Monday, 31 December 2012

Thursday, 27 December 2012

My World

My World - Red boy runs - complementary colours photograph
Red boy runs
Complementary colours in Lyndhurst Rd, Hastings
(Broke the "rules" for this one, haha)
A weekly series of photographs from around Hawke's Bay

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Spice of Life

My choice from a week's work at Hawke's Bay Today  J

High Tea - China and scones and jam photograph
High Tea - Cla120156-03
Happy just hangin' - Gingerbread man Christmas tree decoration photograph
Happy just hangin' - HBT124696-14
Young canoeist on Pandora Pond, Napier photograph
Young canoeist on Pandora Pond, Napier - HBT124685-03

I know what you've been up to - Young Santa with painted-on beard photograph
I know what you've been up to - HBT124687-04

Little angel - facepainting girls photograph
Little angel - HBT124687-16

Who needs a sleigh? Santa arrives by crane photograph
Who needs a sleigh? - HBT124687-28

Dog at CHB SPCA, looking for a home photograph
Looking for a home - HBT124732-04

Barley growing in Poukawa photograph
Barley growing in Poukawa - HBT124740-16

Monday, 24 December 2012

Saturday, 22 December 2012

A cuddle and a kiss

They say there are five main love languages - touch, words of encouragement, gifts and quality time. The crazy thing is, when I come to talk about them, I always forget at least one of the five. Oh yeah, this time it's acts of service (thank God for Google).   J

What I've also learned is that the language in which you express your love is very often the way you most easily receive it. So if you're an encouraging person, the chances are you need to be encouraged, and words of criticism cut pretty deep. Or if you love to give gifts, you could be disappointed to find hankies in the Christmas stocking.

Maybe that helps to explain some of the conflicts we see in relationships - we're just different - even though it seems at times we're hard-wired to expect sameness, that others should be like us. "I just don't understand him/her..."

So while I don't always enjoy personality tests, and I HATE (bold, italic AND underlined) being stuck in a box of someone else's making, it's also kinda fun to watch those around me to see if I can figure which of the five is their strongest.

Not just as an intellectual exercise, but so I can best love them, in a way that's easy for them to receive. Because I love them.

I've always appreciated my kids' desire to give me something special for my birthday or Father's Day, their mother has brought them up well! The good news is, that even for such a complicated guy, all I want for Christmas is pretty simple.

PS: And a very Merry Christmas to you and yours, may it be full of blessing and joy J

Thursday, 20 December 2012

My World

My World - Powerline insulators in Hastings photograph
Powerline insulator in Hastings - a study in lines
A weekly series of photographs from around Hawke's Bay

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Monday, 17 December 2012

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Seven days to go

Okay, I admit it. I've had an idea for months now that I'd write a piece dated 22 December, 2012, along the lines of, "I told you so!" - and I planned to announce today that "I've already written next week's post."

It was to be a  light-hearted piece about the Mayan calendar on which more than a few prophets of doom have announced the world's end on the 21st. Personally, I don't give them that much credence, and I intended my post to reflect that thought.

The problem is, when I came to put fingers to keyboard, I realised that to be brutally honest, I don't know whether I'll draw another breath, and I can't say with a surety that I'll be around next week to even read the post.

And no, I'm not being macabre, and no, I have no intention of hastening my end, but I am being pragmatic. None of us can really guarantee we'll see another sunrise. Proverbs says we shouldn't boast about tomorrow, for who knows what might happen today.

The bible is full of prophecies, the veracity of which have been proven over hundreds of years. Looking back, it's remarkable how so many authors, separated by culture, nationality and centuries of time could give hints of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, with amazing accuracy.

And based on the same writings, most scholars agree that He will return, and there'll be some form of transition from the world we currently experience to a world that will look quite different. Where they differ is in interpreting the 'how' and the 'when' it's going to happen. We did after all survive Y2K.

One of the difficulties is that prophecy is written in picture language and is therefore not precise. Fortunately that doesn't confuse me as much as it used to. Jesus himself said we wouldn't know the hour or the day, but we could know the season. (And anyway, given how much they've added and deleted days from our own Gregorian calendar, I say good luck in trying to line up exact dates...)

So I needn't worry about the detail. If Christ's return - and the end of the age - is anything like his first appearance, I would expect it to look different to what I expect. It just adds to the intrigue...

And honestly, I plan to be around for some time to come. Although by the very act of living, my life is getting shorter, I have eternal hope. Personal prophecy suggests I have yet to fulfil all the plans that God has for me. And it's also true that peoples' actions can change the future - it's predestined not predetermined.

In the meantime, I can't afford to be so forward-focused that I forget to enjoy the present. But neither can I afford to bury my head in the sand hoping the future won't arrive, because it will. Proverbs also says "A prudent man foresees the evil and hides himself; The simple pass on and are punished."

Practically it looks like this: In the words of a good friend, I need to plan as though I'll be around forever - and I need to live to be ready to go at any time.

And to borrow the words of a song, I don't know what the future holds, but I do know who holds the future. And at the end of the day, any day, my confidence is in Him   J

Thursday, 13 December 2012

My World

Onions growing in Pakowhai Rd, Hastings photograph
Onions growing in Pakowhai Rd, Hastings
A weekly series of photographs from around Hawke's Bay

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Monday, 10 December 2012

Quips & Quotes

Dr James Dobson's 7th grade teacher: Don't marry the girl you think you can live with. Marry the girl you think you can't live without.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

In a Crisis?

And so we come to the end of another year, or so it might seem. I guess I'm lucky I'm one of those guys who thinks about Christmas on the 24th - right after I've knocked off for the day. Some would call it crisis management, but I call it live one day at a time - and I also have an incredible wife J

And yes, I really do plan ahead - a little - and as a details, pedantic kind of guy I do set goals, but in considering the near and distant future, I also plan to enjoy the present.

So watch out, any moment now, folks will be asking what you plan to do next year, what are your New Year's resolutions, what are your goals? And people who know better will remind you that your goals need to be smart - Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. All good sense, and I don't disagree.

But what if you're like some of the people I've been talking to this week who feel like they're not getting anywhere, and for every step forward they've taken two steps back? What do you say to those who are discouraged and are afraid to set new goals because they've failed so badly already?

There are some who would remind us that Edison "failed" a thousand times before he invented the light bulb, but Wikipedia raises some doubts on that, and besides, who wants to look forward to 999 failures. I'm having enough difficulties with just my few...

So here are some thoughts:

One, it's not so important whether you achieve all you set out to do, it matters that you set out at all. So what if you fall over, that's how you learnt to walk. And if need be you can start by crawling, I promise not to laugh at you.

And two, you can only go backwards if you turn and walk away. So what if you're doing the old one step forwards, two steps back, you're still on the road, you're still on the journey and your future is still ahead of you. Who knows what might be just around the corner? Who knows when a fellow-traveller might help you out in some unexpected fashion?

And so what if other people don't help, or don't understand, or worse, remind you of every reason why you shouldn't even try.  It's your life, and it's your dream. There is only one person who can live it, and there's only one person who can achieve it - and that's you. And I believe in you. Kia Kaha.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

My World

Deer farm in Flaxmere, Hastings photograph
Deer farm in Flaxmere, Hastings
 A weekly series of photographs from around Hawke's Bay
dbp website

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Monday, 3 December 2012

Quips & Quotes

Anonymous: If it weren't for the last minute, nothing would get done.

Saturday, 1 December 2012


I mentioned last week I've been following the fiasco of the Labour Party conference with its apparent in-fighting and jostling for position.

I watched with fascination as the wolves turned on each other! Considered opinion became swamped in accusation and counter-accusation, knee-jerk reactions, biased viewpoints, pot-shots from loose cannons and folks ducking for cover. And no, I'm not talking about the politicians, it was the media - newspaper columnists vs. bloggers, the official vs. the unofficial, the paid vs. the voluntary, and particularly on the blogs, the commentators vs. the commenters.

Fiction became facts and facts became fiction as anyone with an axe to grind found an easy forum in which to express it. It amazes me that in this incredible Information Age in which we live, that people can be so ignorant. And they say you can't believe everything you read in newspapers!

Sadly however, I do have to admit that there is some truth in that... I once worked with a reporter who would listen to their subject, paraphrase their comments in the reporter's own words, and then publish them as direct quotes - gross!

Then there was the journo who deliberately took the concept of journalistic licence so far beyond the extreme, that I read their subsequent reports with a good spoonful of salt.

And yes, I've met rookies who have closed minds, who wouldn't consider the other side of a question. And I've worked with old-school reporters who have become so cynical they've forgotten how to appreciate that some people actually do have genuine motives.

But I also know a contributor who writes his regular column, sleeps on it, re-reads it, gets his wife to check it, submits it, and even then, to his chagrin, will occasionally find a mistake when he opens the paper. And for all the daily writers, it's not their fault that in these days of lower staffing there are less checks in the process before a story hits the press.

So yes, it's true, the media - modern and traditional - is an imperfect beast, and we shouldn't  be surprised to find that journalists are just people. Some have an agenda, and all of them have an attitude, just as we do. But given the human-ness of the humanity they report, I dare you the reader to check your facts before you apportion blame.

I once spoke to a woman who spat the dummy about her local council's inaction in fixing her road. When I repeated back what she said, she pulled half the comments, and toned down the rest. What would she have said if I'd published without checking? Who would she have blamed? Whose fault would it have been? Moral of the story? Never say anything to a reporter that you don't want published.

I recently wrote a simple caption based on information given to me by the absolute head-honcho of the organisation in question. It turned out the information was wrong, and we published a correction. So yes, the dreaded media can get it wrong, but it's not always their fault. As in all relationships, what really counts is whether or not you have the intestinal fortitude to admit it, apologise and where possible, put it right.

And when deciding whether or not an article is believable, I invite you to consider whether you're reading a report or an opinion piece, though I admit that that is becoming more difficult. In an attempt to become more contemporary, many journos are encouraged to put themselves into the story rather than simply relaying the facts and letting the reader decide. As evidence, one need to look no further than the news anchors (professional actors) who are paid massive amounts of money just to read the autocue for our 6pm news bulletins. Journalists? Pfft!

Though when it comes to opinion, it seems to me that the biggest complaints about "facts" come from those who simply have an opposing opinion. It's easier to attack the writer than the view which is being expressed. And whether we the reader consider them to be objective or objectionable has a lot to do with our own (biased) viewpoint.

A friend of mine once rebutted my argument by saying, "That's just your opinion." My response was quite simple: "Yes, but if I agreed with you, that would also be 'Just my opinion'..."