Pearl “Gifty” Alimo is married to her high school sweetheart, who has served the United States Navy since 2008. Together, they have three wonderful children. Pearl and her family have lived on different bases throughout the United States and in Japan. Pearl is the founder of Greight Foundation, dedicated to mentoring girls from harsh backgrounds to pursue their education and career goals in life. She has been the voice and advocate for children and youth on global platforms such as the United Nations and One Young World. Since 2011, she has worked with military child and youth programs as a caregiver, programs lead, and currently as a training and curriculum specialist. She also leads a team of career coaches and training consultants at Greight Company, LLC, a career consulting firm that offers career support services and programs to individuals, teams, and agencies. Pearl Alimo holds a bachelor’s degree in French and linguistics from the University of Ghana-Legon and a master’s degree in education from Michigan State University. She enjoys reading different genres of books, writing, traveling, spending time with her family, and eating sushi.
1. What inspirational message do you hope to instill in your readers from your book Growing Your Family?
The key inspirational message that I hope to instill in my readers is to seek the courage to connect deeper, build better family relationships, and grow stronger together by learning to take micro steps to flourish and thrive as military families, given the unique lifestyle of the military. Our life is usually packaged with frequent moves and long family separations, but this also provides a great opportunity to start on a fresh page, to see beauty in a crazy, messy life, and to learn to have fun while reinventing yourself.
2. Writing-related or not, what are your biggest influences when working on a new writing project?
Three things are my biggest influences: family, current work or project, and target audience. As an author who is also a military spouse and a mom, careful planning on how to execute the new project while still managing my home and supporting my children to thrive is very important to me, as is producing great work for my audience.
Significantly, my readers and audience are the biggest influencers in my writing projects. The issues I write about have to be ones that relate to my audience. It is their voice echoing through mine and their life stories being painted with my paintbrush and their words described with my pen. This usually includes my own life as well. My readers and I are in this military life together.
3. If families have one major takeaway from your book, what would you hope that would be?
Learning how to nurture children with parents in uniform is a peculiar journey—a journey that is also a process and must be learned, relearned, and enjoyed graciously. Ultimately, empowering my audience by providing the end-of-chapter reflective questions to help them reflect, define, and shape their own family values as well as providing strategies to grow, flourish, and thrive as a family is a powerful takeaway from this book.
4. What inspired you to develop this story?
First, I was inspired by reflecting back on my youth, when I was living alone and figuring out life at a very tender age. And now I’m inspired by the desire to see my own children growing up in a home with both parents, one parent must deploy several weeks and months in a given time frame.
I can also say that my children have been my greatest inspiration in developing this story. My husband deploys a lot, and I get to spend a great amount of time with them. I wanted to capture my own reflections and document my thoughts on what supports the ideal military family lifestyle. This desire to share my own story in order to connect with and ultimately support other families finally birthed the book.
5. Where do you get/seek inspiration as a writer?
I believe inspiration can be found in different places. Personally, I get my inspiration from books. As a book lover, seeing, touching, and holding a new book always sparks something beautiful in me.
Apart from books, other authors inspire me. Writing can be a difficult task that takes a lot from you. Seeing other authors show up and put in the work is a great source of inspiration for me to keep going.
I also work on intentional inspiration-gathering, meaning I make a conscious effort to find my own bowl of inspiration, mostly through nature. I love the sight and sound of waves, for example, along with sunsets, leaves, flowers, and trees. So, I take walks along the beach, gardens, farms, and forests, and often go hiking to see waterfalls and mountains.
As a strong introvert, a peaceful, quiet atmosphere is a big win and inspires me to write or play with words, whether in my journal or typing in a word document, that will eventually become a manuscript.
Finally, and most importantly, my audience inspires me when they share their stories as well as their testimonies of how my work (blogs and books) educates, informs, entertains, and inspires them.
6. When do you feel happiest as a person/human?
I feel happiest as a person when I accomplish a major goal, like publishing Growing Your Family: Learn How to Flourish and Thrive as a Military Family, and when that particular goal makes a great impact on other people’s lives.
Also, I feel happiest when I am able to identify and enjoy my small wins daily—for instance, when I’m spending quality time with my family even if it’s for a few moments.
7. What is one thing you know now that you wish you knew when you were in high school?
No matter how bleak the future may look, you can still achieve your goals in life if you dare to dream and focus. Also, endeavor to build strong relationships, even at a younger age. You cannot achieve your goals alone. You are going to need a village and a strong, supportive tribe.
8. In this current world, sometimes it’s hard to stay afloat. Parts of your book, specifically the parts about design in the home and affirmations and signs on the walls, read as a path to wellness. What are some other wellness practices you follow? What simple tasks help keep your mental health in good shape?
I do a variety of things, like striving to cook balanced meals, and eating and serving fresh fruits and vegetables. I am Christian, so reading the Bible, meditating, and praying are my first go-to sources of emotional support and mental strength. I practice journaling. As a strong introvert, expressing myself in a journal feels deeper and easier for me than anything else. I engage in physical exercise, like jogging, walking, hiking or running. Sometimes it’s only fifteen to twenty minutes of walking. I listen to good music for my soul. I prefer gospel music and also classic or jazz music. I connect with my family and friends and also form positive relationships with others. I drink tea, burn candles while listening to soft music to put mind in a specific state, and I read good books of different genres
9. Borrowing from the message of my favorite podcast, Work in Progress, hosted by Sophia Bush, what is one work in progress in your life that you’re dealing with most right now?
I would say cross-cultural communication. As an author, learning to communicate in a way that gives my audience a taste of my cultural background and an idea of how it influences my writing, while at the same time capturing their culture and true identity into one masterpiece of a book, is what I would consider my work in progress at the moment.
When military spouses say “I do” to their service members, they are often clueless about the military lifestyle that lies ahead-specifically, raising a family while the service member deploys several weeks, months, and years throughout their career.
Growing Your Family is a raw testimony of how one immigrant military spouse and ambitious career woman is raising her family with grit, grace, and style. Sharing her extraordinary experience in creating her home from scratch and with nothing, saying countless tearful goodbyes with young children, and helping her military family thrive in the COVID-19 pandemic, Pearl provides rare gems of wisdom and her unadulterated perspective on how to make the military lifestyle work. This seasoned childcare professional’s humor will keep you hooked and laughing aloud as you follow Pearl to unknown corners of Ghana in Africa, to the exotic culture in Japan, and to the sophisticated lifestyle in the US.
Growing Your Family offers priceless guidance and heart-to-heart encouragement to the clueless or tired military spouse.