Archive for March 1st, 2008
Thank goodness for Danny’s visit; his presence gave us all some relief from an otherwise awful weekend. It’s TAKS time in Texas, standing for the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills. TAKS is a test that all students in Texas have to “reckon with” at several points in their academic career. Of course, nothing says this is fixin’ to be hard, painful, and potentially disastrous quite like naming a test during income tax season, “TAKS.”
As students gear up for their tests next week, schools try to impress on the parents of these students the importance of these tests. While most folks believe in the importance of having base standards all students must achieve in their school career, this time of year it is hard to find many folks who are for this “TAKSing” situation. The biggest problem, many teachers suggest, is that so much time goes into “teaching for the test” that a whole lot of other learning doesn’t take place.
Since I’m no expert on this matter, I’ll just appreciate the fact that while I’m having a “taxing” weekend, many are gearing up for a “TAKSing” week. You see, we finally bit the bullet and waded into our our records, Quicken, receipts, and spreadsheets so we could send off our basic information to an accountant to figure our taxes.
As far as tax forms go, I’m a great preacher. Give me some New Testament Greek, but keep those 1040′s away from me. Having been once a fan of the Reader’s Digest column, Increasing Your Word Power, I’ve come to realize that “obfuscate” is a verb invented to describe the purpose of any and all forms sent to explain any federal document containing the consecutive numbers, 1040. How in the world could one of those forms be called EZ, anyway?
On a taxing weekend like this one, I find that rare moment when terror, confusion, record-keeping, and will power collide and I get my stuff together and sent away to be scanned, perused, evaluated, but hopefully not … audited. In all sincerity, I try to do things legally, I just wish the instructions on how to do so were written in a language from the Indo-European lanuage group. But at last, I’m done … everything is stapled, folded, and sealed with tape in an envelope with the right addresses on it
Oops, I was done several hours ago. Just now, however, I realized that I had not turned in one final summary of information. Uggh!
Hope those kids do better at their TAKS-ing week than I did with my tax-ing weekend.
After going to a school night with Donna — something I actually enjoyed quite a bit more than I anticipated — I was blessed to have a long-time friend come into town. He drove over from Dallas where he had spent the week on business. My friend, Danny, used to live a few minutes up the road from when I lived in Pflugerville — say that three times in a row without spraying someone nearby. He now lives closer to our kids in Kentucky.
Danny and I met at Tuscany’s, a local coffee place, where we visited for about three hours. We laughed and joked. I shared with him about my trip to Uganda with Compassion and showed him pictures and the video of my visit to Doreen. Then we talked about serious stuff.
One great blessing with some friends, and it is this way with Danny and me, you can just pick up and start where you are in your life right now and the years melt away — the love, the respect, the friendship is still there, the easy-ness in conversation comes back and it’s as if you hadn’t been apart. Tonight was a great grace.
As we visited, we both noticed that most of the folks in the place were younger than most of our kids. Some of them looked at us kinda strange, like, “What are you two old geezers doing in here at this time of night?” But we didn’t worry about it, we had become friends in Austin where the famed “Keep Austin Weird” t-shirts reigned supreme. We felt right at home with the local version of the t-shirt, “Keep Abilene Boring.”
While much of Abilene may have felt bored on a fairly innocuous Friday night, Danny and I both felt blessed. Friendship is a taste of heaven, a time and a place where all of our relationships are perfected and we are in the presence of the Lord. For a moment, I got to re-visit what that expectation means in real time. As much as I like the diet Tuscan Sunset, a lemonade, tea, and raspberry drink, the taste of heaven was better.