Thank you for your support in 2019

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Thank you for your support in 2019

It has been quite a year for me, personally and professionally. A roller coaster, really.

Back in February my wife was diagnosed with breast cancer, of the triple negative variety. So that’s been the biggest thing we have had to face together so far. Still not through it, but we have a lot of support, and we are on a holistic treatment plan, all natural. So a big Thank You to all of you who have showed up for us in various ways and been supportive during this difficult time. Especially my Mother-in-Law, Christine, who has pitched in so much of her time and energy.

And on the professional front, the blog has done very well, and I am happy to announce that I received the Microsoft MVP award in November (in the Office Apps and Services category). So a really different set of emotions there. Sort of surreal in some ways to have this juxtaposition.

I haven’t said much about either of these things publicly yet–it’s hard to know what to say, really. So I think that all I can really do is offer thanks for all the support.

I’ll be sending a separate thanks to some folks regarding the more personal stuff. But here I wanted to send a special shout out to my many friends and colleagues who helped me on the path toward MVP, and who continue to be of great encouragement.

SUCCESS Computer Consulting

SUCCESS is truly a great company to work for. Management and co-workers alike have been very accommodating of my erratic schedule this year, and on top of that, the management team has allowed me to pursue many various interests besides. Brent Morris, our Sales and Marketing VP, has been particularly supportive of my interests in public speaking, events, publishing and so forth. So thank you, Brent.

Brandon Nohr, our CTO and my longtime co-worker, gets a special shout-out here since he is the original ITProMentor. Brandon has taught me countless lessons over the years (most of them not even technical in nature), and offered me a lot of help and guidance as I was “growing up” in tech.

Several MVP’s

These are people who took time out of their busy lives to answer my questions, or who reached out to me to connect about ideas and share experiences, to encourage my application, offer nominations, etc. Especially: Susan Bradley, Amy Babinchak, Robert Crane, Dave Siebert, Andy Talbot, Daniel Santos and many others. What a great and diverse, global community we have–glad I can be part of it.

My readers and fans

Especially grateful to those who offer candid feedback. I think my #1 fan “at large” is probably David Wanderer, who has been cheering me on for a long time, and who introduced me to the same folks who ultimately nominated me for the MVP award (which was unexpected). So thanks, David. Judd Moore and/or Chris VanAnda share the other top spots in my “local” fan base–they also work with me at SUCCESS, and have been very enthusiastic and vocal supporters since the beginning.

I am always surprised to hear from people all over the globe, daily on my site. Some prefer to leave comments and others go to my contact page. I try to respond to every one of them but I know my replies have been slow this year. Sorry about that, and I really do appreciate the opportunity to communicate with people that I have inspired or helped in some way.

My wife Elizabeth

A lot of what I do as a community contributor is on top of my “day job” and that means it eats into family time, at least some of the time. I am sure those of you out there who share this other part time job with me understand what I’m talking about. She has been so supportive of my interests and pursuits, and besides that she is just the smartest and most compassionate human I know. I’m a super lucky guy.


Prior to this year I haven’t really been a person who talks to God. As a philosophy major in college I had a lot of interest in the “topic of God” — we spent a fair amount of time musing about God’s existence and in some cases, attempting to read the mind of God. That was sort of an abstract relationship.

But this year, for the first time, I felt the presence of God. And I realized in that same moment that the Presence has always been there–it was as though I had always known but somehow forgotten. Strange experience, indeed. Unfortunately waking up to this reality sometimes takes a crisis–like a cancer diagnoses.

And although I asked: No, I still don’t know why bad things are allowed to happen to good people–I suspect that might just be a poorly formed question. My “experience” gave me no indication one way or another, it was just like, “Here I am. Where I always was.” That was it.

In any case, I do feel compelled to say Thank You to this mysterious Being who, I believe, is the Source of all things. So I guess that makes me a believer.

Didn’t get here on my own

Basically, what I’m saying is that I have been extremely blessed this year (and in all the years leading up to this, really). So many people have been part of where I’m at today–and not everyone on Earth has had such an amazing “leg up”–I’m not blind to that, either. I live in an amazing era, in one of the World’s historically safest and most affluent places. I’m very grateful for the opportunities which have and continue to present themselves each day.

Think how lucky we all are to have work in this industry! Think about how amazing and ubiquitous technology is becoming, and how quickly it is all changing–sure this has its challenges too, but it’s also helping to expand the “opportunity sphere” all over the globe, and I’m glad to be part of that.

So Thank You, 2019, I will carry it forward, and here’s to 2020: Merry Christmas, and Happy Holidays of all other varieties to my followers around the World. I can’t wait to see you all in the New Year!

Comments (12)

  • Jacob Reply

    Thanks for all the advice. All very pertinent!
    Merry Christmas

    December 24, 2019 at 7:35 am
    • Alex Reply

      Merry Christmas.

      December 25, 2019 at 8:27 pm
  • FargoJoe Reply

    Congratulations on the MVP award and the success of your blog. I hope only the best for your wife. We have a close friend going through breast cancer treatment. I have seen first hand what it takes and I know it is a trial for you and her other supporters. From my perspective, I’ve learned a lot from your blog and I refer to it routinely. You provide a great service to those of us out here in the trenches. Blessings to you and your family.

    December 24, 2019 at 8:11 am
    • Alex Reply

      Thanks, Joe!

      December 25, 2019 at 8:27 pm
  • Oleg K Reply

    Thank you for all the work here. Though my job now is not much related to M365 (at least for now) i still found this interesting and engaging. Wish you strength and happy holidays to your family. Looking forward to 2020 ;)

    December 24, 2019 at 8:56 am
    • Alex Reply

      Oleg! I should have included you in my list of long-time supporters; don’t think I haven’t noticed that you “like” almost all of my posts!

      December 25, 2019 at 8:27 pm
  • Rkast Reply

    Congrats with multiple things. This great blog and content, your MVP and nice job, your supportive family. But most important wish you and your wife all the best and stay strong.

    December 25, 2019 at 1:29 pm
    • Alex Reply

      Many thanks!

      December 25, 2019 at 8:26 pm
  • Andy Reply

    Congrats on another year and the MVP award. On a curious note – does your company mind you giving away the secrets? I’ve gained some useful tips and training this year from your, so thanks to you and your business.
    Sorry to hear about your wife’s diagnosis. Best wishes and prayers for a speedy recovery!

    December 26, 2019 at 5:36 am
    • Alex Reply

      For the benefit of not only us, but the world, I share information. I do not ask for permission. The fact is, the world is undergoing a major digital transformation initiative; the move to cloud-based architectures is a bigger leap than from Novell to Windows, for instance. No way our little company could do all the work, but we can certainly contribute to the community of best practices and knowledge that will help make this transition a reality.

      December 27, 2019 at 4:54 pm
  • Ron Kautz Reply

    Great to know you Alex, my very best to you and yours, please be assured the presence is real, do what you can and let him do what you cannot. Thank you so much for sharing.

    January 12, 2020 at 1:15 pm
  • Andrew Reply

    Your posts on decommissioning SBS 2011 server have been super helpful to me, thank you! My compassion and prayers for you and your wife as you struggle through this. I have experienced that Presence you speak of, and have found a deep comfort in that Presence in my difficult moments. There is a book by C. S. Lewis called “The Problem of Pain” which offers some thoughts on “why bad things are allowed to happen to good people” but ultimately concludes that no explanation, only God’s presence with us, makes a real difference in our pain. I’m sure there would be a copy in your local library in case it is helpful on your journey.

    Thank you again for your excellent contributions to the IT world!

    January 20, 2020 at 12:45 pm

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