Honoring Family

Today will be an emotional day, one of remembering two people who impacted my life – or at least trying to remember through the fog of MS.  The memories come and go but the impact they had on my life will live on.

I will be celebrating Edythe’s life at a vendor event today.  Strange right?  The vendor event is a fundraiser by Holly Assembly, Order of the Rainbow for Girls for the scholarship fund names in honor of her.  Growing up, Rainbow had a place in all of our lives and even through the MS fog, I still remember many of my Rainbow teachings.  Edythe was on the Advisory Board for Holly Assembly.  She helped to mold and shape the lives of girls for many years.  The scholarship is part of her legacy.   Her kindness, compassion and caring lives on in the lives of others.  Edythe was a strong independent woman who inspired me through some of the darkest days of my addiction.  Her smile and laugh could light up a room.  If you are in the area, stop by and say hello. Or if you would like to support this cause, click HERE to place an order on my Thirty One website.  I will be donating 100% of my Thirty One commission to the scholarship fund as well as 50% of the sale of awareness angel ribbons.  Complete the form at the end of the blog post if you are interested in awareness angel ribbons (additional colors are available).

  

Today also marks the one year anniversary of my dad’s death.  Some will not understand why I decided to do this event but I know my dad would totally get it.  Dad wouldn’t want me to sit around crying and being sad, he would want me to enjoy life. My dad and my mom were on the Advisory Board of Iris Assembly when I was in Rainbow.  He would definitely get why I am doing the fundraiser today.  Dad was loving and kind, nonjudgmental and accepting. Yes, there were tough times with  years of anger and hurt.  Dad was not perfect but are any of us.  He admitted his faults, and even with memories of bad times, I forgave him.  No matter how bad a situation was, he always found the silver lining and worked through it.  He leaves a legacy filled with memories for his family and friends. Dad liked to cook especially on the grill.  Didn’t matter if there was snow or rain, he found a way to grill.

Today is about honoring two people who impacted my life.  I celebrate the legacy they leave behind – the memories, the stories, and the traditions.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Twas the Night Before Christmas

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Christmas Eve day… the hustle and bustle reaches immeasurable heights as last minute shoppers make the final dash to the malls for the perfect gift.  Holiday office parties are in full swing.  Others are home preparing for family and friends to arrive – dinner cooking (is it fish? or turkey? or ham?).  Kids are eagerly counting down until Santa will arrive bringing gifts for one and all.  While still others are grabbing a quick dinner as they head to church to celebrate the real reason for the season…

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As for our family, the holidays have changed so much.  The first change came when breast cancer took Elsie from us.  She was the glue which brought us all together – no matter what happened all year long.  The changes continued when Alzheimer’s took Grams from us.  Belinda grew up and headed to college – more changes.   During the first 4 years she was in North Carolina, she traveled home where we spent Christmas with us.  Five years ago, kidney cancer took Edythe (mom’s middle sister).  Now Belinda is married and holidays are shared with her extended family in North Carolina.

Tonight we will be at my best friend’s house celebrating Christmas with our extended family.  This year, Rob is off on Christmas Eve so we will be together. Mom and Sal will join us.  As for Christmas Day, hubby will head to work so others can enjoy the day with their family. I will spend the day with mom.

As I sit with hubby looking at the Christmas tree – memories of Christmas Eve’s past flash through my mind.

The many years of trying to get Belinda to go to bed so Edythe, Elsie and I could put presents under the tree.  It was really hard carrying things past HER room to get to the living room.  It always made for a lot of laughs.  The early morning calls to wake everyone up so Belinda could open presents.  Waiting patiently for mom to get off work so we could open presents.  The funny thing was – Belinda wasn’t a morning person so we always had to WAKE her up.  Really, on Christmas morning????  Then instead of opening all of her presents and THEN playing with them.  Christmas morning was a forever process.  We learned games were opened last or at least towards the end or else nothing else would get opened.  Belinda wanted to play with toys as each one was opened which could definitely make for a long day.  Great memories of days gone by…

Cherish the moments with family tonight.  Let the struggles of the year go for you never know what tomorrow will bring or if we will even be here tomorrow.   There are tears of joy, tears of sorrow for those who are no longer with us and tears of anticipation for what God has in store for me and my family over the next year.

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Merry Christmas to my friends, family, Thirty One customers and hostess and all of my blog fans.  You have blessed me in so many ways this year…

Make a Difference with Chemo Cares Totes

Make-A-Difference-Daylogo-version-3Make a Difference day was started in 1990. It is a national day devoted to helping others by doing volunteer work in the community.  It can be almost anything – just doing something to make a difference in the lives of others.  Today, millions of Americans will participate in community improvement projects. Maybe by cleaning up, fixing up, painting, and making repairs in neighborhoods or in parks or non-profit organizations.  It doesn’t matter what project you take on. It doesn’t matter whether you help a non-profit organization, the community, your town, nursing home, a church, a food kitchen, or any other group in need. What matters is you participate.

This is a great way to get the kids involved in giving back to their community. Make it a family outing. The joy on the faces of others as you make a difference in their lives will make a difference in your own life too. My mission is to make a difference in the lives of others.logo-fb-cover

My vision is for a world where women are not judged on their circumstances but empowered to learn from them so they can have harmony in their life and make a difference in the lives of those around them.

I try to make a difference in the lives of others whether it is with a smile, a thank you, a card sent in the mail, or holding the door.  I want to help organizations (and individuals) raise needed funds to pay a bill or for their kids activities or for holiday presents. I want to help them to share their SPARKLE with friends and family.

Today is the kickoff of my “CHEMO CARES TOTES” Campaign.  Now through November 15th, I will be collecting sponsors ($25) for THERMAL totes filled and delivered to the Infusion Unit at Community Hospital for individuals going through treatment.

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Cancer has touched my life with the loss of family members – my grandfather to lunch cancer, my Aunt Elsie to breast cancer and my Aunt Edythe to kidney cancer.  I spent many hours in the Oncology Units with Elsie and Edythe as they underwent chemo treatments.  I held their hand when they struggled with the insertion of the needles in their pic line.  I was there when they were sick from the chemo and sat by their bedside when they were too weak to go out.  As a friend said #cancersucks.  It takes many from us long before their time.  It ravages families.  It leaves children parentless.  It has parents burying children way to soon.

Recently due to my own health struggles, I have spent many hours in the infusion units of the local hospitals.  I am blessed to only have to be there a short time – time for blood work and special testing.  The many women I have seen are not there for a one time visit, they are there for weeks of painful treatments.  They smile and carry on conversations  while encouraging each other.  My heart breaks and the tears come each time I leave the unit for I know what their struggles are like.

Don’t make it just one day a year to “make a difference”. Consider helping others on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. I know, the holidays are coming and you say there is no extra money. Volunteering your time is another way to make a difference. A small random act of kindness can make a difference too. Small gestures can make big changes.

What will your commitment be to help others today? M ake a difference on Make a Difference Day!

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

September is National Prostrate Health Month

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According to the American Cancer Society, Prostrate Cancer is the most common non-skin cancer in American men.  In fact, 1 in 7 men will be diagnosed with Prostrate Cancer in their lifetime.  In 2015, approximately 220,000 men will be diagnosed and approximately 27,000 will die from the disease.  Fortunately, Prostrate Cancer is highly curable if detected early through prostrate screenings.

The Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) is a leader in funding and accelerating the world’s most promising prostate cancer research. And PCF is also a go-to organization for disseminating prostate health information to men. PCF is proud to offer multiple forms of information about this disease to men and their loved ones. Below is a sampling of informational materials that the Prostate Cancer Foundation has developed in an effort to make each month of the year a time for men to stay informed, aware and involved in the fight against prostate cancer.  Check out the Foundation’s website for lots of great information.

My dad is one of the 7 that has been diagnosed with prostrate cancer.  He did a form of chemo treatments several years ago.  He had a few side effects but overall, he kicked it.  Only to find out that it resurfaced again this year.  I have to say, I was a little surprised when the PSA test came back with high numbers but the doctor was optimistic that another round would squash it again.  So, back to shots with some side effects but overall GREAT results.  The PSA numbers are down to almost zero which is the goal.

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No matter what the cause, you can personalize a bag to show your support.  Prostrate Cancer is light blue and the zip top organizing tote (above) is in Spirit Gray.  The top picture is a Spirit Cinch Sac in navy with the light blue ribbon.

Do you know someone who is battling cancer or another life threatening illness?  Would you like to brighten their day with a gift that will touch their heart?  Why not consider a ThirtyOne Gifts  bag to fit their individual needs.  Whether it is carrying things to treatment or organizing their meds?  We have an option and I am happy to help you find the right one for that someone special.

Fundraising opportunities are always available.  It can be for an organization or it can be to help someone out with their medical bills.  Whatever the reason, let’s work together to bring a smile to their face as they face life’s challenges.

Let’s pay tribute to those who are still fight and those who have lost their fight… post their name here so we can all say a prayer for peace, comfort and healing.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Memories of September 11th

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Today is in honor of September 11th.   Do you remember where you were on September 11th?

I remember that day as if it was yesterday.  I was working at Mia’s Christmas Shop in Ocean City, NJ. We had just opened when I was called into the office by Charlie, the owner, who had the television on showing the attacks. Charlie immediately started to collect money for those whose families and lives would be changed as a result of this horrific event.  I got to share the events of the morning with many people who were on vacation and CLUELESS about what was happening on that day.  Those days were filled with words like: Hero, Compassion, Love, Kindness, and Bravery.

In 2011, September 11th took on a new meaning in our family.  Heaven gained another Weston angel – Edythe, my aunt, my friend and my mom’s middle sister.  Growing up, I  Edythe (and Elsie) were my babysitters. As the years went on, they were a BIG part of my support system.  Edythe (along with the rest of my family) helped to raise Belinda. Lives changed – the world moved a little faster and we lost touch with the exception of holidays.

In July, 2010, a call from a family friend caught me by surprise.  Edythe had gone to the ER for what she thought was pneumonia only to find out that she had cancer.  As tough as it was to take those first steps, stuff the years of negative feelings – I headed to the hospital, unsure of what to expect.  Awkward moments followed but over the next year or more, we would come to peace with the feelings of abandonment and of losing a friend. Edythe had a tumor adjacent to her kidney. Kidney cancer that moved to her lungs and her brain. No pain, no symptoms so through God’s grace a simple case of the flu took her to the ER. The next year plus would be filled with chemo, multiple doctor visits as well as long stints in Centra State Hospital.

On May 21st, 2011, Edythe attended our wedding after a brief stay in the hospital. She was DETERMINED to be there and she was – thankfully. The days leading up to September 11th were filled with many emotions. Edythe had been doing well and talked about going home. With a blink of an eye, things changed – the pain intensified until the only relief made her sick and almost comatose. She decided that this was not quality of life. Within  36 hours of asking for Hospice, Edythe was called home to join the rest of the Weston clan – Mom-mom, Pop-pop and Elsie on September 11th.

The words that described those involved in the September 11th attack and recovery efforts describe Edythe:

1. Hero who continued to fight despite the pain. Edythe still remained active in Eastern Star and Rainbow.  She gave her time to encourage and inspire others.  She was a beautician (I know I am showing my age now) who bought Tempo Hairdressers in Ocean Grove where she worked for many years. I was always in awe of the way that she managed money. Not making a lot by today’s standards, she managed to be debt free, have a home (rental property with a mortgage), a thriving business and live life to the fullest. I wish that some of that money management had of rubbed of on me!  Edythe was a HERO!

2. Compassion, Love, Kindness – all have different meanings but are so intertwined. Edythe never had an unkind word for anyone. She would give you the shirt off her back, if you needed it.  A trait that we all learned from my grandfather – thank you Pop-pop.  This is my mission with my business.  Showing compassion, kindness and love to those who are struggling to help them smile!

3. Bravery – Edythe was brave in many areas of her life long before the cancer hit. Some see it as business savvy.   She stepped out of the box to create the life she wanted, against all odds.  Her strength in those final weeks were beyond belief.

As we reflect on this day, hug the ones you love, forgive the ones who you believe have done you wrong and enjoy the moment with those you love.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!