The Thank You Project: #195 (Facebook)

As much as I don’t like Facebook since it constantly changes (it’s one of the things that sometimes makes me feel old especially when I can’t find something because they moved the location), it is useful for a lot of different reasons. The biggest one that I want to give thanks for today is connecting with family. Facebook has the ability to connect people across the globe. All you have to do is find each other and you will be able to chat and leave messages for each other easily. You can put whatever level of your life on Facebook and show how you’ve grown up as well. Photo albums for example are very good at showing your memories and Facebook makes it easier to share.

I was able to reconnect with multiple members of my family. First it was some of my family on my adopted father’s side. Facebook allowed me to connect with enough of them that I was able to invite and have them present on my wedding day. That was a true blessing and it’s all due to Facebook.

Recently, some of my biological siblings have found me on Facebook. I couldn’t be more excited since I have not known them for most of my life and I just want to see how they are doing in life and I’d like to share my life with them as well.

It’s hard to fathom that when I was a child, Facebook didn’t exist and it was much harder to connect with others. It is so easy now and even babies have Facebook profiles. So for today’s thank you, I just want to give thanks for the connections that Facebook can provide.

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The Thank You Project: #194 (Having family to stay with while traveling)

1452328_10153602243070173_1765752668_nIt’s tough living in South Bend sometimes because we don’t have any family living in the immediate area. Family is a very important thing for us. They are the ones that will unconditionally support you through whatever situation arises. Whether you are sick or you have hit a major accomplishment, family will be there cheering you on. We’ve found it tougher to travel since KristaRose requires more rest and stops while we go along. We are very lucky to have a lot of family in Chicago that we can stay with. Whether it’s on our first stop into Chicago with Manang Grace and Manong Ray (and their very cute and rambunctious kiddos Gabe, Jonah and Benjamin) or in the heart of the suburbs with Tita Ling, Tito Fred, Steph and Jek, we seem to be covered wherever we go. I know I’m not mentioning all of the family we do get to see but the point is that having family close and so willing to help us out and provide a place to stay is really helpful for us not only for the act itself but seeing family lifts our spirits as well.

So for today’s thank you, I’d like to thank all of our family that allows us to stay with them. This includes Tita Ter and family in DC and Manong RJ, Manang Rachel and Caleb in San Diego. Thanks for being so welcome and thanks for letting us spend some moments of life with you.

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The Thank You Project: #193 (Mailmen)

One thing that I still enjoy doing on a daily basis is going to grab the mail from the mailbox. Nowadays I don’t get very much mail but the act of still receiving letters, even if they are advertisements is satisfying for some reason. I remember growing up that we would get a ton of mail and it was fun to take that short walk to the mailbox to get that mail. Our mailman (or at least our main mailman) is named Rich. He’s actually a pretty good guy and whenever he is the one in charge you know because your mail gets here before 10AM. Such dedication and efficiency is admirable especially when you do it with a smile and take the time to talk with the residents from time to time.

I think we underestimate just how much effort a mailman has to do in a day. In their route, they probably have hundreds of stops and they have to make sure they put the appropriate mail in each mail slot. There are different types of mailboxes, whether they are in a community mailbox like in our apartment where it combines all 8 residents mailboxes or an individual mailbox that is set right in front of their house. They have to do each on a schedule and they have to do the same thing day after day. Just think of how the mail system would work if we didn’t have these dedicated individuals.

For today’s thank you, I’m thanking Rich and every other mailman in the world. Thank you for continuing to connect us to the world in a medium that is sometimes lost in our technologically driven world.

The Thank You Project: #192 (Polar Vortexes)

I want to start this Thank You with an apology because it actually has been a very long time since I’ve written a Thank You Project entry. It’s been a very busy time for me but I decided I need to get back into the shape of things.

So it would seem weird that I would give thanks to a polar vortex. I actually didn’t even know this term existed until this year. The winter has been brutal. When I mean brutal I mean terribly brutal. I can’t think of a year in previous years where it has gotten so cold and snow has stayed on the ground the whole winter. We had many snow days including times where travel was actually banned. We also had so many days of negative degree temperatures including one night where we had wind chills around -47F.

So with the description of polar vortexes, why on earth would I be thankful for them? I think they gave us a wake up call. The past couple of winters have been very mild. I think people were starting to lose their ability of how to really drive in the snow (trust me it takes awhile sometimes to recall those skills). I think the polar vortexes reminded the cities that they need to make sure they are prepared for such harsh conditions and that sometimes you just need to shut down everything for the safety of others. I think they also gave us a rare chance to see how cold it really can get and appreciate people living in even colder conditions. Imagine if you had to deal with -47F temperatures every single day? Now that would be tough, but there are people that have to live with similar situations.

Besides, all of the cold will make me appreciate the upcoming spring temperatures that much more!

The Thank You Project: #191 (Muthu Raj’s kindness)

ThankYouIcon_191Probably quite a few thank you posts ago I wrote about extremely great experiences I’ve had at the Asiana hotel. The staff there is just so friendly and really made the stay in India quite an enjoyable one. There was one particular gentleman I met there named Muthu Raj who would always go above and beyond to make sure the experience was even better. He would always love serving me food at their Wildfire hotel and would often present me with a cake when I was about to leave. This kind of service is almost nonexistant at least in the case of normal people receiving such gestures. I always hear about celebrities and other important individuals getting such services. That’s why I was so happy and overjoyed that I would get this kind of service when I was just a normal guest. I didn’t do anything that really warranted extra service, I was just me.

Anyway, today is Muthu Raj’s birthday. I went to post on his facebook wall and scrolled down and saw that on my birthday last year he actually posted a picture on the wall. I hadn’t seen it although I saw his greeting on my own facebook wall. I wanted to share how kind this man actually is because he had made a cake for me:

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Yes this was a cake in celebration of my birthday… halfway across the globe. Just seeing this really made me appreciate having good people in the world. People who you are genuinely nice and care about you even if they don’t know that much about you. The world needs more of these individuals and it’s my hope that we can all strive towards this and be there for our fellow human beings.

So Muthu Raj, this post is for you. Thank you for your kindness and thoughtfulness and most of all the cakes because they are delicious. I just wish I saw this photo on my birthday or had a chance to visit to enjoy it in person. Happy birthday and hope you have all the joys in the world because you deserve it as well!

The Thank You Project: #190 (Chase Bank)

ThankYouIcon_190When you think about the amount of money that you have do you think about where exactly it is stored? I think I forget on a daily basis that most of my money is hypothetically locked up in a vault at Chase Bank (well that’s kind of a lie, I know it’s being loaned out on a daily basis, that is how banks work really). Isn’t it a nice thought that you can keep your money in a safe location, be able to access it at different locations around town and sometimes even collect interest for the bank keeping it? For this reason, I’m giving thanks to Chase Bank who currently receives all of my money every couple of weeks.

I think the importance of knowing that your money is safe can’t be overstated. I can’t even imagine keeping dollar bills in my own apartment and trying to hide it from other people. It’s funny because I can picture hiding some in my mattress which I’m sure is what some people did back in the day. However, we are assured that our money will be there in the bank no matter if it defaults because of the FDIC and how much they insure. How blessed are we that we can go to different stores and get cash very easily from an ATM or making a debit purchase?

For Chase Bank specifically, every interaction I’ve had with the South Bend branch has been a good one. They have always been helpful and especially when KristaRose and I had set up our own accounts with them, they were always following up and making sure we had everything that we needed. Chase bank is the first bank to not charge some ridiculous fees. I don’t think I have once overdrafted with Chase whereas with other banking companies and the way they do their transactions, I made some fatal errors early on.

So today if you find yourself looking for cash and using an ATM, think about how safe your money and how easy it is to get that money back. It really is a blessing that we have the option to do this, it makes life a lot easier.

The Thank You Project: #189 (Great and Caring Dentists)

ThankYouIcon_189Growing up I didn’t got to the dentist very often. It was a combination of not having a lot of dental insurance, being a bit scared of going, and my parents never really pushing for me to go. For about 8 years I never saw the dentist which I know a lot of you will think is a long time. Well, it truly is. I was lucky only to have some things wrong, the worst right now being having my wisdom teeth out, a few fillings and a root canal that I have coming up. One of the great things I’ve encountered now that I have dental insurance is the dentist office that I go to at Bittersweet Dentistry. Not only are Dr. Lopez and Dr. Schafer caring dentists, their whole office seems to be caring and very kind to their patients. For this reason, I’m taking today to give thanks to all the great and caring dentists out there.

I for one hate the sounds at a dentist office. All of the drills whizzing and the suction noises can be a bit intimidating to someone who doesn’t consistently go into a dentist office. The folks at Bittersweet Dentistry are experts in putting you at ease. They talk to you through the process and try their best to calm you down during a procedure. They are always very courteous and listen to what your problems are before going in and doing their usual examination. I have seen that both Dr. Lopez and Dr. Schafer take the time to get to know you outside of the dental procedure. They actually ask about who you are and hold a conversation. In a world where people are rushing to get more patients and get more money, it is refreshing that there are people out there that still do this.

I also went to get my wisdom teeth pulled by Dr. Anderson a few months ago. The procedure went smoothly but what I really saw was the attention to detail that team had. The first indication was when I went for the consultation. Dr. Anderson showed me a video all about wisdom teeth and then gave me a sheet that explained all the dangers in a lot of detail. After the procedure he even followed up with a phone call seeing how I was feeling after the operation. Little things like these really make a difference and make you feel comfortable to keep going back to them.

I am really glad there are great and caring dentists and dentist offices like this. Too many times I think many people are fearful of these offices potentially gouging them for more operations than they need. However, there are still offices that exist that will explain and show you evidence of things that are going on. This is very refreshing indeed!

The Thank You Project: #188 (Christmas Music)

ThankYouIcon_188It seems like everyone waits just until Thanksgiving is over to bust out the Christmas music in iPods and computers across the globe. I never understood why it was that annoying to have Christmas music before Thanksgiving because of the happy vibes that each song seems to give out. Regardless, today I am thankful for Christmas music in our lives and how this time of the year can transform any situation into a happy one.

Right about now you can find KristaRose and I tuned into South Bend’s Christmas radio station, Sunny 101.5. The station plays Christmas music all day long and has all of the classics. From Joy to the World, We Wish you a Merry Christmas to Silent Night, these songs are all accessible 24/7. With the emergence of other streaming music radios on the Internet like Pandora and Spotify, individuals are able to tap into their inner Christmas spirit with just a few clicks of a mouse.

Christmas music to me reminds me of growing up as a child. In my house, we would always have CD’s on every morning with different Christmas artists. My dad would always be singing to the songs and my mom would smile every time a favorite of hers would start to play. Those were happy times and as a family we really bonded around the good music that flowed through our house.

Everywhere I go now, whenever I hear Christmas music it just reminds me of that time and automatically makes me happy. Christmas is a time to be with family, be good and giving and remember the purpose of the holiday which you can’t spell without Christ. This in combination with actual time off from work can be a very relaxing and healing time for all of us that have worked hard all year long.

Christmas songs also seem to get the most people singing spontaneously. They are so easy to learn and to know by heart. They are also the most joyful of songs that I know and because of this, I don’t know one person that really hates Christmas music and doesn’t get caught up in celebrating the Christmas cheer.

So the next time you hear a Christmas song on your radio or when you are shopping, take a little time to appreciate what the song means. Think about all of those near and dear to you. This is really how everyday should be but most especially this holiday season!

The Thank You Project: #187 (Microsoft Excel)

ThankYouIcon_187Microsoft Excel is part of the suite of Microsoft products that my generation has grown up with. It’s taught in school and is probably one of the most used programs aside from Microsoft Word (which stay tuned there will be a thank you for that one as well). Microsoft Excel gives users the ability to keep track of extensive worksheets of information ranging from budgets to a database of customers to a custom reporting system. In the business world, we use Excel quite extensively and I think without it I would be pretty lost. So for this I am thankful today for Microsoft Excel.

When I started out in the real world, I didn’t actually deal too much with Microsoft Excel per se. It was used for some reports but on a daily basis it wasn’t quite as important. That all changed when I got to work a rotation at Meijer. While I was there I understood the true value that Microsoft Excel brings companies. For analysis it is second to none in taking raw data and being able to manipulate it and do analysis. Anything from pivot tables to graphs to charts, Microsoft Excel can do it. In addition, there’s a whole other programming language that is embedded within Excel. I utilized this to make a custom reporting tool that made a big impact on how users created reports and how fast they were able to do it in.

Even in everyday life I’m able to utilize it for many unique situations. Right now I’m keeping track of some of Krista’s pain scales on how Lupus and Fibromalygia may be affecting her. By utilizing the spreadsheet format of Excel, I am able to organize my notes in a coherent style that allows us to effectively communicate to Krista’s doctor on her conditions and spot some of the trends that might be happening.

So for those of you who haven’t found extensive use of Microsoft Excel in your life, I would recommend taking a look and seeing what it can do for you. Even a basic to intermediate understanding could help you out immensely on a daily basis!