5 Important Facts About the 2020 United States Census

Every ten years, the United States counts its population in efforts to fairly allocate government resources. Although every citizen is encouraged to respond to the Census, some people avoid participating because they are unaware of its importance, or are concerned about how their answers will be used. If you’d like to know more in-depth information about the 2020 Census, check out these five facts.

  1. Why Is The Census Important?

The data provided in the 2020 Census helps both local and federal governing bodies make decisions. House of Representatives seats, legislative districts, and government funding is determined based on the information the Census provides. Many vital programs, such as Medicaid and Head Start, also rely on Census data to fund their efforts. Additionally, community necessities (ex: hospitals, fire departments, schools, roads, etc.) are dispensed based on Census reports.

2. When Will It Happen?

Although data collection started in January in some remote locations, for most citizens the Census count begins March 12th. By April 1 (Census Day), every U.S. home will have received a 2020 Census invitation. April also marks the month that Census takers begin traveling to college campuses, senior establishments, and other community living centers to interview residents. The next three months will be used to visit addresses that have yet to respond to the Census. In December, all the information collected will be sent to both the President and Congress. Redistricting changes will go into effect March of 2021.

3. Which Methods Can I Use to Respond? 

You can respond to the 2020 Census in one of three ways: online, by phone, or by mail. If you live in an area where residents are being interviewed, you can respond by speaking to a Census taker in-person. 

4. Is My Information Safe?

Census workers take an oath of confidentiality and agree to protect your data for life. The law also requires that Census data collection and storage abides by stringent rules that prioritize your privacy. Although the Census’ quantifiable data is passed along to the government, your anonymity is still preserved. 

5. How Can I Help?

There are plenty of ways to help with this year’s Census. Here are a few:

  • Apply to be a Census taker
  • Fill out your Census survey as accurately and promptly as possible
  • Encourage other households to complete their Census

The United States Census is essential to your community’s resources on a local and federal level. Participating in the survey is an amazing way to make sure that the neighborhood you know and love gets the support it needs. Review these five 2020 Census facts and make sure to be counted when the time comes.

Theron and Darlene Nelson5 Important Facts About the 2020 United States Census
Read More

Four Challenges To Try For Your Personal Growth

Unless You Try To Do Something Beyond What You
Have Already Mastered, You Will Never Grow
-Ralph Waldo

Learning is something that should never stop throughout life. Regardless of age or any other circumstances, it is never too late to learn something new. Likewise, no one is too smart or accomplished to ditch learning altogether.  Reports even reveal that the most successful people in the world relentlessly pursue activities that will widen their knowledge and enhance their skills. As a quote from the great philosopher, Aristotle says, “The more you know, the more you realize you don’t know.” Moreover, being open to more learning opportunities will pave the way for your personal growth. It is also a healthy way to challenge yourself which can make life more exciting and purposeful. The following are six challenges you can try that can potentially make you a better person.

Dare to learn a new language.
With rapid technological advancements, the world is indeed getting smaller. Since communicating with people from all over the globe is now easier, career opportunities in various locations are also opening up. One way to increase your chances of these opportunities is by learning a foreign language. Even if you do not intend to work in another country, the ability to speak and understand another language will make a lot of things easier for you such as traveling or networking. Fluency in a foreign language is likewise an impressive skill to add to your resume.  

Dare to finish a new course.
If you do not want to be left behind, it is a must to keep on finding ways to hone your existing skills and at the same time learn new ones. To stay indispensable, you may want to challenge yourself to enroll in a new course that will upgrade your skills. With many analysts predicting that many jobs will soon be done by machines in the future, taking time to gain knowledge about new fields or industries can help make you confident that no robots can replace you in the future.

Dare to go offline.
The Internet has become a major aspect of the life of a modern man as people nowadays rely on the Web for almost everything. However, being online all day and night may make you miss some of the most important things in life. So how about challenging yourself to go offline for a period of time? Try to see how long can you last without checking out your social media feed, using your mobile apps, or playing an online game. Pretending like the Internet does not exist can make you appreciate things around you or discover something about yourself that is impossible when your nose is always buried in a smartphone. 

Dare to declutter and organize.
For many,  a pristine desk, a well-organized closet, and a spotless living room are nothing but pictures they see on catalog pictures. This is understandable as maintaining an immaculately clean and organized abode is not that easy. However, it is in no way impossible to attain. Thus, you can always set out a challenge to exert effort to finally remove all the clutter and excesses in your home. Despite difficulties such as a busy schedule, make it a goal to improve your personal space and make it look straight out of a home catalog picture.

“Once you stop learning, you start dying,” according to Albert Einstein, Thus, live a full and happy life by continuously finding ways to learn and grow.

Theron and Darlene NelsonFour Challenges To Try For Your Personal Growth
Read More

Handmade Gifts Kids Can Give For the Holidays

Buying the perfect gifts for your loved ones is one of the best parts of the holiday season. But children who are too young to drive or earn enough money for presents want to feel the same sense of ownership and pride when giving holiday gifts. Homemade presents are an excellent  remedy. Here are three handmade gifts kids can give for the holidays.     

1. Annual Ornament

The annual ornament is a hit with sentimental family members who enjoy keepsakes. Not only do handmade ornaments allow your children to flex their creative skills, they also display their artistic growth year after year. There are many ways to approach creating an ornament (with an adult’s help). Here are a few ideas, with links:

*Don’t forget to write the year on the ornament  

2. Mason Jar Mixes

Mason jar mixes are as simple as they sound. All you need is a mason jar, a few decorations to spruce up the outside of the jar, and something yummy to put on the inside. You can let your children have the creative freedom to choose which treats to give. Here are some options of ingredients to mix in:

  • Nuts
  • Chex
  • Pretzels
  • Chocolate Chips
  • Any Small Candy
  • Oreo or Brownie Chunks 

*Be mindful of allergies and adjust your mason jar mix based on food sensitivities for each recipient

3. Custom Picture Frame

In a digital word, many people store photos on their phones and online albums, making picture frames a dying art. But for those who still enjoy displaying traditional prints, this gift idea is perfect. Picture frames can be made from anything: ranging from items found in nature (leaves, shells, sticks) to popular art mediums (clay, wood, wire). As long as you have a sturdy base, your children can make the front of the frame as colorful or textures as they’d like. Add a personal picture to complete the gift.

Handmade presents are a labor of love. The recipients will feel honored that someone wanted to take the time to create a gift with them in mind. In return, your children will feel gratified when watching just how meaningful it is to give a heartfelt present. What a wonderful way to celebrate the true spirit of the season!  

Theron and Darlene NelsonHandmade Gifts Kids Can Give For the Holidays
Read More

3 Beautiful Places to Travel This Fall Season

America is an amazing country with wondrous sights at every turn. With summer coming to an end, many people are hoping to take advantage of the cooler weather by finding a vacation spot worthy of exploration. If you’re in the market for a little adventure, here are three beautiful places to travel this fall season.

1. Sedona, Arizona

With its beautiful red rock mountains and gorgeous autumn temperatures, you’re bound to fall in love with this northern Arizona city. Sedona is known for its vortexes, state parks (Slide Rock and Red Rock), Pink Jeep Tours, breathtaking sunsets and remarkable stargazing opportunities.

Only 2 hours away from the Grand Canyon (Arizona’s greatest natural wonder), and one hour away from Flagstaff (the high country, where you’ll frequently find snow during the winter), Sedona is perfectly positioned by nearby landmarks you may also wish to visit. 

2. New York City, New York

“Autumn in New York, why does it seem so inviting?”

Those are the opening lyrics of a wildly popular song by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong. Maybe it’s the lovely weather: ranging from the low 50s to 70s. October also boasts the lowest rainfall totals for the year, creating ideal conditions for sight-seeing. It could be the robust color change of the fall leaves in Central Park. It may even be the annual Village Halloween Parade or the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade that comes a bit later in the season when temperatures begin to drop even more. Whatever the reasons may be, millions of tourists marvel over New York City each fall season, with hopes of one day to return and do it all over again.  

3. Asheville, North Carolina

Perhaps a little southern hospitality is more your cup of tea. In the western portion of North Carolina is a quaint mountain town that may pique your interest. The town of Asheville is home to the Biltmore Estate, a 250 room mansion that is considered to be the largest in the country. Historic architecture is certainly a notable feature of this city, but even if you aren’t a history buff, there are plenty of other attractions that make a fall visit worthwhile. Asheville boasts it’s vast brewery and culinary selections, a breathtaking art district, and outdoor activities for the adventurer in you. Average temperatures fall between the low 50s to low 70s with scattered showers here and there, so pack a light jacket for your travels.

These three cities make outstanding options for you and your family to visit. Whether you’re looking for traditional tourist stops or less well-known, under-the-radar gems, the beauty within each assuredly will make your trip one for the books. No matter which destination you choose, remember to have fun and focus on what’s most important – the memories you make.

Theron and Darlene Nelson3 Beautiful Places to Travel This Fall Season
Read More

Four Simple Ways To Show Patriotism Every Day

Patriotism is a word often associated with heroic acts that bring revolutionary changes to society. We also attribute this quality to great men and women in history whose actions reflect deep love and commitment to their country. Although the said assumptions are true to some extent, it is important to realize that patriotic acts are not limited to huge sacrifices or accomplishments worthy of national recognition. Small gestures that show your support for your society and government are also considered patriotic acts. In reality, patriotism is an act that every responsible member of society should practice every day.

The following are some suggestions on how you can show patriotism in your daily life:

Know your history and culture.

Patriotism stems from the feeling of pride and attachment to the country from which you belong. It will be difficult to be proud of your nationality if you have little knowledge about its history and culture. Aside from the usual lessons we learn in school, it is good to seek other resources that will help you understand your nation better. The interesting history you will discover will allow you to see your place of residence in a new light. Likewise, reading great accomplishments that your ancestors have done to help the country move forward will also help make you feel proud of your roots. Moreover, you can also spread your newfound knowledge and encourage others to be patriotic too.

Embrace local products.

One way to show patriotism is by supporting endeavors that make the economy grow stronger. Even if you are not an entrepreneur, you can still propel economic growth by patronizing local products. Taking a minute to check if the products you are buying are made locally can make a positive impact on the economy. It can also empower small businesses and startups in the country.

Keep up with the news. 

It may not always be apparent but everything that happens in society affects us. Thus, you need to be aware of the happenings in the society you live in. You are not living in isolation so it is a must to read or watch the news regularly. Besides, being well-informed has many advantages and is an act of patriotism. First, it will help you make wise decisions in your everyday life. Secondly,  it will give you ideas on how you can better help your community. 

Follow government policies.

Being a good citizen means exerting efforts to diligently observe policies. This would mean paying your taxes on time and obeying other regulations set by the authorities. You can likewise choose to support projects that the local community starts. You can sign up as a volunteer or simply support initiatives that will bring positive changes to society in general.  

Every day, every citizen of a country has a choice to make – be a burden or an asset. Make a choice that will benefit yourself and future generations – be a citizen that your country will be proud of! Start incorporating patriotism in your daily life!

Theron and Darlene NelsonFour Simple Ways To Show Patriotism Every Day
Read More

Three Questions For A Meaningful Mid-Year Reflection

Can you still recall how you welcomed 2019? No one wants to start the year on a bad note so you probably spent a day to party and celebrate. Amidst the fun, the first month of the year is also famous for goal-setting. With resolutions to fulfill and promises to keep, you probably started the year with lots of hope and optimism. Until the New Year vibe eventually gives way to the humdrum of your daily routine and the months begin to pass by in a flash. In the blink of an eye, you woke up and June is here. In your own perfect world, you should have (or almost) accomplished most of your goals for the year by now.

In reality, there is a big chance that you have long abandoned or forgotten your resolutions. A research study done by a social network community for athletes, Strava,revealed that most people give up their New Year’s Resolution as early as January 12. If you are one of those people who fail to keep their resolutions, the said survey can offer a sense of comfort. However, this study should also bring in questions about what made it hard to fulfill the goals you set. You may be feeling a bit sluggish and unmotivated around this time of the year, but June is actually a great month for some mid-year reflections. Stop for a while to ponder avout the direction you are heading. Revisit your resolutions and hopefully gain the courage to start over, and this time succeed. The questions listed below may help make your mid-year reflection more meaningful:

What made it difficult to keep your resolutions?
Look back on the past months to understand the factors that made you give up your resolutions so easily. Did you set up unrealistic goals? Then it is time to make some adjustments by setting small but achievable goals. Maybe it was easy to abandon your objectives because you forgot to create a clear and effective strategy to accomplish them. Then it is time to think of a detailed action plan to succeed.  Once you identified the obstacles that prevented you from moving toward your goals, you can start taking steps to correct your mistakes.

What are your strengths and weaknesses?
Did you try your best to accomplish your goals but still failed? It is probably because you are not fully aware of your own abilities and shortcomings. To deal wisely with life situations, your first goal should be to know yourself. Without this knowledge, you may end up setting impossible goals and starting ventures without any inkling of the difficulties you may have to face.  Knowing your strengths will allow you to use them to your advantage. Meanwhile, being aware of your weaknesses will open your eyes to the areas you need to improve on and circumstances you may want to avoid.

What are the habits that I need to develop?
Resolutions are made by weak people. To successfully commit to something, you need to improve your character and develop exemplary traits. If you want to keep your resolutions, it may be time to assess the traits that you need to develop. For one, you need to instill self-discipline and strengthen willpower. You may also need to be more organized and productive. As you develop good habits, you are also breaking bad ones such as laziness and procrastination.

With half of the year gone, you may think it is too late to revisit the resolutions you made and start over. But can you bear to give up so easily when the second half of the year is still yours to claim? At the end of the day, making resolutions is not set by a specific time or month. Taking a step towards a better you is certainly something you can do anytime you wish.

Theron and Darlene NelsonThree Questions For A Meaningful Mid-Year Reflection
Read More

Is Your Child A Pessimist? Four Things You Can Do To Help

For responsible parents, raising a child with a sunny disposition is a great achievement. You want them to be positive and eager about what life has to offer. Instilling a “can do” mindset in your little ones will give them the strength to withstand any trials that come their way. But what if your child shakes his or her head whenever you suggest a new activity? It can understandably be cause for concern when you see your child hesitate to try something new because of fear of failure or embarrassment. A pessimistic child, though, does not necessarily grow up to become a pessimistic adult. As parents, you have the power to influence your child’s behavior and attitude by the things you do and say. While they are still young, take advantage of the opportunity to turn your child’s behavior around. Make it a goal to teach your child to banish self-doubt and face any task with confidence. The following are five things you can do to raise an optimist.

Practice positivity yourself.
Numerous studies reveal that children learn best by imitation. One research from the University of Washington reveals that babies learn just by watching their parents. It would therefore be difficult to raise a child who notices the possibilities more than the obstacles if you do not practice it yourself. So keep on seeing your cup as half-full even in the midst of challenges. Go through your daily life with as much positive energy as you can muster so you don’t allow small setbacks to crush you or your children’s hope. You can also motivate your child to stay cheerful despite odds by sharing inspiring stories of positive people. Being a living example of all the wonderful benefits that positive thinking brings is the best way to encourage your child to do the same.

Be a good listener.
You want to understand where your child’s negative behavior is coming from. Why is your kid fearful or anxious? What are the things that are keeping your child from looking at the bright side of things? Most of the time, problems appear bigger when we keep them in our own head. Take time to discuss these concerns  without resorting to blaming or judging. Listening with empathetic and understanding ears will greatly lessen your child’s worries. They might even realized that there is nothing to be fearful of.

Offer practical solutions.
Once you know the reasons for your child’s worries, it is important to help him or her realize that walking away or avoiding their fears will not not solve anything. Help them deal with their problems by offering advice and tangible solutions. For example, you can introduce affirmation methods to help them cope with anxiety or search for classes that can help with what they are struggling with. Doing everything you can to help a child overcome a weakness is an effective way to prove that every problem has a corresponding solution.

Nurture a happy home and show unconditional love.
Parents who want their kids to grow up confident about overcoming weaknesses should be ready to offer constant support and encouragement. By staying on their side even during times of defeat and failure, you will make them feel safe and protected. This will build up their inner strength as they know that they can count on you no matter what. Showing children unconditional love will be easier if you foster a home where people respect and uplift each other. Positivity will bloom in an environment where your child feels safe, loved and protected.

Being a parent is a wonderful opportunity to leave a lasting legacy in the world. Moreover, not everyone is given this chance. So cherish this privilege by making a conscious effort to raise children who are happy, confident, and positive. Strive to be a good parent and do humanity a great favor.

Theron and Darlene NelsonIs Your Child A Pessimist? Four Things You Can Do To Help
Read More

3 Money Saving Techniques to Help You Travel on a Budget

Traveling is fun, spending money is not. Fortunately, adept travelers know that there are plenty of financially efficient ways to see the world. With a little extra planning and masterful interpersonal skills, there are countless methods to help you enjoy a memorable trip on a budget. Here are three money saving techniques to help you travel on a budget.

  1. Save on Transportation

When traveling, transportation costs add up quickly. Unfortunately for long distance trips, plane tickets are a necessary evil, but after landing transportation options become much more flexible. If you are visiting a big city let public transportation keep your expenses low. Many trollies, buses, lightrails, subways and trains offer discounts for long term and day passes. Before embarking on your trip, research the cost efficiency of what your destination city has to offer. If public transportation isn’t your thing, consider relying on ride sharing services. Because car services have peak time surcharges and don’t offer many discounts for long term use, short, frequent trips can put a major dent in your budget. To avoid this, walk as far as is comfortable before scheduling pick-up. Group tourist events by location so you can spend a whole day walking from attraction to attraction without needing to call for extra rides. Lastly, ask your hotel staff about the cheapest modes of travel. On occasion, hotels have even been known to provide shuttles for their occupants.

  1. Timing Matters

Traveling discounts are unique when it comes to timing. Depending on what’s being purchased, buying well in advance could save just as much money as waiting until the very last minute. When deal hunting, keep this in mind. While flight fees tend to be lower when purchased early, hotels can go either way. Make sure to scour discount sites for both early bird and last minute deals. You can even continue to look for last minute hotel deals while on vacation. You never know when an unfilled room could save enough money to make the hassle of switching hotels well worth your time.

  1. Plan Ahead

Planning the particulars could make a huge difference in your travel budget. Here are a few ways to plan ahead and save money:

  • Choose a hotel that has a kitchen. Food is expensive, especially when eating out. Cut costs by shopping for groceries at a local market, storing them in your hotel fridge and making meals instead of buying them. Packed lunches and home cooked dinners will prevent you from needing to find multiple restaurants to dine at every day of your vacation. Plus, with your fridge, you can safely store snacks and leftovers to fill the gaps between meal times.

  • Double check your suitcase before leaving. For extra assurance, create a checklist of necessities to use when packing and last minute checks. Use your time wisely and don’t wait until you’re too rushed to pack responsibly. Many travelers end up spending unnecessary funds by repurchasing items that they accidentally left at home. Don’t let this common mistake cost you.

Don’t let a limited budget hold you back from exploring the world. Get creative with how you structure your trip and accomodations. Leave no rock unturned when searching for resources that will help save money while on vacation and enjoy your budget-friendly fun.

Theron and Darlene Nelson3 Money Saving Techniques to Help You Travel on a Budget
Read More

How to Peacefully Work Through Disagreements with Your Child

Children go through phases of parental opposition. Toddlers learn the word no, which quickly becomes the go-to response for even the simplest of requests. At kindergarten age, kids learn to voice their opinions. “I don’t want to eat vegetables mom!” Maybe even, “Dad, that’s not how my teacher said to do my math.” As preteens they question how in touch you are with today’s world, and as teenagers, they blatantly disregard your guidance. Every parent has endured these stages and every child has participated in at least a few of the scenarios above. All of them are developmentally normal. But normal doesn’t equal easy. Disagreements get more difficult to handle the older your child gets, but there are helpful approaches to diffusing, instead of escalating, arguments.

Listen and Validate

The first step is simply to listen. No matter how you personally feel about what your children or teens have to say, the least you can do is listen. Listening requires an open mind, positive body language and responses of acknowledgement. We give our spouses, colleagues and friends the respect of feeling heard, even in moments of discord, so we owe our children nothing less. After allowing them to voice their thoughts it’s important to validate their feelings. Remember that validation isn’t synonymous with agreement. It’s possible to let your children know that their feelings are valid without agreeing with their method of expression or the thought process that led them to their conclusion.

Explain Your Perspective

Now that you’ve taken the time to listen, the next step is to explain your perspective. You may have very strong opinions about how your children are acting or the things they’ve said, but try your best to take a deep breath before sharing your opposition. Explosive anger will only breed an equally volatile response. The goal is to bring peace and offer the most reasonable solution. Be concise. No one enjoys hearing a long drawn out explanation of why they are wrong. Instead of belaboring the point, try using phrases that provide clarity in the most tolerable form. If your children attempt to interrupt you while you are sharing your thoughts, now is the time to nip that habit in the bud. Just as you gave them a chance to speak without interruption, they now need to do the same. If they are doing it to you, they are accustomed doing it to other people as well. Remember that these moments of opposition provide wonderful teaching opportunities to model healthy communication skills.

Extend Love

The last step is to extend an olive branch of love. Whether that be a hug, kind word or a trip for ice cream. Whatever best fits your family dynamic will suffice. After heated exchanges, both parties’ feathers may be a little ruffled. As the parent it’s your responsibility to take the high road and spearhead efforts to soothe any remaining animosity. At the end of the day you both love each other and desire a harmonious coexistence. You won’t always walk away in agreement, but you will always have love to fallback on.

Raising children is tough. As they age, they begin to form opinions that are just as strong as yours. Fortunately, if you rely on the techniques above, your family will learn that disagreements don’t need to lead to heated debates that end in hurt feelings. Embrace your role as the best example your children have and be the change you wish to see.

Theron and Darlene NelsonHow to Peacefully Work Through Disagreements with Your Child
Read More

Having A Bad Day? Science-Proven Ways To Turn It Around

Let’s face it; some days are indeed harder than the others. No matter how you try to avoid it, there will be mornings when you feel like you have woken up on the wrong side of the bed. Days when you probably wish there is a zone where you can conveniently hide for a while. It is so tempting to give in and allow the negative emotions to engulf you.

However, letting a bad day get the better of you may mean lost chances. Some opportunities knock only once so you may deeply regret doing nothing at all to beat the blues on your gloomy days. So next time you catch yourself having a day, stand firm to shoo away that invisible dark cloud which seems to hover and follow you around.

The following are simple and science-proven ways you can try to help you cope with the worst situations.

Grab Some Sweets

Your lousy days provide the perfect excuse to satisfy your sweet cravings. A study conducted by scientists from Loma Linda University in California revealed that eating dark chocolates can effectively fight away stress and boost your mood. So quit feeling guilty next time you want to indulge in dark chocolates. Just remember to eat in moderation to optimize the benefits you can gain from it.

Take A Stroll

Feeling overwhelmed with a myriad of tasks? You may want to take a break by having a quick stroll. Various studies attest that walking can instantly snap you out of the grouchy mood as the simple exercise promote the release of endorphins, the hormones that help you cope with stress. Moreover, a research study done in University of Georgia back in 2008 claims that moderate exercise can boost energy and lessen fatigue by 65 percent.

Invite Positive Energy With Colors

Colors influence our thinking and emotions more than we realize. So do not choose dark outfits to match your bleak days. Instead, perk yourself up by wearing something yellow and green. The vibrant hues remind us of sunshine and nature that may help you relax on a stressful day. A research study done in Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam concludes that people generally feel cheerful when surrounded with those two shades.

Try The Laughter Therapy

Problems tend to get bigger when you dwell on it so much so don’t take your bad days too seriously. Ease your worries and anxieties with a good laugh and your bad days may just magically transform into a good one. Likewise, you can do things that make you happy such as dancing or singing to laugh stress away. A study done by the American Physiological Society showed that even the expectation of a good laugh can significantly reduce the damaging effects of stress.

 

Life is a series of unexpected events and bad days happen to the best of us. You may not be able to completely avoid it but the choice on how to deal with it is always ours to make. In the end, your actions and decisions during your lowest point can either ruin or empower you.

Theron and Darlene NelsonHaving A Bad Day? Science-Proven Ways To Turn It Around
Read More