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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Tithes & Taxes



"Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is
God's,"
Jesus said in Matthew
22:21
.




So this post about tithes and taxes won't leave me alone in my brain, so I'd better write it out.

The end of the year -- specifically today being December 31, 2008 -- has me thinking about earning more than enough money to pay Uncle Sam by April 15, 2009, and that's forefront in my mind.

I created a spreadsheet detailing everything I've earned, expensed, donated and all other things taxable so I know about how much I'll pay the government come Springtime.


"How much should I give, God?" I hovered over the amount field on WordCity.org, my church's website, yesterday.

The amount I put in was more than I'd listed on my spreadsheet in advance, but it was right.


I hope.


Because even though I realized that the amounts we give each year only factor in a portion to make for a better tax situation, there's still the tithing test to pass.


Believe me, my Maker has dealt with me over this issue -- asking hard questions like: "Are you treating tithing like a spiritual lottery?" and "If you never got anything back from it, would you still give?"


I didn't tithe for 30 years...


...or thereabout. The first 30 years of my life, that is.

I remember seeing the word "tithe" on the right-hand side of the sanctuary at St. Edmund's Parochial School in Chicago where I grew up, but since we didn't really go to church, I didn't really know what tithing was.



Finally in 1999, after my mother died suddenly and I started going to church for solace regularly, I learned more about what God thought about giving.

So I gave here and there, eventually giving 10% or so -- until the day I took at $25, 000 or more lump-sum distribution from my 401k plan to move to California.

"There's no way I'm writing a check for $2,500 or more bucks," I kind of thought silently to myself, still in Ohio, sitting at The House of the Lord in Akron trying to listen to the choir sing.

"To Him Who sits on the throne, and unto the Lamb," they sang, joyfully swelling to the "be all blessings and power and glory forever" part.

I slumped down farther in the pew.

I couldn't praise. I felt low. I knew my Keeper wanted me to write that check.

I did.

It's been pretty much gravy ever since.





Which is not to say everything's perfect...


...obviously I still have debt.

But thank Him it's going in the right direction, downward, though I'd like it to go there faster.

And yes, I have days like today when I silently question the Prince of Peace as to why some people with goo-gobs of money never give one thin dime to any church or "nan" poor people and seem to have such a grand old time.

Then He reminds me how good I really do have it compared to some hurting folks out there...

And the Wonderful Counselor counsels that it's not over.

So I know about the Sweet Sixteen party and the 50 LV purses or whatever other drama and feedback people can try and refute the One Who will contend with those who contend with me can bring up.

But I've also seen first-hand moms standing in long, hot lines in this past summer with their kids just to get free hotdogs.

I was blest enough to be able to say, "I'm not waiting in this line -- let's go to McDonalds."

And to keep it that way, I give.

And pray I always do.

I want to come to a better end of my life than Schindler did when he ran around saying, "This car, this car could've been a life -- this watch, this watch could've been another life."

Because deep inside of me, I already know, like it took Solomon a lifetime to realize, that we can count it all up as vanity...

Monday, December 29, 2008

HP Home Server - HP MediaSmart Home Servers Get Great Reviews...


I just found out about these HP Home Servers, -- and they loook sweet to me.




Why are people going ga-ga over the HP home servers?


My husband doesn't see the point, but I was just explaining how we could have an HP home server that backs up all our data, from both our laptops and our workstation in the sitting room.


And we could access the data from our HP home server as well.


For example, if there's some kind of old file I want to grab off his laptop or our old PC, the HP home server would be just like a network drive to grab it off of.




Can the HP Home Server do a better job than DreamHost?


I wonder if I bought the HP EX475 MediaSmart Home Server (AMD Live, Windows Home Server, 1 TB Hard Drive) -- that's 1 TeraByte! -- and tried to run a new website from there (since I'm glad my websites are up on DreamHost, but not exactly wanting to add more there) would it do a better job?




Whatever, customers are loving the HP MediaSmart Home Servers...


...because looking at the ratings, as I always love to do when I'm considering buying a big product, the HP MediaSmart Home Servers have over 110 customer reviews as of this writing.


And they both have almost perfect 5 star ratings from actual customers right now.


That speaks well of the HP MediaSmart Home Servers as a product.


And I read that they're compatible with both Macs and "regular" PCs, as I call them.




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Saturday, December 27, 2008

Secure Your Vista PC in 10 Easy Steps


I'm going thru this article from PC World on how to secure your Vista PC in 10 easy steps, so I thought I'd save it and remember it and tell other people about it by blogging about it.

I've yet to find that "local security settings" options they're talking about, but I've done some of the rest and want to finish up later.

Safe is good.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Looking to Buy a Certified Diamond Online? (Round, Very Good cut, 6.21 carats, G color, VS2 clarity) - Amazon's Got One for $384,500!

You gotta love Amazon.


While poking around and researching the different things people buy online and setting up Adwords campaigns to advertise Amazon products, I came across this $384,500 Certified Diamond (Round, Very Good cut, 6.21 carats, G color, VS2 clarity) for sale online at Amazon.


Isn't that amazing?


I knew Amazon had good stuff -- expensive and good stuff -- but I didn't know they sold loose diamonds and an over 6 carat diamond at that!


That Amazon Associates revenue will be exactly $32,682.50 at 8.5% earnings rate for that one sale alone.

Paula Neal Mooney