United We Serve: Tammy Meyer on being a United States Navy Family

I recently connected with Tammy Meyer, fellow military spouse, and asked for her thoughts on being a Navy family for the #unitedweserve series. Needless to say, I was thrilled when she said yes! Tammy, thank you very much for all of your time and insight!

LEOMILSpouse: Tell me a little history about the branch that you and your family serves? What are some unique challenges that you feel your branch experiences?

 Tammy: First of all, thank you so much Ashley for letting me connect with your readers and “Hello” from a Navy Spouse! More specifically from the Navy Civil Engineer Corp (CEC), Seabee Spouse Community! Most spouses, at least most of my friends in the CEC community will tell you that the CEC is the best community in the Navy! I can say that, because I’m confident most every other community in the Navy would tell you the same thing about their community, from aviation to subs, to ships and everything in between. What’s unique about the Seabee community is that these Navy men and women, unless your part of an Underwater Construction Team, they don’t spend much time, if any, on the water. All of their work is on land. Seabee also stands for CB, or Construction Battalion. They build. They fight. They build bridges and airstrips, schools and hospitals. They build infrastructure and barracks for other branches to work out of when deployed. They drill for water and when necessary, they fight. They defend the perimeters of work sites and convoys to move materials to construction sites. They also provide much needed humanitarian efforts all over the globe. This brings me to the uniqueness of our community which means perpetual deployments.

During peace time or war time, the Seabees and their families are always cycling through continuous deployments. Battalions were commissioned in World War II and haven’t stopped deploying ever since. Seabees were deployed long before Dessert Storm, and Iraq, during Iraq and during Afghanistan Wars, and deployments will continue even as the wars draw down. Although our community might be unique for these reasons and many more, the entire Navy is unique because there are so many different communities that make up our great Navy, which speaks to many different experiences, not only for the service member, but also for their family.

LEOMILSpouse: How did you and your spouse come to be a military family (personal family story)?

Tammy: I married my spouse after he had already been active duty for 12 years. We’ve been married for almost 8 years, together for almost 10. Do the math, and we’ve celebrated the 20 year milestone (and counting). In our time together, we’ve experienced 4 moves (1 international), 2 deployments, and one major hurricane by the name of Katrina. Although my spouse is not currently in a job where he is deployed, I’m experiencing my first ‘geobachelorette’ tour. We did move together, however he will hopefully be home a total of 4 weeks over the next 8 months. Yes. You read that right. He’s not deployed, but he’s gone more than he would be for most deployments. This experience certainly helps me appreciate our other branches and communities even more where they have frequent bouts of separation for undetermined amounts of time. My compassion grows.

LEOMILSpouse: If you could answer/solve a misconception about being a military spouse, what would it be?

Tammy: Before I met my spouse, I had already established and invested a significant amount of time, energy, money and much sacrifice into my own career. After two bachelors degrees, six different professional certifications, and over 12 years climbing the corporate ladder, I married the military (as they say) with much enthusiasm, and didn’t look back. I took my personal and professional experience and opened the virtual doors to my own business as a Certified Life & Business Coach. I spent over 100 hours interviewing other military spouses about their role as a military spouse. From those conversations, I learned that although we are our service members number one fan and biggest supporter, our own personal dreams and goals often get put on hold. Navigating the unique challenges of a military lifestyle often leaves us feeling last. We lose our identity along the way and sometimes don’t even realize where it was that we lost it. Was it during the last deployment or the first? Was it at the last duty station or the one overseas? Was it after welcoming the first child, or the third or during the single parenting? Was it during the last underemployed job, the bout of unemployment, or the 26 hour days finishing a degree?

Although we sometimes can’t pinpoint when and where we’ve lost our identity, or may not even realize that this military lifestyle has swallowed it up, I’m dedicating my time, passion and business to helping spouses keep their identity, to enjoy a thriving career of their own and to pursue their personal best in health and fitness. We lose our identity when we put too much of ourselves into one area of life. By nature, that’s what the role of a military spouse can do, if we let it. Kids, spouse, volunteer work, career, any area of life can take our identity. This is what motivates me to solve a common misconception about being a military spouse. Too many of us, too often, feel that we do have to put our own personal dreams and goals on hold. By default. It comes with the territory. There are too many unknowns.

We don’t. It’s simply a story we tell ourselves and that too many of us believe. The answer starts with asking “What do I need to keep my own identity, or to find it again?” Once you ask yourself that question, don’t stop asking it. The answer can change with every twist and turn of your service members career. If you keep asking yourself what you need to keep your identity, you will be able to identify what you can change and all of the unknowns, the real parts of this military life that we can’t change, will fall away just enough out of your direct focus so that you can see what is possible. What we’re left with is what we can focus on and what we can do and enjoy and be, with a refreshing perspective that puts us at the beginning of a journey to keep our own identity while still supporting our service member. If you stare too long in the rear view mirror, you’ll miss the opportunities that are directly in front of you.

Regardless of branch or how long you and your family have been living the military life, most spouses simply want a little something to call their own; just a little something for yourself. I believe wholeheartedly that you’ll find it.

Tammy Meyer is currently enjoying life in sunny southern CA and keeps her identity by helping others find theirs. She is a speaker, a life and business coach and was overwhelmed with gratitude to receive the 2014 AFI Navy Spouse of the Year Award. She would love to hear your story. tammymeyerlifecoach@gmail.com
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United We Serve: Danielle Medolla on being a United States Coast Guard Family

10153133_10203398300699791_9080168441811397970_nI would like to thank Danielle Medolla, 2014 Coast Guard Spouse of the Year, for taking the time to speak about some of the unique challenges faced by United States Coast Guard families. I hope that by listening to amazing spouses such as Danielle, we can all gain more appreciation, understanding, and respect for all branches of the United States Armed Forces.

LEOMilSpouse: How did you and your spouse come to be a military family (personal family story)?

Danielle: Rob and I met in college, he was working for United Airlines and going to school to be an aircraft mechanic and I was a legal studies major at St. John’s University. Our plans for the future after graduation were to move out to San Francisco (United’s maintenance hub) where Rob would work in maintenance and I would work for the government in some capacity.

Then 9/11 happened. On that very day, I was in lower Manhattan taking a federal agents exam, getting my ducks in a row for my pending graduation. Rob was across the river at school in Queens, across the street from LaGuardia Airport. That day changed us forever. I still get chills even as I type these very words.

Because of the economic impact after that day, the direction of our career plans changed. I never received the results from that test, United Airlines eventually out sourced most of its maintenance work to contractors and jobs were becoming harder and harder to find for recent graduates. I was bless to find work at the large law firm in lower Manhattan and Rob stayed at United for as long as he could. As the completion of Rob’s license neared, he started thinking about what he wanted to do. He took the NYPD exam in hopes to walk the beat for a few years then, move on to working in the helicopter unit.

But at the same time, we met new neighbors who were all Coasties stationed in nearby Sector NY. A few conversations and Rob’s interest was piqued. Looking back it’s hard to believe that we had no clue about the Coast Guard. Every other branch of military service was familiar to us. After all, Ft. Hamilton was practically in our backyards growing up, I attended the fleet week festivities every year with my family touring aircraft carriers and static displays. Watching aircraft carriers pulls into NY Harbor past lady liberty with sailors stand at attention on the deck, it fills you with pride. But what was this Coast Guard?

So with this new branch of service to explore, we searched for the closest recruitment office. Low and behold it is only steps from my office. Rob met with a recruiter and about 12 weeks later Rob was scheduled to go off to boot camp. The day before he leaves, Rob asks me to marry him. We plan our wedding through letters and marry the day after he graduates.

LEOMilSpouse: Tell me a little history about the branch you and your family serves?

Danielle: A little history provided by uscg.mil “The U. S. Coast Guard is simultaneouslyCoastGuard and at all times a military force and federal law enforcement agency dedicated to maritime safety, security, and stewardship missions. We save lives. We protect the environment. We defend the homeland. We enforce Federal laws on the high seas, the nation’s coastal waters and its inland waterways.  We are unique in the Nation and the world.”  What makes us extra special is that the U.S. Coast Guard is the only agency that saves lives. http://www.uscg.mil/top/about/doc/uscg_snapshot.pdf

LEOMilSpouse: What are some unique challenges that you feel your branch experiences?

Danielle: Coast Guard families are somewhat of the odd man out. We are sorta like the big 4 (Air Force, Army, Navy, Marines) in the respect that we are a law enforcing agency. Our members deploy or patrol both homeland waterways and air space, and assist with Navy missions. Where we differ is in our base support. Many times our stations are located in any town USA. Coast Guard housing is limited and not available in all locations, we rely on local communities to welcome us in and support us, much like the National Guard.

And while we are sorta like the other 5, we are completely different. Our deployments/patrols are shorter and much more frequent and that also changes with a duty station. One tour may have a member underway for 6 months at a time, returning home for a few weeks and heading back out, while another may have a member gone for 2 weeks to a month every other month. It is our small size, varied missions and constant integration into “normal” life that makes it very unique. But it is our challenges that make us strong. Currently living in Kodiak, Alaska, the largest Coast Guard base, I am able to see it clearly. I’m an air station spouse and my experience is very different then the spouse that is assigned to a boat. This tour has opened my eyes to their challenges as they are different then mine. I have renewed respect for their sacrifice and I am in awe of their resilience.

LEOMilSpouse: If you could answer/solve a misconception about being a military spouse, what would it be?

Danielle: That we are all unique and our worries are unique as well. I was talking with a spouse whose husband is on a cutter and working out the logistics of getting him off the boat due to a family emergency. She told me that just knowing that he was flying off the boat made her a little nervous. For me, my husband flies off the back of a boat routinely so I don’t think twice about it, it’s those many days out at sea with limited communication that worries me. We have all learned to accept and process the work related stress that comes with being married to a service member, but those stresses are just as unique as the individual.

LEOMilSpouse: What motivates you in your pursuit of supporting not only your spouse, but the US Armed Forces?

Danielle: I enjoy helping people. I enjoy working both angles, supporting my military families, but also enlightening my civilian friends and co-workers about military life. There is so much information out there it’s overwhelming.  I like being that solid source for accurate information. I don’t know everything but what I don’t know I make sure to learn from a reliable, accurate source. As for educating civilians on military life, it’s great to be able to share my experiences with them. We all have good days when we love this life and the opportunity it has afforded us, and we all have bad days when we are upset about an upcoming PCS or deployment and it’s good to share those experiences with our civilian counterparts. It helps for them to understand our way of life and the unique challenges we face.

Thank you again Danielle for all of your time and insight. Please know that you, your husband, and all of your fellow USCG families are respected and appreciated. The branch your family serves provides a crucial role to the U.S. Armed Forces and to the citizens of the United States!

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United We Serve: MILSOs and MILSpouses

thumbThis has been weighing on my heart for awhile, and I felt that writing about it as one of my #unitedweserve posts would be the best way to share my thoughts. And, I couldn’t think of a better day than today (Valentine’s Day) to spread the love. I also want ALL Milsos to know that they are included in any and all of my future united we serve posts!

I’m not a twitter expert, and I’m still learning how to use it – but I’ve noticed that there are a LOT of Milsos on there. What is a Milso? It’s an acronym for Military significant other. Keeping with the theme of defining things, a significant other is a person whose close relationship with an individual affects that individual’s behavior and attitudes. Now, this could mean that the person is either a military girlfriend/boyfriend, or a military spouse. Some military spouses choose to use the acronym Milspouse to clarify their relationship status.

This post isn’t about which title is better or worse or even – this post is about joining together both the milso and milspouse communities. I’ve been reading a lot of twitter posts from milsos (in girlfriend/boyfriend status), and their open hurt about how some milspouses treat them. At first I thought, well, you aren’t married – so you don’t “get” that portion of the relationship that we’re going through.

Then it hit me – its that mindset that is hurting so many milsos that aren’t yet married and/or engaged. And then it hit me again – I too was at one point “just a milso” and not a milspouse.  In fact, unless you married your spouse the same day you met them (or they joined the military after you were married), we’ve all been an unmarried milso before we were a milspouse.

So, why the big separation? Yes, maybe milsos don’t understand the “married” side of things, but why does that even matter? Maybe we should all just stop labeling or trying to justify why one relationship is better or worse than another. Unmarried milsos have their own set of challenges and issues: lack of protection if something happens to their loved one, a potential insecurity from not yet being married, a feeling of not being an equal because they don’t have a ring on their finger.

They need love and support too. They have relationship issues too. They have insecurities and fears too. And who better to help them navigate this sometimes scary, ever-changing, unknown realm of being a milso than someone who has been there and done that before?

Here’s my point: whether you are an unmarried milso or a milspouse: I thank you. I respect you. I cherish you. Thank you for loving a service member (regardless of branch, officer/enlisted side, low rank/high rank, length of relationship, status of relationship, etc.). Each service member needs and deserves love. Each service member sacrifices for our country, and you sacrifice alongside them. And each milso deserves love too.

I respect that you put another’s lifestyle, commitment, and call to service above your own plans, dreams, and desires. I respect that you wait, and wait, and wait some more for a call, message, hug, kiss, or any interaction with your loved one. I respect when you hold the milso title in such high regard, and use it proudly. I respect when you respect other milsos, regardless of relationship status.

I cherish the fact that you’re in this with me. Again, regardless of your relationship status, we’re in this together. We’re one team. Our loved ones serve along side each other, so its time we serve together as well. And I wouldn’t want anyone else on my team. Please join me in bridging the gap, and loving and respecting ALL Milsos! Let’s all be Milso Strong together!

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United We Serve: My Mission (and an upcoming series)

Equality-signOne of the very first posts I wrote was on Military Equality. When I decided to start writing, I didn’t have a plan, or a checklist, or a preconceived idea of what I should write about. I wanted to just start writing about what was happening in my life, while it was happening, and hope that it could help someone.

Well, within a few days of starting my blog, the Military Spouse of the Year nomination process began and my life was changed (you can read about that here). Along with the nomination process, I was called to focus my energies and time on what they call a platform – the “thing” you want to stand for, the “thing” you want to represent, the “thing” you want to achieve during your role as military spouse of the year (base, branch, or national level).

That’s a lot to take it, a lot of things to think about, and both a great honor and a great responsibility. I spent a lot of time thinking about it – but it always circled back to what motivated me to begin writing in the beginning: military equality. As I stated in my original post, the definition for the armed forces includes the military, naval, AND air forces. Not “or,” but “and.” 

No single branch can do it on their own. They must work in unity, in oneness. To me, they are all equal. They serve the same nation. They serve the same people. They serve you. They serve me. And when inequality does occur, it can be hurtful, even when unintentional.

So, on my quest for military equality I will be having a “United We Serve” series, with guest bloggers that will address different aspects of the military. A guest blogger from each branch of the military will share about their specific branches’ unique challenges, misconceptions of their role as a military spouse, and lots, lots more! I have a pretty amazing group of guest bloggers lined up – and I can’t wait to start sharing what they have to say.

I hope that by listening to others, really listening, we can bridge the gap between all military branches. I firmly believe that we are one family, one united front. This is part of my mission: to bring awareness that each branch has their own set of unique challenges – none of which are better or worse than another branches’ challenges. They are just different – and we need to support everyone. Lift everyone up. Be a nation indivisible.

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2015 Military Spouse of the Year: How the Nomination Changed My Life

photoWhen I first started my blog, I had no idea the impact (if any) that it would have on my life, or on the life of anyone else. I just needed to write – to get things off my chest. To hopefully be heard, but most importantly, hopefully help someone else through my journey.

Only a few days into my new blog, I received an email from Military Spouse magazine. “What’s this?” I thought to myself. I then opened an email that would forever change my life.

This email was in regard to a nomination for the 2015 Military Spouse of the Year Award. I briefly touched on this in my Military Equality post: the dear friend that nominated me has a husband too, but through a series of IED blasts he had to be removed from the deployment. He worked through the pain for months. Stayed on deployment much longer than he should have, but he would not leave his fellow Soldiers. It got to the point where he could hardly walk. They couldn’t find answers. This was over four years ago. They still do not have answers, and they are still sacrificing.

And with all of that, she nominates me. Me? Somehow, someway, I made an impact on her life. But what I want her to know, is what an impact she and her husband have had in my life. When I need strength, I look to them. When I need patience, I look to them. When I need to remind myself what unconditional love within the military is, I look to them.

And when I think of my own struggles, I am reminded that I am not alone. I am reminded that each military family has their own struggles and challenges, regardless of branch, deployment status, MOS, etc.

You can ask my husband – I was pretty upset, bitter, angry, confused, and a whole bunch of other emotions when this deployment came into our life. I kept wanting to change our situation. He’s served before, now we have a young daughter, and I was left asking myself “why us, why now, why does he have to go…again?”

He would attempt to answer these questions: This is what he’s called to do, we’re not the only family making sacrifices, he would always regret it if he didn’t go, and the list goes on and on. Are all of these answers reasonable? Absolutely. But, in the moment, those aren’t necessarily the things we’re wanting to hear. Sometimes, we just want to have an adult version of a tantrum.

And honestly, that’s where I was at. For a long time, for a period of time longer than it should have been. Yes, this is a challenge for me – but its a daily challenge for 1,000’s of our military families across the world. And when that nomination email came to my inbox, the reality of the situation and the need for a change in my heart was all too apparent.

Maybe I’m the first spouse to feel this way (doubtful), or maybe I’m taking a leap of faith here in voicing my struggles. To acknowledge that yes, this is hard, really, really hard. I want other spouses and military significant others (or anyone – mother, sister, daughter, father, son, brother, etc.) to know that its okay to acknowledge the struggles and challenges of loving and supporting a US Service-member. It’s a rewarding vulnerability for sure – but one that is so, so worth it.

To my friend who took the time to submit a nomination for me: I love you. I cherish you. I honor you. I see you. I hear you. I will speak up for you. I want you to know how humbled I have been through this process, and that I take both the nomination and role of 2015 Oregon National Guard Military Spouse of the Year whole heartedly – and with a sense of motivation, drive, passion, and determination.

The timing of this whole process was nothing short of “perfect timing.” This process has allowed me to heal, renew my pursuit of military equality, and love my husband and this crazy life in new ways. To anyone who loves and supports a US service member – I love you. I cherish you. I honor you. I see you. I hear you. And I will speak up for you. see-hear-matter

2015 Military Spouse of the Year: Top 18 Update

Top 18Today Military Spouse magazine announced the Top 18 candidates for the 2015 Military Spouse of the Year. I was beyond humbled, honored, and surprised when I realized that I was amongst the Top 18! You can read about all 18 candidates here. The next round of voting will occur on ONE DAY – February 4th for the branch-level winners (one per branch). I encourage all of you to read about all of the candidates, and vote for EACH category (National Guard, Marines, Coast Guard, Army, Navy, and Air Force).

As mentioned in my 2015 Military Spouse of the Year: Round One Update post, I was named the 2015 Military Spouse of the Year for the Oregon National Guard. This is an honor and responsibility that I take whole heartedly, and I have big dreams and ambitions for what I can do within this role. Jeff Bezos said, “You don’t choose your passions, your passions choose you.” This couldn’t be more true.

I have wanted to get involved with supporting and lifting up other military spouses for quite some time, a dream that started during my husband’s first deployment 4 years ago. When this second deployment reared its head in our life – I decided I couldn’t be silent anymore. What if I could help one person, just one person by sharing my story and voicing my opinions and dreams? I didn’t know how to start, but I knew that I just had to start, period. You can read more about my passion and reasons for being a MilSpouse blogger/writer here. Yellow Ribbon Image

Locally, I’m looking into the opportunity to speak on a panel at upcoming Yellow Ribbons events in some “spouse to spouse” sessions. I look forward to the opportunity to speak to and with other spouses about reintegration, the unique challenges we face as National Guard families, and be a resource and sounding board for those spouses who need emotional support. The first time my husband deployed, I quickly learned how easy it is to feel alone – and I am actively working to prevent that from happening to any other spouse.

I am also currently working on my first book (title to be released upon obtaining a publisher), with the focus of the unique challenges we face as National Guard spouses and families. It’s not a how-to book, there are no checklists or steps – it’s just me, talking about emotional survival, challenges, and the path to strengthen my own marriage by learning to understand my husband’s heart (no matter how difficult it makes our life). I’m about four chapters into my book, and I’m very excited to share it once it is complete! My dream is to have it handed out (for free obviously) at all Yellow Ribbon events.

In regard to Yellow Ribbon events themselves, I want to start working with my local state to hopefully be involved in the process to revamp how they are currently conducted. Feedback that I have heard from most people within the military disregard those events and brush them off – as they have not truly spoken to the hearts of those that attend. I want the events to be meaningful, purposeful, and one that spouses and their families want to attend.

The other big issue with these events is that they are usually spread out, and many families cannot attend due to the nature of the National Guard (families having no local base and being very spread out geographically). I want to create more online resources or a system to allow those spouses and families that can’t attend the events to have access to the same level of information. Make sure that the any and all information at the Yellow Ribbon event is accessible to ALL spouses and families (within OPSEC of course). I don’t want distance, life obligations, or any other circumstance to get in the way of providing the highest level of information and support.Pledge-Of-Allegiance-

Finally, I want to help bridge the gap between the various branches of the military. I firmly believe that we are one family, one united front. As stated in my Military Equality post: The Army cannot do it on their own. The Marines cannot do it on their own. The Air Force cannot do it on their own. The Navy cannot do it on their own. The Coast Guard cannot do it on their own. They must work in unity, in oneness.

Now yes, I understand each plays a different role, and each has a different set of ranks, military specialties, etc. That’s not my point. My point is, they serve the same nation. They serve the same people. They serve you. They serve me. In our Pledge of Allegiance, we pledge allegiance to who? The United States of America. What do we stand for? One nation, indivisible. How do we accomplish this? With liberty and justice FOR ALL.

This is part of my mission, and I’m working on a project to close the gap both in the civilian world and the military community. To bring awareness that each branch has their own set of unique challenges – none of which are better or worse than another branches’ challenges. They are just different – and we need to support everyone. Lift everyone up. Be a nation indivisible. Will you join me?

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Military Equality Update – Confirmation, Validation, and a New Friend

I want to start off by thanking everyone that read, liked, shared, and tweeted about my military equality post. If you haven’t read it yet, please check it out! If you have read it, here is an update:

After a few days of trying to reach someone at Military Spouse magazine, I decided to call Armed Forces Insurance (who sponsors the Military Spouse of the Year Award). They forwarded my contact information to Kate at Military Spouse Magazine – who called me right away! Literally, right away as in within the hour. She read my military equality blog post, and clarified that I DO in fact qualify to accept my nomination. How so? Because my husband is currently on Title 10 orders.

Although I was happy to accept my nomination, I’m still saddened that other military spouses wouldn’t be able to due to the rule of requiring activation 180 days or more before the application deadline. Although I could accept my nomination, I still want all other PT military spouses current and future to be able to accept too.

So, I asked Kate: “What about the other National Guard spouses whose husband’s are not currently deployed? The Reserve families that are not deployed?” Kate said, “good question!” She was happy that I brought it to their attention, that I cared so deeply about fellow PT military spouses. We had a very long, fun, and overall fantastic conversation, and this is what I learned:

1) The award is still young, in that it was only founded in 2008.

2) They just added National Guard to the list of potential categories just two years ago, and the verbiage for their qualifications came from DOD (Department of Defense).

3) The award is growing both in size (more branches) as well as national recognition.

4) Kate herself is from a Reserve family, so she understands where I’m coming from. (can I get an Amen I met someone who gets the PT military life?!!?)

5) Although they most likely cannot change the rules for this year, they will look into including all National Guard (Army/Air) and Reserve spouses, regardless of deployment status. Kate did give me the disclaimer that she can’t promise anything will change, but she did tell me that she would bring it to the attention of the “powers that be.”

That last bullet point makes my heart skip a beat. I’m elated. Just the thought, the hope that I might have made a difference – I’m humbled. During my husband’s first deployment I wanted to reach out and try to help other spouses in the PT military life, but I didn’t know how. Life kept getting in the way.

This deployment? I felt that I had been silent long enough. I thought to myself, what if you meet one person – just one person through this process? What if you can help just one person get through their deployment? What if you can be that one person for somebody else? That one person that you so desperately searched for during your own first deployment?

So, I jumped into the world of online blogging and twitter. I literally just started my blog, twitter, and Facebook page less than a week ago. I’m only four chapters into my book with no publisher, hardly any Twitter followers, and very few Facebook likes. However, I had to hope that somehow, someone, somewhere would hear me. And you know what? Today I was heard. I was validated. I was understood.

You can read about why I decided to become a MilSpouse Blogger, and you’ll see that for me, even if no one reads my blog, it helps me to process the struggles of my own life. It helps to know that maybe, just maybe, my experiences can help someone going through what I’m going through.

Even if no changes come from what I’m trying to accomplish, and that Guard/Reservist spouses still have to be married to an activated soldier to qualify – I feel that at a minimum I gained a new friend, Kate. Our conversation was easy, the laughs were many, and the tears were sincere.

She cared, really cared – not only about me, but what she does. What she stands for. Who she serves. So, it’s not at a “minimum” that I met a new friend – it’s more like “at a maximum.” Why? Because as a military spouse, there is nothing more rewarding, comforting, and calming than knowing you have a friend. A true friend – one that understands your struggles, your fears, your uncertainties, and most importantly – understands the love that you feel for your spouse.

Then it hit me – I was going out into the world to try to “be that person” for someone else, but I was blessed with someone who could “be that person” for me instead. Again, I am humbled. Kate – I look forward to all the conversations to come!