Contentment Found at Gillis Hill Farm

Five years ago, my family found a treasure tucked away on a winding country road on the edges of Cumberland County, North Carolina not far from our home in Fayetteville.

A sacred place where we would find contentment, quiet moments of togetherness and joyful, sugar-filled hikes along green pastures and wooded trails.

Five years ago, we found Gillis Hill Farm.

At the time, I knew it would become a special place in our Sandhills journey. But, I did not realize the void it would fill in our hearts.

Overtime, it became a sanctuary where we could escape the hustle and bustle of daily routines, military family woes, and a busy city life.

And, just be a family wandering the grounds of a simple, beautiful farm.

With the purchase of {a multitude of flavors} homemade, ice cream served in a cup or waffle cone— as well as daily fresh baked goods (we highly recommend the brownies 👍😋), you can peruse the terrain of the eighth generation family owned and operated contentment farm.

Our favorite spot to savor the delectable cold, sweet treat (or other delicious goodies) is along the screened porch of the old farmhouse office and bakery— gliding on white rockers overlooking the grounds bursting with azalea and hydrangea blooms that have welcomed visitors for many years each spring.

I have introduced friends and family to “the farm” over the years— to share this magical place with loved ones in hopes it might serve them a bit of the joy my family has gained from its fertile and safe harbored grounds much like my country roots— and the porches where I rocked with my grandparents during hot North Carolina summers.

Gillis Hill opens to the public each spring and closes in late November— we are always so sad to see it close for the winter.

Alas, I begin to stalk their Facebook pages in March each year to see if there are postings of when our favorite local hideaway will welcome us back.

AND, Lo and behold… LOOK 👀 what I found on their FB page today:

WOOHOO!!!! April 1st cannot come soon enough! 😃

I am like a toddler on a sugar high!👆👆👆

I cannot wait to pack up my family and friends, and haul them out to Gillis Hill Road!

If you are new to the area or are looking for a perfect place to spend a spring day in Central NC, make this a MUST on your destination list. You won’t be disappointed (If you are, then you need to re-evaluate your priorities. 🤔 Just sayin’ 😂)!

Plus, you are supporting a local family farm!

To find out more information about Gillis Hill Farm, visit their Facebook page:

To contact them, look 👀 here:

And, mark April 1st on your calendar!!!

We will see you at “the farm!”

Alison Paul Klakowicz, BA, MS

Author of Mommy’s Big, Red Monster Truck

Alison Paul Klakowicz is a North Carolina native, children’s book author, blogger, podcaster and creative writer. She is a military spouse who resides in Fayetteville, NC with her husband, Adam, and son, Mak.

Visit Bookstores

I have always loved bookstores— especially the small, independent bookshops in little nooks and crannies.

The ones made with brick and mortar on downtown streets with glass window fronts with pleasant displays of books and more books that beg you to visit.

The sound of a bell’s chime 🔔 when you enter the door 🚪 with a smiling face to welcome you into the little world filled of whimsical fantasy and fiction, true stories of heroes and the woe begotten, survivors and foreign places.

There is also a smell of a bookshop that quenches my senses. The smell of timelessness and wonder.

Now that I am on my journey introducing the children of my home state of North Carolina to my book— Mommy’s Big, Red Monster Truck— I am getting to visit so many wonderful Indie bookstores and it makes my heart so happy.

The best part is meeting so many wonderful people… bookshop owners (living out their own dreams), beautiful children, parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles— and their friends.

I have made so many new friends across North Carolina in such a short time and cannot wait to make more!

I learn so much about them and the community where they live. It is rewarding and enriching to my life.

I love to hear, and see their reactions to my book when I have the honor of reading to them.

Joy surrounds me! It gives me hope and peace to be in their presence. What a blessing it is in my life. ❤️

The partnership of creating events at bookstores is a two-way street. Not only does it allow me to present my book to potential readers, but it brings people into bookstores. In a world of technology, it is so nice to unplug and spend some quality time reading, interacting, crafting, communicating, and getting to know the people of North Carolina better— and my city of Fayetteville, NC.

So, go visit your local bookstores!

Support local shop owners and authors. Feed your child’s brain with literature, and real interactions with your fellow neighbors.

The benefits of this ageless pastime are ten folds the rewards of not taking the thirty minutes out of your day to visit a bookshop.

Happy Reading!

And, come see me at the bookstore!

Alison Paul Klakowicz, BA, MS

Author of Mommy’s Big, Red Monster Truck

Author, Blogger, Podcaster, Artisan, Milspouse

Follow Me:

Facebook @mommysbigredmonstertruck

Instagram @alisonklak

Twitter @KlakowiczAlison

Alison Paul Klakowicz is an Eastern North Carolina native, children’s book author, blogger, podcaster and creative writer. She is a military spouse who resides in Fayetteville, NC with her husband, Adam, and son, Mak.

Read to Children

Some of my fondest childhood memories are those snuggled up to my mother while she read bedtime stories to my brother and me.

The simplicity and sanctitude of those memories are like tiny perfect pearls all strung together in a perfect circle of life.

Now that I am a mother, I carry on this nighttime tradition.

There is something wonderful about reading to your child with them nestled close to you, watching intently as you read each word to them.

I’ve found even when my son is in the foulest of moods— crying the blues because he does not want to go to bed— that if I can contain him long enough in the four corners of his bedroom and crack the pages of a book, it will tame the beast roaring inside him.

Slowly, he will begin to pay attention and crawl to my side to listen to the story unfolding from the pages.

I know from my own experience as a child, there is no time you feel safer or more secure than when your parents give you their undivided time to whittle a fantastical tale into your tired mind and tuck you snug into your bed.

That is truly “the stuff” of life.

We all need more of those still moments together. Where you unwind and listen— and love.

I suppose this is how I came to love books and storytelling so much.

Thanks, Mom.

Thanks for taking the time to snuggle and read to us.

Without it, I surely would have been lost.

Quite possibly, I would have been wandering about life unaware of the beauty that lies within books.

The thought makes me cringe.


So, my point is… take the time to read to or with your children. You could be helping to feed a love of words for the world’s next greatest writer.

And without words and writers, where would our world be?

Not a place I want to be.

So, go on now. Start collecting those books for your home library.

And, make memories of a lifetime through the pages of a wonderful bedtime story.

Alison Paul Klakowicz BA, MS

Author of Mommy’s Big, Red Monster Truck

Mother, Milspouse, Writer, Podcaster, Artisan

Alison Paul Klakowicz is a North Carolina native, children’s book author, blogger, podcaster and creative writer. She is a military spouse who resides in Fayetteville, NC with her husband, Adam, and son, Mak.

Indivisible through Faith

This morning I woke up sleepy eyed and went through my normal routine of splashing my face with water, and huddling up the stairs to wake my child for school— then pouring my first strong, hot cup of coffee of the day— longing to be perked up and conquer.

I had a late night the evening before with a group of beautiful military spouses at All American Chapel on Fort Bragg— where we sat in unison on red velvet cushioned pews sipping [more] coffee ☕️ to stay awake for a special movie night sponsored by Fort Bragg PWOC.

The movie was based on the traumatic Army career beginnings of a Fort Bragg Chaplain and his spouse (Darron and Heather Turner) titled “Indivisible.”

We were honored to have Heather present in the chapel to watch the movie with us. How incredible is that!

And brave of her to sit among us all with some of the most difficult and intimate days of her life unfolding on the screen for us all to dissect.


The Turners began their career as young, uplifted, Christian parents full of promise, hope and faith. Darron at the start of his career was a recent graduate of seminary with the strongest faith and desire to provide soldiers with hope through the teachings of Christ.

However, his own faith would be tested following his first deployment to Iraq where he experienced the ugliness of war which nearly tore the couple apart.

But through his own teachings to his fellow soldiers and his wife’s support, he was able to conquer his doubt and fear and went on to hold a successful Army career teaching the word of God to soldiers and their families.

The movie was relatable and moving… conjuring up old emotions and memories of mine and my husbands beginnings in this military life.

It can be HARD. SO HARD!

But, the movie solidified that we too are INDIVISIBLE and our FAITH has brought us into a secure and loving life which blankets us after nine years of marriage.

Are we perfect? NO!

Do we argue? YES!

Do we get on each other’s nerves? OH HECK, YES!!!

You might be thinking 🤔 “what’s the big deal? NINE years isn’t that long. Everyone has challenges.”

Well, you are right. And in many ways we have had it so, so, so good.

BUT, I’m here to tell you that nine years can feel like one hundred in Army years.

I thought to myself— following the movie with tears streaming down my cheeks sandwiched between two dear friends while holding hands in prayer— “Whew! We made it! Thank You, GOD!”

Even through the ups and downs, FAITH delivered us from the evils that could have easily torn us down.

FAITH in each other.

FAITH that GOD is ALWAYS with us.

FAITH that our partnership is strong and true.

Without FAITH, we would be DIVISIBLE.

Without people with FAITH in our lives, we would be DIVISIBLE.

Let me say this… I am not a perfect Christian by any means.

And I’m not trying to preach at you.

But, I want you to know that my faith has brought me through some very difficult days.

It has provided me hope and awakenings and new beginnings.

I am a believer in positivity.

I am a believer in do good and receive good.

I am a believer that there is a plan for each of us.

I believe we are NOT alone in this journey.

Do not allow the stresses of life to break you down.


And y’all, go watch that movie 🎥 🍿 for a little inspiration (but bring a box of tissues… just in case 😭).

And, have FAITH so that you are INDIVISIBLE.

-Alison Paul Klakowicz BA, MS

Author of Mommy’s Big, Red Monster Truck

Writer, Blogger, Podcaster, Artisan

Instagram @alisonklak

Twitter: @KlakowiczAlison

Host of “Hodge Podge Podcast” (Anchor, Appleitunes, Googleplay, Spotify)

Alison Paul Klakowicz is a North Carolina native, children’s book author, blogger, podcaster and creative writer. She is a military spouse who resides in Fayetteville, NC with her husband, Adam, and son, Mak.

Thank You, Fayetteville, North Carolina

Ten years ago, I left a cozy boho, beach life in Wilmington, North Carolina and moved two hours west to Fayetteville, North Carolina. I was newly engaged to marry my Green Beret beau— bordering on life as a soon-to-be Army wife.

As most native North Carolinians, I had some bias and underestimated visions of what life would be like in Fayetteville— it would undoubtedly fail in comparison to my accustomed and beloved coastal living.

Growing up, I had always heard it called “Fayettenam.” When first perusing the area to find housing, a new friend corrected me and said, “You mean, “The Ville.” My first indication that locals did not favor the old nickname which cooked up images of strip clubs and smoky bars with ill-behaved soldiers.

This same friend introduced me to a different side of Fayetteville. A historic and artsy side.

I found my then fiancé (now husband) and I a cute little cottage in Haymount. I loved the charm of Haymount and it’s quaint village flair with gorgeous old Southern homes, oak and magnolia lined roadways.

We began to frequent the stores and restaurants on Haymount Hill and the charming downtown area. I started to feel more connected to the city I barely knew, but formerly had such staunch negative opinions of.

The past ten years have flown by and I am still learning so much about this historic, All-American City filled with intelligent, talented, innovative people.

Some of my most joyful and difficult days have been here. I became a wife, an Army Spouse, a mother, earned a Masters degree, worked in a counseling career, left said career to chase my dreams, grew in my faith, and became a published children’s book author.

My life is so full now. All thanks to my husband bringing me here.

To Fayetteville. Who would have “thunk” it?

I truly am a better, more well-rounded person now.

I’ve matured.

I appreciate so much more.

I’ve made wonderful friends from all over the world here.

I am proud to be an Army Spouse, and proud of the Army wives who are my tribe right here in this awesome, metamorphosing city.

Sometimes life takes you places you never expect.

You fear change. It can be terrifying.

But, if you open your mind’s eye and heart, and take a good long look around you in that terrifying place in your head, you just might be surprised of the beautiful life that is unfolding in front of you.

Thank you, Fayetteville, North Carolina for the wonderful gifts you’ve bestowed upon me!

I am so proud to call you home.

-Alison Paul Klakowicz, BA, MS

Author of Mommy’s Big, Red Monster Truck

Alison Paul Klakowicz is a North Carolina native, children’s book author, blogger, podcaster and creative writer. She is a military spouse who resides in Fayetteville, NC with her husband, Adam, and son, Mak.