The 863 Magazine - Winter 2020 / 2021

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Winter 2020-21


Content Winter 2020-21


Apropos of Nothing | Jamie Beckett What were our grandparents thinking, building fallout shelters when there was another, more obvious priority?


Crossword Theme: Proverbially Speaking. Answer key on page 13.


Virtual Polk | Elizabeth Morrisey During the pandemic, Polk’s schools, libraries, and art centers have kept their programs accessible for all.



Cover: Lockdown Silver Linings | By James Coulter The lockdown of 2020 wasn’t that bad for some who used the time to improve a skill, lose weight, plant a garden, and more.


All Forms of a Media Detox | Jai Maa Stop engaging in the information overload. Delete the apps, turn off the tube, and practice a whole media detox.




The 863 Magazine

Editor | Publisher Note


ow that 2020 is behind us (hindsight and all that), and we are now hopeful that 2021 is better in all ways, how can we truly heal from our collective experience? One tried and true answer will always be gratitude—focus on even the tiniest bits of good that manifested due to the lockdown. Our cover story is about just that—finding the silver lining of the stay-at-home orders. Some cherished that quality time with their family that was missing before, some spent more time doing home improvements or self-improvements such as weight loss or learning to play a new instrument. Read more beginning on page 12. Speaking of the pandemic, our second

story is how certain programs in Polk have adapted and gone virtual in a hurry. Certainly, they’ve had to go virtual to serve Polk’s residents but is the virtual-ness chapter that we’ve opened now going to be a permanent thing? Only time will tell. Turn to page 8 for that story? Spending too much time at home (notice a theme here?) has us all probably just thiiiiiiis much more addicted to our media devices and online accounts (especially social media). Jai Maa helps us with practical advice about practicing a whole media detox. She’s so helpful!

unteer is Really Like (page 11); Dementia Related Psychosis - Four Caregiver Facts You Need to Know (page 16); Looking for Love in 2021? - 5 Tips for Successful Online Dating (page 20); Tips to Improve Indoor Air Quality and Breathe Better at Home (page 21); and Combatting the Serious Effects of Digital Devices During COVID-19 (page 23). Keep on keeping on 863’ers. We all got this!

We’ve also included a few random articles that we hope are useful: Resolve to Learn to Play an Instrument in the New Year (page 10); What Being a Peace Corps Vol-

Sergio & Andrea Cruz Publisher | Editor

Publisher & Ad Sales


Sergio Cruz |

Andrea Cruz |

Jamie Beckett James Coulter Chris Douglas Jai Maa Elizabeth Morrisey

Art Director

On the Cover

Alejandro F. Cruz |

The sun shines from behind some clouds. Our cover story this issue is on how some Polk residents found the silver lining in lockdown. Not all was doom and gloom during the pandemic — some lost weight, learned to cook, spent quality time with family, improved their gardens, or improved their careers by taking advantage of the fact that all had to be virtual. That story begins on page 12. Image source:


Cover Designer Deborah Coker

Publisher | Editor Photo A 2016 trip to Savannah’s River Street — we, the Cruz family, were all tired from touring the city the whole day but still had enough energy for a quick selfie with the Savannah River as our backdrop. And I’m pretty sure we did a ghost tour or two later that evening. We were enchanted with the history of the city — it seemed at every turn of a corner there was a historical marker of some sort. From left: Alejandro, Sergio, Andrea and Oliver.

The 863 Magazine is a product of Polk Media, Inc., a woman- and minority-owned business. For more info visit us online: or

Visit us online at, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!


The 863 Magazine

Apropos of Nothing By Jamie Beckett

In this year of panic, mania, germophobia, and just plain weirdness, I find myself thinking about a certain commodity more than I ever thought was possible.


f you want to know what a society really values, you might put on your anthropologist’s hat, whip out a notebook or two, and begin taking down details of the everyday events of life around you. Now, when looking at American life, it’s important that we’re not looking for what the average American would like to believe is central to our existence. No, no. None of that baseball, mom, and apple pie stuff for us. We’re looking for the real answer based on evidence, not some creative marketing department’s view of things. What matters to us? When it comes right down to it, what do we value most? If we were to turn our attentions to the Inuit people of the Arctic Circle, we would note their dozens of words for snow in its various forms. Clearly, these people who are forever embedded in an icy landscape, put great value on being able to specifically describe the diverse characteristics of the frozen precipitation that so profoundly impacts their lives. Ergo, by studying the language and dialects of the Inuit we can easily see the phenomenon of snow is of great importance to that people and their culture. And whale blubber. You can’t forget whale blubber. That matters, too.

checked global spread of a virus known as Covid-19. The cancellation is not a first, however. Oh no, there have been issues in the past, too. As an example, Oktoberfest was cancelled in 1813. Something about the Napoleonic Wars put the public off their beer drinking mood. And you’ll no doubt remember the cancellation of 1854 thanks to a pesky cholera outbreak. And there were those World Wars, both I and II that put a fairly serious crimp in the European social calendar. In any case, barring war and pestilence, beer is a big deal in Germany. That’s obvious isn’t it? If the year 2020 has taught us nothing else, it has answered this most important question once and for all. Emphatically and repeatedly. What do Americans value most? Toilet paper. There you have it. Irrefutable proof can be found in the empty shelves of the paper goods aisle at every grocery store in the United States of Panicked American Hoarders.

Of course, if we were to travel to Munich, Germany in the early days of October in almost any other year, we would find ourselves smack dab at the starting gate of Oktoberfest. This celebration of life and love and food has been religiously observed by the populace for more than 200 years. The great social lubricant is beer, which is consumed in large quantities for a period of more than two weeks.

Toilet paper has been in a plentiful and stable supply since the modern, commercially available product was first introduced by Joseph Gayetty in 1857. To this day virtually all toilet paper sold in America is American made. Something like 8,500 union workers labor feverishly day and night, 24/7 to produce enough product to fill the bathroom cabinets of Americans from coast to coast. They’ve even increased their production by 20 percent this year. And yet, they’re falling short because toilet paper has surpassed the Pet Rock and Cabbage Patch Kids as the must-have item of our time.

In this unfortunate year of 2020, Oktoberfest was cancelled due to the un-

How ironic it is that in this time of plenty we’re not hoarding gold, or canned foods,

dried meats, or grandma’s secret apple pie recipe? No, we’re stockpiling toilet paper. Filling our closets and garages with the stuff. Packing the attic full. I can’t help but wonder if our grandparents ever considered how irresponsible and self-absorbed they were in their prime. Imagine how they wasted years building fallout shelters, stashing away food and water even while they hoped they’d never need it. Sure, they were thrust into a Cold War that brought the daily threat of nuclear annihilation to their front door. But did they ever consider adding a storage room onto the house so they could stock up with a lifetime supply of TP just in case? Congratulations, America. We finally got our priorities right. Schools may be suspended, businesses may be closed, our friends and neighbors may be flirting with bankruptcy after being legally barred from going to work and earning a living. But we’ve used our time wisely and well to put together a massive personal inventory of soft, cushy, fluffy paper products. We’re ready for anything now. Except maybe silverfish, or high humidity, or a bored pet that realizes just how much fun it would be to tear through the massive pile of chew toys you’ve hidden away. Uh, oh. This just got real, didn’t it? Jamie Beckett appears to be an average, everyday guy who just happens to hail from Arizona, Connecticut, New York City, and Central Florida. He wears many hats — pilot, mechanic, writer, politician, musician, stayat-home dad — often an odd combination of all those things. Frankly, we don’t care. At The 863 Magazine we just keep him around because we think he’s funny. That’s that. Read all of his musings at

Winter 2020-21


61. *It will cause additional harm 64. Raccoon relative 65. Short for the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC 67. Huey, Duey and Louie, e.g. 69. #41 Across location 70. Prior to, pref. 71. Organ swelling 72. Benevolent fellows 73. African tam-____ 74. English county

25. Like a dim star 28. Head vermin 30. *Like the schemes of a fool, biblically ACROSS speaking 35. Thor’s father 1. Bornean ape 37. Cleopatra’s necklace 6. Casino’s pull 39. Blood carrier 9. Elbow-wrist connection 40. Ice on a window 13. Paralyzing disease 41. Famous Teatro alla ____ 14. Pigeon sound 43. Took to court 15. Teething drops 44. Prevent 16. Mary’s subjects (1542-1567) 46. Burden of proof 17. Ostrich-like bird 47. Leprechaun’s land 18. September stone 48. Fit 19. *One responsible for someone else’s welfare 50. Cabinet div. 21. *Both rodents and humans like to come up 52. Steadfast Soldier’s material with these 53. Letter before kappa 23. Name fit for a king 55. European Economic Community 24. Wedding cover 57. *It increases love and friendship

Theme: Cocktails & Mocktails

1. Roman goddess of plenty 2. *It’s just as unpleasant as a hard place 3. Sunburn soother 4. Fertilizer ingredient 5. Luke’s teaching, e.g. 6. Laptop manufacturer 7. Data storage acronym 8. *Cowards are sometimes compared to this 9. Encourage 10. Good earth 11. Sound on a scale 12. Saloon selections 15. Perennial garden flower 20. Signs for escape 22. Post-Soviet Union alliance, acr. 24. Covered porch 25. *Can’t use these to break a skeleton 26. Farewell, to ami 27. Nimbus, pl. 29. Gabrielle Chanel’s nickname 31. *Keep it clean to stay out of trouble 32. *It’s tastier if one is not allowed to have it 33. First cradles 34. Filled with cargo 36. Like whiskey right out of bottle 38. Classic board game 42. Colorado ski resort 45. Curb, two words 49. Disney dwarf 51. ACT taker, e.g. 54. Dangle a carrot 56. Miss Muffet’s meal 57. “The Road Runner” corporation 58. Skin infection 59. #13 Across conqueror 60. J.F.K. postings 61. Bookkeeping entry 62. *Don’t make inquiries if you don’t want to hear this 63. Hefty volume 66. Chapter in history 68. Coltrane’s woodwind

Solution on page 19.



The 863 Magazine

Virtual Polk Staying Connected

Story by Elizabeth Morrisey

During the pandemic, Polk’s schools, libraries, and art centers have stepped up to the plate to keep their programs accessible for all at home.

A school boy works on a personal computer at home. Photo credit:

Winter 2020-21



lthough COVID has disrupted and changed many people’s lives, several Polk County organizations have found a way to still reach out to local citizens and give them a sense of normalcy. Groups such as local public libraries, the Polk Museum of Art, and even local schools have made strides in offering many different online programs.

Above: A screenshot of website with the Hindsight 2020 logo, an online exhibition with the work of Central Florida artists and is... “art produced since March 2020 and that represents a diverse spectrum of perspectives, ideas, and reflections upon the transformative five months of our lives between March and August 2020.”

The Lakeland Public Library already had some online options, but when the virus forced them to close they had to adapt and take a look at what they could do to still meet the needs of the public. Their doors shut from mid-March to midMay, says Stephanie Brown, computer applications specialist. Over the summer, the library focused on children and switched to a mobile application called Bean Stack. It included a reading log and activities to keep the kids engaged. “It allowed them to stay safe and participate from home,” says Brown. “We had a good response and hope to do

it next summer.” The library also began Lakeland Books by Mail in which patrons could order books to be mailed to their home and they continue to offer that service. “Our digital resources took off such as magazines, e-movies and music,” says Brown. “We are thinking of ways to make more online accessible programs.” Over in Lake Wales, the library held online classes such as Chinese Calligraphy with a San Francisco-based artist, and Creating a Gift Basket class was posted on the li-

brary’s YouTube channel and online learning programs. While they were closed, their Wiggles and Giggles Toddler story time continued on the YouTube channel. The Polk Museum of Art didn’t waste any time getting online programs lined up during the shut down. A Facebook live series was started called Drinks with the Director. Those who logged on to the museum’s website from anywhere in the world could view exhibitions, participate in an art lab and read a blog. Hindsight 2020: Art of This Moment online exhibition began in March in which the museum invited artists across Central Florida to submit work. It represented a diverse spectrum of artists’ ideas and reflections for the unprecedented times in March through August. Art Unboxed was a fun endeavor for children in lieu of its art camp for the summer. They had a dozen boxes that could be shipped all over the country with art activities ranging from $35 to $85. “We knew we needed to respond to the needs of the community,” says Taylor Holycross, manager of membership and communication. “We wanted to do it through art. It is a creative outlet to express yourself through these times. “Our virtual programs were fun to do and we collaborated with others, such as the Florida Dance Theatre and the Imperial Symphony Orchestra,” she says. “It al-

Below: A screenshot of the Youtube channel of the Lake Wales Library features a Chinese Calligraphy class with a San Fransisco-based instructor, which is accessible to anyone online.

Continued on page 11


The 863 Magazine

Resolve to Learn to Play an Instrument in the New Year


ave you been wanting to learn to play an instrument for a long time? Let the New Year be your motivation to finally take the plunge. Here are some top tips for getting started and for sticking with it: • Schedule practice sessions: Learning to play an instrument requires a time commitment, so actually schedule a daily practice session -- at least 30 minutes -- in your planner or calendar. Whether it’s first thing in the morning or just before bed, identify a time of day when you are best able to turn off distractions and focus on the task at hand. • Check out online resources: While inperson lessons may not be available at the current moment, you might try taking a remote class or working with an online music teacher. Free tutorials are also available online, and have the added benefit of being paused or replayed again and again.

Image credit: Copyright m-imagephotography / iStock via Getty Images Plus /

• Stay motivated: When learning a new skill, fast progress can be one of the greatest motivators. Thankfully, some of the latest tools make picking up the basics easier then ever. For example, with the Casiotone Keyboards from Casio, which feature a built-in learning system, you can go from being a novice to an intermediate player in a matter of weeks. By connecting the instrument to the free Chordana Play app, you can learn to play your favorite songs from downloaded MIDI files. Some of the keyboard models in this series even feature light-up keys, helping new musicians quickly get the hang of proper finger placements and chords. • Set new goals: Set concrete goals and dates by which you’d like to achieve them. This could be mastering a particular song or performing a live stream concert for

your friends over social media. Always having a new goal to reach toward can keep things fresh, helping you stick with your New Year’s resolution. • Be compassionate with yourself: Learning to play an instrument is not easy, and some practice sessions will go more smoothly than others. Have patience with your own progress and try not to compare yourself to others, especially those who have been playing a lot longer than you! Building your music skills is not only fun, it’s good for your mental and physical wellness, making it the perfect New Year’s resolution. Be sure to get started with the right mindset and tools. Article credit:

Winter 2020-21


What Being a Peace Corps Volunteer is Really Like


or many, Peace Corps service is a first step toward a career or the continuation of a life’s work.

“The idea of the Peace Corps -- that volunteers could serve their country for the cause of peace by living and working in other countries -- struck a chord with thousands of Americans in the early 1960s. That enthusiasm continues today,” says Peace Corps director, Jody K. Olsen. But what’s the experience really like? As the agency explains, selected volunteers are placed overseas in service in one of six sectors. Here’s a bit about each, as well as volunteer insights: • Agriculture volunteers work with farmers and families to increase food security and adapt to climate change while promoting environmental conservation. Anna Brettman volunteered in a Zambian village helping secure equipment needed to keep cattle disease-free. She says, “It will take time for the farmers to grow their herds again, but this should provide support for years to come.” • Community Economic Development volunteers work with development banks, nongovernmental organizations and municipalities to promote local economic opportunities. They teach skills and work

with entrepreneurs to develop and market their products. “My business career took me to countries where I saw firsthand what many political and class systems do, and more importantly don’t do, for the majority in need. The agency gave me the opportunity to do something meaningful,” says Ken Kodoma, who volunteered in Namibia facilitating business workshops. • Education is the Peace Corps’ largest program area. Volunteers may inspire students in elementary, secondary, or post-secondary schools, work as resource teachers or teacher trainers, or develop libraries and technology resource centers. “I taught mathematics, biology and citizenship, led science clubs, helped increase literacy and worked with my Cameroonian counterparts in developing a book for math teachers,” says Jomara Laboy Rivera, a returned volunteer who now works in the Peace Corps’ Office of Programming and Training. • Environment volunteers lead grassroots protection efforts and strengthen understanding of environmental issues, empowering communities to make their own conservation decisions. “In the Pacific, residents deal with the

effects of climate change, such as large storms, and also see ocean pollution, coral bleaching and coastal degradation up close. I liked using my creativity to spread awareness about Tonga’s waste problem to help come up with solutions there,” says Breanna Kazmierczak, a volunteer who served in Tonga. • Health volunteers promote nutrition, maternal and child health, basic hygiene and water sanitation, malaria prevention and work in HIV/AIDS education and prevention programs. “Working with the municipal water authority, we came up with a plan to maintain or improve water quality in 15 communities. Most communities wanted help in treating water to prevent parasitic infection and exploring better usage and storage techniques,” says Nicole Bryer, who volunteered in northern Peru. • Youth in Development volunteers promote youth engagement and active citizenship, including gender awareness, employability, health, environmental awareness, sports and fitness programs and information technology. “I helped with the film club at the youth center, which combined fun with opportuContinued on page 17

Virtual Polk, from page 9 lowed us to reach more people.” Polk County Schools also jumped on board with virtual programming so any student could participate in various activities. Stambaugh Middle School in Auburndale held a virtual performance of The Addams Family Musical in which 6th through 8th graders in the choir and theatre department could show off their skills and still take part in a play.

Jessica Gautier, Stambaugh’s choir and theatre director, said the new concept allowed students access to the arts even though live performances weren’t allowed due to COVID. After learning their lines, songs and choreography, students recorded themselves using the virtual learning platform Schoology. Both online learners and face-to-face students participated. “The logistics were a challenge but it

was worth it,” Gautier says. “I’m proud of how quickly they learned it.” The Zoom rehearsals took place Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays and 53 students were involved. “Because it was virtual, any relatives regardless of where they lived could watch the show,” she says. “We’re waiting to see what happens for the future, but this is the safest way right now.”


The 863 Magazine

The Lockdown: Finding the

Silver Lining Story by James Coulter


here’s no doubt COVID-19 has driven people up the walls with cabin fever. However, the lockdown also granted them free time to try new things and improve their lives. From eating healthier and losing weight, to spending time with family and trying new activities, here are some things people have done to mine the silver lining from the dark clouds this year:

#1: Compose And Write Music Marcus Brixa normally performs guitar at local music venues or private functions. Otherwise, he’s at Carlton Music Center repairing instruments or teaching music lessons. During the pandemic, he has hosted many of his lessons online, and he has participated in virtual jam sessions. During the shutdown, he also repaired instruments delivered

Winter Haven musician Marcus Brixa is surrounded by his guitars. Brixa has used the lockdown time to compose music, record for future releases, teach guitar lessons, and perform virtually. Image by Chris Douglas and provided to The 863 Magazine.

to Carlton Music Center even when the store was closed. In his spare time, he’s been free to compose works for classical guitar and write them on sheet music for publication, and he has concentrated on recording music for future releases. “This is something I have wanted to do for a long time but never took the time to follow through,” he says. “I found having some legitimate classical works written out to be very rewarding. I have also recorded some music and participated in a virtual guitar performance with the HCC Dale Mabry Guitar Series.” Musicians like himself rely on their creativity to keep their music fresh. Fortunately, the statewide stay-at-home orders earlier this year provided him with plenty of free time to explore his creativity by writing and composing music. He’s also grown an online presence, which he expects to continue maintaining even long

Winter 2020-21


Left: Toni Brown is at pleased with the improvements she and her husband Ed (below) have made in their backyard. They used the stay-at-home orders to their advantage and worked diligently to improve their space and make it a sanctuary for wildlife and a space they can better enjoy. Images provided to The 863 magazine.

after these uncertain times.

#2: Improve Time Management With Family Before the COVID-19 crisis, Heather Rees worked as an accountant. She served at her main branch nearly eight hours a day—and when factoring in her half-hour commuting time, her job felt more like a nine-hour-shift.

Our parents always told us to eat our veggies. Joyce Ackley from Lakeland took that advice to heart during the pandemic. She used the opportunity to try new foods by cooking and eating at home.

Traveling half an hour both ways to and from work left her with little time at home, especially when it involved spending time with family and preparing dinner. Working at home improved her time management skills and increased her quality time with her family.

“I’ve increased my intake of fresh and frozen vegetables that are rich in vitamin C,” Joyce says. “I eat more carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, and green peppers. I have increased my daily consumption of orange juice. I have vitamin C supplements, but I don’t always take them.”

“Family dinner has been much easier to make happen when I’m already home and have energy to start cooking by 5:15,” Heather says. “Getting my son to soccer practice on time on weeknights is now simple since we are home already.”

Joyce is a vegetarian who doesn’t eat red meat, so eating mostly fruits and vegetables were already a given for her. However, she has tried to include more animal protein in her diet, mostly turkey breast and tuna salad.

During the lockdown, Heather was able to work only four days a week from the comfort of her home. Her family were able wake up and start the day at their own leisurely pace. Eliminating her commute provided her more time to not only her work, but also to her home life. She also had more energy to prepare meals and to attend to other things around the house.

The pandemic has also encouraged her to be more mindful of her health in other ways. She’s more conscious of hand washing and hand sanitizer, and she takes vitamin D and zinc, though she’s not as consistent with taking the latter. She has also experimented with new recipes such as no-meat vegetable soup with fresh and frozen veggies and various types of beans.

“If it was an option (it’s not), I’d desire to work at home forever,” she says. “Starting my day off in a more comfortable setting helps me start my day off better, which I have to imagine helps lead to a more productive day [and a] better attitude than I would normally start off with...The best mental health aspect that I’ve gained from this schedule is the stress free environment of never being in a rush.”

#4: Reflect On Life By Growing A Garden

#3: Eat More Fruits And Vegetables

Toni Brown has lived an eclectic life as a musician. In recent years, she and her husband toured the world performing live music. She also published a music magazine, owned a record company, and worked as a publicist for the likes of the Grateful Dead and Allman Brothers. Continued on page 19


The 863 Magazine

Breakthrough Your Threshold By Jai Maa

Stop engaging: Give yourself a break from the constant barrage of info by intentionally turning off and tuning out with a media detox.


stood on the edge of a cliff with my face covered in clay from the inside of a cave. After peeking over a twenty foot drop to ensure there were no rocks in the water below, I made peace with my choice to jump. “Ahhhhh!!!� echoed from the jungle as I plunged into a pool of three merging waterfalls. Yes, I am an adrenaline junkie, and there was no way I was missing out on a bucket list item like this. Cliff diving into the kind of water that corporations try to bottle up and sell to you is as close as it gets to Heaven on Earth. Aloha from Hawaii!

For two months, my fiancĂŠ and I bathed on white, black, and green sand beaches, hiked to the most extraordinary waterfalls, swam with sea turtles and seals, soaked in natural hot ponds, played in banyan trees like five year olds, and made new friends with incredible musicians. Along with the endless poke bowls (ahi tuna), we discovered exotic fruits such as liliko which is from the passion fruit family, noni, which tastes and smells like stinky cheese unless prepared correctly, breadfruit which is best cooked into savory dishes, and rollinia which tastes like a decadent custard. Our cups were filled to the brim with new exciting experiences.

There is something quintessential in the Aloha-spirit that feels missing in what Hawaiian residents refer to as the mainland. Everywhere we went, we were greeted with warmth and generosity. People made eye contact and shared from their hearts as if we were long trusted friends. There was no rush to be anywhere, which gave an air of peace and contentment with the present moment. No one seemed to be glued to their phones, and conversations about what was happening in the world were almost nonexistent, even during the election. Nothing was more important than the unspoken agreement of Aloha: to treat others with kindness and generosity,

A couple walks on the beach in Hawaii.

Winter 2020-21

and live in harmony with the land. Out of dozens of people we interacted with, there were two folks along our journey who seemed restless, agitated, and had random outbursts of anger. They were also the only two people I noticed who watched the news and stayed plugged into social media. A short while before our trip, I decided to put myself through a media detox after watching an eye-opening documentary film on Netflix called The Social Dilemma. I had been rotting into a flustered couch potato who felt discouraged from what was happening in the world, and it wasn’t until I stopped engaging in all forms of media that my inspiration to embrace life’s adventure returned. I deleted the Facebook app from my phone, stopped

watching the news, turned off all bellbuzzing notifications from my phone, and asked myself how I could create my best life now. The result was experiencing the Alohaspirit, and remembering what was truly important in life no matter the state of the world. Taking a break from media allowed the love and trust I feel for life, our planet, and humanity to flow more freely. Have you ever had food poisoning or eaten too much that you made yourself sick? You were probably less likely to experience maximum joy, creativity, or adventure until your body healed. The same is true for what you put into your mind. If the media you are watching opens your heart and inspires you to love yourself and all others, while helping you feel safe


and confident to create your dream life, then great! If the media you are engaging in makes you feel worse and disconnects you from peace, then what good is it doing you? Take a break from the draining distractions of media and allow your mind to restore peace and clarity. Life is an adventure, and we all deserve to live it. Aloha!

A native of Polk County, Jai Maa travels the US with her fiancé and cat while connecting communities who care about restoring our planet and living in harmony. Jai Maa is the author and facilitator of Break Through Your Threshold: A Manual for Faith-Based Manifestation and Co-Creating with God, and shares this service with those who want to thrive in their own version of Heaven on Earth. You can visit her at


The 863 Magazine

Dementia Related Psychosis: Four Caregiver Facts You Need to Know


pproximately 2.4 million people or 30 percent of people living with dementia in the U.S. may experience hallucinations and delusions associated with dementia-related psychosis. These symptoms might include seeing something that isn’t there or believing something that isn’t true and can be frequent, persistent and recur over time. According to advocates, improving management of these troubling symptoms starts with recognizing and understanding what patients are experiencing. To learn more, UsAgainstAlzheimer’s, the Lewy Body Dementia Association (LBDA) and Acadia Pharmaceuticals, surveyed patients and their caregivers. Findings highlighted important, infrequently discussed, considerations for caregivers: 1. Symptoms can happen frequently: The most common symptoms of dementiarelated psychosis reported by surveyed patients were visual hallucinations (89 percent), auditory hallucinations (54 percent) and distortion of senses (54 percent) and such symptoms can happen frequently. Of patients who reported recent visual hallucinations, 61 percent indicated

they occurred at least weekly. In addition, the majority of care partners (77 percent) reported paranoid delusions as occurring at least weekly. “Given their potential frequency, being prepared to recognize, report, and manage these symptoms is critical,” says Theresa Frangiosa of UsAgainstAlzheimer’s, one of the survey authors. “My mom experienced these kinds of symptoms associated with her Alzheimer’s disease and in talking with other caregivers, many people think this could never happen to their family until it does.” 2. Dementia-related hallucinations and delusions greatly impact a patient’s overall health and quality of life: Most surveyed patients said their activities of daily living (75 percent), sleep (63 percent), family life (56 percent), and safety (about 56 percent) were affected by dementia-related hallucinations and delusions. Care partners reported that symptoms make it difficult for their loved ones to know what is real and what is not real, contributing to their anxiety, and impacting their

Image credit: Copyright fizkes / iStock via Getty Images Plus /

personal relationships. Jo Anne, 70, from Maryland, was surprised by her husband’s hallucinations. “Before Ed was diagnosed with Lewy body dementia, he would tell me that he saw mice or insects in the house so, of course, I’d go check! When these experiences increased in frequency, I knew that we needed to talk to his doctor about why he was having persistent hallucinations.” Research shows that these kind of neuropsychiatric symptoms may pose challenges. For example, studies show that presence of psychosis in Alzheimer’s

Winter 2020-21

patients was also associated with 1.5 times increased likelihood of death. 3. Care partners are affected too: Dementiarelated hallucinations and delusions are symptoms that can be associated with all forms of dementia such as Lewy body dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease dementia, vascular dementia, and frontotemporal dementia. Unfortunately, caregivers of people with dementia compared to non-caregivers can experience high rates of emotional and physical stress as well as depression, an increased likelihood of comorbid conditions, hospitaliza-

tions, and doctor visits. In fact, caregiver burden is associated with increased desire to place people with dementia in long-term care. 4. Getting help as early as possible is key: Living with dementia-related hallucinations and delusions takes a toll on both patients and caregivers. That’s why advocates urge caregivers to get educated about what to expect from dementia-related psychosis and find support. “If you see your loved one exhibiting new symptoms, then take the initiative to tell


their health care provider, who can offer advice on how to cope,” urges Frangiosa. For more information, visit UsAgainstAlzheimer’s is an advocacy and research-focused organization pushing for expanding treatments and research for Alzheimer’s disease. Additional education is available from LBDA at www. While the symptoms of dementia-related psychosis can be hard to recognize at first, reporting symptoms is the first step to finding support.Source:

Peace Corps Volunteer, from page 11 nities for growth. We encouraged the youth to analyze the works we watched and gave them an opportunity to write and produce their own work,” says Dominick Tanoh, who volunteered in Morocco and also ran soccer and basketball workshops.

To learn more about the different Peace Corps volunteer sectors, visit www. While there’s no one, defining Peace Corps

experience, all volunteers immerse themselves in communities abroad, building friendships and working locally to address pressing challenges. Article credit:


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Lockdown Silver Linings, from page 13

Winter 2020-21

Crossword on page 7. The pandemic offered her some much-needed downtime to sit back, relax, and contemplate her life, connect with family and friends, and work on projects around the house. She occasionally performs for a wide audience via Facebook. “The pandemic is tragic, but on a positive note, it gave me time to breathe,” Toni says. “It allowed me to reflect on a life well-lived, the good works I’ve done, the fun I had… put everything into perspective.” The free time has permitted Toni and her husband, Ed Munson (formerly a civil engineer), to continue work on their lush Florida-friendly landscaping. With the complex irrigation system Ed put in place, and using plants to attract bees, butterflies and hummingbirds, they now have a private refuge in which to take nature photos and create music. Rabbits, squirrels and birds visit regularly. “Working in the garden has been a good experience for us physically, mentally and spiritually,” she says. “It’s helped open our minds and hearts, allowing the natural world to speak to us in the quiet we’ve discovered. I highly recommend it!”

#5: Lost 23 Pounds And Counting When Rhonda Love visited her doctor earlier this year, the number she saw on the scale perturbed her. She weighed as much as when she was pregnant full-term. It was then she determined to lose weight, and the lockdown allowed her ample time to do so. She started by writing down everything she ate. Journaling her food intake allowed her to watch what she ate and avoid extra calories. She cut out dessert, snacks, candy, and other non-essential food items. She limited her white bread and rice. She cut the extra carbs and sugars and added more vegetables in the meals she shared with her husband. “Monitoring what you put in your mouth is what is the big thing that keeps you on track so you know what is going on,” Rhonda says. “We are at the age where we don’t need all that sugar anymore. We are trying to make better choices that way.” Since she started in July, Rhonda has lost 23 pounds and counting. She remains strict about her diet, though she often treats herself. Recently, she had a turkey sandwich. She hadn’t eaten a proper sandwich on bread for four months. Otherwise, her health has improved drastically. “I feel like I can tie my shoelaces now,” she says. “I had to buy new clothes.”



The 863 Magazine

Looking for Love in 2021? 5 Tips for Successful Online Dating


he first Sunday of the new year or “Dating Sunday,” is the busiest online dating day of the year and kicks off peak online dating season – there is no better time to get your profile ready. Below are five tips to help you make the most of “Dating Sunday” from Andrea McGinty, premier dating expert and founder of 33 Thousand Dates, a coaching platform designed to help millennial and Gen X women and men navigate online dating. In her 20+ years as a matchmaker, McGinty arranged over 33,000 dates, so it’s safe to say she knows a thing or two about dating successfully! 1. Enlist help. With over 104 million singles in America and over 30 million dating online, your online dating profile needs to stand out. A dating expert can help you craft a profile you’re proud of – and one that isn’t full of clichés like “long walks on the beach.” You hire professionals to help you exercise, clean and shop, so why not hire a dating pro to help reflect your individuality? At 33 Thousand Dates, for

example, they take a personalized, proactive approach and handle the heavy lifting so that clients can have all the fun. 2. Refresh your photos. Time to cull from the thousands of photos saved on your phone for five to 10 terrific shots. If they’re more than a year old or low-resolution, consider scheduling a photoshoot with a friend or a professional. Pose in natural light, ideally outdoors, and show off your smile. Avoid selfies and sunglasses, and include at least one full body shot that conveys your interests, whether you’re hiking, doing a tree pose, or walking along the shore. For men, shirts on unless it’s a great surf shot or you’re spiking a volleyball on the beach. Lastly, most photos should be solo – pets are warm and welcoming, but limit the shots including friends or family. 3. Be proactive. Start with only one or two dating platforms. You can add more later, but you don’t want to be overwhelmed by all the “likes” you’ll receive! Once live, don’t wait for messages to bombard you.

Instead, use the platform’s filters so you see the type of people you’re looking for – don’t be shy about knowing what you want! “After coaching thousands of people and playing a part in 4,200 marriages, I’ve found that those with the highest level of dating success proactively work the system in person and online,” says McGinty. 4. Arrange video chats. Set up short virtual dates to determine whether you’re willing to meet in person. Keep conversations to 10 minutes – this is enough time to get a feel for personality, looks and mannerisms. Ask important questions early to ensure your values align, and remember, chemistry only comes in person! 5. Have fun. Now it’s time for the good stuff! Arrange drinks, coffee or brunch al fresco – these dates are less pressure, more relaxed and don’t drag on. If you’re ready to leave, say you have errands to run or evening plans. A coach can help with this part, too – 33 Thousand Dates offers expert advice on how to communicate and follow up on dates. Keep in mind, you’re seeing if you like the person enough to go on a second date, not marry them! And if it doesn’t go well, those millions of other singles are waiting to meet you. For more tips and to learn more about enlisting help from pros, visit With the busiest dating season of the year upon us, it’s time to get your profile ready and date with confidence. Source:

Source: (c) tommy / iStock via Getty Images Plus via

Winter 2020-21


Tips to Improve Indoor Air Quality and Breathe Better at Home


ith more of life centered at home due to cool weather and social distancing, it’s time to ensure the space where your family spends the majority of its time is healthy and safe.

ventional paints in your home interiors for an eco-friendly, non-toxic alternative such as ECOS Paints. The brand, which has a 35-year history of offering VOC- and odor-free paints and stains in virtually any color, uses sustainable ingredients and can deliver directly to a home or business. To learn more, visit

What many people don’t know is that concentrations of air pollutants can typically be up to five times higher inside one’s home than out, and sometimes far more, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. However, there are many simple actions you can take to breathe better in your home:

“We want people to feel good about what they are bringing into their homes. This is why we are transparent about ingredients and VOC testing results,” says Julian Crawford, ECOS Paints CEO.

• Monitor carbon monoxide: This potentially deadly gas can be emitted by a faulty gas-burning home appliance. Monitor for carbon monoxide using detectors placed in major areas of the home, especially the bedrooms.

• Keep airborne dust to a minimum: Dust carries a variety of contaminants, including bacteria and allergens. Mop and dust often using a wet mop and dust cloth. Vacuum often as well using a vacuum with a HEPA filter, which traps small particles.

• Make the switch to VOC-free: Most paints and stains, along with aerosol sprays, air fresheners and other household products, contain Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), which emit gases that can result in respiratory problems, headaches and irritation to the eyes, nose and throat, among other health problems. Take a cue from forward-thinking institutions like the Getty Museum and Google and swap out con-

• Eliminate moisture from the air: Moisture promotes mold, which can cause serious health problems when left unabated. Reduce moisture by eliminating sources of water leaks, installing exhaust fans in

Right: Interior by Lisa Tharp. Photo by Michael J. Lee. via .

kitchens, using air conditioning, and positioning dehumidifiers in high-moisture rooms such as bathrooms, laundry rooms and basements. • Reduce airborne particles: Install an air purifier to trap irritating particles, including mold, pollen and pet dander, which are particularly bad for people with respiratory problems like asthma. Brush pets often -- outdoors if possible -- and give pets regular baths. • Decrease dirty air: Replace HVAC filters regularly. While the optimal frequency that you perform this task depends on the type of filter, the number of pets at home and other factors, a good reference point is the manufacturer’s guidelines. When it comes to creating a healthy home sanctuary, taking steps to manage the most common indoor air pollutants should be a top priority. Source:

Winter 2020-21


Combatting the Serious Effects of Digital Devices During COVID-19


creen time among children and teens has skyrocketed during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the cold-weather months, when families are more likely to be spending free time indoors, it’s especially important that parents and caregivers set schedules to help ensure safe, healthy and balanced use of digital devices, according to experts. “Digital devices and the internet have become absolutely necessary tools for kids, not only for school, but for connecting and socializing with friends. Unfortunately, these tools can often be used in unhealthy ways to fill a void left by the loss of many typical school-year routines,” says Michele Havner, director of marketing, OurPact, a screen time monitoring app for parents. Research has consistently shown that more screen time is often accompanied by health and wellness challenges like anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, poor sleep and reduced physical activity. Havner says that parents can help kids build healthier relationships with digital devices in the following ways: • Being good role models: Parents are in many cases relying on digital devices to work from home and may also be facing some of the same issues as their children, including boredom and isolation. However, they can serve as good digital role models by setting aside screen-free time for other activities, like art, cooking, music, exercise, crossword puzzles, reading and more. • Avoiding being punitive: This extended situation has been stressful for parents and kids alike, so parents should try to take a compassionate approach to the situation. When engaging children on screen use, they can start the conversation on the right foot by acknowledging the many challenges and stressors that the “new normal” has created for young people. This is also a good time to check in about what exactly kids are doing online and whether the uptick in social media use

Right: (c) AntonioGuillem / iStock via Getty Images Plus via

has exposed them to negative content or cyberbullying. • Setting schedules: Screen use before bed is associated with poor sleep due to the blue light emitted by digital devices, which can delay the release of sleep hormones. If possible, cap screen usage at least 30 minutes before bedtime. While many people like to keep devices on bedside tables, consider turning bedrooms into screen-free zones. • Making it happen: Devices have become so important to children, they may not realize the negative effects they are having on their health, making getting kids to actually put down devices often easier said than done. In fact, kids will often defy verbal limitations and warnings. Fortunately, parents can get a little outside assistance in making rules stick. One solution is OurPact, a screen monitoring app that allows parents to set online schedules. Using the app, parents can limit app access automatically for recurring activities like school or bedtime, and can block or grant internet access on a child’s device. They can even view screenshots of kids’ digital activity, helping them swiftly address usage issues like unsafe content and cyberbullying. To learn more or download, visit While the new normal has meant an unavoidable uptick in screen time, parents can help kids strike a healthy balance. Source:


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