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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Oct 22nd, 2019 by dearmilfamily at 7:00 am

We have all heard the stories in the news about the mold, pest, maintenance, and water issues that plague military housing around the country and globe. But sometimes the answer to our problems is not so easy to find. In this episode, I talk to one military spouse who is on the front lines of the military housing crisis and has even testified before Congress to explain how terrible it has really gotten which sparked investigation and changes across all branches of the military. 

Crystal Cornwall is the co-founder of the Safe Military Housing Initiative and has been a lead advocate in addressing the military housing crisis our military and their families have been experiencing in recent years. She is a USMC spouse, mother of 3 beautiful children, and is a commercial underwriter for a Northern Virginia bank. She also testified in front of the Senate in Feb of this year about her experience and advocacy as it relates to the health and safety of military service members and their families living in housing.

Find Crystal:


Oct 15th, 2019 by dearmilfamily at 7:00 am

One deployment can be hard enough, but what happens when your spouse deploys often? You definitely have to get used to things changing and Murphy being around all the time. In this episode, I talk to Noralee Jones of Mrs. Navy Mama about her experiences with her spouse's deployments.

Noralee is a 30-something spouse of an active duty Navy officer, mother of 3 little ones and a self-proclaimed expert of getting things done. She is a photographer, foodie and lover of organizing, planners and finding hacks to navigate through this life. She created Mrs. Navy Mama when her husband was deployed as a way to document her family's journey as a military family. It grew into a military lifestyle blog, connecting with many military spouses and significant others in all branches and walks of life. She focuses on the importance of self-care, finding a tribe, home and mom hacks and military life hack for spouses and their family. Mrs. Navy Mama is a place for people to gain insight into how military life works, support one another through deployments and manage home, marriage and military, one duty station at a time.

Find Noralee:

Oct 8th, 2019 by dearmilfamily at 7:00 am

You meet a service member. You fall in love. You move with them to their next duty station. You become a resident of their country? Is that what you think of when you think of a typical military love story. Sometimes becoming a resident is easy and sometimes it's not. I talk to one military spouse who had a relatively easy time for this episode.

Gems Collins has 15 years' experience in Business Operations and Project Management for start-up organizations, in the UK and UAE. When she moved to the USA to be with her husband she discovered that her calling was to use her previous experience to help Military Spouses to create their own location independent businesses. She wants to help them overcome professional challenges or career progression and limited prospects in some areas of the country. She believe everyone has an inner entrepreneur and she's here to help MilSpouses discover their own incredible business.

Find Gems:



Oct 1st, 2019 by dearmilfamily at 7:00 am

The military is not know for incorporating spirituality into its culture. But one veteran and military spouse is on a mission to help other veterans with PTSD and other ailments to find peace and healing with energy work. 

Jeanita Kennedy us of the Red Streak Clan born to the Towering House People, maternal grandparent is of the Salt People and paternal grandparent is of the Bitter Water. She was born into a long linage of medicine men and women, and the healing medicine runs deep in her blood. Since the beginning of her spiritual path, she has learned that her way wasn’t the same as her ancestors. She was meant to step out of her comfort zone, away from her people, and bring Navajo medicine beyond the Four Sacred Mountains. The past three years she has learned the modern way of energy work and learned to integrate it with the Navajo ways. She joined the Air Force and deployed to the Middle East multiple times before separating in 2008 and moving to Minot, North Dakota, with her children and husband, who is in the Air National Guard.

Find Jeanita:

Red Streak Medicine (public facebook group)

Sep 24th, 2019 by dearmilfamily at 7:00 am

Military marriage is hard! And you can have a positive attitude and mindset, but it still helps to get authentic and real about it. One military spouse is on a mission to have more honest conversations about marriage and other topics that affect those of us in military life. 

Pam Chavez is a Certified Holistic Nutritionist and helps Military Spouses take back control of their life through mindset, connection, health and well-being. Showing women how to honor their personal goals despite their physical location. She is the Nutrition Expert for the 2019 Military Spouse Wellness Summit. Her articles and recipes can be found online and in print magazines to include Military Spouse dot com and FoodMatters.

Find Pam:

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:

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