Day 634 – Thankful for the 1,000 Days of Gratitude and the Foundation of My Blog, Becky

Day 634 – Thankful for the 1,000 Days of Gratitude and the Foundation of My Blog, Becky

The first 1,000 blog posts are now officially in the book, only 3,018 to go (God willing) unless I keep this going through my fifties and beyond… (which is looking pretty likely at this point).

My mind is still trying to wrap itself around the idea that I stuck to something for 1,000 straight days!  I can honestly say I’ve learned so much about myself and life from this journey, and I am much more joyful as well.  The power of gratitude is nothing short of awesome and I’m so thankful for it.

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With today’s number being a pretty big milestone (quadruple digits!) it seems only fitting to celebrate my gratitude for Becky.  Throughout all 1,000 days she’s been the foundation of my blog that has been consistently holding me up.  Without Becky’s love and support this endeavor certainly would not have endured to this point.  I’ve jokingly said that I could be thankful for something about Becky every single day, but it’s 100% true.  By the end of each day she’s given me many things that I’m thankful for.  For today’s blog I’ve narrowed it down to a few things that fit so well:  her continued support for this blog, her willingness to push me when I need it, the many memories we create together that often become the centerpiece of the post, and the joy she brings to my life.

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Writing this blog takes a lot more time each day than I would have ever expected.  Most days take anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes to think up and write.  When the spirit moves me I start blogging, usually towards the end of the day.  Becky keeps things moving in the house and lets me have quiet while I type.  She knows how important this is to keeping a smile on my face and takes on extra work while I do it.  Becky is always supporting me and helping me make the time to keep the blog going.

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There are some days when I struggle with what I am thankful for or what to write.  On those days she helps to prod me along and keep me moving.  Becky often helps to inspire what I write about by pointing things out, asking me questions, or reminding me of certain things.  When I see her face light up with an idea it’s pretty clear to me that she’s on to something and I should listen.  Behind the scenes she’s a driving and creative force behind this blog.

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One of the things I’m most grateful for is the sheer number of awesome memories that we make together that become the centerpiece of the blog.  In 1,000 days of gratitude I reflect back on what I’ve been thankful for most and without a doubt the most common post revolves around something we did together, a moment we created together, or a memory we will hold dear forever.  Becky has helped create so many wonderful moments and memories for me, I am eternally grateful for each of those.  Sometimes it is something large and grand like a crazy vacation and other times it’s something so simple like going for a morning run or listening to her jam out to an old song in the car.  Sometimes it’s even just as basic as a smile that lights up my life!  Which brings me to the most important part…

Becky helps to create my pool of inner happiness that keeps this blog going.  In so many ways she enhances my life and brings so much joy to it.  Like I said, all it takes is her big and bright Becky smile to light up my world.  Every day that we start with an early morning run I know I’ll be in a better mood because I get some time alone with her.  At the end of the day I know I’ll sleep happy knowing we’ll have a little time to chill on the couch together.  I look forward to our vacations because I know that we’ll have time together without the normal distractions of life.  All of those moments when we’re able to just be together bring a ton of joy to my life.  That happiness and joys builds up and is what is at the core of this blog.  It’s easy to be thankful when there is so much joy all around me every day.  Becky keeps the smile on my face and the happiness and love in this blog.

As you can easily see, Becky is the foundation of my blog.  Her love, strength, and support keep this going more than most anyone will ever see.  More important than the blog, I’m so thankful for the way she keeps me going every day.  Each day I spend with her is another day in which I strive to be a better person, to be the best possible version of myself.  She really brings out the best in me.

So here we are, 1,000 posts on a long journey.  Over the past almost three years there have been so many things that have happened and changed, but there have been a handful of constants that have helped this blog endure.  Constant reminders of my parents and the values they instilled in me.  The ongoing inspiration from and for my boys as they drive me to work to be the best dad I can be.  The love and support of Becky, who is also a major source of the joy and happiness from which this blog flows. Being with her raises me up and puts a smile on my face every day and constantly fills my heart with love.  Lastly, the ability of gratitude to shine a light of joy and happiness in even the darkest situation and to enrich even the happiest of moments.  1,000 days of thankfulness down, many more to go!

Thanks!!!

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Day 633 – Thankful for the Inspiration for My Blog, My Boys

Day 633 – Thankful for the Inspiration for My Blog, My Boys

When I started writing this blog 999 days ago I was focused on adding more joy to my life. The thought was that by being more thankful and sharing that gratitude in a very public way it would help hold me more accountable to writing daily. Looking back it’s easy to see that in many ways this blog started by being all about me. How many times did I just use “I” or “me” when talking about the start of this blog?

What I quickly found was that this passed and the motivation and inspiration to continue shifted to two of my favorite people on Earth… my boys.  Before I knew it this  became a way for me to share with them.  As I started opening my eyes to just how much this could bring them joy in the future the boys quickly became the ongoing inspiration for my daily blog.  Each day is an opportunity to share a wonderful memory, my pride in them, life lessons, choosing to live a joyful life, and the beauty of gratitude.

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There have been countless ties when I’ve either stumbled across an old post and started laughing at the memory that it reminds me of.  With the boys in mind it inspires me to blog about those moments that will put a smile on their face when they happen across an old post.  Sure, we each have so many memories, but it’s nice knowing that they’ll have a tool to help jump start some of those memories.

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There have been many blogs when I’ve posted about how proud I am of the boys.  They often directly inspire the content of the post for the day in that manner.  Sometimes it’s an award or an accomplishment, other times it’s in a failure in which they learned a valuable lesson, and others are when they stay true to their values.  In each of those moments I want them to not only hear how proud I am of them, but I want them to have something to look back on.  So often in life we run into challenging situations that shake up our self confidence, the boys inspire me to help leave nuggets for them to find to help them through tough times.  My hope is that they are able to read an old blog that helps to kick start their confidence and remind them of past experiences and lessons that can help them through anything.

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Speaking of life lessons, they inspire me to share the life lessons I continue to learn.  Sometimes I wonder if I’m the only one going through something specific and that can feel lonely.  The boys inspire me to help them see that they are not alone.  They also inspire me to share some of the really tough things, my faults, the big mistakes, the things that I’m embarrassed of.  It is because of my boys that I share those humbling lessons as I want them again to see that they are not alone.  I hope they find the strength they need to not only help themselves deal with their own faults and mistakes, but to also help their families in the same way.  There are also so many life lessons that I’ve learned from my parents and loved ones, I often wish I had a book with all of them to refer back to that was complete with the stories and emotions they felt.  Memory is a wonderful thing, but memories coupled with resources are even better.  Whenever you read a blog post that you can guess was difficult for me to write about you can know without question it was inspired by my boys and my love for them.

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Every moment of every day we all have a choice to make, “will I be happy or something else?”  It is up to us to make that decision, knowingly or not, all the time.  This blog has been inspired so many times by my boys as they remind of this lesson.  Often they are totally immersed in the moment and find joy and inspires me to do the same.  Occasionally I find myself in a shitty mood and realize that my boys are watching me.  In those moments they inspire me to be the best possible version of me in order to be a better role model for them.  They also inspire me to write about the times that I have to choose happiness.  I want them to know that happiness doesn’t just happen.  Sometimes life throws you a curveball, punches you in the nose, or slaps you upside the head.  When that happens it’s easy to go into auto pilot and be angry, BUT we all have a choice to make in that moment.  My boys inspire me to choose to find a way to be happy because I want them to see that they can make the same choice in those difficult times.  This blog helps me show the that it takes hard work and discipline to find the positive in any situation.  It’s an awesome example of the boys inspiring me to be better and to write to help them be better as well.

Lastly, as I explained yesterday, my parents helped me see the beauty of gratitude and taking time to be thankful.  Knowing that my boys are always watching, listening and observing inspires me to share my gratitude so they can develop the same value.  When they do things like write their own “gratitude list” it warms my heart to see that they are getting it.  Since I’ve started blogging I’ve seen them become more thankful and it inspires me to keep driving the point home even more.  Of all the values I hold dear in my life gratitude is pretty much the foundation from which everything else grows.  This blog is inspired by my desire to share this value with my boys so completely so that they may find joy in every possible moment of their lives.

There are some days when I think about quitting this task.  It takes a lot of time, it’s really putting myself out there, and can be tough sometimes.  In those moments I look at Dominic and Gavin.  They smile at me and I’m immediately reminded of why I am writing this blog day after day.  They are the inspiration and motivation for this blog and I am so thankful to have them in my life.

My boys inspire me to blog, to be a better dad, and to be a better man…  and that’s something that I am eternally thankful for.

Thanks!!!

Day 632 – Thankful for Closing in on 1,000 Posts in 1,000 Straight Days and the Engineers of My Blog, My Parents

Today is the 998th straight day I’ve blogged which means I’m only a few days away from a pretty significant milestone…  four digits!  How crazy is that???  Every single day I’ve spent time writing about something I’ve been thankful for that day, and I’ve done my best to not repeat too many things.  While some have certainly blended pretty close to each other they’ve always been at least a little different or looked at the same thing through a slightly different lens.

As I close in on my 1,000th post I’ve found myself being more and more thankful for taking the time to blog.  It’s given me the reason to stop and give thanks for what I have each day and has brought so much more joy into my life than I’d ever imagined.  Someone in a TED Talk put it in a very wonderful way, “happiness wanting what you have, not having what you want.”  In taking time to write it’s helped me stay focused on the right side of the equation.

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In taking the time to appreciate this process I would be remiss to not take time to be thankful for the original engineers of this blog, my parents.  Without their never ending love and positive energy this blog would never have happened.  They are the ones who showed me by example how to live a joyful life, how to share happiness, how to always stay positive, and to grit out any challenges life throws my way with a smile.

Don’t get me wrong, they weren’t perfect either, but they were the most incredible role models I could ever hope to have had growing up.  Every step of the way I knew they loved me unconditionally, believed in my ability to accomplish anything, and were always willing to do whatever was needed to help me grow.  In some cases it was support, others cases it was a kick in the ass, and other times it was friendship and humor at the right time.

I’ve been blessed to have parents who taught me at a very early age to be thankful for everything in life, especially each wonderful moment we are granted.  When times were good they were thankful, when times were bad they were thankful.  They would look to the positive and try to find the upside in every situation, regardless of how dire.  They helped me understand that by being thankful for adversity and fighting through it that I could accomplish anything I could dream.

If I think of my blog as a building that’s been built one brick at a time, day by day, my parents are the engineers and architects of it.  They’ve helped me understand the importance of gratitude and being thankful while both coaching it and living it.  They were the ones who taught me how to pause for a moment and just take in the moment and appreciate it.

Mom and Dad, thanks for being the original designers of this blog.  Without either of you this wouldn’t have grown and I would’t have the joy in my life today that I have.  Love you!!!

Thanks!!!

 

Day 631 – Thankful for a View that Reminded Me of an Excellent Trip with the Guys

Day 631 – Thankful for a View that Reminded Me of an Excellent Trip with the Guys

Driving back to the office after lunch I saw a sight that made me smile big.  The mist was causing a fog to roll out of the bluffs.  Amongst the dense green leaves of the tress there was an opening that exposed the bright orange of the sandstone of a bluff.  Between the contrasts of the dark green of the trees and white of the fog the bright orange was quite stunning.  In less than a second my brain connected the view to a similar view from a vacation four years ago.  My smile broadened as my mind flashed through so many awesome memories from that adventure.

In 2014 Jeremy, Brian, Steve, and I headed out to Vegas for a long weekend of fun.  While I’ll of course follow the rule about “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas,” I can divulge details of our day trip to hike in Zion National Park.

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The weather was a little wild, it was in December and we were in the desert, yet the weather was cooler for us than it was for our families back home in Wisconsin and Minnesota.  At one point were were driving through a snow flurry which was just wild!  We drove around to see some of the sights and then spent some time hiking Angel’s Landing and a handful of other hikes in the park.  As the snow stopped the mist and fog rolled in and added a beautifully haunting quality to the landscape.  Similar to today there was an ongoing contrast between the white fog (& snow), the green of the trees and shrubbery, and the orange of the rock.  It was really quite breath taking!

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Today I’m thankful for that moment I took to be aware of my surroundings to notice the incredible view.  That moment of taking it all in reminded me of the beauty of the park and then led to spontaneous laughing every so often at work as I would remember some of the fun incidents we had on that trip.  My afternoon has been full of so much joy with the memories of that trip playing in the background of my mind… and it has me thinking that it’s about time for us to look at booking our next excursion.

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Thanks!!!

Day 630 – Thankful for Inspiration From an Old Facebook Post and a Yoga Sticker

Day 630 – Thankful for Inspiration From an Old Facebook Post and a Yoga Sticker

Earlier today my usual alert buzzed my phone letting me know that I had memories on Facebook from previous years.  When I pulled it up there were my blog posts of course, but there was also this little gem from half a dozen years ago…

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I can’t remember the exact inspiration for the quote, but I’m pretty sure it had to do with distance running.  When I read it today I smiled and saw it as myself throwing a little challenge to my future self.  We’d just spent a portion of time talking about how to try something big to change the course of our business in a better direction.  Little did I know I would also be taking this to heart at yoga tonight.

Once at yoga I smiled when I looked down at the sticker on the floor right in front of me. It was this:

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From https://mymatmymantra.com/ Check it out at https://mymatmymantra.com/products/gold-collection-space-for-magic

It took only a half a second for me to match up the quote from earlier to this great sticker.  I smiled to myself and knew I was in for an awesome yoga session.

As our instructor walked us through our poses I tried and stretched in ways I hadn’t done before.  Nothing super crazy, but rather the opportunity to push my limits, try to see just how far I could push something, and try it even if it meant that I would stumble… which I did, several times.

For me yoga is a perfect lab for Growth Mindset.  There is nothing that is completely wrong or anything that is perfect, but there is the constant pursuit of perfection.  To do something completely new I am forced to commit to it and fail, learn from it, pick myself back up, do a little better, fail again, learn again, pick myself back up, and try it again.  Over and over and over again.  There are no critics, there is no self consciousness, only growth mindset.

In the lesson today it was a wonderful way for me to remember to use both of these concepts in my daily life, at work and at home.  Both places are “Space for Magic” and in both I’ll never accomplish something I’ve never done if I don’t risk going further than before.  It is certainly something that will be ringing over and over in the back of my head for the next few days at least.

Thanks!!!

Day 629 – Thankful for Playing Cards with Friends & Reminders of Childhood Summers

Tonight I had the opportunity to chill with some business partners and friends.  We’d spent the majority of the later afternoon and early evening talking shop and then chilled by playing cards and kicking back and shooting the bull.  As I kick back and reflect on the night there are moments and comments that still have me smiling, and that’s what got me thinking.

So many of my favorite memories with friends weren’t anything too crazy, they were nights sitting around a table playing cards or some other game together.  Sure, the game is what we start the focus on, but then it quickly shifts to telling stories, shooting the bull, joking around, and having a great time with friends.  By the time the night’s over it rarely has anything to do with the game anymore, it’s all been about the time with each other.  It was also a reminder to me that I need to bust out the cards more often as opposed to staring at a screen to close up a night.

After playing cards I went out to the car to grab a couple of things and saw about a dozen lightning bugs floating in the air flashing on and off to each other.  While that got the memories going it was also the combination of the moist air on a summer night that immediately had me thinking about the times as a kid when Nick and I would catch them while at Grandma and Grandpa’s house during the summer.  All we needed was a screen tent, a Brewer game on the radio, and butter pecan ice cream and it would have been perfect.  It was a moment that lasted only a few seconds, but it brought back a huge wave of wonderful memories.

Thanks!!!

Day 628 – Thankful for a Father’s Day Full of Time with My Sons

My Father’s Day started off with a pretty awesome gift from the boys (& Becky) – a rock tumbler!  Can’t wait to use it 🙂  While that was a pretty sweet gift the best gift by far was the amount of time I had with each of the boys throughout the day.

At church there was the normal prayer for dad’s and it left a little mist in my eyes.  Gavin  saw me (and possibly had a little inspiration from Becky) and came over and gave me a big hug.  After a while he whispered to me, “Dad, I’m sorry you don’t have someone to say ‘Happy Father’s Day’ to this year,” and then he gave me another hug.  Talk about giving me the feels!

After lunch we headed out on the pontoon to chill.  Usually I use it as some time kick back and soak in some sun while reading, but this time I kept focused on the boys.  We played catch with various balls and equipment and then followed it up with some time goofing around on the floats.  Almost the entire time we were joking, laughing, and giggling.

Becky had to run Gavin to the store for dress clothes so Dominic and I took advantage of the quiet moment and fired up a game of Commander together and had a blast!  Once Gavin and Becky were home the boys and I fired up “Destroyer” a card game designed by Gavin.  Again we had so much fun just playing a game and spending time together.

All in all I couldn’t have scripted a better Father’s Day.  It was filled with the one thing that I wanted more than anything the year, time with my boys.

Thanks!!!