Saturday 17th March 2018

What Art Has Taught Me. 2017.53.

What Art Has Taught Me. 2017.53.

In 2013 I was searching for more in my life to help me through the bumps and trials.

A friend suggested an art-based group in U.S. where there was an annual challenge.

I’ve written about this a few times on the blog.

Today I am listing what Art has taught me from that mid-point in 2013 until the present.

And it’s not always about Art!!

  • I can be patient
  • I can see the world from different perspectives
  • I can select what I want to do with my art materials with confidence
  • I now know the process is more important to me than the product
  • I find that I prefer to share my art, imperfect as it is, with many and am happy to give it away when people express an interest in it
  • I find it interesting that others see different things in my artistic pursuits than I do at times
  • I enjoy the way in which I became at one with the now when I’m engaged in a creative process be it writing, photography, art or gardening

In general, Art has taught me to allow my mindfulness to be part of who I am. I am no longer striving as much nor wanting to do the next thing. It is teaching me to slow down. 

This is a good lesson to be learned!

Have you learned lessons from life?


Glad to be posting again today for I Blog On Tuesdays over with Kylie Purtell here.

This link up is an original in Australian blogging land!

Only newly published posts are eligible for link-up.

A few years back this was very popular and I suspect many of those bloggers have new priorities.

However, new and established bloggers who have an original post any Tuesday are so welcomed over at I.B.O.T.! Lots of commenters and lots of blogs to read.

Come on over and add it to your blogging calendar. The link-up stays open for all of Tuesday of that week.


Educated As a Blogger. 366/339.

Educated As a Blogger. 366/339.

It takes a community to educate a blogger so I found out.

I used to think that I would write something of interest on the blog, publish it and some people out there would read what I wrote.And comment. Of course! Blogger gold!

Oh no, it does not work that way…well for me it certainly did not.

From pressing publish in December 201o to today, I know that the only way I learned about blogging was to be educated by others who blog.

Before I go further, I did attend courses and conferences and I met up with lots of bloggers too. I read some books, got some insights from blogging experts and gave my readers what I thought would be posts of interest.

It worked. Somewhat.

What made my blogging education better was discovering LINK-UPs …where bloggers invite others who blog to add their post and then others may see the blog too. I commenced doing this in 2011-12 and found link ups some of which have now ended. But my blogging education continued thanks to this one!

One which has been a consistent, vibrant and really inclusive LINK UP called IBOT. I blog on Tuesdays. It began when Jess blogged as Diary of a SAHM and then changed title to Essentially Jess.

But things are changing there too! Jess, who continues to be a writer, and a tertiary student along with raising a family of 4,  is finishing up by the end of the year and handing her link-up to Kylie permanently. I wrote a thank you here to Jess and one over at Kylie’s blog today too.


Thank you Jess for being a pioneering blogger and seeing a gap in the Aussie link-ups all those years ago to create “IBOT”. You know when I first came upon “IBOT” I was taken aback in 2012 ! I had no idea what it meant until I took a thorough look at your blog…which wasn’t even called Essentially Jess then, to get to know more!

Then I read what it stood for and why. You wanted to have a place for bloggers to add posts on a Tuesday that were created for the Tuesday – a quiet day in blogging then… I Blog On Tuesdays. Ahh! I got it. I loved gathering there and catching up and getting to know new to me bloggers and commenting too.

One day though you decided IBOT was becoming so popular that you were needing some help with comments. You put a call out for a “new to blogging concept” of having a Team IBOT. I do think that was another first! See, I told you about being a pioneer!  Warm wishes and THANK you, Denyse xx


It’s not often we get to meet bloggers in real life and I was fortunate enough to do that. I lived in Sydney when Jess flew in from Darwin for the Digital Parents’ Conference in 2013 and I did the airport pick-up and quick trip around places in Sydney before leaving her with our mutual friends to attend the conference.

Here’s a few pics of that morning way back Jess. I note you are not in these…as being a blogger, we tend to focus not on ourselves when it comes to images!!

Manly Beach. We had a walk around here after breakfast.

The walk from Manly Beach to Shelly Beach.

Early Morning Surfers at Manly Beach. We had breakfast in Manly.

The view from North Head back to Sydney and South Head. I enjoyed showing Jess where I used to live!

Now, it’s enough from me. I am looking forward to being educated more in 2017 and remaining part of #TeamIBOT each Tuesday as Kylie assumes responsiblity and we are joined by other bloggers who also love IBOT as much as I do!

Blogging on Tuesdays (and always a NEW previously unpublished post) is one blogging habit I will not break!

Did you link up for IBOT today? Here is the link! 



School Holiday Fun For Free*. 366/5.

School Holiday Fun For Free*. 366/5.

By the time January arrives, Christmas is over and presents have been bought, played with and (I hesitate to say) broken or ‘lost’.

It can be a bit of a let down with a thud!

I know that there are sounds of “I’m bored” and “What are we doing today?” and conversations which tell us parents it’s time to spark up our holidays as there are about 3 more weeks at home. For survival mode I mean!

But, usually activity comes at a financial cost and knowing full well the “empty bank account in January syndrome” I thought a list of ideas for free (*or close to free) would be ideal.

I got some help from Instagram friends too. Let’s do this!

  1. Go to the beach, if you can, at minimal cost. Maybe you live close enough to walk.
  2. Visit your local library. Now the public holidays are over, libraries are back! @casojaha @kaz_phi tells me that many have school holiday activities too.
  3. Art Gallery! There are many in regional areas and of course capital cities. There is always something to see and do (and free admission) but it can mean transport costs. @onesmalllife
  4. Playdates with friends. At home. Even better if you have a pool but be prepared to supervise your swimming people! Or arrange swaps at others’ places as long as it’s even shares!
  5. Take scooters and bikes (helmets please) to local park and maybe a packed morning tea or lunch. @75aml
  6. From @lifesboost: collecting leaves and making your own picture….create your own pizza with your own toppings….hide and seek (yay!)…nerf gun wars outside….make some play dough or use commercial stuff and it’s fun for grownups too….visit a pet shop…make a cubby/creation out of cardboard boxes.
  7. Make a blanket fort inside and play games in it. Don’t forget old-fashioned board games and jigsaw puzzles (I saw ones for under $1 at my local Salvos) and also geocaching is fun according to @sallyturbit
  8. Get some large sheets of butchers paper (you can buy large rolls at Ikea very cheaply too) and have kids lie down and trace around them. You can also make ‘large dress ups’ from paper into different characters. @krasf
  9. My friend Pam tells me her artist daughter runs art classes for free at regional libraries near her place on the coast too.
  10. Colouring in – from the internet sources of which there are many, for those who enjoy some solitary time (and it’s even better when parents give it a go too).

My ideas as well!

  1. Cooking was always a favourite on a wet or extra hot day. Little cakes with patty cases means each child can make a few and then decorate once they are cool. I kept packet cake mixes in the pantry as these are ‘easy peasy’ and even the kids enjoy the mixer (and licking those beaters!)
  2. Paint the fence, the brickwork, the pavement with….water! Big (cheap) paintbrushes and little (cheap) buckets were always part of my staple play equipment for the grandkids and this was such fun on warmer days.
  3. Draw around your sibling (or grandma!!) with chalk on the concrete or pavement and then colour in. Each grandchild loved this!
  4. Rally around the house on little inside-bikes. This was for the cold/wet/rainy days and I set up obstacles with the dining room chairs and away they rode!
  5. Walk around the block and collect leaves – doesn’t matter that it’s not autumn – come home and do leaf rubbings on paper or draw the patterns or use as a collage.
  6. Lie on your back and talk about the shapes you see in the sky and then give it a go to replicate them in drawing.
  7. Feed the ducks (if its permitted) at the local pond, or riverside or waterways
  8. Browse in second hand bookstores with each person having a budget of say $2.
  9. Sort out the bedrooms   This is not going to happen is it? Oh well, an idea!
  10. Twenty questions about you. Each person devises 20 facts about themselves and the others ask away. Only YES or NO answers!

Has that been of any help to you?

I do hope that you can also enjoy the company of your kids (going through old photos is such fun too…) because before you know it, they will be busier than ever with school, after school and before school activities and sport and you will be wanting some of this time back!

This week is the first of my weekly posts relating to education and schooling using my knowledge, expertise and long career as a K-6 principal and teacher and I welcome ideas from you, readers, about topics of interest to you.

Joining Jess at Essentially Jess for the first time in 2016 over at I Blog On Tuesdays!

Happy 2016 everyone.



education 150


The BLOG Report 2015.348/365.

The BLOG Report. 348/365.

It’s time to review the almost year of blogging every day here.

Whilst it isn’t quite the end of the year, today is the last link up for I Blog On Tuesdays over at Essentially Jess’ blog until after the festive season, so I wanted to make the occasion one of reflection and fact.

With photos!

Do I think my idea of blogging every day for the year of major transition worked out for me?

What a good question! Yes and No. Ok, Yes. In fact, there were some days the ideas and words flowed easily and I was encouraged by the responses to my blog’s posts and then there were the ‘other days’. I will admit, as I have in a few posts, that my emotional health (and sometime physical reactions to said condition) which was a direct result of the MANY changes we made (that I became affected by more than I ever realised) made it imperative for me to have a ‘reason to do something’ every day. This last sentence shames me and I do hope Emily Hawker does not read such poorly constructed one.

Do I think that I appealed to a wide range of interests on the blog this year?

Maybe and yes. This year was about a ‘blog post a day’ keeps Denyse OK year and I trusted myself enough to write what interested me. In the beginning of the year there was a LOT of silence from any (no?) readers until I got back into my familiar bloggy rhythm and sought out some ‘old friends’ links and some new friends’ links then I started to get readers who commented! My favourite thing about blogging.

What did I learn about myself as a blogger and the blogging community?

I’m glad you asked that! I learned that I love to connect. In fact, that IS what blogging is about for me and why my blog’s title contains that word ‘connect’. Life gets lonely in the retired from the busy professional life category, especially when you add moving house and leaving family and all you know behind. My blogging mates, and those who’ve become regular commenters (even if I have never met them) have really helped me engage most days and I LOVE that. I am hooked on connecting every day…which leads me to my last question.

Will I be blogging every day again in 2016?

yes I will! However, I really need to review how I number my posts. Maths was never a strong point and it turns out, I will not end the year on the correct number /365 because I blogged twice on 10 April!! Next year I intend to shake up the categories somewhat and add some. I will also be blogging day specific for categories for 5 days of the week with some freedom for weekends. I am going to consider and plan this soon. Watch this space!


I make a promise that I read every comment and always respond. I do!

So, in counting up the comments keep in mind they include one from me and one from the commenter. That’s why I call them a conversation!

From 347 posts to date this year, the posts received:

Zero Comments: 114 posts…all quiet.

Two Comments: 61 posts = 122 conversations!

Four Comments: 37 posts = 74 conversations!

Six Comments: 39 posts = 78 conversations!

Eight Comments: 33 posts = 66 conversations!

Ten Comments: 22 posts = 44 conversations!

Twelve Comments: 20 posts = 40 conversations!

More than Twelve Comments: 22 posts = too many  conversations to calculate as these went as high as 18 comments.

What great conversations!


I knew things were going to change for me in 2015…this taken at end of 2014 as I said goodbye to my ‘home town’ Sydney.


So, dear readers and those who comment…THANK YOU so much for your kind and caring support this year. I am happy to have suggestions made for topics and categories in your comments which will help me in my planning.

Almost a year later, here I am celebrating my birthday with the youngest GD who, along with all my grandkids 'make me Grandma I love to be'

Almost a year later, here I am celebrating my birthday with the youngest GD who, along with all my grandkids ‘make me Grandma I love to be’

I’d like to thank Jess again and the wonderful world of IBOT for welcoming me back and here we are again! It’s Tuesday.

Love to you all. Denyse xx



Moral Compass. 216/365.

Moral Compass. 216/365.

What’s the way in which you live your life and go about each day?

For some people it’s a faith-based life.

In others, it’s an inner way of being, doing and living.

Then I ask you, dear reader, do you follow your moral compass?

Is the answer yes, or maybe or depends or no?

Let me offer my view.

Without my moral compass I would have made and continue to make decisions that have been destructive or illegal or just plain hurtful to myself and others.

I have no specific events or tales to tell here. But I do know I listen to and feel my ‘moral compass’ and let myself consider things all the time in this way.

However, if you are not ‘feeling’ or ‘knowing’ what your moral compass is for or about, then you may be finding that life is not working so well.

My advice in life is this:

Listen to your heart.

Feel things in your gut.

Ask yourself…’does this seem right’



Denyse xx


Joining Jess and the Team at IBOT for this discussion and seeing what everyone else is up to on Tuesday 4 August!


Six Months Pt 2. 202/365.

Six Months Pt 2. 202/365.

Recently I wrote about Six Months Pt 1. here.

In our new and different circumstances I have faced some challenges I did foresee and others I was surprised to find. Someone I saw recently noted that having had 3 of Life’s BIG changes occur simultaneously, then little wonder I am finding the going extra tough. Nevertheless, it “is” getting better! S L O W L Y…and probably more slowly than impatient me would like!!

Are you like that?

Let’s get it over with?

Just me?


Moving on to this post’s contents…

What might the next 6 months look like for us?

  • I am becoming a little more physically and socially  connected in the local and wider area. Today I begin an 8 week art course at the Gosford Regional Gallery. I am finding a few people in the Umina area who could be interested in getting together for some mindful coloouring in and meeting one on Thursday.
  • My hub is busy in a balanced way! He is finding that helping his brother and sister-in-law with renovations is satisfying his ‘physical, let’s get me out of the house’ need. He is continuing 2 subjects of his on-line course in Bachelor of Counselling. Round of applause for his credit and distinction last semester. He wakes early, due his physical health challenges,  and does most of his study and assignment work from around 3 a.m- 7 a.m.
  • Whilst we have enjoyed the ‘water views’ here (and thanks to your comments, readers, you do too!) this house is too big, uncomfortable …thanks spiral staircase and NO ducted air con…and I could go on but I won’t…and at around $150 a week more than our continuing budget can afford we won’t be staying here beyond the 12 month rental agreement.
  • We have already found areas where we are more likely to find a comfortable house, with the pre-requisite of ducted air and at the right price. They are not over the road from the Bay or the Beach..but only about 15-20 minutes drive away from water and our nest egg (saving for the house we buy one day) will be less eroded.

Mind you, packing again…moving again…how good is that? NOT.

So, whilst we have no crystal ball into our future, like the rest of the world, at least we are making progress in our ‘new’ life here on the Central Coast after leaving Sydney.

Have you ever made major life changes and wondered….’why?’ No, not that we have…but it can feel stressful at times.

Denyse xx


Papa shows Miss 2 ‘the ducks’ she loves.

Thanks IBOT readers!

Joining Jess at Essentially Jess.






Empowering YOU.{and ME} 160/365.

Empowering YOU.{and ME} 160/365.

There is something to be said about this change I’ve been experiencing and its effects.

It has taught me that I am not alone.

It has also shown me stories from others that help guide my thinking and my future path.

One such occasion is this, when through the Happify Program, link here for your info, I am doing I was led to this video from

TEDx…. what do you think?




Joining Jess and the gang at I Blog On Tuesdays.

Denyse xx


Art & Anxiety. 153/365.

Art & Anxiety. 153/365.

I have always enjoyed some kind of art/craft/making/creating activities including drawing, scrapbooking, lettering, and so on.

As a teacher it was always fun to create with and for the kids in class and I continued this when all of the grandkids came along, especially those who stayed for G&P care each week.

I guess I never put a lot of time into making and creating as a solo activity (that would be indulgent…old Denyse would have said) until I was led to Daisy Yellow around this time 2 years ago when I was feeling stressed.

Who knew Art helps anxiety?

Not me then.

But I sure know now! When I create I am “in the moment” and I cannot feel anything but the act of what I am creating. It sometimes takes me a while to recognise that my anxiety could be quelled with some art-type activity and once I make the connection, my tummy relaxes and I have fun.

Recently I have had to overcome some challenges about travelling to Sydney and I’m convinced that taking some art time before I left helped me relax and soothed my fears about potential IBS from stress.

Here’s what  I created on Tuesday morning before going to Sydney for a wonderful and uneventful (except for the joy) trip

Today, I have already started Index Card a Day (ICAD) challenge for 2015.

Are you taking part?

Denyse xx


This post is for I Blog On Tuesdays with Jess and her lovelies at Essentially Jess.