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:
Someone I met: This week I met someone in person who I've been texting with for over a year. It's an amazing story and one I'm excited to share in more detail later on. For now, though, know that I met with one of the strongest human beings I've ever known, Vonda Rodgers. Vonda is a Gold Star Mom who lost her son, SGT Joshua Rodgers, on April 27, 2017, in Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan. SGT Rodgers was a team leader with C Company, 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, out of Fort Benning, Georgia. Vonda and I came in contact by way of Returning the Favor and I'm so very happy to have come to know her.
Something I read: Sometimes Twitter actually provides valuable content, not just angry people :) Earlier this week I stumbled across a tweet linking to a story in the New York Times about two Auschwitz survivors who fell in love in the camp, but who were separated at the end of the war. They both went on to live extraordinary lives and found each other again after 67 years. Their paths after leaving Auschwitz are things novels are made of and their determination to live their best lives is something we should all strive for. Give yourself a quiet 10 minute and read this story: https://nyti.ms/36oSFB7
Something I'm working on: In the spirit of constant improvement, I'm still working to fully transition order fulfillment from me to a veteran-owned fulfillment center. After Fox Business I quickly learned that I'm not capable of doing everything 100% myself, and order fulfillment was the first area I looked to outsource. It's an added cost for sure, but when I think about the amount of time I spend packaging and shipping AND thinking about packaging and shipping, it seems like a no brainer.
Something I'm thinking about: As I write this news about Iran firing rockets at our troops is still fresh in my mind. I remember seeing the initial invasion as a teenager and feeling a rush. But as an adult the news about the launches struck me quite differently. We're a nation at war, and have been for nearly 2 decades now, but this one hit differently. Maybe because it's the first "attack" since my boy was born or perhaps it's because the action could be the start to something bigger... I'm not sure. Regardless, I'm worried about our servicemen and women out there fighting the good fight on our behalf.
Something I want back: Ugh, getting my routine back! Between the holidays, moving homes, Combat Flags and the day job, my routine is all out of whack. As a person who thrives on a good routine, this is crushing me.
Alright, that wraps up this week's edition of Just a Few Things. Feel free to drop a comment with a response to one of the "somethings" I talk about here, or drop a comment with your own win/loss/lesson/thing from the week.
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The bad news is that a few of my established partners have had to close down their production, which means I can’t place new orders for products like the 3x5 foot camo flags. I’m nearly out of the Army/Air Force and Marine Corps flags, and once they’re gone I’m not sure how long it will take to get things back up and running. Another example is that of the Combat Patch. I’ve been working on a slight redesign of the patch and was so EXCITED to have found a local veteran-owned embroidery shop and we had JUST finalized the new patch when NC put in place a mandatory stay at home order.
It's funny... last week I was burning through books and this week I have slowed WAY down. I plan to startOn Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman today and have two more in queue. I'm increasingly interested in this topic and how it connects to the difficulty in transitioning from the military to civilian life.
Just a friendly reminder to remember to keep in contact with your buddies during these uncertain times. Whether it be isolation or anxiety due to the news, make sure they know they aren’t alone. Be a beacon of hope and courage and set the example for those around you. I feel the need to caveat this with the fact that I am not a medical or mental health professional, but isolation can often times exacerbate underlying anxiety or feelings of depression and separation. Give them a call, a text, FaceTime, or Facebook video chat. I don’t really care, just check in and be a good friend and human.