Building Homes

September 24, 2010 by  
Filed under Inspiring People

Dan Wallrath found a way to show his appreciation for the men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan; he builds homes mortgage free.

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Yoko Ono And John Lennon

May 17, 2010 by  
Filed under Featured

heart on the beach

heart on the beach

Over the weekend I came across this letter Yoko Ono wrote back in 2007.  I’m sure the only change she would make to the letter would be to add the 2 ½ years to the 27 years she wrote down.

——-

I miss you, John. 27 years later, I still wish I could turn back the clock to the Summer of 1980. I remember everything – sharing our morning coffee, walking in the park together on a beautiful day, and seeing your hand stretched to mine – holding it, reassuring me that I shouldn’t worry about anything because our life was good.

I had no idea that life was about to teach me the toughest lesson of all. I learned the intense pain of losing a loved one suddenly, without warning, and without having the time for a final hug and the chance to say, “I love you,” for the last time. The pain and shock of that sudden loss is with me every moment of every day. When I touched John’s side of our bed on the night of December 8th, 1980, I realized that it was still warm. That moment has haunted me for the past 27 years – and will stay with me forever.

Even harder for me is watching what was taken away from our beautiful boy, Sean. He lives in silent anger over not having his Dad, whom he loved so much, around to share his life with. I know we are not alone. Our pain is one shared by many other families who are suffering as the victims of senseless violence. This pain has to stop.

Let’s not waste the lives of those we have lost. Let’s, together, make the world a place of love and joy and not a place of fear and anger. This day of John’s passing has become more and more important for so many people around the world as the day to remember his message of Peace and Love and to do what each of us can to work on healing this planet we cherish.

Let’s: Think Peace, Act Peace, and Spread Peace.
John worked for it all his life.
He said, “there’s no problem, only solutions.”

Remember, we are all together.
We can do it, we must.
I love you!

Yoko Ono Lennon
8 December 2007

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Texas Man Brings Hope To ‘Forgotten’ Disabled Iraqi Kids

August 1, 2009 by  
Filed under Inspiring People

art_brad_blauser

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) — Brad Blauser lives in war-torn Baghdad, where he doesn’t earn a paycheck and is thousands of miles from his family. But he has no intention of leaving anytime soon.

For the past four years, the Dallas, Texas, native has been providing hope to hundreds of disabled Iraqi children and their families through the distribution of pediatric wheelchairs.

“Disabled children — they’re really the forgotten ones in this war,” said Blauser, 43. “They are often not seen in society.”

Blauser arrived in Iraq as a civilian contractor in 2004, but quit that job last year to devote himself full time to his program, without compensation.

“There’s no paycheck. It’s not really safe here. But this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” he said.

An estimated one in seven Iraqi children ages 2 to 14 lives with a disability, according to UNICEF. Illnesses such as Spina bifida, palsy and polio leave them unable to walk.

Some parents carry their children every day. For these children and their families, limited access to health care has taken a toll.

“A number of families don’t know what’s wrong with their kid. There’s not a doctor available for help [and] there’s no pediatric wheelchair source in this country,” Blauser said.

Blauser first learned about this situation in 2005 through Maj. David Brown, a battalion surgeon. His friend shared heartbreaking accounts of helpless children pulling themselves along the ground, or living motionless in back rooms, too big to be moved long distances very often.

“So I asked him, ‘What do you need?’ ” Blauser recalled. “And he surprised me by his answer: ‘I need children’s wheelchairs.’ ”

Blauser began researching and campaigning for help from friends and family in the United States. In 30 days, 31 pediatric and small adult wheelchairs arrived in Mosul for distribution to children in need. Wheelchairs for Iraqi Kids was born.

“The experience for me in the first distribution was awesome,” said Blauser. “To see the smile come across their face and [to] look over at the mothers and fathers — they’ve definitely been changed.”

That’s the case for 3-year-old Ali Khaled Ibrahim and his family. At 8 months old, Ali was struck by a mysterious fever that left him partially paralyzed. He cannot speak and experiences increasingly frequent and violent convulsions.

“Ali’s handicap affected the family a lot,” said his father.

His mother said she couldn’t carry out her daily chores and her “psychological state worsened.”

“When I heard the news of the distribution of these advanced wheelchairs, I was very happy deep down,” she said. “I thought maybe that will ease my work as a mother in the way I deal with my son.” Watch Ali and other children receive their wheelchairs from Blauser’s group »

Today, Ali smiles at home as he sits in his new wheelchair. His siblings giggle and sprinkle his face with kisses. The toddler’s parents are thankful for the relief it has brought not only to Ali, but their entire family.

The boy is among hundreds of disabled Iraqi children to benefit from Blauser’s generosity. Since 2005, Wheelchairs for Iraqi Kids has distributed nearly 650 pediatric wheelchairs.

To obtain the specialized chairs, Blauser partnered with Reach Out and Care Wheels, a nonprofit pediatric wheelchair organization in Montana. The organization provides wheelchairs designed for rough terrains in developing nations, making the devices “perfect for this environment,” said Blauser.

Through sponsor donations, his group purchases the chairs from ROC Wheels for about $200 apiece, and USAID donates shipping. Members of the the U.S. and Iraqi armies, Iraqi police and border patrol work together to carry out the distributions.

Blauser and his group help adjust the children into their wheelchairs, which fit their bodies as they grow. Watch Blauser demonstrate the specialized wheelchair »

For Blauser, who provides part-time security consulting in exchange for room and board, an initial plan to stay for one year has become a dream to get wheelchairs to every Iraqi child who wants one. And he’s determined to see it through.

“By providing what they need, I’m hoping to start a movement to change the way people think about disabled children,” said Blauser. “They are not a curse, they are a blessing and they deserve to have their needs met.”

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An Asteroid Coming Our Way

July 1, 2009 by  
Filed under Blog

An asteroid, named Apophis discovered in 2004 is the size of a football field and would produce an impact equal to a hundred nuclear bombs exploding simultaneously if it hit the earth. Scientists predict if the impact occurs, it will happen in 2036.

According to a United Nations report released in 2007, our planet is at risk of losing three species per hour. Ahmed Djoghlaf, the head of the U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity, declared: “We are indeed experiencing the greatest wave of extinctions since the disappearance of the dinosaurs. Extinction rates are rising by a factor of up to 1,000 above natural rates. Every hour, three species disappear. Every day, up to 150 species are lost. Every year, between 18,000 and 55,000 species become extinct.”

To the above we can also add global warming, pollution, war, rape, torture and famine just to name a few.

How did we get here?  How did we allow our ambitions to run so amok to threaten destroying ourselves and the planet we live in? 

Do you think if we dedicated some time and energy to cultivate love in our lives would we be able to destroy a forest? To kill a human? To cause pain? To destroy our oceans?

Maybe if we were able to feel loved and love we could stop this destruction. 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a new age hippie trying to love everyone and everything holding up my two fingers up in a peace sign. I am actually a computer age, sarcastic, funny, sometimes sad sometimes happy gal who just wants to do her part in making our existence a little bit better.

Actually, I’m mostly a gal who believes if you truly love something or someone you wouldn’t be able to destroy it.

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