About a week ago Husband and I drove to Freer to visit my brother-in-law on a cold, wet and dreary day.  Winter seemed to be winning over spring in the seasonal tug-of-war that often plays out in South Texas this time of year.  Cardinals were grateful for the treats provided in a bird feeder in the his back yard as we watched from the warmth of the house.  As we left we stopped to enjoy the Texas Bluebonnets that appeared to have been scattered carelessly by the side of the dirt road and clustered together as if to defy the 39 degree temperature.  Perhaps it was a sign of an early spring and a good year for wildflowers.

Yes, it is tax time!  I am volunteering again with Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) four mornings a week at the United Way office in Corpus Christi.  The site opened in the middle of January when the government, including the IRS, was partially shut down.  The IRS website used for processing tax returns was up and running, but we could not communicate with our IRS contact as he had been furloughed.  Eventually some employees were called back to handle tax returns.  Getting refunds out was deemed essential!  Even when the government was opened  back up, people who came in were still apprehensive about another shutdown and were anxious to get their tax returns done.  Gratefully, that has been avoided with the compromise passed by both houses of Congress and signed reluctantly by President Trump.  There were some surprises in refunds/taxes due from last year due to changes in the tax laws but that is another story.



  1. Ah taxes, Jo. Rob and I are still in San Miguel de Allende so they are not uppermost in our minds. Our tax date in Canada is April 30th. Have to file by then.

    How nice that you are once again helping others with this onerous task.

    Love the photo of the Texas blue bonnets. I have some purple ones in my yard, probably not blooming yet. They’re not called Texas blue bonnets. I call them Lupines. Nature is amazing, putting on a show like that!


  2. San Miguel is no place to be thinking about taxes! I know you are having a great time and it must be a little warmer there than in Canada.

    I have seen photos of Lupines and they do look like our Texas Blue Bonnets. May you have a safe trip back home!


  3. You are an inspiration Jo, in the work you do here to help.. Those blue bonnets just wonderful and good to know you are making sure the birds are getting plenty to eat as well..
    Lets hope Spring is on its way.. Its been a lovely Sunny day here today…
    Sending much love your way. ❤
    Take care and Blessings your way ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Way to go, Jo. I’m sure the folks getting your help are appreciating your support. I was quite surprised to see the Standard Deduction outweigh my itemized deductions. Of course, since the IRS did away with personal exemptions I ended up paying more tax on less income. The Standard deduction was really close to my itemized so in essence, I lost about $8,000 in write-offs due to the personal exemption take away. I can imagine that some folks had a windfall with the standard. Love the bluebonnet photo. They look great.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The IRA really made it harder for many folks to itemize. As people come in we have to inform them of the changes and try to explain why they are perhaps not getting back as much. For some they got more in their paycheck because of the tax break, but did not change their withhold. There are winners and losers.

      The blue bonnets were a bright spot on a dreary day. I am ready for sun and warmer weather. Thanks for stopping by my neighborhood.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Texas Blue bonnets ! Oh Jo Nell I long to walk down a quiet,patient country road and we their beauty. Bits its of sky hurled down from heaven for all to enjoy on earth. These wild flowers who astonish us with their beauty and then slip away. These blossoms of heart stopping joy. Their brief appearance takes us to a joyful place and we are the better for it. Thank you Jo Nell. I am whispering Texas Bluebonnets Texas Bluebonnets as I go about my day. XXXX Virginia

    Liked by 1 person

    • Virginia, your garden and home are always filled with the fragrance and beauty of flowers you gather by the armloads. These lovelies were on a dirt road a short distance from the place where I grew up. Many times I walked down this road or rode my bike so seeing these bluebonnets was very special. Later in the spring and summer there will be yellow and orange prickly pear cactus blooms. May spring come to you and your garden soon! Cheers and hoping you are doing well.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I saw quite a number of Indian paintbrush last weekend, and I hear that bluebonnets are popping up in Austin. I’m so heartily sick of fog and rain that I’m getting out of town this weekend to see what I can see. It seems as though there will be some sunshine farther north. Funny to have to go north to find the sun, but that’s late winter on the Texas coast. Warm air over cold water means fog!

    I just figured out that the tax rules and forms have changed. I have no idea what it’s going to mean for me — my biggest first perplexity was finding where to put income from self employment on the 1040. I finally figured that out — why does simplification always mean another form?

    It’s always good to have help with these complexities, but this year it may be even more important — good for you for helping out!

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are not alone having trouble with the new simpler forms! ha! And having self employment income brings challenges. Many who did theirs in the past needed a little help in figuring out which form.

      May you find some sunshine and wildflowers this weekend. It is always a pleasure to find them scattered along the highways in the spring. Our two live oak trees are slowly beginning to drop their leaves so spring must be just around the corner. I am tired of the fog too as I drive into Corpus Christi every morning now. Have a good weekend!


    • You should give it another try next year! Taxes are always a little confusing, but the returns we do at VITA are fairly simple at the Basis and Advanced level. Our site coordinator is the real expert so we have a resource if we need help and each return is quality reviewed for accuracy. Once you do a few you will be fine! Thanks for taking time to visit and comment! Will you be doing your own taxes this year?

      Liked by 1 person

    • Husband has done ours for years and still does. Now at least I know more about taxes than I used to. But I can’t seem to get Husband to volunteer. I does feel good to be able to help those with limited resources. You are lucky to have an in-house tax preparer.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. What a delightful photograph. I love the name! It is much more beautiful than just Lupines 🙂 I have seen this plant in the desert – the color is striking.
    I have heard the tax season has been a disappointment this year. Hope it isn’t that bad for your family. If you are in Finances, you sure know how it all works…

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Snowdrops have been up for weeks. There were some early daffodils but recent cold and snow did them in. Today I saw the first crocuses. It’s been record breaking cold here in Vancouver during February so early blossoms are late this year. I welcome March and love your lupines.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. The subject of taxes gives me heartburn. But your lovely bluebonnet photo makes that go away – if I don’t think of the “T” word again. We’re working on them, and I’m worried we’ll have the same problem as John Howell.
    We still have snow on the ground here in NE, but in two weeks or so I’m going to visit my good friend in Austin. Can’t wait to see what’s blooming!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Beautiful bluebonnet photo! Every March, my sister and I hunt for bluebonnets. She lives in Tyler, so we are probably too far north. I get so excited when we find a few. One of our favorite patches disappeared when someone built a fireworks sale shed on it! I hope to do a serious Texas wildflower hunt next spring, heading well south of Tyler.

    Liked by 1 person

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