Wednesday, September 16, 2020

And the moral of the story is...

It's a beautiful day in Western Pennsylvania. Mid-70s with a slight breeze and plenty of sunshine. 

I stopped at Marshall's this morning to buy a gift card for an employee who won the summer contest we hosted at Dignity Home Care Professionals. As I left with my gift card secured in my purse and my mask secured over my nose and mouth (as it should be, right?) 😷, I lowered my sunglasses over my eyes and walked out into the plaza. 😎 My mood was nearing a 10, since doing for others always makes me feel good and I'm really happy about awarding this prize to our employee. 

A stout woman, probably in her 50s, approached me and said, "Congratulations!" I could hear the smile behind her mask.

"Excuse me?" I said.

She mustered up even more enthusiasm and repeated, "Congratulations!"

"For what?"

She nearly cooed. "You're having a baby!" 🤰

Behind my dark glasses and dark mask, she could not see my wrinkled expression as I said, "No, I'm not."

Dejected, she simply said, "Oh," and walked away. No apology. No embarrassment. No "Just kidding!" Nothing.

My 10 mood plummeted as quickly as I walked to my car. Am I really that fat? I wondered. 

As I backed out of my parking space, I picked up the phone and called my best friend of nearly 60 years. 

After she recovered from hearing my story, she said, "But you're so skinny."

Moral of the story: We all need friends like Dawn. BFF. No doubt about it.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

My Favorite Things -- A good night's sleep

Let's face it. A good night's sleep is worth its weight in gold, right? For you new moms (and some seasoned ones), it's not happening no matter what you try. But for the rest of us, I want to recommend a product that I've found to be extremely helpful in achieving some much needed rest. 

I received my first bottle of Calm Mood Mist by Cardea AuSet in the spring CAUSEBOX and immediately was sold. I spritzed it on my sheets and pillow that night and for the first time in a long time, I fell into a sound sleep that lasted throughout the night. My mind quieted and I rediscovered the bliss of rest.

I must admit, I'm not a big fan of the smell of lavender. It's just not a favorite for me. But the blending of lavender, bergamot, and frankincense is a winner. I spritz, inhale, and sleep. 

As my bottle started to run low (since I use it every night), I decided to order some more and found the price to be a bit high ($30/2 oz.). However, with some googling, I managed to score a better deal on eBay and bought two bottles for $40. That will last me a while. My husband scoffed at the cost, but when I asked him what price is too high for a restful night's sleep, he didn't have an answer. 

With safe ingredients and proven results, Calm Mood Mist by Cardea AuSet deserves a spot on My Favorite Things list. Thanks, CAUSEBOX for the introduction!

Let me know if you give it a try. And no, this is not a sponsored post. Just my honest opinion.

Friday, June 19, 2020

To Mask or Not To Mask... That is the Question

It's been a heavy time across our nation and world. I haven't shared my words with you since the beginning of April when we were a few weeks into a pandemic in the states and stay-at-home orders were in place here in Pittsburgh. The world had changed.

It's been a challenging time, as I continued to work as Operations Manager of Dignity Home Care Professionals, a senior in-home care company in Pittsburgh. My job was deemed essential so I continued on with the day-to-day business of providing caregivers to families in need. Sometimes, I ventured in to my lonely office in Bellevue and other times, I forwarded the phones and worked from home. We lost some clients (none from COVID-19) and we gained new ones. We kept our employees busy and we added new faces to the team. My heroes... those willing to brave the risk and offer their care to housebound elderly clients. 

It's been a sad time. The murder of George Floyd caused more than just rage and protest. It caused a deep sadness inside of me. It also awakened a need in me to push aside my comfortable silence and to speak out. I undoubtedly lost friends in the process, but that's okay. If you are a racist, you don't deserve my friendship. Not at all.

It's also been an infuriating and frustrating time. And this is the focus of this post: to mask or not to mask. It really shouldn't be a question. I continually hide 'friends' from my Facebook feed over this issue... those proudly proclaiming their "constitutional right" not to cover their faces. GIVE ME A BREAK! Those who take this stand continue to hide behind their excuses of "liberty." Sadly, most of the ones I've heard bemoan the masks also proclaim their status as "Christians." Again, give me a break. Where, pray tell, in Scripture does it instruct us to hold our rights and liberty above the good of others? Where? Show it to me. 

No, rather, the Apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the church at Philippi: 

"Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others." (Phillipians 2:3-4 NASB)

Let me paraphrase: 

"Do nothing from selfishness or a desire for your own liberty, but humble yourself, realizing that you could be an asymptomatic carrier of COVID-19, which puts others at risk for a disease that, while it may be mild, could also KILL that person or cause lifelong problems for them."

As Christians, and, yes, I count myself as a devout follower of Christ, we have a moral obligation to do what we can to protect others from harm. Whether that means standing up for the rights of people of other races, seeking justice, socially distancing ourselves, fighting against the evils of Bayer/Monsanto and other companies who are poisoning us, or wearing a danged mask while in public and honoring the request of businesses and churches who ask this of us, that's what we have to do. It is NOT about liberty and constitutional rights... it's about kindness. It's "regarding one another as more important" than ourselves.

And for those of you buying into the myth of the dangers of breathing in your own CO2, read up on the facts. You would have to breathe in extremely high levels of the gas... more than say, a surgeon or their surgical team who are masked for hours during an operation -- how would you feel as a patient if they decided it was their "right" not to wear a mask?

I, personally, hate wearing masks. But, because I care about you, you better believe I'll be donning mine. I can only hope you care enough about me to do the same.

Sharing my heart,

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

My Favorite Things -- The View

This is my second post in a new series featuring things I love -- my favorite things. Today's is a bit odd. It's not about a product, but about a place. My work office. This is the view outside my window when I'm seated at my desk. I love watching as the world goes by.

Usually, it's bustling with activity. Busy Lincoln Avenue in Bellevue boasts restaurants, a brewery, pharmacy, doctors' offices, insurance and law offices, variety shops, and more. Sadly, we lost a once-thriving flower shop (of which my office sits above), a children's theater company, and Happy Baby Company, which let go of their brick and mortar space months ago (but you can still shop online here and I highly recommend it).

Today, there are fewer cars and next to no pedestrians. The ones passing by are often donning masks. It is a strange sight indeed.

While many of you are quarantined in your homes, I am here in my office watching less of the world pass by and feeling an isolation of my own. As Operations Manager of Dignity Home Care Professionals, I have to work. It is essential. Yes, I can do almost all of my work from home, but I often discover the need for a file or info I can't access there. So I come in to my office, sensing an incredible emptiness here. For the past several weeks, I'm the only one working here. I miss the other voices. The looks we exchange. The feel of our office dog crawling onto my lap. 

I am being vigilant about sanitizing, wearing gloves while retrieving and opening the mail, and washing, washing, washing my hands. At times, I've had to go to peoples' homes and be in the presence of our precious elderly clients. My fear, of course, is not that I'll catch something from them. No, my greatest fear is that I, or one of our team of caregivers, will carry the virus (you know the one I'm talking about) into them. It's the stuff nightmares are made of, and believe me, I've been losing sleep over it.

And I, am only one. Only one person managing a team on the front lines. I'm mostly cocooned in my office or my home while they, my team of heroes, ventures out to care for those who cannot care for themselves. At night, when I cannot sleep, I pray for them. And for the other managers trying to navigate this new world of home care amidst daily fear that the virus will reach their people. Once competitors, now comrades in a battle against an invisible enemy.

Yes, this is my view and I love it. But I long for the day when the hustle and bustle returns and the noise rises to my window and Petey, the office pup, comes running through the door and onto to my lap. 

My favorite things . . . an office I love, a view that will be fluid again someday . . . soon.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Greg Landry Homeschool to the Rescue!

This post is sponsored by College Prep Science. 

Now, more than ever, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, homeschooling has been front and center. Whether it's been thrust upon unprepared parents trying to navigate working from home while overseeing the education of their children, or a shifting of focus for those parents already educating their kids at home who no longer can be part of the homeschooling network they've relied upon for years, due to social distancing. 

Greg Landry homeschool has pioneered science classes and labs for homeschooling families. He offers online classes (for science leaning students and “non-science” students), science labs, ACT prep, homeschool student-produced print publications, and a podcast for homeschool moms. He has a heart for students and a passion for science... but more specifically a passion for teaching students to see God's hand in every aspect of His creation that surrounds us. His goal is to help them see that God's creation didn't just happen by chance - it wasn't an accident, a fluke of nature.

Greg Landry has spent the past 20+ years teaching science. He taught at a university, taught thousands of homeschooled students, has mentored students planning to pursue science/pre-med degrees, has designed and directed a university anatomy and physiology/biology/cadaver lab, has published and presented scientific research, has academically counseled hundreds of college pre-professional (pre-med, pre-dental, pre-physical therapy, etc.) sophomores and juniors, has designed science labs for homeschooled students and has written science lab manuals. Ten years ago he originated the "pre" classes (Pre-Biology, Pre-Anatomy & Physiology, Pre-Chemistry, and Pre-Physics) as a means of minimizing the intimidation of high school level science and preparing middle school age students for specific high school level classes. As one homeschool mom described it, "Greg has a unique ability to pull out the most important information and present it in a way that's interesting and easy to understand." 

The thrust of Greg Landry homeschool science is to give homeschooled students access to Christian Worldview science that is focused on scientific inquiry, critical thinking, process reasoning, data collection, and the graphical and written representation of research. Greg says, "We want to prepare competent, confident students for their remaining high school years, their college years, and life. 

Greg and his wife live near Nashville, TN. His desire is to follow the Lord's leading in teaching students to illuminate the incredible creation the Lord has put all around us. It reveals His glory! ​Homeschool dad, scientist, and former college professor, Greg Landry, offers live, online homeschool science classes, Homeschool ACT Prep Bootcamp, the Homeschool Mom’s Science Podcast, in-person two-day science lab intensives nationwide, freebies for homeschool moms, and student-produced homeschool print publications.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Snippets from my life -- Waiting

September 1989

Photo by Linnaea Mallette

Pushing aside the gauze curtains, I glanced out the back window and watched as my seven-year-old shuffled down the driveway. She reached the street, looking to her left and then to her right, waiting for her friend to come and play with her, to distract her, to make her forget for a while.

I don't think she heard me approaching as she sat cross-legged at the end of the driveway. I assumed her position and we sat quietly for a while, side-by-side. We were both waiting. The nightmare that had begun two short endless days ago was ever present. My husband, her daddy, was gone and tonight we had to go to a service where he would be eulogized.

"Did Daddy have on his old shoes?" Her question disrupted my thoughts. 

"What?" I asked. 

She repeated the question. 

"What do you mean, Bethany?"

"Well, if Daddy had on his new tennis shoes, he could have run faster and gotten away from the fire."

I didn't know what to say. I, too, wanted answers. 

Again, Bethany spoke. "I wish he would've worn his new shoes."

I still had no words for her. We went back to waiting, side-by-side. She was waiting for her friend. I was waiting, hoping, praying for the alarm clock to ring and for my husband to say, "Hana, it's time to get up."

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

My Favorite Things -- Silver Lozenges with Manuka Honey

I decided to start a new feature on GG: It's called My Favorite Things and will feature products I love. With a variety of infectious viruses on everyone's mind, I thought this week would be a good week to feature Silver Biotics® Silver Lozenges. They're made with 60 ppm SilverSol® and manuka honey. 

I've been a long-time lover of silver and its healing benefits. And ever since I was introduced to Multi-Healing Balm (which, sadly, is no longer available), I've been a believer in the miracle of manuka. So when I discovered these dandy little lozenges, I snatched them up. 

They're great to take at the first sign of a cold or sore throat. But I take one a day to ward off any sickness. They're made with organic ingredients and Silver Biotics patented nano-silver technology, raw New Zealand manuka honey, and cooling mint. A perfect combination. And they taste great!

Concerned about the influenza, pneumonia, or bronchitis? It goes without saying, although everyone is saying it, wash your hands. Often. And do the 20 second thing. And suck on some Silver Biotics Silver Lozenges to boost your immune system. They're even on sale right now (3/10/2020) at The Vitamin Shoppe. I just ordered 3 more bags!

And there you have the multiple reasons Silver Biotics Silver Lozenges made My Favorite Things list. And, no, this is not a sponsored post. Just my honest opinion.

Carry on and stay well.

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Observe Chimps in the Wild—Without a Passport!

I don't want to brag, but I have some really cool writer friends. They're part of my tribe and I love hearing about their projects and celebrating their success with them. Today's guest post is by Dana Colecchia Getz, one of the fine writers in my monthly writing group, Writers at Work. She was asked to attend a program put on by Project Chimps and kindly agreed to write a blog post for me. I thought the GG community would enjoy learning more.

Crystal Alba/Project Chimps

For years, chimpanzees were used in invasive experimentation. Studies ranged from crash tests to HIV testing. Some chimps, like Hercules and Leo, spent their days forced to unnaturally walk upright with electrodes embedded into their muscles. 

Now Hercules, Leo, and 79 other chimpanzees formerly living in research labs are able to spend their days foraging, climbing, and playing in a natural, 236-acre forested setting. Project Chimps, a chimpanzee sanctuary set in the Georgian Blue Ridge Mountains, has become their forever home. 2015 marked the end of invasive experimentation on chimpanzees in the United States leaving chimps living in private research facilities with no place to go. Project Chimps stepped in to help by slowly transferring the primates to their sanctuary in 2016, with the goal of eventually housing 200 chimpanzees. 

Crystal Alba/Project Chimps
As they continue expanding the habitat for more chimps, they are broadening opportunities for humans as well. Although not generally open to the public, Project Chimps offers a variety of tours and volunteer-based ecotourism for animal and nature lovers of all ages. With the insight of a trained guide throughout the experiences, visitors are able to observe the chimps from platforms and windowed sections of wall along the perimeter of the habitat. It is important to remember, however, that unlike a zoo, the animals are free to explore as they want, which means visitors on a short tour cannot be guaranteed a sighting—although that is rare. According to Project Chimps director Ali Crumpaker, “They are not on exhibit. They are not there for your entertainment. We tell people all of the time—you are putting on the parade. You are part of the show. You are bringing something to them and if they are interested in what you bring to the environment, they will come and watch you.”

The goal of the sanctuary is to create a “fission-fusion society” where the physical environment supports their transition from lab to a more natural setting. In most labs, the chimpanzees were separated by age and gender. Here, for the first time, they can choose how they spend their day and with whom they interact. Visitors and volunteers have the unique opportunity to observe them as they navigate these new social structures as they would in the wild. 

If you are looking for a socially-conscious trip, consider visiting Project Chimps.They are certified by the Global Federation of Sanctuaries, ensuring the highest standards of animal care are upheld. Located only two hours outside of Atlanta, their tours offer a unique opportunity within the United States that many would be unable to experience otherwise. 

“You don’t need a passport, or a visa, or an expensive plane trip to go experience some creatures that are so close to us in a way that enriches the chimpanzees’ lives and educates the humans’ lives all at the same time,” explained Crumpaker.

Project Chimps

Project Chimps Ecotourism/Voluntourism Opportunities

Family-friendly Experiences: 

Discovery Days, Chimps Rock! and Chimp-or-Treat. (Plan ahead for Discovery Days, as they sell out months in advance.)

Chimpcation- a week long voluntourism opportunity better suited to adults and older kids who can be more actively involved.  
Spring Brachiate- an alternative spring break program, for college kids.

Full-day photography workshop 
AirBnb Experiences- 2 hour guided tour or tour with introduction to beekeeping

Dana Colecchia Getz is a Pittsburgh-based freelance writer specializing in travel, parenting, and social change. She is the recipient of a regional Jefferson Award for Public Service for her work as the founder of KnitHope, a grassroots craftivism project. Her writing has appeared in numerous publications including The Christian Science Monitor, Go World Travel,, The Sunlight Press and Mamalode. You can follow her musings on Twitter @DanaCGetz.

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Dinosaur Adventure -- The Dinosaurs Have Come and Gone

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. I received tickets to Dinosaur Adventure in exchange for this honest review.

Last weekend, we treated one of our grandchildren with an adventure... a dinosaur adventure. The middle of five grandchildren, Miss M has been obsessed with dinosaurs for most of her short life. We hosted a dinosaur party for her 5th birthday, complete with a dinosaur egg hunt, pin the tail on the dinosaur, and a visit from Polly the paleontologist. The next year, my husband and I took Miss M to DuBois, PA for a weekend that included a visit to Doolittle's where they've set up an impressive display of life-sized animatronic dinosaurs in a huge warehouse. Our delighted granddaughter had the opportunity to get up close and personal with the dinosaurs, dig for fossils, and ride a dinosaur, all for the at-that-time price of $3!

For Christmas, we gifted her with another visit to see dinosaurs; this time right outside of Pittsburgh at the Monroeville Convention Center. The traveling show, Dinosaur Adventure, was in town for 3 days and Miss M was once again delighted. She wanted to take her sisters along, but one of them was sick, so just her older sister joined us for the experience. The ticket prices ranged between $20 and $55. For the higher amount, you could ride all the rides and do all the activities.

The kids had a lot of fun and that is what mattered most. But to be honest, there were things I wasn't too impressed with. For instance, some of the dinosaurs weren't in the best of conditions, with rips in them and poor construction that gave everyone a glimpse into the wiring. Often the joints just weren't put together too well. 

The rides were unique, with Jurassic jeeps, walking ride-on-dinosaurs, and dinosaurs that raced around a track. I appreciated the disposable caps the kids put on their heads before donning helmets for the rides, thus preventing the spread of head lice, but it was incredibly wasteful. Rather, I think each child should have received a cap with their arm bands and worn the same one with each ride. Of course, we were able to think to hold on to the caps, but most people wouldn't have considered it.

There were only 2 jeeps, which meant LONG lines to ride them. We opted not to wait. We did, however wait for over 30 minutes for Miss M to ride the very cute "walking" dinosaurs. I'd never seen a ride like it and thought it looked like a lot of fun.

The kids spent quite a bit of time in the inflatable maze and slides, but I was appalled by the lack of supervision there. The sign clearly stated that everyone had to wear socks and had to be taller than or shorter than the measurement posted. However, there were toddlers, kids carrying infants, barefoot kids, older (thus taller than allowed) kids, and basically total chaos. There was an attendant present, but he just sat on a chair and looked at his phone. Like I said, I was appalled.

The shows were fair and no times were posted, so we waited a few times and eventually left because nothing happened. We did catch two of the "performances" however, and were not impressed.

One thing that did impress me was the huge walking dinosaur that came out and interacted with the guests. He patiently posed for pictures with anyone who wanted one. There were also a couple of baby dinosaur puppets expertly operated by their handlers as they walked through the crowd, allowing the children to pet the dinosaurs. But you had to watch out -- they were biters!

Miss M has a problem with gluten, so there wasn't anything for her to eat in the concession stand. Even the fries were coated with breading of some sort. That was disappointing. I didn't think to take snacks with us.

As I said, the kids had fun. They wouldn't pick up on the things I was critical of. But after being at Doolittle's in DuBois, I did have something to compare Dinosaur Adventure to and I wasn't impressed. If you're able to get to DuBois, I recommend you give it a try.

Here are some more highlights that kept a smile on Miss M's face.

Finally, this sign greeted us upon entry and I immediately worried that quality control wasn't a priority for this organization. "Oppurtunity".... Really? Looks like proofreading is going the way of the dinosaurs... it's practically extinct. 


All-in-all, for Miss M's sake, I'm glad we didn't miss this oppOrtunity!

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