Monday, November 12, 2012

Monday, October 15, 2012


Many of you are poor starving students so you will understand poverty - though it is relative to our own section of this world, of course.

I'll get to my main point to you first up - so you know where I'm heading with this: 
You might be 'poor' now - but when you are financially in a better place - please do not forget the poor in our society and in the world at large.

I was listening to J K Rowling talking about her few years as a single mum in relative poverty. Obviously, now, she has no trouble paying her bills but she can still recall easily the shock of being an educated woman suddenly finding herself in a hopeless financial situation.

Personally, I've had my occasional share of relative poverty over the years also. A low point for me was being stuck in a housing trust maisonette with my wife, a young child and a baby. Our neighbours were abusive and violent. The walls were thin. The police were constantly being called out. The whole street was a squirming cesspool of moneyless hopelessness.

There is a domino effect in not having money. I needed to write out a resume to look for work. I couldn't afford ink for my computer printer, so I had to go to the library to book a computer and find coins to pay for the paper. I called the library, the computers were booked out, so I had to wait and come back a few hours later to use a computer. While I was updating my resume the teenagers next to me were looking up questionable sites and laughing - making it hard to concentrate. Eventually after buying the smallest pack of envelopes in the store and buying a single stamp - I'd send it off to a prospective employer. Hoping and praying to get more work to earn more money. This scenario was repeated. This is only -one- example.
Today,  I'll open up a document on my computer and print it out buy a handful of stamps and a larger pack of envelopes and send it off while I'm down at the store for something else. Time wise what once took me pretty well the whole day - I can do in 15 minutes. If you have always had cash-at-hand, it is hard to understand the daily terrible stress and trauma that lack of money brings. No one is to blame for 'having' or 'not having', that's certainly not my point - my point is, 'listen' to those who are poor - what are they saying? Hear their voice.

Also, let's stay away from talk about 'it's their choice' - those who choose poverty would be in the absolute minority. Most sane people do not choose to be in poverty.

I haven't mentioned the stress of trying to keep a car on the road when it finally gives up the ghost - you have to 'bus' it everywhere which takes an hour or two when it would usually take 20 minutes. You can't buy mulit-trips because it eats into the food money. You can't borrow money because you can't actually pay it back. This is all just the tip of the iceberg.

Money doesn't make you happy - but the lack of money brings terrible suffering. When you find yourself in a healthy financial position - don't forget the poor.  If you can, help them to get out of poverty but even more important, help them to get out and stay out. Then finally, help them to be able to help other people.

 "He who is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will  reward him for what he has done".
Proverbs 19:17

"Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me." Matthew 25:40

" My friends, if you have faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, you won’t treat some people better than others. Suppose a rich person wearing fancy clothes and a gold ring comes to one of your meetings. And suppose a poor person dressed in worn-out clothes also comes. You must not give the best seat to the one in fancy clothes and tell the one who is poor to stand at the side or sit on the floor. That is the same as saying that some people are better than others, and you would be acting like a crooked judge.
My dear friends, pay attention. God has given a lot of faith to the poor people in this world. He has also promised them a share in his kingdom that he will give to everyone who loves him. You mistreat the poor. But isn’t it the rich who boss you around and drag you off to court? Aren’t they the ones who make fun of your Lord?
You will do all right, if you obey the most important law in the Scriptures. It is the law that commands us to love others as much as we love ourselves." James 2

God be with you and help you to be prosperous. May God give you a heart that cheerfully and generously lifts up those who can't help themselves. May God bless you! 

Finally: "For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich." 2 Corinthians 8:9

Monday, October 8, 2012

One night stands

You've discovered that you've got 'mojo' and out of the corner of your eye, you catch good looking strangers taking a second look at you. You are well above the legal age of consent, so you can take advantage of your new freedom.  One night stands are part of our culture and anyway, YOLO.

'One night stands' are acceptable in many quarters of our side of the world. I can't tell people who don't subscribe to the Christian faith how to live their lives but I can invite them - and invite you - to consider a few factors about the whole thing. I don't like or advocate 'one night stands'.

 I'm aware that to there are people who for recreation like getting  themselves hooked up after a night at the club with someone sweet/hot/cool/handsome/pretty for the night. Maybe it's the highlight of the week and something to talk about with your buddies from Sunday to Friday. I'm aware that on the whole 'no one is getting hurt' and that it is by 'mutual consent' or that it beats the mundane lows and loneliness of life for a short time.

My main problem is that a one night stand is really an exercise in mutual selfishness.

Don't believe me? Let's test it. (I'll say 'you' but these are general)

  • Did you have to get intoxicated/stoned to spend time with this person? If so why? Would you have gone home with them if you had met them somewhere else? If not, then what was your goal that night? Be honest it about them...or you?
  • Are you willing to look after and/or care for this person if they suddenly came down with the flu, or had a car accident? If not why not? 
  • Do you know and agree with this person's intellectual and spiritual beliefs? If you don't know - then have you thought about the effect this sort of intimacy has on your own spirit/intellect?
  • Do you know if this person is 'safe'? Do you know their background? Do you actually really - know - who you are being intimate with?
I could go on...not to mention the wonderful diseases that you can pick up...that pregnancy does contraception is 100% sure...but maybe I'll stop there!

My personal view is to get to know a person intellectually and spiritually first and learn how to care and support each other along the way.  It's  a big topic but I want to encourage you to think about it.

If you are a Christian and 'do' one night stands, then you may have to find chapters or passages in the Bible to support your actions -  because I don't see any in my own Bible.

Instead there are many passages about looking after other people and not being selfish.

1 Thessalonians 4:3-4 – “It is God's will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable” 

1 Corinthians 10:13 – “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”

1 Corinthians 6:13 – “The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.” 

Genesis 1: 27-28 – “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number;” 

Genesis 2:24 – “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” 

1 Corinthians 7:2-3 – “But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband. The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband.” 

Hebrews 13:4 – “Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.”


"God is faithful and reliable. If we confess our sins, he forgives them and cleanses us from everything we've done wrong." 1 John 1:9

"For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God." (1 Peter 3:18a)

"In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace." (Ephesians 1:7)

Also see John 8:1-11

How do we live our life?

"Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ, God forgave you." (Ephesians 4:32)

If you want other Christians ideas, I'd probably go along with a lot or most of what this author says too:

Monday, September 24, 2012

the internet the bible and you

What’s the Bible got to do with the internet? Quite a lot in fact! The Bible has a very impressive understanding of human nature. It can tell us about how we are to deal with other people and its principles are transferable right into the internet age.
Jesus knew what people were like back then and nothing has changed. We still find people are the same way ‘out in the world’.  The following passage is from Matthew 10:16, take note of what Jesus tells his disciples when he sends them out:
“I am sending you like lambs into a pack of wolves.
So be as wise as snakes and as innocent as doves”.
Let’s look at this verse for our own context in the internet age:
Pack of wolves”: we all know there are predators and scammer and hackers and haters and abusers on the ’net. Not everyone is a wolf out there – but because there are wolves – then we need to be cautious.
Wise as snakes” – Snakes are good at being present but staying just out of trouble. They sense danger and move quickly to protect themselves from any further harassment. We need to be wise as snakes as far as being ‘aware’ of what is out there and not wandering into danger.
 “Innocent as doves” – another translation is ‘harmless as doves’. There are many non-abusive ways of dealing with people on the internet. We aim to fight wrong - with right, darkness - with light, hatred - with love. We do not deliberately deceive or hurt other people. We all make our mistakes and I’ve certainly made mine, however, God gives us a fresh start every new day. God’s spiritual principles can still be active through the keyboard and mouse.
 Ephesians 4:14 says: “Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming
Romans 12:15-18 “When others are happy, be happy with them, and when they are sad, be sad. Be friendly with everyone. Don't be proud and feel that you are smarter than others. Make friends with ordinary people. Don't mistreat someone who has mistreated you. But try to earn the respect of others, and do your best to live at peace with everyone.”

Isn’t this a great ‘online’ attitude?

I’m not sure you’ll find God on your latest social network site; however, his Holy Spirit will guide and lead you as you aim to be “as wise as snakes and as innocent as doves”.
May He bless you on the ‘net and also in the ‘real’ world out there. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

Eight steps to a more satisfying life

This is from a secular point of view (and a a bit 'girlie') but I agree with the content as world-wisdom and thought it good enough to pass on:

Eight Steps Toward a More Satisfying Life
Want to lift your level of happiness? Here are some practical suggestions from
University of California psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky, based on research findings
by her and others. Satisfaction (at least a temporary boost) guaranteed

1. Count your blessings. One way to do this is with a “gratitude journal” in which
you write down three to five things for which you are currently thankful—from the
mundane (your peonies are in bloom) to the magnificent (a child’s first steps). Do this
once a week, say, on Sunday night. Keep it fresh by varying your entries as much as

2. Practice acts of  kindness. These should be both random (let that harried
mom go ahead of you in the checkout line) and systematic (bring Sunday supper to an
elderly neighbor). Being kind to others, whether friends or strangers, triggers a cascade
of positive effects—it makes you feel generous and capable,gives you a greater sense of
connection with others and wins you smiles, approval and reciprocated kindness—all
happiness boosters. 
3. Savor life’s joys. Pay close attention to momentary pleasures and wonders. Focus
on the sweetness of a ripe strawberry or the warmth of the sun when you step out
from the shade. Some psychologists suggest taking “mental photographs” of
pleasurable moments to review in less happy times.
4. Thank a mentor. If there’s someone whom you owe a debt of gratitude for guiding
you at one of life’s crossroads, don’t wait to express your appreciation—in detail and, if
possible, in person. 
5. Learn to forgive. Let go of anger and resentment by writing a letter of forgiveness
to a person who has hurt or wronged you. Inability to forgive is associated with persistent
rumination or dwelling on revenge, while forgiving allows you to move on.
6. Invest time and energy in friends and family. Where you live, how much money you
make, your job title and even your health have surprisingly small effects on your satisfaction
with life. The biggest factor appears to be strong personal relationships.
7. Take care of your body. Getting plenty of sleep, exercising, stretching, smiling
and laughing can all enhance your mood in the short term. Practiced regularly, they can
help make your daily life more satisfying.

8. Develop strategies for coping with stress and hardships. There is no avoiding
hard times. Religious faith has been shown to help people cope, but so do the
secular beliefs enshrined in axioms like “This too shall pass” and “That which
doesn’t kill me makes me stronger.” The trick is that you have to believe them.

Some personal thoughts  on a sort-of-satisfying life....

I consider myself a 'realist' and I don't believe any of us can have a 100% satisfying life all day everyday. My life, as is yours, is full of all sorts of frustrations, pains, joys and plain hard work. However, over the years I've come to appreciate a few valuable Christian practices and principles that I have found empowering. If you don't give a hoot about my personal opinion, that's fine! This is my blog so I'm going to write them anyway :-)
Leading on from the last point on 'Religious Faith' - I personally take courage from a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Knowing God is a short prayer away has always been a strength for me. 
I try and read just a little of the Bible everyday. I've learned that if a verse 'jumps out' that I need to meditate on it and tuck it away as possibly something I need to consider. Though I certainly have my 'dry times' of dull (sigh) Bible reading - for the most, it is an 'alive' book that - often ...reads me.
I really appreciate the strength I get from being around other Christians.
I know many of my limitations and ask God to help me through.
Perspective is very important and I often have to come back to the 'big picture' under God's care again and again. Perspective also reminds me not to take myself too seriously which is a lovely freedom.
Sin is a reality -  and so apologising to God and others comes with the territory-being forgiven by God and others is a special gift that makes every day new.  No matter what disasters we caused yesterday - today (and tomorrow) we may have to clean it up - but in spite of that - we also have permission to forgive ourselves and restart again from where we are now. God makes all things new.
God has gifted us each with abilities. We work best when we are using our God given abilities. It doesn't work when we try and be someone else...

I could rave on for  a long time, but the best summary of the Christian life for me is from  1 Corinthians 13:13 
"And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."
 -Tim O

Monday, July 30, 2012

How to Smell a Rat

"smell a rat: to start to believe that something is wrong about a situation, especially that someone is being dishonest"

One of the best things about studying at university is that it sharpens your mind to have more discernment and not swallow whatever is handed to you without sifting it first.

So, it is normal around this time that you might - also -question your faith,  question your upbringing, question your church if you went to one. I'd like to present to you a few basics from my personal point of view of 'how to smell a rat' in religion and offer a couple of pointers to having a healthy faith.

A Tree and Its Fruit

It sounds really obvious but leaders, pastors, priests, church workers, chaplains, teachers are not all the same. I would say most of the ones I personally know have good hearts  and I highly respect them but there are always a few 'bad eggs' out there. It's because of the few rodents-in-the-nest that you need to apply the 'tree and it's fruit' principle spoken by Jesus Christ and not just assume they are 'good' because of their position or fame:

"A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot produce good fruit.  You can tell what a tree is like by the fruit it produces. You cannot pick figs or grapes from thornbushes. Good people do good things because of the good in their hearts. Bad people do bad things because of the evil in their hearts. Your words show what is in your heart." (Luke 6:43-45)

Over the years I have come across a few Christian leaders who are in positions of authority and esteemed by people around them - but to me personally - something has not 'felt' right about them.

Unfortunately, we do not have the ability to see inside their heads  -but we can see the 'fruit' of their actions and words. Do they seem slightly abusive? Do they gossip? Do they have an overt love of money? Do they run down people behind their backs? Are there racist undertones in their conversation? Do they love the spotlight a little too much? Do they share - or keep everything for themselves? Are they secretive and not transparent?  Are you getting some smutty vibes from them? Do they stand too close to you? Do they creep you out? Do they seem to cause division whever they go? Are they arrogant and not teachable? And so on.

Just because someone wears a suit and tie, an official robe, or an up to date  cool 'youth' outfit - it does not mean they automatically have true credibility. Now, I know you already know that - but sometimes the obvious needs to be repeated and here is my personal main reason:

The main reason, I think, I have been suckered-in over the years is because I doubted my own intiution when I felt uncomfortable with someone. In my mind it went something like this " I don't feel comfortable with this guy - he seems to be hiding something? But -everyone else - seems to think he is great. Maybe I'm wrong" and then later on I found out I was right.

So, if you 'smell a rat' then there probably is one. If you see a tree that everyone says is a beautiful tree - but the fruit of the tree is bad - then the tree is most likely bad too. It also pays to talk to other people you really trust to get their perspective - in case we are misunderstand something. Ultimately though, you need to pray about it and trust your own intuition.

I'm grateful to Jesus for giving us the tree and fruit test. I hope this will help you to trust your instincts and be weary of some. Keeping in mind that the majority of Christian leaders are well meaning good hearted mistake making not perfect but willing to give it their best, people.

As far as having a healthy comparison,which none of us can live up to, but nevertheless is the ultimate - is Jesus Christ himself. If you don't know him yet - ask him into your life, read about him in the Bible (Matthew, Mark, Luke or John). If you have doubts that he was a real historical figure or that what is written about him is not reliable - don't just swallow what naysayers, haters and people who know words with more than five syllable tell you - research it for yourself - like you would a major assigment. Let me know what you find....keep on sniffin'....

Monday, July 23, 2012


“ANGER  IS JUST ONE LETTER SHORT OF DANGER”…but actually…sometimes it can be healthy.

Anger is a powerful emotion. Most of us lash out at our loved ones from time to time (and usually vice versa) and then we have to apologise later, eating humble pie or having to make amends.

 If controlled and sprung from good motives, however, anger can also be a powerful force for good and positive changes.

Typical yucky anger is the madness that we all go through when our personal goals are frustrated by people or events or objects. This sort of anger needs to be dealt with straight away.

 The Bible says: In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry. (Ephesians 4:26)

In itself, anger is a normal God given feeling and emotion - but - we need to keep our response in check so we don’t cause damage to the people around us.

Healthy anger, on the other hand, is motivated by compassion for other people. Sometimes we can be so concerned for other people that the emotion of anger erupts within us. Once again, it is important to respond in a healthy way, but it is worth thinking about. Jesus is a good example of compassionate anger. Here’s an example:

 “Another time he went into the synagogue, and a man with a shrivelled hand was there. Some of them were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath. Jesus said to the man with the shrivelled hand, "Stand up in front of everyone."
Then Jesus asked them, "Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?" But they remained silent. He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored. Then the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus.”
(Mark 3:1-6)

Compare Jesus anger of compassion with the Pharisees violent anger.

Being angry is not a sin in itself.  The Bible deals more with what happens after that initial feeling of anger; in other words - what we do with it. We have a choice about entertaining evil actions, or if motivated by love:  using the anger in a compassionate way.

Most of our anger is to do with our throttled and frustrated wants and needs -but every now and then we actually have ‘righteous’ anger that can spur us onto to  doing good for people around us. May God grant us the wisdom to know the difference!

Monday, June 4, 2012

A simple way to get your thoughts in order

PREP is a simple formula for getting your thoughts in order.
As a student you are often asked to sift through a lot of information and regurgitate it for others to read or hear. Many people don't have the patience to sit through a rambling incoherent discourse, so you need to be to the point and punchy, do you not?

When you are getting your thoughts together for an assignment, presentation , speech or exam you need to go through the process of 'gathering the facts' in your head and then sorting them out into a logical order.  If you know this already - bear with me - if you don't; you may just find the following helpful.

Years ago I came across a book that proposed a simple formula and I have found it helpful ever since - it is no secret - so it will be a reminder for some of you but here it is anyway:

After you have brainstormed or gathered all your facts, organise them in this order -


We actually naturally do this all the time and may not be aware of it. It's a clear way of covering all bases in communication. People use it in speeches, in writing flyers, in conversation in describing an event, for study and other prose. It is a common way of communicating.

If you had just read that paragraph, you would have noticed that I just used PREP:

Point: "We actually naturally do this all the time and may not be aware of it."
Reason: "It's a clear way of covering all bases in communication."
Examples: " People use it in speeches, in writing flyers, in conversation in describing an event, for study  and other prose."
Point: "It is a common way of communicating."

That was a very simple example, but it can be used for each paragraph of an essay, or for a full page where you are quoting a lot of examples or evidences. It's not that hard, but from my experience it works.

Key words that can help you find where your information sits is:

"The ONE fact I am telling you is...............................(Point)"
"And here are proofs from real life or research that shows this point happening everywhere...........(Examples/Evidences)"
"So, rephrased I have told you that the one fact is ..................................(point)"

Hopefully that helps

There is a slight update of PREP in some cases: PREPA is more for speeches where you need to ask people to 'do something'. Some directly persuasive prose or speech will require you to add an Action onto the end of PREP, so that it becomes PREPA.

Point: "We actually naturally do this all the time and may not be aware of it."
Reason: "It's a clear way of covering all bases in communication."
Examples: " People use it in speeches, in writing flyers, in conversation in describing an event, for study and other prose."
Point: "It is a common way of communicating."
Action: "So do yourself a favour and set out your very next assignment using PREP!"

If this interests you there are various sites on the 'net that explain this in different contexts too. Do a Search Engine search on "Point Reason Example Point", there is plenty out there.

Today after a quick search, I discovered an online PDF called "get to the point" that might explain this further if you are interested HERE.  There is plenty out there. God bless you with your studies!

Monday, May 21, 2012

meaning of life and stuff

When we are busy, we don't think about the big picture so much but it is worth asking ourselves every now and then. Author Paulo Coelho gives his take on it here and I at least partially agree with him:

 I remember getting up before dawn and walking to the bus while the sun was coming up to go to hospital for a minor operation (sinus op in case you really wanted to know!) and I remember thinking that people have actually died on the operating table- not the chances were that high, but it does happen know...heart attacks...allergic reations to drugs and all those spiffy things. Suddenly a thought came to me "what has - my - whole life meant?" and I've got to be honest with you - I could only think of a twisted mess of experiences great and low that didn't really 'mean' anything in particular. I remember thinking, I hope it isn't finished yet because there is still a lot to I wanted to do and be around for.

My next thought was of those I love and who tolerate and love me. I also had a background sense that God was there and would be there and that he cared; whatever he is up to in the big scheme of things.

Part of being a Christian for me is accepting the - mystery of life - and not being overly concerned about it - because if you believe that God loves you (as is demonstrated through Christ), then the whole of life doesn't have to make sense  - it's about a relationship. Healthy relationships are not neat and orderly but they often have meaning. Again,as a Christian and follower of Jesus Christ - it is primarily about our relationship with our Maker and with those around us in the context of the created world we live in.

I think God only knows ultimate meaning for our lives, there is a lot in our lives that doesn't make sense but we are part of a bigger plan. On a personal level...I would dare say that to live in a loving relationship with God and with other people (as much as you are able to) sums the meaning of life as we walk on this dusty but beautiful world. If you think this is wishy washy clap-trap - think again. People on their death bed don't say "I wish I'd spent more time at work", "I wish I was dying with more money in my bank"..instead...they often talk about people they are going to leave behind, whether they felt they achieved their life goals, or if in achieving there goals they felt they had wasted/made something of their life. The 'God' question is often big on many people's hearts too. So, let's start on important things before the deathbed.

On the next level - and it is connected to the above - I agree with Paulo Coelho that we need to search out our 'calling' and passion, seeing the big picture of what we are doing in the world - none of us is an island - and living a life of care for those around us. All of these things we have to keep coming back to - it is not a 'once off' and then everything is alright. That is why repentance is important too.

Jesus said: "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." John 10:10

To sum up; as we live in the light of God's love, use the gifts that God has given us to be helpful and useful to those around us, then we are on our way to purpose and meaning. It may not necessarily be the path that you are on- or it might be outside of your paid work - but it's part of  answering the 'meaning' question.

What do you think?

getting things done

"A Little at a Time"  John Erskine written in 1941 - but still true today

"I must have been about 14 then, and I dismissed the incident with the easy carelessness of youth.  But the words Carl Walter spoke that day came back to me years later, and ever since have been of inestimable value to me.

Carl Walter was my piano teacher.  During one of my lessons he asked how much practicing I was doing.  I said three or four hours a day.
"Do you practice in long stretches, an hour at a time?"
"I try to."
"Well, don't!" he exclaimed.  "When you grow up, time won't come in long stretches.  Practice in minutes, whenever you can find them--five or ten before school, after lunch, between chores.  

Spread the practice through the day, and piano-playing will become a part of your life."
When I was teaching at Columbia, I wanted to write, but recitations, theme-reading and committee meetings filled my days and evenings.  For two years I got practically nothing down on paper, and my excuse was that I had no time.  Then I recalled what Carl Walter had said.
During the next week I conducted an experiment.  Whenever I had five unoccupied minutes, I sat down and wrote a hundred words or so.  To my astonishment, at the end of the week I had a sizable manuscript ready for revision.

Later on I wrote novels by the same piecemeal method.  Though my teaching schedule had become heavier than ever, in every day there were idle moments which could be caught and put to use.  I even took up piano-playing again, finding that the small intervals of the day provided sufficient time for both writing and piano practice.
There is an important trick in thins time-using formula:  you must get into your work quickly.  If you have but five minutes for writing, you can't afford to waste four chewing your pencil.  You must make your mental preparations beforehand, and concentrate on your task almost instantly when the time comes.  Fortunately, rapid concentration is easier than most of us realize.
I confess I have never learned how to let go easily at the end of the five or ten minutes.  But life can be counted on to supply interruptions.  Carl Walter has had a tremendous influence on my life.  To him I owe the discovery that even very short periods of time add up to all the useful hours I need, if I plunge in without delay."

brain stuff

I recently read a book by Professor Ian Robertson ( PhD in neuropsychology) called "The Minds Eye":

The basic thrust of the book is that we in 'the western world' are educated in a very 'wordy' way but may be under-educated in 'picture thinking'. I first thought this was another of those '10 secrets of success' books that only succeeded to line the pockets of the author - but this one actually had more substance and clinical research to it. I also appreciated his style of writing which didn't make assumptions about the readers understanding of weird sounding brain-parts such as 'hippocampus', 'cerrbellum' and 'cerebral cortex'

His main point, he states on pg 3 " Imagery is important, but in western culture, language is king. In school we steadily wrap our children's brains in a cool web of language - it would be terrible if we didn't, but there is a cost to everything. By neglecting imagery we risk the withering of a whole set of remark mental capacities"

So what is his main points about imagery ?

Imagery =  creativity. Not just the  'arts' but in better thinking in the sciences
Imagery = management of memory. Tying new information onto mental images makes it easier to remember points for exams and so on
Imagery =  management of stress. Exercising a change in imaginging 'fail' outcomes to imaging better outcomes lowers stress and helps us think more healthily
Imagery = can help with health and immunity issues. He doesn't sell snake oil here - no promises - but there are experiments that show the mind can be disciplined to help in recovery
Imagery = sports management. Well documented that elite sports people imagine their event before they do it.
He also discussed the use of imagery in hypnosis, what is happening in dreams and touches on images in religion (I gather he is agnostic)

Why have I posted this here?  I thought it was an interesting and thought-provoking book and worth sharing.

Here is his blog:

Monday, March 12, 2012

Welcome 2012

Welcome aboard to 2012. By now many of you are already walking the corridors of your courses and getting orientated ...or disorientated. If you are new, you may have seen the UniSA welcome page: Remember that places like the 'Learning Teaching Unit' and 'Campus Central' will point you in the right direction if you are unsure about anything.

If you are returning, welcome back. You know what you have to do.

My role here as Chaplain, is to provide pastoral support to you if you need it. If you need someone to have a chat with - then you are welcome to contact me. Please note that if you have academic issues, I'm not the right person. Go instead to "Learning and Teaching Unit" and they'll point you the right direction.

Here's the best ways to reach me:


I check my email every one or two days.

If it is more important you can text or call me on mobile :
0404 303 084

Texting is best because I actually work at a few different places, so I may not be able to answer immediately but ...I will get back to you as soon as possible.

My UniSA staff page is here:

Lost On Campus? magill buildings are here:

Across the campuses there is a Christian group for students called
LSF (Lutheran Students and Friends).

The ones I've met are a good bunch of people - so if you are looking for Christian support, check them out here:


NOTE: LSF are having a camp very soon ie on March 16-18 2012

They say:

"Registration for Commencement Camp 2012 is now open. The camp runs on March 16-18, at Narnu Farm, Hindmarsh Island. If this is your first LSF Camp, you can join us for a weekend of great fun, food and God, as well as hear John Gardner talk about “Getting the most out of Uni” for just $45. Students/Non-workers are $60, and if you’re a worker it’ll cost you $70. Assistance with transport is available. See you there!"

>>>>Interested? Register HERE

Churches near your campus
There are a number of churches in the area if you want to check them out. I'm posting the Lutheran Churches here because I know them and their pastors are both good people to deal with.

If you personally have a good experience with a church of any Christian denomination near one of the campuses I am happy to promote them also:

Luthern Church very close to Magill Campus:

Luthern Church very close to Mawson Lakes Campus:

If you are an international student, pastor Stephen (at Mawson Lakes Community Church) is currently supporting and meeting with a number of students from around the world.

Social Network
I don't watch a lot of TV, so you'll find me instead on FB a lot. I leave the computer on and come back through the evening for a bit of light entertainment - you are welcome to 'friend' me... but I need to warn you... that I'm a middle-aged guitar player so there are a lot of posts about music and anything related to music...but try your luck, you can always de-friend me if it gets too much ;-) I don't take things too seriously on social networks...

Hebrews 13 tells us "The Lord has promised that he will not leave us or desert us."

Therefore; you can go confidently into this year with knowing that God is nearby through thick and thin and only a prayer away.

Blessings to you

Tim Oestmann
Chaplain at Magill and Mawson Lakes UniSA