Day 596 – Thankful for Blogging Outside, Curveballs, and Remembering to Pause and Breathe

Typing a blog while sitting out on the deck feels fantastic!  After second winter I’m trying to soak in as much time outside as possible.  When I went to grab my laptop I realized this would be the perfect day to write it out on the deck.  There are birds singing all around me, two happy dogs chilling in our yard and a cute girl refilling the bird feeder (Becky).  I can feel my blood pressure drop as I type.  Ahh…  Now as I am relaxed I’m noticing how badly we need to re-finish the deck and power wash the house…  maybe some weekend when we have free time 😉

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Today’s been a very busy day with several successes and a couple of huge curveballs.  Looking back I am very thankful for the successes, they’re the easy things to be thankful for.  The curveballs are a little more difficult to be thankful for, but when I really dig deep I am thankful them.  They weren’t exactly what I ever would’ve wanted to happen, but now that they have I’m doing my best to look at how they can be a positive impact in my life’s journey.  In each of them I’ve learned something about myself and I’ve found ways to stay positive and upbeat.  One of them just happened and I’m thankful for remembering to pause and breathe.

There were some tools and finishing supplies I had in the house to work on one of the boxes I just made.  This morning before work I’d taken some time to apply the finishing wax and started getting it buffed out.  This evening I thought it best to put the box and all my supplies away in the workshop.

Not thinking it all the way through I piled up all of the supplies and the box into my arms and made one trip upstairs.  As I was putting things away the box slipped out of my hands and silhouetted against the wall in all of its newly polished glory, the sunlight glittering off of it as it tumbled through the air.  I made a dive for it and almost caught it, but I couldn’t quite get a grip and it tumbled in a new direction.  Again I lunged for it and only managed to change its direction.  The last stab caused it to move yet again.  With a loud crack it split into a couple of pieces.  I stood there for a moment and just stared at it on the floor.

As I looked at it I realized I should have been more careful.  Before I could get mad at myself I took a deep breath.  I remembered a story Dad once told me of when he was a small boy and earned something like a nickel or a dime for doing hard work for someone.  He was so pumped to buy a bottle of soda and was smiling from ear to ear as he walked out of the store with it…  until he tripped and dropped it…  and his hard work lay seeping into the cracks in the concrete sidewalk.  As he told me the story I could still see the look of a small boy losing something precious, but he said all he could do was take a deep breath and move on.  Getting mad or angry wasn’t going to do any good.

In that moment as I looked forlornly at my broken creation I also remembered when my dad picked up a cake from the store to surprise my mom.  It was in the shape of a cabin or something like that and was pretty cool.  It was winter time and as we walked from the store to the truck he slipped and it fell to the ground.  It stayed closed, but the cabin was pretty much smooshed.  I remember that same sad look on his face when it happened and he just stared at it for a moment.  Then he took a deep breath, put on a smile, and tried to make the best of it.  Dad was obviously disappointed, but he knew that getting mad wasn’t going to do him any good.

So there I am staring at something I’ve put a lot of myself into, broken on the floor.  Thinking of those moments with Dad I somehow managed to put on a smile.  It was done, it had happened, there was nothing I could do about it.  It sucks that it’s broken, but there’s nothing I can do about it now except move on.  No point in beating myself up over it, being disappointed won’t fix it, and frustration is wasted energy.

I’m going to do my best to glue it back together and save it.  It will be a great way for me to remember to stop and breathe when something happens.  Who knows, it may even become a story my boys remember when they run into something similar.  With that possibility in mind, I’m thankful for that curveball.  It sure wasn’t the way this play was drawn up, but I am going to make the best of it…  Just like the other curveballs today.

Thanks!!!

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Day 595 – Thankful for Yoga’s Help In Passing a Swim Test

This past Sunday I was downright nervous from about 2:30 until 3:45. I was petrified and stressed out about passing the Weblos Camp swim test. Swimming has never been my favorite thing in the world and I’ve always done the bare minimum for it whenever I’ve been swimming. Even though I love snorkeling and want to someday learn to scuba dive I get kind of freaked out when I start thinking about swimming.

If I passed the test I would be fine to do all the activities the scouts will be doing at camp this summer. Fail and I have not only shame and embarrassment, but I’d also have to find a way to talk my way into participating with the scouts as they do fun stuff like canoeing. That added pressure really didn’t help anything and I kept getting more and more tense as time went by.

When it was finally my turn my heart was beating pretty hard. I took a deep breath and started off. For the swimmers out there you’ll probably laugh at this test… it was three lengths of either crawl, sidestroke or breaststroke followed by one length of resting backstroke.

For the first three laps I kept focused on little wins, passing the flags, passing halfway, and starting a new length. By the time I flipped onto my back I was feeling better… until a bunch of water splashed up into my face from my arms flailing in a state of semi-panic. Then I heard my own voice in my head…

“Dude, find your breath. Breathe intentionally.” It was yoga advice in my brain. I slowed my breath and took control. Once I had that I realized that the stroke was just like yoga. During the motion of raising my hands over my head I inhaled slowly. As I pushed down to propel myself forward I exhaled. After a couple of cycles I laid back, totally relaxed, and finished fine.

As I was breathing heavily in yoga tonight I smiled and thought back to the swim test. It reminded me to take control of my breath and relax. While finishing up I couldn’t help but be thankful for how much yoga helped me through that swim test.

Thanks!!!

Day 594 – Thankful for Dominic, Student of the Month (Again!)

Yeah, today’s blog post is part gratitude and a lot proud papa moment. Dominic was named Student of the Month for the second time in two years!!! How awesome is that???

Thanks to a recommendation from his Health teacher Dominic was selected as the Allied Arts Student of the Month. It was also pretty cool that his friend Billy was the 7th grade winner.

I can’t even begin to express how thankful I am for Dominic. He’s wicked smart with a huge heart, an amazing combination. Award or not we know he’s a great kid who will do many great things in his life.

Congrats on this award Bud!!! So proud of all you’ve accomplished and for the way you’ve accomplished it. Keep learning, keep growing, and keep being awesome! Love you dude!!!

Thanks!!!

Day 593 – Thankful for Spending Mother’s Day Weekend with My Mom and My Family

Day 593 – Thankful for Spending Mother’s Day Weekend with My Mom and My Family

Yesterday my mom and Step Brad came down to watch Gavin’s soccer games and then stuck around to chill out with us for the rest of the weekend.  We had a great time watching soccer first, eating a lunch that was way too big, hitting the greenhouse, and then chilling back at the house.

The whole time they were here we had a wonderful time just kicking back and shooting the bull.  We fired up a couple of games of Exploding Kittens, watched some Chopped, and went through a box of old Boy Scouts stuff from way back in the day.

Throughout the entire time it was just awesome to spend time talking with my mom.  Nothing in particular or anything, just spending time together.  It’s been a while since we’ve done that and catching up was exactly what I needed this Mother’s Day weekend.  Looking ahead to the next few months I’m excited that there are a few more times we’ll have the opportunity to do that.  There’s just something about spending time with her that puts a huge smile on my face.  I’m thankful for our time together!

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It was also a lot of fun spending time with Becky and the boys this weekend.  In between activities and running there were quiet moments with each that I am very thankful for.  This morning started off with the boys making breakfast for everyone and I was able to help them a bit in the kitchen.  Later, the boys and I had a ton of fun while doing the Cub Scouts swim test.  Before and after Becky and I ran a couple of errands solo and enjoyed having a little time to just the two of us.  At some point tonight we might even play a game of cribbage on the new cribbage board that boys made for Becky for Mother’s Day.  The day was complete because of the time I had with each of them.

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This has been a Mother’s Day weekend that I will remember for quite some time.  Thank you to my mom, Brad, Becky, and the boys for making it an awesomely memorable weekend!

Thanks!!!

Day 592 – Thankful for Extra Time

Whenever it is a birthday or a holiday I’ll ask Becky for ideas of what she’d like as a gift. Her first response, without fail, is “more time.” We laugh about it and try to find ways to make that happen. Sad to say that we haven’t figured out a way to time travel yet so that gift hasn’t been given … until today 😁. This morning Becky figured out a way to give me that amazing gift!

After our run this morning we got ready to head out to Gavin’s soccer game. With the game at 10:00 we left for Sparta at 9:00 so we had time to grab coffee on our way out of town. Once we parked the car Becky busted out her phone to see what field Gavin was playing on. Her jaw kind of dropped and she said, “Field 2… at 11:00…”. We both paused for a moment, smiled, and then laughed it off.

Fortunately I’d brought my laptop and she’d brought the papers she was reading so we each got an extra hour while the boys played outside at the playground. How awesome is that? An entire extra hour that we weren’t expecting! She gave me the gift she’d always wanted and it was AWESOME!!!

Becky, thanks for giving me the gift of extra time this morning, it was exactly what the doctor ordered and I appreciated every moment of it.

Thanks!!!

Day 591 – Thankful for Crafting a Top Secret Project with the Boys (& the Smell of Finish)

Day 591 – Thankful for Crafting a Top Secret Project with the Boys (& the Smell of Finish)

After supper the boys and I headed up to the workshop for a top secret project. Sure, there were many moments in which they didn’t get along so well, but that’s not what I’ll remember. Most of the time they were working together as a team and helping each other out. It was pretty awesome!

Throw in the smell of finish on another project I was working on and it was a great way to spend the night. I’m so thankful they enjoy doing this type of stuff as much as I do!

Thanks!!!

Day 590 – Thankful for “My Old Man” by Zac Brown Band

Isn’t it just magic when you hear the right song when you’re in the right mood? Today I’m very thankful for one of those moments as it helped me tremendously. Hearing the lyrics and knowing that someone else understood right where I was in that moment was priceless and helped tremendously. Having someone put words to how I was feeling was medicine for my soul.

Today would’ve been Dad’s 63rd birthday. As I drove home from Winona this song suddenly pooped into my head and I was happy to find I’d downloaded it onto my phone. It was exactly what I needed to hear to remind me to be thankful for the time I had with Dad instead of just being sad and missing him.

Thanks!!!

My Old Man

Zac Brown Band

He was a giant

When I was just a kid

I was always trying

To do everything he did

I can still remember every lesson he taught me

Growing up learning how to be like my old man

He was a lion

We were our father’s pride

But I was defiant

When he made me walk the line

He knew how to lift me up

And when to let me fall

Looking back, he always had a plan

My old man

My old man

Feel the callous on his hands

And dusty overalls

My old man

Now I finally understand

I have a lot to learn

From my old man

Now I’m a giant

Got a son of my own

He’s always trying

To go everywhere I go

Do the best I can to raise him up the right way

Hoping that he someday wants to be

Like his old man

My old man

I know one day we’ll meet again

As he’s looking down

My old man

I hope he’s proud of who I am

I’m trying to fill the boots of my old man

My old man