46 thoughts on “Our Daily Thread 2-13-18

  1. Well don’t look at me Kim. They say the sun rises in the east, but I’m no longer sure. I haven’t seen it for a week at least. 😦

    Nothin’ but rain and gloom, followed by gloom and rain, around here….. 😦

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  2. We are getting rain here to, but we need it. Our water table was very low, but it’s on the way to recovery. When I get weary with the overcast weather, I try to remember the water table. Rain now means a healthy growing season. :–)

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  3. The header was from a year ago this week, and I think we were already done with snow for the year. For the second year in a row–and my only two years in twenty years in the Midwest–we had spring start in March and no freezes after that. (Usually one has to wait till April, or even May, to get blooming buds and the early tree blossoms.)

    At any rate, my husband and I were driving to town, and three or four miles from our house; we had just driven past a field with a temporary pond from rainwater (common here in agricultural country that used to be swampland) when I said, “Honey! There were sandhill craned in that field!” Neither of us had seen them anywhere other than our local state park, in migration in the spring and a family of four (our first sighting) in summer one time. And though we had heard them in larger numbers than a single pair, in spring in that park they are usually in dried grasses taller than they are (and they are nearly as tall as great blue herons), so we hear their haunting cries and know there are perhaps half a dozen in there, but we can’t see them, except in flight at a distance or the single pair that comes into shorter grass in a different part of the park.

    As you can see here, in the dead grass left from winter and a harvested cornfield, they are nearly invisible except for the red patch on each head and their movement. Really it’s mostly the movement that gives them away, especially in tall grass. There are six adults in this photo (they haven’t bred yet, so no juveniles) and two quite a few yards more distant and not in the photo. Later in the year their plumage won’t look gray, but reddish brown, since they groom themselves with mud; but their fresh feathers are gray.

    These cranes are smaller than the endangered and white whooping cranes; sandhills can be seen in huge flocks doing incredible mating dances, but that’s a sight I’ve never seen. Eight in one old farmer’s field by a temporary pool of water was amazement enough for me when I saw them. My hunch is that these birds had already paired off, but I don’t know enough about the species to be sure, nor do I know whether they mate for life and simply reinforce pair bonds each year with their dances. I had a migraine yesterday afternoon (still have a bit of a headache) and didn’t finish yesterday’s deadline yet, so I need to go back and do that. (The good news is the publisher’s office isn’t open yet anyway.)

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  4. Morning….the sun is up there I can tell you…perhaps you just need to be at 7400 ft in elevation to see it like we are 🌞 We have had that white slippery rain of which Chas speaks….and I was indeed slipping on it during my walk yesterday!!!…(but I did not fall…with practice we learn how to balance ourselves on that stuff for the most part!) Praying the clouds part and the sun peeks out for you today Kim…..

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  5. Roscuro (replying to your comment from last night) – My point has been about not putting our trust in government, not that we shouldn’t obey it or honor our authorities. Since we believe that God institutes governments, we can also believe that He allowed this “democratic” form that we have, which allows its citizens to have a say in what the government does or doesn’t do. I believe that is God-ordained.

    Here in the U.S., our government is supposed to follow our Constitution, which does in fact limit the federal government. So those who rail about “big government” are often coming from the point of view that our leaders have gotten way off track from what our government is supposed to be.

    As for taking care of the poor and such, those commands are to everybody, average citizens. One point I have seen made is that God loves a cheerful giver, not wanting them to be coerced (by high taxes) into it. Having said that, I, personally, do believe a strong safety net for people in need is necessary.

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  6. Just when I think things are smoothing out (in taking care of certain practical matters), something frustrating or anxiety-provoking happens.

    I just got booted out of our online bank, as I was trying to pay our property taxes, because the site alerted me that it detected that I was not doing something according to my usual pattern. It then asked a couple verification questions. I answered as I thought he might, but was not correct.

    I’ll go back and try again later, but this has me stressed again.

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  7. That is on our to-do list. Seems there’s always something else that comes up in the meantime. But it was already on my radar to get to soon.

    I will be having Nightingale’s name put on the account, too.

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  8. Kizzie, have you checked the tax implications of getting the name of someone other than a spouse (and also someone who is not your only heir) put on the account?

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  9. My husband has to be on some other accounts. It is not unusual, but it is good to check out any complications.

    We have a lot of sun, which is usual for very cold weather, so, Kim, if you don’t mind well below zero temps you can come up here. 😀

    Cabin fever is rampant around these parts, though. Just a warning.

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  10. Belated Happy Birthday, Kare!

    After being hit with three snowstorms in three days, we’ve had sun yesterday and today. But it’s a cold sun.

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  11. Kim, I attempted to send you some sunshine from here. Let me know if you got it. I don’t know what I am doing and had to send it to myself before sending it to you.

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  12. Cheryl – Hadn’t thought about that, but will ask.

    We’ve had other times when names were added to accounts, such as Hubby’s to MIL’s, and I don’t think it affected taxes in any way. But again, I will ask.

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  13. Nothing like teaching a class on anger, murder, lust and adultery to a group of octogenarians . . . The most debated topic was the order of the commandments, vis a vis Luther’s Second Catechism!

    In other news, we finished the final episode of the 8th year of Monk last night. (see previous paragraph for subject matter). Not sure how we’ll spend our evenings now.

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  14. And the lessons keep a comin’.

    Received a bill for delinquent property taxes yesterday (the ones I was trying to pay online). What?!? I paid the taxes off (or so I thought) in late October, and hadn’t received a bill for more taxes. And why did it mention 2016 taxes? Had Hubby neglected to pay them?

    So I dashed off an email to the town’s tax collector, telling her about Hubby’s death and asking her about the bill. By the time I did that, it was past closing time for Town Hall, but she replied first thing this morning.

    So it turns out (and I’m sure most of you know this kind of stuff, unless your towns and cities do it differently) that we would have received a bill back in summer 2017 for 2016’s taxes. Those taxes are divided, with half expected up front, and the second half due in January, but without a second bill being sent out for that amount. Hubby had an agreement to pay a certain amount each month, and I had paid the rest (at least of the first half) with money from the life insurance.

    The tax collector was very nice about it, explaining it clearly, and said that if I could pay it within a couple weeks, she wouldn’t charge me the interest that had been added. So I did. And now I know more about my property taxes. 🙂

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  15. Kizzie, I do not disagree that our trust should be in God, rather than in the government. But neither do I think that Christians do well to cultivate a distrust or dislike of government. Paul, when he interacted with the Roman administrative officials, was both respectful and confident. His exchange with Festus and King Agrippa shows an apostle willing and ready to interact with the government. He isn’t defensive, he isn’t assuming the worst of their motives. He is patient with Festus’ exclamation that he is mad. He clearly likes Agrippa (by Josephus’ account, Agrippa was a worthy character). He interacts openly and cheerfully with them, and in doing so, gains their respect. His attitude of respect and confidence that God was with him allowed him to not only effectively defend himself from false accusations, but also, and more importantly, to give the Gospel to the government.

    As to the U.S. Constitution and the limits it places on government, that really should not influence the interpretation of Scripture, as the words of the Bible are to all peoples and nations for all time. The U.S. Constitution is an admirable human production, perhaps the pinnacle of Enlightenment thought; but for those outside its jurisdiction, it is simply one among a number of governmental systems, all imperfect and all of which will one day fall. Where freedoms exist, it is a gift of God to be used for his glory, and He can grant freedom even in countries which actively seek to suppress Christianity: https://world.wng.org/2018/02/impressions_of_persecution. The power of God in building Christ’s Church not limited by the form of national government.

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  16. So, dear friends, if your spouse is the one who handles your finances and taxes and such, please determine to learn all you can about those things. Or if you are the one who handles them, please gently teach your spouse.

    We had plans for me to learn all of that, and take over bill-paying, but it kept getting back-burnered. So grateful that I got my feet a bit wet with the online banking while Hubby was in the hospital. It was just enough to get me going when I had to do it on my own.

    I was embarrassed to tell my SIL about not being familiar with the bills and online banking, as she is an independent-minded feminist. But it turns out that my brother handle all that for them, so she, too, didn’t have a clue. Made me feel a bit better about my own situation.

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  17. Roscuro – I was not using the Constitution to interpret scripture. My point was that our government is based upon it, so as citizens, we have been given (by God) the privilege and responsibility of holding our government to its standard. Or at least trying to.

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  18. Kizzie, for what it is worth, as a single person I (of course) always did it myself, even always doing my own taxes (except for the first year I went freelance, since there were some complications that year in moving to a new state, setting up a business, selling stocks, and buying a house all in the same year, along with several months in which I wasn’t self-employed). Yet I still am in a situation where I don’t know a lot about how my husband does stuff with the finances; it’s just more complicated when it involves two people.

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  19. Kizzie, I was not saying you were. This current discussion was triggered by the link DJ put up yesterday, which did fail to step outside the U.S. Constitutional framework before writing about Scripture. The way the article cites descriptive passages of the Old Testament to argue for limited government is poor exegesis. Outside the U.S., one is not likely to hear a sermon about how, for instance. the account of Rehoboam and the rebellion of the ten tribes is proof the government should be limited. Rehoboam didn’t lose the kingdom because of his and his father Solomon’s heavy taxation, but because they both had forsaken the worship of Yahweh and gone and served other gods.

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  20. Kizzie– I handled all our money for 35 years, turning it all over to my husband five years ago when my life was simply too crazy that year to manage one more thing. He always said I’d never be willing to let go of the control. Was he surprised!

    He then turned everything into online payment. While I know about the property tax bill division, I know nothing about bill paying online.

    It’s all complex and I have no clue about the other accounts other than the name of our account manager and my son’s phone number.

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  21. I find online tax filling to be super simple, but then, I have heard from Eldest Sibling in law that the U.S. system is more complex. The computer programs have prompts for other forms to fill in, depending on what line you enter your numbers on, so you don’t have to sift through files.

    I do sympathize with how stressful the local property tax can be. That has always been my parents’ greatest burden through the years. The months when property tax had to be payed were and still are always tighter financially for them, and they were not and still are not financially secure at the best of times. Yet, somehow we and they have never lacked for the necessities of life. The Lord provides, but seldom in the way we think would be the most comfortable. He wants us to trust Him, not our circumstances. That is a lesson I seem to have to learn yet again throughout multiple contexts – maybe one day, I will be able to echo Paul’s statement, that I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content. Not quite there yet.

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  22. I handled everything for years. Now I am blissfully ignorant of our bill paying process. I think I could figure it out if I had to and every now and then I log in and pay a bill just to make sure I can. Mr. P is retired. I work. I will gladly take and “allowance” and let someone else worry about everything else. I am flying Friday. I may check a bag both ways and am not stressed over paying $50. I also may take it as a challenge to get everything in one bag. Doubtful because I will have to take a computer, but maybe….

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  23. Roscuro – I thought that comment about not interpreting scripture through the Constitution was directed at me. Sorry I misread you. As for the article, I must admit I only quickly skimmed it, but thought I got the gist. Guess I missed something. (I very rarely comment on something before fully reading it, but I did that time.)

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  24. As for property taxes, or those other expenses that come up every few months in a big chunk, like car insurance, Hubby always either arranged to pay them monthly, or put aside a monthly “payment” so the money was available when needed. That often meant we squeaked by some months, but it took some stress off of him when those bills came due. Nightingale and I intend to also save the money for those expenses.

    For the first several years of our marriage, I was the one who handled the bills, then he asked to take them over. Then I eventually was out of the loop on things, like the online banking.

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  25. I have always handled the bill paying. I have shown my husband how to do the bills to try to make sure he knows how to do them just in case anything happens to me. I also keep a notebook which lists each bill and how to pay them. Yet, the last time he attempted a couple of them, I had to help him through the steps.

    He does take care of balancing the check book each month and getting everything together to bring into the tax preparer. I can do those, if I ever need to do so. Hopefully, he will also be able to do what he needs to do, should he need to do it.

    It is good advice to have both know how to take care of the finances, for sure.

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  26. I’d gladly give up the bill-paying chore around here. 🙂 But the dogs would need need to get jobs. We’re negotiating that.

    Another day — the 2 voluntary reporter departures will likely meet our newsroom cutback requirement (according to my city editor, anyway); but that doesn’t mean it’s all hunky dory. The owners do seem to be essentially ‘dismantling’ the chain for profit. They have now purchased the Boston Herald for $12 million, so go figure. Sympathies to their staff.

    Our cop reporter will be a huge ‘breaking news’ loss. They’re talking about bringing the cop reporter from the neighboring across-the-harbor newspaper over, but the editor there is understandably not “ok” with that.

    Anyway, going forward, assuming I stay, I am thinking I’ll be plotting my departure (voluntary or otherwise) before the end of this year. Which is fine, I frankly can’t fathom how the paper manages to limp along after this many staffing losses. 😦

    At this point, staying is harder than leaving.

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