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The Desire and Determination Within

Mar 30, 2015

By Kevin Wilson
Derek Ogbeide JumpTraveling to countries, near and far, while maintaining his honor roll status, is nothing new for Derek Ogbeide. The native Lagos, Nigerian played soccer most of his life. Surprisingly, the son of Martin and Justina Ogbeide discovered a new desire.

On his 11th birthday, Derek received two leather basketballs from his father. The special gifts motivated him to put air in the balls and toss them against the wall, pretending that the wall were baskets. A year later, he moved in with his uncle, Victor Richard, nearby the prestigious Sports and Learning Complex in Landover, Maryland.

At 6’2, 13 years old, wearing size 13 shoe, he attended Kenmoor Middle School in the eighth grade. He admits that he made the team due to his height. Derek blocked shots without jumping, ran the floor graciously, while proudly wearing Number 55 on his first organized hoop team. Reporting to early AM practices on time, running suicides and being chastised was all a part of the process. Not once, did Derek complain. “I remember those days,” he said. In spite of losing a lot of games, he had a thirst to score, block shots and rebound.

Next stop, Toronto, Canada. Representing Monsignor Percy Johnson Catholic High School, the 6’5 center gradually improved, while earning A.A.U. recognition, and being highlighted on Hoops Hype Canada. Following his 10th grade year, his parents made a decision to have Derek go to Mableton, Georgia, and reside with his father. “I will always support Derek and his dream,” says Martin Ogbeide, who hold three college degrees.

Discovering a reputable A.A.U. team did not take long. Derek signed with the Southern Stampedes who’s sponsored by Nike EYBL. He honed his skills under Coach Patrick Harper, and played exceptionally well in the Peach Jam Classic. “Derek has an awesome personality on and off the court, he’s fun to be around, a good teammate, very strong work ethic and very motivated to be a great player,” says Harper, a skill development trainer.

Highly recruited by Ole Miss, Virginia Tech, Vanderbilt, Memphis, Tulane, Arizona, Houston and Georgia, the visit at the University of Houston he’ll treasure a lifetime. Derek met Rockets center Dwight Howard, another Nigerian and NBA Hall of Famer, Hakeem Alajuwon towards the end of his visit. That’s why he wears Number 34. It was a surreal moment, meeting and taking photos with Hakeem, Ogbeide gleefully stated.

When Derek arrived at Pebblebrook High School, a 6A school outside of Atlanta, in 2013, he was the tallest student in the school taking advance courses. “My side of the family are trees, everyone is over 6’4,” says the father, who’s 6’5. Derek’s height, desire and determination rapidly changed the complexion of the Falcons program. His dominating presence in the paint helped the Falcons to a 24-6 record, losing in the finale by six points at the Georgia Dome. “He’s a gym rat, a great ambassador for basketball and our school, he protects the rim and runs the floor better than any big man in America,” uttered Washington, a four year coach at Pebblebrook.

Senior year- competing against DeMatha, a nationally known team from Hyattsville, Maryland, Ogbeide did his job, tallying 14 points, 17 rebounds and 7 blocks, losing 61-54. In a great game, we spent a lot of our prep time addressing how we were to play against Derek. “He’s one of the most dominated post players that we have played against in a few years. He should have a very good career at Georgia,” said Stags coach Mike Jones.

Losing to Wheeler High, 59-58 in the 6A championship finale in Macon, Georgia on March 7 was a heart breaker. His last game in a Falcon uniform, the Georgia signer tallied 14 points, 22 rebounds and 7 blocks. “Without Derek all of our success would’ve not been possible,” says Preston Fulton, a senior guard. Ranked as one of the top ballers in Georgia, he looks forward to graduating in May, and starting his collegiate career in June. “I can’t wait to get better and reach higher heights at UGA”, says the 3.7 GPA student- who intends to major in Business Administration. “By the Grace of God, he has come a long way,” says his mother. The desire and determination continues.

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Top 10 Ways to Use Social Media in Your Business

Mar 27, 2015

Social media is not just a buzz word. It is a way, perhaps THE WAY, to do business in the new Information Age. Whether you measure success via Likes, Tweets, or Comments, social media can positively affect your bottom line. Without the proper implementation of social media, we, at the GoodNewsNotebook.com, are sure that you are likewise missing revenue as well as overlooking thousands of potential new customers.

Here are 10 innovative ways to use Social Media effectively in your business:
1. Increased Brand Recognition. Every opportunity you have to syndicate your content and increase your visibility is valuable. Your social media networks are just new channels for your brand’s voice and content. This is important because it simultaneously makes you easier and more accessible for new customers, and makes you more familiar and recognizable for existing customers. For example, a frequent Twitter user could hear about your company for the first time only after stumbling upon it in a newsfeed. Or, an otherwise apathetic customer might become better acquainted with your brand after seeing your presence on multiple networks.

2. Improved brand loyalty. According to a report published by Texas Tech University, brands who engage on social media channels enjoy higher loyalty from their customers. The report concludes “Companies should take advantage of the tools social media gives them when it comes to connecting with their audience. A strategic and open social media plan could prove influential in morphing consumers into being brand loyal.” Another study published by Convince&Convert found that 53% of Americans who follow brands in social are more loyal to those brands.

3. More Opportunities to Convert. Every post you make on a social media platform is an opportunity for customers to convert. When you build a following, you’ll simultaneously have access to new customers, recent customers, and old customers, and you’ll be able to interact with all of them. Every blog post, image, video, or comment you share is a chance for someone to react, and every reaction could lead to a site visit, and eventually a conversion. Not every interaction with your brand results in a conversion, but every positive interaction increases the likelihood of an eventual conversion. Even if your click-through rates are low, the sheer number of opportunities you have on social media is significant. And as I pointed out in my article, “The Four Elements of Any Action, And How To Use Them In Your Online Marketing Initiative,” “opportunity” is the first element of any action.

4. Higher conversion rates. Social media marketing results in higher conversion rates in a few distinct ways. Perhaps the most significant is its humanization element; the fact that brands become more humanized by interacting in social media channels. Social media is a place where brands can act like people do, and this is important because people like doing business with other people; not with companies.

Additionally, studies have shown that social media has a 100% higher lead-to-close rate than outbound marketing, and a higher number of social media followers tends to improve trust and credibility in your brand, representing social proof. As such, simply building your audience in social media can improve conversion rates on your existing traffic.

5. Higher Brand Authority. Interacting with your customers regularly is a show of good faith for other customers. When people go to compliment or brag about a product or service, they turn to social media. And when they post your brand name, new audience members will want to follow you for updates. The more people that are talking about you on social media, the more valuable and authoritative your brand will seem to new users. Not to mention, if you can interact with major influencers on Twitter or other social networks, your visible authority and reach will skyrocket.

6. Increased Inbound Traffic. Without social media, your inbound traffic is limited to people already familiar with your brand and individuals searching for keywords you currently rank for. Every social media profile you add is another path leading back to your site, and every piece of content you syndicate on those profiles is another opportunity for a new visitor. The more quality content you syndicate on social media, the more inbound traffic you’ll generate, and more traffic means more leads and more conversions.

7. Decreased Marketing Costs. According to Hubspot, 84% of marketers found as little as six hours of effort per week was enough to generate increased traffic. Six hours is not a significant investment for a channel as large as social media. If you can lend just one hour a day to developing your content and syndication strategy, you could start seeing the results of your efforts. Even paid advertising through Facebook and Twitter is relatively cheap (depending on your goals, of course). Start small and you’ll never have to worry about going over budget—once you get a better feel for what to expect, you can increase your budget and increase your conversions correspondingly.

8. Better Search Engine Rankings. SEO is the best way to capture relevant traffic from search engines, but the requirements for success are always changing. It’s no longer enough to regularly update your blog, ensure optimized title tags and meta descriptions, and distribute links pointing back to your site. Google and other search engines may be calculating their rankings using social media presence as a significant factor, because of the fact that strong brands almost always use social media. As such, being active on social media could act as a “brand signal” to search engines that your brand is legitimate, credible, and trustworthy. That means, if you want to rank for a given set of keywords, having a strong social media presence could be almost mandatory.

9. Richer Customer Experiences. Social media, at its core, is a communication channel like email or phone calls. Every customer interaction you have on social media is an opportunity to publicly demonstrate your customer service level and enrich your relationship with your customers. For example, if a customer complains about your product on Twitter, you can immediately address the comment, apologize publicly, and take action to make it right. Or, if a customer compliments you, you can thank them and recommend additional products. It’s a personal experience that lets customers know you care about them.

10. Improved Customer Insights. Social media also gives you an opportunity to gain valuable information about what your customers are interested in and how they behave, via social listening. For example, you can monitor user comments to see what people think of your business directly. You can segment your content syndication lists based on topic and see which types of content generate the most interest—and then produce more of that type of content. You can measure conversions based on different promotions posted on various social media channels and eventually find a perfect combination to generate revenue.


SOURCE: Jayson DeMers, Forbes Magazine Contributor. http://www.forbes.com/sites/jaysondemers/2014/08/11/the-top-10-benefits-of-social-media-marketing/

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Building A Positive, Productive Team

Mar 25, 2015

Have you ever been part of a highly-motivated, high-morale team?

If you have, chances are that most days you were happy coming in to work. You had fun collaborating with your colleagues, and, together, you were able to come up with some great ideas. Because of your focus and enthusiasm, you probably did some of your best work with this group.

Teams that are highly motivated and positive are not only fun to be part of, but they also accomplish far more than teams that are struggling with morale.

This is why it’s so important that, as a leader, you strive to build a positive team. In this article, we’ll show you how!

The Benefits of a Positive Team

Research shows that positivity can make a real difference to people’s success and well-being.

In one study, researchers found that happy individuals are then more successful in many areas of their lives, especially in their careers, compared with individuals who struggle with happiness and positive thinking.

Other studies show how much of an impact positivity has on people’s ability to think creatively, progress their careers, cope with challenges, and work with other people. Positivity is an essential ingredient for success!

Positivity also brings longer-term benefits. Barbara Fredrickson, professor and social psychologist, created the Broaden and Build Theory to explain how positive emotions can broaden our behaviors over time. According to Fredrickson, the more positive emotions we experience, the likelier we are to exhibit other positive behaviors, such as curiosity, awareness, discovery, and creativity – all essential for successful innovation. In short, the happier we are, the more creative we are, and this is true for individuals as well as for groups.

Becoming a Positive Leader

Teams often become more positive because they have a positive leader. This is why focusing on your own happiness, well-being, and emotional intelligence is the first step in creating a great team.

Martin Seligman, a leading positive psychologist, developed the PERMA Model to highlight the five essential elements that you need in order to be happy. PERMA is an acronym that stands for:

Positive emotion.
Engagement.
Positive Relationships.
Meaning.
Accomplishment/achievement.

Start by thinking about how you can increase each of these elements in your life. Spend some time reading our article on PERMA and then take action – the more of these things you can bring to your life, the happier you’ll be!

Next, stop and think about the work that you do. Do you know what your strengths are? And how often do you get to use these strengths?

Our work is most satisfying when we can use our unique abilities in a way that makes a real difference to someone else, or to our organization. First, conduct a Personal SWOT Analysis to discover your strengths. Then, use the MPS Process (MPS stands for Meaning, Pleasure, and Strengths) to see how you can use your strengths to bring more meaning and pleasure to your career.

Last, work on your emotional intelligence . Emotional intelligence is a vital leadership skill, because it gives you an awareness of your own emotions, as well as for the feelings and the needs of others.

Emotionally intelligent leaders understand what their emotions are telling them, and, because of their inner strength and awareness, they don’t take out their own negative emotions on their people. This is definitely a skill that you should cultivate if you want to lead a positive team!

Removing Obstacles to Positivity

Before you can encourage positivity in your team, you need to remove any obstacles to it. By doing this, you can ensure that your team won’t start getting motivated and then run into a series of roadblocks; this start-and-stop progress is dispiriting, and it can quickly undermine your team’s sense of motivation.

Herzberg’s Motivator and Hygiene Factor Theory gives you a great starting point for working on motivation. Psychologist Fredrick Herzberg discovered that employee satisfaction and dissatisfaction are not opposites. For your team members to be satisfied in their jobs, you must first remove the causes of dissatisfaction, and then add factors that contribute to satisfaction. Both of these steps need to take place for your team members to feel truly happy in their work!

For example, are there policies in your organization that could be causing dissatisfaction for your team members? Is each person’s salary competitive? Would your team members be happier if you provided cross-training opportunities, or flextime? These are just a few of the elements that could contribute to your team members’ satisfaction or dissatisfaction.

The office itself is something that has the potential to destroy motivation and positivity. So, take steps to create a healthy workplace for your team. Look at the work environment; it should be comfortable, well-lit, clean, and safe. Other elements, such as life balance, employee recognition, and involvement, also play a big part in your team members’ happiness (or lack thereof).

Praise your team members for the good work that they do, and ensure that everyone has a healthy balance of work and time off.

Managing Positively

Once you’ve removed obstacles that could slow your team’s progress, it’s time to start managing your team in a positive way. There are many ways to do this.

Teams that fully understand the purpose of what they do are usually more engaged than teams without this focus. This is why it’s important to create mission and vision statements for your people. These statements are inspiring messages that express the deeper purpose of the work that you are doing.

Create a team charter to define each person’s role, the group’s projected outcome, and your own expectations. Team charters are useful for a happy team, because they provide focus and direction. After all, when your team members know what they’re doing (and why), they can all move forward together, instead of pulling in different directions.

Next, look at the objectives that you’ve set for your team. Make sure that your team members’ goals align with those of the organization by using Management by Objectives . Without this framework in place, your team members might feel unmotivated, simply because they’re not sure what they should be doing, or because they don’t understand how their role benefits the organization.

Keep in mind that you play an enormous part in how your people feel day-to-day, as well as in their long-term success. Look at how you’re communicating with them, and how you’re helping them develop on an individual level.

Keep your team informed about what’s happening in the organization, as well as within the team; the more open and transparent you are, the easier it will be to build trust and create good relationships. Schedule regular meetings to discuss important updates or changes. This also gives your team members a chance to voice any concerns or issues that they’re having with their work.

Research shows that autonomy plays a significant role in how satisfied people are in their jobs, so do what you can to give more power to everyone on your team. This might mean delegating important tasks, or simply stepping back and letting people choose how they’re going to complete a project. An added benefit of encouraging autonomy is that people’s work often improves when they have the power to choose when and how they complete it.

Your team members can’t be positive and focused if they don’t have the resources they need to do their jobs. So, are you supporting your people as effectively as you could be? The only way to know for sure is to ask them.

Find out what their biggest frustrations are at work, and discuss how you could eliminate them. Are the processes and procedures that they use working well? Do they have any trouble finding key information? By practicing Management by Walking Around on a regular basis, you can connect and communicate well with your team, and, by doing this, you can understand what’s really going on.

Reinforcing Positivity

Positivity is a habit, and the only way that you’ll cultivate long-term positivity with your team is to reinforce it daily. This takes focus and self-discipline, but the benefits can be huge!

First, make an effort to build confidence in your team . Giving autonomy helps you get started with this, but you can also build confidence by celebrating the successes that your team members achieve. Another way to help your team is to encourage training and development opportunities, so that your people can build additional skills and knowledge.

As you’ve likely experienced in the past, one person’s bad attitude can affect the entire group. If you have a team member who consistently thinks negatively, then you need to take action before he or she drags the group down.

The Betari Box is a useful tool for explaining how someone’s attitude and behavior can affect the people around them. Meet with your negative team member one-on-one, and use this tool to explain how his or her attitude is affecting the group. Approach the situation with sensitivity and respect; this person might be experiencing problems at home, or may have deeper issues that might be contributing to his or her negative attitude.

Next, try to understand the problem. Is this person unhappy in his or her role? And what could you do to help him or her turn things around?

Also, coach your people to use affirmations to be more positive. Affirmations are positive statements that help you overcome negative thinking. They’re great for helping your team members overcome self-sabotaging thoughts and behaviors.

SOURCE: MIND TOOLS. http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/building-positive-team.htm

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Masterful Mindsets While in Transition

Mar 23, 2015

shan photo Create The Life You See When You Close Your Eyes and Dream

 Masterful Mindsets While in Transition

Mindset is one of the most important aspects of your life. With a successful mindset, possibilities are endless. Without it, you will find yourself in perpetual frustration and a sense of never really moving forward. Think of your mindset as your rudder on the boat of your life. Used properly, it will guide you to your ultimate destination. Used improperly, it will cause you to go in circles.

After studying some masters on mindset, I have put together some vital principles of a strong and successful mindset, especially when you’re dealing with challenging changes and transitions:

1. Purpose: If you can’t answer the question of “why” you are doing what you’re doing, the  Why
“how” will lack passion. Rick Warren, author of, “The Purpose Driven Life”, said “…without
purpose, life has no meaning. Without meaning, life has no significance or hope.” It is imperative to dig deep and understand why you are doing what you are doing. Once the root reasons are revealed, the “how” will flow naturally.
2. Prioritize: Everyday, do the thing that you don’t want to do the most. Brian Tracy, trainer & author,
has likened this habit tofrog “eating the frog”. If you figuratively eat the frog first thing in the morning,
everything else tastes wonderful to you and will feel easy in comparison.

3. Persistence: The mindset of success doesn’t ask “IF”, instead it asks “HOW”. If you are
asking yourself, “IF I overcome this challenge in my life?”, then consider a shift in yoursun
mindset. Instead ask, “HOW can I overcome this challenge in my life?”
Diana Nyad, the 60 year old swimmer, who swam from Cuba to Florida in 53 hours, said, “Find a way!” She said, “If it’s important to you, we can all get there…jelly-fish, sea-sickness, pain, cold…find a way.”
Perception 4. Perception (Self): Negative self-perception is the universal human condition of not feeling good enough or deserving. One of the best ways of discovering how you truly perceive yourself is to monitor your thought-life. Be brutally honest with yourself and audit how much negative
self-talk is occurring. Remember Henry Ford’s famous quote: “The unexamined life is not
worth living.”
5. Procrastination: This is my favorite! Steven Pressfield, in the “The War of Art”, said that inProcrastionation
reality, procrastination is an internal force called “Resistance”. He goes on to explain
that we feel resistance most strongly when we are about to dare greatly or grow
spiritually! The first time I fell into procrastination, after reading this, I tried it. I have to admit to you, I just got plain stubborn about it. So, I MADE myself do what I was avoiding, and I really did expand as a person. The next time you procrastinate, try pushing through, and see what comes out of it.

6. Perfection Paralysis: Tony Robbins, says it the best: “Perfectionism isn’t about healthy striving
for excellence… it is a way of thinking and feeling that says, ‘If I look perfect, do it perfect, work
perfect, and live perfect’, I can minimize shame, blame and judgment.” Perfection does not
exist. Instead, focus on your capacity for excellence. Excellence is a goal that can be achieved
each day. Consider working towards an excellent outcome, instead of a perfect one.

Remember, if you can train the rudder of your mindset in positive and forward-moving ways, the boat of your life will reach the destination of your dreams!

Shan is a certified life coach specializing in guiding women through challenging changes and transitions. Contact her today to schedule a complimentary “Get Acquainted” session.

 

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The Art of Tipping

Mar 20, 2015 0

Time Is Money 1

Sometimes, it feels good to leave a great tip. Perhaps, you let your awesome waitress know that she did a great job or perhaps you choose to leave a huge anonymous tip for your attentive waiter. No matter, we, at GoodNews Notebook, hope you left a good tip. Is there a science or an Art to Tipping properly. We would like to think so.


Please Mind To Tipping

A social psychologist Deborah Serani of Long Island, New York, reported, “People with cash to burn see a “pay it forward” case on the news and realize they can also help.”

“There is a social contagion factor to this generous kind of behavior, but I think it goes way deeper than that,” Serani said. “On an evolutionary level, generosity has been a key to the survival of the species. What this does is it allows those who are struggling to have some success and as a result we are all better for it.”

Huge tips are also sometimes seen as easy charity and a “quick and powerful way to give,” Serani said.

Random acts of kindness, like paying for the car behind you in a fast food drive-thru line, are common after tragedies, she added.

“There is such struggle and tragedy in our days – I just saw another shooting happen. What this does is give people the ability to do something of impact,” Serani said. “From tragedy comes urges to be generous and helpful.”

And the good feeling works both ways, as both parties experience a “high return.”

In other words, the person leaving a huge tip feels just as good as the person who receives it, Serani said.

Many real-life Peter Pans, like the man behind Hidden Cash and the big tipper who stamped “Tips for Jesus” on his receipts, chose to remain anonymous.


Tipping Apps To Assist

Tip N Split Tip Calculator
Calculate tip and split the bill with Tip N Split – the ultimate tip calculator!
This tip calculator app not only calculates tip quickly and easily but also helps to split the bill between any number of people.
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Tip Me
The most robust, full featured, and AD FREE Tip Calculator on the Play Store! You won’t find another tip calculator with this many features, looks this good, and is as simple and intuitive as Tip Me. Ad free and requires no permissions!
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Global Tipping
Winner of the 2012 “5 stars Reviewers’ choice!” Award from FileDir
Global Tipping Guide (or World Tip Guide) is currently the top leading app in providing tipping information to make your next trip a pleasant one. It also provides a fully featured tip calculator, and an expense report for you to use during your next trips.
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Tipping Bird
Tipping Bird is your guide to tipping conventions around the world. It has an EXTREME set of recommendations for common situations like restaurants, bars, and taxis. BOOM! Convert easily between your home currency and the local currency. AND it calculates your tip for you. WOW. Isn’t that amazing?
DOWNLOAD NOW

 

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Giving Back to the Community

Mar 16, 2015 0

People have always given back to their community, either as a marketing tool for their company or to satisfy a deep innate desire to be of impact to their community.

In light of this selfless nature of an otherwise selfish being, research has been widely conducted to find out why people give back to their communities. It has been discovered, that not only does it give someone a feel good about themselves, research has also proved that service back to the society is also good for physical health as it’s an act that stimulates the release of endorphins, which is linked to improve nervous and immune systems functions. It’s also a way to build a social life and improve your emotional and physical health all at the same time. Holidays will be marked with giveaways and meaningful giving to the needy and to the community at large.

People whose lives are geared towards giving are known as philanthropists. When you think of the word “Philanthropists”, people such as Warren Buffet, Oprah Winfrey and Bill& Melinda Gates come to mind. These are just a few of the many who have dedicated their wealth to changing the world for the better through the riches and success they have made over their lives. Bill Gates and his wife Melinda were brought up with the belief that if life happens to bless you, you should use those gifts as well and as wisely as you can.

Their first project, like bringing the Internet to public libraries, sprang from their founders’ Microsoft experience. However, in the 1990s, Bill and Melinda came to know about masses of children who required simple medical treatment. With an expanded focus, they searched for and supported organizations which were saving lives globally. The project was connecting all public libraries to the internet and was founded on Bill Gates’ Microsoft Company. They then became aware of the millions who needed simple medical care. This gave them an extended attention on their service to the society and they searched out and gave support to organizations around the world which were geared to improving lives.

ABOUT THE BILL & MELINDA GATES FOUNDATION

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is one of the most renown private foundations globally, established by Bill and Melinda Gates. It was launched in the year 2000 and it is said to be the biggest transparently ran private foundation around the world. The main focus of the foundations is to improve healthcare and lessen great insufficiency. In America, their interest is to increase opportunities for education and make it easy to get information technology.

Their giving has improved lives all over the world and widely recognized beyond those lives they have touched. In 2013, The Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation is one of the many organizations that have recognized the Gates’ service to the community and it awarded them the public service award for pace setting a significant revolution in the way people perceive the globe’s most persistent well-being concerns and refining the lives of the world’s most susceptible individuals.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: http://www.gatesfoundation.org/

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GOODTRAVEL: The Mountains of Tennessee

Mar 13, 2015 0

It seems awfully quiet and still at first. Then a dog barks down in a farm below and I begin to hear the wind through the pines that sounds like a truck coming around the bend. There is warm sun in the valley and clouds the same dark, blue-grey color as the mountains are moving away over the peaks, giving way to a clear, bright sky. There, above the tree line, there are traces of snow yet harbored by the shadows of the coulees. I can see Mount Le Conte some twenty-four miles distant. This is the austerity of Appalachian winter – the mountainsides bare save for the green of the pines and a crisp chill to the wind. Here, high up on the Foothills Parkway in Blount County, Tennessee, I can see it all.

Foothills2
I have been all up and down the spine of the Appalachian Mountains in Tennessee, from the Tri-Cities up in the northeast corner of the state down to Chattanooga down on the Georgia line. Yet of all mountain peaks and valley bottoms, the streams and the small towns, it is here, the Great Smoky Mountains, that I am drawn to like a moth to a light in the night.

And I am not alone. The Great Smoky Mountain National Park is the most visited of the nation’s National Parks, and as spring and summer set in, the woods and valleys will thicken with foliage and tourists. So I often make it a point to visit during the winter months, a time when it seems awfully quiet and still at first. But the mountains speak, and if you come prepared to listen, you will hear them.


READ MORE AT ANDREW’S TRAVELOGUE
Between The Highway And Home

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Benefits of Sunlight

Mar 9, 2015 2

Daylight savings time is here. Surely, spring is near. Since we all could use a light warm sun light now, we, at the GoodNews Notebook, wanted to share a few benefit of healthy sunlight. It’s not just for tanning, anymore! There are many known benefits of sunlight on mood and health, but regular sunlight exposure also can have long-lasting, positive effects on bone health, heart health, immunity and disease prevention. Sunlight often serves to encourage exercise, physical activity, travel and social interactions.

Builds Immune Systems

Vitamin D or sun exposure have been correlated with a possible role in preventing cancer and infection, and keeping the immune system balanced. It is unclear whether the production of vitamin D or another mechanism of sunlight is responsible for these associated effects. An article published in the September 2008 “Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology” noted a reported 30- to 50-percent reduction in the risk of certain cancers with an increase in sun exposure or vitamin D intake of 1,000 IU/d. The exact process leading to these outcomes, however, is not well-defined.

walk-sun-light-healthy-womanHow? It’s not just plants that metabolize sunlight. Humans do too. Through a complex process, our bodies turn sunlight into life-giving vitamin D. The connection between vitamin D deficiency and cancer was first made by Drs. Frank and Cedric Garland from the University of California, San Diego. After finding that the incidence of colon cancer was nearly three times higher in New York than in New Mexico, the Garland brothers hypothesized that lack of sun exposure, resulting in a vitamin D deficiency, played a role. Research now indicates that being deficient in vitamin D increases the risk of many cancers, especially breast and colon. For example, a four-year, placebo-controlled study involving 1,179 postmenopausal women concluded that vitamin D supplementation produced a dramatic 60% drop in the risk of developing any form of cancer.

Produces More Vitamin D

The most well-understood benefit of sunlight is the production of vitamin D. When skin is exposed to sunlight, a series of chemical reactions begin that converts precursors of vitamin D to the active form of vitamin D. Vitamin D is needed for the intestinal absorption of calcium and the maintenance of calcium and phosphate levels necessary for healthy bone formation. It is also important for proper immune function, cell growth, and nerve and muscle function. Some foods naturally supply vitamin D, such as fish and liver. Other foods, such as milk and cereal, are typically fortified with vitamin D.

In addition, It is well known that vitamin D stimulates the absorption of bone-strengthening calcium. The process of vitamin D manufacture begins when sunlight changes the 7-dehydrocholesterol in the skin into vitamin D3. Emerging research is showing a direct correlation between both bone density and blood levels of vitamin D3. Higher blood levels of vitamin D3 are associated with a lower rater of fractures of virtually all types; lower blood levels of vitamin D3 are associated with a higher rate of fractures of all types.

Creates a “Sunny” Mood

It is common for people to refer to a good mood as a “sunny disposition,” and to associate lack of sun with sadness or depression. Scientific research has examined the frequently observed relationship between sunlight and mood. A study from Denmark, published in the September 2011 issue of the “Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment and Health,” demonstrated that outdoor work, even in the winter, provided enough sunlight to counteract mood difficulties. Research published in the March 2013 journal “BMC Psychiatry,” demonstrated a measurable change in a component of blood, interleukin 6, in depressed participants who were exposed to the sun, but not in non-depressed participants exposed to sun. This suggests that sunlight may affect mood in some people, but not others.

Impacts Your Heart Health & Blood Pressure

Exposure to sunlight has a beneficial impact on blood pressure and heart health. A study published in the March 2010 “European Heart Journal” showed that the beneficial effects of sunlight on heart health and blood pressure may be related to the chemical nitric oxide, which acts on blood vessels to decrease blood pressure. Nitric oxide activity may be modulated by sunlight. The immediate effects on the heart and blood pressure appear to be short-term, lasting less than 24 hours without additional sunlight exposure.

Helps Prevent Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis, or MS, is more common in populations that live farther from the equator. People who move from a low-risk area to a high-risk area before the age of 15 acquire a higher risk of developing MS, whereas those who make the same move after adolescence retain a lower risk. These observations suggest that environmental exposure, and in particular, early sunlight exposure (which is correlated with vitamin D levels) in the first two decades of life, influences the risk of developing MS. Related to this finding, several European population studies observed that there is a lower risk of MS for births occurring after October and a higher risk for MS for births occurring after May. This suggests that maternal levels of vitamin D during the third trimester of pregnancy may influence risk of MS.

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RED WAGONS REINVENTED: Chad’s Bracket Cheer Up Children with Cancer

Mar 6, 2015 0

Recently, we, at the GoodNews Notebook, learned about a wonderful father who is doing “Good” as an answer to his grief. Roger Leggett lost his son to a heart attack and now helps his granddaughter, Felicity, who has pediatric cancer. But, he is making a difference in the lives of many as he travels through this heart-breaking journey.

According to his Facebook Page, Chad’s Bracket (https://www.facebook.com/ChadsBracket), while visiting his cancer-fighting granddaughter, Roger noticed several families having difficulty transporting their children—and their medical equipment—through the hospital. So Roger enlisted help from several local organizations to create a device that safely connects I.V. poles to our red wagons. Did he stop there? Nope! Earlier this week, Roger delivered 20 brand new wagons.

Wow. Since that moment, Roger has partnered with WellStar, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta hospitals, Tanner Medical Center, and even the Hiram Police Department to sponsor and deliver these “red wagon miracles” to some of the most amazing children.

THE STORY BEHIND CHAD’S BRACKET

The origins of Chad’s Bracket are as bittersweet as any history could possibly be.

After a week of severe headaches and vomiting, on Friday, April 22, 2011, Felicity Withrow was diagnosed with a brain tumor. An MRI on Saturday, April 23 confirmed that it was a 3cm by 2cm ependymoma. Felicity had surgery on Monday, April 25, 2011 to remove the tumor.

While it may seem like a brain tumor diagnosis and immediate surgery was the worst possible scenario, Felicity’s family would soon learn that heartbreak could run much deeper.

During the surgery, doctors discovered that they had to leave a small 4-5mm portion of the tumor that was on her brain stem and could not be removed. This was unexpected, and it meant a change in the chemo plans. What followed was a roller coaster of medications and MRIs and then, another surgery when an MRI showed that the tumor had returned before even the first checkup scan following the first surgery. Even with these events, there were many blessings from God along Felicity’s journey, including on September 6, 2014 when Felicity had her first completely clear MRI.

During one of the many visits to see Felicity in the hospital following that first surgery, Roger Leggett (Felicity’s grandfather, a firefighter and now-retired expediter at Lockheed Martin) and Chad Leggett (Felicity’s uncle, an Emergency Medical Technician) encountered the mom of a patient entering an elevator. That mom was using a wagon to transport her child while also attempting to move an IV pole along with that wagon. Roger and Chad noticed that the mom was having such a difficult time that the IV pole almost fell on her child. They knew immediately that there was a need for some way to attach an IV pole to those wagons so that parents would be able to utilize the wagons in an easier and safer manner.

Tragically, just a few weeks later Chad passed away from heat stroke at one of Roger’s and Chad’s favorite hunting sites.

In the weeks to follow, heartache flooded the family, faith was shaken to its core, and despair was evident to all who surrounded the family with love and support. The family was torn between celebrating Felicity coming home from the hospital and the new baby, Felicity’s little sister, who would soon make her debut, and the sorrow that threatened to take over. But through it all, one thought remained in Roger’s mind: Chad’s legacy. Chad wanted to create an IV pole attachment for those wagons, and would have wanted Roger to continue on that course without him. That thought sustained Roger while he set out on his mission to develop Chad’s Bracket.

That mission included collaboration with Children’s Hospital of Atlanta engineers to check every safety concern, guaranteeing that the wagons were safe even with the weight of a pump and IV bags attached. These measures included using wagons with seat belts, with wheels on the outer perimeter, and that have a low center of gravity.

Also included in the process were Lewis Holland, Grant Little, Dave Taylor, and the welding class at Chattahoochee Tech in Jasper, Georgia, as well as L&W Welding in Paulding County. Their participation was crucial in bringing Chad’s Bracket to life.

Organizations such as the Masonic Lodges in Douglas County, Heard County, Carroll County, and Paulding County (all in Georgia), Georgia Heritage Bank, Grand’s Convenience Store (Dallas, Georgia), the City of Hiram, Georgia, and many others (including individuals we are not specifically naming in order to protect their privacy) have donated money to place wagons specially fitted with Chad’s Bracket into specific hospitals, including Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta facilities, Wellstar Paulding Hospital, and Tanner Medical Center facilities. Requests have begun coming in from hospitals and organizations in other states as well, and Roger is working quickly to determine how to best meet those needs.

There have been many news articles and reports, and much recognition. But true to his character, Roger made this statement: “Thank you everyone for the nice comments. I don’t feel I deserve the praise. I’m just trying to make the time a child and parents spend at CHOA easier and safer. The time spent there is traumatizing enough dealing with many times a life threatening event, without having to deal with the IV stand and the wagon separately.”

SOURCE:
CHAD’S BRACKET – FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/ChadsBracket

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MARCH 4TH: Hug A Veteran Day

Mar 4, 2015 0

Today is March 4, 2015.  It’s HUG A VETERAN DAY.  We, at GNN, would like our fans, and family to take time to give the men and women who serve our great Nation a big bear hug!  Moreover, let’s take a moment to be aware of the issues that face our Warriors of the USA as they come back from Iran, Iraq, and Afghanistan.  One of the issues that verterans face is unemployment.  So, in their honor, we would like to share this good news with our veterans from the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines.  Thank you for your service.


Nationally recognized Marine Corps veteran Jesse Canella, in conjunction with KANDILIT, one of the fastest growing integrated IT service providers, today announced the launch of HonorVet Services (www.honorvet.com), a service-connected disabled veteran-owned staffing and technology service provider that will connect skilled and screened veterans and military spouses with employers across diverse industries for permanent, contract, contract-to-hire, and project-based placements.

In addition to his service in the Marine Corps, Canella brings to HonorVet expertise in military and veterans affairs, corporate recruitment and the acclimatization of veterans for meaningful roles within the civilian workplace. Co-Founder KANDILIT (www.kandilit.com), whose leadership team has over 100 years combined experience, is committed to support HonorVet through its well-established sales, delivery and technology infrastructure.

“We are proud and excited to be a part of HonorVet’s mission and look forward to making a significant impact in increasing veterans’ opportunities in the workforce with Fortune 500 companies,” said KANDILIT CEO, Fahad (Fred) Syed. “Our veterans are an essential and integral part of our society, and they deserve focused and structured services that meet their needs and diverse backgrounds.”

Each year, more than 300,000 U.S. troops complete their military service, providing a highly trained workforce eager to transition to professional civilian careers. Yet, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, post-9/11 veteran unemployment stands at 24.3%, and this is expected to increase in 2015 due to the planned troop withdrawal from Afghanistan.

“There are more than 4,100 different types of jobs in the Armed Forces, and 88% of those have a direct civilian job counterpart,” said Canella, President and Co-Founder of HonorVet Services. “HonorVet hopes to reduce the rising and staggering veteran unemployment figures by working with small, medium and large enterprises across the country to help them attract, select and retain a quality workforce by hiring our nation’s heroes.”

For more information about HonorVet Services, please visit www.HonorVet.com

Contact:
HonorVet Services, LLC
Jesse Canella, 973-559-6520
jesse@honorvet.com

Courtesy: YahooFinance & BusinessWire – VISIT SITE HERE

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Lose Weight without Exercise

Mar 2, 2015

So, we are more than 60 days into the New Year 2015. We, at the Good News Notebook, have noticed the gym is beginning to thin out… just a bit. So, for our fans and subscribers, please don’t give up on your goals. Here are some helpful tips and advice for keeping the pounds off while you are away from the cardio equipment.

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1. Feel a craving. Play a game.

According to Appetite magazine, playing Candy Crush, PuzzleManiak, or games that have stood the test of time like Tetris and Scrabble will distract you from frequent craving for sweets such as that chocolate cake and Ben and Jerry’s ice cream in the frig. While you focus your attention on the one-of-a-kind combination in Soda Crush, you waistline will feels DIVINE!

2. Save The Salad For Last.

Send a message to your neurons saying that I’m finished with my meal. By eating the salad last, your brain will note that you are not as hungry as when you first started the meal. Wellness Advisors and Dietitians again that you should go for a salad rather than a second helping of the main dish for dinner. Can I start with a salad and end with a salad? Sure.

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3. Say No to Zero.

Diet sodas are simply the worst way to lose weight. People who drink two or more diet carbonated drinks can have up to 5 times more weight gain than those who simply say, “No, I have water with lemon.” In a research study at the University of Texas at Austin, dieters who drinks zero calorie and diet soda had a 70% greater increase on their waistline that non-drinkers. So, as we tell our children, just say no.

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4. Watch The Wine.

Wine is perfect for most meals. But, wine with desserts is the easiest way to pack on the pounds with a 2000-calorie dinner. So, let’s try to choose one or the other, wine OR dessert, but no both. Think about it. How many of us have ever looked at the calorie count on your favorite bottle of Riesling or Burgundy? Well, you have been advised. Next time, with your carefully selected entree, be equally selective with your choice of Chardonnay.

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5. Healthy Foods Are My BFF.

Keep those apple slice, pineapple chunks, and carrots close by. They are your friends, yes Best Friends, while you are staying to lean and mean. Try eating food that help your metabolism like whole grains, lentils, and low-fat cheese like mozzarella. There is great news… Spice is life. Capsaicin, the compound that gives chili peppers their kick, heats up your body, which makes you melt additional calories. Afterwards, wash it down with a nice, warm cup of green tea. For beginners, try these wonderful recipes for HOT LENTIL SOUPS. See our recent article on the BENEFITS OF WARM WATER. Enjoy.

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