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.

Day 110 Blog Post (September 8th) Over night in Hokitika (Sept 5th)

We stayed at the Beachfront Hotel in Hokitika which is in the middle of the west coast of the South Island.  It’s hard to choose a place to stay when all you see are google images. Bob and I were a little worried as we entered the town.  It was a bit sketchy but once we got to our room we were delighted to see that we were right on the beach and our view was completely unobstructed and the bed and shower were great.  One thing about this trip…we have had amazing views in every place.  Screen Shot 2017-09-09 at 3.03.20 PM.png

Bob wanted to go get a picture of this piece of word art spelling the name of the city but it was raining.  He will be delighted that I found it on Google Images:)!

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We had had a hard converstation on the ride to Hokitika.  Bob posed the question that if our labor of love efforts don’t get funded, built or created …what would be next?  I was reminded of something I read at the beginning of this sabbatical but perhaps buried it because of what it would mean to my future and sense of failure.  Here is a excerpt of my notes:

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I was grateful for a long walk alone along a beach that early evening.  There is something about water, waves and sand that make for perfect moments to think…  This was our sunset that evening.

Sunset from hotel room in ?

As the discouragment made it to hard to talk, we came across the remains of an almost undestinquishable broken and worn out pier and I was reminded of Peter and his pier.  I picked up a perfect small white stone from the beach and held onto it for my entire walk.  I can’t say why I felt comfort but I needed something to hold onto.  Peters Pier in Nelson New Zealand

Peters Pier

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I have determined that perspective is the best way to manage my feelings.  In the end all that matters is what I already have…the rest is just a bonus.  Speaking of what really matters ~

Henrys first day of preschool

I love this little boy.  Look at how handsome he is.  He is my joy.

Day 110 Blog Post (September 8th) – First layover was in Nelson

You can see the route the Interislander Ferry  took leaving Wellington.  We landed in Picton around noon and headed to our first stop in Nelson (in blue lettering) just 2 hours drive.

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Driving into Nelson we expected a small town like Heber.  It felt more like landing in Boise. It rests right in the harbor and though it was older, it had a great downtown.  We got settled into the Rutherford Hotel.  The lobby was nice, the room was small but bed was comfortable.  We would never stay there again.  They gave you 300 mb of free wifi which lasted around 15 minutes.  If you watched a video it was more like 5 minutes.  The rest you had to pay for.  In order to just get texts and emails we had to go to the local library.  While management hid behind curtains the front desk had to field all the complaints, some of which were ours.  But we complain nicely if that matters.  It did give us pause about of our dependance for our devices.  We got over that soon enough.


The first thing Bob and I have learned to do when we get to a new city is set out on foot to get our bearings.  It was just getting dusk and it was time to find some place to eat.  We have come to expect great food in the strangest places.  Nelson was no exception.

Pizzeria Bella in Nelson

This is a tiny restaurant off the beaten path that seats maybe 20-30 people.  We got the corner table by the kitchen and watched the two chefs work furiously to meet the demand of pizzas and pasta being ordered.  This was thin thin crust (my favorite) and the best Margarita Pizza I have ever had.  I actually ate it cold the next day for lunch and I never eat cold pizza!

Each city in New Zealand that we have visited has had the vision to create miles of beautiful walking paths and a signature beautiful garden.  Nelson has a river-walk that goes on for miles with bridges to connect you all along the path.  One of the bridges leads you to a small mountain top with a pole that marks the very center of New Zealand!

One our way back to the hotel after our walk and quite by accident we found this beautiful Queens Garden.

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(note: lawny lie-down is just one of the quaint ways they talk.  For instance, when they say hello, it is “Good on ya!”  I’m hoping some of these heart warming phrases stick.)

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Keep in mind that all these spaces sit in close proximity to the heart of each town.  I’ve been wracking my brain on why it has not been done yet in Mesa.  I realize we are in a desert but I wonder how we can make this happen!

This is a view from the Catholic Cathedral which stands as the most prominent building in the city.  It is built upon a hill and though it is in need of a lot of repair…it was beautiful…and a direct view from our “non-wifi” hotel.

Bell Tower of Catholic cathedral

The Christ Church Cathedral sits as a beacon over the city.  The bell tower actually works every hour on the hour.  I love the idea of a bell tower on the Consolari campus.  It would have to be the kind of bells that don’t sound like metal but something beautiful.  I remember how beautiful the bell tower at BYU was.  Bob and I had the chance while we went to school there to play that organ inside the bell tower.  Each key was the size of your hand and as I recall around 3 octaves of keys.  That remains a good memory.

We spent our sabbath at the Nelson Branch…though it was a large building and quite a full chapel…of mostly Maori it was still just a branch.

With only two short days in Nelson we make our journey to Queenstown with one more stop before we get there…Hokitika.

Day 110 Blog Post (September 8th) Farewell Fair Wellington and now off to our Southshore adventures…(Sept. 1st)

On our last day in Wellington we decided to take another walking path, this time away from the wharf and the city streets.  We set out for the 1800th century old cemetery with amazing pathways just behind The Bolton Hotel where we stayed.

The gravestones and monuments revealed sad stories of the the loss of children,  soldiers at war and a seafarers at sea…it was very sobering.  But amongst the sorrow were these daffodils…the likes of which I have never seen.  The yellow has multiple pedals and I did not know there were  pink and white daffodils.  I’m not sure of the other…some kind of bluebell but white.  Beauty to cheer…

A little further into our walk Bob found this pathway into a large park which then led to a rose garden!  It was pouring rain and so we did not get pictures of the garden but tucked away in a corner of the park we found this small dedicatory garden.  The Japanese dedicated this garden to the New Zealand people for their support during the Hiroshima tragedy.  The stone above the brick wall holds a piece of stone from the Japanese town hall that was destroyed in the center of the city.  If you look closely you will see a small flame in the ornate stone lantern.  This flame is from the original fire started by the bombing of Hiroshima.  It is an eternal flame remembering the devastation.

Stone from Hiroshima

Peace flame from Hiroshima

Hiroshima garden

I’m not even sure if the residents of Wellington know about this tiny memorial…it was a sobering reminder of the senseless destruction of war.  Touching that stone helps you connect to the reality of what happened.

sitting on wall by wellington baysail boats in Wellington

Our last walk in on the wharf and view of the city we came to love.

The day we left Wellington

We really wanted our ferry ride to the South Island to be on a clear smooth day.  First of all because it’s suppose to be spectacular but also because big waves and boats don’t do well together.  Two days before we are suppose to depart we get this notice on our little Apple 4 traveling phone…

interislander text

Weighing all the change fees of hotels and ferry fees we decided to soldier on the scheduled day.

Once safely inside the ferry Bob spoke to someone about the dangers of the heavy seas. They said they would never sail if the waves reached 5 meters (20 ft.) They were expecting only 4 meter waves so not to worry.  OK.  This would mean 15 foot waves.  If the waves reach 20 feet they won’t sail.  We obviously made it safely but for the first time in my life I felt sea sick.  Note that the white blocks you see are semis on the open deck.  The first video is when we turned towards Picton on the south island.  We rocked both up and down and then sideways…and the waves were most certainly 20 ft. tall.

In the end it was quite a fun adventure with only slight nausea for me.  Now we exit the ferry and off to our South Island adventures.

Exit sign to enter south island

Day 100 – A familiar face at church in Wellington?

This was our first and only church service in Wellington.  We found the closest building.  We were going to attend the 11:00 Sacrament meeting but when we got there the parking lot and streets were packed with cars.  This could only mean one thing…it was Stake Conference!  We walked into the back of the cultural hall and looked up to see the visiting General Authority sitting on the stand who looked very familiar.  Bob took a picture and then blew it up.  Oh my gosh!!!  It was Craig and Debbie Cardon from Gilbert!

Visiting Authority Craig Cardon

We made our way to the front and when Craig saw us, he was shocked and kept saying “Where am I!?”  It was wonderful to visit with them for a moment.  They are actually assigned here as the Area President in New Zealand and live in Auckland.  We grabbed a picture to prove it!

Cardons in New Zealand

And to end this blog just a few joyous pictures that keep me smiling here in New Zealand!

Poor little James, he got his fingers smashed in a door and so it was off to the ER…again! No broken bones thankfully.

David’s birthday celebration on Sunday with the Ekstroms.  They were on a nice summer eves walk with the kids.

And our darling, darling, darling little Poppy off to her first dance class!

Blessed beyond measure…

Day 100 (more) – Downtown eating and inspiring art.

Wellington has more restaurants than NYC per capita!  The concierge has given us a list of some of their finest dining experiences from historic buildings to a food truck…

This is Logan and Brown on Cuba street.  They serve smaller portions ~ big ambience.  It is in an old New Zealand Bank building.  The space is as important to me as the food.  It was lovely afternoon with Bob.  Cuba Street is a local boutique type shopping experience to not be missed if you are ever in Wellington.

The Boulcott Bistro.  This is an early century home turned restaurant.  You will see the stairs are narrow and steep.  I always try to imagine who used those stairs while it was still someone’s home.  Fresh flowers says to me they care about the details.  The food was good, ambience better.

I think I posted this before but it is worth noting that though it was a food truck, the food was amazing.  It sits on the side of a bending road next to the ocean on your way to Weta Caves Museum.  That’s the only address I have.

Rotisserie by the seashore in Wellington

What you find when you’re walking the boardwalk in Wellington.

It is a city that honors and encourages its arts.


Bob and I thought this had to be some kind of funky BBQ restaurant.  As we got closer we found it was a public restroom.

book lady

A story or poem or quote can be found all over this giant sculpture of a woman.

They have these walls around the boardwalk by the sea to encourage artistic expression

Dog trainer in park

My favorite picture we have ever taken!  It belongs in some magazine.  This guy is a trainer and I suppose he was testing their obedience.  Those dogs did not move.  I wanted to go up and pet them but worried I’d break the spell.

Christi with quote on pier

One of the beauties of a sabbatical where you are trying to make big decisions is that you stay alert for moments that inspire.  This quote spoke to me and my personal journey to detect why I am here.  It is little moments like this that make me grateful for the smallest tender mercies and signs that remind me that God is ever watchful and involved.  I know I am not here by chance and so I cannot just watch and describe life.  We need to find the courage to live it…”Damn the torpedos” comes to mind.

 I am the city of action and the world headquarters of the verb.

(I’ve have never fully understood the etymology (the origin of a word and the historical development of its meaning) “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!”.  It was a famous order issued by Admiral David Farragut during the American Civil War during the Battle of Mobile Bay, a paraphrase of the actual order, “Damn the torpedoes! Four bells. Captain Drayton, go ahead! Jouett, full speed!”.)  Now you and I know.

Day 100 (August 29th) Spiders,Volcanos and Eclipses – Natural Wonders across the sea…

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I would not consider myself a tourist.  Large crowds, bad cafes and gifts shops full of things I don’t need but strangely want.  We decided to stop by to see the Wai-O-Tapu Volcano on our way to Wellington.  This would have been August 21st and day 92.

Bob at Thermal

I am a collector of “survival” pictures of plants that should not grow in their circumstances but do.  The forest that surrounds the volcano is covered in sulfur and while it is not just salt, salt is a part of its mineral composition and should never be able to survive.  There is a great analogy here…I’ll let you come up with it.

Yellow branch from sulfar

All around the park is evidence of the minerals finding their way to the surface of the earth.  These sulfur crystals on the side of the mountain is just one of many deposits we saw in the park.

Wai-O-Tapu Thermal

I was a little late in getting my camera out.  We were walking by a large lake of boiling water with the steam being so thick you could hardly see.  I was trying to film Bob emerging from the “fog” …  a little late but you get the idea!

This thermal wonder provided us an incredible pallet of color all around.  This green “Devils Bath” picture pales in comparison to the real thing.

Devils bath

Devils Bath Thermal

Though we were in New Zealand I was taken back to memories of China when I saw this cup of tea being carried around by a tourist.  Taxi drivers always had them in their cars which always smelled like…a dirty sock.  I turned into a stalker trying to grab this picture before I lost them on the trail!

China tea

While we were on the other end of the world our family was experiencing a phenomenon in America…The solar eclipse.  This picture was both fascinating and creepy.  It looks like the ground is boiling.  You would think that someone this young would have no idea what he was looking for…but knowing it was Calvin…he was probably explaining it to the adults:)!

WETA DIGITAL ~ Inside these walls is not business as usual…

Weta Digital

This looks more like an apartment complex but inside these walls are created some of the most epic films ever digitally created!  Don’t believe me?  How about “Lord of the Rings and Avatar…among many others!

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Film and television visual effects filmography

We were able to tour the workshops where they explained how they created the faces, props and costumes.  I held the sword that Tom Cruise used in The Last Samurai.  It was plastic!  It was a total geek fest in there.

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The One Ring - Lord of the Rings $5K

This is my Kate Blanchett moment when I saw the price tag for the ring ($6,000)

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Bob was happy to see me pass the test…

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Christi Galadriel Worsley

I asked them where the word “Weta” came from.  Screen Shot 2017-08-29 at 11.18.59 AM.png

I was sorry I asked.  It looks like it may be the inspiration of some of their characters/costumes.