I’m happy to report that the hard work of MSJDN’s volunteers continues as we move toward the end of 2017.  Applications are open for the 2018 MSJDN mentoring program and the annual military spouse attorney survey has just gone live. We are focused on meeting the goals of our mission statement, including “providing a network connecting military spouse attorneys with each other and their supporters.”

This past weekend, I was fortunate enough to take part in an event that embodied the spirit of our network and brought together military spouse attorneys from across the country for a day of camaraderie and connections. MSJDNer Rebecca Bresnik invited her fellow military spouse attorneys to tour the Johnson Space Center in Houston. Members traveled from various corners of the country to participate in the educational tour of the agency’s facility and learn about NASA’s work on and off our planet.

The once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to peek behind the scenes at NASA was incredible. We were honored to hear from Flight Director Royce Renfrew, toured current and historic mission control centers, and explored a mockup of the International Space Station with two of its previous residents! But equally as awesome as this educational experience was the special time for military spouse attorneys to gather and connect with each other.

Rebecca graciously hosted the MSJDN attendees for dinner at her beautiful home following the tour. We dined together, laughed together, celebrated a birthday, toasted to a recent bar passage, and commiserated with a future bar taker. We stayed up late, sharing our frustrations with career roadblocks and talking about the challenges of deployments, solo parenting, PCSing, and job hunting. It was one of those special days – I was exhausted from my early morning flight, but I was energized by the positivity, good humor, and all-around awesomeness of my companions.

What was most encouraging was the common theme in our discussions: resiliency. Whether it is mastering the bar with a deployed spouse, planning for a PCS and yet another job hunt, or balancing work and solo parenting through a deployment- we have all faced the challenges brought to us as legal professionals and military spouses. We’ve stared down those challenges and overcome them, with each new day, each new duty station, and each new job. MSJDN exists because we have collectively decided that those challenges won’t hold us down. The Houston gathering was a wonderful reminder of that resiliency and the power of this network to provide encouragement and support to each other.

On that note, I would be remiss if I did not encourage you all to take part in the 2018 MSJDN Mentoring Program! If you are in need of advice when it comes to your career path or tackling military life, this program provides the opportunity to connect with other military spouse attorneys who have walked the walk. Apply by January 15th as a mentor and/or a mentee. Contact Lindsay Savage at mentoring@msjdn.org with any questions.

In closing, as we enter the final weeks of 2017, I want to say thank you to all MSJDNers. Your participation in our online forums, your volunteer hours in support of MSJDN programs, your dues, your stories, and your energy make it possible for MSJDN to succeed as a bar association for military spouse attorneys. We look forward to another year of progress in 2018!

Libby Jamison, president@msjdn.org