Don’t Get Mad.. Get Patriotic

This past Monday was Memorial Day, a holiday which is meant to recognize those in the armed forces who have served nobly and given their lives to defend our country and our freedom. For 9-5 America, it largely means a long weekend with great weather – perfect for the beach and grilling with friends and family. And while it may be upsetting, especially to those with strong ties to the military or who have lost a loved one, we also need to think about why that’s the way it is. There were blogs, articles, and videos galore surfacing last weekend bashing on how the American people are largely uninformed as to what the holiday is all about – something which I can certainly understand. In fact, one interview of beach-goers found someone who thought the Civil War saw France as the winner. As appalling as that may be, it says more about us as an overall population than anything else. Clearly, we are not taking this seriously.

Before you get defensive and think “I AM taking this seriously. I know exactly what the holiday is about. Don’t group me with those other people who take their freedom for granted” – just listen. When it comes to issues like this, we as a country separate ourselves from one another like boys and girls at a sixth grade dance. We have those who understand the holiday on one side, and those who are cluelessly happy about a long weekend on the other. We say things and get upset, but we really don’t do much of anything to bring everyone together. Now, do I think that being uneducated about Memorial Day should be a real issue? No – of course not. But it is, and we need to take it upon ourselves to fix it.

That all being said, I think we need to find a happy medium. We don’t need to go to the other extreme and force everyone to be sad, solemn and reflective all day. After all, I think it’s safe to say that most of those who have given their lives for our freedom would want to see people enjoying it. However, running around the beach drunk with a burger thinking that the Civil War involved other countries isn’t OK either. Those of us who know the importance of Memorial Day need to band together and be the change we wish to see in the world. We need to find a way to bring people together to reflect on the brave men and women of our armed forces, past and present, and understand why it is that they don’t have to go to work that day.

How we do it is still to be determined, but sitting around and complaining that people are ignorant and don’t care isn’t going to solve anything. This has been an issue for long enough and it’s time to fix it by making it a cause instead of an argument. Any ideas? Let us know in the comments below!

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Neighbors in Need of a Helping Hand

     Since Tuesday of this week, people in San Diego have been experiencing a horror and tragedy that is essentially impossible to relate to unless you have been through it. Wild fires are terrifying natural disasters that show up without warning and turn worlds upside down just as quickly. I cannot even describe to you what it’s like to be going about your business one minute, and seeing flames and smoke shooting up far too close to your backyard the next. You spend a few moments in shock – your head racing, trying to make sense of what just started happening and what you’ll have to do. And then, you just go. Your favorite shirt that you wear all the time, the comfortable chair in your living room you think you couldn’t go a day without, even the pictures hanging on your walls that bring you comfort and remind you of happy memories, are all suddenly meaningless. Everything gets put into perspective real fast. You grab people, pets, wallets, and then if there’s time, as many pictures as you can hold in one hand – and you run. And that’s generally a best-case scenario. For those people running errands or at work, they may not get to rescue anything at home at all. It’s a horrible sinking feeling and the worst part is, it is totally out of your control and you know it.

     While all natural disasters can be equally devastating in their end result, few have the no-notice component that wild fires do. But in spite of all of this, the people of San Diego have been remarkably calm and thankful for what they do have. Even those who have lost their homes and virtually everything in them have realized that their lives and the lives of their loved ones and pets are the important things. I have yet to hear one person, staring at the ruins of their home, not thank the firefighters for their efforts or verbalize that things can be replaced. These are truly humbled people who have all realized what is really valuable in life.

     I invite all of you to share this – and whether it is with a comforting comment below or a donation to help with the continued fight and ensuing recovery efforts (information below), please let the people of San Diego know that you are thinking of them. Even if for no other reason than you may need their thoughts, prayers and support one day, too.

     Thank you – to all of the brave firefighters, first responders, military units and volunteers doing what they can to make a difference and lend a helping hand!

Donation Information:

Please click the link, which will take you to San Diego’s local 10 News website. Information is listed there:

http://www.10news.com/news/may-2014-firestorm-how-you-can-help

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The Best Offense is a Good Defense

Whether it’s new to you or you’ve been doing it for 20 years, finding a career when you’re a military spouse can be truly challenging. You feel like you’ve finally settled in and found something you enjoy (or at least something that pays), and then your service member gets orders and off you go again. It’s a tough part of the lifestyle, but it’s what you signed up for when you said “I do”. While no one can offer you the end-all-be-all solution for this conundrum, I’ve put together some of my best advice to help you try to minimize the sting of giving up one job and looking for another.

  • Always Have the Mentality You’re PCSing Soon

This might be the last thing you want to do, especially right after you’ve completed one, but it will keep you competitive (not to mention less stressed). While your employer may not want to think about losing you as soon as they hire you, they know you’re a military spouse. So, bring it up. You never know if they may be able to work something out where you can work from a home satellite office, or if they have connections around the country that could help you in the future. The bottom line is you know moving is in your future somewhere, and so does your employer. Instead of running from it, embrace it and plan for it as well in advance as you can. There’s a lot to be said for taking the bull by the horns.

  • Don’t Get Lazy With Your Resume

Most people typically only update their resumes when they need to (ie looking for a job/about to leave a job). However, if you keep yours constantly up-to-date, you’ll be ready to strike the new job market as soon as you get word. Plus, your true skillset is likely to reflect more accurately when you update it in real time.

  • Take Advantage of Employment Resources

You may not have thought of using an employment or temp agency before, but it’s a great resource. In fact, many of these organizations have special programs exclusively meant for the military spouse. This should by no means be something to rest your laurels on, but these agencies are definitely people you want to be in contact with. While many of the temp jobs can turn into full-time positions, having a temporary paycheck is better than no paycheck at all.

  • Keep Your Eye Out for Career Fairs

Career fairs can be a little intimidating, but they’re a unique opportunity. Especially in today’s world in which employers typically request applications and resumes to be submitted online, it can be tough to get a face-to-face meeting. A career fair offers you the chance to see what’s out there and turn the charm on before they have a chance to say no. Nothing makes a competitive resume stand out more than a personal introduction.

  • Consider National Companies

National companies can be an ideal place for military spouses because they can offer some sense of security. While transfers are never guaranteed, if there is a branch/office/store near wherever you’re heading, there is a good chance you can have a job waiting for you when you get there. The moral here is to make sure you’re such a great employee that the company doesn’t want to lose you.

  • Network Like Crazy

Even if your job doesn’t require it, network all the time. Especially near a base, you never know when you might meet someone that will be a great connection for you in the future. Maybe they used to live where your new base is, or maybe they’ll PCS there long before you and be able to give you a head start on career prospects. The more people you know, the more you can call on to help you down the road when the military lifestyle calls.

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Sunscreen Required – Melting Optional

It’s not exactly a well-kept secret that summer in Florida is HOT and insanely HUMID. While similar weather might draw people away from Houston, our gorgeous beaches, breathtaking views and ample sunshine continue to lure people in no matter what the temperature. But if you’re no good with heat like I am, you’ll need the perfect way to stay entertained and cool while still getting a tan and feeling tropical. A tall order almost anywhere else, here’s a list of the best ways to enjoy a Florida summer without melting – or parking yourself in front of the A/C:

  • Jetpacking

A truly awesome experience, this combines the fun of the water and sun while FLYING. Yep, you saw that right. Jetpacking involves strapping on an apparatus made of a pod and two hoses to your back, from which water projects out allowing you to quite literally fly over the water. The jetpacks enable you to fly 30 feet in the air, dive 30 feet under water and reach a top speed of 30 mph. It’s essentially the Jetsons meets the Gulf.

  • Flyboarding

Similar to jetpacking, this experience is even more surreal and awe-inspiring. It involves strapping a board to your feet and using your own weight to move left, right, up or down – kind of like Iron Man. In fact, you should probably bring your Iron Man Halloween costume when you do this.

  • Pontoon Boating

A Gulf favorite, pontoon boats are the perfect way to get around the warm, typically calm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Bring plenty of family and friends aboard, grab some good food and a cooler, and drive around or find a sandbar, like Crab Island in Destin, to hang out at. As long as you’re along the coast, it’s pretty difficult to go more than 100 feet without running into a place to rent one of these beauties.

  • Jetskiing

An oldie but goodie – jetskiing could never be boring. Most rental places will allow anywhere from 1-3 people to ride on a single jetski, but being in the driver’s seat is by far the best way to go. And if you think you’ll be hard pressed to get out of your comfort zone, ask the rental company for tricks that are daring (but safe) – you’ll be surprised at the answers you’ll get. Get out there and be cooled off and amped up in no time.

  • Aqua Triking

These hilarious-looking, giant, plastic tricycles are a bit of a workout, but a lot of fun. Much tamer than the above activities, it’s an interesting experience to feel like you’re literally biking on top of the water. Generally built for two people, aqua trikes are a perfect date activity or fun day out with a friend or relative.

  • Kayaking, Canoeing, Paddle Boarding

No explanation required – these are all fun and extremely low-cost ways to beat the heat and enjoy Florida this summer!

No matter your tolerance for heat (trust me – mine is LOW) or your budget, there are tons of ways to enjoy Florida this summer. So get up, get out and come visit! The water’s warm (but refreshing), the people are friendly, and the photo opps are endless.

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