Vote for Mommy’s Big, Red Monster Truck!

I am elated my children’s book, Mommy’s Big, Red Monster Truck, is in the running for a 2019 Reader’s Choice Award!

Please consider voting.

Click on the link below and go to page 11 then simply click on the book cover to cast your vote!

GO HERE:

https://www.tckpublishing.com/2019-readers-choice-voting-page/

Or here:

https://www.opinionstage.com/belprado1/vote-for-your-favorite-children-s-book1

THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!

-Alison Paul Klakowicz

Author of Mommy’s Big, Red Monster Truck

http://www.alisonpaulklakowicz.com

Hodge Podge Podcast: anchor.fm/jalisonpaulyahoocom

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.

Joann Yost: Gold Star Wife, Breast Cancer Survivor, Mother, Business Woman, Guiding Light

Joann “JoJo” Yost, Perruque Boutique Founder and Owner

Take a LISTEN to our inspiring, and motivational conversation on Hodge Podge Podcast here: https://anchor.fm/jalisonpaulyahoocom/episodes/Joann-JoJo-Yost-Survivor–Warrior–Inspiration-e4d7ol

Fayetteville, North Carolina

Perruque Boutique Owner and Founder, Joann “JoJo” Yost, came up with the vision of her business while sitting in a chemo chair while fighting her own battle with stage two breast cancer in 2015.

https://www.wigsfayettevillenc.com/

Photographs of JoJo’s breast cancer treatment journey

Her mission: to make Fayetteville, North Carolina and its surrounding areas feel beautiful one WIG at a time.

JoJo assisting a customer choosing a wig due to hair loss from chemotherapy

Various high quality wigs, headscarves and accessories available for sale at Perruque

Private wig fitting rooms available allow customers privacy

Not only is JoJo a breast cancer survivor, but she is also a Gold Star Spouse. 🌟

https://www.goldstarwives.org/.

Her late husband, US Army Special Forces MSG Anthony Yost, was killed in action during a deployment in Iraq in 2005. He was the love of her life and father to their son, AJ, who was a toddler when his father passed away.

United States Army Special Forces MSG Anthony Yost

Anthony and JoJo

https://www.greenberetfoundation.org/memorial/anthony-r-c-yost/ https://www.fallenheroesproject.org/united-states/anthony-ray-charles-yost/

I had the pleasure to sit down with this extraordinary woman and chat about her struggles and triumphs after surviving her husband‘s death in combat, her transition to single-parenting, then beating breast cancer which inspired her to open her own business in order to create a safe harbor for others fighting for their lives— to provide them hope and help them feel beautiful on their journey.

Take a LISTEN to our inspiring, and motivational conversation on Hodge Podge Podcast here: https://anchor.fm/jalisonpaulyahoocom/episodes/Joann-JoJo-Yost-Survivor–Warrior–Inspiration-e4d7ol

-Alison Paul Klakowicz, BA, MS

Author of Mommy’s Big, Red Monster Truck

http://www.alisonpaulklakowicz.com

Podcast: anchor.fm/jalisonpaulyahoocom

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.

I can add puppetry to my resume!

I have Donna Cowan, California-based author of With the Courage of a Mouse: The Superhero School Series (https://www.amazon.com/Courage-Mouse-Superhero-School/dp/1640853839) to thank for this. She inspired me to take the plunge into the world of puppeteering.

You see, Donna told me all about her special handmade puppet created by a puppet-maker genius and children’s book author by the name of Debra Williams who lives way on the other side of the world 🌎 from the USA 🇺🇸 in New South Wales, Australia 🇦🇺. http://www.clewerpuppets.com

I fell in love 😍 with the idea of having my very own puppet designed to use as part of author events for Mommy’s Big, Red Monster Truck https://www.amazon.com/Mommys-Big-Red-Monster-Truck/dp/1525530178.

Donna kindly provided me Debra’s contact information and I got in contact with her right away. Although a bit of a challenge from Debra’s normal requests, she jumped right in and created the most adorable monster truck hand puppet that arrived on my doorstep today.

I tore open the package like a child on Christmas morning— the package that traveled so far to reach little old me here in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

When I opened the box, I smiled ear-to-ear because it could not have been anymore perfect. She did an amazing job hand stitching 🧵 the monster truck with perfect accents to match the illustrations from the book; not to mention two finger puppets to represent Mommy and her son which velcro neatly into place inside the cab of the truck.

No detail left undone.

I give Debra and http://www.clewerpuppets.com 👍👍👍 and an A+ 💯! I could not be happier with the quality and design.

Thank you Debra for bringing me such joy today! I can’t wait for the adventures to come with my new puppet.

Alison Paul Klakowicz, BA, MS

Author of Mommy’s Big, Red Monster Truck

http://www.alisonpaulklakowicz.com

https://www.amazon.com/Mommys-Big-Red-Monster-Truck/dp/1525530178

Instagram @alisonklak

Twitter @KlakowiczAlison

anchor.fm/jalisonpaulyahoocom

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.

Self-Doubt is Just the Worst!

Self-Doubt is a cancer that feeds on your every insecurity.

Even when things are going well in your life, self-doubt creeps up your spine through your organs, into your neck and right into your brain.

It spreads and spreads— and before you know it, you talk yourself out of everything you wish to accomplish.

But, why???

Why does this happen?

This is my take:

I think for many of us it’s natural to worry and to second guess oneself. It’s inherently part of our human psyche to doubt ourselves.

I’m not good enough— sound familiar?

How about— no one wants to bother with me.

And this— I’m not worthy.

Well that right there folks is the devil working on your mind.

Prodding his pitchfork into your sides and saying, “They are going to laugh at you! Who do you think you are? You are nobody!”

Well, I’m gonna tell y’all something.

You are worthy.

You are someone.

Forget what you think people may or may not think of you.

Focus on your goals.

Create tangible, smart, concrete plans and start working it out.

Little by little.

One baby step at a time.

And you will begin to see significant changes in your life.

Stop doubting your dreams.

Dreams are the stuff that design your future.

Whether you want to write books, sell art, play guitar in a band, have the lead in a stage production, open a boutique or a coffee shop, restaurateur, spin instructor, cosmetologist, nurse— these are completely normal and accomplishable goals.

I cannot emphasize the importance of research.

RESEARCH.

Educate and empower yourself.

Go to your web browser and type in the words driving or inhibiting your dreams.

Read articles.

Look up college prerequisites.

Look at reviews.

View tutorials on YouTube.

Ask for help— Professional, personal or spiritual. People are out there and want to help you believe in yourself.

Sign up for “feel good” seminars and small business collaborations.

Talk to people.

Put yourself out there.

Do not allow self-doubt to ruin your life plans.

Change is necessary to move on from your fears and get closer to YOU.

Seriously.

Like the old Nike campaign, “Just Do It!”

Stop making excuses about why you can’t.

YOU CAN!

-Alison Paul Klakowicz, BA, MS

Author of Mommy’s Big, Red Monster Truck

http://www.alisonpaulklakowicz.com

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.

Chasing Dreams

Today, I decided to do what I told myself I would not do— to start blogging.

Yes, I have chosen to become another blogger in the sea of bloggers filling up google searches around the world.

But, this is why…

I am not special.

Nor am I a genius or expert on anything in particular.

But, I do enjoy writing and have quite a number of interests… a Hodge Podge of pursuits and loves you might say.

So after some thought and finally forcing myself to download the WordPress app, reading other bloggers testimonials, here I am.

My blog— Hodge Podge (which shares the same name and stuffing as my podcast) will focus on my life as a military spouse living in my native home state of North Carolina while raising a wild and lovable boy (age seven as of last week).

It will include my pursuits as a creative writer and soon-to-be children’s book author (Mommy’s Big, Red Monster Truck coming to stores and internet downloads very soon); artisan and entrepreneur— podcaster (as aforementioned), novice traveler, historian wannabe, and lover of life and people. Did I leave anything out? 🤔

The above makes me sound a bit pretentious, doesn’t it? A bit of an over-achiever and dreamer?

I am hardly these things.

Well, maybe the dreamer part is accurate.

But truly, I am not a perfectionist.

Nor am I some astute, artsy-farts snob.

And, definitely not a super right-wing “Hooah!” Army wife.

Nor a tried and true Southern Belle…. just Kidding! I certainly have my moments!

I am just who I am.

A chick raised on the beautiful coast of North Carolina who loves her home state and all its precious treasures and LOVES to talk about them.

A beach loving, independent, wild and unsaddled woman who by-accident became an Army wife.

And, left her beach lifestyle for Fort Bragg (which was TERRIFYING), and most-surprisingly to her has grown quite affectionate of this life we’ve made here in Fayetteville, NC.

Despite, the challenges of being a mil-spouse.

And, being landlocked…

I should note that a few years back, I left a career in the human services field a couple of years back. I earned a Master of Science in Rehabilitation Counseling while working for state government here in Fayetteville, NC. My former employer assists individuals with physical and mental disabilities find employment and supports to enhance quality of life.

Prior to that I worked in the mental health field in balmy and bohemian Wilmington, NC and worked briefly as a social worker in the beautiful riverside community where I was raised— Washington, NC.

So, you may be thinking— WHY leave a “good ole state job,” a solid feel-good-contributing-to-the-betterment-of-society-and-mankind career path?

I’ll tell you why:

Burnout.

Plain and simple.

I was tired and frazzled. I did not have energy for myself nor my family.

After many grueling months of second guessing myself and going back and forth with myself and husband about all the reasons why I should not leave my career, we finally decided there were more positives to why I should.

I feel fortunate to have a supportive spouse who encouraged me to go chase my dreams which is exactly what I’ve been doing for the past two years.

This is NOT to say anything negative against holding a career in human services. I have the greatest respect for ALL Social Workers, Counselors, and Mental Health Professionals. These people put their hearts and souls into the betterment of every community and we should thank God for them everyday!

But, it was my time to grow in new and different ways and I have grown in ways I could not have imagined when I walked out of my state employers office that last day.

I was freeeee to be me!

But, I was a nervous Nelly and the fear of the unknown almost got the best of me.

So, I rallied on and started plotting out what my goals in life were:

1) Be a good, loving and present mom.

2) Be a good, loving and present wife.

3) Be a good, loving and present daughter.

4) Have time to finally connect with our Army community and make new, lasting friendships.

5) To grow in my faith.

6) To write.

7) To become published.

8) To try new things.

9) Travel.

10) Embrace my life and be happy in the here and now.

And the list went on and on.

I am proud to say that here, three years later, I am checking off my itemized list of goals one by one and it FEELS AWESOME!

Look. I’m not saying everyone should up and quit their jobs to go on a pursuit of self-purpose.

No.

Please don’t.

Especially if you are the only bread winner in your family or you are up to your eyeballs in debt.

Just say no.

However, if you are stifled and miserable and desperately need a new direction, then start making your list of goals and put in place a solid plan.

You can do it— eventually.

Hard-work truly pays off in the end.

So, this is a little introduction of who I am.

If you are looking for motivation? Let me help you (I have a Masters in counseling, remember?).

If you love North Carolina or just want to know more about this awesome Old North State, I’m your girl.

If you like books, writing, and journalistic pursuits, well, “Hello!”

If you are a milspouse or are curious about what life is like for military families, I promise to give you the 411.

And whatever else I can come up with!

I also promise to entertain you.

Or, at least give it my best shot.

Keep chasing your dreams, and I will see you back here next time on Hodge Podge.

Alison Paul Klakowicz, BA, MS

http://www.alisonpaulklakowicz.com

Hodge Podge Podcast: anchor.fm/jalisonpaulyahoocom