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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Sep 17th, 2019 by dearmilfamily at 7:00 am

There can be so many decisions that can go into using money for school. One veteran and military spouse, Dina, decided to use it in an unconventional way to help her family and do something that she enjoyed! And she's still using it now in her small business just not the way you think.

Dina is a military spouse and a mom to two wild and free-spirited boys. She and her husband both come from military families and met while both were stationed in Japan. She found joy in planning trips. More specifically, planning trips to Disney. Her interest in travel stems from being a military child and getting thrown into different countries around the world. She loves learning about different cultures, relaxing on sandy beaches and riding the e-ticket rides at theme parks such as Disney. Tokyo Disneyland was the place where her husband asked her to marry him. With the birth of their first child, she decided it was best to stay at home with him due to his early arrival Earth-side. She left active duty and joined the Air National Guard. Shortly, after the birth of their first child, her husband deployed and she was left to raise our baby alone for almost 7 months. Needless to say, it was a big shock to her husband to see a tiny newborn grow into a crawling chatty toddler. She wanted to find a way to quickly reintegrate her husband into their family life. She booked a cruise with a travel agent they worked with before and off they jet-setted with an infant to Alaska. At that point, she knew travel was for them. They've had the unique chance to travel around the world due to the military. When they got assigned to Hawai'i, she finally separated from the military completely. She found she was booking vacations around and out of Hawai'i for the duration of their time there, right up until their final trip which was an amazing 2-week vacation to Tokyo with another family. She decided for health reasons to stop traveling after this trip because they discovered she was pregnant with their second child. She found joy in working on the details of the reservation and naturally, booking tickets for the Tokyo Disneyland Resort. It was inspirational to watch everyone's face's light up during the trip. That joy everyone felt during the vacation was because she helped make it memorable and fun. This trip is the spark that inspired her to pursue a career in travel. She loves to plan a dream Disney vacations, and she enjoys helping create new adventures for families, couples, and singles in locations around the world. Whether it is a mom’s getaway to Hawai'i, a romantic couple’s getaway to Italy or a family trip to a Disney Resort – the knowledge that she played a part in helping others experience different cultures or craft a dream vacation to Disney is what inspires her to create memorable and lasting vacations.

Find Dina:

Sep 10th, 2019 by dearmilfamily at 7:00 am

It's Back to School time, and for military families it's an extra sensitive time of year. Those of us that are parents want our kids to have a great year, make new friends, being included and inclusive, and do their best. But this time of year can be even more stressful for those of us who have special needs children, ones who have an IEP or a 504 plan. In this episode, I spoke to a special needs parent turned educational advocate for all military children.

Michelle Norman’s story began over 15 years ago when her daughter was prematurely born at 27 weeks in Norfolk, VA. She suddenly found herself navigating the medical and educational world of special needs and refused to accept the status quo for her daughter. In 2016, Norman successfully battled their school district over the appropriateness of her daughter’s educational plan resulting in the establishment of a case law in her daughter’s name. She continues to pursue change by promoting awareness of the challenging special education issues military families face. Among many things, she engages with legislators, supports bills that will help low income military families access an appropriate education and co-founded the support group Parents for FAPE (Free Appropriate Public Education). Norman not only continues to fight for her daughter’s education but is committed to supporting the many families struggling to find a way to effectively advocate for their own children’s education. 
“Being a parent in a military lifestyle is difficult as it is. And if you are parent of a child with special needs in the military, it is exponentially more challenging. Moving every two or three years makes it almost impossible to make any positive change when the education of our most vulnerable children fails to meet the minimum legal standards, even for the most determined parents,” says Norman. “As united military families, our collective goal is for ALL of our children get the opportunity to learn and be productive members of society. I am thankful that the Armed Forces Insurance Military Spouse of the Year program allows me to shine a spotlight on this important issue and am honored to represent these extraordinary military families.” 

Find Michelle:

FB page @MichelleNormanMSOY

Sep 3rd, 2019 by dearmilfamily at 7:00 am
Books, books, books! It is my go to way to help my kids through any difficult situation. Child diagnosed with autism? Find a book. Starting school? Go get a book at the library. Moving because of your parent's job? Scour the interwebz looking for books for military kids. And there are so many great books out there just for military kids. In this episode, I speak to one half of a couple that decided to create a whole series devoted to the experiences that MilKids go through. 
Meet the authors:
Dr. Johanna Gomez is a military spouse and licensed Mental Health Counselor. Johanna has dedicated her life to supporting military families, both in her personal and professional career.
Daniel Gomez is a US Army Special Operations Officer and Combat Veteran. A proven leader and certified military instructor, Danny specializes in both education and training.
Find Adventures of a Military Brat:

Jul 9th, 2019 by dearmilfamily at 10:13 pm

Our tips and tricks from our semi-DITY move from this summer.

Jun 25th, 2019 by dearmilfamily at 7:00 am

It's officially summer and that means vacation time! And there is a service that is available to all active duty, retiree, and military beneficiaries to help offset the costs. You really can see the world when you are a part of the military family. And whether you call it Space A (space available) or MilAir, it's still a great way to travel for little to nothing. I talked to the voice behind the blog Poppin' Smoke about her life traveling around the globe and how easy it is for military families to use this wonderful benefit.

Stephanie Montague is the founder of the military travel website Poppin’ Smoke. She created Poppin’ Smoke to encourage members of the military community, particularly retirees, to use the benefits they earned through their service to travel and explore new adventures. Stephanie and her husband have been traveling and living overseas since her husband retired from the Army in 2015. After flying military Space-A around the globe, they spent two-and-a-half years living in Fukuoka, Japan. In February, they hit the road again and flew Space-A from Japan all the way to Europe, where they are looking for the next place to call “home.”

Find Stephanie:

Join the Facebook group The MilFamily!

Take the Season 4 Listener Survey! 

Jun 18th, 2019 by dearmilfamily at 7:00 am

We already know that military spouses are resourceful. So not only is this week's episode a story about resourcefulness, but a little bit of hope for the future after military life. Sometimes the things you are working on in the moment, even when they feel insignificant, is you laying the foundation for what's to come later. This week I bring you the story of one military spouse who started her business as a side hustle, moved to full time online entrepreneur lifestyle, and then once her husband finished his service commitment, started a brick and mortar store.

Meg Sutton is the boss lady and doodler behind Belle & Union, a company that launched in 2012 which sells letterpress printed cards, art prints, southern-inspired wrappings, and hand-crafted artisan goods brimming with vintage wit and wisdom that tote a bit of a foodie twist - all 100% made in the USA, a commitment based on her husband's military service. Belle & Union launched their first brick and mortar store in San Antonio, Texas, in July 2018. The shop houses the working studio as well as offers creative workshops across a variety of subject matters. Meg values encouraging people to slow down and enjoy the sweet moments in life, gathered ’round a table filled with smiles and laughter. When she's not doodling or coming up with Belle & Union's next great product, you can find her sipping chai tea, chasing her pup with her husband, and curling up with a good book. Belle & Union’s products have been featured in Country Living, Rachael Ray, Southern Weddings, Southern Living, Southern Lady, and Oh So Beautiful Paper. Meg has been interviewed on KSAT's SA Live in San Antonio numerous times, KENS 5 in San Antonio, Texas Lifestyle Magazine, Proof to Product podcast, Creative Biz Rebellion podcast, and more.

Find Meg/Belle & Union:
Facebook: @belleandunionco

Instagram: @belleandunionco

Twitter: @belleandunionco

Join the Facebook group The MilFamily!

Take the Season 4 Listener Survey! 

Jun 11th, 2019 by dearmilfamily at 7:00 am

Care packages are a long held tradition in the military community. They can be personal, sad, funny, and very necessary for service members. One woman is trying to document the culture of military life and the military families that serve by showcasing photos of various care packages service members have gotten through out modern American history. We talked about all the ways families show their love and personalities through a care package.

Odale Cress was a Russian/Spanish linguist in the 80s, during the Cold War, stationed in what was then, West Germany. She has since been working her way around the globe. She is currently a grad student. This project came out of her thesis: food is a language; cuisine is a dialect. Odale wanted to demonstrate, not only how foods reflect our culture, but that by looking at care packages of foods, we could see the wide range of cultural backgrounds of people who serve(d) this country. She is also fascinated by history and is expanding this project to include care packages from as far back as the Revolutionary War through present day.

Find out more:

Care Pacakge Story Project

Join the Facebook group The MilFamily!

Take the Season 4 Listener Survey! 

Thanks to this episode's sponsor: My Baby's Heartbeat Bear Use offer code MIL20 to get 20% off your purchase!

Jun 4th, 2019 by dearmilfamily at 7:00 am

Earning a degree as a veteran or military spouse doesn't have to be as difficult as it might seem. Lots of things have changed about the Post 9/11 GI Bill and because of these changes, you may want to use that benefit sooner than you think. I talk to Ashley Gorbulja-Maldonado and get all the secrets of using the GI Bill to get the most benefit out of it.

Ashley M. Gorbulja-Maldonado, 25, holds a Masters in Public Health from Northeast Ohio Medical University with an emphasis on military community programs. She holds bachelor degrees in The Science of Education and The Science of Organizational Supervision with a minor in Psychology from the University of Akron. Ashley is the Founder & CEO of GuideOn Education Consulting LLC (est. Sept. 2018). Ashley serves as a one-of-a-kind Veteran Education Consultant, GuideOn can offer a personalized navigation for your organizations special projects to inspire, educate, and connect with the U.S. military community.

Find Ashley:
LinkedIn Personal
LinkedIn Business 

Facebook Personal
Facebook Business 
Ms. Veteran American page 

Join the Facebook group The MilFamily!

Take the Season 4 Listener Survey! 

May 28th, 2019 by dearmilfamily at 7:00 am

 The conversation around veteran mental health is an important one. But we mustn't forget the rest of the family especially the military spouse who is often the primary caregiver. After multiple deployments and her own struggles with reintegration, one military spouse set out to create a space for other military spouses to feel not so alone and get tools to help them over come this trying time. War and deployments have real life after effects on the military member and family. It's important to get the help that you need.

Richelle Futch, MSW is an intensively trained Dialectical Behavior Therapist, a United States Marine Corps Veteran currently married for the last 9 years to an Active Duty Special Forces NCO. Richelle was recently named Armed Forces Insurance Fort Bragg Military Spouse of the Year.

Find Richelle:
@Herruck Instagram

Join the Facebook group The MilFamily!

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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