Posts

For the Holidays!

We are excited to announce MilitaryMamaNetwork™ will be creating a hard cover, 3 ring binder cookbook in time for Christmas. Cookbook will include tabbed dividers and a loose recipe envelope, along with 200 holiday recipes and a craft section!!
Would you be interested in sharing a recipe?
How many cookbooks would you order to give loved ones? Price point is $20/cookbook
#2017Cookbook

In the meantime:

you can support us now by liking our auction page and shopping for Christmas there! https://m.facebook.com/IowaChapterofMilitarymamanetwork.org/

Would you like to advertise in our Military Mama Network cookbook? We sold 700 of our last volume! We expect to sell 1,000 at least this time. We offer four advertising options:
Full sized 4 3/8” x7 ½” ($100) (sold out)
1/2 page 4 3/8” x 3 ¾” ($50) (8 available)
1/4 page, business card ($30) (18 available)
name listed as supporter ($15)

You can email your advertising copy directly to Cookbook@MilitaryMamaNetwork.org and pay on our website or at our webstore http://shop.militarymamanetwork.org/

Copy deadline 9/29

Houston Assistance!!

At the request of our local mamas, we are currently collecting funds for Houston relief and, once the roads are open and deliveries are possible, we will forward 100% of September donations to Houston relief.

Please use our donate button and rest assured all funds received will be forwarded to Houston as soon as they are able to receive it.

Please DO NOT send materials goods. There is no way to deliver them.

When your Servicemember can’t stand to visit home

If you’ve followed what I write on here for more than a day you might see that I usually use my personal experiences as fodder for my posts, this one is no different. 

****Mandatory disclaimer***** I’m not an expert by any means, but I did stay in a Motel 6 once so I’ve got that going for me. 

Frequently people ask “what should I do when my servicemember doesn’t want to visit or doesn’t like his siblings?” My answer is always “give it time and don’t force it.” I still generally think this is the best advice but I want to give you perspective on what it’s like to be the servicemember in question. 

A little background: I’m the eldest sibling, the overachiever, the one my parents always knew would be successful (their words), I’m 60 days from my Masters and no one else even tried college, and most importantly I’m the one with my S*** together (again their words). My siblings… well not so much, because of this there has been a rift between them and I for going on 15 years. I have predominantly did it all without the assistance of them, while my siblings have relied on the to the point of my parents putting themselves into massive debt for them. 

For these and a host of other reasons I dread going home. I know when I do it will just end in a fight or someone getting upset. This past weekend that is exactly what happened. My sister and her kids seemed to spend an exorbitant amount of time at my parents; not a big deal but when I’m home less than 7 days a year usually personally I want the time of my parents for myself, selfish I know but it’s how I feel. We even went so far as to express that on a few occasions and it was either not understood or outright ignored. 

If your servicemember is courageous enough to point blank ask for your time maybe you should oblige. I realize my parents are getting older and living 1500 miles away means I miss a lot. I don’t want to end up regretting that I didn’t spend enough time when I had the chance. 

Second is scheduling things, this is my vacation. I understand it is a big deal when your servicemember comes home but if I wanted everything planned for me I would have A let Catherine plan it and B would have went somewhere fun like Disneyland. Things such as mandatory family photos, birthday dinners, BBQ’s etc are not how I want to spend my vacation. 

When these two situations combine it’s like a powder keg and all it needs is a spark to ignite, and that’s exactly what happened. My sister is… difficult and it didn’t end well. We ended up leaving without a goodbye, and at this time have no want or desire to return. 

The point of all this is before you blame your servicemember for not wanting to visit maybe you should peel back the onion and find out WHY they are choosing not to. I understand I’m a bit older and a tiny bit more mature than the average servicemember but if my parents were to ever ask me why I didn’t want to come I would point blank tell them, and I think the majority of servicemembers would also. Don’t just automatically blame them or the military, take a hard look because sometimes it’s not us. 

If you need anything or need someone to talk to I’m always around. 

Justin

Maybe I’m wrong…

Encourage Someone Today

but I believe people are more good than bad; more generous than selfish; more giving than taking. I have a Board member who argues that point with me sometimes. But in the end, he (sometimes) says that I’ve restored his faith in humanity. If you’ve ever watched the 7th Sign (not one of the best movies in cinematic history, but lots of lessons in the viewing of that movie), at the end the Hall of Souls is refilled. Because of one unselfish act, the future of humanity is reset. Yes, it’s fiction. But within that story, I believe there is truth. WE fill the Hall of Souls, Or refill someone else’s heart. Give them a boost of self confidence. A smile. A moment of appreciation.

There are so many ways you can encourage someone

Virtually encourage anotherI, admittedly, am a Facebook gal. I’m trying to be a twitter/LinkedIn kind of person, because I know we don’t all move in the same lanes. I started a movement, and I’d like you to join me. Find someone in your business dealings to encourage…you may start a movement of your own.  Find people in your life who you want to encourage.  Face to face is best; but if distance is an issue like it is for many of us, use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.  Use LinkedIn messaging to encourage a business associate.

How does this apply to being a MilitaryMama?

Be EncouragingWhat does this have to do with being a military mama?  Everything.  We encouraged our kids as they were growing up, encouraged them through training, encouraged them as they landed in YET another new place.  Some of us encouraged our daughters to take up “boy” roles and some of us had our sons join cheerleading or purchase a pink camera.  We knew then, and we know now, that it is IMPERATIVE to be our own people.  Carve our own path.  Not alone, but with our distinct identity, not based on gender but based on dreams and gifts and talents.

We encourage mamas that they, too, will survive training.  That their lives are bigger than the good-byes.  We encourage them to join a team, get fit, be accountable, or get healthier financially.

Who are you encouraging today?  Choose one person a day and tell them you see them.  Tell them WHAT you see about them and how you want to encourage them.  If you know someone who needs encouragement, currently serving or a veteran, we would be honored to send them a card! Click on our card link and complete the form.  We will do the rest!  Or maybe you know a military mama who needs a tribe who gets her and will encourage her.  Have her join our Facebook group and let’s see what we can do!

Do as I say…or How I (We) Got to the Facebook Communities Summit

I NEVER in a million years would have allowed my kids to do what I did last month:  take off for a weekend with complete strangers, to an undisclosed location, with very little information. Except that I was invited to represent Military Mama Network at the Facebook Communities Summit. Only 100 Facebook groups out of 640,000,000 were invited. Someone is more likely to win the Powerball.  Twice.  Or be struck by lightning WHILE drowning.  Four times.

Facebook didn’t choose those groups at random.  They invited some to apply and interviewed the final possibilities. It was a friendly interview and fun to remember what we had done as a group; powerful to think back on some of our biggest missions. After the application, interview, and internal Facebook research, MMN was invited to attend. We didn’t know where we were going or staying.

The Facebook Communities Summit team expected me to come as my authentic self. My authentic self? My authentic self is a painfully shy accountant.  My authentic self would rather be with my family and close friends than in a strange room filled with people I didn’t know. No, Facebook, I will not come as my authentic self, I thought.  I will come as my Sasha Fierce self.  I will attend as the person I put on for networking and public appearances and bring my authentic heart and my interest in others.  That will have to do, Facebook Communities Summit team.
And so I packed my favorite jean jacket, some MMN shirts (red sparkly for Friday) and some comfy shoes.  Three of us carpooled:  one of the gals I invited to attend the Facebook Communities Summit with me and another attendee who lives in my same town. Off we went, to a still undisclosed location except for where we were staying.  I dropped them at the Facebook Communities Summit and had lunch with my brother.  And this is where the lessons learned begin:

Follow your heart and don’t let others’ criticism deter you.

Do a gut check when you receive feedback. Learn from it and course correct.  But never compromise what your authentic self knows is YOUR path. MMN started with a bunch of strangers who all had someone we loved going through the same Army Basic Training cycle, combined with a collection for a soldier and his dog. My heart connected with people sharing the journey. I became “mama bear” to some and we became a family. In following my heart to found MMN, there were sacrifices, broken moments, and wonderful successes. And ultimately an invitation to attend an event where the odds were 1:64,000,000 of being invited.

I followed my heart on the first day of the Summit when I spent an afternoon with my brother instead of networking with other Facebook Communities Summit attendees. I’m sure I missed something, but I received more: laughing and having lunch with my brother outside on a beautiful day.

Believe in the power of kindness and give people the benefit of the doubt.

We all have bad days, weeks, months, maybe even years.  We all snap and overreact when we wish we hadn’t. In MMN Facebook groups, we don’t allow mean girl stuff or drama. We are focused on the mission. Sometimes I come across more curt than I’d like or I don’t respond quickly enough, but please, in all of these, assume the best tone and intention. When others resemble porcupines more than people, give them a hug, virtual or otherwise. Life is too short NOT to be kind. Give someone a ride, invite someone to come along. Include the person standing near the circle but not inside it.

Share your wins. It may just bless you beyond the moment.

Facebook said we could bring two guests to the Summit and for me, one was an obvious choice:  My friend who works in social media. I hoped being at the Summit would positively impact her business. Walking along the same path for a time developed our friendship. She did things way out of her comfort zone and clicked with people immediately.  It cost me nothing to share my win with her and seeing the impact attending the summit had on her has been a gift. I get emotional when I talk about it.  Share the win.

Encourage others at every opportunity. Literally “put courage” in others.

I had a brief conversation with one of the young Summit attendees. I thought what she did was cool and I told her that. I found out later that the conversation had a huge impact on her and changed the direction of her Facebook Communities Summit experience.  She then changed someone else’s and so on. My statement took 10 seconds… and the ripples are still being felt.  That is the power of encouragement.

Elite events don’t cure insecurity.  But go anyway.

There was a woman who almost didn’t attend the Summit because she didn’t feel “worthy” of being there. But she came and what she does…it’s epic. She gives her members, who are limited, a voice and an opportunity to share talent and beauty and celebration. It’s empowering.

At the Summit, around people I didn’t know, I was forced to deal with my insecurities or allow them to diminish the power of the Facebook Communities Summit. I’m always shocked when people don’t see my insecurities. I feel like I wear them on my sleeve.  I’ve been told I don’t and that ALWAYS makes me wonder if someone’s behavior is rooted in insecurities or a bruised heart.

Size doesn’t matter.  Impact does.

At the Facebook Communities Summit, there were groups that had fewer than 100 members and some with more than a million.  The groups in attendance weren’t there because of size.  They were invited for the impact they had on their community and the way their virtual reality/social media connections translated into real world change.

Coming home and sharing what we learned with others will continue to impact the world around us.  I don’t want to make money, like some will.  I just want to impact the world in a positive manner.

If you love something, take care of it and stay the course.

We worked hard to build MMN but, as I learned at the Summit, we have a lot of vulnerabilities.  We need to take care of our network.  Legally, emotionally, and relationally.

You’re never as alone as you may think.

Helping a couple attendees overcome their “First Facebook Live” fear was fun. I think it was for them too. Or at least, less horrible. For me, almost everything is less scary when I have someone next to me.

Many of the Facebook Communities Summit attendees spoke of the hours and hours they put into their groups. They take care of them and worry about their people as much as I do. Whether it was a super conservative group, or very liberal group, EVERYONE has someone sharing space with them.  Service providers, service members, nursing moms, church groups, dads, moms, community based, formed in response to oppression, everyone had someone. You know the lesson I most appreciated?  Every single person I met was fascinating. Amazing.  Had a wonderful story and a huge heart.
So thank you Facebook, for inviting MMN to attend the Facebook Communities Summit.  It was an amazing event. Because we were invited, because you chose to recognize the works that we and other groups do, because you see the impact we make on the community, we know we can do more.
If you’d like to support our mission, either as a business partner or an individual, click on the donate button at the top of the page. Or perhaps you’d like to join our Facebook network. Click here,  answer the questions, and you’re in!