Day 1,587 – Thankful for Another Reminder of Choosing the Right Mindset, Hearing Miracles Instead of Noise

I still remember way back in the day, back in BC (Before Children) I would sometimes get frustrated by little kids at church. They would make noise, cry, and move around a lot and I couldn’t understand how their parents weren’t keeping them quiet. Definitely not proud to admit that, but it’s the truth. I liked church as a time to take a deep breath, enjoy the quiet, and focus on what was being said. The noise didn’t help me enjoy any of those.

Once we had our own kids I suddenly got a crash course in understanding what had happened. Dominic and Gavin would both make noise and fuss a lot during church. Dominic would continue to drop his toys cars off the back of pew. Gavin waited until the entire church was completely silent to holler out an announcement to everyone, “I’ve got to POOP!!!” Both of them had to go to the bathroom at church, a lot! There was asking for snacks, tantrums when they didn’t get their way, and very rarely a quiet moment. Mentally I was already repenting my thoughts from early as I now understood what those parents were going through.

Thinking back to when the boys were this age still drains me!

While Becky and I were looking forward to the day when we could actually enjoy church again there were so many other parents who would smile big at the chaos. They would smile as they helped to pick up the toys, snacks, and books that hit the floor. There were many times when they would let us know it was okay, we were doing great, and that they enjoyed seeing the family at church. Each of those smiles and comments helped to us persevere and bring both the boys to church the next week and the next week and the next week. Even though we were worn out and drained from trying to corral the boys their comments and smiles would incite a smile from us and meant the world to us.

Now that our boys are older we’ve been on the other end of the spectrum we do our part to help re-assure the other new parents through smiles (comments have bene exceedingly difficult due to social distancing, no worries though, a smile says more than words ever could). When we hear the sounds we think back to those difficult times. We also realize that the sound isn’t a big deal at all, it’s totally normal and is the sound of the constant renewal of faith. What a beautiful sound it is when I choose the right mindset!

At church this morning there was a family with three very small children. The children were alive and wild with energy – giggles, smiles, playing, and moving. The parents both looked a bit tired and I did my best to pass a couple of heartfelt smiles to them from behind my mask.

At one point it almost seemed as if Father Dodge was struggling to focus on what he was saying. Before mass concluded he called the little daughter (two to three years old at most?) by name to join him up front. It took her a little while to trust him but she finally took his hand and went back to the front of the church with him. What happened next filled my soul and eyes with emotion.

Father Dodge introduced her to the entire church. He then went on to explain that she had had her heart replaced and what a miracle it was that she was still with us today. He said that he loved to hear her voice and made a comment along the lines of, “each time I hear her voice I am reminded of the miracles all around us, her voice is the sound of a miracle.” How awesome is that?

What I am grateful for today was a reminder of the importance of choosing the right mindset. Where some may hear noise others may hear miracles. While I may not know the reasons, the intent, or the back story to others I can always choose an attitude of kindness, love, respect, and gratitude. When I hear “noise” it is a tripwire for me to pause, choose my mindset, and see if the sound changes to something more beautiful.


Day 1,586 – Thankful for Muscles I Didn’t Remember Existed Until Now

During the drive home from Wausau tonight I could feel my legs stiffening a bit. The sensation wasn’t in the usual spots where my legs tighten up after a hike, a run, or stairs. Some of the normal joints and muscle groups felt like usual, but there was also stiffness in places in my legs I didn’t really remember existed. Funny how the first day of downhill skiing for the season will do that to someone in their mid-forties!

I’m thankful for that muscle stiffness today for a variety of reasons. I was outside. I was with my boys. I was being active. I was enjoying the snow. I was doing something different than i normally do. I was pushing myself outside of my normal comfort zone. I was smiling and laughing. I was living in the moment. The stiffness in muscles in my legs I’d totally forgotten about are reminding me of all of those things and I’m grateful for that.


Day 1,585 – Thankful for the Power of a Mental Image

Funny how perspective works. The temperature for our morning run was 19 and the windchill dropped it to about 10 or so. Normally that would be quite chilly, but thanks to the temps of the past couple of weeks it felt almost balmy. It reminds me that perspective is up to me to choose.

After my run I laid down for my breathing practice, the first time I’d done it in a little over a week. I’ve got a lot of excuses for the practices missed, but none of them are good. The fault is 100% mine as I didn’t place the value on it as I should have and did not maintain my discipline to the practice as I should have.

The practice started out very rough. The first breath hold was just over a minute, and that had been a struggle. The second got a little better. Something changed on the third one and the change flowed right into the fourth as well. Once I was finished I was very surprised to see that I’d set a new personal record at just under two and a half minutes!

What changed? This…

These images appeared in my mind’s eye. The inner monologue of my voice shut up completely. The stress of life faded away into nothingness. There was only a shifting back and forth from one image to the next.

The beauty of Alaska laid out in front of me as if through a slightly opaque window. My blackout sleep mask blocked all the light from the outside world while my mind eliminated the blackness in front of my eyes.

I was in Alaska on the shore of Resurrection Bay taking the in the epic view surrounding me. Only a little sliver of my being knew I was home, the rest walked along the rocky beach as I explored the pictures and where I’d been before.

The deep state of serenity I went to while breathing helped to relax my body more than ever. I’m kicking myself a little though. How much longer would I have held if I had been on track with my practice and hadn’t lapsed for a week? Would I have had a few more seconds in paradise? What an excellent motivator to continue working at it.


Day 1,584 – Thankful for Stoking the Dream Fire with More Fuel

Over the past couple of weeks I’m finding how much more my dreams are the forefront of my thoughts. Seemingly around every corner there’s an opportunity to pause for an instant and see how an action or decision could nudge me in the direction of attaining one or more of those dreams.

What’s been more interesting is that the more I am focused on them the more I am living into the actions of someone who lives out those dreams. I’m finding myself making better decisions with my time and focus.

Case in point – my choices in what to watch while exercising inside. Unless I’m watching something with my family I will only watch TV while exercising. This helps me feel like I’m earning the screen time. Recently I’d been watching more “entertainment” TV – The Boys was an amazingly entertaining show! After starting to review my dream list daily I’m seeing different types of movies and shows as the flavor I’m craving… skyrunning, rock climbing, wilderness survival, and exploration of the natural world. Shows like this:

Instead of filling my head with empty entertainment, sports, or news commentary I’m stoking the flames of dreams with some epic fuel. More ideas being added to list daily, others moving slowly but surely to completion. Living intentionally.


Day 1,583 – Thankful for Passing the Test and Watching Dominic Snowboard Competitively for the First Time

“Why aren’t you ready to go???” That phrase was what jolted me out of a deep sleep this morning. In an instant I’d realized what had happened. For some reason the alarm didn’t go off and I didn’t have my back up alarm on. My mind must have decided last night that sleeping in the warm bed was better than going for a run in -2 windchill.

In less than a couple of seconds I faced my first two tests of the day…

  • Test #1 – Get moving, skip the routine, and get out for a run or skip the run, take my time, go through my routine, and then miss out on exercising for the morning.
  • Test #2 – Choose to be angry, pissy, and frustrated because the alarm didn’t go off or choose my attitude, take a swing at the curveball life threw me, see this as a set of early morning tests, and smile my way through it.

I passed both tests and am thankful for the practice that I’ve put in to help me pass. Quick side note – tonight I’m taking precautions to ensure I’m not tested the same way again tomorrow. 😉

Tonight I was able to watch Dominic’s snowboard race. This was his second event and the first one I had the opportunity to watch. It was AWESOME!!! To think he just started snowboarding last year and now he’s going down some wickedly steep hills at a crazy speed. Watching him fly down both times had me beaming with pride and smiling from ear to ear. The smile on his face was priceless. Yet again he has motivated his old man.


Day 1,582 – Thankful for Thought Provoking Wisdom From The Notorious RGB and Her Mom

In one of my two short daily email newsletters there was an awesome quote from Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She shared advice she had received from her mother that RBG held true to for much of her life.

My mother’s advice was, don’t lose time on useless emotions like anger, resentment, remorse, envy. Those, she said, will just sap time; they don’t get you where you want to be. One way I coped with times I was angry: I would sit down and practice the piano. I wasn’t very good at it, but it did distract me from whatever useless emotion I was feeling at the moment. Later, I did the same with the cello. I would be absorbed in the music, and the useless emotion faded away.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg,

When I get frustrated, angry, envious or feel some other useless emotion I’ll be sure to keep this wisdom in mind. How much more productive is it to go on a run, read a book, create in my workshop, close my eyes and focus on my breathing practice, or just sit down and write about what I’m grateful for. With this wisdom in mind I’ll set a mental tripwire to watch for the useless emotions and then use them as productive time instead.


Day 1,581 – Thankful for Running with a Frosty Beard

Sure, running when it’s sunny and 65 is pretty awesome, but that wasn’t the weather this morning. Instead it was about 5 with windchill dropping it to about zero.

One of the best parts of running at a very low temperature like that while having a beard is the sensation of frozen facial hair. It stiffens up and I could feel each whisker when I’d talk. The feeling of it is so wildly foreign. I felt like a little kid while running, I was dying with anticipation to see if it appeared as wild as it felt.

Nothing like starting off the day with frosty beard while running!


Day 1,580 – Thankful for Starting the Day Productive and Then Enjoying Chill Time Afterwards

After going through my normal morning routine I hopped out of bed with a smile. For whatever reason I was feeling productive and was ready to get at it right away. Once the bed was made I went outside and snowblowed (in shorts of course). Getting a blast of sunlight and fresh morning air was amazing! By the time I was wrapping up the boys were awake and I took some time to show Gavin how to run the snowblower for the last little stretch. Next thing I knew Becky and I were on our way to the grocery store for our weekly shopping. With the Packers game today I wanted to make something that fit the mood for lunch for the boys and I so I tried out a new recipe for buffalo chicken wontons (tasted great, but needed something more hearty like a crusty bread than the wonton). By the time the game was getting close to starting I’d accomplished everything I’d wanted for the day.

Starting the day productively reminded me of how much stronger my motivation and drive are early in the morning. When I wake up and hit the gas the day flies by and I see so much more success. When I laze a bit in the morning it seems I never quite get out of it.

Sometimes I don’t take enough time to just chill, but I remedied that this afternoon. Gavin and I kept working on a game we’re making (a Commander cube draft for MTG for the fellow nerds out there). Once the game was about to start Dominic joined us in the living room and the three of us did absolutely nothing but holler at the TV, eat, and joke around. It was awesome! Becky joined us in the living room towards the end of the first half. Sure, I didn’t quite make it through the entire game – we went for a walk during halftime. After the disappointing finale of the game we had a few things for Scouts and then went right back to chilling.

Back in the day I used to watch football from about 11am until 10pm on Sundays. I’d spend the entire day glued to the TV watching all three games and all the commentary in-between. Now? This was the first game I watched in totality this year. I’m pretty sure it was the first time I saw more than 15 minutes since the last Super Bowl. Taking time to just sit on the couch is not what I’m usually in the mood for.

That’s where the dichotomy of today was oddly balancing and peaceful. To be sure, I have no intention of sitting on my butt and accomplishing so little on a Sunday again for a long time, but it did feel good to chill… especially because of the productive things I did earlier in the morning to start it off.

Not my normal jam today and it felt pretty good for a change of pace. Back to full speed tomorrow 😀


Day 1,579 – Thankful for Signs of Wisdom

According to Gavin signs of wisdom include my age, my head of thinning hair, the wrinkles on my face, and the white in my beard. I explain that those are really signs that I’m his dad and that’s what he’s doing to me.

I had a pretty good sized list of tasks for the weekend that I started knocking out early last night and continued through today. At first everything was going better than planned and I was moving along much more quickly than expected… until a couple of projects went sideways pretty quickly. I took a deep breath and tried a few different options to no avail. At that point I hung it up, came in the house, and took another deep breath.

In the past I would’ve kept trying to accomplish the goal and my emotions (especially frustration) would’ve continued to build until I finally broke something and made the project bigger than it needed to be. Today I paused, took a couple of breaths, and walked away for a little while. After attaining some distance I was able to see a couple of potential solutions and tried them out. As luck would have it, they worked pretty well!

For clarity, I still got frustrated. I drew a little blood even (stupid mistake on my part that left me with a little bleeding from the scalp – nothing serious, more humorous after the fact). But I got the projects done, and I got them done without breaking anything (other than my skin). Today I’m thankful for signs of growing wisdom – taking a deep breath, walking away, and taking it on after I’ve had a chance to stay calm.


Day 1,578 – Thankful for Glacier National Park

My jaw is still sitting on the floor in shock. After doing some quick research I found something that blew my mind. I have no idea how in the world I’ve made it 1,943 straight days of blogging without being thankful for one of my favorite National Parks!

Supper tonight was a bit unusual. Gavin was online with a buddy so the rest of us ate supper in the living room. I figured I’d fire up something on the TV for us to watch while we ate. After a couple of quick clicks on the remote we were watching a documentary on Glacier National Park. Watching the video brought up some great memories of our trips out there. Becky and I went out there for our honeymoon. We loved it so much we went back two years later. Eleven years later we took the boys out to the park. One of our happy places is within the epic landscapes of that awesome location.

Rather than allow my words to get in the way, here are some of the reasons I’m thankful for Glacier…