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Creating an Emergency Plan for Your Family

In Health, Lifestyle by Elizabeth Stephenson

While it is unpleasant to think about, we are sometimes faced with dangers that are out of our control, such as natural disasters, car accidents, medical emergencies, property damage, or crime. The entire idea of an emergency is that it occurs when we don’t expect it to. Nevertheless, there are affirmative steps that people can take to preemptively plan for emergencies should they arise. While it is possible to go overboard (i.e., building a fallout shelter) when emergency planning, these suggestions offer a more realistic and balanced approach. Develop a plan with your family so that everyone is on the same page. No matter the size of disaster, it is important to have a conversation that addresses what to do, where to go, where to meet, who to call, and …

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Libraries Are a Parent’s Best Friend

In Child Custody, Lifestyle, Parenting by Carly Baker

When you are a parent, you realize that the added expenses of a child really add up in a significant way. You therefore look for ways that you can save money. Libraries are an amazing community resource that can serve this purpose for you. For some, a library may seem like a long-forgotten relic of the past. Your memories may be of looking for old magazine articles on microfilm, or trying to find a book using the card catalog system. A visit to your local central library will quickly dispel these notions. First, libraries are taxpayer funded, and offer countless new and old books, television shows, and movies for free to borrow. Look online at your local library’s website and you will find an easily searchable database of their catalog …

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A New Year Doesn’t Require Big Changes

In Health, Lifestyle by Carly Baker

Have you ever noticed that whenever a new year rolls around, there are non-stop television, radio, and internet ads for gym memberships? Or that your physical and email mailboxes are filled with “exciting limited offers” on expensive trend diets and meal plans? The fact is companies try to capitalize on people’s New Year resolutions of diet and exercise during the early months of a new year. To avoid the traps and quick ends to resolutions that we often suffer, consider a more maintainable approach such as this: Choose goals that are sustainable. Treat your healthier life as a marathon and not a sprint. You are unlikely to find long-term success if you haven’t regularly exercised in years, then set a sudden goal of working out 5 hours every single day. …

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Thinking About Materialism

In Lifestyle, Wealth by Sarah Hink

In the past few years, Japanese author Marie Kondo has authored numerous worldwide bestselling books, like Spark Joy and Life-Changing Magic: A Journal. These books present Kondo’s multi-step method of tidying up and de-cluttering your space, which have amassed her a huge and loyal fan-base who hang on every word she writes. “KonMari” mania has recently reached dizzying heights in the last month as Netflix has released its first season of “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.” In this show, Kondo travels to American homes, where she helps individuals and families whose lives have become messes due to the unmanageable piles of clothes, books, baseball cards, and Nutcracker statutes that have grown throughout their homes. If you have binge-watched episodes of Kondo’s show like so many others, you may feel inspired …

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Remaining Civil in an Uncivil Time

In Lifestyle, Relationships by Sarah Hink

We are living in a remarkably uncivil time. A vitriol that was once relegated to anonymous people saying terrible things on the internet has escalated. Now, people do not seem to have much problem putting their names behind horrible words online; or even worse, some people are emboldened to say or act in an extremely offensive manner in public. Lines that were once completely taboo, involving common courtesy, gender, age, race, religion, disability, and nationality seem to be crossed on a daily basis on Twitter, in the news, or in a trending viral video. To make matters worse, some of us find friends and family members shocking us with closely held opinions that we wish had stayed hidden. Unfortunately, at work, at school, on social media, while shopping, at family …

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Celebrate With a Season of Sharing

In Community, Lifestyle, Parenting by Carly Baker

We live in a culture of shopping and consumption. This is especially true during the holiday season. If you think about it, November through the end of December have become one endless sales event, designed to separate you from as much money as possible. Where Black Friday was the big shopping event before the holidays, there is now Amazon Prime Day, Black Friday Preview Sales, Cyber Monday, “12 Days of Doorbusters”, and countless other “can’t miss” online and in-store shopping opportunities. Oh yes, don’t forget after-Christmas clearance sales or using all of those gift cards you received. Unfortunately, the culture of gift giving has changed with the times. What was once special—the act of going to a store and thoughtfully choosing a gift—has become replaced with wish lists and no-question …

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How Civil No Contact Orders Work

In Domestic Violence, Lifestyle, Separation & Divorce by Carly Baker

Violence, sexual assault, stalking, and harassment are a nightmare, and those who live under the threat of a person who has committed these acts need help to protect themselves. Beyond help from law enforcement, there are civil orders that can provide legal protection and restrain perpetrators from continuing their misconduct. These are Domestic Violence Protective Orders (DVPO) and Civil No Contact Orders. The two are different, and even if you don’t qualify for one, the other might apply to your circumstances. Civil No Contact Order A civil no contact order is a restraining order that can be obtained by a victim against a perpetrator of unlawful conduct. This unlawful conduct includes stalking, non-consensual sexual conduct, acts that would make a reasonable person fear for his or her safety, as well …

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Keeping Your Kids Active with Sports

In Lifestyle, Parenting by Carly Baker

The Center for Disease Control estimates that the obesity rate of children in America is at least three times higher than it was in the 1970’s. This is not hard to understand. The world has become scarier, in that parents no longer let kids leave the house alone on their bike, go on unknown adventures all day, and come back at night. In addition to having less outdoor time, children have a plethora of electronic devices to ensure a sedentary lifestyle that did not exist prior to the 1990’s. In addition, kids are eating more and sleeping less. As parents, it is important to understand the negative impact that obesity and an inactive lifestyle can have on children’s current and future physical and emotional health. While we cannot go back …

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Be Kind to Humankind

In Community, Lifestyle, Relationships by Elizabeth Stephenson

We’re living through a rough time in our country. The civil discourse regarding social and political issues has become toxic, with lines drawn in the sand and neither side willing to give an inch to the other. This is really sad, as long term friendships have been tested and fractured as a result. Nevertheless, we should never forget what unites us, which is our humanity and our ultimate desire to leave the world better for our children. “Be Kind to Humankind” is an annual week—celebrated since 1988—that celebrates humanity through exhibiting kindness on a daily basis. This year, it falls on the week of August 25-31, 2018. According to the movement’s official website, each day of the week is designated with its own theme, including: Sunday, August 25th: “Sacrifice Our …

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The Many Facets of Independence Day

In Lifestyle, Relationships by Sarah Hink

Independence Day is upon us. With it comes a day off, family and friends, hot dogs, parties, and fireworks. It is also an opportunity to reflect on the many facets of what independence means: the historic independence of our Country from British rule, independence as individual Americans with the rights of equal protection and due process, independence from our parents as adults, and our autonomy to make decisions for ourselves. There is great value in every aspect of our independence, and if you have separated or divorced a spouse, Independence Day is a prime day to reflect on what we have. Financial Independence During your former marriage, you may not have agreed with the way money was being spent or may have been removed from financial decisions. Following your separation …