When Julie Provost found herself alone in a foreign country, with a toddler, a second baby on the way, and a husband on deployment, she learned a lot about military life – fast.
It was her first deployment. Her first PCS move. Her first tour as an Army wife.
Provost married her husband after he separated from the Army, but after a few years the couple decided reenlistment was best for his career and their family. She wasn’t quite expecting her first move to take her all the way to Germany, or for her husband to immediately depart on a 15-month deployment.
“It was military all the time,” Provost said. “I remember standing there, watching the soldiers march by. You have to depend on [the military] for so much. Honestly, [the tour] was probably good for me, because it gave me that introduction to all-things military.”
And to stay connected during times of separation, Provost started her own online archive of “all-things military” to help herself navigate the isolation and unknowns of life and deployment overseas.
Inspired by a friend with a homeschooling blog, she began writing and posting links across different military spouse networks. Soon her blog developed an international following.
“I originally called it ‘Julie the Army Wife,’” she said, “but I didn’t want it to be just about me.”
She rebranded as Soldier’s Wife, Crazy Life, a blog that has become a personal outlet for her, a launchpad for her writing career and a resource for more than 43,000 Facebook followers across the globe.
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The lesson? Sharing personal stories is worth something.
After 18 years of marriage, three children and four deployments, Provost has plenty of stories and wisdom to share.
In 2014, her husband transitioned from active-duty Army service to the Tennessee National Guard. Provost made the most of the change by expanding her blog to include lifestyle content for other families stationed at Fort Campbell and other areas of Tennessee.
She has become a top source for finding the perfect local restaurant, planning family nature adventures and maximizing every opportunity the base and local area offer.
But Provost addresses more than the day-to-day logistics of military life on her blog – she also explores the sometimes beautiful, sometimes heartbreaking, always nuanced ways military life can complicate our relationships with partners, families and one’s self.
“You have to give up some of yourself,” she said of blogging. “Sometimes I write and I break out into tears think, ‘Do I want the world to read this?’ You have to decide how much to share, and you have to talk through those details with your spouse.”
She’s experienced a bevy of military life struggles and successes and offers it all to the world. She invites readers to find a sympathetic ear and kindred soul in her writing as she shares the challenges of prolonged deployments and raising children alone.
Before his second deployment, her husband was closely bonded with their first son.
“When he came home, the new baby was almost a toddler and didn’t even know him,” Provost said.
From posts titled, “Why You Should Break Up With Your Military Boyfriend,” and, “When Military Life Breaks You,” to “To The Gold Star Wife” (written after attending a military funeral), Provost considers the hard-hitting questions about military life, and asks readers to consider them with her.
Her thoughtful, open reflections on some of her own painful and challenging experiences have resonated with thousands of readers.
“I really believe in sharing your story,” Provost said. “Sharing your story of going through something hard can really help someone going through it. Not everyone has to understand my story, but I know there are people that need to hear it.”Read comments