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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 …

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Coping Through Wedding Season

In Health, Lifestyle by Elizabeth Stephenson

Wedding planners and venues will tell you that June is one of the most popular wedding months of the entire year. One of the reasons for this is the origin of the month’s name. June was named for the Roman goddess Juno, who happened to be the goddess of marriage, who protected women and blessed marriage and fertility. For more practical purposes, June marks the beginning of summer, meaning the wedding party and guests are more available to attend the festivities. If you have recently separated or divorced, wedding season can be a tough time for you. Getting invitations, seeing the endless wedding preparation photos on Facebook, and hearing from friends and family about plans can be a brutal reminder of what you once had—and what you have lost. It …

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Healthy Children and a Healthy You

In Health, Lifestyle, Parenting by Sarah Hink

In the age of smart phones, social media, and video games like Overwatch and Fortnight, children have more and more opportunities to stay home and remain inactive. Childhood obesity is an ever growing epidemic. In fact, the Center for Disease Control has found that the obesity rate in children has tripled since the 1970’s and that 20% of children are now considered obese. Obesity can have very serious physical and emotional effects on a child. This can include an increase susceptibility to diabetes, asthma, and heart disease as children. These health issues can worsen into additional metabolic diseases, chronic ailments, and cancer as adults. Emotionally, obesity can result in children with low self-esteem or depression; and these children may experience some form of bullying from their peers. Lead Your Children …

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Appreciating All Pets! (National Love Your Pet Day)

In Lifestyle, Separation & Divorce by Elizabeth Stephenson

Tuesday, February 20th is Love Your Pet Day, a day that is arguably more important than Valentine’s Day—at least to animal lovers! To mark the occasion, we would encourage you to spend the day spoiling your loving companion(s). Try a pet spa, make them a fancy meal, and let them break a rule or two. Pet Custody and Divorce If you think about it, human relationships may be fleeting, but your animal will love you for its entire life. In fact, it isn’t uncommon for a cat or dog to have known several of your partners in its lifetime. For married couples, animals also have a unique connection with your children, as you watch them grow, bond, and age together. Therefore, when it comes to family pets and divorce, things …

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Chinese New Year 2018 (Celebrating Multicultural Relationships)

In Lifestyle, Relationships by Elizabeth Stephenson

Chinese New Year is the most widely celebrated holiday of the year in China, in many other East Asian countries, and by people of Asian ethnic heritage around the globe. Also referred to as the “Spring” Festival, or the Lunar New Year, this day is annually observed in accordance with the first day of the new moon (based on the lunar calendar). Celebrations of this joyous occasion are generally marked by Lion (or Dragon) dances, firecrackers, fireworks, and dance performances. In addition, numerous customs are practiced, including family gatherings, shared meals, eating long noodles to signify long life, and giving red envelopes of money to children to signify prosperity. This year, Chinese New Year is on February 16, 2018 and marks the beginning of the Year of the Dog. Many …

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Random Act of Kindness Day

In Community, Health, Lifestyle by Sarah Hink

There is no disputing that we are living in divisive and negative times. From television, to social media, to interpersonal interactions, there seems to be a combative dynamic on every imaginable issue. Fortunately, good deeds and basic decency transcend politics and can help us see that we share more common ground than we like to admit. If you want proof of this, read articles or watch videos of complete strangers responding during natural disasters, such as Hurricane Harvey or the California fire and mudslides. In essence, people are still good, but we need reminders now more than ever. February 17th is Random Act of Kindness Day. Started in 1995 by the eponymous Random Acts of Kindness Foundation, this is a day to celebrate and promote people paying it forward. The …