Tag Archives: deployment

Looking back at 2012

National Military Family Association: A look back at 2012Where does a year go? It’s amazing to see the months fly by, filled with memorable occasions like weddings, road trips, big moves, and deployments. 2012 was a year of change, new ideas, and growth for the military community, and for us as well! Here’s how we spent our year.

Sometimes it seems like if something can go wrong, it will. Or when it rains, it pours. Whichever idiom you want to apply, 2012 brought a few unexpected lemons for us to make into lemonade. From the close call of a government shutdown in April, threats to commissary benefits, and the fiscal cliff negotiations in December, we were proud to be  the place military families turned to understand the impact of these actions and find out what could be done in response. It’s nice to know that no matter what comes our way, our community always makes it to the other side of the issue infinitely stronger.

With almost everyone and their grandma (literally) having a smart phone or social media account, these days it seems like we are more connected than ever. Military families are no different, and this year we created a few new ways to provide resources and support via the most-used platforms. Although we are all part of the same community, each military family faces its own challenges going through the many different stages and phases of life. Whether a family is preparing to move, expecting a baby, or anticipating a deployment, our new app, MyMilitaryLife, brings our subject matter expertise and important resources when and where it’s most needed. We’ve had nearly 4,000 downloads from the iTunes and GooglePlay stores, and with six more life paths being added in 2013, we look forward to growing our presence on this new mobile platform.

We are committed to providing spouses and families with the resources and programs needed to make military life a bit easier. We awarded $448,000 in scholarship funds to military spouses beginning or continuing their education through our Joanne Holbrook Patton Military Spouse Scholarship Program. Our Operation Purple® program had another great season, sending 1,581 military kids to camp across the country. With so many service members returning from deployment, creating a network of support during this period of change and adjustment was more important than ever. We held six Family Retreats and four Healing Adventures for families with a wounded or returning service member who needed to ease into the reintegration process after a deployment.

It went by fast, but 2012 was a productive and fulfilling year. We’re excited to see where 2013 takes us—stay tuned for a companion post on the Association’s goals for the year.

Your turn: what would you like to see us focus on this year?

maranathaPosted by Maranatha Bivens, Communications Editor at the National Military Family Association

Bah-Humbug: The Christmas I felt like Ebenezer Scrooge

Tips for dealing with being separated from loved ones during the holidaysThe holiday season can be challenging for military families stationed far from family and friends. It is difficult to maintain holiday traditions if you can’t travel home or celebrate with your loved ones. Add a deployment to the mix, and you may feel less than festive.

My husband was deployed not one, or two, but three holiday seasons in a row. Bah-humbug was my motto. I avoided the mall, holiday gatherings, and didn’t want to decorate our home. Not only did I feel alone, but I also felt guilty about celebrating while my husband was serving in harm’s way.

I tried to be strong for my husband and when he called told him I was alright and finding new ways to experience the holiday. I sent him “Christmas in a box” packages and included items we could use to celebrate together: a CD of our favorite holiday music, DVDs of our favorite holiday movies, homemade holiday snacks, and festive treats. As I thought of ways for us to celebrate “together,” my heart soften and I began to don the holiday spirit.

Here are some tips that helped me through the holidays while my husband was away:

  • Accept that this holiday season will be different: Acknowledge your feelings. The holidays without your spouse will not be the same.
  • Find ways to celebrate together: Even miles apart, there must be something you can do “together.” You can read a holiday book, listen to the same holiday music, or eat the same holiday treats.
  • Create new traditions: I decided to spend quality one-on-one time with family and cherished friends. I invited a spouse who also had a deployed husband to my home. We spent a day exchanging holiday recipes and baking. We each learned new holiday traditions and had tasty treats to share.

What advice would you share with other military families who are celebrating the holidays apart?

katiePosted by Katie Savant, Government Relations Information
Manager at the 
National Military Family Association