WQWWC #45 Fortitude/Resilience

“Life is a journey that takes us on many paths – and tests us and shapes us in ways that allow us to aspire to even more challenging directions”

This was the message on a farewell card when I was leaving a much loved job to further my career.  The card was decorated with forget-me-nots – I never have forgotten the fortitude I needed to take that leap and change direction. I left the well trod path and ventured onto the rocky track.

I wrote these poems in the aftermath of painful family feuds.

In every given moment we have two options, to step forward into growth, or to step back into safety – Abraham Maslow

Often hidden amidst words of anger or hate
Underlying fear creates a sense of panic. 
Flight not fight becomes the norm. 
Habits thus formed are hard to break 

Stop for a moment and think
How does your anger help you?
Do you just live to hate
Or do you hate to live?

What if you choose to love 
Would that calm your fear?
Replace those feeling of anger
With actions of hope?

You may be surprised at how good you feel 
when the fear recedes. 
And the peace returns. 

My scars remind me that I did indeed survive my deepest wounds. That in itself an accomplishment.  Steve Goodi

One day I was counting up the surgical scars I had  due to caesarian section, melanoma, knee replacement and rotator cuff repair when I realised just how resilient I had become through these experiences. I wrote these words. 

Some of us carry our scars externally.
These are a physical sign of our survival.

Scars are often hidden within us,
Internal injuries sustained through harmful words.

Scars are gathered over the passage of our lives,
They are both the symbol of - and the price for -  this life.


When I peeled back the layers, I found a beautiful resilience inside – this is how I know I’ll always thrive – Lori Schaefer

SundayStills – Color Challenge: Glacier Blue

Yay – A chance to reminisce about glaciers I have visited.


My first glacier visit was during a work trip to the West Coast of New Zealand.  Back then we could actually walk to the face of the Franz Joseph Glacier. My colleague and I had travelled on the Sunday so we could spend some time exploring before starting work on the Monday. That was such great experience and one never to be repeated since it became too hazardous to get up close and personal to the glacial wall due to the high rate of retreat- and a couple of unfortunate injury  incidents due to falling ice.


On a South Island road trip, we stopped off at a viewpoint to marvel at Fox Glacier. Viewing made easier by following a short gravel road to a handy carpark.  Fortuitously, there was no cloud cover and we got this spectacular view.

Fox Glacier – 2017


What an adventure we had on our trip to Tasman Glacier.  

“The Tasman Glacier is the longest glacier in New Zealand and a must-see natural wonder in Aoraki Mount Cook National Park.  The short walk to the Tasman Glacier view point is approximately 40 minutes’ return. The view from the overlook takes in spectacular scenes of Aoraki Mount Cook and the Southern Alps, as well as the lower Tasman Glacier, vast terminal lake and its mighty icebergs.

Climbing up Tasman Glacier view track to view the Glacier was a bit of a challenge for me.  The sign clearly said a 15 minute walk but it took me a much longer than that. Luckily I had my hiking stick with me to support my knees. ‘ Up with the good and down with the bad’ is what they had suggested after my knee replacement surgery a few years back so I decided this was the way to ascend those steps. My operated knee is now my good one as the right knee is also deteriorating so up I went one step at a time. No wonder it took me awhile.

Everyone who was heading back down told me “it is not too much further and worth it for the view” – this as I was  struggling up the 550+ rock steps.

They were right – it was worth it.

Three trips to the glaciers in 30 years. Maybe next time I will do a helicopter flight instead?

The First Ten Years – Part 3: CHILDHOOD FEARS

My earliest scary experience was the night I was chased by a big jumping jack firecracker. It chased me every which way as I spun in panic trying to escape. I was wearing a red coat at the time. Now I associate the colour red with that fearful moment. I really don’t like wearing red. Purple is my colour of choice. It’s a colour of strength.

The murder house: The smell of antiseptic filled my nostrils.  The stiffly starched white uniform of the dental nurse scratched my face as she bent over me, stretching my lips and ramming her instruments into my sensitive gums. The  sound of the drill reverberated in my head.  Using a treadle to operate the dreaded drill which buzzed and bored through healthy enamel ( and sometimes the nerve), those trainee dental nurses drilled and filled for practice, filling the cavity with ghastly tasting amalgam.  

“Rinse and spit, rinse and spit, there you are all done now”. Except it wasn’t all done now. It was just the start of my lifelong teeth issues.  I proudly accepted the little ghost dollies made out of cotton swabs to take home as a reward for being brave. And because I had to take two buses, I got out of several hours of school time.  The only bonus!

Sadly my natural teeth didn’t survive those early traumas and so it is that I have dentures. However these days the pain only comes when the bill for denture repair arrives. 

Breathe – just breathe: Comfy thick eiderdowns, candlewick bedspreads and hot water bottles warmed me on cold winter nights. Sometimes though, I would awaken in the night, panicking as I struggled to breathe. A loud whoop, a hacking cough, a sharp intake of breath, then another whooping cough. My mother would take me to the sitting room and put me on a mattress on the floor alongside the kerosene heater, sitting atop of this would be the bowl of steaming water and Vicks vapor-rub. It felt good to have her lay alongside me all night, rubbing my back. I was able to eventually relax my breathing and get some sleep. In hindsight, it was quite possibly undiagnosed asthma – although that could also have been triggered by photograph chemicals in my early twenties. More on that later…

Getting the strap: “School Corporal punishment  is the deliberate infliction of physical pain/discomfort and psychological humiliation as a response to undesired behavior by a student or group of students.”
“Hold your hands out” said the teacher to the long line of fearful kids standing at the front of the class, Whack went the leather strap.  I was stung to tears. Mortified that just two words wrongly spelled was all it took to get this very public and embarrassing punishment. Then angry… how dare this bully strap us all for getting spelling wrong? I vowed then and there I would never get strapped again. 

Yet I was. The next time was for putting my stale sandwich crusts in the bin. It appears I was ‘wasting food’ and ‘my hair won’t curl” but I already had curly hair so I didn’t need to eat my crusts.  Besides which, those starving kids in Africa would never get those crusts anyway. And really those crusts were quite tough on my tender gums still sore from that dental nurse practising her ‘drill and fill’ techniques. I’m not sure quite what I was supposed to learn though.

They called it disciplined education. I called it ignorance.  The only thing I learnt from those archaic teaching strategies was to keep quiet, not voice my opinion and definitely not admit to any mistakes. Fear of failure affected me for many years. Maybe that is where I get my tendency to procrastinate?

What memories can you recall of your childhood fears? And how did these affect your life?