18-Inspire.Guest Designer

Tissue Paper
Webster's Blooms
Oversized Flower

i chose to journal about personal growth

When I left my home town to begin Nursing Training, my Father’s parting words were both a spur and an impediment to my progress. He said, “I’ll give you a couple of weeks and you’ll be back with your tail between your legs, you’re too soft and thin skinned to survive the course.” In the days when positive talk was thought to give people a ‘big head’ this was his forthright way of motivating me. The harsh words stung and I was determined to prove him wrong.

My life in our tiny rural community was safe and quiet. Recreational activities were always with people my parents knew and I was cripplingly shy. Because I grew up in an all girl household, I knew nothing about the male of the species and was socially inept.

My first tasks as a Probationary Nurse were a combination of household chores; lighting fires, serving meals and scrubbing soiled linen, with only occasional interaction with the patients. Imagine my nervous approach to an old man when told to give him a sponge bath in bed. Unknown to me, he had a hydrocele (excess fluid in the sac) causing his ‘package’ to swell to four times it’s normal size.

Sensing my shyness he threw off the sheet and said, “Here you are girly, give it a good old scrub, it won’t bite!” I felt a blush stain my face when I spotted what needed to be washed. I thought, “Oh my giddy aunt, is that what men had hidden in their trousers?” Later, the same old larrikin helped me overcome my fear of injections by offering his bony old hips for me to puncture. He urged me to dart the needle in to his flesh with, “Come on girly, don’t be a squib, I know you can do it.”

Many times I cried tears of sorrow or exhaustion but I also exalted when a delicate procedure or good nursing care, saved a life. My Father’s words kept me nose to the grind stone every time I thought, “This is all too hard, I just can’t stand it another minute.”

After four years of grueling study, exams and sheer hard physical work I gradually became confident in my own stamina and ability to prevail. By the time this photo was taken at my Sister’s 21st Birthday party, I had passed my final examinations and was working in the bush, as a Trained Nurse, while saving to travel overseas. There was no haute couture in this tiny country town; Mother wasn’t around to help and I wanted to look sophisticated and glamorous on a budget. With necessity being the mother of invention, I decided I could craft an outfit. Having drafted a rudimentary pattern I sewed a brocade skirt and crocheted a cream top. I was thrilled with the result and had a wonderful time at the party.

My taciturn Father knew me better than I knew myself and I am forever grateful for his part in my achievments. A life long career, financial independence and a thirst for travel resulted from his parting words.

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Comment by Anna-Karin - DT on May 15, 2012 at 11:00am

Wow Helen, what a story. I so enjoyed reading it. Your layout is lovely. Beautiful flowers and bling. Thank you so much for sharing!

Comment by Jenny Evans on May 8, 2012 at 11:27pm

Helen, this is beyond amazing!! That story is incredible!! You are such a gifted writer and scrapbooker!! I LOVE your layout!! The black lace is gorgeous and adds so much to your page!! My favorite of yours!! Thanks so much for sharing with us!!!

Comment by Milagros C Rivera - DT on May 8, 2012 at 7:29pm

Helen what an amazing and inspiring story, I feel so proud of you and can only hope when the time comes I see my daughter going into the big world like you! I may have to kee this page and print it for her!!!

Comment by Kimberly Kett on May 8, 2012 at 1:34am

Wow!  I wish I could journal like you do, it makes the LO!

Comment by Patrice on May 7, 2012 at 6:13pm


Comment by Eila Sandberg on May 6, 2012 at 4:41am

WHAT an incredible story Helen! you really do have a gift for storytelling, amazing reading. Me, I would fall like a tree at the mere sight of a syringe. I so admire your determination, wondering if you got any recognition from your father in the end? This is such an elegant and classy page Helen, just beautiful! xoxo

Comment by Sarah Martin on May 6, 2012 at 3:37am

Incredible Helen! What an inspiring story. Thank you for sharing it. Such a gorgeous photo and I love the lace

Comment by Debbi Tehrani - DT on May 5, 2012 at 12:48pm

Wow, wow, wow! What an amazing story, Helen, and your gift for storytelling is so inspiring! I admire your strength and determination and the fact that you found appreciation for your father's harsh manner. The details in your story really brought your whole experience to life, and I will forever have the image of that old man in my head now!

I love that photo--you look so happy and proud. Your layout is elegant, and the lace and Eiffel Tower are perfect accents to help tell your story. That layered flower cluster is just gorgeous!

I hope you will always be here at CSI. You are one of our precious treasures!

Comment by Helena Virpi on May 5, 2012 at 3:31am

Helen, thank you for sharing that lovely and inspiring story!!! And yes, fathers can be overly harsh on their daughters, especially in those days. Nowadays many fathers think that saying "yes" to everything will grant them their children's love and respect. Nothing could be further from truth, but I still think that encouraging and supporting your children's choices instead of mocking and downgrading will be more beneficial. (can you tell I have some personal issues here?).

Back to your beautiful  page:the black lace is perfect, it draws your eye to the beautiful photo of you. The bling is a "fashionable" touch and I love the quote.

Comment by Zeffy on May 5, 2012 at 2:39am

Helen I liked your elegant yet stricking L.O. and i just loved your story, I enjoyed reading it...those were hard times and yet you survived and have become the person you are today....and fathers can be very hard on their daughters some times...but I suppose as you say that that is their way of motivating them.

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