5 Things I'm Thankful for This Year

I have this really cool journal from Best Self Co. that has space to write three things I'm grateful for each morning and night.

There’s just something about doing that on a regular basis, beyond the one month of the year we tend to focus on gratitude the most (aka November!). It can seriously change your perspective and life.

And that’s even more important with the year we’ve all hadjuggling social distancing restrictions, quarantines, extended deployments, delayed PCS (Permanent Change of Station), stop movement orders, distanced learning. You know, the new norm of life in a pandemic.

So, I’m taking Jim Rohn’s words to heart...

“Learn to be thankful for what you already have while you pursue all that you want."

...and sharing five things that I’m thankful for this year. I hope it inspires you to jot down your joys, too!

Time with family and our health.

This COVID-19 era has been an uneasy time, but one thing I've really appreciated is it forced me to slow down my busy life. It definitely took some getting used to at first. But I realize how much it was necessary.

Our days as a family used to start in a rush to get out of the house to go our separate ways - but we're in a new rhythm now. I miss spending my days in downtown Anchorage where I work full time at Pfeffer Development, but I admit that I love the new 5-second walk across the hall to get to work at our home office/guest room. I'm grateful that Dustin has been able to help our daughter Annabelle with schoolwork between "Zoom school" sessions at our dining room table. And we all know the dogs have loved having their people home all day - we've also loved having BooBoo and JoJo under foot.

Time is precious. So when we get some bonus family time at home, we must soak up every ounce of it. I think those of us in the military-connected community have especially felt this. 

And I’m especially thankful for my family’s health. I may never again take it for granted. We've been keeping those who have been affected by the virus in our hearts, minds and prayers.

My circle of supporters here at WILCO SUPPLY.

I wouldn’t be able to do what I do here at WILCO SUPPLY without my incredible circle of supporters. I especially want to take a moment during this season of gratitude to express my appreciation for these incredible members of Team WILCO.

Kaye Paraoan
Kaye Paraoan and Amy Slinker with Sword & Plough bags in the WILCO SUPPLY showroom

After living in the south for nine years, Kaye Paraoan is back in Alaska and joined the WILCO SUPPLY team this year as our marketing and PR coordinator! Kaye and I served together in the Alaska Army National Guard years ago, and we have fond memories of going on public affairs missions that took us across Alaska and overseas to Mongolia. Kaye's positive vibes and energy are contagious - it has been a blast working with her again! Not only has Kaye been doing a fabulous job with our marketing and PR, she's applied her exceptional organizational skills to running the day-to-day operations at WILCO. Thank you Kaye, for all of your hard work and passion supporting our mission!

Tess Weaver
Tess Weaver and Amy Slinker in the WILCO SUPPLY showroom, with bags in the background
As a longtime supporter and stylist for WILCO SUPPLY, I’m so grateful to have Tess Weaver in my corner. Her sparkling personality and generous heart inspire us every day. We absolutely love when she's in the showroom with us, and appreciate Tess' makeup talent and creative eye when it comes to photoshoots and events. She's unexpectedly been back in Anchorage the majority of this year since the pandemic disrupted the Broadway shows Tess travels with as a Wardrobe Supervisor. We know she's anxious to get back on tour, but we've been so blessed to have this special time with her here in Alaska this year.

Carrie Ashley
Carrie Ashley of Carried Away Creative Co.

I'm excited to introduce you to one of the secrets to our success this year! Meet Carrie Ashley, the owner of Carried Away Creative Co., a petite yet lively copywriting and content strategy studio. Carrie is a military spouse I met through the Association of Military Spouse Entrepreneurs. She’s been crafting a majority of the content you see hereboth on the blog and on our social media! I’m grateful for her writing wisdom and her ability to genuinely tell my brand story. I've told her she is my copywriting soulmate! 

Ashley Kees

One of my longtime best friends (over 17 years!), Ashley Kees has been with me on this journey since it was just an idea. I think this photo of us at our first MAGIC fashion trade show was shot on an iPhone 1! WILCO SUPPLY would have never been possible without Ashley's guidance and expertise in the retail industry. She helped me get started from the ground up, and to this day she continues to offer her refined eye for style and expert advice on all things WILCO. I have so much gratitude for Ashley's support, and most of all, her friendship over the years!

Chaney Fray

I can't thank Chaney Fray enough for designing our beautiful graphics and providing her technical expertise to our website and email blasts. I truly appreciate Chaney's warm heart and artistic talent that she brings to Team WILCO as our brand manager. Chaney deserves some big kudos for the revamp of our website that is currently underway. She's putting the finishing touches on it now - stay tuned for the big reveal!

Our Extended Team

This list wouldn't be complete without recognizing our extended team, always ready to jump in on special projects and events: Moni Jefferson, Ash Adams, Meghan Hansmeyer, Dru Keizer, Balinda Dresel, Grace Nechanicky and Katherine Belden. Thank you all for being a part of the WILCO SUPPLY journey over the years!


The Boardroom coworking space in Anchorage, Alaska

Did you know our showroom is located at The Boardroom in Anchorage, Alaska? It’s a coworking space and entrepreneurial hub at Ship Creek, and I couldn’t be more grateful that our showroom is based here. My team and I have been able to safely gather for creative brainstorming sessions, meet with locals and out-of-towners by appointment, and host events like the Valentine’s pop-up earlier this year pre-COVID (shoutout to our “friendors,” aka vendor friends, who joined us!). 

I especially want to thank co-founder and CEO of The Boardroom Katherine Jernstrom, for her extra support during this challenging year. She and The Boardroom community manager Mark Bethka have been longtime supporters of WILCO SUPPLY and we appreciate all that they do for us.

Connection-building opportunities.

Being forced to social distance and quarantine isn’t easy on any of us. But it’s offered up new avenues for connection that we may have never thought to be possible! 

While I miss safely gathering in large groups and mingling with friends, new and old (like at the Maker’s Markets hosted by Risha Toci of Little Fish Workshop), I’m continuously grateful for any chance to talk, laugh and catch up with friends, family, and makers and business owners over Zoom and FaceTime. 

The Anchorage community.

I’ve always known Alaska to be pretty greatnot only thanks to the nature and beauty that surrounds us, but also the people. Our community. While so much has changed within our world, our neighborhoods, and the places we call home, one thing remains the same: 

"The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members." – Coretta Scott King

And compassion is what I’ve personally seen coming from members of our community—from medical staff to grocers, postal carriers, and fellow small business owners.

I'm especially thankful for all of you - our WILCO SUPPLY community across the country and around the world who have continued to support this small business and our team.

During challenging times, it’s not easy to positively shift our focus. And it’s okay to feel all the feels! But I encourage you, especially this month, to practice gratitude when you can.

While this list doesn’t showcase the full extent of what I’m thankful for this year alone, I hope it offers a peek into my sense of gratitude and inspires you to jot down your joys, too!

Follow along on Instagram or Facebook, and tag us if you choose to share your own 2020 gratitude list!

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