I love this family photo from 2006. My wife was still alive. James was just 6 years old. We still have a great family, and we invest in keeping it strong.

I love this family photo from 2006. My wife was still alive. James was just 6 years old. We still have a great family, and we invest in keeping it strong.

I could make a lot more money if I would just keep my shop open 7 days a week.

I could also offer my terrarium classes every evening and twice on Sundays.

I could hire a few employees and just manage them as they plant all the terrariums.  That way I would be free to stay in the back room doing the bookkeeping, paying the bills and growing my little company into a chain of terrarium shops.

I could make millions.

But if I did that, I would eventually become an employee in my own business. Nothing wrong with that, but in my case I could never quit and I could never even fire myself.  I would be that guy who bought himself a job and I would miss out on all the real benefits that should come from owning my own business.

It's hard to say "No." to the allure of making more money.

But I started this little shop with three goals in mind. First, I wanted it to be a place where my son James, now age 16, could learn some business and life skills during his highschool years. Second, I wanted it to be a laboratory experiment in owning and operating a semi-retirement business.  Millions of people in my generation are not able to retire. That can't afford to quit working. My theory is that a tiny business doing something you love for a niche market is a better way to go than trying to fund a job in an age-discriminating job market. Shop keeping is the kind of job that allows old farts like me to putz around making a livelihood doing something I enjoy and still have time for what maters most, my family.

I am blessed to have a great family, and I don't want to miss out on watching my kids go crazy while my my grand kids grow up. I want to keep flexible hours doing the kind of work I can include my kids and grand kids in. I want to be able to say say yes when I am asked watch a toddler for the evening.  I also want to do more of the creative, hands-on, meaningful work that I enjoy and let others take care of the accounting. I will invest my time in making things that need to be accounted for.

My third goal in starting this little business is to have a place where I can live out my faith in Jesus Christ in an open and honest way. Christianity is taking a beating in our culture and for understandable reasons. Many in our country who call themselves Christians are in effect "taking the Lord's name in vain," not by swearing and profanity, but by taking His name without living lives that display His goodness and wisdom and love. Our minds have become too absorbed in the temporal pleasures of this world and the god we worship has become a garish caricature of the true and living God who Created everything. Worse yet, we have used our religion to try to change or control or even reject others rather than to love and serve them as Christ commands us to do. 

Ours is a free country (for the time being) and therefore we are still free to do all kinds of things that are foolish and evil. But not forever, and perhaps not even for long. God will will judge His people before He judges those who refuse to be His people. But both will ultimately know the truth as opposed to the lies and self-deception of this world system.

You see, I believe that there is much more to life than just making money, or even more than having a great family. I believe that we human beings have been created for a purpose by our Creator. We have been created to be the conscious, conscientious caretaker of the natural world, using our highly developed brains to figure out how to cultivate the garden of this planet rather than merely pillage its resources for a quick buck.

Something is seriously wrong with the human race. We don't fit into the picture of what God has created. It's as though we are an invasive species that does not play well with others, or even with our fellow man. I believe that this conflicting status is what the Bible calls "sin" and it pushes us into enmity with all that is good.  Our very nature is morally and socially fallen into corruption like a computer software that has been infected with a malware computer virus. Nothing adds up. Nothing works as it was intended. Marriages break up. Relationships blow up. Immorality, disease, poverty and war are just the symptoms of a much deeper kind of disaster; a state of spiritual lostness and deadness.

The good news is that our Creator has not rejected and abandoned us. I also want to maintain the kind of pace and routine that makes time for neighbors and to visit with my customers and make new friends.

So, James, my 16 year old, and I have decided to set the kind of hours that make the quality of our lives a higher priority than the size of our savings account. We intend to design Roosevelt's Terrariums