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!

 

Giving Thanks on Thanksgiving

Today is going to be a day filled with lots of emotions…as usual, I will be spending a lot of time crying.   Tears of gratitude for the blessings of this year mixed with tears of sadness.

This is the first Thanksgiving without my dad.  Since Belinda was a baby, we locked in two holidays which we always spent with dad, Father’s Day and Thanksgiving.  We will be spending the day with my step-mom and extended family but it will be a struggle.  Belinda is in NC celebrating Thanksgiving with her in-laws.  As I watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade, I struggle with memories of past years filled with high school football games, homecoming floats, dinner at Grams with the entire family.

Today I am counting my blessings….  Blessed to have a supportive hubby. I am grateful we will enjoy Thanksgiving together.  I am grateful my family is healthy. The year has been filled with many trials.. I am listening to Laura Story’s song…

Thirty One continues to bless my life. Who would have thought 6 plus years ago, a $99 kit would make such a difference?  A growing business with an amazing team of women who continue to inspire me with their strength and friendship.  An income which allows me to still earn an income despite the challenges of MS.  A multitude of women who have gone from customers and hostesses to friends.  The greatest blessing is the ability to share with those who are struggling by giving back to our community.

Words can’t express how grateful I am today and every day. My wish is each of you have a blessed Thanksgiving – enjoy the time with your friends and family. Cherish the moments for all the years to come.

A Thanksgiving Prayer by Gwen Smith…

Dear Lord:

We come with hearts of gratitude today to bless Your name and to ask that Your hand of blessing would be upon us. THANK YOU, Father, for loving us with an eternal love that stands firm, even when we are unlovable. THANK YOU for being faithful, righteous, holy and just, yet willing to see us, Your children, through divine eyes of compassion, mercy, forgiveness and grace. THANK YOU for being a God of restoration and renewal in the midst of a broken, pain-filled world. THANK YOU for providing for our needs, directing our paths, and establishing our steps.

We acknowledge Your sovereignty, Lord, and freshly submit to Your will today. We ask Your BLESSING and GUIDANCE over our children, grandchildren, marriages, families, and loved ones. We ask Your BLESSING and GUIDANCE over our country, president, governors, senators, representatives, and local officials. We ask Your BLESSING and GUIDANCE over our communities, churches, schools, work places, decisions, and opportunities. Please FILL US with the presence of Your joy, peace, patience, goodness, gentleness, and self control today. HELP US to see as You see and to love as You love. HELP US to serve others humbly for the sake of Your name. HELP US to be light that shines in the darkness. HELP US to follow Your ways and continually seek Your leading.

You are our hope and our strength, Lord. We give you THANKS in all of this and ask for the fullness of Your BLESSING in all these things, according to the power of Jesus Christ who is at work within us through Your Holy Spirit.

Amen

Have a ThirtyOne-derful Thanksgiving!

Happy Father’s Day

 

Father’s Day is a celebration honoring fathers; celebrating fatherhood, paternal bonds, and the influence of fathers in society.

aae4e-dad Father’s Day this year will be different.  For the last 26 years, we have spent Father’s Day with my dad.  It was one of dad’s holidays when Belinda was growing up.  This year, I’m at a loss.  A void in my life which I feel on so many days.  It is weird, dad and I could go for weeks without talking yet just knowing he was there was okay.  In an instant, he was gone.  Heaven gained an angel on April 15th and there is a hole in my heart I struggle to fill.

Life with my dad had its ups and downs. Growing up was filled with family vacations and holidays.  MS has taken many of those memories away but we have told the stories many times but truly remembering is tough.  There are flashes some days but they are few and far between.

Dad was a HAM radio operator and I always had the BEST reports in school because he would reach out to friends far and wide for their help.  He bought me my first car for $100 and spray painted it blue. It was a stick shift, so he had to teach me – a true experience. The Chevy Nova lasted a long time and held many memories.  My junior year, he and my mom, cooked breakfast for the ENTIRE Junior Class of Ocean Twp HS after the prom.

Dad’s battle with alcoholism and those demons brought some really rough times. When my parents divorced, I was angry and hurt.  I wanted nothing to do with my dad. On Pop-pop’s death bed, he told me “it is time to forgive your dad”.  I wasn’t ready but every once in awhile I would get a nudge from my Weston angels it was time.  I never listened and it will be one of the regrets of my life.

My drug addiction brought us together and it was a gift.  My dad came to visit which was the first time we had spoken in 16 YEARS! He found out where I was and he traveled to Pennsylvania to see me. It is when the healing began.  No judgement.  No questions.  Just ready to fill the gaps of the missing years.

255113_10150641311530220_3447489_n

What a blessing it was to have him walk me down the aisle the day I got married.  He was the proud father as he walked me down the aisle.  A rough day for him due to health issues but one he would not have missed to anything.

I love this picture (even though we are missing some of the family bush). We have always said, it isn’t a family tree – it’s a bush and it was a blessing to have 4 generations in the same picture which is not always an easy task.  

I miss you Dad!

So today, I will spend time with hubby and cherish the memories.  I know my angels – dad and pop-pop – are enjoying the day together.

Take a moment today and thank the “fathers” in your life.  Some may be your biological dads, your adopted dads, some may be your friends dad’s, some may be a man who helped to shape your life – whoever it is, THANK them.  They have given you many blessings.  Remember blessings are sometimes in the form trials and it is all of those things which make you the person you are today.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day.

The Struggle of an Optimist

Stomping out inner gremlins and banishing ANTs (automatic negative thoughts) from my life is an ongoing battle. When a crisis occurs, I jump into Social Worker mode.  Handle things, take care of everyone, and make sure nothing slips through the cracks… you get the picture, right?  I mean every crisis needs a person like this, right?  On the outside, I look like a rock while on the inside I am falling apart.

When I started blogging over 4 years ago, it was about my life – the good, the bad and the ugly.  Somewhere along the way it changed to sharing tips and tricks for organizing, business coaching tips and more.  Don’t get me wrong, I love writing and helping others but I believe in my heart I can also help people by sharing my strengths, hopes and experiences.  Why am I saying all of this?  Because today is about getting through a life crisis.

My dad is currently in a rehab and has been placed on hospice for end stage COPD.  Dad played hard during his life and it has caught up with him at the ripe age of 86.  On his good days, he still has his smart answers for the nurses but he is tired of fighting.  The pain has gotten too great.  So, on Friday, “social worker” mode kicked in.  I truly believed I was handling things well.  A10-minute meltdown after getting the call from the rehab about his condition and I was done.  Then on Sunday at church. a friend said “are you okay? you look like you are going to cry”.  The water works started again.

Today, I am practicing some of the things I would have told family members of clients many years ago when a crisis occurred:

Limit Your Pity Party:

A wise friend gave me some sage advise:  “Every now and then you have to have a good cry, your own little pity party to get your feelings out. Then the next day you feel renewed in your fight and battle on.”  

So, I let the tears fall, went to bed and woke up ready to conquer the world.  I am learning to share the details of what is happening without putting any negativity into the Universe.  Leaning on God for his strength to get me through the tough days.

Do What You Don’t Want to Do:  

A crisis hits and what do we do?  Crawl in bed and pull the sheets over our head?  Avoid friends, and family?  Stop working? Not eating or sleeping?  Maybe even turn to a drink or two to help numb the pain?

Guess what? None of it will help in the long run.  It will send you down a path which is hard to come out of.  For me, I have a business to run so I can’t just hide.  For those who work for someone else, going to work is a great way to keep some normalcy in your life.  For those of us with our own business, we need to find ways to keep moving through the tough stuff.  Here are some things I have been doing:

  • Feed your body fresh, organic food (hubby says my nose is starting to twitch like a bunny)
  • Walking more every day.  Got to get my steps in.
  • Read a book which inspires you.  I keep it to something short because my attention span is short.
  • Watch a comedy show and laugh.  I am grateful for hubby’s ability to find old comedy shows on Amazon Prime
  • I treated myself to a new outfit.  A way to give myself a little pampering.

Take Care of Yourself Before You Take Care of Others

Yup, I am the proverbial care giver.  Taking care of the rest of the world while I tend to forget about me.  My “me time” consists of early morning hours in my office for devotions and to work on my business.  As the day moves on, I tend to struggle with balancing how to care for others while getting things done I need to do. Then I get annoyed when I don’t get my “to do” list done.  Crazy right?  I know I am not alone.

The truth is to help anyone, you must put yourself first. If you don’t take care of you, who will? When a crisis drops in your lap, you will be better able to tackle it if you have been taking care of yourself — giving back to you. Never forget how much you matter. You cannot fully give to others, including your work, if you haven’t taken care of yourself.  A lesson I am learning (sometimes the hard way).

Relive Stress and Release Anxiety

For some this is writing?  Or exercise? Or work? Or cooking?  The key is to do something to help you release anxiety before it has its way with you.  For me, I have to start my day with a cup of coffee and devotions or I am a mess the rest of the day.  I stop for about a half hour to send positive energy into the Universe.  Writing also helps.  Blogging daily has helped me personally, as well as for my business. Find what works for you –  take up writing, or an art of some kind, or learning a new skill, or take up an exercise like power walking, yoga or kayaking. Choose an activity that causes you to thoroughly focus and helps you let go of tension or pent-up anxiety.  It is also important you get enough sleep. Overtired, overstressed and increased anxiety are your own personal crisis waiting to happen.

A long post but in my heart I know someone needs to hear this – even if it is just me.  Have  a ThirtyOne-derful day!

To My Love

What does Valentine’s Day mean to you? Flowers? Chocolate? A special dinner out?

UR Loved card

For me, it is a day to celebrate the gift of love in my life that I have sometimes taken for granted.

Parents – I know you are thinking of course, they love us they are our parents, right?  Many are not blessed with this gift of unconditional love. My parents have stood by and supported me even through the roughest of times.

My Daughter – Belinda.  The day she was born, I finally GOT it!  The 6 months of bed rest, the struggles with her biological dad, the days of being a struggling single mom – I got it!  I understood about the sacrifices that a parent makes for their child no matter how it hurts.  I understood that you would do anything to take care of and protect that little person. I LOVE the woman that she has grown up to be who wants to make the world a better place.

love of my life

My hubby – a love story for the ages.  When we met back in high school, he was this blond haired, guitar playing, quiet with a smile that gave me chills kind of guy. He was from Neptune and I was Ocean Township. Our schools were rivals and it didn’t take long for me to succumb to peer pressure. See, I was a people pleaser way back then too! We went our separate ways. We never talked again…

Fast forward 30 years, to the summer of 2002, a roadside memorial with the name “HOPE” on it sent this amazing man on a hunt to make sure it wasn’t me. Emailing led to dinner led to days off together and shall we say that the rest is history.

Life has tossed us some curve balls over the last 3 years.  The health struggles that we thought we wouldn’t have until we were OLD-er.  This overly independent woman is learning what the true meaning of “unconditional love” is all about from this amazing man.  I know there are times that he believes that I don’t need him, that he is “a pain in my butt” but the truth is, I can’t imagine my life without him. He is my Ying to my Yang. He keeps me grounded when I am ready to fly in the wind.  He is there to keep me optimistic when all I want to do is runaway and hide.

To day is the day that I honor LOVE. Remember that LOVE is an intense feeling with deep affection and we are meant to share it with others – family, friends or just a random act of kindness to a stranger.  I challenge you to put a smile on someone’s face to day.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!