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Feb. 13, 2023

Changing your mindset around deployment with Brave Crate founder and mil spouse Becky

Changing your mindset around deployment with Brave Crate founder and mil spouse Becky

Today we are talking to the founder of Brave Crate, Becky Hoy. 

Becky is a 12 year mil spouse veteran who discovered through multiple deployments that just surviving and counting down to homecoming wasn’t how she wanted to live this season. She found creating routine to be super beneficial. 

When her friends started having challenges with deployment Becky found herself sharing these resources and thought, what if I could get this to as many mil spouses as possible? And Brave Crate was born.

Becky walks us through her practice of determining what is important during the season of deployment and how can you set up your day to support that and create routines around those goals. 

She shares the other benefits to Brave Crate which is a Facebook community of other like minded mil spouses going through the same season as you are. Becky also shares the pillar deployment retreat which is held every fall for 3 days and is a totally free online event. Check it out at pillardeploymentretreat.com

Just a friendly reminder that you are not alone. It’s ok to have bad days, it’s ok to reach out for help. There are resources for you out there! Brave Crate might be the boost you need to make it through this season. 

You can learn more about Brave Crate at www.bravecrates.com

I so appreciate you listening to the show!

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[00:00:00] Today we have Becky Hoy on the show, and Becky is the founder of Brave Crate. And Brave Crate is the the deployment countdown box, which I thought, so this is coming out the day before Valentine's Day, and I thought, what is something that we could do to. Kind of support those spouses who may have a significant other that's deployed.

[00:00:21] And I think that Brave Crate is an awesome resource because the whole idea behind it is that self-care, how can we take care of ourselves and kind of make the best of it through a tough season like deployment. So, Becky, welcome to the show. I'm super happy to have you 

[00:00:33] here. Hi. Thanks so much for having me.

[00:00:36] Yeah. Okay. So I always like to dive in with what's your military affiliation and what has your military life looked like? Kinda like the Cliffs Notes version of what that's looked like for you. 

[00:00:46] Sure. So it's looked like craziness, . It's re hopefully relatable to everyone. My husband, yeah, has been active duty in the Army for 12 years now.

[00:00:56] Mm-hmm. , and we'll be celebrating our 12th wedding anniversary next month. So I've pretty much been around for all of it. We have been stationed all over the place Fort Bragg, North Carolina, to Fort Rucker, Alabama, and now landing in Oahu in Hawaii. So we're here on the island. Yes, we feel very lucky to be here and enjoy some of this beautiful island and all of the aloha that everyone has here.

[00:01:23] Yeah. And in as a part of that, I have. Had the opportunity to dive into a lot of spaces of fellow military spouses, including Brave Crate and, and some of the things we'll talk about today. Yeah. 

[00:01:37] Awesome. That, oh, I'm so jealous, man. I mean, as, as we're like, cuz I'm in Colorado, so sitting in the Colorado winter, it's so freaking cold.

[00:01:44] I don't even wanna walk my dogs. And I'm like, it's sunny, but it's so cold with the wind and I'm like, oh, it would be really nice to be in Hawaii right now. So, , little jealous. 

[00:01:53] Well, my husband is a big snowboarder, so Colorado is on his wishlist and. I'm a beach girl, so I think after getting this beautiful opportunity to be in Hawaii.

[00:02:05] Yeah. I can't complain if we end up in the snow next. 

[00:02:08] Yeah, I got that. So when I was reading your, your bio previously you had said that that your husband has been deployed a lot. So is that kind of, is that how you kind of dove into the brave crate side of it? What does that look like for 

[00:02:23] you? Yeah.

[00:02:25] Usually tell people that I'm an accidental entrepreneur. I never went into this life or my marriage or my professional career thinking I'm gonna build a business and be an entrepreneur. But during his first deployment, I was newly married in a, so pretty young, I think I was 22 and I was in a brand new location, first time ever away from my hometown other than having gone to college not too far away.

[00:02:54] And I'm adjusting to marriage life and Sure, new City, and he gets deployed within I think, two months of us being there. Jesus. So welcome to Military life. Welcome to New Marriage, and now welcome to Deployment. And I struggled really hard. That first appointment was really tough for me. I spent the first six months or so just in this, in the struggle seat.

[00:03:18] It was really hard. I have these like vivid memories of just crying, sitting on the flooring, crying, cuddling my dog. and wishing that it was over, and that was a year-long deployment, the first one to Afghanistan. And so our communication was limited. The time was really long and I just kept. wishing that it was over, and I was wishing, okay, could we just get to October?

[00:03:45] Can we just get to homecoming? Yeah. And it had a moment probably about halfway through where I was just like, oh my goodness, Becky, these are real days of your life that you're wishing away. You are not gonna. He's back. And yes, sometimes we need to cry. We need to vent. We need to deal with those feelings, right?

[00:04:03] But also, I don't, if he's in the military for 20 years, and this happens many times, which spoiler alert, it does happen many times, right? If this happens over and over again, how many days of my life am I gonna wish away over the next 20? Yeah, because he's deployed. And so I just, it was kind of an epiphany moment for me and I was like, I'm shifting my focus.

[00:04:26] And so I really started focusing on, okay, how do I use this time? Well, how do I create a routine that supports me? How do I use this time to like explore my marriage with my partner and learn to love each other in new ways and to rely on my friends? So if that really took focus for me, and then when.

[00:04:46] We're going through the through deployment in the future, I would be the crazy lady saying like, yes, deployment sucks. Deployment's really hard, but you can make it great for yourself, right? It'll be hard, it'll be sad, but it can also be one of the times that has the biggest impact for you as a person and the biggest impact on your relationships and.

[00:05:07] When a friend was going through her very first deployment, I thought, let me send her a care package of the stuff that I used that helped me shift that focus, the things that helped me focus on self-care, focus on building a routine, focus on connecting with my partner, and I sent that to her. And then the crazy idea machine took over and was like, what if these went to more people?

[00:05:31] what if? What if this is something that was accessible? To more military spouses. And that's kind of where the idea of brave Crate monthly deployment countdown bucks came from to just really help us refocus what our priorities are in that season. And also to give us a mile marker, you know, instead of counting every s you know, I've got whatever, 365 days until homecoming, I've got 12 break crates.

[00:05:57] And like, you'd be surprised how quickly that time moves when you're using that bigger mile marker. 

[00:06:04] Yeah. I, I love that. I think that's, I think that's fantastic because I, it is a sucky season to be in when your spouse is, is deployed and there's gonna be times in that deployment cycle where you're gonna be like, I just wanna lay on the couch and eat ice cream and feel sorry for myself.

[00:06:20] And that's okay. There's a place for that, right? Like, I've been there, I've totally been there. But there's also a, and that's, and I've been thinking about the same thing with my, with my daughters, is, You know, you're like, oh my gosh, like when are they gonna get out of this phase? Or when is this gonna get better?

[00:06:35] And it's like, you don't wanna wish your days away, like every day is a gift, which sounds kind of cheesy, but really and truly it is. And if you do the same thing with your deployment and you're like, God, I just want this to be over. , then you're, that all that time that could, you know, maybe, who knows what could come out of that could be really beautiful.

[00:06:51] So I, I think that that's, I love that. I think that's a, that's beautiful. Thank you for sharing that. Okay, so then kind of like, like backtracking just a little bit, cuz you kind of just gave us a hint as to how brave Great started. But what has your career looked like as you've navigated through your military life?

[00:07:06] What does that, what has that been like? Cause I, I feel like that's another thing that I really like to focus on on the show is because military spouse unemployment is so high and it's so challenging to have that career. Or to just have a career at all as you're navigating military life, especially with frequent moves and deployments and things like that.

[00:07:22] So I always like to just hear what your career has looked like for you , as you have navigated your military 

[00:07:28] life. Sure. It's a struggle. Yeah. And I, I think that any military spouse who has regular. PCs movements as a part of their family's reality.

[00:07:40] Knows it. Yeah. Hopefully we're in a space now where remote work is becoming a lot more common. Mm-hmm. , which allows for some continuity, but it's a challenge to, to move and leave your job. It's a challenge to get hired. My work has really been in the operations space. Okay. And administration pretty much.

[00:08:00] Forever since, you know, since I had my first big girl job. Yeah. And I actually in 2020 as we were moving for another PC s in the middle of the COVID 19 pandemic. Yeah. I moved away from working in a corporate setting or working for a company and actually launched my own. Consulting and operations business where I now work with other business owners.

[00:08:27] And so that's been a really great shift for me. It's given me the opportunity to work one-on-one with a lot of really amazing CEOs and, and especially women in business. And it's also given me the flexibility of, now I live in Hawaii with a five or six hour time difference from the East coast, and yeah, I'm able to manage that even though my.

[00:08:48] And colleagues might be online at 9:00 AM It's, I'll get there at noon and it'll be fine and we'll still all work together. Great. 

[00:08:56] Yeah. So, so your business now is all online and 

[00:09:00] remote, right? Yeah. So in addition, in addition to Brave Create, I do some of the, that operational support for other businesses alongside of it.

[00:09:09] And so it's all online, all remote and, and Brave Crate has been another amazing. Source of professional inspiration in my life where I'm able to kind of manage that. We have an amazing community manager who does a lot there in the states and, and helps us with some of those things that I can't handle from essentially overseas.

[00:09:29] Yeah. But it, it's been definitely a great shift in my life too. Have things settled in a way that allows for that flexibility of moving pretty regularly. 

[00:09:41] Yeah, I, you know, I, I feel like, again, I talk to a lot of military spouses on this show, and I feel like that is, like, the common thread now is I work remote.

[00:09:50] I do, you know, because it's just, I feel like that's almost where everybody needs to go, you know what I mean? Just because it's so hard to transition, transition, transition, transition, and there's all these gaps and it's just, it's really hard to have that. in person, you know, in in-person jobs. Like, it's just, it's really challenging as a, as a military spouse.

[00:10:09] Yeah, for sure. Okay, so then, so you already told us how brave create started, right? Like, these are tools, Hey, I found these things, this is what really worked for me. I'm gonna share it with my girlfriend. Hey , this is really cool. Wouldn't it be nice if we could share this with other people? If someone's gonna order Brave Kate or gonna do something like that, what can they expect? One. And then I'm, I'm curious as to like how you curate and like, what are some of those things? Like as if people are like, oh my gosh, I'm dying on this deployment. Like, what are some of those things that were, for you really helped to turn around that whole like, you know, not, I don't wanna say negative Nancy, but like, but like the, I don't know, the slump, like, you know, the slump of deployment.

[00:10:45] Yeah. 

[00:10:45] And I'll, I'll, I'll caveat by saying we. Believe in living in the tension. It really is our mission at Brave Crate to shift the paradigm around deployment and take it from a season of waiting to a season of growth. Yeah. But we live in the tension of both It. It's not like you order a brave crate or even don't order a brave crate and just like shift your mindset around deployment and suddenly it doesn't suck.

[00:11:09] It's, it still sucks. The second, yeah, it's a new way of looking at it, a new perspective. And it's a moment of joy every single month that is cheering you on and reminding you you're not alone in this. And also, here are some really tangible things that you can hold in your hand that are gonna support you or bring you joy.

[00:11:30] And so we, our curation process is unique for every box. It depends on, okay, what our focus is for the month, but for the most, , we try to hold a combination of different things to help with self-care, and so that might look like really amazing. Spa night type products so you can treat yourself to a spa night.

[00:11:51] That might look like some treats that are like super tasty and maybe you wouldn't have bought for yourself, but there they are and now you're gonna enjoy them. Yeah, there is. We often include things that will support y relationship or just staying in touch and connected. We've had things like shared journals.

[00:12:09] We have had. Care package kits is something we love to include to just kind of inspire your care package creation. We all often will have books that inspire self-development or reflection or, or journals, things along those lines. And so every box is unique or you're not gonna find the exact same thing in every box.

[00:12:27] Yeah. But our goal is always to just deliver joy. that it is an absolute joy opening it. You're excited about what you have in front of you and that the things in front of you really are things that you can enjoy and integrate into your life over that month ahead. Yeah. And then once you have enjoyed and integrated those things, there's another pink box at your doorstep and oh my gosh, look, it's a new month.

[00:12:51] And I can't even tell you how often we hear that. We, so often we will hear. are amazing Brave Crate members that they got their latest box and the first thing they thought was, oh my gosh, I can't believe it's already time for another brave crate. And that is just the best because the waiting is tough.

[00:13:09] The time feels like it's gonna take a really long period of your life. Sure. And to, to be able to get something that makes you go like, oh wow, that time really moved is, is just the ultimate, I think, in deployment. 

[00:13:24] Yeah, that time. Yeah. Cause it's like, oh my God. And again, and I think that, that, I really like the, the front side of that is that, you know, we, is that there's, it's cyclical, right?

[00:13:33] Like you're gonna still, even if you're trying to take this like positive approach to deployment, like, how can I grow, how can I support myself? How can I grow on my relationships? How can all the, oh, those other things that there's still that. You're gonna be there, but then you're, it's okay to have those, like, it's, it's very much like a rollercoaster, right?

[00:13:51] Hey, it's good. No, no, it's stuck. Not having a good day today. That's okay. Okay. So then, so there, brave Crate is not just getting the crate in the, in the mail, which is fantastic, but you have other kind of supportive stuff around that. So what other, what other communities do you have around Brave Crate?

[00:14:05] Yeah, so we have the Brave Crate Members Group, which is our primary Brave Crate community. It's. Book just for Brave Crate members past and present. So if you're a Brave Crate member, you can stay in that group forever. And we encourage them to, because often those of us who have gone through deployments already can offer inspiration and support and enjoy offering inspiration and support to people going through it now.

[00:14:28] Yeah. And in that group, we often share how we're using everything we got inside of our brave crate. We have a monthly challenge weekend where we take three days to kind of focus in together, and it happens right online in the Facebook group. Every challenge looks different. Sometimes it's. Typically tied to whatever was the theme of our box that month.

[00:14:51] So if maybe our theme is about, so for instance, this month, our theme is beautiful, Y o u. Okay. And focus on both self-care, loving ourselves in this season, and also maintaining a good partnership with our deployed partner. And so we're doing a love note challenge where we have a step-by-step guide.

[00:15:11] For writing a really great love note, like nothing, not anything like cheesy, but something that your partner's really gonna treasure forever. And so actually this weekend right now as we speak, we are walking through how to do that. All of our members will leave the challenge on Monday morning with their.

[00:15:29] Love note written, they can email it to their partner on Valentine's Day or send it in the mail. Whatever they wanna do. Yeah. But we really try to prioritize space in that group to help and support and, and just encourage one another. We celebrate homecomings, you know, we talk about how, how we're getting through the season, what, you know, what we're struggling with, and also the wins that we're.

[00:15:52] Yeah, I love that. And I think that that's a great resource to know about as well. Cuz like sometimes if you're in a climate, if you're in a command climate where, oh, like the, the spouse group feels like everybody's just like super down and it's like, oh, this is really hard and I'm not finding that space.

[00:16:08] Brave Crate is the space where, hey, we're gonna have bad days, but like, let's see how we can have like as many good days as we possibly can. So if you're looking for that kind of that kind of an environment, then obviously brave Care. It would be a great place to go for that. And then, So what are some of the things as you were going through, cuz you went through quite a few deployments, so what are some of the things that you found for yourself were the most helpful?

[00:16:31] So I will say it's going to be different for everyone, right? Yeah. It depends totally how you're wired. For me, figuring out what my routine is and what my rocks in the river were, was key. And when I talk about rocks in the river, I, I like to imagine the visual of like a. Creek if mm-hmm. or something along those lines where there are some rocks that are like, they're just there.

[00:16:54] You're not, the water's not moving them. The water flows around them. Other littler rocks flow around them. There are a couple of things in that river, that creek that are just solid and staying there. And so for me, a big game changer was determining, okay, what are those rocks in the river that are just non-negotiables for me?

[00:17:12] Okay. In deployment season. And one of the things that I think. Don't talk about enough is the fact that there is a. Physiological change that happens in our brains during a deployment season or any season where our life is drastically different all of a sudden. Yeah. And what happens is we have these neurotransmitters in our brain that are always firing and kind of creating these superhighways every time we do a task.

[00:17:39] And they're designed to make it really easy for us to do the things we do every day. Right? So I get up, I brush my teeth every morning. and I happen to see my partner sitting next to me. That's part of the process, and my brain knows like, this is right. This is what we do. We don't have to think about it.

[00:17:54] As soon as we move, the partner who is there with us every day gets a little harder for our brain to fire off through these superhighways because something is different. And so, yeah, it puts a pause on how easy those regular life things are. and kind of makes everything take a little more mental energy and so it, there's a challenge to it, right?

[00:18:19] Right. Because now we have to think a lot harder about doing some of the things that were really easy for us, like our morning routine or our bedtime routine, or going grocery shopping every Sunday. But it's also a really cool opportunity cuz it means all of these routines in our life are disrupted. And now we can create new ones because some of my routines before deployment weren't great.

[00:18:41] Like right. One of my neural pathways was like, I'm tired at the end of the day. So I watch Real Housewives of New Jersey, which is fine sometimes, but probably not every day. . And so it gives us an opportunity to recreate that. So sitting down and really saying, what are the things I want to be doing that are non-negotiable in my life?

[00:18:58] Mm-hmm. , putting those on paper, putting those on a calendar. And for me, that looks a lot like making sure I have a morning routine that includes washing my face and brushing my teeth and taking a shower, right? Or it includes making myself a cup of coffee and sitting. five minutes before other people in the house are awake or before I start work figuring out what those things are and then letting everything else flow around that.

[00:19:25] So if that means, ideally, I, I don't love to have piles of laundry in my house, but guess what? That's not one of my rocks in the river during deployment. Then I'm gonna, yeah, let it go until I really need to take care of it. I'm gonna let myself off the hook for some of those other things that are maybe.

[00:19:42] Not critical, but maybe for me, like a yoga. Class once a week is a rock in the river and it's critical and like mm-hmm. . Yeah, sure. I sh could be adulting and doing the dishes, but that's my rock in the river, so I'm gonna prioritize that. Yeah, 

[00:19:56] I like that. I think that's really smart. And I think, I feel like, you know, when people are talking about deployments and it's so hard, how do I get through it?

[00:20:02] I feel like that routine, having something for yourself and keeping yourself busy, like that's like the other big thing. Like how, okay, I'm gonna do this, then I'm gonna do this, I'm gonna have this schedule and I. Things happen and whatnot, but like, this is what I'm gonna do. It really, that routine really does make a huge difference when you're, oh my gosh.

[00:20:19] When everything is like all over the place. For sure. Okay, so so how do people, how can people find your crate and what does the subscription look like? 

[00:20:28] Sure. So you can head to brave crates.com and check us out there. We also have all kinds of free resources on our blog there, so if you're not sure that you know you need a monthly delivery of joy or milestones or anything like that during deployment, there are lots of articles there that you can find.

[00:20:49] We're also a part of an amazing free retreat that happens every year called Pillar Deployment Retreat, so you can check that out. At Pillar deployment retreat.com and there are just, there are so many avenues and pathways into this, but our, our hope and our intention is really just to help. , all of us here in the military community as spouses shift the way that we're looking at deployment.

[00:21:12] And so if, if a monthly box of joy and a curated community of other military spouses who want to do this the same way that you do, yeah, is a benefit, is something that would serve you really well, then absolutely come check us out. If not, there are still, you know, places for you to go and things for you to do that can help support you on that 

[00:21:30] journey.

[00:21:31] Yeah, a hundred percent. So then, because you mentioned it, let's quickly talk about, cuz we talked about a little bit offline ahead of time, is the pillar deployment treat. So I hadn't heard of that before, so could you just kind of give, if any, anybody else hasn't heard about that before? What is it? When does it happen?

[00:21:45] What does that 

[00:21:45] look like? Yeah. Pillar happens every fall. We're in our fourth year this year, right. Third, I can't remember , I think it's our third year this year. It's an amazing retreat sponsored by U S A A Life Insurance Company and U S A A Life Insurance Company of New York. They really help us make it happen.

[00:22:08] I am partnered with Joanna Gilden Noel of Joe, my gosh, which is one of my favorite military spouse blogs. She's phenomenal and a dear friend, and we host a retreat for three days online every year. And it includes three days of completely free resources, inspiring workshops on every topic, from how to be intimate with your partner during deployment to how to help little ones deal with deployment to, yeah.

[00:22:38] How to pack a care package really well. So we really cover all the things and people can pick and choose what's most applicable to them. Lots of community conversation, lots of giveaways, freebies, resources. It's just, it's three days, whether you're going through deployment right now or not, it's meant to be three days.

[00:22:56] That gives you all the tools you need to kind of kick off this journey of doing deployment 

[00:23:02] differently. Beautiful. So you said that that happens in the fall every year. Is there any evergreen content for that? Like if someone's like, oh man, this is the summer like and my, I'm, I'm like reeling right now.

[00:23:12] Is there anything that can you have to help them? 

[00:23:15] Yeah, you can go to pillar deployment retreat.com/podcast and you can listen to some of our past retreat. Workshops that we have really valuable. And the great thing about Pillar is that you are, you get access to everything that happens at the retreat for the full year after until the next retreat happens.

[00:23:36] So if you missed us last year, definitely get on the waiting list. We'll make sure you get in for this year. And we do have some select workshops available on the podcast that you can listen to in audio. Oh, 

[00:23:47] cool. Okay. Awesome. And so it's pillar, pillar deployment retreat.com is the set for that. Okay, cool.

[00:23:53] All right, well I really appreciate your time, Becky, and, and learning a little bit more about Brave Crate and just that positive space. If so, if you're like, Hey, I really wanna, deployments are hard, but let's try to make the best of it. And you wanna be in with a group of other people that are in the same boat as you that are trying to, you know, make the best of the situation that they're in.

[00:24:11] Brave Crate and the community that surrounds that is your spot. So I appreciate you being here. Is there any anything else you wanted to share? 

[00:24:18] I would just say if you're going through deployment right now and you are in the thick of it, you are not alone. So don't be afraid to reach out for help. Don't be afraid to share your story.

[00:24:27] There are others here in the community who are going through it and have gone through it, and you are gonna get through it too. Yeah. 

[00:24:33] Awesome. Okay, all Becky. Thank you. I appreciate your time. Thanks.