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“Snowflakes are one of nature's most fragile things, but just look what they can do when they stick together.”
– Vesta M. Kelly  
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  Volume No. 15 Issue No. 12 December 2018  

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   Meanderings in review
  By Mark Stoller

   Mark Stoller is a nine-year resident of Colorado. He and his wife, Andra, both U.S. Air Force veterans, moved to Falcon in 2007 and are now raising their three teenage daughters in Latigo. They enjoy their home on the prairie with plenty of room for their six adopted dogs, bagpipes & Celtic Festivals and beekeeping. Mark enjoys the privilege of his wife and daughters being his muse for topics, people to meet and places to investigate.
2019 is on the horizon! I thought we would look back and see what we discovered in this year’s meanderings.
   
   January — New Year’s resolutions: Identify the purpose of goals and work hard to achieve them. Invoke both the emotional and logical sections of your brain to articulate resolutions, utilize micro-commitments of time to achieve goals, and have a level of accountability.
   
   February — Pack lightly: The Roman stoic philosopher, Seneca, once wrote, “We suffer more from imagination than from reality.” Too many emotional hang-ups (expectations, fear, anxiety) and baggage from the past weigh us down — positive attitude is king, and it is the greatest resource we all have inside.
   
   March — Loss and hope: We mourned the loss of El Paso County Deputy Sheriff Micah Flick. His wife, Rachel, rightly lamented there is a “cultural epidemic of a lack of respect for law enforcement and authority.” The war on law enforcement has got to stop.
   
   April — Spring cleaning: It is a centuries old activity. The KonMarie method of tidying up your home and life requires you to ask yourself the question, “Does it spark joy?” Everything you keep must have its proper place.
   
   May — Veterans and PTSD: a review of the movie, Thank You for Your Service. There exists a greater understanding of PTSD and traumatic brain injury with available modern therapies. That said, there is a generation of warriors still suffering and in need of help.
   
   June — Look Up!: Phubbing is the act of snubbing someone in a social setting by concentrating on one’s phone instead of talking to the person directly. It’s caused by smartphone addiction, the fear of missing out, and a complete lack of self-control. Remember, friends don’t let friends surf and phub!
   
   July — Independence: Independence Day had greater personal meaning this year. Our oldest daughter, Alex, left home to attend college. I went from fully involved father to taking a leap of faith to let go. Today, I am her long-distance shoulder and sounding board.
   
   August — Brain health: Brain plasticity refers to the brain's ability to change at any age — for better or worse. The brain care trifecta must be respected: diet, sleep and exercise. I need to exercise my brain, build the cognitive reserve and enjoy the memories I have and hope to create.
   
   September — Event or experience: Create memories through interactive experiences. Also, barefoot walks in the grass is called “earthing.” Studies have shown the earth has its own natural charge and humans seem to be healthier when there is direct contact with it.
   
   October — Vision boards: Maintaining the status quo, being reactive and just showing up to life isn’t going to cut it anymore. Using the vision board to identify achievements and desires, I’ll commit myself to results, plan a path to accomplish ideas and goals I have been thinking about but not implementing.
   
   November — Truly thankful: The gratitude jar’s purpose is to be available for anyone, anytime to grab some paper and write down statements of success, appreciation and gratitude. We collectively spend much of the year reminded of and in pursuit of things we don’t have. With a gratitude jar, we could spend more than just Thanksgiving to be in the moment and write down the positive in our lives.
   
   December is the Christmas season. We live in a world gone mad –- or at least one that wants to stay mad at everything — all the time. Regardless of your beliefs and affiliations, this is the season of “… and on earth peace, good will toward man.” This is our community. We can all make the effort to be at peace with each other while we choose a technique above to improve ourselves.
   
   Merry Christmas to you and yours!
  
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