May is Pay It Forward Month

May is Pay It Forward Month!  It is a month long campaign to encourage good deeds. #makeadifference

I love being part of company whose focus is on giving back every day. From Girls on the Run and Girl Talk to World Vision.  Thirty-One Gives supports organizations who share our mission to empower girls, women and families. Gives has been honored to donate $100 million in products and cash to nonprofit organizations like these since 2012.

Since our Consultants, Customers and Home Office staff are so generous through their work with Thirty-One Gives, it’s no surprise many have made giving back a family value.

Here are some tips for getting your own family into the giving spirit.

Pick out dog and cat toys to donate to an animal shelter

If you have very young children, it can be a challenge to find ways for them to become involved with community service.  Give your littlest ones a chance to give back by letting them choose a few dog and cat toys to donate to your local animal shelter. Bring your children along to shop, then drop off the donation – they might even get to see the animals enjoy their new toys!

Help with a local beach, park or trail cleanup

Picking up trash at a park, beach or trail is an easy way to give kids something active and concrete to accomplish. When they’ve finished, they’ll be able to actually see the difference they’ve made!  This can be especially motivating for older children who might need a little encouragement to put down the tech and perform some service – plus, it’s a great way to enjoy nature and get some fresh air together!

Make handmade cards for residents at a nursing home or patients in a hospital

Kids can get creative and brighten someone’s day by making handmade cards to deliver to a nursing home or hospital.  Deliver them together and, maybe even stay and visit with the patients or residents. Doing this can show your child the power of small gestures, and how easy it can be to make someone’s day a little better.

Go through their own toys

If you’re on a decluttering kick, involve your children, too! Have them comb through their toys and books to find ones they’d like pass on to other kids who need them. To make the process easier, give them a container they can easily fill, like a Mini Storage Bin or Deluxe Utility Tote. That way, they won’t stop at just one or two items!

Pack care baskets for a local hospital or shelter

Get a group of families together to pack care baskets for patients at a hospital or people staying at a homeless or women’s shelter. Make sure you coordinate with the organization you’re donating to first – you want to be sure to fill your baskets with things the recipients really need.

Thirty-One Gives sponsors the making of Hope Kits for women fleeing violence, abuse, poverty or disaster around the world. So far, our Consultants have assembled 32,000 Hope Kits containing toiletries and other essentials which are distributed through the World Vision charity.

 

Here are some more random acts of kindness…

  • Leave pennies head face up: Most people feel lucky finding a penny with the head face up. For one dollar you can make 100 people feel awesome.
  • Compliment someone:  It seems so basic yet for some reason we seldom do it. Make someone’s day by giving them a compliment.
  • Give up a preferred seat to someone in need: Whether it is on a bus, or just waiting for your take out food, this simple gesture could make their day.
  • Write a positive review for a restaurant you like: Share with the world your favorite places instead of complaining about the ones you hate.
  • Leave someone a huge tip: Give a tip to the guy who pumps your gas when you pay cash or leave a 31% tip for meal instead of the standard 15 – 20%.
  • Offer to take a photo for tourists: Tourist season is ramping up at the Jersey Shore, why not offer to take a picture for a group of tourists so everyone can be in the picture.  

What random acts of kindness will you do this month to “pay it forward”? Share it with us so you can be part of the Give on social media, and be sure to us #givebackwithme!

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Share the Love

What does Valentine’s Day mean to you? Flowers? Chocolate? A special dinner out? OR are you one of thousands who are single, thinking this is just a stupid celebration?UR Loved card

Whether you are in a relationship or not, today is all about LOVE…. in a relationship – GREAT!  Not in one, how about loving on yourself today.  

I am happily married BUT for many years, this day invited Negative Nelly to visit and often camp out for days.  I didn’t love myself, in fact on most days I didn’t even like me.  Years have passed, and I have learned to accept me for me.  Sure, there are days when I beat myself up but then I bless and release.

I celebrate the gift of love in my life…

The people who are there for me when the going gets tough.  The people who help me celebrate the milestones in my life – large and small.  The people who accept me for me. The ones who inspire and encourage me.  Some I see or talk to every day while others are part of my journey this season.  And even some are now gone, their season has passed.  Through it all, they loved me and I loved them for who we are and the difference we made in each other’s lives.

To day is the day I honor LOVE. Remember 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.

In a random act of kindness, I am looking to share the love with some children who have been the silent victims of domestic violence…

Will you be a sponsor and help us to make a difference in the lives of a few children?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

How to Build Belief on an Unshakable Foundation

Thank you Encouragement for Today for today’s message….

What we believe shows in the way we act, the decisions we make, and the choices we pursue. Over a decade ago, I learned this important lesson from a winsome woman I met at a women’s retreat. Her name was Ruth.

Ruth stood out in the retreat crowd not only because of her lustrous gray hair but also because of the cluster of younger women around her. They were talking with her, doting on her, and soaking in every word she said, so I headed over to meet this woman who drew in like a magnet.After listening to this delightful woman talk for a while, I asked her, “What’s your secret? Over the years, how have you continued to grow in the Lord, stay positive and exude joy?” Her answer was simple yet profound,

“Be today who you want to be tomorrow.”

As she spoke, I remembered a conversation from a girls-night-out with some women from my church. Conversation flowed freely from one topic to the next as I got to know the women across from me. We talked about our kids, our homes and our work. Ironically, both women had done specialized nursing with geriatric patients.

I started to question them about their work and their patients. Finally I asked, “Why do you think that so many older people, particularly women, seem to struggle with negativity as they age?” Both looked at me in surprise and said that I was incorrect. They were unanimous in their theory of how aging affects personality.

“Aging only magnifies who you already are,” my friend said.

“Yes,” chimed in the other, “If you are kind when you are young, then you’ll be even kinder as you age. If you think positively when you’re young, then you will also have that habit as you age. But if you are a complainer when you are young, then you’ll get worse as you age. If you are unforgiving when you are young, then you’ll become very bitter as you age.”

They explained that occasionally diseases that affect the brain will change a person’s personality, thinking and actions. Generally, however, through stories and comments of family members about the early days of their elderly patients, they had found that their original hypothesis held true. Ruth’s answer to my question about the secret to aging well was completely consistent with my friends’ observations. “Be today who you want to be tomorrow.”

I’d like to propose a corrolary truth to Ruth’s today:

What you believe determines who you’ll be.

Aging magnifies what we believe. If we believe that Jesus commands us to use words to build up, then we’ll develop the habit of encouraging words.

If we believe that God is good despite our circumstances, then we’ll develop the pattern of praise in the midst of hardship.

If we believe that He is the provider and healer, then we’ll cultivate patient, expectant waiting (without complaint…ouch!) as we wait for His provision and healing.

If we believe that the fruits of the Spirit given to us are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, then we’ll pursue portraying those traits.

Ruth’s beliefs shone brightly because of the kind of woman she had become. Who she had become reflected what she believed.

Do you desire to be a godly, older woman like Ruth? I do! Then, we’re called to pursue knowing Truth (belief is part of truly knowing!) and living the Truth. It really does change everything– including our aging.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Throwback: An Act of Kindness

No-Act-of-Kindness-Is-Wasted  This post first appeared in 2015..

Today’s blog was inspired by Lori Deschene….

As we approach the last few shopping days till Christmas, I have noticed a few things: tempers are shorter, people are in a hurry, while store employees are tired and feeling unappreciated.  The happiest time of the year has become the “let’s just get through this season”.  No, I am not being Negative Nelly just stating some observations while I was out shopping the other night.

The holiday season has taken on a new meaning for me.  I can’t explain it – hubby would say it is old age.  LOL.  I have found myself NOT just getting a gift because I need to get something.  I am NOT spending tons of money to show how I feel about someone.  I have found myself showing compassion and understanding more than ever before. I am surprised at their response.

Over the years, I have been shown kindness in many ways from friends and family but the kindness of strangers has taught me lasting lessons.  Think about it as you check out at the register.  Smile and greet the cashier.  Ask them how they are doing.  Maybe give someone a tip that they weren’t expecting.

They all have struggles, and dreams, and goals, and responsibilities, and they too could benefit from someone showing them patience, kindness, and understanding if they’re a little slow or less than friendly.

The other day I was with hubby as he stopped for gas.  He ALWAYS pays cash.  The total was $16 and he told the attendant to keep the change.  Okay, so $4 isn’t a big deal but the smile that spread across the attendant’s face was priceless.  He couldn’t thank us enough.  A random act of kindness made a difference in someone’s day.

The world is a better place when we see people beyond their nametags, and visualize everyone as someone who truly is doing their best.

We’re all a little scared and a little rough around the edges.

We’re all looking for love, support, acceptance, and appreciation.

And we can all get and give these things every day, one tiny act at a time.

Has the power of tiny acts of kindness, forgiveness, and acceptance made a difference in your own life?  Here are some suggestions from Tiny Buddha’s 365 Love Challenges of small acts that we can all do:

Be patient and understanding with people who serve you, especially if they have a lot of customers to tend to.

Compliment someone who serves you in some way (for example, a waiter, barista, or bus driver) on how well they do their job.

Empathizing instead of criticizing is a big thing. Getting up to help instead of sitting back and judging is a big thing.

Keep an eye out for someone who looks sad—a friend, coworker, or even stranger—and say something that might make them laugh or smile.

It may seem like a tiny thing, but sometimes the tiny things are the big things.  And it’s big things like these that help us all feel seen, appreciated, and loved—and far happier for it.

What Random Act of Kindness will you do today?  Share it with us and let us all celebrate the spirit of Christmas this holiday season.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Never Forget

  It is Monday morning and we should be heading to Royal Carribean’s Majesty of the Sea for 5 glorious days of my pink bubble. Irma has had other plans and I am home reflecting on so many things…

It is a morning filled with lots of emotion…as a nation, we honor those who were lost on 9-11.  We continue to struggle with the evil which plaques our nation.  We mourn for those lost and honor those whose lives have forever been changed.   This day is one of few memories which I can clearly remember…  I remember as if it were 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 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.  Those days were filled with words like: Hero, Compassion, Love, Kindness, and Bravery.

Edythe

September 11th took on a new meaning in 2011 when Heaven gained another Weston angel – Edythe, my aunt, my friend  and my mom’s middle sister.  Growing up, I spent ALOT of time with Edythe (and Elsie). When I was younger, they 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. As Belinda grew up, lives changed – the world moved a little faster and we lost touch with the exception of holidays.

The words describing those involved in the September 11th attacks and recovery efforts could now relate to Edythe: Hero, Compassion, Love, Kindness, and Bravery.

Life seems to be full of moments which ask us to let go when we long to hold on.  I don’t know what you face right now, what season of life you’re in, but my prayer for you is simple and from the heart. May you know the comfort and strength of the One whose love will never fail you, and whose mercies are new every single morning!

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!