Apr 012017
 

 

Military life as we know it has gotten a lot easier over the years.  My husband just retired after over twenty-six years of active duty service.  As I look back over those years, I see the leaps and bounds we have made in our ‘society,’ and I am excited by most, but then a few sadden me.

As a very mobile society, we spouses had to find a way to make a life where we were, and we needed to do it fast and efficient as we knew we were going to be stationary for such a short time.  What we did way back when was join a network.

Now, we use that term a lot today, and in essence it means the same thing, but back then, the execution was different.  We actually had to talk to someone, and when I mean talk to someone, I actually mean speak to them and speak to them face-to-face.  We had to, to survive this nomadic lifestyle.

This is true for me, and I know it is true for the women who came before me who had a life so different than the rest of society.  These women braved so much more than I could ever imagine, but many did, and most did it with style and grace.

I thank women like my mother-in-law and my great friend Kathy who helped me understand a small part of what I was about to embark upon in my journey.  I also thank Ann Crossley who wrote The Army Wife Handbook.

My dear husband bought it for me as I did not understanding a thing, and I mean a thing about the Army life.  I am sure he bought it as much for me, so I wouldn’t embarrass myself, as for him, so I wouldn’t embarrass him, either.  I read it cover to cover.

A lot of great information was written in that book.  Now, many go to the Internet to find similar advice.  To read a funny story about this book, check this out.

Now, with a click of a mouse, we can find needed information; however, one needs to be very weary of all of the advice given online.  Facebook has become the most widely used information source for spouses now days, and most every military base has a spouses’ Facebook page to provide information and to request information.

This can be a great resource for many questions, but there are some answers that really need to come from a more reliable source than Facebook.  One example is  someone posted a question asking why her car insurance rate went up after moving to Texas.

Good question, but when I read the post, I also started reading the responses, which offered no explanations what so ever.  So, trying not to be the ‘mom,’ I wrote, “Call USAA and ask.”  I wondered why this was not her first thought rather than posting on Facebook?

Online sources are a great source to gather information, used wisely, of course, but sometimes we tend to hide at home behind a computer rather than putting ourselves out there to meet people.

This is the part of today that saddens me.  It used to be we met at coffees hosted by commander’s wives.  At these coffees, the news was given and concerns were addressed, but also, friendships were being formed.  I enjoyed the coffees and couldn’t wait to attend each month; it gave me a sense of belonging, of community.  It also has given me lifelong friends.

Now, however, it seems, we don’t need ‘people’ as much as we used to.  We have ‘friends,’ and I don’t mean the physical friends, we have the online friends.  Which in its self is not a bad thing, but what happens when we just need a person?  What if we need someone to give us a hug or a look; you know that ‘look’ to help us through whatever tough time we are going through.

That’s not on Facebook.  So, keep your hundred ‘friends’ on Facebook, but find some actual people to be there for you too.  Find someone to cook you dinner, wipe your tears, and watch the kids when you need it.

Being an introvert myself, I find it too easy to hide at home, so I must make an effort to get out and be social.  Thankfully, the majority of military spouses are a social bunch, so I am able to join in on a few activities on our base.  There is always a need for volunteers, and volunteering is a perfect way to make friends.

One of the ways I have been able to help support our community is by volunteering at the post thrift shop.  If you have not visited the base thrift shop, this is a must!  There is great low cost ‘stuff,’ and most proceeds go to sponsor military families through scholarships.

Unfortunately, (unfortunate, that there are so many; fortunate, there are services out there to help), there is a great need to support our Gold Star survivors, and I have been able to assist in a small way by helping make t-shirt quilts from the service member’s t-shirts.  This is an emotional journey that few can undertake alone, so we are there to provide a service to give comfort to the spouse and children.

See how this project came about here.  Our group has also contributed time and fabric to make several Quilts of Valor to be given to service members and their families.  This is truly a mission of love and honor.

We all have something to contribute to the military, and I just love hearing about people who see a need and just go out and find a fix for it.  Check out this story about these four incredible women at Fort Bliss who saw a need for affordable formal wear and created a way for others to be glamorous on special occasions for FREE!

If you have a creative way of supporting other milspouses or the military community, I would love to hear about it!  Leave me a comment.

Find other inspiring stories of milspouses that are doing amazing things, small (sarcasm) things, like just surviving.  Strength comes from many places in our world.  Follow Army Wife 101 on Facebook, for fun, get me through the day things to serious, and get me through this life thought.

Also on Facebook is ‘Military Spouse,’ and on their website you will find support and wisdom for any issue or problem one can come up against in the military life.

The Department of Veterans Affairs is also on Facebook and provides updated information on issues that affect us all.  On a lighter note, if you need tickets to ballgames, concerts, or any other venue that requires a ticket, check out this link.

If you need a resource but don’t know where to look, go to this website for a list of community resource guides to help you in your search.  This is not a complete list of resources, but it will provide phone numbers and links to get you the information you need.

As always, if you or a loved one is suicidal please call for help to the national suicide hotline at 1-800-273-8255 PRESS 1!  Or text 838255; if you need to chat with someone online, click on this link.

Stay safe and watch over each other.  Take a look how one vet, Jay Zimmerman, is helping coach therapists to help other vets who are at risk of suicide.  Read about this in this NPR article. Combat Veteran Coaches Therapists In Best Ways To Help Vets At Risk Of Suicide : Shots – Health News : NPR

An Army wife for over twenty-seven years; Cindy Yates is a member of several organizations that seek to help and support the military family.  She holds a Master’s degree in education from the University of Nebraska.  Contact

Photo Credit – Amazon