It was time for a change, even though I am sad to see it go.

10683662_10152461258406232_7336570002355991977_oAt last night’s board meeting for the Hutchinson Photography Club, I notified the board members that I would be stepping down from my position as club president. The following is the letter that I gave to them at last night’s board meeting.  It wasn’t an easy decision by any means, but one that I thought I needed to take.

I remain a committed member of the club and an avid photographer, I just believe it is time for someone to take over the reigns of the club.


Fellow Board Members, and Club Members,

When I joined the Hutchinson Photography Club, I did it because I wanted to be a better photographer.  I wanted to hang out with people who also liked to take photographs.  That club was a small club, located in the basement of the local library.  I still remember going to meetings and being “shushed” because we were being a bit too loud for their liking.

Soon after joining the club, the Vice President decided to resign.  I sheepishly raised my hand and said I would do it, not really knowing what I was getting myself in to.

Initially, we set out to make the club a better place to be for photographers.  A place where we had speakers come in; where we went on field trips with each other, and had a more open, and inviting club to be a part of.  Within a couple of months, we had a new President as well.  Under that initial leadership, we decided to move in to the Hutchinson Center for the Arts.

We considered that a great first step.

Soon after, the president stepped down, and I stepped in to his place.

During my time as the President, we have made significant strides, as a board, in making this the club that we wanted it to be.  We’ve been on many field trips, have received grants for funding for our equipment, have fund raised, we’ve have brought in many educational speakers, and have grown the club significantly.  But the thing I’m proud of the most was our re-imagining of the November Showcase.  It has been great to see how it took off in the new Hutchinson Center for the Arts building. From just a blip on the radar, to now being one of the “must-do’s” on people’s calendars. I have to say, that’s pretty neat.

We’ve now started a new chapter with the 48 in 48 photo contest.  A state-wide photo contest that I believe is set up to be something that catapults us in to a new chapter of club history.  As we sit right now, I believe we are one of the best clubs in the state and we are certainly the most active.

We are where we are because of the fantastic people that I have had the pleasure of serving with on our board of directors.  I have been on the board for about 5 years, and during that time, we have really done some cool stuff.  To all of those I have served with, Janet Meier, Andrea Markworth, Barb Rieger, Julie Thompson, Kristine Leuze, Justin Baysinger, and Karlie Mosher – I couldn’t have done this without you.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all of the hard work you have put in to making this club what it is today.  All of you are true rock stars in my book.

After long, careful consideration, I believe it is time for the Hutchinson Photography Club to have a new President – someone who will take us to the next level and continue to build on this fantastic club.  I have decided to resign as President of the club as of the March elections, unless a candidate steps forward sooner.

I have enjoyed every minute of being the President of the Club and will be sad to see it go.  I plan on remaining a member of the club and will help wherever I can.  I am proud of what we have accomplished together and can’t wait to see what happens next.


Friends like these…

Turning another year older shouldn’t be a big deal. Even if it is what some people consider a momentous one.

In my 30’s, there were several years where I didn’t remember how old I was. I’d have to ask my sister, who is five years younger. For some reason, she always knew how old I was.

A couple of days ago, I turned 40. I didn’t have to ask my sister as many of my friends reminded me just how old I had become.

Friends like these…

Some people freak out when they hit the big 4-0. Maybe it hasn’t hit me yet, but at this point, I’ve gotten to the point of not stressing about it.  What’s to be gained?

What has changed over the years is who I am as a person.

Growing up, I had the unique experience of growing up in different towns. We moved around a bit while in school. Since graduating from high school, I continued the trend of moving until about 2003, when I settled in to what I now consider to be my hometown.

Who we surround ourselves with, help give us an identity, and help determine who we will be “when we grow up”.

Maybe I got lucky, but each one of my friends are unique, fun, outgoing, and incredibly inspiring people. People who I am lucky to call a friend. I would not be the person I am today without each and every one of them.

On my birthday, I heard from friends and relatives who are spread out around the United States and from Norway.

To hear from so many people, really made my day. Sometimes it’s a quick text, a message over Facebook, a phone call, or a quick call over FaceTime. Even though it only takes a moment, it meant a lot.

Thank you for taking a moment to wish me a happy birthday.

So now what? I’m 40.

So what?

  1. Age is just a number.
  2. Do #epicshit
  3. Be present.
  4. Cultivate and build relationships.
  5. Don’t carry around hate. Life’s to short.
  6. Learn from each other. Both sides may just have a point.
  7. We only get one go around at this – make it worth your while.

Thanks for being my friend.



3 Guiding Words for 2015

Last year, I changed up the way I approached New Year’s resolutions.  I just simply dropped them.  You know how resolutions go – you start with great intentions, but somewhere around the middle of February, we forget, or we simply don’t care anymore.  Why did we go through the work of doing it, if we don’t plan on sticking with it.

Around the middle of December last winter, a group of friends did the same thing – however, they replaced a resolution with three guiding words for the year.  For me, this makes a lot more sense.  Instead of being really specific as to what my goal was for the year, I could broad sense three words that could cover a lot of areas.

Before I break down this year’s words, I should look back at last year and see how I did.  You can read my post about last year’s resolutions here. My three words last year were, consistency, courage, and community.

When it comes to community, I feel like I did really well.  I am involved in many groups around our awesome town and feel like I contributed.  The one area I didn’t get done was the Help Portrait program.  Towards the end of the year, the project didn’t get off the ground.  However, I am such a believer in the program, that next December, along with the local photography club, we will pull that event off.

Courage and Consistency were the other two words I had for 2014.  I stepped outside of my comfort zone a bit more than I have in the past, and I was more consistent in the areas I wanted to be consistent in.

Looking back overall, the three words helped keep me on track for the whole year.  I feel like it was a success from that standpoint.

So, what about 2015?

Well, that’s a great question.  Several weeks ago, I made plans with the same group of friends to get together and share our three words for 2015.  Since 2014 came so easy, I thought that 2015 would jump off the page at me.  Instead, I really put a lot of thought in to where I was going to go this year.  In fact, I didn’t have my third word until a lunch meeting with a friend helped solidify my thought process.

Buckle up, here we go.

kayakMy first word for 2015 is Outdoors.  Face it, we have four pretty spectacular seasons here in Minnesota.  Look, if you’re not from here, I get it.  From the outside, it looks cold all the time.  Well, guess what, Minnesota is a pretty awesome state for anything outdoors, no matter the time of year.  Spring can be a bit wet, but whatever.  Summer?  Land of 10,000 lakes, and millions of mosquitos.  But it’s also a great time to be on the bicycle.  It’s a great time to be on the kayak.  It’s a great time to go camping!  Go rock climbing or go on the Flying Squirrel.  Get off the treadmill and run a half-marathon.  Go to an outdoor music festival!

Fall?  I am probably a bit biased, but I will take a Minnesota fall over any other state.  I just love the colors here.  Whether it’s the north shore, or the southern part of the state, the colors are quite spectacular.  It’s a great time snowshoeto get out and hike and generally explore.  Winter?  Well, depending on who you talk to, the answer will vary greatly.  But you know what, one of the ways people deal with winter up here is to go out and immerse yourself in it.  From snowshoeing to skiing, to skating and sledding, to snowmobiling, and going down a hill on a rubber tube, there’s a lot of things to do to pass the time that we have some snow on the ground.

1383924_10201288711394602_842905263_nMy goal for this year, is to really get out and enjoy the weather here.  Too often we spend all day behind a computer, or in our cars driving someplace.  We come home from work and bury ourselves behind the tv and watch more crap that the TV execs think we may like.  Honestly, how many more reality shows can we take?  They are all the same anyway.  My goal is also my challenge to you.  Get outside!  Enjoy what Minnesota seasons have to offer.  I promise you that the winter will go by much faster if you are doing something other than sitting behind a computer or watching TV all winter.  All those things listed above?  I’m going to give those a try.  I already snowshoe; I’ve been on skis before, and I’ve been down a hill on a tube at mach speeds.  It’s really enjoyable.  Get outside!

The second word for 2015 is Memories.

friendsI really battled back and forth over this one.  I had at least four other words I was considering before this word came to me over lunch with a friend today.

Seriously, time is something we only get a little bit of.  Kids grow up too damn fast and it seems like the older I get, the faster time goes.  Take the time to build memories that will last a lifetime.

1610818_10152493436608318_8106179377056275402_n 10455055_10203186622898801_8063498053471541930_n 10593176_10203368106938191_5529588015942687902_nPut down the social media device and look up.  Be present in the moment occurring in front of you.  In reality, do you have to be behind your phone when you are at the table with friends?  Facebook and Twitter will wait. Even Snapchat can wait.  I know it will be hard – especially for me.  But it’s something I have to put more focus on.  We all should, really.  This is coming from someone who will just put #hashtag at the end of a tweet, just because.  Memories also are the only thing we have that connects us with our friends.  I want to spend the next year, and many years after this, creating memories that I can look back on and say, “yep, that was fun.”

I say it a lot, but whatever.  I have the most outstanding friends a person could ask for.  Let’s do epic shit this year.

Live in the moment.  Make memories.  We only get one go around at this.

My third word for 2015 is Create.

photo credit: Kristine Leuze

photo credit: Kristine Leuze

Create falls in to so many of the things I want to focus on this year.  I had projects that I’ve wanted to do for the past two years and it’s time to make those a reality.  Many of my thoughts around creating surround photography, of course.  I suppose it’s not a bad thing, but I suppose it depends on who you talk to.  I also want to take the word create in to my other business of running senior living communities.  The word create has so many possibilities between the two areas, I can hardly contain all of the thoughts I have around the idea.

I’ve had a few photography projects that I’ve wanted to complete over the 10608629_10152289156016232_6330997964752451760_ofew years, and now is the time to make those projects a reality.  I’ll start with the Help Portrait program.  It failed to get off the ground as I had hoped this past year, but in discussing the project with people around the area, I found great support for the project.  This year I will push forward with it with the help of some fantastic people.  I’ve had two other projects that involve major shoots that I’d like to see come to fruition this year as well.  For now, I will hold those a bit closer to the vest, but look for most posts on it throughout the year as we move forward.  One even involves a crossover of photography and seniors.  I can’t wait.

In my main business, I want to find ways to create new programs that will help our employees, help our residents, and help our families connect with our brand and our communities in ways they haven’t before.  I think we do a pretty good job of 90% of the programs we currently do – but I want to see how we can innovate around what we already do well, and take it to the next level.  That will require some creative thinking – but I know it can be done.

This word will be the most challenging for me to accomplish, but I believe that now that I’ve written it down, it will help me put a better focus on it.

So there you have it.  My three words for 2015 are: Outdoors, Memories, and Create.

The word “resolution” means “to be broken”.  Go ahead, look it up.  I’ll wait. Every year I made a resolution, and I never stuck with it.  Since making the move to the three guiding words, I’ve been more focused and it stuck with me throughout the entire year.  It wasn’t something that I forgot about on February 15th.

If you are reading this, my challenge to you this year is to drop the resolutions from your vocabulary and make the switch to the three guiding words.  Try it for a year, and see where you end up.  If it doesn’t work, what’s the difference, the resolution wasn’t going to stick anyway.

Tell me what your three words are in the comments below.  I’d love to hear what your thoughts are.


Just look up

How many of us have gotten so busy in life that we simply forget to look up and gaze at the stars?

Too often, I think we get too busy. Too busy running our kids from this event to that event. Making this meeting and that one. It doesn’t matter which season, we all seem to be so busy, that we don’t take in the beauty that surrounds us every day.

Other countries do it with a bit more success than we do, I suppose, but even they, I suspect are running too fast.

Take a moment.

Just by yourself.

Go to the park over lunch. Stand outside and look at the stars.

No radio, don’t talk with anyone.

Just take everything in.

Just be.

Just be in the moment of life you are living, for it goes by way to fast.

If all you are doing is running from one meeting to the next. One appointment to the next or one soccer game to the next, are you truly living your life?

I don’t say this to offend, but more as an observation. I have been one of those people who has gotten to wound up in meeting after meeting and appointment after appointment.

I’m not telling you to forget work or your kids’ soccer games. Those are obviously important. What I’m saying is not to forget about you.

Just to take a moment for yourself and jut live in the moment.

When life is through, what are they going to say? “Wow, he made every meeting?” Or would you rather they looked at your life with more depth?

About three years ago, I made a decision that would change the course of my life. I have lost track of that over the last 6 months and I need to get back to that vision.

Life is too damn short to think about anything else.

All I’m saying is take a moment.


Be you.

Be who you always wanted to be.

Don’t wait.

As I sit here by the fire tonight, all I can think about is where I still want to go and what I still want to do. But you know what, I’m going to sit here and take in the stars above for awhile.

I wish you could see this view right now.


Why I’m participating in the MS150 again this year

IMG_0833When you are removed from something, as people, I think we have become blind to what is going on in the world around us.  We don’t see it if it doesn’t some how directly affect us or someone we know personally.

I’ve watched my sister deal with MS.  It’s not fun to see anyone, let alone your sister go through something like this.

Having multiple sclerosis means you can wake up with blurred vision. Or your memory may fail you for no apparent reason. Or that you may not always be able to walk. The symptoms of MS are different for everyone — the only certainty is that it will affect another person every hour of every day.

Last year was my first year on the ride and it was an amazing experience.

IMG_0837IMG_0838IMG_0844From the start, it was impressive to see the sheer amount of cyclists who participate in this event each year.  I had the great fortune of riding in last year’s event with my sister, my wife and our friend Jan.

The first day is a 75 mile ride from Duluth to Hinkley, MN.  It’s probably one of the most beautiful rides I’ve done on my bike.  It’s mostly all trail rides through the woods.  This year I plan on stopping more along the way to take in the sights and talk with other riders.  Last year I was so focused on getting to Hinkley, I rode faster than I needed to.  It was a gorgeous day for riding and it turned in to a perfect evening at the rest stop.  We listened to the band and had a few beverages.


Day two started out beautifully.  Perfect sunrise.  It quickly changed to a cool day filled with rain.  Even though we were all cold, we pushed through.  I kept thinking to myself, “if my sister can do this, so can I!”  So we pushed on, at times skipping the rest stop all together, just so we could stay warm.


When we all crossed the finish line, it was probably one of the most prouder moments I’ve had – even compared to the half-marathons that I’ve ran in.  To bike 150 miles for a good cause, and to do it with my sister, who lives with MS, was a huge accomplishment for the both of us, and something I won’t soon forget.

Why I ride

Once again, I’ve registered for Bike MS: C.H. Robinson Worldwide MS 150 Ride because I want to celebrate hope for the future, and move toward a world free of multiple sclerosis.

I’ll be riding in this year’s event with my sister and our friends and family.

Why you should sponsor me

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society uses money collected from Bike MS to fund cutting-edge research, drive change through advocacy, facilitate professional education and provide programs and services that help people with MS and their families move their lives forward.

If you’d like to support me in this year’s ride, follow the link below to donate.

Donate today by clicking here

I appreciate all of your support.