Day 1,230 – Thankful for Winter Driving and Snowblowing

There sure was a lot of snow this morning, wasn’t there? Between not having too many heavy snow days and focusing on being positive about winter I found it quite beautiful today.

The drive back from Mom’s was uneventful; another thing I’m thankful for. Part of the reason it went so well is all of the time I’ve spent driving on snowy roads.

Even before I started driving I loved the snow covered roads. I still remember enjoying the way Dad would spin and slide the truck on purpose on snowy roads to get a laugh out of Nick and I. The way the truck handle in the snow was awesome; so different from normal driving. When you grow up in northern WI you pretty much have no choice but to learn how to drive in the snow. My one year at Michigan Tech further pushed my snow driving experience. All those miles have helped me get more comfortable with driving on snowy roads. Of course I’d prefer perfectly clear roads, but in a very weird way I really enjoy snowy roads. They provide an opportunity to test my skills and help me improve on my winter driving. This interest in driving in snow and the years of experience have helped me feel confident in my winter driving skills, but the times I’ve made mistakes have also helped me not become arrogant. Rather, those experiences seem to be around the corner to humble me should I get a little too confident and it’s the fear of another humbling experience that keeps me focused. I’m thankful for all those miles and years of winter driving and the confidence they’ve built.

My inner teenager is going to throw a fit over this next comment, but I was really looking forward to snowblowing today! Twisted, right? For some reason I was craving the task of doing something with a clear end goal and immediate progress. Being outside, doing physical activity, and working on something that doesn’t require a huge amount of mental exercise was exactly what the doctor ordered. How crazy, I was thoroughly excited about and grateful for the opportunity to do a chore I would’ve groaned about when I was younger. Today snowblowing was awesome!

Thanks!!!

Day 1,229 – Thankful for Ice Castles, Hot Air Balloons, and Awesome Family Time

Day 1,229 – Thankful for Ice Castles, Hot Air Balloons, and Awesome Family Time

What a day! Much outside time, lots of fresh air under the sun, and so many laughs.

Today was filled with many cool experiences; ice castles, all you can eat sushi, hot air balloons, and games. Most importantly it was filled with some awesome family time!

It’s a pretty simple blog today – I’m so thankful for the time awesome time with family. So much chilling and relaxing, no real agenda, just hanging out and having a great time together. Many great memories made today!

Thanks!!!

Day 1,228 – Thankful for First Responders, CPR Certified People, and People Who Take Immediate Action

Isn’t it funny how we can take some things for granted until that moment they are most desperately needed? While I won’t get into specifics I was reminded today of just how grateful I should be each day for all the people who help in an emergency.

Whether you’re a First Responder, someone who’s CPR certified or someone who just takes action in an emergency – THANK YOU!!!

Thank you for taking the time to study, learn and train. Thank you for your willingness to help in a moment’s notice. Thank you for always giving 100+% in order to save others. Even when it may be too late or the trauma is too much – thank you for giving it your all and providing the the opportunity for a miracle. Thank you for loving everyone so much you would sacrifice your time and energy to save a total stranger. You all are the super heroes amongst us who immediately bust out your capes in our darkest moments.

Thank you all so much – today and every single day! We appreciate you greatly!

Thanks!!!

Day 1,227 – Thankful for Taking Time to Think Before Posting and the Winter Sun

This morning before I got out of bed I grabbed my phone and for some reason decided to check Facebook. I’ve been working on weening myself off of Facebook over the past few months so I was even more surprised at my initial movement this morning.

As I scrolled through the newsfeed quickly I caught something that got me upset. Nothing crazy, but just one of those posts in which someone didn’t think all the way through (I’m hoping so anyways). My first reaction was to start typing a scathing response helping them see how they were totally stereotyping a group of people and missing the point of the post itself. Taking that type of action would have been so easy. Jump right in, take the gloves off, and hide behind the toughness of the screen. Really, how easy is it to just fire away with comments?

Then I took a deep breath and thought for a moment. If I truly care about the individual would I feel right having that conversation face to face or would I change the delivery? Why resort to taking action on this when I could have a much better conversation with them in person? As I saw it I had a choice to make, how to respond.

I’m thankful for taking that moment to think first as opposed to just reacting. Over the next few weeks I’ll most likely have that conversation with them in person and we’ll see how it goes. I can guarantee that it will go better than an off the cuff Facebook response would have.

Throughout the day I caught myself enjoying the sunshine. Ahh… At one point I even had the moon roof open and was letting the sun beat down directly onto my face while I was driving. It was glorious! For a moment I could’ve swore I was sitting by the beach in the summer. Then I quickly remembered what season it was and took time to enjoy the way the sunlight was making the snow a beautiful dazzling white. It was awesome! Sunshine is always wonderful, but there’s a different type of wonderful in the winter. Today I was thankful for the winter sun, it had me smiling all day.

Thanks!!!

Day 1,226 – Thankful for Saving Up Gift Cards for Years & the People Who Gave Them to Me

Today I finally cashed in many of the gift cards I’ve received over the past few years. Whether they were for Christmas, my birthday, Father’s Day, or whatever they were all cashed in this evening. As I added them to the payment I smiled and thought back to the people who gave them to me.

Usually I’m much more frivolous with my gift cards. I use them up almost immediately on things that are top of mind. A while back I’d shared with Becky how badly I wanted to get a new table saw and she suggested I save up gift cards to help pay for it. She had a pretty great idea so I stuck with it. Whenever I got a gift card (for somewhere besides Amazon, cuz I’m totally spending those immediately 😉) I added it to the box and smiled. Each one that went in got me closer to the table saw.

The big day was today and I placed my order. Thanks to the hoard I’d saved up the overwhelming majority of it was paid for – woo hoo!!! This bad boy is going to find a home in my workshop soon.

Thanks to everyone who’s given me a gift card over the past few years, this post wouldn’t have happened without you!

Thank you to Becky for the great idea of saving them up for one big purpose!

Hey me, thanks for gritting it out and practicing delayed gratification… it was well worth it!

Thanks!!!

Day 1,225 – Thankful for the Greatest Yoga Phrase I’ve Ever Heard

My apologies in advance to Uncle Buster. He once recommended that I not swear in my blog and for the most part I’ve been able to honor his request. Sorry Uncle Buster, it needs to happen tonight 😉

After yoga the same scene happens after each practice. Some people get to the cubbies first to get their winter clothes on while other people wait until they’re out of the way. Everyone is always super polite and peaceful. The people in front hustle and do their best to make room for the others. Those waiting totally understand and are very chill. It’s a pretty awesome version of the humanity I wish I could bring to each and every moment of my life regardless of my stress level in that moment.

Tonight was very similar to the normal post-yoga routine. One of the first people changing saw someone waiting behind her and asked if she was in his way. At first he said no to be polite, but then realized it was pretty obvious and he then said yes. Almost immediately after he said “yes” he followed it up with, “it’s totally okay…” in a super polite tone. And then he dropped what I feel is the greatest yoga phrase I’ve ever heard…

“I’m all namaste and shit.”

Totally flat tone, meaning every word of it in a positive and respectful way. It was AWESOME!!!

Amen brother; that’s how I feel after yoga too!!!

I’m still chucking about it as I write this. So why am I thankful for it? Over the past few weeks there’ve been some pretty stressful moments. Over the next few weeks there are bound to be several more. When one of those moments arise I’m totally going to close my eyes for a moment and hear that phrase in my head. You might even see my lips moving in a way that says, “I’m all namaste and shit.” I can guarantee I’ll then smile, take a deep breath, and feel much more at peace and in control of my emotions.

Ahh… I’m totally all namaste and shit. 😊

Thanks!!!

Day 1,224 – Thankful for a Commercial that Got Me Thinking and a Memorable Smile

If you were trying to remember some of your favorite thoughts, memories, and mannerisms of a loved one what would come to mind?

While watching the Super Bowl last night there was a commercial that left me looking for the person who was starting to cut onions. The commercial named “Loretta” was one of the most powerful commercials I’ve seen in a long time. You can check it out here if you’d like. If you haven’t seen it yet I’d recommend checking it out prior to reading further.

As the narrator is talking about his love, Loretta, he goes through so many memories. A couple were big milestones, but the majority were all of the little things that make up the big thing. As I watched my head started to put myself into the narrator’s role. If it were me what would be the things I’d want to remember about Becky?

We’ve created so many awesome memories together that for the shortest of seconds I thought I’d be overwhelmed with too many memories. As it turned out there was one specific one that immediately came to mind. Then another, and then another. Three specifically came first and they all had a common trait, her smile. After the flood gates of memories opened after those three I was awash in excellent memories.

The third moment that came to mind was when she saw the Grand Canyon for the first time. I’ll never forget the huge smile and wave of emotion on her face in that moment.

The second memory was when she smiled across the church at me when I fell head over heels for her. That moment lit up my heart.

The first? When we went for a hike on a glacier in the Canadian Rockies I was shooting some video of our time on the ice and happened to catch my favorite mental image of Becky. She’s looking to all the beauty around her with curiosity, passion for nature’s beauty, and pure joy. At one point she looks at her feet for a second and then looks back up and all around her again. That smile and look on her face is one of the biggest reasons I love her so much. Still makes me smile so many years later!

Thank you Google for creating a commercial that hit me right in the feels, reminded me of some of my favorite moments with Becky, and that still has my heart filled with joy so many hours later.

Thanks!!!

Day 1,223 – Thankful for Super Bowl Inspired Foods

Even though we were chilling at home for the Super Bowl instead of off to a party we still had to have some Super Bowl style food. I still remember as a kid whether we went to someone’s house for a party or stayed home as a family we always had some great snacks to celebrate the big game. One of my all time favorites were the taco meatballs Mom used to make. They were fantastic!

For supper tonight I took the lead from a Facebook post from a while back. Nothing like trying new recipes, right? For our dinner I went with Mini Taco Salads and Keto Pizza Pull Apart Bread. The mini taco salads were a cool twist on normal tacos, something we’ll definitely do again. The Pizza Bread? Delicious and definitely the MVP of the meal. Zero leftovers of that bad boy after we finished eating.

So why am I thankful for Super Bowl inspired foods today? They’re delicious of course, but they also pack more than great taste. It’s one of those crazy family traditions that always reminds me of back when I was a kid. They are also something we share as a family – both the food and the time together eating it. I’m always up for that!

Back to watch the suspenseful end of the game with Dominic!

Thanks!!!

Day 1,222 – Thankful for a Sneak Peak Into Approximately Six and a Half Years

I am so thankful for the time I have with my boys. Being here to spend time with them as they grow up is awesome and I do my best to appreciate every moment of it.

Dominic had a Scout event yesterday and through most of the evening. We had fun watching Gavin play basketball and were able to get our grocery shopping done before dropping him off to hang out with a friend.

From the point I dropped him off until later in the evening we had a pretty cool sneak peak into what the future most likely holds for us in about six and a half years. Becky and I headed off to church. We hit the grocery store to get everything we needed for one of the most nutritious meals ever… cheese, sausage, and crackers. We snuggled on the couch, relaxed, and fired up a movie. It was totally chill and just about perfect.

I’ll continue to enjoy each moment we have with the boys while they live with us. For Dominic that’s about three and a half years, Gavin has another six nod a half. It’s crazy to think that so much of our time together as a family has flown by already! Nights like this remind me that once we get to the next stage of our family life we’ll have some chill and relaxing times in front of us. I’m looking forward to them while also appreciating today.

I figured a pic from way back before kids seemed appropriate. So many years (& lbs) ago!

Thanks!!!

Day 1,221 – Thankful for the Way Stressful Situations Present an Opportunity to Show Our True Values and Strengthen Relationships

Where does your head go in a difficult situation? How do your personal values weigh in? When your values “get in the way” of a simple solution how do you stick with them? The last time you were in a difficult situation how did your relationship with others grow?

Due to several reasons I really can’t get into the specific who’s and what’s of the situation that brought today’s blog post on. Regardless, I think I can get my point across very clearly without that.

Over the past couple of days I’ve been working with someone on a very tough situation. It is a time when there is an initial simple answer, but when we dig deeper there are so many levels to work through. To complicate things further there’s a delicate balance of finding the right “right answer” as there are several ways to proceed.

As we have worked through the process I’ve heard one of our core values come out of my mouth on several occasions; do right. There are a couple of very simple answers, but they are not examples of doing right.

After reviewing the decision making process in my head I realized just how thankful I am for the way stressful situations offer an opportunity to show our true values. It’s easy to say what I would like to live to. It’s easy to live values when they are not put to the test. The only time when we really have an opportunity to see if we truly live to our values is in challenging times. The more challenging the better. After seeing how we respond to these difficult situations we have the opportunity to pause and review our actions. Did we do what the ideal version of ourselves would have done? Most often for me I find a gap between my actions and the actions I should have had. I think on those, ponder them, and determine ways to respond differently the next time they are tested. These trials by fire are how I can continue to improve myself in action as opposed to just thought.

The other very interesting part of this situation is that I’m working closely with someone I’ve only met once in person. Outside of that we’ve had some phone conversations and email exchanges, but nothing too crazy or in depth. Interestingly enough we come from a very closely connected network and it’s funny that we hadn’t actually met many years beforehand. There are so many similarities and shared relationships that it’s almost like we’re related!

Throughout our work on this we’re both in positions in which we have to trust each other. We’ve quickly found that our values are aligned and we’re working very well together. Working through the solution to this has significantly strengthened our relationship and I would be surprised if it doesn’t continue to grow and develop from here. Without this challenge we would never have started down the path of building a stronger friendship and trust. In moments of stress if we truly live our values as I wrote above we’ve quickly found that our values are in alignment.

Of course we’d all prefer that the challenge never presented itself, but it did and all we can do is move forward and make the most of it. Instead of costing on the negative, I’m choosing to focus on the ways we can find positives from this. Life happens, we have to move forward. The Big Dude Upstairs sometimes throws us some crazy curveballs that we can complain about, deny, or run from. What if we always embraced them and looked for the positive? What if we always lived that wonderful quote from The Book of Joy, “What can I learn from this?”

Special thanks to my friend Kris today also! She gave me an awesome compliment that I am very thankful for. There’ve been a couple of times when I’ve wanted to get frustrated, but I kept hearing her quote in my head and I truly wanted to live into it and earn it. Thanks Kris!!!

Thanks!!!