponder in 2019 and I am well.

On Turning 70. 

Before my 70th Birthday, I drove to my granddaughter’s school (and daughter’s school)  to attend their Open Day. Loved celebrating gratitude for my life here:

  • Rather than dreading another zero birthday I celebrated with gratitude.
  • I visited my father a few days after my birthday to have cake and coffee with him and my brother
  • My actual birthday was the Saturday when our family came for lunch. Our daughter and her adult offspring, one with partner and her youngster and our son with his four.
  • My husband and I did the catering and our daughter made a cake.
  • It truly was a celebration of LIFE and to have this with those who loved me (vice versa) made it so special
  • A few days before I met with my social media/blogging friends too.
  • I received, unexpectedly, cards, flowers and kind gifts.

Loved this big surprise.

Lovely portraits of our 8 grandkids

 

Christmas 2019 Was Different.

After the loveliness of my birthday I was well-satisfied but getting more brave in my continued intentions to push myself further. This was when I agreed that we (husband and I) would drive to Sydney on Christmas Day – something I had always vowed would be too stressful) and enjoy a family lunch. Our son said to drop in on the way down as he would have his kids on Christmas morning. All good.

Unfortunately to his disappointment most of all, my husband had over-exerted himself the day before finishing off some outdoor work and was exhausted and completely unwell so I made the trip solo.

I remained determined to do this though on behalf of us both and to see the family. I even managed to  eat some Christmas lunch. Yay for being careful but also being adventurous.

Onward into 2020 with Gratitude.

I accepted this would be word for 2020.

I had already done a 30 days of gratitude challenge leading to my 70th Birthday.

I knew finding something to be grateful for each day was a good thing to do for my health.

Of course I did not know ahead of this just how much challenge 2020 would bring!

 

I actually blogged 2020 in 3 parts last year  for Telling My Story because I wanted to remember it well.

Here is the link to each post.

Part One 2020

Part Two 2020

Part Three 2020

Thank you for following my story. See how my avatar has changed in that time.

 

This is the ‘last one’ for quite some time.

The weekend before this post went live, I finally had all the printed copies of each post put in order, in two folders. They are evidence of My Life…as told via Telling My Story 1949 —-> and even if no-one else other than The Author reads them, I am so glad to have persisted!
They are located in the bookshelf along with other life records: my career in education, my cancer story and updates and family tree info.

Warm wishes,

Denyse.

Joining with Natalie here for Weekend Coffee Share.

 

 

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