Happy Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day by definition is a celebration honoring the mother of the family, as well as motherhood, maternal bonds, and the influence of mothers in society.

Today, I am blessed, to be a daughter, a step-daughter and a MOM!  Today will be a day filed with some tears I’m sure as I am not going to be with either of these TWO amazing ladies.

To my mom, my best friend and biggest cheerleader.  The road has been filled with more than our share of twists and turns but through it all you have stood by my side.  Through thick and thin, the good times and bad. Just like when I was a child, you were are there to guide and support me now as MS takes away my memory.  Thank you for being my traveling buddy and joining me in my pink bubble.

You have taught me about strength and kindness. You have taught me how to be a good mom. You taught me to cherish my family. Mom, thank you for all of the lessons. I may not have always appreciated them at the time, but I am grateful for them now as an older, wiser and sometimes more mature woman.  I am who I am today because you allowed me to grow and struggle through the bumps in the road. I am who I am today because you loved me when I didn’t love myself.  Thank you…..Happy Mother’s Day to the BEST MOM in the world. I love you!

To my daughter, Belinda who makes MY Mother’s Day so special. They say you never know what it means to be a mom until you have a child – I agree 100%. I now understand why my mom put up with everything (the good, the bad & the ugly) all of those years. My daughter is my heart.  It was “you and me, kid” for most of her life and I wouldn’t change it for the world.  Being a single mom had its struggles but with the love and support of family and friends we made it.  As a child, you were a challenge – having your own opinion and questioning everything but you helped me to grow as a person too. You have grown into an AMAZING woman who I am proud to say is “my daughter”.  MS may steal the memories by in my heart I know it will alway be “you and me kid”.

To those who have lost their moms, cherish the memories. To those who have a strained relationship with them, reach out, re-connect – bless and move on – for you don’t want to live with regrets when they are gone.

Happy Mother’s Day to all of the moms and those who have been like a mom to so many.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day.

Birthday Reflections

Another milestone….. yes, believe it or not, tomorrow is my 61st birthday!  Do I feel 61? Some days especially when the MS decides to rear its ugly head..

I’m a day early since I don’t blog on Friday’s, I figured today would be a great day for reflection and probably some tears.

I am blessed I get to wake this morning and every morning.  No matter what the day may bring, I know it will be WONDERFUL!  I’m determined to be positive and make the most of it. 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.  Receiving the “official” diagnosis of RRMS (Remitting Relapsing MS) and starting injections three times a week.  Working my Thirty One business full-time while learning the ebbs and flows of not receiving a consistent pay check.  The realization more memories are lost and struggling to find the right words some days.  The toughest part of the last year was the loss of my dad.  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!  My dad was all about living life to the fullest and his passing is probably one of the reasons why I stopped saying “it is just another day”.   Today is a gift from God  to be 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 performed for the last time last year.

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 then to be her mom.  We may have missed out on the ThirtyOne cruise thanks to the hurricane but I loved spending time in NC with you.
  • 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.
  • To my dad….who is now watching over me from heaven.  It has been a rough year but through it all, I remember your encouraging words.  You taught me to embrace life, living it to the fullest every day and to chose JOY, even on a bad day so everything will be okay. I miss you daddy!
  • To my Thirty One family.  An amazing group of women who have loved and supported me in my darkest days.  My team is AWESOME and they inspire me daily.  My hostesses and customers are so much more than just “orders”, building friendships with many of them.   They all hold a special place in my heart.  It is with their help and support I am able to work my business full-time.

  • 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.  Thank you for your support as I ventured into fulfilling a dream of celebrating, and encouraging 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 in my Thirty One “business” gives me the confidence to step out of my comfort zone. Thank you for being one of my greatest cheerleaders.  I’m excited to spend my birthday with you this year, thank you for taking the day off.

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 61 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!

Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

Thank you Janet Kinkade the creator of JK by Thirty-One jewelry for today’s tips. Her ultimate passion is to inspire women and help them recognize their own beauty and potential. Read more on Janet’s blog, and follow her on Instagram!

I love how we set aside a whole day to honor and celebrate the women who raised us. My mom is an amazing mother. She is selfless yet strong – and the most beautiful woman I know!

Mother’s Day holds a special place in my heart because of my own daughter – Belinda.  I remember several Mother’s Days in the past, waking up to handmade gifts she had poured her hearts into making. These moments remind me motherhood is a gift and my favorite job of all despite the fact my “baby” is all grown up.

Thirty-One makes it so easy and fun to find the perfect gift for all of the special women in your life! Here are a few ideas for you:

Save the day with a fun and funny “New Mom Survival Kit”

New moms get so many gifts for baby, why not take this opportunity to put together a cute and creative gift just for her? Help ease her transition – and give her a little chuckle at the same time – with a sweet “survival kit” tucked into a reusable Zipper Pouch or Swap-It Pocket, along with a note explaining each item:

  • A healthy snack to keep her energy up!
  • Hand sanitizer so she stays healthy. (Moms can’t get sick!)
  • Dry shampoo, because regular showers are a thing of the past.
  • Yummy-smelling candle to help create calm when she needs some alone time.
  • Snickers® bar and Laffy Taffy® to keep her sense of humor.
  • Bag of marbles to replace the ones she’ll lose!
  • Rubber bands to remind her that flexibility is key!
Take something off her plate with an all-in-one meal kit

You can pack an entire meal inside one of our gorgeous totes that Mom will love to use long after the meal is over! Put all the ingredients for a delicious dinner in a personalized Zip-Top Organizing Tote or Catch-All Bin – or in one of our new Summer Essentials like the Summer Fun Caddy or In the Clear Tote. You can even add some hand-painted soup bowls, a matching kitchen towel and potholder – and don’t forget a bottle of her favorite wine!

Why not try one of my family’s favorite meals: Taco Soup! Most of the ingredients are in cans, so it’s perfect for packing.

Taco Soup
Ingredients:
3 cans of beans (I mix red beans and black beans)
2 cans of diced tomatoes
1 can of whole kernel corn
1 can of diced tomatoes with green chilies
1 package of taco seasoning
1 package of ranch dressing mix
32 oz. of chicken broth
2 cups of cooked ground beef

Directions: Combine all of the ingredients in a slow cooker, and cook on high for 4 hours. (You can cook on low for 8 hours, instead, if you’re going to be gone all day.)

Express your love and gratitude with custom home décor

If you’re looking for a personalized gift that will last long enough to become a family keepsake, look no further than our custom Statement Canvas Pillows, Statement Canvas Wall Art and wooden Close to Home Tray! These gifts can be a creative way to show off her Personality, talk about her Passions and inspire others with her Purpose as a mother. Check out our 3 Ps of Personalization for tips to make a beautiful gift for her home that she’ll always treasure!

Stay close to her heart with a mother’s necklace

Our new Charm Catcher Necklace is the perfect way to design Mom her very own meaningful – and wearable – keepsake! Create a beautiful piece of jewelry (moms LOVE jewelry!) that she can put on every day to remind her of all the joys of motherhood.

Start with our Charm Catcher Necklace in gold or silver tone, then add:

What special gift are you getting your mom?  Share it with us, we won’t tell…

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Happy Easter 2018

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.  This day holds so many mixed feelings for me…..

Growing up going 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.  As an infant, I had lost touch with God, feeling like I didn’t deserve his unconditional love.  Easter was still about dinner with family but gone were the traditions of church and the Easter parade.  When I entered recovery, things changed ever so slightly – now I was entering into 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 and heading to Atlantic City for the traditional 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…

My relationship with God has grown and I am grateful he loved me enough to sacrifice his son for my sins.  Today, I will head to church then hubby and I will head to Atlantic City to have brunch with mom and my step dad.  I miss those traditional family holidays (those I remember) but am learning to create new memories with each passing day.

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

The Night Before Christmas

It is Christmas Eve day….. the hustle and bustle is reaching immeasurable heights as last minute shoppers make the final dash to the malls for the perfect gift.  Some are nursing hangovers from the holiday office parties.  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…

Tonight will be dinner with my step-mom and half sister.  A chance to share special memories of holidays with dad. Christmas Day will be spent with mom and Sal, dinner out embracing the special moments.  Just another indication the times are changing.

As I sit looking at our Christmas tree, memories of Christmas Eve’s past flash before me.

The 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 the living room. It always made for a lot of laughs. Waiting patiently for mom to get off work so we could open presents. The early morning calls to wake everyone up. The funny thing was – Belinda wasn’t a morning person so we always had to WAKE her up. Really, on Christmas morning???? Opening presents was a process which took forever because Belinda wanted to play with each thing before moving on to the next gift. We learned games were opened last or at least towards the end or else nothing else would get opened. Great memories of days gone by…

Cherish the moments with family.  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 our family over the next year.

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