Thanks to Our Service Members this Veterans' Day

As we approach Veterans' Day a big thank you for the ability to enjoy the land of the free!  This veteran thanks those who are currently serving for his ability to walk a beach and have a relaxing vacation!

Self Esteem vs Self Respect

Last weekend was cold.  Cold and rainy.  The kind of weather that makes you want to curl up in front of a fire with a cup of hot chocolate and a good book.  Instead I was at a soccer tournament for my ten-year old.  Three games over Saturday and Sunday 90 minutes from home.  Three games of pure determination on our boys' parts.  Three games of 'Go, Avon, Go!'  ... Three losses.

Continue Reading about how to turn the loss into a win, Self Esteem vs Self Respect

Refreshing View from the Top of the Army Reserve – Blogger Roundtable

It was a great interview and so different than most of the other air coming from DC during this political season! Refreshing candor, integrity, willingness to acknowledge the occasional problem being worked,… the newest Chief of the Army Reserve—Lieutenant General Jeffrey Talley spoke with his heart and had the facts on issues affecting the Army Reserve.

In addition, this was a great follow on to the blog we posted in August: Are You Ready for the Army Reserve? Or, Is Your Soldier Ready for the Army Reserve?  

Army Reserve Capabilities - See Below for Photo Credits
First off the start line: What does the Army Reserve bring to the fight? 

Twenty percent of the Total Force and only six percent of the budget according to Talley. He said the Army Reserve role of complementing the active role with critical skills such as engineers, medical units, civil affairs units, psychological operations, biological/chemical warfare detection units and other technical skills means there is little chance his budget of $8 Billion will see major cuts. In fact he said the new proposals in the Pentagon might increase Army Reserve manpower during active Army force cuts.

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Real Action Figures


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Going to Bat for the Bullied

October is National Bullying Prevention Month.  A great time to educate yourself, empower yourself, think about how to handle future bully problems in your own children's lives. is a great resource, as is  I've written about my own experience with bullying once before and I stand by my thoughts, "Bullying and our Military Children".

But amidst all these awareness programs an article caught my eye :

"Mission: Transition" is October 27th!

Every once in a while I get really excited about something that is going to be helpful for or assist our troops and their families in a unique and special way. The Home Depot just announced “Mission: Transition” which will help the military community with their job search! Not just jobs at Home Depot but skills and tools for a veteran in transition and looking for civilian employment with any business.

Photo Credit:  Home Depot - See below
 A big date! On October 27th, Saturday, the Home Depot will provide veterans with training at more than 100 locations. The training will include resume ideas, interview tips and other transition topics. The slots are open to any member of the military or veteran but are limited!  "Mission: Transition" has a state by state locator for the class nearest to you. As an example, I found 4 sites in Michigan that had classes including a store near us in Grand Rapids at 4646 28th St SE.   Continue reading for how to find a location near you.

Walk in the Woods Wednesday

The warmth of the landscape is everywhere right now. Countryside woods, county lanes, and front yards are blanketed with orange, yellow, dark green and brown. The ground looks like it is hand stitched with irregular sized threads of maple, oak, elm and 17 other variety of trees leaves. Patterns form and then are whirled by south, east and north winds.

New Friends, Motherhood and Growth

We are well into the autumn schedule. Boys are at school, my toddler and I are settling into a great routine, which includes some Disney Channel, Lego-time and lots of books.  Plus lots of crock-pot time, a newly-painted bedroom and garden canning and storage for the winter months.  It has been a great fall so far!

But I'm taking on new adventures too.  This year that includes MOMSNext.  I'm a huge advocate for MOPS.  That organization turned my life around from being a lonely mom with not many friends in a new area with a toddler and baby, to an involved mom part of a group; wanted, loved, befriended, needed.  But all things must come to an end and after quite a few years with that group I was ready for something new.

Continue Reading about my adventures with making new friends through MOPS

VOTE VOTE VOTE DoD Blogger Roundtable

A Military Family Member
who is happy mom voted!
It is Not Too Late to Vote! Military personnel and their families have a lot at stake when it comes to elections. You serve this great nation in a way that many citizens can not and do not. So why not get involved in this election? Too hard to do? Not true, according to Pamela Mitchell, Acting Director of Federal Voting Assistance Program.

During a DoD Blogger Roundtable Ms Mitchell described some great social media, mass emails (12,000,000 – now that is quite the mailing list) to all .mil addresses, twitter town home meetings, live chat and call center and of course their website at FVAP (where you can find details as well) - all to help you vote!  

But you have to take the time to get involved and in a busy lifestyle that can be hard. So let’s make it easier! Here are some great tools on Pinterest for you as well:

Ms Pamela Mitchell,
Acting Director of Federal Voting Assistance Program.

Yes, our military votes need to count! According to Ms Mitchell, post card voter registration and ballot applications are down almost 250,000 voters from the previous presidential election. 

Yes, we are trying to make it easier for you to get the urge to vote!  A 30 day cutoff for many states is quickly approaching for the presidential, congressional and local elections. 

Yes, you can do it. Take the Time to Vote!


Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta urges military community to vote!

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Photo and Video Courtesy DoD

Family and Community Values – the Home Depot Celebration of Service 2012

“Giving Back” “Building Strong Relationships” 

It was a great opportunity! Talk to an Iraq veteran, now a District Manager for Home Depot about his experiences and participation in Celebration of Service 2012 (COS 2012). Frank was in Richmond, Virginia supporting the Paralyzed Veterans of America Virginia Mid-Atlantic Chapter with 65 other volunteers in orange #COS2012 (twitter hashmark) shirts. The public relations coordinator was great but when the time zone for the call became a possible issue, I suggested using 1400 Zulu and the three veterans understood: one of the simple things that tie veterans together.

Frank Blake Jr speaking at COS in Richmond VA
Frank Blake Jr. is an Army veteran of the war in Iraq and he brings such enthusiasm to life, I could feel it through the phone! We talked about his service briefly and how it translated to the civilian world. He saw action near Tikrit (Saddam Hussein’s hometown) during the invasion with the 4th ID as an infantry battalion signals officer. After serving four years of active duty he transferred to the reserves for two years and began his civilian career with Home Depot.

Why Home Depot for a veteran looking for a civilian career? He jumped right on that one with fervor. He said he considered other positions but they “offered me a cubicle” for years and Home Depot offered me two years of intense training, a budget to manage, inventory to account for, a team of 150 associates at a store and long work hours. After Iraq, he felt prepared with safety training; stewardship of resources; team morale responsibilities; fast paced, dynamic environment; 24/7 and much more! He felt like he had found a home.

Fight Like a Girl

I am surrounded by boys.

Not only am I the mother of all boys (four to be exact), I am also the sister of two brothers (no sisters for me).  Boyhood smells, sounds, sights and visions have encompassed my life since my first baby brother was born about 36 years ago.  To say that I have had an impact on all of these boys' lives is an understatement; the princess, the queen, the "only" girl.

But I also come from a long line of strong-girls.  My mom, my grandmothers, aunts, cousins, friends.  All had an impact on my life and helped me know what it was to be a girl.  My thoughts on being a girl have changed over the years though.  It is not about doll houses, cooking in the kitchen, shopping at Target and snickering with girlfriends.  It is about fighting.  Fighting for what you love. Fighting for what is meaningful to me.  And sometimes even fighting for life.

Continue Reading about how to Fight Like a Girl

US Navy Health Promotion and Wellness - DoD Blogger Roundtable

When we see images of our military community we see a young, vibrant and healthy group of Americans. But realistically our vision may be wrong. The Department of Defense spends $1 Billion per year on weight management, many still smoke and health and wellness are hot topics among the defense medical community and leaders.

Talking health! See Below for Photo Credit
Yesterday Cmdr. Denise Gechas, Director of Population Health, Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center (NMCPHC) met with the Blogger Roundtable (BRT) to discuss the launch of the Navy’s health and wellness campaign. She was in Norfolk for the launch and the roundtable asked her about the campaign and she clarified right away that there were no changes to medical services.

Continue Reading About US Navy Health Promotion and Wellness

Popcorn, Deployed Service Members and Support

I love to hear of a company that goes out of their way to reach our military and families.
For every person who posts a photo of a military, community or personal hero to the Kernel Season’s Facebook wall throughout the month of October, the Kernel will donate one case of popcorn seasoning to the U.S. troops via a partnership with Support Our Troops.

So who is your hero?  What picture would you share with Kernel Season with a shout out of appreciation, gratitude, enduring love?  I have been searching everywhere (with no luck) of a picture of my dad (retired Air Force - yesterday), my husband (Army National Guard - today) and my step-son (ROTC Army - tomorrow) all together to share with Kernel Season.  (I know what picture I will be taking next time these three are in the same room!) These men in my life represent the values, freedoms and embodiment of what America is meant to be.
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