Farewell 2016

It’s almost 9.30pm on New Year’s Eve here in Darwin as I sit down to write this post. Next to me is our old dog, Janie, who’s huffing and puffing her indignance at the fireworks that the loonies in the neighbourhood have already started to let off.

From the sitting room comes the sound of young girls voices – or more precisely, young women – Sasha’s friends are here for dinner and to celebrate. The girls have been friends since creche and school days. In the other room sits my son, Wayne, and nephew Jonathon. Molly, our younger dog is in with the boys in the hope some extra food might come her way.

There are over 700 of you, my dear friends, who follow my personal blog – this one. I’ve been absent for a while and I hope you’ve been catching snippets on Facebook, but nothing beats sitting down and really writing.

This has been an incredible year for me.On so many different fronts. Some people are saying it’s been a terrible year, and yes, it has not been an easy one for our family either. BUT I choose to always look on the positive side. I also never wish away any of the time.

Why?

Because there is nothing to be gained by being negative and having a pity party. When it comes to time, it travels fast enough all by itself. Every experience we go through grows us – if we are receptive to the lesson. I also know I am very fortunate to be here – 19 years post breast cancer diagnosis.

For me, 2016 has been a year of many challenges. The struggle with Wayne’s mental health issues came to a head in January. It was a massive personal challenge for me to bring him back to Australia from Spain and then to cope with managing his illness whilst also keeping a business running.

My parents have deteriorating health and as they live in Queensland the bulk of the care has fallen to my sister, Yvonne. I’ve commuted up and down as much as possible to lend a hand where and when I can.

It’s been a blessing to have Robert, my brother, also living with me to help take on some of the load of house and garden, and be a general shoulder for me to lean on. His Australian immigration application is still being process, so there is still a degree of uncertainty as to his future in this country.

The upside of all of this has been that our family have grown even closer together. My truest friends, amongst which are some of my newest friends, have shown their support and I am forever grateful to them for always being there in my hour of need.

Robert and Sasha travelled together to Spain and UK in October.It was wonderful they were able to connect with some of my dearest friends.

Dragon Sisters, my business, has gone from strength to strength despite all the personal challenges. I believe this goes to demonstrate that the formula we teach really does work.

I learn something new every day, and am always grateful for each and every opportunity that comes my way. I continue to teach English on a very small scale as a volunteer, but have also completed a couple of larger commissioned projects for clients in Europe who developed Apps for English.

I’ve lost track of how many books and blogs I’ve ghostwritten or edited. Proud to say a couple have become best sellers – and I cannot name them because of confidentiality clauses.

Many changes are afoot for 2017. It’s shaping up to be another big year with my diary looking very solid up until early September 2017. I’m pleased to say it includes many little self-care “Me Time” trips with one of the highlights being the Ord Marathon 55km paddle in June 2017.

Wishing you a very HAPPY NEW YEAR and every good wish for 2017.

Love,

Michelle xx

The cursed chair

A great piece here from Sasha

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A/N: inspired by my visit to the Thirsk Museum which displays an actually cursed chair. Happy Halloween!

Isabella trembled as cold, night air blew in from the windows. But she couldn’t just close them, if she did she surely wouldn’t be able to see or hear when her husband was approaching. He was late, he should have been back hours ago.

However he wasn’t back, and as the night drew on Isabella feared he might have died out on the moor. The candles had almost burnt out when the door heaved open. Isabella jolted at the sound, she’d fallen asleep on the lounge.

Bleary eyed she propped herself up and looked to see who was coming in, relieved to see her husband. But as her husband mumbled a greeting and went to recline into his armchair she couldn’t help but feel slightly ill at ease.

Then his late returns began…

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Saturday Word of the Day: Amphiboly

It’s more about how and where Sasha wrote this that’s really impressed me!

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*Amphiboly: ambiguity of speech, especially from uncertainty of the grammatical construction rather than the meaning of the words

It was very hard to understand Ewan, especially because he always seemed to use amphiboly. This made it maddeningly hard for any of his teachers to mark him appropriately, for he always seemed to be contradicting himself and yet also not? It was infuriating how long they would have to sit and ponder his ambiguous speeches, and yet he continued to maintain his pattern of speech even after they pleaded with him to change it so as his academic remarks were easier to understand.

-END-

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Wednesday Prompt Smash: Near Miss

A great little twist in the tail.

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A/N: Whoops this is late, anyway hope everyone like this one- has a bit of a twist at the end (isn’t exactly in line with the prompt but oh well). Make sure you check out Tim’s work.

Prompt: Near Miss

Word Limit: 300 words

It wasn’t easy being a battlefield messenger, carrying top secret messages to and from different locations. Being under heavy fire tended to make most jobs difficult though, and Peter wasn’t about to let a small obstacle like gunfire keep him from being the very best errand boy ever.

There was a kind of thrill and exhilaration to be found in dodging bullets, narrowly avoiding mines and evading grenades. It came with a lot of anxiety and nervousness but still adrenaline was to be found in it and when you can get that kind of rush from a job it is hard to imagine doing something else.

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For my lovely friends and followers – update on the personal and business front

You guys are all great at keeping in touch with me via PM’s on Facebook, WhatsApp and emails. I feel a tad guilty that I’ve been unable to connect with you as much as I would like and it’s been a while since I have posted here on my personal blog. So settle in for a read and I’ll share what I’ve been getting up to.

Remember a while back I talked about the decision of whether to combine the two blogs (Dragon Sisters and this one)? – jury is still out on that one. I do feel keeping sepeerate is probably better but time to do both is sometimes problematic!

So what have I been busy with?

On the personal well being side of things, I’m still dragon boating.  I’m also co-facilitating the Intro to Paddling program for the Waterfront Warriors. It’s the best bit about the sport, being able to introduce new people to it. The structured program works well and we’ve been getting excellent feedback.

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Judy Smith & myself waiting to go through the lock into the harbour for a paddle

It’s great to be working in a cooperative environment where there are no egos! I’ve also been able to bring all my marketing skills and almost 18 years of dragon boat to help rebuild the club which came close to folding after the National titles earlier this year.

I am not on the committee as I feel my time for that side of stuff has been well and truly served. However, I do enjoy and feel a sense of needing to given back and be supportive of a sport that has given me so much.

You can check our my spontaneous little Facebook Live promo video below and see where we paddle.

 

Going paddling is what keeps me sane. I thoroughly enjoy being out on the water as it really blows away all the cobwebs. Taking out new paddlers is also a delight.

Robert, my brother is still waiting to hear about his Australian Immigration. All very frustrating and he had to gain a Certificate IV in Commercial Cookery, despite 20 plus years of experience in UK, much of that as Head Chef! He had to fly to Melbourne and do an interview with an assessor for RPL – it was an easy process, but an expensive one!

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Chef Robert

It’s lovely to have him with us, and we all get spoilt with nice meals all prepared to us. Sasha and Wayne are also enjoying getting to know their Uncle better – it’s like having 3 big kids in the house!

Janie (our old dog) is turning into a very grand old lady – many of you will remember Janie.

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Janie – a faithful old friend

Her legs give out on her every so often, she can’t go for walks but loves to potter around the garden, sleep in my office when I’m in there working, or down in my room each evening. She used to get on Sasha’s bed, but can’t jump on and off anymore so has decided I’m a better bet. Molly, the young one bounces about full of energy, but knows Janie is boss.

On the business front

I’ve been thrilled that Denise Dunn from Slappa’s Thongs agreed to allow me to nominate her for the Telstra Business Women’s Awards, and I’ve just got the news today that she’s through to the next round of a face to face interview. YeeHaa! Denise was a wonderful supporter of Dragons Abreast and of Lifeline Top End during my tenure there. Winning the Award in 2004 was a big boost for me and I am hoping it will be the same for Denise – she’s winning material for sure.

Yvonne and I (Dragon Sisters) have been busy with Smarkting Workshop delivery and development. I love doing the Face to Face delivery and the next one is here in Darwin on the 31st August – Smarketing101.

We’ve broken it all down into a series of 3 that build and add to each other. Now to convert it all into a fomat that can be delivered online. This is a challenge but one that I will manage!

Always fun learning about the new technology, even if it does frustrate me at times! Biggest thing is making sure I do not disappear down a rabbit hole as I come across new stuff. I’ve also been lucky to find a really great VA to help out, and to connect with some talented individuals via Facebook groups.

Dragon Sisters has a new website coming very soon and also just started a closed Facebook Group – The SMART Circle – it’s by no means exclusive, but it is business focussed and based on the ethos of being SMART. This stands for supportive, motivational, aspirational, refreshing and talented. It’s a place where those who are like minded help each other move our businesses ahead – paying it forward. I’m thrilled to have a small, diverse and truly talented bunch of individuals in the circle. If you are in business and would like to join, just click the link and ask to join.

The editing, ghost and copywriting side of the business continue to chug along and it’s nice to have Sasha working as part of the writing bureau team.

 

My next project is a business retreat in November – details will be released end of August.

Well my dear friends and followers, that’s a little snapshot of where I am right now.

Love

Michelle xx

Wednesday Prompt Smash: I will travel…

Clever working of the Pokemon Go theme!

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Prompt: I will travel across the land, searching far and wide

Word Limit: 200 words

A/N: As the twenty-somethings we are Tim and I are both deeply into Pokemon Go at the moment so this week we gave each other prompts based off the original Pokemon anime theme song. Check out Tim’s work over on Flights of Fantasy.

My bag is heavy with supplies, compass and maps along with food and water. In my hand I grasp an old telecommunications device, what people use to call a phone back in the 21st century. The winds are strong today and dust is being constantly flung into my eyes, I guess that should be expected.

I am currently in a land once called Australia, now called the stray land. Specifically I am in a small part of the stray land that was once called Alice Springs, according to the…

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How to make great video clips yourself

Do you make video clips? It’s all the rage, especially with the arrival of Facebook Live.

If you’re inMastering new skills business there is an increasing trend to use it.  In my business it’s essential I am on top of all these tools.

I’ve been dedicating time to learning!

My first effort had a few glitches with the internet cutting out, but hey, I did it! You can check it out by following this link.

Dragon Sisters blog has a post I’ve done on this topic, so if you’re going to be using video you might want to hop on over and check it out.

Michelle