Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Three-Ringed Circus


We have the day off today. There just wasn’t any work available and so we thought we would  get some chores out of the way and otherwise relax. Little did we know our day would be turned into a Three-Ringed Circus.

Actually it started yesterday with a call from Bowel Cancer Australia. In case you don’t know, my husband, Pete, was diagnosed with bowel cancer in April of 2009. After two surgeries and 30 weeks of chemotherapy, he is fine and there is no trace of the cancer. However he also has Type 2 Diabetes and it has recently been discovered that there seems to be a link between Type 2 Diabetes and Bowel Cancer in men.

Pete was asked if he would agree to do a recorded interview which will then be played at an upcoming Seminar. Then the phone seemed to ring incessantly for the rest of the day and even for part of the morning today.

There was a phone interview, and then we were told that an ABC news crew would be visiting the house to do a filmed interview. Later we were informed that the Courier Mail would be sending a photographer to snap some shots of Pete and he was emailed a copy of the Press Release that will be used.

Today we’ve had calls from both the news crew and the photographer as they are all running late and have had to reschedule the visit to later in the day. There was a call from the interviewer to advise Pete on the procedure, and to make sure he understood that there was no pressure; there was plenty of tape so the crew could splice and edit and he doesn’t have to worry about making mistakes. Then there was a call from Ethical Strategies to make sure Pete had been given all the necessary information.

Usually when the phone rings I answer. Right now I don’t bother because it will definitely be for Pete. He is really the ‘man-of-the-moment’.

Initially he registered with the Bowel Cancer Society because he wanted to be able to help other men diagnosed with the disease. He wanted to be able to convey the importance of maintaining a positive attitude throughout the course of the treatment. He was quite disappointed when the opportunities to do something like this never seemed to happen.

But now it has. It hasn’t happened as he expected but that’s irrelevant really. The important thing is that he is finally able to contribute to the ongoing research into this deadly disease.

©Lyn Murphy 2011

Friday, August 26, 2011



Paddy, our green cheeked Conure, has learned a foreign language. Once upon a time, when we asked the question

‘Little birdies go….?’

He would give a wolf-whistle. These days, when we ask that question, he barks.

‘Woof. Woof.’

Parrots learn by rote. If they hear something often enough, they begin to imitate the sound, (We have a lot of dogs in this neighbourhood, some of which bark incessantly, day and night)

Conures are known to recognise sounds appropriate to certain actions and events. For example, when Paddy sees and hears us gathering up car keys and mobile phones etc, he will say,

‘Back soon!’ He recognises that we are leaving to go somewhere and Pete has always made a habit of saying this to him when we are leaving the house.

When we return from work or an outing, Paddy will greet us with

‘There’s the birdies. Hello.’

(Yes, he does use the plural (birdies). For some strange reason Paddy tends to pluralise many of his words)

Those are just a couple of examples of how our little bird has learned to respond to both verbal and visual prompts.

This morning I found myself thinking about how I respond to certain prompts. For example, those of you who read my Blogs regularly will know I was all excited about taking a course in Copywriting. I signed up and paid for the course and I was anxiously awaiting access to the materials so that I could start work.

Unfortunately, the company in question has been having some serious technical issues with their server. When the material didn’t arrive after what I considered a decent amount of time, I emailed to ask what was going on. I received an apologetic response and an added bonus file. The problem should be fixed by that night I was told, and the materials would be available online the next day. But it didn’t happen.

Yesterday I requested a full refund and the money was returned to my Credit Card within a couple of hours. I received another very apologetic email telling me that they were as frustrated with the whole affair as I was and wishing me well.

So the fact is no real harm has been done. I have my money back. I’ve even gained some bonus materials for free.

But I feel so deflated. Here I was all revved up with no place to go, as the saying goes.

Still once upon a time I would have fallen in a big heap. I would have been saying things like ‘Why do I even bother? Things never work out for me.’ But this time, disappointed though I may be, I can see that this was just ‘one of those things’. If I really want to go ahead and learn Copywriting, then I have a good start in the bonus materials I received and I can take it from there. This is just a minor hiccup, not the end of the world

See, I’ve learned a foreign language too. It’s the language of Optimism.

©Lyn Murphy 2011

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Rainy Sunday


It’s raining.

We’ve had such glorious weather for the last couple of weeks, and now, suddenly, winter is back. The sky is leaden; heavy with thick, saturated clouds and the whole world has turned a sad sort of grey. The wind howls periodically like a tortured beast and the birds sit huddled in the dripping branches, looking miserable.

Today is a day for comfort; slippers and socks, track pants and a fleecy top. Today is a day for watching the world through the window, and not really feeling the urge to take part in the goings on out there.

Later we will make coffee and toast and wrap ourselves up in fleecy blankets; watching a movie or two. Paddy, the parrot, will love every moment of it. He will burrow under the blankets and play. He will pop his little head out every now and then to make sure we are still there.

This evening Pete will make pizza for dinner and we’ll have it with a glass of wine.

Tomorrow is Monday and we will be back to work. But, for today, we will just enjoy being on the warmer, dryer side of the window.

©Lyn Murphy 2011

Thursday, August 18, 2011



Firstly, thanks to the people who took the time to comment on (and email me regarding) my last Blog. I have decided to go ahead and do the course, even if it is just to broaden my horizons.

In my research to find out a bit more about the world of copywriting, I came across a recorded Seminar on copywriting, the guest speaker being the legendary Ted Nicholas. Now in case you don’t know, Ted is one of those amazing ‘rags-to-riches’ people. He started out at 21 years of age, a high school drop-out with nearly $100,000 worth of debts. He borrowed money to buy a shop and started a confectionery business and, by the time he was 29 this business had 30 franchises.

Ted went on to write countless best selling books; to found, and sell for an enormous profit, more businesses than you can imagine.

Now Ted talks much about the importance of attitude on the pathway to success. He posed a question to his audience.

‘What is it that you think about most of the time?’

His answer?

‘You think about your fears,’

For me this is certainly the truth. I don’t go around each day trembling in anticipation of a Nuclear Holocaust or an Alien Invasion. But I do tend to think about the same kinds of things that many other people think about.

What if my husband or I get sick and can no longer work?

What if we lose our major earning contracts?

What if the landlord prices us out of living here when he next raises the rent?

These are all perfectly legitimate concerns. Yet, do you see what I’m doing here? I’m preparing myself for failure. I’m working on strategies to rescue myself after my life falls in a heap.

Ted then gave an example of his much more positive way of thinking. He pointed out that with modern medicine we are within a decade or so of breakthroughs that could see us living for more than 100 years. In fact Ted fully believes that he will live until he is 110.

There is not much point, he says, in living that long if you are feeble and infirm. So Ted keeps himself to an exercise routine and a healthy eating plan. He also explains that he plans to never retire; he believes that it is his work which keeps him full of enthusiasm and excitement.

Now he is so convinced that he will live until he is 110 that Ted handed out passes to each of the members of his Seminar group - passes that would gain them entry to his birthday celebrations.

I am not sure I aspire to live until I’m 110. But I can most definitely see the benefit in Ted’s incredibly positive attitude. He is planning for the realization of his dreams and ambitions, not his failures. He is working on strategies for celebrating his achievements and not recovering from his disappointments.

Ted states that we are what we think about the most. He is a success because success is always the foremost thought in his mind.

©Lyn Murphy 2011

Monday, August 8, 2011

Lessons From the Rainforest


On Sunday we went for a drive to a place called Gardners Falls on the Obi Obi Creek, which is in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland. At the far end of the creek is a deep pool, surrounded by high rock walls and fed by the largest of many small waterfalls dotted along the stream. There’s a rope swing, accessed by clambering up a very steep embankment and, in the summer months, the youngsters use it to launch themselves out above the water, plummeting down into the depths with shrieks of delight.

Despite the lovely, sunny day, there were no swimmers in the creek yesterday. We were content to walk along the pathway and enjoy the scenery; taking photos whenever something particularly caught our attention.

I stopped to admire the dense rainforest crowding in on the pathway and on the opposite bank of the creek. I saw the tallest trees standing strong and proud, reaching up towards the sunlight. But their intertwined branches created a canopy which effectively plunged the forest floor into semi darkness.

Now, of course, the myriad of smaller vegetation that lives on that forest floor is also in need of the sunlight to flourish. There is no way for them to compete with the big guys, so they find their own ingenious ways of getting what they need.

I saw trees growing sideways. They were so bent over that the tips of their branches brushed the ground, but it was ground dappled with sunlight. They will never stand tall and proud. They are spindly and gnarled and deformed, yet they live, which was their only objective. Unlike us these trees won’t ever be concerned with body image; won’t ever feel ashamed that they aren’t as tall and as smooth trunked as their forest mates.

I saw a vine which had grown down from a very tall tree. It had managed to slither across the sharp rocks, across the pathway, and over the bank of the creek and now it could finally dip it’s tendrils into the cool water. How did it know to do that? How long must it have taken for it to grow far enough to reach the water? But unlike we humans, the vine didn’t waste time envying other vines for which the basic necessities in life seem much more readily available. It just got on with the arduous journey to the water.

And then there was the tree which had toppled over and lay prone on the sloping ground. The soil had been eroded away from its root system until there was nothing to hold it in place, and so it fell. Part of its root ball was mercilessly exposed to the drying sun. The tree might have been down but it certainly wasn’t out. Even from its prone position, the trunk was sending up new shoots, new branches bearing tiny flower buds. Trees don’t have pity parties - don’t get hung up concentrating on handicaps; on coming up with reasons as to why they can’t do things. If there is any life left at all, then they will live it to the fullest.

The world is a tough place and we can’t all be the big guys soaking up the lion’s share of the sunlight. Sometimes we might have to work a bit harder, or try a different approach. Sometimes it might even seem as if we have completely lost our footing and fallen in a heap. But even if we can’t readily get back up again, we can find a way to carry on from where we are.

©Lyn Murphy 2011

Saturday, August 6, 2011



It’s Saturday!

We had a leisurely breakfast of pancakes with sliced banana, blueberries and maple syrup, washed down with coffee while we shared the morning paper. He likes to read the Sports section, I like to read the lift-out magazine.

I’ve done the vacuuming and the washing and there is a casserole bubbling away in the slow cooker for dinner.

Now I’m sitting at my computer with a cup of lemon juice in hot water, and the day is mine.

The sun is shining, the birds are singing. Even our little bird is happily playing in his filing cabinet (yes, the spoiled bird has his own filing cabinet as a cubby house where he spends many a happy hour).

It’s so peaceful and so nice.

To be truthful, most of my Saturday mornings should be like this. Despite whatever problems we may have faced in the past, our life, in general is not overly stressful now. And yet last Saturday morning I was about as miserable as I can get. And why? Had some great disaster befallen us? No, not at all. I am just one of the many people who suffer from GAD, or General Anxiety Disorder.

I used to think that people with ‘bad nerves’, as my mother would have called it, just needed to toughen up a bit. Life is full of ups and downs and there’s not much we can do except ride it out. It took me years of putting unnecessary extra pressures upon myself to realize that an anxiety disorder is not a weakness, but an actual medical condition.

Even now; now that I understand the problem, I still tend to dismiss it a little too readily at times. For the past year I have been stop-starting with my medication until my Dr had some serious words with me just recently. She pointed out that if I don’t take the tablets regularly, then I will continue with this seesawing of emotions indefinitely.

The trouble is, when things are good like they are on this beautiful Saturday morning, it is just too easy to think that maybe I am just being a bit of a ‘drama Queen’. Maybe I don’t really have a disorder at all. Maybe I’m just a bit too ‘highly strung’ to borrow another of my mothers terms. So I stop taking the tablets. Why should I continue to pour chemicals into my body if I don’t need them? And then…wham - the symptoms reappear and I am reminded, quite rudely, that this is for real.

Sometimes, the first step towards dealing with a problem is in the agonising decision to face up to it in the first place. We can’t ‘pretend’ serious issues away. See, my mother was constantly on medication for ‘bad nerves’ and I never wanted to be like that. I wanted to be seen as strong and capable and resilient, not standing at the counter in the Chemist shop picking up a prescription for Prozac.

It was bright and sunny last Saturday morning. The birdies were singing just as prettily. But I was sunk in gloom and needless despair all because I wanted to prove how tough I am. How silly is that?

©Lyn Murphy 2011