The Stages of a Wedding Celebration

No American wedding is like the last one. Every year, wedding celebrations become more and more extravagant — and the fun begins long before the big day. But with all the different components of a wedding celebration, it can be confusing to tell which one is which and what order they should go in.

If you’re planning a wedding, take a look at this blog post to stay aware of all the different components of your wedding celebration. Remember that your wedding celebration is uniquely yours, so feel free to use this list simply as a guide.

Bridal Showers. Usually, the first component of a wedding celebration is the bridal shower. A bridal shower is a low-key get-together in which friends and family of the bride give her gifts in anticipation of her wedding. Gifts for the bride usually include things to help her prepare her new home with her partner. The bridal shower is usually hosted by the wedding’s bridesmaids and typically only includes female guests, but feel free to break that tradition if you wish.

Bachelor/Bachelorette Party. The bachelor/bachelorette party is seen as a last hurrah between the bride or groom and his or her friends. It is typically seen as a time to let loose and honor your single life, but it is also an opportunity to get away from the stresses of wedding planning. The party can occur just a few days before the wedding or months in advance — it doesn’t matter. Usually, the bachelor/bachelorette party is planned by the groomsmen/bridesmaids.

Rehearsal Dinner. The rehearsal dinner usually follows the wedding rehearsal and occurs the day before the wedding. Guests attending the rehearsal dinner include the future married couple and members of the wedding party and a select group of family and friends. This is an opportunity to spend some more relaxed, quality time with loved ones before the big day arrives. It also is a chance for the bride and groom’s families to meet, and for the bride and groom to give small gifts to members of the wedding party.

The Ceremony. The big day has arrived! The wedding ceremony is when the bride and groom become a married couple by exchanging vows and wedding rings. A couple can choose to have their ceremony done according to their religion of choice, but opting for a secular wedding is also possible. Following the wedding ceremony is the reception.

The Reception. Once the ceremony is over, the real party begins. Following the wedding ceremony is the wedding reception, where guests are given dinner and the chance to meet and mingle. There is usually dancing and music and traditions such as the bride tossing the bouquet and the groom removing the garter from his wife’s leg. Wedding receptions are getting more and more unique as the years go by. For example, there is even a company that can help you plan a wedding reception on a yacht. 

The Challenges of Private Adoptions

I was talking to my neighbor last week about adoption. Choosing to adopt a child is a selfless decision. Raising a child that is not of your own bloodline comes with its own challenges and hardships. Taking them on for the sake of a child is beautiful. Some family friends of ours are currently going through the private adoption process. This means they are going to adopt a child through a birthmother that they know personally rather than through a state adoption agency. It is fairly common in some states, and many international adoptions use this method as well.

As our friends are keeping us updated on the situation, I started to think about how the process was different for someone choosing to undergo a private adoption versus the process that happens when you go through an adoption agency. To me, I think there would be much more anxiety and uncertainty in a private adoption. Pregnancy is a very emotional time for mothers. I would worry that a birth-mother may decide to back out of the agreement during any point of the process. You wouldn’t see this happen with an adoption agency. I took to the web to do some research on the processes, and I found some good information on this website for the Maynard Law Firm, PLLC. The attorneys at the Maynard Law Firm have been helping people through the private adoption process for several years now. They walk parents-to-be through the process of filing proper court documents and make sure that everything is organized and accurate from start to finish.

As a general rule, private adoptions are actually more efficient than the process done through an adoption agency. This is because the adopting parents the birth-mother have direct contact between each other. There are some situations in a private adoption that make having a lawyer super helpful. Of course, birth-mothers may try and go back on their decision and try to keep the child at a certain point in the pregnancy. There are also situations where adopting parents may need help with negotiating a fair price. You may also need help deciding who is going to be responsible for certain costs, and any other special terms specific to a given situation. Most contracts that are created without the guidance of a lawyer do not end up doing the job they’re supposed to do. Language is vague, and they won’t hold up well in court. This can leave you dealing with unexpected insurance costs.

Another aspect that lawyers help within the world of adoption is cutting out the need to involve an adoption agency. Even in a private adoption, you may need to hire an agency to have a home study done. Lawyers are able to appoint social workers to your case without the use of an agency. This saves time and also gives adopting parents a personalized touch to their process. I already have two kids of my own, and I don’t plan on ever adopting. But if a friend of mine told me they were trying to adopt, I would definitely recommend that they lawyer up.

4 Ways We Can All Fight Depression

The seriousness of depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues are increasingly coming into focus. With more media attention, more shows incorporating mental health as a theme, and more people coming forward with their struggles with mental health, far more people than ever before are starting to see how widespread the issue is. More than that, people are starting to see how mental health problems arent something that only a small number of people will deal with. They can happen to anyone.

Since we can all suffer from depression, its important we all take the steps necessary to reduce our risk as individuals. Thankfully, a lot of these steps are common sense, even if they can be tough to follow at times. Here are four ways to fight off the blues:

1. Regular Exercise

Get out for that jog in the morning. It can make all the difference. Research has shown that exercise is a great way not just to avoid depression but to actually feel good. Not only do you look better (a nice bonus), but exercise releases hormones that make you feel happier. So stop eyeing those dumbbells in the corner suspiciously and get to work lifting again.

2. Better Diet

Perhaps just as important to good mental and physical health is eating right. A good diet keeps your body healthier, which helps avoid depression. It also releases more of those positive hormones, helps with body image issues, and gives you the energy to pursue your health goals and other important goals in your life.

3. Sleeping Right

Sleep Night Therapy has pointed out that sleep has a lot to do with how we feel. We all know that a bad nights sleep can lead to a grumpy day. Now magnify that over months and years of never getting enough sleep. You may think day-to-day youre doing fine, but it is influencing your mood, your energy, and your health on every level. Make a point of getting those 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night. If you are struggling with that, see a sleep therapist.

4. Reduce Stress

Heres another major cause of depression. You need to stress less. Sure, easier said than done, but to avoid the risks of depression, reduce stress anywhere you can in your life. Get more rest so you can get up earlier and not rush about. Try to avoid delaying major projects so you dont rush them at the end. And avoid those who add more stress to your life.

The above tips are perhaps obvious, and they are by no means certain to keep serious depression or other mental illness at bay, but they are all important aspects of our lives we really must pay more attention to.

We live in a stress-filled world that doesnt allow for a lot of sleep. It also doesnt make it easy to keep up with other healthy practices like exercise and proper diet. For all that, we have to make these things our priority because they dont just keep our bodies healthy, they keep our minds healthy as well.

A discussion on phobias

We’re all afraid of something. While most of us are satisfied fearing everything in proportion and fearing “normal” things like death, the dark, and spiders, that’s not the case for everyone. In fact, many people have incredibly interesting fears, which are often at the same time quite tragic, since they can keep people from living their lives to the fullest.

There is, for instance, ablutophobia, which is the fear of cleaning oneself or taking a bath. The implications of such a fear are obvious. To struggle with the simple act of doing daily ablutions (the Latin word for the act of washing, which is where the -phobia term comes from), could leave people embarrassed and struggling to succeed in simply getting jobs or making friends.

Another incredible phobia is amaxophobia. “Amaxo” in Greek means “vehicle,” and so, amaxophobia is the fear of riding in a car.

Unlike ablutophobia, many can probably sympathize with those who suffer from amaxophobia. Cars can be scary things, after all. There are car accidents to worry about, pollution, carbon monoxide. There’s also the less obvious but just as deadly possibility of car defects, and that truly is a scary thought to consider.

That thought, though, may hold the key to understanding how the phobia develops. With the idea of mechanical defects, we can immediately understand the horror of the loss of control. We’ve all seen movies in which someone is in a car where the breaks down work. What if the car won’t accelerate? Or won’t stop accelerating?

Such thoughts truly as terrifying, and those who suffer from amaxophobia struggling with them nonstop. It is this powerlessness that terrifies. Crucially, amaxophobia revolves around being a passenger. As a passenger, a person is required to trust completely not just in the car or in other drivers, but in a personal sense, in the one driving the specific car they are in. That is simply a step too far for such people, and any attempt to ride as a passenger leads to great fits of anxiety or worse.

The results of amaxophobia are no less than those for ablutophobia. In countries like America, there are often no other ways to get around than by car. Should such a person life in such an area, they would effectively be marooned at their home, unable to get further than the edge of their neighborhood. In such a situation, work, shopping, and socializing would become almost impossible. The person is trapped.

It is important to remember that phobias are not due to choice. They are the result of previous traumas or else, sometimes, chemical issues in the brain. The person, then, who suffers from ablutophobia, amaxophobia, or some other phobia, has no real choice in the matter.

Thankfully, there are methods of treatment that help people overcome at least partially these handicaps. All the same, they deserve our sympathy, our concern, and our help when we can give it.

Car recall notices

This is my first post on what I hope to make a regular series: car recalls.

I know this information is available elsewhere. I’ll be using for this post, for instance, and you could just go there. But I think this sort of information is important enough to spread it around. And since I know a few people who will read this and would never think to go to a place like, I think it’s a useful service.

I’m passionate about this because I had a vehicle defect issue in the past. The seat belts weren’t installed properly, and it very nearly led to a serious problem. I was with my wife, and we stopped suddenly and the seat belt on her side of the car started to come apart. Thankfully, we weren’t going very fast and we were able to sort of slide to a stop instead of breaking hard or stopping instantly in an accident. Still, it was scary. And I still have nightmares about what might have happened.

So, the recalls:

There’s been a recall on the 2004-2006 Mitsubishi Lancer for an airbag problem. If you’ve got a Lancer from those years, make sure to get that checked out.

Lexus HS 250h sedans from 2010 also have a problem. The transaxle assembly can lead to parts of your car wearing down.

Several different versions of a very popular car, the Porsche Cayenne, from 2003-2006, are being recalled because of a fuel filter problem that can lead to fuel leaking out. That could actually lead to a fire, so get your Porsche in right away, folks.

Finally, my last recall notice for this first post, the Volkswagen Touareg, years 2004-2007: there’s a recall out for the same reason as the Porsche Cayenne directly above. This stuff is serious, so don’t put this off.

Trust me, you may not think these recalls are important and that nothing can happen to your good, dependable vehicle, but you’d be wrong. I’m not the only one to experience the results of a car that came broken. There are whole areas of law dedicated to suing car companies that don’t recall these things fast enough.

And keep in mind, any recall means someone else complained about it—and either sued or threatened to sue—loud enough that the car company felt it was in their interest to recall.

If the message of a recall is getting to you from me, who got it from, who got it from the manufacturers, there’s already been serious enough problems with your type of car that very serious people are willing to lose money fixing the problem for free.

Yeah, and it’s free to get these things fixed. So, you really have no excuse. Otherwise, you may end up with a problem like I had. And you may need one of those lawyers.

What are the “Best Interests of the Child” in Phoenix?

Most state laws refer to child custody decisions as being in the “best interests of the child” but this may be interpreted differently in each situation, and each case is unique. In Arizona, family courts take into consideration many factors to determine where the child’s best chance of a balanced life lies.

The court considers the preferences of the parents as well as the child, and evaluates the relationship between child and parent as well as siblings (if any) and significant others such as grandparents. It will also look into the current educational and community situation of the child to determine if it would be healthier for the child to maintain the status quo or to allow the child to be placed in a new situation. Another important factor would be the age, mental state, and physical health of the child.

An Arizona family court judge is just as likely to award sole custody as well as joint custody depending on the circumstances, and to award sole custody regardless of the parent’s gender if it is in the best interest of the child. Historically, family courts tended to favor awarding physical custody to the mother for very young children when the parents cannot reach an agreement on their own, but this is not supposed to be the case any longer. The court will also decide on a visitation schedule for the non-custodial parent.

The parents are encouraged propose a jointly-prepared parenting plan subject to the court’s approval. This includes a custodial schedule, plans for education, religion, and health as well as plans for vacations and holidays. Unless there is a case of domestic violence or false allegations of such, or the judge discerns a level of coercion or duress in the custody agreement, such parenting plans are considered favorably as long as it conforms to the law.

Nursing Home Abuse Cases on the Rise

After noticing bruising on their grandmother, two North Texas women decided to hide a camera in her room at a nursing facility. Camera footage revealed that their grandmother’s primary caretaker was verbally and physically abusive. Instead of helping the resident out of her bed gently, the caretaker would yank the 98-year-old woman up by her arm. Daily dressing and undressing proved to be a constant battle between the resident and the caretaker. The caretaker didn’t display gentleness while changing the resident’s clothes and was seen slapping and taunting her multiple times.

Despite their compelling video evidence, the family couldn’t do much to take the nurse’s certification away. Apparently this is one of many instances where nursing home residents suffer at the hand of unpunished facility employees. A study of reported incidents shows that abuse occurs regularly in one third of all United States nursing homes. Bed sores, fractures, dehydration, malnutrition, theft, gangrene, septic shock, infection, are all common ailments that neglected nursing home residents suffer from. A reprehensible practice called “double diapering” has landed some nursing home facilities on probation. Attendants will put two diapers on a resident so that they don’t have to take the resident to that bathroom as often.

A report indicates that the amount of nursing homes that have been cited for violations has increased yearly since 1996. Some people credit stringent rules for citing as the reason for this rise in violations. Facilities are legally required to report incidents, sometimes trivial in nature, as abuse. However, many incidents of abuse in nursing facilities are much more serious in nature. Since elderly residents require heightened supervision and care, a mistake like switching medications or not meeting dietary needs can have grave consequences.

Texas Child Support Laws

It is an unfortunate fact that when children are a factor in divorce, child support issues become a bone of contention, especially if the divorce is dissentious. As it is with child custody, the concern of the courts is to look out for the best interests of children of divorce, and to protect their rights to financial maintenance by their parents.

The laws governing child support in Texas is embodied in Title 5 Subtitle B Chapter 154 of the Texas Family Code. In it, the laws are very specific on what the courts may and may not order based on the circumstances. It is possible that both parents will be assigned a certain amount of child support in cases when neither parent has physical conservatorship (which is what they call custody in Texas). In most cases, however, the parent who is the physical conservator is the one who will receive child support payments from the non-conservator parent.

There are many possible scenarios described under Chapter 154, but perhaps what would be an important point to know is that the failure of one parent to pay regularly court-ordered child support may be considered a quasi-criminal offense under Texas Penal Code §25.05 if that parent does so even if he or she has the financial capability to make payments. The penalty for this (considered contempt of court) can be as much as 180 days imprisonment each time the case is brought before the Texas Child Support Division as well as $500 in fines. According to the website of the BB Law Group PLLC, the non-paying parent may also risk losing state-issued licenses including professional, driver’s, business and recreational.

If you live in Texas and have been having difficulty in getting your spouse to pay child support regularly even though there is a financial capacity for it, consult with a lawyer in the area about your legal options. Your child or children should not have to suffer from your spouse’s refusal to fulfill legal and familial obligations.

Emergency Room Errors: More Common than You Think

If you have ever watched an episode of the tv show ER, you will know that it is a scene of much drama and tension. But while the award winning show focused primarily on the lives and personalities of the medical personnel, the stars of the show in a real emergency room are the patients, with the medical personnel acting as supporting characters. In real life, however, the stars of the drama don’t always come out triumphant in the end, and in some cases it is due to preventable emergency room errors.

It is a fact that the medical personnel in an emergency room need to be on their toes and to make quick literally life-or-death decisions for their patients. In most cases this can save a person’s life, but when in some instances because of carelessness or negligence, errors are made that can adversely affect a patient’s life, sometimes permanently. For example, a patient dies of a ruptured appendix an hour after a busy ER doctor sends her home with a prescription for antacid for her belly ache. This is a case of emergency room error that may land the ER doctor in court for medical malpractice.

Some of the most common human errors that occur in a hospital emergency room include:

  • Anesthesia errors
  • Delayed treatment
  • Medication or dosage error
  • Failure to diagnose
  • Incorrect diagnosis
  • Incorrect treatment method

This happens more often than it should, notwithstanding the effects of stress and time-constraints often prevailing in an emergency room. Patients have a right to a standard of care from medical practitioners, and there is no excuse for sloppy work. If you or someone you know suffered injury or death due to emergency room errors, you have a right to pursue compensation from the person or entity responsible for the medical mistake in question.

The Dangers of the Caffeinated Food Trend

In response to the increasing trend of food products that have caffeine added into them, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is holding an investigation into the effects of caffeine, especially on children and adolescents.

The announcement comes alongside the release of a new gum from Wrigley that features caffeine as an additive. One piece of the gum has the caffeine content of half a cup of coffee. After discussions with the administration, Wrigley today announced that it will cease selling the caffeinated gum pending the results of the FDA investigation.

The concern is that these caffeinated food products are often marketed to children, who should not have stimulants in their diet. Too much caffeine can cause an increased heart rate or arrhythmia.

Officials at the FDA applaud Wrigley for taking interest in public health. Not much is yet known about the effects of prolonged caffeine exposure in children, so the administration is hoping other producers of caffeinated foods will make similar decisions as it moves towards enacting appropriate regulations.caffeinated foods


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