Tag Archive for Army Wife

Interview with Michy from Ocipura.com

Michy, who blogs at Ocipura.com, shares with us her life as an Army wife and a Christian and some of her varied interests–from food and recipes to psychology!

What topics do you write about on your blog?

I write about all sorts of things. My Christian faith, Avon, life as an Army wife, food and recipes, relationships… I’ve been known to even post about a simple do-it-yourself project, as well. I write about the things I’m interested in, the things I know about.

Share a favorite post of yours:

One of my favorite posts is entitled Don’t Stop Arguing, which is about my advice to couples to keep arguing, but do it right, because “A complete lack of arguments usually indicates a shallow relationship.”

Tell us a little bit about your military spouse journey.

My husband and I have been best friends for ten years, having met first in junior high. We did not start dating until after he had already been deployed to Iraq twice. When we started dating, he transferred to Fort Hood, which was closer to me, and we got married about a year later (October ’09)! As a new military spouse, it’s hard to come to terms with the fact that my husband has three years left on his contract, meaning that I’m sure to have to go through a deployment or two, if not more, with him. It will be a completely different experience for us now that we are married! As of now, he has been serving in the US Army for five years.

What are the best and most challenging parts of the Military Spouse Experience?

The challenge of the Army is to remain flexible. The Army is constantly changing its mind about schedules, plans, and everything else, and it’s a struggle to roll with the punches. As I wrote recently in my blog, my husband’s leave packet did not get approved until about a week before our wedding. Though we had payments put down on the wedding and honeymoon, we didn’t know for sure that he would be able to even show up until the day his packet finally got approved!

If someone you care about was about to marry a military servicemember, what one piece of advice would you give?

If one of my friends were on the verge of marrying into the military, I would advise them first, to be flexible, and second, to rely on God. There are many times that I’ve had to remind myself that the parts of being an Army wife that are too tough for me to handle are the parts that I need to let God handle. He can get me through what I don’t have the strength to get through on my own.

Interview with Lorrie Nichols of The Journal of An Army Wife


Lorrie Nichols, who blogs at The Journal of an Army Wife, answered our questions about her life as an Army Wife.

What topics do you write about on your blog?

I generally write about what is going on in life at the moment.  A big part of that is the journey my husband and I are on while he is getting his commission.

Share a favorite post of yours:

Just a Small Setback, I wrote it today after I got the news my husband is coming home from OCS early.  This is just a small setback for us, a bump in the road, but not the end of the road for our journey.

Tell us a little bit about your military spouse journey.

Mike is in the Army National Guard.  He hasn’t been deployed, yet.  He served in the Air Guard for six years, then spent several years as a civilian, and joined the Army Guard last October.  We have been married for 2 1/2 years, but I have only been a military spouse for about 4 months.

What are the challenges of being a military spouse?

Military time doesn’t necessarily coincide with real world time.  It seems we hurry up to get things done, then spend a lot of time waiting.  I don’t always feel like I know what is going on, and when I do, it seems to change.

What are the best parts of being a military spouse?

The pride I feel in my husband and my country.  The people my husband serves with seem like family.

To what extent have blogging and social networking affected the military spouse experience?

It allows you to communicate with people that are going through similar experiences.  I feel so much less lonely.  These are also a way to have some questions answered by people who have lived what you are going through.

If someone you care about was about to marry a military servicemember, what one piece of advice would you give?

Be patient.  The military certainly won’t do things like you would like them to, but it does get done in the end.  Get to know, love, and trust the people that your spouse is with, they are your biggest support and resource.

Thank you, Lorrie!  Please check out Lorrie’s blog where she shares her life as a military spouse, including her husband’s path to getting his commission.  Want to see your interview here, just drop me an e-mail: candace [at] armywiveslives [dot] com!

HELP! My Husband is Joining the Army and I Don’t Like It!

An anonymous reader comments:

Hey Molly my husband is looking into a career In the army, I don’t like the idea because he will never be home and could always be deployed and could die. I am 19 he is 26 years old and we have a 5 month old daughter I didn’t not sign up to be a military wife I don’t like the idea of moving every other year and not being able to see him everyday and then spending long time periods away from him I guess my question is what is being a military spouse really like. He will be entering as a E3 but I don’t want to hear the lie from the recruiter I want to ask some one who is there.

Dear reader,

Thank you for writing. Although you are already married, you may want to check out my post, “Should I Marry a Soldier?” I cover some of the questions you ask here but the long and the short of it is that no one can really give you the answers you are seeking.

Your family’s experience in the military will vary depending on your husband’s MOS (his specialty), the post, the unit, and even down to his Commanding Officer and NCOs. And it will also depend on both of you.

As someone who has been there I will not downplay the challenges of military life. At the same time, it can be a wonderful lifestyle for those who are able to “bloom where they are planted.” One of the lessons I have learned in life is that happy people are generally happy wherever they are and miserable people are miserable wherever they go. That said, military life can be intense and can bring out the strengths and weaknesses in people and in relationships.

What I will say is that no one is never home or deployed all of the time. And it seems as if the “operational tempo” may slow in the near future. God willing.

And very few people’s lives happen exactly as they plan. A lot of families find themselves moving frequently.

While the risk of being killed in combat is very real, it is statistically not great. It is the possibility, and the constant threat of this danger, that can be very difficult for both the soldier and his family.

Your question is really a marital issue than a military one. You had a picture of your future for you and your family and you married a man who you believed shared that plan. Now, he has brought something new and you do not like the idea. How you deal with this challenge will shape your future regardless of the decision made.

I am not a marriage counselor but here are my suggestions:

1. Do some research into his proposed MOS. Are there limited posts where he might be stationed?

2. Read up. Go to your library and take out some non-fiction books for new military spouses. You’ll find an honest but upbeat take on what to expect in general. Keep in mind that your mileage will vary.

3. Have him do the same. He needs to come to you with an honest assessment of why he would like to enlist, what he hopes to accomplish in the military, and how this will shape the family’s future. Has he always dreamed of being a soldier? Does he believe it is his duty to serve? Perhaps he sees the military as his best hope for career advancement? Or maybe he wants to provide for his family with the job security and benefits of the military?

4. Make a decision together. This is very difficult because you do not want him to resent you for telling him not to enlist. At the same time, it will be a very unpleasant career and possibly unsuccessful marriage if you are not at least a willing partner in this decision. Just like any other major decision in a marriage, you both need to reach some sort of agreement, even if one person will have to make more sacrifices than the other.

If you cannot do this on your own, you may wish to speak with a clergyman if you are at all religious or perhaps go to a couples’ counselor who can help you talk through these issues in a non-confrontational way.

Whether or not he joins the military, this will hopefully help you understand each other and your marriage better and you’ll come through it stronger.

Best of luck and please update us!

Captain Dad is Now COMMANDER Dad!

My most awesome and beloved husband took command of a great group of National Guard soldiers on Saturday.

Following the change of command, the unit threw its annual Christmas party and I was impressed, delighted, and struck by some of the differences between the National Guard and the Active Duty Army.

The First Sergeant’s amazing and dedicated wife organized the party with help from a small group of regulars and created a real festive scene. There was tons of food–turkey, baked ham, roast pig, fried chicken, sweet potatoes, salad, arroz con frijoles, breads, pies, cookies, well…you get the idea. A local teacher and his band provided the entertainment–a mix of 70s dance music, popular latin numbers, and some Christmas classics. Besides the soldiers, there were unit alumni, junior cadets, the teacher’s class of “troubled teens,” and other community members.

Without the red tape of the regular rules and bureacracy, the party planners had more freedom to make the event work.

There were so many adorable children running around, playing on the castle bounce, making hand painted ornaments, and playing with new toys. The highlight for the younger set was Santa’s arrival on a Humvee!

I really got the sense that the soldiers and families love children as babies were passed from friend to friend, toddlers entertained, and older kids drawn into the singing and dancing.

Because not all of the soldiers had Class As, there was an interesting mix of uniforms and civilian wear on display, including a nehru jacket and a zoot suit.

With the vibrant neighborhood relationship and the obvious unit esprit de corps, I did not miss the regular army’s commitment to precision and uniformity.

Because National Guard members may spend their entire career with the unit, it was clear we were joining a close-knit family.

A lot of this also has to do with the community and how the armory is integrated into its urban neighborhood.

The one somber note came with a presentation of memorial plaques to family members of two fallen soldiers–some volunteers from the unit are part of a deployment to Afghanistan.

Even that sad note was a beautiful reminder of how much these soldiers care for one another.

I am proud to be a part of the family of this new unit and very proud of my husband’s service to our country.

Mrs. Lieutenant – Winner and Questions Answered

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The winner of Mrs. Lieutenant from the Bloggy Giveaways Carnival is Jo, who asked:

Was your info on the four different wives taken from the lives of family and friends, or of strangers? Are you portraying yourself in one of the four women?

Phyllis Zimbler Miller responds to some reader questions:

Great questions! And instead of trying to answer all of them individually, I’m going to write overall replies that I hope will answer almost everything.

Background of Novel/Characters

I wrote this novel based on personal experiences I had in the spring of 1970 when I was, indeed, a new army officer’s wife at Ft. Knox, Kentucky, right after the Kent State National Guard shootings.

Of course I mashed up incidents and people’s characteristics. And I dramatized and expanded incidents and personalities.

But what’s true is that, besides me – a Jew from Elgin, Illinois, on the entertainment committee for the graduation luncheon for the wives of the AOB officers were a Southern Baptist, a black, and two Puerto Ricans, one of whom didn’t speak English. Needless to say, we all had to do some adjusting to each other.

And while Sharon Gold is the closest character to me, I was not an anti-war protester. I had my head stuck very far in the sand in order to ignore the nightly news of fighting in Vietnam because my husband had said on our third date: “I’m going to Vietnam.”

In fact, my husband served two years on active duty, although he had signed up for a third year under a voluntary indefinite program. Then the military decided to reduce the number of ROTC officers on active duty.

Coverage of Iraq War/Fictional Depiction of Combat

One of the differences between the media’s coverage of Vietnam and today of the Iraq War and the fighting in Afghanistan, I believe, is that there was a draft during the Vietnam War. This meant that many more people were affected by what was happening half-way around the world. Today, with an all-volunteer army, the war isn’t as much of a major topic, so I think the media tend to give less coverage to war news.

And as to whether any book or movie can ever completely represent what it is like in combat, I don’t think so. But sometimes there are telling moments in a fictional story that are very compelling.

There’s a moment in the movie THE DEER HUNTER before two of the protagonists escape their captors that has forever stayed with me: An unknown American soldier stands waist-high in water in a wire cage with blood dripping down his face. He’s alive, but he’s not there; he’s retreated from the reality of his surroundings. To me the hopelessness on his face feels completely real.

Various Questions Answered

What I think is most applicable from those days to these days is that it is important to show support for the troops. While showing appreciation doesn’t promise to prevent post-traumatic stress disorder, it must be helpful to have a supportive public rather than a hostile public.

Best perk of being an army wife was when we lived in Munich we could travel all over Europe (on a very limited budget). And traveling around Europe is the one thing I do miss from my army days.

Hardest thing was worrying about my husband being sent to Vietnam.

For people who have no idea what the military is like, I think the most important thing to understand is that it is a very large extended family. And soldiers have to trust their comrades to have their backs. Thus military spouses must accept this reality and be willing to play their part as to what is expected of them.

I frequently blog about Lifetime’s ARMY WIVES at mrslieutenant.blogspot.com. I’ve read the non-fiction book by Tanya Biank on which the series is based, so I know how the stories have been changed from the book. And because it has been 36 years since I was a Mrs. Lieutenant, I can’t vouch for how accurate the series is.

I also can’t say how things have changed for junior officers’ wives since that time. But I’m pretty sure the wife of a low-ranking enlisted man still can’t be good friends with the wife of a post’s commanding general as in ARMY WIVES. [Technically, spouses of service members of any rank can be friends. Fraternization rules apply only to the service member. However, the restriction on fraternization for the service member can make such spouse friendships difficult. –Ed.]

The biggest challenge in writing this novel was giving up being a journalist (I have a B.A. in Journalism from Michigan State University) and learning how to write as a novelist.

While I can’t speak personally about how to stay connected as I wasn’t separated from my husband, I can say what I think is the hardest part of being a military wife: Not having control over your own destiny. Some bureaucrat somewhere can change your life forever. (In my case an army clerk in St. Louis probably saved my husband’s life when she postponed his active duty date until he got a response on his request for a branch transfer from infantry to military intelligence.)

Helping Our Troops

Right now Operation Soldier Care is a collaborative summer project between eMail Our Military and Mary Kay sales director Nancy Sutherland to get sun care and skin care packages to the troops dealing with the desert heat in places like Iraq and Afghanistan. Go to http://emailourmilitary.blogspot.com to learn about the different ways you can help this project.

In addition, on my website www.mrslieutenant.com there’s a section about organizations supporting military families and personnel. One in particular – Soldiers’ Angels (www.soldiersangels.org) – is involved in sending letters and packages to deployed troops. And be sure to send your old cell phones to Cell Phones for Soldiers (www.cellphonesforsoldiers.com).

[There is also a post on An Army Wife’s Life about supporting our troops.

Thanks, everyone, for such good questions. I hope you’ll all read MRS. LIEUTENANT, and you can reach me through my website at www.mrslieutenant.com with more questions. And thanks to Candace at An Army Wife’s Life for hosting this giveaway. I really appreciate it.

Please feel free to continue the discussion in the comments section!!!

Mrs. Lieutenant Giveaway

We had a lot of fun last time with our giveaway of a signed copy of Mrs. Lieutenant, by Phyllis Zimbler Miller. Check out her guest post about an Army Wife’s First Day.

So, for the Bloggy Giveaways Carnival we’re doing it again!

Mrs. Lieutenant is a great read for anyone who enjoys Vietnam-era historical fiction, stories about the life of a military spouse, or a book that explores the relationships between a group of diverse women.

To enter to win a copy, just leave a comment here by August 1, 2008, 11:59 PM EST with a question for Phyllis Zimbler Miller.

You can visit the Mrs. Lieutenant site and/or check out her guest post from last month for ideas. You must leave A QUESTION for the author. Comments that simply say, “win” or “hello” or “nice book” will not be eligible. All readers with US, US military, and Canadian addresses are eligible.

Check back and we’ll post (and e-mail) the winner and, as a bonus, Phyllis will also answer a few select reader questions (will post on the morning of August 2). So don’t forget to bookmark An Army Wife’s Life and come back next week!

PS–A reader told me she got an error message. Not sure why Haloscan is acting up, but if you are unable to leave a comment, feel free to e-mail me your comment and your nickname and I’ll be happy to post it for you. Have fun with the contests!!!

When the Soldier’s Away, the Blogger Will Be Silent?

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For the military wife bloggers out there, or anyone whose husband is frequently gone on business trips, do you blog when the soldier is away from home? Do you feel you have enough anonymity or are you not concerned about any safety issues? Does it matter if he is away for a shorter or longer time? (I’m assuming male spouses don’t worry about this…but maybe I’m wrong.)

When DH was active duty, I always felt uncomfortable blogging about his absence while he was on field exercises…yet, I blogged about his deployment while he was gone.

It does not make a ton of sense, but I think part of it was the fact that there was no way to avoid the issue of his deployment on a Military Spouse blog and another part was, living in Killeen, it wouldn’t be that hard for someone to figure out whose spouse was gone anyway. So, blogging about the deployment, on an anonymous blog, didn’t seem to add significantly to the safety risk.

Since then, I’ve started a number of other online projects that are connected with my real name. And people who know me in real life have discovered this blog (and that’s a whole ‘nother can of worms).

DH has left Active Duty, but is still in the National Guard.

Suddenly, when he leaves, I feel exposed.

This time, I feel comfortable blogging about his absense because I’ll have family visiting. He’s headed off to Captain’s Career Course in preparation for taking command this summer. But generally, if he will be gone overnight, I just don’t say anything.

How about you? What are your thoughts and comfort level on this topic?

Photo Credit: Shush

http://www.flickr.com/photos/moonsoleil/2522976634/

An Army Officer Wife’s First Day

Please welcome guest blogger Phyllis Zimbler Miller, author of Mrs. Lieutenant, who has a second novel, Mrs. Lieutenant in Europe, in progress.

Sharon Gold’s First Official Day as a Mrs. Lieutenant

Robert reemerges from the bedroom in his uniform, carrying his uniform hat, and stands in front of her for inspection. She wants to say “good luck.” The words stick in her throat – don’t these words imply the opposite is feared? She says: “You look terrific.”

And he does look terrific if you like men in uniforms.

He kisses her good-bye at the front door. She stands on the balcony and watches him down the stairs to the car. He waves and mouths “I love you.” Then he’s gone.

She is without wheels and all alone.

In my novel MRS. LIEUTENANT: A SHARON GOLD NOVEL, this is the first day that Robert Gold reports for Armor Officers Basic (AOB) training at Ft. Knox, Kentucky, in May of 1970. Sharon is left in a strange new place – Muldraugh, Kentucky (not even mail delivery!) – with no friends, no car and no place to go.

Does this sound familiar to many of you? And while the book is fiction, this description is how I felt when my husband of six months reported to the first day of Armor Officers Basic.

I was unprepared to be a military spouse. Of course both my father and my husband’s father had served in World War II. But that war was different. There weren’t anti-war protesters chanting “Hell, no, we won’t go!” – or two years earlier “Hey, hey, LBJ, how many kids did you kill today?” – on college campuses throughout the country. The first draft lottery had been only months before in December, and young men getting draft notices were fleeing to Canada.

Although my husband had told me on our third date that he was going to Vietnam, and although one of his best high school friends (who had volunteered for the army) had been killed in Vietnam, I had my head stuck in the sand like an ostrich. I neither watched the Vietnam casualty reports on the nightly news nor read the newspaper accounts of the combat actions.

And what’s more, here at Ft. Knox I was totally alone because the army hadn’t said whether ROTC second lieutenants reporting for AOB could bring their wives. I refused to stay home, and with great difficulty we had found decent off-base housing. Now nine weeks of isolation stretched before me.

Then my husband came home with an invitation for a function for the wives of his AOB class (see this invite at www.mrslieutenant.com in the section of original army documents). I attended the first function, where I learned that the army had a training program for AOB wives complete with a graduation luncheon. And that I needed to buy the $1 book “Mrs. Lieutenant” by Mary Preston Gross to learn how to be a proper officer’s wife.

Thus began my initiation into being a military spouse. And the plus side was that I started making friends, shared a car with another AOB wife, and had places to go – even if only (after Memorial Day) to the officers country club to work on my tan at the swimming pool!


Visit www.mrslieutenant.com to find out more about Sharon Gold’s fictional adventures as Mrs. Lieutenant.

WIN IT: Phyllis Zimbler Miller is offering a signed copy of her novel, Mrs. Lieutenant, to one reader. All readers with US, US military, and Canadian addresses are eligible.

  1. To enter, just leave a comment here by 9pm EST June 30, either about this post (for example, tell us about your own “first day” as a spouse or soldier) or about something you saw on www.mrslieutenant.com. Comments that simply say, “win” or “hello” will not be eligible.
  2. Click HERE to find out about another way to win from YourMilitary.com.

The Homefront Club Military Wife Advice Book (Review and Contest)

The Homefront Club: The Hardheaded Woman’s Guide to Raising a Military Family is essentially a much needed pep talk for Military Wives.

Author Jacey Eckhardt provides a way of looking at the life, not as a burden, not as a paradise, but simply as it is. Military Life, just like any other, has its ups and downs and its pros and cons, although the service does seem to heighten the highs and the lows.

The key to a happy life, military or otherwise, is how you view it. There are plenty of guides out there that will tell you what to do as a military spouse, but The Homefront Club shares some ideas about why.

Another guide book may tell you all about TRICARE and teas and coffees, which is useful information, but quirky variations between branches and posts and sudden changes of policy can quickly render any authoritative statement obsolete. So, instead of trying to take the place of a good Family Readiness Group, Eckhardt helps the reader put herself in the right frame of mind to make the most of her husband’s military career.

Don’t worry, though, this isn’t a rah, rah, Stepford Wife, rose-colored glasses kind of book. The book acknowledges all of the sacrifices inherent in military life. Assuming your husband is worth those sacrifices (and Eckhardt says he absolutely has to be for things to work), how can you accept and even embrace these challenges?

You don’t have to fall in love with the military, but if you are in love with your husband, isn’t it better to celebrate your life, rather than to wallow in misery?

After providing this food for thought, Eckhardt gets down to advice for military wives about finding a job, moving, and raising a family. She provides some excellent resources and ideas. The strength of the book lies in helping the reader be open to these suggestions.

We’ve all met the person who just wants to complain. You try to offer some help, but for every idea, she has a reason why it just won’t work. Eckhardt first tries to adjust that perception, then provides the strategies.

In addition to a philosophy of Military living and lots of tips, the book also has plenty of laugh out loud anecdotes about our warriors, our children, and ourselves.

Like many first editions, the book could use a little more editing–there are some minor errors and sometimes the train of thought gets a bit muddled.

Overall, though, The Homefront Club is an excellent read for a military wife at any stage of her “career.” Newcomers will get a helpful introduction that could save them years of bitterness. Wives a few years in will find a friendly voice to guide them in redirecting their thoughts towards happiness. And old timers will get a friendly reminder about why they continue to choose this life.


WANT IT: BUY The Homefront Club ($13.57)

WIN IT: I have a gently used copy (I read it once for the purposes of the review and the back cover has a crease from our latest move) up for grabs for anyone who would like this book for themselves or someone they know. Just leave a comment here with a helpful tip or a few words of encouragement for military spouses by February 1, 2008, 8PM EST. I’ll choose the winner at random and will ship to any US (including US Military addresses that count as US shipping) or Canadian address. This contest is part of the fabulous Bloggy Giveaways. Check out the other contests, but be sure to first leave your comment on this post if you want to be eligible to win this book. Good luck!

A Crossroads…

What should I do with this blog?

Whether you are a regular reader who still stops back now and again and/or has me on a feed reader or you found me through a google search, I’d like your input, please!

This is the situation: DH has left the active duty Army, and I’ve been blogging away elsewhere about my life as a mother and products for the family.

We’ve been house hunting, which, even in this soft market, is incredibly difficult in New York on a civil servant’s salary.

I’ve been trying to raise awareness about congenital heart defects and hopefully also some money…donate now for a chance to win cool prizes!

At any rate, it is becoming more and more difficult to blog from the military spouse standpoint.

So, I have a few options:

1. Delete the blog. I don’t like this one because there are some posts up here that are still useful to people and I don’t want the address taken over by spammers. It has a high Page Rank and could be a likely target.

2. Give the address to another military spouse and back-up the posts to another address for posterity (but this would make it more difficult for people to find).

3. Have guest blog posts, a military spouse (or just military) round-up, a carnival, “Ask Molly” and maybe some other random fun once a week.

I’m leaning towards #3 because the blog would still have its archives, would still be useful to the community, and would give new military bloggers a chance to grab a high value link and maybe some more of an audience.

PLEASE give me your thoughts!

I already get tons of questions that I just answer via e-mail, so that part would be easy. Would you be interested in guest blogging? Would you enjoy a carnival? A link round-up?

Let me know!!!