It’s that time of the year when you can’t put off thinking about your budget choices any longer.  The W-2 forms have arrived.  We all look at Box 1 and then, if you are like me, immediately wonder where it all went.  I just checked my wallet to find only $42 dollars inside.  Well, if you want to count all the nickels and dimes (which I did, of course)…I have $42.65 to be exact.  Some of the other boxes on that W-2 tell me where a huge portion of Box 1 went.  But, where did the rest go?  The other day our file folders were scattered on the floor as I began preparations for filing our taxes.  The folders are all labeled…there’s tithing & charity, mortgage, college education savings, retirement planning… I don’t fret over the choices documented in each of those folders…it’s the very fat file folder labeled “Franch” stuffed with receipts that causes panic every year.  This year was no different.  I interrupted my husband working from home and started questioning our choices in spending so much to live the franch life.  My husband grabbed my hand and, without saying a word, led me out to the barn, past the garden, and into the pastures.  It was a beautiful, sunny afternoon and the air was fresh and crisp.  We opened the gate to the sheep pen and our trusting flock followed us into a greener pasture.  We called over our border collie puppy and watched in wonder at her sheep herding instincts.  We walked toward the horse under the live oak trees dotting our pasture and past the tree our kids like to climb.  I circled my arms around our horse’s neck and breathed in the smell of horse that I love so much.  In the distance, I noticed the cows sprawled out in the sun soaking in the rays on this rare spring-like day in winter.  I bent down to pet our barn cat who often follows us when we take a walk out into the pasture.  It was in that pasture where my husband and I chatted for a bit about all the memories we’ve made as a family on the franch over the past year.  I felt content.  I think of the successful “Priceless” ad campaign of MasterCard.  Everything I see around me on our franch has a monetary value.  But, learning all these life lessons on the franch side-by-side with my family every day…that’s priceless.  I know where it all goes and it’s worth it.


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