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There’s Always a Reason to be Thankful

by on November 25, 2009 7:00 AM

Hi and welcome to the “T” zone.

It’s hard to believe that the Thanksgiving holiday is upon us. I really think Thanksgiving should be more of an everyday holiday, and at this time I would like to share some thoughts on why I think that.

I must admit that I have a lot to be thankful for -- I’m a lucky one!

I have been happily married to Katie, the love of my life, for more than 33 years. We have raised and are very proud of our two daughters, Marykate (one word, no capital) and Michaela (Michael, with an ‘a’). Both are a true expression of not only outer beauty, but also, more importantly, inner beauty as well.

My parents lived happily together in their own home until the ages of 93 and 94. They were such positive role models for my wife, our daughters and me. Memories of times shared with them are true gifts we get to keep forever.

I’m so very thankful to be living, working, and playing (and writing!) in Happy Valley. To me, it doesn’t get any better than this.


What is the best day of the week?

TGIF -- The oldie, but goodie
TBIF -- Too bad it's Friday
TGIM -- Thank goodness it's Monday

I have been gainfully employed for 40-plus years by the United States Postal Service. I am so very lucky to manage The Park, which has by far the most enthusiastic and good humored students, faculty and staff found anywhere. It is amazing that they still put up with -- let alone be amused by -- all the shenanigans that I’m constantly performing. Actually, I never thought about that they might be so amused. Anyway, it’s not just a job, it’s a celebration.

Marykate and Michaela are always calling me on Fridays and wishing me a "TGIF!" (Thank Goodness It’s Friday). They’re usually very thankful for the upcoming weekend. My response is usually "TBIF!" (Too Bad It’s Friday) as I was just beginning to have fun with the week.

I usually say "TGIM!" (Thank Goodness It’s Monday) when I am looking forward to a new work week. Let’s be honest; most people aren’t usually thrilled about Mondays unless it’s a holiday or a birthday. I’m just trying to share the enthusiasm so that no day feels unappreciated!

You know, we can be thankful for just about everything from a large overall perspective to a tiny phrase that brings you or someone else a smile.

’Tis the Season for THONvelopes

Currently, lots of students are buying the Forever stamps to use for THONvelopes. For those of you unfamiliar to these, THONvelopes are used to ask for donations to the largest student-run philanthropy in the world, THON. I have already touched on this amazing event in a previous column, but to follow up, the next Dance Marathon will take place Feb. 19-21, 2010.

Although that’s the weekend the students will participate by dancing, being on a morale team or doing one of a thousand great ways to contribute, fund-raising is held year-round. I have been to more than 29 THON weekends.

When I see the children, who are so young and yet in a battle of their lives, I realize how thankful I am to these PSU students who are helping the Four Diamond Fund help these families. The children are happy just to be in the middle of a crazy dance party. Their parents are thankful to see their children happy. The students, though exhausted, are re-energized from both the children and their parents’ reactions. And The Four Diamonds Fund is grateful for the millions of dollars raised.

At the conclusion of the weekend, no sooner do the dancers sit down to admire the amount raised then they get right back up again to begin campaigning for the next year, re-inspired. All of these emotions can be linked to the recognition of gratitude and thankfulness.

Hopefully, your Thanksgiving is shared with your family and friends. Maybe after you catch up and complete all of your holiday traditions together, you can take a little time to reflect on what gifts you have with them, because of them, and inspired from them... and give thanks.

Next week, upon returning back to your TGIM!, refocus and to share those gifts with others. Because no matter how big or small, it will make someone’s day, make a difference, make a memory. In the words of Charles Dickens, “There is always something for which to be thankful.” How right he was.

Happy Thanksgiving from Happy Valley and thank you for reading this week’s heartfelt message.

Mike (The Mailman) Herr gives his stamp of approval to all visitors Monday through Friday at the University Park post office in the ground floor of McAllister Building, adjacent to the HUB. His views and opinions do not necessarily reflect those of Penn State University.
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