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Friday, March 30, 2012

Thank God for Fridays





Just when I'm about to start whining and complaining about some things going wrong in my life...    then I saw this photo I took couple months ago of a man training for a marathon... then my whole perspective changed in a matter of seconds.



“When life is heavy and hard to take, go off by yourself.  Enter the silence. Bow in prayer. Don’t ask questions. Wait for hope to appear.”




Have a Wonderful Weekend! Remember that God loves you no matter what.

Aligaga






Thursday, March 29, 2012

Family, Foods and Friends


 I went home a year ago to visit my family and friends. As soon as the plane landed, I immediately called my parents to let them know I was on my way home. The next call was to a dear friend who is having some serious problems about fixing bad credit. I wanted to cheer her up so I gave her a quick call and asked her to meet me for dinner while I was in town. When I arrived at my parents home my whole family was gathered around the living room. The dining room table was filled with my favorite foods. We talked about old times and new events and we had a family dinner together. It was a very happy reunion and I missed them so much because of being away for a long time.

Just like the old saying goes "the best way to a man's heart is through her stomach" YES !!! my mom knows exactly how to spoil me. She made sure I get all of the foods I missed when I was away from home.


Sizzling squid

Crispy crablets


Fried chicken

Pansit bihon

Calamare

Steam shrimps

Marie, my best friend in high school arrived later that night. When we met she hugged me with tears in her eyes. She said it was tears of happiness for seeing me after so many years. She looked much different from when we were in high school. She told me her credit mess started after her divorce. With no one in her life she used eating and shopping addiction as her coping skills. It didn’t take long and she noticed a big change in her physical appearance. The shopping increased along with her depression and soon her credit was ruined. After realizing the consequences of her bad choices she immediately sought help from a credit repair service. The credit repair team evaluated her credit reports and developed a plan according to her needs. After a year of working with the credit team she is now in an improved position. As part of her remedy she found a second job and worked many hours to pay off her debts and fix her bad credit. She has also met a man who she has been dating for a year. We spent many more hours catching up and remembering good times together. The next morning we met the rest of our high school friends. It was a wonderful reunion.

I went back to the US after three weeks with a heart filled with happy memories. I can't wait to see them again this year !






My precious family



Submitted by Aligaga for TSS 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Second Chance in Life



The phone in the living room has been ringing non-stop since 6am. Since we work 5 days a week, Saturday is a sleep in and rest morning, but not today as our sleep was interrupted. We both work in a critical care setting and we both needed good restful sleep at night to function well at work. Our main reason we do not keep a phone in our bedroom is to keep us from being disturbed by telemarketers in the middle of the night. This phone call was different; we knew something was wrong for somebody to call at 6am on a Saturday. I picked up the phone and the frantic voice on the other line said, “Your son got into an accident”. The message numbed my entire body and I dreaded to hear the next few lines expecting the news to turn sour. I managed to stay calm, but I was very nervous. I asked how he was doing and after hearing that he was okay—just bruises for the most part. The caller, a stranger but a witness to the accident said he was being treated in the emergency room for broken ribs and bruises on his chest from the seatbelt. When the call was over, I breathed a sigh of relief.

The next phone call was to my attorney friend.I needed to seek legal advice because the accident was caused by a “driver under the influence of alcohol”. My son and grandmother were driving late in the afternoon to attend a church event. The event was in the country where it was very dark. They approached a cross street with a stop sign when a black pickup truck failed to stop hitting the grandmother’s car on the driver’s side at a high rate of speed causing the car to spin several times landing on the drivers side. My son was buckled up and sleeping in the back of the car at the time of the accident. It was the loud noise of the collision that woke him and immediately he started trying to unbuckle his seatbelt and get out of the tilted car. His grandmother was unresponsive and still strapped on her seatbelt. Somehow the paramedics were on the scene within a couple minutes quickly extracting them from the car and transporting them to the closest hospital emergency room. My son was okay but the grandmother required surgery for a broken hip, leg, and fractured ribs. She will heal, but with her age it will take months for her to recover.

 

These are photos of the car after the accident. 



The police investigation found the other driver was intoxicated three times over the legal alcohol limit. He was taken to the hospital for treatment and then booked in the county jail for driving under the influence.


If you live in Cincinnati and the surrounding counties and believe that criminal charges are about to be filed against you or you need to file a criminal charge, it is always a benefit to call and speak with a Cincinnati lawyer for advice and guidance. Scott A. Rubenstein is a reputable criminal defense attorney with twelve years of experience in both the trial and appellate courts of Southern Ohio. Atty. Rubenstein focuses his practice on all criminal and OVI/DUI matters.

Follow them at https://plus.google.com/108624879664965615699/posts






(This is a true story that happened 10 years ago. My son is now eighteen years old and in college. Everyday I thank and praise God for giving him second chance in life. By JRJ)











Monday, March 26, 2012

Kids just wanna have fun !



I was home alone one afternoon and in one of those "reminiscing the old days" mood.  I can't help but miss my kids when they were still little and they love to hang out with us at home, play and have fun.  They are all grown up now and busy with school, friends and a lot of things. I barely see them during the week which makes me really sad. 


I am so glad I have all these memories saved.  Every now and then, I look at these photos,  smile and laugh at some of the funny shots I took.


Oh kids .. where did the time go ?

















The laughters and the giggling were music to my ears.



Who drinks coffee on the pool ??




Cottonball trying to figure out how he can take a dip on the pool.







After playing in the pool, they decided to show off their basketball skills. Logan is 6'4" tall and is a basketball star in his school.

 My daughter will not let this opportunity go to show off her basketball skills. 





 I didn't have a lot of pictures when I was growing up, so I make sure to take lots of pictures of my kids. I hope that someday when the kids are older they will enjoy these photos I neatly organized and saved for them. 

After enjoying hours looking at all these photos, I am over my reminiscing-the-old days mood. I had to go back to working on our taxes as the deadline is coming soon.



I am a certified tax preparer and I wish I found this website fastforwardacademy.com when I took my certified tax preparer license exams. There is a new IRS rules that require all paid preparers to have Preparer Tax ID number to prepare tax returns for compensation. In addition, the IRS requires a competency exam for all paid tax return preparers who are not attorneys, CPA or enrolled agents. The new IRS tax preparer exam will cover the 1040 series of tax returns and information from the small business schedules. To prepare tax returns you must pass the exam and to pass you need Fast Forward Academy. I need to check  the special enrollment examination to see what I need to do to be an enrolled agent.




An enrolled agent is a person who has earned the privilege of representing taxpayers before any office of the Internal Revenue Service.  An enrolled agent (EA) does not need a college degree; rather they must demonstrate special competence in tax matters by passing all three parts of the IRS Special Enrollment Examination.




Submitted by Aligaga for TSS








Reminiscing the Past in Indiana and Kentucky !


Dear Mom and Dad,

I pray that this letter and pictures reached you in your perfect health. How I wished you were with us on this trip so I can show you all these amazing places. I missed you both a lot you know. One day I wish that you can come and visit us here in the US.  One day, I promise you it will happen.  I always keep that wish close to my heart.

I wanted to share with you these photos we took on our trip to Indiana to spend Christmas with Jeff's family. It was my first White Christmas. We were a little frustrated cause they didn't really get a lot of snow that year, so the White Christmas didn't come as I was expecting, but I still call it my first White Christmas. 




This is the Ohio River Bridge to cross from Indiana to Kentucky.  We had to drive 75 miles from Indiana to Kentucky to pick up Logan so he could spend some time with us.






This is a good old fashion home cooked country meal restaurant Jeff had visited countless times growing up.




This is the manufacturing plant that Jeff built for his "storage building" business.  He sold this business to his dear friend so he can come to California to pursue his dream to become a lawyer. I will share you more about what happened why he didn't end up to be a lawyer, but instead he became a mental health therapist. I still think that God directed him to that path because it is such a wonderful profession. I will talk to you more about it on my next letters.  




A sample of the storage building they used to build. This place is now owned by his dear friend.






This is a site of a house that was burned down some 40 years ago. What was left was the steps leading to the front door.  I found this place interesting and so I took picture of what was left of this home.




Mom and Dad...  you would probably find it interesting if I tell you about the Amish people who live in the remote area of Kentucky.  They use horse and buggy to travel around town.




Amish guy driving around on his horse and buggy. He kind of shy away when he saw me taking pictures of him. Jeff told me that they don't like it when people look at them or take pictures.  I waved at him to apologize, but he just drove off.






This is one of the Amish homes. They don't use electricity or modern technology. They do everything manually by hand. Mom, this is almost like what it was in our province in the 60's or early 70's. I remember you told me you grew up using oil lamp as there was no electricity in the province. Mom, this is how they live. They wash their clothes by hand and hang dry them on clothes line at the back of the house.






A farm out in the Amish town.  








After checking out the Amish town, we drove back to where Jeff used to live. This is an 8-bedroom home Jeff used to live with his family. It was built in the middle of nowhere, their closest neighbor is 10 miles away.




These are Jeff's two good looking boys. 




They are Jeff's mom and dad. We went to this restaurant to have our Christmas lunch. 




This is Jeff's brother and his two beautiful daughters. 




I find this really cool. To cross from one town to the next town they had to drive their car on this boat








We drove and take a look at the house Jeff lived when he was in grade school.






This is Harrison school where Jeff attended grade school.






This was the home Jeff lived when he was in high school.




This was Jeff's school when he was in Junior High.







In the place where we live they have this commercial cluster mailboxes. This is pretty common in new housing developments, apartment complex and businesses.  ApprovedClusterMailboxes.com is the ultimate source for Cluster Mailboxes of every size, finish, style, and material. They come in different styles and colors just like these pictures below.  



Mom and Dad... this is how a clustered mailbox look like. This one is an eight-door cluster mailbox. 





This CBU mailboxes is bigger and has more unit and pretty common in businesses. 




This is all for now mom and dad. I will call you one of these days and we can do skype so I can see you and I also want to see Tristan, the new dog that you guys got. 





Love you dearly,
Aligaga







Submitted by Aligaga for TSS




Tuesday, March 20, 2012

First Family Project


Five years ago, my husband and I decided to invest our savings in a rental property. We bought an older home not too far from where we live. The house was left in bad condition by the previous owner so we were able to negotiate a price lower than the market value. The house needed a lot of work and we were fully aware how much work needed to be done. It was the first business venture my husband and I did and a challenging one.






A week later after we bought the property, we walked in with our two children and decided to make the renovation work a family weekend activity.   

The home was built in the 60’s, the time were popcorn ceiling or bubble ceiling was popular. Bubble ceilings are textured to look like small bubbles or popcorn. We have mixed feelings about popcorn ceilings because they are made with asbestos and they are considered health hazzard. The only advantage of bubble ceilings are good acoustics and the ability to hide imperfections, such as small cracks or dings. Another big challenge was removing the awful wallpaper coverings on the walls.  We started the work by scraping the popcorn ceiling and painted it white. We also removed the wall paper in all the bedrooms and we painted the rooms in light color and installed decorative light fixtures on the ceiling. The old green carpet was replaced with wood floor. The old kitchen counter was made of blue colored tiles and dark mahogany cabinet which made the kitchen look dark. We decided to replace the counter with a beige color granite and we painted the cabinets white. We installed new sink, new dish washer and  new oven top stove. After working for a month, the house was ready to rent out.

We contacted a property management company to take care of the advertising and renting the property. LettingRef is used by businesses as an online tenant referencing and credit checking system that allows easy and quick credit-check prospective tenants. Tenant credit checks and tenant references requires a lot of work and we can never go wrong by investing in a company who have been doing these works for years. The first family who walked in the house fell in love with the home and they were so happy that they didn’t want to leave the house until they get all the paperworks signed and downpayment made. The property management performed the tenant references check and tenant screening and they all came back with positive results. The house was rented in a week and two weeks later the new tenants moved in.

When the first rent money came in, we paid the kids their share of working in the property.  They were both happy with the extra money and the new things they learn working in the house. 


Pictures of our rental home before and after the renovation.


Bathroom (Before)




Bathroom (After) 


Master's bedroom (before and after) 


My son Jack did all the cabinet painting.


The Kitchen (after) 


The Kitchen (Before and After) 


Kitchen view

Front of the house (Before and After) 


The House (Before and After)  


Jeff resting after a hard day's work. 









Submitted by Chay for TSS



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