Who Decided What the Code of Sexual Morality Should Be?

A January 25th blog by Dr. J (The Western Tradition) regarding Abstinence Gets Some “Scientific” Support brought back some old issues for me. Not so much about the scientific or philosophical views concerning the abstinence of sex before marriage, but about the moral implications that those with a behavioral conduct toward sexual relations before or outside of marriage are considered immoral.

In my opinion, that line of reasoning continues to show a very closed-minded lack of tolerance. History has taught us that each era had its own social customs of convenience and control, where the views of one individual or authoritative group took precedent over a population, who either conformed or faced the consequences.

If, for the sake of argument, we concede that all consenting adults need to use birth control, unless trying to conceive, and practice safe sex always, we are left with only the current cultural values that establish a code of conduct, in this case, sexual right and wrong. But who or what governing body decides what is right and what was wrong?

In general, religion throughout the centuries has always found it expedient to venerate power, wealth, and position over anyone’s spirituality. Doctrine was established to control the population and to keep revenues coming in. It was surprising to learn, although I guess it shouldn’t have been, that priests were not always celibate. That the vow of celibacy was something devised by the church to avoid the responsibility of housing and financial upkeep for spouses and families.

Do we take the word of one of the most holist books that there is only one moral code for sexuality and all other ways are damned to hell? Doesn’t the fact that each book in the Bible, written by men, human beings, give one pause to the unquestionable validity of content and sentiment? Even if it were a proven fact that all religious teachings came from the mind and heart of God, by whatever name, founding religious books were still edited and interpreted by men with their own agendas, fears, and conjectures.

As societies have evolved, wriggling free of the church’s often brutal, hard pressed thumb, new influences, such as kings, queens, dictators, and modern leaders, have taken up the moral two-edged sword of deciding what was, and is, best for the people. Historical guidelines have been handed down generation after generation, taught at home, in schools, and churches because that’s what our parents were taught, what their parents grew up with, and so on with all our ancestors down through time.

In this day of enlightenment and technology I don’t think it’s naive to want to teach our children that all people are created equal, that life is full of choices and consequences, experiences, and that freedom means taking responsibility for your actions while not encroaching on the freedoms of others.

The stigma of sexual moral codes toward premarital sex, sex outside of marriage, sex between homosexuals is not going to change until we start accepting, and teaching those that follow, that everyone has the right to their own choices and that what happens between consenting adults is nobody else’s business.

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The Entrepreneur Highway: Troubleshooting Tax Time

After the fast-paced sales of the 2010 final quarter, the new year has arrived with inventory stock in short supply while you anticipate delivery of new merchandise to dazzle buyers back to your listings or website. For some small business online sellers January can also herald in an abundance of time that makes for idle hands and unconstructive thinking.

As much as all business owners wish otherwise, January is, without a doubt, the slowest month of the year for sales. Instead of wondering or worrying when that next transaction will happen, take advantage of the sluggish post-holiday drought to organize all those full to bursting computer and paper files.

More important, while cleaning out all that old year information to make room for the new year, start gathering needed documents for your ‘accountant box’ and that fast approaching tax time in April.

Before starting your online business you took the time to research, to get solid advice to provide yourself with the best possible foundation for success. So why jeopardize what’s yours by avoiding professional tax preparation simply to save a few dollars?

The objective is to keep as much hard earned money in your business account and out of the government’s hands. To do that you need someone knowledgeable about small business formats and the numerous tax requirements and deductions allowed.

Going it alone with a tax return for your business can be much more complicated than most of us know how to handle. And unless your hobby is small business accounting, the cost of a Canadian CGA, Certified General Accountant, or a United States CPA, Certified Public Accountant, will more than likely be offset by the money saved through extensive deductions and tax-saving investment advice.

Just remember.  The more facts and figures your accountant has to piece together for your tax return from that shoebox full of receipts, the more you’ll end up paying for their specialized service. Simply asking what records and reports you can organize in advance will help save time for both of you and keep more money in your pocket.

In most cases it’s merely a matter of preparing as much information ahead of time like tracking business expenses on a spreadsheet throughout the year, using an accounting program and saving the data to disk to give the accountant a bird’s eye view of your financial history, or just having everything written down in an orderly manner with all receipts available.

Prepare an accountant’s box to hold disk copies and all the necessary backup paperwork for the tax year in case the accountant needs to backtrack a problem.

As you’re separating out tax information take the time to group similar statements together with folding clasps, sales invoices/refunds by month and have them clearly marked. Create a hardcopy of your expense spreadsheets for the office, vehicle, and remaining year-end inventory reports as backup and for quick reference.

Anything you submit as a business expense needs to have receipts or statements for each, providing the accountant with support material to approve the deduction or reject a questionable claim and avoid an audit headache further down the road.

Having an accountant who understands your business and financial situation makes a great reference resource during the year. Answers are just a quick email or phone call away.

So now your files are cleaned out and all set for 2011. Your accountant box is ready and awaiting those last minute documents and government forms. You’ve been so busy making a positive difference . . . and look, that first sale of the new year has arrived in your inbox!

I’m an online entrepreneur. How about you?

TimelessTemptationsbyTopCat.com

When Friendship Suddenly Goes Silent

My dearest friend,

I never thought I’d be writing one of these letters. Not between us. Best friends for what, five, six years now?

But it’s twenty-nine days since my last letter to you, thirty-one days since your last letter to me, three days since I left my last message with your voice mail, and twenty-four hours since I sent my last text message.

Where are you!?

We always laughed at how technology made us roommates, even though we live on opposite sides of the globe. You’d no sooner get a web page idea and my cell phone would start playing that marvelous string waltz you found for me, announcing your text message. We made such a great team; your computer skills and my creative talent.

God, are you sick or lying hurt in a hospital somewhere? Do I need to start checking your hometown online obituaries?

Too much fear, worry, and uncertainty has left me drained, yet I’m restless. I don’t know what else to do. It’s the not knowing what’s happened that’s killing me. So I dig deep inside, grasping for all the joy we’ve shared. Remember how we met? It all started with that question on the seller’s boards. You never did tell me what made you answer my request for help that day.

Please, if you’re not hurt just let me know you’re okay.

I’ve never known anyone I felt so in-tune with. We just kept writing as if we’d always known each other. Definitely kindred spirits, I’d say. And maybe, if past lives really do exist, we’ve been best friends before. Have you ever wondered why some people connect and become bright lights while all the rest just seem like silhouettes moving in and out of our lives?

Was it something I said, something I did or didn’t do?

One of your last letters to me said, “There is so much I’m learning from you. Thank you my friend!” Then why have you suddenly become silent? I re-read my last letter to you and didn’t see anything out of the ordinary, nothing I hadn’t expressed countless times before.

So, what’s going on? Is this the end of a perfectly good friendship?

I’m not a child anymore. I know things don’t last forever. But you were special, we were special, and now you’re breaking my heart. It’s the not knowing whether you’re gone from this world or simply moved on with life without me. I guess our paths were only meant to touch for a little while.

Whatever the reason, know this . . . I’d do it all again.

I miss you.

Wooden Watches: Men’s Round Brown on Black Date Sport Wristwatch

The Entrepreneur Highway: You Survived the Holiday Sales

A brand new year has arrived and you and your online business are still here!

You’re a veteran of that important first year with its surprising ups and frustrating downs. A tried and true seller now with some great customer memories and plenty of firsthand experience creating listings and shipping domestic and international from coast to coast.

Now that you’ve successfully survived that first holiday selling season your status as an entrepreneur shines as brightly as any online corporation.

What a tale you have to tell the grandkids someday. Holiday sales coming in almost seven days a week. Single sales, multiple purchases, and appreciated repeat customers. You’ve logged on so many times you know that tricky PayPal password like it was your own name.

But achieving all those great sales and happy buyers didn’t just happen by accident. You worked long and hard to get your message out there by being organized and following a PST strategy. Plan, streamline, and track.

Plan ahead – submit your holiday stock order early enough to ensure having plenty of merchandise to offer buyers October through December.

Most suppliers are swamped during the final quarter of the year. By getting your order in by August or September you gain the advantage of having the products you want in stock as well as being packaged by relaxed, helpful employees instead of overworked half crazed zombies during the holiday rush.

Depending on the amount of prep work needed to make your merchandise ready for sale, receiving your holiday stock before October gives you plenty of time for photographing, creating website or e-market listings, and packaging items for calculated shipping.

Planning ahead gives you enough time to have your website festively decked out, and regular listings, discounted sales, and holiday parcel stuffers ready to go October 1st.

Streamline the prep work – with limited time and no helping hands, try to make listings as uniform as possible so it’s just a matter of dropping in new photos and updating a small amount of text. That way when one item sells a replacement listing can be posted to your site within a few hours.

Listing stock as multiples under one set of photos will save a lot of time and expense for items sold through an e-market. More time will be needed for unique merchandise that has to be listed individually. Having new product photos available for when a current listing sells makes turnaround time fast and easy.

Posting new unique listings as soon as they can be made ready ensures buyers have the widest selection of stock available throughout the holiday season.

Keeping buyers informed of shipping delivery schedules can save time replying to emails and help avoid disappointments if the parcel doesn’t arrive before December 24th. Offering a simple shipping selection of economy, tracking, and express gives buyer’s a choice for cost and transit time.

Track paperwork – up to date reports for inventory, costs and fees, current listings and sales, photo storage, and bookkeeping are an absolute must for staying in control of your business. Those running a one-person office have to be able to find answers almost immediately.

Create a photo storing system that works for you; when a listing sells you want that next set of photos for a replacement listing just a click away. Too many photos in a file can get confusing or hard to handle. Remove redundant photos to an ‘old’ folder and keep things simple by giving stock an ID name or number and then keep photos in corresponding files for quick access.

The more documentation you include with each listing or sale—text, photos, uploaded photos to hosting or website, selling price & cost fees, date listed, buyer sale acknowledgment and parcel shipped notices, and so on—the less chance of forgetting something vital. You’ll also be able to find answers in one place about an order instantly should something go wrong or need to be verified.

During the holiday selling rush there’s not always time to stop for lunch let alone stay on top of bookkeeping. However, the more information you enter into your accounting program the easier it is to find repeat buyers or issue refunds or credits. Keeping up to date with payables, receivables, and cash transfers means you spend less time reconciling accounts and get accurate numbers when printing off reports any time during the month.

Having your PST plan organized and in place before the year’s final quarter can make every holiday selling season more than just survivable. You’ll actually have time to enjoy your customers and share much more of the holidays with your family.

I’m an online entrepreneur. How about you?

TimelessTemptationsbyTopCat.com

TENSE Women’s Round Inlaid Wood & Leather Wristwatch