Cammo Style Love

Friday, May 19, 2017

Why Is It Important to Share Your National Guard Story

Since 2004, the day I said "I DO" I became a military spouse. Before then I was a military girlfriend, and made the decision with my now husband to enter into this lifestyle. I was excited about it and ready to be all in. However, I didn't enter into a typical active duty lifestyle. What I entered into was the Active Guard Reserve lifestyle of the Air National Guard. Every morning he put on his uniform and went into work. But the work he went into was on a teeny tiny Guard base in the middle of nowhere. We didn't have a host of military support non-profits located near us. We had no commissary, exchange or base housing. It's this feeling of belonging, but being on the very edge of the group you belong to. You feel isolated and alone, especially when it comes to activations and deployments. Many states try very hard to assist those of us that are remotely serving. We had great doctors and hospitals we accessed through Tricare Prime Remote, and the local WalMart had a card we registered for and carried around that gave us tax-free status. But when it came to programs for our children and our families, we were severely lacking.

It was during these early years that I started this blog. I began an endless searching for support organizations that helped families like mine. Gathering resources and housing them here on this blog. I knew that I couldn't be the only one feeling this way and I wasn't. It even came to my attention that there were service members in my husband's unit who didn't even live in the same state, or had to get on a plane to come to drill. It would be about five years and we would become that family. There are obvious flaws in the system, and families fall through the cracks. And you can't always rely on the idea that, "Well, they are a National Guard family, they probably live in their 'hometown' or with their extended families." We definitely did not, and after many years I discovered that that was more common than I realized. What are some of the most important take-aways one should understand about the National Guard (and Reserves) life?

  • We are both Military and Civilian, balancing between these two lives. 
  • There's a significant lack of understanding coming from the civilians AND fellow military  
  • Programing available to National Guard and Reserves can be significantly different
  • Transitions can be quick and drastic! When a active duty service member deploys their transitions are difficult but transitioning quickly from civilian life to military life when there are no standards for support.
  • Fighting an uphill battle because of the change of National Guard life over the years. When talking to leadership, or those involved in the advocacy circle, you may be dealing with folks who served over twenty years ago, when things were very different. I have experienced this before and its a difficult conversation to have.

So what can you do to combat this?!

  1. TELL YOUR STORY!!! Don't stop telling your story!! If you ever want to write about it let me know. Homefront United Network is always looking for guest bloggers and writers to tell their story. Even if you don't think you are a writer, try it!!!!!
  2. TAKE THE SURVEY! The Blue Star Families Military Lifestyle Survey is a survey that tells your story. It gets into the hands of non-profits, advocacy groups and those involved in the political world.

Survey Ends Today!!!!!!!!

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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Blue Star Families' Military Lifestyle Survey is Here!!

It's Military Appreciation Month and its time for the Military Family Lifestyle Survey! I have been involved with this survey for about five years now. Each year I have seen it grow and its reach spread further and further. The potential impact for this survey is huge! Individuals with significant power to affect the welfare of military families see the results of this survey. It goes a long way to educate individuals on the needs of military spouses, service members and even military children! It is a leading resource for policy makers, corporations and non-profits. Taking the survey is a way for your voice to be heard!!!

In 2016 the survey provided us with some very valuable information. Across the board Military Pay/Benefits was at the forefront of military spouses, service members and veterans minds. The top five concerns for military spouses were as follows - military pay and benefits, spouse employment, change in retirement benefits, Impact of deployment on kids and family stability. One of the most astonishing, yet not shocking, results was that 88% of survey takers felt like those in the civilian world did not understand the sacrifices made by service members and their families. Survey results also include information about military kids, retirement, suicide, mental health and caregiving.

After 15+ years of war military families are tired. Our emotions are raw, issues of mental health are at the forefront, and we don't want to be forgotten. While 77% of those surveyed are happy with their military life, 72% believe that the current optempo causes an undo amount of stress for a healthy family life. That is a very relatable finding. We love our military life, but it can be exhausting for our families.

If you want your voice to be heard, and for that voice to have a real impact on military support this is the best way to do so. This survey goes directly into the hands of those that can make a difference and they do read it! Keep sharing your story and never stop!

Don't miss your chance to give your story a voice, a voice that has the potential to make a real impact! And if you take the survey you are entered to win a $100 gift card!

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Thursday, April 27, 2017

Let's Go On An Adventure!!

I'm constantly telling my kids we are going on an adventure. It's what we say whenever we are leaving the house to go somewhere other than errands or the grocery store. However, Mr. Air Force and I have occasionally hidden the fact we are going to the commissary (cue crying children). Mostly though we use it to get them excited. The importance of adventure in life can not be understated!! There are times to stay home, do chores, clean up the yard, spend the day playing outside and reading books. There can never be to heavy of an importance placed on this. But adventure is surely the greatest! The time spent exploring and discovering something new with your children is so exciting. An adventure could be anything - a road trip, going bowling, visiting the Tulip Farm or seeing a Civil War Battlefield. Our life as a military family can be hard, and frequently our Mr. Air Force isn't here. The desire I feel to have these adventures is surely compounded by this fact. I never know when he won't be here to have that adventure with, and I don't want to wait! Its a feeling only someone who lives a life that me could truly understand. It's like the feeling that comes when its time to PCS, a strange mix of emotion, excitement and dread. So take those adventures, anytime you can! It doesn't have to be far or cost a lot of money. An adventure is almost a state of mind, and I want my children to have that.

So...where was our latest adventure? We went to the Tulip Farm! It had been on my bucket list for a couple years now, and it just never seemed to work. There's a peak time to go, and of course something was always coming up when that time came. This year, I was practically stalking the website and decided to go for it! It ended up being such a fun experience for the kids. We had a blast, outside in God's creation, have simple fun and it was wonderful. I'm excited to experience Burnside Farms through the seasons, as I've heard they have Summer flowers too!!! And for my military readers, you can snag yourself a military discount there too!

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Thursday, April 20, 2017

Budget Friendly Products ~ Finesse Shampoo

As a mom of three, staying at home, and a military spouse I don't have a ton of time and money to be spending ridiculous amounts of money on most of my beauty products.  I have a few rules about what I do spend money on, but one of them is NOT my shampoo. Stay tuned for more in these series where I'll be talking all about my favorite budget-friendly, mom-friendly products!

Up first is Finesse Restore+Strenghten Shampoo and Conditioner. While I was super lucky to try this out thanks to Brandbacker, I absolutely would recommend this shampoo. I feel like shampoos and conditioners are always claiming to accomplish something and I never see the benefits. Trust me, I'm always looking!! I almost immediately noticed the benefits of this particular one. What I noticed in particular was the softness and life my hair seemed to have, especially after the winter wreaking havoc on my hair. I also noticed that I was able to go a little bit longer washing my hair and having it still look good. I'm only expecting to see even better results as I continue to use it. And if you needed more encouragement, Kendal Jenner and Kim Kardashian use there you go.

But what's the best part? The price you guys!!! Isn't that whole point of this new series? You can snag these at Wal-Mart for less than $6.00 for the big bottles! What?!!! Online, the price the shampoo is coming up for less than $2. Stop it right now!!! Make sure to catch me on Instagram to see me talking about my hair all this week.

This post is "Powered by BrandBacker" ~ I received product in exchange for this post.
As always my thoughts and opinions are my own. I did not receive compensation for this post.

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