Happy Halloween

posted by ashley


Good news about Alternative Energy Efforts

Here's a recent press release from my friend Jake Stewart:

Biodiesel Industries, Michigan’s NextEnergy and Daimler Chrysler

Announce Innovative Research Agreement,
Biodiesel Production Facility to be Built in Detroit

Innovative project brings biodiesel research and development to the Motor City

Detroit, MI - On September 29th officials from Biodiesel Industries Inc. and NextEnergy announced a ground-breaking Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) which will target biodiesel development and technical innovation.

“This is a pioneering project. It brings together a diverse group of major industry players, such as Daimler Chrysler, for the common goal of biodiesel advancement and implementation. We’re delighted to be part of the core group involved in this innovative venture”, said Russell Teall, President and Founder of Biodiesel Industries, Inc.

Beyond cutting edge research, the joint work will focus on the development and refinement of industry standards for the swiftly-growing biodiesel industry. The NextEnergy project involves key industry partners, including auto makers, the Department of Defense and several original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) who have an interest in biofuels.

NextEnergy is a non-profit corporation founded to advance the Alternative Energy Technology (AET) industry in Michigan. Major technology thrusts include portable power generation, renewable fuels and hydrogen production for use within commercial and military applications.

“Biodiesel Industries has many years of advanced development and production experience in the otherwise young biodiesel industry. Given the tremendous national market demand for their product, we are delighted that Biodiesel Industries has chosen Detroit for their next biodiesel production facility” said James Croce, Chief Executive Officer of NextEnergy Center.

Research and development will also extend into the development of agricultural resources utilizing property owned by Daimler Chrysler. The use of new and innovative biodiesel feedstocks will be part of this research. “As biodiesel demand increases there will be a need for new resources that can be grown in America by American farmers,” according to Jake Stewart, Biodiesel Industries Corporate Development Manager. “Daimler Chrysler has led the way in the use of biodiesel in diesel vehicles by being the first automotive manufacturer to deliver their vehicles to their customers with a blend of biodiesel as the original fuel. Soon it will be possible to have that biodiesel made in Michigan from resources grown here.”

P.S. I am adding this spelling 'Bio Disel' to this post because I receive a lot of hits to this site from people that are searching this spelling of biodiesel.

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posted by ashley


'feeling loved through the eyes of a child'

How can parents affirm love for their children? I learnt something this weekend that really opened my eyes as to how sensitive our children are to our actions and words. My 7yr old son Jared found a very special earring of mine that I had lost a few weeks ago. I jumped for joy when he brought it to me and was extremely happy! I did not realize my 6yr old daughter Zoe was quietly standing by. That night after tucking Zoe in bed she said to me "mom, you don’t love me as much as Jared" my heart sank, "But Zoe I do love you soo much, can you tell me why you think that?" She said in a sad voice "Because Jared found your earring." "Oh Zoe" I said "you really wished you would have found my earring." She nodded, I said "Zoe, i love you for who you are with your beautiful, kind, loving heart full of truth and love and I will always love you forever and I know you are sad that you didn’t find my earring and I think you need an extra special hug right now." She held out her arms and I hugged her close. How healing for our children it is just to listen and understand!!! I pray that I always will!

posted by maria


A Moment Exploding

It's a morning for giving thanks.
It's a moment exploding with gratitude.
It's a life lived in appreciation. . .

I sink into the warm supportive soil of this easily amazed weblog... What is it, I wonder. What is this cavern within the virtual landscape where such radiant souls come to dip in the waters, sprinkling words of expression that leave trails of wonder and awe illuminating their path, reverberating in our hearts? How is it that the world is evolving and expanding in such potent ways that our hearts can be connected through technology, inviting us into embracing moments with easily amazed lovers in Seattle, Switzerland, Sanibel Island, London, New Jersey, Texas, Atlanta, Bowen Island, Chicago, Oregon, and other unknown places? How fortunate we are for this time of living. . .

Like Andy shared in an earlier comment:
the simple truth that we are all connected, each and every one of us. . . if we did but acknowledge it and allow that connection to flow through us.
And then Michael reminds us to recognize when the connection is flowing and when our passage way is blocked...inviting ourselves into balance, opening space for greater joy:
I can tell when I'm not very balanced - when I'm not in the mood to play a make-believe game in the car on the way home. Who would think it takes so much energy to play a little make-believe on the way home? But it does sometimes. And I have it as a goal, to always be ready to play....To always be open to another grin....I'm grinning right now.
And then Papa Hertz shares his wisdom, born from age and experience. He recognizes the richness of expression that unfolds here and offers forward his valuable insight, encouraging us all to openly share, resting in appreciation of the love that pours forth from so many unexpected directions:
I think it is wonderful that you and your friends have a feeling of love and of sharing your feelings so openly and you all feel so content in your musings. I feel envious that I have never had those feelings of contentment outside of my love for my family.
Welcome to this pool of love, welcome to this day of gratitude. Please take a moment to look around you, allowing your eyes to rest upon the sparkling beauty reflecting an unexpected connection. . . tickling open a space in your heart.
posted by ashley


Just Because

posted by ashley


Hands Like These

Celebrating heritage and giving thanks for the familial connections, for the love, life and inspiration that passes down through generations, this post at A Mindful Life echoes like a prayer in my soul.

These hands have kneaded dough, stirred soup, opened jars with stuck lids, chopped onions, basted roasts, shucked corn, grated cheese, sliced melon.

These hands have caressed fevered foreheads, wiped bottoms, rubbed calamine lotion on sunburn, brushed unruly tangled hair, cleaned vomit off floors, rolled hair in curlers, pulled splinters out with tweezers, dabbed ointment on boils, applied bandaids, pulled loose teeth.

These hands have waxed floors, scrubbed toilets, ironed shirts, dusted knick-knacks, pushed vacuums, refinished furniture, swept porches, laundered everyone's dirty clothes, painted walls, hammered nails, turned screwdrivers.

These hands have assembled costumes for school plays, sewn clothing for children, darned socks, hemmed pants, mended torn shirts, crocheted afghans.

These hands have caught balls, thrown frisbees, moved game pieces, shuffled cards, clapped at recitals, played the piano.

These hands have been chilled to the bone, cut with knives, burned on stoves, soaked with cleansers, pricked with needles, flaked and cracked from chapping.

These hands have rubbed sore necks, hugged tightly, tucked in, stroked tense backs, wiped away tears, tickled feet, held books to read, applied cosmetics, adorned necks and arms with jewelry.

These hands have written checks, counted pennies, rolled spare change, balanced budgets, cut coupons, drawn up menus, typed reports, composed email, penned letters, filed papers, driven cars to ferry others to appointments.

These hands have been used when counting to ten in the search for patience.

These hands have been clasped in prayer.

These hands have waved good-bye to their mother and father and children.

These hands have held life.

These hands have created.

These hands have wisdom.

Someday, I hope to have hands like these.
~ photographed and written by Kathryn Petro Harper

(to read all of the descriptions, visit the original post)
posted by ashley


Our Inner Ape

The New York Times points to a fascinating book, Our Inner Ape by Frans De Waal. This book compares human social behavior with two species of apes: chimpanzees and bonobos. Here are some excerpts from the review:
Bonobos live in a relatively peaceful matriarchy; when conflicts do arise, instead of fighting they often use sexual activity to resolve them, defusing the aggression with friendly physical contact.

Chimp society, however, is a male-dominated hierarchy based on power. Unlike the gentle bonobos, who seldom kill, chimps will hunt for meat and even kill members of rival groups.

de Waal suggests that the two species represent sides of our own nature speculating that humans may act like a hybrid of bonobos and chimps.

Kuni, a bonobo at a zoo in Britain, helped an injured starling that had crashed into the glass of her enclosure. She picked it up and tried to set it on its feet, then climbed a tree and carefully spread its wings to help it to fly before she released it.

Where the two ape species diverge most are in the realms of sex and violence. Bonobos don't exactly distinguish between sex and friendly touching.

Infanticide, de Waal tells us, is a leading cause of death among chimps, both in zoos and in the wild.

Like humans, chimps can be ruthless toward individuals who are not part of their troop. De Waal explains that large-brained animals capable of using empathy to do kind things for others are also capable of great cruelty, because they can imagine what their victims will feel.

De Waal compares this horrible chimp behavior to genocide in Rwanda and Bosnia.

Genetic implications of many of his observations. . .

Animals who have high-fear genetics are less inclined to be aggressive because they are afraid to fight, and stressful, scary situations can affect them more dramatically. When bombs fell on Munich during World War II, de Waal tells us, all the bonobos in the zoo died of heart failure, but all the chimps survived.

De Waal's most hopeful message is that peaceful behavior can be learned, as he showed when he raised juvenile rhesus and stumptail monkeys together. The aggressive rhesus juveniles picked up peaceful ways of resolving conflict from the larger, gentler stumptails. And the lessons took: even after the two species were separated, the rhesus continued to have three times more grooming and other friendly behavior after fights
So interesting.
posted by ashley

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