Day 1,025 – Thankful for Heading Out Early – Sleeping Bear Dunes

Day 1,025 – Thankful for Heading Out Early – Sleeping Bear Dunes

This morning the four of us woke up early and headed out for a hike up and down Sleeping Bear Dunes. With everything else we wanted to accomplish for the day we knew that an early start would help us fit in all that we wanted to fit in. As it turned out we were able to even fit in a little more!

Thanks to an early start we were able to beat the crowds to the dunes. Even more importantly, we were able to beat the crazy heat index by heading out early.

After seeing what really should’ve been the National Park instead of Indiana Sand Dunes we drove around to see the dune from multiple angles. Throw in an incredible lunch on a table made out of a table saw (for reals, coolest thing ever!!!), and it was an awesome day. We even got back early enough to get out on the boat with the rest of the family for a couple of hours! Talk about an almost perfect day 😁

While we could’ve slept in this was another reminder to me of how many awesome things come after waking up a little early to get a jump start on the day.



Day 1,024 – Thankful for Family Time On Vacation

Another short one tonight so I can stay present in the moment with the family.

Today we’ve had a lot of time hanging out with the family while on our vacation in northern MI. We’ve had meals together, boat time, and time chilling in our condo talking and joking as a group. I’m so thankful we set time aside for the group of us to hang out together each summer!

Back to the family fun!


Day 1,023 – Thankful for a Reminder of How Awesome Other National Parks Are Courtesy of #28

Sung to the tune of “Let Her Go” by Passenger:

Well you only need the light when it’s burning low
Only miss the sun when it starts to snow
Only know you love her when you let her go
Only know you’ve been high when you’re feeling low
Only hate the road when you’re missing home
Only know you appreciate the majesty of National Parks when you go to Indiana Dunes
And you went to Indiana Dunes

Okay, maybe I made a couple of edits to the last couple of lines 😉 This one is totally and truly sincere even though it may not initially come across that way so please bear with me.

For reals, Indiana Dunes National Park was really a let down compared to the other National Parks we’ve been to. It wasn’t nearly as large or majestic. We weren’t left in total wonder of its grandeur or uniqueness. In a sense we’ve seen similar while up in the UP and the Sleeping Bear Dunes we’re going to later in the week will most likely dwarf them. Of all the 28 parks we’ve been too I think this was for sure in the bottom two (along with Gateway Arch NP).

Kreiling, you said this was truly sincere yet you’ve done nothing but it rip it apart so far. What gives?

First off, it is one of the 61 NPs Becky and I are going to visit. By visiting it means we’re one step closer to a pretty big and very important goal that we’re accomplishing together.

Second, I was there with my family. How awesome to experience any type of natural beauty with my family?

Next, while it was one of my least favorite parks it was amazing! To see how nature dumped that much sand in one place is wild, to grasp the idea of just how much sand there is was mind blowing. The lake was beautiful and so blue. We even saw a fisher (the animal) cross the road in front of us! It was awesome! Regardless of where it ranks within our NP experiences it was still very cool.

Last, when admiring the beauty and then realizing that it still ranks below so many other places it reminds me to appreciate each of those other experiences a little more. Suddenly Voyageurs seemed even more expansive, Isle Royale more quiet and solitary, and the mountains and glaciers of Kenai seem every more grand. When experiencing something so grand while realizing how much more incredible other things are helps me to appreciate each of those moments more.

Indiana Dunes, while you certainly aren’t my fav you were still pretty awesome. Thanks for allowing me the opportunity to experience the beauty of the dunes, lake, and wildlife!


Day 1,022 – Thankful for Family Road Trip Concerts

Ahh… Everything at work has been wrapped up. All our stuff has been packed. We’ve got everything covered for watching our pets and house. The travel plans are all booked and prepped. Time to hit the road!

At one point on our drive Becky was driving so I could get some additional stuff done. When everyone fell quiet doing their own things Gavin piped up, “Can you please play The Strumbellas Concert list?” Heck yeah I can!

As we’ve both been known to occasionally do, Becky and I were both quietly singing along to the songs. At this point I’d jumped back behind the wheel. From behind me I heard a third voice join the mix in the car. It turns out Gavin has been listening more intently than I’d expected, now knows many of the lyrics, and decided to jump right in.

It was pretty wild to spend over an hour listening and singing along with the songs from that concert with the family. Talk about a totally relaxing way to kick off vacation!

I have to laugh because we just watched Step Brothers this weekend… for clarity, it was nothing like Derek’s family’s version of a road trip concert 😉 There were no singing lessons involved, no one was flat, and I didn’t save it with a solo. Our’s was a totally judgment free road trip concert with several off key notes and mistaken lyrics – all coming from me – and it was AWESOME!


Day 1,021 – Thankful for Tripping On the Gap

One of my favorite parts of every church service with Father Mark was the way it always started.  After the initial song and a welcome he asked us to pause, bow our heads, and call to mind the gap between who we are and who we are called to be.  That moment of reflection helped to set the tone for the rest of the service as it was truly humbling to see that gap.  The realization that there was much work to do helped me to open up learning how I could better live the life The Big Dude Upstairs wants me to lead.  Through the readings and the sermon I’d often catch a nugget or two of how I could live differently that would lead me to living more into that image.


As I listened to my book, Love Does, on my drive to work early in the morning I couldn’t help but hear those words of Father Mark ringing in my ears…  “Let’s call to mind the gap between who we are and who we are called to be.”  The author, Bob Goff, shared several incredible stories of just trusting the pull of the Universe towards directions we may not have initially wanted to go.

There are often many times when I get the sense I’m meant to do something other than what I want, but I sometimes resist and push back.  Case in point is a conversation I had with another pastor that hit home and got something stirring within me but I’m just not willing to let go yet.  Without even going grand there are so many little moments when I have a choice to make.  I usually know the right choice, but I often make the wrong choice.  Nothing illegal or crazy or anything, but those little decisions that can add up and make a real difference.  Should I listen to a book that will help me grow or a podcast that purely fills my time?  I’m thankful I at least chose this right this morning as it led to more moments of insight for me!

While listening to his stories I heard Bob talk about situations in which I would love to think that I would have done the same thing, but in many cases I have not.  In my heart I knew they were the right things, but something within me (usually ego driven) got in the way.  Sometimes it was a realization of just how focused on a couple of small goals Bob must’ve been in order to accomplish them… a stark contrast to my going in many (too many?) directions sometimes.  All of these moments made me feel like I was tripping on that gap the Father Mark talked about.

In some ways that brutal realization of the gap was a bit painful.  That said, I found it oddly peaceful and hopeful as well.  In knowing and realizing the gap I can find ways to focus on it and close it.  By tripping on it I was reminded of it and the work I need to do to shrink it.  As I was seeing the gap, having it put directly in my line of sight, I was able to start working on it.  What a beautiful gift!

I find it’s usually uncomfortable to see just how much I’m letting others and The Big Dude Upstairs down at times.  While there is discomfort there such a beautiful gift in seeing how to become better and live more into the person I am meant to be.  That is well worth the discomfort any day in my book.


Day 1,020 – Thankful for Lifelong Friends

When you’ve known and been friends with someone for a little over or under 35 years there’s a level of comfort that is mind blowingly amazing.  Throughout that much time we’ve gone to elementary, middle, & high school together, spent time with each other in college, and been through so many life events at each other’s side.  We’ve been through ups, downs, and sideways together and helped each other through all of those times.  Our sentences could be finished by each other.  The stories we share have become “our” stories and not just our own.  We are not just good friends, we are brothers.

The times we get together like this are such special moments.  It’s like time has been folded so that the gap between this and the last time we got together still happened, but in a flash as it also feels as if no time has passed between our visits.  From the first seconds we meet up we go right into our same routines.  Even the greeting from each person is the same as we pull each other in for huge bear hugs!  Once the greetings are complete we dive right back into our normal routine together, one that we’ve been developing for so many years.

As we pack up and prepare to leave from each visit there’s a sadness that our time together is wrapping up but also the joy of gratitude for the time we’ve had together.  There’s another big round of hugs as we’re all amazed at just how quickly the time we’ve had together has flown by (as it always seems to do).  As we all part ways my brain starts to quickly catalog all of the new memories and stories we’ve created together.  They are stories we’ll weave into conversation over the future visits we have together.


I am so thankful for my brothers from other mothers, the lifelong friendships we’ve built together are truly special and bring so much joy to my heart.


Day 1,019 – Thankful for River Time with Old Friends and Being Blessed to Work with Great People

This afternoon the guys and I headed out to enjoy some chill time together doing something that we haven’t done together in a very long time, hanging out on the water. For almost five hours we had a wonderful time hanging out while enjoying the sun and the river. There’s something so awesome about sharing the activities we love with others, sharing that experience with them brought a ton of joy.

Another thing that warmed my heart throughout the day is the incredible people on my teams. Between moments of time alone with my thoughts and sharing stories with my friends of the great people I work with I was repeatedly reminded of how blessed I am to have such wonderful people in my life. I’m so fortunate to have such wonderful teammates who are truly teammates, friends, and family to work with in my offices. When thinking about work occasionally today there was no stress or concern, only joy when thinking about how much I appreciate each of them and dreams we’re working to accomplish together. Knowing I’m surrounded by such talented professionals and great people is truly an excellent feeling!