Sandra Bridewell



Sandra Camille (Powers) Bridewell, was born, April 4, 1944. She was adopted as a child by Arthur and Camille Powers of Sedalia, Missouri. She was known primarily as a destructive con-artist, as, over the course of more than 3 decades, the woman who became known as the "Black Widow", deceived both lovers and friends for hundreds of thousands of dollars. She is also suspected of being a part of, atleast one of her husbands and also a close friend death.

It all started in a disconcerting and traumatic childhood. Reports indicate, that at the age of 3, her adoptive mother, Camille, was killed in a car-accident. Bridewell's father, Arthur, who both managed and commanded a Dr.Pepper bottling factory, eventually re-married, and the family were re-located to Oak Cliff, Texas, a suburb of Dallas. He resigned from his previous position and found new employment, becoming a cemetery plot salesman.

Bridewell discovered that adjusting to her new surroundings was not the problem, the problem was adjusting to her new stepmother Doris. The two of them were continuosly fighting, whilst Bridewell would protest that her stepmother regulary locked her inside a closet, refused to send out birthday party invitations and enjoy telling her that nobody wanted her.

Bridewell graduated high school in the year of 1962. As a high school student, she would rarely date, however after graduation, she soon began dating a series of different men. She was extreamly seductive, many of the men became totally smitten with, what a later friend would describe as, "her, 'lady-like', 'poor-helpless-me' routine". Bridewell attended junior college for a single year, it seems Bridewell had already decided her intentions, she wanted to marry into money.


For Sandra to achieve her intentions, she began living a life, littered with deception and deceit. She would tell some friends, that both of her adoptive parents were killed. She would tell some others she was daughter to Irish aristocrats. The most common deceit that she used with regularity, was the "West Point Boyfriend", this entailed the story of a boyfriend who shot himself while she sat next to him in a car.

Despite Sandra's continuous deceptive nature, she was able to convince many people to believe her lies, especially men. Many stories from these men, were very similar and followed a general theme, recalling, "She had a way" and, "Men, just sort of … were fascinated with her". Sandra through the course of her life, would intensify the deception and lived with many different aliases.

There were many victims, from her guiltless deceit. One such victim, was the up-shot dentist, David Stegall, who was schooled in Los Angeles and was a regular dentist for high-status Hollywood stars. Stegall had a compulsion towards, Cadillacs, large homes and pretty women. Sandra noticed something she liked about Stegall, and by the year 1967 she had married him. Within the first few years after the marriage, the couple began to raise a family, and soon had 3 daughters, Britt, Kathryn and Emily. The family enjoyed a high-class lifestyle and lived in a most desirable Dallas neighbourhood.

Sandra's taste and passion for the finer things were even more profound than her husbands, and desite the massive salary and reputation of Stegall, Sandra's tastes were beginning to strain and taking the family to the brink. Sandra was a connoisseur of many things, she loved beautiful artwork and expensive furnishings. By the year 1974, the couple's marriage was in turmoil and the family was in severe debt, forcing Stegall to loan a substantial sum of money from his father to pay off a number of the hefty bills.

By February 1975, the situation had over-come Stegall, and he tried to commit suicide. Reports indicate that Sandra discovered a distressed Stegall closed in a closet with a gun pointed at his head. Sandra was then able to persuade Stegall to re-consider. However this did not change Stegall for the long-term, and a few weeks later he was discovered dead. Lying on in his bed with both wrists open and a.22 caliber gunshot wound through his head.

Sandra swiftly took action towards straightening her financial situation. This started with the collection of her husband's life insurance policy, sold the lat Stegall's practice and began dating other wealthy men. After a mere 3 years of her husband's death, Sandra was married again, this time to well-known Dallas based developer, Bobby Bridewell.

Soon after the wedding Bridewell took the decision to adopt Sandra's 3 daughters and the family made their 'home in the fancy Dallas neighbourhood of Highland Park. However in 1980, life changed and in dramatic and tragic twist Bridwell was diagnosed with cancer. Sandra found the diagnosis extremely painful, as she continued her life in her usual way, with an elemental grieving. During her husbands battle with the illness, Sandra decided to have the family's entire household remodelled, forcing the weakening Bridewell to move into a friend's house. Bridewell after a 2 year struggle, finally succumbed to his diagnoses and died.

The impact of Bridewell's death was hard-felt by Sandra. At least for the short-term, she was able to gain support and hope, in the friendship of Bridewell's oncologist, Dr 'John Bradwell and his wife Betsy. In the beginning the couple were more than happy and open to offer support to their friend. Sandra over-time, began visiting the Bagwell household with more frequent persistence. Whilst the doctor and his wife were enjoying a vacation in New Mexico, Sandra went as far as to show up unannounced. Her ever increasing requests were frequented with pleads of childcare and harassment through phone calls.

The Bagwell's soon decided upon action, and attempted to extricate themselves from the relationship with Sandra. Sandra however would not allow it. In June 1982, she made a phone call to Betsy, and requested she take her to the hospital, so she could rent a car as her's would not start. Betsy supplicated and would take Sandra to the hospital, and then back to the Church were Sandra was previously parked so she could retrieve her license, which she claimed on arrival, had been forgotten.

The exact details of the encounter remain shrouded in mystery. What is understood, is that on June 16, 1982, authorities discovered the 40-year old Mrs. Bagwell, dead in her Mercedes i the airport parking lot. There was a large gunshot wound in her head, and a stolen.22 caliber pistol held in her right hand. when the verdict was given, it was concluded as a suicide.

Despite the verdict, there was still many questions unanswered. The police were aware that Sandra was the last person to have seen Betsy alive. Questions emerged about the death, these included the absence of a suicide note. The police however refused to re-examine the case and it remained closed.

As was so accustomed to Sandra, she non-chalantly continued with her life. As of June 1984, another man had fallen into her clutches. The victim, a good-looking 29 year-old, Alan Rehrig, had just moved to Dallas to begin work for a mortgage company. Sandra was conversing around her yard, when Rehrig, searching for a place he could call home, happened to pass by in his car. Pulling his Ford Bronco over to the side of the road, he asked Sandra if she knew of any apartments to move into. She admitted she did not, instead, agreeing to help him out.

Within just a few short weeks the pair became inseparable. Rehrig was extremely fond of Sandra's 3 daughters, who, at their 'mother's calling would announce themselves upon an unsuspecting Rehrig, whilst he was busy working at his office. Sandra, by the fall of 1984, had some unexpected news for Rehrig and delivered the news that she was pregnant with twins. This situation was even more curious for one important reason, 7 previous years Sandra underwent a successful hysterectomy. This was yet more deceit from Sandra, feeling that as she gained some weight around her stomach, that she could lie effectively. There were of course more lies, lies including her age, telling Rehrig she was 36, when she was in fact 41.

A trustworthy Rehrig, had no reason to doubt his new girlfriend, as he still felt the were getting to know each other. Despite the intervention of friend's to demonstrate to Rehrig the speed at which his life was changing, he was also in love, and, December 1984, Sandra Bridewell and Alan Rehrig became husband and wife.

There was always the awareness to Sandra, that the pregnancy lie could only take her so far. With, Rehrig committed entirely to his wife, Sandra was able to easily change the story. So, in February 1985, she made a phone call to her husband and told him the unfortunate news that she had a miscarriage.

The news was devastating to Rehrig and the marriage began to suffer as a result. Like her previous two husbands, Rehrig was beginning to realise that his wife a pallet for expensive tastes. She would push him to make more and more money, and made him take out a big life insurance policy. Friend's recall how Rehrig complained of Sandra's habits, as she spent $ 20,000 a month on clothes, food and travel.

November 1985, and the couple separated. Rehrig was convinced he had to end the relationship with Sandra and moved into a friend's home. The two of them, were separated for a period of several weeks and they did not so much as set eyes upon each other. Then in early December, Sandra phoned Rehrig and arranged a meeting at a storage facility at which the two had stored some items.

The true happenings of what ensued over the next several hours have never been determined. What is understood is, Rehrig was located slumped over in his Bronco in Oklahoma. The were vast gunshot wounds to both the head and the chest. It was also determined that Rehrig has in fact been driven all the way to Oklahoma. The death of Rehrig was heavily scrutinised, Sandra was suspected of his murder, however nothing could be pinned on the woman who had become known around Dallas as the, "Black Widow". Her demeanor under interrogation could be described as coy, almost playful. There was then a total switch in behaviour from the "Black Widow", and she became completely uncooperative, refusing anyone to talk to both her and her daughters.

If there was any grief towards her husbands death, then it was being hidden well. Sandra, was scrimping on funeral expenses, selecting the most in-expensive casket possible for Rehrig and then convincing her friends to cover the burial costs. On the day of the service, she arrived late, dressed head to foot in a rich mink coat. This was an affordable expense, Rehrig's death had provided her with a $ 220,000 life insurance claim, dropped straight into her bank account.

Sandra's reputation however was in tatters. A popular local magazine, detailing Sandra's curious past, and recounting her behaviour was to serve to this. Sandra was soon to leave Dallas for good, she re-located herself and her family to the San Francisco area. Sandra still contained the same charm and engaged it upon Marin County, she soon began dating a gaggle of wealthy men, who were sympathetic towards her past story, this story would often incorporate the use of a trust fund that she was about to be receiving and her non-restrained sexual inhibition. One of the men loaned her $ 23,000., Whilst another was suckered into parting with $ 70,000, which he pulled up through a pension. Neither of the men received a single penny of their loans back, even though they took their 'claims to court. Soon, the same and similar stories that had surrounded Sandra in Dallas, began to appear in San Francisco.

By the early 1990's, Sandra changed her name and was now known as Camille Bridewell. She had left California, and moved to Boston, where she took up residence with a boyfriend. She was also a resident in Connecticut and Hawaii. Despite the change of addresses, the same meanness still stewed in her underbelly. She would now steal the Social Security numbers of other people, she would take out credit cards, and rack up huge purchases, without an intent to ever pay the money back. she was so malicious in her actions, that she even destroyed the credit of her daughters.

As the millennium came around, Sandra was now middle aged, and shifted from sexuality to religion, as to draw her victims closer. The basis of her stories would now involve the invention of stories such as, she was a missionary who had traveled the world and work with orphans. As usual she was very persuasive and had a way to make people submit to her wants. She then befriended a couple who owned and managed a motel in the state of Alabama. Despite the fact that she was unable to even pay for a room, she was receiving food and money from the cople.

she continued with the missionary story, and as she moved herself to Atlanta, she would change her name slightly, from Bridewell to Bridwell. She then convinced a woman she met at church to split with the cost of an expensive condo rental. After a little time passed, Bridwell's new housemate, found she was paying for everything, as Sandra claimed she was waiting for a large sum of money to be delivered form her trust fund.

As 2006 ensued, Sandra surfaced in North Carolina, at a new church and changed her name to Camille Bowers. Later that year, in September, she moved herself in with Sue Moseley, a 77 year old woman, residing in a million dollar home on the Carloina coast. Sandra struck up a deal with the son, Jim, that in return for the management of the housekeeping, she would receive free room and board.

She began to build a respectable reputation around the local community, and spoke several times at a local women's club. Sandra then began the process of acquiring the finances of the Moseley's. She gathered tax records, collected her Social Security payments into a separate account, siphoned off mortgage money, created credit charges and used Mosele's bank account to fund her personal expenses, including spa treatments and expensive shoes.

Jim soon became suspicious of the new housekeeper, and early in 2007, he stumbled upon a length newspaper story in a Dallas publication, chronicling the exploits of her life. Jim, working alongside the police, as a front man in a sting, aided the arrest of the "Black Widow", on 2nd March 2007 in a cafe in Charlotte, North Carolina.


The story of Sandra Bridewell culminates with numerous charges under her name. She was committed of, identity fraud, fraud, mail theft and Social Security fraud. After the arrest and the heavy publicity, the police took a renewed interest in the death of Rehrig and the police of Oklahoma City, pour more resources and more manpower towards the case.

February 2008, and Sandra Camille Powers, pleads guilty to one count of identity theft, later the same month she was formally sentenced by the judge. The "Black Widow", had left a lasting impact and trail of destruction wherever she went, leaving a trail of victims desperate for her sentencing. When justice was finally insued, she was ordered to pay a $ 250,000 fine, a dn pay more than $ 1,600 dollars in restitution to the Moseley family.


Source by Matthew A Black

Nadru Monje – Fritters of Lotus Stem In Kashmiri Style


Muskaan Shah, my best friend and sister, invited me to her place to help her mother in cooking. Post why? Her brother Masroor Bhaiji was arriving from Srinagar with his family. She wanted me to meet them and interact with his family. I was busy in the kitchen, standing next to Mummyji (Muskaan's mother) and completing various jobs like chopping vegetable for salads, grinding various spices, cleaning coriander leaves, etc.

At 4 o'clock sharp, the bell rang and I could see small kids running from the front door to the bed room and were excited to meet Muskaan. She introduced me to the entire family. After sometime, she called me again and handed over a bag. She said that the contents of the bag were called NADRU MONJE – her favourite snack. It was prepared by her sister-in-law. I started munching them and instantly mesmerised by the taste of it. They were the long strips and very crispy by texture.

Next moment I asked them to give me the recipe. She asked me to enjoy the dish and forget about the recipe. However, as the years passed by, I learnt the recipe. There are three different versions of the recipe. I would be sharing all three of them in this article.

Nadru Monje In Rice Flour

Ingredients Required

  • Lotus Stems-1 kg
  • Rice flour-3 cups
  • Kashmiri Red Chilli Powder-2 tablespoons
  • Asafoetida-1/2 tablespoon
  • Salt-1 tablespoon
  • Oil-1 kg
  • Water-1 cup

Steps For Preparation

  • Clean and wash the lotus stems properly under the running water.
  • Scrap the outer covering of the lotus stems.
  • Cut the long strips lengthwise from lotus stems
  • Place them in an utensil filled with water.
  • Take another utensil.
  • Add rice flour into it.
  • Add kashmiri red chilli powder into the rice flour.
  • Add salt into it.
  • Add asafoetida into it.
  • Mix them well with fingers.
  • Add water into the flour.
  • Blend all of them together in a smooth batter.
  • Take the precaution for not adding more water to the batter. The batter should be of thick consistency.
  • Take a large wok and place it on the gas stove.
  • Add oil into it and turn on the gas stove.
  • Remove the lotus stem strips from water.
  • Remove the excess water from the lotus stems
  • Add them to the batter.
  • Dip the strips properly into the batter.
  • Check if the oil has reached to its maximum temperature.
  • Place each dipped strip of lotus stem into oil.
  • Turn them to the other side once it is fried well.
  • Keep tossing the strips continuously in order to avoid them from charring in the oil.
  • Once the strips are well fried in the oil, remove them and place them on a tissue paper. This helps in the removal of the excess oil present in the fritters.
  • Serve them immediately with mint chutney or tomato sauce.

This is genuine and authentic recipe of nadru monje. I was surprised to know that this dish is prepared in a lavish manner and distributed to all the devotees and tourists visiting Hazrat Bal Mosque in Srinagar, Kashmir. Later on, I came to know that Sufi saints favoured the snack in the valley. Even now the snack is in great demand at this place. It is one of the starters in the Islamic Kashmiri Cuisine. The above mentioned recipe is relished by all kashmiri individuals.

The Nadru Monje In Gram Flour

Ingredients Required

  • Lotus Stems-1 kg
  • Gram Flour-3 cups
  • Kashmiri Red Chilli Powder-1 tablespoon
  • Salt-1 tablespoon
  • Water-1 cup
  • Turmeric Powder-1 tablespoon
  • Oil-1 kg
  • Cumin Seeds-1 tablespoon

Steps For Preparation

  • Clean the lotus stems under the running water.
  • Cut them legthwise and get the strips from the lotus stem.
  • Place them in an utensil filled with water.
  • Take an utensil and add gram flour, salt, kashmiri red chilli powder, turmeric powder and cumin seeds.
  • Add sufficient water in order to make the smooth batter.
  • Remove the excess water from lotus stems and add them to the batter.
  • Take a wok and add oil into it.
  • Place it on a gas stove.
  • Once the oil has reached to its maximum temperature, place the strips of lotus stems into it.
  • Fry them well in oil.
  • Remove them from oil and place them on a tissue paper.
  • Serve them with tomato sauce.

Yet there are others who would like to add one or two eggs in the rice flour to prepare the fritters. This gives an entirely different taste to the fritters. No matter what version one would like to adopt for its preparation, the snack is ready to be enjoyed by one and all in the family.

I like the first version of this snack. I came to know that the snack helps for individuals suffering from low blood pressure. It helps in the removal of the mood swings. It is best for the person in depression. I simply like the snack and prepare it whenever I desire for it and share it with all my folks back at home.


Source by Ramani Swarna

Three Reasons For Choosing Personalized Gifting Over Other Gifting Methods


The best way to shower love on your loved ones is by personalizing a gift item. We gift those whom we adore and admire, without expecting anything in return other than love. Love is the best gift as it is free to give and priceless to receive. A gift can be customized in many ways-by engraving the name or printing the picture of your loved ones on the gifts or nameplate of your home, and in many more such creative techniques provided by a host of online personalized gifts selling websites.

There are many reasons due to which we indulge in the gifting process both in our personal and professional lives – we celebrate Mother's day, Father's Day, Women's Day, Men's Day, Children's day etc. along with the more famous and common occasions like Birthdays and Anniversaries.

The three main reasons for choosing personalized gifting over other gifting methods can be classified as below:

a) Breaks the Monotony of Conventional Gifting

The conventional gifts include branded watches, perfumes, teddy bears, apparels, leather accessories and so on. They might be high on materialistic value, yet lack the warmth of human relationship. But a little engraving of your best friend's name on the pen's body or a collage of the sweet memories with your beloved, printed on a heart-shaped cushion, elevates a mere gift to a long-lasting memory of the inexplicable bond that you share with them.

b) Cost-Efficient

A gift with a personal touch always remains more special than the costliest of gems in the world. It is always not important for the person willing to gift someone to be extremely wealthy. True emotions are not weighed on the scale of money and here comes the benefit of a personalized gift. A personalized photo frame would always be far more precious to an emotional person, than a solitaire ring. Think about it!

c) Infuses Warmth into Relationships

Whether it be a corporate gift meant for your boss on his work anniversary or a personalized song especially meant for your mother on the special occasion of Mother's Day, customized gifting mends the cracks and crevices that might have come into your precious relationships over the passage of time. Gifts, specially personalized for your kith and kin, brings warmth into these familial bonds in the otherwise harsh and ruthless real world devoid of much care and compassion.

In this modern technology-friendly era, laptop covers and mobile back covers can be ideal options for personalized gifting. This form of gifting is, now, in vogue all over the world.

So, let us put our creativity to play and surprise our loved ones in the most unique way by indulging ourselves into this mesmerizing world of personalized gifting.


Source by Ananya Bhattacharyya

Release Your Inner Diva With Sexy Plus Size Lingerie


Every woman has a right to look and feel sexy. Just because you may be blessed with a beautiful plus size figure, does not mean you have to miss out when it comes to wearing sexy lingerie.

Today there are more choices than ever before when it comes to finding plus size lingerie. You do not have to settle for shapeless caftans and shifts. Even if you live in an area where options for shopping are limited.

Before starting your quest for the perfect plus size lingerie outfit, you need to know your measurements. Forget what size you wear. Each manufacturer makes their clothing differently. Do not worry about what size you end up buying, as long as it fits properly. Knowing your bust, waist, and hip measurements will be very helpful in determining what size of lingerie you need to buy.

To get the most accurate results have another person do the measuring. Ask a trusted friend or maybe your sister or mother if possible. Take a tape tailors tape and measure around the fullest part of the bust. Your bra size is not the same as your bust measurement. Your bra band size does not include the measurement around your bust which could add another 2-4 inches to your bust measurement. Then measure around your waist and the fullest part of your hips. These 3 measurements will help you determine what size of plus size lingerie will fit your body.

If you shop online for your plus size lingerie you will have significantly more options and better selection to choose from. There are stores online that specialize in only plus size lingerie and will have a large selection of baby dolls, chemises, gowns, teddies and corsets to choose from that will compliment many different body types.

Be sure to check the size chart and use your measurements to determine what size you will be. Also make sure you check the online store's return policy before making a purchase.

Do not be afraid to experiment and try new and sexy styles. Being plus size does not limit your options when it comes to finding sexy plus size lingerie. You just need to take the first step, buying your first plus size lingerie piece. Soon you will come to realize there's a whole new world out there and lots of sexy options for you. Finding your inner diva may just be as simple as slipping into your new sexy nightie.


Source by Janelle Jackson

On Loving an Addict


There are few things I hate in life. Hate is such a strong word loaded with negative emotions. But I hate Oxycontin. And I hate Heroin. In my unprofessional completely biased opinion – they are the same thing. If you are using and have not made this connection yet – you're fooling yourself. If someone you love is using and you think – at least they are not on dope – then wake up and see that it's just as bad and only a matter of time before they get there. Nobody wakes up one day and says, "I think I'll go shoot dope." They get there one desperate day when they can not afford the pills that they fooled themselves into believing for too long – were no big deal.
I've lost a young cousin to suicide because he could not get and stay clean, a boyfriend to an overdose after years of trying to get straight. I also have many friends, family and neighbors who walk around each day living a horrible existence because of addiction. Each of them started taking OC's and some have graduated to Heroin.

I use the term junkie quite often in this story. I'm sorry if that label offends you. But I could not write this piece without using it. Strong words carry strong meanings. This is one of them and where I use it – I use it to relay the strong feelings I feel about this horrible addiction. I do not use this term as a put down – in fact I have come a long way and really try not to judge anyone about where choices in their life have taken them. As they say – "there but for the grace of God go you or I." So when I say junkie – I say it with love. Because there are many junkies in my life that I have loved or still love. And my choice of words is to distinguish between the whole healthy person who existed before the drugs took control and the addict that they have become.
I do not hate them. Each and every one of them hate themselves enough. I do not think less of them. They've got that covered too. And if you have not lived through watching someone you love turn into someone else in front of your very eyes you should thank God every day for shielding you from the heartache, pain and uncertainty that living life loving an addict can bring. And the next time your path crosses the path of a junkie remember that the shell of a person before you – is someone's son or brother or friend. Instead of looking down on them or judging them – say a prayer for them and thank God that you were not given or did not choose this cross to bear in your lifetime. Easier said than done if you've been affected directly by their need for drugs. Especially hard to do if you've been robbed by, lied to or manipulated by an addict. If you have been, then I know it's hard to read this with an open mind. If you have been I am sorry. And they are too whether or not they can tell you directly. They live with what they have done every day. I know it does not take it away or make it better – but their hell is here on earth.
Do not judge those around you who are dealing with an addict in their life because until you are in a situation you never know how you yourself would handle it.

If your love and loyalty is not for the addict but for the person affected by them – then I know your frustration and anger first hand. I know how easy it is to see from the outside what you think the answer is or how you would handle it better maybe. But trust me when I say that it's not as clear cut as it seems from the outside looking in and there is no right or wrong way to do something when it comes to matters of the heart. We do the best we can with what we know at the time and the road that we have to walk is filled with life lessons that we can only learn ourselves. And the hardest ones to learn but the ones we grow the most from are the ones that knock us on our ass and shake us to the core. You may ask yourself how can anyone still love or care about a junkie. I ask you how could not we. My mother used to give me such a hard time each time I'd get back with my boyfriend. She wondered what was wrong with me that I would put up with the drama that came with our relationship. I even wondered sometimes what was wrong with me. Why could not I walk away? Why did not I just leave? The answer is both simple and complicated. The answer is because I loved him – end of story.

I did not go out one day and place a personal ad looking to meet a heroin addict. I was in love with someone who came to me one day and shared with me something that he was not proud of. Something he tried to battle and kick on his own. I asked my mother one day what she would have done if my dad came home one day and told her that he was an addict. My parents raised me to believe that you love someone no matter what. And I stood beside my boyfriend like my mom stood beside my dad when my dad battled cancer. It is well known that addiction is a disease. But we have such a hard time truly buying that. When someone has cancer or another life threatening illness people rally around the person who is sick and are there for the family for support. But addiction brings so many mixed emotions. There is shame and so many people do not even talk about what is going on in their homes, in their lives. And the ones who are strong enough to talk about are met with mixed responses from people who do not understand. For those of you who do understand – I wrote this for you but I also wrote this for me.

I wrote this after my cousin took his own life a few years ago. He had graduated to Heroin. But I think I hate Oc's even more because I do not think many of these kids would end up on Heroin if it had not been for the Oxys. I always wondered if he only knew that everyone who loved him would have put up with a million more chaotic days and nights, a lifetime of hope filled days followed by more heartache and failures if only we could have him back for one more day. Because one more day means one more chance to succeed.

I added to this after my boyfriend died of an overdose this year. Despite all the pain – I wish he could have seen just how much joy he brought to my life. I wish he could have known what a hole was left in the world the day he died. If the junkie could only see how much they are loved. If they could see themselves through our eyes – their lives might not be the daily hell they live through.

Ode to Heroin

I'm told it's a high like no other. One that makes you feel better than you could ever have imagined. Did not they ever tell you that if something is too good it's no good? And so you're off on the run – always chasing that feeling of your first high.

A viscious cycle of ups and downs, highs and lows, doped up and dope sick becomes your all consuming daily routine. It holds you in its grip and motivates you to lie, cheat and steal and it does not matter where you turn or how far you run. And every time you try to break free and fail- the future looks less and less attractive every day.

You've seen your mother cry one too many times and the pain and hopeless look in the eyes of your father. You know they adore you and are still proud to call you son – despite the bad turn your life has taken.

They would do anything to fix things for you or to take away your pain. They do not hate you or love you any less for the way your life has turned out or the way you have turned their lives upside down or the things you have done for the drug.

They know it's not you they are dealing with anymore – it's Heroin. They've tried to help you battle the demon. But it's bigger than them and stronger than them. But they'll never give up on you – because their hearts ache to see the boy they used to know and they would do anything to get him back.

But Heroin renders you powerless and defenseless. And after all the bad you do and pain you cause and shame you feel – before long you do not even remember the man you once were. You look in the mirror and see the junkie waste of life you think you have become and you hate yourself for it. And you wonder how these people can continue to care after all you've put them through. So you hate yourself even more but you still get high because eventually Heroin convinces you not to care about anything else but your next fix and you'll do anything to get it.
Day after day you'll choose Heroin over your parents, brothers, sisters, friends and girlfriend. You'll choose it over yourself.

You'll stop every once in awhile and wonder how you ever got to this point. You'll realize that your life has gone to hell. You'll see just how low you'll stoop to keep Heroin in your life. And some day you might even stoop so low or push your family too far or shock yourself with just what you'll do to keep up your habit. And the person you once were – the kind hearted caring and loving person who lies powerless within you just waiting and fighting to come back speaks up and says – ENOUGH.

And then you decide to say good bye to your old friend Heroin. You realize you miss the person you used to be and are willing to fight the monster to become that person again.
But there's a problem. Heroin does not let you walk away without a fight. It shows you that you need it. It shows you how weak you are without it. It beats you down and makes you shake and moan in pain. It plays tricks on your mind and despite your desire to end this relationship – it does everything in its power to get you to come crawling back. And just getting through the physical withdrawals does not mean the worst part is over. It's the day to day, minute to minute, second to second struggle to stay clean and deal with life without drugs that is the real battle.
Some line up at clinics each morning, made to feel like a second class citizen to get a dose of methadone that helps them lead a normal life. Others find the answer in AA or NA, and for some detox programs work. Suboxone has proved promising but so many are using it wrong as a way to still dabble when they want to. The hardest part is that there's no easy fix to get clean and it's even harder to stay clean and the statistics do not paint a pretty picture. So even the most determined and strong minded person quickly realizes that the life they dreamed of, a life without drugs is not the easy street that they had imagined. In fact it's harder to get through each day than keeping up a habit was.

And so many people do crawl back and Heroin makes you feel instantly better and takes you by the balls again. And it grows stronger because it has convinced the junkie that he can not do it.
Some people are more determined and keep walking away only to be pulled back in. Then they think it's useless to try. They do not think they can make it past the pain and can not see an end to the misery. So they stop trying to be the man they once were. They begin to resent him and all of the people who love him. Because they only remind him of the pain he has caused them. They make him want to get help and get better and he does not believe it to be possible.

So often he withdraws from his friends or they give up on him. But the friends that stay and the family that continues to hope and pray and help and suffer – he can not stand what he's putting them through. He lashes out at them. He steals from them. He lies to them and uses them to get what he needs. And they stay strong and are willing to fight to save him because there is no limit to their love. But he has only one love, one friend, one family – Heroin.

But they still hold on and hope. Maybe the next detox will work. Maybe God will answer their prayers for him. They tell him they know what he is going through – but he tells them they're wrong. They could never know what he is going through. He is angered by their claim that they can understand and feel his pain. He feels totally alone and helpless.

But they are right to say they know how he feels or can imagine his pain. Because they too have broken hearts and broken dreams. They have lost someone they love – he's close enough to touch but they know they might not ever get there.

But his addiction makes him arrogant and self centered to claim he is alone in his pain and nobody could understand what he is going through. He has Heroin. The people who love and care for him, the people who pray that he will get help and break free from the monster – they live and breathe his pain and suffering every day. They grieve for a loved one who walks, sleeps and breathes but in essence is dead already. But unlike him they only get to share his lows. They do not have the luxury of his euphoric highs that help him survive and escape reality.

Some can take only so much and can not bear to sit by helpless and witness him kill himself slowly and they cut ties. They still pray and worry and cry themselves to sleep feeling powerless. Others get angry and though the love they feel will never go away – they hate the monster and walk out of their lives because they have to in order to protect themselves. Because it is torture to watch the junkie take over and call the shots knowing that there is nothing they can do to stop and no way for them to reach the person they once knew.

Others enable them to continue because they can not stand to see the wrenching pain that comes form being dope sick. And they try to help them be comfortable until they find the strength and a way to win the battle.

Heroin takes over completely eventually and those of us who have had family, friends or loved ones who have seen the drug take over handle it in many different ways. We pretend it's not happening. We walk around in a state of denial or shock until we are forced to face it. Then we walk around in a state of anger, fear or helplessness. We feel shame and wonder how we could have let it get this far or happen at all for that matter.

We feel totally alone and live life walking on egg shells. We hope for the best but begin to dread the worst. We wait for the phone call telling us about an arrest, an overdose or a suicide.
And the addict prays for the strength to stop the pain and get well but feels like they're fighting a never ending battle that can not be won. Some addicts think that an overdose might be a blessing in disguise to those who love them. Some take their own lives thinking that is the answer.

Others continue to use and pretend not to care. But those of us who love them no matter what – our addiction to hope is stronger than their addiction to dope. And so we hold on and hope that they will find their way. And we accept that we have no control over their addiction to Heroin. Some of us realize this slowly – others over time – still some will never see this. If they could only see that we would live through this never ending nightmare forever if it meant we could have them back for just one more day. If they could only see into our hearts and source some strength from us. If only our love was enough. But it's not.

In the end they need to stand up to Heroin on their own and prove to themselves what each of us believe deep in our hearts – that they are somehow still stronger than the monster. They are more than the junkie they see in the mirror each morning. They are our son, our brother, our sister, our mother, our father, our boyfriend our girlfriend and our friends. And though they do not recognize the person they used to be – we still see that person. We still envision a future filled with brighter days. We still wait for the day that they walk back into our lives and this nightmare we live becomes nothing more than a distant memory.

Until then remember that you are loved, you are strong and you can beat this.


Source by Melanie Marsden

Trustee Fees: How Much is Enough and How Much is Too Much?


I am often amused by the ads and offers I see concerning
living trusts.

Almost always, one of the big sales pitches is how a living
trust will save th * usands of doll * rs in "nasty" probate fees.

This leads the consumer to believe that you pay for probate,
but living trusts are "fr * e." (That is, after you've paid the
promoter to set one up for you).

Not so.

Here's an email I received from one of my subscribers
(She has given me permission to discuss her question in this

Hi Phil,
My mom passed away recently and my sister is 1st trustee.
She claims she gets 10% of my mom's estate as 1st trustee.
Is this true? What is the normal fee for 1st trustee?

Great question. Often one of the biggest, if not the biggest,
areas of dispute between children or heirs after a death occurs.

What is a trustee fee? How is it calculated? Are there other

If you have a trust and do not know the answer to these questions,
I think the proper thought is "Uh-ohh!"

OK, let's have a quick review of trustee fees.

First let's make a distinction between the times a trustee may
be called upon to act.

Remember, one of the best uses of a trust is to manage the
assets of someone who is incapacitated. My best friend and
his sister have been managing their mother's affairs (as
trustees) for the last 10 years. Mom is 95, in decent physical
health, but has advanced Alzheimer's).

Let's save the discussion of trustees fees charged for
managing an incompetent's estate for a future article. Let's
get down to answering the above question.

Here it is again:

Hi Phil,
My mom passed away recently and my sister is 1st trustee.
She claims she gets 10% of my mom's estate as 1st trustee.
Is this true? What is the normal fee for 1st trustee?

Basically, the question is "How much can a trustee charge to
handle an estate after a death? "

How do we answer this?

First, we have to look at the trust instrument.

Most competently drawn trust instruments will have a section
that deals with trustee fees.

The better ones are fairly specific and make a distinction
between acting as trustee while the beneficiary is alive, but
incompetent, and acting as trustee after a death has occurred
(Similar actions to what an executor performs through a probate).

So, first, we look to the trust instrument. Often it will specify
a fee. Sometimes it will say .75% to 1.25% of the total value
of the assets being managed and transferred (since this is the
typical fee charged by the professional trust companies run by
many banks).

In fact, let's see what California law tells us about trustee fees
(Every state will have a statute, go to your county law library
and ask the law librarian to help you look it up).

In California, the law of living trusts is contained in the
Probate Code. Here is what Probate Code Sections 15680-82 tells us:

15680. (a) Subject to subdivision (b), if the trust instrument
provides for the trustee's compensation, the trustee is entitled
to be compensated in accordance with the trust instrument.

(B) Upon proper showing, the court may fix or allow greater
or lesser compensation than could be allowed under the terms of the
trust in any of the following circumstances:

(1) Where the duties of the trustee are substantially
different from those contemplated when the trust was created.

(2) Where the compensation in accordance with the terms
of the trust would be inequitable or unreasonably low or high.

(3) In extraordinary circumstances calling for equitable

(C) An order fixing or allowing greater or lesser compensation
under subdivision (b) applies only prospectively to actions taken in
administration of the trust after the order is made.

15681. If the trust instrument does not specify the trustee's
compensation, the trustee is entitled to reasonable compensation
under the circumstances.

So to answer the question, we have to find out what the trust
instrument says. If it is silent, then Section 15681 tells us the
compensation is to be "reasonable compensation under the
circumstances. "

What is reasonable under the circumstances? If it were me,
I would gather up the brochures of the various bank trust
departments in the area to determine their rates. Where I
live, the fee is .75% to 1.20%, depending on the size of the
trust and the type of assets. The minimum is $ 5,000.

So, it looks like the answer to the question is that if the
trust instrument says the 1st trustee is entitled to 10%
compensation, then she may be. However, if it does not then the
amount to be charged must be reasonable.

And, even if the trust instrument said 10%, I would seriously
consider asking a court to change the compensation per
15680 (b) (2) that allows the court to change compensation
"Where the compensation in accordance with the terms of the trust
would be inequitable or unreasonably low or high. "

This article needs to be continued since we have not even
touched on the big m * ney m * ker for trustees and attorneys,
"Extraordinary fees."

Good luck and until next time,

Phil Craig

PS Feel free to forward this on to any friends.

= – = – = – = – = – = – = – = – = – = – = – = – = – = – = – = – = – = – = – = – = – = – = – = – = – = – = – = – = – =

© Phil Craig, All Rights Reserved

= – = – = – = – = – = – = – = – = – = – = – = – = – = – = – = – = – = – = – = – = – = – = – = – = – = – = – = – = – =


Source by Phil Craig

Venus-Uranus Aspects – Birds of a Feather Flock Together


For lovers and friends, we tend to be drawn to those whose Venus aspects are like our own. They share a style of relating, similar ways of expressing affection or esteem, a sense of taste, and a consensus about what is socially acceptable and what is not. Observing people and their relationships through astrology, then, we confirm the old saying that birds of a feather flock together.

In the case of Venus-Uranus aspects, it's not just a feather but an entire feather boa. And it's not just a flock of any old bird, but of peacocks or brightly colored parrots. These aspects also run in families, so among the Venus-Uranus notables we will find Julio AND Enrique Iglesias, Princess Diana and Prince William, and Michael Jackson and his son Prince Michael Jackson. Michael's longtime friend, Liz Taylor also has the conjunction.

Uranus is the planet of friendship, while Venus is about love, and Venus-Uranus types are capable of intense but platonic relationships with all the qualities of love affairs but without overt sexual involvement. For instance, women with this aspect may have close and loving connections with gay men. An unforgettable pair of friends with Venus-Uranus aspects was Princess Diana and rock legend Elton John. They had an on-again-off-again friendship, a pattern not unheard-of with Venus-Uranus aspects, in that they were sometimes the best of friends, sometimes feuding.

In the end, Elton wrote a moving and unforgettable song to perform at Diana's funeral. It said, in part, "Your candle burned out long before your legend ever will." Elton has Venus in Aquarius trining Uranus in Gemini, with Uranus disposing of Venus. Diana's Venus in Taurus was part of a t-square with Uranus in Leo opposite her Aquarian Moon. Her Venus and his Moon were closely conjunct. Diana's older son, Prince William, is already idolized by the public in much the same way his mother was and also has a Venus-Uranus aspect. His Venus is at 25 ° Taurus, just a degree from Diana's own Venus, in an out-of-sign opposition to Uranus in Sagittarius. Dodie al Fayed, Diana's romantic interest who also died in the crash, had Venus trine Uranus.

What about ordinary folks with Venus-Uranus aspects? I admit I have the conjunction. It's in the 11th, so I'm not especially weird, you understand, but more than a few of my friends are. We may never have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, but we're a Presence in our own circles, notorious or merely tolerated for shock value. People watch to see what we're going to do next, decry our behavior, then wait until the heat is off and copy us. When we get older, people tend to view our eccentricities with fondness than rather than disapproval, since we're now seen as harmless.

"THEY NEVER KNEW A STRANGER:" One effect of this planetary combination is the capacity for instant kinship with people of backgrounds different than their own. Typically, their friendships include a fascinating mélange of races, cultures, interests, and sexual persuasions. They collect bright, sophisticated, exotic, even quirky folks who are on the leading edge of things but too busy to get together often. Such friends bring excitement and sudden leaps in consciousness by exposing the native to avant-garde ideas. (One startling finding from the database was that there were 14 instances of UFO sightings among the conjunctions-taking cross-cultural contact to the max!)

Venus-Uranus is a Universal Brotherhood aspect, for in establishing loving ties with people of a variety of backgrounds, we learn that we humans are the same in vital respects. However, scattered among the examples in AstroDataBank were individuals who can only be described as hate mongers. Anti-feminist shock jock, Rush Limbaugh has a close quincunx; Howard Stern has the opposition, Nazi leader, Adolph Eichmann had a square; and singer Anita Bryant, who waged a heated anti-gay campaign, has the conjunction exact to the minute. It seems to be one extreme or the other with these folks, but they're never conventional or politically correct!

RUNAWAY BRIDES AND OTHER DISTANCERS: Many Venus-Uranus folks have a seemingly never-ending series of short-lived but exciting partnerships. In the introduction to this section of the book, we looked at the chart of Julia Roberts, who had the title role in the movie, Runaway Bride, and who has Venus conjunct Uranus and Pluto. The movie could have been written about her!

Many with Uranus in aspect to Venus have difficulty committing and so spend years chasing the fireworks of early courtship, leaving or otherwise creating breakups when relating to someone becomes more routine. The pattern of broken relationships can continue until they take responsibility for generating their own excitement-or meet a partner so Uranian that the fascination never stops! Many with this aspect fool themselves that they're yearning for commitment, yet repeatedly fall in love with unavailable people. This behavior is "crazy like a fox," since involvement with distancers lets them retain their independence and continue to pursue their own development.

"UNCONVENTIONAL RELATIONSHIPS:" One typical interpretation that astrologers give of people with Venus-Uranus contacts is that they're inclined to "unconventional relationships." Readers with this aspect, most likely what the astrologer is delicately trying to ask is whether you are gay. The androgynous beauty (musicians Michael Jackson and Prince) that can accompany this aspect fuels speculation. Ellen Degeneres, who has the aspect, lost her highly successful show years back after deciding that she could no longer hide her true self from world. After several years of career limbo-and a greater degree of public acceptance that her own actions played no small part in creating-she once again has a successful show and is beloved by her audience.

Venus-Uranus natives are a fascinating bunch. To dissect the aspect in greater depth and to give these unique and fascinating folks a deeper look would take a book in itself-but it would be far from a boring one! If you have the aspect and the picture does not fit you, do not take it to heart. You may not fit it all, but it's likely that more than a few of your lovers do. For more insight, ask a professional astrologer for an in-depth interpretation of your own Venus and what it says about your relationships.


Source by Donna Cunningham

The Six P's of Success


I learned the 6 P's of success from my mother. When I was 12 years old my mother started a non-profit youth entrepreneurial organization called Tomorrow's Entrepreneurs Today. Her main purpose was to keep me and my friends off the streets and out of gangs.

For 12 years she ran a nationally recognized organization that received awards from the city and county of Los Angeles, the state of California, and from Presidents George Bush and Bill Clinton. She had the non profit of the year for the United States. There were thousands of kids who were impacted through her program.

The foundation of her non-profit were the 5 P's of success (I added one more P). Her P's are:

  1. Passion (I added this P)
  2. Prayer
  3. Patience
  4. Persistence
  5. Perseverance
  6. Productivity

I have been earning money as an entrepreneur since I was 9 years old. From watering grass to owning my own vending machine company. I have done catering, network marketing, and real estate. I discovered that passion is a key ingredient. Passion makes the sixth P. Some of these business paid for my prom, college, professional licenses, and exotic vacations. The 6 P's work.

Here are the 6 P's of success .

1.Passion: a strong or extravagant fondness, enthusiasm, or desire for anything

In my 20's I was all about the money. I went to school, got scholarships, investing in real estate, trade commodities, and was in management at UPS. I knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur but I was looking for the quick buck. I made the quick buck and lost even quicker.

I wanted the shortcut. I raised money for real estate projects that never came to fruition. I worked at a job I hated, and started companies in niches I had no business being in. It took me years to find my passion of writing and speaking.

When I worked for a event staffing agency at USC and UCLA football games I noticed the passion these young players had. Passion was evident in their coaches, parents, and their fans. For the players and the students this was a short term event in their lives. These players and students would graduate and move on. But for that moment they had passion.

Passion is a must your business. I see so many people start a business because they went to a seminar, a friend asked them, or they stayed up late and so an infomercial. I have made the same mistake many times. Do not follow the money follow your passion.

How enthusiastic are you about your job? How excited are you about your debts and living paycheck to paycheck? Do you have that same attitude about the business you are in? Are you working in a position that fits your skills, talents, and strengths? It took me until I was 35 before I started living my passion.

Passion is the fuel that keeps you going when the sales are slow, when you lose out on contracts, when the affiliate company shuts down, and the city will not approve your plans. Passion propels you to take your dreams and turn them into a reality.

Before someone joins my team I ask them what their passions are. I want to know that they have a passion for internet marketing. If they do not I do not need them on my team. Our passions have to align because when adversity arise I want them to stick it through.

Do not fret if you are not working in your passion. Find out what drives you and get into it ASAP! I missed out on years of enjoyment because I limited myself to making money and not working in my passion. Find your passion.

Choose a business and make sure you work in your skills, talents, and strengths. I never thought I could make money writing and speaking. There are a lot of people who achieve success and wonder, "Is that all there is?" Do not be that person.

2. Prayer: a devout petition to God or an object of worship.

The definition says a devout petition. Devine guidance will lead you to success. George Washington Carver prayed everyday about a little peanut. Numerous products came from his inventions of that peanut. Because of his devotion to prayer he created new industries from his discoveries.

This is not a discussion about which religion is right. I believe the Lord Jesus Christ is my savior and I will leave it at that. Do develop a relationship and spend quality time with your creator. Prayer has saved me from mistakes. Prayer has guided me and it is a key component in the 6 P's.

Prayer can lead you to breakthroughs with your business. This is where your hunches and ah-ha moments can come from. Quiet time and calmness brings clarity. Why not spend it with a higher power. Do not like the word "Prayer". Then find some meditation time. Call it whatever you want.

3. Patience: the quality of being patient , as the bearing of provocation, annoyance, misfortune, or pain, without complaint, loss of temper, irritation, or the like.

"God I need patience and I want it now!" I have struggled with patience. I want things to happen now and fast. In our society of instant gratification, text messages, 24 hour news channels, and get rich quick schemes, people expect success NOW. You are bombarded about losing weight in 5 days, make $ 10k this week, and get it now with no payments until next year.

My mother preached TTTT. These Things Take Time. The law of seedtime and harvest is always in effect. It takes time to test marketing campaigns, for escrows to close, and to build a list of clients. It requires patience to build relationships. Have your 90 day goals stretched to six months?

Passion and prayer gives strength to your patience. Patience does not involve being passive. It takes fortitude to keep marketing when the funds are low. Patience helps you study the trends so you can capitalize on it. Patience is listening to mentors and people who have traveled the road you are on.

Developing a long term perspective is the key to patience. Delay instant gratification and keep your end result in mind. If doctors can spend years in school you can do the same mastering your business.

4. Persistence: the continuance of an effect after its cause is removed.

That pesky word that people hate. Persistence is the active part of patience. I can remember my mother persisting with her organization. Bringing in the funding, the sponsors, the events, and busing kids in from the local schools for entrepreneur expos.

Persistence was the key to me getting my real estate license, writing over 100 published articles, and posting 600 blogs. Persistence is planting the seeds and tilling the ground until you can reap a harvest. Persistence is asking for the sale, constant marketing, and communicating your vision of your company.

Here is a lesson on persistence:

· Mark Victor Hanson's book was turned down 300 times before he and his partner went on to sell 500 million books.

· Abraham Lincoln encountered lost elections, the death of his sweet heart, and failed businesses before he became the 13th president of the United states.

· John Elway lost 3 Super Bowls before he won back-to-back Super Bowls before he retired.

Persistence will serve you well. It is your best friend in life when you intentionally use it to become successful. Would you tell your child to quit trying to walk after they fell down? Look into your past and see where persistence has helped you conquer obstacles. How did you feel? Also look at where you should have persisted. Sometimes all it takes is one more try.

5. Perseverance: steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc., especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement.

In order to persist you must persevere. Remembered the failures I listed above. Those people persevered. John Elway had three of the worst losses as a Quarterback for a Super Bowl Team. He got crushed by the New York Giants in Super Bowl XXI.

He was out played be Doug Williams, in Super Bowl XXII where Doug Williams broke Super Bowl records and the Washington Redskins posted the biggest margin of victory in Super Bowl history. He was outplayed again in Super Bowl XXIV where he was outplayed again by Joe Montana's record breaking performance.

Three humiliating losses. Did John Elway quit? No! He continued to play and 8 years later he won his first Super Bowl and the next year his team won again. This is a great example of perseverance.

Roadblocks are on the road to achievement. Setbacks are a part of life and a process in your business. Logically setbacks make sense but emotionally we do not think they will happen.

Disasters are going to happen. Losing your biggest client, your downline deserts you, escrow did not close, no one showed up for your meeting, or your presentation was terrible. It's going to happen. The question is how will you respond? How quickly do you get back on your feet? Will you keep pushing forward? This is what perseverance is all about.

Recall the moments you persevered. It could be a project that took years to complete or that last rep in your workout. You have wins and these wins build your confidence.

6. Productivity: the quality, state, or fact of being able to generate, create, enhance, or bring forth goods and services.

Are you productive? Plain and simple you have to produce to succeed. You do not make money until you sell something. Your focal point is productivity and sales is your priority. Bottom line is you generate traffic, that produce leads, and those leads convert to sales.

Bring productivity to your sales teams and downlines. Busyness is not being productive. Focus on Income Producing Activities 70% of the time and your business will thrive. Put in systems to help you become more productive.

Even a one person empire needs systems in place. You, as the rainmaker need to practice Do It, Delegate It, Defer It, or Delete It. You can outsource, hire your kids, or use technology to make you more productive.

These are the 6 P's of success that I learned from my mother and practice today. She still uses them in her business at the age of 74. Implement and teach them to your family, friends, and team.


Source by Charles Fitzgerald Butler

The Banana Pudding: Writing Tips for Novice Writers


I combined an old southern dessert, the need for extra income, and some basic entrepreneurial concerns to complete a short story.

Readers do not always need a 500 page document in order to understand your thoughts and ideas. If you have lots to say, all is well. But if you feel the need to hit all the important points with a short story or essay and shut it down, it's still OK.

The Banana Pudding

Let's face it. The economy has not been nice to anyone lately and no matter how many up-to-the- minute reports we hear about jobs and current employment statistics, we are still trying to figure this thing out. Actually, the condition of the current economy has basically put everyone into a survival mode by any means necessary.

As financial responsibilities increase for all of us I am beginning to hear from friends who are using old school tactics to generate additional income for themselves and their families. It is still true that necessity is the mother of invention, especially during a financial famine that seems to have no end.

As you drive to your job or home from the supermarket, you are beginning to ask yourself:

• What can I do to increase my income or generate a cash flow?
• What can I create that people will want or need and come back for more?
• How do I decide on the price (s) for my service or product?
• Do I need a business partner or do I need to do this alone?
• What resources do I need?
• Who do I contact for advice?
• How do I jumpstart my idea?

Powered by vBulletin Help! I need to do something extra and different to make ends meet and where do I start?

Everyone has Gifts

This may seem a bit strange, but somewhere or sometime in your life, you have received compliments about something that you do very well. If it was something that you do easily without thinking, you probably just smiled, said thank you, and thought nothing of it. It is also true that others see talents or gifts in us that we sometimes ignore or dismiss. These talents could be the key to your future success.

It's time to put those compliments to work! Identify what you do well with little or no hesitation, it's easy, and you enjoy doing it. It could be one thing or several items. It's best to work with one thing. So, sit down, do some thinking, make a list of the items related to your talent, and think about viewing your gift as a small business.

Research Your Idea

Is my idea beneficial to a specific group or generic enough to attract a variety of customers?

• Is my idea beneficial to a specific group or generic enough to attract a variety of customers?
• Is my idea already available?
• If so, does the public need another version of the same service or product?
• Will my service or product be short-term or long-term?
• What are my startup costs?
• Do I need insurance, bonding, or an official business name?

All of these factors will need to be considered and researched before you put a plan into action. If not, you will face them as you proceed with your idea and the costs could be detrimental to your business initiative. Although all entrepreneurial ideas are a risk, an early exploration of the challenges will save you the grief of expensive lessons in realtime later.

Do you need a business partner?

If you choose a business partner, be aware that the person must have the same business mindset and mission that you project. For instance, if you are always on time and your potential business partner is outstanding with product development, but habitually late, it will cause some conflict. There will be missed deadlines and opportunities, customer complaints, and lost revenue. On the other hand, it would be wise to choose a partner with some technical or networking skills that you are lacking or still developing. You could communicate with this person by email, Skype, or phone when necessary and tardiness will not be an issue. Never ignore the talents of others, but be cautious as to how they will fit into your business endeavor. Food for thought: many great business projects have been undermined or sabotaged by an uncommitted business partner.

Talk to a small business owner in your family, community, or place of worship.

• How did they begin?
• What changes did they experience over time?
• What do they say about the good times versus the bad?
• How did they identify and contact resources?
• What situations did they avoid, accept or modify?
• How did they manage weeks or months without making a profit?
• When is it time to close shop or change my target goal?

Listen to their highs and lows of owning a business and the sacrifices involved, both financial and personal. Then, consider your current circumstances, level of patience and persistence, and make an informed decision. You do not need an MBA to own a successful business, but you do need every available ounce of information available about the venture you are about to undertake. For instance, an important reality for new business owners is being aware that the first few months or years may not yield a profit. Those challenging times must be considered as part of the planning process because many new business fail due to unrealistic goals and grandiose expectations.

Finally, I must stop here because I need to pick up a banana pudding for an afternoon meeting. Yes, I did say banana pudding. I have a friend who has developed a home based business from her mother's banana pudding recipe and if I do not get there within the next 30 minutes she will have sold out!

PS I forgot to add: she did not quit her day job. She's still employed at GM and she will be there until her home based business is able to show growth and stability. Smart cookie!

Did the reader get some valuable tips for starting a new business? I hope so. So, mix it up, combine some elements, and cook up a story.


Source by Lynda Mubarak

Components for Throwing a Great Baby Shower


Do you beam with excitement when you think about hosting a baby shower for an expectant friend or relative but then cringe at the thought of all the party planning details that are involved? Not everyone feels they are a natural hostess when it comes to throwing a baby shower party; however, if you put these basic components together, you will not fail and the mom-to-be will be sure to appreciate all your efforts!

There is no set way to throw a baby shower. With that in mind, if you account for these key components you will, without a doubt, have thrown a successful baby shower.

1) Location – This is not something to sweat about. Ask yourself what resources you have at your disposal. Do you belong to a local church? Are you a member of any organizations that have banquet rooms available to rent? Or, just consider hosting the party at your house or even the mom-to-be's house. Keep the distance within reason if you're not hosting the shower in the home so the expectant mother does not have to travel very far. Do not be afraid to ask the expectant mother how she would feel about having the shower in her home (if it's not a surprise shower, that is).

2) Decorations – Most every type of party includes decorations, whether general and colorful or tailored towards a specific theme. If the parents-to-be have chosen not to find out the gender of the baby then your shower decorations will most likely use varied pastels without sticking to mainly pink or blue as with known gender showers. Many stores and sites sell baby shower decorations so you'll never be at a loss as to how to transform your location into a decorated baby haven; However, every good by baby shower deserves a great centerpiece for the main food or gift table and a by baby diaper cake will make a great conversation piece and will serve color : as a gift for the expectant mom when the shower is over.

3) Food – Ah, the food . Again, this is not something to sweat about. If you're hosting the shower, I can only assume that you know the expectant mom well enough to know what some of her likes and dislikes are when it comes to food. You can go as simple as finger foods or as lavish as a hot meal. Keep in mind what would work best with the length of time you plan on having the shower. And of course, do not forget the baby shower cake! Whether you make a cake yourself or order one through a local bakery, every baby shower would not be complete without a cake.

4) Games – It seems to be a long standing tradition to play fun and silly games at a baby shower. There are a multitude of game ideas out there to choose from and some may fit your theme if your shower is centered around one. Keep the number of games limited for time sake and encourage everyone to participate, even the expectant mom. By the time you are done playing games, everyone will be in such a great mood, that the last component will help with winding down the baby shower before everyone goes home.

5) Gifts – Probably the most important component and main reason people throw a baby shower is to give the expectant mom gifts for the baby and even to her. Shopping for a unique and creative baby gift to give at a baby shower can be stressful for some people. Depending on how many baby showers you've attended before, you may have seen many people give a lot of similar gifts and you want to get a little more creative. Most moms-to-be will have created a baby registry at a local store or two so you can always check out her wish list and try to put a unique spin on some of the things she will need or would like to have for the baby . Great way to A do this is with a new by baby gift basket That showcases practical and fun items That mom and by baby can use together. I assure you that this type of newborn gift will be a hit at a baby shower.

Now that you know what you need to consider, I hope you enjoy the planning process for hosting a baby shower and more importantly, the baby shower when it occurs. Best of luck and remember, as long as you combine the components from above, no matter the cost, time, or effort involved in planning a baby shower, the reward is seeing how happy your expectant friend or relative will be knowing how much you care !


Source by Janet Vanson