Sometimes I struggle

Its time for #fridayintroductions brought weekly by @thetinytwig & @jessaconnolly … A chance to reintroduce yourself to your followers and maybe make some new friends! I’m Denise… I live just outside of Nashville, TN with my musician husband and our two cats. I am born and raised Texan, and am a proud member of the Fightin’ Texas Aggie c/o 2003.

Being married to a touring musician is never boring, and getting through the crazy life we live requires a sense of humor and a LOT of Faith. And lately, my faith is being tested. Give it to God and let go is hard sometimes, but its always rewarding and comforting, too.

Today’s question is what is my favorite flower… I am a serious sucker for a dark red rose, but in the spring its easily the beautiful Texas Bluebonnet!

A photo posted by Denise (@niseag03) on

I don’t write often anymore in this blog about the “musician’s life,” saving it instead for posts to Road Widows. But since I’ve actually, for the first time in YEARS, gone well over a week without posting, I thought perhaps now would be a good time to delve into a post about the “musician’s life.”

I’ve been missing mostly because my heart hasn’t been in blogging lately. (Though my photography is doing pretty well, and I’ll have some photo posts coming up soon.)  Primarily because I’ve had a really hard time being my positive self. I’ve found myself, at heart, feeling very negative.

And I am very embarrassed to say its had to do a LOT with money.  The past year was a very fruitful one for us, but I knew the whole time we’d reach a wall and be back into the paycheck-to-paycheck life. Its actually a very blunt and harsh reality of the “musician life.” Its feast or famine. Last year the famine time was short, and as an added bonus I was bartending regularly. This year? That slack is gone, and the famine time is extra scary.

God somehow always provides. And I’m usually very good about the whole, “Everything happens for a reason and it all works out in the end.” way of life. “Give it to God,” its a great mantra for the “musician life.”

But as I said in my #FridayIntroductions this week, I’ve struggled with that lately. And with that struggle, I find myself just shutting down. I find myself without motivation to work and correct where we are right now.

Friday night, my husband played a gig on Broadway in downtown Nashville. He hasn’t played Broadway in, literally, years.  Perhaps I should have looked at the gig as one of God’s little whispers of, “I got this…” but at the time it just felt so strange.  (It didn’t help that I had to deal with a negative an hateful Longhorn fan on the street that just left me even MORE out of sorts for a long time. Sigh.)

Then after my husband’s gig, we went out to see friends play. And it was then and there that I got the attitude adjustment I needed. We were surrounded by so many friends who embraced us and unknowingly gave me the lift I needed. All these people face the same frustrations and same struggles that we do. The exact same ones. All these friends live this “musician life” with optimism and positivity that I needed an injection of in that moment.

We WILL land on our feet. I am thankful to all who support us in numerous and priceless ways. We all lean on each other, and we all get through it together. Isn’t that the way it is supposed to be?

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Musings on a tax season

april15

This tax season is officially done as of today! Well, okay, I guess you could say it still has until October 15, but we’ll focus on today’s deadline instead.

Perhaps the biggest thing that baffles me through tax season is the constant question, “What can I do to pay less in taxes?” The easy answer? Make less money. But no one really wants to hear THAT, right? Ultimately, the answer is complicated and with all things tax related, it is an individual case basis.

I repeat. Everything is a case-by-case basis. Just because Bob did x and didn’t owe money doesn’t mean doing x netted the same for Jane.

Every. Single. Return. Is. Different.

But. A few simple ideas to save on paying taxes…

– You can have more deductions, which, if you think about it, it means spending more of your money. (Wait… I thought I was trying to save money.)

– You can have less being paid to you without taxes being taken out before its even given to you. As in, get paid by W-2 instead of 1099. Though, you do realize, you’re still paying taxes. Its just not in the form of a check when you file your return.

– How about I just don’t report this income? Okay. Well, you better not try to show that income to buy a house or a car or whatever, because that’ll throw up a nice red flag when the numbers you filed and the numbers you gave on the application don’t match. And God forbid the person who paid you that money gets audited… because chances are they’ll paper trail it right back to you. At that point? Well, at that point they find out and you owe penalty, interest, and you’ve gotten the headache of an audit. Do people get away with not reporting income? Sure. Would I recommend trying that? Never.

– You can just make less money. But, frankly, I’d rather make $100, pay out $20 and still have $80. Instead of making $50, paying out $10, and still having only $40. Yup, I really stuck it to the government there. I also screwed myself.

Ultimately, taxes are a fact of life. And as much as I am sure people grumble that their tax dollars are helping fund that deadbeat down the street who lives on unemployment… realize its tax dollars that also fund keeping our road systems going, pay for emergency personnel, and help individuals after tragedies like tornadoes, hurricanes, mass fires, etc.

I am blatantly stealing this from IRS Publication “Why Do I Have to Pay Taxes?

outlays

Oh yeah. Tax dollars also help pay for our military.  There’s that little fun fact, too.

So any time I hear someone say, “How can I pay less taxes?” it, frankly, burns me. You made money. Chances are, you made GOOD money. Pay your taxes and move on… you’ll spend more money and time trying to avoid paying taxes than you would if you just paid it and went on…

This tax season has been rough, with a good portion of that stress due to the Healthcare Act. Here. Let me just be blunt on this. This is MY PERSONAL OPINION and does not reflect on anyone but me.

I think the healthcare act, at heart, is good. But I disagree with forcing Americans to have insurance. I think its a serious over reaching of the government to mandate that. Beyond that, I think its absolutely ridiculous to have the IRS regulate this. Its made the tax code and tax filing 8000% more stressful. And that is, in my opinion, stupid.

So. There you have it. I said it. Healthcare Act, fine. Making it a law to have insurance, though, is bullsh–.

But, here we are. April 15th. We did it. We survived. Still a lot of returns to be filed, but those all have extensions filed. It feels good to get here… time to start the next phase of 2015

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Another Small Town in Texas

Last week, I brought you photos from my hometown of Cameron, TX. This week, I bring you photos of my mom’s hometown of Caldwell, TX.

Caldwell, TX -- Burleson County
Burleson County Courthouse

 

Caldwell, TX -- Burleson County
Burleson County Courthouse

 

Caldwell, TX -- Burleson County
Just hangin’ at the courthouse

 

 

Caldwell, TX -- Burleson County
Burleson County Courthouse

 

Caldwell, TX -- Burleson County
Burleson County Courthouse

 

Caldwell, TX -- Burleson County
Caldwell, TX

 

Caldwell, TX -- Burleson County
Caldwell, TX

 

Caldwell, TX -- Burleson County
Caldwell, TX

 

Caldwell, TX -- Burleson County
Caldwell, TX

 

Caldwell, TX -- Burleson County
Caldwell, TX

 

Caldwell, TX -- Burleson County
Caldwell, TX

 

Caldwell, TX -- Burleson County
Warren Lodge No. 56

 

Caldwell, TX -- Burleson County
Caldwell Hornets

 

Bluebonnets
Bluebonnets

For more photos from this adventure, visit my Flickr page and search for BurlesonCounty.

The wife of a touring musician tells it like she sees it…

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