Saturday, December 26, 2015

Mum's birthday celebrations

December 26 dawns!  The day after Christmas, Boxing Day, and Most Importantly - Mum's Birthday!  When asked what she wanted to do for the day, a picnic at the beach was the order of the day... Well, I am sure you all remember the drama of last year's beach trip and the help I needed to get the wheelchair back across and up the soft sand... so the only place we could get close was the picnic spot at Ocean Grove. We had a wonderful lunch, dining on Turkey and Cranberry croissants, salmon and crackers and eton mess.  YUM!

It really was a warm day and Mum even got down to short sleeves.

Birthday flowers and pressies and cards adorn her room!

What a true blessing to be able to celebrate with Mum....

A photo from last year...

... and what I wish for....

Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas Day - A most wonderful time of the year....

No surprises here - I LOVE Christmas.  I love the preparation, the anticipation and the celebration.  I love the way we can all be together and share in the good times. 

I love how we can skype with absent family - the next best to having them here with us for the day.  

All too soon the table is bare... time for the traditional Christmas day photos...

Indeed, a Most wonderful time of the year....

Friday, November 20, 2015

TEDXChristchurch - cross posted from CORE Education Blog

Slightly outside the sphere of education was the opportunity to attend #TEDXChristchurch.

I have been a fan of TEDtalks for the longest time. I think of them as a direct line into the minds of others, an opportunity to learn from others, “powerful ideas worth sharing”. I attribute many shifts in my thinking to deep reflection and critical thinking around TEDtalks.

“TED was born in 1984 out of Richard Saul Wurman's observation of a powerful convergence among three fields: technology, entertainment and design.” From a very humble beginning, to many iterations and additions, including TEDTalks, TEDGlobal, and TED-Ed, TEDX is now “a radical opening up of the TED format to local, independently organized events”.

What is it about TEDX that really excites me? What is it I love the most?
I love…
  • The opportunity to get outside of the educational realm I spend so much of my life in and connect with another crowd. 
  • Being ‘in the moment’ of TEDX. I love the way each speaker transports us to another dimension, takes us on a journey and invites us to connect with their idea worth sharing. 
  • The diversity of the talks and the audience. 
  • The timeframes of the talks… 
  • The holistic experience that is TEDX — from registering, to arriving, to participating and celebrating, we are immersed in a journey of discovery and imagination. 
  • The opportunity to reflect on the talks and capture snippets of the talks on my blog. 
  • The opportunity to capture snippets for our CORE Education blog. 
  • I love it all! 

We are inexorably changed as a result of attending TEDX. We cannot experience the emotions of ‘ideas worth sharing’ and awake the next day unchanged. From laughter, to tears, fear, grief, empathy, tension, awe, wonder and love, we've experienced it all on the day.

This was my fourth TedX and without a doubt it was the most emotive, powerful journey. The power of the human story today captured us and held us spellbound. A few highlights from the day:

Michele A'Court — thinking again about our voices
The meaning of life is connection. Find a community and share your voice. Make what you want to say count!

Rod Oram — thinking again about explorers
How can we live well on this planet? We are heading for ecological disaster, and we MUST take action to avoid the disaster we are rapidly heading towards? Poisoning our ecosystem MUST stop!

Robyn and Analise Twemlow — thinking again about Tourette's as a disability
What a rare and beautiful privilege to hear the story of a mum and her stunning daughter — a story that touches us all. Sooo much change is necessary to make a difference for sufferers of Tourettes' syndrome.

Dr Swee Tan — Cancer and strawberry birthmark: a revolutionary approach
Total awe and respect for this most humble genius of a man. The message I take from this is keeping asking questions, all the questions, dig deeper, and look further.

Carolina Izzo — thinking again about the importance of teamwork
How powerful to sit in the Isaac Theatre Royal and hear the story of the restoration, particularly of the dome. A story of team, perseverance and innovation and the dawning of the importance of the America's Cup for the carbon fibre lining to attach the restored canvas.

Craig Jarvis — thinking again about buildings that add life
Biophillia, my favourite new word of the day, a work meaning our connection with nature, our love of life, our ability to sustain life; physically, mentally, socially, spiritually and emotionally.

Eric Liu — The three essential ingredients for active citizenship
An American that spoke with the heart of Canterbury, and understanding of the re-build and the MAGIC of gap-fillers. Eric introduced a clever phrase "Techtonic shifts", changes all of what we understand and knew. He spoke of three elements of citizenship; power, imagination and character … at the core of what we do and why we do it!

Matt Vickers — thinking again about the choices we have and how we die
Assisted dying, infringement of human rights? Lecretia's story! A story so powerful, told so powerfully.

Julian Arahanga & Ladi6 — A music programme in prison that transforms lives
Hearing of the MAGIC of the story that is 'songs from the inside'. Touched so much by the strength of the message that all we need is someone to believe in you. The power of the mentoring is so precious in this story. Valuing and embracing the stories that NEED to be heard, and NEED to be understood!

CORE colleagues at TEDX Christchurch

Indeed we have feasted on a fine bounty of stories from the heart of the teller, direct to our hearts and souls.

We are richer for the experience, for hearing the stories of others, for being a part of a community that gathers together for good!

We have walked in the mocassins of many today!

The greatest impact on my thinking is: listen to the stories; respect the stories and the storytellers; speak up, share our own stories; ask questions, challenge, and delve deep; but most important to me is the message that all any of many need is ONE significant other who believes in us, believes we will be a success…

Aroha and gratitude to all who share their story…

I invite you to explore TEDtalks and share your thoughts about how we can change the world ‘from the ground up’.
Additional resources:

Take time to read this article to get an appreciation of the journey from humble beginnings to the stage at Isaac Theatre Royal:
The history of History of TED — How did a one-off conference about technology, entertainment and design become a viral video phenomenon and a worldwide community of passionate people?

And if you want a taste of the very first talks, check out this view list:
The first 6 TEDtalks

Friday, October 30, 2015

TEDXDunedin - Damian Scarf

Damian Scarf started his career at the University of Otago as a psychology student.

As an overachiever, his anxiety pushed him to cut off different parts of his social life in order to get higher grades. As he left his rugby team and circle of friends, his grades went from C’s to A’s, but in the process, he lost his stability and sense of purpose.

Now, the student has become the master. Damian calls his professors colleagues, and has done extensive research into cognition and memory development.

At TEDxDunedin, he brings his wealth of knowledge on human cognition to explain the debilitating intersection of isolation and anxiety.

Anxiety... As an expert strategist... 
Connections with those around us bolster our resilience... Groups are critical to our well being... 

The social cure...

The noise in head of anxiety... Quitting groups... Schedule gruelling schedule... 
 Anxiety driving... Controlling.... Taking over...

Depression taking the place of anxiety... 

Where is our sense of belonging.... Our sense of resilience....

Suicide accounting for far too many deaths... Transition to university... 

Spirit of adventure... Comparable to outward bound... Thesis of voyage - running voyage and supporting...

Group providing support... Sense of belonging... 

Again Fionna's quote rings loud in my ears... Every action serves to include or exclude... 

Sense of belonging, feeling connected and accepted... 

Building social relationships... Belonging.... Cures many ills... Serves to increase wellness...

What makes us feel we belong? 

Just WOW!!!!  

TEDXDunedin - Karyn Paringatai

Karyn grew up in Invercargill away from her family roots on the East coast of New Zealand.

As a lecturer at the University of Otago, she has received multiple honours and awards for the work she has done in reviving the Maori culture and language. Her practice of teaching her students in the dark, as utilised by Maori years ago, has started a widespread conversation among academics about ancient forms of learning.

Karyn never had much connection to her family until later in life, but the process of finding herself and where she came from saved Karyn’s life, as you’ll hear her talk about at TEDxDunedin.

Wow what a powerful start... Grabbing us with waiata...

Cultural narrative as strength, courage, determination... 

Understanding whakapapa... 

Migration love story... 

Developing our identity... Knowledge of our place, our time...

Whakapapa demands and commands respect...

Cultural disconnect by geolocation... Missing the understanding of who you are and where you are from...


Wow just wow... Too involved to write.... WATCH THIS TALK.......

TEDXDunedin Howie Booth

Howie remembers where he was the day Bruce Lee died. He also remembers seeing his first live cage fight and being a referee in the ring for the first time like it was yesterday.

For Howie, fighting is not about violence. It’s about control, discipline and strength; learning your body’s limits and pushing past them. It’s about getting into the ring with someone better than you, putting your ego aside, and learning to re-train your brain so that you come out on top.

At TEDxDunedin, Howie shares his perspectives from the other side of the cage on how fighting can solve problems.

Connecting with a personal story... Growing up... Watching movies... 

A glimpse inside the ring / cage... What would I do in there? Asking a personal question...

Asking the questions... Curiosity... 

What happens when you panic? When you are empty?

If you hink you're in trouble you are...
Stop listening to ego...
Learn the lessons...
Natural instincts will betray you...
Over rule the flight mode... 
Retrain to do the right thing....

Turn and face at all times.... Do we do this? Do we face our demons?

Training physical and mental... Train to know your body...

Learn to control the emotion... Mental and emotional resilience!

If you can't control your emotions nothing will save you!

Understanding and appreciation is sooo necessary!

You win or you learn! 

Becoming better people through whatever you do!,,,

Respect and honour for each other... Lessons for us all here from Howie...

It's not the critic that counts, the credit belongs to he who strives... The doer of deeds... All glory goes to the fighter!  

Knowing self through pursuing what you believe in.... 

Mechanical, physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional... 

TEDXDunedin - Lisa Scott


The best way to describe Lisa Scott is lively and energetic. When she returned from her travels in the Middle East in 2009 to discover all the jobs were gone, she decided to become a writer.

Her work has since received several awards for its insight and humorous perspective. Living out of a modest Dunedin home with her partner, the famed Economist, and a small cat, Lisa writes about life and love as she sees it in the Otago Daily Times, NEXT, North and South, and NZ Life & Leisure.

At TEDxDunedin, she poses the question: “Is satire dead?”

Woohoo on stage... 

Arrested, going to prison... Great way to kick start weight loss..

What is satire?

Connecting us with a personal story... 

Difference between satire and being a bogan...

Spellbound by the history of satire...

Fred Dogg as NZ satirist...

McPhail and Gadsby, a week of it... 

Are we paying attention enough to enjoy satire? 

Times before sniping behind our email address... Satire isn't dead.... But it is struggling... 

Thursday, October 29, 2015

CORE Office Opening

Wow, can you imagine my surprise when I read the email to know that I had been drawn out to attend the CORE Education Ltd Christchurch office official opening. MAGIC really is the word to describe it! And to be in the company of Viv, Rachel and Anna, even more MAGICAL!

 Why was it so special for me to be there? 

  • I LOVE our new office and freely admit to a good dose of office envy! I just love the space, the feel, the heartbeat of the office.  
  • I love that we are privileged to be in a space that espouses our vision ‘pushing the boundaries of educational possibility.  
  • I LOVE the flexibility of meeting spaces, from individual, to small group, medium or large group; from formal to informal; relaxed to intimate.  The overwhelming feeling of open, light, connected and interconnected spaces.

Being so remote from my office, based in Mosgiel, I treasure every visit and love exploring the different ways people work, inter-relate and ‘be’ within the spaces.  

Just as Tatai Aho Rau encompasses our interconnected way of being and working within CORE, so our office space allows, and indeed promotes the interweaving, cross pollination, connectedness that is so crucial to our way of being.  The privilege of working alongside members from across teams is sooo powerful.  The ability to spend time with others is so crucial to my way of connecting with the CORE team.  From arriving at reception, through the levels and spaces, our new office has a ‘home’ heartbeat.  It has a relaxed, welcoming aura, an agility and flexibility that meets the diverse needs whilst maintaining the comfort and connection.  

Another HUGE positive of the space is its ability to cater for the biophilias; those, like me, who NEED to feel connected to the outdoors, connected to nature.  The windows afford the luxury of feeling as if you are working outdoors.  The decks allow for real outdoor office space.  The view out the back towards Regent Street is a very real and significant connection to the Christchurch journey.  The acknowledgement of this, within the space is also a precious, tangible taonga.

So, last night’s celebration truly captures the essence of our whare, our space, our place, our haven.  What better way to capture the MAGIC than Minister Nicky Wagner’s words: ‘pumped’ for the opportunities this new space affords, for the generations of now and those to come. 

Just as a home can be and is so much more than a house; CORE’s office is so much more than just an office.  It is our haven, our refuge, our inspiration chamber, our whare, our home!  It is where we can connect, meet, share, celebrate and push the boundaries of educational possibility!  It is where we can live our vision!  It is where we can come and go but never really leave.  In a way, it is a place, for us in Education, as Outward Bound is for those looking for outdoor sanctuary… 
"Have you ever seen a place where tears and laughter mingle,
Where courage grows as strength and trust in friends is found,
A place where people come and go but never really leave,
A place to find what you've been looking for!"

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Otago footage from 1950

WOW - what a treasured piece of footage... Love that this is kept and available to view and share... 

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Dr Libby - Exhausted to Energised

Welcoming Dr Libby to a #dunnerstunner

Three pillars: biochemical, nutritional, emotional...
First we must appreciate the inner workings of ourselves!

Why do we do what we do when we know what we know? 

Behavioural change... Different quality of life experience!
Addressing the road into our situation to know the road out... If we have an issue or concern, we need to identify the cause to address it!

What is energy?
Possibility exists for everyone... Do we make the most of our opportunities?
Exposing ourselves to new voices!
Physical and mental strength... Natural enthusiasm for life...
Connecting people with great energy energises us!
Energy is the great measure of health and well being!
Addressing waking up tired... Identifying the cause... Lousy energy is an indicator of something gone wrong...
Biochemistry... A circle of energy pathway... Kreb cycle!
ATP - usable energy.
Bring curiosity to our feeling... Think about how what we are putting into our body and how our energy levels are.
The mighty mitochondria - energy producing unit! Understanding the mighty mitochondria is so important....
The power of resistance training... Essential...
Maintain and build our physicality... Stronger immune system, and digestive system... Walking, yoga, gardening, using and moving our bodies... Seeing our bodies and movement as a gift! Embracing resistance training!

Antioxidant rich food... Blueberries, cranberry, green tea, coloured food,
Co-enzyme q10 ubiquinol can improve energy, and heart health.
Deep breathing has HUGE benefits for us...
Are we living too short and dying too long?
We get one body! How are we treating it? How are we investing in it? How are we valuing it?
Do I believe I am worth taking care of? Of course I do!
B vitamins are crucial.
Supporting the inner workings of my body must be my goal.
Iron is crucial.
Macronutrients.. Fats proteins and carbohydrates...
Micronutrients allow us to extract the macronutrients!
Eating more real food is the most basic form of self care!
We have the equipment to break down whole real food.... But not so to break down processed food.
Making an effort, one more whole food per week...
Roads to poor energy!
The nervous system!
How do we decrease our perceived level of stress? We need to remove the stress adrenalin!
Feeling the privilege of what it is to be alive! Telling ourselves to be relaxed and enjoy the moment we are in.

Energy as the flames and fire within me - what do I want my fire to be burning? I want my body to be trained to use my body fat better! Energy level consistent across the day. Training my body to use energy better, get out of the red zone... Honest about caffeine and effect!
Explore perception of pressure and urgency.
Activate the green zone... Extend the length of our exhalation... Deep breathing tells your body you're safe!
Bring awareness to how we breathe!
Breathe awareness is crucial to bringing well being.
Restorative calm: audio download..
Power of breath
Save 50%
Adrenal fatigue:

  • Low cortisol
  • Stages of stress
  • Lifestyle changes - ways to real food...
  • Holistic approach needed to get health and energy back. 
The thyroid
  • Hormones
  • Pituitary gland
  • Adrenal glands
'Toxicity' and energy
Body fat
Recycling of substances
Increased body fat for storage of problematic substances...
Supporting our liver function... Explore this some more...
Sleep - critical to our life, function, well being. Sleep must be prioritised...
Add daily choices photos...

Make one change and do it consistently...

Increase water intake...

It's not just about the food you eat, it's the choices we make and how we berate ourselves... Consequences of choices we make really matter.

My brain has too many tabs open...

Time management|
Schedule it or it won't get done!

Morning rituals...
Time to self - meditation, reading, gratitude, sense of spaciousness!
The energy of joy! Joy is enjoying what you have!

What is our purpose? 
 What is my purpose? 
What do I care about? 
When I see what I need to do, go do it! 

Purpose comes from action, making a difference!
Belief in self, belief that I am worth it!
Why do I do what i do, when I know what I know?
Our RAS looks for and finds things that agree with what we are looking for... It ignores anything that disagrees with this...
Taking new actions to increase the quality of our lives....

I think my favourite quote is operating with too many tabs open, as I know this is something I am guilty of, so making small incremental changing starting today....

Thanks Dr Libby for the key points...
Key Points
Key points
1. Muscle building
Incorporate more resistance training or muscle building exercise. This helps to build lean muscle mass. More muscle means more energy-producing mitochondria in our cells - resulting in a higher metabolic rate, which assists with body fat management, as well as better energy.
2. Immune system function
Explore your immune system function - whether this is your susceptibility to viruses or other infections, glandular fever or simply hayfever, anything that triggers your immune system can be fatiguing. Getting to the heart of these reactions can unleash energy that is spent fighting these infections.
3. Stop sitting
Stop sitting on energy - many adults spend most of their waking hours sitting, with studies showing that some spend an enormous 11 hours per day on their bottoms. Those hours tend to be clocked up working at a desk job, commuting to and from work, watching television, or at the computer. Whatever the reason, research shows that too much sitting isn't good for health or energy. So move every hour, even just for 5 minutes!
4. Perceptions
Be conscious of how your perceptions influence your mood and energy state. Write a list of what makes you feel alive and energised, and what saps your energy - your "energy vampires." Actively work on doing more of the things that make you feel energised whilst simultaneously reducing your energy vampires.
5. Open tabs
Work on closing what I call "open tabs"- these are tasks, emails or jobs that haven't been resolved. It's as if we walk around each day with so many tabs open - like websites sitting open on your computer screen, that it's no wonder we feel drained or flattened. Schedule tasks instead of just listing them.
If you get a chance to get along to the Christchurch session tonight, I can thoroughly recommend it!