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Working after Retirement…still getting taxed?

If you are one of the many people who decide to continue working, and earning income after you have begun receiving Social Security benefits/income, you will want to read this article: How to stay out of IRS trouble.

Some of us with children yet in high school (stop laughing) or college, we know that we will be working, and not retiring, for a number of additional years. However, there are some people who are receiving SS benefits and are now seeking to get out of the house due to boredom, or are in need of supplemental income.

new-social-security-rules-causing-confusion-among-retirees

With inflation on the rise and a continued fight about SS benefit dollars from the U. S. Congress, it is wise to know how to steer clear of the IRS and their desire to tax your incomes. Now that I visit a local Senior Center in my city of residence, I learned what is legal…and wanted to pass this information along to you.

Feel free to share this with others whom you know and let’s insure that no one has to face an IRS inquiry.

Peace.

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Let it Lay…

In my morning meditation today I had the thought that there are so many things bombarding us each and every day;

• Commercials showing young people having fun when drinking
• TV Ads exhorting us to take a prescription drug that has more side effects than the actual symptoms we are seeking to overcome
• Presidential candidates who are the newest puppets of the ruling class

So much that we have to filter out in our attempt to discern truth from deception.

With that in mind I remembered a song from 40 years ago by Les McCann. He was truly ahead of his time in creating songs that decried the state of life that was being sold to us all, with a powerful Compared to What. However, I wanted to ask you to listen to another song that has often kept me focused on being mindful that some things are better left alone. Click here and listen to Let it Lay.

And today, Let it Lay. Whatever that is for you…

Peace.

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April 29, 2016

When Doves Cry…

It’s been one week since the tragic and sudden death of the Artist Prince. It is really interesting how so many of us have felt a deep, personal loss when we heard the news of his passing. And, yet, Prince is someone that most of us have never seen in person nor met.

Why, then, do we feel like we have lost someone so dear to us?

Was it the music that endeared us to him?

Was it his stance against the music industry that made us feel like he knew our struggles against the Corporate machines in America?

Was it his ability to remain scandal-free in the midst of an always-salacious industry that thrives off of misfortune and chaos?

Was it his refusal to “prostitute” his music to make money on TV commercials?

Was it the damn fashion that he embodied that made us proud of his independence?

Yes.

To all of that.

He was our Prince…who “could take your girl while wearing heels” to quote music mogul L.A. Reid in a recent interview describing his friend, Prince.

I am so very glad that he came our way, and shared his genius for the world to marvel at.

Touch here for the song that always had me torn between smiles and tears.

Peace.

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In God We Trust…

It seems that in the chase for more money, dineros, Benjamins, there is such irony in four words that are prominent on the bills of our currency, “In God We Trust.” Those words are once again at the center of a controversy in Congress, as to whether they belong on the currency of a nation that is ever-leaning away from it’s once Christian based majority.

in-god-we-trust

I had a thought today, as I considered what a Christian believer might think about the expectation that The Creator, God, Yahweh, might be looking for from them. Might He want people to treat each other with more compassion? More love? To feed the hungry? House the homeless? Insure the safety for elders and children?

Yet, today in America, we have an entire city, Flint, Michigan, which has gone without clean water for the past year, because the elected officials wanted to save money…In God We Trust?

In America today, we still have gas prices at elevated levels, even though the trading price of a barrel of oil is less than $30 per barrel. And at-the-pump prices are one dollar ($1.00) per gallon higher in under-served/ghetto neighborhoods, than in those less than three miles away. In God We Trust?

In America today, and particularly every Monday, many congregations make hefty deposits in banks that likely will deny loans to the very same people whose deposits are now in those institutions. In God We Trust?

What might we as a Nation do going forward, in this election year, to embody the values and ethics that the Creator requires of us? Is it at all possible to separate the love of money from the notion that the wealthiest nation on Earth is also the one that has so many isms? Racism. Sexism. Classism. In God We Trust?

In God We Trust.

Maybe He would like to see more proof…

Peace.

HelpingHands

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As we approach the upcoming Thanksgiving and Christmas season…it’s ironic that somehow we’ve gone from a time of year that was about family and food, to one that promotes and embodies consumerism. A time now that many look forward to only in hopes of saving lots of money while shopping on Black Friday.

As a kid, and even later as an adult, I knew it was important to get the food, beverages and any items needed for the family meal, the days before Thanksgiving or Christmas, because of the knowledge that nothing would be open on those days. What you did not have…you did without. It made meal and event planning something everyone had to participate in. To forget the eggnog, or cherry pie would be scorned upon by all who had their taste buds ripe and ready. You got it right or got talked about.

Somewhere in the past 20 years the owners of grocery, department and corner stores decided that their perceived loss of revenue was more important than allowing their employees time off to spend with loved ones. We now have a generation of adults who have never known a time when Walgreens or Wal-Mart were not open for their needs to be immediately satisfied.

Is it unreasonable for us as Mothers, Fathers, and friends to insist that our family members be afforded time to fellowship in the old-fashioned American way? Somehow, in the never-ending-drama that is the Republican or Democratic debates, not one candidate dare suggest that family values outweigh net profits. Not one.

So, I challenge you, my friends, to NOT shop on Black Friday or Thanksgiving Day.

No_blk_Friday

Will you join me to make a powerful statement by boycotting the mass hysteria that is created by profit-driven corporations? Or, will you go along like too many who have no recollection of what it means to have the entire family around the table? I am counting on you to honor Conscience. Not convenience.

And should your lights go out over the holidays…just light candles and tell stories. Those memories will last forever. Not who ran out to get replacement bulbs…

Peace.

Family Eating Thanksgiving Dinner --- Image by © Larry Williams/CORBIS

Family Eating Thanksgiving Dinner — Image by © Larry Williams/CORBIS

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The Empty Chair This Year…

As we approach another Holiday Season, it is often a difficult time for one MAJOR reason. There’s an empty chair at the dinner table this year. One which had been filled by a loved one who is no longer with you.

Black-Thanksgiving

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And the memories of past holidays together linger with each family member. All too often we lament about missed opportunities to ask questions. Say, “I Love You.” Reminisce about the “good old days.”

It’s even more difficult for a spouse to attend the current holiday activities, for the first time without their longtime partner. Their choice to attend or not is a difficult one. Here’s an article that may provide some insight into how you can support their choice: click here

One suggestion is to record video of each family member this year. With technology being so much easier to use today, there is little reason to not capture these all-too-special moments. And if you are wondering what to do with all those photos and video files…consider this: Click here

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The Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris

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Who’s watching YOU?

As the past seven years have unfolded, we have seen the move from capturing video content on a tape-based format, to one that is purely digital and tapeless. Those of us in the industry of capturing events and crafting stories are now joined, whether we like it or not, by the legion of cell phone owners who can record high-definition (HD) footage, and upload the content directly to the Internet. No editing. No reviewing. No way…

mobile-phone-crowd-pictures

What it has also done is make us keenly aware, as many law enforcement officers are coming to grips with, that you can be recorded at any time. Anywhere. Without your knowledge or consent. That is scary…

So, now, we must be ever mindful that any/everything that you do can be recorded. Have we gone too far in the name of “free speech?” Those of us in the media know all too well, that the “camera never lies…”

With “red light” cameras on many intersections, on the exterior and interiors of numerous businesses, we are all being “monitored”, whether you give permission or not. And to borrow a phrase which will obviously date me, and recall what was once a total surprise and is now commonplace, “smile, you’re on Candid Camera,” is now the norm.

cctv

We better be ready for all that can come from such immediacy.

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Who’s watching YOU?

As the past seven years have unfolded, we have seen the move from capturing video content on a tape-based format, to one that is purely digital and tapeless. Those of us in the industry of capturing events and crafting stories are now joined, whether we like it or not, by the legion of cell phone owners who can record high-definition (HD) footage, and upload the content directly to the Internet. No editing. No reviewing. No way…

mobile-phone-crowd-pictures

What it has also done is make us keenly aware, as many law enforcement officers are coming to grips with, that you can be recorded at any time. Anywhere. Without your knowledge or consent. That is scary…

So, now, we must be ever mindful that any/everything that you do can be recorded. Have we gone too far in the name of “free speech?” Those of us in the media know all too well, that the “camera never lies…”

With “red light” cameras on many intersections, on the exterior and interiors of numerous businesses, we are all being “monitored”, whether you give permission or not. And to borrow a phrase which will obviously date me, and recall what was once a total surprise and is now commonplace, “smile, you’re on Candid Camera,” is now the norm.

cctv

We better be ready for all that can come from such immediacy.

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As America celebrated her birthday this weekend, I took some time to reflect.

Time to consider what it means to be free. Free to be who I am. Free to come and go as I please. Free to rebuild my life. Free to question what we are becoming…in these yet-to-be-United States.

In contrast to what we as citizens of the United States sought to celebrate…on the 4th of July, with it’s still-unresolved history of abuse towards Africans, Native Americans and anyone deemed a threat to progress, I am at peace. That peace emanates from the past 5 years of coming to terms with my own shortcomings, choice-consequences-lessons, and newfound faith in a life-journey that has me more joyful and hopeful than I’ve felt in more than 30 years.

Unlike some Americans, I know how I have hurt others by my choices. I have sought to make amends, offer apologies and even, and of utmost importance, forgiven myself. The Creator of this Universe has laws that are indisputable. Laws that can not be bought, redirected nor displaced. For it is true that there is a consequence on the other side of the choices we make. I have been on both sides…and am now being welcomed into the place of true joy and emotional peace.

It is my prayer that this Country, founded on principles of freedom of religious worship, freedom to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, available to only White men who owned property in 1776, but must now include Black Americans, Latino Americans and Same-sex Americans…will do as I have done. Take a deep and honest look in the mirror. See the truth that is obvious to everyone…make the required changes allowing every citizen a fair chance at the opportunities we are so ready to kill-to-protect.

As I received the final divorce papers from my attorney this week, thus setting me free from a difficult and painful time in my life, I am eager to move ahead, secure in myself like never before. Ready to take down and permanently place, in my own museum, the Confederate flag of my painful past. Maybe I can convince a few others in America to do the same.

And the price of this freedom can’t be bought. It is truly FREE.

Peace.

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