WW : Sights and Sounds Around NZ

http://www.nz.com/new-zealand/guide-book/ – facts, weather, history, food, etc 

Sceneryhttp://images.google.co.nz/images?um=1&hl=en&rlz=1G1GGLQ_ENNZ243&q=zealand+scenery – our beautiful scenery – click more pages …
http://images.google.co.nz/images?q=zealand+scenery+waikato&um=1&hl=en&rlz=1G1GGLQ_ENNZ243&sa=2 -a  search for Waikato pics, but more than my region is represented amongst these images.
Also here: http://images.google.co.nz/images?um=1&hl=en&rlz=1G1GGLQ_ENNZ243&q=scenery+waikato&btnG=Search+Images

Birdshttp://nzbirds.com/birds/birdsong.html – my favourite NZ bird is piwakawaka = fantail
Kiwihttp://www.teara.govt.nz/TheBush/NativeBirdsAndBats/Kiwi
http://www.teara.govt.nz/TheBush/NativeBirdsAndBats/Kiwi/en?shortstory=true – easy read
Images + Media – http://www.teara.govt.nz/TheBush/NativeBirdsAndBats/Kiwi/en?shortstory=true

http://grantfinlay.podomatic.com/ – sounds recorded in New Zealand, mainly around Auckland 

Traffic Cameras – http://traffic.transit.govt.nz/Traffic.do?view=cctv – check the traffic and the weather in Auckland, NZ’s main city.

God Defend New Zealand (national anthem – and hear it here. More info here.)

I love my country!

PS: Must mention my absolute favourite comedian – I will watch anything he was in (yes, sadly he died in 1991 – too soon) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Billy_T_James
Check YouTube for “Billy T. James” – also check related videos.

MM : How TV and Movies Frighten Children

I think this still holds true … 

BOOK ASKS: WHAT FRIGHTENS CHILDREN?

“From my fifteen years of research on mass media and children’s fears, I am convinced that TV programs and movies are the number one preventable cause of nightmares and anxieties in children,” writes Dr. Joanne Cantor in her 1998 book. “Intense and long-lasting media-induced fears are far more common than we think and often linger well into adulthood.”

Parents whose children have been scared by a movie or television program will gain new insights by reading Cantor’s new book, “Mommy, I’m Scared: How TV and Movies Frighten Children and What We Can Do to Protect Them.” For the past 15 years, Cantor — herself the mother of a nine-year-old boy — has been studying the effects of television on children. She has been especially interested in children’s emotional reactions to scenes involving violence and other disturbing images.

In perhaps her most interesting finding, Dr. Cantor discovered that children of different ages seem to be frightened by different types of programs and events. She explains this in light of children’s developmental stages.

Reading this section, I was struck by how very different children’s minds are from our own. I suddenly called a vivid image from my own childhood: my mother warning me that if I ate pits, plants would grow out of my bellybutton. For a year or so I actually believed her, and later on I was embarrassed at my gullibility. But reading this book I realized that I was not gullible — I was going through a normal developmental stage. These phases determine to a large degree what will frighten children at a particular time.

Two-to-seven-olds, for example, are frightened by scary images such as vicious animals, monsters, or grotesque characters. They are also frightened by physical transformations of characters – for example, a person “morphing” into a monster.

Seven-to-twelve-year-olds, on the other hand, are frightened by more realistic threats and dangers that actually could happen to them. “Children often fully believe stories that we adults are quick to dismiss as fantastic or impossible,” Cantor writes. “Children learn to say that some things are real and others are make-believe long before they understand what it means to ‘make believe.’ They will tell you that Peter Pan’s Captain Hook is make-believe long before they stop worrying that he will capture them and feed them to the crocodile!”

As children grow older, however, many become drawn to scary and violent programming. While discussing the reasons for this, Cantor adds that “heavy doses of brutality result in one of two unhealthy outcomes: either the severe fright reactions that this book describes, or the deadening of emotional responsiveness and antisocial attitudes toward violence.”

The book includes age-appropriate tips for helping frightened preschoolers as well as explanations for older children. While Cantor notes that it is impossible to shield children from television altogether, reading her book provides a wake-up call: Once a child becomes frightened and anxious, it’s difficult to undo the damage. Since the television and movie industries are not looking out for children’s interests, it is up to parents to minimize their children’s exposure to these media as much as possible.

by Daphne White, The Lion & Lamb Project (Bethesda, Maryland) an organization which strives to reduce violent influences in children’s lives..  

Review by The National PTA Magazine, October 1998

TAMING THE TV MONSTER

Mommy, I’m Scared: How TV and Movies Frighten Children and What We Can Do to Protect Them” is based on author/educator Joanne Cantor’s 15 years of research on media violence and its impact on children and youth.

Cantor’s purposes in writing the book are to alert parents to the long-term effect of TV and film violence on children; assist parents in becoming aware of what will frighten children; to guide them in calming children’s fears; and to advise them on how to protect children from traumatic material.

Written in a practical, reader-friendly style, Cantor’s concluding chapter sums up all the strategies parents can employ to reduce the negative effect of television, movies, and videos on children.

“Mommy, I’m Scared” by Joanne Cantor is published by Harcourt Brace and available in paperback.

A comment by Penelope Leach, child psychologist and author of Your Baby and Child, on violence and children:

“Two generations ago only a few unfortunate children ever saw any one hit over the head with a brick, shot, rammed by a car, blown up, immolated, raped or tortured. Now all children, along with their elders, see such images every day of their lives and are expected to enjoy them… .

“The seven-year-old who hides his eyes in the family cops-and-robbers drama is desensitized for years later to a point where he crunches potato chips through that latest video nasty.”

“Since the television and movie industries are not looking out for children’s interests, it is up to parents to minimize their children’s exposure to these media as much as possible.”

FF : Biblical Fellowship

Some things on Biblical Fellowship I’ve read this week: 

True Biblical Fellowship
We learn in God’s word that fellowship is a HEART issue, something to be felt and expressed, and something very important to be a part of. It should occur apart from any program, schedule, or activity. It is to be a way of life for believers in Jesus Christ to want to be in each other’s company, to share things together and to help and support each other both physically and spiritually. If one of the members hurt we share that burden.

Gospel Driven Life – blog
First, the mood of fellowship is very simple — it is encouragement. 

The Importance of Fellowship in a New Testament Church
The first fact concerns the meaning of the Greek root. Our English word, “fellowship” is the translation of the Greek word, “koinonia.” This Greek word is derived from the root, “koinos,” which was a prefix in ancient Greek.

If you were to add this prefix to words meaning “living,” “owning a purse,” “a dispute,” and “mother,” you would get words meaning “living in community together,” “owning a purse in common,” “a public dispute,” and “having a mother in common.” So we see that the root of the word, “fellowship,” means “to hold something in common.”

Created to be in community together,
Shalom.

ThTh : Of Kings and Leadership

God in the beginning didn’t want Israel to have a king, but the people nagged him, so they got a king. One by one most of them failed – and even David showed his human frailty.

The pressure and scrutiny on people in leadership is intense and it’s not for the faint-hearted. So people want a leader, but it seems to me that that just takes the heat off the individuals for making their own decisions and being responsible for what they do. We see this in schools, churches, and government.

Our family homeschools. We take responsibility as to what part of the NZ curriculum we do – or not. Our family does the 3Rs plus ‘religion’, research, and real life. The children learn what to do and how to do it, learning the process and the content.

We do not have a timetable or a predetermined plan – more a menu from which to choose. We have a theme for the term, selected by the children, which colours what they do and learn. My 10yo is at the stage where she can decide what to do each day and achieve a longer term goal of completing a lapbook (a creatively presented unit study project).

In churches, the congregation tends to sit in the pews soaking up the entertainment and words from the front. What thought or direct worship with God comes from the masses as individuals? We make the pastors/preachers into ‘kings’ – weakening the personal responsibility of the individual for their own relationship with God. And then it’s not uncommon for the masses to turn on and criticise or judge the leaders (maybe rightly, possibly not). This is partly why our family is seeking meeting with Christians who will “bring a word” or Psalm, sing a song, exercise their God-given gifts, and all contribute towards a corporate collective expression of faith. No ‘kings’, no ‘king-makers’, except the King of Kings.

Glorify Him!

WW : Time Past Favourites

A blast from the past – http://www.time.com/time/2005/websites/

Enjoy trolling the list.

Useful? :  http://lifehacker.com/

Different : http://www.boingboing.net/

Photos : http://flickr.com/ – search a topic; join a group

Social networking has taken off since 2005!

manana, apopo, tomorrow …

MM : Put YOUR oxygen mask on first

At the beginning of this book: “Oxygen : Deep Breathing for the Soul” by Keri Wyatt Kent, it talks about the emergency procedures in a plane … “in the event of an emergency ..” and how you put your own oxygen mask on first and THEN assist the children and people around you. Good advice for mothers!

For our households to function well, it is advisable for mothers to take care of themselves first in order to be of greater help to their husbands and children.

Breathe deeply. Get the oxygen in your lungs. Did you know that breathing in your nose helps to relax you?

Slow down enough to be aware of your breathing. It’s beneficial for you to take or make time out to sit and “BE”. And don’t wait until there’s an emergency – make it a regular habit throughout each week.

I’m so glad, even now as homeschoolers, that we have “Quiet Time” after lunch. The children are now 8+10 and we don’t do it every day, but the option is there – and Mother will put the call out for “Quiet Time” and the kids know that it’s time for reading or doing something quietly on their beds (without cars and pens) for the half an hour or hour I say. Of course, I go to my bed for a read or a rest too – and model the enjoyment (necessity?) of reading, resting, and thinking (or ‘imagination’) time.

Mother, may you find your Rest …

ThTh : Decision Making

This is not an authoritative treatise on decision-making, though I’ve read plenty of them recently as I consider a new opportunity and ministry role.

How do you make decisions? With a grid analysis chart or some ranking system. Maybe you consider different criteria and options. Let your mind wander down the lane of consequences if you do – or don’t – take the position or buy that car or house. A mind map with a brainstorm, or a quad with YES, good + bad and NO, bad + good in the corners can also clarify some issues.

Maybe your God-centred worldview will encourage you to read the Bible, listen to various advisors, and line up attitudes, abilities, and what you know of God’s ways – like the ship lining up lights in the harbour channel.

Hey! It says in the Bible (Proverbs 16:33) that God controls the fall of the dice (or the coin), so it might be time-saving – and stress-saving – to just assign a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ (like ‘thummin’ and ‘urim’ of the Jews) and go with the result – and really, if you’re desperate to do the other thing – then do it! What’s the worst thing that can happen anyway?

Does God have an individual plan for your life? I’m not so certain. He gives us His wisdom and principles by which to live life – and a creative brain. We have to supply a theology of failure (and success too for that matter) – and then just make a sensible decision with the information that you’ve gathered.

Analysis paralysis cramps your style. Launch out with the confidence, joy, faith, and nerve-calming wisdom that God gives. Yep! Intelligent beings can still ask for God for His wisdom – and so often it’s a case of : You don’t have cos you don’t ask!

… I need to ask, God, for some wisdom …