Day 1,289 – Thankful for Faith In The Big Dude Upstairs

Before I started typing today’s post I hopped online and searched through the 1,654 blogs I’ve written over the same number of days.  I could’ve swore I’d written about this topic at least a dozen times so imagine my shock at the number of blogs including the name “Gethsemane” totaling only two.  They include the following (if you’re interested you can click on the link and it should open up in a new page for you):

That just didn’t seem right to me so I dug a little deeper.  When I changed the search I found the following included “Jesus” and “Garden”:

When I went back to read these four I was struck by how clearly I remember writing each of these four posts.  Amongst all of the posts I’ve written two of them are easily in my personal Top 10 favorites.

I remember writing the post about Jesus praying in Gethsemane (Day 180 above) while laying in bed at Dad’s house on Good Friday of 2016.  When you check out the date of the post you’ll see it was the first one I wrote that wasn’t posted until just after midnight.  I’d milked out as much time as I possibly could with Dad before he went to bed and then wrote it.  I remember thinking about whether I should take the time to write what I really felt I should or if I should rush through it to meet my self-imposed deadline.  In looking back I am thinking it was a beautiful little nudge and an Easter egg from the Big Dude Upstairs.  There was an opportunity for me to choose between my will (getting it written on time) and His will (writing what needed to be written).  I am also so thankful for not rushing the night with Dad in order to accomplish the task.  Little did I know that he would be gone just over a year later.  Side note, I still remember just how much Dad loved that post.  It still fills my heart just thinking about that.

Just the sight of five words from my post on Day 255 caused my eyes to immediately water and my lip to tremble.  “Letting Go of the Wheel.”  That was both one of the most difficult and most beautiful days of my life to date.  It was on that date that The Big Dude Upstairs decided to help me truly learn one of the lessons taught in the story of Jesus in Gethsemane.  From Matthew 26:39 – … he fell with his face on the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me.  Yet not as I will, but as you will.”  This was the day when I learned acceptance.  On that date I knew there was nothing I could do to help Dad live.  I couldn’t fix anything or change anything.  All I could do was accept and choose how to live with whatever The Big Dude decided.

IMG_8800
Of all the blog pics I’ve taken this was one of Dad’s favorites.  He loved how the poles in the background reminded him of the cross.

So what am I truly thankful for today?  That was a whole lot about past blog posts, wasn’t it?  Let me bring back one more of my favorite old posts as it pulls the full story together.

The story itself is a Christmas based story.  I wrote my post the day after Christmas.  Why on Earth would I include a Christmas story when talking about Jesus praying in the garden???  Seems a little crazy, doesn’t it?  What I realized today was this was the last piece I needed to add to the mix to help me understand more completely why I find the story of Jesus praying in the garden so incredibly compelling and thought provoking.

The Big Dude Upstairs wants the best for us, always, and without question.  There are many reasons why sometimes things happen that I feel are terrible as they are not at all what I want.  When His plan and mine don’t line up I try to find a way to make mine work as I know mine has to be better, right?  In what possible way is it better for a loved one to be gone?  How is it possible that suffering can be the right answer?  At a certain point I feel like I could just scream out the anthem of all disgruntled teenagers to their parents, “BUT YOU JUST DON’T UNDERSTAND!!!”

But that’s where I’ve always been wrong, haven’t I?  The story of the man and the birds reminds me that God loved us so much that He came down to be as one of us to help us understand and to help lead us to eternal joy.

The story of Jesus praying at the Garden of Gethsemane to choose a different outcome is what I would assume is the most humanly possible and plausible reaction anyone could have.  If I knew I had to die to help save others I would try almost anything to negotiate a different solution or to create a work around… especially if I knew just how horrible and painful that death would be on so many levels.  Jesus shows His beautiful humanity in that moment.  There is no other point in His story in which I feel like I can truly connect with and understand Him.

When I put the two stories together I realize that The Big Dude Upstairs really does understand.  He knows that we are going to hurt.  He knows hurt and suffering on an exponentially worse scale than I could ever possibly imagine.  He came down to save us and wouldn’t even bend the rules for Himself/His Son.  If there ever was a time to be able to shift the line or fudge the details a little that was it…  but that was never truly an option, was it?

I’m so thankful for all of these bread crumbs that The Big Dude Upstairs has provided over the past handful of years.  When I look back I can’t imagine where my mind, attitude, and spirit would be without the lessons He’s taught.  Regardless of what happens in the world, to my family, to my friends, and to me I know that there is a purpose for the struggle and the suffering.  Each and every difficult trial life has offered has made me stronger, has helped me become better, and has led me to long term joy.

Yes, there are many times I would’ve rather chosen a different path to get there, but I trust in the wisdom of The Big Dude.  I have faith in Him as I know He truly understands and He loves me (and all of us) so much that He is willing to do the tough things we need to become who we are truly called to be.

Thanks!!!

Day 1,288 – Thankful for a Great Motivational Video From My Aunt and Being Inspired By Others

First off, I got a wonderful motivational video from my Aunt Renee this afternoon.  It’s a short clip that left me laughing, clouded my  eyes, and helped me remember perspective. If you don’t mind missing out on about 6 minutes of sleep you’ll want to check this out before bed tonight: https://youtu.be/CgQkh1_cACE

Thanks again for sharing it Aunt Renee, that was awesome and greatly appreciated!

There were many things that seemed like they almost just fell into place today.  At almost every turn there was positive progress and things just worked.  Days like that feel great, especially when working remotely.  While I’d love to take the credit for having great ideas, motivation, timing, and the like – I can’t.

As I’ve thought through the day and all of it’s successes one thing kept coming to mind.  I am so blessed to be surrounded by others who motivate and inspire me on a daily basis.  For reals, all of the great ideas today, all of the actions that helped, everything came from the inspiration of others.  Recording a thank you video for a couple I’m thankful to have in my life?  A teammate of mine who did that yesterday.  Remembering to apologize when I make a mistake?  Family who’ve done it the right way and mentors who’ve helped coach me.  An idea to keep work fun and inspiring?  Teammates, past teammates, mentors, and friends.  Finding ways to be positive in difficult times?  Great friends and family, wonderful teammates, and excellent business partners.  Exercising even when I’d rather sleep in?  Totally Becky.  Behind everything that went well today was the face of someone else who inspired the idea or motivated the action.

Now that I think of it I should keep a separate blog list of the people who’ve motivated and inspired me throughout the day.  What a list it would be!  I still love the lesson Dad taught me of remembering who I got each tool from when I use it.  I wonder how I could do the same with actions and ideas…  That would really be something!

To all of you in my life who motivated and inspired me today – THANK YOU!!!  My day was great because of your presence in my life.  I’m eternally grateful for the blessing of your presence in my life.  Thank you for being you, thank you for being awesome, and thank you for bringing extra joy into the world!

Thanks!!!

IMG_7129.jpg

Day 1,287 – Thankful for the Smell of Wood Finish, Memories of a Great Trip, and Watching The Office with Dominic

This evening I was putting the first coat of finish on my most recent project.  After letting it sit for 30 minutes I went back up to my workshop to wipe it down.  Each step up the stairs increased a wonderful smell that I seem to remember always being in our house when I was growing up.  It seemed like there was always something in the process of being stained or painted.  Each time I smell almost any type of wood finish I can’t help but think back to home.  After all these years I still love that smell!

A year ago today Becky and I were chilling in New Orleans with our friends Kris & Justin.  It was AWESOME!!!  Becky and I cruised back through our pics of that long weekend.  I am amazed at home much fun and food we packed into one weekend.  At a time when we’re all staying home it was a sweet release to spend time mentally traveling back in time and enjoying a wonderful trip.

IMG_0244

Sooo…  I was going to head to bed early after not sleeping so well last night, but then I started watching The Office with Dominic.  Over the past few days he’s been spending a lot of time chilling on his own, it was great to spend a little time laughing and joking with him while watching comedy.  Throw in a little time in the workshop earlier and it was nice spending more time with him tonight!

Thanks!!!

 

Day 1,286 – Thankful for Many Memories and Thoughts of Dad While Making Memories with Gavin

This morning we were up an at ’em early to get out on the trail before everyone else.  The excellent weather forecast meant the trails would get busier and busier as the day went on.

Our entire family was a little more quiet than usual on the trail today.  I’m not sure if it was the early hours, the perfectly calm and still weather, or if we were all just appreciating nature a little extra.  Regardless, we all enjoyed the time together and the time outside.

Much of the reason for my moments of quiet were memories of Dad.  They started when we left the parking lot and walked along the road where we once walked with Dad.  It wasn’t even anything that exciting or anything when he was there walking with us but for some wonderful reason that memory has firmly taken hold.  The walk on that same place got my brain thinking about that time together.

As we walked along the shore a movement caught my eye and then we were taking time to enjoy watching a muskrat chilling.  After watching for a little bit we continued on our way.  We talked about my memories of trapping with Dad.  Those early mornings out on the still water in the cool air were so similar to this morning.

There were a couple of times when we dropped into valleys that I thought of my times being out in the woods with him.  Sometimes it felt like a chore, other times I liked it only because I knew he liked it, and eventually I understood why he found such peace in nature.  The thoughts in my brain weren’t focused on work or what I need to do, rather they were focused on listening to the sounds of wildlife, watching for animal tracks, smelling the leaves, and viewing the beauty of each unique tree.  I often caught myself looking at or pointing out the same things Dad did when we would spend time out in the woods.

After my Grandpa Kreiling passed away I remember Dad taking a long walk in the woods to spend time with him.  Back then it seemed so strange to me, now I totally understand.  As I I walked today there were more than a few times when I swear I could feel his presence with me.  Wishful thinking, happy memories, or something else?  I really don’t care.  The sense of peace and love it brought filled my heart.

Towards the end of the hike (yes Nick, it was a hike, not a walk) my ears caught a very unusual sound.  I froze and slowly scanned the area around me.  Somehow we’d almost walked right past a nest of garter snakes!  There were at least four slowly moving as they warmed in the sun and another a little later.  If there was a time when I wished Dad was right there with me it was at that moment.  Dad HATED snakes – they were about the worst thing in the world according to him.  I chuckled out loud as I thought about the sound and action Dad would’ve made had he been right there.  In my mind’s eye I could see him jump, shiver, and shake his head as he backed away as quickly as he could.  It would have been hysterical!

Later in the day I spent time in my workshop.  When I was about to try something new to fix a project I was working on I asked him if it was a good idea.  There was no answer so I figured why not try it.  In less than 2 seconds my project was completely destroyed and I caught myself laughing.  If Dad were around I know how hard he would have been laughing when I told him the story.  Not only could I hear his laughter as the planer splintered my project but I could also hear his voice almost giggle as he shared the story of the first time he’d made the same mistake.  Whoever would’ve thought I would feel so much joy and love from something I’d put a lot of time into being totally destroyed?

IMG_1241

Why made the day all the more special was that the memories of Dad enhanced my day with Gavin.  Dominic was a little more quiet and distant today so I gave him the space he wanted and joked around with him when he was into it.  Gavin was seemingly in his normal outgoing, upbeat, positive and high energy mode and I rolled with it.

On our hike we shared stories about being out in the woods.  At one point he gave me a hard time about being old and then out of nowhere got kind of serious.  “You know Dad, I  have to give you a hard time about being old now because when I have sons one day they’ll give me a hard time about being old and you’re going to laugh about it…  just like Grandpa Pete is doing every time I give you a hard time.”  So true, bud, so true.  We talked about what we were seeing, some nature stuff, joked around, and just talked.  In doing so I realized that it was very much like Dad and I used to do in the woods.

While I was spending so much time reflecting on my memories of Dad I couldn’t help but smile as I realized I might be helping to create some of those memories for Gavin.  My heart was filled even more as I thought of him walking out in the woods with me when he’s older.  I remember Dad talking about the time in the woods with Grandpa so fondly.   I have such awesome memories of Dad while we were out in the woods.  I hope Gavin and I continue to build the same for him just as Dominic and I have done as well.

Thanks!!!

Day 1,285 – Thankful for Creating In a Different Workshop, a Long Walk In the Sun, One of the Stories I Appreciate Hearing, and a Movie Stirring Up Travel Ideas

Who says I need to be in my workshop in order to create stuff?  Today I spent some time creating some other stuff.  I always find it fun to try new things and experiment a bit.  Instead of doing it up in my workshop today most of the exploration was done in the kitchen.  Lunch was turkey burgers stuffed with bacon and cheese.  Supper was homemade pizza.  Dessert was something completely new, Oreo cream cheese balls.  Being able to start a project and complete it within a couple of hours is a wonderful feeling and something I’m always grateful for.

Right after lunch we took a nice long walk as a family.  The sun was out and it felt so wonderful to get fresh air and vitamin D after a rainy yesterday.  I know I just blogged about it a couple of days ago but taking the time to move, be outside, and spend time with family is a pretty sweet combo.

Another benefit of “home church” is being able to adjust the times a bit.  Today we went to church in the late afternoon.  One of the stories I appreciate hearing the most was the central topic of the day.  The story of Jesus praying in the garden remains one of the moments I appreciate most in the entire bible.  It is in that moment that his humanness is evident and yet the humanness of others shows its frailty even more.  Each time I hear this story it seems to hit me son a different level.  Today there were a few other thoughts on it that I’d really like to blog about, but they aren’t quite there yet.  Who knows, maybe after our long hike tomorrow they’ll be more fully formed.  Regardless, hearing the story again got my brain and soul both working in high gear.  I am so thankful for hearing that story each year, it helps prepare me for the Easter season.

image2

A couple of nights ago I may have let Gavin stay up a little late and maybe showed him the preview for the 2015 version of Point Break.  I know, it’s not the best movie ever by a long shot, but there are two pieces that jump out most.  The first is how the “bad guy” isn’t necessarily very clear until much further in.  Again, another blog for another day 😉  What is ready to blogged about tonight are the breath taking and stunning visuals on location at some naturally gorgeous places.  Italy, Austria, Mexico, Venezuela, and many other locations all shine brighter than the stars throughout the movie.  Seemingly every 15 minutes I caught myself making notes about places to add to the bucket list.  Angel Falls in Venezuela?  Yup, that’s a must see!

Thanks!!!

Day 1,284 – Thankful for Black Licorice, Not Being Alone, and Grit Fuel

Today’s quite the assortment of gratitudes, isn’t it?

First off, I am totally thankful for black licorice.  Back in the day I thought it was gross.  I still don’t know how, but as soon as I became a dad I suddenly fell in love with the stuff.  Crazy, huh?  Today I surprised the family with a secret stash of licorice from one of my last trips to the grocery store.  They hit up the red, I took down the black.  That flavor is one of my all time favs.  Dee-lish!

IMG_3734

During a video conference with some fellow partners and business owners I had an uncomfortably comforting feeling of not being alone.  Making decisions and determining direction has been about as difficult as I’ve ever experienced in my business career.  There’ve been many times when I’ve caught myself gripping onto old ways of doing things and sometimes catching myself stuck in a holding pattern as opposed to taking action.  There’s a part of me that deep down started to question my confidence; a voice in my head I hadn’t heard this way in quite some time.  In talking with other folks in similar roles it became clear that this isn’t just a me thing, it’s an us thing.  These are crazy times unlike any we’ve ever experienced in the past.  As such we all need to pause, re-focus, and find new ways o doing the old things.  It sounds weird, but I think you get what I’m saying.  Knowing I’m not alone helped me squash that little voice in my head and get myself back in the right state of mind.

While Becky virtually hung out with friends, the boys and I chilled on the couch and finished the last season of Alone.  I’ve talked about it before, the series in which people are left all by themselves with only a few supplies and have a goal of outlasting everyone else.  They record themselves through a variety of cameras and share their thoughts out loud.  This year it was a cast of people who’d participated in past seasons but hadn’t won.

Shortly after the last episode we fired up The World’s Strongest Man competition, something I used to watch as a kid.  I chuckled when the guy I used to cheer for, Magnus ver Magnusson turned up as one of the announcers.  Watching those guys lift insane amounts of weight was wild.  The conversations the boys and I had while watching were even better.

In watching both shows I was reminded of the beauty of pushing ourselves to the breaking point.  When the competitors in either show pushed past their perceived limits they found more strength than they realized they had.  It was a beautiful reminder for me of the push we’re all living through now.  One of my favorite quotes came quickly to mind:

Beyond the very extreme of fatigue and distress, we may find amounts of ease and power we never dreamed ourselves to own; sources of strength never taxed at all because we never push through the obstruction.

These current times are a unique opportunity to push beyond fatigue and distress.  I may not be in a game show or a powerlifting competition, but the struggle is real.  From past experiences I know I have survived each obstacle I’ve encountered, and this will be the same.  I will persevere.

Thanks!!!

Day 1,283 – Thankful for Newfound Enjoyment of Extremely Ordinary Events

Isn’t it wild how much has changed in the past month?  In some weird ways I’ve already gotten so used to the “new normal” that I find myself taking pleasure in some pretty ordinary and mundane tasks.

Way back in February I remember not really looking forward to grocery shopping.  Now?  Woo hoo!!!  Bring on the action!!!  I was actually, 100% legit, and for reals excited to go do our weekly grocery shopping.  My relatively new Thursday night tradition provides a reason for me to get out and explore the big world.  Of all the little bits of enjoyment I find in it do you know what I appreciate most?  More on that later…

After work we skipped the walk which was particularly humorous to me after blogging about it yesterday.  We hopped on our bikes instead and had a wonderful family ride.  The feeling of being out in the sun, enjoying the fresh air, and just being outside was beyond amazing.  Do you know what I found to be one of the most enjoyable parts of the ride?  Hmm…

In these mundane things, these ordinary events, there was a common theme.  It was an opportunity to interact with people, in real life, and to see them smile.  At the grocery store it was joking around with fellow customers.  It was making eye contact and smiling.  While riding bikes it was seeing people outside and exchanging pleasantries (from a safe social distance, of course).  Waving, smiling, commenting on the weather…  all those little things that can so easily be taken for granted.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have figured out how important these things were to me without the current situation?  Of course, but that’s not what happened.  Funny how many things we can learn through an experience like this.

As Marcus Aurelius once wrote, “The impediment to action advances action.  What stands in the way becomes the way.”

il_1588xN.1154896800_sin1

Or, as another great philosopher once said, “This is the way.”  😉

41DlGHP7aCL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_

Thanks!!!