Day 245 – Thankful for an Excellent End of the Long Weekend at Home

I am thankful for days like today.  The days when I struggle to find one thing to find one thing to be grateful for due to the many choices I have.  When I sum it all up, today was an excellent end of the long weekend at home.

Here’s some of the highlights from today:

  • 8:15am yoga with Becky to kick things off
  • Got an Early Father’s Day present – an oscillating spindle sander
  • My wallet and phone were still on the cart in the Menards parking lot about 15 minutes after I forgot them there
  • Cut out my first cobra bandsaw box (with minimal swearing)
  • Went for a walk with the family
  • Talked about our next vacation plans while on the walk
  • Helped Dominic finish his workbench
  • IMG_8887
  • Finished the last few items from my To Do list for the weekend
  • Enjoyed watching The Matrix with my boys

It was about the perfect end to a long weekend at home!


Day 244 – Thankful for a Quiet Sunday at Home

It’s not often that we have a Sunday in which all of us are home, there’s no agenda, and there’s just chillin’ on tap.  Even though it was a very productive day it was totally relaxing.  The things I wanted to do I did, and it felt great.  LuLu’s smile below pretty much sums up the day!

One of the highlights was having time to work with both the boys in the workshop.  Gavin made a bench for his workbench and Dominic cut all the lumber for his workbench.  It was awesome, Dominic was measuring and cutting his own wood, no help from Dad needed – how cool is that?

And moments like that are why I’m thankful for a quiet day at home.  It was awesome to not be rushing or hustling to get stuff done because we don’t have any other time.  We were able to enjoy time as a family, and alone, doing exactly what we wanted.


Day 243 – Thankful for Date Night with Becky

Earlier this week Becky had the great idea to have a date night this weekend.  We did and it was awesome!  Dinner at Lovechild downtown La Crosse followed up with drinks at Unwined in downtown Onalaska.  

Having time to just the two of us to relax, chill, and plan our next vacations was exactly what we needed.  We may not have had the excitement of taking the reservations of the Tripplehorns, but we had a great time regardless (if you don’t get that you really need to watch the movie Date Night).

Thanks for having a great idea Babe!  


Day 242 – Thankful for Starting a Long Weekend with Almost No Agenda

I’ve been looking to the later part of this evening for a long time.  After a long day of work it’s finally time to chill on the couch, eat popcorn with the boys, and watch Tommy Boy!  Eventually go to bed, wake up whenever I can’t sleep anymore, and then do whatever I feel like…  no agenda…  only a loose list of things that would be nice to get done, and all of them are things in looking forward to doing.

It doesn’t get any better than that!


Day 241 – Thankful for Gavin’s Slightly Twisted Creativity

Ahh…  nothing like the end of the year packet of Gavin’s art projects coming home to make me smile and wince at the same time!  Each year there’s one or two things that crack me up and this year didn’t disappoint.

Any guesses what this is?

If you guessed that it was “a rocket launched at a guy who threw his beer at it to short circuit the electronics so it wouldn’t explode” you would be 100% correct!

While he may drive me absolutely bonkers sometimes I can’t help but love the kid and be thankful for his slightly twisted creativity.


Day 240 – Thankful for Presence by Amy Cuddy

Over the past few days I’ve fired up an old favorite audio book of mine (okay, it’s not really very old but it’s still a favorite) – Presence by Amy Cuddy. ¬†I’ve you’ve ever had any self confidence issues, this is one hell of a read. ¬†The book itself is incredible,¬†while I could give you my summary it’s better hearing the concept from her directly in the TED Talk below.

One of the most important topics that she covers, in my opinion at least, is the concept of Impostor Syndrome. ¬†In short, here’s the definition:

Impostor syndrome¬†is a concept describing high-achieving individuals who are marked by an inability to internalize their accomplishments and a persistent fear of being exposed as a “fraud”. ¬†

For most of my professional career I’ve struggled and continue to struggle with this. ¬†There have been many occasions in which I’ve had that little voice in the back of my head telling me, “You’re not supposed to be here, you’re not this good, they’re all smarter than you, it’s all luck that’s gotten me to where I am, pretty soon I’m going to screw up and everyone is going to know it.”

To be clear, I know that I am successful and that I have earned most of my success through hard work. ¬†That said, I struggle to beat that little voice down when it starts to speak up. ¬†It seems to come up at the most inopportune times, like at the beginning of a presentation, while sharing a business strategy, and while working with my peers. ¬†When that voice starts to speak up I have started to learn tricks to fight it back. ¬†I use the mental tripwire of saying “flip the switch” to shut it up before it starts to whisper in my ear. ¬†I use interrogative self-talk to remind myself of the times I’ve been successful in that specific situation. ¬†There’s a few emails and old homilies that I read to remind me to be strong, to remember that I have had success. ¬†Since reading Presence I’ve used power poses to trick my brain out into being more confident that the voice in my head wants me to be. ¬†It doesn’t always work, but I can usually start to fight that voice off.

Sometimes it doesn’t work and I can slump into a spiral or slip into a fixed mindset to try to help myself grasp onto the little confidence I have at the time… ¬†exactly what I don’t want to have happen. ¬†If I’m honest with myself the times when I slip into a fixed mindset are typically due to that little voice, the Impostor Syndrome. ¬†When I fail at containing it I reflect on how it won and then find ways to prevent it from happening again.

One of the reasons that I really appreciated Bruce Sprinsteen’s autobiography was his incredibly honest admission of having similar challenges. ¬†He talks about one concert in which he wasn’t completely present and the little voice got the best of him.

Today I’m thankful for Amy Cuddy focusing on this topic and helping me give a name to something that I’ve struggled with, not knowing what it was. ¬†The reason I bring this topic up today isn’t for anyone to feel bad for me, it’s to get it off my chest and to help others who may wonder why they sometimes feel the way they do. ¬†It can happen to all of us, and the best part is that we can all learn to beat it!


Day 239 – Thankful for the Right Song at the Right Time… I Am the Highway

Today I’m thankful for the right song at the right time. ¬†It was an earworm that burrowed deep tonight and I listened to it several times on my drive tonight for several different reasons.


It was one of those perfectly timed moments when I needed the right tune to be in the right mindset, to match a mindset, to help change a mindset.

You can catch a live version of it here:

RIP Chris Cornell… ¬†You’ll be missed and remembered by many, especially when they hear this song. ¬†Thank you for giving me the right song at the right time tonight.



Day 238 – Thankful for Another Successful Kid’s Cup

Another successful Kid’s Cup is in the books! ¬†Over $75,000 was raised¬†for the Mayo Clinic Children‚Äôs Center and Olmsted Medical Center in Rochester – How awesome is that? ¬†The weather was perfect, my teammates were great, and our golf game was… ¬†well… ¬†let’s just say that the sign below is sideways on purpose to match the way our golf game went! ūüėČ


This year’s event really touched my heart at a different level than in past years. ¬†As in past years we had a couple of families who’ve received care from the clinics share their story of how their lives have been impacted by the funds raised by Kid’s Cup. ¬†This year we had an 8 year old boy undergoing treatment for¬†bone cancer (his 13th chemotherapy is tomorrow) share some jokes and a hidden talent while his mom shared all the things that have helped the entire family through this challenge. ¬†Another child’s mom shared how they were able to help him treat his hearing issues by week 2 of his life and how much his self esteem has benefited from the early care he received. ¬†In both cases my eyes welled up as I listened.

While both of those stirred my emotions, what really hit home for me this year was a conversation I had recently with a little buddy of mine. ¬†He and I run into each other every once in a while and when we do we have a blast! ¬†He’s always full of energy, always smiling and giggling, he’s always happy – how can you not love being with someone like that? ¬†We chase each other around, threaten to throw each other in the garbage can, and tease each other in fun ways like pretending to eat each other’s snacks. ¬†When we hang out I smile and am able to be a big kid and I’m thankful for that.

Crazy thing is that he has a serious health issue that I never would have ever guessed until his dad mentioned it. ¬†I don’t know all of the details, but it’s serious and has involved surgeries. ¬†This kid is tough as all get out, full of life and energy and it still floors me to thing that he’s got anything less than perfect kid health.

Recently he and I were talking and I was wearing my Kid’s Cup sweatshirt from a past event and he asked me what the logo was for. ¬†I explained that we raised money for a couple of children’s hospitals in Rochester. ¬†“Rochester? ¬†That’s where my doctor is!” was his smiling response. ¬†I smiled huge and held back the sudden flow of emotion so he didn’t think anything was up, and we moved right on to the next conversation. ¬†I am not sure if Kid’s Cup has helped him or his family out while he’s been at his doc, but I know that if there are kids like him that are so full of energy, life and happiness that need help some extra help and comfort I’m very happy to do what I can to help them out.

Today I’m thankful that Kid’s Cup had another incredibly successful year and will continue to help kids and families. ¬†Thank you so much to all of my friends and family for all the contributions and well wishes this year – they’re greatly appreciated!!!



Day 237 – Thankful for Observing Dominic and His Friends In Their Natural Environment

I was volunteered by Becky to be the chauffeur for Dominic’s soccer game in Madison today.  My responsibility was to transport him and a few of his teammates to the game and then drive them home.  Due to Bro Code Rule 357.9, subsection B, I am unable to share the details of the ride.  What I can share is just how much fun I had driving and listening – it was AWESOME!!!

As one of the dads put it, “the best is about 20 miles in when they forget that there’s an adult in the car.”  I was fighting back laughter often, biting my tongue on several times, and just enjoying listening to the lives of U12 kids.  It was a blast!  Taking time to replay some of the highlights from our 5 hours together still has me smiling and will for days.