Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson *

EDIT: THERE IS SOME CONTROVERSY OVER WHETHER MR. MORTENSON EMBELLISHED ACCOUNTS OF THINGS THAT HAPPENED AND SOME QUESTIONS ABOUT THE ACCOUNTING AT CAI. I have researched BOTH sides, and while I feel neither one can fully back up their arguments, I feel it is important to use CAUTION here. Feel free to read the book and let it motivate you to do great things in your community! But please be leery of donating to this organization CAI, it's safer to donate to a group that shows you how they spend your money and has not had any questioning about the truth of their stories. And feel free to research these claims yourself and come your own decisions! ALSO, PLEASE CHECK OUT SOME OTHER WONDERFUL ORGANIZATIONS THAT YOU CAN DONATE TO IF YOU WANT TO HELP OTHERS DOING WONDERFUL THINGS:

      Three Cups of Tea is a book I HIGHLY recommend reading! This is a book about a man who started off attempting to reach the summit of the world's 2nd tallest mountain, and ended up creating an organization to build schools and other needed buildings in Pakistan and Afghanistan. I am sure that there are those who are anti both places, but you needn't be lumping the whole of these people into one group of terrorists. They are not all out to kill and destroy us. Most of the people there are peace minded, which shows in the book. Through this book you not only get the amazing story of how this organization came to be and has helped so many, or completely motivated to help however you can. You also get to see a different view of the people in these countries, one many times we do not think of learning about. These are impoverished people who want nothing more than the best for their villages and their children. These are people who desperately want schools, and whole heartedly believe that education can change their worlds. I have to agree - schooling and education can make a huge difference in the lives of children. It's a perspective many people don't see, or don't choose to see, and it's incredibly humbling.

      Greg Mortenson is the author, and we get to follow his journey in building schools, providing ways to water and food, homes and medical buildings for so many villages. Through him we can learn about other countries in need, and why it's so important for us to help. Americans are extremely spoiled, wasteful, materialistic and selfish. I know I have been most of my life! Reading Three Cups of Tea gives you a chance to be different, and to see what putting others first can do. It's amazing how a man with no money and no means of building a school in this foreign country, beat the obstacles to do just that - and go on to do so much more! This book can provide us much needed motivation to start impacting the lives of others however we can. You can let this book motivate you to find ways to make an impact yourself. You can raise money for organizations that are important to you, or even create your own! Let this book spur you on to change the lives of others in need for the good, and to stop living a useless life of materialism and waste. Instead of buying expensive coffee drinks, a new lipstick, new shoes, a new game system, a new blender, or some ridiculous vacation, consider giving to people who need it more than you do! And trust me, you do not need those items as much as these people need medical assistance and schools! These are very poor people by our living standards. Even the poorest in our country is richer than them by tenfold. So please keep that in mind when you are about to purchase some item you really don't need. It is so much more important to help others than it is to buy a drink, another pair of shoes or sunglasses, or buy a game system. "To know that even one life breathed easier because you have lived - that is to have succeeded." — Ralph Waldo Emerson This should be the moto of each of us, as we strive to be help at least one other life breathe easier!

      For those of you, like me, who feel the importance if inspiring our children to be better and do greater, there is a young readers version of this book available here: Three Cups of Tea (Young Readers Edition). With this version you get an interview with the daughter of the author, and she shares insight that most adults I've met don't have! One of my favorite quotes of hers is, "Here (America), it's like we live to eat, and there it's like they eat to live." I couldn't think of anything more true! We have made eating here go beyond just sustenance, or eating to live. We eat just for the heck of it while people all over the world have so little to eat. It makes you think twice about wasting food and about money wasted on food in ways it doesn't need to be. For those who teach children or who have kids who'd love to do a fundraiser for a good cause, look into local fundraising ideas you can do with your kids. My daughter created a donation box necklace she takes with her to raise money for saving cheetah's. You can have a bake sale and make animal shaped cookies, do a car wash, and more! It's a great way to get kids involved in helping others! :0)

      Please take the time to check out the books! Get inspired to change lives! :0)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Business of Being Born DVD Review

     The Business of Being Born is a great movie that gives you a look into births in America. This movie shows you a lot about hospital births many of us do not know. In many ways it seems our country is so behind compared to most other countries. We have an extremely high rate of cesarean sections and infant deaths compared to other developed countries and non-developed countries. With this movie, you get to see what home birth is really like, and you learn it's not the dirty experience many doctors make it out to be. It's amazing to watch women go through labor like we did for so many years with beautiful outcomes. Hospital births just do not seem to compare in that aspect sadly. I do feel that there are time when they are definitely needed, but not 90% of the time. Until hospitals change their practices and their way of treating pregnant women, they will never be actually needed for most births. They are so quick to rush labor and give drugs, which is not the healthiest way to give birth. I hope that by watching this movie, while it does have some bias as all movies do, you can begin to understand more about the positive aspects of home birth. This is an area that desperately needs more publicity so that people can see the benefits and the options other than a hospital they have. We need to take a deeper look at what we are told we need to do and what is the "norm" when it comes to our own bodies, experiences, and our children. 

Monday, April 11, 2011

So Sexy So Soon by Diane E. Levin Ph.D. & Jean Kilbourne Ed.D.

    This book, So Sexy So Soonwas an eye opener and a good book to read. I learned a lot that I felt was vital for me as a parent to know. We now live in a time where our children are sexualized earlier than ever before. Toddlers are made up to look like 20 year old women, our pre-teens are half dressed and "hooking up," and out teens are living lives of porn stars. This is not comforting for those of us who are parents. This book helps you take a look at this over-sexualization of children, and gives you ways you can fight back. This book has a lot of great information and tips, and it really gets you looking more deeply at childhood in this day and age. I say things in this book that I could see having affected my own childhood, and they are even greater now for our children. It's important for parents to educate themselves so that they know what is going on in our culture and how to help our children through it. The book is well written, in an easy to read and understandable format, with clear writing. I definitely recommend reading this book if you are a parent!