Day 1,868 – Thankful for Taking Advantage of the Unseasonably Warm November Weather

Wow!!! How awesome is this weather??? Comfortably hiking in a t-shirt and shorts at the end of the first week of November? This is amazing!

Throughout the day we’ve been working on maximizing our time outside. As I blog I’m sitting on our deck and enjoying the smells of fall leaves. Earlier we took the dogs for a walk in the sun. Lunch was grilled and eaten outside. We hit Perrot State Park to enjoy the perfect hiking weather. This has been AMAZING!!!

One of my biggest goals this year was to maximize my time spent outdoors. Unseasonably warm weather like this makes it all the easier to follow through on that goal.


Day 1,866 – Thankful for an Awesome Reminder of Speaking Up and Spiderwebbing Positive Actions

What a rewarding morning it was! Our team helped out with Habitat for Humanity to work on a wheelchair ramp in our community. While I’m thankful for that experience on so many levels today there was something that really struck me.

From left: Mike, Katie, Mike, Grant, & Trissa

Not too long ago one of our teammates spoke up. “Why don’t we do more to help in our community?” That one question led to today, pure and simple. She spoke up to push us to live more into our values of Gratitude and Do Right. Speaking up like that takes courage and I’m glad she spoke up.

In addition to leading to our volunteering today that one question has propelled me into a few different directions including direct action and strategic direction. From that I’ve been pleased with the early results and am looking forward to seeing how her one question spider webs into more and more action in our communities. By asking one question she’s set many positive actions in motion. How awesome is that?

Trissa – thank you for helping us live more into our values! You touched many lives in such a positive way through you action. Thank you for inspiring us to be better!


Day 1,865 – Thankful for Being Rewarded for Rolling With It and Taking My Advice

Yesterday was a day focused on nonstop Zoom calls. I’m still amazed that I didn’t have teleconferencing nightmares last night!

Today was lined up very differently with a focus on a couple of face to face meetings in different markets. Out the door and on my way to Eau Claire before 5:30am, it was an early start. At the office my email pinged and I received a notification that the meeting I had left early for would be much more heavily attended via Zoom. I smiled to myself, rolled with it, and jumped on via Zoom instead. A little after 9:30 I received a text from my afternoon appointment. Due to the COVID news from OSHA he asked to re-schedule. I completely understood and we are meeting next week instead. No worries, that’s life sometimes.

In the span of a few hours my day had been completely changed. Rather than getting hung up on how it was supposed to have gone I went with the tide. I think of it kind of like my minimalist running shoes. When my foot strike lands directly on a rock I don’t tense up, that would hurt big time. Instead I let my foot continue its course but I relax and let me foot wrap itself around the rock. This simple move removes any pain and discomfort and allows me to keep my stride. Today I followed that lead and wrapped myself around the day rather than try to force my will upon the day.

I also caught myself getting frustrated with a very different challenge while I was driving up this morning. Fortunately my brain knew what I needed and out of nowhere a thought appeared… “how can I be grateful for this?” This is one of the two questions I focus on often in my book. I chuckled to myself and then flipped my mindset. Within minutes I was scripting out ideas for my next book! I got so pumped up that I had to pull over to jot down notes to myself to make sure they were saved. It was awesome and one of the most rewarding productive bursts I’ve had in a long time.

So what were the results of rolling with it and taking my own advice? One of the most wildly productive days I’ve had! The results spoke for themselves as I made significant progress towards a handful of goals. The day left me with a strong sense of accomplishment on a few different levels towards my purpose.

Life doesn’t always follow the trajectory I want it to. If I remember to roll with what happens, go with it rather than against it, and listen to my own advice from past experience I can easily adapt and thrive. Days like this are neither good nor bad, they are an opportunity for me to live into my best self. Today I was successful.


Day 1,864 – Thankful for a Gratitude Inversion on an Eight Zooms Day

Today was an inversion day for me. Often the gratitude I share is direct and straightforward. _________ happened and I’m am thankful for it. Fairly easy formula, right? Today I paused and thought about it from a different perspective and took some of my own advice from my upcoming book (making serious headway – only a little bit to go before I share more on that one 😉) and following that lesson made all the difference.

Pretty sure this was how I looked by the end 😉

My workday included a total of EIGHT Zoom meetings. Yup, eight of them. Almost six hours of video conferencing. By the end my brain was wore out and I couldn’t bear to look at a screen. By the end I was asking myself why on Earth I would schedule a day like that.

That’s when it hit me. I paused and asked myself, “How can I be thankful for this?”

The answer was obvious. Today, through the power of Zoom and videoconferencing, I was able to be in four different cities in one day with no drive time. Rather than scheduling a handful of days utilizing more time due to driving I was able to get everything done in one day. That’s truly amazing! Thanks to this technology I was able to find a way to create more usable time.

The results of all of the conversations were profoundly inspiring and motivating on many different levels. I was able to live closer into my purpose as a result of each conversation. Had I met only in person I would not have had the same sense of completion nor the opportunity to see how many different conversations molded together. My day was better as a result of having all those conversations in one day.

What’s interesting is that my day tomorrow will be a polar opposite. I have two important meetings, both in person, and I will travel a total of three and a half hours for the two hours of conversation. For both the opportunity to meet in person will make all the difference.

Days like today remind me to pause in the middle of frustration to actively seek out a reason to be thankful. The eight Zooms today led to remarkable progress – much more positive than a minor case of Zoom exhaustion.


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 1,860 – Thankful for a Moment at the Beach I’ll Never Forget

With the sound of Lake Michigan waves upon the sandy shores over the past few days an old memory was stirred to the surface of memory. The reminder of that day, and another like it, have brought an added level of calm to my life.

Way back in my senior year of college I took a spring break road trip to a quiet beach town in Mexico. This wasn’t the party all day and night experience at crazy college bars that you may be envisioning. The setting was much more chill and relaxed, I think we only went to a single bar for a very short period of time. While the road trip and time with those friends were my favorite parts of spring break there was a single moment in which a deep state of inner calm was found and has been tapped back into often.

Not from that night, but a very similar evening many years later.

One of the nights my friends were all chilling out in the beach house. I felt compelled to sit out on the beach. In the moonlight and under the stars I sat on the beach, looked up to the stars, and became hypnotized by the rhythm of the ocean waves. There was no nervousness, fear for the future, stress about the next chapter of life, or anything like that. I had no past, I had no future, I was completely immersed in the present.

When I put that memory into focus I can almost swear that I am back in that moment. I can see the stars overhead, the wisps of clouds, the glittering moonlight on the waves. The repeating sound of waves landing on shore, the slight ocean breeze blowing across the beach, and the silence of the rest of the world all echo in my ears. I can feel the sand under the palms of my hands as I lean back with my legs outstretched as I sense cool air blowing across my legs, face, and hair. The scent of the ocean air hangs around me. Even my lips have the faint taste of salt upon them. I remember the waves, I remember that moment, and my soul is stilled and I am there again.

Over the past few days that memory has re-surfaced and I am so thankful for it. In a calm waters, stormy seas, and everything else in between this moment is a refuge of serenity. Breathe in, picture that moment, breathe out, and I am there.


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.


Day 1,856 – Thankful for a Stunning Sunrise and a Serendipitous Shelf Shuffle

Day 1,856 – Thankful for a Stunning Sunrise and a Serendipitous Shelf Shuffle

The drive up the Mississippi River Valley was so stunning I felt compelled to pull over and grab a picture. The steam was again rising from the river into the cool air while the sky was positively pink and purple in one direction and blue and orange in the other.

When a day starts like this there is no doubt it will be a great one should I choose to carry the stillness of that moment into my day.

Later in the afternoon I was looking for a book on my shelf. In the process of looking I moved a couple of books around. For some reason my eyes were drawn to the back of How the Mighty Fall by Jim Collins. Most books have a summary on the back, but this one had a quote instead:

Whether you prevail or fail, endure or die, depends more on what you do to yourself than on what the world does to you.

Jim Collins

Sometimes the world is trying to help us hear the message we really need at a specific time. Other times it goes so far as to tie it to another message – in this case the irony of the title in the context of a recent challenge. Regardless, I am very thankful for the serendipitous shuffling of books on my shelf today!


Day 1,854 – Thankful for a Filling in the Gap and Gavin’s Cheering Section

Day 1,854 – Thankful for a Filling in the Gap and Gavin’s Cheering Section

My first reaction to seeing the schedule for Gavin’s soccer games in Eau Claire today was a very loud sigh. An 8am game in Eau Claire meant waking up at 5am to get there on time. The 2:40pm game meant a 5 hour gap in between games when we’re 90 minutes from home. That seemed like the worst possible schedule to me. An entire Sunday of soccer, well over 12 hours away from home. Then I took a deep breath and remembered to appreciate the time rather than wish it away.

Becky had a perfect idea to fit in between our games. We drove a half hour west towards Menomonie and did some hiking. The trails were stunningly beautiful with so many colorful leaves drifting slowly to the earth. The sun caught each in just the right light and it made for a stunningly unreal sight:

Afterwards she had the idea for pizza at the Lucette Brewery, the place we ate for Kala & Dylan’s wedding reception a little while back. The wood fired pizza was THE BEST pizza I’ve ever had – dee-lish!!!

We headed back to Eau Claire, ran a couple of errands and then headed back to the field. Rather than being a terrible schedule it became an opportunity to spend more time with my family enjoying the types of things we enjoy doing. It was the perfect way for us to fill the gap in the schedule and looking back I wouldn’t change a thing.

At the second game Gavin had his own cheering section! Becky’s parents and the Hause family all showed up to support Gavin and his team. It was obviously a success as Gavin’s team won the match 3-1. Pretty awesome to have an extra cheering section 🙂


Day 1,852 – Thankful for Seeing the World Through a Different Set of Lenses

One of my favorite songs, Lucky by Seven Mary Three, has set my brain wandering. The line has been my foundation today.

“Son, time is all the luck you need.”

Jason Ross, Seven Mary Three

Today I’ve been lucky, another day around the world. Another opportunity to live. The fortune to grow further into myself. The chance to practice gratitude for all the splendors of life.

Why this has hit home so hard today is rather interesting. So much of my life I do out of habit, good or bad, for better or worse. When I operate on auto pilot the blinders are put on.

On days like this my mind focuses on seeing clearly and through a different set of lenses. Two questions really put those new glasses on for me.

What if…?


Today both of those two questions came up for various reasons several times. They helped me see potential paths to a better future, one in which I live into my truest self. The questions led me to some slightly unexpected answers, answers which both clarified and muddied at the same time. No decisions made today, only opportunities created. Time for winnowing will arrive soon, but not yet. More opportunities are to be created before they are to be sifted through.

Quite honestly, these two questions have made my life more complex and yet somehow more simple. The beauty lie in distilling the complicated into the pure essence. While I’d love to boil it all down quickly the aging process is where the magic happens. In so many ways the aging in of itself is the true magic….

So many new thoughts, so many new possibilities, all from asking two questions, all from looking at the world through a different set of lenses.

Today I have been lucky. Lucky to have the opportunity to grow, collect, process, and age. I was given the gift of time.

BTW – I’d be remiss to not mention how much I appreciate our family viewing of Free Guy this evening. The metaphor of lenses comes directly from it as does some of the perspectives drawn today. Fantastic movie with many wonderfully well timed themes for my life.