Wednesday, April 15, 2015

DRAMA-RAMA...

 
You got it; I'm tired of dealing with the drama and I quit...at least for the time being...our extension has been accepted by that sterling government entity known as the IRS.  Hey, Lois Lerner didn't get too excited about things...why should I?  Because, I'm different...that's why. 
 
We don't usually have panic attacks over April 15th but this was the first and hopefully the last time we'll repeatedly procrastinate.  The stress level is best put to rest...you don't wanna' know!  Oops, maybe you've had it too!
 
For some, it's IOU...for others it's UOI.  I rather favor the latter...one can only hope, right?
 
There are more than a few who don't seem concerned about little things like reporting income, etc.  Then...there are others who simply refuse to file/pay...it's against their principles.   
 
Some celebrities owe horrendous figures in back taxes...millions.  I'd be shakin' in my boots. One said she doesn't bother thinking about how much she makes or how much she owes the government....is that what you'd call 'laid back'?  Another served several years in federal prison for failure to pay back taxes and now says he is very happy to pay taxes every day. 
One famous man owed 16.7 million in back taxes and ended up in a mess.
I think it's wise to play by the rules, don't you?
 
"This idea that you're a successful tough guy
if you evade taxes and deceive the government has got to change."
George Papandreou
 
To ease the pain, lots of interesting things take place on the 15th of April...some are listed under the heading of Cheap Eats.  One chain is advertising free sandwiches w/half price drinks.  Hard Rock CafĂ© posted one...if you can stand up in front of the customers on Tuesday, the 14th of April, and sing an entire song you will win one of their ultimate sandwiches.  Goody, goody gum-drop...not.
 
A pizza chain has an ad for Tax Day.  A National Pizza Form is provided that you are to 'honestly' fill out (they suggest you be as honest as when you filled out your income tax return)...things to check off such as how many feet of pizza crust you ate during 2014...how many pizzas you ordered...how many pieces of pepperoni you consumed...etc.   Mail in your entry and you'll be notified later how you've come out in the win department.  Oh boy! 
 
Okay, so all of that is to allow people to feel better about doing something that (at times) seems rather unpleasant, shall we say?  Truthfully we don't gripe about paying taxes...we've multitudes of blessings in this country, more than we can ever count. 
 
So, call it a privilege...be glad...it's a small price to cough up for all the things we have in this awesome land...we are extremely rich.
"Think what a better world it would be if we all,
the whole world, had cookies and milk about
three o'clock every afternoon and then
lay down on our blankets for a nap."
Barbara Jordon
 
 
Now that's a great idea...so I'm gonna' have a cookie, a big glass of water...
grab my blankey...take some deep breaths & relax.  Oh wow! My world's already better...how's yours? 
 
From my heart...to yours...tax free!
Vasca  
 

Monday, March 23, 2015

GOOD STUFF...

 
  "Go into the world and do well. 
      But more importantly, go into the world and do good."  
Minor Myers Jr.
 
Nothing new that we're not 'cookie cutter' people...we're individuals which translates to 'existing as a distinct entity; separate'.  We're fortunate in that respect...right? 
 
Different strokes for different folks.  I don't necessarily need to be a clone of you; nor you cloned like me!  Oh boy...wouldn't that be double trouble?
 
Michael and I went to China...we surely hadn't that in our tool box.  When we visited an exhibition hall at Abilene Christian University we were looking for books concerning gerontology.  We had decided we would work in that field...that would be a good fit for the two of us.  Oops, what we failed to do was talk it over with God...never thought of doing that.  In other words, we were not thinking...period.
 
In one day Gerontology became 'teaching English in China'.  You've gotta' be kidding, God.  No?  NO!  Loud and clear, we couldn't help but hear that.  Well...well, what d'ya know?
 
There are multitudes of people with plans for something they decided they could/would do...only to have a greater power change the whole thing.  Could be a few were on His track from the get-go...you never know.  
 
Truthfully there are some life changes that would terrify me...they really would.  Like what?  Well, like moving/working in the 'war-torn' areas of Africa...Muslim countries...jumping out of airplanes!
 
There are people who have those terrific 'brave-hearts'...heroes, heroines all.  All of us know of some. 
 
I've a wonderful neighbor who is one of those...she established an organization to help orphans in a region of Africa that has been and remains ravaged by horrible conflict...and there are so many children left without anyone or anything.  
 
She's there now, trying to convince their government to lighten restrictions on American adoptions...slowly, ever so slowly things seem to be inching forward.  She goes there often; she's been there now for a month and will be there three more weeks...easy?   Hot, hot...mosquito ridden, limited transportation and now? Chicken pox among the children.  To me it would seem miserable choosing to live like that; she does what I've no intention of doing...yet she does good.  I believe it has to do with God and His ideas.
 
Here's another instance~  I keep up with some who have just gotten settled in a Muslin country...they can't even mention the country or the city.

They are some of the few who are there doing what Michael and I did in China...teaching English and some 'quiet' things...we did it in a Communist country...they are doing it in a Muslim country!  Where they are would scare the livin' daylights out of me...honestly it would.  They are doing what I've no intention of doing...but they do good.  I believe it has to do with God and His ideas.
 
These are just two samples of heroic people...called by God to do something...something important that they do good. 
 
This is not to say everyone should step forward and volunteer to do similar things...remember, we aren't 'cookie cutters'.  But we are given talents...talents to be used...given by a loving Father to His children for His purposes.  Every single one of us...every one! 
 
How M and I ended up working with Chinese instead of with older people is a real story in itself.  While we answered positively and became involved it entailed many, what some might call drastic, changes!  Were they all easy?  Oh, you don't want to know about the inner struggles...but guess what?  Everything worked out amazingly; we never could have orchestrated it ourselves.  Wow!  We were doing something not many wanted to do...I believe it has to do with God and His ideas!
 
 
  "Go into the world and do well. 
      But more importantly, go into the world and do good."  
Minor Myers Jr.
 
Hey, your world could be next door or right around the corner...anywhere. 
Never know. God might even surprise you with one of His ideas!
Whatever...do good...do good...do good.  That's good.
 
From my heart...to yours,
Vasca

Sunday, March 1, 2015

N SYNC...


Not so long ago I wore a watch...I have several.  I like them but my cell phone sort of took the place of my watches.  Seems I never wear one these days.  M's stopped running and out of habit he continued to wear it anyway; but now he's weaned himself from it.  Seems sort of sad.
 
However...we're tied to a couple of clocks because they have sentimental value and ties.  Incidentally, they don't run on batteries...if we don't wind...they don't run.  Some things take a bit of extra time...just a tad...they're worth it.
 
The closest to our hearts is one that has been in M's family 111 years.  It came from Michael's paternal grandfather, Henry Polkenhorn Beall.  Don't ask where the Polkenhorn came from 'cause we don't have a clue!  We were certainly never tempted to give that name to any of our sons.  He was really a fascinating man, feisty as could be and quite the entrepreneur in the late 1800's and early 1900's. 
 
The Louisiana Purchase Exposition (dubbed the St. Louis World's Fair)took place in St. Louis in 1904.  Henry decided he and his wife (Pearl) should make the trip from Oklahoma and have a look.  The Fair was really something extraordinary!  Of course, some things don't change so naturally there were many things to spend your money on...gifts to buy!  Henry spied this beautiful little Seth Thomas clock and bought it for Pearl.
 
Later on the clock ended up with M's mother.  One day as she and I were talking she said she was going to get rid of the clock...she really never liked it.  WHAT???  I couldn't believe she was going to dump it...she said "Well, you wouldn't want it either."  Wrong, wrong!
 
The clock wasn't running but we were and took it with us around the world; precious clock.  While living on post at Ft. Sill we had an open house and a guest took us aside to ask about the clock.  It seemed he collected clocks and enjoyed working on them so he asked if he could take our clock and tinker with it.  We knew him from church so we knew he was 'reliable'.  You know how church people are, right?
 
We ran into him later that evening and he surprised us with "I have your clock running'. A couple of weeks later he said we could pick it up...he had polished the wood, cleaned all the parts (they were all original) and he wouldn't let us pay him anything.  He so enjoyed working with that clock; he gave us a lecture filled with advice, "You better not ever sell that little clock"...we haven't, we won't and it's still running, keeps perfect time. And it sounds nice when it chimes.  We’re happy it lives with us.
 
The other clock is not nearly so old or sentimental...it just has some good memories in it.  Michael always admired ship's clocks...guess that was because he was a water transportation specialist in the military and was always around water and ships!  He finally bought us one when he was in Germany...keeps perfect time and if I would use Brasso on it?  It would shine but it's sort of old, crusty and comfortable...like the two of us. 
One is in the living room, one is in the kitchen.  You know how we spend our mornings, right?  Of course, in our back tri-purpose room...drinking coffee, having breakfast with M reading to me for a couple of hours!  Ah, God is so good.
 
The last several mornings I've noticed both clocks striking/ringing at exactly the same time...they're in sync.  And you know what?  That was/is the most pleasant sound; a comfortable feeling.
 
The Seth Thomas chimes/strikes on the hour, one strike on the half-hour; the ship's clock rings bells. When those clocks are in sync both of us notice; it’s a good moment and brings smiles!
 
So, what is all this stuff with the clocks?  
 
Well, it caused me to think about how pleasant it is to be in sync...and not just with those two clocks but with people.
 
Teddy Roosevelt said, "The most important ingredient in the formula of success is knowing how to get along with people."
 
My point is…when things are in sync, it seems so much better. 
 
Honestly? For me…for Michael…together is our favorite place to be.
 
From my heart...to yours,
Vasca