Tuesday, July 30, 2013

First Guest Blogger: Post Military Employment

 Hello, all my fellow readers! I realize that I have been slacking in my blogging lately and I do apologize. I had been looking for a way to revamp my blog and get back into writing about my adventures, trials, and memories when it comes to life as a military spouse. A few weeks ago, Emma Banks contacted me and offered to collaborate and write a post for my blog regarding finding work once our service members retire from the military. I was elated! What a perfect time to bring in a guest blogger! I am very excited to share Emma's article and I invite all of you to have a read! Emma's bio and link to her own blog are shown at the bottom. I hope you find this article as interesting and helpful as I did. Thank you, Emma!

And stay tuned for my upcoming blog regarding me and Justin's first deployment experience!

Overcoming Barriers to Finding Post-Military Employment

With overseas conflicts coming to an end, the US military drawdown is expected to release approximately 80,000 service members back into the civilian population through discharge or retirement. While the economy is recovering, jobs are still scarce and competition can be intense for the few open positions. The process can feel challenging, but I believe our servicemen and women deserve the opportunity to pursue their dream careers. To help you from becoming overwhelmed, here are some myths about post-military job searching and why they aren't true:

Myth: My military skills won't translate to civilian employment.
Truth: While combat skills are rarely needed in civilian life, think of the underlying characteristics that enabled you to survive in that environment. Employers are always hungry for candidates that can function under stress, follow detailed instructions, be both a leader and follower, and react quickly to changes. It's not necessarily about finding a direct match for your skills, but finding a way to apply your skills to the task at hand!

Myth: It’s much too difficult and frustrating to apply for jobs.
Truth: One of my first pieces of advice is to remain calm when applying for jobs. The process used to be time-consuming and difficult but nowadays, almost all employers post openings online and use the Internet for at least part of their hiring process. Some companies have even started to partner with mobile recruiting services, like JIBE, that allow you to upload job-related documents right from your smartphone.

Myth: Once I leave the military, I leave my support system behind.
Truth: There are many programs to assist veterans with the transition to civilian life, including post-military careers. Websites such as Hire Heroes are dedicated to connecting veterans with employers who desire the special skills and talents our servicemen and women bring to the table. These programs are often run and guided by fellow veterans who have "been there and done that."

Myth: Older candidates are at a disadvantage
Truth: According to a US News and World Report, this is simply not true. Many companies prefer to hire seasoned candidates who bring with them proven work ethic, reasonable workplace expectations, and a level of maturity often lacking in job-seekers that are fresh from college. So if you’re retiring from the military after a long-term commitment, keep in mind that you have many of the desirable qualities that employers and looking for.

Emma is a mid 20-something year old with a passion for life, love, fitness, and helping others. She loves to be active and get involved in as many sport and community activities as possible. Emma is currently studying to become a Career & Life Coach, and loves to network with people from around the world! Check out Emma’s blog at http://smileasithappens.blogspot.com/

Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Other Side of an LDR

I feel when it comes to military relationships, all you hear about is the long distance relationship between the couple. Whether it is due to a deployment, or living in separate states due to training/education reasons, I think we can all agree that the Long Distance Relationship (LDR) is the primary focus when people think and talk about military relationships.

But what about the other side of the LDR? The one you don't hear about as often? I'm talking about the long distance relationship between you and friends and family.

This move (my third since I got married less than two years ago) has been different for me. There have been many great and new revelations for me (which I will write about in other posts), but for now the excitement is gone. The newness wears off quicker. And overall I'm more exhausted by it than anything else. The job search, the starting over, meeting new people, making new friends...

Don't get me wrong. I love meeting new people and making new friends. However, I'm also one of those people who likes to keep my friendships. Not cast them away just because distance is a factor. But unfortunately for me, that can be very difficult and I honestly do not think everyone else sees it the same way.

Back in my single days, one of my bigger downfalls was that I did not want to give up on a potential relationship. I would try so hard to make it work, when it clearly was not going to work, and ultimately hurt myself and make a fool of myself in the process. I thought this only applied to potential romantic relationships. However, I've come to find out that this applies to friendships as well.

Any relationship is a two-way street. Whether it is a marriage, friendship, relationship with co-workers, etc. There needs to be balance. There needs to be communication. Both parties need to try. I am all for keeping in touch with my friends and family, but what happens when the said relationship becomes unbalanced? When you feel as if you are the only one who cares and tries in the relationship. Do you try harder? Try less? Ignore it? Give up completely? There is no right or wrong answer, but the conundrum does bother me. And for the record, I don't like giving up.

So what's a girl to do? I let this problem bother me so much it was stressing me out more than it really needed to, in my opinion. My temporary solution is to no longer bother myself with it. If no one else is stressing about it, good grief why should I? It is a weird thing for me to process. Not caring. This is far from a permanent solution, but it's all I've got.

In the meantime, I'll focus on my balanced relationships and put a solid effort into it. Living so far away from everybody else, I've found that cards can do a lot of good. Random texts and yes, even a weekly phone call help me to feel so much closer to those that I love even though the distance is so great. I have been lucky enough to figure out what works for me and other individuals. The others will work it's way out in due course, but I know now that I can't make it.

So, when life gets in the way, what do you do to keep your LDR strong?

Sunday, January 20, 2013

My Furry Friend

I had been lacking blogging inspiration lately, so I went to my Twitter followers to bounce ideas off of one another for blog posts. The first overwhelming response was, "Your puppy!" Shout out to Emily (@USAFWifeEmily) and Alyssa (@ThatFabNavyWife) for the idea! Oh, and P.S., if you are on Twitter, follow these ladies!!

So, without further ado, I introduce: India!

Isn't she just the cutest pup you've ever seen?   

I adopted India from the ASPCA in August 2007 (adopt, don't shop!). Getting a dog in college was probably not the smartest idea, but I'm glad I made the decision, nonetheless. Along with being a giant pain in my behind, India has also provided me with wonderful companionship. That's the beauty of dogs, they love you no matter what and think you are just the greatest thing since the sandwich.

Oh how I love it when her lips get caught!
 In preparation for this post, I spent some time reflecting on the last 5 years of me and India's relationship. If you think this next part is corny, I really don't care...I've realized how much we have both changed over the years. When I first got India, I was a partying, irresponsible, and selfish college student. She peed wherever she wanted, chewed holes in doors, and dug around in the trash. Now, I'm a married, responsible, and overall a better human being. She is a lazy old dog, pees outside, and no longer chews holes in anything. While we have both grown up, we have always had each other. She is my buddy. She is my constant.
One of her favorite pastimes, sleeping.
 Now here we are, living the military life. And I'll tell you what, I could not be more thankful that I decided to adopt ol' India Dog. There are many a lonely night (and day) that come along with being a military spouse. I can't imagine how much worse it would be if I didn't have my dog. When Justin is gone, just knowing there is another living thing hanging out with me makes me feel not so lonely. Do we have a lot of one sided conversations when I have spent a considerable amount of time by myself? Sure. But her presence makes all the difference for me some days.
India and Justin having one of their many stare downs.
 Sometimes I think India is a dog only a mother can love. She's stubborn to boot, is an overeater, and if she can dig out of a yard to follow a good scent, by goodness she will! On the other hand, she is a sweetheart. She has never even acted like she would bite anybody, doesn't bark, and is nice enough to wait for you to wake up before requesting to go outside. Justin and India do butt heads (apparently she steps on his feet on purpose and she doesn't like it when he gets too close to me), but I like to think they are on their way to sorting out their differences. :)
Their New Years resolution is to get along!
 All in all, India is a blessing. And a wonderful part of our tiny family (can't forget Sir Swimsalot!). Rest assured I will continue to flood all social media sites with her face.
Sweet girl :)

Monday, November 26, 2012

Coming in First

I think I am starting to understand myself a little more. I've found that if something is keeping me from falling asleep at night, then I probably need to blog about it.

Do you ever have those days (or weeks) where it just seems that when it rains, it pours? That's how I have been feeling lately. I have been crying a lot. I have been crying so much I am reminiscent of going through a bad breakup or spilling nacho cheese all over the crotch of my white pants (true story). It sucks. I hate knowing that I have spent all day crying and being pathetic. I haven't had a day like that in a long time. I'm not enjoying it.

I have never been the best at anything. There seems to have always been something or someone better than me. I have never been super smart, super athletic, super attractive, whatever. That's fine. I have accomplished many things in my life and am proud of the person I have become. However, when it feels like life is just raining on your parade over and over and over, one has the tendency to loathe the fact that the only thing she's really good at is being nice.

Relationships are what fuel my passion for life. My relationship with my husband, friends, family, colleagues, etc. are what makes me happy. The last few years, I have made it a point to put a lot of effort into becoming the best person (and consequently friend/companion) that I can be. It is important to me that I make my relationships with others a high priority.

And that is where the "when it rains it pours" analogy comes into play. I have come to the realization that  I just don't come first for anybody right now. And that's a painful realization. I get interviewed for jobs, but I'm not the first choice. I have been feeling more like a burden than anything else to my friends and family. And as sweet as it is for Justin to tell me I will always be his first pick, the truth of the matter is I can't be right now. The navy has to come first. The only being that chooses me first is my dog and even then, a good scent would beat me out any day. Right now, there is always something or someone more important than me. All of this has made me feel very empty. I need something to define me and I just don't know what that is anymore.

Some may find this juvenile. Naive. Maybe even dumb? But is it so awful to desire to come first for something? I guess what I want to know is that I am not alone in this. It's terrible to feel that you are not as important to someone as they are to you. Or that I get this job (hypothetically) just because their first pick didn't want it. Have you ever felt this way? If you have, I am completely open to advice or words of wisdom.

Thursday, October 11, 2012


Disclaimer: This will probably be the most intense thing I have ever written. I could be wrong though.

There is something that has been itching at me the last couple of days. I feel like I have talked about this subject on the surface, but never gone in depth. I have been feeling the need to put these feelings into words. Maybe someone has advice? Maybe someone is going through the exact same thing? Maybe somehow I'm encouraging someone else to do what I seem unable to? I don't know these things, but I do know that I want to write about this.


I can remember a conversation I had with my mom once. I have no idea why we were having this conversation or how old I was, it's not important. What I remember her telling me was that I always had this huge fear of failure. It was so bad that if I thought there was even the slightest chance I would fail, I wouldn't even try. In some ways, I feel like I have overcome that.
However, there are other times, like now, where I feel like that frightened and anxiety-stricken third grader all over again. I feel like I have met my goals educationally, I feel like I have met my goals personally, and I am always striving to have higher goals spiritually. But reaching career goals is something I really have yet to attain. Only this time, the military lifestyle and bad economy is no excuse.

I know what my strengths are. I know what my areas for improvement are. I know what makes me happy. I know what I am good at. I am still so glad that I decided to get a masters in counseling. I really do feel that was the right choice for me. The world is my oyster. There are a variety of things that I could do and I should enjoy experimenting with them to see which best suits me. I honestly feel I would be really good at being a counselor and/or working with kids. Whether it be a licensed counselor, school counselor, or even a teacher.

Except, I have this overwhelming fear. Of all of it! I try to live by the saying "Your greatest potential is often straight through your greatest fear." At the same time, third grader me is still whispering "But you could fail! Like totally suck! How embarrassing! Why even try?!" Just writing this out is almost bringing me to tears. I do have so much potential. How can I expect anyone to give me a chance if I'm not willing to give it to myself?

I'm not asking for answers to questions. I'm not really even asking for encouragement (although I wouldn't turn either of them down). But maybe if I write this down for others to see, that will be a way of holding myself accountable. So, when we do find out where our permanent duty station is, there will be no excuses. I will dive right in (feet first of course, wouldn't want to bonk my head ;)). I will try, I will be resourceful, and I will succeed.

Well, I wrote it. I don't quite believe it yet. Maybe soon.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


Hello, everybody! I know I have been slacking on my blogging. Usually I have no problem getting a hit of inspiration at least once or twice a month for something interesting to write about. I guess you could call it writer's block? But, I digress...

 I have written in a previous post about "paddling on" throughout life sometimes. You know what I mean, nothing good is happening, but nothing bad is happening either. I have been living in Florida for about a month and a half now. It sure seems that time is flying by even though I feel that not a lot is happening. After the move, Justin went to survival training. It was fairly uneventful (for me) and then a week after Justin got back we took a trip with some friends to DisneyWorld.

Jennie, Bo, Justin, and myself at the Magic Kingdom :)
Now that all of the excitement is over, life for Justin and I has been pretty...boring. I hate being bored. It plain sucks. I guess I am still having a hard time adjusting to the 100 MPH lifestyle I lived in college, even though I have been out of college for over a year now. It is really hard for me to sit around, with no job, and no real social life. However, as you, my trusty readers, know, I do not like to use this blog to wallow in my own self pity. What good does that do? So what do I do? That's right! Focus on the positive!

I'll be honest here, I did have a few weeks where I was in tears most of the day. I hate not having a job. I feel like I am letting myself down, I feel like I am letting Justin down, and I overall feel that I need to be doing something meaningful and productive with my life. So, I started praying about it. And y'all, what a great thing prayer is! Although I still have not landed a job yet, I have been given a sense of peace about the whole situation. God has shown me multiple times already that He has this taken care of. He will not let Justin and I go without. I have handed this trouble over to him. I still use every resource that is given to me to help my chances of getting a good job. But, I am not worried about it anymore. I know that I will get a job that is right for me all in His timing.

Really, I have nothing to be upset about. Justin has not classed up yet, so he is at the house all day as well. Instead of focusing all of my energy on worrying about getting a job, I am enjoying the time that we get to spend together. In the military, it is either one extreme or the other it seems. No in-between here, no siree. When Justin does class up, well, let the craziness begin! So, for the time being, I am loving our time together. We get to figure out this town as a team! Life will not always be this way, so the best thing is to look for the good.

I have been wishing lately that I had more things to write about. Maybe my life is really not that interesting, or maybe I am not making an opportunity out of something that seems mundane. Anyway, there are a few purposes to this blog. One, it is a way for me to share me and Justin's life with our friends and family that we moved away from. Two, I want to be able to reach out to others. I want to be an encouragement and a shining light in someone's day. Whether you are military or not, I hope that you are able to get something out of my posts.

So, my question is this. Since I am not struck with inspiration for writing on a day-to-day basis, do you have any ideas? Is there something you want to see me write about? Questions that you want answered? I am open to any opinions and ideas. If you like, you can comment, message me on Facebook, or even Twitter. I would love to broaden my blogging horizons!

I hope everyone is having a wonderful week! Hugs from Florida!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Home Alone

Sorry everyone, I simply couldn't resist! You may not think it's funny, but I had a good laugh. Currently, I am on day 13 of my new life in Florida. Unfortunately, 11 of those have been spent...alone. Justin is currently off in New England somewhere for survival training. I definitely have it better off than he does, but I'm not gonna lie, the last week and a half has been dreadfully boring. I consider myself introverted enough that I can survive on my own without spiraling into a depressive state and sometimes, actually enjoy the time to myself.

I always try to see the positives in any given situation. Otherwise, I doubt I'll make it out of this navy wife life with my sanity intact. So, the positives to this current situation (new location, no husband, no friends, no job) are as follows: I get the bed all to myself, I can cook fish (I love fish, the husband does not), and I get full reign of the remote. Not too bad. And in the grand scheme of things, 14 days is nothing.

Anybody who knows me knows how frugal I am. I hate spending money just out of sheer boredom. I am proud to say that while Justin has been gone, I have not gone shopping (besides for groceries) and I have not had fast food once! Yay me! I have spent the last week and a half unpacking the house, applying for jobs (fingers crossed for me, y'all!), reading, cooking, watching an embarrassingly large amount of TV, and taking pictures of my dog, India. My apologies for jamming your Facebook and Instagram feed with my dog, but she is just so cute!

Justin and India have a love/hate relationship and I was finally able to capture one of their many stare downs. I absolutely love this picture! They crack me up.

I think India could tell I had a higher level of anxiety than normal. She has done a good job acting as guard dog. Even though her favorite pastime is sleeping, I take comfort in knowing she is still on high alert.

Of course the exception to the above statement have been the super loud thunderstorms. Poor thing is not used to such loud noises, so she seeks refuge under the bed during these times.

My India dog has never played with toys. So, I found it weird that she found this stuffed bear in our guest bedroom and kept it in her bed as her snuggle friend for the day. Silly girl!

This one is just precious. She loves her new bed! Ain't she cute?!!
That's enough of the India pictures. Onto a more serious topic. I have never really lived by myself. I always had a roommate in college and right after college I married Justin. I get really panicky at night when it comes to being alone. I have always been this way, ever since I can remember (I am sure my fascination with crime shows don't help). I made sure that we got a house in a safe neighborhood, we are not in the city, and every single lock is always locked. I have pepper spray and keep my car keys by my bed. I still just cannot shake this panicky/anxious feeling I get every night that someone is just bound to break into my house!

Do any of my readers have this issue? Honestly, sometimes I feel my anxiety in these situations borders on abnormal. I know that spending nights alone in inevitable for me. So, does anyone have any tips or opinions on how to help me overcome these seemingly irrational feelings of mine?

Hopefully I have more exciting things to post about soon. But until then, hugs from Florida! :)