Calling All Boomers: How To Shed Your ‘Luddite’ Label and Embrace Technology (With Trepidation!)

Start small. Less is more. If the terms iPod, Smart Phone, E-Reader, digital device are as foreign to you as Sanskrit, it’s time to venture out to your local small, independent or large ‘big box’ technology outlet. Walk in with your head held high, and don’t let them see you sweat. You’ll be surprised how many young people (that is, anyone legally young enough to work), will happily swarm to your side, eager to demonstrate how much they know vs. how little you know about the latest digital tool.

Use my strategy. I always start by admitting that I know less than I really do. That approach accomplishes several objectives: first, it reinforces within me the fact that whatever meager knowledge I do have is accurate, because it has been substantiated by a 16-year-old expert; secondly, it gives your salesperson the opportunity to ‘show off’ what he/she knows. You will thereby make a friend who, hopefully, will guide you through what could probably be a daunting, intimidating purchase process. Ideally, he will adopt you as your mentor, shielding you from making today’s overkill purchase as well as tomorrow’s feelings of buyer’s remorse.

Next, don’t hesitate to stop him immediately — as soon as he utters one cyber-word beyond your comprehension, Politely interrupt him and claim ignorance. This approach immediately serves as a reality check for your ‘teacher’, compelling him to back up a few terabytes, to lower his expectations, and to tone down his rhetoric. Your ‘tech tutor’ immediately realizes that in you he’s dealing with someone who is still in a 20th century time warp, and adjusts his sales pitch accordingly.

Once you have his attention as to your level of technology incompetence, then mention your interests. Again, here it helps to be specific and to ‘think small’. Is your passion music? Photography? Video? Statistics? Writing? Would you like to learn how to use The Web? Establish a Facebook or Twitter presence? Or do you just no longer want to be tethered to your home phone? Yes. You demurely admit – you still use a LAN line and don’t own a cell phone!
A word of caution. You will undoubtedly, fall prey to all the glitz, the lights, the jargon, the media blitz that surrounds you. Focus, laser-beam-like, on your limitations, your specific technology goal, and your bank account.

Your goal – to zero in on the least sophisticated tech tool that will help you get started for the lowest price.

Whatever the techie on the sales floor recommends, keep asking him to ‘drill down’ to a simpler gadget – one with less features, not more.

The trick is to achieve that balance between what you really need to jump start your launch into the cyber world, without becoming overwhelmed and confused with too many advanced, sophisticated features that you, the tech neophyte, do not understand or probably will never use. Again, less is more. The research shows that most of us use less than 10% of our technology devices’ power and features, because: a) we’re totally unaware of a given tech tool’s capabilities; b) our interests or our work focus on and/or require only specific features; c) our level of technical expertise is limited. In other words, “you don’t know what you don’t know.” And, until you do learn about what you don’t know, you don’t want to become a victim of technology overload. A rule of thumb, if you can’t pronounce it, and if you can’t describe in your own words what it can do, you probably don’t need or want it.

Are you ready???!!! Aim, aim, aim – fire! Make a decision. Choose a device. Trust me; your choice to make a leap into the tech world will be a cathartic experience and a defining moment.

“Now, what?” you say? “Now that I’ve caught the fish, won the prize, bought the pig – what do I do with it?” Not to fear. Help is on the way. In my next segment, I’ll provide great human and material resources that are ready, willing and able to transform you into a cyber-user in no time at all, and with a minimum of angst. In fact, trust me, you will savor the journey.

What Ails Vermont?

Vermonters are understandably proud of their scenic, mostly rural and unspoiled state, so it may have been a little jarring to hear Gov. Peter Shumlin talk about a “full-blown heroin crisis” and a mounting “hopelessness that can help drive drug habits.” (1)

Jarring, but not exactly surprising. Even as just an occasional vacationer, for years I have heard about a swelling problem with heroin in the small city of Rutland, at the western foot of the Green Mountains. Overall, Shumlin said in his state of the state address, treatment for opiate use has increased nearly eightfold since 2000.

Which brings us directly to the question: What ails Vermont?

If we can tear our gaze away from those green hills, red barns, snowy ski slopes and brilliant fall colors, we might see a statistical picture of a state that is stagnating, like a retiree with too little to do. Bodies decay under such conditions, and spirits do too.

With an enviable unemployment rate of 4.4 percent for November, compared to the national 7 percent at that time, you might think Vermont’s economy is booming, much like that of equally rural, oil-fed North Dakota. But it isn’t. There were about 335,000 Vermonters (from a total statewide population of about 626,000) working that month, including the self-employed. In November 1999, the state counted 328,200 workers. That’s a pitiful net growth of fewer than 7,000 jobs in 14 years. By the way, North Dakota – with a population only slightly larger than that of Vermont – gained around 50,000 jobs in the same 14-year period.

The recession of 2008-2009 is not a big factor. After recovering many of the jobs lost in the downturn, Vermont actually lost some jobs during the past year. Unemployment fell during the same time, however, from 5 percent to 4.4 percent, as more people left the labor force than entered it.

Overall, Vermont lost a handful of residents last year – the first population downturn in three-quarters of a century, according to the Census Bureau. (2) From the 1960s through the 1980s, Vermont gained residents at double-digit percentages. The state responded with numerous measures to curb development, including a land-gains tax of up to 80 percent on property that is acquired and quickly subdivided, usually for new housing developments. From 1990 to 2000, the population increased only 8.2 percent. From 2000 to 2010, the net gain was a scant 2.8 percent. These are not annual percentages; these are percentages for the entire decade. From 2010 to now, the growth is barely above zero.

Similar trends are playing out nationally, but they are exaggerated in Vermont. The state is older and much whiter than average. The state’s percentage of Hispanics (1.5 percent) is the second-lowest in the country; the percentage of African-Americans (1 percent) is third-lowest. These demographic groups tend to have higher birth rates than non-Hispanic whites.

It is no surprise that Vermont’s population of school-age students is shrinking at an alarming rate. There were fewer than 90,000 school-age Vermonters in 2011-12, according to the state, compared to more than 106,000 in 1996-97. The school population fell in all 15 of those years.

As school enrollments fall, costs per student are rising. The state spent about $13,500 per elementary and secondary student this year, up about 30 percent from a decade earlier.

Vermonters seem to think their state is a great place to live, but it seems not too many folks from other places agree.

Vermont’s notably chilly weather must play a role, as does its remoteness. But New Hampshire is not tropical either, and it has attracted considerable growth and a thriving technology industry, especially the southern region close to Boston. The state’s population is more than double Vermont’s, and it grew by more than 6 percent between 2000 and 2010.

I think Vermont’s tax structure has a lot to do with the difference between its performance and its neighbor’s. Besides the aforementioned tax on relatively short-term gains from the sale of land, the state has a steep income tax, is among the minority that imposes an estate tax, has a significant sales tax, and also provides a property tax break to households with less than $90,000 of annual income, which shifts more of the burden to upper-income residents. New Hampshire has no land gains tax, no tax on wages, no estate tax and no sales tax.

Taxes are not the only factor, however. Egalitarian Vermont, which sent self-described socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders to Washington, has a complex and cumbersome property tax system in which wealthy communities directly subsidize schools for poorer locales. The system makes it complicated and expensive for such communities to raise money to spend locally on programs such as enriched extracurricular activities and advanced placement classes. Though Vermont’s schools are widely considered to be pretty good, they do not rank highly in the percentage of graduates who go on to four-year college degrees.

Likewise, the state’s varied restrictions on development discourage the creation of new industries and the jobs they might bring. There is a historical basis for Vermont’s anti-development bias. In the years before the Civil War, the state was nearly denuded of trees because of a boom in farming and raising livestock, especially sheep. The barren hillsides poured choking silt into the streams below. By the start of the 20th century, Vermont had to go so far as importing white-tailed deer from New York to restock its population.

Many of the state’s residents today prize the small-town culture. They treasure handmade crafts and artisanal, organic, locally grown foods. I have nothing against these things; I like many of Vermont’s products, including chocolate, wooden crafts and maple syrup. But you don’t attract many new jobs with these industries, and without jobs, you don’t attract many young workers and their children. You don’t create many opportunities for the young people who are already present, either.

The only reasons for Vermont to have an epidemic of drugs and hopelessness are man-made. When heroin is sold just around the corner from the farmer’s market, something must be wrong. I think I understand why Vermonters have adopted the policies that govern their state today. I do wonder, though, whether they are willing to change their policies if they don’t like the results.

Sources:

1) The Washington Post, “Vermont Session Preview: A budget gap and a heroin crisis”

2) Burlington Free Press, “Experts: Vermont population loss to challenge economic growth”

Design As a Strategic Advantage

In this environment, the design of a Website can become a strategic advantage. Effective use of design will allow a company to benefit in a number of ways.

An effective design will allow the provider to better predict and control costs. For example, a design should include flexible rules for how and where the site will add new content (as opposed to updating old content). Establishing these rules in the design phase of the project will greatly reduce the need for ongoing design changes, as well as pushing out the time until the next major redesign.

A layered site design can allow a company to react more quickly and effectively. Separating content from presentation and function in the design reduces the effort to change any of the three later. In addition, a strong conceptual model streamlines decision making about whether or not to make changes in the first place.

Perhaps most importantly, an effective design can help satisfy and retain users. There are measurable human factors that can be used to objectively evaluate the impact a site design has on its users. An effective Web site design can improve the experience for users in several measurable ways. For example, using consistent language on buttons and prompts reduces the time it takes users to perform tasks by 25 percent. Users come to a site with goals. Effective design will help them to attain their goals more quickly and easily.

A design can be used to reduce the number of errors users make while performing common tasks on a site. If someone hasn’t been exposed to how software designer’s deal with error, this idea may seem jarring. Users typically think of errors as mistakes they make that are somehow their fault. Software designers think of errors as a user’s best approximation of the correct action. In other words, the user took what appeared to be the right action to achieve a goal. Software designers use well-known principles to improve the likelihood that a user will take the correct action in the first place. There are no bad users, but there are less-than-perfect designers and designs.

Subjective satisfaction is another human factor that software designers measure. This is typically done by having users assign a numerical value to how much they enjoyed using the software. So although the factor being measured is subjective, it is assigned an objective number-by users-that will serve as a benchmark that can be remeasured over time to gauge improvement. If an organization thinks that user satisfaction with its site isn’t terribly important, it might want to keep in mind that it’s an important predictor of whether or not the user will ever return.

We’ve seen some of the ways that better design can improve a site in measurable ways. But with rising costs, rapid technological change, and increased functional complexity, how will designers cope, let alone move beyond current levels of usability, to achieve a strategic advantage for their sites?

As Web projects become more like software projects, Web designers will have to look to the methodologies of the software industry. This will result in a move to a new design imperative that will combine best practices from media design and production with principles of computer-human interaction. This is called action oriented design.

A good part of this new design movement will take place naturally. The Web may be the newest new medium but it certainly isn’t the first new medium. There is a natural progression to the design of all new forms, media or otherwise. New forms start out by imitating older forms, then evolve into what the new form will eventually become. Early automobile designs copied carriage designs (hence, the name “horseless carriage”). Early television programs copied both radio and live theater. So, too, the Web is struggling from its early imitation of print and broadcast media and toward what it will ultimately become.

Four Phases of Web Design

The four progressive phases of Web design evolution mirror the phases that many Web designers pass through in their development. There are many examples of sites on the Web today that correspond to the first three phases. The fourth phase is one that is only now beginning to emerge. The four phases are:

I. Applying What We Already Knew. Here the designer applies lessons from established media. Consequently, the site tends to look like a printed page, a video still, or a CD-ROM. Interactivity often suffers and performance is usually poor due to heavy graphics.

2. Imitating What We See. As the designer becomes immersed in the realities of Web design, new design problems pop up that can’t easily be solved by applying lessons from other media. At this point, the designer looks to how other sites solved these problems, and adapts those solutions. But although the designer is growing in knowledge, there is still no deep conceptual framework of understanding. A borrowed solution may not be appropriate and can even cause usability problems that are worse.

3. Learning by Experience. The feedback mechanisms of the Web are an incredibly valuable tool for learning. Study of server logs shows how users move through a site. Users voice their likes and dislikes through e-mail. But be warned: Although users know when they have a problem, they are not the right ones to design the solution. In addition, internal users are a constant source of data. As a Web designer enters the third phase, the design is typically simplified so that it will work better on a variety of browsers, the size of pages is reduced so that it will work better over low bandwidth, and it moves toward more consistency in page layouts. These are all positive developments, even though the designer may still lack an underlying framework of understanding.

4. Software Design Awareness. Some new media designers have begun to look beyond the current state of Web design and become aware of the principles and methods used by software designers. At the same time, the Computer-Human Interaction (CHI) community-largely academic and previously focused strictly on software-has begun to adapt and apply its work to the Web. What we are just beginning to see on the Web is a design approach that owes as much to science as to art. It is a more rigorous, principled approach to new media design. It is characterized by designers taking what they have learned from both past lives and recent experience, and applying it through structured methodology to produce designs that are measurably superior to past efforts. This is the beginning of action-oriented design.

Why is action-oriented design important? Users come to a site with goals. So, too, Web site owners have business goals that can be attained only by driving specific user actions, such as viewing pages (drives ad revenue) or making transactions (drives electronic commerce revenue).

Inevitably, sites add more content, more function, and more graphics. In a Forrester study of new media executives responsible for their companies’ Web sites, the top responses to the question, “What will you add to your site in 2014?” were “more content” and “personalization.” In the same study, site owners said that their top challenge was “making the site attractive.” Ensuring ease of use came in fourth.

In the midst of this increased complexity, helping users attain their goals while leading them toward actions that support business goals is not easy. To achieve success, designers will need to clearly understand user goals, business goals, rapidly evolving site functionality, and software design methodologies. Talent and experience alone will not get the job done.

Furnished Holiday Lettings – A Tax Guide

Where a furnished rental property is designated as a ‘furnished holiday letting’ (FHL) there are several advantages over a normal let property as it is basically treated as a trade for certain tax purposes. This includes tax relief to be claimed on expenditure on fixtures and fittings and also provides entitlement to various capital gains reliefs when the property is subsequently sold, replaced or gifted.

Owners of FHLs should endeavour as far as possible to comply with the specified letting rules outlined below, thus ensuring that the property qualifies for the favourable tax advantages.

Qualifying letting periods

  • The FHL property must be available for commercial holiday letting to the public for at least 210 days per year AND be actually let as holiday accommodation for 105 days per year.
  • It must not normally be let for a continuous period of more than 31 days to the same tenant in seven months of the year.

There are two ways to help owners of FHLs to reach the above thresholds. If an owner owns more than one FHL the ‘averaging’ election might be helpful and if a FHL meets the thresholds in some years but not in others, then a ‘period of grace’ election is currently available.

Location of property

  • All FHL properties which are located in the UK are treated as one ‘business’ and all properties located in other EEA states are taxed as a separate ‘business’.

Capital allowances

  • Expenditure on fittings, furniture and equipment (and certain integral features) qualifies for a 100% annual investment allowance (AIA) up to £250,000 pa for expenditure incurred between 1 January 2013 and 31 December 2014.
  • The availability of the AIA means that expenditure on such assets installed in a qualifying FHL property can be wholly written-off for tax purposes in the tax year in which the expenditure is incurred.
  • Note however that there are no capital allowances available on the cost of the property itself or the land on which it stands.

Pre-Letting Expenditure

  • Revenue expenditure incurred in the pre-letting period, such as advertising costs or repairs can be deducted against rental income received during the first tax year.
  • Expenditure incurred in renovating a property so that it is brought into a condition fit for letting are treated as capital costs.

Personal Use

  • Where the property is used by the owner (or their family at a nominal rent) then any qualifying expenditure must be restricted by the private use proportion on a just and reasonable basis.

Treatment of FHL losses

  • Where a net loss, after deduction of any capital allowances, is incurred on UK located FHLs it can only be offset against UK FHL profits of a later tax year.
  • Likewise where a net loss is incurred on FHLs located elsewhere in the EEA then it can only be carried forward against future profits of the same properties.
  • ‘Sideways’ loss relief, which prior to 2011 allowed losses on FHLs to be set against other types of taxable income, is unfortunately no longer available.

Capital gains tax advantages of FHL

Qualifying FHL properties continue to be treated favourably for CGT. FHLs are classified as ‘business’ assets and are therefore eligible for the following CGT business reliefs:

  • Entrepreneurs’ Relief ~ resulting in a CGT reduced rate of 10% payable on any capital gains arising on the disposal of the property (up to a lifetime limit of £10 million)
  • Gift Relief ~ which means that where a property is gifted the capital gain arising can be frozen and will only become liable to CGT on a subsequent disposal by the recipient.
  • Replacement of Business Asset Relief ~ which allows a capital gain arising on the disposal of a FHL to be deferred by setting it against the cost of a replacement business asset acquired within three years of the disposal.

Inheritance tax position of FHL

  • Following a Tribunal decision made in favour of HMRC in January 2013, 100% Business Property Relief is only likely to be available on furnished holiday lettings where the services provided are at a substantially more significant level than those provided on a standard let property.
  • Therefore in the vast majority of cases a FHL left on death will be treated as investment property (rather than business property) and as such fully chargeable to Inheritance Tax as part of the deceased’s estate.
  • For lifetime transfers, a FHL property will only become chargeable to IHT should the donor die within seven years of the date the property was gifted.

Value added tax position of FHL

  • The rental income from a FHL is regarded as taxable turnover for VAT which means that if an owner is already registered for VAT then they must also charge 20% VAT on the FHL rentals payable by tenants.
  • Where the rents from a FHL taken together with turnover from an unregistered business exceed £79,000 in a 12 month period, then that person should register for VAT.
  • Where however a FHL is jointly owned with a spouse then the rental income is received in a different capacity so VAT should not be an issue.

What Is Hope and Where Can I Get It?

There are times
When our hope within,
Has no basis,
And we don’t know where to begin.
Then when we are raised,
A renaissance occurs,
Suddenly hope
Within us God he stirs.
Hope is a light,
A vast eternal flame,
Hope is from God
We find it in His name.

***

Hope is the love
Of self enough to sustain,
Life as it is,
In Jesus’ name.
We can know this much,
Because it is true,
We know it most certainly,
Because we feel new!

Hope is the grace of presence; to be perfectly content that very second. No matter what we have experienced immediately beforehand, hope comes suddenly, surprising, joyously, relieving, and new!

***

Hope is living,
Living for today,
But not in any foolish
Or selfish kind of way.
Living very intentionally
Is certainly the theme,
Oh to be fully enrolled,
In God’s hope-embodied scheme!

Hope is a state of mind and heart; poised with all of life beautifully ahead, yet loving the moment in all its cherished simplicity.

***

Hope is something nimble,
It flexes and gels and more,
It moves with the threads of life,
In ways where we verily explore.
Hope burgeons with myriad options,
Related to the intensity
Of life lived at life’s own pace,
In all of its immensity.

Hope doesn’t shrink. Hope adapts. Hope moves. Hope morphs. Hope explores. Hope reconciles. Hope runs beyond acknowledged weakness and into God’s glorious light.

***

Hope finds its source in the gospel of God through Jesus our Lord – once one accepts this Christ into their lives – to live and die for.

Each time we open our Bibles, perhaps in a case of annoying and despairing hopelessness, this living Word compels us to search its great mysteries, and the Spirit of God leads us to a passage, a verse, a single word. We are ‘enlightened’ in this as we can only be truly enlightened – the holy revelation of God peering through into our hearts, healing our souls for the moment, for the foreboding, and into a sustaining future.

Hope is a great thing – a schema of God designed to sustain and grow us.

Hope comes when we need it, provided we keep searching and refuse to give up. Great is the hope of God in Jesus Christ. The more we enter into the life and times of Christ, as he lived in others, and how he lives in others, the more we gaze upon the material of healing and partake of what is eternally offered. That’s hope.

© 2014 S. J. Wickham.

Airline Manufacturing Back Orders and Record Sales – Big Gap in Promises and Deliveries

It seems to be standard operating procedure for Airline Manufacturers to go to big airshow and aviation industry events to sell aircraft. This works great and they take order galore, but the problem with taking orders and you’ve probably seen this at Starbucks, is that once you take the orders, you have to produce the product, so the customers line up again and wait. When it’s busy, they wait and wait, and wait. So much for a quick Latte to go, so, what does this have to do with airliner manufacturing you ask?

Well, both Airbus and Boeing now have aircraft orders well into the future, for some models, 7-years in advance. If you study the industry much, the landscape changes a lot in 7-years, and soon these manufacturers will have orders spanning a decade. Think about that? An aircraft order taken in 2014 at the Paris Airshow could potentially not be delivered until 2024 – no, it’s not that bad yet, but it is getting there.

There was an interesting article in Manufacturing (dot) net not long ago titled; “Airbus Logs Record 2013, But Still Behind Boeing,” by Jamey Keaton, reposted from the Associated Press. Often the AP stories are fairly jaded toward propaganda, and the stories written by writers in the semi-employ of those organizations they promote. My take on Airbus aircraft deliveries is not one of praise, but one of questionable business practices.

It is pretty disingenuous for Airbus to hyper-sell aircraft and take orders at the current rate when it cannot even deliver anywhere near what it has already promised – in any other industry – that would be considered fraud. And yet, there executives do the PR campaign road show in their suits and ties and take credit for their greatness when in reality their performance is substandard on the business manufacturing end. Not very impressive and pretty pathetic if you ask me – still, the gap between sales and deliveries expands – what about customer trust?

What about new materials, what about new propulsion technology, better designs, what about blended wing bodied aircraft, what about our hypersonic transportation future? What about point to point personal flying craft? What about the combination of all these technological breakthroughs? What about airlines which may no longer be in business or the future airlines which will come into existence? Where are all the aircraft going to come from, I ask? This is about the only industry I can think of that gets away with this strategy. Please consider all this and think on it.

Travelling With Children – Travel Insurance Can Save The Day!

Among the many reasons to book single trip travel insurance, taking children away on a holiday may just rank at the top.

As any parent knows, when you have children, particularly small ones, there are always surprises in store. Even a simple single trip travel insurance policy for your family can help make sure those surprises are only pleasant, or at the very least, inexpensive.

Travelling With Children

Many people may think traveling with children in tow is way too much trouble, but the truth is, it’s one of the best things you can do for your child. It not only expands their horizons and helps them learn while having fun, it’s also good for you. Having children along with you on your journey instils you with their energy, enthusiasm and sense of wonder – which more than makes up for the exhausting pace of running after them and taking care of them for the duration of your trip.

Child-Friendly Policies

The good news is that many single trip travel insurance policies are child-friendly. Many allow coverage for children aged 0-14 as long as they are with an insured parent or grandparent. In fact, there are even some family policies that include children up to the ages of 16 and even up to 18. Other policies for families aren’t free, but only charge a minimum per child – but often, those include extended cover for other eventualities normally excluded in regular policies. You will, however, want to make sure about just what (and who) is covered in your policy.

What To Look For

Often, the best policy is one that offers broad coverage for many of the things that occur even without children, and a few more that do. These may include coverage for the following.

Medical Emergencies. Medical bills are troubling enough, but face the issue overseas and that becomes compounded. Add to that the problem of language barriers with doctors and nurses in areas where English is not the norm, and it can be quite daunting. However, with unlimited medical and hospital cover, as well as unlimited emergency assistance, a huge load will be taken off your shoulders, and you are assured that any trip to a foreign doctor will not be a financial burden. Interpreters can even be arranged.

Cancellations. The problem with making travel plans with children involved is that if they get sick or hurt in the days leading up to your big trip you may just have cancel the whole thing. Besides the disappointment this may cause, it can also be quite costly in terms of cancellation fees and lost deposits without a good policy in place.

While airlines and other companies may sometimes reimburse costs when it’s due to weather or political disturbances, they may not if it’s due to personal emergencies. Single trip travel insurance with comprehensive coverage means that you get unlimited cover for cancellation fees and lost deposits, in any case you need to cancel your big trip.

Lost luggage, gadgets and more. When travelling with small children, the pain of lost luggage and equipment like cellular phones and tablets seems to be that bit more painful: for one, there are many more clothes (and equipment) to replace, plus they aren’t the most patient travellers. A good policy can ensure you won’t have to make do without clothes or toiletries for the family just because they ended up somewhere other than your destination.

5 Little Known Tips for Fast Weight Loss

In this article I’m going to review some weight loss tips that might be unheard of and others you might have heard before but nonetheless they all work very well when combined together in a good weight loss program.

Tip 1:

Let’s start by taking a picture of every piece of food that you eat and every beverage that you drink. You can easily do this by using your cellular phone. This is the 2014 version of a food journal. In all my years of consulting with clients I have found that the people who keep a food diary get the best results. So in order to bring this to present time current technology just to get your cellular phone and take a picture of your food. You can even go a step further and post the picture on your FB page or your G+. This will hold you accountable. You may even get a bunch of your friends and coworkers to do the same thing and you could have a contest as to who can eat the healthiest or who can lose the most weight.

Tip 2:

Make sure that you drink at least 64 ounces of water each and every day. Most people think that they are hungry when in fact they are actually thirsty. In my experience with my clients I have found that if they keep their body properly hydrated they eat less food. Plus your body needs an adequate amount of water each and every day in order to keep the systems of your body working properly.

Tip 3:

Eat lots of vegetables. It doesn’t matter if the vegetables are raw or cooked. Just eat them. You can even juice your vegetables. Make sure that you are putting kale and parsley in your veggie shakes as they are two of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet.

Tip 4:

Limit your starchy carbohydrates. In order to lose weight and maintain your weight loss you should really consume starchy carbohydrates in moderation. This includes bread, pasta, rice and all the other delicious foods that are made from some type of wheat flower or rice. I know we all like these foods but the problem is that they like us as well and they like to hang around with us on our bellies, buttocks and thighs. So do yourself a favor and limit your starchy carbohydrate intake. Now I am not saying to eliminate them totally by just make sure that you are consuming them in moderation during the day.

Tip 5:

Tip number five is the icing on top of your weight loss cake! And Tip number five is exercise. But we are talking about sensible exercise. And the meaning of sensible exercise is doing a type of exercise program that is not going to cause us to experience any type of injury. Sensible exercise is different for everyone. If you are over 40 years old and have not exercised since your high school years you may be best served by beginning a sensible walking program. If you can walk for 60 consecutive minutes 5 to 7 days a week this is an excellent beginner program. Now if you can’t walk for 60 consecutive minutes just do what you can.

If you could only walk 20 minutes, then that’s great just walk for 20 minutes every day. And gradually work your way up to 60 straight minutes of walking. We are looking to make positive lifestyle changes. Changes that will make us healthy and also lose weight in the process. For others, a sensible exercise program might be doing a more intense exercise program like high intensity interval training, resistance training and other types of burst training like programs.

So there you have it 5 weight loss tips to losing weight and getting healthy.

Here is one final extra weight loss tip: if you are confused, if you have tried losing weight on your own and have failed, if you have absolutely no idea about what you’re doing and why you are not losing weight be smart and consult a health and wellness expert.

I cannot tell you how many people I see in my office each and every day that think they are eating right and exercising right and still cannot lose any weight at all. The problem is that there is so much information out there. And this totally confuses people.

So do yourself a favor consult a health and wellness consultant.

Common Golfing Injuries

Injuries are common in all sports, with professionals doing all they can to stay fit and keep on competing at the highest level. With big money at stake not only for individual tournaments but world rankings also, golf injuries can be a real setback with players succumbing to injury working hard to regain fitness and make a return to the course as quickly as possible.

2014 is an even more important year in the eyes of the professional as it is Ryder Cup year, with every player looking to impress and ensure they receive an automatic spot in the team for the Gleneagles competition, where Europe will be hoping to make it three straight victories.

Golf is also big business from a leisure perspective with over 2,800 clubs nationwide from 9 hole pitch and putts and municipal courses to prestigious private golf courses where the elite play their golf.

Whether you’re a professional or a Sunday morning player the statistics are the same in that 20% of all players will succumb to golf injuries at some stage in their playing careers. The majority of said injuries are as a result of overuse, whether attempting to put that extra little bit of power on a shot and twisting awkwardly as a result, or simply twisting your ankle in hidden dangers in the rough.

Golf injuries can affect the majority of areas on the body covering both the joints and muscles due to the nature of the sport and the technique required. A golfer’s swing involves all areas of the body, from the shoulders, arms, wrist, back, hips, knees and ankles thereby increasing the risk of injury at some stage in your career through a weakness of a joint or muscle. Some golf injuries are more common than others and this article will look at the some of the main conditions sustained on the course.

Golfer’s Elbow

Golfer’s elbow (medial epicondylitis) is very similar to tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis), with the former having pain and inflammation centred on the inside of the elbow joint compared to the latter where pain is centred on the outside of the joint. The condition occurs as a result of overuse of the muscles and tendons within the region which inflame and whilst being painful can limit the movement of the forearm and compromise your ability to play.

Whilst it can be very frustrating, golfer’s elbow is a self-limiting condition and will recover providing you rest. Ice is also a great way to help manage any inflammation and can help with any pain experienced. In more serious cases golfer’s elbow can require surgery but if you are in doubt and the condition fails to subside then it may be advisable to consult with a medical professional.

Another way in which golfers elbow can be managed it through a sports brace, designed to help manage the inflammation experienced during an activity. The golfer’s elbow band sits on the affected area, allowing you to control the amount of compression afforded to the joint and allowing you to continue being active for longer. It is also important to note that a golfer’s elbow band and tennis elbow support are effectively the same product as all you need to do is to twist the band round your elbow to accommodate the different conditions and apply the compression where required.

Wrist Injuries

Whilst a natural swing should not involve the wrists, as they are meant to remain rigid, wrist injuries are still classed as one of the more common golf injuries sustained. Tendonitis remains one of the more common complaints on the injury list where players complain is pain and inflammation in the tendons within the joint. Tendons are the tough bands of tissue within a joint which attach your muscles to your bones.

Tendonitis can lead to a weakened joint, therefore strengthening exercises should be undertaken to help manage the condition, caused by small tears within the surrounding tissue of the joint. At the same time as visiting a physiotherapist a wrist support can also be used to offer a greater amount of support during movement and stability of the joint.

Back Injuries

The majority of back injuries involve the lumbar region and account for a massive 20% of golf injuries. The twisting motion of a player when attempting a shot can affect the area and over time can lead to injury from overuse.

The lower back region is the most active area in a golfer’s swing, with the more power placed on a shot the more strain being placed on the area. Whilst the majority of complaints are self-limiting a physiotherapist can often be referred by a doctor to help with strengthening exercises and stretching to reduce the risk of further injury in the future.

Shoulder Injuries

Another key area in a golfer’s swing is the shoulder, working to provide a fluid swing motion and a key area in being able to apply power to a shot. Golf injuries here result from either overuse or from having a poor technique which can place unnecessary pressure on the shoulder joint during play. Injuries to the shoulder region can range in their severity, from a simple strain requiring rest to more serious rotary cuff injuries which may even require surgery.

Final Thoughts

In the immediate aftermath of any golf injuries you should apply ice to the affected area and limit your activity to help the area recover. Should the condition fail to heal within a few days then you should seek clinical advice as the problem may be more serious than first thought or may just require alternative forms of treatment to help you get back onto the golf course faster.

About the Author

Dave Regis discusses the use of orthotics for the management of sports injuries, reviewing injury rehabilitation through exercise and the use of bracing and supports. He frequently blogs and writes articles focussing on golfers elbow and methods of rehabilitation.

How Faith and Works Are Inseparable

“Faith cannot help doing good works constantly. It doesn’t stop to ask if good works ought to be done, but before anyone asks, it already has done them and continues to do them without ceasing. Anyone who does not do good works in this manner is an unbeliever.”
~ Martin Luther (1483-1546)

The above quote is such a salient clarification of how Faith and Works are eternally and mysteriously melded together. Neither can they be separated in the heavens nor should they be here on earth.

God always designed these two to run together in loving unison.

These two, as they come together, faith by its evidenced works that may always be observed, are such an ideal reflection point for the believer as they consider the penetration of the Spirit into their hearts. For, there are times when we might implicitly do things as we are led by the Spirit, without thought, just as Luther describes above. But there are also times when we don’t feel like it, and we may shrink within ourselves, and live again as unbelievers do. We are always on this faith-unbelief continuum. What is our saving grace in the latter situation, when we do not do these good works inspired of faith, is the fact of repentance. We come back to God, admit our error, which is a heart-born tragedy of morality, and we are restored in the moment.

WHEN FAITH AND WORKS ARE MARRIED BY LOVE

As a man and a woman come before God and are joined in marriage, so do faith and works, as they become the same thing, which we may call love. Love sees to it that opportunities to bless people relationally are pounced upon. Love doesn’t miss much. And where love does miss, love apologises; it makes restitution and seeks reconciliation, never giving up.

Works done out of the motive of love, where there are no strings attached, and the work is done without condition, are evidence of faith, where faith is always motivated by love.

But those who are not won to love never truly get faith until their pride is crushed sufficiently that they are fervently won to God. These are those ones who do their works for favour. And we might all fit, at least occasionally, into this category of unbeliever, though our salvation – once it’s received – is never truly at jeopardy.

***

We cannot be blessed by God in the spiritual realm, as we exist, as we experience blessing, without throwing ourselves away. As soon as we do throw ourselves away, God gives our true selves to us. By our faith we experience love. But in our unbelief we cannot see love let alone receive it.

***

Faith means Works, together by love,
And everything of love is from above.
When we see love there are these two parts:
Faith evident in Works and both are about hearts.

Faith and Works are joined in marriage, and when these two become one it’s called love. Love gives without thought, without strings attached, and it desires to receive nothing in return. Love gives because it can. Such is faith. Faith, like love, gives itself away. Works are merely evidence of a love-borne faith.

© 2014 S. J. Wickham.