Bloganuary #6 Who inspires me?

“Inspiration is a feeling of enthusiasm you get from someone or something, which gives you new and creative ideas.”

I have been lucky to have been inspired by many people over the years. 
Some are my favourite authors whilst others are artists or photographers. Some of these influencers have enthused me into trying out my own creative ideas.

Steven Covey and his “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” had an influence on my thinking about leadership in education. One year, I wrote 365 daily reflections based on the 7 habits.  This led me onto the path of self reflection and writing. His 2014 sequel, “The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness” included the 8th habit which essentially urges: “Find your voice and inspire others to find theirs”.

I have a close friend I met through my early childhood education career.  She is passionate, empathic, courageous and has the strength to reinvent herself whilst enthusing and valuing others.

 Whether it is walking the  El Camino, volunteering in Peru, getting spiritual in Machu  Pichu; or pursuing her professional goals. She started another chapter in her life by creating a consultancy business so she can upskill and train others. Always energetic, fun-loving and generous, she is an inspiration to me and to everyone she communicates with. If only I had half her eloquence and inner strength. She has inspired me to maintain my habit of lifelong learning, especially in my leadership role. 

She essentially ‘found her own voice and inspired others to find theirs’.  I took that inspiration and still do even into this life of retirement.

365 days has been an important theme which has inspired me in other spheres throughout the years too. Several years ago I joined the 365 project online and met such an inspiring community there. 365ers are  a positive and talented, creative community of photographers- their daily photos inspire me to try new camera techniques and challenges. That is a fun and challenging way to keep my brain active too.

And now I have this blog community to inspire me with challenges to follow my creative aspirations. Thank you for the inspiration.

Bloganuary Catch-up – first week!

#2 Road trips – Wherever the road leads is where we will go.

Any road trip that does not depend on negotiating our own rural road (currently closed to the public)  is totally welcome these days.

The very best road trip I would love to take is around my own country which is probably well overdue.  I have been on a lot of road trips in other countries and some of these I would love to repeat. However there are many roads in my own country I have yet to explore. 

The North Island of New Zealand has so many choices! Should we travel the most direct route to Auckland, through the central North Island on State Highway One, enjoying the mountain views of Tongariro, Ruapehu, and Ngauruhoe, past Lake Taupo  and into the geyser land of Rotorua, or should we meander slowly along the West coast past Mt Taranaki, then head on the Forgotten Highway into the inland countryside.

The Coromandel on the East Coast is another long and winding road I have yet to travel so plenty of options.  Once past Auckland city there is Northland to explore.

From Cape Reinga in the top of the North Island to Bluff at the bottom of the South Island, not only would I love to take this road trip, it is very definitely on the plan.  

For now, we will complete a full circuit of the South Island this summer. From the top of the south we will go on our road trip to the East and West coasts, traversing the inland routes to the mountains and lakes, from the coastline to the Canterbury Plains, and hopefully reach the bottom of the South Island before returning as the summer days cool into Autumn evenings. We will go wherever the weather is kind and the road leads us. 

#3 Write about the last (first) time you left your comfort zone.

When the heart starts beating rapidly it is time. Don’t think about what others might think, just speak. Believe that the words will come. Sage advice given to this nervous first time public speaker many years ago. 

Standing up and speaking my mind was a scary thing to do. It’s not that I didn’t have words to say. It’s just that I felt too strongly about what my words meant to me. Where else would or could the words come from if not from my heart. And yet they resisted.

Where are the pages of my notes? What if my voice croaks? What if they laugh at me?My fears threatened to overcome me. Who else has felt that fear? 

Hidden deep within the hidden  tunnels and crevices of my beating heart, I felt them start to stir. With each surge they got stronger. The words were on their way. 
It’s true that we speak when our heart is in our mouth. I hummed to myself…,

“Drums keep pounding rhythm to my brain.  And the beat goes on! “

Then I thought; What  is the worst that can happen?  I set aside those notes. Just breathe. Just do it. And I did.   My heartfelt words found their way. And it was good. 

4 What is something you wish you knew how to do?

If only I could keep on task and actually respond to these daily prompts and write every day!  

#5 What was your favorite toy as a child?

Is it sad that I can’t remember what my favourite toy was?

 Reading books is how I spent much of my childhood time. I did have the obligatory doll or two however  I have fonder memories of the great outdoors building huts and swimming at the beach than playing with an actual toy.

My first camera at the tender age of 10 became my favourite ‘toy’ instead.  Not much has changed for me, except my age, the camera (and book)technology of course.  These days it is a digital camera or iPhone instead of that Brownie Starlet – and the Kindle for the reading might just be my favourite toy!

The starlet that started it all

Bloganuary Day 1: What advice would you give your teenage self?

I’m taking the leap – and attempting this Bloganuary challenge!  Hmmm… I will see where this takes me. Already 3 days behind though!


I thought back to those dim and distant years. Hindsight is such an interesting position from which to share advice. And to be fair, it was a VERY long  time ago.


I was such a ‘good’ teenager….. by that I mean I was way too compliant and indecisive and confused and shy  and…..boring!

But…. knowing what I know now, I would advise that conflicted teenage self to:

  • Find and follow your passions. Who knows where they may lead you. Your passions may change as you navigate your teen years  -and that is ok.
  • Remember to be true to yourself. Self belief is so important. Find your truth and trust yourself.
  • Choose your friends wisely and nurture those friendships. 
  • Make your own decisions rather than follow the crowd.
  • Remember – You are striving for independence. That is your teenage task. Make it worthwhile. 

Life is for living –  Every. Single. Day. 

Sunday Stills – Christmas Song Lyric Challenge


I just have to share our kiwi version of the “12 days of Christmas” although I did struggle to find photos except for the pukeko and the ponga tree! I did have some kumara in the pantry but I cooked them for dinner before I remembered to take the photo.


A Pukeko in a Ponga Tree  (Written by Kingi Ihaka in 1981)

(The 12 Days of Christmas)

On the first day of Christmas 
My true love gave to me 
A pukeko in a ponga tree 

On the second day of Christmas 
My true love gave to me 
Two kumera 
And a pukeko in a ponga tree 
On the third day of Christmas...

and so on, until... 

On the twelfth day of Christmas 
My true love gave to me 
Twelve piupius swinging 
Eleven haka lessons 
Ten juicy fish heads 
Nine sacks of pipis 
Eight plants of puha 
Seven eels a swimming 
Six pois a twirling 
Five - big - fat - pigs ! 
Four huhu grubs 
Three flax kits 
Two kumera 
And a pukeko in a ponga tree!

WQWWC #51: WHAT’S IN MY TOYBOX?

“It is a happy talent to know how to play”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

I have a lot of toys surrounding me, and whilst I would like to be able to say I use them every day that that would be a NO. 


Unless of course I count my photography toys/props. These include LEGO, toy soldiers, miniature people, zombie dolls and  baby dolls, and even my little drinking buddies get up to some tricks. 


Here are some of the ways I find to play with my toys.

Play is our brain’s favourite way of learning

– Diane Ackerman

And what do I learn?  Which is the best lighting to use, which lens to attach, how to pose the players, (thank goodness for posable toys) or  how to use stop motion to tell that story. 

“We don’t stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing” 

George Bernard Shaw

We are never too old to play. Get out those toys and play free.

“When you’re free, you can play and when you’re playing, you become free.”

Heidi Kaduson

So what is in your toy box?

WQWWC #50 An almost Forgotten post

I love light, I love to write and I love life – I create my words and images to capture the light in my life.
Capturing the light leads me on many different journeys – wandering with my camera is one of my favourite things to do. 

“If I didn’t have my camera to remind me constantly, I am here to do this, I would eventually have slipped away, I think. I would have forgotten my reason to exist.”

Annie Leibovitz

Once upon a time, my habit was that I always took my camera everywhere I went. Over this winter, I had forgotten that habit.  Part of the problem was that due to being locked in with road closures and locked down through Covid, I wasn’t actually going anywhere. Yes, I could still walk on the beach unless it was raining and blowing a gale – which it did regularly throughout the winter months.


Thankfully, as the weather is warming up- and (even though the roads are only slowly being fixed), I am getting out a bit more – and I am becoming reacquainted with my camera after misplacing my ‘phojo’ for a couple of months. I had forgotten the joy I feel when wandering with my camera.

“Photography is a way of feeling, of touching, of loving. What you have caught on film is captured forever… it remembers little things, long after you have forgotten everything.”

Aaron Siskind

I write to capture my thoughts…

“People have forgotten how to tell a story.”

Steven Spielberg

I thought I had forgotten so much of my childhood but then I started to write my story, and those memories came flooding  back. They were much closer to the surface than I had thought. I had not forgotten my life experiences and yet I struggled to write them as interesting stories. So I researched how to write memoir. I used some writing prompts. I revisited Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey (adapted for Covid heroic journeys), and also found an updated version or two of the Heroine’s journey.  My memoir writing journey has just  begun. I hope to record those memories I thought I had forgotten. Watch this space.

“If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.”

Rudyard Kipling

A little story about coffee. Alarmingly, we run out of coffee so had to do the 120 kilometre round trip to town on a Monday – not our usual habit. Finally, we arrived home after a fraught day of road blocks, delays and overheating in our masks. I unpacked the groceries (yes, we bought so much more than we had planned) and noticed… HE had bought beans not espresso grind! That HERO had to return the very next day as HE was not popular – he will not forget again!

Life is about creating memories – and art!

“So, like a forgotten fire, a childhood can always flare up again within us.”

Gaston Bachelard

I’m playing with art again. Practicing my creativity through daily pencil sketches and creating art journals.  I put on some music, and immerse myself in paints, pastels and crayons.  Out comes the water paint, the felt tips and the stencils. I have rediscovered the pure joy of messy fingers, and scribbling with charcoals and ink. I’m having fun!  I have not forgotten how to do that.

And just like that, all my hobbies are back on my playlist – and are remembered.

Sunday Stills: Cheers for Ruby Wine and a Blood Moon

There is nothing quite as warming as a glass (or two) of a burgundy wine – especially if it is swirled and sipped in front of a blazing fire pit. 

Alternatively, finding a burgundy bar stool on which to perch whilst partaking of a burgundy beverage, is also quite palatable.

Now in case I am giving the impression that I have focussed only on ruby rich red wine, I do occasionally capture burgundy-brown buildings.

And I have even been known to forsake my evening tipple, so  I can drive out to capture the blood red lunar eclipse. Pleasingly, I had more success this month with the partial lunar eclipse that my first attempt in May which was rather too foggy and frosty. Mind you, attempting to composite a time-lapse of the lunar eclipse had me reaching for a red wine to calm my frustrations.

“I’m like old wine. They don’t bring me out very often, but I’m well preserved.” — Rose Kennedy

Cheers,

WQWWC #48 – Foggy finds

Don’t be afraid to go into the fog. Be excited because you don’t know where you will end up. Sophie Madden

As the moon sets, and the fog lifts, where will the day take us? Take that road trip and go wherever the road leads.  The day’s adventures are about to begin…

And out of the fog, appears a merino in the mist.

Or a hoar frost with magical icicles sparkling in the trees…

“And when the fog’s over and the stars and the moon come out at night it’ll be a beautiful sight”

– Jack Kerouac

“There it is, fog, atmospheric moisture still uncertain in destination, not quite weather and not altogether mood, yet partaking of both.”

~ Hal Borland

WQWWC #45 Fortitude/Resilience

“Life is a journey that takes us on many paths – and tests us and shapes us in ways that allow us to aspire to even more challenging directions”

This was the message on a farewell card when I was leaving a much loved job to further my career.  The card was decorated with forget-me-nots – I never have forgotten the fortitude I needed to take that leap and change direction. I left the well trod path and ventured onto the rocky track.

I wrote these poems in the aftermath of painful family feuds.

In every given moment we have two options, to step forward into growth, or to step back into safety – Abraham Maslow

Often hidden amidst words of anger or hate
Underlying fear creates a sense of panic. 
Flight not fight becomes the norm. 
Habits thus formed are hard to break 

Stop for a moment and think
How does your anger help you?
Do you just live to hate
Or do you hate to live?

What if you choose to love 
Would that calm your fear?
Replace those feeling of anger
With actions of hope?

You may be surprised at how good you feel 
when the fear recedes. 
And the peace returns. 

My scars remind me that I did indeed survive my deepest wounds. That in itself an accomplishment.  Steve Goodi

One day I was counting up the surgical scars I had  due to caesarian section, melanoma, knee replacement and rotator cuff repair when I realised just how resilient I had become through these experiences. I wrote these words. 

Some of us carry our scars externally.
These are a physical sign of our survival.

Scars are often hidden within us,
Internal injuries sustained through harmful words.

Scars are gathered over the passage of our lives,
They are both the symbol of - and the price for -  this life.

AND……


When I peeled back the layers, I found a beautiful resilience inside – this is how I know I’ll always thrive – Lori Schaefer

WQWWC #43 – Imaginary imagery

“What we imagine in our minds becomes our world…”  Masaru Emoto

Masaru Emoto and his water crystals:

“Water consciousness first gained international attention with the unconventional but groundbreaking experiments of Japanese researcher Masaru Emoto. While you may not recognise his name, chances are that you have seen or heard of his work – namely, the theory that water can understand and retain the energy of human intention.


“In the 1990s, Emoto performed a series of experiments in which water was kept in a variety of bottles, each carrying a label with a different message. The messages ranged from positive and caring (thank you, love) to negative (I hate you, I want to kill you), and then drops of water from these bottles were placed on slides and deep-frozen to form snowflake-like crystals. 


The crystals that formed on positive messages were found to be ore geometric and aesthetically pleasing, while the crystals fired  by water with negative messages were chaotic  and non-uniform in shape.“ He called his findings ‘hado’ – the life force energy-consciousness of varying frequencies infused in all matter.

The follow-up argument has been this: Given the high water composition of the human brain and body,  if water is in fact conscious and receptive to energy frequencies, how can these positive or negative messages affect our bodies on a molecular level?”

Was this a self-fulfilling prophecy – just imagine it and it becomes real?  Or is it an example of the creative force of the imagination?


What a rabbit hole I dived down into here –  it was almost a wishing well of watery wonderment. My imagination was definitely working overtime.


And it made me wonder….

Is it better to live in an imaginary world or in this harsh real world? I guess that depends on how happy and satisfying your own experience of the ‘real’ world is.  And even if your current reality is not yet the best, escaping into an imaginary world can be both restorative and healing. Or it can be if you just let yourself be free to imagine.


Throughout my life, retreating from time to time into the imaginary world of books has been a constant relief from the trials and tribulations of daily life. Immersing oneself into another world creates imaginary images within our minds, and sets the mind free to dream; and it encourages creative thinking.  

You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus”  Mark Twain

As a photographer, I use my imagination to first visualise my story then try to recreate my vision into the image. Finding the best point of focus is part of the storytelling but sometimes  I purposefully throw the focus out to create my vision. And yes that might make it hard to focus my eyes but I can depend on my imagination instead. It is such a delight when I create an intriguing image using Intentional Camera Movement (ICM), or compositing several images to create a new story. 

So many things to ponder in my imagination and yet….   in the words of the imaginary Dr Who

I’ll just be a story in your head. But that’s alright. We’re all stories in the end. Just make it a good one.” – Doctor Who