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I’ve only recently started listening to country music, mainly because that’s what Sawyer’s always listening to, but I already knew of the mother-daughter duo, The Judds.


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Hard not to, as it was the most successful female duo.


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What’s hard to believe is that the day before her and Wynonna’s induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame, Naomi committed suicide. As a mother, your instinct is to put your children first, so that shows the overwhelming depth of the depression she was battling.


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I am sure people questioned how someone who appeared to have everything, and was about to be awarded one of her industry’s highest honors, could feel so bad about herself or her life to want to end it.

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I suspect many people think that fame and money would solve most of life’s problems. Obviously, they don’t realize mental health is a battle she had been fighting for a long time. Not only did she publicly talk about it, but she wrote a book about her depression and championed mental health for years.

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I know that, but some people still think you need to “toughen up” and “gut through it”, although they would not say that to someone who broke their arm. Or, had heart disease or cancer. Given the statistics (1 in 5 people will experience mental health illness in any given year), I bet we all know people who are struggling with it. Although they might not admit it or seek help.

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Hopefully, as more and more celebrities use their fame and public platforms to shed light on mental health issues (and other subjects that are either uncomfortable or considered taboo), it will make “mere mortals” realize they’re not alone. And, in turn, more comfortable admitting their own struggles and, more importantly, to seek help.

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Think about how many people felt alone and isolated, not to mention stressed out, during the pandemic. And, even though almost everyone was going through the same thing, they would talk about physical symptoms and their opinions about vaccines and masks, but not any related mental health issues they might be battling.

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It’s funny, there was so much emphasis placed on reaching out and checking on people – whether by phone or Zoom or whatever method made the most sense. But now that I think about it, it was more about being socially engaged and not totally isolated vs. seeing if people were truly ok.

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No one should ever have to suffer alone. How difficult is it for us to be less judgmental and more accepting? Ok, that is a rhetorical question. But, the bottom line is we should let family and friends know it is ok to not always be ok.

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I’m not brave enough to speak for you, but most of us have days when we’re not functioning well, or not feeling like ourselves, and maybe even hurting. So, we should all be more understanding of each other. But how do we know if it’s serious enough to seek help? And what if you don’t even know where to turn for help?

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That is why Mental Health Awareness Month is so important. And, this year’s theme is “Back To Basics,” so there is a lot of basic information and additional resources available. Not to mention, places to turn for help.

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Well, I know how much you love getting back to basics.

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Because getting “back to basics” reminds us of what really matters.
Photo by Rabbitti for iStock

It’s #GivingTuesday, and although it’s always a good time to think of others, remember all the people who are continuing to deal with the aftermath of natural disasters long after the headlines have been forgotten.

And even though Black believes charitable giving can be “secretive”, she also knows there’s science proving helping others is good for you. (Warning: she likes to recommend the book “Wonder Drug: 7 Scientifically Proven Ways That Serving Others Is the Best Medicine for Yourself.“)

P.S. – Wherever you may choose to donate, beware of potential scammers. So, if in doubt – check them out! (Black likes GuideStar and Charity Navigator.)



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I know today’s Giving Tuesday, but what I always find so amazing is how you treat every day as “Giving Tuesday."


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What makes you say that? I do not donate to an organization or charity every day.


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You’re always so literal. I meant that the spirit of “giving to others”, whether donating or providing support in some way, seems to be part of your daily life.


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I think you are exaggerating.
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Photo courtesy of Red’s eldest daughter, Natasha


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At the risk of asking you a warm and fuzzy question, have you thought about what you’re most thankful for this Thanksgiving?


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Yes.


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I should’ve guessed that you’d take the question literally. Could you expand on that a little, or at least give me a hint?
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Photo by htomas for iStock

When Red was a child, toilets represented more than a place to go when, well, you had to go. Much to Black’s amusement, Red saw cleaning them as a reward. (Really! Check out Red's post below.) But neither of us realized that billions of people don’t have access to toilets. And if it weren’t for today being World Toilet Day, we never would have known the magnitude of the associated health and safety issues – or the connection between sanitation and groundwater.

RED: What can I tell you? When I was a kid, one of my all-time favorite things to do was … clean the toilet. Yes, you read that correctly. And it wasn’t because I was a germophobe or a clean freak. I just loved being able to sit on the floor, using as much Bon Ami (I’ve no idea why I remember the brand) cleaning powder as I wanted. And the best part? All those bubbles!

It kept me entertained for hours. Not to mention, my mom was thrilled because it kept me “contained” and out of her hair. So much so that if I was very good and behaved myself, she might even give me “special permission” to clean the toilet in my parent’s bathroom. Of course, Black, being five years older and understanding the situation, found it all extremely amusing. Even now, decades later, she still gives me grief about it,

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