Day 177 – Thankful for Incredible Coincidences

Yesterday I headed out to Eau Claire early in the morning.  Instead of the normal route I took a scenic country road to head up to Black River Falls.  Meeting a friend for coffee and conversation about hiring led me on a road that I haven’t taken early in the morning before, County C out of West Salem.  As I drove up and down the bluffs and valleys the sun slowly started its ascent.  At one point I just smiled and chuckled…

I was reminded of another time I was driving up to Eau Claire at about this time of the day.  I drove past an intensely serene and still pond that perfectly reflected the beautiful pink blue sunrise sky.  The view was so soothing to my soul that I jammed on my brakes, whipped a u turn, and headed back to enjoy the moment and take a picture.  It was such music to my soul that on that day I blogged about being thankful for being in the right place at the right time, being aware of it and taking a moment to enjoy it.

Can you see why I jammed on the brakes to go back and enjoy this? 🙂

As I stared almost a little too long at yesterday’s sunrise my heart was warmed by the memory of that moment and I thought about stopping again.  It wasn’t quite right and this time I just decided to enjoy it while I drove.

Last night after blogging I opened up Facebook and did something that is also becoming a daily tradition, looking at what I was thankful for last year on this day.  Imagine my surprise when I saw this…

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Are you kidding me???  What are the odds of that?  Here I was enjoying an incredible sunrise and thinking back to an awesome memory…  From exactly one year before (remember that I skipped Day 155 last year, it was actually day 176, not 177), almost to the minute!

Was it really a coincidence?  Was there some weird subconscious connection that drew it to mind?  Beats me, but honestly, I really don’t care how it came to be.  All I know is that this was one incredible coincidence that I’m very thankful for.


Day 176 – Thankful for Eagle Watching with the Girls

Another day, another 18+ hours of awesome things to be grateful for!

After a long day of driving and work I finally got home around 7.  The boys were at church and Becky had just started reading a paper for her school.  Based on the awesome things I had seen on the drive home I decided to take the girls out for a little eagle watching on the river.

There were eagles EVERYWHERE!  This time of the year is so awesome that way.  We saw them fishing, playing, fighting, and just chilling.  The pics don’t do enough justice, there were two within 100 feet of us.  Trying to get a pic of them diving proved difficult, but it was still very relaxing…

The girls seemed to have a lot of fun too!

It was a pretty chill way to end a very great day.


Day 175 – Thankful for An Email Reminding Me to Keep a Growth Mindset

Have you ever received one of those emails that caught your attention and got you thinking?  One that made you stop and think a little extra about you course of action?  Maybe it was so good that you even keep it filed away to remind you of something important to remember about yourself?  Today I am thankful for that email.

We had a very interesting Owner / Manager meeting that was focused on what is going on in today’s hiring environment.  As opposed to being one in which we walk away with set plans it was focused on taking a break from the normal chaos and taking time to think.  With the right mindset it was a wonderful respite from the continual doing and allowed me time to just think.

Part of the reason that it went so well was that prior to jumping into the meeting I re-read a great email I got from one of my mentors a little while back that helped remind me to keep a growth mindset.  There were a couple of times that I might have normally fought back a bit or had gotten frustrated, but with my brain primed appropriately I was able to listen and learn.

Tonight I’m thankful for that email, the one that helped me get my brain in the right frame of mind.


Day 174 – Thankful for a Few Minutes of Quiet Time at Home

Thank God you’ve probably been reading this blog at least once in a while and know that I truly love and adore my family.  I really do!

That said, there was a short period of time in which Becky went to pick up Dominic from soccer and then took them to Kohl’s to pick up shoes.  I was alone in our quiet home and it was glorious!  Sadly, I mainly caught up on work emails and whatnot, but now as Gavin is burping in the bathroom while getting ready and Dominic is antagonizing an animal in our house…  all after they were just fighting in the hallway…  I’m realizing just home much I appreciated that little quiet oasis!


Day 173 – Thankful for Making Pinewood Derby Cars, Tree House Furniture, and Weapons for the Zombie Apocalypse with My Boys

Day 173 – Thankful for Making Pinewood Derby Cars, Tree House Furniture, and Weapons for the Zombie Apocalypse with My Boys

LOL – I could even type today’s gratitude without chuckling!  I’m not sure, but I think they may have spent too much time with Steve at one point or another!  Yes, today was filled with lots of creating and it was AWESOME!!!

After driving back fro Becky’s parents’ house we jumped right into PWD (Pinewood Derby) Mode.  Every year I do less and less and the boys do more and more.  This year the only thing I did was help a very little bit with cutting out the car and I added the weight (pretty sure Becky wouldn’t say yes to letting them work with lead).  Everything else was all Gavin and it was great to see him really get into it as did Dominic (making a car for fun).  The boys looked kind of like coal miners due to the graphite, but they were all smiles.

After a handful of test runs we went back home and moved on…  Dominic had Boy Scouts so it was just Gavin and I.  After a little bit of thinking he decided that he wanted to make a table so he could eat supper in the treehouse.  Why not?  It was pretty cool to have an excuse to help him get practice in how to build a table with support, how to use a drill correctly, how using a table saw fence makes it easier to make straight lines, and some good old fashioned measuring.  It turned out to be very solid and he was able to have it done in time for he and Dominic to have supper on it up in the treehouse.


After dinner the boys decided they weren’t done creating yet…  It was time to create defenses in case of the zombie apocalypse!  Using their imagination, some tools, scrap wood and pocket knives they went to town as I finished up a puzzle box.  Gavin created a pretty awesome slingshot and was starting on a battle axe that well finish later in the week using the band saw.  Dominic opted for a sword that ended up looking pretty cool.  It was made even more realistic looking by adding the little bit of blood from a mistaken cut that took more of his finger than of the sword.  He took it like a champ, we got it bandaged up, and he was back at it.



In spite of the injury they still had fun and worked on it until we called them in because it was getting dark out.  I am so grateful that they have the same spark for creating.  It would have been very easy for me to try to get some other things done that I wanted to get done instead of helping them out, but I would have regretted it.  With making stuff like this with them now I can’t wait to see what kinds of crazy stuff we’re making together in a year or two!!!  (pumpkin catapults and potato guns…  just sayin’…)



Day 172 – Thankful for #2 on Father Mark’s Top 10 List to Remember


When Father Mark gave his last homily as the priest at our church it moved me to the point of asking him for a copy of it.  Thankfully he was willing to send it.  Since then whenever I take time to reflect on my values and the direction of my life I start with his words first and everything else seems to make a lot more sense.

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While they almost all made immediate sense to me there was always one that I couldn’t quite figure out.  The other nine were easier for me to understand – though they were all tough to remember in practice and in the moment.  Number Two always threw me off and I never quite got it.  It was easy for me to understand the importance of the other nine, this one just didn’t quite seem to fit.  When I re-read his homily I kind of cruise right by that one and move on.

As many of you know, I’ve spent a lot of time in self-reflection over the past months.  This isn’t of itself anything to brag about or anything to worry about me on, it is just something that I’ve been doing.  While my blogging has brought me incredible happiness it continues to unlock a little something in me, it seems like the more I dig into myself the more I learn and start to figure out about myself.  In spending time thinking it’s been interesting to see myself from a different angle and realize that I may have more to work on that I thought, all while realizing that there may be more positives about myself than I’ve given myself credit for.  Throughout all of this I’m feeling stronger in my faith than I’ve ever felt, something feels different in a very positive way.  As this as changed I’ve noticed things like an increased willingness to forgive, more acceptance of other points of view, sometimes taking time to think before speaking, and attempting to look at the world through someone else’s eyes before I make an assumption or judgement.  Far, far from any semblance of perfect or great, I have a long, long way to go, but I can tell I’m making progress.

As this is happening I’m starting to see little spots in which I’ve been able to help other people a little bit more.  It seems as if I’m starting to have a little greater impact for the positive.  Again, I’m not bragging or trying to say woe is me or anything, it just is what it is.  Know what I mean?  I can step outside of myself and see that I’m having a more positive impact on others than I have had in the past.

At church tonight there was a little lightbulb that lit up over my head and I just smiled.  I’m not sure, but I’m pretty positive that I totally spaced out for a period of time during the homily.  Becky mentioned something in my ear and I just agreed – sorry Babe, I was in my own little world!  What got in my head was Father Mark’s #2…  If you would be a river, first you must be a reservoir.

It finally sunk in…  only several years later and kind of by accident.  After all this time it eventually made sense.  In taking time to figure myself out, strengthen my own faith, and work on my own happiness I’m able to better help others.  My soul is stronger my spirit more positive, and my energy is higher.  This helps as a way to help others both by example and by giving me the right strength and perspective.  I’m no where near a reservoir, but I’m at least a little more than a puddle. 🙂

This blog never ceases to amaze me…  As I think and write one blog it seems that sometimes the underlying subject lays dormant just below the surface and helps me realize things that I’ve been missing.  Yesterday was learning from lessons long since past, today was the same.


Day 171 – Thankful for Old Ideas Unexpectedly Coming to Mind at the Right Time

In the middle of a very interesting conversation on the state of our business Nicole and I kept getting stuck. She had a great point, but I couldn’t quite agree with her completely. I had a great point, but she couldn’t quite agree with me completely. In talking through it we both knew we were close, but we were also both wrong. As we kept talking it out the light bulb went off!

I love reading and learning. It may take a lot of time, but it always seems rewarding. Once in a while I wonder if it is actually worth it, will I ever use this information again? Usually I can shut that thought out and persist, but sometimes it sticks with me.

Today was that reminder that it is worth it. Sometimes the right answer is an idea that was planted long ago. That’s exactly what happened today.

Pulling out a nugget of knowledge that had been stored many years ago from the book Great By Choice by Jim Collins we had found the right answer. While we can’t give it away quite yet, it seems to be the right way to solve the issue we were facing.Thanks!!!