30 November 2010

"There's a nap for that!"

The Daily What posted this photo:

iPhone Baby Quilt of the Day:

By Harriet Rosin for her grandson, Gabriel.

Benjamin Stein adds: “There’s a Nap for That!”

It's almost like an I Spy puzzle. You can find the baby in there . . . .?

What would you ask?

Having lived outside my home country for over 25 years, I'm used to having my loved ones and memories scattered over wide distances.

With that in mind, I spoke to a 'friendly' group recently who know only the last decade. As I prepared to speak to them, I often returned to the idea that they only knew what I had chosen to let them know.

That is often true of people in high profile roles; sometimes we wonder but don't dare ask.

Dare I do it?
What secrets do I have?
Dare I give permission for their curiosity to wander freely?
What question could I not evade if necessary?

So I did it!

The organizer distributed bits if paper and welcomed questions of any nature.

How bad could it get?

Considering the readers of Conversations@Intersections to also be a 'friendly' though disparate group, what would you ask?

I'll reveal the other group's questions after I've heard from you. :~)

29 November 2010

Living on the edge of a ledge . . .

Instead of reading profundities here today, jump over to In the Life of a Busy Woman and read what Cheryl has to say about living on the edge of a ledge.

I took three long, deep breaths and tried to settle myself. My body was trembling under the weight of tension. It had been a very long day.

I needed silence.
Cheryl Belding

Joan Chittister says,

"...when a jar of river water sits still, the law of gravity causes the sediment to eventually settle to the bottom so that the water becomes clear. We don't have to do anything to cause the settling except leave the jar alone for a while.
Read more at Cheryl's In The Life of a Busy Woman

27 November 2010

The Missional Position, an excerpt.

The Missional Position: Myths and Musings on Being Single -http://bit.ly/gjIqj0

        ... ... "Our own crap and posing is eventually exposed.  Our marriages hit a place of death.  All of our former ideals around intimacy and success and sex and prosperity explode.  And we hear that old Scripture ringing in our ear: "Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground…"  And we know life emerges from death.

In other words, we know the pitfalls.  We've entered the "garden"…and we've discovered thorns and thistles.  Many of you wish you were in our shoes, and perhaps our beds.  But let me tell you the truth.  Loneliness and difficulty only increase.  What you wish for may come back to haunt you.  And so, we all must be prepared to take the missional position – the road the less traveled, the way down, the path of the suffering Servant.

Keeping our eyes on Christ, we see that pleasure does not come in and through sin- management.  We can't manipulate satisfaction and pleasure.  It comes through self-abandonment, the kind of cruciform life that looks as it cannot possibly offer fulfillment.  ... ... ..."    Chuck DeGroat

Read the context by following the link. The Myths are interesting.

26 November 2010

Affirmed, for the Right Reasons

My glass is more than half full . . . I have had a bumper day!

While my primary love language is probably acts of service, quality words of affirmation would be a close second.

Today has been full of conversations. They were not random conversations at intersections of busy roads. They were intentional conversations at intersections of lives, lives of people I care about.

In the midst of those conversations some encouragement was dished out, or maybe I just asked a good question. A few times I challenged what my family might refer to as "stinkin' thinkin", those negative thoughts that don't help anybody.

Anyway, as a result of some careful listening and well placed comments to others, I've been affirmed, thanked and appreciated. But get this . . .
The affirming comments people made to me were not about my hair or the colour of my eyes or my perfume. The comments were quality affirmations about me personally and the help I had been to the speaker.

When speaking with children, I often try to affirm or complement the right things. Sometimes we focus on the superficial or the performance of another person. What happens when the skin ages, the hair changes and the usefulness wanes? Does the value of the person diminish too?

I think not.

I'll not recount the exact sequence of my day or name names, but I noticed the kind words and am challenged again to do the same for others. A quality comment concerning something I intentionally try to do or be counts for a lot.

That might be true for you too. It might be true for those in your home or office.

25 November 2010

Baby Steps When You Should Be Running?

.... A lot of us are doing Christianity at a putt-putt level.

We want to be forgiven without following Jesus.

We're afraid to follow Jesus, because then we'd have to die and rise with him. We'd have to mortify our old self with its "fondest lusts," as Jonathan Edwards described them. Then we'd have to vivify Jesus' excellent virtues in their place.

The truth is, we're mildly attracted to his virtues, but we're strongly attracted to our vices. We wouldn't like to lose them because they please us, and the prospect of a significant life with Jesus doesn't so much.

Do we expect a new Christian life will just happen without our having to make inconvenient changes in how we live Monday to Sunday? If so, we are like people who want to be solvent and who also max out their credit cards. Or people who want to be sexually pure and who also bookmark porn sites. Or people who want to speak Japanese without all the tiresome study that's normally required.

Here's Willard's devastating summary:

The general human failing is to want what is right and important, but at the
same time not to commit to the kind of life that will produce the action we know
to be right and the condition we want to enjoy. This is the feature of human
character that explains why the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

From my friend Cheryl. Find her blog In the Life of a Busy Woman

24 November 2010

Proverbs are not tidy

"Part of the difficulty with defining proverbs is that they do not conform to a neatly categorised genre. Their form, origins, content, purpose, structure, application, and a range of other aspects are so varied as to sometimes give the impression that there is no such single entity as a proverb. In some cases, a proverb can be something as basic as a moralising generalisation, while at the other end of the scale, it can be a complex and extremely culture-bound metaphor, conforming to an intricate structure, and containing several layers of encoded meaning."
Paul Moon in Traditional Maori Proverbs: Some General Themes published in Deep South v.3 n.1 Autumn 1997 /Copyright (c) 1997 by Paul Moon, Auckland Institute of Technology.

23 November 2010


Clouds puff
Surf swirls
Land rushes up to meet us.
Transition time
Down I get
Into arms to greet me.
Time passes
Colors fade
The journey takes them onward.
Memories come
Enriching within
Drawing me ever forward.

22 November 2010

Book List: Are these books you can't live without?

There are nearly as many lists of books as there are books these days! Everybody is making a list, all based on different criteria.

Are the following titles books you can't live without? The UK's Guardian suggests they might be, as a result of a poll. I reckon they have some good choices for a book club. Some overlap a bit, but don't worry about that. Just fossick through and see what inspires you.
  • Which ones have you read?
  • Which ones might you like to read?
  • Which ones are worth another read?
  • Which titles would you add to the list?
  • Are you in a book club?
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

18 November 2010


The most useful piece of learning for the uses of life is to unlearn what is untrue.

Tim Rayner writes in Philosophy for Change,

"What do I need to know in order to effect change? What do I need to learn in order to bring change about? These are questions we inevitably ask as we set out to become agents of change. We should also ask: what do I need to unlearn in order to prepare myself for a new and different way of thinking, feeling, doing, or being? Unlearning is an important part of the process of change.

Change and innovation both call for unlearning. To think anything new, and to see what could be new in things, one must learn to unlearn what one already knows. Think of experiences you’ve had of working towards change (in whatever respect), and reaching a moment in which you saw that change was actually possible, and more than possible, inevitable. This is a moment of renewal – a new beginning. There is a world of learning to be done in order to prepare oneself for a new beginning. But to actually become the new beginning, to enter wholeheartedly into the process of change, one must undergo a process of unlearning, and refashion one’s understand of what it means to be in the world.

Martin Heidegger’s philosophy provides a framework for thinking about the role of learning and unlearning in processes of change. Heidegger argues that human understanding is first and foremost a circumspective understanding of the environment of our practical concerns. Our ‘intentional’ understanding of objects, problems, and things is grounded in a more basic mode of apprehension. We have a pre-reflective understanding of the background or ‘horizon’ of our concerns. This shifting background informs our every act of understanding and judgement.
Heidegger’s existential hermeneutics provides an interesting perspective on learning and unlearning in processes of change. Heidegger says that to understand the meaning and significance of an object or item of knowledge, we must attune ourselves to a certain background of practices. We must enter in the ‘world’ of the object or item of knowledge and become accustomed to treating it in ways that a community expects it to be treated. We must accustom ourselves to the discourses and practices surrounding the object to understand it as the object it is.

Extrapolating from this, we see that to change one’s understanding of life or any part of it, one must transform the cognitive-existential background on the basis of which one understands. One must unlearn how to come at things from the perspective of a certain background or horizon of understanding." Read more of Tim Rayner at the above link.

What do you need to unlearn?

17 November 2010

Don't you wish you'd thought of Facebook?

Facebook Messages? A new app or a revolution in communication?

Joel Seligstein writes on the Facebook blog,
"the next generation who will have something like Facebook for their whole lives. They will have the conversational history with the people in their lives all the way back to the beginning: From "hey nice to meet you" to "do you want to get coffee sometime" to "our kids have soccer practice at 6 pm tonight." That's a really cool idea.

The Social Inbox

It seems wrong that an email message from your best friend gets sandwiched between a bill and a bank statement. It's not that those other messages aren't important, but one of them is more meaningful. With new Messages, your Inbox will only contain messages from your friends and their friends. All other messages will go into an Other folder where you can look at them separately.

Facebook stats:
  • More than 500 million active users on Facebook
  • 50% of our active users log on to Facebook in any given day
  • Average user has 130 friends
  • People spend over 700 billion minutes per month on Facebook
  • More than 70 translations available on the site
  • About 70% of Facebook users are outside the United States
  • There are over 900 million objects that people interact with (pages, groups, events and community pages)
  • Average user is connected to 80 community pages, groups and events
  • Average user creates 90 pieces of content each month
  • More than 30 billion pieces of content (web links, news stories, blog posts, notes, photo albums, etc.) shared each month.
What comes to mind for me with the Facebook email potential is that:

1. You have to be where your friends are. It's called social media for a reason. If that's where your community is, then it makes sense you'll have a presence there too.

2. Privacy is a huge priority for most people in their email. Can Facebook turn their reputation around? Reality is something altogether different, but Facebook's reputation is that there has been some question as to privacy issues and the access they, third party apps and hackers have to personal information.

Will 1. outweigh concerns over 2.?
500 million people will decide, intentionally or not, and Facebook will continue as a decider
in social media, or become a dinosaur replaced by another visionary's must-have app.

LifeHacker says, "A little more than a decade ago, web-based email products overtook the messaging scene. These days, SMS messages and social network pings are replacing traditional phone calls for many—at least in the hyper-connected first world. Perhaps Facebook's deep integration with your friends and contacts, and its ability to provide greater context and pre-loaded media for messages, could stage a similar revolution in email."

Then Lifehacker asks you to participate in a survey; whether you'd move to an email service provided by a social media site, i.e. Facebook.

One of the funny things for those of us who remember CompuServe, AOL and before is that none of us could have predicted then what we are doing now. See stats above.

We can only guess how the iPad has and will change things. Look at the pervasiveness of mobile phones, with cameras and browsers, and what people have learned to do with them.

I take a photo of the table in the Consumer magazine that tells me which bread is best for me. I then check that photo on my phone when I'm buying bread. What would my grandmother have thought of that process?? She wrote her list out on a scrap of paper and carried it in her handbag.


FYI: The call has gone out!

We are looking for Extras for "THE HOBBIT" filming in Matamata early in 2011

Essential requirements:

  • Men and Women aged 17-80 years who also meet the additional requirements below...
  • Men: MUST be UNDER 170cm (5 foot 7 inches)
  • Women: Should have light skin tones and be UNDER 158cm (5 foot 2 inches)
  • You MUST be prepared to be available at short notice

We will be interviewing at the following location:
  • Wednesday 24th November 9:30-11:30am at the Tainui Room, Tainui Street, Matamata.
Please note: this casting call is for people who fit ALL the above requirements ONLY.

Applicants for this position should have NZ residency or a valid NZ work permit.
TradeMe.co.nz- Jobs

16 November 2010

Story People

You're the strangest person I ever met,
she said & I said you too & we decided
we'd know each other a long time.

StoryPeople is about saying a lot in a few words.

this is the center of the universe at this moment
unless you're looking in another direction, or
are thinking about something from a long time ago,
in which case it will wait quietly right here until you return

Check it out. StoryPeople are "a diverse group of people, artists, activists, healers, tinkerers. We talk, we laugh, we eat great food & drink great wine, sometimes we disagree (passionately) & sometimes we agree (equally passionately) & it's all part of the same gift of being alive together. Our wish is that other people experience this amazing world we live in as a world of imagination & possibility & healing. We believe our stories do that. (& that's not just StoryPeople stories, but all our stories...) We believe (fiercely) in the power of stories, not because they're our stories, but because it is valuable & right to protect the precious connections between people"

Fascinating Tree Monster!

What do you see? I know it's a tree, but it's also a bit of an octopus and . . . .

It lives in Santa Barbara, CA and it is an Earthcache, part of the Geocaching sport I'm involved in.

My friends were good enough to make the stop for the cache, but then ended up enjoying the pause in our day's programme to learn about the age, size & origin of the tree.

The seeds came from Australia. Who knew?

See Hobbies Are Funny in Description to learn more about Geocaching.

15 November 2010

Chalkboard Bricks Menu

My friend Liz to me to a favourite cafe in Dunedin last week. A gorgeous place with a good friend, sunshine & a cup if tea. Nice!

People often come up with clever ways to do mundane things. I like this twist on the idea of menus.

12 November 2010

Chin in hand, mulling it over.

The prop has his role & view. The lock & winger know their roles & place on the field. Athletics includes distance runners, sprinters, shot putters...

And just like in love, business, sports teams ... it's about the longterm. The season is more important than any one game. Business is about a series of good decisions over time, not one deal or contract, not one victory or success . . . . . 

So our relationship with God is about the long term . . . . . .

 It's not any one disappointment or set back...

Yet, people sometimes feel like God let's them down. 

God may very well be sitting, chin in hand, mulling it over. 

"When did I promise them smooth sailing, a bed of roses, ice cream everyday, and no worries. I don't remember promising them that, but they're made at me cause life's hard."

11 November 2010

NZ Boxes Above It's Weight

New Zealand does not make it on to all the lists.

We won't compete in the world's tallest building ranks, though we have some really steep streets.

You won't find NZ in a baseball world series or on a list of major car manufacturers. We don't have big native land mammals and we'll never top sales charts for Dr. Pepper, root beer or pumpkin pie. 

What NZ excels at is often beyond imitation.

Consider the Tutukaka coast north of Auckland, ranked one of the top coasts in the world.

Consider pristine beaches like New Chums on Coromandel Peninsula, named one of the top ten beaches in the world.

How about oddities like Hot Water Beach where you can control the temperature if your dug out pool.

NZ's Great Walks are amazing with bird song waterfalls and amazing native plants creating an atmosphere better than any movie can capture.

Northland's renowned Poor Knights Islands have been declared one of the world's top 10 places to see nature.http://goo.gl/JFYoy

It is wise to choose the categories in which you'll compete and not bother with the others. 

NZ is beautiful, amazing & unique. Enough said.

10 November 2010

Human Trafficking? In my backyard? Surely not!

The United States was ranked for the first time in the 10th annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report documenting human trafficking and modern slavery, released in June by the US Department of State. The report found that in America men, women, and children were subject to trafficking for “forced labor, debt bondage, and forced prostitution.”

The report represents a “whole decade of work the State Department has pioneered,” said Andrea Bertone, director of Human Trafficking.org

Jennifer Bernal Garcia of the Center for a New American Security said that human trafficking is a transnational phenomenon and the “U.S. is in no way immune.”

Secretary of State Hilary Clinton announced the release of the report in Washington, D.C., urging governments as well as businesses that profit from human trafficking to take “shared responsibility” for these human rights violations.

Important national and international legislation was passed 10 years ago that allowed the report to begin its annual research and assessment of human trafficking across the world. In 2000, the United States passed the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, establishing the tier ranking system of the report. The United Nations also adopted the Palermo Protocol that year, which provided for “the criminalization of all acts of trafficking—including forced labor, slavery, and slaverylike practices—and that governmental response should incorporate the '3P' paradigm: prevention, criminal prosecution, and victim protection,” according to the report’s website.

Secretary Clinton said that the task of ending modern slavery cannot be simply given to nongovernmental organizations. In order to bring traffickers to justice,
“We can’t just blame international organized crime and rely on law
enforcement to pursue them. It is everyone’s responsibility. Businesses that knowingly profit or exhibit reckless disregard about their supply chains, governments that turn a blind eye, or do not devote serious resources to addressing the problem, all of us have to speak out and act forcefully,”

Ambassador CdeBaca noted that 10 years ago when the report was compiled for the first time, human trafficking was “a little-understood crime that took place in the shadows, cast a darkness over our fundamental rights whether constitutional, international norms, or personal liberties.” Ten years later, it has become a topic of great concern, and there is an even greater need to take bold steps forward, said CdeBaca.

CdeBaca addressed America’s participation in human trafficking. The 2010 report documents the United States not just as a destination or transit country for trafficking, but “we, too, are a source country for people held in servitude.”

There is still much left to do to end slavery once and for all, and Clinton said she hopes “this report galvanizes further action.”

Adapted from: Annie Wu and Nicholas Zifcak. "US Ranked on Human Trafficking for First Time."
The Epoch Times. 14 June 2010.

09 November 2010

Sky High Mercedes

Wonder if this model has an altimeter?

Aucklanders: Remember the Mini Cooper on the side of the parking garage near the Viaduct?

Have you seen the car on the Sky Tower? 
This is how they got it up there http://bit.ly/dCW2cZ

Click for YouTube clip.

Booksale: A Literary Adventure

I missed a HUGE charity booksale this past weekend. Over 60,000 books in a huge sports venue . . . and I didn't show! It was mostly cause I didn't know. I hadn't kept up with all the local events, and I missed it.

I knew about Sculpture on the Shore and I plan to go to that still because it's on for another week. Then there were the garden tours and the rose festival; all good events.

The book sale is a 24 hour flash, noon Saturday to noon Sunday, open all night long. Well, I'm sure for those working it flash is not the right word. It's probably grueling work, unloading all those books, arranging them according to subject and price range, keeping them tidy on tables, spine up so people can read the titles and authors' names.

Your Reaction Faced with a huge room laced with tables full of books, what happens in your heart? In your mind?

  • Are you overwhelmed, think "What's the use? Too many to read?" and turn away?
  • Do you chomp at the bit, torn between looking at fiction or non-fiction first?
  • Does the chaos of it disturb you, as other literates fossick for favourites, disturbing the order and flow?
  • Are you thrilled by the potential held within the pages of each volume, whether a novel or academic treatise on an obscure topic?
  • Do you set yourself a limit, whether a dollar amount or a number of titles, maybe saying, "Only one box today."?
I have a professor friend who sets himself a yearly limit, having already strengthened the foundations of his house to cope with the weight of his collection. By this time of year he's usually crept over his limit of a few hundred books. I'll bet he was at the sale. Next year I'll get him to text me. Wonder what time he went; soon after opening or during the quiet of the night?

Late Night Literates Think about that one for a minute. Who would go in the middle of the night? Who would you guess? And how might those passing conversations be different from the early birds or Sunday morning latecomers?

I've gone late on a Saturday night, but not so late as the middle-of-the-night crowd. In fact, this particular Saturday night I think I was in bed by 10PM, sore from cleaning out the garage. Wonder if I'd have gone had I known?

The late-night bookworms were an eclectic bunch. Some looked scholarly, others were arty. I saw people looking for a bargain and others looking for treasure. Some could have afforded the books as new hardbacks. Others were stocking their shelves economically for the year. Many buyers donate the books the next year after they've read them. Some looked like parents who could get out at night while their kids slept. I've been during the day too, when the kids had stayed too long already and were letting us all know!

One More Question Uhm, I hesitate to ask this because by the very asking of the question I'll give myself away. What good is our relationship if I can't trust you to know me and still read the blog? Okay, I'll ask.

Do you ever tidy the books as you go? Or maybe for you it's not books but clothing at an op shop or Goodwill store? Maybe stuff at a flea market or jumble sale? Do you try to bring order where there is none, even if it's not at home or in your own space?

Sometimes I look around at the other people grazing on titles and I think, "If we all just straightened the rows as we went or replaced the books so the titles showed, then it wouldn't be a big deal for anyone and we'd all benefit." I've been tempted to call impromptu meetings, but resisted the temptation.

So, instead, I was tidying my garage, sweeping, consolidating and then sorting into bags and boxes the donations, rubbish, recyclables, etc. The catalyst was that we were having wires run through the garage and the man needed access. With a good friend over and a sunny afternoon, I just went with it.

But really, you do tidy in public too, right?

08 November 2010

Smart Places, Universities

I love visiting smart places. I've been in some dumb places before too. While they may be interesting, they don't inspire me like smart places.

I remember walking through the archways at Trinity College in Dublin. While I was cold on the outside, I was warm on the inside. What could I study here?

The Book of Kells was intriguing and the history .... Wow!

A friend drive me to Oxford for a day. Yes, the Oxford of Oxford University. While I loved the bookstores & the pub of the literary giants, The Inklings, I didn't feel the urge to study there.

My days at Indiana University included some lofty conversation and exciting events. Walking amongst those buildings on that sprawling campus was both inspiring and exhausting!

A few educational institutions later, as both student and teacher...

I'm in Dunedin, home of Otago University. Educated people from several cities are gathering for a couple of days to talk about what faith in New Zealand does or might look like. We'll be at Knox College, a theological institution that has been absorbed by Otago University.

At 141 years old, Otago is New Zealand's oldest university. While reputed to excel in both research and shenanigans, Otago is a place I'd like to study ~ if it weren't so cold down here!

Otago University's coat of arms says"Sapere Aude" which means "dare to be wise" or "have courage to be wise".

Does wisdom require courage? How so?

I'll need courage if those old stone buildings are cold inside!

07 November 2010

NZ Boxes Above It's Weight Again

New Zealand does not make it on to all the lists.

We won't compete in the world's tallest building ranks, though we have some really steep streets.

You won't find NZ in a baseball world series or on a list of major car manufacturers. We don't have big native land mammals and we'll never top sales charts for Dr. Pepper, root beer or pumpkin pie.

What NZ excels at is often beyond imitation.

Consider the Tutukaka coast north of Auckland, ranked one of the top coasts in the world.

Consider pristine beaches like New Chums on Coromandel Peninsula, named one of the top ten beaches in the world.

How about oddities like Hot Water Beach where you can control the temperature if your dug out pool.

NZ's Great Walks are amazing with bird song waterfalls and amazing native plants creating an atmosphere better than any movie can capture.

Northland's renowned Poor Knights Islands have been declared one of the world's top 10 places to see nature. http://goo.gl/JFYoy

It is wise to choose the categories in which you'll compete and not bother with the others. NZ is beautiful, amazing & unique. Enough said.

05 November 2010

Where is He?" "Yer soaking in 'im."

"Help us to find God," the disciples asked the elder.
"No one can help you do that," the elder said.
"Why not?" the disciple asked amazed.
"For the same reason that no one can help the fish to find the ocean."

In Joan Chittister's, Wisdom Distilled from the Daily, 1991. P 28.

04 November 2010

Poetry in the Photo

My friend Tiffany took this photo.

She has a great eye, composed it well, and wished for a better camera so as to control more of the image.

I don't know how it could have been much better.

We were at The Poet's Cafe north of Brisbane on our way to Tin Can Bay.

Road trips with good friends are super.

Leaf on Glass in Rainforest

03 November 2010

Universal Birthday: Nov 3rd or 4th!!

Several of my closest and dearest friends have their birthdays today, or this week.

I wish I could be with each one. That would take me to several states and three countries.

I'd drink tea with at least three of them. I'd hear how God has been at work in their lives.

I'd listen for stories to take away with me, little glimpses of them and their hearts.

Each one is different, met at a different point in my journey, and treasured for a unique reason.

God has blessed me richly through them, and through my many friends scattered around this globe upon which we live. I wouldn't be me if not for my friends.

I'm not blaming them. Their influence makes me a better person. That is only part of why we are intended to live in community; blessing and being blessed by others.

Many of you accompany us on the journey, though we've never met. Some of you know Cindy, Cheryl, Claire, Jaime or Judith, and you'll be celebrating them today too. Then there's Linda, Barb, Joe, Trent, Tash, Madeline. . . .

While I know it is not fair to lump all of our birthdays together, I have long thought it'd be easier if I could celebrate you all on the same day. If I could do so, it would be today.

I'll celebrate you in March, April, May, June or whenever, but just in case you don't read the blog on your day . . . .

... thanks for being you, for becoming who you are becoming, for knowing and journeying with me anyway, for adding colour, flavour, jazz or adventure to the journey.

Dictionary applications compared

Need a dictionary on your electronic device . . . i.e. phone, iPod or computer?

Check out
AppAdvice's list and reasons for the ones they chose.

They have several that start at around $25 and then go on to the free or minimally priced apps.

Nothing wrong with picking up even a Concise Oxford Dictionary of Current Words, 5th Edition, but it's not always in your pocket, so may need one of these apps as a back up.

02 November 2010

Kindle: What To Go With It?

Kindle accessories are many and varied. I've seen super nifty bags and covers. I often see clip-on lights touted and car chargers for when you've overestimated the life of the battery. It last for days so easy to forget when you last charged it up. Screensavers are a reasonable added expense and I'd go with ZAGG.

IF I get a Kindle electronic reading device, do I also need one of these Guardians?

If a book can go with you to the beach, to the bath, on a 3-day mountain trail hike or a snowboarding weekend, then I guess the Kindle should too.

I like it that it comes in colours. Blue is on offer too. M-EDGE

I'm thinking that this is overkill though. Why wouldn't a heavy duty ziplock bag do much the same?

The advantage this has over a paper book is that it would be hard to turn pages if your book was in a bag, where the Kindle should just need a button pushed.

Geek Dad wrote on WIRED that he tried the bag approach and found it wasn't so good: slippery and developed holes where he pushed buttons. Good on him for trying. Maybe the KlearKase is an option to explore.

01 November 2010

Slavery: Abolished? For some.

While modern slavery may not be a reality you can see happening around you, it is reality for more people than the entire population of Australia or of Texas.

Reality for many includes constant fear, no choices and little hope.
We have choices. We can choose to be informed, to make others aware and to act in ways that stop modern day slavery. Or we can choose to ignore reality and continue down our safe streets and on with our privileged lives.
Are you offended by my attitude and comments?
Are you offended by the following statistics?

27 Million – Number of Victims of Trafficking.
50% Are Children
800,000 – Number of people who are trafficked across international borders every year.
80% of all transnational victims are women and girls.
70% of female victims are trafficked into the commercial sex industry.
30% of female victims are victims of forced labor.
32 Billion – Total Yearly Profits Generated by the Human Trafficking Industry.
$15.5 Billion – Yearly Profits Made in Industrialized Countries by the Human Trafficking Industry.
14,500 - 17,500 – Yearly Number of Foreign Nationals Trafficked into the U.S.
It is difficult to accurately estimate the number of victims of trafficking because of the illegal nature of the industry and because many victims just disappear.

The International Labor Organization (ILO) estimates that there are 12.3 million people
in forced labor, bonded labor, forced child labor, and sexual servitude at any given time;
other estimates range from 4 million to 27 million.

Sources: DOJ, HHS, DOS, DOL, DHS, and USAID. Assessment of U.S. Government Efforts to Combat Trafficking in Persons: June, 2004; ILO, A global alliance against forced labor: 2005; U.S. Department of Justice; and UNICEF.