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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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Guiding Children Through Political Turbulence

In Parenting by Sarah Hink

It isn’t controversial to say that we are living in an era of extraordinary political divisiveness. Communities, friendships, relationships, and even families are being tested as neither side of the political spectrum seem willing to find common ground on virtually any issue. Unfortunately, with politics being served to us in real time via social media and through a non-stop news cycle, it is increasingly difficult to shelter our children from an incredibly negative time in our country. Children hear the news when the television is on, they hear it on the radio, they witness incredibly negative campaign ads, and they hear it from friends. And if you think about it, you have probably had numerous conversations about your political views within earshot of your children. While it simply isn’t possible, …

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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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Putting Your Phone Down

In Parenting, Relationships by Sarah Hink

It is hard to imagine that there was a time when the Internet didn’t exist, when there wasn’t social media. There used to be a time when we had to go to a library and use the card catalog system to find the answer to a question. Now, we have Google, or we can even just speak to Siri or Alexa to instantly get an answer. Smart phones have really changed everything. These magical computers can connect us to the entire world, to everyone we’ve ever met, to games, to instant news, to music, to silly cat videos, to love matches, and to car rides. Unfortunately, with the world at our fingertips, it is easy to lose sight of the world around us. Phones and the Internet have a great …

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Identifying Signs of Domestic Violence in a Relationship

In Domestic Violence, Relationships by Sarah Hink

It is surprisingly easy to lose yourself in a relationship. After a relationship begins, a lot of people find themselves focused on their partner, while naturally pulling away from their daily routines and even from friends. Unfortunately, a lot of us are optimists, so when we find a partner we are attracted to—and who seems to reciprocate our feelings—we tend to overlook red flags. For your health and safety, it is critical not to overlook red flags of domestic violence. Control Control is an enormous part of an abusive relationship, and can include controlling where a person goes, who they can talk to, their access to money, what they can wear, and their daily activities. In other words, abusers seek to limit their partner’s ability to make decisions for themselves. …

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Reclaiming Family Dinners

In Parenting, Relationships by Sarah Hink

Teen addiction is a very real problem. Whether your child is binge drinking with friends, smoking, “vaping”, experimenting with K2, marijuana, or hard drugs, parents should be aware of the short and long-term effects that addiction poses on their children. It is a truly dangerous path to start down at a critical stage of their physical, social, and emotional development. In response to the risks of teen addiction, the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse encourages parents to engage and spend time with their children in order to reduce the risks of substance abuse and other self-harming behaviors. Try Reinstating Family Dinners Parents are therefore encouraged to have dinner with their children. This is based on the common sense theory that when children spend more quality time with their …

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Appreciating Good Grandparents

In Parenting, Relationships by Carly Baker

Grandparents love their grandkids. Aside from all the spoiling and sugar-filled memories, the relationship between grandparents and grandchildren can be a very meaningful and developmentally important relationship in a child’s life. If a healthy grandparent-grandchild relationship is something you are interested in fostering, consider some the following ways to acknowledge the grandparent-grandchild relationship. Let Them Spend Time Together As your parents age—especially if they retire—they tend to have more free time and an increasing need for help. There is a natural role reversal where you, who was once their dependent child, transition into more of a caretaker role as your parents become seniors. If there is a positive relationship, encourage your children to spend time with your parents. Let your children keep them company and be their helper for household …

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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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Anti Stalking Laws in North Carolina

In Domestic Violence, Relationships by Elizabeth Stephenson

Stalking is terrifying, dangerous, and sometimes deadly for victims. Beyond the invasion of privacy, stalking creates a virtual prison and constant threat for a victim—possibly leaving lasting psychological damage. Because of the emotional trauma, extreme danger, and the “strong connections” between stalking and domestic violence and sexual assault, stalking is a crime in North Carolina. The Crime of Stalking Specifically, under North Carolina General Statute § 14-277.3A, a person commits the crime of stalking if: the person “willfully on more than one occasion harasses another person without legal purpose or willfully engages in a course of conduct directed at a specific person without legal purpose”; and the person “knows or should know that the harassment or the course of conduct would cause a reasonable person to” fear for their safety …