Friday, September 28, 2012

What Are Challenge Coins?

A challenge coin is typically a coin shape that is made of a type of metal. They may be bronze, gold, silver, platinum or a mixture of metals. The shape is not always round. Some are triangular or are shaped for the particular meaning they project. They generally have a logo on the front and may have a raised emblem on the front and the back. A particular slogan, a date or the name of a unit is used for challenge coins given to members of the military. If they are given as an award for a completed mission or a job that was considered difficult, this is often commemorated on the coin as well.
The first challenge coins were given in the military and although the story varies with each telling, the basic one seems to include a member of the military challenging fellow members to produce the coin. If they cannot, they must buy drinks all around and if they do, the challenger buys. The origination of the coins is attributed to the branch of the military that is today, the United States Air Force. They were carried by those who flew into enemy territory and were considered one of the bravest among this branch of the military.

The challenge coin is also called an honor coin. They are carried by members of the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard among others. The coin has become so popular that many civil servants today possess them. These coins will have the department that the person is employed by whereas the military coin has the division or squadron as an emblem. The coins are also given to many members of organizations today as well as being sold to honor special occasions.
Members of the Air Force receive the coins after completing their basic training. If officer training is chosen, upon graduation, new officers are given a coin. In keeping with the original meaning of challenge coins, it is believed by many that the rules of a challenge should be kept within the military unit and only for those who have been given the coin by their unit. They believe that the coin is a morale booster that was reserved for this purpose and organizations should not initiate challenges using the coin.

The coins are to be carried at all times although specific rules should be followed. Defacing the coin in any way is strictly prohibited. Drilling a hole to allow the coin to be attached to a key chain or worn as a necklace nullifies the coin and it is no longer considered a challenge coin. Many units do not allow members to carry their coins in a wallet. The most common and accepted way of carrying the coins is in a pouch worn around the neck. This is in keeping with the original method that is believed to be the way pilots carried them.
When given for the recognition of an accomplishment, the coins are generally exchanged during a handshake. They are passed from the giver to the receiver and a short explanation is usually offered as to the reason for awarding the coin.

Food Stamps - 4 Tips To Feed Your Family on A Budget

If you had to feed your family using food stamps, what would you feed them? A recent story online talked about a chef who accepted this challenge to eat using food stamps. The end result was he went over budget. For many people they do not have the luxury of simply going over budget on one week worth of food. $20 over budget on a week is the same as spending $80 a month that you do not have.
Shopping, making and feeding a family while on food stamps requires some serious skills. Packaged food is one of the most expensive foods you can purchase from a grocery store. Packaged food can also be very high in fat, sugar and sodium, making healthy meals with these foods is almost impossible with such a restricted budget.
Here are some tips to shop and feed your family if you are on or about to go on food stamps.
  1. Plan to go to the grocery store twice a week if possible. Twice a week will allow you to do two things. The first is to plan to spend only 60% of your money. This will reduce the chance of purchasing stuff you do not need. The second part is you can replenish what you need to finish the week with your leftover money.
  2. Quick oats from a bulk bin can go a long way. Quick oats can be used for breakfast and flavored with brown sugar which is low in sodium, add some fruit such as bananas or apples when on sale and you have a healthy, hearty and tasty breakfast.
  3. Chicken is an inexpensive meat which can be used many ways. Every body likes chicken cooked on the BBQ but if you do not have one, a roaster will work. Buy extra chicken and use the meat to stuff a sandwich. The bones and skins can be used to make broth for soup. Celery, carrots and onion are great vegetables for a chicken flavored soup. The meat can also be used in salad to give it some staying power.
  4. Flour is a very versatile food. You can make bread, biscuits, pancakes, waffles and pasta from one bag of flour. The kids will think you are awesome if you include making pizza dough with your bag of flour. To make pizza dough will require yeast, a tomato, and cheese. You can use some of your extra chicken meat also for a pizza topping.
Be creative when feeding your family, there are many different ways to use food for feeding a family. Rather than throwing away food pizza is one way you can use leftovers and have the kids enjoy it.
Our free new book "The Scratch" will show you the basics of three great meals you can use to start your new family budget. It has great meals you can use to feed a family of four.

13 Great Tips to Stamp Out Loneliness

What is LONELINESS? It is not about being on your own. Many people enjoy being on their own and would choose this for themselves for at lest part of the time. They enjoy having their own space. They do not feel the need to have other people around all of the time to validate them or make them feel more comfortable. If someone experiences feelings of LONELINESS; it is usually not influenced solely by where they are or whether other people are around. It is possible to be in a room full of people and still feel very much ALONE. You can be part of a social gathering and feel LONELY as you are on the periphery and not fully involved with what is going on.
This suggests that LONELINESS is a state of mind. It is tied up with how you feel about yourself.When we have a low self esteem, we have a choice about whether to change this or not. The prospect of change can be daunting.The challenge of embracing this is however very worthwhile, with rewards not only in terms of how you feel bout yourself but also in the quality of your life. The first task in changing our self esteem is to alter the way in which we view ourselves.
1. Instead of bombarding ourselves with an onslaught of negative comments, try to focus on the more positive aspects about yourself.This could include, PHYSICAL, PRACTICAL, PERSONAL, EMOTIONAL, ATTRIBUTES or things you are good at, PERSONAL ACHIEVEMENTS.
2. Try asking members of your family, colleagues, friends, how they would describe you. This may reveal a number of POSITIVE statements about you which are surprising and / or uplifting. (Note of caution, choose wisely!)
3. Write down POSITIVE AFFIRMATIONS about yourself (Please see article re POSITIVE AFFIRMATIONS.)
4. Pay more attention to your thoughts and feelings. When you are aware of these being critical, try challenging them or using THOUGHT STOPPING TECHNIQUES. (Please see article re THOUGHT STOPPING TECHNIQUES.)
5. Practice seeing yourself in particular situations when you feel CONFIDENT and good about who you are and the circumstances you are in. you are feeling comfortable. Feedback from others is POSITIVE. People are paying attention to you. You are maintaining good eye contact.Feed as much information into this exercise as possible. Pay attention to your body language and how you converse. Make sure you CHOOSE clothes to make the most of your physical attributes and feel CONFIDENT in them. Do you feel better wearing make up and perfume? (A question for the girls!) Remember how it feels to have a stronger sense of SELF WORTH, to get POSITIVE FEEDBACK from others and from your own reaction.
6. You can proceed to use the lessons learnt from this exercise to go into the situation for real. You can enter it from a more CONFIDENT and less threatened stance.
7. Try not to leave a situation because of feelings of discomfort or anxiety.This will only increase your fear of a situation at a higher level and give yourself negative feedback. This can be difficult to do.
It may be helpful to remember that if you suffer from any symptoms of anxiety these are only an exaggerated form of how we all feel from time to time.They cause discomfort but are not life threatening. Placed in a difficult situation, your symptoms any increase but it will reach a peak and come down again. Try not to be afraid of this feeling and run away from the situation. If you need to, use BREATHING exercises to take control of the situation. (Please see article re BREATHING RETRAINING TECHNIQUES.)If you manage your situation effectively in this way, you will get POSITIVE feedback from the experience resulting in you being less fearful in the future.
Alternatively, PLAN ahead.
Think of what would make you feel more comfortable by REHEARSING the situation in your head.This may alert you to any possible difficulties. It is then your task to generate ways of overcoming these difficulties. It can be useful to decide beforehand that you are only going to stay somewhere for an hour. Giving yourself a time limit may make it easier for you to relax and stay in a situation.Even if you are enjoying yourself, it still makes sense to leave at the time you promised yourself and when things are going well. This will ensure you achieve POSITIVE feedback.

How to Stamp Out Personal Fear and Anxiety in Ten-Minutes

Do you ever read articles or listen to experts who sound so slick you discount their knowledge as just old common-sense?
What we are too nice to say is their great solution to your problem is too good to be true. When the answer is too-easy, something a ten-year old could come up with, we say, No thanks, I will do it myself.
U of Chi
The University of Chicago is a great school, it was started by John D. Rockefeller in 1890 to make folks love him and do good works. It was a religious thing, pushed into reality by the American Baptist Educational Society with the Rockefeller oil dinero.
Marshall Field the department store czar, donated the land for the campus. The goal was to be different, more European than American schools. How? The departments crossed educational boundaries.
I am getting there - their first President was William R. Harper, who demanded professors take the less traveled road and produce scholars, not job seekers. The money behind them delighted in controversy - imagine that.
Professor Sian L. Beilock of the University of Chicago just wrote a book on Choking (up) by folks facing adversity playing golf or making financial decisions.
She came up with simple, but effective solutions for not choking up in the middle of life's challenges. Stupid - but they work.
Simultaneously she wrote an article on how to avoid anxiety and stress in taking exams. Again, simple strategies that just plain work. Get this - her scientific solution enable students to improve their test performance one-full-grade. Example: B- to B+.

1. Write out (keyboard is nice too) your worries and fears for ten-minutes before testing, making a presentation or doing a job interview.
Five-minutes does not work, and glittering generalities fail - you need to express your deepest emotional fears and anxiety in print. It shifts your brain from Left Hemisphere (brain) to Right-brain functioning.
Use words that produce mental imagery (movies) and really get into it. You move forward a winner. It never fails, works like a charm.
2. Instead of concentrating on your worries, anxiety and stress - Sing. That is exactly what Dr. Beilock discovered in her experiments. If you sing, you brain cannot worry about failing the exam or blowing the presentation or interview.
It causes your brain to shift hemispheric dominance. Your move your thinking from left-brain dominant to accessing your powerful right-brain. Righty specializes in pictures, emotions and holistic thinking. You are empowered and win all the ---
3. Instead of being a perfectionist, and attempting to control all the factors in your environment, literally Stop! - let go of control over all the circumstances.

A Challenge For Baby Boomers

I wrote a previous article entitled "Confessions of a Baby Boomer." It was a kind of message to fellow baby boomers who want to charge of their lives and their futures rather than leaving them in the hands of the government or an employer.
Now it is time to speak to the Boomer Generation again. You know who you are. You were born sometime between 1946 and 1964. You (or should I say "we") form the largest generation of Americans there has ever been. There are about 75 million of us, and that is almost 25% of the total population of the country. By the strength of our very numbers we have had a permanent effect on the American culture, economy, religious beliefs, moral standards, ethics and politics. We have lived through and to one degree or another participated in the civil rights struggles, the Viet Nam war, Watergate, the assassinations of JFK, RFK, and MLK, the space race and the Cold War.
I have heard our generation likened to a pig in a snake. Imagine that a large snake, such as an anaconda, has just swallowed a pig. You can see the bulge in the snake as the pig moves further along the snake's digestive system. Ahead of the pig, the snake is its normal size, and after it, it returns to that size again, but in the middle, as the pig moves along, imagine the size of that bulge! We are like that pig. When we were young, we affected live around us drastically. The world will never be the same. We said, "Don't trust anyone over 30." Guess what happened to that, though. Some of us rebelled and "got stuck in the 60's," but most of us grew up whether we wanted to or not, and the bulge moved along.
Life kept on happening. The bulge kept moving. Finally, boomers are now starting to reach the age for Medicare, Social Security and grandchildren. It should be common knowledge by now that 10,000 boomers will become 65 years old every single day for the next 19 years. The bulge in the snake has moved again. Recently, a boomer told me, "We're all in the fourth quarter now." I wonder how will the generation who did not want to grow up face getting older.
It's probably too early to definitively answer that question, but you can get some preliminary ideas for working hypothesis. For instance, even though boomers are starting to reach the magic age of 65, a large number either cannot retire or simply don't want to. These days when boomers think of retirement, many of them don't think of doing like their parents did. For many in this generation, retirement does not mean stopping work and taking up stamp collecting or some other hobby or spending every day on the golf course or traveling to some exotic destination. Rather, it means continuing to work at a job of some kind, either the same one they always had or some other one.
Many boomers will work for as many more years as possible. For some it will be because they have to, but for others it will be simply because they want to. And why shouldn't they want to? After all, these are the people who dreamed big when they were young about changing the world bringing in the "Age of Aquarius" and all that.
Look at what boomers have accomplished as a group! Some boomers like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates have changed the ways we interact with the world. Others such as Bill and Hillary Clinton and George W. Bush have changed the shape of the future for all of us. Then there are others not quite so famous. There are countless thousands of boomer engineers, teachers, clergymen, doctors, economists, factory workers, business owners (both large and small) and all manner of others who have a world of wisdom and insights from all their collective experiences. What a waste it would be to tell them that they have to just sit down now and start rocking on the front porch!
So, Fellow Boomers, here is a challenge directly for you. Whatever you're doing to make things better for yourselves, your families, your community, or your nation, DON'T STOP DOING IT! If someone tells you that you have to quit doing the job you have been doing all your life, it's not the end of the road. There are other jobs that need you. Your expertise is irreplaceable. If someone says that your too old or that they are looking for someone younger, then say, "Who needs them anyway?" Start your own life over. Work for yourself, or volunteer your time in your community, church or synagogue.

Medal of Honor Challenge Coin Represents Many Qualities

What is a Medal of Honor challenge coin? These coins are given to members of the military for courageous and valiant acts that are above and beyond the call of duty. They are given to members of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines. Just as the highest military commendation is represented by the Congressional Medal of Honor, the Medal of Honor challenge coin is also given as recognition for exemplary service. The sacrifices made by men and women of the military are honored by the giving of this coin.
Honoring Courage in the Past and Present
There are many courageous men and women - current and past - that protect this country. Countless numbers have lost their lives defending the U.S.The Medal of Honor was signed into law in 1861 by then President, Abraham Lincoln. Recently, in 2011, the 150th anniversary of the enactment of this law, there were two coins issued by the U.S. Mint. They included a $5 gold coin and a $1 silver coin.
Based on the establishment of this law, there are numerous coins that symbolize the same values represented by the Medal of Honor. The coins are one way of honoring soldiers - active and retired - today. They are available in a variety of designs and metals. Medal of Honor challenge coins have the same meaning. They are given to distinguish the bravery, perseverance, allegiance and commitment shown by members of the military.
The coins are given at awards ceremonies and by commanding officers. They convey gratitude for the courage and selfless acts that are qualities of the military. No other group has ever made the sacrifices that have been made by members of the military. "Comrades in Arms" is more than just a term. It is a way of life for those who serve in the military. They are dedicated to providing more than just the protection of their country. They protect each other.
This is one of the reasons the Medal of Honor challenge coin is so special. The coins are often given to family members of soldiers who lost their lives defending their country. As a special way of acknowledging the supreme sacrifice, the coins are a symbol of the bravery and dedication shown by these men and women. In addition, they provide recognition for the unselfish qualities possessed by those who have fallen.
The Medal of Honor challenge coin is made in a variety of shapes and sizes. The coin can be made from a variety of metals. There are coins with the American flag, eagle-shaped coins, stars and virtually any other style that can be imagined. Each one has a special meaning for the recipient. They can be made from bronze, silver, gold, platinum and various other metals. They can include names and dates, rank, locations and more.
As a way of honoring true heroes, the Medal of Honor challenge coin stands for courage, service and sacrifice. As a way of showing the gratitude of many for the high standard of values held by members of the military, these coins are given. Freedom is enjoyed due to their bravery.

US Postage Rates Are Anyone's Guess

US postage rates have fluctuated so much in the past 10 years that it is a challenge just to keep your postage stamps current! At one point, the US postal service even issued a postage stamp that bore only a symbol in lieu of a monetary amount because rates were changing so quickly. With all of this change, how can you possibly stay abreast of the proper amount to affix to your envelope? Three tips can keep you perpetually knowledgeable about the proper postage rates for your mail. First, use the internet to check postage rates on a regular basis. Second, be mindful of the specific weight of each envelope or package you are sending, as this effects the necessary amount of postage. Third and last, if you are ever in doubt about the proper postage rates for any given package or letter, simply take it down to your local post office and let them do the work for you.
Let the Internet do its Job
The World Wide Web exists - among other things - in order to help connect you to information. Next time you have a question about which stamp to put on your envelope, take the simplest and most direct route to your answer. In a few quick clicks, you can connect via the internet to the US postal service. Here you will find all the current information available on US postage rates. Usually, you will need to provide simple information such as the weight of your parcel and the zip code of both the package's origin and destination. Once you provide the relevant information, the site will very quickly provide you with a postage rate estimate for your package.
Rates Vary
It is obviously more expensive to send an encyclopedia than it is to send a postcard. Therefore, it is imperative to know both the dimension and weight of the parcels you are sending in order to acquire the proper US postage rates for sending them. Following this simple tip can actually save you a great deal of money because people often over-pay to send their packages. Many are fearful that if they affix too little postage, the package will not make it all the way to its desired destination.
The Post Office Exists for a Reason
While the convenience and ease of internet rate discovery is wonderful, sometimes you just plain need a little bit of customer service. There are usually several post office locations near you. The benefit of driving to one of these locations is simple; they get it right every time. Customer service representatives are able to weigh your package while you watch, make sure that it is in proper condition to travel and provide you with several shipping options right there on the spot. In addition, several services are available to only in-store customers and most locations have packing materials available to their customers for purchase, just in case you need them. US postage rates are, after all, the post office's specialty.

Stamp Duty Holiday Is Coming to an End

On 24th March 2012, the Stamp Duty Holiday for First Time Buyers will come to an end.
Properties between £125,000 and £250,000 will now once again face a tax of 1% of the sale price, meaning that First Time Buyers will need to find up to £2,500 more to fund their house purchases than before.
The Stamp Duty Holiday was first introduced back in March 2010 by the then Labour government, which was concerned that figures for property sales had fallen sharply as a result of the recession.
After the financial crisis hit in 2008, mortgage lenders became very cautious and it became much harder for buyers to find the large mortgages of up to 95 or even 100% of the sale price. Practically speaking, this meant that people suddenly needed far larger deposits of around at least 25% of the sale price for lenders to even consider offering a mortgage deal.
Consequently, demand for rental properties has soared in the past few years, with the sales market slowing down whilst people have been up against the challenge of trying to save large deposits, alongside paying monthly rent, in order to try to make a purchase. In these times of pay freezes and high unemployment, the Stamp Duty Holiday has eased the cost of buying a little, at least.
Previously, Stamp Duty had to be paid by everybody, except for first time buyers of a property worth less than £125,000.
The tax is being reintroduced as current Chancellor George Osborne believes that the tax-free period has been largely ineffective in its aim to encourage people to buy.
It isn't all bad news, however. The coalition government is introducing new incentives to buy.
The FirstBuy scheme has already been introduced, which lends people part of their deposit interest-free for up to five years, on new-build homes.
The NewBuy Guarantee scheme, another initiative to be launched next month, will help to make mortgages accessible again, offering potential buyers mortgages of up to 95% on new-build properties. This scheme comes with a built-in insurance for lenders that borrowers will not shoulder the full risk if they default on their mortgage payments; the government will shoulder the liability for up to 5.5% of the purchase price. In simple terms, this means that lenders will see buyers of these new homes as a less risky prospect, allowing more mortgages to be offered. This new scheme will be open to all - first time buyers or not.

Want to Join a Think Tank? Practice By Solving The Most Pressing Problem in Your Community First

There are a lot of people out there who would like to spend their life solving problems. Perhaps they've been in management, small business, or working as a bureaucrat. In fact they have so much practice solving problems, they have become down right good at it. These same people often contact me to join our think tank. Indeed, I always ask them what their experience level is, as it is my contention that if you want to solve problems of some of the most pressing issues of mankind, sometimes you have to do what that famous quote tells us;
"Think Globally, Act Locally!"
In other words, if you want to solve the problem of food scarcity, starvation, and many other similar challenges around the world, then perhaps you should set up a food bank in your local city, volunteer to feed the homeless, or volunteer for a "Meals on Wheels program" and go out and deliver food to people that don't have any means of support for themselves. In doing that you will actually help real people that you can see, talk with, and learn to understand.
With that new knowledge, you can better see what needs to be done in some of the challenges. You see outward, and in the bigger picture the problem is still the same; logistics, transportation, funding, and getting people to help themselves. There is also still going to be that issue of; "teach a man to fish, and giving him a fish every day," it's almost as if it's universal, at least that's what I've noticed with regards to starvation and food supply. Why not develop a plan for your local community, or try to fill in the gap were other nonprofits are not getting it done.
No one should starve in the United States with all of our great abundance, some people are not getting food stamps, but they're afraid to ask, some are too proud. Some people don't even have a mailing address to get the food stamp credit card in the first place. Can you see that point? Are people slipping through the cracks in your city? You might think they aren't, but how would you know it if you don't investigate to find out. If there are these problems locally, they need you to fix the problem, the one that others can't see.

Tips to Designing Your Own Business Stamp

A stamp that represents your business is a great way to add a unique touch to your business. Whether you plan on using it for advertising or for stationary needs, you can never go wrong when making the decision to design your own business stamp. However, designing the perfect stamp can be a challenge! What will your stamp say about your business? Listed below are a few helpful tips to guide you when designing your own business stamp.

· Include as much information as you can about your business
Every time you use the stamp you can view it as inexpensive advertising. For this reason you want to include as much detail in the stamp as you possibly can. A few examples of important things to include are your business name, phone number, and any other information that distinguishes your business from others. What do you want other people to know about your business when they see your stamp? Answer this question when creating the perfect stamp for your business.

· Are you known by your logo?
Some businesses are known more for a catchy logo than their business name. When designing your own business stamp, choose to add your logo so that potential clients know exactly who to call when they need your product or services.

· Detail is the key
 When designing your own business stamp, you want to ensure that potential clients will be able to understand exactly what it is you are trying to portray with the stamp. The details on the stamp must be clear and concise. For this reason, it important that you choose a quality stamp production.

· Finding the right place to fulfill your stamping needs
 Once you begin using your personalized range of stamps, you will quickly see that stamping becomes an important tool in your day to day business routine. Finding the right place to meet your stamping needs is crucial. There are many great websites that can provide your business with exceptional service. Find a website that works for you and stick to it. Ordering and shipping will be a cinch when you find the perfect website to meet your needs. Keep an eye on the prices and remember to bolt on the required accessories including a variety of ink pads.

How to Choose the Best Stamp Album for Your Stamp Collecting Hobby?

Collecting stamps is a centuries old hobby and can be worth a fortune. Stamp collecting is an exciting hobby, especially in the process of finding the rarest and the most valuable stamps out there. This hobby has proved itself as a legitimate and a worthwhile activity to most people. But of course, this activity won't be successful without the use of the proper stamp album. Now, that challenge begins with the search for the best stamp album for your stamp collection.
Actually, the best stamp album is the most appropriate album for a stamp collector. It is not necessarily the best of all, but the most appropriate album to one. So, how do stamp collectors, particularly the newbies, choose the stamp album?
Type of Album
First of all, choosing the best type is crucial. There are many types of albums in the market these days, which includes various usages, purposes and materials. The secret lies in choosing the type that will work for you the most.
Binder Type Albums - These albums are not like the typical albums, since binder type albums can be added with extra pages using filler pages. This makes the album a lot practical for the budget concerned stamp collector.
Pocket-size Album - This type of album is perfect for those who are always on-the-go, searching for priceless stamps.
Stock books - A stock book is one variety of a stamp album. This is basically an album with pre-set mounts and hinges that hold stamps in place.
Stamp Mounts and Hinges
The most appropriate stamp album actually gives stamp collectors the easiest method of usage. Albums that have hinges as well as mounts prove to be a lot easier to use and a lot more organized than the typical plain one. Stock books, as said above, is an example of such.
Size of Album
Size also plays a significant role in selecting the album. This represents the types of stamps a person collects and the way that person handles them. It is important that a stamp collector takes the size of the album into consideration, since this will affect the way he or she works with the stamps.

U S Military Challenge Coins Honor Those Who Serve

As an honor for the hard work and the exceptional service shown by many members of our armed forces, U.S. military challenge coins are often given. Receiving this special token of appreciation is an honor that is remembered a lifetime. Although the coins are often given by commanding officers, they may be given by one soldier to another as a token of the time they have spent together and as an acknowledgement of the bond they share.
U.S. military challenge coins represent numerous things. They can be given for going beyond the call of duty or as a remembrance of a special situation. The reason for which the coins are given is one of the things that make them valuable - not just monetary value - but as a possession that has a deep personal meaning.
The coins come in a variety of shapes and sizes. They also can be personalized in many ways. Most have a particular unit, a name, an event, logos, dates and virtually anything else that the person choosing the coin wants added. The emblems are often raised and the coins can be round, square, triangular or in the shape of a key, birds or other animals. This shape is entirely dependent upon what the person purchasing the coin chooses.
U.S. military challenge coins are made of various metals. They may be bronze, platinum, silver, nickel, gold or another metal. Many are quite valuable and a few are very rare, such as the Bulldog challenge coin. Typically the ones with a unique design and that are considered as popular collector's coins are worth more. However, the ones most often valued are the coins that were given as a commemoration for outstanding service.
For the family of a soldier that is killed in the line of duty, U.S.military challenge coins are kept and cherished as a remembrance of the sacrifice that was made. They are returned to the family with other possessions that were special to the soldier. Many that return home carry the coins on their person for the rest of their life. This shows just how special the coins are to those who receive them.
U.S. military challenge coins include every branch of the armed forces - the Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard - and are considered an ultimate honor in addition to other awards received. Although their origin began with the Army Air Corp, they have come to represent all branches today. They symbolize the commitment made by all who have pledged their loyalty and protection to the United States.
The bravery of men and women who serve share a bond that is not understood by the general public. In times of conflict and in time of peace, the bond is there. Whether they are called challenge coins, honor coins, unit coins or military coins, they are one of the most well-known symbols in the U.S.
As a source of pride, U.S. military challenge coins are one of the most treasured symbols of soldiers. This includes those who are presently serving as well as retired military and those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

How Do I Get Food Stamps and Free Food?

Not long ago, I was showing my disdain for the "free food program" which we call food stamps in the US. I was at Starbucks and a conservative gentleman and his wife cut me short, he said to me; "hey, wait a minute, my daughter is going to college and she applied for food stamps and got it, and it really helps." Oh, now that's just great, this fellow lives in a gated beautiful golf course community, his daughter goes to an Ivy League school, and he believes it's okay to take advantage of the food stamp program because he is paying in lots of taxes but taking no services.
Yes, that is about right, but he explained it to me like this; "45 million Americans are on food stamps, and the Democrats call it one of the best and most successful government programs around, all those people are getting free food and I am paying for it, why shouldn't I get some benefits here too, as long as they are wasting my money, why not waste some on my own daughter." Okay, yes, I get that, and understand his attitude sure enough.
It turns out that the government says that: "Anyone can apply for food stamps. To get food stamps, you and the other people in your household must meet certain conditions. Everyone who is applying in your household must have or apply for a Social Security number and be either a U.S. citizen, U.S. national or have status as a qualified alien," according to the social security office website.
Wow, that surely sounds like one of those Lesko books for instance; "Free Money for Everyone," by Mary Ann Martello Matthew Lesko, or one of his late-night television infomercials. Indeed, I don't know about you but, it seems to me that I am still waiting for my "Stimulus" that Obama promised! Ha ha ha.
If you are looking for food stamps you can go to Haiti, just kidding, you can go to SAA (dot) gov website and fill out the form online, it's that easy, which is probably why so many people who don't need it are signing up for it. Amazing, how pathetic we've become as Americans, no one seems to want to work or produce, everyone wants a free ride, so now 45 million Americans are on food stamps and they must think socialism just grand indeed, yep, until they run out of other people's money to spend, which judging by Obama's latest budget it's already happened.
If you sign up for food stamps and you don't need them, then any economic challenges we face in the future are partly your fault, and might I suggest you'll deserve it? Please consider all this and think on it.

Adding Rubber Stamps to Your Craft Drawer

Are you an avid crafter? If so, you may be searching for a unique way to set your crafts apart from the rest. While there are many new hobbies and techniques that you can learn to accomplish this task, stamping should be atop your list. Below are a few reasons that you may want to add rubber stamps to your craft drawer.
· Easy to Use
Unlike painting or other difficult techniques, stamps are often easy to use. You don't have to have a creative touch to be able to use rubber stamps. A few simple tips will have you creating great designs with ease. This makes rubber stamping attractive to those who may not be able to paint but still want to add color and creativity to their crafts. You will quickly find yourself wondering why you didn't make the decision to add stamps to your craft drawer long ago. Stamping is a simple, elegant way to add a creative touch to all of your crafts.
· Unique Designing
One of the best things about using rubber stamps is the ability to create a truly unique design. A combination of rubber stamps can give you access to one of a kind creations that others will envy. Whether you are creating a homemade card or a wall hanging for a friend, using stamps to get the job done will make a lasting impression like none other. If your mind can imagine it, there is likely a rubber stamp that you can buy to represent it.
· Endless Possibilities
Rubber stamps can be used in virtually any craft or hobby. Creating Valentine's cards, holiday cards, or birthday cards will be an interesting experience once you begin rubber stamping. Even something as simple as writing a letter to a friend can become a craft once you begin adding your own personal logo or signature to the letter.
If you haven't considered trying your hand at stamping, perhaps it is time that you take on the challenge. You may be surprised at how much you enjoy crafting with stamps. Explore the endless opportunities that this hobby can bring to your crafts, whether you enjoy making homemade cards, scrapbooking, writing letters to friend, or designing invitations and stationary for special events adding a collection of stamps to your craft drawer will without a doubt be a good choice. As you progress with this activity you will be pleased to learn that a number of specialist retailers are now offering you the opportunity to design and customise your own stamps, meaning that your designs can be truly unique.

Why Don't the HMRC Close Down SDLT Schemes?

SDLT - Stamp Duty Land Tax in the UK - all of us hate paying it on real estate transactions, whether land or property, but you have to. Or so I thought. Tax avoidance scheme promoters charge a substantial fee but may completely eliminate Stamp Duty payable to the HMRC. The HMRC naturally do not like this and they're issuing propaganda regularly to try to eliminate this avoidance technique. Effective SDLT Schemes are targeted and so are intermediaries and players in the field, like the CML, mortgage providers, as well as the SRA (Solicitors Regulation Authority). Schemes are accessible for cash buyers, mortgage buyers, limited companies, UK individuals, married people, LLPs, unmarried couples and UK trusts.
The HMRC are having a supposed crackdown on SDLT avoidance. They have apparently been investigating past land transactions and apparently have been making use of the land registry's computer system to identify likely transactions. In some instances, usually where the scheme provider made mistakes or simply didn't implement tax avoidance whatsoever, they've been successful. One such scenario resulted in the solicitor involved being struck off, however, note that in this case the SRA compensated all the clients involved to the full extent of the SDLT, which is potentially ironic but many of the clients didn't know they hadn't paid the stamp duty.
The reality is the loopholes exist in the law. The HMRC has been phenomenally unsuccessful in actual fact in challenging Stamp Duty avoidance in the courts - or rather the "First Tier Tax Tribunal". Their best weapon is propoganda, and let's face it, it works. Providers are already complaining that business is down purely because of it. Newspaper articles, blogs, and threats to the CML and SRA are increasingly being effective. They particularly enjoy threatening retrospective legislation even though it's just not going to happen. Their threats drive fear into the hearts (and the bowels!) of Joe Public, who imagine the HMRC repossessing their property or locking them up and throwing away the key. Irrational as this is, and even though the reality is nothing at all happens, HMRC enjoy stoking up and playing on this basic human emotion.

Can You Insure Stamp Duty Mitigation Schemes?

HRMC is certainly talking a good game - it says it is going to strongly challenge any deficits - or what it sees as deficits - in SDLT repayments. In reaction to decreasing tax income, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) are using a more confrontational and competitive strategy to fighting recognised tax avoidance.
How is HMRC currently approaching recognised tax avoidance?
HMRC is currently interested in discovering recognised tax avoidance having declared, late in 2011, that it would be utilizing the Land Registry's computer system to identify dealings where HMRC considered that inadequate SDLT had been paid. Supposedly, the HMRC has uncovered potential SDLT avoidance transactions and has released disclosure letters to purchasers necessitating the individual to pay the "unpaid" tax together with attention within a 30 day interval.
How might this impact you?
You may be affected if you have used a planning structure or scheme which was developed to decrease the SDLT due on purchasing UK land or property during the last four years. In many situations HMRC have already started enquiring into such plans so you may already know about this. However, in some circumstances where the enquiry window has already shut (usually nine months 30 days after completion), HMRC are now requesting disclosures as standard procedure.
What to do if you get an enquiry or a disclosure evaluation?
Firstly, there's nothing to panic about. It's just standard HMRC procedure and is designed to drive fear into the recipient. And guess what - it works, and it works well! The first thing to do is call the tax planning provider you used and ask them to deal with the correspondence. Normally this would have been included in your fee. Good providers will have given you an insurance backed guarantee, but even if you don't have one, they should normally be able to help you out. Again, most providers off a full fee refund in the worst case that you do end up having to pay it. However, they won't pay it unless you've handed them the correspondence to deal with professionally, and certainly not if you just cough up the readies to HMRC without letting them know!
Secondly, don't delay. There's a 30 day response window, just get it straight out of the door on day 1.
Thirdly, engage logic over emotion. HMRC are just trying to scare you into paying. In the case of a disclosure request outside the 9 month 30 day enquiry window, what is there to disclose, when all information has already been disclosed?! It's speculative on behalf of the HMRC to say the least. Most disclosure requests get replied to in the fashion of "Thank you for your disclosure request. As you know, this is a fully disclosed scheme under DOTAS, and furthermore, all relevant points were disclosed under the SDLT1 form submitted at the time. Please let us know exactly what else you require, as we aren't aware of anything else that needs disclosing. Yours sincerely blah blah"
Fourthly, the HMRC have only taken one case to the First Tier Tax Tribunal since the Finance Act 2003 (and with it, SDLT) was introduced. They lost. This was against DV3 in 2011.
Finally, once the professionals are on board, you can sleep easy. It's not your problem any more, at least in a day to day sense. Rest easy that a) what you've done is completely legal, b) you have a fee refund so in the worst scenario you will only need to pay back the SDLT you would have had to pay anyway c) you are likely to have insurance in place to cover additional professional fees if required.

Chinese Postage Stamps

Whether you are a newbie or an old hand at collecting Chinese Postage Stamps, accumulating Chinese Stamps can be a very exciting hobby as well as an investment. China's colorful and long history will expose you to definitely a variety of dynastic eras. This is a history which spans from Chinese stamps created during the 2,000 year-old Qin dynasty era with the stamps indicating full of history to the content used by contemporary China nowadays.
Except if one lives in the far east, collecting Chinese postage stamps presents a challenge in the onset. Studying and understanding philatelic China could be enlightening inside the own correct, presenting a chance to find out more about among the world's earliest and most intriguing ethnicities. Native Chinese have found the joys associated with China stamp collecting too, since it has turned into a huge activity for millions of enthusiasts.
The history of the postage stamps and postal history of China is complicated by the gradual decay of Imperial China and the years of civil war and Japanese occupation in the 1930s and 1940s. Regular government postal service was already known from the Zhou Dynasty in the 1st millennium BC. After that, nothing much as known till Chinese postage stamps begins in 1878, with all the issuance from the 'Large Dragon' collection. This was the very first public mail services, descended from the personal diplomatic courier service with regard to consular transactions and also diplomatic corps communiques.
The particular Imperial Postal office which was founded in 1897 and ran till 1911. Between these periods, many outstanding stamps were issued and there was also the utilization of overprinting to refresh discontinued stamps stock developed over many rare collectors items. What followed within the next 4 decades was that there was a considerable amount of political hardship, including having a Japanese occupation, war-created hyperinflation and also a victory by the Communists revolutionaries in 1949. The strife inevitably helped to create a cherish trove of Chinese postage stamps collectors items that reflect those days. The Cultural revolution Chinese stamps now command high prices due to their scarcity. They basically depicted war hero Sun Yat Sen and other prominent figures.
Chinese Postage stamps produced over the last half the 20th millennium reflected domestic China. The usage of the historical propaganda and also the nationalism throughout the time period make stamps issued during these period probably the most fascinating in the whole philatelic world. The particular Chinese 'Cultural Revolution' alone created extraordinary samples of Chinese stamps.

Rubber Stamping - A Craft Worth Learning

Does learning a craft intimidate you? Does drawing a stick person challenge you? Unlike crafts that take years to master, stamping offers satisfying results the first time you hold a stamp in your hand.
Hand stamped cards are a great place to start. Just take a SIP. Start with Stamps, Ink and Paper. Add a slip of ribbon or a punched layer for a great first card.
  • Stamps - Rubber stamps give the best results. Look for a rubber stamp that has a fair amount of "cushion" for smooth, even results. Try buying stamps in sets for coordinating projects and versatility.

  • Ink - Dye Inks are typically used in card making because of their quick dry times and ease of use. Pigment or craft inks are thicker requiring longer drying times, making them a little harder for the beginner to use. scrapbookers value pigment ink, because it is more opaque and archival. Pigment inks are also used for special techniques such as heat embossing. Buy from a reputable company for quality inks and quality results. Inferior inks will bleed and fad.

  • Paper - A good quality card stock for card making is typically 80 LB weight. Not only can you feel the difference, but you will also see the difference. Construction paper or flimsy card stock produce poor results, such as, smearing and incomplete coverage.
Getting Started
  • A clean, smooth, hard surface is essential for stamping. Clean hands free of excess oils are a must to prevent stains on your card stock.

  • Make sure your ink pads are well inked and ready to use.

  • The standard card base measures 5-1/2" x 8-1/2" or 4-1/4" x 11". Halve a piece of 8-1/2" x 11" card stock for two card bases. Cards are then scored or creased at the halfway mark-4-1/4" or 5-1/2".

  • If your ink pad is well inked, a simple tap, tap, tap on the pad will load your stamp. Press firmly without rocking on your card stock. It's so simple and so fun. Stamping is both therapeutic and additive.

If 40 Million People Are On Food Stamps, Why Supply Free School Lunches Too?

Were you shocked when you heard in the recent national news that over 40 million people in the United States are on food stamps? No wonder everyone is so fat, we are force-feeding them, and giving them coupons to use for free food. What's worse is everyone else has to buy their food with their own hard-earned money while subsidizing everyone else who doesn't have to pay. Over the years, I've done an informal survey of those using food stamps while in line at the local grocery store, and I have been amazed to find out the types of items the food-stamp recipients are purchasing.
Why should my tax dollars go to pay for soda pop and chips, and other items such as cookies, cake, donuts, and what have you that make people fat? And when they get diabetes, assuming they are poor, why is my tax dollar funding their healthcare as well? And it has also been determined that there is a 35% fraud factor rate in the dishing out of food stamps. That means quite a few people who are getting food stamps, don't deserve them, don't actually qualify, and we are all subsidizing and paying for this with our tax dollars anyway.
Now then, I would like to bring something else up and to your attention. The reason being is because lately we've been talking about the federal deficit spending, the debt limit, and all the other challenges in our society with regards to the federal budget.
There was a great article in the Wall Street Journal on July 26, 2011 titled "Summer Cuts Launch Lunch Scramble," by Vauhini Vara which discussed the $10.8 billion a year National School Lunch Program (2010 cost). These programs are geared towards low-income families and provide healthy meals, balanced based on the food chart. Many schools offer the meals even when school is not in session, in the summer time, where anyone can show up to eat, which promotes summer school too.
This is a great program, and it's nice to have food lines for kids to get them used to the future of what the socialists will bring us if they continue spending on all these social programs. They will bankrupt our treasury, and no one will be able to buy food, but the kids will be trained to have waited in lines for food, and they will be ready to wait in line for bread. Yes I'm talking about bread lines, which is exactly what happens when socialist try to control the flow of labor, production, money, and capital.
Indeed I hope you will please consider all this and vote against any food subsidies for any American that won't get off their butt and go to work. And I hope that you will vote all of the socialists out of office, so we can get some employment back in this nation and get back to what we do best and that is; freedom, liberty, personal responsibility, and free markets. Indeed I hope you will please consider all this and think on it.

Picture Stamps

Picture Stamps, stamp collecting is something that I have dabbled in for the better part of 15 years. Stamps tell a story of all the countries of the world. They represent cultures both past and present and share various animals, artwork, and influential people from their respective countries. Presidents, leaders, to average everyday laymen.
My collection of picture stamps vary and the stamps that intrigue me the most are the foreign stamps. My collection has a very large amount of Chinese stamps, as well as India and Romania. China has always been a country of much culture and intrigue. The Chinese people are fascinating and many of the warriors of old as well as incredible animals are the subjects of their pictured stamps.
Stamps that are used usually are a challenge for any seasoned stamp collector, a good source of international stamps are universities and graduate programs here in the United States. Large amounts of applicants from all of the above mentioned countries apply for residency programs here in the United States and all of them mail their respective applications in. Chinese stamps also have a history of beautiful scenarios and backgrounds. One of the most expensive Chinese stamps of late with a high sale value is the Monkey stamp. This particular stamp sells in the neighborhood of about $280.00 for a fine stamp. Others in better condition command more.
American stamps are famous the world over and collectors buy the sheets and put them away, and like any other collectible the scarcer the stamp the more they are worth. I collect stamps for their beauty and speaking of beauty, who can forget the Marilyn Monroe 1995 Hollywood series.

Stamp Duty Mitigation - Is It Legal?

Stamp Duty Mitigation is also called Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) Planning. It involves the use of a tax law prevalent in the United Kingdom to reduce the amount of SDLT that has to be paid to HMRC (HM Revenue and Customs). The stamp duty land tax is to be paid for the purchase of residential, commercial, and land exceeding amounts of £250,000. The SDLT tax planning was initially introduced with a view to assist high net worth clients and companies that were transacting in millions in land and property deals in England and Wales. However, over several years now, the clients making purchases above £250,000 are eligible to utilise this service.
SDLT is not a progressive tax. A percentage value is applied as tax for the whole purchase value. Typically, a house purchased at £250,000 attracts a tax of 1% or £2500. For amounts over £1000,000, the current tax 5%.
Tax planning is done by using the tax laws in such a manner that the tax liabilities for the taxpayers are minimised. This will mean the buyers will mitigate the stamp duty payable to the HMRC. It is legal and should not be confused with tax evasion which is illegal. If the buyer has to pay the normal stamp duty, it is a huge financial burden and further increases the costs. For the HMRC, on the contrary, a high level of inflation in house prices and increased transaction amounts mean an increase in revenue. With the help of a knowledgeable tax expert's advice, up to 100% of the stamp duty tax can be mitigated.
The process is straightforward and safe. Sometimes insurance is included in the deal. At other times, they are offered insurance options with low premiums. This insurance is used to pay off legal fees in the event of a successful challenge from the tax office. The SDLT planning can be implemented after exchange of contracts but before the completion of the transaction.
However, The HMRC has the right to challenge the non-payment of stamp duty on the basis of the mitigation schemes that they believe are not robust and legal.
Being a very specialised area, only a few tax consultants and members of the bar in the UK practice tax planning. Similar to legislative systems in many countries of the world, there exist different interpretations of the law. Only specialised and expert tax consultants and qualified experienced barristers can work within the boundary of what is legal and financially advantageous and provide relevant advice to the taxpayers. It is therefore important that a qualified and experienced tax consultant be contacted for the purpose of Stamp Duty Mitigation. Many solicitors provide free consultations to clients to choose the best strategy depending on the type of purchase that is made.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

We Are Trying to End the Problem of Child Obesity in One Generation - She Said

Well, we aren't allowed to say it, we are not allowed to tell anyone they are fat anymore, because it is not politically correct, but it is the truth. Over the years, I occasionally go to Starbucks, and I've watched the kids come in and pound down frappachino with extra caramel sauce, chocolate, and whip cream, your basic 500 to 650 calorie snack. Why are Americans getting fat you ask. Many people in New York think they have the answer; banning transfats in food, sin tax on snacks, and an add-on tax on big gulp sized soda pop.

It's not that America doesn't eat good food. It's all that junk they eat in between. The other day, I was at the grocery store and the person in front of me paying with food stamps was buying soda pop, chips, a pumpkin pie, donuts, and cake. Oh, don't get me wrong they also bought carrots, dip, fish, and a chicken. So apparently they got 20% of their diet correct.
Now then, not long ago, Michelle Obama noted that it was her vision to end this challenge of childhood obesity in one generation, but I'd say that if we keep over-feeding Americans and giving them free food with food stamps, then we are obviously going the wrong way. If people have more money to spend on food, they are going to buy the food tastes good, and they are going to feed it to their mouths until they are stuffed.

Therefore we have a bunch of people rolling along, literally, hugely overweight, and we have no one to blame but ourselves and our government for providing all this extra money which is unnecessary in free food stamps. Do I think we should limit choice? Not necessarily, I think if you buy your own food, and pay for your own health care, you can eat whatever you want.
However, if the government is paying for it, and my tax dollars paying for free food, then I would appreciate it if these folks would not make their children obese, and then claim that I need to also pay for the diabetes medicine for the rest of their lives. You see that point?

Look, here's the deal; we are not going to solve the problem of childhood obesity in one generation if we keep doing nonsensical things with these socialist food program strategies. If we really want to solve this problem we're going to need a new group of people in the White House who use common sense. We can't hope for change, we have to use smart policies, if not we shouldn't use the taxpayers money. Please consider all this and think on it.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Navy Seal Challenge Coins - An Honor to Receive

For those who serve their country, a navy seal challenge coin is a prized possession. The meaning that the coins stand for is clear to those who are a part of the Navy and every other branch of the military. There are millions of challenge coins today and many are used to show the pride and respect that is a part of what they represent.

Challenge Coins are Often Given as a Thank You for a Job Well Done
Navy Seal challenge coins are given to Navy Seals typically by a commanding officer as a sign of the special services they provide to those who serve with them as well as their country. The coins can be a variety of metals, with different logos and designs. The Navy Seal coin usually has a design of a Navy ship, sometimes the ones that have been retired.
The recipient of the coin is often someone who has shown extreme valor for a particular event that occurred. Some are given to the members of a certain unit as a commemorative coin showing their unit number which has been stamped into the coin.

Some Coins are Extremely Rare
A major economic crunch was felt the world over after World War II and the halt of many coins was the result of the strained economy. The coins that were made during this time were made from a cheaper metal and were often used as money. The ones that had been made earlier and had not been circulated began to gain value and the Navy seal commemorative coin as well as coins from other branches were prized by collectors.

If someone you know, such as your grandfather, had one of the Navy Seal challenge coins from a time when they served in the Navy, the coin will be highly valued by collectors. Since many people collect the challenge coins, when one is made that has a specific historical meaning, this coin will be one that is often sought by the collector and will command quite a high price.

There are no words to explain what significance a Navy Seal Challenge coin can mean to a member of this elite group. The camaraderie and sense of belonging that becomes part of carrying this coin is a bond between the men in a certain regiment. They often are even more special during times of war when the men are in a foreign country and far away from home.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

It's OK to Be Different - Learn to Accept Yourself!

Have you ever been judged? Have you ever been made to feel "odd" or "different"? We all have unique personality traits which go against the norm. Because of these differences, we are sometimes judged and made to feel odd or that there is something wrong with us. Because we live by set of rules and expectations, we in turn judge others by our standards. Our invitation in life is to be authentic and to operate under values that are true for us and allow others to do the same. This genuineness might make us unpopular and misunderstood but it will liberate us to be the person we were created to be. In order to be authentic, we need to understand and accept our distinctive personality style and feelings. We need to have the courage to believe that it is "OK to Be Different".

As children, we have learned to survive by being conventional; most of us gave up our right to be who we are in order to accommodate those around us. We ceased to be authentic because of a desire to please those we love and the comfort in the familiar. Being a conformist certainly made it easier for our teachers and parents but was it easier for us? By minimizing or dismissing our preference, we pretend that our inclination is "no big deal" but conforming and denial of our true self comes at a cost. The cost is that we step back from what is true for us and we use a great deal of energy to maintain the pretense that everything is fine. We disassociate from our feelings and hinder access to the Divine.
Through my training, I have discovered that some of our idiosyncrasies have more to do with our innate personality, upbringing and culture than obstinacy. For example, my Meyers Briggs Personality Style TM is often judged "cheap" by others. My personality type values conservation, minimalism and thriftiness and avoids frills and extravagance. As a result, there will always be "enough" food for a gathering, but it will be a moderate presentation, as opposed to overload. The preference is to choose modest and practical over lavish and abundance, especially when it comes to oneself. This moderation is then judged by others as "stingy or cheap".

In reality, my personality type is generous but the gift of giving is done privately and without fanfare. Not only do I come to my approach in life innately; I also come from it culturally. I was raised by a humble father, who grew up in the depression and taught us to utilize everything and never waste. His philosophy is perfectly in tuned with my Myers Briggs personality because it honors the conservation of resources. As you can see, my "cheapness" is part of the fabric of my being, in the same way that the person who judges me may be extravagant and lavish due to his personality type or family background. The challenge in life is to suspend judgment. When we begin to accept that it is "OK, to Be Different", we can accept people as they are and learn from their different type of behavior.

We are all human and because of this condition, we are imperfect and at times we disappoint others. If our intentions are pure (and we know if they are or not), we need to ignore judgment and criticism and accept ourselves. The clincher here is that we also need to do the same for others; to accept their difference and allow them idiosyncrasies. The one exception being that we are entitled to step back and disengage from people who misuse or abuse us. For the most part, people are benevolent, lack malice and are doing the best that they can. We need to become conscious when we judge others' peculiarities and differences. This can include physical appearance, such as tattoos, unusual mannerism or behavior. Years ago, my husband and I were in a supermarket checkout line. The woman in front of us was poorly dressed, wearing a thin cotton dress with bare legs and sneakers despite the fact it was snowing out. She had 3 food orders that she was paying for with food stamps. The transactions were taking a long time and the people behind us were quietly grumbling. When she came to the last order, everything stopped when she realized that she did not have enough money. You could have heard a pin drop as the cashier paged the manager. We quietly handed the cashier the amount that was needed. She thanked us with a toothless grin and explained that the food was for her 2 foster children. The judgments that we make! Here was this poorly dressed woman using food stamps in order to feed 2 foster children. How many of us would take in foster children?