Outdated Taxes

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Well happy Sunday all! Apparently I want to ruin the peace by talking about the controversial issue of taxes. Have you wondered why we don’t have any REMOVAL of outdated taxes?

Truth be told, I am just as ignorant as the next person when it comes to what is coming out of my check. BUT the majority of my curiosity lies in why do we not get rid of taxes that are no longer necessary. Politicians have no issue asking for MORE money every voting season, but God forbid a bill is proposed to “delete” taxes that are not useful in 2017.

There are programs that don’t do a lot of good. Instead of saying “maybe we should stop taxes on these programs to give money back to the people”, they say they will reabsorb the money into other “useful” programs.

Here are just a few of the articles I could find that are MILDLY related to what I am talking about. I am going to have to regularly update this article with new thoughts and new information on this topic.

This article discusses how completely outdated technology is being used at our government facilities. http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/government-wastes-billions-of-dollars-on-old-computers-report-says/ 

This article shows how 10 government agencies are often the same job. Unnecessary waste is all over our government and as a people, we often have no idea how to help the situation.  https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2014/04/08/billions-spent-on-duplicate-federal-programs/7435221/ 

What are your opinions? Do you have knowledge that I don’t? Any ideas to decrease ignorance? Let’s start this discussion?! I would love to learn more on the topic. Maybe one day it will lead to positive changes. 

Top Travel Sites for Cheap Trips

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  1. Source: Top Travel Sites for Cheap Trips

Traveling provides priceless, eye opening experiences that you will never regret. The experience will increase your effectiveness in communicating with others from different cultures and will informally educate you on things you wouldn’t have the option to before.

Sibiu, Romania

I found this post as I was browsing through posts and it is very useful. I cannot personally testify to these, but any way you can travel, the better!

Near Tegucigalpa, Honduras

Book Review: Newtown, An American Tragedy by Matthew Lysiak

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Newtown_-_An_American_Tragedy

Gallery Books

To begin, I will try to avoid approaching this from the emotional terror and disaster that was December 14, 2012. I want to purely begin this with a review on the author’s writing and the telling of this story. I will indulge my own opinion at the end. This will allow for you to get a better idea of the quality of the book itself, aside from the education piece pertaining to this unfortunate day in history.

 

The beginning of the book introduces you to many of the families affected by this day and their stories of the morning of the Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting. It is very difficult to keep track of the names and organize the “characters” the author describes as he tries to create a connection between the families and the reader. Of course each reader will care for these families and will grieve with the rest of the world over this tragedy; but it was too much to ask a reader who is relatively unfamiliar with the actual facts of the case to keep track of the many stories to be told by each family. If he wanted to emphasize the families more, he should have told the stories individually and not morphed them together. This would have created a kind of organization that would have been easier to keep track of.

The authors description of the day of tragedy was also seemingly jumbled. Between each of the different classrooms and the chaos occurring in each, it was difficult to remember what teacher was in what room and their reactions regarding the sounds. Every detail in those moments was so important and I didn’t want to mix up the victims, but found myself going back and forth between pages to try and keep it organized. The heroics of each teacher and the decisions they made will tell the world of their legacy, which is why I felt such a burden to remember the details.

When Matthew Lysiak moved to the stories of the first responders in chapter 9, I became emotional. Between the bravery and strength being told in an open and honest way, I found myself weeping. Because it is difficult to relate to an active shooter situation, we can all relate to the idea of the terrifying sights that occurred after. Americans don’t often find themselves confronted with true horror. We are isolated from many tragedies like this and only read about them as they are reported by the media. This brings you face to face with the perverse decisions of a mentally ill human being.

The chapters discussing the funerals of the victims were far harder than reading what actually happened to them, for me personally. This was because Matthew Lysiak did an excellent job of connecting you to the humans behind his words. These were not easy words to read. Often I read on my lunch breaks at work, and I found myself hiding my watery eyes at my desk.

Remembering the Victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting

His final chapters reviewed how the town was affected. He illustrated how the tragedy impacted each and every part of the town- from the families, to the businesses, and even to the churches. There was little, if any, that he missed in showing the true impact of this event. I would not have known how this kind of event effects and entire city if it were not for his education on the matter.

Lysiak told the readers what some of the families did in the aftermath of this tragedy- promoting stronger gun laws- but the author prevented showing any biases or opinions he may hold on the issue. This was a very respectable decision in my opinion.

The largest focus and appeal of this book is the desire to promote mental health interventions as well as removing the stigma that all too often come with these. Lysiak shows the growing movement for stronger assistance in mental health. This begins the creation of an outlet for parents and families in need of help. He also featured ideas from “I am Adam Lanza’s Mother” written by Liza Long- a mother who has a son with mental illness that is prone to violent outbursts.

The only thing I wish this book included more of is the state of Adam Lanza’s mental health. Any information into the state of Lanza’s mind would help me personally understand why he did this. The need to know WHY is what drove me to read this book- a book on a rather depressing topic might I add. After reading Columbine by Dave Cullen, I felt I had a better understanding of the minds of the killers and was able to see where I, as a citizen, can change my behavior for the benefit of society. We may never be privileged to get answers to “why”- but I really hope it comes. There was such limited information on Adam Lanza’s life that I’m sure this also impacts the difficulty of writing a book like this.

His final thoughts on the matter were those primarily of hope. The outpouring of love during this tragedy came from all over the world. We have all been affected by it. The events do not exclude anyone. When things like this happen, we are all affected, and all of our hearts break.

Dr. Carolyn L. Mears said this when referring to the journey she and the community of Littleton, Colorado went through in the aftermath of Columbine; “As a Columbine mom I can tell you it’s a long road. It has its challenges and stumbling blocks but it also has great potential for revealing what is absolutely beautiful about humanity, that transformative nature of trauma. It can be very positive, but also, in some cases, can never be resolved. Some of the long-lasting damage will be irreversible.”

There was a strong message of hope. We are not helpless, but we are not done fighting (or running this marathon- as Dr. Mears- mother from Columbine mentioned in the final chapters). We are not done. Newtown will always be recovering and healing, but they are not helpless. They have found a new power in this tragedy- a power many parents are utilizing for activism.

Rachel Stanton

Keep the momentum going after you read this; don’t stop at the shock of the actions of a sick young man. Keep feeling the pressure of the question “why” and let it drive us to change.

Likability Verses Social Status: The Fascinating Implications

This is a great read, especially for those who have children or are close to any younger individuals trying to find their way in this world. We all desire social acceptability, but this delves into what that looks like and the types of “popularity”.

It even digs in to the gender differences and the correlations later in life.

Enjoy!!

 

Like most things in life, popularity is more complicated than it looks. Some people are popular because they are likable—their peers like them, trust them, and want to be with them. Others are popular because they somehow gain a certain status, and use that power to wield influence over others (ie, high school). Which kind…

via There are two kinds of popularity and we are choosing the wrong one — Quartz

Finding Happiness or Happiness from Acceptance

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What do we get fulfillment in? What gives us the feeling of peace at the end of the day? Does it come from raising a successful family, making a certain amount of money, or does it come from accepting your present circumstances and choosing to be happy with what you have?

Rachel Stanton: New Jersey

Of course these are not easy questions to answer. This dips in to philosophy. There is no right or wrong answer. We all have our “supporting documents” to hold up our arguments. Everyone has an answer, but yet we are still searching. We still look to find the answers. I am not advertising any of the following books, it is merely to prove a point that clearly there are a lot of people looking for answers.

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I’m pondering this because desire is a large driving force in my life. I’m impatient to move up in my job, I am antsy to travel and discover new places. How does desire and drive play in to acceptance and happiness? At one point do you need to decide to be content with that you have and let go of what you don’t? Or do you say “I deserve better than this” and work harder?

As you can see, I am filled with questions and don’t have many answers. This is an ever developing question. What are your opinions? Do you have any words of wisdom to spread?

Possible Repercussions From the Congressional Ball Game Attack

This is a tragedy. Anytime someone treats another human being in such a disconnected way, it is always unacceptable. But I don’t want to discuss this today. I want to see what you all thing about the possible ideas that may come from congress now that this has hit so close to home.

Will they decide to tighten gun laws? One of them mentioned he wish he had a gun to fight the attacker because he felt helpless. Would this make guns more available to law abiding citizens?

The article is posted below.

What are your thoughts?

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A gunman opened fire on Republican members of Congress during a baseball practice near Washington early on Wednesday, wounding several people including House of Representatives Majority Whip Steve Scalise before being taken into custody, police and witnesses said. Five people were transported medically from the scene in Alexandria, the city’s police chief, […]

via Gunman wounds several at congressional baseball practice in Virginia — The Crusader Journal

Prevalent Faith

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Have you ever noticed the amount of faith people have in this world? The different religions, from first world countries to remote areas, to the belief in horoscopes and mother nature. People are constantly finding things to believe in to give them peace. People even use science to support their beliefs; for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. There is a desperate need to believe in something bigger than ourselves. It brings us peace.

Even in my own life, things seem to happen for strange, but meaningful reasons. For example, for weeks I was telling my mother she needs to look in to a job that will be more fulfilling and rewarding financially for her. I was sending her positions that would be a good fit for her and an increase in pay. This last week, she was laid off from her job. Somehow, me sending her positions prepared her for this and gave her strength and courage to go through this.

The most notable experience I have had with this was when my father passed away. He had his many struggles while he was alive, including a relationship with his children, depression, and fatigue. Years before he passed away, the fog started to lift from his life correlating to the changes he made in his life, and he passed at a very positive time in his life. He started exercising (1,500 KM bike rides to be more precise), he rebuilt damaged or estranged relationships with his family, and genuinely became a happy and fulfilled person.

Don’t misunderstand me, this was the most tragic event of my life, but it provides so much comfort to know that my father was in the best place in his life. He was surrounded by positive experiences and close, meaningful relationships. This makes me so thankful.

Life is not an easy journey. We find meaning where we can, and without this meaning, depression quickly follows. Those times where you question the point in the struggle each and every day take a serious toll on our mental health. In the times of clear, level-headed thinking though, we can find a reason for our short time here on this earth, and maybe even see the difference we can make.

My Beautiful Family: 2014

When is a time you have felt deep meaning in your life that connected you to “something bigger”? Are you on the other end of the spectrum that makes you skeptical of the possibility of a deeper meaning to life? What are your thoughts?

Colorado and the Demands of Natives

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It is no secret the growth Colorado has been going through over the last few years. The growth has caused spikes in rent, home prices, traffic, and tourists.

Tourism is necessary for our economic system here in Colorado. As a native, I am excited to see the vibrant growth that comes with it! I’m happy to see others as excited about our beautiful landscape as I am! Visiting our parks brings awareness to the incredible diversity Colorado holds.

What I do hold issue with is some of the culture changes that have occurred (with reluctance from natives or those who have been here for a long time). I also take issue with those who don’t treat the delicate ecosystems the way they deserve.

This “episode” will go over some general rules to follow if you visit or move to this amazing place.

  1. Don’t litter. This is to keep our environment clean. There is no reason why you can’t hold on to it and put it in a trash can. This not only ruins the enjoyment of being in nature for others, but it also ruins the nature itself!
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    Jon Kelly

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  2. If you’re driving through the mountains- pull over if you see more than 5 (FIVE) people behind you. One would think this would prompt you to pull over anyway because there are plenty of others who want to go faster. Itis a common courtesy and respect for others. If you want to dilly dally- not a problem!! Enjoy your day, just be aware of others who may not want to.
  3. This is an easy lead to our highways; the fast lane is always the PASSING lane. If you are not passing, simply move over the right lane. This is common law across the United States. I know it isn’t the same in California, so be sure if you’re from there in particular, you pay closer attention to which lane you’re in.
  4. Respect nature. Period. We have very delicate ecosystems and very fragile. Don’t ruin the joy for everyone by destroying these environments. This falls in line with number 1, but certainly needs its own distinction. The easiest example is Hanging Lake in Glenwood Springs, CO.
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    https://www.instagram.com/trailtrashco/?hl=en was featured on the Denver news channel http://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/local-news/instagram-account-publicly-shames-people-who-break-rules-at-colorados-natural-spacesTreating Colorado this way could lead to permit-only hiking, and increased fees to park and enjoy OUR nature! This is due to improper behavior and incorrect treatment of our environment (http://www.justacoloradogal.com/2017/04/colorado-require-hiking-permits.html). I don’t want to have to pay to be able to see my beautiful state. Preventing this is simple- Follow the signs, if you take something in-take it out, and please be conscious of your choices and their impact. You may think that you’re only one person, and YOU won’t cause any harm- but this kind of thinking is broad. You are not the only one who plans to do it. Your actions have implications and it is necessary to be respectful.

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    Copyright 2016 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Readers- what are your thoughts? Have you seen this behavior first hand? Have you made a mistake? Whatever we can do to spread the word, or to make it socially unacceptable to disrespect our state and the great nature it holds- the better off we are in securing the safety of the environment.

A Letter to Trump

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Donald Trump

As a business man, I understand how you’re used to getting your way. I understand that you’re used to keeping your “eye on the prize” and nothing can deter you from the end goal. This is why you have been so financially successful. I’m sure I’m not the only person who has seen your extravagant lifestyle. This is because of the skill set you hold.

Being president is certainly a different role than you’re used to. Yes, I do realize- who the hell am I to be telling you this? I am a 24 year old nothing who is just trying to make my way in this world. I am ignorant. Fully admitted.

But it is easy to see the distressing calls of the American people and their concern for this country. I am concerned that you are not interested in what the country desires. No, this does not mean that uneducated, ignorant people should be making the decisions. Please don’t think I believe that. What I am saying is that you should be listening more to the American people. This job is not about you, it’s not about being very powerful (as you are), it’s about fighting for what the American people want.

Americans are SO sick and tired of politicians. We are tired of right verses left. The agendas are out of control. The purpose of a politician is to fight for what is right for America! NOT what is right for their pocket books, NOT what gives them the most power or recognition, and NOT for ego. Being a politician is a great responsibility. Corruption is easy to give in to.

We chose you- I CHOSE YOU- because you were not a politician. Because it gave us hope that the same old dirty politics would change. Because you gave us the feeling of change that we’ve been desiring for at LEAST the last 8 years (for many, MUCH longer than that).

It is easy to be concerned, as a member of society (blending in to the masses), with how rich and powerful people are leading this country EVEN THOUGH THEY DON’T UNDERSTAND THE STRUGGLES OF THE ORDINARY CITIZEN. I laugh at the thought of kings and queens holding hearings to listen to an average citizen 500 years ago, and yet I see the purpose in it. Do you actually understand what we want; what we need; the desperation for improvement?

With this power, I beg of you to not let us down. Many of us are counting on the freedom to work as hard as we can to improve our lives, our families lives, and our future. FORGET the ignorant and frankly, idiotic hope of wanting for you to fail. As an elected official, I want you to succeed (with the populace to reap the benefits of that success). I want you to bring change to improve this country. I want you to be looked at as a president who cared for this country and did everything in his waking moments to change the direction we’re headed.

Our tax money should not go to support your ridiculous lifestyle (or your wife’s need to stay in your penthouse at the expense of the taxpayer). It is a sacrifice. Please take that more serious.

Please… I say again- I BEG of you- please listen to the people: YOUR PEOPLE, YOUR COUNTRY. Stop with the ego, stop with the pity for what bad things are said of you, ignore the political agendas and please get to work.

We need help. We need you.

Respectfully,

A concerned citizen.

What We Want to Say to a Depressed Loved One

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What can we do for a loved one who is in constant pain? We try to give advice that worked for us in struggles- but it didn’t help them. We try to tell them how much we love them here and how desperate we are to keep them alive- it can come across as selfish. We may write them letters gushing our hearts out- but it does not dampen their agony.

It feels unjust for you to be happy, or show them your stresses when they feel the way they do.

No one could possibly understand the pain and position you’re in. They don’t have the answers. They can’t make it go away.

I see you. I see your pain, even when you tell me that you’re okay. I don’t know what to say. The “what ifs” come to mind with every question I ask. What if I set you off? What if I lose you? What if you tell me something I can’t help with? What if I can’t save you?

There are answers, but when applying them to a loved one- everything changes. Training on suicide prevention tells us we must directly ask the question “Are you suicidal?”. I’m just afraid of the answer as I am asking the question. The only thing that keeps coming to mind is “what can I do?”. I love the hell out of you.

We also don’t want the suffering to continue. We want you here. Maybe it is selfish for me to tell you “I cannot go through another loss. I cannot lose you. I love you and need you in my life.”

I only want to beg for you to stay… Beg for you to get help. Your suffering is not okay with me and I want more than anything for it to end; but I refuse to let go of your life.

I love you….