Monthly Archives: November 2015

Day 63 – Thankful for Sleeping In

Today I am thankful for sleeping in.

Back in the day Becky and I would sleep away the better part of the day and wake up a shade before noon.

And then we had kids…  Sleeping in was transformed into one of us waking up at 6am or earlier while the other laid in bed trying to not listen to the commotion from elsewhere in the house.  Sometimes the one in bed would actually fall back asleep, but then only one of us were able to sleep in.  People with older kids told us that eventually we’d be able to sleep in again, but we were pretty sure they were insane.

Lately the boys have been starting to be more independent when they wake up.  This morning they got up, quietly played Minecraft of Clash of Clans on the iPads, and didn’t make a sound.  Pretty sure they knew if they woke us up the iPads would be shut down and we’d get the day rolling.

Right about 8:45am Becky and I finally rose from our slumber…  Just over 11 hours after we went to bed the night before.  It was AWESOME!!!  I’m not sure just how we got that far behind in our sleep, but it was absolutely fantastic to sleep almost half the day.  We’d already gone to church the day before, got most of our errands run the day before, and were able to enjoy a nice relaxing day at home.

I can’t remember the last time I’ve had this relaxing of a day at home, and I’m pretty sure it was because of how late I was able to sleep in.

That’s it for today, just about time to go back to bed 🙂


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Posted by on November 30, 2015 in Uncategorized


Day 62 – Thankful for “Can’t”

Today I am thankful for “can’t.”


What an insidious little word. As my boys will tell you, it is one of the two worst swear words in the Kreiling house.  The C word and the F word…  Can’t and Fair.  They are both to be unspoken in this house.  “Can’t” is used by lazy people who don’t want to take time to think of how.  “Can’t” is used by the weak willed so they don’t have to do the work and make the sacrifices needed to accomplish something.

This morning I woke up as Becky was going out for a run.  I immediately thought it would be an awesome day to go for a run.  Not just any run, but a 10 mile run.  And that’s when I heard this dialogue in my head:

“No I can’t.  I can’t because I’m tired.  I can’t because I’m too old.  I can’t because I am fat.  I can’t because I am out of shape.  I can’t because it is too cold.  I can’t because I haven’t been training.  I can’t because I haven’t run more than 4 miles in an entire week in the past 3 months.  I can’t because I am lazy.  I can’t because I don’t have time.  I can’t because I can’t even run a mile.  I can’t because even if I try I’ll come up with excuses.”

And then something popped in my head and I had a memory from just a couple of days ago.  Gavin and I were talking and he brought up some crazy idea and I told him it wasn’t possible.  “Dad, anything’s possible, you just have to think about how to do it.  You always tell me that.”  Little bugger was right.  What is it about the word “Can’t” that gets me so fired up?  It’s the word that’s pretty much guaranteed to set off a reaction in me.

So I looked at my old buddy “Can’t” and told him, “Hey ‘Can’t’, how’s about you and I go out back behind the wood shed and I teach you a little lesson?  I’ve got a length of rubber hose I’d like to introduce you to.”  “Can’t” took me up on the offer and accepted the challenge.

It felt like an old times duel.  “Can’t” and Mike stand with our backs to each other, take 10 paces and fire.  Last man standing wins.  Guess who was still running as we hit mile #10?

Don’t get me wrong, I hurt bad after that run.  I know it wasn’t the healthiest thing in the world to do.  I really should have been training and building my way up to it.  I’ll be paying for it for a couple of days.  While I had a choice, I could have quit earlier, there really never was a choice.  I had to do this.  I had to beat “Can’t.”  Once it starts to worm its evil ways into my life I have a tough time getting it out.  I had to beat can’t.

Really, it is one of the reasons I started this blog when I turned 39.  I could feel myself starting to sink and I needed a way to get back out of it.  There were two goals I set for myself to accomplish so when I turn 40 I crush it, I don’t turn into it.  The first was to be happier and that’s where the blog comes in.  Being thankful for what we have is a sure fire way to increase our happiness.  The second was to be in the best physical condition of my life at 40.  This one has been left at the way side and when I think of it I keep thinking:

“I can’t, I don’t have time.  I can’t, I have to focus on her things.  I can’t, I have other priorities.”

Today is a pivot point for me.  This is when I stop using “Can’t” as my excuse.  So I’ve decided to write my buddy “Can’t” a little letter.

Dear “Can’t,”

I beat you like the red headed stepchild you are today.  I will continue to dominate you.  There is no place for you in my life.  Good riddance you evil little bastard.




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Posted by on November 28, 2015 in Uncategorized


Day 61 – Thankful for Time in the Workshop with my Oldest Buddy

Thankful for time in the workshop with my oldest buddy.

Less than a week ago I was thankful for time in the workshop with my best-est buddy and today I am thankful for time in the workshop with my oldest buddy, my dad.


While Dominic was hunting with Grandpa Ken and Becky was shopping with her family Gavin, my dad and I had a great time working in his garage building cabinets.  No real agenda or start time, just an end goal of starting some cabinets.  As my dad put it, “welcome to retired life.”  

It was a blast!  Giving each other a hard time, telling stories, learning new ways to build things, and making stuff.  It was awesome!  We were very productive and got more accomplished than I thought we would.

With Gavin I was the one who was leading the charge.  I had to give him direction and help show him what to do.  It was up to me to build a plan.  Today was a total reversal.  Dad was the man with the plan.  He was the supervisor and I was there or follow.  It was great!  What a cool opportunity to remember the benefits of leading and following all within a week.

Most importantly was the bonding time my dad and I had.  I am so fortunate to be able to spend time with him (especially after hearing all of his demolition stories!) and appreciate almost every minute.  Like is said, we gave each other a hard time, told stories and were able to create something all the while.  I don’t mean the cabinets though.  I mean the memories.  This was one of those days that I’ll always remember  when I think of time with my dad.  Similar to the fond memories of building our garage, making my fire truck pinewood derby car, going hunting for the first time, helping out on the roof on the cabin, and building a treehouse.  

These are the memories I’ll bring up to my boys when we’re working on a project during my retirement years while we’re creating those memories for ourselves.


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Posted by on November 28, 2015 in Uncategorized


Day 60 – Thankful for Humor

Today I’m thankful for humor.

So while Becky & I were heading up north for Thanksgiving  last night we hit a deer.  Didn’t even see it coming.  There was a semi truck in the other lane and it must’ve hit the deer and shot it into our lane and we drilled it with the front driver’s side corner and it then banged along both car doors on that side.  

When we pulled over and inspected the damage it was pretty bad.  As you can see on the pics it was a pretty solid hit.  We were both fine, no injuries at all.

As we sat there for a moment or two of disbelief we each had a choice to make.  We could either get angry at what happened or we could count our blessings and laugh it off.  We both decided for the latter.

In many instances I would have been very angry or upset at something like this, but as much as I hate to admit it I heard the voice of my little brother in my head, “It already happened, what the hell are you going to do about it?  Getting angry isn’t going to fix it.”  As I’m hearing that in my head the phone rang…  Seriously, it literally started ringing as I went to get out of the car to inspect the hit.  Who was it calling?  Yup, it was Nick.

Believe it or not I was almost smiling as I started getting out of the car.  Becky went around the back and said “I think it looks like we kicked out, no damage on the side!”  I started giggling as I told her I’m pretty sure she was wrong…  I could see the broken headlight sticking up from my view inside the car.  As I got out it was pretty tough to see, a dark car on a street with no street lights.  As I turned on the light on my iPhone the damage was quickly seen.

After calling the police and our insurance company we had a great time laughing about how when we left La Crosse we were going to go one way and then decided to go a different way because “there are a lot less deer this way.”  LOL – what are the odds we take the safe way and hit a deer???

We called Nick afterwards and filled him in on the details and we laughed even more at the whole situation.  As we told family and posted on Facebook we’ve both kept focused on the humor and the bright side, never getting angry or upset.

When I take a step back I could look at this whole thing and  get really pissed off.  I can’t believe the trucker didn’t stop.  $500 deductible down the drain.  The hassle of getting a car repaired.  I wanted to go the other way and look what happened.  There’s a lot to get angry about, but really, what’s the point?

The good news is that neither of us were hurt.  The car isn’t totaled, and it is still drive-able.  $500 out the window sucks, but we have the cash to take care of it.  Our relationship is strong enough that we can laugh through tough times together.

And that’s why I’m happy for humor today.  We decided to look in the face of frustration, flip it the bird and have a laugh about it.  As Nick said,  “It already happened, what the hell are you going to do about it? Getting angry isn’t going to fix it.”  

Life is crazy and full of twists and turns, you might as well enjoy the ride…  Humor makes it a lot more fun!


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Posted by on November 26, 2015 in Uncategorized


Day 59 – Thankful for a Dream Role Model

Today I am thankful for a dream role model.

Remember a few days ago when I wrote about a friend who was getting PAID to reach their dream?  All the i’s have been dotted and the t’s have been crossed so I can actually explain in more detail.


Many years ago Becky and I had to make a very tough decision about our future that had a huge impact on our dreams.  We had the opportunity to chase my dream and become a business owner and we also had the opportunity for Becky to earn her PhD.  After a ton of thought, conversation and stress we opted for business ownership.

Becky’s dream of becoming a PhD remained, and she continued to work in her field.  She worked incredibly hard and was offered a better opportunity .  She continued working hard and was able to earn another opportunity.  After many years she was in a role that was at least somewhat similar to what she would have had if she had gone for her PhD.

Over the past decade she has busted her ass and has done everything she could to be successful.  She’s written many papers, done much research, and has put in countless hours.  She build relationships with many people and is invited in on many projects because of her personality, work experience, work ethic and intelligence.  One of these relationships led to a new relationship with someone from the University of New England (UNE) in Armidale, Australia.

Through this relationship a common research focus was found.  After much conversation Becky decided to apply for the PhD program at UNE.  Not only was she accepted, but she received a full ride scholarship!  Becky will be attending UNE (while still living in La Crosse & working at the same place) and will earn her PhD!  How cool is that???  Not only getting an opportunity to attain her dream, but she’s getting paid to do it!

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So here’s why I am thankful for Becky as a dream role model.  As our boys get older and chase their dreams with extreme energy and passion they are bound to hit times when things don’t quite go as planned.  Obstacles get hit, priorities change, and life happens.  These may cause you to miss out on their dreams, but only in the short term, not forever.  As someone once said, “No doesn’t mean never, it means not yet.”  Becky has a true chasing her dream story to share with them to show how after many years of hard work, dedication, focus, and positive attitude any dream is attainable.  Luck?  Becky didn’t need luck, she made her own luck and will soon be accomplishing one of her biggest dreams.  I’m so proud of her!!!




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Posted by on November 25, 2015 in Uncategorized


Day 58 – Thankful for Clutch Performances

Today I am thankful for clutch performances.

To all the non-baseball fans, I apologize in advance…  Let me explain today using a baseball story.


It’s the top of the 9th, Game 6 of the World Series.  We’re down by 2, facing the heart of the opponent’s batting order, and we’re losing the series 2-3.  It’s crunch time.

You give the ball to your ace closer and remind them of how important this inning is.  They simply nod in understanding and walk off to the mound in a focused state.  You realize they didn’t need to hear it, they already know.

Three batters later they have struck out the side and have put up an insanely clutch performance.

We’re still down by 2 and need to get things rolling.  You spend a moment with the team reminding them of the importance of this moment…  You realize they don’t need to hear it, they already know.

The first three batters all hit singles to load the bases.  The next batter confidently nods to you and nails a double and the game is tied.  The next batter goes up to the plate with youthful exuberance, drills an absolute bomb to straight away centerfield to win the game, and smiles.

The coach did absolutely nothing in the moment, the players all came through in the clutch when they needed to.  All pulling in the right direction, successful.  Victorious.

We’re not out of the woods yet, we’ve still got an even bigger game ahead of us, but with today’s clutch performances we live to battle another day.

I am thankful for my clutch performers.


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Posted by on November 25, 2015 in Uncategorized


Day 57 – Thankful for Luck

Today I am thankful for luck.

“You know, Hobbes, some days even my lucky rocket ship underpants don’t help.” – Calvin


For a very long time I thought I had horrible luck.  Bad things always happened to me.  Whether it was getting caught for something after someone else did it, hitting a golf ball through Nick’s window, or putting a knee through a sheet of drywall…  If it wasn’t for bad luck I wouldn’t have any.

Then this really strange thing started happening.  I started having very good luck.  Things always seemed to work out.  I was always saved at the last minute.  I was insanely lucky!  It was great!

As I’ve gotten older… err… more experienced, I’ve realized that in both cases I was way off.  There really isn’t very much luck in life, just life.

In the times I thought I had bad luck it was really me just not wanting to take responsibility for my previous actions that had gotten me there or I wasn’t willing to put in the work needed to breakthrough to success.  In the times I thought I had good luck it was really me working hard or positioning myself through good decision making that led to the success.

I know, there really are luck events, those times when absolute chaos and randomness reign, but they are very few and far between.  It is also those luck events that it is up to us to decide what to do with luck, take advantage of it or just let it pass?  In the words of a great philosopher, “Look, if you had, one shot, or one opportunity to seize everything you ever wanted, in one moment, would you capture it, or just let it slip?”  Many times when we’ve had that random luck moment we don’t recognize it in the moment and react on it.

A great friend of mine is living proof of that.  Recently they had an incredible offer made to them to not only give them a chance at one of their biggest dreams, but they were even offered to be PAID to reach that dream.  How lucky is that?  What most people don’t see though is how much time and energy they put into their craft and all the hard work they’ve done to position themselves to be in a spot where this can happen.  Yes, luck helped present an opportunity, but it was an opportunity that was earned through hard work, focus and discipline, not just luck.

So today I am thankful for luck…  or lack there of.  If I do what’s right, I work hard, I keep my discipline, and I grit it out I don’t need luck.  Someone else can have mine.


That being said, if James Jones takes off his lucky hoodie I’ll be very upset. 🙂


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Posted by on November 24, 2015 in Uncategorized


Day 56 – The American Dream

Today I am thankful for the American Dream.

Full disclosure, my friend Jeff Jensen asked several people to define and share our feelings on “The American Dream.”  He also then wanted to know whether we felt this has changed over time.  In thinking about how to answer this I can’t help but think how grateful I am for the American Dream.

So in my humble opinion, what is the American Dream?  I can sum it up in one simple and yet insanely complex word.  Freedom.

To me the American Dream is to be able to have the freedom to do what I  want.  The freedom to worship when, where, and to what I want.  The freedom to work as hard as I would like and earn as much as I can based on how much effort I put forth.  The freedom to live to my values provided they don’t hamper the freedoms of others.  The freedom to voice my opinions and stand up for what I feel is right.

Personally the American Dream is knowing that I am limited only by the gray matter in between my ears.  I have the freedom to act on my dreams.  I can blame others or situations for any frustration or bad luck, but why bother?  Why not focus on figuring out how to make it work instead of wallowing in why it won’t work.  Yes, it is usually hard work chasing those goals, but it is well worth it.

I want the financial freedom and flexibility to travel often.  I want the financial freedom to provide what I want for my family and friends.  I want the freedom to change my dreams at any time for any reason and be able to chase them with the same reckless abandon.  I want the freedom to share my dreams and voice my opinions.  I want the freedom to overcome obstacles that get in the way of my dreams.

So has the American Dream changed over the years?  I’m not sure as an overall society if it has.  I think we all want freedom to think for ourselves, that’s just a part of who we are.  In some cases I think people either forget that it’s up to them to dream up a better future for themselves or they aren’t willing to put in the hard work necessary to really chase their dreams.  Maybe they need help in figuring out to chase their dreams.  Regardless, I think the dream is still the same.

The American Dream is a pretty awesome thing to be thankful for.  Without it there’s no blog, no dreams, no opportunity, no freedom.  It’s the foundation that the rest of my thankfulness is built on.  Without it there’s nothing.


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Posted by on November 23, 2015 in Uncategorized


Day 55 – Thankful for Time in the Workshop with my Best-est Buddy

Today I’m thankful for time in the workshop with my best-est buddy.

With Becky out of town with some friends today the boys and I had a chance to fool around and have a nice boy’s day.  Dominic had a birthday party so it was just me and Gavin.

So what did Gavin and I do?  Between cleaning his room, having Nerf sword fights, watching Gremlins and grocery shopping.  While we had a blast with all of that my favorite time was when we went up to the workshop in the garage and decided to build something.

I asked Gavin if he wanted to build something in the garage and he decided it would be cool to build a box to put his stuff in.  Next thing you know we’re cutting up some old cabinet doors for boards.  He was learning to read a tape measure, drilling, screwing, and clamping.  He had a chance to learn some problem solving when we needed to find some hinges.  Next thing we knew Gavin had a new chest!


I have a feeling (and am really hoping) that this will be one of MANY great times had in the workshop.  It’s pretty cool seeing him learn how great it feels to create something.


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Posted by on November 21, 2015 in Uncategorized


Day 54 – Thankful for Home… Hawaii

Today I am thankful for my home…  Hawaii!

Yes, I am pretty sure I am the only red headed Hawaiian native.  For reals!

So instead of writing all the things I am thankful for in my homeland of Hawaii here are a bunch of pictures from our trip there a couple years ago to warm up a snowy night.

Ahhh…. Home…


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Posted by on November 21, 2015 in Uncategorized