Day 125 (Saturday, Sept. 23rd) Meet the Gazzard’s and Cancer Awareness fence.

Meet Ian and Susan Gazzard.  Bob, having proven his sleuth skills, found this couple in Wanaka, just an hour drive from Queenstown.  Susan is the Forsyth but her husband is the genealogist.  They had all kinds of stories and histories to share with us.  We learned that there were three different Forsyth’s that came from Scotland to New Zealand starting in the mid 1800’s.

We were not able to make an immediate connection but we have a lot to work with once we get home.  Susan had prepared a lovely lunch for us before we left.  Though Bob and Susan may not be close blood relatives, by the time we left we felt like family.

Ian and Sally Gazzard and BobGazzards with Christi

As we were about to leave they gave us a tour of their gardens.  There were some major master gardening skills in that yard.  She cut this beautiful flower for me.  I have seen it all over the islands but did not know the name until today…it’s a Camelia.

Camellia Flower in NZ Susan & Ian Gazzard

We have passed this fence several times as we made our way to church last Sunday and to the Gazzard’s today.   I’m not sure how hanging that many bras on a fence helps the breast cancer cause but it is definitely an eye catcher!

Welcome to bradrona

Day 123 (Sept. 21st) Fiordlands ~ A cruise through Milford Sound

Fiordland – Scandinavian word for steep valley (fjord)

MIlford Sound Cliffs

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Milford Road Map

A great object lesson – The Plimsoll Line

Right before we boarded the ship, Bob pointed out the plimsoll lines on the side of it. These markings tell you how much weight you can put on a ship to ensure a safe sailing. The salt in the ocean makes ships more bouyant so you can load more.  Fresh water lakes limit the amount you can put on the ship/boat.  Elder Holland used this as allegory to life in a speech he gave.

We all have our “plimsoll line” or our limits and to be mindful not to put more self-inflicted burden on ourselves than we can manage.

MIlford Sound Plimsoll Line on Boat

Milford Sound was a sensory overload from the time we entered the park.  We decided to spring for the bus ride because the roads are so narrow and Bob would have missed most of the scenery.  Best decision of the day…besides going to Milford Sound of course.

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These pictures below were taken on our way  the Sound…


The tourism industry has found all kinds of ways to add adventure to your experience. We couldn’t tell what the pod was for hanging below this helicopter.

MIlford Sound close up of helicopterMIlford Sound Drive up with treers

This is the tunnel we went through to get to the Sound.  The road was rough and the roof leaked!  Just a bit scary when you’re in a large touring bus!


The Homer Tunnel is a 1.2 km (0.75 miles) long road tunnel in the Fiordland region of the South Island of New Zealand, opened in 1953. New Zealand State Highway 94 passes through the tunnel, linking Milford Sound to Te Anau and Queenstown, by piercing the Darran Mountain range at the Homer Saddle.

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I wanted to find a video to help explain to my grandchildren what a glacier was.  The change they make over millions of years to the planet are not only astonishing but breathtakingly beautiful!

Glaciers leave only rock cliffs with no vegetation and yet Milford Sound had a lush green covering of vegetation.  This lichen covered stone is why.  The mineral allows moss to grow on it.  The moss can hold a seed and the seed sprouts and finds cracks for its roots and a tree is born.  This is why, with no soil on the fiords, plants can still grow.

MIlford Sound - Lichen growing on stone in forest

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At Milford Sound

If you look closely you will see the horizontal lines made by the glaciers millions of years ago.  To witness these markings is like being transported back in time.

MIlford Sound Fiordland Cliffs with waterfall

I am naming this a “Cloud Bridge”.  The weather forecasted clear blue skies.

 I’m glad they were wrong.

MIlford Sound cloud bridge

They claim the remains of this glacier, pictured in the middle, is around 200M years old.

MIlford Sound Glacier

This is just the “Cloud Bridge” from different distances.

This is a Kākāpō.  

This is the only parrot to survive the cold and altitude of Milford Sound.

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We saw one on our way the Sound!  He was either was bathing or had an itch…

MIlford Sound Kakapo

Another mark of a glacier is the U shaped valleys they leave in their path.

MIlford Sound Glacier U shape bowls

The Milford Sound glacier eventually made its way to the ocean which then filled the basin made by the glacier.  Because the Sound receives the highest rainfall in the world the water is actually part ocean, part lake, each having their own ecosystem.  Rain on top, sea water on the bottom.

MIlford Sound meets ocean

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Length – 9.94 miles – Average Depth – 1082.68 Ft. – Widest Point 1.2 Miles

Narrowest Point – 1.2 Miles – Entrance -1804 Ft. – Rainfall – 21.52 Ft.

Mean Winter Temp –  34 F – Mean Summer Temp – 64 F

(This conversion was more for me than anyone else!)

These are the seals that got kicked out by the dominant males for this years mating season.  You can see that they were very bummed out…

This is the longest, always running, waterfall in the world.  You cannot see it but there is a monstrous mountain behind it that feeds it.  The area at the base was the original cemetery for the first settlers.  The legend is that they buried them standing up and facing the waterfall so they could enjoy the view for eternity.

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“All Creatures of our God and King”

I’m admittedly an emotional person.  I feel deeply in moments like this.  Especially when it carries with it such history from millions of years ago.  I found myself quietly humming the tune “All Creatures of our God and King”.  I could only remember the first line:

All creatures of our God and King
Lift up your voices and with us sing
Alleluia, alleluia

I quietly hummed my way through this song over and over again as I watched in awe the majestic creation we call earth and silently wiped away tears along the way.  The earth is, according to science, 4.5 billion years old.  While touring Milford Sound I began to realize the incredible length of time it took to first, create the design of the earth and then create the earth itself.  Earth was the home God was creating for us…it was all for us.  God, in his tender mercies, spent billions of years curating this space for his children so that we could have a place to call home for only a few thousand years. The math reveals our time on earth as .00000333 years compared to the 4.5 billion years if you consider that Adam and Eve arrived 6,000 years ago.  Wikipedia claims the first homo sapiens arriving from Africa 200k years ago.  Either way…it is still a fractions.  We are here for an almost immeasurable amount of time.  What kind of magnificent love is that!

Angels sent this song to my memory as a witness that I am not alone, that the heavens are aware of me. This was an important moment, reminding me of my eternal connection.   I realized the tremendous patience it took to get this earth thing right and His unwavering love for all of us.  This will forever be my “Milford Sound” hymn.

Bob and Christi at Milford Sound

All creatures of our God and king
Lift up your voice and with us sing
Alleluia, alleluia
Thou burning sun with golden beam
Thou silver moon with softer gleam
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia,

Thou rushing wind that art so strong
Ye clouds that sail in heaven a long
Alleluia, alleluia
Thou rising morn in praise rejoice
Ye light of evening find a voice
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia,

Thou flowing water pure and clear
Make music for thy Lord to hear
Alleluia, alleluia
Thou fire so masterful and bright
That gives to man both warmth and light
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia,

After a long day of travel and sightseeing we turned the corner to Queenstown and saw this sunset…need I say more?

Sunset in Queenstown best pic

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“God Be Praised”




Day 122 (Sept. 20th) Daily walk to town

We walk by this everyday and never noticed these trees…spring is here at last!Spring in Queenstown

Caught red handed deadheading these geraniums.

Believe it or not we took these pictures hanging out on a park bench.

Bob enjoying life.

Our home in Queenstown

Our apartment in QueenstownTomorrow we head to Milford Sound for a cruise in the Fiordlands.   I suspect our cameras will never be able to grasp the magnificent beauty we will see but we will try.

Day 122 (Sept. 20th) Glenorchy – Beautiful drive up the canyon from Queenstown

Glenorchy was a short 1 hour drive north of Queenstown.  The drive was the most scenic of our trip so far…

Found this waterfall right next to the road to Glenorchy

No quaint little town is complete without a barn…by a lake…with a pier.

My kind of Country Store next to the Saturday’s Farmer’s Market

And if all this weren’t enough…we randomly pull into a parking lot of a small diner and a war memorial with a John Forsyth and Doug Forsyth’s name on it.  They both lost their lives in World War I.

Day 120 (Sept 18th) Finding family

One of the reasons we traveled all the way to the LDS Gore Branch on Sept 17th was because it was close to Dunedin and records show that we have ancestors buried there. On those tombstones would hold the information key to getting their temple work done. It warmed my heart as I watched Bob begin the search for his Forsyth line.  It was truly a hearts of the children turning to their fathers moment.  I felt like I was Sherlock Holmes setting out on a trip of discovery!  Though they are not my family, they are Bob’s and they are my children’s and grandchildren’s bloodlines and I found myself surprisingly excited!

Bob looking for family in Dunedin

The Northern Cemetery is one of three cemeteries in Dunedin and dates back to the 1840’s.  For the first time it dawned on me that if you’re going to try to get to multiple cemeteries, go to the oldest one first.  This first gravestone was close the where the records that said John Forsythe was buried.  It was completely buried in the shrubs so I pulled it all back, brushed off the debris and saw the name John!  The rest was mud caked and with no tools at hand I just used my fingers…

Bob was complaining about all the dirt flying but I was on a mission!  Unfortunately, I did not find our John….but I did find someone’s John McDonald!

This graveyard holds 17,770 graves.  It was well indexed but the graveyard was a mess with many of the gravestones toppled over and broken.  We thought it was vandalism but an older gentleman, walking his dog said it was from a massive earthquake.  It must have happened quite some time ago because of the layers of debris, moss and dirt that clung to the stone.  There were quite a few plots as well that had no gravestone at all. We found one of the burial sites that a Forsyth was suppose to be buried in but no markings anywhere to indicate he was there.  Bob is pointing to that site.

Bob hit paydirt (maybe not the best term) when he found a plot with not only a gravestone but lots of names on it.  Pictures could not capture the worn out letters so I typed it, sometimes having to trace the carvings to detect letters and numbers.

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Below are the gravesites we found in Dunedin, New Zealand in the Northern Cemetery:


David Forsyth grave

In Loving Memory

David Forsyth – Solicitor – Age 55 – Died Dec. 30th, 1909 – Son of David Forsyth – Farmer – Ballachraggan Ross-Shire, Scotland

(Someone had come can carefully cut lettering to cover the deteriorating letters.  The D and the V fell off revealing the white stone underneath)

Forsyth Family Burial Plot DunedinFrom top to bottom

James Eldest Son of – James and Ellen Forsyth – Born February 7th 1865 – Died August 20 1882

Jessie Eldest Daughter – June 13th 1872 – Died Nov 10 1886

John 4th Son – Born June 5th 1870 – Died May 15th 1890

George Millar Forsyth – Born Sept 23 1866 – Died May 23 1907 – Second son (George died on the North Island from a railroad accident at age of 41)

James Forsyth – Born July 27 1839 – Died June 20 1920 – Father of the above

Ellen – Beloved wife of – James Forsyth – Born Sept 21 1837 – Died July 10 1924

Elizabeth Millar Forsyth – Second daughter of above – Born (no day, month or year) – Died August 8 1948 – Age 73 (Born either 1875/76)

I Know That My Redeemer Lives

George Millar seperate gravestone from railroadSeparate gravestone for George Millar Forsyth (Husband of Elizabeth Millar Forsyth) We think it was erected by the Main Trunk Railroad

Erected – Employed on the North Island – Main Trunk Railroad – To the Memory of – George Millar Forsyth – Inspector of Works – Who was accidently killed – in the execution of his duty – At Waiouro – 23rd May 1907 – Aged 41 Years – Loved Most By Those Who Knew Him Best – FORSYTH
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Picture of railroad in Waiouro, North Island

In Loving Memory – Margaret – Beloved Wife of George Forsyth – Died April 16 1909 – Age 60

Jean Forsyth Duncan DunedinJean Forsyth  Duncan – wife of Peter Duncan.  Not sure if she connects

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Fairfax Cemetery in Milton, New Zealand.  It had been a long day and it was turning dusk.  This particular city does not have digital graveyard records.  It is all still analog so we had no way of going online to locate the one gravestone we were looking for.  We knew from our Dunedin online records someone was buried in Milton.  We went to the oldest side of the graveyard and split up to see if we could find anything before the sunset.  It was cold and wet but it would be our only chance.  Bob took off to the other end and I meticulously went from stone to stone hoping for a miracle.  When I came across this gravestone I yelled out to Bob that I had found it!!!  Being cold was forgotten…and for those that know me best…that was another miracle!

Found this just by a miracle in the Fairfax cemetary in Milton NZ.JPGIn Loving Memory of – Charles Jr. Forsyth –  April 21st 1862- Died 1950 – his wife – Flora Inch Forsyth – 1871 – 1948 (Married on April 21st 1896)

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On Sept. 17th we attend church in Gore, a 2.5 hour drive so that we could go to Dunedin’s graveyard after.  Milton was on the way and Bob glanced at a street sign named “Forsyth”!  You can find this street next to Cozy, Charming and Countryside…complete with little lambies.

Forsyth road sign Bob

Just taking this all in!

favorite daffodil house Milton NZ

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Are we related?

While visiting with the locals at church last Sunday we mentioned Bob’s ancestral name of Forsyth. They told us that Forsyth was a big name in New Zealand and particularly in Dunedin.  We were told to make sure to go see the Rugby Stadium while in Dunedin.  Oh my goodness…this place is legit!  Robert Peter Forsyth Barr made his wealth in investment banking and has 20 offices dotted throughout both islands.  His father was Peter Barr…an accountant. His mother was May Forsyth from Greymouth New Zealand.  May was the daughter of Craig Forsyth who was the Mayor of Greymouth.  He was born in 1847, son of William Forsyth and Margaret Nee Craig from Girvan Glasgow, Scotland (see document below).

Forsyth Stadium full length Dunedin NZSeats in Forsyth StadiumForsyth Barr Investment AdviceForsyth Stadium layout

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Barr Desk
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Bob just found a Forsyth history on google that connects all these stories.  It’s a lot to read but for those that want to untangle this and understand your family history, here it is:

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Day 120 (Sept 18th) Food, Church and being Homesick

When trying to find good places to eat in an unfamiliar place we have learned that you can not trust the Concierge!  Mr. Yelp has led us to some hidden, and not so hidden places to eat.  If the place isn’t crawling, it’s a good sign to keep looking.  Such was our experience with Fergburger.  This is a small restaurant right on the street.  It has minimal seating everyday we walked past it it was swarming.  The menu had a variety of adaptations for the American hamburger.  The key here is that lamb and elk are the favored red meat so if you want the real deal…you have to look for it on the menu.  Bob got “cow” meat and it ended up being steak on a bun.  I got the Sweet Bambi.  It was a great way to shake up the traditional hamburger.  People were acting like vultures hovering over tables, waiting for the diners to finish their last bite…  We opted for taking it home.  Fergburger In Ferg with Trust sign

Here is the unique menu.  Fergburger menu

Riding on their success with hamburgers they opened an ice cream shop and Bakery just next door.  The kitchen connected to all three so that it really became “one stop shopping”!Fitzburger plus ice cream and Bakery too.This place was never without a line from noon until end of day.  Perhaps we can bring the concept back to Mesa?!

Crowd at Fitzburger

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Next night…”The Cow”.  The name would be a deterrent  but we trusted Yelp.  We have been to The Cow twice now.  It is a small tavern that serves pizzas and a variety of spaghetti dishes.  Anyone that knows me that the space is as important as the food.  This did not disappoint.  You have to want to find this place.  It is in one of those back alleys that only the regulars…and Yelp know about.  In the mid 1800’s they would lead the cows down this small lane to a “barn”  where they milked the cows for hotels and restaurants. It was first named “Cows Lane” and then abbreviate to just…”The Cow”.

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The glacier lakes that runs through Queenstown is a magnificent 80 miles long.  Bob and I took a long walk on the other side of the lake from our apartment.  We walked for miles through this wooded path.  Each corner presented something new a beautiful to see, touch and even…taste.  I wasn’t sure the water would be alright to eat but clearly I am still here to to write about it!  It was so clean!

The beaches along the walk were all private and well taken care of.  There were random swings and docks and even this small wishing well.  We found this little secret garden down a stone path to sit next to the water.

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Our second to our last Sunday here we made the 2 1/2 hours to the city of Gore for our church services.  This was a small building and branch.  When we arrived there were 4 women in the congregation.  Not one husband.  The 1st counselor to the Stake Presidency and his wife were there to speak.  He was emotional as he told the sisters that they have prayed to know what to do about the fact that these women came alone every Sunday to church without their husbands.  The young man conducting is a missionary and the branch president.  Bob and I both have made the clear observation that the church is dying in many of the cities.  Gore is a large city…we are not talking a small community and you can see the small attendance.  The converted saints from 3 generations ago seem to still have a strong hold in some areas but they are few and far between and clustered in the better areas.

As we came into the chapel the two missionaries came up to greet us.  I knew I was standing next to a very green missionary.  I almost hate to ask for fear I will trigger emotions the Elder doesn’t want anyone to see.  But I also know they need to know that it is going to be ok and it will get better so I simply asked, “How are you doing?”.  The tears started welling up so I diverted my eyes for a moment while he composed himself.  And then of course I asked if I could send a picture to his Mom.  He was happy to comply.  My natural instinct was to put my arm around him for the picture and he quickly reminded me it was against the rules. bad.  Then, because I did not have my glasses handy, I asked him to type into my notes app his mother’s email.  “Ummm, I’m not sure I can do that either!”  Ok, so this Elder is super obedient!

Elder Cluff from California San Jose

I quickly shot of a letter to his mother to assure her that her son was doing great!  Maybe not completely true but she doesn’t need to worry…

Here is my letter:

My letter to Elder Cluffs Mom

It was within minutes that I got this reply:

FullSizeRender 7Elder Cluffs family

His parents met in their senior science class in High School.  He was baptised at 18 and married at 19.  They have raised a good and faithful son and I pray the homesickness turns to excitement as they get those weekly letters!  It is such a bitter-sweet thing to send a child away for two years and so far away.



Day 116 – (Sept. 14th) Summary of Sabbatical

We have a week before we head home from our 4 month sabbatical.  We have had the uncomfortable conversations and got down to what was real in both our relationship.   It was also a time get real about our past 40 years and how we wanted to spend our balance of life.  I have personally determined that I will not and cannot go back home the way I came on this sabbatical.  Lots of dancing with no music.  I want to hear the music. This post is a summary of my work while we have been away.  It is engineered for my brain.  I find the small vignettes of thoughts and inspiration motivating.  It inspires and clarifies and the truth is, it has helped reshape old scripts that have held me back.  It has been a revelatory experience for me and has given me insight as to my deepest struggles.

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Figure out what Heavenly Father wants from me…

“We need to be aware of our own uniqueness and the singular contributions we can make to the world.”  Stephen Covey

“We detect rather than invent our mission in life.”  Viktor Frankl

“Everyone has their own specific mission in life.  Therein they cannot be replaced, nor can their life be repeated.  Thus, everyone’s task is as unique as is his specific opportunity to implement it.”  Viktor Frankl

“We all have our own thing, that’s the magic, and everybody comes with their own sense of strength, and their own queendom. Mine could never compare to hers, and hers could never compare to mine.” Jill Scott (singer)

Be a verb.  

That’s what happens when you dial in to the personal pronoun.

Christi with quote on pier


 It’s true, you can’t live here by chance

You have to do and be

Not simply watch

Or even describe

This is the city of action

The world headquarters of the verb

Gandhi was getting on a train and the journalist called after him, “Gandhiji, Gandhiji, what’s your message to the world?”  And Gandhi turned around and said,

“My life. My life’s my message.”

And your life is your message. Otherwise, why are you here?

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”  Nelson Mandella

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“Emotional Agility”

Author: Susan David

“Between stimulus and response there is a space,” he wrote. “In that space is our power to choose.”  Viktor Frankl

  • Emotionally agile people are dynamic.
  • Flexibility in dealing with our fast-changing, complex world.
  • Tolerate high levels of stress and to endure setbacks
  • Remaining engaged, open, and receptive
  • Life isn’t always easy, but they continue to act according-to their most cherished values
  • Pursue their big, long-term goals.
  • They face disappointments with curiosity, self-compassion, and acceptance.
  • Effectively turn themselves toward their loftiest ambitions.

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When you ride a bicycle, you can stay balanced and upright only when you’re in motion

Emotionally agile people face disappointments with curiosity, self-compassion, and acceptance.

Acceptance is a prerequisite for change. This means giving permission for the world to be as it is, because it’s only when we stop trying to control the universe that we make peace with it. We still don’t like the things we don’t like; we just cease to be at war with them. And once the war is over, change can begin.  You can’t rebuild a city when it’s still under bombardment, but only when the attacks stop and peace prevails.

Our hidden demons are simply the residue of perfectly ordinary and almost universal insecurity, self-doubt, and fear of failure.


Being caught by a self-defeating emotion, thought, or behavior.

Stories of our past:

We crawl into these fables and let a sentence or a paragraph, which may have originated thirty or forty years ago and never been objectively tested and verified, represent the totality of our lives.

All this internal chatter is not only misleading; it’s exhausting. It’s sapping important mental resources you could put too much better use.  Our thoughts come fully accessorized with visual images, symbols, idiosyncratic interpretations, judgments, inferences, abstractions, and actions.

This gives our mental life a vibrant intensity, but it can also take away our objectivity and leave us at the mercy of intrusive ideas—whether they’re true or not, and whether they are helpful or not.”

Thinker vs. Thought:

Who’s in charge—the thinker or the thought?

When we are not in charge of our own lives, when we’re not acting according to our own thoughtful volition and with the full range of options that a perceptive intelligence can conjure, that’s when we get hooked.

Thoughts in isolation do not cause behavior. Old stories don’t cause behavior. We cause our behavior.

Walking your Why:

“Walking your why” is the art of living by your own personal set of values—the beliefs and behaviors that you hold dear and that give you meaning and satisfaction. Identifying and acting on the values that are truly your own—not those imposed on you by others; not what you think you should care about, but what you genuinely do care about—is the crucial next step of fostering emotional agility. (Covey – Principle based living)

“If you’ve never taken the time to sort out your values, you’re always winging it, which is how we wind up frittering away our time—surfing the Internet, forwarding pointless email chain letters, cycling through hours of reality TV—and feeling unfulfilled.”


  • “Values serve as a kind of psychological keel to keep you steady.”
  • “They are freely chosen and have not been imposed on you.
  • They are not goals; that is, they are ongoing rather than fixed.
  • They guide you rather than constrain you.
  • They are active, not static.
  • They allow you to get closer to the way you want to live your life.
  • They bring you freedom from social comparisons.
  • They foster self-acceptance, which is crucial to mental health.

Teeter Totter Effect:

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 We need to find the perfect balance between challenge and competence so we’re neither complacent nor overwhelmed.

We get to that zone of optimal development in a very specific way: when we live at the edge of our ability, a place in which we’re not over-competent or complacent

Courage is not an absence of fear; courage is fear walking

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Grit vs Quit:

Sunk Cost – Past investment keeps you from quitting.

Opportunity Cost – What am I missing for the future when I don’t quit.

  • Overall, do I find joy or satisfaction in what I’m doing?
  • Does this reflect what is important to me—my values?
  • Does this draw on my strengths?
  • If I’m completely honest with myself, do I believe that I (or this situation) can really be a success?
  • What opportunities will I give up if I persevere with this?
  • Am I being gritty, or am I being stupid?

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Author: Greg Mckeown

Remember this: whatever decision or challenge or crossroads you face in your life, simply ask yourself…

“What is essential ~ Eliminate everything else”

Clutter is postponed decision.

Change is a result of action ~Action is a result of Change

When you know what you care about, you can be free from the things you don’t care about.

“One does not accumulate but eliminate.  It is not daily increase but daily decrease.  The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity.”  Bruce Lee

Passion that becomes an obsession to the point of obscuring other important life activities is not going to help you thrive.

When your efforts and determination is not in service of your life’s goals, then it’s just not serving you.

Stop hyper-focusing on all the minor details and see the bigger picture.

Three core truths:

  • I choose to
  • Only a few things matter
  • I can do anything but not everything
    1. When we surrender our right to choose, we give others not just the power but also the explicit permission to choose for us.
    2. Take the time to explore all options.
    3. See trade-offs as an inherent part of life.
    4. Spend as much time as possible exploring, listening, debating, questioning, and thinking.

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Seven Habits of Highly Effective People

Author: Stephen Covey

Personality Ethic

Literature of the past 50 years was superficial on what could be called the Personality Ethic. It was filled with social image consciousness, techniques and quick fixes, Success became more a function of personality, of public image, of attitudes and behaviors, skills and techniques, that lubricate the processes of human interaction.

Character Ethic

Literature in the first 150 years or so focused on what could be called the Character Ethic as the foundation of success—things like integrity, humility, fidelity, temperance, courage, justice, patience, industry, simplicity, modesty, and the Golden Rule.

INSIDE-OUTSIDE – “Inside-out” means to start first with self; even more fundamentally, to start with the most inside part of self—with your paradigms, your character, and your motives.

OUTSIDE-INSIDE – “Outside-in paradigm is unhappy people who feel victimized and immobilized, who focus on the weaknesses of other people and the circumstances they feel are responsible for their own stagnant situation.

Habit 1: Be Proactive


Proactive people carry their own weather with them.

  1. Self-Aware
  2. Imagination
  3. Conscience


Driven by feelings, by circumstances, by conditions, by their environment.

Eleanor Roosevelt – “No one can hurt you without your consent.”

Effective people are not problem-minded; they’re opportunity-minded. They feed opportunities and starve problems.

Proactive people subordinate feelings to values.

Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”  Oliver Wendell Holmes

Think Forward, Work Backwards

All Things are Created Twice 

  1. Mental or first creation
  2. Physical or second creation

By Design or Default

In our personal lives, if we do not develop our own self-awareness and do not become responsible for first creations, we empower other people and circumstances outside our Circle of Influence to shape much of our lives by default. We reactively live the scripts handed to us by family, associates, other people’s agendas, the pressures of circumstance—scripts from our earlier years, from our training, our conditioning.

Re-scripting: Becoming Your Own First Creator

Proactive people carry their own weather with them.

These three endowments empower us to write our own script:

  1. Self-Aware – Unique endowment of humans to be aware
  2. Imagination – We can visualize the uncreated worlds of potential that lie within us.
  3. Conscience – We can be in contact with the universal laws or principles with our own singular talents.

Writing our own script is actually more a process of “re-scripting

In developing our own self-awareness many of us discover ineffective scripts, deeply embedded habits that are totally unworthy of us, totally incongruent with the things we really value in life.


Management is doing things right.

Management is efficiency in climbing the ladder of success.

Leadership is doing the right thing.

Leadership determines whether the ladder is leaning against the right wall.  The leader is the one who climbs the tallest tree.  They survey the entire situation, and yells, “Wrong jungle!”

Producers – The problem solvers

They’re cutting through the undergrowth, clearing it out.  A producer does whatever is necessary to accomplish desired results.

We’re often so busy cutting through the undergrowth we don’t even realize we’re in the wrong jungle.

We are more in need of a vision or destination and a compass (a set of principles or directions) and less in need of a road map.

“So often the problem is in the system, not in the people.

Ethos is your personal credibility, the faith people have in your integrity and competency. It’s the trust that you inspire, your Emotional Bank Account.

Pathos is the empathic side—it’s the feeling. It means that you are in alignment with the emotional thrust of another person’s communication.

Logos is the logic, the reasoning part of the presentation.

(Women who make presentations mindfully are viewed as being more forceful and successful, because, it turns out, the speaker’s mindfulness trumps any gender bias the audience might have. It’s that quality of being fully present and available that audiences relate to most.)

Principled Centered Life:

Principles don’t react to anything. They don’t get mad and treat us differently. They won’t divorce us or run away with our best friend. They aren’t out to get us. They can’t pave our way with shortcuts and quick fixes. They don’t depend on the behavior of others, the environment, or the current fad for their validity. Principles don’t die. They aren’t here one day and gone the next. They can’t be destroyed by fire, earthquake or theft.

Principles are deep, fundamental truths, classic truths, generic common denominators. They are tightly interwoven threads running with exactness, consistency, beauty, and strength through the fabric of life.

Habit 3: Put First Things First

Effective people are not problem-minded; they’re opportunity-minded. They feed opportunities and starve problems.

Production vs. Production Capability

The golden eggs are the effectiveness, the wonderful synergy, the results created by open communication and positive interaction with others. And to get those eggs on a regular basis, we need to take care of the goose. We need to create and care for the relationships that make those results realities.

Transferring responsibility to other skilled and trained people enables you to give your energies to other high-leverage activities. Delegation means growth, both for individuals and for organizations. The late J. C. Penney was quoted as saying that the wisest decision he ever made was to “let go” after realizing that he couldn’t do it all by himself any longer. That decision, made long ago, enabled the development and growth of hundreds of stores and thousands of people.

Habit 4: Think Win-Win

“Six Paradigms of Human Interaction

  • Win/Win

Win/Win is a frame of mind and heart that constantly seeks mutual benefit in all human interactions. Win/Win means that agreements or solutions are mutually beneficial,

  • Win/Lose

“Win/Lose is the authoritarian approach: “I get my way; you don’t get yours.”

  • Lose/Win

“Lose/Win is seen as capitulation—giving in or giving up.” High on consideration/low on courage.

  • Lose/Lose

“When two Win/Lose people get together—that is, when two determined, stubborn, ego-invested individuals interact—the result will be Lose/Lose.”

  • Win

“People with the Win mentality don’t necessarily want someone else to lose. That’s irrelevant. What matters is that they get what they want.

  • Win/Win or No Deal

“If these individuals had not come up with a synergistic solution—one that was agreeable to both—they could have gone for an even higher expression of Win/Win—Win/Win or No Deal.”

Habit 5: Seek First to Understand Then to be Understood

Understanding the Individual

Seeking to understand another person is probably one of the most important deposits you can make, and it is the key to every other deposit. You simply don’t know what constitutes a deposit to another person until you understand that individual.

The Laws of Love and the Laws of Life

When we truly love others without condition, without strings, we help them feel secure and safe and validated and affirmed in their essential worth, identity, and integrity. Transactionalleadership in which leaders promote compliance by followers through both rewards and punishments.

Habit 6: Synergize

What is synergy? Simply defined, it means that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. It means that the relationship which the parts have to each other is a part in and of itself.

“The essence of synergy is to value differences—to respect them, to build on strengths, to compensate for weaknesses.”

The person who is truly effective has the humility and reverence to recognize his own perceptual limitations and to appreciate the rich resources available through interaction with the hearts and minds of other human beings.

Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw

It’s great for children to be able to identify themselves with the “tribe,” to feel that many people know them and care about them, even though they’re spread all over the country. And that can be a tremendous benefit as you nurture your family. If one of your children is having difficulty and doesn’t relate with you at a particular time in his life, maybe he can relate to your brother or sister who can become a surrogate father or mother, a mentor or a hero for a period of time.

Grandparents who show a great interest in their grandchildren are among the most precious people on this earth. What a marvelous positive social mirror they can be! My mother is like that. Even now, in her late 80’s, she takes a deep personal interest in every one of her descendants. She writes us love letters.

I believe that giving “wings” to our children and to others means empowering them with the freedom to rise above negative scripting that had been passed down to us. I believe it means becoming what my friend and associate, Dr. Terry Warner, calls a “transition” person. Instead of transferring those scripts to the next generation, we can change them. And we can do it in a way that will build relationships in the process.

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The Art of Being Yourself | Caroline McHugh

True Mirror – What you see when you look in a True Mirror is exactly what other people see when they look at you.

When you look in a regular mirror, you look for reassurance. You look for reassurance that you’re beautiful, or you’re young, or you’re tidy, or your bum doesn’t look big in that. But when you look in a True Mirror, you don’t look at yourself, you look for yourself.

You look for revelation not for reassurance

Self Editorial:

Detect vs. Invent (Stephen Covey)

Detect, Detection, Detective – All of these words would indicate that the answer is hidden somewhere waiting to be discovered.  A detective is in search of clues.  He/She is working against/or perhaps with someone that has done a wonderful job hiding them.  I can see God saying…”You will never know until you work to find the answers.  On the other hand, Satan has much to gain from keeping you from your truth, from your mission.  To invent is to manufacture and that doesn’t follow the pattern of detection.  It is a matter of being authentically you or a by product of what you think others want you to be or what you want to be for others.

Once she’s committed, once she’s present, there is a kind of flow and trust that develops on the spot.

There’s not a human being alive who doesn’t want—in any conversation, encounter, experience with another human being—to feel like they matter.

And you can resolve any issue if you could just get to what it is that they want—they want to be heard. And they want to know that what they said to you meant something.

Most people go their entire lives and nobody ever really wants the answer to ‘How are you? Tell me about yourself.’ And what was so comforting about what happened every day on the Oprah show.

 To invent would mean to manufacture your purpose.  

I believe that social reformation begins, always starts with the individual.

When you look at remarkable individuals you’ll find that the thing they have in common is they have nothing in common.

We come complete with one true note we were destined to sing,

Life is large. But most of us don’t take up nearly the space the universe intended for us. We take up this wee space around our toes, which is why when you see somebody in the full flow of their humanity, it’s remarkable. They’re at least a foot bigger in every direction than normal human beings, and they shine, they gleam, they glow; it’s like they’ve swallowed the moon.

“Just be yourself “- Implies two things:

  1. Easy thing to do.
  2. It was an original piece of advice.

We’ve no idea how long we have.

What your life expectancy vs. what do you expect from life? And what does life expect from you?

And the two places in life where you are awesome at being yourself

  1. When you’re a kid.
  2. When you’re a “wrinkley”.

Hourglass Effect

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Superiority Complex – If you have a superiority complex or an inferiority complex you need other people around. For a superiority complex you need other people to be smaller.

Interiority – The word “interiority”, it’s completely un-comparative. It’s the only place in your life, you have no competition.

Inferiority Complex – For an inferiority complex you need to suffer from the I’m-gonna-be-found-out syndrome, so somebody needs to find you out.

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There are very few things that I think are gender-specific, but one of them is something I call “approval addiction.” The need to be liked, the need for approbation, or recognition, or for somebody to tell you it’s okay. I find more women suffer from that affliction than men, and I think it’s one of the most debilitating things. When it comes to being yourself needing other people’s approval, loving somebody else’s opinion, and mistaking it for your own is one of the most debilitating things you’ll do on the road to being yourself.

You will never, ever be perception-less, but it’s important to be perception-free.

Wish Image: This is what you would like everybody else to think of you, and it’s not about being fake, or fad, or pretending. It’s about moving; it’s about possibility;


I don’t care who you are, I don’t care how old you are, your entire life, from birth up until now has been about building a stable relationship with your ego.

Your challenge is to take the ego from its dominant position and pull it back, so that it’s in service to yourself. That’s when it becomes useful, and in order to do that you’ve got to find the still point right in the middle of those two extremes.

The sky just is, because the sky sees the impermanence of the clouds, and the impermanence of the rainbows, and you have to develop an inner state of mind that’s as impervious to all the good and bad that happens to you as the sky is to the weather.

“Humility is not thinking less of yourself; humility is thinking about yourself less.”

“Why do you not want to sing?” I said, “I’m shy.” She said, “What’re you shy for?” I said, “Well, everybody’s going to be looking at me,” and I’ll never forget her face. She looked at me, she said, “Caroline, don’t flatter yourself, darlin’.  You think anybody downstairs is interested in you?  They’re not. Your job’s to go and make them happy, so go and sing.” I said “okay”, and I picked up my guitar and I picked up my sisters, and you know what? That advice has never left me. But what it has left me with is spectacular disregard for where my abilities end, and spectacular disregard for being the center of attention.  In fact, since that day, I have never been the center of attention. You’re the center of mine, and that’s a very different feeling.

Gandhi was getting on a train and the journalist called after him, “Gandhiji, Gandhjiji, what’s your message to the world?”  And Gandhi turned around and said,

“My life. My life’s my message.”

And your life is your message, too. Otherwise, why are you here?

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Why your critics aren’t the ones that count

Brene Brown 

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This quote was everything I know about vulnerability.

Three huge things:

  1. It is not about winning. It’s not about losing. It’s about showing up and being seen.
  2. This is who I want to be. I want to create. I want to make things that didn’t exist. I want to show up and be seen in my work and in my life and if you’re going to show up and be seen there is only one guarantee and that is you will get your ass kicked. If courage is a value that we hold, this is a consequence you can’t avoid.
  3. If you’re not in the arena also, getting your ass kicked, I’m not interested in your feedback.

If you’re in the cheap seats not putting yourself on the line and just talking about how I could do it better, I’m in no way interested in your feedback.

What do most people do when they’re walking into the arena and those people are going to greet them up top.  What do you do?  You armor up, but that stuff is heavy, its suffocating.  When you arm up against vulnerability you shut yourself off.  You shut yourself off from everything that you do and that you love because vulnerability is certainly a part of fear and self-doubt and grief and uncertainty and shame.

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It’s also the birthplace of love, of belonging, of joy, trust, empathy, creativity and innovation.  Without vulnerability you cannot create.

I think what you’re asked to do as a creative is walk through this hall, get to the top of the stairs and get naked.  Get real.  Put yourself out there and walk out there so people can see you and see what you’ve made and see what you’re doing.

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When we walk out this is what we see.  Lots of seats, lots of people but we focus on the critics.

The three seats that will always be taken:

  • Shame – Completely universal human emotion we all have it.  It’s that gremlin that whispers you’re not enough.
  • Scarcity – There are other people who are better trained.
  • Comparison – Comparison is its own worst nightmare

There is the fourth seat for your worst critic:

  1. Teacher
  2. Parent
  3. Ex-coworker

“I don’t care what people think, I don’t worry about the critics in the arena, sends a huge red flag up.”

We’re hardwired for connection:

  • When we stop caring what people think we lose our capacity for connection.
  • When we become defined by what people think we lose our capacity to be vulnerable
  • Not caring what people think is its own kind of hustle.

Instead of locking these folks out from the arena reserve seats for them.

Take your critics to lunch and say, “I’m trying to do something new and hard and original and I’m trying to be creative and I’m trying to innovate so I see you, I hear you, but I’m going to show up and do this anyway and I’ve got a seat for you and you’re welcome to come but I’m not interested in your feedback.

If you’re going to spend your life in the arena you have to have clarity of values.

When I came out here I knew I could screw this completely up. I could get booed offstage and bad things could happen but I don’t have a choice because if courage is my value I have to do this.  Whether it’s successful or not it’s irrelevant so a real clarity of values is important.

You got to have at least one person in your life who’s willing to pick you up and dust you off and look at you when you fail which hopefully you will because if you’re not failing you’re not showing up. Find that person who was willing to look at you when you fail and say man that sucked…yeah it was totally as bad as you thought but you were brave and let’s get you cleaned up because you’re gonna go back in. This is someone who loves you not despite your imperfections and vulnerabilities but because of them.

They should have great seats in the arena.

Think about the messages from our critics that keep us small. They’re there whether you do that or not. People who have the most courage, who are willing to show up and be the most vulnerable are the ones who are very clear about who the critics are.

One seat needs to be reserved for you one.  Who do you think the biggest critic in the arena normally is? You!

Try to do things are that are only in service of your work.

There is an ideal of what you’re supposed to be and what a lot of us end up doing is we orphan the parts of ourselves that don’t fit, what that ideal is supposed to be, and what it leaves when we orphan all those parts of us is it just leaves the critic.

Reserve seats for people the people who love us. The person who believes in what we’re doing and why we’re doing it.  The person who says yeah it’s so scary to show up, it feels dangerous to be seen, it’s terrifying but it is not as scary, dangerous or terrifying as getting to the end of our lives and thinking what would have been different if I had shown up…

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Oprah Interview

I am 1,000 percent fully present.”

Once she’s committed, once she’s present, there is a kind of flow and trust that develops on the spot.

There’s not a human being alive who doesn’t want—in any conversation, encounter, experience with another human being—to feel like they matter.

And you can resolve any issue if you could just get to what it is that they want—they want to be heard. And they want to know that what they said to you meant something.

Most people go their entire lives and nobody ever really wants the answer to ‘How are you? Tell me about yourself.’ And what was so comforting about what happened every day on the Oprah show.


What had been “the happiest time I’ve ever spent on the planet” had turned into her most miserable failure, and she sank like a stone.

“That’s when the gratitude practice became really strong for me,” she says, “because it’s hard to remain sad if you’re focused on what you have instead of what you don’t have.”

“It taught me to never again—never again, ever—put all of your hopes, expectations, eggs in the basket of box office. Do the work as an offering, and then whatever happens, happens.”

(If you want to expand yourself as an individual on the planet Earth, New Zealand’s the place to go. The people are 100 percent present. They are not walking across the street on their cellphones. Every single corner you turn, there is some breathtaking something or other going on: Lakes! Glaciers! Eagles! It’s crazy.” When I tell her she is the third person in a week to bring up New Zealand, she says, “Do you believe in signs?” and when I hesitate for just a second too long, she says, “Have I taught you nothing? All these years? Of course it’s a sign!”) Just added because we are in New Zealand.

“In your 40s, you’re coming into it, you’re intellectualizing things, and you kind of know it and you feel it,” she says. “But there is a deepening and a broadening and quickening of the knowing that happens in your 50s. Maya Angelou used to say to me, ‘The 50s are everything you’ve been meaning to be.’ She looks at me over the top of the nerd-chic glasses she favors these days. “You’d been meaning to be that person.” She laughs. “By the time you hit 60, there are just no . . . damn . . . apologies.

“I started reading this incredible article about Michael Jackson, and one of Jackson’s friends was quoted as saying, ‘His number-one problem is that he never realized that Thriller was a phenomenon. And he spent the rest of his life trying to chase it.’ And so, when Bad only sold—only sold—20 million albums early on, he was disappointed because it wasn’t Thriller. He thought he was going to top Thriller. I went, Whoa. Pay attention to that. I didn’t want to be the person chasing a phenomenon. And that is what the Oprah show was. All the right elements came together at the right time. That won’t happen again. People would ask me, ‘Who will be the next Oprah?’ And the answer is: ‘There won’t be.’ ”

Screen Shot 2017-09-18 at 10.39.14 PM.png Sisyphus

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The myth of Sisyphus, like most ancient legends, was told with some degree of variation. The gist of it is that Sisyphus was a king of Corinth, a very intelligent mortal man, but one who was unable to resist the temptation to bend his mind toward defiance of the gods. He murdered guests for his own personal gain—a cultural no-no just about everywhere—and in his own hour of demise, he brazenly cheated his own death. When it came his time to die, Sisyphus cleverly trapped Thanatos (Death personified) in his stead, chaining him up and thereby preventing the prospect of human death for a time, since no human could die without the direct action of Thanatos. The kingdom of the underworld was robbed of new souls, and Hades, its lord, was sorely frustrated. Thereafter Sisyphus continued to live in bliss for a time, enjoying from his palatial home by the sea the deathless world he had created through his trickery while Thanatos remained imprisoned and useless.

But the gods caught up with Sisyphus eventually, and decided to take action. Hermes, the winged messenger-god, was sent to capture and deliver him to the underworld, this time for keeps.

The gods inflicted the most awful punishment they could devise: Sisyphus, whose hallmark had been his mental sharpness, was condemned to an eternity of harsh manual labor in which the mind played no part except to be tortured by its fate: he was to roll a heavy boulder up an enormous hill, a task which took all his might and utterly exhausted his body. Having reached the top, the boulder would then roll back down to the plain below, and Sisyphus would have to follow it down the hill and then begin the task again, over and over, for all time.

If the myth is tragic, that is only because its hero is conscious.

The solution for Camus is that consciousness, while it may create the tragedy, also provides the answer. The same smarts that got Sisyphus into trouble will enable him to triumph over that trouble, if only he realizes it. The gods can control Sisyphus’ eternity, but they cannot control his thoughts.

Camus asks us to imagine Sisyphus not in the physical wrestling with the boulder in which he is virtually always depicted (as above, for instance), but in that period of time in which he is returning to the foot of the great hill to begin the struggle anew:

I leave Sisyphus at the foot of the mountain! One always finds one’s burden again. But Sisyphus teaches the higher fidelity that negates the gods and raises rocks. He too concludes that all is well. This universe henceforth without a master seems to him neither sterile nor futile. Each atom of that stone, each mineral flake of that night-filled mountain, in itself forms a world. The struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man’s heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy.

How Camus wishes us to imagine Sisyphus is how he wishes us to imagine ourselves. Every person’s existence is a private and continuous creative act, and as different as our creations are from one another, of all our scrawlings, erasures, splashes, dots, wiggles, and rendings take place on the same cold, blank canvas.

That common canvas is framed by one idea, which is its only requirement for existence as the canvas: there is no way to avoid struggling with the boulder. Whatever we would try to replace it with would only add to its terrible weight, would become only an additional burden for us to support.

This is the uniqueness of Camus’ conception of the problem: we must stop turning our consciousness toward escape from the boulder, because it will never happen. It cannot be escaped, and we are not in control of it.

But you are entirely in control of what happens inside of you as you descend the steep grade in friendship with gravity. It is then that you are a beautiful human individual, and in that moment, nothing is futile.

Screen Shot 2017-09-18 at 10.39.14 PM.png2017 Apple Presentation

Thought behind a dream…(Consolari)

“There’s lots of ways to be as a person and some people express their deep appreciation in different ways.  But one of the ways that I believe people express their appreciation to the rest of humanity is to make something wonderful and put it out there.  You never meet the people, you never shake their hands, you never hear their stories or tell yours. But somehow in the act of making something with a great deal of care and love somethings transmitted there. And it’s a way of expressing to the rest of our species our deep appreciation.  So, we need to be true to who we are, and remember what’s important to us.  That’s what’s going to keep apple apple –  is if we keep us…us.”                                                                      Steve Jobs

Steve was a Genius – he had an uncanny ability to unlock the talent of everyone he worked with.

He thought deeply about our work place and its surroundings.

He believed it should inspire talented people to do their best work.

He create an incredible workplace for the future.

Where engineers and designers could all be together collaborating on the next generation of products that would change the world.

Steve Jobs Theater:

Most state of the art purpose driven theater ever built

Reflect values for tech and environment

Open and inspiring environment

Seamless with nature, its open, transparent, brings outside in

Attention to detail and precision

Visitor Center – welcome everyone

  • Augmented reality experience

Apple Retail is more than selling…it’s more about

  • Learning
  • Inspiring
  • Connecting

Town squares, not a store – they are gathering places for 500M people where everyone is welcome

Our people are our soul

They humanize technology, personal connection around the world

Make things simple and beautiful

 Plaza – space open to everyone, relax, meet up with friends just listen to local artists on weekends

Forum – create, connect, collaborate

Board room – local entrepreneurs and app developers to learn from our teams to collaborate

Genius Grove – Service

Avenues – shop windows around town square – change to always feature new products

Today at Apple




App development

Teachers Tuesdays


  • The way people express their appreciation to the rest of humanity is to make something wonderful and put it out there.
  • The act of making something with a great deal of care and love – somethings transmitted there.
  • Deep appreciation
  • Be true to who we are, and remember what’s important to us.
  • Keep us…us.
  • Ability to unlock the talent of everyone he worked with
  • He thought deeply about our work place and its surroundings
  • He believed it should inspire talented people to do their best work.
  • Create an incredible workplace for the future
  • Where engineers and designers could all be together collaborating
  • Change the world.
  • Purpose driven
  • Reflect values
  • Open and inspiring
  • Seamless with nature, its open, transparent, brings outside in
  • Attention to detail and precision
  • Visitor Center
  • Learning
  • Inspiring
  • Connecting
  • Town squares
  • Humanize technology
  • Personal connection
  • Simple and beautiful
  • Plaza
  • Forum
  • Board room
  • Genius Grove
  • Avenues
  • Today at Apple






Day 113 (Sept. 11th) Howling dog and a tiny band of faithful members in Queenstown

Saturday Date Night (Sept 9th)

I am learning to layer just enough to ensure that my coat can still zip up.  The truth is, once you acclimate to the cold, it’s not that bad and I love when my face is cold.  Is that weird?

We wanted to see the magical transformation of the city after a full day of snowing. Raindrops on small buds of trees looked like tiny sparkling lights and of course, there is no better tree flocker than God.  It just feels like Christmas all around us.  Annie has cautioned me to not listen to too much Christmas music so I don’t burn out.  I am doing my best…sort of!

We went to an Italian restaurant on the wharf we had been eyeing since we arrived.  As we are only eating one meal a day, we were really looking forward to it.  As fate would have it, it was our first bad experience as restaurants go.  Keep in mind, we have been very spoiled and lucky but who puts lentils and green peas in Minestrone soup?

I don’t think the dog liked his owners singing who we suspect is actually Steve Bannon and his dog!  He’s decided to help Trump by moving to New Zealand.  Don’t tell the Kiwis who all seem to hate Trump!

Welcome Welcome Sabbath Morning

We found our way around the other side of the bay to the ward building.   It was tucked in behind some homes and the only way we knew it was back there was a small tent sign with the name and a drawn on arrow.  The parking lot could maybe fit 15 cars…however they were only 4.  Tiny, tiny branch.

The Branch president and his wife are from Ogden Utah and the Queenstown branch is their full time mission.  When they arrived the branch had 3 active members of 100 and of course they are all Maori.  If you are prone to sneak in and out after Sacrament, this would not be one of those moments.  This was obviously a home turned into a chapel.  You walk into the kitchen/lobby and step down into the living room/chapel.  Three bedrooms make up the offices and rooms.

Our Sacrament ended 30 minutes early.  They said they have to adapt to the 3 hour meetings because of size.  We did, however end up staying for the full three hours.  It is amazing how much you can get out of a meeting when your group is small and everyone feels safe to participate.  Thoroughly enjoyed our time there.

In the first picture I am standing in the back of the chapel just so you can get some scale a to the size of the room.  The couple next to Dad were the speakers.  The husband (in jean jacket) is just getting active and she was baptised a year ago.  They will go to the temple in one month to be sealed.  The woman standing next to her is her mother-in-law (mom to jean jacket!)  The woman in the gray jacket and husband kneeling in front of her are converts as of 14 months ago.  They just got sealed. He taught the Sunday School lesson and struggled with his emotions.  The gospel has changed their lives.  Though they are young in the church, they get what is most important and their incredible faith reminded me of how much work I have match theirs.  The sister standing next to me is the primary teacher and teaches the only children in the branch…which are hers! Her name is Fine…pronounced Fini.  She is the perfect example of exceptional faith and dedication.  If it weren’t for Sacrament, she could just stay at home and teach them!  Her husband didn’t say anything in all the meetings but you could tell his gentle spirit matched hers.  The four missionaries are at the end.  The kneeling Elder was hispanic!

We spent some time talking to the missionary couple.  They have been married for 2 years.  He was widowed 5 years ago and his daughters finally made him get onto the LDS Singles site. They met, fell in love and together have 46 grandchildren.  Not sure what happened to her husband.  She didn’t offer and we didn’t ask.

Queenstown church heating

Their backup heater…obviously no fire in it.

We ended our sabbath day in our apartment nestled under blankets with the fire going and enjoying some time to read, talk and watch a movie.  It was a good day…

Day 110 Blog Post (September 8th) Queenstown at last and the crown jewel of the trip…it is beautiful! (September 5th to the 9th)

We are staying at the Pounamu Apartments complete with a kitchen, W/D, a FIREPLACE (finally) and of course the views are amazing.  mountains and lake in QueenstownBeautiful Queens town city and mountains

Our walk to the city is ten minutes by sidewalk or 30 minutes by way of the lake.  We chose the lake of course.  It was a lovely evening, hardly needed a coat.  We thought we had landed in the perfect time of the year.  Well, that was the last warm day of our stay. Not to worry, we have become quite adept at layering for warmth.


Last night we came upon this piano man and his piano

Note the big wheels on the bottom of the piano.

His signs says:

This Piano came from the Dump!  I have restored, repaired and returned it in an ongoing self inflicted piano tuning apprenticeship.  Thanks for listening!  P.S. All of the music I’m playing was composed by me on this piano which now lives in my van!

I left him $10.  He deserved it.

And today it is a winter wonderland.  We decided to play some Christmas music while it snowed.  It only seemed right.  I never get to listen to Christmas music and have snow at the same time in the valley!

Merry Christmas still shot

Now it’s time to put on all the clothes I have and walk to dinner…

Merry Christmas!


Day 110 Blog Post (September 8th) (Sept 5th) Our final sabbatical destination – Queenstown

For anyone that travels the east coast of the south island, I’d like to make a clarification. The north part of the south island on the west side (are you with me?) is not that distinctive.  It felt like we were driving to Idaho.  A gentleman we met on the beach said not to worry, that it just gets better from here on out.  He was correct.  And though it was cloudy we got a glimpse of the white peaked mountains and a glacier and the water that flows from it.  This video is a random waterfall we found.  Look at the color of the water!

Glacier runoff

It would have taken an hour to get to the glacier and we did not come equipped with time or supplies so we just had to take a picture of it.  The road into the glacier had markers where the glacier use to be as early as the 1700’s.  It is definitely melting. Climate change?

The brochure kept warning you not to break the rules with the admonition at the end that if you feel like you can break the rules first talk to the families who had someone die for not following them.  Rocks and ice breaking were a danger but the big one is that the ice holds back water.  They can often break loose and then you have no time to get away for the icy flash flood.

Here’s hoping Queenstown is safer.