New Tricare Vision Coverage

DOS_Phase2_Understanding_Moms_Half Page_TRICARE and FEDVIP

Anyone who has vision trouble or family members who do, knows how expensive it is to pay out of pocket for exams and contact/glasses.

In 2019, a brand new vision benefit will be available to eligible to active duty family members through Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP).

Eligible beneficiaries can enroll in one of FEDVIP’s four vision plans. Plans vary in coverage and cost, and may include routine eye exams, eyeglasses, and contact lenses.

Coverage is not automatic! You must enroll during Open Season, Nov. 12- Dec., 2018.

Visit tricare.benefeds.com to learn more and sign up for updates.

Don’t Forget, Save the Date! Federal Benefits Open Season Nov. 12- Dec., 2018

 

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Visit Now

 

 

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Coalition Formed to Address Military Family Food Insecurity

Military Family Advisory Network (MFAN) convenes top hunger- and food security-organizations to support military families facing food insecurity
A newly formed coalition of service, advocacy, and education organizations has made combating food insecurity among military families a top priority. This coalition will work together to understand the landscape, needs, and how the nuances of military life can impact a family’s ability to meet this fundamental need. According to MFAN’s Military Family Support Programming Survey, food insecurity is something experienced by 15% of military and veteran family respondents.

“Our research shows that not all military families have enough food to feed themselves and their families,” said Shelley Kimball, Ph.D., MFAN’s director of research. “This should not be a reality for families who are devoting their lives to service, but unfortunately, it is.”

Coalition members include: Feeding America, Food Research & Action Center, National WIC Association, and United Way.

The group will work together to address three key areas: education on the issue and the resources available, reduction of shame for those in need, and increased access to services.

“As an organization, we recognize that we are not the experts on food insecurity. However, we do know our community and know how to convene the right people and organizations to advance an issue,” said MFAN’s executive director, Shannon Razsadin. “We know that with these organizations involved, we will be able to help military families put food on the table—there’s not much that’s more important than that.”

Contact MFAN’s research director, Shelley Kimball, PhD for more information on this initiative and to get involved: kimball@militaryfamilyadvisorynetwork.org

 

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The Military Family Advisory Network is a nonprofit dedicated to building a community of military and veteran families at home and abroad who are well-informed about the resources designed to serve them, equipped with tools for success, connected to leaders who serve the military family community and embraced by the public. To learn more about MFAN, visit www.militaryfamilyadvisorynetwork.org

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Space of Love- A Book About Living With Autism

GUEST POST

Space of Love
Understanding the Power of Thought and Wisdom in Living with Autism

By Gayle Nobel

I was helping my son in the shower this morning. It was very early and I was feeling a bit grumpy about having to be awake and busy at 5 AM.

As I settled into the tasks, I found myself dropping into the present moment. The grumpy feelings began to pass as I remembered that moments very similar to these inspired my poem titled Space of Love. This poem eventually became the title of my third book on living with autism.

My son Kyle, an amazing soul who happens to have autism, still lives at home at the age of 34. He needs a lot of assistance with many things, hence our daily meet ups in the bathroom for shower, shave and grooming.

I wrote Space of Love when I realized I had something very important to share with the autism world. I had seen something deep and powerful that I couldn’t unsee.

In one of my stories I pose the question, “What if the stress and strain you feel isn’t coming from the condition of autism, your child’s behavior or challenges, or the obstacles in your life?”

At this point the reader might respond,“What? Of course it is. My stress comes directly from autism in the form of worry, fear, and exhaustion. It comes directly from my child in the form of behavior, learning challenges, extra parental demands, etc.”

I gently invite the reader to look in a different direction. To understand that there is a powerful force at play between a situation or condition such as autism and our personal feelings and experience of it.

This force is a formless energy called the gift of thought. Thought energy is a constant hum within us. We hear bits and pieces in the form of mind chatter or personal thinking but much of it is deep below the surface of our awareness.

Thought is the paint that creates our experience whether it be happy or sad, stressed or relaxed. It colors the lens through which we view life and literally paints our separate realities. We can’t have a feeling without thought because thought creates feeling.

So autism will be autism. My son may still need help in the shower every morning. And my experience of all of that will change as the energy of thought flows through me. I am crabby one moment and grateful the next. I might experience showering my son as an obligation or a Space of Love.

Thought is quick and slick. It shows up uninvited. Fortunately, it is also fluid. Therefore my feelings and my experiences are fluid. Thought needs something called consciousness to bring it to life and create the movie of our experience.

There is comfort in seeing my experience is created from the inside out, not the outside in. This means autism doesn’t need to be fixed for me to feel okay, even great. The implications of this are incredible and vast.

Simply getting a tiny glimpse of this understanding has the power to completely change our experience. As the outside world may appear static and unchanging, there is comfort in knowing “this too, shall pass”. While it might sound cliche, this is exactly the nature of thought. Like the water in a river, it is always in motion.

As thought begins to settle, we begin to settle too. From that space, there is room for wisdom to slip in. Wisdom comes in the form of insight which is brand new thought or a sense of knowing we may not have seen or known before.

For me, that might look like a bright idea on how to help Kyle be more independent in the shower. Or maybe an inkling that it might be time to get some help with this task. Something fresh and new occurs to me that couldn’t make its way to my awareness when my personal thinking was revved up like a marching band.

Similar to thought, the gift of wisdom or intuition is a powerful energy. It seems to spring from within yet at the same time, it is, in essence, the spiritual energy to which we are all connected. It is part of the same energy that grows a human in the womb or a flower in the garden. Wow!

In understanding the gift and power of thought and wisdom, we may start to sense resilience is part of us, as it is only one thought away. We strain less, and listen more.

In seeing this, we begin to know that peace and grace are available to us on the most challenging journeys, including the one with autism.

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Space of Love consists of stories and poetry. Here’s a sample.

Lemonade

A child with Autism
When you tell people, they seem sad
a momentary gaze of pity crosses their face Beyond compassion, sympathy perhaps

Life gave you a lemon, say their eyes “He’s so handsome though”

A lemon
Something to deal with
An obstacle to happiness and a good life

Something to reframe
Put a new lens on the glasses
from which you gaze out into your world

Make the best of it if you can Squeeze that lemon, add sugar Make lemonade
The only way to make it okay

But what if …

the lemon-ness of autism is not real
 but made of thought?

And our experience does not come from our child, his behavior, his autism but from lemony thoughts.

They create our lemony experience.

What if we have the ability to allow the energy of thought to float through, knowing there is something new that will come along?

Something sweeter at any moment in time

Nothing to do but wait live
 notice
and love.

The transient nature of thought creates the transient nature of our experience

Yes, transient

We can see something new without effort
 or
fixing
or
doing
or
changing our child

No squeezing of lemons because lemons don’t exist

They are not solid like the ones on my tree They are made of the formless energy of thought

A relief to know I don’t have to fix my son, so handsome
or my experience,
so fluid

Or make a single glass of lemonade

Author bio: Gayle Nobel is an author, transformative life coach, parent mentor, blogger, and inspirational speaker. She has a lifelong connection to autism through her brother and son. Gayle has a BA in Special Education and Elementary Education from Arizona State University. She received life coach training through the International Coach Academy and Michael Neill’s Supercoach Academy. Space of Love is her third book on living with autism. Gayle resides in Phoenix, Arizona with her husband and son. To learn more, visit: www.gaylenobel.com
Book Synopsis: For people living with a child or adult with autism, special needs, or any life situation that is emotionally difficult: If you feel like you have reached the end of your rope and have run out of solutions, Space of Love offers an energizing lifeline and a brand new perspective on how to approach many personal concerns.
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Transitioning to a Civilian Job? Four Tips for Veterans Facing a Career Change

Guest Post:

For many military service members, transitioning out of the armed forces does not mean immediate retirement from work. Veterans often choose to pursue a second career after leaving the service to continue to support their family and gain experience in a new field. There are many tools available to assist these individuals in finding new career opportunities, including newly announced Google search features that help veterans identify openings that match their unique skill set. While this is great news, a career transition can still be daunting. For men and women who are facing a move out of the military, here are four tips to help navigate the career change.

Register for Transition Assistance Program (TAP) classes and make use of all your resources

One of the many great resources offered to servicemembers is Transition Assistance Program (TAP) classes. These classes are designed to help servicemembers transition out of the service more easily and include seminars and workshops on helpful topics including resume writing, skill assessments, interview tips and Veterans’ Benefits. Once you’ve made the decision to retire from the service, you should register for TAP classes to become more informed and properly begin your transition.

In addition to TAP classes, you can research other online resources and seminars offered by organizations like the AAFMAA , the USO, and the VFW. And don’t forget to make use of your personal network! If you know someone who recently transitioned to a non-military career, consider reaching out and asking them to meet up for lunch or coffee to hear about their experiences.

Identify your career preferences before beginning a job search  

While you’re serving in the Armed Forces, your career path is usually well defined based on the amount of time you’ve served as well as your branch and rank. For veterans who are transitioning out of the service, especially those who entered at a young age, transition may be the first time your career path is completely wide-open. While the chance for a new start is very promising, it can also be daunting if you don’t know where to start. When you arrive at this crossroads, step back and ask yourself a few questions before diving into the job search. A few questions to consider include:

  • If you were involved in a specialized area of the service (i.e. engineering, technology or medicine), would you like to stay in that general field when working as a civilian?
  • Do you have a preference as to the type of company would you like to work for? For example, would you prefer services or manufacturing, and other similar criteria?
  • Are you looking to stay in the same geographical area or are you open to moving to a new location?
  • Do you require further education or training and is this something you’d need to undergo before starting the job or can it be done while you are working?

These questions are just the beginning and are by no means all-encompassing. It’s also important to discuss your career plan and ideas with your spouse and family, since they will be affected. These discussions can often lead to additional questions that pertain to your family’s unique situation.

Find ways to leverage your military experience for a new career

One of the greatest challenges for a veteran who is entering the civilian workforce can be finding ways to explain the qualifications they earned in the military to a potential new employer. Remember that it may be hard for a new employer to see the connections between military-specific skills and skills needed for their new hire, particularly if the job is in a completely different industry. To leverage your abilities within the context of a new position, it helps to identify the impact and results of your military work and identify the broader skills you used to achieve your outcomes. A civilian employer will not always understand the day-to-day duties of your work in the service, but things like leadership, organization and strategic thinking resonate well across all industries.

When you land an interview, prepare adequately

Conduct research on the company you are interviewing with and be prepared to share with the hiring manager some specific ways you can bring value to the company. It might be helpful to conduct a practice interview with a trusted friend or relative, preferably someone who hasn’t served in the military. When you practice responses, avoid jargon and technical language. If the person you’re practicing with doesn’t understand your responses, it’s likely the potential employer won’t either!

During an interview, it’s also important for you to come with questions of your own. I mentioned further education and training earlier. While this might not be a requirement for hiring, if it’s something you’re interested in, you may want to ask the employer if they have any programs for continued education and training. This demonstrates initiative and a desire to make you more valuable to the company. Another good question to ask might be “What are your goals for the company in the 30/60/90 days?” Pay attention to their answer and be prepared to explain how your unique skills can help them meet these goals.

Job transitions and interviews are stressful for everyone, no matter what your work history is. For the men and women of the Armed Forces, they can be especially daunting. However, there are plenty of tools out there designed to help veterans make the next move after retiring from the services and these tips are a great place to start!

 

Carlos Perez is the COO and Assistant Secretary of AAFMAA. Prior to joining AAFMAA, Perez served over twenty-six years of active duty Army leadership as an Engineer Officer in a variety of command and staff assignments, including battalion command in the United States and operational and combat deployments to Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan.

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SMALLFOOT – Yeti Or Not Here We Come! GIVEAWAY

As a military family on a budget, living overseas has provided us with opportunities to explore the world in ways we would not if we were stationed Stateside.  We’ve been very lucky to have lived overseas for about half of Horatio’s Naval career.  We’ve traveled in Europe, Africa, Australia, and of course- Asia.  Given the opportunity, though, there are still many places I’d love to venture to with my family.  The world is huge and I want to continue exploring it.  I never know what wonderful places, sites and people we will discover when we travel.

The movie, Smallfoot, is about such exploration and discovery.

An animated adventure for all ages, with original music and an all-star cast, “Smallfoot” turns a myth upside down when a bright young yeti finds something he thought didn’t exist—a human.

News of this “smallfoot” throws the simple yeti community into an uproar over what else might be out there in the big world beyond their snowy village, in an all new story about friendship, courage and the joy of discovery.

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“Smallfoot” stars Channing Tatum (“The LEGO® Batman Movie,” the “Jump Street” films),  Zendaya (“Spider-Man: Homecoming”), Common (“Selma”), LeBron James (upcoming “Space Jam 2”), Danny DeVito (“The Lorax,” Oscar nominee for “Erin Brockovich”), Gina Rodriguez (“Jane the Virgin”), and Yara Shahidi (TV’s “Black-ish”).  It debuts in theaters on September 28.

Smallfoot_(film) one sheet

Comment below on where you’d visit if you could and you will be entered to win a Smallfoot gift package that includes:

·         4 Fandango code cards for you and your family to enjoy this film when it releases in theaters.

·         Adorable stickers from the movie

·         Activity posters and sheets for the kids

·         A blue Smallfoot notebook

Share the post for an extra entry and leave a comment telling me you did so.

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8 Things You Need to Know When You Take an Overseas Posting

  1.  You may or may not be able to take your household goods.   Well, of course you can take your belongings, but you might be extremely limited in your weight allowance.  The good news is that if this is the case, your overseas housing will be furnished.  Make sure you find out what kind of housing you’ll have before you decide what to pack, and pack anything you feel will make your house feel like home.
  2.  You’ll make fast friends, if you are open to it.  Unlike other military posting locations, most of the people you’ll meet will be transplants there, just like you.  So, most people are open to making new friends.  You’ll be surprised how quickly you can make deep connections with new friends.
  3. You can live in a bubble on base, without exploring or getting to know your host country; but why would you want to?  Get out and see what’s beyond the post gates.  See sights, hike, eat new foods.
  4. You can always find someone to explore with you, you just need to ask. Find out how people in the community communicate, most likely a texting app, download it and get involved.
  5. You’ll be able to use the US mail system to shop at most of your favorite online stores.  Walmart, Target and Amazon will still be your go-to shops for your basic needs.
  6. You will have to ship your liquids in your hhg or buy locally.  You can only ship up to 16 ounces per box while you are overseas and using the FPO/APO mail system.
  7. You’ll go through stages of adjustment, starting with complete shock, but you will eventually adjust.  Your attitude can make you or break you, so try to keep a positive perspective.
  8. You’ll figure it all out and probably won’t want to leave at the end of your tour.

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First Look- Operation Finale- A film about the capture of Adolf Eichmann

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Operation Finale, a major motion picture starring Ben Kingsley and Oscar Isaac, tells the true story of Israel’s Mossad operation to hunt down and capture Holocaust evil mastermind Adolf Eichmann in 1960. The film premiered in New York earlier this week and will be released to the general public next Wednesday, August 29.

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The film starts fifteen years after the end of World War II, when, acting on irrefutable evidence, a top-secret team of Israeli Mossad agents travel to Argentina where Eichmann (Kingsley) has been in hiding together with his family under an alias Ricardo Klement and execute an extremely dangerous abduction. In attempting to sneak him out of Argentina to stand trial in Israel while being pursued by the country’s right-wing forces, agent Peter Malkin (Isaac) is forced to engage Eichmann in an intense and gripping game of cat-and-mouse with life-and-death stakes.

Watch the trailer:

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United Through Reading: Face to Face While Miles Away

By Kara Dallman

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Military spouses and children face many unique challenges. The frequent moves, reassignments and deployments that many families experience mean that life is never simple or routine. The resiliency and strength of parents and children alike is outstanding – but that does not mean that it is easy.

Fortunately, there are numerous organizations dedicated to supporting military families and children –United Through Reading (UTR) is proud to be one of them. Dedicated to keeping military families connected through the read-aloud experience, UTR provides the opportunity for deployed service members to record a video of themselves reading a favorite book to their children. The recording and book are sent to their loved ones back home.

 

When Sergeant David Simmons left for his first deployment with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit aboard the USS Iwo Jima, he wasn’t only leaving behind his wife, Hannah. The two were expecting their first child, a daughter. Hannah’s July due date fell during David’s deployment; this would be the first major life event David would miss.

 

“There is no sugar coating it. This deployment has been pretty terrible for me,” Hannah shared with UTR. “And I’m only 5 weeks deep. My only best friend is on the other side of the world serving our country. And I’m in a new city, alone, with close to no family… oh and I’m 6 months pregnant.”

 

It was at this five-week tough spot when Hannah received a surprise package containing a UTR recording from David. As the DVD played, Hannah could not hold back the tears and was in full on ‘ugly crying’ mode. In her words, “THIS is my husband. THIS is the man that I fell madly in love with. THIS is why, despite our situation, despite any negative thing going on in my life, THIS man is why I am the luckiest woman on earth!”

 

On more challenging days, Hannah takes comfort in playing David’s recordings of Daddy’s Lullaby and Where the Wild Things Are. Although David recorded these stories for their daughter, they actually helped Hannah make it through the deployment. She even said, “To some it may just be a man being recorded reading a book but to me it was reassurance from my husband that I am not alone, that despite the miles, he is supporting me, supporting our family and the new chapter of parenthood we are crossing into.”

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These UTR recordings have helped relieve some of David’s fears as well. Every time David records a story for his daughter, he feels closer to her, more connected to Hannah and rests easy knowing his little girl will know his voice when he returns from deployment.

 

UTR offers deployed parents the opportunity to be video-recorded reading storybooks to their children, which eases the stress of separation, maintains positive emotional connections and cultivates a love of reading. At nearly 200 recording locations worldwide, U.S. service members can read to their children from command units on ships, in tents in the desert and at USO centers worldwide. Research shows that the read-aloud experience is a way for children to experience the joy of reading and gain critical learning and communications skills.

 

For more information, visit www.unitedthroughreading.org or call (858) 481-7323.  UTR can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

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Influencers Meet in Washington, DC to Address Key Military and Veteran Family Needs.

Influencers Meet in Washington, DC to Address Key Military and Veteran Family Needs.
Military Family Advisory Network Hosts Solutions Summit in Honor of Fifth Anniversary

Press Release—
WASHINGTON — The Military Family Advisory Network (MFAN), a national non-profit of military spouses, marked its fifth anniversary by convening its current and former advisory board members as well as leaders from the Armed Forces, White House, Congress, and private sector to address three timely and compelling topics that affect military families, as identified in the 2017 Military Family Support Programming Survey: military spouse and veteran entrepreneurship, food insecurity among the military and veteran community, and the effects of frequent military moves.

The current and former advisory board members, who represent a diverse cross-section of military families, traveled from across the country to participate in this Solutions Summit. “The convening power of MFAN is what sets our organization apart. We live this life, we experience the challenges and opportunities firsthand, and our connection to those we serve is personal and authentic,” said MFAN’s executive director, Shannon Razsadin. “This weekend we celebrated our accomplishments by doing what we do best — bringing the right people together to make a positive impact on the lives of military and veteran families.”

Military family issues have long benefited from bipartisan support. On Friday, Second Lady, Mrs. Karen Pence invited MFAN to breakfast at the Vice President’s Residence. “The Military Family Advisory Network serves an important purpose to our Armed Forces,” said Mrs. Pence. “I am encouraged by the organization’s commitment to address some of the greatest challenges facing military families such as military spouse employment, education, and the effects of frequent moves.  Their work on these issues will play an important role in helping to identify how we can better assist military families.”

Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., congratulated the group at the Solutions Summit via video message, “Through MFAN I’ve met several incredible military spouses whose stories have helped me and my entire team advance bipartisan efforts focused on spousal employment, PCSing, childcare, and Military OneSource,” said Senator Kaine, “I hope that you take time to reflect on the work that you’ve done to advance the cause of military families.”

In addition to the focus groups, the event included keynote remarks from the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Military Community and Family Policy, Mrs. Ann Thomas (A.T.) Johnston, “I am humbled to be here today. Everything that you do, and we do together, helps our military family members, and that truly touches my heart,” said Johnston.

At the event, MFAN released a preliminary report from research conducted in July on the impact of frequent moves. “Research is at the foundation of all we do at MFAN. We survey the military community to ensure that we understand the gaps in support,” said Shelley Kimball, Ph.D., MFAN’s director of research. “We use the results to find unique solutions to the problems we uncover. That formula has served us well for five years, and we look forward to bringing even more people into the process.” MFAN will produce three reports that outline the outcomes from the Solutions Summit with next steps.

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The Military Family Advisory Network is a nonprofit dedicated to building a community of military and veteran families at home and abroad who are well-informed about the resources designed to serve them, equipped with tools for success, connected to leaders who serve the military family community and embraced by the public. To learn more about MFAN, visit www.militaryfamilyadvisorynetwork.org

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Dogs Open Hearts- Giveaway

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Westley the three-legged Wonderdog entered our family’s life on Mother’s Day 2013.  The three legged bouncing bundle of joy had lived in four homes since he was born in 2010.  His first family surrendered him to rescue after he was hit by a car and lost his leg during his first hunting trip.  He could no longer hunt so he was tossed aside, but from the moment our family saw his profile on the German Shorthair Pointer rescue website, we knew he belonged with us.  We could see the love in his eyes.  Wes bonded with each member of our family in unique ways.  He is so sensitive, he knows who needs him at any given time.

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As a special needs dog, Westley draws attention wherever he goes.  At first, most people don’t even notice he is missing a leg; he runs and jumps with gusto, just like any other dog.  When they do notice, though, his untethered joy and energy tug at the heart strings of even the toughest soldier, sailor, airman or marine.  Westley serves as a diplomat, just like the rest of our family.  His uniqueness and unconditional love bring people together, bridging language barriers wherever we’ve lived.  Wes even has his own identity card in China!

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Westley doesn’t care what nationality a person is, as long as he gets a pat on the head and acknowledgment that he’s a “good boy.” He is among the best US representatives you can find.

Wes was even the center of a project at the International school, where, under direction to create a dynamic project of his choice, Bob took it upon himself to design and 3D print a prosthetic leg for our pup.

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“Dogs Open Their Hearts To Us To Love, And To Be Loved…”  – Dog Days

DOG DAYS is a hilarious and heartfelt ensemble comedy that follows the lives of multiple dog owners and their beloved fluffy pals.  When these human and canine’s paths start to intertwine, their lives begin changing in ways they never expected.  This is a sweet film about the joy our furry friends bring into our lives and what they can teach us about treating people with kindness and compassion.  DOG DAYS releases in theaters in August 8.  See below the photos for a chance to win a Target gift card.

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To enter for a chance to win a $50 Target gift card, comment on this post to tell me something about your pet, and share the blog post with your facebook or twitter followers using #DeploymentDiatribes.

 

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