Thanks to Ellie Kay for donating a signed copy of her newly revised book, Heroes at Home: Help and Hope for America’s Military Families. When I was dating my military man, this was the first book he gave me to prepare for the life I’d have ahead of me if we got married. (Obviously, we did.) And now, the book is in its third edition and I’m actually in it (Hidden Hero Profile, p. 130)!
This updated edition of Heroes at Home reflects today’s reality of dangerous missions, deployments, reentry into family life, and long work hours—whether active duty, reserve, or the National Guard. Ellie Kay, a veteran military spouse and mother, addresses all your concerns about preparing for and enduring separations, making family moves, stretching a dollar, communicating long-distance, and so much more.
I asked Ellie what was different about this book compared to the one I read about ten years ago, and here’s what she told me:
There is about 30% new material in this updated version. I’ve included an expanded section on how to get your child into a military academy or get a military based education (enlisted bonuses, ROTC, etc). There is more info included for military parents (since I now am one!) that was not there before. There’s also an expanded section on Reservist programs such as the Yellow Ribbon program. Plus, all the websites and other information have been updated and is current.
Heroes at Home is an upbeat, positive look at military life. Just a few of the chapters include:
• Creating memories and managing holidays
• Tips to surviving military moves
• Using humor to lighten the load
• Stress busters
• Hospitality check
• Easy ways to save money on everything
• Creative coping during military separations
• Facing fear with faith
It’s an easy to read book, broken up by helpful subheads and peppered with valuable lists., such as the one below.
Top Twelve Don’t for Deployment
1. Don’t have a negative attitude; it will hurt you, your kids, and everyone who is unfortunate enough to be around you!
2. Don’t spend time alone with people of the opposite sex; establish boundaries during this particularly vulnerable time.
3. Don’t listen to your favorite love songs or romantic movies if it makes you nostalgic for your mate. Instead, watch a comedy with a friend.
4. Don’t buy big-ticket items without your spouse’s approval—no matter how depressed you are.
5. Don’t give in to impulse buying on the smaller-ticket items either; they will surely add up to big debts!
6. Don’t clean out your spouse’s “stuff,” even if he never does listen to those old CDs!
7. Don’t stay home alone—especially if you have little ones. Join a MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group in your area. For more information on attending or starting a MOPS group in your area, go to www.mops.org or call 1-888-910-MOPS.
8. Don’t turn down offers for help. Take people up on their offers to take you to lunch, come over for dinner, baby-sit your kids (if you trust them), and even bring you a casserole. Now is the time to accept help!
9. Don’t overdose on news shows, especially when your spouse is involved in a “hot news” conflict. Don’t let your kids hear much (if any) of the news involving your spouse’s deployment. Madeline Brazell says, “Andrew, who was only two when Duane went to war, started to exhibit disturbing behavior during the first days of the war when we kept the news on almost all day.”
10. Don’t overdo it on TV in general—too much of it makes your brain turn to mush and your morals turn maudlin.
11. Don’t use TV, DVDs, computers, or game systems as a babysitter. Limit their use to one show or one hour a day and your child will have a better outlook on life.
12. Don’t list your physical address in the phone book or on any registration information. When a Stealth went down in Kosovo, and they didn’t know who the pilot was, CNN was standing curbside at every pilot’s house listed in the phone book!
To enter the drawing for a signed copy of Heroes at Home, please leave a comment telling us about one hero at home (a military family member) you admire. A winner will be selected at random on March 15.
Update: And the winner is…Krysta Heath!