Five Minute Friday: A few of my favorite things

Speaking of taxes as I was yesterday, I’d like to say that sometimes I gasp when I look at my paycheck stub and compare the gross pay with my actual take-home.  Where does all that money go that is collected and given to the United States government?

But rather than complain, I want to list some of the benefits I derive from my taxes.  After all, the authority of the government is a gift from God.

For these things I am thankful:

The public library.  I frequent it quite often, enough that most of the staff at the front desk know me by first and last name.  It could also be that I reserve books and movies on-line a lot.  I find something I want at the library, put a hold on it through the website, and the staff pulls it and has it waiting for me.  What could be better?

The Fire Department.  I am personally acquainted with two firemen, Dustin and Steven, and they are two of the nicest and most efficient guys anyone could know.   If I have a fire or an emergency of any kind, I would feel so much better if either of them were on the job to help.

The Police.  Though I’ve been stopped for speeding twice in my life and was not happy about it at the time, I am still so grateful there are men and women who risk their lives to keep me and my family safe every day.

Medical care for children.  There are many who don’t earn enough to pay for medical insurance for their families.  My taxes help to ensure that children have the medical attention they need without creating a financial hardship on lower income families.

Well, that’s my five minutes for this Friday.

          This post is part of Five Minute Friday on The Gypsy Mama. Would you like to join us?



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Tax day

It’s tax day – at least it is for me. Don’t freak out if you haven’t filed yours yet. You still have a couple of weeks before April 15. Actually I just discovered that the last date this year to legally file taxes is April 18 due to April 15 being the day the government will observe Emancipation Day, which is really April 16. But since April 16 is Saturday, it will be observed on the Friday before, thus April 15.

You didn’t know you were going to get so much information today, I bet.

It’s tax day for me because I finally got all my information together in a handy-dandy folder and dropped the packet off at my accountant’s office. I told the receptionist that I really meant to have it there sooner. She said, “You are not the only one.”

I’m guessing there are a lot of procrastinators out there who, like me, had good intentions.

I listed “tax preparation to be complete in February” as one of my 2011 goals. I’m a month late. And why is that?

Filing my taxes is like a lot of other things in my life. It is important but not urgent. It is easy to put it off until later because I can. That is until April 15th gets precariously close and suddenly tax preparation becomes urgent.

A seminar I attended taught about prioritizing tasks by drawing a square and labeling the quadrants like this: 

 Important but Not Urgent  Important and Urgent
Seems Urgent but Not Important Not urgent and Not Important

As I remember, we were told we need to spend most of our time on the things in the first quadrant, Important but Not Urgent. But all too often we spend our lives on the Not Urgent and Not Important or what Seems Urgent but is Not Important. In other words, we waste time.

I could make a list here of time-wasters, but I will let you make your own mental list.

It is so easy for us to put off what is not screaming loudly to be done while giving ourselves away for what will be of no use in the final count of our lives.

I think of relationships I cherish. Most of the people in my life are not urgently crying out, telling me they need some time and attention. They can be put on hold easily while I spin my wheels on other stuff that sometimes makes bigger noises or flashes brighter images.

I have been known to say “In the scope of eternity, what does [name the event or circumstance] really matter.” It is the people who are in my circle of influence who will matter in the scope of eternity.  They are affected most by my interactions – or my unavailability.

Recalling 1 Corinthians 3:11 – 13, Paul talks about building on the foundation Christ has laid. Christ gave us the foundation of living. He expects us to build carefully on that foundation.

Remember, there is only one foundation, the one already laid: Jesus Christ. Take particular care in picking out your building materials. Eventually there is going to be an inspection. If you use cheap or inferior materials, you’ll be found out. The inspection will be thorough and rigorous. You won’t get by with a thing,” (The Message).

Christ cared for people more than anything else.  We are to model our lives after His and continue to build.   

An old saying I’ve heard since a child says, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

Don’t neglect what is important, and that is your relationships, the people God has put in your life.  Good intentions don’t accomplish anything.