Saturday, March 29, 2008

Springtime


Springtime is a wonderful time; exhibiting life in many ways. Bulbs awake from their winter slumber and breakthrough in the most lovely and hopeful way. Neighbors begin showing up out-of-doors taking walks, biking, and gardening. Gorillas in tu-tus and highly animated Statues of Liberty waving foam torches and signs on many-a-corner, advertising that it’s that time of year again. “It’s tax time, and we can offer you a deal while helping you file your taxes. We’re reputable of course. Our professionalism is packaged in a tu-tu.” Ah, yes, spring is here!

In honor of fast approaching tax day, I thought I’d share one of my favorite books. I’ve experienced first hand the benefits of Sanford Botkin’s tax strategies in more than a few home-based businesses. Sanford Botkin, CPA, Esp. used to work the IRS teaching auditors how to audit you until he founded Tax Reduction Institute over a decade ago. As the story goes, he did his father’s taxes one year and saved him a significant amount of money and his father was able to go on a dream vacation, his first vacation in many, many years. That insight led Botkin to teach how small and home-based business owners could do the same and more.

"Lower Your Taxes - Big Time!is not a financial planning book or a book about money, it is a practical book on tax strategies and IRS audit proofing techniques. An excellent tool for serious household managers. The book covers: Why you should start a home-based business. How to completely deduct the equivalent of your children’s college, room and board, and their wedding. How to deduct automobile expenses. Ways in which your home is tax-deductible. How to audit proof your tax journal. How to shield yourself from the IRS classifying a business as a hobby. Finding the best corporate entity for your business. How to eliminate up to 40% of your social security and medicare tax with an S corporation. How to get assets and money into a corporation tax-free. Over looked real estate deductions and other fringe benefits.
“There are really two sets of tax laws in this country. One is for employees; it allows deductions for normal employee items, such as individual retirement accounts, 401(k)s (if you have one set up by your company) , interest and property taxes on your home, and charity. Then there are the laws for small and home-based business people who conduct their business either full or part time. In addition to the tax deductions employees can get, small business people can deduct, with proper documentation, their house, their spouses (by hiring them), their business vacations, their cars, and food with colleagues. They can also set up a pension plan that makes any government plan seem paltry by comparison and deduct most of their “vacation” trips if they combine them with an appropriate amount of business.” Emphasis added.

Would you love to give up your job and spend more time at home? A home-based business may be the means to get you back home. The title of chapter one speaks to the same notion. It's titled, "Why You Would Be Brain Dead Not to Start a Home-Based Business (If You Don't Already Have One) The Chapter Overview is as follows:
  • You're never going to get rich until you get your taxes down to the legal minimum.
  • There are two tax systems in this country--one for salaried employees, one for small business owners.
  • A home-based business will make you better off than a second income.
  • Traditional job security has declined over the years and will continue to do so, making home businesses more attractive.
  • You will probably save $2,000-$10,000 per year by starting your own part-time business.

So why not just add a second income to the household budget? Botkin outlines an example that is just plain hard to argue with. The facts are all there. A second job yielding $15,000 will net you a take home of $1,156 after non-deductible taxes, car expenses, child care, lunches, business attire, and take out easy prep food since she, the wife, is oh-so-tired, too tired to cook after a full day of work.

The same work done at home? “The expenses wouldn't be dramatically more then she is currently spending.” he says, but many of us have proven it costs much less. Botkin continues, “If she had a home-based and/or consulting business, however, many of her expenses become deductible. This concept is know as ‘redirecting expenses.’ With a home-based business, she can now deduct some of the expenses that she is incurring anyway.”

Botkin gives more reasons a home-based business is an attractive option.
The security my grandparents knew has gone away. "...the era of large corporate profits and economic growth came to an end. Moreover, many economists believe things won't be getting better any time soon." Is the American dream possible any more? "Today, young and middle aged alike are realizing that their dream of having a job with a company forever is an illusion. Just pick up any newspaper and you will see companies downsizing, rightsizing, and capsizing."
"Finally, if that isn't bad enough, under recent tax laws, employees are shafted more than ever with limits and thresholds for their employee deductions and higher Social Security tax limits. This results in more couples working than ever before and, on many occasions, working at more than one job. It is almost impossible to have only one job in the family and make ends meet!"
Botkin goes on.
"The reasons so many people are going into a home-based business or becoming consultants rather than joining a traditional business are many. There is no commute (unless you have a rather large home), no boss, little if any chance of lawsuits, much less over head, and no employees or very few employees. It is for these reasons, according to Entrepreneur Magazine, that 95% of the home-based businesses succeed in their first year and achieve an average income of $50,250 per year, with many earning much more."
"I should note that, in addition to all the benefits noted above, Congress will subsidize you while you're growing your small business. If your business produces a loss in the first year or so, you can use that loss against any other income that you have. It can be used against wages earned as an employee, dividends, pensions, or interest income, or against your spouse's earnings if you filed a joint return."

Depending on your choice of business you may even have the ability to yield residual income. It's a far better ROI for sure.

And that isn't even taking into consideration the fact that couples that work together pursuing the same goals in a home-based business are supporting what they say are their highest priorities according to Barna research. Family rating number one is pulled together in a home-based business as opposed to everyone going in separate directions. Carrying out principles of our faith ranks number two and is taboo in the workplace, but not in a home-based business where you are the boss and your home schooled children are your employees. And third, having good friends. With the freedom that a home-based business affords you by giving you control of your time and your income you can choose how to order your life and who you will spend your time with. Surprisingly earning a good income comes 4th and yet in spite of our priorities most throw away family, faith and friends at the expense of chasing the dollar all day.

That's enough for me. Personal freedom.

Monday, March 24, 2008

It is largely the women who will choose...

A young Mr. Reins and his brothers

"Molon Labe"
In the year 480 B.C., the Persian king Xerxes invaded Greece with an army of at least 200,00 men (ancient accounts say that he brought as many as 2 to 3 million troops, but modern historians find the unlikely). Xerxes probably would have conquered Greece had it not been for a small force of 300 Spartan warriors who blocked him at a mountain pass as Thermopylai, buying precious time for the Greeks to organize their defense.
It is said that when the Persians ordered the 300 Spartans to surrender their arms, their King Leonidas replied, "Molon Labe!" (Come and get them!). Leonidas and his troops were slain to the last man.

The Spartan Women

Bravery such as the Spartans exhibited at Thermopylai does not spring out of thin air. It must be carefully nurtured from early childhood, and deeply embedded in one's culture. The Spartan women, as wives and mothers, were just as responsible for their people's victories as the men who fought on the battlefield.

When a Spartan youth went to war, his mother would hand him his shield saying, "Come back carrying your shield or come back dead upon it."

A coward who fled in battle would typically throw his shield away so he could run faster. The Spartan women let their men know that if they did such a thing, they should just keep on running, for they would no longer be welcome in their homes.

The Path of the Warrior

Unlike today's soccer moms, the Spartan women did not look upon "safety" as their paramount concern. They felt a duty to instill in their men a warrior spirit, even if it meant losing the sons and husbands they loved. This took a special kind of courage, of a sort that American women have largely forgotten today.

We stand at a crossroads in America, and it is largely the women who will choose which way we will go. Will we continue to raise our children as warriors? Or will we abandon the warrior's path, take a roll of the dice, and see what comes next? History shows that those who turn from the warrior's path generally end up losing their freedom.

Except from, "Reclaiming the Truth About Guns, Crime and The Second Amendment, The Seven Myths of Gun Control" by Richard Poe

Friday, March 21, 2008

Eat upon delivery....

"What's the FedEx man doing here? Who ordered something and shipped it FedEx?"
Editor's note: The UPS man is at our door everyday since we do all our shopping online.

"That's weird. What is it? Who's it from?"

"It says it's perishable. Is it more plants for the garden?"

"Oooooohhhhhhhh......Wow those are big"

"We each get three!"

"There's two of every kind. Should we cut them in half?"

"Yeah, cut them in half"

"The paper says they dip them and ship them the same day."

"I was craving chocolate yesterday. This is perfect."

Monday, March 17, 2008

Home Remedies

We've discovered a wonderful home remedy if you have been stricken with the flu. What can compare to a bagpipe serenade of Scotland the Brave and Amazing Grace?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Spurgeon

"For the truths sake, which dwelleth in us, and shall be with us for ever." —2 John 2
Once let the truth of God obtain an entrance into the human heart and subdue the whole man unto itself, no power human or infernal can dislodge it. We entertain it not as a guest but as the master of the house—this is a Christian necessity, he is no Christian who doth not thus believe. Those who feel the vital power of the gospel, and know the might of the Holy Ghost as He opens, applies, and seals the Lord's Word, would sooner be torn to pieces than be rent away from the gospel of their salvation. What a thousand mercies are wrapt up in the assurance that the truth will be with us for ever; will be our living support, our dying comfort, our rising song, our eternal glory; this is Christian privilege, without it our faith were little worth. Some truths we outgrow and leave behind, for they are but rudiments and lessons for beginners, but we cannot thus deal with Divine truth, for though it is sweet food for babes, it is in the highest sense strong meat for men. The truth that we are sinners is painfully with us to humble and make us watchful; the more blessed truth that whosoever believeth on the Lord Jesus shall be saved, abides with us as our hope and joy. Experience, so far from loosening our hold of the doctrines of grace, has knit us to them more and more firmly; our grounds and motives for believing are now more strong, more numerous than ever, and we have reason to expect that it will be so till in death we clasp the Saviour in our arms.
Wherever this abiding love of truth can be discovered, we are bound to exercise our love. No narrow circle can contain our gracious sympathies, wide as the election of grace must be our communion of heart. Much of error may be mingled with truth received, let us war with the error but still love the brother for the measure of truth which we see in Him; above all let us love and spread the truth ourselves.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Blessings of a Covenant Family

Andrea and I love our church family. We love being a part of their lives. We have a lot of time during the week to spend researching herbology, doing graphic design, sewing, and cooking amongst other things in order to help within the community. We wouldn't trade that opportunity to serve for the world.

We have received many blessings in return from families that share their wisdom in parenting, ideas for business, even trusting us with their children and computer equipment. ;o)

When someone is moving into a new home, the church is there. When someone is sick, the church is there. When someone is filming a movie, the church is there. When a car breaks down, the church is there. When someone needs financial instruction, the church is there. And best of all when someone is looking for biblical wisdom and instruction, the church is there.

Anyone that is a part of our fellowship is a part of our family. They are welcomed and received taking into account their needs, their gifts and talents, their particular bent, eccentricities and so on.

Coming together to worship the God that brought us together is a cherished time for all of us.

If you can relate to this, you'll appreciate Mr. McDonald's post titled, "The Blessings of Church Membership" on Family Reformation today.

Monday, March 10, 2008

A Weird Post


A work of art

We had a new furnace installed today. Part of making that happen required Andrea and I to do some rearranging in the attic. We had packed it to capacity with our hope chest stuff, amongst other things, and the workers needed us to forge a path to allow passage.

This afternoon Andrea and I started in on putting boxes back in their place. But before we got started we found ourselves marvelling at our new furnace.

"That's quite a contraption. Look at that thing. Hanging from the rafters and everything."

"Yeah, and they put it together all in two hours."

"I wonder who thought of that? It's pretty funny looking you have to admit."

This reminds me of the stacks of pictures that my Dad has. Picture after picture of odd looking contraptions from his paper mill days. As a small child I couldn't figure out why he was taking pictures of such weird things. Having no brothers it's always intriguing to see stuff like this.

Growing up Dad always wanted us with him and allowed us to be involved to an extent that was apropriate, in many projects he was working on. Carpentry, butchering, forestry, gardening, business, to name a few. But stuff like furnace installation was pretty much "man" territory. Us girls would classify it as a flashlight job. "Come here I need your help. Here hold this flashlight."

I have even more appreciation, especially after being a nanny to 4 boys and 1 girl, for days like today and the wonderfully inventive world of manhood and boyhood. (And also considering we have heat again.)
What a marvelous invention.

Evidence That Demands A Verdict...

We were just talking about this. I was glad to find today's American Vision article in my inbox.

Who Defines What Constitutes Evidence?
By Gary DeMar.

"Have you ever been in a debate with someone who asks for evidence for this or that particular issue, and after giving the evidence it is dismissed as not being relevant? Facts do not speak for themselves. “Facts do not come with interpretation tags, telling us how to view them. . . . Both sides haggle over the facts. Both sides search for new facts to add to their arsenals. Both sides raise accusations, yet it’s a rare day indeed when both sides acknowledge that their differences stem from something much more basic than facts. Their differences are rooted in opposing worldviews, which in turn are permeated with philosophical assumptions and commitments.”1 Facts are always interpreted by an array of presuppositions. For example, when the NT is shown to offer eye-witness evidence of the death and subsequent resurrection of Jesus, the skeptic will claim that a resurrection of the dead is impossible, therefore, the evidence is suspect. Essentially, this comes to, “What my net doesn’t catch ain’t fish.” Read the rest here.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Sola Scriptura

"If we duly examine our hearts about it, we shall find that these sinkings of heart are the immediate effects of unbelief. We do not depend and rely upon the Word with that full trust and confidence that is due to the infallible Word of a faithful and unchangeable God. You may see the ground of this faintness in that Scripture: 'I had fainted unless I had believed.' (Ps. 27:13). Faith is the only cordial that relieves the heart against these faintings and despondencies. Where this is wanting, or is weak, no wonder our hearts sink at this rate, when discouragements are before us."
The Mystery of Providence pg. 192

Friday, March 07, 2008

Oh Genevieve...

For those of you who know Genevieve Smith the author of Issacharian Daughters as well as one of the heroines featured in, "So Much More," I'm sure you know of her very recent wedding. Here's a treat for all of us here in the U.S.




If you aren't familiar with Genevieve's story please make yourself aquainted. You won't be dissappointed. Here's a brief story about how they met. Genevieve is one of the most exhuberant ladies that I have ever met. It seems that no matter how much the Lord gives her, her plate is never full. My correspondance with her prior to her courtship always amazed me. Her wisdom and passion for seeing young ladies come to a full understanding of virtuous daughterhood knows no end. I would share my brief thoughts on virtuous daughterhood and the next morning I would have a 3 page letter in return! Her zeal for living wholy for the Lord is a fine example for young ladies today. Here's a snippet from a letter she sent:

"I have some good news! Dad had some points with something and said he'd use them to buy me an ipod! Now I can download kevinswanson.com and sermonaudio.com and listen to my heart's content! I'm so excited!"

I hope you appreciate her as much as I do.

Our Threatened Freedoms

Court's homeschool ban creating 'panic'Ruling, if unchanged, could be used against tens of thousands

Posted: March 04, 200810:49 pm Eastern
By Bob Unruh© 2008 WorldNetDaily

"A ruling from an appeals court in California that a homeschooling family must enroll their children in a public school or "legally qualified" private school is alarming because of the way the court opted to order those results, according to a team of legislative analysts who have worked on homeschooling issues in California for decades.
The ruling, when it was released several days ago, sent ripples of shock through the homeschooling community..."
Read the rest here.

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Judge orders homeschoolers into government educationCourt: Family's religious beliefs 'no evidence' of 1st Amendment violation

Posted: February 29, 20083:24 pm Eastern
By Bob Unruh© 2008 WorldNetDaily

"A California court has ruled that several children in one homeschool family must be enrolled in a public school or "legally qualified" private school, and must attend, sending ripples of shock into the nation's homeschooling advocates as the family reviews its options for appeal.
The ruling came in a case brought against Phillip and Mary Long over the
education being provided to two of their eight children. They are considering an appeal to the state Supreme Court, because they have homeschooled all of their children, the oldest now 29, because of various anti-Christian influences in California's public schools...." Read the rest here.

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Sign HSLDA petition here.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

A Tool of the Trade


No Guesswork Cooking by Kim Cahill is a favorite in our home, a handy tool, and a great help. Each recipe comes with family sized calculations as well as calculations for serving large parties (50+). Here's today's cooking adventure:

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Being Judgmental Part 2

It's time for some big sister talk. Here's were we run into trouble with being judgmental.


Sarah notices Gabe is buying a newspaper. She knows that he doesn't read the paper normally. She recalls that he was gone for the weekend and never mentioned to any of his friends where he was going. He was depressed as well, before he left. She attributes sinful motivations to his actions. "He is buying that newspaper so he can look at the personals for a date I bet. Ihave heard stories." Sarah has no ground for believing so. None of the actions she observed were sinful.

If the action is clearly not sinful young ladies should be characterised by seeking to believe a good motivation caused such action.


The problem today is that young ladies haven't developed this habit. They have instead allowed their lazy minds to be dictated to by the negative thought of mainstream America. They habitually assume there is a negative motivation behind every action. In this case Sarah has chosen to believe a "rule of thumb" very negative in origin applies to Gabe; that most men have low morals.


Young ladies are called to dissolve distructive myths when and if possible because doing so causes hope to flourish. There is light in this world and it bears witness that their is indeed a Creator of goodness. Myths like these snuff out such light.

There's an additional problem that comes with this lazy habit most always. When young ladies purposely allow misinterpretations to form their thinking, their thinking becomes skewed and their judgement becomes further clouded.


Also, when this lazy habit is coupled with cowardice, which it often is, it is cause for further problems. Instead of lovingly extending concern toward another person when appropriate, and seeking to clarify why someone is doing what they are doing, cowardice dictates that we should make a "mental note" of the "questionable" activity instead. This is in order to save it for future reference in the event evidence needs to be drawn up. If we allow this to happen we have taken a further step in the wrong direction.


By now if a young lady has gone this far in the wrong direction it's hard to convince her of it. Once enough odd observances have been collected the questioning routine may start.

Nonchalantly asking around to see if anyone else has noticed anything about Gabe, Sarah shows the world that she is blinded.

This is the start of what we have been warned against. Whispering. Gossiping and backbiting will inevitably follow. Young ladies must guard against being led away by this sin of assuming and attributing negative motivations towards others based on speculation.

The myth that many young ladies believe at this point is that "They were only showing concern." They are foolish for thinking so. Remember how this started? Poor judgement due to a faithless worldview. The error originated when Sarah did not purposely decide to attribute righteous intentions to Gabe's "paper buying" activity. The truth is we all gravitate towards being negative in our thoughts towards others. It is lazy man's thinking and eventually leads to divisions amongst the brethren.

Here's what really happened:
Gabe is just home from his sister's house. And yes, Gabe never bought the paper in the past, but as it is, he has just brought home his sister's canary to care for it while his sister prepares for the funeral of her mother-in-law and to spend some time caring for her father-in-law. Since he has no newspaper around, he stopped and picked one up. Gabe's reserved demeanor was actually not depression as Sarah's skewed thinking told her. His reserved demeanor was due to the fact he was morning along with his grieving sister.


One of the greatest things that you can do for the body of Christ and for those that you are attempting to evangelise is think good of them when it is justified. When you do, you show them that you love them as Christ loved you. When they see Christ in you they will be drawn closer to the body of Christ.



Judgements based on speculation can cut the deepest wounds and permanently repel people from Christ. You will be held accountable for the divisions that you cause based on speculation and unsubstantiated evidence. We are called to take dominion for Christ and being judgemental is not productive or helpful in that regard.