You know me – I’m all about the life balance – Enjoy this guest post from Lisa Hayden of the Parents Need to Know blog!

children-961685_640It is vital for you to have the best time with your kids because no sooner than you know it they will be all grown up with their own families. It’s true that time flies, and with busy schedules it can be pretty difficult to bond with your kids and you need to be quite creative in the activities you do together. As a matter of fact, creativity should always be the center of family time.

If you want to understand your kids better, make it a point to bond with them. You can play air hockey with your kids, bike around the neighborhood and a lot more. Be creative so that your children will be looking forward to such moments. Do not hesitate to try something new. [click to continue reading …]


Sometimes as we traverse military life it can feel as though we live separately from the outside world. We have our own lingo, we take pride in things others take for granted and our day to day challenges are very different from our civilian counterparts. Because of this we need to build stronger coping skills and hone our self care strategies so that we are prepared – especially for the stuff we never see coming.

Unspoken Toll of Military LifeI didn’t realize how much I’d been slacking on both my self-care and coping strategies until recently when we were blindsided by a family crisis that none of us saw coming. 5 weeks ago I went to Florida to take care of my mother-in-law for what we thought was a case of pneumonia. What we didn’t know was that we only had a few weeks before she would lose her brief battle with cancer.

Like many of you, I’m good when my world gets turned upside down. Military life has given me lots of practice (see my journey and strategies in Right Side Up).  I can sort through the logistics, deal with changing circumstances and efficiently blow through a to do list like nobody’s business.  I can be strong for my family in a way I’ve never been.

Military life taught me that – and I’m grateful.

But if you look closer, you will see the cracks and the toll military life is taking. Maybe the sudden death of my mother in law has left me raw, but the reality is that the events over the last few weeks have highlighted a few habits or lessons I’ve learned since becoming a military spouse. And they aren’t pretty, healthy or productive.

Military life has shown me how

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As I build my businesses around my military life, I rely on technology to help make up for the fact that I don’t have a brick and mortar location. Whether it’s for the blog, suicide prevention programs or my jewelry obsession creating conversations and building relationships is key to my long-term success in small business. And social media makes it so much easier.

Military Life Smallbiz & TechWhile Facebook is the perfect place to keep in touch with people, I find that for my businesses Twitter and Pinterest are much more effective. Why? Because both offer me the ability to put out a message quickly and drive traffic to a particular website based on the needs of the people. I can utilize marketing services like TailWind (a FANTASTIC service for Pinterest/Instagram) or Hootesuite to help me so I can share information regularly and with a little practice and a “What would make me click on a link” attitude I can connect in a fun way.

The challenge comes in with all the changes to tech and social.

For example according to the Twitter blog (see full post here) over the coming months there will be changes to simplify your military life Tweets including what counts toward your 140 characters!

In summary here’s what will change on Twitter:

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Have you ever noticed that sometimes in military life it seems as though every time you turn around someone or something  just keeps getting in the way of your dreams?  It may feel like for every idea you have or action you take there is someone out there telling you it can’t be done or how it won’t work.  They may even share a suggestion as to how to do it “the right way”.

Military Life: People PleasingAfter church today, I reflected on something the pastor said that really hit home and got my wheels spinning.  He was talking about the disconnect that we all have when others tell us how we “should” act and what we “should” do. He went on to discuss that when we let others “mold” us we are actually preventing ourselves from living out our purpose.

And you know me, when the wheels start turning I just can’t let go. So I started looking back and noticed an interesting pattern in my journey. During the times in my life as a military spouse where I have struggled, been stressed out or just plain “messed up”,  without exception it’s when others have tried to “convince me” to do something that wasn’t in direct alignment with my purpose.  These times were filled with “people pleasing” and wishy-washy boundaries and my thoughts centered around what I “should” be doing, rather than what felt right.

And as I really dig deep I can’t help but notice that during the worst times, I felt manipulated rather than supported.

Now I’m sure there is some psychological explanation, but I know one thing is for certain.  During each of these times, I gave my power away, and felt helpless and trapped because of it.  Instead of standing strong and acknowledging that I really do know what makes me happy, I allowed others to place their agenda into my life. And the only person who suffered was me. [click to continue reading …]