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Athena’s free tax clinic

Right here.  Right now.

Primarily US Federal tax, but I might be able to help with a state or two.

Ask away!

Disclaimer: I’m not able to do anything for you that you can’t do yourself with enough time and energy, but I’m happy to lend you my knowledge, fluency in IRS-speak, and direction to find the answer.

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Blog Party!! Join in the fun!

Come join the blog party! I’ve followed at least three or four new blogs so far, and I’m just getting started!

The Chicago Files

Blog Party BannerHi everyone! Today is the day for my first blog party! Please join in on this post!  Here are the details:

 1. Choose one of your favorite posts from your blog.  Whatever you’d like to share with the rest of us, whether it be about travel, novels, food, personal adventures, blogging, photography, etc…………. You may share up to three of your posts during the party, but please post only one at a time.  It’s best to wait awhile before sharing your second and third posts, as it will give others enough time to join in the fun!

2. Paste the link to your post in the comment section of this post; if you’d like to write something about yourself or describe your blog, we’d love it!

3. Have fun! There’s a virtual food and drink table with lots of Chicago deep-dish pizza and Canadian desserts (butter tarts and Nanaimo Bars!)…

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An unrepeatable miracle 

No moralizing, no preaching, no “sky is falling” … none of that is effective anyway. Just … think about this for a bit. That’s all I ask.

karenwriteshere

This is quite a departure from my usual “doodles”. I drew this today as my heart ached from the latest news about the desecration of the purest, most innocent of all human life. It is but the icing on top of many other abominable practices to which our culture has become desensitized. I’ve said much about this on other channels, and I don’t intend to elaborate in this space.

For now let’s pause to simply behold the miracle, the self-evident beauty that is every human being.

The human being is single, unique, and unrepeatable, someone thought of and chosen from eternity, someone called and identified by name.

–Pope John Paul II

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Meet biracial twins Lucy and Maira Aylmer who appear to be two different races

Oh wow! If these ladies weren’t twins and instead were 2-1/2 years apart, they could so be my daughters. People always do a double-take when they point out the other one as their sister – and I don’t blame them! It’s not something you see every day.

Universal Journal Review

New York Post: There’s a set of biracial twins in the UK who are turning heads because one is black and the other is white.

Born in 1997 to a white father and a half-Jamaican mother, the sisters have grown accustomed to getting mistaken for being just friends — and they have even had to produce their birth certificates in order to prove they are in fact related, Barcroft Media reports…

NY POST – FULL ARTICLE

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Why I am not Charlie

I have yet to see it articulated better than this.

a paper bird

imagesThere is no “but” about what happened at Charlie Hebdo yesterday. Some people published some cartoons, and some other people killed them for it.  Words and pictures can be beautiful or vile, pleasing or enraging, inspiring or offensive; but they exist on a different plane from physical violence, whether you want to call that plane spirit or imagination or culture, and to meet them with violence is an offense against the spirit and imagination and culture that distinguish humans. Nothing mitigates this monstrosity. There will be time to analyze why the killers did it, time to parse their backgrounds, their ideologies, their beliefs, time for sociologists and psychologists to add to understanding. There will be explanations, and the explanations will be important, but explanations aren’t the same as excuses. Words don’t kill, they must not be met by killing, and they will not make the killers’ culpability go away.

To abhor what was done to the victims, though, is not…

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Checkmate

“I saw a woman married to a man who didn’t deserve her. A smart, able, powerful woman who had sworn to protect her husband. She wondered how different it would’ve been if she was the ruler. A trained warrior, she had mastered every move in the book. She could move in any direction, for any length with unmatched skill.”

I have never seen chess described with such imagination – a must-read!

Epiphany in the Cacophony

Image

I remember the time my father taught me chess. On a Sunday afternoon, I sat cross legged at the center table in the drawing room, silently watching him put the pieces in place. “This is the queen, and this is the king”, he said, holding up the pieces. My eyes widened. I reached for them, running my fingers gently along the piece, examining it closely as he set up the board.

He went on to explain the rules to me. “The aim is to protect the king at all costs” he said, showing me how the different pieces moved across the chessboard. It was the most beautiful game I’d seen. I stopped listening. All I saw was a story. A story of two kingdoms, equal in strength, competing for supremacy.

I saw a battle begin before my eyes. The pieces charged towards each other, falling by the dozen as…

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