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!

 

I Don’t Remember

As I sat at the computer thinking about what I wanted to write about today, I had a brain fog moment.  A moment when I couldn’t remember what I had been writing about the past few days let alone the past few weeks or months.  As I scrolled through the published posts and the scheduled ones, I couldn’t remember writing some of them.
So, why am I telling you all of this?  It has been awhile since I shared about my MS journey.  For some, you may tune out.  For others, they are curious.  While still others have been on this journey with me so they totally get it.
How often have you said “I don’t remember”?  Maybe you walk into another room and forget what you went in the room for?  Go to the store and forget to get things unless they are on a list.  Imagine if every day was like that – every hour even.  Welcome to my life with MS.  I don’t say it for sympathy, it is more about me starting to accept the impact it has on my life and others.
Most days, I just let things slide.  Family and close friends try to adjust to the fact I don’t remember things or even times spent together.  The hardest are the missing memories of childhood – mine, my daughter growing up, my wedding, high school and so much more.  Not to mention the frustration as I try to work my business remembering customers and hostesses or even the names of products or prints.
Those who meet me just think it is a “senior moment” when the reality is I honestly don’t remember.  I remember faces (most of the time) but names I’m not very good at.  I may know I “should know you” but don’t know how or why.
Today is Thursday and I can barely remember what I did on Saturday or Sunday even though I lived through them.  I think hard about the weekend but the only thing I remember is I can’t remember.  Thankful for my planner where I write down scheduled plans and even note things I have done in case I forget and try to do them again – like pay bills, make calls to customers, etc.
There are so many things which could have filled my time. It’s possible I might have buried a dead body in the back yard (nope, hubby is still here with me – LOL), I could have won a years supply of chocolate (now I’m stalking the UPS driver), or I maybe I robbed a bank and am now a multi-millionaire so I should have moved to a tropical island escaping the cold weather.  Who knows? I sure don’t.
The one thing I am blessed with I’m still breathing, I’m alive alive, and ready for a new day, It’s weird how my brain works. You have heard about selective hearing where people can tune out things which annoy them? Well I think I have selective thinking.  No, really at a talk last week, the doctor said “the most common symptom of MS is cognitive issues and memory loss”.  HELLOOOO!!! I have been saying it for years.  It honestly was nice to hear a medical doctor confirm it and say it out loud – or did I dream it?
What truly amazes me (and everyone around me) is I have no problem remembering the words to songs but easily forget Sunday is trash day or Wednesday is recycling.  If I didn’t have reminders on my phone or it written in my planner I’d probably not get anything done.
I forget to call people back, answer text messages and respond to emails. It’s not intentional. It just is what it is. If I haven’t responded to you…I’m sorry. If I forgot your birthday or anniversary…again, sorry.  If I can’t remember your favorite color, miss an appointment because I didn’t have it written down or forgot your name, trust me, it’s not on purpose.
Multiple sclerosis just has this way of scrambling my thoughts and at times turning them into mush. Sometimes I wonder how I get anything done at all.
Time to get some things done – now where did I put the list?
Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

What Is Your Vision?

I am taking this week as a week of reflection, a time to clear my head and get ready for the New Year.  I feel more focused in my business then I have in about 2 years – is it the new medicine, the physical therapy or is the remitting MS finally remitting?  Whatever the reason, I am excited to think about and plan for the upcoming year.

When I started my journey in direct sales, I had a dream…  What about you, what is your vision or dream when it comes to your business?

I wanted to quit my job and work from home.  Don’t get me wrong, I loved my job but the commute and the desire to make my own hours again was calling me.  Maybe you want to pay off debt. Maybe you want some ME time. Maybe you want to travel. Maybe you want to be able to give back to the community. Think for just a moment, what was the FIRST reason you joined your direct sales company or you maybe are now considering joining one.

Yes, I wanted to have my own business but I never really thought it would be in direct sales; I actually thought it would be a storefront.  When I starting with Thirty One, it was for the discounts.  With the discounts, I could provide gifts to women and children in need.  I wanted to fundraise to help others. Although sometimes I squirrel off my true course, I do always come back to it.

My “why” is and always has been to make a difference in the lives of others.

Our “why” is what motivates us towards our vision. It is the emotional connection you have every day with why you are doing what you are doing. For some this takes time to find – I am a true testament to it taking a long time.  For others, it is easy.

Sometimes our vision will hit us at the strangest moment and it is like a SMACK on the head from God. As I reflect on the last year, a smile comes to my face when I think about the opportunities I have had with the help of my customers to make a difference.

  • Dialysis Bags
  • Chemo Comfort Bags
  • HERO bags for our troops
  • Pamper Kits for new moms
  • Random Acts of Kindness with my Give Back With Me Program
  • Fundraisers

My BIG dream is to create a non-profit focusing on bringing smiles to the faces of women and children in need.

The truth is “kids are my heart” and anyone who knows me, knows I have been saying it since I first started with the South Jersey AIDS Alliance all those years ago.

I want to be able to use my Thirty One business to CELEBRATE – ENCOURAGE – REWARD kids and their moms who are struggling. Why kids? They didn’t ask to be brought into this world and in most cases have no control over the cards they are dealt. God has a plan for each of them; even those who are struggling. I want to be the light which shines in their life. I want to show them there are people who care. I want to make a difference.

The vision is cast, the goal has been set, now to put a plan together to reach the dream. If it is God’s will, it will happen – in his time, not mine.  I have been casting the vision for two years now, baby steps.

What is your bigger than seems possible (scare the crap out of you) DREAM or VISION? Share it with us.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Managing Distractions

I can’t believe Christmas is just two days away – well, Christmas Eve is tomorrow.  I have been sort of a Grinch at home this year – no decorations until last Sunday but I did get some shopping done.  Yes, I squirreled but what else is new, right?

Last Sunday at church,  the first hymn was “Hark the Harold Angels Sing”.  I know it is “herald” but my grandfather always said it was his song and yes, his name was Harold.  I knew then, it was going to be a service I needed to pay attention to.  As we moved through the holiday songs, I found my thoughts drifting to the things I wanted to get done, the people I was missing (Belinda not being home for Christmas) and then BAM!  The sermon was on “managing distractions”.  I knew this was just for me.

The brain fog from MS causes me to get distracted easily, memory is short or sometimes nonexistent and sometimes I find it hard to concentrate.  But the reality is, even without MS, many of us have difficulty managing distractions.  Think about how you or your kids do/did their homework.  Do they need the music or TV on leaving you wondering how they can possibly concentrate?  Or do they need silence?  These days, I need silence.  I get easily distracted but there was a time when I could have the TV on or music and actually remember what I was supposed to be doing.  Do deadlines cause you to focus more?  Is one of your tag lines, I work better under pressure?

#1 Identify Inevitable Distractions

Distractions are going to happen – they always do.  So why not expect them – if they come, you are ready but if they don’t you are ahead of the game.  I can remember when I was a work at home mom, distractions happened and I was never really ready for them.  The TV was too loud or a million questions came just as I was working on a grant.  Then there was the “I’m hungry” cry.  Yes, I miss those days but the distractions are different now.  I start a project or work in the office and thoughts of 10 other things which need to be done in the house enters my head.  Before long, I have squirreled into the “this will only take a minute” project being completed distracted from the work I was doing.  I’m sure I am not alone especially during this busy holiday season.

#2 Learn to Discern the Main Thing

SMACK!  Distractions sometimes pull us away from our main focus – family!  We get bogged down in worrying about having lots of time with family while we miss out on enjoying the quality time we do have with them.  What is your main focus this holiday?  Is it buying the perfect gifts, planning the perfect meal or enjoying the moments with family and friends?  I always “talk” about family being the most important thing to me – tops on my list.  Yet, I find there are times when I place other non-important things before spending time with them.  My focus turns to working in the office to make money to pay bills or being busy in my business (notice I didn’t say working my business).  Yup, I am one of those struggling recovering workaholics….

We have identifying the distractions, so how do you manage them, right?  You got this, it isn’t as difficult as it may seem if you are intentional about it…

#1 Clear the Clutter

No, I don’t mean the clutter in the house!  I mean the clutter in our heads.  Maybe you need to write a list or delegate chores or maybe decide not to do certain things at all – however you do it, JUST DO IT!  Prune your schedule. Control spending.  Weed out the things which aren’t the main thing.  I am working on calendar blocking AGAIN so I block out time needed to work versus time I will spend with family.

#2 Don’t Let Distractions Distract You

We know distractions will happen BUT don’t let them distract you from your MAIN THING! If the most important thing for you this holiday season is family – spend time with them, enjoy them. STOP watching the clock.  STOP worrying about if the house is clean enough or whether there is enough food or how you look.  Enjoy the moments….

The main thing is to make the Main thing the Main thing

This Christmas is different for our family – Belinda in North Carolina, missing my Dad, hubby working so others can spend time with their little ones  has left me trying to figure out how to embrace the change so I can focus on my main thing – FAMILY!  Grateful to have dinner on Christmas Eve with my step-mom and half sister then spend Christmas Day with my mom and step dad as well as my hubby.

What is distracting you this holiday season from enjoying your “main thing”?  When the holidays are over, will you have wonderful memories of the moments shared even with the distractions or will you regret being too busy to have enjoyed your “main thing”?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

 

Are You Tired of Being Told to Pace Yourself?

I started physical therapy to strengthen my muscles to try to get rid of some of the “wobbles” from the MS.  The favorite line from the trainers is “pace yourself”.  I’m sure I have heard this before in my life but NOW it seems to grate on me.

In my business, I have been told to pace myself.  In other words, don’t play the comparison game.  Quick and easy will get the sales now but it won’t usually get you long term success.  After almost 7 years of being in direct sales, I am grateful I paced myself.

When I started with MS symptoms (or had flare ups), the phrase “remember to pace yourself” became the one thing people would always say.  I don’t know about everyone else, but I know when someone says it to me, I tend to speed things up! I know they mean well, but it can be frustrating – a constant reminder we can’t do things like we used to.  As unpleasant as it is to hear, the sentiment is not all bad. Taking some time to do things our way at our own speed can be extremely helpful and make for a more rewarding life. It’s something not only those with a chronic illness need to remember, but also those around us need to learn.

Runners, pace themselves in a race.  Those struggling to lose weight, pace themselves.  So why is it, those of us with chronic conditions seem to think it is a bad thing to do. I know it just can’t be me, right?

#1 Feeling different from everyone else

I have always been non-stop, on the go.  From to being a career woman, then a single mom and then working full-time and commuting.  I always seemed to have enough time to do everything.  I will admit, I don’t like the idea of having to slow down, or of feeling different from everyone else.  Heaven forbid if I feel like I am holding anyone up. So despite everyone’s best intentions when they say pace yourself, it makes me feel bad. It’s a huge reminder we’re different. On any given day, it can make me feel like I’m a burden to the person saying it.  I know they mean well, BUT if you know someone with a chronic illness, don’t tell them to “pace themselves”.  Just as a runner knows their body, we know our bodies.  Believe me, if we need to slow down, trust me, our body will let us know.

#2 Going at our own speed

I joke with my mom who is 81, I inspire to run up the steps like she does.  There was a time when I could BUT life with a chronic illness, has taught me I need to pace myself. It is the key to enjoying life.  Whether it is a good day or a bad day, we can still accomplish a lot if we simply take our time and do it at our own speed.  Moving at a slower speed, taking breaks in between doing things can be frustrating, but more often than not, it can be rewarding. The key is having others understand we may be just a little slower or do things a little bit differently to get the task done.  I will admit I am still a work in progress where this is concerned…

#3 Little accomplishments can mean a lot

I have often joked about our “dust bunnies” but I will admit I do like staying on top of keeping things neat and tidy.  Fall cleaning (or whatever season) can be a pretty overwhelming task for someone like me even before MS.  My desire is to do it but I easily squirrel (forgetting how to do tasks or just get tired).  So now, I set small tasks to get done – scrub bathroom, wash kitchen floor, etc.  It won’t happen quickly, but it will get done. I need to enjoy the little accomplishments.   I know it may sound bizarre, but little accomplishments mean a lot.  Why is it “baby steps” are good things in life, showing we are moving towards a goal yet with a chronic illness, we tend to think of it negatively?

#4 Advice for family and friends

Patience!  Not one of my strong points.  If you know someone with a chronic illness, you will definitely need to practice patience.  It’s more important for friends and family to understand and respect our need to pace ourself, than it is for them to remind us to do it.  Yes, I do sometimes need to be reminded since slowing down can be helpful.  I would rather discover it on my own, no matter how painful it might be.  Sounds crazy, right?  So friends and family, please don’t tell us to slow down, but understand if we do.

Just as we would cheer for a runner who is pacing themselves towards the finish line…  let’s try to remember there is nothing wrong with going at our own pace when we have a chronic illness.

Today’s post was the result of some conversations with friends who also have chronic illnesses.  I hope it shed some light for someone, especially those who have family or friends who are newly diagnosed.  I believe God put this on my heart today to share for a reason.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!