5 Easy Steps to Protect Your Hardwood Floor From Disaster

Common knowledge states that hardwood floors are a great investment for a homeowner. They add a certain charm and character to a home that can not be replicated by laminates, carpeting, or any other type of flooring. However, the investment does not stop with the decision to purchase hardwoods. To retain the value, the hardwood must be properly cared for and maintained. Fortunately, with a few simple, easy, inexpensive steps, your hardwood flooring will always remain in perfect shape.

1. Do not use Murphy's Oil Soap. Murphy's works great on wooden furniture, but do not make the mistake of using it on your hardwood floors. You will not notice anything wrong after applying it once, but if used consistently, residue will build up and leave your floor with a dull appearance.

2. Do not use a Wet Swiffer. A Dry Swiffer is great for collecting dust, dirt, and pet hair from your floors, and it is also less abrasive than a vacuum cleaner. However, a Wet Swiffer can cause major long-term damage. The chemicals in the cleaning solution can break down the urethane finish on your floor and leave it dull, faded, and lifeless.

3. Place area rugs anywhere that might collect water. Prime areas are in front of the refrigerator, by the dishwasher, and near any sinks. Make sure that the floor is protected in any spot that is unacceptable to minor leaks and water collection. A pool of water is the quickest way to destroy your floor.

4. Use floor mats in spots where people step on the hardwood directly after being outside. In addition to protecting against wet or muddy footprints, floor mats will help collect any sharp or abrasive materials stuck in the treads of shoes. This step will help prevent accidental scraping or scratching.

5. Use felt pads when moving furniture. Or better yet, lift the furniture off the ground instead of sliding it across your hardwood floor. If felt pads must be used, please make sure that they are free of any debris. Even if a tiny little object like a staple is under that pad when heavy furniture is set upon it, your floor could receive some serious gouges.

These steps will help ensure that your home retains its value by protecting your hardwood floors against major damage.

Accidents do happen, however, no matter how careful you are. If your floor becomes damaged, contact the manufacturer or the installer for advice.

Declining Testosterone Happens So Slowly You Do not Even Realize It

I am trying to remember when I first started noticing a need to boost my testosterone. The obvious answer is not so obvious – yes I of course had noticed by the time I started dealing with the problem. But before I became aware of what had happened to my energy levels, when I did I notice the decline on my physical well-being that I needed to investigate it.

I guess we did live by the experience of others, and the first signs that something was up was several friends asking me why I did not go out so much anymore. In fact I had not noticed I was always making an excuse not to go out.

Then there was the weight gain from not going out or exercising as much. Within 2 short years I'd gained nearly 20 pounds of belly fat, and I was not happy about it. This kind of fed into the first issue of why I was not going out so much anymore. Because I'd added all the fat, I did not want to be seen going out. And by not going out I was only going to get fatter.

But before this, when I did not go out I'd still exercise. Living on the 20th floor of my apartment building, I'd walk the stairs 5 times. At 400 steps each time, that was 2,000 steps I'd do and sure I was puffing and sweating at the end of it – but my heart and legs were all the better for it. During this, if work pressures were intense, I'd take regular breaks from the computer and pump some iron while I thought about whatever pressing issue was on my mind.

But then I realized that I had not walked the stairs for months. And I had not pumped any iron for the same several months. When something needed me to think, it'd light up a cigarette and puff away and maybe go get something to eat.

I was sleeping OK but only because I'd finish my day with a belly full of beer. And sometimes I'd wake in the morning with a stiff back which I knew was a lack of exercise, but I just did not seem to have the energy to do it. Sure I was fit enough, but not motivated enough.

During a regular examination at the doctors, he quizzed me about my growing belly and my answers lead him to draw some blood. That was when I realized I needed to resolve my testosterone levels. Two blood tests later and I was officially boosting my natural testosterone levels with dietary supplements. I have not looked back since.

Macronutrient Myths

There are so many misconceptions about macronutrients nowdays, that people can not tell what's real or not. The term macronutrients is the collective term used to describe proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. We've all heard these terms before and I know that once you read those words, you already had preconceptions of what each one entailed.

"I do not need protein, only bodybuilders need protein."

"I can not have carbs or fats, they'll make me gain weight."

Any of these ring a bell? Many of the thought you might have about these macronutrients came from each one being given a bad name. Let's get to know them a little better before we jump to any more conclusions.

PROTEIN IS NOT JUST FOR BODYBUILDERS

People, especially women, are afraid to eat more protein because either they do not want to "bulk up" or they just do not think they need that much. In reality, you should be eating a lean, complete source of protein with every meal. The main objective of the body is to find energy sources for itself. It will attack any part of itself that needs more energy (in terms of calories) to survive and BECAUSE muscle is so calorically dependent and takes a lot to maintain, the body will break it down first to use the glycogen in the muscles for energy and Reserve the calories the muscle would use for other purposes. Protein helps in the prevention of the muscles going into that catabolic state (break of muscles) by providing them with the amino acids that they need to sustain themselves.

Not only do proteins help with skeletal muscle, but they are responsible for the integrity for other parts of your body, like your skeletal system and even connective tissues. Proteins are involved in almost all the processes that occur in your body. They play important parts in getting your metabolism up and running, digestion, and creating antibodies for your immune system to use. It helps with the absorption of the other two macronutrients, allowing them to be used up for their main functions instead of being stored as body fat. Protein can even be used for energy if completely necessary, but this process is extremely inefficient and the body will only do this as a last resort. One belief that people have about protein is that it will make them fat, but it all really depends on the quality of the protein that you are eating or what you are eating them with. Another big misconception about protein is that too much of it can lead to kidney problems. This is only true in someone who ALREADY has a pre-existing kidney condition.

Calorically speaking, proteins generally actually have the same amount as carbs, the difference is that while carbohydrates cause a spike in insulin, protein digests slower and has a higher thermic effect than carbs so it keeps your insulin levels steady all day instead of giving you a High and then crash later on. The problem is, most people are not getting the proper amount of protein that they need to maintain the muscle they have. So in other words EAT MORE PROTEIN, but make sure you stick with the leaner meats (ie. Chicken / turkey breast) and try keeping fattier meats (ie. Certain parts of beef and pork) to a minimum.
CARBS ARE NOT THE ENEMY

One of the biggest myths that people have is that carbohydrates are bad in your diet. While it's true that the process of converting carbs into body fat is fairly simple, the key to preventing that process from occurring is by using up those carbs. The major use for carbohydrates in the body is a quick source of energy, they begin breaking down even as you are chewing them to be converted into glucose for the body to use. Once broken down for use, carbohydrates are used to keep blood sugar levels up giving you more energy. They help with the prevention of the breakdown of muscle by providing the body with the fuel it need instead of looking for the glycogen stored in muscles as its source of fuel.

The biggest problem is that people eat more carbohydrates than they actually need. There's no doubt that carbs are delicious and are a lot cheaper to eat than protein, but there is only so much you can eat before your body starts storing much of it as body fat because it does not need as much as you're giving It. Most people also eat carbs without protein, which, as stated before helps with the absorption of carbs and allows you to keep your lean muscle mass intact.

One thing people do not realize though is that carbohydrates are actually helpful in trying to build muscle. You always hear after a workout that you should eat protein, but with that protein you should eat a source of carbs. And I do not mean go crazy and eat more carbs than protein but getting in the carbs will cause the absorption of protein to be more efficient. Insulin has an anabolic effect in that when insulin levels increase, the body's ability to shuttle nutrients into the muscles becomes easier allowing more nutrients in. So when you consume that serving of carbohydrates with your protein right after a workout, the consequent insulin spike causes more protein to be shuttled into the muscle giving it more opportunity to build and repair the muscles.

Carbs can be a very useful ally when trying to replace fat mass with lean body mass. But knowing how much your body can take in and use properly is the key to making sure that you use it for it's intended use. When eating carbs, the amount and quality is key to making sure that happens.

FATS ARE GOOD FOR YOU

Like carbohydrates, fats are given a bad name because of the ease in which they are converted into body fat. When people think about losing or cutting weight, they immediately look to decrease their fat intake or get rid of it completely. But let me bring you back to 8th grade biology. Do you remember how we learned about the cell? All their different layers and processes they go through? Do you remember what the outer layer of EVERY cell contains? That's right! A LIPID BILAYER (just play along even if you did not remember). So every cell in your body consists of not one but TWO layers of fat around them to separate them from other cells and to act as a barrier for protection. So whether you like it or not, fat is an essential part to your diet. Fats help with a lot of the processes of the body also, like growth, vitamin absorption, and the regulation of other bodily functions. In addition to those, fats help satisfy your appetite and keep you satisfied longer. This happens because they take a longer time to digest and are also a source of energy, so while carbs are the quick source, fats are used for later use.

Again with fats, you need to look at the amount that you intake and quality of the fat you are eating. You are going to benefit much more by eating an avocado or nuts than eating French fries.

CARBS VS. FATS

For each meal, the protein intake can stay reliably consistent, but you have to make sure that you watch your carb and fat ratio per meal. When consuming fats in one meal, the amount of carbs should be lowered, and vice versa. Since they are both used as sources of energy, if you provide your body with too much of each, your body will not be able to use it all up for energy, so the reminder gets stored as body fat. Your body can only use up so much of each macronutrient before it stores it away.

TRIAL AND ERROR

The biggest thing that you are going to have to do is see what works for you and what does not. You can figure out numbers for exactly how much your body might need but your body may process things so much different. So increase your intake of protein, and test out how different fats and carbs work with your body. A general measurement you can use is consuming 0.5 g of carbs and at least 1 g of protein per pound of lean body mass. Start off measuring these first and seeing how your body reacts to it. With fats remember that they are more calorically so so look at the serving size (how many grams are in one serving and how many calories they are) and proportioning them inversely with your carb intake per meal. Remember energy levels after you eat them, if you're feeling nauseous, basically any sort of physiological changes, but keep testing things out because the number of carbs or fats someone takes in may work for them, but it may not always work for you . Do the best you can for your body.

Fastest Way to Six Pack Abs

Here's the situation: it's getting close to summer, and you're getting no closer to the six pack abs you desire. You want to be able to show off your body during the warm summer months, not have to be self-conscious while sucking in your unsightly belly fat. Summer's about relaxing, not stressing out about not being happy with your appearance! So, how do you go about getting the stomach you want as quickly as possible? Read on to find out, so you can begin your journey to quick six pack abs!

The way most people try to get six pack abs is by busting their hump doing set after set of sit ups or crunches, or doing lengthy aerobics and cardio sessions. Many people will unfortunately waste their money on gimmicky abdominal machines and gadgets that simply do not work as advertised, all because they want to be happier about how they look. Please, do not get done in any of these traps! There is a better, even an easier, way!

The fastest way to ripped abs is not to pound the pavement or break the bank for a late-night infomercial contraption. It's to simply work out smarter, not harder! By doing the right total body workout, you'll burn fat everywhere- including your belly fat- giving you the six pack abs you want and deserve! It's really just a matter of the right workout and the right diet.

However, this is simply impossible to achieve without the right guidance and information. Luckily, with some of the new programs, the secrets have been unlocked for you! Finally, you can go to the gym, secure in the fact that you're not wasting your time and energy on a workout routine that will not help you accomplish your goals. You can say goodbye to the frustration you've experienced while getting no results, and finally start looking the way you've always wanted to!

It's just as important to work out in the smartest way way as it is to work out hard. After all, working your butt off while doing the wrong exercises is only going to frustrate and tire you out. You may be tempted to just give up on the whole thing after, after putting in so much time and effort and not getting any results!

Mom & Dad Fitness: Top 10 Exercises

Congratulations on getting a new bundle of joy, or maybe it is your second or your little one is now a toddler. Chances are fitness doesn’t top the list of priorities when you have a young one at home. Well, we are here to prove that you can maintain a healthy and fit life even with a newborn at home.

Here is our list of top 10 exercises moms and dads that don’t involve taking you away from your little one.

1. Pacing Workouts

What is that one thing every parent often does when trying to calm a newborn? It’s pacing around up and down, and guess what you can do a workout out of it.

Obviously, you don’t want to disturb your little one if they are peacefully sleeping, but if they are awake pace around the house holding them. You could also walk around performing lunges or arm raises., as your little one sleeps peacefully in their cot.

Some of the other ideal pacing workouts include walking lunges, hop squats, and walking kicks.

2. Doorknob Squats

How many times do you go to check on your baby while they sleep? Turn it into a workout by getting some doorknob squats done.

Every time you check up on your young one, do about five to ten doorknob squats. Work on increasing the number of doorknob squats you do each day, and you will soon be getting a great workout out of it.

3. Baby Bridges

Toddlers need a bit of entertaining, and you could kill two birds with one stone by doing ‘baby bridges.’

Baby bridges are essentially bridge workouts, only that you hold your child and lift them up every time you lift up into a bridge. Obviously, safety is paramount, and this exercise can be performed only by the mom and dad who have already been exercising for a while and built their core strength.

4. Mat Workouts

Myriads of mat exercises are easy to do with your young one by your side.

The mat exercises you can do include leg raises and leg extensions, crunches, sit-ups, and push-ups. Once again safety is vital, and you can have your baby on a baby mat nearby or place them in their cot while you workout. In fact, the best time to get in some mat exercises would be when your newborn is asleep.

However, in the case of toddlers include them in your workouts for some quality time spent together.

5. Jogging

When you want some fresh air and to get out of the house, take your child along for a jog. A tactical baby carrier for dad or a jogging stroller makes it easy and convenient to go for a run with the little one.

First things first, there is no shame as a father in taking your little one out in a carrier. With the right one, you can jog as fast as you can, and your little one will remain well protected. Jogging is a great cardio workout that both mom and dad can do together, and take the baby along as well.

With a toddler, go for jogging at the beach and kick-start their process of learning how to walk. Uneven, yet cushioned, surfaces like the sand at the beach provide good surfaces for babies who are learning how to walk to build the muscles on their feet.

6. ‘Milk-Run’ Exercises

When preparing some milk or formula for your little one, you will realize that you have a substantial amount of time to get some exercises done.

While waiting for the bottle to get to the right temperature, you can do some ‘kitchen workouts.’

Some of the ideal kitchen mini workouts include a wall sit, step-ups using your step stool, counter-top push ups, standing crunches, calf raises and arm circles using bottles.

7. Bathroom Workouts

Time is often the barrier when it comes to getting in a good workout as a parent. Play around with those few minutes you get throughout the day, and you’ll be working out more than you envisioned at the end of the day.

The bathroom offers vast opportunities to get in some workouts and let’s face it; the bathroom is one room in the house where you spend a substantial amount of time in without even noticing. Whether you are going in there for a number one, two or shower; you can squeeze in some exercises.

Some of the ideal bathroom workouts include toilet squats, sink push-ups, and you can even go big by transforming your bathroom into your personal yoga studio!

8. Baby Weights

For the dad who loves lifting weights, you will be happy to know that your child can double up as a ‘human dumbbell’ for those strength workouts.

Hold on tight to your young one, and you can go as creative as you can using your child for weight training.

9. Baby and Chair Exercises

If you are still quite new to working out, all your need to get started is your little one resting on your lap while you are sitting on a chair.

Lift your baby up and down and extend your arms out while holding your child to get a good workout out of it. You can also perform leg raises and leg extensions with your baby on your lap. Once you build on your strength, strap your young one using a baby carrier and do a wall sit as well.

10. Parents and Baby Workout Sessions

Once your little one is big enough, why not make working out a family affair. You will be surprised at how quickly kids pick up on workouts because after all, they learn from your example.

Whether it is yoga, swimming, mat workouts or even some hardcore outdoor exercises; you can do it as a family. It is never early enough to get them started out on a fit and healthy lifestyle. Make it fun to keep your little one interested, but make it as challenging as possible to get the best workout out of it.

There you go; with these top 10 exercises, mom and dad can get a good workout session right at home. When you get stronger, and your baby grows bigger, change things up by incorporating workout sessions that include the little one. Include outdoor workouts and fun activities such as swimming, cycling, and jogging for a change.

The Cold War – Just a POSSIBILITY OF WAR

Although there was a joint anti-Nazi sentiment across Europe and the world, and global politics seemed to be united in the relief of the defeat of Germany at the end of World War II, there were also many conflicts during this time. Why then does the Cold War differ from any of these confrontations?

I believe these tensions to be different from previous occurrences. The world changed because of the relationship between the two great powers – the United States of America (USA) and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) – and the actions that they took because of this increasingly situation. This polarization was a move from traditional warfare and exhausted only as a possibility of war and an introduction of the nuclear threat.

The mistrust between the USA and the USSR became more noticeable at the end of World War II when both sides had raced to get to Berlin to defeat Germany. Although there were smiles and handshakes for the media, the reality was an increased suspicion between the two sides.

The USSR felt they had been the most severely affected by the war and wanted to be compensated. The US was the most economically stable; It had a trade surplus and large gold reserves. Militarily they were the most powerful of the warring countries and were in possession of the revolutionary atomic bomb. This position proved to be a threat to the USSR, especially as the US had chosen not to embrace its isolationist policy and thus remained involved in global politics, and especially in Europe. It seemed natural for the countries of the world to align them with one of these states, and have them dictate global politics.

After the Second World War the Allied forces met at Yalta and Potsdam to consider actions to settle Europe, but it was at these meetings that misunderstandings and tensions between the two powers started to surface. At Yalta, the USSR demanded a seat on the newly formed United Nations General Assembly for each of its republicates, but this was rejected by the USA. It was officially agreed that the USSR and the USA could have 3 seats. One of the most important aspects that came out of Yalta was the division of Germany and Berlin. Each of the Allied countries gained a piece. The Soviets later decided to erect a blockade cutting West Berlin off. The Allied forces came together to airlift supplies, but this of course created more tensions with the Soviets. Many clauses of these agreements were also ambiguous and led to further misunderstanding.

It was held that the USA's Marshall Plan of 1947 would help Germany and 15 other nations recover economically and inject money and business into Europe. When the Soviets went against some of the conditions laid out in the Yalta and Potsdam meetings, the USA stopped reparation payments to the Soviets. Hostility increased.

Many historians will agree that the most obvious aspect of the Cold War was an intense clash of ideologies – political, economic and social differences. Truman had even declared that he would fight communism and support any global democracy and Churchill coined the phrase 'the Iron Curtain'. And on the Soviet side, Stalin's speech in February 1946 laid out his 5 year plan and emphasized his desire to defeat the 'evil of capitalism' to counteract the West's offensive policies. These public declarations helped with the division of the two powers. It seemed logical to expect that as they had been allies in the War, and had a common enemy in Nazi Germany, that they would remain on friendly terms, but as they both depicted the other side as 'evil' their 'friendship' wasnt To survive.

The wedge was driven in deeper when the Allied forces came together under the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. This was created as an alliance against a security threat from the USSR. The rivalry was heightened when the Soviets set up the Warsaw Pact in response, drawing in members of the Communist Bloc and controlling with decisions coming out of Moscow.

Technological developments influenced the relations further. To end the war in Japan, the US dropped two atomic bombs over Hiroshima and Nagasaki. With the US technological monopoly at this time and as the USSR had not been informed about the Manhattan Project, the Soviets felt provoked. In 1949 the detonation of the first Soviet atom bomb set off the arms race and was a clear starting point for the start of the Cold War – this now became a threat to humanity.

The main factors that so set off this Cold War was distrust and mistrust from both sides. This was fueled by a mutual fear for one another and had many of its roots in misunderstanding. Truman did not understand that the Soviets wanted to create a buffer zone in Eastern Europe as they feared a new German state and there was always the Western fear of communism to keep this speculation alive. Of course the Soviets were not prepared to accept a position of inferiority once they had regained their strength after the War.

Although this polarized tension had its roots in history – the Bolshevik Revolution and suspensions during the Second World War – it came to a head after the War and ushered in an atomic and nuclear age and was fueled by disagreements, treaty violations, suspicion of motives and Paranoia. The Cold War appeared to fill a power vacuum which reflected in global leadership being thrust into the hands of the USA and the USSR.

This war was different – power politics became more intense and once the Soviets engaged in their atomic bomb experimentation in 1949, uncertainty greater. The worry for the politicians on both sides was to prevent this polarization of the Cold War from evolving from, as historian John Lewis Gaddis called the "long peace", to traditional warfare and contain the technological threat of nuclear destruction.

The Majestic Arabian Horse

Bedouins believed that the horse was a gift from Allah. It was to be cherished, revered, almost worshiped. The Arabian horse has been bred for centuries, with its beginnings in the oases around the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers in the countries known in our modern history as Iran, Iraq, and Syria, as well as other parts of the Arabian Peninsula.

Because the Bedouins cherished their horses, the bloodlines were a jealously guarded family treasure within the different tribes. There are records which indicate that the nomads began breeding these superb horses as early as 3000 to 2500 BC However, the modern Arabs trace their roots back to five mares which were owned by King Solomon around 1600 BC Those five mares were known as "Al- Khamesh ", literally" the five ". Those five bloodlines were Kehilan, Seglawi, Abeyan, Hamdani and Hadban. As substrains were developed in each of the bloodlines, those would be named for celebrated mares and / or sheiks who significantly contributed a fundamental branch to the strain.

Each of the five original strains had significant characteristics which were preserved in breeding pure Arabs. A brief description of each follows:

The Kehilan had a deep chest, masculine power, and size. The average height for a pure Kehilan was up to 15 hands (60 inches, or 152.4 centimeters) at the shoulder. It had a short head with a broad forehead, and wide jowls. The most common colors were chestnut and gray.

The Seglawi had a refined look and was noticeably femininely elegant. The bone structure was fine and the face and neck were significantly longer than that of the Kelihan. The most common color was gray, and the average height was 14.2 hands (144.27 cm., Or 56.8 in.).

The Abeyan was quite similar to the Seglawi. It shared the refined look, but tended to have a longer back than the other strains. It averaged 14.2 hands, was commmonly gray, and had more white marks that most Arabians.

The Hamdani line had a plainer look than that associated with Arabian horses. It was athletic and masculine in appearance, with a large bone structure. The head was straighter in profile than the typical Arabian and it lacked the bulging forehead which the Bedouins believed was "the blessings of Allah". This strain was one of the largest, standing 15.2 hands (60.8 in., Or 154.43 cm.) At the shoulder. The most common colors were bay and gray.

The Hadban was similarly configured as the Hamdani, with the big bone structure and musculature. But it was shorter in height and had an extremely gentle nature. The average height was 14.3 hands (145.28 cm., Or 57.2 in.), And the dominant colors were bay and brown with few, if any white markings.

Bedouins "adopted" the horses, regardless of how they came to be in the desert. Whether they were strays, absconded, or whatever, it was of no consequence to them. Once the horse was a part of their herd, they set out to breed for offspring with speed, stamina, strength, and courage. The different strains, as stated previously, each had their own characteristics, but all Arabs were bred to withstand the rigors of desert life.

When the Europeans chose to improve their saddle horses, Arabs were the breed they imported to cross with their native stock. When they began the process, their horses were the larger breeds which had transported heavily armored knights into battle. Their lighter stock had it roots in the pony breeds. They had no breeds which could compare to the smaller, faster horses which invading forces from the Middle East were mounted. Thus, they bought out purebred Arabian stallions with the attributes desired and crossed them with choice native strains. Ninety-three percent of the English Thoroughbred breed today encounters its roots to three distinct Arab strains: the Byerly Turk, Darley Arabian, and Godolphin Arabian (sometimes called Godolphin Barb).

The first Arabian stallion imported to America was in 1725. He allegedly sired three hundred colts from breeding stock mares. And between 1853 and 1856, a breeder by the name of A. Keene Richard imported several stallions and mares to establish the first breeding program of differentiation in the States. Unfortunately, his horses were confiscated or destroyed during the Civil War, the breeding line was ruptured, and nothing survived.

On a visit to Turkey in 1877, General Ulysses S. Grant was presented with two purebred stallions which he imported to America. He gave on of those stallions to Randolph Huntington. Mr. Huntington then imported two more purebred stallions and two pure Arabian mares from England in 1888. His breeding program is considered the foundation of the first pure Arabian stock in the United States.

Other breeds influenced by pure Arabian stock include the Orloff Trotter of Russia, the American Thoroughbred, the Morgan, the Percheron, the Connemara pony, the American Quarter Horse and National Show Horse. Strains of the breed were also introduced to the Lipizzaners of Austria, as well as numerous other breeds around the world.

Arabians are considered the oldest of all the light breed strains, and its influence can be traced to many foundation stocks. But, the pure strains are still cherished and preserved by breeders in the Middle East, even today.

The modern purebred Arabian outside of the Middle East typically has a "dished," or concave, profile set on a beautifully shaped head. The eyes are prominent, the nostrils are usually small, and the muzzle is usually "teacup", in shape and size. The neck is gracefully arched, and the head is inherently held high.

The back is short and level. The shoulders are long and sloped. The chest is broad, deep and muscular. Its legs are long, and the tendons are clearly defined. The Arabian has small hooves, with a very tough consistency, that are wide at the heel. The hind quarters slope, and the tail is distinctly arched before it drops.

Overall, one can clearly see that this horse defines strength, speed, and stamina in a beautifully conformed body.

The coat can be chestnut, gray, bay, or black and is very fine. The under skin is always black. It is not uncommon for a purebred Arabian to have white markings on the face and / or legs. The mane and tail are full, yet soft to the touch.

The typical Arabian ranges from 14.2 to 15.2 hands (56.8 to 60.8 inches, or 144.27 to 154.45 centimeters) at the shoulder and weighs between 800 and 1000 pounds (56.8 to 71 stones).

Depending on the strain and characteristics, Arabians are used for Western and English riding, racing, jumping, endurance competitions, showing, cutting and reining, and dressage. This is a very versatile horse which bonds naturally with humans and can also be used as a family horse for people of all ages.

The Crucifixion (Graphic)

“It is Finished”

Part 3 – The Easter Series

The following writing contains explicit expressions, as it relates to the crucifixion suffered by Christ. While discomforting, the brutal reality of sins penalty reveals the wondrous depths of God’s love for us.

Knowing his fate, he entered the garden. It was there in a place of fellowship with God that his communion with man would come to an end.

Soldiers came. Close friends fled his side. The time had come. The road to death and sacrifice was before him. Reluctant in the flesh, yet eager and willing in the spirit, he cried to God, “Not as I will, but as you will.” Once begun, there would be no release. The penalty of sin would be brutal-this journey to death would move quickly and would be one he must travel alone.

With clothes rent, he was tied to a post. There, his back was torn. The rhythmic count of the whip lashing was the only sound to be heard above the bloodthirsty cries of the crowd.

No justification for this torture, Pilate washed his hands. The crowd chanted as Barabbas, the most notorious of sinners, was released from the bonds of eternal punishment, an exchange for the life of the spotless Lamb of God. He was led to the slaughter, innocent in the hands of brutal soldiers. He was mocked, humiliated, stripped naked for all to see.

Upon his arrival to earth, wise men honored him with treasure; upon his death, blinded fools would crown him with thorns.

The very same mouth that had spoken words of life and taught mortals the ways of a righteous God was mockingly slapped and punched. Lips that had once spoken to the storms saying, “Peace, be still,” were now swollen shut from the hatred of sin’s fury. This man, who called Lazarus back to life, would now be silent unto death.

Dusty roads, once filled with the feet of those running to see his miracles, would become crowded with those seeking his death. On his knees he fell, the cross heavy upon his back. The dry dirt beneath him quickly gathered up precious drops of blood and sweat, yet remained thirsty for more.

There, at the height of a hill for all to see, it would happen, this spectacle of shame. In a demonstration like no other, the very Son of God would be murdered at the hands of his own creation.

Fighting the urge to resist, he willingly lay upon a cross. He stared through swollen eyes at the face of the one who swung the hammer. His hand helplessly, painfully clenched the very nail that pierced it. The deafening sound of the striking hammer filled his ears-ears that had once heard the sounds of happy children playing, had once heard the laughter of joys shared with his disciples.

His body convulsed, and his lungs rapidly fought for air as the cross was lifted into place. Though in pain beyond measure, he was still very much aware. He overheard the scoffs and whispers of the onlookers. He heard the soldiers as they jokingly gambled for the robe of this supposed “King of the Jews.”

His fears and expectations had been greatly exceeded. The sting of death was overwhelming. His muscles cramped from dehydration as he helplessly fought to find a position that would bring the slightest bit of relief-it would not be found.

The muscles in his legs shook uncontrollably as the weight of his body rested upon the broad nail piercing his feet, eerily holding them in place. His mouth widened and gasped as if to ease the excruciating pain and show forth proof that life still remained within him.

Blood from his open wounds mixed with his pouring sweat, covering his entire body. He was unrecognizable. His bruised and swollen features no longer showed the beauty of the man seen feeding the hungry multitudes on a hillside. The face that once carried a warm smile was now gripped with the anguish of death. The torturous effects of each remaining moment were drawn out as time slowly passed.

His movements began to settle, except for the momentary convulsions and cries of pain. Death was finally approaching him as the drops of life-giving blood slowly began to cease.

His mind was flooded with human emotions and divine realities. At the height of a hill, raised above the onlooking crowds, he gazed over his creation with tear-filled eyes. The clouds grew dark, and the coming wind filled the air with dust. The crowd quickly dispersed at the sign of the incoming storm.

Looking down upon his body for the last time, he saw his purpose come to pass. Love’s journey had brought him here. Fighting to speak, he raised his head towards heaven and declared, “It is finished.”

As life quickly faded for one, it became available for all. Sin’s rightful penalty now hung lifeless upon that cross. The earth shook in acceptance, the veil of separation from God was torn, the gates of hell were invaded. Death found itself defenseless against the power of eternal life.

“Finished” was the penalty and bondage of sin. “Finished” was the separation of man from his beloved creator. Even today, the beautiful fragrance of life fills the air, as the resonating voice of Jesus can still be heard saying, “It is finished.”

Perfume In Ancient Greece

Perfume has been a desired commodity since ancient times and many of the techniques used are still used to some degree today. When looking at ancient attitudes towards perfume it is surprising to discover how much it actually reflects the expectations of it in the modern day. To understand the nature of it in Ancient Greece, historians rely upon written sources, excavated mosaics and other pictorial representations and artifacts such as perfume bottles. From these items, lots can be determined about the function, importance and production of it in ancient Greece.

The art of perfume making began in the island such as Crete and other Greek colonies. It was brought to the agora or marketplace and sold from stalls. The ancient Greeks quickly began to experiment with them, and created their own extraction techniques which incorporated boiling herbs and flower petals. These methods isolated the required plant ingredients and then perfumes were made by infusing the extracted scents in oils. The process was a simple version of modern techniques but could create as wide a variety of them as can be enjoyed today.

The ingredients were mainly homegrown flowers such as iris and marjoram, roses, lilies, and violets. Herbs and spices such as sage and cumin were also used. Incense and myrrh were seen as decadent and were perfume ingredients reserved for gods until the 4th century when there was a shift in tastes, ideology and availability. Like other ancient civilization, the ancient Greeks imported oriental essences to create more exotic perfumes. However, unlike other civilizations, they kept them mainly for their own use, rather than for export.

Perfume was central to ancient Greek life. It was so popular that the politician Solon temporarily banned the use of it to prevent an economic crisis. It was at the centre of hospitality, wealth, status, daily life and even philosophy. It was seen as erotic, mystical and spiritual. It was linked to beauty which was inextricably linked with divinity. The origins of perfume and perfumery are interwoven with Greek mythology. In Homeric tradition, the Olympian gods taught perfumery to people. The colour and scent of the rose is attributed to events surrounding Venus and Cupid.

Perfume was worn by both men and women and was central to cult worship as it was seen as pleasing to the gods and able to win their favour. It covered the scent of sacrifices during ceremonies, and was used as a good omen for marriage and childbirth. Babies were anointed with it for good health. It was also central to death. Perfumed libations were carried at the front of the funeral procession. Bodies were burned wrapped in perfumed shrouds which were thought to help secure a happy afterlife. Other bodies were buried with containers of it, again as offerings to the gods.

Perfume was also integral to cleanliness, and used in elaborate bathing rituals by both men and women. It was used so widespread that the philosopher Socrates openly disliked and dismissed its usage claiming it made a free man indistinguishable from a slave. Athletes used perfume after exercise for medicinal purposes in the form of balms and unguent oils. This is an early recognition of the possible therapeutic and healing properties that are reminiscent of attitudes towards aromatherapy and aromacology in modern times. Hospitality also required an abundance of perfume as guest`s feet were washed and anointed on being seated. Some wines were also perfumed according to works by Appicius, in the hope that they had medicinal properties.

With the importance of perfume so apparent, it is no surprise that it was stored in bottles shaped as birds an animals, sometimes only a few inches in size. Many are found from around the 6th century BC and are known as plastics. In fact, the perfume bottles are spun ceramics and they commonly adopted a shape which reflected the type of perfume to be contained.

Lekuthos were used for liquid perfume and were slim elegant glass bottles. Aryballes were used for oils and unguents. Alabastron perfume bottles were highly prized, mainly amongst women and it was common for the craftsmen to brand the bottles to mark their craftsmanship, making them even more collectable. As you can see, there are many similarities to modern day attitudes towards perfume.

The Golden Ring of Russia, Suzdal

Suzdal is the remarkable ancient town, famed for its school of icon painting and for many forms of practical art, as well as a place of imprisonment for the tsar’s disgraced courtiers. Suzdal is a part of the Golden Ring of Russia and one of the most popular historical places.

The town seen today, with its numerous bell towers rising like fir trees against horizon, took shape in the eighteenth century but it was a centre of trade as far as the twelfth century and its unique charm lies in the architectural traditions of the twelfth to sixteenth centuries.

Among its many beautiful buildings is the Cathedral of the Nativity, originally built in the early twelfth century by Prince Vladimir, the founder of the city Vladimir. The five heavy domes seen today were added to the old base when the cathedral was rebuilt in 1528 by Prince Yuri Dolgoruki. It is decorated with fine carvings, many of lions, the heraldic beast of the Vladimir princedom, but its most glorious craftsmanship is shown in the so-called Golden Gates of the southern and western portals, made by local craftsmen in the thirteenth century. The series of copper plates engraved in gold illustrate stories of the Virgin and the Archangel Michael, the glittering reliefs framed by carved white-stone portals. Within is the splendid iconostasis of gilded copper made in the seventeenth century by the court artist Grigori Zinoviev.

The cathedral was built within the walls of the Suzdal Kremlin, of which traces remain of the rampart and moat.

To the north stood the prince’s palace, which included the royal Church of the Dormition; the present stone church was built in 1650, replacing the original wooden structure. Nearby are the Archbishop’s Chambers, a variety of structures dating from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, built on the former Bishop’s Chambers, and now housing various museums with many examples of the fine icons and artistry for which Suzdal is famed. There is also a collection of reconstructed wooden churches brought from different places in the Museum of Wooden Architecture.

By the end of the twelfth century the painters, goldsmiths, potters and other craftsmen of Suzdal formed a large community north-east of the Kremlin, protected by ramparts and wooden wall, and with a central market place. A trading arcade was built in classical style in the early nineteenth century along its western edge. Today the area is still the city’s main shopping centre and the venue of the week-long festival of Maslenitsa, a part of traditional Easter celebration.

Although Suzdal, like the rest of ancient Russia, was sacked by the Tartars, seven monasteries had been built around the small town by the end of the thirteenth century and, by the sixteenth century, there were eleven monasteries and nunneries there.

The Convent of the Intercession become well-known in the early sixteenth century when the Moscow Grand Prince Vasili III confined his wife there after she had born him no heir, forcing her to take the veil. He finally divorced her to marry the Polish beauty Yelena Glinskaya, mother of future Ivan the Terrible. According to legend, some months after coming to the convent, the first wife gave birth to a boy, who was said to have died and whose tomb was shown to the agents sent from Moscow by the Prince. The child, however, supposedly survived and grew up to become the famous brigand-hero Kudeyar. Excavations in 1934 did in fact reveal a tiny wooden coffin, within which was a rag doll dressed in pearl-embroidered shirt.

Many other aristocratic women were confined in the convent the following centuries, including, in 1698, Peter the Great’s first wife. She was moved to a stricter convent twenty years later after she had been implicated in a plot against the Tsar by the Tsarevich Alexei. The history of the Convent of the Intercession does not, however, lessen the charm of its architecture.

The church is very similar to the Convent of the Deposition of the Robe, also built in the sixteenth century. The walls and towers of the convent have a beautiful, airy look, almost like stage scenery, in contrast to the stout, fortress-like walls of the Monastery of the Saviour and St.Euthimius on bank of Kamenka.

Besides the monasteries and nunneries which form the architectural centres of Suzdal, there are nearly thirty churches along the streets and lanes, and to walk around the city is a constant source of pleasant surprises for visitors.

Enigma: Rising Tide Review

SINGLE PLAYER REVIEW

Enigma lives! Tesseraction has released a single player offline version of their upcoming massive multiplayer naval game and it lives up to its potential and then some. Playing Enigma offline gives you a chance to see what this game is all about and train for the upcoming Virtual Battle of the Atlantic (and Pacific, since the Japanese / British are part of this).

Enigma is set in an "alternate history", "one that begins in 1936 but in a world as it may have been had Germany won World War I". The Germans move the British Empire from Europe and into alliance with the budding Japanese Empire. Together, the Nippo-Anglo faction faces off against the German monarchy and an expansionist United States joins the war to make a unique three-sided conflict. No Pearl Harbor, no Hitler, no Nazis, no Soviet Union. With each mission you are kept current with newspaper headlines and briefings from HQ.

There are over 35 single training missions and six separate campaigns in which you play as a destroyer, corvette, PT boat, or a submarine, for a total of over 90 missions with two difficulty levels, easy or difficult. The campaign structure is scripted and to progress you must complete each mission and live to tell. Each mission is an instant encounter at sea. There is no Aces-style hunting or tracking. The mission starts just after your lookouts make contact and the action is about to begin. The single player version does not have time compression, nor an in-game save feature. When you start a mission, you have to finish it. Getting pinned by escorts and waiting them out can take hours – real life hours. Like any good captain there were occasions where I was forced to take her deep, cut the engines, and trust my luck while I was away from the room.

Enigma makes no pretensions about being a full-blown simulation and it is not. Be that as it may, the level of combat and the essential elements needed for an authentic naval game are there. Enigma is no arcade game by a long shot. Enigma allows first-person control of guns but all other stations are integrated in a command-style interface. Firing torpedoes is done by casual aiming, there's no TDC to operate. While I personally would be more satisfied with some kind of tangible input into target-motion analysis other than just "eyeballing" it, with all the pace and lethality of Enigma battles, it's sufficient. No player-controlled method of damage control is present, nor can you send radio messages. Aside from this and the lack of TDC, Enigma gives the simulation player most of what he could wish for in a naval game.

Enigma has AI that makes you say, "Ouch!" – enemy ships can put the hurt on you. Poke your periscope up in the middle of an armed convoy and you are plastered with tracer fire so dense, you can feel the hate and desperation of the crews aboard the merchants. Destroyers behaving aggressively with tenacious, if somewhat predictable, tactics. The ships and planes are based on historical models with some configurations. Subs carry a realistic load of around 22-26 torpedoes. They reload much faster than real WWII subs could, usually in a couple minutes. However, being that this is an alternate history, that can be explained by hydraulics that were actually employed on the German Type XXI U-boats that were developed at the end of the war (the real war). Destroyers, corvettes, and PT Boats (motor torpedo boats) have varying types of arms-depth charges, torpedoes, hedgehogs, and guns.

All ships contain a small radar / sonar screen that gives you updates on surrounding vessels. When you play as a submarine, the screen can be interpreted as the sonar map usually found on subsims like Silent Hunter and Aces of the Deep. I was pleased to note that the indicative positions while submerged are not accurate and the closer the range, the better the contacts. Tesseraction did a good job on finding the middle ground between giving the player information and with information information he should not have depending on the tactical situation. Combined with the alarm bell that rings every time your sonar guy detects an incoming torpedo, you are equipped with fair and accommodating sensors.

Enigma has an easy mouse / keyboard interface to learn and it has the best voice control I've ever experienced in a subsim (in the same league as Sub Command). With no special mike set-up I was able to change speed, headings, depth, fire weapons, and more just by muttering into a mike. It allows you to keep one hand on the mouse, one on the keyboard, and simultaneously issue helmet and weapons orders.

Graphics are a strong point for Enigma – especially the ocean wave effect. It is as close to looking out a porthole in a real ship as anything I have ever beheld. The ocean surface has very good textures, motion, and definition. The waves have sharp, white crests that are several notches above Silent Hunter II. Your sub or ship is a constantly moving platform on the surface and adds to the challenge of hitting targets with the guns or holding your binocs steady. The ocean battlefield varies from calm seas, to heavy seas, to flat-out gales with rain and blustering wind sounds. Just incredible.

Ships and subs are rendered with great detail. Not only are lifeboats, guns, portholes, screws, and antennas illustrated with inspired detail, but the decks, windscreens, and surfaces have a weathered look that straight away adds to the sense of watching a real ship in a real ocean. Hard-charging escorts part the seas with a frothy bow wave and subs leave foam on the surface when they dive (although the foam lingers too long, as if it is designed as a targeting key). Along with the voice control, Enigma graphics earns high praise.

An amazing sound suite companies the good graphics. I enjoyed the whistling of falling bombs, changes in engine sound linked with vessel speed, ocean sounds, interior sub sounds, especially the sonar pings, and ricochet sounds. When your sub is damaged by depth charge attack, you can hear breaking glass and light bulbs and threatening water leaks. Sounds are directional, too, a plus. I noticed enemy screw sounds when in a underwater submarine were missing. Some of the best sound effects include the death scene, when your boat is physically wounded. Water rushing in, rivets popping, and hull creaks accompanied by the slowly dimming lights … the effect is appropriately stark and eerie. Finally, you're treated to a musical score with different anthems for each fact.

This would not be an adequate review without aware the physics of the Enigma. It's easy to see that Tesseraction put a lot of effort into making the ships interact with the ocean in a convincing fashion, and they succeeded. Ships appear to be engaged in a constant dance with the ocean surface. Smaller boats such as the PT boats require a constant hand on the helm – they are pitched about by heavy seas. I also noted that when you are using the binoculars and en enemy ship hits you with a round, your view is drastically jolted, requiring time to readjust your sighting. Same for the sub cabin under depth charge attack. The display is visibly shake after near misses. That's realism, simulation or not.

One thing Enigma has going for it in spades is ambience. The graphics are so good and the action is so compelling you will not mind repeating the same missions over and over. Some scenes caused me to marvel – watching my sub advance on a squadron of distant escorts and seeing the flash of their muzzles followed an instant later by a streaking, smoke-trailing, death-tipped shell and an audible whi-zzz! The color and moodiness of the stormy skies and towering waves touches the seadog in you. When the action really gets going with circling destroyers, skulking subs, merchants burning – planes dive bombing! Torpedo bells ringing! Shells splashing! – Enigma rules the ocean. While it is an action game, in some ways Enigma is more simulation than Silent Hunter II. When you are in the control room, you really are in a control room. Executing a crash dive makes the room tilt noticeably. Tesseraction knows how to suspend your imagination.

With the development emphasis on the contemporary multiplayer action, there is no random mission generator, scenario editor, or dynamic campaign. Offsetting this is the claimed assurance that since Tesseraction will be releasing upgrades on a three month cycle, that could include new mission packs. And when they get the online version completed (Dec 2003, we hear and hope), most players will be facing off on the Internet.

It's funny but much of what separates Enigma from Fleet Command is the first-person view from the bridge; And Enigma will be distinguished from Fighting Steel by a vastly superior representation of the ocean. Yet, a host of other details and engineering Touches make Enigma superior to most naval games that have come before it. The AI ​​is better, the pacing is geared for action, the voice control works, and the environment is thoroughly engaging. Enigma promises fun and action in a superior ocean landscape and the single player version delivers completely. If Tesseraction is able to forge ahead and bring new versions and enhancements to Enigma as promised, including the massive multiplayer component, Enigma will have a lock on the naval game community. If you like naval games in general, you'll like Enigma. If you love good naval games, you'll love Enigma. This is definitely a good naval game.

A Few of My Favorite Things – The Bling Rings

My three true 'bling' rings live on my left hand, announcing my marital status to the world. In just a few years, they'll have been there for half a century … imagine that!

My wedding ring is slim with three tiny diamonds set in tiny white gold diamond shapes on the yellow gold band. I had planned a wide, plain gold band, until I began trying some on. No … far too heavy for my long slim fingers. Somehow, this slimmest of wedding bands, with its own bit of 'bling' was the perfect match for my solitaire diamond engagement ring with its simple shoulders set with tiny diamonds each side.

My eternity ring had been my Mother's, that I inherited 34 years after our marriage. Another slim ring set with tiny diamonds that happily nestled right in alongside the 'big brother' (or sister?) Diamond ring – creating a perfect balance – a bright and shiny harmony. I love the thought that a part of my beloved Mother lives my every day with me, sharing victories and tragedies, and all the shades of Life in between.

But this story belongs to the 'show-stopper' diamond engagement ring that featured in a most unexpected way in the first weeks of Summer, here on our retirement farm. Living in the South East of South Australia sees most of us well acclimatised to the cold and wet months – but suffering the heat of Summer temperatures that our Northern cousins ​​would find acceptable as perfect, warm and sunshiny days. Consequently, the cool of the evening and the gentle breeze that creeps across the land from the sea just 15 kms. (9 miles) away, are welcomed and enjoyed most gratefully. On such a night, following drinks and relax time, I had a lengthy romp with our long-haired German Shepherd dog, Benji – both of us enjoying a tumble and roll around on the cool grass until bedtime.

The next morning follows the usual bleary-eyed, gradual waking up routine of – nature call; Wash hands and quick comb through of hair; Make first cup of coffee; Turn on computer; Sip coffee whilst idly checking fingernails. Hmm-mm – that thumbnail needs attention – stretch fingers out, and … my heart stopped for several beats and then began to pound painfully in my chest and unbearably loudly in my ears. I could barely breathe. There was a great black hole where my diamond should have been. It just could not be true. I gently felt the claws of the ring … there was definitely nothing cradled within them.

I checked my desk and keyboard (and upturned the keyboard and look it). I was sure it would just be lying there, innocently twinkling at me. Maybe the floor? I retracted each step back to the bathroom … had it dropped out as I ran my hands? No. I painstakingly studied every square of the tiled floor and then the polished wooden boards of our kitchen and dining area; Around the kettle and the cupboard tops. Nothing.

In our bed? Now there was a possibility. Sometimes caught on the bed linen through the night as I slept? Again, no. As I woke my husband and told him the shocking news, I began to cry. He comforted me and in his usual practical fashion, first checked every inch of our bed and the carpeted floor underneath, and then 'walked' me through every move I made made since I awoke. We swept floors and vacuumed and examined our dusty collections with a magnifying glass. That magnifier quickly became an essential heavy duty tool in our investigations of every nook and cranny; Every knothole and join between floorboards and skirting.

The search went for for hours as the area widened to include the front lawn where I had played with Benji. This area slowly and painfully emerged as the most likely spot, because I had gone directly to bed after, and the diamond could well have been lost then and there. Can you just imagine how many tiny droplets of dew on the grass can glisten in the sunlight – for all the world like a diamond – and how many times hopes and spirited raised up, only to be dashed down, once again? Even Benji himself could not escape a thorough search of his fur – just on the remotest possibility the diamond had become entangled somewhere on him. How I wished!

All searching proved fruitless. The black hole in my engagement ring seemed even larger and emptier each time I looked at it. At last we had to admit defeat and phone our insurance guy – the one who had known us for some 30 years at that point – the one who had never let us down when we were in need.

In short order, he was able to give us our first good news in this nightmarish situation – our insurance would cover a new diamond and its replacement cost. We just needed a written quote from our jeweller to be sent to the Insurance company for approval.

On close examination, the jeweller found a tiny distortion of the claws on one side, which led him to believe the diamond had slipped out of that side. We had only moved here a few weeks before, and now I sadly remembered a couple of knockouts to my hands as we man-handled the endless boxes – but as no harm could be detected by the naked eye, I had relaxed. As a consequence of this unforgettable loss, I now visit my jeweller regularly, for him to take a quick peek with his trusty one-eye magnifier for any early signs of damage or wear. So far, all is good.

Finally, my treasured ring was back where it belonged, sparkling at its customary level of brilliance, as though this drama had never happened. Absolutely nothing about the setting had been changed, which was exactly how I wanted it. I'm just not into the updating and remodeling trend that many women embrace (even to the point of getting a larger diamond as their days become more affluent).

We are convinced the final resting place of my late dear departed diamond is down a small crack or ant-hole maybe, in our front lawn. If we're correct, can you imagine someone, someday, digging to create a new garden bed – and turning over a shovel of dirt to find a diamond?

Will that be rich soil , or what?

Christine

Health in the Self

What is health?

Is health the absence of disease? Is health a birth right or simply luck? According to Ayuveda, India’s ancient art of healing, the meaning of health is a single word: Swastha. Swa = self + Stha = established. Thus a person is healthy when ‘”established in the self.” Immunity is much more than T-cells, B-cells and antibodies. Health depends upon a well-integrated core of identity. Thus, health is a birth right.

The Self as defined by Ayuveda is not identical to the western concept of ego. It is the power of individual identity that fosters one to have an existence apparently separate from all other beings. In Sanskrit this is called Ahamkara – literally, the “I-former.” You are you and not he, she, we or they because of Ahamkara. It is the creative power that gives you your sense of “I am.” Ahamkara consistently identifies with an individual body, mind, and spirit enabling them to exist together as a living being. It is the center of your awareness and from it come feelings of my: my body, my emotions, my thoughts, my personality, etc. Where there is my, there is I.

Each of the millions and millions of cells that make up you has a center of awareness. Ahamkara is that center. How well your self identifies with these cells determines your resistance to disease. Just as a strong central government protects its citizens, so too a strong central identity protects the body. Because the body and mind are intimately connected, (contrary to western thought) your self-esteem is your cells’ self-esteem. Without sufficient self-esteem and self-love the cells become more vulnerable to the harmful effects of stress.

Stress

Stress is an insidious precursor to disease. In simple terms, stress occurs every time you adapt to a new situation. Consequently, every time your environment changes you must create a new equilibrium with it to stay healthy. ‘Environment’ includes not only your physical space, but also your mental, emotional, social, and spiritual surroundings. Only by being centered and stable in your self can you have the adaptability to roll with life’s punches and face the innumerable challenges to your well-being.

It can be said, you have a body self, mind self, and spirit self. Health requires establishment in each of these selves. You need to have a sound mind, in a sound body and a healthy relationship with Universal Spirit. Vertically body, mind and spirit needs to flow in dynamic interplay. Horizontally you need to have a harmonious relationship with your family and society and your self needs to remember its debt to the one who created it.

Our Being

Health as defined by Ayurveda is not the mere absence of disease. Swastha is a positive state of multi-layered well-being. Each level of our being affects and reflects the others. A happy, contented mind projects health into the body. Love, trust, and compassion needs to be developed if you are to be healthy. Modern neuropsychiatry has discovered specific neuropeptides associated with joy and happiness that communicate with the body’s trillions of cells. Likewise, the health of mind and emotions depend upon bodily health. Physical toxins and poor digestion impair mental digestion creating mental toxins like fear, anger, greed, attachment, envy, and judgment. The old saying ‘the body is a temple of the spirit’ is a factual reality. A firm (as in healthy) body ‘firms-up’ ahamkara and she reciprocated by projecting health into it.

Establishing one self into one’s self is not an egotistical attempt to become bigger, better, or more important. Over investment in self is as dangerous as its opposite. Selfishness can only lead us further away from each other and our source in Spirit. Without empathy and compassion for all other living beings, we become destructive to them and ourselves. Invest in your self so that your health and harmony act as a harmonizing influence on those around you and contributes to the health of your environment. This is Swastha.

Why Is Food Better Than Melatonin?

I won’t keep you in suspense: the answer is “fewer side effects.” But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Melatonin could be called the sleep hormone. The pineal gland secretes it, darkness stimulates its production, and light inhibits it.

When it’s released, melatonin binds to hormone receptors that regulate the body’s internal clock and circadian rhythms. In short, it’s a sleep-inducer.

In recent years, melatonin in supplement form has become popular. Some users choose it as a substitute for prescription sleep meds. It has also developed quite a following among travelers who swear by its ability to prevent or reverse jet lag.

So What’s the Down Side Of Melatonin?

Apparently, the above claims haven’t been conclusively proven.

Another problem is that dosing is vague and unregulated. It’s easy to take too much, which can lead to side effects. Those effects can include headaches, dizziness, daytime sleepiness, stomach cramps, depression, irritability and more.

Chronic use can also result in down-regulation, a reduction in the number and sensitivity of existing melatonin receptors. That can reduce the effectiveness of any naturally produced melatonin, and may eventually worsen insomnia.

Over 23 years ago, Richard Wurtman, M.D., issued a warning not to self-medicate with melatonin. I’m most familiar with Wurtman’s work on insulin resistance and how it can reduce serotonin and lead to depression. In any case, he’s a reputable source.

Is There a Natural Way to Increase Melatonin?

I’ve always believed it’s a mistake to jump into the middle – or in this case, jump to the end – of a biosynthetic chain. It seems to me that’s how and when the side effects happen. This is where food enters the picture.

The “food formula” would be to eat protein foods throughout the day. Then have an all-carb (specifically all-starch) snack about 60 to 90 minutes before bed.

The insulin triggered by the carbs allows tryptophan to reach the brain. Tryptophan is an amino acid; amino acids are the building blocks of protein, as you may have learned in 7th grade biology! (Or not… )

Anyway, tryptophan is the precursor of serotonin. The brain can and will use the tryptophan to make serotonin. And serotonin is the precursor of melatonin. It’s that straight-forward.

The process is natural – more natural than just having melatonin. And it starts at the “beginning” of the chain – with protein foods during the day to provide tryptophan, followed by timed carbs at night when we want to sleep.

The best part is that we can bypass the side effects. That’s the part that makes me recommend food over melatonin supplements.

But Aren’t Carbs Bad?

For those who shun carbs, I’d recommend being realistic. It doesn’t take very much starch to trigger a little insulin and change brain chemistry. And it’s much more natural than jumping over the whole process and landing on melatonin supplements – with all those side effects.

If gluten is your concern, gluten-free starches are always available. Examples include quinoa, sweet potatoes, potatoes, rice, and many others.

Why not give this sleep method a try? It’s quite effective.

End-Time Locusts May Have Arrived!

Description of end-time locusts from John and Joel:

V. 9. Breastplates like iron. Reminds us of the helicopter / machine description that many see. A steel – plated vehicle impenetrable by normal weapons. Have we not seen all this on the movies of horror? No not really, but we get a little inkling from them. Martians. Machines. War of the Worlds. It's coming. Really coming here.

V. 10. The scorpion-like "tails" of these monsters are undetected weapons like we have seen jutting out from helicopters, planes, tanks. Guns, loaded with peroxide biological weapons, that spread a virus from one community to another, sickening but not yet killing, all in their pathway.

They operate, not only in the air and in the typical battlefield, but in the city, running across city walls. They even climb into people's homes through the windows. Horror!

I get the helicopter thing. But these are land creatures too. We've seen vehicles that can operate equally well on land and in water. Now we will see an air / land hybrid.

Perhaps a drone? * No human contact, totally controlled remotely? War games in the most literal of senses? Are there thousands upon thousands of these being manufactured secretly and stored underground in a common location, to be released when God says release?

In Joel:

Joel's 2:10 uncovers an earthquake, and signs in the heavens. These things are not caused by the locusts, but happen at a very close time to them.

We have only now to see who (Who) is in charge of all this.

Verse 11 in both chapters gives an answer.

Joel: This is the Lord's army! This is the Lord executing His Word, fulfilling His promises, judging evil that righteousnessous will prevail! "The day of the Lord is great and very terrible …"

John – or his accompaniment angel – prefers to tell us the name of the "angel of the abyss", the one who was called down from the heavenlies to open the bottomless pit. He is their head, their king, we are told. This leads us to believe that when 9: 1 speaks of an angel "falling" to the earth, we are to take literally that fall, as in Satan's fall from his glory.

Neverheless, I do not believe this angel, this king of the monsters, is Satan himself, who is occupied on the earth filling up the man "antichrist". Satan is not omnipresent. Rather, one who has been appointed by Satan to destroy is before us. He is given a name here. It is not Satan, or the serpent, or the devil, or Lucifer, names we would have had identified with our mortal enemy. No, his name is Abaddon (Hebrew "destruction") or Apollyon (Greek, "destroyer"). As head of an army of locusts that destroy people's health, their homes, and who knows what else, it is an apt title.

Conclusion

I am about finished. A bit exhausted, in fact, in seeing these horrible things up close. Imagine Joel or John having received even more first-hand the information I have presented to you. Joel lived through the destruction of grasshopper-locusts, and saw their evolution into a creature of end-time horror. John was approached by an angel practically into their faces. His description is terrifying, but builds on the original given to the prophet of Judah.

There can be no mistake. I can not find other words to prescribe how calamitous the final years of this planet before Christ's coming will be. One third of civilization wiped out. Charred woodlands. Burnt fields. Men and women and children crying out for help from a disease that will paralyze them for half a year. Military might showing its muscle and gut to the point of, well, no return except His return.

And thank God for His return. Revelation 9 is not the end of the Book. But it's in there. Locusts that look like horses that look like people that run and climb and fly and march and terrorize. The locusts are coming.

Now read from this online article to see if maybe they are already here:

"Drones will hunt in packs, as US Navy unveils LOCUST prototype launcher." Http://www.rt.com/usa/250233-us-drones-navy-locust/

"Drone technology is getting ever more deadly. The US Navy has released a video detailing LOCUST – the new tool allowing multiple drones to coordinate and swarm the enemy autonomously.It's designed to protect large US vessels nearby.

The concept was detailed by the Navy last year, which only this month allowed the Office of Naval Research (ONR) to demonstrate what LOCUST – or the Low-Cost Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Swarming Technology program – can do. They're touting the tool as a new era in autonomous warfare.

"LOCUST is essentially a system that can launch swarming UAVs to overwhelm the enemy and provide the marines and sailors operating them with a massive tactical advantage, ONR explains in the press release.

"The recent demonstrations are an important step on the way to the 2016 ship-based demonstration of 30 rapidly launched autonomous, swarming UAVs," program manager Lee Mastroianni says.

"This level of autonomous swarming flight has never been before … UAVs that are expendable and reconfigurable will free manned aircraft and traditional weapon systems to do more, and especially multiply combat power at reduced risk to the warfighter," he adds.

"The program acts in several stages: first, a tube-based launcher will fire a swarm of UAVs from a ship, aircraft, or any surface, for that matter – owed to the device's small footprint." Once airborne, the drones share information and Coordinate an offense or a defense, each drone playing its allotted part.

"ONR says the technology is revolutionary in its heavy advantage over remote-controlled UAVs. But safeguards are always needed, so human personnel will be standing by to take over if necessary.

"The added benefit of the new drone program, and drones in general, is their ability to save greatly on costs for the US military. The emphasis on autonomy on the battlefield will become even greater over the next 10-15 years, according to the Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Jonathan Greenert's outline of the strategy.

The ONR is not the first to research the field of multiple UAVs linking up to perform joint tasks. The famous Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency or DARPA has been pursuing its Collaborative Operations in Denied Environment (CODE) program, which aims to allow a single pilot to operate multiple drones at once, as well as its own aircraft. "

What is your conclusion? As for me, I believe we are very close …