Day 848 – Thankful for Seeing a Reflection of Myself in Another, Hearing a Song Differently Than Ever Before, and Gavin’s First Cycling Class

Yes, I started this blog a few years ago with the intention of writing about one thing I am thankful for each day.  As I’ve been known to do fairly regularly, I am totally breaking my own rules and writing about a few things instead.

Driving through Winona to my office I was in the right lane and realized I was running out of room to move into the left lane before our office building.  There was one SUV close behind so I hit the gas, made some distance between us and slid into the left lane.  It was closer than I’d like to have cut it, but there was plenty of room.  Almost immediately the SUV sped up and was just a few feet behind me.  The look into my rearview showed nothing but the grill of their vehicle.  As I turned to the left the laid on their horn.  When they drove by I saw a hand in a knitted glove that was extending the one finger salute my way.

The first thought that jumped into my head surprised me and made me smile.  “Wow, I can be a jerk of a driver sometimes!”  Yes, you read that right.  In seeing that gloved middle finger I saw myself doing the same thing or the other portions (tailgating, honking, etc…) to others in the past.  When I get frustrated I’ve gotten ornery and upset and haven’t always contained my frustration like I should.  In this situation I had the other perspective, I wasn’t trying to cut someone off or do anything rude, but the other person took it that way.  How often have I made the mistake of assuming ill intent and then gotten frustrated?

This situation offered up the opportunity to see my own actions through someone else’s eyes and realize just how foolish I’ve been.  I am so thankful for that moment of clarity and will remember it often.

There’s one single newsletter / email I get every day that I read consistently, and today it helped me see a song very differently.  The song The Impression That I Get by the Mighty, Mighty Bosstones was one of my favs way back in the ’90s.  If it comes one I almost can’t help but sing along and hear my friend Brian busting out the chorus in my mind.  In the newsletter this morning they used the song to point out a line that I hadn’t noticed.

I’m not a coward I’ve just never been tested
I’d like to think that if I was I would pass

After thinking about it I started to see the entire song in a different light.  I guess I hadn’t quite realized that the song was really about how we have to go through the tough times to figure out how strong we really are.  It’s been in my head all day now and I am reminded to be thankful for all of the difficult experiences of my life which have helped to shape me into who I am.

Tonight Gavin and I had a family cycling class at the YMCA.  Once he’s completed the two part class he can start to join us in our cycling classes – something we’re pretty sure he’s going to enjoy.  Today’s class pretty much proved that we are on to something!  Much of it was setting up the bike and basics like the different positions while cycling.  Even with that happening the little dude covered over 10 miles in 30 minutes and was loving it.  He’s pretty stoked to head back next week for the full routine.

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I didn’t get a pic of us cycling so I figured this would do…  Gavin with a little lizard…  random just like he is!

This is the second week in a row in which I’ve been able to have some one on one time with my boys while exercising at the YMCA.  I’m so thankful for their love of exercise and movement.  It’s building a foundation that will help them throughout their entire lives and it’s an opportunity for us to spend time as a family doing things we all love.

Thanks!!!

 

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Day 847 – Thankful for Memories of Hawaii – Whale Watching

Day 847 – Thankful for Memories of Hawaii – Whale Watching

I am so thankful for all of the little bread crumbs I’ve left for my future self in each Facebook post I write.  There are so many moments that I am reminded of that make me grin form ear to ear.  Today is yet another one of those examples.

Six years ago today Becky and I went whale watching with Chris & Bethany in Kona.  We headed out on a beautiful sunny day and saw way more than we bargained for.  The whales were unbelievable and so close.  Seeing a 20+ foot long whale shark slip right along the side of our boat just a few feet from us was mind blowing.  The entire event was awesome!  Throw in spending time with some of our closest friends and it was one of the best vacation days I’ve had.

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The weather today is pretty much the exact opposite of Hawaii, but I am warmed by the memory of heading out for some whale watching.  I am so thankful for this incredible experience and am glad that I was reminded of it today.

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It also comes on a great day to remind me why I put so much more value on experience than stuff.  Memories like these not only bring so much happiness, but they outlast “stuff.”  Experiences like these are ways for us to bond more closely as friends and connect with them.  They also help me dream bigger and are the dream fuel to help me find more experiences to live.

Thanks!!!

Day 846 – Thankful for Becky Creating a Memory for the Boys that Reminded Me of a Similar Moment with My Mom

Becky was super pumped up for the Super Blood Moon Total Lunar Eclipse.  Not only did she make a big deal out of it for her, she got the boys pretty excited for it.  With no school the next day she and the boys stayed up and watched movies until the eclipse was in totality.   It was so awesome seeing them all get so excited about something in nature like this, I know I’m in the right family for me.  The coolest part is knowing that they made a memory with her that they will hold tight to forever.

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On my drive to Menomonie early this morning I got some excellent views of the moon as I smiled and thought about last night.  My smile became bigger as I remembered something similar my mom did for my brother and I when we were kids.  There was a meteor shower so she let us stay up late and then the three of us went out to the road in front of our house.  Seeing as it’s a quiet road with no traffic at that time of night we laid on our backs in the road and just looked up at the stars.  Laying there we enjoyed the warm summer night and watched meteor after meteor streak across the sky.  To this moment it is one of my most treasured moments with my mom.

Moments like that are such a beautiful thing.  Spending time with loved ones doing something out of the ordinary and enjoying the natural world.  How could I ask for anything more?  Such a beautifully simple moment I’ll hold forever with my mom, a moment Becky created for our boys.

Thanks!!!

Day 845 – Thankful for Wheels by Foo Fighters

While loading up some songs to play during our Rock Band “concert” last night we scrolled past one that caught my eye.  I’m pretty sure my exact response was a very loud and boisterous, “Hell yeah!!!”  At that point Rick called it correctly and said that with a reaction like that we had to go with it.  Thanks to the beauty of the internet we had the song downloaded and ready in short order.

As the song fired up I didn’t even need to watch the lyrics scroll across the screen.  It’d been a long time since I’ve heard the song, but the words came back as soon as I heard the first chords.

For me the song is a great reminder of the power of gratitude.  It’s essentially a story of someone in a plane that starts to have issues and seems like it’s going to crash.  The singer has the opportunity to really take stock of what they have around them.  In the past he’d always looked for more and better.  In that moment of thinking he’s going to die he pauses and realizes all the wonderful around him.  He’s grateful for all he’s had in life right before he’s about to die… but then the wheels touch ground and they’ve landed safely.  He gets a second shot at life, the opportunity to be grateful for all those around him and all he has.  In that moment of the wheels hitting the landing strip he’s gifted both life and stronger appreciation for the life he has.

All day long this song has been rolling through my head and has kept me smiling.  It’s reminded me in multiple occasions to be thankful for so many moments and has pushed me to remember to use the right perspective.  I am so thankful for the power of great music to bring more joy to my life.

Thanks!!!

“Wheels”

I know what you’re thinkin’
We were goin’ down
I can feel the sinkin’
But then I came around

And everyone I’ve loved before
Flashed before my eyes
And nothin’ mattered anymore
I looked into the sky

Well I wanted something better man
I wished for something new
And I wanted something beautiful
And wish for something true
Been lookin’ for a reason man
Something to lose

When the wheels come down (When the wheels come down)
When the wheels touch ground (When the wheels touch ground)
And you feel like it’s all over
There’s another round for you
When the wheels come down (When the wheels come down)

Know your head is spinnin’
Broken hearts will mend
This is our beginning
Comin to an end

Well, you wanted something better man
You wished for something new
Well, you wanted something beautiful
Wished for something true
Been lookin for a reason man
Something to lose

When the wheels come down (When the wheels come down)
When the wheels touch ground (When the wheels touch ground)
And you feel like it’s all over
There’s another round for you
When the wheels come down (When the wheels come down)

When the wheels come down (When the wheels come down)
When the wheels touch ground (When the wheels touch ground)
And you feel like it’s all over
There’s another round for you
When the wheels come down (When the wheels come down)

When the wheels come down (When the wheels come down)
When the wheels touch ground (When the wheels touch ground)
And you feel like it’s all over
There’s another round for you
When the wheels come down (When the wheels come down)

Day 844 – Thankful for Friends That You’re Comfortable Singing In Front Of

After a day of spending time with two of my closest friends there was a point in the day that helped me appreciate just how awesome it is to have great friends you’ve spent the overwhelming majority of your life with. Through thick and thin I’ve been best friends with them for almost four decades. We’ve been through pretty much everything together and have always been there to celebrate with each other, help each other through difficult times, and just hang out together.

As our day of fun has begun to wrap up we’re chilling out and playing Rock Band together. I’m not a good singer and I’m very self conscious of my singing. After a couple of songs they insisted that it was my turn to grab the mic and sing.

I reluctantly said yes and chose a couple of songs I jam out to in the car… Pork & Beans by Weezer and I Was Wrong by Social Distortion. After a few seconds I totally lost myself in singing and had a blast.

Afterwards I realized just how cool it was that I felt totally comfortable singing in front of them. It’s kind of weird, but I’m pretty sure, for those of us who are not vocally inclined, that being totally open to singing in front friends mean those are some pretty close friends.

As we look forward to more hours of jamming out and having fun I am so thankful for friends I’m thankful for amazing friends that I’m comfortable singing in front of.

Thanks!!!

Day 843 – Thankful for Getting One Step Closer to Becoming a Lumberjack

Tonight I was able to take one step closer to becoming a lumberjack. At this pace I’ll need to grow my beard back soon!

A few nights ago I was logrolling and tonight I experienced a whole new activity… axe throwing! It was a blast and I’ll be ready to head out and do it again in the future.

Special thanks to Garwood for having a brilliant idea!!!

Thanks!!!

Day 842 – Thankful for a Great Workout that Still Has Me Smiling and Feeling Pumped Several Day’s Later

It always feels great getting a workout in. That said, not all workouts were created equal. As the days go by the memory of most of them slowly blur and fade. 95+% of the time I really don’t remember much about it even a few days later. It’s a rarity for one to really stick out. Like my workout with Dominic last week, that’s one I’m pretty sure I’ll remember for ever.

While driving this morning I felt the urge for some great music to get me going. My brain immediately went to AC/DC and I hit shuffle. The first song up was Thunderstruck. From the start a smile went across my face.

This past Saturday when we (I) got back into our normal Saturday morning routine I experienced the best cycling class ever. The instructor had a wonderful balance of motivation and coaching as she kept pressing me close to the limit and then backed of for a brief rest before pushing right back up to the limit. The way she coached helped to draw out one of the best performances I’ve had on the cycle.

At one point I’d totally lost myself in the pedaling and realized that I still had 35 minutes left. I groaned to myself thinking that there was no way I could sustain this level of effort for 35 more minutes. Surprisingly, the next 30 minutes were gone in a flash! The mix of music and exercise really helped keep me going strong.

As we started to wind down one song ended and as our instructor looked at her iPod a very mischievous smile crossed her face. “You know what, I think we’ve all got one more song in us…” with that the first chords of Thunderstruck erupted from the speakers. She then quickly informed us that every time the word “thunder” was sung we’d switch from seated to standing and vice versa.

The adrenaline and dopamine were running with full force as Becky and I smiled at each other while pedaling our butts off. It’s not often that I’m that happy to kick my own ass like that, but I was totally into it. It was awesome and I was oddly disappointed as the song ended, I just wanted to keep going.

It amazes me how a mix of several factors can lead to a state of flow like that and by adding a couple of key elements like the song and visuals like Becky smiling back at me during the routine. Suddenly the workout goes from routine to epic and memorable. Here I am after several days still smiling from ear to ear each time I think of that workout, I am so thankful for that!

Thanks!!!