Thankful for a Sunday Morning Hike with Becky

Day 2,078

Not only did we survive our May, we seemed to enjoy it. For sure, I really like when we don’t have quite so much excitement quite as constantly as we did over the last 30ish days, but now that it’s behind me it was a pretty epic month.

This morning started out in a very different manner. Becky and I woke up early-ish and went for a nice long hike. There were very few others on the trail so we had a tremendous amount of quiet time for the two of us. There were many flowers blooming, the forest was so vividly green, and the clouds slowly rose from the bluffs in the distance. It was amazing!

The counter balances of life can be so beautiful in their own ways, today’s shift to quiet calm was exactly what the doctor ordered after the crazy busy month.

Thanks!!!

Thankful for a Sunday Morning Hike with Becky

Day 2,078

Not only did we survive our May, we seemed to enjoy it. For sure, I really like when we don’t have quite so much excitement quite as constantly as we did over the last 30ish days, but now that it’s behind me it was a pretty epic month.

This morning started out in a very different manner. Becky and I woke up early-ish and went for a nice long hike. There were very few others on the trail so we had a tremendous amount of quiet time for the two of us. There were many flowers blooming, the forest was so vividly green, and the clouds slowly rose from the bluffs in the distance. It was amazing!

The counter balances of life can be so beautiful in their own ways, today’s shift to quiet calm was exactly what the doctor ordered after the crazy busy month.

Thanks!!!

Thankful for Being Aware of Identity, Labels, and Certainty

Day 2,077

Dominic’s team ran very hard in the 4x800m relay at State today, but their competition was a bit faster. He and his teammates were already putting together plans for their training plan to get on the podium next year. Pretty awesome to pause and consider how well they did and their growth mindset and grit.

Throughout the past week my thoughts have been going back to the book Awareness by Anthony de Mello. Absolutely fantastic read, one I would HIGHLY recommend to everyone. This was I think the fourth time going through it and each time I learn more and more (pretty sure I just blogged about that a little bit ago).

What really jumped out over the past week has been an awareness of a few different thought processes – identity, labels, and certainty. In so many ways each of these three can quickly slide from being somewhat beneficial to highly destructive. When I am “certain” about something I’m more likely to use a fixed mindset rather than a growth mindset. When I know my “identity” I am much less likely to listen to be flexible and open minded to new things and situations. When I use “labels” I miss seeing something for what it truly is and see the label instead.

While it has been easy for me to see others engaging in each of these (isn’t that always the case), I’m starting to see these patterns in myself much more quickly. The awareness of these three negatives has been helping me pause and ask myself “why” many more times than normal. I find I’m spending more time in thought about my actions and thought processes and this is helping me learn much more about myself. What I’m learning is very frustrating as it seems the gap between who I am and who I should be is wider than I realized, but at the same time I’m even more optimistic as the solutions seem relatively simple once I take time to be more aware of my thoughts, to be more intentional.

Thanks!!!

Thankful for an Epic Backdrop for State Track

Day 2,076

Today has been a nonstop thrill ride of action and excitement from start to finish. My brain is still running in circles as I lay down and get ready to go to sleep. All good stuff, just a lot of it today.

While waiting for a couple of events at the WIAA State Track Meet I caught myself more than once looking away from the action. The way that University of La Crosse track is nestled in the Mississippi River Valley creates a unique and epic backdrop for the track meet. See or yourself:

Watching the meet was awesome, cheering on Dominic’s teammates was a rush, and seeing the physical feats were all well worth the time. Being outside with such beautiful views all around enhanced it all.

Thanks!!!

Thankful for the Elevation of Joy Through Purpose

Day 2,075

My teams have been very focused on finding ways to keep living into our Purpose, our “Why” Statement. Our teams exist to brighten lives through fulfilling work. Conversations and actions over the past couple of months have been a wonderful movement into living better into that purpose. We’ve changed processes for our associates (the people we place in new careers) as well as for our internal teammates.

I am a fan of measurements and scoreboards. When I can “see” the results on a scoreboard I “get it” more easily and quickly. The analysis of the results over time really helps me “see” where we need to go next. This focus on brightening lives through meaningful work has been very difficult to quantify. My skin is crawling as I struggle to be okay with not seeing data. That said, I’ve got a surplus of calm and confidence.

Our focus is in the right place. We’re adding more joy to our community. The number of smiles from all involved are all the analytics I need to know we’re headed in the right direction. The stories I hear and the actions I witness of my teams taking actions focused on brightening lives gives me proof without data.

What I’m grateful for today is the elevated levels of joy through living into our purpose. I know, it kind of sounds a little hokey, but I’m telling you there’s a palpable difference as we put our attention to brightening lives through fulfilling work. Our decisions are different, the results are different, and there’s an increased level of joy. All that from focusing more on our “why,” our reason for being.

The road ahead of us is long. The more we live into purpose the harder we’re all working, but the bigger we’re smiling. I can definitely appreciate that!

Thanks!!!

Thankful for Long Road Days, After Supper Walks, and Learning

Day 2,074

Short one tonight, I’m exhausted!

My work day started when I left my house a little after 5am and ended a bit after 5:30pm. It was a long one and involved all together too much driving. While it was exhausting I’m still very appreciative of it. Today was a reminder of how much time I used to spend on the road and how fortunate I am to not have to do that nearly as often.

After supper as a family we went for a walk as a family. Quiet time, together, outside, and moving. Yes please!

Without going into too much detail, I’m grateful for learning. One of my passions is tapping into my natural curiosity to learn more about different things. Not only did I experience much of that today I was able to share in an interesting and enlightening learning experience with the boys. Good stuff!

Thanks!!!

Thankful for Gavin’s Eight Grade Graduation

Day 2,073

Somehow time has flown by so quickly that we only have one non-high schooler for another two and a half days. Gavin had his eight grade graduation tonight and is excited to move on to join Dominic in high school next year.

He and a friend partnered up for a speech to the entire audience, nothing quite like knocking out his first presentation to 300+ people this early in life! Gavin also won the Heart and Soul Award, a new award created in honor of a recently deceased teacher. Throw in High Honors and he spent a solid amount of time up on stage. Super proud of all his accomplishments and all the hard work he’s put into middle school.

Next year he’s off to high school, from oldest to youngest, for another set of adventures.

Middle school life will soon be in the rearview and we can see college in the not too distant future.

Thanks!!!

Thankful for Boat Time, Water Walking, and Vacation Planning

Day 2,072

Wowza it’s been a busy one!

This morning started with a new experience, helping to walk along with Dominic’s marching band and squirting water in their mouths while we all walked. Not gonna lie, I was horrible at it and got about 60% of the water into their mouths with the remainder ending up on their faces and uniforms. That said, they seemed to have fun while marching. It was a pretty wild experience!

I just wrapped up some of the last details for our Iceland trip, it is sneaking up on us way more quickly than it should be. What I’m enjoying about it is the anticipation of the trip which is building and building. Nothing like a little vacation planning to get me smiling and happy!

We also got some excellent boat time today, always the right way to spend an afternoon when the sun is out and the temperature is getting up there. We were all quite a bit more subdued than usual as everyone in the house was showing the impact of a busy weekend. There was a ton of reading, a little napping, and the only one playing in the water was LuLu. It was a perfect chill time on the water to relax and unwind prior to the work work kicking back up tomorrow.

Thanks!!!

Thankful for Getting Up Close & Personal with Hummingbirds

Day 2,071

This morning I took advantage of a unique opportunity. My mother in law has a small herd of hummingbirds living in the cedar trees by her house. She’s got several feeders out to keep those buzzing birds well fed.

I figured why not take a moment to see how close to the feeders I could get in order to take a picture or two, maybe even a video. Gavin and I slowly got closer and closer while pausing to let the hummingbirds get acclimated to us. In almost no time we were within a couple of feet of the feeder.

What we encountered was AWESOME!!!

And then, as if it couldn’t get any better, we saw this…

What an amazing experience! One thing I didn’t get filmed was when two fighting hummingbirds got so close to my legs while they were sparring that I could feel the wind from their wings on my leg hair.

Talk about a moment in which I was 100% present and focused on a miracle of nature. The experience was incredible. Sharing the moment with Gavin made it even more priceless.

Thanks!!!

Thankful for Bookends of Bonus Outdoors Time (Kinda 😉)

Day 2,070

This morning Becky and I took off for a hike to start our busy day. What a wonderful way to kick off the day, hanging out in the woods and enjoying some quiet in nature. Throughout the hike my attention kept getting pulled towards the trees themselves and the vines which were wrapping around many of them. So much diversity to soak in as we walked.

At the end of the night I was reading a book Becky had recommended which was focused on visiting all the National Parks. Then the TV was turned on to Life Above Zero, an awesome show about people subsistence living near it in the Arctic Circle in Alaska. Bonus outside related focus at the end of the day!

The more and more I spend time outdoors and the more time I spend focused on the outdoors the more joyful my life is. To have my day bookended with nature focus like this is pretty awesome.

Thanks!!!