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While They Serve
By Edie Melson

Thanksgiving When We Don’t Feel Like It

5 things to do when a deployment separates you from a loved one over the holidays.

It’s hard to be thankful when we find ourselves in difficult situations. That’s never more true than when you’re dealing with the separation of a deployment that spans the holidays.

I learned just how hard that was when our son was deployed during the holidays. Today I’d like to share some ways to encourage thanksgiving when we don’t feel like it.

15 Things You Can Send a Soldier for Christmas

Have a loved one deployed? It's time to pack those Christmas boxes.

If you have a loved one deployed, then you know it’s time to pack those Christmas Boxes. This is also a great time to pull together friends and family to help send extra boxes for your serviceman or woman to share with fellow soldiers.

Here's a list of 15 things you can send a soldier for Christmas:

Encourage Community Support for Our Military

5 tips to help your community grow in its support of military personnel

We are fortunate that where I live, in Greenville, SC, we have the solid community support so critical for military personnel, veterans and families. I’ve personally relied on that support while our son was deployed and now that he’s a veteran.

This past week I was privileged to participate in one of many Veterans Day events that happen each year. There are now so many that it’s necessary for events to be spread out over several weeks in November.

Operation Gratitude: Support Our Military

How one woman has made it possible for all of us to thank our military men and women.

Today I’d like to share a way for each of us to support those who serve in our armed forces–Operation Gratitude. This amazing organization was born out of one woman’s drive to make a difference.

A Veterans Day Challenge

This week we have the opportunity to honor that commitment to serve.

Growing up I didn’t pay much attention to Veterans Day. It was nothing more than a hiccup preceding the rush of celebrations at the end of each year, an extra day off before the festivities began.

But now, having sent a son to war, this day is precious. It’s the tangible proof that my country, my city and my community recognize his decision to serve. Veterans Day isn’t a minor holiday; it’s the chance to say thank you to all who have been, and still are, a part of our military defense.

Fighting Fear at the End of a Deployment

The more I tried to dig myself out of the pit, the deeper I got.

Though an army deploys against me, my heart is not afraid; though a war breaks out against me, still I am confident. (Psalm 27:3)

I had always assumed that as my son’s first deployment neared its end, things would get easier. I thought my emotions would begin to level out, as the joy of anticipation took over. I’d be able to breathe a little easier as the time of worry and fear came to an end.

What I Wish I’d Known Before Boot Camp

A military mom learns how to turn her child over to God

Today a friend of mine sent her son off to Marine Corps boot camp. As I think about the journey she’s about to embark upon, I can’t help but reflect on my own journey.

We sent our son off to Marine Corps boot camp in July of 2006, and although there are some things that have changed, a lot hasn’t. There’s so much I wish I’d known when he entered boot camp. And even though I can’t go back in time, I can share some of those things with you today.

No Man Left Behind

Sometimes we need to go the extra mile–several times–for military families.

No Man Left Behind, the unofficial Marine Corps slogan. This phrase sums up the tight bond found in this branch of service, as well as others. No matter how bad things get, those in the Corps know they'll never be left behind.

I've also noticed that this same bond is often found between those who have a loved one serving in the armed services. I certainly found that kind of loyalty among other moms who had a son or daughter in the military. Beyond moms, my support base quickly expanded to include other family members, wives, sisters, aunts, etc.

6 Things to Remember When Military Life Gets Rough

When a loved one's deployment has you overwhelmed, here's help.

Loving someone who's serving in the military can have its challenges. The struggles we face go beyond the overwhelming fear we feel during deployments. Often it's the small things that can be the most trying.

To cope, I developed a list of reminders to help me keep things in perspective when I got overwhelmed:

The Art of Belonging and the Military Family

Guest blogger Ginger Harrington on one of the hardest, but best, parts of military life.

Today's guest blogger is Ginger Harrington, a career Marine Corps spouse and mother of three grown children.

"Belong" is a tough word for military families, frequently moving from one duty station to another. Change seems to be the constant of our lives, and it is hard to find the oasis of belonging in a desert of different. 

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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