"Blue Star Families is a non-partisan, non-profit organization, created by real military families. We are committed to supporting one another through the unique challenges of military service and asking the larger civilian population to help as well, connecting military families regardless of rank, branch of service or physical location, and empowering military family members to create the best personal and family life possible for themselves."They are gaining momentum in this area, and two of my favorite programs they have created are Blue Star Museums and Blue Star Theatres. You can find the rest of their programs here. I encourage you to give it a look - there are some great opportunities for families. When we lived in Parris Island, it was a treat to go to the events at the Art Council over the summer for free.
They are hosting a blog series called Everyone Serves, featuring the personal stories of several military family members experiencing different stages of deployment and reintegration. The series will run from July to November, finishing up just in time for our family to welcome Rafe home. This will by my introductory post for those joining us from BSF who aren't already familiar with our story.
I'm a bit late to the party - it's PCS season and although we didn't have to move this year, nearly everyone around us did. Literally 8 houses that surrounded us, all filled with children Mia played with, have moved out in the last 4 weeks. In addition, we've had new families move in all up and down our street and we're in the throes of summer time activities. I've hosted farewell dinners, made breakfasts, watched children, picked up groceries, shuttled double the amount of kids to VBS, hosted a family in my home when their move went awry, run errands (I've discovered that 8 feet long 2x4's will fit in my van if I'm oh-so-careful), and welcomed new families into the neighborhood with some fresh Texas style salsa and chips. That would be on top of the normal deployed spouse obligations and activities with my own family and our therapy regimens for Livi. I'll catch up on the blog topics in the next week so that I'm on track with the other 4 bloggers by the time next week rolls around.
It's now 0615. I've been up all night working on things I could not work on during the day, so I will leave you with the bio from the Blue Star Families website and round out the picture of our deployment history tomorrow night.
Laurie is married to a Marine who began his 5th deployment in 6 years last fall, and his second year long deployment. His absences in the past (now 7) years have included special schools and TAD's on top of the IA billets, MEU deployment, regular unit deployments and a weekend or two on his own recognizance. They have 2 beautiful young daughters; one born during deployment and the second born 3.5 months early, almost 6 weeks after he returned from yet another deployment. Their oldest child is one amazing nature girl who loves to build and create with any material she can get her hands on. Their youngest child has a contagious laugh, Prader-Willi syndrome, high functioning autism, speech apraxia and a few other medical quirks.
As a former professional Chef, Laurie gives back to the EFMP community that originally gave so much to support her family by teaching cooking classes to EFMP families where ever her family is stationed with a special emphasis on the unique challenges that special needs families face. She helps admin a recipe page for PWS parents, contributes to support pages for PWS, and regularly teaches cooking classes with children, friends, and her local community. She blogs at http://www.savorysolutions.blogspot.com/ so that her husband can see what she and the kids are up to, and sometimes what's for dinner.
Follow Blue Star Families on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ and build a support network so you can keep your family and personal community strong throughout the duration of the entire deployment life cycle.