Category Archives: Mindful

Growing up Army Strong.

I wrote an article for my HOA newsletter and shared it here to expand my thanks for those that serve as well as the military family members.

I try to have a daily practice of gratitude. It helps me start my day with a positive frame of mind. To me, this is more important than ever in these challenging times. It’s easy for me to look around and count my blessings. The community I live in looks out for each other, and I feel fortunate to be a part of it.

I’m enjoying meeting community members and expanding my friendship circles that being a volunteer board member has afforded me. I highly recommend joining a committee, or even better, serving on the board. We have several openings this October. I’ve mentioned on several occasions that this community reminds me of living on a military base and that is because of the love and support of military families that bond together as a loved one serves.

I see that same caring for each other in this community and it reminds me of another deeper gratitude. Being raised a brat. The fact that I choose to serve in the Air Force doesn’t diminish my gratitude at growing up an Army Brat. Being Army strong served me well as an airman and civilian. I am grateful for all those who serve our country and add to that the immense gratitude for the service of the military family. They didn’t stand in front of a flag, raise their hand and swear to protect this great country, yet they make sacrifices every day.

I thank the parents that raised a child that commits themselves to this country. How, despite your worry, your hearts must burst with pride. I thank the spouse that stands by the soldier and braves all the hardships of deployment, long absences, packing and unpacking with a supportive smile and an “I’ve got this, don’t worry about us” mindset. I thank the kids that try their best to be brave, walking into new schools time and time again. Leaving old friends behind and opening their hearts to new ones, all the while trying to behave as to not reflect badly on the parent serving. It wasn’t all hardships. Living a military life, be it as a spouse, service member or child, builds resilience. The diversity of new cultures and environments enriches our lives in ways that cannot be measured. As we learned to be adaptable, we found ourselves able to adjust to change with a tuck and roll attitude that calms others around us that may not be as comfortable with it. So, if you know a military family, be sure to thank them for their service as well.

Which cover?

Does anyone else build their covers before the book is complete? I like to have a final cover once I vet my story out. It helps me manifest the final product. I can’t decide between these two covers. The story is about a dog that helps his owner find love. That makes me lean toward the dog with the flowers.

Please let me know what you think.

Staying authentic and genuine.

I woke up this morning and enjoyed reading people’s posts. The emotions were raw as words spilled out about fears, growth, happiness, and having loved and lost with hopes of letting go and loving again. I want to send a heartfelt thanks to all those who put into words so eloquently all the emotions and experiences I can relate to. I am inspired to get back into writing and reading WordPress.

WordPress is such a juxtaposition against the social media posts that hold smiling faces drinking coffee watching the morning sunrise from their deck or vacation spot and a glass of wine at sunset. Everyone’s kids are excelling in sports, graduating, and getting married. Spouses are the most loving, supportive partners. Congratulations on another year of a happy and content life.

Recently a friend posted a comment on social media about having loved someone without regret but negatively commented about the experience. I reached out to make sure she was okay because she usually posts positive comments. She was fine, just going through the ups and downs of a relationship that had ended. She called me a few days later and told me a family member wanted her to take down the post. It wasn’t the message she should be sending. I told her to leave it, it was authentic and genuine, and it was how she felt. Life’s not always about cute cat videos and plastered smiles. I told her I would have never known to reach out to make sure she is okay had I not seen that comment. Sadly, anyone who dares to post a real emotion or struggle seems to be shot down with comments about the inappropriateness of airing dirty laundry. Somehow WordPress has escaped this, and for that, I am grateful.

Word Prompt Derail

Don’t let not having a gym membership derail getting exercise.

Max is so good about racing around the yard and running around the house with his toys. He loves it; you can see the joy spilling out of him.

MAX JUMPING OFF DECK

Photo by Jim Antich

Don’t let not having a gym membership derail your exercise routine. My pup Max has shifted my thinking on exercise. It’s not just about putting time in at the gym or even just moving; it’s about loving that you are moving. I’m still working on getting more exercise but I’m following Max’s lead, and I pick activities I love. I live across the street from the most beautiful trail and walking it is such a peaceful experience. It combines my pamper “me time” with exercise. I also picked Zumba. I love music, I love dancing, and I love how everyone laughs and has a good time.

Pick something you love so exercise is something you get to do, not something you have to do. You are less likely to make excuses about why you can’t fit it in. I won’t bore you with the health benefits; you have heard all that before.

#FOWC

Sit with your heart before you write. 

I learned a valuable technique for writing quite by accident. I invite you to try it. It will take your novel writing to a whole new level.

I am a project manager by day and my first PM job was to work with our IT department to transfer our data over to a new platform. This was my first experience as a PM and I worked under a senior project manager that was very difficult to work with. She would make grown men cry. I kid you not.

I’ll call her Sybil and yes, I am referring to the movie about a woman with multiple personalities. I wasn’t sure if this PM was bi-polar or if she suffered from insecurities or mood swings but she would run hot and cold in the same meeting. She could start off attacking and then switch to supportive or start off supportive and switch to attacking. Every session was like walking on eggshells.

The example I am going to give is the event that set me off on my Netflix binge of watching documentaries of people with mental illness. I needed to understand her and was hoping to glean insights as to how not to take it personally and learn how to communicate with her in a way that wouldn’t trigger an attack. I was operating on the “look what you made me do” principal that I had to have done something to trigger the change.

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Sometimes good is good enough.

I saw a quote on my calendar today, and I have to disagree respectfully. I get where the person is going, but I let go of some of my perfectionism over the years, and it has freed up my task list tremendously. The quote… If better is possible, good is not enough. – unknown-

Sometimes good is good enough. I learned this with my tasks and tasks I delegate.
There is a significant step in delegating that I think most people miss. This applies especially to the perfectionist. When you assign, it should be the same as bringing it down, tying a pretty bow on it, and crossing it off the list. Give it away 100%. When I first delegated, I would keep ownership. I was a hovercraft. I watched over the person I gave it to, making sure they did it right (also known as assuring they did it my way, which was the perfect way, I thought).
I would take the completed task, examine it for perfection, make tweaks, or end up redoing it because the result wasn’t what I had in mind. Dear God, delegating was killing me. It added steps and time to getting ‘er done. Whose brilliant idea was it to delegate?
I was missing a crucial component. Assign to someone and release. Trust the person you gave it to and don’t be a backseat driver. There are plenty of things on your list that has you at the wheel. Everyone grows and learns when he or she empowered to own a task from start to finish. Let it go, shake off the need to have something perfect, and trust it is getting done. In the beginning, it will be hard. Resist the desire to redo the dishes after your teenager washes them. They may not be as scrubbed as you like but will you die of dysentery if the plates can’t be used as surgical instruments?
Pick your times when good is good enough. If I’m creating a report or document for Senior Leadership or a customer facing document, better is the goal. But most days, good works. I’ve also learned that if I haven’t finished everything on my list at the end of the day, I’ve still done enough. There is always tomorrow!

Retrospective Mind

Daily Prompt
Retrospective

Today’s daily prompt put me in a retrospective frame of mind. I’ve been trying to practice being more mindful and staying present both at work and in my personal life. I can definitely see the benefits. It has helped me savor the moments, be more engaged and focused.

I’m a project manager and at the end of a project we take a retrospective look back at what worked and didn’t work. The comments are discussed, documented and procedures are tweaked as applicable for the next project. I realized my mindful practice helped me to break down the issues more readily than in past projects. Having a present awareness during the project seemed to store things in my long-term-memory for easier recall when it came time to drill into the lessons learned. Is this possible or is it my imagination?  Anyone else have similar experiences?

Life after a brain bleed. #Second Chances

Second Chance Mission

Second Chance Club

Expect

#Second_Chances by Joyce Kostakis

I glance at the calendar and remember that it is my one year anniversary. It is a good one. October 20, 2016, I joined the Second Chance club. I suffered a brain bleed and was hospitalized for eight days.

On my second or third day in the hospital, my doctor makes his morning rounds. “You are lucky to be alive,” he tells me as thoughts of I’d rather be dead than feel this level of pain race through my head. As if he can read my mind, he assures me the pain will go away. Thank God. I am relieved. I choose to believe him. I can expect this pain to go away.

“When?” I ask.

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