A woman has found a way to use her life to save lives… and it’s working!

When Mary Catherine Lewis found out that a friend of hers had blood cancer and needed a donor, she took action. Using her skills and talents in organizing and outreach, she got involved with a local organization and has since been instrumental in putting together 5 Donor drives in her community, trying to attract the most likely genetic matches to the patients in need. And it worked! So far her drives have led to donor matches for at least two patients in need and probably more.

Mary Catherine is a talented, driven and hardworking person. But what I really love about this story is how it shows the difference that one individual can make. It doesn’t take money or fame, just an idea and the courage and dedication to put that idea into action. Truly inspirational.

The full article from her church newsletter is available at http://www.stlukesmethodist.org/periodicals/.

 

Mary Catherine is a talented, driven and hardworking person. But what I really love about this story is how it shows the difference that one individual can make. It doesn’t take money or fame, just and idea and the courage and dedication to put that idea into action. Truly inspirational.

Thank you Mary Catherine!

DC Public Schools Make Sure All Second Graders Learn How to Ride a Bike!

 

 

As bike riding, bike commuting and bike sharing are growing quickly in the DC area, somebody noticed that some kids in the city were getting left behind. In wards “with high concentrations of low-income families,” officials noticed that “less access to bicycles, fewer bike lanes and no bike shops means that fewer children there are learning how to ride.” (I’ll add to that list the fact that there are relatively fewer safe places to ride as compared to the suburbs.) As a result, a surprisingly high number of kids in the city did not know how to ride, especially in schools serving the poorest neighborhoods.

Well, not anymore! DCPS took the problem on head-on and in 2015 started a program to teach every DCPS second-grader in the city how to ride a bike! Isn’t that cool?! 

With help from the District Department of Transportation and private donations, the school system purchased 1,000 bikes that it is loaning out on a rotating basis to each of the DC public elementary schools for use in a four-week training unit.

I have seen the kids out learning at parks around town and on the National Mall. The sentiments expressed by the kids in this article express the feelings of my own DCPS first grader on Capitol Hill- she has the (unsubstantiated) notion that all of the other kids know how to ride a bike except for her. We’re so glad that DCPS is making sure that none of the students grow up feeling that way for long.  This is a fantastic program to equip students, no matter their neighborhood or background, with the tools for a healthy lifestyle and lifelong eco-friendly, urban-friendly fitness habits!

Ex Navy SEALs are teaching mindfulness and resilience techniques to ordinary people like us to improve our daily lives!

While not all of us are called upon every day to make split second life-or-death decisions, we can all benefit from the tricks and techniques that Navy SEALS use to energize themselves and accomplish their goals.

A google search for “Navy SEALS” and “mindfulness” or “meditation” reveals a number of interesting articles for lessons from Navy SEAL training that can help ordinary people cope with and succeed in the stresses of modern life.

My favorite article was in  Time’s  latest “Mindfulness” edition where a former Navy SEAL Brandon Webb advises on how to maintain calm and focus amid distractions and with time pressures. He writes:

When I went to military free-fall school, I was packing my parachutes for a timed exercise, and these guys came over and started screaming at me to hurry up.  I didn’t even look at them. I just took my time and did what I knw I had to do. Block out the noise, complete the task at hand and move on the the next one. Otherwise, you get rattled and distracted, and that’s going to be a big problem when you jump out of the plane.

Truly words to live by!

I think it’s wonderful that these American heros have found a way to apply the mental toughness they developed in the military in real life and can teach us all how to do so as well!

Some more great advice from former Navy SEAL’s can be found in the articles below.

A Navy SEAL’s Morning Routine To Stay Focused & Feel Great All Day, by Mark Divine

This provides 6 easy steps to build into your daily mental checklist to feel “energized, focused, and feeling great, with a full reservoir of willpower to spend on the decisions and actions [you need] to survive and accomplish [your] mission.

Your Own Frontline: A Navy SEAL’s Guide to Building Resilience

by Eric Greitens

An excerpt of Eric’s advice:

“Segment. Learn how to break big challenges down into small pieces. Then attack the pieces.

Mentally rehearse. Just as you can physically practice and rehearse, you can also mentally rehearse. Done well, you build strength and clarity. Done well, you will not be overcome by events, no matter how difficult, because you’ve thought through hardship ahead of time.

Self-talk. We all talk to ourselves. You may not speak your thoughts out loud or share them with others, but there is always a conversation in your head about your environment and, most important, about yourself. You can’t shut this conversation off. The best you can do is turn it in your favor. There are times when our self-talk becomes destructive. I screwed up. I’m stupid. I don’t deserve to be here. Everyone thinks like this occasionally, but repetitive negative inner monologues can be destructive. Gain control of the conversation in your own head, and direct it to help you achieve worthy goals.

Breathe. Breathing, like blinking, is one of the few processes in your body that is both voluntary and involuntary. By taking control of your breathing, you can—this is a crude analogy—pull a lever on a lot of your other involuntary systems. By learning how to breathe, you learn how to begin to link the mental and the physical. You learn how to start taking responsibility for something very small and very simple, and you build a foundation of practice that will make you stronger.”

 

 

 

First Patient May Be Fully Cured of HIV

This great news comes from the U.K., where a trial treatment appears to have  eradicated even dormant HIV cells from a man’s blood. http://www.hngn.com/articles/210057/20161005/world-first-patient-cured-hiv.htm

The study is still in its early stages and will not be able to describe participants as “cured” until extensive follow-up has taken place.

Amazing new glasses to make color-blindness a thing of the past!

This is some positive news that has direct benefits for my family. My husband was first diagnosed with color blindness as a child. He could never distinguish between blue, purple and pink or between red and orange. When I met him, he only wore gray, brown, black and white because he was worried that if he tried anything else he would clash.

Earlier this year, Enchroma came out with these glasses that “enhance color perception by separating light into its primary spectral components.” What I think is particularly amazing about this is that it treats virtually all forms of color blindness in one amazing product.

When my husband put them on, he was at first struck speechless. He had never experienced the world with such vividness before. He had never realized that our two daughters wore so much pink and now he sees why they like it. 🙂

While people often make light of color blindness, it actually can impact an individual’s ability to function in an increasingly complex and color-reliant world (think of color-coded charts, colored text, stop lights, etc. ). Now the color blind no longer have to wonder what they’re missing and can experience the visual world in all its fullness and beauty.

Here is a pic of my hubby trying on his glasses for the first time. 🙂

 

The Ozone Layer Shows Signs of Repairing Itself

 

Just ran across this little slice of hope from a LiveScience article earlier this year, available at http://www.livescience.com/55250-antarctic-ozone-hole-healing.html

Apparently the multinational Montreal Protocol to ban chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) back in 1987 has contributed to “reduced amounts of ozone depleting compounds,” and a marked decrease in the size of the ozone hole over the South Pole. This is evidence of well-intended and targeted efforts on a global scale having real and positive results for our planet.

Nationals Park “an urban development triumph.”

Nationals Park has become an urban development triumph. 

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OK, I’m  biased here because this is my neighborhood, but it’s awesome to see so much effort into rebuilding a neighborhood on its way to success!!!! And great to get some recognition for it.

Go Nats!!

Man, I love those guys. They are SO fun to watch. And they were SO sweet when my daughter broke her arm. While I’m on the topic of the Nats, props to Ryan Zimmerman who last fall donated a first-rate Little League field to DC Little League, and the Nats also donated uniforms for the Little Leaguers. (Here’s a pic of the field dedication ceremony with Zimmerman and Screech!! Nats Coach Dusty Baker is there too.)

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Ice Bucket Challengers Fund an ALS Breakthrough

The Ice Bucket Challenge Actually Funded an ALS Breakthrough! (July 27, 2016)

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The power of social media used for a great cause! We got so many laughs and good times from this challenge and it actually led to a scientific breakthrough that will improve the lives of ALS sufferers and their families. So great job to all the ordinary men, women and children who contributed to this medical success story!

Giant Pandas No Longer Endangered! Hurray!

It’s official: giant pandas are no longer endangered

September 12, 2016

I love this story because humans have actually saved another species from near-extinction! According to this article, the Chinese government’s forest conversation efforts are in large part responsible for the resurgence of the panda population. 🙂

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