This Military Life | Tips and Tricks for Helping Kids Cope with Deployments and Moves

month of the military child

April is the month of the military child. In order to celebrate, I would like to feature one such child.

Grace Anne Remey is the daughter of the Bob and Lisa Remey, an Air Force family we have the pleasure and honor of knowing. This Military Life has interesting and unique ways of bringing people together. Our families met the day the Remey’s moved into the home we own in the Southwest. They were the first family to live in it {Literally!}. We came to love and appreciate them for taking such good care of our “one-day-retirement-home”. The Remey’s have continued to positively impact our lives through their example of raising two outstanding children, their strong Christian faith, and modeling for many the resilience required to not just survive, but thrive in this military life.

Their youngest, Grace Anne, has written two books for military children to address feelings associated with deployment and frequent moves (link here for more information). Lisa, her mom, has tirelessly campaigned to spread the message and support her daughter’s efforts to help other military children cope with the unique stresses this military life has on our kids.

I am featuring them both today in honor of the Month of the Military Child. Here is Lisa in her own words.


The effects of a being a military family trickles right on down to our military kiddos. Which may bring us to ask, “As parents, how do we raise our military kids to have a secure and stable life amidst the roller coaster and ever changing military life?” In my experience, it is not easy. However, with thoughtful planning on behalf of our already amazing kiddos, it can be done.

This Military Life ingrains in our children such strengths as: The instant ability to adjust to new communities and schools. The capability to find the courage to try new things. The fluidity to adapt to major shifts in their home life such as a deploying parent. Undeniable resiliency is a byproduct of their day to day living.

As for me, I didn’t grow up in a military household and life stayed pretty much the same. I only learned to be outgoing and deal with constant change along the way after first loving and then marrying my military man. I quickly figured out that if I was going to find happiness in this new life of mine, it was crucial that I learn to dive right in and try new things. Honestly, this is the exact opposite of the non-military spouse in me.

Our kids, on the other hand, automatically learn these attributes from day one! Sure, they may hem and haw about it but these are great strengths to have throughout all stages of life, military or not. Adding to this, you may wonder….“But what about stability?” Well believe it or not, we have that too!

Kids need stability to thrive and to feel safe and secure. One way of gaining this strong sense of comfort and stability is by creating routines and traditions. Knowing what happens next gives them a sense of security and emotional stability. Predictable family routines bring a welcomed relief from changes they are experiencing, such as deployments and moves.

This is exactly how our family copes with this exciting yet challenging military lifestyle of ours. We build traditions around it. Not to say things are always smooth or that these traditions prevent the variety of feelings that go with change however, it does help us cope.

Our daughter, Grace Anne Remey, age 10, has written and illustrated two children’s books (her first at age 8) about a lion family in which she shares not only the feelings she experienced during moves and deployments but also our traditions that helped her. She shares this through a fun story as you journey alongside a lion family.

Lion's Pride deployment

 

Lion's Pride moving

After seven deployments, the kids know exactly what to expect in their daily routines during a given deployment. One daily tradition is getting a “kiss” from Daddy every day. A Hersey’s kiss that is. Eating one daily out of their own Daddy Kisses Jar not only is a special treat but also serves as a way to visually see a time frame of how long the deployed parent will be away. Using the kisses jar during TDY (Temporary Duty) and long weekends away at work also helps kids understand various time frames of absence.

Another favorite when the kids were much younger, is books on DVD so that the deployed parent can still be a part of story time. Our kids loved to follow along in their favorite board book or children’s short story and I enjoyed having the little break while hearing my hubby’s voice during his story time with the kiddos.

Another tradition is the Tag-Along-Toy, which is a fun way to help kids connect with the deployed parent’s new location. A tag-along-toy is a special toy the kiddos send with their parent on deployment. The deployed parent then takes photos of the toy doing different activities such as eating, working, watching TV, etc. This helps to give kids a visual of what their deployed parent’s life is like from day to day. This fun activity is similar to a Flat Stanley. Use it to play hide-and-seek too! Just like ‘where’s Waldo’ the tag-along-toy has to be searched for in various photos and locations, such as hidden in the snack area. 

Moving is also a stressful and exciting time in which more traditions can be built. We enjoy sharing the exciting news with the kids in different fun ways such as a wrapped book or toy to disclose the new location. Recently as our kids anticipated news of our next move, we were going out to dinner for Mexican food and they really thought it was to share the next move location. They just knew we would be moving to Mexico. Very funny and not our PCS location (Permanent Change of Station), but funny. Ok, so they were onto us, there was no German restaurant in Tucson and we did have German chocolate cake planned for dessert. Guess we, I, can sometimes get carried away with my plans as shown from their expectation.

Another helpful tradition enables our kiddos to engage in the packing process. Each child is given their own set of stickers and crayons to decorate  their own boxes. Grace Anne says this is her favorite! Getting kids involved in the process allows some ownership and control as well as enabling them to quickly identify their own boxes as they are taken off the truck in your new location. Seeing their face when ‘their’ boxes arrive is priceless. 

To find out more how our family copes with changes brought about from moving and deployments be sure to follow us at www.lionspridemilitary.com. Her first book, Lion’s Pride: A Tail of Deployment, is a Bronze Medal Award winner from Military Writers Society of America. She wrote and illustrated this book at age 8 after her Dad’s 7th deployment. Lion’s Pride On the Move is her most recent story where she shares her feelings and experiences about moving. We hope you enjoy them and make some new family traditions of your own!

Lisa Remey is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Registered Play Therapist. Her work experiences over a span of two decades have ranged from using play therapy as a school counselor, in private practice setting, creating a program for disaster counseling in schools through FEMA as well as time as a social worker. Lisa’s primary role for the past 19 years has been as a military spouse and helping her family cope with 7 deployments, many moves as well as supporting military families. In addition, she is a contributing author and publisher of Lion’s Pride: A Tail of Deployment, Bronze Medal winner from Military Writers Society of America, and Lion’s Pride On the Move.

 


Military Children can and will change the world! They are truly amazing. I look at my boys everyday and marvel at their strength, courage, and perseverance. I hope you have enjoyed learning about Lisa and Grace Ann Remey’s story. Please consider supporting them and their efforts to encourage and empower military families by visiting their website (www.lionspridemilitary.com) and purchasing one (or both) of Grace Anne’s books.

Cheers to This Military Life!

Jana

 

Monday Invitations | Have you Chosen to See Christ?

Arise Shine

 

There are those of you for whom Easter Sunday was not a celebration. You sat through the service. Listened to the Choir sing the celebratory anthem. Sang the familiar hymns. Recited the familiar scripture. And, heard the resurrection story. Yet, you did not feel joy or celebration of any sort. You may have wondered what was wrong with you. Or, wondered why you didn’t feel what others seem to be experiencing.

Let me ask you a question…

Have you Chosen to See Christ? 

In John 20:1-19 it says this,

Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?” “They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize it was Jesus. He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?” Thinking he was a gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.” Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”).

Mary Magdalene, a devout follower of Christ, was a woman whom Jesus had healed from 7 demons. (Luke 8:2)  Her devotion was a result of his love and care for her. He saw beyond her demons; He saw her for who she truly was in Christ. Upon his resurrection, Jesus first appeared to Mary Magdalene. She was the one to deliver the news of Jesus’ resurrection to the Disciples – in fact Jesus instructed her to.

Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.” Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news:“I have seen the Lord!” (John 20:17, 18)

Jesus calls her by name, “Mary”. She fully recognizes her Savior. She knows his voice. Her despair at finding an empty tomb turns to utter joy and inexpressible peace at the sound of His Voice.

He rescued her from 7 demons, and she chose to see him, to trust him with her life. Mary Magdalene’s life story is an Easter Story of Resurrection – a broken life made new.

For those of you who struggle at Easter to partake in the celebration, know that you are not alone. I have struggled, too. I have sat in church year after year wondering why I didn’t feel anything, why my heart was empty of joy and passion. Christ was patient with me. I learned to listen for his voice. He called my name, and I chose to see Him.

Be patient with yourself. Give yourself time to seek healing from the Great Healer and you will find it. Jesus came to clear the clutter from our lives so that we can find our way home to Him. All for the purpose of having a new life in Christ. You must believe that this can and will happen for you. The joy on Easter morning that you long for, will follow belief. Practice belief and the feelings will follow. I promise.

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30

Draw  near to Christ through the study of Scripture, prayer, and fellowship with other followers of Christ. Spend time in relationship with Him so that when He calls you by name, you will know his voice.

You, too, can be an Easter Story of Resurrection, a life made whole in Christ.

Choose to see Christ. 

Peace,

jana

 

Wellness at Jana’s Three Dresses | Decreasing Your Toxic Load with doTERRA Essential Oils

Basil framed, for 4-18 post

Just 8 months ago, Essential Oils were not on my radar. I vaguely knew they existed – but didn’t give them any thought. I had some exposure at my yoga classes – Lavender on my forehead during final meditation or diffused in the air. It was a nice smell, but that was it.

It wasn’t until I was at the end of my rope, frustrated beyond belief with my maturing, acne-prone skin, that I stumbled upon them. Then, as often happens, I began hearing about them from friends, family, articles on blogs, and comments on Facebook. doTERRA Essential Oils kept popping up time and time again.

This is what I know:

  • I was and have been for a while interested in natural, chemical-free options for skin care, household cleaners, and my family’s health care.
  • I believe in being proactive when it comes to health. Therefore, I work hard to eat right, exercise frequently, get ample sleep, balance work and play, and build authentic relationships.
  • The term Toxic-Load or Total-Load is a fairly new one in my vocabulary. Many books have been written about detoxing our body, not because we all use drugs, but because daily we are absorbing thousands upon thousands of toxins and chemicals from our environment. In nursing school, I learned nothing about how environmental factors, the quality of food we eat, and the chemicals our bodies come in contact with can increase our toxic load. A High Toxic Load is bad and leads to many of the cancers and illnesses we have today.
  • Artificial ingredients, synthetically engineered fillers and chemicals in our medications, personal care items (like lotions, deodorant, and face wash), and house cleaning agents can all be quickly absorbed into our skin and increase our toxic load thus putting undo stress on our vital organs.
  • Toxic-load (or Total Load) is explained by Dr. Mark Hyman, Family Physician (read his bio here) this way

Total load is the total amount of stressors on your system at any one time–it’s like what happens when a glass fills over with water. It takes a certain amount of water to fill the glass and then, after a certain point, you put more in and it overflows.

When our detoxification system is overwhelmed, it gets overloaded. That’s when we start developing symptoms and getting sick, but it may take years of accumulated stress and toxins to get to that point.

  • If the cells and organs (like our kidneys and livers) in our bodies are working hard to get rid of all of the toxins that we absorb through our skin, lungs and gut, they struggle do the most important job of daily restoring our bodies to balance and optimal health. And we get sick, many of us chronically.

Click here for a link to an article written by Dr. Mark Hyman which includes a list symptoms from chronic toxicity.

  • When it comes to our health care, we spend most of our time treating or managing our symptoms, and much less time prioritizing prevention strategies such as diet, exercise, reducing stress and reducing our toxic load.

 

Wellness Pyramid

 

  • doTERRA Essential Oils and doTERRA’s supplements, like their Lifelong Vitality Pack, are a safe, all-natural, and highly effective way to make permanent changes to the Toxic Load levels in your homes and family.
  • doTERRA’s oils are Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade (CPTG). This means they contain zero fillers, pesticides, chemicals, or artificial ingredients. They are 100% pure plant extracts. They work quickly and are safe and effective for all ages. (Read more about what sets doTERRA’s CPTG Essential Oils apart from the rest.)
  • Essential Oils can be used in one of three way. Aromatically – inhale from an open bottle, rub a drop between palms and inhale, or diffuse into a room. Topically – apply drops directly to affected area or to the bottoms of your feet. Some oils need to be diluted with a carrier oil such as fractionated coconut oil or sweet almond oil. Internally – drop oil into a capsule, under the tongue, in water or add to recipes. This is safe with doTERRA oils because they are Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade. I would not endorse ingesting oils from any other company. All oils are not the same! (Read more about taking doTERRA Essential Oils internally here.)

I believe in the healing and restorative power of these oils so much that I want to offer you a FREE SAMPLE of either Lavender, Lemon or Peppermint – mailed to your door with some additional information. 

Please email me at j3dwellness {at} gmail {dot} com if you are interested. Please include your mailing address, best phone number to call, and a brief statement as to why you would enjoy knowing more about doTERRA. 

Link here to Learn How to Buy Oils?

Jana Finch, doTERRA Wellness Advocate, IPC #749334, www.mydoterra.com/janafinch/

Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease. I am simply sharing ideas and suggestions. I assume no liability for the way you choose to use essential oils. Use your good judgement and act responsibly. I am a dōTERRA Wellness Advocate who receives bonuses and commissions from the Company.

This Military Life | The “Senior” Military Spouse as Mentor

redo #2 1 Cor 13On our first date, I didn’t know my soon-to-be-husband was in the military. When I found out, I didn’t really give it much thought. I considered it like any other profession – lawyer, doctor, airline pilot, engineer. It was his job. His passion. What he loved to do. A dream fulfilled.

After some time, however, it became very apparent to me that this was not like any other job. This was a lifestyle. One that I would soon be entering.

I was not raised in a military family. I had never been on an Air Force base. I didn’t know what any of the acronyms meant. I was unaware that I would have a role as his spouse. I was no longer considered a “civilian” but a “military dependent”. I had to push through my anxiety of driving onto a military installation and seeing tanks, armored vehicles, men and women in uniform, service dogs, and weapons.

My husband was in the middle of his 20+ year career when I joined him. Other spouses had been doing this life much longer than I. I felt lost in conversations among the spouses as they talked about previous assignments, TDYs, PCS’ing, the Commissary, BX, BAH, COLA and Dining Outs. (Did I lose you?) See what I mean?

The most frustrating thing for me was that I had no clue what I didn’t know. Therefore, I didn’t know what questions to ask. I am not shy about asking questions when I don’t understand something. But, if I don’t even know that I should be asking questions to gather important information for me and my family, well then, that just plain brings me to tears. Nothing frustrates me more than feeling like I am being left out in the dark. And for the first 5-6 years of our marriage, I felt that way.

Currently, as a “Senior” Spouse, I am extremely sensitive to those who are new to this military life. I want to come up alongside them and tell them it is going to be okay. I see their “deer in the headlights” looks. I see their discomfort at formal events such as – when to stand, when to sit, how to address their spouse’s senior leadership, what to do during the presentation of the colors, and on and on. It is all so confusing and foreign. I was a mess for a while. But, I watched, I paid close attention, and I asked my husband and other spouses questions when I could.

For the most part, my questions were answered. But, there were times when I was made to feel like I should already know the answer. As a Senior Spouse, it is my goal to never make another spouse feel that way. I must always remember what it was like to be new.

The truth is we are all a “Senior” Spouse to someone. No matter your spouse’s rank, there is a military spouse in your midst who would benefit from your mentorship. Whether you have been in the military <1 year or >10 years doesn’t matter. There will always be spouses with less experience and great need for mentoring. Step up to the challenge. You have something to teach them. And, if nothing else, your smile and genuine concern for how they are adapting to military life will be a salve for them.

One of our goals should be to raise up the next generation of military spouses. Build their confidence. Empower them. Create in them resilience by being patient, answering their questions, guiding them gently, and giving them greater and greater opportunities for leading in your organization. Even “hold their hand” for a while if necessary. We must assume the role as mentor and engage in a purposeful relationship that is nurturing, kind, and compassionate. We must listen to what they are saying and be prepared to give words of encouragement and support as needed. Sometimes it may require that we do more than we think necessary. 

We must remember what it was like to be a sojourner in a “foreign land”The example in Scripture is set before us. 

He…loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing. Love the sojourner, therefore, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt. (Deuteronomy 10:18,19)

Too many spouses are lonely, hurting, and wandering without direction. Too often we are so busy comparing military “war stories” – who had the most difficult move, who had the longest deployment, who has had to relocate their family the most times – that we don’t realize what we are communicating to new spouses.  The message is, Be Tough! As if developing a tough outer skin is going to get them through the difficult times.

I disagree. While it serves its purpose to a point, developing a game face, a tough facade, is only going to cut you off from developing authentic relationships making it harder to reach out when you need help.

I have seen it time and time again. A tough outer facade leads to pridefulness. Being prideful as a military spouse will alienate you from the people you need most during deployments or when settling into a new assignment. Let’s not compare. Let’s not communicate to our younger spouses that we survived, therefore they just need to tough it out. Too often that is the message that is being sent. And, we wonder why spouses stay at home, don’t come to socials, or ask for help when they need it! 

When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom. (Proverbs 11:2)

Let us be gentle and show love towards the younger military spouses in our midst. Let’s be wise and avoid pridefulness. Let us not neglect our role as mentors. Let us humbly accept our role of raising up the next generation of military spouse leaders.

…..

I would love to hear from you. In what ways have you been mentored as a military spouse? In what ways have you mentored others? How might your early days as a military spouse been better had a more “senior” spouse come alongside and encouraged you?

Cheers to This Military Life!

jana

 

Monday Invitations | Grace Our Lives that We May Learn to Love Others by Giving Ourselves to Them

I invite you to consider this prayer today. It is a prayer of thanksgiving, one that follows Holy Communion.

We thank you for giving us this meal, shared in the Spirit, through which we have encountered the Real Presence of God once more. Grace our lives that we may learn to love others by giving ourselves to them and at the last come to share in the heavenly banquet of your kingdom, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

love others - white rose

Grace our lives that we may learn – With this statement, we invite Christ to enter our mind, body and soul, to grace our lives with His presence. God is patient, kind, and gentle. He offers us His love, but doesn’t force it on us. We must open our hearts to receive Him.

We give part of ourselves, in order to learn to love others. Think of the mother and her child. Think of the newly married couple. Think of the adult caring for their aging parent. Or the family with a newly adopted child. These are new relationships requiring each to learn to love the other. Self-sacrifice is required of us all when we earnestly seek to love another as Christ has loved us.

Think of that person in your life right now that you find difficult to love. We can all name at least one. It is in the giving of ourselves that we will learn to love them. Take a moment to embrace that truth.

Will it be hard? Yes. Will you want to quit? Yes. Is it worth it? YES!

We can and should learn to love another. What might we sacrifice in order to learn to love someone? A portion of our time? A portion of our energy? Effort? Sleep? Creativity? Money?

Harry Beckwith in “What Clients Love: A Field Guide to Growing Your Business” says this, Sacrifices tell people that you care, which makes them care more in return. Your sacrifice transforms the relationship. Now you no longer are a service. You are their service. While this is a book intended for business building, it aptly captures our role as disciples of Christ. We are in the business of building the Kingdom of God in the name of Jesus Christ!

Did you know that in learning to truly love someone else, you are being transformed more greatly into the image of Christ? Knowing this will flip all personal entitlement, “me-centered” thinking on its head.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2

While we were and are still sinning, he died for us. It’s all grace. His love for us is freely given, no strings attached. Unconditional, pure love for you and me. We should be able to love others with the same unconditional love, but, it comes at a cost.

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:6-8

Are you willing to sacrifice for another? He will grace you with his presence and show you how. Ask Him in. Ask Him to join you and help you to learn to love someone else by giving of yourself. You won’t regret it.

And, what is it all for? What is the point? Look above – it says it in the prayer: 

“at the last come to share in the heavenly banquet of your kingdom, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen”

That is the entire point! It is why we love sacrificially. We give ourselves to others in love because it brings us both closer to our final destination – eternal life in Christ.

I assure you it is worth the cost, the sacrifice, the yielding of our time, money, energy, and even sleep. (I am thinking of you sleep deprived mommas out there.)

This prayer may seem simple, but it will penetrate to your deepest most selfish parts. I invite you to ponder and sit with it for a while.

Happy Monday,

jana

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