22 May 2013

Be prepared! Stuff happens.

IF you are at home when a disaster occurs, are you prepared?
If not, shame on you.

We see these sad events happen and think they won't happen to us!?
What's the risk in your area?
Tsunami?
Hurricane?
Earthquake?
Fire?
Flood?
Volcanic eruption?
Tornado?
Blizzard?
Something else....?

Get a battery powered radio & flashlight/torch, water in jugs, easy food, a first aid kit, warm clothes and misc other helpful items and store them in a handy place.

Have a Plan B, and maybe C.

Can you survive three days without outside assistance?
In case of the Christchurch earthquake, people had to cope much longer than three days! Knowing their neighbours helped a lot.

Discuss a meeting place if you get separated.

Get smart. Be ready. Get thru.

Check your local civil defense websites for suggestions.
http://www.conversationsatintersections.blogspot.co.nz/2009/01/be-ready-for-emergency.html
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20 May 2013

Discern plan, work, enjoy the benefits, share: practical wisdom

How foolish the woman who goes out to check her garden,
only to find no vegetables there; Foolish because she did not
till the soil, plant seeds or water the seedlings!

Further foolishness would be to resent the abundance of food
on her neighbour's table.

Discipline and planning are preferable to regret and resentment.

What do you need to do today that will prepare a 'harvest' for you
in the months or years to come?

Get up, assemble your tools and supplies, make a start.

16 May 2013

Traveller, or tourist?

"If you reject the food, ignore the customs,
 fear the religion and avoid the people, 
you might better stay at home."

- James Michener

This describes the difference between being a traveller and being a tourist. There's a time for both, but they ought not be confused.


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12 May 2013

We read deeply...

“We read deeply for varied reasons, most of them familiar: that we cannot know enough people profoundly enough; that we need to know ourselves better; that we require knowledge, not just of self and others, but of the way things are. Yet the strongest, most authentic motive for deep reading…is the search for a difficult pleasure.”

~ Harold Bloom





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11 May 2013

Independent Bookstores: CNN's list, and a few of mine

In this day of ebooks and chain bookstores, we rarely have the opportunity to fossick around in search of previously unknow authors, titles or anthologies.

I remember finding Jostein Gaarder just by perusing a shelf in a bookstore on the Main Street of Gisborne, New Zealand one New Year's Eve. I've gone on to read several of Gaarder's books, share the, with friends and recommend them to my book club. All because I was exploring a secondhand bookshop's shelves.

I've received terrific service from independent bookstore owners, both sellers of new books and resellers of pre-read books. Some of my favourite bookstores in New Zealand fell down in the Christchurch earthquakes.
Auckland has Jason's, Time Out, Evergreen and others. Wellington has Anty Bees and more.

I've sought out good bookshop's in Sydney, Melbourne in Australia. Then there are the treasure troves of LA, New York, Denver and university towns.

Where's your favourite independent bookstore? You know the kind that are one of a kind, owned by eccentric book lovers who might appear to not go outside much?

CNN has named 10 of the best indie bookstores in America.

Link to CNN's list

Where's your fav?


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10 May 2013

Perpetual unfeeling, uncaring; depression as described by one, with pictures.

Have you ever experienced depression?
Do you have friends or relatives who have, or do?



Check out Hyperbole & a Half for a unique visual examination of the dilemma. The language isn't what I prefer reading, it mental illness is often raw, real and rude.



Don't complain if you choose to follow the link and read the story.

Sometimes, in complicated situations, it's good for us to know what NOT to say.


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09 May 2013

Smart phones change how we communicate, in more ways than we may realise


Whether the tools a hammer, a camera, a pocket knife or a smartphone,

"How we perceive our environment is shaped by the mere presence of a tool in hand. And this effect is registered even before the tool is used."

"When the smartphone enters into the dynamic, it disrupts the body’s communicative patterns. Gestures, eye contact, posture, facial expression — all of it is altered. Our body no longer means in the way it is used to being perceived. It becomes impossible to achieve an optimal grip on the embodied interaction. And because our bodies give and receive this sort of communication tacitly and often in remarkably subtle ways in the act of conversation, we may not be conscious of this dissonance. We may only register a certain feeling of being out of sync. Presence fails to emerge and conversation of the sort that Turkle champions — indeed, of the sort we all acknowledge as one of the great consolations offered to us in this world — becomes more difficult to achieve."

We begin to feel the force of Simone Weil’s judgment: “Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity.”

Excerpts from http://thenewinquiry.com/essays/circle-of-presence/

Brought to my attention by Mandy Smith via Facebook.

Social media; good, bad, enriching and distracting.



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08 May 2013

Staying in the conversation: Religious differences

I was pleased to find that Ravi Zacharias International Ministries has a Canadian website that is complementary to but different from the very good US based site.

Check out stayintheconversation.org/rzimcanada for articles, discussions and information about whether Christianity is a crutch, if Jesus rose from the dead, whether Christian faith is reasonable at all, or not.

I'll recommend the site at an event on campus today where we will have a Muslim scholar and a Christian scholar each respond to a set of questions so the audience can compare the similarities and differences side-by-side, so to speak. Of course, each of the scholars will not only represent their faiths, but also their own affiliations within that faith tradition, and their own personal understandings and perspectives. Generalities are generally wrong, so it's good to break it down and realise that even within the major groupings there is much diversity and much room for conversation and respect of difference.

Engaging, not combative.
Conversations about differences help us understand where the other person is coming from. Seeking common ground and an understanding of difference can be interesting and enriching. Such conversations create community.

In our multi-cultural global economies, we need community based on more than ethnicity and religion. Cities across Europe, North America and around the Pacific have Sikhs living next to Buddhists who work with Muslims and play soccer with Christians. We do business with people from other continents, other language groups and world views. It takes a bit of effort sometimes to understand without assuming.

If we can lessen the ignorance, we can lessen the fear.
Sometimes that fear is a fear of offending. That's a kind and generous apprehension out of respect for the other person. But if that fear is an obstacle to relationship, it's still a divisive and alienating factor.

A malignant fear, on the other hand, breeds all kinds of social ills. Such fear resides in every religion, but is not usually taught as the ideal of any religion.

So, staying in the conversation is important.
Being respectfully curious is important.
Respecting difference while seeking common ground is important.

Sharing this big globe is a necessity; doing it well is our choice.


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07 May 2013

What to wear? Communication and relationship may be the consequence.

I have a greeting card that says,

"Who'd a thought we'd even be friends...."
(inside)
"....you know, the way you dress and all."


I can't decide who will receive it.
I have a few friends in mind, but I guess I think the way I dress is funny, so not sure they'd get the humour. (Hate to add to their insecurities, ya know.)

I long ago decided I didn't have the money to be a trend setter; heck I wasn't gonna spend the money it takes to be a trend follower!
So I've just danced to my own little tune; a little Bohemian, a little op-shop, a little straight lines & colour....

Sometimes the question is what to wear that won't be a barrier to communication or relationship. You know, long sleeves for some or no offensive symbols, logos or slogans for others.

You may say I'm over thinking this, that its nobody else's business what I wear. Well, it is in a way.

If, in my role as an ambassador for Christ, I try to find common ground with the people I meet, then I don't want something so inconsequential as my clothing to decrease the space in which we can stand or sit together, the common ground.

So the inconsequential becomes the consequential because communication and relationship may be the consequence.

So when I go to the hospital to visit people, I want to dress professionally enough that I'll be respected by the staff, but brightly enough that it might bring cheer to the patient.

When I'm talking with a teenager, I need to not look like their grandma, however cool she may be, but not 'try' and look cool either. How sad would that be!

When I'm speaking from a stage I need to wear something that is easy to see without it all being about my clothes!

Yikes. And to think all that through early in the morning when I'm standing in front of my closet wondering, "What to wear.....?"

See, it's more than just clothes. It's communication on so many different levels.

My clothes do not 'make' me. The labels I wear do not define me. The people I might be trying to impress don't really care......

So if it's not about impression, but expression...... hmmmm....



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