Created by Sawyer Pennington


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It seems like it was only yesterday that we were thinking about a new website. Now we're working on it non-stop.


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Actually, we have talked about a new website for years, but deciding to create this website became a high priority when COVID-19 changed everything – for everyone.


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No kidding. I was so surprised when educators reached out to us looking for online resources. But what really caught me off guard was when people started telling me my crisis, which happened years ago when my husband got fired, had so many analogies to what they're having to face today.


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We all tend to live our lives day-to-day until something happens that is a catalyst to make us stop and take notice. To have to address the situation. The reality of our lives. First, it was COVID-19. Then the civil unrest and protests prompted by the murder of George Floyd. And now, with everything seeming to divide the country, the upcoming presidential election is only making things worse. It just seems that we are going from crisis-to-crisis.


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I know that so much of what's happening today has left me feeling sad. And angry. And often helpless. But I'll admit, being able to talk with you and get non-emotional feedback has been an enormous help.


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Funny thing is sometimes I just let you talk. Or, maybe it is that I just cannot get a word in edgewise.


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Well, everyone knows that I'm the warm and fuzzy one who like to blah-blah-blah. But I have to tell you, even if I regret it later, that right now, given all the current craziness and stress, I even welcome your sarcasm.

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In the past, my standard reply to that would have been, "You need to get out more." But, given COVID-19, that is probably not very good advice.


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Does that mean you have no words of wisdom for me?! Wow, that's a first.


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Technically, I typically do not tell you what to do. I just ask questions – sometimes lots of questions – to try to make you figure it out yourself.


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I don't want to get in a debate with you, so can we change the subject? I'd LOVE to tell people how excited we are about our new website! Should we explain how we're starting with a few key posts in each of the sections, along with the "Banter Bites" that we launched on Twitter and Facebook earlier this year? And mention how we'll be adding new information every day?


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You just did.
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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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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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