1.24.2016

Sundays | Those Snowbound Breakfasts






Stasis is a powerful thing. Breaking free is even better. 


We eat well when there's snow on the ground, especially at breakfast.

Before we had kids, Kelly and I had a habit of going to Cracker Barrel for brunch any time it snowed. Something there was about a big, hot breakfast served in the near vicinity of a wood fire. With two kids and a third on the way, the days of sleeping till ten are long gone, and aging into the mid-thirties has thickened our sense of caution and responsibility against driving on icy roads. That, and minivans.

But we did sleep in this morning--thank God for kids tuckered out from sledding the day before--and though last night's fire was only cold embers, this morning I fired up the oven to fix a pan of biscuits, and got a pound of bacon cooking in the big skillet, and scrambled a bunch of eggs, and pulled out oranges and grapes and honey and preserves. (All the carbohydrates, for you fans of MZCL, were for me.)

Soon, the olfactory trinity of biscuits rising, bacon frying, and coffee steaming filled the kitchen.


1.14.2016

We didn't win the lottery, but we figured out what's important





What if you could use your lottery dreams as your own financial goals? You might be closer than you thought.

Wednesday evening, Kelly and I sat around talking late into the evening dreaming about what could happen if the lottery ticket on the kitchen bar was, indeed, worth a billion and a half dollars. What a conversation! Of course, when we woke up Thursday and checked the numbers, we'd only won four bucks, so we got dressed and went to work like just about every other person who'd picked up a lotto ticket in hopes of a moonshot.

But that conversation--what if we won?--turned out to be surprisingly useful.

Had we become overnight billionaires, Kelly and I figured we'd probably retire early. That isn't to say we would become couch potatoes--Kel yearns to be a piano teacher and stay-at-home Mom, and I'd use a big chunk of the lotto bucks to establish a philanthropic foundation focused on community issues--like public education or families who endure food insecurity.

What does that say about us, though? Well, for one, it articulates our family's goals and values. Kel plans to teach until she's eligible for retirement--thirty years' service in North Carolina--and then she wants to leave the classroom and open a piano studio. (She did this before we had children.) The job would leave plenty of flexibility for her to take care of our kids, who'll range in age between high school and college-bound.

So we didn't win the lottery--but if the goal of retiring from teaching to spend time with our kids and open a piano studio is really the dream, why not start working now to realize that dream sooner? What if we could start saving more money, or working on a better business plan that afforded her the chance to retire a few years earlier?

12.31.2015

To My Son





Dear Thomas Alan:

Somehow, my boy, you are turning three years old. While it is difficult to conceive of the fact that you've notched your third trip around the sun--time is truly flying here, buddy--it isn't too much of a shock to watch you formally enter toddlerhood.

You have fully embodied your boyish personality. There are times in which you become a human wrecking ball, a charge of arms and legs, head bent down, whirling forward without regard or concern. Sometimes the collisions are friendly, other times not so much. I am mostly thankful your head hasn't grown knotty with all the lumps you've pulled up from your noggin.

Even so, you seem at your calmest when you are pushing along a truck or a car, your eyes focused on the transportation of some figurine or block cargo, hands and knees sliding along the wood floor, lips bumble-bee buzzing the tune of a great engine. You'll drive your rig in laps through the house, our carpet your highway, our entry hall your canyon.

You have a strong posture to match your personality. It isn't fair to project so much upon you in these early years, but it isn't all reckless boy for you. There is something more, something solid. One day that will come of good use.