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    What turns a person into a patient?

    Have a think about it.

    Is it a choice that turns a person into a patient? The choice to hand over power for one's own health to someone else. The handing over of power seems mutually beneficial. It maintains the doctor's status, it means the doctor's customer can abdicate responsibility for healing.

    I'd like you to play with this thought for a moment. When you visit a doctor you are a customer rather than a patient.

    How does that feel? What do customers do? They go into a shop, have a look round, if they need some advice they ask for it and an expert, or someone who thinks they're an expert, happily gives it. If the salesman is experienced the customer will probably make a purchase. If the salesman is ethical then the customer will be pleased with the purchase and feel they have received value for money. But if they are ignored, or made to wait an unreasonable amount of time, or treated rudely, the customer simply takes their business elsewhere.

    What do patents do? They arrive five minutes before the agreed appointment time. They go into the reception. They give their name. They are told to sit in the waiting room. Anything from 20 minutes to two hours later they hear their name called. They try as best they can to describe the problem they want taken away. They are given a piece of paper, which they then have to take to a pharmacy to exchange for drugs, and that's the end of it. The whole process generally lasts less than 5 minutes. If/when the drugs don't produce the desired effect the whole process is gone through again. This is all endured stoically, or stressfully, by the patient who feels powerless to bring about the outcome they desire.

    And what exactly is this outcome?

    The desired outcome is healing. The desired outcome is freedom from the pain, freedom from the discomfort, freedom from the stress, unhappiness or anxiety; freedom from concern that this is something life threatening.

    Although the last time I visited a doctor was around 5 years ago, in my life I've spent many, many hours in doctor's and hospital waiting rooms. In all that time I have never once heard a doctor mention the word 'healing'. I've heard about symptoms and diagnoses; I've taken the latest wonder drug on several occasions filled with hope that this was the miracle I've been waiting for only to have that hope dashed as the miracle made me feel worse than I already did.

    The miracle that I'd been waiting for was the realisation that I was responsible for my own health and well-being. Only when this happened did I start to heal. Now I need to make myself clear. Being responsible for your own health does not mean doing your own surgery. It does not mean, selecting the drugs you think you need and buying them from an internet pharmacy. Doctors have valuable knowledge. When I broke my wrist I was very grateful for the knowledge and skills they used to assist my healing. I used their x-ray machines to find out what the damage was. I used their plaster to support my wrist. I used their skills and knowledge and listened to their advice on exercise. But I didn't use their drugs for the pain. I used my own mind to deal with that. And having made that choice the pain was never intolerable and was a useful feedback mechanism to let me know if I was pushing my wrist too fast.

    Being responsible for your own health means:
    1. Acknowledging there is a physical or psychological problem that you'd like to change.

    2. Getting advice from several expert sources, such as... Doctors, Other health practitioners like... Herbalists, Nutritionists, Psychotherapists, Hypnotherapists, Counsellors, Healers, Chiropractors, Past-life regressionists, or Books and of course the internet.

    3. Making a choice

    Making a choice means going with what feels best to you, and trusting your decision despite pressure from vested interests to follow their particular healing system. I know people who when they have a problem are quite happy to have surgery as soon as possible to get it sorted. I know others who are happy to live with the problem while they explore mind-oriented techniques to see if they can find the emotional cause and release it, thereby healing the problem.

    You can even make a different choice every time. There are no rules here, other than to go with what feels right or comfortable to you. Doctors and hospitals are brilliant in emergency situations, but if it isn't an emergency then you probably have some time to consider options. The moment you open your mind up to a different approach to healing you will find that the information you need comes to you in an almost magical way. Coincidences are an indication that you are making the right choices for you.

    A selection of self-help books are available on my web site. I particularly recommend The Journey by Brandon Bays.

    Michael J. Hadfield MBSCH is a registered clinical hypnotherapist.

    You can experience his unique style on a popular range of hypnosis CD's and tapes at http://www.hypnosisiseasy.com Here you can also obtain treatment for a variety of problems and explore his approach to health, healing, and hypnosis.

    Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/



    Are my breads, cookies, or cakes baked and ready to come out of the oven yet?

    The ability to tell when products are baked seems to cause more consternation than almost any other phase of baking. And of course, it is important. Over baked cookies are dry and hard; under baked bread is soggy. But you can get it right. In this article, we will give you the techniques and pointers for baking your goods to perfection.

    Yeast breads

    The tendency is to under bake yeast breads. The internal temperature of yeast breads should be 210 degrees and must be at least 185 degrees. The only way to reliably tell what is going on inside that loaf is with a probe type thermometer. Remove the bread from the pan and insert the thermometer through the bottom crust into the center of the loaf.

    (If you are going to bake bread and you don't have a thermometer, we strongly recommend that you purchase one. You will need it to test the temperature of the water, the dough, and the finished bread. You can buy one on our site.)

    When the bread is done, the crust color will range from a golden brown to a deep brown for artisan breads baked in a hot oven. Breads with a higher sugar content or in a hot oven will tend to brown more rapidly as the sugar caramelizes. If the bread is browning too rapidly, make a tent of aluminum foil and cover the top of the loaf.

    In light colored pans, the bottom crust is the last to brown. With a done loaf, the bottom will color even in a light-colored pan.

    My mother was a bread baker. She tested doneness by tapping the loaf with her finger--a done loaf will sound hollow when tapped. I don't remember her ever making a mistake. Though she taught me to do the same, I'm not as good as she was. Out of habit, I still tap the loaf but I nearly always follow with a thermometer probe and sometimes the thermometer proves me wrong.

    Cookies

    If the tendency is to under bake breads, the tendency is to over bake cookies. Take them out just before you think they are done; you won't be wrong often.

    My father is a consummate cookie baker. If you ask him what his secret is, he'll tell you: "I don't over bake cookies." The difference between a just right cookie and an over baked one is dramatic.

    Make cookies uniform in size. Not only are they more attractive but different sizes of cookies take different times to bake.

    Most recipe writers tell you to leave the cookies on the sheet for a minute or two. Cookies continue to bake on a hot baking sheet. Sometimes that's necessary for an easy release but for most recipes, we remove them as quickly as we can.

    If the cookies look a little soggy in the middle, then leave them on the sheet for a few minutes and they will firm up.

    Most cookies should be gold in color, not brown. Both the amount of sugar and soda in the recipe will affect how fast a cookie browns.

    Chocolate cookies represent another challenge: you can't tell if they are browning. If you are baking with a new recipe, bake a few cookies and check them for doneness before baking the entire batch. Chocolate cookies will tend to lose their "wet" look when done.

    Many bar cookies will have a dry, shiny crust when done.

    Cakes

    For most baked goods--but especially cakes--it is best to set the timer for a few minutes less than directed in the recipe-different ovens or even different positions in the oven bake differently. A dark pan bakes more quickly than a light pan. When you find your cake not quite done and continue baking, set the timer for three or four minutes and check again.

    A toothpick inserted in the center of the cake will come out clean when done. "Clean" means a few crumbs. If there is wet looking batter clinging to the toothpick, it's not done.

    If you don't want to poke a whole in the center of the cake, check for doneness with your finger. There should be some resiliency to the touch and the cake should spring back. When done, the cake will usually have a golden brown color to the top though different recipes will brown more or less quickly.

    #1 Top Secret BBQ Sauce Recipe
    When done, the cake will tend to pull away form the edges.

    Quick Breads

    Quick breads are basically cakes in a loaf pan. The same tests that you use on cakes can be used with quick breads. Stick the toothpick or skewer right in the open crack in the center of the bread. The area under that crack seems to be the last area in the loaf to set up.

    Incidentally, quick breads release from the pan easier if left to cool for few minutes before removing. Because of the larger mass, a loaf does not continue cooking as quickly as cookies do.

    Custard Pies

    Custard pies-including pumpkin pies-are a special problem. It takes quite a while for the protein in the eggs to set and make the pie firm. Often, the crust is becoming too brown before the eggs set. If so, cover the crust with strips of aluminum foil to retard further browning.

    When a custard pie is done, a knife inserted in the center of the pie will come out clean. If you don't want a cut mark in the center of your pie, use the jiggle test. Pick the pie up with two hot pads or mitts and gently shake the pie back and forth. If done, all but the center should be firm-there will be a little jiggle in the center. The center will continue to cook and firm up after you remove the pie from the oven.

    We hope these guidelines help. With practice and observation, you'll soon become very proficient at judging when your bread or cookies are baked to perfection. Your baked goods will then be irresistible.

    Dennis Weaver is the general manager at The Prepared Pantry (http://www.preparedpantry.com) with recipes, ideas, and the best selection of mixes and ingredients. Visit the free Bakers' Library for more articles like this, free baking guides, and tested recipes.

    Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/



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    Should I consolidate my college loans or not?

    1. Still in school, yes! Rates are low, but they're scheduled to go up. Your college loan payments will then remain as manageable as possible when you leave school. If you have graduated, or will be graduating this May or June, yes! Graduates can lock in historical low rates, and reduce their monthly payments more than half. You can lock in a rate even while still in school, and even if you have been out of school for a couple of years can get a good deal, too.

    2. The newest twist in the consolidation puzzle is the "in school consolidation", affecting students who are currently enrolled and will be enrolled past the July 1 consolidation. You can consolidate your existing college loans now to secure the low rates for at least part of their student loan portfolio.

    3. Consolidating could save thousands of dollars in interest payments on college loans. There are impending student loan rate changes and new interpretation of regulations by the Department of Education, also, Congress is considering ending the fixed-rate program. Experts are urging students to consolidate to relieve themselves of a higher debt load.

    4. Many students and families are looking for a simple, clear answer about whether to consolidate college loans or not. The simple answer is to take some of the bite out of the debt by loan consolidation. You could live like a miser and save as much money as possible or consolidate your federal student loans now.

    5. For students still in school, you have an opportunity to choose consolidation. Consolidating would put a college loan borrower into repayment status, but the student can defer payments until after graduation by making a deferment request. Consolidating today can have payments put off until graduation.

    6. The federal loan program allows consolidation, which is when a borrower pools his student debts together so that only one monthly payment is necessary, rather than several. It's not just the convenience of one payment that is making consolidation so compelling. The most significant aspect of the program is that it allows a person to permanently lock in a lower interest rate on loans. These loans are backed by, or granted directly by, the federal government.

    7. Rates for federal Stafford loans, the most prevalent type of student loan, as well as some other types of federal student loans are set annually based on the rate of 91-day U.S. Treasury bills at the end of May. The exact rate won't be known until the end of the month, but experts say it will be about 2 percentage points higher. (

    Private loans and federal loans cannot be consolidated together.)

    8. For the first time, the U.S. Department of Education will allow students still in school to consolidate federally backed loans. Federal PLUS loans can also be consolidated. PLUS loans are used to help pay the cost higher education.

    9. Students, regardless of enrollment, should absolutely consolidate their college loans, arranged through the student's lender. There are no fees, no credit checks, and interest rates are expected to move higher. Those are good reasons to consolidate.

    10. Act quickly to put lock on current federal-aid interest rates. Graduates should act now to insulate themselves from a drastic rate change. Apply early. Do not wait until the last minute to file paperwork. Those who have already graduated or left school should not wait to investigate consolidation. In the first six months after graduation, you are in a grace period. Within that six-month window, you can lock in a low rate on Stafford loans and spread the repayment over as long as 30 years.

    If you're going to consolidate, now is the best time to do it.

    Georgio Heberto is dedicated to offering news, articles, and instruction on financing college education. You have a definite choice in how you finance your education and beyond. Visit http://www.atopeducation.com for more information.

    Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/



    Each day we all face the same challenge. Spam. It doesn't matter if you're a home computer user or the head of IT for a multinational limiting or totally preventing the distribution of junk email to your computer(s) is now a daily chore.

    The sheer frustration that spam causes combined with the number of lost man hours adds up to junk email being a very real problem for all involved. You have to filter through all the junk to find your own personal or work email. This on its own is annoying enough. When you consider the security risks from spyware, trojans, diallers and attempted identity theft spam becomes much more than just an annoyance - it becomes a minefield for any computer user.

    So what can you do to block spam? The first step each user should take is to simply limit the number of people who know your personal email address. If you have a work email address then just use it for work. For home users only distribute your email address to people you know and trust. This simple move can cut your spam problems by 50%.

    But what about all those online forms I need to fill in? No problem. Use a free email service like Hotmail or Gmail for this purpose. Treat it as a throwaway account that you can use as a buffer between your true personal email address and the rest of the world. Let it fill up with junk email and then just login once a week and delete everything you see.

    Your password. It's amazing how many people set the password for their email account to abc123 or something similar. These passwords are incredibly easy for spammers to guess and would give them easy access to your mail account. The password for your email account should follow corporate standards of being 6 - 8 characters long and be alphanumeric (a mixture of numbers and letters). Make it longer if you can. Using a weak password is just asking for trouble.

    If you're already receiving a ton of spam then you'll need to invest in a spam blocker. There are free spam blockers you can download and also also their paid equivalents. A great spam blocker can cost you as little as $30 and you'll see an immediate reduction in the amount of spam you're receiving.

    Over and above installing software on your computer (especially for Mac users as your choices are limited) you could sign up for one of the web based challenge response spam blockers like Mailblocks or SpamArrest. Both of these services are ideal for somebody who's on the move a lot. Also because they're web based there's no software to install so they're perfect for Mac or PocketPC/Palm users.

    Taking a pro-active anti spam stance is the next step. If you get junk email from people then check the mail headers and report any offensive email to the hosting company or ISP involved. Never, ever reply to spam directly. This simply confirms to the spammer that your email address is active. Also

    never click on any hyperlinks in any junk email - this again confirms your existence and can lead to a virus being downloaded directly onto your PC. Filter the spam, report the abusers, delete the remaining junk email.

    Spam can be stopped. Not by some corporate giant or genius programmer. It can be stopped by each of you individually. Spammers rely on the widespread availability of email addresses and for people to reply to these emails or click on the links within the emails. The sooner people stop reacting emotionally to spam and simply filter, report and delete the offensive mail itself the sooner the lucrative market of bulk email will dry up for the spammers.

    This article was provided courtesy of Spam-site.com which reviews spam blocker software and other anti spam utilties.

    Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/



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    The DARPA Challenge II is coming up soon and it appears we may have more than one team complete this year's course. Forty robotic teams have been picked for a second round of the ultimate challenge. Why is this so important?

    Well many reasons, one is it ushers in a new age of robotics, which will change the destiny of mankind and provide for our forward progression. The other reason is that we have needs, which cannot be met of our armed forces.

    The tip of the sword and war fighters of today must have a multitude of back-up and logistical supply chains to wage and win a war. If we are to be the leaders of the free world, stand up for human rights and lay down the law on tyrannical dictators of yesterday's Machiavellian principles, then we will need to do more with less. Right now the GAO and US Army are quite concerned with recruitment numbers and new sign up. We need systems which

    will allow us to move the logistical chain down the road without a driver in each vehicle, thru any terrain and not necessary roads, rivers or tracks. There fore the DARPA Challenge is very significant in our ability to maintain peace on the planet and defend against Evil.

    Many systems to help do this are therefore being tested in a prize worth two-million dollars. Systems of navigation have been borrowed from all over the known scientific world. Systems of Artificial Intelligence, radar, lidar, sonar all combined using a net-centric approach to the vehicles electronics. It is possible now to drive vehicles tele-robotically and steering them using satellites. But in this contest everything must be autonomous and cannot use the satellite technologies except for way points so the vehicles stay within the contest borders; we do not want to squash any endangered; "Desert Tortises."

    In the end the military may use a combination of these technologies and some which were forbidden on the this challenge, however one should consider the Satellite navigation systems which do not necessarily need an actual satellite; they could use an aircraft, UAV, balloon, cell tower triangulation, etc..

    I propose convoys in the future use a system similar to the ADD System.

    AFF stands for Automated Flight Following System, which is used in aerial fire fighting to insure that the fire retardant is dropped in the drop zone even though with the smoke the visibility is very low making it difficult to see. As one aircraft goes in another follows in behind it. This off the shelf technology has been used for over a decade now and with the advances of GPS accuracy and GIS modeling of surface terrain by satellite its uses should be incorporated into the laying of smart dust.

    This technology is not allowed in the DARPA Challenge but is a solution for its mission of an unmanned convoy. I propose the AFF System be implemented along with some of these systems discussed here:

    http://worldthinktank.net/wttbbs/index.php?s=06a7273e42d643108d053d623c4deafb&showtopic=87

    As this ought to solve the problem of moving the tonnage to the front lines without risking lives or costs millions in training, housing and recruiting. I do hope as a taxpayer you will be thinking here.

    "Lance Winslow" - If you have innovative thoughts and unique perspectives, come think with Lance; www.WorldThinkTank.net/wttbbs

    Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/



    If Josiah Wedgwood were alive today, even he would be surprised at the large sums of money changing hands for some of his early work. Still intact, still complete early collections are almost priceless, especially the ones owned by royalty and celebrities. Many have come up for auction at prestigious auction houses around the world and have garnered quite a large amount of interest from well-heeled investors looking for something interesting to spend their money on.

    There is a line in the sand when it comes to placing a value on Wedgwood China and that line is 1949. After Josiah died, several generations of Wedgwood's sons and other relatives ran the business, which was never really the same. Obviously, the original pieces created by Josiah are the oldest and the most valuable ones in existence. That being said, after struggling through wars, economic downturns, competition and mismanagement, the product line changed drastically when Josiah Wedgwood V was forced to modernize the factory.

    He started construction in 1938, was interrupted by World War II and completed the new factory in 1949 after the war. Therefore, all Wedgwood China produced in the new factory, starting with the first pieces that rolled off the production lines in 1949 are of significantly less value than pieces produced in the old factory prior to that time. This, of course, does not factor into account who may have owned a particular collection or its condition at the time of sale. But for two similar collections, one prior to 1949 will be worth substantially more than one produced in the new factory. There are some very expensive, very beautiful and highly sought after collections produced in the new factory that still fetch a high price when they are offered for sale.

    This is a factor of the success of the design, the prior ownership and the availability of pieces from that line and still, if it was produced in the old factory, it will simply be worth more.

    Wedgewood China provides detailed information about discontinued, antique, and discount fine china, plus fine china outlets, values, and history. Wedgewood China is affiliated with Business Plans by Growthink.

    Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/



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    Seller's Showing Instructions

    1. When the agent arrives with the potential buyers, have the window coverings open to let in as much sunlight as possible. At nighttime, be sure that all of your outdoor lights are on, particularly any landscape or pool lights. Indoor lights - all of them should be on day or night. I have never heard a buyer tell me - "it is too bright".

    2. Open doors between rooms to give an inviting and open feeling. Turn the television off. When necessary, have the thermostat set to a comfortable temperature. In winter, a fire in the fireplace is inviting - you want the buyers imagining themselves living in your home.

    3. Pick up any newspapers, magazines and clutter that may be lying around. Your kitchen and bath counter tops should all ready have been cleared of all but the most basic necessities, make sure dirty dishes are not in sight.

    4. If you have pets, take them for a walk. Many people are afraid of pets; others love them and will remember your pet more than your home.

    5. The beds should be made and clothes picked up. Bathrooms should be clean and the toilet lids down.

    6. When you leave the house in the morning or during the day, leave it in show condition.

    How we sell a home is not how we live in a home, you as the seller play a part in achieving the highest possible price. You never know when the right person is going to walk through your front door.

    The above is a generalized "punch list", your agent should provide you with specifics as to how best to "show off" your home.

    Phyllis Harb, a California native is a Realtor/Marketing Specialist at RE/Max Tri City in La Canada, California. RE/MAX Tri-City offers additional offices in La Crescenta, Glendale, Los Feliz and Pasadena.

    Harb has been assisting Los Angeles County home sellers and buyers since 1989 and additionally offers over 10 years experience in real estate lending. Harb has an award winning web site @ http://www.RealtorHarb.com& may also be contacted at 818 790-7325.

    Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/



    The title reflects Woodworking as a hobby, not as a vocation. Vocational woodworking is pretty much the opposite of the adjectives in the title because of the intense pressure to produce quickly in order to make it pay the bills. So we'll stick with the hobby orientation for purposes of this article.

    Many people start a project with very little thought. This is okay if you are working from plans, material lists and cutting lists in a woodworking

    magazine, but when you strike out on your own, this lack of planning often results in a project that becomes very difficult to manage somewhere in the middle, when more wood needs to be added, or, more often, the final piece has to shrink just a little to make do. The project gets less fun as measurement adjustments keep being made to the original plan to keep the modified parts fitting with each other. It's kind of like playing chess with a saw, anticipating three moves ahead what the measurements are going to have to be because of the one deviation you made three steps ago.

    What I would like to accomplish here is to lay out a sequence of events that need to take place as you migrate from the canned projects in the woodworking books and magazines to your own project planning.

    Recreational woodworking starts with an idea of something functional (a shelf, a table, a bench, a box, a desk) or something meaningful (a toy, a piece of art, a frame), or a combination of the two. This idea can be born of inspiration from looking through woodworking magazines, seeing something in a model home, or a need that exists in your own home.

    Most often the concept is sketched out. Traditionally, this is done on the back of an envelope or a partially used napkin, so be sure to have some of those lying around. Once you have the sketch, you have to decide how big you want this thing to be. Often, this is determined by available space or intended function.

    Staying true to our adage, "measure twice, cut once", a rough dimensioned drawing is created. If this is to be a functional piece (desk, cabinet, etc.), be sure to stay reasonably close to standard measurements for desk heights, knee-hole allowances, kick spaces, cabinet heights, rail and stile widths, file drawer dimensions, etc. You'll be glad you did.

    By now, the concept has evolved enough that the desired finish (paint, stain, varnish, oil) has been narrowed down, and a type of wood has been selected that is appropriate for the project, budget and finish. With so many choices of wood and finish conveniently available today, this can be quite an exercise.

    Now that the type of wood and finish have been determined, it is time to decide what kinds of joints you are going to make (assuming you are not making a boomerang or hollowed-out canoe or some other one-piece thing). Considerations are strength, the look you are trying to achieve, your equipment and capabilities, and the amount of time you can invest. This can be one of the more strenuous mental exercises because of the range of choices. The look of a bung or button, the clean lines of hidden biscuit or dowel joints, the strength and intricacy of the dovetail, the simplicity of nails and glue. All have their place, and you have to decide.

    Along with the joints, hardware has to be planned. Based on the hardware, you have to adjust your dimensioned drawing to accommodate clearances for drawer rails, those extra half inches for lap and dado joints, hidden hinge overlaps, insert depths for frame-and-panel door panels, etc. You also have to consider depth of relieves and radii of router profiles to make sure your stock is thick enough to allow your concept to mature as planned.

    A final dimensioned drawing is created, allowing for all joint and hardware considerations, and a cutting list is prepared from this drawing. Note: This drawing does not have to be to scale, or look professional in any way. It helps the visualization process if it is proportional, but the real important aspect of this drawing is documenting the measurements. Don't be concerned about the appearance of the drawing - that is not what you will be displaying.

    Now, finally, we can go to our lumber supplier and select the actual wood we will be working with. This is not where you want to save time. For the parts of the project that will show, especially for projects where the natural wood is intended to be a design feature, extra care should be taken to select the grains and natural attributes that will best fit your concept. If you are saving money intending to plane "three-sides-good" lumber, make sure the width runs far enough on the pieces selected with enough margin to get the length needed for each piece AFTER PLANING. Measure the finished surface to the beginning of the raw edge. For framework, cleats and carcasses look for straight, unknotted pieces. Warps and twists can be overcome, but they make the whole project less fun.

    With this level of preparation and with sharp tools, the project will proceed nicely and the finished piece will bring you satisfaction, many years of service, and can sometimes even become a treasured family heirloom. Note: The heirloom status is often true of a desk, a well-made toy or a rocking chair. Don't set your expectations too high for laundry shelves.

    Kent Walters is currently an amateur woodworker in Houston, Texas. His entrance to the craft was similar to many - woodshop in school. He continued the craft some time later as a toymaker on a drill press, sander and spray booth. He was a furniture maker at one time, building mostly desks, book cases, wall units, display cases and cabinets.

    As time moves on, he is "downsizing" to intarsia and toys - panels are getting too heavy to lift, and heirlooms are becoming more important than they once were. For more articles, resources and a woodworker's website directory, see http://www.woodworkingcenter.com.

    Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/



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    So you're planning your wedding and a thousand decisions must be made! It can be an exciting, but tiring experience to pull off the wedding of your dreams, especially within your budget.

    The best way to evaluate how and where to allocate your wedding budget is to determine exactly what your priorities are. What do you deem important for your Big Day? What specific areas or elements of the wedding ceremony and reception do you value the most?

    Remember: there are no right or wrong answers! The priorities you and your fianc�½ place on various aspects of your wedding simply reflect who you are as individuals and who you are together as a couple. Price, however, is an important factor in determining your priorities in many instances. You may choose some elements of your wedding to be practical and affordable, thereby allowing you to indulge in certain items or areas that are your "favorites".

    When you decide to sit down and pinpoint definitive priorities, you've won half the battle. It's easy to delegate money and tasks when you understand what is the most important to you, as well as what is the least important.

    Task: (Note: You'll probably want to set aside 30 minutes to an hour for this.)

    1. Grab two pieces of paper so you and your fianc�½ can each create a separate list (no peeking!) of the top 20 places to which you would like to assign money. As well, include a rough estimate of what amount may be spent for every item on your list. When you are finished, add up the total of your estimates to ensure that it does not exceed your budget's allowance.

    2. If you are having trouble coming up with dollar amounts, try using percentages instead. Set aside 10% of your wedding budget for miscellaneous expenses, and using the remaining 90%, allocate a percentage to each item on your list. This will put your priorities in order.

    3. Compare lists and discuss.

    You may find that you value some things less than you initially thought...good! This means that you're closer to deciding what parts will or will not play a big role in your wedding. If you and your fianc�½ have conflicting top choices...even better! Talk about where you can compromise or meet in the middle. This is the perfect opportunity to amalgamate your ideas and expectations to create a wedding that suits both of you perfectly.

    When you fully understand what your priorities are as a couple, you'll be better prepared to make honest decisions that will get you closer to the wedding of your dreams. By properly identifying and understanding your priorities, you'll be more satisfied with your choices and will more readily stay within your wedding budget.

    About the Author

    Jennifer Benson is Vice President and cofounder of WedQuarters.com Wedding Websites, a leading online wedding service provider. WedQuarters offers complete personal wedding websites, enhanced with online and toll free wedding RSVP services.

    Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/



    Most web sites are more like stage sets than real buildings; they make a good impression and they look substantial at first, but when you open a door, you end up back stage in the dark. They don't generate large numbers of leads, help build relationships with prospects or generate the desired volume of sales.

    Is your web site helping you get attention for your business?

    Does it prompt prospects to contact you?

    Is it helping you build long-term relationships?

    Does it generate the volume of sales you want?

    Building a web site that works should be more like building your dream home than constructing a stage set. You want to build a solid structure to support the growth of your business, not a flashy facade. First, you'd talk with your partner about what kind of house you want and how it fits into your long-term plans. You'd discuss your budget and the location, style and size of the house, as well as the functions of the rooms and the flow between them. When you were in agreement, you'd seek out an architect to help you plan your home.

    The architect would consider your ideas and objectives, create a coherent plan to meet your objectives. You'd review these and then she'd produce drawings and blueprints to guide the construction. You'd need a contractor to build your house, and the contractor would hire specialists to complete the job; carpenters, electricians, masons, roofers, etc. Once your home was completed, you'd need to maintain it; even a brand new house needs periodic attention.

    Building or Renovating Your Dream Web Site

    Can you imagine building your dream home without careful planning, or a clear sense of how the rooms would work together, or a blueprint?

    Before you build your web site, did you define how it would function, how it would get attention, and how it would generate leads and build profitable relationships?

    Did you have a web marketing blueprint?

    A web designer is like your building contractor. They will assemble your web site, but they can't tell you what the site is supposed to accomplish or how it fits into your overall marketing plan. Before you use a web designer you first need to understand what you want your site to do and how to structure it to convert prospects to clients.

    Diane Varner, a successful web designer in El Granada, California, asks prospective clients a series of questions about their marketing before she starts work for them. She wants to find out what their overall marketing strategy is and how their web site fits into it. Her expertise is web design; if a prospect needs help defining their web-marketing plan, she refers them to me.

    > 4 Steps to A Web Site that Sells

    1. Create Your Web Plan and Marketing Content

    Used Car Web Site: Marketing, building and promting
    Before building or renovating your web site, you, too, should identify how your web site fits into your marketing strategy. Clarify and delineate the actions you want visitors to take and how to structure your site to get prospects to contact you and buy your products and services.

    Organize site content and pages to mirror prospects' decision-making process, moving them step-by-step towards a sale. Write content that motivates prospects to continue reading and browsing your site and includes appropriate use of keywords to help boost your search engine rankings.

    2. Hire a Web Designer/ General Contractor

    Once you have a plan and the supporting marketing copy ready, find a web designer who can put these elements together to create an easy-to-navigate site whose overall look and feel supports your positioning objectives. Many web designers function as general contractors and will sub-contract the programming required to create forms, manage databases, email or online shopping cart systems.

    3. Market Your Web Site

    Most people make the mistake of waiting until their site is built to think about marketing it. If you started with the previously defined web plan, you will have avoided this mOney-losing blunder. But don't assume that people will find your web site on their own.

    Use free promotional activities such as distributing your articles to get attention. Consider advertising in newsletters and/or using pay-per-click advertising.

    4. Maintain Your Web Site

    Just like that dream house, a web site needs regular upkeep and updating. Allocate the time and money to see that the site is well maintained, whether you learn to update text yourself, have someone in your company do it, or give the job to an outside professional.

    The beautiful home you carefully planned and built creates the physical context for you to eat, sleep, relax and enjoy family and friends. Your web site should create the marketing context to help you get prospects' attention, build relationships, and generate leads and s.ales.

    Use the four steps

    above to build or renovate your web site and you'll have a site that is more than a flimsy stage set; you'll have a web site that will help grow your business.

    2005 © In Mind Communications, LLC. All rights reserved.

    The author, Charlie Cook, helps service professionals and small business owners attract more clients and be more successful. Sign up for the Free Marketing Plan eBook, '7 Steps to get more clients and grow your business' at http://www.marketingforsuccess.com

    Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/



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    When

    do you need to hire a family law attorney and when is it okay to just use an online divorce form website to save a little money? This article will provide a few pointers to help you decide whether to do it yourself or retain a divorce lawyer.

    What Does it Mean to Use an Online Divorce Form Website?

    Essentially, using an online form website in your divorce case means that you will represent yourself and act as your own lawyer. All of the online divorce form sites have disclaimers making it clear that they are not your lawyer and are just preparing documents on your behalf. While it is your constitutional right to act as your own lawyer, there are some significant risks involved that should be evaluated before you take the online route.

    Additionally, you have to evaluate the particular website you are dealing with. Most are national sites that offer forms that they claim will work in any state. However, every state has different laws. In other words, a California Divorce Decree will not be identical to a Texas Divorce Decree because the laws of the two states are not identical. So with an online divorce you are basically getting a generic form that may or may not work in your jurisdiction.

    What if You Have Children?

    While many of the divorce form sites

    claim to offer forms that address the necessary provisions regarding children (conservatorship, support, visitation, etc.), it is very risky to use these generic forms when you have children. You must remember that your divorce forms are being prepared using online software that simply fills in the blanks with your answers to very simplistic yes/no or multiple choice questions. These answers may not necessarily fit your situation or you may not fully understand the question.

    This is where a competent lawyer can make a big difference. A lawyer will learn more about your situation and find out exactly what your documents need to say, instead of just the boilerplate language that the divorce website's software spits out. If you have children, you should take the safe route and hire an experienced divorce lawyer.

    What if You Own Property?

    Many of the divorce form sites also claim to offer forms that will deal with the most complex of property divisions. But when it comes to dividing any property beyond personal effects (clothes, furniture, etc.), it is risky to rely solely on generic divorce forms. If you or your spouse own real estate, vehicles, 401k accounts or other retirement accounts, or have any other financial assets or liabilities, an online divorce form will not necessarily protect your interests.

    A competent divorce lawyer would be able to, first, analyze your situation and determine what property division is in

    your best interest, and second, ensure that all the assets awarded to you were properly transferred and the titles correctly recorded on your behalf.

    Conclusion

    Using an online divorce form always carries a certain amount of risk. If there are no children from the marriage and no property to divide, then saving a few hundred dollars may be worth the risk and the extra work you will have to do. But for most people, especially those with children or property, it is essential to hire an experienced divorce lawyer to handle their case.

    About the Author

    Scott Morgan has been a Houston divorce lawyer since 1994. His practice focuses exclusivley on divorce and family law cases. You can find out more about Mr. Morgan on his website, http://www.houstondivorce.com.

    Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/



    I've learned numerous, important lessons on life, motherhood and men by being the mommy of a little boy...

    1) Boys really can and will go to the bathroom anywhere. Some of them seem to really like going outside.

    2) When little boys tell you they have to go to the bathroom "RIGHT NOW," they honestly mean it... They either can't hold or refuse to try to hold it like little girls can.

    3) Boys can fake cry just as good as girls. My son actually practices his facial expressions in the mirror - like the sad, hopeless look designed to evoke sympathy and the scrunched up, tears are coming, "I'm really hurt" face, or the mean glare with his little cheeks puffed out as he grits his teeth determined not to smile...

    4) It's true that boys hit harder than girls even when they're just playing around... I think it's a testosterone thing.

    5) Leaving the toilet seat up is a habit males are born with. Most mommies will begin the battle to get them to put it down before they go to kindergarten. And many moms will still be in the battle with their sons when they graduate high school. It's a war we seldom win. My six year-old son rationalizes it like this: "Mommy you should feel lucky that I lift the seat up - Because if I didn't, when you go to the bathroom in the middle of the night and it's really dark, just think how mad you would be if I peed with the seat down..."

    6) It doesn't matter whether you're four years-old or 40, if you're a girl who can play kickball as good as the boys, you are COOL.

    7) Even though we carried our sons in our wombs for nine months and went through the excruciating pain of childbirth to bring these delightful little boys into the world, threatening these miniature men with the phrase -

    "I brought you into this world and I can take you out..."

    instills much more fear in them when their fathers (or other prominent male figure in their life) say it.

    8) But the fact that WE were the ones who were pregnant and WE were the parent who actually gave birth to these wondrous baby males, does give us their loyalty, partiality and perhaps biased support in disputes with their fathers (or any man).

    9) If you are a single mother of a little boy, he will not think you are incapable of doing the things that are traditionally "guy" things - like fishing, going to the races, playing in the mud, tossing baseball or football, working on your car etc...

    (Unless you show him that you can't do stuff like that or you choose not to attempt activities conventionally associated with men.)

    10) There is nothing in this world comparable to the way it makes a mommy feel to have the unconditional, pure, innocent love of her little boy.

    Resource Box - © Danielle Hollister (2004) is the Publisher of BellaOnline Quotations Zine - A free newsletter for quote lovers featuring more than 10,000 quotations in dozens of categories like - love, friendship, children, inspiration, success, wisdom, family, life, and many more. Read it online at - http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art8364.asp

    Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/



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    Introduction

    Due to the change in world's social and economic pattern with so much of stressors and so less time for each other and even for oneself to get relaxed, there is a hug scope for the immature population to go for unnatural and short-lived pleasures which although might pose severe threat to one's own health and well being and even to life. Hence late teenagers and people in early twenties are those who are most prone to it as they both have reason and accessibility for the same.

    Definitions

    Drug abuse refers to self or peer medication of a drug in any amount or in any manner that cannot be medically or socially justified for its use. Drug addiction means the compulsive use of a drug, procuring it to take precedence over other activities. Drug habituation means less intense craving of the drug.

    Problem statement

    According to NIDA (national institute on drug abuse) the Monitoring the Future survey that is studying the trends since many years shows that there has been significantly decreased consumption of all the types of drugs except the inhalants. Although there has been decreasing trends but they are not at all satisfying as there are still a large number of teenagers specially the 8th graders who tend to get involved into this.

    The problem with these types of drug is both direct and indirect. The direct effect of these drugs is for e.g. addiction, insomnia, hyper somnolence, increased reaction time and so on and so forth. But the indirect ones are equally dangerous for e.g. easy prey to AIDS, Hepatitis B & C and other infectious diseases.

    Cause of the problem, why abuse?

    The root cause of the problem are manifold but the main causes are the teenagers with a history of drug abuse in the family, single parent family, economically or socially deprived children and surprisingly teenagers of Hispanic origin.

    Types

    There are many different types of drug abuse. These have traditionally been divided based on the action on the brain, chemical salt or the purpose for which it is used medically or socially. Some of these are:

    a) Nicotine used in cigarette

    One of most heavily used and the most damaging of the drugs. It damages not only the lungs and immunity but also the whole body. Known to be implicated in the causation on lung, ovarian, skin and certain other cancers.

    b) Cocaine

    Known to have damaging effects on cardiovascular and cerebrovascular systems.

    c) LSD

    Causes hypertension, tachycardia and insomnia. Also disturbs the control of body temperature.

    d) Marijuana

    Has caused memory and learning disabilities.

    e) Methamphetamine

    Insomnia, anorexia, hyperactivity and psychosis are its major side effects.

    f) Pain medications

    Can lead to dependence and drug craving.

    g) Club drugs & date rape drugs

    Causes decreased muscle power and amnesia.

    h) Steroids

    In males causes certain feminine changes and vice versa in males besides causes overall retarded development.

    Diagnosing drug abuse

    Although the diagnosis of the abuse is not difficult at a full-blown stage but the important features at an early stage are the teenager becoming less social, poor performance at school, anorexia, unusual sleep pattern and weakness.

    Problem solving

    The main success lies in convincing the patient two things: first that the drug is not helping him or her in any way and secondly the drug abuse can be given up in a joint effort. Obviously that means managing the drug abuse needs both medical and social treatment.

    Ronit khera writes about Alcohol and drug abuse by college students topics.

    Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/



    A prospective client asked me to view his web site and give him some advice on how to make the site better. Unfortunately, his site was such a mess it became the inspiration for this article.

    One of the primary reasons to have a web site is to attract and educate visitors. However, this obvious concept seems to be lost on many web designers. The way your site is designed, what's there and what's not there, including what's in the unseen HTML code, can have a great impact on how much traffic your site will generate.

    Here's my list of the most common web site design sins and traffic killers. Use this list as you design your own site or show it to your web designer. If your web designer doesn't understand these points or dismisses them as unimportant. . .move on!

    One word of warning, we are going to look under that hood of that shiny web page and see some of what makes it run from the search engine view. - This is not always for the squeamish.

    No title tag or meaningless title tags. - Title tags are part of the HTML structure of every web page. Think of them as the informal name of the page. See for yourself. Go to http://www.ducttapemarketing.com.

    Look up there at the top of browser window and you will see the words - Small Business Marketing Ideas and Strategies - that's the title of that page. Now right click your mouse in the page and hit "view source or view page source." When you do this, you are looking at the HTML code for this page. Now, see that [title]Small Business Marketing Ideas and Strategies[/title] Every page has got them and they are one of the most important aspects of your web site. . .yet most people don't even use them. NOTE: While you are looking at this source code realize that this is what the search engines see. No matter what your page looks like it won't be found if this code doesn't help you get found. More on that.

    Your title tags can be a great tool for getting you search engine traffic if they are combined with good page content. Notice that my title tag is not Duct Tape Marketing or the often used Welcome to My Site. My tag is Small Business Marketing Ideas and Strategies. Now, think about this for a minute. Not too many people search for Duct Tape Marketing and nobody searches for Welcome to My Site, but small business marketing, now that's another story. Most small business owners waste the effectiveness of their title tags with something like: The name of their business or our products. Use title tags and make them part of your site content. Think about what people search for in your industry and name your pages based on that.

    Flash Intro pages - Don't get me started on this one. You know those pages that do all this really cool animated motion graphics and then present you with an entry or splash screen. I'll admit, these are works of art and I couldn't design one if I had to, but visit http://www.superclubs.com/home.asp and do that "View Source" trick again and tell me if you think a search engine could tell what that page was about. Remember, search engine spiders can't see pictures or hear sounds!

    Cleverness - There are lots of little things that designers like to do because they can. The question is what's it costing your site. One of my favorites is that date thing. You've likely been to a site that publishes today's date. Perhaps there is a good reason for that but go on back to view source on one these pages and you will see the price of that little trick. This date trick adds 300-400 lines of JavaScript code at the beginning of your page. All of this makes it hard for those search engines to find your real content. Think long and hard about adding stuff that gets in the way.

    No Anchor Text Hyperlinks - Web site designs like to make little buttons and badges for navigation links. Now, this can be okay but this is also a place where less is more. Text with a hyperlink is easily understood by search engines. Remember, they can't see images. Help them understand what your page is all about. Even if you have images navigation, put text links at the bottom of your page with all of your navigation.

    Referral Marketing - This is a text link

    Contact info hidden - There are some web site owners out there that don't want to be easy to contact but I'm guessing that's not you. Put your address and contact information on every page and make them text. More and more people are turning to their web browser like a phone book. Lots of local address and content links can make it easier to find you in your own town.

    Most important content out of order - Search engines read your source code in the order they come on it. Some engines only read a small portion so you should make sure that your most important content is early on your page. Left side navigation columns, commonly found on web sites, appear at the top of the source code and could be hindering your site from receiving proper credit for the content it contains.

    No use of Heading tags - HTML uses a series of H or heading tags to help structure a page like an outline. H1 for the most important headings h2 for subheads and so on. Each of your pages will do well to contain a keyword rich headline, much like an ad for the page, and h1,/h1 mark-up in the code to let the search engines know that this is a really important part of the page. Then, do the same with sub sections with h2,/h2 tags. I know that most designers understand these tags when it comes to styling a page but few get the important role they play in the search engine game.

    Look, there is plenty more to learn about this subject and certain aspects will change from week to week but now that you have a better understanding of how search engines view your site you can go out there and make pages that get found.

    Copyright 2005 John Jantsch

    John Jantsch is a marketing consultant based in Kansas City, Mo. He writes

    frequently on real world small business marketing tactics and is the creator of "Duct Tape Marketing" a turn-key small business marketing system. Check out his blog at http://www.DuctTapeMarketing.com/weblog.php

    Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/



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    The Computer Business Opportunity field, home based businesses, and Internet businesses have all gotten some negative feedback in the past. Even five years ago, people

    were being scammed and separated from their money by early "work from home businesses" who were out to make a quick buck selling off an idea or cheesy product. Now, however, there are more and more legitimate jobs in the computer business opportunity field than ever. Scams are still out there, so be careful what you get into.

    Outsourcing and work from home opportunities are becoming a common way of life in many corporate circles. For example, virtual office assistants will do typing, transcription, memos and other necessary office administration duties, straight from home. This is often called telecommuting. Documents and files can be emailed, phone calls are minimal, and with the newer PDA's messaging can be instant. For the home worker, the benefits of such a position are invaluable - better pay, fewer hours away from home, no worrying over the rising cost of gasoline, no traffic jams twice a day, and no costly wardrobe.

    In

    the computer business opportunity field the home based computer worker will have a few extra responsibilities that are usually taken care of by a regular employer. Working from home means you are responsible for your own taxes, insurance, and saving for retirement. These are all very easily taken care of with a little research. The benefits of managing your own home based computer business will far out weigh the extra attention you will have to give to your own payroll.

    For the company that is outsourcing, the benefits are just as great. With no office space to rent, no employees to manage, no benefits packages to administer, no vacations to pay or wasted time with office politics and drama. Corporations of all sizes stand to benefit from outsourcing to someone in the computer business opportunity field. The competition for such positions is great enough that you will often find companies outsourcing simply to get better quality of work for a better price.

    There are dozens of other opportunities in the computer business opportunity field that do not require terrific office skills. The sales industry is also outsourcing a great deal of its market as well. Anyone with sales experience can work as a salesperson, consultant, or open their own product line from the ease of their home. This often can pay better than the commissions some companies pay. With the rising cost of expenses, even working part time for your self on the computer can be very profitable to earn extra money.

    Computer consulting business opportunities abound on the Internet. If your have design or web content experience, you are in a field rich with home based business opportunities. Freelancing and contract work are often more popular these days due to the high cost of maintaining qualified people in these specialized fields. Web site design is a competitive but lucrative computer business opportunity due to the dramatic increase in Internet usage by small businesses to promote their products and services.

    Of course, there are other profitable endeavors such as survey taking, affiliate programs, writing copy for advertising, graphic design, computer repair business, and many more fields. With all the jobs out there, you should not have trouble translating your current skills into a profitable home based computer business.

    Golf Businesses and Business Opportunities
    The Computer Business Opportunity field is the way of the future!

    © Copyright Randy Wilson, All Rights Reserved.

    Randy has dozens of home based business articles such as Wallpapering, Secret Money Making Opportunities, and Starting a Photo Mug Business.

    Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/



    Clone a Cat, Go To Jail
    ...or at least pay a fine. That's the goal of animal welfare activists who announced recently that they are seeking state and federal restrictions on the small but growing pet-cloning industry.

    The effort has been spearheaded by the American Anti-Vivisection Society [AAVS] (in suburban Philadelphia), and takes aim at companies such as Genetic Savings and Clone Inc., the California company that began to fill orders for cloned cats last year. The clones - which have sold for $50,000 each - are genetic duplicates of a customer's deceased pet and represent the leading edge of an emerging sector that advocates predict could eventually reap billions of dollars for corporate cloners. The movie, the 6th Day , starring the erstwhile governator, Arnold Schwarzenegger, features pet cloning businesses in a shopping mall during its opening sequences. It may soon be the case that life imitates art in this respect and pet cloning franchises may start popping up in common shopping venues. But not if the AAVS have their way.

    Should Cloning Be Allowed?
    Several companies are racing to compete with Genetic Savings and Clone, the current industry leader, which has produced about a half-dozen cloned cats and aims to achieve the more difficult goal of cloning a dog this year. Some companies are already selling fish genetically engineered to glow in the dark, while one has said it will soon produce cats engineered to not cause reactions in people allergic to them.

    The AAVS petitioned the Department of Agriculture to regulate pet-cloning companies as it does other animal research labs under the Animal Welfare Act. The act demands minimum standards of animal care and detailed reporting of the fates of laboratory animals. They have also been working with a California lawmaker to introduce state legislation that would ban the sale of cloned or genetically engineered pets.

    Are Grieving Pet Owners Being Taken Advantage Of?
    "Pet cloning companies offer false hope of never having to let go of a pet and are causing harm to animals in the process," the AAVS concluded in a report, "Pet Cloning: Separating Facts From Fluff."

    Managers of Genetics Savings and Clone denied emphatically that their enterprise takes advantage of grieving pet owners or harms animals. "We bend over backwards to make sure people are doing this for the right reasons," said company president Lou Hawthorne. Nonetheless, he said, "we're open to additional oversight, provided it makes sense."

    The Risks Involved For Cloned Animals
    Previously cloned animals have suffered high rates of biological abnormalities and unexpected deaths during gestation and in the first days of life. Hawthorne said that has not been the case with cats. But critics said the process raises other concerns, including the welfare of egg donor and surrogate-mother animals that must undergo multiple surgeries as part of the process of making clones.

    The Risks To Owners
    The potential for consumer fraud is also an issue. Clones tend to be ordered by people who are grieving the loss of a much-loved pet and who may have unrealistically high expectations of their clones. Although they share identical genetic profiles, clones do not always resemble originals because coat patterns are not strictly genetically determined. Personalities and behavior patterns are even less predictable on the basis of genetics alone. All personalities are products of some basic genetics, and the environment in which the animal is raised and, since a particular environment can never be perfectly recreated (there's always a random element) personalities will, most likely, be different as well in any clone. "Consumers are likely under the impression that a clone is a carbon copy. We believe they are being misled," AAVS policy analyst Crystal Miller-Spiegel said.

    David Magnus, director of Stanford University's Center for Biomedical Ethics, spoke more bluntly. "People are not getting what they think they're getting," Magnus said. "This is a $50,000 rip-off."

    There is certainly a war of words beginning between the cloning businesses and the AAVS. It's likely to become a more contentious issue as there's potentially a lot of money to be made (at $50,000 per kitten) and companies may see the AAVS's concerns as hurting those potential profits. It's going to be a case of "Watch This Space".

    Conclusion
    Personally, however, cloning is one option I'm not in favor of but it might be for you if you're looking at replacing a pet that's died. As I mentioned above, the clone may look identical to your lost companion but the personality will likely be different. That's not to say the personality will be better or worse, just different. Look at it this way - how many sets of identical twins have the same personalities despite having the same genetic make-up and being raised in the same environment? There are always random factors involved. Every personality is unique and passes by this way only once.

    If you find yourself in a position where you would consider cloning to be an option that will help you cope with the death of your cat, you should do some background reading first. The National Geographic have a news item on pet cloning and some people's reaction to it.

    Gary Nugent, a software engineer by profession, has been a life-long animal lover, especially of cats and is the webmaster of http://www.cat-oholics.com - a site that helps you make the best choices to keep your cat healthy, happy and long-lived.

    The site contains information about cats in general, health issues that can affect them, some of their weird and wonderful behavior patterns, their history, and how to choose various products, supplies and toys for your feline furball. And, not to forget about you...there are a few things on the site to keep cat owners amused as well.

    Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/



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    These days, it seems that everyone has a website. Unfortunately, many of these websites are either bland, or sloppily designed by people who don't understand how to use HTML effectively or are intimidated by it. And, they don't have the money to spend on a good page editor, so they limp along using the page templates that their website might provide, or they attempt to use programs like MS Word, which offers conversion to HTML. Yet, there are many free tools available that people can use to give their sites some extra polish that will put them a cut above most sites on the WWW.

    AWeb Online Advertising and Webmaster Tools
    Here is a listing of three of my favorite online tools that will help you create and manage your site:

    ColorMaker http://www.bagism.com/colormaker/


    This is an essential site to use when designing web pages. It allows you to select the text, link, and background colors from a table. Then, you can preview your choices, and make changes to them to compare different color schemes and change them instantly. It even allows you to upload multiple backgrounds and combine them with your color choices. Once you have found the combination you're going to use, click the link that says, "copy the Body Tag," then copy the text that is shown, and paste it into your document.

    Media Builder http://www.mediabuilder.com


    If you don't have a graphics program, you can still have pictures on your site, and not be limited to their original size or color.

    GifWorks, part of the MediaBuilder Networks, is a free, online GIF editing program that will transform these files with a number of effects, and even make buttons for your site from any GIF that you upload.

    QuickCheck http://www.elsop.com/linkscan/quickcheck.html


    Nothing is more annoying on a website than dead links. But, checking links manually is quite time consuming, especially if you have many links on your pages. However, there is a free service that checks the links on your webpages, and even validates the HTML. Your pages can have up to 200 links each, and you can check 10 pages per hour and 50 per day.

    I hope these tools help you to make your website even better than it is currently. Please let me know what you think of them.

    About The Author

    Susan Gross

    How-to articles on computer topics updated often.

    http://avalon-technical-services.com/

    Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/



    For years now I've been looking to start my own business, but my highest priority has always been to spend less time working, and more time with my family, while still giving them everything they need (and most of what they want). It's a common dream, right? No boss to answer to, less stress, more vacation, more quality family time... I wanted to get away from the 9 to 5 and the traffic. (I bet you do, too.)

    So, I started to research various business opportunities. I looked into franchises of all sorts, but the money I had to invest upfront was way too much (thousands of dollars, at a minimum), which made the idea too risky - I couldn't risk my family's financial well-being on a dream of mine. I was even close to falling for various MLM schemes. Luckily I never made it that far. When the Internet became more and more prominent in, well, society in general, it just became something I couldn't ignore anymore. So I did some more research, this time on creating a website. I began to like the idea, for many reasons:

    1. I could start it with little $ invested (so, hardly any risk)

    2. I could start it while I was still in my 9 to 5 job (again, no burden on my family financially)

    3. I could choose the subject of the website (and focus on something that I enjoyed)

    It was then that I decided to use choosing gifts (something I enjoy) as the basis for my site. But then I had to figure out exactly HOW to create it.

    There's a lot involved (much that I didn't know at the start): domain registration, hosting, page creation, search engine submission, keywords, titles, descriptions, site promotion... whew! At first it seemed like way too much to handle, and with the massive amounts of websites out there (60 million and counting) I feared my site would just get lost in the crowd (so what's the point). I almost gave up the idea altogether.

    But through perserverance and a little luck in finding the right tools to teach me what to do, and when to do it, I've been able to create a successful website. In 6 months my site's traffic ranking is in the top 1% of all websites!

    I'm thrilled about what the future might hold! Have I quit my day job? No, not yet... I want to pay off my debt first. You know... the "American Way" of falling into debt with credit cards and loans - even though I live in Canada. :) My family and I will have our debt paid off by Christmas 2005 - then I can consider quitting the 9 to 5 routine.

    If you are like me and you want to start a website... no,... start a business... and change your future, I encourage you to get out there and do it. You owe it to yourself to at least check it out.

    For more information about The-Gift-Wizard.com and the tools I used to create

    FREE CAR WIZARD
    it, feel free to visit: http://www.the-gift-wizard.com/website.html or contact me at http://www.the-gift-wizard.com/contact-the-gift-wizard.html. I'll be glad to answer any questions you might have.

    Best of luck!

    A Heath is a gift researcher for http://www.the-gift-wizard.com

    Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/



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    Take a breather. The dog days of summer have come and gone.

    Thermometers might disagree, but sports bettors should be notified that the best action of the summer is fast approaching.

    Bettors typically grow tired of Major League Baseball's regular season monotony by the end of July. Then, like a cool sea breeze, the NFL blesses bored bettors with a breath of fresh air.

    NFL training camps opened for the season on July 27. Over the following two weeks, teams begin a grueling schedule of curfews, diets, and two-a-days to get in shape for the upcoming season. In the following month, all 32 NFL teams will work toward making the playoffs.

    The NFL begins its pre-season this week. This time of year is without question the best kept secret in sportsbook wagering.

    Most NFL fans know that very little can be learned from pre-season games. The main purpose for the scrimmage-style contests is for coaches to make starting lineup evaluations. Last year's starters are only on the field for a few plays, mainly to avoid getting rusty for the pending season. While they see their only bench time of the season, reserve players and rookies get the majority of snaps, hoping that their performance will earn them a roster spot.

    For the first (and only) time of the NFL season, line makers have no advantage. They are creating lines blindly, forced to set the spread as if the games are regular-season contests.

    The reason they are in this situation is simple. No consideration can be made on their part for how reserve players and rookies play. How can bookies create an accurate line when players they haven't seen play are taking the snaps?

    Example. When the St. Louis Rams play the Kansas City Chiefs on August 23, the spread and over/under will be set assuming that KC's defense (one of the five WORST in 2003) is lining up for each snap against St. Louis' high flying passing attack, which ranked third in 2003.

    The spread for this contest could favor St. Louis (for this example, we'll say it does). The Rams' three-headed offensive monster (quarterback Marc Bulger; receivers Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt) likely will not play past halftime. Also, KC's one-man offensive machine, running back Priest Holmes, should see more bench than turf. These two events make the game wide open. Your guess about the outcome is as good as the bookies.

    The second half should see the field full of unproven players. Who knows where the game will go from there? Will it be a low-scoring contest, or a barnburner? No one can be totally sure. This comes as great news for bettors, and bad news for bookies.

    "The NFL pre-season is easily the most unpredictable time for offshore sportsbooks," said Anthony Wayne, marketing director for EWINNER.com (http://www.ewinner.com). "Very often, the field is full of players who have similar skills. Without big game playmakers on the field, how are line makers supposed to know who the favorite will be?"

    Following below are several pre-season contests which could prove to be very beneficial to the sports bettor. Strike while the iron is hot. (All spread statistics courtesy of Gold Sheet):

    New York Giants at Carolina Panthers, 8/19, 8pm on FOX: New York finished a dismal 4-12 last year, and failed to cover the spread in their final eight games However, they have reloaded by acquiring quarterback Kurt Warner as a mentor to rookie quarterback Eli Manning, and have a new coach, former Jaguars leader Tom Coughlin. Coughlin is a pre-season safe bet, with a 16-8-1 exhibition record against the spread.

    With the exception of their offensive line, Carolina has maintained most of the lineup which won the NFC championship last season. The Panthers have covered the spread in their last five pre-season contests, but four of them were as the underdog. During the 2003 regular season, they went 3-9 when favored.

    Bet on: Coughlin and his G-men, especially if Carolina is favored.

    Atlanta Falcons at Baltimore Ravens, 8/12, 8pm on ESPN: After an off-season of drastic changes, Atlanta has nothing to do but improve after finishing 2003 with the league's worst defense. New coach Jim Mora, Jr. is going to put some youth in their booth, and with Michael Vick healthy, 2004's Falcons should play more like 2002's playoff team. During Vick's first two seasons, Atlanta was 7-1 during exhibition season; last season, they went 0-4 (Vick broke his leg in Atlanta's second pre-season game).

    Baltimore should be the beast of the AFC North this year, as well as a contender for the Super Bowl from week one. Quarterback Kyle Boller will be a year learned, and their top rushing offense (thanks to marathon HB Jamal Lewis), will be complimented by newly acquired wideout Kevin Johnson. This team should improve on last season's 10-6 record, as their storied defense remains one of the NFL's fiercest. Head Coach Brian Billick is 11-4 career in exhibition games against the spread, and is 6-2 as the underdog. Last year, the Ravens only went 1-3.

    Bet on: Atlanta if Vick is healthy. Keep an eye on Baltimore, especially if they are the underdog.

    Pittsburgh Steelers at Philadelphia Eagles, 8/26, 8pm on ESPN: Pittsburgh has a lot to recover from after last season; mainly injuries. Their offense was only imposing on paper, thanks to injuries on the offensive line and a lack of carries for "The Bus" (Jerome Bettis), who only averaged 3.3 yards per touch. Head coach Bill Cowher has turned into a perennial pre-season choke artist. Last year, his team was 0-4 heading into the regular season, and they have had trouble covering the spread in past seasons as well (0-4 the last two seasons at home versus the spread).

    Philadelphia is once again the favorite to go to the Super Bowl in the NFC. They addressed their two most pending needs in the off-season, adding wideout Terrell Owens and defensive end Jevon Kearse. The Eagles also have a tendency to choke. Unfortunately, the pre-season is no different. For his career, coach Andy Reid is 2-7 in exhibitions when favored at home.

    Bet on: Philly. These games don't count. They're less likely to blow it.

    Tennessee Titans at Dallas Cowboys, 8/30, 8pm on ABC: The Titans cut a lot of salary (and talent) in the off-season, but they will still find a way to compete for the playoffs thanks to ironman QB Steve McNair. Tennessee's 13 draft picks will see a ton of snaps before the season starts, as this team attempts to gel into a solid unit. A virtual lock in exhibitions, the Titans covered all four games last pre-season against the spread, and over the last four schedules are 7-1 in away exhibitions. As an underdog, they are more of a sure bet, a perfect 6-0.

    Eddie George, a Titan as late as July, now runs for Dallas. George should carry a large chip on his shoulder after being one of Tennessee's salary cap casualties. The 2004 Cowboys will also feature wideout Keyshawn Johnson, and rookie QB/retired minor league baseball player Drew Henson. Henson is going to see quite a lot of snaps in exhibitions to get rid of his diamond rust. Dallas was 10-6 last season, which is Bill Parcell's best first season record as a head coach. However, quality opponents (teams with a winning record) went 4-2 against them last season, 3-1 against the spread.

    Bet on: Titans. With their record in the pre-season, and Dallas' tendency to lose to good teams, this should be a sure win.

    For more information on NFL wagering, plus links to preferred online sportsbooks, check out Bet-Online-Sports (http://www.bet-online-sports.com).

    Jonathan is a starving, struggling writer who aspires to work in public and media relations when he graduates college. He is a marketing intern with Advanced Telecom Services (http://www.advancedtele.com) and a freelance Web Consultant.

    Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/



    It is an inescapable fact, we live in a stressful world. We are all exposed to stress every day, at home and at work, and not one of us can honestly say that we don't feel the effects.

    If you have ever come home tired, been angry with the boss but unable to express it, or had a moment of frustration that made you wish you were somewhere else, I have very good news for you today.

    You can beat stress in the next 60 seconds!!

    First, a brief look at the situation you and I live in every day.

    FACT: We read and hear more news in a day than our grandparents read in a year.

    FACT: Our televisions help us experience a new level of stress by bringing horrifying pictures of catastrophe right into our living rooms.

    FACT: Our lives are moving faster and are more crowded than ever before. This speed, combined with the pressure to do more, to achieve more, creates stress.

    Perhaps your reasons for feeling stress are different. Illness, divorce, money woes, and a host of other 21st century ailments all create the same result _ stress that damages our bodies and robs us of the joy of living that we deserve.

    NOW LET'S DO SOMETHING TO HELP YOU FEEL BETTER NOW!

    It is time for the sixty-second stress solution!

    No matter what is stressing you right now, and no matter where you are located, if you can find sixty seconds to yourself you can beat back the stress that is attacking you and feel better now. Here is what to do.

    1 - Breathe Deeply

    The first step is to clear your mind, and the best way to do that is to focus on your breathing. Without gasping for air in any way, take a series of ten deep breaths. The key here is to breathe in slowly, counting to five in your mind, and then exhale equally slowly, counting again to five in your mind.

    During this mini deep breathing moment, you will probably have thoughts that enter your mind about what is stressing you now. That's normal and perfectly okay. Just don't embrace the thought. Let it in and let it float back out of your mind as you put your concentration on counting your breaths.

    When you have reached ten deep breaths, simply breathe normally and move to step 2.

    2. Put Someone Happy At The Front of Your Mind

    Who makes you happy? It might be your husband, wife, child, best friend even a pet! No matter who that person is, put a picture of them in the front of your mind right now.

    Now realize that the stress you felt before you began your sixty-second stress relieving session is nothing compared to the joy that the people in your life bring.

    Very soon, you will see that person again. Very soon, you will enjoy their warm company. Very soon, you will have forgotten totally about what stressed you out, and throw yourself headlong into enjoying time with your special person.

    Continue to put that person at the very front of your mind for a moment longer. Let his or her face crowd out every thought. Hold that for a moment longer.

    Feels good, doesn't it?

    3. Look at Your Watch or a Clock Right Now

    Why look at a watch or clock? Why consider time, when a lack of time is one of the most common sources of stress known to humankind?

    Because we live in the real world and must defeat stress, not run from it. And knowing how to think about time is one of the keys to beating stress forever!

    The thing to think about just now is this, the stress you feel will not last forever. No matter what you are facing in life, one phrase covers it and can bring you great comfort. That phrase is "This too shall pass."

    I suggest you make that your watchword as you live in a stress-filled world. Remember that no situation lasts forever, and you have the power (incredible power actually) to change your life and your situations.

    No matter what you are facing, this too shall pass.

    4. Make a Plan of Action

    You have breathed in life and pictured your favorite person, and now you are feeling better. So how can we stop stress from re-invading your life and making you feel blue?

    Having a plan of action is the key!

    Please understand that I am not speaking of a life plan or setting goals or anything like that. What I am saying is to make a plan to break the cycle of stress.

    You see - stress is a liar. It will try to convince you that it is in control, but the truth is that YOU are in control.

    And since you are in control, you can make all sorts of wonderful choices, such as the following.

    You can choose to leave stress at work. You can choose to not listen to stressful thoughts.

    And when you choose, you have made a plan. The act of choosing is perhaps your most powerful weapon in the war on stress.

    So, what are you choosing today?

    There you have the sixty-second stress solution. You can choose this solution at home, at work, on a trip, or anywhere at all.

    Anytime you feel stress knocking on the door of your mind you can send him running away by using your newfound skill, the sixty-second stress solution.

    Carolyn Matheson has over 25 years of experience at helping people manage stress in their lives. Now she has compiled her best advice into a short, easy to read eBook that will help you experience more peace and joy than ever before. You can sleep better, work better and feel better starting today! Stress free living is possible. Carolyn even offers a FREE newsletter to help you get started! Visit her today at http://www.areustressed.com/

    Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/



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    With literally thousands of web hosting companies in the industry all vieing for your business, carefully consider these key points to ensure you make the most well informed decision possible.

    1. Server Space

    First, think about how much space your site will take up on a server. Unless you are planning on running a software repository or an image gallery, the files that make up your website will probably only use between 1 and 5 megabytes of disk space. Many companies will offer several hundreds of megabytes of webspace for a very reasonable price in attempt to out perform their competitors, but ask yourself "Do I really need that much space?". Though it's true that you should allow your site "room to grow", don't opt for what seems like a great deal on a massively sized account if you'll never use all of the space offered. Chances are you'll find an even better deal on an amount of space more suitable for your site size.

    2. Data Transfer Allowance

    This decision should be based on the same principal as above. Though you may be convinced that your site will be the next Amazon or Yahoo and receive a gazillion visitors a day, you really

    shouldn't need an extremely high data transfer allowance unless, as stated above, you're running a software download site or a large image gallery. Even heavily trafficked normal HTML sites usually only use a few gigabytes per month in bandwidth allowance. Don't go overboard just because it seems like an awesome deal. You may also want to be wary of companies who offer "unlimited" data transfer as there are usually some fine-print stipulations that make this claim not entirely true. Be sure to read their terms and conditions very carefully before opting for this type of account. A five or ten gigabyte bandwidth allowance is usually plenty enough for a small to medium sized business or personal site.

    3. Technical Support

    A very important point to consider when choosing a web host is the types of technical support offered by the company and how easy they are to contact when you need them. Ideally, a company should offer 24/7 toll-free telephone support and email. I have seen companies that do not even offer a telephone number on their website. You should look for a company that is very easily accessible in your time of need. Nothing is more frustrating than being in the middle of working on your site and needing an important piece of information to finish the job and not being able to contact your hosting company to find it out.

    4. CGI-Bin Access

    No matter what type of site you are planning on running, chances are you will eventually need to install some type of CGI script. Whether it be a mailing list management script,

    contact form processor, or maybe even a fancy credit card processing script, your hosting account will need to allow you to install and run them. This requires access to a special folder on your server called "CGI-Bin". Some hosting accounts will only allow you to use "pre-installed" scripts as a security measure. These are scripts that the owners of the company have installed and configured so that they know that they will work properly and not adversely affect their server's performance. That may be all you need, but if you have the knowledge, it's always nice to have the ability to install your own scripts and configure them to suit your individual needs. You should also be sure that the account you choose supports the language in which your scripts are written, such as PHP, Perl, etc.

    5. Up-Time Guarantee

    Another very important issue in determining the value of a hosting company is how often and for how long their servers "go down". No matter how good a deal you get on server space or bandwidht allowance, or how wonderfully the company's tech support takes care of you, your site can't receive visitors or produce revenue if the machine on which it is hosted is not up and running. Naturally you want a company who can guarantee the highest up-time percentage possible. Servers are taken down briefly from time to time for maintenance or upgrading, so no company can ensure

    100% up-time, but you want your site to be hosted on dependable, well managed machines that are not constantly having problems which require them to be down for long periods of time.

    6. Email Accounts

    Again, like data transfer allowance and server space, some companies will offer you loads more email accounts than you will ever use. Some offer hundreds or even unlimited email accounts as a selling point. This is an important factor if you are Bill Gates and have thousands of employees, each who need their own email box, but not such a big deal if you're just one person or a small company. You should be okay with 10 or 15.

    7. Reputation

    This is probably the most important factor to consider when choosing a web host. Do your homework. Pay attention to any negative feedback you may hear or read about a particular hosting company. There are several sites arount the Web that feature discussion forums that allow people to discuss and critique various hosting companies. Ask specific questions about any company you might be interested in using to see if anyone else has had any negative experiences with them. As a beginning webmaster, I had initially contracted the services of a particular web hosting company to host my first site, who promised very good, dependable service for a very cheap price. Then one day, for no apparent reason, decided to delete my entire site without warning or explanation. Only then did I visit some hosting forums and find that many others had similar negative experiences with that company. Don't make the same mistake I did, find out for sure from the start that your hosting company is not going to let you down.

    About The Author

    Author: Kyle Dusang

    Webmaster of http://www.verybesthosting.com

    Looking for a web host? Compare plans, features, and pricing from several of the Web's most reputable hosting companies all in one place at veryBestHosting.com.

    kyle@verybesthosting.com

    Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/



    With an increasing number of our youths suffering ADHD, stress syndromes, unemployment, depression, drug use, crime and higher rates of youth suicide than ever before, today's parents and teachers are finding their roles more and more difficult.

    According to renowned family relationships specialist, Marguerite Clancy, there are no overnight solutions for issues such as ADHD, but there are a few quick things struggling parents can do now to start dealing with it:

    1) Get into a routine and stick to it (try to include fun times and laughter)

    2) Set up a punching bag or get your child playing a sport

    3) Be consistent with discipline and offer rewards where appropriate

    4) Use positive language, keep directions short, maintain calm

    5) Agree on consequences for behaviour together

    "

    There are many options available to parents and carers. It is important to show love and respect, and to lead by example", says Marguerite. "There are also many forms of therapy available to help that don't rely on medication." For example, she recommends Sandplay Therapy, which is a well established technique for enhancing emotional growth through play. She suggests parents encourage their child to use toys to represent things that are bothering them. Dolls, action figurines, cars, balls, and even blocks can all be used to represent people, objects, and everyday situations that may be very hard for the child to put into words. "You'd be surprised what problems your child is experiencing - many of them would be things you'd never have even dreamt of", says Marguerite. "By recognising the significance of imaginary play, you give your child a way to express themselves using a language they're fluent in."

    According to Marguerite, parents can then talk about these problems with their child. Then if they're still experiencing problems, they may want to try a punching bag or a sport. "With an easier way to communicate and an outlet for your child's frustrations, you should find it far easier to figure out how to improve your situation."

    About The Author

    * Glenn Murray is an SEO copywriter and Article Submission Specialist. He is a director of PublishHub and also of copywriting studio Divine Write. He can be contacted on Sydney +612 4334 6222 or at glenn@divinewrite.com.

    Visit http://www.divinewrite.com or http://www.publishhub.com for further details, more FREE articles, or to purchase his e-book, &SEO Secrets'.

    Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/



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    As a Young Professional (YP) in the up-and-coming city of Milwaukee, WI, I can tell you that it's very important to find a way to get connected in your city. It's important because in order to make a difference, you need to know who those difference makers are. To influence, you must know who holds the influence. Remember, there is influence in numbers, so you'll need to get connected with others that are like you. YP groups are sprouting up all over the country, none better than Milwaukee's own Young Professionals of Milwaukee (YPM).

    I am an active member of YPM, and I can tell you that the biggest reason for our success is we offer something for everyone, and we are inclusive rather than exclusive. This is especially vital if you're looking to build a diverse group of like-minded individuals. We offer social events, cultural events at the art museum, independent film screenings, cafe style discussions about important issues facing YPs, opportunities to get involved with non-profits and behind-the-scenes looks at things nobody else has access to. So no matter what your interest, if you want to make a difference, YPM is a group that can help you get connected to the right people, not only people your own age but politicians and other high-ranking city officials who want to attract and retain top talent.

    So now you know why a YP would want to connect with a group of like-minded individuals, but what happens if you don't have an organization like this in your town? Well for starters, talk to others at your place of business your age and mentality and see if they're interested in getting together after work. Touch bases with a few others you know at church, at the library, or elsewhere in your inner circle, and you'll quickly be able to grow to 30-50 individuals. Spend some time with the senior members of your company and show them the value in these groups, as evidenced by the Hot Jobs - Cool Communities reports Next Generation Consulting puts out every year, or buy an influential leader a copy of Richard Florida's great book The Rise of the Creative Class, after reading it yourself, of course. Partner with your local chamber of commerce if at all possible, or see if a few companies are willing to offer some funding for at least a few years until you can become self-sustaining. If you can demonstrate an ROI, chances are you can sell the idea to upper management.

    Associates are less likely to leave where they feel connected and engaged, and connecting and engaging your associates with other like-minded individuals is the easiest way to keep them around. Additionally, these associates are more likely to get involved in the community they live and will make your company look good by doing good around town.

    In conclusion, connections are good for the associate, good for the company, and good for the community, which is ultimately good for the dollars and cents on the bottom line. With a little luck, you might start something great and turn your city into the next Milwaukee, a great city by a great lake!

    Phil Gerbyshak leads a team of people as manager of an IT Help Desk in Milwaukee, WI, and finds that sharing his knowledge is a crucial component for success as a leader and as a person. Phil's personal philosophy is paraphrased from Tim Sanders' fantastic book Love is the Killer App: "Share your knowledge, your network, and your love. The rest will follow." Feel free to contact Phil at http://makeitgreat.org or call 414.640.7445 anytime.

    Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/



    MEETING DISRUPTERS: If two participants are carrying on a personal discussion that interferes with a meeting, direct a clear and simple question to one of them. In order to avoid embarrassing them, address them by name before asking the question. An alternative is to restate a previously expressed suggestion and then ask them for an opinion.

    HECKLERS: A participant with a negative viewpoint can continually undermine the flow of a meeting with snide comments or emotional tirades. Don't argue or chastise this person. Focusing attention on emotional barriers, such as a heckler, deflects responsibility away from participants and the issue at hand. If you lose your cool, the heckler wins. Beat a heckler at his/her own game by asking the person what they would do. Ask the same questions of other participants by asking the same question. Raise questions that bring in the other sides of the issue or put responsibility on the individual by taking a positive approach to redefining the problem. If the heckler continues to be disruptive, chances are the group will take care of it, since the heckler is now heckling them.

    ENEMIES: If you know two participants with conflicting viewpoints are going to attend your meeting, reduce the conflict with carefully planned seating arrangements. Discourage "dividing up sides", which occurs when participants with opposing views line up on opposite sides of the table. Break up opposing groups since any united front will promote rigidity and entrenchment in preconceived ideas. When people are separated physically, they naturally tend to think separately and less dogmatically. When two individuals are continually at odds, a different approach may work: seat them side by side. Their physical proximity often lessens volume, intensity and verbal attacks are less likely.

    SORE LOSERS: Voting is the quickest, most clear-cut method of making group decision. However, it may also be the least effective. Taking a vote may force participants to make a choice before they are prepared which divides the group into "winning" and "losing" camps. Those

    who lose may feel that their position did not get a fair hearing which results in their lack of motivation to help implement the winners decision. A more productive way to reach a decision is through consensus. The matter should be discussed until all of the participants are ready to accept the solution. Although everyone may not feel like a winner, they all can have greater satisfaction by contributing to the solution.

    Copyright AE Schwartz & Associates All rights reserved. For additional presentation materials and resources: ReadySetPresent and for a Free listing as a Trainer, Consultant, Speaker, Vendor/Organization: TrainingConsortium

    CEO, A.E. Schwartz & Associates, Boston, MA., a comprehensive organization which offers over 40 skills based management training programs. Mr. Schwartz conducts over 150 programs annually for clients in industry, research, technology, government, Fortune 100/500 companies, and nonprofit organizations worldwide. He is often found at conferences as a key note presenter and/or facilitator. His style is fast-paced, participatory, practical, and humorous. He has authored over 65 books and products, and taught/lectured at over a dozen colleges and universities throughout the United States.

    Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/



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    For many years underparenting was perhaps the biggest problem facing children.

    Recently there has emerged another type of parenting that, whilst never as harmful as underparenting, can be detrimental to children's healthy development- that is, the trend by many of the current generation of parents to overparent their children.

    Overparenting occurs when parents solve children's problems rather than give them the chance to overcome problems themselves. It occurs when parents allow children to avoid legitimately challenging situations so they won't be inconvenienced. It also occurs when too much control or too much order is imposed on children.

    Overparenting is predominantly a mindset. It is a belief that children can't overcome difficulties themselves and they can't cope with discomfort or disappointment. It comes with increased affluence but it can occur in any socio-economic group. From my observation, it is more likely to occur in smaller rather than larger families or in families where a death has occurred or tragedy has been a visitor.

    An overparented child is a protected, spoiled child. He or she often lacks real confidence and won't take many risks. An overprotected child avoids new situations and looks to hide behind his parents when difficulties or challenges arise.

    An overparented child can be any age but often becomes more apparent in middle primary school when the challenges children meet start to multiply. The overparenting may have occurred in the early years but the results only become apparent during this stage.

    Some children by their nature place more demands on their parents, which results in overparenting. They receive more attention, more material possessions and more spoiling than they need because they can so bloody-minded and so insistent that parents give in just for some peace and quiet.

    Sometimes circumstances such as family breakdown or a change of circumstances can lead to overparenting or overprotection as a form of compensation for the inconvenience that has been caused.

    While a child's behaviour may lead to feelings of guilt overparenting in this manner doesn't do the child any favours in the long term.

    How can a parent break from a pattern of overparenting? This is hard to do because overparenting can seem so normal. However if a child is so reliant on a parents that they think they can't cope without them then it is time to take some action.

    Parental illness is one way to change overparenting, although it is not a recommended course of action. When a parent is incapacitated or sick for a lengthy period of time children generally have no choice but to fend for themselves in a whole range of ways. From my observation of families I am constantly amazed how children rise to a challenge when they have to.

    Another way to kick the overparenting habit is to do so by stealth. Little by little parents need to pull back on the over-assistance that they provide children. They can start by insisting children walk to school (provided this is reasonable from the perspective of safety and their wellbeing), get themselves up each morning or other simple forms of self-help as required. When a new behaviour becomes the norm rather than the exception then it is best to look for another area to withdraw their assistance from.

    Another way to defeat the overparenting habit it to give children ideas, tips and techniques to cope with their challenges rather than allow them to avoid or pull out of challenges. For instance, a child who wants to pull out of an after school class after three weeks because they haven't any friends may need some ideas about either how to make friends or make do without friends until the end of term.

    It helps to develop a "Hang tough" attitude rather than a "Let's try something else when things get tough" attitude. Overparenting prevents children from developing a "Hang Tough" attitude.

    From my experience those children who do best at school and beyond the school years are those who have parents whose first response is to teach and support rather than protect or compensate when social, physical or intellectual challenges occur. It also helps to have parents who show absolute, unwavering confidence in a child's ability to cope and fend for him or herself, yet be wise enough to know when children need their help and compassionate enough to lend a hand once in while.

    It is hard to get the balance right between developing real independence and not placing too much responsibility on children. It is essential for all sorts of reasons that childhood be protected, even prolonged. But that doesn't mean that children be closeted, spoiled or get every material good they want. Effective parenting is a balancing act between the head and the heart, between providing opportunities for resourcefulness and showing compassion, and between being a supportive parent and a protective parent.

    Michael Grose is The Parent Coach. For seventeen years he has been helping parents deal with the rigours of raising kids and survive!! For information about Michael's Parent Coaching programs or just some fine advice and ideas to help you raise confident kids and resilient teenagers visit http://www.parentingideas.com.au

    Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/



    Weight Loss Programs and Pills: Is Your Weight Loss Program Safe and Effective?

    In this age being ignorant is like committing a crime. With so much of knowledge around you, following a trend blindly doesn't confirm the fact that you are intelligent. But the catch here is, GO BY RIGHT KNOWLEDGE. No doubt, internet is flooded with the wrong knowledge and myths that leads you nowhere, but it isn't hard enough to figure out the pearl in the ocean. Every now and then, we see some supplements or pills making tall claims which they down the line do not seem to validate. We will soon establish as we go on reading this article that there is absolutely no substitute for eating healthy and sweating out.

    In US, where weight loss has been a part of national consciousness for three decades, several studies have been done to evaluate the effectiveness of various weight loss aids. The major reason why most of these aids escape regulation is because they are branded as "food supplements" to escape the Drugs and Cosmetics Act that regulates the sale of medicine. Here are some findings:-

    1) Diet or Slimming Patches: Considered one of the most popular way to lose weight, it claims to speed up your metabolism by wearing a slimming patch on your skin. It then breaks down the fatty tissues. Studies says these patches are neither effective NOR SAFE. The US Food and Drug Administration(FDA) eventually seized millions of these products from manufacture last year because they had terrible side effects.

    2) Green Tea Extracts: You have pills under this category which contain polyphenols. Polyphenols are extracted from green tea and are thought to be strong antioxidants. These pills failed to prove their effectiveness too. It is advisable to consult your doctor if you are taking aspirin or blood thinning medications and you plan to take some green tea extracts because they may interfere with blood clotting.

    3) Diet Pills with Ephedra: These pills have been banned in US but they are still available on internet. These pills are central nervous system stimulant that suppresses appetite. Generally, manufactures mix ephedra and caffeine which further increases the risk of high blood pressure.

    4) Diet Pills with PPA: PPA stands for phenylpropanolamine. These pills suppress appetite. They come along with diet plan. Manufactures of drugs and supplements containing PPA voluntarily withdrew their products from market after it was found that these products were associated with strokes.

    5) Fat Blockers:

    Another popular form of weight loss aids which bit the dust is fat blockers. It also made tall claims that it will absorb fats from the food you eat and flush it out. A university of California study found that chitosan (the fat-binding component of fat blockers) has absolutely no ability to absorb fats from the food.

    ---> To learn more about other fake weight loss programs and pills and how to differentiate between genuine weight loss programs and fake weight loss programs, visit http://www.weightloss-health.com/Fake%20Weight%20Loss.htm

    About the Author

    Jasdeep: for http://weightloss-health.com/ your complete and most comprehensive family guide on Health.

    Also get free tips and tricks on weight loss and a chance to read most popular Weight Loss Programs Reviews at Weight Loss Programs Review

    If you wish to reproduce the above article you are welcome to do so, provided the article is reproduced in its entirety, including this resource box and LIVE link to our website.

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    0 0

    A great headline can be the difference between having your free reprint article published once (on your own website...) and having it published hundreds, if not thousands, of times all over the Internet.


    Sure, the content has to be worthwhile; it has to be helpful, informative, and not just a sales spiel. And there's no denying that a well written article can be very compelling. But if your headline doesn't cut it, the article won't stand a chance. The best article in the world will never see the light of day without an effective headline.


    Now, more than ever, article submissions need a good headline. But it's not just the reader you have to worry about. In fact, the reader is secondary!

    When it comes to reprint article headlines, your main focus should be the publisher.


    You may think the requirements of a good headline haven't changed over the years, but they have. Unlike headlines for traditional newspapers, magazines, etc., which target only the reader, online article submission headlines target first the publisher, then the reader.


    So how do you write a headline for an online publisher?


    Here's a few tips...


    1) State your domain


    No matter what your business, you can be sure that potential publishers of your article are inundated with information every day. Imagine hypothetical 'Publisher Pete'. He's the webmaster of a high PR site. He receives hundreds of article submissions every day. Additionally, he farms article submission sites (aka 'article banks', 'article submit sites', 'free-reprint sites') for articles on a regular basis. Because so many of the article submissions he sees are spam or unrelated, Publisher Pete is quick to dismiss anything that isn't obviously - and immediately - relevant to his website. So make sure your headline signals the general subject area of the article submission, not just the exact topic.


    2) State your argument


    Every website has an agenda. Whether it's to sell, persuade, or inform, there's always an angle. When our friend Publisher Pete looks for free reprint content for his website, he wants something that complements his agenda. If he's selling chemical garden fertilizers, he doesn't want an article about the evils of chemical fertilizer. Nor does he want an article espousing the virtues of organic fertilizer. He wants an article promoting the value of chemical garden fertilizer. If that's what your article is about, make sure the headline lets him know.


    3) Don't make empty promises


    Sensationalized headlines may work in traditional media, but they're not so effective in online article submissions. Few things frustrate an online publisher more than being lured in by a promising headline which turns out to be nothing more than hot air. For publishers who take the time to carefully filter content before publishing, empty headlines are nothing more than time-wasters. For publishers who are a little less meticulous, empty headlines result in a site which is characterized by disjointed, contradictory, low-quality content. Either way, the publisher isn't impressed, so make sure the headline of your article is relevant to (and validated by) the body of your article.


    4) Put yourself in the publisher's shoes


    Always think about ways to make the publisher's job easier. It's as simple as that. Brainstorm 5, 10, 20 headlines, then put yourself in the publisher's position and ask which one you'd choose. That's the best headline for your article submission.


    5) Think about your publisher's readers


    Publishers want articles that readers will open. But remember, your publisher's website may cater to an entirely different type of reader to your website. Whenever you find yourself thinking about your secondary audience (the reader), make sure you're thinking about the publisher's readers - not your own. That settled, you can go on to focus on regular audience-headline considerations such as making the headline attention-getting, targeted, and benefit driven.


    Conclusion


    With the emergence of article submission as a great way to generate a high search engine ranking, and the associated proliferation of article submission spam, the right headline is more important than ever. The important thing to remember is that you're faced with a gatekeeper, and you need to address their needs first.


    By following all the publisher-focused tips above, you'll not only see your article published many more times, you'll also see it published on more relevant websites. This will help both your ranking (because links from relevant sites are always the best) and your click-thru traffic (because the audience will be more relevant).


    Happy headlining!

    About The Author

    * Glenn Murray is an SEO copywriter and Article Submission Specialist. He is a director of PublishHub and also of copywriting studio Divine Write. He can be contacted on Sydney +612 4334 6222 or at glenn@divinewrite.com. Visit http://www.divinewrite.com or http://www.publishhub.com for further details, more FREE articles, or to purchase his e-book, &SEO Secrets'.

    Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/



    If you've been on a conscious spiritual journey for any time at all, you have likely figured out that there is an aspect of you that is working overtime to keep you out of Nirvana. That pesky entity is none other than your ego. Your ego, however, does not realize it is a problem; instead, it believes itself to be your heroic savior and the only thing standing between you and extinction. Indeed, the ego is correct in this-without your ego, there would be no "you." Your ego is the aspect of your psyche that maintains the idea that you are an individuated, separate, autonomous being. Laboring under this notion, it attempts to steward your life according to this model, and rebels at the notion that you are actually one with all Creation.

    Your ego is entirely invested in the duality matrix-the reality model that turns on there being more than one. The duality matrix is not "evil," it's just not suitable for human habitation. The problem with duality for human beings is that there is no lasting joy, no contentment, no peace to be found within it. And, because it does not support your full interface with the Source of Life Force, duality is, literally, the realm of death. Your tether to the duality matrix is your ego. If the tether were broken and you escaped the lower frequencies of the duality matrix and re-entered the high-frequency state of Oneness, you would find that there is no "you"-or "I"-there's only...well...Everything. In Oneness, there's only un-compartmentalized, pronoun-less, infinite Consciousness and limitless Life Force. As you can see, because your ego depends on the concepts of individuation and separateness for its existence, Oneness is your ego's greatest threat. But the higher

    frequencies of Oneness, the realm of your Spirit, is where everything you long for- harmony, peace, bliss, true wisdom, and free-flowing ease-resides! Are you seeing an irreconcilable difference here?

    And, yet, reconciliation is what is called for. You must disempower your ego by simply refusing to allow it to drive you, and choosing to let the part of you that is perfectly interfaced with Oneness guide you instead. It won't do to struggle with ego-fighting it is exactly what will keep you in the duality matrix and empower it further. Duality, which is, by definition, two forces in opposition (good vs. evil, right vs. wrong, etc.), is always strengthened by conflict, as conflict is the very hallmark of duality. Forces in opposition do not create peace, harmony, or joy. So fighting your ego is a losing game. In fact, offering Love to your ego, while still refusing to buy into its dramas, is far more effective. Remember that your ego is simply doing what it needs to do to survive, and, like any entity that is fighting for survival, it can be vicious and tenacious. The more threatened it perceives itself to be, the more deeply it digs in. So the trick to disempowering your ego is to observe it, say "thanks-but no thanks," and re-tune your receiver to the broadcast of your Spirit.

    Yes-maintaining a sole focus on your Spirit and empowering your Spirit's full stewardship of your life is the path to rising above your ego, but you will likely find that your ego is doing its best to keep that from happening. So, until you have risen out of the duality matrix to the place where the ego has no power, it is important to observe your inner dynamics to recognize the tune ego is playing and know when ego has managed to cut in on your dance with Spirit. The true saving grace here is that your conscious mind has free will about whose tune to dance to, and you can choose not to respond to your ego. In order to make that choice, however, it is helpful to understand your ego's modus operandi, to know who is running its show (or, to continue the dance metaphor, who is writing the music it is playing), and to recognize when ego has taken control of the dance floor.

    While your ego and your reptilian brain, the primitive brain structure that houses your autonomic nervous system and your primal, reflexive instincts, are not one and the same entity, it is instructive to know that the reptilian brain acts as the "puppet master" for the psychological overlay that is your ego. The reptilian brain is the part of us that is consumed with survival issues, thrives on fear, and is continually concerned with the preservation and conservation of self, tribe, and possessions. It is the instinctive part of human nature that snaps into action to protect you without a reasoning process being involved. The reptilian brain is definitely not Oneness oriented, but oriented toward survival of your physical being, and sees status as a key element of your survival. The reptilian brain is not "bad," indeed, it plays a vital role. Without it, you would not able to stay embodied, and your being in a body is an important part of the Creator's plan. But your reptilian brain is not meant to be in charge of your life, as it is simply not the aspect of you that is going to take you where you want to be in consciousness, or provide the spiritual freedom you long for. At it's core, the ego embodies what the reptilian brain embodies-separation and reactive protection from perceived threats (whether they are actual or not), with a "specialty" in status preservation.

    A Ministry of Grace and Peace, Free Online Bible studies from   EternityNow Ministries, Keywords: grace, The Wisdom of God's Grace, assurance,   exchanged life, abiding in Christ, and saving hope in Jesus
    With this part of you calling the shots, what are the chances for joy, harmony, peace and a sense of free-flowing ease?

    Your Spirit, on the other hand, is a Oneness entity. It exists above duality, where wholeness, harmony, peace, and flow are the hallmarks of existence. There is no conflict in this realm; indeed, when there is only One, there is nothing to come into conflict. Your Spirit's identity is Love. Period. Your Spirit has no status issues-status is a duality matter, as status requires comparison, and in Oneness, there is nothing to compare. Your Spirit is the highest frequency aspect of you, and by virtue of its constant, perfect interface with the Source of All, is omniscient and omnipotent. Becoming more fully vibrationally merged with your Spirit is the goal on the spiritual pathway, as it is where everything you deeply long for exists. True wisdom, harmony, bliss, wholeness, and free-flowing ease are accessible only by being interfaced properly with your Spirit. You simply can't be fully interfaced with your Spirit and experience the perfection of the Divine Design for Wholeness and Harmony that is Oneness. when you are being receptive to your ego's messages of separation, fear, and paranoia.

    So how do you begin to consciously disempower your ego, withdraw from duality, and more fully embrace Oneness? First, identify when ego is calling the shots by paying attention to what is going on in your emotional and mental bodies. Emotionally, be aware of what you are feeling. Are you experiencing joy? Or are you experiencing less-than-joy? When your ego is engaged, your feeling nature is depressed or distressed, you feel a shutting down of your solar plexus and your heart center, and anger, sadness, or numbness manifest. When, however, you are properly aligned with your Spirit, you experience varying degrees of joy. Indeed, the feeling response to operating at the higher frequency range that is the realm of your Spirit ranges from simple joy-that light, open, heart-leaping-up feeling that arises when you move upward in frequency, feel more cohesiveness with your world, and feel more Life Force moving through you-to total ecstasy, which is the overwhelming electrical experience of being fully aligned with Source's awesome power. You might call joy the carrot

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    that the Creator installed in the plan to assure that we are never without a compass to find our way Home, and that we never lose our desire for our authentic state, Oneness. When you are in true joy, it means that you have transcended your ego. If you are not in joy, it means that your ego is engaged.

    To keep ego from raining on your joy parade, stay present with your mental processes to see what is going on, and make conscious choices about where you will place your focus-in duality, or in Oneness. Duality is a powerful habit, and is thoroughly supported by our culture, but you do have a choice of how deeply invested you are in it. By being mindful, you can begin to pull the plug on its power in your life. Mentally, you'll know you are immersed in duality and that your ego has taken over when you notice yourself in judgment. Judgment is the crown jewel of the duality matrix. When you are comparing and judging yourself or others, ego is at the helm. If your thoughts are defense-oriented, you know that the reptilian brain is acting through your ego. When you notice this going on, you can simply withdraw your energy from it, and refuse to play ego's game. You can intentionally shift to Oneness by choosing to relax and be drawn upward in frequency into alignment with the Divine Design for Wholeness and Harmony, and to radiate Love, the primary activity of this Divine Design. You can tap into compassion-for yourself, first and foremost-and remind yourself that only Love will put you where you want to be.

    Let's look at a practical example of ego interfering, and some possible ways to handle it. Allow me first, though, to explain that your ego has no concept of Divine Order-no understanding of the larger, cohesive story that is unfolding according to the Divine Design for Wholeness and Harmony that you can align with simply by releasing the stewardship of your life to your Spirit. Your ego's vision is limited to the world it can observe with the senses, and being embroiled in the duality matrix such that it is, means that the world it can observe is usually not free-flowing, harmonious, cohesive, or orderly, and most often seems threatening. So, it goes into automatic control mode as a misguided means of survival-in fact, it stays there most of the time. Your ego always believes it knows what is supposed to be happening, and when what it observes does not match up with what it believes it should be seeing, it leaps to the idea that things are going very wrong. The discrepancy between what your ego perceives as right, and what is actually aligned with the Divine Design for Wholeness and Harmony is, probably, the single greatest source of frequency-lowering, duality-matrix reinforcement.

    Okay. Imagine a situation in which your goal is to open a spiritual center. Say you have meditated and prayed and have received a beautiful vision of what this center is to be and what it will provide as a blessing to the world. Imagine, too, that you have found the ideal place for this center, and you have made an offer on it. You are feeling so great about what is unfolding, and you are just certain that everything is falling into place. Your Spirit is soaring! Now, imagine that you are notified that not only has your offer on THE perfect place been turned down, but that this place-YOUR special place-has been sold to someone else-and that someone doesn't even have a spiritual purpose in mind for it! What is your response? Now, be 100% honest with yourself. If your first thought is anything but an immediate "Wow-this means that something even more appropriate is on the way!" your ego has jumped in. Most likely, your ego immediately assumes that something has gone wrong, that the seller is an idiot, that something is wrong with you, that the world is against you, etc., etc. Whatever its litany, you can be sure that when your ego jumps in, your frequency drops, and you slide right on down the scale, out of the joy space, and into the nether regions of less-than-joy, where, by the way, your vibrational frequency will not likely attract anything very desirable into your experience! (So don't bother looking for another property while in that state of being!)

    What can you do when this occurs? The most effective thing is to snap out of it, realize your ego has hijacked you, and make "Wow-this means that something even more appropriate is on the way!" your second response. If this just doesn't fly, and your ego won't seem to let go of the idea that, indeed, it has unfairly lost out on the perfect place, then what you need to do is surrender to your Spirit, and reaffirm your understanding of the Truth and of the perfection of the Divine Design. If you can't quite get there, then do anything that will raise your frequency back up to where you can see those things.

    Since your consciousness is lowered proportionately when you're at lower frequency, and any Truth that you have ever known always seems to have flown out the window when you're there, it's helpful to have a list of a few never-fail frequency-raising activities at hand. Some of the ones that seem to be universally helpful are uplifting music, communing with Nature, meditation and prayer, breathwork, aromatherapy, exercise, and hydrotherapy, but I'm sure you have some personal favorites to add. Of course, a little grieving or other stress release first will greatly expedite the frequency-raising process.

    The higher your frequency, the less the duality matrix can affect you, and the more easily you can listen to your Spirit's message of harmony and Divine Order, and thus, tune out the grating voice of your ego. And, in the above example, the more likely it is that the true "ideal place" for your spiritual center will be able to reveal itself to you. Not to mention, you'll probably find out that the place you "lost" was built over a toxic waste dump or is going to be demolished to make way for a new freeway! But no matter whether you ever know the higher level reason or not, the choice to experience harmony, joy, ease, and freedom is a simple matter of who you empower: your ego, or your Spirit. You can trust that when you empower your Spirit, you will be moving ever closer to Home, the blissful Paradise of your longings.

    ©2005 Julia Rogers Hamrick

    Julia Rogers Hamrick is a visionary who spontaneously revisited the reality state called "Eden" in 1982 when her response to a catastrophic illness catapulted her to a radically higher frequency. She has been a spiritual-growth facilitator for over two decades, and is the author of Recreating Eden: The Exquisitely Simple, Divinely Ordained Plan for Transforming Your Life and Your Planet. To learn more about her Eden experience, read the introduction to Recreating Eden by going to http://www.recreating-eden.com/RecreatingEdenIntroduction.html For more information on Julia and on recreating Eden, visit http://www.recreating-eden.com To read about Julia's own dance with Spirit and ego, read Julia's blog, accessible from her website.

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    0 0

    US government grants

    being centralized will really help all of us that are confused. Finding federal grants and getting our free grants should not have to be so hard. Sounds simple doesn't it?

    We have the least amount of time for federal searches. We have the least amount of resources to hire a grant writer.

    We need one stop shopping. We now have this with grants.gov! Yea! Its about time. But, as a beginner just try and find federal grants or receive your free grants through them. What a nightmare!

    If you have ever visited this official us government grants site you know that it is discouraging. Finding federal grants for beginners and receiving free grants from them is very difficult. Do they speak English? I said I want a grant!

    Soon all of us beginners are going to have no choice. We are going to have to go through this official federal grants site to receive our free grants. Anyone have an aspirin? Well it is time to learn how to speak like bureaucrats. If Fed X, and all these large corporations are receiving federal grants then, where are mine?

    We will start off with the first eight us government grants agencies.

    Agency for international development-9 programs. The agency responsible for helping people overseas. Gives humanitarian aid to underdeveloped countries.

    Corporation for National Service-created in 1993 to help those who provide community based service groups. Like Americorps and VISTA.

    Great John F. Kennedy stuff.

    Department of Agriculture- They have 314 programs available. This is where I have always gotten my funding from. They are great for housing help. Small business help and community development.

    Department of Commerce- Has 127 programs. This agency helps economic growth, free trade and does a little international outreach.

    Department of Defense- Has 52 programs. This agency is all military and America's largest employer. Plenty of business opportunities here. Plenty of research and development grants available. Very hard to navigate.

    Department of Education -149 programs responsible for providing educational grants and setting standards.

    They are not the only place to get college grants. Great place for investing for our future.

    Department of Energy-25 programs dealing primarily with energy, research and development, energy efficiency and energy production.

    Department of Health and Human Services- Has over 570 different programs. The great people who are responsible for the grants.gov web site. When I started doing grants years ago there was no one to centralize the federal grants agencies. They have done a great service but they still have a long way to go. They are responsible for wellness, disasters, health, families and children. They have educational, research, internships and financial aid.

    Federal Grants seemed elusive when I started out.

    It seems to me that getting free grants was an impossible task. Where is the help? We deserve the help. It is my hope, to change this by creating this us government grants web site. Getting federal grants and help should not be a hard process. It should not be beyond the reach of small business to train their employees and expand their business.

    I am a college student and single parent who relies on federal grants every day. http://www.federal-grant-news.com is a free information site created for the millions of people like me. copyrighted March 2005

    Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/



    1. Is this your full-time job?

    Many trainers are "part-time" trainers by evening, used car salesmen by day. Find someone who has made a career out of fitness. It shows that they are more committed to their chosen field. How many part time neuro-surgeons do you see out there?

    2. What is your basic philosophy on fitness?

    First of all, if the trainer can actually spell the word philosophy, they get extra points! Okay, that was mean. You want to see where they are coming from. Do they think you should avoid squatting because it makes your legs look too big? Run for the hills as fast as you can. If they base their philosophy on meeting the client where they are fitness-wise, and they tend to take a more "holistic" approach to fitness, they might be worth working with. Holistic can have negative connotations in my book... I'm thinking of some "guru" who also wants to be your spiritual guide--not THAT holistic, okay? Just someone who takes into account your HEALTH as well as your appearance. I personally tell clients that I am more interested in their health first. Putting looks first is putting the cart before the horse, as it were. You can take shortcuts for appearance, and they aren't always healthy, and never permanent. If you get healthy, you will feel good and you will look great as a side-effect.

    3. What is your background/education?

    It helps to know that your trainer is qualified. A piece of paper doesn't give them that by itself, but it certainly helps give them credibility if they have made that level of commitment. If they have spent 4 years in college or more in grad school then they are hopefully well prepared. Don't let this

    be the only criteria by which you select your trainer, because there are still trainers out there with impressive educational credentials that can't train their way out of a wet paper bag. This is just one of many important things that they should have if they are going to be your personal trainer. On top of that, what other background do they have? How long have they been at this? You want someone with experience preferably, but that doesn't mean you should rule out young new trainers all together. If they have a good education and they are trying to make a name for themselves, that may put them in your price range, and you may end up with a really great trainer.

    4. Are you certified and with whom?

    Don't even waste your time with them if they aren't serious enough about training to bother getting certified. Just like the education, the certification doesn't make the trainer, but if they don't have the inclination to at least get some kind of professional association, then they are worth even finishing the interview. If they are certified, check to see if it is a nationally recognized certification, like NSCA, ACE, ACSM, NFPT, AFAA, etc. An especially good certification is the CSCS, which you can only get from NSCA, but it can only be attained if you have a degree in a fitness related field. I personally have met some pretty impressive trainers with the CSCS, and it is becoming the gold standard in the industry.

    5. What is your style/approach to clients?

    Find someone who listens (VERY important). If they spend more time telling you about how many pro bodybuilders they have trained, or dropping big names of celebrity clients, rather than gathering information about you to figure out how they can best help you achieve your goals, politely tell them that you are very impressed, and that you will call them when you make a decision. Also, generally avoid the trainers who use the whole military schtik. Some people need a drill-sergeant. MOST don't. If they are a retired green-beret and you are a working mom, you may not be too compatible with them. Most people would just like someone who is motivated and conscientious. You can push people and not accept excuses without being an overbearing ass. You will know pretty early in the interview if they will make your workout all about them, or all about you. Don't just settle for some soft-speaking trainer who is afraid to make you work either. You aren't going to reach your goals without EFFORT!

    6. (This question is for yourself) Does your potential trainer LOOK like they practice what they preach?

    Don't settle for some trainer who is sporting a substantial gut. This seems like a no-brainer, but somehow those trainers still manage to sucker people into training with them. They don't have to look like escapees from the cover of Mens Health or Shape, but they ought to have some nice muscle tone. It doesn't hurt anything if they are pleasant to look at though. They may possess the right information in their heads, but if they are too easy on themselves for their nutritional or exercise shortcomings, then they may roll over when you tell them you are tired instead of demanding those last 3-5 reps. The same can go the opposite direction. You don't want someone who is completely obsessed and narcissistic either. If your female trainer is 5'1", 102 pounds, and packing a DDD under a way-too-revealing sport bra, or your male trainer is 5'6" and 250 pounds of lean, corregated steel, overtanned, and shaved head to toe, you are better off without. People like that are so out of balance in their own lives that they just don't have any business trying to teach you how to get healthy.

    Trust your instincts here. If they give you the heebie-jeebies you won't be comfortable with them long term. If they undress you with their eyes, want

    to read your palm, or name-drop the entire time, they are just freaks and should be taken out to the streets, beaten, and then dragged behind a high-speed gasoline truck spitting sparks out of the exhaust before they ruin what little good name we personal trainers have left. If they listen, respond with confidence that can only be gained with education and experience, and talk to you about REALISITIC expectations, then you are on the right track. Good luck!

    John has experience in many areas of health and fitness and shares this Fitness Information on his website http://www.Fitness4Living.co.uk

    Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/



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    Home Interior Decorating
    Home Interior Decorating

    Your house is something special. It's the place where you live, where you find warmth and safety, shelter and so much more.

    It's a sentimental place that is part of your life. So that place must be well decorated for you to have a good time and feel comfortable in it. Because it is so important, you can't let this decorating job in the hands of anyone. There may be sites that tell you what is better and what's not for the home design, but it's actually down to you. It is your house and your life; no one can really decide in your place and influence you.

    Depending on what style you chose your home to be, on what theme, age or background it has to represent you in a way or another. Trying to shock is also an interesting theme because trying to shock others may have unwanted effects if the way you are trying to impress is not personal.

    Some things are imperative in choosing how to decorate your home:

    * Functionality - Your home needs to be functional in order to provide you with better access to different objects and it defiantly shouldn't be like a maze. Keeping it simple it's all that matters in the layout structure of the home.

    * Originality - Your guests will be impressed if your "crib" looks like nothing seen before. It gives a good impression and denotes the fact that you are creative concerning serious aspects.

    * Personal Touch - Make the home look like you; don't adapt it to something that isn't representing you. Try to give that special something to your house that can't be found anywhere else, that thing that is interesting you, that thing that you are passionate about. That is the true soul of your home. "A house is made of wood and stone, but only love can make a home."

    * Safety - Last but definitely not least is the safety. The single thing that makes your house to be heaven and not to turn into a burning hell into one day is how you make your home to be safe. Dangers exist everywhere, and your house is and probably will be exposed to earthquakes, fires, landslides, severe weather, burglars, etc. To make that home be you little corner of personal comfort always be sure not to overlook the safety.

    You see, a home can represent a landmark in ones eyes, and if that person is you, stick around for some advice & info on how to decorate you home.

    Emil is the owner of http://www.home-interior-decorating-ideas.com

    Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/


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    One way to acquire discipline in trading...

    "Hey Joe! When you were teaching us at our Forex office in Florida, you stressed discipline. Our head trader stresses discipline. What I want to know is if discipline can be acquired or is it just something you are born with? I'm having trouble finding it in myself." - trader -

    Personally, I believe discipline can be learned, although at times it is very painful. When I began trading, I was a very undisciplined person. But trading and the markets forced me to become disciplined. Was the discipline already there and just needed to be extracted? Or did I actually learn it? I can't truly be sure.

    One of the largest trading firms kept their offices near Yeshivas. A yeshiva is a rabbinical school that produces rabbis of the Jewish religion. The students coming out of the yeshiva were highly disciplined and made excellent traders. Was the discipline innate in those yeshiva students? Or did they learn it under the strict supervision of the rabbis who controlled their lives? I think they learned it.

    I've mentioned previously that it can help to keep a journal if you want to learn discipline. The journal I kept was very basic and included what trades I made during the day and my reasons for getting into the trade. It is what I did with the journal that helped me to be disciplined. Anyone can make entries into a journal. I let the contents of my journal keep me in line. It became my supervisor. I took to heart what I wrote there. I no longer keep that kind of journal because it has served its purpose in making discipline into a habit in the way I trade.

    Joe Ross
    Trading Educators Inc.

    Joe Ross, trader, author, trading educator is one of the most eclectic traders in the business. His 47+ years include position trading of shares, and futures. He day trades stock indices, currencies, and forex. He trades futures spreads and options on futures, and has written books about it all - 12 to be exact.

    Joe is the discoverer of The Law of Charts(tm), and is famous for the Ross hook(tm) and the Traders Trick Entry(tm).

    Trading Educators, Inc.
    Trading Educators was founded in 1988 by Master Trader Joe Ross. He is the president of Trading Educators and actively supports his customers with his experience of more than 47 years of trading.

    The Team at Trading Educators is composed of an international blend of experienced traders, all educated and proficient in the Joe Ross methods. Our professional staff trades regularly in the markets.

    Since its foundation Joe Ross and the Team at Trading Educators have taught thousands of satisfied customers who use Joe's concepts to produce significant profits in today's markets.

    Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/



    Being lonely is a normal share of our everyday lives. We get sad when we fail in our exams, when we are rejected by the individual we love, or even when someone extremely close to us passes away. Depression, however, might be even more calamitous than just plain loneliness. It may render life-long effects that may ruin your self-esteem, health, and well-being.

    Just here are a select few superb tips to conquer the melancholy mood and get the virtually all bliss out of your daily activities.

    1.) Get Busy. Get Inspired.

    You'll be even more likely to overcome any feeling of depression if you were too busy to notice it. Live a life full of inspired activities.

    Do the things you love. If you're a little short on cash, you may engage in basic stuffs like taking a leisurely hike in the park, playing sports, reading books, or even engaging in any activity that you have passion for and would love to pursue.

    Set a goal - a meaningful purpose in life. No matter how hard or even discouraging life can be, remain firm and have an unshakable belief that you are capable of doing anything you want. With this kind of positive attitude, you will attain a cheerful disposition to beat the blues.

    2.) Get Enough Light and Sunshine.

    Lack of exposure to sunlight is responsible for the secretion of the hormone melatonin, which may trigger a dispirited mood and a lethargic condition.

    Melatonin is only produced in the dark. It lowers the body temperature and makes you feel sluggish. If you are always cooped higher for your room (with the curtains closed), it would be hard to restrain yourself from staying in bed.

    This is the reason why many people are suffering from depression much even more typically in winter than in the more seasons. It's because the nights are lengthier.

    If you cannot afford to get a few sunshine, you are able to always lighten higher your room with brighter lights. Have lunch outside the office. So take frequent walks instead of driving your car above short distances.

    3.) Take a Break.

    I personally mean it.

    Listen to soothing music. Soak in a nice caring bath. Ask 1 of your close friends to massage you. So take a break from your stressful workload and spend the day just goofing around. In more words, have fun.

    4) Eat Right and Stay Healthy.

    Avoid foods with lots of sugar, caffeine, or even alcohol. Sugar and caffeine could give you a brief moment of energy; however they would later provide about anxiety , tension, and internal problems. Alcohol is a depressant. Many people would drink alcohol to "forget their problems." They are just aggravating their conditions in the process.

    Exercising regularly is a vital depression buster because it allows your body to create even more endorphins than most common. Endorphins are periodically called "the happy chemicals" because of their stress-reducing and happiness-inducing properties.

    5) Get a Social Life.

    No human is an island. Your circle of friends are there to give you moral support. Spending time and engaging in worthwhile activities with them may give you a incredibly satisfying feeling. Nothing feels better than having group support.

    Never underestimate the power of touch. Does not it feel so great when someone pats you on the back and gives you words of encouragement when you took your virtually all challenging times? Hug or even embrace someone today. You'll never know when you have saved an additional life.

    Get intimate. Establish close ties with your family and friends. The love and care expressed by others may tremendously boost your resistant system and fend off symptoms. Best of all, you'll live a even more secured and happy life.

    Self Improvement - Manage Depression

    Jasmine Ebook Publisher

    Copyright © 2005 Self-Improvement-Ebook.com

    Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/



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    Here are some Handy wee Tips to help you Sell Your House Faster. These are all 'tried and true' tips we've gathered over years of Buying and Selling Houses, so I know for sure that they work!

    1. Clean your house -- no kidding...the cleaner your house is, the easier it is to sell.

    2. Fix any glaring problems. You know -- doors hanging off, blowing in the wind... that sort of big thing!

    3. Advertise yourself, even if you have a Realtor. It's not a given that your Realtor will actually advertise for you. It's an option that they can add in addition to putting you on MLS (Multiple Listing Service...). If you place your own Ad, include the Price, size, and any special features. There's nothing more annoying to us than a House without a Price -- it's much better to be completely up-front, so people will know well in advance whether your house is in their Price Range, and almost everyone has a Price Range!!

    4. If you're not on a tight time-line, consider selling on your own -- you just need some good 'people skills' and a good Real Estate Lawyer. It's a Sellers Market out there, so it's worth a shot... you can always hire a Realtor in a couple of months.

    5. Take some great Interior and Exterior pictures of your house, then make up a sheet with a written list of the features of the house, dimensions, etc. Make lots of color photocopies so you can have them available to any potential buyers. You can set up a mail box of sorts to hold the info so people stopping by can just pick one up privately -- put it in the Front Yard, or Main Entry of an Apartment Complex, if that's where you live). Lots of people will be interested in the house price before viewing.

    6. Have Open Houses -- from 1:00 'til 6:00pm. For some reason, these are great hours. The typical Open House (if there even is one...)is from 2:00 - 4:00pm. Too hard for people with busy lives (the ones with the money to actually buy your house! ha,ha!) to get to in time. Hey, you're cleaning and prepping your house, anyway -- what's a few more hours? Those'll be some of your best-paid hours in your life, if you sell on your own, since you'll save about $10,000. on an 'average' home! Now, that ain't bad!

    7. Put out fresh flowers -- potted or cut -- in as many rooms as you can. Adds great color and gives your home a lovely lived in feel. Also, the old 'bake something that smells delicious' thing really is effective. You can also put a cinnamon bun in the microwave for 45 seconds, or simmer apple juice, vanilla & cinnamon on the stove. It's welcoming and it works! Oh, yeah. Wear something appropriate and put the dog/snakes/leopards where they won't bother your potential buyers! :)

    8. Get any offers in writing. Have your Contracts ready and read through them first, so you're not struggling to figure out who the Vendor is when your Buyer is sitting there...:) (If you're the Seller, you're the Vendor!) When you're using a Realtor, be sure that they have good contact numbers for you so you can all act quickly when an Offer comes in on your Home.

    9. Contact a Lender On-line before you start the whole thing -- you need to know the current Mortgage Rates so you can help your Buyer, if necessary, and for yourself, so you can know how much you can afford for your next place.

    Find a good Real Estate Lawyer, first, too, so you can give your Buyer his or her name. (When you're selling yourself, you can share a lawyer, unless your buyer seems crazy, in which case it may be wise to find another buyer, or at least retain separate lawyers!)

    10. Keep a positive attitude!

    The right person always shows up at just the right time, so keep your chin up and sell your house!

    Ailsa Forshaw is a Writer currently stuck in Alberta, Canada, but with great aspirations of 'living somewhere warm'-- and Publishing many items! Ailsa's website, http://www.buildyourownhouse.ca (http://www.theScottishDiet.com), came after years of Teaching, Building & Writing. She has Two lovely children, 17 & 5 (very careful planning), and is still married...with one gorgeous wee dog. http://www.buildyourownhouse.ca

    Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/



    When I got over the initial shock of being urged to "seek alternative employment" I found myself, like so many others, out beating the bushes looking for a job. I found that I was just another one of the sheep following the same traditional job-hunting procedures as everyone else.

    I wrote resumes, mailed them to the same prospects that everyone else was sending theirs to and found little comfort knowing that mine was included in a pile that was growing bigger every day.

    To be successful amid all this competition would be tantamount to winning the lottery! It sure looked like the odds were stacked against me; especially after enduring the long non-event waiting periods that never ended. I got the same frustrating non-results and suffered the same heartaches, delays and disappointment as did all the other sheep.

    This did't seem right !

    I began to realize that I was being victimized by a "me-too" situation. I was awakened to the fact that I was offering essentially the same thing the same way at the same time to the same people. My situation became dependent upon someone else in a system over which I had no control. I had yielded the control of my future to a system that made me an impersonal pawn in a game that didn't really care whether I won or not!

    This was totally unacceptable!

    I did some deep soul searching. I got "me" out of the way and took a cold, hard, impersonal look at the facts. I was shocked at what I found It was this:

    EVERYBODY IS TRYING TO GET A JOB !

    That didn't sound shocking on the surface, but then it hit me: All these sheep (myself included!) are out there focusing on trying to get a job. GET 1) a highly competitive "something" that was in short supply that everybody else was competing to get and 2) a "something" that most prospects didn't even have to give.

    I couldn't afford to play this game! I had to start working. I'm darn good at what I do. I deserve better than this. There MUST be a better way.

    Reason and logic forced me to accept the conclusion that if I wanted to break away from this dead end system I had ro make some changes. I had to break the pattern of sameness that plagued everyone else. If I were to change a procedure that doesn't work, I would have to reverse it and implement a procedure that does work. But how?

    First, I must realize that, contrary to what many seem to think, A prospect/business does not exist for the purpose of supplying jobs. They are in business to make a profit by providing a service to customers in their particular market.

    Whether I was looking for employment, wanting to progress in my present job or set a goal to accept new challenges in a new relationship, I better stop trying to GET something and put myself in a position where I could reverse things and GIVE something.

    I must GIVE something to the prospect/employer that he needs.

    NEEDS! As I thought about it I realized that my needs would be met only as I met the needs of another.

    So I decided to by-pass the system and re-focus my efforts from what I wanted and needed to finding out what my prospect needed. How could they increase profits? How could they operate more efficiently? How could they increase productivity and sales? How could they become a more dominant factor in their market?

    Let's be honest, it's not always easy to break away from the rigid, static, limiting elements that restrict creative thinking and the spontaneous flow of ideas. Here is where we need to get quiet and invoke our imaginative skills and ponder abstract alternatives to how and what changes a business might consider to realize greater profits and growth.

    I did some homework, put together a comprehensive game plan, presented

    it to the appropriate department heads and decision makers of businesses in my area and was able to show my prospects how they could accomplish their objectives and why they needed me and my talents and training and experience to make the plan work.

    This simple procedure resulted in more than one opportunity. In my particular case, I took on more than one "job" and was able to contribute to lots of businesses. I've received hundreds of "jobs" in this way. In fact, without realizing it, I found that I had become a consultant and professional problem solver to the business community.

    That was more than 40 years ago. Some things don=t change and these procedures work just as well today as they ever did. The basic axiom "find a need and fill it" is still relevant. "You fill your own needs by filling the needs of another" has been proven since earliest recorded history.

    This cannot be done if you're satisfied to just run with the pack, passively wait in the employment line and make your success dependent upon the mathematical statistics inherent in traditional job-hunting routines. You must depart from the pack and offer the prospect something he really needs and that you are the one best qualified to give it to him.

    Davis Goss has been a creatibve consultant foe more than 40 years. His particular expertise is in his unique scientific approach to problem solving which he has proven to the benefit of a widely diverse client base that has included many of the giants of Ameican business. Lecturer asd author, his latest bokk "The DYNAMICS of ACHIEVEMENT" details his unique approach in a logical continuity of proven scientific facts. Mr. Goss holds many US patents and is listed in Who's Who

    Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/



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