What You Need to Know About This Deployment Goodbye

Originally published on The Military Wife and Mom

This was our hardest goodbye.

I didn’t expect it. Afterall, we’ve been here before. In fact, we were just here. We’ve done the deployment farewells, the countdowns, the epic homecomings. We’ve made paperchains and welcome home signs, we’ve Skyped on birthdays, ordered Daddy Dolls, and for a military family, to a degree, this deployment just felt like another little stepping stone in our journey.

 

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This Military Spouse Is Making 2018 the Year of NO.

Originally published on Military One Click.

Last year, my word of the year was “yes.” Inspired by Shonda Rhimes’ book, Year of Yes, I took her mantra to heart. I said yes to everything.

I took on new responsibilities at work. I tried new foods. I volunteered more at school and in the milspouse community and even taught two weeks of diving camp at our local pool. I was named president of one board I was on and added to another as an advisor. I traveled to conferences, I took on more speaking gigs, I wrote more (I slept less), I took my kids on epic adventures, I painted and I sewed and I learned a little German. I went on date nights and friend nights, I had midnight FaceTime with my sister, I did 5:30 am workouts, I made new friends and connected with old ones and I even played in a tennis league.

It was truly a year of saying yes.

And then I had a total nervous breakdown in November. During a tennis match. From all the yessing.

Yep. I cried.

Playing tennis.

And all I could think about was Jimmy Dugan–Tom Hanks–in A League of Their Own, yelling, “There’s no crying in baseball!”

But there I was, playing my neighborhood tennis arch-rival, Pam, days before my husband left for deployment. I had left work early to play since I had to reschedule from the previous week because I had a commitment for my community magazine for which I write, and then I was sick because I was exhausted and had to reschedule again, and then I hadn’t been to work for my day job, and I thought I could squeeze everything in. . . but I couldn’t.

I was late to tennis, which meant I wasn’t going to be able to get the kids from school, so my husband had to (but he had a million things more important than a tennis match happening in his life, like defending our nation’s freedom) so I knew I had to leave our match early and everything was a mess, and I didn’t have any clean socks and I couldn’t find my water bottle and I ran into tennis already defeated.

Consequently, instead of thinking about things like how to serve the ball, all I could think about with every swing was, “Why do I do this to myself? Why in the world”–not the word I used in my head– “am I playing tennis right now? I should be working. Or being a mom. Or a wife. Or doing laundry. Or making dinner. Or sending emails. Or literally anything else.”

Exhausted and overwhelmed, I just started crying. Playing tennis. Tears streamed down my face, under my five-year-old’s sunglasses that I found in the bottom of my car because I couldn’t find mine because I was too busy doing everything else to have any sort of organizational system.

Because of all the yessing.

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This Military Spouse Non-Profit is Decking Deployment

Originally published on Military.com

(Dec' the Deployment/Katelyn Tinsley)

There’s nothing like a deployment to bring out your inner Grinch, but a North Carolina non-profit is changing that, one stocking at a time.

Homefront Room Revival’s “Dec’ the Deployment” is transforming the faintest of holiday spirits into something much, much brighter.

You know how it is. Those feelings of overwhelm and “Is this really worth it?” are real when trying to motivate yourself to decorate for a season that has ever-present reminders of happier, together-er times. The hours usually spent decorating with your spouse, watching White Christmas and drinking hot buttered rum would surely be much better spent this year drinking wine out of a solo cup, alone, and watching re-runs of Friends.

Luckily, Katelyn Tinsley and her non-profit, Homefront Room Revival, recognizes that gap and are filling it.

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Start the Military Family Tradition You’ll Never Forget

Originally published on Military.com.

They’re not there to “decorate graves.”

Volunteers place a wreath on a grave site during a National Wreaths Across America Day Ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery. (U.S. Air Force/Joseph Swafford)

 

That’s what Karen Worchester said of the day Americans join her organization to place wreaths on the headstones of those laid to rest in the nation’s national cemeteries.

“A person dies twice: Once when they take their final breath, and later, the last time their name is spoken. When we lay wreaths on veterans’ graves, we say their names … We’re here to remember not their deaths, but their lives,” she said on the Wreaths Across America website.

December is ripe with fun traditions for families. Whether you remember to move the elf on the shelf, spend hours cookie decorating, sing carols or string lights, ’tis the season to create lasting memories with the people you love the most.

But this year, you can take a few hours to go beyond the baking and do something not only memorable, but honorable: Participate in Wreaths Across America (WAA).

 

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10 Dos and Don’ts of the Navy Ball


Originally published on SpouseBuzz

Ah, it’s that time of year again. The time when sequins are encouraged and Rent the Runway’s stock goes up. That’s right my friends, it’s the Navy ball.

Whether you love it or hate it, look at it as mandatory fun or The Most Fun, we here at SpouseBuzz care about your wellbeing and want you to not only have a great time, but make it through the night with both your dignity and marriage intact. Because nothing says opportunity for disagreement than alcohol + pressure + uncomfortable shoes + being hangry whilst waiting for that banquet food you know isn’t coming until after all the toasts in the land. 

Me, personally? I love a good Navy ball. The pomp, circumstance, gowns, dress uniforms … bring it on. 

Here are 10 Navy ball Dos and Don’ts to get you through the night.

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Another Hurricane Is on its Way. Is Your Military Family Prepared?

Originally published on SpouseBuzz

One of the most potentially damaging storms in history is projected to hit this weekend, and if that’s not enough, we still have two more months of hurricane season. Are you prepared?

I sat in a classroom in Emmitsburg, Maryland, in a crash course of all things disaster response. It was 2005, and Hurricane Katrina had just made landfall. Working for Homeland Security at the time, I’d been surged to FEMA to help with the response in Louisiana.

The few days before deploying to the hurricane response were a blur, but one line, in one lesson, is forever etched in memory. The instructor paced the overcrowded classroom, came to a stop, looked down at his hands, and in a quiet voice asked, “What’s the most dangerous element of a hurricane?” The group shouted answers, from tornadoes to floods, lighting to wind, downed power lines to rogue alligators.

Our instructor finally looked up, making eye contact around the room, and said, “No. The single most dangerous element in a hurricane is complacency.”

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5 Father’s Day Gift Ideas 

Originally published on SpouseBuzz

Father’s Day is right around the corner, neatly sandwiched between the end of the school year and PCS season — and you’re looking for Father’s Day ideas. 

We know dads are incredible.

They throw kids higher, laugh (and sometimes snore) louder and bear hug tighter.

There are entire books published about dad jokes and dad shorts and dad lessons, because all of those things really do make fathers extra special.

We know dads deserve nothing but the best.

And we also know you have 10,000 other things going on, and sometimes it’s nice for us to make decisions for you. That said, we wanted to make it easy on you this year. Pick from the list, visit their website and cross that pesky but important “find Father’s Day ideas” thing off your to-do list. Here are our 5 favorite Father’s Day gifts.

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Top Frustrations of the Working Military Spouse

Originally published on SpouseBuzz


Military spouses have unique challenges in the workforce — that’s an understatement. If you’re a military spouse and you’ve looked for a job, had a job or are currently working, then you understand “The Plight” of the military spouse in the employment world.

We went to In Gear Career’s Amplify in Virginia Beach recently and heard some of the challenges military spouses face when trying to balance military life and a career. Luckily for us, we heard subject matter experts address each issue head on. These are 5 frustrations working (or job-searching) military spouses know all too well.

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5 Perfect Gifts for a Milspouse on Mother’s Day


Originally published on SpouseBuzz

Mother’s Day is just around the corner (it’s always the second Sunday in May) and once again you’re left looking for Mother’s Day gift ideas for the woman who does it all. Whether she birthed you or married you and gave you children, this is the woman you should be thanking every day. And nothing says “thank you” like an awesome gift.

There are three rules of gift giving on this holiday that must be strictly adhered to: It must be thoughtful. It must not be used for housework. And it must be awesome. If you want to stick to these three rules, pick one (or a combo!) of these MilSpouse Mother’s Day gifts. Extra bonus points: All of these items have a military spouse or service member connection — which, yes, automatically makes them awesome.

To continue reading on SpouseBuzz, click here. 

7 Stages of PCS Packing

PCS season: It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. But really, it was the most stressful of times.

It starts long before the move; during the season of orders uncertainty. Remember that scene in “Legally Blonde” where Harvard’s finest are huddled in the hallway anxiously awaiting the internship list to be posted? We thought it would probably be Warner and Viv, but of course we were all pulling for Elle. Her infamous, “ME!” was one of my favorite parts of the movie. If you’ve watched it once, you know the scene.

Click here to finish reading on NextGen MilSpouse.