Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Huffington Post Article about Library For All



As publishers wrestle with the world of digital and what it means for their traditional print model, one social entrepreneur is coming up with solutions that could benefit bottom lines, and unlock knowledge to billions globally.

Rebecca McDonald, Founder and CEO of Library For All, is a woman on a mission. A warm-hearted, gregarious Aussie, her idea is to create an online platform purpose-built for developing nations that will provide free access to e-books for users living in poverty.

Implementing a horizontal model in partnership with existing institutions including schools, government and NGO partners, Library For All aims to provide access to three million users within three years.

Library For All caught my attention because it's more than a bold charitable proposition. Rebecca and her team aim to build an innovative model of public-private partnership, collaborating with publishing industry leaders to bring the project to life, and make them key stakeholders in the library's success.

Click here to read the rest of the article. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tanyella-evans/digital-gridlock-social-entrepreneurship_b_1872211.html?utm_hp_ref=tw

Please share with your networks and help us spread the word of Library for All.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Loved

I want to say a HUGE THANK-YOU for the love.

Last week was a stinky week. But your words, love and encouragement made a world of difference. I am so thankful for my husband Barry that knows me so well and knew I needed your hugs from afar.

Thank-you to each and everyone of you that love, support and pray for us. Your time is never wasted it means so much to us.

I will reply to each and every one of you personally but I just wanted you to know how thank-full I am for you all.

Bec

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

I Am Sorry

I Am Sorry, if I have in some way made you think we do not need Help with the projects we are undertaking. I mean Sorry because my personality is one that is Stubborn, focused and introverted and I am comfortable by myself for long periods of time so that may be misinterpreted as not needing your help, your Prayers, your feedback and your insights which may just be what we need to hear at that moment in time. 
You see this week we have had some interesting feedback which I am choosing to call timely advise for myself, wisdom from experienced people in the field that has cost us emotionally and spiritually this week, their timely advise that we seem to be independent and so focused on what we are doing that people may see that as not needing support from them or allowing people to give feedback or speak into our lives, this is why I am Sorry because it may seem that way but nothing could be further from the truth. 
You see this Blog is meant to be about Bec, the one you all Love and Care about the one I am blessed to journey through life with, the one I get to call Wifey. This week Bec has had to deal with some pretty what I would call laughable but in fact is awful information which shook her to the core and this is why I am asking for your Help. 
A report came through that if was about myself would make me laugh but is was in relation to Bec, and as you know Bec is a words of Affirmation person so when something that is So untrue that is written in a report on record then that is BAD, not just Bad but really Bad. I have not seen Bec so upset in such a long time, I mean shaken to her core this week, the report is rubbish and not even worth discussing but I need your HELP, Please can you send Bec a message either private on email or on Facebook Telling her How amazing she is and 1 thing you Love or admire about Her as a Person. 

I admire everyone who we know I draw from you all in ways you would not even know but the most important thing is you Love and Care about Bec and she really needs to Hear from you this week, I am Hoping that in the next 48 hours Bec receives over 200 messages from you guys as it is going to take something special to Help her move past this hurt and disappointment. 
Her project Library for all is beyond Amazing, it is a once in a lifetime idea that will benefit millions of people and it is still in the early stages of development so it is no surprise an attack like this would present itself but as I said earlier we need everyone we know to be behind, Beside and sometimes in front of us to allow these projects to be fruitful.
 I thank you in Advance for Sending Bec a message of encouragement TODAY and Apologize again for seeming like being a loner or independent person because I am not, we are not, we all need each other as a communty. 
Thank You for being part of the journey and our community that we journey with.

Barry


The Loveable Bec


Saturday, July 21, 2012

Fear Factor





So not many of you know this but I have a fear of heights. Well actually its not so much a fear of heights, its more a fear of falling at a great velocity with a hard stop at the end.

When we drove to Aspen a few weeks back, I saw a zip line company and I got really excited. I don't really know why but I really wanted to do it. It seemed like great fun. I mentioned my desire to zip line to some wonderful friends we met in Haiti and Kevin jumped at the chance. Our sweet friends organized all the details and even picked us up.

All the way up the mountain I was still really excited. I was really looking forward to it.

It wasn't until we were climbing the first tower that it suddenly dawned on me. "What the heck are you doing" The tower shook like a mini earthquake had just passed by. Not a fun feeling in fact I was physically shaking. Kevin and I were last, so watching everyone else zip at full speed away from the tower didn't help my growing anxiety.

By the time it was my turn I was so scared. Then I did the stupidest thing to do when standing on the edge of a tower. I looked DOWN.

I was now petrified. So there I was sitting on the edge of the tower going nowhere fast. When ever I get scared I practice a trick I learned on Dr Phil. I ask myself what's the worst thing that can happen if I do X. If I can live with the worst case scenario then usually I am no longer scared.

That works well when I need to cold call the office of the president of a company. Worst case scenario I don't get to talk to them. I can live with that. Accepting a public speaking request. Worst case scenario I bore everybody to tears and they never ask me back. With some convincing I can live with that. But today was different, standing approximately 4 stories in the air the worst case scenario was face planting the ground at break neck speed. Not a scenario I was ready to accept.

The thought crossed my mind to back out and walk back down the tower. I consider it for a split second. But then it dawned on me that over the next twelve months getting Library For All off the ground, I am going to face things that scare the pants off me. I knew that if I backed out today I would continue to back out at really scary moments in the future. It sounds stupid I know but it really was the argument I was having in my head as I sat with my legs dangling over the edge.

There is no way I am backing out of the library so I decided I didn't have a choice to make. I just had to jump off the tower. Ok it wasn't much of a jump more like a slow slide off, but none the less I did it and I am glad.

As we made it around the course each tower got easier and easier.

By the last tower I was full of confidence. I decided to get a run up and jumped. I am not being presumptuous but maybe I am on my way to kicking this fear of falling thing.

Today was so so much fun. Big shout out to Kevin and Renee. Thank-you so much for taking us on a great adventure.

video





Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Wowing in the Mountains


Barry McDonald Aspen Marathon July 7th

When I first mentioned to Bec I wanted to go to Aspen to run a Marathon she was not impressed at all, in fact I  originally looked to go just myself because of the 8 hrs of driving there and back was not appealing enough to Bec who as some of you know does not like to drive more than 10 minutes at a time. But after some slick talking from mwahh, Bec was in for the journey as I informed her I needed a support person to collect me at the end in case things went horribly wrong and driving home 4 hrs after running a marathon is not so wise. That is why we make a good team, compromise is not a strong human character but  on this occasion Bec was able to see the advantage in compromising for the cause. So on Friday we packed and left for the mountains not knowing what to expect which made me a little nervous.

The Heat wave we had just endured for two weeks was great training for Haiti, high 90's (36dc) most days and having adjusted to the altitude finally I thought to myself, I prepared well and this would be just another test of how everything was progressing along. But this was another unknown 2,000 more feet of altitude. Unfamiliar surrounds, so many unknowns.....but that's part of learning to trust in the vision that was given and prepare as best as you can, with what you have and stepping out in faith that all will come together and the story can be told and shared so we can build the new Maternity center and meet the needs of the women who will benefit from this important service in Haiti.

We arrived at 2:55 pm into snow mass village just 15 minute drive south of Aspen and what a beautiful place to call home at least for a night. Stunning scenery covered in overcast clouds threatening to ruin the day and to top it off we drove past one of the greenest golf courses  I have ever seen. This was a golfers paradise.

Unfortunately I was not here to play Golf (spewing, why could I have been a golf pro).

We walked around the village for a bit, feeling out of place in such flash surrounds. Suddenly a crack of thunder hits the mountain and kids scream and scramble for cover, we head for the free chair lift to head the 300m back up the mountain, as we arrive the attendee receives a phone call, he has to shut down the lift. OK we will walk, Bec not impressed as we are at 7,800 feet and the air is thin, straight away it starts to rain, Great, we set off up the hill Bec hands me the camera and we hike up halfway to a hotel and find shelter under a car park and I decide to run for our borrowed car so we can drive into aspen only thing is I am wearing slides and the rain is heavier now testing all my skill to stay upright and not slide around, by the time I reach he car I am drenched (refreshed) and when I arrive back to pick up my fair lady she laughs at me, thanks honey I reply.

Aspen is one amazing place very cultured, architecturally spectacular buildings and yet to to top it off the private jets at the airport on the way into town speak volumes of the type of playground we had arrived in. Two missionaries from Australia on there way to Haiti, what were we doing here seriously...

We drove around asked some questions from the info center staff and found the park where the marathon would start from and you would not believe it there sticking out of the ground was rugby post in the middle of Aspen. Rugby post where are we again I thought to myself. So we headed back to snow mass village in the rain and had a bite to eat and settled in for a early night 9:30 pm as the previous two nights I had not slept well, something to do with tapering for this run and having all the extra energy or something like that. 10:30 pm finally drift off to la la land, Bec is still awake reading her book, good night...

2am awake to go to the bathroom (to much information, sorry setting the scene) that's it folks no more sleep happening here Greeeeaat so lay there trying to rest and not think about the run. Yeah right when you try, that is all you do,  focus on what your trying not to think about aaahhhhh. 4 am accidentally wake Bec up not a good idea for those playing at home, informed I should go back to sleep and not annoy my wife hmmmm, so I cuddle her instead and Bec is happy again.

4:41 am alarm goes off and it's game on up into pre-run routine, hot shower to fix sore back, smash a blueberry bagel yum, get running gear on check, new socks and new shoes on check. What! I hear you say.  The new shoes,  are you crazy? Breaking them in, during a marathon um yes go with it the old ones have totally had it ok.

5:32 am we set off for Aspen and it's cold outside and threatening rain, please don't rain, Please.
We arrive at the start line and there are people setting up tables and joking around which is a good sign, people start to arrive one lady wearing a white tu-tu outfit and this is the great thing about running it attracts some characters who like to run, fantastic I say.

Bec sets up and wants to take some photos for the website, ok turns put to be 15 minutes of fun. The first site she chose was interesting. As we begin the sprinklers pop up and wet me hilarious!!!

Arrive at the registration table to pick up the runners pack and after 5 minutes of shuffling around we have our pack, 6:15 am nerves start to hit, "why it's a run you have been training for a year now" anyways look for a bathroom and nope all locked up greaaat. 6:30am McDonald's opens and we (desperate runners) file in to use the bathrooms. 15 minutes later emerge relieved and ready to do this run. Spot a guy with a team 413 shirt on with Philippians 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" just what I needed thank you Lord.

6:58 am race briefing and then were off onto the streets of Aspen, the elite runners lead us out. A bunch of 10 guys and we wind our way through the streets, not far in the lead guys take a wrong turn I yell out to them but they keep running, I continue and find they rejoin the right course and extended their lead.

We head onto a concrete path and pass some exceptional looking homes as we head out of town thinking to myself this is too quick a pace low 7 minute mile but feeling ok continue to put one foot in from of the other and repeat. As we continue this pace out of Aspen the scenery is breath taking, not because of the altitude or pace but seriously the most beautiful marathon course I have ever seen and it only improved as we continued.

Early on I was in a battle with one guy who would run past me then slow down and then pass me again, I thought what is going on we are 5 miles in so I let him go knowing he would not last at the pace as he was breathing too heavy so early on which is not a good sign.

Around the 35 minute mark I feel the familiar urge that you don't want while running, especially on a track with strangers and no toilets so I held on for 10 minutes but at least I knew I was hydrating properly. Something vital to survival in a marathon which some forget early on how important to take on fluids and pay for it like I did in my first ever marathon in 2000.

We pass streams of flowing crystal clear water and over wooden bridges that look like a movie set and all the while I am thinking is this real, seriously this is amazing. Trying to soak up the scenery as we canter along towards the finish line.

13.1 the half marathon in 1:37:53 that's the fastest half Ive run since starting this training 12 months earlier what the.... 15 miles we pass many drink stations and encouraging words from those who volunteered to make this run happen, amazing how encouraging words can lift the spirit especially after running for a while.

18 miles that's when the emotion hit me I was still cruising along well inside my personal best time and knowing what this whole journey means to so many. Overwhelmed by the support of so many people to let me pursue this vision and tell the story of Haiti and build this Maternity center, hold it together Baz.


The last 6 miles of a marathon are a whole different animal all together, it has been said you can train for the first 20 miles but the last 6 miles are all guts and determination and that's true. This was my  6th marathon for 2012 and each one has taught me that you need to have a big enough reason to push yourself through the pain to finish because it hurts like nothing else I have experienced physically and emotionally. I have been in some very hard places and you draw on those memories in times of pain.

Just the night before Bec found out a very close friend from school's brother had died. He was 35. Leaves behind a wife and two small children. We prayed for comfort and peace for them and it is a reminder of how precious a gift, life is and how we are not guaranteed to be here forever and to live and love each day.

I enter the last mile looking at my GPS watch and see that it says 3:05 and can not believe the time, everything is hurting now and it is a matter of 8 more minutes until the pain stops. See in a marathon there is a finish line and you can stop recover and treat the pain, when something like loosing a loved one happens the pain does not have a finish line your in shock, then overwhelmed, then in denial, then angry, then rational then a mess and repeat. But a marathon has a finish line and when you have someone who loves you more than anything waiting cheering you on and you hear your name being called on towards that line as you enter the finishing. Then you know it was worth the last hour of pain to reach this line and continue the story not giving up and not letting go of the hope that is within you.

Relief, emotions and aching muscles, 3:11 by my watch, 3:13 by there timer (3 toilet breaks cost me 3 minutes), mayhem at the finish line as people yell at you "Congratulations", "We need the timing chip back from you", someone thrust a finishers medal around your neck and then realize you finished the full marathon not the half, thanks very much.

3.13.12, 5th Place and a new PB. "A good day at the office."


People everywhere, supporters, sweaty runners and then I see Bec, that familiar big smile that everyone who knows and loves her, knows well. She imbues my tired, sweaty body and with excitement in her voice tells me how proud she is of me.


"Woohoo!"



Although that is awesome to hear, I feel deep inside it is not about making people feel proud of me. I am running to tell the story of those who inspire me, in Haiti, living in poverty, surviving day to day and yet filled with joy, so humbling to meet such spirit filled people.

The story will be told over 12 days of crossing Haiti, marathon after marathon, story after story how Haiti is being transformed, a new story, a redeeming story one in which Bec and I have the absolute privilege to witness and tell as we look to God to guide us in telling the story and inviting others to help meet the needs in these villages and communities across Haiti.

Will you please join us on this journey sign up to be part of the runforlifehaiti.org events or just a simple donation of some Change for Change, $20 that's it if we can spread the word then the vision can become reality.

Thank you.
Barry McDonald
Runforlifehaiti.org

Monday, June 18, 2012

Library For All website LIVE

Libraryforall.org new website is live 

Yes finally our website is live.

We are getting closer everyday to our goal of delivering a digital library for the developing world.

Today is another step in that journey.

The website is libraryforall.org. At the moment the website is best viewed on a computer or android tablet. Having some trouble with Ipad at the moment, but that will hopefully be fixed soon.

If you havn't already, could you please go to our twitter and facebook page and like us.

Thank-you

Bec

Sunday, June 3, 2012

New York here I come


Colorado has been a really great time for us both relationally and organizationally. We are staying with the Thomas family in Arvada a suburb of Colorado. We met Joel Thomas in Haiti and became friends immediately. He was one of the first people Barry went running with in Haiti in the very early days of his preparation to run across Haiti.  Its been such a pleasure to stay with the Thomas’s and we are loving getting to know Julie and their children Isaiah, Bella, Zion and Zach.

Last Monday Barry and Joel Ran the ‘Boulder to Boulder’ just under 70,000 people took part. The boys finished the 10km in 43 minutes even though they started behind 35,000 people they ended up finishing in the top 1100 runners. A huge effort considering how many people they had to dodge and weave around. 

Joel and Baz rocking the new Run For Life Haiti Tshirts


We have had some strategic planning meetings for the run, while it was really positive it did highlight just how much work is left to do before Barry begins. We may end up staying in Colorado longer then we planned to get it all done as it was pointed out to us that its much easier to do from the US with good internet and phone etc. We will see how things play out over the next two weeks.

This week we also launched the ‘Run for the Run’ initiative, it’s the co run part of what Barry is doing that we have been talking about for months.

All you have to do is pick an event, run, walk, ride, tri anything you can think of, get sponsored and the money goes towards the total we are raising for the Heartline Maternity Centre in Haiti. We are so excited that others can get involved. Follow this link, register and start getting sponsors.


As I right this, I am currently sitting on a plane to New York City. After my last trip its not my favorite place on earth but I am really excited at what will happen in the next 5 days. I will be attending Book Fair America, and the Digital Book Fair. I will be hosting a round table discussion on “Universal Access to Information” I am really looking forward to meeting with lots of publishes that I have on my most wanted list for the digital library we are creating. A few of you will probably be a little confused by my last paragraph so I will take this opportunity to share briefly about what I am working on.

We are building a digital library for the developing world we have called it ‘Library For All’ and soon you will be able to visit our website and find out all of the details. I will let you know when its live. I can’t take any credit for the idea it was totally Gods idea and he has imbedded it on my heart.

We witnessed first hand the knowledge poverty that pervades Haiti and other developing countries. Most schools have less than thirty books and these books are so precious they are not allowed to leave the school. Imagine if the entire span of knowledge available to you was just thirty books! How different would your life look? How different would your future prospects look? Pretty scary thought to me when I would have trouble even narrowing down my favorite books of all time to just thirty.

I have been working on this now since June last year and I am really excited at the doors that are now opening. We have a long way to go but we are well on the way. The expo holds a lot of potential meeting opportunities and I am excited at what will happen.

This is our new logo designed by Anna NG so grateful for all of the hard work she has done. If you want any design work done I can thoroughly recommend her. Her website is http://www.annakern.com.au
Our new stamp logo that fits perfectly on my business card that looks like a library card.
Some of you might be wondering ‘hang on, you were working on a solar project’. I truly was up until a few months ago. The library was my ‘side project’ I allowed myself nights and weekends to work on it but God has made it very clear that now is the right time and it has become my main focus. I am actively praying for someone to take over the solar project in Haiti and make it happen. The technology is really exciting and has so much potential. I know the right person or group will come along I will just keep praying till they do.

If you would like to receive our prayer email please click here.

Be part of Barry’s Run across Haiti and participate here.