Grief – A Universal Human Experience

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My wife of 31 years, Lynne, lost her life to glioblastoma in 2010 following a battle lasting almost four years against the deadly disease. Glioblastoma is a stage 4 brain tumor, known for its fast-growth and recurring properties. As her primary caregiver, I learned much about the disease and the other issues surrounding the care of someone facing a life-threatening illness. This article covers the topic of grief, a topic that is relevant to each of us at some point in our lives. I hope that the lessons I learned will help someone else navigate through the grief process.

Grief is a universal human experience that will affect every one of us at some point in our life. Although grief is universal, each person prepares for grief, experiences grief, and recovers from grief in unique ways. There are guiding principles that we can apply to our grief but your recovery is unique to your circumstance. You may judge yourself. You might feel as though you recovered from grief too quickly. You might feel as though your grieving is lasting too long. Just keep in mind that your grief is as individual as you are and so is your recovery. It is also natural to believe that others are making judgments about your grief. While that may be the case, your grief is your path, which may look very different compared to the path of someone else.

My grieving process started at the point of Lynne’s diagnosis, not her death. The week following her diagnosis, I spent nearly every evening shedding tears and agonizing over the future that lay ahead. Thoughts of unfulfilled dreams and goals circled my mind numerous times throughout each day. As I researched the disease, the certainty of Lynne’s eventual death moved to the forefront of my mind. I tried to balance those thoughts with the hope that Lynne’s case might be different in some way, but it was an internal struggle.

Like any couple, we held onto the hope that our plans for the future would remain intact. We discussed goals throughout our marriage about retirement. We shared about the continued ability to travel. We shared thoughts about the enjoyment of watching grandchildren grow up. We discussed our dreams of a slower paced life hoping to enjoy the simpler things in life. Those kind of things we tend to take for granted in our younger years as we focus on building our lives and careers. In one day, the plans and dreams we made together seemed to shatter like a glass hitting a tile floor. Forever lost with no possibility of ever putting the glass back together.

About six years earlier because of my responsibilities as a deacon at the Sun Valley Church of Christ, I enrolled in a course to help me enhance my skills and abilities as a people helper. As a people helper, people often approached me to share personal struggles. I desired a better foundation of knowledge to help me guide them through their struggles. A few of the classes within that course of study helped me to prepare for what was ahead in my own life. One class covered forgiveness, letting go of the past and the pain. Another covered marriage and keeping the love alive. Another covered pain and suffering, for learning to help people in a hurting world. Yet another covered managing stress and anxiety. The most important class that would bear on my own future was a class about grief and loss. While my intent was to learn about these topics to assist others, the importance of that learning helped me to understand the emotional turmoil that I was facing and some techniques to help me manage my way through the pain.

Grief is a universal human experience. However, the experience is unique to every individual. In some ways, my grief recovery was assisted by learning from other people and I hope that by sharing my personal experience that others will also benefit. I am writing several articles covering various aspects of the grieving process including grief models, anticipating grief, and preparing for grief.

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History And Background Of Betta Fish

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Historically speaking, Betta Fish are said to have gotten their name from an ancient clan of Asian warriors called the “Bettah.” They were given these warriors’ names because about 150 years ago people enjoyed participating in a popular sport that involved the fighting of two of these warrior fish. (In fact, the sport was so popular that it was regulated – and taxed – by the King of Siam!)

One interesting note about Betta fish fighting is that, unlike cock or dog fighting in the west, at Siamese fighting fish tournaments, the actual fight was more to test the bravery of the fish, rather than a fight to see how much damage would be inflicted, or a death match.

Spectators bet on how long a particular fish would fight, and which one would give up first. (In fact, most fish would only fight once or twice, and then live out the remainder of their lives being pampered and used for breeding.)

Natural Habitat

A Betta fish’s natural habitat is in shallow, tropical water. This is because they need to be able to surface frequently, in order to breathe air. They can be found in nature in rice paddies, drainage ditches, slow moving streams and fresh water ponds. Betta fish have even been known thrive in large puddles! Their natural food source is insects and mosquito larvae.

How Breeding Began

According to historical accounts, a close friend of the King of Siam, Dr. Theodore Cantor received a pair of breeding Bettas from the king in 1840. The doctor bred them and studied them for several years, and then wrote a scientific paper about them, giving them a Latin name of “Macropodus Pugnax.” However, shortly after his paper was published, Dr. Cantor discovered that a species by that name already existed, and so the fish were renamed “Betta Splendens.”

Several breeding pairs of Bettas where sent to Germany in 1896 and then in 1910, Mr. Frank Locke of San Francisco California imported several Bettas to the U.S.A.

One of the fish that he received had unusual red fins – and he excitedly thought he had discovered a new species, and named it “Betta Cambodia.” In reality, he had one of the first of the Betta splendens that had naturally developed new colors and characteristics through breeding.

Since that time, breeders have been able to develop Bettas with all of the vibrant coloring and varied fin shapes that we find today. Betta breeding has become a profitable and ongoing passion for many people today, many of whom started with just one or two Bettas in a small aquarium.

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Gemstones – An Introduction

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Gemstones have always interested human beings from time in memorial. In the past, they were relegated to the rich and the elites in the society. They were featured in their cutlery, household assets and jewelry among other valuables. They have been passed over the years in various family lineages. Today, they still attract the same attention and are pricey. We are all mesmerized by their   unique  colors and shapes. They feature distinct mineralogy characteristics. They can fall upon various categories depending on color, cut, clarity and rarity upon other determinant factors.

What Characterizes Gems?

The stones can be categorized depending on several factors. However, typically they are grouped based on these factors;

Chemical Composition

A gemstone can comprise of one pure element or it can be a product of a mixture of several mineral compounds. Most gems contain both oxides and silicates which give them a characteristic color.

The structure of the crystal

Precious stones can be either a single crystal, a collection of massive microscopic crystals such as diamond or an amorphous compound. The crystallized stones can take many forms such as hexagonal, cubic and tetragonal among other sophisticated shapes. These kind of stones require careful cutting to ensure that the shape of the crystals is maintained.

Optical features

The optical characteristics of many gemstones are derived from their crystal structure and chemical composition. Color is one of the main feature that define gems. Most of them exude stunning hues when light shines upon them. Some will even portray a mixture of colors making them very adorable. Precious stones are also classified depending on their refractive indices. The refractive capability will vary among various minerals. Clarity is a common term when classifying gems. Some minerals have  unique  inclusions which can be crystals of other elements, gas or liquid cavities. Such inclusions help in the identification of the stones.

Specific gravity

This is defined as the ratio of a density of a gemstone relative to that of water. Some minerals such as amber floats effortlessly on salty water. Others such as diamond will sink regardless of the weight of the crystal.

Durability (Hardness)

Not every gem is resistance to breakage. Some such as nephrite are a bit soft whereas diamond is the toughest of them all. All these characteristics among others such as the availability of the mineral helps in placing the gemstones either as precious or semi precious. The hardness of a crystal can be measured by Mohs hardness scale from 1- softest to 10-hardest.

Assessment of Quality of Gems

Four factors are considered while determining the quality of gems. Color is a crucial aspect when evaluating a colored mineral. There are three qualities of color namely hue, saturation and tone. Hue is the position of the mineral on the color wheel, it can be red, black, orange, blue and such like. However, there will be variations of a single hue position such a darker and a lighter green and so forth.

Another crucial consideration is clarity. This is gauged by assessing the presence of inclusions in the mineral. Some stones will have inclusions while others do not feature any impurities whatsoever. If the inclusions are strategically placed and are few, they can enhance the beauty of the stone.

Thirdly, cut is another important quality that dictates the value of a particular gemstone. The main factors that are checked include; shape, cutting style, symmetry and finish.

Lastly, it is the carat weight. This is an essential consideration for anybody who is dealing with gems. One gram is equivalent to five carats. The price of the stone increases with the increase in the metric weight in carats.

Horoscopes

Based on the above factors, a gemstone can be precious or semi precious. Precious stones are the hardest and are rare, whereas semi precious stones are typically soft and in abundance. However, there are some variations. For instance, opals and pearls are regarded as precious although they are soft, owing to their rarity. Precious gemstones have high price tag as compared to semi precious stones.

Also they are those gemstones which relate to horoscopes. They are widely used in gemstone horoscope reading. They are nine zodiac signs namely Aries, Gemini, Taurus, Leo, Cancer, Virgo, Scorpio,Libra, Sagittarius and Capricorn. Each star indicates the position of sun at the time of birth. Some of the stones that are primary stones of astrology include diamond, sapphire,emerald and ruby. According to experts gemstones can help in counteracting the negative occurrences of ones life in future. Hence, they advise that one should wear a gemstone that represents their star.

For instance, those whose zodiac sign is Leo should sport Ruby or Citrine whereas those in Aries should wear Coral. For Taurus the individuals should wear diamond and those who their star is Gemini are supposed to wear emerald. Also, Cancer should wear pearls, Libra should go for diamond and Scorpio should wear obsidian or coral. Sagittarius should sport topaz and Capricorn individuals should wear blue sapphire. Although, each person is supposed to wear a particular gemstone, one can still combine two or more gemstones to accrue great therapeutic benefits. If a person like a particular crystal but it is not their birthstone, they can still get it nonetheless.

Buying gemstones is not a smooth ride but the above information can get you a real gemstone.

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Be Your Own Boss – Make Your Own Decisions

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If you are considering working from home, then you will be joining thousands of other independently minded entrepreneurs. People seek work they can do at home for a number of reasons, some are just looking to make a bit of extra income, whilst others want to change their way their life for the better and are looking to escape the regular 9-5 daily routing.

Working from home isn’t a get rich quick scheme. Like any other job, it takes time to find the right product, market it to the right audience and build up a reputation. However when compared with working for someone else, then the hard work is worth it for most people.

There are so many advantages to working from home, just imagine, waking up in the morning and actually having time to eat breakfast with your kids before taking them to school. No more wasted time and frustration as you sit in traffic and tarriving late at the office, no-one to yell at you if the task hasn’t been finished in time, or telling you when you should eat. The decisions are all yours when working from home, and if you aren’t motivated enough to work hard then you might as well stay put in your regular job.

Working for yourself from home takes motivation and commitment, and a lot of hard work. Set yourself a goal for the day and constantly work towards reaching it. Max International gives you one of the most beneficial compensation plans in the trade selling a   unique  product that can have a remarkable impact in people’s lives. They are well known for creating organic first-rate dietary supplements that have been proven to improve the function of the body and increase quality of life.

Max offers an uncomplicated, low-risk plan with minimum outlay that can provide you with a comfortable income and guarantee you a better standard of living. Their compensation plan is a success due to the way it has been devised, giving associates various advantages. Designed by experts with experience in the industry, their ability to see both sides of the coin, the associate and the corporate, and means they aim to please both.

Max International specializes in quality health dietary products of which Max GXL is one of them. Were you aware that glutathione is a strong, common antioxidant in your body? Increasing the level of glutathione level will increase your level of energy, detoxify your body and strengthen your immune system. MaxGXL offers the right nutrients required to encourage the body to produce and absorb glutathione itself. It is also beneficial in helping the liver to function as the main producer and store for glutathione.

As we age, the body’s production and utilization of glutathione diminishes and those with low levels of it are more at risk of a chronic illness. Research has shown that supplementing your diet with MaxGSL increases glutathione production and thus can prevent illness. GSH levels start to diminish from the age of 20 and are further reduced by recurrent stress upon the immune system such as illness, infection, and environmental toxins. A weak immune system can result in illness and disease.

Becoming a partner with Max can help you in your dreams and ambitions. Life that isn’t lived to the full is no life. Realizing your hopes and desires will make you a much more content and happier person. Do what you want to with your time and don’t waste any more of it making money for someone else.

Invest in Max International today and take control of your future. Be your own boss, live by your rules, work the hours you want and see your life change for the better. Choosing Max will not only benefit your mind and standard of living, it will also introduce you to the healthy supplements available, the products you will be selling, that can make you feel like a new person. Check out Max International and their line of products including Max N-Fuse and MaxGXL.

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Pie, An Old Brown Horse by Kandy Kay Scarmuzzo, A Book Review

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The title is a little misleading. Pie may be an old brown horse now, but he was nothing of the sort during the story. Kandy brought that personable horse to life like he was almost one of us. As we all know, animals have feelings, thoughts and ways to communicate just like we do. Even though some, and maybe a lot of people, don’t think about this in a very in depth way, Kandy proves that to be our oversight and sadly our loss. Because as you read the story, the thoughts, and emotions of how Kandy presented these majestic animals is nothing short of enthralling, entertaining, and enlightening.

Sometimes you just had to laugh out loud, as Pie literally thought like an animal would at our crazy antics, and his simplistic and natural understanding of how life just is. We make it complicated, and they bring it back to basics and fun.

Reading about Pie and his story made you really wish you could have gotten to know him, even enjoyed some of the same events with him. To have known and spent time with him would have been a cherished privilege. Knowing the owners of Pie could teach all of us the meaning of unconditional love.

As you learn from this book, taking care of a horse or more, is not for the faint of heart. It is work, money, time, and emotion, but the rewards are so much greater than what is given, that the comparison is actually impossible. For those who do it and have done it, like the owners of Pie, they wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Pie calls the owner, keeper. His love, thankfulness, appreciation and admiration of keeper is obvious, and just as obvious is, it’s well deserved. I am sure the keeper is the author, and I am sure you will see, as I did, that the spirit of the keeper is nothing short of incredible. It is apparent that unconditional love is as central to her core as the automatic beating of her heart. People like this should be respected and emulated. Pie knew this and showed her and his charge, little one just how much love he had to give back.

This story should be read by everyone, and really should be a required reading in schools everywhere. It is not only enjoyable and entertaining; it is educational in more ways than you can imagine. Thanks for the privilege of reading and writing a review of your book Kandy. It was a great pleasure.

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A Solution For The Baby Boomer Retirement Crisis – It’s Not What You Think!

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It creeped up on you before you knew what happened. Maybe you were downsized and left with the decision to seek new employment or retire.

Perhaps you sought to remain in the workforce for a few more years, only to find out that the marketplace really changed for 50+ year olds. As a matter of fact, the good jobs for your age group, were gone.

How many of us Baby Boomers have experienced this or something similar? The realization of aging suddenly kicks in and it sucks!

What about the current lifestyle that we have become accustomed to? Are we going to have to cut back?

If we have a spouse in the workforce, what happens if the same thing happens to them? Don’t even want to think about that.

All of a sudden, the fear starts to set in and the scarcity mentality is in full gear. The house needs repairs and both cars are aging… How are we going to keep up?

Let’s put a stop to all of this right here and now. There is a course of action that will alleviate all of this. What is it?

What say we tap into the power of the internet and start our own online business. The entry fees are very low and the potential is unlimited.

There are no age barriers on the net. There will be no bosses on the web. We are in charge to build our business the way we would have it.

Probably, the first objection would be: “I know nothing on the tech side of things.” Fair concern. Problem solved with what I have in mind!

Second objection would probably go like this: “I have no clue as to what to do to earn money on the internet.” There is a training platform that will take care of that. Thousands are reaping the benefits and making money.

Third objection might be: “How do I know I can trust what you are saying?” That’s easy… Everything is wide open and transparent, as to what I am telling you.

You might be saying something like: “This sounds like an alternative to what I am facing in the job market. What do I need to do to check this out?”

Head on over to my site and see what is going on here. I think you will be pleased at what you see and it won’t cost you anything. Use the resource below and I’ll see you over there!

Continued success,

JT

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The Cost Of The Virtual!

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Emboldened by his earlier encouraging experiences with the banking hawks Mr Thames Pond decided to carry on from there. He took a pledge to encounter any call from any credit card or banking executive with guts and intelligence. He must ensure that he refuse all unnecessary offers or entrapment. He’d no longer be vulnerable. And then, as usual, he got a call right away.

“Hello… am I speaking to Thames Pond please?”

“Who’s this please?”

“This is Moneycanny Sir, from UC bank!… Mr Pond?”

“Right, this is Pond. Thames Pond!”

“So nice to talk to you again! Good morning Sir!”

“Good morning. Ms err… !”

“Mr Pond… can I take just two minutes of your most precious time?”

“Regarding what?”

“Sir, you are one of our most privileged customers. We’ve reviewed your payment record over the years and found your credit history absolutely sound. Therefore, we’d like to offer you a rare privilege in terms of travel benefits. We are sending you a package of travel vouchers allowing you to have free five-star hotel comforts in various tourist locations you’d like to visit. We need your consent Sir so that we can forward that package to you readily.”

“You are giving me all these free, Milady?”

“Absolutely Sir! This is UC bank’s thanksgiving to one of our most privileged customers.”

“No payment? No hidden costs? Are you sure?”

“Yes Sir! All you have to do is to receive it!”

“Okay… in that case I can consider… Ms… er… !”

“Thanks Sir! Your package is worth more than – bucks. So there will be a service tax and other charges. You will pay an amount of – bucks for receiving the package. We’ll bill this amount in your next card statement… “

“Hey… wait a minute! What are you saying… I’ll have to pay to receive your benefits?”

“Right Sir! You are not making a payment, you are only paying taxes. Your package is worth a lot of money and so service charges apply naturally… “

“Wait a minute… you see… “

“Ours is one of the largest banks of the country with a huge network… “

“Hey! Ms… er… I’m not referring to your bank… I mean you see… that is you and see here! You see… er… you… see… I will have to take leave from my office… book tickets… plan it perfectly to be able to avail of your travel package, right? And considering your five-star privileges I must travel by air… I cannot just crawl and slog to land up there, no? Now, the problem is it may not materialize in that specified period of yours… due to so many reasons… “

“But Sir, we expect you definitely won’t let go of such a money-saving opportunity!”

“… Okay… you expect… I want too. But it is not in my hands. Now, if I fail to avail of your ‘free’ package why on earth should I pay you in advance? You send it… I’ll see, and then if I do travel and enjoy your five-star luxuries please bill the service charges… this makes perfect sense.”

“Sorry Sir! We offer you a value package and therefore we have to charge the service tax now only. Please confirm your agreement so that we can send it across immediately.”

“I’m sorry too… Milady! I cannot give my consent… ” He cut the line with relish.

Mr Pond watched his phone ring again. He rejected the call, deliriously happy. The process repeated itself one more time. Then silence as Mr Pond indulged himself a broad grin.

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How Long Does it Take to Paint a Wood Window?

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Well it’s all going to depend on the size and the design of the wood window, but you can plan on spending quite a bit of time, painting these intricate architectural items.

Let me give you an idea, I had to paint 7 wood windows, one time and these didn’t have any architectural details to them, they were simply plain old wood windows. The type of windows that were installed through out the 1950s and would need to be replaced or repaired, in the near future.

You’re going to find this hard to believe, but I used to paint the outside of the house, a small house, for $300, and a homeowner would supply me with the paint. I had to buy the rest of the materials, but I could paint the exterior of these small homes, in about a day and a half.

Except for the wood windows, this was a totally different story and I wouldn’t paint the wood windows each time I painted the house. I would often touch the windows up, but the amount of time that it would usually take me to paint these windows, was unbelievable.

Keep something in mind here, I could paint the entire house in about 12 hours, but it would take me about the same amount of time, just to paint the exterior of these windows and more than half of them wouldn’t open, because they were previously painted shut.

If the wood window has any sort of architectural detail, or any grids or divided lites, you could plan on spending quite a bit of time, painting each window. If you’ve never painted a wood window before, plan on spending at the least four to six hours, for window smaller than 3′ x 3′ and plan on spending at least eight to 12 hours, or more, for larger wood windows.

If you’re a contractor, who’s going to be bidding a job, you might want to contact a professional painter or at least get someone else’s opinion, before signing the contract.

If you’re a homeowner, and you hire a professional painter and they gives you a ridiculous bit, now you know why.

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