Soldiers Home But Their Battles Still Raging

By Lisa Cypers Kamen

Soldier Coming Home But Their Battles Still Raging  Lisa Cypers Kamen Shining Service WorldwideMany times when I am speaking to soldiers on deployment or recently back from deployment, they share with me the stressful feelings associated with the changes that have occurred. It’s an adjustment for everyone, you, your family and your friends when you leave and when you come home.

Everyone knows the pre-deployment home front battle – the one you have with your wife, girlfriend, boyfriend, child or parent that helps you all say goodbye because you’re now ready to go and they’re ready for you to go.  This can happen also when you come back – the return home front battle. We all have to adjust and there are better ways to adjust than picking a fight. 

When deploying or returning, it is helpful to recognize that these fights are common.  Someone has to put up the flag and say we are fighting because it’s hard to say goodbye.  Someone has to put up the flag and say we are fighting because it’s hard when you come home and though I love you it really upsets my routine.  Arming yourself with this knowledge can give you the minute to take a breath and steer the situation away from battling on the home front.  Knowledge is powerful and when you have power, you have the power to create a happier life for you and your loved ones. 
So the next time you are preparing for deployment or returning home, give a thought to what are really fighting about.  You might just find that a happier goodbye or a happier hello is just around the corner.

Shining Service Worldwide is a charitable organization that supports all women who are part of the military family.  Our goal is successful re-integration back into civilian life

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Biting the Big One

Ain’t it the truth!!!

Biting The Big One - Shining Service Worldwide

Male Military Spouses Are Struggling

By Thomas Litchford
 
Male Military Spouses Struggling by Linda Franklin Shining Service WorldwideI read this article on the MilSpouse website and wanted to share it with you.  It is written by Thomas Litchford who is a navy spouse.  He says traditional supports system don’t seem to be working.   Read it and see if you agree.

Civilian military husbands are slightly less common than anesthesiologists in this country. There are about 30,000 anesthesiologists and about 25,000 civilian male spouses. What’s my point? When was the last time you met an anesthesiologist? Even when you go in for surgery, she’s just one more masked face telling you that you’re about to feel sleepy and please count to 10.

Male spouses account for seven percent of all military spouses. About half of that seven percent is comprised of dual-military marriages. Although these marriages face many unique challenges, both spouses can sympathize with each other’s experiences in a way civilian spouses cannot. What I’m interested in here is the civilian husband who doesn’t understand military life and doesn’t have access to an effective support system.

The D-Word
Why does this matter? Last year, according to Pentagon statistics cited by the Associated Press, female service members were more than twice as likely to get divorced as male service members. Enlisted women were more than three times as likely, with 9 percent experiencing divorce last year.

Military marriages fail for all kinds of reason: deployments, frequent changes of duty station, the impacts of serving in a war zone all put stress on families and more. The best way to cope with such intense pressure is to nurture a supportive home front. Unfortunately for many inexperienced male spouses, they have no idea how to provide the support their wives — and their marriages — need.

No Maps For These 
Territories
On a regular basis, a reporter will contact me to talk about life as a male spouse. They usually ask some version of the following questions: Why do you think marriage to a woman in the military is so difficult? And what more could the military do to support military husbands?

The answers are simple: We’re weird. There simply are not very many people who have shared our experiences. We’re pioneers, in a sense, exploring the emotional and psychological terrain of our marriages for the first time. Others may have gone before, but they haven’t brought back any maps.

Gentlemen, we need to start drawing more maps.

A New Kind of Club
I have always been an advocate for spouses’ clubs and family readiness groups. All spouses – male and female – should take advantage of them. But I think we’re overdue for a new kind of support group.

It’s clear to me after being married to a Navy girl for nine years that most husbands are simply not comfortable with the traditional support network that is available to them. And this is not the fault of female spouses. In my experience, they’re a universally welcoming, caring bunch.

No, the reason guys are uncomfortable in unit-based spouses’ clubs goes back to the numbers cited above. As supportive as military wives are, military husbands sense that their experiences are different. And if they’re going to talk about them at all, it’s going to be over a burger and a beer – with another guy.

The answer to the second question above (how to better support military husbands) is that we need to make it easier for military husbands to connect with each other and share our experiences. We need to make it easier to say, “Dude, I know exactly what you’re going through right now.”

That might mean creating regional support networks for military husbands. It might mean using social media. But one thing is clear: We need to do a better job supporting our female service members, and that means lowering that divorce rate. The best way to do that is to get a map and a guidebook.

 

Shining Service Worldwide is a charitable organization that supports all women who are part of the military family.  Our goal is successful re-integration back into civilian life

 

Life Leadership: Getting Counsel

By Sandra Beck 

Life Leadership:  Getting Counsel by Sandra Beck For Shining Service WorldwideWe’ve all gotten bad advice. One time I was told to die my hair red or brown, anything but the natural blond I was born with. I listened. I looked like a witch.  When it faded, I looked like an old witch. Not good.  Not good at all, but the think I learned most about that situation was that my bad hair do was my choice. I chose to listen to the man who ultimately lied and cheated on me.  Not smart at all. 

So the lesson I learned was to think about where I was getting counsel and most importantly why. When I stepped away from myself, away from who I was and what I wanted and sought to please another person instead of myself I began to listen to the wrong voices.  Of course, I had to keep going and not only listen but follow in footsteps that were not mine. 

I survived my wrong choices.  I survived my mistakes and I learned to listen to the most important person in the equation – me.  It doesn’t mean that I don’t need counsel and I don’t ask people for their opinion, but ultimately the responsibility falls on my shoulders.  From my head to my toes, the choices I make now are all about me. 

Sandra Beck is the host of Military Mom Talk Radio and the single mother of two boys ages 5 and 8.  She is an author, internet brand strategist and speaker. She has worked with the United States Navy, Marine Corps and Army for over 20 years and is passionate about helping women lead their families successfully the specific challenges of military life.

Shining Service Worldwide is a charitable organization that supports all women who are part of the military family.  Our goal is successful re-integration back into civilian life

Holiday Military Makeover A Big Hit

By Linda Franklin

Holiday Military Makeover A Big Hit by Linda Franklin Shining Service WorldwideTara Cupid of Dix Hills has spent the last six years as an engineer in the Army Reserves, including a year spent deployed to Iraq. But on Monday morning, Cupid spent a few hours at Cactus Salon in Stony Brook getting a makeover – a free one – as part of our Shining Service Makeover Mission.

“It’s really nice to get this kind of treatment,” said Cupid, who got her hair cut and colored, her makeup done and a shellac manicure all donated by Cactus Salon beauticians who volunteered their time to support the cause.

Cupid said she hasn’t spent a day at a salon like this since she returned from Iraq in 2008. “That’s really the last time I treated myself to something like this.”

Stacey Alvarez of Ronkonkoma, who is on active duty as part of a Black Hawk unit with the Army National Guard, said it’s really tough to be a women in such a male-dominated area. The military has rules dictating what women can’t do appearance-wise, such as having highlights in their hair or wearing nail polish.

Alvarez was granted a pass day – meaning she didn’t have to spend one of her vacation days – to attend the makeover event.  “I definitely haven’t done anything for myself in a long time. There’s a lot of times when you just want to be in a salon and get your hair done,” she said. “They have a lot of things for men. This is the first time I’ve heard of anything for women.”

Three of the women who received the royal treatment yesterday, including 2 wonderful gift bags and our symbol of women supporting women the Shining Service Bracelet, served in Operation Desert Storm. They had lots to talk about and were thrilled to make the connection.

Our makeovers do a lot more than you realize for these women who too often put other priorities ahead of their own well-being. When I see the smiles as they look at themselves in the mirror, it’s wonderful, – this is a true event of the heart.

Shining Service Worldwide is a charitable organization that supports all women who are part of the military family.  Our goal is successful re-integration back into civilian life.

Power of Choice

By Lisa Cypers Kamen 

Power of Choice by Lisa Cypers Kamen Shining Service WorldwideDid you know that one of the quickest and easiest ways to feel better in your day to day activities is through the power of choice – specifically through the power of choosing your own thoughts.  Most people are not even aware that they can think about their thinking!  There’s a fast way to figure out what is going on in your head that can make or break your day. 

Grab a piece of paper and start writing down all the things you are thinking about. There might be many things, lots of to-dos, or there may be very few.  Either way it’s all right to start with what you have rolling around in your mind.  Don’t worry about spelling or grammar or handwriting, just dump.  Think of it like dumping our your survival pack.  We have to clean that out.  Same as we have to clean out our thoughts that don’t help us. 

Identifying thoughts that don’t help us feel good about ourselves or our situation is one of the first ways to begin to help you choose what you want to think about.  Choosing to think only good, powerful thoughts that make it possible for me to do my job, handle my platoon or serve my family is a great start to bring happiness back into our lives.

Independent filmmaker, author, happiness coach and speaker Lisa Cypers Kamen creates blogs to entertain, enlighten and educate our service men and women along with their families as well as support our troops www.hh4heroes.org  Listen to her on  www.harvestinghappinesstalkradio.com or download her show at  www.itunes.com.

 

Shining Service Worldwide is a charitable organization that supports all women who are part of the military family.