The End of An Era

Last week brought about the end of an era! After three years and three months I have finally completed my graduate program. I will be receiving my Master of Arts degree in English and Creative Writing with a Nonfiction concentration. It feels unreal to me because I have been working on this degree for so long. Through a full-time job, pregnancy, anxiety attacks, birth, a new baby who grew into a wild toddler and now I am actually finished! It feels amazing and sad all at the same time. This was such a long time goal of mine that I feel sort of stumped now that it is over.

For my final project I turned in 84 pages of my memoir. It’s only about a third of the way finished, but it is a really great start. My goal for 2015 is to finish the first draft of my book. I’m not sure when it will get published, but I know one day that it will. My dream has always been to inspire others with my writing and if I can just encourage one person with my story than I will have done something great. My professor gave me some really nice feedback and encouraged me to keep at it. He said I had a really great voice that resonates with people. I’ll take it! Now if only I can hold on to my motivation to keep going.

Things are always busy these days at our house. Sophia bug is 16 months old! I know it feels like yesterday I was writing about her birth. She is a busy, active, smart, independent little girl. She is definitely not a baby anymore. She loves to run around, hug, kiss, and chatter up a storm. She also uses sign language quite often. My favorite sign is for “milk”. When she wants to breastfeed she signs “milk” and climbs up into my lap. She also says “meh-meh” if I’m not paying attention. It’s adorable and so smart. She is also a lover of music and dance. She will sing along with Alvin and the Chipmunks and dance to any music that she hears. She will even shake her little butt to the music.

I love being able to stay at home with her, sometimes it is a challenge because having a toddler is like living with a tornado, but I am truly grateful. Richie works full-time for a local company doing IT work. Then as soon as his work day is over he heads to school for night classes! I could not be more proud of my husband. Working full-time and pursuing a college degree. It is hard and exhausting. So a major shout out to my love, you are amazing! He works hard every day to take care of me and Sophia and gives me the ability to stay home with her every day. Even though I am a writer, I don’t have the words to tell him how much he means to me and how much his support is appreciated. I’ll just keep it simple, I love you, Richie. You truly are the best.

Life in America has been good, Okinawa creeps up in my thoughts often. I never thought I would miss it there, but I do. Great friends, food, culture. Almost seems like a dream most days. Although I am happy to be back with family and friends here. Okinawa changed my life and brought about the most amazing things including my marriage and family. In just 10 days it will have been one year since we left Okinawa. It’s definitely been an interesting start back in America and I am ready to see where the next year takes us.

If you are still out there reading, thanks for sticking around! I’ll update again soon. Maybe share some of my writing with everyone.



Life Outside the Uniform: Finding a Civilian Job After the Military

As many of you know, I am closely involved with the military in both my professional and personal life. (I guess my blog title gives that away!) Yesterday, I posted about something extremely personal to me, but today’s topic is significant not just to my future, but to many in the military and their family members. I have been given the opportunity to work with fellow blogger, Emma Banks, who is studying to be a Career & Life Coach. She has written an excellent piece as a guest blogger on finding a civilian job after the military. This is important to so many of my colleagues and friends because in the next year or two many are preparing to make this transition from the military to the civilian sector, including my husband. I would like to thank Emma for her help and the excellent resources she is sharing with us. Make sure you visit her blog and show some love!  -Alyson

Life Outside the Uniform: Finding a Civilian Job After the Military

By Emma Banks

Leaving the military to enter into civilian life can be daunting. With so many challenges in front of you, finding a great job on top of everything else might seem impossible. I’m here to assure you that you can find your dream job as a civilian, no matter how many years you have served in the armed forces. Keep in mind that job searching takes time, and you’ll meet several myths designed to hold you down. Ignore them. I’ll outline four of the most common job hunting myths and the reality behind them so you can enter the civilian workforce with confidence.

Myth #1: No one is going to hire me because I have a service-related disability.

Truth: By law, an employer cannot discriminate based on disability, and there are many organizations willing to defend your right to work. If you’re worried that your disability will hold you back from performing your dream job, then rest assured that there are services to help you. For example, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs offers programs designed specifically to work with individuals with service-connected disabilities. These programs offer job training, counseling and other services to help you find a great job and keep it.


Myth #2: It’s time-consuming and difficult to apply to jobs.

Truth: Back in the old days, companies relied on paper resumes and a physical application process. Recognizing the need to meet the demands of busy applicants, many top companies today have streamlined the application process, making it much easier and faster to submit resumes and other documents. Mobile recruiting platforms like JIBE allow you to upload resumes, cover letters and more right from your smartphone. It’s never been easier or more convenient to apply to jobs.

Myth #3: My spouse is on his or her own when it comes to finding a job.

Truth: While there are a lot of great resources for you as a veteran, there are actually many services available to help your spouse find a rewarding job. A new program called Joining Forces works to find steady employment for military spouses, especially those who have to move a lot due to constantly changing orders. They offer career development services and work with companies to enhance the experience of military spouses.

Myth #4: The “hidden job market” contains all of the best jobs.

Truth: The so-called “hidden job market” allegedly contains all of the jobs that are never posted, the ones that people really want but have to know someone to get. In reality, companies hire people who qualify whether they know someone or not. As a veteran, you’ll be attractive to a wide range of companies and industries so don’t sell yourself short. Develop a strong resume and excellent interview skills, and you’ll land your dream job. The hidden job market might exist, but it doesn’t hold a monopoly on the best jobs.

After spending years in the service, it can seem daunting to take the next step into the civilian sector.

After spending years in the service, it can seem daunting to take the next step into the civilian sector.

Making the transition from military to civilian life can be challenging, but it is not impossible. With hard work, determination and the right resources you can be successful in your new life after the military.

Making the transition from military to civilian life can be challenging, but it is not impossible. With hard work, determination and the right resources you can be successful in your new life after the military.


Emma is a mid 20-something year old with a passion for life, love, fitness, and helping others. She loves to be active and get involved in as many sport and community activities as possible. Emma is currently studying to become a Career & Life Coach, and loves to network with people from around the world! Check out Emma’s blog at! You can also follow Emma on Twitter.