Day 442 – Thankful for My Favorite Comfy Sweatshirt

On a cold day like this is there anything more comfortable than a well broken in sweatshirt?  My favorite sweatshirt has been around for over a decade now.  I came across old pictures of it’s matching twin, Becky’s, from our vacation back in 2007.  Sometime before 2007 our friend Courtney gave us the two matching Wisconsin sweatshirts.

When I was on my run this morning…  Full disclosure, while I was walking for a little while, Becky was running ahead of me…  I realized just how warm I was even though it was cold and windy.  The biggest reason was that I had my favorite sweatshirt on the very top layer.  I smiled and then thought for a while about that sweatshirt, how many of my life’s experiences have been shared with it, and how much happiness it has brought me over the years. It’s kind of crazy, but I’m very thankful for this slowly fraying sweatshirt.

Daddy 125

As I go through old pictures it’s surprising to see just how many moments it has been around for…


On warmer winter days it’s all I need for a jacket…


Every time I put this sweatshirt on it comforts me and relaxes me. I associate it with all the things I do with my family, from traveling to running to working in my shop to snuggling on the couch with Becky and the boys. When I put this on it’s a sign to chill out, everything’s going to be okay. At the end of the night it reminds me that it’s time to wind down and chill.

While to the unknowing eye it may look like a slowly fraying sweatshirt, to me it’s a symbol of relaxation, time with family, comfort, and a reminder of many memories… and today I’m very thankful for it.



Day 441 – Thankful for Still Feeling the Rush of an Excellent Client Meeting Even After 18 Years

This afternoon I went on a client meeting with Carolyn in our Menomonie office.  The appointment was with a current client that is poised for a huge 2018.  We’d spent many hours preparing for this meeting as we were introducing several new staffing ideas to help them increase candidate flow, reduce absenteeism and turnover, and increase their profitability.

As the meeting rolled on it was AWESOME!!!  We talked about the strategies we were proposing and many more.  Each new portion of conversations led to another insight for the client and another discussion.  The talks went from solutions to trends to very outside the box solutions.  After almost two hours we were able to wrap everything back up into next steps and said our good byes.


Carolyn started to debrief on our way back to the car and I had to pause for a second.  “I’m so stoked, that was awesome!”  After taking a moment to take in the feeling, the rush of a successful meeting, we got back to business.

On the ride home I just kept smiling.  The appointment went fantastic, we lived our vision while meeting with that client.  Strategies were shared, plans were made, and it felt awesome.  We were a part of the solution, one that will benefit our client, our associates, and our team.  It felt awesome!


Day 440 – Thankful for Concerts as Social Events and Time with a Mentor

Funny how we go into something assuming one thing and then it works out to be completely different.  This evening Dominic had an orchestra concert and we had to get there early so he was ready.  My thought was to bring some work along to do while I wait, taking advantage of a little quiet time.  When we got there we saw our friends, the Lygas, were already there so we sat down right behind them.

Almost as soon as we sat down someone said, “Hey Mike!”  I looked over and saw an old friend from Boy Scouts and high school, Kent Gabrielson.  It had been a long time since I last ran into Kent, and it was awesome catching up with him.  We quickly go caught up on kids, careers, Phillips, and everything in between.  Time flew by and before we knew it the concert was about to start.

After Kent’s son was done and they had left I shot the bull with Steve and compared beard grooming habits.  This was the second day in a row that I was in the presence of another epic ginger beard – what a treat!  After the show we were able to also listen to our boys (9 year olds) talk about taking his wife’s moped in the middle of the night to get pizza and party at a friend’s house.  It was comical!


We may have been there for the concert (Dominic did awesome) and I was planning on getting work done, but it instead turned into a very enjoyable social event and I’m thankful that it did.

Earlier in the day it was all about work, in particular, spending some time with my business partner and mentor, Norm.  Even though work life can get swamped we always spend time on the phone every Monday morning at 9am to get on the same page for the week.  It gives me a chance to take all the thoughts in my head and condense them into the three most important things that I need to focus on each week.

Today was a change of pace.  Based on some coaching and mentoring from him and others over the past year I wanted to try a new strategy for this year.  There are many long term thoughts and ideas that I’d like to work on and put into place, but in order to stay focused where I need to I’m only going to focus my time on things that accomplish those three goals this years.  Today I wanted to spend time bouncing many of those ideas off of him so I had a general understanding and then I’ll file them away to re-visit in 2019 because they are not mission critical to this year.

Spending time with Norm was exactly what the doctor ordered.  It was a great mix of him pushing and challenging me while staying open and supportive.  I learned a lot from the conversation and was able to look at a couple of things from different perspectives.  Over the next day I’ll get my notes put together from the meeting to make sure we both saw it the same way and then move back into the priorities for 2018.

What I’m most thankful for is the fact that I have a coach and mentor in Norm to help me through my thoughts and ideas like this.  In many cases I’d love to do my own thing my own way, but that’s not always right.  Sure, it works sometimes, but it seems to work a lot better when I get some solid feedback to re-tool a strategy first.  Knowing that I have a mentor like this who’s willing to give me a few hours to bounce things off of him is pretty amazing and I’m very thankful for that time with him.

Today’s been another awesome day.  From the time I woke up to the time I’ve ben writing this blog there have been many moments in which I’ve smiled and spent some thought thinking about how I would blog about them…  and I’m grateful for every single one of those moments.


Day 439 – Thankful for Seeing Old Friends and Meeting a New One & Father Matt’s Sister’s Dog

This afternoon we had the opportunity to meet Courtney and Shane’s son, two week old Henry.  He’s cute, adorable, and one awesome little guy!  It was great to spend time with him, Courtney & Shane.  We shot the bull, snuggled with the little guy, watched some of the Packer game and had an awesome time.

There’s something so cool about seeing the glow that new parents have after the birth of their child, it made me smile as a fellow parent.  It took me back to when the boys were that small, seemingly eons ago in one day and just yesterday in other ways.  Thinking about how much our boys have grown has me thankful for appreciating my time with the boys, they’ll be grown before I know it.



Prior to heading to Shane, Courtney, & Henry’s house we had a thought provoking sermon courtesy of Father Matt.  In it he discussed how we need to remember that everyone needs to be treated a little bit differently and we should take time to think about that prior to action.  To help share the story he talked about his sister’s dog.  As an rescue dog she’s seen hard times and needs to be treated differently than other dogs.  She’s still a loving dog, but she needs to be handled very differently.  As you can imagine, I could relate due to my experiences with our rescue dog, LuLu.

It was a wonderful reminder for me when communicating with others.  How is it best to share a message?  What is the best way to communicate both good and bad news?  Many times I default to my natural tendencies as opposed to pausing to think about who the message is intended for.  As I prepare for future conversations I’ll be sure to pause and remember this wonderful message.

Another awesome day is in the books, I’m so thankful for these two very different moments that really helped to shape my day and thoughts today.



Day 438 – Thankful for a Christmas Inspired Day

Day 438 – Thankful for a Christmas Inspired Day

Today included a lot of stuff that had to get done like grocery shopping, odds and ends around the house and so on. Some of the highlights were focused things related to Christmas, and those are the things I’m thankful for today (in addition to Becky being home, of course!).

We continued a family tradition we’ve had for at least half a dozen years – getting our Christmas tree from the Christmas Tree Farm in Mindoro. As a family we headed out and found our tree, everyone taking at least a few strokes of the saw to cut it. The whole experience always gets me in the Christmas spirit, especially with the smell of the pine in our car.

This evening we had our annual Express Christmas party. This was the 18th one I’ve attended and it was just as awesome as each of the previous! It’s always so much fun to be able to spend time with my Express family and their spouses and family. This is another one of the events that helps me turn the corner and start thinking of Christmas.

Thank you tonight to my family and my Express family for an awesome day that left this big bearded red head singing Christmas songs in his head. I’m definitely in the Christmas spirit thanks to this Christmas inspired day!


Day 437 – Thankful for Pizza & a Movie with My Other Best-est Buddy

Becky’s on her way home and we’re pumped to have her back home. But with her on the road and Gavin at a sleepover it’s time for some Mike & Dominic time!

When I asked Dominic what he wanted to do he said, “well, it’s the last boys’ night, wed better do something awesome.” And with that we were off for pizza and a movie!

Time to hang with my other Best-est buddy!


Day 436 – Thankful for “Wahoo!!” Moments

There are sometimes where I’d like to get into more detail in my blog, but due to a number of reasons I have to skip some of the details.  Today there was one specific moment that had me smiling from ear to ear and it came in the form of an email from one of my team members.  As you could probably guess, part of it was “Wahoo!!”  It was an exclamation of happiness as a skill set was mastered, an statement of exuberance.  How cool is that?

Today had many Wahoo!! moments and I’m thankful for every single one of them today (in addition to the one that named today).  Whether it was seeing the smile of a friend that I haven’t seen in a while, saving myself from replicating past mistakes, knowing that Becky was on her way home, reminders of my dad, exchanging a couple of very well times texts, making progress on a couple of projects, a fun conversation with my mom, or one of many other Wahoo!! moments, they all made my day pretty awesome.

Nothing crazy, nothing earth shattering…  But each moment caused me to paused and gave me joy.  Today was an awesome day and much of the awesome came from many of the Wahoo!! moments, and I’m thankful for each and every one.