November 27, 2008

This morning, I was busted for never taking the time to actually sit down and write out what I’m thankful for in my life. I was told that this exercise is an act of thanks in and of itself, as it makes me keep a journal of answered prayers and met goals. I can’t argue with that. Therefore, here are the top five things I’m thankful for this year, in no particular order:

1. Maryalice. There was a time several years ago when I truly believed that I would live a quiet life of solitude, in the midst of friends but still very much alone. I could not have been more wrong. Maryalice is an unbelievable blessing, and I honestly thank God every morning for giving me one more day with her. She’s the best wife, partner, and friend I could have imagined. I am excited beyond belief to raise our daugher with her, and to watch her grow into motherhood.

2. Abigail. We won’t actually meet her for another 10-12 weeks, but I already love this little kid more that I would have thought possible. Seeing her little face and pouty lip on the 3D ultrasound last week was a wake-up call, and I can’t wait to be captivated by the little cutie.

3. Work that matters. Simply saying, “I love my job” is such a weak, inadequate way to describe my feelings about the calling God’s put on my life. I am so grateful to Him for bringing me into a place and position in which I can play an active role in touching peoples’ lives in a practical, measurable way. Beyond that, the way that Dave Ramsey runs the company is unlike anything I’ve ever been a part of … or even heard about. In his EntreLeadership small-business training event, he explains it this way: “We don’t have employees. We have team members. Employees come in late, leave early, waste time, and steal from you. Team members participate in the vision of the company and know exactly how what they do matters to the whole organization.” That’s definitely true around our place.

4. My cats. Yes, I love my two cats. Seriously. Don’t judge me.

5. Financial peace. No, not the product Financial Peace University, but the actual state of being at peace in my finances. God got our attention in 2005 in the area of money, showing us very clearly how sloppy we were and how we were truly setting ourselves up for failure. Now, three years later after a LOT of hard work and focused intensity, we’re in good shape, have zero debt except our home (which should be paid off well before the 15 years), have a beautiful house (on which we put a good down payment), and have a solid emergency fund sitting in the bank. Moreover, we know what to do with our money. We have a plan, and we know exactly how to spend every dollar that God sends our way. We’re prepared for feast or famine, and we don’t really have any stress in that area. That’s an unbelievable blessing, and it’s definitely something we thank God for. (If you need some help in this area, check out the FPU link above or email me for info.)

God is good. My life isn’t all sunshine and roses, but it’s a better life than I ever imagined; probably a better life than I deserve. And for that, I’m thankful.


Time For a Change

November 26, 2008

I have a pretty unique job. I produce materials that help people get out of debt. I help them take control of their money by living by common-sense principles. Dave Ramsey calls it “God’s and grandma’s ways of handling money.” It isn’t rocket science, but it does require one key ingredient: discipline.

So, in a way, my job depends on the discipline of others. If they aren’t fired up about getting out of debt and taking control of their money, I can’t help them. No matter how much they wish they were in a better place, no matter how much they dream of a better life, nothing will change without the discipline to make a change. Dave says that saving money is about emotion and contentment. “You’ll never save money,” he says, “until it becomes very, very, VERY important.” He’s right.

If it’s true for money, it’s true for health. You see, I’ve learned to engage a tremendous amount of discipline in my personal financial life, but my health hasn’t been as lucky. I’ve fallen into old, sloppy, lazy eating and exercise habits. I spend a lot of time in front of a computer or TV screen with a diet coke in one hand and a sleeve of saltines in the other. My midsection is soft, my back is getting sore, and my energy levels have plummeted. It’s time for a change.

Starting December 3, my life will be a bit different. I’m taking the same focused intensity that changed my financial life and I’m applying it to my body. My best friends and I are embarking on a 90-day diet and fitness plan that, if all goes well, will jump start new health and fitness habits that will replace the garbage in, garbage out way of life I’ve grown so comfortable with.

This program, P90X, is going to be tough. Honestly, it will probably be harder for me than the financial overhaul was 3.5 years ago. I don’t expect it to be easy; however, I do expect results. At the end of the day, I just want to be able to chase my daughter around the house and not have to worry about getting tired, winded, and sore. I just want to play. Starting a family at age 34 means I need to be a bit more proactive about exercise and energy levels than my 24-year-old counterparts. I don’t mind getting older; I just don’t want to feel like I am.

Reality Check: Our Unexpected Trip to Labor and Delivery

November 20, 2008

Maryalice and I have a tour scheduled at Vanderbilt’s labor and delivery floor in two weeks as part of our baby/birthing class. Sadlly, we are already familiar with the area. We spent a few hours there last night.

When exiting the interstate on her way home from work Wednesday, Maryalice was struck from behind by a lady who had been tailgating her for a few miles. When Maryalice stopped at the stop sign to turn right, the lady behind her kept right on driving, plowing in to her without even hitting the brakes. Maryalice pulled off to the side of the road. The other drive couldn’t go anywhere. Her entire front end was crumpled.

Needless to say, getting the call from my seven-months-pregnant wife that she’d just been in a car accident was not the best moment of my life. Fortunately, I was only five minutes behind her, so I was there quickly. She called the police, who required the paramedics to come due to the pregnancy. Maryalice felt shaken up and a little sore at the scene, but declined to take the ambulance to the hospital.

When we called the midwife’s office, they told us to head up to Vandy for a thorough exam. Not wanting to take any chances, we complied. So, 11 weeks earlier than expected, we hopped in the car and headed for Vanderbilt’s labor and delivery area.

I was very impressed with the hospital. They were quick, professional, and amazingly kind and comforting. They got us in a room within minutes and had Maryalice plugged in to the monitors within 20 minutes of our arrival. The midwife on call came in to check everything out and they left us there for a couple of hours while they monitored the baby’s heartbeat and movements. After making sure everything was as it should be, they let us go home.

Maryalice is fine, and the baby is as active as ever. It was pretty scary, though, to suddenly realize how quickly everything can change. It could have been a totally different phone call. It could have been a totally different report at the hospital. It could have been totally different top to bottom. But it wasn’t. God is good.

As it is, Maryalice and I got a surprise dry run of our hospital experience. I now know how to get there, where to park, what to do upon arrival, and how to find the L&D ward once we get there. I also know how awesome the staff and nurses are, and how quickly the midwife reacts. These are all assuring things, but I wasn’t ready to find them out last night. Our upcoming scheduled tour notwithstanding, I’ll be happy not to have to see the place again for 10-12 weeks.

New Header Design

November 20, 2008

As I mentioned early in the days of, my friend Jeff volunteered to make me a custom header for the site. What we’ve used so far was just his rough sketch, which I thought was pretty darn good. Jeff’s continued to work on it over the past several weeks, and today sent me version 1.1, which you can now see atop all the pages. Thanks, Jeff!

Click on the handsome man below to see more of Jeff’s online sketch book.


Photo Update: New Ultrasound and 3D Pics of Abby’s Face!

November 18, 2008

Okay, the 3D ultrasound is one of the coolest things in the world. The ultrasound tech took some normal-looking scans and then exported them into the 3D modeling software. One second I’m looking at the familiar black and bluish-gray haze of the ultrasound, and the next, I’m looking at my daughter’s beautiful face and pouting lips for the first time. It literally took my breath away.

The Photo section has been updated with today’s ultrasound images, including two in 3D. Click the little angel below to see more.


Too Geeky?

November 17, 2008

I’ve been told that has become waaay more “geeky” than “dad.” That’s true. I can’t really deny that. What can I say? I get excited about coming up with ways to sync folders across multiple machines! This isn’t; it’s thegeekydad!

Nevertheless, it’s a fair assessment. The truth is, we’ve got three months left until Abby’s arrival. I’m sure that, after that, I’ll have plenty of daddy news and introspection.

Truthfully, I’ve been too busy to blog much anyway. Between freelance, outstanding baby showers, assembling 300-pound bookshelves, and getting my head ready for a baby, I haven’t had many personal pontifications to share lately.

Fear not, faithful readers. I’ll have some insights in the near future. In the meantime, enjoy some more brilliant geekery. I’m sure my mind will be filled with “sugar and spice” soon enough.

Photo Update: New Baby Bump!

November 16, 2008

We’re now in the third trimester … THE HOME STRETCH! Personally, I believe Maryalice looks amazing. I may be a bit biassed, however.

Check it out in the Photo section HERE!