Latest Entries »

Full Time whatever I want

Many of you who have been following me for a bit know I LOVE NETWORK MARKETING….I’ve been doing it for 12 years..and I have no intention to stop. I’m a full-time mom, a full-time model, a full-time whatever the hell I want to be because my primary source of income comes from network marketing.
Now, has it always been that way? NO!
In the beginning, I was just breaking even. My first company was jewelry…but like ALL retail network marketing businesses, if you aren’t out selling, you aren’t making anything…then there are the discontinued items, buying the new items, because I’ll tell you, no catalog can do justice…so you HAVE to have the pieces for clients to feel, touch and try on….
After that we moved into various other companies, eventually moving into the residual income world of consumables…THE ONLY sustainable income in network marketing lies in the consumables.
My first 6 figures were earned with a company called IWG…or for some, better known as ‘those crazy wrap things’…up until this company…we had broken even with our investments but never gotten ahead.
In those first 14 months, I was hustling. I was here, I was there, I was in Miami, I was in Canada, I was doing events I was literally working full time….but, it all paid off when I got my first $6000+ dollar check. Then I got another one…then it started to dip…then I had to work harder and replace boxes where distributors quit…I had to give away my customers, long story short…the longer I was in and the more money I made, the harder I had to work…until eventually it all fell apart and I found myself rebuilding my empire for the 2nd time…
Enough was enough…I left IWG because getting to the top, is like running in a hamster wheel…for a while you feel like you’re accomplishing something, but eventually, you figure out you’re going nowhere.
I could go on and on about that one…but the long and short of this blog post is…WHEN CHOOSING THE RIGHT PART TIME JOB….THINK!!!!!
This article from www.bottlesoup.com about LulaRoe hits the nail on the head….if you are looking at starting a Plan B, part time job in network marketing, KNOW THIS…the retail options aren’t as good as they are being sold…..there are way more costs involved than what this article covers but the sheer concept is enough to deter me.
Residual income is the way to go…for example…imagine NOT WORKING your business for 3 months…and STILL PROMOTING, which translates into A BIGGER PAYCHECK (disclaimer made…my hubby did do a buttload of work for about 6 months getting his team settled before he left for parts unknown)!!!
Couldn’t take a day off over at IWG… (which is why so many leaders have LEFT or been arrested for domestic violence against their spouse…likely due to frustration at not being able to take a damn day off)
Yes, that is what I’m talking about…the real world of network marketing lies in residual income…
For more info…comment below or visit this link
16357461_181534825658797_1952478058_o

Ugh. As a woman who has given birth naturally twice, this conversation is real and annoying. Can you relate?

I love to workout. I love to try new styles, I love to challenge myself. I love to see what my body can do, especially the older I get.

The problem? Jump jacks. Jump rope. Burpees. Frankly, anything with the word ‘jump’ in front of it. Trampolines? Forget it….not even going to try. My kids think I don’t want to play with them, my trainers think I’m lazy…but in all honesty…I just don’t want to pee myself and the panty liner that I wear daily for just this reason is not strong enough to hold what would come if the flood gates open.177274539

I drink a minimum of 120oz of water a day. That’s a lot of detoxing, flushing and trips to the bathroom. I will not stop drinking water. I know many of you have just because of the possibility of losing it. Running for the bus or subway. Running to catch a flight. Chasing after littles ones, playing on the playground etc….all of these activities have the potential to create fear and embarrassment.

So, what do we do? Load up our panties with pads? Bulk up? Be uncomfortable? What about date night…OH NO! Catastrophy! Even if our men love us unconditionally, it’s not the kind of surprise he had in mind when he caressed your thigh.

B8D21B FV3027, Malek Chamoun; Male Hand Trying to feel Woman's Thigh

ENOUGH! Taking care of ourselves shouldn’t cause us such anxiety. Have no fear, I have found the solution. Trust me when I say I’ve put this to the test. I’ve tried various workouts, ranging from Crossfit to Kickboxing. It’s amazing to get through an entire 1 hour, vigorous workout without leaking, or running to the bathroom 12 times, taking valuable time away from my body and it’s maintenance.

Introducing Poise Impressa. I affectionately refer to these as a peepon 🙂

How they work…as seen in the image below, you insert it, as you would a tampon. The shape of the peepon pushes against the valve that allows for leakage. It kind of resembles a balloon. It’s in a large applicator, (smaller than the average penis so if you are getting any, you’re good with the comfort level when inserting (yes, I went there), and once it comes out of the applicator, it sort of pops into its shape.impressa-diagram-37impressa-product-view

There is a sample pack you can purchase to see what level of protection you need. 3 different sizes. I recommend you start there, try each one during a workout…when using level 1, be sure to back up your protection just in case you need the next level up. If you find you are still leaking during those push sessions, move up to level 2 and so on.

This is truly revolutionary in the world of working out and holding our dignity and self-confidence as we age. You will always get what’s real and what’s useful from me. I don’t hold back, and I won’t patronize. If it helps me, it will help you.

Let me know what you think and share your new adventures with your peepons!!!!

 

 

Our society loves a catch phrase or a catch term and the newest one is “I’ll just take an Uber”. It has replaced the word ‘taxi’ and I’m sure it won’t be long until it appears in our dictionaries across the world. The actual definition of Uber though is this;

uber-
ˈo͞obər/
combining form
 1. denoting an outstanding or supreme example of a particular kind of person or thing.
I suppose the creators of Uber had this definition in mind when they were searching for a name? I mean, honestly, when it comes to transportation nicknames, I think Lyft won the obvious choice award for this round, and yet, Uber is more widely known. Proof that first to market is always a better place to start.
For the past 2 weeks, I have taken up as an Uber and Lyft driver. I first started with Uber. To be honest, Lyft didn’t even cross my mind, but I’ll get to that transition soon enough.
The process to become an Uber driver is pretty simple. You need a nice car, good driving record, all your applicable licensing and insurance paperwork and the ability to photograph it and upload it to Uber for them to check you out. Once you get the all clear you are good to go.
I was a little nervous at first, after all, I’ve only spent 12 years chauffeuring my children around, where they have zero control over where we go or what music plays on the radio station. Now I’ll be responsible for complete strangers and my success rides on their ‘starry’ opinion of me.
61526416
My first step once approved to drive, I hit the car wash. After all, a nice, clean ride means a better experience for my riders and also a better rating on my profile. I vacuumed my baby out, made sure all the coloring books and nicknacks that belong to my kids were well hidden, I bought some bottled water to offer my guests, put in a garbage can and made sure it all smelled good by wiping it down with automotive wipes and window cleaner. I was ready to hit the ‘Online’ button.
My van is the ultimate in shared ride luxury. Leather interior, automatic doors, plenty of space for the whole gang plus luggage and a tv for those who want the extra, extra benefits (I haven’t had anyone request that option yet).
screen-shot-2015-09-23-at-9-44-34-am
Not even a minute after I went online my phone pinged. I had my first pick up. Away I went. I was about 5 minutes away from the pickup location. When I arrived, I opened the power, sliding doors, and saw my passengers had luggage, so I jumped out and opened up the back hatch. I already felt like I was in total control of this chauffeuring thing.
My two passengers were headed to the airport. This would be a good fare, I thought to myself.  Since I have been driving in this area for years, I knew a couple of short cuts to get them to the airport faster, which I found out they rewarded me with a badge…the badge of Good Navigator…I’m movin’ on up already and it’s only my first day!!!
I continued to drive for a few more hours, it was a pretty uneventful day, only one passenger that wasn’t a 5 star on my end but other than that…I made some money and away I went.  After looking at the meter and seeing the total for the day, I wasn’t jumping for joy…but I did feel I spent those few free hours well, I mean $30 bucks is better than no bucks right?
On my 2nd Uber day, I picked up a passenger who informed me about Lyft. Now I had only heard of Lyft once. I had used it in Dallas, TX a few months ago to get around. The thought of driving for them didn’t even cross my mind. But, that day when I got home I signed up.
The process however, is VERY different between these two companies. With Uber, it was all me inputting the information. With Lyft, I had to meet a 3rd party before I could be approved to drive.
lyftmiami-interview006
Before I had my app closed from signing up I had a phone call from my Lyft Mentor scheduling a meet up with me for the next day. I arrived in the parking lot of a local store and parked next to the lady I was meeting. She proceeded to ask me for my legal information with regards to driving, she photographed it, the car and myself before jumping in to have me take her for a ride. Once the ride was over, she looked over my lights and signals to make sure they were working and we parted ways. The whole process took about 20 minutes and was painless.
I left that interview with a new respect for Lyft. As a female, I personally would choose to Lyft to a destination vs Ubering just because of this in-depth screening process. I feel safer and I know the Lyft drivers will be high quality because of this 3rd party interview.
The long and short of it. In my area, Uber is more well known and so it offers you more opportunities to make money, you will often drop off one passenger and get pinged to pick up another one within minutes. Lyft, however, you could wait 10-20 minutes between rides. That can add up by the end of the day. BUT, on the other side of that, because there are less LYFT drivers, the demand is greater at peak hours.
But you are really here to find out about the money right? Because of the frequency in which I Ubered, I made more money overall. HOWEVER, you have to wait a week before you get that money until you have reached certain milestones in Uber.
Lyft on the other hand, I was able to get an instant withdrawal once I reached $50 in fares collected. I found this to be handy since it allows you that instant gratification and also quick cash vs having to wait.
So to Lyft or not to Uber…which will it be? My opinion, do both. Each company offers their own unique benefits which could include helping you to get a car, which is a life changing event for most. Take note though that if you do not like people….this likely isn’t a good option for you.
Take note though that if you do not like people….this likely isn’t a good option for you.
I am not the chauffeuring type so this is not a long-term solution for me, but should I ever need that quick $50 cash, I would choose pink .
If you are looking to try LYFT as a driver click here and earn up to $75 in your first month, use this code to get $50 in in ride credit.
For those who want to UBER your way around and get paid for it, click here to claim your $100, if you just want a ride, use this code

Shoes. The one relationship that never lets you down….causes you pain sometimes, but hey, no pain no gain right?

Imagine for a minute you have received a gift card, from a very awesome sponsor, for a pair of designer shoes. BUT…you don’t just get one pair, you get one + pair….have I confused you already?

Have no fear, introducing Alterre. At first, I wasn’t sure I liked this concept. You basically pick the base shoe, your choice of 3 styles, various colors and then you pick your accessories, tons of variety there…I couldn’t pick just one look online but for this specific type of shoe, I needed to see them up close.

I gave the gift card to my Mom as a holiday present, the one downside to Alterre, their sizing stops at 10. I am at least a 10.5 or 11 depending on the shoe, Mom however, is a nice 8.5 so she has now become my guinea pig.

The site is super easy to navigate, Mom had her gift card out and used in a matter of minutes and the product arrived mere days later…AND during the holidays!!! Mom was so excited, as was I to see what these swappable shoes had to offer.

15785658_10210569723866996_2122586511_o15785042_10210569724027000_1944465144_o

The shoes and accessories are packaged well. Included is a nice shoe bag for transporting your variety where ever you go. My Mom started out with the black suede mule. The heel height was perfect for a 70 year old who can’t necessarily don those gorgeous stilettos anymore. It was Christmas all over again as Mom tore through the box, tossing paper and plastics aside to reveal these snazzy, interchangable shoes.

First, went the black mule with the Jackie in black suede strap, then with a simple pop off and pop on, the 2nd accessory option was in place, the ‘Marilyn in sunshine’ strap.

15823763_10210569721666941_1615554756_o15817698_10210569759307882_1586520793_o15823753_10210569722306957_2105346674_o

As you can see, two different straps, two different shoes. Now earlier I mentioned my Mom is a size 8.5. She ordered a size 9 as the site recommends that if you wear a half size, then order the next size up…here’s the thing, the box said 9, the shoe said 8…not quite sure what happened but the fit of the shoe wasn’t bad…we decided for this shoe, we’ll keep the 8 and the next round of options Mom ordered a 9. We’ll compare the difference once they arrive.

All in all, Alterre did Mom good…with an extra bounce in her step and a feather in her superficial, ‘very expensive shoe addition’ hat, Mom is feeling like a million dollars and her shoes make her look like it.

Visit Alterre and check out their complete line of mules, sandals and platforms to design your perfect, portable shoe wardrobe. Tell them Women Who Wow sent you!!!!

 

 

In a world where everything changes in the blink of an eye, it’s no wonder we walk around angry, confused and bitter.  What we thought was job security was just a means to another’s end.  Our grocery bills are going up while the amount of food we get is going down.  Things that used to be good for us all of a sudden are now bad!

To fuel our way through life costs more each day without warning and in order to succeed you practically have to throw caution to the wind and go it alone.  With all of these factors working against us how is it that we are supposed to live long, healthy and happy lives?  Isn’t it a fact of nature that the more we stress the older we become?

You may ask some people how long they want to live and their answers might be surprising.  “The sooner I’m gone the better, I can’t bear to see what this world has come to any longer”.  Others may say “I want to see my great-grandchildren make a difference in this world, I want to hang on as long as I can”.  How can we guarantee longevity and happiness in a world that seems to be working against us?

Over the next 100 days I am going to try to offer you some small and some big ideas about little things you can do to change your world.  It may not stop global warming and it may not be the magic cure to all things unhealthy but I feel knowledge is power and I want you to feel powerful and live your life to achieve all things dreamed of.

I hope you’ll join me daily as we navigate together the world of uncertainty in hopes of finding our personal nirvana.

Cheers to a year of motivation, inspiration and higher elevation.  After all, they say the higher up you go, the better the view.

 

V/r

Tracie Stern

 

There is a saying “Home is where the heart is” and if that’s the case, mine is floating in the middle of a body of water somewhere aboard the USS ‘we’re going to kick your ass’*.

*(some names have been changed to protect the identities of those involved…**snicker**)

Many of you who follow this blog know the whole story.  Scott left in March, tragedy after tragedy has struck our home as only it would while he was gone.  I’m determined to believe that the military invented Murphy’s Law.   When you get married that should be the class they offer you in preparation for your lives together….

Recently I was asked to write a short article about my husband and why he is an American Hero.  I couldn’t say no…it was an opportunity to share with the world what life is really like, for both of us.  To take those in the line at Starbucks and make them understand exactly why they are able to be in that line.  We are so shrouded in blindfolds that when that day happens that the blindfolds are removed we all stand there and stare at each other saying “Wow…how come I never saw this before”.  We see what we want to see, we hear what we want to hear (this is very true in the case of men) and we will accept and acknowledge only that which fits into our perfect bubbles at the time.

I received a letter from my husband yesterday, yes, a hand written letter, written on printer paper because that was all he had…it’s the prettiest paper ever!  He mailed the letter on Aug. 2, 2011 and it arrived Oct. 16, 2011.  Good thing his postage was free.  He also mailed a postcard from his last port to each of our sons.  I emailed him that they finally arrived and his response was  “sure does shed some light on the GIs of the old day, and the whole ‘wait for me’ phrase from a GI to his girl”.  He was also glad that that wasn’t our only means of communication.   The military spouses that came before us truly were ladies in waiting.  I know I wake up everyday wondering if my husband is ok but I can at least receive an email stating so…

In the letter my husband writes “I keep listening to the Eminem & Rihanna song “Love the way you lie”.  It’s awesome music but if you listen to the words, it sounds like two people who constantly cannot get along.  Good one day, bad the next.  I only think of the Navy.  That’s sad, huh? ….he goes on to say “Every time I hear ‘you’ or ‘her’ I replace it with the word ‘Navy’.  I know when they say “If it stops being fun, it’s time to move on” we have some time before that happens”.

The art of a hand written letter is almost non existent.  However, the power it possesses is more powerful than any ammunition the world has.  A letter can fit into your pocket, you can carry it around, read it whenever you need to, hold onto those words like you were clinging to life.  Imagine what a note from home can truly do to a soldiers mind and spirit.  You can’t take a computer onto the battle field but you can carry the ink of a loved one with you where ever you go.

I don’t think the Navy understands the kind of sailor they have.  No matter how hard it is, no matter how many tragedies, stress points, deal breakers he gets, he is still dedicated to his job and defending this country.  I wish everyone had the work ethic my husband has.  What a wonderful world it would be.  Imagine integrity in every facet of life…talk about an action movie.

You wonder, how does a man at sea for months and months stay connected to their love back home?  That is a good question…this is the answer my husband offered in his letter…unprovoked by me 🙂 “I am lucky to have met you on that pier.  It was God’s hand and it is still his guidance to keeping my heart tuned in to my feelings for you.  I recognize them every day.”   That is a decision he makes everyday to honor me, to love me and to choose me over him.

That is why I wrote the article for Goddess Magazine, because it is my way of honoring the man who chose me, who chooses me every day and who will until the day he dies, love me.  It’s the least I can do.

I read this article to two friends the other day and started crying while I was reading it.  I guess I had no idea just how much I bottled up.  Other than a few grammatical errors I noticed ( writing when you are emotional is not suggested) it’s not too bad….click on the link and it will take you to a pdf version of the article.

A special Thank you to Goddess Magazine for their support of our troops,  asking me to do this and allowing me to share not only my story but the story of so many spouses around the world.

Tracie Stern’s Tear Sheet

http://www.wix.com/goddessmagazine/goddess-magazine-website

We recently just passed the 180 day mark of my husbands deployment, and looking at a possible 120 more days to go.  Last year my husband had already returned by this point, now we are looking at almost 2 deployments all wrapped into one.

Many of you who follow this blog series are currently in or have been in this same position and as perfectly supportive as we want to be, eventually carrying the life and sanity of your family solely on your shoulders starts to get to you….

For months and months I have shared our lives with my husband.  Creating a special blog solely  for him so he can access our lives and events here, see tons of photos at one time and be able to print them off at his will.  I’ve sent care packages, products that he’s requested and I have written book long emails to keep him informed of all that life has brought us or taken from us during these past 6+ months…

It wasn’t until this weekend that I realized how depleted I am.  Just  a brief run down of what is going on in my life right now:

-Just started a new position as a national career advisor

-Coach Jr. Farm Volleyball 3 nights a week

-Work full time as a model

-Wake up everyday as a Mom with 2 kids and all that that entails

-Jr. Farm baseball 3 nights a week

-Mom moving in with us for 6 months and prepping the house for that (laying down new floors, organizing rooms etc.)

Ok, so that is a very GENERAL scenario.

This past weekend was an especially busy time for me.  Saturday was occupado with a 2hr baseball game with our oldest son, then home to prep for a wedding I was attending that evening.  Needed to arrange food for the kids and babysitter, organize the bed time routine, put out pj’s, get the kids bathed etc. all before I left.

Then I was at the wedding, which was the most beautiful, ornate and lavish affair I’ve ever attended.  That says a lot considering all that I’ve accomplished and done in my life so far…I was out with 2 of my good friends and really enjoying myself.  My babysitters Mom said to relax and enjoy and that coming home a bit later was no problem.  Phew considering I’d already been at the wedding for 3 hrs and we weren’t even at the main course yet…

All during dinner I was emailing photos of the different courses to my husband so he could share in the event with me and see just how gorgeous everything was.  This is what I do, make sure he is a part of everyday here.

On Sunday morning with eyes half open I began my assault on my house to make sure everything was set up for our premier showing of the full KikaPaprika Fall Collection.  Cleaned bathrooms, living rooms, set out all the information, laid out the clothing, ran to the grocery store, made appetizers, put out beverages, etc.

The party started at 2pm and the last guest left at 930p.  The whole day I did not have time to sit down and get on the computer.

While vacuuming I missed a call from my husband who had said that email and phones were back online and that it’s very busy.  He’d catch up later that evening.

I was bummed of course but kept moving forward.  I still had things to get done.

During the last few hours of my party I started to receive messages from my husband “Hello?” and that’s all.  Or “Psst…still nothing?”

Honestly, it got to the point where I just ignored them.  Say what you will but let me explain:

Here is the difference, when I don’t hear from my husband for days, maybe even a week, I don’t stress, I don’t send emails 3 times a day to him saying “Hey, why haven’t you written?” .  I understand that he is working, and for whatever reason he is unable to communicate with me, I know when he is able he will write. He doesn’t need the added stress of me nagging him when he is trying to keep lives safe.

Last night, after not hearing from him all day, I received one email from him and all it said was “Hello?”

This just set me off!  I was so annoyed.  I decided to not write back.  Until finally I went to bed and simply wrote “Good Night, I love you.”  End of email.

He didn’t like that much.  I couldn’t take it anymore though.  Why is it my responsibility only to carry the world on my shoulders?  When do I get someone to ask me “How was your day?”  and when someone does, I’m so dumbfounded that I have no idea what to say because I’m not used to hearing it!

I know that he is at sea, with no lifeline to the our world but through me, however I am a living, breathing human being too, and I need support and communication and motivation just like he does.  I need a verbal hug.  I need a virtual pat on the back.  I need that hug and compassion and what not that comes from someone caring about my feelings too.  I am just as alone as he is.

I simply responded, and I am paraphrasing here folks “You get what you give” and then I said I would write more in the morning.

I am motivated and inspired to write when my feelings get to the point where if I don’t let them out I will internally combust, which I tend to do anyways…but I’ve learned through sharing my life challenges with you that you sometimes need to know you aren’t alone.

I appreciate you being there to read my words to let me know I am not alone either.

God Bless and stay strong.

I received an email last night from our FRG President reminding me that we are only 1/2 way through this deployment..until then I hadn’t really thought about it..well I’ve tried NOT to think about it.

1/2 way.  This can be seen as either a good thing or a very depressing thing.  Last year my husband was deployed for 6.5 months.  By that time frame he would already have been home, as it stands now we will be celebrating Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, the New Year and quite possibly Valentine’s Day before he gets home…and that is on top of already having spent the end of the school year, summer vacation, 2 birthdays and the start of a new school year without him….looking at it this way it feels almost like ground-hog day.

Everyone I talk to is shocked at how long this deployment is.  Most are on average 7 months.  Some extend to 9.  Usually the only reason a sailor is away from home longer is if they are stationed on the ground in Iraq or Afghanistan serving what is known as an IA or Individual Augmentation.  As bad as a long deployment is,  going IA is far worse….All I know is that just as I start to think we are moving towards the finish line, the finish line gets further away.   AHHHHHHHHHHH!

I’ve never experienced loneliness quite like this before.  If I were single I could at least enjoy a dinner date or movie or even a mindless one night stand (not that I would…but the option would at least be there).  Being a married woman to a man in the military is not for the faint of heart or the weak.

This is a selfless position and you need to be prepared for it when it arrives, because trust me no matter how ‘flowers and candle light’ your life may be right now there will come a day when it’s all gone and you are left in a cold bed cuddling a pillow when the lights go out.

Don’t get me wrong, is it worth it, of course.  I have this great man, who when home romances me, does laundry, takes care of our kids and occasionally cooks dinner but most of all who does exist.  Somewhere.  Out there.  Does that compensate for the lack of affection I feel, some times.  Do I cry for no reason, frequently.  Do I shrug my shoulders when I’m asked when he’ll be home…all the time.

The other great thing about the military*insert sarcasm* is that even when they say they’ll be home on a specific date that date is always changing.  Very seldom does it change for the sooner.

I know he is having as hard a time as I am.  I at least have work, shopping, baseball and kids to distract me and push me forward.  He has a steel house that he can’t get off of.  He is surrounded by the same scene day in and day out, forced to deal with the same people 24/7 and if there are personality conflicts too bad, you can’t get away from them.  The weaknesses I feel sometimes, I KNOW he feels too and as bad as I could a hug I know his need is sometimes greater.

The stress our military members feel has to be unbearable at times, they have to not only protect themselves, but their fellow service members.  They need to answer to a higher authority and I’m not talking about God right now.  They shower in less than desirable circumstances, their beds would rival that of a toddler and there are days when those beds go unused.   Some comforts of home can be mailed to them but when they get it is anyone’s guess.

I love my husband and if this deployment doesn’t prove that I’ll do anything for him, I’m not sure what will..lol

What I’ve learned being a military spouse is:

Military members sacrifice themselves for their country.

Military families sacrifice their families for love of their spouse.

Military members often survive on lack of sleep, poor living conditions and often eat meals that are nothing to write home about.

Military families often survive on lack of sleep out of worry for their service members, poor living conditions as the result of Murphys law…if something is going to go wrong it will while your spouse is deployed and as far as meals, I’m less than inspired to cook full on feasts as my kids just don’t eat that much.

It’s amazing at how our lives here at home sometimes mirror, albeit relative to a fun house, the lives of our service members overseas.  Maybe Gods way of helping us both relate better to each other when we are reunited?

Stay strong and know that we all share the same moon and the same sun and we can always see each other in our dreams.

Have you read the book “The 5 Love Languages” by Gary Chapman?  You can find a neat little quiz on the website http://www.5lovelanguages.com.

Many years ago I picked up this book because my husband and I were having difficulties communicating.  I had thought about the Mars/Venus theory but I thought this was a better choice.  Considering it had the word ‘language’ in it.

While reading the book, I found out that my primary love language is “Acts of Service” .  This means that when I am showing my love for someone, whether it be a friend or loved one, that my actions will be what shows them how I feel.  When I am receiving love, acts of service is also how I feel loved by others.  Acts of service speak to me more then gifts, words of affirmation or even physical touch. My husband however, his primary love language is “Physical touch” with “Quality time” as a close 2nd.  Are we compatible?  Well we are more compatible now that we understand how to love one another.

Now if a person who has the love language  “Words of Affirmation”… this person would respond more to someone who flatters them and uses words to lift them up, right?  And the person with the love language “Receiving gifts” would be more receptive to that person bringing them flowers or a box of chocolates.  Something small like a classic movie rental or a present that shows thoughtfulness and preparation would put that person right over the edge.

The relationship my husband and I have is one that has been worked on for years.  It hasn’t always been easy but all in all even the bumps have been fun because it’s forced us to learn new things about one another and we feel accomplished when we work through an issue and come out on top.  My husband is always there to compliment me, he notices when I get my hair done, and I love how his hands appreciate my curves.  I’m there for him when he needs a hug and our nights cuddling on the couch re-energize him.

You know when you have those days that you look in the mirror and say “I look good today”.  Your clothes fit you the way you love them to and you get that tickle in your tummy that tells you that today you are going to initiate some lovin’.  This is huge for my husband because remember, my love language is acts of service but his is physical touch and quality time.  So by me initiating those romantic times it speaks volumes to him.

“The benefits of touch to a person’s health are phenomenal. Touch can reassure, relax and comfort. It reduces depression, anxiety, stress and physical pain; and can be healing. It increases the number of immune cells in the body, and has powerful affects on behaviour and moods. “*

Intimacy and the military is a whole other story.  Every spouse will have a different story, different ideas and every spouse will have a different outcome.  One thing that we all share though is that we are all human and all are physical beings.

So, how does a military spouse handle the fact that, for months on end, even a year or longer they are single in the physical sense but not in the mental?  How does a person survive without being hugged, loved, caressed or stimulated for such a long period of time?

While discussing the topic of sex and intimacy with a military spouse, it is not uncommon to hear stories of infidelity.   This is something that happens all to frequently in the military community.  It’s not always the service member that cheats, quite often it’s the spouse left at home that is the one who breaks the commitment.

Why?  To some the answer might seem obvious.  Long periods of time spent apart, temptation knocking at the front door, “it ‘just happened”.  No matter what you think or why you think it, the fact is that having an affair in the military has become very normal and dare I say accepted.  When someone brings it up, shock is not the first reaction in most cases.  The only time it gets addressed is if the service member gets caught fraternizing with someone in their command.

I can’t count on one hand the amount of affairs my husband has witnessed during his 13 years of service.

I recently read a blog where I found this information:

Is sex a basic human need?

Start with these premises:

  1. A (human) community is obligated to supply those of the basic needs of its members that can be met, unless perhaps these members have freely consented to not having these needs met.
  2. It is not permitted to require anybody to have sex, absent a free promise from the requiree.
  3. If a community is obligated to provide A to x, then it is permitted for the community to require one or more of its members to provide A to x.
  4. There is at least one community where there is at least one individual who (a) is capable of sex; (b) does not have sex with anyone; (c) has not consented to the state of affairs in (b); and (d) nobody has promised anything that entails having sex with this individual.
  5. Basic needs are the same for all members of all (human) communities.

Conclusion:

  1. Therefore, sex is not a basic need.**

I highlighted the sentence in #1 because I think this is the viewpoint that most military spouses take when the subject of sex and intimacy comes up during their partners deployment.  Some of us have mutually consented to not have these needs met.

If a person is single and dating, it’s their choice whether or not they want to invite intimacy between themselves and a suitor into the equation.

Knowing the love languages above, you take someone who is married.  Who has a primary love language of physical touch and put them into a situation where they are around the opposite sex in a friendly setting.  You can see where I am going with this.  Does one too many hugs prove to be too much for this spouse and they find themselves reaching out for that connection because they need it?  Is this a weakness or a sign of selfishness?

It’s very easy for someone who is in a vulnerable position to find themselves ‘taken’ by someone else is who trying really hard to create intimacy.  Sometimes before you even recognize what the other person is doing it’s too late.  And most people are motivated by their own selfish needs and desires.  So, even though the suitor recognizes that the spouse is vulnerable and is in a position of weakness, they will use that as their cue to try and get their own needs fulfilled without understanding the recourse involved.  The spouse may be so deprived of physical touch or quality time with someone that they can’t see straight and just blindly latch on to whomever is making themselves available.  This can go the same for all the 5 love languages mentioned above.

Now the service member who is deployed isn’t immune either.  Their needs are just as important as the ones left behind.  And as studies have shown, physical touch can reduce stress, infuse relaxation etc.  Is it really a surprise that many of our service members stationed in a war zone turn to affairs?  Trust me, I’m not saying it’s acceptable or excusable, I am just seeing if it makes sense when put in a different perspective.

Most times when people find themselves in an affair they assume that it’s going to be easier than what they have now.  The person is showering them with attention, the person is loving on them, flattering them etc.  things in the future are going to be better.  The popular saying “the grass isn’t always greener on the other side” comes to mind.  In most situations the ‘initial’ lust phase blinds most people to the reality of the situation.  Most military affairs lead to divorce. Divorce and the military is a very ugly situation.  There may be custody issues in which the military member almost always loses due to their deployment potential.  Financially, our military members are already hurting, now take their pay and cut it in half due to support expenses and fees.   Not looking green is it.

Now the person they are having an affair with has their own set of baggage.  This could just be a conquest for them.  They could be in a relationship too, so now you have 2 separate divorces to go through, custody battles.  What seemed fun and carefree in the beginning becomes a hard truth once the rainbow disappears.

You also have those relationships between 2 service members that occur during deployments, in the navy they are affectionately called “Boat Boos”.  These are relationships that only occur on the ship during the deployment with the understanding that once they get home, they go back to their own separate realities.  For some of you you may think this is a great arrangement.  Best of both worlds.  Until you get caught on the ship and are disciplined for it and you are demoted for it…then what?  Or what happens when one party decides they want more out of it then what you are willing to give and you have the whole ” Fatal Attraction” situation?  What happens to your spouse in that situation?

So what have we learned?  Not much actually.  No matter how many studies, how many demotions, how many divorces occur with our service members and spouses worldwide, unless we all hold each other accountable and refuse to accept the indiscretions we witness on a daily basis then the lives that are destroyed by selfish needs will just continue.

It’s been proven that numbers can change the future.  Imagine if everyone in the military community knew that someone was watching and someone was reporting what they were doing.  If a service member or spouse knew ahead of time that if they go through with it their partner will be told about it…..do you think they would continue?  Or do you think they would actually take a step back and reevaluate their choice?

Only time will tell.

*http://www.suite101.com/content/the-benefits-of-human-touch-a155979

**http://alexanderpruss.blogspot.com/2009/12/is-sex-basic-human-need.html

In my last blog entry I introduced how a military spouse whose partner is deployed handles the situation.  No matter what situation brings about loss, whether divorce, death or moving, we all experience in one form or another some of the stages at one time or another.  It is a natural process.  It’s how we come out of this process that makes the real difference in our lives.

We have covered so far shock, denial, emotion, guilt, anger, frustration and fear.  So what comes next?  Let’s find out.

5. DEPRESSION & LONELINESS

Depression is not reserved for the spouse of deployed service members as this can affect women in every walk of life.  However, in the case of the military spouse depression can be a very dangerous place especially if there are children involved.  When your partner leaves for deployment and you are left alone in your house to carry on as usual that ‘usual’ may seem a little daunting.   Some of us with children carry on for the first couple of weeks as though nothing has changed.  Everything is still new and for the most part our partners have been gone for this long before and we’ve made it through okay.

Prior to most deployments the service members find themselves doing trainings, work ups or schools.  These can last from a week , month or several months depending on their branch of service and the type of ship or unit they are attached to.  Most families of military members are used to them being gone for these short periods of time.  It’s said the military does this so that we start getting used to them being gone, that is hardly their motivation.  While this may be true for the most part, taking the garbage out for 2 wks doesn’t really compare to doing it, the lawn, the cars or the house for up to and sometimes longer then a year.

Depression can set in due to many factors.  The spouse left behind is dealing with supporting the possible rants and emotional issues of their loved one with no one to vent to due to operation security. It’s sometimes not easy for a deployed service member to show weakness amongst his peers so he turns to his wife.  She is left to deal with that fall out.  Watching the news can also send a spouse into depression.

The spouse becomes lonely.  Now I don’t care who you are, loneliness can affect you no matter how social you are.  Whether it’s just curling up at night with a good book, laughing out loud and realizing there is no one there to share the joke with or the desire to cook a nice dinner and then wake up to the fact that you’ll be eating it alone.  I’ve been known to walk around my house talking to myself.  Luckily I never respond…

These little bits of life are ones that can tip the scales from outgoing to introverted.  Most of the time when a spouse goes into a depression it’s not about the big things but actually the little things that send them over the edge.  You take the extra time to look nice or are having a great hair/makeup/skin/clothing day and no one is there to appreciate it.  You can send an email or take a picture to try and share the moment but it’s one of those times that you kind of had to be there.  Today with social media being so accessible those efforts to attract the attention of your loved one often fall into the hands of others which can lead to a whole other set of problems.

I have 2 children but they don’t share my humor nor do they share my palette so for me to cook an elaborately flavored dinner is sort of wasted on them.  My husband however would devour it and shower me with compliments.  I read a book once called “The 5 Love Languages” by Gary Chapman, I’m sure many of you have heard of it.  Well the way that I show love is “Acts of Kindness”.  I may not SAY how I feel about a person but my actions will hopefully convey how I feel.  My husband is the primary beneficiary of my acts however when he’s not here it’s hard to feel validated.

It’s really easy for an isolated spouse to start to feel the emotions of loneliness and depression and have no one around to notice or be concerned.  Many spouses live in areas of the country where they don’t know anyone and no one would recognize a change in behavior.  This is where it can get dangerous.  If that spouse feels isolated and alone with no one or no where to turn, their state of mind can take them to very dark places.  To the point where they could harm themselves or others.  If the family has children this is an especially dangerous place to be.  In some cases those children are the brunt of the emotional dysfunction and can be left to fend for themselves, the depression can turn to anger and the children can become victims of abuse or worse.  In other cases the spouse may be able to put up enough of a front to not draw attention or concern from friends and loved ones.  We all know when someone bottles up emotions eventually they will snap, the straw that broke the proverbial camels back as one would say.

Depression and loneliness are very serious and not to be taken lightly.  During this time of the grieving process you may also see spouses who are normally very active in their community or even the opposite very quiet and reserved to start to act unnatural to their personality.  The quiet spouse may start to get loud and act out to draw attention to themselves or the normally outgoing spouse may all of a sudden retreat and not be seen for an extended period of time.

This stage is very dangerous also to the relationship that spouse has with their deployed service member.   When the service member starts to notice a change in their spouse this becomes a very dangerous place to be.  Our service members can’t afford to have the distraction of problems at home.  When their mind is affected by things going on here then they are not paying attention to what is going on around them as clearly.  If that distraction is concern over the mental or physical state of their spouse and children it could turn deadly, not only for the service member but also every member of their unit.  Once a spouse snaps out of their funk, guilt can set in for putting this on their service member…it’s a vicious cycle.

6.  ACCEPTANCE & MOTIVATION

Many spouses eventually move forward into accepting their situation.  After a few months they find themselves in a routine.  They have made plans with family,  reached out to their church and community and are beginning to embrace their new, however temporary life.

The spouse may find a new sense of pride.  Pride in themselves for the fact that they are doing it.  When a challenge arises they moved through it and handled it with sanity.  Pride reflected in the communication with their service member.  A verbal ‘pat on the back’ from their hero.   Pride in the fact that they haven’t completely fallen apart and that their children are functioning normally.

The biggest problem encountered here though is that once the spouse accepts their situation and becomes motivated to make the best of it, on the other end of the spectrum, as the deployment comes to an end they are thrust back into anxiety and the emotional roller coaster of earlier in the deployment because now the spouse and family unit has to prepare for the return of the deployed service member and whatever that return may bring with it.

7.  ANXIETY AND ANTICIPATION

This stage is one that can appear at any time during the deployment however I am referring to these specifically as the deployment comes to an end.

During the past 7, 9 or 18 months the spouse at home has maybe dealt with deaths, car issues, house issues, behavioral issues and their own emotional ones.  They may have had a complete breakdown and moved through it to come out strong and independent on the other side.  Key word here INDEPENDENT.  This is can be a good and a bad trait as the spouse of a military member.

I am very independent and have, at certain times witnessed my own thought process going to “well, what do I need him for then, I’ve been doing this on my own and KNOW now that I can”.  Ooooh, that’s a dangerous thought to have.  That frame of mind is a place where the anxiety of homecoming can fester.

Here we have this spouse who has succeeded on their own for months and months.  Handled a variety of stressful situations some that may have crushed another person.  Now, in only a few weeks, their partner in life, their partner in home and family is returning.  Where do they fit in now?  How do we go from being totally independent of each other to learning how to depend again?  How do I help them to adapt to the new children they are going to encounter?

Our children had changed phases in life during my husbands last deployment.    Our then 2 yr old in diapers when daddy left was now a 3 yr old toilet trained little boy.  Our then 5 yr old kindergartner was now a 6yr old 1st grader who was doing everything by himself.  It’s a hard place for daddy to come home to where his children don’t ‘need’ him the way they used to.  My husband had to deal with those emotions himself and then had to accept the situations, routines and life we had built while he was gone.  This is all on top of the emotions he had to deal with while being gone and witnessing what he did on deployment.  Not only that but he also had to adapt to the constant “noise of playing, screaming and sometimes total melt down” kids again and the fact that the boys followed him EVERYWHERE he went.  That can be a lot to adjust to especially after spending months only taking care of himself.

The grieving cycle never really ends for a military spouse.  It’s more of a constant state in one form or another.  Once we recognize which state we are in is when we can move to a place where we can involve and encompass everything around us.  We are also able to learn from mistakes.  The mistakes I made on deployment one will not be in effect for deployment 2 and I will have a better idea of what to watch out for where my kids and I are involved because we have so recently been through it.

There is not one piece of advice that can be given in this situation.  We are all a lady in waiting at some point during our military spouse lives.  Every spouse is different and in different phases.  We each need to find what works best for us and then to make sure we make a note of it, because if you are like me, you will forget it just as fast as you thought of it.

I’d love to hear what you think.  Please join my blog and leave me a comment, this is as much for me as it is for you.

%d bloggers like this: