Day 777 – Thankful for Ability of Life to Provide Us Exactly What We Need and Remembering Why We Do This

 This morning I had a very difficult phone call with an Express applicant.  The individual wasn’t eligible for hire and decided that getting angry and upset would be the way to convince me otherwise.  As he got more and more belligerent he then opted for calling my team and I some hateful things that we are definitely not.  After trying several times to calm him down I was finally left with no option but to hang up on him.  Upon getting off the phone I was so angry and frustrated with him and the way he’d treated my team and I.  For one fleeting moment I allowed myself a pity party and then moved forward with letting it go and moving on.

Earlier this afternoon Cheryl pulled me aside and asked if I would like to hear the story of an applicant who’d just interviewed with Claire, one of our Employment Specialists.  Of course I said yes and met this applicant.  They shared with me that he’d been homeless for the past 110 days, he’d just spent an hour in an interview with Claire, and he was starting a new job tomorrow.  He was over the moon with gratitude and joy and shared how his shoulders felt like a giant weight had been lifted.  We made sure we took extra good care of him after hearing this story and the happiness he felt was obvious as he gave me a handshake and a big hug.  My heart is still full of joy to the point that it’s ready to burst.  This is one of the reasons why I love this career path so much.  To have the opportunity to help and serve others as they face some of the most difficult times in their life is an honor that I appreciate and am thankful to take on.  My teams pride themselves on helping others and a story like this is a wonderful reminder of why we do this.

How interesting is it in the span of only three hours I was able to see the full spectrum?  While I could have allowed myself to wallow in the frustration of the first person and lose faith in mankind, it would have served no purpose and I might have missed out on a beautiful opportunity like this.  Had I not had the difficult conversation earlier would I have appreciated the happy conversation later?  I’m so thankful to have had both conversations in such a short period of time. At the end of the day it’s also a wonderful reminder to me that life will happen all around me.  There is no bad or good to the challenges themselves, just the context I apply to them.  I have the power to choose my attitude on a minute to minute basis – whether being frustrated and losing faith, or seeing the overwhelming positivity, learning opportunity and happiness in the world.



Day 776 – Thankful for a Seasonal Reminder of My Dad

Day 776 – Thankful for a Seasonal Reminder of My Dad

It’s funny how this blog works.  Somedays I’ve got an idea of what I’m thankful for based on a couple of events early in the day and I start mentally writing the blog post.  The funny thing is that I only end up writing that post about 50% of the time.  About half the time something else pops into view that draws my attention and I can’t help but write about that instead.  Today was definitely one of those days!

I initially was going to write about being thankful for seeing so many parallels between all of our lives.  The focus was on seeing how interwoven we all are and how we go through many similar challenges and adventures.  Sure, they’re all different in their own ways, but there are so many similarities amongst us all and it’s amazing to see what we can all learn from each other if we just take the time to listen and ask questions of each other.  It was going to be this big and robust blog that was super deep until…


During a conversation with a teammate we discussed prepping for this upcoming deer season.  As he shared how he’d spent the weekend walking the land he’d be hunting on for the first time I couldn’t help but smile and think back to my dad.  We spent so many days out in the woods prepping for hunting season.  He’d take me out through the swamps and forests looking for just the right places to set up our stands and bait.  As we walked he’d talk about the land and what was all around us.  Often we’d just walk quietly and soak it all in.  I can still clearly remember some of the smells of fresh pine in the woods.  We’d spend the entire day wandering and soaking in the outdoors.  It was time for me to hang out alone with my old man, and I’m so thankful for his company.  Those moments live on in my memory forever and bring me so much joy.  I’m so thankful for those wonderful times I had with him.

Interestingly enough, Becky pointed something out to me last night.  Part of Gavin’s Weblos homework is to keep a list of at least one good deed he did for someone each day for 30 days.  She showed me the one he wrote for Friday and I couldn’t help but chuckle and think of how much my dad would’ve appreciated what he wrote…  “Keeped my old man company.”  I am thankful for that time with Gavin and hope that at some point after I’m long since gone he occasionally has reminders of the time we’ve had together just like I have with my dad.




Day 775 – Thankful for Church, Clean Ups, Projects, Games, and Other Great Excuses for Family Time

Today’s been another non-stop day, but one filled with much time with family.  As I look back on the day it’s almost a blur of going from one activity to the next, but I’m smiling and enjoyed so much of it.  In the overwhelming majority of the tasks ad events I was able to spend it with my family and that felt wonderful!

The family time started as we all loaded up and headed out for church and had time together in the car and in the pews.  After church Gavin had Sunday school and Becky was heading to Rochester to see a friend which left Dominic and I cruising through Menards to pick up supplies to paint the workshop.  It was fun doing math with him and walking through the steps and materials needed for this project.  We also had time to talk about life in general.

After lunch Gavin headed up to the workshop with my to help me make the trash picks that we would use later in the day for his Weblos project.  We spent time, just the two of us, talking through the design and working on them together.  After a while Dominic joined us and we realized we had a little extra time so the three of us started putting up the first coat of primer on the ceiling.


Realizing what time it was we hurried to dress in warmer clothes and headed out to Nelson Park to do a service project for Weblos.  It was a pretty unique opportunity for both boys as Gavin needed to do a project like this to help him earn his Weblos badge and Dominic took the lead in the project to help him with Boy Scouts.  A handful of other Scouts showed up and we spent over an hour cleaning up the garbage at the park.  Again, it was a project, but it was a wonderful reason to spend time with the family.

Gavin had a wonderful idea to wrap up the night – a family game of Catan!  There were ups and downs for all of us as we laughed, competed, and had a great time with each other.  How awesome, spending time as an entire family to wrap up a great weekend.

As I get ready to head off to bed I’m so thankful for all the reasons / excuses I had to spend so much time with my family tonight.  It was incredibly refreshing and just what the doctor ordered!


Day 774 – Thankful for Starting the Morning with Our New Tradition and Learning Some Interesting La Crosse History

Last week’s alternate solution which included knocking out a couple of workouts on a Saturday morning date has stuck. This morning our alarm went off early and Becky and I were off to the YMCA and Root Down for cycling and yoga. It felt awesome to start the day off with a great couple of sweats before getting into the other weekend stuff! Even better, it was pretty sweet to start the day with some time with Becky! 😁

To wrap up the night (besides our trip to the grocery store) we headed to The Pumphouse to watch The Dark La Crosse Show. It was a play waking through a handful of interesting stories from La Crosse’s sordid history. The stories were crazy, hard to believe, and very entertaining. Some were a little serious while others left us literally LOLing! If you have the opportunity to head out to see it I’d highly recommend it.

Today’s been a great date, lots of time with Becky and some workshop time. Tomorrow will be a lot of time with the boys and I’m pumped for that as well.


Day 773 – Thankful for Being Back Home Chilling on the Couch Watching Mountain Movies with My Family

LOL – pretty specific, right?  But the title nails it in a nutshell.  After a busy and productive week of work it feels great to be back at home.  Dominic has a buddy over for a sleepover and they’re hanging out in the basement.  Meanwhile I’m chilling with Gavin and Becky on the couch and just enjoying some time together while watching a visually stunning movie about the beauty and allure of the mountains.  Time together talking, enjoying the awesomeness of nature, and dreaming new dreams together…  Life is pretty awesome!



Day 772 – Thankful for My Friend, Karen Gilbert

Isn’t it great when you have the opportunity to spend time with someone you look up to, a friend, and a kindred spirit all at the same time?  I’ve had time today and will have more time tomorrow to do just that!  In order to help train a handful of relatively new teammates Karen dropped everything she has going on to fly up from OKC to help my teams and I out.  Ever since I picked her up from the airport this morning I’ve been laughing, smiling, and thinking in her presence.


As one of our trainers at Express HQ she does a phenomenal job of helping our teammates learn the Express process and philosophy.  At one point today she brought something up that totally blew my mind – even though I’m closing in on a decade of being in this business!  There were many lightbulb moments in the room today as she walked us through several tactics and concepts.  Karen’s training ability leaves me in awe and I respect her style greatly.  She opens herself up, is humble, but also exudes a strong confidence as she shares from past experiences, both good and rough.  While sitting in her trainings I catch myself vacillating between learning what she is teaching and learning more about training and presenting.  I’m looking forward to Round 2 tomorrow.

As great of a trainer as she is I’ve got to say that I’m just as thankful for her personality, energy, and spark.  She’s a down to earth, no nonsense individual who calls as she sees it, all while doing it in a way that keeps my laughing, smiling, and thinking.  Karen always is running at an 11 and it feels great to try to keep up with her!  Her mind is constantly in motion and I’m amazed at how many different conversations the two of us can have at the same time… and even go back to and wrap up after going in other directions.  I’d dare anyone to spend more than a couple of minutes with her and honestly say that they aren’t happier after the encounter.  Karen leaves a trail of happiness in her wake and I’m so thankful for the time with her today.

At the end of the day, Karen is one of those people that I feel is a kindred spirit.  In spending time with her I feel like I’m spending time with a wiser sibling.  Even if it’s been a while since we’ve last spoken we jump right back into conversation as if we talked every day.  What’s even more impressive to me is the fact that pretty much every single person I’ve talked with who’s had the opportunity to get to know her feels exactly the same!  She does an amazing job of connecting with others, getting to know us, caring for us, bringing us much happiness and laughter, and always leaving all of us in a better mood because we crossed paths with her.

Karen, thank you for the amazing help, your willingness to head up (in the snow and cold) to help us all out with less than a week and a half notice, and for bringing so much joy and happiness to my teammates and I today.  You’re a wonderful friend and I appreciate you greatly!



Day 771 – Thankful for a Non-Stop Day and Trying Something New

Whew, today has been a wild one! As I sit at the kitchen table grabbing a snack (more on that in a bit) I just realized that this is the first time I’ve had to myself to relax outside of drive time (which isn’t really very relaxing). We’ve got a big end to the week at work with an awesome two day training set to start tomorrow. In order to prep and keep everything else running all my focus has been on work… except when I was the Uber driver for Dominic for church! Even my normal chill time at the coffee shop with Gavin while waiting for Dominic was spent on my laptop catching up on emails.

With all that in mind, I love these crazy busy nonstop days. They are usually followed by much progress and moments of peace. This is when we’re growing and becoming stronger and better, I’ll remember that and smile the entire time.

The other thing I’m thankful for today is trying a new food. I’m really focused on eating the same things pretty much all the time, but after a couple of books I knew I just had to try something a little crazy and off the beaten path… pinole!

This superfood from Mexico is a staple food for some of the best endurance runners in the world. Who am I to argue? I ordered a couple of bags off Amazon and was able to have a little snack to try it out. Not too bad! Not great, but definitely edible. It’s also one of the first times I’d argue that the serving size should really be about half of what is listed.

With a couple of crazy goals starting to form in my head I know I’m going to need to try new things and do things I’ve never done in order to accomplish things that I never had. This was a nice psychological nudge in the right direction for me and I’m glad I tried it.