Thursday, 28 February 2013

Some of the Canticles: Magnificat, Simeon, Zechariah

Thank you Lord for exposure to knowledge at inopportune times which initiate healing and the path to forgiveness.
Years ago, someone told me about the Magnificat, and pointed out its location in the Bible ( New Testament, Gospel of  Luke). Not knowing or having the history of the prayer, (of course my prayer life was quite limited at that time), I never developed an appreciation for the prayer. Today I discovered how rich in history this prayer is.
In  viewing the above representations of the Magnificat, I see the possibilities of life. I love the garb of Mary, seeing the possibility of realism, yet I love the imagery of the two women which seems to highlight the prayer of the Magnificat, yet what struck me through all the years has been about the Lord providing for persons.

Struggling with Prayer Life: 
I discovered the Canticle of Zechariah while attempting to develop a prayer life, not a life in prayer, mind you..... Try as I could, I could not bring myself to appreciate this prayer..... Perhaps I lacked understanding or a willing heart! However having visited the synagogue in Curacao I can attempt to understand the desires of the people. Here is the prayer:
Blessed be the Lord God of Israel : for he hath visited, and redeemed his people;And hath raised up a mighty salvation for us : in the house of his servant David;As he spoke by the mouth of his holy Prophets : which have been since the world began;That we should be saved from our enemies : and from the hands of all that hate us;To perform the mercy promised to our forefathers : and to remember his holy Covenant;To perform the oath which he sware to our forefather Abraham : that he would give us;That we being delivered out of the hands of our enemies : might serve him without fear;In holiness and righteousness before him : all the days of our life. And thou, Child, shalt be called the Prophet of the Highest : for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways;To give knowledge of salvation unto his people : for the remission of their sins,Through the tender mercy of our God : whereby the day-spring from on high hath visited us;To give light to them that sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death : and to guide our feet into the way of peace
The Canticle of Simeon:
File:Folio 63r - The Presentation in the Temple.jpg
File:Škrinja sv.Šimuna, Zadar (Croatia) - zavjesa.jpg
The Chest of Simeon
Lord, now you let your servant go in peace;
Your word has been fulfilled.
My eyes have seen the salvation
You have prepared in the sight of every people,
A light to reveal you to the nations and the glory of your people, Israel

Just Rambling II - Human Resource Capital

In many companies where the investment in machinery or information technology form a large part of  the assets on the statement of financial position, the significance  or value of human resources may be overlooked, or not accounted for on the face of the financial statements, except for the recognition of the net worth of the pension plan which the company holds for its employees, who are members of the plan.  After all assets can be realised and for those who are technologically savvy, the value of information technology in an entity is not measured in net asset value terms, but in the cost of the impact on the business of a catastrophe which destroys the technology used in the business or whether the dependence of the business on information technology is dominant or significant.
Another aspect of human resource capital lies in the knowledge of the business which employees who have been with the company for a period of time possess. Knowledge of the day to day operations of the company add value in that having someone who can be relied upon to carry out the activities of the business in an experienced and competent manner allows for good relationships to be formed with customers and staff alike. This caters to returning customers who spread good news rather than not so good news.
Also knowledge gained  from first hand work experience can lead to an employee being able to make representations on behalf of the company to auditors. Since in many instances audits start after the end of the financial year, in an economic environment of mobility which is tied to advancement and development of key players in an industry, staying in a company for a year and a half can be seen as a sign of maturity and responsibility which adds value and credibility to a person's resume  and interview, once the interviewer knows the correct questions to ask.
The  ability and willingness to retain employees can lead to an assessment of the stability of the business, where this may not have been looked at before.  Many persons view the high turnover of staff as an assessment of the value of the company, the values which the company are committed to, just as persons who move  around in the market are assessed on their stability and ability to commit.  However as a client of one of the companies where I worked once told me, that having persons who have worked in different companies for different lengths of time in their career can add value to a company as they have  had different experiences, been exposed to different systems, styles of management and that experience can add a lot of value just from having those experiences.


File:Fra Angelico 046.jpg

As one of our observances we pray the Angelus at midday on each day of work In an attempt to get persons involved in the observation of the event, we ask persons to personalize their approach to this time of prayer so that they can bring their talent or experience. Some start their prayer time with song and close with prayer, while others pray the Angelus. One of the recent prayers which was said was the Magnificat. The following information was obtained from Wiki on this prayer:

Pope Benedict XIV during the Angelus prayer
"The Magnificat (Latin: [My soul] magnifies) — also known as the Song of Mary or the Canticle of Mary — is a canticle frequently sung (or spoken) liturgically in Christian church services. It is one of the eight most ancient Christian hymns and perhaps the earliest Marian hymn.[1][2] Its name comes from the first word of the Latin version of the canticle's text.
The text of the canticle is taken directly from the Gospel of Luke (Luke 1:46-55) where it is spoken by the Virgin Mary upon the occasion of her Visitation to her cousin Elizabeth.[1] In the narrative, after Mary greets Elizabeth, who is pregnant with the future John the Baptist, the child moves within Elizabeth's womb. When Elizabeth praises Mary for her faith, Mary sings what is now known as the Magnificat in response.Within Christianity, the Magnificat is most frequently recited within the Liturgy of the Hours. In Western Christianity, the Magnificat is most often sung or recited during the main evening prayer service: Vespers within Roman Catholicism and Lutheranism, and Evening Prayer (or Evensong) withinAnglicanism. In Eastern Christianity, the Magnificat is usually sung at Sunday Matins. Among Protestant groups, the Magnificat may also be sung during worship services. Here is the prayer:
File:Church of the Visitation IMG 0637.JPG
My soul doth magnify the Lord : and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my 
For he hath regarded : the lowliness of his handmaiden.
For behold, from henceforth : all generations shall call me blessed.
For he that is mighty hath magnified me : and holy is his Name.
And his mercy is on them that fear him : throughout all generations.
He hath shewed strength with his arm : he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
He hath put down the mighty from their seat : and hath exalted the humble and meek.
He hath filled the hungry with good things : and the rich he hath sent empty away.
He remembering his mercy hath holpen his servant Israel : as he promised to our forefathers, Abraham and his seed for ever.
(optional ending commonly used in Anglican service:
Glory Be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost;
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.)

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Changing Patterns of Behaviour

There are many different types of behaviour which we may wish to change and there are probably as many ways to change the behaviour, just as there are as many times when we seem to be persuaded to change the  behaviour or pattern. However whether we assume our behaviour is good or bad or we want to stimulate change in our lives, here are a few concepts which I found intriguing:

Feel Good Concept:
Sun setting at the end of a day
There are  two aspects to this feel good concept. The first one covers performing a deliberate financial act of kindness for which there is not a tax break associated with the act. Perhaps there is a bit of mental jinxing involved in many persons attempts to try new things, or there are many naturally pessimistic persons, but since most persons are financially astute enough to know the various tax incentives which are associated with giving, try giving something without considering the cost. If this is too simplistic for you, then establish a limit on how much you can give to something which  falls outside of your normal boundaries. Some examples are:

  • To buy at least 10 breakfasts a week for homeless persons. Why breakfast or why 10? A substantial breakfast will warm a person  and get them on the road to feeling good.  10 means that you are buying at least two per day if you are working five days a week. Will it be a big sacrifice or will it mean that you eat a simpler meal for a while, it may be worthwhile to try it.
  • Try to donate to a charity  which supports feeding others. Food is one of the essential feel good things and not having food, can start a downward spiral in a person's life. On the other hand, if your cooking skill is all that you can give, then volunteer to cook for a charity. One of the benefits of doing this is that you will retain your skill while helping others.
The second aspect involves giving to a recognised charity which allows for a tax break. This is the easier feel good concept to tackle as someone else does the ground work and your donation is put to use. While this may not change your life, there may be a tiny bit of feel good associated with it.

Acknowledging our short comings:
One way to acknowledge our shortcomings is through learning something new. By identifying that there is a need to learn, you can start tackling challenges which you swept under the carpet.  Sometimes in the process of learning, you start realising that you may have challenges which are being brought back to the surface. There may be the temptation to use the same old method to solve the challenge, however the other players/parties may not be responding in the same manner and you may need to start reassessing your thinking. 
Another way to learn to acknowledge our shortcomings  is through prayer. There are many different ways to pray and by starting a pattern of prayer you can start to  see your shortcomings, or your shortcomings may start disappearing as your focus changes. Preparation for the Sacrament of Reconciliation can be another form of prayer. Understanding the concepts involved in the sacrament can be a start to learning and changing habits. Not agreeing with parts of the sacrament, does not make all of it invalid.

Acknowledging our need to be happy
There are many reasons to not be happy and sometimes unhappiness creeps up on you, while sometimes it may be something that you may need to acknowledge. Of course there are the standard, surround yourself with cheerful persons, joyful pictures, change one of your habits a week, change your routine once a week,  smile and you become attractive, laugh and you become even more attractive. Of course sometimes you may need to recognise that you have a choice in how you feel and just keep saying that you are happy which may inspire other changes.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Just rambling I

I like accounting,  updating knowledge on a technical basis, interacting with others..... In auditing, you learn about respecting others in the interactions, not being a "blood hound". Using the concepts of materiality to guide your work, resolving matters before the due date for delivery, planning so that things get done in a timely and effective manner. Yeah I like earning a decent salary as I  like doing things with money.... However there are other things which I like/enjoy doing, such as managing money, maybe that is not the  best term to define the various aspects of money management, however I enjoy strategic planning, and I enjoy developing people!!!!  The enjoyment in developing persons was facilitated by functioning in a people centered industry and with it came the knowledge that human resources was critical to the success of the company, retention of staff, as there is value in  retaining knowledge of the business.
I like the different ways a business can develop and drive its activities for a period of time as well as have secondary drivers which can contribute to the development of persons and the business's core activities..... How do I mix the two?????
I also enjoy the challenges of technology, using programmes which offer different skills and deliverables....

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Enhancing HR skills on returning to the Job Market

There are many types of skills which are utilised in Human Resources or HR and on returning to the job market or changing jobs or the industry in which you work,  there may be expectations of deliverables which may not be easily understood or identifiable.  For example in working for  the local arm of a  multinational company, the provision of pension plans for employees may not  have been  an expected deliverable, especially if the company is looking at a sizable labour force which may or may not be unionised  and one may experience difficulty in beginning to understand the concepts which are being explored. However given that in  being interviewed you are being assessed not only on the content of your knowledge, but also on your willingness to prepare for the job market, here are a few concepts which will help you hold a discussion on a topic even though you may not have the practical experience to support the knowledge.

Pension Plans - Research the types of Pension Plans which are approved for  in the local economy.  One quick way is to review the financial statements of companies which are quoted on the Stock Exchange.  If possible download the latest financial statement of several companies, and search for the accounting policy notes and the notes to the financial statements.  If time is of the essence, perform a search for pension and highlight the information for close scrutiny.

  • On locating the relevant paragraphs, learning  about the topic which is being presented can be easy if you identify the points which seem to be factual or related to a date. For example,  you can identify the type of plan which  has been accepted by the company, as well as the due dates for the valuation of the plan and  the names of the valuators. This will lead to additional research on the work done by valuation companies and can prompt questions in the interview.
  • Another quick win is to identify the accounting standard which guides the disclosures relating to pension plans. Further research on the standard, will reveal when the standard was adopted by the local accounting body, the date of the last revision and whether the company is compliant with this standard or not.  
  • Another quick win is to identify the number of employees in the plan. This will give an idea on the possible size of the employees in the plan. A visit to the offices of the entity will indicate the age of the available population as well as the possibility of them belonging to the plan.

A more difficult area to learn about is Benefits, which I will perform research on and try to write about.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

IAS 30 & IFRS 7

Prior to the issuance of  International Financial Reporting Standard 7 (IFRS 7) - Financial Instruments Disclosures, International Accounting Standard 30 (IAS 30) - Disclosures in the Financial Statements of Banks and other Financial Instituitions was one of the  standards  which allowed for disclosures which provided information on the "security" of assets and  the maturity profile of liabilities. This standard required that the banks include in their  notes to the financial statements an analysis of the  currencies in which assets and liabilities were held, the  interest rates underlying the assets of the intsitution as well as the maturity profile of both assets and liabilities.   This information allowed for some form of predictability. IFRS 7 required similar disclosures from all companies which adopted International Financial Reporting Standards. Forgive me if the succint statements above, do not provide adequate information on the actual purpose and disclosures which were required.
I believe that one of the benefits of IFRS 7 was that it sought to improve the disclosures to the balances in the statement of financial position as it allowed a reader of the financial statement to view the risks associated with the  assets which were not easily understood or identifiable as well as the commitments  regarding the liabilities of the entities.  Some of the risks which are associated with assets relate to the currencies in which the various classes of assets are held or the rate of interest or  the maturity profile of the assets or the periods in which the assets mature. Commitments could arise from the covenants under which loans were granted, or the terms of repayments, variability of interest rates, currency of borrowing as well as currency of repayment to name a few.  Also with respect to liabilities on the whole, the  maturity profile of the liabilities as well as the currency  of the liability impacts on the risk.  If one has studied economic theory and views the scenarios of business planning or cash flow modelling along the lines of factors which can be changed in the short and medium term which is one of the fundamental concepts of economics, then as a planning tool the analysis of the financial statements or planned deliverables can allow for teams to understand the decisions which are to be made in the various areas in which they operate.
 Even before the advent of these standards, in auditing multinationals, auditors were aware of the risks with respect to inflation and the sourcing of foreign currencies and  the impact of these assessments on the decisions made by the parent companies as well as the going concern of the company.
With the adoption of International Financial Reporting Standards for Small and Medium Sized Entities, the disclosures which are required under IFRS 7 as well as the  benefits of the information which were previously disclosed may not be retained as the information may not be readily available going forward.

Of course one of the prudent approaches to dealing with the risks associated with assessing financial statements  and the risks of loss arising on changes in the value of share may be to treat your investments as though you were going to be faced with a major hurricane which would wipe out access to cash via Automatic Teller Machines or Banks and keep sufficient cash at home to fund immediate expenses while reassessing your needs.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

I'v Been reading: Paria Publishing Blog

Maybe I am still caught up in the impact of the meteor, or the possible scale of disaster which could have happened if there had been many more meteors (meteorites?), however I started looking at this blog on Paria Publishing and decided to share links and excerpts from some of the books  as well as a list of categories of books which have been published by the local company.

Grenada In Wartime by Beverley A Steele

"Have you ever looked up at the sky and seen a huge object coming towards you which you could not identify? Have you ever wondered what would happen if your country could import or export nothing at all? Have you experienced what it is like to have a loved one leave home and never come back? Have you ever waited months on end for a boat arrive that never does? For 60 years to pass and so many questions still left unanswered?"

The Tale of the Forest Guardians  by Ryan James

Written and illustrated by Ryan, "The Tale of the Forest Guardians" is a story about how the Trinidadian folklore characters Papa Bois and Mama Glo came into being. We assisted him with the layout and book production.

The carefully designed and beautifully crafted book was printed digitally by the Office Authority in a limited edition and a real collector's item. Contact us if you wish to get a copy!
Singing Steve: 

Dr. Stephen Bennett's charming memoir, lavishly illustrated, in a beautiful hardcover edition. The life story of a larger-than-life agriculturist, veterinarian, horseracing aficionado and breeder of livestock — amongst which the once famous Buffalypso of Trinidad.

What things are True by Jackie Hinkson

What things are true? This is what Jackie Hinkson has been asking himself since his early introduction into art and, more so, since completing his studies at the University of Alberta whose motto is “Quaecumque Vera” (Whatsoever Things Are True). In 2012, the year of his 70th birthday, he is still searching for the answer in his work.

"In 2010, Hinkson’s numerous sketch pads were inscribed in UNESCO’s “Memory of the World” registry"

 There is also And so we continue by Jackie Hinkson
Jackie Hinkson's

Longing to Belong Mount St Benedict Centenary

Published on the occasion of the Centenary of the Mount St. Benedict Monastery in Trinidad and Tobago, "Longing to Belong" is the fascinating story of the founder of this, the first Benedictine Monastery in the Caribbean and Central America. It is a compelling and at times tragic story of a man, a human being, with all his virtues and imperfections. Peter De Caigny (Dom Mayeul De Caigny) was first and foremost an "unwavering general" in all the battles he fought for the Church and for the Benedictines.

Western Isles of Trinidad by Fr. Anthony de Verteuil

Fr. Anthony de Verteuil, a well-known author about Trinidad's history with a large number of titles published over several decades, wrote this charming and interesting book about "Down the Islands". The small and tiny mountaintops that peep out of the ocean between Trinidad's westernmost tip and Venezuela's Paria peninsula have traditionally been the place for weekend homes of many of the country's old families, and generations of children virtually grew up there, learning about the sea and about boats. But there is more to the history of the Western Isles: historical battles were fought between them, pirates hid their loot there in sheltered coves, and the largest centipedes ever beheld by mankind live in their undergrowth!

 The Book of Trinidad by Gerard A. Besson and Bridget Brereton

The Book of Trinidad, a perennial favourite with Trinidadians all over the world, is an eclectic mix of travelogues, recipes, newspaper reports, official records, the seminal work of historians and, perhaps more importantly, the oral traditions of the very old whose memories link back to the turn of the century. Fully illustrated with rare pictures from a wide range of sources, The Book of Trinidad has sold thousands of copies since its first publication in 1986.

First In Trinidad by Michael Anthony

This charming, fully illustrated book contains entertaining and informative short stories about the first times things happened in Trinidad and Tobago: from the first settlers, to the first postal, electricity and telephone service, to the first Olympic gold medal winner. Anthony's amusing writing style brings history to life!

Port of Spain in a World at War by Michael Anthony

his book, the second volume of the History of Port-of-Spain, deals with events in the city during the years of the Second World War. 

It tells of the anxieties, the tensions, the hopes and fears of the people of the city during this period. It deals with the tense wartime atmosphere created by the presence of the American soldiers, the shortages especially of food — and of the hope for a better world after the war.

In solidarity with:

In secondary school we spent one term studying Russia and the Soviet Union, of course this was before the Union was dissolved. I cannot recall most of the information which was taught as our teacher was a history buff and most of the class was spent in discussion or conversation. In our textbook, there were several chapters on Russia and the Soviet Union, however they were focussed on the period of Catherine the Great and Ivan the Terrible. Unlike U.S. history which we also studied and which included acquisitions of land and dates which had to be memorised, and lots of events, Russian history  and ice were not the most intriguing things.
Over the years, there was not much change in the knowledge as all things east of the Berlin Wall were only mentioned when there was disaster and the coverage was scarce. Of course their skills  in gymnastics were fascinating as  they were the secretly cheered for team when we were watching the Olympics.
However this week, Russia is in the news and on Facebook on two counts, one relating to meteorites and one relating to places to worship. I will share the links as well as pictures if possible as we are after all one world, one people!
St. Basil's Cathedral at moonrise, Moscow, Russia

St. Basil’s CathedralRed Square, Moscow, Russia
The official name is the “Cathedral of the Intercession of the Virgin by the Moat,” but we simply call it St. Basil’s Cathedral. Built in the 16th century by Ivan the Terrible, the cathedral was a symbol of the country’s capture of Kazan. The nine ornate “onion domes” are the lids to underlying chapels, the ninth and lastly built of which houses the tomb of St. Basil, a loved Russian Orthodox saint, or yurodivy, a “holy fool for Christ.” Legend has it that aptly named Ivan the Terrible insisted that the architect responsible for the creation had his eyes removed to ensure he never out-built the cathedral’s beauty on another structure. The cathedral is usually open to visitors every day except Tuesday, from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Image: A meteor streaked across the sky of Russia’s Ural Mountains on Friday morning.

Saturday, 16 February 2013

The Power of Positive Thinking

Some persons would be aware of The Power of Positive Thinking (published in 1952) by Norman Vincent Peale. In a statement on the following website: "Peale confessed that as a youth he had "the worst inferiority complex of all," and developed his positive thinking/positive confession philosophy just to help himself."
While most of us would not acknowledge that we have inferiority complexes or how hard we have worked to  overcome our complexes, sometimes there are little things which help us through the times when negativity seems to overcome us or just surround us.
  1. Acknowledge the positive in writing.  Even though our thought processes may veer towards the "this needs to be changed". If we put the comment on what needs to be changed in writing we can add what is good about the work which was done, so the whole message gets across. In speaking to the person, we may need to compose ourselves, plan the conversation, put in the good and then add the what needs to be changed......
  2. Positive Affirmations: There are many ways to remind ourselves of positivity or our beliefs. Sometimes we use pictures, words on the screensaver, or we post positive thoughts on  Facebook or Twitter. One of my recent discoveries was a programme which allowed for creating "electronic post its" These "notes" can be extended to different sizes to deal with the amount of the information which is to be displayed as scroll bars appear  if there is a lot of information which is to fit in a small note. Some persons use the stacking approach, or the "landscape orientation" approach to display these notes. The point of having these notes  is that you can use positivity to deliberately change the focus /pattern of your thoughts.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Some wonderful and wise statements & info

This post was inspired by a posting from +Maya Angelou on Face book today, which I am reposting:

"I am grateful that love exists: familial love, (love between relatives), romantic love (a passion between lovers), agape love (divine love between God and friends), love of nature (the majesty of mountains, the lasting love of oceans) and the joy of laughter. We are stronger, kinder and more generous because we live in an atmosphere where love exists. I am grateful for that."

Coming out of that post is a reminder of the many things we say either in jest or to make others feel better or just good.. Here are some of my more memorable ones over the last few years:
  1. If you are crying, especially through the night, find a place where you have to sit up!  That way, you do not end up with puffy eyes the next morning as the tears will run down your face freely if you are upright.
    • If possible go to a public place,  as you may be too embarrased to let the tears flow and you will get through the night without crying.
  2. Wine, women and song are a good alternative to Eat, Pray, Love!  
    • Depending on your personality Yoga may provide more release and renewal than meditation.
    • Women can be good dinner  and lunch dates. They are wonderful companions for three hour lunches and eventually you will reach an age when you will not care what people think.
    • Try something new, like learning to eat sushi..... Mastering the chopsticks will make you feel good. You will feel even better if it comes after an evening of trying to fit a roll in your mouth and insisting that you keep trying until you master it.
    • Find at least two good sushi places to try  over a period of time. It may be better than burgers.
  3. Reading can be developmental.. Try to find websites that provide knowledge so that you learn from these sources... Over time, knowledge can bring wisdom!
  4. Sunset over Acre

    • Some websites are fantastic from the point of the images they provide either through photos or narrrative. We may not all aspire to be biblical scholars however we can develop knowledge which is not linked to faith or religion. After all the world existed for a long time and sometimes history and photos can be an independent learning source. Also a  picture is also worth a  thousand words.  
    • Name: The Old City of Acre
      Date of Inscription: 2001
      Why Go: Get two historical cities—and quadruple the cultures—for the price of one visit
  5. Learn about the many agencies which work to preserve history/world heritage such as UNESCO's World Heritage Sites. "Heritage is our legacy from the past, what we live with today, and what we pass on to future generations. Our cultural and natural heritage are both irreplaceable sources of life and inspiration. Places as unique and diverse as the wilds of East Africa’s Serengeti, the Pyramids of Egypt, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and the Baroque cathedrals of Latin America make up our world’s heritage."   This sense of the need to preserve our heritage may have been born out of love. See the following links:
  6. Understand if the companies in which you invest are engaged in Corporate Social Responsibility and their perception of this activity.   Determine how much of your income and investment will be placed in various types of companies and what will you do to make a difference in the world in which you live......

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Management & Strategy versus Financial Strategy

Two of the courses which were covered at the final level of the Association of Certified Chartered Accountant  examinations  some years ago were Financial Management and Management & Strategy.  At a glance the names of the courses included Management, however the scope and expectations of both courses required different skills and competencies. These courses covered some of the following areas which were nicely laid out by wiki:

Financial Management:

Management & Strategy
At that time, much of the focus of the work which I did was financial based, with coverage of exposure through litigation and other areas of risk. There was some review of  the qualitative aspects of management,  some reviewing of succession planning in the organisation and in the industry which was being viewed. The knowledge which was provided by Management & Strategy  allowed for a different type of development of skills and knowledge which would prove useful at another point in time.

Saturday, 9 February 2013

I've been reading: Wisdom from the Proverbs

Some years ago I started trying to read books which were inspirational, faith based or inspired by the Bible to be more accurate! I went through "All will be well" by Julian  of Norwich, I tried Joyce Meyer, study of the various books  of the bible, daily inspirational readings scuh as Living Faith,  several 365 reading books. I find myself picking up Wisdom from the Proverbs  reading the day's reading and telling myself that I am preparing myself for Lent  and I realise that  it is really to have something to write about.
St Martin de Porres
St Dominic
St Vincent de Paul
In reality most of the books  have stayed unread for a reason, the workbooks and all of the rest stayed unread, unworked.... I was not motivated to read them, could not bring myself to schedule time, effort or energy.  These books are still stored on a shelf which is  located between a wall and a doorway which is partially incomplete and they have been very good in their current use of preventing someone from falling through the doorway which leads to no where.
I know that the unread books, just like the unfinished doorway represent a whole lot of emotional matters and truth be told, life is for living and having a good day is making me a whole lot happier than trying to be faith based or grounded in the knowledge of the bible which these books are supposed to make me. I may never be devout or deep in knowledge, but I will try to be charitable as I believe in the power of making a difference and in all of those saints whose attainment of sainthood was based on the lives they led.
St Anthony of Padua

Brazil - World Youth Day 2013

In 2013, World Youth Day will be celebrated in Brazil after being hosted in Madrid approximately two years  ago. "While the event itself celebrates the Catholic faith, the invitation to attend extends to all youth, regardless of religious convictions." (source wiki)  World Youth Day is not associated
with International Youth Day or any of the international observance days.

This year the theme of WYD is "Go and make disciples of all nations (Mt 28:19)". The World Youth Day events have been spaced three years apart since 2002, but the Rio de Janeiro World Youth Day will be held in 2013. Father Lombardi said the change was made to avoid the youth event coinciding with the FIFA World Cup, which will be held in Brazil in 2014 and the 2016 Olympic Games will be also held in the city.

To understand one aspect of  the importance of World Youth Day, some knowledge of the history would  assist.

History of World Youth Day

In 1984 the International Jubilee for the Young was celebrated by John Paul II in St. Peter’s Square in a celebration that also marked the close of the Holy Year of Redemption. At this gathering the Holy Father entrusted youth with what is now known as the World Youth Day (WYD) Cross - one of the most important symbols of WYD.

The UN declared 1985 the first “International Youth Year” and to celebrate it the Holy Father welcomed youth from all over the world in Rome on Palm Sunday. In December of the same year he announced the institution of World Youth Day. It is celebrated annually at the diocesan level on Palm Sunday in Rome and at a week-long event internationally every two to three years. Here are links to some of the World Youth Days of the past

See the attached links for  the history and details on the local organising committee.

Understanding relationships

There are many types of relationships, some which originate and exist based on emotion, some  which are based on the need to conduct affairs, with affairs not being of the heart. A relationship can be based on need, such as age. For example a young organisation can be staffed with a mix of experienced and less experienced persons for certain periods of time to facilitate start up and growth. 
With knowledge of the market and good strategic planning,  one will determine what are the needs of the company for the interim or in economic terms, the short and long term. One will also determine what are the factors which are variable and fixed. 
More importantly, one will identify the factors over which there is no control and one can only try to estimate the impact and prepare for it.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Photography and Photographers - Part I

For a period of time, having a camera and taking photos was like trying to develop a skill. There were the photos of the approach to Maracas Bay which has been captured by so many photographers. Gradually things and times changed and now I rely on the camera in my blackberry. If the phone dies and the battery is not replaceable or I lose the phone I lose the photos. I understand the risk. One of my medium term solutions is to place albums on Facebook and have online storage for free.
However I am fascinated by persons who are skilled photographers and who are organised in the display of their work. Here are a few examples of photgraphers  and photographs which I have found fascinating for one reason or the other:
Steven Sklifas - Mediterranean Heritage and Travel I suppose reading the Rick Riordan series on Heroes of Olympus which is a development of Greek myths and heroes which we studied in school has made an impact. Mr. Skilfas's photographs cover the following:

His photos are also classified according to topics such as:
  • Archaeological Sites
  • UNESCO World Heritage Sites 
  • Architectures
  • Antiquities
  • Religions
  • Landscapes and Garden villas
  • Travel and tourism
Lord Snowdon's photos and the stories behind the photos, such as the use of "blue" was quite inspiring. It was amazing to see the shades of blue and the use of blue through time.lord snowdon

Another type of Investing

Appliances : View of an elegant kitchen range
Some years ago I started a  distribution business where you could specialise in a category of products ranging from makeup to household appliances and supplies, to wellness. It was fun learning about all of the products and using some of the consumables, there were brochures and magazines, meetings on a large scale and one on one interaction with persons. In the early days of the venture, there was an exercise to develop goals relating to money which would tie in to how much you wanted to earn in a particular period. This was a tool which was used to motivate you. This venture had a lot  of positives in that  the products were good, some extremely good, there was the use of tax planning, self development through books and meetings to name a few of the pluses. However there was strong competition from other areas. I had been sent a brochure in the mail from a company which I had heard about, which was quietly private and there were several investment products being offered. These products ranged from long term investment where an inital sum was invested and in x number of years, there was a repayment of y, to where an initial sum was invested and there was a stream of outflows over a period  of time which related to the initial sum placed plus a bit extra. 
Needless to say I was excited about these  products and in the midst of the exercise by company number 1,  the distribution company, I forgot about learning about the products and I wanted the "money to be earned" now so that I could invest in these products. The distribution  business never really took off as I was not very passionate about it at that time.  The investment company continued to offer excellent products which were tied to the state of the economy, rate of interest and that remained a passion of mine for quite some time. Of course not having made the "goal money" there was limited investing which I could do, however I could keep learning!
Key To Investing Royalty Free Stock Photo - Image: 386165

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

What Carnival means to me this year

Carnival is celebrated on the two days preceding Ash Wednesday each year.  For Catholics and other Christians, it is a farewell to the flesh and the oncoming Lenten season. For several years I have not participated in Carnival in any way. There was nothing against the celebration, however I was not "into" it and I never felt like I had lost anything.
My alternative to the period was just heavenly, salt water in the form of the sea, quiet in the form of the absence of Internet, telephone, television, laptops, with early nights when  after the sun set, darkness came swiftly and everything was pitch black, to early morning sunrises, days spent playing games of one sort or the other with a nap in the day if you stayed up to late or was just too tired from the salty water.
Another View
Trini-revellers-Yanomani-Tribe-03This year I am seeing  Carnival from another point of view and it all came together this evening when I passed through the "Savannah" near to the Grand Stand and saw one of the points where judging of the bands will take place. I saw the posters where different portable devices highlighting the use of digital media were used to show costumes from bands. There was a list of past Panorama winners, there were tributes to various artistes and there was a general sense of recognition of Carnival past as well as the current.
In reality, Carnival is entering the digital age as there is live streaming of different events, some of which are available from Trinidad Carnivals ( see link) There is the "I am Carnival show" which starts at 8:00pm on February 10, 2013 where "The overall idea is that the spirit of mas, pan, calypso/soca and our rhythms all reside in different places but they converge once every year to create the spectacle and wonder that is Carnival. The ‘pregnant’ Carnival spirit calls the various elements together so that the unique Trinidad and Tobago experience is ‘birthed’ once a year."
The websites for the bands have become even more artistic as you can see from the sites of Trini Revellers and Brian McFarlane who are producers of two of the bands who will be participating in the various competitions this year.
Trini Revellers is producing  a band named "Brazil".  An article in December 2012 by the Guardian, a local newspaper states "Band producer David Cameron and head researcher Enrico Rajah engaged the services of several colleagues as well as the Brazillian Embassy to come up with next year’s presentation depicting the largest country in South America".;   This group has  participated  and placed in the following categories in 2012 CARNIVAL - THE GOLDEN YEARS:
  • 1st. Runner up Band of the Year Large - NCBA/NCC
  • Winner Modern History Category - NCBA/NCC
  • Band of the Day - Large - NCBA Downtown
  • 6th. Place - King of Carnival Finals - NCBA
  • 2ND. Place - King of the Road - NCBA
  • 10TH. Place - Queen of Carnival Finals - NCBA
  • Winner Band of the Year - Large - Downtown Carnival Committee
  • Winner - Modern History Category - Monday - Downtown Carn. Committee
  • Winner - Most Colourful Band - Large - Downtown Carn. Committee
  • Winner - Brass Band - JMC 3Veni
  • 1st. Runner up - Individual of the Year - Female - Avernell Johnson
htp://  Brian Mac Farlane is producing " Joy the Finale. Mr. McFarlane has had a series of 1st places over the last few years with creations such as India: The story of Boyie; Earth: Cries of Despair, Wings of Hope, Africa: Her People, her Glory, her Tears, Resurrection, followed by Humanity and Sanctification.

If you are interested in reading more on the subject, here is a link to Trinidad Carnival: Wild and Immersive  for Travel age West by  Mark Rogers or you can read the article on wiki:
Clients can pre-order costumes and collect them in Port of Spain. // (c) 2013 Jim Stephens/TDC

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Loving Update:

I now have a new phone and I am totally clue less as to how to use it efficiently or effectively. It looks like a whiteberry, however the brand name is like that of a motor vehicle. There is a difference in  the application of concepts on the phone.  I have to wrap my head around applying what I read. I am taking it slowly, if slower than slow is what you define as slowly.So far it is being used for phone calls alone and I am happy when I forget it on the desk and go out. LOL

Re entering the Job Market or the World of Work

Some years ago, I  re entered the job market  or the world of work after working on my own for a period of time. The following are  the factors which can  impact on the re entry into the job market:

Continuing Professional Education  - Today almost all fields rely on continuing professional education. Understand that you are a professional, and prior to returning to work, search the Internet for sites which are free of charge  which provide updates on your area of knowledge.   This will  indicate that there was continuous development taking place and that there is an interest in the development of self which will be ongoing. Keep that commitment.
Ability to deliver at the standard /level which is expected -
While you may have been on a career break,  on returning to work you would  need to show your future employer that you are capable of handling work at the level which is expected of the position.  Start reading as many articles  as possible to bring your knowledge to the current level of persons with whom you will be working as well as  that of the industry.
Ask about the Organisation chart, its availability to persons at your level, this is acceptable language and shows an interest in the company!
Also there may have been changes in the practices of the area so that the way things were done may have changed significantly. This may be identifiable through the articles which are available online.  Ask about innovations in the company and its intended impact.
Black Ring Binder Cover On White Background Stock PhotoExpectations and ability to commit - In some instances,  ask what are the employer's expectations and deliverables so that you are both being upfront about the deliverables during the probationary stage. Also ask what is expected after the probationary stage as you may not make it past that period of employment and there may not be any intention for you to continue past the probationary stage.
Ability to deliver at a consistent pace during the employer's hours of work. - Many persons who have been on a career break may experience difficulty functioning at the pace and during the hours of work of most companies as they may not have had the practice  during their career break.  Understand how you will be able to cope with this challenge. It is likely to be a question in the interview.
ComputersUse of Technology  - Use of technology varies from company to company. Try to understand what are the innovations which are available, especially with respect to storage of documents electronically, use of databases. There are many simple solutions which have been made available through networking ( I.T. style) in spite of the availability of wireless. If your field prior to going on the career break was specific to one type of company, which may have been paper based, then try to discuss how breakthroughs in technology in other areas can benefit your speciality.
Solutions - In reviewing the above points, I realise that these may be beneficial at any point in a person's work life, whether they are returning to work or looking to change industries or jobs. I hope I remember to ask them at my next interview or the interviewer covers these areas.