17 October 2018

The Wonky Donkey, a musical video written and performed by Craig Smith

This humorous Youtube Wonky Donkey clip features the a blinky stinky spunky cranky donkey of the book named after it. The video, which is also written by Kiwi author Craig Smith, won the APRA Children’s Song of the Year 2008

The book was made internationally famous and much sought after by grandparents everywhere, after a hilarious video of a Scottish grandmother reading it to her grandchild went viral on Facebook. Rhyming words are used throughout this text to create prediction and ease of listening. Craig enjoys retaining his childish side and writing songs for non-grown-ups. WARNING: Youtube clip of the viral reading which will induce laughter.

The Wonky Donkey book, illustrated by Katz Cowley, won the New Zealand Post Children's Choice Award

Smith says sales of his ode to a three legged donkey had "gone through the roof" since the video of hit the internet - so much so both Amazons UK and US ran out of copies. "After nearly 10 years, we are doing another 40,000 print run.... It looks likely to be on best-selling lists again. I don't know how common it is for that to happen.''  

Before that video, The Wonky Donkey book sold more than 1 million copies, mostly in Australia and New Zealand, since it was published in 2009. The book is not a popular souvenir for international visitors to NZ.

11 December 2017

hey Blogspot



04 October 2017

Together, we live.

• Naku te rourou nau te rourou ka ora ai te iwi   •  

A Mäori proverb for us all.

With your basket and my basket the people will live

28 April 2017

Learning from the Other

"The main political problem in post-Brexit UK, as well as post-Trump America, is the depth of our division. People with opposite views believe in their own opinions so vehemently, they’re convinced everyone on the other side is practically from a different species. "
- Joe Berkowitz, Fast Company
Another part of our political problem is that we only see the world as English speakers, thereby without hearing or understanding the voices of most of the world. I'm not solely referring to language, but to worldview, basic assumptions and filters.

What if we had lunch with an Eritrean, a Rohingyan, a Timorese, and a Yazidi. Assuming we manage our way through the actual language barriers, what could we learn of philosophy, values, worldviews and life, if we could truly listen? My first challenge would be to even know the questions. Coming from my journey and experiences of the world, I probably wouldn't even perceive the most important issues. Thus the need for conversations that take us places we couldn't have anticipated, resulting in understanding and knowledge we didn't know existed.

Smarter & stronger together, we are.

24 September 2016

We know his name. It's Omran. Omran Daqneesh.

I wonder what this little guy was doing just before he heard the aircraft that dropped the bombs?
Playing with his brother, who died? Or with his sister who lived? Helping his mom? Watching tv, looking at a picture book or playing with his car.... possibly making car sounds and driving around the legs of the coffee table?

He's 5 years old. I know 5 year olds. I reckon he wasn't expecting a ride in an ambulance and to have his photo taken...... or his brother, his home, his idea of normalcy at home with his family.... taken... by an impersonal bomb that fell from the sky..... from a plane.... sent by someone who didn't know Omran's name.

We now know his name. It's Omran. Omran Daqneesh.
I'd like to say, politics aside, let's respond humanely, compassionately, justly. But we can't put politics aside because it's ego, greed for power and politics that placed this boy in the path of that bomb.

What am I going to do about this? I'm going to deal justly and generously with other refugees. My Lord Jesus was a refugee. He taught about generosity, justice and compassion. I'm going to try to apply His teaching in practical, relevant and personal ways. It's consistent with my faith and my role as a disciple. It's my faith lived. I don't understand why other Jesus followers don't understand this.

Obviously, you don't have to be a Jesus follower to be kind and compassionate, but I would assume Jesus followers definitely would be. Look at Omran's face, through the dust and blood. Look.

The boy, Omran, is speechless. We cannot be.

Syrian child pulled from rubble after Aleppo airstrike –

04 April 2016

We choose

We choose.

We choose to be cynical and fear driven, fear mongers even. 

Or we choose hope, benefit of the doubt, generosity, kindness.

We tend to see what we're looking for.

23 February 2016

Comfortable with Different

Being in community with people of other worldviews, faiths and traditions requires different thinking than when we all lived in homogenous societies.

Knowing who we are is imperative. Only then can we relate in healthy and nondefensive ways.

People sometimes speak of not offending others; being inoffensive. The whole idea of 'fending' is combative, and unhelpful if we truly desire relationship.

Buber's "I & Thou", though not an easy read, sets the ground for healthy interaction in relationship.

When I am comfortable with who I am, and know who's I am, I should be on solid ground to converse with anyone else.

Some people think that being in relationship with people who are similar is easier. It may be, but it's not as interesting or enriching.

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15 October 2015

Common Grammar Mistakes Professional Should Avoid

Thanks copyblogger for the following infogram.  
Some others I try to pay attention to as I speak ...  

1.) "idn't it" instead of "isn't it".  
2.) Using "that" instead of "who" when referring to people. "The people that come out for such events..."  
3.) Amount instead of number when it's something to be measured, not counted.  "The amount of people who come out for such an event..." Or "The amount of water to fill that number of glasses."  
4.) in some regions of the world, people use "got" more often. In the US, I saw informed speakers cringe when I used "got" instead of merely "have". So regional grammar is often a factor in spoken language.   
5.) My 5th grade teacher said people who swear are either ignorant or lazy. They're too dumb to know any better words, or they're too lazy to explore alternatives.  
6. Say as much as you can in as few words as possible. This was modeled by my maternal grandfather, Frank W. Wright, and makes for easier listening in this info saturated world.   

Add your own or point out my typos and mistakes.   

In the following infogram, notice the creator says "goofs that make you look silly." Professional people work with all sorts of clients. Their confidence in you may be increased by good grammar, or not.

05 September 2015

Prepare for Refugees in Your Community

Frustrated by seeing news of refugees but wondering what you can do to help?

It will take a long time for those walking to Germany or waiting in camps to reach the communities where they will eventually settle.

• Prepare for them.
Receiving traumatized people requires some careful thought and sensitivities.
Consider their situation from their point of view.
Train with the organizations in your area.

Indianapolis, IN Area:
Catholic Social Services
1400 N. Meridian Street
P.O. Box 1410
Indianapolis, IN 46202

or Exodus Refugee Org

New Zealanders, train with the refugee arm of the Red Cross. They are brilliant and have offices in the major cities. Hamilton takes an amazing number of refugees!

Learn how to teach English as a second language.
Some Indiana colleges and libraries have programs you can enroll in or volunteer with. IUPUI

• Plot ways to employ a refugee.
A local industry in Anderson, IN employs several Burmese people.

• Consider household items a refugee family will need and assemble them in preparation.

Keep in mind too that just as refugees rarely get to choose their destination, you probably won't choose the refugee you'll come alongside to support. Refugees are on the move from Nigeria, Afghanistan, Sudan, Syria.....

The U.S. took significant numbers of people from Iraq, Somalia, Bhutan/Nepal, Burma and D.R.Congo.

Settling significant numbers in:
1) Texas (7,211)
2) California (6,110)
3) New York (4,079)
4) Michigan (4,000)
5) Florida (3,519)
6) Arizona (2,963)
7) Ohio (2,812)
8) Pennsylvania (2,743)
9) Georgia (2,693)
10) Illinois (2,578)
North Carolina and Washington state are not far behind.

All of this was happening before that dear little boy washed up on a beach in Turkey,
and before refugees, asylum seekers and migrants started flooding into Italy, Hungary, Austria and Germany.

Libya is a mess. So is South Sudan. Iraq and Afghanistan are unlivable in places. Syria? Unimaginable the dangers that have visited people who are in shock as to what happened to their previous lives.

A refugee is one who runs from immediate threat of torture, persecution, imprisonment, or death.

An asylum seeker shows up without documentation and hopes they
lol be allowed to stay.

Migrants have choices and try to exercise them.

The lines between these categories are often fuzzy, thin or faint.

Defining and leveling people is the job of governments.
Systems and processes require order.
Some of these people just want a safe place for their children to live.

Many of us do not often think of the continuum of survive-live-thrive.

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04 September 2015

Refugees or Migrants?

Migrants move because they can.
Refugees run because they have no option.

Celts, Vikings and Norman's invaded and intermarried with those living in what we call Ireland. My family has Irish, Scottish, German, French and First Nations/Indian heritage, blood and DNA.

Why did my ancestors first come to the New World?
Possibly because at least one ancestor was a horse thief.
Others were seeking opportunity or freedom.
I'm glad those who got here just before my ancestors didn't bar the gate, even against the horse thief.

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25 August 2015

A Journey through NY City Religions- mapping the spiritual space of a city.

What would we find if we did this in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch or Dunedin? What would it look like in your city?

They describe themselves:
We are an incubator and educator for new ways of doing religion reporting and understanding the postsecular city. We are nonsectarian and nonpartisan and open to anyone's cool and authoritative reporting on NYC religion.

We are a public square for the postsecular city. People of faith, people of no faith, liberals, conservatives--all are welcomed to journey together to make this city better for all people. Our warmest feelings are toward those who help the poor, the needy, and the abused."


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Location:Mapping the spiritual spaces of NYC

21 August 2015

Full of questions.

"... many Christians still allow cultural prejudices to shape their understanding of..."

I read this online today and it made me pause.

Which Christians? Those in Nigeria, New Zealand, Kosova, Cairo, Indiana, India...?

Cultural prejudices? Which ones? And what of personal prejudices?

When I first read the sentence, of which I've isolated only a fragment, I quickly thought of all the areas of application. I read it through my own lenses, my own life experiences. You will read the sentence through your lenses and will think your own thoughts, naturally.

Christians will do that. The wealthy will think they're not so wealthy; there are others with more. Poor students will mock the camel attempting to get through the eye of the needle, thinking they're sweet because they're impoverished, not recognizing their own prejudice.

How do we arrive at an objectivity that allows us to understand with a clarity untainted by prejudice?

How do we relate with people, read Scripture and respond appropriately without everything being skewed by undisclosed bias and unexplored personal paradigms?

I think we could fairly say, "... many people still allow cultural prejudices to shape their understanding of..."
and we'd all nod our head saying, "Yes. And...?"

The difference is that if we were talking about how we read and understand Scripture, well, our nationalistic, racial, cultural, gender, political, economic ... prejudices alter our understanding of the Gospel, God's identity, Jesus' mission, the Church, ..... pretty much everything really. Yet none of us live in the context in which Scripture was originally written, therefore ...

Do we even desire an objectivity that allows us to understand with a clarity untainted by prejudice?
I'm full of questions.

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07 July 2015

Wendell Berry Wisdom Poetry

The Real Work  by Wendell Berry
It may be that when we no longer know what to do
we have come to our real work,

and that when we no longer know which way to go
we have come to our real journey.

The mind that is not baffled is not employed.

The impeded stream is the one that sings.
"The Real Work" by Wendell Berry, from Standing by Words. © 1983

How To Be a Poet   by Wendell Berry
(to remind myself) 

Make a place to sit down. 
Sit down. Be quiet.
You must depend upon
affection, reading, knowledge,
skill—more of each
than you have—inspiration,
work, growing older, patience, 
for patience joins time
to eternity. Any readers
who like your work,
doubt their judgment.

Breathe with unconditional breath
the unconditioned air.
Shun electric wire.
Communicate slowly. Live
a three-dimensioned life;
stay away from screens.
Stay away from anything 
that obscures the place it is in.
There are no unsacred places;
there are only sacred places
and desecrated places.

Accept what comes from silence.
Make the best you can of it.
Of the little words that come
out of the silence, like prayers
prayed back to the one who prays,
make a poem that does not disturb
the silence from which it came.

"How to be a Poet" by Wendell Berry from Given.
© Shoemaker Hoard, 2005.

02 July 2015

Suffering, and response

Just thinking about suffering and people's response.

Sometimes people respond to another's suffering out of their own experience or emotions. I've seen people respond unhelpfully to poverty because they felt guilty. Their response has been short sighted and caused problems they couldn't imagine.

Imagination is often a helpful thing to accompany wisdom.

People's response to those who are dying is often complicated too. They are living out of their healthy norm, facing a probable loss in their circle of affection and they want to DO something.

In reading A Faithful Farewell by Marilyn Chandler McEntyre, written in the first person, I've paused to ponder, "I need protection from the weight of other people’s grief. Some of them don’t realize how crushed I feel by their anguish....

Still, it’s hard to go. And it’s hard to have to announce my going. I need to “gird my loins” for encounters with people who will be devastated. As I face each one, I need to pray for the patience, clarity, and kindness they will require. I know that a few of them will object and want me to get more opinions and seek more treatment options. I know that some of them will dissolve into their own grief,....

... my job is to allow myself to be kept in perfect peace, my mind stayed on Christ, and to meet each person’s sorrow with generous imagination for what my dying may mean to them. As I prepare for this final transition, they have to prepare for loss. Both are hard. Even for me, it’s not altogether easy to judge which of us are the “lucky” ones. I realize that the measure of life’s value doesn’t lie in its duration;..."

Buy from Amazon

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01 May 2015

Certainty or faith?

"Naturally, we are inclined to be so mathematical and calculating that we look upon uncertainty as a bad thing. We imagine that we have to reach some end, but that is not the nature of spiritual life. The nature of spiritual life is that we are certain in our uncertainty, consequently we do not make our nests anywhere. Common sense says - "Well, supposing I were in that condition . . ." We cannot suppose ourselves in any condition we have never been in. Certainty is the mark of the common-sense life: gracious uncertainty is the mark of the spiritual life. "
~Oswald Chambers, My Utmost For His Highest

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