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Saturday, August 30, 2008

Bittersweet Feelings - a little girl and her hero

While folks are buzzing and bickering about Vice Presidential candidates and recent Olympic memories, my sights are set on smaller, yet, important-to-me things for the time being. Today, I ushered my daughter into a whole new world. We met her first teacher at Open House. My daughter shouted to me after asking her thoughts today, "Mommy, my teacher is going to be
F-U-N". That's right, off to Kindergarten she will trot next week. Of course, don't get me wrong, I don't normally dismiss political issues or athletic triumphs for grade school matters. Still, right now, this is what counts. The campaigns still have a few good months left in them, the first day of Kindergarten; however, is breathing down my neck.

I have all the usual emotions—excitement, happiness, sadness. It's all bittersweet. My first baby is going to school. She's growing up. The worst part, I'm not going to be there to see her off. I'll be at home, probably balling my eyes out.

Our daughter declared "Daddy is taking me to school on my first day. Mommy, you can pick me up later." Hmph. Trying not to pout, I plastered on a smile for my girl and hoped she can't see the tears in my eyes. I wanted to be the one to bring her and hold her hand and watch her walk into her classroom. I always planned on being the one.

When I see my husband don his uniform and throw his sea bag over his shoulder as he boards a ship, I know he's going to miss things. These types of things often are seemingly small but are big in our world. In a life where change is constant and deployments plenty, it's nice to have the little things and childhood moments to share. Fortunately, he's home right now, which is why HE became the chosen one and not me.

Despite my melancholy mood about the situation, I know how much it means to her that Daddy is home right now. He's missed so much in her little life so far. Being there to escort her to her first day is an achievement—an extremely proud moment for her. He's her hero. Who wouldn't want to show off their very own superman to a new set of friends? Smart girl, I have, very smart girl who loves her Daddy so.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

More Financial Tidbits for Military Families (from NMFA)

More Financial Tidbits for Military Families, as reported by National Military Family Association (NMFA) citing Donna Miles (American Forces Press Service, 8/15/2008):

The economic downturn that has hit many Americans appears to have had less impact on service members, partly because of the nature of military service and partly due to the vast network of programs and services available to help them. The latest annual Defense Department status of forces survey conducted in April by the Defense Manpower Data Center supports this assessment. The full results of the survey have yet to be published.

There’s no question that service members and their families feel the pinch of spiraling gas, grocery and other prices. However, because service members have secure full-time jobs, commissary and exchange privileges, free to low-cost medical care, and allowances for housing, they are less likely to be as financially stressed as some of their civilian counterparts. In addition, service members on deployments benefit financially from tax-free earnings in combat zones, hazardous duty pay, and if married, family separation pay.

Three-quarters of service members who live off base rent their homes, so they’re not as hard-hit by the depressed housing market. Additionally, as discussed last week in the Government and You E-News, the recent change to the Joint Federal Travel Regulation (JFTR) authorizes the military to pay for local moves when a landlord defaults and the military tenant is forced to relocate to new housing.

One segment of the military population likely to be hardest hit by the housing downturn is the twenty-five percent of service members who own their homes. If individuals are unable to sell their houses for what they owe and can’t get enough rent to cover the mortgage, they’re likely to feel the pinch. This is especially true for service members moving from a high-cost housing area to a lower-cost housing area. Another provision in the JFTR offers a protection for service members. They can elect to leave their family at their old duty stations as they move to a lower-cost area and continue to draw their housing allowance at the higher rate where their family lives. It is not an ideal circumstance, but it could be a lifesaver to some families facing a financial crisis. Each service Secretary may determine the circumstances that authorizes/approves a housing allowance based on either the dependant’s location or the old duty station. This discretion is left to the service Secretary for each branch.

NMFA would like to take this time to remind service members and their families of the myriad of financial services that are available to help at no cost to service members. Personal financial counselors, legal assistance staff and aid societies are available for one-on-one sessions. If you are not comfortable with a personal meeting, take advantage of financial counseling over the telephone through Military OneSource by calling 800-342-9647.


Wow, only 25% of service members own their own home? I didn't realize the number was so low. Perhaps, that's actually high. Whatever the case, the above news is a bit daunting. We are due to PCS in the next couple of years and since we own, I'm getting worried. Fortunately, we could always do the GEO thing. I guess we will just play the wait and see game.

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

In 2025, my boy will be old enough.

He will be old enough to enlist. He will be eligible to apply for entrance at any one of the military academies. Of course, my girls, being older, will have reached that eligible age already. However, for the sake of all that is sugar and spice and everything nice (and to not cause ulcers in my husband's belly), we'll just discuss the boy.

I was a Marine. My husband is a Coastie. Stop laughing. Yeah, yeah, he can swim, and I sink. I've heard it all. Carry on.

At any rate, we are obviously a military family. I had always envisioned that if I bore a son, he'd grow up to show interest in the military. Notice I say show interest? I'm not going to force him. My husband is quite possibly going to dissuade him. Still, I can't help but wonder what the years will bring. I am on the fence about the matter, which is quite comical because (1) he's still in diapers and (2) since it will really be all up to him one day.

I see many parents in this day and age cringing at the thought of their child trotting to the local recruiter's office. I try to put myself in their shoes. It's frightening. It's got to be. I'm sure for many, it's honorable and they are extremely proud of their youngin's joining the Armed Services, but not everyone feels that way.

I've recently been reading about a mom named Carla. You see, she writes a blog "Some Soldier's Mom" (and apparently many other things) all about her life as a military mom and spouse. In 2004, she wrote:

We always thought he would grow out of it. The wanting to be a soldier. It was going to be just a fad he went through. Like most boys...Although his two older brothers were in the Navy (one after high school and one during college), we actively discouraged this son from enlisting. It wasn't that his Dad and I objected to the military, but we wanted him to consider all his options. At his insistence, enlisting remained a part of every conversation we had with our son about his future.By his senior year, we were certain that he could be distracted from enlistment as his and his friends' attention turned to colleges and graduation. By November, we had become so tired of his insistence that we sign the consent for the Army's delayed entry program (DEP), that we forbade any mention of it until after the first of the New Year.

He honored our wishes. Until New Year's Day. Then the floodgates opened. And every day after that, multiple times each day, he implored us, begged us, pleaded with us, argued with us to meet with the Army recruiters. We refused. After all, he was still about 90 days from his 18th birthday. No amount of cajoling or urging on our part could convince him to apply to colleges. With the talk of war escalated, he never wavered. His friends talked to him, but even they will tell you that he wanted to serve, that his highly developed love of his country and his patriotism drove him.Three weeks before his 18th birthday, accepting that it was unlikely that he would change his mind, we agreed to meet with the Army recruiter. But we made no promises other than to hear them out...He wanted infantry. He wanted Airborne. Straight. Square. Bold. Certain. He looked us firmly in the eyes and said, "Yes, Dad. Yes, Mom. This is really what I want."

(To read Carla's full post, visit: for her most updated post, please visit:

So, I guess my worrying is for naught. My son will grow up. He will ultimately make his own decisions. I should know this. I should accept this. After all, I too had the passion (perhaps rebellious streak) that Carla's son had. I too had my heart set on the military much against my parents' (mostly my mother's) wishes. When I was 17, I joined the DEP and less than a year later, I was on a flight to Parris Island to begin my military journey. *sigh* I suppose if my son is anything like me, I better get used to this idea now.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Once Upon a Time, I was Snow White.

I just visited a lovely military spouse blog, and chuckled at her quote. It goes as follows:

I used to be snow white, but I drifted. ~ Mae West

I've heard this quote, and I have always enjoyed it. One reason is because one of my high school nicknames was "Snow White" for a number of reasons. I have dark, dark hair, fair skin and often wore my hair in a bob. I would love to tell you it was also because I was heir to a throne somewhere, but I never lie. So, I'll fib and just reference that I was verging on perfection. *giggle*

At any rate, my nickname also meant a lot more (if you know me, please don't act so shocked, there was once a time...). I was pure, you have no idea, how innocent and naïve I was. Seriously. It's amazing I made it through boot camp let alone to the fleet.

Rest assured, I've drifted. Of course, how could I not have? You just grow up. The military does that to you as well. I won't say I blame all of my drifting from complete purity on the military, but it can be said that the real Snow White probably never shot a SAW. Wouldn't that be a fascinating fairy tale?

Snow White looked at the wretched witch and declared I don't need your flippin' apple. Take a bite of this Evil Queen. And, from beneath her billowy skirts, the princess whipped out a SAW and blew the witch's head clear off her shoulders. Snow White returned to the kingdom and took the throne wherein she presided as the Queen for the next 50 years. Oh, and as for the prince, she didn't need him. She sent him packing despite his wooing and courting efforts. Silly fool couldn't do anything but kiss her. Hmph.

Alright, so that's not at all so pleasant. I suppose I won't be sharing that with my girls any time soon. Pardon my warped storytelling tendencies. I told you I drifted.

So, what's a quote about you? Is there one that perfectly describes you or the former you?

Sunday, August 24, 2008

One mile. One cause.

No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave.
-Calvin Coolidge

I ran today. I ran a mile.
A small thing for a much larger cause.


Beginning Flag Day, June 14, 2008, a dedicated team of runners will run across America from Fort Irwin, CA to Arlington National Cemetery, one mile for every Soldier, Sailor, Airmen, and Marine killed in Operation Iraqi Freedom. For ten weeks, team members will mark each mile with an American flag and sign card in an apolitical reflection of remembrance of each service member.

We encourage all Americans to run one mile for a service member on our last day Sunday, August 24, when we will reach the gates of Arlington National Cemetery. It is on this day that we run in honor and remembrance of all fallen service members killed in both Iraq and Afghanistan (Operation Enduring Freedom).
We refuse any political affiliation or agenda, but simply honor those who have fought, and those who have fallen under the American flag

Define Freedom of Speech for me. What does it mean to you?

What it does not mean to me is haphazard spamming (aka forwarding) email messages to everyone in your email inbox with political propaganda.

Still scratching your head on how to answer my intro question. Fear not, you don't have to define it. Our Constitution has already done so in the First Amendment.

Now, I have religious and spiritual beliefs, and I am political in my own right (no, I don't claim any particular party affiliation, I look at candidates individually not by their party). Still, I don't spout my beliefs or attempt to persuade individuals to see things my way, even though I really, really want to sometimes ;). I firmly believe that individuals must make up their own minds based on actual-no-bones-about-it facts, their personal experiences, and their respective spiritual and cultural values. That being said, I will share my opinions, but attempt to do so cautiously and fairly. I try not to judge, and I strive to provide accuracy when providing information on a religious or political issue. That is, when I discuss those two things, which is rare.

I will add that I do not typically discuss these things with friends. Let me rephrase that, unless I am 100% certain of two things, I will not discuss these matters with friends. These things are:

(1) I am knowledgeable of my friend's beliefs and know where they may stand on certain issues; and,
(2) Whether or not they are sensitive and whether or not such discussion is welcome.

I like my friends. I prefer to keep them. While we may not see eye to eye on things, that doesn't mean we cannot be friends. Still, if I don't know their perspectives, I think it's best to talk about other vitally important issues such as shoe shopping, alliteration, how angelic my children are, and, of course, favorite colors.

All that being said, I think most of my friends and family members know where I stand or maybe they don't and just don't want to discuss it themselvse. Regardless, it doesn't matter. Unless, they are running against me for some extremely affluent/public office, then I suppose it might matter a teensy bit.

Recently, an acquaintance sent me an email. It was a mass one and she added her two cents in. At first, I shrugged it off because she is one of those who is a chronic-forwarder. You know the type! They said you everything from "FWD: FWD: FWD: Let's win a million dollars together by sending this to a trillion people" and, even, "FWD: FWD: FWD: FWD: FWD: FWD: I haven't even read this but I'm going to forward it anyway". These people NEED serious intervention. In fact, there should be Email Forwarders Anonymous (EFA) group for them. Oh, look I just started a blog -----

So, if this applies to you, please join in the discussion. Everything will be held against you and I will forward everything I can to your email address as a way of therapy. Go ahead, it's like shock therapy.

I'm digressing way off here, anyway.....

I actually viewed the clip (I think I'm now dumber because of it). The video was utterly ridiculous and I can't believe someone wasted time (like I am now discussing it) creating it.

First of all, it was evident that said acquaintance had assumed I shared her views, otherwise she might not have shared it. Of course, perhaps she didn't give a hoot. I believe she thought I was hoping she would show me the light though, and forgot I had a brain. Or, perhaps, she was too stuck in her own ways to consider that others can see through such propaganda and do not tolerate the perpetuation of half truths and misinformation. Whatever her motive, she was not using her head, maybe it was located in another body part at that particular moment. I don't need to be educated, that's what I read gossip magazines and watch faux news for. I'm politically brilliant!

After providing the video clip link for the email recipients, said acquaintance warned readers to get their little hankies ready because it was going to be heart-wrenching. She then urged them to vote because what they would see would change their minds or at least get them to vote.

My problems with this are:

(1) Spamming (STOP please) (I have since rectified that problem as she is blocked);
(2) She assumed people the recipients weren't voting (okay, so many don't vote);
(3) Maybe by "not voting" she meant "not voting for my guy";
(4) She believes we are putting are lives, our beliefs, our everything into the one guy's hands, if he gets elected.

C'mon. Seriously? I'm all for supporting your party/guy/gal/what have you, but I refuse to believe all is lost if one person gets elected. I may not agree with the values, platform, voting record of one candidate, but I'm not going to give up all hope if he gets elected. And, despite what you may have heard, I will not move to France either. I may just piss and moan for four-eight years ;). Nevertheless, I like to think I have common sense (even if just a tiny bit). I like to believe (call me silly) that we elect members of Congress to also represent the beliefs of our Nation's people. We are not a country run by a dictatorship, despite what people believe.

As is my habit, I'm rambling. I do that. I apologize. Can you tell this acquaintance irked me. No? Oh, well then, here's why I'm so irked:

I actually responded to her. I stated that I respected her values and beliefs but advised that she not spread unsolicited emails presenting false information. I meant that. I do respect her values and even share some of them. Nonetheless, we don't agree on EVERYTHING. That being said, I don't think everyone should believe the same things (see, I'm smart) and I'm all for sticking to your guns and following your faith/ethics, if that's what is right for you. I also reminded her that the Commander-in-Chief does not unilaterally make decisions for the Nation, which I know many people disagree with, but I'm okay with that. It's my belief (take it or leave it).

So, after all that and some other words from me (no they weren't rude or 4-lettered), here is the response I got (more or less):

She came back surprised that I responded since I don't talk politics. Ummm, excuse me. Pardon me for sounding like a five year old, but she started it. She said she shared the clip because of the supposed atrocities represented therein (no, not in those words). Then she declared, "When I go and vote I want to know if the person I vote for Commander in Chief is one that I will stand up for, I don't want to be wishy-washy I want to be 100% positive that this is the person I want leading my family and friends. I know when I vote I am voting for their beliefs as well, and if this is a type of belief one would have than to each their own but I don't want any part of it. (I would like to think all people take this stance when voting. Nevertheless, it seems she assumed most people need unsolicited political issue education.)

Foolish acquaintance then stated: I was just getting something out that I feel everyone should have the right to know. Let’s see what's the first amendment? Oh yeah, Freedom of Speech...

Well, my goodness. Maybe I should be thanking her. Maybe I should have just read the email and not responded and just changed my thinking completely. After all apparently she is covered by the First Amendment and has just shared with me amazing information. Since I live under a rock, I might not have been privy to that sort of stuff. Also, I got the impression that because I didn't agree with her, Freedom of Speech didn't apply to me. Alright, maybe that's a big assumption, but when deal with an ass, you can assume things, right?

I should have said, "Good for you. Hooray! I hope you keep sharing all this misinformation because apparently the First Amendment allows you to spam folks with fiction purported to be fact, right?", but instead, I responded:

I appreciate your values. However, you were sending something political that was slanted. I can't stand by without a response. This is why I actually replied the way I did. I feel that once it's out there and in part directed at me (as part of an email recipient), it's up for discussion. You shared your beliefs in a way by passing it on, and I merely responded.

You are certainly entitled to your political opinions and values...
this is the reason I rarely discuss politics. My intention was not to hurt your feelings. It was to provide another side and to address the matter at hand. Freedom of Speech, right?

Sorry, perhaps that was snarky of me. I am just about fed-up with individuals feeling they need to share crap that is not true. Use your brain people. Disagree with someone, but don't make up a bunch of BS and try to tell me it's fact. Of course, if you have something you MUST share with me and you can back it up with facts, I'm all for listening (seriously), even if it contradicts my viewpoints. I'm open minded and I like to learn, that's just what I do. I just don't have patience for ignorance and mindless followers.

At any rate, before you hit that send button, before you feel like you NEED to enlighten people about the "truth", please make sure you have our facts straight or that at least be prepared to have a response. Because that recipient just may come back with their side and might even tell you that *gasp* what you sent was asinine.

I know many of my readers come from various cultural, religious and politic walks, so please know that this isn't directed at you (of course, if you are her, you will know - LOL). I am trying to vent and still be humorous. Maybe I didn't pull that off so well. I enjoy reading and learning about various political stances, I do (honest). Just don't pee on my leg and tell me it's raining. I already have kids who try and do that stuff and they get put in time-out.

All politics and foolishness aside, I hope you are having a wonderful summer and that you don't have to deal with idiots in your inbox.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Today was a beautiful day.

I was able to do some important research this morning. I compiled lists for a organization that is up and coming. That, to me, felt satisfying. Of course, it wasn't an easy task. You see there were, as always, children afoot. So, googling and yahooing and analyzing requires talent some days. Thankfully, I can multi-task. I enjoyed my bowl of Special K, tickled a baby, wiped up spilt milk and typed a list of resources almost all concurrently. Alright, so I'm not 8 legged and three headed, but some days I feel as though I am.

Do you ever just slump down on the couch at the end of a looooooong day and look around? Then you ask yourself How did I get it all done? That was me today. Of course, most days it's I need about 10 more hours to get it all done. Today was an exception. Maybe it was partly due to the fact that the children played well together today. Perhaps it was the gorgeous weather that lifted my spirits and got me going. Maybe it was even the fact that I'm much better with time management these days. Who knows.

So, I had a chance to do some things that rarely ever get done today. I pruned the weeds in my garden. It's not much of a garden, but it's there and I like it. I also washed our the van and my hubby's car. That was fun. I felt like a kid again. Nonetheless, I kept shouting No, get out of that puddle; and, please stop putting mud on the house, but it was fun. The baby truly amazed me and sat in his stroller the whole time. He just watched me and didn't put up a fight. I think he was just amazed that mom was off of her butt and away from the computer. It was like nothing he's ever seen. Maybe he didn't even recognize me.

The end of the afternoon did have my head spinning. Between the baby being practically choked by his sister and the girls losing their clothes I was so irritated. Yes, they asserted that someone stole them as they strutted around the house in their underwear. I was none too pleased and ordered them to put their clothes back on. Many tears later, I found that I was in fact the one who had stole the clothes (by accident). They were in the hallway with a pile of towels to be washed and I threw them in the dirty laundry. Oops, my mistake.

So, it's now nighttime and here I sit. My husband sits in front of the television, viciously clicking as though he'll miss something on another channel. I should go to bed. Instead I type. I fear I may not have another free night for awhile. I fear that I may be just posting articles written by other people again. While that information is great and hopefully helpful to you, I do like to type all about my wicked exciting life and bore you with all the details.

'til next time.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

You can't save everybody.

That's what my husband said to me yesterday.

You see, I was at a local drugstore picking up a few items when a man in line ahead of me was checking out. He was an elderly gentlemen, I'd say about 70+ years old. The clerk told him his debit card was declined. So, the man fumbled through his wallet and popped a new card into the machine. That too was declined. I watched him do this two more times and I watched the woman in front of me grow very agitated. She got upset and I got sad. Soon the man was pushing the bag off to the side and said something to the clerk.

At this point, the man shuffled out of the store and the woman in front me rushed to check out. By the time she was completed and leaving, the old man returned. He had a new payment method. Well, he swiped the card and again the clerk told him it was denied. The man's shoulders slumped and he sighed and said "nevermind". I was heart broken.

All the while he was checking out, I tried to read the screen to see if he was purchasing medication or something, but I couldn't tell. I know that's probably not polite, but I wanted to know. After all, if he needed the meds, someone should have helped, or so I thought.

I did see that his purchase was about $39 and some odd change. I only had my debit card on me and wasn't sure if I could justify the expense for a stranger to my husband had he asked. Part of me wanted to just pay for the man and part of me held back. Of course, I didn't want to offend him and bruise his ego. I know that can be humbling for many, especially a man of this gentleman's generation. Then again, I also didn't know if perhaps he was trying to purchase cigarettes or something unnecessary. So, all the while he was being declined, my conscious and my heart were in a battle to do the right thing. I don't think I did. I let the man walk away and I feel terrible. I feel utterly helpless and hope the man got what he needed later in the day perhaps with the help of a friend of family member.

It was so heart wrenching to see this man go through this and know that it could be anyone's father or grandfather. I know the expenses of medications and lack or low insurance some of these folks have to deal with. It's tragic at best.

I was still upset by the situation when I returned home and told my husband about it. He said he probably would have wanted to pay too and also agreed with my thinking. Of course, he said as terrible as it is that he couldn't pay for such a small purchase You can't save everybody. And, he's right. I can't.

Those who know me do know that this is one of my flaws though. I like to believe that I'm a superhero. I want to fix things and I want to help others in ways that I can't. I love the concept of giving and paying things forward. Still, I struggle with how to make it happen without putting financial strain on my own family.


I'm rambling. I just needed to get that out.

I hope I have another chance this week to help someone out like I should have helped here. I really do.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008 “Project Working Mom: Putting Learning To Work” Scholarship Awards
[Online Information at and

Purpose: Project Working Mom seeks to raise national awareness about the educational challenges facing many working mothers. For instance, while 83% of single moms have high school diplomas, only 16 percent of them have a bachelor’s degree or higher. And, 35% of families in poverty are headed by single moms. Project Working Mom believes that online education is the answer to many of the challenges facing working moms, both single and married, who want to further their education and lives.

A select group of online schools have teamed with to support Project Working Mom. Each of the schools has committed to providing full-tuition scholarships worth up to $2 million dollars to working moms to help them further their education and obtain their degrees.
You can apply to one of the scholarship sponsors for a Project Working Mom scholarship. Each scholarship sponsor will designate its own scholarship selection committee to select scholarship award recipients.

Scholarship Sponsors: The following online schools are sponsoring Project Working Mom:
American Sentinel University -
Ashford University -
Capella University -
Everest University -
Penn Foster College -
Eligibility Requirements: “Project Working Mom: Putting Learning to Work” scholarships are for single and married working moms who are interested in enrolling in an accredited online degree program. Employees (and family members) of scholarship sponsors or and their respective affiliates are not eligible to participate. All application materials submitted become the property of One application per person.

Application Process: To apply for a “Project Working Mom: Putting Learning To Work” Scholarship, simply complete the online application, located at where you will be asked to fill in the following:
Number of Children
Current Work Status
Current Address and Phone Number
Future Career Goals

An essay of 1500 words or less, describing why getting your degree is important to you. Tell us about (a) your life, education, and/or career goal(s), (b) how education will ultimately enable you to achieve those goal(s), and (c) why online education is the right choice for you.
We strongly encourage you to discuss any personal challenges or obstacles you have had to overcome in your pursuit of getting your degree.

Selection Process: Applications will be reviewed by Project Working Mom scholarship award committees of each of the online schools you designate in your scholarship application. The scholarship recipients will be selected based on the strength of the application and written essay as determined by each designated scholarship committee. Scholarship sponsoring schools and scholarship recipients are responsible for the details of the delivery and acceptance of the scholarship award including but not limited to any applicable tax obligations with respect to the award.

Deadline: Applications must be received online by Sunday, August 31st, 2008 (5:00 P.M. ET).
Award: The scholarship award recipient will be selected by Tuesday, September 16th, 2008 and will be notified shortly thereafter by the school awarding the scholarship. Scholarship award recipients will also be posted online at in late September 2008. The award recipient may be required to submit documentation (such as an IRS form W-9) to receive payment. Except where prohibited by law, the award recipient consents to the use of recipient’s name and application in any manner by without further compensation. The details of the terms and conditions of accepting a scholarship award will be set forth in an award agreement and affidavit/release to be signed by award recipients.

In the event that an applicant for the scholarship subsequently enrolls in an online college program between the dates of 6/23/2008 and 8/31/2008 and is awarded a scholarship by one of the member schools, will reimburse scholarship recipients for any tuition incurred from 6/23/2008 until 8/31/2008 on a pro-rated basis. To receive reimbursement, the award recipient is responsible for providing proof of enrollment and tuition receipts to Members have until 10/30/2008 to file for reimbursement.

Choice/Opt-out: Scholarship applicants acknowledge that a representative from American Sentinel University, Ashford University, Capella University, Everest University or Penn Foster College may contact them about enrollment opportunities at each respective university., EducationDynamics, and its subsidiary companies reserve the right to contact registrants for Project Working Mom for future communication and offers from Users who no longer wish to receive any communication from may unsubscribe and opt out at the following address: If users are receiving newsletter communications, users can opt out by clicking on the unsubscribe link in the newsletter.

Users of our site are always notified when their information is being collected by any outside parties. We do this so our users can make an informed choice as to whether or not they should proceed with services that require an outside party.

Contact Us: If you have questions, please contact us at
Please note: Each scholarship sponsoring school is responsible for administering each scholarship that it awards; and EducationDynamics, LLC are not responsible for the awarding or administration of the scholarship.


Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Housing Law Provides Protection for Military Families

According to National Military Family Association (NMFA), August 12, 2008:

In late July, President Bush signed “The Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008”, H.R. 3221, into law (Public Law 110-289). This legislation is designed to help homeowners keep their existing homes and provide first-time buyers access to affordable housing.

Military families should know that there are several provisions within H.R. 3221 that uniquely impact service members and veterans.

The law will:

Exclude military housing allowances from counting as income when service members try to qualify for low-income housing;

Expand the foreclosure protection for service members returning from deployment. Previously, service members had 90 days of protection from foreclosure, now they have nine months. This temporary protection expires on December 31, 2010;

Provide a temporary increase until the end of the year for the maximum loan guaranteed by the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA). The cap can be as high as $720,750 and as low as $417,000 depending on the median housing prices for the area;

Require the Secretary of Defense to develop a program to provide financial counseling to returning service members, including credit and home mortgage counseling;

Provide a moving benefit to service members who are forced to move out of rental housing if the owner of the housing is foreclosed on;

Increase grants for severally disabled veterans from $50,000 to $60,000;

Make totally disabled service members held on active duty for medical reasons eligible for VA grants for home alternations before their discharge;

Extend grants for specially adapted housing and assistance to veterans with severe burns and veterans residing outside the United States; and

Allow veteran benefits received as a lump sum to be treated as monthly benefits for the purposes of eligibility for Section 8 Housing assistance.

We are especially pleased members of Congress recognize the problems military renters face when their landlords go into foreclosure. NMFA will monitor the implementation of this legislation and provide updates as they become available.

To review the full law, go to: and type HR 3221 into the search field.

Hooray! Thoughts?

Monday, August 11, 2008

A program to help military families and spouses (OEF/OIF)

There are some folks down at the VA in Amarillo, TX, looking for some feedback. In fact, they are seeking the assistance of military spouses and families in order to help the same. Two individuals that I have been in contact with regarding a new program are Richard Johnson and Suzanne Morton of the LEAD program through the VA (Thomas E. Creek, VAMC).

Currently, they are looking for ways to assist with families and spouses in via an outreach program entitled LEAD. Recently, Mr. Johnson posted about goals to address the concerns, issues and needs of families on the homefront. They are currently on an information gathering session and are asking spouses to contact them individually (keeping OPSEC and PERSEC in mind of course).

They are open to your thoughts and suggestions on how to provide support to spouses and families of members in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OEF/OIF) and said veterans. Use them as your sounding board, they may have more resources to share with you than you knew existed and if they don’t, perhaps they can make some waves in getting the resources you seek.

Keep in mind that anonymity will be maintained as when reporting their findings, no names or other identifying information will be used concerning spouses/families who contact them. VA members are well versed in the security matters and while they respect your privacy, you too should be vigilant not too give away any unit/deployment/rotation information. At this time, that information is not needed for this program. I would venture to say that if you contact them, you can even choose just to give your first name.

Some of the questions they are seeking answers to are:

1) What has been the hardest struggle you have had to overcome?
2) How has behavior changes affected your family and social environment?
3) What benefits would you like to see offered for the spouse/family of veterans?
4) Would you benefit from meetings with other spouses and or family members?
5) What avenues have you tried and what were the outcomes?
6) Do you know of any OEF/OIF family members that are having problems? What are they?
7) What do you think would be the best way to get the information out to spouses or family members; through email, letter, booklet or CD?

Another matter Mr. Johnson wanted to raise awareness about is that “Veterans have up to 5 years after separation to seek services.”

If you would like to contact them, you may do so via email or phone at:

Richard Johnson

Suzanne Morton

Phone: (806) 355-9703 ext. 4917

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Daddy is home and all is right with the world.

My husband flew home last night. Well, wouldn't you know the little boogers turned into perfect angels once they saw him.


Anyway, it's reunion time at my house. So, back to the arms of my man I run.

Oh, and for those of you wondering, I finally did get some sleep!

'Til later folks. :)

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Did you hear that? It's quiet?

Well, I'm on a blogging kick today, aren't I?

I should tell you that despite that, today has been chaotic. Alright, chaotic isn't the most accurate description. It's been verging on...well, it rhymes with swell and swell it was not.

It all started last night actually. I had a bout of insomnia. With the man in blue gone I've been out of my sleep comfort lately. Up until last night, it wasn't that bad. Well, I tossed and turned, catalogued things to do in my head, thought about what I didn't get done yesterday and pondered the complexities of the universe. I finally started to fall asleep at one point only to be jolted awake by a screaming black cat outside of my bedroom window. Black. Cat. Ugh.

Anyway, it apparently had been fighting with something. I was irate. I actually got up and started shouting at the menacing devil cat out the window. I even hissed. Yes, I did. The cat looked at me as if to say What the f&*! ? So, we had a staring match. All the while I could have been trying to get back to sleep. Somehow common sense smacked me upside the head and back to bed I sauntered. ****WAAAAAAHHHHH*****

Darn it, the baby's up. He starts with the "Ma Ma Ma maaaaa". So sad and sweet all at the same time. I gamble that he may fall back to sleep. After about 2 minutes, I cave and go and rescue him. Well, after he's soothed and back in his crib again, I gave the whole sleeping thing another shot. FINALLY, at what I assume was officially hours after zero dark thirty, I fell asleep.

Well morning was ushered into by two screaming banshees. My eldest had previously poked me and asked to play on Playhouse Disney, which I obliged only to squeeze out a few more minutes of sleep (as if that was possible). Her sister, bound and determined to do whatever she was doing scampered down the hall to join her. The quiet and sweet sisterly computer sharing lasted for approximately 24 seconds. My mommy clock told me so.

Wild, blood curdling screaming ensued. The pinching game was on. Well, I was up now and sleep would have to wait (again). The baby, of course, heard all of this joyous music and, he too, was screaming. Well, he needed a diaper changing (badly). So amidst, wrestling the foul thing off of my sweet boy, I was trying to wrestle the two girls apart. She pinched me. No, I didn't. She wouldn't leave me alone. I want breakfast. Mommy, mommy, mommmyyyyyyy. Seriously, they were about a foot from me all while this madness took place.

I'm truly amazed that I didn't absolutely lose my mind and dissolve into a pile of ashes right in front them. Okay, so this seemed to go on for an eternity, while it actually only probably was about 2 minutes before everyone was calm again. My eyes were barely open and I really, really wished the man in blue was home because he SWEARS stuff like this never happens with him. Okay, Super Dad, what's your secret?

At any rate, most of the day was back and forth bantering. The lady next door to us a school teacher. When retrieving the mail, I asked Is it September yet? She said all the parents ask her that and she doesn't want to go back yet.

Oh, yes, there is more. So, we finally made it out to run some errands at one point. My mother tries to reach me by phone and does eventually. Where are you? There's a tornado warning in your county! Get inside somewhere. Go to a basement. Where are the kids?

Ummmm, well I'm trying to buckle them in, we just got out of Target and I have to run to the grocery store. You can't, get to a safe spot. At this point, I'm already on the highway heading home. I was officially spooked as I did see a sudden onset of nasty weather and lightening strike down practically vertically about a mile up the road. Yikes! Okay, I'll call you later, we'll go into another store. Well, I decided to brave it and head home. We have a basement, so it was the wisest thought (in my crazed mommy mind). Fret not, we made it home safely.

We did have to venture back out to retrieve items from the grocery store and that included a lot of Can I have? and I want..... Please tell every child in America is like this. If they are not, lie to me because mine can't be all that spoiled. Honestly, they CAN be real sweethearts and are well-behaved (for other people ;) ).

So, since I am writing a book here I'll cut to the chase...bedtime has come and gone and all is quiet on the homefront. I should really go to sleep now. Wish me luck with that, would ya'?

WWII Hero Passes On

London - Eric "Digger" Dowling has passed on. His Legacy page is up on the net by the AP.

Many of you may have seen or at least heard about the 1963 film The Great Escape. It was largely based on the escape and the planning leading up to the escape (with some theatrics and dramatics added in, of course). Dowling was a Lt in the Royal Air Force Bomber Command and had become a POW at an Allied prison camp after being shot down in WWII (specifically in 1942). While Dowling didn't actually escape as part of "The Great Escape", he was instrumental in mapping, digging and assisting men in escaping.
So, I received all of my Fellowship materials this week. Classes don't actually commence until September. However, being the uber-excited student that I am, I'm already delving into the depts of finance.

A friend of mine has also received this Fellowship and we will be traveling through webinars and studies together. Oh, and another friend of ours has already completed the program. She was chosen as a recipient in 2006. I've declared her as my mentor. She is a wealth of knowledge and a pretty spectacular person to boot. It's people like her that make me want to do great things. Let me tell you a bit about my mentor. She's a mom to two beautiful young children. She's also a military veteran (of two services) and a military wife. She also has her MPA and is quite the Suzy Homemaker as well, from what I hear. I love people are multi-faceted. Don't you?

Better late than never, Almost Wordless (ok not at all) Thursday

This is me and my niece the day of her Baptism.
(pardon the thrilled look on my face)

Then there is a pic from the other day (on the right) , my niece is the tall one in the middle and she is all grown up, well almost.

Either time really flies or I'm just getting old. Hmph.

Monday, August 4, 2008

All over the map.

I love to watch where my visitors hail from (or at least where they are currently located). I know folks in some of these regions, but not all.

So, readers, make a comment, even if it's not on the topic at hand. I'd love to know where you are from or even a little about you. More importantly, if you are a long-lost friend who is secretly (or not so) reading my blog, give a shout out. Say "hey". I know of one place recently that popped up and I only knew of one person to ever reside there. So, I'm curious.

What do you want to read? What intrigues you? What bores you? If I bore you, why the heck are you here?

C'mon, you know you want to talk to me, so talk.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

These sneakers were made for walking.

Well, I'm gearing up. I'm getting read for the big 3-Day walk. If you don't know what I'm talking about, then let me tell you. I'll be traveling to Boston in August to walk in the Breast Cancer 3-Day which benefits Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

Now, I'm pretty fit, and I've conquered many physical obstacles in my life, but this upcoming walk is a little daunting. No, there will be no "Slide for Life" or rappelling. Rather, it's just a walk. Still, this walk is 60 miles in 3 days. It's 60 miles of poignant, life-changing talks and meetings with families, friends and survivors who have been touched by Breast Cancer.

I thought one of the hardest parts was going to be raising the money for this great walk, but it's not that at all. Suddenly, I feel as though I'm going to be walking among giants. My girlfriend did this walk a couple of years back and has been forever changed by the amazing people she met and has since developed friendships with. She has warned me that I will never be the same.

I am participating in this walk for a number of reasons. First, I had the intentions of doing the walk years back with my husband (then fiancé), but we were never able to raise the minimum funds required. Fast forward a few years, I seemed continuously pregnant or not able to get childcare for the 3 days, so I never managed to pull it off. This year though, I made a commitment to this cause. I decided I just had to make it happen. Second, I want to help fund the research that could help me and my daughters should we ever face this horrible disease. Finally, I'm walking in memory of a military veteran and spouse, Rachael Jensen and in honor of a number of amazing survivors.

Nearly at the minimum requirement in my fundraising, I haven't yet met my personal goal, but that's okay. I am confident that I'm still going to raise more funds in the upcoming weeks. My training is going well so far. I did admit to my husband the other night that I'm a tad anxious about being away from him and the kids for 3 days. He chuckled and said it was because I was afraid to leave him in charge for that long. He's probably right.

At any rate, I'll be detailing the walk in the week following the event, but for now, if I'm not online as much, just know that I'm here and in training. I have to significantly increase my mileage this week. Of course, I'm not too concerned about my stamina. Since, my husband is currently traveling, I will have kids in tow with me wherever I walk. So, with a baby on my back and me pushing two older kids in a double stroller, the walk should be a piece of cake come check-in day when the only thing I have to carry is my Camelbak, moleskin and perhaps some Kleenex. :)