Pay­ing it for­ward is a con­cept sweep­ing its way across the coun­try. This involves one per­son doing some­thing for the good of another. The idea behind it is that this will make oth­ers stop and think about how they can help oth­ers in the mid­dle of their busy days. Though you might think that it takes a lot of time to help oth­ers, you can pay it for­ward in some smaller ways. Doing some­thing good for another per­son can restore their faith in human­ity and make you feel a lit­tle closer to God.

Donate Your Time

How much time do you have avail­able every week? If you have even an hour free, you can feel good when you donate time to help oth­ers in need. The Sal­va­tion Army is a chris­t­ian char­ity that always needs sup­port in its ware­houses. You can help work­ers sort dona­tions sold in its thrift stores, or you can actu­ally work in those stores. The money raised goes back to sup­port the local com­mu­nity. Ed Young posts on his blog about other ways you can give back and help your com­mu­nity at the same time that you work for a reli­gious organization.

Leave a Good Tip

Wait­ers and wait­resses make less than $3 an hour and depend on tips to make min­i­mum wage. While some are good about leav­ing high tips for those work­ing in the restau­rant indus­try, oth­ers leave no tips at all. Leav­ing 10 per­cent is stan­dard, but some believe in leav­ing 15 to 20 per­cent. The next time that you go out to eat, try leav­ing a higher per­cent­age as a tip. You never know when an extra $10 or more can help your wait­ress pay her rent or cover the cost of day­care for a few more days.

Help Some­one in Your Neighborhood

If you know your neigh­bors well, you know who strug­gles and who has prob­lems out­side of their con­trol. Instead of sit­ting in your home and watch­ing them, try help­ing out. This can be as easy as vol­un­teer­ing to watch a sin­gle mom’s kids for the night so she can have a night for her­self, or you might offer to cook din­ner for a cou­ple with a new baby in the house. Don’t for­get about your elderly neigh­bors either. They might need help get­ting to the gro­cery store or a doctor’s appointment.

Buy for Others

Buy­ing for oth­ers is one of the eas­i­est ways that you can give back. One of the biggest lessons found in the bible deals with indi­vid­u­als help­ing the less for­tu­nate. Many reli­gious orga­ni­za­tions need dona­tions every year to assist the home­less and those strug­gling with other prob­lems. Instead of donat­ing those canned goods in the back of your pantry or the cloth­ing you no longer wear, try pur­chas­ing some new items. Buy canned meats, veg­eta­bles, soups and other non­per­ish­able foods, and donate socks, under­wear and cloth­ing of dif­fer­ent sizes for both kids and adults.

Pay­ing it for­ward lets you do your part to help those in need in your com­mu­nity. You can work with your church and your fel­low parish­ioners to spread the word about your cam­paign as well. This helps get more peo­ple involved, which can lead to more peo­ple get­ting the help that they need.

When it comes to think­ing about Amer­i­can his­tory, some of us cringe. We’re reminded of school days when we were com­pelled to learn about dead peo­ple we couldn’t relate to and “impor­tant” dates that were any­thing but that to us. Every­one, how­ever, loves a good story, and when his­tory is taught as a series of sto­ries, it is as fas­ci­nat­ing as any work of fic­tion you will read.

For 20 years, I have researched, writ­ten songs, made albums and per­formed thou­sands of school con­certs about great Amer­i­cans. When heroes are pre­sented to chil­dren as real peo­ple with the same com­plex­i­ties, chal­lenges, losses and tri­umphs as the rest of us, they become real and believable.

Here are five fun ways you and your ele­men­tary school child can dive in and become hero know-it-alls.

Read them Fifty Amer­i­can Heroes Every Kid Should Meet!

Read them Fifty Amer­i­can Heroes Every Kid Should Meet ! by Dr. Den­nis Denen­berg & Lor­raine Roscoe. Here you will find a wide array of heroes from many walks of life. The book is easy to digest one hero at a time. Each is given a two-page spread full of inter­ac­tive sug­ges­tions, quo­ta­tions, and inter­net follow-up sug­ges­tions. My favorite aspect of this book: each hero was what I call a “day-after-day hero” –some­one who lived a long heroic life grounded in solid char­ac­ter traits.

Take Your Kids to Visit a His­toric Site

Visit a his­toric site to help your kids con­nect their senses with their heroes. I once received a let­ter from a mother who jok­ingly com­plained that her kinder­gart­ner prac­ti­cally kid­napped the fam­ily. After hear­ing me sing “Washington’s Hat,” the boy latched onto the “man of many firsts” and wouldn’t let go until his par­ents drove the entire fam­ily to Mt. Ver­non, Vir­ginia. There, her child was able to see 3D images of his hero, touch the wrought iron gates that pro­tected Washington’s tomb, see the dis­tant Potomac River from Washington’s front porch and hear experts dressed in period cos­tume tell sto­ries of early colo­nial life on the plantation.

Have a His­tor­i­cal Doll Join The Fam­ily

If your child is young enough to enjoy play­ing with dolls, why get Bar­bie, Ken, G. I. Joe, or a Ninja Tur­tle when you can get Ben­jamin Franklin, Abi­gail Adams, George Wash­ing­ton Carver and Laura Ingalls Wilder? Visit Cre­ation Sta­tion to find a doll who will help you bring his­tory to life. These dolls are fun and educational!

Read Books About Strong Heroes To Your Kids

Read the books of Can­dace Flem­ing, Ran­dom House Books author, with your chil­dren. Candy does an inor­di­nate amount of research and finds fas­ci­nat­ing sto­ries you never heard about peo­ple you always knew. These are books writ­ten for chil­dren, but equally enjoyed by grownups. My favorites: Amelia Lost (2011) (find out what prob­a­bly really hap­pened to Ms. Earhart)… The Lin­colns (2008) in which Mary Lin­coln receives nearly equal billing … and Our Eleanor (2005) which reveals many heart-opening anec­dotes about this painfully shy girl who over­came her fears to become the most respected woman in America.

Bio: Singer-songwriter and record­ing artist, Jonathan Sprout has ded­i­cated the past 33 years to cre­at­ing mean­ing­ful and cap­ti­vat­ing music for children.

He has writ­ten over 40 songs and has released four Amer­i­can Heroes albums about some of the most remark­able men and women in Amer­i­can his­tory. He has per­formed more than 5,000 con­certs and lead more than 750 song­writ­ing work­shops for chil­dren. His 10th album, Amer­i­can Heroes #4, was released in early 2014 and has won 10 national awards includ­ing the 2014 Aca­d­e­mics’ Choice Smart Media Award, the 2014 KIDS FIRST! All-star Award, and the 2014 Cre­ative Child Mag­a­zine Pre­ferred Choice Award.

Some peo­ple call it a games room, oth­ers might refer to it as the “man’s den”. What­ever your pref­er­ence in this regard, there are cer­tain style rules that gov­ern this room in the house. As you will have prob­a­bly gath­ered through the title of our arti­cle, we’re going to focus specif­i­cally on the win­dows and how you can use spe­cific treat­ments to enhance the effect of this “get­away room” (there’s another name for it!).

Once upon a time these rooms were only decked out in cur­tains; which stood com­pletely to rea­son as many held home cin­ema sys­tems required a near-enough com­plete black­out. How­ever, there are now sev­eral other options that can be con­sid­ered to cre­ate the ulti­mate games room, as we inves­ti­gate through the course of this guide.


Black­out Blinds

As we touched upon this in the open­ing para­graphs to the guide, we’ll start this sec­tion with a men­tion of black­out blinds. This is a type of prod­uct that does exactly as the name sug­gests and blocks out any nat­ural light from enter­ing the room. They are by no means a recent inven­tion and when it comes to a games room, they can be truly invalu­able. It’s now pos­si­ble to cre­ate a real-life cin­ema expe­ri­ence, with the room being trans­formed into com­plete dark­ness by a mere turn of the blind cord. To make mat­ters even bet­ter, black­out blinds are not expen­sive in the slightest.

Dou­ble Cell Shades

It would be fair to say that most games rooms are cre­ated in the “spare” parts of the home. A lot of the time, this could be in the pre­vi­ously unused base­ment. While it’s great to be tak­ing advan­tage of pre­vi­ously unused space, it can some­times come at a rather cold cost. It’s no secret that base­ments can feel the chill — and this is where dou­ble cell shades enter the fray.

These are designed in a way which means they effec­tively have a hon­ey­comb shape. Sub­se­quently, they are superb insu­la­tors and as well as keep­ing the cold out, it’s again pos­si­ble to pur­chase them in black­out form to keep the light away at the same time.


Solar Shades

One of the more recent prod­ucts in this indus­try comes in the form of solar shades. Of course, if your games room is in the base­ment, this solu­tion prob­a­bly won’t be of much use. How­ever, if it’s in another area of the home which receives a lot of sun­light, solar shades can be the per­fect way to repel glare and the annoy­ance that it causes when it bounces off that big screen. They still allow a slen­der amount of light into the room, mean­ing that they really do allow for the best of both worlds.

Motor­ized Blinds

Our final sug­ges­tion comes for the typ­i­cal, lazy games room owner. Sit­ting in the big arm­chair, in front of the big screen; TV remote in one hand, blinds remote in the other. That’s the def­i­n­i­tion of motor­ized blinds, which are merely con­trolled using a basic remote. They are per­fect if you just want to kick back and relax in your den, or if you have win­dows which are just too inac­ces­si­ble to con­stantly tin­ker with.


Credit: Suc­cess Story

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