A Most Peculiar Puzzle Piece

If I were a puzzle piece and you were looking for the puzzle where my piece would fit you would probably have a hard time finding it.



  1. Different to what is normal or expected; strange.

“He gave her some very peculiar looks”

strange, unusual, odd, funny, curious, bizarre, weird, uncanny, queer, unexpected,
unfamiliar, abnormal, atypical, anomalous, untypical, different, out of the ordinary, out of the way
  1. Particular; special.

“Any attempt to explicate the theme is bound to run into peculiar difficulties”

distinctive, characteristic, distinct, different, individual, individualistic, distinguishing,
typical, special, specific, representative, unique, idiosyncratic, personal, private,
essential, natural

distinctive, characteristic, distinct, different, individual, individualistic, distinguishing,
typical, special, specific, representative, unique, idiosyncratic, personal, private,
essential, natural

But I do seem to have found a place where my peculiar piece of the puzzle will fit!
I am moving to Poatina Village in Tasmania
Poatina is 40 minutes’ drive from Launceston on the edge of the Great Lakes country and nestled by the majestic heritage listed Western Tiers.
When the Poatina Power Station was built in the late 1950’s, Poatina Village was constructed nearby to house the workforce. Hydro Tasmania sold the entire Village to Fusion Australia in 1995.

I spent two months in Poatina earlier this year as an Artist in Residence. Poatina has a strong emphasis on all forms of the arts and is home to the Alethea Mountain Retreat Arts Centre and Glass Studio.
It is home to Faith and the Arts Summer School

So my storytelling writing and drawing fitted in.

Also at Poatina is Capstone College http://www.capstone.tas.edu.au/  which redefines education for students who have become disengaged from traditional schooling.
The curriculum includes a mixture of literary and numerical study, together with practical, hands-on life skills in areas like Sustainable Farming, Commercial Enterprise, Artistic Expression, the Natural Environment, Community and Historical importance. Some of these students are gifted or 2E twice exceptional.
And there are several homeschooling families in the village and the surrounding area.
So all the experience and resources I have gathered or created over the years for my family and Gifted Resources and the Church school programs I have written will be useful to the community.

Poatina is interested in stewardship, permaculture, sustainability and waste reduction and at present are working on a Permaculture Appreciative Enquiry which will be leading to and contributing to a Permaculture Design Certificate.
Poatina encourages all the residents to be life-long learners and there are so many opportunities to study and learn and discover within the village or via the universities or online.
So all the people in the village are regarded as unique and treasured assets.

The scenery is beautiful and the sunrise, sunset and rainbow draped skies are beautiful. There are many animal and bird visitors. Wallabies, paddymelons and wombats come right up to the houses at dusk.
So I will be busy happily recording memories with my camera.

And also, most importantly, I will enjoy participating in the life, activities and devotional times of the community.

1 Peter 2:9 King James Version (KJV)
But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light



Myth busting with Columbus Cheetah

When Psycho Motor Dabrowski learned that the theme for this year’s New Zealand Gifted Awareness Week was to be Myth Busting he became even more super-over-excited than usual.

“Cool! I love myth busting!” he yelped. “Lots of bouncing and barking and blowing stuff up and then lots of high fives all round!”

“I think it would be wise to leave myth busting about giftedness to me” said Columbus Cheetah. “It is what I do! And I use Cheetah Logic rather than explosions to make my case.”

Columbus Cheetah has been working on busting myths about gifted and twice exceptional students for many years now.

He has tackled the myth that there are NO gifted students
and the myth that ALL students are gifted
and the myth that it is possible to create giftedness by training and attitude

He has battled myths such as
All gifted students will do well in school

Gifted students are polite, well behaved and have neat handwriting

Special education provisions for gifted students are elitist

Gifted students have pushy parents

And he has fought valiantly against

All students level out by Year 3

Acceleration is harmful for gifted students

It is not possible to be gifted and have a disability


Sometimes Columbus Cheetah becomes disheartened when he sees that the myths he has been battling against for such a long time continue to be believed and hinder gifted and twice exceptional students from receiving the educational opportunities and the social emotional support they need.

So Columbus Cheetah is delighted that the theme of New Zealand’s Gifted Awareness Week 2019 is Mythbusting!
All the folk at Sprite’s Site and Personas, Profiles and Portraits blog send their best wishes to New Zealand for a great week and much success with busting the myths surrounding giftedness.

Sprite’s Site characters visit Poatina

The characters from Sprite’s Site have visited Poatina with me recently while I was an Artist in Residence there to share their stories and contribute to understanding of gifted and twice exceptional people.

Sprite has been talking about Dr Linda Silverman’s  Characteristics of 2E Twice Exceptional students and demonstrating her De Bono’s 6 Action Shoes

Columbus Cheetah has been dispelling myths about gifted and twice exceptional people

The Dabrowski Dogs have been demonstrating over-excitabilities and sensitivities


P’est Pour Parfait, the Black Perfectionist Poodle and the White Perfectionist Poodle have been talking about the positive and negative aspects of perfectionism



And, of course the Tweet Family have been sharing their experiences of teaching their Twitter Bird tweetlets using NEST Ed – Nest Education System of Training

The Memory Elephant has been taking lots of photos and recording lots of memories for us all.
I have created a new blog about my Poatina adventures, G’day from Poatina,  at https://gdayfrompoatina.wordpress.com/ 

The punch line

Image by Lisa Conrad

This week I will be the guest and we will be discussing Humor and the Gifted on GT Chat.

By a strange coincidence Sprite is doing a study unit at school about how humor can be used to comment on political and social conditions and maybe act as a force for change. She is learning about Gilbert and Sullivan operettas, Charlie Chaplin films, Robin Williams and political cartoonists.


As an introduction to the topic they each had to pretend they were a stand-up comedian and tell a joke or do something to make the class laugh.”

Sprite told me “Most of the kids got up and told a riddle. Some just pulled a silly face or fell over and everyone laughed at them. If they were just being silly or taking too long without being funny the teacher would say they had to get to the punch line. Of course some of the boys took her literally when she said that and punched each other.”

“When it was my turn Intellectual Dabrowski and Imaginational Dabrowski helped me tell a story about a cat who got shut up in a box and lots of things happened to him while he was in there. I could just picture it! It was so funny! I could hardly tell the joke because I was laughing so much but the class didn’t seem to find it funny. So the teacher said ‘Get to the punch line, Sprite’.

And I said “How is your cat, Mr Schrödinger?”

And the kids all said “Huh?” and the teacher said “Good try, Sprite”.

I was not really surprised. Gifted people often have a very different, quirky or intellectual sense of humor. Sometimes it is appreciated and they become beloved comedians, actors and authors. But sometimes they are just misunderstood and regarded as strange.
I am looking forward to the GT Chat session.

Braced for Paradox

I found the Dabrowski Dogs preparing excitedly for the dog competitions at the Spring Agricultural Shows.

Psycho Motor Dabrowski was practising for all the agility events – scaling the high wall, taking a long jump into a swimming pool, running figure of eights through bending poles and crawling through tunnels. He was having so much fun that after he completed each exercise he bounced several times, barked loudly and chased his tail. And he knew the audience would love to see him do that.

Sensual Dabrowski was hoping to be able to compete in the trials for retriever dogs. With his highly developed sense of smell he is excellent at finding and retrieving objects.

Intellectual Dabrowski was preparing for the sheep dog trials by herding twitter birds into an empty sprite can. He was carefully triangulating and calculating the fastest route and deciding exactly when he should give a bark or hold them with the working dog stare. It was Intellectual’s opinion that the dog was the one who instigated all the moves and that the handler was just there for the sake of appearance and to collect the trophy for him.

Imaginational Dabrowski had seen people parachuting into the main arena during the agricultural shows and was happily daydreaming about how much fun it would be to swoop in as Delta Dog https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2012/08/04/delta-dog/  on his hang glider.

Emotional Dabrowski, the Drama Queen, was getting ready for the conformation classes. She had been to the Paws for Poise mobile dog grooming salon https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2010/09/03/paws-for-poise-parlour-1/  several times and was now parading in front of the mirror, posing in the show stance and showing off her beautifully groomed coat, well-trimmed claws and sparkling white teeth. She was also experimenting with different facial expressions; trying to gauge which would be most appealing to the judges.

Then I noticed that Sprite had the collars of P’est Pour Parfait, the black Perfectionist Poodle and The White Perfectionist Poodle attached to a single lead and she was trying to control them as they endeavoured to head in opposite directions.

“What are you doing?” I asked

“They want to go in the class for A Pair of Dogs” she said.

“That class is called the Brace Class” I said. “The dogs are supposed to look as identical as possible – the same height and colour etc. – and they are supposed to move smoothly in step with each other on the single lead.”

“Oh!” said Sprite. “Maybe I didn’t understand what they wanted. I thought they said they wanted to go in the class for a Pair of Dogs but maybe they said they wanted to go in a class for a Paradox. That would make more sense because Paula told me Perfectionism is a paradox – it can be both good and bad”

We talked about the paradox of perfectionism in the post Black poodle, white poodle https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2015/05/18/white-poodle-black-poodle/

Acknowledging Diversity: Gifted is not a homogenous group

Better late than never!

New Zealand’s Gifted Awareness Blog Tour is held in June


This year I volunteered to contribute a post for the blog tour but real life got in the way of my writing. I am living with my daughter and son in law and their Stumpy Tail Australian Cattle Dogs had a litter of puppies. Caring for the puppies took up a great deal of time both during the day and overnight. The pups liked to play and be fed at between 2.00am and 4.00am. We called it the ‘stupid o’clock session’!

In the past, when I lived in Rosebud, the folk at Sprite’s Site have gone down to the beach to wave ‘across the ditch’ to New Zealand


But this year I am not living near the beach so they have to be content to hold up signs and send postcards and emails.

The theme for this year is Diversity.

It is a topic dear to the heart of the Sprite’s Site folk as they are a very diverse lot themselves.

The Psych-Owl –Ogist explained the concept to Retweet when she queried whether both her tweetlets could be gifted as they were so different from each other


Gifted students come from every racial, ethnic, religious, and socio-economic group.

They can have differing profiles as described by Dr. Maureen Neihart and Dr. George Betts Revised Profiles of the Gifted and Talented 2010
Teachers would usually recognize gifted students with Successful profile, maybe the Creative ones and maybe the Autonomous Learners but may have more difficulty in recognizing the Underground, At Risk and 2E Twice Exceptional students as gifted.

The Persona Dolls from the Personas, Profiles and Portraits Blog https://jofreitag.wordpress.com/  are representatives of these profiles of giftedness

Columbus Cheetah is quick to point out that there are many myths about characteristics which contribute to the lack of understanding of the diversity present in gifted students. http://www.giftedresources.org/gr/columbuscheetah.htm

Myths such as:
All gifted students will do well in school https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2014/01/07/columbus-cheetah-myth-buster-myth-3/

Gifted students are polite, well behaved and have neat handwriting https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2014/01/08/columbus-cheetah-myth-buster-myth-4/

It is not possible to be gifted and have a disability https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2014/01/17/columbus-cheetah-myth-buster-myth-8/

All of these myths cause gifted students who do not fit those particular descriptions to be overlooked.

Gifted students also vary in the areas of giftedness and talent they have and come with varying personality types and varying types of intensity and sensitivity.

Sprite’s Site discussed the various types of giftedness in the post Gifted – How? https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2014/09/01/gifted-how/  which was a contribution to

Hoagiesgifted September 2014 Blog hop www.hoagiesgifted.org/blog_hop_gifted_how.htm

Because of this diversity in gifted students there is no single program which fits all of them.

Sprite’s Site discussed this:

One size shoe cover system https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2014/02/11/de-bonos-6-action-shoes-9-one-size-shoe-cover-system/

I am very sorry that I did not manage to complete this post in time for the New Zealand Gifted Awareness Blog Tour.
However the good news is that the excellent posts in the Tour can still be read at www.nzcge.co.nz/blog_tour_2017


By Heresies Distressed


When I arrived at Sprite’s Site today I found things much as they had been when I was here last.

“Where have you been all this time?” demanded Sprite.

It was a reasonable question.
The last time I posted on Sprite’s Site was 1 August last year. That post would have been written in mid-July and set to go live on 1 August for
Hoagies’ August Blog Hop: Gifted Social Issues.
In late July Rainer, my husband of 43 years was admitted to hospital suffering from pancreas and liver cancer and he passed away on Sunday 14 August 2016.

I am now living with my daughter and son-in-law which is great because they are looking after me very well and they have two Stumpy Tail Australian Cattle Dogs and an elderly ginger cat who are great company.

But it meant that at the same time as we were organizing the memorial service and working on winding up Rainer’s affairs we were also packing up and cleaning the home in Rosebud and unpacking and settling in here.

So I have neglected Gifted Resources website, the Gifted Resources Newsletter and the three blogs.

Adding to the difficulties in July my old faithful laptop’s hard drive failed due to old age and being over worked and I lost my list of contacts and some of my favourite programs. My kind brother in law Rick Freitag gave me a new laptop/tablet with Windows 10 and I set to work loading it up and learning the new system.

I am still in the process of learning and working out how best to manage the Gifted Resources website; so until I have it all sorted out I am going to post the Gifted Resources Newsletters on the Gifted Resources blog, starting with the spring 2016 Holiday Programs Newsletter.

“I thought you had gone away and left us!” Sprite said.

“I’m sorry!” I said. “I have been busy and sad and not feeling very creative. What have you been doing?”

“What could I do without you telling me what to think and say and do?” she replied. “I thought you had created us and then just left us alone. Would your creator do that to you?”

We have talked about the differences between me as Sprite’s creator and God as my creator before https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2012/08/28/creator-is-to-creation-is-as/

The main difference is that unlike God, my Creator I am not omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent.

I realize that I am more like the creator described in various heresies which beset the church.

The Puppeteer God

Although my storylines describe Sprite using initiative and acting in ways that surprise me, in truth I dictate all her thoughts, words and actions.
God, my creator gives us free will to think, speak and act.

The Watchmaker God

The intricacies of the watch propose that the watch had an intelligent creator in the same way as the intricacies of the natural world speak of an Intelligent Creator. This analogy is also used to suggest the heresy that God designed the creation, set it on its course and then ignored it and now allows it to run according to the laws of nature which He had installed.
It describes a God who is transcendent but never immanent.
It fails to account for God’s continued presence in and ongoing sustaining and interaction with His creation.
I acknowledge that I have been acting in the manner of the watchmaker lately.

The Absent God

This heresy suggests that because evil things are happening in the world it indicates that God has either died or gone away.
It denies that God is infinite, eternal and omnipresent.
We have talked in the past https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2014/08/16/donkeys-live-a-long-time-5-intermission/ about the fact that I will not live forever and at some point will go away.
“Will I die when you die?” Sprite had asked.
I had never contemplated having a discussion about the likelihood or otherwise of a fictional character living after the author’s death with said fictional character.
“I don’t know!” I said.
However I know I have the promise from God, my Creator that he will never leave or forsake me.