Saturday 17th March 2018

Inspiration to Dare. 2017.88.

Inspiration to Dare. 2017.88.

Recently I posted about Courage here.

This week, in keeping with my need to become more brave and confident, I reached out and found the words of Jeff Foster in The Way of Rest.

The Way of Rest is a collection of Jeff’s most inspiring essays and poems and reflections on restoring and reviving ourselves when we feel exhausted or defeated. Drawing from his personal journey – including his own struggles with illness and depression, Jeff invites us to contemplate The Way of Rest and its potential to transform our experiences.

From page 155 he writes:



Dare to allow yourself to be seen.

Dare to tell the truth.

Dare to stop pretending.

Dare to stay present to the secret fire that burns inside.

Dare to be wildly inconsistent.

Dare to let another in.

Dare to let go of the image.

Dare to not be prepared.

Dare to give everything for the awakening of love.

Dare to fail.

Dare to mess everything up.

Dare to fall to the ground, humbled again, laughing.

Dare to not know how to dare.

Dare to dream and let dreams die.

Dare to honour the past but not cling to it.

Dare to give an honest yes and an honest no

Dare to be wrong.

Dare to be right.

Dare to be real.

Dare to be here.


This photo (a selfie) was taken after my first trip back to Sydney in 4 months.

It was on a day I dared. And here’s the story about why I needed to dare:

I had become incredibly worried about making the journey on the M1 because I had thoughts of getting caught in a traffic hold up and needing to use the loo. Whilst that sounds (to me now, as I write) an excuse not based on much evidence, it really took over my thoughts and meant I could not travel to see my Dad. That also exacerbated my wild and anxious thoughts because of guiltI was not dealing with part of my life well at allWith both my husband and psychologist telling me avoidance would only make matters worse, I persisted in looking for justification of my behaviour and short-term ideas.  So, how did I overcome this? With what is known as exposure therapy. Little by little challenges (as I prefer to call them) met over some months. It meant short driving stints and  visits to the dentist because I had to use the M1 to get there. In other words, over time I dared. 

I visited Dad after driving problem-free on the M1 and spent some time chatting with him and replenishing his freezer with some home-cooked meals and then drove home again.

It was something that held me better prepared for what was ahead in terms of travel and the reason. I’ve written about why here.

So, I needed to dare and I still do as my cancer surgery – in Sydney –  is coming up this Thursday 6 July.

Do you dare much?

What would you like to become more daring about or with?


This is my last blog post for a while as I will be in hospital. Thank you for your kindness and care since I announced my diagnosis of cancer.

I do hope to be back blogging once I am home and ready to do so.

Joining with Kylie Purtell and other friends here for I Blog On Tuesdays.


#24DaysofXmas Photos. 1-8 Dec. 366/333.

#24DaysofXmas Photos. 1-8 Dec. 366/333.

I wrote here about this photo challenge which I started in preparation for the 24 days leading up to Christmas.

Some lovely people on Instagram and Facebook have joined in and it’s fun to see their take on the prompts.

Here are my photos for this week. Two of my entries were mini vids so I did not include them.

Follow me on Instagram to see more of what I like to ‘shoot’ each day! @denysewhelanblogs


Family of 2 (that’s me and hub) just need a small tree with some pretty lights & g’kids decorations!


No tinsel in this house…was a staple when our family was young for making decorations.


Words to Live By.


Our old traditional wreath is resting in the Christmas box so I made this one with art and an app.


When the grandkids who are now teens were young, it was mandatory to have a sleepover at our place and view the pretty lights in the neighbourhood. Now, this is the little display on the right is at our place.


The green of a living tree cannot be replicated!

Do you like photo challenges?

Are you  taking Christmas photos in the Christmas season?


Joining with Lydia over here for her Christmas link up.

Thanks to these blogging friends for Photo Link Ups!

Trish at My Little Drummer Boys

Sue at Image-in-ing

Jen at Pierced Wonderings

Steph at Stephsjoy




Mindful Mandala Making. 366/268.

Mindful Mandala Making. 366/268.

Since 1 July I have designed, curated or found a mandala which I have photographed and added to my social media feed. As of today, there are only 14 mandalas to be completed to finish the 100 days’ challenge.

I’ve learned something about mandalas and myself in this time and that came as a surprise.

Making a mandala is mindful.

Being mindful for me is meditative.

This is good for my inner well-being which has been a bit wobbly for the past few years.

One of the things I have found is that when I truly concentrate I am ‘in the moment’ and when I decided to make the most intricate mandala I could make, I was indeed!

This one, in black pen, is all my design and on a large A3 sheet.


The second shot is of a close up.


Later, before the challenge is done, I will have coloured it.

Added: I began colouring this last night and found a line needed adding….can you see it here? 

It has taken me time over a few days to create it and i know the colouring will be similar. For someone who is usually a ‘fast finisher’ this demonstrates that I am learning to be more patient and let the creativity flow.

Are you a ‘fast finisher?’

Do you prefer to take your time to ‘perfect’ what ever you create?

I know I am not a perfectionist per se but I also know that I value a product to be proud of and pay tribute to the process too.

How has your creative week been?

And do recall creativity is more, much more than art, craft, writing, performing and music!


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Joining the Ultimate Rabbit Hole here this week with The Geeky Shopaholic and also where this link up appears too with Karin at Calm to Conniption along with Shari from  at Good Food Week.


ICAD Cards Sorted! 366/219.

ICAD Cards Sorted! 366/219.

I’ve been part of the Index Card a Day challenge for 4 years.

This year I decided to sort them properly.

I have them in a set of two folders and each double page has each day’s cards for the 4 years.

It was quite a good idea as I got to review what I had been up to and what I had learned.

Now they are in one place, it makes it fun to access.



Two A4 Folders. Red: Cards 1-30. Blue: Cards 31-61. 2013-2016.


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Prompt 1. 2013 – Zebra. 2014 – Prism. 2015 – Chevron. 2016 – Mix Tape.


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Prompt 12. 2013 – Ivy. 2014 – Paisley. 2015 – Kiwi & Parsnip. 2016 – T.V.



Prompt 48. 2013 – Magenta. 2014 – Matryoshka. 2015 – Disco. 2016 – Aurora Australis.


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Prompt 61. 2013 – Stapled Collage. 2014 – Thread. 2015 – Parachute. 2016 – Path.


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A range of warm-up cards from the years of Index Card a Day.


Did you take part in the I.C.A.D. challenge?

How have you organised your Index Cards?

Thanks again to Tammy Garcia at Daisy Yellow Art  for a fun time for the past 2 months…and the preceding 3 years!


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Joining Sammie and friends for the Ultimate Rabbit Hole here. Happy Weekend!

Visiting Alicia who also took part in the challenge this year over at her blog on Open Slather.


Dental Health. 366/209.

Dental Health. 366/209.

This is my story.

It is not pretty.

However, I remain, at best/worst, someone who adheres to the 6 monthly dental check up.

Since I was under 5 I have visited the dentist. In the 1950s this was a ‘gruesome’ experience. For me that IS for sure.

Apparently when I was very little I had chicken pox and it affected my teeth. The second ones, 6 year old molars.

At around the time they came up, they were all decayed and had to be removed. No anaesthetic. Oh yes.

My mum and dad had good teeth and they were born in the 1920s. My younger brother has/had a better deal than me in the dental stakes.

So, I became a regular visitor for fillings and more at the dentist in Wollongong where I even caught the bus alone and came home after a check up. It was the 1950s remember and my suburb was one away from the centre of the city.

I only knew pain from the fillings and drill.

Until we moved to Sydney. The dentist there asked “would you like an injection?” At around 12 I answered YES if that helps dull the nerve pain from the drill. So I wondered why my parents/other dentist had never mentioned it. Oh, said my parents, we never needed it.


For the rest of my life..and right up till now going to the dentist (and finding one when the old one leaves and we move house) is still every 6 months. I still have some of my original teeth. I have hardware and fake stuff throughout my mouth and I do the best I can, despite being a liker of lollies (don’t hate me!) to keep the ones I have left. I have had root canal x ??, added porcelain veneers as a bridge, added…blah blah and still…

I am fearful of visiting the dentist.

A dentist really has to engage me with his/her confidence that my ‘mouth’ is not the ‘worst’ seen and that I can keep on doing what I am and remain relatively mouth-healthy.

Up here I found a couple of dentists that were OK. However, most recently I found a new guy who actually LOOKED and LISTENED and came up with some ideas of his own to help me keep my mouth and gums healthy and I am following his advice with great success.

source: pixabay

source: pixabay

Do you have an issue with dentists?

Do you have check ups?

Are you confident to ‘open your mouth’ and let someone probe around looking for…holes?

Tell me your stories!



Joining with Raychael at Agent Mystery Case for Worth Casing Wednesday.


Which Fictional Character Would I Like As a Friend? 366/81.

Which Fictional Character Would I Like As a Friend? 366/81.

I have ummmed and ahhhed about this prompt from Kirsty’s My Home Truth’s “I Must Confess” today.

Here goes.

Which Fictional Character Would I Like As a Friend?

Bridget Jones.

From the book(s) and the movies. She is a bit ditsy and quite a bit too vague for me, so actually she is not going to be my friend. Soz.

Marj Simpson.

You know, she comes close. My maiden name was Simpson and my aunt was Marj. But, seriously could I listen to her over a coffee? Yikes! No.

Grandmother of Little Red Riding Hood.

Look here, if you are that unwell Grandma should you still be at home in the woods by yourself? I am not surprised at all that you unwittingly let the wolf in and placed your innocent little granddaughter in danger when she arrived with her basket of goodies. I would not be able to look you in the eye and swap grandmothering stories at all. Sad to say.

Miss Jean Brodie.

I love that you are a splendid teacher but you appeared over time to become bitter and sad. I would want to share stories of school teaching with you but I fear I would sink into sadness if I did so. Not good.



It’s clear to me, with just four examples that I am not a particularly caring friend…is that a ‘judgement” I am making?

Well, it was done in fun and I admit I did need to do quite a lot of thinking to get there.

When we read stories and see movies and hear how ‘fiction’ appears it can seem like a more likeable life than the one we experience now. But, in my case, I have opened my eyes wide and decided that the BEST types of friends are for REAL.

My actual bestie & Me.

My actual bestie & Me.

What about you?


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Colour Me Positive.Week 4. 366/30.

Colour Me Positive. Week 4. 366/30.

Regular readers know I have undertaken the challenge to make an art journalling page via this group called Colour Me Positive. This is from last Friday.

4/52 BElief in ME from deep within has been the gift I am finally accepting. For almost all of my 66+years I like many (women mostly I dare to presume) sought approval and accolades from others as well as achievements to gain a sense of self. I now know, after a tough 2+ years, I have to give myself the permission to both LIKE and LOVE me for who I am…not what I am. So, the page! Background is aseries of painted ‘blobs’ with lines drawn around in gelly pen representing life, twists & turns, adding stars of various sizes for ‘life’s achievements & career/family success’ but the real story is me…the photo there, added with women’s colours of green and purple…celebrating ME and the gift I give myself of BEING and BELIEVING in ME.


Do you like words of inspiration?

Do you find them helpful?

For me it can be something to remind me of how life is precious but words of inspiration need to ring true for me and not all do.

Is that just me?

Joining my blogging buddies here at The Ultimate Rabbit Hole – a great Saturday linky!



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I.C.A.D. 2015. It’s DONE?! 212/365.

I.C.A.D. 2015. It’s DONE?! 212/365.


What happened?

Suddenly it’s the end of July and today I posted my 61st card to the Facebook page for Tammy Garcia’s Genius Idea…Index Card A Day Challenge.

I’ve written about this challenge before here. That was before the challenge started and I also added a post about materials. I like to help! So I am also thanking Tammy Garcia for offering me the role of moderator. It was a blast!

Why do I like ICAD?

  • It’s the connections with people who post their cards and they are from all over the world,
  • the chance to take a look at the many many cards of others and learn something new,
  • the way in which I am mentally challenged (geddit?) to come up with a response to the prompts,
  • the fact that since beginning ICAD in 2013 I have ‘met’ sooo many artists who inspire me,
  • it ‘makes’ me do art differently for 61 days – 1 June – 31 July

Here’s some of my fun creations and how I keep my Index Cards as a collection.

Happy to meet so many of you via this challenge and already I look forward to 2016!!


2015 Cards are Pasted Into This Book.


Sunrise. Based on a photo I took at Manly last year.


Queen Of Hearts. Hard to Do!


‘games’ themes pages


Salt & Pepper (l) Route 66 (r)


Grapefruit & Cherry (l) Carrot & Lemon (r)

Did you take part in #ICAD2015?

Even if you didn’t post, you are still part of the group..the Facebook group grew to 2270!

I, ahem, am an ICAD GURU for completing 61 cards over 61 days! Go me…


Woah! (again)

Happy Arting everyone.

Denyse xx