Day 450 – Thankful for a Great Day & Bell Ringing with Scouts

At one point when I started this blog I had a fear lingering in the back of my brain…  Will I find enough to write about to be thankful for something every single day?  Now, 800 plus days later, I chuckle as the fear I have is, “How do I include all of the things I’m thankful for everyday?  There’s almost too many to count!”  Gratitude is funny like that, as soon as I started actively seeking it out a whole new world of things to be thankful for have opened up to me!

Today was another great example of that in action.  Spending time with Becky on an early morning run and enjoying the alone time and conversation with her.  Having a very productive day at work when everything just clicked.  Little surprises around seemingly every corner.  An awesome text of appreciation that made me smile huge.  The power of focus and clarity to work towards goals.  Fun conversations with friends and team members.  So much to be thankful for today, I appreciated each of those moments.

IMG_3132 What also put a huge smile on my face was ringing bells with the Cub Scouts tonight.  They were energetic, full of life, and singing Christmas carols loud and boisterously!  It was so much fun watching them enjoy the spirit of Christmas and bringing smiles to the faces of many.

For a brief moment Gavin was going out of his way to wish every single passerby either a “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays.”  Catching many of them completely off guard it was great watching their reaction go from being surprised to growing a huge smile and wishing him a “Merry Christmas” back.  I don’t think he realized what he was actually doing, but he was putting a smile on almost every face that was about to walk by with either a frown or a look of complacency.  It was so cool how they lit right up as he would say it and it inspired me to do the same several times throughout the night.  As per the norm with Gavin this didn’t last long and he was off to the next thing, but the way he put smiles on so many faces warmed my soul.

Today was awesome and the bell ringing was the icing on cake.  Gavin, thanks for reminding me of what the Christmas spirit is really all about.  Love you Bud!

Thanks!!!

Day 449 – Thankful for A Day That Kept Me Changing My Mind

Today’s post was in the bag when I was driving to work.  I looked back in my rearview mirror and saw a stunning sunrise.  It was a deep red, lit up the entire Mississippi Valley, and there was a beam of light going straight up heralding the rising sun.  There wasn’t a good place to get a picture of it in its prime while I drove, but I finally pulled over and took the best shot I could get.  Continuing the drive I was already mentally starting my blog post for the day.

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When I got to the office I was welcomed with a bit of a surprise that I was very thankful for also.  It was one of those things that I’d rather not get into, but I started scripting out how I’d write today’s blog post about it without saying anything about it.

Later in the day I was struck by just how fortunate I was to have had the mentors I’ve had in my career.  They took a flier on me almost 18 years ago and I’m so thankful for where that opportunity they’ve provided has taken me.  Again, I started writing my new post in my head.

There was a great conversation with a teammate that left me smiling from ear to ear.  Our conversation left me energized, uplifted, and ready to take on the world!  It was one of those conversations that reminded me why I enjoy doing what I do so much and the opportunity I have to do that.  Now my brain started to short circuit a little bit due to overload and I was left re-writing the post yet again.

During the course of the day I got an awesome Christmas card that reminded me that I had some old photos to scan and then return.  In the chaos of life I’d forgotten to finish that project up so I fired up my scanner tonight and went to town.  Going through those old family photos put a huge smile on my face.  Thinking back to memories of my grandparents’ 50th wedding anniversary, seeing old pics of my parents, and even pictures from Christmas of 1987 (I still have the Guinness Book of World Records from that Christmas!).  My heart was warmed going through those old photos and I again changed blog lanes and embarked on a new route.

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And that’s when it hit me…  What I was most thankful for was the fact that there were so many blessings in my life that I continued to change my mind about what I was going to blog about.  In each case I was taking in time to think about what I was thankful for and why and then starting to script it into a blog.  And in every single one of those moments I smiled and felt great joy.

Today was awesome, and I’m thankful for how many times I had to mentally write and re-write my blog, it felt great!

Thanks!!!

Day 448 – Thankful for Pixels, a Movie that Bridges Generations :)

Tonight while Becky was at yoga the boys and I decided to chill and watch a movie.  After a bit of debate we decided to watch Pixels, Gavin’s current favorite movie ever (give it about 2 months and it’s sure to be different!).

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As we were watching it I couldn’t help but chuckle at all the 80’s references.  When I’d laugh the boys would ask why and we’d pause the movie and I’d explain.  At one point the movie mentions “the Where’s the Beef Lady,” and the boys were laughing when I pulled up the old Wendy’s commercial on YouTube.

It is a totally dorky and nerdy movie, but one that I can really appreciate as a child of the ’80’s.  I still remember watching my dad play Donkey Kong while we waited for a table at Skyline in Phillips.  There were many times when I’d argue with my parents for more video game time explaining the benefits of playing video games (problem solving, eye hand coordination, etc…).  Many of my favorite games are the oldies that were showcased in the movie, back when there were only one or two buttons and a joystick or directional pad on the controller…  Ahh…  A simpler time…  the good ‘ole days…

Tonight the three of us chilled and enjoyed a movie together and I really enjoyed the opportunity to share some of the funny memories of my childhood with the boys.

Thanks!!!

Day 447 – Thankful for Not Getting Sick Often and for Becky & Neal Tagging In for Me

Last night I awoke to the awful stomach gurgle that heralds upcoming flu like symptoms… today was the first time in a long while that I called in sick to work. Between sleeping & rehydrating I’m working on getting back at it tomorrow.

There are a couple of things I’m very thankful for today. First off, I don’t get sick very often and I’m very grateful for that! Second, Becky and Neal tagged in for me for our den meeting tonight. Had they not jumped in this one would’ve been cancelled, but instead I can hear all the boys (& adults) having fun honing their fire making skills! I know the boys all really appreciate it!

Thanks!!!

Day 446 – Thankful for Enjoying a Productive Day

Today’s been a lot of fun.  There hasn’t been much for just chilling, but I thoroughly enjoyed all of it.

After getting moving this morning (and maybe having a gingerbread cookie or two for breakfast) I sat at the desk, fired up my computer and knocked out some things I needed to get done for work.  I took a break to pick up Gavin from Sunday school and then played a game with the boys before lunch.  Afterwards I wrapped up my work stuff with the Packer game providing background noise.

Moving from work to work around the house I kept right on going.  First I fixed a problematic door, and then I got our snowblower fired up and ready for the year.  Finally I went up in my workshop and finished insulating one of the last two walls.  Just as I finished putting in the last screws I realized it was time to pick up Dominic from Boy Scouts so I pause to get him and then went back to the workshop to start moving things around so I can start tackling the next wall.  When the dinner bell rang (Gavin came to get Dominic and I) I shut is all of and headed inside.

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Nice to have one more wall done, only one to go!  It will also be nice to trim it all out and paint it, but for now I just need to focus on getting it insulated. 

What I am thankful for today is that it was a very productive day and I enjoyed everything that I worked on.  The feeling of getting things done feels great, whether it was for work or home, it didn’t matter.

Sometimes I find myself feeling like certain things are starting to become a grind.  When that happens I feel trapped, like I have to do them because I don’t have a choice.  Today I saw each as an opportunity to get them done and it felt wonderful.  I’m thankful for that appreciation of being successful today, I’ll keep this in mind the next time I catch myself feeling wore down to help me remember to enjoy the work.

Thanks!!!

Day 445 – Thankful for Seeing My Boys’ Project Creativity In Action

Day 445 – Thankful for Seeing My Boys’ Project Creativity In Action

For a few hours today the boys joined me in the workshop while I was insulating.  I was able to get the majority of one of the last walls finished up.  As I was putting in insulation and cutting the OSB to size the boys were working on projects that they had thought up.  Outside of a couple of cuts with the saw they worked on their own, but we all worked together.

It was so cool seeing what they’d both decided to do.  Gavin grabbed his pocket knife and started whittling up a boat (specifically a catamaran) for a couple of his Lego guys.  Dominic saw a project in passing in his Tech Ed class and thought it’d be fun to work on.  With that quick visual from a few days ago he went to town finding the materials he needed and made an awesome basketball game!

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I am so thankful for their creativity!  It was awesome seeing them use their imaginations and memories to make something without direction.  Neither of them drew it up first, they just started working.  In the case of both boys there were several mistakes, but in each and every case they shrugged it off, learned from it, and tried something a little different.  Their growth mindset was absolutely glowing today, I was so proud of them!

In addition there were some pretty memorable moments for each of us.  Dominic was able to use the compound mitre saw by himself (with my supervision) on several cuts.  In one case I tried cutting something that was a little too small and the saw grabbed it and shot it at the wall.  Dominic and I talked about what had happened and what went wrong.  Once we’d covered how we wouldn’t let that happen again he said, “I’d bet that Grandpa Pete is laughing at us and calling us a couple of dumb A’s right now!”  Yes he was Bud, yes he was.

There was one casualty as Gavin’s carving stopped with a relatively quiet, “Ow…”  About a minute later I heard a “hey Dad, I think I need a bandaid.”  There may be a few drops of blood that lead the trail back into the bathroom now, but it turned out to not be anything too serious.  He got himself good, but he never complained, cried, said it hurt or anything like that.  As soon as we got him cleaned up he was right back to whittling.

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This afternoon’s activity with the boys made me really appreciate their creativity.  Once my workshop is finished I have a feeling there will be many afternoons like this.  Maybe we’ll work on one project together or maybe we’ll all work on our own again.  Either way, I’m looking forward to seeing how many cool ideas they come up with in the future!  I’m even more excited to teach them more shop skills so they can turn their wildest ideas into reality.

Thanks!!!

Day 444 – Thankful for a Christmas Filled Evening with My Family

Tonight’s been very awesome so far and it’s not over yet!

After work we headed out for a quick soup and sandwich supper downtown. Right after that we headed out to walk through the La Crosse Rotary Lights, one of our family Christmas traditions.

Seeing as we were ahead of schedule for the main event of the night we even went across the bridge and got a full view of the lights from across the river.

After taking in the lights from a new angle we still had extra time so we decided to warm up the best way possible… with ice cream at The Pearl!

Now that we’re stuffed with ice creamy goodness we’re chilling at the La Crosse Community Theater getting ready to watch A Christmas Story Live.

The night’s over and it’s already been fun just spending time with my family doing some of our normal Christmas traditions and a few new ones. Nights like this with my family get me in the Christmas spirit, and I’m so thankful for the awesome night we’ve already had. Who needs presenters and gifts when you have time like this with family.

Thanks!!!

Day 443 – Thankful for Being Thankful Often Today

Today’s been a pretty jam packed day, but one in which I was pausing to be thankful for so many moments throughout it.  There were a couple of things I’d focus on individually, but when I when I think about it there’s too much that would be missed, too many relevant moments would be neglected.  With that being the case, here’s a rough list of many of the moments I was thankful for today:

  • Thankful for Becky’s resolve.  When I woke up and drug myself out of bed to get ready to go into work early she was already in the middle of a workout.  Her determination motivates me greatly.
  • Thankful for driving without any radio, audiobooks, or calls, just driving in silence.  With my goal met for books read this year I paused everything and enjoyed nothing but the present and my own thoughts while I drove to Eau Claire.  It was so peaceful and let to many interesting thoughts…
  • Thankful for spending a lot of time thinking about my dad and the lessons he’s taught me, even since he’s been gone.  My book is nearing the halfway point in one way, and is ready to expand in another.  As I took time to think more about it I’ve started peeling apart all of the lessons I’ve learned from losing him.  This will definitely be a key component as one of the biggest reasons for writing it is to pass my thoughts and feelings on to my sons.
  • Thankful for that awesome level of sunlight on a cloudy morning in winter time as the sun is coming up when almost everything except street signs and cars ahead of me appear to be black and white.  It’s like the whole world has been stripped of color except for a couple of small pieces which jump off the canvas.  It was beautiful this morning.
  • Thankful for meeting up with my friend, Harvey Homsey.  Harvey is the VP of Operations for Express and was in town to visit a couple of our offices to see how we were doing, help us find ways to improve, and to congratulate the teams for their improved performance.  I’ll follow up with the work related thankfulness in a moment, this is focused on the time with my friend.  While we covered a lot of business we also spent time talking family, values, faith, and being a dad.  I can’t even begin to put into words how happy my heart was today as we talked.  Harvey lost his father about 10 years ago and was very open to sharing his emotions and experience, I am so grateful for it.  As luck would have it we even got a little bonus time at the end of the day and I was thankful to have more time to talk.  While I’ve known him for many years I felt like I actually got to know him today, and I am so very thankful for that.
  • Thankful for the grit and growth mindset of my teams.  Over the past few months we’ve been focused on changing a couple of processes within our interview process. Change is usually difficult, but my teams took on the challenge and today was the cream on top!  As Harvey was able to spend time with the team he had so many positive things to say about their performance and it was so awesome to see their expressions when he said them.  I’m so proud of their growth mindset and grit, they are a special group!
  • Thankful for Becky taking care of Gavin.  During the day Becky let me know that she had to pick up Gavin because he wasn’t feeling well at school.  She also later told me that she had run to school earlier to drop off his violin.  I’m grateful for her saving the day!
  • Thankful for getting a weekend set up to meet with my friends.  Life gets busy and sometimes it’s tough to find a time for three of my best friends and I to get together at once.  Today we got a date on the calendar!
  • Thankful for talking with my mom on the phone.  It felt great to shoot the bull with my mom while I was driving home.  Quite honestly, there wasn’t any crazy deep dialog or anything, but it just felt great to hear her voice and spend time with her on the phone.  After a long day of work it was just what the doctor ordered and I’m glad we were able to talk.
  • Thankful for an eight minute detour.  Due to a slight change in plans I went home a slightly different way than normal.  With that being the case I quit listening to Siri’s directions and took a little detour…  right into Ellsworth, WI for some amazing cheese curds.  They were warm and squeaky, little bites of dairy perfection!IMG_3055
  • Thankful for Becky and the boys understanding that sometimes I have to work late.  This could be a weekly blog post if I said it every time that I felt it.  I am so thankful and fortunate to have a family that understands that sometimes my work schedule gets a little crazy.  Knowing that as long as i keep it in check to a certain point they’ll be there to support me is so helpful and keeps me motivated.
  • Thankful for being thankful.  As I type this I am smiling from ear to ear.  Spending time in thought thinking about all of the wonderful things in my day leaves me in a wonderful mood as I am about to go to bed.  I’m exhausted and have another early morning ahead of me, but I couldn’t be more full of joy.

Thanks!!!

Day 442 – Thankful for My Favorite Comfy Sweatshirt

On a cold day like this is there anything more comfortable than a well broken in sweatshirt?  My favorite sweatshirt has been around for over a decade now.  I came across old pictures of it’s matching twin, Becky’s, from our vacation back in 2007.  Sometime before 2007 our friend Courtney gave us the two matching Wisconsin sweatshirts.

When I was on my run this morning…  Full disclosure, while I was walking for a little while, Becky was running ahead of me…  I realized just how warm I was even though it was cold and windy.  The biggest reason was that I had my favorite sweatshirt on the very top layer.  I smiled and then thought for a while about that sweatshirt, how many of my life’s experiences have been shared with it, and how much happiness it has brought me over the years. It’s kind of crazy, but I’m very thankful for this slowly fraying sweatshirt.

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As I go through old pictures it’s surprising to see just how many moments it has been around for…

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On warmer winter days it’s all I need for a jacket…

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Every time I put this sweatshirt on it comforts me and relaxes me. I associate it with all the things I do with my family, from traveling to running to working in my shop to snuggling on the couch with Becky and the boys. When I put this on it’s a sign to chill out, everything’s going to be okay. At the end of the night it reminds me that it’s time to wind down and chill.

While to the unknowing eye it may look like a slowly fraying sweatshirt, to me it’s a symbol of relaxation, time with family, comfort, and a reminder of many memories… and today I’m very thankful for it.

Thanks!!!

Day 441 – Thankful for Still Feeling the Rush of an Excellent Client Meeting Even After 18 Years

This afternoon I went on a client meeting with Carolyn in our Menomonie office.  The appointment was with a current client that is poised for a huge 2018.  We’d spent many hours preparing for this meeting as we were introducing several new staffing ideas to help them increase candidate flow, reduce absenteeism and turnover, and increase their profitability.

As the meeting rolled on it was AWESOME!!!  We talked about the strategies we were proposing and many more.  Each new portion of conversations led to another insight for the client and another discussion.  The talks went from solutions to trends to very outside the box solutions.  After almost two hours we were able to wrap everything back up into next steps and said our good byes.

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Carolyn started to debrief on our way back to the car and I had to pause for a second.  “I’m so stoked, that was awesome!”  After taking a moment to take in the feeling, the rush of a successful meeting, we got back to business.

On the ride home I just kept smiling.  The appointment went fantastic, we lived our vision while meeting with that client.  Strategies were shared, plans were made, and it felt awesome.  We were a part of the solution, one that will benefit our client, our associates, and our team.  It felt awesome!

Thanks!!!