Day 1,097 – Thankful for Tremendous Improvement and Family Time – Entire, Solo, and Extended

Isn’t awesome when you get to witness tremendous improvement?  Today I’m so thankful to see such improvement from Gavin in his game.  The comparison of today to last week was a huge step forward for him.  There’s still much for him to work on but it was great to see him learning from last week’s experience.  I can’t wait to see his progress over the next few weeks as well.


All throughout the day I’ve been blessed to have so much family time.  The morning started out with a walk with Becky and I.  Dominic and I shared some great conversation as I made supper.  Becky, Gavin, and I had time together while driving.  We ate dinner as a full family.  Ken & Mary, Matt, and Tabitha & Mason all met us at the game.  I had some fun conversation with my mom and texted with my brother.  To have so many different variations fo family time and experience together has been outstanding.  I’m so appreciative of all that time together; it’s filled my heart with joy all day long.


Day 1,096 – Thankful for the Generosity of Becky

Tonight at church Father Dodge focused on generosity, giving, and remembering to take care of others first.  He shared a couple of ways he’s learned to remember to take care of others and then he asked us a question.  How do you remember to give to others?

My answer hit me immediately.  I listen to what Becky suggests.  I learn from what Becky does.  I follow Becky’s example.  Pretty straightforward.  When you’re married to an incredibly generous person you’ve kind of got it made.


While it wouldn’t be right to share a bunch of the examples, one doesn’t have to look any further back than about twelve hours ago.  She and Gavin volunteered at the YMCA 5k/Half Marathon.  Instead of sleeping in she got up, got moving and helped others.

Through the entirety of the time I’ve known her she’s always the first to sign up for bringing a meal, helping out, and volunteering.  When we make charitable donations they are usually started and increased due to her idea, input, and influence.  It never fails.  If someone needs help Becky’s right there to step up and take action.

I often catch myself looking inward.  When I observe Becky she is usually focused outward towards others.  It’s so easy to pause, see the world through her eyes, and then take the right action.  I’m so blessed to have a life partner who can help me become a better person.

While Father Dodge never ended up calling on me tonight you now know why my hand went up when he asked how we remember to be generous.  In that same moment I was reminded of just how appreciative I am for the generosity of Becky.  The way she lives her life is a constant example of giving to others in so many ways.


Day 1,094 – Thankful for Tough Love Parent Role Models

For a period of time this week and today I haven’t been Gavin’s favorite parent. He wanted to skip soccer practice to go to the Oktoberfest parade this evening. Skipping practice would mean that he’d get to the parade early. Attending practice meant he might miss the first 10-15 minutes of the parade.

Tonight he was adamant and emotional about skipping practice. From past lessons learned from my parents I gave him an option. We only had to discuss the options twice before he made the correct decision.

My parents are the best. They taught us discipline and grit. When it was needed they offered up tough love and pushed us. All the while they always reminded us that we had a choice. Once that choice was made I needed to choose my attitude accordingly. It wasn’t always what we wanted to hear, but it was something that had an awesome impact on my life.

As a parent I now realize how difficult it can be to stay tough in those situations. It would be so much easier to give in and save the lesson for a later date. Doing so would do the boys a huge disservice and would reinforce the wrong behavior. I’m so thankful and appreciative of the strength of my parents when they pushed the tough love. They inspired me to take the right action today.

After offering Gavin the choice he made the right decision. There was some initial frustration but by the time I was taking him to practice he was excited and pumped to play; smiling even! It doesn’t get much better than that. Who knows, maybe he’ll remember this when his boys are in the same spot in the future…


Day 1,093 – Thankful for Lessons from a Master

I switched up my reading pattern a bit over the past few books.  Usually it’s business, biography, fiction.  Based on some great reads there were a couple of extra fictions.  Then to catch back up there was a string of business.  To get back into the routine I fired up a book that was kind of a mix of biography, fiction, and business.  Once finished it leaves me pretty open ended to explore any direction I’d like and still make progress.  Pow!

How did I stumble into a book that covers all my bases?  A lot of luck and great timing. 

On Writing by Steven King is half autobiography, half instructional manual, and half fictional review.  Yes, I know that’s three halves.  It’s a very fulfilling book! 

Long story short, it’s his story of how he started writing, the ways he crafts his stories, and how he’s applied that craft in his books.  With the book about losing my dad almost done with a the rough draft it is the motivation and direction I need to push me to the next step.  As luck would have it I even accidentally stumbled into one of the key steps; letting it simmer.

I still remember reading some of his amazing stories way back when I was a kid (Eyes of the Dragon and The Stand).  Some of my favorite audiobooks have also been his (Bag of Bones and The Outsider).  Being able to sneak behind the curtain and learn from one of the masters has been awesome and appreciated!  If he were to read this post and then write his blog for the day I think it might be:  Day 1 – Thankful for the Omission of an Unnecessary Adverb.  Just a hunch.  😉


Day 1,092 – Thankful for an Awesome Combo of the Last Two Blogs

Gavin and I had our talk about grit and growth mindset a couple of days ago. To help develop grit he’s started to practice juggling with his soccer ball every morning before school.

Yesterday he wasn’t super pumped to do it, but he practiced. Today the first thing he told me when I got home was that he set a new personal best. We immediately grabbed a soccer ball and went outside. In the 30 minutes or so we had before practice we played, juggled, and had fun.

How cool that by going through something difficult we can learn and create more fun and joy than we would’ve had without the suffering?


Day 1,091 – Thankful for a Huge Smile and a Reminder of Some of the Best Stuff In Life Coming After Suffering

Dominic was freed of his braces this afternoon and boy was he excited! I can’t remember the last time we got a picture of him smiling this big! Between the caramel apple that’s waiting for him and the big pile of candy he pounded already he’s been on cloud nine.

Seeing his joy after the liberation of teeth got me thinking today. After almost a year and a half of soreness, chewing restrictions and a sore mouth he’s in better shape than before.

How often life follows this pattern. We struggle through something and suffer but then often find incredible joy and reward afterwards. Once we understand that pattern we can actually learn to appreciate the difficult and trying times. It doesn’t make them easier per se, but it helps us to endure them more easily.

One of my favorite quotes on this very topic comes from Vince Lombardi.

“I’ve never known a man worth his salt who, in the long run, deep down in his heart, didn’t appreciate the grind, the discipline. “

Enjoy the caramel apple Bud, you deserve it!


Day 1,090 – Thankful for an Opportunity to Discuss Growth Mindset and Grit

IMG_2113 2

Today’s soccer game for Gavin may not have quite gone as he scripted it.  There were a couple of bright spots and lots to work on.  We won’t go into the weeds or anything as they aren’t necessary for this post.

After the game we hopped in the car and had a conversation very similar to some I used to have with my dad after a game.  They were never what I wanted to hear, but they were what I needed to hear.

We spent time talking about what I saw, what he felt, and the feedback he got from his coach.  He watched the video and gave his feedback.  It wasn’t comfortable, but it will hopefully help.

After all was said and done it was an excellent opportunity for us to talk about the importance of having a growth mindset and grit.  If we wish to achieve our dreams and goals we must find ways to continually improve.  We must use our passion to keep us pushing persistently towards the dream.  The decision to be successful is ours to make.

Today was a rough game, but it’s one that I hope he holds onto for a very long time as an example of how to be successful in the future.


Day 1,089 – Thankful for Being Back Home, Flight Conversations, and Taking Immediate Action

Ahh…  Being back home feels awesome!  Funny how even after being gone a short period reminds me of how much I appreciate being home.  Of all the happy places I’ve found in my life being home with my family is the happiest.  Spending some time nestled in our cozy living room is exactly what I needed tonight.  Ahh…  home.


When I boarded the jet in Chicago there were several completely open rows and someone sitting next to the seat I was supposed to be in.  I initially opted for an empty row but as a couple of other people came in after me I moved back to my assigned seat.  Normally I prefer to put in the ear buds and enjoy a little alone time.  This time I paused and the person next to me started a conversation.  Before I knew it we’d landed and we’d had an excellent time talking about careers, life, travel, the economy, and a common goal of visiting all the National Parks.  The conversation was a great way to pass the time.

One of the things we discussed at Sales Summit was goal setting.  In one of our trainings we talked about having to decide to make sacrifices to clear a path for our goals.  This isn’t anything new or earth shattering, but it’s a great reminder.  Over the past few days I’ve been spending an increasing amount of time thinking about the goals I’ve set for myself; especially the ones that are getting close to completion that just need a little extra oomph.  Today I packed up set of potential distractions, moved them down to the basement, and cleared more space for my goals.  The feeling of taking immediate action on something learned put a smile on my face.  Time for progress.


Day 1,088 – Thankful for Time with My Work Family

Throughout the past couple of days I’ve had the opportunity to spend a lot of time with many people with our Express family. I’m so appreciative of the time to reconnect with so many friends. Amongst the learning sessions and times with others I’ve had a lot of time with so many of my local teammates. Tonight was an opportunity to enjoy time together as a tribe and I’m so thankful for it.

In one of our sessions today we were asked what were the benefits of Monday. Without hesitation I responded at my table, “I look forward to spending time with my work family on Monday mornings.” It’s 100% true. I am so blessed to work with so many incredible people each day. Each of them brightens my day in their own way and the way we act as a team makes me smile from ear to ear.

At times over dinner we laughed to the point it tears. We laughed, we talked, and we spent time enjoying each other’s company. The only way it would have been better this evening was if all of our teammates were able to join us.

I am so thankful for time with my work family. I can’t imagine a better group of folks I’d rather spend time with away from home. Thank you to each and every one of you for the specific and special ways you fill my heart with joy. Love you all!