Three Atlanta McDonald’s Restaurants Transform into Exclusive “Mac Jr. Taste Kitchens” Jan. 26

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On-the-go single-layer Big Mac free to customers at select locations

On January 26, Atlantans can seek out a trio of decked-out McDonald’s restaurants for a first free taste of a new sandwich inspired by one of the company’s most iconic burgers. Three McDonald’s restaurants in metro Atlanta will transform into first-of-their-kind Mac Jr. Taste Kitchens for more than eight hours on Thurs. Jan. 26 with the brand new Mac Jr. sandwich as the singular menu item being cooked and served free to every visiting customer, while supplies last.

The promotion takes place Jan. 26 from 10:30am to 7pm at three restaurants throughout metro Atlanta located at 1166 Ralph Abernathy Blvd., 5774 Buford Hwy NE (Doraville) and 4415 Wade Green Rd. (Kennesaw). This trio of Mac Jr. Taste Kitchens will offer the new Mac Jr. sandwich as an exclusive free offering to all guests. Customers sampling the new sandwich – offered both inside the restaurant and at drive-thru – will be encouraged to share their first taste pictures and experiences on social media using the hashtag #ATLLovesMacJr.

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The Mac Jr., which will be available at all participating McDonald’s restaurants following these exclusive tasting events, packs the great taste of the iconic Big Mac into a compact, hand-held sandwich. The Mac Jr. sandwich has a single layer of 100 percent sear-sizzled beef, one slice of melty American cheese served on a sesame seed bun with crisp lettuce, minced onions, tangy pickles and iconic Big Mac sauce.

“You’ll know there’s something different when you visit these three McDonald’s restaurants, with building wraps, special Mac Jr. drive-thrus, dedicated menu boards and social media stations all heralding this first free taste of the new sandwich for Atlantans,” said David Hamilton, president of the Greater Atlanta McDonald’s Operators Association. “A whole new generation is trying out the iconic Big Mac for size, and we are delighted to share the new Mac Jr. with new and old fans alike.”

A limited additional menu will be available at the stores during the hours of the promotion. French fries and soft drinks will be offered for $2.00 small size and $2.50 medium size and a $4 All-White-Meat, 10 piece Chicken McNuggets meal will also be available. Customers who visit with children will also have an option of purchasing $2.99 Happy Meals featuring Chicken McNuggets.

But make no mistake, there’s just one product on the menu Jan. 26 from 10:30am to 7pm at these three dedicated locations.

“On Thursday Jan. 26, it will be all Mac Jr. sandwiches, all the time, for the duration of the promotional events at all of the three restaurants,” added Hamilton. “The Mac Jr. is a single-layer Big Mac intended to be easily eaten on the go, and we look forward to our tastemakers in Atlanta getting their first experiences with this new burger as part of our special taste kitchen events.  We look forward to serving you!”

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The Greater Atlanta McDonald’s Operators Association includes more than 50 owner/operators and operations managers, representing 289 restaurants in the 45 county Greater Atlanta area. Consumers can follow @McDonaldsATL on Twitter for ongoing news, promotions and deals from the restaurants in this area. McDonald’s USA, LLC, is the leading foodservice provider in the United States serving a variety of wholesome foods made from quality ingredient to millions of customers every day. More than 80 percent of McDonald’s 14,000 U.S. restaurants are independently owned and operated by local franchisees. For more information on McDonald’s visit www.mcdonalds.com or log on at any of the 10,000 Wi-Fi enabled McDonald’s U.S. restaurants. And consumers can download the McDonald’s smartphone application for deals and other offerings.

We are looking forward to checking out all the pictures that our Atlanta area people will be sharing on social media Thursday.

The Adventures of Mighty Bug

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Scorpiana is on the loose and threatening the insect citizens of Bugville! Is our hero Mighty Bug up for the challenge? The Center for Puppetry Arts is celebrating the art, science and adventure in the comic book-style The Adventures of Mighty Bug with special events throughout the run of the show.

The Center will celebrate opening weekend (January 28-29) of The Adventures of Mighty Bug with a visit from the UGA Entymology Insect Zoo. The Insect Zoo is a hands-on program to educate guests about insects through terrariums and other displays. Visitors can see Mighty Bug on stage, then see some mighty insects up-close.

The fun continues opening weekend when Savannah College of Art and Design’s SERVE volunteer organization stops by to bring out the art of Mighty Bug. The artists will fill the Center’s sidewalks with a comic book-style, sequential art piece.

As part of the Center’s Autism Spectrum Disorder initiative, a sensory-friendly performance of The Adventures of Mighty Bug will be presented on Sunday, February 5 at 1 p.m. Sensory stimuli will also be reduced in Museum Exhibits from 12 p.m. -1 p.m. and in Create-A-Puppet Workshops™ from 1:45 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. This special afternoon will allow guests with Autism Spectrum Disorder to experience programming in a comfortable and safe setting with staff members who have been trained in interactions with patrons with ASD. Along with a quiet zone in the lobby, several performance alterations will be employed, including: theater lights dimmed down (but not out); consistent sound levels and lower volume of show soundtrack; freedom for children to talk during the show and leave their seats, if necessary; and permission to bring quiet, contained snacks and beverages. Create-A-Puppet Workshop™ classrooms will be brighter, quieter and feature less-messy puppet building materials and slightly simplified puppet designs. In the Museum Exhibits, lighting will be adjusted and specialized educational activities (such as touch tables and guided storytelling) will be integrated. Fidget toys and sound-reducing headphones will also be available.

Finally, the Center is proud to support the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta on two special occasions during The Adventures of Mighty Bug. On Sunday, February 12, it’s STEM Day for the Girl Scouts! Scouts are invited to see the science-focused show at 1 p.m. and stick around for a Q&A with the puppeteers to discuss the technology involved in puppetry. Then they’ll finish the afternoon with a guided tour of the museum and Create-A-Puppet Workshop to cover the engineering and mathematics involved.

On Saturday, March 11, the Center invites local Girl Scouts to celebrate the Girl Scouts’ 105thbirthday. The first 50 scouts to arrive will receive a free STEM owl puppet kit. The day’s suggested itinerary is as follows:

2 p.m.: The Adventures of Mighty Bug
3 p.m.: Create-A-Puppet Workshop
4 p.m.: Self-guided Museum Tour
5 p.m.: Discounted dinner at Atlantic Station (The Center will provide Atlantic Station A-Cards upon check-in)
7 p.m.: Screening of Sesame Street Presents: Follow That Bird at the Center for Puppetry Arts (discounted tickets available)

The Center for Puppetry Arts looks forward to welcoming patrons for these fun events during The Adventures of Mighty Bug! The show is presented in the Mainstage Theater, January 24 – March 12, 2017. Reduced-price previews take place January 24 and 25. Show times are as follows:

Tuesday – Friday: 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.
Saturday: 12 p.m. and 2 p.m.
Sunday: 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.

Tickets $10.25 (Members) and $20.50 (nonmembers) and include admission to the show, the Worlds of Puppetry Museum (with the largest collection of Jim Henson puppets and artifacts in the world as well as a Global Gallery), and entrance to the Create-A-Puppet Workshop™, where guests can make and decorate their own Lightning Bug Rod & String Puppet and perform with it on our classroom stage. Tickets can be purchased online at www.puppet.org or by calling 404.873.3391.

Unique Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas

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Are you planning that perfect gift for someone special for Valentine’s Day?  It is never too early to start thinking about what to give.  Are you planning on giving the traditional gift of flowers and chocolate?  As a wife, I LOVE getting flowers and chocolate from my husband, but I am also open to getting some more unique gifts.

There are really alot of fun gift ideas for Valentine’s Day that you can consider.  Of course you can head out of town for that romantic getaway or can purchase that piece of jewelry she has been eyeing. Those do make good gifts, but what a gift that keeps on giving.  Have you considered giving something a little more unique like a subscription box.  Adding a subscription box to what you are already planning would be a great idea!

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Okay, I know you may be saying-seriously? Yes, seriously! What about giving a gift that keeps on giving.  Recently I was sent a Fruit for Thought box to check out.   Pamela Burns has created an amazing gift box that focuses on a fruit (sometimes a vegetable) theme.  She has taken the time to select a wide assortment of gifts that truly bring out the best that fruit has to offer.  From treats to fun jewelry,  unwrapping this box is so much fun!

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Our package included these adorable custom crayons by Sara.  They were delicately wrapped and fit perfectly in this pint sized fruit basket container.   What fun it is to color with these crayons that look like fruits we love.  Regularly priced $9.99.

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Our box included this fun woven fruity colored bracelet by Sea Ranch Jewelry .  What I love about this bracelet is that it is well made and it has a magnetic clip that holds it in place.  This makes it easy to wear!  Regularly priced $13.95

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The Sweet Rainbow Carnivale Candyfetti by Sweets Indeed is definitely sweet indeed! It was the perfect little dose of sweetness to help me make it through grading some papers   What is even better…..this Candyfetti blend is Gluten Free, Nut Free and Dairy Free.  Prices vary on this depending on how much you order.

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The Tooty Fruity Soap Dish was too cute!  Made by Crafty Fox Resin Design, our little fell in LOVE with this.  He could not wait to play with it.  As you might be able to tell from the picture it almost has like a maze look to it.  Add some candy pieces to it, and it provided for some time of entertainment.  Plus it was the perfect place holder for the fun soap we got in our box.  Regularly priced at $6.45

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The Fruit of the Spirit Soap from God’s Garden was a great addition to this box.  I loved the way each fruit was specially added to this handmade glycerin soap. The soap smells great and lathers nicely.  Leaves you with a clean feeling, not filmy or oily.  Regularly priced around $5.00

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The added touch of the fruity socks from Pollyanna made this gift box one to remember. Regularly priced at $7.50.

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If you are searching for a gift for Valentine’s Day, please check out what Fruit for Thought has to offer.  The theme for February is Chocolate Covered Strawberries and Champagne.  That is the perfect combination for Valentine’s Day.  Pamela Burns has curated a great box and there is still time to order one.  You can get it HERE.

As a part of our vision for 2017 on our blog, consider buying from small business owners like Pam. Read her mission below:

“I was raised being taught that a cucumber slice was a cookie! Since sugar and snacks were not encouraged, my sister and I came to love fruits and vegetables. I have always loved a fresh cold lemonade, the scent of peaches, a yummy frozen drink by the pool, a crunchy salad or juicy fruit salad, the color orange in decor and clothing, and accessorizing my home and jewelry with bright colors.

I have always wanted my own gift basket business. Getting packages in the mail is the highlight of my day. Giving and receiving beautifully wrapped gifts brings me a lot of pleasure. I discovered subscription boxes, which tie together all of my loves, and decided to combine them using the theme of fruits and vegetables so that I can share all of these things with you.

I promise to give you the most beautiful presentation and attention to detail that you have seen in a subscription box, as well as personalized and outstanding customer service and the best combination of quality products I can find.”

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Now I do not know about you, but reading her mission makes me want to support her.  When I invest my money in something, I want to know that what I am getting in return is worth it.  Knowing that she personally takes the time to curate these boxes and provide me with excellent customer service is a win-win!  I also appreciate that she is supporting small businesses by working closely with Etsy dealers.  

You can check her out on these social media outlets:

Website

Facebook

Instagram

$39.99 monthly + $8.00 shipping
Mini – $26.99 monthly
Ships internationally and price is determined by location

 

 

 

 

#PayItForward at your local food bank

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“Our hope is to help bridge the gap between prosperity and poverty in our community.”

 – David Kieser, Founder & President of Midwest food bank

This week I wanted to stop and focus on an idea for #payitforward after a recent experience I had.  I had the opportunity to visit a local food bank in my community and little did I know just what a hidden jewel this was.  Nestled in Peachtree City you will find one of the divisions of the Mid West Food Bank.  The Midwest Food Bank, NFP serves over 900 nonprofit organizations locally. Through their locations in Illinois, Indiana, & Georgia, many nonprofit organizations and volunteers take part in their weekly/monthly distributions and daily activities. Each month, weeks or days are dedicated as “Distribution”. During that period, organizations come in to pick up food which they then distribute to people in their communities. Numerous volunteers also participate throughout the week to make it all possible.

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See the picture above?  They look like everyday people just going about their everyday lives in America.  What we do not know is the real story behind these faces.  Click on this link to take a journey with them on Feeding America to find out the facts surrounding hunger in America and how food banks help.

So how does this relate to my #PayItForward Challenge?  I am glad you asked.  I want to encourage you to find your local food bank and volunteer .  This is such an easy way to #payitforward, and the benefits you will get for volunteering at your local food bank will far outweigh the time you spent there.  Who knows?  You might enjoy it so much that it becomes something you do monthly, bimonthly, or even weekly.

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Need to find a local food bank?  Follow this link to Feeding America.  The Feeding America nationwide network of food banks secures and distributes more than 3 billion meals each year to communities throughout the United States and leads the nation to engage in the fight against hunger.

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Maybe you are not in a position to donate some time to your local food bank.  There are other ways that you can help end hunger in America.  Ask your local food bank how you can help.  There are ways you can give back that do not involve time.

In the upcoming weeks I plan to provide you with more ways you can #payitforward that involve things you can do for others.  We will talk about making Thinking of You Bags, Helping New Parents, and so much more.  I hope you will continue on this journey with me.  We have a whole lot of weeks left to take time to think of others and #payitforward!  Remember if you ideas on things we should focus on, please leave me a comment.  Together we can make a difference and a #payitforward!

Images from Feeding America.

New Year Resolutions for the Gardener from Pike Nurseries

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The New Year is almost here! To help residents make the most of their home and garden during 2017, Pike Nurseries offers customers the top five garden resolutions to keep living spaces healthy and thriving. Additionally, the neighborhood garden center is helping take the guesswork out of gardening by hosting FREE classes for customers throughout January.

Improve Health with Houseplants
Gardeners looking to improve health in the New Year should look no further than common houseplants and edible gardens. Research has revealed that certain houseplants – like the Peace Lily and Florist’s Chrysanthemum – can efficiently remove pollutants like Formaldehyde, Benzene and Ammonia from a room’s air, releasing oxygen and improving the overall health of an environment. Customers looking to try their hand at incorporating healthy houseplants into the home can join Pike Nurseries for a FREE Houseplants for the Home Class at select locations January 3-5 and January 7. During this class, attendees will learn how to select the right houseplant, how to arrange them and even proper care tips. Additionally, class attendees will receive a 4-inch houseplant to take home and be entered-to-win a $50 specimen houseplant.

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Stop and Smell the Roses
Not only does the garden’s atmosphere provide endless enjoyment and tranquility, but spending time outdoors can be beneficial to one’s overall health and wellness. One of the top benefits of doing this is lowered stress levels and mental stability due to gardening’s relaxing tasks. Whether it is weeding, pruning or digging, working outside can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol or prevent diabetes, heart disease, depression and osteoporosis when practiced on a regular basis. Gardening can also provide low-impact exercise and strength building through planting and lifting of soil and other materials.

Practice Waterwise Habits
Most homeowners overwater their lawn and garden. For improved garden health, water deeper and less often to reduce water use. Lawns should be watered in the early morning to reduce evaporation, while water wands and trigger sprayers should be used to ensure only plants are being watered and not the pavement or ground between them. During the cooler months, yards should be watered less frequently (once or twice a week), whereas warmer temperatures call for more moisture. To avoid overwatering, it’s helpful to always group plants of similar water needs together, as well as choose waterwise plants like Rudbeckia, Sedum, Rosemary, Nandina and Helleborus. Another healthy habit in the garden that will save big is mulching. By placing a thin layer of mulch (2-3 inches) on the soil surface surrounding the plants, hundreds of gallons of water can be conserved each year. Last, but not least, amending the soil is an important factor in moisture retention, as it allows roots to establish more easily.

Keep the Lawn Organized
A well-maintained garden not only adds curb appeal to a home, but it also protects the landscape against pests. From pruning dormant plants and cutting back perennials to discarding leaf debris, adding mulch and removing dead annuals and weeds, organization in the garden is key to keeping it looking beautiful and healthy all year-long. Other helpful tips include adding Pansies, Violas, Hellebores and Camellias for pops of color during the bare, winter months, as well as transplanting trees and non-blooming shrubs, so they can develop their root system before the Southern summer heat arrives.

Welcome More Wildlife
With temperatures dropping, the New Year is the perfect time to ready the yard for winter birds. Feathered friends will appreciate the safe haven from the cold, and bird lovers will enjoy a colorful flurry of activity in the garden. To help customers welcome winged-wildlife, Pike Nurseries will host a FREE Attract Birds to the Backyard Class at select locations January 17-19 and January 21. Guests will learn the essentials needed to attract birds, what type of bird food is best for certain species and how to create an inviting habitat for them during the crucial winter months. All class attendees will receive a 5-pound bag of Pike Nurseries Special Mix Bird Seed and be entered to win a $50 bird house.

For springtime buzz, pollinator-friendly plants – like Buddleia, Echinacea and Lantana – are perfect for attracting birds, bees and beautiful butterflies, which keep plants healthy and prolific. Additionally, beneficial bugs, like Ladybugs, help keep away unwanted creepy crawlers. These good luck bugs do wonders for the garden since they prey on damaging pests like aphids (a single Ladybug can eat more than 5,000 of these in its lifetime), thrips and spider mites. Plants that are ideal in attracting these good bugs include Lobelia, Coreopsis and Dill.

For more information on garden resolutions for the New Year, stop by one of the 17 store locations across Georgia and North Carolina. For more information on Pike Nurseries’ FREE gardening classes, visit pikenursery.com/pages/pike-classes-events.

Attract Feathered Friends this Winter with Pike Nurseries

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Bird is the word! With cool temperatures abound, now is the perfect time to welcome winged wildlife to the garden by providing them with water, food and shelter. Feathered friends will appreciate a safe refuge from the cold, while nature lovers will delight in a colorful flurry of activity right outside their doorstep. To help customers ready the yard for beautiful birds, the experts at Pike Nurseries offer the top three essentials needed to transform any backyard – small or large – into a bird-friendly oasis that will flourish throughout the winter.

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Essential #1: Food
Not all birds are alike, which means certain species prefer different types of food. Colorful Woodpeckers, Nuthatches, Bluebirds, Brown Thrashers, Blue Jays and Mockingbirds enjoy suet logs and cakes. This high-fat, high-calorie option provides the perfect punch of energy to help birds thrive during the cold. Regular bird seed is also a great option, depending on the size of the bird’s beak. To attract the broadest spectrum of species –from Sparrows and Cardinals to Wrens and Easter Towhees– the experts at Pike Nurseries recommend using Pike Special Mix Bird Seed, which is comprised of sunflower, millet and peanuts. Thistle seed is also a great food source and is popular among Chickadees, Finches and Tufted Titmouse. Gardeners looking for a DIY project can create an easy, homemade bird feeder by covering a pine cone in peanut butter and rolling it in bird seed. Once a string is attached, the tasty treat can be hung on branches for birds to indulge. Additionally, flowering shrubs, perennials and vines provide great natural alternatives to seed and feeders.

Bathing Bluebirds

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Essential #2: Water
Although birds won’t bathe in cooler temperatures, they still need water to survive. Birdbaths, mini-birdbaths and fountains are great water sources during the winter when streams and creeks may be dry or frozen. The experts at Pike Nurseries recommend residents keep a low level of fresh water in a birdbath and change it regularly to keep it clean. Installing a birdbath heater will help keep the water from freezing in between changes and also ensure birds continue to come back for more.

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Essential #3: Shelter
While many people believe bird houses should be taken down in the winter, now is the perfect time to utilize them. Birds seek shelter to keep warm during frigid temperatures and to hide from nighttime predators like owls and cats. Pike Nurseries offers a wide variety of bird houses in different shapes and sizes, making them both functional and decorative for bare winter landscapes. Roosting pockets or plants in the landscape, like ornamental grass, shrubs, trees and conifers, also provide a natural safe haven for many winged wildlife.

To help customers put their birding knowledge into practice, Pike Nurseries will host a FREE Attract Birds to the Backyard class at select locations January 17-19 and January 21. Guests will learn more about the essentials needed to attract birds, what type of bird food is best and how to create an inviting habitat for them during the crucial winter months. All class attendees will receive a 5-pound container of Pike Nurseries Special Mix Bird Seed and be entered to win a $50 bird house.

For more information on winter birding, stop by one of the 17 store locations across Georgia and North Carolina. For more information on Pike Nurseries’ FREE gardening classes, visit pikenursery.com/pages/pike-classes-events.

 

Donate a Photo with Johnson & Johnson

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 Imagine being able to take a photo that makes an impact!  As a part of my commitment this year to bring you ways you can give back, here is something that I came across that I think you will find easy to do.  Most of us enjoy sharing our photos on social media.  Take that love and put it to good use.

Johnson & Johnson has a free mobile app, Donate a Photo, that you NEED to download on your mobile device.  For every photo you share through this free app, Johnson & Johnson will donate $1 to a cause you select from their list.  There are 8 categories from which to choose your cause.

Women’s and Children’s Health

Healthy Families

Health Workforce

Environmental Health

Global Disease Challenges

Essential Surgery

Education and Equality

Emergency Relief

It is seriously just that simple!

Pick a Cause

Pick a Photo

Share on the App

For my first share on this app, I chose to donate a photo to help a survivor of the Tennessee Wildfires.  My family and I visit Tennessee often, and we were saddened to hear the destruction that occurred in our beautiful Great Smoky Mountains.

“Thousands of residents were forced to flee their homes near Gatlinburg, Tennessee, as wildfires burned homes and businesses to the ground.  The fires have killed 14 people, injured more than 100 and damaged or destroyed 1,700 homes.  Americares is delivering medicine and relief supplies to Tennessee for families displaced by the wildfires, many of whom had to evacuate quickly with no time to pack medicines and other necessities.  The emergency team is working with partner organizations in Sevier County surrounding areas to provide respiratory medication, insulin, tetanus vaccines, hygiene kits and first aid supplies for survivors.  The organization has a long history of responding to emergencies in the U.S. including Hurricane Katrina, the Joplin tornado, Hurricane Sandy, and the 2013 Oklahoma tornadoes.”

The cool thing is you get ONE photo a day 365 days a year!  What an easy way to give back! So what photo are you going to share?

Download the Donate a Photo app today from the app store or visit http://donateaphoto.com/en_US for more information. You can also shop the Gifts of Joy Catalog here.

Disclaimer:  I was not provided any compensation for this post.  I simply shared this with you all because it is something I believe in.