Tag Archives: blog 1

COVID-19 Vaccine and Its Effects on Pregnant Women

Many people are scared to get vaccinated. Many reasons are listed by those unsure of whether they should get the vaccine or not. One of the more popular concerns are by women who are pregnant or will one day want to have kids. Due to scientists and health officials obviously not being able to know all of the long term effects from the different COVID-19 vaccinations, there are reasonable concerns to be had.

The CDC provides some insight to these concerns on their website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/facts.html

The CDC states that it is in fact safe for pregnant women and those who will be one day, to receive the vaccine. “There is currently no evidence that COVID-19 vaccination causes any problems with pregnancy, including the development of the placenta. In addition, there is no evidence that fertility problems are a side effect of any vaccine.”

Telling a New Story to Create a New Future

Blog 1: Leslie MacKenzie, MDST 485

What if the greatest challenge facing our planet today is not a global pandemic, or creeping global fascism, or a fast-rolling climate catastrophe, but is instead the misuse and impoverishment of our collective imagination?

Could it be that our stunted political imagination is responsible for hundreds of thousands of COVID deaths because we failed to imagine how a universal basic income could have allowed every American to isolate for 2-3 months? This would have deprived the virus of new hosts long enough to die away, allowing our economy to safely reopen.

Could it be that our failure to imagine how facing difficult truths really could set us free has allowed our nation to fall into the cesspool of disinformation and outright lies upon which facism thrives?

  • As we face a world on fire – Australia, California, the Canadian arctic, Siberia …
  • As we face a world under water – island nations, Bangladesh, a million acres of U.S. farmland …

Could it be that it is our impoverished cultural imagination, rather than our lack of technological solutions, that has prevented us from taking action to save our lives and our planetary future? A cultural imagination that feeds us endlessly recycled images of material success or violent apocalypse and yet utterly fails to provide examples of caring, cooperation, and successful low-carbon ways of living.

Continue reading Telling a New Story to Create a New Future

What everyone should do when they get or renew their license… Become an organ donor.

My stance is that everyone should be an organ donor. You can visit this website to find out more information.

My Oldest daughter awaiting her heart transplant in 2011

This is somewhat selfish of me because my dad and my oldest daughter are alive today because of an organ donor. Organ donation is doesn’t also mean that your organs will be given a second life but the can be used to tell a story as well. If there isn’t a match or a particular organ isn’t healthy enough your organ’s can be used by scientist which can be equally beneficial as it gives scientist a better look into what is going on within the human body. I know that many people think that if you are an organ donor that doctor’s will do less to save you and that simply isn’t true. Doctors don’t even know that you are an organ donor until you are dead and then at that point they can look and see if you are an organ donor.

Here is more information on becoming an organ donor!

I was always an organ donor because I just thought it was the right thing to do. In 2011 when my oldest daughter was a year old she went into heart failure organ donation became personal. My daughter was list as 1A (highest priority) on the heart transplant list in February 2011. And in May 2011 my daughter Josie received a heart. We would come to find out the heart came from a 6 month old triplet boy who died of SIDS.


Blog Post 1 – Acts of service

At one point in time we are all going to need someone else’s help. Whether it is a favor, a few bucks, or a place to go for the holidays. By sharing kindness with others we are able to give back in little ways that makes the world a better place!

One of the most meaningful things I have done in the last year for others and for myself was to spend more time volunteering. Not everyone always has extra money to throw at a cause they are passionate about. Volunteering is a good way to spread the word about causes in the world that need attention and to encourage others to help in fun or meaningful ways. In the last year I volunteered to help three different causes and I will use the space below to open your eyes about potential to bring more joy into your life and those of others.

The first place I volunteered was Feed My Starving Children which packs dry nutrient dense meals to send to children around the world who might otherwise go hungry. Overall the experience is a little too preachy for me, but it feels good spending an afternoon helping children you will never meet and knowing you are helping them be healthy. Quick tip: I’ve done this about 5 or 6 times, bring friends – it makes the experience more fun and fulfilling. Find more here https://www.fmsc.org/

The second place I volunteered was through an opportunity my work offered me. My company has a big focus and philanthropy and good corporate social responsibility and they actually will pay every full time employee to take a week off and volunteer somewhere, AND they will donate $500 to that organization if you volunteer for at least 25 hours! So I went down to New Bern, North Carolina last May to help with disaster recovery relief with an organization called All Hands and Hearts! This was my favorite because I have family that live there who are first responsders and personally impacted and I was able to help rebuild their community. Depending what phase of the cleanup the teams are on you are either gutting or rebuilding houses for local people impacted by natural disasters. If you can handle dormitory style housing, and a curfew this kind of volunteer work will change your life. Oh wait – AND you can choose a volunteer location all around the world! In a future trip I would like to go to the Caribbean or different parts of Mexico because you also have free time to explore! Below are my wonderful coworkers! You can find more information here https://www.allhandsandhearts.org/

Finally, I volunteered at Loaves and Fishes in North Minneapolis. Loaves and Fishes is a no questions asked service that provides free meals to people across the state at many different locations. The North Minneapolis church that I volunteered at was New Bethel Baptist Church who estimate the feed 75 people every night Monday – Friday. This is a simple way to help those in need in your community and open your eyes to the world of food insecurity. Again, the value of this experience is immeasurable, and It is a great experience for families! Find more here: https://www.loavesandfishesmn.org/

I hope this has inspired you to find ways that you can help support causes you care about and make the world a better place!

1: The link between music and health

It’s no surprise that music has the ability to fight depression—but did you also know it has the ability to improve blood flow and lower your levels of cortisol (a stress-related hormone)? Even listening to music before surgery can improve post-surgical results.

All the technical language summed up is that is activates chemicals in the brain that make you feel good and helps regulate emotion and memory. The benefits of music can be compared to meditation. Both had outstanding improvements involving mood and quality of sleep. Let’s be honest, more people would much rather listen to music than partake in meditation.

BUT, music also has the ability to make us incredibly nervous. (Cue the Halloween theme song). In that case, silence would be better than listening to something random. Some music can also encourage negative emotions in us such as anger and aggression. The rhythm and other musical elements have the ability to change our brain’s activity just like it can do the opposite and make us feel good. So confusing, I know.

Just like you would expect, slow tempo music with gradual chord progressions make us feel calm whereas chaotic, up-tempo music can do the opposite. To make matters a little more complicating, not everyone is the same. While some people may think AC/DC is too hectic, some people claim for that to be their relaxation music. http://time.com/5254381/listening-to-music-health-benefits/

When a Podcast Solves a Crime

Something I have always found interesting is the phenomenon of true crime podcasts. There’s an entire community of podcast listeners who specifically listen to podcasts about crime, and spooky unexplainable encounters. There are crime podcasts for all kinds of true crime addicts. You could always check out the classic: Serial. If you like to keep it serious at all times, you’d probably like Sword and Scale. If you like your heavy subjects with a little humor, you’d likely love listening to My Favorite Murder or Last Podcast on the Left.

Most of these are retellings with great detail on crimes of the past, but none can compare to the fascinating tale of Up and Vanished, a podcast that lead to the arrests of two men in a missing persons case that went cold for 11 years, that was declared a murder investigation.

Tara Grinstead, A history teacher and beauty pageant enthusiast who’s missing persons case inspired the Up and Vanished Podcast

I first discovered Up and Vanished in 2016 while searching Spotify for a true crime podcast to listen to. It sounded captivating, and it had about 9 episodes at that point, and I listened weekly. The host, Payne Lindsay, posted episodes every 2 to 3 weeks, but between the regular investigation episodes, he would do side episodes with case updates, and Q&A’s with listener calls. As a listener, I could just feel that Payne Lindsay along with his private investigator, Maurice Godwin, were onto something with this case. I listened diligently for the updates, when one day in early 2017, I got the listen of a lifetime when they posted an episode stating there were two arrests made in the Tara Grinstead case.

The cover of Up and Vanished season 1

The state of Georgia ultimately put a gag order on the case, so nobody involved in the case was allowed to speak to the media at all, but the podcast continued, and kept up with the case details, the suspects who were arrested, and the motive behind the case.

The most interesting part about the Up and Vanished podcast is that it originally started as an investigation into a missing person that lead to traction and increased interest in a case that went cold for 11 years. Payne Lindsay even admits in an episode after the suspects are named that he had heard from multiple Ocilla townsfolk that he needed to look into the two men who eventually were convicted with the crime, meaning that Up and Vanished might not have solved the crime single-handedly, but they were hard on the heels of the discovering the convicted suspects on their own. Their passion for solving this mysterious case ended up leading to the arrests and eventually, the recorded confessions to the crime.

For more information on the case, and a link to episodes, head to https://season1.upandvanished.com/

Up and Vanished is also available on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify.


If you are in the professional world you’ve likely been invited to, attended, participated in, or at the very least heard of a conference related to your industry. I work in education and our high-level district staff and board members attend a conference every year that gathers people together from large, urban districts around the country to share ideas and best practices. Conferences are great opportunities to network but are often out of reach for small businesses, non-profits, or individuals due to the cost of attendance.


How to save a life

If you know anyone that has been effected by cancer or any horrible blood disease, you know that it is a very sad and painful process that a person has to go through. Years ago, I personally went through a situation of losing a nephew at 9 months old because he was diagnosed with leukemia and there wasn’t much that anyone could do about it. I know that I am not the only one who has gone through this situation and all you can do is move forward and think of what else you can do.

If you ever wondered if there was something that you can do, you can make a difference and potentially save someone’s life. If you are from the ages of 18 to 44, you have a high chance in being a match to donate your bone marrow to save a baby, child, adult, or anyone with this life-threatening disease. All it takes is to be registered on a national bone marrow registry like, Be the Match and DKMS, and to be listed for patients that are in need.

When you first join, you take a buccal swab test so that your HLA (Human Leukocyte Antigen) is listed on the registry for patients and their physicians to access. Once you are a match, there are two ways to donate and that is through PBSC (Peripheral Blood Stem Cell) and bone marrow donation. Both processes are harmless to the donor and an extensive examination is done before donation.

Doug Sundin/UW OSHKOSH from people.com

Here is a story about 22-year-old college student, Brett from Wisconsin who saved a 10-year-old girl from Indiana. This wonderful story details the experience of these two people and their journey to a successful transplant. This and many stories has been successfully shared online and with joining and supporting a bone marrow registry, you can also make a difference in someone’s life.

For more information and to learn more, check out: Be the Match and DKMS