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.
Design by Sawyer Pennington, Underlying photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash


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Well, it’s our first column of the year. A new beginning. Any “new” ideas for topics? Something other than New Year’s resolutions.


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Is there a reason you do not want to talk about resolutions?


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Obviously, yours was not to ask fewer questions.


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That will never happen, but you are avoiding the question. Why?


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Because every year, I have a long list of things I want to do, and I start strong, but within a few months, I fall back into old habits. Sometimes it only takes weeks. It’s frustrating and disappointing.


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Next question. What is the opposite of “old?"
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December’s so festive and full of magic, but it’s also about appreciating family and friends and those lives we’ve been lucky enough to be a part of and, hopefully, touched in a positive way. Which is something we often pay lip service to, because as much as we truly believe it, life has a way of going by in a blur, and before you know it, another year comes to an end.

This seemingly obvious observation became more than just words a few short, or so it seems, weeks ago when Black and I lost our mom. She had lived a full 94 years, but when the time came, it came quicker than expected, which was a blessing for her but difficult for those she left behind. And while Black and I each had a very different relationship with our mom, it has been a challenging time in many ways.

Luckily, the business side of Red & Black could be put “on hold” and Black posted (on our behalf),

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As we welcome 2022 … we wish a happy and healthy New Year to you!