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Sheila Casey on Finding Balance in the Military

Military spousePlease welcome guest blogger, veteran military spouse and BSF Advisory Board member, Sheila Casey.

I have been a military spouse for 39 years. During that time I have experienced all the same things each one of you have…raising a family, moving, deployments, reintegration, children changing schools, volunteering and making lifelong friendships. It has not always been easy but I would not change a moment of it. I say that now although there were days when I thought differently. When military life became difficult it was easy to think “enough” but then I would figure my way through it and get on with life.

What I realized is that I needed something that was mine. I could not live my life through my husband and I needed something in addition to the Army. I knew that one day my husband would retire and that the military part of my life would end. I needed something that would continue. The big question was what. Continue reading


BSF Weekly News Round-Up for September 1

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


Weekly News Round-Up

All the Latest in Everything Blue Star Families

Welcome!  Things are buzzing in North Carolina as we, along with K.I.D.S., prepare to welcome Governor Perdue to help us donate more than 4,000 children’s books to 37 DODEA and military impacted schools on September 10th.  Read all about it, and many other cool things happening in the BSF world below.

We are working hard on the creation of our new Blue Star Families website and online community which will be launching very soon!  Check out below how YOU can help make connecting together even easier and more exciting.

Remember, if you want BSF info and links to articles and events more than once a week, join us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and check out our Blue Star Families Blog.

If you received our Weekly News Round-Up from a friend or co-worker, please join us today.  Blue Star Families is an exciting new way for military family members from all ranks and services (and our supporters!) to Connect, Support, and Empower one another.  Just go to the JOIN US page on our site www.BlueStarFam.org.

There’s a lot of excitement about Blue Star Families and the best way to make sure you are in the middle of it all is to join your local chapter.  Just shoot Vivian a note at members@bluestarfam.org, and she’ll get you connected.

Enjoy! Heidi & the Blue Star Families Team

NC Governor Beverly Perdue to Help BSF Kick-off Books on Bases

Blue Star Families and our program partner, K.I.D.S. believe in the healing power of books and are excited to kick off our national Books on Bases, Smiles on Faces literacy event for military children at Ft. Bragg on September 10th.  We are especially honored to have North Carolina Governor, Beverly Perdue joining us and we’d like to invite BSF members too!

This event will include the distribution of approximately 4,000 children’s books to all 17 DODEA schools in the state of NC and 20 military impacted public schools in the local area. Children with parents serving in the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard will benefit from this significant donation to their schools and libraries. Base libraries from Camp Lejeune, Pope Air Force Base, and Ft. Bragg will also be included.

Please check out the details here and be sure to RSVP to programs@bluestarfam.org by September 7.  We will have approximately 100 seats reserved for BSF members so RSVP TODAY!

Priority will be given to event volunteers, and we still need plenty of them!  If you are interested in helping before and/or during the event, please contact us at programs@bluestarfam.org today.

DOD’s First Joint Family Readiness Conference in a Decade & BSF Will Be There!

The Defense Department’s first joint family readiness conference in nearly a decade will take place next week in Chicago, and Danette Hayes, BSF’s Director of National Guard and Reserve Programs and Pamela Stokes-Eggleston, BSF’s Director of Development will be on hand to spread the word about Blue Star Families’ mission to Support, Connect and Empower military families.

The conference is expected to draw about 1,500 helping professionals from throughout the world and will offer information and resources as well as the latest research affecting military family care.  Read more about the conference here.

Frustrated by Having to Register to VOTE Every Time You Move?  Tell Us All About It!

Blue Star Families wants to identify the special challenges that military members and their families face when struggling to vote and fully participate in our government. Help us by completing the BSF Voter Registration survey. We are interested in knowing:

  • How often you have had to register to vote?
  • What kinds of problems you have had voting – either in person or via absentee?
  • Why aren’t you registered to vote?

We want to share our military family stories with key policy makers and we need your assistance. It will take fewer than 10 minutes for you to complete the online survey TODAY!

DOD Announces New Suicide Prevention Task Force

The Department of Defense will launch a 14-member Task Force on the Prevention of Suicide by Members of the Armed Forces. The congressionally directed task force will address trends and causal factors, methods to update prevention and education programs, suicide assessment by occupation, suicide incident investigations, and protective measures for confidential information derived from investigations for the department.  Read more about the task force here.

Think You Have To Pay To Check Your Bags? Check This List Before You Fly

Most airlines are now charging to check bags these days, but before you take off on your next flight, check out this list to see your carriers’ policies regarding military personnel.  Most exceptions are for those traveling on orders, but it’s worth a look!

VA Playwright Needs Military Family Stories

Virginia Stage Company has hired a playwright to write a play to be produced locally about military families. If you would be interested in helping her shape this play – she is in the research stage – about military families, please contact Barbara Lipskis, Director Development, at blipskis@vastage.com. The playwright will be in town for chats with families on Sept 19-21. Please be sure to let he know you’re a Blue Star Families member!

Great Article about Military Children by BSF Member

The concerns about the effect of deployments on our military children are real and gaining more and more attention in local media.  If you have a piece pertaining to military families published, like our own Jennifer Taylor’s The Effects of Deployment Stress in Military Children published in The Flagship, please be sure to let us know!  We’ll help spread the word!

Free Tickets for Vets, Active Duty & Their Families

Veterans Tickets Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to saying thanks to veterans, active duty service members and their families by giving tickets to concerts and sporting events as a tangible way of saying thanks.  Check out their website for more info.

Great Information on the Emotional Aspects of Deployment

Need a good pre-deployment check list and some tips to help your kids cope with Dad’s or Mom’s separation?  Check out the great information available on the Families tab at Real Warriors , an initiative launched by the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE) to promote the processes of building resilience, facilitating recovery and supporting reintegration of returning service members, veterans and their families.

There’s also an insightful article about the Emotional Cycle of Deployment that’s worth checking out!

Free Grills from ConAgra & AAFES

Just in time for football season, ConAgra and the Army & Air Force Exchange Service have cooked up plans to give away nearly $25,000 in grills before the end of September.  Now through Sept. 18, approximately 236 exchanges are giving shoppers a chance to win a grill valued up to $100 as part of the ConAgra Free Grill Sweepstakes. For more info, check out their press release

Check Out MSCCN’s Latest Newsletter

If you’re getting back into the work force, or interested in changing careers, take a minute and check out the Military Spouse Career Corporate Network’s latest newsletter. It’s full of great tips and encouragement!

Calling All Professional and Serious Amateur Photographers

Blue Star Families is an amazing group created BY military families FOR military families.  So, who better to take fabulous photos of all aspects of military family life than our members?

If you are a professional or serious amateur photographer, we’d love to have you capture some great images of the military family experience (homecomings, send-offs, weddings, graduations, BSF events, parades etc.) and we’ll give you photo credit on our new site.  If you are interested and want more information email Stephanie at stephanie@bluestarfam.org

EXCITING NEWS! New BSF Website and On-Line Community in the Works

We’ve been busy behind the scenes creating a new on-line community for BSF members and we expect to have it up shortly.  But to build the best site we can, we need YOUR help!

VIDEOS: We want to hear AND see all our fantastic BSF members and give families with deployed service members a chance to shout out a special greeting to their loved one. Grab your video camera and record a 30 second max video, and get it ready to upload to YouTube.  We really want to hear how BSF connects, supports and empowers you as a military family.  For more details, email stephanie@bluestarfam.org.

PHOTOS: Send us 3 or 4 photos of you and your family at key military lifestyle points ~ weddings, deployments, homecomings etc…, and you might see them up on the new site.  High resolution is always best and no camera phone photos please (except iPhones).  Send your photos to
stephanie@bluestarfam.org today!

BLOGGERS & WRITERS We’re going to be highlighting all the great stuff the BSF family does everyday, both as local chapters and as individuals.  Here’s your chance to jump in and help share these stories, both as a blogger and as an interviewer.  If you would like to be a guest blogger and can write from your own experience about the following lifestyles, please let Stephanie know by emailing her at stephanie@bluestarfam.org.

  • National Guard & Reserve
  • New to Military Life
  • Little Ones In Tow
  • In the Work Force
  • In For The Long Haul (military spouses of about 10 years or more)
  • When HE is the Spouse
  • Military Moms, Dads & Family
  • Veterans & Mentor Spouses
  • Civilians Who Support Us

This Newsletter contains links to other sites and references to third party service providers, resources or similar entities. These links and references are provided to help you identify and locate other Internet resources that may be of interest. These other sites were independently developed by parties other than Blue Star Families, Inc. and Blue Star Families, Inc. does not assume responsibility for the accuracy or appropriateness of the information contained at, or endorse the viewpoints expressed at, such sites. In providing links to other sites, Blue Star Families is in no way acting as a publisher of the material contained on those other sites and does not seek to control the content of, or maintain any type of editorial control over such sites. A link to another site should not be construed to imply that Blue Star Families, Inc. is affiliated or associated with, or is legally authorized to use any trade mark, trade name, logo or copyrighted symbol that may be reflected in the link or the description of the link to such other sites. The mention of another party or its product or service in the Newsletter should not be construed as an endorsement of that party or its product or service.

Hail to the Chief, Navy Chief that is

Navy ChiefBravo Zulu to our many Navy Chief Selects that have begun their initiation process. This is a proud moment for you and your families.

Being the wife of a Chief Select myself, I’m pretty proud of my husband. He’s put in a lot of hard work, dedication and time away to achieve this goal. He’s a very humble man and is saying that I’m making too much of it, but I’ve seen him work hard to better himself in his rate and “sharpen the saw” for being a good leader.

We should all be proud of our Chief Selects and continue to support them in from what I’ve heard will be a very interesting initiation. There is a long and proud tradition of being a Chief from the history of the Charge Log to the reciting of the Chief’s creed and I’m sure that our Chief Selects will continue that tradition with honor. Bravo Zulu to you all and we’ll see you at the pinning…………..Dora

Good news or bad news?

I’m a news junkie—I admit it. I think it started once upon a time as I was fantasizing about a career in politics and has perpetuated in my years handling press for various companies. I am only spared my shame by the fact that millions of you out there share my addiction.

Yet it wasn’t until I became a military wife that I realized the true power of the press—and the danger it holds for those of us with loved ones in harms way. I was once again made aware of this friend/foe relationship last week when CNN reported the crash of an F-22 Raptor outside Edwards AFB. As the wife of a “Raptor Driver” my mind instantly ran through the faces of our small community, wondering which one was unlucky enough to ride in that jet. Fighter pilots face the risks associated with going Mach 1.5 upside down doing 9 G turns daily. I’ve managed to live in denial and pretend that my husband, who I liken more to Iceman than Maverick, is sitting at a desk all day playing with simulators. It’s only occasionally that some scraggly reporter interferes with my daydream. I’ve repeatedly joked to Iceman that I’ll learn of his demise on CNN. Then two years ago I was notified of a crash just outside our base by a radio announcer instead of a phone call. The joke wasn’t as funny after that.

All my fears aside, days like last Wednesday and the radio incident are few and far between. But it makes me wonder: what if Iceman was in the infantry? Or security forces? What if I were sitting at this computer, checking the news and weather day after day, knowing those stories of IEDs and tribal street wars were part of Iceman’s reality? Would I be strong enough to turn the channel and pretend not to know? Or would I use that strength to watch Wolf Blitzer without losing my sanity in the process? For all you been there/done that/they forgot to send my tee shirt ladies out there, tell us what relationship you have with the news. Foe? Friend? Frenemy? Take Rupert Murdoch out back and shoot him?

When we woke Thursday morning,  CNN reported that the pilot met his death in the hot desert outside of LA. I know this because in the interim while I was awake I had been refreshing four separate websites every four minutes to find any tidbit out there.  I can only hope his wife wasn’t doing the same.

Ice Queen Out.