Life is Full of Change

unnamed-2.jpgWhat a minute and life will change… is how I feel lately.  I no sooner get comfortable where things are and SMACK, things happen.  Trouble processing thoughts.  Unable to concentrate when more than one person is talking.  Finding motivation to do what I used to love in my business.

There are those days when I wonder where life with Multiple Sclerosis may lead for me.  Many would say, I have lived the last year or more in basic denial.  I refused to believe my life was changing when deep down, I knew it was.  Don’t get me wrong, I said the words “I have MS”; I occasionally used my handicap parking sticker when walking was difficult (or hubby pushes me) and when the memories wouldn’t come, I would simply admit MS was the cause.  My life with MS looks different than those who live in chronic pain.  Mine is an internal pain of being robbed of memories.

So what was the real result of living in denial?  I refused to believe my life was changing or would keep changing and I needed to make adjustments.  I booked events like there was nothing wrong.  I pushed in my business till my brain shut down from trying to process too much information.  I have days when I can’t put thoughts together.  I have days when I am an emotional mess because life is too much to handle.

If you have a chronic disease, I know how hard it is to accept your body/mind is fighting against you.  I know how much I would rather have pain (yup, I have a high tolerance of it) then to lose my memories.  I know how those with dementia and Alzheimer’s feel.  I know the frustration of not remembering people or important events (like the birth of my daughter or my wedding).  I know the reality of having to believe someone else’s memory of something because you can’t even remember it happened.

I know how much you want to simply fight back.  I really do. But denying MS (or any disease) is a part of your life will only hurt you later on. Refusing to accept what is happening to us is setting ourself up for defeat.

The best way to look at things is from a perspective of…”Yes, I may have MS (or any chronic disease) BUT as long as I am able to function, I will live each day to its fullest. Tomorrow may change and if should happen, I’m prepared for it.  Not really, BUT  don’t they say “fake it till you make it”!. Maybe not emotionally, but we are making preparations for the possibility of a life with limitations due to MS.

Many would say, preparing for tomorrow is living with a negative attitude. The truth is for me –  It’s living in the reality.  It’s not negative to prepare for tomorrow. It’s not negative to talk about my MS struggles or your pain or any other chronic disease. It’s not negative to think of ways to adapt your home or your life before those changes are needed. We are even finding ways to link pictures with music in the hopes it will trigger my memories.

Enjoy today, live in the now, savor the sweet memories you are creating with those you love, but don’t ignore the possibilities of tomorrow…good or bad. Change happens whether we like it or not.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

 

How To Build a Busy Bag

The warmer weather has arrived, hopefully to stay, and for many it means ROAD TRIP!  Or maybe it just means a staycation.  As a kid, long car rides and I would fall asleep.  Belinda liked to be kept busy when we traveled in the car.  What about your kids do they sleep or are they a “when are we going to get there” kind of kid?
Another recipe for disaster: Take an important meeting, or doctor’s appointment, add one squirmy toddler and hope (or pray, as the case may be) for a tantrum-free hour.  You know what I mean, those times when a quick trip turns into an hour plus mess.
Fear not because there is a simple way to ward off a boredom-induced meltdown – build a busy bag!  This tote  can be filled with quiet toys, books and crafts and is an easy way to keep your little one entertained and (relatively) silent.
Here’s how to make your own:

Start with the bag

Help your child choose a bag or tote to fill and then decorate it together! The Statement Canvas Shopper – or for littler hands, a Statement Canvas Mini Shopper – can be personalized with their name, a fun Icon-It, graphic or even their own photo or artwork! You can upload your littlest ones’ fingerpaint masterpieces online and create a bag they’ll carry long after the “originals” have been tossed.

Bring along something soft

Smaller children may enjoy having a comfort item or “lovie” they can snuggle while the grown-ups are busy. For older children, choose soft dolls or finger puppets for imaginative play instead of noisy plastic action figures.

Add a little fun

A simple activity keeps little fingers engaged and focused. Old-fashioned toys like lacing cards, paper dolls or a matching card game don’t take up much space and can be enjoyed over and over.

Encourage reading and writing

Babies and toddlers who can’t yet read love books with different textures and flaps to open and close. Older children may enjoy age-appropriate books or a notebook and pencil to practice handwriting. Include some coloring books and crayons (as long as you know they’ll be used only on paper).Add some of your child’s favorite toys and activities to customize your busy bag with whatever will keep them content. Keep your bag ready in the car or diaper bag so it’s always with you on the go, and switch out toys and games frequently to hold your child’s interest. And most importantly, have fun, because they’re only little for so long!

What do you carry to keep your little ones busy when you are out and about?  Do you have a favorite game to play on car trips?  Share it with us…
Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Tasty Tuesday: Crown Shrimp

Another YUMMy recipe from Rachel at Wicked Good Spice Mixes.  This recipe was shared with them by one of their loyal customers at SailFest.  

Ingredients:

1 cup plain yogurt
1 Teaspoon Garlic Explosion
1/4  Teaspoon Pink Himalayan Salt
1 cucumber
1 pound shrimp
olive oil
Directions:
1.  Clean and devein shrimp, remove tails.
2.  Set aside 1/2 cup yogurt
3.  Mix remaining yogurt and seasonings together.
4.  Toss shrimp in the mixture, coating well.
5.  Sautee shrimp in olive oil, 2-3 min per side until pink.
6.  Slice cucumber.
7.  Place one small dollop of yogurt on the center of each cucumber slice.  Place individual shrimp on top of each slice.9.  Serve immediately, and ENJOY!
The main reason the company was started was to show people how easy, healthy and fun it can be to make a delicious meal at home!  Rachel always thought the hardest thing about cooking is how much of this spice and how much of that spice you should add.  So go ahead and throw all of those spices you use infrequently and start using our spice blends! They are fresh and economical!  Our blends are perfectly formulated to use for just about everything you like to cook.

The Brick farmer’s market may be closed until May 18th BUT you can get these awesome products at the following locations:

502 Baking Company, 502 Brick Blvd, Brick, NJ 08724 (732) 477-4502

Berry Fresh Farms, 151 Brick Blvd, Brick NJ 08723  (732)477-0606

Cream Ridge Winery, 145 Route 539 (PO Box 98), Cream Ridge, NJ 08514 (609) 259-9797

Dearborn Farm Market, 2170 Rt 35, Holmdel, NJ 07733  (732)264-0256

From The Garden, 353 Fairfield Road, Freehold NJ 07728 (732)866-1745

Cedar Post Farm and Garden Center, 147 NJ Route 70,  Lakehurst,NJ 08753 (732)270-8833

Delicious Orchards, 320 Route 34, Colts Neck, NJ  (732) 462-1989

New Egypt Marketplace, 53 Main Street, New Egypt, NJ 08533 (609) 458-7900

The Lusty Lobster, 88 Bay Ave. Highlands, NJ 07732 (732) 291-1548

Twin Ponds, Rt 9 Howell, NJ 07731

Lovelandtown Grocery and Provisions, 219 Bridge Ave, Point Pleasant,NJ 08742  (732)903-6855
Princes Farm Market , 1123 Mountain Ave, Mountainside, NJ 07092
(908)358-3311
Have a great recipe you want to share?  We would love to feature YOU!  If you try this, let us know what you think…
Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Happy Easter 2019

EASTER cross

“For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him.”  

On this day, let’s remember the true meaning of Easter as we visit with family and friends.  Treasure the moments for the days go by quickly, loved ones are gone and kids grow up.  Today holds so many mixed feelings for me…..

Growing up, I used to go to my grandparents while my parents and aunts went to sunrise service on the beach.  Then home to get ready for church.  Totally new outfits to wear to church.  Sometimes even a trip to the Boardwalk for the Easter Parade in Asbury Park.  Then back to my grandparents for a traditional Easter dinner with the whole family.  Easter baskets overflowing with candy from the “Carmel Shop” and “Old Monmouth”.  Happy memories of my childhood.

Fast forward (many years) to having my own home with my daughter, Belinda.  Easter took on a different meaning.   Gone were the tradition of church.  For the first 3 Easters, I was still in my addiction so it was dinner with family and an Easter basket for Belinda.  When I entered recovery, things changed slightly – I had a relationship with God but still did not have a church.  As Belinda got a little older, we did Easter baskets but they were filled with toys and games because she didn’t like chocolate.  I know can you believe it!  She did like white chocolate but only in small amounts.  And of course “stale” marshmallow peeps.  It was a treasure hunt to find the basket with clues left in Easter eggs throughout the house.  I can still remember the squeals of excitement as she found the basket.  I even remember making her Easter outfits (I know she hates this picture but I think it is cute!) and heading to Atlantic City for the Easter parade.  Dinners were a little smaller but family was still together.

Now, as the miles stretch between us, we each celebrate Easter with our extended family.  Gone are the Easter baskets filled with candy.  Gone is the traditional family Easter dinner.  There will be loved ones in heaven celebrating together while those of us left behind still struggle with making new traditions.  The true meaning of Easter begins to shine through…

After relapsing and returning to recovery, my relationship with God has grown a little stronger.  I am grateful he loved me enough to sacrifice his son for my sins.  Today, I will count my blessings and treasure the memories I can remember.  I miss the traditional family holidays (what little I can remember) but am learning to create new memories with each passing day.

Share your Easter memories with us.  Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Time for a Personal Rebrand?

Life has thrown me a curve ball and I don’t mean I am playing a game of baseball…..

Over the last three months, my direct sales business has been struggling.  Maybe it is me who has been struggling.  My bag is FULL – MS stuff, recovery, family and trying to continue my business to pay the bills.  It has been some of the worst months in three plus years.  Have I wallowed in a pity pot for a little bit?  YUP!  Did I beat myself up?  YUP!  I totally get how business fluctuates.  I am always grateful for a supportive network of other women business owners who help me to put things in perspective.

I know you are wondering………”what does this have to do with personal branding”, right?  During all of this, I have been thinking about my personal brand.  A way to incorporate my direct sales business with my angels.  I love both but trying to split my time has wrecked havoc on my health (or should I say my thought process).  I know, splitting my time between two loves is not good for either business, right?

What happens when your passion changes over time? In a recent article Dorie Clark‘s quotes Henry Wadsworth Longfellow: “We judge ourselves by what we feel capable of doing, while others judge us by what we have already done.” Clark emphasizes, “Your path may make perfect sense to you, but how can you persuade others to embrace your new brand — and take you seriously?”  This is where I’m at right NOW!  I have been in direct sales for 8 plus years and I am known for it, as I transition or merge the two, I need to get my current customers on both sides to embrace my new brand.

A personal rebrand isn’t easy! I mean isn’t it easier to continue along the same path where people know you for what you do best — or at least what they think you do best.  Over time, as your passions change, it’s only natural to pivot into new areas. Remember,  multiple rebranding will hold you back and create confusion, so follow these steps, and you’ll be ready to take your brand to the next level.

#1 Reflect: 

The first step in branding is to reflect on who you are, what you’ve accomplished and how you want the world to see you.  Search yourself on google – search your name, your business, or something people identify with you.  Ask friends you trust for their help.  Here are some  questions to help you to define your brand:

  1. What do you want to be known for?
  2. What are you good at?  
  3. What do you write about, talk about and share share about?  

#2 Define Your Personal Brand: 

You want  to simply stand out in the crowd by focusing on your unique gifts and what makes you different.  Is it something people relate to you?  When they see it, they think of you.  Is it a tagline?  Make a list of all of the things which make you stand out from the crowd.  In direct sales, this is extremely important because you want loyal customers, right?

#3 Create Your Brand:

Now you need to become visible, get yourself out there. Create an active social media presence with a personal website.  If you are in direct sales, you can usually change your URL to a catchy phrase or something which makes you stand out.  I used Go Daddy to change my direct sales website URL to “partywithHope”.  It is short and easy for customers to remember.  As for my angels it is simply a Facebook page of called “Hope’s Angel Connection”. PLUS  I always use my angel wings as a watermark on my graphics as a reminder of me!

#4 Connect to Others: 

Now you have a personal brand.  The next step is being visible in the arenas where you want to be successful. Know who you want your audience to be – stay at home moms, professionals, etc.  Get reviews or endorsements from customers, attend events, and network, to bolster and lend credibility to the brand you are marketing.  Don’t be shy about it – wear your brand every day.  I always have a ThirtyOne bag AND an angel charm on – each draw people into conversations.

Yup, it is really this simple. Remember, the success of personal branding depends on how well your audience understands your vision, and what you do best, as well as your authenticity. Share your brand with us!

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!