Archive for May 2016

Photo of the Week: Prayer for Peace – Memorial Day

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Click here to read President Obama’s Proclamation – Prayer for Peace, Memorial Day, 2016.

Life’s Seasons

By Tim Connor

I’m sure you are well aware that spring always follows winter and fall always precedes it. Duh. Not trying to insult you here just to make a simple point that has been true for thousands of years. Seasons come and go at their own pace and there is nothing we can do to slow them down or speed them up or influence their behaviors – they have their own agenda and schedule.

Having said this, you would be amazed at how many people try to rush the seasons of their lives and yes, each life has its four seasons and they come and go often with little regard for our plans, hopes, fears, dreams and desire to control them.

Before I continue let me clarify the quote at the end of this article. Yes, time passes at its own pace and offers its unique lessons to each of us but, this doesn’t mean we should just sit idly by waiting for things to change or improve on their own as time does move from one minute and one day to the next. OK, now that that is out of the way, let me get back to the basis of this message – the seasons of life.

Let me briefly describe each of them.

Winter – times of; despair, adversity, discouragement, pain, problems, challenges, uncertainty, regret, disappointment, resentment, endings and fear.

Spring – times of hope, dreams, new beginnings, plans, goals, desire, opportunity, optimism, belief, planting seeds and confidence.

Summer – times of relaxation, fun, enjoyment, wonderful memories, confidence, belief, effort, laughter, travel, vacations, easy days and pleasant nights.

Fall – times of harvesting, success, dreams realized, accomplishments, patience, rewards and contentment.

Yes, each of these seasons can have other – both positive and negative circumstances, emotions and outcomes, but each generally has a basic theme that generally defines this period of our lives.

Therefore there are three questions I would ask – what season are you currently in, in your life? How are you handling or managing it and are you effectively preparing for the next season?

What season are you currently in?

The seasons of life come in no particular order unlike nature’s seasons. You can be in winter as a young person as well as when you are a senior citizen. You can experience the joy of summer during your retirement years or you can find this time filled with effort, challenges and relentless problems. Keep in mind that each of us during our life can go through cycles of the four seasons where we move from winter to spring and back to winter. In life, a season can last a few weeks or several years, depending on how we think, act and behave during each season.

Fail to learn the necessary life lessons during a particular season and rest assured, you will find yourself once again facing similar issues or problems again in the future.

The challenge for each of us regardless of the season we find ourselves in at any given moment is to behave in a mature, responsible and positive way. Just because it’s fall and a time of harvesting previous decisions, actions or effort doesn’t mean you should just suit back and bask forever in the sunshine of blessings and success. You might want to consider some actions or decisions that will help you get through the coming winter with less pain and struggle.

If you find yourself in a winter that just won’t seem to end, this might be a time for continuous reflection, introspection and self-evaluation. Or, it could be a time of renewal as you prepare for the effort required during the coming spring and summer.

Regardless of the season you find yourself in at this time, it would be wise to maintain attitudes of growth, maturity, maintaining the right life outlook and recognizing that whatever season you are in is only temporary, is one of the best approaches you can bring to the current season. Just keep thinking – this too shall prepare me (or as many people are fond of saying – this too shall pass).

How are you handling or managing it?

Each season of life requires different decisions, actions and behaviors.

When in spring periods (again – times of growth opportunity and planting seeds) you need discipline, effort, patience and belief. This is a time of waiting and planning. It’s a time for confidence, action and consistency. When your actions and behaviors embrace these mindsets you are setting yourself up for future success in the coming seasons. Without them you will fail to realize the hopes, dreams and results you desired.

When in the summer season (again – times of enjoyment, effort and confidence) it is vital that you maintain vigilance, balance of work and play and patience. Ignoring your spring efforts (of planting seeds etc.) will guarantee that your harvest in the fall will be less than expected or desired. This is a time of blended activities – enjoying the playful summer days and nights while not neglecting your efforts and goals.

When in the fall season (see above definition) it can be easy to just enjoy the fruits of your previous labors and just reap your harvest day after day. But again caution is advised as winter is just around the corner and if you fail to harvest successfully which includes mental and physical preparation for what lies ahead, you may find your winter harder and longer than you can endure. Fall is a time for enjoying as well as preparing for what is around the next corner.

When in the winter season (see above definition) this can be a time of despair, discouragement and a loss of faith and hope. It can test your resolve, patience and self-belief and confidence. During this season it is critical that you keep your mind and eye on what lies ahead (spring) and not bogged down in the dark, long, cold and hard days and nights. During winter it is easy to fall prey to what is happening in the moment, but I caution you – one of the best actions you can take is to strengthen your resolve, understanding and patience for what you are going through knowing that it is just part of the ongoing life process and that before you know it spring will arrive.

Are you preparing for the next season?

Here are a few tips to consider regardless of the season you find yourself in at any given life period.

-Always be reading, learning and growing.
-Make no assumptions.
-Don’t take anything personally.
-Don’t let circumstances determine your behavior.
-Always do your best.
-Turn off outside negative influences.
-Surround yourself with the right people.
-Accept that failure and problems are normal.
-Learn to see failure, disappointment and adversity as learning tools.
-Optimism is a better life approach than pessimism.
-Success and achievements do not define you.
-Life is about relationships and not stuff.
-There is no such thing as security.
-Fear is the number one negative influence that must be managed.
-What you believe defines you.
-Your thoughts become circumstances.
-The past is dead – let it go.
-Trust God every minute of every day.
-Be filled with appreciation and gratitude every day.
-You can’t push the river. Relax.

In summary;

Keep in mind that just because you survive one winter that this doesn’t prevent another winter in the future. Just because you behave appropriately during any season is no guarantee that you will gain the desired benefits of that season. Just because you work hard and plan during spring and summer that you will have a successful harvest in the fall. Life happens and it is our responsibility to learn to flow, strengthen our faith and continue to grow, learning from the circumstances life places on our plates.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/7513045

Photo of the Week: Social Security

How to Get Maximum Retirement Benefits from Social Security

From Visually.

Video of the Week: Put On Purple

Click here to read more about lupus.

Money Market Accounts: A Smarter Way to Save

by Andrew Stratton

When you think of saving, you probably think of a savings account. While this is a reliable option for a secure place to hold your money, it is not always the smartest. Gone are the days when they offered 10% interest rates. The current average return is 1.4% per year. What that means is you can expect a few dollars in the end, and that is assuming there is not an annual fee associated with it. If you want to put your money to work, then a money market account is the choice for you. With higher returns, they can present both risks and rewards.

Money market accounts are usually subject to higher interest rates. This means that you get more for doing essentially the same thing as keeping your money in a classic savings account. This is because money market accounts are pooled in a different fund used by investors to produce higher profits. This more aggressive form of investing can potentially open up to loss of funds, but this is highly unlikely and has never actually occurred. With the risk being this low, the higher interest rates are widely accepted as a smart trade off.

Access to Funds

Another benefit is that you have more access to the money you deposit into it. Unlike a savings account where you may withdraw a maximum of three times per month, you are allowed to withdraw or transfer out six timers per billing statement. Additionally, most banks will allow you the option to write checks directly from it. Even better, many banks will also allow you to pair a debit card with the account for easier withdrawals and spending. This allows for greater flexibility than a standard savings account.

Security

As mentioned above, these accounts have never lost any money. This makes them a safer place to leave your money while still receiving a decent return. With the volatile nature of the stock market, this is certainly a better guarantee to maintain and build your funds.

Drawbacks

While a money market account is more appealing than traditional savings in terms of returns, it certainly does not compare to the returns of a mutual fund or other stock options. If your primary interest is to generate greater income, then this safer option might not be for you. To put it into comparison, a stock can return on average 8-10% while these bring closer to 2-4%. At best, you are looking at making half of the amount.

While they may not be the biggest cash cows, they might be the safest. If you are looking for a secure place to hold your funds, then this is the option for you.

To learn more about money market accounts, please visit http://www.emeraldcoastaccounts.com/deposit-accounts/.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Andrew_Stratton/83489

Photo of the Week: 3 Year Blogiversary

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I created and launched, Stop Eating Money, a self-improvement blog, in May 2013. Since most of our decisions revolve around money, the mission of this blog is to enhance money management skills, improve decision-making, and change perceptions. After three years, my passion for this mission has only increased. I appreciate all of my readers:

Country – My Readers
United States of America – 1,762
South Africa – 18
Philippines – 18
Canada – 17
India – 16
Nigeria – 13
United Kingdom – 11
Malaysia – 10
United Arab Emirates – 6
Ghana – 6

Here’s to three more years of blogging!

Video of the Week: Faith Friday

Travel and Its Benefits

by Malek Moqaddam

Why do we need to travel? Why it is getting increasingly important that we, once in a while, change our environment and travel outside our country? Why it is sometimes a necessity for our emotional health to travel?

Travel’s importance is underestimated by many people. Travel is not only fun, entertaining and enjoyable. With our current lifestyles and work conditions, travel has become more than an option. It is more than just having fun. As Augustine of Hippo said ” The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”
 During travel you are able to do things you usually don’t do. When travelling, you go outdoor and be away from computers, and TVs and you are likely to be mixing with different people and cultures. People travel for different reasons. Some travel for fun and to have a good time. Others travel as a hobby. Travel can be an escape away from the hectic pace of life in big cities. Some travel just to change and move, as Robert Louis Stevenson said “I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake”. Some people like to learn from different cultures, as Mark Twain said ” Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.” Travel gives the person the opportunity to discover, to explore and to feel the sense of adventure.

Many people around the world are discovering the benefits of travel to the extent that the tourism industry is growing worldwide and has become one of the major profitable sectors in world economies. No wonder that travel is growing year by year. According to figures published by the World Travel & Tourism Council WTTC, world tourism industry grew by 3% in 2012, and contributed $6.6 trillion to world GDP by direct and indirect impact. In 2012, for the first time in history, international tourist arrivals reached 1.035 billion.

Here are the main benefits of travel:

1-Stress Relief: As you travel miles away from your environment, you are able to be free from your responsibilities and then begin to relax and rest. Not only you rest your body, but also your mind. Knowing that you can wake up anytime without an alarm clock, without the need to be physically available at work, will take off a lot of mental stress. Here, you can sense freedom. Stress relief is a major reason for travel. The moment you think you are heading for Hawaii or Bali, you get immediate sensation of excitement and stress-free feelings. It is this mental peace that makes travel a very good stress-relief. Sometimes travel can be stressful if your trip has a lot of sightseeing, or meeting a lot of people. But travel stress is different from home stress because it is positive stress. Travel stress does not associate with it anxiety or worry.

Travel is a great way to connect with nature which is very helpful for your relaxation, mentally or physically. Nature is a stimulus for activating your right brain. Right brain domination is one major cause for stress-relief. Also, during travel there is no sense of urgency which is usually associated with home behavior. Change of scenery is by itself helpful for relieving stress.

2-Physical Benefits: You move more when travelling. You walk more frequently whether riding the subway or exploring the streets of a historic city or even visiting a museum. By swimming or laying on the beach, you get a high dosage of vitamin D from the sun, something that is very useful for your bones and also for your positive emotions. Outdoor activities associated with travel can lower risk of diabetes, lead to weight loss and reduce cholesterol level. Some medical experts recommend traveling once every six months for cardiovascular health and for the heart. Some studies show that travel even improves better sleep.

3-Cultural Benefits: Sometimes we need to be anonymous. Sometimes we want to be free from any responsibility. Travel allows you to exercise both while meeting new people and experience new cultures. You will know how different people accomplish their goals with different ways. You will learn new ideas that you have never thought of before.

4-Relationship Benefits: Traveling with a companion and sharing same experiences and situations together will enhance your mutual bond. 93% of youth ages 8-18 consider travel as “a quality time” spent with their parents. 3 in 4 parents say that family vacations are very helpful for the family. Meeting new persons in new locations can result in long term relationship for many.

5-Happiness: Many persons associate happiness with travel. More than 50% of adults buy souvenirs just to remember their vacations. Most travelers store photos of their destinations as a way of remembering those trips that are about tasting new food, beautiful sights, historic monuments, and new music. This is one reason that travel can be addictive, especially if have enough time & money. It has become a hobby for thousands of people around the world.

Remember, you can travel and have fun with a limited budget. Plan carefully and spend wisely. Read and learn saving tips.

Complete series about travel benefits, savings, resources and tips are available in http://coolaura.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Malek_Moqaddam/1699008

Photo of the Week: Monday Affirmations

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Video of the Week: Mother’s Day Tribute