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I am Sandra - faithful steward. listener. shepherd. dream believer. hard worker. collects brass bells, boots. Jesus follower. contented. star gazer. homemaker. farmer. prayer warrior. country woman. reader. traveler. writer. homebody. living life large.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Sabbath Keeping

 ~ the Word for today ~
"There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft; or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For all who do these things are an abomination to the Lord, and because of these abominations the Lord your God drives them out from before you." ~ Deuteronomy 18:10-12 ~

"If your religion doesn't teach you the difference between good and evil, 
your religion is worse than useless." ~ Dennis Prager ~

"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." ~ Ephesians 6: 12 ~

~ Spiritual Sundays ~

Blessings ~ Reformation ~ Holy Bible ~ God ~
 
Grace and Peace,
Sandra

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Happy Reformation

 ~ readying for winter ~
Are you familiar with the Reformation? If you're a Christian, please accept my wishes for you to have, and celebrate, a true holiday...a holy day known as the Reformation.

Here on the farm, we don't "celebrate" halloweenie because it's not a holiday...not a holy day. I've never been a fan of death, dieing and destruction; I'm a child of Light and celebrate Life and choose not to associate with nor decorate with things signifying death and destruction. Why on earth would any sane human being, deliberately, invite such into their lives? Nor, have I ever understood the "need" some folks have to watch horror movies and be frightened out of their minds. I just don't understand but, to be truthful, haven't spent a whole lot of time trying to figure it out. I'm tolerant, just don't want the sordid mess at my doorstep.

Dr. Martin Luther, on October 31, 1517 posted his 95 Theses or Disputation Against Indulgences on the castle door and mailed same to various local Catholic bishops and, forever, changed the Catholic church's stronghold on the Christian faith. Luther taught that salvation through acceptance of Jesus Christ is a free gift solely through the grace of God and cannot be purchased with money nor earned through good deeds. In effect, Dr. Martin Luther challenged Pope Leo X and the entire Catholic church and further stated the Bible should be in German, the language of the people and not, solely, in Latin, the language of the Catholic church. Just thirty years before Luther's birth, Johannes Gutenberg invited printing from movable type and, it's been said, Gutenberg's invention allowed Martin Luther to "throw ink at the devil".

Radical thinking.

So, Happy Reformation. Because of a monk's great courage almost five hundred years ago, you and I have salvation through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. Alone. Not because it can be purchased with filthy lucre nor earned by doing good works.

Radical thinking. Even more radical to accept.

95 Theses of Dr. Martin Luther
"Out of love for the truth and the desire to bring it to light, the following propositions will be discussed at Wittenberg, under the presidency of the Reverend Father Martin Luther, Master of Arts and of Sacred Theology, and Lecturer in Ordinary on the same at that place. Wherefore he requests that those who are unable to be present and debate orally with us, may do so by letter.
In the Name our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
    1. Our Lord and Master Jesus Christ, when He said Poenitentiam agite (Repent), willed that the whole life of believers should be repentance. 2. This word cannot be understood to mean sacramental penance, i.e., confession and satisfaction, which is administered by the priests. 3. Yet it means not inward repentance only; nay, there is no inward repentance which does not outwardly work divers mortifications of the flesh. 4. The penalty [of sin], therefore, continues so long as hatred of self continues; for this is the true inward repentance, and continues until our entrance into the kingdom of heaven. 5. The pope does not intend to remit, and cannot remit any penalties other than those which he has imposed either by his own authority or by that of the Canons. 6. The pope cannot remit any guilt, except by declaring that it has been remitted by God and by assenting to God's remission; though, to be sure, he may grant remission in cases reserved to his judgment. If his right to grant remission in such cases were despised, the guilt would remain entirely unforgiven. 7. God remits guilt to no one whom He does not, at the same time, humble in all things and bring into subjection to His vicar, the priest. 8. The penitential canons are imposed only on the living, and, according to them, nothing should be imposed on the dying. 9. Therefore the Holy Spirit in the pope is kind to us, because in his decrees he always makes exception of the article of death and of necessity. 10. Ignorant and wicked are the doings of those priests who, in the case of the dying, reserve canonical penances for purgatory. 11. This changing of the canonical penalty to the penalty of purgatory is quite evidently one of the tares that were sown while the bishops slept. 12. In former times the canonical penalties were imposed not after, but before absolution, as tests of true contrition. 13. The dying are freed by death from all penalties; they are already dead to canonical rules, and have a right to be released from them. 14. The imperfect health [of soul], that is to say, the imperfect love, of the dying brings with it, of necessity, great fear; and the smaller the love, the greater is the fear. 15. This fear and horror is sufficient of itself alone (to say nothing of other things) to constitute the penalty of purgatory, since it is very near to the horror of despair. 16. Hell, purgatory, and heaven seem to differ as do despair, almost-despair, and the assurance of safety. 17. With souls in purgatory it seems necessary that horror should grow less and love increase. 18. It seems unproved, either by reason or Scripture, that they are outside the state of merit, that is to say, of increasing love. 19. Again, it seems unproved that they, or at least that all of them, are certain or assured of their own blessedness, though we may be quite certain of it. 20. Therefore by "full remission of all penalties" the pope means not actually "of all," but only of those imposed by himself. 21. Therefore those preachers of indulgences are in error, who say that by the pope's indulgences a man is freed from every penalty, and saved; 22. Whereas he remits to souls in purgatory no penalty which, according to the canons, they would have had to pay in this life. 23. If it is at all possible to grant to any one the remission of all penalties whatsoever, it is certain that this remission can be granted only to the most perfect, that is, to the very fewest. 24. It must needs be, therefore, that the greater part of the people are deceived by that indiscriminate and highsounding promise of release from penalty. 25. The power which the pope has, in a general way, over purgatory, is just like the power which any bishop or curate has, in a special way, within his own diocese or parish. 26. The pope does well when he grants remission to souls [in purgatory], not by the power of the keys (which he does not possess), but by way of intercession. 27. They preach man who say that so soon as the penny jingles into the money-box, the soul flies out [of purgatory]. 28. It is certain that when the penny jingles into the money-box, gain and avarice can be increased, but the result of the intercession of the Church is in the power of God alone. 29. Who knows whether all the souls in purgatory wish to be bought out of it, as in the legend of Sts. Severinus and Paschal. 30. No one is sure that his own contrition is sincere; much less that he has attained full remission. 31. Rare as is the man that is truly penitent, so rare is also the man who truly buys indulgences, i.e., such men are most rare. 32. They will be condemned eternally, together with their teachers, who believe themselves sure of their salvation because they have letters of pardon. 33. Men must be on their guard against those who say that the pope's pardons are that inestimable gift of God by which man is reconciled to Him; 34. For these "graces of pardon" concern only the penalties of sacramental satisfaction, and these are appointed by man. 35. They preach no Christian doctrine who teach that contrition is not necessary in those who intend to buy souls out of purgatory or to buy confessionalia. 36. Every truly repentant Christian has a right to full remission of penalty and guilt, even without letters of pardon. 37. Every true Christian, whether living or dead, has part in all the blessings of Christ and the Church; and this is granted him by God, even without letters of pardon. 38. Nevertheless, the remission and participation [in the blessings of the Church] which are granted by the pope are in no way to be despised, for they are, as I have said, the declaration of divine remission. 39. It is most difficult, even for the very keenest theologians, at one and the same time to commend to the people the abundance of pardons and [the need of] true contrition. 40. True contrition seeks and loves penalties, but liberal pardons only relax penalties and cause them to be hated, or at least, furnish an occasion [for hating them]. 41. Apostolic pardons are to be preached with caution, lest the people may falsely think them preferable to other good works of love. 42. Christians are to be taught that the pope does not intend the buying of pardons to be compared in any way to works of mercy. 43. Christians are to be taught that he who gives to the poor or lends to the needy does a better work than buying pardons; 44. Because love grows by works of love, and man becomes better; but by pardons man does not grow better, only more free from penalty. 45. 45. Christians are to be taught that he who sees a man in need, and passes him by, and gives [his money] for pardons, purchases not the indulgences of the pope, but the indignation of God. 46. Christians are to be taught that unless they have more than they need, they are bound to keep back what is necessary for their own families, and by no means to squander it on pardons. 47. Christians are to be taught that the buying of pardons is a matter of free will, and not of commandment. 48. Christians are to be taught that the pope, in granting pardons, needs, and therefore desires, their devout prayer for him more than the money they bring. 49. Christians are to be taught that the pope's pardons are useful, if they do not put their trust in them; but altogether harmful, if through them they lose their fear of God. 50. Christians are to be taught that if the pope knew the exactions of the pardon-preachers, he would rather that St. Peter's church should go to ashes, than that it should be built up with the skin, flesh and bones of his sheep. 51. Christians are to be taught that it would be the pope's wish, as it is his duty, to give of his own money to very many of those from whom certain hawkers of pardons cajole money, even though the church of St. Peter might have to be sold. 52. The assurance of salvation by letters of pardon is vain, even though the commissary, nay, even though the pope himself, were to stake his soul upon it. 53. They are enemies of Christ and of the pope, who bid the Word of God be altogether silent in some Churches, in order that pardons may be preached in others. 54. Injury is done the Word of God when, in the same sermon, an equal or a longer time is spent on pardons than on this Word. 55. It must be the intention of the pope that if pardons, which are a very small thing, are celebrated with one bell, with single processions and ceremonies, then the Gospel, which is the very greatest thing, should be preached with a hundred bells, a hundred processions, a hundred ceremonies. 56. The "treasures of the Church," out of which the pope. grants indulgences, are not sufficiently named or known among the people of Christ. 57. That they are not temporal treasures is certainly evident, for many of the vendors do not pour out such treasures so easily, but only gather them. 58. Nor are they the merits of Christ and the Saints, for even without the pope, these always work grace for the inner man, and the cross, death, and hell for the outward man. 59. St. Lawrence said that the treasures of the Church were the Church's poor, but he spoke according to the usage of the word in his own time. 60. Without rashness we say that the keys of the Church, given by Christ's merit, are that treasure; 61. For it is clear that for the remission of penalties and of reserved cases, the power of the pope is of itself sufficient. 62. The true treasure of the Church is the Most Holy Gospel of the glory and the grace of God. 63. But this treasure is naturally most odious, for it makes the first to be last. 64. On the other hand, the treasure of indulgences is naturally most acceptable, for it makes the last to be first. 65. Therefore the treasures of the Gospel are nets with which they formerly were wont to fish for men of riches. 66. The treasures of the indulgences are nets with which they now fish for the riches of men. 67. The indulgences which the preachers cry as the "greatest graces" are known to be truly such, in so far as they promote gain. 68. Yet they are in truth the very smallest graces compared with the grace of God and the piety of the Cross. 69. Bishops and curates are bound to admit the commissaries of apostolic pardons, with all reverence. 70. But still more are they bound to strain all their eyes and attend with all their ears, lest these men preach their own dreams instead of the commission of the pope. 71. He who speaks against the truth of apostolic pardons, let him be anathema and accursed! 72. But he who guards against the lust and license of the pardon-preachers, let him be blessed! 73. The pope justly thunders against those who, by any art, contrive the injury of the traffic in pardons. 74. But much more does he intend to thunder against those who use the pretext of pardons to contrive the injury of holy love and truth. 75. To think the papal pardons so great that they could absolve a man even if he had committed an impossible sin and violated the Mother of God -- this is madness. 76. We say, on the contrary, that the papal pardons are not able to remove the very least of venial sins, so far as its guilt is concerned. 77. It is said that even St. Peter, if he were now Pope, could not bestow greater graces; this is blasphemy against St. Peter and against the pope. 78. We say, on the contrary, that even the present pope, and any pope at all, has greater graces at his disposal; to wit, the Gospel, powers, gifts of healing, etc., as it is written in I. Corinthians xii. 79. To say that the cross, emblazoned with the papal arms, which is set up [by the preachers of indulgences], is of equal worth with the Cross of Christ, is blasphemy. 80. The bishops, curates and theologians who allow such talk to be spread among the people, will have an account to render. 81. This unbridled preaching of pardons makes it no easy matter, even for learned men, to rescue the reverence due to the pope from slander, or even from the shrewd questionings of the laity. 82. To wit: -- "Why does not the pope empty purgatory, for the sake of holy love and of the dire need of the souls that are there, if he redeems an infinite number of souls for the sake of miserable money with which to build a Church? The former reasons would be most just; the latter is most trivial." 83. Again: -- "Why are mortuary and anniversary masses for the dead continued, and why does he not return or permit the withdrawal of the endowments founded on their behalf, since it is wrong to pray for the redeemed?" 84. Again: -- "What is this new piety of God and the pope, that for money they allow a man who is impious and their enemy to buy out of purgatory the pious soul of a friend of God, and do not rather, because of that pious and beloved soul's own need, free it for pure love's sake?" 85. Again: -- "Why are the penitential canons long since in actual fact and through disuse abrogated and dead, now satisfied by the granting of indulgences, as though they were still alive and in force?" 86. Again: -- "Why does not the pope, whose wealth is to-day greater than the riches of the richest, build just this one church of St. Peter with his own money, rather than with the money of poor believers?" 87. Again: -- "What is it that the pope remits, and what participation does he grant to those who, by perfect contrition, have a right to full remission and participation?" 88. Again: -- "What greater blessing could come to the Church than if the pope were to do a hundred times a day what he now does once, and bestow on every believer these remissions and participations?" 89. "Since the pope, by his pardons, seeks the salvation of souls rather than money, why does he suspend the indulgences and pardons granted heretofore, since these have equal efficacy?" 90. To repress these arguments and scruples of the laity by force alone, and not to resolve them by giving reasons, is to expose the Church and the pope to the ridicule of their enemies, and to make Christians unhappy. 91. If, therefore, pardons were preached according to the spirit and mind of the pope, all these doubts would be readily resolved; nay, they would not exist. 92. Away, then, with all those prophets who say to the people of Christ, "Peace, peace," and there is no peace! 93. Blessed be all those prophets who say to the people of Christ, "Cross, cross," and there is no cross! 94. Christians are to be exhorted that they be diligent in following Christ, their Head, through penalties, deaths, and hell; 95. And thus be confident of entering into heaven rather through many tribulations, than through the assurance of peace."
 Blessings ~ brave men and women of God ~ Gutenberg ~ Dr. Martin Luther ~ Christ ~ salvation ~ 

Grace and Peace,
Sandra

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

St. Patrick

 ~ Samuel, because he comes when called ~

"I arise today, through the strength of heaven: 
Light of the sun, radiance of the moon. 
Splendor of fire, speed of lightning, 
Swiftness of wind, depth of sea,
Stability of earth and firmness of rock.
I arise today, Through God's strength to pilot me:
God's might to uphold me, 
God's wisdom to guide me,
God's eye to look before me,
God's ear to hear me,
God's word to speak for me,
God's hand to guard me,
God's way to lie before me,
God's shield to protect me.
From the snares of devils, from temptation of vices, 
From everyone who shall wish me ill,
Afar and near, alone and in a multitude."
 ~ Saint Patrick ~ 

This beautiful prayer by Saint Patrick was found on Por Amor Al Arte's blog and speaks eloquently, don't you agree? Please, keep us in your prayers.

Blessings ~ God ~ Jesus Christ ~ Holy Spirit ~

Grace and Peace,
Sandra

Monday, October 25, 2010

"Secretariat: Out of the gate...and into history"

 "Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said, Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge? Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me. Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth?
"Hast thou given the horse strength? hast thou clothed his neck with thunder? Canst thou make him afraid as a grasshopper? the glory of his nostrils is terrible. He paweth in the valley, and rejoiceth in his strength: he goeth on to meet the armed men. He mocketh at fear, and is not affrighted; neither turneth he back from the sword. The quiver rattleth against him, the glittering spear and the shield. He swalloweth the ground with fierceness and rage..."
 ~ Job 1-4; 19-24 ~

Mercy! Do yourself a favor, as a matter of fact, do the entire family a favor and go see Secretariat ASAP. Sure, you know how it ends. That great horse wins the 1973 Triple Crown becoming the first horse to win since Citation won in 1948. Heck, there have only been eleven horses and riders to do so since the Triple Crown began in 1919 and it's been more than thirty years since Affirmed and Steve Cauthen won in 1978.

It's a movie story about hope and love and believing in something larger than oneself. Penny Chenery, against the advice and will of just about everyone in her life, saved the family farm and, as a hand's on owner, allowed Secretariat to do what was his God-given destiny: run and, she would add, win. It's a joy to watch a horse, especially a running horse and to watch Secretariat on the big screen is to watch the awesome handwork of God Himself. Secretariat was foaled at The Meadow, then the Chenery family horse farm in Doswell, just north of Richmond and now the home of the Virginia State Fair.

Seriously, I can't say enough good things about this movie. In a world gone crazy, then and now, it's filled with hope, love, laughter and joy; it's a wonderful "feel good" movie. I've never bought a DVD when first released but this will be the first, perhaps only, exception. Yep, it's that good!

Blessings ~ hope ~ love ~ laughter ~ joy ~ Secretariat ~ live rejoicing every day...yes, every day! ~

Grace and Peace,
Sandra

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Sabbath Keeping

 ~ headwaters of Little River ~
"My grace is sufficient for you, my power is made perfect in your weakness." ~ II Corinthians 12:9 ~

"To get alone--to dare to be alone--with God, this, I am persuaded, is one of the best ways of doing anything in the world...If we are ever to be or to do anything, if we are ever to be full of deep, permanent, rational enthusiasm, we must know God. If we are ever to know each other, we must know Him first. ...I believe that we do most for those whom God has begun to teach us to love, not by constantly thinking of their goodness, their grace, their simplicity, but by never thinking of them apart from God, by always connecting their beauty and purity with a higher Beauty and a higher Purity, by seeing God in them. Let us learn to make every thought of admiration and love a kind of prayer of intercession and thanksgiving. Thus human love will correct itself with, and find its root in, divine love. But this we can do only if we are willing to be alone with Him." ~ Forbes Robinson ~

"Grace is what God gives us when we don't deserve and 
mercy is when God doesn't give us what we do deserve." 

"God often comforts us, not by changing the circumstances of our lives, but by changing our attitude toward them."  ~ S. H. B. Masterman ~

 "Beauty without grace is the hook without the bait." 

"When spiritual comfort is sent to you by God, take it humbly and give thanks meekly for it. But know for certain that is the great goodness of God that sends it to you, and not because you deserve it."
~ Thomas a Kempis ~

"We ourselves know by experience that there is no place for comfort like the cross. It is a tree stripped of all foliage, and apparently dead; yet we sit under its shadow with great delight, and its fruit is sweet unto our taste." ~ Charles H. Spurgeon ~

"Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him..." 
~ Psalms 37:7 ~

Blessings ~ grace ~ comfort ~ the cross ~ alone with God ~ the empty tomb ~ mercy ~

Grace and Peace,
Sandra

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Paint Lick Ride, October 2010

 ~ youngest driver ~
The Paint Lick Ride had to have drivers, right? This is our youngest driver who is looking none to pleased at having his photo taken. Perhaps it's because his boots are on the wrong feet so his Mother told me. He dressed himself and there was No Talking Him Out Of doing it over. Don't even try, okay?
 ~ going down the mountain ~
 The first two or three miles are on the hard surfaced road and then we turn into a meadow, leading down the mountain to the river. The cows and calves wandered alongside the wagons, following us as we muddle along at a walking speed.
 ~ into the river ~
 Our wagon, the Red wagon, was the second in line so we had a good view of everyone ahead and behind. The river is Maiden Spring, perhaps the Little River at this point, and it's not very deep; the folks lifting their feet are wary of being splashed. Russell, our driver, did a fine job of keeping everyone dry and between the ditches...just the way we wanted it!
~ climbing the next mountain ~
As you can see, the day was beautiful and the weather was absolutely perfect. Long sleeve tee-shirts, jeans and hiking boots were sufficient. One of my riders said, "how far do we hike once we get there?" I looked at him and smiled, "What a nice word, "hike", for what y'all are going to be doing." He looked puzzled so I explained...the last part of the journey is uphill, all the way and part of the way is on shale that's extremely slippery. You won't be hiking as much as you'll be scrambling on all fours. He laughed and said, "bring it on!"

I wouldn't want the other wagon masters to know but I think my riders were the best of the lot. -smile- To a one, they were all engaging, fun, eager and had a great time.
~ ready to storm the mountain ~
Miss Cindy is telling folks what to expect, how long to take, etc. as they prepare to go up the last mountain. We had three guides who were responsible for taking people up and making sure those same people came back down. I didn't go up the mountain, been there and done that, and would have liked to go this time except for that pesky back situation. I just didn't want to chance straining or pulling any muscles so I stayed at the foot of the mountain and waited on folks.
~ tuckered out ~
This little feller had a fine time; he made it to the top, he and his Gran, but he couldn't quite make it back to the community center. Exhaustion got the best of him and he fell asleep. When was the last time you could fall asleep in this position and move when you awoke? Yeah, it's been decades for me as well.

Everyone said they had a lovely time and this nice woman and her husband were over the moon at the day. When I thanked them for coming on the ride and supporting the community center by buying tickets, her husband said, "NO! Thank you all. You don't know what you've done for my family. You've given us memories for a lifetime."

Blessings ~ great weather ~ great day ~ great people ~ memories for a lifetime ~

Grace and Peace,
Sandra

Friday, October 22, 2010

Bits and Pieces

 ~ Sadie Lady ~
While I'm working on the photos "Faces" for a blog entry, thought some bits and pieces might be of interest.

A lunar eclipse takes place on December 21, also noteworthy because it's the winter equinox solstice. The moon will pass behind the earth and block the sun's rays from striking the moon. This can only happen when the earth is between the sun and a full moon. A lunar eclipse may be viewed from anywhere on earth's night side and a particularly fun place from which to watch is Elqui Domos. I'd love to be there, wouldn't you?

Amish America is all about the Amish and I found it extremely interesting. I've always been drawn to the simpler religions - the Brethren, Mennonites and such. More to the latter than the former as I do like my mod cons. -smile-

Providence Acres has a great tutorial for making fresh green wreaths...just in time for the hols. We're fortunate to have a National Forrest at our back door and fresh greens for wreaths are free for the taking. This excellent tutorial has photos galore and well written instructions so if you want to have a wreath making party, you're set to go.

Arnold Ahlert has written many excellent pieces and Multiculturalism speaks eloquently to our situation today. I find it disturbing the current trend, starting from the Big White House on down, the antipathy towards Jews. When Obama has set his path against the Jews, and thus the feet of the USA, he is leading us on a path that will end in our destruction.

NPR fired Juan Williams for telling the truth and this after his opinion was asked! NRP: "If we don't do it, who will?" Well, NPR...most anyone, a heck of a lot better AND with their own money. If you hate corporations so much, why do you insist on taking their money in the form of commercials "sponsorship"? If you hate free speech so much, why do you allow people liberals, on NPR, to say rude things about Christians, conservatives, etc.? Sometimes I listen to NPR and find it enjoyable to listen for free as I have no intention of ever sending you money again. At least, not from my personal checkbook. You'll still receive my money in the form of tax slave dollars but, hopefully, that will stop if the GOP or Tea Party gains majority office.

Frankly, I'm with Mr. Williams. When I get on an airplane and see Muslims in their robes and hoods, I feel a not so small frisson. If someone were to board that same airplane in a white robe and hood, do you think they would be as well received? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA written in a sarcastic tone and no, I'm not suggesting it should happen but I also don't agree with coverings that veil the face in any way.

NPR is a bully. A bully of the worst sort. A bully who can, and will, make any liberal statement they want and then fire someone for making conservative comments and Mr. Williams didn't even say them on NPR! Ellen Weiss is the hatchet woman who fired Mr. Williams; I am reminded of Martin Niemoeller's message:

"First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out--
  because I was not a communist;
Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out--
  because I was not a socialist;
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out--
  because I was not a trade unionist;
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out--
  because I was not a Jew;
Then they came for me--
  and there was no one left to speak out for me."

 I'm told feedly is a great way to organize one's blog reads in a magazine type format. If you check it out, let me know how difficult it is as I'm feeling a trifle overwhelmed right now to do any geeky stuff.

Kickstarter funds creativity. You come up with an idea, obtain matching funding they your project will see the light of day.  It's not free money, it's free matching money...great idea!

In addition to the rest of life, I'm busy making things for the December Draper craft show. That means dyeing yarn and roving, knitting scarves, hats and fingerless mitts, making quilts, etc. I'll drag one of my spinning wheels, a rag rug loom and a bunch of other stuff so I can demonstrate throughout the day. It's to help a friend and a good cause, more info to follow.

Speaking of more to follow...just downloaded the Paint Lick Ride pictures and will begin work on that entry. It was a glorious day, the photos don't do it justice, but will have to suffice.

Tempus Fugit and Carpe Diem. It's a high wire act but with God's grace and mercy, we'll get through.

Grace and Peace,
Sandra

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Do You Pay Taxes?

 ~ vultures, drying their wings in early morning sun ~
If you pay taxes, own a *small business or farm, have a **special needs child, are a ***teacher or think health care will be free, we have Joan Pryde, Senior Tax Editor of Kiplinger Letters, to thank for writing the following on 8 October 2010.
 
On January 1, 2011, the largest tax hikes in the history of America will take effect. They will hit families and small businesses in three great waves.

On January 1, 2011, here's what happens... (read it to the end, so you see all three waves)...

First Wave:

Expiration of 2001 and 2003 Tax Relief - In 2001 and 2003, the GOP Congress enacted several tax cuts for investors, small business owners, and families.
These will all expire on January 1, 2011 and personal income tax rates will rise.

The top income tax rate will rise from 35 to 39.6 percent (this is also the rate at which two-thirds of small business profits are taxed).
    The lowest rate will rise from 10 to 15 percent.
    All the rates in between will also rise.  
   
Itemized deductions and personal exemptions will again phase out, which has the same mathematical effect as higher marginal tax rates.

The full list of marginal rate hikes is below:
  • The 10% bracket rises to an expanded 15%
  •  
  • The 25% bracket rises to 28%
  •  
  • The 28% bracket rises to 31%
  •  
  • The 33% bracket rises to 36%
  •  
  • The 35% bracket rises to 39.6%
Higher taxes on marriage and family.

The "marriage penalty" (narrower tax brackets for married couples) will return from the first dollar of income. 
 
Had enough? Vote on November 2, 2010 and throw the bums OUT! 

The child tax credit will be cut in half from $1000 to $500 per child.

The standard deduction will no longer be doubled for married couples relative to the single level.

The dependent care and adoption tax credits will be cut.

The return of the Death Tax

This year only, there is no death tax.  (It's a quirk!) For those dying on or after January 1, 2011, there is a 55 percent top death tax rate on estates over $1 million.  A person leaving behind two homes, a business, a retirement account,could easily pass along a death tax bill to their loved ones.  Think of the farmers who don't make much money, but their land, which they purchased years ago with after-tax dollars, is now worth a lot of money.  Their children will have to sell the farm, which may be their livelihood, just to pay the estate tax if they don't have the cash sitting around to pay the tax.  Think about your own family's assets.  Maybe your family owns real estate, or a business that doesn't make much money, but the building and equipment are worth $1 million.  Upon their death, you can inherit the $1 million business tax free, but if they own a home, stock, cash worth $500K on top of the $1 million business, then you will owe the government $275,000 cash!  That's 55% of the value of the assets over $1 million!  Do you have that kind of cash sitting around waiting to pay the estate tax?

Higher tax rates on savers and investors.

The capital gains tax will rise from 15 percent this year to 20 percent in 2011.

The dividends tax will rise from 15 percent this year to 39.6 percent in 2011.  
These rates will rise another 3.8 percent in 2013.
Second Wave:

Obamacare - There are over twenty new or higher taxes in Obamacare. Several will first go into effect on January 1, 2011.  They include:

The "Medicine Cabinet Tax"

Thanks to Obamacare, Americans will no longer be able to use health savings account (HSA), flexible spending account (FSA), or health reimbursement (HRA) pre-tax dollars to purchase non-prescription, over-the-counter medicines (except insulin).

**The "Special Needs Kids Tax"

This provision of Obamacare imposes a cap on flexible spending accounts (FSAs) of $2500 (Currently, there is no federal government limit). There is one group of FSA owners for whom this new cap will be particularly cruel and onerous: parents of special needs children.

There are thousands of families with special needs children in the United States, and many of them use FSAs to pay for special needs education.
Tuition rates at one leading school that teaches special needs children in Washington , D.C. (National Child Research Center ) can easily exceed $14,000 per year.

Under tax rules, FSA dollars can not be used to pay for this type of special needs education.

The HSA (Health Savings Account) Withdrawal Tax Hike

This provision of Obamacare increases the additional tax on non-medical early withdrawals from an HSA from 10 to 20 percent, disadvantaging them relative to IRAs and other tax-advantaged accounts, which remain at 10 percent.

Third Wave:

The Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) and Employer Tax Hikes

When Americans prepare to file their tax returns in January of 2011, they'll be in for a nasty surprise-the AMT won't be held harmless, and many tax relief provisions will have expired.

The major items include:

The AMT will ensnare over 28 million families, up from 4 million last year.

According to the left-leaning Tax Policy Center , Congress' failure to index the AMT will lead to an explosion of AMT taxpaying families-rising from 4 million last year to 28.5 million.  These families will have to calculate their tax burdens twice, and pay taxes at the higher level.  The AMT was created in 1969 to ensnare a handful of taxpayers.

**Small business expensing will be slashed and 50% expensing will disappear.

Small businesses can normally expense (rather than slowly-deduct, or "depreciate") equipment purchases up to $250,000.

This will be cut all the way down to $25,000.  Larger businesses can currently expense half of their purchases of equipment.

In January of 2011, all of it will have to be "depreciated."

*Taxes will be raised on all types of businesses.

There are literally scores of tax hikes on business that will take place.  The biggest is the loss of the "research and experimentation tax credit," but there are many, many others. Combining high marginal tax rates with the loss of this tax relief will cost jobs.

***Tax Benefits for Education and Teaching Reduced.

The deduction for tuition and fees will not be available.
Tax credits for education will be limited.

Teachers will no longer be able to deduct classroom expenses.
Coverdell Education Savings Accounts will be cut.
Employer-provided educational assistance is curtailed.

The student loan interest deduction will be disallowed for hundreds of thousands of families.

Charitable Contributions from IRAs no longer allowed.
Under current law, a retired person with an IRA can contribute up to $100,000 per year directly to a charity from their IRA.

This contribution also counts toward an annual "required minimum distribution."  This ability will no longer be there.

Read more...

And worse yet?
Now, your
insurance will be INCOME on your W2's!

One of the surprises we'll find come next year, is what follows - - a little "surprise" that 99% of us had no idea was included in the "new and improved" health care legislation . . . the dupes, er, dopes, who backed this administration will be astonished!

Starting in 2011, (next year folks), your W-2 tax form sent by your employer will be increased to show the value of whatever health insurance you are given by the company. It does not matter if that's a private concern or governmental body of some sort.

If you're retired?  So what... your gross will go up by the amount of insurance you get.

You will be required to pay taxes on a large sum of money that you have never seen.  Take your tax form you just finished and see what $15,000 or $20,000 additional gross does to your tax debt.  That's what you'll pay next year.

For many, it also puts you into a new higher bracket so it's even worse.

This is how the government is going to buy insurance for the15% that don't have insurance and it's only part of the tax increases.

Not believing this???  Here is a research of the summaries.....

On page 25 of 29: TITLE IX REVENUE PROVISIONS- SUBTITLE A: REVENUE OFFSET PROVISIONS-(sec. 9001, as modified by sec. 10901) Sec.9002  "requires employers to include in the W-2 form of each employee the aggregate cost of applicable employer sponsored group health coverage that is excludable from the employees gross income."

-
Joan Pryde is the senior tax editor for the Kiplinger letters.
- Go to Kiplingers and read about 13 tax changes that could affect you.  Number 3 is what is above.
 
Are you angry yet?
Vote the rascals OUT of DC on 2 November 2010!

 Blessings ~ we still have the privilege of VOTING ~

Grace and Peace,
Sandra