Day 476 – Thankful for a Day of Total Chillaxin’

Today has been so awesome! No agenda, no structure, and no stress. It’s been a day of total chillaxin’!

Becky and I woke up when we were ready, no alarm clocks needed. We knocked out a nice run and had fun talking with each. Breakfast was ready shortly after getting out of the shower. From there I spent time sitting out and soaking in sun while reading the new Dan Brown book, one of the first fictions I’ve read in a while. After a while we went to the beach and soaked up sun and snorkeled. At one point someone needed to head back to our place so I had them drop me off along the way and I enjoyed a quiet lunch by myself. More snorkeling and reading followed. When we got back I hopped in the shower and this was my view:

A shower beer with the ocean in the distance… ahh… pure chillaxin’ bliss!

While there have been many things I am thankful for today (a vacation run with Becky, hanging with friends, seeing a stingray, and a great book) when I look at the day in its totality the overall theme is chillaxin’. Usually my time away from work is busy and a preplanned thrill ride, but today has been totally different… and it has felt glorious!!!



Day 475 – Thankful for Someone Else Putting Words to My Thoughts & Feelings

While working on my book this past weekend I was writing about how some people have thanked me for my blog.  Throughout the past couple of years several people have said that my blogged had helped to put into words something that they were feeling.  When I hear those comments it’s incredibly rewarding and makes me smile.  The funny thing is, there are so many more times when someone else helps me put words to my feelings and thoughts.  Today was one of those times in which I was able to draw from someone else’s words to help me say what I’ve been thinking and feeling for a while.

As I’ve blogged about in the past there’ve been more than a few times in which I’ve spent time walking around a cemetery thinking about death.  Never in a dark and depressing way, but in a way that helps me focus on enjoying my life more, remembering that my time is finite and to get as much of it as possible.

There was a song stuck in my head today by the Strumbellas.  The title of the album it is on, the picture on the album, and the lyrics were all of interest in me so I hopped online to learn more.  What I found was a quote from Simon Ward, their lead singer.

“I know it’s totally morbid and dark, but I honestly don’t see it as a dark and morbid thing! When I think of it, I’m not sad. It’s not a sadness thing. It’s a fascination thing. I don’t glum about like, ‘Oh, I can’t believe I’m going to die.’ More like, ‘Wow, this takes a big pressure off my life!’ ’Cause like, it’s not like we’re going to last forever, so just enjoy this life I have. It’s totally a positive outlook on death. It’s not like a sad, glum outlook.” – Simon Ward

He nailed it!  That’s exactly the feeling I was talking about.  It’s not ‘glum’ it’s more of a ‘positive outlook.’  Spending time in thought about death, remembering that one day I will die, reminds me to spend time doing the things I enjoy with the ones I love.  My time is limited, I want to make the most of it.  To quote one of their songs, “No I don’t want a never ending life, I just want to be alive while I’m here.”

With that thought in mind today I’ve taken time to make sure I’m enjoying every minute of the day.  I’m so thankful today for someone else putting my feelings into words today, it has brought me more joy.



Day 474 – Thankful for a College Sunday Afternoon

Today’s been a lot of fun for many reasons, but one that sticks out is something that Katie mentioned that helped me connect how I was feeling today.  “It feels like a college Sunday.”  As soon as she said it my mind immediately connected today to so many great Sundays back in the dorms…

The morning started with sleeping in and then waking up to no agenda.  Becky and I chilled out and read after getting moving.  No business books or biographies here, I dove right into the new Dan Brown book, Origins.  After awhile we meandered to the dining room and ate a delicious breakfast.  Back out came the books and more chillaxin’.  Eventually we decided to go for a hike, had a great time and then went exploring.  Sometime after 3pm we had lunch, no agenda pushing us to eat at a specific time.  Everyone else got back and we fired up the football game and started pouring some drinks.  Now we’re just shooting the bull and having a great time.


It really feels like a typical college Sunday afternoon.  No stress, no worries, no responsibilities, and no agenda.  Just chilling with friends and having a great time with friends…  and it feels AWESOME!!!


Day 473 – Thankful for Reading Becky’s Most Recent Published Paper

A couple of days ago Becky sent me the published copy of her most recently published paper (the next one is getting closer to completion 😁). Not gonna lie, there are occasionally times when I’m a little nervous to read what she’s written. She’s crazy smart and an expert at what she does, I worry about whether or not I’ll be able to understand it and get the gist of what she’s talking about. Today I took a deep breath and started reading.

uess what… it was awesome! Sure, it's very technical, but it was written in a way that I could get it. As I read it I interrupted her regularly with questions. I wanted to make sure I was tracking with her thinking and not jumping to the wrong connections. How cool is it to have the author of something you're reading sitting next to you?

While reading it there were several things that I'm thankful for. The day is only partially over, but based on the sheer volume of all the ways I'm thankful for it only seems appropriate to write now and capture them all.

First off, I am thankful for all the ways I can apply the ideas from her paper to life and work. She covers resilience, strategic planning and execution, all things with use outside of aquatic biology.

The next thing that struck me was how motivated I was to fire up my computer and start working on my book again. Seeing the great work with the written word inspired me to do the same. Sure, the style and content are very different, but conceptually writing is writing, right?

As Becky's been working on her PhD she's been keeping me updated on what she's been working on. I'm more of a visual person and sometimes I need to see things to understand them better. I've understood parts of what she was saying, but it wasn't until I read the paper that I really "got it." Now when she fills me in I have a much better understanding and I'll be able to put it into context. This will mean better conversations and more fun when we discuss her work.

Last, I'm always proud of her and know that she's awesome, but this helped me see her in a slightly different way. Holy crap, she's pretty damn smart and is finding ways to help the environment in some cool and innovative ways. I'm used to her being more detailed, but in this paper I was able to see her big picture thought process and it was AWESOME! She's finding ways to pull several seemingly separate things into one common focus. Throw in how she balances that with the detail to back up her thinking and I'm nothing short of impressed and so incredibly proud of her.

Becky's a pretty big deal. I already knew that, but it turns out she's even a bigger deal than I'd thought. Reading her paper was a pretty awesome way to get to know the person I know better than anyone else I know a little better.

Love you Becky!!!


Day 472 – Thankful for Sneaking In a Couple of Games of Boss Monster with the Boys

Quite often it’s easy to get caught in the rush of daily life and all of its demands. If I don’t pay attention the time flies by in a flurry of activity. Sometimes it’s so task driven that I forget to take time to enjoy some of the most important things in my life, like time with my family.

Last year and a couple of days ago I was thankful for “Stopping to Remember Why I’m Blogging.” Gavin wanted to play a game but I was too busy blogging and said no. After pausing at how foolish I was being I relented. We played some epic games of King Kong and enjoyed every moment of it.

While getting a lot done and checking things off my task list today my brain wandered back to that blog post. I paused, smiled, and then was present where I was supposed to be.

The boys and I busted out a couple of games of Boss Monster and had a BLAST!!! It was such a great time joking, playing, laughing, and enjoying each other’s company. That time with them reminded me of why I work as hard as I do, why I push myself like I do, and why I value what I do. Playing with them was about as rewarding of a feeling as I could’ve had today, and I’m so appreciative of moments like this.


Day 471 – Thankful for Running When the Running Was Good

This morning Becky woke me up a little earlier than normal so we could get our run in before the rain was supposed to start falling.  We got the girls ready and headed out into the dark.  The temp was the warmest we’ve run in for quite a while, just a shade under 40.  There was a gentle breeze drifting across the road as we started off.  At one point Becky mentioned how much it felt and and smelled like a fresh spring morning in March.  The run was warm, relaxing, and felt wonderful.

While getting ready for work the rain started to fall…

As I drove to Winona the temperature dropped by 12 degrees…

When I got out of the car at the office the wind was blowing so hard it took my breath away…

At one point it was snowing so hard that it was pretty much a whiteout…

And the weather never got better throughout the evening.

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Today I am thankful for running when the running is good, it felt awesome!


Day 470 – Thankful for Reading Biographies

A while back several of us were having a conversation with Bill Stoller, one of the founders of Express Employment Professionals.  The discussion shifted to what books we’ve read recently and Bill shared that he only read business books and biographies.  As someone who used to ferociously consume fictions only I thought that seemed a little odd.  Biographies?  Yuck!  Wasn’t that like a history book?  Those were not on the top of my reading list.

Fast forward to the present.  After reading the autobiographies of Bruce Springsteen and George W. Bush and the biographies of Steve Jobs, George H.W. Bush, and Albert Einstein I’m starting to get hooked!


I’m a little over two thirds through Einstein and I’m totally mesmerized.  It’s been so intriguing on many levels for me to pick up on.

Learning about his schooling was a bit mind blowing to me.  They would develop a hypothesis and then be sent out into the wilderness to find an example that either proved or disproved it and then use that as the learning session.  How awesome is that – using nature as a classroom and leaving kids up to finding meaning in a different way.

I had no idea of the way some society worked back in his time.  Learning about his family life was crazy.  Did you know that he had a contract with his wife relating to when she could and could not speak with him?

Sure, everyone knows he’s a genius, but it has been so cool to see how he envisioned his ideas and tied them to examples that could be better understood in real life.  I really wasn’t sure what the theory of relativity was all about, but his example of people watching a lightning strike on a hill from a moving train really helped me see it.

Learning about his shortcomings have also been very enlightening.  The things that helped him become the genius figure that he is were often tied to his compete disregard for authority and status quo.  Interestingly enough, later in his life he became the authority and status quo that he had rebelled against!

After wondering what Bill was thinking, I now totally get it.  Learning from these historic figures has been a great way to view things from new perspectives, learn from the successes and failures of incredible thinkers, and see them as a little more human…  and that’s something I can really appreciate.