Day 146 – Thankful for Stepping Back From the “Stuff,” and Taking Time to Think

So many days are spent constantly chasing life.  Whether it’s work, kids, or many of the other daily responsibilities that we have in our life there can be so much “stuff” that it becomes easy to lose track of other important things.  This “stuff” is incredibly important, it’s the “stuff” that keeps income coming in, the “stuff” that’s important to our kids and family, and, many times, the “stuff” that we enjoy doing.  If I’m not careful it’s way to easy for me to drift into being busy with a lot of “stuff.”


Days like today are pretty awesome, rare, and greatly appreciated.  Due to a few different reasons I’ve been able to avoid pretty much all of the “stuff” that I live in a normal day.  Today I’ve been able to spend a lot of time in thought.  Thinking about the possibility of a dream I’ve had brewing in the back of my head for a while – is it worth it to chase it now?  Thinking about future projects and trainings that I’d like to build and give.  Thinking about my teams and how I can be a better leader for them.  Thinking about how much I appreciate my family and why.  So much time, so much to think about, and mainly because I was able to shut out the other “stuff” for a day.

Today I’m reminded that I need to put a couple of days like this in my calendar, days to shut off and unplug and just take time to think.


Day 145 – Thankful for Enjoying a Nice Summer Sunday in February

So maybe it’s not quite a summer day, but it has still felt like one.  The sun’s out, the weather is balmy (compared to normal February weather), and we did the things we typically do on a non-busy summer day.

Getting a lot of the tasks done earlier this morning we grilled burgers for lunch.   While many the grill I was enjoying the sun, wearing shorts and a tshirt.

After lunch we headed out with the whole family, dogs and all, for a hike on the bike trail.  Sure, there were some ice covered patchs and stretches of puddles and mud, but it was so perfect out regardless.  The sun popped out and wind slowed.  The temp went up and I eventually shucked the sweatshirt I was wearing.

After our four miles of relaxing trail time Becky had the idea that really made it feel like summer.  We stopped at The Sweet Shop and got ice cream cones!

While it might have exactly felt like a summer day it was pretty close, and it was exactly what I needed today.


Day 144 – Thankful for Chillin’ On The Couch with the Family

While there were a bevy of wonderful things like getting things done around the house, working outside, getting a 5 mile run in as a family (Gavin was biking, but close enough!), having some quiet time, finishing a puzzle box that I’d previously failed at, and hearing a great homily at church, I’d have to say I’m most thankful for the way we closed out an epic Saturday night…  chillin’ on the couch watching some TV as a family.

It doesn’t happen often, we’re usually running between events, playing games, reading, or who knows what else, but lately it’s been the way we’ve brought Saturday nights to an end and it’s been very relaxing and satisfying.  

One of the reasons I’m enjoying it so much is we talk during the shows a lot.  During Mythbusters: The Search for instance we spend a lot of time discussing the logic between ideas and brainstorming new ways we’d do it if we were on the show.  There’s also some great character and values dialogue as we share which person we enjoy the most and why, which values they exhibit that we appreciate.  There’s also some good natured ribbing as we pick sides and cheer for our team in the different competitions.

Becky and I have gotten hooked on a show called Red Oaks on Amazon and really enjoy it.  It gives us both a chance to decompress, cuddle up, and shoot the bull about the show’s ups and downs…  another way for us to bond and relax.

While spending a lot of time in front of the TV isn’t usually my thing, those couple of hours with my family are what I’m most thankful for today.  Anything that causes us to be together talking about ideas, values, dreams and so on is very much welcomed.


Day 143 – Thankful for Crash Test Dummies

Yeah, I’m going a little old school tonight.  Way back in late 1993 I heard the song “Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm” and immediately had to rush out to buy the album.  If you want to relive some memories and watch the video you can check it out here.

While I got the album (in CD – no digital downloads back in the day!) I instantly fell in love with so many other songs.  The song that I bought the album for quickly became one of my least favorite, not because it was bad, but because of how awesome the other songs were.  As I listened to the lyrics and heard the stories I could totally get what they were singing about.  In a twisted way, they almost sing what my brain is thinking.

One of my favorite tracks is “God Shuffled His Feet.”  In the track God pulls a bunch of his people together for a picnic and chills with them.  As soon as they start relaxing they hit Him up with questions.  He shares a story to help them see the folly of the questions they’re asking Him (it involves a boy with blue hair – which is why it popped into my head today).  They don’t like the answer and ask if that was a parable or a very subtle joke.

They cover things from aging (Afternoons & Coffee Spoons), to introspection, to the dangers of messing with loosening inhibitions (Two Knights and Maidens).  

Another that always makes me smile is “The Psychic.”  When I listen to it I chuckle because every thought and question he poses in the song are exactly the same as questions I’ve thought to myself while imagining what I would ask a “real” psychic (not saying that I believe in them, but I imagine a lot about a lot of things I don’t believe in – just cuz it ain’t real doesn’t mean that I don’t have questions about it!).  It is just spot on with the way my brain works!

Anytime a song of their’s pops into my head I have to fire that old album up, and if I’m alone, I’ll sing my ass off and smile the whole time!  How can I not be thankful for that?


Day 142 – Thankful for Letting Kids Be Kids

When it was Dominic’s turn for a haircut from Kathy tonight he decided that he wanted to go with blue hair.  Seriously?  Like, for reals?  Yup, he wanted blue hair.  Maybe we could pick up some temporary dye and you could try it out and then decide to get it really dyed.  Nope, he wanted it really dyed blue.

I don’t know why, but I kept thinking that he shouldn’t do it.  Maybe he wouldn’t like it.  Maybe his friends wouldn’t like it.  Maybe other kids might give him a hard time about it.  Maybe…  

Maybe I should chill out on the “maybes” and let him try it.  Maybe every thought that went through my head was an indictment of my own insecurities that have held me back from doing things.  Maybe I would be happier if I just did the things that I wanted without worrying about what others would think, after all, when I’ve done that I’ve been at my happiest.

Maybe he’s being a kid and part of being a kid is figuring out things like seeing what you like.  Maybe he will be more willing to take a risk knowing that almost everything in life is temporary.  Maybe he’ll learn that if he does what makes him happy he’ll be happier, regardless of what others think.  Maybe he just needs to see that he has some freedom and is learning to be more independent…

Maybe his mom will kill me if I let him do it!  “Becky, you’re cool with Dominic dying his hair blue, right?”  Whew!!!

All those thoughts, all that personal bought and insight all in the quick flash of hearing “I want to dye my hair blue.”  At the end of the day, he’s a kid and I want him to be a kid and live life like a kid.  Gavin wants a mohawk?  Dominic wants blue hair?  I’m kind of jealous and wish I would’ve done it when I was a kid!

I’m thankful that I remembered to let the kid be a kid today and do the things that make him happy, and I’m thankful that he reminded me to do the same!


Day 141 – Thankful for Uncle Frank Allowing Us to Hitch a Ride on His Dream

Talk about a surreal moment…  Driving to Eau Claire listening to the La Crosse ESPN Radio affiliate and the following local news spot starts off with “Congratulations to Frank Lamping for being the 19th fan elected to the Green Bay Packers Fan Hall of Fame…”  It was awesome!!!  The entire local news spot was focused on my Uncle Frank and his recent induction.  As the few minutes of recapping why he was selected I just smiled and had tears of happiness running down my cheeks.

What I’m thankful for today is for Uncle Frank allowing many of us to hitch a ride on his dream.  Over the past 24+ hours it’s been a crazy ride of hearing congratulations from friends and co-workers, seeing news stories everywhere about my uncle, sharing hugs and conversations with family, helping people understand that yes, he really is the first person in the stadium every game day…  Hearing it on the radio just struck a chord for me.

Shutting off the radio to have time to take in the moment and just think about this entire experience was exactly what I needed.  As my mind went over everything from going to games with Uncle Frank to the fan voting process to yesterday’s events I just kept coming back to the same conclusion, how amazing is it that not only did he accomplish his dream, but he allowed all of us to share in that dream with him?


By hitching a ride on this dream he helped us learn several amazing lessons if we take the time to think about them.  As I drove there were three that really stuck out for me.  As you have time to think about this please let me know what other lessons, ideas, or inspirations you’ve gotten from this experience.

The first is the power of giving.  One of my mentors explained it to me in a very easy to understand way once.  “Give.  Just give with no intention of ever giving back.  Give more than you think you can afford to give, you’ll find that you can afford it.  After you give, the rewards that will come back to you in the end are priceless.”  Uncle Frank’s journey is a testament to this.  One need only look at the many members of the community who united to support him.  How many lives has he touched in a positive way?  How many of us were given something by him, whether a thing, a helping hand, an experience, a hug, or anything?  Never asking for praise, never asking for re-payment, he just continues to give.  In living this dream it’s so powerful that he was able to see a glimpse of just how many people he’s impacted in his life.  For each of us that he brought along, how many conversations have we had with friends and family who voted for Frank even though they’d never met him?  How many times did people vote for him because they knew us and wanted to help us and give us a gift?  Uncle Frank, you gave again through this experience, you gave each of us a chance to see some of the lives we’ve impacted.  Thank you for reminding us of the power of giving!

The second lesson is that attitude truly is everything!  That said, life is too short to choose anything but optimism, happiness, and positivity.  You’re always in a great mood!  Everyone is drawn to that positive energy and want to be near you because of the constant source of happiness.  You remind us to be aware of our attitude and our ability to choose it.  With your health diagnosis it would be easy to say “why me,” but instead you choose to kick cancer’s ass and not be a victim to it.  No matter what you face you hit it the same way, with happiness, a positive attitude, a smile, and passion.  As Frank’s story has been told many times how many of us have paused at one time or another and realized that we were bummed about something or playing the role of victim or complaining only to stop and remember that when you got the news that no one wants to hear you stayed positive, optimistic, and chose the right attitude.  Thank you for reminding us to choose our attitude!

Lastly, thank you for sharing the power of passion.  The passion you have for the Packers.  The passion you have for your community.  The passion you have for your family and friends.  The passion you have for Aunt Andrea.  The passion you have for life.  At every step of the way it was truly this overwhelming passion that just exudes from you that helped you win this honor.  You live your life with incredible passion, and based on the following quote by Vince Lombardi, we can see why you received this honor.  “Once a man has made a commitment to a way of life, he puts the greatest strength in the world behind him. It’s something we call heart power. Once a man has made this commitment, nothing will stop him short of success.”  Thank you for reminding us of the incredible force of passion, of heart power.

Hitching a ride on your dream has been incredible and has helped me look at my life and my values in from a different perspective.  Uncle Frank, while these three lessons have been very impactful for me and for many others, I have to say that there is one thing that I am thankful for more than them.  There’s one thing that is so awesome I feel that my words won’t do justice to the gratitude that I’m feeling.

You taught my boys that nice guys finish first.  Gavin and Dominic were able to see a real life example of how someone can reach their dreams.  They saw how living a life of the right values leads to rewards greater than winning.  As you put it, the journey is the reward, and we had to explain this to them when there was a chance that you weren’t going to win.  Of course they still wanted you to win, but they saw that you had already won because of the way you’ve touched the lives of so many others.  You taught them that going with your passion, in any direction that it may take you, can lead you to great reward.  You taught them to stay happy, stay upbeat, and stay positive.  You gave them a story that we can go back to when discussing values, you gave them a story they’ve met and hugged.  What an incredible gift you’ve given them!

To close up, is there a more fitting way than another Lombardi quote?

“….I firmly believe that any man’s finest hours – his greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear – is that moment when he has worked his heart out in good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle – victorious.”


While we all know that you never ever stop or slow down, and we’re all pretty sure you’ll never lay exhausted on the field of battle, we do know that you’ve worked your heart out in a good cause and are victorious.  Thank you for letting us all hitch a ride on your dream!


Day 140 – Thankful for Modern Connectedness 

In case you missed it, Uncle Frank was selected to become the 19th member of the Packer Hall of Fame today!!!

While I wasn’t able to make it to Green Bay for the festivities it felt like I was right there.  I paused everything at 11:00, texted my brother Nick, and he came through in the clutch.  He fired up FaceTime and streamed the entire event to me live.

With my phone’ mic on mute I was able to watch the introductions, hear Uncle Frank’s name get called, and then share in the eruption of cheering and applause.  It was awesome!!!  Seeing the emotion on Uncle Frank’s face was incredible, as was hearing the sounds of happiness.  I laughed at some of his comments, and had a little awesome welling up in my eyes as he choked back his emotions.  It was an incredible moment to be able to share, I’m so thankful that I was able to enjoy it.  

The other thing it reminds me of is what an awesome relationship my brother and I have.  There’ve been many times in which we’ve been able to share in a moment like this (well, okay, not quite like this) via phone, FaceTime, or text and it’s felt like we were there hanging out together even though we were hours away.  While it’s always better when we’re in the same room or stadium I’m always impressed with our ability to connect for things like sporting events…  I don’t know how else to explain it, it’s just pretty freaking awesome, and I am very thankful for it.