Five Ways to Improve Learning With Performance Management

The convergence of learning and performance management creates an opportunity to diagnose and prescribe ways to better develop critical talent. By integrating learning and performance, organizations can more easily identify workforce trends in a more predictive manner, target organizational capability gaps, and enhance connections to build alignment with the business needs.

Whether the integration of learning and performance is driven by the organization’s learning group or HR, both groups need to know how to take advantage of this convergence. This paper describes five ways that performance management can improve training initiatives:

  • Producing development plans that work
  • Improving leadership development programs
  • Making learning opportunities more visible
  • Aligning the training department to organizational needs
  • Making learning and human resources more strategic

Introduction: Integrating learning and performance

When it comes to retaining critical talent, managing succession plans, and giving employees the skills they need to succeed, learning management and performance management processes need to converge.

Taking the paper out of the paperwork may be reason enough to automate performance management, but Human Resources (HR) can use performance management to maintain a strong workforce and manage talent to drive top-line performance and competitive advantage. With career and succession planning tools organizations can reduce employee turnover and maintain a strong, productive workforce.

However, an organization also needs to complement performance management with learning management that enables workers to build competitive skills and helps align employee training and career goals with business goals. The convergence of learning and performance management can significantly help an organization get the most out its workforce by helping to:

  • Develop employees beyond assessments with immediate, actionable development
  • Retain critical talent, develop leaders, and reduce turnover
  • Control succession risk and reduce the cost of turnover
  • Align employee goals with the organization’s goals to optimize workforce productivity
  • Link merit-based compensation to employee performance
  • Automate performance and development activities and reduce administrative hassles

Whether the integration of learning and performance is driven by the organization’s training group or HR, both groups need to know how to take advantage of this convergence, and in particular, how the training group can improve training initiatives with performance management.

The following are five ways that training can use performance management to help create a true talent development framework.

1. Producing development plans that work

Most organizations struggle to adopt development plans managed independently through the Learning Management System (LMS). When performance management is automated and tied into the learning process, organizations and employees alike are more likely to buy into the integrated development plan. The development plans align directly with the organization’s goals and are therefore linked to the company’s overall strategy. Employee engagement in prescribed learning is certain to improve when employees see how this development ties directly to their performance evaluation and merit considerations.

2. Improving leadership development programs

Leadership development is one of the most popular learning initiatives – and for good reason. Demographic shifts, increasing employee turnover, and increased specialization in the workplace all contribute to significant talent shortages. Performance management, equipped with career and succession planning tools, provide the diagnostics to zero in on the job functions and targeted individuals that need leadership development the most.

Performance management tools help the learning group systematically develop an organization’s critical talent. They can complement generic leadership development programs by helping to account for roles, flight risk, and potential.

3. Making learning opportunities more visible

In most organizations, the LMS is just one of countless other applications employees need to use. Engaging employees to log in and look around can be a challenge.

However, an unanticipated benefit realized by Learning customers who have integrated performance and learning is a significant increase in the number of individuals who sign up for optional courses.

Once mandatory processes are tied directly to salary increases, LMS usage numbers start to increase. As aspiring employees focus on competency gaps and individual development plans, they spend more time developing career plans with unsolicited development opportunities.

4. Aligning training more to organizational needs

In many organizations, budgets allocated for learning and development are among the first to be cut during a recession. An effective way for a training group to change this fact is to prove how training programs directly relate to organizational strategy.

With integrated performance management, talent development professionals can see precisely which development is needed most. Aggregated review data, showing competency gaps and aligned strategic initiatives, highlight the areas where learning and development groups should focus. It thus becomes easier for the training group to justify the significance of talent development within the organizational strategy. Many companies that have integrated learning and performance have been able to drastically improve their ability to forecast for and anticipate formal development needs.

5. Linking training and HR for strategic value

When learning and performance functions converge to create a true talent development framework, both functions benefit by becoming more relevant to supporting the organization’s critical strategy.

Traditional organizational development activities important to the business, such as managing mandatory compliance and certifications, are improved by automated tracking and reporting. But there are other strategic areas of the business that need strong formal and informal learning. These include many pressing talent management issues: retaining critical talent, managing succession plans, and giving employees the skills they need to succeed.

Truly actionable talent development is only feasible when performance management and learning management converge.

Conclusion: Applying the benefits of integrated learning and performance

The convergence of learning and performance management creates an opportunity to diagnose and prescribe ways to better develop critical talent. Strategic integration enables organizations to more easily identify workforce trends in a more predictive manner, target organizational capability gaps, and enhance connections to build alignment with the business needs. The integration enables organizations to put together actionable leadership development programs for key employees, so they’ll be better prepared for promotion.

Learning management system (LMS) solutions are part of our industry-leading unified talent development software suite, which helps organizations build a complete platform for developing more competitive employee skills. Training organizations can take advantage of our complete, best-of-breed talent development solution to make their businesses better – by making the employees better.

Can Vitamins Really Help Treat Acne?

Vitamins and minerals are essential for maintaining an ideal health. But sometimes an excess of some vitamins can lead to some serious complications. Here, it is very important to take the daily allowance of vitamins and mineral supplements as suggested by a physician to keep the skin glowing, a balanced hormonal system and strong immune system. If all these are maintained, then, of course, no question of acne arises. Formation of acne could have related to some deficiency of some essential vitamin or minerals.

When we talk about skin, vitamins A and B play a very important role. Vitamin A helps in strengthening the skin and its deficiency can cause acne. However, one must be careful that how much Vitamin A is one consuming on a daily basis for a normal healthy person a dose of 25,000 IU is sufficient, whereas for a pregnant woman it should be lowered to 10,000 IU because overdose of Vitamin A can cause symptoms like vomiting, nausea, headache, menstrual problems, dizziness, liver problems and pain in bones and muscles.

Vitamin B is helpful in improving the skin tone. 100mg of Vitamin B3, 50mg of Vitamin B6 and 50mg of Vitamin B5 three times a day would help in treating acne. Also, Vitamin E acts as an excellent healer because of its antioxidant properties. A recommended daily dose of 400 IU is necessary. Vitamin C is known for its anti-inflammatory effect and it also helps in boosting body immune system. One must take 3000- 5000mg each day.

Brain Injury

A trauma to the head can cause an equal trauma to the brain. This is commonly known as a brain injury of which there are two types, a discussion and a contusion. The debate is a situation in which the brain is shook and disturbed. There are a great many studies being done very well regarding the discussion as it happens frequently in sports accidents and scientists are trying to discover what the affect of more than one can be.

A more serious injury is the contusion, which is a brew on the brain. In addition to sports, other causes of injury to the brain are automobile accidents, motorcycles, falls, workplace injuries, assault with a heavy object and assault with a foreign object such as a bullet. Many of these are milder injuries, but the more serious injuries can cause severe damage to the brain.

A serious brain injury can cause coma, chronic headaches, dizziness, loss of speech function, loss of cognitive function and paralysis. The brain is very important to most functions of the body and an injury to it can stop some of these functions from working correctly. This type of injury can easily have life changing effects on the patient. They may no longer be able to work and support themselves and their family. They may have large medical bills that are not all covered by medical insurance or they might not have medical insurance at all. They have to get used to living with a disability and need the rehabilitation necessary to make this less disabling.

The Catastrophic Injury Resource Center was set up to help people that have had this type of life changing injury. A brain injury victim can call the center or go to the website and get advice on the legal aspects of their accident and also help getting the resources that they might need from the community. The attorneys and staff at the Center are experienced dealing with the aftermath of this type of trauma and can give the appropriate help and advice. Obviously the Center welcomes families as many people suffering from these injuries can no longer communicate as they did before. Families will find an informational atmosphere that can help them understand what the future might hold.

If you or a family member has gone through this type of injury, you need to seek out help from a group like the Catastrophic Injury Resource Center. This group is staffed with people who understand these types of injuries and will help. Please contact them at the Catastrophic Injury Resource Center at 1-800-669-7700.

Natural Ways For You To Get Harder And Stronger Erections!

There are so many men that want a harder and stronger erection. Even the guys that are completely happy with their penis size are also interested in knowing what they need to do to get “rock” solid erections regularly. Apart from the fact that it would feel good to you, a stronger and harder erection simply means that sexual intercourse with your woman would be a lot more enjoyable.

Also there is the feeling you would get because you know that your masculinity and virility are very high – which is what every man wants. There are so many herbs that are being sold on the internet, which are supposed to make your erection harder and stronger. However you don’t need to use these herbs, since nobody knows the negative side effects that they might have.

There are a few things that you need to do if you want your penis to be operating at its best form. Now here are some suggestions that would help you in getting rock-hard erections.

Your Penile Health Is A Direct Reflection Of The State Of Your Overall Health!

First you must realize that in so many cases your erection strength is a reflection of how healthy you actually are. What I mean is if you are not getting a healthy supply of blood to your genital area, then the quality of your erections would be poor. There are lots of men that experience “soft” erections because they have health problems that they have not dealt with properly. There are two main groups of these problems:

Hormonal Deficiency – testosterone is the main issue here. I am sure that you know that as you grow older, your testosterone levels are reducing gradually. And testosterone plays a huge role in helping your penis to relate with your body so that an erection can happen during sexual arousal.

To prevent your testosterone levels from getting too low, there are some lifestyle adjustment that you have to make so that they would be at levels that are sufficient enough (it doesn’t need to be as high as it was when you were 18years old) to still give you strong, hard and long-lasting erections.

Blood Circulation Problems – Issues like blood clots, narrowing of the arteries, plaque deposits and vascular problems can wreck serious havoc to a man’s penile health. In this scenario, the problem is a lot bigger than having “soft” erections! You would have to see a doctor and also make a lot of adjustments in your lifestyle if you want an improvement in the quality of your erections.

Reasons Why You Need To Put The Effort To Make Your Erections Stronger…

Personally I have the mindset that an ounce of prevention is a lot better than a pound of cure. You don’t have to wait till the time when your penis cannot even get up then you start looking for Viagra pills to use.

Just like when it comes to weight issues, I believe you should start exercising and eating a healthy diet when you are still slim and young – again you don’t have to wait till you are fat and older before you know that you should keep your weight in check!

The reality is this – as you grow older, your erection strength and hardness begins to dwindle. Even if you have a big penis, if you are having “soft” erections, your sexual performance would become terrible and your woman would no longer have any satisfaction or pleasure during sexual intercourse – and that’s even if you are still getting sex!

You would grow older, whether you like it or not. However there are few things that you should do or NOT do if you want your erections to be strong and “rock” solid for as long as possible. Here they are:

Things That You Should Stay Away From

Don’t Smoke At All Or Stop Smoking Totally – Smoking is no longer “in vogue”. It is time to give it up if you are smoker. If you are not, don’t even attempt starting this destructive habit. Smoking wrecks serious havoc to your sex life. Several research has shown that smoking constricts and hardens the blood vessels. And in case you did not know – your erections are 100% dependent on blood flow. What do you think happens when blood circulation becomes a problem because of the damage caused by smoking?

This is not another issue of GOD said cigarette & marijuana smoking is bad – leave religion or morality aside for now. This is plain and simple – your erection strength and hardness is entirely based on how healthy your blood circulatory system is. And smoking is well known scientifically as an activity that negatively affects the regular flow of oxygenated blood. Now there are several researches that state it clearly that smokers suffer more from erectile dysfunction and erections a lot more than non-smokers. There is no sitting on the fence here – STOP SMOKING FOREVER!

Limit Your Alcohol Intake – Drinking 10cl – 25cl of red wine helps your heart because of the Resveratrol in it. Anything more than that is overdoing it. That aside, alcohol is a cause of weak erections for some men. Yes, taking some amount of alcohol would relax your nerves, but in some cases you might not even be able to get an erection or even maintain it during penetration.

You drink too much and your penis would not get up when it is time for “action”. And you also have to deal with the long term problem that regular consumption of alcohol cause like nerves, kidney and liver problems – these things would definitely affect your sexual health.

In my own opinion, there is no need deliberately messing up your performance in bed. If you are interested in getting harder erections regularly keep your alcohol consumption to very low levels. Personally I only drink alcohol in weddings, which is usually 1 to 3 times in a year.

Stop Your Pornography Addiction – Pornography addiction has been known to cause what they term porn-induced erectile dysfunction.

It might feel good to watch a little porn once in a while to release some steam, however you should take serious precaution and make sure that you are not constantly watching pornography. There are some acquaintances that I know of that even watch porn during office hours!

For some guys, watching pornography vides too much even causes them to have performance anxiety when it is time for real sex and they can’t even get it up!

Stop Masturbating Frequently – In some cases this is also related to watching too much pornography. Masturbating all the time to pornography drains you and keeps you in the refractory period (after an ejaculation, the time that it takes for you to get another erection is called the refractory period. For some men this can be as long as 7 hours!).

If you have a sex partner (or sex partners), then you are better off keeping your erections till you are with your woman. This is because if it has been quite some time since you had an erection, you would be a lot more sexual aroused – which means your erect penis would be much harder and stronger.

And we also have the case of “too much” masturbation, which can make your penis too sensitive to touch and make it a bit difficult for you to even get it up even when a woman is butt naked in front of you.

Stop The Worrying Routine – Performance anxiety is something that happens when you are too anxious or nervous about the sex act. It usually happens when you are having sex for the first time or you are with a new lover. In this situation, you would not even get an erection at all! The more you are worrying the higher your chances of you actually messing up – so stop worrying.

There is also the case of high expectation that some men have in their heads because the feel their sexual performance is supposed to be the way they saw it in pornography videos. If you are worried about your penis size or sexual stamina, there is something that you can actually do to fix the problem – so just take action and deal with the problems instead of worrying.

So relax, inhale deeply and know that you are turning a mole into a mountain when you worry too much. Your erections are a lot stronger and harder when you are relaxed.

Things That You Should Start Doing

Start Eating More Healthy Foods – I don’t think this one should be too difficult for any man. There is no need eating extremely oily or junk foods all the time. What you want is a healthy blood circulation to your genital area. In a lot of cases, unhealthy foods usually cause problems for the blood capillaries, veins, heart and arteries.

Fatty foods usually cause plaques to develop in the blood vessels and this narrows their diameter – causing problems with the free flow of blood throughout the body and this shows itself also in the quality of erections. Fatty foods are also a big testosterone killer as they reduce a man’s ability to produce enough quantity of this essential hormone.

Try including vegetables and fruits in your daily diet. You would benefit from the high amounts of antioxidants (vitamins A,C, E & minerals like zinc, selenium etc) that work in maintaining and keep your body at optimum levels. Antioxidants are also very helpful in reducing the occurrence of cardiovascular problems – because it assists in reducing the amounts of bad cholesterol in the body. Also foods like oysters, bananas, spicy peppers, oatmeal, salmon fish, coffee and taking small amounts of red wine helps you a lot in getting harder erections. You don’t have to include all of them in your diet; just include some of them.

Another mineral that I would single out is Zinc. This mineral helps a great deal in increasing your body’s testosterone levels and also the volume of seminal fluid and sperm that your body produces. You can get Zinc from foods like beans, peas and most sea foods (crab, lobsters, periwinkle etc).

Regular Exercise Should Be A Must – Regular exercise improves your circulatory system and since your erections heavily depends on how healthy your circulatory system is, you would be doing yourself a very big favor if you begin exercising regularly. The improved blood circulation you get from regular exercise would also positively affect your genitals.

Guys who exercise 3 – 5 times in a week tend to have little or no problems with their erection strength and hardness. Also regular exercise is also known to:

  • Improve sex drive
  • Increase sexual potency
  • Reduce stress
  • Kick-starts your body to increase its testosterone production

You don’t have to go to a traditional gym, you can start today by doing body weight exercises (like sit-ups, chin-ups, press-ups, squats etc) and cardio exercises (jogging or running on a tread mill) to improve the blood flow in your body if you are really serious about improving your erection strength.

Try Using Supplements That Would Help Your Erections – This is NOT really a must, however you should know that there are some natural supplements in the market that can help in increasing the hardness and strength of your erections. Some of these supplements usually contain popular natural ingredients such as: pomegranate, Catuaba, oyster shell extract, horny goat weed, Korean ginseng, gingko biloba, Mujra Puama, L-Arginine, Bark Extract, saw palmetto, maca root, flaxseed, oat extracts, Epimedium, Indian Ginseng, wheat yam and so many other natural ingredients.

There are different brands of supplements in the market today and they contain their own blend of natural ingredients. Liblov, VigRX Plus and Prosolution pills are some brands that are quite popular right now.

Engage In Kegel Exercises – In case you have not heard of the Kegel exercise before, it is an exercise that helps in strengthening your pelvic floor muscles. These muscles are responsible for controlling your bladder, controlling when you ejaculate and also in improving your sexual performance.

Now here is how you can do the Kegel exercise – act like you are urinating in the bathroom and you want to stop the flow of urine because something important has just come up and you want to go attend to it immediately. What you just did was flex your pelvic floor muscles. A Kegel exercise is when you do that. Now squeeze your pelvic floor muscles for 10 seconds and relax.

A few weeks of regular Kegel exercises would give you stronger, harder and longer lasting erections.

Do Towel Raises Daily – Towel raises is an exercise that assists you in getting harder and stronger erections. It is like Kegel exercises on steroids – in this case you would be doing Kegel exercises and using a hand towel like a weight. Here is a description of the towel raises:

  1. Get a full erection and then put a dry hand towel on your penis.
  2. Now do the Kegel exercises so that you can raise the towel up and down.
  3. Once you realize that your erection is going, place two fingers under your penis so that you can add a few more repetitions.
  4. For the first few weeks, make sure that you are using a dry hand towel, after that you can increase the weight by using a wet hand towel and then you can use a body towel if you are more ambitious.

Are These Symptoms of Low Blood Sugar Controlling You?

Does this diet plan sound familiar?

A person with hypoglycemia becomes associated with a daily bad habit that never helps alleviate blood sugar problems. You probably wake up with a cup of coffee and a piece of toast. Then you feel a little woozy as though your system has not buffered up yet. You grab a soda or tea and feel a little better. At lunch you have another soda and sometimes a sandwich or pizza. You feel like doing nothing off an hour or two after lunch time, and you crave another cup of a caffeine-laden drink to kick-start you again. Afternoon snacks may include crisps or other refined flour, sugar-laden nibbles. Finally, your evening meal is composed of potatoes, chicken, and ice cream.

Today's lifestyle

Many of today's menus are composed of high carbohydrate foods and caffeine beverages. Our body becomes accustomed to poor food choices and the resultant reaction when we forget our coffee or sweet chocolate bars. The next thing we know is that we have to make a daily habit of drinking coffee and eating ice cream or French fries. We think this is the way we should live our lives. We do not feel great when we go for nuts or fruits. It's the altered body chemistry that causes these problems.

You see, our bodies are the same bodies that our ancestors had. Before there was spaghetti, burger and hotdogs, there were only berries and nuts, all natural food sources. Now, our diets have dramatically changed, but our bodies have not. This is why we see obesity, diabetes, and heart disease-disorders that were not present during the time of our ancestors.

What sugar does to us .

With the popularity of high carbohydrate foods in the market, we have overworked our bodies. Our systems have to repeatedly respond to sudden spikes of blood sugar by releasing insulin. Then our sugar falls and we feel the awful symptoms of low blood sugar levels. We feel as though we are compelled to have another cup of coffee or chocolate drink or eat something sweet. We feel the temporary relief, only to realize a few hours later that we need another boost. Of course, you probably did not know this until reading it here. But it's these bad choices that control your daily life. You have become dependent on stuff and rubbish that causes abnormal changes in your blood sugar. And the low blood sugar changes make you grab more of the "stuff" that keeps your sugar levels rising and falling. It is a vicious cycle!

The good news is that you can break the cycle and reclaim your normal life!

Quantrill’s Raid on Olathe, Kansas, September 6, 1862

William Quantrill (1837-1865) was a Confederate sympathizer and guerrilla fighter during the Civil War, roaming the plains of Kansas, which had joined the Union as a free state in 1861, and Missouri, a slave-owning state. He was not recognized by the Confederacy as an officer, and many of his men, including Frank and Jesse James, and Cole and Jim Younger, became outlaws after the war ended. The anti-slavery forces were known as jayhawkers, and many of them were equally predatory in their treatment of Kansas settlers.

Confederate raider William Quantrill led his band of 140 men out of Missouri and into Kansas. His purpose was to terrorize the citizens who were Union supporters and to resupply his troops. On the night of September 6-7, 1862, they rode into the small town of Olathe near the Kansas-Missouri border and attacked the town. Men broke into houses, stealing money and valuables along with another more unusual item-photos of pretty young women. Quantrill was known to have a fondness for these, and few were left in towns after his raids.

One of Quantrill’s main targets, of course, was horses. A resident of nearby Spring Hill who was caught up in the Olathe raid had the courage to protest the taking of his horse. Hiram Blanchard tried to pull his bay mare away from a raider and paid for his bravery with his life. The raider blew off the top of Blanchard’s head with his shotgun, leaving the bloody body in the street. Two more men were shot and killed by Quantrill’s men before the troop galloped off to the east. Pack horses, loaded down with loot, and stolen horses followed along behind.

The next morning, Olathe residents discovered more horror. The bodies of three young men, recent enlistees in the 12th Kansas Infantry, were found. Frank Cook and the Judy brothers, John and James, had been shot down in cold blood by Quantrill’s men. Frank Cook was taken from his father-in-law’s house and made a prisoner. His body was found not far away in a ravine with two bullet holes in his chest and his head crushed by a cannon ball. The raiders ransacked the Judy house, taking the enlistees as prisoners. John Judy’s wife headed for her neighbor’s as soon as the raiders had left, but she heard the gunshots that killed her husband and brother-in-law as she hurried along the road. John Judy was shot in the eye and twice in the chest, and his brother was shot once in the face and once in the chest. The bodies of the Judys were found on the nearby Millikan farm.

Although the attack on Olathe was largely overshadowed by Quantrill’s raid on Lawrence, Kansas, on August 21, 1863, where 180 men and boys were killed, it symbolized the dangers of living on the prairies at that time. Kansas justly earned the unhappy name of “Bleeding Kansas” before and during the Civil War.

William Quantrill, a Confederate guerrilla fighter during the Civil War, directed a violent attack on the town of Olathe, Kansas, on the night of September 6-7, 1862. Six men were killed during the looting of the defenseless town: three civilians and three newly-recruited soldiers.

Pain in the Jaw Joint and TMJ

If you have TMJ, a condition known medically as Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome, then you understand the pain that is associated with the condition.

Often caused by some sort of traumatic injury to the head, neck, or spine, the main factor behind the development of TMJ is the misalignment of the bones in the jaw joint. Patients who suffer from TMJ often experience a wide range of very painful symptoms. They also find, when searching for cures for TMJ, that they are fighting an uphill battle.

The jaw is often very noisy upon movement, making grinding sounds, popping, and clicking noises. The muscles surrounding the cheek and jaw become very sore. Any kind of tension or stress can trigger episodes of teeth clenching or grinding, causing an even more intense type of pain that can extend to the teeth and other facial areas. Patients find that they are often limited in how much they can open their mouth and the amount of movement that they do have is often displaced as the jaw feels as though it opens to one side or the other. Headaches that range from mild to migraine are very common and can be frequent and debilitating.

Because the nerves and muscles in the jaw are connected to many different areas of the body, there are other symptoms that may not seem to be directly related to TMJ yet are in a secondary sort of way.

Difficulty swallowing and pain in the tongue or palate of the mouth are common amongst those who have severe cases of TMJ. Other secondary symptoms may include tingling in the finger or arms, ringing, buzzing, or hissing sounds in the ears, blurred or impaired vision, and watering of the eyes.

The jaw is a very sensitive joint and is easily put out of place. Any tension placed on the jaw, whether from tension or injury can cause serious damage to the joint. Only in very severe cases is surgery considered as an option for correction. Normally, chiropractic treatment for TMJ and exercises for the jaw are considered the most appropriate types of treatment.

Seeking chiropractic care for TMJ can be beneficial as it is widely known that any maladjustment in the spine or neck can create significant health issues elsewhere in the body. The same goes for the jaw and a chiropractor can be very beneficial in retraining the jaw to be lined up correctly.

Exercises to relieve TMJ pain are also beneficial to the TMJ sufferer. Not only will they work to relieve the pain caused by the condition, but they will also work to strengthen the muscles in the jaw region and support them to prevent further or future damage to the joint.

Relief can be found from the symptoms of TMJ. However, some patience is needed on the part of the person suffering from the condition. It will take time to retrain the jaw to sit in its proper position and to strengthen the muscles so that they are not so easily affected by tension and trauma.

Spells to Control the Elements

Control of the elements is limited somewhat by the laws of nature. You cannot make it snow in the middle of the summer. The Wiccan Rede (and its instruction to do whatever you please as long as it harms no one) prevents you from causing natural disasters like tornadoes or floods. The threefold repayment you would receive from such an action would not be something you would want to deal with. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have some influence on the elements.

The best weather alteration spells are the subtle ones. Bring on a light rain or keep one from falling on you. Bring enough snow for a snow day (but not a blizzard). The best part of these spells is that they require no supplies. You only have to walk outside, raise your hands towards the sky and say things aloud. For that reason, you should probably choose a secluded area so that crowds of people don’t gather to look at the crazy person yelling at the clouds.

Note: There are spells that exist to manipulate fire, but it is strongly discouraged that a novice experiment with them. The risk of something going wrong is far too great. People and property could be seriously damaged or destroyed. It is best left to experienced spell casters or covens.

Bring Rain

Stand outside, lift your palms toward the sky and say aloud:

The ancient Gods and Goddesses,

I invoke thee.

The water from the sky,

Let it be.

I command you now,

To you all.

Listen to my desires

And let rain fall!

Prevent the Rain

When the sky begins to get cloudy and dark, walk outside and lift your hands towards the sky. Say the following aloud:

Gods and Goddesses of power,

Gods and Goddesses of might.

I bid thee now,

Stop this plight.

Stop this rain-

We do not need more.

Let it fall nevermore.

The rain will move on to another location before it falls.

Snow Day Spell (call for a good deal of snow)

Magic can’t make it snow in the middle of the summer. It can’t supersede the laws of nature. But if the weather is already cold but not enough snow has fallen to get you a day off of work or school, stand outside, palms to the sky and chant the following three times:

Work thy will, Goddess Hecate,

I am calling upon thee

To let the snow fall

In piles so tall.

Snowed in shall I be,

Bring this to me.

Create a Breeze

Stand outside, raise your hands to the sky and chant the following aloud:

The Gods and Goddesses of the sky,

I call upon the elements of the air

To bring the winds and blow in here

So it may be.

Bring on the Sun

Stand outside, raise your hands to the sky and chant the following aloud:

Goddess Sol, bless and decree

Allow the sun to shine on me.

I call on the element of the sun

So that I may leave and have some fun.

Smoking and Breastfeeding – Inherent Risks

If you are breastfeeding your child and you are smoking, you are not only putting yourself at risk for fatal illnesses but you are also hurting your baby as well.

Let's face it, we all know that smoking is bad for you. There is only one thing worse then just harming yourself when you choose to smoke and that that smoking when you are breastfeeding. However, many experts still believe that it is very important for a mother to breastfeeding regardless of whether she is smoking or not. Obviously, if she chooses to smoke, there can be complications for the baby.

One of the first things a woman will notice if she smokes while continuing to breastfeeding her child is that her production of milk will slow down veryly. Their milk supply will also have lower amounts of vitamin C in it. The introduction of nicotine to a baby can greatly increase their risks of becoming colic. Studies show that the chances of developing colic go up 14% versus the babies of non-smokers. That seems like a big risk to take regarding your baby just for a quick puff on a cigarette.

Other complications that one might see with their babies, should they continue to smoke while breastfeeding, are problems with nausea as well as dirrhea. Babies who are exposed to second hand smoke will also show problems with being more prone to allergies, bronchitis, pneumonia and even sudden infant death syndrome.

If you are one of the many mothers who are finding it hard to give up the cigarettes and you still want to give your baby the benefits of being breastfed then you may want to look into what options you have to kick the habit and make your body healthier for both you and your baby. There are many ways you can stop smoking such as patches and support groups. Be sure to check with your doctor to make sure that the patch is something that will be good for you and your baby as well.

If you find that you can not quit then you will want to be sure that you switch to the lowest nicotine content and cut way back on the amount that you smoke. Be sure not to smoke during or right before you breastfeeding as this is the time when the nicotine is at the highest in the body. Also be sure not smoke near the baby to eliminate the chances of second hand smoke. Always be sure to check with your doctor to make sure that you are doing what is best for you and your baby whether you can quit or not.

Where Does Clear Western Red Cedar Come From and Its Uses

The majority of red cedar is grown in the pacific northwest in the United States. Much is also grown in the western parts of Canada and also in parts of Alaska. All cedar growth compromises about 20% of all of the forests. The wood comes from very large trees. The wood is harvested from trees that can reach 200 ft. tall. Many have been measured to be 300 ft. tall. The trees have also been measured to be an average of 13 ft. in diameter. Many trees have been known to live over a thousand years.

Red cedar is a beautiful wood to use in making furniture. When harvested the wood has a soft red-brown color, with tight straight grains in the wood. Most have very few knots in the wood. It is valued for its distinct appearance and its distinct aroma.

Red cedar has a natural resistance to decay, which makes it great for outdoor use. Mold will also not grow on it. Insects will shy away from it because of the natural chemicals in it.

None of the trees go to waste when they are harvested. The bark of the trees are used for rope, baskets, clothing, and other soft goods. There are many other uses for clear western red cedar.

A lot of people use red cedar in their yards to help beautify their property and increase the value of their homes. Some of the items you can build in your yards are patio decking, siding, planters, trellis's, arbors, gazebos, and even edging around your flower or vegetable gardens.

Clear western red cedar is a very practical and good looking wood to work with. It is easy to work with because it is a very light weight wood, and it cuts clean and easily. It is a natural and durable wood product. When building or buying your project it resists cracking, warping, and pulling loose from your nails or screws.

Some other things that have been known to be beneficial from the cedar trees are the oils derived from the trees. Some oils have been used to make antiseptics. Oils have been used to make medications to heal minor cuts. It promotes fast healing and prevents germs. It has also been known to help with anxiety problems. Some medications made with the oils help with asthma, broncitis, and head colds. There are many vitamins on the market that include these oils. Many people use these oils to prevent different pests from entering their homes or flower and vegetable gardens. These oils are used highly in the manufacturing of candles and air fresheners. There is a huge market for this simple tree that can be used in numerous ways.

Eating Cherries In Texas May Be Good For You

Cherries. Sweet, tart and oh so good. Individuals in Dallas, Houston and elsewhere in Texas can find them in pies, drinks, pitted, not pitted, juiced, au naturel, maraschinoed, covered with chocolate, sitting on top of whipped cream or blended into special sauces. They’ve become part of our nation’s folklore with George Washington cutting down a cherry tree. Even cherried rats, in research, have proven that cherries can do more that add a sweet-tart taste to your dessert or fruit gum. Researchers have recently discovered that cherries might support a healthy cardiovascular system and more in individuals.

According a study from the University of Michigan, rats given powdered tart cherries in their diets had — lower total cholesterol, lower blood sugar, less fat storage in the liver, lower oxidative stress and increased production of a molecule that helps the body handle fat and sugar — compared with those that didn’t.

To mirror the current human population, the rats used in the study were not the healthiest. These rats had a predisposition toward high cholesterol and pre-diabetes, but not to obesity. When they reached the age of six weeks, they were fed either a carbohydrate-enriched diet or a diet that included either one or ten percent cherries for 90 days. The higher cherry dose was included to investigate toxic effects, but none was discovered.

At the end of the study, the unhealthy rats that received the one percent cherry diet had significantly lower total cholesterol, triglyceride, glucose and insulin levels than those of the rats that didn’t. The same was true for those on the 10% cherry diet. They were compared to rats that received a diet with an equally high level of carbohydrates not from cherries.

The researchers also measured plasma TEAC, which is a test of antioxidant capacity in the blood. A higher TEAC reading means better ability to neutralize damaging free radical molecules produced in the body during metabolism. The cherried rats had higher antioxidant capacity, which indicated lower oxidative stress in their bodies. As storage of excess fat is common in metabolic syndrome, researchers also measured fat levels in the rats’ livers, as well as the genetic expression of PPAR (peroxisome proliferators-activating receptor) in the liver. The cherried rats had both a lower level of fat in their livers and a higher expression of the PPAR gene.

Researchers concluded that the correlation between cherry intake and significant changes in metabolic measurements suggests a positive effect from the high concentrations of antioxidant anthocyanidins, which are found in tart cherries. But the researchers also concluded that they were not certain if cherry-rich diets might have a similar impact in humans. A small clinical trial is planned.

After three months, the cherried rats had significantly lower cholesterol levels than another group that ate a normal diet. The cherried rats also did better when measured for levels of insulin and other metabolic syndrome factors — a condition that often leads to heart disease or diabetes.

Researcher Dr Steven Bolling said that the benefits came from small amounts of cherries, just one percent of the animals’ diet. Bolling said that the research team now plans to start trials on humans. The key to the cherry’s success is anthocyanins, natural compounds that help stop cholesterol from clogging up arteries. Sour or tart cherries are especially rich in anthocyanins.

Other studies have uncovered that cherries also might provide pain relief for arthritis sufferers and may help individuals get a good night’s sleep by regulating their natural cycle.

Cherries have been used for medicinal purposes for hundreds of years. Ground-up cherry stones were used to relieve chest pain and stomach problems during the 15th and 16th centuries. It was once thought that eating whole cherries could ward off kidney stones and herbalists brewed cherry stalks into a tea to treat bronchitis.

Why the Choice of Frequency For Ultrasound Therapy is Important and How to Choose

Most therapeutic ultrasound machines come with a choice of 1 or 3 megahertz frequencies and the clinician is left determining which of those frequencies is needed. This is a definition of megahertz and which frequency is indicated in ultrasound therapy.

A megahertz is defined as, abbreviated MHz, a unit of alternating current (AC) or electromagnetic (EM) wave frequency equal to one million hertz (1,000,000 Hz). This frequency is inaudible to humans since for most humans the audible frequency is lost at 20,000 Hz.

The frequency of therapeutic ultrasound is important, depending on the area being treated for pain relief, or for accelerating healing due to injury. There is an inverse relationship between higher frequency and depth of penetration. As the frequency increases from 1 to 3 MHz, the depth of penetration decreases, ie. higher the frequency the less penetration.

The depth of penetration is important if the ultrasound treatment is on an ankle, knuckle, elbow, TMJ ( tempro mandibular joint), knee or other area that is close to the surface that is being treated. In order to create heat for an ankle the clinician will set the frequency to 3 MHz because the area being treated is close to the surface and higher frequency has less penetration so the treatable tissues are being targeted better.

If a patient is suffering from back pain, sciatica, shoulder pain, hip pain or other areas where the tissues are deeper near joints with muscle tissue, or where muscle tissue is the targeted tissue then 1 MHz is used since deeper penetration is needed to treat the affected area.

Many therapeutic ultrasound units come with a choice of frequencies, however for home use it is unnecessary to have multiple frequency choices, but more important to have the frequency necessary for the patient’s condition. In acute situations it is most beneficial for a patient to rent the ultrasound unit for home use rather than go back and forth at greater cost to clinics for short ultrasound treatments.

Dieting in the Office

Those of us who work in an office often complain about a lack of activity and how difficult it can be to keep fit yet work at an office job. Whilst it is possible to use a small pedal machine kept under the desk, these do look a bit weird and can be a bit distracting for other employees. I have already covered the best ways to keep fit in an office environment, but what is an effective diet for an office?

Office workers are notorious for snacking, often having a secret stash of chocolate or a box of biscuits to share and the relaxed nature of the work makes eating convenient. Workers will often buy a large collection of bargain of snacks to ‘last them the week’, but, honestly, they rarely do.

Biscuits and chocolates are excellent for fulfilling a craving and staving off hunger until lunch; however they have one major flaw: they are moreish. One never seems to be enough and by the next time you look down at the box, you’re on your last one.

However, simply replacing a chocolate banana is a great way of snacking healthily, as well as providing you energy for the rest of the day. A good replacement for biscuits (and Maltesers) is a handful of grapes. Even with fruit, moderation is key; but getting your 5-a-day is a great way of improving your health quickly and naturally.

For lunches, try to avoid popping down to the nearest shop or jacket potato vendor – make sandwiches the night/morning before and plan your eating schedule for the day. This way you know exactly what is going into your food and can substitute unhealthy products as you see fit – I also find that home-made food simply tastes nicer.

For your drink, water is perfectly suitable – bottled water is an unnecessary luxury as it would be far easier and more cost-effective to simply bring in your water in a flask. I had previously worked in an office in Atlanta, which had fitted a water cooler especially for their employees. Diet drinks are good at satisfying hunger cravings; however this is only temporary and will not actually fill you up.

Other beneficial foods that you could snack on include eggs, tofu, berries, seeds and apples. You could also use an ab-toning belt or perform squats at work to help with your tummy and bum area.

Working in an office is generally a rather sedentary job, but with a good diet, sensible eating habits and a healthy bit of exercise before/after work, those pounds will fall off.

Medical Transcription

This is a process whereby dictation from physicians and other healthcare providers is transcribed and formatted into a medical document. The dictation occurs after a patient has seen a physician and then he dictates the results of that visit. A medical transcriptionist (MT) listens to the dictation and transcribes into a word processor (such as WordPerfect or Word), or in some cases using a typewriter (very few, if any, still use typewriters now). Types of reports include history and physicals, consultations, clinic notes, psychiatric evaluations, discharge summaries, x-ray reports, laboratory/pathology reports, and emergency department records. This document then becomes part of a patient’s medical record.

A medical transcriptionist can receive dictation several difference ways. Sometimes tapes are used (micro, mini or regular sized) and can be played back on a transcriber machine with a foot pedal (which rewinds or forwards the dictation). Some physicians use a call-in digital system to do their dictation and then a transcriptionist uses a special phone (C-phone or similar) to call in and retrieve the dictation. Another method of receiving dictation is with use of voice files using a digital recorder and then the transcriptionist receives the voice files to transcribe.

A medical transcriptionist has to have excellent medical terminology skills, computer and word processing skills, excellent listening skills, and must have a good grasp of the English language as well as excellent grammar skills. Training includes medical terminology, diseases processes, systems review, anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, legal issues/confidentiality guidelines, etc.

Medical transcriptionists can work in hospitals, medical clinics, physician offices, transcription services or at home. Most transcriptionists require anywhere from 2 to 5 years of MT experience working in a hospital setting/clinical setting before they can work at home. Starting off working from home can be done but it is very difficult and most hospitals/services prefer 2 to 5 years of MT experience.

What equipment is needed?:

Medical transcriptionists need a computer to transcribe, to include a word processing program (usually WordPerfect or Word, although some companies have designed their own word processing program), headphones, wav player program, transcriber or special phone for call-in dictation, and resource books including medical dictionary, drug index, lab word book and other specialty books (i.e. pathology, cardiology, medical/surgical equipment, etc.). Also with use of a word processing program, a medical spell checker is a necessity. Some transcriptionist use short cut programs (to create abbreviations for longer words), which may include Instant Text, Speedtype, Shortcut or others.

How to Become a Medical Transcriptionist:

A transcriptionist can be trained on the job but it requires a lot of training, including medical terminology, computer skills, word processing skills, etc. Most transcriptionists are trained through smaller local colleges or on-line MT courses. Learning to become a medical transcriptionist takes a lot of time and is not something that can be learned over time. In fact, it is an ongoing learning experience as new drugs are always coming out, equipment changes, etc.

Recommended On-Line Training Courses:

Over the past 10 years, I have communicated and socialized with many MTs. Below I have listed some reputable on-line courses available for transcription training:


Career Step –

Andrews School –

There are many more training courses available and a lot of small colleges even offer MT training. Again, these are courses that have a good reputation by many MTs whom I have interacted with over the years.

Transcription Pay:

Transcriptionists can be paid different ways, by the line, by the page, by the hour, or salary. Most independent transcriptionists working at home are paid by the line or page. Most MTs working in the hospital are paid by the hour. Salaries can fluctuate depending on many variables. Independent transcriptionists sometimes make more because they are paid by the line and thus with increased speed, they produce more lines, thus earning more. However, independent transcriptionists have to pay all of their taxes. Transcriptionists can also be a statutory employee, which is basically an independent contractor except that the company pays a portion of the taxes.

Visit this link to get a general idea of the pay scale for MTs:

Transcriptions do not start out making a lot of money as some advertisements suggest, especially if you are paid by the line. It takes time to learn terminology, get used to different dictators, and lots of time is spent researching. Transcriptionists have to be very disciplined due to the amount of time spent at the computer and because of deadlines for the work to be returned.

Basic Recommended Books for Medical Transcriptionists:

Medical Dictionary

Drug index (i.e. Quick Look Drug Book)

Abbreviation book

Pathology and Lab Word Book

Med/Surg Equipment Word Book

Where to Find Medical Transcription Jobs:


Medical Clinics

Physician Offices

Where to get books and equipment: – Books, transcribers, etc. – Books, spellcheckers, etc. – Wav players, foot pedals, etc.

For more information, please visit

Eye Disorders

Many eye disorders are minor, but some can lead to serious complications without treated.

Congenital Defects

Squint (malalignment of the eyes) is sometimes congenital (present at birth). Cataracts (opacity of the lens) can occur in infants when the cause may be a maternal rubella infection early in pregnancy. Very rarely, babies are born with microphthalmos (abnormally small eye) on one or both sides. Vision in a microphtalmic eye is usually very poor. Nystagmus (uncontrollable movement in the eyes) is often congenital. Retinoblastoma is a malignant tumor of the retina that appears in early life and may occur in one or both eyes. Other congenital disorders affecting the eye include albinism (absence of pigment) and abnormalities of development of the cornea and retina.


Conjunctivitis , the most common infection, rarely affects vision. In the late stages of neglected conjunctival infection, such as trachoma or severe bacterial conjunctivitis, vision can be impaired. Corneal infections are more serious and can lead to blurred vision or corneal perforation if not treated early. Endophtalmitis (infection within the eye), which may make it necessary to remove the eye surgically, can occur after a penetrating injury, after severe ulceration, (rarely after major eye surgery, or from infections elsewhere in the body.

Impaired Blood Supply

Narrowing, blockage, pollution, or other abnormalities of the blood vessels of the retina may cause partial or total loss of vision.


Malignant melanoma of the choroid (the layer of tissue between the retina and the sclera, which is the fibrous outer wall of the eyeball) is the most common primary malignant eye tumor. It can be found without symptoms during routine examinations or can cause a decrease in vision.

Nutritional Disorders

Various vitamin deficiencies (particularly vitamin A deficiency) can affect the eye. This may lead to xerophthalmia (dryness of the cornea and conjunctiva), night blindness, or keratomalacia (corneal softening and destruction).

Autoimmune Disorders

Uveities (inflammation of the uveal tissues-iris, choroid, or ciliary body), when not caused by an infectious agent may have an autoimmune basis. it is common in people with ankylosing spondylitis and sarcoidosis


Macular degeneration of the retina is common in the elderly. It causes loss of fine, detailed vision, although peripheral vision remains. Cataract is also common in the elderly; the exact cause is unknown.

Other Disorders

Glaucoma , is a condition which the pressure in the fluid maintaining the normal shape of the eye is raised, may take various forms. If untreated, glaucoma can lead to permanent loss of vision. In retinal detachment, the retina lifts away from the underlying (choroidal) layer of the eye.