Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Soundtracks: Out Today!


I am a big fan of Jon Acuff. He has a great social media game and is always positive and fun. But also what he has to say is usually what I am longing to hear. So when I got the chance to read a preview copy of his new book, Soundtracks, I had to take it. 

I am a complete overthinker. My friends and coworkers often say "you are so calm," but that's not true at all. I just don't say out loud the frenzy of thoughts in my head. I have probably already conjured up and overthought all the possible pitfalls of whatever it is that is going on, and have come up with plans to fix problems that haven't even happened yet. Or I am distracted because I am reviewing all the things that have already happened that didn't go well. Sometimes this is helpful - running through possible risks and outcomes is a handy tool for raising kids and managing people - but over doing it can be exhausting.

Jon gets this. He defines overthinking as "when what you think gets in the way of what you want."  It's a soundtrack that plays over and over, stealing your time, creativity and presence. Every time a soundtrack plays in your mind, Jon says you need to ask three questions: Is it true? Is it helpful? Is it kind? 

How many times have you accepted a judgement about yourself without actually asking these questions out loud. I had a boss once that was incredibly hard to read. I was convinced that he thought I was terrible at my job. Then one day he complimented me (to another person) in his usual gruff way (something along the lines of the squadron did well while the commander was deployed - very effusive). Woah. How much time had I spent worried that he thought I was a terrible leader?

More than just these three questions, Jon's book has tools and tips to change your soundtrack. Not eliminate it, but flip it, and turn it into a super power. He is a great writer and the book is a fun read. It's full of great stories of his own, many others, and even the science behind how and why we overthink. Despite my best intentions, I rarely finish any self-help books, but this one I sure did. It was that engaging. I took many notes as I read it, and plan to listen to it now that the audio book is out. I know you will enjoy it too!

You can order the book today (on Amazon or your favorite bookseller), and if you do before April 9th, you'll get the audio book for free! Go to this website to claim the bonus audio book after your make your purchase. 

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Rethinking the Lost Year

As we have rounded past the first anniversary of the pandemic in the United States, I find the paper full of articles referring the the last year as "the lost year." Usually the articles fall into the "this just sucks, doesn't it?" category (totally valid), but one or two have highlighted interesting pivots and silver linings. This article about a couple who befriended vultures is pretty cool (really).  My friend Missy's stories about deciding to buy the quirky AirBnB farm they had stayed in as their post-Air Force home were also pretty cool (read all about it here).

But I don't want to call this a lost year. Sure, everything changed as far as how we spend time together, how we work, and where we can travel. People have lost loved ones and jobs. Kids have lost out on so much of the joy that fills up a childhood. 

But you can't have the good without the balance of bad - how else could you to know how to appreciate it? You can't learn without being challenged. How much do you remember from that class that you breezed through compared to the class that you had to work and struggle though just to pass? We are so close to "normal" right now - I love the joyous excitement in peoples voices and they talk about returning to school and getting vaccinated. 

Look back and know that you bested the challenge, and look forward with joy to those every day events that you can appreciate now so much more.

(or not :-))

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

I'm Just Not That In To You

I had already been thinking about abandoning my latest meal tracking/diet app when I came across this very sage advice from @thelovelandfoundation. I am ready to leave behind all my overthinking on how I eat. And chirpy reminders to log and report what I've eaten just fuels that fire. It's a hard soundtrack to dismiss, the "How could you?" soundtrack after enjoying something really delicious that feels un-allowed.

What is a soundtrack? That's what I am learning about right now. I am currently reading preview copy of a book by Jon Acuff on overthinking, called Soundtracks. Soundtracks are thoughts you tell yourself over and over - repetitive overthinking if you will. Jon says overthinking is "one of the most expensive things in the world because it wastes time, creativity, and productivity. It's an epidemic of inaction, a tsunami of stuckness..." I couldn't agree more and can't wait to share more with you! It's due out April 6th.


Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Essential Travel Rules

As we get closer to vaccinating our population and building herd immunity, we can begin to dream about travel. To a new location, to see loved ones, or to just not be in your house anymore. My son and I were able to go see my mom last weekend, and the trip out west reminded me of some time tested travel rules. 

1. When given a choice of getting on a sooner flight and possibly separating from your luggage, or taking the later flight you've been rebooked on, always ditch the luggage. Clothes are (temporarily) replaceable, the memories of the trip you are headed out on are not. This is even more of a no brainer if you are on your return flight.

2. When your mom offers you snacks for your trip, take them. Especially if they are cookies. Inflight snacks and airport food can never compare.

3. When eating in an unfamiliar restaurant, resist the urge to not order the specialty. More clearly, when  you are at a burger restaurant with an extensive draft beer selection, don't order the Cubano sandwich and a margarita. You might think you are picking something "slightly" more healthy, but it rarely tastes better. In our family, this is known as the "don't order fish tacos when nowhere near the ocean" rule.

4. You can take your laptop and other work with you in your carry on, but a fun book is a far better way to enjoy your flight. You might already feel like you have no boundaries between fun and work during WFH, why not take a break? The less brain-y the better. Lately I have been re-reading the Bridgerton series (thanks Netflix).

5. This inexpensive item, known in our family as the "electronic hooka," is in all of our bags. With the hooka you'll only have to find one outlet way behind the bed in the guest room. Also remember a battery for your e-stuff if you are flying. I always forget, but the men in my family never do, thankfully.

6. Compliments are free and priceless at the same time. My son does this effortlessly. The TSA agent's earrings, the flight attendant's mask, and the gate agent's rad hair style all got compliments from him and he received beaming smiles in return. Amazing.

Celebrate Women's History Month: The Women With Silver Wings

Any women serving in the Air Force today, particularly aviators, owe a huge debt of gratitude to the Women Air Force Service Pilots (WASPs). WASPs gave women with a love of flying a chance to serve their country during WWII. They helped train male pilots and ferried aircraft across the country. Only about 1,100 women made it through the program and earned their wings, and 38 lost their lives serving.

However, once the war ended, the program was disbanded, the women sent home, not even recognized as veterans. The WASPs worked together and finally received the recognition they deserved on November 23rd, 1977, in a law signed by President Jimmy Carter. Fun fact: Hap Arnold's son was one of their advocates.

You can hear all about these incredible pioneers in a FREE virtual book talk sponsored by the National Museum of the United States Army. Author Katherine Sharp Landdeck will be discussing her new book, The Women With Silver Wings, March 18, at 7pm EDT. Professor Landdeck is a writer, Associate Professor at Texas Woman’s University, and globally recognized expert on the Women Air Force Service Pilots of World War II. I have heard her speak before and I know it will be a great event.

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Current Favorite Things

Just a could quick recommendations for you. Because I assume that you will like everything I do :-)

Two podcasts to check out:

The Smartless podcast (in general) but specifically the recent episode with Billie Eilish and Finneas O'Connell. Billie Eilish and her brother have enjoyed recent stratospheric success, but I was impressed by how grounded, unpretentious and just plain charming they were. Give it a listen to hear what the young kids are all raving about.


The For the Love podcast episode featuring Priyanka Chopra Jonas,  Ambition is a Girls Best Friend."Jen and Priyanka dive into why it’s so important to normalize ambition in women and girls, and why putting boots on the ground is crucial to making our dreams a reality." Amen sisters! 

The enthusiasm for those ambitious 2021 fitness goals fading? Give Apple Fitness Plus a try. It works on Apple TV, your computer or your iPhone, and connects in a very apple-y way to your Apple Watch. (Clearly our family is all in on the Fruit). If you already use Apple TV or music or a couple of their other subscriptions, you may save some scratch using Apple One. Switching actually cost us less than what we were already paying and got us Apple Fitness Plus. It's an alternative to Peloton (there are treadmill and bike workouts as well as HITT, Core, Yoga, etc), and has inspired my entire family to get off of the couch more, if only to rag on each other about who is ahead on our rings.

But if you'd rather stay on the couch, and need totally brain candy, check out Bridgerton and Firefly Lane, both on Netflix - Enjoy!

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Small Change, Big Impact


Free the bun! This was the community wide call this week in the Air Force Women Officer's Forum that I am privileged to be a member of. The joy, giddiness, and sweet stories and pictures this week as women with long hair freed the bun was wonderful.

For my non-military readers, some background. Women in the US Air Force must wear their hair either short (above the bottom of the collar) or if long, put up in a bun. I read somewhere that this standard was an effort, when women first entered the military, to ensure they were feminine enough but not so feminine as to tempt husbands to misbehave. Nice. The problem for most women with long hair is that when you have your hair in a tight bun, 40 plus hours a week, you often suffer headaches and scalp issues. And buns don't really work with curly hair. Additionally, protective gear like helmets don't fit as they should. 

This week, the Air Force regulations finally changed to allow braids and pony tails. It seems like such a minor thing (not to discount the 5 years of work many did to make it happen) but the impact is so much more.

It means that women feel seen and heard. It is recognition of the diversity of individuals that make up the Air Force. It gives back precious time to women that before was spent wrestling their hair up into a painful hairstyle. 

What I love the most is how a small thing - tossing the bobby pins and sock bun thingys - has gone a long way to inclusiveness.