Thanksgiving – a great holiday with a 4 day weekend. Time to finish up some last minute winter preparations for those who live in the area of snow and freeze (that aren’t already frozen or under snow, of course). A time to hang out with family you don’t see much and a time to eat a lot of food and complain about how much you eat. Also a time of some great leftover sandwiches. But that’s not all…

A Time to Give Thanks

I would love to say this is a common occurrence for most people. I’d love even more to say it is a daily rite for me. Sometimes, I get busy and forget the little things that I can be thankful for. Many times in prayer, I brush through my thanks as a ritualistic list of the same things day over day. Don’t get me wrong, they are great things to be thankful for, I should only appreciate them more and slow it down a bit while thinking through them.

Thanksgiving is a good time to remember all of the blessings we have received. The praise for the harvest and survival through tough conditions faced by the Pilgrims is a good reminder to us to be thankful for much.

Well, in that spirit…

I am Thankful For

Professionally

I have humble beginnings. I didn’t graduate at the top of my High School class and apply to and get accepted at multiple universities. In fact, I was pretty much a directionless fool during the close of my High School experience. Dropped out, focused on work and some family stress and strife instead. Working in the hospitality industry, I found it easy to enjoy a simple existence with plenty of partying and good times. Never felt bad about not sticking with school. Fast forward through some bad times (times that this fool thought were great as they happened) and meeting a great gal knocked some common sense into me. It was the start of clear thinking and through that clear thinking and some great influences, I met Christ head on. He loved me as I was, in spite of my sins, and I accepted that love. Started turning my life around this time.  I Took some adult education classes to get an actual High School diploma and I got a lucky break –

I was always a computer tinkerer. Loved learning and exploring. I describe it as being a reductionist.. I am never satisfied knowing the how. I like to know the how and why of the how and down a vicious cycle of learning I go. I took these skills and my reputation as the computer (hardware/software) “fix-it guy” to a job interview and got a job as a Tech Support guy where I “met” a third “passion” in my life (Christ and that neat ‘gal being the first couple) – SQL Server. As I blogged about here, the rest is history.

I have completed some college course work and have so many interests that I want to pursue advanced degrees in someday (Physics, Mathematics, Finish my work towards becoming a Paramedic – interrupted by career and life – , Logic and Ethics, Church History, World History, Military History.. the list could go on longer than a Mike Walsh blog post) but for now I enjoy learning on my own as time allows in those subjects.

So I don’t have a degree and I have humble beginnings, this is a “Thanks Giving” post, back on track… I am thankful for where I am in my career. This is a tough economy. There are many great people without work right now. I am thankful that I have been able to keep passionate about SQL Server, challenge myself and be challenged and somehow manage to stay within the grace of employers.

I am thankful that I can get up each morning and proudly drive into an office and help solve problems. Some days I may forget that in my conscious but it’s there in my subconscious. I am thankful that I have people needing to pepper me with questions and requests. I may forget that, too, but I am.

I’m also thankful for the technology I happen to work with: SQL Server. No, I don’t mean the tool, though I am kind of partial to it.. I mean the community that I get the pleasure of working with. Our field is flush with experts. Not just experts who know more (way more) than me but experts who love sharing that knowledge. I can go as deep as I want to with the product (just shy of source code deep) and find an expert either an MVP, a guru or even a Microsoft employee who is there on that journey offering a tip. That’s pretty neat and I don’t see that in every other technology out there. I can help answer questions on forums, twitter, newsgroups, etc. and I know that if I am stuck there is a village waiting to help me free of charge.

This year has been a busy year. I am in a good routine at the full time job and I have had some great client experiences through StraightPath Solutions and the little bit of SQL Server consulting I do. This has allowed me to meet some great people, have some extra money we needed for various items and has allowed me to share with Options For Women through StraightPath. I am thankful for the chance to work with some of the great clients and situations I explored over these past 11 months in 2009.

Our Military

They serve. Where they are told and when and for as long as their orders state. Evil exists in this world. Terrorists who want to do us harm exist. They stand up and fight for us, leaving their family, friends and comfort. As you read this, many Sailors, Soldiers, Airmen and Marines are sitting in a foreign land, more alone than ever as they think about their last family Thanksgiving celebration. Please remember them, pray for them, thank them when you see them and get in touch with them.

Personally

What can I say. First of all, the order of the thanks is more of a least to most important here but the one most relevant to my site is up top.

That wonderful woman I nicknamed ‘gal above? She’s my wife. She is still a better person than I am and sets a very high example and standard for me. Yes, Christ is the standard I aim for but if I could even get halfway to where Megan is, I’d be a lot further along. I couldn’t ask for more when it comes to what she offers.

Much like I don’t deserve to be where I am at in my career, I don’t deserve to have such a caring, loving, beautiful and smart wife helping keep my head on straight. She is the best mom ever and that brings me to two other thanks: My daughter (4) and son (19mos). How cool is it to come home and get attacked with hugs. How great is it to hear the things my daughter says off the cuff. How fun is it to share in their lives and how scary is it to know what an awesome responsibility it is to raise them right. They are a blessing. Even when they are not on their best behavior, they help me see what is important and what isn’t important.

We are expecting child number 3, Lord willing, at the end of May. That is a blessing and yet one more thing to be thankful for. I could go on and on with the blessings that have been bestowed upon us. Even with the recent loss of my wife’s grandfather (who I had been growing quite close to, living next door to him) we still have so much to be thankful for. Even through his loss, we can find blessings as we know where he is and we look forward to meeting him again in his glorified state.

God

Last, but greatest of all, I am thankful for the fact that I am as sure of my salvation as though I am already in Heaven. I thank God for creating me, for His plan and will in my life. Even when I disagree or think my plan is better, I thank Him. My children are not my children, they are gifts from God and he entrusted us in their nurturing and growing.

He knew me. He knew about how my life would be. He knew about the times I would curse his name before knowing Him. He knew that I would say some horrible things and make rotten jokes out of the suffering His son went through on the cross. He knew what sins I would commit even after accepting His gift. He knows, still, what sins I have yet to commit as I go through life. He knew all of this before He laid the foundation of this world yet He chose still to create me, yet He chose still to send His son to die on my behalf, even if I were the only one to have accepted the gift. Every breath I take is from Him, every one of the blessings above this are from Him. Every good thing in my life is because of God. That isn’t defeatism, it’s counting my blessings.

God has been and continues to be great to this sinner who deserves not one ounce of these blessings. I am forever thankful for His love and watch care over me and my family. Thank you, God. I trust Him for this next year and look excitedly at what plans He may have in store for me between now and next Thanksgiving.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family! What about you? What are you thankful for?

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