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Navigating The Cost Of Traditional Burial Versus Cremation

Posted by on Oct 24, 2014 in Blog, Relationships & Family | 0 comments

Dealing with the loss of a loved one can be hard, especially when you have to decide what kind of services you want to invest in, how much money you’re able to spend, and whether you’ll choose a traditional burial or cremation. As prices continue to rise for the average cost of funeral services, individuals grieving the death of family members are often faced with a tough decision: what can be afforded and what simply can’t? Continue reading to learn about the facts of traditional burial versus cremation, when it’s best to purchase a burial plot, and the cost involved in each. How Purchasing Burial Plots and Urns in Advance Can Save Money Determining the time that you purchase a burial plot is important due to several factors: Since funeral and burial plot prices continue to rise over time (see below for more on cost), purchasing a plot in advance (before death) can be more cost effective. As time marches on, the honest truth is that the location you’re envisioning for a burial may fill up– locations don’t last forever. Buying a plot in advance can help to secure the location you want so you won’t have to worry later. If you’re considering cremation, buying an urn in advance can help you to save money (urns available online or from a merchant can be cheaper than buying directly from the funeral home). Comparing the Cost Factor As each year passes, it becomes increasingly more costly to hold a funeral in America. While prices were well under a thousand dollars only fifty years ago, the average cost of an adult funeral is now $7,045. Since that price includes a casket and burial expenses, it’s not surprising to learn that taking quite a few of these costs out of the picture reduces the price significantly. Most services involving cremation cost one third of those who decide upon traditional burial, which is why the popularity of cremation in modern funerals has soared in recent years. How to Save With Traditional Burial If you’re thinking of sticking with a traditional burial, you can still find ways to save money during the funeral process. Depending on how you best desire to honor your loved one, you may consider different kinds of grave markers as well as the location of burial and the funeral home you will be using. While services provided between funeral homes are similar, prices can vary greatly between homes in the same city– so don’t be afraid to shop around and ask questions over the phone to find out who has the best price for quality service. Contact a funeral home like Fluehr Funeral Home for more...

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A D.C.’s Older Bride’s Guide To Wedding Dresses–Or Not

Posted by on Oct 22, 2014 in Blog, Relationships & Family | 0 comments

What’s the state with the oldest median age for a first-time bride? That would be the District of Columbia with an average age of 29.7. So what kind of wedding dress does a nearly 30-year-old woman search for? Well, it depends on her tastes, personality, and body type. Sure, the D.C. bride is about 7 years older than the average 23-year-old bride in Iowa. But it doesn’t mean that she wants to be any less radiant and sexy on her big day. Mature Thinking Doesn’t Mean Matronly Wedding dresses for the over 30 crowd can still be trendy with halter-style, form-fitting gowns in non-traditional colors like pastels and cool tones that shine like jewels. Conversely, some brides head to the bridal shop with tradition in mind, but want more than a sweetheart neckline, A-line bodice, and a long, flowing train. Women who wait longer to marry often have specific ideas about how their wedding dress should reflect their maturity, career, and economic station in life. There are many professional women in the District of Columbia who work with the government, local universities, or own their own business, who wish to project a certain amount of elegance in their style selection that reflects the work they’ve put into their careers. Over 30 Style Doesn’t Always Mean “Mature” Older first-time brides may find that heading to the bridal store isn’t on their list of priorities. If the wedding is more intimate or in a non-religious venue, the bride may elect to wear something more casual like a pantsuit or an outfit that puts the “life” in lifestyle. Getting married on a beach in a sarong and flip-flops might be the way she rolls. Many brides opt for wedding dresses that can be reworked into something that they can wear more than once. Many gowns can be altered into tea-length dresses that can be worn on nights out on the town or for that first anniversary. Pantsuits can be worn to work or to a special occasion. Practicality is often a big consideration for new brides, over a one-time luxury that can never be worn again. Bottom-Line? It’s Your Day Consider color, length, fit, and finances when you decide what to wear on your wedding day. Whichever dress you choose, you need to keep in mind that your choice of attire should make you feel beautiful, sexy, happy and ready to face the world with confidence–no matter if you live in a high-powered town like the District of Columbia or in a Midwestern Iowa...

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How To Save Money On An Unexpected Funeral

Posted by on Oct 20, 2014 in Blog, Relationships & Family | 0 comments

If you recently had a loved one die unexpectedly, it can be a very traumatizing time. The last thing you probably want to think about are funeral services, but unfortunately, someone is going to have to step up and do it. If your loved one did not have a set plan for their funeral before they went, the amount of options open to you are overwhelming. Here are a few ways to make sure you give your loved one the send off they deserve, but without putting anyone into debt. Talk with the Family About Cremation If your loved one did not have a preference either way when it comes to burial versus cremation, talk about the situation with the rest of the family. Some may have strong opinions, but keep in mind that cremating is generally less expensive than a traditional burial. You can also keep your loved one’s urn with you in your house, which also helps avoid burial costs. Read the Funeral Home’s Contract in Detail Funeral homes are generally up front and try to be as helpful as possible, but you should still read the contract before signing it. One way that a funeral can end up being more expensive than expected is if you ask the funeral director to take care of certain things for you. A funeral home can help you with third party arrangements like flowers or an organist, etc. But there are sometimes additional service fees that you will have to pay in exchange for the funeral home taking care of some of these things for you. Keep Your Emotions in Check When a loved one dies, you are obviously going to be emotional, but the key is to not let this have an effect on your spending. You may want to give your loved one a beautiful send off, but consider that funerals are largely for those that are still living, not the person in the casket or the urn. If you are having trouble with your emotions, ask other family members to help you out. Having to plan the funeral of someone that was close to you can be a very sad experience. Most funeral homes like Christmans Funeral Home Inc will be very understanding and do all they can to help you. But you should still take some measures to try and keep the cost of the funeral services in check. Read the funeral home’s contract before signing and lean on your family members if you need help trying to keep your emotions in...

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Is An Open Adoption Right For You And Your Unborn Child?

Posted by on Oct 16, 2014 in Blog, Relationships & Family | 0 comments

Are you currently pregnant and considering placing your child up for adoption? If so, you may find that you are dealing with a complex combination of emotions during this time, including guilt and anxiety. For many birth parents, choosing to use an open adoption process can help to alleviate these feelings and make them more comfortable with the idea of giving their child to another family to raise. Taking the time to consider the many benefits of an open adoption can help you to decide if this process is right for you and your unborn child. An Open Adoption Allows You To Personally Vet The Family Who Will Care For Your Child When using a traditional closed adoption process, you can be left with a lot of questions concerning how your child is being cared for and you may find yourself worrying about whether or not they found a good home. This worry can lead to feelings of guilt by many birth parents. The use of an open adoption process can eliminate this type of worry by allowing you to not only meet, but to vet the adoptive parents yourself. The more you learn about the family who will raise your child as their own, the more comfortable you will feel with your decision to place your child in their care. An Open Adoption Allows You To Set The Terms Of Your Child’s Adoption With an open adoption, there really are no rules that are set in stone. Instead, the boundaries of this adoption will be agreed upon by you and the adoptive parents. While not all birth parents choose to have any interaction with the family after the adoption is complete, others will request annual photographs of the child or even request to be part of the child’s life in a capacity other than that of their parent. While the terms of an open adoption can vary greatly from one case to the next, the simple fact that you can create any requirements you desire for the adoption of your child can be enough to eliminate any anxiety you may have regarding this process. An Open Adoption Allows For The Open Exchange Of Information Family history and medical information can be extremely important to your child’s well being as they grow older. Unfortunately, with traditional adoptions, this information is often limited or nonexistent. Consequently, birth parents and adopted children often struggle to make medical decisions and seek out appropriate preventative care. Thanks to the open lines of communication during an open adoption, important information regarding the child’s health and family history can easily be obtained. A Final Thought Putting your child up for adoption can be the most difficult and selfless act you ever complete. While the decision to give your child up will never be easy, choosing to go forward with an open adoption can make this decision just a bit easier. For further information, check...

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8 Tips For Preparing For An International Adoption Trip

Posted by on Oct 16, 2014 in Blog, Relationships & Family | 0 comments

International adoptions present their own special challenge. One of those involves your preparations to travel to the country from which you plan to adopt. Here are eight ways you can plan ahead for your international adoption trip. Check security alerts. The United States State Department keeps a running list of countries with security issues. The list contains specifics regarding the alerts such as threats of terrorist acts. You might need to reschedule your trip for safety reasons if the country you are traveling to has an active alert.  Learn the culture. Take some time and read guidebooks and research the culture in the area in which you are traveling. Learn how to say simple words and phrases such as “thank you” in the native language for the country. Prepare your funds. Some countries do not accept certain credit cards and travelers checks. Find out ahead of time the acceptable forms of currency so that you have funds available to you during your travel. Purchase donations for the orphanage. Call the orphanage and find out if there are any items that are needed and take some along with you. For instance, some orphanages need formula and toys.  Check your health insurance. You want to ensure that your health insurance policy covers you while you are traveling. You might need to purchase supplemental coverage to provide care during your trip. Make copies of all your documents. In the event that any forms that you need to take with you are lost, having a copy can prevent a delay in your adoption. Take one copy with you and leave another with a trusted person who can fax or express mail it to you if necessary. Pack the essentials. If you are picking up your child on this trip, remember that you will have to bring back his or her belongings on the return trip. Pack clothes and personal care items for your child so that he or she has them available on the way home. Contact your adoption agency. The adoption agency might have some last minute instructions for you. Complete any tasks you are given ahead of the trip to avoid delays.  In the excitement of going to meet and pick up your child, you might forget some things. By taking steps, such as checking your currency, you can make sure the trip goes as smoothly as possible. Rely on your adoption agency for additional help with preparations. For more information, contact Global Adoption Services...

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Adoption Agencies: Public Vs Private

Posted by on Oct 15, 2014 in Blog, Relationships & Family | 0 comments

If you are contemplating adopting a child, it’s good idea to have an agency to facilitate the process. Agencies have experience in matching children with parents and dealing with the legalities involved in adopting a child. There are two types of adoption agencies, private and public. This article will discuss the differences between the two so you can determine which type is best for your situation. General Differences Private agencies are typically owned and operated by nonprofit organizations or charities. They are typically much more selective than public adoption agencies due to the fact that they have a large number of parents who are looking to adopt from a smaller pool of children. Private agencies tend to deal with younger children, typically infants. Additionally, private agencies provide more resources for both parties. This usually includes counseling, advice, etc. Private organizations generally use the following criteria to select the adoptive parents: Sexual orientation Personal history Health Religion Income Marital status Public agencies are organizations that are run by your state government. They typically facilitate foster care for children who are orphaned or abandoned. The children in public adoption agencies are usually older. They typically do not provide adoptions for infants or other smaller children. Public organizations do not normally offer the services that private institutions provide. This means that you will have to get educated on the adoption process on your own. The Cost When it comes to expense, private agencies are much more expensive than public agencies. Private agencies usually cover expenses related to medical costs for the birth mother, living expenses, and counseling. Private agencies usually charge a flat fee for the entire adoption process. Others, however, may add the cost of the birth mother’s care to the fee. If you adopt a child through a private agency, you will pay about $34,000. Public agencies are much less expensive. They usually will not require any payment to handle the adoption process. Since they do not provide most of the services that private agencies provide, they are able to handle the adoption without charging much. Waiting Periods When you are adopting a child through an agency, there is usually a waiting period. The length of these waiting periods can vary depending on the type of agency you use. Private agencies are typically quicker. The average private adoption can take anywhere from 1 month to a full year. The length of time for a public adoption can be anywhere from 1 month to 5 years. Degree Of Uncertainty There is a risk that the birth parents will decide not to give their child up for adoption. This creates a sense of uncertainty in any adoption process. The degree of uncertainty is different for public and private adoptions. Private adoption agencies have a lower level of uncertainty than public adoptions. Private adoptions are much more likely to succeed than public adoptions are, which make them a more reliable solution. The services that private adoption agencies provide are designed to lower the risk of a failed adoption. This is why they provide counseling to both the adoptive parents and the birth parents. Public adoptions are much less certain than private adoptions. Foster parents tend to have much less control over the process than they would in private adoptions. If you adopt a foster child, you won’t know...

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Scattering The Ashes Of A Loved One: Things To Consider

Posted by on Oct 13, 2014 in Blog, Relationships & Family | 0 comments

If your loved was cremated upon his or her death, it must be decided what should be done with the ashes. Because many people have watched movies or television programs where ashes are released, they may have a romanticized notion of what releasing or spreading ashes can be. The death of someone you love is painful enough without being unprepared for what is involved in scattering his or her ashes. Below you will find some helpful information so that you will be better prepared to for what spreading or scattering ashes can entail. The ash isn’t what you think It is natural to assume that you will receive a container of campfire-like ash from the funeral home who handled the cremation services. After all, even if the word ash didn’t bring that image to mind, television and movies certainly portray it that way. It is important that you realize that the ashes of your loved ones don’t look as you imagine they will. They likely contain small bone fragments as well as pieces of metal that may come from tooth fillings or surgical implants. The ash itself is also more like coarse, heavy sand, or even tiny pebbles, not a fine soot, as you may expect.  You have many options Often people believe that scattering or spreading the remains in the deceased’s favorite place is the best choice and most people feel they must do that on their own. However, there are actually many options out there and many companies who can assist you in more unique options. These include: Having your loved one’s remains taken into space Having pencils made from the ashes, with your loved one’s name embossed on the finished product Wearing the ashes in the form of jewelry, much like lockets, or have the ashes actually turned into diamonds  Having hour glasses made using the ashes Combining the ashes with soil to grow a memorial tree If you prefer to go the route of scattering your loved one’s ashes on your own, there are some things you should consider: Crowds- Will you feel comfortable releasing the ashes in an area where there are many strangers to bear witness?  Permission- What are state and local laws regarding the release of human remains? Do you need a permit?  Will you scatter the ashes all at once, or would you prefer to spread some in several different places? Will you hold a ceremony and invite others to release the ashes or will it be a solitary venture?  Do you want to hire a company that has experience with ash release, such as a charter boat for an ocean release or a plane for an air release, or would you prefer to handle it all on your own? Do you have the means to do so? There is no timetable  Unlike burial, there is no hurry to release or spread the ashes. You may wait as long as you would like. Once you feel comfortable with the idea of scattering the ashes, you can begin to plan where you would like to lay your loved one to rest. It’s possible you will never feel that you want to scatter the ashes, and that’s perfectly acceptable. Keeping the remains in a beautiful urn in your home is a fine choice....

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How To Treat Sudden Swelling In Your Extremities

Posted by on Oct 8, 2014 in Blog, Relationships & Family | 0 comments

If you’ve suffered injury to (or removal of) one of your lymph nodes — the glands that help circulate white blood cells throughout your body and fight disease — you may notice occasional and severe swelling of the limb near your injured or removed lymph node. What causes this swelling, and how can you treat it? Read on to learn more about lymphedema and what you can do to minimize your symptoms. What function do the lymph nodes perform? Your lymphatic system is composed of each of your lymph nodes (present in your neck, armpits, and groin) and is part of your circulatory system. Your lymph nodes are special glands that help circulate lymph — a fluid containing white blood cells and other powerful disease-fighting substances — throughout your body. When you’re suffering an illness, your lymph nodes often swell, as they become overtaxed at the effort it takes to fight this illness. In addition, if you suffer from an immune disorder or certain types of cancer, you may have to have one or more lymph nodes removed. What causes swelling of the limbs near this affected lymph node? Once you’ve had a lymph node removed (or if your lymph node has been damaged by illness or injury) you may notice occasional sudden, severe swelling of the arm or leg near the affected site. On rare occasions, this swelling can impact more than one limb. This swelling is called lymphedema, and is usually the result of a failure of the lymphatic system to properly drain and filter lymph from the limb. If you have lymphedema, you may notice that your limb feels heavy and is painful — in some cases, the skin on your affected limb can even thicken and harden. What can you do to treat these symptoms? Although there is currently no cure for lymphedema, there are ways you can control your symptoms to minimize their effect on your daily life. Keep the affected limb elevated as much as possible. The gravity will help gradually drain excess fluid. Massaging the limb can also help force the extra fluid back into your body. If one or both legs are affected, you can purchase special compression stockings in the diabetes care section of most drugstores. These stockings will help force the blood and lymph back into the rest of your body, as well as preventing further lymph buildup. If your arms are affected, you can try tightly wrapping them with a cloth bandage for the same effect. In severe cases that are not helped by the methods above, surgery may be necessary. However, most cases of lymphedema can be easily treated and managed by simply compressing the limb. Contact a company like Dynamic Rehabilitation Services for more help with treating...

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Reassess Your Influence And Values For A Healthier Family Unit

Posted by on Oct 4, 2014 in Blog, Relationships & Family | 0 comments

Today, many families find themselves in dysfunctional relationships. If you feel like your family has lost sight of good relationships, you’ll want to seek out therapy. But if your goals are to be successful in family therapy, you must reassess and restore your understanding of family values, and how to be a positive influence. Understading Values of a Healthy Family Many things could be said to specifically spell out what a healthy family should look like. However, when you boil it down, two main characteristics rise to the top: love and respect. Love The problem with love is that it has been greatly distorted and misunderstood over time. The love that’s needed in families is not always expressed as an intense, happy emotion. In fact, even healthy families sometimes don’t like things their members do, and find themselves angry and upset. Rather, the type of love present in a healthy family is a deep, lasting commitment to one another. This commitment brings with it a willingness to work out problems as they arise. Loving homes are safe places to mess up and learn from one’s mistakes. Love seeks to build others up, not tear them down. It is honoring, not shaming. Love sees the best in people, yet isn’t afraid to acknowledge their shortcomings. It celebrates its members’ abilities while strengthening them in their areas of weakness. Respect   While love is the underlying motive in a healthy family, respect defines its members’ interactions. The bottom line when it comes to respect is the golden rule: “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you…” (Matthew 7:12). Though this idea is taken from the Bible, it is solid practice regardless of religious beliefs. Respect shows itself in everything you say and do. In fact, it’s often the small things you do that communicate respect. Couples respect one another by making time to connect despite a busy schedule. Parents respect children by allowing them to try new things and develop their abilities. Children show respect for parents by following their rules. These are just a few ways respect can be shown. Cultivating Love and Respect Once you have a clear idea of love and respect, the next logical question is, “How do you get there?” Checking out can help, and so will going to therapy. However, the bulk of the work will take place at home. Here are a few thoughts about cultivating an environment of love and respect. Time is Essential It is impossible to improve any relationship without spending quality time. Spending time together as a family tells its members that each of them, and the family as a unit, is important. Time can be spent doing an activity or simply enjoying a meal and catching up. The important point is that you’re together, and focused on one another. Have Fun Together There are times when you’ll need to let go of the stresses of life and simply play. The American Academy of Pediatrics says that play is not only vital for a child’s cognitive development but for their relationship development. Children are excellent at play, but typically, adults struggle in this area. Especially after a crisis in your relationships, the temptation is to take life too seriously. The hard stuff must be dealt...

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When A Couple Dies Together: Tips For Planning A Funeral For Two

Posted by on Oct 2, 2014 in Blog, Relationships & Family | 0 comments

At times, death can come for a married couple at the same time. If a couple dies in a car accident together or dies close to each other for another reason, the loved ones of that couple may decide to have a funeral for two. Planning a funeral for two or more people at the same time can be challenging, but here are some tips to help you out: Reduce decisions and save money by purchasing products for couples If you are planning a funeral for two, you will need to pick out caskets, gravestones, and other elements just as you do when you are planning any other type of funeral. If you want to save a bit of money and speed up the decision-making process, consider buying elements that can be used for both people. For instance, one couple in the United Kingdom were cremated in a coffin for couples, and headstones for couples or families have been popular for generations. Remember to individually honor each person A couples funeral is a great way to honor the love and bond that a couple had while living on earth, but it should not distract from the unique joy and beauty of each individual. Keep this in mind as you prepare the funeral, and try to integrate unique ways to honor each person. For instance, you could have someone who was a friend to the couple write a eulogy that honors them both, but then, you could have other people deliver eulogies that are more focused on an individual. Consider a memorial service rather than a funeral A funeral takes place relatively soon after the deceased person has passed, and traditionally, the deceased person’s body is present at this event. A memorial service, in contrast, can take place at any time, and the body is traditionally not there. If relevant to your situation, consider having a memorial service for two or more of your lost loved ones at the same time. If you have a big family full of far flung members, you could even have an annual memorial service for everyone that your family has lost that year. This could be done in addition to or instead of a traditional funeral.  Honor each person’s religious preferences If you are planning a couples funeral for an interfaith couple, you will need to deal with that issue carefully. You can have the funeral in one person’s church and ask the other person’s minister, rabbi, or imam to co-officiate. Alternatively, you could have the service at a funeral home so that there is no religious conflict. For more ideas and tips on planning a funeral for two, contact a funeral home (such as Ahlgrim & Sons Funeral And Cremation Services LTD)...

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