31 December 2011

Slow food, near it’s source

Though we arrived late to the Farmer’s Market, after the cold had chased the buskers away,

we hunted and gathered, and interacted with the producers themselves. Buying food nearer

to it’s source is satisfying, and knowing the financial gain was going only into the pockets

of those who did the work, more so.

The Lebanese woman’s recipe of spinach stuffed bread with a tang of lemon went nicely

with ‘young’ Colin’s cheese and the venison salami I’m to “hang unwrapped by it’s string.”

Add all of these to the tomato, lentil & pumpkin soup made by my friend, and we feasted.

Food is best shared, most satisfying when hungry and long remembered when the procurement takes time.

30 December 2011

Knitting Therapy

I've seen babies rub the satin edge of their blanket and men stroke their dog's fur.
What do you do that might compare? Read on . . .

Knitting is becoming the in thing in younger generations, not just the domain of nana's anymore.

Several of my friends knit or crochet. My grandmother taught me to crochet when I was a girl, but I've done nothing of that sort for many years, and don't now.
I garden, make photographs, read, try to paint sometimes . . . .

In a television show called NCIS, you might see Gibbs working on a boat he is building in his basement. A few visitors have commented on the potential difficulty of getting the boat out. Gibbs just looks at them like they're dumb; they just don't get it.

It's about the making of the thing.

Knitting can be like that too, from yarn to thing with a couple of sticks. Click on the cartoon to the left and you'll be taken to the rest of the story; how knitting can be therapeutic, how the process and the rhythm connects with the knitter on an emotional level.

What do you do that might compare?

"Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands,
just as we instructed you before." 1 Thessalonians 4:11

29 December 2011

“Crisps, lollies or biscuits?”

“Crisps, lollies or biscuits?” she said as she paid attention to passengers in each row.

It was only after I heard it for the seventh or eighth time that I realized how foreign

those words would be to someone unfamiliar with the Queen’s English, or any of it’s

colonial derivatives.

NZ673, Auckland to Dunedin, 2 Nov 2011

28 December 2011

Grief: The Aggrieved & Their friends

People act oddly when others are grieving. Some personality types want to fix things, remove the offense so their friend will cheer up. Others avoid the aggrieved, possibly feeling ineffectual and frustrated. Some cannot empathise at all and others say really stupid things.

I like what Stephen Marsh has written about Job's friends.

Doesn't everyone know that when you have grief or sorrow, what your life really needs is someone to shout at you?

Of course what they are really doing is trying to make sense of Job's problems. They want:
  1. The universe to make sense.
  2. The universe to make sense in a way that assures them that they are innoculated or protected against bad things happening to them.
  3. Job to get over it so he is not a cloud in their lives.
  4. To "help" without actually having to do anything.
Helping a friend in grief is not easy.
Trying to make sense of and understand is challenging for them, let alone for those who are step or two removed. Sometimes it is good to ask your friend how you can help. They may not know, but at least voicing your desire and accompanying ignorance will allow for better communication and lowered expectations.

Oh, and there's no quick fix for grief.
It's different for everyone, it cycles around over time. Two to three years down the road, a parent who has lost a child may still regularly feel the loss acutely. While life must go on, especially if there are other children, it'll never be the same. Never.

27 December 2011

32 panes

The view from my cell-like room is breathtaking; old homes

brightly painted, rooflines with character, pointing toward green hilltops guarding the horizon.

I see through old windows , painted, grouted and latched nearly shut with big brass handles.

32 panes of glass break the tableau into parts, or is it 32 paintings brought together as a mural of the whole?

otiose: another new word


[oh-shee-ohs, oh-tee-]
being at leisure; idle; indolent.
ineffective or futile.
superfluous or useless.

Don't think I've EVER seen or used this word before . . . . probably heard it along the way, but didn't understand what was being said. Context gives me heaps o'hints.

26 December 2011

Christmas Etymology

The word "Christmas" originated as a compound meaning "Christ's mass". It is derived from the Middle English Cristemasse, which is from Old English Crīstesmæsse, a phrase first recorded in 1038. Crīst (genitive Crīstes) is from Greek Khrīstos (Χριστός), a translation of Hebrew Māšîaḥ (מָשִׁיחַ), "Messiah"; and mæsse is from Latinmissa, the celebration of the Eucharist. The form "Christenmas" was also historically used, but is now considered archaic and dialectal; it derives from Middle English Cristenmasse, literally "Christian mass".

Day of Birth

"Xmas" is an abbreviation of Christmas found particularly in print, based on the initial letter chi (Χ) in Greek Khrīstos (Χριστός), "Christ", though numerous style guides discourage its use; it has precedent in Middle English Χρ̄es masse (where "Χρ̄" is an abbreviation for Χριστός).

In addition to "Christmas", the holiday has been known by various other names throughout its history. The Anglo-Saxons referred to the feast as midwinter, "midwinter", or, more rarely, as Nātiuiteð (from Latin nātīvitās below).

"Nativity", meaning "birth", is from Latin nātīvitās.
In Old English, Gēola ("Yule") referred to the period corresponding to January and December; the cognate Old Norse Jól was later the name of a pagan Scandinavian holiday which merged with Christmas around 1000.

"Noel" (or "Nowell") entered English in the late 14th century and is from the Old French noël or naël, itself ultimately from the Latin nātālis (diēs), "(day) of birth".

See also BOXING DAY, a post explaining a British tradition of the day after Christmas, which it is already in much of the world. World Clock Day & Nite Map

25 December 2011

What would he like? What do I have?

The Little Drummer Boy is a song, a story, of an impoverished boy wanting to give something to another boy.

What would he like? What do I have?

It's not that much different even now.
That sums up the life of a Jesus follower quite well, I'd say.

What would he like? What do I have? What would he like? What do I have?
What would he like? What do I have? What would he like? What do I have? What would he like?
What do I have?
What would he like? What do I have? What would he like? What do I have?
What would he like? What do I have?
What would he like? What do I have?
What would he like?

copywrite Jill Shaw 2011

22 December 2011

Make the Message accessible!

I work with students and tech savvy people.
This video contextualizes the nativity for them.
Amazingly well thought out and executed.
Reframe the old message and make it accessible.
God put on flesh; musta been uncomfortable sometimes.
How an we offer access to the message today?

Digital Nativity for Tech Savvy Viewers Speaks Their Language

21 December 2011

Difficult or Lonely Christmas?

How have your circumstances changed since last Christmas?

  • Drastically? Incrementally?
  • For the better, or not?
As we go about our business, it might be easier on those we care about if we realised that Christmas and holidays are not always jolly celebrations.

We know people for whom this is likely to be their last Christmas. They may be aware of it, or those closest to them may be harbouring that thought. It will cast a shadow, to some degree, over how they go about these next days and weeks.

Others are eager for the holidays to be behind us all because they feel they have little to celebrate this year. Losses have changed things for them in ways we may not consider as wish them a Merry Christmas.

Celebrations are good.
Lives and losses worth grieving are good too.

Those "good" things may not be easily compatible.

Let's Handle With Care those we care about.

Check a previous Conversations@Intersections post about
managing illness and potential loss during the holidays
and another about planning ahead to spend the day as well as possible.

Struggling through Christmas

You can also check Hospice, Aged, Mental Health or Grief
websites and forums for suggestions and support.

20 December 2011

"To each his own" or "No accounting for taste"?

Those of us in the Southern Hemisphere are not in need of such knitted items, but I thought I'd give the Northern Hemisphere friends a heads up. Though my grandmother would have lovingly knitted a couple of these, most of them are something even a Weasley wouldn't wear.

My personal favourite is shown here.

For the others, click on the link below.

The 12 ugliest Christmas sweaters, voted upon and selected by people in the know . . . . at CollectorsWeekly.com staff.

Christmas shopping? Fair Trade

If you're not quite done yet, consider what you can buy locally. Is there a market where handmade goods are sold by the maker?

How about a craft co-op nearby where you can buy unique items that will say "I picked this just for you". That's in contrast to the scenario where someone walks in with 27 identical gifts, without tags, and distributes them to each relative. One-size-fits-all is handy for the purchaser, but not the recipients . . . unless of course it's the new Fiskars scissors that do multiple things or that 5-in-1 tool from the paint store or . . . oh, sorry. I digress.

Uhm, what about Fair Trade?

What about profits
going to the one who provided the idea, initiative and sweat? I know distribution is vital to commerce and should be rewarded, but when distributors make disproportionately more than producers then the balance of power has shifted and the production is likely to dry up.

Fair Trade is a system of exchange that honors
producers, communities, consumers, and the
environment. It is a model
for the global economy
rooted in people-to-people connections, justice,
and sustainability.

In this economic season price matters, but ethics do too.

Shop ethically when at all possible.

Pay fair prices for items and do not reward modern day slavery of sweat shops where employees are sporadically paid and not free to change their situation. Many have had their passports confiscated and live in cramped squalor.

Fair trade is good. It makes the world a more equitable place.
Click to download a Fair Trade Finder App.

19 December 2011

Struggling through Christmas: Plan ahead!

If you know Christmas is going to be difficult for you this year, make a plan now to make it as survivable as possible.

You may not be able to get home, or you may have a broken relationship, or have lost a dear loved one, or just can't cope with the hubbub of big groups. You may be in the dog box or have no money to do anything special or have kids who are celebrating with their other parent.

I remember sitting at an intersection in tears one Christmas, knowing I was welcome several places, but not feeling at home in any of them. It happens. Holidays are not always jolly-days.

Some options:

You can find ways to cocoon yourself and ignore the whole thing, though that will mean little or no access to TV, internet or radio. One friend considered going to a country where Christmas wasn't celebrated! You could get enough books or videos to last 2-3 days. Plan healthy snacks with a few special nibbles.

Another option might be to involve yourself in a project you enjoy and want to do anyway.
Get out those paints, that puzzle, book or toolbox . . . glue gun, sewing machine or model airplane.
You have to plan ahead though. Make sure you have all the supplies you'll need so as not to add to your frustration on the day.

Again, you might choose to volunteer or brighten someone else's day. You won't be the only one struggling. Together you might end up in a better place, telling stories of happier times or sharing that chunk of chocolate instead of eating it all yourself.

What about doing some baking, or gathering some supplies ahead of time, and delivering parcels to those who are working to provide essential services? The police, fire services, medical and utilities staff would all probably rather be home instead of at work. Take them something that acknowledges their 24/7/365 type job. Offer the same generosity to the homeless or lonely in your community.

Are theatres or movie houses open near you? Go! Get some popcorn and ice cream and enjoy a film. Going to movies alone means you can see whatever you want and don't have to share your snacks. Even go for a double-header!

What do you enjoy doing? What have you been wanting to do?
Plan for that on Christmas Day and New Year's Day, and whatever other tough times you anticipate. Take what control you can of the situation and focus not on what you've lost, but on what you enjoy.

I don't mean to minimise your loss or discomfort, and make this sound easy. I'm just encouraging you to make it through these holidays as best you can. Planning ahead will make the day easier, if not easy.

Being nostalgic and imagining everyone else having a super time . . . well, those imaginings are not helpful, and those other families are very possibly getting on each other's last nerve.

Grass is always greener . . . ? Most families are dysfunctional. Really.

18 December 2011

What's wrong with this picture?

St Matthews- in- the-City, Auckland, often has controversial billboards. They definitely get people talking.

What's this billboard saying?
What's Mary thinking?

16 December 2011

Facebook Timeline Tips Links

Facebook was not the originator of "There's nothing so constant as change." but they support the idea.

Check the following links for Timeline tips.

Facebook tips & links

Timeline: 7 days to review. on.fb.me/tZDjmk

- Posted using BlogPress from my phone

Simplify for 2012: Feed content for your convenience

Feeds are a way for websites large and small to distribute their content well beyond just visitors using browsers. Feeds permit subscription to regular updates, delivered automatically via a web portal, news reader, or in some cases good old email. Feeds also make it possible for site content to be packaged into "widgets," "gadgets," mobile devices, and other bite-sized technologies that make it possible to display blogs, podcasts, and major news/sports/weather/whatever headlines just about anywhere.

What Does This Mean?

You may recognize the universal feed icon or these "chicklets" from your favorite websites, blogs, and podcasts. These icons represent content in any format - text, audio or video - to which you can subscribe and read/watch/listen using a feed reader. What's that?

Why is This a Good Thing?

Technology evolution in online publishing has made it really easy to not only publish regular updates to web-based content, but also keep track of a large number of your favorite websites or blogs, without having to remember to check each site manually or clutter your email inbox. You can now streamline your online experience by subscribing to specific content feeds and aggregating this information in one place to be read when you're ready.

  • Consumer Bottom Line: Subscribing to feeds makes it possible to review a large amount of online content in a very short time.

Read more via GOOGLE . . . . after you've subscribed to this blog.

See left column for email subscription or very bottom of page.

15 December 2011

Charles Shulz nailed it: A Charlie Brown Christmas

Forty-six years on and "A Charlie Brown Christmas" continues to thrive as a favorite of holiday television programming.

Mark W. Benjamin calls it, "It is a testament to what television programming can be: contemplative, unpretentious and, above all, respectful of the intelligence and innocence of its audience."

A Charlie Brown Christmas" first aired on CBS, 7:30 p.m.on December 9, 1965, sponsored by Coca Cola.

Benjamin explains,

"The director, Lee Mendelson, found kids with no professional experience, ages 6 to 9, to do the voices. Some of them could not yet read a script.

Charles Schulz agreed to write the screenplay. He had never written one before. Then he declared that there would be no laugh track, something unheard of in the day.

Then he included a scene in which Linus read from the Gospel of Luke. Melendez argued against it: "You can't have the Bible on television."

Schulz countered: "If we don't do it, who will?" And so they did.

Predictably, the show fell behind schedule as the animators worked feverishly to complete it. CBS had been heavily plugging the special without quite knowing what they would be showing.

When they finally got a private screening, they were horrified.

The special opened with Charlie Brown moaning, "I think there must be something wrong with me, Linus. Christmas is coming, but I don't feel happy."

A child says this? It got worse. No laugh track. Jazz music. Wobbly children's voices. Linus quoting from the Bible and then proclaiming, "That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown."

Worst of all, Charlie Brown constantly inveighs against the crass commercialism of the Christmas season. What would the sponsors think?

The CBS execs didn't laugh once. They declared it a flop; they would air the film once and then consign it to a can, never to see the light of day again.

They were wrong.

Several months later, "A Charlie Brown Christmas" won Peabody and Emmy awards.

Helpful holiday To Do lists to help those managing illness

Last year I wrote about those who may struggle through Christmas. The post included a helpful to do list from Hospice, giving ways to help those families managing illness, as well as everything else right now.

No time is a good time to be ill, but it's especially hard when everyone else is getting on with celebrations and you find little to celebrate. It's hard when you don't have energy to brush your hair, let alone hang your Christmas cards or decorations up.
Read that post here.

14 December 2011

The Hobbit: Did you know . . . .

  • Two Films – Two films will be made of ‘The Hobbit.’ The first film, titled “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” will be released on December 14, 2012. The second film, titled “The Hobbit: There and Back Again,” is slated for release the following year, on December 13, 2013. [Official Release]
  • Director – The films will be directed by Peter Jackson, with Andy Serkis as second unit director.
  • Characters – All major characters from The Hobbit are expected to appear in the films, as well as additional characters from the Middle-earth lexicon. Please see ‘character‘ and ‘cast‘ lists for more information.
  • Locations – Both films will be made entirely in New Zealand, using many of the same locations and sets from The Lord of the Rings film trilogy.

Just a year to go, Sir Peter!

And from Harper Collins:

"At a time when there is so much speculation about how others are visualizing The Hobbit, it is rather special to be able to read the novel with Tolkien’s own pictures and with parts of it read in his own voice, for a truly authentic experience.”

... as we entered The Hobbit’s 75th year, we felt we should acknowledge its success not only in print but also in the e-book world. Many thousands of readers have embraced The Hobbit in the two years since it was first released as an e-book, and with the growing availability of color-enabled devices, we felt it was time to offer an alternative edition, complete with Tolkien’s color pictures from our popular Deluxe edition.

Exclusive to this enhanced version of the e-book are new high-resolution color images of all of Tolkien’s illustrations for the book, many of which are also included in their earlier black-and-white versions, which can be revealed by a simple swipe of the screen. A foreword by Christopher Tolkien examines the writing of the book, complete with illustrations including manuscript pages and unused drawings. Finally, the enhanced e-book includes some recently discovered audio recordings of J. R. R. Tolkien reading excerpts from The Hobbit, including the dwarves’ party song, the account of their capture by the three trolls, and Bilbo Baggins’s terrifying encounter with the hideous Gollum.

Bilbo Baggins enjoys a quiet and contented life, with no desire to travel far from the comforts of home. Then one day the wizard Gandalf and a band of dwarves arrive unexpectedly and enlist his services — as a burglar — on a dangerous expedition to raid the treasure-hoard of Smaug the Dragon. Bilbo’s life is never to be the same again.

The Hobbit was an instant success when it was first published in 1937, and 75 years later Tolkien’s epic tale of hobbits, elves, dwarves, goblins, myth, magic and adventure has lost none of its appeal.

13 December 2011

A Different Way of Getting Pregnant

(Matt 1:18–25)

The birth of this bloke Jesus sort of happened like this. A woman called Mary got pregnant, but it happened a bit differently. Mary’s fiancé Joseph had nothing to do with it – it was arranged sort of direct by God. Now, Joe wasn’t so sure about all of this being right and proper. He was all set to send Mary off down the road when this angel character turned up in a dream one night when Joe was packing a few zzzs. This angel, she said, ‘No worries Joe, God wants you to marry this woman, this baby bloke has been planted there direct by God, no worries. Matter of fact, you’re going to call him Jesus and he’s going to sort a few people out, OK?’

Joe woke up, he did, married Mary, but they didn’t have it off till the little chap was born.

To buy the Kiwi Bible, go to http://www.kiwibible.co.nz

12 December 2011

Gift For Life: Tear Fund link

Imagine buying your brother or friend a pig rather than a CD you're not sure they'll like!
Or a toilet, well or bag of school books!

Gifts they don't really want .... or a Gift for Life?

Kiwis buy yours via Tear Fund or your favourite charity.

Readers around the world, check your local hospice, refugee organization or outreach to families of prisoners.

Make Christmas Matter

- Posted using BlogPress on the go!

09 December 2011


Definition of 

      stubbornly disobedient.

I don't think I have ever seen this word, until today. 

Have you?

Have you used it in everyday speech? How'd that work for ya?

Learn more word meanings at Dictionary.com

08 December 2011

Go easy on the SHOULDS this Christmas

Have you got your tree up, assuming you are in the majority of people who compromise on the pagan origins of such a decoration.

Have you sent out cards? Did they say Merry CHRISTmas or Happy Holidays?

And Santa? Are you including him, or maybe just allowing snowmen to wear red droopy hats?

There are sooooo many opinions about how people should celebrate the upcoming holiday, birthday party, in fact, where everyone but the birthday boy gets presents.

What I suggest is that we all go easy on the shoulds.

Don't should on anyone else,

and find diplomatic ways to resist being should upon.

With that in mind, I'll not say the knitters amongst us should or shouldn't knit the illustrated jumper/sweater. I will offer that maybe we shouldn't hug anyone wearing the knitted item, for our own safety and for the safety of the one wearing it.

Straw pokes and pierces, ya know.

07 December 2011

Imagine the conversations between these authors!

If you were to make a list of your top 25 books, whether titles you'd like people to read or think they should read or think are enlightening, enjoyable or whatever . . . . .... which would be included? Check out these lists and read previous lists from Conversations@Intersections.

Theoblogy - Tony Jones' napkin list.

Renovare's list from the book,
25 Books Every Christian Should Read Previous lists featured in this blog.

Books The Guardian thinks we shouldn't live without:
1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen 2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien 3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte 4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling 5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee 6 The Bible 7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte 8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell 9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman 10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens 11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott 12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy 13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller 14 Complete Works of Shakespeare 16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien 17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk 18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger 19 The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger 20 Middlemarch - George Eliot 21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell 22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald 23 Bleak House – Charles Dickens 24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy 25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams 27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky 28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck 29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll 30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame 31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy 32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens 33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis 34 Emma -Jane Austen 35 Persuasion - Jane Austen 36 The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe - CS Lewis 37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini 38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres 39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden 40 Winnie the Pooh - A.A. Milne 41 Animal Farm - George Orwell 42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown 43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez 44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving 45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins 46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery 47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy 48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood 49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding 50 Atonement - Ian McEwan 51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel 52 Dune - Frank Herbert 53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons 54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen 55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth 56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon 57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens 58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley 59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon 60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez 61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck 62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov 63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt 64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold 65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas 66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac 67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy 68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding 69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie 70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville 71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens 72 Dracula - Bram Stoker 73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett 74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson 75 Ulysses - James Joyce 76 The Inferno - Dante 77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome 78 Germinal - Emile Zola 79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray 80 Possession - AS Byatt 81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens 82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell 83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker 84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro 85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert 86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry 87 Charlotte’s Web - E.B. White 88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom 89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle 90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton 91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad 92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery 93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks 94 Watership Down - Richard Adams 95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole 96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute 97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas 98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare 99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl 100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

I wouldn't have lumped all of those together in the same company. Goodness! Imagine the dinner table conversation between some of those authors!

04 December 2011

Shaky Isles are shaking: 4 felt quakes in 3 weeks

An earthquake measuring 4.9 was recorded in the centre of New Zealand's North Island on Sunday a day after a 5.7 earthquake rattled the capital Wellington and the top of the South Island. In November two quakes rattled the East Coast, one measuring 6.1!

Depth matters quite a lot in how it is felt at the surface. The deeper the better for minimising damage and risk to life.

Today's 4.9 earthquake was recorded at 5.05pm and was located 30km west of Taupo at a depth of 160km, GNS Science says. It was felt in Porirua near Wellington and was likely to have been felt in Hawke's Bay.

I have been traveling through these parts over the past couple of weeks, from North of Wellington, Palmerston North, through Hawke's Bay, Napier and Taupo.

Live every day and go to sleep with as few regrets as possible. There is so much that is beyond out control, much as we like to think otherwise.

NZ records more than 14,000 earthquakes a year – but only about 150 are usually felt. Kiwi schoolchildren regularly undertake earthquake drills just as children elsewhere learn how to respond to tornadoes or other natural disasters.

Shaky Isles

02 December 2011

Perspectives of different people, and over time

28 years ago I studied this passage.... then revisited it in a big way 17 years ago.... living in it is different from studying it.

Paul, a Jewish Roman citizen who could argue w/the best of the philosophers & snake handlers, said, "Even though I am free of the demands and expectations of everyone, I have voluntarily become a servant to any and all in order to [converse with] a wide range of people: religious, nonreligious, meticulous moralists, loose-living immoralists, the defeated, the demoralized-whoever. I didn't take on their way of life. I kept my bearings in Christ-but I entered their world, tried to experience things from their point of view. I've become just about every sort of servant there is... "
(1 Corinthians 9:19-22 MSG)

- Posted using BlogPress

30 November 2011

Quoting Saints now!!

"... prayer is nothing else than being on terms of friendship with God."

"Thank God for the things that I do not own."

"It is love alone that gives worth to all things."

― Santa Teresa de Jesús

Journey, or Arrival?

"Sometimes it's a little better to travel than to arrive."

"... to make good time ... with emphasis on 'good' rather than on 'time'..."

"The place to improve the world is first in one's own heart and head and hands, and then work outward from there."

"To live only for some future goal is shallow.
It's the sides of the mountain that sustain life, not the top."

"When analytical thought, the knife, is applied to experience, something is always killed in the process."

"The pencil is mightier than the pen."

~ Robert M. Persig

24 November 2011

Time to speak; Time to listen

A sign I saw in the Catholic Cathedral in Christchurch.

Amongst the many works of art and amazing architecture, I thought this laminated notice worthy of capture too.

21 November 2011

THEOLOGY: Covered in dust

While exploring the upstairs recesses of an old bookstore in Christchurch, New Zealand, I saw this sign that would have been made to mark the THEOLOGY section.

How long since it had hung near its books?

How did it end up here with these old vinyl musical recordings?

The building has since been destroyed, mostly by an earthquake, then further by bulldozers.

17 November 2011

Who's to blame: God or Life?

A New Zealander who does feature pieces for a local TV network tweeted,

"I don't know if I'd rather 'God' threw 'curveballs' or just 'Life' (ie a senseless, random universe). I think I'd be more annoyed at God.”
He's unusual in NZ only in that he chose to mention God, and he capitalized the G. Most wouldn't.

People who have grown up knowing God as a benevolent merciful Creator might have a hard time seeing from this media guy's perspective.

When we are usually with people like ourselves, it's easy to assume most people agree with us.

Enlightening, or disheartening, to find out otherwise?

11 November 2011

On a scale of 1 to 10...

... how's your November 11 of 2011 going?

New Zealand is halfway through the 11th as I post this, but some of you still have a ways to go. Daylight map

Enjoy. It's a day in your life, a day you'll not get back. You can't rewind, redo, reload . . .

In one sense, it's just a day that's numbered in an interesting way, depending on who's counting.
Click here to read about Indian, Islamic, Chinese, Hebrew and other calendars . . .

In another sense, it's fun. One couple was written up in today's NZ Herald because they are getting married today, so it'll be easier to remember their anniversary.

I'm going to a Geocaching event tonight that's all around the 11.11.11 theme. I've stolen the artwork for the event to show you.

Whatever you do, make today count in a way that's significant for you, and may even for someone else.

Brooke Fraser Interview

09 November 2011

Travel observations, in New Zealand, a long skinny country

It’s a long skinny country, this; not even an hour wide in places.

I’m on the edge, of it, south and east, where a paddock can be dusted with snow in the morning and the brightest of greens in the afternoon.

Rhododendrons are in bloom, vivid pink against the wet black of pavement. Garden tours are scheduled, though the lingering Winter isn’t ready to relinquish to Spring.

I shelter in the museums and galleries, old book shops and cafes.

Exhibits change, pieces brought out from storage to reignite the imaginations of those who look.

Titles cycle round, collectors filling in gaps and letting lesser editions go to a new home on another’s shelf.

Water boils, is infused with various leaves and made cloudy with milk. Cups are held carefully and blown across.

07 November 2011

Praying, why do it?

God is not manipulated by my prayers.
He is my Father and wants to know my heart.
Jesus prayed, and said to pray.
Conversation is central to relationship.

26 October 2011

John Ortberg speaking on poverty

Check out John Ortberg speaking on poverty at an Opportunity International event.
It's worth the click, and the 20 minutes of viewing time.

What is the worth of a single human being?

Check my previous posts on poverty intervention and what we can do through effective organisations who are making a real difference.

Can you live on less than $2 p/day?

25 October 2011

New Zealand Highlights: Maori, Hayley and Rugby

Hayley Westenra, one of New Zealand's best, sings the backdrop for a showcase of some of the rest of New Zealand's best, both scenery and World Champion All Blacks.

The song, World in Union, is the theme song for the Rugby World Cup 2011. Here Hayley sings it in Maori.

Not much other than rugby has been happening in New Zealand for the past few weeks. Now that it's over, maybe I'll blog more regularly?

24 October 2011

Cartoon Prophecy ended up with All Blacks laughing!

Stephen Donald was not a household name outside of rugby households and the Waikato. The All Black victory in the Rugby World Cup in Auckland last night has created all kinds of headlines, but Tom Scott's cartoon in The Dominion Post well check the date for yourself. Consider the cartoon ... followed by today's headlines in the UK Telegraph. It's a fickle old world, isn't it?

Rugby World Cup 2011: Stephen Donald steps up to join indomitable Richie McCaw for final moment of glory

What an extraordinary All Black and blue crew they looked. As the black tie party to end them all was already beginning here in the harbour, the men who had made a nation so giddy with happiness after a night of thunderous, heart-stopping drama were hobbling on to the long World Cup victory dias at Eden Park in various states of disrepair.

There was Stephen Donald, the No 10 who had replaced the No 10 who had replaced the No 10 who had replaced the No 10, looking so exhausted — understandably after having trained for a month on fishing and beer — that you feared he might not be able to reach the other end.

Dan Carter in training. Stephen Donald in the final.

Read the rest on The Telegraph's site.

Check out too Stephen Donald, the Hero of the RWC Final, though, taking nothing from Donald, a favorite of mine, he played his position. There were six different All Black players named as Man of the Match during this Rugby World Cup tournament. I don't think captain
Richie McCaw claimed any of those trophies, but his role couldn't be acclaimed highly enough.

It's a team sport.

18 October 2011

Hilarious or Horrendous?

"I think the difference between hilarious and horrendous is if it happens to you it's horrendous, if it happens to someone else it's hilarious."

Tiffany Smith,
Brisbane, Australia

~ borrowed without permission from a conversation on Facebook.

17 October 2011

Try-at-goal: Rugby Union terminology

Conversations in New Zealand these days are usually around the Rugby World Cup. Its here in NZ and we're in the final. Last night's game was beautiful to watch, rugby well played is terrific. Even people who don't usually care, care right now, or they are leftout of mainstream conversations.

Players are referred to by their first names. We know their foibles and history, including their off-the-field antics.

There's conversation about their uniforms, beards, boots, and tattoos. It can all be a bit foreign to those who aren't familiar with the game.

Try-at-goal: Rugby Union terminology
Originally a 'try' in rugby was a preliminary objective which scored no points but gave your team a try-at-goal. You then had a chance to kick for the conversion, thereby scoring points.

Over the years, the 'try' has become the major scoring feature, while the kicking game has evolved. Many matches have been decided on kicks, but the five points for a try and 2 points upon conversion show where the most points can accumulate. Penalty kicks and field goal kicking are often deciders too, especially when defense keeps a team from crossing the line.

Of course, in rugby league, the numbers and means of scoring are slightly different. Try to keep up.

NFL, or gridiron as the world refers to it, is similar, but different.
Knowing about football made it easier for me to get up to speed on rugby. Touchdowns, extra points, etc all come in to it, but in rugby you can't defend for the ball carrier. That's called a truck & trailer, which is fitting terminology for some of those defensive linemen! You don't pass forward, huddle or have special teams. There's a blood bin from which you may reenter the field when tidy, and a sin bin from which you sometimes reemerge after you've done your time-out.

Did you know, helmetted NFL football players suffer from concussion more then helmetless rugby players do? Brutal as rugby can be, they don't depend on the protection of helmets as do NFL players who tend to use them as battering rams.

- Posted using BlogPress.

16 October 2011

Conversations: How you begin may determine your end

The art of conversation? Some people just seem to have the knack for talking with anyone, for keeping things moving in interesting directions without those awkward silences or deadends.

You? How are you at the art of conversation? Consider the following:

Open conversations (or close them), by Seth Godin

A guy walks into a shop that sells ties. He's opened the conversation by walking in.

Salesman says, "can I help you?"

The conversation is now closed. The prospect can politely say, "no thanks, just looking."

Consider the alternative: "That's a [insert adjective here] tie you're wearing, sir. Where did you buy it?"

Conversation is now open. Attention has been paid, a rapport can be built. They can talk about ties. And good taste.

Or consider a patron at a fancy restaurant. He was served an old piece of fish, something hardly worth the place's reputation. On the way out, he says to the chef, . . . .

read the rest on Seth's Blog.

14 October 2011

Book Shop Cafe: Literary Libations

One of my favourite book shops is Ampersand Cafe Bookstore in Sydney, Australia. It has a cafe at its entrance with easy access for those who need to grab a cup of java on their way to work. Tea is enjoyed at a leisurely pace, so I always imagine those 'on the go' as coffee drinkers. Anyway, this book shop had several rooms with tables and chairs scattered throughout it's 2-3 floors. You could take your breakfast, lunch or afternoon tea and settle in with a book in any of the cosy spaces.

I went back several times during my trip and don't feel like I missed anything in Sydney. You gotta know when to just soak up the things you enjoy most and not bother with those 'Gotta See' lists made by other people.

What about you?

Where's your favourite bookshop?

What's so appealing about it?

If you ran a bookshop yourself, what would you offer your patrons?

Would you have a theme?

What food might you offer?

You know how you sit around thinking and coming up with terrific ideas? And you know how some just seem to stick and then they actually grow in to something wonderful? Well, this book shop cafe is an idea shared amongst friends of similar interests but different skills. So here we are, developing an idea that is giving us a lot of fun. So far it has not cost us anything except a few grey cells and a bit of time we'd have wasted on lesser pursuits.

You're welcome to come with us! Maybe we can meet over a cup of tea one day and discuss some terrific books.

13 October 2011

Rena: Cargo ship stuck on reef off Tauranga, NZ

While the waters around New Zealand are never bath water temperature as I'm more used to in Florida or northern Australia, the beaches are amazingly beautiful to walk, explore, sit upon, enjoy.

There's nothing enjoyable about
Papamoa beach this morning. It's has waves of oil washing up on to it, covering fragile plant life, wildlife and sand. Hundreds of dead birds, including an albatross, have been found dead. Shell fish and a fragile eco-system will be affected for quite a long time, until the sea can do its natural flushing, cleaning and reclaiming.

A cargo ship cut a corner, drove up on to a narrow reef which acted like a can opener, and was itself cut open. Pipes and tanks were mangled spilling heavy fuel oil into the sea. The mangled pipes are complicating efforts to empty the tanks into barges as the couplings and pumps can't function properly.

The captain and first mate have been charged in court, but it is the NZ government who are targets of criticism, as if they'd driven the ship up there themselves. Of course, opposition parties are using it as a bully bat with elections about 6 weeks away. Critics have raised the question of a timely response, was Maritime NZ properly prepared & equipped, who allows dodgy ships into NZ waters, etc.

How would any government anticipate the tragic series of recent events NZ has faced?

  • the Pike River mining disaster for which specialists and specialist equipment had to be brought in
  • the Christchurch earthquakes which have affected lives and businesses of Canterbury, and the economy of the entire country
  • and now the Rena.
Nevil Gibson of the National Business Review says,

Maritime New Zealand, the government agency charged with handling the Rena’s grounding, is getting plenty stick for lack of speed in the way it’s handling an exceptional accident that should never have happened.

Yet its planning for such an event is well documented and it is probably going as much to plan as possible, with only the weather adding complications.

Media coverage of such events invariably exaggerates and overdramatises, assisted by inadequate knowledge and background – though that is available if it is sought.

Emotional “how do you feel” dominates the angles and public response is mainly informed by ignorance. The media are driven by agendas ranging from political objectives (such as casting the government in poor light) to eco-alarmism.

The normal reaction to such events is to deal with it as expeditiously as possible and punish those responsible. The costs, too, will no doubt be recovered as much as possible from the ship owner’s insurance company.

Local people understandably want to jump in and help rescue wildlife and clean up the beaches, but some are seemingly unaware that there are dangers to consider and best-practice approaches to the task ahead. Some of the container's contents are toxic, especially when in contact with water. Looters may receive instant justice!

Massey University has set up their Oily Wildlife Response Unit. More than 36 response teams are washing the avian survivors and monitoring their well being. What of the kids parents took down to the beach yesterday to pick up the 'globules of smelly, semi-solid goo'? You'd think the choking fumes would be a clue that the tainted environment needed a careful approach. Pet owners ahve been warned to keep dogs off the beaches.

Ignoring potential toxic poisoning, locals speak to the cameras, complaining that no one is doing anything. Maybe this is a time for
"Don't just do something, stand there." and think through what the best thing to do might be. I'm sure that was the main objective in the conversations Maritime NZ was having in the early days after the Rena stuck. I'm sure John Key, Steven Joyce and Nick Smith were not just closing their eyes and hoping it would go away. Ships full of oil and loaded with containers do not just go away.

Hear from Prime Minister John Key via NZ Herald.

Papamoa Beach photo by Hayden Donnell http://www.twitpic.com/6zfbae

While Conversations@Intersections is not a blog dedicated to news stories or shipwrecks, our focus is the conversations we hear at intersections where people gather and talk about things of interest and importance. Last week, all the conversations in New Zealand were about rugby. Now a ship named Rena has stolen headlines, and summer holiday plans.