SpouseBuzz

What a Ride!

I've spent days working on this post. Days. And I've come to the conclusion that this post will never be everything I really, truly want it to be. How can one do justice to almost six years of such profound consequence? I can't. This is all I've got. I sincerely hope it's enough.

For five and a half years, it has been my honor to be the Editor of SpouseBUZZ. Every single day, I woke excited to find out what the day would hold for military spouses. I couldn't wait to get to my computer to read the contributor's posts, the reader's comments, stories from outside sources about military life and email from our readers.

When I wasn't waking to my home office, I was on the road for SpouseBUZZ LIVE. As a result of these events, I've been to 18 military installations all over the country and had the privilege of meeting thousands and thousands of military spouses. Listening to your stories and observing you at each venue, I've always walked away in awe of your strength, pride, passion, compassion and resiliency. How is it, I've often wondered, that I am so blessed to be a part of such an inspirational, dynamic community?

A few months ago, after much thought and careful deliberation, I decided to leave my position as Editor. Today is my last day. Please join me in welcoming my replacement, Jacey Eckhart. Jacey is a fantastic addition to SpouseBUZZ and I am confident you will be as gracious to her as you've always been to me.

My decision to leave was a very difficult one. Although I absolutely love my role at SpouseBUZZ, I decided to take a risk and move in another direction. It's both scary and exciting, but I'm definitely looking forward to new challenges and adventures.

In this business, you need two things to succeed; fantastic contributors and engaged readers. SpouseBUZZ has always had an ample supply of both. Although our contributors originate content, I think all of them would agree that it's the readers, with your varied perspectives and wise commentary, who truly make this a vibrant community. Inevitably, one of you will come along with a fresh angle to a story, a creative solution to a problem, an attagirl or chin-up when sorely needed, and a different way to think about an issue. That's why virtual conversations are so powerful.

Putting your true self out there is not easy for most of us. Learning that you can't please everyone is even harder. But when you write from the heart, you must learn to be at peace with the fact that someone is not going to like what you have to say, and they're not always going to be nice about it, either. But with rare exceptions, SpouseBUZZ has always been a place where alternative perspectives were welcomed and disagreements were stated respectfully. Thank you for being the very best readers and unofficial advisors on the web!

I recently read a quote which really resonated with me and made me think of our contributors.

I tell people all the time that writing is risky because you have to say what you feel, be truthful.
In this setting, the risk has always been worth the reward. To everyone who has ever written for SpouseBUZZ, without your willingness to voluntarily share your stories and experiences as milspouses, the SpouseBUZZ brand would never have flourished. Your perspectives make SpouseBUZZ interesting and relevant. You've often tackled difficult and profoundly personal topics in order to help others and assure them they're not alone. You have taken "pay it forward" to a whole new level. Each of you have left an enormous footprint on the milspouse community, and on my heart.

Without question, working with the military community has been the most rewarding, fulfilling experience of my life. At the time I founded SpouseBUZZ, I didn't have sky-high expectations. I simply wanted a little destination on the web for us to gather and share experiences. Our "war stories," if you will. But a funny thing happened along the way. We grew. Thanks to our contributors and readers, I got so much more than I gave. And for that priceless gift, I'll be eternally grateful to all of you.

*****

I can't possibly leave without thanking some specific individuals who have been a tremendous help to me over the past few years.

To Chris Michel, the founder of Military.com and the man who hired me: Thank you for seeing the potential of a forum like this and for believing I could turn the vision into a reality.

To Vince Patton, my boss of many years: Your work ethic, leadership and integrity are inspirational and serve as a model for business, and in life. You taught me more than you'll ever know simply by watching you live your life.

To Ward Carroll, my Editor and the Editor of Military.com: Thank you for always believing in the relevance and impact of spouse content, for your encouragement and advocacy for spouses.

To Jeanie St. Martin, my event planning partner for the past several years: You have been a reliable, solid work mate. No matter what the future holds for me, I will never find a better partner to work with. Thank you for your dedication, and your friendship.

To Charlie, the technical brains behind this entire operation: Thank you for indulging me every other week when I have a "great idea" and for somehow managing to turn my 4,822 ideas into reality on the blog. We owe so much of our success to your behind-the-scenes work.

To Jacey Eckhart, my successor: I hope you find this job to be as fun and meaningful as I have. Some days it's hard. Some days it's downright impossible. But on the majority of days, it's the very best job in the world.

And last, but certainly not least, thank you to my husband. The yin to my yang. Always the voice of reason, my biggest fan and loudest cheerleader.

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