Wednesday, October 31, 2007

My Desktop - Revealing, Sort Of

My friend Francis at Caught in the Stream tagged me with a Meme. It's called What's the Personality of Your Computer? At first I thought, like Francis did, that my desktop doesn't say very much about the real me.

But when I took some time to think about it:

When I bought my laptop I sorted through the Windows options and found 'stream'. I love to look at it but it's not the desktop I really love. It's the screen saver of a gently running stream. The water rolls over the rocks. A leaf floats by on its way downstream. It's very calming.

First fact gleaned from my desktop - I desire and need calm in my life.

I've never attempted to customize my desktop with a personal photo. I'm not sure I know how. I used to say that I knew just enough about my computer to be dangerous. I'd say that's still true. In order to do this meme, I asked Francis to tell me how to get a screen shot. He was kind enough to send directions.

Second fact gleaned from my desktop - I only learn new technology when I'm pushed. Then I'm always so surprised at how easy the task was and I wonder why I avoided it in the first place.

I chose this desktop because I love water. I love to be near and around water, preferably a mountain river or lake. I love to sit on the edge, close my eyes and listen to the water rushing over the rocks or lapping against the shore.

Third fact gleaned from my desktop - Before I die I want to live in the mountains near a lake or a river. I want to walk out my backdoor, down a winding path to dip my fingers in the water and meditate to its song.

Looking at my icons, it's clear that I need to do some housecleaning. I don't use half of the shortcuts.

Fourth fact gleaned from my desktop - I tend to put things off lately and let the little things pile up. Got to change that.

Thanks Francis for giving me the opportunity to contemplate the ways my personality is exhibited through my computer. I don't know if anyone else will find this interesting but it was a fun exercises in self-discovery.

To pass on the fun, here are a few bloggers that I'd love to know what their desktop reveals about their personality. As always, my friends, no pressure to participate. Have fun and Happy Halloween!

Chrissy Jo at Rainbows and Butterflies.

Mr. Grudge, owner of what else?...Mr. Grudge.

And...JD at The Uneasy Supplicant.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Ann McGee of Miracle Flights for Kids - Honored as a Shero

I've long admired Ann McGee. Back in June I posted, Wings of Hope - Miracle Flights for Kids, about her organization, Miracle Flights for Kids, and the valuable work they do to ensure that sick children have transportation to and from specialized treatment. I'm not talking about a ride across town. I'm talking about private and domestic flights to far off cities where the best specialists can provide second opinions on a rare diseases and important treatments.

In June alone Ms. McGee and the staff of her nonprofit handled the coordination of 717 free flights, the most ever in a 30 day period. Since its inception in 1985, they have assisted sick and disabled children in 22 countries, including Mexico and Canada.

During a September 26th ceremony in Las Vegas, NV, Ms. McGee was named Shero of the Heart by Project Shero. Project Shero honors women who are admired for their courage, good deeds and giving spirits. Project Shero is a local nonprofit whose motto is "Educating girls and celebrating women." They offer enrichment programs promoting self-esteem and self-efficacy to at-risk girls between the ages of 5 to 13.

Ms. McGee says, " I'm proud to receive the award for the work I do. Project Shero is such a good organization for young girls."

Anne McGee is well known in her city for her accomplishments and her ability to quickly pull together the resources to make the impossible possible for these needy children. Without her many would languish with substandard care or be completely misdiagnosed for lack of access to a second opinion by experts in the field. Las Vegas is very proud of her.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Peace Coffee - Fair All The Way Around

There has been talk for a while now that coffee farmers are treated unfairly and coffee crops are stretched to the limits to meet the worlds growing demand for the tasty bean. Farmers barely survive on what they are paid for the raw beans while the consumer is dishing out $4.00 or more for one Venti Mocha Latte at the local Starbucks.

The profit is lost somewhere in between and never seems trickle down to the farmer who works so hard to give us that little boost. Some of the problem stems from complicated politics in South American countries. Others say that much could be solved if buyers and roasters adhered to and signed Fair Trade Agreements with the individual farmers and co-op owners.

Peace Coffee takes it one step further and forms lasting relationships with the farmers and the communities where the beans are grown. Buying Peace Coffee means that the co-op farmers have money to invest in their local schools and clinics. They build futbol (soccer) fields for their
children to play on. You make an investment in their lives and in turn they grow superior organic coffee.

Peace Coffee is located in Minnesota where they roast, pack and distribute the coffee beans all under one eco-friendly roof in Minneapolis. They deliver locally using bicycles and to the outlying areas of the Twin Cities with the use of Bio-diesel trucks. They are heavily involved in projects that promote sustainability and the concepts of the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, their parent organization. The IATP promotes resilient family farms, rural communities and ecosystems around the world through research and education, science and technology, and advocacy.

Peace Coffee's website is interesting reading. They extensively profile all the countries and growers that they work with. They also post copies of each Fair Trade Agreement they work under. They are transparent about their business practices and it looks like a good model for other companies to follow when dealing internationally. I enjoyed reading the stories about families from Ethiopia, Peru, and Guatemala. It certainly puts a personal spin on something I take for granted.

Peace Coffee is sold at stores around the country or can be ordered online. It's no more expensive than Starbucks or even the gourmet brands in the grocery store. I wouldn't mind paying 8 to 9 dollars a pound for the assurance that more of my money is making it into the farmer's hand.

They recently launched a variety called Sow The Seeds. 2 $ from every pound goes towards providing Flood Relief to sustainable and organic farmers in Minnesota and Wisconsin who've been hit by serious floods this year.

To me, Peace Coffee is a responsible way to get my morning pick-me-up and it save me a trip in the car to stand in line with all the other sleepy heads at my local coffee shop. Check them out.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

California Wildfire - Evacuatees Say They Feel Cared For

As fires rage across Southern California, there is hope among the evacuees. Only about 20,000 people took advantage of the free shelters set up for the public. Many who could afford it went to hotels and others fled to the homes of loved ones.

For those in shelters like the Qualcomm Stadium and a racetrack in Del Mar, Ca, the experience has been a positive one so far. They would all love to learn that their homes remained untouched by the fire – bringing a happy-ending and relief after the last few stressful days.

The racetrack became home to evacuated horses and other large animals. The owners were so grateful for a safe place to bring them. Evacuees at both shelters brought their household pets and were able to kennel them at the facilities. A much needed improvement over Katrina evacuation efforts.

Almost as many volunteers help to distribute clothing and food. They care for the peoples needs like providing a wheelchair for Janet Tucker, a retired bus driver who lives on disability. Volunteers wheeled Janet through the Qaulcomm to visit with her cats housed in the kennel. She recently spent two weeks in the hospital for complications to diabetes and was very grateful for the medical care she’s receiving at the shelter.

Charlotte Leger is staying at the race track in Del Mar. She fears her house is gone, like most of the homes in her Fallbrook neighborhood. She said about the tragedy, “"We're still not allowed to go back into the area at all. Fallbrook's completely closed off, so we can't get in, but you just try to go on with your life and help others that are going through the same thing, and give it your best shot."

Shiva Moradfar of Rancho Santa Fe believes her home escaped the fire. After 30 years in California, she’s seen her share of wildfires, but none has come as close to her as this one. Shiva says that other evacuees are helping her keep her spirits up, and she is repaying them by serving as a volunteer herself.

Please keep these communities in your thoughts. Send help if you can or volunteer if you live nearby. The rescue and evacuation efforts seem to be going much more smoothly than in past disasters in other states. It’s good to see the improvements and how the volunteers are caring for the citizens displaced by the fires.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

No Signal - A Weekly Meme Challenge from Eavesdrop Writer

My friend, Vienne, overhears conversations of the people around her then as an impartial observer, shares them with us on her blog, The Eavesdrop Writer. Her blog gives valuable insight into human behavior and is always an interesting read. She's created a Meme challenge that the writer in me can't resist.

Here is how it works - This is a weekly meme where readers continue Vienne's overheard conversation. Click on the above button. It will open the Eavesdrop Writer. After reading her post entitled No Signal, please close the window to return to LifePrints to read my unique ending to the story.

I've added a challenge to myself - to give the conversation an ending that fits the theme of my blog. So in this case, I must find a win-win situation for the people involved. Considering the situation, it took me a few days before the solution dawned on me.

Here is my ending to Vienne's Eavesdrop Ending Meme:

As the squatter scribbles on the scrap of paper, I see a young man wearing a baseball cap approach. He taps the squatter on the shoulder. The squatter jerks around, still angry and full of adrenaline. I can't hear what the young man says but the squatter's face relaxes. He smiles and puts the cap on his pen. The young man motions toward the building, walks away and gets into a jeep parked by the front door. He waits there for the squatter to drive around. When they are in perfect position for the exchange, the young man backs out and waves as he drives away. The squatter waves back and takes his place in the prime parking spot. I can tell he feels vindicated by the way he carries himself when he steps out of the car.

Now..that is my win-win solution. What do you think?

I've been in a car when the driver was so angry about a "stolen" parking place that he ripped the windshield wipers off the offending car after the driver had walked out of sight. There is no need for that kind of behavior. Life is too short to get so wrapped up in where we park.

I recently read somewhere ( if I could remember where I'd give credit, I think it was the Wishful Writer) about a woman who prays to her parking angel as she enters a crowded parking lot. Sounds funny but I bet it works...on so many levels, I believe that's much better than resorting to arguments and vandalism over something that in the fullness of my life doesn't even matter one iota.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Camp Bastion - Healing All the Wounded

Camp Bastion belongs to the British Army and is the largest military instillation built by Great Britain since World War II. At this point it is a tent city in the Helmand province of Afghanistan. The soldiers stationed there liken it to living on the moon. The vast desert and open hazy horizon could be compared to the lunar landscape. Sand as fine as talcum powder covers everything in a dusty film.

The floors of the hospital are thick with the dust. Even with strong tent walls, industrial sized air conditioning units and filtration systems, there is a constant battle for sterility in the patient care areas. In spite of a harsh environment where every supply must be flown in, the staff at Camp Bastion Hospital work with state of the art equipment designed to save lives. And that is what the staff does day after day - for Coalition soldiers, Afghan civilians, Afghan security forces and Taliban fighters alike. It doesn't matter, all life is precious.

The hospital is one sprawling tent. It has a five-bed emergency center and a ward with space for twenty-five patients, although it has held as many as fifty at one time. White canvas walls enclose the graphic scene - red blood spattered on the green vests of the staff and the blood soaked khaki uniforms of the injured soldiers, silver dials, and blue LED lights flashing vital numbers. It's war and it's not pretty.

The doctors, who in civilian life might do two surgeries a week, perform as many as seven operations a day. Their skills are tested as they repair bodies battered and torn apart by explosives and shrapnel.

Lt. Colonel Peter Davis normally spends his days working in a hospital in Glasgow, Scotland. Now he's a medic at Camp Bastion. He's proud of his work and says that there is a great professional satisfaction and reward in the successes that have been achieved at this field hospital. He says that each UK serviceman who has reached British Military Hospital Helmand alive has left there alive. That is a record to be proud of.

The hardest group for the staff to treat are the Afghan children caught up in the battles. The confusion in their eyes is haunting. Surgeons worked for hours on a young girl whose arm was crushed by an Afghan National Army vehicle. They saved her limb and after five weeks of treatment she was able to move her fingers and will have the use of her arm.

Another young girl, photographed by a Getty journalist, lay in a hospital bed while nurses tend to her burned face. She recovered but will be marked for life. Lt. Colonel Davis told of a boy whose legs were injured after stepping on a mine left years ago by the former Soviet Union. The boy underwent a series of operations and now has use of his legs.

These doctors and medical personnel are doing their best in an impossible situation, upholding their calling to repair and heal all that enter their doors. When the conflict ends their jobs will end and they can go back to normal lives. I pray that will be soon...until that day, I'm grateful people like Dr. Davis and the others are there holding the hands of the children and easing their pain.

Monday, October 22, 2007

CNN Planet In Peril - Please Watch on 10/23 and 10/24

Please set aside an hour of your time to watch the CNN Documentary, Planet In Peril. It will air in two parts at 9pm on October 23 and October 24. The worldwide investigation is narrated by:

Anderson Cooper – an Emmy Award winning journalist and author of Dispatches from the Edge. He currently works as the primary anchor of the CNN news show Anderson Cooper 360°.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta – Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery at Emory and Associate Chief of the Neurosurgery Service at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia. In 1997-1998, Dr. Gupta was a White House Fellow, one of only 15 chosen in the country. He worked primarily as an advisor to the First Lady and the President. In addition to his work at Emory University, Dr. Gupta serves as CNN's medical correspondent where he comments daily on medical issues.

Jeff Corwin - host and executive producer of The Jeff Corwin Experience and Corwin's Quest, two television shows about animals airing on the Animal Planet, a cable TV channel. He holds BS degrees in biology and anthropology. He completed graduate studies at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, obtaining a master of science in wildlife and fisheries conservation.

This is an important documentary filmed in a first-hand manner. Corwin, Cooper and Gupta will bring the issues down to a personal level where we can all connect with the information, instead of feeling lost in a barrage of statistics and temperature charts for the last 1000 years.

Education and personal action are the keys to solving the major issues discussed in Planet In Peril. With the power and immediacy of the global media, we have the unprecedented opportunity to see for ourselves, in almost real-time, the problems facing our world and, hopefully through this and other concerted efforts, our understanding will reach the critical mass necessary for real change.

Friday, October 19, 2007

New Innovations - The Best of the Best

It's an exciting time to be alive. The world is changing at break-neck speed while we struggle to keep up new developments. Here are a few fun and interesting concepts and products hitting the market. I've included links when they were available. If you know of any to enhance the list, send a comment and share your discovery.

Biodegradable Plastic - Now that makes me smile. Plantic offers an earth-friendly alternative to the petrochemical plastic of old. Plantic looks and feels like the kind overrunning our landfills, only Plantic is made from starch. You can toss it into the compost bin or bury it in the garden. Want to see something cool? Pour water on it and watch it dissolve. Hmm, don't know what that means if you get caught in the rain while bringing in your groceries! Maybe answers that question.

Safer CPR - Most of us think, if called upon in an emergency, we could successfully perform CPR. It's trickier than it looks and performing it correctly could mean the difference between life and death. The CPRGlove will help you. The device was invented by two engineering students from Ontario, Canada. It will soon undergo clinical trials. The glove is packed with circuits and sensors that guide you on the depth and pace of compressions, and signals you when it's time to do mouth-to-mouth. This invention will improve the willingness and confidence levels of individuals faced with emergency situations and I'm certain it will save lives.

Love songs designed by you for the love of your life - This won't change the world but it could change the climate in your bedroom. offers customized love songs performed and recorded by professional artists. You can pick a song and artist, and change the lyrics to fit your love story. I listened to several of the selections. The music is beautifully performed and the singers make the most of the lyrics, albeit the corniness of some of the selections. A personalized song could certainly be the gift you've been looking for to express just how you feel.

Air Powered Car - Here's a breakthrough, a zero-emissions car that runs up to 65 miles per hour on compressed air!MDI of France has announced that its Air Car will debut in India and France next year. They will range in price from $4,800 to $12,900. The first model fits up to 5 passengers and can go as far as 500 miles on one fill-up.

Get money back for riding a bicycle - One company in Rosemont, Illinois is paying 48.5 cents per mile to employees who bike to work. They also offer incentives like passes to a nearby gym to shower before work. Burke Group, a civil engineering firm believes that getting to the office under your own power reduces your carbon footprint and promotes good health, which makes their employees more productive in the workplace. Way to go Burke Group! Hopefully, other forward thinking companies will follow their example.

Cleaner Streets, really - A new cement coating developed by Italcementi take smog and pollutants right out of the air. The material, called TX Active, contains titanium dioxide, which neutralizes nitrous oxide and sulfur dioxide when exposed to light. The pollution eater can be painted on buildings, bridges and streets. It also helps to keep surfaces bright and white.

Do something good while you search - Now you can raise money for your favorite charity while surfing the Net. Every time you search the Web using, a penny goes to the nonprofit of your choice. It really works. So far GoodSearch has given $3,635 to the Save Darfur Coalition and more than $6,000 to the ASPCA. Set GoodSearch as your homepage and a cause you care about will reap the benefit of your escapades on the Web.

Have a great weekend. Enjoy the fall weather and spend time with people you love! That's what I'm going to do.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Brenda Combs - She Made It!

Brenda Combs was a homeless drug addict. Now she’s an award winning, respected teacher with two college degrees. Please take the time to watch the video. I’m not crazy about what I feel is Rick Sanchez’s tone but it’s worth enduring it to see Ms. Combs dignified reactions to his condescending questions. And it’s even more gratifying to see the dean of Grand Canyon University surprise her with the gift of a full ride scholarship for a PhD in Leadership in Education.

At the end of the interview, Rick Sanchez asks what advice she can pass along to others who are striving to make their lives better. Brenda says, “I say to them what I tell my students every day is that I believe in myself and my ability to do my best. I am intelligent and I am capable of achieving greatness, and I think that every person has inside of them what it takes to succeed, even if they need a little support.”

At 45, Brenda’s future is bright. She is a teacher at StarShine Academy, a charter school serving kindergarten to twelfth grades and recently listed in Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers. When she received her Master Degree from Grand Canyon University, First Lady Laura Bush sent personal congratulations.

Brenda is an inspiration to her students. StarShine Academy is located near the airport in Phoenix, Arizona in one of America’s most violent neighborhoods. The crackle of gunfire can be heard among the shabby stucco houses. Jacked-up cars blaring hip-hop music cruise the streets while police helicopters patrol the skies. But in Ms. Combs class there is peace and inspiration.

“Miss Brenda made me see that wherever you come from, you can do something great,” says one of her students who won a scholarship for gifted students to a Catholic high school. He says by sharing her own struggle to overcome addiction, Ms. Combs steered him away from drugs and toward his dream of becoming an architect.

She is an inspiration on so many levels. When she was homeless and addicted to crack and her shoes (her last bit of dignity) were stolen on a blistering hot day, she didn’t give up. She took stock of her life and knew that it was not her fate to sit shoeless under a bridge until she died of a drug overdose.
Of that moment in her life Combs said, "Whatever it is you want to do, whatever it is you want to be, it's up to you to make the right choice.”
She chose life for herself and contacted her family, turned herself into her probation officer and moved into a halfway house.

Twelve years and much hard work later she has the life and career she dreamed of. In the words of Rick Sanchez, “You Go Girl!”

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Maria Shriver - Woman of Substance

Maria Shriver, daughter of Eunice Kennedy and Sargent Shriver, knows what it means to strike out on her own and succeed in the electrically charged world of journalism. She knows what it’s like to be the daughter of famous parents, a member of one of the most well known families in our country and the pitfalls that come with instant recognition.

She learned from her parents about community service and the value of giving back to society. Her mother is the cofounder of the Special Olympics which showcases the athletic talents of special needs children. Maria is the author of five best-selling books, three of which are designed to lovingly teach children a concept of character or compassion.

She is the mother of four children and last but not least, the First Lady of California since her husband of many years is Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Governor of California. Maria is grounded and unpretentious and I believe if I moved into her neighborhood she’d lend me a cup of sugar with a smile. Having accomplished so much in her career and her personal life, Maria Shriver is a woman that young girls can look up to.

Recently she was quoted as saying this about real power, “I now understand that true power has very little to do with what’s on your resume. It’s about being true to yourself and finding your own voice and path in the world.”

And this about motherhood, “Motherhood is another tremendous source of power for women. For many in my generation there was heavy emphasis on being a super mom and purducing super kids. But I’m not sure that enough respect and attention has been paid along the way to some of the simple acts traditionally associated with being a woman. – the nurturing, the gentleness, the listening and the comforting. I think bringing into this world a child that feels loved, who feels safe, and who feels centered is the most powerful act of all.”

As a young woman, I remember watching Maria Shriver on various new shows and how my mother would comment on her beauty. I remember thinking.. yeah but, she has the smarts and insights to back it up. I want to be like that. She is exactly ten years older than I am. Sharing a birthday fueled my fascination with her. I’ve followed her life and career, watching her mature and grow, using her accomplishments as inspiration for the kind of person I might be ten years from now. It gives me hope about my prospecttive self the age of 51.

To know more about the causes she champions visit the website she maintains as the First Lady of California. If you live in her state there are exciting projects to get involved with and a Women’s Conference with a live web cast on 10/23.

Friday, October 12, 2007

October - Breast Cancer Awarness Month

My friend Anna at My Only Photo asked me to pass along this pink penguin in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I'm happy to oblige.

Last month I had a mammogram. No, they are not fun but they're not torture either. My only advice is Don't Look Down until it's over. I will say I don't believe that such a device would ever have been invented for the detection of testicular cancer. Squish a can handle it ladies. Buck up! It only last for a few seconds. Squish a, no way! I can see brothers around the world crossing their legs in anticipated agony now.

But a mammogram is our best defense until a new breakthrough makes it easier and more comfortable. And when the odds are so against us and there is so much to lose, we have to be diligent about early detection of cancer. No excuse is good enough for neglecting this important test.

I consider myself extremely blessed that no one I love has died from the terrible disease. We've had close encounters among my family and friends - lumpectomies, exploratory procedures, biopsies. That was enough to drive home the point that early detection and self-examination are mandatory.

Look at it this way. Most of us go to the dentist twice a year because we want to look good and keep our teeth. We aren't going to die if we get cavities but we go. Women faithfully keep weekly manicure and hair appointments. We spend thousands of dollars to puff up our body parts and look good on the outside. Yet we don't value our internal selves enough to go for a simple test once a year. For women over 40 ignoring a yearly mammogram could be a death sentence but on our way out we'll have nice skin, pretty toes and a flat stomachs from all those crunches. I hate to sound so dramatic but it's true.

Please take care of yourselves, ladies. Live to raise your children. Live to see your grandchild graduate from college. Live long enough to realize your dreams. One test, a mammogram, can greatly increase your odds of growing old in your honey's arms.

Do it..because you love yourself or at least because someone loves you.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Kevin Bardsley - 2007 Reader's Digest Hero of the Year

In April of this year over one million Reader’s Digest Readers voted to name Kevin Bardsley the RD 2007 Hero of the Year. Bardsley might have been happier never receiving the nomination. No one wants to lose a child to be called a hero.

But in Bardsley’s case he didn’t win because his son, Garrett, went missing in 2004 from a scout camping trip in Utah. He was nominated for what he did afterward and how he and his family used their grief to help others.

Garrett is still missing after three years. The Bardsleys feel certain he is not coming back and but still compile search information on their website They intend to keep looking until their son’s body is recovered.

Kevin Bardsley wants to save other families from the ordeal of losing a child, focusing on the mountains where Garrett was lost. This area is popular with campers and scout troops like the one Garrett was with when he went missing. Bardsley started a foundation to help find children lost in the Uinta Mountains of Utah. He bought GPS tracking equipment and trained a small army of volunteers to be ready at a moments notice.

Ten months after Garrett’s disappearance, Bardsley got a call. Another scout was missing in an area only 26 miles from where Garrett was last seen. Bardsley dropped everything and headed to the mountains. He met with the parents of Brennan Hawkins, the 11 year old missing boy and joined law enforcement and his volunteers in the search.

He used the knowledge gained from searching for his own son to suggest wide sweep searches and immediate contact with the media. It worked. 3,000 additional volunteers showed up to help and after four days of exhaustive effort, Brennan was found on the other side of the mountain. Instead of going for lower ground to look for a road, as one might expect, he’d headed up the rugged terrain and over the mountain. A searcher on an ATV happened upon him drinking from a stream.

Bardsley’s efforts to help other families would be enough to garner the hero award but he has also used the money from the Garrett Bardsley Foundation to open a school in Garrett’s name in Puca Cruz, Ecuador.

Kevin Bardsley received his award in Washington DC where he said, “I think the most important thing is that we all do good wherever we are for whomever we can.”

He is truly an amazing man who lives by his values and with integrity in spite of the tragedy that struck his family and son. At, the Bardsley’s volunteers are always available to look for a missing child in Utah and always on the look out for current information about their son.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

A Laptop for Every Child - Can it be Done?

Barring some complication, every child is born with a capable, imaginative mind. They are success-breeding machines who thrive on problem solving. Think about how a toddler focuses on the toy that’s just out of reach and everything they are willing to go through to get it. Failure is not an option.

Now put this same child in a developing country where their lives quickly become more about survival and less about exploration. Maybe one of those children holds the key to solving the world’s water crisis or has the potential to cure malaria. Without education and the tools of imagination, will we ever know they existed?

Nicolas Negroponte, a legend in his own right at MIT, wants to unlock the potential inside the children of the developing world. He proposes to do it with the One Laptop Per Child Program. Along with his team, Negroponte developed a durable, solar powered, kid friendly, Internet connected, software equipped laptop called the OLPC XO. His goal – an XO in the hands of every single child in the developing world.

That’s ambitious considering laptops are expensive pieces of delicate equipment, right?

Wrong. Negroponte and his team found a way to make the laptops for less than $200 each. His original design was nicknamed the $100 computer but the first batch were a little more costly than anticipated. When the project is off the ground and producing in bulk, he envisions scaling back to the $100 price tag. His chief technology officer, Mary Lou Jepson is shooting for a $50 laptop by 2009! Now that’s incredible.

The One Laptop Per Child program has approached the World Bank and several countries about purchasing the computers for their nation’s children. The project is well on its way to fruition.

The little XO tackles many of the technological problems faced in third world countries. The screen is completely readable in harsh sunlight. It’s solar powered and battery operated and draws very little power, less than any other computer ever developed. And, the XO easily transforms into an e-book reader so the child will have access to books from all over the world, not just local sources, which can be scarce.

The XO has been reviewed and tested by several top flight technology magazines and passed the tests with flying colors. It has reporters wishing they could take one home. Negroponte and Jepson say that the kids come first, no retail sales are in the works.

Except…if you go to their website after November 12, 2007 you will be able to buy an XO thanks to the Give One, Get One program. For a limited time, while OLPC is in the launch phase, individuals can buy two laptops for $399. One will be shipped to a child in need and the other to a child in your home. How cool is that? What a great gift for Christmas and a great way to help.

OLPC is also taking donations through their website. This is a worthy program with long reaching humanitarian and technological potential. With a donation, we can say we were part of the revolution from the very beginning.

Read more about the capabilities of the XO and this exciting project at and

Monday, October 8, 2007

Freeganism - Living off Your Wits Without Wal-Mart

Have you ever wondered if you could live without buying anything? Could you have survived during the Great Depression or during the rationing of WWII? If you're a Freegan, then you know the answer.

A Freegan is a person who lives the concept of the 3R's - reduce, reuse, recycle. My parents generation did this out of necessity. Freegans do it as a way of protest against a capitalist, consumer-driven society.

New York City has the largest organized Freegan group. They rely on for trash collection schedules to plan the best time for dumpster diving. They use to set up feasts in a Freegan's home where they cook and share the foods they collected by foraging through refuse at grocery stores, restaurants, and food chains.

You may think they are risking their health by eating food that others have thrown away. But Freegan's don't feel that way. They see our throw away lifestyle at its worst - or best for them - bins of sealed loaves of bread behind a bakery that cannot be sold the next day, but when opened, fill the air with fresh baked aromas or barrels of unsold fruit in the summer that has to be discarded to make room for the morning shipment.

Freegan's dumpster dive for household items, too. One such event was organized around the move out date at a New York City college. A few dozen people pulled working televisions, IPODS, Stereos, small appliances and furniture from the containers in front of the school. The students in this affluent area will no doubt bring brand new items next year and not even give a second thought to the discarded $150 IPOD.

Freegans recommend lists like, the free section of, thrift shops, church sales, and Freeswaps (gatherings where items are traded, no money exchanges hands) to furnish your house and cloth your body.

They avoid stores and buy nothing unless it's absolutely necessary. If they have a motto it would be this, copied from -

Freeganism is a total boycott of an economic system where the profit motive has eclipsed ethical considerations and where massively complex systems of productions ensure that all the products we buy will have detrimental impacts most of which we may never even consider. Thus, instead of avoiding the purchase of products from one bad company only to support another, we avoid buying anything to the greatest degree we are able.

It's extreme, I know, and most of us could not and would not choose to eat food rescued from a trash bin. But still, I think there is something to be learned from Freegans.

In a time when our planet is crying out in pain, anything we can do to help is better than nothing. Try reducing your carbon footprint by growing your own food - at least a pot of tomatoes. Buy one pair of new winter shoes instead of four. Eat the leftovers in your refrigerator instead of throwing them out. Check out the local thrift stores, flea markets, and garage sales. You never know what you will find. And next time you make a purchase, ask yourself a few simple questions - Do I really NEED this new thing? Will I even want it or care about it in six months? Can I fix the one I already have?

Go Freegan if it suits the radical in you or give Freegan-lite a try. You might find that you save money and live less encumbered and healthier. Listen as our planet breaths a sigh of relief.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Green Drinks - A Refreshing Mixer for the Planet

While reading La Delirante, I became intrigued with a post about a party that the owner, Wendy, attended back in August. A group called Green Drinks Malta plans parties where individuals who care about the environment can get together to have fun and exchange ideas. Wendy said she had a great time meeting people and looking at the artwork displayed at the bar.

I’d love to hang out with Wendy and her friends, listen to the conversations, and network with new people but Malta is a long way from the Southwestern US. As I read on, I learned that Green Drinks is not a Maltese phenomenon. It’s an international organization with chapters around the world. Low and behold, after reading their website, I discovered there is a Green Drinks group in my town that meets once a month not far from my home!

The Green Drinks Organization, founded in London in 1989, states their worldwide mission as – a lively mixture of people from NGO’s, academia, government and business. They invite you to come along and enjoy the warm welcome of the group. Just say, “Are you green?” and they promise to look after you and introduce you to whoever is in attendance. They say it is a great way to catch up with people you know and for making new contacts. Most people invite someone else along, so there is always a different crowd, making Green Drinks an organic, self-organizing network.

Through these simple unstructured events, people have found employment, made friends, developed new ideas/solutions, brokered deals and reveled in moments of serendipity with similar minded folks. Green Drinks states they/we are a force for good and hopes the idea of Green Drinks Parties spreads to cities around the world.

Contained on their website is a list of newspaper stories highlighting the activities of the group and a listing of active groups from all over the globe. Thank you, Wendy for bringing this to my attention. I can’t wait to go and give it a try!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Trish May - A Survivor With a Desire to End the Pain

Trish May got breast cancer one month after her mother died of ovarian cancer. That’s enough to knock the wind out of the strongest woman’s sails but she didn’t fall into self-pity or give up.

At the time, 1993, Trish was a forty-year-old executive at Microsoft. She set her mind to beat the cancer by taking control. She couldn’t do anything about the lumps in her breast, the surgeries and chemical therapies in her future but she could control her diet and exercise schedule. She could use her savvy marketing skills to contribute to minimizing the affects of cancer on other women in the future.

She hired a personal trainer and began a health regimen shortly after undergoing a lumpectomy. She’d have chemotherapy on Friday, be wasted over the weekend and drag herself out of bed on Tuesday to meet with the trainer. She says the positive encouragement she received during that time really kept her going. She eventually worked up to three miles of running and strength training three time a week.

In the summer of 1994, she ran in the annual Shore Run to benefit cancer research where she joined hundreds of breast cancer survivors in their trek along the shores of Seattle’s Lake Washington. The experience motivated her to do all she could to fight the disease for herself and others.

Five years later, she started a not-for-profit company named Athena Partners, after the Greek goddess Athena, the goddess of wisdom, courage and healing. She used skills honed during her years at Microsoft and Paul Newman’s “Newman’s Own” business model to launch Athena Bottled Water. She planned to use 100 percent of the net profits to fund research for cancers that affect women.

Currently, Athena waters are available on Alaska Airlines flights, in cafeteria’s operated by the Sysco Corporation, Dream Dinners, and Taco del Mar. Athena Partners has raised and awarded $130,000 for research.

May is just getting started and hopes that her company will have a long term impact similar to Newman’s Own which has donated over 2 million dollars in the past twenty years to various charitable organizations.

Athena Partners website is filled with survivor stories, inspirations and resources in the fight against cancer. Trish May is a clear inspiration to all women and a light in the darkness that is cancer. I wish her all the success in the world. If I see a bottle of Athena water with the distinctive pink ribbon on the label, you can bet I’ll choose it over any other brand.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

100 Posts - 100 Attempts at Change

This is my 100th post on LifePrints. 100 posts ago I knew next to nothing about blogging or the blogging community. I did a days worth of research on launching a blog, picked a template on Blogspot and dove right in. I hoped my love for writing would carry me along until I figured out what the heck I'd gotten myself into.

Back in the spring, my husband looked at me and said, "You know I read a great article about blogging. You should start your own instead of all that writing you're doing on myspace." I remember rolling my eyes then quickly thinking that he was right. I expected an adventure but what I've gotten is an education.

Because of LifePrints I search high and low for the best humanity has to offer. When I find a topic of importance that is normally reported on in a negative way, I find the positive spin. It gives me hope and I pray that I pass some of that on to my readers.

My readers - I wish you could see my big smile - they are a loyal bunch and I love them. They never fail to let me know that what I'm doing matters in some small way. They are my friends, family, and strangers that I now love and long to meet someday. They are the best, the ones who see the glass half full. They are the ones seeking out confirmation that we are NOT going to hell in a hand basket as quickly as mass media wants us to believe.

That is my mission with LifePrints - to give hope, to shine a light into the darkness, to pull from the crowd those who clearly rise above the fray, holding them out as examples to follow through the fog.

For myself and my family I hold onto these dreams of the future:

Peace, equality and stability for the sake of all. With that I believe will come an awareness about our impact on the planet and a reversal of our selfishness with natural resources. When we truly GET that everything is connected - all life - we will stop abusing our world and each other.

Crowded book signings where people line up around the block to allow me the privilege of signing my books that they've so thoughtfully purchased. Television and media appearances that allow me not only to speak about my writing but larger issues that face humanity.

My family living in THIS small community nestled in the mountains of Northern New Mexico. My husband and I running a successful retreat center where great minds from all over the world come to share their ideas and knowledge with others. I want to sit by my bend in the Chamita river and write best sellers that touch peoples hearts and cause them to think outside the box.

Who knows if the things I long for will come to pass? I'll keep seeing them right around the corner. As for LifePrints I will keep going, keep learning, keep expressing, keep hoping.

Here are a few of my favorite posts I found buried in my archives. Read and enjoy if you wish:

Free Hugs Campaign Hits Las Vegas

Billy Jonas - Industrial Re-percussionist Extraordinaire

The Forgotten Children of Sierra Leone

Laughter - The Universal Language

Miracles are Happening

For the Incredible Fathers I Know and Love

Stoves from Berkeley Scientists Saving Lives in Darfur

My sincere thanks to everyone who has supported my efforts with LifePrints. If I could reach you I'd give you a great big please accept my virtual efforts at passing on some of my gratitude.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Photos - Dramatic Images Changing Attitudes and Lives

There is power in photographic images. Think about your favorite family photos. Why are they so special? Think about Life Magazine or National Geographic and the dramatic images sandwiched between the covers. Photos move us to laughter and joy, tears and despair, anger and action.

The Pulitzer Prize winning photo of a young boy’s heroic struggle against cancer can move us to tears and remind us of the simple joys in life. He died eleven days later but look at his face and body language. He knew how to live every day to the fullest, no moment wasted on anger, hurt or revenge – just pure excitement over a wheelchair race down the hospital hallway.

The famous image of the kiss at the end of World War II is one of the most recognizable photos in recent history. To this day, the unidentified couple is a symbol of victory and the end of a terrible time for our country. Looking at them makes me want to cheer and share in the jubilation of the day.

The Vietnam War came home to us in a very personal way through the efforts of brave photojournalists who risked their lives to show Americans the many faces of war. The photos are credited with turning the tide and galvanizing a nation against a war with no clear objective or end. The photos of burned children, executions, soldiers and citizens placed in unspeakable circumstances brought Americans to their knees – some in anger, some in tears – but they all rose up determined to act on their emotions, for better or worse.

Blue Earth Alliance believes in the power of a photo to change the world and move people to action. Blue Earth Alliance is a non-profit dedicated to educating the public about endangered cultures, threatened environments, and social concerns through photography—with the ultimate goal of motivating society to create positive change. The group funds photographic projects with grants and support.

Founded in 1996, the Alliance hand-selects photographers to sponsor and works closely with them to provide fiscal sponsorship, grant-writing consultation, contacts with media and publishers, and marketing assistance. The goal is to get the word out, get the photographers vision to the masses, and share with the public the world through the eyes of talented photojournalists.

I found this exciting project through Earth & Economy, a blog well worth a reader’s time and attention. Thanks to them for compiling a comprehensive resource for Greenies like me.

Based out of Seattle, Washington, Blue Earth Alliance lists on their website current exhibitions that patrons can attend and photologs of current projects. My favorite is Shadow Lives USA by Jon Lowenstein. Check it out.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Lu Zijian

Most everyone wants to live as long as possible but only with the caveat of good health and sound mind until the end.

Watch and learn from Kung Fu Master, Lu Zijian. He was 93 years old when this was filmed during a competition. He is still thriving at 114. He has the agility and mind of someone ¼ his age. I find this so amazing and as I watched him gracefully moving across the floor as sense of peace came over me. What he does is absolutely beautiful. To what does he credit his longevity?

Mr. Lu said, "The key to a long and healthy life is a combination of movement and stillness—cultivating life by guiding the qi, the vital energy in the body, and moving the hands and feet through practicing Chinese boxing."

Simply that means, he gets up at 7 a.m. every day, practices kung fu in the morning, meditates, paints, reads, and visits friends in the afternoon. He is as alive, alert, and as amusing as any young man. He is a vegetarian refraining from eating meat or fish. His favorite food is tomatoes. He meditates for an hour and a half starting at 2 p.m., goes to bed at 11 p.m., and lives at his grandson's home. He told others a secret: eat raw tomatoes every day.

I grew up in a family where most of my relatives were of advanced age by the time I was born. My paternal grandmother lived until she was 95. Up until the last year of her life, she gardened, cleaned house, worked in her yard, and hung all of her laundry out to dry on a line. Her eyesight had failed her but she continued to do everything she loved that didn’t require reading. She ate mostly fresh vegetables from her garden and sweetened her food with honey from my father’s bees. She prayed daily as her form of meditation and loved to visit with friends.

I’d say she and Lu Zijian understand the secrets to a long life – natural living, meditative thought, abstinence from abusive substances, and a happy disposition. In watching and honoring the vital elderly in our society, we have a clear roadmap to healthy older years. Follow it and greatly increase your chances of never seeing the living inside the walls of a nursing home and making your own amazing video at your 100th birthday party!