Category Archives: Uncategorized

Taking Notes

I’ve been taking notes all weekend. We are in Northfield, Minnesota for the wedding of Emily and Brian and I can’t help ignore the feeling that this one is different; this one is special. If you want to see how a father should give his daughter away, this is it. 
Emily is very special to us. She babysat Sorin and Norah a few years ago and really connected with our family. Anyone who watches your kids is special. But there are certain ones that still rise above for whatever reason. The more I’ve gotten to know the Quinnell family this weekend the easier it is to see why Emily rose up on our list. 
Tonight I was taking notes from Emily’s father, Mark. He lead the team and conducted himself with such grace, love and poise that I couldn’t help but notice it all starts with him. He has exactly one daughter; he gave her away tonight. If and when I ever get to give away Norah, this will be one of my models. 

Essential Habits

If I were to drill down the best predictor of my clients’ success, it would be the quality of the habits they’ve formed. All of my clients have very specific goals. Success starts with goals but success makes progress with habits. How are you spending your time? What is a non-negotiable in your week? How often is that non-negotiable happening in any given week? When you have answered these questions, you can claim a habit as your own.

I have too many irons in the fire. Can you relate? Either way, a productive and efficient life will be defined by the habits you’re able to execute. Are you signed up for a race? You need to get miles in. Are you running a business? What habits make that happen? Are you trying to launch a business? What habits do you need to have to put in the work before you go live? Are you writing a book? Chapters don’t write themselves – you need to do the work and you need to write on a regular basis. Are you trying to learn anything new? It takes many practices stacked on each other to move the ball down the field.

Think about your workflow. Think about your habits. Think about your distractions. Think about your goals and be realistic about what it will take to get there. Put together a game plan of habits and start stacking successful weeks on top of each other.

For me, I’m at a one year anniversary at Pinnacle. Katie and I just bought our first house. The kids have a new school district. I have a lot of reasons around me to examine where I am and where I’m going. I suppose I wrote this more for me. Hopefully you can find some value for your own season of life.

Mom’s Retirement


I’m up as I am every morning, sitting on the couch getting ready for my day. I’m watching across the street more than usual because it’s my mom’s last commute to work. She retires tomorrow, but she’s staying the night in Pewaukee to see some friends. So this morning she leaves for the last time. It’s been an interesting year for us because we both leave for work around the same time in the mornings.


I think I missed her! She’s not opening the garage door at her usual time. But I’ve been up since 4:30 – I couldn’t have missed her!


There she is! I’m out the door but she doesn’t see me. Now waving and now I missed her! I wanted to wish her well on her last commute! Now I have to catch her before she hits the belt line.

I proceed to blow through the lights at Siggelkow and Terminal; she’s just turning left under 51, but four cars are now between us. This probably won’t happen. A red light at Vogues! And there’s a perfect amount of cars in each lane, I pull up right next to her and wave! She doesn’t look happy. But there’s a good reason. It’s not that she’s not happy, it’s that she’s fighting back some tears, her eyes are leaking a little bit. No surprise… if you know my mom. We both know it’s a sentimental moment here at 5:34am. Only the son of a sentamental mom would take a picture of said mom as she takes the belt line east commute for the last time.


I’m so proud of my mom. For years she’s worked at WCTI, then it became WCTC. I remember when we would walk across the fields from the Pewaukee campus to her car while she finished work at “CTC” as we called it. When the family moved back to Madison (and McFarland), she kept commuting because she loved he job and she was in for the long haul. 


Mom just texted me. 



I still haven’t made sense of the shooting in Charleston. Of course I never will. Yesterday I steered clear of the typical tweet: “Thinking and praying for Charleston.” I was thinking. I was praying. But I wasn’t writing about it because it was too fresh. Plus I agree with Eddie:

So can we talk about this in the absence of crisis? Can we be proactive instead of reactive? I don’t have answers. I’m not sure I’m for or against gun control, but I can relate to the words of President Obama:

As a Christian I believe we live in a fallen world. I believe the world was originally perfect and our sin messed that up. Our only hope for glory is trusting that Jesus has paid for our sin. If we believe that, we can be redeemed.

I offer that note because it’s how I can somehow wrap my mind around these types of tragedies. It helps me. But this latest shooting somehow hit closer to home. It brought me to a new reality: for the first time I realized it’s entirely possible that a random act of violence can happen to me. And in that reality I can only find comfort knowing when this life is over, I will be with Jesus. I do not say that flippantly. I do not want to die. But waiting until the end of life is too late to determine if God does or does not exist.

Published with Desk.

Ten Years Ago

Ten years ago today my girlfriend, Katie, threw me a surprise birthday a party at Vilas park. Somehow I got wind of it and decided to turn a celebration of me into a celebration about us: I asked her to marry me. 

So that went well. 

What great memories. What a great adventure. 

Ten years ago today, Katie said yes. Time flies. Don’t miss it! Capture every moment, give thanks, and tell a great story with the life you’ve been given. 

Before During and After a Run

The day before a big run, I drink a little extra water. Proper hydration starts up to 12 hours before its needed. During my longer runs, I have water breaks to keep myself fueled to finish. And after my run, you can be sure that stretching and re-hydrating are essential. In order to train my body, I need to provide the necessary water.

Water is essential to my training. I can’t forget how fortunate I am that I can readily have access to water before I need it, while I’m performing, and while I recover. Water is essential to life. Life is more important than training. Yet not everyone has access to the clean water that I do. On my training run today, I thought about my clean water campaign. I’m running to provide clean water to families that have to travel long distances to get this essential nutrient of life. I get all the water I want whenever I want it. It saddens me that I can’t fully wrap my mind around the reality that families on this same planet don’t have that resource. It fuels me, actually. I get extremely motivated to run really well and keep pointing people to this cause. I’ll never run a race again without pointing my friends and family to this clean water project. If we all chip in a little, we can stop this water crisis in our life time. I hope you’ll consider joining my team.

The 20/15 Prayer Challenge

Pastor Chris wants the Christ followers of Blackhawk church to always pursue a deeper relationship with God. We should read more, pray more, serve more. I greatly appreciate his leadership. On the eve of a new year, we all are tempted to make sweeping changes, right? Chris knows this and I think (like me) he gets nervous because we all have a difficult time sticking with those new year resolutions. But a challenge? That’s not a resolution. That’s a challenge. A project. A worth goal. And here it is.

As a church, we should be pursuing a deeper relationship with Christ. The challenge (for 2015) is to take 20 days per month and spend 15 minutes with God in those days. It’s the 20/15 Prayer Challenge.

My relationship with Christ is similar to relationships we have with friends and family. The relationship improves when it starts with listening. I will listen to God. Then I will read about God’s story. And I will pray to align myself with God’s will. Fifteen minutes for twenty days each month. That is achievable, but that is certainly a challenge.