While They Serve
By Edie Melson

10 Things You Need to Know to Be a Successful Marine Corps Mom

With God's direction, how to provide the love and support your soldier needs.

I really suspect that the things I’m sharing today hold true, no matter which branch of the military your son or daughter calls home. But I can only lay claim to personal experience with being a Marine mom.

1. Dates and times for visits home are general targets, not promises. One of the first things I learned was that military precision doesn’t really apply in time-driven situations. This isn’t something your child can control, so be patient. He’s more frustrated by this than you’ll ever be.

Is There a Blue Star Theatre Near You?

Another way God uses communities to remind service men and women that they are not forgotten!

I recently learned about a relatively new program benefitting our active duty military members and families, as well as veterans. It’s the Blue Star Theatre program, a partnership between Blue Star Families and Theatre Communications Group.

The program was launched in Denver in 2012 with 57 participating theatres and has now doubled in size with 115 theaters nationwide.

The Importance of Enjoyment

To better cope with deployment, take care of yourself while your soldier is away. 

Deployments are tough–for those serving so far from home–but also for the families they leave behind. As a Marine mom, I know how stressful it is to wait and worry while someone you love is deployed. But I also know the toll that kind of worry can take. Because of that, it’s imperative to take time for yourself while your soldier is away.

Easy to say, but difficult to do.

Boots on the Ground

It's only in the middle of a conflict do you get the information you need to succeed.

As I’ve mentioned before, until our oldest son decided to enlist in the Marine Corps, ours was not a military family. When I accepted the fact that he was serious about this life choice, I began to do everything we could to learn about the military. I wanted to be prepared so I could help our family support him.

Holding on Tight

A family dog offers insights into how God walks beside us, step by step.

The LORD makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand. (Psalm 37:23-24)

As a parent, one of my sweetest memories happened while teaching our oldest son to walk. He began like all kids, pulling up on anything nearby. And one day that nearby handhold was our blonde cocker spaniel, Sherlock. I was standing in the kitchen doorway, looking into the living room when it happened.

On the Altar of Change

For military families–or all families–moving can be God's training tool for learning to embrace change.

Today's guest blogger is Ginger Harrington.

Twenty-four years as a Marine wife has brought frequent moves and many adjustments. The Marine motto Semper Fidelis (Always Faithful) is sometimes jokingly changed to Semper Gumby–the need to be Always Flexible. For me, moving has been God's training tool for learning to embrace change.

Live Today Like He Deploys Tomorrow

Learn the difference between forcing good times and just letting them happen by becoming an opportunity maker.

A good friend of mine and military wife, Jodie Bailey, shared a photo on Facebook with this caption a couple of weeks ago, and I just can’t get it out of my mind.

Looking back I realize this was the way I tried to live while our son was in the Marine Corps, especially after his first deployment. I had plenty of time to think about the what-ifs during that first tour in Iraq. It took a lot of work not to dwell on the regrets.

Strength to Make it Through

How God’s Word was the life preserver that rescued me from an ocean of fear.

The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever. (Isaiah 40:8)

During the time our son spent in the Marine Corps, I was astonished by the number of people who said they admired my strength. Let me set the record straight, I was NOT strong–physically, emotionally or spiritually–not during that time, not anytime since. Any appearance of strength in my life came, and continues to come, solely from God.

Daylight Challenges

When someone you love is deployed, the nights may be long, but sometimes it's the daylight hours you have to watch out for.

Deployment is one of the most challenging times in the life of a military family. There’s the loneliness, the responsibility, and of course the worry. No matter what we do, the stress of what-if is always in the back of our minds.

And that’s where we try to keep it.

Pre-Deployment Financial Checklist (Part 2)

Here's a continuing list of financial and legal actions to take to protect you and your family before deployment. 

Today's guest blogger is Ellie Kay, author of the popular military family book, Heroes at Home. She has appeared on ABC News shows "Money Matters" and "Good Money." In Part 1, she began a financial checklist for soldiers, single and married, about to be deployed. That list continues here in Part 2.

Edie Melson is a leading professional in the publishing industry. She also knows what it’s like to send a loved one off to war. Her oldest son went from high school graduation, to Marine Corp boot camp, to Iraq; where he served two tours fighting on the front lines as an infantry Marine. Fighting Fear: Winning the War at Home When Your Soldier Leaves for Battle, is Edie’s heart project. Look for her two newest books for military families debuting in 2014: While My Son Serves and While My Husband Serves. You can also connect with Edie on Twitter and Facebook.

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