Day 809 – Thankful for Nearing Completion of a Goal

Today I spent a lot of time going through the clothes in my closet and dresser.  With our vacation on the horizon I realized that many of the shorts I have aren’t fitting me anymore…  in a good way!  I figured I’d better see if I have enough clothes that fit for our trip so today was spent culling the herd and finding the treasures in the back of the closet.

After our trip to Belize in February I wasn’t feeling quite as healthy as I wanted.  When I jumped on the scale at home I found a most unpleasant number staring back at me.  At that time I set a goal for myself to be under 200 pounds before Hawaii. That meant dropping just shy of 40 pounds in 10 months. From past experience I know it’s do-able, it just takes a lot of focus and grit.

After getting home from our Saturday morning cycling and yoga classes I was pretty pumped to see the number staring me down this time… just under 202! Almost there!!!

I’ve got some obstacles to overcome over the next week and a half (two family Christmases with AMAZING food), but I’ve got this. Almost to the finish line, time to run through it.

The last time I’ve been this low for weight and body fat percentage was the last time I was in Hawaii… 🤔… maybe I should go there more often! 😁

It’s been fun packing up a huge tote full of clothes that fit “Fun Mike” but not this Mike at the moment. I’ll miss some of them greatly, but I’m giddy to get reacquainted with some old friends… the ones that don’t have an X in front of the L.

Today’s been an awesome opportunity to see just how far I’ve moved the dial and how close to the goal I am.


PS. I’m saddened to announce that I had to say goodbye to my beloved Winnipeg Blue Bombers hat today. We went on many wonderful trips together and shared many amazing moments since I got it while on vacation in Canada with Becky over 7 years ago. I’ll miss it greatly. 😢


Day 808 – Thankful for The Christmas Wish Express

Today was the last day of the “Christmas Wish Express.” This was an event put on by our Winona team with the intent of helping others in our community. It was an opportunity for family, friends, and coworkers to nominate someone who needed a helping hand this Christmas. My teammates had an awesome idea for this Christmas season.

I can’t even begin to express just how incredible these past couple of weeks have been. Not just because it’s our team, but because of the increased Christmas spirit it brought all of us and so many others. It grew and blossomed into not just helping the handful of people we were hoping to help, but in so many other beautiful ways. While it wouldn’t be right to share all the details let’s just say I am moved to tears by the generosity, giving, love, and passion of my teammates, our associates, our clients, and all of their families. The Christmas spirit is alive and well within all of us.

This morning one of my teammates shot me a text with a quote that his wife had just sent him. It totally hit the nail on the head…

I’m so thankful that we have had the opportunity to give. The warmth and joy in our hearts is the best Christmas present we could ever hope for. I’m forever grateful to have had the opportunity to play a small role in this incredible experience that touched so many in so many beautiful ways.


Day 807 – Thankful for Goals and Dreams that Straddle the Line Between Possible and Improbable

Today one of my teammates asked a great question.  “Mike, if you’re incentives are based on hitting goals and you set the goals, why do you always choose crazy high goals that aren’t always realistic?”  I couldn’t help but smile and remind her that we’d just hit the “crazy high goal that wasn’t realistic” this year.  But then it got me thinking and I shared my thoughts.  My apologies to the team for getting on my soapbox at the time, but the more I think of it, I’m pretty thankful for the way I think I like that.

When I dream or set goals I almost always go to the extreme.  Take for instance running. Haven’t run more than 15 minutes at one time in over a decade?  Screw it, I’m training for a marathon.  Why settle for one office when I could shoot for twenty?  You get the point…  I’m not one for setting easily attainable goals.


Over the past few months I’ve been able to do some awesome things that I’m super proud of and they were only possible because of crazy big dreams and goals I set for myself.  Had I settled for mediocrity they may have kind of happened, but not with nearly the same intensity or joy.

I don’t want to live an average life, do the normal things, and settle for being good.  I want to do great things, live incredible experiences, and leave crazy wide path of joy in others in my wake.  Why be good when I can be great?

To do great I need to push insanely hard.  I need to be willing to fail.  Not that I want to fail, but I’d rather fail forward while pushing towards an excellent cause than hit some lame goal that didn’t stretch me.  I want to grow and learn and become better.  That means taking educated risks, but risks nonetheless.  I refuse to live in fear of failure, I live in fear of wasting my life and squandering my short opportunity to live a life I’ll be proud of when it’s my turn to go.

Fail?  Been there, done that, got the t-shirt.  As soon as failure hits I pick myself back up, dust myself off, and remember to keep making relentless forward progress.  I remind myself why the goal is so important to me.  I learn from my failure and set a new path.  I persist.  Failing will happen, but I will not quit.

So if the fear of failure is non-existent why not shoot for the stars?  As I said, my biggest fear is letting myself down, not living a great life, not doing all that I can, not doing all of my loved ones and mentors proud, and having regret.  With those fears I have to push the envelope and straddle the line of possible and improbable.  Sometimes I over step and have to reset.  Sometimes I under step and need to push further forward.  At the end of the day I really don’t know what is possible until I’ve reached failure…  but even then I won’t quit, I’ll find a different way or work harder.

Whew, this has gotten to be a bit of a ramble!  The long and short of it is this…  I am thankful for setting goals and dreams that push the boundaries and straddle that line of what’s possible and what’s not.  I fear not taking advantage of this wonderful gift of life I’ve been given and doing something great with it.  If I dream big I can more easily avoid the pitfalls of playing it safe.  The bigger I dream the more I live.  Wow, that’s really it in a sentence, isn’t it?  The bigger I dream the more I live.

And that’s why I’m thankful for blogging to work these thoughts out sometimes…  All those earlier paragraphs can be condensed into those seven words.  That’s why I’m thankful for dreaming big…  The bigger I dream the more I live.


Day 806 – Thankful for My Christmas Role Models

At the risk of getting a little too sappy this will probably be a little bit of a shorter blog post.

Today I’m finding myself being more and more thankful for my Christmas role models. Between my mom & dad, Becky, and my boys I’m so blessed to have so many people who help me celebrate Christmas and live the Christmas spirit. Each of them has inspired me in so many ways.

My mom taught and still teaches me to appreciate the magic of Christmas.

My mom and dad showed how to enjoy giving more than receiving.

Becky inspires me with the way she truly lives the Christmas spirit.

My boys remind me to appreciate the moment and are little mirrors that reflect back how well I’m living what I’ve learned from my parents and Becky.

Through all of them I’m reminded to appreciate the reason for Christmas. I’m thankful the ultimate in Christmas role models, the one who gave everything for all of us.

I am so blessed to be surrounded by so many people who exemplify the Christmas spirit.


Day 805 – Thankful for Enjoying the Ride to Menomonie This Morning

When I’m driving several days a week it’s tough to pause and enjoy the journey. I’ve recently been able to cut back to about one long drive per week which has been great!

My early morning drive to Menomonie started in the black of night (in the morning) and really got beautiful from about 7:20 until 7:50. I was reminded of something Leonard da Vinci used to do – pay close attention to how the colors transform with slight changes to lighting. The sun was just right and I could almost see the colors of the sky slowly shift as the sun rose and caught the clouds and bluffs just right. To make it even better the white frost on the trees added no opportunity for the light to reflect the colors. The shift from dark blue to deep red to light pink to orange was awesome!

Seeing as cell coverage is very limited in that area I usually have an audiobook playing. Today was the same until I started to pay closer attention to the drive. At that time I fired up some great tunes and enjoyed 30 minutes of natural beauty.

I’m so thankful for an amazing start to the day!


Day 804 – Thankful for Physical Activity, a Great Book, an Opportunity to Learn, Making a Difference, a New Family Game, and Vacation Planning

Today’s been an awesome day all around.  From starting the day with a run with Becky on a brisk morning.  Getting the heart pumping first thing in the morning always feels great, but something about the frigid air actually felt even better this morning!

On my way to work I was listening to a wonderful book, Natural Born Heroes by Chris McDougal.  It’s a book that’s been motivating me to think about how and why I’m exercising and how to improve my level of grit in the meantime.  Taking the time to sharpen the saw on my drive was a great way to get my brain more engaged for the day.

Right off the bat at work one of my mentors helped me see a challenge in a different light and see how I can sometimes miss things when I don’t pause to consider other options.  It  was a great opportunity to learn.

During the day there were a couple of opportunities to make a difference and it felt great!  Nothing crazy, but just a couple of moments when I mentally paused, maybe did a fist pump, and felt pretty good about doing a job well done.

After dinner we busted out a new card game that I’d heard about from our friend Adam. There were many laughs as we played quite possibly the most ridiculous game ever, “We Didn’t Playtest This At All.”  It was great spending time with the family doing something we love, playing games.


While the game was being played we were also talking about our upcoming vacation.  One of the only things that is almost as good as going on vacation is planning a vacation! As George Bailey once said, “”You know what the three most exciting sounds in the world are? Anchor chains, plane motors & train whistles.”  I’d add a fourth, the whisper of vacation books pages turning and the conversations that ensue.

What a complete day!


Day 803 – Thankful for a Visit from Ken & Mary and a Couple of Awesome Memories from Today

Today Becky’s parents made a trek to La Crosse to see the sun…  and us!  We’re thankful they made the long three plus hour drive to hang out for a while.  It was great to hang out, shoot the bull, and just spend some time together.

As we were starting to wind down for the night I pulled up my Facebook memories from the past years.  Two years ago today the boys and I kicked off our Pizza Weekend!  Over the course of that weekend we had pizza for every single meal from Friday supper through Sunday supper.  Five years ago we were ringing bells as a family and we recorded this gem of a video:

Seeing how much his energy level has stayed exactly the same cracks me up!  Last night at church as we were the greeters he was helping to hold the doors while in between he was doing some of these same types of things – including running back and forth in the entry way.  So wild seeing how much the boys have grown in the past five years.