Day 453 – Thankful for Learning to Enjoy a Lesson Learned Months Ago

Over six months ago I wrote about learning to let go of the wheel.  It was a few days after Dad’s stroke and before he’d passed (here’s a link to that blog if you’d like to go back to it).  That day I’d had a conversation with Pastor Glenn that I’ll hold near and dear to my heart for the remainder of my life.  I’d love to tell you that I’ve learned from the lesson and haven’t made the mistake of trying to force the wheel in a certain direction, but if I told you that it’d be a lie.  Rather, I’ve noticed that in the intermittent times that I take a deep breath and roll with the punches I tend to find much joy in the way things work out.  Today was one of those days.

Our plans for this morning changed last night.  After about two minutes of thought I had an idea pop into my brain that didn’t quite feel like it was my own (I know, it sounds crazy, but does that ever happen to you too?).  It wasn’t what I had initially planned, but as soon as the idea went into my brain I knew it was the right thing and I was smiling ear to ear the more I thought about it.

This morning I headed up to Phillips early in the morning on my own from Becky’s parents’ house.  The alone time in the car was more needed than I’d expected.  Driving solo gave me a chance to think about time with my dad.  I’ve been so busy with work and the holidays that I hadn’t really thought about this being my first Christmas without Dad.  Having time alone gave me time to think, remember, and talk with Dad.  That time in the car was more helpful than I ever would have expected and it never would’ve happened had I followed my initial plan.

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I was able to get to church before my Aunts Renee and Donna got to church and was able to talk with a couple of people before they got there (and also after church).  Once my aunts got there it felt so awesome to give them each a big hug and to spend time with them.  I am so thankful for that time that I had with each of them.  While I wasn’t with my dad, being there with his sisters helped me feel like I was.  One of the best parts of Christmas is time with family, and it was amazing to be there with them.

Pastor Glenn did a great job (as normal) with both his homily and his message for the kids.  I chuckled to myself as I quickly  realized his message…  sometimes we have to remember to let God’s will happen even though we don’t know why it’s happening and especially if it’s not what we wanted.  I’m starting to wonder if it’s by something a little more than just chance that I’ve heard that message from him multiple times…  giving him a big hug felt great, I’m so thankful for all of the help he was as I worked through dad’s passing.  He and his wife are family, I was thankful to spend time with them this summer!

By the time I was heading home my heart was so warmed, I felt great.  To keep with the family time theme I was able to talk with both my mom and brother for a little while on the drive.  It’ll be great to spend time with them in person in a couple of weeks, but in the meantime the phone call was perfect.

Back at Ken & Mary’s I was greeted with an already prepared hot lunch.  Afterwards we headed out to the woods on a handful of four wheelers to enjoy some family time outdoors.

None of this was scripted, the plan was supposed to be very different and I was very much looking forward to it.  When the new plan was shown to me I was nervous at first, but now as I look back I can’t imagine anything different.  The Big Guy Upstairs took the wheel today, and I’m glad he did.  He’s obviously a much better driver than I am. 🙂




Day 452 – Thankful for Sledding (Thums Style) & Enjoying the Winter Sunshine

Day 452 – Thankful for Sledding (Thums Style) & Enjoying the Winter Sunshine

When Nick and I were kids when we went sledding we would go to a hill.  We’d slide down for a few fleeting seconds and enjoy the rush and exhilaration of the ride, slow down, and then come to a stop.  Then we’d get up and start the seemingly endless climb back up to the top of the hill.  A few seconds of awesome followed by 5+ minutes of walking up a steep hill.  Even with that trade off it was well worth it.  If only there was another way…

Almost all of Becky’s siblings and our nieces and nephews came over to her mom and dad’s house for sledding this morning.  It was AWESOME!!!  Even though the weather was a little chilly the sun, heavy layers of winter clothes, and laughter kept us warm.  Whether we were being pulled, pulling others, standing around shooting the bull, or going for a walk, it just felt amazing to be outside to enjoy the fresh air, wintery smells, and sunshine.  Throw in all of the fun and laughter and it was pretty epic.

Here’s where it gets even better.  There really aren’t any hills by Ken & Mary’s house, so we improvise.  Who needs a hill when you have two four wheelers and a mule, plenty of sleds and saucers, and a lot of rope?  That’s right, we were pulling the kids (& each other) behind the four wheelers and having a ton of fun.  There was swerving, falling, dragging, and, most importantly, giggling happening constantly!  As time went on the sleds started to disintegrate a bit (pretty sure my body did a little too!).

As we started to wind down Becky and I laid down in a snowbank in the ditch, the shape was a perfect recliner.  The sky was perfectly clear and a beautiful shade of blue.  I just kept looking up and taking in the color of the sky contrasting with the branches and the pines, also taking in the smell of freshly cut logs blowing across the field.  It was one of those amazing moments of total relaxation.  In a way it kind of reminded me of yoga, starting and going hard for a while sledding and then having the cool down at the end to take it all in.  It was just so peaceful and made all the better by having Becky snuggled up next to me.

I had so much fun today sledding, it was like being a big kid.  Being outside and just playing felt so good.  No responsibility, no worries, just present in the moment chilling and having a blast.  What a perfect afternoon!


Day 451 – Thankful for Getting to Know Someone Better & Making Progress on a Goal

Today’s post is one that I’m not going to dive into in great detail for a couple of reasons, but that doesn’t take away from what I am thankful for today.

Earlier today I was able to meet up with someone that I’ve known for long time but haven’t really ever gotten to know.  That was remedied today and I’m thankful for getting to know them much better.  Spending time with the really helped me better understand where they were coming from and i now have a deeper appreciation for them.

To make our conversation even better we were working on a goal that I’ve had for a while now.  We were able to make some progress and prep some next steps.  There’s still  a good chunk of work to be done, but at least we’re moving in the right direction.

I am thankful for the time the two of us got to spend together.  It was great fellowship and felt wonderful working together towards a goal that’s close to both of us.


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!


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.


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.


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!


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!).


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.


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!