Why People Don't Suck

Why People Don't Suck

Reasons to appreciate the people in your life.
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Recently a friend asked me, “What is one thing you appreciate?” A few responses ran through my head and “A cold glass of water on a hot day” sounded like a good answer. Instead, I decided to think on it. What’s something I really value and rely on? So I dug deep and answered with “I appreciate the company of people.”

Perhaps one of the reasons I enjoy Air Force ROTC so much is that I’m not alone in it. Waking up at five o’clock in the morning a couple days during the week certainly takes a toll. Having extra classes on top of taking tough classes for my major, attending drill practice and late meetings, are included. Forming up into a flight at six in the morning when it’s cold and windy really makes me miss my warm bed. Standing at attention on a parade field as I wait for my commander’s direction ends up feeling like I’ve been staring at the sky for an eternity. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed with the added responsibilities, but dealing with the stress becomes less arduous when I know I have others with me. I’m not the only person standing on that parade field. I’m not the only one with goosebumps at PT in the morning, wishing they could go back to sleep. When we start running and a fellow airman calls a jodie, everyone joins in to sing. The people I run with, plank with, and do lunges with, make getting through the pain possible.

I know that one day I will commission and my list of responsibilities will triple. However, I don’t dread that moment. When I receive my first assignment and it’s time to pack up and ship out to a new place, inevitably I’ll feel nervous. That moment will probably feel like how I felt during my first semester of college. Being thrown into a new place, with strangers, and no sense of home felt depressing and lonely. Only when I realized I was surrounded with people going through the same thing was I able to relax. I joined Air Force ROTC and immediately belonged somewhere. I see my peers in this organization as family. I can walk into our detachment lounge and feel at home. I can look forward to drill practice late at night because I know I’ll have friends there with me.

In a group setting, complaining spreads like the Santa Ana winds in Southern California. When one person complains about how cold they are, the next person will complain too. Consequently, the whole group begins complaining. Then morale drops even lower than mercury measuring the temperature outside. Camaraderie is undervalued sometimes. It’s what strengthens a team and gives people a reason to act. It’s what stops the complaining. What motivation do we have to face hardship when we are alone? Loneliness causes us to feel weak and isolated. It steals our incentives to continue working hard through suffering. Knowing that I’ve got a friend by my side helps me endure. I believe in appreciating the people around me. I believe in trusting my wingman and trusting that they will pull me out of a rut. I appreciate people because being with others beats the alternative.

Cover Image Credit: chainimage.com

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17 Empowering Bible Verses For Women

You go, girl.
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We all have those days where we let the negative thoughts that we're "not good enough," "not pretty enough" or "not smart enough" invade our minds. It's easy to lose hope in these situations and to feel like it would be easier to just give up. However, the Bible reminds us that these things that we tell ourselves are not true and it gives us the affirmations that we need. Let these verses give you the power and motivation that you're lacking.

1. Proverbs 31:25

"She is clothed with strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future."

2. Psalm 46:5

"God is within her, she will not fall."

3. Luke 1:45

"Blessed is she who believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her."

4. Proverbs 31:17

"She is energetic and strong, a hard worker."

5. Psalm 28:7

"The Lord is my strength and my shield."

6. Proverbs 11:16

"A gracious woman gains respect, but ruthless men gain only wealth."

7. Joshua 1:9

"Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."

8. Proverbs 31:30

"Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised."

9. 1 Corinthians 15:10

"By the grace of God, I am what I am."

10. Proverbs 31:26

"When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness."

11. Psalm 139:14

"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made."

12. 1 Peter 3:3-4

"Don't be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God."

13. Colossians 2:10

"And in Christ you have been brought to fullness."

14. 2 Timothy 1:7

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline."

15. Jeremiah 29:11

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' says the Lord. 'They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.'"

16. Exodus 14:14

"The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm."

17. Song of Songs 4:7

"You are altogether beautiful, my darling, beautiful in every way."

Next time you're feeling discouraged or weak, come back to these verses and use them to give you the strength and power that you need to conquer your battles.

Cover Image Credit: Julia Waterbury

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A Second Person Has Achieved Long-Term Remission Of The HIV Virus

A second man has had long term remission of the HIV virus.

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Over a decade after the first man, known as the Berlin Patient, was declared HIV-free, another patient may also be cured. Though it's too early for scientists to say for sure, the London Patient has been in a long term remission for around 18 months without the help of medication. Both men were treated with a bone marrow transplant. However, these stem cells carried a rare mutation in the genes that affect the production of the CCR5 protein, which HIV viruses latch onto to enter the cell. The virus cannot latch onto the mutated version of the protein, thus blocking its entry into the cells.

With the transplant of these HIV resistant genes, the body effectively builds a new immune system free of the virus.

After the Berlin Patient went into remission, scientists tried and failed to replicate the cure and were unable to until the London Patient, whose HIV count has reduced into undetectable numbers. While this is extremely helpful, bone marrow transplants are not a viable option to cure all HIV infected people, as it is an extremely risky process and comes with many side effects. Even so, scientists are developing ways to extract bone marrow from HIV infected people, genetically modifying them to produce the same mutations on the CCR5 gene or the inability to express that gene at all, and then replacing it back into the patient so they can still build resistance without the negative effects of a bone marrow transplant. There have also been babies whose genomes have been edited to remove the CCR5 gene, allowing them to grow up resistant to HIV.

This does not eliminate the threat of the HIV virus, however.

There is another strand of the virus, called X4, that uses the CXCR4 protein to enter the cell. Even if the editing of the CCR5 allows immunity against one strand, it is possible for a person to be infected with the X4 strand of the virus. Despite this, immunization against one strand could save a countless number of lives, as well as the vaccine that is currently in the stages of development for HIV. Along with the London Patient, there are 37 other patients who have received bone marrow transplants, six of which from donors without the mutation.

Of these patients, number 19, known as the Dusseldorf Patient, has been off anti-HIV drugs for 4 months. It may not be a complete cure, but it is definitely a step in the right direction.

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