Twelve children stranded on a ledge kilometres within a Thai cave; more sludge from The White House Swamp; the Soccer World Cup - and much more. So which story drew us together most? Those kids. Their rescuers. And from the beginning, the strength of altruism while most of us can only watch and hope.

Listening to your inner voice…

To be nobody-but-yourself — in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else — means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting. E.E. Cummings

Listen to your inner self!

During our busy year of meeting deadlines and juggling the demands and expectations of others and self, we can be left with little time for meaningful reflection of our lives.

After all, most of our energy is caught up in just keeping things going.

The advantage of the holiday period is that we get to have more relaxed time on our hands and this in turn connects us more to our inner selves.

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Poverty then – and now…

Sometimes the stuff that spills out of  old box files on their way to the bin, are not only worth  remembering, but keeping.

One  we found  was Windows on Poverty, a 1992 Report  from the New Zealand  Council of Christian Social Services on Poverty in New Zealand.  It was well on its way to pile in  one of those  purges we hoarders  are  told  we must do.  But  caught between  the  need to clear  out stuff – and hoard,   we once more hoarded. Why? So  we don’t forget, so we don’t allow it to happen  again. Not in Godzone.

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“Remember when mum clubbed me with the rock.”

When I was a CYFS social worker I knew a woman who clubbed her ten-year-old son with a rock enclosed in a supermarket bag. It would be wrong to assume she was an ignorant person lacking in moral standards. In fact she was a churchgoer who described herself as a fundamental Christian. And she could hold a decent argument on the matter. However, it is fair to say her housekeeping was not as well organised as her Christian beliefs.

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Christmas on the Coast

9 a.m. and the mercury is racing up to 30 degrees. “Better watch out” locals tell us. “It’s going to be a ripper”. They’re right, so we retreat into the air conditioned world which reminds us of home and  what temperatures at Christmas should be.

But then we’re on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland and it’s a cloudless Christmas Eve. Still, Christmas is Christmas and though the Mooloolaba Beach is scattered with bodies, the radio station plays – rather incongruously – White Christmas.

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Around the mountains

I started my cycle circuit of Northern Southland’s Eyre Mountains from Cromwell at 7am on a Saturday morning. But traffic around these parts has increased markedly and 7am was at least an hour too late for a quiet road. It was not until just past the Nevis Bluff in the Kawarau Gorge that a cycle path allowed me to get off the road.I put my tent up in the Arrowtown motor camp. $20.

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A pilgrimage to love

He arrived at the wrong address at the right time and his pride was ruffled slightly when we told him as much. A middle-aged Indian, he had come for some maintenance on our house and loosened up when he realised his office had given him the wrong address.

As he worked, we began to chat and I asked why he had made the  trek from India to New Zealand.

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The Price of Honesty

Over the years I’ve been privileged, on occasions, to live with local families while visiting Fiji and Samoa. This has led to memorable, enriching experiences, far removed from those of the tourists staying at the resorts.

Of course, staying with someone usually comes with expectations, for example, Sunday church attendance. It’s compulsory – no ifs, no buts.

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