Honoring Family

Today will be an emotional day, one of remembering two people who impacted my life – or at least trying to remember through the fog of MS.  The memories come and go but the impact they had on my life will live on.

I will be celebrating Edythe’s life at a vendor event today.  Strange right?  The vendor event is a fundraiser by Holly Assembly, Order of the Rainbow for Girls for the scholarship fund names in honor of her.  Growing up, Rainbow had a place in all of our lives and even through the MS fog, I still remember many of my Rainbow teachings.  Edythe was on the Advisory Board for Holly Assembly.  She helped to mold and shape the lives of girls for many years.  The scholarship is part of her legacy.   Her kindness, compassion and caring lives on in the lives of others.  Edythe was a strong independent woman who inspired me through some of the darkest days of my addiction.  Her smile and laugh could light up a room.  If you are in the area, stop by and say hello. Or if you would like to support this cause, click HERE to place an order on my Thirty One website.  I will be donating 100% of my Thirty One commission to the scholarship fund as well as 50% of the sale of awareness angel ribbons.  Complete the form at the end of the blog post if you are interested in awareness angel ribbons (additional colors are available).

  

Today also marks the one year anniversary of my dad’s death.  Some will not understand why I decided to do this event but I know my dad would totally get it.  Dad wouldn’t want me to sit around crying and being sad, he would want me to enjoy life. My dad and my mom were on the Advisory Board of Iris Assembly when I was in Rainbow.  He would definitely get why I am doing the fundraiser today.  Dad was loving and kind, nonjudgmental and accepting. Yes, there were tough times with  years of anger and hurt.  Dad was not perfect but are any of us.  He admitted his faults, and even with memories of bad times, I forgave him.  No matter how bad a situation was, he always found the silver lining and worked through it.  He leaves a legacy filled with memories for his family and friends. Dad liked to cook especially on the grill.  Didn’t matter if there was snow or rain, he found a way to grill.

Today is about honoring two people who impacted my life.  I celebrate the legacy they leave behind – the memories, the stories, and the traditions.

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…

The BEST Deal on Black Friday?

Holiday Shoppers Seek Out Deals On Black Friday

GOOD MORNING!  Many of you may be seeing this post late in the day because you are part of the CRAZINESS called Black Friday.  As I sit here snuggled at home, I can’t help but think of past Black Friday mornings…

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Black Friday has an array of memories….

The years Belinda and I camped out at Walmart to do holiday shopping for my best friend’s kids.  She couldn’t get there so we did the shopping and put it on layaway for her.  It was a game for us while others were getting crazy knocking each other over for what they thought was a GREAT deal.

Then there was the year the call came my Mom was in an accident on her way to work and was in the trauma unit at ACMC.  She was hit head on by someone headed to a Black Friday sale at Best Buy.  The focus on the deals and talking on her cell phone were more important to her then watching the road.  Our lives were changed for several months as mom healed. We thanked God he kept her safe.

The years Belinda came home from college and we headed out for “kid and me” time.  Not crazy early but just a day to see what deals we could find after the crazies headed home.

Then there was the year of late night shopping with the girls. It was fun scouring the shelves for great deals.  Trimming the Christmas tree like we did when Belinda was little on Thanksgiving weekend topped the events while we shared stories related to each of the holiday ornaments.

Today, I am thankful for the memories despite the fogginess as a result of the MS.  Memories of happy time and sad times but cherished none the less.  I will head to PT and get ready for tomorrow’s event in Avon. Who knows maybe I will pop some specials on my  Facebook VIP group to join in the frenzy?

How are you spending YOUR Black Friday?  Shopping?  Resting? Working?  Visiting with family?  Share your favorite memories with us.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Let’s Give Thanks

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Today is filled with mixed emotions…as usual, I am crying tears of joy and gratitude mixed with tears of sadness.

I am blessed today, Belinda and Ashley are back in Jersey to celebrate Thanksgiving with us.  It is a short trip but a chance to spend a holiday with the girls just the same.  We will watch the Macy’s parade then head to dad’s for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner.  I struggle with memories of years gone filled with high school football games, homecoming floats, dinner at Grams with the entire family.  As the years past, lives changed and so did family dynamics.

I am blessed in so many ways.  I am blessed to have a supportive hubby who is constantly searching for solutions to my health issues.  I am grateful Rob’s health is better and we will enjoy Thanksgiving together.  I am grateful that my family is healthy.  The year has been filled with many trials which have all been blessings in disquise

Thirty One has blessed my life too.  Who would have thought 5 plus years ago, a $99 kit would make such a difference in my life.  A growing business with an amazing team of women who continue to amaze me with their strength and friendship. An income which allows me not to work full-time and a multitude of awesome women who have gone from customers and hostesses to friends.  The greatest blessing is to be able to share with those who are struggling giving back to our community.

Words can’t express how grateful I am today and every day.  My wish is each of you have a blessed Thanksgiving – enjoying the time with your friends and family. Cherish the moments for all the years to come.

A Thanksgiving Prayer by Gwen Smith…

Dear Lord:

We come with hearts of gratitude today to bless Your name and to ask that Your hand of blessing would be upon us. THANK YOU, Father, for loving us with an eternal love that stands firm, even when we are unlovable. THANK YOU for being faithful, righteous, holy and just, yet willing to see us, Your children, through divine eyes of compassion, mercy, forgiveness and grace. THANK YOU for being a God of restoration and renewal in the midst of a broken, pain-filled world. THANK YOU for providing for our needs, directing our paths, and establishing our steps.

We acknowledge Your sovereignty, Lord, and freshly submit to Your will today. We ask Your BLESSING and GUIDANCE over our children, grandchildren, marriages, families, and loved ones. We ask Your BLESSING and GUIDANCE over our country, president, governors, senators, representatives, and local officials. We ask Your BLESSING and GUIDANCE over our communities, churches, schools, work places, decisions, and opportunities. Please FILL US with the presence of Your joy, peace, patience, goodness, gentleness, and self control today. HELP US to see as You see and to love as You love. HELP US to serve others humbly for the sake of Your name. HELP US to be light that shines in the darkness. HELP US to follow Your ways and continually seek Your leading.

You are our hope and our strength, Lord. We give you THANKS in all of this and ask for the fullness of Your BLESSING in all these things, according to the power of Jesus Christ who is at work within us through Your Holy Spirit.

Amen

Have a ThirtyOne-derful Thanksgiving!

Happy Mother’s Day

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Mother’s Day will be tough this year since I am working and miles will keep me from the ones that I love.  I am blessed, though to be a daughter, a step-daughter and a MOM!

To my mom, the road has been rocky with more than our share of twist and turns.  Despite the struggles, you have stuck by me through thick and thin, good times and bad with LOTS of great memories along the way. As a child, you were there to guide and support me.

Our house was always the place where all of your friends wanted to go while you were secretly hoping to go somewhere else. Just because it was YOUR house and YOUR parents. I wasn’t a bad kid, I just wanted to be somewhere other than in my parent’s range of vision. Breakfast for 300 plus after the Junior Prom served by my parents with mom leading the charge. House open to friends after basketball games with a stocked  frig. Then there was my graduation party where anyone who drank got to crash on the floor of the rec room – no questions asked.

During my years of my addiction, I was not the ideal daughter but despite my craziness, mom stuck by me. She supported me emotionally and financially (when needed) for many years. She believed “that is what parent’s are for” so she very seldom said no.

When she found out she was going to be a grandmother, it was hard for her because I was a single mom BUT once she saw her granddaughter’s smiling face – her heart melted.    She has weathered the storms and the challenges that have come our way.  She has taught me about strength. She has taught me about kindness. She has taught me how to be a good mom. She has taught me about cherishing 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 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!

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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 that I am proud to say is “my daughter”.

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.