Tag Archives: inspiration

@aussietony’s 20 gift suggestions for #life-long learning

Wrapped in living

Today I share with you a book by a passionate educator and life-long learner, Tony Ryan. I have shared material by Tony before. Here I wrote about his book The Ripple Effect, here I wrote about his Thinkers Keys, and about his seminar on Future-Proofing Kids here. In this post I nominated him as an educator I find inspiring.

The book, Wrapped in Living! 20 Gifts for Creating Passion in Your Life! is now in its twentieth year but has lost no relevance with the passing years. Its gifts are perennial and I find myself dipping back into it for reminders from time to time. With one of the busiest gift-giving times just around the corner you may consider the book as a gift for yourself or for someone else, or perhaps taking one or some of the ideas to make a gift of wishes.

Wrapped in Living is described as

A highly innovative approach to effective living and learning. Twenty special metaphorical gifts for re-discovering passion in life. Each of the gifts represents a vital principle for creating enthusiasm in life-long learning experiences. Full of entertaining stories and quotes.”

The gifts include such things as A Set of Sparklers to “unleash your imagination”; A Tapestry to “Become a life-long learner”; A Potplant to “create a peaceful environment”; A Hammock to “learn to relax; and An Hourglass to “take your time”. There are gifts for setting goals, for telling stories, for listening, for finding the magic in the everyday, and for knowing that you can make a difference, and more.

Tony describes each metaphorical gift, explains why it is important, and suggests how it might inspire you, how you might implement the gift in your daily life. He includes stories and quotes that add meaning and inspiration. For example I opened the book to a page at random and found a story by Anthony De Mello about a man sitting in a marketplace strumming one note on his guitar. A crowd gathered. Soon he was asked why he didn’t vary his playing like other musicians do. His response: Those fools. They’re searching for the right note. I’ve already found it.”

Tony’s message from this:

“You do not always have to search elsewhere for the information that you require. It already may be within you.”


Tony’s third gift, a tapestry, “offers a perspective from start to finish, and reminds you that you must Become A Life-Long Learner.

He says,

“Many famous tapestries display a long–term historical perspective on different cultures. They allow you to view events from beginning to end. You also should look at yourself in the same way. Think of life as a learning journey from start to finish. You are born to learn, and you should continue to learn until the day you die.”


Tony’s tenth gift is a jigsaw to “encourage you to Look For The Big Picture”.

He says,

“When you play with a jigsaw, you often use two strategies to finish the puzzle. The first is to assemble the parts. The second is to view the cover of the jigsaw packet. Your life needs both of these approaches, namely, to place the parts together, and also to look for the big picture.”


The final gift in Tony’s book is a very important one today when the problems around the world can seem insurmountable and overwhelming. It reminds us to look at what we can change rather than what we can’t; to find and focus on the positives, rather than seek out the negatives and allow them to destroy us; to focus on those things we have the power to influence.

It is a globe to “help you to Know That You Can Make A Difference”.

Tony says,

“When you look at your globe, you can see more easily that this beautiful planet is a single entity, rather than an infinite collection of people and problems. Suddenly the world does not appear quite so overwhelming. This can help you to believe that you actually can make a difference with your daily actions. In fact, because everything on this ONE planet is connected in mysterious and special ways, your actions can ripple out and benefit others around the world every day.”


He includes a story that takes place on a beach dotted with thousands of starfish which had been left stranded by the receding tide. A man was picking up the starfish one at a time and throwing them back into the sea. A passer-by questioned what he was doing and remarked that there were so many starfish he couldn’t possibly make a difference. As the man picked up one starfish and threw it into the water he replied,

“Made a difference to that one!”

As an individual we sometimes feel that we can’t make much difference to the world. But looking at it another way, we realise we can make a world of difference to another. How will you make a difference today? Tony has many suggestions in this book and other publications including The Ripple Effect.

Tony Ryan's 20 gifts

Which of these gifts have you received? Which would you like to receive? Which would you gift to another?

Thank you

Thank you for reading. I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts.

The True Story of Rudolph (The Red Nosed Reindeer)

What a heartwarming and inspiring story, just right for this time of year. I found it via Book Chat by Michelle James.
I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

This was emailed to me by a friend:

A man named Bob May, depressed and brokenhearted, stared out his drafty apartment window into the chilling December night. His 4-year-old daughter Barbara sat on his lap quietly sobbing. Bob’s wife, Evelyn, was dying of cancer.

Little Barbara couldn’t understand why her mommy could never come home. Barbara looked up into her dad’s eyes and asked, “Why isn’t Mommy just like everybody else’s Mommy?”

Bob’s jaw tightened and his eyes welled with tears. Her question brought waves of grief, but also of anger. It had been the story of Bob’s life. Life always had to be different for Bob. Small when he was a kid, Bob was often bullied by other boys. He was too little at the time to compete in sports. He was often called names he’d rather not remember.

From childhood, Bob was different and never seemed to fit…

View original post 473 more words

What would happen if . . . ?

The message of this video alone provides reason enough to ensure children are provided opportunities to question, be creative and think critically.

Listen to Nikolai Begg convince you!


The Very Inspiring Blogger Award – Acceptance

birthday-cake-25388As a birthday gift to me (though he didn’t know it was my birthday) Geoff Le Pard, who blogs about the Universe and whatever occurs to him at TanGental, nominated me for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award.

Needless to say I was both surprised and delighted. I could say that I aspire to inspire, but I think even that would be a great exaggeration.


In his post Geoff provides three reasons for selecting me:

  • I see life through a prism
  • I have a firmly fixed moral compass, and
  • He wishes I’d taught him at school!!!!!

The first two I am not sure about, but I am definitely honoured by the third. Thank you Geoff. I will endeavour to attain this high bar you have set.

The rules for accepting this award are:

1. Thank and link to the amazing person(s) who nominated you.

2. List the rules and display the award.
3. Share seven facts about yourself.
4. Nominate 15 other amazing blogs and comment on their posts to let them know they have been nominated.
5. Optional: Proudly display the award logo on your blog and follow the blogger who nominated you.


Thank you, Geoff. I am honoured.

These are seven things about me:

1. I am passionate about education and the power that education has for transforming lives. I believe that everyone has a right to an education. I have spent all of my adult life involved in education in some way; and most of my childhood was spent in school!

2. I am the third of ten children. What that tells you about me I’m not sure, but I believe we are more than the product of our birth order and environment; that each of us has the power to make choices about how we want to live our lives. I’m not saying environment and genetics don’t play a large role in who we are, but I am saying they do not determine everything.

3. I have two adult children of whom I am extremely proud and who I love very much. They are what is important in my life. They each have a wonderful partner who I also love, and my son has two beautiful children who I adore. My family gives me an enormous amount of pleasure. I am very fortunate to have all of them living close to me.

4. I enjoy playing games, especially word games like Scrabble, Upwords and Balderdash. I especially enjoy playing them with my family. We often spent days playing games together when the children were growing, and had grown, up. We’re having a bit of a rest now that the grandchildren are small and doing the entertaining. I’m sure we’ll have three generations playing together again soon. We collaboratively do the ‘Big Quiz’ (40 trivia questions) in the local paper when we get together on Sundays, hoping that someone in the family may know the answer. None of us fair too well on the sporting questions!

5. I have a silly sense of humour. I enjoy word plays and puns and alternate meanings for words and sayings. In my head I finish words and statements with ridiculous things before the person speaking has even time to finish them. I laugh uncontrollably at something I think is funny, like this silly senior’s password email that arrived in my inbox this week:


6. I think life is short and should be fun. We don’t know how much time we have so we should enjoy what we’ve got. This doesn’t mean we have to be out partying and playing all the time. It means we need to focus on enjoying what we are doing in the present moment, no matter how unpleasant it may be. It also means making choices and accepting responsibility for the choices we make.

7. I love learning. Learning gives so much joy. There is too much to learn in one life time, and it is scary now that the road ahead is considerably shorter than the one already travelled. I hope that in my days of teaching I have inspired in children a love of and joy in learning that they will carry with them throughout their life travels.

Nominating 15 other amazing bloggers is the hard part. Not because there are not 15 amazing and inspiring bloggers, but because I have nominated many before for a Butterfly Award, a Versatile Blogger Award and a Liebster Award. Not only that Geoff has nominated many of these same bloggers for this award, and Charli Mills has nominated them also.

We have a wonderful community of very supportive and encouraging bloggers. We each write our own blogs about our own interests, explaining our ideas and points of view. We read and comment on each other posts sharing points of convergence and divergence, and often adding further insights.

Rather than re-nominate bloggers I have nominated before (and be assured that you are all very deserving of this award and if you wish to add the Inspiring Blogger’s badge to your blog I am happy for you to do so) – over the next few weeks I am going to do a little more exploring to seek out other inspiring bloggers to add to our growing community.

A big thank you, to each and every one of you, for encouraging and supporting me on my blogging journey. Having your company is what makes it all worthwhile!

I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts on any aspect of this article.


Previous nominees:

Liebster Award

Belinda Pollard of Small Blue Dog Publishing (Australia)


Anne Goodwin (UK)

Caroline Lodge (UK)

PS Cottier (Australia)

Teachling (Australia)

Peter Worley’s philosophy foundation (UK)

Michelle Sowey at The Philosophy Club(Australia).

There’s No Food ( Australia)

Obscure Pieces (Australia)

Cultivating Questioners (USA)

Nillu Nasser Stelter (UK)

Charli Mills Carrot Ranch Communications (USA)


Versatile Bloggers

Ailish Sinclair

Teagan Kearney

Karen Wyld

Vicki Addesso

Susan Buchanan

Paula Reed Nancarrow

Lisa Reiter

Lori Schafer

Karen Oberlaender

Diane Mott

Greg Mischio

Anne Goodwin

Caroline Lodge

Charli Mills



Butterfly Award

Ruth Mancini

The Nerdy Book Club

Two Writing Teachers

Raising a literate human


Flash fiction: Revival

The challenge from Charli Mills at Carrot Ranch Communications on April 23, 2014 was to:  In 99 words (no more, no less) describe the climate of a story as it changes to reflect a character’s mood or to create a sense of what is to come. This is my response to the challenge. I hope you enjoy it.


Her motivation and inspiration was as parched as the cracked red soil beneath her feet. The days were hot and lazy: nothing to do until the rains came. One long languid day followed another. With no work to be done on the land, time did not pressure creativity. Without pressure, there was no rush, no will. The bright blueness of the skies, usually joyous, now oppressive. An occasional cloud or flash on the horizon made empty promises. Finally the winds whipped the clouds into a frenzy, reigniting her creativity as the relentless soaking rains awakened the dormant earth.


Please let me know what you think.