A Lesson in Life

I work too much, too hard and too many hours. It is a responsibility thing. I have always had an overdeveloped sense of responsibility. I have never considered it to be a virtue, but I never looked at it as a fault either. I guess I just never thought much about it at all. The last six months have been hard around here. A bitter, unexpected divorce threw us into a emotional and financial maelstrom. I responded by working more and more. The kids have been wonderful. They have never complained or been difficult. They have stayed close to me to be available for the few cuddles and strokes I could find time for. Always trying to comfort and help as best they could.

It all exploded on me Christmas Day. Far too many hours and far too much physical effort took its toll. The exhaustion opened the way for double pneumonia to set in. I could not even sit up. I do not remember much about that first couple of days. I remember not being able to breathe and the pain…..but mostly I remember my babies. I remember them cuddling close to me and touching my face with their paws, I remember their soft encouragement in my ear as I lay struggling to breathe. The one memory I will never be able to forget is the abject terror on their faces when I was taken to the hospital.

I spent six days in the hospital. During that time, my babies did not eat or play or hardly even attend to bodily functions…they waited. Period, they just waited. My daughter was getting as worried about the kids as she was about me. No amount of consoling worked. On the 4th day I was able to talk to them on the telephone. They still would not eat, but at least they seemed a little less devastated. The other memory that I will never forget is the pure, unadulterated joy when I walked through the door, home at last. Both babies screamed in joy and threw themselves onto me. They will barley leave my side at all. They are permanently attached, and that is fine with me.
I learned a valuable lesson in this, nothing, and I mean nothing, is more important than the ones you love. I don’t know yet what I am going to do to keep us in “treaties” since my doctor says I cannot go back to my job, things my really get bad financially, but what ever happens, I know now that the important thing is that I love and I am loved. No amount of material possessions in the world will ever mean as much as the love and need I see in my babies faces every time I look at them. We may be short on “treaties” but we will be long on and time spent together.…

What to Consider When Organizing a Baby Shower: An Quick Guide to Stork Party Protocol

Baby showers are for showing new parents that there’s a circle of people that cares about them and the new life they are bringing into the world. Whether it is an intimate gathering or an elaborate affair make sure that there is lots of caring and fun going around.

There are no rules in organizing a baby shower. In making decisions about a baby shower keep in mind that the parents-to-be should feel loved and cared for at their shower.

Who Should Host the Baby Shower?

Any person could host a baby shower for someone close to them. It might be a good idea to consult the parents-to-be about what they would like. Do they want it to be a surprise? Who would they like to invite? In some instances it might be better to have two baby showers for the same couple.

What Will We Do at the Stork Tea?

Choose a theme for the shower based on the preferences of the parents-to-be. The host of the baby shower should know them well or work closely with someone who does. Not everyone is comfortable with guessing- or group games and might rather prefer a subdued atmosphere with classical music and informal chatting.

One option is to structure the decorations such as flowers, table cloths and gift wrap around whether the couple is expecting a boy or a girl. Choose white lace and anglais for a girl and go for earthy colors and rough textures for a boy. If the gender of the baby is unknown, choose a color like orange or green.

Plan the menu accordingly – dainty petit fours for a girl and an earthy homemade soup or quiche for a boy. The aim is to create an ambiance in which the parents-to-be and guests will feel at home.

Should the Baby Shower be a Surprise or Not?

It is not always easy to keep a surprise from a new mom who will put Sherlock Holmes to shame with her snooping. Take the cue from her, if she would rather know, let her. Keep in mind that pregnancy hormones plus surprise parties may equal volatile emotions. While a bit of crying may be expected at a baby shower, one doesn’t want to cause an eruption of sadness or anger at her partner who lied to keep the secret.

Suitable Gifts for a Stork Tea

Gift registries, nappies-only, 3 – 6 months size only, no newborn size, consumable baby products only, cash only, gifts for mom only – the possible list of ways to request particular gifts is inexhaustible. Let the prospective parents decide how they would like to structure the gift giving, then make sure that you communicate it clearly to the guests.

Whatever limitations the invitation may place on gift giving, make sure the gift are thoughtful and personal. A handwritten card with a classic quote on parenting presented with a beautifully wrapped gift will certainly fulfill any requirements. For women who are expecting their second or third child, a gift for mom with a ‘baby sitting voucher’ attached may be the best choice. Steer clear from bath products for expecting moms for the risk of infection.

When Should we Have the Baby Shower?

Traditionally baby showers are held in the last trimester of pregnancy. A current trend is to have the baby shower after the baby is born. The advantages of having if after the arrival of the baby is that the gender of the baby would be known (in the case of parents who chose not to know before hand) and that all close friends and relatives will have an opportunity to see the new baby at one time which will curb the stream of visits to the house with the new arrival. The parents-to-be will also have a more realistic idea of what they still need and what the guests can bring as gifts.

Where Should we Have the Stork Tea?

If the parents-to-be have strong preferences – follow their lead. If not, there are a few options to consider. Baby showers at home have a more personal atmosphere, but having it at a restaurant or coffee shop may be a special treat. Hosting it at a place other than home means the hostess has less work, but may make the budget more complicated and limit the number of guests. A small and intimate baby shower with only a couple of friends may even work well in the form of a day-at-the-spa with the expecting mom

Hosting a baby shower involves numerous decisions. In all, it is best to put the preferences of the parents-to-be first. Try to be creative in decision making and give the parents-to-be a stork tea that they will fondly remember.

Tips for Making a Butterfly Conservation Garden: How Gardeners and Farmers Can Help Conserve Butterflies

Butterflies by planting a Buddleia Bush or by letting the nettles grow? Government encourages gardeners and farmers to conserve butterfly habitats.

Is Britain entering a post-butterfly era? This fear has been expressed by Sir David Attenborough, much respected naturalist and TV broadcaster who for 50 years has been bringing the natural world into UK living rooms.

Survival Zones will be Grant Aided

He has thrown his weight behind a campaign to rescue native butterfly species from extinction. During an interview on BBC TV he announced 20 “Survival Zones” where farmers and growers will be eligible to apply for grant aid in order to create conservation areas by restoring habitat that has been destroyed for agriculture.

Butterflies under threat include the high brown fritillary and marsh fritillary that are found on Dartmoor, the Adonis Blue that is found on the Downs of southern England and the Swallow Tail that lives in the shrinking fenlands of the Norfolk Broads area.

Butterflies Are a Rarity in British Countryside

Sir David commented “Much of Britain’s countryside is a no-go area for many favourite butterflies. Habitat has been ploughed up or become overgrown. Anybody who’s been for a country walk recently will tell you that butterflies are a rarity.

The importance of butterflies is that they tell us if the land is healthy or not. If there is an absence of butterflies it means the land is endangered or sick.”

Restoring the Balance in Favour of Butterflies

The government has agreed to finance this initiative through grants to farmers, enabling them to restore land to provide the correct habitat for endangered species. Hopefully this will reverse the trend towards extinction.

How Can Individuals Help to Conserve Butterflies?

Individuals can do a lot to help save the butterfly. One simple initiative is to provide food and host plants for the butterfly population. A food plant provides nectar for the adult butterfly and so blossoms are important.

The butterfly then needs to lay its eggs on the leaves of a host plant such as the humble nettle (Urtica). After hatching the caterpillars will feed on the leaves of the host plant which also provides shelter for the chrysalis stage.

Some Butterfly Friendly Plants Include:

  • The Buddleia Bush
  • Honeysuckle – a fragrant climber that can be trained up a post or drainpipe
  • Hebe (common name Veronica)
  • Sunflower
  • Echinacea purpurea – common name Purple Coneflower
  • Herbs such as Sage and Marjoram
  • Monarda (common name Bee Balm)
  • Lilac
  • Achillea

or if you don’t have the time or energy for horticulture why not just allow a clump of nettles to grow in a corner of the garden.

A few more Do’s and Don’ts

  • Do find out about your local species, what plants they feed and lay eggs on
  • Do provide moist mud for the butterflies to drink from
  • Do leave some leaf litter around and plant shrubs where butterflies can hibernate
  • Do clump several plants together for visibility
    • Don’t use pesticides

Hiring the Seasoned Workforce: Plan for Weathering Unemployment for the Older Worker

If unemployed and approaching 50, it may be more difficult finding employment but not impossible. The trick? Establish a plan and stick to it.

Having a plan to follow during the no job slump can help to decrease fears of the unknown. Here’s an easy survival plan anyone can follow.

Employment Agencies

Sign up at all available employment agencies. Many jobs are not necessarily advertised on the web or in the newspapers. Check in regularly with them. Sometimes a new job can be snagged working through an agency.

Utilize Career Centers

Locate local career or employment centers. Utilize their services. Those that are government (state) sponsored offer free employment counseling as well as free use of equipment such as computers, fax, copy machines and telephones. The counselors may also know of training programs, and depending upon funding resources, they may be able to pay or partially pay for training.

Learn or Update Computer Skills

Having some computer savvy increases job marketability. Adult education courses generally offer a range of levels from beginner to advanced. There are free online computer courses as well.

Being older doesn’t mean that computer literacy is impossible – may take a little longer, but, again, increasing marketability should increase the chances of finding work.

Practice Re-Inventing

Itemize skills. What might those be? Think about all the activities normally executed during the course of past regular employment days. Write them down. While reading the current job descriptions, think about how all the skills learned might be transferred to the present day requirements.

List the skills that are strong and find ways to improve the ones that need sprucing up.

Think Positive

It may take a while to find new employment. Depression, anger, anxiety, remorse, frustration and grief are not uncommon emotions. However, it is important to maintain a positive outlook and demeanor when approaching potentially new employers.

Eating healthy foods, exercising, networking (family, friends, community agencies, job fairs, volunteering, etc.) and utilizing a support system can help fight off discouragement and worry. Learning new skills and having an open, flexible attitude, especially towards new experiences helps, also.

Find out which employers within the community are hiring-friendly towards seasoned workers. Place applications there.

Be patient and persistent. Finding employment should become a full-time endeavor until a suitable position is found.

Contact Community Service Agencies

It is no shame to apply for food stamps or fuel assistance or whatever other services may be available during this time of searching. There may be income limits. If by chance qualification, say, for food stamps is possible, this resource may relieve some stress for a period of time, thus conserving energy needed to invest in the job hunt.

The Benefits to Hiring Seasoned Workers

The seasoned workforce is more dependable and more likely to execute their employment responsibilities, carefully. Additionally, seasoned workers have already developed an experiential background that the new comers to the workforce have yet to develop and refine; they understand concepts that years of experience have created, which, a younger work force has not had time to develop.

Finally, the seasoned workforce has been an invaluable resource towards the building of their communities and on a broader scope, their countries.

Creating an Islamic Themed Home

In the , the home is considered a sanctuary where followers can relax and get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. While not every home can have an extra room dedicated to prayer, there are a few things you can do to create an Islamic themed home. Cleaning up clutter and airing out the home can help free you up to focus solely on your prayer time. Choosing Islamic music or verses from the Koran will also add to the religious atmosphere in the home.

Creating an Islamic themed home: Clean up

An Islamic home is usually clean and well-ventilated. Cleanliness is especially important to the Islamic faith because the prayers are performed on the floor. You would not want dirt or dust to prevent you or your family from being able to concentrate on your prayers. Start decorating your Islamic themed house by thoroughly cleaning, dusting, and vacuuming the entire home. If you have throw rugs in your prayer room, take them outside and beat them with a large stick to get all of the dust out before vacuuming. Whenever possible, use natural cleansers like baking soda, vinegar, and warm water instead of chemical products. Try to remove as much clutter as possible from the home. Seeing physical clutter laying around can lead to a cluttered mental state as well, interfering with your ability to pray and commune with Allah.

Creating an Islamic themed home: Air it out

Nature and air are also very important to faith in an Islamic themed home. Place potted houseplants or flowers around your house, especially in the prayer room. Adding a specific area dedicated to nature, such as a rock garden, can also help you stay grounded and connected to nature whenever you are in your Islamic home. To improve ventilation, open the windows whenever possible and air out the home. Light can also give the appearance of a more airy house, so look for areas where you can open curtains or even add a skylight and brighten up your rooms.

Creating an Islamic themed home: Add some music

The right music or audio can help give your home more of an Islamic feel. Music from Muslim artists will add to the religious atmosphere of the home, along with providing musical entertainment for you and your family. To display your faith even more, you can buy audiobook versions of verses from the Koran and let those play throughout the day. Installing a home stereo system with speakers that run through the entire house will allow you to hear your Islamic audio choices in any room of your home.

Don’t Panic over Meltdown: Are Market Declines a Good Time to Buy?

Around the world, investors are wringing their hands, perhaps even losing sleep, over the recent downturn in the stock markets. It’s a natural reaction – no-one likes to lose money, even if it’s only on paper.

The credit crisis being blamed for the current slump shows no so signs of abating, with some pundits forecasting that we may not see a recovery until 2009. You may be frustrated and wondering what it all means. That’s OK, you’re not alone: even the world’s most preeminent financial thinkers are scratching their heads over how this crisis was allowed to happen, why an apparently short-term problem is now entering its second year and what the eventual fix will look like.

But you have to ask yourself the all-important question: Are you investing for the long term? Most investors are and experts have some simple advice: Don’t worry, for this too shall pass.

Remember when?

If you’ve been in the markets for a while, you probably remember the dot-com crash in the early 2000s or the very short-term stock collapse post-September 11, 2001. Those with longer memories can probably cite other similar examples, such as 1987’s infamous “Black Monday” when the Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeted 22%.

It’s really the same old story: markets go down, but eventually recover. Charts dating back to the 1950s show a steady rise in stock markets worldwide, with the occasional blip.

Market volatility is a reality and selling when things get a bit choppy will mean missing out on future returns. Studies have shown that investors who jump in and jump out of the markets, depending on how things are going, will inevitably lose out on the performance side.

If you use a financial advisor, pick up the phone and ask questions if you have concerns. That’s their job. “The handholding that we did between 2000 and 2003, it’s here again,” says Manulife Securities advisor Neil Bocking.

Time to buy?

Although it may seem counter-intuitive, many believe market “troughs” are in fact a good time to increase your stock or mutual fund holdings.

“There are good buying opportunities in a market like this because some people have to sell because they don’t have the cash, and they are facing redemptions,” says fund manager Anne Gudefin of Franklin Mutual Advisors.

Even if you’re not comfortable buying at this point (and that’s understandable), doing nothing is also a good option. Assuming you a diversified mix of stocks, bonds and cash, your portfolio will be fine, just be patient.

A New Way to look at the New Year.

First I’d like to say “Happy New Year” to you all. Around this time every year TV and magazines start sending out their list of the best and worst of our culture. It is always fun to look back upon our year and see what happened. Often they remind us of events we forgot about or they reinforce our personal beliefs of what we considered to be the highs and lows of the year. Everyone gets ready for New Year’s Eve and starts making their resolutions for the new coming year. I am not a personal believer in resolutions because they often inspire us to fail. We sit down and write a few goals for ourselves. We want to start on January 1st because that is the first day of the New Year and the first day of our New Life! That is what we tell ourselves. And then we go to our annual New Year’s Eve party and have a little champagne and then a little chocolate. What the heck, right? We are starting a new life tomorrow! Soon the chocolate and the champagne are flowing, and you wake up the next morning feeling like instead of having consumed a dozen champagne bottles, you were beaten with them. You resolve to start the next day, and then the next day slips away and then another day goes by until several weeks have passed. Guilt overruns us and we give up on our resolutions before we even start. It is too easy to get caught up into the whole spirit of the New Year without really thinking about the dedication that is involved in having to change your life. That is what we want after all isn’t it? To change the things we don’t like about ourselves. I think we are going about it all wrong. Resolutions tend to focus on the negative parts of ourselves like to stop smoking, to stop overeating, to stop losing your temper so quickly. Resolutions play into our guilt about ourselves. My solution to these resolution guilt traps is to do what these TV and magazine year end reviews do and write up a list for you. List all the accomplishments you achieved this year. If you can’t think of any ask your spouse, friends and family. Look around your home, in your closet, or reflect on your job. Christmas time usually brings a lot of cards your way. Look them over and see who thinks you are a special person in their life. Did you finally read that book you meant to read over the summer? Or did you finally clean out the closet of all your old clothes and give them to good will? It doesn’t even have to be something big. How about all the times you cleaned the kitchen or did a favor for a friend? You need to give the little accomplishments just as much attention and praise as the big ones. Make your list a moment of reflection on the good things you did over the year and want to continue to do.

Use Toys to Inspire Imaginative Short Stories: Language Arts Lesson Using Creativity and Favorite Childhood Item

Need a creative idea for a writing assignment? Ask students to find their favorite childhood toys to help them write interesting stories. They will need to create an imaginative setting, a task or conflict that the main character needs to complete or resolve and a happy ending or resolution before they write the first draft.

Fun Homework: Find Old Toys

Assign students to go through their old toys. They must bring a well-loved one to school. It should be an item that brings back positive childhood memories. It could be a stuffed animal, a doll, a truck, a ball, a blanket, etc.

Brainstorming Descriptive Ideas

Ask students to place their toys on their desks. Tell students to write down the following in a brainstorming list:

  1. descriptive words that describe the item
  2. memories of the item
  3. where the item currently is stored or placed

The brainstormed list can help students think of ideas for their story elements before they begin writing the story draft.

Choosing Story Elements

Now that students have a brainstormed list for the toy, they need to choose story elements that use the item in a creative way. The story elements can be written on the same paper as the brainstormed list.

Students need to choose a setting. It could be in the present day, fifty years ago or an imaginary place. The important thing is that the students describe the setting well.

Characters need to be developed. The toy could come alive magically and become a main character in a short story. It is best if students keep the number of characters to two-or-three. Generally, middle school students cannot develop more than three characters in a story.

Choose a Great Conflict

Ideas for a conflict are as follows:

  • journeying to a destination
  • fighting an evil foe
  • surviving a storm, hurricane, volcanic eruption, or blizzard
  • growing up or becoming an adult
  • relationship conflict — friend or family
  • fighting a supernatural foe

Once students choose a conflict, they need to write it down and tell how it will be used in their story.

Putting it All Together

When the students have made decisions about the setting, characters and conflict, they need to decide how the story will end. Choosing the resolution before writing a draft will help the students not to ramble on for pages.

Writing a Draft

After all of the story elements has been decided, students can write their short story based on their favorite childhood toy. They should share their draft with a peer. After the draft is peer edited, the student should write a final copy.

Assess the story with a rubric. Criteria for the rubric could be content, use of the favorite item, organization, creativity and writing conventions. The stories should be imaginative. The best part is that the students’ childhood toys inspired the stories. These stories will hopefully be loved as much as the toys the students brought to class.

What is Hyperthyroidism? Features and Treatment of Thyroid Hyperfunction

Because of their widespread effects on body function, excessive production of thyroid hormones gives rise to symptoms in almost all body systems.

The problem affects around 1% of the UK population and women are ten times more likely to suffer from it than men.

Like many endocrine glands the thyroid gland can produce too much hormone or too little. Through its hormones thyroxine and tri-iodothyronine the thyroid plays a major role in body metabolism. It pretty much controls the rate at which energy is used in processes such as utilisation of glucose, fats and proteins and much else. Adequate dietary iodine is a requirement for the manufacture of these hormones.

Both hyperthyroidism – too much hormone and hypothyroidism – too little, are characterised by different but widespread effects on the body.

The thyroid is controlled by the pituitary gland which lies just under the brain. This gland controls all the body’s endocrine glands. The pituitary secretes thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) which regulates the amount of thyroxine and tri-iodothyronine produced.

Signs and Symptoms of Hyperthyroid Function

Most of the features of hyperthyroidism result from an increase in metabolic rate.

Both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism can result in swelling of the thyroid which produces a goitre – a visible swelling in the front of the neck.

  • Heart: palpitation, fast pulse, cardiac failure in the elderly
  • Muscles: weakness and wasting
  • Digestive system: diarrhoea
  • Nervous system: anxiety, tremor
  • Eyes: bulging or staring appearance
  • General: heat intolerance, sweating, weight loss
  • Reproductive system: menstrual disturbance

Causes of Hyperthyroid Function

  • Grave’s disease: the most common reason for hyperthyroidism. Autoimmune in nature, the body produces antibodies which mimic thyroid stimulating hormone.
  • Toxic nodular goitre: much more common in the elderly usually due to long-standing low-level malfunction of the thyroid. Occasionally due to a (normally) benign thyroid tumour. The characteristic bulging eyes of hyperthyroidism are not usually seen in this condition.
  • Thyroiditis: inflammation of the thyroid, probably due to a virus. Also known as De Quervain’s thyroiditis

Treatment of Hyperthyroidism

  • Anti-thyroid drugs: there are several drugs which block the production of thyroid hormones, carbimazole is an example.
  • Surgery: a large part of the thyroid is removed. It’s generally very successful. Occasionally patients will develop an under active thyroid.
  • Radioiodine: this treatment is possible because of the thyroid’s need for iodine to make its hormones. Patients are given a drink containing radioactive iodine which is taken up by the thyroid where the radioactivity sets about destroying the gland’s cells. As with surgery some patients will later develop hypothyroidism.

This article is for information only. If you have any health concerns you should consult your doctor.

Soul-Nourishing Islamic Books Should Be Part of Every Home Library

Book reading is a hobby and passion for many people. For some, these are collections that they display in their houses. Not everybody is into the reading hobby though. Some don’t even have the urge to even scan the pages. This is a proof that we all have different interests, but what exactly is really in books which makes these people so connected to it especially Soul-Nourishing Islamic books? Is there anything special in it that causes people become so engrossed and compassionate about?

Many said that the best wealth a person can own is knowledge and wisdom. It is the only treasure that can never be taken away from anyone. And books play a fundamental role in acquiring that knowledge and wisdom. The kind of books one reads depends on a number of factors such as your interest, mood and your environment. Some loves to read fictitious stories, whereas there are those who prefer to read real-life story books. There are also those who choose to read informative subject matters among them politics, science, philosophy and history while of course religious folks love to read religious books such as Christianity, Judaism, or Islamic books. Whichever people choose, they are surely available in libraries and bookstores.

Nowadays, if you’re planning to put up a library room within your home or build a small library in your place then be sure that you know the things needed to be considered when building or putting up your own library.

‘¢ Choose the perfect place to create your library. It is very obvious that the library should be a quite place. In picking the library space, remember to consider the people around you. A decent, quiet, and cool place is what you need to have for a more effective study area.

‘¢ A small but jam-packed library is often enjoyed. Any library, even if it is small but well maintained with a variety of book categories is well enjoyed by people or any loved one. Set it up with a variety and not just one type of book, unless you plan to use it just for your own.

‘¢A very good ambiance needless to say, is important. A lot of people come to the library not just to learn but also to relax. A relaxing and peaceful surroundings is recommended to experience a good reading moment that everyone desires. You can set up lights suitable for reading, air conditioning unit or effective electric fans as well as some soothing accessories for a more relaxing learning experience.

These are only some simple things that you need to be aware of when planning to build or set-up a library. Be sure to have some commitment in piling those books. Bear in mind to produce a complete category of books and include soul-nourishing Islamic books that will surely give you more knowledge on the rich cultures of Islam. Bring out your serious desire in reading books and let everyone have a share!