Over the past few years, one of my most successful and important blog pieces has been my “Why I’m Thankful on Thanksgiving” posts. I get an opportunity to reflect upon the last year of my life and give thanks to those that made the progress I’ve seen possible. This year will be no different, as I’ve managed to continue seeing my goals come to be thanks to the assistance and guidance of those around me.
While I haven’t seen monumental career changes this year, I continue to do a job that I love and am inspired every day by my students to be a better professor and person. What follows is not a comprehensive list of those responsible for where I am, but a list of those that I respect and admire and have made this year one of the best ever.
My new wife, Jacqueline
2014 was a monumental year for my personal life. After being together through good times and bad for seven years, Jackie and I finally got married. We had been engaged and planning our wedding for nearly two years, so needless to say that consumed most of my time. Anyone that was fortunate enough to be in attendance will certainly vouch that we had an amazing time. From the 75 degree late September weather, to the beautiful scenery at Hunter’s Valley Winery, to the most amazing wedding food (and cake from Bella’s Bliss Bakery), to having all of our friends together to celebrate, our wedding was one for the ages.
In addition, we had the opportunity to have our honeymoon in the most beautiful place in the world, Punta Cana. It was an amazing experience for many reasons, but I can’t help but get the feelings out of my mind about the level of poverty we witnessed in our time there. Truly, after the honeymoon was over, I was indeed thankful to have a beautiful wife, a loving family, and a career I love.
My best man, Bart Kaminski
Bart and I have had an interesting friendship, one that culminated with a tear-jerking best man speech at the wedding. But he also has given me an opportunity to advance my career with our new endeavour of Hop Hedz Gear (http://www.hophedzgear.com), where I am the marketing director. While over the past five years or so I’ve been involved with social media, I now have a tremendous opportunity to handle all aspects of marketing for an emerging business with a killer product. It is amazing the amount of faith both Bart and business partner Brett have put in my ability to showcase the company, not just at shows, but online as well.
My Loving and Supportive Family
This year was a bit difficult for me family wise, in that my mother has been in and out of the hospital with heart problems. I honestly must say that I’ve never been so worried as I’ve been for her over the past few months. For those wondering, she is doing okay, but it seems that this is going to be a lingering problem for the rest of her life. Hopefully, things for her begin moving in the right direction so her health can be something that she doesn’t worry about in the future.
Also, I can’t thank my family enough for all of the assistance that they provided us with the wedding. They were able to take care of several things that we simply didn’t have time for or didn’t think of even doing. Special thanks go out to my sister Danielle, who made a beautiful bridesmaid for Jackie, but also served as emotional support for her as well.
Finally, My Students
For all of the times that my students make me crazy, there are even more times that they drive me to become a better professor. And while some of them may get upset that I dock them points for being late or tell them to get off of their phones, I promise they will look back at me as being influential too. I look back at two of my favorite professors, Dr. James Laux (Slippery Rock) and Dr. Ted Carlin (Shippensburg) and realize that it’s not the easy teachers that make something of you, it’s those that challenge you to be the best you can be.
When scheduling classes, I remember asking “How easy is Professor X?”, when I should have asked “What did you learn from Professor X?”. Life is not easy, and as soon as my students realize this fact, they may understand why I am hard on them. It’s not because I want to be rude or because I like to give them a hard time, it’s because I want the best for them in ways that many of my professors did not.
Truly everyone associated with my life has helped make me the person I am today. It was an honor and a privilege for each and every one of you to spend your day(s) with me and my new bride at our wedding day. I hope that each and every one of you understands how much I value your friendship and I hope that we can continue to share these special moments of our lives for years to come.