Day 579 – Thankful for Being Better Together Than Alone

On our drive up north early this morning I was listening to music while I was behind the wheel. With Becky reviewing an article for work and the boys reading books it was a nice chunk of quiet time. A rarity in recent weeks I savored having the time to be in my own world and lost in thought.

Enjoying the scenery I took in the beauty of the landscape and saw some cool things like a puffed up turkey strutting his stuff, a couple of sand hill cranes, and many other birds and small wildlife. While those things were stimulating my sense of sight I had some great music taking care of my ears, soothing my soul, and guiding my thoughts.

At one point the song “You’ve Got the Love” by Florence and the Machine came up and I was smiling from ear to ear. I couldn’t help but think of how it relates to how Becky helps keep me going through times like this when life is crazy busy and a bit on the stressful side. She has a way of reminding me to breathe while also reminding me of our long term goals and dreams. That really helps me to take a deep breath and then grit it out. With her help I know that I will be successful. Yes, I’m sure i would be on my own, but it’s way easier with two of us together.

Without quite realizing why at the moment I fired up “Something Just Like This” by The Chainsmokers and Coldplay. Listening to the lyrics I couldn’t help but smile. Sometimes I try too hard to accomplish everything, to get more done than I probably should. I try to be a superhero instead of being the normal dude that I am. I can get so focused on the goal that lose sight of everything except the the long list of tasks in front of me. Becky does a great job of helping me slow down to enjoy the ride. She reminds me to pause and enjoy the journey seemingly at just the right time instead of running head first into a buzzsaw of my own making. Being together with her reminds me to be me, to be present, and to enjoy the journey.

But she said, where’d you wanna go?

How much you wanna risk?

I’m not looking for somebody

With some superhuman gifts

Some superhero

Some fairytale bliss

Just something I can turn to

Somebody I can kiss

Once again without good reason or logic I switched to some Springsteen and ended up on “Working On a Dream.” It didn’t take me very long to figure this one out. The reason I’m willing to push as hard as I am is that we have some pretty awesome dreams to accomplish. I’ve got mine, Becky’s got hers, and we’ve got ours. The awesome thing is that they all line up pretty damn well. When I get frustrated and want to quit or half ass it she reminds me of those dreams – mine, hers, & ours. That remembered perspective helps me get into the right mood and reenergizes me to bust my butt working towards those dreams. Again, I’m sure I’d probably remember them if I were flying solo, but it’s so much better to have her here to remind me much more quickly and with a lot less pain and agony.

And in those songs was where today’s blog was spawned… life is just better with the two of us together. Being with her I’m more likely to be the best version of me that I can be. She helps me navigate the minefield of my mental and emotional roadblocks to let me focus on being more joyful. Becky helps as my coach, friend, drill sergeant, therapist, and cheerleader almost always exactly when I need help from one of those roles. She’s my personal superhero with a utility belt filled with everything I need to live a happier life.

With us together we lift each other up, push and challenge each other, heal each other, love each other, and be better than we would be apart. What an incredible gift! I’m so thankful that gift.


Day 578 – Thankful for the First Day of Soccer, a Great Father/Son Talk with Dominic, and Some More Baseball

Today there was no snow, no rain, and no flooded fields so we had SOCCER!!!  Gavin had the first couple of games he was able to play in this season and Dominic had a full day of refereeing that included five games.  It felt awesome to be back watching them play and ref while enjoying fresh air and sun.


At church tonight we found out that we are yet again having our priests re-assigned, we’re getting a temporary priest, and then eventually getting another priest.  When Dominic and I were driving home (Becky and Gavin drove separate due to soccer schedules and church commitments) he shared how frustrated he was with losing our priest yet again.  While I totally understand I figured this was a great time to help him understand a little bit about stoicism, letting go because we don’t know The Big Guy’s plan, and gratitude.

After he had a chance to express his frustration I shared that there is nothing we can do to impact this so we must accept it.  We then talked about how we don’t know God’s plan in its entirety and for all we know someone or several people need someone like Father Matt more than us at this moment and maybe we’ll have an even better one next time.  I then reminded him to be thankful for having had the opportunity to get to know Father Matt and Father Raj, they were both awesome and brought joy to our lives while they were with us.  We need to remember that and be thankful for that time and impact.  Once we’d covered all that he was feeling a lot better about it.  Hopefully bits of that conversation stick with him in life.

With a belly full of tacos I headed out to work on wiring the boat trailer.  While I focused on that and got more and more frustrated the boys were playing baseball in the park.  It took me a little bit, but I realized the right thing to do.  I said screw it to the trailer and was then off playing some ball with the boys.  That was probably where I should’ve been the whole time, but I was glad that I ended up there at least.  We had a great time, played until it was almost too dark to see the ball and then headed in.  It felt wonderful!

Rush, rush, rush today, but I’m thankful for the moments that brought me much joy today.  I’m exhausted but with happy memories in my head and heart.


Day 577 Thankful for 16 Successful, Fun Filled, and Joyful Years of Marriage

Day 577 Thankful for 16 Successful, Fun Filled, and Joyful Years of Marriage

On this day 16 years ago Becky and I exchanged “I Do’s.” It blows my mind to think that our marriage could now legally drive a car!

As I start thinking about all we’ve done during these sixteen years my mind is pretty much blown.

  • Had two wonderful boys who are now two thirds and halfway to being adults
  • Bought a house and paid it off
  • Finished a Masters and are working on a PhD (Becky took care of both of those!)
  • Became business owners and then multiple business owners
  • Have knocked out well over 20 National Parks together while traveling often
  • We’ve run a marathon together and have sick and twisted dates that involve running half marathons

And that’s just the start and what i could think of off the top of my head! There are so many other things we’ve been through together in the past sixteen years, but I think my favorites are the following:

  • Starting the day with a run with her in the morning
  • Giving her a hug and kiss and sharing an “I love you” every morning before we leave for work
  • Getting or sending a text halfway through the day asking about each other’s day
  • Giving her a hug and kiss and sharing an “I love you” every evening when we get back from work
  • Spending time together with the boys for dinner at the table
  • Snuggling up with her in bed before I go to sleep

Each of those moments happen almost daily and after approximately almost 6,000 days I still look forward to and enjoy every single one of those moments with her. How awesome is that and how lucky of a guy am I?

Thanks for sixteen successful, fun filled, and joyful years of marriage. I’m thankful because every day starts with you and the joy you bring into my life. Love you!


Day 576 – Thankful for Junk Mail and Ordering Out

Yessir, today I’m playing the role of kind of lazy dad…  kinda…  After a non-stop day of work I ran to school to pick up Gavin, ran home to grab Dominic, and then we were off to get haircuts.  At one point as I was trying to herd the boys towards the car the boys weren’t moving very fast, the dogs were begging for attention, the home phone was ringing and Becky was talking me through where the Chicken Que tickets that I needed to take with me were…  ARGH!!!

Once we finally got headed out I decided to grab the mail on our way out.  At that moment the clouds parted, the sun shined down, and I heard a choir of angels…  This was in the mailbox:

Yes!!!  This was perfectly timed!  Usually throw this into the recycling pile without a second thought along with the other garbage.  Tonight this was a wonderful note from The Big Guy Upstairs saying, “dude, nothing will cheer you up like not cooking and ordering takeout ‘za and wings for you and the boys.”  Who am I to argue with that logic?

So as Dominic is finishing up his haircut right now some amazing people are prepping a delicious meal that will only exist in our house for a few fleeting moments.  Ahh…  my mouth is already watering and my stress level has gone down.  I know, this may be some sign of a weird addiction, but I really odn’t care at this moment.  I’m just thankful for the junk mail and ordering out tonight!


Day 575 – Thankful for the Ability and Tools Needed to Fit It All In

Becky normally does more than her share of Uber-ing the boys from event to event. Tonight was very different as a few things happened at once… She had a work event this evening. Gavin and Dominic both had a full slate of events located across the town and at different times. I am swamped and needed to get a lot of work done tonight sszso I’m ready for tomorrow.

As I headed off to drop Gavin off at soccer I called my mom for a quick pep talk. I knew she’d been here before and she always cheers me up when I’m feeling frazzled like this. Just like always I ways laughing as we got off the phone and it was off to the races.

I headed home and was able to crank out some emails before taking Dominic to Subway for supper before picking up Gavin. He and I spent some quality time talking in the car as we waited for Gavin’s practice to conclude.

Once Gavin was loaded up we headed across town to take Dominic to church. Afterwards Gavin and I grabbed supper (somehow he also chose Subway!) and we had funny talking and joking while we ate. There may have been Dunkin Donuts run after dinner 😉.

Gavin and I headed back to the church, parked, switched seats, and I fired up my laptop to start getting caught up as Gavin read.

It was about that time that the inspiration for today’s post struck me. How cool is it that my career choice allows me the flexibility to work like this? Sure, I’d already gotten in a full day of work and then some, but being able to get things done around the other life events is something I’m very thankful for. I didn’t have to run into the office after the kids were in bed and I didn’t have to lay sleepless in bed stressing about tomorrow. I have the ability and tools around me to accomplish the AND – be successful in work AND as a dad.


Day 574 – Thankful for Playing Baseball Outside Until Mom Called Us In Because It Was Getting Dark

The boys never really got into baseball because they jumped into other sports instead. Imagine my surprise tonight when seemingly out of nowhere Gavin asked if I’d pitch him a few balls in the park.

No pics of us playing, we were too busy to pause for pictures ;)

Next thing we knew the boys and I were playing baseball barefoot in the park across the street. We were all laughing at how terrible each of us are at it, but that only added to our fun. Lots of laughing, smiling, taunting, and cheering each other on was happening as we threw pitches to each other. It was awesome!

We could’ve stayed out there all night, but Becky knew better and called us in when it was getting dark out. Of course we only stayed out for another 10-15 minutes afterwards 😉.

I’m not sure where this came from, but I’m thankful for Gavin’s sudden impulse to play baseball. Tonight was one of those crazy moments in which I was simultaneously totally present with the boys goofing around with them while also being flooded with memories of playing baseball with my dad and brother when I was a kid. There’s not a better way to explain it than this, it was a moment in which I was a kid and an adult, a father and a son, having fun playing an ageless game in a place where time doesn’t exist. How awesome is that for a way to wrap up a night?


Day 573 – Thankful for Another First, Dominic’s Track Meet

Tonight was Dominic’s first middle school track meet. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever been to a track meet of any sort ever in my life. Seeing him compete was pretty cool, kind of like a cross country meet except on a paved oval.

Watching him run the 1600 was pretty sweet. He burned through four laps way more quickly than I would have! Before too long he’ll be running the 4×400 relay.

The kid never ceases to amaze me with his willingness to try new things! This was another one of those proud parent moments when I caught myself just sitting back and watching him with pride as he took on a new challenge.


Day 572 – Thankful for Realizing Dominic is a Better Cook Than I Am and a Project the Boys Worked On That Has Me Smiling Big

Day 572 – Thankful for Realizing Dominic is a Better Cook Than I Am and a Project the Boys Worked On That Has Me Smiling Big

Let’s just say that one of our meals today was FANTASTIC and the other was a dumpster fire…  maybe more of a grease fire…

Which of these meals would you rather have had today?  Dominic’s homemade chicken noodle soup with bread pudding and peaches for dessert…  or…


my pathetic attempt at bacon wrapped stuffed chicken breasts on the grill?


Tough call, right?  Thank goodness I still had time to run to Festival, grab some burgers and save a little face.  Regardless, Dominic’s meal was awesome and way outshined my attempt.  Pretty cool knowing we have an in-house cook!

Throughout the afternoon the boys were working on a very cool project that was straight out of a list of things I always wanted to do when I was a kid but didn’t.  They took an old battery operated car that they were both way to big for, stripped it down, and started re-building it with some modifications.  By the end of the night they’d gotten the frame together and were able to go for a test run!  The next steps for this include putting the steering wheel back in, adding a bit of a floor, and possibly asking for some advice on what would happen if we went with a slightly (or much) larger battery…  Who knows, there may be a hand controlled accelerator…  So many options, so little time!

I’ve been thankful for each step in the process.  They took it apart slowly as to not damage anything.  As they pulled it apart they’ve been able to learn some mechanical basics that should help power future inventions for them.  We even had some time to work on being a team and taking a deep breath when something wasn’t going well.  All in all, it was a pretty sweet precursor to a dream on my list…  building a car with the boys.  This was an excellent first step.


Day 571 – Thankful for a Dad Time Capsule

This morning we went through a couple of storage bins of Dad’s old stuff and it was an amazing time.  Saved in those bins were some of his hunting stuff, piles of old pics, and even some of his old report cards and yearbooks!


Going through all of that brought back so many wonderful memories of time with Dad.  For instance, seeing a couple of safety harnesses reminded me of the time the two of us went to a hunting convention and had a great day together.  The old GPS and maps of his elk hunting spot in Colorado reminded me of the hunting trip I went with him on.  So many old pictures reminded me of other moments with him and of other stories he’d told me over the years.  It was an amazing time capsule of Dad.  Being able to share that time with my family made it all the better.

Over the next few weeks I’ve got quite the task in front of me, scanning many old pictures, newspaper clippings, and so on into an electronic format.  While that task may seem a little daunting I know I’ll be smiling the entire time.  How cool to be able to spend that much tie going through so many wonderful memories of my dad?


Day 570 – Thankful for an Awesome Teammate Who Made an Incredible Impact

Today is Carolyn’s last day with Express as next week she starts a new chapter and adventure in her life.  She will be greatly missed by many including her teammates, clients and associates.  As that reality sinks in today I find myself pausing to be so thankful for the time she’s spent with us over the past 3 years.

Express Services 440-X3

When Carolyn started with us she was in a temporary role right after college.  She quickly showed us how talented she was and we moved her to our long term team.  After showing us even more of how she fits the values and culture we were building she was promoted to a sales role within our Eau Claire team.  Based on her performance and her quickly increasing leadership skills she was again promoted to manage our Menomonie team.

The office she took over was far from healthy yet she took on the challenge with a smile.  Working through all of the challenges and obstacles she built a core team who have continued to grow and flourish with her leadership and support.  That office has since become one of the strongest and consistently healthiest teams in our group.  Even now that team is poised to grow exponentially in many ways and continues to become stronger.

Did I mention that she did all that before 25?  So how did Carolyn do it?  She lives and embodies our values.

She is constantly learning and growing and lives the Growth Mindset.  Carolyn wasn’t afraid to try new things or to do things differently as she would learn from every experience.  If there was a training opportunity she was on it right away.

There were so many times in her career with Express in which Carolyn stretched way outside of her comfort zone to Grit something out knowing that it would lead to the long term successes and goals she had.  When others may have become afraid or nervous and quit Carolyn persevered and made awesome things happen.

Whenever a decision was made we could always count on Carolyn to Do Right.  This meant that she would take the time to make sure she was doing the right thing for our associates, clients, and team.  It’s not always easy to do the right thing, but she did, time after time after time.  She has an incredible moral compass.

So while of course I’m sad that our paths are splitting for now I can’t help but smile and beam with pride and gratitude for the time we’ve had together.  Because of Carolyn all of my teams are stronger.  Because of her help I’ve become a better leader.  Thanks to her leadership and coaching so many others have grown in their careers and are on a faster track thanks to her help, leadership, and inspiration.  We’ve got strong and sustainable relationships with more of our clients thanks to her.  As I look around our teams she’s had a positive impact on all of us, directly or indirectly.  How could I not be thankful for that?

Carolyn, thank you so much for sharing your time with us over the past handful of years.  Your impact will be felt throughout our teams for ages.  Thank you for pushing me to dream bigger and for the hugely powerful impact you’ve had no me!