Thursday, February 7, 2013

And now, for something positive

It is a day of damp and wind in Atlanta. A perfect day to burrow under a blanket with a giant cup of tea and spend time reading my newest download, The Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin. It sounds like a delicious plan except for the other thing I have to do today: Work.

Many of you know I started a new job in late 2011 so 2012 was the first full year. I traveled 46 out of 52 weeks last year if that is any indication of how my time is being spent. I am happy to say many goals were met but one of the most important: I still managed a note in my Kindergartener's lunch box every day since he started school last August. It's the small things, people. He did inquire when I arrived home late last night how I managed a note in his lunchbox when I was clearly in Dallas for the past two days. I simply responded, "I'm good like that." To which he replied, "Maybe Daddy wrote it and signed your name."

But WOW, I have missed the blog. I have missed the blog, the writing, the reading and you. I have skipped weeks, recycled and given my writing very little time to shine. I vow to work on it. While 'working' on my other thing I have to do today and every other day: Work.

I flew in late last night from Texas and missed the balmy 68 degrees all other Atlantans enjoyed yesterday. So on this dismal morning, I poured through the news today and found it above average in sad stories and alarming reports. A 9 year old girl gave birth today in Mexico. A former police officer is on a shooting rampage. A man didn't like his order at Burger King and violently attacked the boy behind the counter. Beyonce's publicist is angry over actual yet unflattering photos of her being posted online. The news is what it is but sometimes, all the negative is too much to bear.

So I combed the news until I found something positive. I have done this many times in previous posts but today took three times longer than expected. However, there is light at the end of the dark media tunnel.

15 year old Malala Yousufzai has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.  This girl penned a blog about the Taliban banning education for women in Pakistan. As a punishment, the Taliban boarded a bus she was on and shot her three times including once in the skull. In an environment that knows no constitutional amendments like 'Freedom of Speech" you have to applaud any girl who bravely takes a stance on the importance of education to help women of her country find a voice, find a path and find freedom otherwise denied to them. This is the courage and tenacity some of the world's greatest leaders have also demonstrated.

What were you doing at 15? I was reading big books and playing soccer but I was also stomping on ketchup packages outside of McDonald's, lip synching to Madonna at every given chance and pining after my brother's friend Tom.

In the entire world, there are only 231 formal nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize.  The youngest person to ever win was 32 year old Mairead Corrigan in the 1970s so if Malala wins, she will take that crown as well. Congratulations on your strength and your recovery. It is a true miracle she lived and further proof, she has a reason to believe. And best of luck to you, young lady. You are shining brightly in the world.


Brian Miller said...

she is a pretty amazing little girl...i hope that she wins you are traveling a lot...i used to travel all the time and ended up changing jobs...but it was fun while it lasted...smiles.

webb said...

Don't know how you manage that schedule, but admire the heck out of you for pulling it off. It's a great blog and worth the wait.

Susan said...

I was a mess at age 15, but I thought I had achieved enlightenment.

Slamdunk said...

Thanks for taking the time to find something positive JM (as I cover my current post on the former LAPD shooting rampage).

I am glad that Malala's courage is being recognized at the highest level. My 15 year old memories are as uninspiring as well.

Enjoy your Friday.

the walking man said...

Here is another one that tells me there is hope in youth.

Pancreatic cancer is one of the most difficult cancers to diagnose, oftentimes not detected until the most advanced stages. However, new advances in medical science have provided a way to find pancreatic cancer before it spreads.

New advances made by a 15-year-old Maryland high school student.

(MORE: Steve Jobs’ Cancer Journey)

North County High School freshman Jack Andraka earned the grand prize at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair for creating a test that can detect early-stage pancreatic cancer with 90% accuracy and at a cheaper rate than other tests.

“It detects an abnormal protein that you find in the blood when you have a pancreatic cancer,” Dr. Anirban Maitra, professor of pathology, oncology and chemical and biomolecular engineering at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, told CBS affiliate WJZ-13. “He conceived this idea, and I think the fact that he is 15 makes this whole story more remarkable.”

(PHOTOS: A Photographer’s Intimate Account of Her Mother’s Cancer Ordeal)

An estimated 44,000 people will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer this year; of those patients, 94% will die within five years of diagnosis and 74% will die within the first year. It is the fourth leading cause of cancer death in the U.S.

“I got interested in early detection because that’s the best chance of treating cancer,” Jack said. “The only practical way of doing this is through routine blood tests, so that’s what I’ve developed here.”

Jack won $100,000 in prize money, which he plans to put toward college.

Read more:

So. Cal. Gal said...

I hope she gets it! That would be truly deserved.

A Cuban In London said...

I, too, was inspired by Malala's story. I hope she wins the Nobel Peace prize. Many thanks.

Greetings from London.

Unknown said...

What an inspiring story. Doesn't it seem like any more, we live in a world of extremes? So much extreme evil, and so much extreme courage and goodness. Thanks for posting this. (And nice to be back in your corner of blogland, my friend!)