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“Be present, always.”

I downloaded “Damn Few: Making the Modern SEAL Warrior” by Rorke Denver on Audible this week. That book got me through last week in a lot of ways, if I’m honest. Seven hours of listening to that book. (I’m in the car A LOT) He narrated his own book, his voice is fantastic. And it was great hearing it in his own words and from himself. I can’t imagine what it takes to be a SEAL, or the wife of a SEAL. I have the utmost respect for the military and their families.

I’ve always had a fascination with the Navy. I considered joining when I was in high school. I didn’t know much about the SEALS. I was recently writing a short story with a military prompt and chose to make one of the characters a SEAL. Because I appreciate authenticity and I need to understand what I’m writing about. My research lead me to “American Sniper” By Chris Kyle. I haven’t finished the book yet but I did a ton of research on him. I watched several videos. I watched interviews with his wife, Taya Kyle, with him and people who knew him. I was instantly hooked. I needed to know everything there was to know about him, his comrads, and the SEALS.

I found Rorke Denver through this research, through realizing he stared in Act of Valor. I had avoided watching it and American Sniper because I wasn’t sure how they would affect me. My anxiety has been difficult to manage since having Bailey. Movies on terror and war tend to make it worse. Thanks to therapy, and the need to be inspired, I watched both. Holy crap. Inspirational, beautiful, moving. I’m almost through Lone Survivor. Anyone with a child knows that sometimes it’s hard to finish a book or a movie, lol.

“Damn Few” was incredible. There’s something in what drives a SEAL that I can’t help finding it inspiring; taking bits and pieces and applying it to real life. Their outlook on life, their drive, their focus. It’s enviable. It’s exceptional. They are the minority. It takes an extraordinary person to do what they do, to make it through that training and then to take it to the battlefield and beyond.

There’s a lot of talk about the mental, physical and spiritual journey that their training takes them through. That’s one of the things I find so interesting about it. The importance of TEAM. In training, BUD/S, they not only build the individual but they build the team. Working in an industry where being a team is so important, I took some things away that will definitely be useful, helpful and that I will pass on.

For me, it’s about the focus. It’s about the drive. It’s about being the best at what you do, working every day to be better. Embracing your faith, embracing your life, embracing truth. Positivity. It’s about pushing yourself beyond what you think you can do. It’s about not taking anything for granted. These are things I’ve been applying to my workouts, applying to my life. Things I hope to teach Bailey.

And remembering that there are people out there who risk their lives every day for our freedom, for what we have. Patriotism. I’m not going to get political, but I love being American. I love what we stand for. And reading books like this, it reminds me of that. I’ve read almost every book on the Kennedys, several on Vietnam and POWs, and I have a special fondness for the Revolutionary War. I have always been an avid reader and a history and military buff. I love that stuff. This book fits right in with that. Denver is strong, passionate about what he believes, what he’s done, his family, his brothers in arms. I can truly appreciate all of these things. I am better for having listened to this book. And believe me, I’ll listen again. It’s been added to my top ten all time favorites.

What’s your favorite book you’ve read lately? I’m always looking for suggestions!

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