Category Archives: Inspirational

How Has COVID-19 Pandemic Changed Me?

This is an interesting question. How indeed has it changed us, namely me?

First above all it has made me think seriously about my own health and how if indeed I was unfortunate to contract this deadly virus.

Having a compromised immune system, it would put me into the serious category of survival. Hence taking all the precautions that are necessary to ensure that I don’t leave myself vulnerable to this deadly virus.

Living on the Mid North Coast we have basically had minimal cases of the virus, which is surprising as we are a tourist destination, between two major cities Sydney and Brisbane.

There has been a certain benefit that has come out of the pandemic for me. It has allowed me to concentrate on my finances. Having gone through complete lockdown across New South Wales has taught me valuable money lessons that will benefit me in the future, including researching and installing solar on the roof and replacing old fans with ecological reduction fans.

Not being able to attend any entertainment, including catching up with friends for that coffee, lunch or dinner has enabled me to save money. I have also questioned my needs versus wants at the checkout and basically asked myself “do I really need that top, skirt or shoes”.

As much as I like to travel, this was also affected. Again another question I posed on myself, would I really like to travel to locations that didn’t have control on the virus? Certainly not! No travelling gave me another opportunity for savings.

During the early stages of COVID-19 a writer colleague asked if I would be interested in taking up a board position on the newly formed Mid North Coast Writer’s Centre. I accepted with pleasure, as the nearest writer’s centres are located in Byron Bay and Newcastle. The writer’s centre was Officially Launched by the Mayor on 3rd September in Port Macquarie.

If you are in lock down and you don’t want to get bored, there are just so many hours one can spend on cleaning out cupboards before you realise, this is not for me, I am bored.

I, together with many thousands of others saw the benefits of online Zoom webinars. At first I registered for almost everything that I came across, until I realised there must be a real benefit for me to listen to presenters, who in some instances were dreadful at presenting online. I became weary of the various companies offering these Zoom webinars. Taking the time to research the type on online knowledge I wanted to endue became a priority.

It was at this stage that OWN NSW was alerted to me by one of my colleagues, who at that time we were collectively researching information about older women in our LGA.

The statistics in Coffs Harbour LGA for older women aged 45 to 80 is enormous with over 17,000 recorded by ABS in 2016. This represents 24% of the total population of Coffs Harbour LGA.

We realised, together with two other businesswomen that there was an opportunity to commence a Coffs Harbour Older Women’s Network Group.

Discussions occurred with OWN NSW in August 2020 and on 17th November 2020 the Mayor Denise Knight Officially Launched, socially distanced of course, Coffs Harbour Older Women’s Network Group.

How has the pandemic changed me? I value my health, gained valuable money lessons to save money, question myself about do I need that? And most importantly there are always opportunities out there even in a pandemic.

Living the Perfect Life


Living and working in Sydney for more than 40 years in senior positions can take its toll on you.

Late in 2007, I decided that life should be better as I enter into my later years of life. With this thought I made the massive decision to relocate to the beautiful Mid North Coastal town of Coffs Harbour.

Coffs Harbour was a location that I had visited many times, whilst working in TAFE NSW as the Business Support Manager, including holidaying or passing through on my way further north.

This was an enormous decision to move away from friends and family to a rural city after living and working in Sydney better part of my life, but I was ready for the challenge.

With research and planning underway, which included suitable housing locations, economic status of Coffs Harbour, before resigning from employment and packing up my entire life to head north to re-establish myself. I was ready for my new venture.

Choosing the right house was an important decision. I looked at several properties without success until I found the right location with the desired aspects by a Real Estate Agent that listened to my requirements, something that was missing with most of the local agents.

Finally, a house that from the outside looked perfect, even though it was in the middle of the wet season and it was raining extremely heavy on the inspection day. It ticked all the boxes and more, after viewing the house for 20 minutes I made an offer.

Having to wait for over an hour for the vendor to agree to the offer was arduous, but worth the wait as the offer was successful.

One of the highlights of the property was the beautiful mountains and being able to sit on the large balcony or front porch and see the beautiful mountains wrap almost around the property was a big plus.

My first day in Coffs, without any furniture and residing in a motel, I met an amazing couple sitting next to me in a coffee shop at Homebase. The lady came over to me after overhearing my conversation with my niece saying; “Danielle, I have arrived in Coffs, without my furniture, staying in a motel and I just love the decision to move here”. After finishing my phone conversation the lady said; “I overheard your conversation and remembered that we, her and husband, came to Coffs 23 years ago for a holiday and fell in love with it, went back to Melbourne sold our house and now live here. We would love to invite you over to our house for coffee”. I thought to myself, what a wonderful welcome to the Coffs community, and of course, I agreed to contact them.

It took only six months before my youngest daughter took the risk of relocating too, leaving a stable job in Sydney and sourcing new employment, which she managed to achieve all within two weeks of relocating to Coffs Harbour. Despite being told by locals she wouldn’t get a job, she proved them wrong.

When you relocate to a town that has on average more than 2000 people relocate each year, you know you are living within a progressive location. I needed to engage in whatever project I could to assist with the progression.

Within the ten years of living in this livable regional city, I have seen the implementation of the National Broadband Network (NBN); thankfully to my home, the installation was fiber to the house. The development of Medical Specialist Centre attached to the Coffs Harbour Health Campus, currently building a Medical Research Centre at Southern Cross University, the build of a new Court House and Police Station, redevelopment of CBD main shopping centre now called Coffs Central, increase to the size of the Park Beach Plaza Shopping Centre and Toormina Shopping Centre and one of the most outstanding developments was the redevelopment of the Jetty Foreshores enabling improved community accessibility.

One area of great interest for me is the development of a new Arts & Cultural Centre, which should commence the build in late 2020.

With the above type of developments and several new housing developments around the Local Government Area has given rise to the population now up to 76,000. I believe relocating to Coffs Harbour is one of the best decisions I have ever made and a bonus is being able to give back to the community by volunteering my services on various worthwhile projects to assist this city to prosper.

The best part of living the perfect life is the opportunity of assisting others who are also new in town, including my sister who relocated here twelve months ago to take advantage of this wonderful new way of life.

Degree of Content

For the past two years, I have been through an emotional and stressful time with realising my marriage was over, including having to deal with a partner in denial of his personal issues.

Unfortunately, this wasn’t actually the most stressful part of my life, the loss of my dearly passed father was what nearly tipped me over the edge.

Thank goodness for my immediate family and the most wonderful caring friends and my inner strength has brought me to a completely new life.

Yes, I am now contended with my lot in life and living on my own.

However living on your own comes with a degree of difficulties, like the handy person type tasks, which I have never had to endure before.

Being someone who is committed to learning new skills, what is picking up a spanner and wrecking the toilet seat, destroying the ceiling fan or screwing the wrong end of the hose fittings to the outside tap? Sooner or later you learn and become skilled in areas you never needed to venture beforehand.

Falling off the stepladder recently and ending up in the emergency room at the local Medical Centre hasn’t deterred me either, despite my sister in Sydney saying, “I know how to scare the bejesus out of her “Nursing Home”.

These comments from my sister created some very interesting conversations amongst my family and friends on Facebook. Unfortunately, it had no effect as I used that same stepladder to trim the garden hedge and this time did more damage to my poor right knee by twisting an already painful knee. Now it is waiting to see a physio to do their magic by easing the swelling and of course pain.

Despite my painful knee I have managed to master fitting out a new toilet seat and yes now have the correct connections on the hose. Will wait until my friends from Western Australia arrive on Saturday to fix the rather lopsided ceiling fan.

The degree of difficulty living alone can be remedied, especially if you have self-determination and prepared to use all your skills and of course Y-tube to learn about fixing things around the house.


The Rights of Women

Ending off a rather difficult year, I decided that yesterday was a day to treat myself and see the acclaimed ‘Suffragette’ movie at the local renovated Majestic Sawtell Cinema.

This was a brilliant decision as I thoroughly enjoyed seeing a part of history being played out on the big screen. It made me reflect on how much these suffragettes suffered to ensure women had better conditions and the right to vote. It took decades for women to gain equal rights, although this is not a given across the world. Through men’s ignorance and determination to pull women down these women had the strength and determination with many suffering personally they achieved what we women today take for granted.

Reflecting on history and how long it took to gain the rights for women to vote, especially in the UK, USA, and Australia. However Australian women through the Australian movement of suffragettes, such as Jessie Street Australian women gained the right across Australia to vote in 1902 although South Australia and Western Australia were a few years earlier.

The United Kingdom and the United States followed ten years later.

When I lived and worked in Sydney I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the Jessie Street Annual Luncheons at Parliament House. Jessie was a key figure in Australian political life for over 50 years, from the women’s suffrage struggle in England to the removal of Australian constitutional discrimination against Aboriginal people. She was recognised both in Australia and internationally for her activism in women’s rights and social justice.

Although Jessie had passed away in 1970 it was at these annual luncheons that I would listen intently to the stories being told by the elders in attendance regarding their personal struggles and what they had to endure to make our lives much better today. These women were the extraordinary Australian suffragettes.

Years on and there is another struggle for women, domestic violence. Through the heartache of a mother Rosie Batty losing her son to domestic violence pushes our nation into facing the disturbing reality that as a country we have a long way to go to stop domestic violence.

Could Rosie Batty be today’s Jessie Street and achieve the ‘stopping of domestic violence’?

Happiness is Finding Your Missing Sister


What is happiness? For me, it is finding our missing sister Caroline, which had disappeared for more than forty years.

Through the most amazing determination from one of my sisters Debra, Caroline’s biological sister, she discovered the whereabouts of Caroline. She left our Father with her Mother, who isn’t my biological Mother when she was about eight years of age.

Over the years that passed we all wondered and worried about her, was she all right, did she get married and have a family. Of course, there was always the dreaded thought that she may have passed.

Thankfully Debra located her and found that she is well, although she has had a horrible life. She had to confront the death of her Mother at an early age and finding that she had no family members around for support. At that time her immediate family members had moved away some got married and obviously changed their names, including me.

Caroline was a victim and suffered the most horrific abuse by her violent partner, gave birth to four children, two boys and two girls and now a proud grandmother.

Fortunately, her life has now changed for the better, she has found her elder sisters, especially Debra who lives only an hour from her. Unfortunately, I live on the Mid North Coast more than 700 kilometers from her. However, through wonderful phone calls and of course the use of social media we are all connected and can share photos, send messages to her as well as our new found nieces and nephews and grand niece.

Life has now changed for the better for all of us, this is real happiness for everyone, especially Caroline who just can’t believe it is actual, she just keeps crying with happiness, just like the rest of us.

The most beautiful and heartfelt comment came to me from one of my newfound nieces Claudia “I’m so happy that I’m now in contact with my family. I’ve been waiting for this day my whole life”

What My Favourite Teacher Taught Me

Back in 2005, I was asked to contribute an inspirational story about one of my favourite school teachers for a collection of inspirational stories selected by my colleague and friend Robyn Henderson’s book ‘What My Favourite Teacher Taught Me’.

Read on…

Mrs. Bell, my math’s teacher, is the lady who taught me that understanding mathematics is critical to acquiring knowledge and having the ability to analyse information.

At the time, back in the late 1950s at Arncliffe Girl’s High, this was far removed from what I was interested in. But for some reason, her words stuck in my mind and have surfaced over and over during my entire life. What I learned from her has actually contributed to where I am today.

Back in the 1950s, I tended to challenge life and teachers. I can clearly remember Mrs. Bell speaking to me in rather loud tones when I was questioning her knowledge of math’s or disrupting the class by talking about the boys at Tempe Boys’ High School. Even knowing she was, without a doubt, one of the best teachers I had ever encountered, I constantly tested per patients. I was a high achiever and even if I didn’t take in all the lessons I could deliver excellent results at exam time, achieving top grades for three consecutive years. Mrs. Bell persisted with me, this ‘challenging natured’ person, whilst managing to assist the girls who found math’s impossible.

My working life commenced when I took a position in the exciting world of advertising as an accountant using the (then) latest technology in bookkeeping machines – Remington Addo X 8000. This was demanding in itself, being able to program the required ledger you wanted to work on when programming was still in its infancy.

This led me into the computer industry, initially as an accountant and then taking on the new role of Reseller Manager, whilst maintaining the financial control of the organisation.

For ten years my career has moved into developing business by improving internal communication strategies, being client focused, researching new growth market opportunities and strengthening business processes for the commercial training arm of TAFE NSW, TAFE PLUS.

When I think about my career I now realise that the words of Mrs. Bell have rung true for me. ‘Learning and understanding math’s is one of the most important fundamentals of acquiring knowledge and having the ability to analyse information.’ This has actually contributed to where I am today. Thanks, Mrs. Bell.

Your choice to stay angry

You can choose to stay angry, upset and sad, or you can choose to get on with life by facing what has hurt you and be content.

How many of us can do this effectively?

Most people dwell on what makes them unhappy without letting go of it and getting on with their existence.

Dwelling on situations can sometimes make the hurt much greater than it really was, but if you can manage to talk about it with the person/s who has hurt you, then both parties will achieve satisfaction.

If you cannot accomplish discussion, for the sake of your happiness give consideration to, was it really that hurtful anyway!