We believe stories are important - they connect us with other women who share similar experiences and help us feel as if we're not alone when life throws us a curveball. And as a military spouse - owned company, we believe in the power of sharing stories of fellow military spouses. The military spouse community is a unique sisterhood - they show strength with every relocation, deployment, and lost job; they’re resilient - making a new home and forming new friendships at each duty station; and they are fiercely devoted to the family and military hero they love. Despite the uncertainty and sacrifice that military life brings, military spouses face each new challenge with grace and bravery. At Charliemadison Originals, we're celebrating our sisterhood of military spouses through our Meet a Milspouse series - sharing one story at a time and giving you a glimpse inside their world.
Give us a behind-the-scenes peek at you and your family – how did you become a military spouse (MilSpouse)? What you do in addition to being a MilSpouse? And a fun fact about your military family?
After dating my high school sweetheart for eight years, we got married and he joined the Army’s JAG Corps. After an internship during law school, they said we could probably go to Germany. We thought that sounded good, so he signed up, and our first duty station was Stuttgart.
Fun fact: My husband, daughter, and I are all lifelong vegetarians.
Which military branch does your spouse serve in and for how many years has he served?
Army, 18 years
Where has the military moved your family over the years? Which was your favorite duty station and why?
We have won the assignments lottery and have been stationed in Germany four times:
Stuttgart, Grafenwöhr, Bamberg, and Wiesbaden
We have also been to:
Ft. Irwin, CA; Charlottesville, VA; Ft. Leavenworth, KS; and Ft. Belvoir, VA
My favorite assignment was Bamberg, Germany. It’s a stunning city, and a large part of it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Our connections with our neighbors are what really made it special though. A German family across the street took us in and told us where to get the best wood-fired bread, farm-fresh eggs and yogurt, hand-woven baskets, firewood, a mechanic who worked out of his garage, etc. We learned all of the insider secrets, and I even came away with an incredible Lebkuchen recipe. Our daughter went to German school, and we really felt like part of the community.
What is your favorite thing about being a military spouse? Tell us something that you have learned or has made you stronger because you are a MilSpouse?
My favorite thing about being a MilSpouse is the opportunity to travel and possibility of reinventing myself. We decided to say yes to the Army because of the travel opportunities and the Army has delivered. I chose to give up my career in accounting at our very first duty station because my husband got training holidays and civilian employees didn’t. After experiencing the drudgery of counting vacation days, I wanted to be free to travel with him. Saying no to that career path has meant that I get to focus on something a little different at each duty station and it has helped me learn that even though the execution can look really different, I fall into some kind of teacher role wherever I am.
Who inspires you and why?
My InDependent and Legacy teams inspire me. They are both creative, entrepreneurial teams with high standards and a desire to lift up the military community – InDependent through accessible wellness and connection and Legacy through narratives and storytelling. Every day I’m inspired to infuse my life with the goodness that we promote so that I can have more to offer my family and our communities.
Which Charliemadison everyday reminder do you wear on your wrist and why did you choose that particular bracelet?
Other pieces mix in and out, but I wear Be Present in Onyx every day because I have a lot of details to stay on top of and it’s easy to have my attention split in a million different directions. I need an everyday reminder to focus on the here and now, especially in the company of my husband and daughter.
What do you to do stay connected to what matters most, despite the uncertainty, frequent moves, and deployments that go along with being a military family?
My daily meditation and yoga practice help create margin in my life for everything else. I practice before everyone else wakes up, so even if everything else is nuts, I’ve given myself that time. When my forehead rests on the mat in child’s pose, I know that I’m home, no matter where in the world I am.
We happen to be quote lovers around here – can you share a favorite quote that keeps you inspired?
“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.” ~Mother Teresa