Day 722 – Thankful for Having a Complete Team

Is there much better than when everything is in place and right where it should be?  That was the feeling I experienced in our Rice Lake office today.  The last piece of the puzzle started in the office today and we’re all geared up and ready to go!


Of course, I’ve had this feeling often, but it’s one that I sometimes take for granted.  Today included several moments in which I paused and just soaked in the feeling of completeness.  There was a buzz in the office, much activity was happening, and all was exactly the way it should be.

There’s a lot left to do, much training to happen over the next few weeks.  From there we’re sure to celebrate many successes and learn and grow through many challenges.  Regardless, today I’m just soaking in the sensation of everything being right in place.  Our team is complete!


Day 721 – Thankful for My Dream Book and Reminders to Stay Focused On It

If you’ve read this blog for a while you know that I’ve got a book I keep with me much of the time.  It is a small approx. 4’x6′ black leather bound book in which I keep a list of dreams that I have that I would like to accomplish before my time on Earth is up.  As new ideas come up I add them to the list.  When I complete them I cross them off and track them later in the book.


Sometimes I go to the book when I’m in a good mood to see what I should put on my radar to chase after next.  Sometimes I go to the book when I’m having a rough day and need some extra motivation.  Once in a while I want to just pause life and remember why I am doing what I am in life.

In the pages of the book are my main motivators, the reasons I push hard and focus in the directions that I do.  Those dreams also remind me to enjoy life as it happens, to keep me focused on the present, and to push myself to dream bigger and bigger.  This book is where I create my grit, they are the long term goals that I am passionate about and willing to persevere for.

Over the past 48 hours I’ve had a few reminders of why this book is so important for me to have.  The reminders include thinking of how young my dad was when he passed.  I recently heard the story of someone almost exactly my age who went into the doc for back and rib pain to find out that he had stage 4 cancer in his spine and has very limited time left.  A cohort going through a tough time.  For several various reasons they all reminded me of my dream book.

Thanks to each reminder I’ve spent time tonight adding and reviewing that list to make sure I keep focused on achieving what I want.  It’s a lot easier to work hard and sacrifice some things while knowing it’ll get me what I truly want out of life.  It’s led to conversations with Dominic tonight about working hard.  This focus has also reminded me to live now in the present, to balance out the prep for later AND enjoy today.  It keeps me focused…  it brings me great joy.



Day 720 – Thankful for the Feeling of a Building Storm Front

While it was disappointing to have Dominic’s first cross country meet of the year cancelled due to storms there was a silver lining…


When I got home from work today I took a little extra time to just soak in the feel of the pressure of the storm building.  I just love that feeling of the air getting thicker, the temperature almost feeling like it’s increasing slightly, and the almost electric feel in the air.  You can tell that it’s gathering speed and ready to pop at seemingly any moment.

At the park the race was cancelled before the rain and storm hit so we were able to sign Dominic out in no hurry at all.  As I talked with another parent the sweat started to bead up on and I could feel the pressure of the storm continuing to grow stronger.  The more it was building the more I was getting giddy to see the result.

When we drove out of the park the wind really took off.  There were swirls of dirt and leaves as the storm finally started to hit.  Then temp dropped, the rain came, the storm popped and in a flash it was over and gone.

The entirety of the storm is pretty amazing and I often take a moment to be thankful to witness the storm itself.  The raw power of the lightning, wind and rain is incredible.  That said, I’m almost more of a fan of the slow and steady build up to the storm.  That sensation of the pressure continuing to build in the air is amazing in of itself.


Day 718 – Thankful for a Day of Outside, Active, Relaxing, and Family Time

Whew, today has been a doozy!  From the point that I woke up (which was way later than normal and felt AWESOME!!!) until now as I blog it’s been a very full day.

Becky had the great idea to do yoga this morning so we biked there, sweated heavily, and biked back home.  We showered up, ate breakfast, packed lunches and the family was off to Prairie du Chien for an afternoon of soccer.

On the way Becky had papers to read and the boys were reading, so I figured I’d read too…  while driving!  Thanks for having a great selection of fiction 🙂  I quickly became engrossed in Spin by Robert Charles Wilson and am looking forward to my next hours of drive time to finish it.

Every year we hit an apple orchard and Becky found that there was one just outside of PdC so we stopped by quick.  Gavin picked a bag of Honey Crisp and then I took him to his pre-game soccer practice while Becky and Dominic finished picking apples (and eating cookies).  We then went back to the soccer fields.

With some extra time before the game Dominic and I tossed the frisbee around for a while.  Once we got a little hot we cooled off for a bit.  After cooling off I went for a nice short walk with Becky before the game.

Gavin’s team played a couple of games back to back and it was fun to watch him play for the first time this season.  The backdrop of the game was amazing with bluffs in the background.  Near the end of the second game a flock of pelicans flew over, totally distracting all the boys.

Games completed, we headed back home and grabbed a Kwik Trip dinner.  More reading for everyone.  At home we quickly changed into running clothes and headed out to pick up Gavin’s friend Payton and headed out to the Glow in the Deke.


The Glow in the Deke is an incredible event that we’ve done many times.  It’s a 5k at night with many glow sticks and other lights.  This year we also enjoyed some fireworks while running.  Dominic took off on his own and did great (under 21 minutes) while the rest of us had a fun run/walk.  The weather was nice, the stars were out, and the course was pretty much perfect.

Drop off Payton, head home, unload from the day, shower up, and now chill on the couch.  Now I’ll probably grab a quick snack and head off to bed to hit it again tomorrow.

With all that said, it’s been a pretty epic day.  I’ve had much active time and feel like I’ve burned more calories than I’ve taken in.  There’s been a ton of outside time which just felt awesome even in the heat.  Listening to my book while driving was exactly the chill time I needed to balance things out for the day.  All day I was with my family and it felt wonderful.  Throw all of that together and it’s been one heck of an outstanding day!


Day 717 – Thankful for Shopping, Sushi, & Surprise Visits

After a long and solid week of work it was nice to go back to an old Friday tradition that Becky and I used to have. When the boys were much younger we’d get pretty wild and crazy on Friday nights… and go grocery shopping! That’s right, we’d load up in the car, drive to Festival, drop the boys off at the child care area, and enjoy slowly wandering the aisles taking in the quiet time together. Ahh… it was magical! When we checked out from Woodman’s tonight it brought back many memories.

Becky had a fantastic idea for supper tonight, sushi! It’s been a while and with getting back to watching my calories this week it was nice to plan for this. Holding back on eating too much early in the day was well worth every single delicious bite.

As we’re wrapping up supper there was a knock at our door and our friends showed up out of the blue! The entire Compton clan hung out for a while and it was so much fun getting caught up with them and their kids. There were a lot of laughs and it brought even more joy to an already excellent evening. What great surprise!

Now we’re off to Family Game night and then sleep… ahh… time for the weekend.


Day 716 – Thankful for Vacation Soundtracks, Washington DC – 2000

Being on the shore of the ocean is a special place to me.  The sound of the waves slowly rolling in lulls me into a deep state of relaxation.  It’s like listening to the heartbeat of the world.  Walking barefoot on the beach feels wonderful and I love looking in the tidepools to see what treasures the ocean has brought forth for the moment.  Later in the day the tidepool is filled up, the contents set adrift, and new gifts of the ocean appear to be left for discovery when the tide rolls out again.

When I think of memories I envision the same scenario.  The tide changes (time) and the ocean (my collection of memories) leave a treasure or two behind for me to rediscover (a specific memory).  The memory has been there since its inception, but it comes and goes with the tide and swirls of the ocean.  All it takes is something specific to act as the tide to pull it out to be re-discovered.  Even though it’s the same memory it’s always a little different.  The grit in the ocean has maybe changed its shape.  Maybe the experiences I’ve had since the last time have changed my perception of it.  Regardless, my curiosity causes me to examine it, be grateful for it, and then toss it back into the ocean to be pulled back up some other time.

Today the tide took the form of an old CD.  Way back in late 2000 my parents bought me a flight to Washington DC to see my new niece (still can’t believe she’s almost 18!).  It was my first time flying in a large commercial jet and I still remember way more of the experience than I probably should.  With it being pre-9/11 security wasn’t too crazy, but learning how to do everything the first time was pretty wild.  While in the airport I bought a paperback for myself, The Walking by Bentley Little.  On both flights I read that while listening to the No Name Face album by Lifehouse.

Hearing that album today brought me back in time to that trip.  It started with hearing the songs one after another and remembering what was happening in the book during certain songs.  I then thought about all of the firsts of that trip and how it was my first long distance trip via plane.  From there I remembered seeing my niece for the first time and thinking how crazy it was that Nick was a dad (and I was an uncle).  I remember spending time with my mom and dad while Nick worked and then spending time together in their living room.  When my dad took me back to the airport there was a slight rain and he said, “uh oh, it looks like there’s going to be an accident.”  A few seconds afterwards we saw a pickup truck lose traction as it changed lanes and it shot right across the busy freeway.  By some act of God it missed everyone and went right into the ditch.  Funny how that memory sticks out…  I still remember the flight home and arriving in Minneapolis and then driving back to La Crosse, finally getting home late in the evening.  All those memories, all brought forth from one album.

That’s kind of the core of what I’m thankful for today.  On almost every vacation or trip I’ve gone on there’s a specific album or song that takes me back to memories of that trip.   Wilder Mind by Mumford and Sons makes me think of Australia.  Bad World by Kodaline will be held close in my heart when I think of Isle Royale.  When the song “Cough Syrup” by Young the Giant comes on I am mentally in the Canadian Rockies.  “Home” by Edward Sharp and the Magnetic Zeros leads me back to Hawaii…  How excellent is it that music can return so many memories in just a moment?

Today I’m thankful for my mental vacation soundtracks.  Washington DC was where it took me back to today, who knows where it will be tomorrow…  What I do know is that I’m thankful for music being the tide that’s brought back some excellent memories today!


Day 715 – Thankful for Planning Out the Calendar for Weblos 2 with Gavin at Java Vino

Tonight is the first night of Wednesday night church classes for Dominic so Gavin and I decided to go back to our normal Wednesday tradition… coffee & other goodies at Java Vino!

Tonight we had a special project that we needed to work on as we drank our decaf and cookies and cream frosty (guess who had which? 😂). With the scouting year rapidly approaching it is go time! We busted out the Den Leader Guide, a calendar, and a couple of spreadsheets and hit it hard. There was maybe a short snack break… but before we left we had the entire year’s worth of meetings all mapped out so we can get the boys through as much as possible while still having a great time.

What made it especially awesome tonight was Gavin’s help. He was focused and helping the entire way through and took on parts of the planning process. Whenever there was a decision to be made I got his feedback first and we ran with it. It was pretty sweet to have a great helper!

The scouting year will be fun (& our last year of Cub Scouts), but I’m also sure to remember this night of planning with my buddy. Having this time and activity together was a great way to spend the evening!


Day 714 – Thankful for the Feeling of Driving with the Windows Down While Listening to Dim by Dada In the Fall

Do yourself a favor and play this song while reading the post tonight, it will greatly enhance the mood!

While driving back from Rice Lake today I had to take a little mental break so I grabbed an old binder of CDs out of the trunk and found something to get me geared up in the afternoon (s you can tell, I was still under the influence of Rick’s playlist!).  As if the disc couldn’t help but be noticed it seemingly jumped out of the page at me.  Without a second thought I popped it in the slot and knew I’d made the right choice.  By the time the first few chords had played I felt an unbelievable sense of freedom.

The song Dim by Dada holds a special place in my heart.  I bought the album used the night before I headed to La Crosse on my first date with Becky.  At the time I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, where I wanted to go, or who I really wanted to be.  I had great friends, but I could tell that something was off or missing.  It was time for a change, something different.

When I’d headed down to La Crosse I’d had high hopes of what could happen with Becky and I, but I tempered them with somewhat realistic expectations so I wouldn’t get too disappointed.  Imagine my surprise when not only did the sparks fly between the two of us, but the Coulee Region really struck a chord for me.  Between the beautiful drive (minus the flat tire), the bluffs, the river, and all the woods I fell hopelessly in love with La Crosse.  It felt right.  When I got back to my place in the Cities I started counting down the days until I’d move to La Crosse, and within 90 days I was here.

On that drive down I was crazy nervous for the date with Becky.  I knew she was the one for me, but I wasn’t so sure she’d felt the same.  When I’d get a little too nervous I’d roll down the windows in that ’79 Chevy pickup (by hand), throw that CD in the radio I’d installed myself, and sing at the top of my lungs.

From those few frantic chords I could feel a freedom in me that I hadn’t felt.  It was my way of knowing that I was in control, I could choose my dream, and only I could pursue it.  There would be no following of anyone else’s path, just my own.  If I hit a dead end I’d recover and blaze a new trail.  I felt unstoppable, even though I wasn’t sure where I was headed.  The song would build and build until it got to these lines which were so right in the moment…

Can’t this car go any faster
Can’t this car go any faster
Can’t this car go any faster
Faster, faster
Can’t this car go cause I can still see where I am

And as we all know, the date went incredibly well, La Crosse won my heart, and the rest is history.


Driving with the windows down today while playing this song reminded me of that awesome sense of freedom, freedom to dream, freedom to be me.  It was just as amazing and left chills on the back of my neck just as it did almost 19 years ago.  That is a feeling I am so incredibly grateful for!




Day 713 – Thankful for Running Under the Stars and Rick’s “Woodah Weekend” Playlist

Day 713 – Thankful for Running Under the Stars and Rick’s “Woodah Weekend” Playlist

With an early start to the workday in front of me Becky and I headed out earlier than normal for our run. The weather outside was beautiful for a run and it was made even better by the stars burning brightly in the early morning sky. After a while we got far enough down the road that we turned off our headlamps and were able to enjoy the constellations even more. It was an awesome start to the day!


As I drove to Menomonie a smile crossed my face as a memory from this weekend crept across my brain.  Without hesitation I shut off my audiobook and fired up Sister Havana by Urge Overkill.  As I jammed out and sung along to this great song from 1993 I kept thinking about all of the incredible jams we either listened to or talked about this weekend while we were hanging out.

With the majority of the plans for the weekend involving playing cards on the patio in the backyard while listening to music Rick had spent quite some time putting together an almost 90 song playlist of some of our favorites from the mid to late 90’s.  He took special care to add songs that he knew was a particular favorite of each of ours (and maybe a song or two to troll each other).  As we chilled and joked around outside we had hours of hand selected music playing in the background.  Sure, Pandora would’ve been okay, but it never would have picked out just the right mix of songs that that brought back so many memories.

Almost each song brought back a memory or fired up a conversation.  Many included a little bit of singing or head bobbing.  Conversation with our group is never difficult, same as it’s always been in our 35+ years of friendship, but it flowed even easier than normal.  Rick, thanks for knocking it out of the park with your playlist.  It was the supporting cast that helped to create one of the best weekends we’ve had in our several weekends of hanging out.  It never ceases to amaze me how songs hold the power to add so much depth to our lives.