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.

When Black came up with the idea of daily Banter Bites, Red thought it was conceptually great, but a bit unrealistic. At first glance, having to come up with a short comment from Red (ok, keeping it short might be a challenge), followed by a quick response from Black (no problem there), seemed like an easy task. But Red was concerned about keeping it current and relevant to readers – whether something happening in our lives, current events, or something that Black found in her non-stop reading and research, and told Black:

I'm not sure we'll have enough material to be able to post every day.

Rather than argue or debate, Black humored her sister, and suggested they do it a few days a week instead of every day. Meanwhile, she found it ironic that Red, the self-proclaimed queen of blah-blah-blah, was concerned about not having enough topics to discuss. But as with most things, when given a little time, Red often crosses to the "Black" side of things. We soon were coming up with more potential material than there were days to post and expanded Banter Bites to six days of the week (we believe Sundays shouldn't be spent on gizmos, although that doesn't stop Black from working).

We had gotten into a rhythm of daily Banter Bites, and then it was suggested to expand the posts as readers wanted to know more about the topic including what inspired or prompted it. Black immediately came up with the idea of adding a "Banter Bite Backstory" to each post.

So, how did Red react this time? Instead of being reluctant, Red embraced the idea:

It's so much fun being able to share with our readers the backstory of each Banter Bite. It's funny, because most times we're just spinning on a dime and reacting to things that happen – whether current events or in our lives. But isn't that what we all do every day? Add to the mix that Black and I usually see things very differently, and you end up with no shortage of things for us to say.
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I drafted this post weeks ago, but it seems fitting to post it today. Sometimes we need days to officially remind us to help others but for some people it seems to come naturally. Yes, today is National Day of Service in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day and is the only federal holiday designated as a national day of service to encourage all Americans to volunteer to improve their communities. But, that's not what I want to talk about.

This might not seem much to you. And I know it was truly nothing to Black. Just a quick reply on Twitter that she tossed off without a second thought. But to me it showed how, to some people, charity in the purest and best sense of the word just comes, well, naturally.

The details of where it started really isn't important, but it was a personal comment made in response to one of our "Words & Banter" posts and had a ripple effect as it ultimately involved a company mentioned in the post. The individual let us know that if replying to our post resulted in the company helping resolve their problem, then they'd send Black a bottle of red or white wine. (OK, I probably shouldn't disclose that Black's the one behind our tweets, but anyone who knows us would know that.) Most people, I suspect, would have thought, "Wow, that's a very nice offer" and then would have replied with their preference.

But not Black … she simply (and sincerely) replied:

Fingers crossed … but no gift necessary. Instead make a donation to a favorite charity.

It was like any other weekday morning, a tumbler of hot coffee on my desk and the morning news on the TV in the background, as I brace myself as I open Outlook. Computer issues? Nope, especially now that I have a new computer. Instead, it's the daily onslaught of emails generated by Black as she seems to do her best thinking while the rest of us are sleeping.

Well, the subject line of one of her emails, "Crazy idea?", stands out and I open it to find an image of a Good Humor truck and a leading question:

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