Salute to Spouses Blog

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Summer is the season of goodbyes and new beginnings as many military families PCS. It is also the season of retirement and a glimpse into the unknown.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation hosts dozens of hiring fairs for military members and their spouses around the country each month. But, the group also holds events for military families preparing to step into the civilian job force and leave the uniform behind.

Yellow sticky notes, red pens, and dodging scheduling disasters

By Amy Nielsen

My life is currently ruled by yellow sticky notes written in red ballpoint ink fluttering on the edge of my roll top desk in the deepening summer breeze from my open window. They often flit down like leaves from some academic olive branch, telling me exactly what is due this week and on what day. These neatly line up with the color coded squares on my google calendar which is auto populated by my school online learning platform. The dates come from the syllabi entered by the professors.

Without them I would be a very lost little lamby.

Military establishes parental leave program for moms and dads

The U.S. military is giving families more time after adding a child to the family, and allowing them to determine the best way to use that time. More importantly, the military is recognizing that every family has different needs.

The Department of Defense recently directed the services to re-align parental leave programs to become more flexible with the needs of individual families.

Retirement prep from the military member’s point of view

I recently asked my husband his lessons learned from retirement. I thought it might be nice to get the servicemember / retiree perspective on things.

As usual, he was quick to point out that he’s no expert and his advice may or may not be welcome. And that everybody’s situation is different. And that what might work for one couple or family might not work for another.

Of course he’s right.

But I told him there is value in hearing from someone who’s been there, done that.

Retirement: Learning to be a family again

The other night, after my spouse had loaded the dishwasher after dinner without being asked, I went into the kitchen to add a few stray dishes and push the start button.

First, though, I rearranged everything - that glass should be on the top, that bowl should be facing the other way, the silverware should be sorted by type into each basket with the knives pointing down …

Wait. Why was I doing this?

Because that’s the way I’ve always done it.

New beginnings: my thesis, my daughters’ first time in public school

By Amy Nielsen

This year may well see a ginormous shift for us. It has come to my attention that the master’s degree I am pursuing is going to take a whole lot more concentration as we progress toward the walk. Coupled with a change up in the neighborhood dynamics, it looks like we will be moving to a more traditional schooling pattern for my girls. My two kids are currently reporting in grade school as homeschool students in our district.

Yep, my kids are gonna hit public school after only ever having experienced pre-school many years ago.

Probably.

Study says financial aid letters cause confusion at some schools

Confused by how much financial aid you are actually receiving? Not sure exactly how much you owe your college?

You’re not alone.

NewAmerica and uAspire, a nonprofit group that advises students on the financial aid process, has released a report saying that many colleges use language and missing information to paint an incomplete picture of how much students actually owe.

There are more job openings than workers

If you were consumed by news of NFL kneeling and election results this week you probably missed a pretty astounding milestone: the U.S. Labor Department reported that there are now more job openings in the U.S. then there are people to fill them.

This is the first time this has happened in 20 years.

CNN reported that at the end of April there were 6.7 million job openings.

Does that mean the odds are in your favor to find a job?

Maybe.

Learning to walk the integrative line

By Amy Nielsen

This week I am participating in two vastly different symposiums that neatly bracket my scope of practice. I am an integrative nutritionist, herbalist, and chef.

On Saturday I went to a day-long intensive class learning about the varied uses of one herb given by a visiting herbalist who is an expert in that plant. It was held at a world renowned herbalist’s school. On Wednesday, I will attend an end-of-the-year symposium discussing diverse research on the broader topic of metabolism given at Harvard honoring the graduating doctoral students in the program.

Finding a new kind of home

My husband says I can make a new best friend in line at the commissary.

I’ll bet many of you are the same way – you move to a new place, and within five minutes you’ve met someone who will be the emergency contact for your kids’ school. Or the person who will be your go-to pet sitter. Or even someone you’ll spend more time with over the next two years than you do with your husband.

That’s military life. We bond fast.

And we bond hard

Friendships are not so easily forged in the civilian world.

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