23 January 2013

Book List: Spiritual Recommendations

What are you reading?

Here's a list a good friend of mine made. She doesn't read easy works, but valuable and meaty books.

Take the challenge? Add to the list?

I'm reading biography this year; gleaning wisdom, courage and perspective from the experiences of others.

Book list from In The Life of a Busy Woman

21 January 2013

Blogs and Bloggers

Do you blog?  Blog: a web based log of .... whatever takes your fancy.

Conversations@Intersections gets over 25,000 page loads by 19,000 unique visitors per year, an average of 1500+ per month. You are part of that!

That fascinates me. I'm not all that impressed by my thoughts and offerings. 

Those stats would put me in the Top 100 NZ blogs if I was included in that country's list. #1 on the NZ list gets 457843 per month, so there's a huge difference between the Top 25, the Top 50 ... and the rest of us.

Top US blogs include Huffington Post, LifeHacker, Mashable and Tech Crunch....they wouldn't even be able to see me from their lofty heights.

Do you blog? Leave your URL in the comments so we can drop by and see what's happening in your world.

Check out friends of mine who write personal blogs and put a lot of thought and attention into them.

A Pause on the Path          

In The Life of a Busy Woman

Tash McGill at http://www.tashmcgill.com

Living Overseas and Loving It

Why blog? Darragh Delaney from Computer World says 

  1. Improve your writing and speaking skills
  1. Become a content creator, not just a content consumer.
  1. Focus your mind on the subject matter.
  1. Use blogging as a way to test content for other uses
  1. Start to engage with others

I started blogging so as to write more often. I know of people who trialed their book online, edited and added as a result of critique and comments, then published a much better final product than they could have done on their own. Collaborative blogging is helpful for project management.

One of my favourite bloggers is Seth Godin who adds short posts that provoke me to think, and sometimes to forward the link to others. Another is Tall Skinny Kiwi. Check 'em out!

Who do you read online? Let us know.

18 January 2013

Prepare for the difficult times . . .

I have a sense that this year is going to require me to dig deep in some seasons. I don't get premonitions as such, but I wasn't born yesterday.

Proverbs speak of preparing for the lean times. Wisdom dictates preparedness. Many cultures have means of storing up, preparing for lean times, not being caught unawares.

In Maori the storehouse is called the pataka. It is out of the pataka that Maori can share, and sometimes it is wisdom from experiences that is shared. 

Nuku Tewhatewha, in The Dowse, Hutt City, NZ,  is a significant example of a Maori storehouse or pataka

I'm trying to store up a bit extra for whatever may come this year. To have a margin beyond my normal resources so if I have to dig deep, I'll have something there. I too often push the margins, run on near empty or assume I'll always be able to meet the need.

A dear friend of mine downloaded a book for me last year. It is called Margin and is available from Amazon and leading booksellers. Reading a book about learning new habits is different from learning new habits.
Along with more veggies, more sleep and more play, I'm going to learn new habit this year, so I'll have something in my storehouse from which to share.

16 January 2013

RSS feeds blog content straight into your InBox: life outside of Facebook

While Facebook is a popular place to while away the hours, there is content you might like that will never show up there. You have options and most of them are free.
Want to keep up on your reading without going to each site individually?
I read several blogs, not everyday, but regularly. Actually going to their blogs takes more time and data than I want to give it. There are a few options people sometimes overlook. You may think of more. If so, please let me know.
Have your fav blog content delivered to your inbox or into a Reader.
Consider subscribing via RSS feeds so you can keep up with Conversations@Intersections and all your
 favourite blogs and websites without actually having to go there each day. An RSS feed is a Rich Site Summary: a format for delivering regularly changing web content.
 Always learning new tricks keeps me from being an Old Dog! It's as simple as clicking on that RSS icon up there by the URL address and following the instructions. See my other posts on RSS.
Many people recommend Blogtrottr. Although I think Google Reader is the best available feed reader, although they don't have support for email notifications. You can also generate RSS feed emails using Zapier or IFTTT.
Outlook, Mac Mail and other info flow and management programs have RSS reader features. Check 'em out.
On mobile devices you can use Flipboard, Pulse, Instapaper and others to create magazine formats of your favourite content, or in the case of Instapaper, to read when you are not online thereby saving your data allowance.
For webmasters, there are several available RSS to Email companies to host your signup form:

15 January 2013

Waiheke Island anytime, but February is best!

Waiheke Island sits like an anchor in the waters just off Auckland: a destination for many, home to approximately 8500 people, many of whom commute to jobs in the city via regular passenger ferry service.

One of the reasons I love Waiheke is because I can get there without fighting traffic. Just a short ferry trip and I'm away, on an island retreat that feels worlds away. Other reasons include the amazing views, fresh air, eclectic feel and slightly better climate than Auckland itself.

While Waiheke is a terrific destination just about anytime, February is my favourite time as its ideal to view and experience the headland Sculpture on the Gulf installations.

From the headland Sculpture on the Gulf website~ 

Enhanced by a magnificent landscape, headland Sculpture on the Gulf is considered New Zealand’s premier contemporary outdoor sculpture exhibition.
Thirty new large-scale sculptures from established and emerging artists will be exhibited along a spectacular 2.5km coastal walkway on Waiheke Island.
Works have been chosen from over 100 submissions by a panel of selectors chaired by John Gow (co-founder of Sculpture on the Gulf andConnells Bay Sculpture Park), Sue Gardiner of the Chartwell Trust and Lara Strongman, an independent curator from Christchurch.  The judge for the awards, who will work independently of the selectors, is Rhana Devenport, Director of the Govett Brewster Gallery in New Plymouth.
2013 marks the tenth anniversary and to celebrate this milestone, a much expanded Waiheke ‘experience’ awaits visitors with the introduction of the new Pavilion at Matiatia Bay.
Open daily from 8.30am this iconic Auckland event runs for three weeks at the height of summer and should be a “must do” on your summer calendar.
The artwork is of a very high calibre and kept so by the competitive nature of the opportunity. It is enhanced by the unique and well-thought out positioning of each piece with amazing backdrops of sea, beach, grassy hillsides or bright wide sky. Many pieces are worthy of quiet consideration which is easily managed by sitting comfortably and enjoying the space.

Waiheke also offers amazing beaches, birds and hiking trails, every level of accommodation and several great dining options. Check out the Waiheke information; booking i-site, Fullers or Sealink ferries and the headland Sculpture on the Gulf websites. Taxis, buses, scooters and bicycles provide transport on Waiheke. Shuttle buses provide access to the start of the sculpture trail. 

Bring sunscreen, jackets and a water bottle. Sensible walking shoes are necessary too.

The NZ Herald features articles on Waiheke periodically for up-to-date local news. 

Latitude (DMS): 36° 47' 60 S Longitude (DMS): 175° 5' 60 E
The 175th meridian passes through the island.
Only 17km from central Auckland, Waiheke is an easy 35-40 minute ferry ride from the city's downtown piers. It is the second largest island in the Hauraki Gulf, after Great Barrier Island.

14 January 2013

What would I wear to The Golden Globes...

... or to any such Red Carpet event, supposing I was invited?

What to wear is often a question we face, especially as we stand in our bedrooms surveying our options.

Do I need to 'look the part' for a certain role, whether it be familial, professional or social?

What we wear says something about who we are, or who we think we are, or who we think others think we are... do you follow my train of thought?

When I am speaking before a crowd, I try to wear what will help connect me with the audience, or what will best aid in communication.

When I've traveled, I've thought about what was appropriate or advantageous. People often say that those who dress smartly are more likely to get an upgrade. But it is often the wealthy dress most casually, as if they have nothing to prove to anyone. Oh, it can all get so confusing!

I'm rarely concerned with impressing people I don't know. I'll probably never ee thema gain so why dress with them in mind?

I usually think about comfort, confidence, and trying not to embarrass my companions.

I've been told I have a Bohemian style. I think that means I've given up trying to be trendy or fashionable and just wear weird stuff that makes others wonder if it might be the next 'in' thing. Those who know me know I wouldn't know the next 'in' thing if it hit me on the head.

When in Zimbabwe, I tried to dress respectfully and comfortably. When in India, my local clothing choices were comfy, easily tended to by my hosts and caused many smiles and warm welcomes. I was less foreign than I would have been in Western style clothes. In America I find I'm often the only one in black. In New Zealand I'm often the one wearing the most colour. Sometimes I've just packed so lightly that I'm wearing the only clean thing left!

At times I've dressed the part of chaplain or lecturer, as auntie or photographer, as hiker or painter... each appropriate to the context. Knowing who I am and why I'm there gives me confidence to be me.

So, if I was to require a Red Carpet wardrobe, the first thing would be NOT to make the WORST DRESSED list, and then to feel comfortable in my surroundings. Let's see, who designs well for short women who don't wear heels . . . . .

10 January 2013

Relationships of Significant Influence

Upon reading many biographies or hearing people's personal stories, one or two significant influencers usually come into view. They may or may not have been intentional influencers, and sometimes they were not benevolent.

Life-on-life influence is a powerful thing. How the digital age will undermine or enhance such relationships will be interesting to watch. 

The digital age and social media have altered a previous understanding or expectation of influence. Now a celebrity or well connected social media user can send a tweet or post a comment that is then retweeted/reposted/repeated 10's or 100's of 1000's of times! Whether something is true or not, repetition can exert an influence previously unheard of!

But what about a kind encouragement from a teacher to a student, from a grandparent to a child? What about the confidence of a coach or artistic director or teacher that shapes the courage of a young person? What about a nod from a boss or trainer that changes things for an adult?

“You is Kind, You is Smart, You is Important” is a memorable line in the movie The Help. After the character Aibeeelen witnesses the child (Mae Mobley Leefort) she is caring for being hurt over and over again by her mother, she decides to do something about it. Everyday she tells the young child in her care something good about herself. 
  What difference might that make in the life of a child who would not have had any input other than her distracted, ignorant and selfish mother? 

My mother's mother died when my grandmother was a small child. Who poured in to the heart of that little girl in the absence of her mother? How has that affected my family for generations now?

I was mentored by a woman who is 4' something. Her influence in my life, and in the lives of many others, has changed the world. The same is said of youth workers, community support workers, counsellors, school and university advisors, case workers, coaches and managers... quietly changing the world, in some of the least assuming ways, often over a coffee, an ice cream or bag of chips.

Think of orphans, underprivileged youth, struggling students or people who had seemingly insurmountable obstacles to overcome....think of average good kids or young adults or people in mid-life. Sometimes it is the voice of a caring adult that fuels the heart and mind and makes nearly anything possible.

Who has influenced you, or who are you influencing to realise their greater potential?

09 January 2013

Knee deep in the everyday

I'd like to say I've been knee deep in wisdom and spirituality, but mostly I've been knuckle deep in compost and weeds and mulch. While we might think in terms of mountaintop experiences, much of life is lived in the everyday-ness of routine, familiar and ... traffic.

During the recent holidays I've seen everyday things happen during days and weeks that were supposed to be special. I've heard of death and accidents and medical tests on Christmas day, birthdays and New Years. I was at the hospital as a visitor on some of those days. Staff and other visitors were particularly nice as if knowing that illness and accidents are great levellers.

A new year has begun. Hopes and dreams have been polished and set aright again. I hope to sense the spiritual and find wisdom on level ground where ever my journey takes me.

 Emerson scholar Richard Geldard says, We live in an elevated sense of wisdom only in rare moments.”