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 DO YOU DO IN ADDITION TO BEING A MILSPOUSE? AND A FUN FACT ABOUT YOUR MILITARY FAMILY?
I met my husband, Clint, a Navy submariner, in a hotel room in Waikiki. As juniors in college, a friend and I flew to Hawaii from Seattle, WA for some sunshine during our spring break. Turns out, my friend knew Clint from high school, which was my high school's cross-town rival. She let him know we were coming for spring break, and he met us down at the beach on our first day. He was in his final week of Navy Dive School, so was in the best shape of his life! I couldn't believe we had grown up in the same hometown and graduated high school the same year, but had never met.
We got married a week after my college graduation after spending a total of 7 weeks together face-to-face.
In addition to being a MilSpouse, I am a Registered Dietitian, freelance writer, mentor and mother of three!
I work part-time as a Dietitian at a health spa in Southern California, teaching nutrition classes and doing cooking demos. I started blogging last year, and launched a website to connect with other military spouses. As a freelance writer, my work can be found on Military Families Magazine, Military Spouse, Daily Mom Military, The Military Wife and Mom, among others. One of my favorite things is connecting with brand-new military spouses as a mentor with the Military Spouse Advocacy Network. I know I could have used a mentor when I was starting my journey as a MilSpouse!
I am passionate about pulling military spouses out of isolation and into authentic community. As the Navy Co-Coach for IF:Military, I meet with military-affiliated women in my local area regularly for honest conversations about life and faith. Usually over piping hot bagels.
A fun fact about our military family is that we got to cheer on my husband from the stadium seats while he lived out his dream of playing college football. When the Navy sent him to nursing school at age 28, he remembered he still had 4 years of eligibility.
WHICH MILITARY BRANCH DOES YOUR SPOUSE SERVE IN AND FOR HOW MANY YEARS HAS HE SERVED?
U.S. Navy for 21 years
WHERE HAS THE MILITARY MOVED YOUR FAMILY OVER THE YEARS? WHICH WAS YOUR FAVORITE DUTY STATION AND WHY?
We started at Pearl Harbor, HI, and then spent 12 years at "home" In the Pacific Northwest. My husband spent 8 years as an enlisted submariner, then to nursing school in Tacoma, WA and was commissioned as an officer in the Navy Nurse Corps. We've been in the San Diego area for almost 5 years. I have loved all of our duty stations, but Hawaii has my heart!! Duke's Hula Pie and evening walks on Waikiki…it was a dream for us newlyweds!
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 meeting other MilSpouses and instantly understanding each other and having a connection. This life is unique and challenging, and I've found that being able to share my struggles with other MilSpouses lightens my emotional burden. They get it.
Moving, starting over and enduring a painful deployment that almost crushed me has absolutely made me stronger. This life has taught me the value of reaching out and asking for help instead of trying to be self-sufficient and do everything on my own.
WHO INSPIRES YOU AND WHY?
My kids! I have three children, ages 14, 12, and 9, who have had to uproot, move to a new state, be the new students at school mid-year, make new friends, and endure their dad's 9-month deployment to Afghanistan. The way they fearlessly jumped in to new activities and are thriving in our current community inspires me every day. When fear starts to creep in and I think about possibly moving again, I look at them as shining examples of resiliency.
WHICH CHARLIEMADISON EVERYDAY REMINDER DO YOU WEAR ON YOUR WRIST AND WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THAT PARTICULAR BRACELET?
I wear the Be Present bracelet as a reminder to live in the moment. As much as I love a color-coded calendar and spend a lot of time looking ahead at whatever is next, we are not guaranteed any of it. Military life is full of uncertainty and changing plans. I'm learning to enjoy each day I'm given and love the people right next to me.
WHAT DO YOU DO TO STAY CONNECTED TO WHAT MATTERS MOST, DESPITE THE UNCERTAINTY, FREQUENT MOVES, AND DEPLOYMENTS THAT GO ALONG WITH BEING A MILITARY FAMILY?
Our family has traditions like pizza Fridays that bring us back together, flopped on the couch after a busy week. We also go to church together and talk frequently about how no matter what this life brings, God is with us and for us. Believing that makes the uncertainty of the future a lot less scary.
WE HAPPEN TO BE QUOTE LOVERS AROUND HERE – CAN YOU SHARE A FAVORITE QUOTE THAT KEEPS YOU INSPIRED?
"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." ~Socrates