Moving on With MS

Today we are headed to the MS Center in Teaneck for my annual visit.  Truth is, I am really nervous.  The last year has brought some definite changes in my health.  I don’t always notice them but on a recent visit with my daughter in NC, she told me she is seeing the change and not for the good.

So for those who may be new to my blog, I will give you a brief history lesson.  I was diagnosed with MS (multiple sclerosis) in February 2016.  I should say, I was told I had it BUT the doctors didn’t want to write it anywhere except on my chart.  See my symptoms didn’t fit the checklist they had for an MS patient.

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a potentially disabling disease of the brain and spinal cord (central nervous system). In MS, the immune system attacks the protective sheath (myelin) covering nerve fibers and causes communication problems between your brain and the rest of your body.

Let me back up just a little bit. For years, I have been complaining about not being able to remember things. As a recovering addict of 26 years, I always said “the drugs killed my brain cells” and life went on.

Fast forward to about 4 years ago when after my husband suffered a health crisis, he started saying ” you are different”. I talked about “not remembering things” to the doctor but no one seemed concerned. Then there were other health issues: IBS, glaucoma, chest wall syndrome (yes, it is real), unexplained weight gain, loss of sex drive (yes, I am telling all), adjustment disorder with depression and periodontal disease. Believe it or not, I was okay with it ALL until the night I fell apart telling hubby how bad the memory issue had become. I truly thought I was on the same road as my grandmother – Alzheimer’s. At my  next primary appointment, we finally got him to listen to how bad things were with my memory.

After countless visits to the Neurologist, MRIs, a spinal tap, endless blood tests, and an EEG – there was no treatment options available.  Just wait.  So wait we did, and in 6 months, I was blessed with no changes in my lesions.  Then in June 2017, we noticed some more changes.  Difficulty with my joints, not sleeping, and mood swings.  The new MRIs showed more and enlarged lesions so it was time to take action.

For some it may sound crazy but I opted to wait until now to go to the MS Center for treatment options. Why?  I didn’t want to be sick for the Leadership Incentive Trip.  I wasn’t sure what the future held and I wanted to enjoy the trip with my daughter. In the meantime, I have been working with a chiropractor using holistic options to help with some symptoms.  An adjustment monthly helps with the tingling.  A gluten free and dairy free diet has helped me to feel better.  The CBD oil and the iodine drops help with brain fog. It is a journey and I definitely struggle with all of the things I can’t eat.

This is not about a “pity” party or being Negative Nellie. Just for today, it is about squashing the inner gremlins who want this life challenge to defeat me.  I am not ready to give up fighting but some days it is hard to keep up the fight.

So, today we head to the MS Center to see the MS doctor.  I’m fearful but I trust God has a plan for me.

I am blessed to be able to work from home.  My WHY is about giving back to others and not letting MS take over my life. I will continue to use my business and my blog to encourage others who are struggling with this disease or any chronic disease. I want to bring a smile to those who are struggling on the inside but on the outside look “normal”.

Life has definitely become a challenge for my friends and my family. They have learned to be more patient, not only with me but with each other.  They are learning even if “I can’t remember”, I still care.  We are learning to embrace each moment – pictures become more important than ever – they do help me to remember a little.

“My planner” is the key to keeping my life in order.  I am learning I can still have a successful business despite the memory issues – lots of notes, systems and a sense of humor.  My customers are amazing despite my inability to remember the names of products or prints.  I am amazed with 98% of my business being online, I am able to grow and pay my bills.  Customers even joke when I call them by the wrong name or confuse them with someone else.

Thank you for taking the time to read today’s blog which is definitely more personal than I have written in a long time. All I ask is you continue to keep me (and my family) in prayer, and be understanding when I give you a blank look as if to say “I should know you but I don’t”.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

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On My Way…..NOT!

Today’s blog post has been re-written many times.  First filled with the excitement of earning the Leadership Incentive trip and heading on a FREE cruise with my daughter.  Then it was about the delayed cruise and spending some time in NC with Belinda.  This morning, I am re-writing again…
The Leadership Incentive Trip has officially been cancelled. Irma entered our lives and changed everything!  No, I don’t mean the cute clothes from LuLa Roe.  I mean the devastating hurricane which is leaving its mark every where it lands.  Devastating the Carribean as it makes it way to Florida and the US.  
I will admit, I had a pity party last night.  I long for some quality time with my daughter but sadly if Irma continues on the projected track, they will be in its path.  I have weathered many a hurricane but at the ripe old age of 60, I decided staying home was probably a better idea.  
Since the blog posts are already written for the next week while I was supposed to be traveling, I will still be sharing some of my top bog posts from the past.  Some may be tweaked but others will just be “throwbacks” of my most popular ones.  I have been reflecting on the earning period for the Leadership Incentive trip and why I was successful this time when I hadn’t been in the past.
If you are trying to change an aspect of your life, here are some tips which helped me – thank you Patty Lennon

1. Decide to succeed.

There is a goal you are striving for right now which is deeply personal and vital to you. Remove the possibility of NOT succeeding from your mind right now. This means each time you fall down, you get back up because any failure is temporary.  I will say, utilizing this mindset every month has helped me reach my monthly goals even during the dreaded “J” months.

I wanted to earn this trip as a gift for hubby for our 5th wedding anniversary.  I wanted him to experience my “pink bubble” so he would understand why it is so important to me.  So, in my mind success became inevitable. I was no longer willing to NOT succeed. Which leads to …

2. Get Support.

When you are reaching for a goal you have not achieved before whether it’s growing your business to a new level, changing your health or improving your relationships you will do far better if you have help.  Who can support you in achieving your goal?

I have been sharing my monthly goals with everyone – my team, my customers and basically anyone who would listen. They celebrated and encouraged me every step of the way.  When Negative Nellie stopped for a visit, I looked for someone to help me kick her to the curb.

3. Don’t Give Up.

Whatever goal is most important to you right now it is critical you not give up, especially if the goal is related to your business. The truth is most things fail the first time  around especially in business – whether it’s a new message, promotion or marketing campaign. It is NORMAL.  Everyone falls down. Your choice (and the choice which defines those who succeed) is whether you get back up.  Everything is possible when you make the decision to succeed. No matter what happens do not give up!

With my first LIT earned, what is next for me and my business?  I will admit planning for September has been a struggle.  A holiday weekend led into getting ready for a week away.  I was hoping earning the trip would keep me motivated but the truth is, Vacation Veronica is knocked on my door. As I ponder what to do this week, I am setting my goal for September and am working on a plan to earn the Leadership Incentive Trip again next year.

Using these tips has helped me in my business so I am I am going to apply them to my weight loss journey to see what happens.  I am just 7 pounds away from being back at goal weight so it is non-negotiable.  I want to celebrate reaching my goal and not look back.

The truth is “the Divine will light your path with miracles to make it easier as you go.”  Send your positive energy into the Universe.  What is your goal?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

An Unhealthy Sense of Responsibility

 Raise your hand if this is you…………. Do you feel like you have to deal with things, even things you have no control over?  Do you take blame for things even if you were not responsible?  Do you act independently when making decisions, even if you don’t have the “authority”?
Many would say those who “take responsibility” make successful leader but what happens why you take ownership of not just your tasks but everyone else’s?  There is actually such a thing as over-responsibility.  We know if you are managing people, a workload, or a household, not much gets done if you don’t take responsibility on a daily basis.   BUT when you become “overly responsible”, you could be sabotaging your schedule, your effectiveness, and the people around you.
As I wrap up things before heading out “super early” tomorrow morning for a week of my “pink bubble” with my daughter…. I am feeling overly responsible.  I am stressing and all of this stress is for things I have no control over!  I can set things up but the rest is in God’s hands and the hands of others.

If you stress whether people in your life will hold up their end of a task, so you step in to take on tasks, you are being over-responsible. Yup, I have been known to do this…

Do you suffer from any of these signs of over-responsibility?

1. You behave as though everything and everyone depends on you.

I’m not sure if I developed this trait as a child during a time of family struggles or if it came years later during my days of addiction BUT this is me.  Pride gets the best of me sometimes.  We are we are the one with all the answers, fixing every problem. Do you define yourself by this ability?

2. You answer questions for other people, instead of letting them answer for themselves.

If this is you, be honest with yourself. Why do you do it? If you stopped, what would happen? Whatever your answer, it’s the issue it’s time to address.  Thankfully, this is something I have already addressed in myself.  I love hearing from others.

3. You consistently remind the people in your life of their own responsibilities because they aren’t responsible enough to remember on their own.

OUCH!  There is a difference between harassment and gentle reminders of daily responsibilities.  Do you keep up with your schedule – and everyone else’s. I have a hard enough time lately keeping up with my own due to health struggles so others have stopped relying on me so much.  Have others in your life stopped taking responsibility for their schedule because they rely on you?  Do you hear more often than not “You never told me,” “I didn’t know,” or “Just tell me what you need me to do”?  Time for them to take responsibility for their own life!

4. You consistently do for others what they can do for themselves.

Yup, this is me.  The proverbial people pleaser!  Instead of reminders, do you just do it?  Are you stressed because of it? Have people stopped asking for your help because they just want help? Lending a helping hand is wonderful but when you take on responsibilities which aren’t yours; you stunt the growth of others not allowing them to live up to their potential. So instead of helping, you’re doing just the opposite.

5. You avoid confronting people as much as possible.

I am not good with confrontation (remember I am a people pleaser!)  So when you have to get others to change their behavior, it can mean strained conversations. Do you refuse to confront issues? If so, you might be allowing others to be irresponsible just to avoid having a conversation about boundaries.

6. You are resentful people feel entitled to your generosity.

You’ve been over-responsible for so long people in your life have come to expect it. You’ve trained them to rely on you for things which should not be your responsibility. And deep down, you now resent it. This is the sign which indicates the problem has been going on far too long.

So, here is my challenge:  Use the signs to identify when and who you are “overly-responsible”.  Consider both your personal, community and professional life.  Be honest with yourself.  What steps are you going to take to share the responsibility?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Let’s Get Ready to Travel

In my other life, I worked for a Hotel Reservation Center where I spent ALOT of time traveling.  Sometimes it was a long trip for a conference to share about our services and other times it was quick jaunts to different cities for a travel agent tour.  I miss the days of hopping on a plane and just going.  Belinda got to do a lot of traveling before the age of 2 for this reason.  Whether you travel for work or are planning a vacation, here are a few tips to make your trips a lot less stressful. 

Pack less

I know this sounds like a no-brainer but the truth is, most of us pack more than we will ever need.  We always used to take “just in case” clothes.  Just in case could mean anything so you know there was way too many clothes.

Getting ready to pack?  Take everything you think you’re going to need for your trip out of your closet, NOW halve it. I know it is scary!  But it’s what you should pack. Yes, it’s good to be prepared for different weather and all, but think about it, do you really need six jerseys and five pairs of shoes?  The lighter you pack, the easier your trip will be.  Also, invest in either a distinctive suitcase so you can easily identify it at baggage claim or have something to distinguish yours from others.

Keep it compact

I am one of those who likes to travel with my laptop.  Why?  Security, I guess.  What if I need something from my computer?  Crazy, right?  Well, I have uncomplicated my life by using an envelope bag (a VERY old Thirty One product which might make a comeback) or to carry my laptop, and laptop charger.  Sometimes I use my Thirty One Cindy Tote because it will hold my laptop along with my book and my Organizing Shoulder Bag.  

Valet services

I have never done this since friends and family have always helped with dropping off and picking up at the airport.  Find out about the valet parking service available at the airport so you don’t struggle with parking, especially if you’re running late. With a valet service, you just drop your car off at the drop-off zone and someone from the service drives your car to the secure parking lot. When you return they’ll be waiting for you with your car right where you left it.

Travel with a hoodie

The benefits of travelling with a hoodie are countless, especially on a long flight. First of all hoodies are super comfortable and they make great ‘cushions’ when you want to sleep. Thanks to the hood, you’re also able to shut out the chatterbox stranger you always seem to find yourself sitting next to by simply putting it on and facing the window.  I never thought of this benefit – I travel with it because I am always cold.  LOL.

Jiggle-a-bit

Just because you’re a regular flyer doesn’t mean you like flying, right? And it’s easy to assume the worst part of any flight is turbulence for any person with the slightest aviophobia (the fear of flying). Believe it or not, jiggling around slightly during turbulence counteracts (to some degree) the bumpiness, making it a bit more manageable.  

My next flight isn’t until September for the Leadership Incentive trip BUT I will definitely need to think about some of these.  What are your best tips for air travel?  Share them with us.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

The Great LuLa Road Trip

I want to introduce you to an amazing LuLaRoe consultant.  I met her through my Traveling Angels and she helped me coin the title “the Angel Thirty One” lady.  When I met Dawn at a recent vendor event, she shared with me her summer goal of “The Great LuLa Road Trip” and she helped me to brainstorm some ideas I am going to try as well.

Hi lula loving ladies! My name is Dawn Valentine and I’ve been a consultant since October alongside my boyfriend Greg. I first heard about LuLaRoe when my sister in law invited me to an online party. I bought some clothes out of obligation, which ended up not even fitting, and after putting on my leggings which were falling off of me I was smitten! Yes! With leggings that were too big, I was in love. I had to figure out what all this LuLa craze was! I had seen an advertisement for this beautiful Perfect T- black background with dandelion flowers. This quickly became my obsession and my ultimate unicorn. 🦄 It boggled my mind that the consultant didn’t have THAT actual shirt. What do you mean I can’t order it? Do you only have this shirt in this size? I was learning the allure of LuLaRoe. The limited prints and patterns and the HUNT was real. So I joined a bazillion groups and found so much more than clothes. I found a culture. Fun loving girls working hard to support their family. I thought to myself, “I can do this.” I loved it all- the games, the giveaways, mystery hostess. Every page always had something unique. Something exciting I wanted to be a part of. And that’s when I said to Greg, I want to do this! I can do this! And so we did it! And now here we are a part of the fun and the culture of LuLaRoe about to embark on a series of Pop Up parties from NJ to Florida, we are taking our love for LuLa on the road! You can follow our trip by subscribing to our YouTube channel LuLaRoe DMV. We will be vlogging our whole experience! Everything! From the moment we wake up, to each and every party to driving down the entire cost and back! It’s going to be amazing and we’d love to have you with us. And just for subscribing to our YouTube Channel, you will be entered to win a LuLaRoe wardrobe giveaway! Want to increase your chances?! Anyone who books a party with us this summer will get 5 entries! If you can’t have an in home, we also do online parties! Or maybe you know a friend who wants to have a party? We’ll give you two entries for that too! Help us share our love for LuLa! We have some huge dreams of being able to provide for ourselves with LuLaRoe and you all help us reach those dreams so thank you! Looking forward to seeing you on the LuLa Roe’d!!!!

Dawn’s goal was 10 parties on this road trip and she has booked 8.  She set a goal and went for it. Join her on Facebook and YouTube to be part of the fun.

Think about how you can take your business on the road.  Going on vacation? I know we all need them BUT why not have some fun meeting some new people along the way.  Staying at a hotel, have a trunk party or ask the hotel if you can use some space to share your products with guests.  Nothing salesy or pushy, just some fun.

Have friends or family along the route?  I mean we all have Facebook friends far and wide, right?  Why not offer them a home party or a theme party or a trunk party?  When was the last time a Facebook friend said they wished they lived closer to have a party?  I hear it ALOT!  Now is the time to take advantage of the situation.  How about a party on the go at a local restaurant in their area?  Think about the friends you will make the potential new customers.

Dawn and Greg are driving to Florida for vacation.  They are partying all the way down and back.  Not only with Dawn grow her customer base BUT she can also write off her trip as a business expense.  Yes, almost all of her vacation will be tax deductible.

I’m so excited to see how this turns out for them.  I’m thinking about my next road trip and how I can party along the way.  Headed to Atlanta in route to Florida for the Leadership Incentive Trip, maybe I can schedule a party or two along the way.

Got a unique idea on how to market your business?  Share it with us… Together We Achieve More so let’s help each other out.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!