Lifestyle, Writing, Podcasting, Military Life, Inspirtation, North Carolina

Rae Marie Czuhai- The Green Chair Project

Rae Marie Czuhai, Director of Development of The Green Chair Project

Listen to my interview with Rae Marie here on Hodge Podge Podcast 👂

Raleigh, North Carolina-

Rae Marie Czuhai is The Green Chair Project’s new Director of Development. Rae Marie joined the agency in February 2020 and leads development activities for the non-.profit organization which provides furniture and household items to families in need.

Since it’s establishment in 2010, Green Chair has provided furnishings to 10,000+ individuals of all ages around Wake County, including serving 3,115+ households, delivering bed sets to 3,700+ bed sets to children—helping these individuals move one step closer to self-sufficiency.

Rae Marie has extensive years of experience with marketing, fundraising, and stewarding relationships through the banking industry and fundraising positions at the Montessori School of Raleigh, Artspace, and Communities in Schools of Wake County. Most recently, Rae Marie worked at Mainstreet Collection as Director of Marketing. She is a graduate of Peace College and the University of NC-Chapel Hill and has served on the Board of Trustees at William Peace University, Hillyer Memorial Christian Church Council, and at the Junior League of Raleigh.

Learn more about Rae Marie and The Green Chair Project HERE on Hodge Podge Podcast 👂

Learn more below about The Green Chair Project:

The Green Chair Project was founded in 2010 by real estate professionals to provide people in need quality furniture and household items while creating a dignified shopping experience for families who cannot afford to purchase new items for their homes. Their vision came to life through partner agencies who identify families who have gained stable housing after homelessness or other crises, but lack the resources to furnish their new home.

Today, Green Chair is the only full furnishing provider in Wake County. Through the Family Furnishings program, referred families pay a small buy-in fee and have the opportunity to select all the furnishings and items needed to help create a stable home.

In 2013, Green Chair launched the Sweeter Dreams program to address the need for children’s beds in Wake County. Sweeter Dreams partners with social workers from Wake County Public Schools to provide children (who do not have a bed of their own) with beds.

In addition, Green Chair supports low-income families recovering from disasters such as the devastation of Hurricane Florence in 2018. Green Chair launched a Disaster Relief Program to provide full furnishing packages to families in eastern North Carolina who had lost homes and possessions due to Florence.

The organization continues to partner with many companies, organizations, and government partners to deliver assistance to over 540 households.

To learn more about The Green Chair Project visit their website here: https://www.thegreenchair.org/

Feature story on WRAL about Green Chair here: https://www.wral.com/non-profit-changes-its-mission/19061124/

Learn more about The Green Chair Project HERE on Hodge Podge Podcast 👂

Want to help? Look here: https://www.thegreenchair.org/donate

Lifestyle, Writing, Podcasting, Military Life, Inspirtation, North Carolina

Memorial Day is a Tough Day for Many

Photo by Alison Klakowicz
Flags of Remembrance at U.S. Army Airborne & Special Operations Museum, Fayetteville, North Carolina

As most people get to enjoy some much needed R&R today on Memorial Day, there are many who are directly impacted by its sentiment.

These individuals have lost fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, uncles, aunts, friends and teammates.

Survivors have to move forward each year with the guilt, trauma, and sadness which consumes them knowing they are alive and their loved one is not.

Parents are not alive to witness their children’s firsts— first words and steps, first day of school, first heartbreak, first laughter, first bike rides, first dances, graduations, marriage, the birth of a first grandchild.

The children of these soldiers lose a huge part of themselves, and must conjure up strength, dignity, tolerance, patience, grace to move ahead in life. An unimaginable strength they are expected to find in themselves.

This is a very tough day for my husband (an Army Special Forces soldier) who has lost many friends— his band of brothers who did not return home from war; or returned with invisible scars that later swallowed them up and took their lives.

Survivor’s guilt is very real.

It is painful and debilitating.

I see it in my husband. In his conscience. In the days leading up to a day other folks celebrate without pain or sorrow, unlike him. The loss is deep inside his soul.

I have to remind myself to tread lightly today. To be respectful and empathetic. To acknowledge the loss and memories of so many gone.

Today, I ask you to tread lightly too. To reach out to an individual survivor, soldier or veteran who know this pain tenfold. Ask them to remember these individuals and tell their story.

Do not forget them. Do not forget their stories.

Do not let the loss of their lives go unknown and unheard.

Celebrate the lives taken too soon.

Wishing you all a beautiful day of remembrance .

Happy Memorial Day!

With Love,

Alison Klakowicz

Lifestyle, Writing, Podcasting, Military Life, Inspirtation, North Carolina

Porch Talk: Three Friends Talk “Coping” During #PANDEMIC (while raising children/pregnancy)

Three gal pals chat about the ups and downs during the #Covid-19 #Pandemic
Pictured left to right: Miranda Crosby, Danica Thomas and Alison Klakowicz

LISTEN👂 TO OUR CONVERSATION ON HODGE PODGE PODCAST!

Fayetteville, North Carolina-

I recently had the chance to porch sit with my bestie neighbor, Miranda Crosby and our mutual friend Danica Thomas, to talk about the ups and downs we’ve experienced throughout the Covid-19 pandemic— and how we have coped with the changes in our lives.

We brought our unique perspectives, backgrounds, personalities, quirks to the microphone 🎙 to chat candidly about this strange time in life that has turned the world 🌎 upside down.

Miranda— an Army spouse whose husband deployed overseas in January— is pregnant with their first child all while wading through these new socially distant waters sans her husband.

Danica— a widowed Army spouse, is a military suicide awareness and prevention advocate raising two young daughters as a single parent while working and virtually homeschooling her daughters all on her own.

Alison (me)— an Army spouse, children’s book author, writer, podcaster trying to juggle content creation, marketing, writing, book sales while rejoicing as the final week of the school year approaches for her second grader. Thank the LORD.

Yes, we probably sat too close to one another for some of your tastes. No masks were worn. However, to settle your worrisome minds— we each have been very careful over the past two months to follow public social distancing rules. Promise.

We just enjoyed being together.

Talking face-to-face.

Laughing.

Listening.

Learning from each other.

We wanted to create a podcast message for all the folks needing validation, advice, self-affirmation, reassurance that everything is gonna be alright (to be sung in Bob Marley’s voice).

You are doing a wonderful job.

It’s okay not to be okay.

Just hang in there!

Reach out to us if you need a listening 👂 ear.

You’ve got a friend.

LISTEN👂 TO OUR CONVERSATION ON HODGE PODGE PODCAST!

Lifestyle, Writing, Podcasting, Military Life, Inspirtation, North Carolina

Children’s Book Review- Buckle Up: A Children’s Imaginary Journey About Self-Control by Stephanie Scott

Stephanie Scott has written a lovely book to teach children valuable lessons in self-control. In times such as now during the era of social-distancing, life can present all types of new challenges which are completely out of our control. Our normal daily routines have been replaced with new territory and stressors which make navigating our way through these new roads set forth of us extremely hard. Scott’s debut, Buckle Up: A Children’s Imaginary Journey About Self-Control provides kids and their parents the tools they need to master the bumpy road ahead. 

The book features Nini, a charming and wise little bird, who serves as the guide for the book’s readers through a delightful interactive and imaginary journey throughout the pages of the story. Nini encourages children to “buckle up” and tackle life’s obstacles with positive thinking all the while empowering them to practice self-control.

Nini is always there to remind the reader to use safety precautions for whatever lies ahead and gives the best advice on how to skillfully and patiently make wise, healthy decisions. The cute feathered friend provides prompts and guidance such as:

“I am PATIENT. I can wait.”

“STAY CALM.”

Words of affirmation we can all use and implement in our daily self-talk.

The vibrant illustrations by Olga Barinova are perfectly familiar and relatable to the reader in providing examples of everyday situations on the road to mastering self-control. Scott has masterfully created an invaluable tool for families, educators, behavioral counselors and psycho-therapists to utilize in assisting children develop crucial life skills that will help them successfully drive the road toward their futures. 

FREE RESOURCES AVAILABLE HERE!

Including Printables & BuckleUp Reading Prompts

About the Author:

Stephanie Scott was born and raised in Windsor, Ontario, Canada and currently resides in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada where she has devoted her professional life to educating families and educators on the social-emotional development of children. Through her work, she hopes to provide opportunities for children to learn about communicating needs, regulating emotions, and coping with difficult situations.

A fun fact about the author: The inspiration for Nini in “Buckle Up” came from her childhood nickname.

STEPHANIE SCOTT, AUTHOR OF BUCKLE UP: A CHILDREN’S IMAGINARY JOURNEY ABOUT SELF-CONTROL

Visit Stephanie’s Blog Here!

Connect With Stephanie HERE!

PURCHASE A COPY OF THE BOOK BELOW:

FRIESENPRESS BOOKSTORE

AMAZON CANADA

BARNES & NOBLE

INDIGO

Lifestyle, Writing, Podcasting, Military Life, Inspirtation, North Carolina

Kellie Artis, Millie COO— Helping military families PCS during pandemic with help from Lowe’s Home Improvement #LetsPCSTogether

What can already be a stressful time for military households in the midst of relocating to new duty stations across the USA and world has been rudely interrupted during this time of social-distancing.

During this 2020 PCS Season, military lives are in major flux and plans have been placed on hold. But thanks to MILLIE and Lowe’s Home Improvement, PCS woes are about to get a little bit easier.

In April 2020, Lowe’s announced it would contribute a $170 million community commitment toward the COVID-19 pandemic relief efforts by supporting their associates, hiring more team members, and giving back to their communities.

One community outreach partnership recently announced is with MILLIE in support of active-duty military families. The partnership aims to make military moves easier this year by providing on-the-ground assistance for tasks where advanced travel is typically required.

Millie COO, Kellie Artis, joined me today to discuss the fabulous supports being offered to milfamilies to make their PCS transitions easier.

LISTEN 👂 TO OUR CONVERSATION ON HODGE PODGE PODCAST TO LEARN MORE!

Kellie Artis, MILLIE COO

Interested in applying for help with your PCS? GO HERE to find a MILLIE SCOUT in your area!

Want to learn more about Millie? Connect with Millie at the following links:

Website: http://www.gomillie.com/Facebook (@gomillie): https://www.facebook.com/gomillie/Instagram (@themillieway): https://www.instagram.com/themillieway/Twitter (@gomillie_com): https://twitter.com/gomillie_comPinterest (@themillieway): https://www.pinterest.com/themillieway/MILLIE Journal: https://journal.gomillie.com/

Lifestyle, Writing, Podcasting, Military Life, Inspirtation, North Carolina

Edible Landscapes Are Fun!

I love to garden. I’m no expert gardener nor a perfectionist. But I’ve always loved to put my hands in the dirt and reap the benefits of what grows.

Gardening is therapy for me. It’s great exercise and a good excuse to spend hours outdoors exploring my yard and the wildlife that cohabits my little world.

From planting perennials that come back to visit each spring until the frost of winter— to planting vegetable plants of all types— it gives me such joy to watch things grow and flourish.

I like to have fun designing an edible landscape around my home mixing flowers, herbs and veggies throughout my yard.

Creating a whimsical outdoor living room makes my yard fun and a place I want to spend time with family and friends— chilling out in the hammock or by the fire pit.

When the first tomato 🍅 ripens I can pluck it from the bush along with a handful of fresh herbs— rosemary, basil, sage— along with a few greens, spring onions, and walk a few feet to my kitchen to mix up a delicious dish 🥗 homegrown in my edible landscape.

You should give it a try!

It does not need to be perfect and you do not need a large amount of land to create the perfect edible landscape for your yard.

If you’ve always wanted to start a garden at home, here are some resources on why you should create an edible landscape and ideas about what to plant in your yard:

Edible Landscaping

Un-Lawning

Mother Earth

HAPPY GARDENING!!!

Lifestyle, Writing, Podcasting, Military Life, Inspirtation, North Carolina

Six Ways You Can Raise Awareness to Prevent Child Abuse

Recently, I partnered with Partnership for Children of Cumberland County to help promote awareness of ways we can all help to prevent child abuse.

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. Each of us plays a vital role in raising awareness about the prevention of child abuse. It is of utmost importance that we each take an active stand to prevent child abuse to build healthier, more loving, whole communities where a child is never forgotten.

If ever there was a critical time to promote social wellness and prevention of maltreatment of children, it is now especially due to current world circumstances. Through social-distancing, it may seem even more challenging to help others, but we can still spread the word to create awareness.

Read my article here:

Six Ways You Can Raise Awareness to Prevent Child Abuse