featured image


short line

It is just a few days into the new year when the holidays are over and the bitter cold becomes unbearable without the tinsel, lights, and presents under the tree to warm up one’s spirits.

I’ve made my home in the Midwest. It’s where my wife and I grew up and it’s what we know. I often dream about moving to Arizona but fear I’d tire of the reds, oranges, and browns everywhere. I worry I might miss the green. Although, I’m pretty sure I would not miss the white. And when I say white… I mean snow.

There is snow on the ground and I hate the snow.

January in Illinois means freezing temperatures. Ask me in six months what it means and I’ll tell you scorching heat. The seasons change around here.

Of course, these parts have more seasons than just Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall. You have Gotcha Spring,” Sometimes in snows in April,” Sneezing-time,” and a few others. Right now, it’s Post-Holidays Winter.” No one’s favorite.

Have I mentioned that I hate the snow?

My wife loves snow. She can’t wait for it to snow again. A long, cold winter makes her incredibly happy. A wet blanket of white covering everything is exactly what she wants.

Not me.

Honestly, I would probably love the snow, too, if I didn’t have to drive in it and endure other drivers as well. I’d love a good snowfall if it fell everywhere but the roads.

I get it; snow is pretty, and you can make snow forts and have snowball fights. It can be peaceful sipping coffee in the morning light as a slow snowfall turns everything pure white. My wife drives an SUV and she powers through any snow and ice on the roads. I do not drive an SUV and my vehicle is much closer to the ground. And the snow and ice.

It’s the ice I really don’t like.

One time, I was on the interstate driving to work and I hit a patch of ice and somehow did a complete 360-degree rotation on the road. I did not crash or flip over, but it scared me to death. I was also once caught in a freak snowstorm wearing a T-shirt, flip-flops, and shorts. I should have known better. It was Gotcha Spring outside.

So, I’m super cautious in snow and really even when it rains. When there’s potential for slick roads, I hate driving. I doubt that’s some big revelation for anyone. It probably bothers other drivers, but I’ve never ended up in a ditch because I was driving too fast for the conditions.

However, there’s snow on the ground and my wife is happy. So, I’m happy.

long line

featured image

And a Happy New Year

short line

This year, my wife and I decided to spend New Year’s Eve quietly. This is not an unusual experience. It’s been quite some time since we went out for New Year’s Eve to celebrate with either friends or family. Just being with my wife at home with whatever special was on television was exactly all we needed. We don’t often get to stay up late talking about the past year or the upcoming one. It was nice to reflect on the previous months and look forward to the next.

2023 was not a hellish year. At least in comparison to just a few years prior. Being able to share a quiet night on the precipice of a new year was a fitting end to 2023, and it was just… nice.

Our look back was filled with smiles and laughter and a bit of sadness. There were marriages, funerals, vacations, and other life events. We have an amazing family and a host of friends who we need to see more often. I have an amazing partner that I’m overwhelmingly grateful I get to share my life with, which makes me genuinely happy.

Like many people, I’m looking forward to what 2024 has in store for me and my family. Yet, I realize that life is unpredictable, and I can’t always control what happens. It’s exciting to embrace new beginnings, but there’s also a sense of uncertainty that comes with it. I remain optimistic and hopeful for good things, but ultimately, I’ll have to take life as it comes and see where it takes me and mine. What I have done is take control of how I express myself to the world. Starting in October 2023, this website has been where I will put my thoughts out into the world, for good or ill.

I’ve always had a love for writing. I grew up in a house full of books, and I was reading as early as possible and writing ridiculously derivative fiction almost as soon as I could write. The fact that I became a writer for a living seems almost a given.

A couple of years ago, I tried to write an original essay every week, and I did a decent job of it. It was a writing experiment that mostly worked, but I didn’t have a direction or a plan for the future.

On this site, you will find articles on a variety of topics. I write about everything from my own life and relationships to politics, pop culture, and maybe even the occasional short story. I’ll go deeply personal and broadly wide. Like Walt Whitman said, I contain multitudes.”

The essays that I’ve written in the past that have resonated the most with readers are done in a personal narrative style and relate to my own experiences. I’ll write just about anything, but I want to have a reason to write each essay.

As another new year dawns upon us, I plan to spend January 1 watching movies, maybe taking a nap, and enjoying the company of my wife. This day calls for some much-needed rest, and I fully intend to utilize it to recharge my batteries for the year ahead.

I hope you have a Happy New Year, and may 2024 bring you joy and prosperity.

long line

featured image

Start Today

short line

Don’t wait until January 1st, or next Monday, or any other random date when you think everything will be perfectly aligned to start. Do something before today ends.

Do you want to get fit and still cannot go to the gym for some reason? Do 100 burpees today, or go for a run.

Do you want to read more? Try to read ten pages before going to bed.

Do you want to meditate or adopt any other habit? Start small; a minute or two of that activity, and you can increase that time tomorrow.

When January 1st or that Monday comes, you’ll already be on the journey, not on the sidelines. And more importantly, you would have overcome the procrastination, which was the real challenge, not the day you’re in, whether is December 29th or January 1st.

See you next year.

long line

featured image

Christmas Morning

short line

I wake to a silent house. My coffee warms cold hands as I sit gazing at the pale winter light filtering in through frosted windows. It’s Christmas morning. I hope you’re having a great day so far (or had a great day if you’re reading this after the fact).

There aren’t wide-eyed children exploding with anticipation in this house anymore, which is a touch sad. There are still stockings hung by the fireplace, a twinkling tree (actually several), and the feeling of the calm before the storm.” However, there is a wonderful feeling of family.  

There aren’t a lot of Christmas traditions in this family. We don’t open everything all at once and luxuriate in the carnage of torn wrapping, ribbons, and tape. We do go through our stockings first and see what Santa brought and then look to open presents. It’s a joyous occasion and we do what we want.  

This year, new faces have arrived on Christmas morning. Boyfriends and friends have made this a new kind of Christmas. It’s new but not unexpected. Time flows forward. Not too far into the future, I’ll be the grandpa, like my father before me.

In the kitchen, monkey bread and rolls are coming out for breakfast. It’s not really a Christmas morning tradition, but I like that it’s just for us. It feels right.  

After the presents are piled up and clothes tried on… after the kids have headed out to go to their other family Christmases… after watching a movie or two and maybe taking a nap… I will give thanks—for the warmth and light, for family together again, and for warm coffee on a silent morning.  

Be kind, be happy, and be at peace this Christmas.

long line

featured image

Give Thanks

short line

Falling leaves float gently in the November breeze. Thanksgiving is tomorrow. For some reason, the house already feels warmer homier.

Part of me resists the push and pull of another busy holiday season. I want to cling to the coziness of fall before everything gets swept up in cooking, cleaning, and planning. And yet, Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorites. Its sole purpose is togetherness, gratitude, and good food. No elaborate gift-giving is required.

Walking outside into the crisp air, I notice beauty in the mundane details around me. Dewdrops clinging to the faded grass. The bare-branched tree in the backyard, its leaves gathered in a colorful quilt beneath. A squirrel chatters as it digs up a buried acorn. Simple gifts are easy to overlook in life’s hustle.

My wife is grateful most of all for our health. For our safe home and cozy bed. For steady work and food on the table. For our family and friends. Her constant nurturing presence anchors me. Without her, my life would lack color and warmth.

The news is filled with divisiveness and hardship, but I choose to turn toward hope. To focus on the helpers, the healers. Like Fred Rogers said years ago… the neighbor who checks in on the elderly widow next door. Donors giving time and money to help. Doctors healing the sick. Teachers nurturing the future. Millions of quiet heroes we can be grateful for.   The world will always have darkness, but there is light if we look for it. Goodness persists if we nurture it and pass it on.

Soon, we’ll go around the table sharing what we’re grateful for this year. Some will be humorous, some heartfelt. But all will be gifts to appreciate for this moment—this imperfect but beautiful life. The year to come brings uncertainty, but there is turkey, laughter, friendship, and hope right now.

For all of this and more, I give thanks.

long line

featured image

The Gift of Today

short line

The new year is fast approaching. I can already see the fresh calendars and planners when I go to the store, waiting to be filled with hopes and dreams for 2024. Normally, I’d rush right out to buy one, eager to plot out goals and schedules for January. But this year feels different. This year, I want to be more mindful to stay grounded in the present instead of rushing ahead.

December is almost here, and with it comes holiday bustle, cold nights, and family gatherings. My mind is consumed with buying gifts, planning get-togethers, and keeping up with work before time off. The new year still feels far away. A distant thought.

I used to spend November stressed about preparations for January. Setting ambitious resolutions, researching new workouts, and figuring out the budget for the year ahead. All while barely stopping to enjoy the end of the current year unfolding around me.

This year, I’m trying to change and embrace the gift of today without worrying about tomorrow.

Sitting in my chair in the living room under a blanket, I close my eyes and listen to the silence of the house. I’m transported to autumns past, to memories of leaf piles and grade school basketball practices. I open my eyes and realize the dog is up on my lap, snuggling in the blanket and looking up at me with his big eyes, the small light from the table framing his face and long ears. A simple moment of joy and connection.

Outside my window, trees sway in the November wind, leaves twirling down to blanket the grass. The air is cold and clear. When I’m outside, I breathe it in deeply, feeling present. Grounded. There are still weekend mornings where I can enjoy my coffee at the kitchen table, wearing a sweatshirt and shorts before the deep cold arrives.

My mind tries to skip ahead to snowy forecasts and the holiday rush. But I gently guide my thoughts back to the here and now. The gift of today. There will be time for planning later. Now is for savoring the present.

At night, I linger outside under the stars, crisp air nipping at my cheeks. Walking the dog, I can see Venus hugging the Moon and shining brightly in the winter sky. A glimpse of life’s expansive beauty is so easy to miss.

Soon, I’ll need to think about the future, set goals, and make plans. But for now, I’m learning to treasure each fleeting present moment. To embrace the gifts of today with gratitude before they float away like autumn leaves.

The new year will come in time. For now, I’m living fully in the present.

long line