4th Annual Chemo Care Tote Campaign

As part of “Giving Tuesday” I am kicking off  my “4th Annual CHEMO CARE TOTES” Campaign.

When I began my journey with Thirty One in 2011, I wanted to make a difference.  Actually, I have been making  difference all of my life – from collecting funds for MD as a child to working in soup kitchens and food pantries to bringing a smile to those who are struggling.  I want to share my spiritual gifts of “helps and encouragement” so others know someone cares when they are struggling.

Here is the message I received from past recipients:

Wanted to let you know I have handed out all of the beautiful bags you had donated for women battling breast cancer. Each person loved the bag and it put a smile on their face to know someone was kind and providing a sense of support as they started their chemotherapy treatments. Thank you again for supporting our patients.

Yes, I cried the first time!… Now, I get goosebumps every time I read it.  Cancer has touched each of us in some way – a friend, a family member, a sister, a mother, a father, a child, and the list goes on.

This project is near and dear to my heart.  It is a tribute to my family who fought a good fight against this dreaded disease and lost: Edythe (kidney cancer), Elsie (breast cancer), Pop-pop (lung cancer) and my dad (prostrate cancer). I spent many hours in the Oncology Units with Elsie and Edythe as they underwent chemo treatments.  I held their hand when they struggled with the insertion of the needles.  I was there when they were sick from the chemo and sat by their bedside when they were too weak to go out.  As a friend said #cancersucks.  It takes many from us long before their time.  It ravages families.  It leaves children parentless.  It has parents burying children.

With my own health struggles, I have spent many hours in the infusion units of local hospitals.  I am blessed to only have to be there a short time – time for blood work and special testing.  The many women I have seen are not there for a one time visit, they are there for weeks of painful treatments.  They smile and carry on conversations  while encouraging each other.  My heart breaks and the tears come each time I leave the unit for I know what their struggles are like.

Your gift/ sponsorship of $25 will pay for the bag.   I will use 100% of my commission to fill them with a variety of things like a blanket/scarf, notepad, pen, bottle of water, lotion, warm socks, chap stick and crossword puzzle book. Donations will again be delivered to the local Cancer Care Center at Southern Ocean Medical Center to bring a smile to the face of those who are fighting this dreadful disease.

chemo bagsLast year, we delivered 31 bags BUT this year, my goal is 50.  I know it is a HUGE jump but I am confident we are up for the challenge. Yes, I know it is the holiday season.  Yes, I know money is tight.  STOP for a moment and think how you would feel if someone handed you an unexpected gift – no strings attached – when you were feeling your lowest.  Let the love of this holiday season shine through with your help.

For $25 you can bring a smile to someone who is fighting the cancer battle.

You can sponsor a bag in memory of someone, in honor of someone or just anonymously. Payments can be made via check, credit card or through Paypal at hopesgiftcloset@comcast.net as a friend/family.   If you see me at a vendor event, I will be happy to accept your donation.

Won’t you help us to make a difference today?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

The All-In Mom

Thank you Arlene Pellicane for today’s message.  I know today’s is Father’s Day but this touched my heart and I wanted to share.

I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also ~ 2 Timothy 1:5, NIV

When my daughter Noelle was three, she would exclaim “I LOVE blueberries!” or “I LOVE tortellini!” Now at 11, she LOVES penguins. She draws penguins, buys penguins, has penguin themed birthday parties, and dreams of penguins. It’s obvious by looking in her room or backpack that she really is crazy about that flightless black and white bird.

In the same way I can spot Noelle’s zeal for penguins, I wonder if she can tell I love Jesus. Can she see from my life that I’m an all-in mom for Jesus? Does she know I’m not just a casual fan of Jesus; I’m a die-hard follower? I believe these questions matter because a mom has incredible influence over the faith of her children.

Consider Timothy in the Bible. Our verse today reveals that Timothy’s faith first lived in his grandmother Lois and his mother Eunice. What a wonderful gift those ladies gave – a vibrant faith passed down from generation to generation. Those women shaped Timothy’s spiritual life and he became the protégé of the Apostle Paul who called Timothy his “beloved son” (2 Timothy 1:2).

In Acts 16:1, we are told more about Timothy’s family upbringing. His mother was Jewish and a believer but his father was an unbelieving Greek. Even though Eunice didn’t share Christian faith with her husband, she was able to witness to her son about Jesus. Her transformed life must have made quite an impact on young Timothy.

Lois and Eunice were all-in moms. It reminded me of this illustration I saw at children’s church. If you put just a few drops of food coloring into a gallon of water, slowly but surely that dye works its way through all the water. There’s not a pocket of water that can remain unchanged. In the same way, following Jesus should penetrate and impact every area of life.

We are surrounded by little disciples who are watching us. Whether you have a toddler at your heels or a teen hiding out in the bedroom, they are observing you. Your children are checking to see if what you say matches what you do and who you are. By the way, you don’t have to be a mother to influence the lives of children. As an aunt, friend, Sunday school teacher, or coach, you can make a huge difference in the faith of a child.

Are you letting Jesus into every area of your life? Is the Holy Spirit free to move wherever He wants, transforming you daily by the renewing of your mind? There is a warning to the church of Laodicea in Revelation 3:15-16 (NIV), “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm – neither hot nor cold – I am about to spit you out of my mouth.”

It’s time to be all-in for Jesus. Your children and others in your life are watching to see if your faith is genuine. May others know through our lives that indeed, we do LOVE Jesus!

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

AD-VO-CATE For Mom and Dad

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A few weeks ago I attended a networking meeting.  It was held at a local rehabilitation facility and was geared specifically for woman.  When I first heard about the meeting, I was interested and then the name of the location haunted my memory.  I “thought” it sounded familiar but tossed the notion aside.  See the memory was one which was bittersweet.

As I arrived with a good friend, I realized I did know this place.  It was where E had spent many days after being in the hospital.  It was the spot where I finally let go of the hurt and pain of not speaking for so long and mended my relationship with her.  It was a place of healing and hope. So I knew I was meant to be here whatever the outcome because it had triggered memories I had forgotten.proverbs-22-62The meeting was geared to those in the healthcare field, and we felt like a fish out of water.     We made the most of it and I was blessed to meet Debra Hallisey of AD-VO-CATE for Mom and Dad.

Here is her story, direct from her website:

Hi, my name is Deb Hallisey, I am a caregiver knowledge expert, and advocate for older adults and their families.

I have over twenty-five years’ experience as a consultant building and enhancing corporate training programs with Ernst & Young and Huron Consulting group along with smaller boutique firms. My client base includes Fortune 500 companies across the US and Canada. Constant travel for my job made it a challenge to be involved in my parent’s health and living situation as they aged.

In 2015 everything changed when I became responsible for my disabled mother after my father’s death. I found myself asking “what do I do?” and “where do I start?” as her caregiver, as her financial adviser, and as her daughter? Figuring out the answers to those burning questions drove home the need we all have to be an effective advocate for our aging parents.

Through this life event my website Advocate for Mom and Dad was born. Advocate for Mom and Dad offers practical advice for “what do I do?” and “where do I start?” You will learn from the experience of others how they handled challenges on topics such as legal, financial, insurance, and caregiving issues. Each story includes links to resources the family found helpful as an effective advocate for their parents. The mission of Advocate for Mom and Dad is to build a community that helps families determine their best answers to the questions of “what do I do?” and “where do I start?”

This is not a topic we like to discuss or we ever think we will need to worry about BUT the truth is being prepared or knowing where the resources are is key!  You may not need this now.  You may think you will ever need it.  Bookmark her website.  Save it for the day when you least it expect it

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Hope you have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Unique Gift Ideas

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Happy Saturday! I along with LOTS of other people are at the Seaside Boardwalk – Walking for a CURE for MS.  I am blessed to have my good friend, Karen Peet walking with me.  I’m praying that the predicted rain holds off…

I love finding new uses for products.  Thirty One’s Fold and File teamed with a Zip Top Organizing Tote as a mobile office, right?  Business owners everywhere use it to ensure that they have everything they need at a moment’s notice when they are out and about.  It has saved many a direct seller from a business disaster.

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Did you ever think of using it for a baby shower gift?  The Zip Top Organizing Tote is the perfect diaper bag

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BUT who would have thought of adding a fold and file to it for a baby shower gift?  Why, you ask?  Fill it with file folders and label them with things like:

  • doctor visits,
  • warranty papers (swing, crib, etc.),
  • important hospital papers,
  • and the list goes on.

This way the parents have everything in one place. New parents love it.

Why we are on the subject of NEW parents, Mother’s Day is May 8th and Father’s Day is June 19th.

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What about as a house warming gift?

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June is the time for weddings so bridal showers are happening in the Spring.

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How about filling a Catch-All Bin with a personsonalized pillow for the happy couple?  Maybe a bottle of their favorite wine.  Maybe a personalized cutting board.  Be creative.  You don’t even have to wrap the gift – just a cello bag from the dollar store with a pretty bow.

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This AWESOME gift set is on special for the month of April…

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Wouldn’t it be fun to have a personal shopper?  Someone who you just call (or text) and they do all of your gift shopping – what do you think?  Let me help you avoid the “gift faux pas” this busy gift giving season.

What special occasion do you have coming up that you need help with? Share and let’s see if we can help you find some unique gift giving ideas.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Valentine’s Day

What does Valentine’s Day mean to you? Flowers? Chocolate? A special dinner out?

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For me, it is a day to celebrate the gift of love in my life that I sometimes take for granted

Parents – I know you are thinking of course, they love us they are our parents, right?  I have learned over the years that there are many who do not have this gift.  Despite my “rough years”, my parents stood by and supported me.  I just wish that I understood that when there is a divorce, it doesn’t mean that the parent that left doesn’t love you.

My Daughter – Belinda.  The day she was born, I finally GOT it!  The 6 months on bed rest, the struggles with her biological dad, the days of being a struggling single mom – I got it!  I understood about the sacrifices that a parent makes for their child no matter how it hurts.  I understood that you would do anything to take care of and protect that little person. I LOVE that she has grown up to be an independent, strong woman who wants to take on the world to make it a better place.

My hubby, Rob – a love story for the ages.  When we met back in high school, he was this blond haired, guitar playing, quiet with a smile that gave me chills kinds of guy. He was from Neptune and I was Ocean Township. Our schools were rivals and it didn’t take long for me to succumb to peer pressure. See, I was a people pleaser way back then too! We went our separate ways. We never talked again…

The summer of 2002, Belinda and I picked up the mail when I found an envelope with a return address from Rob. WOW! Memories flashed before me. Belinda wanted all of the details. I mean she had never heard of this guy and I have to admit, she was (and still is) a little protective of her mom. A roadside memorial with the name “HOPE” on it sent Rob on a hunt to make sure it wasn’t me. We emailed and then one Saturday, he showed up at a craft show to see me. To say the least, the rest is history.

We have had our ups and downs over the years. There are some days that I think he got the raw end of the deal. An overly independent woman with a child who struggles with having a step-dad.  I know there are times that he believes that I don’t need him, that he is “a pain in my butt” but the truth is, he has become my best friend. He is my Ying to my Yang. He keeps me grounded when I am ready to fly in the wind.

To day is the day that I honor LOVE. Remember that 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.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

#valentine’sday #partywithHope #love #randomactofkindness