Day 538 – Thankful for a Dream Growing Bigger Than I’d Imagined When Mixed with Advice From a Mentor

There have been so many things that I’ve been grateful for that I almost didn’t know where to start.  A wonderful run under the stars in warm weather.  Great coaching and conversation this morning that helped me clarify some ideas that I’d had brewing for a while.  A well timed chapter of a book that’s left me smiling for days.  The right song at the right time.  Getting a walk in over lunch.  Having a successful den meeting.  So many moments that brought much joy today!

In many ways this picture is totally unrelated to my blog, but I can’t help but look at it and dream some big dreams…  That made it feel pretty fitting today.

What really stuck out to me is something that is more personal in nature and I’m going to keep it a little close to the vest.  Let’s just say that there was a dream I’d had for a very long time that finally came true quite a while back.  It was a wonderful dream that I was so happy to check off the list.  This dream is one that we’ve re-lived several times and every single time I feel more joy than the time before.

After a while there was a spark from advice that I’d witnessed first hand from one of my mentors.  There was a certain something that they did for a long time that was similar, but after a while they found a way to create even more joy for many others by changing their dream ever so slightly.  It was still the same, but so much more different and grand on so many levels.  They found that by thinking more fully about the “why” behind the dream they’d realized they had just scratched the surface of their dream.  Many years after that spark the resulting growth of the dream is nothing short of staggering.

While living my dream a while back there was a light that went on in the back of my head…  a connection that I hadn’t thought about.  A way to turn something pretty cool into something much bigger.  It’s a long way from reality, the dream has so much further to grow, but I’m thankful for how much it has already grown.  As Becky put it, “It’s a dream that’s taken root.”  This dream has started to bloom and I can’t wait to see where it goes.

Today I’m thankful for that dream growing bigger, and I’m also thankful for the advice I received from one of my mentors.  Seeing them live their dream in a certain way helped me to open my eyes to find a way to make my dreams even bigger…  yet again.



Day 537 – Thankful for a Real Life Episode of Chopped with the Boys

Day 537 – Thankful for a Real Life Episode of Chopped with the Boys

One of the boys’ favorite shows to watch on TV is Chopped.  It involves cooks getting a “mystery basket” of seemingly random ingredients that they need to craft into a full appetizer.  After that one of the chefs is “chopped” and eliminated from the competition.  They then repeat the same process with the entree and then dessert.  Almost every episode they try to figure out what they would make and have fun seeing what the chefs come up with.

Last weekend they were watching an episode and it all involved leftovers for the ingredients.  The boys got pretty pumped and I had an idea…  What if i bought a “mystery basket” and they had to make a meal out of it?  With Becky out of town for the afternoon it seemed like a perfect lunch for us to try it.

Dominic and I picked up the following ingredients for the “mystery basket” while Gavin was in Sunday School:

  • Corned Beef
  • Cheese Tortellini
  • Yellow Pepper
  • Pistachios
  • Chex Mix
  • Wasabi Sauce

Once we got home they went through the mystery basket and started their planning.


The plan in place they worked together as a team to make a full meal for the three of us (and a plate of leftovers for Becky when she gets home).  They were smiling and trying new things as they worked very well together to figure everything out.  Outside of a couple of little ideas and help it was all done by them.

Their final creation was pretty awesome!  They made corned beef rolls with yellow peppers inside fried in coconut oil, tortellini on the side, and a wasabi pistachio pesto with crushed yet crunchy Chex Mix on top for the pasta sauce and dipping sauce for the rolls.  It was awesomely delicious!!!


We ate our lunch while watching an episode of Chopped, it just seemed like the right thing to do.  After lunch the boys even did dishes without complaining!


It was so much fun watching the boys create their meal together today.  They worked together, helped each other with ideas, and both contributed to the finished product equally.  While they were very focused they also smiled a lot as they put it all together.  I know, TV isn’t something to spend a lot of time doing, but it was pretty sweet to see how they took what they’d learned and brought it to life, all while having fun together.  I’m very thankful for the idea and for the experience we shared today.


Day 536 – Thankful for Workshop Time with My Big Buddy & Escaping In Record Time

Day 536 – Thankful for Workshop Time with My Big Buddy & Escaping In Record Time

Gavin had a friend sleep over last night so I asked Dominic if he wanted to join me in the workshop for a while. I’m glad that he did!

While I was working on a bandsaw box that I hadn’t picked up on over 9 months Dominic started working on his sword. It was pretty awesome, as I set the safety on the bandsaw he told me exactly how to set it. Turns out he was paying very close attention in shop class. He went right to town and even showed me a couple of things! I’ve been pretty much self taught on using a bandsaw so it was great to learn a little new stuff from Dominic. After he’d finished cutting it out i showed him how to use a handheld router and he picked it up quick.

In a very cool way I was spending time with him and my dad at the same time, and I was thankful for every minute of it.

This evening we’re out with some friends having a lot of fun. We started the event with getting locked up in an escape room. I’m happy to say that team Technical Difficulties set the record for the fastest escape time in the room we were in. More importantly, we had a blast hanging out and figuring it out together. Now that we’ve been crowned champions we’re celebrating with nachos and drinks downtown in what will be another night of awesomeness. Speaking of which, I’ve got to get back to hanging out with my friends so I’d better wrap this up…

Another great day, another day with so much to be thankful for.


Day 535 – Thankful Gaming with Friends and My Big Buddy Helping Out

Day 535 – Thankful Gaming with Friends and My Big Buddy Helping Out

Tonight I’m having a lot of fun playing a giant pile of tabletop games while eating pizza and drinking a beer or two. We’re only a couple of hours in and already having a blast!!!

Earlier in the night Dominic took on a very special mission to help Becky and I out… I can’t say anymore as it is a top secret operation to bring happiness to Gavin and his friend. He took it on with a huge smile, enthusiasm and zeal, and I’m very thankful for that!


Day 534 – Thankful for Brothers Doing What Brothers Do Best

The poor souls who were unfortunate to be in Festival this evening while the boys and I were there heard this very heated debate:

D:  “Cello is better!”

G:  “No, Violin is better!”

D:  “No, Cello is better!”


While I was finishing up supper I heard the following coming from the living room:

D:  “I’m cheering for Kentucky.”

G:  “Why?”

D:  “I picked them in my bracket.”

G:  “I’m cheering for Davidson.”

D:  “Why?”

G:  “So they beat Kentucky.”

And on and on it’s gone, pretty much all night.  Brothers doing what they do best, driving each other bonkers, going out of their way to annoy the other.

The one thing they both agreed on was one thing I totally disagreed with.  Knowing that my brother wouldn’t let me down in this argument I called him up on speakerphone.  Nick didn’t disappoint, he stood with me on this one.  It was another case of brothers doing what they do best, sticking together for each other when someone who’s not their brother disagrees with them.

As I wrapped a couple of things up and came into the living room I saw this:


There they were, doing another thing that brothers do best.  Even though they try to bug, harass, and annoy each other they somehow ended up right near each other on the couch watching the basketball game and getting along like the best friends they are when no one’s watching.


Day 533 – Thankful for Stargazing and a Gift in the Background

The skies were perfectly clear this morning while we were on our run and the stars were out. Becky quickly pointed out the constellation Cancer. At one point while we were running a satellite slowly made its way across the sky. Later I noticed a very bright star so I pulled out my StarWalk iPhone app and discovered it was Jupiter. It was awesome to spend time looking up in awe at the wonder of space.

While looking up I was reminded of great times in Scouts when we would just lay on our backs and look up at the stars. We’d take turns pointing out satellites and drawing constellations. Even after all these years I am still struck by that same sense of wonder when looking skyward, and that’s something that I’m very grateful for. My hope is that my boys feel the same way and they continue to pass that on for generations.

Today I did my blog a little different. As I was running this morning I already had part of it semi-written In my head, and as I left the house something else struck me. What caught my attention was a gift I received about nine months ago. I smiled as I saw it, thought of all the ways it’s stuck with me, and started to mentally write this blog about it.

Little did I know that later in the day as I was stuck and trying to think a way out of a difficult spot I thought back to this and smiled… and it brought me strength and support. As I look back now I’m even more thankful for happening to notice that gift out of the corner of my eye this morning.

The funny thing is that this gift is right in our kitchen, right where I put my keys every single day. I can’t help but see it daily and when I notice it I smile. When this gift is in my mind I know that I’ll be okay through any situation. Any challenge in my life I know that I’ll make it through and be stronger because of it.

It was the gift I got from my neighbor Elaine the morning we found out that Dad wasn’t going to make it. She had put this in our door along with an envelope labeled “Donut Money.” That act of kindness brought tears of happiness, memories of love and happiness, and also a reminder that no matter what’s up The Big Guy Upstairs is always right there with me.

That gift is this simple and beautiful sign with a simple and powerful message: “but the Lord stood with me and strengthened me.”

Thank you Elaine so much for such an incredible gift! All these months later it still brings me joy and strength regularly. Thank you!!!


Day 532 – Thankful for Becky’s Parent’s Coming Down for Dominic’s Concert

I always have fun watching Dominic play at his concerts, it’s so cool to watch him perform.  Just like each other time I enjoyed watching hm play his cello, watching the way he works the bow, and seeing his head move along with the music.  It’s clear that he enjoys playing.


Tonight was Dominic’s orchestra concert and it was made all the more awesome by Becky’s mom and dad coming down to watch.  Ken and Mary drove a few hours south, had dinner with us, went to see Dominic’s concert, and are now headed back home.  We had a great time with them, talking about upcoming vacations for them, sharing experiences we’ve had, and just joking around.  I love Ken’s sense of humor, we’re sometimes on the same page so much that it’s scary!

The boys had fun seeing Grandma and Grandpa, Becky enjoyed the time with her parents, and I am always thankful for time with my in-laws.  Tonight I’m so thankful that they made the trip down, we all had a blast and had more fun because they joined us.