10 Reasons to be a Grateful Army Wife (Part One)

November always makes me get a bit more serious about gratitude. Why don’t I instill a daily ritual, reminding myself of the gifts I have every day? Did you know that gratitude can have lasting benefits for your health?

Maybe that will be my New Year’s resolution! For now, I’m happy to focus on giving thanks in anticipation of Turkey Day.

Can you imagine being a Pilgrim, making it through that very first year? I know they didn’t call it Thanksgiving at that time, but their harvest celebration set the stage for celebrations to come.

When I think about gratitude, it’s a feeling and an attitude. One marked by recognizing that the things in life are not just a given. The Pilgrims faced challenges and persevered against unthinkable odds to make it through that first harvest.

The Army rules our life, and there are times where I feel like I have to dig into my ancestral Pilgrim spirit and grit to get through the situation.

Overall, I have deep gratitude for what this military life offers. Some of these things might seem like a given. But when we reevaluate in light of gratitude, we can see them as gifts.

What makes you grateful to be an Army wife?

Healthcare

In an age of skyrocketing healthcare costs, I’m thankful for access to exceptional health insurance. I have friends who pay for health insurance through jobs or other programs, but still use healthcare on an emergency-needed basis.

My son broke his wrist on the fourth day of school. I picked him up and we sped off to the Emergency Room. I could focus on attending to his care without the gut wrenching question of “Will I be able to afford this?”

I can’t imagine being in the shoes of a parent with a suffering child, worried about how they will pay the bill or be forced to choose between medical costs and groceries.

Steady Pay

With the occasional exception of waiting on Congress to pass a budget, we are so lucky to receive regular paychecks for our husbands’ work. Knowing that we will receive a steady amount, twice a month, helps me budget and prepare.

Many in our extended family own their own businesses and get paid when they work. If the weather is bad, or when winter comes, or if you get injured, that paycheck is less predictable.

Our husbands work hard for that paycheck and we’re lucky to have a steady income.

Travel Opportunities

This is my personal favorite. I get giddy just thinking about the possibilities. We have saved money by using military travel benefits. From nerve-wracking Space A flights, to lodging, to MWR deals. Traveling military-style makes for fun, exciting adventures and we always have a good story to share.

 

Traveling Space A in a KC-135. We played with cars on the floor of the plane and catch with a football. Bonus: wearing ear protection makes for a very peaceful flight!

We love visiting Hawaii, which we do on a serious budget. A week in Hawaii can sometimes cost less than a trip to Florida (if we’re able to catch a Space A flight). We are by no means luxury travelers, which helps keep our costs low, but we also take advantage of opportunities.

Learn more about Space A travel by visiting these sites. If you live near a Space A terminal, just stop in and ask questions! We’ve always had great assistance at the passenger terminals.

A Different Perspective of the World…Part of Something Bigger

If you’ve lived in the military world for quite some time, you might forget that your perspective on the world is probably different than the average person. We can point out tiny countries on a map. We pay attention to what’s happening in the world. We have a better understanding of diplomacy.

On a smaller scale, the decisions we make daily aren’t always as big of a deal as they appear. By being aware of the bigger picture, we can let some of the small things in life go.

Very early in our marriage, I was flipping out over something happening. I don’t even remember what it was. But I got mad because Phil wasn’t bothered by it.

He said to me, “It’s not a big deal, no one is shooting at you.” Those were NOT the words to say to me at that moment.

But a day or two later, I reflected on the wisdom in his poorly-timed advice. I learned that freaking out over something that seemed big at the moment, but was not really big in the grand scheme of things, was not worth my time or energy.

There are times for freaking out, but more often than not, no one is shooting at me and I don’t need to rush to mitigate the issue. This perspective frees me.

Stay tuned for Part Two of this inspiring gratitude post!

 

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About Jolene McNutt

Jolene McNutt is a writer, editor, and graphic designer. She co-owns a business with her retired teacher dad creating hands-on resources for elementary and middle school teachers. Jolene has been married to her extroverted husband, Phil, for nine years. Phil is serving as part of the Active Duty Guard Reserve (AGR) in the Wisconsin Army National Guard - possibly the best kept secret in the Army! They have a six-year-old son, Finn, and a 90-pound lap dog, Odin. Jolene enjoys traveling, reading, and making allergy friendly recipes for Finn. Despite her introverted nature, Jolene loves hosting friends and family. Find her on Instagram @jolenemichelle1.

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