Happy 4th of July

According to Wickapedia “Independence Day, commonly known as the Fourth of July, is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, declaring independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain”.

This year, the 4th seems to be a bigger struggle than last year….there seems to be a few more memories missing as a result of the MS.  I went on a hunt to find some pictures to go with the post and struggled to remember.  I pulled our the scrapbook I made for Belinda for her 16th birthday and was overwhelmed.  The pictures looked familiar but the memories of the experiences have slowly slipped away. It is times like this I am glad I started blogging before things were too bad because it helps me to remember at least a little bit….

Hubby and I were just talking about life in Ocean Grove  and how we would love to live there again.  The 4th of July was always a whirlwind of fun and excitement filled with July 4th parades and bar-b-ques with family. Sitting on Main Street waiting for the parade and the barrage of candy thrown by the floats as they traveled down the street. Grams worried Belinda would get too close to the  trucks. Belinda hiding and covering her ears as the fire trucks came by – her sensitive ears were always a concern for Grams.

Then came the years Belinda was in the parade in an array of costumes. Costumes made by me – Ariel (The Little Mermaid), Pocahontas, Peter Pan… are you getting the Disney theme? Yes, we were obsessed with Disney and we wore out many VHS tapes before DVDs came around. Then as Belinda got older, it was decorating her bicycle. Cards in the spokes to make the flipping sounds – okay, am I really showing my age now? Red, white and blue shirts, shorts, and hats…

Life in Ocean Grove was fun and is filled with many memories.  I am grateful for scrapbooks – mostly since Belinda was born but at least there are some.  There was actually a time when ALL of us lived in Ocean Grove on Broadway – Edythe, then Grams, Pop-pop & Elsie then closest to the beach was mom and I. Okay, so it was BEFORE Belinda but it was always a lot of fun. Yes, I squirreled!

Best wishes for a ThirtyOne-derful day with friends and family. Enjoy the moments and treasure them….

My Birthday Reflections

Another milestone….. yes, believe it or not, Saturday is my 62nd birthday!  Do I feel 62?  I will admit, the days when I  feel my age are greater than they were last year.  MS has kicked my butt a little bit more often this year.

I know I am early but I don’t blog on Saturday’s so I figured today would be a great day for reflection and probably some tears.

I am blessed to have woken up this morning and every morning.  No matter what the day may bring, I know it will be WONDERFUL!  Am I always this optimistic – NOPE!   I’m determined to be positive and make the most of each day.  It may take me two hours to clear the fog and get moving but being grateful for each small step it a gift from God.

Birthdays are milestones in our lives.  As children, they are a day (or sometimes a week or even a month) where the focus is on us.  Filled with presents, parties, family, friends and of course cake and ice cream.  As the years go by, life “happens” and things change.

The past year has been filled with many ups and downs.  I walked by in the doors of NA almost one year ago – broken and struggling.  My Thirty One business has had some really great highs and some all time lows. I’m still trying to get the hang of not having a consistent pay check.  I have expanded “Hope’s Angel Connection” and love sharing angels with everyone.  The daily realization more memories are lost and struggling to find the right words to say has been big this year.  Through it all I hold fast to the mantra “every day is a gift from God with a blessing to be found.”

Truth be told for many years “birthdays” were just another day when low self-esteem and lack of confidence and those nasty inner gremlins made me feel like I didn’t deserve a celebration. I’m great at giving but I’m not very good at receiving.  Today, I am looking at them a little differently – have I grown up?  Don’t count on it!  Entering back into recovery, I realized every day is a gift from God  and I am cherishing being able to spend another day with family and friends.  The celebration doesn’t need to be big, it doesn’t need to have lots of presents (maybe just one or two would be nice).

As a child, one of my favorite celebrations was the annual trip to New York City to see the Ringling Brothers and Barnum Bailey Circus. This annual tradition was a treat from Edythe and Elsie. It included the circus and dinner in NY. I always felt so grown up! Both of them are now our guardians angels in heaven and the circus is now gone too.

I have to admit the tears are starting to flow, tears of joy mixed with some sadness:

  • I grateful for my daughter, Belinda.  She has grown into an AMAZING woman who I am proud to call my friend.  Life was not always easy but she turned adversity into a learning lesson.  God could not have given me a greater gift than to be her mom.  We have had our hurdles this past year but I’m glad we are rebuilding our relationship.
  • To my mom….thank you for always being there.  We are not just mother and daughter, but we are friends.  The miles may separate us but I know you are only a phone call away or a short drive to Mays Landing.  You are always one of my biggest cheerleaders.  I can’t tell you how grateful I am for the support you have given me this year as I traveled the road of recovery, again.

  • To my DS/Crafter Friends….words can express the gratitude I have for you.  This past year, you have helped in so many ways.  Sharing events, carrying my stuff when I am struggling, cheering me on and checking in on me.  You have helped me to develop and expand my Angel Connection.  Your ongoing support as we entered year 2 of fulfilling a dream to celebrate, and encourage other DS business owners through our networking group, Jersey Shore Direct Sellers Network.

 

  • Lastly, to my hubby (who probably won’t read this)…who is my ROCK!  I know I am not the easiest to live with (imagine that?) but you are always there, standing strong and supporting me.  Your support and encouragement this year after my relapse has meant more than words can say.  Your support and encouragement gives me the confidence to step out of my comfort zone. Thank you for being one of my greatest cheerleaders.

There are many more people I could (and probably should) thank or talk about from this year.  It has been an AMAZING journey for me and I am looking forward to the blessings God has for me in this new year.  I can’t believe I am actually 62 years old – okay, so it is only a number, right?

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Stop by my VIP group on Facebook, Hope’s Purse Closet, for a birthday present from ME to YOU!

Hope you have 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!

4th Annual Chemo Care Tote Campaign

As part of “Giving Tuesday” I am kicking off  my “4th Annual CHEMO CARE TOTES” Campaign.

When I began my journey with Thirty One in 2011, I wanted to make a difference.  Actually, I have been making  difference all of my life – from collecting funds for MD as a child to working in soup kitchens and food pantries to bringing a smile to those who are struggling.  I want to share my spiritual gifts of “helps and encouragement” so others know someone cares when they are struggling.

Here is the message I received from past recipients:

Wanted to let you know I have handed out all of the beautiful bags you had donated for women battling breast cancer. Each person loved the bag and it put a smile on their face to know someone was kind and providing a sense of support as they started their chemotherapy treatments. Thank you again for supporting our patients.

Yes, I cried the first time!… Now, I get goosebumps every time I read it.  Cancer has touched each of us in some way – a friend, a family member, a sister, a mother, a father, a child, and the list goes on.

This project is near and dear to my heart.  It is a tribute to my family who fought a good fight against this dreaded disease and lost: Edythe (kidney cancer), Elsie (breast cancer), Pop-pop (lung cancer) and my dad (prostrate 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.  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.

With my own health struggles, I have spent many hours in the infusion units of 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.

Your gift/ sponsorship of $25 will pay for the bag.   I will use 100% of my commission to fill them with a variety of things like a blanket/scarf, notepad, pen, bottle of water, lotion, warm socks, chap stick and crossword puzzle book. Donations will again be delivered to the local Cancer Care Center at Southern Ocean Medical Center to bring a smile to the face of those who are fighting this dreadful disease.

chemo bagsLast year, we delivered 31 bags BUT this year, my goal is 50.  I know it is a HUGE jump but I am confident we are up for the challenge. Yes, I know it is the holiday season.  Yes, I know money is tight.  STOP for a moment and think how you would feel if someone handed you an unexpected gift – no strings attached – when you were feeling your lowest.  Let the love of this holiday season shine through with your help.

For $25 you can bring a smile to someone who is fighting the cancer battle.

You can sponsor a bag in memory of someone, in honor of someone or just anonymously. Payments can be made via check, credit card or through Paypal at hopesgiftcloset@comcast.net as a friend/family.   If you see me at a vendor event, I will be happy to accept your donation.

Won’t you help us to make a difference today?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

How You Can Make A Difference

October has arrived and it is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  This is a cause near and dear to my heart….

Since the age of 18, my aunt Elsie dealt with little lumps on her breasts.  They were always removed and thankfully they were benign.  In 1989, she was diagnosed with breast cancer.  She had a mastectomy and an implant.  Life was good and she was placed on tamoxifen for five years.  When she stopped taking it and it worked its way out of her system,  they discovered a problem with the implant.  PLUS her cancer test came back positive.  Studies now show how tamoxifen can give false positives.  Another surgery including reconstructing her breast from a tummy tuck.  Those days, there weren’t many options.  Life was good for a little while after the surgery, she fulfilled her dream to have her own business and was doing treatments.  Then things started to change – her eyesight got worse (glasses weren’t even helping), and the pain throughout her body was taking its toll. After a trip to Maine with some friends, she lost the battle and ultimately  the will to live in May, 1999.  She was my buddy, my friend and one of my biggest cheerleaders.  Maybe my favorite color is pink for this reason – she is always close to my heart.

Thirty One is donating all Round Ups this month in support of Breast Cancer Awareness.  So be sure to round up when you place an order. 

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?  Stay tuned for more details on this month’s Chemo Comfort Bags for Southern Ocean Medical Center.

I would love to hear about your favorite causes…

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!