I am a walking example of a dichotomy; unique in the sense that my interests and passions are so diverse, they can almost be seemingly opposing; it all seems to work out. I love to read and listen to audio books. I love practicing yoga, lifting, and dancing. My interests also include food of all kinds, making greeting cards (and other crafty things), and DIY beauty stuff. Self-growth is critical to me and I feel even this is part of my journey of practicing wholeheartedness. This site is a part of me expressing my creative self. I am married to a wonderful man who taught me systems so I, for the most part, can find my keys; we have a 20 pounds cat who understands Arabic and loves tomatoes and yogurt.
As an Air Force officer, you are constantly trained and evaluated as a leader. Then there's being a commander; where you are responsible and held accountable for a military unit. I've had the privilege to serve in command four times, stateside and in the deployed environment. I've learned so much about myself and others in these experiences. Nothing thrills me more than accomplishing the mission and assessing individuals and determining what I can do to help them excel.
I grew up wanting to be a detective like Encyclopedia Brown or Nancy Drew...or a movie star...I finally settled on a movie star that played a detective. Alas, it worked out that I found the career most suited for me. In this job I have enjoyed what I call "pinch me" moments where I look around and cannot believe I get paid to do what I do. Incredible adventures and stories, places I've seen all courtesy of Uncle Sam.
Middle East Specialist
I've spent almost 1,000 days in the Middle East, all voluntary. It all started in 2002, post 9-11, when I applied for and was selected for an AF Master's program on National Security Affairs, Middle Eastern studies, at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA that included learning Arabic at the Defense Language Institute. Following graduation, I spent a lot of time traveling to the Middle East in support of our deployed personnel. In 2010 I had my first long-term deployment to Kirkuk; after a six-month return to the United States, I moved to Kuwait for a year. After a year in the DC area, I jumped at the opportunity to go to the desert again for another deployment. I love the Middle East, the culture, and the people; I am so appreciative of all I've learned. I may have sand in my blood...
I simply have things I want to share. My family has always had a knack for writing and for some reason, I always assumed since they were good at it, that must leave me to find some other talent venue. Yet I have found myself daydreaming about writing a book, or documenting all the things I've learned the hard way. I started considering the idea of being a writer when I found myself taking notes from discussions and wanting to add on. Combined with the bad habit of writing really long emails when I get excited about something, made me start to wonder if I could write. I always made it more complicated in my mind. Thanks to the encouragement of loved ones who convinced me it was possible to do this myself.
I love public speaking and teaching. Due to my studies and travels to the Middle East, I have had the privilege of training others in my field on Middle East culture and Islam; that opened the opportunity to speak in other forums on the same topic. I value bridge-building and speaking to those who are interested in learning. I've also developed and led discussions on leadership and empowering women. Furthermore, I am a Toastmaster, I appreciate the supportive environment, yet still find myself getting most nervous about delivering those type of speeches. I am a dual member of Chopawamsic Toastmasters and helped create the Five Shields club where I work.