Day 937 – Thankful for Gavin’s Art Project, Dominic’s First Contacts, a Reminder of How Small the World Can Be, and Remembering There’s Always a Choice

Whew, another post that starts out with a crazy long title!  In thinking about the day I really couldn’t help but mention each of those things.  When all of them are put together it was a great reminder for me of what I’m most thankful for today.
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There was a trip to the Campbell Library tonight to check out some of Gavin’s art on display.  In less than 3 seconds I immediately recognized Gavin’s sculpture…. And I wasn’t even halfway across the library.  Who else would make a tall MineCraft Steve complete with diamond sword?  I laughed out loud when that was right where he led us.  He also had a picture that was right there as well.  Thank goodness Dominic saw it and pointed it out as Gavin had no idea that was up too!
Dominic got his first pair of contacts today and I am so excited for him!  I still remember my first time putting contacts in and seeing how liberating it was to live a life without glasses on.  No offense to anyone who wears glasses, I really appreciate the feeling of not wearing them though.  It’s throwing me off tonight and I’ve almost asked him where his glasses were on several occasions already.  I’m so thankful for Dominic getting contacts, I’m sure he’s going to really like them when he runs the next time!
When a teammate introduced me to the owner of one of our client businesses today there was a moment that still has me smiling.  In the conversation she mentioned that she grew up “in a small town up north you’ve probably never heard of… Ogema.”  I laughed and shared that it was Becky’s hometown.  Later in the visit I mentioned that I grew up in Phillips.  This time she laughed and said that was where her husband was from!  How crazy is that???  Funny how small the world can be sometimes, isn’t it?  I’m so thankful for reminders of how small the world can be like this, there’s something comforting in knowing we’re all tied so closely together.
Last, there’s something that I’ve been thinking about a lot lately.  I’m thankful for remembering that there’s always a choice.  Sometimes I can get frustrated or bummed out about certain things.  Once in a great while I let them take control of my emotions and I start thinking like a victim.  It’s really frustrating because I it usually takes me a few moments to catch myself doing it.  When my “oh woe is me” mindset is detected I pause and say a phrase and ask a question in my head.  The phrase is “I am choosing this but I can choose something else, there’s always a choice.”  That phrase grounds me and forces me to take action.  Either suck it up and remember that I’m taking this burden on by choice or choose to stop and go in a different direction.  Whichever I choose there is a sense of calm that comes over me as I remember that I am choosing, I am not letting it happen to me.  I am thankful for remembering that there is always a choice.  (btw – the question I ask is  ‘What can I learn from this?’)
What a day it’s been!  Ups, downs, sideways, and even some diagonal.  Some many moments, events, people, and thoughts to be thankful for today.

Thanks!!!

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Day 936 – Thankful for Experiments in Grit and the Ability of Music to Teleport Me – “Something Just Like This”

This morning was the 12 mile run in preparation for our half marathon.  Due to an unexpected twist I had the unique opportunity to have a little experiment in grit.

Something I’ve messed around with a bit is following the Maffetone running method in which you focus on keeping your heart rate at a certain level, 180 minus your age.  The concept is based on keeping your body in a fat burning zone as opposed to burning other fuel.  Long story short, the more you work at it the faster you go and the longer distances you can go because our bodies have way more fat than other fuel.

It’s pretty difficult to slow down from your normal pace to one that fits the base heart rate of the “Maff Method.”  In past runs I’ve struggled to slow down enough to stay there for an extended period of time (trust me, I’m not at all fast – it’s just that much slower to hit the heart rate goal).  I can usually hold it for 3-4 miles and then I get bored and just go.  Today I decided to see if I could keep my heart rate within 3 beats per minute of my 138 goal.  It was pretty difficult, but I was able to make it for the most part (hills got me just above 141 a couple of times).  All totaled my average was almost exactly 138 for all 12 miles.  There was something about keeping myself disciplined to that rate that was both tedious and frustrating, but also gratifying and rewarding.

While I am thankful for the opportunity to experiment today I was also reminded of how thankful I am to run with Becky almost all the time.  I really missed having her on the run with me.  A side benefit of this heart rate experiment was keeping my mind off of her not running alongside of me. 😥

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Speaking of Becky, I was once again thankful for the ability of music to teleport me to awesome places.  While running the song “Something Just Like This” came on and I was no longer running on French Island.  I was instantly in the Cooper Mini convertible we rented in Grand Cayman.  The top was down, the windows were open, and we were just enjoying a ride along the ocean and tropical landscape.  There was a suddenly feeling of serenity and peace, it was amazing!!!

To think that that memory and so many others are all locked up in my brain and all I need is the perfect song to unlock them and bring them to the forefront of my brain.  Moments like that are something I am thankful for.  Yet another wonder of the power of music.

Thanks!!!

Day 935 – Thankful for an Incredibly Full Weekend In About 24 Hours

Holy cow has it been an awesome weekend already! Here I am, just over 24 hours into it and it’s already been a very full weekend… and I have another day!!!

Last night we spent time at my Mom & StepBrad’s house. It was a perfectly chill evening, nothing crazy, just hanging out and spending time with each other. This morning after my shower we were able to do more of the same over a couple of cups of coffee before we headed out to the next event.

While driving Becky and I had time to talk and relax. With as busy as our family’s schedule has been lately it felt wonderful to just chill while driving and talk about everything from work to savings to vacations.

The majority of the day today was spent at Action City in Eau Claire with Becky’s side of the family. It was an opportunity for all of us to spend time together while letting the cousins make some fun memories together. The even also provided the opportunity to bounce around in a trampoline park, play dodgeball on the trampolines and have fun in the ninja warrior obstacle course.

While doing that I had time with both of the boys individually for boys and pieces. Dominic taught me how to do a front flip… “Dad, it’s 80% in your head, 20% physical. Just go for it and trust yourself. You’ll do great, you can do this.” Talk about words to live by! Gavin and I just bounced all over the place and have fun.

We headed outside after a while and Tanner and I did the huge zip line and joked around the whole time. We had time just talking with family and relaxing over pizza as the kids played. Becky and I even had time to sneak out for a quick game of mini golf with just the two of us!

To wrap it up we changed and hit the water park as well. At that point I was already starting to feel pretty spent so most of the time was spent on the lazy river and in the hot tub.

On the drive home we enjoyed the beautiful scenery and chillaxed while talking. We got my car from WInona and I had some more chill time listening to music while Gavin read.

Once home we quickly unpacked, threw in a movie, and got some work done while sitting on the couch. Now my blog and then off to bed before jumping into another full day tomorrow.

It’s been pretty wild, so much in such a short period of time. I am so thankful to have been able to stuff pretty much a full weekend into just one day.

Thanks!!!

Day 934 – Thankful for the Beginnings of Something Awesome

Life is pretty amazing when I can start to see the pieces come together. After lots of work and focus I can see the beginnings of something pretty awesome.

Today I was reminded of how motivating and moving it is to see progress. It’s been a day with so many little moments that can be woven together into one of the most rewarding work days I’ve had in a long time. Moments of growth. Moments of team building. Moments of sharing monumental life milestones. Moments of passion for our shared vision. Moments in which our vision has never seemed quite so clear and attainable. So many wonderful moments in one day, so many examples of the beginnings of something truly awesome.

Days like today leave me so pumped, recharged, motivated and inspired. I’m so thankful for my teammates, they push me to be the best possible version of me as we bust our butts towards one common goal. We’ve got something truly awesome started and I’m so excited for the journey ahead!

Thanks!!!

Day 933 – Thankful for Hanging with Dominic and Making the Best of a Mistake

Day 933 – Thankful for Hanging with Dominic and Making the Best of a Mistake

Due to wet fields Gavin’s soccer practice was moved indoors and changed to a later time. Becky was headed to church so I figured it’d be a great time for Dominic and I to do something Gavin and I usually do when Dominic has church on Wednesday’s… head out for coffee while we wait. Dominic likes the idea so off the three of us went across town on our 20 minute drive.

As we pulled in to the location Gavin said “uh oh…”. That was followed by, “I forgot it was an indoor practice.” Without looking back I already knew the issue. Gavin quickly affirmed my fear, he wore his cleats and didn’t have tennis shoes for playing inside. I took several deep breaths, saw red, and maybe blacked out for a moment 😉. Knowing he couldn’t practice with them I told him we’d have to head home. Dominic then stepped up and saved the day and offered up his shoes for Gavin to use. Even though they’re about four sizes too big Gavin strapped them on and went to practice.

With no shoes we quickly realized it’d be tough to find a coffee shop to hang out at. Dominic and I decided to drive around and ended up heading up Grandad Bluff. While driving we shot the bull, talked movies, and enjoyed some great music. On the bluff we took in the scenic views of the beautiful sunset. The way back to pick up Gavin was more of the same and may have included a quick Dairy Queen run.

Once Gavin was in the car we went right back to playing loud music, dancing, singing, and just having a blast. It was awesome!!! I don’t think I’ll ever forget the three of us grooving to Cake by Flo Rida.

Earlier this evening I was in a bit of a funk. I feel like I’ve been going nonstop and was feeling wore out. After hanging out with Dominic my attitude was right back where it was supposed to be.

Thanks for making my night awesome bud, I had a blast with you! Love you dude!!!

Thanks!!!

Day 932 – Thankful for a Surprising Dose of Vacation, Relaxation, and Gritty Awesomeness

When I checked into my hotel this evening the TV was turned on to the Marriott’s BonVoy station.  Usually I quickly turn off the TV or at the very least change the channel for background noise.  As I walked toward the TV I heard a phrase with beautiful background music floating in the background.  In glancing up I caught a view of an incredible underwater cave in the middle of a jungle.  Within seconds I was kind of hooked.  Instead of turning the TV off I turned it up as I unpacked my things.

After a brief commercial that was more of a reminder to enjoy experiences a short video started about an Olympic distance runner traveling to Greece to train and learn more about her roots.  The video chronicled her hard work, her travels into a beautiful country that’s on my bucket list, the importance of dreams and identity, and shared her views on the benefits of travel.  The views of the Greek landscapes were mind blowingly beautiful.  It was amazing!  Within moments I was more motivated for my morning run and focusing on working harder to reach my dreams.  You can check it out athttps://traveler.marriott.com/storybooked/alexi-pappas/

What an incredible surprise dose of vacation, relaxation, and gritty awesomeness from such an unlikely source.  I’m continually amazed at the messages and reminders the world has for all of us when we take a moment to pause and listen.  In a week that’s been a complete blur of activity I’m so thankful I paused for a moment before shutting off the TV this evening.

Thanks!!!

Day 931 – Thankful for Walking Barefoot on the Soccer Fields and Leftovers

Gavin’s first soccer practice of the spring season was tonight.  Amongst my favorite moments of the night was kicking off my sandals and proceeding to walk barefoot in the grass.  Yup, I’m kind of strange that way, but walking barefoot feels fantastic, especially on a soccer field.  It’s kind of my way of getting into the spring season.  Look out soccer fields everywhere, there’s about to be a lot of bare feet when I’m around!

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And no, this picture wasn’t from the soccer fields.  It was just the first barefoot picture I found.

Dominic had his first track meet tonight also so Becky and I divided and conquered.  As the parent rep for Gavin’s soccer team I had to be there while Becky headed out to Westby for Dominic’s track event.  With all the running around and heading in different directions I was thankful for one of my favorite meals on a night like this…

Leftovers!!!

For reals, one of my least favorite meals as a kid is now one of my personal favs.  It involves great food, very little cooking, and very little clean up.  When else is it acceptable to mix up what ever crazy combos of past meals into one tasty dish?  As our Spring gets more and more busy I’ll be pretty pumped for this dinner time staple.

Thanks!!!