Day 1,768 – Thankful for Random Frisbees and Dog Smiles

Another day in which I’m going very simple in my gratitude. Many great moments of learning, leading, perseverance, life, conversations with friends, scheduling travel, and enjoying time with Becky, Dominic, and Gavin. Several concepts I could go very deep on, but what really feels just about spot on are two crazily little moments. One lasted for maybe fifteen minutes and the other for less than fifteen seconds.

When we picked up Gavin from Scout Camp we got there early for the end of camp fire bowl. As it turned out we got there way earlier than needed and had a good hour or so to hang out and wait. One of the leaders also showed up early. After some polite conversation he smiled and disappeared. When he came back he was smiling and carrying a frisbee. For the next fifteen-ish minutes we and threw frisbee with several scouts. It was pure play and it was awesome! What an awesome way to spend some bonus time 😀

The other moment was at the grocery store on our way home after Scouts. I ran in, grabbed the few items I was looking for, and walked out… just in time to see a car pulling out with the moon roof open and a giant grinning Dalmatian face staring at me. That had to be about the happiest dog I’ve seen in a long time! Not a care in the world, just his big old head sticking out through the moonroof and taking in all the new sights and smells. Something about that look of pure joy on its face had me feeling about the same. Dog smiles, there’s something contagious about them!

The Dalmatian’s smile was even bigger than this 🙂


Day 1,767 – Thankful for Simplicity in the Form of Making Supper

Today has been a very solid day. I’ve found a handful of potential topics to write on, a couple of which would have been going a little, possibly very, deep. While there are certainly future blogs to be written about observing teammates rise to a challenge, trying newly re-purposed solutions in unique ways, scrutinizing where my time is spent and finding many opportunities for improvement, forcing time for an overdue project, listening to the podcast of a thought provoking behavioral economist, and the like – my mind and soul keep coming back to something that really felt good for some reason… making supper.

Making supper. Yup, how menial of a task is that? Something that happens often enough that it shouldn’t even register on the gratitude radar… or should it?

When I got home from work Becky was still at yoga. Gavin is at Scout camp and Dominic had already spent a lot of time cleaning the house and volunteered to do dishes. I changed out of pants, threw on shorts, and proceeded to start the grill.

Supper was nothing fancy. Chicken on the grill and pearled basil couscous on the side. A meal I’ve made many times over and one that really involved zero creativity. No recipe, just a basic meal I could construct basically from muscle memory. Easy, not complex, no exact timing and pretty much no measurement. Simple.

The process of making supper for Becky and Dominic felt rewarding. I was making a gift of my time for others. The process had a set finish line I could get to in a short period of time. I was able to see it through to completion on my own with no additional help. It was peaceful, relaxing, and rewarding. I know, it sounds wild, but I really enjoyed and appreciated making supper tonight.

I’ve done it many times over, especially with Becky being in the field often over the past month or so. Today I was struck by how much I appreciated doing something for others without being asked, working on a project from start to finish, and being able to create. Crazy, but amazing.

All the deep stuff can wait for another time. While my thoughts often drift in that direction I am always caught happily surprised by the rewards of the simple. Simplicity… such an exquisite beauty capable of creating such joy.


Day 1,766 – Thankful for Projects, Re-Purposing, and Pics

Three very different things all called out to be blogged about today. Each of them were full of purpose and reward and brought joy to my life, for very different and yet oddly related reasons.

After work I ran to the grocery store quickly so I could grill for Becky, Dominic, and I tonight. As soon as I was home I was outside working on a project. Forget the brain work of the majority of the day, this was time for a much more physical function. Spending time on a project like this is such a wonderful contrast to the work I’d been doing all day and provided a very different sense of purpose. I was hot, sweaty, dirty, and loving every minute of it.

The project itself is re-purposing the treehouse the boys and I built with Dad several years ago. At the time it was something on the boys’ dream lists and Dad was happy to come down to help us build it. Emerald Ash Borers took over the ash tree it was attached to so we put it on stilts. When we re-landscaped the backyard we moved it out of the way. Now that the boys have grown well beyond treehouse age we knew it was time to take it down. Rather than just get rid of it and all the memories we created when we built it with Dad we went down a different path. We are re-purposing it into a shed for our lawn mower and snow blower. There was the perfect space behind the garage so Dominic and I have spent the past few nights taking it apart and re-building it in its new home. I am grateful for finding a way to keep using it in a new function rather than just tearing it down and throwing it away.

I’m in the process of backing up our saved photos. It is kind of a pain in the butt and I forgot how long it takes to save all the files even with an automated process. What’s been an unexpectedly awesome benefit is the occasional glance at pictures I’m seeing as the app runs from the most recent to the oldest photos. Many times I’ve glanced over to catch a quick view of a picture… almost always from a vacation! I’ve been smiling and remembering excellent adventures each time I look over and see the next photo being saved.

Three very different things, but all tied to one common purpose… they are all parts, in one way or another, of dreams I’ve had and lived. Spending time in thought on each has me smiling and holding two thoughts in my head at the same time. Gratitude for all that I’ve accomplished and also gratitude for all that I have yet to accomplish.


Day 1,765 – Thankful for Awareness and a +2 Day

Awareness is a truly remarkable thing. Without it I stumble in the dark while grasping for an unknown thing I’m in search of. With it I’ve got a light, a map, and a detailed description of exactly what I’m looking for. Once aware I can begin to solve and grow.

The past few days have been full of awareness of a specific set of behaviors. This unending quest to fix everything leaves me spent and unable to focus on the most critical aspects of certain parts of my business. Once my awareness was keyed in to what this looked like I have been able to watch for it with vigilance and sometimes even stop it before it happens.

This morning I felt compelled to fire up an old favorite in my audiobook library, Atomic Habits by James Clear. Within the first few chapters I figured out one of the reasons my mind called for this book. One of the techniques in generating better habits is a technique called “Make it obvious.” It hit the nail on the head and I giggled as I listened to it. The concept was so spot on that it hurt in a good way.

Jim Collins is renowned for keeping a daily journal of his days. Each day he scores his joy on the scale of -2 to +2 and jots a note to himself about why he scored that way. This journal then becomes the measurement and research tool for him to continually grow.

Today was a +2 day for me. Full of purpose, growth, good choices, development, purpose, laughs, and love. I’ll go to bed with a smile on my face for sure this evening!


Day 1,764 – Thankful for Recency and Attaining Distance

There are certain concepts which seem to be almost universal in application.

After leaving Dominic’s Fall sports meeting I heard him point out both of the Honda Fits we drove past. As he told me, “they are everywhere!” Of course they really aren’t all that popular and there aren’t hundreds of them on the roads of La Crosse. The reason he is seeing them is because that’s the vehicle he just got for his first car. We both joked about how he’ll see them everywhere now that he knows they exist. While he’s technically suffering from the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon, in many ways it is really just a case of recency.

Over the past week one of my mentors and I have spent much time focused on finding where I choose to put my time. What types of tasks am I focused on – those which are working IN the business or those working ON the business? It’s a subtle difference that can really alter the success of a business. Should I focus energy on setting up a new spreadsheet or on setting the strategy for a new service line? Work on learning how to implement a new process or spend the same time developing my up and coming leaders? In some ways it seems a simple choice, but making the decision in the moment isn’t always easy.

Since we’ve started this conversation there have been many times when I have caught myself doing something that doesn’t quite line up. Due to the recency of this development focus I am seeing it happen more and more often.

Additionally, I am seeing it happen more and more often as I am working with others. When talking with someone about what’s on their plate it has been easy for me to quickly see that they are spending their time on an activity which doesn’t yield nearly as powerful results as other activity they could be doing with that same amount of time. This leads to the second universal concept I’m thankful for today… attaining distance.

When viewing the world from our eyes in an attempt to perceive the world through the eyes of another we’re able to attain distance from ourselves and make a more correct choice. When thinking only from our perspective about ourselves emotion has a much stronger opportunity to step in and divert us from the correct action. In order to make better decisions we can find ways to trick our brain into attaining distance so we can make better decisions.

Both recency and attaining distance have been wildly useful today and I’m thankful for both. They’ve both been big helps both at home and work.


Day 1,763 – Thankful for Hearing About the Boys’ Awesome Adventures with Mom

I love creating wonderful memories with our boys. Spending time with them on amazing adventures and travels are amongst my favorite activities. Something else that jazzes me up is hearing about the great time they have with others creating additional amazing memories. That’s exactly what I got to spend time doing with the boys today – hearing about the awesome time they had with Grandma DeeDee and Grandpa Brad.

Over the past handful of days they’ve been camping, kayaking, hiking, playing games, and hanging out. The ride home from picking them up halfway was filled with nonstop stories of things they did and how much fun they had.

While I was listening I couldn’t help but smile as I remembered all the fun times I spent with my grandparents during the summer when I was about the same age. Those memories always make me smile and remind me of how lucky I was to have had such incredible grandparents.

Hearing those stories today helped me quickly see that they had created some similar memories which they’ll always have to bring them smiles as well.

A couple of other quick notes of gratitude today. On one of my many drives today I re-listened to one of my favorite podcasts of all time – Jim Collins being interviewed by Tim Ferriss. The deep thoughts Jim shares have been resonating in my brain all day. Those thoughts have helped me set a course for the next week. Secondly, I’ve been doing much thought work on a few other aspects of my life in which Tim & Jim remind me to stay focused on. Both have many additional resources which are helping me find better ways to continue the eternal road of improvement and growth.


Day 1,762 – Thankful for a Perfectly Kreiling Relaxing Day at Home

The past few weeks have been pretty wild and full of life. The thought of taking a deep breath and relaxing has been top of mind but just hadn’t come to fruition. Today was a perfect opportunity to assuage the need for chill… albeit in a perfectly Kreiling way. 😉

The boys are away so we had a ton of options available to us. After a short eleven or so hours of sleep I arose and had breakfast. We took the dogs out on the pontoon so they could enjoy some water time before it got too crazy on the river. They were in heaven and totally enjoyed swimming, shooing away ducks, and shredding dead branches before they were ready to head in. Becky and I enjoyed the time in the sun on the boat both there and back.

We got home and I ate an early lunch. Next we were on our bikes pedaling away on the trails. Twenty miles flew by under the sun in seemingly no time. Halfway through I took my shirt off and enjoyed some extra vitamin D. Just the two of us exercising in the sun and on the trails was totally relaxing and put me deep into the state of chill I was looking for.

Showers, grocery shopping, second lunch, and folding laundry were all on the docket before church. Church was calming in its own awesome way. I may have stumbled upon my new favorite line in the Bible. “Jesus withdrew to the mountain again by himself.” I knew he was a great and wise Dude 😉

At home Becky’s got supper going on the grill and I just made us tasty summer cocktails inspired by our date last night. Gin, Chartreuse, muddled strawberries and basil leaves, syrup, and lemon juice combine for a crisp and refreshing beverage seemingly made just for a night on the back deck like this.

Now I’m typing, sipping, and smelling the dinner on the grill while sitting under the sun with some peaceful tunes courtesy of Pandora. Becky’s reading her book and occasionally getting up to check the salmon. After we eat well most likely chill and call it another early night.

I can’t even begin to state just how chill I’m feeling right now. Zero stress. Not thinking ahead of looking back. In this moment soaking it all in and grinning the entire time with a full and relaxed soul.


Day 1,761 – Thankful for a Perfect Date Night with Becky

I’ll never deny that I’m probably older than I really am. It is a fact I’ve come to grips with and am totally comfortable with. 😉

The boys are hanging out with Mom having yet another adventure while Becky and I are working this week. With no kids on a Friday night it was a perfect time for us to get crazy and have an awesome date.

We rolled up to Love Child just before they opened at 5pm, ate a delicious meal complete with dessert and drinks, and left shortly after 6:15. Did we do something crazy afterwards? Hell yeah! We grabbed ice cream from The Pearl and we’re home before 7pm.

More craziness? You know it! Chilling on the couch and sleeping by 8pm. Yessir, we are a wild and crazy couple 😉

…and that’s a perfect date night to me!

After going constantly during the week it’s great to take some time to chill and rest. Tomorrow morning we’ll be up bright and early and head out for a bike ride or hike before the rest of the world wakes up. We get a quiet night together tonight AND a quiet morning together tomorrow.

Time to chill, relax, and head off to sleep!


Day 1,760 – Thankful for Choosing the Short Version While Capturing the Highlights

LOL – days like this make me smile. Up a couple of minutes before 4am and going pretty much nonstop since. There’s so much I’d like to type about but my eyelids are getting heavy and I know I am on borrowed time. Decision time, blog in detail and risk falling asleep before finishing or hit the highlights quickly and get two sleep….


Here are the quick highlights of the day:

  • Spending time with a mentor
  • Finding ways to create cross discipline solutions
  • Focus
  • Reminders of the importance of different viewpoints
  • Hanging out with a team while jamming out on a boat
  • Knowing which friends you can count on to jump in the river to find your phone in five feet of water
  • Time to think and process

Many awesome moments, lessons, and creations today that I’m grateful for. Time to turn in so I can do it all again tomorrow and process everything from today.


Day 1,759 – Thankful for Another Round of Awesome Adventures for the Boys

Another week and another round of awesome summer adventures for the boys! We just dropped them off with Mom and StepBrad for their next exciting experience. Mom’s got some outstanding plans that will keep them active, having fun, and enjoying time with family without their parents being around.

The number of things Dominic and Gavin have already done this summer boggles my brain. While Dominic’s summer starts to wind down as he gets back into the rhythm of soccer practice Gavin’s excursions continue their breakneck pace for the next few weeks. I was going through my photos since last winter and I was literally laughing out loud as I kept saying, “I’d almost forgotten about that!” Camping, hiking, backpacking, bike riding, boating, driving, canoeing, skiing, snowshoeing, snowboarding, and seemingly every possible thing in between have all happened within the past three quarters of a year.

What gets me so grateful today is the thought of how many wonderful memories the boys are creating this summer. I always had so much fun in our summers, but their summer is exponentially crazier and packed than mine ever were. If I enjoyed mine a much as I did I can only imagine how much fun they’re having!

Another week of adventures are upon you boys! Enjoy them, soak up each amazing moment, and have a blast!