Looking Forward With Hope and Health

I’m no stranger to addiction. It’s sadly something that all too many people have to experience in their lifetime. Even if you’re not the one struggling with the addiction itself, just knowing someone who is can be a challenging experience. What can you do to help, and is it possible that they’ll ever really change?

The truth is that addiction is one of the hardest things anyone will ever overcome. Most people turn to drugs or alcohol after a traumatic experience to help them numb the pain of the event. When sober, life can become nearly unbearable for them. They may experience anxiety or paranoia just trying to cope with everyday life. Recovery is always possible, but not everyone is able to do it on their own.

My brother found himself at this very point earlier this year. Ex-military, he was finally home but from far from himself. While he used to be a laid-back, chipper guy, he was now much quieter, never laughed, and his drinking was definitely getting out of control. I tried to talk to him about it, but he was always extremely defensive, and I was unable to understand what he was going through at the time. As much as I wanted to help him, I had no idea how.

Seeking Help

Eventually, we were able to have a somewhat coherent conversation about everything he’d been going through. To my surprise, my brother admitted to me that he needed help. I knew that must have been hard, and although I was new to all this, I was determined to help him in any way I could. Together, he and I scoured the net until we came across the Harris House St. Louis Treatment Center. I was happy to learn that, not only did they have a special program for my brother, but also another program to help educate family members on what we can be doing to help.

When you make the decision to seek help, you are ultimately choosing yourself above your addiction. This may seem like an easy decision for those who have never drank or done drugs, but I’ve learned that most addicts struggle with their self-worth. It’s hard to choose yourself over drinking when you don’t care about yourself.

Another hard part about seeking help is giving up all control of the situation. Rehab facilities will help with detoxing, therapy, and learning how to live life sober, but it can still seem extremely scary to make that first step. Fortunately, there are several programs that help to make the transitioning period much easier.

Types Of Programs

Many people forget that addiction is a disease. It’s not something that can be turned off and not every addict is created equal. Because of this, there are several treatment options that patients can choose from depending on their individual needs.

Intensive Inpatient Program

In this program, the patient will live on the facility while they go through the detoxing phase. They will also be provided with group and individual therapy several times a week. The patients are also provided with several fun activities and a strict routine to help them relearn sober living.

Intensive Outpatient Program

Another option is the outpatient program. Here, patients will still be provided with counselors to help them identify the root of their addiction, but they will not be required to stay at the facilities at all times. Most patients who attend this program are able to hold down steady jobs while focusing on their sobriety.

Transitional Housing

Some patients still struggle with addiction even after attending therapy. Relapse is always possible, and some may find it safer to live on the facility until those urges pass. While in housing, patients are able to meet with counselors to better identify their trigger points. They’re then taught healthy ways of dealing with their emotions instead of using their vices. With continued therapy, the odds of relapsing go down dramatically.

Family Education

When my brother first came to me with this problem, I had no idea what to think or expect. I knew nothing about addiction, all I knew was that he was hurting. Thankfully, this program helped open my eyes and gave me a much better understanding of what he was going through. Not only did it help me cope, but it also taught me how to make things easier on my brother.

I’ve learned that while addiction isn’t fun, it can be overcome. It can be hard at times, but as long as you have a great support network and remember to take things one day at a time, you can always succeed.

Anne

I'm a mother of 2 who likes to get involved in too much! Besides writing here I started a non-profit, I'm on the PTO board, very active in my community and volunteer in the school. I enjoy music, reading, cooking, traveling and spending time with my family. We just adopted our 3rd cat and love them all!

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Top 7 Cities In Mexico For Families On Vacation To Visit

Mexico as a country features some of the world’s premier vacation destinations. The first thing that comes to mind might be Cancun and spring breakers or a honeymoon in Cabo San Lucas. Yet many of Mexico’s cities are also great for family vacations. When you are planning to travel abroad to Mexico, consider these top 7 cities to visit with your family.

Cancun

Cancun isn’t just for spring breakers. In fact, you don’t even have to plan your trip over spring break. While there, you can swim with the whale sharks, visit an underwater museum, snorkel a shipwreck site and coral reef and much more. The top-ranked place of interest in Cancun is Parroquia de Cristo Resucitado. This church is great to visit on vacation to enjoy a service with your family.

Tres Rios Ecopark, Playa Delfines and Zcacel Beach are the next three places of interest that are on many people’s vacation itineraries. What would you and your family be looking to do in Cancun? The Mayan Museum of Cancun would be an interesting place to explore. You can find The Mayan Museum on Quintana Roo Boulevard, and you get to take a nature walk among the ruins. Now that’s a museum experience, wouldn’t you say?

Cabo San Lucas

Just like Cancun isn’t just for spring breakers, Cabo San Lucas isn’t just for honeymooners. It can also make for a nice family vacation destination. The #1 thing to do in Cabo San Lucas is to enjoy what’s known as Lands End or el Arco de Cabo San Lucas. There is a landmark rock formation to mark the spot, and it’s said to be a very popular place for both snorkeling and whale watching. The scene there at Lands End in general is said to be quite breathtaking, too.

As for beaches in Cabo San Lucas, one of the best to visit is Chileno Beach. It’s also a great place to go snorkeling, and people enjoy swimming there as well. There is no shortage of beaches and natural attractions to visit in Cabo San Lucas. Another popular destination is a natural landmark formation known as Pelican Rock. This is another are like Lands End that is known for being great for both snorkeling and whale watching. Socorro Island and Puerto Paraiso Mall are two other places of interest.

Mexico City

What would a list of cities in Mexico for families to visit be without Mexico City? Mexico City is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country, and it is of course the capital city. The top attraction to consider visiting there is the National Museum of Anthropology. The museum is enormous and features quite the comprehensive collection. Are museums your cup of tea? Let’s look at what else you can do in Mexico City.

You can visit Chapultepec Castle, go shopping at Coyoacan, check out the National Palace and more. Mexico City has a rich history, so you’re going to find many landmark sites there, too. These historical places of interest would be great to visit to get to know more about the city’s culture. Some of them you want might to visit include Palacio Postal, Cineteca Nacional and the Paseo de la Reforma.

Cozumel

The next popular family vacation destination in Mexico to explore is Cozumel. The #1 attraction in Cozumel is the Pearl Farm. The Cozumel Pearl Farm is in a protected area, and you access this attraction by boat. A visit there is said to be unique, educational and relaxing. Snorkeling is one of the popular activities to enjoy in Cozumel in general, and some other places you might want to check out include Santa Rosa Wall, Palancar Reef and Columbia Reef.

That’s not all either, so if you have even more time, check out San Francisco reef, El Paso del Cedral Reef and Playa El Cielo. Now this next place of interest is really going to be the icing on the cake. How does a visit to The Mayan Cacao Company sound? This interactive experience is educational, fun and of course going to result in getting to eat some delicious chocolates. In fact, the place has 13 chocolate flavors and features other cacao products for sale, too.

Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta is the next top family vacation destination to discuss. Its #1 ranked attraction is the El Malecon Boardwalk. You will find places to shop and great restaurants there, as well as entertainment. El Malecon Boardwalk is also said to be a great place to simply enjoy taking a walk and looking out at the ocean.

Galleria Dante is a great art gallery to check out. You have the opportunity to purchase art there as well, so it’s not just an art museum type of gallery to browse. While in Puerto Vallarta, you might also want to check out Old Vallarts, Caballito, Act II Entertainment Stages and more.

Acapulco

Acapulco Mexico is up next, and just like Cancun, the city’s top-ranked place of interest is a church. Capilla de la Paz, which translates to Chapel of Peace is on a seaside cliff. There is also a 130 foot cross in front of the chapel, which is a sight to see for sure. People don’t talk about enjoying services there, so it’s about the tour and the views. Other great places of interest in Acapulco include El Fuerte de San Diego, Punta Diamente, Barra Vieja Beach and Costera.

Isla Mujeres

Isla Mujeres is known for its beautiful Playa Norte, and there is a sea turtle sanctuary there, too. Check out Punta Sur, Captain Dulche’s Museum, take a dolphin discovery tour, stop by El Farito and more. Isla Mujeres would make for a nice relaxing family vacation that is a little different from some of the other places mentioned.

Where are you and your family going to be headed? There are quite a few more top family vacation destinations in Mexico that you might want to consider. These are some of the more popular cities, however, and they would certainly make for some great adventures.

 

Anne

I'm a mother of 2 who likes to get involved in too much! Besides writing here I started a non-profit, I'm on the PTO board, very active in my community and volunteer in the school. I enjoy music, reading, cooking, traveling and spending time with my family. We just adopted our 3rd cat and love them all!

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5 Tips for Writing Amazing Webpage Copy

Have you ever been on a website and thought “this looks like it was written by a 3rd grader”? You can have a website that’s beautifully designed and a service that’s the best in your field, but if your copy is sloppy, you’re going to appear unprofessional.

So, how exactly can you write webpage copy for your audience that won’t have them turning away from your site? Below, we suggest five tips to help make your copy stand out.

  1. Check Your Grammar

First things first, check your grammar! Grammar-checking services like Grammarly, which is considered one of the best grammar checking services out there, are free to use. So, no excuses!

It’s important that your copy be clean of errors. Why?

Because people notice when it’s not.

Here and there, you’ll see “then” instead of “than,” or “there” instead of “they’re” or even “their.” If you’re a little more observant, you’ll also notice when a semi-colon is improperly placed.

If you’re noticing this on other people’s webpage copy, others are noticing it on yours. You don’t want anyone to be distracted from your writing because of a grammar mistake. Don’t let the error be a topic of conversation. Check your grammar.

 

  1. Get to the Point

Webpage copy is sectioned according to the number of pages in a website. This is great for your audience because if they want to read about your services, they’ll simply go to your “Services” page. Or, if they want to know how to contact you, they’ll go to the “Contact Us” tab.

Each page should say exactly what you’re intending it to say. No need to get wordy if you don’t have to. Your “About” page is likely the only page that should read more like a story since you’re telling folks why you’re in business and who you are.

Keep in mind: with webpage copy, you’re not writing a book. There are plenty of book advice sites out there to help you with book writing. Webpage writing isn’t the space for it.

  1. Make it Interesting from the Start 

If you’re not familiar with this strategy, it basically means that you make your article incredibly appealing from the get-go, with either an enticing first line or title, or even your metadata. This means that you pretty much told the audience something that makes them want to read your whole piece.

Many times, web writers give away the punchline right away. Meaning, they tell you in full transparency what you’ll be reading about. This is a great strategy, especially when starting out because your site isn’t yet known.

This is a big difference from established, known pages, where the audience will read any number of words just because of how popular this page is.

If you have something to say and want your audience to know exactly what they’ll be reading, make it interesting from the start. You reel them in, let them know what’s going on and what you’re offering, and then let them know where to find it.

  1. Put Yourself in Your Audience’s Shoes

Would you be reading your copy if you were them? Would you enjoy it? Even if you’re not the target audience, you’re a human being. Your time is valuable, and you like to be engaged. Make the copy something you’ll enjoy and can relate to.

  1. Get Feedback 

Get feedback on your copy along the way and adjust when needed. If no one is coming to your webpage, analyze and be curious as to why. You may ask for advice at that point or check into optimizing your copy with keywords. Tell the story of the webpage without saturating it with keywords, and understand you have a website because you have a service. Find out what’s working and what’s not.

To summarize: write great, interesting copy for your site, check your grammar, get feedback, and make sure you’re serving your audience right.

Anne

I'm a mother of 2 who likes to get involved in too much! Besides writing here I started a non-profit, I'm on the PTO board, very active in my community and volunteer in the school. I enjoy music, reading, cooking, traveling and spending time with my family. We just adopted our 3rd cat and love them all!

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An Infographic: The Dangers of Distracted Driving

On the first of December in 2010, two-year-old Calli Ann Murray was walking home with her mom, Ling, from a playdate at a local park. Ling dutifully held her little daughter’s hand as they crossed the intersection when, out of the blue, a car came barreling down the street, fatally hitting the two pedestrians.

Ling survived the accident, but her little angel’s little body was too fragile to sustain the injuries of the mishap. Later investigation found that the young driver was texting while on the wheels.

In an earlier incident on September 22, 2006, a storm was in full bloom. Reggie Shaw, then 19, decided he was going to have to drive carefully to avoid losing traction on the road—a pretty smart decision to make on a dangerous day, save for the fact that Reggie instead decided to text.

His distracted maneuvering caused another car to spin out of control, killing 38-year-old James Furfaro and 50-year-old Keith P. Odell, both scientists. Reggie’s case later cemented the passing of the toughest law against texting while driving in the whole of the US.

Little Calli’s and Reggie’s cases were tragic. But the gravity is exemplified by the fact that thousands of mothers and family members lose their loved ones every year due to this fatal driver error.

The following infographic digs out the facts to bring to the fore the real dangers of distracted driving and what you, as a driver, can do to break the habit and help keep the road a safer place.

 

 

Anne

I'm a mother of 2 who likes to get involved in too much! Besides writing here I started a non-profit, I'm on the PTO board, very active in my community and volunteer in the school. I enjoy music, reading, cooking, traveling and spending time with my family. We just adopted our 3rd cat and love them all!

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How to Start a Home Business

 

 

So you want to become a new business owner and start your own home business? This is both exciting and stressful, but in the end, the payoff could be totally worth it. If you want to start a home business, though, there are a few things you need to know. After all, you can’t just wake up and decide to do it, let people know, and then expect success. It involves planning and decision-making, but it’s still doable. If you are ready to be your own boss, here are tips on how to start a home business.

Have a product or service.

Before you can start a home business, you need to have a product or service to offer. If it’s a product, be sure you have a little bit of inventory ready to go so you can fulfill orders as they come in. Plus, you’ll want to do the research and see if you have any competition. If you do, you’ll need to have a full understanding of why your product is better than the competition. If you are offering a service, you’ll want to be sure it’s a service that people will need and be willing to pay for. Plus, you’ll want to ensure that you are offering the best possible service. Should there be any issues with your service, it could be detrimental to your business.

Designate space.

It may be nice to do your job from your couch in your pajamas, but this won’t necessarily boost productivity for your business. Instead, you’ll want to designate space in your home that is solely for the business. This may mean you need to de-clutter a space and use it for inventory and other business assets, such as a computer. If you do need to clean out a space, or if you’re in need of space to keep your inventory, consider a storage unit. According to Livable, a Portland self storage facility, “Self-storage facilities provide cost-effective opportunities to protect items you want to keep. And with Livable’s pick-up and delivery service, it makes access to your items even easier.” Make sure you know where exactly your home office will be located before moving forward.

Fill out the necessary paperwork.

If you want your business to be legit, you’ll need to fill out the necessary paperwork. This means filing your business with the government so you can get a tax ID number. It also means registering with your local city and/or state too. Filling all this paperwork out will help you when it comes time to filing taxes and generating specific business documents. If you’re not necessarily sure where to begin, turn to the Small Business Administration for assistance. This organization was developed to provide small business owners will all the necessary information needed to get your home business off the ground.

Understand the commitments.

Starting a home business isn’t something you can just do on a whim, so you need to fully understand the commitments involved. For instance, if you currently have a full-time job, you need to make the decision if your home business will be something you do on the side or something you quit your current job for. Be sure to look at your finances and understand your specific situation before you make this decision.

It’s also important to understand the time commitment involved with a home business. Because you will likely be the only employee for a while, and because you’ll still be getting the business off the ground, you’ll find that you’re dedicating a lot of time to the business. This means things like extra-curricular activities and even time with friends and family may be put aside for a while. If you truly believe this is something you can do, then you should go for it. But if you have too many responsibilities, this just may not be the time to start the business.

Market yourself.

The only way you’re going to get any customers is by marketing your home business, so be sure to invest some time and money into this. Once you know your target audience, you can determine the best ways to reach them. For instance, should you advertise on social media, put flyers in neighborhood mailboxes, or take out ads in papers? There are many choices, so you may want to start out with a little bit of everything and see what tends to work best.

Starting a home business can be extremely exciting, but it will take a lot of work. If you are looking to be your own boss, these tips will help you get started.

Anne

I'm a mother of 2 who likes to get involved in too much! Besides writing here I started a non-profit, I'm on the PTO board, very active in my community and volunteer in the school. I enjoy music, reading, cooking, traveling and spending time with my family. We just adopted our 3rd cat and love them all!

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