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Your Military Sons and Daughters

You've Made it Through the Holidays

A phone call from your child for Christmas and New Year's Day is just not the same. It is, however, a reality when your child has chosen the military for their career. It doesn't matter how long they have been in, you still miss them just as much. It is easy to suffer from the empty chair syndrome. They place at the table where they would be sitting, if they were home.Thank You to the Troops

This can especially be true if your child is single. My husband and I just had a conversation on New Year's Eve about this topic. He remembers always having to stand duty on Christmas day as a single Marine...he hadn't met me yet (smile).   The number of troops that could go home was limited, he was a member of the Military Police, and someone had to stay on  base and control traffic, etc. I could tell that it really affected him; it showed in his face, 30 years later.

My suggestion - don't allow the feelings of loneliness from the holidays define you. I know that Skype is great, but it is not the same as being able to give a real hug to your child. However, the feelings, tears and sadness don't have to continue on into the next season.

I remember that I didn't want my husband to miss anything that the children were doing while he was deployed. But with three of them, that was difficult. They were all so young and some days it took every ounce of strength and patience I had just to make it through the day.

What helped me the most was to start a journal of my day. It was a great place to jot down my frustrations, success, happiness and sadness. I gave myself permission to write down whatever popped into my mind. It helped that I bought a journal that was really cute too!

One thing that I know for sure...you won't be able to remember everything that you want to tell your child or relative when they contact you. And sometimes, it may be a long time before you hear from them again. Having a journal handy will allow you to make sure that you remember that important event the next time you are on the phone or Skype. It is also extremely therapeutic for your own mental health.

Fill 2013 with wonderful memories of your family, your dreams and your life by keeping a journal at least several days a week. This way, your memories will live forever.

For more information about Blue Star Mothers of Fredericksburg, please contact Linda Clevenger at 540-220-5912 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Linda Clevenger, 1st VP BSMF

 

 

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Coping Through a Christmas Deployment

This time of year is so full of happiness and joy! It can also be a time of stress.Blue Star Mother christmas ornament

If you are the child of a Marine, Soldier, Airman or any other person that is active duty military, the Christmas season can hold a special kind of stress. I don't want to depress anyone, that is not the meaning of this blog, but when a person that you love is deployed for Christmas, it can be particularly hard to keep smiling.

I was very fortunate that of the 12 years that my husband was active duty, he was only deployed for 1 Christmas and that was during the first Gulf War, Desert Shield/Desert Storm. I expected this to happen more than once...after all, USMC stands for (You Suckers Missed Christmas!), right?

So how do military families handle it when their son, daughter, mother, father, niece and nephew are overseas for Christmas...it isn't easy! In our area, it can be even more difficult because there are military bases around - Quantico isn't that far away - but unless you live on base, it may not feel as if neighbors and friends understand how it really feels to have a loved one be deployed for Christmas.

Here are some tips to help you through the holidays:

1. Keep daily routines as much as possible. It helps when children know what to expect every day. Be consistent with your schedule. Avoid adding too many extra events that will interrupt their routine. Keep life as simple as possible.

2. Expect emotional times. There may be feelings of loneliness, crankiness and worry. Children are receptive to our emotions so do your best to keep your emotions under control - it will help the children keep their emotions under control also.

3. Don't be resentful. Being the spouse/mother or father left behind to handle everything can be stressful. This emotion may also be disguised as anger.

4. Keep your traditions. Trim the tree, make cookies, watch Christmas movies...do everything that you would do as if your child or spouse was not deployed. These traditions will make memories that will last a lifetime. Let me share a story with you:Military Dog Tag Christmas Tree copy

I remember the Christmas that my husband was deployed. The children were 3, 4 and 7. there was absolutely no way that I was going to be able to put up a live tree in the living room...but this was our tradition. So, we went out and bought a 4 foot Charlie Brown Christmas tree (because that was all that we could really afford) and we used string to tie it to the window air conditioner unit to hold it up! It looked silly, but I can still remember that tree vividly in my mind, 22 years ago!  It had one strain of lights on it, about 12 ornaments and we made a star out of cardboard and aluminum foil to go on top. It was crazy, fun and made us very happy. 

5. Keep busy. Help a local charity or start a new hobby if you have too much time on your hands. Keep your mind thinking good thoughts and work on a project - something that you can share with your military family member through skype. There is nothing more exciting than being able to share your accomplishments with each other, even if they are thousands of miles away.

The Blue Star Mothers of Fredericksburg wish all of our military families, friends and neighbors a very Merry Christmas. Our prayers are with you all.

Should you need any help or just someone who understands...feel free to call me, Linda Clevenger, at 540-220-5912. 

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Veteran's Day Celebration

Veterans Day 2012

This Veteran's Day Weekend is unlike any other in my lifetime. I had always sat back and really "experienced" a Veteran's Day celebration. I had always felt that it was a day of honor for those that served our Country through their sacrifices, suffering and enormous pride that they all exhume because they served in the United States Armed Forces.

I think this year if different for 2 reasons. The first is the pride that I see in the eyes, facial expressions and overall "vibe" of being around the Blue Star Mothers of Fredericksburg. The warmth, welcoming and excitement of their energy simply fills the room. Their pride is beyond anything that words can describe. Almost all of the Blue Star Mothers of Fredericksburg (whether they are officially a member of our organization, or not), are sure that at some point in the future, their son, daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, niece, nephew or grandchild will respond to the call of serving their country and be stationed with a unit or group that are involved in our current war, the War on Terrorism.

It is hard, painful and emotional beyond belief to send a husband or spouse to a foreign land (like Afghanistan). It is sad, exhausting and heart-breaking to send one of your own children or one of the next generation. I, like, so many others, have done both.

This second reason that this particular Veterans Day is different for me is that I had the opportunity to experience a forgotten pride. The pride of our teenagers. Specifically the teenagers, and pre-teens, of Thornburg Middle School, who honored local Veterans at a special assembly last week. The 6th graders lined the halls, waved American flags and yelled "Thank You" and "We Appreciate You" and just a simple "Yeah" as about 40 of us walked through their hallway. We had the opportunity to see their special Memorial to honor the 9/11 victims and then we moved on to a extra-special ceremony in the gymnasium. It was emotional, historic and beautiful in so many ways that I can't even begin to describe the service. Generations were recognized, including my husband, myself and our granddaughter. Thank you Mr. Kirk Tower for an amazing ceremony to honor all of our Military this Veterans Day.

We are spending this Veteran's Day with my husband's best friend. They met 35 years ago at Camp LeJeune, North Carolina. It will be a weekend full of stories, memories and tribute. No matter how you celebrate this weekend, please take a moment to remember their sacrifice, the sacrifice of their families and we should remember, we are Blessed.

Linda Clevenger, 1st VP

Blue Star Mothers of Fredericksburg

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Spooky, Scary Spiders that are HOW BIG?

Camel-SpiderIt's Halloween, the time that we bring out the ghouls, goblins and everything scary. Well, what if part of your every day survival included having to avoid a spider as big as the palm of your hand or the size of a pack of cigarettes or a ping-pong paddle?

This is what our troops who are stationed in Afghanistan and Iraq 'are dealing with every day. The camel spiders are very unique and different than anything that we experience in the U.S. It is really creepy to think about waking up to find one of these amazingly huge spiders crawling across your chest. Talk about creepy and crawly--- and our troops are dealing with this every day.

Let's share a few cool facts about Camel Spiders:

  • They can travel at a top speed of 10 mph. Which is very fast for a such a small creature.
  • They can be as big as up to 8 inches.
  • They are called camel spiders because they live in the desert.
  • They seek out shade during the daytime, so it is possible to see one charging across the Iraqi desert at you==only to come to a screeching halt when it reaches your shadow.

Another interesting fact about the Camel Spiders is that it is really not even a spider at all! It is also called a Wind Scorpion and is an arachnid. It cannot weave a web and possess no venom, but when bitten, it leaves a gaping wound that is just too scary to share with you.

As we celebrate Halloween this year, I'm not quite as scared of spiders as I used to be:)...not really. I am, however, very thankful for every member of our Armed Forces that has, in the past, and is currently, serving overseas and also for their families who support them. Let us all pray that they will be spider-free very soon!

For more information about our monthly meetings, please feel free to contact Linda Clevenger, 540-220-5912 or email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

We meet on the third Saturday of every month from 10:00 - 12:00 at the Salem Church Library and would love to see you there!

October's meeting we'll be talking to our Toys for Tots Representative! November's meeting we'll be preparing boxes to mail to your troops for the holidays. Come join the fun!

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About Blue Star Mothers

Blue Star Mothers Fredericksburg is a community group that provides support to each other and local military families who have given their children to serve our Nation. We support every branch of the Armed Forces and it's veterans through patriotism, education and social events. We support our community and its active and deployed military through on-going service projects, including providing our servicemen and women with care packages. For more information about National Blue Star Mothers you can visit their website. To find our local chapter click here.

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Pouches' Community Corner

Adoptive parents in Fredericksburg now have a new partner on their journey to a healthy family. In 2016, Children’s Home Society was awarded a $125,000 grant from the Virginia Department of Social Services to extend their Richmond area post-adoptive services to the Fredericksburg area.

ChildrensHomeSociety

Now CHS is looking to find adoptive families in the area who need support before they hit a crisis point. “It doesn’t matter which agency they adopted from, or when that happened,” said Buckheit. “We want to offer a lifetime of support to adoptive families in the Fredericksburg area, especially those who haven’t been aware of our services in the past.”

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The opinions and/or views expressed on this blog represent the thoughts of individual blogger and not necessarily those of Fredericksburg Parent & Family Magazine or any of its employees or staff.