Here we are in week 4 of the challenge, with just one more to go. I cannot stress enough how amazed, impressed, and moved I have been with some of the responses. And with others amused, informed, and even entertained. The heartfelt and thoughtful responses from both occasional posters and regulars alike has become a cathartic way for me to take 30 days assessing the year from various perspectives: how was 2016 for the IT industry, for my career, and for my personal growth with so often takes a back seat to other things which appear, in the moment, to be priorities but of course are not once the clarity of hindsight kicks in.


I know from the comments that many of you feel the same.


So what caught my eye this week?


Day 17: Awaken

Head Geek Destiny Bertucci (Dez) offered up a poem by Naima (Micah - Wikipedia ) on the theme of the day and how this poem has inspired her. In response,

THWACK MVP rschroeder wrote, “Uffda!  That's quite a poem.  But some topics within it are too heavy for a Saturday morning.  So I'll stay cozy in my bed and wonder why I'd awaken so early on a cold and snowy northern Minnesota morning.”


Another THWACK MVP, jeremymayfield, had this to offer:

“When I think of awaken, I think of an inner spirit.   As a Christian I feel that we awaken our spirits when we are baptized, and we have to continue to recharge and feed that spirit with scripture, service, and prayer.  We can awaken our love for something and someone.   We can also awaken a desire or need to be better.   I find that there are time we awaken a sleeping giant in ourselves which can both inspire and drive us to great heights than we could ever imagine.”


And was far more realistic about the meaning of “awaken” in his daily life:  “my mind has been awaken to the idea that my kids wake up really early. My body, not so much.”


Day 18: Ask

In his fourth essay of the challenge, senior product manager Ben Garves (thegreateebzies) took us on a trip down search engine memory lane, causing silverwolf to echo the sentiments of many: 

“Oh gawd... memories...gawd now I feel not crying, YOU'RE crying!”


Meanwhile opined that

“I think in IT, as important as knowing things is knowing who to ask things. We cannot know everything, although I sometimes think my friends ssd and mikegale do know everything.”


And mldechjr took a biblical turn, saying,
“Although this is a biblical reference it is true with many things in life.  I found out many times when dealing people that that they might have been willing to do something or participate if they had been asked. That goes both ways, if you want to join in, ask and you will probably be welcomed with open arms.  Don't be silent!”


Day 19: Judge

For the 19th day of the challenge, resident poet network defender captured the thoughts of many of the other posters, offering this verse:

Try not judge your fellow man

We’re all dealt a different hand,

Go walk a mile in his shoes

Try expanding your narrow views.


But quoted the thoughts of one of IT’s greatest philosophers, Yoda:

“Size matters not. Look at me. Judge me by my size, do you? Hmm? Hmm. And well you should not. For my ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is. Life creates it, makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us and binds us. Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter. You must feel the Force around you; here, between you, me, the tree, the rock, everywhere, yes. Even between the land and the ship.” - Yoda


And THWACK MVP rschroeder began (as he does almost every day) with a definition and then his thoughts:

Day 19: Judge:    to form an opinion about, through careful weighing of evidence and testing of premises

I seek to reduce my judging other people and systems as much as possible.

Where judging must occur, I hope to do it impartially and only by fact and experience, leaving rumor or opinion or prejudice behind.


Day 20: Fulfill

The post for day 20 came from Anne Guidry, the editorial genius behind much of the content you see. She offered the key to her quiet brilliance when she wrote “I believe in making an effort, showing up, doing the hard work that has to be done, because work that is hard is fulfilling.”


This inspired mtgilmore1 to share a quote from Joel Osteen:

"We live in a culture that relishes tearing others down. It's ultimately more fulfilling, though, to help people reach their goals. Instead of feeling jealous, remember: If God did it for them, He can do it for you."


Meanwhile, THWACK MVP Radioteacher echoed an idea expressed by many for this day’s word:

“I am really fortunate.  At the end of most every day I see progress.  It is a very fulfilling work.”


And EBeach was quite pragmatic (and complimentary) when they said, “Thwack order got fulfilled in 3 days. How nice it is. Got the hoodie.”


Day 21: Love

Senior Director Jenne Barbour’s (jennebarbour) writing MO is to take her experiences of the day and relate them to the word for that day. Which led to a post full of thoughts about food and family.


That, in turn, inspired tomiannelli to write, “My music collection is not larger by some measures, yet it contains 245 songs [16 hours] with Love in the title. Myriad ways of describing an intense emotion. […] Expressing love to another, just in words, can be scary, but worth the risk. Taking that leap feels like you are falling off a cliff but focusing on love will make you miss the ground and that is all it takes to fly!”


THWACK MVP rschroeder Pulled a quote from Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land: “Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.”


But Richard Phillips caught me off guard when he opened up to the community, saying “Learn to appreciate the love(s) that you have in your life while you have them. Learn to reciprocate that love. Build memories so that you have something to hang onto once "it's gone."”

But you really need to read his whole post for context and to appreciate the elegance of his thoughts.


Day 22: End

Ironically, Head Geek Patrick Hubbard (patrick.hubbard) begins his challenge posting series with this word.


Meanwhile, network defender poesizes (is that even a word?)

It’s the end of the world as we’ve known it

The PC Police have shown it

You can’t say what you think

Or the snowflakes will sink

I think society has finally blown it.


But pattic quoted one of the four modern apostles (John, Paul, George, and Ringo)

And in the end the love you take

Is equal to the love you make

  • Paul McCartney


And THWACK MVP rschroeder offered both sides of the coin, saying “The end of a hard project.  The end of a tough week.  The end of a bad time.  It's like a super hero that arrives in time to prevent me from making a big mistake.  I can THINK the thoughts, but must never give voice to them.


The end of a wonderful project.  The end of a great week.  The end of a fun time.  It's like a refreshing experience that lightens one's burdens and gives one strength to turn and look ahead at the next adventures awaiting us.”


Day 23: Begin

On the last day of week 4 of the challenge, miseri pondered what it means to begin: “To begin can mean many things - a second chance, start of a new thing or even to take another way on the journey you are.  I am always excited about beginnings but we sometimes can get tired of new things when we think we have made enough use of them. The best way to live life is to view each day, each moment and each opportunity as the beginning of a stage in your life.


THWACK MVP jeremymayfield continued this line of personal introspection, saying, “How can I begin to begin.  Its often said when you fail you can always begin again.   In know this personally.   […]  To truly begin again is to let yourself be free of the pains, and issues that had driven you away from where you were going, or who you were and the person you wanted to be. Take time to reflect on the truly important things in life.  Make sure you appreciate what you have, and if you don't now is your time to begin again.”


And THWACK MVP rschroeder wrapped up by saying,

I'd begin to see the end of conflict, not its start.

A fresh new love, not a broken heart

A fresh sunrise at the break of day

Or a full moon's rise--that's my way


The cure that brings hope

A new DHCP scope

A flower's new bloom,

Not democracy's doom


I hope you all have been enjoying these posts as much as I have. I’m looking forward to what next week has to offer.


  • Leon