Thursday, February 14, 2008

The 11 Most Overlooked Tax Deductions

Speaking from experience, TurboTax helps find tax deductions you may have overlooked.

Every year, the IRS dutifully reports the most common blunders taxpayers make on their returns. And every year, at or near the top of the list, is forgetting to enter a Social Security number or making a mistake when entering the nine digits that identify us to IRS computers.

Yes, friends, tax time is here and it can be a dangerous time. It’s all too easy to miss a trick and pay too much. Years ago, the head of the IRS told Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine that he figured millions of taxpayers overpaid their taxes every year by overlooking just one of the money-savers listed in this article on the 11 most overlooked tax deductions.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Focus on Gratitude

The majority of this past week I was in Marietta Georgia at the contractor supported weapons system conference. This conference is the forum for discussing the various aspects involved in prime contractor (Boeing, Lockheed, Northrop, etc) support of Air Force systems (C-17, F-22, RQ-4, etc).

My time in Scripture this week brought the following thoughts:
  • The Lord tests his people to see if they will follow his instructions (Exodus 16)
  • Many are invited but few are chosen (Matthew 22:14)
  • Delegation was taught to Moses by his father in law, Jethro (Exodus 18)
  • The greatest command given is to love the Lord with all (Matthew 22)
  • Man ruins what God puts in place (Exodus 18 and Matthew 23)
  • Be prepared because you don’t know when Jesus is coming back (Matthew 25)
Additional thoughts from lesson 3 of Og Mandino’s University of Success book:
  • Count your blessings, not your troubles
  • Consider the less fortunate in order to regain perspective
  • Take time to think about all you have, be grateful, and thank God for it
  • Make a personal list of all you have to be grateful for
That’s it for this week, short and sweet!

My challenge to you is to focus on being grateful for all you have. What are you especially grateful for?

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Hope, Direction, and Encouragement

Welcome to the month of February…already! Here are some of the things that were memorable from this past week.

Last Sunday our family had brunch together, as is our custom, along with a time of discussion, planning and calendar review. This time has become more and more important as the kids mature and are involved in their own individual activities.

On Monday evening President Bush gave his final State of the Union address. Although I didn’t see very much of it, I was prompted to ask the question “What’s the state of my life?” That’s probably a good question for all of us to ask one month into a New Year. So, what’s the state of your life?

Tuesday morning, my 16 year old son passed another College Level Examination Program (CLEP) test and now has a total of 21 college credits. Did I mention how proud of him I am?

At house church Wednesday evening, the guys group had some good discussion on 1 John 2 about loving your brother and what that looks like in our lives. We also discussed gratitude, spiritual struggles, and solitude.

After dinner Friday evening our family watched the fourth lesson in the video series “Strategies for Success: Blueprint for Achievement” by Zig Ziglar. This fourth lesson taught more about the things that people really want. As a reader of this blog, if you send me an email (you can use the email link at the VIEW MY COMPLETE PROFILE page), I’ll send you the list of 10 things people really want. A key thought that caught my attention this week is that people need 1) hope, 2) direction, and 3) encouragement.

Here are the things that stood out to me this week as I read Scripture:
  • Consider the end of your life when you will groan and say “How I hated discipline”, “How I spurned correction”, “I would not obey or listen” (Proverbs 5)
  • Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven? (answer found in Matthew 18)
  • People need to be encouraged and set free (Exodus 6:9)
  • Even though I might do a lot of good things, that’s not enough. I either have to be perfect (didn’t happen) or I have to accept Jesus payment in my place (Matthew 19)
  • The Earth is the Lord’s and everything in it (Psalm 24:1)
  • Whoever wants to be great must serve, just as Jesus came to serve (Matthew 20)
  • Questions, Parables, and Old Testament quotes were methods Jesus used to communicate (Matthew 21)
Bonus thoughts from my reading of Lesson 2 of Og Mandino’s University of Success:
  • Success is an inside job.
  • Do you think of yourself as a success?
  • Is your life full of purpose or aimlessness?
  • Do you accept your batting average or do you have unrealistic high expectations?
  • Do you realize there is a price to pay for success and that it (success) is not free?
  • Joy balances effort!
  • Do you experience satisfaction or enjoyment that comes from having the right attitude?
  • Regarding spirituality, do you have a relationship with God?
So, in summary, what’s the state of your life? Do you have hope? Do you have direction? Who/what are the sources of encouragement for you?