What Type of Cremation Urn Do I Need? Alternative Suggestions for Urns

What Type Of Cremation Urn Do I Need To Store The Ashes of a Loved One?


Alternative Urn Suggestions

The type of urn you choose for a loved one is based on Personal Choice rather than ‘Need’. When choosing an urn, many people will choose something that would appeal to their loved one with many choices based on their favourite colour, sporting team, hobby or trade.

Urns come in all colours, shapes, sizes and material so your choices are far from limited.

The majority of manufactured urns are made from either brass, marble and timber but can also come in pewter, ceramic, bio-degradable cardboard and a variety of other materials.

Really any airtight container can be used as an alternative to the more common manufactured urns but if it’s 100% security you’re looking for then you can’t go past the steadfastness of the brass urns.

Most brass urns have an extra long threaded lid in either the top of the base of the urn to safely secure the ashes without the worry of spillage, dampness or other foreign matter from getting in. In addition to this, you can be sure that your urn will survive should it succumb to a nasty fall off its resting place thanks to that curious cat or the kids sword fights. These urns can also be sealed with a water-resistant glue prior to tightening making them almost 100% protected from any outside elements.

Urns made of marble are visually stunning and also very sturdy but there is the risk of breakage in a fall. Marble urns in general, don’t have screw top lids and are more likely to have a lid that fits snugly into it’s opening. This can be glued for added security but I have come across many people who prefer not to use glue to seal the urn. Most people prefer to have that option of being able to open the urn for whatever reason. Some like to add items to the urn while others have been known to add the ashes of an extra family member in the same urn. Some marble urn styles have a threaded opening in the base.

Timber Urns, more commonly known as Ash Boxes, are an old favourite of carpenters, cabinet makers and builders for the obvious reasons. War Veterans and RSL members also lean towards the timber urns. Many timber ash boxes have a purpose-built section for mounting photos, medals and other keepsake items which make them highly suitable for the purpose of displaying War Veterans medals. Timber Ash Boxes usually have a base opening which is fixed in place with screws. They are very sturdy and strong but it’s advisable to keep the ashes within a plastic bag to prevent any possible leakage of dust particles and to stop dampness from getting inside. The drawback to a Timber Ash Box is the unlikely event of it being subjected to fire.

Keepsake Urns are smaller versions of all the types of urns I’ve mentioned above. They are commonly used as ‘sharing urns’ meaning that the ashes are divided and distributed into several keepsake urns, usually one for each member of the family. Keepsake Urns are also suitably sized to hold the ashes of a very young infant or small pet.

Cremation Jewellery is a new concept whereby a small amount of ashes (usually less than a teaspoon) is placed inside a specially made pendant and worn on a chain as a beautiful piece of jewellery and the perfect way to keep a loved one forever near to you. Cremation Jewellery pendants come in all sorts of shapes and designs, some of the most popular are hearts, crosses, angels, wings, tear drops and miniature urns.

As I stated earlier, many types of containers are suitable for holding the ashes of a loved one, you may find you want to separate yourself from tradition and use your creative imagination.

Here are some suggestions for alternative cremation urns:

The wife of a gentleman that made his own home-brew used an antique beer keg to house his ashes

A clock-makers wife kept his ashes inside the casing of a an old mantle clock that he was very fond of.

The widower of a wife who loved going to the beach, bought a plain timber box then adorned it with shells from her favourite beach.

The children of a fireman used a vintage fire extinguisher to house the ashes.

While these ideas may not suit everyone, they are a broad guide-line to some of the many options that are available when considering what and where to house the ashes of a loved one.

The final decision must always be one that makes you happy.

Final Note: It’s always a good idea to keep the ashes in a plastic bag before placing them in the urn or container. This gives the ashes added protection and can prevent spillage from some types of urns that don’t seal completely airtight.

 For detailed instructions on how to fill an urn, please see my article How To Fill and Seal A Cremation Urn

For more information on cremation urns or ash boxes online I highly recommend The Classic Urn website.

January 2011

A Comparative Analysis of the Advantages of Growing Paulownia vs Teak

A few years ago teak was considered the panacea of solutions for socio economic problems in Panama. But, today, the harsh reality of growing teak is widely known. Recognized in many countries as a weed, Panama is one of the few nations in the world that gives tax incentives for planting Tectona Grandis, teak.

It is thoroughly understood that teak damages the environment. The fall of teak leaves is one of the principal causes of severe erosion and fire throughout the country. The high oil content of the tree and leaves is like tinder or kindling for fires during the dry season. When the leaves fall to the ground, they do not disintegrate rapidly and serve no useful function in the forest either as natural fertilizer or feed for animals.

Today there are huge forests of teak all over Panama. Instead of contributing to the nation’s economy, they are actually depleting the national treasury through tax deductions provided to the wealthy. Globally there are more offers to sell teak than to buy.

Many of these stands of teak are more than twenty years old. Why aren’t they being sold? There are two primary reasons: one the price of teak in Panama is not in synch with the realities of the price of teak on the world market and two, buyers today are more informed and are requesting documentation that most Panamanians cannot provide because they have not made the financial investment necessary for this type of venture, instead their interests have been to hide money from taxation. “Chain of Custody” documents are one of the key requirements for selling lumber in today’s world market. This documentation proves that the producer is not damaging the environment or jungle to extract lumber.

Today, there is a new alternative for agroindustry and multidimensional farming. This new paradigm of agroforestry allows for a mix of the traditional with the nontraditional generating more income for the farm and at the same time restoring the ecology of the nation. A study done by USAID/AED “A FINANCIAL ANALYSIS OF SUSTAINABLE CATTLE FARMING SYSTEMS IN THE WATERSHED OF THE PANAMA CANAL” dated June 2005 proves the economic viability of raising cattle with trees. Although the study mentions some species of trees, it does not mention species with high agricultural value. Selecting the correct species will not only serve as a source of income but also function as an integral and important part of the daily life of the farm.

Paulownia could be that species. Paulownia is recognized as the fastest growing tree in the world, the aluminum of hardwood trees. Grown for hundreds of years on the Pacific Rim, paulownia has a greater value than teak on the world market and offers the opportunity to have three harvests in the time it takes for teak to have one.

The paulownia leaves are used in many parts of the world has feed for animals because of its high nutritive value.

With the price of land in the clouds today, farms are smaller and farmers must maximize the economic utility of every hectare. Different than teak, after two years, the farmer can graze cattle between the paulownia trees without damaging them.

Paulownia increases the fertility of the land. The leaves disintegrate rapidly feeding the natural grasses which control erosion of top soil. Paulownia also functions as a natural firebreak. The ignition temperature of paulownia is approximately 425 degrees centigrade. Teak has a flash point of a little more than 100 degrees centigrade about that of boiling water.

Tips on Improving Restaurant Service – Use the "86" Board Properly For the Waiters

In my last restaurant service consulting job, I had a discussion with the management and the waiters about the 86 board. Yes, it is a very simple topic, even trivial some may think. But, the improper use of an 86 board will hurt restaurant customer service, possibly leaving some customers dissatisfied, which in turn subtracts from the bottom line.

So, here is the story. In this particular restaurant that I was helping, the waiters were not even using an 86 board. The only way the waiters could be informed of any 86’ed menu items was through the computer.

The problem was that the waiters would find out about the 86’ed item from the computer only “after” the food order was taken from the customer. So, the waiter would have to return to the table and inform the customer that his/her desired order was no longer in stock for the shift.

The result of this system is wasted time and energy with a possible dissatisfied customer who had to take the time to pick out a different menu item. Technology is not solving this problem.

The very simple “old school” solution is that an 86 board, clearly legible, must be in sight for all staff to view. Otherwise, they will learn of 86’ed items through the computer– when it is too late. If it is a very large restaurant, then there must be a splurge for a second or third 86 board.

Basically, if a menu item is 86’ed, then all waiters must know immediately so they, in turn, can inform the customer “before” leaving the table with that food order.

Another important concept is the menu item countdown, where the most popular items get listed on the 86 board as they run very low. In other words, when there are 5 lobster orders left, it gets listed on the 86 board with a 5 count next to it. When one order is sold from there, then it becomes a 4 count of lobsters, and so on until 0 lobsters are counted down. This way, the waiters can inform diners of any popular menu items which may be close to running out for that shift.

For 86 board hardware, it should simply be a white board with a dark colored magic marker, and not a blackboard with chalk that gets a bit messy and is harder to read.

Yes, proper use of the 86 board will actually improve restaurant customer service, which enhances reputation and the bottom line.

Outdoor Party Theme Ideas for Spring and Summer

Seasonal changes give us a whole new selection of party ideas to choose from. Whether you're planning a wedding, a bridal or baby shower, a birthday party, Fourth of July Party, or a "just because" party, there are so many fun ways to get outdoors and enjoy the season with your family and friends. No pool, no fireworks, and not even a reason are needed to host one of these soirees!

Ice Cream Social

When the weather turns hot, who can resist a delicious, cool, creamy ice cream treat? There's nothing more casual and fun than a good old-fashioned ice cream social. Stock up on different flavors of ice cream, cones and dishes, and all the toppings and head outside! Fill an old bathtub (no chipping paint, of course) or a big metal tub with ice to keep your fears from melting, and voila!

Set up a build-your-own sundae station and let the good times roll! Make sure to have plenty of sauces and sprinkles, and do not forget the cherry for the top!

If you're feeling particularly festive, you can ask your friends to dress in early 1900's attire like handlebar mustaches, bow ties, suspenders, and derby hats for the men. Women can sport long dresses and gloves with their hair swept up. You can provide lovely decorative fans to stay cool. They work great as a party favor!

You can even send your guests home with some adorable ice cream theme party thanks to say "thanks for coming!"

English Garden Tea

If you have a green thumb and have a beautiful garden, why not share it with your friends and family? Host an English Garden Tea Party right out in the middle of the fruits of your labor. Pull out a table and chairs, use your prettiest tablecloth, and set it with the fanciest dishes you have!

There are plenty of opportunities for sending your guests home with party favors to thank them for coming. You can even send them home with the cup and saucer! Edible and drinkable party favors such as personalized tea bags and jars of jam or honey are perfect!

Mad Hatter Tea Party

It's like regular tea party, but a little more twisted! Set your table with a striking black and white checked or other bright-patterned table cloth. Make sure your dishes and cups do not match! We're all mad here!

Use as many off-sized items as you can such as oversized or undersized utensils, cups, and refreshments. Get one of the cupcake-shaped cake pans to make a cake that looks like an oversized cupcake. Do not forget to mark everything with "eat me" or "drink me"!

Drive-In Movie

This one is best for those of you who live in rural areas. Rent a giant inflatable movie screen and DVD projector and set up an old-fashioned drive-in right in your own back yard!

Make it a theme with showing musicals where you invite everyone to dress as their favorite musical character and incorporate a sing-along. Or you can show old classics and everyone can dress in 1940's era clothing. Or have a zombie theme, if you dare, and view classic zombie thrillers. Guests can show up dressed as "the dead"!

Whatever theme you choose, make sure to set up a refresh stand complete with popcorn (you can even get personalized bags of popcorn as party favors), hot dogs, and plenty of soft drinks!

Country BBQ

This is a good 'ole type of party we've all been to before. But put a little creativity into it and host a corn hole toss tournament, complete with prizes. Make sure to put out bails of hay for seating. Set around pitchers of ice-cold homemade lemonade and frosty drinking jars. And do not forget the red checked tablecloths!

Karaoke Night

If your friends are brave enough, rent a Karaoke machine and turn your porch into a stage! A floodlight can make a good spotlight, if you have one.

Make it a contest! Let everyone vote for their favorite performer and present them with a prize!

Just add a little creativity and you can turn your backyard into a magical land, a theater, a stage, or an old-timey soda fountain. Your friends will not be able to wait to see what surprises are in store for them at your next get-together!

But What If Global Warming is All a Hoax?

Forget about all the benefits of climate change mitigation and think about the potential effects of global warming, they could totally ruin us. So basically, the risk of not doing anything is huge and the risk of doing something is, well, nothing. I really have a lot of difficultly listening to flat Erethers cry about some hoax or conspiracy. If we do not curb climate change and the potential effects that come with it, we're going to have more problems than we can begin to imagine

In fact, what we think are problems at the moment, will be the least of our problems because the greatest transgression of all will be too great to reverse – the pollution of the planet. The bottom line is that the Earth is warming. And while you could claim that this is some natural cycle of global temperature, you should first consider that the Earth's average temperature is 14 degrees Celsius and it has gone up to 1 degree Celsius over the past 150 years. That's a 7% increase – and this is in only 150 years! Geologically speaking, 10,000 years is a nano second and 150 is a negligible amount of time.

The following excerpt was taken from the website of the COP15 conference:

At present the concentration of CO 2 in the atmosphere is about 385 ppm (parts per million). Before industrialization it was about 280 ppm. Analyzes of air contained in ice from the Antarctic ice cap show that there is more more CO 2 in the air today than at any time in the last 650,000 years.

Yesterday marked the beginning of the 15th United Nations Climate Change Conference which is being held in Copenhagen, Denmark. Many are hoping for the conference to result in an ambitious agreement to reduce carbon emissions involving all countries of the World. In the very least it is a refreshing opportunity for leaders of the world to discuss a threat for which a unified effort is necessary.

I'm personally not going to listen to any nay-sayers of the green movement or efforts to curb climate change because there is very little detrimental results that could come for any approach at reversing climate change – the risk of doing nothing is just far too Great.

5 Essential Songs to Learn on the Piano

You want to learn a new song on the Piano but your stuck. You can’t think of a song you want to learn. I’ve put together a list of 5 essential songs on the piano that all players should learn at some point. So if you’re stuck for something to learn why not consider one of these.

I’ve chosen three songs for beginners and two for more intermediate players so players of all skill levels can find something here.

Hey Jude

Most of us have heard this classic Beatles song. Opening with straight forward piano chords it’s one of the best pop songs ever written on the instrument. While the song may sound complex it’s really not that difficult for beginners who know a few songs already to pick up. Once you know the chords figuring out the pattern isn’t that tough.

Don’t Stop Believing

Some people view this song as cheesy, personally I like it. This pop stadium rock song was probably the band Journey’s biggest hit. It’s been covered by many bands, including the hit TV show Glee and also used as the outro for the final episode of the HBO TV series, The Soprano’s. The intro is great fun to play and if you can carry a tune while you’re playing piano this is a fun one to sing as well.

November Rain

Probably not an easy song for beginners to learn but Guns N Roses November Rain was and still is a huge hit for the band and main piano player Axl Rose. It’s a beautiful piano part during the verses and it continues through out the song. You can find versions of this song to play it in a stripped down piano only version online.

Let it Be

Another great Beatles tune, Let it Be is a staple for all beginners. Like Hey Jude this song may sound more difficult to play then it actually is. The chords are pretty straight forward and there aren’t too many difficult parts beyond that. You can find the basic piano chords online and then listen to the song a couple of times to pick the progression out by ear.

Bohemian Rhapsody

When you think of this song you might not think of it as a piano tune, how ever watch a live performance of this song and you’ll see Eddie Mercury, the lead singer of Queen, playing the piano through a good portion of the song. There are versions online you can find which create some simple piano parts to play during the more complex electric guitar parts of the song.

This is another great song to sing and play if you are able to do it.

The High Cost of a Cheap Breakfast

A few days ago I saw a sign advertising a 49 cent breakfast biscuit special at a local fast food slop hole. On face value, it looks like a pretty good deal. That is until you start adding the reality of what it really was going to cost you.

First off, the biscuit is made from a substance similar to concrete which absorbs ten times its weight in liquid and contains ten times the recommended daily take for salt. These substances were chosen for two specific reasons. One, the most common element in anything dealing with selling anything to a human being is that they are cheap. The other, is that they make you thirsty. The result? You eat this breakfast monstrosity, become bloated and extremely dehydrated, and then order a three dollar bucket sized drink to wash it down your parched gizzard.

But wait, the fleeting is not over yet. While standing in line to buy the bucket of whatever it is that you are going to drink, you also buy a pack of gum, which you hope will kill the taste of whatever the meat like substance was that that they used to make your 49 cent biscuit So special.

So now that 49 cent biscuit has just cost you $ 6.50 cents.

What you always have to keep in the back of your mind is that for every action, there is a reaction. Corporate America has researched this concept right down to air we breathe and how much they can charge for it. What this lesson proves is that we have to find a way to defeat this system of corporate induced purchasing and stop spending!

We as a society have one very big problem that stands in the way of this stop spending concept and that is we do not like being told what to do. It's almost as if we like being sold, ripped off and then relish in complaining about it.

Before we reach the age of 10, most of us have already had our brains soaked with television and we have already been conditioned for a life of corporate manipulation. To reinvigorate this concept all one has to do is take a look at the number of rich people in this country. The ones, who are rich, are the ones who are doing the selling, while the rest of us work 9 to 5 and do the bulk of the buying. Most of the rich folk do not even buy the stuff that the companies they own are selling and ramming down our throats because it would shorten their life spans. Why? Because they are smart!

So that means that I have to tell you something, and you're not going to like it. So guess what? I'm not going to tell you. Figure it out for your self and then stop doing it.

Porter’s Five Forces Model And Internet Competition

According to Porter’s Five Forces Model, in my opinion, competition has increased overall as a result of the internet and e-Commerce. The internet and IT has made it possible to both focus on the top and bottom lines and market share is expanded and costs are cut. Many products and services exist just online, major companies have gone online to successfully augment the brick and mortar corporations, and the playing field is all the way to edges of cyberspace, wherever that is. We will further evaluate this stepping through all five forces.

Buyer power is higher when buyers have more choices. Businesses are forced to add value to their products and services to get loyalty. Many loyalty programs include excellent services that customers demand on-line. Customers want to solve their problems and many times they are more successful on-line than on-phone. Also, we see internet savvy businesses springing up offering more valuable goods and services at lower costs. Now with the advent of eBay, many people are assuming roles as drop shippers. Individuals can have a thriving business selling goods of larger companies without having to carry inventory.

Supplier power is higher when buyers have fewer choices from whom to buy. As mentioned earlier, drop shipping has increased the amount of suppliers available. All an individual has to do is form and agreement to sell products for the company. The company takes care of all the logistics. The same is true of associates programs that Amazon.com and Google.com offer. Associates allow a webmaster to earn money by recommending products from others. This increases supplier offerings.

Threat of substitute products or services is high when there are many product alternatives. This is different than having many suppliers. Examples of alternatives are exchanging brand names, substituting credit card capabilities, and looking at better values from cheaper sources. The internet allows this with the “global economy”. I can substitute my product by purchasing from companies overseas where labor, services and products are cheaper, but of comparable quality.

Threat of new entrants is high when it is easy for new competition to enter the market. Well, what have we been talking about? Now, small operations can open shop with less than $10.00 per month and make a lot of money. As inventive as people are, there are always opportunities to do improve a product or service or just create and sell something new. Recently, many new entrants have made even more money authoring Ebooks that tell others how to do what they did. Rivalry among competitors is high when competition is more intense within industries.

On-line book stores and catalog companies are an excellent example. Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com are very competitive. However, there are many also smaller niche affiliate bookstores that when combined take a great deal of market share. They offer even more competition. However, both major bookstores have used IT to create value for their customers. These values include associates programs, ease of payment and shipping and many, many others.

The internet offers avenues of competition to existing companies and opportunities for start ups. Now businesses can enter the market on-line with few barriers to entry. Porter’s Five Forces Model can help demonstrate the attractiveness of starting your on-line business. A business person should use the model to identify competition, make a plan, and implement the process.

The Pro’s and Con’s Of Choosing Carpet Flooring

This is an age old question that most home owners find asking themselves when its time to build a home or renovate. Which is better hardwood or carpet?

There are a lot of people who don’t care about the pro’s and con’s of either. They simply prefer hardwood or they simply prefer carpet and aren’t willing to budge on this decision for anything. Unfortunately, their mind is made up and this list is not for them.

But, if you are weighing the options and just can’t decide which is better or which is going to add more value to your home please take a moment and look at the information below. First off and straight to the point answer would be that you need to tackle this question not for the whole house, but instead room by room.

Pro’s of Carpeting Your Home


Installing carpet will allow your living space to be warmer for those who like to walk around their home with bare feet. With hardwood flooring it is much cooler on the feet and in winter may cause you to increase the heating.


With carpeted floored rooms you will find that the noise is suppressed quite considerably. If you find that you have a multilevel home you will know that having hardwood floors on the top level will create a certain amount of noise for the lower levels to hear.


When shopping for carpet you will find an endless amount of options to place in your home while shopping for hardwood flooring can be a bit limited. There are much fewer options in hardwood flooring.

Furniture Stability

For those who do not like to continually rearrange furniture this might be the biggest pro of all. With carpet you will find that the furniture will stay put a lot better than if you had hardwood floors. Although with this it is much more difficult to move your furniture.

Con’s of Carpeting Your Home


Speaking to the pet owners of the world you know this all to well. Carpet can stain and be impossible to remove. Now, most stains can be removed by steam machines and cleaning services that you can hire to do this for your home, but there are exceptions to every rule. That one stain that no matter what you put on it or what you try to remove with it just wants to stay around.

Harsh Chemicals

Now, before I go any further I realize harsh might be a strong word. Nowadays more and more people are looking to all natural formulas to use in their homes. Chemicals used in carpets are not all natural. Either are the chemicals used to steam clean your carpet. If you are looking to reduce the use of chemicals in your home going with hardwood might be a better option.

The Crud Factor

In other words, dirt! No matter how hard you try vacuuming doesn’t get all the dirt out of your carpets. This is definitely not something you like to do everyday and it takes quite a bit of time to vacuum. With hardwood floors clean up is much simple and you can see if you have removed all the dirt since they aren’t trapped in any fibers like carpet.

Personal Taste

Hardwood flooring is very popular right now and honestly been popular for quite some time. Although at the end of the day it all matters to your personal taste and what you prefer. Your home is a reflection of your taste and ultimately your personality. You should decorate your home to your liking and have fun with it!


Though purchasing and installing carpet is less expensive you must also remember that the lifetime of your carpet is much shorter than that of hardwood flooring.

From a designing standpoint it really all comes down to how you feeling about it. It is your home and you need to love it! Remember we must design and decorate our home for us not just for our guest.

Learn the Features and Benefits of Presto Lifts Products

In the world of business there are all types of tasks that need to be done that cannot be handled by human hand. In warehouses and industrial yards across the country the need for mechanical lifters is great. I have owned and operated powered mechanical lifters for years. We have commonly called these devices fork lifts. When we needed to lift large pallets of lumber, weighing in excess of 2500 lbs, we would utilize the strength of the fork lifts. One of the companies that have manufactured these kind of machines for a number of years is Presto Lifts.

There are several different kinds of lifts that Presto Lifts can provide to businesses. These can be used to help with getting many lifting tasks handled. There are several different points that need to be made, when finding a good way to get something handled for a business.

When you are discussing Presto Lifts forklifts, weight is an important factor to consider. These include more than just the amount of weight that a lift can handle. A number of forklifts will have large load capacities that can handle at least a thousand pounds of weight depending on the model. However, the actual shipping weight of the forklift should also be factored into a purchase.

The shipping weight of any lift can be more than the actual load capacity of the lift. A typical product will have a weight that is at least three hundred pounds greater than whatever its load capacity can be. This is predominantly due to the weight of the engine and the steel construction used to build such a strong and powerful machine.

Presto Lifts equipment can lift products to a multiple of different heights. The tables and other platforms may only lift to 36″ to 60″, but a fork lift can lift a load to 10 feet or more. Some of the platforms can be as close to the floor as 2″ to 3″. This allows the worker to load the supplies onto the platform with a hand truck, saving the lifting that might be required with a taller platform.

The tables and platforms that Presto Lifts makes can be used in all types of applications. They may be used for packaging of products already built or used as platforms to actually build the products. If you go into any modern assembly plant such as a motorcycle factory, you will see workers using hydraulically operated tables to hold and move their work without the lifting. At one location you may have people building engines and then rolling the whole engine assembly into the room where they are putting the motorcycle together with the frame. Presto lifts is a builder of these types manufacturing aids.

Calories In Bee Pollen – How To Make Sure That This Is Not Just About Counting Calories!

If you were worried about the calories in bee pollen, then there is no need to be. Look at these facts from the latest calorie count which is reported in the The Daily Plate (TDP) . As their database has over 100,000 dishes listed, it is a very valuable guide to have when you are watching your weight.

According to them, one teaspoon of bee pollen which is equivalent to about 3 grams has about 10 calories. In addition, there is no fat, no salt and no cholesterol. There are about 2 grams of carbohydrates and there is no fiber content.

That number of calories can easily be burned off by doing a few household chores (3 minutes) or just by dressing or undressing (4 minutes).

Now there may be few calories in bee pollen but there are absolutely loads of minerals, vitamins, enzymes, amino acids which really make it a superfood. That puts it in a category all of its own and that is precisely why it is just not about counting calories.

The only problem about selecting which bee pollen to choose is that you have to know something about what is going on in the beekeeping world. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services have an excellent site and I have learned so many things there that I want to pass them on you so that you can make an informed choice when buying.

* Honey bees need to be protected as they are responsible for pollinating about one third of all the food we eat.

* They are under threat because of the Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) which is thought to be caused by a variety of factors such as pesticides, insecticides and perhaps global warming and climate change.

* We can help to save the honey bees just by planting a few bee friendly plants in our garden. We can get advice about flowering plants last longer in our area. We should also not forget the herbs as bees love thyme, rosemary and other herbs.

* We can forget about pesticides but use beneficial insects in our garden who will eat the nasty bugs who happened to be eating most of our flowers!

* We should leave the flowers on the plant even after they have died off so that the bees can benefit from them up to the last moment. This means that we should not dead head nor prune them too soon or too often.

These then are just a few simple ways that we can help to save the honeybees who will go on making pollen and honey and provide us with the most nutritious food on this planet. If the honeybees die out, so will the world's food supply and so will we.

As regards choosing which is the best bee pollen, we should steer clear of any polluted sources such as China, states with heavy and intensive farming, areas which have GM crops and any areas close to heavy industries.

There are not many areas like that left in the world but if you are concerned about the environment and not just about the number of calories in bee pollen, you will need to choose the safest and the best. Click through to my blog where you can learn about a world which may soon disappear.

Back-Planning For Success

Coming up with new dreams and passions can be fun, easy and inspiring – at least until you sit down and begin trying to sort out how to actually accomplish these wild goals. Suddenly, what seemed like such a clear and well-marked path takes on the aspect of an overgrown and thickly brambled wilderness of dangerous, unseen pitfalls and endlessly branching and unmarked trails. It’s enough to make you want to crawl back into your boring old life and forget the whole thing ever happened. But let’s try something a little different, first, and see if we can’t tame that overgrown jungle.

One of the best and most thorough ways to figure out how to do something new is called back-planning, or top-down planning. You begin by listing your finished goal at the top of the page, then working your way backward through each logical step that must come before the one above it. To do this, after every step you write down, yourself: “What had to happen immediately before this step in order to get to this step?” Be literal and very specific here – if your goal is to present at a conference, start with the standing ovation you receive, then list “give amazing speech,” below that, and “walk up and out onto the stage” before that and “get mic’ed up” before that, and so on. That way you discover all those niggling little details you might not think to think about otherwise (Is the stage accessible, if you have a disability? What sort of mic’ing system will they be using? If it’s a lapel mic, how does that affect your choice of clothing?)

As you can see, the more consistently precise and highly detailed your plan ends up, the better the chance you have of success when you put the plan into action. On the other hand, laying out the “big steps” can be a good way to get started, if that’s all you have – just make sure you’ve filled in the details and gaps before starting out. At some point, you may get to a step and realize, “I have no idea what had to happen to make this happen.” That’s when you know you’ll need to ask for help!

Here are two examples of backplanning, one bad and the other good, based on the goal of buying a house. Assume the plans were both written from the top down.

Bad Example

Goal: Buy house in suburbs

Step 5: Close on house (There may be many steps involved here – what are they?)

Step 4: Get inspection (How do you go about setting that up – and who can you ask if you don’t know?)

Step 3: Make choice (Based on what priorities and specifications?)

Step 2: View houses (Are they prioritized, is there a list of qualities, how did you even get that list?)

Step 1: Research neighborhoods (Based on what qualities, and how will you find time for that?)

Good Example

Goal: Buy house in suburbs

*Close on house

*Approve and make offer or disapprove and repeat with next house

*Review inspection and legal documents

*Hire real estate attorney to review property legal issues

*Get quotes from real estate attorneys (see Charlie – he works in a firm)

*Hire independent inspector

*Get quotes on inspections (see Bob and Jackie for referrals)

*Choose top 3 picks based on priorities list, Needs/Wants list, and price and rank them in order of preference

*Research recent appraisals, compare to prices

*View properties in person

*Give them priorities list and Wants/Needs list and set up appointments to view properties

*Contract real estate buyer’s broker

*Ascertain loan approval for estimated purchase price brackets

*Research loan options/providers and chose best (ask Mary to recommend someone)

*Budget for down payment and fees

*Estimate down payment, inspection, legal, brokerage and closing fees

*Estimate property prices in chosen neighborhoods

*Research neighborhoods based on lists and pick favorites

*Create priorities list for structures and settings

*Create a Needs/Wants list for new home

As you can see, the second list is much more organized and detailed, and sets out the process in a specific, sensible order. Of course, if you already know what house you want to buy, or already have your favorite neighborhood picked out, you would eliminate those steps, just as you would have to change some steps and probably add quite a few more if you required the property for business purposes, etc. The trick is to make sure you anticipate every step and sub-step involved, and account for it, so that there will be a clear progression from start to finish.

One important feature of this planning method is that it assumes success from the get-go. Rather than standing at the starting line gazing out in stark terror over the vast and unfamiliar territory between you and your dream, back-planning makes success merely a final step in the process and focuses your attention on the nuts-and-bolts of getting there. Once it becomes obvious that your previously hazy and distant dream is clearly achievable through a series of defined and reasonable steps, goals that once seemed out of reach are suddenly within your grasp.

The observant reader will note one other important difference between the two lists. The second list contains references to friends and acquaintances that might be able to help through their contacts, advice or services. Friends want to help friends. Having someone on your side who knows the terrain ahead can level the playing field where unhelpful (or even antagonistic) experts and complicated processes are involved. But also, realizing that you don’t have to know or do everything yourself in order to make your adventure a success can give help you achieve the calm sense of “I’ve got this,” you need to make it happen!

Understanding Young Living: Can You Really Make Money With Young Living?

Young Living is a Muli-Level Marketing company founded in 1993 offering essential oils and other related products. Additionally, they offer a business or income opportunity for those interested in marketing the company or their products to make an income stream. Something I think is neat is Young Living also has a non-profit organization that helps communities and families in impoverished areas in Ecuador, Croatia, and Uganda.

The Thing:

Young Living has a ton of products available based around essential oils. Some of the items they offer are Aroma Oils, Massage Oils, Diffusers, Oral Care Products, Healthy Cooking Oils, Animal Care Oils, Home Purification Oils, and of course accessories to carry your oils.

  1. Idaho Blue Spruce – This oil is designed to relax both mind and body and sells Retail value for $37.83.
  2. Animal Shampoo – No Kidding. This product contains several different oils including YLTG oil formulated by D. Gary Young and sells Retail Value for $20.72.
  3. Thieves Fresh Essence Mouthwash – This mouthwash is designed to thoroughly clean your mouth and comes in Spearmint and Peppermint flavor, selling 8 oz Retail Value for $14.47.

It’s important to note, Young Living offers several different types of products! The categories of products and actual product in which I explained are far from all Young Living has to offer!

The Opportunity:

The question still remains; can you really make money with Young Living? In order to answer this question, we must look into their compensation plan!

There are 3 Main payouts for people affiliated with Young Living such as Fast Start Bonus, Start Living Bonus, and Retail Earnings.

  1. Fast Start Bonus – You can earn 25% on your first-level personally enrolled distributors’ orders during the first three months of being a member. You can also earn an additional 10% on your second-level personally enrolled distributors’ orders.
  2. Start Living Bonus – Each time you enroll a distributor with a Premium Starter Kit, you can earn a one-time $25 cash bonus.
  3. Retail Earnings – With this payout you’ll be able to earn the 24% difference between the Retail and Wholesale price for the orders of your personally enrolled retail customers.

To Conclude, Yes, You Can Make Money With Young Living!

The Cost:

For some, this is the most important question that has to be answered before even considering joining this business! I would be more than happy to be the provider of that answer!

But first, understand that if you want to get involved with Young Living and begin making money, what you are doing is opening up your own business from home! All businesses require some type of start-up fee! However, in the world of Multi-Level Marketing, the price is generally much cheaper in comparison to a traditional type company. For example, in a traditional type business, such as Construction, you could spend around $5,000 to $10,000 just getting the thing started! In this industry, you likely will spend far less than that! Since we have been able to get that understood, let’s move on.

In order to become involved and get started with Young Living, you will need to purchase a Starter Kit! They have several starter kits available; I will give a brief explanation of three of them!

  1. Basic Starter Kit – $45.00. This kit includes one 5ml Stress Away Oil, AromaGlide Roller Fitment, 10 Sample Packets, 10 Love It? Share It! Business Cards, 10 Love It? Share It! Sample Oil Bottles, 2 NingXia Red 2-oz. samples, Product Guide and Product Price List, Essential Oil Magazine, Essential Edge, and member resources.
  2. Thieves Premium Kit – $160.00. This kit is a specialty premium starter kit and includes 15-ml Thieves Oil, Thieves AromaBright Toothpaste, Thieves Fresh Essence Plus Mouthwash, 2 Thieves Cleaner, 2 Thieves Foaming Hand Soap, 2 Thieves Spray, 2 Thieves Waterless Hand Purifier, and everything included in the Basic Starter Kit mentioned above.
  3. NingXia Premium Kit – $170.00. This kit is also a specialty premium kit and includes NingXia Red 2-Pack, 30 NingXia Red Single Oils, NingXia Nitro, and everything includes in the Basic Started Kit above.

Final Thoughts:

The products offered by Young Living are interesting and definitely have some kind of originality to them. They also have a ton of products to choose from!

The business opportunity is something you can definitely make money from. However, in my opinion, I believe their compensation plan is kind of weak in a comparison level to other companies in which I have done reviews over. If you know exactly what you are doing and are a professional Network Marketer, you will do fine with this company and even prosper. However, if you are a total newbie and have no idea how to generate massive income from Network Marketing, you will have difficult times making money in this company.

The cost is overall pretty inexpensive. Their Basic Starter Kit is only $45.00 and their most expensive kit is $260.00. That means, you can start a business and begin generating income all from home for a little under $300.00, which is awesome!

*Dustin Hale is NOT affiliated with Young Living or their business/income opportunity

9 Signs Emotional Intimacy is Suffering in a Marriage

Marriage quickly deteriorates into a boring, cold, and lonely existence for one or both mates when the couple loses emotional intimacy in the marriage. Emotional connectedness of couples has diminished so greatly today, husbands and/or wives become unhappy in the marriage. Then, the marriage can grow silent, angry, or resentful. This is where extramarital affairs can begin or when divorces occur. When emotional connectedness, also known as emotional intimacy, deteriorates the consequences are detrimental on the marriage.

Generally, couples lacking healthy emotional intimacy do not understand the problem, but they do realize something is wrong in their marriage. Incidentally, their love seems to be breaking down. In addition, it is apparent the marriage has lost its spark and desires. Often times, it is one spouse that is lacking emotional intimacy while the other spouse is happy with their marital relationship and communication the way it is.

The perfectly content spouse does not feel there is anything wrong in the marriage while their mate suffers silently. Then, if the marriage blows up, the content spouse does not have a clue what went wrong. Sadly, the emotionally neglected spouse continually hurts because their emotional intimacy needs are not being met by their mate. This is hard to explain to a mate that does not require the same degree of emotional intimacy or does not recognize their marriage is troubled.

It seems, husbands and wives have become detached emotionally as “one” unit because of the abundant amount responsibilities, financial obligations, or fulfilling their own agendas. From this breakdown in emotional intimacy, desires eventually fade, love dies, and dead, boring, loveless marriage evolve. It is when emotional intimacy is absent that resentments develop, anger progresses, and loneliness sets in. Depression and low self-esteem are also very common in an unhappy marriage.

Over time, emotional intimacy plummets when each spouse’s responsibilities take precedence over their mate’s needs and their marital bliss. Couples are no longer on the same page working to keep their intimacy exciting. Instead they are moving in opposite directions and doing their own thing. Legitimate or not, unfortunately, this moving in opposite directions creates barriers between the couple. Sadly, then the couple grows apart.

Even though husbands and wives are living under the same roof, sleeping in the same bed, and carrying out their marriage commitment, boredom and loss of desire usually takes over their entire feelings of attraction for each other. Needlessly, the neglected emotional intimacy in the marriage has damaged the couple’s ability to maintain intimacy at all levels. At this point, it seems, all the marriage is doing is existing on a daily basis. Unfortunately, when emotional intimacy is neglected or cannot be recognized as troubled, the couple grows dissatisfied and miserable in the marriage. Often times this happen to the relationship before the couple realizes what is going on. Regardless, one or both of the spouses may start looking for alternatives to bring happiness to their life.

Maybe you have heard a close friend or family member confess…I feel all alone in my marriage. What this person is saying is I am hurting, I feel lonely, I feel depressed, I feel angry, I feel resentment toward my spouse. This is only a small list of feelings that may occur if emotionally intimacy is lacking in a marriage.

One example of damaged emotional intimacy is a spouse who is, or seems, emotionally absent. For instance, when you speak to your spouse and they do not hear you, much less, respond, a mate will feel neglected and insignificant. A spouse repeatedly being self-absorbed in personal responsibilities, interests, and hobbies may creates deaf ears and demonstrates lack of interest. Even though the self-absorbed spouse is not intentionally trying to hurt their mate, damage is being done. From the repeated damage, the communicating spouse is left feeling unheard and feeling unimportant. Generally, an emotionally neglected spouse will grow into a silent, hurting mate. Then, the barriers between the couple will grow greater and chances are the hurting mate will withdraw. Then, day by day the couple will grow further apart.

Another example quit shocking and seemingly trivial that falls into “suffering emotional intimacy” is neglecting to carry the trash out for your mate. You may wonder how trash detail is neglecting emotional intimacy, but it is especially if the task is a high priority to your mate. Regardless, how ridiculous or petty you may view this task, it can weight heavy upon your spouse emotions. They may interrupt you as lacking involvement, uninterested, not sharing responsibilities, or uncaring. If this task is highly important to your mate and you do not help with the chore, anger and resentment can manifest. Then, each time you neglect trash detail, this anger and resentment quickly resurfaces. From the repressed anger and resentments emotional disconnectedness may occur and cause severe damage over time.

Once a couple becomes emotionally disconnected, their sex life will quickly feel the ill affects too. It is virtually impossible to come together sexually when there is diminished emotional intimacy in the marriage. Couples grow into sexless marriages, or virtually sexless marriages from damaged emotional intimacy. It is nearly impossible to keep sexual desires and excitement alive when emotionally intimacy is not met first. You have to get the emotional intimacy side correctly balanced to reap the sexual intimacy side of the equation in a marriage.

9 Signs Emotional Intimacy is suffering in a marriage:

1. Couples have stopped talking and sharing their daily events and happenings. Communication has decreased and silence has developed.

2. Couples have stopped touching and feeling each other with genuine desire. Little to no intimate interaction is happening between the couple to keep passion alive.

3. Husbands and wives have stopped kissing with intensity. Giving spouse’s quick pecks has taken over kissing with passion, love and feelings.

4. Couples desire and fire for each other has deteriorated. Instead couples grow into disconnected, loveless marriage from dead sexual interest.

5. Spouses are not listening to their mate. When a spouse is not listening, sighs of frustration, depression and body language will certainly become present from the lacking spouse. These few signs are evidence of unhappiness and emotionally hurting.

6. Husbands and wives feel their own responsibilities are greater then their mates responsibilities. As a result, one spouse is left feeling unappreciated.

7. Husband and wives are meeting independently to attend the same functions instead of taking an extra few minutes to meet in their driveway and ride together as a couple.

8. Husbands and wives are not having a set down dinner together as a family unit. Instead couples are grabbing dinner on the run or eating in front of the television where staying connected is impossible.

9. Husbands and wives are emotionally damaging their marital relationship by cussing and calling their mate vulgar names. As a result, husbands and/or wives are experiencing anger, unhappiness, low self-esteem, or depression from this form of damaging behaviors.

These are just a few examples of emotional intimacy breakdown in a marriage, but the list goes on and on. It is the stressors of money, bills, working, and child rearing that quickly deteriorates the connectedness between a man and wife. When emotional intimacy diminishes, marriages become cold, distant, and sexual desire decrease.

Without a healthy bond of emotional intimacy among husbands and wives, the marriage may grow into a constant state of misery and unhappiness. Until spouses understand how important it is to stay emotionally connected, and then work to pamper each others emotions, unhappiness will remain, divorces will occur, extramarital affair will continue, and loveless, dead marriages will exist.

When emotional intimacy is suffering in a marriage, sexual desires will fade and spontaneity will certainly die. Then, a couple’s sexual encounters will become distant, cold, and carried out in a hurry up fashion. Sexual intercourse carried out in such a fashion is not making love with passion for your mate. This is simply carrying sex out as a chore instead exchanging love and desire for each other.

Arousing passion and sexual desire will die for each other when you do not put extra work into keeping your emotional intimacy alive and well. Sexual Intimacy feeds off the Emotional Intimacy in the relationship. Today, if you start correcting the emotional intimacy side of your relationship, your entire marital relationship will improve. Then, your sexual relationship will certainly come alive as well.

You have the ability to rediscover the desire and passion for each other that was once burning if you take the first step to make a difference. However, you can not work on the emotional intimacy for a day and expect lasting change, you must work each and everyday from this day forward. You must feed your relationship every day so it does not starve.

Why remain in a loveless or sexless marriage, when a few changes, can save your marriage and renew desire for each other. Then you can live your life out together in happiness and sexual satisfaction.

Small-Space Decorating

You do not have to live in a cramped studio apartment to appreciate the value of small-space decorating-even if you're fortunately enough to have decent-size rooms, it does not hurt to incorporate a few space-saving techniques. Here are some of my favorites:

Go light with color. Light, subdued hues make a space seem larger while darker, heavier colors can weigh a room down. Create a soft, monochromatic color scheme to give the illusion of more space. This does not mean your rooms have to be boring beige-try soft hues of green or yellow instead. Go ahead and throw in touches of darker or more vibrant colors too on smaller furnishings, artwork, and accessories.

Add illumination. A well-lit room appears larger than one that's lacking light. Supplement overhead illumination with floor and table lamps. Consider adding easy-to-install track lighting to the ceiling. And take advantage of accent lighting too-directing light upward at a specific piece of artwork or adding cove lighting near the ceiling is a nice decorative touch.

Use multifunctional furnishings. I think storage cubes are the epitome of multifunctional-as a pair they make a cool coffee table, plus they provide additional seating when needed, feature handmade trays for serving beverages, and can be used to store blankets, games, you name it. (Of course, I may be a little biased because I own a pair.) A sleeper sofa is a great invention too-it provides super seating by day and a bed for guests at night.

Keep furniture to scale. In small rooms, opt for scaled-down furnishings such as open-back chairs, low tables, and simple love seats rather than large, overstuffed pieces.

Arrange it well. Create intimate seating arrangements out of the way of traffic flow. Angle furnishings in a triangle or arrange them around an attractive rug to create a "furniture island."

Avoid overwhelming patterns. Pick one focal-point pattern or fabric and keep the rest simple. Follow this rule: pick smaller patterns on large furnishings, medium patterns on medium furnishings, and large patterns on small items such as pillows. Or forgo patterns altogether and opt for textured upholstery, fabrics, and wall treatments instead.

Look up. Draw eyes upward and create the appearance of height by painting or wallpapering vertical strips on walls, hanging artwork higher than eye level, or adding white crown molding to draw attention to where your walls and ceiling meet.

Expand your space with glass and mirrors. Trick the eye into thinking a space is bigger than it really is. Read more on specific techniques here .

Flaunt your views. Take advantage of great views by carefully selecting window treatments that add style without overwhelming your windows.

Clear the clutter. Select a few key decorative pieces and artful accents to showcase on shelves and tabletops. Store what you can not part with under the bed and in closets. Then save, toss, or donate the rest.

For a bit more inspiration, check out this cool apartment that was featured in Real Life Decorating magazine. And whether you rent or own, try these pointsers .