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

Melissa Vera- Adventures of Frugal Mom Blog

Melissa Vera of Adventures of Frugal Mom (photo by Curious Notions Photography)

Melissa Vera is the creator and contributor of four beautiful and informative blogs: Adventures of Frugal Mom, Champagne Style Bare Budget, Reading with Frugal Mom, and her most recent venture coming soon, The Writer and The Farmer.

Melissa— a 50-something mom of three young women (ranging in age from 25 to 18)— is happily married to her husband Raul (native of Mexico) of 25 years where they reside in Goldsboro, North Carolina.

She self- describes this moment in time as her transition into life as an empty nester.

When Melissa isn’t writing or interviewing women in business on her blog, she spends her spare time reading and crafting— among other talents and interests.

If you are looking for a blog that shares about travel, life in general, the three “M” words (Marriage, Menopause, Motherhood), everyday topics with an occasional recipe or craft thrown in then you have found the perfect blogger to follow.

She does it all! And is so good at what she does!

Listen to our recent conversation on Hodge Podge Podcast where we talk everything from North Carolina agriculture, blogging tips, DIY projects, raising children in the time of social distancing and so much more: 👂Podcast Interview with Melissa Vera

Follow Melissa on Facebook to learn more about her and her blogs!

https://adventuresfrugalmom.com/
https://champagnestylebarebudget.com
Lifestyle, Writing, Podcasting, Military Life, Inspirtation, North Carolina

Coronavirus & Mom Guilt

I’ve been witnessing (and caught up in) a pandemic within a pandemic, and what I’m calling Coronavirus & Mom Guilt— an effort that started out with the best of heart, but is escalating out of control.

Mom’s are frantically trying to figure out a new normal on the coattails of school closures due to the Coronavirus— and coming up with ways to keep their children engaged in educational ways.

Moms are uploading websites and google documents with wholesome and academic stimuli to keep their kid’s minds busy, their routines on schedule and trying wholeheartedly to support one another.

I will admit a few days ago— shoot this morning— I was completely on board to provide live streaming story time events, worksheets, etc. to help anyone out there looking for something to do in the boredom of being home bound with kiddos. I’m still willing to do so.

BUT I want to set the record straight by saying that I DO NOT WANT TO STRESS YOU OUT! You do not have to do anything right this minute except keep yourself and your family safe and at home.

I’m already seeing where this is taking a toll on many moms who are not ready to jump in feet first and take the educational reigns. These are the same women who are still trying to process the overload of information coming out minute by minute about a worldwide crisis.

They are trying desperately to keep it together and not show their children the fear, and anxiety slowly creeping in. They are just trying to take it one baby step at a time— and are not signing up for a Spartan race without training for it.

Ladies, we are stressing one another the flip out.

Stop it.

Take deep breaths.

Relax.

We are all very different in how we process our feelings and emotions. Not all of us are helicopter parents or Tiger moms. We don’t enjoy micromanaging or overly scheduled homes. Some of us need a little time to relax. Ponder. Prepare for the days, weeks or months of what is to come.

It is COMPLETELY fine if you feel more comfortable with having a level of control in creating an orderly household and productive home. I’m surely not shaming you super women out there. I commend you. And I will be happy to provide instructional materials from my children’s book and other educational tools I’ve created.

But personally, I’m going to take some time off from routine and the busyness of our norms. And I want you to know it is completely okay if you do the same!

Wash your hands.

Bunker down.

Try not to stress.

Netflix.

Read.

Exercise.

Eat chocolate.

Drink wine.

Pray.

Dance.

Cry.

Laugh.

Whatever is cathartic.

But make sure to tell your kids you love them daily.

Help make them as comfortable as possible.

It’s stressful on their little hearts and minds too.

Be safe.

God bless.

And peace be with you all!

Kindly,

Alison Klakowicz

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

Joy Resor Shines— Western North Carolina Author, Artisan, Spiritual Mentor

A Western North Carolina-based author is spreading JOY wherever she goes!
Years ago as a young mother of two sons, Joy Resor wrote a prayer daily to become the JOY she was created to be.
She is now living that JOY everyday where she strives to inspire love, peace and joy through Joy on Your Shoulders— as a spiritual mentor who offers inspiring books and Batik cotton wares for sale as well as a monthly newsletter called Go In Joy! 
Designed to SHINE! Read Aloud Rhymes for Any Size Heart her second children’s picture book has won three awards.
My son and I read Designed to Shine this past year— at bedtime— and loved the positive messages it left us with to have a peaceful night’s rest.
She strives to create books from the heart to touch lives in rich, loving and peaceful ways.
Her first book, Go In Joy! An Alphabetical Adventure has touched lives through her minister’s Prison Light Book Ministry, including a woman who asked the author to write her.
This is a wonderful series of books that truly inspire ALL.
“Lo and behold, I’m writing to a few prisoners who read my books and write to me…
I visit students in the Schenck Job Corps Program in Pisgah Forest twice a month.  The first time, a student suggested that I create a rap video of the rhymes in Designed to SHINE! Read Aloud Rhymes for Any Size Heart.  My partner Michael and I intend to lean into this amazing idea…
Designed to SHINE! Read Aloud Rhymes for Any Size Heart – Volume Two is being illustrated, and a second edition of Go In Joy! An Alphabetical Adventure will emerge.” -Joy Resor
Thanks to Joy for spreading your love and happiness to all of us!

To find out more about Joy Resor, look here:
Lifestyle, Writing, Podcasting, Military Life, Inspirtation, North Carolina

Shane McCarthy, Sandboxx Chief Marketing Officer, Keeping the Military Community Informed and Engaged

Arlington, VA-

Recently, I had the honor of speaking with Shane McCarthy, Chief Marketing Officer of Sandboxx an amazing veteran-owned platform that supports almost 2 million service members throughout their military journey. The organization assists recruits, active military, military families and their supporters to stay engaged and informed.

Shane, a charismatic and intuitive Irish born and bred young professional, has led a full array of enterprise marketing and business operation teams, building foundations that enable companies to scale for growth.

A few years back when Sandboxx was in its start-up beginnings, Shane was eager to join the ranks of the company’s industrious Marine Corps veteran founders and has embraced the organization’s culture and mission.

Learn more about Sandboxx here: https://www.sandboxx.us/

Shane McCarthy, Chief Marketing Officer of Sandboxx

Over the past 5 years, Sandboxx has hired 50 team members, half of whom are veterans and military spouses. Due to the nature of military life, most of the Sandboxx military spouse team work remotely which is an extremely important current trend in assisting spouses with maintaining successful employment when considering the obstacles they face from PCS to deployments and beyond.

Shane is passionate about this endeavor as well as spreading the message of the important services Sandboxx provides its consumers. He even provided tips to employers on hiring practices involving military spouses as well as advice for spouses seeking remote employment.

Shane and I discussed Sandboxx’s core supports ranging from communications through the company’s global letters distribution service, content creation to keep families informed as well as technology features such as the organization’s free cell phone app, and additional support provided to service members and military families from basic training onwards.

Listen to our conversation here on Hodge Podge Podcast (note from host- please forgive glitches during our recording as we encountered some technical difficulties which is experienced when recording remotely from time to time): https://anchor.fm/jalisonpaulyahoocom/episodes/Shane-McCarthy–Sandboxx-Chief-Marketing-Officer-eaqj47

You can connect with Shane on LinkedIn as he is happy to answer questions from military spouses or veterans who want to reach out him: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mccarthyshane/

Alison Paul Klakowicz

Host and Creator of Hodge Podge Podcast and Blog

http://www.hodgepodgebyalisonklak.com

Author of the award-winning children’s travel and adventure picture book Mommy’s Big, Red Monster Truck

http://www.alisonpaulklakowicz.com

Alison Paul Klakowicz is a children’s book author, freelance writer, blogger and podcaster. She is a military spouse who lives in Fayetteville, North Carolina with her husband and son. She is a storyteller who loves to feature people and places that inspire and empower others.

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

Children’s Book Review- If The Slipper Fits by Lindsay DeRollo

If The Slipper Fits author Lindsay DeRollo

Lindsay DeRollo has written and illustrated an adorable children’s picture book, If The Slipper Fits, which is the third book in her Sugarplum Stars series.

The book features two little ballerina’s Emma and Pinky who are performing their roles in the ballet Cinderella. The pair along with their ballet mates auditioned for their parts and are quite excited to twinkle their toes.

However following their performance, Emma becomes quite conscientious of her height following her performance when she overhears two other dancers commenting that Emma is a talented dancer, but tall dancers like Emma never get the lead role.

This comment upsets Emma greatly as she loves to dance and longs to be a “real ballerina.” She begins to question if she is good enough because of her height. Emma makes the decision to talk about the gossip she overheard and face her fear by asking her dance teacher, Miss Linda, if it is indeed true that tall dancers never get the lead.

To Emma’s surprise and delight, her teacher reassures her this could not be further from the truth, “Nonsense… Size should have nothing to do with a dancer’s talent…” said Miss Linda to a very relieved Emma.

Instantly Emma’s spirits are lifted and her hopes and dreams of becoming a ballerina in a lead role on stage are renewed.

The story’s focus of believing in one’s self despite your size is such an important topic to be discussed for all children as to instill a positive self image in one-self. Also a lesson to others to be mindful of what you say as it could deeply hurt others.

I highly recommend this book for all the little dancers in the world as well as all children learning the lesson of the importance of building a healthy self-esteem and body image.

Lindsay DeRollo is a children’s book author and illustrator living in Central New York. Her book series is published under an independent publishing company named Two Girls and a Reading Corner https://twogirlsandareadingcorner.com/

Lindsay also has a self-published short story through Amazon, titled “Prima Ballerina”. https://www.amazon.com/author/lindsayderollo

She continues to write and illustrate children’s books which will be published later this year. 

You can follow Lindsay’s progress and updates on her social media links here:

https://www.facebook.com/shimmeringhope86

https://www.instagram.com/lindsayderolloauthor/https://twitter.com/faery86

https://twitter.com/faery86?fbclid=IwAR1IU5pmoYI7NmrjvLFwha9MW7wao51WgidHVuUagxBi0A8wS1AoT9aTZpM

-Alison Paul Klakowicz

Host and Creator of Hodge Podge Podcast and Blog

Author of Mommy’s Big, Red Monster Truck

http://www.alisonpaulklakowicz.com

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

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

Not Everyone Will Like You

Internet image

Yep. It’s true— at times, a hard pill to swallow.

Not everyone will like you. Not everyone will support you. Not everyone will applaud you.

Nope. It won’t happen.

And it is perfectly okay.

You cannot make people like you.

Be kind and courteous. Yet do not be afraid to stand up for yourself. Be true to you.

Always strive to be supportive of others and applaud them, but remember the courtesy may not be returned in favor.

This can be hurtful.

Stain your pride.

Make you second guess yourself. Second guess your hard work. SECOND GUESS YOUR GENUINE SELF.

And if you allow it, it can destroy you.

The sunny side of this dilemma is this— YOU CAN CHOOSE TO LIKE YOURSELF.

You can choose to place one foot in front of the other and keep moving forward.

You can choose not to harbor ill will, anger, disappointment and hurt feelings.

YOU CAN CHOOSE TO FORGIVE.

YOU CAN CHOOSE LOVE OF SELF, LIFE AND OTHERS (whether they love you or not).

But remember, not everyone is YOU.

If you are out there giving it your all—but struggling with this dilemma, I encourage you to say these words to yourself EVERYDAY.

I AM UNIQUE.

I AM WORTHY.

I LIKE ME.

I AM PROUD OF MY EFFORTS.

I CHOOSE TO LOVE OTHERS.

Now quit worrying about those who aren’t worrying over you— and get out there and keep being awesome.

– Alison Paul Klakowicz

Host and Creator of Hodge Podge Podcast and Blog

Author of the Award-Winning Children’s Picture Book Mommy’s Big, Red Monster Truck

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

http://www.alisonpaulklakowicz.com

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.