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    Challenge yourself – Content by Judy

    We are in a new decade in a new century in the midst of a huge political season.

    Take some time and reflect. Decide what you believe in today. Challenge yourself.

    Don’t settle for status quo.

    What we thought was most important in the past might have changed. We are not the person we were 20 years ago nor is the world the same.

    I recently was at a networking event and we were asked “What is important enough to you that you would protest for it?” That’s a pretty deep question to answer when you don’t know those around you. My answer was “our basic rights” The freedom of speech. The right to assemble. The right to bear arms and the right to vote.

    For others it was the ocean or the environment. We all know there are many important issues. Some have been around for a very long time and resurface. And this country was founded so we as individuals could not be suppressed. We have freedom of speech which enables us to voice our beliefs and we need to continue to exercise all these basic rights.

    We need to be a part of the process. We need to stand for what we believe in. We need to be different. Have different beliefs and wants.

    But we need to hear each other and be respectful.

    Look around at the candidates running for office. In your town, state and nationally.

    Who stands out? Who is expressing what you are thinking? Who do you think would do the best job?

    Pick a campaign or pick a cause. Get out there. Get involved. I don’t know of a group that isn’t welcoming others to join them. Campaign for what and who you believe in.

    Remember we don’t all need to agree. But we must respect our differences and listen to those other opinions.

    And as Margaret Mead said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed’ it’s the only thing that ever has.”

    Now go out and be a part of that change!

    Pets – Content by Judy

    I recently got a puppy and I can’t tell you how much richer my life is because of our new little beagle, Harriett! She makes us laugh. She gets us up and moving. She’s funny and smart. I think we are going to be in trouble cuz she might be a little too smart.

    The CDC article I was recently reading states that studies show the bond between people and pets lowers stress, increases fitness and brings happiness which can lead to decreased blood pressure, decreased cholesterol and triglyceride levels, decreased feelings of loneness with increased opportunities for exercise and socialization. Plus, pets can help us with weight loss.

    When considering what to get for a pet we should be considering how long the pet will live. What they eat. How much exercise they will need? How big or small will it be when full grown. Are pets allowed where you live. How much time you have for a pet? How much will the pet cost between vet bills, food, grooming, etc.

    Another thing is pet insurance. This is becoming more popular and can be quite affordable. And can cover those unexpected illnesses and accidents.

    And before you get your pet. Figure out what pet you might want. The cost and time commitment. Reasons why that pet might not be a good idea. Ask yourself – will my life be richer if I get this pet? Or should I consider a cat instead? Maybe fish?

    If you haven’t had a pet before you might want to consider a parakeet, a gecko, a gerbil or guinea pig. They are pretty easy to care for.

    And remember the benefits!! Companionship, movement and laughter. Pets can give us a new meaning and purpose in life. My grandkids have come to visit more so they can see the puppy.

    Most households in the US have at least one pet. You just need to pick the right pet for you and your household. We all are better off for loving a pet.