Before getting into my Uber from the airport I was hoping for a driver who wouldn’t want to talk much. It had been a long day and I just wanted a little bit of quiet to chill and unwind. As luck would have it I got the exact opposite and that was exactly what I needed.
Within a minute Alex and I were laughing and trading vacation stories. He shared that he and his wife had just been on a trip to Miami and shared all fun they had by the beach relaxing.
About 10 minutes in Alex shared the story of how he had moved his family away from a rough part of Chicago only to lose his only son in a tragic act of violence. We talked about family and faith.
Another few minutes in and Alex shared the story of how they just had a surprise baby girl not too long ago – even though their other daughter was 21 and they had been told that they couldn’t have any more kids. We talked about the joy of being dads. We talked about having trust in the plan of The Big Dude Upstairs – especially when we don’t quite understand his reasoning.
As our ride was wrapping up we talked about his son and my dad sitting up above and laughing at the two of us in the car joking, laughing, and loving life. We shared our belief that life is best lived with kindness and love for all people. Alex reminded me of the impermanence of life and to appreciate each and every moment we are blessed to have.
Alex brought so much joy to my heart that I can’t even begin to explain it fairly in words. In his willingness to engage in conversation with a stranger, his openness to sharing all aspects of life – good and bad, and his courage to stay positive and optimistic in the most difficult of times reminded me of what is truly important. Love and kindness for each other.
Alex dude, thank you for an incredible ride, amazing conversation, and a truly inspirational time together. Before I got in the car my heart was closed and my skies were cloudy. Big hugs to you and your family Alex, you made my world a better, brighter, and more beautiful place today. I cannot thank you enough!
As soon as we got home from our morning walk I fired up a little birthday treat for myself… Birthday Bacon! 🥓 Not gonna lie, that may have to become a tradition.
In all seriousness, I am very thankful for the text messages from so many friends. Nothing like hearing from friends and reconnecting! While I really don’t find my birthday to be a big deal it is a pretty sweet tripwire to encourage some conversations.
My WeCroak app had a deep quote that really hit home today:
Today has been an excellent day in so many ways. Time with family, productive day at work, re-connecting with friends, delicious food, and a helluva soccer game to wrap it all up. I’m exhausted… and all smiles.
My writing yesterday was amongst the most fulfilling to date. Spending time putting my acknowledgments to paper was a soul filling endeavor. Once again I am amazed by the ability of such a seemingly simple, easy, and small action to have an extraordinarily profound impact on my attitude and well being.
Spending time in gratitude is such an easy thing to do. It is 100% under my control to do. It has zero cost involved. There are no materials necessary. It can be accomplished in any conceivable location and at any moment of any day. All it requires is my intention and focus. That’s it!
Focus on someone specific I’m grateful for, keep them in mind, focus on what qualities they have, experiences we’ve shared, or my respect for them and I can’t help but smile. Taking time to write those thoughts down and share them enhances the experience all the more.
Taking time yesterday to write my gratitude for a handful of people was wildly joyful and experience I’m very grateful for.
As I wrap up the last few items in my book I’m reminded again of how grateful I am for the process of writing a book about losing Dad. Each moment spent on it has been a moment of growth, memory, and love. By focusing so deeply on this topic I have had the opportunity to learn so much more about myself and to more thoroughly embed so many memories into my soul.
This evening in particular I’ve found myself laughing out loud frequently. One of my last few pieces was to go through old text messages with Dad to screenshot any that might better round out the story. Much stomach hurts from laughing so hard! Going through those old texts was pure medicine for the soul.
I’m thankful yet again for each step of this process. In rereading those texts I heard Dad’s voice in my heart and laughed along with him as I did so many times before. I’ll be sleeping with a huge grin tonight.
Our favorite running area is only a mile or so from our house and provides us an opportunity to disappear into the woods for a while. Now that the sun is rising later and later the entire run is in the dark. On our run this morning I heard a noise in the woods that was a little louder than the rabbits we regularly scare up. The moonlight wasn’t quite bright enough to see well so I stopped and walked back towards the sound. I scanned the woods with my headlamp and couldn’t quite make anything out. When I caught back up to Becky I told her it had to be something bigger than a rabbit as I heard a twig snap.
After we got home Becky took Skywalker for a walk and I took LuLu for a ride down the same road we had just run down. About a mile and a half in a coyote appeared out of the woods and started running down the road away from us! It was fairly close to where I thought I’d heard it. For the next half mile or so it ran up the road in front of us as we slowly drove along. It was awesome!
Nothing quite like spending some time early in the morning watching a coyote! That was amazing 🙂
When I got home from the ride with LuLu Gavin walked through the kitchen with a huge smile.
“I believe today is going to be a great day,” he loudly proclaimed in a voice that was even more upbeat and happy than his smile.
He had no reason other than he just decided that it was going to be a great day – how awesome is that? It was like a blast of Red Bull and espresso to knock my attitude right into a great place!
Nothing like a huge smile, positive attitude, and an optimistic mindset from Gavin to ramp up my morning in an awesome way!
Let me set the stage for you from yesterday morning. Maybe you’ve been there before.
I’m heading out to my car to go to work. Thinking I can save a trip I load up all my stuff and have my hands full. In one hand is my breakfast. The other I both holding my lunch bag by the strap and my coffee.
The door is closed so I decide to awkwardly balance my coffee halfway on my hand so I can turn the knob. In one slow and gut wrenching second I realize too late what a horrible idea it was. Coffee flies everywhere and now I’ve got a mess.
I know better. I’ve done this before. Why would I try it again?
This happens more often than it should – but four out of five times it works fine. Does that one spill equal the time spent saved by the other four times? Probably not.
From that coffee incident yesterday I was reminded to pause, do it right the first time, and save just as much time in the long run. How many times in life have I rushed something that should have taken a little more time? When have I cut corners that I should have respected?
The past week and a half have been crazy busy. All good stuff, just a lot of it. Tonight we have exactly nothing going on. Gavin has church but it’s our week off from driving. No soccer game for Dominic tonight. Supper and dishes were finished by 6:15. Everything that I intended to do today has been done.
Nights at home like this with nothing going on are a beautiful thing in moderation.
What’s funny is that my brain still has a difficult time turning itself down into relaxation mode. Even tonight when there’s nothing going on and I know I should breathe and relax I struggle to stop doing something.
Becky had to remind me earlier to relax and I’m glad she did! After that gentle reminder I still ended up pacing for a good fifteen plus minutes before I finally got horizontal to type my blog. After this I might just lay here and fall asleep or read a book until I fall asleep. Either way I’ll be surprised to see 8pm and I’m totally fine with that 😉
Ahh…. It took a while to get here, but now that I’m in the relaxed state of mind I feel much better already.
Hmm… several different ways to go tonight but none of them quite hit the spot. Maybe if I type enough I’ll start to pull myself into the right lane.
For an upcoming meeting I put together some thought provoking questions to help us get into the right frame of mind. As I’ve spent time thinking through my answers I can’t help be thankful for the thought processes my brain has been going through.
One of the questions is, essentially, what would you do if you couldn’t do what you’re doing now?
The reason I love this question so much is that it reminds me that there is always a choice. There’s always an option or an alternative. While it is easy to feel trapped in the routine that is only a construct of my own mind. I am more than my profession. I can choose a different profession.
The next level of appreciation for this question comes when I realize I’m doing what I would really like to be doing and choose to do it. Not only am I then doing what I love, but I am reminding myself that I am choosing it freely amongst other potential options.
That question really has my brain and soul going into overdrive and I’m grateful for it!
Hmm… sometimes I find it interesting how I might be thankful for something I saw a little differently or for a lesson I learned only to find it out into action shortly after the post. There is definitely a magic to this whole journaling thing! 😁👍
Today I took my own advice from a little while back about remembering to zoom out to gain a better perspective. I’ve been looking at something very close up. Rather than using my own myopic viewpoint I reached out to a mentor and got their advice.
As it turned out it was about the best decision I’ve made in a while! Reaching out to ask their advice and to listen to their past experiences was solid gold. They helped me shift my thinking to a much better place and I’ve been able to chart a much better course.