Taxes, Taxes, Taxes

US Flag with Tax
2015 Tax Time is Upon Us

It’s Tax Time!

My taxes are done!  I e-filed today!  I have “rendered unto Caesar the things that are Caesars..” (Matthew 22:21).  “Caesar” also gets to give me a little back.

That part is always nice.  A little refund is welcome to me.  If it weren’t for our “little deductions” (and the big ones too (house)), we’d probably owe taxes.  We’ll have to re-figure our W-4’s once the little guy starts school full time and child care costs diminish.

A Hot Topic.

Taxes are such a heated topic among politicians and those who like to discuss politics (I’m really not one of those folks). We are hearing plenty of talk on the subject by the political candidates right now though the debates and political ads.  Our tax dollars fund a lot of things and you should probably look up how that money is spent.  Go straight to the source here.  There are many good government programs and some that maybe aren’t.  My point here is not to get into a political debate, rather I am just pointing you to some facts on where our tax dollars are really spent, instead of believing potentially misleading commercials or statements.  You should also look up all of the candidates plans for taxes and their tax voting record.

Catholic Viewpoint on Taxes & Voting

I’m not an expert in this subject at all.  A few years ago (2008), Archbishop Charles J. Chaput authored a book for Catholics (and anyone else) facing a U.S. election year, called “Render Unto Ceasar: Serving the Nation by Living Our Catholic Beliefs in Political Life” (Find book on Amazon).  It may be a great time for you to read the book for the first time (or again), especially if you are Catholic, and are struggling to pick a candidate to endorse (as I am).  You can also read the transcript of a talk the Archbishop gave on the same subject here.

Paying taxes is a civic duty we must all engage in; as is voting in our elections. I have participated in my tax duties and will vote this year. Will you?

Do you have your taxes done? Let me know in the comments.



Top 10 Books to Read During Lent

Books during Lent?

Lent is a time when many Catholics “give up” something for 40 days. It’s a way to hopefully discipline ourselves – taking away something that we’ve become addicted to or spend too much time doing.  Some people choose to “take on” something that will help them grow spiritually.  Those practices could include going to mass daily instead of just on Sunday, helping at a soup kitchen weekly, going to do the Stations of the Cross on Fridays, or taking on the reading of spiritual books. See my recent post for more.

Books that are geared towards spiritual growth are plentiful.  You can even listen to audio books as well. Here’s a list of books that I have enjoyed reading over the years or that I am looking forward to reading this Lent (in no real order).

My Top 10 Books to Read for Lent


10. Memorize the Faith by Kevin Vost.  I read this book in chunks.  There are a lot of things to memorize in the Catholic religion! The system used in this book is built upon the mnemonic system of St. Thomas Aquinas. If you need help memorizing the Ten Commandments, the Stations of the Cross, the Books of the Bible, and many other Catholic things, this is the book for you.

9. A Guide to the Passion, 100 Questions About the Passion of the Christ by the Editors of Catholic Exchange. I know many people will watch Mel Gibson’s movie every Lent. This guide is a great companion to the movie.

8. Spirituality You Can Live With – Stronger in Faith in 30 Days by Chris Padgett.( Find his book here.) There are 40 days in Lent, but once you get through the 30 chapters with questions for reflection you will have achieved some spiritual growth.  I really liked this book.

7. The Cross and the Beatitudes by Fulton J. Sheen. This 92 page book is one I read (or at least read parts of) every Lent since I got the book. It really speaks to me.  With lessons on mercy, purity, poverty, zeal, peace, and mourning, I am sure you will find something that speaks to your heart as well.

6. The Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis. I have never gotten through this book but this Lent, I am going to do it. Probably through the audio book.

5. Scripture, Nourished by the Word by Margaret Nutting Ralph, PhD. This is a great book if you are looking to learn about the meanings of the storied in the Bible in short format.

4. Tracking Virtue, Conquering Vice A guide for Spiritual Survival by Rev. Joseph F. Classen. I love this book! The writer, Fr. Classen, is an outdoors man who loves hunting and fishing. Much of his spiritual story telling is gleaned from his experiences of God’s creation.  In these ways, he speaks to my heart. Many of his stories are set in the Midwest too and it’s fun reading about his experiences at places I’ve been.

3. Back to Virtue by Peter Kreeft.  My pastor at St. John Vianney Church, Fr. Scott Mansfield, recommended this book.  If you are looking to better understand virtues and live a more virtuous life, this book is for you.

2. Living Lent With Mercy – Encouragement & Daily Prayer by Pope Francis. Obviously his book just came out for Lent this year. I just downloaded it onto my Kindle.

  1. The Holy Bible. l don’t think anyone could go wrong reading a bit from the Bible daily.

What books would you recommend reading for spiritual growth this Lent? Leave me a note in the comments with your favorites.

2016 Booklist

I’ve challenged myself to read more in 2016 and I am off to a pretty good start.  I really enjoy reading all kinds of books and my list will show some of that diversity.  My list will certainly grow as I borrow and buy new books pretty regularly (time to start reading them all).  Here is my initial booklist that I’ve already read this year, am currently reading, or books that are waiting to be read.

  •  Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs (the 3rd book in the Peculiar Children Series). I have to admit I didn’t like this book as much as the first two.  The story line was only held together by the pictures especially in the beginning.  It finished better than it started and I did like the ending.  I won’t ruin it for you if you decide to read it.
  • Wholly Mary, Mother of God by Chris Padgett.  I’m almost done reading this one and it’s has sparked an idea for a blog post which I am working on.  It’s also sparked a closer relationship with Mary.  Love it, love Chris’s writing.
  • Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe. I assigned this as reading to my daughter and I happen to have two copies of the book, so I thought I’d read it too.  I haven’t read it since I was a kid.
  • The Sassy Way to Starting a Successful Blog When You Have No Clue by G. Gabrielle. This is a kindle book and it’s how I am building this blog. Good book. Recommend it. I also contacted the author via email (which she provides in the book) and she got back to me with the answer to my question!
  • The Art of Spiritual Writing by Vinita Hampton Wright.  I’ve read only one chapter of this book. I hope it is as good as the reviews!
  • The First Phone Call From Heaven by Mitch Albom. Looks like a great book!
  • All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr.  This one comes highly recommended by several people.
  • WordPress Bootcamp by David Maxwell. Another Kindle book I just downloaded.  I have lots to learn on WordPress.

What are you reading? Do you have a favorite booklist? Let me know in the comments or on my Facebook page!