Saturday, August 1, 2009

2009 Sales Tax Holidays

Over a dozen of States in the US offer sales tax holidays. Georgia, being one of them, offers tax exemption, both state and local tax, from Jul 30 to Aug 2, this year. Most of us think that whatever we buy is taxfree. That is not entirely true. It pertains to only three categories.

According to the GA dept of revenue:

During the sales tax holiday period, a sales tax exemption applies to purchases of tangible personal property in the following categories:

Articles of Clothing. The exemption applies to articles of clothing and footwear with a sales price of $100 or less per item. Clothing accessories such as handbags, umbrellas, cuff links, handkerchiefs, jewelry, key cases, wallets, watches and watch bands, and ponytail holders and/or similar hair products are not exempt.

Personal Computers. A single purchase of $1,500 or less of personal computers and/or related accessories is exempt. If the single purchase exceeds $1,500, the entire transaction is taxable. Click here to see list of exempt items.

General School Supplies. The exemption applies to the purchase of general school supplies with a sales price of $20 or less per item.

The exemptions are intended for an individual's personal use. The exemptions exclude items rented, leased, purchased by businesses, or purchased for resale. The exemptions do not apply to items sold at theme parks, entertainment complexes, hotels, restaurants, and airports.

A similar holiday for energy and water efficient products will be held from Oct 1 - 4, 2009.

Credits: GA Dept of Revenue

Few rules for living

Below are the '40 rules for living' that I came across. Make note of some of them, and put them into practice when you grow up.

  1. Give people more than they expect and do it cheerfully.

  2. Memorize your favourite poem.

  3. Don't believe all you hear, spend all you have or sleep all you want.

  4. When you say, "I love you," mean it.

  5. When you say, "I'm sorry," look the person in the eye.

  6. Never laugh at anyone's dreams.

  7. Love deeply and passionately. You might get hurt but it's the only way to live life completely.

  8. Don't judge people by their relatives.

  9. Talk slow but think quick.

  10. When someone asks you a question you don't want to answer, smile and ask, "Why do you want to know?"

  11. Remember that great love and great achievements involve great risk.

  12. Call your mom.

  13. Say "Bless you" when you hear someone sneeze.

  14. When you lose, don't lose the lesson.

  15. Remember the three R's: Respect for self; Respect for others; Responsibility for all your actions.

  16. Don't let a little dispute injure a great friendship.

  17. When you realize you've made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.

  18. Smile when picking up the phone. The caller will hear it in your voice.

  19. Marry someone you love to talk to. As you get older, conversational skills will be as important as any other.

  20. Spend some time alone.

  21. Open your arms to change, but don't let go of your values.

  22. Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.

  23. Read more books and watch less TV.

  24. Live a good, honourable life. Then when you get older and think back, you'll get to enjoy it a second time.

  25. Trust in God but lock your car.

  26. A loving atmosphere in your home is so important. Do all you can to create a tranquil harmonious home.

  27. In disagreements with loved ones, deal with the current situation. Don't bring up the past.

  28. Read between the lines.

  29. Share your knowledge. It's a way to achieve immortality.

  30. Be gentle with the earth.

  31. Pray -- there's immeasurable power in it.

  32. Never interrupt when you are being flattered.

  33. Mind your own business.

  34. Don't trust a lover who doesn't close his/her eyes when you kiss them.

  35. Once a year, go someplace you've never been before.

  36. If you make a lot of money, put it to use helping others while you are living. That is wealth's greatest satisfaction.

  37. Learn the rules then break some.

  38. Remember that the best relationship is one where your love for each other is greater than your need for each other.

  39. Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it.

  40. Remember that your character is your destiny.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Swine flu scan

Last month, en route to our visit to India, we had a flight stop over at Dubai. After embarking at the Dubai International Airport, we noticed all passengers being scanned for fever. It was the time when Swine Flu was at it's peak, and almost every asian city were watcing out for travellers from europe and america for potential flu infection. Death toll was nearly 150, and over 25,000 people worldwide were analyzed positive for the flu.

When a passenger was found to have fever, the airport officials would quarentine them for a period of one week, and keep them under observation and isolation. Well, few passengers in vietnam found a way to cheat this system.

I was reading a related article and was stunned at how passengers were cheating the system in Vietnam. Three hours prior to their aircraft landing at the airport, those who had swine flu infection would take fever reducing tablets and go through the scanner - undetected.

Funny that these folks do get why they are being scanned, quarentined and isolated for.

No jacket required

I shook my head in disbelief.

This couldn't be the right place.

After all, I couldn't possibly be welcome here.

I had been given an invitation several times, by several different people,

and I had finally decided to see what this place was all about.

But, this just couldn't be the right place.

Quickly, I glanced down at the invitation

that I clutched in my hand.

I scanned past the words,


"Come as you are. No jacket required"


and found the location.

Yes, I was at the right place.

I peered through the window again and saw

a room of people whose faces seemed to glow with joy.

All were neatly dressed, adorned in fine garments

and appeared strangely clean as they dined at this exquisite restaurant.

Ashamed, I looked down at my own tattered

and torn clothing, covered in stains.

I was dirty, in fact, filthy.

A foul smell seemed to consume me and

I couldn't shake the grime that clung to my body.

As I turned around to leave,

the words from the invitation seemed to leap out at me...


"Come as you are. No jacket required."


I decided to give it a shot.

Mustering up every bit of courage I could find, I opened the door to this restaurant and walked up to a man standing behind a podium.

"Your name, sir?" he asked me with a smile.

"Jimmy D. Brown," I mumbled without looking up.

I thrust my hands deep into my pockets,

hoping to conceal their stains.

He didn't seem to notice the filth that I was covered in and he continued,

"Very good, sir.

A table is reserved in your name.

Would you like to be seated?"

I couldn't believe what I heard!

A grin broke out on my face and I said, "Yes, of course!"


He led me to a table, and sure enough, there was a place-card with my name written on it in a deep, dark red.

As I browsed over a menu,

I saw many delightful items listed. There were things like,

"peace," "joy," "blessings," "confidence," "assurance," "hope," "love," "faith," and "mercy."

I realized that this was no ordinary restaurant!

I flipped the menu back to the front in order to see where I was at...

"God's Grace," was the name of this place.

The man returned and said, " recommend the

'Special of the Day'.

With it you are entitled to heaping portions of everything on this menu.

You've got to be kidding! I thought to myself.

You mean, I can have ALL of this?!

"What is the 'Special of the Day'?"

I asked with excitement ringing in my voice.

"Salvation," was his reply.

"I'll take it," I practically cried out.

Then, as quickly as I made that statement, the joy left my body.

A sick painful ache jerked through my stomach and tears filled my eyes.

Between my sobs I said...

"Mister, look at me. I'm dirty and nasty.

I am unclean and unworthy of such things.

I'd love to have all of this, but, but, I just can't afford it."

Undaunted, the man smiled again.

"Sir, your check has already been taken care of

by that Gentleman over there,"

he said as he pointed to the front of the room.

"His name is Jesus."

Turning, I saw a man whose very presence

seemed to light the room.

He was almost too much to look at.

I found myself walking towards Him

and in a shaking voice I whispered,

"Sir, I'll wash the dishes or sweep the floors

or take out the trash.

I'll do anything I can do to repay You for all this."

He opened His arms and said with a smile,

"Son, all of this is yours if you just come unto me.

Ask me to clean you up and I will.

Ask me to allow you to feast at my table

and you will eat.

Remember, the table is reserved in your name.

All you must do is accept this gift that I offer you."

Astonished, I fell at his feet and said,

"Please, Jesus. Please clean up my life.

Please change me and sit me at your table

and give me this new life."

Immediately, I heard the words,

"It is finished."

I looked down and white robes adorned my body.

Something strange and wonderful had happened.

I felt new, like a weight had been lifted

and I found myself seated at His table.

"The 'Special of the Day' has been served,"

The Lord said to me.


"Salvation is yours."


We sat and talked for a great while

and I so enjoyed the time that I spent with Him.

He told me, me of all people,

that He would like for me to come back

as often as I liked for another helping from God's Grace.

He made it clear that He wanted me to spend as much time with Him as possible.

As it drew near time for me to go back

outside into the "real world,"

He whispered to me softly,

"And Lo, I am with you always."

And then, He said something to me that I will never forget.

He said...

"My child, do you see these empty tables?"

"Yes, Lord. I see them. What do they mean?"

I replied.

"These are reserved tables...

but the individuals whose names are on each place-card have not accepted their invitation yet.

Would you be so kind as to hand out these invitations

to those who have not joined us as yet?" Jesus asked.

"Of course," I said with excitement as I picked up the invitations.

"Go ye therefore into all nations."

He said as I turned to leave.

I walked into God's Grace dirty and hungry.

Stained in sin.

My righteousness as filthy rags.

And Jesus cleaned me up.

I walked out a brand new man...robed in white,

His righteousness.

And so, I'll keep my promise to my Lord.

I'll go. I'll spread the Word.

I'll share the Gospel... I'll hand out the invitations.

And I'll start with you.

Have you been to God's Grace?

There's a table reserved in your name, and here's your invitation...


"Come as you are. No jacket required."

Let's meditate for a minute: Have you been to God's Grace? There's a table reserved in your name, and here's your invitation... "Come as you are. No jacket required." "For by grace are ye saved through faith: and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast." Ephesians 2: 8,9

Credits: Josephine Barringer

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Secret

One day, one friend asked another,
"How is it that you are always so happy?
You have so much energy,
and you never seem to get down."

With her eyes smiling, she said,
"I know the secret!"
"What secret is that?"
To which she replied,
"I'll tell you all about it,
but you have to promise to
share the secret with others."

"The secret is this:
I have learned there is little I can do
in my life that will make me truly happy.
I must depend on God to make
me happy and to meet my needs.
When a need arises in my life,
I have to trust God to supply
according to HIS riches.
I have learned most of the time
I don't need half of what I think I do.
He has never let me down.
Since I learned that 'secret', I am happy."

The questioner's first thought was,
"That's too simple!"
But upon reflecting over her own life
she recalled how she thought a bigger house
would make her happy, but it didn't!
She thought a better paying job
would make her happy, but it hadn't.
When did she realize her greatest happiness?
Sitting on the floor with her grandchildren,
playing games, eating pizza or reading a story,
a simple gift from God.

Now you know it too!
We can't depend on people to make us happy.
Only GOD in His infinite wisdom can do that.
Trust HIM!
And now I pass the secret on to you!
So once you get it, what will you do?

YOU have to tell someone the secret, too!
That GOD in His wisdom will take care of YOU!
But it's not really a secret...
We just have to believe it and do it...
Really trust God!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The flood

A certain flood threatens a town, forcing everyone to evacuate, But Joe thinks, "I'm a devout man, God will save me," and stays put.

As the waters rise, Joe's neighbor comes by and says, "Joe come with me, we've got to go." Joe declines saying, "I'm a devout man, God will save me."

The waters keep rising, Joe scrambles to his second floor. A firefighter in a rowboat comes by. "Get in the boat or you'll drown," he says. Joe declines again, saying, "God will save me."

Finally, the flood waters force Joe to his roof. A police helicopter comes by and throws down a rope. "Climb up or you'll drown," the policeman yells. "No, I'm a devout man, God will save me," Joe replies.

Soon, Joe drowns. He arrives in heaven and challenges God. "Why didn't you help me?"

"What do you mean?" God says.

"I did help. I sent a neighbor, a firefighter and a helicopter."

Like Joe, many of us wait for something miraculous to rescue us while we miss opportunities to help ourselves. Whether in our business lives, personal lives, or at school, we hope for a transforming event. A terrific new customer, a great relationship, a fantastic teacher, a better family life, an easy course.

But life isn't like that. Like Joe, if we want things to be different, we have to do something ourselves.

But the common questions we ask are: "Where to start? How do we learn to recognize an opportunity when it comes our way?"

The answers:

Make a plan: form a vision of what we want to achieve, then develop a plan of how to make that vision a reality. To judge whether an opportunity is the one to seize, or let pass, we need to understand whether it fits our long term goals.

Make a commitment: get used to saying 'NO' to certain things. Get used to saying 'YES' when they are right. But whatever we do, embrace it with total commitment and conviction. We have to learn to recognize opportunities and then grab them at the right time. God has provided us with that intelligence - also known as common sense. As the old saying goes, "time and tide waits for none".

Today

Today, when I awoke, I suddenly realized that this is the best day of my life, ever! There were times when I wondered if I would make it to today; but I did! And because I did, I'm going to celebrate this divine day!

Today, I'm going to celebrate what an unbelievable life I have had so far; the accomplishments, the many divine blessings, and, yes, even the hardships because they have served to make me stronger. I will go through this day with my head held high, and a happy heart. I will marvel at God's divine simple gifts; the morning dew, the sun, the clouds, the trees, the flowers, the birds.

Today, none of these miraculous divine creations will escape my notice.

Today, I will share my excitement for life with other people. I'll make someone smile. I'll go out of my way to perform an unexpected act of kindness for someone I don't even know.

Today, I'll give a divine and sincere compliment to someone who seems down. I'll tell a child how special he or she is. I'll tell someone I love, just how deeply I care for them and how much they mean to me.

Today is the day I quit worrying about what I don't have, and start being grateful for all the divine and wonderful things God has already given me. I'll remember that, to worry is just a waste of time, because my faith in God and His Divine Plan ensures everything will be just fine.

And tonight, before I go to bed, I'll go outside and raise my eyes to the heavens. I will stand in awe at the divine beauty of the stars and the moon, and I will praise God for these magnificent treasures. As the day ends and I lay my head down on my pillow, I will thank the Almighty for the best divine day of my life. And I will sleep the sleep of a contented child, excited with expectation because I know tomorrow is going to be the best divine day of my life, ever!


Credits: G.M. Lousignont

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Local news of interest


Some local news that I came across this week, that could be of interest to you:

Landmark water tanks bearing the words, "Success lives here" and "Gwinnett is great" on I-85, just off of Jimmy Carter Blvd are coming down by the end of this year. According to city officials, they have become obselete, and the operating costs for these tanks are high. Dismantling them will save the city $200,000 per year. The cost of dismantling them is approximately $ 350,000 which will pay off in roughly two years, they say.

The Dept. of transportation is closing down two rest areas situated on I-85; one in Franklin county, and the other in Gwinnett County on Aug 25th. Cost is a driving factor here also.

Highway safety in GA launched the campaign, '100 days of summer heat' from May 18 and will go on until Sept 7, 2009. They have zero tolerance to excessive speeding, and speeding drivers are their primary target. Throughout GA, you'll notice police cooling down those drivers who 'feel the heat' and step up their gas pedal. Cops also are interested in those DUI candidates as well. Apparently, this campaign will raise some additional revenue for the state. For more information and statistics, click here.


College rankings

Princeton Review, the test prep makers, yesterday announced the list of college rankings for 2010 after interviewing various students across the country. Below are few categories:

Best Financial Aid - Swarthmore College
Best Quality of Life - Rice University
Best Career Services – University of Florida
Best Classroom Experience – Pomona College
Most Accessible Profs – U.S. Military Academy
Most Conservative Students – Texas A&M University
Most Liberal Students – Warren Wilson College
Most Politically Active Students – George Washington University
Least Religious Students – Bennington College
Friendliest Race / Class Relations – University of Miami
Students Pack the Stadiums - Pennsylvania State University
Everyone Plays Intramural Sports – University of Notre Dame
Best Athletic Facilities – University of Maryland at College Park
Happiest Students - Brown University
Students Study the Most - California Institute of Technology


Two categories I found interesting:

Students Study the Least - West Virginia University
Top Party Schools – Pennsylvania State University

Source: http://www.princetonreview.com

New postings

It's been a short while since I've updated this blog.

Am back in town and getting along with normal routine. Meanwhile, new postings are coming up.