Day 1,986 – Thankful for an Awesome Phone Call with Mom & Changing After 17 years

This afternoon I had an awesome phone call with Mom. Our lives are all pretty busy and sometimes it seems to be a little difficult finding times when we’re both available to connect for long periods of time. As such, we often end up having calls which are shorter than either of us would like them to be.

Today everything lined up just right and we took advantage of the perfect timing. We talked about so many topics, shared great memories, talked about new projects, and so on. I greatly appreciate those opportunities to connect with Mom and have that focused conversational time. The boys and I are heading up next Saturday so we’ll have a little bonus time then too!

While cleaning the floor in our bedroom I had a crazy idea. Ever since we moved into this house we’ve had the bed in exactly the same place. The bed has changed but the location has been constant. Seeing as I already had the bed moved across the room for a good deep clean of the floor I thought I’d see how it looked in a different place. By the time I got everything situated it looked way better than I’d expected. I was pretty stoked when Becky saw the move and smiled.

Yes, I’ve reached the point when excitement can be found in something as simple as moving furniture. I’m not sure what that says about me, but I really don’t care. Sometimes change can actually be fun… though we’ll see if I feel the same way after I wake up in the middle of the night and see if I remember that I moved it around!


Day 1,984 – Thankful for a Gratitude Filled Day with Think Days, Excellent Teams, Honoring Dad’s Legacy, a Book Causing a Visceral Response, Gavin’s Growth, and Uncle Matt on TV

Wowza, where do I even begin today? The day has been packed with so many gratitude filled moments, I’m definitely going with a conglomerate of appreciation. Even in this fashion my biggest hope is that I don’t miss one of the key moments.

My Winona team and I had our monthly Think Day and it was one I’ll remember forever. We helped each other work out some very important things and bond more as a team. Seeing the growth everyone has had over the past handful of months was incredible. There is a magic to teams in which you feel 100% comfortable being who you are, sharing emotions as you would with family, and supporting each other throughout all of life. I’m blessed to be a member of a couple of those teams.

In a moment of reflection I found an awesome way to honor Dad and help continue his legacy. Taking action on it this week has been more rewarding than I could have ever dreamt. More details to follow on May 26th. 😉

I finished reading 1984 today, fitting seeing as this is blog 1,984. This was the first time I can remember having a profoundly visceral wave of nausea strictly from reading. As I said a couple of nights ago, if you haven’t read it for a while you may want to pick it up. Mindblowingly impactful on numerous levels.

Gavin’s parent teacher conference this evening was incredible. During the last one he found a couple of things to work on and he totally crushed them over the past quarter. Hearing the glowing reviews of his teachers was music for my soul. Gavin’s leadership skills, focus, and growth make me burst with pride. Excellent work bud! Love you dude!

Becky’s brother, Matt, is in the Paralympics in Beijing for curling and I wanted to make sure we have everything set up to watch his matches live on TV. In doing so we happened to stumble across the preview pic for the match… and it was Matt!!! How wild is that??? Seeing someone we know and love on our TV was crazy! Super proud of him and so pumped to see how he and his team do.


Day 1,973 – Thankful for Hiking Previously Undiscovered Trails on an Unseasonably Warm Day

On any given Sunday we can usually be found hiking in one of our four or five favorite state parks or hiking areas. Even though there are so many trails to choose from we seem to have hiked them all several times. As luck would have it, we’ve obviously missed a trail or two along the way!

Today the parking lot for our normal hike in Twin Bluffs State Park was full so we figured we’d drive to the end of the road and take a different route. At the end of the road our jaws kind of dropped a bit as we realized that there were more trails back here than we knew, and most of them had some spectacular views of the Mississippi River Valley much of the way.

We spent the next couple of hours making our way through trails we’d never been on before and enjoyed some epic driftless area scenery we hadn’t seen before. It was like we had found a whole new park to hike in – and we didn’t even get through all of it! Now we’ve got a good 10+ miles of future hiking and running trails to enjoy only 10 minutes or so from our house. Not too shabby!

Throw in some sun and extra warm weather and we had an awesome time hiking as a family – minus one Dominic who was attending a Scout function. Gotta love getting these hikes in when it is almost 50 in the winter, they remind me that Spring is just around the corner!


Day 1,972 – Thankful for Dominic’s State Snowboarding Competition, Sun in the Cold Weather, and Bonus Couch Time

Dominic competed in the Wisconsin high school state tournament today in La Crosse and did a very good job. It’s always fun watching him compete, being able to see him in an event like this with three different events was pretty awesome. The improvement he made year over year was obvious, he was pretty happy with his growth. Most importantly, Dominic was smiling the entire time.

The temperature was a bit on the chilly side, but the sun was out the entire time… and it felt amazing! Funny how clear blue skies and sunshine can warm me up in almost any weather. Sure, tomorrow’s temperature should be absolutely gorgeous for this time of year, but it actually felt pretty dang good to get some sun today. Had we not had Dominic’s competition I might have stayed inside much of the day, I’m glad I had a reason to get outside today.

Now that we’re all wore out and chilled (pun totally intended) we’re just chilling on the couches. We busted out Dominic’s videos from today and Becky just fired up some popcorn. No screens are on other than my laptop right now, though we’ll most likely fire up a movie to all slowly drift off to sleep watching. Who knows, maybe we’ll end just talking until we all crash. Either way it’s pretty sweet wrapping up a busy and full day on the couches as a family, shooting the bull, catching up, and enjoying each other’s company. Bonus family time, always one of my favorites.


Day 1,876 – Thankful for Dominic’s Courage to Do Anything

Dominic is starting to work on his Eagle Scout project. The potential project includes creating a dog park in our neighborhood. The first step before he can even put his proposal together is to ask all the nearby home owners if they would be okay with that.

No worries, Dominic just put on his Scout uniform, grabbed his notepad, and started knocking on doors. How wild is that? Even better, he doesn’t know who more than half the people are! Dominic is basically going out and doing cold calls voluntarily in support of a good cause.

That simple action makes me so proud. It’s be so easy to take the easy way out and find a different project, use a over, or some other form of communication. Nope, he’s grabbing the bull by the horns and has received some tremendous feedback already.

One more reason I’m proud of Dominic, he understands that some of the best things in life lay well beyond the point of discomfort. Never give in to fear when courage is the right answer.

Super proud of you dude! Love you bud!


Day 1,873 – Thankful for Walking Meditation and Stillness in the Woods

Rather than boarding a flight to an ocean beach I was wandering the woods in the snow. Quite the contrast, right? I was exactly where I should be.

Becky and I spent most of our morning at Pike’s Peak outside of MacGregor, Iowa. Due to the cold weather and snowfall we were amongst the few in the entire park. Once we were more than 100 yards from the observation area we never saw another soul.

I drew in breaths of fresh autumn air through my nose and concentrated on soaking in each exquisite little detail of the sights and sensations around me. The bright red leaves and even more scarlet berries of one type of plant. The drops of water resting on the waxy underside of oak leaves. Each little “brick” in the elaborate lattice work of the limestone rock outcroppings. The sensation of the cool winter-ish breeze and snow rushing against my face and tickling the hairs of my beard. The lighting of the woods shifting and transforming as the sun danced amongst the clouds. The music of Becky’s voice as we shared our joys of the wilderness. Each step. Each breath. Each individual second. Pure magic, pure joy.

Our morning was spent in a walking meditation in the stillness of the woods. Exactly where I was called to be in those moments.

If this were my last day I would go peacefully, full of joy, fully satisfied, and with a heart full of love. Today I have lived.


Day 1,870 – Thankful for Taking a Moment to Focus and Another Proud Dad Moment

Today was a day full of action and activity. Progress was made on many projects, there was a lot of forward motion, and even the things that didn’t work out actually kind of worked out. Everything seemed to go in the right direction, even if it was initially off a little.

There was one specific moment in the morning when I realized my head was spinning. It was difficult to keep a single thought in mind for a second, let alone through completion. I realized the spinning and stopped.

I put on my headphones. I moved away from my computer. I turned on a specific song and then set my phone down on the other side of my office. I sat in my chair and got into a comfortable position. I put my hands behind my head. I closed my eyes. I focused on my breath. I focused on each lyric of the song. I paused my brain and put myself 100% into the moment.

When the song finished I took in one last deep and focused breath. I held it for a moment, and then exhaled. I opened my eyes and smiled.

My world was at peace and I was able to focus on one task after another. Three minutes and forty five seconds which made all the difference today.

At Dominic’s soccer banquet tonight he received an All Conference award for Sportsmanship:

I am so proud of him! His coach recognized and nominated him for this award for the way he plays, owns his mistakes, celebrates others, shows kindness to opponents, and for his attitude. All comments that make me one heck of a proud parent. Congrats dude!!!


Day 1,861 – Thankful for a New Trail to an Old Lookout

Day 1,861 – Thankful for a New Trail to an Old Lookout

After church and lunch Becky and I headed out for a hike. The weather was perfect and we both felt compelled to get both fresh air and a little exercise. Becky had noticed that there was a new trail opening this past week in Hixon so that was our destination.

The trail itself was certainly brand new. They had just knocked it our not too long ago and the smell of soil was fresh in the air. The path itself was nice and soft as it hadn’t been packed down by many travelers yet. Most of the trails in that area have been traveled many times by us, it was awesome being in an area we were unfamiliar with. Each new twist and turn showed us sights we hadn’t seen before. The autumn colors were fantastic and the rock formations we had not seen prior were very interesting. All in all, it was great taking a new path.

As it worked its way up to the top we re-connected with a trail that leads to a scenic overlook. We’ve been up there before, but it was a long time ago. The views of La Crosse may be amongst the best from anywhere in the city. We were able to see the power plant in Genoa a little less than 20 miles away. All along the valley we saw the various colors of leaves in the trees. Throw in the perfectly picturesque clouds and it was nothing short of beautiful.

Ahh… time in nature. There’s not much else in life I’d rather be doing, especially with my family and friends.


Day 1,857 – Thankful for Scenic Hiking Side Trips

Day 1,857 – Thankful for Scenic Hiking Side Trips

Becky had a brilliant idea for our trip to Madison this morning. She grabbed her Wisconsin State Parks map and found a couple parks we’ve never explored just off the beaten path we were traveling.

Talk about enjoying the journey and not just the destination!

Nothing like almost empty state parks early on a fall morning shortly after the sunrise. Fresh and crisp autumn air, a cool breeze, and the smell of forests and leaves were all around us as we saw beautiful vistas and fantastic rock formations.