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Christmas update! I got:

  • Super comfy pajama pants so I can quit wearing my wife’s super comfy pants.
  • A Darth Vader gumball machine.
  • An R2D2 pez dispenser.
  • A fancy-shmancy little light that I use while delivering pizzas (Thanks, Ruth.)
  • Four or five pounds. For my belly.
  • Gift cards.
  • Amuri Z-Trek Lightweight Sports Sandals for running, complete with toe socks for cold-weather running. (These were actually clothing budget, but it was close enough to Christmas to count.)
  • And an intense feeling of being stuck financially.

Getting out of tons of crushing debt is hard. It’s harder while married, raising three kids+pets and trying to maintain cars. It is very easy to feel like we are spinning our money wheels.

Where are your money wheels taking you? I can tell you where I want our money wheels are taking us. Out of debt. Then into a $15,000 to $18,000 emergency fund, then into 15% invested pre-tax/after-tax. How exciting is that thought?

What then? Kids’ college and saving up for the awesome Chicken House. Then we pay off the CH, and live and give like no one else.

Only one problem. In order to start doing everything in the next five years and still cover the cost of family, I have to continue to increase my income.

There are only so many hot pizzas. Only so many working hours. Only so many people willing to buy what I do for a living. And lately, it feels like it’s not enough.

It feels like being stuck.

I had a great talk with Amazewife. It helped me see that I can be stuck as a husband, and can fix it.

I love that woman and I love supporting her. Consider for a moment her job. It’s amazing.

Friday night at the restaurant, I asked my Mexican manager how her New Year’s Eve was. She said it was good. She had closed the restaurant just in time to make it home for the toast at 12 AM. I told her how my wife worked until 3 AM.

“Si uno no trabaja, uno no vive,  ¿no?” she said. (“If you don’t work, you don’t live.”

“Si, y si ella no trabaja, ¡la gente se mata!” I said. (“Yep, and if she doesn’t work, people kill themselves!”)

“Oh wow, what does she do?” she said.

She’s pretty much a superhero. I envision it like this:

Imagine a monster comes out of your closet, but it’s not a monster. It’s depression. Or schizophrenia. Or some other psychosis. And it’s not in your closet. It’s in your mind. And you’re ashamed of it. You’ve been fighting it by yourself, day after day, night after night. Sometimes for years. You’ve been medicating it, feeding it, or trying to drink it away, but it only gets worse. Then you order Godfather’s pizza one night – because things are bad, and pizza seems like a good idea – and there’s a phone number on the box. The monster’s in the room, and so are the means to end your life. So it’s just you, your demon, death and a phone number. You call the phone number, and suddenly there’s help.

Meredith is a Crisis Counselor for Boys Town National Hotline.


They handle all kinds of personal and mental crises over the phone, not the least of which is suicide. They lose a very sad few – sometimes during the calls – but the vast majority make it through to fight on.

As we talked about that job and how I can support her, and how she supports me and how we support each other, A funny thing happened. We cleared the air. I didn’t feel as stuck. I felt more secure that we are going to win. We’re making the decisions necessary to win, so we’ll win. With the power of 1,000 suns.

We’re not stuck, we just need to experience what it’s like to feel that way. Maybe you do, too.

I want to lean on Dave Ramsey here and his masterful first hour segment of his radio show for today, 1/4. (Full content here.) To feel unstuck, you need to set a goal. Pick one or several of these areas to do so:

  1. Physical Goals (body)
  2. Intellectual Goals
  3. Career Goals
  4. Social Goals
  5. Financial Goals
  6. Family Goals
  7. Spiritual Goals

Then, when you know where to start, make sure your goals have all five of the following. Not one, or two, or just the awesome last three, but ALL FIVE:

  1. Specificity
  2. Measurability
  3. An element of personal ownership
  4. A time limit
  5. Existence in writing

Dave called step 5, writing it down, the “magic.” If you don’t write it down, you’re not going to do it. But for real. Writing it down takes on a magic quality. Math starts to work as of step 2, but it goes into light speed at step 5.

Let’s go found out how intense it is to get unstuck at the speed of light.



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