Day 986 – Thankful for Re-Living Old Memories, Major League 2

Earlier today I had a blog brewing in my head.  It was pretty deep, but I think I’m going to table that one for a day or two.  As the night has gone on with I’m pretty sure it’s more appropriate to go in the right direction…  hanging out with Gavin re-living some childhood memories.

After a perfectly healthy meal of homemade nachos and a roller blading trip around the block Gavin and I decided to park it on the couch to watch Major League 2.  A couple of nights ago I fired up Major League for the boys and they enjoyed it so much that Gavin was practically begging to watch the sequel.  Even with my warnings of how much worse the second movie was Gavin really wanted to fire it up.

Major League 2

Expecting a disappointment I figured I’d get some time to chill and possibly fall asleep early.  Imagine my surprise as Gavin and I have been sitting here laughing our butts off watching this old movie.  To be clear, it is terrible, but it’s bringing back so many old memories of when I’d watched this way back in the day.  Sitting here to watch it with Gavin has been awesome – I’m hoping he remembers watching this crappy movie down the road when he can share a few laughs with his boys sometime in the future!

Thanks!!!

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Day 985 – Thankful for a Beautifully Balanced Mix of Family Time, One on One with Family Time, and Alone Time

Whew, how’s that for a mouthful? 😉

The past 24 hours have been a beautifully balanced mix of family time. Last night we did church, dinner, and an escape room as a family. All four of us spent time relaxing and laughing in what will most likely be the last time were able to do that for approximately two weeks. Becky is heading out of town for work this week and next and Dominic has Scouts. It was great to have time to the four of us to all be together.

This morning Becky and I took the dogs for a walk and had some nice quiet time. The time to the two of us was perfectly uneventful, just the way I like it once in a while.

Dominic and I had time to ourselves on the trip to Scout camp. The drive was pretty chill, just some time for us to talk about his week and Scouts. Nothing crazy, but some great time together with just the two of us.

Gavin and I have already had a lot of time to just the two of us today and we’ve got a lot more where that came from later this week. Between grocery shopping, playing some games, and just chilling we’ve been able to spend time hanging out and singing Strumbellas songs. Pretty much perfect!

After our walk this morning I split off from Becky and the girls and went for a run on my own. With my headphones in and the Strumbellas’ concert list loaded up I pounded out one of the best runs I’ve had in a while. While driving back from dropping off Dominic I blasted the concert playlist again and proceeded to have an incredible car concert all by myself. It was awesome!

As I wrap up the day I can’t help but smile at all of the opportunities I’ve had to spend time with my family, together and separately, today. There’s a magic to having all of us together, a specialness to having one on one time, and chillness to having alone time. Today I had all of the above and I’ll be going to bed with a smile.

Thanks!!!

Day 984 – Thankful for Hitting the Pause Button On “Real Life” for a Date Night Including The Strumbellas Concert

Real life is pretty cool and while I enjoy it thoroughly there are times when it is nice to hit the Pause button and walk away from reality for a little while. Last night Becky and I did just that.

Over the past couple of months we’ve both been very focused on what we’ve needed to be focused on, Becky on her PhD work and me on my offices, while also striving to be as present as possible in the lives of our boys. Last night we shut down all other facets of life and focused specifically on each other.

We took a nice couple hour drive up to Minneapolis which was kind of a nice “life filter” and gave us a chance to wrap up the last of those work related thoughts. Once we got to our hotel we were officially in full on chill mode and had a great time. Over a couple of delicious pizzas we talked about future vacation plans, past vacations, hanging out with friends, and so no on… pretty much nothing #adulting related.

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Then came the highlight of the date night agenda… The Strumbellas concert at the Fine Line Music Cafe. Holy crap was it awesome!!! We realized that this was stage first true concert we’d been to in a very long time. My mind was totally blown from the entire experience. To do justice to it I’ll take the concert in two parts, “The Show,” and “The Sheriff.”

The show itself was AWESOME!!! I’ve been head over heels for The Strumbellas since the first time I heard their song “Spirits.” They are such a beautifully chill and upbeat band and have so many songs that you just can’t help but move to when you listen. The lyrics are mind-blowingly real and hit home for me. In case you’ve missed it I’ve blogged about their music on days 337, 388, 475, & 913. Listening to their albums on a regular rotation has been very enjoyable, but to hear them in person? Wow!

During the entire show I was 100% present in the moment. I was soaking up every second of the show, the sound, the lights, the energy, the crowd, everything. It felt incredible to totally lose my sense of self as I sang and moved along with the music without any care, stress, or worry in the world. To be completely lost in the moment and the music filled my heart with such joy, and to be there enjoying it with Becky made it all the better! Incredible!

So that’s the part about the show itself. The part about the song The Sheriff was the epitome of surreal for me and blew my mind.

One of my favorite songs is “The Sheriff.” It’s fast paced, has some sweet lyrics, and just seemed like an awesome song to play live at a concert. Being the type of person I am I started my own Twitter campaign to request the song be played. To be clear, the campaign never grew beyond a party of one 😉. Every day for almost a week I tweeted a reason why I thought the song would be a great one to play. The first day I got a couple of likes but then there were crickets the rest of the days. Thinking nothing of it I hoped they’d at least gotten a smile out of it. My hope was that they’d play the song. Deep down I thought about what a thrill it would be if they played it and said that it was because someone requested it. Holy crap did I underestimate what would actually happen!

About midway through the show there was a brief pause in the concert and the keyboard player, Dave, spoke up. “Isn’t this the city that someone has been tweeting us about playing a certain song?” The crowd went pretty silent and I couldn’t help but holler “Yes!!!” Next thing I knew he and the rest of band were talking about me tweeting them about playing the song and he totally called me out on it (and explained that they were going to play it anyways)! It was awesome!!!! They fired up the song and I was singing along the entire time.

During the part of the song when the rest of the band sings “I’m not the sheriff, I’m not the sheriff” the lead singer pointed the mic at me and encouraged me to sing louder – it was WILD!!!

Afterwards the joking around continued and Dave asked, “was it everything you’d hoped it would be?”  Without a thought I screamed as loudly as I could, “that was AWESOME!!!” Becky and I have been joking around about it ever since.

After the show we walked back to our hotel and talked the entire way back.  We slept in as late as we wanted this morning (7:15) and then cleaned up and hit the road.  The ride back was more of the awesome date time we’d enjoyed the night before, just relaxing, talking, and singing along to The Strumbellas on the way home.  Even the drive itself was so chill, stopping for breakfast, grabbing, coffee, and in no rush whatsoever.

As we pulled up to the house we hit the Play button and jumped right back into adulting…  but in a very relaxed and laid back way like we can do after pausing to take a deep breath.

I’m so thankful for an incredible date night with Becky, for the concert, and for just pushing the Pause button on reality so Becky and I could just be us.  It was everything I could’ve hoped for.

Thanks!!!

Day 983 – Thankful for Gifts that Keep On Giving, The Book of Joy from My Friend Kelsey

Isn’t it funny how one gift can turn into so many more an how one simple gesture can leave quite an impact over and over again?

After a conversation we had about losing my dad Kelsey (& Adam) brought up this wonderful book.  Within a very short period of time they picked up a copy of it for me as a gift.  And the rest is history, or, maybe more correctly, the rest is the present…

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Earlier this morning I caught myself sharing the title of this book with a dear friend.  Right after doing so I realized it’s been a few months since I’ve read it so I quickly re-downloaded it onto my phone and started listening to it again on my drive home.  A smile spread across my face as I both shared the title and started listening to it again.

A few days ago my blog post was focused on one of the lessons I’ve learned from reading it.  Throughout many of my blogs you can probably sense a little bit of it permeating my writing.  On a daily basis there are often a couple fo times in which a line, a story, a lesson, or a thought from this book come to mind.  Sometimes that thought makes me smile as I change my behavior in the right way.  Sometimes it’s after I’ve made a mistake I consider how I might change in the future.  Regardless of why I’m just amazed at how often my brain goes back to it.

Kelsey, holy crap dude!!!  This book has been a gift that has continued to give many times over.  Thank you so much!!!

Thanks!!!

Day 982 – Thankful for the Storytelling of Neil Gaiman

Work has involved some extra drive time recently.  Thanks to my Audible.com account I’m able to stay caught up on the new books I’d like to read.  Most often I’m listening to something to help me out at work, something to help me grow, or something that’s just really interesting.  Over the past two days I’ve fired up Good Omens by Neil Gaiman.

Neil Gaiman

I initially got hooked on his Sandman comic book series and then my friend James got me hooked on American Gods.  Without thinking too deeply about it I’m pretty sure I’ve read that one at least half a dozen times without even coming close to exaggerating.  Good Omens is such a fun read as well, I can’t help but get quickly drawn into the story and the characters.

What really has me thinking (and thankful) tonight is his ability to tell a story.  When I break it apart there are a few little tricks he seems to use to pull us in using just enough detail while still leaving just enough to our imagination.  It’s been a fun thought experiment thinking about how I could use that storytelling skill set in productive ways at work and at home.

Thanks!!!

Day 981 – Thankful for a Question and a Statement that Helped Me Find Purpose and Joy In the Face of Adversity

Two years ago today was quite possibly the longest of my life.  Becky and I were just getting back from our morning run when we got a call that Dad had a stroke and was being rushed to the ER.  That day became a blur and yet has been seared into my brain.  In just over a week my dad would be gone.

In the days and weeks following his stroke there were two things that really helped me through his passing.  One was a statement, the other was a question.  Both have caused me to pause and think when I’m feeling sad about the loss of my dad and both always seem to lift me out of the funk when I take time to truly consider them.

“Remember to be thankful for the time you had with him instead of wanting more.”

This was the advice from Dad’s past pastor while we were in the hospital.  He was reminding me to stay focused on what I have.  One of my favorite concepts is “Happiness is wanting what you have, not having what you want.”  The advice from Pastor Reiff has always helped me back to this concept.  When I think on this I am reminded of moments like the one in the picture below.  I was so fortunate to have so many awesome memories with my dad, in taking time to appreciate them I feel my heart fill with joy.

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“What can I learn from this?”

My friend Kelsey gave me The Book of Joy and this was one of the questions asked by the Dalai Lama and Bishop Desmond Tutu to help them through difficult times.  When I find myself focusing on a victim mindset I transition to this question, “what can I learn from this?”  When considering this question I’m moved away from being frustrated that it happened to moving forward with purpose.  If I can find one thing to learn from adversity I can find a way to be stronger in the future and find a purpose in moving forward.  Losing Dad was a terrible thing, but if I focus on what I’ve learned and the ways I’ve changed since I can focus on those as opposed to the feelings of loss.

Life happens, we all face adversity.  When it hits we always have a choice.  We can choose to wallow in the pain and sadness or we can find purpose and ways to find joy.  It is completely up to us.  I’m so thankful for the two thoughts that have helped me through the loss of my dad, I can’t imagine where I would be without them today!

Thanks!!!

Day 980 – Thankful for Playing Old School Scrabble with the Boys

Day 980 – Thankful for Playing Old School Scrabble with the Boys

Some of my favorite childhood memories are from playing board games with family. When Dominic mentioned Scrabble as an option I smiled and jumps on the opportunity.

One of the games I still remember playing with my grandparents, my mom, and many aunts and uncles is Scrabble. There are so many wonderful memories of this board on my grandparents’ dining room table with a mix of several of us sitting around it. We used to have so much fun playing and spending time as a family.

Dominic was definitely not a fan of Gavin’s last play… Gavin was dressed like a bandit for unknown reasons the entire game…

True to the norm the boys and I had a blast while playing tonight. There were cheers and laughter most of the time, but there were also a few groans as the wrong tiles were pulled out of the bag or someone took the space we were eying up. Just like old times!

What an awesome way to wrap up some time together while listening to rain outside 😁

Thanks!!!