Tennessee National Guard Puppet Reenlistment

Clearly, we haven’t learned our lesson from that one TSgt from Nellis AFB of what not to post on social media. And while this is a “bit” better from ranting about one’s workplace problems that can probably be solved by better leadership skills, this one is a huge slap in the face for those who have served and are currently serving.

At first, there were a couple of posts stating that this was an unofficial Oath of Enlistment (first, I didn’t know there was such thing; and second, still, WHY?) and others that stated the MSgt who is taking the Oath was doing this for her children. In a way, maybe I get it because April is “Month of the Military Child,” but saying you’re doing it for your children is a terrible reason. I understand that maybe the logic behind it was to make it seem more child-friendly and hopefully help children understand the Oath of Enlistment, but for me, this tradition is an honor that should be held with the utmost respect and shouldn’t be mocked like this. As with everything in our lives, there’s always a time an place for goofing off, and this isn’t one of them.

Another potential thought (though I’m really not giving them excuses to hide behind, I’m just trying to figure out the why) is that they want to make a “unique” spin on the Oath of Enlistment. When my Dad did his Oath of Enlistment for the Navy, him and his crew hiked up a mountain to conduct the ceremony at it’s peak. I’ve also heard some special forces guys do it when they’re sky-diving. These are all really cool and unique ways to do it, but none of which really were made in such an immature way. In times of trying to be “the first” to do something – anything –  out of the ordinary, this unit has definitely gotten to that place, and with pretty severe but warranted punishments.

While there are so many talking points that I could extract from this video, my last mention on this topic is the bitterness of how this reflects on the entire military and Air Force, even though they are a National Guard unit. I will admit that I can become pretty bitter when it comes to the Reserves and Guard when it comes to rank, because the way they get it is like passing out candy. For the Active Duty component, testing into the next rank makes it seem like we’re made to sacrifice a bit of our lives (no pun intended). So when you’ve got an NCO who’s been in for about 10 years & had SSgt on for seven years, it definitely leaves a bitter taste in your mouth when a six-year Reservist who doesn’t know a lick about their job think that they are equal… because in my mind, they are not. Granted, I have come to know a handful of Reservists and Guardsmen who do great things in their military job, but unfortunately, the negative outweighs the positive… Such as this video. In terms of equality, I don’t feel like Reserves/Guard puts as much pressure on their people to become exceptional leaders and to focus on Airmen growth as much as Active Duty does. To me, it feels like it’s a dog-eat-dog world and who you can throw under the bus first in order to get ahead.

And while I do absolutely show every bit of respect to those higher-ranking than me, regardless of what component they are in, it also leaves a bitter taste in my mouth when they do something so childish like this, yet they are higher-ranking than me. These are the people that I should and expected to look up to, but how can you when they fail to see the errors in their actions? I suppose the best lesson this can teach you is an example of what not to do.

 

 

 

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Coffee for a good cause

When I made Staff Sergeant, one of my friends put together an “NCO starter kit”, which included a travel mug. She told me that my daily intake of coffee would significantly increase as my responsibilities as an NCO would increase as well. Of course, that technically didn’t happen to me, although I can say that my intake of coffee did increase when I was deployed.

Having a cup of Joe was my go to thing when I was deployed. Much like how most people made little tick marks inside their caps as the days went by. Coffee was literally my wingman when the days were stressful and dealing with med-evacuating patients. But you know what made deployment coffee so awesome? I was able to receive a free cup of coffee in the morning from generous donors and supporters. It was the greatest feeling to have my deployment coffee paid for from someone in the states that actually supported me. Don’t get me wrong, I was also extremely grateful for all the care packages I received from numerous organizations, but coffee literally spoke to my heart… and not in a near-heart attack kind of way.

Its no Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts, but when you’re stuck in the sandbox for 6+ months, literally anything will do. I’ve learned to appreciate what Green Beans Coffee had to offer me, and quite frankly, I miss it. Perhaps I miss it because its synonymous with my memories of deployment. Anyway, if you’d like to buy a deployed troop’s coffee this morning, click here. Trust me, whoever receives your donation would be extremely grateful for it! I’ve made it a habit to buy at least one cup every paycheck. You can buy a lot considering its only $2.50 per cup!

(PLEASE NOTE: I am not sponsored or endorsed by Green Beans.)

To the disrespectful teacher in California

Dear sir,

Congratulations on your recent internet fame that you’ve inherited! I am one of the many members of the United States Armed Forces that you classified as a “dumb shit”. I’d like to share with you my life experiences, and why I decided to join the military a year after high school.

In high school, I was a part of the Junior Reserved Officer Training Corps (JROTC), probably the type of students that you favor in belittling in your classroom. At first, I didn’t want to join JROTC, but my mother convinced me to join anyway. Our compromise was that I would only have to do it for one semester, and I could choose to leave if this wasn’t for me. Turns out, I found my place in the world and decided to remain in JROTC for the rest of my high school career. I was so focused and dedicated to this class or club, that I ended up becoming the cadet commander of my unit. All of the valuable lessons I’ve learned, that I still reflect on to this day, were learned in this class as a leader… Can you believe, that me, a 16-something year old was commanding a unit of over 100+? Fascinating, isn’t it?

Unfortunately, I didn’t go to college right after high school despite taking classes that could’ve transferred over as college credits. Instead, as I’ve already mentioned, I joined the United States Air Force a year after graduating. To be honest with you, joining the Air Force, to me, is not a bad gig at all. Since I did 4-years of JROTC, I was already promoted to E-3 since joining the military (usually, people can receive this rank after graduating basic training/boot camp if they enlisted for 6-years), and because I was given the Congressman Herbert Advanced placement award, or CHAPA letter, I was able to chose up to 5 jobs in the military that I wanted to do. 10+ years later, I am still a medic and have not regretted my decision.

The military also treats me very well for serving them. I receive a steady paycheck, minus the occasional government shut-downs; however, there are many resources that are available to me that can help me out in times of need. I enjoy free education in the career field of my choosing. I’m sure technical training or trade school is probably not up to your standards, but if times get tough and there is an event where I have to leave the military, I still have my certifications to land me a decent job out on the economy. Also, I receive $4,500 per fiscal year for tuition assistance on top of the Post 9/11 GI Bill that I paid into. My family also benefits from me being in the military, in that their health insurance is free. They don’t have to worry about not being able to go to the doctors because coverage is too expensive. They also have a great community support system for those times that I have to leave for deployments or other necessary mission tasking.

Anyway, enough about me, let me also talk about some of the great officers I’ve met and have served under. I think you referred them as “not high level thinkers”. When I was deployed, my flight surgeon only had 6-months under his belt before he deployed. Before then, he had his own Family Health Clinic, but gave it to his colleague so he can join the military and support our war-fighters. My last squadron commander first enlisted into the Air Force, but was later picked up for Physician’s Assistance school. My last flight commander was also prior enlisted in the Army, but separated from the service to pursue her Nursing degree. She returned as a Nurse Practitioner, and now she is on the east coast for her doctorates. In addition to these three officers who are very important to me, there are may other officers in the healthcare field that have written and published articles for the medical community, proven theories, and most importantly, saved countless lives. And to make my last statement bolder, they didn’t just save our brother and sisters in arms, they have also gone on humanitarian missions to third-world countries and saved lives out there, too.

Sir, I know that, in this day and age, being in the military and having a sense of pride in one’s country is a scarce thing to come by; however, it is us that gave you the right to exercise the First Amendment of our Constitution – Freedom of Speech. I’m not sure if you know this, but being in the military, you don’t get to exercise this right, and you expected to “obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me”. Of course, we have the authority to disobey orders that we deem to be immoral, thus enforcing us to become those “high level thinkers” you think we are not. Either way, you are welcome for that right and the fact that myself, my husband, and my brothers & sisters in arms fight for that right to remain in this place.

Before I end this open letter to you, I’d like to leave you a quote from Gen George S. Patton, a famous General from WWII. He is currently buried in a military cemetery in Luxembourg, maybe you ought to visit his tombstone to pay some sort of respect to those that paved the way for your freedom you enjoy to this day.

Better to fight for something than live for nothing.

//Signed//

A Staff Sergeant in the US Air Force

2017 Government Shut-down

I figured this post was well-warranted since we are technically in “Government Shut-Down” mode as of midnight last night. The last government shut-down we had was in 2013, which lasted almost two weeks. Yes, those two weeks sucked for the military because our forces were basically cut in half without our civilian Department of Defense employees, and there was twice the amount of work for the active duty component; however, we knew (or I hope most of us knew) that once it was all over, we were going to get paid for the work we do and we would be back-paid for the time spent in shut-down mode… But even if we didn’t get back-paid, we are in the military, we made that commitment to support and defend the Commander-in-Chief, AKA the President of the United States.

Let me remind you of our Oath of Enlistment/Commission:

I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.”

I, _____, having been appointed an officer in the Army/Navy/Air Force/USMC of the United States, as indicated above in the grade of _____ do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservations or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office upon which I am about to enter; So help me God.”

Even though we do not get paid and we’re expected to work, this is what we signed up for. We are that 1% that signed up to basically be a public servant, and we just need to keep faith in our military system that they will be taking care of us.

There are plenty of resources available to help each other out. I’m not well-versed in the other branches, but I know that there is the Air Force Assistance Funds. This program is designed to helped Airmen out in times of crisis, just go to your Airmen & Family Readiness Center to discuss. Also, I know that USAA and other financial institutions are creating plans specifically to carry our military members through this shut down. Lastly, IF there are truly no other options and money is super tight for you, you can opt into a Thrift Savings Plan loans, granted you have a TSP account to begin with. There are so many financial resources out there to help you and your family out, you just have to be calm and think logically through this manner.

Again, we are considered to be public servants. PLEASE, do not think you can protest this shut-down if you are part of the military! In 2013, a handful of military members were discharged because they went AWOL because they refused to work without pay. You cannot do this, no matter how much you don’t like whats going on. Just keep true faith and allegiance to your government that they can hopefully come to some resolution and be down with this.

At this time, we just need to be hopeful and not blame what’s going on in Washington. There are a lot of things that we don’t know, which may be above our pay grades. The only things you see is what the media puts out, so don’t stress yourself out so much about what they’re saying because its probably not the full story.

#RemainCalm

Co-parenting is not competitive parenting

When I was going through my very bitter divorce, my ex-husband painted a picture of being the “perfect” parent for our son; therefore, the courts should agree with him that it would be in the best interest of our son to remain with him… This part, was at the beginning of our divorce, when we had to attend mediation for the sake of our son. When the situation got serious, as in, yes, we are having this divorce, it was like he just “vanished”. No response to the courts, and costing me a very pretty penny because I “lawyered” up just in case.

When our divorce was finalized, and he learned that I changed the parenting time schedule to him only having our kid every other weekend, he flipped out and called me every derogatory word associated for a woman. The “new” parenting time only lasted a couple months before he decided to leave the country… Yes, country. So, instead of having time with his son every other weekend, as planned, he decides to just leave. As what every “perfect” parent would do, I assume.

Now, let me put things into perspective – yes, he is overseas for his job, but he is not in the military. We agreed that he would call every Sunday to speak to our son, but he has gone weeks and months not even e-mailing me or trying to reach out to our son. Video-chatting and phone calls are not the only way that he could reach out to our son, because he also has our address, which means he could, at the very least, write to him.

Any way, compare this to my experience when I was deployed for six months, and faithfully reached out to him every week to speak to my child. Mind you, at the beginning, I actually spent every free moment I had, texting and calling my ex and my son, just to see how they were doing. That was short-lived because my ex insisted I called them only on the weekends to “save conversation and not make things boring”… Umm, okay? I did what my husband wanted, and even then, there were times that I’d call and my ex would say “Oh, he’s not here, he’s with so-and-so”. spent a couple weeks and months not being able to contact my son merely because my ex didn’t want me to. Of course, there are always two sides of the story: my son’s father may be very well busy where he’s at, much like how it was when I was deployed. However, the fact always remains that kids will surely remember who or what parent was always there, and which parent wasn’t.

Yeah, kids are pretty materialistic when they’re young, but when they become teenagers and emerge into adults, who’s going to be there for them when times get rough? You can’t just throw money at problems and expect them to go away… Although, I’m sure some people would disagree. Either way, kids need their parents and they don’t need toys or lavish things. They need memories and experiences. Most importantly, they need to know that someone’s out there, looking out whats best for them. Co-parenting is not about who’s the coolest parent, or which parent is Mr/Mrs. Money bags. In fact, throwing money at your kid to simply win their love, loyalty, and respect is the worst thing. It undermines the other parent’s effort in showing them actual love and affection. Co-parenting needs to be on the same level, where parents can just set aside their differences and anger of each other for the common good, which is their child(ren).

Sorry, for the long background story. This has been something that pops up in my mind very often. Are you in a co-parenting relationship? And if so, were you and your child’s mom/dad able to come away from competitive parenting?

2018 goals

Happy New Years!! It’s time to start running and taking off with your New Year’s Resolution’s and goals!!

People say to “speak your goals into existence,” and you’ll be able to achieve them… but there’s also a belief that if you tell everyone about your goals, the lesser likelihood of them coming to fruition. Sooooooo, which one is it?

Believe it or not, I’m more of a private person when it comes to speaking about my goals; those that need to know my goals and intention do know, and others, well don’t. And I’m not that way because I’m a butt about it, its a part of me being humble and trying not to speak so much about myself. I also feel like if I say something on FaceBook, I feel like I’m more apt to achieve or do that goal, otherwise I’m a total let-down or failure. Some of my goals are kind of just “in the cards” or “right time, right place”.

For instance, my main goal for this year is to make the next rank (Technical Sergeant/E-6 in the Air Force). Its highly attainable, however, it also depends on the amount of time I put into studying. And, by all means, I am definitely not a book-smart person. The last time I actually put forth the effort in studying was 2 years ago, and I didn’t even make it. I felt like a complete let-down and total loser for not making it. Hopefully this year, I’ll actually persevere and make it, but it just depends if I’m in the right time and right place. 

Another professional-type goal for myself is to hurry up and put in my application for the Inter-service Physician’s Assistant Program (IPAP). I’m intending to submit my first package in by 2019 or 2020. Highly do-able, but my life will generally suck in the meantime. I’m also coming up to the five-year mark which means most of my classes will likely need to be repeated. Either way, if I don’t get accepted to the IPAP, my Plan B is to switch my degree plan to obtaining a bachelor’s degree in nursing. Next year, I’ll have 10 years of military service under my belt and it would be such a waste to quit at 12-13 years… Might as well ride out the 20 years at that point and collect retirement.

As far as my husband’s and my combined goal, we’re planning on getting rid of our debts together. Since well now have two kids to claim on our taxes for this year, we’re estimating a good tax refund that will take out a good portion of our debts. The rest we’ll just have to find a means of paying it and not using our credit cards. This is such a huge problem for me because I am quite a spender but, if I’m dedicating myself to constant studying for anything, I should theoretically be spending less… At least, I’d like to think so.

My last goal for 2018 is to pay more attention to my Perfectly Posh business. Its not so much as to finding people to recruit under me or “building my company.”  I’m looking more into spreading my reach-out for new customers and not making money just on myself. I’d like to say, with a new baby and moving to a new base totally messed up my Feng Shui,  but it probably didn’t. I do enjoy selling Perfectly Posh and being a total advocate for them, but I think it’s time to make money off of it instead of losing money from it.

Four goals for this year seems to be a good way to refocus on myself and my family, what do you think? What are some of your goals you’d like to see become a reality?

 

8 things to do (at home) to save money

I’m in the military and I have the luxury of having 9-to-5 work hours (its more like 0730 to 1630), plus my weekends off… Currently, my husband does not, which is a total buzz-kill for my weekends. BUT, I’m not complaining about that, since we’re living in a dual-income household; single-income really sucks, even though the bread-winner is in the military. Side-note: we’re REALLY hoping he’ll be able to transition from reserve to active duty next year, and then our would be looking better financially.

Anyway, since husband is making that dough mostly on the weekends/my time off, I usually stay at home. In part, because we have two young children, and it becomes a nuisance to corral & pack up the kiddos to do anything outside of the house. And since I’m staying at home, I’m technically saving money… So long as I don’t wind up browsing through Amazon. The only problem with that is, I get bored very easily.

So, how do I save money, and resist the urge to online shop? Well, here’s a list of things I could do around the house. I’m sure there will be lots of changes along the way, but that’s great!! It means I’m saving some serious moolah!

#1 – Clean the house – I’m pretty sure you knew this one was coming, or that it would be on my list somewhere. There is literally always something to clean around this house, considering we are a 4-person household with two little boys. Cleaning primarily means laundry and dishes… Either way, you know what I mean by cleaning the house!

#2 – Declutter – This is an attempt at living the minimalist lifestyle. Its ridiculous how much crap we accrue each year, and how much of that crap we basically abandon and forget about. As a bonus, you can actually make money by selling some of your unwanted items on local yard-sale or marketplaces on FaceBook. Craigslist is also an option, but I’d rather not risk my own safety. If you don’t have the patience to sell you purged items, you can also donateGiveBackBox.com can help you get rid of those unwanted boxes you have laying around your house from your online shopping, and the best part about it is that it’s FREE.

#3 – Meal prep – To me, meal prep means looking up new recipes on Pinterest (lol). We typically don’t lunch prep, since we’re all pretty okay with just eating PB&J’s with some snacks, like string cheese, seaweed snacks, Goldfishes, etc, etc. On occasion, we’ll eat left-overs, if we have any. We also don’t normally require actual meal prepping since we buy most of our main food staples at Costco; we keep things like frozen chicken breast, frozen various frozen veggies, and some canned foods, in stock all the time in our house. I’ll make a post about our Costco shopping trips later on…

#4 – Make baby food – I suppose you could categorize this under meal prepping too, but I’m still breastfeeding, so pumping pretty much makes up this category. We invested in a Magic Baby Bullet (About $60 from Target) when baby was about 4-months and, so far, have spent a total of $2 on frozen peas and carrots. The $2 has made about 12 little containers of baby food. I’d say this was a very good investment we’ve made thus far.

#5 – BLOG – LITERALLY… This keeps me from spending!! I suppose this could also wind up making me some money in the future, but that’s only if I actually keep up with it. I’ve attempted to create and maintain blogs in the past, but it seems that trying to make money from a blog is just not in the cards for me… I’ve also lost probably a couple $100 in trying to make blogging a thing for me. I think I just need to be real with myself and realize that I’m probably not going to stick with it… but if I do, might as well invest in that domain name!! Perhaps I’ll just wait until I actually make my 100th post before I invest in a domain name. Seems like a good reward for keep up, I guess.

#6 – Maintaining my Perfectly Posh business – Yep, I’m an independent consultant… Or something. Honestly, I’m more of an avid Perfectly Posh user that reaps the benefits of being a consultant. BUT, sometimes I do somehow manage to make some money from myself and working it as a consultant. If I pushed myself a little harder in making sales and reaching out to new potential customers, I could be making more “play money”. Again, this would probably make for a good post in the future… maybe that 100th post will come by a lot quicker than I thought!

#7 – Study – To make it a bit clearer of who I am and where I stand in society, I’m in the US Air Force. I’m a Staff Sergeant (SSgt, or E-5) with about 10 years of total military service… I put on SSgt just before my 4-year mark, and if I studied and played my cards right, I could’ve made the next rank at my 6- or 7-year mark… I just didn’t study. Promotion testing time for me is around February/March of next year, so I definitely have the time to study – despite having two younger kids at home to manage. Again, another great way for me to get more money LOL… ALSO, studying would also mean taking college classes. One of my goals in life is to become a medical primary caregiver, and the military has a program called the Inter-service Physician’s Assistance Program (IPAP). I just need to hurry up and take classes so I can finally submit a package…

# 8 – Exercise – I’m kind of laughing at myself as I type my reasoning… My husband bought me a rower for Christmas, since I like to row at the gym. So now, I really don’t have much of an excuse to not work-out. I could also walk the dogs and kids around the block to do something active in my life.

Those are all my great ideas to do at home to save money. I’m sure I can think of more later. What are some things your do at home to save money? I’d like to know!!