Day 732 – Thankful for Impactful Stories

At Sales Summit for Express today I was blessed to hear incredibly impactful story from one of Express cohorts. To wrap up the training we had a speaker share some of their stories. In the cases of both I was very moved. Their stories were so different on so many levels, yet they had so much in common.

One’s message was focused on “what am I afraid of?” More specifically, what am I afraid to do or become. Why do I hold on to those fears when I trust The Big Guy Upstairs? If I believe His timing is right, what do I have to fear? Any challenges thrown my way can either be overcome or learned from.

The other message posed a different question to ask myself each morning. “What can I do today to be greater than I was yesterday?” This question leads to thinking constantly of growth and improvement. It’s a reminder that it’s up to me to decide how I will tackle each day… linger and stagnate in status quo or live intentionally.

Both stories keep reverberating in my brain have led to introspection. What am I afraid of that’s preventing me from being my best possible self? What’s one thing I can do today to close the gap between who I am and who I want to be? Its wonderful to enjoy silence to consider both questions as opposed to turning on the radio and just filling my brain with “stuff” to pass the time.

As I think about both questions I also can’t help but be thankful for the two very impactful stories I heard today… and for strength, willingness, and openness of the two speakers for sharing the today.


Day 731 – Thankful for My Mom

What an awesome birthday it’s been!  I had time with Becky on our early morning run and time with the boys as we all got ready in the morning.  Tomorrow we’ll “officially” celebrate my birthday at home.  The rest of the day I’ve been with my Express family in training sessions, listening to speakers, and celebrating together.  Throughout the day I’ve been reading tons of birthday wishes from friends and family via text, email, and Facebook.  To wrap up the night I took a nice long hot shower, am snuggled in with my laptop, and am calling it an early evening.

On a day like this it seems like it should be difficult to find one thing to be thankful for with so many to choose from.  Sometimes on a day like this I take the easy road and lump many things into one category.  Today, it’s actually pretty straightforward…  I’m thankful for my mom having me.

The appearance of me wasn’t necessarily planned out in advance.  I was quite the surprise for my parents and my tiny little heartbeat had a huge impact on the trajectory of my mom’s life.  Based on becoming a mom she set aside college and her dreams.  Instead she loved me, took care of me, and raised me to be who I’ve become.  She chose to put aside all that she had dreamt to build a future for me in which I could reach my dreams.  From as long as I can remember she’s always reminded me that I can accomplish anything that I can dream of and has always been there to support me.

On my birthday it’s only fitting for me to take time to be thankful for all that Mom has given me in my life…  to be thankful that she gave me the gift of life.  Without my mom I wouldn’t be here.  Without her love and support I wouldn’t be who I am.  Without her encouraging me to dream I wouldn’t have had or reached the dreams I have.  I am me, I am here, and I dream all because of the choices, hard work and sacrifices my mom made for me.  I am beyond grateful for all that she’s given me.

Mom, I love you so much I can’t even begin to explain.  Thank you for creating in me the man I’ve become.  Today really should be the day I celebrate you.  Thank you for all you’ve given and all the love you’ve shared.  Love you!!!


Day 730 – Thankful for Dominic’s Desire to Try New Things

Exactly three years ago today I decided to write a daily blog about at least one thing I am grateful for. I can’t believe how quickly the time has flown by! Throughout the day my mind has drifted to memories from all that’s gone on over the past three years. It seems as if I’ve lived a lifetime in these past three spins around the sun… and I’ve never been more full of joy!

Tonight Dominic marched in his first parade. This year he decided to drop the cello and learn to play trumpet specifically so he could try marching band. It was pretty awesome seeing him walk past all of us hanging out at our normal spot!

I still shake my head in a very proud way when thinking about his desire to try new things. He was fantastic at the cello could’ve stayed with it so easily. Instead he found something else he wanted to try, threw caution to the wind, and followed his new dream. How great is that? He inspires me to remember to not get caught in the thinking that I need to go with status quo, that it’s okay to try something new. I’m so grateful to have him around!


Day 729 – Thankful for a Great Start to My Last Year of Cub Scouts

Day 729 – Thankful for a Great Start to My Last Year of Cub Scouts

Crazy to think that it was over seven years ago when Dominic started in Cub Scouts.  At the time I thought it would be pretty awesome to be his Den Leader.  In only six months or so Gavin and his fellow Weblos 2’s will be moving on to Boy Scouts.  This is my last year of Cub Scouts already, crazy to think how quickly time has flown by!


Tonight we had our first den meeting of the year and it was a blast!  We did some geocaching, talked about emergency planning and practiced tying an important knot, the bowline.  Thanks to some quick thinking by Anthony we had an awesome way for the boys to “test” their knots!  It was great!

Last year of Cub Scouts already, I’m going to be sure to savor every moment of it.  Thanks to all the boys who’ve made it so much fun to be a part of Cub Scouts!



Day 728 – Thankful for Yet Another Reason To Be Thankful for Vacations

Day 728 – Thankful for Yet Another Reason To Be Thankful for Vacations

Earlier in the day Sammi and I met for our weekly one on one conversation in Winona.  It’s an opportunity for us to talk about what she has on her plate, other projects I’d like her help on, and to get to know each other better.  As we talked she reminded me that she was going to be gone for a trip to South Dakota.  I smiled and shared some ideas of things we did with the boys when we went about 6 years ago.  Before I knew it I hd my phone out and was going through some old vacation pictures with her.  It was awesome!


On several occasions I kept thinking back to that vacation and had so many memories come flooding back.  Later in the evening I pulled up al 500+ pictures from that trip and shared many of them with the boys and Becky.  It was so cool seeing the memories come back to them of that trip together.

Today was pretty outstanding on many different levels.  Many things to be thankful for, too many to try to track them all.  The memories of an old vacation warmed my heart all day long, I’m so thankful to have taken the time to make some some memories with the boys six years ago.  It was an awesome reminder to me today to live while I’m alive.


Day 727 – Thankful for Lasagna

There have been many excellent things and events for which I am thankful for today. Throw in some great memories and reminders of purpose and it’s been pretty fantastic actually. With all that in mind, I’m sorry, but they lose out to lasagna.

Becky had some coworkers over to celebrate a successful busy season and made a couple of pans of lasagna for dinner. They turned out fantastic as they always do! The amazing medley of cheese, pasta, meat and sauce always leaves me one happy dude. Over the next few days I’m pumped to have them as breakfast, lunch and dinner… and I’ll enjoy each meal of it as if it were my last.

If you want proof that there’s a God and He loves us look no further than lasagna.


Day 726 – Thankful for Missing Church and Visiting the Corn Maze

Day 726 – Thankful for Missing Church and Visiting the Corn Maze

After several weeks of keeping way too busy on the weekends I hadn’t realized just how long it had been since I’d been in church.  Somehow a few weeks slipped by and I hadn’t gone due to being out of town.  When we sat down in the pews I closed my eyes, took a deep breath, and felt very much at peace.  I swear I could tell that my spirit already felt better just being here.  It’s not that God or my faith had ever been too far from mind, but it just felt good.  I felt grounded and I could feel my shoulders relax a bit.  I wouldn’t ave guessed I’d felt this way fifteen years or so ago, but I actually missed going to church! It was wonderful!

After church, grocery shopping, and lunch we headed out as a family to the corn maze for our normal fall tradition.  We had fun searching for our way, laughing often, giving each other a hard time, and goofing around.  All the while we enjoyed the beautiful fall weather.  At times it felt like I was almost getting too much sun, but at this time of the year I’m happy to press my luck.  We completed each of the mazes and then spent more time goofing off in the games area.  It was non-stop family time and we enjoyed every moment of it.  Becky even somehow managed to roll me completely over in the human hamster wheel.  Spending that much active time out side with my family always brings me joy.


All in all, today has been ridiculously awesome!  So much to be thankful for, so many times I’ve paused and thought about blogging, and so much joy in life.  As I told The Big Guy (or Gal) Upstairs earlier today, “thank you for so much awesomeness surrounding me!”


Day 725 – Thankful for Phone Calls with My Parents

After a beautiful run this morning with Becky we loaded up Gavin and headed out to soccer in Sparta.  This past week I hadn’t talked with my mom nearly as much as usual and I felt like I was going through a little bit of withdrawal.  I’d texted her last night to find out what time she was thinking she would be up so I wouldn’t wake her when I called.

As a kid I still remember my hearing my mom talking with my grandma every weekend, seemingly both days some weekends.  In my memory it kinda feels like they were on the phone for hours, but knowing how time passes differently for kids it could have just as easily have been 30 minutes.  Hearing her call Grandma Joyce left me thinking that it was exactly what you are supposed to do, call your mom every weekend if she doesn’t live nearby.

It was wonderful connecting with my mom this morning before Gavin’s game.  We were able to just shoot the bull, not really talk about anything in particular, but I had a great time just connecting with my mom.


Later in the day I took the boys on a run to Menards.  Both of the boys brought books and were initially reading as we got back in the car.  My first instinct was to do what I always do when I leave Menards, call Dad.  In a split second I remembered that calling him wasn’t going to work so well and for the briefest of moments I felt pretty sad.  Almost as quickly I realized, how awesome is it that I had so many excellent conversations with my dad before he passed.  There were so many times we would connect for brief conversations, sometimes even just for a couple of minutes, that left me feeling more joyful.

And that’s why I’m thankful for conversations with my parents today.  I’m so fortunate to still have one parent that I can continue to have conversations with regularly.  In the big picture, I’m blessed to have such wonderful parents that I look(ed) forward to talking with them, miss when I don’t talk with them, and enjoy(ed) each moment I have connecting with them.  It’s another reminder of what a wonderful job they did of perfectly balancing that fine line of parent and friend.


Day 724 – Thankful for Reminders of Just How Awesome Life Is

Our Rice Lake office is pretty small so when a teammate and I needed to meet for some training we decided it would be best to head out to the local coffee shop.  The training went even better than I would have imagined, maybe the coffee had a little something to do with it!

At one point there was a very large family with MANY small kids running all over the place having a great time.  My teammate was facing the commotion and one point she told me to turn around and look at what was happening.  When I looked over I saw all fo the kids giving their grandma a big group hug while saying “I love you Grandma” over and over again.  The best way I can explain it was that it was like seeing a pile of happy puppies crawling all over each other to be closest to their mom.  It was beyond heart warming.

Looking back at my teammate I tried to continue but my voice wavered and I could feel a little mist in my eyes.  It really hit me just how inspiring that moment was.  Those kids love their grandma so much that everyone in the place could feel it.  So much love shared in one moment, created over so many years together.  What a special experience! I felt so blessed to have the opportunity to witness it.

Throughout the day that moment sprang back into my mind.  It reminded me of my Grandma Joyce and how happy I always was to see her.  I thought about how blessed our boys are to have wonderful grandparents.  That moment provided a glimpse into our potential future and reminded me of how I need to live to have that opportunity.  And, most importantly, every single time I thought about it my heart was so full of joy.

Later in the day I stumbled upon something that made me smile along those same lines.  The news article was titled “19 Tweets That Prove The World Isn’t A Complete And Total Dumpster Fire.”  Sure, the title is pretty cynical, but in the story were many similar examples of what I witnessed today, happiness!  Reading this was a reminder to me to quit watching all the garbage in the news and focus on the positive stories like this…  and to find ways to create more stories like this.

This evening I am back home and it feels great to be back after ra couple of nights.  Spending time with my family reminds me of why I do what I do, why I choose the path that I walk, and it reminds me of just how awesome life is!



Day 723 – Thankful for Comfort Food for the Soul

Dark clouds overhead.  Sounds of rain beating against the windows.  Cool, almost cold air .  Feeling like the seasons are changing way too quickly.  Throw in a workday that humbles.  Blend that all up together and it’s the perfect storm for comfort food.

Tonight I also found comfort food for my soul to warm me on this cool damp evening.

To bring some extra joy I first fired up some great music…

Then I stumbled onto this wonderfully motivating and captivating video…

Lastly, I had some time talking with my family to wrap up the night before my blog and bed.


That was exactly what I needed to warm my soul this evening…  and the box of Fiercely Cinnamon Hot Tamales didn’t hurt either. 😉