Day 398 – Thankful for Reaching Out My Hand to Touch the Wall Before I Crash Into It

I guess maybe you can teach an old dog new tricks!

After the past couple of weeks of go go go I’ve finally started to hit that point.  There’s been so much fun, so much has been accomplished.  That said, there’s a list of things that I want to do and it’s really tempting to hammer down tonight to get a few of them checked off the list…  but I’m not going to do that.  Instead I will be in bed and asleep well before 9pm, possibly even before 8:30.


Usually I’d buckle down, push myself harder for a little longer, start to feel my left eye tingle, and then hit the wall hard…  shattering into many pieces.  It would then take a while to get this Humpty Dumpty put back together again.

Today, I put my hand out to see how far away the wall was and I touched it.  Just lightly, not hitting it or crashing headlong into it.  Just a light touch.  Resisting the urge to double down, I’m going to chill.  If I take the night to get 8+ hours of sleep I will be refreshed and a long ways away from the wall.  I’ll be able to go hard at it a gain for the next sprint without worries about crashing.  For the long haul I know I just need to chill, and that’s just what I am going to do.

Time to chill!


Day 397 – Thankful for Writer’s Block – Part 2

Days like today just leave me smiling. They are the days that remind me of why I write this blog. When I started this a couple of years back one of the biggest reasons was because I wasn’t grateful for all of the awesomeness in my life. Today I kept looking for the awesomeness to blog about and I found so much that my brain pretty much short circuited!

Really, I’ve been watching out all day for what I am going to blog about. As I notice something I pause, smile, and immediately start writing a blog in my head. Just as I’m getting started with that, my brain leap frogs to something else and the process starts anew. Once that gets rolling I notice something else that I’m thankful for and I move on to that. While this may sound tiring, my smile grows wider and wider every single time. How fortunate am I to have so many blessings in my life???

The only downside to this is that my brain feels like a cork board with notes, memos, and pictures pinned up everywhere. A chaotic mix of seemingly random sparks of inspiration. I’ve even started doing the FBI tv show thing and run string from one pin to another hoping to find a common thread, the blog’s topic. As I take time reflect and step back my mind is overwhelmed by the massive amount of data covering the board. I can see myself sitting back in a chair, feet up on my desk, arms behind my head, shaking my head while staring at the board, smiling, and then laughing to myself as I realize the impossibility of what I want to accomplish.

Some of the memos posted on the board are:

  • Great weekend with the guys creating a time we’ll never forget
  • Looking forward to meeting up with one of my other best friends next weekend
  • Becky being okay with me getting some guy time in
  • A note from a past high school teacher that left me smiling and brought back warm memories
  • Surprising Becky by cleaning the boat and getting it ready
  • Making the time to work on the workshop for a little bit
  • Tacos for lunch
  • Going for an afternoon run with Becky
  • The boys being responsible enough for them to be left home alone once in a while
  • Random memories of another high school teacher who was a huge influence on me and the trajectory of my career
  • Getting my planning for the next week of work
  • Going to a delicious meal with Becky’s coworkers, hosted by an amazing cook!
  • Spending time with people I don’t often spend time with and finding many similarities and having excellent conversation
  • Vacations – Becky and I both enjoying them, focusing on them, and living our life around them
  • And many, many others…
    • While I tried to write about each of these individually, I started to miss the big picture. There wasn’t one of them to be thankful for, it is the overloading of so many things to be thankful for that needed to be the main point tonight.

      So that helped with the blog, but I was stumped on what picture to use… do I choose on of the things I’m thankful for, a pic from today, one online that fits the theme??? Interestingly enough, I changed the wallpaper on my phone today and when I looked at my phone to start typing, it just felt right to use it. Enjoy!


      Day 394 – Thankful for an Epic Day with So Much To Be Thankful For

      Today was pretty damn awesome.  Seriously, from start to end there were so many things to be thankful for it was amazing!  Here’s a rundown of the awesomeness today:

      • The new franchisee and his teammate that are training in our office this week have been crushing it!!!  They’ve been so much fun to have in our office, we can’t wait to see them grow the Appleton office to one of Express’ greatest.
      • With a couple of weekends with my best friends looming and one of their birthday’s today the texts were hot and heavy all morning and it left me laughing out loud often.
      • Spending time with a couple of my teammates to just talk with them felt great.
      • We surprised one of our best recruiters with a $1,000 check that he had won through a referral contest with our team.
      • A teammate thanked me for some advice I offered up yesterday and had already taken action on it.
      • I wrote a thank you or two to some people that I’ve been meaning to thank for a while, it felt wonderful putting my thanks into writing for them.
      • In planning for 2018 I took some time to review where we’ve grown from over the past couple of years and it was staggering.  In one of the most important metrics I can point to as a business owner we had an increase of 249%!
      • A couple of times I felt a twinge of guilt knowing that I’ve been focusing more on work than I would normally like to, but then thought about the upcoming vacations we have planned and the time I’ll have with my family during those times, and I smiled and got right back to work.  Work hard, play hard…  and I have plans to play very hard!
      • While driving home from work I had an unexpected, but very uplifting, super deep existential conversation with my brother.  It was pretty awesome to trade thoughts and ideas, ad crazy to see how we both are connecting some of the same dots.  I’d give almost anything to have Dad back, but I’m thankful for all of the insights I’ve had since his passing.  It seems odd to say, but I am more joyful and happy thanks to those insights.
      • Cub scouts was a pretty cool experience.  As my den continues to get older I’m trying to get them to take on more and more responsibility.  Tonight they created, set up, and then led the other scouts through an obstacle course in the gym.  They all did a great job of cheering the other scouts on, of leading them, and keeping things running.  There were many times that I wanted to jump in, but I held back and it awesome to see just how much they’ve grown over the past year.  It was one of those proud moments that also reminds me to pull back and let people grow sometimes…  more than I have done over the past couple of years.

      Now I’m snuggled up next to Becky as I type this.  Soon it’ll be bedtime, sleep, wake up early, repeat.  and I’m okay with this level of craziness.  Not only because I know that I only get one spin on this merry go round, but also because I get to have a seat on it next to my best friend!


      Memento mori!


      Day 393 – Thankful for Trapping Weather

      Today was a pretty awesome day.  So many wonderful things to be happy for.  Coaching, learning, listening, growing, thinking, and spending time with friends, new and old.  It’s been an awesome day all around.  That said, there’s a specific moment that really sticks out to me.

      When we headed out for our early morning run it was fairly brisk outside – about 38, but felt like 34 or so.  As I normally do, I stopped and walked for a little bit while Becky ran to the normal turnaround point.  That couple of minutes of time alone in the dark feels good, it gives me the opportunity to pause and be alone for a moment in nature and the dark.

      This morning as Becky and the girls ran ahead I started thinking about all of the things I have to be grateful for.  As I kept thinking and remembering all of those things something just hit me…  This was trapping weather.

      To be clear – I know this is not a picture of me trapping with my dad.  I can’t seem to find any of those, but I figured this was pretty close and from about the same timeframe…  and it makes me smile seeing it 🙂

      When I was younger I used to go trapping for mink and muskrat with my dad.  We’d head out early, well before dawn, and paddle the canoe around Solberg Lake checking his trap line.  The mornings were sometimes cold enough that we could see our breath.  At that time of the day there was no noise, no light except the moon, no one else awake, nothing disturbing the water except our canoe and our paddles.  Often times we wouldn’t even talk, we’d just enjoy the quiet and take in the beauty.  It was so peaceful and serene.  Nothing else in the world mattered, it was just us being present in the moment with nature.

      I’m not sure why, but I still vividly remember putting our canoe in early on a Saturday morning, the morning after my first middle school dance.  The song Kokomo by the Beach Boys was stuck in my head.  We put the canoe in and started paddling in the cool fall air.  To be honest, I don’t even remember what, if anything, we caught that day, I just remember the feeling of enjoying being outside with my dad, paddling in a lake so still that the only movement was our wake, the only sound was our canoe moving through water.  It was awesome.

      This morning felt like that same kind of morning, especially as we ran past the river in a relatively quiet and unlit area.  As Becky and the girls caught up back up to me I shared some of those memories with me.  I think she thought I was sad, but that couldn’t have been further from the truth.  It felt great to think back on those memories, remember that feeling of being out in the quiet morning, spending time with Dad.  The memories made me smile, warmed me, and brought me joy.

      When we were getting close to the end of our run Becky squealed with joy and pointed out a raccoon that was sitting on the side of the road watching us in the dark.  It didn’t move, it didn’t hiss…  It just watched us.  I smiled and immediately had memories of a raccoon that Dad had some fun with while trapping once, a story that I’ll never, ever forget.  Again I smiled at the memories.  How fortunate am i to have so many filed away in the back of my brain?

      Today was awesome all around, but I’m most thankful for this cool and dark weather, trapping weather.  It may have been cold, but it warmed my soul.


      Day 392 – Thankful for Little Reminders From the Universe that I’m Heading in the Right Direction

      Sometimes I push myself and do things that are outside of my comfort zone.  Many times I feel a slight lack of confidence, I question myself, and am doing what I think is right, but realize could be wrong.  During these times I rely on my guiding values and purpose to point me in the right direction and trust that things will work out.

      Today was one of those days in which I had a few opportunities to either take the comfortable route or push myself to be better and do what I thought was right.  In each of those occasions I pushed (maybe goaded on a little by my blog about Dominic yesterday or my Memento Mori post last week).  For whatever reason, I took action and am so glad that I did.

      When I got home from a long but rewarding day of work I was greeted by this happy surprise…


      As I read it I just smiled and beamed.  While the note inside wasn’t at all related to the actions of the day, much of the note came as a result of taking similar actions in the past.  The funny thing was that the person who wrote this was also someone who helped inspire me to push myself in some of those uncomfortable times.

      It was a pretty awesome surprise, a little gift from the universe reminding me that I was on the right track.  For that reminder I am very thankful!


      Day 391 – Thankful for Dominic Not Being Afraid to Try Something Different

      This past spring Dominic surprised me a bit when he told me he had decided to do cross country instead of soccer in the fall.  Knowing how much he had enjoyed soccer I was pretty sure he would change his mind and go back to it before the season started.  He stuck with his initial thought and has enjoyed it ever since.

      It’s easy to see that he’s enjoying it and having a great time in his new sport.  The smile on his face and the way he talks about it tell the whole story quickly.  He’s done well and continued to improve.  Tonight was the last meet of the year for him and I was glad to be there to watch him finish it.


      When I was his age I was a little hesitant to try something new like switching sports.  Even through high school it wasn’t until my senior year that I changed up the sports that I played.  There was always a fear I had of trying something new and not doing well {not that I did exceedingly well in any of the sports I was already in 🙂 }.  My fear held me back then, and has held me back other times as well when I knew that I wanted to change but was afraid to do it.  Sure, there’ve been more and more times when I’ve taken the chance, but often that didn’t come until I was older.

      To see Dominic willing to change things up and try something different at his age makes me smile.  It’s awesome to see that he can make a change, keep a growth mindset, and try new things to find what brings him the most joy.  I’m super proud of him and it inspires me to not back down from any fears of change that I may have.

      Dominic Dude, you’ve inspired me yet again.  I still remember the conversation you and I had that moved me to trying out the Tough Mudder and getting over some of my fears to accomplish something that I wanted.  Thanks Stud – Love you tons!!!


      Day 390 – Thankful for Getting More Done Than Expected Today

      Each day when I work on my  workshop or any project there’s usually an amount that I’m expecting to get done based on how much time I have to work on it and how difficult I think it is going to be.

      Today I was working on insulating the floor of my workshop which is also the ceiling of the main floor of the garage.  Going into it I was hopeful to get about a third of the way done today.  When it was all said and done I finished up about three quarters of it!  Everything was moving quickly and going fairly well, there were minimal interruptions, and I had Becky there to help me out a couple of times.

      Gavin posing in front of the load of styrofoam and OSB from Menards yesterday.  I was going to post a picture of the insulation progress, but that’s pretty boring compared to this guy!

      Usually I bite off more than I can chew, today was one of those days in which everything worked out well, I got in the groove, and just kept humming along.  It was pretty awesome!


      Day 389 – Thankful for Another Successful Spook O Ree

      Day 389 – Thankful for Another  Successful Spook O Ree

      This year’s edition of Spook O Ree was pretty awesome!  Not only did we have perfect weather for all but 10 minutes of rain, but we also got to stay in the Staff’s cabins – they even had beds!

      Gavin and I had a blast hanging out with each other, going through the haunted house, playing gaga ball, shooting archery, going on the haunted hay ride (which had bus seats instead of hay bales this year!), and so many other scout related things.

      The part that I am the most thankful for though is the time spent with Gavin.  It was great to have some time to just the two of us mixed in with time with his scouting buddies.  It was nice having some chill time with my best-est buddy – Thanks Gavin!!!