Day 1,716 – Thankful for a Random Grocery Store Conversation

Days like to today are amongst my favorite. There are several different paths I could take with my blog, but one hits at the last minute that is so perfect it feels like it must have been made up. The day was loaded with positive time with people I enjoy spending time with as well as much quiet time spent in thought. Much of my drive was spent in silence as I planned my day and had excellent insights on a project I’m working on. Becky got home and it was great hearing about her trip. I got some time with each of the boys. It’s been a fantastic day.

What seems correct to write about tonight was a moment while ordering jello squares for Gavin at the deli counter at Festival Foods. Yup, how trippy use that?

When I ordered the workers laughed and the one who was helping me explained that the person next to me, a fifty something dude, both ordered the same thing at almost the same time. They proceeded to race each other while the other dude and I laughed and each cheered for our person. The worker helping him out pointed out that he had ordered a larger container. I followed up with, “he obviously loves his family more than I do,” with a wink. He laughed and explained it was for his wife, she loves her jello. We exchanged a couple of other comments and went on her way.

As luck would have it I ended up right behind him at the check out line. He said “happy wife, happy life,” and I nodded in agreement with a huge grin. The next phrase was what really added to the magic of the moment.

“That’s what my dad always told me,” he said. For the briefest of seconds their was a look of profound sadness on his face which was followed so quickly with a smile again. “Boy do I miss him. What I would do for five more minutes with him.”

I almost lost it right there. That was exactly what Dad used to tell Nick and I about our grandpa. It is the same thing I tell my boys. In an instant I understood the smile, sadness, and smile. I am positive my face gives away similar emotions when I make the same statement. Smiling because of remembering Dad. Brief sadness because he is gone. A bigger smile because I know how blessed I was to have him in my life for as long as I did.

The dude and I spend another minute talking about our dads, their advice, and how they’d chuckle at our conversation. There is no question he felt his father there with him in much the same way I know Dad was there with me. It was a moment of pure magic.

Tonight I continued working on my book and I kept thinking back to those moments at the deli counter and then the cash register. They were pure gold. From them I drew inspiration for my writing and was reminded of the ways in which Dad brightened the lives of those he touched. I’m so proud and honored to live into his legacy in moments like those.


Day 1,715 – Thankful for a Great Lesson, Slow is Smooth, Smooth is Fast

This morning I jumped right into work mode. I had a lot to accomplish and I was in the mood to get cracking right away. My mind was running in hyper speed as I knocked out task after task. Needless to say I was in the zone and hyper focused on the task at hand.

My day was pretty tightly scripted as I was both working form home in the morning and then taking the boys to Winona after Dominic’s track practice so they could spend the afternoon picking weeds for our Winona office. Everything was lined up to run almost perfectly.

Dominic biked to practice while I was on a call. Gavin got everything ready for their landscaping work while I was on a Zoom meeting. At 11:50am we hit the road to cruise to pick up Dominic from practice to make the run up to Winona – right on time.

When I pulled up Dominic walked up and looked a little confused. I asked him what was up.

“Umm… what are we going to do with my bike?”

Dominic then pointed out that practice was done about 15 minutes early and he would have had time to bike home and we could have been on the road on time.

In a heartbeat I realized that I had been hustling and so hyper focused that I hadn’t taken a step back to make sure that everything fit as intended.

Talk about a slap upside the head! In my rush I’d completely missed the details that would have made all the difference. Instead my day was knocked off kilter. My rush to be on time caused me to be the exact opposite.

Everything ended up working out okay, but there was definitely more stress than there needed to be.

All I had to do was pause, take a deep breath, take the long view, and I would have found that the day would’ve worked out even better than I’d planned.

Pain in the butt and mildly frustrating, but a great lesson nonetheless.


Day 1,714 – Thankful for When Road Trip Timing Works Out Perfectly

Soccer season for the boys often means driving all over the place for games. Quite often we’re making runs to the Madison area along with trips to Des Moines and South Dakota. This means a lot of weekend miles, but it’s well worth it to watch the boys play.

This weekend everything seemed to work out way better than it had any right to. As luck would have it the game was only a short fifteen minute drive from my little brother’s house. How perfect is that? Not only was it that close, but it was on a day when he and his family didn’t already have plans for the day!

Gavin and I took off early this morning, got to hangout with Nick, Jennifer, Sela, Lauren, and Cooper for a few hours before the game. As I type they’re en route to the field to watch the game with me. We’ll get another hour and a half together while enjoying the sun and a soccer match.

I am so grateful for these moments when everything just seems to work out right. I know the busy-ness of having kids will only last another short handful of years and I want to enjoy every moment of that time while spending time with everyone else I know and love. When things work out to able to do both all I can do is smile and be grateful.


Day 1,713 – Thankful for the Writing Process

LOL – be careful what I wish for, right? I’ve got a hunch I may come back to the title of this post one day and cringe if I’m in a fit of writers block!

I’ve got another call with my writing coach and editor in a couple of weeks and I have some homework to wrap up over the next week and a half… in addition to a full work schedule, a packed calendar of stuff with the boys, and more than I ever should have planned at one time. Nobody will ever accuse me of not taking enough on at one time, will they?

In preparation for that call I’ve got a handful of slightly different and yet very connected tasks to focus on. First, I’ve got a bit more to write as they both noticed there was a key piece to bring out to really add more depth and completeness to my work. With how much I’ve already written and all the blogs I’ve already created I’ll also need to cruise back through what I’ve already put together. Second, there are some themes to clean up a bit to then be used to find more common ground to work with – if my book had a subtitle what would it be? On the surface that seems so simple, but when I dive in I’m struggling to find the correct way to sun it up. Last, there are pictures I need to find and pull together for both the cover and content. All in all, I’ve got some work ahead of me today.

What I’m really finding today is how grateful I am for the entire writing process. There’s an added depth of experiencing life in putting pen to paper in this fashion. When one of my favorite podcasters wrote about taking a “voyage inward,” I didn’t initially realize just how correct he really is. The process of writing is mind blowing!

To start writing I must first pause and quiet my mind. I have to find solitude and serenity. This first step is such a powerful start as too often I don’t make the space my soul needs to breathe and process as I need to be full.

I start with an idea, thought, memory, or emotion and then start hitting down the experiences I’ve had which play into this point. In a short period of time I quickly sketch an outline of where I think I’m about to go. This is never perfect and is kind of a messy scribble, but it starts laying out my thoughts so I can see them as a whole.

With an outline laid out I close my eyes and breathe. Open my eyes, look out the window with a thousand yard stare. In my head memories and thoughts begin to scroll like a movie. Within seconds there are a flood of awesome moments flashing through my brain, each bringing on a huge smile. It doesn’t take long before I’ve got the outline fleshed out with several seeds of future paragraphs.

What’s particularly great about these memories is that they aren’t always moments; they’re also lessons, mistakes, missed opportunities, moments of joy, and moments of pain. Through the lens of time I’ve become grateful for each of them. There are no good or bad, they just are. It is up to me to lend a depth of feeling – I choose positivity, gratitude, and growth. I’ve learned from these moments and they’ve brought me to this exact moment in time. All those moments make me smile.

Once I’ve got the moments written down I can then move into introspection and reflection. That’s when I can add context to each of them. In this stage I learn and grow. I am able to process, dissect, learn, and parse all those moments and thoughts. My brain has the space created for it to put all of it into one unified whole.

Then it’s nothing but typing. All of the words seems to flow so much more cleanly after taking time.

The writing process itself is so beautiful. I have to create space for thought. I remember so many moments and lock them deeper into the creases of my brain. I learn from them all and find more / new / better ways to live more completely into the me I am called to be. When it is all done I’ve got an almost everlasting document to help me remember in the future. Awesomeness.


Day 1,712 – Thankful for Giving Myself Time to Prepare

With a busy weekend of soccer and writing in front of me this week and a weekend full of time with friends next week I’m quickly running out of time to prep for our backpacking trip. It may sound crazy, but as I’ve been focused on gathering gear I’m finding I’m still well over what I was hoping to have for weight and volume.

To be honest, there’s a little bit of stress and a knot in my stomach as I attempt to figure out exactly what I’ll need and cut what I won’t. There’s a fine line between carrying too much, just enough, and not enough. Too far to either end of the spectrum and the results could really suck.

What I’m grateful for today is how far in advance I have started working on solving this puzzle. It would have been very easy to put it off until the very end but I know I would have made poor choices. By planning ahead I’m able to take my time and think through all my options. I’ve got more time to ask to advice, research the details, and the benefit of being able to try many different things to find what works best. Will it be perfect? Of course not! But I know it will be better than if I didn’t start planning far in advance.

Taking time to start laying it all out before I need to lay it all out has already helped me save myself from making a few mistakes. Over the next two weeks I’m sure there will be a few more tweaks and changes that will help me dial it in as closely as possible, enough to ensure a joyful trip.

I have given myself the best possible gift… time.


Day 1,711 – Thankful for Lessons from a Running Marathon – Confidently Relaxed

The reason I’m grateful for this today isn’t really relevant to the post itself. The simple fact is that there was a situation presented to me that brought back an awesome lesson that’s been bouncing around in my brain since the conversation.

When I set the goal of running my first marathon I followed the training plan I selected almost exactly as it was laid out. There were over 16 weeks of runs laid out for me, specifically, how many miles would I run each day. I’d studied what it was like to train for a marathon and read a few books about what to expect, what was important, how to select nutrition and gear, and everything possible related to running 26.2 miles.

Each week I ran what I was told run. I focused on my goal of completing the marathon and didn’t let myself get distracted with delusions of grandeur of trying to hit a specific time. Even when it hurt and felt awful I still followed through on the plan. If you ever want a fun story ask me about my first 10 mile run, my first 15 mile run, and my first 20 mile run. I remember them each clearly even though they were over a dozen years ago.

I studied the course and had it memorized. When we’re the uphills. Where were the water stations. I took care of the logistics. Where would we stay the night before? How would I get to the starting line.

By the time it was race time I had put in all the work. I had prepared almost to the best of my ability. Everything was ready, it was simply up to me to put one foot in front of the other forty thousand or so times. It was time for me to perform.

Guess what happened?

My adrenaline was out of control. My imagination ran wild with crazy fears and concerns. I was panicking. I started second guessing myself, my training, my preparation, and my ability to finish the race. I got myself all worked up.

While I was in the middle of my freak out moment my little brother started joking around. I paused, took a deep breath, and told myself to chill. Next thing I knew Nick and I were joking away and helping each other relax and loosen up.

I started the race loose, I stayed calm, and I remembered all that I’d done in preparation for the race. I had already put in the work, followed the training, dug into what to expect, and had logged many, many, many miles of running to get myself ready for this moment. I told my panic, that self questioning voice in my head, to shut the hell up. I then did what I’d trained to do. One foot in front of the other. Over and over again until I crossed the finish line 26.2 miles later.

What did I learn from this? Put in the hard work, be gritty, and prepare as completely as possible. Once the pressure hits and I start to tense up it is the exact time to pause, breathe, and remember that I have prepared for this. I remind myself that I have put in the work and have trained, I need to be confidently relaxed and let the execution happen. Put another way – if I’ve put in the work to prepare there is no reason to panic, I am ready. All that is left is to execute.

Confidently relaxed. The best state of mind to be in to execute, to access that wonderful state of flow.

Sorry panic, there’s no room for you. Preparation took up all the seats on the bus before you got onboard. Sorry dude, you’ll have to wait for the next bus. This bus is headed to success.


Day 1,710 – Thankful for a Very Insightful Day – Improved Strategy Through Listening, My Faith, and a Voyage within Myself

Today’s been a wonderful day all around. What really sticks out to me is a higher than average dose of insightfulness. There have been many times in which I’ve listened at the right time to the right thing and made a connection I would have otherwise missed. In talking with others I put full effort on listening and picked up wildly excellent ideas which will and already have pointed me in the right direction. When being intentional with the audio inputs I’ve been rewarded with still more thought provoking insights.

Early in the morning I listened to a podcast that helped me prevent a potential strategy which would have most likely failed. Instead it shifted my perspective and helped me chart a new course. While the entire podcast was fantastic there was one specific line which would have been easy to miss. That one line made a huge difference today.

On the drive home I listened to a different podcast, one Becky recommended. As I listened and thoroughly enjoyed it I was reminded of how grateful I am for the joy my faith provides. I had an excellent conversation with someone about faith last week and it helped me think more on the why behind my faith. Today it was so readily clear. In learning more about it I live into a better version of me. In practicing it I become a better me. In focusing on it my life is more joyful. Whether my beliefs are right or wrong, that is not the point. The point is that my faith is helping me lead a better, more complete, and more joyful life as I live.

Last, there was another podcast I listened to after taking some quiet time to think on my book. They talked about journaling and how it helps us take an “internal voyage,” to learn more about ourselves. I’m beyond grateful for stumbling onto this therapy, this daily focus on capturing and processing my thoughts. Throughout my blogs I find I am continuing to learn more about myself, to dig deeper into what really provides me joy, and how I can work to close the gap between who I am and who I am called to be. Taking this daily voyage into myself has been amongst the best investments in time I’ve ever made in my life.

So there it is – a very insightful day. So many better ideas and thoughts when I pause to intentionally focus on the right things, when I focus on listening to others, and when I take time to reflect.


Day 1,709 – Thankful for an Experimental Run, a Great Song, and Reminders of Why I’m Working on My Listening Skills

This morning I changed things up and went for a bonus run instead of hiking. I knew I wanted to be outside, but I wanted to get a little extra sleep. If I hike I have to drive 10-15 minutes there and the same back. By going for a run I still got my outside time and the benefit of a few extra minutes of sleep. Definitely the right choice.

Becky was lifting so I went on my first solo run in quite a while. I figured it’d be a good time to experiment so I used the session as a nice little running lab. Focusing on heart rate I decided to see how close to 137 I could keep it. That was more difficult than I’d expected as slowing down too much caused it to drop rapidly. Before the halfway point I decided to finish the run without breathing through my mouth – nose breathing only. That was wild! I was almost forced to maintain a pace that kept my heart rate below 138. All in all – it felt great to experiment and bring some freshness to my run.

There’s been a song stuck in my head over the last week and a half. I’ve liked it since the first time I’d heard it but our recent backpacking trip really enhanced it for me. The song is Frozen Pines by Lord Huron. You can check it out here: Fantastic song that gets me thinking about the forest we walked through in the Porcupine Mountains.

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve had a few reminders of the importance of one of the behaviors I’m focused on in 2021 – being a better listener. I can get very excited about things and talk everyone’s ears off. I’m focusing on how to listen more often, more intently, and more actively. What I’m finding is that I’m often getting so much more out of conversations now and I’m enjoying hearing more about the lives of others. I’ve got a long way to go but I’m already seeing how much more joyful life is when I listen more often. I’m also realizing how much I appreciate people who already are talented at this skill. A seemingly perfect conversation is such a delicate balance and dance of getting all parties involved while all listening significantly more in proportion to the number of people. There is so much for me to work on, though I’m already seeing I’m much more often listening intently rather than waiting for my time to talk. Small steps forward but I’m very grateful for them.


Day 1,708 – Thankful for the First Bike Ride of the Season

It definitely feels a lot more like a Sunday than a Monday. That said, it’s still a Monday which means it is an exercise day. Becky and I opted for a 20-ish mile bike ride instead of our typical run.

Talk about an exhilarating time! Getting out on my bike was totally the right call today. The sun was out and we hit the road when it was about 60 degrees out. The clouds where whispy and provided the right amount of shade. Birds were everywhere on the trail, flying and singing. At one point there were a couple of huge rabbits playing on the trail in front of us. The views from the bottom of the valley were as wonderful as they always are.

In addition to the views it was awesome to get back on the bike for a longer distance. This winter I’d been riding it in the living room on the bike trainer 2-3 times per week. Once the weather got a little nicer I switched gears to hiking with a pack on instead. I was a little nervous how my biking shape was going to be for this first ride but I was pleasantly surprised at how well it went. My legs are a little tired now, but they felt awesome during the ride itself. Pretty sure I had at least another 10 miles in me! Not too shabby for the first time of the season.

So much to be grateful for on the first ride today. Everything went smooth. The ride was awesomely peaceful. Becky and I got a mini date in on the bike trail. It doesn’t get much better than that!


Day 1,707 – Thankful for Another First, Captain Gavin

Another first in the Kreiling house today – Gavin drove the boat for the first time since passing boater’s safety. It’s crazy to think he’s now old enough to take control of our boat. Seems like only a couple of years ago we picked up our boat and we would watch him sleep on the deck after a busy day on the sandbar. Now he can drive while I sleep on the boat after a long day of sitting in the sun. 😉

The boys keep getting older and older – each first reminds me of that fact. Dad always said time would keep going by faster and faster, each day it seems like he was even more right than the day before. I am grateful for these firsts as they remind me to pause and think about how much they’re growing and maturing.

Congrats on a successful first run on the boat Gavin, you did great!