When the Going Gets Tough

All right friends… Time for a little bit of audience interaction.

How would you complete the following phrase?

When the going gets tough…

A) I get stressed/frustrated/annoyed
B) I dive into the biggest bag of chocolate available
C) I hid in the nearest closet (with or without aforementioned bag of chocolate)
D) I keep going

Got your answer? Great. If I am being completely honest (which is what I try to do ’round these parts) I would have to say my answer would encompass All of the Above.

(I know. Sorry that wasn’t an option in the multiple choice. Just chalk it up to writer’s liberties.)

We all know that being an army wife and loving our soldier is not an easy job. Sure, it has its wonderful, rewarding, romantic moments, but this life that we have been called to also has those grit-your-teeth-hold-back-tears-I-need-chocolate tough moments.

Tough situations build strong people.

Photo Courtesy Deep Life Quotes via Flickr

So what do we do when those moments hit? Just like our multiple choice answers, we have several options that are  a combination of them all.

Here are a few tips of what to do when plans changes, the hubby is gone, the kids are sick, the car won’t start and things are just down right tough.

When the going gets tough… It is ok to take a time out– just don’t quit. We live in an all-or-nothing world. It is a world that says if you need to hit the pause button, then you are a failure. You might as well just throw in the towel. I totally don’t agree. We all need little time-outs when the going gets tough. It might just be taking some time to pray during the kids’ nap time. Or it might be doing something just for ourself before the kiddos come home from school. Or perhaps our T/O is putting the hubs or someone we trust in charge of our little ones, grabbing that bag of chocolate and locking ourself in the bathroom, soaking in the tub for 30 minutes to recharge our hearts. Then you can get your game face back on and go at it again.

When the going gets tough… We can (and should!) ask for help. Sisters, there is NO SHAME in asking for help when things are piling up. It could be doing something simple, like having one of the neighbor kids mow the backyard for $10 every two weeks. Or asking for help might be reaching out to your church to see if they might be able to provide a meal or two so you can get through the tough season. It could even be doing some babysitting swapping so you can have a break.

When the going gets tough… Remember it won’t last forever. We all have hard seasons in life– seasons of sickness, deployment, unknowns of our future, you name it. But we must remember to take it at face value– it is just a season and won’t last forever. This tip is really hard to remember in the moment but oh-so-important.

So dear sisters, if you are in a season of tough stuff, take these tips to heart… And know that when the going gets tough– we can keep going…

With or without our bag of chocolate.

Pressing on,

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“Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.” ~John Quincy Adams

PS: Sweet sisters, if you are in a tough season and need some encouragement, I would love to lend a
listening ear. Feel free to stop by my ministry website or you can get connected on my Facebook Page. 


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Top 10 Coolest Reasons to be a Military Kid

It’s here! It’s finally here! As you may know, the entire month of April is dedicated to our most amazing Military Children! I have collaborated and interviewed a large number of these wonderful children and compiled a Top 10 list to keep the positive momentum going when the road seems to never end for both the parents and children. All of these wonderful reasons are well-balanced, but feel free to pick each one and apply them to your family’s list of priorities.

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Ability to travel the continental United States and live abroad. Not many kids have had the opportunity to travel extensively, much less fly in an airplane before they learn to walk! Take advantage of your new geographic location highlights with every move and explore your surroundings.

Meet and connect with other military friends who are in the same deployment or separation situation from parent(s). There is most certainly a set of unique experiences that only other military children can identify with in one another. These relationships can lead to a connection and bond that often form lasting friendships.

Have extended family all over the world. I can name at least twenty different posts, ships or bases in which we have close friends stationed. The military comradery among service members, spouses, and children most definitely transcends the true meaning of family.


Born with a service-oriented mentality. Military children are natural leaders and by having a Service Member parent, there is value placed on service to country and to others by seeing these character builders first-hand. Studies show that ex-military kids end up pursuing service-related careers in very high numbers such as military service, teaching, counseling, police, nursing and foreign service work being highly represented in military children’s career statistics.

Exposed to diversity and opportunity to embrace others who are different. There is a culture of resilience and adaptivity, constant loss of friendship ties, a facility or knack for making new friends, never having a hometown and an extensive exposure to foreign cultures and languages. Melting pots are great.

A strong sense of Patriotism. The strong upbringing and constant exposure to the miltiary culture makes for an outstanding community and cultural citizen.

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Exude a tremendous amount of courage. Being courageous and upholding social justice, especially at a young age, can be difficult. You must have the courage to set your own path and uphold the value of what you feel is right.

Military children graduate from college at a higher rate than the civilian population and divorce at a lower rate (MilitaryOneSource). Just another fact that will push you to persevere.

Innately resourceful. They know where to look for things and have an unwillingness to quit when an obstacle is presented. An example: when my six-year-old son learned I had forgotten to bring my wallet to pay to purchase my school lunch, he informed me that he had put a pack of peanut butter crackers in my purse the day before “just in case.” Always have a back-up plan and think of alternatives to accomplish a goal, no matter if the course alters.

Military Children are RESILIENT LEADERS. Resilience is the capacity to bounce back from misfortune, change and failure. It’s OK to get discouraged, but a resilient leader will keep going instead of becoming discouraged and giving up. Leaders keep fighting (MilitaryOneSource).

No one ever said that the military lifestyle was easy, but especially for our children. Most children never have to think about being uprooted and expected to reintegrate into a new school, home, geographic location or social networks at all much less every few years. Constantly having the ever-present realities and stressors of the military lifestyle can be daunting on adults, much less our children. Our military children are the best of us and this Top 10 list above embodies only a handful of reasons they are so cool! So, in honor of our military children, please remember their sacrifices today and every day – please go out of your way to let them know how very special they are to you and to our great country.

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Tips on Making Your First Joint Budget

From June 2011 until March 2014, I was flying solo with my budget.  But this month, that all changed.  Mark and I have now merged our finances and have begun budgeting together!

Being the typical money nerd, I was SO excited to have our first “Joint Budget Committee Meeting.”  But if this isn’t your “thing,” it might feel a bit daunting.  If you’re newly married, or if you’ve simply never created a budget (or “spending plan”), it also might feel overwhelming and confusing.  I will admit that I felt a little stressed out at one point because of honeymoon expenses.  But I thought of a few things that can be helpful for us and others in the same situation of newly-married!  Here are my top 10 tips:

1) Don’t worry about being “even.”  One of you probably makes more than the other.  In our situation, Mark is that person.  In fact, I am currently unemployed because I left my job on 1 April since we are PCSing in May.  I felt a slight bit of the I’m-not-contributing-enough syndrome, but contributing to the relationship in a meaningful way doesn’t always have to relate to money.

2) Have a mind of unity – “ours” instead of “mine” and “yours.”  Not everyone chooses to do so, but it is helpful to have a joint checking account.  That way, there’s not the headache of dividing up bills and expenses between two separate accounts.  It all goes into one pot and it all comes out of one budget.  Plus, being unified really helps during the tough times.

3) Expect the first few budgets (and perhaps the meetings themselves) to be rocky.  Dave Ramsey says that it takes about three months, on average, to feel comfortable with the budget-making process.  If you’ve never tracked your spending before, it also might be emotionally stressful to lay out expenses and perhaps come clean about over-indulgent spending habits.  Give yourselves lots of grace and no judgment.

4) Overestimate your variable categories at first.  We have definitely done that for April and that is partly why it’s so tight!  But it’s better to overestimate and have leftover money than be scrounging halfway through the month.  Remember, after the first three or four budgets, you will get the swing of things.

5) Choose a budgeting software or system that you both can easily access and modify.  We are using YNAB (You Need a Budget).  I am not getting paid to say this, but I LOVE this program!  The license is valid on any computer you own, it can be installed on your work computer, there is a smart phone app that syncs using Drop Box, and they are currently working on a web-based version so you can access your budget from any computer.  But regardless of what you choose, make sure that you both know how to use it and can easily make changes.

6) With that said: Don’t make big changes to the budget without consulting each other.  You have to personally decide what is “big.”  That might mean $20 to you or $200.  Even though you both should have visibility on the budget, it’s important to communicate major changes.  (And yes, it is TOTALLY okay to change the budget during the month!  It is a fluid process.)

7) Provide visibility on monthly automated expenses, when they post, and from what account they are being paid.  This applied mostly to Mark, since I had been living at home and directly paid my parents for expenses.  I made a note of which things were automatic bills and on what days they post.  Remember to note this for paychecks, too!

8) If you do “pocket” or “blow” money for his and her, don’t micromanage what the other spends it on!  This applies mostly to us nerds.  If your spouse wants to save it up for a big purchase, or wants to spend it on lunches and Starbucks – that is okay.

9) Schedule at least one budget meeting per month.  We personally have scheduled two per month – the end of the month to create the new upcoming budget, and mid-month to check our progress.  If you need motivation, turn the Joint Budget Committee Meeting into a simple date at a coffee shop or the park.

10) Get outside your comfort zone: give input (“free spirit”) and be willing to spend a little fun money (“nerd”).  We each think differently, and it’s important to be strong where the other is weak, so to speak.

What are some struggles you have encountered when making a joint budget?  How did you overcome those challenges?

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Hollywood Happenings – Volume 2


Hey all, it is time for your Hollywood Happenings!  This month we have some great stories for you including a fundraising concert by our favorite movie lieutenant, a country singer getting ready to entertain troops overseas, and we remember a famous veteran we lost. Here are your Hollywood Happenings…

Gary Sinise Announces Fundraiser to Help Buy a Wounded Veteran a Home


The actor, Gary Sinise, who needs no introduction within the military community, has been an avid supporter of our military service members, our veterans, and their families.  Best known for his portrayal of Lieutenant Dan in the classic, “Forrest Gump”, and also the creator of the Lt. Dan Band, Gary Sinise has been at the forefront of supporting our troops, veterans, and first responders through his Gary Sinise Foundation, and he is at it again.

Sinise recently heard about a group of students in Lancaster, California who had raised 180,000 to help a wounded veteran, Army SPC Jerral Hancock.  SPC Hancock, who is paralyzed from an injury incurred while serving in Iraq, was having a difficult time maneuvering his motorized wheel chair through his mobile home. The students who were touched by SPC Hancock’s story decided to raise the funds to help him purchase a home.

They started Operation All the Way Home and had raised 182,000 dollars.  Sinise heard about these students and their efforts and contacted them and SPC Hancock via Skype to applaud their efforts. He went on to surprise them all by explaining that he was going to get involved in their operation, and would hold a concert on May 10th with the Lt. Dan Band in Lancaster, with all proceeds going toward the student’s goal of 500,000 dollars. Once again, Mr. Sinise is showing his commitment to those that have so bravely supported this nation and commending those that share his mission! You can learn more about the Gary Sinise Foundation by visiting http://www.garysinisefoundation.org/.

Craig Morgan Plans his 11th Overseas Tour for the Troops


Country music star, Craig Morgan, is preparing his 11th overseas tour to entertain our troops who are serving abroad.  The singer, who is a veteran himself, will be traveling with Armed Forces Entertainment to Southwest Asia in the spring. Morgan has been traveling overseas to perform for our troops since 2003.

“As a former soldier myself, it is so important to me to have another opportunity to support our troops and do whatever I can to help keep morale high,” says Morgan. “I always jump at the chance to get over there and do my part.”

Craig Morgan doesn’t just support the troops through his music. He also works with Folds of Honor and the Jack Daniel’s Toast to the Troops Program.  Morgan is also scheduled to appear on “ACM Presents: An All-Star Salute To The Troops”, Tuesday, May 20th, at 9:00 pm EST.

Remembering Mickey Rooney

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On April 7th we lost an American Icon, Mickey Rooney (93).  Mickey made his film debut at just 15 months old, starring in his parent’s vaudeville act, “Yule and Carter”.  Rooney went on to star in films such as “A Family Affair” (1937), “Babes in Arms” (1939), and “Thoroughbreds Don’t Cry” (1937).  By the 1940’s Mickey Rooney was one of the most beloved young actors in America. During that time Rooney also formed a special bond with his fellow young actress, Judy Garland, which was lasting friendship until her death in 1969.

What many may not know about Mickey Rooney is that he was a veteran.  Rooney enlisted in 1944 with the U.S. Army.  After returning from the war, Rooney was awarded numerous medals for his military service.  After his service, he went back into the film industry but struggled to regain the momentum he had as a young actor. Rooney slowly revived his career making many TV appearances including “The Twilight Zone” and “The Adventures of the Black Stallion”.  Rooney’s final project was the upcoming, “Night at the Museum 3” scheduled to be released in December of this year.  We thank Mr. Rooney for his service and remember not only his service to this country but hi contributions in the entertainment industry as well. Rest in Peace Sir.



Last month we asked for your take on Jimmy Fallon’s new role as host of the tonight show.  This month we are going to stick with the late night show topic as we have just found out that David Letterman will be retiring in 2015.  Shortly after announcing his upcoming retirement, the network announced who would be replacing Mr. Letterman – Stephen Colbert.  Colbert is best known for his own show, “The Colbert Report”, a news-parody series where Colbert plays a character that pokes fun at political opinion shows.  The show has been nominated for several Emmy’s and other notable awards and launched Colbert. Colbert will be dropping his Comedy Central character when he takes over the Late Show, but that has many wondering will he be as good as he has been on Comedy Central?  Have we known him too long as the character he plays on the Colbert Report?  What is your take?  Will this be a win for Colbert or will we be seeing him exit stage left? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Celebrity Birthdays

Are you celebrating a birthday this month?  Well, here are some celebrities that will be celebrating right along with you!:)

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April 2ndChristopher Meloni

April 3rdEddie Murphy

April 4thRobert Downey Jr.

April 9thKristen Stewart

April 15thEmma Thompson

April 17thJennifer Garner

April 20thShemar Moore

April 21stQueen Elizabeth II

April 23rdJohn Cena

April 25thAl Pacino

April 26thChanning Tatum

That is a wrap for this month’s Hollywood Happenings! Join me again next month for your entertainment fix!

Janet  :)

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AWTR Show 467: Girlfriend Circles

Presents Army Wife Talk Radio

Army Wife Talk Radio is the leading internet talk radio show for Army wives, by Army wives. AWTR is hosted by the Army Wife Network Core Team – www.ArmyWifeNetwork.com. AWTR guests bring exciting, relevant topics and resources to the attention of our military families. 

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