FORT WAINWRIGHT, Alaska - So, have you settled in to this deployment yet? Are you doing everything you want to do? being all you can be?

We're long past the early stages of this journey but I'm still thinking about deployment goals. We focused on deployment goals in the last column, but I'm wondering if there are some of us who might still be trying to find our way with this. It's not too late to set the tone for our deployment experience. It's really not too late.

There is no denying that these are challenging times. The old adage, "tough times don't last but tough people do," has never seemed more true to me than in the middle of a deployment. I've been through several and while I would never say that I would choose to go through this or have my husband go through this, I'm learning that some of my biggest accomplishments have come in the midst of a deployment.

I bought a house by myself during a deployment a few years back. Knowing that I can handle something like that gives me such confidence.

I also ran in the Army Ten Miler during a previous deployment. Running 10 miles might be something I never do again, but knowing that I did it - that I can do it - spurs me on to try new things now. Plus, my husband was so proud of me. Knowing that I was doing better than okay and that I was pushing myself to try new things was such an encouragement to him. I believe that I helped him worry less about me and the kids and focus where he needed to - on the mission.

I'm working on that again this time. From kayaking on the Chena River to losing a few pounds, staying fit, working on craft projects and doing my best to help other military families, I'm determined to have fond memories from this deployment time. Taking care of myself is not just for me; it's for my husband, my kids, my neighbors and my fellow GI Janes.

It's about community. Whether your military community consists of unit friends, neighbors, fellow family readiness group members or friends from church, you have an amazing resource and gift. Our military community can do something that even our extended families can't do. Your military community is here, going through this with you.

Don't underestimate the huge effect this can have on your deployment experiences. Maybe you've tried attending an FRG meeting or function, MWR, chapel or other event in the past and had a bad experience. I understand, but I encourage you to try again. Reaching out and connecting with others going through this too might be exactly what you need to get or stay on track.

So, whether your deployment phase is off to a roaring start and you're achieving everything you hoped or you haven't found your momentum yet, that's okay. It's not too late. Start today. Go for a walk. Attend that event. Take that spin class. Tackle that community 5k. Go to that play date. Sign up for that arts and crafts class. Make that healthy choice at the Commissary. Pay off some debt. Call that friend who has been on your mind. Write your Soldier a letter. Smile.

Take that first step and I guarantee you the next steps will get easier. Believe me, I know. And, it won't just be your Soldier who is proud of you; you will be proud of yourself and that is the most important approval you can ever earn. Don’t delay - start right now. You can do it!

Page last updated Thu June 30th, 2011 at 00:00