12 Things We’ve Learned from the MilSpouse Community, in Honor of Military Spouse Appreciation Day

By Nicole Vogel and Elizabeth Lee

Over the past year, the USO has had the opportunity to help military spouses around the world make friends and establish new connections within their communities. In this time, we’ve heard from many spouses – as well as advocates within the military spouse community – on how to live the most fulfilled military spouse life.

One program that helps foster these discussions is USO Coffee Connection Live, which kicked off in February 2019. This virtual program has given a voice to the military spouse community by providing opportunities for military spouses to connect with one another even when they aren’t physically near a USO center. For these military spouses, being able to connect worldwide through regular webinars has been an incredible bonding experience, and they’ve been able to learn – and share – many life lessons along the way.

To pay it forward on this Military Spouse Appreciation Day, here are the top 12 life lessons learned from USO Coffee Connection Live conversations with these influential members of the military spouse community:

1. Brittany Boccher taught us how to stay true to ourselves and our identities. Her advice was to “make sure you’re filling your cup, not your time.”

2. Brian Alvarado showed us how to find your tribe – that is, how to connect with friends, resources and members of your local community.

3. With PCS season causing stress for military families every year, Kellie Artis shared how MILLIE helps us all wade through the challenges of relocating, to come out on top.

4. Evie King from Independent reminded us that self-care is not something to apologize for.

5. Carla Hall showed us how to cook with love and live with joy. She also gave us advice for setting intentions vs. goals to find happiness.

6. We spoke with Corie Weathers twice on two topics military spouses have been asking about: marriage in the military and communication. She and her husband, Matt, kept it real and told us that honest communication and maintaining sacred spaces is the key to a successful marriage.

7. Amy Brown told us how to give joy to others to find joy in yourself.

8. Monte Durham shared fashion and beauty tips with us, and reminded everyone to dedicate time to ensuring you feel fabulous every day.

9. Maralis Self educated us on holistic wellness and shared how it helped her pull through some serious life challenges.

10. Maria Reed and Molly Bennett challenged us to get creative at home and in our communities.

11. Elise Harris motivated and encouraged us to balance fitness and nutrition in our everyday lives.

12. Jim Brickman soothed us with his music and reminded us to sit back, relax, and appreciate the simple things.

USO Military Spouse Programs have led the charge in supporting military spouses with programs such as Coffee Connections and Military Spouse Networking, reaching “MilSpouses” in more than 60 locations around the world. These programs – and the communities they build – will continue to connect military spouses with one another, as well as foster a strength of spirit that is unique to our military and their families.

- Nicole Vogel and Elizabeth Lee are employees on the USO Military Spouse Programs team, and both are military spouses. Combined, they have 10 PCS moves under their belts, as well as more than 20 years as military spouses and 20 years of working for the USO on three different continents.

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