Monthly Archives: March 2016

Day 185 – Thankful for Team Members Sharing Awesome Customer Testimonials

Today I am thankful for team members sharing awesome customer testimonials.

At the end of the day I got the following email from Alicia in our Eau Claire office.  How awesome of a way is this to wrap up the work day???

Please see message below…Thought this might be something to keep the smile on your face. Have a nice night!

Alicia M. Canziani

Administrative Staffing Consultant | Express Employment Professionals

(P) 715.831.8778 |( F) 715.831.0020 |




Express Employment Professionals came to my rescue, not once, but twice.

I lost a long-term employee to medical leave for an undetermined amount of time.  Never before using a staffing agency, I was extremely thrilled that within three days of contacting Express, I had an employee in place who was able to hit the ground running.  Just as the original employee was about to return, I lost another employee, again to medical leave.  I was able to extend the contract for the original staff member sent by Express, who continued to fill in until we could adjust.  I would highly recommend Express Employment Professionals when you are in quick need of qualified employee to step in.  They are fast, flexible and able to match professional personnel to the job you have.



Sherry Duren

Chief Executive Officer

Augusta Housing Management Company, LLC


Nothing quite like hearing how awesome your team’s service is right from the mouth (fingertips) of one of our customers???  Thanks for sharing Alicia!!!




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Posted by on March 31, 2016 in Uncategorized


Day 184 – Thankful for Being Able to Design a New Solution

Today I am thankful for being able to design a new solution.

Sorry for the sense of suspense, but I really can’t get into the problem I’m solving or the solution as it’s a work in progress.  I can, however, share the reason I am thankful for this.

Who knows where it came from, but I’ve always had fun solving problems with new solutions.  There’s something very rewarding about taking a set of challenges that are being faced and then finding a new way to make the problem go away.  I love using my mental rolodex of previous solutions and then combining ideas from research into something unique that hasn’t ever quite been done before.

This solution is along those same lines.  There’s a problem similar to several others I’ve solved, but there a handful of variables that will make this a completely different kind of challenge.  Throw in the added difficulty of selling not only the people with the problem, but also to the team members who will be implementing it, and you have a challenge that I’ll take on any day of the week.

Who knows if it will work or not.  Maybe I’ll have to change a couple of variables.  Maybe I’ll have to scrap it and go to Plan B.  What I do know is that I’ll have fun attempting to solve the problem by designing a new solution.


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Posted by on March 30, 2016 in Uncategorized


Day 183 – Thankful for a Great Day Off With My Boys (& the Lown Boys)

Today I’m thankful for a great day off with my boys (& the Lown boys).   Also today I am thankful to be halfway to my goal of blogging every day for a year about what I’m thankful for!!!

Mitch and I were talking (Becky would probably call it ‘conspiring’ 😉) at the pinewood derby about the day after Easter. The boys don’t have school and we decided that we’d get together for some fun.  After many ideas, mostly legal, some maybe not age appropriate, we decided to take the boys hiking on the bluffs in Winona.

  The weather was absolutely perfect!  The sun was out, it was warm but not hot, cool but not cold.  There was much mud, sticks, and other things to get into.  As is normal with a group of boys there was a loud yell any time poop was found.  There were brothers fighting, friends laughing (especially Mitch & I), and brothers helping each other.  It was a common occurrence to look back and see one of the boys facing the woods and watering a tree.  

At one point we found a deer vey close to us.  As some of us watched it others moved ahead. As some of us watched it a few of us decided to get closer to the deer.  The deer spooked and took off running…  And almost ran right into the boys that had moved ahead.  I’m not sure who screamed louder, the boys or the deer!

Early on in the climb we found a vine hanging from a tree.  Needless to say, all of us (big boys included) took turns swinging from the vine.  There were Tarzan yells, big swings, high flying, and lots of big eyes once we hit the top of our swing and looked down at the ground well below us. 

And as one would expect with a couple of big kids in the lead (Mitch & I), we may have gotten a little turned around and head to backtrack always. 

By the time it was all done we’d hiked many miles, had a ton of fun, and then lucked out for lunch as we were driving – Rudy’s opened today!  

Today was an awesome time with the boys, one I’m sure they’ll remember for years to come.  Who knows, this may need to become an annual tradition.  Thanks again to the Lowns for joining us today, the day was even more awesome because you guys were there!


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Posted by on March 28, 2016 in Uncategorized


Day 182 – Thankful for Hunting for Easter Eggs

Today I’m thankful for hunting for Easter eggs.

Here’s a quick video summary of this morning’s adventure… 


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Posted by on March 27, 2016 in Uncategorized


Day 181 – Thankful for Reminders of Staying at My Grandparents’

Today I am thankful for reminders of staying at my grandparents’.

On Friday we headed up North for Easter weekend just as we used to trek south each Easter when I was a kid.  Over the past 24 hours I’ve had a couple of things that have reminded me of those trips.  The anticipation of seeing grandparents was very evident in the boys, they were ready to go and had the car packed up long before Becky and I were ready to leave.

One of the memories that had me chuckling to myself can be summed up in this picture… 

 There are a couple of reasons why I keep smiling when I see these pics.  Nick and I would stay up late and would always be way over tired by the time we went to bed.  I’d guess we probably looked kind of like this after we finally fell asleep…   Which leads me to the biggest reason I can’t help but giggle.  

Nick and I always slept in the same pull-out couch together at my grandparents.  We were always completely exhausted by the time we got there, but as soon as we laid down it was game on!  Between fighting over the exact halfway point to annoying the crap out of each other to trying to gas the other out with “chemical warfare” to epic battles over the covers we got hollered at often for the noises of both fighting and laughing that would come from the family room we were in.  The fights over the blankets are the stuff of legend and were truly epic.  We would both grab hold of the side of the blanket and proceed to fight with all of our might to roll up in the blanket in the opposite direction of each other. The tug of war match with the blankets resulted in a surface pulled so tight that it would have been the greatest trampoline ever if we would have had another little brother.  While we absolutely annoyed the living shit out each other we had a blast doing it!  

Seeing the boys laying next to each other after totally crashing had me chuckling to myself wondering what types of craziness they had before falling asleep.


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Posted by on March 26, 2016 in Uncategorized


Day 180 – Thankful for the Story of Jesus Praying in Gethsemane 

Today I am thankful for the story of Jesus praying in Gethsemane.

Yes, in the span of three days I’ve now hit on both religion and politics…  Hope there’s at least one or two people still hanging with me! 😉  Religion, faith, and belief are incredibly hard topics to try to take on.  I know my views aren’t perfect, my faith not strong enough, and my belief slightly off, but what follows is a little glimpse into how I believe.  Take it as that, definitely not gospel.  Now that you’ve been warned…

One of my favorite bible stories comes from Mark 14.32-42 (special thanks to the Bible app for the screenshot): 

 Every year I seem to be drawn to this specific text as the Easter season rolls on.  There are several reasons I am so thankful for this.  The quick summary, in my opinion, is because I feel a stronger connection to Christ and my humanity when I pray on this.  I’d be hard pressed to find another quote from the bible that hits me so hard in showing me how much God loves us and how He chose to be in human form, not just a perfect human form, but a normal human.  It also helps me see the disciples as human as well and I can’t help but put myself in their shoes…  I’d love to think that is stay awake, but I’m quite certain I’d have the same fate – the same as how’s I feel when Peter denies Jesus for the third time.

To start with the most simple point, the disciples show how human they are.  They try to stay awake and pray, but they fail.  They try again upon Jesus’ urging, but they fail.  And then they fail again.  These are the closest followers of Jesus, and even they can’t get it right!  This helps me realize that we all will fail at times, and though Jesus may be frustrated, He’s always ready to forgive us.  

To get more complex, this story sheds light on just how human Jesus is.  He doesn’t want to suffer, He doesn’t want to die.  In spite of that He is willing to do God’s will.  How powerful is that?  Showing us that even the most perfect of us have moments of weakness, times when we want to give up, but we all have the strength to do what’s right.  Think of how difficult this had to have been for Jesus…  Knowing that you are going to die.  Knowing that you are going to suffer an unspeakably horrific death.  Knowing that your closest friends will deny you…  And yet, while knowing you could leave, you accept the will of God and give yourself up so that others may be forgiven.  What an example for all of us!   

Oh, and it that wasn’t enough, He forgives his friends immediately even though they let him down three straight times.  How many times to I get hung up on one innocent and less significant ant thing and refuse to let it go?

Lastly, how incredible is the love of God to put Jesus through this?  The only Son, given for us, and in this manner.  Knowing that you are putting your child through unspeakable pain and agony that you know must be done for the good of the many.  Now as a father, I seem to have a slightly better grasp on how painful this would be.  Only slightly, as the pain of just beginning to imagine it breaks my heart and feels unbearable.

And that’s why I’m thankful for the story of Jesus praying in Gethsemane.  It is the point in which I feel the closest to Jesus and God.  There is a humanity to Him that seems to almost be close enough to truly understand, or as close to understanding as I’ll get until my number is punched and my life is complete.  My parents always said it didn’t matter what religion a person is, it only matters that they try to live a Christ-like life.  This story gives me the most beautiful example of how to do that.



Posted by on March 26, 2016 in Uncategorized


Day 179 – Thankful for My Little JJ Abrams(es)

Today I am thankful for my little JJ Abrams(es).

In school Dominic learned about iMovie and since then he’s been running wild with it on the iPad.  Not sure that there’s much else that needs to be said, I’ll let the homemade movie previews and vlog speak for themselves…




Posted by on March 25, 2016 in Uncategorized


Day 178 – Thankful for Being Open Minded to a Different Perspective

Today I am thankful for being open minded to a different perspective.

Today’s blog is not meant to be a politically charged post.  Taking it that way kind of misses the point…  😉

For our monthly Owner/Manager meeting we’re reading:images

Not gonna lie, without getting into a ton of politics, I was not a fan of GW while he was President.  I just didn’t like the guy.  Not sure I could really point out anything other than youthful ignorance, but I just couldn’t get behind him.

At our International Leadership Convention he was a speaker and did a very good job.  It was interesting to listen to some of his thoughts, values and insights on many things.  There was a presence to him that I couldn’t help but put my dislike of his presidency aside and respect him.

When this book was assigned I groaned and was dreading opening it up.  Now that I’ve read it I am glad that I did.  As I listened to his perspective on certain events I couldn’t help but realize just how ignorant I was.  There were many reasons for decisions that I had never considered.  After hearing the reasoning behind his decisions I can understand why he made them and I respect him for making some of the tough calls that he made.

To be clear, there are still some of his calls that I disagree with, but it’s enlightening for me to realize that ideas that I thought were absolutely ridiculously idiotic now make sense and help me realize how jaded I was and how much my paradigms shape the ways I view the world.  Reading this book has helped me remember to take more time to get outside of my own mind and think about situations from the perspectives of others.  I have much more respect now for people like GW who can look at situations from many perspectives and then act according to their values, even when the decision is unpopular.  It has reminded me to keep an open mind to different perspectives.



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Posted by on March 24, 2016 in Uncategorized


Day 177 – Thankful for Being in the Right Place at the Right Time, Being Aware of It and Taking a Moment to Enjoy It

Today I’m thankful for being in the right place at the right time, being aware of it, and taking a moment to enjoy it.  How’s that for a long one???

Last night I was planning on waking up early today to get my run in before I headed off on my trek to Rice Lake.  In the middle of the night I woke up and realized that I had forgotten to send a very time sensitive email that was going to be semi-lengthy so I changed my plans to get the email out.  A little disappointed that I wasn’t going to be running before the long drive I chose my attitude and made plans to go for a late night run tonight instead.

Normally when I leave that early I’m able to function well enough to drive and that’s about it.  As luck would have it I was wide awake and enjoying an incredibly insightful audio book.  When passing through Eleva I happened to notice the start of a beautiful sunrise overlooking the serene pond.  I enjoyed the view as I drove by and kept going.

About 10 seconds later I had a change of heart and realized that a moment like this was why I started doing this blog.  Instead of blowing by something beautiful like this on my way to my next appointment I want to enjoy these moments and savor them.  So that’s exactly what I did.  I whipped a u-turn, found a place to park, got out and took a picture, and then just stood there and enjoyed it for a couple of minutes.  It was incredibly refreshing.

Today I have a special request to ask of everyone.  Over the next 24 hours please pay special attention for one small thing that you may be taking for granted.  It might be a moment, a person, a view, or God knows what…  The important thing is to take a moment to appreciate it.  If you feel comfortable please share it for everyone to see.  I’m guessing that each of us may see something on the list that we may be walking or driving past everyday that we will pay attention to after someone points it out.



Posted by on March 22, 2016 in Uncategorized


Day 176 – Thankful for a Moonset While Running

Today I am thankful for a moonset while running.

It was pretty cool, I got out for my run after Becky got back from hers (yes, she is a way better person and woke up a lot earlier than I did!).  I threw on my headphones and headed out for a run on French Island.

As I ran over I90 this was my view… 

Trust me, it looked way cooler in person!  Just one of those kinda trippy and surreal moments that are amongst the reasons I love running while it’s dark out.  Running to the right soundtrack when mixed with views like this are pretty awesome!


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Posted by on March 22, 2016 in Uncategorized