23 April 2013

Missing in Action

The part of my brain which processes emotion and any sort of thought that is not factual and information based is missing in action.

You guessed it. The final count down to the Series 7 and the Series 63.

I can't even put thoughtful sentences together due to the massive amounts (hundreds of pages, THOUSANDS of questions worth) of financial information which is currently teeter-tottering between my short and long term memory inside my head.

By the time we take the test, each of us will have spent nearly 250 hours studying, taken 12 or more final exams, and answered nearly 5,000 questions about the material. To say we are prepared is an understatement. Last week I felt really confident and this week I'm feeling slightly overwhelmed with the amount of information that I still don't know. The good news is that the test only requires 180 correct answers to pass!

If I don't post again between now and then, please pray for me at 8:00 AM (CST) on May 3rd and May 10th!

See you on the flipside!

St. Joseph of Cupertino, please, for the love of all that is good and holy, pray for me.

11 April 2013

An Interesting Thought

So lately, I've been spending a LOT of time studying. Think: 25 hours per week or more.

And this week I've been studying tax shelters. Yes, boring.

But I learned something you might find interesting, and I heard a thought that could have serious implications for the U.S. Government.

This is especially relevant here as the tax deadline for FY2012 draws nearer.

So let's recap what we know about the United States Government, the IRS, and the Obama Administration.

1. The U.S. Government is really bad with money. Think: freshman girl in (community) college with a credit card and a shoe addiction.
2. The IRS LOVES money and loves taking it from the people who work for it. Think: previously mentioned freshman girl's hoodrat boyfriend who will do anything so his "soulmate" can have all the shoes she so desperately needs.
3. The Obama Administration has taken up a moral stance nearer to the definition of relativism than any I've ever seen. Think: previously mentioned freshman girl's "Christian" roommate who says "as long as you're having fun, you can do whatever you want.. it's not like anyone's getting hurt or anything." (AKA: Truth doesn't exist. (Allow me to be extreme for argument's sake.))

In my post on Marriage, I mentioned that with the entire institution of Marriage on a slippery slope, one might eventually come to wonder why, if men and women can become married and enjoy the love of wedded bliss for six months and then completely forget about those vows fresh off the altar, and men can marry men, I shouldn't be allowed to marry my first cousin, sibling, or even parent.

The Obama Administration wants to please the American public. And same sex marriage is certainly en trend, so why not? It's not like it'll hurt anyone, right? But here's the thing: the government cares much more about money than it does about pleasing the people. After all, this is a democracy... So the Obama Administration is allllll about same sex marriage, but can they see past the end of their noses at the freight train that's right around the bend?

In our country, we have both progressive and regressive taxes. Progressive taxes increase according to certain breakpoints, regressive taxes are the same for everyone. Income and sales tax, respectively, are progressive and regressive. Regressive are named so because they are "felt more" by those with a smaller amount of wealth. Sales taxes take up more of their total wealth. People with a higher income are taxed more on the additional dollars they make over and above certain thresholds sorta... that's the easiest way to explain it. Either way, the maximum tax bracket on an American's income is 39.6%. Ouch. (Most of us don't have to worry about that though.)

Let's play a little game of Life. We all know what it means to live the "American Dream." You own your own home, you have perfect 1.9 children (1 boy and .9 girl, of course) and you are in debt up to your eyeballs. (Well, that's the part they leave out.) Eventually you get that debt paid off and you can start doing a rare form of money usage called saving. You put it into a Roth IRA for yourself, and one for your wife, so the money can grow tax-deferred! Great! The kids go off to college, your wife finds that material accumulation and keeping up with the Jones's just doesn't appeal to her like it used to. Plus, you've put in 40 years at your company so they finally start paying you the big bucks. So you start saving more, because... you just can't think of what else to do with it. And then your wife dies. And everyone's surprised because they forgot that people die. So you inherit that once little Roth. And guess what? She was your spouse, so you don't have to pay a dime in taxes on it! Yippee!! But then you die. And guess what? Your estate taxes are progressive. So those big bucks you were making, and all that money you worked your whole life to save are taxed again at YOUR income tax bracket. Is that the kind of legacy you want to leave? Forty percent of your assets to a little charity known as the Government?

I didn't think so. But wait, there's more!! See, you could just marry your son, and then he'd be your spouse... so you know what he'll pay on your estate? NOTHING! And you know who's PISSED? Yup, the IRS.

So I hope the government is happy with it's decision to stand behind same sex marriage. We'll see how long this lasts before they decide to ban marriage all together, at least for tax purposes.

St. Patrick, pray for us.

08 April 2013

List Making

In case you don't know, I am a list maker. I love lists. I love crossing things off of my lists. I love organization and being on time and having my crap together.

It seems like more and more I've been wanting to compile a list of all of the things I need to do in order to "get my crap together." Do you ever feel this way?

I've refrained from making said list for a couple of reasons, the most important of which is this: I know I can never finish it. The best part about finishing the things on a list is throwing the list away, and I know, with this particular list, I'll never be able to do that.

I am a mess, let me just tell you that. It seems like every time one thing in my life starts going how I think it should, another area falls to the wayside. For example, I finally get in a routine of flossing my teeth, and I stop going to the gym. Or I start studying as much as I need to, and I slack in my prayer life. Or I finally get my finances together, and then my room is a wreck. These are just hypothetical examples... haha. The thing is, I don't want to have it all together to show other people that I do in fact have it all together, I just want to have it all together for my own peace of mind. But there certainly aren't enough hours in the day to go to the gym, lay out in the sun, make home cooked meals, study for the Series 7 and work a ten hour shift.

I got the opportunity to pray for a while before Mass today and I was thinking about all the things that I want to do, all the ways that I want my life to be. I'm not sure why I spend so much time thinking about these things, especially because I know I'm not trying to earn love, it's impossible! We can't merit the love of God!

Maybe the reason I spend so much time pondering these things is because I know I'm not done. I'm not finished growing, maturing, learning to love and be loved. It seems like every time I go to the Lord in silence I'm reminded that He loves me too much to leave me where I'm at. I know that God doesn't necessarily care that my laundry isn't finished or that my teeth haven't been flossed, I guess I just need to spend more time thinking about how I can become holier, how I can love Him better, and how I can bring Jesus to those around me, and less time trying to just get things done. But it's easier said than done, because chores can be crossed of the list, holiness will always be a work in progress.

I am so glad that I serve the God of Second Chances.

Happy Easter!

05 April 2013

I am an idiot.

Do you ever have like weird driving weeks? Like weeks where you're just not totally there, and you realize, good grief, I've done a lot of dumb things this week that could possibly have endangered my life... maybe I should calm down and give my guardian angel a breather.

Well, aside from the fact that I'm just not a good driver in general, sometimes I have those weeks. This week wasn't one of those, but it was kinda like a "dumb blonde" week. I'm not sure why.

The two dumb things I did this week:

1. Got a package from the IRS returning my tax forms. Why? Because I didn't sign them. I'm an idiot!! 

2. (This one is slightly more dramatic and funnier.) On Wednesday, I had a headache all afternoon at work. Tax season has been really busy (CANT.WAIT.FOR.APRIL.TO.BE.OVER.) As I was leaving work, I went to get in my car and put my backpack in the front seat like I always do, and as I stepped up on my running board, I didn't duck my head in time and I literally DESTROYED my forehead. I smacked my head so hard, right in the middle of my forehead, on the door frame of my car, that I am pretty sure I blacked out for a second. I sat down in my car, head throbbing, literally in shock that I had just hit my head that hard. I sat there for a few seconds, feeling my brain rattle against my skull, with my eyes closed trying not to throw up. It hurt so bad! I'm pretty sure I got a minor concussion. Luckily, my forehead is not black and blue, but it still hurts really bad if I touch it. Honestly though, I wish someone would have watched me do it, because I'm pretty sure it would have been hysterical to see, and if I'd seen it, I'd probably still be laughing.

Sometimes my mom calls me Grace because of how ridiculously clumsy I am.

St. Joseph of Cupertino, pray for us!

04 April 2013


I want to describe to you one of my favorite days of the year. You might not know about it, but I look forward to it every year.

Let me tell you about the first time I experienced that day. 

Like a lot of you... (probably?), I had my first "boyfriend" in middle school. It was ultra lame, of course. We had homeroom together and talked on AIM as soon as we got home from school, the whole shebang. One of our friends had a "party" for 8th grade graduation, and our first kiss was the most awkward thing ever... duh. Anyways, to make a long story short, fast forward to the spring of tenth grade, and things went south between the two of us. I officially pulled the plug because I knew that we were doing things we shouldn't have been doing, and we were treating each other really poorly. We had sorta been on again off again, and I think we were both using each other for different reasons.  It was rough on me. I thought I was in love. He still wanted to be friends, it would have made sense... we had ALL the same friends. I knew I couldn't still be friends with him, at least not right away.

A few weeks after our breakup, if you could call it that, I went on a retreat that changed my life. I went to Confession for the first time, probably since second grade, and I realized the joy that could be found in a life with Jesus. My faith was shaky, totally emotional, and completely unaware of the Truth of Jesus in the Eucharist, even after Mass that weekend. But it was real. I knew I was worth more than the way I had been allowing myself to be treated... because this man, who is God, who I didn't even know, gave His life for me on the Cross. A couple weeks after, I had some time to process the things that had happened on the retreat, and I was driving around town, just thinking. (Gas was much cheaper back then.)

I rolled the windows down, and I was listening to this awesome CD that I had made of all my favorite breakup songs, including "My Friends Over You" and "You're So Last Summer." Classic. It was the first warm day of spring. You know that day? This was my first experience with that day. As I was driving around, I realized that I was going to be okay. I was able to look at our relationship objectively and see the reasons why it was bad for me. That was the day that I committed to waiting for marriage, because I knew our breakup would have been much more difficult if we'd had sex. 

Now, every spring, (and every time I'm getting over a breakup, haha) I look forward to that day. The first warm day when I can drive around with the windows down and the radio up loud,  feeling really alive. Every year when it comes around, I remember that I'm okay. Life is good. 

I think that day is coming soon... I'll let you know when it gets here. :)
Thanks for taking a trip down memory lane with me!

Patron or Patroness of Spring, pray for us!