Milspouse Matters

Jen McDonald

Encouragement for military spouses. Military families make up less than 1% of the U.S. population, and the challenges they face are unique. Whether you're looking for military spouse support or simply want to learn more, join host Jen McDonald as we discuss it all: getting through the separations that go along with training and deployments, moving around the world, seeing the one you love leave for war, raising kids in the military, finding your own place as a military spouse, and strengthening your military marriage. A military spouse of nearly three decades herself and the author of the book You Are Not Alone: Encouragement for the Heart of a Military Spouse, Jen doesn't shy away from the hard topics, while providing a practical, humorous look at military life. Military life can be hard, but it’s also amazing in so many ways. We're only stronger together.

A Military Spouse Overseas - Ep. 86
Jun 23 2022
A Military Spouse Overseas - Ep. 86
On this episode, I'm talking to Julie Tully, the author of the upcoming book, Dispatches from the Cowgirl: Through the Looking Glass with a Navy Diplomat's Wife.  Julie is the spouse of a Foreign Area Officer and has spent the last 18 years living overseas in different countries in Africa and Europe. In fact, Julie recorded this episode from Italy, right smack in the middle of a PCS move! She’s a cowgirl-turned-nomadic Navy spouse and she writes about life, culture, and the places where they intersect. Julie and I cover a lot of this topics in this episode, including her family’s multiple tours overseas, how it’s felt being “America” to the people they’ve lived among, her life as the spouse of a Foreign Area Officer, tips for moving overseas, the story behind her upcoming book, their soon return to the U.S., and how her son—who’s never lived in the U.S.— feels about it all! See the complete show notes for this episode here. Connect with Julie at her site: Julie Tully Find Julie on social media: FacebookInstagram Get Jen’s book, You Are Not Alone: Encouragement for the Heart of a Military Spouse Connect with Milspouse Matters on Instagram Christian Military Spouse Facebook Group Find the complete Milspouse Matters show archive and listen to every episode! Have a topic idea for the Milspouse Matters podcast or know someone who’d be a great guest? Send me a note or fill out our guest application. Note that all requests right now will be put on a waiting list for late 2022-2023! This episode is sponsored by USA Girl Scouts Overseas. For families on the move, Girl Scouts is a constant, allowing girls to pick up right where she left off: benefiting from the single best leadership development experience for girls in the world. Their virtual troop is a great way for girls to learn new skills, meet girls from all over the world, and have fun no matter where they are or where they move. Learn more at USA Girl Scouts Overseas!
Support for Seasoned Military Spouses with Pride & Grit - Ep. 85
Jun 7 2022
Support for Seasoned Military Spouses with Pride & Grit - Ep. 85
On this episode, I'm talking to Jen Pasquale from Pride & Grit.  Jen is a 15-year active-duty Army spouse, mom of two, and champion for seasoned military spouses. In 2018, Jen founded Pride & Grit as a support community, resource hub, and as of 2021, host of an annual personal development retreat for seasoned military spouses. As a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach, Jen also offers identity coaching using the CliftonStrengths assessment. As a coach, Jen helps spouses develop pride in their unique talents while cultivating the grit to use those talents and lean into an identity beyond service. We talk about her work and support for seasoned military spouses, including their struggles, how often we keep our problems to ourselves so we appear strong, what others misunderstand about “senior spouses,” and ways you can begin to prepare for the end of your servicemember’s career and take care of yourself. Jen talks about Pride & Grit and how it came about. She says, “A lot of us have been around a long time, and we’ve weathered a lot of hard things in military life. A lot of us were tired. It’s not that we didn’t love being a service family, but we were tired. And I noticed that people didn’t have a space to be tired that was supportive for them.” If you can relate, this is the episode for you! Be sure to also check out the yearly Evolve Retreat for seasoned military spouses.  Connect with Pride & Grit and learn more about the Evolve Retreat. Find Pride & Grit on social media: FacebookInstagramLinkedIn See the complete show notes for this episode. Connect with Milspouse Matters on InstagramChristian Military Spouse Facebook GroupFind the complete Milspouse Matters show archive and listen to every episode! This episode is sponsored by USA Girl Scouts Overseas. For families on the move, Girl Scouts is a constant, allowing girls to pick up right where she left off: benefiting from the single best leadership development experience for girls in the world. Their virtual troop is a great way for girls to learn new skills, meet girls from all over the world, and have fun no matter where they are or where they move. Learn more at USA Girl Scouts Overseas!
Shine Sis: Helping You Find Purpose in the Milspouse Journey - Ep. 84
May 25 2022
Shine Sis: Helping You Find Purpose in the Milspouse Journey - Ep. 84
This week, I’m talking to Mary Monrose and Candus Griffin, military spouses, mothers, and hosts of the Shine Sis podcast. I first connected with them on Instagram, where I saw their posts and loved the positive message they were sharing. When I realized they were also military spouses, I knew we had to talk! About Shine Sis: It’s hard trying to find your purpose in life, especially when you are consumed with always putting your family first. Join Military spouses Candus Griffin and Mary Monrose, as they share life experiences and interview guests who can help you be successful in your journey. If you ever felt like your life was moving without direction or if you felt limited by your circumstances, then this podcast is for you.  You'll hear how Candus and Mary met and decided to start a podcast, some of their tips for deployment, finding their own place and purpose in the military space, and what’s coming for Shine Sis as they look to give back to other women. You’ll surely relate to some of their story! Listen to Shine Sis here or in your favorite podcast player. Connect with Shine Sis on Instagram: @shine_sis_podcast See the complete show notes for this episode. Connect with Milspouse Matters on InstagramChristian Military Spouse Facebook GroupFind the complete Milspouse Matters show archive and listen to every episode! This episode is sponsored by USA Girl Scouts Overseas. For families on the move, Girl Scouts is a constant, allowing girls to pick up right where she left off: benefiting from the single best leadership development experience for girls in the world. Their virtual troop is a great way for girls to learn new skills, meet girls from all over the world, and have fun no matter where they are or where they move. Learn more at USA Girl Scouts Overseas!
Comparisons & Admitting You Need Help - Ep. 82
Apr 26 2022
Comparisons & Admitting You Need Help - Ep. 82
Here’s the second installment of the study of my book, You Are Not Alone: Encouragement for the Heart of a Military Spouse, that we’ve been doing in the Christian Military Spouse Facebook group. As mentioned on the last episode, I decided to share the audio from my talks there on the podcast, and this is the week 2 study covering readings 5-7.  If you’d like to join in the ongoing book study and discussion, join us in the Christian Military Spouses Facebook group! (link below)  Don’t have the book? Get the new, updated 2022 edition here: You Are Not Alone: Encouragement for the Heart of a Military Spouse. If you have the first edition from 2016, that will work fine too! We're covering the themes of comparisons, discontentment with military life, and admitting when we need help. Sometimes military spouses need the reminder that we don’t get a medal for being the toughest and doing everything on our own! Another pitfall can be comparing our situation to our civilian friends and family and wishing we had it differently. We’re going to talk about not comparing, ways to cultivate contentment, and the importance of not struggling alone and finding that community we all need.  Common question: Do you have to be religious to read this book?  While this book is written from the perspective of faith, I think there is so much that pertains to any military spouse! Click here for the complete show notes for this episode, including study questions and Scriptures mentioned. Connect with Milspouse Matters on Instagram Christian Military Spouse Facebook GroupFind the complete Milspouse Matters show archive and listen to every episode! This episode is sponsored by USA Girl Scouts Overseas. For families on the move, Girl Scouts is a constant, allowing girls to pick up right where she left off: benefiting from the single best leadership development experience for girls in the world. Their virtual troop is a great way for girls to learn new skills, meet girls from all over the world, and have fun no matter where they are or where they move. Learn more at USA Girl Scouts Overseas!
Giving Up Control in Military Life - Ep. 81
Mar 15 2022
Giving Up Control in Military Life - Ep. 81
In the Christian Military Spouses group, we’ve been doing a book study of my book, You Are Not Alone: Encouragement for the Heart of a Military Spouses, and I’ve been talking via video each week there. I'm sharing the audio from those talks over the coming weeks. This is the week 1 study, going over Days 1-4 in the book.  (Note: If you’d like to join in the ongoing book study and discussion, join us here: Christian Military Spouses Facebook group.) Don’t have the book? Get the new, updated 2022 edition here: If you have the first edition from 2016, that will work fine, too! Grab your favorite beverage, find a comfy spot, and let’s visit. I want this to feel like we’re having coffee together. (OR you can listen on the go—I totally get the busy milspouse life!) On this installment, we’re discussing the intro and Days 1-4, with the themes of coming to terms with military spouse life, giving up control, and finding our identity in Christ. If you don’t have the book/haven’t read it yet, I think this week’s talk will still be of interest to you as a military spouse.  Common question: do you have to be religious to read this book?  Answer: While this book is written from the perspective of a Christian military spouse, I think there is so much that pertains to any military spouse! See the complete show notes for this episode here, including questions and Scriptures mentioned.  Get my book, You Are Not Alone: Encouragement for the Heart of a Military SpouseConnect with Milspouse Matters on InstagramChristian Military Spouse Facebook GroupFind the complete Milspouse Matters show archive and listen to every episode!
A Missionary Heart for the Military - Ep. 74
Nov 17 2021
A Missionary Heart for the Military - Ep. 74
This week, I'm talking to Air Force spouse and missionary Megan Brown! Megan B. Brown is a seasoned military spouse and military missionary. She is the Military Liaison for the Speak Up Conference Global Missions Military Scholarship and the 2019-Armed Forces Insurance Robins AFB Military Spouse of the Year. She is passionate about military mission work and teaching and preaching about Jesus in and out of the local church. Her Bible study, Summoned: Answering a Call to the Impossible, published by Moody Publishers in Chicago, released in May 2021. She lives in south Mississippi with her husband, Keith, and their energetic kiddos. She is a Bible teacher, speaker, and freelance writer. To learn more or connect with Megan, visit meganbbrown.com. On this episode, we talk about Megan’s new book, Summoned and how the study came about. Megan also shares her heart for military families, her work with Cru Military, and how has God met her in some dark places, and the hope you can also find. As she says, the gospel wrecked her, but through her experiences and finding strength in Christ, it also caused her to see herself in God’s greater plan. She reminds us, “From cover to cover of the Bible, women have been involved.” See this episode's complete show notes.  Jen's "favorite things" this week:  Blackberries All Year: picture book by military spouse Courtney Woodruff. Part of the proceeds support fostering and adoptive parents! Jen is on the Call to Marriage podcast this week, talking about deployment and the holidays! Get my book, You Are Not Alone: Encouragement for the Heart of a Military SpouseConnect with Milspouse Matters on InstagramChristian Military Spouse Facebook GroupFind the complete Milspouse Matters show archive and listen to every episode!
How to Thrive During Deployment - Ep. 73
Nov 3 2021
How to Thrive During Deployment - Ep. 73
On this episode, I’m talking to Becky Hoy, who is a U.S. Army military spouse of 10 years and the Founder of Brave Crate- the deployment countdown box for military spouses, and co-host of PILLAR- the digital retreat for deployment countdowns. She shares about both those ventures, and talks about how she learned to make the most of the time apart from her husband vs. just wishing for it to be over. Be prepared to get a brand new perspective and encouragement for the difficulties of deployment. Becky tells us how her perspective shifted from “counting every minute to making every minute count” and some of her experiences as she’s been through multiple deployments. The willingness to embrace change and the unknown is so important to getting through life as a military spouse, and Becky talks candidly of her struggles through this rollercoaster ride, while also reminding us that it is possible to thrive while your spouse is away.  >>> TAKE NOTE! SPECIAL OFFER FROM BECKY! USE THE CODE MILSPOUSE20 FOR 20% OFF YOUR FIRST BRAVE CRATE PLUS GET FREE TICKETS TO THE PILLAR DIGITAL RETREAT FOR DEPLOYMENT COUNTDOWNS, WHICH IS COMING UP FROM NOV 12-14.  Learn more:  Brave Crate PILLAR Deployment Retreat See the complete show notes for this episode.  Get my book, You Are Not Alone: Encouragement for the Heart of a Military SpouseConnect with Milspouse Matters on InstagramChristian Military Spouse Facebook GroupFind the complete Milspouse Matters show archive and listen to every episode!
Make Your Military Marriage Stronger - Ep. 68
Oct 5 2021
Make Your Military Marriage Stronger - Ep. 68
This episode of the Milspouse Matters podcast is sponsored by SpouseLink, which was created in 2012 by AAFMA, the American Armed Forces Mutual Aid Association. The goal of Spouselink is to support, inform, and inspire military spouses. Learn more at Spouselink.org. Someone wise once told me many years ago, What kind of marriage do you want in 30 years? What you do now determines what it will be then. I’m so glad I took that advice to heart.  Any military spouse who’s been in military life for a minute or two realizes that military marriage comes with a lot of stress points. During one particularly tough time in our marriage, I knew something had to change. But darnit, the only thing I had control over was…me. I had to begin looking at life differently and not try to change my spouse. It wasn’t working, anyway! (As a control freak, this is still an ongoing lesson!) On this episode, I’m sharing a few tips from over 30 years of marriage. Marriage takes work, but it should also be fun! If you’re not laughing together regularly, something is off. Yes, even in the hard times, humor is so necessary! See the “scorpion story” I reference here: Strengthening Your Military Marriage. For big marriage issues, of course there are no easy answers. Do you need some support? I have a lot of podcast episodes and blog posts about military marriage that I hope will be some help to you. If you need counseling and support, contact your military chaplain or connect with Military OneSource for free, confidential counseling.  Domestic Abuse Hotline—call 800.799.SAFE (7233) or visit their website. Get my book, You Are Not Alone: Encouragement for the Heart of a Military SpouseConnect with Milspouse Matters on Instagram Christian Military Spouse Facebook GroupFind the complete Milspouse Matters show archive and listen to every episode! Click here for the complete show notes for this episode.