The Strength Behind the Strong website. Proudly supporting our friends and family in the U.S. military, including Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.


The Strength Behind The Strong was founded by Christine Hofmann-Bourque, who is proud to have a husband in the Army, three brothers in the Navy and Army, and a sister-in-law in the Army. Christine is also a professional journalist. Read our first post to find out why this website is so close to her heart. More >>

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Entries in Milblogs (8)


Operation Cookie Overload Update: Our Marine mom says “thank you”

Just 22 mailing days left for Operation Cookie Overload! Ginger from Ohio — along with her adorable three-year-old daughter/helper, below — mailed off a big box of homemade cookies today to our Marines in Afghanistan. Yay! When Judy, the mom of our 19-year-old Marine, heard that we have 79 generous people like Ginger in 21 states signed up to send her son and his unit holiday treats, she was thrilled. Here’s what she had to say:

WOW! I am so pleased to hear this, it will really give these Marines a boost! Knowing they are thought of and appreciated by so many kind, thoughtful people all over the country! … You all honestly have no idea how much this mom appreciates all of you! … May you be richly blessed for your thoughtfulness, you all are truly appreciated by all of the moms associated and the wives and family members; sending hugs and many good wishes your way. 

Judy had one update on food requests. She says because her son and his fellow Marines are out on the front lines, they are eating a lot of MREs (meals ready to eat), which don’t have a reputation for being very tasty. So they love any foods that give their taste buds something different. Any other nonperishable food items you want to send with your cookies is welcome, including canned or dried fruit, beef jerky, hot chocolate mix, and portable instant coffee packages.  

Ginger baked and sent four batches of treats for Operation Cookie Overload. (Love the aprons!)

And we have a few housekeeping items:

 Happy baking!


Show some blog love! Voting for the Milbloggies is open

The 5th annual Milbloggie Awards will be announced this weekend — but first comes the voting! The Milbloggies recognize the best in military-related blogs. This year, we’re super excited that our friend’s blog Red Bull Rising has been nominated in the Best U.S. Military Veteran category, and my husband and I have put two votes toward this blog from Iowa, where we lived for five years. Click here to see a list of nominees, find some fantastic new blogs to follow — and to vote! Voting is simple: Just click your favorites and you’re done. There’s no sign up required or logging in. Voting closes Thursday, April 28 at 7 p.m. ET. Best of luck to Red Bull Rising


Jessica’s parents ask our military community: Will you send this Army wife a card for her Easter Basket of Cheer?

If you need a reminder about the healing power of a kind word — or the many caring people who support our military families — look no further than the blog of Jessica, who writes at {Mis}Adventures of an Army Spouse. Hundreds of military spouses, friends, and strangers left notes of support this week for Jessica, who posted her suicide note this past Monday. Thankfully, Jessica is alive and getting treatment. Yesterday, all of us who left comments for Jessica on her blog received an email from her parents. They’re rallying the community to send old-fashioned snail mail to Jessica for Easter. Here is their email: 

Tom and I want to thank all of you for the kind words you have posted on Jessica’s blog.  Jessica is currently in the hospital for an unknown length of stay and will require continued therapy afterwards.  I was able to visit with her for about 1 1/2 hours on Thursday, 14 April, and she is starting to realize her actions last week as well as the events that led to her depression and suicide attempt.  I did print out all your comments from her blog and was able to give her a hardcopy.
One of Jessica’s friends had a great idea that Tom and I are following up Easter Basket filled with notes and cards of encouragement, empathy, stories, understanding or good ole humor!  If we could be so bold to the virtual community, we would like to ask you to send your thoughts, notes, cards, etc. to the P.O. Box below that we have now established:
P.O. Box 292138
Columbia, SC  29229
I will gather them into an Easter Basket of Cheer for Jessica this week to continue to let her know she is not alone nor are the events she experienced isolated to just her. 
Please do not send gifts or money....just your words of encouragement and prayers.
Please let the word spread.....
Thanks again to all you,
 --  From the parents of Jessica....Tom in NM and now Sue in SC

While you’re helping the Easter Bunny get ready for his big day this Sunday, keep a good thought for Jessica and her family. Please forward this posting to spread the word. 




Thinking of Jessica: A milspouse needs your prayers

Today our thoughts and prayers are with Jessica, a military spouse who blogs at {Mis}Adventures of an Army Wife. I’ve been following her blog for months, and today’s post was a shocker. It is titled “A Final Goodbye” — and it is her suicide note. Several bloggers and fellow milspouses contacted authorities soon after the post went up. According to commenters, Jessica is alive and getting treatment. We wish her all the best as she makes her way back to emotional and physical health. 

If you or someone you know is going through a difficult time, check out the free counseling offered to military families by Give an Hour. The program is available to extended family members, which means grandmothers, cousins, brothers, mothers, and fiancées of someone in the military can speak with licensed counselors at no charge.


New! Show off our fun, fabulous (and free!) website buttons

Go ahead, grab us! Or at least grab our buttons! If you have a blog or website — and you like ours — please check out our fun new buttons. Show the world that you are The Strength Behind the Strong! Head over to our “Grab our buttons” page to pick your favorite. Each one (shown below) represents a different branch of the military. (Why are there two Navy buttons? Read our “Grab our buttons” page for the family drama behind the color picks.) Coming soon, we’ll have a page of our favorite buttons from other websites. Enjoy!

 Image of's logo in red, white and blue, followed by the logo rendered in the colors of the various branches of the U.S. Military. Army (green and gold), Navy (navy blue and gold, and navy blue and sky blue), Air Force (sky blue and pale blue), Marine Corps (red and gold), and Coast Guard (warm blue and orange). From



“A Little Pink in a World of Camo” blog: A MILbloggie winner

Congratulations to the blog “A Little Pink in a World of Camo,” which we wrote about last week. You must have voted in the MILblogging awards, because it won for best military blog by a U.S. military spouse. We imagine this prize is of small consolation to blogger Rachel Porto, whose Marine husband was killed last month in Afghanistan. Nonetheless we are glad she won.  

Banner image for the blog 'A Little Pink in a World of Camo.'How does a military spouse live after the death of her husband? Rachel Porto is tackling that tough issue on her blog "A Little Pink in a World of Camo."


Semper Fi: Give your MILblogging vote to this 23-year-old widow 

Military wife Rachel Porto has been blogging at “A Little Pink in a World of Camo” since August 2009. Rachel chronicled her wedding to the Marine of her dreams, Corporal Jonathan Porto, the birth of the couple’s daughter in January, and her husband’s deployment to Afghanistan. Three weeks ago, she wrote what must have been her most difficult post: She announced that her 26-year-old husband died while serving our country. Her blog — on which she continues to share her grief while also raising money for a Run for the Warriors 5K — is nominated for a MILbloggies award in the U.S. military spouse category. Give Rachel a virtual hug by heading over to to vote for her blog. Voting ends at midnight on Wednesday, April 7, just two days away. 

Military life can be heartbreaking, as the blog "A Little Pink in a World of Camo" testifies.

Rachel shared her raw emotions in her March 17 post, titled “I Will Always Be a Marine Wife.”

I am being forced to do something that no 23 year old woman should ever have to do. I am being forced to do something that no one should ever have to do, not at this early in life, especially. I am being forced to lay the love of my life, my saving grace, my entire world to rest.

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Flat Husbands (and Flat Daddies, Sisters, and Cousins): The 2-D gift with real heart

Newlywed Amanda Stapp decided that if she couldn’t spend her first year of marriage with her husband, Jason — who deployed to Kosovo from 2008 to 2009 with the Missouri Army National Guard — she’d spend it with the second-best thing: Flat Jason.

Flat Jason was handsome, willing to tag along with Amanda wherever she went — and made by mounting a life-size photograph of her husband on foam-core board. Amanda took Flat Jason bowling, showed him off on Military Appreciation Day at the Missouri State Fair, and cooked him heart-shaped pancakes to celebrate the couple’s first wedding anniversary.

Flat Jason (above) kept Amanda company during her husband Jason’s overseas deployment. "Real" Jason joked to Amanda, “When I get home, you’re going to like Flat Jason more than me.”

“I wanted Jason to not feel like he missed everything,” says Amanda, who chronicled her yearlong adventures with Flat Jason on her blog A Time Together … Apart. Reading her blog helped the deployed Jason feel connected to his life back home. But Amanda was surprised how much Flat Jason helped her too. “It kept me busy, and I didn’t have time to get depressed or anxious because Flat Jason and I were always doing things,” she says.

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