Monthly Archives: October 2015

Day 34 – Thankful for a Quiet Saturday

Today I’m thankful for a quiet Saturday.

After many weekends of soccer, cub scouts, and other fun today was a nice and relaxing day of nothing crazy.  We relaxed, ran a few errands, played some games, got some work done, went trick or treating and just generally chilled out.  Tomorrow is more of the same and I can’t wait…  Same for the next couple of weekends.

There was a time not so long ago that I would have gone absolutely stir crazy, but today it was exactly what the doctor ordered.  Good old fashioned family time full of chillaxing, perfect!  As such, we’re going to keep today’s post short so I can get back to the relaxing and be grateful for every minute of it today!


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Posted by on October 31, 2015 in Uncategorized


Day 33 – Thankful for Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer

Today I am thankful for Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer.


If you’ve been reading this blog relatively regularly you probably already know about my fixation with Mount Everest.  I’ve known of this book for quite some time and finally picked up a copy at our local library fund raiser.  I figured Dominic would love it, and he absolutely did.  Kinda crazy, I read a book like this after my 10 year old son did.

I’m pretty sure we both took something different away from it, which is one of the reasons I am thankful for this story.  He took it as a validation that through hard work and perseverance he, or anyone, has the capacity to climb 29,000+ feet into the sky where the oxygen is a third of what it is at sea level and the temperature is insanely low, the winds are insanely high, and the ability to persevere through to the goal has to be insane.  Dominic took it as a reminder that dreams take work and dedication, and are ultimately achievable.  How can you not be thankful for a book that shares that life lesson with your child?  Dominic was more excited than ever to eventually conquer Everest.

My take was completely different and impacted me on levels that I was not expecting or ready for.  I’m not going to lie, this book has left me partially shaken, the horrors that Jon and the team faced are absolutely haunting.  That being said, there is also a huge uplift that comes in a few very odd forms, and the biggest lesson I learned from this book (which I’ll save for last, of course!).

Jon and his team went through extreme trauma and pain to accomplish their goal.  Please read the book for more details if you’d like, I’d highly recommend it.  To net it out they pushed through pain, agony, and in some cases death (look up Beck Weathers on Google if you want to see the craziest story).  Jon and others hit their goal and reached the summit, but the storm that struck them on the way down completely shattered the feeling of success and accomplishment.  The storm took the lives of several team members.  The team tried to save some but had to make decisions impacting the lives of their friends – some were saved, some were not.  After everything unfolds there is grief and in the words of one survivor their greatest dream became “the worst experience of my life.”  How crazy is that?  Your dream crushes you, physically, emotionally, and morally.  It’s not supposed to work that way.  Be careful what you dream I guess.

Another reason I’m thankful is the absolutely painful honesty in which Jon tells this story.  The author was right there and was faced with many decisions he made that will haunt him forever.  I’d like to say I can’t imagine the pain he faced in that ordeal, but he paints such a picture that I can almost begin to imagine the pain and guilt he must feel – even though he did nothing wrong (in my opinion).  This made me thankful for several reasons, the greatest was for his openness in his feelings, decisions, and experiences.  He easily could’ve brushed it off and made himself an accomplished hero who beat the angry mountain, but instead takes the role of someone openly and honestly reporting the tragedy.  How can you not be grateful for that type of courage and honesty?  He is acting as a role model for all of us to share our experiences with honesty so that others may understand and be spared future heartache.

So the biggest thing that I’m grateful for from the book is this quote from Thomas F. Hornbein:

There was loneliness, too, as the sun set, but only rarely now did doubts return.  Then I felt sinkingly as if my whole life lay behind me.  Once on the mountain I knew (or trusted) that this would give way to total absorption with the task at hand.  But at times I wondered if I had not come a long way only to find that what was I really sought was something I had left behind.

How’s that for deep on a Friday night, huh?  What a beautifully put truth of life.  How often have I chased a new dream, a new this, or a new that, hoping to find what was missing only to find that once I have it, accomplish it, or complete it there is only more emptiness?  As opposed to enjoying what I have and where I am there is a pull to dream for, and chase for, more.  To be sure, there’s a delicate balance here.  What’s the appropriate balance of chasing dreams to grow versus chasing dreams to fill an empty spot in my soul that nothing can fill but thought and appreciation for what I have and where I am?  This story put that all into perspective by using a dream I have to share the folly of my thoughts some times.  Does this mean I’ll stop dreaming big?  Hell no!  But it is a great reminder to be grateful for what I have and where I am… while continuing to dream of bigger and greater life.

All this from one simple story woven by a master story teller who shared the truthful testament of his dream chasing experience.  There’s a lot to be thankful for from this book.


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Posted by on October 31, 2015 in Uncategorized


Day 32 – Thankful for a Day Off with My Boys

Today I am thankful for a day off with my boys.

After a crazy stretch of work I took the day off to stay at home with the boys as they were off of school today and tomorrow.  We had a blast!!!

We started off the day by sleeping in a little.  Once we were up and moving we took the boat in to be winterized, hit Menards, and then picked up some thank you cards from Walgreens.  Once the boys had the thank you’s filled out we went outside and started raking leaves while I was power washing the house.

Part way through I noticed that Gavin wasn’t really doing much so I decided to help him out.  Next thing I know I’m raking while Gavin is bagging the leaves, and still doing that in a normal pokey fashion.  I chuckled and asked Dominic if he remembered when he used to “help” like that, just like I used to help my parents like that.  Dominic was a raking machine and once Gavin had his rhythm down we were moving.

At one point as I’m raking in one spot I notice them wrestling in the leaves.  At another time I saw them pushing each other over leaf bags.  And at a different time I caught them putting the rake between their legs and then letting the other one lift up the rake to hit each other right in the crotch.  I couldn’t help but laugh out loud watching these two chuckleheads doing some of the same things Nick and I did when we were helping out.

After it was all said and done we had almost 30 large bags of leaves that we then took to the compost site in La Crosse.  Not a bad few hours of work.  We accomplished a lot and had a ton of fun doing it.


To reward the boys afterwards we picked up some Pokemon cards and proceeded to have an epic Pokemon draft game in the treehouse.  It was fantastic!  While we were all trying to win everyone stayed in a good mood, helped each other out, and just had great time.


In between and during the leaf raking and game we had lots of great conversation.  We were giving each other a hard time, joking around constantly, and completely enjoying each others’ company.  While we have had many fun days, I’m thinking and hoping this is one that they’ll remember for a long time for being about as perfect of a day as the three of us alone could have.  I’m very thankful to have taken the day off to spend focused on them.


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Posted by on October 29, 2015 in Uncategorized


Day 31 – Thankful for Random Conversations with Mom

Today I’m thankful for random conversations with my mom.


Driving back from Rice Lake today I had a blast having a nice long conversation with my mom.  Per usual we spent time catching up on what’s going on in our lives, joked around, and just had a fun conversation.

Between the craziness of work and home life these conversations have really dropped off.  They used to happen at least twice a week after work and then once a weekend like clockwork.  It was great!  …And then life hits and I got busy and haven’t called as much.

There’ve been lots of nights and weekends when I’ve been running around and realize it’s been a while since I last called, but before long I convince myself that I’ll call later…  And like so many times in life, later happens either never or way later than it was meant to.

That being said, my mom’s never made me feel guilty or given me a hard time about the volume of calls. Every time we hop on the phone it’s just like we’ve been talking our old normal 3 times a week.  And it’s a blast!

Today’s call was one of the good old normal long calls, talking about what’s going on with family, a little work, a lot about the boys, her volleyball league, and general joking around.  Today’s call left me smiling and realizing that these calls need to be a higher priority in my life.

Who knows how much time we have with any of our loved ones?  Maybe I’m just getting old, but I’m realizing more and more that my life is a race against the clock.  A race against time and a race against myself to try to have has much time with family and friends as I can – while trying to accomplish as many of my dreams as I can – while still having time to myself to think and be me.

And that’s why I’m thankful for the random conversations with my mom.  I always enjoy and appreciate them, love hearing her stories, and get a kick out of hearing her laugh as she remembers things that Nick and I did when I’m sharing stories of what Dominic and Gavin did.  And after the conversation I seem to remember the importance of family & connection – to her and to everyone I love and hold dear.

Thanks Mom!!!

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Posted by on October 28, 2015 in Uncategorized


Day 30 – Thankful for My Moral Mirrors

Today I’m thankful for my moral mirrors.

Seriously Kreiling, you’re making up terms again???  Yup!  It’s my blog, I’ll do what I want 🙂  Here’s the two knuckleheads I’m talking about…


Over the past couple of days there have been a couple of situations that have helped me be grateful for one of their most annoying traits…  The ability to show me a mirror of my decisions, choices, values, and words.  In short, their ability to mirror my morals.

On Sunday night as Becky and I got the boys to bed and snuggled in PJs on the couch to wind down Dominic came flying up the stairs and was upset.  He had just realized that he had forgotten something he needed for school on Monday morning.  While my first instinct was to holler at him for not planning ahead or chastise him for poor decision making, all I could do was roll my head to look at Becky with a smile on my face.  She was doing the same and I quickly realized that I would be the one making the 8:45pm Wal Mart run.  We told Dominic not to worry about it and that I’d be back in a little bit.  When I got back he greeted me with a big hug and old me how grateful he was to have parents like us.  He said he knows there are a lot of other moms and dads who would’ve hollered and told their kids they were out of luck.  Just think, I almost was one of those dads.  I was glad that knowing that he was watching my response helped me make the right choice as opposed to the easy choice.

Last night as I was putting Gavin to bed I gave him his normal hug and kiss.  Afterwards he said, “Dad, do you know what I’m thankful for today?  Today I’m thankful for you.  Yesterday I was thankful for Mom.  Tomorrow I’ll be thankful for Dominic…  Nah, tomorrow I’ll be thankful for my friends and then I’ll be thankful for Dominic.”  Turns out I’ve mentioned my blog enough that he understands what I do every day and has started copying it.  I’m going to give him a notebook to write in down every day if he wants.

Writing this blog takes up some family time and I sometimes question myself on whether or not it is worth it.  Somewhere in the back of my head I just keep thinking that if something bad would happen to me (hopefully not for a crazy long time – I plan on living to the ripe old age of 103) it would serve as a bit of a values handbook for my family and friends.  Something to keep my memory occasionally alive, and something to help them keep smiles on their faces.  Regardless, the thought crosses my mind wondering if it is making a difference.  After these past couple of nights that thought won’t cross my mind anymore.

For the record, Gavin was thankful for LuLu tonight, will be thankful for “the other one” tomorrow, and then maybe Dominic.

Also for the record, one night I’m sure I’ll be thankful for the not so positive traits they mirror…  Like when one of Dominic’s three biggest dreams was to end Obamacare…  Pretty sure I must’ve complained a little bit too much. 🙂


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Posted by on October 28, 2015 in Uncategorized


Day 29 – Thankful for My Big Buddy

Today I’m thankful for my Big Buddy…  AKA Dominic.


Over the past 24 hours he has helped rake leaves without being asked and without asking for anything in return.  I’m not sure what he either broke and hasn’t told us about yet, or what he wants us to get him that he hasn’t asked for yet, but I’m sure we’ll find out.  🙂  While he was raking he let me know he’s all in for raking up a couple of our neighbors’ yards on Thursday when we have a day off together.  He gets that they have a tough time getting around and wants to help them out.

When I got home from work he volunteered to help me take the leaves in to the compost site.  While he was starting to move stuff in the back of the car I had fun using the automatic back gate button on our keys.  His reaction was priceless!  It wasn’t until he completely crawled in the back and I closed it on him again from inside the house that he realized what was up and he started cracking up about it.

While at the compost site he decided that it would be way more fun to jump in the leaf piles and to wade thru the waist deep leaves to empty the bags of leaves in the absolute back of the bin.  We were joking around and having fun the whole time.

When we got home we played a game and I beat him pretty bad.  He got frustrated and angry for a minute and as he got worked up he saw me smiling at him.  His scowl faded and he started laughing at how frustrated he had gotten.

After the game we went in the kitchen and he asked for a hug.  When I bent over to hug him he smacked me in the face with a book and exclaimed, “You’ve been Facebooked!”  We were both laughing at that one.

While there are times when he can be a little moody and drive me nuts there are way more times when he chooses to be in a great mood.  The times like this when he is happy, giving, smiling, in a great mood and joking around are some of the best times of my life.  I am incredibly grateful for him and his awesome personality.


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Posted by on October 27, 2015 in Uncategorized


Day 28 – Thankful for Great Neighbors

Today I am thankful for great neighbors.

This morning I was starting to work on the lights for our pontoon trailer and was happily interrupted by our neighbor from across the street.  He’s got to be one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet.  He came over to shoot the bull for a while and we had an excellent conversation.  Nothing terribly serious, but one of those conversations that just leaves you feeling good.  He’s in his mid-seventies and still rushes to beat us outside after a heavy snowfall so he can snow blow our driveway before we can get outside to shovel.  It’s kind of a fun competition now – who can wake up first and shovel (us) or snowplow (him) for the other.  It was a blast to enjoy a conversation in the beautiful fall weather.

As we were talking another neighbor drove by.  This neighbor and his wife are always smiling and in a good mood, always buy whatever stuff our kids are selling for a fund raiser, and are always quick to wave when they drive by.  When I see him I think about how that’s the way I want to get old – taking nothing too serious and enjoying every moment.

Later in the afternoon I was still fighting with the trailer lights and another neighbor came over to give me a hand.  He’s an electrician and spent the better part of half an hour helping me figure out what was going on with my wiring.  After we got it figured out we shot the bull for a while and had fun talking about what a pain in the ass boats are and traded fun boat stories.  And that’s how he rolls, he’s always willing to help with anything and have a fun conversation along the way.

As we head closer to winter it was great to be able to spend some quality time with my neighbors today.


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Posted by on October 26, 2015 in Uncategorized


Day 27 – Thankful for a Date with My Wife

Today I’m thankful for a date with my wife.

Nope, it’s not today, it wasn’t yesterday, and it’s not tomorrow.  It’s not until November 6.  But I’m thankful for it today.

Our lives have been crazy busy – I know – I’m preaching to the choir on that one.  Last night one of my friends was just making the same comment about how life is just flying by at such a crazy break neck pace and it’d be nice to slow down.  Sometimes I forget if we’re coming or going or just where we’re supposed to be when and what was supposed to be done in advance.  And that’s just the family stuff.  Throw in the craziness of work and I am one exhausted puppy.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s all fun, enjoyable, satisfying and of my own choosing – it just gets busy.

So this morning as Becky and the boys are about to head north for a wedding and I have a couple of old friends coming down for the day we’ve got another weekend of busy & fun ahead of us…


And for some reason out of the blue I thought of the date that we have set for November 6.  A day for just the two of us.  No work, no kids, and no plans.  Just time for the two of us to kick back, relax and enjoy each other’s company. In the midst of all the craziness that sounds like a slice of heaven to me and is enough to keep me smiling through the insanity.  I’m thankful for our upcoming date to recharge our batteries and enjoy some time together.


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Posted by on October 24, 2015 in Uncategorized


Day 26 – Thankful for the Feeling of Accomplishment

Today I am thankful for the feeling of accomplishment.

Over the past couple of months I’ve been spending a lot of time focused on preparing, practicing and presenting a training session for business leaders.  This presentation is been focused on what is happening in today’s workforce and what the best employers do to be successful in hiring in this economy.  I’ve put so much energy, practice and focus into this training.  So much so that I’ve wondered at various times if it was worth it or not.  Today I know the definitive answer.  Yes.

Here are some statistics of this presentation (which I started sharing in early September):

  • Presented 10 different times to groups of business leaders and clients and have 3 more scheduled
  • Presented to over 400 people
  • Brought in 2 new Express clients accounting for over 15 jobs
  • Has led to appointments with 9 prospects that we’ve been struggling to meet with
  • Provided the reason for over 400 sales calls in Winona, Eau Claire, Menomonie and Rice Lake alone
  • Has been the motivation for several businesses to improve their hiring processes

But the most important statistic?  1.  That’s the number of thank you emails I received today for presenting this.  Seriously, that’s the most important number?  Yup.

In that one email our client explained that as a result of my presentation they were now going to add a part time shift in order to employ the many stay at home parents in their area.  Also, they are going to offer their employees an additional bonus incentive to encourage the behavior they are focusing on in their organization.  What’s the big deal?  I was able to help create an opportunity for individuals who weren’t able to participate in the workforce and helped some excellent people earn more money each week for their hard work while helping their employer be more productive and profitable.

Silhouette of man and sunshine

Today, I feel like I’m fulfilling my purpose.  I know I ‘m making progress every day, but the sense of accomplishment today is nothing short of fantastic…  And I’m taking a couple of minutes to enjoy it ….  and use it for future motivation. 🙂


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Posted by on October 23, 2015 in Uncategorized


Day 25 – Thankful for Flipping the Switch

Today I am thankful for flipping the switch.  Umm…  Kreiling… What the hell does that mean?


It’s pretty simple and a little crazy to be honest.  Whenever it is…

  • Go time
  • Time to get gritty
  • Time to perform
  • Time to kick some ass and take some names
  • Time to lock and load
  • Time to lock it in
  • Time to focus
  • Time to push it
  • Time to hit it hard
  • Time to give it all
  • Time to unleash the beast
  • Time to give 100%

… I picture a switch being flipped in my head.  I’ll tell myself “flip the switch” in my head.  I’ll sometimes say “flip the switch” out loud to someone.  I’ll sometimes say “flip the switch” out loud to no one.  When I saw that phrase, when I see the picture in my head, I focus and change.  At that moment I know I need to perform.

Today we had a client presentation in Menomonie and then followed up with my workforce presentation to 15 Menomonie business leaders.  Before one I said and pictured “flip the switch” and before the other I did not.  One went fantastic and the other was mediocre.  Funny how that works, huh?  It’s obviously not the only thing at play, but it is striking to see the difference in my performance when I picture it versus when I don’t.

Who knows where it started?  No clue.  Maybe in wrestling, maybe in Boy Scouts, maybe I read about it somewhere or maybe someone gave me the idea once.  I’m really not sure.

What I’m sure of though is that when I flip the switch, it’s game on.  Watch out world, this Kreiling is ready to roll!  All thanks to those three simple words.


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Posted by on October 23, 2015 in Uncategorized