Archive

Uncategorized


If you have read this before, there’s a link at the bottom of the page with more researched information on a YouTube video. If you haven’t, it is an interesting read!

howmyspiritsings

skeleton in chains

I mentioned in one of my earlier posts that I have been doing some research in a book called the History of Erie County, Pennsylvania (written in 1884) one of the things that I found interesting was idea that before the Native Americans lived in the area, there had been another group of people who lived in North America.

The Erie County Connection

According to The History of Erie county, there had been many indications that proved conclusively that the county had once been peopled by these giants. When the railroad link of the Erie and Pittsburgh Railroad from the Lake Shore road to the dock at Erie was being built, the workers dug into a great mass of bones at the crossing of the public road which ran by the rolling mill. From the way the bones were thrown together, the workers surmised that a terrible battle had taken…

View original post 391 more words


Get Ready to Edit the First Draft

me_on_the_laptop

Time to Edit Your First Draft

Last week we learned that we have three basic editing steps-content editing, line editing, and proofreading. We read through our manuscript and determined the various story lines of the story and color coded each of these story lines as they weave throughout the story. To read this post, click here.

Develop Better Story Lines

Stories don’t merely happen simply by throwing a couple of characters into a setting. You must write the story. You must show the reader what’s important, where to focus.

You must create a mood and choose words to elicit an emotional response from the reader.

You create the path for characters to follow, a path that readers will also be willing to follow.

This week we are going to look at the foundation of the story line called the “Story ARC” to determine whether our story is well-structured. If you are a Plotter like I am, you probably worked with story ARCs when outlining and writing your draft, and you may have subconsciously created your ARCs if you’re a Pantzer who writes a book as he goes along, writing by the seat of his pants. However, in either case, it’s imperative you re-evaluate this aspect of your novel again once the first draft is completed.

What is a Story ARC and how do I use this in my editing process to improve my main story line?

A story ARC in a novel is the development or resolution of the narrative or principal theme. Many novels contain four or six-issue ARCs, the primary arc and secondary ones.

Story arcs are the overall shape of rising and falling tension or emotion in a story. This rise and fall occurs through plot and character development.

The term “story arc” was coined in 1988 regarding a television series and quickly adopted for other uses. However, the idea regarding a story ARC is not new (Aristotle (367 BC – 347 BC) wrote about effective dramatic structure:

‘A whole should have a beginning, middle and an end… A well-constructed plot … must neither begin nor end at haphazard.’

In other words, a strong story ARC shows rise and fall, cause and effect in a way that makes sense.

The Purpose of the Story ARC

If something seems amiss in the storyline, the first place to look for a problem is often in the story ARCs.

The purpose of a story ARC is to move a character or a situation from one state to another; in other words, to effect change. This change or transformation often takes the form of either tragic fall from grace or a reversal of that pattern. One common form in which this reversal is found is a character going from a situation of weakness to one of strength. For example, a poor man goes on adventures and in the end makes a fortune.

Story ARCs often follow the pattern of bringing a character to a low point, removing the structures the character depends on, then forcing the character to find new strength without those supports. In a story ARC, a character undergoes substantial growth or change, and it ends in the last few chapters of a story.

Every classic plot passes through several stages and should be used as points in the writing process. These stages are statis, trigger, the quest, surprise, critical choice, climax, reversal, and resolution

Stages of the Story ARC

Stasis

This is the “everyday life” in which the story is set. For instance, a group of teens could be riding in a car talking about one of their friends at school and how he’s such a “nerd”.

Trigger

Something beyond the control of the protagonist (hero/heroine) is the trigger which sparks off the story. For instance, in our scenario, the car hits a pothole and the car veers into the opposing lane of traffic and the car is struck by a semi-truck.

The quest

The trigger results in a quest – an unpleasant trigger—for instance, the hero/heroine may have to deal with survivor’s guilt and the quest might involve a quest to return to the status quo. A pleasant trigger might be that no one was hurt in the accident, and the hero/heroine has a vision where he/she is to do some quest toward further enlightenment.

In the case of the story above, the protagonist could have to fight back from a debilitating injury and deal with family members of dead friends.

Surprise

This stage involves not one but several elements and takes up most of the middle part of the story. “Surprise” includes pleasant events, but more often means obstacles, complications, conflict and trouble for the protagonist.

Surprises shouldn’t be too random or too predictable – they need to be unexpected, but plausible. The reader must be made to think “I should have seen that coming!”

For instance, a surprise could be that the boy that they were talking bad about in the car could bring her flowers while she is still at the hospital.

Another could be overhearing her boyfriend say that he was only still with her because he didn’t want to look like the bad guy. He said that he planned to break up with her after a specific dance that he had asked her to attend.

Critical choice

At some stage, your protagonist needs to make a critical choice. This is often when we find out exactly who a character is, as real personalities are revealed at moments of high stress. The character must decide to take a specific direction – not just something that happens by chance.

In many classic stories, the “critical choice” involves choosing between a good, but hard, path and a bad, but easy, one.

For instance, the girl could have to choose to go to a dance with her boyfriend who was just taking her to the dance out of pity or go with the nerdy boy who really likes her and her friends would make fun of her.

In tragedies, the unhappy ending often stems from a character making the wrong choice at this point – Romeo poisoning himself on seeing Juliet supposedly dead, for example.

In this case, the girl could make the decision to go to the dance with her boyfriend and bring a gun with her shoot him at the dance before he can tell her that he wants to break up with her.

Climax

The critical choice(s) made by your protagonist need to result in the climax, the highest peak of tension, in your story.

In the case of our story it could be that the girl is standing on the dance floor her hand in her pocket shaking as it touches the cold steel of the gun in her purse ready to shoot the old boyfriend.

Reversal

The reversal should be the consequence of the critical choice and the climax, and it should change the status of the characters – especially your protagonist.

Your story reversals should be inevitable and probable. Nothing should happen for no reason, changes in status should not fall out of the sky. The story should unfold as life unfolds: relentlessly, implacably, and plausibly.

In the story line we’ve created, let’s say that she looks over to the corner and sees the nerdy boy has come to the dance and their eyes meet. She decides that the old boyfriend isn’t worth the trouble and removes her hand from the purse and breaks up with him.

Resolution

The resolution is a return to a fresh stasis – one where the characters should be changed, wiser and enlightened, but where the story being told is complete.

Our heroine goes to the nerdy boy and asks him to dance and he accepts. The story ends with the two of them dancing.

Don’t Reinvent the Wheel

You can borrow from archetypal plot ARCs which are core types of narratives based on the protagonist (main character involved in the ARC). These are called archetypal because they follow common patterns that countless stories are based upon. The six core types are:

1. Rags to Riches (a complete rise)

2. Riches to Rags (a fall)

3. Man in a Hole (fall then rise)

4. Icarus (rise then fall)

5. Cinderella (rise, then fall, then rise)

6. Oedipus (fall then rise then fall)

Use the ‘5 W’s’ to plan each Story ARC

‘Who’, ‘what’, ‘why’, ‘where’ and ‘when’ are the basic building blocks of any story. When you think about it, stories are basically the 5 w’s plus change. As you’re reviewing your own story ARCs, think about how each might change and impact your story ARC in the process. When reviewing and editing how your plot arc developed, ask:

1. How did the cast of my story (the ‘who’) grow or diminish? In what ways did new central or secondary characters create extra tension, plot complications or emotional impact?

2. What new character motivations (the ‘why’) or external forces affected the course of the primary story ARC? For example: Did a misguided motivation lead to a fall, followed by enlightenment and change?

3. How did the story setting change (the ‘when’ and ‘where’) and what did this add to story ARCs? Could relocating setting increase tense and drama?

4. One thing that shouldn’t change is your story’s ‘what’. To maintain cohesiveness, the subject matter and themes of your novel need to maintain some relation to each other.

Create a Diagram of Your Story ARCs

To get a strong sense of your novel’s action, it helps to create a visual representation of your story’s structure. Use the archetypal plot ARC type you used as your template. Plot your novel’s core events and themes on this timeline. By visualizing your story this way, you can find ways to add reversals and turns of events that sustain narrative tension and keep the readers guessing. The color coding that you did last week should help you develop this diagram.

Update Your Storylines

Once you have created your Story ARCs, it’s time to start your second draft. What I like to do is open a new document and mark it as the second draft of this book. On this document, I fill in the Story ARCs and include any corresponding details from the first draft.

Get Your Copy of The Comprehensive Novel Editing Checklist

If you have a first draft that you would love to publish this year, be sure to pick up a copy of my novel editing checklist and if you haven’t already, sign up to make sure that you never miss a post of this editing series.

FREE COMPREHENSIVE NOVEL EDITING CHECKLIST WITH SUBSCRIPTION TO THIS BLOG +


fireworks

Happy Labor Day!

This month, we will be celebrating what it is that gets us up in the morning. The obvious thing that gets us up in the morning is our work and the first Monday of September here in the United States we honor workers with a day off and call it Labor Day!

Although summer doesn’t officially arrive until around June 21, Memorial Day denotes the beginning of the summer season. Independence Day (July 4) is at the height of summer, and Labor Day denotes the end of summer festivities and the beginning of the autumn season.

Why did we celebrate Labor Day?

According to the Department of Labor, Labor Day is always the first Monday in September. It was created by the labor movement, and it is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions that workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.

Mother’s Day honors mothers. Father’s Day honors fathers. Memorial Day honors those who have passed, and Veteran’s Day is the day we honor veterans. However, Labor Day is the day, If you’ve had a job, to pat yourself on the back for contributing to the prosperity of our great country.

Labor Day Legislation

Through the years the nation gave increasing emphasis to Labor Day. The first governmental recognition came through municipal ordinances passed during 1885 and 1886. From these, a movement developed to secure state legislation. The first state bill was introduced in New York, but the first to become law was passed by Oregon on February 21, 1887. During the year four more states — Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York — created the Labor Day holiday. By the end of the decade Connecticut, Nebraska, and Pennsylvania had followed suit. By 1894, 23 other states had adopted the holiday in honor of workers, and on June 28 of that year, Congress passed an act making the first Monday in September of each year a legal holiday in the District of Columbia and the territories.

Founder of Labor Day

More than 100 years after the first Labor Day observance, and we don’t know who first thought up the idea of the holiday for workers.

Some records show that Peter J. McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and a cofounder of the American Federation of Labor, first suggested a day to honor those “who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold.”

But Peter McGuire’s place in Labor Day history has not gone unchallenged. Many believe that Matthew Maguire, a machinist, not Peter McGuire, founded the holiday. Recent research seems to support the contention that Matthew Maguire, later the secretary of Local 344 of the International Association of Machinists in Paterson, N.J., proposed the holiday in 1882 while serving as secretary of the Central Labor Union in New York. What is clear is that the Central Labor Union adopted a Labor Day proposal and appointed a committee to plan a demonstration and picnic.

The First Labor Day

The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City, in accordance with the plans of the Central Labor Union. The Central Labor Union held its second Labor Day holiday just a year later, on September 5, 1883.
In 1884 the first Monday in September was selected as the holiday, as originally proposed, and the Central Labor Union urged similar organizations in other cities to follow the example of New York and celebrate a “workingmen’s holiday” on that date. The idea spread with the growth of labor organizations, and in 1885 Labor Day was celebrated in many industrial centers of the country.

A Nationwide Holiday

The form that the observance and celebration of Labor Day should take was outlined in the first proposal of the holiday — a street parade to exhibit to the public “the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations” of the community, followed by a festival for the recreation and amusement of the workers and their families. This became the pattern for the celebrations of Labor Day. Speeches by prominent men and women were introduced later, as more emphasis was placed upon the economic and civic significance of the holiday. Still later, by a resolution of the American Federation of Labor convention of 1909, the Sunday preceding Labor Day was adopted as Labor Sunday and dedicated to the spiritual and educational aspects of the labor movement.
The character of the Labor Day celebration has undergone a change in recent years, especially in large industrial centers where mass displays and huge parades have proved a problem. This change, however, is more a shift in emphasis and medium of expression. Labor Day addresses by leading union officials, industrialists, educators, clerics and government officials are given wide coverage in newspapers, radio, and television.
The vital force of labor added materially to the highest standard of living and the greatest production the world has ever known and has brought us closer to the realization of our traditional ideals of economic and political democracy. It is appropriate, therefore, that the nation pay tribute on Labor Day to the creator of so much of the nation’s strength, freedom, and leadership — the American worker.

Enjoy the day and THANK YOU to all the workers in America for your service to making your country great!

 

 


a path

Recently, I listened to a YouTube video where Jeff Johnson said, “Habits will either create lifestyle growth or inhibit lifestyle growth. “

Most of my life I have been working to improve my habitual life. Here are a few things that I had learned over the years about building good habits and getting rid of those habits that do not contribute to growth.

Made Changes Incrementally

I learned that I needed to get rid of bad habits incrementally rather than trying to do it “cold turkey”. When I quit smoking 27 years ago, I had to stop smoking menthols before I quit smoking all together. Then I went from smoking a pack a day to smoking 15 per day down to 10 per day and so on until I was down to smoking two or three a day, and then I was able to quit.

I broke habits that didn’t bring me growth by first disconnecting with triggers. For instance, I would smoke as soon as I got out of bed. I determined to put off my first cigarette until after I ate breakfast. Once I put off smoking the first cigarette beyond breakfast I then stopped smoking when I drank coffee.

Replace Bad Habits with Good Ones

One of the bad habits that I am trying to break right now regards eating junk food. I decided that I would replace the junk food with fresh fruit and nuts. This is just one step that I am taking to improve my diet. More habit changes are in the works.

Build new habits around habits that are already established. We all have habits that we have already established. I get up, make my bed, take my shower, brush my teeth, and then I write in my journal for fifteen minutes and then I exercise. I am building this new habit incrementally-exercising for five minutes per day weeks 1-3, ten minutes weeks 4-6 twenty minutes weeks 7-9, twenty-five minutes weeks 10-12 and 30 minutes weeks 13-15.

Change Begins in the Mind

Probably the most important aspect of changing habits, however, is the changes that happen in the mind. The most important aspect of changing habits has to do with “why change?” We change because we first become emotionally desperate to change. We change because we need to change more than we need to stay the same.

Know Your Why

Journaling why we want to quit is more important as we become more adept in the habit change than it does when we first start the habit change. As time goes on, we forget how painful the old habit had been. When we are tempted to go back to the old habits, it helps to go back and read what we wrote when we first quit. It reminds us of where we came from and the struggles that got us to where we were now.

Having an accountability partner is helpful. Having a mentor (sponsor) or being part of a group that are trying to change in the same ways that you are, are the powerful social influences in habit change.

What have you personally done to change your own habits? What habits have you changed and how did you do it?


smoothieBack in March, I was feeling achy all over. I think I must have had arthritis in every joint and I could barely walk up the stairs without losing my breath. I had so much pain in my ankles that I could hardly walk. I don’t do pills and exercise seemed out of the question as the healthful starting point for a healthier lifestyle. I knew that food was the better starting point for me.  I was eating all sorts of junk food, too many animal products and processed foods. I knew that a traditional diet plan was not the right move for me, so I decided to simply change some of my food choices and I knew that the easiest place to start was with breakfast, my first meal of the day.

I started by adding what I am now calling Triple K. Kale, Kelp and Krill taken every morning has improved my health exponentially. 

Kale

kaleThe first item K that I include in my breakfast is kale. Every morning I include kale in my morning smoothie. Now, don’t stick up your nose at it until you’ve tried it. This smoothie is delicious. I put kale in a blender and blend it until it is fully chopped, add a little soymilk (men should never use soymilk because of the phytoestrogens it contains so they would be better to use almond milk, coconut milk, or orange juice) a banana and some frozen fruit and blend it until smooth. Then I drink it and take my other nutritional supplements while drinking it.

Kale is super high in fiber. This helps create the bulk I need to fill me up and to keeps me full for a long time. With a combination of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients, kale is a dieter’s dream food. This leafy vegetable is popular since ancient Greek and Roman times. It is low fat, no cholesterol but health benefiting antioxidant rich greens.

Nutrients in kale offer protection from vitamin-A deficiency, osteoporosis, iron-deficiency anemia, and believed to protect from cardiovascular diseases and colon and prostate cancers.

Kale is high in calcium. Per calorie, kale has more calcium than milk, which aids in preventing bone loss, preventing osteoporosis and maintaining a healthy metabolism. Kale is a great detox food. Kale is filled with fiber and sulfur, both great for detoxifying your body and keeping your liver healthy.

Kale, like other members of the cabbage family, contains health-promoting phytochemicals, sulforaphane, and indole-3-carbinol to protect against prostate and colon cancers.

Di-indolyl-methane (DIM), a metabolite of indole-3-carbinol is an effective immune modulator, antibacterial and antiviral agent through its action of potentiating “Interferon-Gamma” receptors.

Kale is also rich in ß-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin. These flavonoids have potent antioxidant and anti-cancer activities. β -carotene converts to vitamin-A in the human body.

Zeaxanthin, an important dietary carotenoid, is selectively absorbed into the retinal macula lutea in the eyes where it thought to provide antioxidant and protective light-filtering functions. Thus, it helps prevent retinal detachment and offer protection against “age-related macular degeneration disease” (ARMD) in the older adults.

It is very rich in vitamin-A. Four ounces of fresh leaves carry 9,990 IU of this vitamin, providing 333% of RDA. Vitamin A is essential for maintaining healthy mucosa, skin and vision. Foods rich in this vitamin are known to offer protection against lung and oral cavity cancers. It is also high in vitamin-K. One hundred grams provides about 587% of RDA. Vitamin-K has a potential role in bone health through promoting bone formation and strengthening. Adequate vitamin-K levels in the diet help limiting neuronal damage and it has been used in the treatment of patients who have Alzheimer’s disease.

Four ounces of fresh kale contain 120 mg or 200% of daily recommended levels of vitamin-C. Scottish curly leaf variety has even more of this vitamin (130 mg/100g). Vitamin-C is a powerful antioxidant, which helps the body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful oxygen-free radicals.

This leafy vegetable is notably good in many B-complex groups of vitamins such as niacin, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), thiamin, and pantothenic acid, which are essential for substrate metabolism in the body.

It is also a rich source of minerals like copper, calcium, sodium, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure by countering effects of sodium. Manganese used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. Iron required for cellular oxidation and red blood cell formation. Kale is an excellent source of vitamins A, C, K and B6, calcium, potassium, copper and manganese. More specifically, according to the DRV, it contains 684 percent of vitamin K, 206 percent of vitamin A and 134 percent of vitamin C. Its sulforaphane content protects against cancer, as does indole-3-carbinol, which also aids in DNA cell repair.

Kelp

When it comes to nutrition, kelp is kale’s ocean-loving cousin.

A four-ounce serving of kelp has approximately 43 calories. Kelp consists of 76 percent carbohydrates, 14 percent protein and 10 percent fat. Kelp contains, per weight, more fiber than even brown rice — 6.2 grams of fiber per four ounces of wet weight — without high levels of starchy carbohydrates. Kelp contains significant levels of tryptophan, threonine, isoleucine, methionine, cysteine and valine. Kelp also contains lower levels of leucine, lysine, phenylalanine, tyrosine and histidine.

Kelp, aka brown seaweed, contains high amounts of iodine, potassium, magnesium, calcium and iron, as well as vitamins, antioxidants, phytonutrients, amino acids, omega-3 fats and fiber, together relaying impressive health benefits that are hard to ignore.

Kelp possesses anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties that have provided health benefits to the humans for eons.

It contains vitamins B1, B12, B2, calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium and iodine. Kelp improves thyroid functioning and helps improve energy levels, weight loss, liver function, brain function, constipation, digestion, functioning of pituitary gland and pancreas, improve symptoms of arthritis and memory loss.

Kelp also has an excellent nutrient density rating for vitamin K, a very good for folate and magnesium and a good rating for calcium, iron and tryptophan. One ounce of kelp gives us twelve calories (just one percent of our dietary need of energy).  Kelp is also relatively low in fat (0.2g per 1 ounce serving).

Like other plants, kelp absorbs a great deal of minerals from the sea water and sea soil in which it grows. Kelp contains more than twice as much sodium as potassium, 233 milligrams to 89 milligrams per 100-gram serving. Kelp also contains high levels of magnesium, iron, iodine and calcium. You can also obtain important trace minerals from kelp including phosphorus, zinc, copper, manganese and selenium.

As a green vegetable, kelp contains very high levels of vitamin K, important for blood clotting and bone health. Kelp also contains high levels of folate, or vitamin B9, which is involved in energy production. You can also obtain moderate levels of vitamin A, E, C, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin and pantothenic acid.

Many foods contain iodine, but nowhere near the tremendous amount in kelp. A single tablespoon provides a whopping 500 percent of the DRV. Nothing else comes close — not scallops, nor cod, nor yogurt.

Iodine also helps regulate your thyroid gland to produce strong, healthy hair, skin and nails, as well as to form thyroid hormones, thyroxine and triiodothyronine.5 It’s also essential for proper formation of your skeletal framework and regulating your body’s energy and brain metabolism in a process regulated by your pituitary gland.

The myelination process in the central nervous systems of newborns is another key function of the thyroid hormone. Balanced iodine in the mother’s body is imperative in pregnancy and breastfeeding for optimal development of the baby’s brain.

However, it’s important to understand that balancing your iodine levels is crucial. Specialists usually recommend around 150 micrograms daily. Consuming too much could lead to either hypo- or hyperthyroidism.

As a food, kelp aficionados laud its flavor as the ultimate, seawater-laced brine that’s the essence of umami. Nori, one of the most popular seaweed species, is dried in sheets to make sushi rolls. Other varieties include dulce, arame, (also called sea oak), deep green wakame, kombu, and spirulina.

Kelp may help prevent breast, endometrial and ovarian cancers by decreasing levels of the sex hormone estradiol. A review showed it induced cell death of prostate, liver, oral, pancreatic and other cancers, inhibits Helicobacter pylori, which causes stomach ulcers, and targets inflammatory skin conditions.

Further, kelp contains alginic acid, which protects the plants from bacteria, but in your body can reduce radiation exposure and prevent heavy metals from being absorbed.

Alginic acid in the seaweed kombu is known for its positive effects on diabetes, as well as its ability to coagulate blood. It prevents cavities, promotes digestive health, protects against flu, aids digestion, protects vision and maintains heart health.

Sodium alginate derived from kelp reduced radioactive strontium absorption in the intestines by 50 to 80 percent allowing calcium to be absorbed through the intestinal wall while binding most of the strontium, which is excreted from the body.

The iron in kelp helps form healthy blood and prevent anemia and the antioxidants fight free radicals, altogether ensuring the growth of strong bones and optimal muscle function. This iron is accompanied by a measurable amount of vitamin C. Since vitamin C acts to increase the bioavailability of plant iron, this combination creates a synergistic effect.

Because I live in Missouri, kelp is not readily available, so rather than eating fresh kelp, I take kelp supplements in the form of tablets. I take a tablet of kelp every morning when I drink my kale/banana/soymilk/frozen fruit smoothie and another one in the evening with supper.

Krill

The final K in my triple K is krill oil. Krill oil comes from krill, a shrimp-like crustacean found in the ocean and proven to be the most effective, powerful way to add omega-3’s into my diet.

Krill oil is more powerful than fish oil because of a little-known antioxidant called “astaxanthin”. Astaxanthin is the strongest antioxidant in the carotenoid family, creating the beautiful shades of red found within shrimp, salmon and krill.

University studies show astaxanthin to be up to 500 times more effective than vitamin E, One time more effective than beta-carotene and four times more effective than lutein in various measures of antioxidant effectiveness.

This antioxidant has a remarkable way of defending cells against the effects of free radicals. It is one of the few antioxidants capable of crossing the blood-brain barrier and able to shuttle essential nutrients throughout your body.

Krill oil is safer than fish oil because fish oil has high levels of mercury and PCBs. Krill is not exposed to these toxins because it is harvested from the Antarctic Ocean, where these dangerous chemicals are virtually non-existent.

The omega-3 fatty acids in krill oil are structured so they are more easily absorbed and broken down by my body. Most fish oils are structured in triglyceride form, making them difficult for our bodies to break down and convert therefore they are less effective.

Incorporating the triple Ks of Kale, Kelp, and Krill is not difficult. I love the flavor of my morning smoothie so much that I have replaced ice cream with this morning drink and feel more than satisfied. (This is a big deal for me because I love ice cream.) I simply drink the shake and swallow a kelp tablet and take a krill capsule in the morning and I find that the superfood nutrition provides me with more than enough nutritional satisfaction that I feel full well up until lunch time. I can eat a salad for lunch and not be starved by suppertime. My body knows it is getting the nutrition that I need so I don’t feel deprived. I am getting all the nutrition I need for a healthy, active lifestyle.

help from kelp photoKelp is one of those lesser known superfoods. To learn more about Kelp, Check out Cygnet Brown’s book Help from Kelp available on Amazon Kindle https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01C0QNN1O

Here’s what a recent reader, Monika Werner said about Help from Kelp:

“I’ve heard about Kelp before, a friend of mine swears by Kelp tea, but I’ve never knew exactly what Kelp is and what it is good for. Cygnet Brown does an outstanding job bringing all the information about Kelp together and how you can incorporate it into your daily diet. I put it into my morning smoothie and love it. I really enjoyed the information how Kelp is not just a nutritional powerhouse for us human beings, but it can be very beneficial for gardening and animals as well. Amazing information everybody should know about if you are interested in taking your healthy lifestyle up a notch.”


 

dumpster-with-boxes-and-plastic-crates-600x400Recently I have been looking at all the ways that I can decrease the ways that I contribute to the problems associated with the American lifestyle. Last week, I wrote about how we can escape from the plight of living pay check to paycheck. {Here’s the Link to the Article}This week’s blog is about decreasing our garbage output. Every week, I noticed how the dumpster outside our housing project is packed full to overflowing every week with stuff that people are throwing out. Though I cannot change the habits of others, I have decided that I was going to do whatever I could to decrease what I throw out.

Reduce

The first thing that I have learned is that I need to first reduce the consumables that I bring into my own home. There are numerous ways that I can do this. First, I can reduce the packaging that I bring in with the groceries. I can buy from bulk bins and make food from scratch.

In addition, I am learning that I don’t need keep a lot of stuff around to enjoy life. I have been getting rid of things that I don’t need so that I no longer must store them. Our consumer-based society is based on the collection of a lot of junk and I have decided that I am going to free myself from that American obsession. I am starting to get a better grasp of the concept of “less is more”.

I can also reduce the number of miles that my food travels. This summer I have started buying from local producers rather than from grocery stores that truck produce in from California. Our current Republican government is trying to get us to consume more fossil fuels and encourage us to believe that climate change is a hoax. Some people try to make us believe that the earth is flat too, but that doesn’t make it so. By buying local I not only am helping reduce carbon emissions, I personally like the idea of helping out the local economy.

In addition, reading and writing articles, emails, and books online, I am able to reduce the need for using paper. I am not the only one who sees the benefit of using the computer and the internet to save trees.

Reuse

Though there are some things that you never want to buy used like underwear, pillows, and mattresses, there are still others that are just as good used as they are new. They also cost a lot less and are often better quality than those things that are bought new. Children’s and women’s clothing are at the top of the list of things that can be bought used. Children grow out of their clothing quickly and women often prefer to change out their wardrobes so there is a lot of good clothing out there that can be found at yard sales and used clothing stores. In addition, flea markets are a useful place to get many items that can be repurposed in your own home.
Things that you no longer need can also be given away or resold. These items can be donated to charity as well. Reducing the need for storage space to store those things can also make a positive impact on both the environment and your wallet.

Recycle

There are those things that you cannot avoid bringing into your home or allow others to reuse. Recycling takes on many faces. Aluminum cans, plastic, tin cans, glass, cardboard, and paper can all be separated and taken to the local recycling center to made into other products. You can also recycle tires, electronics, and batteries and avoid sending them to the landfill.

One of my favorite ways to recycle is to recycle organic materials by composting. Composting is a way that I can recycle organic materials right on my own backyard. I have composted for years and it is easier than many people think. Almost every home could compost almost all their homes organic household garbage and use it as sustainable fertilizer to produce 50 percent of their daily vegetable intake. Recently I took composting one step further by setting up a vermiculture system where worms are break down the compost into castings that make an excellent nitrogen source for plants.

Just the Beginning

This is just the beginning. As I make these habits a part of my every day life, I feel as though I am more in control of my life by controlling what does and what does not come into my home and what does or does not go into my home.

 

 

 


moneyLast week I wrote about how slavery is still alive and is a sickness in the world today. (Here’s the Link) There is, however, a different kind that no one really calls slavery and it is much more prevalent today. This type of slavery is called living from paycheck to paycheck. The majority of Americans–8 out of 10–live paycheck to paycheck. There are basically two causes for this type of slavery and that is either not earning enough money or having so many financial obligations that individuals are unable to spend their income in the ways that they want.

Most families have no reserves for emergencies. Fortunately, my husband had the foresight to give us a cushion in case of emergencies. Back in October, my husband became ill and was out of work until January. Most families would have had it extremely rough, but we were fortunate that he had the forethought to have a full six months of his income in reserve for such an emergency.

The solution to the slavery of paycheck to paycheck is simple, but not always easy. You either must spend less or earn more or a combination of the two.

How to Save Money

The most important thing for anyone to do is to try to limit their discretionary spending habits. I am not going to give any specific details on how to do this. I will just say that the place to start is to write down everything that you spend your money on for a month. What spending habits can you change even if it is just temporarily? Write down your monthly bills. Look over your list. Are there any there that you can eliminate or reduce? Are there bills that you could pay using automatic payments that will reduce your rate? Are there payments that you could pay every quarter, every six months or even annually that would save you money as well? Plan your purchases. Don’t buy on credit unless absolutely necessary. The object is to spend less money than you bring in and avoid adding any credit card charges. A great goal that will help you getting out of the slavery of living from paycheck to paycheck is to pay off any credit card balances at the end of each month. Using credit cards isn’t the problem. Having credit is good when you need it.

Seven Ways to Earn More Money

Sometimes, just saving money isn’t enough. Sometimes what’s needed is more income. However, taking the step of getting more income without first getting control of your spending could lead to a being more of a slave than you were in when you made less money. So, once you get control of your bills and know what you have to spend, then you can determine how to make additional income.

Get a Raise

The first way to get additional income is to leverage the experience that you have in your current job. If you have worked hard and done a good job, then asking for a raise might be an option for you.

Get a New Higher Paying Job

Another thing that you could do is to get a promotion or go out and look for a higher paying job.

Get a Second Job

If getting a higher paying job is not possible or you like what you’re doing but it’s not paying the bills, getting a second job might be a better option. However, having two jobs is not always a sustainable option. Burning the candle at both ends can wear a body out, keep you from your family, and can turn you into even more of a slave to working for some else.

Sell Your Excess

Today, more than ever, there are ways to sell the things that you no longer use. Go through your closets and storage areas and garage and go through the stuff that you are just storing and haven’t used in a long time. If you have storage units that
Now find the best places to sell your stuff. One man’s junk is another man’s treasure. For most clothes and household items you could have a yard sale and clear things out. You might also consider having a stall in a flea market. You can also sell some things to specialty shops. You can also sell on local Facebook selling sites or on eBay. For bigger things there’s Craig’s list.

Clearing out storage lockers that you are paying rental on not only pays you for what you sell out of them, but it frees up that money to invest.

Invest Wisely

One of the best pieces of financial advice is to invest in yourself. Once you have sold your Excess stuff and closed storage lockers that you no longer need, take the money that you saved and invest it in some way that will pay you back.

Start a Business

The final way to increase your earnings is by starting a business. There is a science and art to starting a business and it is the best way to get free of the slavery of living paycheck to pay check. With starting a business, you will use many of the principles already stated when developing personal finances. The difference between business expenses and personal expenses has to do with the art of utilizing credit. Credit in business should be used for moving your business forward.
Money guru Dave Ramsey has observed that “80 percent of personal finance is behavior” not education. Therefore, make positive financial behavioral changes on a regular basis. Replace bad habits with good ones and set yourself free.

%d bloggers like this: