A Paycheck is a Paycheck is a Paycheck, Right? Wrong!

Ok so you get a paycheck. It is delivered to you, sent by email or handed to you by your arch-nemesis (your supervisor). Or maybe you are the person handing them out. Either way, the scenario is the same. You have in your hand or inbox a document showing you what you were paid. And to some, quite mysteriously, there is money taken out of your earnings and given to the government, or whoever, and it reduces the amount that you have to shop, save, or pay bills with. It could happen to you every week, every other week or each month. And you take that money that is left over and do with it whatever you chose. So why should you care where the extra money goes? It's gone, right?

But here is the thing …. where did it go? Did it go in the right amount? How does it affect you? Your spending habits, your budget, and the way you save for the future? It's gone, right? So who cares where it went, it's not coming to you, right? WRONG!

I'm not going to be one of these people to tell you that you can not afford things, or will ring bells and make funny noises to indicate that something to do with your finances should be important to you. But I will tell you this – it's your money and you need to know where it goes and why.

Now, most of us are savvier about money than say our mothers. (Sorry Mom!) Or we think we are. I was recently working with my mother going through her financial paperwork and was surprised about the things I took for granted as common knowledge that she was not aware of. She is a smart woman, so I was a little surprised. So we might be ahead of our mother's generation in terms of being more financially independent, but ask yourself, where does the money that comes out of your paycheck go? Do you know? Do you know what all of those fancy little acronyms mean? And why should you care?

First: the paycheck. And yes, we are going to go through it line by line. But I promise it will not be torture. We'll make it quick and then talk about why you should look at this every pay period and how it affects you.

So, what should you look at when you receive your pay stub? You may not like my answer, but the answer is everything. Let me ask you a question. If you lost $ 141.63 from your wallet would you care? Would you look for that money? Be honest with yourself, would you panic? Now I am not saying that you have lost this $ 141.63 from your pay, but if you do not know what it is or where it goes, it is as good as lost.

So now for the fun! Let's go through this pay stub line by line so that you can understand what you are being paid and where those deductions end up.

The first box is Emp #. This is your employee number that is assigned through payroll. This one does not have relevance without your HR department requests you to supply this to them as a routine part of how they identify you before speaking with you about a problem or question with your pay.

The next box is Company Name. It is important for you to know what the legal name of the company you work for is if you have an issue or a problem. An example of an issue or a problem that would be affected by you knowing your company's legal name would be if you needed to apply for Worker's Compensation or Unemployment. Again, why? Because these agencies refer to the company you work for by their legal name. If you do the same you will avoid confusion when dealing with them.

The next box is Period End date. This box is important to check because it states the period for which you are being paid. You may ask yourself, who cares? The answer is -you should. Does the amount being paid agree with the period that you worked for? In our scenario we have a salaried individual but if you were being paid by the hour, how can you know that you have been paid for the hours you worked without you know what period your employer is paying those hours for?

The next box is Dept #. Even I will admit that this one is not too important unless your employer deducts things from your pay for working in a specific department. For instance, in restaurants employers may deduct an amount from your pay for uniform maintenance or you might have a deduction from your pay if a department in that restaurant is allowed to eat lunch while working and the employee deductions a flat amount for food costs.

Our next box is the mystery box! It says FW = M 01. Is it an algebraic formula? Is it something Einstein invented? No, this is actually an important box! The FW stands for Federal Withholding. The M stands for Married and the 01 is the number of dependents that is being claimed on form W4. This box drives what comes out of your pay for Federal Withholding and can determine the all important game of whether or not you receive a refund after filing your annual tax return or whatever you will have to send money into the IRS.

What is important to know about this is that the Federal Withholding taken from your pay each pay period is based on a tax table. So the way this calculates is any payroll system will look at your gross pay, the frequency you are paid (weekly, every two weeks, etc.), and what you claimed on your W4 to see how much tax to take from your check.

The tax table calculates based first on whether you are claiming the status of Single or Married and then on the number of allowances you have claimed, in our case 01. The general rule of thumb is that Single claiming 00 allowances takes the maximum tax and Married with more allowances takes less and less tax. We will get further into this in why you should care a portion of this article.

Our next box SS # xxx-xx-0123 again looks something we learned in high school algebra. It's not. It is your social security number. What do you need to know about this? You need to know that this is the way it should look on your check stub. Or it could look like: *** – ** – 0123. Or it could be all exes or all * s. What you should NEVER see on your check stub is your full social security number printed out.

Our next box is your name and address. This one is only of concern to make sure that it is correct. Sounds simple. Make sure it stays simple. Your company may have different policies of how they get information to you. Most will mail at least your W2 form directly to you at the end of each year. So make sure your information is current so that there is no disruption to you receiving important tax information. If you move, alert the appropriate person in your company as soon as possible so that they can get your salary records updated.

Under your name and address are two boxes: check # and net pay. The check number is not something that you need to look at. It is the check number assigned by your company. If you misplace a check or need to speak to someone regarding your check they can look up the information they need in their records. The net pay is the amount of pay that you will take home after taxes and payments have been taken from your pay.

Our next box is the earnings box. Stay with me here we are getting to the good stuff! This box tells you how much you are being paid before taxes and other items are deducted from your pay. In this pay stub we have a salary amount (Sal1). However, if you are paid by the hour, you will want to make sure the hours you told your employer you worked and the hours on your pay stub match. Mistakes can happen in processing payroll, they are not intentional. It is your responsibility to check your pay stub and let your employer know if there was an error in reporting your hours to the payroll company.

Other types of earnings may include commissions, bonuses, and even reimbursements for telephone usage, mileage or office supplies purchased.

The next box is labeled taxes. We are going to go through each item in this box to explain the different payroll taxes.

– FWH = Federal Withholding. Weave the example of this above when looking at the SS # box. This is your Federal Income Tax being withheld from your pay each payroll period.
– FICA = This tax is the Federal Insurance Contribution Act tax. It is taken at a flat percentage of 6.2% up to an annual earnings cap. These taxes are taken to provide a variety of benefits to qualifying workers and their families through the program known as social security.
– MEDFICA = This tax falls under the Federal Insurance Contribution Act and allows an additional 1.45% of your pay to be withheld for Medicare, which provides health insurance for qualifying disabled workers and people 65 years of age and older. There is no earnings cap with this tax.
– ST = State Withholding. Here in Pennsylvania this is a flat percentage tax. However, in many states the withholding works much like the Federal Withholding tax. It is based on what you claim on your state W4 form. Again the principle is the same, the tax table calculates based first on whether you are claiming the status of Single or Married and then on the number of allowances you have claimed, in our case 01. The general rule of thumb is that Single claiming 00 allowances takes the maximum tax and Married with more allowances takes less and less tax.
– WCHPA = This is the local tax where my company in this example is located. In Pennsylvania there are thousands of local taxes. They range from.5% to the Philadelphia wage tax that exemced 3%. The tax is based on where you are employed and not where you live. The next state close to Pennsylvania in the number of local taxes is Ohio. Many from this area would have surprised to know that many states have no local taxes.
– PA UNEM = This tax is the Pennsylvania employee share of unemployment. This tax can come and go. In times of high unemployment percentages the State deducts this tax from employees to help offset the cost of the payment of unemployment to those who do not have work. Other states have similar taxes and some also have employees contribute to disability and state paid health care.

Next is our discounts box. There are two discounts here as an example of what you could expect to see.

The first deduction is labeled MED125. Med125 refers to medical insurance premiums that are deducted from your pay and that are run through a Section 125 plan as defined by the IRS. What does this mean to you? If you have a health insurance premium deducted from your pay there are two ways to do it. One is a standard deduction that comes out of your pay after all of the taxes have been deducted. The other is through a Section 125 plan. If your company has an established 125 plan then your health insurance deduction comes out of your pay before taxes and is not subject to payroll taxes. If you are not sure what your company offers ask someone in your HR department. Using a Section 125 plan saves employees the cost of paying taxes on their health insurance contribution deductions.

The next deduction is labeled LST. This is the Local Services Tax for Pennsylvania. The local services tax is a tax that is deducted from your pay up to a maximum of $ 52.00 per year. It is collected on a pro-rata basis that is determined by the number of payroll periods established by an employer for a calendar year. This tax is used to help offset the cost of emergency services and also is used to reduce property taxes through homestead acts in certain municipalities.

Our final pay check stub box is Year to Date. Ok, we are almost done here! This is just a total of what has been paid to you and what has been deducted from your pay for the year.

So, now the all important part of this exercise. Why should you care about all of this and how does it affect you?

Well, to start this is your money. And yes it is important to know where it goes. This is really not the day and age where a woman is kept in the dark and her husband takes care of all of the financial responsibilities while the woman takes care of the house and children. Most families are made up of two working parents. For most it is a necessity to meet the rising cost of food, fuel and health insurance and it is not an option for many mothers to stay at home. It is also unfortunate that the divorce rate in our country continues to rise but it also means that women, like it or not, are almost forced to be financially savvy. So let's get started on the importance of understand how your money comes and goes through a paycheck and why you should care.

You earn an amount from your employer. You submit a time sheet or some type of data to your employer letting them know what work you have accomplished or the hours that you have worked. They take that data and process it through payroll. You then receive a net amount and it is direct deposited in your bank or you take a check to the bank and deposit it each pay day. We have established that there are taxes and deductions taken from your pay and you get what is left over. Now here is why it matters.

Unlike the popular thought that taxes and deductions are taken from your pay and there is not much you can do about it, there are portions of your pay that you can directly control to put more money in your pocket now!

We are going to reference back to those pay check boxes again and go through the portions of those taxes and allowances that you have control over. I know what you are thinking! Not the boxes again, but bear with me. There will be strategies to help you put money into your family's hands. It will be up to you to decide what strategies to use and what your comfort level will be with their affect.

So let's get started.

Ok, the first thing you should take a serious look at is your Federal Withholding. Let me ask you a question; are you one of those folks that get a huge refund when you send in your Federal tax return? If you are, you might want to think about what you are doing. By allowing the federal government the use of your money through the year you are missing opportunities. Do you have credit card debt? Is the credit card company charging you interest on your outstanding balance? Then why "loan" the IRS your earnings when you have debt to pay? Yes you get a big refund at tax time, but what if you had use of that money through the year? What would you do with it? Could you pay down debt? Invest it? If you invest this money, even in a money market account you could be earning money with these funds instead of allowing the federal government to use it and then pay it back to you later.

You have to be careful with this one. Think about your comfort level. Are you comfortable using that money through the year or do you have a need to get this all in one lump sum? If you are not a disciplined saver then that lump sum return of your money may be attractive to you. You also have to make sure that if you decide to take that money now that you check with your accountant or with an online paycheck calculator at the very least to make sure you do not reduce your Federal Withholding too much and end up owed money at the end of the year. That will certainly not help you achieve your personal financial goals, not to mention the IRS frowns upon you owed them money. Ironic, is not it?

There is another item on your paycheck that is important and can keep money in your pocket – it is your social security number. When we went through the individual boxes on our check stub I stated that you should NEVER see your entire social security number on your check stub. Instead, the number should be masked by stars or exes. Why? Because identity theft is a real threat in our society. So if your paycheck is lost in the mail, that is bad enough, but if your social security number is on it you are just asking for trouble. Check your latest check stub. If you see your social security number on your check contact your payroll administrator right away and they can have that number masked. It should be standard practice with payroll providers, but some are not paying attention to those trends that can affect the end user, namely, you.

Another item that can save you considering money is that MED125 deduction. A lot of companies have their employees pay a portion of the cost of health insurance. With the increasing cost of health premiums it has become a necessity for most companies. But how can you pay towards your health insurance save you money? Remember this health insurance deduction is taken from your pay and is not taxed.

You can not assume that if you have a health insurance deduction that it falls under a Section 125 plan. You have to ask your employer if they have this plan. If they do not you could ask them to research one. In the past it was a headache for companies to maintain a 125 plan. But now a plan that only contains health insurance premiums or a premium only plan has little administrative headache to it if your part of a company with under 99 employees.

Also, another way to save money through payroll is to ask your HR or payroll contact if your company has a Full Flex Plan as part of their 125 plan. What does this mean? A Full Flex Plan or A Flexible Spending Account as a part of a 125 plan gives you a great opportunity to save money. It allows you to have a predetermined amount withheld from your pay each year to pay for various medical needs. If you are having electrical surgery, it could be run through the Flex account at your work, so you do not pay tax on that amount. Many Flex accounts have a list of items that you could put this money toward, such as, contact solution, certain over the counter medications, and even nicotine patches are reimbursable. The thing to watch with Flexible Spending Accounts is that they are what is called "use them or lose them". So if you have $ 2000.00 deducted from your pay each year, but only submit reimbursements for $ 200.00 then you lose the $ 1800.00 you contributed. Check with your HR or payroll administrator to find out the rules to your company's Flexible Spending Account.

Another expense that you could be running through payroll using your company's Section 125 plan is Dependent Care. So if you have children that go to a day care facility during the week the amount that you pay to the day care could be run through your pay check and be deducted from you untaxed.

So to summarize this Section 125 plan, when these items are run through your paycheck on a pre-tax basis (meaning the amounts deducted from you are not taxable) you in effect save approximately an automatic 12-15% on health insurance, medical necessities , and child care. Really think about that statement. If you child's day care asked you if you wanted to save 15% on their fees, would you look into? If a pharmacy offered you savings of 15% off of all purchases would you go to there? This is like an automatic paycheck coupon to save your family money.

My final suggestion is what is missing from our check stub. There is no 401 (k) or Simple IRA deduction on our stub. These are savings for retirement accounts that are taken from your pay and are not subject to Federal Withholding. If your company offers one of these options look into it. 401 (k) plans are run according to the way your company sets them up, so the rules are not standardized. However, many companies offer what is called an employer match for discounts that you make into this type of retirement account. If your company does offer a match then this is instant earnings on your contributions. Simple IRA plans require an employer match so you are guaranteed to have an immediate return on your investment.

Consider carefully before you decide that you are not going to participate in one of these plans. If you put aside even a small amount I would venture to say that you are not going to miss that money on a pay pay basis and it will go to securing you financial freedom when you retire.

So now your paycheck should not just be a piece of paper to you. The mystery of what is taken out and why has been explained. I would challenge you to think about some of these strategies for putting money back into your pocket to see how you can save your family money through payroll. Of course, everyone's financial situation is different, so review these strategies with your financial professional before implementing them.

I would also challenge you to look at your pay stub each pay period. The more you look at it the more familiar you become with it and you will start to know what to expect. When you know what to expect then you will get a feel for what you are paid, when you are paid and how you are paid. Knowledge is one of the first steps towards becoming more financially savvy.

How to Read and Play Guitar Chords Using Chord Diagrams

You do not have to read music to play basic guitar. This article explains how to interpret chord diagrams on sheet music and play them on the guitar.

One of the things you encounter immediately when reading sheet music is the chord symbol. This is the musical symbol that describes the harmony at a particular point in a piece of music. An example is Gmi7. This tells you that the chord is a G minor seven chord. But, what notes do you use to play a Gmi7 on the guitar?

Sheet music for popular songs very often has guitar chord diagrams above each staff showing you how to play the chords. These diagrams make it possible for you to play a chord without knowing what the chord symbol means, or what notes are in the chord. The diagrams simply show where to put your fingers on the strings on the fretboard.

Of course, you as continue to study guitar and music, you will probably want to learn music theory to understand chord structure and the notes used for all the important chords in all twelve keys. But to get started making music, this is not necessary thanks to chord diagrams. They are far simpler than interpreting complex chord symbols.

A guitar chord diagram consists of a grid of five horizontal lines and six vertical lines representing the guitar fretboard. The diagram is a miniature picture of the fretboard as if you were holding the guitar up in front of you and looking at the upper part of the neck.

The vertical lines represent the guitar strings. From left to right (low to high pitch), the lines represent the strings E, A, D, G, B, and E.

The frets are represented by the horizontal lines. The thick line at the top represents the nut of the guitar at the end of the fretboard. Hold your guitar out in front of you and look at it, and all this will make sense.

The dots on the vertical string lines show where to put your fingers, the notes you fret with your left hand when playing a chord.

The numbers below the string lines at the bottom of the diagram indicate the finger of you left hand to use to fret the note. 1=index finger; 2=middle finger; 3=ring finger; and 4=little finger. Normally, the thumb is not used to fret.

The X or O above a string line means that string is open, or unfretted. An X means you do not play the string with the right hand, and an O means you play the open string.

In cases where a chord begins on a fret other than the first fret, a number on the right side of the diagram tells what the starting fret is, such as 2fr, 5fr, etc. Chords that use the first four frets often use open strings and are simpler to play. Thus, they are more common in chord diagrams.

That is about all there is to it to get started. When you look for sheet music or music books, just make sure they have guitar chord diagrams, and you can start playing basic guitar right away.

10 Skin Care Tips For Women Over 50

Taking care of your skin is a must at any age. But once you cross 40, you need to kick it up a notch with a few extra steps. Age really takes a toll on your skin. It weakens the collagen structures impacting the texture and tone of your skin. The result, you are left to grapple with ugly wrinkles and blotchy sagging skin.

While you simply can not turn the clock back on life, you can at least age gracefully. And, here are 10 beauty and skin care tips to do so.

1. Go easy on the makeup

Women over 50 should opt for light, more natural looking makeup. Make sure you are using the right makeup. The makeup items should be of good quality. It should also be designed for your skin type.

2. Do not step out without sunscreen

The sun causes more damage to your skin than anything else. It is the culprit for wrinkles and brown spots. Build your skin's defense by applying a sunscreen every day. Slather it generously on your face, neck and hands. Do not set for any sunscreen less than 30 SPF. Carry a travel size sunscreen in your handbag so that you can reapply it whenever necessary.

You can also reduce exposure to the sun by wearing long sleeved shirts, sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat.

3. Soothe dry skin

A common complaint in women over 50 is that their skin appears parched and listless. It tends to get flaky at times. This is due to its low moisture content caused by frequent sun exposure. Also, with age, the body's natural ability to produce moisturizing oils is reduced.

One way to restore skin moisture is to use a moisturizer. You must moisturize the skin after a bath or a wash. You can lose lotions as well as essential oils such as almond oil. Vitamin E is an important compound in any skin product.

Do not use cleansers that dry out the skin further. Test the product before you go all out and apply it. Opt for a creamy cleanser that leaves your face soft and supple after every wash. Keep yourself hydrated by drinking lots of water. In addition to that, you must also eat a healthy diet.

4. Avoid very hot water

Your bathing water should not be too hot. It robs the skin of its natural oils making it look dry. Let the water be lukewarm. If your skin is excessively dry, avoid washing your skin too often.

5. Exfoliate on a weekly basis

Your skin repairs itself on a daily basis. The dead cells accumulate on the top layer of the skin. It is this layer of dead skin that gives you a tired look. Here, exfoliation on a weekly basis is a must. You must exfoliate your face as well as the body. The dry brush exfoliation technique before a bath really works wonders for your skin. It not only gets rid of dead cells but also improves blood circulation helping conditions such as varicose veins.

You can use some of the readymade facial masks and body scrubs. However, if you are only about about using natural ingredients on your skin, you can make your own body scrubs.

6. Give up smoking

Smoking causes premature skin aging. So, stop smoking.

7. Anti-aging creams

While most people disclaimer the need for anti-aging creams, you can use them to supply your skin with a little more collagen. Collagen is the structural protein that holds your skin together. There is a less amount of collagen produced as your grow older. Also, the fibers become weaker resulting in saggy, droopy skin.

Anti-aging creams help boost the natural production of collagen in the body; Thus, they play a crucible role in skin repair and rejuvenation. They make the skin firmer. However, do review the products well before you buy and use them. Vitamin A products are great at improving the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Most of them are only available as prescription products.

8. Get enough sleep

It's not called beauty sleep for no reason. The skin repairs and regenerates itself while you sleep. Getting 6 – 8 hours of deep sleep will conveniently take care of skin issues such as dark circles, puffy eyes and fine lines around the mouth.

9. Exercise to the rescue

Exercise can also change the way your skin looks as it improves blood circulation. It also regulates other body functions ensuring the nutrients are properly distributed across the body.

10. Check your skin

You should inspect your skin regularly. Sudden changes in the texture or tone must be brought to the notice of your doctor.

When dealing with aging skin, there's one thing you need to remember. You might not be able to look younger than you really are. But you can definitely look good for your age and comfortable in your own skin!

Persistence Can Work Miracles

What trains do successful people have? They are ambitious, hard-working, optimistic and enthusiastic. But above all they are persistent. They never give up, never waver or swerve from their purpose; they stay with it despite the setbacks and problems; they are strong-murdered and determined to succeed. In particular, they get up after each failure and try again. And there's no doubt that persistence pays off. All successful people were determined and persistent as they made their way to the top of their field.

But it takes the proper mindset to be persistent. You have to have faith in yourself. You have to know exactly what you want and set out to get it with determination, regardless of the odds. You can achieve what you want if you have enough persistence, but you have to pay the price. Experience has shown that most people give up just as they are about to succeed. According to Edison, "Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they brave up."

If you look closely at the lives of successful people you see that all of them had determination. They did not give up; they persisted until they got what they wanted.

A Few People Who Learned to Persevere and Went on to Tremendous Success

Henry Ford: Ford's early career was filled with failures. He failed and went broke five times before he finally achieved success. But he never wave up. He pushed on his endless failures, learning from each of them, and he is now considered to be one of the most successful men that ever lived.

Bill Gates: Gates is one of the richest people in the world, but he appeared to be an unqualified candidate for success when he was in school. He had little success early on but found his true calling when he was introduced to computers in high school. He went to Harvard but was in a rush to get out into the business world and dropped out to start a business. The business failed and many of his early ideas did not work, but he persevered and pushed on.

Robert Goddard: Goddard developed much of the technology used in present day rockets. While he was developing it, however, he was mocked and laughed at by many. The scientific community rejected his ideas and told him that space travel was impossible. And his early problems seem to indicate that they might be right: his rockets exploded on the launch pad, he frequently had little control of them when they lifted off, and they rarely went where he wanted them to. But he persisted and developed so many new techniques he is now regarded as the "father" of rocketry.

Abraham Lincoln: Lincoln has to be considered the champion of persistence. He had so many setbacks and defeats it's hard to believe that he did not give up. In 1831 he failed in business, in 1832 he was defeated when he ran for the legislature; in 1833 he failed in business again. His failures caused him to have a nervous breakdown in 1836. Despite this he persisted and went through seven more defeats in running for congress and the senate. Then finally things began to turn around, and you know the rest.

Oprah Winfrey: Oprah underwent hardships in her youth. She was brought up by her mother and grandmother, and lived in poverty for many years. She ran away at 14, hoping for a better life but ended up in a juvenile detention home. She was fired from her first job as a TV reporter because she was "unfit for TV." She persisted, however, and went on to become a major TV host and one of the richest women in the US

Stephen King: King's first book "Carrie," was rejected by 30 publishers. He finally got so dejected he thread the manuscript in the waste basket. His wife convinced him to try one more time, and he did. And, of course, eventually became one of the most-read authors of all time.

JK Rowling: Rowling was penniless, depressed and raising a child on welfare when she began writing the children's book "Harry Potter." To save on heat she did most of her writing in a local cafe. The first 12 publishers revised her manuscript, and when it was finally accepted the publisher told her that she had little chance of making much money on the book, and she should get a "day" job to support herself. But she was determined and continued writing.

Learn From Your Failure and Disappointment

One of the first things successful people learn is that failures and disappointments are not the end. Everyone has them, and the important thing is to learn from them. Ask yourself, "How could I have done it better? What did I do wrong? What can I learn from this?" Too many people see failure as the end of their dream. "Why do it again? I'm just going to fail again," they say to themselves. The people who succeed, however, are the ones that get up and go at it again, and again, for as long as it takes. It's important, though, to analyzing what you have done. Do not just push on blindly and stubbornly. Think about what you have done. Determine where you went wrong, then go at it again.

Think of your failure as a challenge. Be prepared to fail, and accept it. But keep saying to yourself, "I will succeed," and believe it. Put your heart into it, and try again. Remember: Persistence is the key to success. This has been shown again and again. Through persistence you can achieve anything. It can make your dreams come true.

Persistence in Sales

One place where persistence is particularly important is in sales. A study has shown that 80% of sales are made after the fifth call, but the same study showed that 48% of salesmen quite after the first call. Only 10% stuck to it until the fifth call.

People rarely buy something they see for the first time. This is why TV and other ads keep hammering the same thing at you. Most people do not seriously considering buying something until they have seen it in an ad or elsewhere at least five times. Think about that.

A Guide For Developing Persistence

  1. Begin with a definite goal. Make sure it is something you really want – something you're passionate about – and are willing to work extremely hard for.
  2. Write up a plan on how to achieve it. Plan it step by step. Think carefully about each step. Ask yourself how much time each step will take.
  3. Take action.
  4. Do not be deterred by any negativity or discouraging suggestions. Believe in yourself. Do not let anyone convince you that your goal is unachievable. Do not let it even enter your mind. Think "success."
  5. Create an arsenal of feedback mechanisms. You need some feedback if you are to improve. You can not improve if you do not know how you are doing.
  6. Adapt and adjust. If you're having setbacks or problems, analyze them and look for a way around them. Is a slightly different approach needed? Try one; if it does not work, try another, and another, until you succeed.
  7. Develop a strong will and a strong desire. Tell yourself you will not fail. You will not give up! Let your determination show. Keep the "pot of gold" at the end of the rainbow in mind.

Is There Ever Any reason For Stopping?

It's best not to ever let the idea of ​​stopping enter your head. It's a negative thought, and you do not want negative thoughts. If you do not think about it, you will not have to deal with it. Your only thought when you encounter a failure is: Should I change my approach? And if so, how?

Sales may be one place where persistence may not pay off in the end. If it's obvious after numerous attempts with a given customer that there is no chance of a sale, you may have to give up. But again, do not give up easily.

Does Luck Have Anything to Do With it?

When they are told how successful a person has been, many people complain, "He was just lucky. Luck does enter the picture, and indeed, some people appear to be quite lucky. But the truth is: to a large degree you make your own luck. As the saying goes, "The harder you work, the luckier you get." Remember that.

Brick Paver Design – How it Works

Professional landscape designers or architects have methods for choosing the best brick paver design to harmonize with the surrounding area of ​​your property and structure.

Brick pavers are used around swimming pools and as pathways through landscaped gardens, and well as areas with vehicular traffic. Landscape architects consider brick pavers to be a flexible pavement because of the methods and materials used to install them. It is further considered to be a flexible pavement because it can be used in so many structural and design oriented environments.

Color combinations and blended paver colors can be used to heighten the aesthetic results of a paver installation.

Here are some design considerations:

– Pavers come in different textures. Using combinations can add visual interest and give the paver installation a very custom look.

– Wood or stone structures complemented by brick pavers will add an overall warm atmosphere.

– Generally, it is best to use pavers one to two shades lighter than the structure to avoid competition for attention with the structure.

– In keeping with this idea, for brick homes or buildings, the use of pavers lighter than the brick is recommended or the use of some kind of cobblestone.

Brick paving has been used for centuries of years for sidewalks, patios, and plazas, among other areas. Brick paving is flexible since it is compacted with layers of aggregate. As the pavers compact with use, the end result is an interlock, which holds the pavers in place. This brick interlock is very stable over time, which is evidenced by the pavers installed hundreds of years ago that are still in good form and with us today.

As a landscape designer's vehicle, brick has aesthetic appeal that exudes both elegance and warmth. You can choose to install a popular pattern such as running bond, herringbone, basket weave, and there are many other ornate patterns.

To select the most appropriate design and material for your property and structure your brick paver layout will require careful planning.

5 Ways To Build A Health Care Brand That Calls To Moms

In order to build a healthcare brand in this day and age, medical professionals have had to undergo a massive realignment to the way they do business. The old business model no longer works, and in order to survive the business of medicine, medicine has had to evolve with the changing times.

However, one thing that medical professionals have always had to do is make the right connection with their customer / patient. When it comes to appealing to mothers, the medical profession has been keenly aware of how important this segment of the population is to medicine. In terms of building a nursing health brand, moms are at the top of the list when it comes to building a brand that also grows. Ways to appeal to mothers include the following:

Base Your Approach with Kids in Mind – Today's family dynamic is different than in years past. Children are being given a chance to be influential in the decisions that surround their lives. A healthcare brand that keeps kids in the loop and a major focus stands a greater chance of being seen as evolved and patient-centric.

Be Mindful of Your Online Presence – The modern parent tends to be tuned in to their technology now more than ever. Any healthcare brand that wants to succeed with moms these days needs to be able to appeal to this "techie" side of things and have a solid website & social media presence. By being able to digest patient reviews, a list of services and amenities, and even make appointments online, a healthcare brand becomes accessible to the go-go mom of today in a way that was not possible just a few years ago.

Better Communication via 21st Century Means – At one point in time, a phone call with a human on the other end of the line was all we wanted in terms of customer service. Today, though, more and more moms are skewing toward engaging with their doctor in ways that are more personable while still maintaining use of the technology with which they are comfortable. Being able to send emails directly to their doctor can be appealing. Offices that send out messages regarding scheduling changes through social media (brand-specific Twitter and Facebook accounts) ties into activities that can engage the modern mom.

Better Rapport with Patients – Believe it or not, even the modern mom appreciates a good bedside manner. More often than not, medical professionals are seen as somewhat removed, rushed due to over-scheduling, and distanced from their patients with many complaining that their attending physician does not even look them in the eye during a visit. By taking the time to address scheduling issues & addressing the in-house staff on better interpersonal skills, a healthcare brand stands to win because word-of-mouth references are the gold standard of a business establishing itself in the community.

Keep It Simple – Sometimes the simplest approach is the best. Yes, a nice website & organized social media presence can be beneficial, but be sure the information you present is easy to digest. Certainly appealing to the modern parent that wants a fully online experience, but never shy away from the parent that still wanted to hear the calming effect of a human voice on the line. It can be easy to create a healthcare brand that is shiny and technologically fitted for the foreseeable future, but medicine is about people.

In the end, a successful healthcare brand is one that appeals to more than just moms; it appeals to the community at large. Success includes an evolved view at how society has changed while always maintaining a foothold on the purpose of medicine – to heal.

The New Tygart Flyer Rail Journey

Cradled by the green-carpeted, wave-resembling ridges forming the Tygart Valley, Elkins, located in the West Virginia Highlands, representations down-home America. From the historic, red brick railroad depot, two barely visible, gravel-imbedded tracks stretch out of town, their direction indicated by the girder-resembling bridge ahead, and to the right, of them.

Proudly and powerfully led by the black Western Maryland number 82 and dark blue Baltimore and Ohio number 6641 diesel engines, the six-car complement complying the late-May New Tygart Flyer stood poised atop the slender rails next to the 1908 depot, the locomotives humming with deep, throaty, journey-anticipatory vibration on the hot, power blue morning. The passengers, most of whom considered school bus-deposited groups, progressively crowded the red-brick, track-level platform as the sun and temperature inched higher. The steel Pullman coaches, internally air conditioned, entrenched the throng inside during the 1045 boarding, the passengers recollecting into smaller groups as they gravitated towards their assigned cars.

Although the railroad's physical journey had been scheduled to depart at 1100, its historical one had begun more than a century ago, in 1880, and the "Western Maryland" and "Baltimore and Ohio" railroads, the names displayed by the current engines, had played crucial roles in it.

Principally hauling freight and coal, along with limited passenger service, the Western Maryland Railway itself, whose line entailed a six-year construction period beginning in 1906, had served the three states of Maryland, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania, with two major track subdivisions : the Connellsville Subdivision, primarily engaging in easterly and westerly freight traffic flows, connected Cumberland, Maryland, with Connellsville, Pennsylvania, while the Thomas Subdivision, also originating in Cumberland, threaded its way through densely-forested, coal- and timber-rich West Virginia to Elkins.

The latter subdivision, however, had actually begun in 1880 when the West Virginia Central and Pittsburgh Railway had contemplated laying narrow-gauge track, but almost immediately elected to employ the more widely used standard gauge, for the purpose of providing access to the Allegheny Highlands 'abundant, hitherto untapped resources, itself sparking the establishment of several towns, inclusive of Davis, Thomas, Parsons, and Elkins.

The Coal and Iron Railway, established in 1899 to facilitate logging operations, originated in Elkins, cycling through the Cheat Mountain Tunnel and following the Shavers Fork of the Cheat River and the West Fork of the Greenbrier River into Durbin, where it connected with the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad's Greenbrier Division. Although construction had been completed in 1903, the Western Maryland's acquisition of the West Virginia Central and Pittsburgh only two years later resolved in the Coal and Iron Railway's redesignation as the "Durbin Subdivision."

Elkins, located at the mouth of the Leading Creek and Tygart Valley rivers, was named after investor and Senator Stephen B. Elkins, who, along with Senator Henry Gassaway Davis, had been instrumental in both the railroad's and the town's growth. Originating to serve the work needed to maintain and operate the line, the expanding town had once featured maintenance shops and "Wild Mary's" freight yard, the staging area and western terminus of the many coal operations which had fanned out from the Elkins area, supported by a 900-strong team.

Threshold to some of the world's richest timber and natural resources, and the transportation hub of the Appalachian Mountains, it became home of the Davis and Elkins College and Davis's Graceland Inn summer residence, where invited guests would escape the Washington heat and humidity in order to enjoy its higher-elevation, cooler-climate location. Elkins became the Western Maryland Railway's southern hub, its Thomas Subdivision connecting with its main line at Maryland Junction, south of Cumberland.

Although its service had been consistently ranked as fast, efficient, and of significant quality, it significantly competed with the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, but was fraught with several obstacles, including a proliferation of costly, high-maintenance tunnels and bridges; use of a single, as opposed to the B & O's double, main line track; and service to only two major cities-namely, Baltimore and Cumberland.

The Baltimore and Ohio, having already established an affiliation with the Chesapeake and Ohio in 1962, petitioned the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) to gain control of the Western Maryland two years later, which it granted, but the line had continued to operate independently until 1972, at which time all three rail companies were merged into the Chessie System. Further amalgamated with the Seaboard Coast Line and The Family Line ten years later, it briefly operated the Seaboard System, but was remorphized into the CSX Corporation, whose railroad division was designated "CSX Transportation," in 1987. The town of Elkins, which growth had peaked in 1920, began a resource depletion-sparked decline and progressive rail service reduction until the tracks witnessed their last operation in 1959, thereafter lying barren and unused for some four decades.

In 1997, the Interstate Commerce Commission granted CSX Transportation permission to abandon the track it owned, but no longer used for coal carriage, below Elkins, which was subdivided into the still-active Elkins-Tygart Junction portion and the inactive Elkins-Bergoo section, provided that the West Virginia State Rail Authority could acquire both for a $ 6 million fee.

The line, encompassing some 140 miles of Elkins Division track and managed by the West Virginia Central Railroad, is now operated by the Durbin and Greenbrier Valley Railroad, a short-line owned by John and Kathy Smith. Originating service on May 16, 1998 during the annual Cass Scenic Railroad railfan weekend, it initially operated from Durbin until the Randolph County Development Authority reconstructed the old Western Maryland bridge, allowing it to re-establish rail access to the Elkins train depot abandoned by CSX in 1992, once the location of its 22-acre, roundhouse-equipped yard.

The restored depot, site of the Durbin and Greenbrier Valley Railroad's headquarters, is the departure point for three of its four excursion trains-the "New Tygart Flyer," the "Cheat Mountain Salamander," and the "Mountain Express Dinner Train" -while the "Durbin Rocket" continues to depart from the town of Durbin itself. The Elkins depot once again serves as a railroad departure point and the town is once again the shopping, dining, hotel, and transportation hub of the east Central Appalachian Mountains-but now for tourists. A piercing whistle warned of the New Tygart Flyer's imminent departure on that late-May day.

Nudged by the two diesel engines in pusher-mode, the train inched rearward as the car couplings accordioned into each other. Plying the tracks of the former Cheat Subdivision, which is really curved to the right, it trundled over the rust-colored, girder-resembling bridge and the green reflective surface of the river, the individual structures of Elkin's historic district incorporating into motion, and parallel several stationary coal cars until it briefly suspended its own travel.

Threading to the right on the switchback, and now rolled by its locomotives, the New Tygart Flyer departed the Elkin's yard limits at milepost 30.0, plunging through density vegetation, as if the tracks provided a parting path through it. Negotiating the horseshoe-shaped Isner Loop two miles later, the snaking chain commenced its 2.8-percent graduated ascent up Cheat Mountain. Seemingly brushing the slanted dirt and shale rock faces, it follows the arching, climbing rails, cradled by a deep ravine.

Reaching the summit at the Cheat Mountain Tunnel, the dual-locomotive, six-car chain plunged into the 1,717-foot-long, hand-carved, s-curved passage under the mountain's ridge, the light-outlined portal representing its entrance progressively decreasing in size until it flicked out behind the last car, and the forest-green views through the side windows, as if shades had suddenly been rolled over them, transformed into blackness. The narrow rock tunnel provided as much clearance as a hand in a glove.

After reducing its momentum to a snail's pace, the train reinitiated determined momentum. The layers of step-resembling shale rock showcased earth's evolutionary, millennia-carved artist, expressed in geological style. Redescending into the Cheat River Valley at a two-percent graduated rate, it reached the mountain's base at the small community of Bowden. A short, out-of-service track siding passed by at milepost 38.4. The cars lurched and swayed as they snaked behind and mimicked the Western Maryland and Baltimore and Ohio locomotives, their whistles cracking open the gentle, pre-summer morning with every road-crossing traverse, momentarily intercepting, and then paralleling, the Shavers Fork of the Cheat River.

Located in the eastern Allegheny Mountains, the 88.5-mile-long river itself, flowing through Monongahela National Forest and primarily draining a 214-square-mile basin in rural and forested areas, is part of the mighty Mississippi by means of the Cheat, Monongahela , and Ohio rivers. Rising in north-central Pocahontas County at Thorny Flat, itself located on 4,848-foot Cheat Mountain, it flows through the abandoned logging town of Spruce, location of its headwaters, before moving in a north-northeasterly direction through Randolph and Tucker Counties. Its valley is formed by Cheat Mountain in the west and Shavers Mountain in the east. Joining Black Fork at Parsons, the Shavers Fork forms the Cheat River at a 1,621-foot elevation.

The river's prevalent, white-capped, mini-rapids, indicating their negotiation of the rocks and pebbles numbering in the hundreds of thousands encountered in their paths, representated obstacles the water's forces painstakingly down into smooth, almost polished brown opals. Would that force ever succeed in reducing them to nonexistence? Which entity, or state, could then be considered the conqueror-the liquid or the solid?

The 1922-era, deluxe Pullman Palace parlor car in which I rode, the most luxurious of the train's coaches, featured a wooden bar and pantry; individual tables and black vinyl chairs; wooden sidewall paneling; laced window curtains; ceiling fans; and red, floral-patterned carpeting. A buffet lunch was served in the standard cars, but the parlor car offered more formal, menu and table service, and included a turkey, lettuce, and tomato croissant; a tri-color pasta salad; potato chips; apple pie a la mode; and iced tea. Catering had been provided by the Railyard Restaurant located in the historic Elkins Rileyard, but entrees were made on board.

Cheat Mountain, draped in multiple shades of green, majesticly rose in front of the locomotives. Bemis, a camping community of some 200, was represented by a scatter of farmhouses and mobile homes off the left side. The track, sandwiched between Glady Fork on the left and Cheat Mountain on the right, re-elevated and passed over High Bridge, under which the glistening water appeared a motionless, velvet sheen surface. Curving over and between sand-colored boulders, the river descended under the trestle in an inverted s-pattern.

The screeching, snaking chain of steel cars, imitating their life-providing, parental engines, somehow appeared infinitesimal amidst the mountains, progressing like a thread through the eye of a needle, over a path veritably swallowed by the tree-carpeted peaks towering above them . Decelerating to a crawl at 1230 and paralleling the 4,200-foot track siding at milepost 42.6, the New Tygart Flyer arrested its motion, the two diesel engines disconnecting from the parlor car and rounding the train to reattach themselves as pushers.

The parlor car itself, no longer obstructed by the locomotives, now became the lead coach, negotiating the high road bed which gravel steeply angled downward. A final screech, replaced by a thunderous roar only nature could ironically have made, indicated arrival at milepost 50.6 and the High Falls of Cheat, the New Tygart Flyer's terminus, before it would later recommence its return journey. Pouring, like a Herculean-sized faucet of white, unharnassed energy, the 18-foot-high, 150-foot-wide, horseshoe-shaped waterfall streamed over the flat step of rock to the collecting pool below it and thethen into the Shavers Fork of the Cheat River.

The covered, wooden platform, which was barely long enough to stretch between a few seat rows of a single coach, somehow represented a link with humanity, while the track curving at 33 degrees toward the green confines of the isolating forest served as the path to that link. The air transported an inexpensive spray of photographed vegetation and the sound waves of the now-fault rushing water. The gray parlor car, currently considered the last in the chain, was visible to the left and represented the means by which humanity link was transported, a lifeline forged once per day during the summer and only in one's imagination during the winter.

The similarities were many at this remote, isolated, end-of-the-world location. The track formed a path to it. The river formed a path to it. The track transported life. The river transported life. The track paralleled and reflected the river, as if there were two parallel, but very close, worlds of different properties and forms. The river continued its journey. And, with a brief lurch as the car couplings tightened, so, too, did the train. Only one location could represent both their destinies-their origins.

Winners – Are You a Valley Or a Mountain Person? Overcoming the Challenges of Self Employment

"It's not where you start it's where you finish" so the song goes … meaning that you do not need to have the decision to be one – you can acquire the necessary skills along the way.

This weekend I've been looking at my attitude (well I'm always looking at this to tell the truth). Let's face it we could use something to give us a kick in the pants when we start feeling sorry for ourselves. However, sometimes it's worth stepping back to look at the big picture and reflect. So yesterday I gradually stepped off the roundabout for a day to rest and recharge the batteries.

I've started to read a book by Frank Dick, OBE former director of Coaching for British Athletics. He talks about the difference between Valley people and Mountain people . Valley people seek the calm and comfortable ground of shelter, safety and security – their concept of achievement is not losing ', and belong to the' woulda, coulda, shouda 'brigade.

Mountain people however, have decided that valley life is not for them and seek to test ambition on the toughest climbs. They know that there is rich satisfaction in reaching the top and the fight that's needed to get there.

Whilst reading I also learned something very interesting from Miroslav Vanek, former President of the International Federation of Sport Psychologists. He did a comparison study between motivation and talent. What was evident from his study that the most talented athletes did not have the same high level of motivation as the less gifted , who had to learn to deal with defeat. Therefore, those athletes who had not had the chance to develop a resilience to defeat – "a resilience they would need in the senior arena where every athlete, no matter how able, sooner or late faces defeat, because their abilities had never been challenged. These athletes had never stretched themselves ".

He goes on to say that the less talented athletes had been obliged to learn, to adapt, to fight, to bounce back. They had learned to face change.

What I took from this book is that in actuality – it's my own personal attributes – which are critical in overcoming obstacles, regardless of what industry, arena or field I'm in. Without these attributes I would be unable to handle myself in challenging times, deal with change or setbacks. Without it – I would be blaming my circumstances, or feel a victim or powerless in the face of these external influences.

I had to admit to myself – that yes as a kid I was a talented athlete – but as to whether or not I had it within myself to accept defeat was something else. Then I recalled the time I was selected to trial for my County as a sprinter. On the day I did not even get a chance to compete because I slipped and fell flat on my face at the start line. Speechless disappointment followed. Then there was the time I was unable to successfully defend my long jump title because I delivered 3 'no jumps' in a row, and walked away in tears. Then there was the really disappointment of being beaten into 3rd place by .5cm at an important long jump event, and therefore missing out on the All England Championships later that season.

Sure I probably did allow those things to 'hang around' for a few days – before having a meaningful discussion with my Coach and looking for alternatives or 'finding the positives' in the situation – which I ever did.

So … when you translate that into business, think about this. You've got a great product or an amazing service. But that's not enough. Because when you work for yourself – every challenge is usually magnified a 100 times anyway, because at the end of the day – the buck stops with you does not it?

In order to pass the winning post first requires a decision to work on yourself as well. You may only be running a business part-time or have only just started, or you're about to diversity, but consider yourself as a mountain person.

  • Concentrate on what's important . Whatever discomfort or sacrifice or inconvenience you are experiencing NOW may be temporary – but the short term pain will be worth it in the long run
  • Commit to being a professional and aim for excellence. Ask yourself from now on "how can I add value – how can I be even better".
  • G o the extra mile in all areas . What would the best of the best be thinking and doing right now?
  • B elieve in yourself first – work with a trusted adviser, mentor or coach. Plaster your house with slogans that tell you you're amazing. Stay away from the dream stealers and their tiny minds.
  • Be flexible to changing circumstances and be open to new opportunities. Even difficulties have within them potential profitable opportunities
  • Be organized – treat your business and yourself as a professional at all times – even if nobody can needlessly see everything going on in the background – remember you'll know which is just as important

Caring For Your Baby's Feet: What To Do and What To Look Out For

The human foot is designed for a lifetime of use and support. It can often be the difference between an active and enjoyable life, or one crippled by discomfort and limitation. Fortunately, most people experience only minor or temporary foot issues during their lifetime. The time in which the foot begins to develop during infancy and early childhood is vital to ensuring healthy feet during adulthood. This article will discuss some of the ways parents can ensure proper foot development, and what to look out for that could indicate a developmental problem.

The development of the human foot begins in the embryo stage, and continues through the time we spend in the womb. When a baby is born, all the components that a foot needs for proper function are generally present, with the exception of several bones that are only cartilage at that point. Overall, the complete infrastructure is there, and the foot needs only to strengthen, grow, and create bone over time. The body has an amazing ability to do this on it's own, and needs little external help. Parents do have the ability to improve this development, and can play a role in assuring proper development. One of the simplest ways to support this development is to let the baby kick and move their legs. Leg strength, muscle development, and overall range of motion will have a positive effect on proper foot function in the future, as a poorly functional leg will lead to poor foot function. To support this motion, parents should keep their babies uncured and unrestricted, allowing the legs to kick away. This improves and strengthens the hips, knees, ankles, and foot joints, and will help muscle mass and coordination to grow.

Likewise, little restriction should be placed on the feet at this stage. Infants who do not walk do not need shoes for protection, as shoes can restrict the natural development of the foot structure and internal foot strength. During early infancy, the foot is still somewhat pliable, and poorly fitting shoes have the potential of causing foot deformity. Once walking begins, shoes should still be avoided for a short while as the foot needs the pressure of the direct ground to stimulate strength and structural stability development. Of course, when walking on rough or hazardous surfaces outside the home, the infant will need shoes for protection. All walking in the safety of home should be performed without shoes to promote proper foot development. When shoes must be worn, they need to be properly fitted, with enough space for the foot to fit without being too big. Trying to shove a little foot into a tight shoe can be harmful to development, and trying to use a big shoe 'to grow into' can lead to instability and injury.

Walking should not be forced in an infant. There is no set age for the development of walking, as everyone reaches this wonderful milestone at various times. Parents should not use the timing of a sibling or a friend's child as a reference as to when their child should begin to walk, and simply need to let this process occur on its own, when the baby is ready. Given this, any lengthy delay in walking, such as 24 months, should prompt a medical evaluation to determine if there is a problem keeping the child from walking. This is unusual, however, and most parents should be patient and let their infant develop this ability on their own.

Other than allowing for motion and reducing shoe restriction, a baby's foot is easy to care for. Nails should be regularly and carefully trimmed, and the skin should be kept clean and dry. Socks should be worn when it is cold out, one must be careful to keep hair strands from wrapping around the little toes, as a long piece of hair could potentially strandulate a toe if wrapped tight enough. Sharp materials and hot objects like a space heater should be kept out of contact range.

One of the biggest concerns parents have about their baby's feet are the presence of any deformities that may lead to future problems. Serious deformities of the foot are uncommon at birth, and are typically not right right after delivery in the hospital. Some deformities do take time to be noticeable, but the most significant ones are more immediately visible. Infants can be born with a variety of foot deformities, most of which are correctable. These can include rotational deformities, such as clubfoot (rotation of the foot inward) or congenital calcaneovalgus / vertical talus (rotation of the foot far outward). Both of these deformities need immediate correction to prevent future degradation, and are generally successfully cured with casting and bracing or early corrective surgery to release tight ligaments and return the foot to a proper position. Extra toes are sometimes present, which can be removed later on for cosmetic appeal or to ensure proper shoe fitting. Shortly after birth, a condition called metatarsus adductus can be seen in which the foot takes on a c-shape, as the long metatarsal bones are rotated inward too far. This can be corrected with casting, bracing, special shoes, or surgery if the deformity is not addressed until later on in childhood. Some level of this deformity can be considered normal, although if it is noticeable externally it is likely in the abnormal range.

Once the child begins to walk, certain deformities can be seen that were not noticeable before. This includes heightened inward rotation of one of the legs, or less commonly heightened outward rotation. Also called in-pointing, this condition is not unusual. Most cases are simply due to uneven leg muscle development, and will resolve on their own. Some cases, however, are due to a deformity of the hip, the thigh bone, or the lower leg bone, and need either aggressive therapy and bracing to reduce the deformity, or surgery to de-rotate the involved bone.

As the child begins to walk more, one concern many parents have is whether or not their child is flat-footed. All infants with normal foot structure have flat, flexible feet. The arch structure slowly develops as the foot strengnthens. In the beginning, children walk flat-footed, and slowly reach normal arch structure as they begin to walk with a normal heel-to-toe walking pattern by age four or five. If the foot sees excessively flat in the beginning, or if the arch is not forming, then the child may be flat-footed. This is not necessarily a deformity in the strict sense, but due to our society's need for shoe use to protect ourselves from environmental harm (unlike traditional tribal cultures in natural environments), we tend to have weaker feet which do not accommodate well for flat feet later in life. Therefore, prescription arch subsidies are generally used in those with flat feet to prevent or slow future foot strain and deformities that form out of the instability of flat feet, such as bunions and hammertoes. Some children develop bunions and hammertoes very early, and these can even be seen during the infancy period in some cases. Corrective surgical treatment is generally delayed until the skeleton is more developed, and usually these deformities do not pose any early problems.

High arches are another deformity seen in childhood and infancy. This is not an uncommon deformity as the foot develops through childhood and addiction, and generally only needs better shock absorption in the shoes. However, the presence of this deformity in infancy and early childhood often companions birth defects involving the nervous system and muscular structure, although these diseases are often not first.

One final development cause for concern parents often have is when their child walks on their toes. Toe walking, as it is known, is usually a benign habit that the child must be encouraged to break. In this case, the child will be able to stand flat on their feet, but chose either consciously or subconsciously to walk with their heels off the ground. Constant reminders at home and physical therapy (in some difficult cases) can be used to correct this. Other cases are due to actual structural problems, including tightness of the Achilles tendon, spasticity of the rear leg muscles, or neuromuscular disease. These causes need to be addressed individually, and may need a variety of treatment that could include therapy, medication, surgery, or Botox injections.

As one can see, a baby's foot is a remarkable thing, and usually develops just fine on it's own. Parents find themselves in an excellent position to encourage this development based on this advice. Deformities that affect the foot's future ability to function properly are relatively uncommon in infants and young children, but can be corrected in almost all cases when they are present. As a parent, one should be vigilant for any abnormalities, but also recognize that the young foot needs time to properly develop and grow, and many minor early developmental concerns often correct themselves.

Fireplace Designs

There are people that would like to have a fireplace in their homes, not because they would like to enjoy a nice warm fire but because they like how it makes the house appear. For whatever reason that an individual would like to have a fireplace designs, the two most important things to consider are; the location and what will be used to power it.

The decision to go ahead and build the fireplace can now be out in order if the correct measurements have been taken. There are various materials used to build; tiles or marble. Tiles act like a mirror and reflect the heat. This is an added advantage because heat is spread evenly throughout the room. You can get ideas from visiting ancient homes or asking companies that specialize in building them to build one for you.

To know what fireplace designs you would like, understand what you want to achieve in the end of it. If you want to have a modern look, then go for the electric fire design which is formed like a cube in the wall. With this design, there need to be wires behind the wall that are connected to the power supply to provide the power required.

The modern fireplace designs save us the trouble of not having to deal with fumes, smoke, ashes or clearing up the mess when the ashes become too much. This makes it so much more convenient and appealing. They do allow us to enjoy the warmth of a sizzling fire even though we can not use them to make sausages.

Choosing Porch Railings – What's In Style

For a front porch, deck, balcony, or gazebo the porch railing has long been considered a must have. Important for many architectural designs, these railings add additional beauty to your home, as well as provide a measure of safety and convenience. Over the years, a variety of materials have been used for the railings. Here are some of the current materials being used to make porch railroads.

Wood railing has been around a long time. The Victorian styles of turn of the century homes used these types of elaborate wooden rails. There is no doubt that a wood porch railing adds something special to any home's appearance. Wood railing does require maintenance, either painting or varnishing over time, so that is something to consider when making your purchase. Many different types of wood are used in making wood railings, which offers a lot of choices to the homeowner. Wood does offer some designs that have not been able to be fully replicated in other materials, and does cost more over the long term.

Becoming very popular in use for porch railroads is the vinyl railing. With the designs of the traditional wood railings now becoming available in vinyl, such as different accent patterns like rose scroll or victorian scroll, many homeowners are opting for the vinyl railroads. Vinyl does not require the maintenance of the wood railings and is much easier to install, thereby costing less than wood. Many people prefer the use of vinyl because there are not splinters, nails, or sharp edges. This can be a plus if you have young children. Vinyl railing is also the choice of the do-it-yourself types, and can be purchased as a kit or in individual pieces either from your local home improvement store or an online speciality store.

Another option in porch railings is to choose a material which is a composite. The base material is made out of a wood composite that is encased in polymer. This gives the porch railing the look of wood, combined with the durability and ease of maintenance as the vinyl railroads. Some of the available designs are more detailed and the price is a bit more as well.

Metabolic Acids and Plantar Fasciitis

Our feet are critical for our balance, coordination and of course, walking. We take them pretty much for granted until they hurt. Then we are really aware how important they are for our comfort. Thousands of people suffer from different conditions with the feet. One of the most painful is called plantar fasciitis. This is where there is sharp or throbbing pain in the heel and under part of the foot, particularly the arch.

Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common and frequently seen conditions by medical doctors and foot specialists. More people hobble in to their doctors seeking relief. The tissues on the underside of the foot become irritated and inflamed to the point that it is almost too painful to walk. The inflammation affects the band of fascia or tissue which supports the arch and runs the length of the foot from the heel to the toes. When it gets that painful, it is called a “stage 4 acidic wear and tear injury”.

Steven Ross, MD, clinical professor in the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at the University of California at Irvine, and President of the American Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Society (AOFAS) says that plantar fasciitis is a very common problem in adults, particularly overweight, middle age women. It does affect all walks of life. It doesn’t seem to matter if you are very active or sedentary, you can still get plantar fasciitis.

The medical model explains that plantar fasciitis is a repetitive stress injury, but people who sit at a desk all day, want to know how they can get a repetitive stress injury when they are on their feet very little. The answer lies in their diet and lifestyle which accumulates metabolic acids in the body tissues. When the rate of inflammation rises high enough, certain vulnerable tissues start screaming in pain. Metabolic acids can cause burning pain much like the pain you would feel if you spilled acid on yourself, or a significant ache in the bones and joints.

Metabolic acids are the waste products burped out of cells after the cell has consumed its fuel and spit out the waste. Basic high school chemistry tells us that if something is acid and you want to neutralize it, you need to add something that is alkaline or base to it. That is the simplest non-invasive, non pharmaceutical (read, no side effects) way to fix an acidic condition. You can be sure that if you have inflammation in your feet, you have it everywhere, you just can’t feel it yet. If you wait long enough without getting rid of the acids in your body, you will feel it sooner or later. The fastest way to get rid of an acidic body condition, called acidosis by scientists, is to alkalize the body. Strict alkaline diet takes between 6 to 8 months to begin to see the results, but who wants to eat five dinner salads every day or 2 pounds of kale for dinner? Wouldn’t you rather just drink alkaline, ionized water and start to turn more alkaline within two to three days. As you alkalize, the pain reduces until it is gone, the length of time varies with how acidic you are.

Other forms of treatment that alkalize the foot area only, come in the form of sodium bicarbonate injections, into the painful tissue area to neutralize the acids in the arch of the foot. Clay packs on the feet can also pull out acids. These are similar to clay packs for the face. Hot mineral salt baths for the feet, using bicarbonate salts like calcium bicarbonate, magnesium bicarbonate, etc. are comforting and do help draw the alkaline water through the skin and increase the circulation so it can be eliminated.

Some forms of treatment involve soaking the feet in heated ionized acidic water for 30 minutes twice a day. It is believed that the positively charged acidic water draws into the skin, which causes the negatively charged blood to flow into the feet, thus increasing circulation to remove acidic waste.

There are also ionized foot pads that are available from Ionways called Acupeds. See the article called “Acupeds and Plantar Fasciitis” for how they work. These pads are worn on the bottoms of the feet at night. They actually draw the toxins and metabolic acids from the muscles and tissues of the feet as you sleep. As the toxic load becomes less, the pain is relieved.

Other treatments that do not involve alkalizing include different types of exercises, stretching and foot massage. These forms of therapy can improve the circulation and increase the cellular pumping action that gets those nasty acids moving into the blood stream to eventually go down the chute.

There are surgical procedures that relieve the strain in the plantar fascia but it actually transfers the problem to other areas of the foot. There is another surgical procedure that is done to relieve the tightness in the calf muscles, believing that it will reduce pressure on the heel and the under-foot fascia. I, myself am not sure why one would do surgery on an acidic condition that can be reversed simply and easily without it.

Some foot specialists recommend orthodics or orthodic-like inserts into the heel and arch portion of the shoe. Some are custom made and some can be purchased over-the-counter. Some of the inserts that you buy over-the-counter can act by stimulating acupressure points on the bottom of the foot. It doesn’t seem to matter how long you have been having foot pain and severe the pain is, some people obtain relief within minutes.

Believe it or not, the size of your waist-line can have an effect on whether or not you get plantar fasciitis. Toxins are stored in body fat, that is why the body makes fat. If you did not have a lot of toxins, you would not be over or underweight. By modifying your diet to include more alkaline foods and more alkaline, ionized water, your body would discharge toxins into your waste chutes and your weight would naturally find its ideal. We have other articles to reference this, so check them out.

Dr. Ross explains that without surgical intervention, plantar fasciitis usually sorts itself out with patience, time and exercise. Nothing is a quick fix and quite often the surgical treatments don’t work as they are intended. Dr. Robert. O. Young says that approximately 99 percent of those with plantar fasciitis, who alkalize with diet and alkaline, ionized water will see relief much sooner without surgery.

Why House Mice Are Worse Than You Think

Property Loss Due to Infestation

Mice infestation of stored food generates greater loss than simply what the mice eat. In six months a pair of mice will eat about 4 pounds of food. These same mice will produce about 18,000 droppings from what they eat. Food contamination caused by this same pair of mice will be about 10 times the amount of food ateen. Suspected contamination will add to this loss by a significant amount.

Because of the commonplace food contamination, the government actually sanctions a certain amount of rodent hairs and droppings per quantities of food shipped for human consumption. Health inspectors work tirelessly to condemn food stores because of greater than allowable contamination.

House mice infestations also result in significant property damage beyond that of food stores. Fabrics, documents, books, and artwork all fall victim to the incessant gnawing of house mice. These rodents often gnaw at the insulation on electrical wires. This leads to estimated millions of dollars worth of damage in electrical fires each year. Many times these fires go reported as "cause unknown."

Carriers of Disease

House mice do not cause an impact as great as rats in their disease carrying potential when food contamination is not considered. However, their impact as disease vectors should not be ignored. House mice and the parasites they host are responsible for the transmission of numerous diseases.

Salmonella

Infected rodent feces can contaminate food stores and lead to the spread of a particular type of bacterial food poisoning, called salmonellosis. Mice most likely are more prolific transmitters of this disease than rats.

Rickettsial Pox

Rickettsia akari is a specie of bacteria that causes a chicken pox type rash. This disease is transmitted across mice and then to people through the bite of the house mouse mite that infests them.

Meningitis

A viral infection of house mice, known as lymphocytic choriomeningitis, can also infect people. It is transmitted through contaminated feces or dust.

Leptospirosis (Weil's Disease)

Weil's Disease is a bacterial infection caused by spirochaetes of the genus Leptospira that affects humans and a wide range of animals. All because more commonly transmitted to humans by rats, house mice are serious carriers of this disease.

Dermatitis

The bite of house mice mites can transmit a disease to humans that results in uncomfortable skin irritation and itching. The cause of this irritation is frequently mistaken for heat rash, fleas, allergies and other causes. These mites are capable of spreading through an entire house stricken by mouse infestation during certain times of seasons.

Rat-bite fever, Ray Fungus, and Ringworm

These diseases and others are commonly transmitted from house mice. Infections can result from mouse droppings, transported through the mice themselves, or transmitted to pets and then passed on to humans.

Summary

House mice cause millions in property damage and food contamination every single year. It remains one of the most costly drains in the rodent population on the nations economy. While they do so less frequently then rats, house mice role in the transmission of diseases to human beings should not be understated. Comprehensive mice control procedures are essential in successfully limiting the impact on human dwellings and their severe economic effects.

Natural Timber Preservation and Why it Works

Why We Know What Petri-Wood Can Do For You ?

Scientific studies conducted by Dr. Robert Adams of Baylor University in Waco, Texas support the claims as noted in his 1992 publications. In the Cedarcide Dow Corning Technology, Silanes, a derivative of Quartz, are cross linked to the Cedar Oils. They provide moisture protection to the cell walls of the wood. This technology is considered NANO and the delivery of Cedarshield's treatment solution is actually instrumental in the penetration of the hydroxyl group molecular structure where upon entry, it becomes a water scavenger, completely eliminating any free bound water in the wood. The hydrogen tail of the molecule is then collapsed and no further moisture can enter the wood's cellular structure, thus leaving the media 100% dimensionally stable. An objective which is not obtainable with the kiln dried methods of wood preservation.

The "Absence of Moisture is the Absence of Issues" relates Glassel, the World's Leading Cedar Oil scientist. Without moisture, there can be no expansion and contraction, no warping and no decay or insect attack. "The science of the invention of these products actually triggers the petrification of wood" quotes Dr. George Jenkins of the University of New Brunswick, noted Canadian wood scientist.

Texas A & M University's C. Wayne Smith, who heads up the Archaeological Preservation Research Laboratory in College Station, Texas, for the conservation of artifacts and recovered shipwrecks was asked to comment on the use of these Cedarcide and Petri-Wood preservation products in Railroad Ties, Utility Poles, Deck-Dock-Fence materials. His reply was "It is like the SILVER BULLET the timber industry has been waiting for". Scott Miller, Application engineer for the Dow Corning Corporation totally agreements with Smith.

These products and treatments are fast becoming the leader in wood preservation because, after treatments are applied, there is no further need for re-applications and the timbers treated are fully guaranteed against fungal attack, rot, decay, insect attack and even attack by beavers , for periods of up to THIRTY YEARS, depending on the treatment applied.

One application triggers the early stages of wood petrification. It also triggers the immediate exodus of both free and bound water in the fiber structure and cellular make up of wood. The wood is no longer subject to moisture, either as air borne moisture or in liquid form. Expansion and contracting of the wood ceases and total dimensional stability is obtained, eliminating warping, splitting and cupping of wood as it ages. The end result of the treatment renders the wood 100% insect, decay and water resistant, forever. Unlike Thompson Water Seal and other proprietary coatings currently being utilized worldwide and only last for short periods of time, these Cedarcide and Petri-Wood products penetrate deeper than any known alternative and what's more, they actually continue to work for extremely long periods of time without any need for re-treatments or special conditions. They are quite simply the BEST AVAILABLE on the planet.

You always had a choice in wood preservation. Now you have the BEST choice ever offered anywhere.

Cansco Environmental Solutions Inc have the expertise, the experience, the ethics and the professionalism to provide you with straight and honest advice on any aspect of timber issues and problems. They believe in doing whatever ever they can to help our environment and save trees from being fooled in the process and this is the main reason that they are International Distributors for a wide and varied range of all natural products, together with being Specialist Timber and Remedial Treatment Contractors.

10 Tips on How to Stick to Your Fitness Routine – Be Effortlessly Fit Without Going to the Gym

There are people who find guided engaging in several exercises regularly. Some do it on daily routine while others prefer weekly. Still many hit the fitness gym three to four times weekly. No wonder they are fit. However, not everyone has the endurance to make exercise a habit and eventually become a lifestyle. For those who effortlessly visit the fitness gym, keeping fit and healthy is their motivator. Also, they share 10 tips on how to successfully stick to your fitness routine.

1. Gradually build up your activity level. Start slow with low-level exercises that can be completed in a short time. Increase your intensity as you progress.
2. Exercises must be convenient and not injurious or tiresome. For instance, if it is possible to walk briskly in going to work, you do not need to devote more time for fitness workout. It is better to enroll in a gym near your place. If the program centers on outdoor activities, prepare to have indoor activities in case the weather is bad.
3. Make it a priority. Many make it an excuse to have no time for exercises when in fact, they are just not interested. A survey revealed that people who exercise and those who do not have the same amount of leisure time, about 24 hours per week.
4. Maintain the achievement. To continuously enjoy the benefits of exercise, it must be done regularly. Missing a day or two will not hurt; however, skipping several times at the fitness gym puts you back where you first started.
5. Set a comfortable fitness level. Once the fitness goals are achieved, people are not required to keep on intensifying their program. Rather, people can engage in activity that requires less time and intensity.
6. Accept the fact that people have setbacks. But do not brood over that thought. Work from where you left and move forward.
7. Make adjustments to make life healthy. Give up smoking. Exercise can be among the best approaches to help quit smoking.
8. Enjoy the support from networks. Family, relatives and friends can be a good source of moral support. Even people at the gym can give each other encouraging words to effortlessly stick to the routine.
9. Indulge in friendly competition such as race, swimming, golf tournament, tennis match, or marathon.
10. Do not forget to reward yourself such as special night out, new clothes or a trip, after all, getting fit is an achievement.