Archive for December, 2013
Not everyone thinks that following a certain date on a calendar will lead to success, but there will be millions of people using January 1st as a day to kick-start some changes by setting at least one New Year’s resolution. Regardless of whether tomorrow is your starting date or if something like April 11th suits your fancy, here are 5 tips that will help you plan and achieve your goals in 2014.
1. Be honest. If you don’t abide by this rule, the next four won’t matter. The mistake many people make is using someone else’s resolutions. It doesn’t matter if your neighbor wants to quit smoking and asks you to join him. It isn’t important that your co-worker wants to drink less soda if you really like your daily fix. It isn’t helpful if your spouse wants you to lose those 10 pounds but you think you look and feel good enough. Be honest about whether a resolution is important to you, and not something you are doing to make someone else happy.
2. Make a list of WHY your resolutions are important. Most advice revolves around setting specific, smart goals. You know the drill: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timebound. What people usually forget is to write down why their goals are important to them. If you have something measurable written down, but then fail to meet the measurement you wanted, you can get discouraged and want to throw in the towel. But if you have a list of why your goal is important to you, it will encourage you not to give up.
3. Plan for failure. By this, I don’t mean failure in the big sense. I mean the little setbacks that will make you feel like you’re failing. If your resolution is to exercise 3 days a week, but you are busy, under the weather or work extra hours one week and only get in 2 workouts, you might feel like you have failed. That doesn’t mean you should give up, though. Sometimes life happens. Big changes doesn’t take place overnight. You will have setbacks. That’s a fact. So anticipate them, and have plans in reserve for how you will overcome them if they seem to happen more often than not.
Read the last 2 resolutions here.
Are you someone who sets New Year’s resolutions and starts working on them January 1st? If you have any tips of your own, please share them in the comments!
This poem comes via the Vietnam Dog Handlers Association. The credit reads: “A Military Christmas Poem as shared by Doug Davis“ and was posted by “LCDR Jeff Giles, SC, USN.”
Jeff concluded the poem with these words: “Christmas will be coming soon and some credit is due to our U.S service men and women for our being able to celebrate these festivities. Let’s try in this small way to pay a tiny bit of what we owe. Make people stop and think of our heroes, living and dead, who sacrificed themselves for us.”
A Different Christmas Poem
The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light, I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight. My wife was asleep, her head on my chest, My daughter beside me, angelic in rest. Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white, Transforming the yard to a winter delight.
The sparkling lights in the tree I believe, Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve. My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep, Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep. In perfect contentment, or so it would seem, So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.
The sound wasn’t loud, and it wasn’t too near, But I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear. Perhaps just a cough, I didn’t quite know, Then the sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow. My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear, And I crept to the door just to see who was near.
Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night, A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight. A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old, Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold. Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled, Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.
”What are you doing?” I asked without fear, “Come in this moment, it’s freezing out here! Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve, You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!” For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift, Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts.
To the window that danced with a warm fire’s light. Then he sighed and he said “It’s really all right, I’m out here by choice. I’m here every night.” It’s my duty to stand at the front of the line, That separates you from the darkest of times.
No one had to ask or beg or implore me, I’m proud to stand here like my fathers before me. My Gramps died at ‘Pearl on a day in December,” Then he sighed, “That’s a Christmas ‘Gram always remembers.” My dad stood his watch in the jungles of ‘Nam’, And now it is my turn and so, here I am.
I’ve not seen my own son in more than a while, But my wife sends me pictures, he’s sure got her smile.” Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag, The red, white, and blue… an American flag. “I can live through the cold and the being alone, Away from my family, my house and my home.
I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet, I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat. I can carry the weight of killing another, Or lay down my life with my sister and brother. Who stand at the front against any and all, To ensure for all time that this flag will not fall.”
”So go back inside” he said, “harbor no fright, Your family is waiting and I’ll be all right.” “But isn’t there something I can do, at the least, “Give you money?” I asked, “or prepare you a feast? It seems all too little for all that you’ve done, For being away from your wife and your son.”
Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret, “Just tell us you love us, and never forget. To fight for our rights back at home while we’re gone, To stand your own watch, no matter how long. For when we come home, either standing or dead, To know you remember we fought and we bled. Is payment enough, and with that we will trust, That we mattered to you as you mattered to us.”
#militarychristmas #usmilitary #militarythanks
In case you’ve been living under a stack of textbooks, the space-thriller Gravity opened in theaters nationwide in early October. It’s been praised as a filmmaking advance the likes of which we haven’t seen since King Kong climbed the Empire State Building. It’s also been panned as a flat, lifeless script. But love it or hate it, there are a few things we can learn from it. [Warning- mild spoilers ahead]
1. Sometimes, trouble just keeps flying at you.
The first conflict the heroes encounter in the film, in hindsight, is a small one: the mechanism Dr. Stone has created to solve a problem on the Hubble telescope doesn’t work properly. In fact, it doesn’t work at all. Then a radio communication from Houston signals the next, more ominous problem: a wave of debris is hurtling toward them. And the fun just continues from there.
It’s exhausting. But it’s also relatable. Because we’ve all had periods of time when it seems like challenges snowball into an avalanche of trouble. When one obstacle – whether it’s a test, a deadline, or a personal challenge passes, another is often lined up right behind it.
In the film, once the flying space trash of doom passes, the clock begins ticking. Since it’s orbiting the earth, it’s only a matter of time before it returns to wreak more havoc. And in the midst of the havoc-wreaking, the only thing anyone can do is to go through it the very best they can.
The message the film sends is one of patience and perseverance. When you’re in school or working, or both – those pieces of debris will hurtle toward you. Guaranteed. And, like the fated astronauts in “Gravity,” you can- and will – find a way to keep moving.
2. We can choose how we respond to catastrophe.
At one point in this film, for all intents and purposes, there is absolutely no hope whatsoever. None. Every possible route back to earth has been effectively nixed. Nothing doing.
The decision the astronaut has to make at this point is an important one, and a lesson for everyone who’s ever felt cut off from the rest of the world, backed into a corner, or in an otherwise crummy spot: You get to decide whether you blaze forward and make your own way or fizzle out.
Even when we feel at our most alone, we still have resources to call on, bounce ideas off of, and guide us back into orbit. That’s another important lesson from this film – the beauty of the human spirit’s resiliency and power to hope, even when the possible outcomes aren’t clear.
There are moments in Gravity when the camera shifts to first person point of view – we see what the astronaut sees. It’s breathtaking and awe-inspiring to say the least.
When you realize that there are astronauts occupying the ISS who see similar views of earth and space each day, it puts trivial problems like traffic, a late homework assignment or a ruined pair of khakis into perspective. It’s a good reminder that we earth-dwellers are a tiny part of the cosmos and whatever troubles we have – although they’re important to us – are temporary.
So if you were wondering how Military Authority relates to Gravity and its stars, Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, hopefully we’ve answered your question. Whether you’re a soldier, student or spouse, there’s something to be said for an action-packed film that’s able to make hurtling through space a uniquely personal experience. It’s a space movie that grapples with the kind of human struggles you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to understand.
Have you seen Gravity yet? Did it speak to you? Are there other movies that resonated with you? Tell us in the comments.
Copyright by Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc
#militaryauthority #gravitymovie #bullock #clooney
WASHINGTON (Dec. 4, 2013) – Veterans, their families and survivors receiving disability compensation and pension benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs will receive a 1.5 percent cost-of-living increase in their monthly payments beginning Jan. 1, 2014.
“We’re pleased there will be another cost-of-living increase for Veterans, their families and their survivors,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. “The increase expresses in a tangible way our Nation’s gratitude for the sacrifices made by our service-disabled and wartime Veterans.”
For the first time, payments will not be rounded down to the nearest dollar. Until this year, that was required by law. Veterans and survivors will see additional cents included in their monthly compensation benefit payment.
For Veterans without dependents, the new compensation rates will range from $130.94 monthly for a disability rated at 10 percent to $2,858.24 monthly for 100 percent. The full rates are available at www.benefits.va.gov/compensation/rates-index.asp.
The COLA increase also applies to disability and death pension recipients, survivors receiving dependency and indemnity compensation, disabled Veterans receiving automobile and clothing allowances, and other benefits.
Under federal law, cost-of-living adjustments for VA’s compensation and pension must match those for Social Security benefits. The last adjustment was in January 2013 when the Social Security benefits rate increased 1.7 percent.
In fiscal year 2013, VA provided over $59 billion in compensation benefits to nearly 4 million Veterans and survivors, and over $5 billion in pension benefits to more than 515,000 Veterans and survivors.
For Veterans and separating Servicemembers who plan to file an electronic disability claim, VA urges them to use the joint DoD/VA online portal, eBenefits. Registered eBenefits users with a premium account can file a claim online, track the status, and access a variety of other benefits, including pension, education, health care, home loan eligibility, and vocational rehabilitation and employment programs.
For more information about VA benefits, visit www.benefits.va.gov, or call 1-800-827-1000.
#2014COLA #VAbenefits #veteransbenefits