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- BlogWed, 27 Mar 2019Marrying the Military
Seven Questions to Help You Evaluate Before "Marrying the Military"
Before any milspo becomes a milspo – that's military spouse – they were right where you are today, dating a service member, considering the marriage talk, and wondering exactly what it means to be "married to the military."
Sure you've heard horror stories. You've heard about people who married in and loved in; you've heard about those who didn't. And you're wondering what's true? Which outcome will hold true for you? How do you best determine the future status of your relationship?
While considering marriage to a military member, dive into the milspo community and ask these very important questions. Discuss them with your betrothed too. By laying all of your cards on the table and obtaining as much info as possible, you can have a better idea of what to expect after marrying your service member, or in deciding if military life is a good fit for your future.
1. What's it Really Like?
Sure, everyone's answer will be different, but that's why you ask as many folks as possible. Roll all of their scenarios into a general opinion, knowing you might live a little of X, a lot of Y, and so on. The more situations you learn about, the better, more well-rounded scenarios you can hold on to and reference when it’s time to decide.
2. When Will They Be Gone?
Of course, the answer to this question depends on their job/career path, location, and branch, but it's a good question nonetheless. Ask your service member how likely it is for him/her to deploy or to travel for additional job training. Ask them where they've been in the past and for how long.
3. What's the Pay?
Money isn't everything, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't know what you're getting yourself into. In the same way you'd have an idea how much your civilian fiancé earns with any career, you need the same knowledge with a military spouse. It’s important to know how your bank will be affected.
4. What Resources are Available?
There's a heavy learning curve in becoming a military spouse. Most learn over time, but understanding what can be talked about, what the acronyms mean, acceptable protocols, where to find answers for your insurance needs or obtaining potential career trainings are all valid and necessary questions that will come up. There are classes and literature available to help that process along. You want to learn as much as possible as a future (or new) milspo. Your base will have a newcomer's class you can attend. They will also have websites or social media groups you can join that list local amenities, such as on-post daycare, career trainings, or where to apply for scholarships for example.
5. How Will Your Logistics be Affected?
What state will you pay taxes in? How will you get a new vehicle tag when moving? STate’s vary, but insurance switches are as simple as a phone call to your provider.
How do you navigate finding a new school for your children? What Mommy and Me classes are available where you are stationed? Will your career easily transition? Will you drive or is there public transportation? What activities are available for older children? What services, groups, clubs are available for you as a new military spouse in a new place?
6. What's the Worst Part?
Let's face it; it's not all roses, but this is true of any relationship. Talk to other spouses. Get their take on military marriages. You're likely to get a range of responses. Three huge factors that come to mind immediately, deployments, bouts without communication, and moves with little notice.
7. Was it Worth it?
Through all the ups and downs, the good and the bad, all the stressors, does the good outweigh the pitfalls? I believe so. Ask current milspos this important question. I believe if you are willing to put in the time and effort with your spouse, it will all be worthwhile in the end. Every relationship has its challenges, but through all the training schedules and the missed holidays with families, if you’ve met the right person, all the sacrifices would be worth it if you’re spending your life with your one, true love.
Bethaney Wallacemore...Filters: Service Together
- BlogWed, 27 Mar 2019Military Ball
At the Military Ball...Six Etiquette Tips to Follow
At some point as a military spouse (or military significant other) comes the topic of a military ball. Should you go? Will you go? And if you do go, what's the deal? What do you wear? What should you expect? For newbies, there are so many questions.
To ease the anxiety of wondering if you'll be overdressed or under-informed, take a look at this helpful guide. Whether you're a first-time guest or a spouse who has never had the stars align to attend one of these special evenings, (We've all been blocked by school programs, deployments, family obligations...), these tips will help sort out your questions and allow you to be fully prepared for your military ball.
Of course, this is the biggest question of all: what do you wear?
Military balls are formal events that call for elegant attire, whether a gown, evening dress or pant suit alternative. (So long as it's dressy enough, it's fair game.) That also means hair, makeup, and accessories – the full nine yards needs to go with the outfit.
Remember that you're there to make your service member look good. Classy is best. Avoid cuts that are ill-fitting or too revealing. There's a wide range for creativity and personal style, just remember to stay professional and pulled together. If you don't already know your service member's dress uniform colors, find out so you can compliment their look with yours.
2. Leave the Baby at Home
Yes, really! This is a topic that comes up. Though it depends on the type of ball (We'd bet money you would never see a baby at an infantry ball.), this is a night to get a babysitter. Military balls are formal events made for adults. That means a fancy setting, fancy clothes, drinks and no bedtimes.
For mothers who might have newborns or are still breastfeeding, bring the pump or opt to sit this ball out. It's simply not a night for baby to tag along and mom needs to feel comfortable out for the night.
3. Ask Your Service Member Questions Before You Go
Sure, they might not have the answer, but at least you tried, right? Ask them what side you should stand on. Are there certain people you should meet? Who's the person you should repeat that one story to? Whatever your hesitations might be, discuss them with your date for a better idea of what to expect.
4. Talk with Others at Your Table
Chances are you will be seated with people you don't know. This is typical ball protocol. Some might be your service member's peers or coworkers, others simply assigned to your table. Whatever the scenario, don't make it weird. Make small talk and keep up the conversations so the table doesn’t get quiet and awkward.
5. Avoid the Grog at all Costs
Though it may or may not be outlawed these days, if it’s there, don't drink it!
The grog is a vat of various boozes and other ingredients like sugar or even sand that are ceremoniously mixed together. For service members, it's a right of passage to take a sip, or several from this liquid camaraderie. For guests, it's a gross mix that is likely to hold germs and backwash. Even if you're dared, don't drink it!
6. Go with the Flow
If you're new to military life, there's likely to be a lot of pomp and circumstance that's unfamiliar. While you won't be put on the spot, the best thing to do is step back and watch it all take place. Stand when everyone else stands. Cheer when they cheer. Remain silent when they bring in the colors. You get my drift. You can do this! Essentially, don’t draw attention to yourself in these circumstances and follow the crowd’s lead to remain respectful during these pre and post dinner events.
Through it all, have fun and enjoy the experience.more...Filters: Service Together
- BlogMon, 18 Mar 2019Why I Run
My first long run, longer than two miles at least, was in Army Basic Training. It was a non-trivial feat, even though I ran in cadence at a slow pace. My first truly long run was a few years later. I ran for an hour at a faster pace than I was used to. I achieved my first runner’s high. It was then that I understood and appreciated running.
Every place I’ve lived for the past decade, post-Army, I’ve found a worthwhile route to run regularly. I need it. When I first moved to NYC, the Upper West Side, I ran through Central Park a few times, but found running through Riverside Park much more pleasant. Time and time again, when the weather permitted, I ran through this gauntlet of sun bathers, BBQers, random sports players, dog walkers and other runners.
One of my favorite places to run was in the Bronx. My route was up through Van Cortland Park. I would run past hissing highways and past the golf course, past people fishing and under the canopy of trees. If you go deep enough, you can imagine an endless forest, and not the big city just around the corner. Or you can turn into the open part of the park where people play soccer, baseball and cricket. At the edge of the park was a place to do pull-ups, perfect for making the run back even harder.
In Spokane, Washington, I learned to love running by the Spokane River, a long quiet run by fresh, rushing water. And now, in Seattle, the bay is the perfect companion for a run. You feel the strong winds as ships of all sizes sail by.
Funny thing is, as a young boy, I thought people who ran just to run were odd. I enjoyed sports, but the few times I had to run, I found it immensely boring and even painful. It was only when I went into a smaller unit in the Army, where long runs and solitary runs were required, that I started to love running. That runner’s high I mentioned certainly helped, but I also had time to think or just space out as I got into my own rhythm and flow, my own meditative state, feeling my body and breathing in my environment.
When I run these days, I do so to clear my mind and reset to zero. I’m not gonna lie; sometimes I run harder than I should. Lung-searing hard, I try to see at which point my heart will hurt, because sometimes you have to run hard to forget your troubles and your failures. I’m just glad that my knees allow running to happen, allow me to forget for a moment.
One day I’ll be old, knees broken down and aching back, and I won’t be able to run to forget. Where will I be? What will I do? I suppose, I’ll be nothing but memories then, staring out a foggy window in my wheelchair looking at running paths in parks. I hope not. Until then, I’ll run.
Nelson Lowhimmore...Filters: Service Together
- BlogSat, 10 Nov 2018The Wars Have Come Home - Remembering the...
November 11, 2018 marks the 100th commemoration of the signing of the armistice agreement in France between World War I Allies and Germany. The goal was to stop hostilities on the western front of the war. It took effect at 11 o’clock that morning, expiring after 36 days. It wasn’t until the Treaty of Versailles was signed in... more...Filters: Service Together
- BlogTue, 12 Jun 2018D-Day
We recently celebrated our war veterans on Memorial Day and last week marked the 74th anniversary of the historic D-Day invasion. During World War II (1939-1945), the three month Battle of Normandy, (June - August 1944), resulted in the Allied liberation of Western Europe from Nazi Germany’s control. Operation Overlord, as the battle was codenamed, began June 6, 1944, when 156,000 American, British and Canadian forces landed on five beaches along a 50-mile stretch of the heavily fortified coast of the Normandy region of France.more...Filters: Service Together
- BlogMon, 21 May 2018Tips for Staying Sane When You're the Only Parent...
As a military family, you know all-too-well that there are times when you or your spouse will be called away for duty, often without much – or any – warning. As a service member, you might get called into the field. However, when you are the parent left at home, whether you've had plenty of warning or given a day's notice of the deployment, there are a few ways you can help make life easier. Don't stress! Parenting is hard enough on its own. Accept the help of others and look for resources to make your daily life easier.more...Filters: Service Together