Milpreneur Tribe: 2017 Guest Bloggers

Milpreneur pronunciation

Milpreneur /mil-pruh-nur/

Welcome to our Tribe of Milpreneurs…

We are so excited that you have joined our journey to Live . Give . Serve . Grow. and we can’t wait to learn from you!

We call ourselves Milpreneurs (military + entrepreneur = milpreneur).  If you don’t know, we are a group of military spouses, family-members, and their supporters, who share a mission.  Really, it’s a journey to change lives, inspire, and connect a community who can learn from each other!

One way that we are doing just that, is by sharing amazing stories from our incredible military community.  You’ve heard from them, but now it’s time to introduce the 2017 Milpreneur Bloggers.

Mission Milpreneur

Tribe of Milpreneurs

2017 Milpreneur Bloggers:

Susan Brown.


Susan Brown

Susan is a former elementary school teacher who switched gears to build a small business and stay at home with her two toddlers.  She is a Navy wife living in the D.C. area and loves connecting with other military spouses.  In fact, Susan is an expert on managing social media and has great tips to Grow a Business You Love.  Click to learn more about Susan.

Risa Riepma.


Risa Riepma

Risa is a wife, busy mom of three, entrepreneur, and a retired Air Force dietitian.  After 20 years of military service, she is settling in Texas and loving every minute.  When you need some motivation, check out Risa.  She loves to run, cook healthy meals, and find ways to challenge you to find your G.R.I.T.  Click to learn more about Risa.

Angelina Stephens.

Angelina Stephens

Ange is an active duty Air Force maintenance officer, military spouse, freelance writer, entrepreneur, and proud mom.  When you want to be inspired, read about her greatest Learning Moments or tales from living on a boat.  You’ll love her honesty and relate to how she turned quirky superstitions into achievements.  Click to learn more about Angelina.

Angela Uebelacker.


Angela Uebelacker

Angela is a busy mom, full-time student, entrepreneur, and military spouse.  While working in the health care industry, Angela developed a passion helping others.  Now, she’ll help you feel empowered as she shares her authentic self and Ideas Worth Spreading.  Angela recently moved to Japan with her Navy family and is living a new adventure every day.  Click to learn more about Angela.

Come back to each week to join the conversation with our Tribe of Milpreneurs.

And, we’d love to hear your ideas and comments!  Share them on Facebook or email us at

From the Rearview Mirror

Mission Milpreneur

Reflections in Mirror

By Angela Uebelacker

When I think back to before I had children, I’m reminded of how I hoped it would always be.  My child would have the best life, we’d always be on an adventure, we’d always play and have so much fun, and never be tired of this world we created for our little loves.  Life would ALWAYS be something we would look forward too; we would always be on time, present, and ready to play ALL DAY!!!  It never occurred to me how much would actually be true, what details would actually change, and even as the years go by how often I’m reminded of how I hoped it would be.



My child from the age of 6 months old has experienced so many changes…changes she has never once asked for, but very bravely endured!  There have been two deployments, and three moves in her 5 years of life.  She has lived in a hotel, traveled across the states, and traveled internationally.  She has fallen in love with family, friends, neighbors, daycares, and pre-school teachers all to be pulled away when our lives took on a different journey.  She has questioned these changes, feared being forgotten and most importantly feared being left behind the entire time!

As parents, there is no such blueprint on life, let alone on how to be the best parents we can possibly be.  There is no truth to what we hoped it would be like, simply because we’re not meant to know our true journey…We get tired, we have schedules, routines, work, school, extracurricular activities…and somewhere in between what we do to make “our lives” better we have the time for how we hoped it would be.

It’s simply not that simple…the love and pride I have for my husband’s service and the community we belong to continues to grow with each passing day.  I chose this life, not knowing the depths of how much would change, but fully accepting the reason behind it!  Every new experience no matter how frustrating, no matter how many new interviews, friends, neighbors or finding our way around unfamiliar territories, I’m so forever grateful and proud of the choices we have made…And one day, my hope is that she will be too!  But until then, I would like her to know…

From the Rearview Mirror…

From the rearview mirror, Mommy has watched you grow into a brave, smart, adventurous little girl.  I have feared every change you have had to endure.  My heart has broken with every single goodbye, and I have even forgotten how to breathe with every tear!  Through all of these changes, you have continued to make me so proud.  You have inspired me to be a stronger, BRAVER, person and one that I hope you can be proud of too.

From the rearview mirror, I have watched your curiosity, frustration, and even felt you worry…I see your sad eyes, I see your tears, and understand your fears!!  I’ve watched you wave goodbye, race my car until the fence ends, and watch which direction I turn.  And with each passing day, I’ve missed you!!  There is nothing more that I would rather be doing, but spending all my time with you…and when Daddy is “away” for work, I have captured every moment I could.  Cheered on all your first milestones, and made myself available for every ‘pre-school’ party and event so you always had someone present.

From the rearview mirror…I have seen your excitement, I have seen you smile, and felt your laughter!!  My job is just a job, my continued education a dream, and no matter how busy life gets my hope has always been the same.  One day you will understand the choices that I’ve made, you’ll appreciate the changes, and look forward to what lies ahead.  And no matter where we go I hope you always know how I hoped it would always be, and that with each passing day I continue to strive to make it all be true.

From the rearview mirror, I did it all for you!

Written by Angela Uebelacker

Are You Building Your Business Online The Right Way?

Raise your hand if you are building a business online?

Awesome!  You have locked into the power of the e-commerce world, and let me tell you, it’s a huge opportunity!  Thousands of people sign up daily within various direct selling and marketing opportunities!  The internet allows you to connect with billions of people across the globe.  Literally a world of opportunity and connections are at your fingertips, but the question remains – are you using this opportunity correctly?

I watch it daily on my social media feeds – various consultants and network marketing affiliates spamming their network with “join me, join me”, desperate pleas for people to buy their products or join their team.  Don’t get me wrong, that used to be me, until I locked in on the bigger picture and the real foundation needed to build a thriving network marketing business!

What Distinguishes You

What most people fail to understand is that there are literally THOUSANDS of great opportunities out there, and within each of those there are THOUSANDS of people sharing those same great products.  What distinguishes you from others is not your number of posts per day, contacts on your phone, or followers on your feeds.  What really gives you the ability to connect and GROW is YOU!

The average person out there isn’t looking to join a company, they are looking to join a person!  People don’t want to browse your page and continuously see copy and paste type posts with yet another results picture of a complete stranger you don’t even know!  They want to see YOU!  They want to hear from YOU.  Why do you love what you do?  How do you use your opportunity in your busy days?  How have the products helped enhance your day-to-day life?   You have to make it personal!

Your Brand

What so many online marketers don’t do is brand themselves and focus on building relationships.  These two things are VITAL for success!   These days’ people want REAL.  They don’t want to be sold to, they don’t want to be bothered, and they don’t want to hear a bunch of jargon.  They want real, authentic, down to earth people that are just like them.  You don’t need a shiny, perfectly packaged success story.  Actually, you need quite the opposite.  If you are seen as “perfect”, who will want to connect with you?  Not many people!  Be yourself always!

The more real and relatable you are, the more people you will attract.  The more you take time to get to know a person FIRST before you share your product or opportunity, the more sales you will make!  I guarantee it.

So, go out there and really take a hard look at how you are building!  Ask yourself tough questions.  Look at your social media feeds.  Are you giving people valuable content?  Sharing your heart?  Showing your REAL life?  You don’t have to be Pinterest perfect, just real and authentic.

I challenge you to put yourself out there and focus on building relationships first.  Watch the gold that will follow!  You won’t regret it!

Written by Susan Brown

Sound Off Tuesdays!

Join the Tribe of Milpreneurs sharing tips and lessons on their journey to:

Live . Give . Serve . Grow!

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Finding Happiness Through GRIT


Guts, Resilience, Initiative, and Tenacity

Let’s take a minute and think back about our lives before social media took over, shall we?

While it wasn’t that very long ago, it almost seems hard to fathom that about a decade or so ago we experienced very fulfilling lives and relationships before the explosion of Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter.  I think most of us will agree that our lives are more positive and staying connected with others through social media is pretty awesome.

However, I’d like to be real for a few moments about what we don’t talk about too often about the beast…

Social media and more specifically, Facebook, is like a beautiful ice cream sundae.  Let me elaborate here…In real life where we communicate and interact in person, we sometimes say the “wrong” things and we may portray a less than perfect image but this is not so much the case with social media.  If any of us were to scroll through our newsfeed today, we’d see stories and posts of what seem to be perfect lives topped with picture perfect dollops of whipped cream and cherries.  While it serves no real purpose to exude negativity, rant, and vent to others each day, this “pie in the sky” vibe can be misleading.  Wouldn’t you agree?

The Highs Come With Just As Many Lows

The bottom line is, that each and every one of us has our own personal struggles, setbacks, and goals not yet achieved.  We create our own happiness in life by choosing a positive outlook and embracing a spirit of determination or what I like to call “grit”.  Let’s face it, life can be HARD.  Really hard and that reality is not always something we choose to share on social media.  I think many times we see others’ successes at face value but what we don’t see and perhaps they have never shared, is that the highs did not come without just as many lows.

I don’t know about you, but I love a good story of the “under dog.”  You know, the person who has had all odds stacked against him/her and through sheer determination over time, have conquered their world.  I’m talking about people like Oprah Winfrey who came from a scarred childhood but rose to become an amazing entrepreneur with a net worth of nearly $3 Billion.  Or, how about Stephen King whose first novel was rejected thirty times but today his books have sold over 350 million copies and have been made into many motion pictures?  Most of us know of Bill Gate’s story and how his first company and product failed miserably but today, he is a household name and the richest person in the whole world.  The stories can go on and on.  How encouraging is it to know that our own personal story is not over as long as we have grit and the will to try and try again?

Achievements Don’t Happen By Themselves…It’s Called Grit

If you ask me, grit is what true character is made of.  It takes courage, humility, belief, and so much more to overcome adversity and keep our eye on the prize.  When we get caught up in our own shortcomings and what seems to be others’ perfect lives, it’s important to remember that huge achievements in life don’t happen by themselves or overnight.  In most cases, the journey to our own personal greatness resembles a marathon rather than a sprint but it also brings a beautiful finish line that is always within reach.

Avoid The Comparison Game By Reflecting On Your Journey

It’s sometimes easy to get caught up in social media and a place where we find ourselves playing the comparison game.  When we find our thoughts going in that direction, we should reflect on our own journey.  We should focus more on being in the moment and embrace the fact that it’s through hardship and struggles in life that we find our strength.

Having G.R.I.T. will help you grow into the person we are meant to be.

Written By Risa Riepma


Girls for Progress

How Much Has Changed Since You Were Young?

As a child, we relocated several times before settling down in a small Arizona town.  I’ve spent most of my life in the west coast, did a lot of outdoors activities and traveled once internationally as an infant.  We otherwise traveled only within the United States, camping, site seeing, and just enjoying time together as a family.  I admit I’m only in my mid-thirties so there is plenty of time to seek as much adventure as I can handle.  Either way I have lived well, happy, independent, and enjoyed the many changes along the way.

Remember When Social Media Was Nonexistent?

Girls For Progress

My life in the military community is where I have experienced the most change, and growth.  The most apparent changes however (and I’m certain anyone close to my age or older can agree on), is how much has changed around us!!!  Do you remember when everyone had pagers, or even better when cell phones looked like bricks???…When a navigation system was simply a map stretched open across the dash or the do…doo…dooo…and ringing of dial up Internet connections; and let’s face it, there were days when social media and selfies were nonexistent!!!!!!!

Can We Handle The Unknown?

Change brings about even more significant concerns in the way our society behaves.  From generation to generation, our beliefs, and our openness to how the world is evolving are very different.  We are never without controversial topics, fears, debates, worries, and gaps in understanding any one area or collective occurrence.  It started to make me sad and a bit unsure of what we can expect…will our futures be prosperous, how much more will change, and can we handle the unknown???  Luckily, the changes in technology have also become an exciting way to invest in new ideas, virtually witness the good that still exists in people, and has also helped find a way to still be hopeful that our future and generations that will lead us are very well prepared to handle the task.  My fears have turned into pride, and excitement as I have been blessed to truly witness the greatest glimpse of hope!  Hope from a particular person, an act, and gesture…hope from a generation of amazing YOUNG people that are barely scratching the surface of what’s to come…what we can look forward to for our own children, and the best part is…we no longer have anything to FEAR!!

Now, what am I possibly referring to???  What could I possibly know, or have witnessed that you may have missed???

Lemon “Aid”

“Aid” because she donates a portion of her money to benefit kids with cancer.

There is this amazing young lady, Aleena Valdez, who has created a change in our world that is sure to get us all back on track!  This young lady started changing her community and giving back at the age of 11 years old.  She started a small lemonade stand to raise money to donate to children with cancer!!!  She wanted it to be something bigger than just lemonade and through the request of her parents for a loan, she put a presentation together with costs of supplies, etc. and presented it to her parents to make it all happen.  She then changed the name of her charity to Aleena’s Lemon “Aid” spelled with “Aid” because she donates to the Phoenix Children’s Hospital, where she has been
making a significant difference with her generosity, time, and pure selflessness.

And it gets better…

Fast forward a bit and you’ll discover Girls for Progress, which is an event created by this same brave, intelligent, inspiring, empowering, GIVING, and SELFLESS young lady!!  She started this event after she met her amazing mentor Amy Jo Martin.  Aleena received help with questions about her business, was able to attend Inbound 2015 in Boston, which is a big conference where she would get the chance to hear her mentor speak.  She was interviewed for a part of her mentor’s speech titled “Pretty Damn Rad” and it was about empowering girls to be and see themselves as more than just pretty but pretty damn rad, pretty damn smart.  This event opened Aleena’s eyes to the empowerment she could have on other young girls and she “loved each message and wanted to spread it and thought that girls her age could benefit from something like that.”  With that memorable experience, she created Girls For Progress; in hopes to bring an empowering conference to her hometown of Phoenix, Arizona, and share it with other girl’s ages 11-15 years old.  These young ladies could expect and experience a “variety of different inspiring speakers from across the nation, fun activities, and the ability to make new friends that hopefully want to make an impact on their communities also.”

This Amazing Event Has Three Main Goals:

1).  To help young girls be aware of their social surroundings.

2).  To inspire girls to make a difference.

3).  To build lifelong support for each other along the way.

This conference allows young ladies all over to gain confidence to lead, become entrepreneurs, and learn from amazing speakers who are experts in a variety of fields.  Girls For Progress wants girls to believe how powerful they are and how much of a difference they are capable of making regardless of their ages.

What a gift!!!

It brings tears to my eyes knowing that the future of my daughter is in the hands of some amazing young people!  Aleena Valdez is a force to be reckoned with and I truly encourage us all to take a look into the amazing ways she is changing her community, our children, and our world.  She gives me hope that our future is in the best hands, and the confidence that my daughter will grow up with amazing role models!!!  Young people all over are receiving a true gift from the amazing things Aleena is doing.  They all will learn how to give selflessly of themselves, to be confident in themselves, and have the belief that they have the power to make the same changes and impact that Aleena has made.  This incredible event is inspiration for anyone capable of seeing the value in the lesson she is instilling on so many hearts and minds!  This is an opportunity to learn, grow, and give back!!  We should all take the time to experience the impact this young lady has on our society and share this gift with our own children and communities.

The next Girls For Progress event will be held in Austin, Texas this June and it’s a no brainer that it will be nothing short of AMAZING!!!

For details about the next conference, to donate, or to learn more check out: and


Written by Angela Uebelacker

Use Your Superstitions To Reach Your Greatest Achievements!

Hi.  My name is Angelina, and I’m a superstitious, Irish-Italian American.  My husband tells me that my superstitious habits might be a tiny bit obsessive relative to MOST people (he may be right…but he doesn’t have social media to see me admit it).

Yes You Can

Knock On Wood

I do a lot of knocking on wood (three times, don’t ask me why).  Green on St Patty’s day…of course.  And when my military uniform evolved and no longer had green in the pattern…I may or may not have invested in green underwear so that I was covered if it was on a weekday.  When I played sports growing up, my superstition took on a life of its own.  Every game or meet had a ritual.  Shoes tied and retied.  Same bathroom stall.  Same hat, left in the same place by the bleachers while the race was run.  Lucky numbers.  Lucky sweatshirt.  Lucky socks.  When I played basketball, I became very superstitious about music.  Our team had the same warmup CD for years…to this day, when I hear “The Final Countdown,” I want to rip off my breakaway pants and start running laps around the room.  Almost 20 years later, another “big game” made me realize how important my superstitious quirks were to every great achievement in my life…they were the answer whenever the word “can’t” tried to work its way into my life.

Superstitions Lead to Life’s Greatest Achievements

When I found out I was pregnant with our son, now 8 months old, my superstitious habits kicked into high gear.  We were afraid.  Pregnancy wasn’t easy for us…getting pregnant, staying pregnant…not always as easy as some people make it sound.  I worried a lot.  Whenever I would start to worry, I would put my full library of music on shuffle and divide songs into playlists.  Whenever I heard a song that made me want to jump out of my seat and put the world on my shoulders, it made the elusive Push Playlist.  I was sure that the songs on that list would be the only thing that would motivate me to move that little kicking watermelon where it needed to go at game time.  When the time came, my failure to designate a DJ for the big event meant that we never transitioned to the Push Playlist, resulting in some funny looks from the crowd of medical students who had tickets to the show (I’m pretty sure I heard Shock the Monkey from Peter Gabriel through my own screams…welcome to the world little guy).

I digress, back to the music that SHOULD have been playing.  Michael Jackson, Metallica, Queen, the entire Rocky soundtrack, and obviously…The Final Countdown.  Each song, each beat, is a positive trigger.  Those songs got me through marathons, breakups, basketball tryouts, cruel words, and lost loved ones.  Each positive trigger transformed an experience that could have sent me in a very different direction when something blocked my path.  Those triggers knocked out the dust and provided clarity when the noise of life was too much.  They provided just the right push when the word “can’t” started to creep in.  Can’t is not an option.  Saying can’t is a decision not to try. 

Use Superstitions to Propel Past Challenges

Instead of going around a problem, those superstitious triggers propelled me forward, through the negative barrier, to become stronger out the back end.  Now, every negative experience brings a conditioned response.  My hand impulsively reaches to knock on a wooden door, and deep down, a little voice whispers JUST. KEEP. MOVING.  I hear the first notes of the right song, and a little voice sings it WILL get better…You CAN do it…You WILL prove them wrong!

I know what you’re thinking.  I can’t just throw salt over my shoulder and knock my way to success.  Success is hard work.  Blood, sweat, tears…no pain, no gain…etc, etc, etc.

No kidding.

Hard work is the key to everything.  Physical, mental, and emotional strengths are all forged with hard work.  NOTHING is possible without hard work, but hard work can only get you so far.  On the surface, I relied on luck and superstition to get me through the toughest times in my life.  A song.  A pair of socks.  A wooden door.  What I realized when life REALLY got tough, is that each quirky superstition prepared me for the moments when hard work wasn’t enough.

Triggers For Success

The real key to success is resiliency:  the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.  The ability to push through the times when you’re emotionally beat down…by others or yourself.  To buckle down when obstacles are in your way and the solution requires more than just more hard work.  We are conditioned to react to triggers, positive and negative. Over the years, every superstition I placed in my bag of tricks became a positive trigger to snap my focus back to the task at hand.

Life brings challenges that put you at a crossroad.  Either find a way to quickly wipe the doubt from your mind and get back to the path you are set on, or find yourself settling for a lesser path.  So whether I’m doing the top half of the Thriller dance in the car, or quietly tapping on a doorway, you can bet that whatever is on the other side is worth it.  When someone else’s words plant the idea that you can’t…Three Knocks Say: YES. YOU. CAN.

What gets you putting one foot in front of the other when hard work isn’t enough?

Written by Angelina Stephens

Progress Starts With YOU!


Today is a global day of celebration for the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women!

I think this is a great opportunity to reflect upon some of the brave women who have gone ahead of us. They have paved the way for progress in so many arenas and we owe them a THANK YOU!

In the spirit of the day, I thought it was the perfect time to share some of my favorite stories of bold women.


The Easiest Place To Start Is With You!

1).  Learn from professor Amy Cuddy on how practicing strong body language can actually influence the way you approach the world.

2).  Meet Nancy Frates. This amazing woman started the infamous ALS ice bucket challenge and raised $160 million for continued research.

3).  Reshna Saujani gives one of my favorite TED talks on how we should teach our young girls to value progress and bravery in life over perfection.

4).  Psychologist Carol Dweck encourages us to have a growth mindset in order to truly believe we can improve and helps identify the motivation that leads to success.

5).  Author and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, famous from Lean In, explains why there aren’t enough women in leadership positions in the our country and how we can make small changes to get there!

I encourage you to watch one of these TED talks each day this week (check them out below). Challenge yourself to find 3 takeaways you can implement into your life.

International Women’s Day is a day to celebrate progress for women, and the best way to do your part is to make a commitment to change the things around you…








Suzy Driskill

Brittany Leverett

Stefanie Cooper

Katerine Lindler

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Grow A Business You Love…Discover Your Why

Part II

Discover Your Why

So what’s next?  In Part I, you thought about and reflected upon growing a business you love and what that means to you.  Maybe you even already HAVE a business you love, so what’s the next step?

Discover Your Mission

To me, it’s finding the MISSION in what you love.  The reason WHY is the gateway to digging into that mission.  The mission is the journey, the process, the challenge, and the journey you embark on to get you to that place of true love.

Let me tell you a story of what this mission meant for me.  About 2 years ago I found myself in a tough spot.  I was a new mom who was back at work after a maternity leave that seemed to fly by.  I was teaching, but I was also an entrepreneur.  I was passionate about my business, but I had hit a giant roadblock.  I was exhausted, back in a chaotic class of children I needed to teach while I somehow finding time to pump (yay breastfeeding), plan, go to meetings, cook dinner, take care of my family, and still grow my business.  No big deal, right?

Embrace What Your Heart Is Saying

I fell flat on my face.  You see, beyond just the schedule struggles, I was sad.  I was frustrated I didn’t have more time to grow my business and even more frustrated because I wanted to be with my baby boy more than anything else in the world.  I cried every day dropping him off with his babysitter.  My heart ached to watch him grow and play and never miss a moment.

This is where my mission became fully realized.  I knew I had a chance to use this newfound reason why to really dig deep.  Just like always, it wasn’t going to be easy, but I just knew what I had to do.

A. P. J. Abdul Kalam

It was time to go after my dream.  I was on a mission to grow my business no matter what it took.  I stayed up late, woke up early, and used my headphones to make calls on my commute.  Whatever it took, I did it.  You know what?  That paid off.  I was able to replace my income and leave my job to fulfill my dream of being a stay at home mom!

Accept that Your Mission May Change

What changed?  I had that business before my son was born.  The MISSION changed.  The WHY behind that mission changed.  Once my vision became crystal clear and my purpose fully developed, I was able to fully commit and take action to help me grow.  The love grew deeper, the emotional ties stronger, and the commitment deeper.

Whatever you are doing in life, realizing your true purpose will help you fall even more in love.  I guarantee it!

Finding Your Why

Having trouble pin pointing your why?  I encourage you to examine your heart.  Take a long walk.  Sit with pen and paper.  Ask yourself tough questions.  What do I really want?  Why am I here?  In 50 years, will I be happy with how I’m spending my days?  What do I want my legacy to be?

You may have to ask these questions time and time again, but if you trust your heart, the answers will come and so will the mission!

Written by Susan Brown