Gold Star Mother’s Day

September 30, 2012 is Gold Star Mother’s Day. Please take a moment to remember the families of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

Gold Star Mother’s Day is observed in the United States on the last Sunday of September each year. It is a day for people to recognize and honor those who have lost a son or daughter while serving the United States Armed Forces.

A Marine Mom’s Cell Phone Obsession

You Know You’re A Marine Mom ….. When the phone rings and you don’t answer it unless the caller ID shows it is your Marine and then you run over husband, cats, dogs, small children and little old ladies to answer the phone, no matter what injuries any of them might sustain in the process.

 

It’s amazing how attached I’ve become to my cell phone while my son has been deployed. Maybe attached isn’t the right word… obsessed would be more accurate I think. It “must” be within 3 feet of me at all times. I do several pocket checks during the day to reassure me that it’s still there. Panic mode ensues if the phone happens to get out of sight or reach.

If you have received calls from a deployed loved one, you are familiar with how the numbers appear on the caller ID… just six digits. Each time you see those digits on the caller ID, it’s like the world stops for a split second. You stare at it for a moment as if you’ve forgotten how to hit the “answer” button. But you quickly come to your senses and scream to anyone in hearing range… “IT’S HIM!!!” After you answer the call, you are completely unaware of anything going on around you. Whether the call lasts 5 minutes or 45 minutes, the person on the other end of that call has your undivided attention the entire time.

I quickly realized that when these calls came in they were normally from the same number. So I decided I needed to give that number a “special” ringtone. Something that could be heard from about 2 miles away… something that would wake me from a dead sleep… something that would be unmistakable… I chose a ringtone that sounds like something you’d probably hear during a nuclear meltdown. When you hear “THE” ringtone it saves you a few seconds because you can skip the “staring at the phone” part and go straight to the “IT’S HIM!!!” part.

 

~This article was originally posted at comfy couch command~

Military Life – It’s a Family Thing

 

Military Life… It’s a Family Thing

If you are reading this and you have a family member in the military, then you know the above statement is true. It not only has an effect on their spouse and kids, but also their parents, siblings, grandparents… and other family and friends.

Now, I’m not saying this is a bad thing…  

For example, your family will develop a strong sense of American pride. I have to admit, pretty much everything in my house is red, white, and blue or flag motif. I was a proud American before but more so now.

Your family will also develop a new kind of respect for the troops that protect our country. They give up so much, go through so much, and put their life on the line for us… Let me say that again…     THEY PUT THEIR LIFE ON THE LINE FOR US.          They deserve our respect and our support. Even if we don’t always support the reason behind it, we need to support the people that are doing it.

So I guess what I’m basically saying is that once you have a loved one in the military, your life will forever be changed. Some changes will be good and some not so good, but hopefully the good will outweigh the bad in the end.

As you can see from the picture I used for this article, even the family pet wants to get involved. I found her trying to stow away in a care package. No one family member knows exactly how the other family members are affected… each person has their own way of coping (this blog article is one of mine) … and their own set of things they worry about…   

But I assure you “it’s a family thing”.

 

~This article was originally posted by author here~

Frugal is Fabulous! Planning and enjoying your holidays without losing your wallet – or mind!

I know that frugal is not generally an attractive word. People typically think cheap. There is a difference between cheap and smart saving!!! So keep reading! We are going to turn frugal into a FABULOUS word!

I’ve found that if I take the time to PLAN a frugal holiday season, I get less caught up in the urge to spend once December is here. It makes sense to start planning early. How many times do you get through Christmas without actually knowing how much you spent, only to look at your bank account or credit card statement and get that sick to your stomach feeling? You can get caught up in the hustle and bustle, the lights, the sounds, the smells – the Christmas atmosphere is everywhere.

Remember when we were kids? We did a variety of create your own decorations, cards, and gifts. EVERYTHING was closed on the holidays. Where did some of that tradition go? Black Friday is starting to get more and more commercial. Some stores are opening at 9 pm on Thanksgiving Day and that is crazy!

Finding the perfect gift for someone special could drive you insane and a few dollars more in the hole. While we are zipping to this store and running to that store, we often forget the simplest tradition of Christmas – being together.

I remember when I was a kid, some of my best memories were of 15 people at the house, with the phone ringing off the hook, the TV volume up to the loudest setting, something in the kitchen burning, the dog barking, and Dad locked out of the house! Just utter chaos! But those are the memories I REMEMBER!

Children especially crave just to be with their family and friends! They go to school longer, they participate in more activities than ever … why not just stay home and do something they can do hands on?

There are more options each day that can make our Christmas holiday less hectic and most of them are free or extremely frugal! Here are some ideas that I am going to use to make this the BEST and most FRUGAL Christmas ever – while keeping my sanity and my money in the bank.

  • Have a Christmas Movie Marathon with your kids and stay in this weekend!
  • Invite family and friends over for soup night – everyone bringing a different soup in a crock pot, and watch your favorite team’s football game! While you’re at it, throw in a cookie exchange have each family attending make a different variety of cookie and make sure everyone takes home a tasty treat.
  • Learn the history of Santa! It is pretty fascinating and will keep your kids busy!
  • Track Santa on NORAD – see where Santa and his Reindeer are from your computer.
  • Order high quality customized photo greeting cards from Vista Print (offering FREE 4X8 cards), SeeHere (offering free 20 4X8 cards), MyPublisher (offering 10 FREE 5X8 cards with code HAPPY10FREE or 5 cards when you sign up for emails here – all of the printing sites offer FREE cards this time of the year! You just pay a very low shipping & handling (some even offer free shipping), typically $4 or under. If you take advantage of the free card offers you never have to leave your house to run out to find the perfect card, as you create them with the wording, colors, and pictures that you want! Just pay special attention to expiration dates on “offer codes” and “coupon codes” when you checkout. I have ordered cards already from 3 sites offering free Christmas photo cards. It is fun to see the variety of cards that you will get – and you will have the perfect card for everyone on your list!
  • USE COUPONS! Each mass retailer has a coupon out for just about everything under the sun! Google for current coupons or drop by your favorite store’s Facebook page as most post them directly on their page.
  • Send a magazine subscription! I have purchased 8 subscriptions from Best Deal Magazines! They can take up to 8 weeks to begin showing up in your mailbox but most subscriptions are under $4.69.
  • Join a FRUGAL coupon blog or Facebook page – as they get updated several times a day. Take advantage of someone doing all of the searching for you! You will be notified up to the minute on fantastic deals and free offers.
  • Use discount sites such as Groupon.com (get $10 credit after you make your first purchase!), Savemore.com (get a $10 credit just for signing up!), 1saleaday.com, Livingsocial.com (get $5 “Deal Bucks” credit for creating a new account to spend on your first deal!), Plumdistrict.com (get $5 credit for signing up!). They offer one day deals for upwards to 60-70% off! You will be emailed with a redemption code or gift certificate number and instructions on how to redeem. You can even “gift” items and send them directly to that special person. That is a FREE $30 right there! Think teacher’s gifts!
  • Military families can always get free banners, jumbo cards and discounts on all of the great products at BuildASign.com.
  • Many new sites are offering FREEBIES in attempt to get you to spend your cash with them! You have to practice discipline and ONLY purchase your free or discounted items. Inkgarden.com is offering a FREE $13 credit when you use code ForFree at checkout. The code is good for 1-2 FREE items – all you pay is shipping! I think $5.49 is totally worth a completely customized coffee mug for a teacher! I have already ordered my teacher gifts for this year.
  • Take FULL advantage of Military Discount Offerings – 200 retailers who offer a Military Discount (check to make sure the discount still valid as discounts and offers can change at any time!)
  • Use Walmart’s Holiday Price Match Guarantee to your advantage! Get all of your shopping done in one place. Customers Don’t Have to Wait to Save;
    Walmart will Match Prices Even After Purchases Are Made During the Holiday Season! Walmart’s Christmas Price Guarantee is valid on purchases made Nov. 1 through Dec. 25 on identical items (the same brand, size, color, quantity, grade and model number) that are currently available at competitor’s stores located within the same local market as a particular Walmart store. To apply for the Christmas Price Guarantee, customers need to simply bring in their original Walmart cash register receipt and the local competitor’s current printed ad to Walmart’s Customer Service desk through Dec. 25. Once validated, a gift card for the difference will be issued. Items placed on layaway will also be eligible for the Christmas Price Guarantee. Spend some time to compare your Sunday ads and shop at one place! It will save you time and money – never mind gas and the stress of holiday traffic.
  • Sam’s Club announced a new membership offer. When joining or renewing as an Advantage Member ($40) or Advantage Plus Member ($100), Sam’s Club will provide a $15 Sam’s Club gift card per primary membership to military personnel, active or retired, their spouses, and civilian military employees.

There are THOUSANDS of deals and free items that you can use to your full advantage today!!! You just have to tell yourself I AM GOING TO BE FRUGAL this year! It is not cheap. It is SMART! You will thank yourself in January when you are not suffering from a nervous breakdown or credit card blues!

While Daddy is Deployed: Military Family Support

Here at Military Missions Inc, we are known for our efforts to send out care packages to our deployed troops.  Mailing boxes of encouragement is a big part of what we do, but did you know that we also offer support for our military families here on the home front?

Our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines will often tell us that they feel it is harder on their families than it is on them. While deployed, they have a job to do. They know where they are at all times and they know what needs to be done, meanwhile, their family members are at home, knowing nothing about where their hero is located or what he or she may be doing.

Not knowing what is going on can be extremely stressful, especially when this will be the norm for several months or even a year. Trying to keep the home running smoothly while taking care of children, and working a job can be difficult for anyone, but for the spouse of one who is deployed it is far more challenging.

Even when the deployment is over, a lot of changes take place when the soldier returns home and our military families need support and encouragement during this time of adjustment.

Spouses and children aren’t the only ones who need support.  For each one who serves, there is a parent, a sibling, a cousin, a friend, and a neighbor waiting on the safe return of their hero. Everyone in that soldier’s circle of influence needs a community of people who understand.

Military Missions works to provide support for our military families. We have a community of people who understand what it is like to live on this side of deployment and many of us have learned to live with the new normal that awaits each of us after our hero returns home.  Join one of our support groups or get involved in one of the many activities we have going on year round.

Get support when you need it. Give support when others need you.

Meet today’s hero ~ Victor

Meet today’s hero ~ Victor.  His mom had the following to share with us about her personal hero:

“My son, Victor, serves in the United States Navy.  In October 2009, he was deployed to Iraq as an Individual Augmentee with the Army and returned in November 2010.  Upon reporting to his new Navy assignment the following month, he was told he would be deploying again in just a few months.  He is deployed once again, and by the time he returns home in 2012, he will have spent only four months out of twenty-nine months with his wife and two children who are themselves heroes.  I am extremely proud of my son and his family for the sacrifices they have made and continue to make.”

All of us at Military Missions are truly grateful for Victor’s service. We are also thankful for his family’s willingness to sacrifice so that he can serve on behalf of each of us.  Please keep this dear family and this brave sailor in your thoughts and prayers.

Meet today’s hero ~ Patrick!

Meet today’s hero! No one can tell us better than Patrick’s father who had the following to say about this brave soldier.

“I am proud to nominate my son Patrick as a Hero of the Day. He is currently serving in Afghanistan, his first deployment of his young Army career. Patrick selflessly leads a brave platoon of soldiers whose first and foremost concern is to protect the people of his assigned village from the threats, intimidation, extortion and cruelty of the Taliban.

Patrick willingly leads his men on daily patrols and missions, having endured three near miss IED explosions and countless fire fights to insure the villagers are protected from harm and danger. Patrick selflessly distributes the many “care packages” he receives from family and friends to insure all his men receive some type goody which keeps them emotionally and spiritually tied to home. Whether it is leading a patrol, guiding and directing a battle strategy or doing his daily paperwork, Patrick is a typical example of our best at work…protecting, caring, doing, donating…never an occupier as many cynics would suggest.  Common to all his comrade in arms is his great faith, caring attitude and an obvious longing to be reunited with his family and friends.”

We are so grateful for Patrick’s willingness to dedicate his life to military service.  We are also thankful that he receives such loving support from home. His family is sacrificing as well.  Please keep Patrick and his family in your prayers!

Meet Today’s Hero ~ Sean!

Meet today’s hero!  Sean, is currently serving somewhere in Afghanistan and is based at Ft. Bragg, NC.  He and his lovely, strong Army wife, and their two children live in North Carolina.  Sean is serving on his third deployment – the previous two were each in Iraq for twelve months or more.  His family is extremely pleased that this deployment will be shorter.  They will all be very glad to have him safely back in the USA in a few months.

We can sleep safely in our beds at night knowing that brave men like Sean are willing to leave their homes and their families to ensure our freedoms here in the United States.  We are so thankful for this brave soldier and his family.  Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.

Opting Out of Military Service

I just did something I thought I would never do.  I completed the Military Recruitment Opt-Out Parent Form for my youngest son, age 17, who will be a senior in high school this year.

In some ways, this seems very strange and foreign to me because I feel that military service is one of the most honorable professions one can choose.  I am grateful for those who are willing to serve and sacrifice on my behalf so that I can continue to live in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.  I know that it is imperative that our nation have a strong military, and with no draft, we need people to step up and serve.

If you know me, then you know that I spend my days serving the military through the nonprofit I founded, Military Missions, Inc.  I wouldn’t give my heart and soul to supporting our troops and veterans if I didn’t feel military service was important.

So, why, you ask, did I complete the Opt-Out Parent Form?  Basically, I want to make a point.  I have already given one child to the Marine Corps.  He served three combat tours for our nation, and they sent back to me, a wounded combat veteran for whom they have no system in place to provide quality care.

Thousands of troops come home physically wounded or suffering with the invisible wounds of Traumatic Brain Injury and Post Traumatic Stress each year.  This war seems to have no end.  The numbers of injured is increasing and the health care system for our troops and veterans is already overwhelmed.  There are too many who need help and not enough services and providers who can treat them.

Our combat veterans are finding themselves without families, without jobs, without homes, and many are committing suicide because they don’t see a way out of their hopeless situation.

It is my opinion that they should not bring one more person into military service unless they can guarantee that they will take care of them once they return home from the war zone.  Quality health care and rehabilitation programs should not consist of drug cocktails and three month waits between appointments.

I have already given one son for the cause and I have watched the system, as it currently exists, do nothing but further destroy his life.

Our family will Opt-Out of military service until the Department of Defense and the Veteran’s Administration are willing to uphold their end of the bargain and take care of those who serve.

Our family will, however, continue to serve and support our military, their families, and our veterans by giving our time and our talents to meet the needs here on the homefront.

Meet today’s hero ~ Ashley!

Meet today’s hero! Ashley is a member of our US Navy.  She is currently deployed to the continent of Africa.  When we think of troops serving overseas, we typically picture them in Afghanistan or Iraq, but we have troops serving in countless places around the globe.

We are so grateful for Ashley’s willingness to serve.  Her family is so very proud of her, but that doesn’t make it any easier on them as they wait for her safe return to the US.  When Ashley returns to US soil, she will be based across the country from her family.  We know that their time spent together over the next several years will be limited.  We want to thank Ashley’s family for supporting her decision to serve, by making a sacrifice themselves.

Please keep this American hero, and her family, in your prayers.