Posts Tagged ‘deployment’

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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Surviving Military Wife Life

by Melissa Petrone

looking on a map

When I said, “I do” to my husband and joined the military too (as his spouse), I thought… “I can do this …it won’t be so hard…it will be an adventure!”  After all, I lived on my own for many years, had my career and knew that I was a strong person…This will be easy. Well, I was wrong. On so many levels. Military life and the life of a military spouse is many things but EASY…? No definitely not easy. It is probably one of the most challenging callings I have ever had. Yes…I feel God calls many women (and men) to be a military spouse. I although did not know this at the time when I married my husband. Heck, I was just so happy to finally find a husband…but that is another story.

Let me tell you a little about myself and my family. I am now 42 and living in Fountain, CO. Ft. Carson was our last duty station (and our last deployment) before my husband decided to retire from the US Army after 25 years of service (we have been together for 11 years). We decided to settle in Colorado with our family of 3 children ages 18, 7 and 4, and our dogs.

My journey as an Army wife started in Ft. Belvoir, VA. We were there for about 1 ½ before my very first PCS (Permanent Change of Station) to Baumholder, Germany.  I had no clue how a PCS went but I survived it, and as all military spouse are I became an expert. My first year in Baumholder…well…for a lack of better words…STUNK!! I was homesick, culture shocked, with no friends and my husband was never around. It seemed as soon as our plane landed he was fast at work and I was left to do the rest. I also had my step-son who was nine at the time..for more please visit our new website and blog at wings4women.org


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Three more days until we celebrate being a military spouse in Colorado Springs with military spouses from across the country! We are stuffing bags full of gifts, sorting door prizes, ordering tons of food and putting together all of the details of the conference. We are all abuzz and loving it!

Not only are we putting all those last-minute details together, but we are also making plans for next year’s conferences! (Did you hear that? More than one!) We have even more fun and exciting plans for Colorado and Texas in 2011–and also for  churches and/or organizations across the country with military ministries! Keep checking in to see what we have planned!

See you in a few days!!

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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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Multiple deployments can wreak havoc on the military family; the spouse is strong, but sometimes she gets tired of being alone, overwhelmed by single parenting, or suffers from anxiety or depression because of the military lifestyle. Sometimes, the military family needs someone to talk to.

Give an Hour is an amazing organization offering free mental health counseling for military and their families who are dealing with such issues as parenting, marriage, divorce, PTSD, traumatic brain injury, reunion, deployment, anxiety, etc. Although similar services are offered on each military installation, Give an Hour knows that the military doesn’t have near enough resources to help the thousands of military members and families who need help coping with the effects of this long-running war. In addition to returning troops and their families, Give an Hour also offers services to parents, siblings, unmarried partners and others who are not entitled to military benefits but are affected by the military lifestyle.

Learn more about Give an Hour and their free counseling services by visiting their website at giveanhour.org. Be sure to tell them that Wings for Women Military Spouse Conferences sent you!

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I’ve been doing a lot of studying on what makes a great conference; from the ones I used to attend as an MLM distributor, to conferences like Women of Faith and Beth Moore. The more I talk with people about what we are trying to do, the more I’m noticing a varied response. My husband and other men always ask, “Why a conference?” Whereas women always say, “A conference?! We’ve been needing one of those!”

I firmly believe that women just need a place to gather. When we have that place, be it a home, a coffee shop or a conference, we will bond, talk, laugh, cry and heal. Men usually don’t understand this idea because they need something to rally around when they meet: a ball game, electronics, vehicles. Give a group of men a broken down car and some tools and they will walk away at the end of the day knowing they’ve accomplished something. Give women a place to meet others like themselves and they will walk away at the end of the day knowing that they are not alone and therefore feel encouraged and strengthened to carry on.

So, that’s what I tell the men who question this idea: we just need a place to get together.

Wings for Women is providing that place. When you come to the conference, you will get pampered by massages and gifts, entertained by skits and speakers, and educated by other military spouses and professionals who can make your life easier. You will walk away from this two-day conference feeling lighter, healthier and connected. (You can even register now by following this link)

For some, however, just that one time boost each year isn’t enough. Some of you are living in homes where the effects of war-related post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has ravaged your safe haven. It has changed your life in a way you never wanted or would have wished for. For you, there is something additional that you will want to attend. That is the “When War Comes Home [Don’t] Retreat” that Marshele Carter Waddell and Rev. Rahnella Adsit are putting together just for you!

The retreat will take place at Glen Eyrie in November of 2010. It is an overnight intensive retreat that will focus on healing for the military spouse who live with the effects of PTSD every day. They are putting together an amazing program for healing, help and accountability that is unprecedented. Find out more from the website-whenwarcomeshomeretreat.com.

So my encouragement is this: Come to the conference in May at the Cheyenne Mountain Conference Center and invite your friends–you’ll meet with military spouses from across the nation and you will be uplifted and encouraged by the program we’ve put together.

And if you are in a family reeling from the effects of battle-induced PTSD, also sign up for the intensive retreat at Glen Eyrie in November.

Military Spouses–this is your year!!! Go for it!!!!

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You are invited to attend the Wings for Women Conference

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Finally! A Conference for Military Spouses!

Wings for Women Military Spouse Conferences
a non-profit corporation


Take Cover!
Colorado Springs 2010

Treat yourself to a fun weekend made just for YOU


Amazing Speakers
Workshop Breakout Sessions
Friendship and Laughter
Great Worship Music
Fabulous Food
Fun Entertainment

Geared specifically toward the issues military spouses face~

2010 Workshop Breakout Topics:

Marriage and Communication
Successful marriages don’t just happen–especially in the military. They take some creativity and lots of hard work. Get the tools you need to create intimacy and communication in your marriage before, during and after deployments for a successful and fulfilling military marriage.

The Aftereffects of War (PTSD/TBI/Suicide)
PTSD is the new reality for military families facing multiple deployments during this long war. Talk with a panel of experts in the field and get the resources you need to identify PTSD behavior in your spouse, know what to do to keep yourself and your family safe and/or diffuse the situation, and recognize secondary traumatic stress symptoms in yourself.

Surviving Deployment
How do you get through single parenting while your married? The long nights alone? The empty space at the dinner table? We all have different methods to cope. Talk with a panel of military spouses who have been there–many times. Find out how God wants us to use our time during a deployment and discover creative ways to keep the family in touch while he’s gone.

Helping our Kids Cope
Often our children are the forgotten heroes; they must learn how to cope with frequent moves, long distance daddys  and other challenges of military life. Listen to stories from other military spouses and get new ideas to help your children thrive in their adventurous military lifestyle.

Finance Management for Military Families
Finances can be a strain on any family, but couple financial challenges with a down economy, moves and deployments and the challenges can be overwhelming. Get practical tips and advice from financial professionals on eliminating debt, saving for the future and having a cushion for those unexpected expenses.

Mobile Careers
One of the most challenging tasks for a military spouse is finding meaningful work or volunteer opportunities. Not anymore! Hear from professional career coaches on what it takes to create a niche for yourself in your mobile lifestyle. Whether it is working, school or volunteering, this session will help you realize your strengths and talents (as well as what you should avoid), and help point you to the best opportunity out there by giving you the skills and tools you need toland that perfect position–one that can even move with you.

All this for only $24* (early bird registration here)
Onsite childcare provided for $8.50/day/child

Make it a weekend retreat and stay the night for $88!
(follow this link to register for a room–just mention you are with Wings for Women!)

Join us May 14-15, 2010
At the Cheyenne Mountain Conference Resort
for the time of your life–
for military spouses by military spouses!

Learn more about Wings for Women here

Follow our blog: www.Wings4Women.wordpress.com
and find us on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook @Wings4Women

*It is and always will be our goal to keep this conference affordable for any military-associated woman who wants to attend. This is made possible through many local businesses and donors who are supporting this conference through sponsorships and scholarship donations.

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So I made it to the Her Freedom Radio Show yesterday, despite being besieged with laryngitis (still)! Poor Janna’s audience had to listen to my raspy voice, but we had a good conversation! I was so happy to have my new friend Jenn Showker Lucas come to help me out. She’s a new army wife and very passionate about helping with Wings for Women. She will focus on reaching out to girlfriends and fiance’s of military members so they don’t feel so lost and alone; especially during deployments. Jenn filled in whenever my voice gave out. What a trooper!wings on the radio

We talked about the challenges of  military spouses, the joys of being married to the military, and of course about the conference and how we plan to address military spouse issues while giving hope and encouragement in abundance.

I even learned something that morning (something I try to do every day). Jenn gave such a good description of what it’s like for a spouse when the military member is deployed. She said, “It’s like suffering a loss each day.” This is true because each day there are experiences that you don’t share. Each morning there is an empty pillow next to you. Each night there is an empty chair at the table. What an excellent way to describe what we go through! It’s important to recognize that loss so we can acknowledge it for what it is and move on instead of stuffing it or ignoring it–which causes more damage to us in the long run. What is it they say? Recognizing the problem is the biggest step towards healing/change.

There was a great question posted by a listener on Wednesday that I couldn’t answer right away. She mentioned the many women in the Bible who were military spouses and she asked which of those women I could relate to the most. The judge Deborah came to mind immediately, but I think that’s because it’s my sister’s name. The more I thought about it, the more I began to realize that Bathsheba probably best represents many military spouses. She was left behind when her husband went to war, she had some bad stuff happen to her, and her husband was killed (not to mention her son by David also died). I relate most to her grief and struggles. My husband hasn’t died in the war, but many mil spouses have had to bury their loved ones recently. I don’t think the civilian world really understands the emotions that military spouses have to live with.

If you want to hear more, the show will re-air this Sunday at 10 am here.

You can also listen to an archived version soon here.

Have a blessed weekend!

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