To be everywhere at once is to be nowhere forever…

Another great reason to go for a walk today.

Live & Learn

“There are some good things to be said about walking. Walking takes longer, for example, than any other known form of locomotion except crawling. Thus it stretches time and prolongs life. Life is already too short to waste on speed. I have a friend who’s always in a hurry; he never gets anywhere. Walking makes the world much bigger and thus more interesting. You have time to observe the details. The utopian technologists foresee a future for us in which distance is annihilated and anyone can transport himself anywhere, instantly. Big deal, Buckminster. To be everywhere at once is to be nowhere forever, if you ask me.”

– Edward Abbey (via Whiskey River)

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My Dad the Justinian

Congratulations, Dad.

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Haiku Thursday

3 Haiku for the day

Rain drops falling down
Diluting pollen strata
Until tomorrow


A loud clap I hear
Bright light following outside
Ugly reminders


Focus of this Lent
Forty days of wilderness
Steps to light and life.


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Tax Help Needed

Our church became an official IRS VITA(Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) location for this tax year.  Doing so was a part of Christian Financial Services ministry, a second phase beyond the ATM service we are providing.  The program involves providing volunteer tax preparers who have been approved through testing and certification, a site coordinator, and an intake host each day we are open.  VITA is free and available for anyone with an income of $50,000 and below.  The taxes are prepared online, triggering a refund check (if there is one) about 10 days later.

We really weren’t sure what all to expect with the tax preparation, and it has proven to be a lot of work. Since every person’s W-2 and financial situation is different,  there is no way to predict the amount of time per return.  There is also the challenge of making sure people are bringing all the documents and items (must have SS card, DL or photo ID, W-2, etc.) necessary to begin their return.  One man showed up recently with no SS card, but showed us where he had it tattooed on his arm.  He wasn’t going to forget it.  And neither will we.

Last week, in the midst of wondering if we were making any difference with VITA, I heard from a man who came by to ask for help.  He had been to one of the storefront tax help locations (aka predatory lenders) promising him an instant return (aka high interest loan), leaving frustrated about the amount of his return.  I’ve known him for several years, grateful for his new job and apartment after a long period of homelessness.  He brought me the receipt from the tax service, showing a $150 refund.  He was excited until he saw that they had taken $120 of it for “Tax Preparer” and $29 for their “Handling Fee.” Outrageous!  It was too late for us to do help him with VITA, but this reminds me of the great need for it in our community. It reminds me of why we do what we do with Christian Financial Services. It’s worth the effort.

Interested in volunteering to help with VITA?

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Amazing photo.

Live & Learn

Thank you a-n-i-m-a-l-p-l-a-n-e-t for the eastern meadowlark

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Communion Sunday

The smell of bread.
The red hue in the chalice.
Communion Sunday.

Our church observes Communion Sunday on the first Sunday of the month.  I guess this has become a tradition, one that works out well on the calendar and in the memory of our members.  It is always a special time of grace, inclusion, and community as we gather around the bread and cup.

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Building a Rubble House begins with a group of volunteers who want to dedicate a week to working, living, laughing, eating, sleeping, praying, and playing in Grand Goave, Haiti. A team from Oakland Baptist Church recently returned from a Rubble House construction mission in January and these are their pictures.

The Haiti Housing Network (a.k.a. Conscience International) came up with this brilliant strategy for building houses by using the destroyed concrete buildings from the 2010 earthquake. The Oakland team first crushed the concrete into fist-size pieces. Then, they used their muscles of steel to throw all the broken concrete into a dump truck to haul to the site of the new Rubble House. This new Rubble House went to a grateful couple: Motas and Madame Motas.

Next, the team constructed a wire cage in which they poured the rubble. They wore their gloves and hats for this job–as is appropriate for working…

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