Make a Difference For Mother’s Day

As you know if you follow my blog, a HUGE part of my journey with Thirty One is to help others.  Sometimes it is a fundraising project, or a donation to an event or giving to someone who was just in need of some loving.  It doesn’t matter whether it’s a small goal or a HUGE goal, I want to help.  As a result, I have been able to donate to various causes throughout the years.

This is not to toot my own horn. None of these projects would be possible if it were not for the support of my friends, family and customers.  Individuals who believe in the cause, or just want to help. Okay, can you guess where this is leading…. YOU GOT IT!

For Easter, we donated 25 Easter Baskets to Dottie’s House.  Dottie’s House is a transitional housing facility designed to aid women and children who have survived domestic violence. They proactively help these families develop the life skills needed to become self-sufficient for their future financial and emotional independence.

While delivering them, I was sharing stories of my days as a Social Worker with the South Jersey AIDS Alliance when SMACK!  Mother’s Day was quickly approaching and I wanted these moms to feel some love.

If you have children, think about how your hubby or your family make sure you have a special Mother’s Day.  For many of the women at Dottie’s House, they do not have the same support system so Mother’s Day could be just another day.  I want them to know they are special too.

So, again with the help of my family, friends and customers, we are putting together “pampering bags” as Mother’s Day Gifts for these ladies.  The goal is 18 since there are 18 units at Dottie’s House.  So far we are halfway there.

The $20 sponsorship will pay for the actual bag and I will use 100% of my commission to fill them with a variety of things like a fuzzy socks, notepad, pen, lotion, and chap stick.  My friends in direct sales will also be adding pampering products to make these hardworking mommas feel special.   

In addition, I am selling Domestic Violence Angel Awareness magnets for $5 with the proceeds being donated to Dottie’s House.

Since I began my “give back program”, almost $10,000 in products and cash donations have been made to various causes.  It fills my cup to know we have made the difference in the lives of so many people.

So, who is with me? For $20 you can bring a smile to a mom who is a survivor of domestic violence.   The cut-off is April 20th so the bags will arrive in time to be stuffed and delivered on May 9th.  This project is near and dear to my heart.  It is a tribute to the women I know who have escaped and survived domestic violence.

You can sponsor a bag in memory of someone, in honor of someone or just anonymously. Payments can be made via check or through Paypal at hopesgiftcloset@@comcast.net as a friend/family.  I can also accept credit card payments directly.  Please complete the form for more details:

Won’t you help to make a difference today?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

October Party Themes

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October is almost here and I love sharing new party ideas. Themed home parties are so much fun.  It is easy for the hostess and I am able to help her keep things simple.

Here are some theme parties for the month of October (or anytime):

How about a Football Wives party?

football wives party

I am football fanatic but what a great way to pass the time for those who are not into football (or hockey).  I told my hubby just the other day, he got me hooked on football and now I am the one yelling at the TV during football games.  We have some NEW Fall prints which will give you a chance to shop for the men in your life so they can sport their favorite team’s colors.4347bad3acf34b429d415c4837ef2de4

Chocolate Lovers Party – Serve chocolate goodies. Guests bring their favorite chocolate bar.  We play a chocolate game and the winner takes home ALL of the chocolate bars.  I mean who doesn’t love chocolate…

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Fundraiser Party – October is Breast Cancer Awareness and Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Why not support your favorite cause at the same time guests are doing their shopping? I will donate 25% of all sales to your organization or cause.  Encourage guests to bring their gently used bags to be donated to a local shelter and I will give them a discount on their new purchase. A win-win for everyone.b4f2ca2633a840278d1024a91784899e-1Halloween Party – Do you like Halloween? Challenge your guests to come in costume and earn a gift.  Trick or Treat bags from me.  Serve apple cider,pumpkin pie or candy apples.images

Brunch – Nights too busy?  Busy moms would love a moment in between dropping the kids off and the next errand to grab a bagel or donuts, and a fresh cup of coffee or tea. This is can be done as an Open House but for a shorter period of time. It solves so many concerns – no time, what to serve & keep things short and sweet. A great way to spend a Saturday or Sunday morning or that week day morning when the kids are at school.

Men’s Only Party – Invite the men for an afternoon of football, pizza, soda (or beer) and Thirty-One.  Set up a display and let them shop for Christmas presents during halftime, tell them that when they place a $35 (or whatever) order, I’ll wrap the gift for them.  I will help you gather a wish list from your friends (their wives/girlfriends) to make the shopping easy.

What are some of YOUR favorite October party themes? Share them with us.  Better yet, when you have one, take a picture and post it here so we can all see the fun!

Have a Thirty One-derful day!

You Could be Someone’s Miracle 

“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have” 1 Peter 3:15 NIV

angel ornament

To Beth it was the confusion of an inept airline. To me, it was a divine appointment from God.

“I don’t have an assigned seat,” the disheveled young woman complained as she stumbled into the airplane.
“This one is empty,” I pointed out.

“Thanks,” she huffed as she plopped down.

The beautiful young lady was obviously exhausted. She was dressed in skin-tight jeans and a distracting low-cut T-shirt. Her flip-flops slid under her feet to reveal a tattoo on the top of her foot. Sunglasses hid something…I wasn’t sure what. She looked straight ahead, but I felt that her mind was traveling to a distant place.

After the plane left the ground, I pulled out a book I had written to prepare for an upcoming radio interview. Put the book down and talk to this girl, God seemed to say.

God, she doesn’t want to talk. I can tell by her body language. She’s not interested in conversation, I mentally argued.

Put the book down and talk to this girl.(God can be very persistent. Especially when it comes to one of his little lost lambs.)

I closed the book and turned to this…kid.

“So, where are you headed?” I asked.

“Home,” she replied.

“Where’s home?”

“Right outside of Charlotte,” she replied. “It’s a small town. I’m sure you’ve never heard of it.”

“Were you in Florida on business or pleasure?” I continued.

“I was visiting my boyfriend,” she answered.

Then she took off her sunglasses to reveal red swollen eyes. She glanced down at the book in my lap. “Your Scars are Beautiful to God,” she read, “that’s an interesting topic. I’ve got lots of scars.”

“So do I,” I replied. “That’s why I wrote the book.”

“You wrote that book?”

“Yep.”

For the next hour and 90 minutes, this young girl poured out her heart. She had been abandoned by her birth father and sexually abused by several men in her life. She was on this flight home because her boyfriend, who had just come out of a drug rehabilitation center, had “roughed her up.” Actually, she was fleeing. My heart broke as this beautiful young girl told me story after story of cruelties that had been doneto her mingled with bad choices that had been made through her. At the moment, her life resembled a 100-car train wreck with one lone survivor who was in desperate need of life resuscitation.

As my mind engaged with Beth (not her real name), my spirit communed with God. What do I do? I prayed. So much hurt. So much pain.

Pray for her…now.

“Beth, would you mind if I prayed for you?”

“No,” she said with a quiver in her voice. “I’d like that.”

I held Beth’s hand and God’s sorrow for this girl filled my heart. It wasn’t just a “God bless Beth,” sort of prayer. I sobbed. It was as if God’s pain for this girl I didn’t even know was flowing through me.

As God would have it, Beth and I were in the front row of a very sparsely filled plane. The only person paying any attention to us was the flight attendant who sat facing us in her jump seat. I’m not sure, but I think God was working in her heart as well.

When the plane landed, I handed Beth the book, we exchanged e-mails, and embraced one last time. Since then, we have kept in touch and Beth has continued her journey for peace and purpose. Her stepfather wrote me a letter expressing his appreciation for taking the time to minister to his “little girl.” He wrote: “I had been praying for God to send Beth an angel, and I believe He did.”

Well, I’m no angel, that’s for sure. But I believe the angels were hovering around us in that plane.

One of the great mysteries of the Christian life is that God has given us great power through prayer. Through the pages of the Bible and the volumes of history, we see God mightily working on behalf of those who seek Him through prayer.

All through our lives, there will be times when we feel powerless. But friend, we are never more powerful than when we use our words in prayer. I was only with Beth a few hours in that airplane, but God’s power was evident when we grasped hands and prayed. His transforming power did more in a few moments than any human could have done in years.

So keep your eyes open. You could be someone’s miracle today.

Thank you to Girlfriends in God and Sharon Jaynes for today’s blog.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Domestic Violence Awareness Month

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Domestic violence is a pattern of behavior used to establish power and control over another person through fear and intimidation, often including the threat or use of violence.

Domestic violence and abuse can happen to anyone, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, income, or other factors.  Did you know that 1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence during her lifetime?  Did you know that most acts of domestic violence take place between 6 pm and 6 am?  Did you know that more than 60% of the incidents of domestic violence happen at home.

You may wonder why women (and men) would stay around.  You may wonder how could anyone put up with the verbal or worse physical abuse from someone that says that they love them.  Victims believe that they are to blame.  That if the hadn’t done XYZ, then their significant other wouldn’t have had to yell or hit them.  The truth is that NO victim is to blame for any occurrence of domestic abuse or violence.

Domestic violence is the third leading cause of homelessness among families, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.  Women ages 18 to 34 are at greatest risk of becoming victims of domestic violence.  The stats that scare me the most are these:

  • More than 3 million children witness domestic violence in their homes every year.
  • Children who live in homes where there is domestic violence also suffer abuse or neglect at high rates (30% to 60%).
  • Children exposed to domestic violence at home are more likely to have health problems, including becoming sick more often, having frequent headaches or stomachaches, and being more tired and lethargic.
  • Children are more likely to intervene when they witness severe violence against a parent – which can place a child at great risk for injury or even death.

Children are the silent victims.  I was one of those children.  Middle class family with two parents.  By all appearances happy and successful.  But alcohol addiction created a monster that lead us being one of the stats.  I was the child that watched the abuse.  I was one of those children who tried to intervene.  The memories live on and haunt me as an adult.  Forgiveness has lead to healing but the memories linger.  Do I think that witnessing those acts of violence affected me – YES!  I was a victim of verbal abuse for many years. I struggled with relationships.  I struggled with self esteem and confidence.  I struggled with addictions.    Children learn by example.  Remember the line “Do as I say, not as I do”.  Well, chances are children who have been exposed to domestic violence will subject themselves to the same kind of treatment.

#1 FACT: Most domestic violence incidents are never reported.

Help change the facts. Speak up, speak out, and make a difference for victims of domestic violence.

Do you know someone or suspect someone has been a victim of domestic violence?  Here are some resources that can help:

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233

NJ Statewide Domestic Violence Hotline (24/7): 1 (800) 572-SAFE (7233)

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Making a Difference

October has arrived and with it many causes that are celebrated for their hard work and dedication.  The first that always comes to mind is Breast Cancer Awareness.  This touched me directly when Elsie, my aunt, was diagnosed in the ’80s. Options were limited and she fought a long hard battle but ultimately lost the will in 1999.   Maybe my favorite color is pink for this reason – she is always close to my heart.

Gives-DV-shirtThirty One supports Domestic Violence Awareness during the month of October.  Truth be told, this cause also has a special place in my heart.  I couldn’t put a name to it growing up and I never talked about because “what happened in the house, stayed in the house” but there was some violence in our home.  My dad was an alcoholic and mom seemed to know just the right buttons to push (I don’t even think she realized it sometimes).  I remember some late night battles between my parents that left me feeling lost and scared.  Mom took the blunt of the battle – physical and verbal abuse – but on the outside everything seemed to be picture perfect.  An occasional bruise was easily explained away.  Thankfully, things have changed and those who have or are experiencing this now have a voice.  Thirty One is “Standing Strong for Her”.

How can you make a difference with your business?  Here are some ideas:

  • Fundraising for local organizations.  This helps to not only get your name out to the community but also helps the organization raise much needed funds.  It is a win-win situation.
  • Be a sponsor.  It may be a table at an event or advertising when they hold an awareness program – whatever it is be a part of it.  I have taken ads in program journals, donated gift baskets for auctions, sponsored “water” for a run – think outside the box.  Get creative.
  • Promote Local Causes.  I need to do this more.  Tag a cause on my Facebook Page to help publicize their work or mention their cause when talking to customers.  Distribute flyers when your favorite cause is hosting an event.  It will help to build good-will and ultimately, your business.
  • Volunteer.  I know, no time, right?  Make a Difference Day is in October with MANY ways to get involved.  It may be making bags at a local food pantry, pulling weeds, building a home – whatever time you can spare is appreciated by the organizations.  While you are volunteering, wear your company tee shirt.

How are YOU going to MAKE a DIFFERENCE this month?  I would love to hear about your favorite causes…

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!