Thursday, July 14, 2016

An Employee with Integrity

Integrity in the work place is imperative for a healthy working environment.

It does not matter whether you are the janitor or CEO, living with workplace integrity will make a difference not only to your long-term professional development, it will also enhance the overall company culture – it’s a ripple effect!

Workplace integrity starts with honesty, decency and trustworthiness. Following through with your word and being impeccable and honorable with your actions creates respect and professionalism.
There are many reasons as to why someone may or may not be enjoying their job or acting with integrity. Regardless, if you choose to stay in your current job, you might as well do it with integrity.

What kind of boss or employee are you? Are you setting a good example for your team, staff and colleagues? More often than not the less productive employee will find more to complain about than the industrious type.

Here are some points to get you thinking:

A clean attitude:  When we are confident and comfortable within ourselves we have next to no reason to belittle others or act with arrogance. Build your confidence and clean up your language and communication skills.

Honor your working hours:  Do not steal time from your employer. You are there to get a job done, not to surf social networks, talk to your friends and waste time.

Confidentiality:  Keep workplace secrets such as; client information, employee salaries and 
upcoming company changes to yourself – it’s an absolute integrity must.

Be truthful:  Managers are less likely to have confidence in you and promote you if they feel as though you are not open and truthful. Over time most lies come back to bite you! Mistakes and mishaps can be your greatest time for growth and learning.

Are you the person you want to be?  Maybe it’s time to redefine your workplace values, attitude and behavior for overall development and success.

Written by Nadine Piat-Niski 

An Eternal Perspective on Personal and Family Finance

Monday, June 20, 2016

Composting 101

Our family built a house several years ago on a piece of land that had been horse property. We chose a location for our garden in the spot that got the most sun and set out to enjoy our harvest. Except. One part of the garden simply would not grow anything. When we thought back to what had been there before, we realized that a large (and probably leaking) fuel tank sat on our infertile spot. Not knowing what else to do, we set out to amend the soil in that part of the garden. This began our composting adventure. We have a composting bin in a back corner of our yard that collects all of our organic kitchen waste (vegetable waste, eggshells, potato peels, etc.), our lawn clippings and our fall leaves. Once a year we dump it onto the garden and gradually, we have seen our soil quality improve to the point that we can now grow anything we want on the previously dead spot. We are not perfect in our proportions of brown to green waste, but the compost doesn't seem to mind too much. This has been a great way to reduce our garbage output and make our garden soil happier.

Here is an article from the Utah State University Extension on the basics of composting:


Compost is an excellent, inexpensive way to increase the productivity and workability of soil It reduces and recycles yard waste and produces excellent soil.  Help the garden, the environment, and the pocketbook by composting lawn and garden waste.

You can begin compost either indoors or outdoors. For indoor composting, use a type of bucket and place it under your sink. For outdoor composting, you have more flexibility in the size of bin you can handle. Base the size of compost bin on how much waste you produce, do you have a large family or have a large garden? If your your answer is no to both, begin with a smaller box. If your answer was yes, then make space around your garden for a larger box. 

When choosing the location of your compost box, find a site that includes:
·         At least 6 hours of sunlight a day.
·         A site that does not detract from the landscape.
·         Convenient for adding materials and removing compost.
·         Available water.
·         Acceptable materials.

A compost pile isn't just rotting garbage. Successful compost piles are structured as follows:
·         Turn pile every 2 to 4 weeks, and keep pile moist to speed composting, allow air circulation and eliminate unpleasant odors.
·         Build pile 3 to 5 feet tall, with and equal circumference. Small piles don't heat enough, and large piles don't receive enough air in the middle for good composting.
·         Apply a 1" layer of soil every 8 to 14 inches of organic waste to increase microbial activity

Acceptable Material
Not Acceptable Material
·         Grass Clippings
·         Leaves and Weeds
·         Manures
·         Coffee Grounds
·         Wood Chips and Sawdust
·         Bark,Stems, and Stalks
·         Gardening and Canning Waste
·         Fruits and Vegetables

Trouble Shooting
Strong odor?
Needs more oxygen. Turn the pile over more often to increase air circulations. If the material is too wet, add dry materials
Pile is damp, but won't heat?
Insufficient nitrogen, add fertilizer or grass clippings. The materials could also be too wet.
Ammonia Smell?
Too much nitrogen, add sawdust or high carbon materials and turn the pile.
·         Meats
·         Bones
·         Large Branches
·         Dairy Products
·         Synthetic Products
·         Plastics

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Foods That Heal

6 Foods That May Help You Live Stronger -- and Maybe Even Longer

Bananas -- This tasty fruit is a compact packet of health benefits. One medium banana contains roughly 422 mg of potassium and also packs 10 mg of vitamin C. This antioxidant busts free radicals, which damage cells and may contribute to heart disease, arthritis and even cancer. A 2015 study shows vitamin C can be deadly to some cancer cells.

Cherries -- A 2012 study showed that people with gout who consumed cherry extract had a 35 percent lower risk of gout attacks compared with people who did not. And in a 2013 study by the Osteoarthritis Research Society, people with osteoarthritis who drank 16 ounces of tart cherry juice every day for six weeks felt less pain and stiffness. Cherries also contain anthocyanins, which may protect the heart, control obesity and reduce the risk of diabetes, according to the American Society for Nutrition.

Onions -- Inside an onion's layers lies a dense package of antioxidants and nutrients that can help prevent -- and heal. A 2015 study showed that onion skin extract, which is a good source of the antioxidant quercetin, helped lower blood pressure. Onions are also packed with the antioxidant vitamin C.

Beans -- Beans are brimming with heart-healthy nutrients. Beans may also help reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes and control blood sugar levels because of their high fiber content, according to the Mayo Clinic. A cup of kidney beans offers 13 grams of protein, as much as 2 ounces of chicken breast, and a whopping 11 grams of fiber.

Carrots -- Carrots are rich in vitamin A -- a half cup of raw carrot has 459 micrograms of the vitamin. For those aged 14 and older, the recommended daily amount is 700 - 900 mcg, according to the National Institutes of Health. Vitamin A helps keep your eyes healthy and may lower the risk of cancer, says the NIH. Carrots also contain vitamin K. This vitamin helps maintain strong bones to help reduce the risk of osteoporosis. A 2014 study also found that eating vegetables such as carrots may protect people from colorectal cancer, thanks to an antioxidant in these foods.

Cabbage -- Cabbage makes a fabulous base for recipes such as coleslaw and sauerkraut. Like its cousins broccoli and Brussels sprouts, cabbage offers anti-cancer compounds, according to the American Institute for Cancer Research. Red cabbage also contains anthocyanins, the flavonol that can keep your heart, liver and eyes healthy. In sauerkraut, fermented cabbage is used as the base. A 2014 article reports that such fermented foods may help improve your gut health and alleviate mood disorders. Load up your plate!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Be Financially Literate

From an article by Suze Orman . . .

April is financial literacy month. To be honest, as much as I laud the message behind any effort to raise financial know-how, I don't subscribe to the notion that financial literacy needs a special month of attention. Financial literacy needs to be a part of your everyday life. Being financially literate means you have committed to consistently making the right choices day in and day out, for a single purpose: You want to be in control of your life.

Here's a short list of what I think qualifies someone as being financially literate. They are people who . . .

Embrace the importance of delayed gratification. That's what saving for a future goal is all about. Instead of spending a dollar today, you invest or save that dollar for a tomorrow goal, whether it is a down payment for a home, your retirement or a great anniversary vacation that you can pay for without running up credit card debt.

Live within their needs, but below their means. I want every child who wants a college education to get a college education. But that does not mean you should shoulder the burden of expensive college tuition that requires taking on lots of debt or scaling back your retirement savings. An affordable education should always be the goal.

I want each of you who needs a car to have a car. But that does not mean you should aim for the nicest car that you can finance only with a long-term loan. All you need is a car that gets you where you need to go, and it should never be financed with a loan that is longer than three years. That's a sign you're spending well above your needs.

And I want everyone who wants to own a home to have a home. But again, a home that you can easily afford, not one that you stretch into. What is affordable? One that lets you still have money left at the end of the month to save and invest for your future.

Can say no out of love, rather than yes out of fear. There will likely always be people you love who want or need or could just use your financial help. But you are never to give of yourself financially if it erodes your financial security. Don't be fearful that someone may think less of you for saying no to co-signing a loan or raiding your emergency fund to bail them out of a pinch. There is no valor in helping someone if it hurts your security.

Know the best financial adviser is staring at them in the mirror. I have no problem if you work with a financial planner or adviser. But I will never condone not being an active participant, questioner and decider in your major money decisions. Please, make this the year you become an active participant in understanding all of the moving parts of your financial security: investments, insurance, debts, etc.

Know that money does not define them. I'll be the first to insist that money is important. It is incredibly necessary -- for food, for shelter, for clothing. But please listen to me: Your net worth does not determine your self-worth. Embrace that truth and you will have achieved true financial brilliance.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Emergency Binders

Do you have one place where you keep all of your important records/documents handy? If ever you had to make a run for it, would you have all of the important documents you needed to rebuild your life?  Hopefully, it’s in a fireproof location, and in a great organized binder where you can find everything quickly. No?
What is an Family Emergency Binder

The Family Emergency Binder is geared specifically to managing your family in the case of an emergency. While the specific contents will differ as you keep in mind your individual needs, the basic Family Emergency Binder should be concise and ready to grab and go.

Why you need a Family Emergency Binder

Not only is having something handy in your house for day to day use good, but in the event of a quick evacuation for something like a hurricane, flood, fire, tornado, earthquake, etc., you want to have something that is easy to grab that has all of your vital information, documents and notes for your family. You may find that being uprooted by a local emergency means having to prove who you are to get emergency resources. You may need to have business documents and account numbers handy for calling to ask for new credit cards, bank cards, insurance cards, and more.
It does not have to be an elaborate system with all of your life history in it, but simply keeping a few pieces of paper in an emergency backpack or tucked away in a drawer somewhere may simply not be enough to find it when you’re in a panic.
An immediate need emergency binder can be a 1″ binder with all that you would need  if you had to leave in an emergency. Again, keep your family's individual needs in mind.

What Do I Need to Include in My Binder?

Emergency Contacts/Numbers

·         Family & Friends addresses and phone numbers
·         Phone contact trees – if you have a contact tree for schools, church, friends and family, etc., it’s handy to have those numbers here in case you end up using a phone that doesn’t already have them programmed.
·          Kids’ schools and day care centers
·          Important business associates
·         Doctors, Dentists and local hospitals/clinics
·         Business and work numbers and contacts
·         Utilities – even if  you have left home, you need a list of utilities in case you need to contact them for safe return dates, to report a problem or to inquire about your particular location during an emergency. This would include whomever runs your water, electricity, gas and propane.
·         Local non-emergency numbers for police, fire, ambulance and city

Financial information
·         Credit card numbers and phone numbers (plus websites and passwords)
·         Insurance card numbers and phone numbers
·         Bank Cards, accounts and phone numbers (plus websites and passwords)
·         Investments/401K/safety deposit information
·         Last two statements from all of your financial accounts – checking, savings, 401K, investments

Copies of vital documents

·         Driver’s licenses or State Issued ID Cards
·         Social security cards
·         Credit cards (front and back)
·         Military Records
·         Adoption/foster records
·         Naturalization/Immigration documents
·         Church records

Medical Information

·         Advanced Care Directives
·         Medical Power of Attorney
·         Immunization Records
·         Medical history if you have serious illnesses/diseases
·          Insurance information – copies of your cards (front and back)

Legal Documents

·         Power of Attorney for you
·         Power of Attorney for others – if you’ve been given the POA for someone, it is vital to have it with you. While in most cases a copy isn’t a legally binding document, you may gain some leeway having a copy in an emergency.
·         Deed and titles to your home and/or cars
·          Birth certificates (you can order duplicate official documents from your state agencies
·          Wedding licenses
·          Wills – again, original documents are the only ones that are legally binding.
·          Death Certificates – it may be important to keep a death certificate from a recently deceased family member.
·         Passports
·         Car Titles
·         Lease information


·         Insurance Policy with local agent information
·         Insurance cards if needed
·         Home inventory – Keep copies of your home inventory if you have lost your home due to a localized emergency and need to go to a field office for your insurance company. While you should always have a copy of this (including on video) that stays with your local insurance agent, keeping a copy for you to hand in during an emergency might get you on your way to recovery money faster.


·         List of vital websites and passwords – whether you run a business online, need to be able to get to an email address used by your family or local network.
·         Your Emergency Plan – you’ve planned everything out with close family and friends. You’ve got a plan on who to call, options of where to meet, call signs for radios, but when you’re in a panic, it may be hard to keep everything straight. Have a plan printed out to refer to.
·         Keys to your vehicles, house and storage spaces, plus keys to locations you’ll be going to in an evacuation if you have a designated spot (key to your parents' house if you go there to ride out the storm.)
·         Evacuation Checklist – your plan of attack for sudden evacuations. Don’t leave trying to remember what to take to your memory, especially if you haven’t drilled the process. In our moments of panic, we tend to lose our focus and our way. Being able to pull out your checklist will allow you to work with purpose and expediency.

·         Maps — Local and regional map with planned escape routes. You can print maps from Google to include in your binder that have shortened routes our of your city, or around your city to other check points. This saves the bulk of a full map which can be kept with your emergency gear. You can duplicate the quick, important info here and laminate it to keep it clean and wrinkle free.

·         Photos – Keep scanned copies of photos on flash drives and keep them in the binder.

·         Cash – Keep cash in several locations, but some cash (coins and small bills) can be kept in a pencil case in your binder.

Keeping My Security Binder Private

There is an inherent risk of creating a binder with all of your personal and financial information. It’s important to keep your binder in a safe and secure location like a fire-proof safe or lock box. While we’ve been taught to keep all of our important documents in a bank safe deposit vault, it may not be easily accessible in a state of emergency. So you’ll have to determine how best to handle these documents for yourself.

Another issue that will come up from the preparedness community is that you’ve got all of this vital information available for anyone to pick up from the Red Cross table because you’ve set it down and turned to pay attention to your toddler for a moment. Then poof. It’s gone. Forever. And now they have your information.

Consider, as an alternative, to do codes for things to remind you of what they are, without actually writing them out fully. Granted, coding the copies of your vital documents may be hard, but you can disguise your phone numbers, accounts and passwords to hint at what it should be instead of being outright. But make sure your spouse knows the code, too.

The risks are great, no matter what you decide to do. But you have to do something. Don’t be so worried about the what-ifs that you don’t do anything.