The Dear MilFamily Podcast

A podcast for anyone who has a family member in the military or anyone interested in the military lifestyle.

    The Dear MilFamily Podcast
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May 21st, 2019 by dearmilfamily at 7:00 am

Do you dream of a job that you can take with you each time you PCS? Do you want something more flexible so you can be home when you need to be? Remote work is fast becoming THE employment option for military spouses everywhere. In this episode I talk to one of the co-founders of Instant Teams (previously known as MadSkills) about how military spouses can get a job that works with their lifestyle.

Erica McMannes is co-founder and COO of HireMadSkills, Inc. (previously known as MadSkills, now Instant Teams). In the past 17 years as an Army spouse, she’s found creative ways to find fulfillment and income that meshed well with the transient and unpredictable military lifestyle. Her career path started out traditionally in 2003, working for Army MWR/CYSS in various Director and leadership positions. But in 2012, Erica found herself consulting for veteran-owned startups in Silicon Valley on community growth and branding development. After 4 years in the startup market, she launched out on her own cofounding a company in 2016. Instant Teams enables companies to scale and manage their remote workforce while delivering remote work options to untapped talent pools of military-connected remote professionals.

Find Erica:
FB: @instantteams
Personal IG: @Of_a_Kitsch_Kind

Join the FB group The MilFamily

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May 14th, 2019 by dearmilfamily at 7:00 am

Are you doing what you set out to do when you were a young adult? Has your career changed? You might say career pivoting is a natural part of life, but for military spouses it's essential to keep yourself employed if you want to work. I talk to one milspouse that has changed careers and gone from a working woman, stay at home mom, working mom, and now a work at home mom. It's okay to try out many different things and do what you want to do!

Christine Maxwell is a personal finance junkie but realizes that not everyone loves to talk money. Her blog, Her Money Moves is dedicated to making personal finance straightforward and fun with real-talk on careers, personal finance, and the military lifestyle.
Christine has been a SAHM, a working outside of the home mom, and even a remote-working mom. She has a degree in Finance, a Master of Aerospace Engineering Management, and over 15 years working in finance.
When she's not geeking out about personal finance, she's living her best OCONUS life with her active duty Army husband and pre-schooler son.

Find Christine:

Join the Facebook group The MilFamily

May 7th, 2019 by dearmilfamily at 7:00 am

Female military spouses and women in general have a lot of pressure these days to have it all and be it all to everyone. But is that healthy for you and your mental health? Having the courage to stand up and stop feeding into these cultural norms and stereotypes is difficult. But it is time for things to change with the expectations we have for ourselves and the expectations we have of others. I talk to one milspouse who is willing to admit that she was not going down the right path and wants to help change things for all of us.

Justine Evirs is the founder of The Paradigm Switch, a fast-growing movement of military spouses who are unapologetic about their ambitious career goals and their commitment to the military lifestyle. Kimberly Jung has called her, "a dynamic and bold leader" and Valerie Rivera referred to her as a "passionate, connected, and unstoppable when she throws her energy into a project." As a Navy veteran & Navy spouse, Justine is proud of the work she has accomplished within military communities across the nation ranging from higher education, entrepreneurship, innovative program development, grassroots community building, to nonprofit management. Today Justine is leading a global digital community for military spouses who are leveraging the power of technology to take control of their careers by offering scholarships to top skills based programs around the globe. The Paradigm Switch will provide 1,000 scholarships and be a community of 20,000 military spouses strong by the end of 2021.

Find Justine:

Join the Facebook group The MilFamily

Apr 30th, 2019 by dearmilfamily at 6:58 am
To wrap up the Month of the Military Child, I bring you a special episode from another former military child who has spent her life connected to the military. When you spend your whole life supporting service members, you have a broader view of not only domestic policy but of the whole world. Listen as I talk to one military child who became a military spouse and then saw her son join the military: my mother-in-law.
Dee is a Special Education teacher, semi-retired from the public schools and working part time with charter schools as a behavior management specialist. She was also a military brat, military spouse, and is now a mother to a military service member. She has spent her whole life connected to the military in some way. Her father fought in the Vietnam War. Then after marrying an airman, experienced her husband’s service with Desert Storm. Later, one of her sons served in Operation Enduring Freedom. Dee grew up all over the world but called Idaho home for many years. She raised two boys with her husband George. Now, she lives her semi-retired life in Las Vegas, NV, enjoying her grandsons when she can.
Join the Facebook group The MilFamily
Apr 23rd, 2019 by dearmilfamily at 7:00 am

It's our 2nd Annual MilKids Take Over episode! I've gathered together some input from military kids all across the United States about what they think of military life and what helps them cope. Here's just a snippet of what some of the participants had to say.

"My favorite family tradition is we go on vacation, like to Japan." Thane, 7.

"You have a special journey." McKinley, 10

"I like to have hugs." Tylynn, 6

"It makes us strong, independent, and resilient children." Anistyn, 9.

Join the Facebook group! The MilFamily

Apr 16th, 2019 by dearmilfamily at 7:00 am

Operation Homefront's Military Child of the Year grant program started fifteen years ago. Since then, they've had more than 50 children named as MCOYs. These amazing military kids display the resiliency, inventiveness, generosity, and service that we come to expect of milkids. I talked with each of the seven 2019 winner's about their experiences with military life and how they cope. 

Find out more about the recipients here.

Brandon Mammano, Innovation Award Recipient

Benjamin Rawald, Air Force

Elisabeth McCallum Polleys, Army

Kylie McGuire, Coast Guard

Jaxson Jordan, Marine Corps

Campbell Miller, National Guard

Elisabeth Lundgren, Navy

Operation Homefront is a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit whose mission is to build strong, stable, and secure military families so they can thrive — not simply struggle to get by — in the communities they have worked so hard to protect. For over fifteen years, we have provided programs that offer: RELIEF (through Critical Financial Assistance and transitional housing programs), RESILIENCY (through permanent housing and caregiver support services) and RECURRING FAMILY SUPPORT programs and services throughout the year that help military families overcome the short-term bumps in the road so they don’t become long-term chronic problems. Operation Homefront has consistently earned high ratings from leading charity rating services, including Charity Navigator, which gave OH 4 Stars for 11 consecutive years for superior service and accountability. At Operation Homefront, 92 percent of expenditures goes directly toward delivering programs and services to the military families who need it most.

Find Operation Homefront:

Join the Facebook group! The MilFamily


Apr 9th, 2019 by dearmilfamily at 7:00 am

Deployments and frequent separations can take a toll on the bond between service member and child. Now we have a wealth of opportunities to keep that connection alive and well through technology. In this special episode for Month of the Military Child, I talk to two military spouses and former military kids about United Through Reading and how families can stay connected through reading (one of my favorite topics)!

As a member of the Operations team, Molly facilitates program distribution and implementation to Army and National Guard Commands nationwide. Through dissemination of the program across commands, she maximizes the number of Soldiers benefitting from the program in order to ultimately increase connections for military families affected by service related separation. A licensed, certified Speech Language Pathologist, Molly received her Masters of Science in Communication, Speech, and Hearing Disorders from East Carolina University. She has practiced in her field for ten years and finds the development of early childhood literacy skills a specific area of interest. As an active duty military spouse of 16 years, Molly’s experiences stem from volunteering and leading military family support programs, and she understands the direct benefits these programs provide to her own family during her husband’s multiple deployments. Molly’s husband remains on active duty and they reside in Alexandria, VA with their two children. 

As Director of Operations, Samantha works with the Program Team to coordinate national program campaigns, oversee volunteer recruitment, and establish, expand, and support United Through Reading programs throughout the United States Military. She also works directly with U.S. Navy and Coast Guard Commands based from the Eastern half of the U.S. to Greece and everywhere in between. A graduate of George Mason University, she worked worked for various other military support organizations before joining the United Through Reading team in 2014. Samantha is a Navy spouse and currently resides in Virginia Beach, VA.

United Through Reading connects military families who are separated —for deployment or military assignment—by providing the bonding experience of shared storytime. United Through Reading (UTR) was founded in 1989 by the wife of a Naval flight surgeon who deployed to Vietnam leaving his infant daughter at home. When the surgeon returned home, his little girl didn’t know him and he had to re-enter her life as a stranger. The founder was a reading specialist and knew firsthand the importance of exposing children to literature from birth. Thus, a powerful concept emerged. Now, 29 years later, UTR still stands strong — and proven deployment after deployment. More than two million military mothers, fathers, and children have sustained bonds and fostered literacy by sharing stories across even the greatest distances.

Find UTR:
FB: /unitedthroughreading/
Instagram: /utr4military/
Twitter: /UTR4military/

A very special thanks to this episode's sponsors:

Sudio Headphones: Use code MILFAMILY to get 15% off your purchase.
Organized Chaos: Download it today here! Use code: Dearmilfam to unlock some extra features!
Join the Facebook group! The MilFamily
Apr 2nd, 2019 by dearmilfamily at 7:00 am
A LOT of military kids grow up and join the military themselves. That's the joke right that the military can be the "family business" for some? What's it like to spend your whole life connected to the military in some way? In this first episode for April (month of the military child), I talk to one veteran about his experience growing up as an army brat, then joining himself, and finally retiring and continuing to help by starting a nonprofit focused on counseling veterans. We talk about his story but also about issues facing military families still today. 
Ellsworth "Tony" Williams was born in the military environment at Fort Hood, TX. His dad served for 20 years before he decided to retire in Wilmington, DE. That move prompted Tony to dropout of high school and join the military. He was not comfortable living in a civilian community. He eventually got his GED and was awarded a 3 year active duty scholarship and reentered the Army as a 2LT. He served 16 more years with 2 deployments. After retirement, he still wanted to serve the military community so he used my Post 9/11 GI Bill to get a Masters in Counseling Psychology and founded a nonprofit called Veterans Counseling Veterans. Veterans Counseling Veterans consists of Veterans and dependents of Veterans in the mental health profession.
Find Tony:
A very special thanks to this episode's sponsors:
Ebates! Sign up to get cash back on your purchases here:
Sudio Headphones: Use code MILFAMILY to get 15% off your purchase.
Organized Chaos: Download it today here! Use code: Dearmilfam to unlock some extra features!
Join the Facebook group! The MilFamily
Mar 26th, 2019 by dearmilfamily at 7:00 am
Tricare is wonderful to have, but many military families have a hard time navigating the referral and claims system when they need to see a specialist. It can get even more tricky when a family member is given Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP) status. One milfamily member shares her experience navigating the system and some tips she found that were helpful.
Susie Liberatore is the owner at Visions2images Creative Services. She helps established businesses grow their brand awareness by using digital marketing and professional branding techniques. With over ten years of agency and corporate experience, she brings businesses visions to life, while watching their return on investment increase. Her fields of design expertise are branding development, and social media marketing. She is the face and voice of Visions2images. Susie is an entrepreneur, she has several businesses and wears many hats for all of them. She has been able to help businesses thrive and grow with her help.
Find Susie:
A very special thanks to this episode's sponsors:
Ebates! Sign up to get cash back on your purchases here:
Sudio Headphones: Use code MILFAMILY to get 15% off your purchase.
Organized Chaos: Download it today here! Use code: Dearmilfam to unlock some extra features!
Join the Facebook group! The MilFamily
Mar 19th, 2019 by dearmilfamily at 7:00 am

Combat Recovery is a long process and not every program is right for everyone. In this episode, I talk to one veteran who has found help with one faith-based program that works to help the whole family. It's unique model and course is something worth taking a look at for anyone going through the recovery and reintegration process. This episode contains talk about sensitive topics such as combat trauma, suicide, and PTSD. Please be aware if you are triggered by any of these topics before listening.

Bryan Flanery is an Army Veteran and national speaker. During a deployment to Afghanistan with 1-320th Top Guns, his vehicle rolled down a ravine. He suffered injuries including a broken neck, dislocated shoulders, hip damage, ACL tears and a Traumatic Brain Injury. His unit was given a Presidential Unit Citation for their bravery in battle. By the age of 28, Bryan had endured eight significant surgeries and was struggling to manage chronic pain due to his injuries. But his toughest battle was against an unseen enemy. This enemy was far more deadly than the physical injuries he faced. Secretly, Bryan faced a battle against PTSD and combat trauma on a daily basis. Tired of the emotional, physical and spiritual pain, Bryan attempted to take his own life. Every day over 20 veterans complete suicide. Bryan is a veteran that lived. Through a miraculous intervention, his suicide attempt was unsuccessful. Reeling from the failed attempt, and still battling the trauma from his past, Bryan was invited to attend a REBOOT Combat Recovery healing course. Within only 12 weeks, his life was transformed. An awakening of faith in Bryan’s life restored his sense of purpose, wellness and joy. Soon, Bryan was leading trauma healing courses and helping others who had walked the same road he had walked. Due to his extensive community involvement, Bryan was recognized in 2015 by the Nashville Business Journal as an Impact Veteran during their inaugural Veteran Awards. Today, Bryan has personally facilitated courses serving over 300 military families and speaks around the country inspiring civilians and veterans alike. In 2017, Bryan earned his Bachelors of Social Work from Lipscomb University. He is the father of four children and lives in Clarksville, TN.

Find Bryan:

Twitter: @RebootBryan

A very special thanks to this episode's sponsors:
Ebates! Sign up to get cash back on your purchases here:
Sudio Headphones: Use code MILFAMILY to get 15% off your purchase.
Organized Chaos: Download it today here! Use code: Dearmilfam to unlock some extra features!
Join the Facebook group! The MilFamily