Day 815 – Thankful for Morning Pump Up Music and Working in Produce and Lumberyards

With a busy day planned and a lot to accomplish before heading out I knew the right choice in music on my drive in would make all the difference. After a quick scan I found exactly what I needed… The Offspring. While Dexter and the boys sang and shredded I exercised my vocal chords while playing a little air drum on the steering wheel.

That whole drive I was smiling away thinking back to a flood of memories. Ever since high school The Offspring have made regular visits on my CD player, Mini Disc player, MP3 player, and iPhone. Their tunes have been in my ears while running, wrestling, traveling, and driving.

What really had me stoked this morning we’re the memories of jamming out to their album Smash while cleaning the produce cooler at the IGA with my buddy Garwood in high school. We’d go in once the store closed, fire up the music as loud as my little boom box would go, and clean away all the stuff that lives under the greens rack. We’d joke around, shoot the bull, and actually have a great time while getting paid to hang out. It was awesome!

Listening to them today also reminded me of working at the lumberyard the first two summers of college. I’d fire them up in the truck whenever I have the opportunity to go out on a delivery. Working there with the guys was one of the most entertaining work experiences I’ve ever had. They took great care of me and told me so many stories that still make me chuckle just like when I first heard them.

Funny how all it takes is a little of the right music to bring back some great memories. Throughout the morning I had little memories of those experiences pop into my head and brought a smile to my face.


Day 814 – Thankful for My Laptop Login Screen

How’s that for a crazy title?  Today while in Menomonie I went to open up my laptop to pull up some info and the picture below popped up as the computer started the login sequence:


It looked so awesome that I had to pause and take a look at where it was from and mentally add it to my dream list.  The funny thing is that this is becoming a regular occurrence.  The picture changes every day or two and it’s become a lot of fun seeing what pops up next!

Over the past couple of weeks the following all caught my attention:



And this one from Iceland really caught my eye!

IMG_8131.jpgIt’s funny, but Microsoft has found a great way of making something ordinary and routine the stuff of dream creation.  Each time I login in I’m anxious to see if it is something new and if it’s a place I’d like to add to my dream list.  How awesome to sprinkle in  little dream fuel several times a day?


Day 813 – Thankful for Digit Destruction Day

Yup, you read that one correctly. Gavin named today Digit Destruction Day for a reason. Oddly enough I’m actually thankful for it!

Part of the reason for hiring a contractor for the basement is that I’m still working on my workshop in the garage. We’re down to painting and then a little trim work and it’s done. I had a strong sensation of needing to complete something so I headed out to paint after dinner.

Shortly after starting Gavin burst into the workshop just like the red headed fireball he is and… OWW!!! He ran right into the stool that was holding everything I was using which rammed right into one of my toes with a crack. After second I could see the look of regret and sadness in his eyes so I let him know I wasn’t mad, I’d be okay, I’d just like to have him be more aware of his surroundings next time.

As I was painting I was also listening to the loud banging of Gavin hammering some boards together as he made a creation. Suddenly the pounding stopped and I saw him dancing out of the corner of my eye. It only took a second and a half to realize that he was doing the thumb bash dance. He’d missed on a hammer swing and got himself. He took a deep breath, talked himself into feeling like it didn’t hurt too bad, and got back at the project within a minute.

After a while he asked me, “Dad, what’s the word for fingers and toes?” “Digits?” His response was “yeah, that’s the word. This isn’t a good day for our digits is it? It’s definitely Digit Destruction Day today.”

We joked around about it the rest of the time we worked together and he even named his project the “Digit Destroyer.”

So why am I thankful for Digit Destruction Day? He saw me not lose my mind when he smashed my toe. We were both able to laugh off the pain from the accidents we both had. Most importantly, Gavin and I had fun working together in the workshop. I’m always thankful for workshop time with my boys… even if we’re destroying our digits!


Day 812 – Thankful for Hiring a Contractor (Part 2)

I’m still not sure how my parents did it… working full time, being very involved in our lives, and building a house all at the same time. That’s absolutely ridonkulous!

Today I’m thankful for taking the easy way 😉. In order to finish up the basement and turn it into a lair for our stinky boys we opted for hiring a contractor instead of doing it ourselves. With as busy as life has been for us recently there’s pretty much no way we would have finished the basement before 2025.

Instead we’ve come home to happy surprises! New flooring one day, trim another, another day a bookshelf and finally a cabinet. Just like magic!

Sure, I could’ve done it myself, but it sure feels good to have it done before the boys move out of the house! 😂


Day 811 – Thankful for Getting the Drop on Monday

Isn’t Tombstone a fantastic movie? It’s been a while since I’ve last watched it yet I can clearly remember so many of the excellent quotes and scenes. This morning I’ve been thinking about it a bit, especially Doc Holliday.

With an increased level of stress yesterday and a pile of work in front of me for today and tonight it’d be really easy to let Monday beat me today. It’d be easy to just be frustrated and high strung, but I’ve got bad news for Monday… I’ve got the drop on you today.

I smiled when that thought first crossed my mind this morning. My eyes opened a couple of minutes before my alarm went off. My joints didn’t make any noises and I felt limber when I got up. Becky was bright eyed and bushy tailed and ready to run. On our run we ran into a potentially frustrating problem, stayed calm, and found an easy fix. The stars were brilliant and Venus lit up the sky. It was cool and peaceful with almost no traffic. Our vacation is getting so close I can smell it. After our run that thought crossed my mind… Monday, I’ve got the drop on you.

From there my mind went straight to memories of Doc Holliday in Tombstone and I just smiled as wave after wave of slightly modified quotes came to mind that had me chuckling to myself.

  • Oh Monday, I apologize; I forgot you were there. You may go now.
  • Monday, what an ugly thing to say… does this mean we’re not friends anymore? You know, Monday, if I thought you weren’t my friend, I just don’t think I could bear it.
  • Why Monday. You look like someone just…walked over your grave.
  • Monday, it seems poker just ain’t your game! I know… How about a spelling contest?

And, of course, how could I miss the most obvious one?

Monday, I’m your Huckleberry.

Monday, bring it big shooter… I’m ready to get a lot done today and I’ve got the drop on you!


Day 810 – Thankful for a Memory that Warms My Heart and Becky’s Ability to Help Me Breathe

Two years ago today we were having a total blast at Nick and Jennifer’s house. Dad and Nancy bought the boys paintball guns and Nick and Jennifer let the boys shoot them down in the basement. We had such a great time acting like a bunch of yahoos flinging paintballs at cans, the wall, and sometimes each other. It was awesome. Thinking back to that weekend has brought me many smiles while painting my workshop with Dominic today. That weekend was one that I’ll remember forever and always fills me with joy.

Between getting stuff done around the house, doing some work, and life in general I’ve been kind of stressing much of the day. It’s been that ongoing feeling of too much to do and not enough time to get it done. Thankfully I don’t feel that way too often, but when I do it’s like a weight on my shoulders and chest.

I’m grateful for Becky’s ability to help me breathe today. There’ve been several times when she’s seen the stress level peak and she’s been right there to help me take a deep breath and chill. Sometimes it’s reminding me that I need to chill, other times she asks to learn more about why I’m frustrated, often she smiles and gives me a hug, and she also helps redirect my focus to where it should be so I can get thinks done. Her presence has helped keep me away from the edge and has kept me from changing my upcoming flight to a one way ticket instead. 😉 Thanks for keeping me sane today!!!


Day 809 – Thankful for Nearing Completion of a Goal

Today I spent a lot of time going through the clothes in my closet and dresser.  With our vacation on the horizon I realized that many of the shorts I have aren’t fitting me anymore…  in a good way!  I figured I’d better see if I have enough clothes that fit for our trip so today was spent culling the herd and finding the treasures in the back of the closet.

After our trip to Belize in February I wasn’t feeling quite as healthy as I wanted.  When I jumped on the scale at home I found a most unpleasant number staring back at me.  At that time I set a goal for myself to be under 200 pounds before Hawaii. That meant dropping just shy of 40 pounds in 10 months. From past experience I know it’s do-able, it just takes a lot of focus and grit.

After getting home from our Saturday morning cycling and yoga classes I was pretty pumped to see the number staring me down this time… just under 202! Almost there!!!

I’ve got some obstacles to overcome over the next week and a half (two family Christmases with AMAZING food), but I’ve got this. Almost to the finish line, time to run through it.

The last time I’ve been this low for weight and body fat percentage was the last time I was in Hawaii… 🤔… maybe I should go there more often! 😁

It’s been fun packing up a huge tote full of clothes that fit “Fun Mike” but not this Mike at the moment. I’ll miss some of them greatly, but I’m giddy to get reacquainted with some old friends… the ones that don’t have an X in front of the L.

Today’s been an awesome opportunity to see just how far I’ve moved the dial and how close to the goal I am.


PS. I’m saddened to announce that I had to say goodbye to my beloved Winnipeg Blue Bombers hat today. We went on many wonderful trips together and shared many amazing moments since I got it while on vacation in Canada with Becky over 7 years ago. I’ll miss it greatly. 😢

Day 808 – Thankful for The Christmas Wish Express

Today was the last day of the “Christmas Wish Express.” This was an event put on by our Winona team with the intent of helping others in our community. It was an opportunity for family, friends, and coworkers to nominate someone who needed a helping hand this Christmas. My teammates had an awesome idea for this Christmas season.

I can’t even begin to express just how incredible these past couple of weeks have been. Not just because it’s our team, but because of the increased Christmas spirit it brought all of us and so many others. It grew and blossomed into not just helping the handful of people we were hoping to help, but in so many other beautiful ways. While it wouldn’t be right to share all the details let’s just say I am moved to tears by the generosity, giving, love, and passion of my teammates, our associates, our clients, and all of their families. The Christmas spirit is alive and well within all of us.

This morning one of my teammates shot me a text with a quote that his wife had just sent him. It totally hit the nail on the head…

I’m so thankful that we have had the opportunity to give. The warmth and joy in our hearts is the best Christmas present we could ever hope for. I’m forever grateful to have had the opportunity to play a small role in this incredible experience that touched so many in so many beautiful ways.


Day 807 – Thankful for Goals and Dreams that Straddle the Line Between Possible and Improbable

Today one of my teammates asked a great question.  “Mike, if you’re incentives are based on hitting goals and you set the goals, why do you always choose crazy high goals that aren’t always realistic?”  I couldn’t help but smile and remind her that we’d just hit the “crazy high goal that wasn’t realistic” this year.  But then it got me thinking and I shared my thoughts.  My apologies to the team for getting on my soapbox at the time, but the more I think of it, I’m pretty thankful for the way I think I like that.

When I dream or set goals I almost always go to the extreme.  Take for instance running. Haven’t run more than 15 minutes at one time in over a decade?  Screw it, I’m training for a marathon.  Why settle for one office when I could shoot for twenty?  You get the point…  I’m not one for setting easily attainable goals.


Over the past few months I’ve been able to do some awesome things that I’m super proud of and they were only possible because of crazy big dreams and goals I set for myself.  Had I settled for mediocrity they may have kind of happened, but not with nearly the same intensity or joy.

I don’t want to live an average life, do the normal things, and settle for being good.  I want to do great things, live incredible experiences, and leave crazy wide path of joy in others in my wake.  Why be good when I can be great?

To do great I need to push insanely hard.  I need to be willing to fail.  Not that I want to fail, but I’d rather fail forward while pushing towards an excellent cause than hit some lame goal that didn’t stretch me.  I want to grow and learn and become better.  That means taking educated risks, but risks nonetheless.  I refuse to live in fear of failure, I live in fear of wasting my life and squandering my short opportunity to live a life I’ll be proud of when it’s my turn to go.

Fail?  Been there, done that, got the t-shirt.  As soon as failure hits I pick myself back up, dust myself off, and remember to keep making relentless forward progress.  I remind myself why the goal is so important to me.  I learn from my failure and set a new path.  I persist.  Failing will happen, but I will not quit.

So if the fear of failure is non-existent why not shoot for the stars?  As I said, my biggest fear is letting myself down, not living a great life, not doing all that I can, not doing all of my loved ones and mentors proud, and having regret.  With those fears I have to push the envelope and straddle the line of possible and improbable.  Sometimes I over step and have to reset.  Sometimes I under step and need to push further forward.  At the end of the day I really don’t know what is possible until I’ve reached failure…  but even then I won’t quit, I’ll find a different way or work harder.

Whew, this has gotten to be a bit of a ramble!  The long and short of it is this…  I am thankful for setting goals and dreams that push the boundaries and straddle that line of what’s possible and what’s not.  I fear not taking advantage of this wonderful gift of life I’ve been given and doing something great with it.  If I dream big I can more easily avoid the pitfalls of playing it safe.  The bigger I dream the more I live.  Wow, that’s really it in a sentence, isn’t it?  The bigger I dream the more I live.

And that’s why I’m thankful for blogging to work these thoughts out sometimes…  All those earlier paragraphs can be condensed into those seven words.  That’s why I’m thankful for dreaming big…  The bigger I dream the more I live.


Day 806 – Thankful for My Christmas Role Models

At the risk of getting a little too sappy this will probably be a little bit of a shorter blog post.

Today I’m finding myself being more and more thankful for my Christmas role models. Between my mom & dad, Becky, and my boys I’m so blessed to have so many people who help me celebrate Christmas and live the Christmas spirit. Each of them has inspired me in so many ways.

My mom taught and still teaches me to appreciate the magic of Christmas.

My mom and dad showed how to enjoy giving more than receiving.

Becky inspires me with the way she truly lives the Christmas spirit.

My boys remind me to appreciate the moment and are little mirrors that reflect back how well I’m living what I’ve learned from my parents and Becky.

Through all of them I’m reminded to appreciate the reason for Christmas. I’m thankful the ultimate in Christmas role models, the one who gave everything for all of us.

I am so blessed to be surrounded by so many people who exemplify the Christmas spirit.