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February 21, 2020 3 min read 6 Comments

Welcome to this week’s edition of "Just a few things," a weekly blog dedicated to sharing a few things I've been doing, thinking, reading or learning throughout the previous week. Many of these things will be inspired by my interactions with you via email or social media... so feel free to drop a comment and share a few things yourself! Let’s get to it:

  • Something I’m reading: Adding another book to the list... The Tattooist of Auschwitz. I'm a little over half way done in 3 days and can say this novel is beautifully written. The rhythm of the writing and pace of the book leaves you hanging on every word.

    From the book: Based on the real-life experiences of Holocaust survivor Ludwig (Lale) Sokolov, author Heather Morris’s novel is a testament to the human spirit and the power of love to bloom in even the darkest places. And it’s hard to imagine a place darker than the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camps. In 1942, Lale is rounded up with other Slovakian Jews and sent to Auschwitz. Once there, he is given the job oftätowierer, inking numbers into the arms of frightened prisoners at a sickening rate. One of these prisoners is a young woman named Gita--and in spite of their plight, they fall in love. Lale’s position as thetätowierer gives him privileges but does not shield him from the brutality of the camps. Time and again he risks his life to help his fellow prisoners, and my heart was in my throat at the chances he took for Gita and others. Despite the passing of years and the ever present threat of death, Lale and Gita never stop believing in a future together where they can live as husband and wife.

    Pick it up in your local bookstore or on Amazon:

  • Something that inspired me: Wednesday evening of this week I posted the following on Facebook and Instagram:

    "Thinking of the deployed moms and dads tonight. My corporate gig has required a lot of my time as of late, which is cutting into the time I get to spend with my boy. But, as he snuggled into my shoulder tonight after reading, I realized how lucky I am to still get to come home, tuck him in and kiss him good night. I can’t imagine how tough it is putting your little one in bed one night and knowing the next day you’d be heading out for a 9-12 month trip. These are the moments I won’t understand and the strength I won’t know because I didn’t have a wife or kids when I deployed... and these are the moments most Americans don’t think of when they watch the news or watch war flicks. Thank you to all of our service members, but a special thanks goes out tonight to those deployed with little ones back home."

    The response across both platforms was amazingly positive. Often times posts like these are spontaneous and every time they're from the heart. I have no intention of changing minds or perceptions through them, but this one seemed to give a moment of pause to the readers and help them see the struggle of deployments in a different light.

    Thank you to those of you who weighed in and shared your deployment experience or new way of seeing our military.

  • Something I’m struggling with: A caveat to this one is that I'm not complaining at all, but doing nothing more than sharing a real life struggle. Time management is elusive. My corporate job has been undergoing a transformational change for the better part of a year now and the demands of the work have been greatly increasing, reaching a climax this week and next. They aren't physical desmans (I mean, come on, it's an office job), but the mental exhaustion at the end of the day is real. 

    Combat Flags is taking a hit because of it, but I'm hoping things clear up and balance back out in a week or two. In the meantime, bear with me. My focus has been, rightfully so, on my family and the corporate gig, but I'm not loving seeing Combat Flags take a dip.

  • Something I need from you: Not a huge ask, I promise. One simple question: What do you do for inspiration? When times are tough or when you're so stuck in the process of life, what do you do to influence creativity?

Alright, that wraps up this week's edition of Just a Few Things. I encourage you to leave a comment on this post or on social media to let me know a few things of your own!

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6 Responses

Kelly S. Foster
Kelly S. Foster

February 22, 2020

I have one of those letter boards, with the little plastic letters, it is mounted next to my treadmill, I lovingly call it my “dreadmill”. I chose lyrics from songs or sayings I like and post them there biweekly, to keep me on track. My friend was like “why do you do that, seems like a waste of time”, It’s just this small little thing just for me. When I am running I look over and read my inspiration it makes me feel like I matter.


February 21, 2020

What do I do for inspiration? I am sometimes in the dark when it comes to inspiration, but things are more clear when I am reading the words of God and talking with him on a regular basis. Life can be hard sometimes. Watching your kids go through hard things are tough. I have a son in the military and that is one of the hardest things I have on my plate and most of it is the unknown. I have always been very involved in my kids lives and I have had to take a step back and trust him and have faith in him and God.
I am about to start reading the Tattooist of Auschwitz. I cant wait. Right now I am reading Educated by Tara Westover. It is a very good book.
Thank you for doing what you do.

kathy nadon
kathy nadon

February 21, 2020

Sometimes, just talking out loud with God helps me.
I read the Tattooist also. I couldn’t put it down. Heart wrenching but yet you couldn’t wait to find out in the end.
Something inspiring. You inspire me. I love that you speak from the heart! Thank you for that!!!!!

Thank you so much for what you do, and I wish I could volunteer to do something/anything for your company. Living in Wisconsin sucks. lol

kathy nadon

Maggie Turner
Maggie Turner

February 21, 2020

Being older and keeping my mind clearer I do jigsaw puzzles of interesting places or beautiful scenes. It calms you and takes you away from your stress.

Craig Hoffman
Craig Hoffman

February 21, 2020

As someone who recently retired from “the corporate gig” I can fully relate to the grind you describe – it is life sucking. It actually made me feel a bit better to read your words about this. Coming from a guy who has served, been through what you been through finding the office job exhausting. The only thing that kept me sane is I ride dirt bikes with buddies. Have even shaped and to be honest limited my career to live out west where one can still breathe free and ride (at least for now). That activity is only limited by one’s skill and sense of self preservation.

Perhaps it is a “guy thing” but breathing free and rippin’ on the bike is a sweet antidote for all those stressful times in the office, when I had to hold my tongue and not punch somebody in the face who desperately needed it. Or for that pent up can’t breathe stress from having far more work than time. A glass of wine helped too, when I took the laptop home and my brain was buzzing and too fried to carry on. A glass of wine calmed my fried brain and allowed me to move one more damn widget.

Pent up office stress is real and it does take a toll. I guess we men are wired in a way that we do need to test and exert ourselves. Hit the gym, get outside, hike, bike, whatever works for you. Physical activity and spiritual peace from knowing Jesus as Lord and savior. That is how I got through it.

After 30 years, I received a pension and health insurance to 65. Now semi retired at 57 and doing the same thing I always did, no benefits but don’t need then due to the retirement, and making more dough than before while working a lot less hard. Would have done it years ago if health insurance was not so expensive. Had my annual physical, my Doc even noticed that my blood numbers are better. Stress absolutely has a physical impact on our bodies. We need to be aware of that and intentional in our efforts to mitigate it as best we can. I could have done a better job in that area.

So on I go, I have two girls in college. It never ends, but I read your words, you are a strong guy, you can carry the weight. It is what we were built for brother…

Sherry Helm
Sherry Helm

February 21, 2020

What I do for inspiration, I go outside and take a deep breathe and just look around at the trees, flowers, snow, clouds in the sky, stars at night, full moon, feel the sun on my face. It makes me realize I’m alive and it just clears my mind of everything going on In life.

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