Posted in Inspiration

Stop Texting and Driving

So folks STILL seem to think there is no danger when texting while driving. I am constantly seeing people weaving, wandering into other’s lanes, crossing center lines and running red lights because their face is buried in their phone with both hands on it texting. Here are some stats that I think EVERYONE should read and seriously keep in mind.

  • The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute found that text messaging creates a crash risk 23 times worse than driving while not distracted. (www.fcc.gov)
  • 1 out of every 4 car accidents in the United States is caused by texting and driving (National Safety Council). (www.huffingtonpost.com)
  • The CDC lists car crashes as the leading cause of death for teenagers and young drivers. (www.digitalresponsibility.org)
  • The NTSB stats show that 11 teens die every day from texting and driving. That’s 4,015 annually.
  • Texting while driving has now replaced drinking and driving as the leading cause of death among teenage drivers. (www.integrityinsurance.com)
  • More than 1,000 people are injured every day due to a distracted driver.(www.dmv.org)
  • 26% of all car crashes in 2014 involved cell phone use. (www.dmv.org)
  • Surprisingly, research has shown that it is more dangerous to text and drive than it is to drive while intoxicated (DWI). Car and Driver Magazine, as reported by The Washington Times, recently conducted a test to determine how long it took before a driver was able to break while driving 70 miles an hour.

What they found was startling:

Unimpaired: .54 seconds to brake
Legally drunk: add 4 feet
Reading e-mail: add 36 feet
Sending a text: add 70 feet

Here are some more sites with more stats:

https://www.esurance.com/info/car/texting-and-driving

https://baumgartnerlawyers.com/frequently-asked-questions/helpful-information/texting-dangerous-driving/

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Posted in Inspiration

About Me.

I am an Army Veteran with over 22 years of proven experience. I possess a comprehensive background in Project and Training Management, as well as Leader Development. I have accomplished measurable results while leading teams of 15-25 personnel in a dynamic, fast-paced environment. I am adept at achieving results with minimal guidance.

Posted in Inspiration

Messianic Prophecies

I love the way Stoner illustrated the meaning of this number. He asked the reader to imagine filling the State of Texas knee deep in silver dollars. Include in this huge number one silver dollar with a black check mark on it. Then, turn a blindfolded person loose in this sea of silver dollars. The odds that the first coin he would pick up would be the one with the black check mark are the same as 8 prophecies being fulfilled accidentally in the life of Jesus.

The point, of course, is that when people say that the fulfillment of prophecy in the life of Jesus was accidental, they do not know what they are talking about. Keep in mind that Jesus did not just fulfill 8 prophecies, He fulfilled 108. The chances of fulfilling 16 is 1 in 10 to the 45th power. When you get to a total of 48, the odds increase to 1 in 10 to the 157th power . Accidental fulfillment of these prophecies is simply beyond the realm of possibility.

When confronted with these statistics, skeptics will often fall back on the argument that Jesus purposefully fulfilled the prophecies. There is no doubt that Jesus was aware of the prophecies and His fulfillment of them. For example, when He got ready to enter Jerusalem the last time, He told His disciples to find Him a donkey to ride so that the prophecy of Zechariah could be fulfilled which said, “Behold, your King is coming to you, gentle, and mounted on a donkey” (Matthew 21:1-5 and Zechariah 9:9).

But many of the prophecies concerning the Messiah could not be purposefully fulfilled — such as the town of His birth (Micah 5:2) or the nature of His betrayal (Psalm 41:9), or the manner of His death (Zechariah 13:6 and Psalm 22:16).

One of the most remarkable Messianic prophecies in the Hebrew Scriptures is the one that precisely states that the Messiah will die by crucifixion. It is found in Psalm 22 where David prophesied the Messiah would die by having His hands and feet pierced (Psalm 22:16). That prophecy was written 1,000 years before Jesus was born. When it was written, the Jewish method of execution was by stoning. The prophecy was also written many years before the Romans perfected crucifixion as a method of execution.

Even when Jesus was killed, the Jews still relied on stoning as their method of execution, but they had lost the power to implement the death penalty due to Roman occupation. That is why they were forced to take Jesus to Pilate, the Roman governor, and that’s how Jesus ended up being crucified, in fulfillment of David’s prophecy.

http://christinprophecy.org/articles/applying-the-science-of-probability-to-the-scriptures/

Posted in Inspiration

Update to Tax Reform Differences

Dan Caplinger

(TMFGalagan)

Dec 7, 2017 at 6:03AM

Taxpayers like certainty when they’re trying to figure out how to pay as little tax as possible. Right now, there’s never been less certainty about what the tax laws will look like in the near future, as competing tax reform proposals from the House of Representatives and the Senate are set to square off in a joint conference. The goal is to create new tax laws that both chambers of Congress can agree on and vote to approve.

What that means is that what’s in store for 2018 on the tax front isn’t nearly as clear as it normally would be by now. Below, you’ll find 10 key tax provisions that could change in 2018, with some guesses about what the final provisions of a tax reform bill might be.

1. New tax rates

Both proposals have a different set of tax rates for taxpayers to follow. The House version simplifies the rate structure, with four rates of 12%, 25%, 33%, and 39.6%. The Senate version keeps the current seven-rate structure, but it reduces most of them to 10%, 12%, 22%, 24%, 32%, 35%, and 38.5%.

2. New tax brackets

To go along with the new tax rates, the tax brackets at which each rate would take effect will change. The House plan is again the simpler of the two, with the first bracket extending up to $45,000, the next to $200,000, and the third to $500,000 for single filers. The Senate plan keeps the lower brackets relatively close to their current levels, with its top brackets also starting at $200,000 and $500,000, respectively.

3. Higher standard deduction

Both provisions would increase the standard deduction. Under the current proposals, the House would create new standard deductions of $12,200 for singles and $24,400 for joint filers. The Senate version has slightly lower amounts of $12,000 and $24,000, respectively. Both would be substantial increases compared to the $6,500 and $13,000 standard deductions that would have been in place without tax reform. However, both provisions eliminate personal exemptions, which makes the net impact on taxable income less dramatic for taxpayers who have dependents.

4. Higher child tax credit

Taxpayers will see an increase in the child tax credit if tax reform passes. The House bill boosts the child tax credit to $1,600 per child, implementing a higher phase-out of $230,000 in income for joint filers. It also offers a $300 per person credit for family members who aren’t eligible for the child tax credit, making up in part for the elimination of personal exemptions under the plan. In the Senate, lawmakers opted for a more generous $2,000 credit per child and an even higher phase-out of $500,000.

5. Higher estate tax exemption

The House measure would boost the estate tax exemption from its 2017 level of $5.49 million to $10 million for 2018, establishing a path for full repeal within the next six years. The Senate bill falls short of full repeal of the estate tax, but it would double the exemption, presumably to $11.2 million, compared to the initially expected inflation-adjusted figure of $5.6 million that would be in place without tax reform.

6. Reduced state and local tax deduction

Both bills would have a dramatic impact on what taxpayers who itemize can deduct for the tax payments they make to state and local governments. The two measures agree that taxpayers should be able to continue to deduct up to $10,000 for state and local property taxes only. However, provisions for deducting state or local income or sales taxes will disappear, eliminating a key itemized deduction for many taxpayers.

7. Changed medical expense deduction

One area where there’s considerable difference between the House and Senate versions of tax reform is with the medical expense itemized deduction. The House bill sought to repeal the deduction entirely, but the Senate sought not only to restore it but also to make it easier for taxpayers to take it. The Senate version would reduce the income threshold above which medical expenses would be deductible from 10% to 7.5% of adjusted gross income for taxpayers of all ages.

8. Revised education tax credits

It’s unclear whether there will be major changes to the tax credits that students and their families are entitled to receive under current tax law. The House proposal sought to eliminate the lifetime learning credit in exchange for offering a fifth year of credits under the American Opportunity tax credit provision at a 50% rate. The Senate largely left the provisions unchanged. Families with students in college or taxpayers who expect to get job training will need to see whether the tax breaks survive in their current form.

9. Reduced or eliminated alternative minimum tax

Lawmakers sought to get rid of the alternative minimum tax (AMT), which forces some taxpayers to pay more in taxes than they would under the regular tax laws. The House plan eliminates the AMT entirely, while the Senate proposal keeps the tax but increases the exemption amounts at which the provision takes effect. Either proposal would reduce what taxpayers pay in AMT, but the Senate bill would still force taxpayers to go through the exercise of calculating the potential tax.

Expect clarity soon

Lawmakers are trying to reconcile the two different provisions and pass a compromise bill by the end of the year. For those who are looking to plan their taxes for 2018, even that quick time frame wouldn’t be ideal, requiring last-minute decisions about how to wrap up their tax affairs in 2017.

https://www.fool.com/taxes/2017/12/07/9-potential-tax-changes-for-2018-you-need-to-kno-2.aspx

Posted in Inspiration

The Perks of Being a Member of Congress

https://www.axios.com/the-perks-of-being-a-member-of-congress-2513039230.html

Members of Congress are granted policies, benefits, and perks that grant them privileges denied in most other workplaces. In yesterday’s lead item in Axios AM, Mike Allen touched on John Boehner’s in-office smoking as an example — allowed, according to the N.Y. Times, thanks to Congress’ supremacy over District of Columbia law.

Why it matters: With prior sexual misconduct on the Hill slowly coming to light, legislators are likely to face a reckoning from their constituents on the “old way” of doing things that allowed cultural rot and excess to be swept under the rug for so many years.

Keep reading 358 WORDS

The pressure point: Taxpayer-paid settlements in sexual-harassment cases.

The perks:

Members get annual allowances (averaging $1.27 million in the House and $3.3 million in the Senate) to staff and manage their offices almost entirely as they see fit, as well as for travel and other expenses.

The House has averaged 138 legislative days each year since 2001, and the Senate 162. The job requires long days, and members are often active in their districts when not in session, but how many jobs give their employees over 6 months to plan and schedule entirely as they see fit?

While members of Congress are required to purchase insurance via an Affordable Care Act exchange, they receive a federal subsidy amounting to 72% of their premiums, per Snopes. (Democrats say it’s a stand-in for the employer contribution most workers get.) They’re also potentially eligible for lifetime health insurance

under the Federal Employees Health Benefit Program upon retirement.

Depending on age and length of service, members can receive a lifelong pension of 80% — which, given today’s congressional salary of $174,000, equals out to $139,200 in annual taxpayer-funded retirement benefits, per Investopedia.

Upon the death of a member of Congress in office, their family will receive a payout equal to a year’s salary ($174,000), per Congressional Institute. The one-time death gratuity for families of military personnel killed in action is $100,000.

Members of Congress have access to free, reserved parking spots at DC-area airports, a dedicated congressional call desk with major airlines and the ability to reserve seats on multiple flights but only pay for the flight boarded.

Our nation’s legislators get a slew of lifetime benefits even after leaving office, including a taxpayer-funded gym at the Capitol, access to the House and Senate floors, parking in House lots, and the ability to dine in the House and Senate dining rooms, per The Washington Post.

Think about it: Lifetime access to an exclusive circle means you’re likely to remain in that circle, further removing former members of Congress from the experiences of everyday Americans.

Posted in Inspiration

He is Trustworthy

“And if sorrow clouds your soul, don’t fight it; allow the tears to flow. We are not meant to be invincible, we bruise easily, and the heart is soft; prone to bleed at the slightest touch. It is in those moments of sadness that we must be brave enough to allow Christ in, to let him be present in our pain; our sorrow is seen by Christ.

One day He will wipe away every tear, He will hold us tight, but for now we must pray through the pain. Just know that Christ shares our pain, He understands the sorrow that is within you, for He was a man of many sorrows. He wept alone, He was tormented and forsaken. Believe me, a man who has been forsaken such as Christ will never forsake you. Jesus is the only person who knows all that you have been through, He is the only one who knows the deepest, darkest spots of your soul, and still—He remains.

Jesus has the scars to prove that He is trustworthy, He has the only heart that bled for you; and He will never stop loving you.”
T.B. LaBerge

Posted in Inspiration

Four C’s of Interviewing for a Job

DISCLAIMER: This is not my work, but a collection of works from others I have found to have some really good information to assist in the interview process. I will certainly remember this information for my interviews.References are listed at the bottom of the page.

 

You applied for a job and landed an interview. Now all you need to do is get through the interview and you would be one step closer to your dream job. Most people fall under pressure during a job interview. You do not have to do that. Be prepared mentally, physically and emotionally with four C’s to a successful job interview.

Confidence
Most people do not know this but confidence is a skill that you can learn. It is also the most important skill to have in any job interview. Confidence can be described as outward expressions that displays to others through verbal language, body language and eye contact. It is very important to look your interviewer in the eye. Constantly looking away while you are talking to them, might make them think that you are not sure of what you are saying. They might also think that you are not trustworthy. Throw away shyness for your job interview and be confident about yourself.

To help you feel more confident in job interviews remember the following. The person who is interviewing you is a lot of times more interested in how they are interviewing then listening to everything you are saying. This may sound strange but it is often true. Sometimes the people giving job interviews have not given enough interviews to feel comfortable. You can use this to your advantage in many situations. If you recognize you are interviewing with this type of person you can subtly make them feel better by being relaxed, and making them feel like they are doing a good job. For an example say the interviewer’s boss comes into the room to speak with you or see how things are going. You can make a comment like, “(interviewer name) has given me a really good description of the job and it makes me even more interested in working for the company.”

Communication
Remember that communication is a two-way street. It is important for you to listen attentively while the interviewer is speaking. Not only will this allow you to answer their questions effectively, but it will also show that you are genuinely interested in what they are saying. When it is your turn to say something, make sure that you speak clearly and intelligently. If the interviewer asked you a question, make sure that you answer it and do not go off topic. Some people end up saying way too much too soon.

Slightly nodding your head every once in a while, affirms you understand what the other person is saying. Also, it is important to speak clearly and intelligently. You can sometimes control the tone of an interview by how you answer questions, make comments, and ask questions. The tone of the interview can summarize how the interview went. If you sound like a pre-programmed robot, then the interviewer may walk away feeling like the interview was boring. Be relaxed and remember that it’s not all about your skills, education, and experience only. A big part for interviewers is determining if you would “fit in” to the group.

Curiosity
Non-curiosity could kill your chances of getting the job. You do not have to bombard your interviewer with question after question, but you need to show that you are interested in the job and would like to know as much as possible. If something is not clear to you, make sure that you ask them to clarify; the interviewer is not only there to ask questions, they are also happy answer any questions you might have. To clarify, by curious, I don’t mean asking question after question or making sure you understand every single detail of the position. Since this is your career, and what you will be doing, (if you accept the position – notice the confidence) make sure you ask questions when it is not clear.

Class
Always make sure that you dress professionally for any job interview. It is not all about appearance for every job, but the way you dress says a lot about how much you respect yourself. When you are talking, mind your language and leave out the cuss words. Sometimes we think without speaking and the wrong words come out.

The Four C’s: What to wear to an interview?

Interview outfit – what do you want your clothes to say about you?

The first day of school feeling never goes away. There’s the familiar but never comfortable nervous pit in your stomach, coupled by the intense pressure to make a good first impression and be impressive. You may also remember the importance of planning out your first day of school outfit. It was imperative that you had the perfect combination laid out the night before, an outfit that would set the tone for the pending scholastic year.

That infamous first day of school feeling is sure to return the night before any new experience, particularly before a job interview. The importance of planning your job interview outfit cannot be understated. To make the process a little easier, just follow the four C’s: colour, confidence, comfortable, and culture.

Four C’s Defined

Critical thinking and problem solving—the ability to make decisions, solve problems and take action as appropriate.

Effective communication—the ability to synthesize and transmit ideas in both written and oral formats.

Collaboration and team building—the ability to work effectively with others, including those from diverse groups and those with opposing points of view.

Creativity and innovation—the ability to see what’s not there and make something happen.

Source: 2012 Critical Skills Survey, AMA, December 2012.

Three out of four survey respondents (74.6 percent) said that they believe these skills and competencies will become more important to their organizations in the next three to five years, and they gave the following reasons:

  • Pace of change in business (61.4 percent).
  • Global competition (50.9 percent).
  • Nature of how work is accomplished today (30.5 percent).
  • Way work is structured (24.8 percent).

Above, Below Average Workforce Assessments

The number of managers and executives who admitted that their employees were “below average” in these skills and competencies increased in all four areas, compared with the results of the 2010 survey. Nearly 10 percent of respondents noted a lack of competence in critical thinking (up from 6.2 percent in 2010), while 13.2 percent noted a decrease in employee competence in communication skills (up from 10.6 percent in 2010). Likewise, 12.4 percent of respondents noted a decrease in their workforce competence in collaboration (up from 11.3 percent in 2010), and 19.7 percent cited a lack of workforce creativity (up from 15.6 percent in 2010).

The percentage of managers and executives who rated their employees “above average” increased for both collaboration (48.4 percent in 2012 compared with 46.7 percent in 2010) and creativity (39.0 percent in 2012 compared with 37.4 percent in 2010). However, the number of executives who rated their employees “above average” in critical thinking (50.6 percent in 2012 vs. 51.9 percent in 2010) and communication skills (37.9 percent in 2012 compared with 38.1 percent in 2010) dropped in 2012 compared with 2010 results.

The survey also reveals that the polled managers and executives believe it is easier to develop these skills in students and recent graduates (59.1 percent) than it is to develop them in experienced workers (27.1 percent), suggesting that students and recent graduates may be more open to new ideas than experienced workers with established work patterns and habits.

Respondents identified mentoring and in-house job training as the most effective methods to improve employees’ skill levels in these areas, followed by one-on-one coaching, job rotation and professional development.

Other findings:

  • 68 percent of U.S. CEOs say fostering a skilled workforce should be a top government priority, but only 3 percent believe government has been effective in doing so.
  • 65 percent of U.S. CEOs are planning to invest in creating and fostering a skilled workforce in their home country.
  • 80 percent of responding CEOs plan to strengthen employee engagement programs.
  • 89 percent of respondents are focusing on developing their leadership pipelines through active succession planning.
  • 64 percent of respondents are focusing on programs to encourage diversity among business leaders.

The Four C’s: What to wear to an interview?

Interview outfit – what do you want your clothes to say about you?

The first day of school feeling never goes away. There’s the familiar but never comfortable nervous pit in your stomach, coupled by the intense pressure to make a good first impression and be impressive. You may also remember the importance of planning out your first day of school outfit. It was imperative that you had the perfect combination laid out the night before, an outfit that would set the tone for the pending scholastic year.

That infamous first day of school feeling is sure to return the night before any new experience, particularly before a job interview. The importance of planning your job interview outfit cannot be understated. To make the process a little easier, just follow the four C’s: color, confidence, comfortable, and culture.

Color

“Men in Black” may have been a blockbuster, but should not be rule of thumb for interview candidates. A black suit is always a safe bet. However, avoid the following two combinations. An all-black outfit – black suit and black top – may be a little off-putting, dark, and uninteresting. The other interview wardrobe faux pas is the penguin – black suit and white top – this is the uniform for extras on Happy Feet and serving staff. These are two mental images you do not wish to evoke during an interview.

The easy fix, wear color! Adding color to an interview outfit is a simple switch for men or women. For example, a pop of color in a fashionable tie or pair of socks looks smart and is attention grabbing in the right way. There are innumerable options for women, such as jewel-tone blouses, silk shells in bright colors or interesting prints, and statement jewelry that pulls in a complementary color in the stone. You want to be noticed during an interview. Give yourself an extra boost by adding a color boost to your interview outfit.

Confidence

You can google what to wear on an interview, image after image of generic, stock model wearing a grey suit and light blue shirt will come up. These outfits are absolutely devoid of personality, and mean nothing to you as an individual interview candidate.

Rather than wearing what you think you should be wearing, wear what you want to wear, within the confines of propriety. Wear what makes you feel confident, what will make you feel empowered, and whatever it is that makes you stand a little taller. Whether it be a favorite color, lucky earrings, perfectly tailored blazer or stellar shoes, choose an interview outfit that will make you shine because you feel good about the way you look. Lastly, confidence is always a perfect accessory to any interview outfit.

 

Comfortable

Interviews can be uncomfortable, so be sure you walk in as comfortable as possible. Dressing comfortable does not mean your favorite hoodie and yoga pants. Dressing comfortably for an interview means dressing in clothes that you don’t have to worry about. Clothes, especially suits must be tailored and fit properly. Pant or skirt hems should not be too short, so that you are thinking about how much ankle or thigh is exposed when sitting across from your interviewer. Pants and skirts that are too tight over the hips will pucker or smile. Your face should be the only the smile during an interview.

Similarly, button-up shirts, shells or blouses should be airy and never too tight, you’ll appreciate this when you’re sitting in the hot seat. Lastly, those brand new dress shoes or towering heels may look great, but may not be practical for a full tour of the office. Wear sensible and comfortable shoes so that you can keep up, wherever your interview takes you.

Dressing comfortable means you don’t have to worry about what you’re wearing or how it looks. Instead, you can devote all your attention and energy to the task at hand, nailing your interview.

Corporate Culture (and the fifth C, Conservative or Creative)

Lawyers in particular are not known for their creative and daring fashion. Of the Bay Street industries, the legal industry may be the most conservative when it comes to the catwalk. With that in mind, dress for the corporate culture in which you are interviewing. The fifth C of interviewing for an associate position at a law firm may just be “conservative.” If you’re interviewing for a marketing, advertising, art-related position, replace conservative with “creative.” It all depends on the corporate culture.

This means, for law firms, choose darker suit colors as a rule of thumb, such as a medium to deep grey, navy or black. Skirt suits are still considered more conservative than pantsuits for women. While these rules that are not set in stone, they continue to be good guidelines to follow.

For more tips about corporate style and fashion for female lawyers and executives, and general advice about what to wear to interviews, be sure to check out Corporette’s take on the matter.

Lastly, relax and enjoy the interview. You’ve got this!

References:

http://www.jobvine.co.za/blog/2014/06/the-4-cs-to-a-successful-interview/

http://www.streetdirectory.com/etoday/the-four-cs-to-successful-interviewing-wjpawl.html

https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/organizational-and-employee-development/pages/workers-competent-in-four-cs.aspx

http://www.thehellergroup.ca/archives/four-cs-wear-interview/

 

 

Posted in Inspiration

Quick Guide: House vs Senate Tax Reform Bills

  1. State and Local Taxes: The House bill will allow deductions for state and local taxes of up to $10k, whereas the Senate bill would completely eliminate the deductions for state and local taxes.
  2. Home Mortgage Interest Deduction: The House plan would cut the deductions for a newly purchased home to $500k, while the Senate plan would maintain the current deduction of up to $1m.
  3. Personal Tax Credits and Deductions: The Senate plan would preserve current popular tax credits and deductions, such as adoption, medical expense, teacher expenses and student loan interest. The House plan had originally removed these credits and deductions, but Thursday November 8th restored the adoption tax credit. In the Senate bill the child tax credit is raised to begin to phase out at $1m of income for married couples while the House plan it is lowered to $230k. Child tax credit is raised to $1650 in the Senate bill and $1600 in the House bill.
  4. Tax brackets: The House bill would condense the number of tax brackets to four: 12 percent for income up to $90,000; 25 percent for income up to $260,000; 35 percent for income up to $1 million; and 39.6 percent for income over $1 million.The Senate bill would establish seven tax brackets at 10 percent, 12 percent, 22.5 percent, 25 percent, 32.5 percent, 35 percent and 38.5 percent for the nation’s highest income earners. The top rate kicks in for individuals who earn $500,000 and couples who earn $1 million.
  5. Corporate tax rate: Both bills would cut the corporate tax rate to 20%, but the Senate bill would delay that cut until 2019, while the House bill corporate tax cut would begin in 2018.
  6. Estate tax: The House bill will repeal the estate tax exemption entirely while the Senate bill would double it from $11m to $22m.
  7. Pass-through businesses: The House bill would establish a 25 percent rate for pass-through companies but would only make 30 percent of their revenue eligible for that rate and tax the other 70 percent as wages under the individual tax rate. That would result in a blended rate for many small businesses between 35 percent and 38 percent. The Senate bill would establish a 17.4 percent deduction for pass-through businesses based on the Section 199 domestic manufacturing deduction that would lower the effective tax rate for small businesses in the top tax rate to slightly more than 30 percent, according to a Senate Finance Committee aide. The House on Thursday adopted an amendment to provide additional relief to small businesses. It would create a new nine-percent tax rate for the first $75,000 of income of a married active owner who has less than $150,000 of pass-through income.

References:

http://thehill.com/policy/finance/359725-key-differences-between-the-senate-and-house-tax-plans

http://www.cleveland.com/datacentral/index.ssf/2017/11/what_the_house_and_senate_tax.html