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Gin Schaffer is a former higher education administrator and works part-time at MWHC's Regional Cancer Center as the Coordinator of Integrative Medicine. She lives in downtown Fredericksburg and enjoys walking and biking with her husband and 2 kids (especially if coffee is involved).



Pink Ribbon Journey

  It was this time last year that Steve and I stood in the kitchen of our home in Massachusetts and made the decision to return to Fredericksburg.  That was such a "no turning back now" moment, but one year later, we have no regrets.  Being back where Steve and Gin began has turned out to be good medicine.  Sharing stories of the past is healing for us and it's fun watching the kids react to old stories and pictures of us.

I'm thankful for our family time together, exploring the town, especially when I'm feeling sick and need a pick-me-up.  This past week brought a nasty mixture of snow, school closures, and unbearable pain, but the people and places of Fredericksburg always have a way of showing up for me, helping me to push through the pain.  I wanted to share with you a few spots around town that brought some sunshine into my life during these dreary days of winter.

The Central Rappahannock Regional Library system is filled with informative programs and tons of resourceful people.  I love visiting the different branches as a way to change it up for me and the kids.  Did you know that the England Run branch was built with LEED Green Initiative standards? 

Miss Caroline's Tree House is a bright and cheery, early education center focused on developing skills through play and music.  Miss Caroline brings a spirit of discovery to the center.  Her positive spirit is something children are drawn to, they gravitate towards her. Whether she's singing her catchy "Umbrella" song or working the parachute like a master, Miss Caroline genuinely connects with each child, at his/her pace.  My daughter and I attended a recent open house and stayed pretty much the entire time (almost 3 hours) because we were having that much fun!  I love how Miss Caroline makes sure that each child feels connected to the Tree House by saying their good-byes with a hug from the house's mascot, Manni the bear.

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Pots and Palettes has a great little workshop for painting pottery and you can sign-up to attend painting classes and pottery wheel/handbuilding too.  Plus, there is a Sophia Street Studio's cat, Izzy, roaming around that is just so cute and loving.  I painted a cherries painting for my mother's new kitchen and will be heading back to paint a pears picture soon.  I learned a lot about painting, but more importantly, it was the best 2-plus hours of art therapy ever on a Friday night.  My son struggles with art projects at school (he fears his work won't be good enough), so I thought it would be a good idea to try painting pottery given the unexpected imperfections are sometimes the greatest surprise.  I appreciated the time the staff took with him to explain the colors and techniques. He enjoyed the science behind how the paints would work on the pottery once fired in the kiln.  I know he can't wait to return.

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Pitaiyo (Pilates, Tai Chi, and Yoga) is peaceful oasis on Caroline Street.  I love how you can shop, relax, and attend a class so effortlessly.  The relaxation and meditation room is such a calming area to center yourself before attending a class.  I have often just stepped into Pitaiyo to read the positive, inspirational messages they have as a reminder to keep perspective and to keep fighting.  The Tai Chi class helped me a great deal as I was heading into the more fatiguing aspects of my radiation.  I suspect I just might have to take a closer look at their Detox Challenge too (I'm pretty sure I will need a purification in about 3 months or so).

One thing these places all have in common are people with smiling faces and a helping hand - citizens who want to make Fredericksburg a place where people are informed, healthy, and happy.  So, as I continue on my pink ribbon journey, I look forward to discovering more of those people that make Fredericksburg the best decision Steve and I ever made. #LOVEFXBG

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