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“Despite the distance, we are all sisters (and brothers too) who are strong and beautiful while serving the homefront.”
Meet Leslie. Her Army man is retired, and they are now in their “forever home” that so many of us military spouses dream of. Since retirement, she has started her own business, Ravenworks Studio. Go check out her website at ravenworksstudio.net. She is a mom, a seasoned military spouse, an entrepreneur, and an artist, among many other hats she wears and has worn during her husband’s 27 years of service.
Leslie’s resiliency as a selfless servant has me in awe. They endured three deployments throughout Rob’s career, one to Iraq for 13 months and two to Afghanistan for 12 months and nine months. In addition to those deployments, they PCSed SIXTEEN times! It seems they have travelled the country and the world together, noting duty stations in North Carolina, Kentucky, Colorado, Hawaii, Alaska, and Germany! When I visited their home, I took in every piece of art and décor, many of which they have collected in all the unique areas they have lived and visited.
During those 27 active duty years, she gave birth to her two boys, who are now 24 and 20 years old. She was also a middle school language arts and social studies teacher for a portion of that time.
Now that they are settled in their forever home, she has more time to focus on her true passion—her art. If you are ever in the Surf City area, go visit The Mermaid’s Purse to see the art that Leslie creates in her home studio. I had the privilege to visit her studio and it is totally and utterly her, with multiple pieces that are in the works, books and magazines to pull inspiration from, to the calming reggae music setting the calm, creative mood. She has been in business almost a year now and is celebrating each triumph, one piece of art at a time.
The times she has felt most fulfilled as a military spouse are during Rob’s deployments. As she was speaking, I felt like I heard a much more enlightened version of myself speaking. She mentioned she was strong and didn’t really feel like she needed much support from the family readiness groups…but she remained active in them because she realized that she might not need the services, someone else might need her and her strength. While this lifestyle can make you a rock, some others don’t possess the natural steadfastness and need those rocks to bolster them. Her advice to spouses enduring deployment (whether it’s the first or the fifth) is to find a battle buddy (a close friend who’s going through the same thing), welcome change, get involved in your community (including the civilians in that community), and drink lots of wine!
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