Archive for the ‘mil spouse info’ Category

Ever have a bad day? Do you tire of the people who tell you to just get over it? Christine Kane shares some thoughtful insight on how to get yourself through it…read more in our blog http://wings4women.org/?p=342


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We have a new website and we’ve integrated a blog on our new site! So if you have been receiving a feed from this site, please update your feed reader to link to our new site at Wings4Women.org

Take a look around! We’ve integrated much of what is on this site PLUS MORE!!

Looking forward to reconnecting!

Alane Pearce
Founder and Director
Wings for Women Military Spouse Conferences
a nonprofit organization for military spouses by military spouses


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This is such an awesome idea from Chelle McIntyre, the Military Spouse Magazine’s Spouse of the year; she originally shared this on the Army Spouse Network and I just had to share! I’ll be making one of these–Right after the conference in May (I’m a little busy getting door prizes, volunteers and menus laid out!)

The Book of Everything

I have been quite busy lately leading workshops and meeting with Family Readiness Groups (FRG) and command leadership about something I strongly feel every military family should have: the Book of Everything. I’m referring to a book that holds the key to an easier time in the military for any family or single service member, for that matter. This tool is incredibly important for those of us with children because when registration for school, extracurricular activities, and medical appointments arise, having information ready and available is crucial.

The Book of Everything is exactly what it sounds like: a book that contains all of the vital information you will need for most situations. Instead of having to dig around in filing cabinets, shoe boxes, or under the bed for information that really should be right at your fingertips, the Book of Everything has all that information in one place, ready to use. Once created, the Book of Everything should be placed in a fire-proof lockbox that is easy to access.

The best part is that it’s incredibly easy to make one of these books. In fact, if you can convince your FRG to hold a workshop that teaches its members how to put together the Book of Everything, the materials can be requested through command so it costs neither the individual nor the FRG any money. Every family benefits from having the Book of Everything, so it isn’t limited to age, rank, or gender. It’s a wonderful way to offer an activity with your FRG or other support group that is meaningful and well-received.

Essentially, the Book of Everything is a two inch binder filled with sheet protectors, a pack of Post-It notes and a writing utensil. The pages contain information that a family or service member might need at any moment. There are certain things that should always be in the Book of Everything, while other parts of the book will vary from family to family. If you decide to put the Book of Everything together in a group setting, it is best to use the Post-It notes as a guide for what items belong in each sheet protector so that people won’t feel like they need to bring important documents that may get lost.

All books should have the following documents, placed in separate sheet protectors and clearly marked:
– Emergency Contacts: Command and FRG contact information, police, Poison Control, American Red Cross, etc.
– Everyday Contacts: Friends, family members, and regularly used services such as pharmacies, medical appointment lines, etc.
– Social Security Information: Copies or originals of Social Security cards for each family member as well as an easy access, wallet sized document containing all social security numbers.
– Copy of Most Recent Orders: Make sure it is a legitimate copy of orders that can be used upon request.
– Copy of Officer Record Brief (ORB)/ Enlisted Record Brief (ERB)/ Soldier Record Brief (SRB)/ DD-214: This is intended to provide service information upon request.
– Leave and Earnings Statement: A recent copy which will be helpful if there are any pay issues.
– Copy of Military Identification Cards: This includes any card bearing member of the family.
– Copy of Insurance Policies: This includes all insurance policies (automobile, Service Member Group Life Insurance, health, etc)
– Health Information: For each member of the family, a documentation of chronic illness, allergies to medication, prescription information, doctors, specialists and insurance information should be included.
– List of Bills: This list includes any bills (electric, car payments, internet, cable, etc) with the following information: type of bill, name and address of company, account number, average or exact payment, frequency due).
– Proof of Homeownership/Rental Agreement: Whether living on or off post, this is an important document to have on hand. Also included with this document is a note indicating where to find Home Ownership Association or rental rules and guidelines.
– Wills: Any wills that the service member or dependants may have.
– Living Wills: This is probably one of the most important documents to have because it alleviates the emotional stress of having to decide whether a loved one should remain on life support or not.
– Bank/ Investment Accounts: A list of all checking and savings accounts, including college and retirement funds and investments.
– Birth Certificates: Copies of each family member’s birth certificate.
– Shot Records: This includes not only the service member and dependants, but any pets, as well.

The following information may not pertain to everyone, but should definitely be included if it does:
– Marriage/Wedding Certificate: This should include any and all marriages.
– Divorce/Separation Decree: Documentation of divorces or separations.
– Adoption Certificate/Guardianship: Documentation relating to the adoption of dependants, guardianship of children or the primary caretaker of an adult family member.
– Custody Agreements/Child Support/Alimony Documentation: This should include information for service member and dependant where applicable.
– Passports: This should contain at least photocopies of each dependant’s photo page of passport. Originals may also be stored here.
– General Power of Attorney: This document entitles the service member to allow a particular person to make decisions on his/her behalf. Make sure there is an original copy, signed and notarized, if applicable.
– Special Powers of Attorney: This document is an alternative to the General Power of Attorney that specifies what decisions can be made by the service member’s designee. Once again, an original document, signed and notarized is necessary.
– Medical Power of Attorney: This document is intended to allow the designee that ability to make decisions in emergency situations relating to medical care.
– Piece of Mind Document: Every branch of the military has a packet of information that allows the service member to designate personal choices in case of death, injury, or other serious incident. This document can be found at most military support centers and should be filled out by the service member.

The Book of Everything is intended to ease the pressures that are so prevalent in the military. The fact is that we cannot control the frequent moves, extended separations, and dramatic life events that occur unexpectedly, but we can prepare better for them. Everyone wins when there is organization. Even though it isn’t easy to think about the idea of needing to use a will or the other negative connotations of preparing before a deployment, it’s actually much bigger than that. The Book of Everything is an easy to use way to ensure that bills are being paid on time, important contacts don’t get lost, and families can run a little smoother with a little organization.

Just a little bit of effort now can save hours of headache in the future.

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I have to admit, I copied this from Wives of Faith; Sarah explained this so eloquently that I simply could not reword it.

Thank you, Sarah!

Sarah Horn from Wives of Faith writes:

“Have you heard about this yet? The DoD has partnered with SitterCity.com to offer free memberships for military families (active, Guard AND Reserve), which as I understand, is normally a $120 deal.

I just registered and it was quick and easy. You will need your husband’s DoD info because eligibility will be checked but it offers you some incredible access to caregivers – not just for babysitting, but pet sitting, tutoring and even care for your elderly relatives. If you struggle with finding childcare (because, really, how many of your friends have been willing to give up the name of their most trusted sitters?), this may be a great resource for you!

Now, please note, the deal covers the membership only – you still will pay for the actual service and those rates are worked out between you and the prospective care giver. But talk about a time saver! Your free membership includes a four-step screening process, free access to background checks, comprehensive babysitter profiles and babysitter video interviews.

Check out this article for more information, and to register, go to sittercity.com/dod.

A great little present for yourself, just in time for Month of the Military Child. :)

// Bookmark and Share

Thank you, Sarah, for sharing such great information for us all to take advantage of!

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Military life can be hard. Our military personnel make great sacrifices to protect our country and others around the world. They work long hours and spend extended periods of time away from their families to fight for the freedoms that allow us to enjoy an American lifestyle. What many don’t realize is the stress and strain that this puts on the military spouse.

Military spouses are strong, but they can’t bear the burden of military life alone. The pressures of deployment, single parenting while married, tight budgets, lack of continuity and other stresses bear down on this strong woman’s soul.

This is why I founded Wings for Women Military Spouse Conferences–to help military spouses deal with the stresses of military life. The Wings for Women Conferences–two-day events that will run in military cities across the nation (as soon as we have funding for them) feature general sessions, dynamic speakers and military lifestyle breakout workshops designed to inspire and encourage military spouses towards emotional healing.

In 1967, Thomas H. Holmes and Richard H. Rahe, from the University of Washington, did a study on the connection between significant life events and illness. As part of the study, they compiled a chart of 43 major causes of stress. In 2006, that chart was updated to include 55 major stressors. Here is a list of the top seven.

  • Finances (having enough to get by)
  • Work (overwork, a spouse working too much, or the inability to find work)
  • Family (health and family changes such as adoption, relocation, and job changes for just one family member can cause stress for all)
  • Personal Concerns (such as how the workload at home is shared)
  • Personal Health and Safety (affected by being alone and PTSD in a loved one)
  • Personal Relationships (friendship, marriage)
  • Death

In any given moment of any given day, the military family is dealing with not just one of these top stressors, but many. They:

  • Struggle with finances because of low pay
  • Get passed on much-needed employment because of a resume filled with time gaps from frequent moves
  • Feel the burden of managing the home and the children alone because of the military member’s long hours and/or deployments.

A deployed military member leaves behind a family who is stressed by being home alone and a spouse dealing with long distance marriage, a lack of close friendship bonds and the constant fear that her husband may not return from war. When the military member finally comes home, the spouse and family are greatly affected by the military member’s new personality traits because of war and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Imagine how you or your spouse might feel if put into one of these situations; yet the military spouse deals with these high stress triggers all the time. Every year. Every month. Every day.

These are the facts in the life of a military family.

A study published in January (2010) in the New England Journal of Medicine reinforces Holmes’ and Rahe’s theory of stress leading to illness by specifically looking at military families. The Journal study reviewed electronic medical data for almost 85 percent of the nearly 300,000 women whose active-duty husbands were deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan from 2003-2006. They found that 36.6 percent of those women had at least one mental-health diagnosis such as depression, anxiety or a sleep disorder. And this only counts those who reported problems.

“My husband is in Iraq for the 4th time,” says one military spouse on Facebook. “You are right, it doesn’t get any easier. In fact, this deployment (my third) was the hardest for me so far…It’s nice to be among those who understand and can relate to what you’re going thru.”

Jacey Eckhart of Military Money Magazine shares about the life of a Navy spouse: “But spouses? Man, they rip the veil off your head, ship you off to a city where you may not know a soul and expect you to be able to handle a deployment, say, a week later. Spouse boot camp often is self-taught. We manage. More importantly, we adapt.”

Wings for Women Military Spouse Conferences is addressing this and more by providing an opportunity for military spouses to be with those who understand and can relate to military life. Even more, the conferences will provide tools and resources to help spouses deal with these issues to improve their lives and subsequently the lives of the military family. We know from experience that as long as women have a place to gather these things will happen.

Our conferences kick off this year in Colorado Springs, CO May 14–15th with nearly 300 participants–many of whom are coming to Colorado from across the country.

The conferences will help spouses improve their relationships with themselves, their husbands and their children and increase their self-worth. We will provide valuable military and community resources to ensure that the spouse becomes engaged and supported by those around her after the conference concludes. As a result the spouses will be more aware of her purpose and mission, more connected with others like her and also with those who want to help. She will be refreshed and energized about her military lifestyle.

We believe that supporting the military spouse allows her to support her husband and children in a way that only she can. When the military spouse has the tools and resources she needs to thrive in the military lifestyle, the warrior has less stress as he does his job in the field and the children are more confident in the absence of their fathers.

In short, helping the military spouse helps everyone.

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Over the weekend I had a great conversation with Stephen Robinson, a military brat and Army veteran who shares his vast military lifestyle knowledge and experiences in This Emotional Life, a documentary on PBS (learn more about what the program is doing for military families here). Stephen is an amazing advocate for veteran’s affairs and has testified before the House and Senate on PTSD, suicide, mental health and the resiliency of the force. He found out about Wings for Women on the web and gave me a call to talk about what we are doing for military spouses. It made my day!

We’ve been working so hard at Wings for Women to create a conference that empowers and uplifts military spouses. My husband has been so great about funding this organization until we get the sponsorships we need to run affordable conferences for military spouses across the country. Sometimes it is a lonely journey working long hours, creating programs, lining up speakers, finding sponsors. Half the time I honestly wonder what I was thinking; I literally woke up one day and said, “Okay, let’s do this! Let’s make it as big as the vision I believe God has given me to bring healing and hope to military spouses.”

Some days I think I must be crazy, creating this thing out of thin air; I get discouraged by the obstacles and frustrated by the people who don’t understand why military spouses need Wings for Women Military Spouse Conferences–why we need a place to talk with others who know; a place to laugh, cry, talk and hug; a place to get together and heal. But I keep pressing on because I so passionately believe that we military spouses need this!

Military spouses aren’t weak and we aren’t victims. But we are tired. We need each other. I know that these conferences are exactly what military spouses need. I know we are filling a gap. And I know that when we strengthen the military spouse, we help everyone!

So when I get calls from people of Stephen Robinson’s caliber, I know we are doing what is right. When I receive notes from military spouses telling me how long they have waited for something like this, it makes a difference. When I see spouses registered for our conference who are flying in from across the country, I’m inspired. When I get calls from people from PBS and other military ministries, I know we are being blessed and will be able to bless others.

I am so grateful for the many business professionals and military spouses who are coming along beside Wings for Women to make this conference happen. It is only 60 days away and I can’t wait to meet all of you crazy amazing military spouses who are attending! Keep spreading the word–let’s pack the house and party in May!

If you haven’t registered for the conference yet, there are only a few more weeks to do so! Follow this link and register today! (It’s only $32–but it has a value of $125)

See you soon!

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Stress. Confusion. Discouragement. These are some of the words returning troops use to describe their current mental and emotional states. Interestingly, these are the same words military spouses are using to describe their military lives (which is one of the reasons we founded Wings for Women Military Spouse Conferences). It is also the reason many other ministries have stepped up to help both spouses and troops deal with the stresses of military life. Individually, each ministry fills an important need in for military families. By working together, we provide a body of assistance to improve military life.

This brings me to my ministry highlight for the day: 411 God, Hope for the Heros, a division of Back to the Bible and the Center for Bible Engagement.

A relatively new ministry, 411 God offers a free service for soldiers (and also military spouses) linking the timeless word of God with modern technology–delivering scripture and encouraging messages to returning soldiers via mobile phones. Their focus is on soldiers suffering with PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) and its related symptoms.

“More and more military spouses are even starting to use this ministry independent of their spouses,” says Jenni Keast of 411 God. “So we are encouraged by the response.”

Those interested simply sign up to receive an encouraging message via phone each day. Some use the daily message as their early morning alarm clock (or wake up call if you will). Others schedule the call to come at another trying or important time of the day.

As an additional service, 411 God has set up a blog at hopefortheheroes.blogspot.com where they endeavor to provide positive, encouraging and uplifting stories for the military family.

When you have a minute, stop by and see them! Sign up for their free service and ask others to as well!

Check out their fan page on Facebook as well.

If you tweet, you can also find them @hopeforthehero. Be sure to tell them Wings for Women sent you!

I’d love to hear back from you to see what you think about what they are doing over at 411 God Hope for the Hero!

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Since I began Wings for Women last fall, I have met some amazing people who are working hard to bring peace, joy, happiness and help to military spouses. I am so proud to work side by side with these ministries. In the next few blogs I will be highlighting some of the ministries I have learned about. If I miss you in the next week, don’t get mad. I plan to do this often because I think it’s important that Military Spouses know of all the resources available to us!

Meet Bria Slaughter: Hero Coming Home

Bria has been a military wife for almost 11 years and has such an incredible passion for the well-being of military wives and their families. “I have enjoyed these last few weeks speaking at worship leaders conferences about my new project “We Hold These Truths”, how I became involved, why it holds such a close place to my heart, and how honored I am to be in such an incredible sisterhood of some of the strongest and most AMAZING women I know!” says Bria.  Though the intent of her project is for church choirs – the “mission” is to insure the message gets out to each and every military family member as we recognize the  sacrifice! Here’s to your mission, Bria!

Here’s the link to the video

Here is Bria’s Blog

“Hero Coming Home” can be found in the project “We Hold These Truths” published by Lillenas Publishing Company @ Lillenas.com

Jocelyn Green has done a great writeup about Bria; you can read more here!

Thank you Bria for ministering to military wives!

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When the Obamas went the the White House, Michele promised to focus on military family issues and again last week she renewed her pledge to help. So I was curious, what do you think are the top issues that the first lady can improve or impact for military spouses? Please take the poll below and then find out what others think too!

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Carol for a Cause

I just wanted to take a moment and share with you a Christmas video that I was sent the other day. Seems like the best time of the year to share it.

Many thanks to Dana Clark and Dana Robinson for sharing this with me. I know you will enjoy it too.

As you watch, say a prayer for the military members who are deployed for this holiday season. Pray also for their families for the strength to keep going and the ability to hope.

Merry Christmas!

Go to video

To learn more about Carol for A Cause, please follow this link.

Thank you!

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