Storytelling and Marketing Committee Chair
Mara met her husband while serving on Active duty in in the US Army. Though she left the service after time on both Active Duty and in the Reserves, her husband continued on in the Army. They have been through six deployments and fifteen moves, taking the family to duty stations around the world.
Mara continued to serve the military community mentoring other spouses and advocating for military families. When she isn’t busy dreaming up ways to help InDependent serve more and more military spouses, you can find her outside with the chickens, puppy, and in the garden on her small farm.
InDependent Title: Storytelling and Marketing Committee Chair
Education/Certificates: Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with concentrations in Marketing and Management
Before/Besides working with InDependent, I: Served in the Army, both on Active Duty and in the Reserves. After leaving service, I have advocated for service members and their families on various issues with different levels of the DoD.
Favorite Duty Station: North Yorkshire in the UK. The history in our local area was amazing and we also traveled and adventured as much as we could.
Favorite Place to Visit or Go on Vacation: Any National Park. At each duty station, we plan spring breaks and other vacations as road trips to National Parks in the state and surrounding states, visiting as many as we can. The remote Chaco Canyon was a memorable park for me as a child and is now also for my family. With absolutely no light pollution, my children still talk about the night sky over our campsite.
What Does Wellness Mean to Me: Always learning. Something that worked for me at one point in my life doesn’t always stay true. Or I might learn more about something and adapt it further to fit me better. Taking time to know myself and finding things that work best for me is important.
How I Find Balance: It takes work to make time for myself over the competing demands of family and life. Practicing standing up for myself (sometimes even to myself!) to say – please, no interruptions; this time is for me – is key to finding balance.
Favorite Pastime: I like to create things – experimenting with different mediums, learning new techniques, designing patterns, and just being creative is always enjoyable and therapeutic.
Healthy Eating Tip: I try to make as much as I can from scratch so I can control the ingredients. When that is not possible, I try to find the option with the shortest or clearest ingredient list. I try to stick as close to nature as possible! I also like to grow as much as I can for my family in my garden. Then I can really manage what goes into our food and how I choose to grow it. I can also grow interesting new vegetables to try that aren’t in most grocery stores. Container gardening can be a great option if you can’t put garden beds in your yard!
Favorite Healthy Snack: I’m not much of a snacker, but I have to say – cheese is really hard to turn down!
Fitness Achievement Most Proud of: Showing up! I definitely have lapses where I don’t exercise regularly, but I keep showing up for myself and start again. Maintaining a regular fitness routine for life is important to me. I may not be exercising the same way I did ten years ago, and it may change again years from now, but I think it is an achievement to stick with it.
Favorite Way to Workout: Weight training, whether body weight or free weights.
Biggest Fitness Hurdle: True core strength. I had a c-section years ago and with that and scar tissue, I wasn’t able to access all of my abdominal muscles. It took me such a long time to realize this was the reason I couldn’t progress in some of my fitness goals. I realized I had been compensating by using other muscles, creating imbalances, and limiting my functional movement. It is still a process to overcome those habits and reconnect to those muscles, retrain, and strengthen them.
What Brings Me Joy: Making things by hand for other people.
My Favorite Way to De-stress: Getting lost in creating something.
“The grass is not, in fact, always greener on the other side of the fence. No, not at all. Fences have nothing to do with it. The grass is greenest where it is watered. When crossing over fences, carry water with you and tend the grass wherever you may be.”