Birthday Reflections

Another milestone….. yes, believe it or not, tomorrow is my 61st birthday!  Do I feel 61? Some days especially when the MS decides to rear its ugly head..

I’m a day early since I don’t blog on Friday’s, I figured today would be a great day for reflection and probably some tears.

I am blessed I get to wake this morning and every morning.  No matter what the day may bring, I know it will be WONDERFUL!  I’m determined to be positive and make the most of it. It may take me two hours to clear the fog and get moving but being grateful for each small step it a gift from God.

Birthdays are milestones in our lives.  As children, they are a day (or sometimes a week or even a month) where the focus is on us.  Filled with presents, parties, family, friends and of course cake and ice cream.  As the years go by, life “happens” and things change.

The past year has been filled with many ups and downs.  Receiving the “official” diagnosis of RRMS (Remitting Relapsing MS) and starting injections three times a week.  Working my Thirty One business full-time while learning the ebbs and flows of not receiving a consistent pay check.  The realization more memories are lost and struggling to find the right words some days.  The toughest part of the last year was the loss of my dad.  Through it all I hold fast to the mantra “every day is a gift from God with a blessing to be found.”

Truth be told for many years “birthdays” were just another day when low self-esteem and lack of confidence and those nasty inner gremlins made me feel like I didn’t deserve a celebration. I’m great at giving but I’m not very good at receiving.  Today, I am looking at them a little differently – have I grown up?  Don’t count on it!  My dad was all about living life to the fullest and his passing is probably one of the reasons why I stopped saying “it is just another day”.   Today is a gift from God  to be able to spend another day with family and friends.  The celebration doesn’t need to be big, it doesn’t need to have lots of presents (maybe just one or two would be nice).

As a child, one of my favorite celebrations was the annual trip to New York City to see the Ringling Brothers and Barnum Bailey Circus. This annual tradition was a treat from Edythe and Elsie. It included the circus and dinner in NY. I always felt so grown up! Both of them are now our guardians angels in heaven and the circus performed for the last time last year.

I have to admit the tears are starting to flow, tears of joy mixed with some sadness:

  • I grateful for my daughter, Belinda.  She has grown into an AMAZING woman who I am proud to call my friend.  Life was not always easy but she turned adversity into a learning lesson.  God could not have given me a greater gift then to be her mom.  We may have missed out on the ThirtyOne cruise thanks to the hurricane but I loved spending time in NC with you.
  • To my mom….thank you for always being there.  We are not just mother and daughter, but we are friends.  The miles may separate us but I know you are only a phone call away or a short drive to Mays Landing.  You are always one of my biggest cheerleaders.
  • To my dad….who is now watching over me from heaven.  It has been a rough year but through it all, I remember your encouraging words.  You taught me to embrace life, living it to the fullest every day and to chose JOY, even on a bad day so everything will be okay. I miss you daddy!
  • To my Thirty One family.  An amazing group of women who have loved and supported me in my darkest days.  My team is AWESOME and they inspire me daily.  My hostesses and customers are so much more than just “orders”, building friendships with many of them.   They all hold a special place in my heart.  It is with their help and support I am able to work my business full-time.

  • To my DS/Crafter Friends….words can express the gratitude I have for you.  This past year, you have helped in so many ways.  Sharing events, carrying my stuff when I am struggling, cheering me on and checking in on me.  Thank you for your support as I ventured into fulfilling a dream of celebrating, and encouraging other DS business owners through our networking group, Jersey Shore Direct Sellers Network.
  • Lastly, to my hubby (who probably won’t read this)…who is my ROCK!  I know I am not the easiest to live with (imagine that?) but you are always there, standing strong and supporting me.  Your support and encouragement in my Thirty One “business” gives me the confidence to step out of my comfort zone. Thank you for being one of my greatest cheerleaders.  I’m excited to spend my birthday with you this year, thank you for taking the day off.

There are many more people I could (and probably should) thank or talk about from this year.  It has been an AMAZING journey for me and I am looking forward to the blessings God has for me in this new year.  I can’t believe I am actually 61 years old – okay, so it is only a number, right?

original

Stop by my VIP group on Facebook, Hope’s Purse Closet, for a birthday present from ME to YOU!

Hope you have ThirtyOne-derful day!

A Letter to Hope 2.0

As we close the month of February, I want to share one last thing in honor of International Boost Your Self-Esteem Month!

Remember you deserve to be happy, truly happy with a joy which comes from within.  Believe in yourself just as others believe in you.  See yourself through their eyes.  You are AWESOME. Feel it.  Believe it.  And know you deserve it.

I don’t know about you BUT I struggle with self-esteem – from the comparison game in my business to still seeing the 295 pound me instead of the new 175 pound me.  I practice visualizing, where you want to be every day, then take the steps to make it a reality.  It isn’t easy but I am determined to reach my goals even though they scare the HELL out of me!

Someone suggested I write a letter to the future me so I could see how far I have come.  It also helped me to visualize the future and how it feels to reach my goals.   Have you ever written a letter to future you?  Why not try it?  Make sure it contains positive affirmation of the goals you want to achieve.  Remember, the Law of Attraction?

Here is my letter to Hope 2.0 telling her how proud I was of all she has accomplished in her life:

Dear Hope 2.0:

I am so proud of all you have accomplished in the last 5 years:

  • Your office  is organized.  I am glad you finally have a part-time assistant to help with the busy work.  The family room looks AMAZING.  I know your team loves hanging out with you and learning all of your great business tips.
  • Where did you say your last cruise went to?  WOW!  I know hubby loves the fact you can take a vacation every year and you treat.  What a great way to say thank you to him for taking care of you every day.  Of course, those mini getaways are nice too.  You can never have enough of them.
  • Your team has grown by over 100 girls.  Having hubby there when they celebrated your accomplishments on stage was the best part.  I know you cried because he never wanted to enter the pink bubble but he was so proud of you.  He finally sees your business as a business and the impact you are having on others.
  • Your calendar is always full.  Your hostesses are scheduling their next party so they never miss out on getting on your calendar
  • Your Annual Hostess Appreciation party has become the talk of the town.  In 5 years, it is the must attend end of the year event
  • The many charities you have helped with your seasonal events for kids and families are a blessing.  Don’t forget the multiple fundraisers you hold every month.  Not only are you helping organizations find discretionary money but you are also helping people who are struggling. You never forget where you came from – a homeless, addict who just wanted to please everyone.  By remembering, you are able to encourage others
  • You have inspired so many on your team to reach for their dreams, to overcome their inner gremlins and as a result their lives are changed forever
  • Your willingness to share your office systems, your party ideas, presentations and even allow consultants to tag along with you whether they are on your team or not is a great example of a leader.

I want you to remember success is always within your reach.  There will be struggles but it simply means there are lessons to be learned.  Your  journey is yours alone but others can learn from it.  Comparison is not in the plan.

I am not there yet BUT I am on the road to being Hope 2.0.  I am not waiting for “when” or “if”, I am claiming the blessings NOW.  I have seen things change in my business since I did this exercise – thank you Eryka. Give it a chance, what have you got to loose.  You deserve to have all of the blessings waiting for you.  I can’t wait to celebrate your successes.

What about you?  What would your letter look like?  Share your thoughts with us…

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

You are Who God Says You Are

Thank you Sharon Jaynes for today’s message….

I have learned a lot from Charlie Brown, which is a little scary. Here is one truth that his psychiatrist, Lucy, taught me. She is counseling Charlie Brown at her lemonade-stand counseling booth. Charlie Brown is all ears.

Frame 1: “Your life is like a house, Charlie Brown.”

Frame 2: “You want your house to have a strong foundation, don’t you?”

Frame 3: “So don’t build your house on the sand.”

Frame 4: (A strong wind swooshes by and blows Lucy, Charlie Brown, and the makeshift stand into a heap of rubble.)

Frame 5: Lucy’s final advice: “Or use cheap nails.”

There’s a lot of talk about self-worth in our culture. But true self-worth is not an issue of giftedness, talent, intelligence, or beauty. It’s not an issue of how much money you have in the bank, if you are married or single, if you are a mom or childless. Those are the cheap nails compared to knowing Christ.

When we base our identity or our worth on the accomplishments, opinions of others, or appearance, we are in danger of crumbling to pieces with a word of criticism, a bad hair day, or hint of rejection. We will always fall short in our quest to be better, look better, or accomplish more.

Self-worth is really an identity issue. When you base your self-worth on your identity in Christ and His finished work of redemption on the cross, it is unconditional, unshakable, and unchangeable.

Listen, the devil will do anything and everything he can to keep you from believing the truth about who you are, what you have, and where you are as a child of God. Make no mistake about it, he knows that you are a chosen, holy, dearly loved child of God who has been forgiven of all your sins and created to fulfill a great purpose that God has already planned for you. He knows it, and he hates it. His goal is to keep you from believing it. And if he can keep you from believing the truth about who you are, what you have, and where you are as a child of God, then he has won.

You can access the power of God’s promises about who you are, what you have, and where you are in Christ to consistently subdue and eventually erase feeling of inferiority, insecurity and inadequacy that keep you stuck in a mediocre faith. You can reject the devil’s overbearing lies and replace them with God’s overriding truth about your identity in Him and His power in you.

If we base our significance, self-worth, or self-esteem on anything other than the strong nails of our identity in Christ, then we are at risk of collapsing when the strong winds of adversity come our way. The truth is: You are who God says you are.

You, my friend, are a chosen, holy, dearly loved child of God who is equipped by the Father, enveloped by the Son, and empowered by the Holy Spirit. And that truth will withstand the strongest winds.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

What is the Link Between Self-Esteem & Technology in Girls?

I am excited to tell you about a groundbreaking study of more than 10,000 U.S. girls which Thirty One Gifts cosponsored with Ruling Out eXperiences, Inc. (ROX).  It is the largest of its kind and revealed surprising information on the role of technology on girls’ self-esteem. I know we have all heard about cyber bullying or “the mean girls” on social media and for some, they say “it won’t be my kid”.  Well, I felt the same way many years ago, until I read something my daughter wrote about being bullied.  You can read the story on my very first blog post “Bullying – The Visible vs The Invisible“.

The findings of this study is heartbreaking.  While they give us a glimpse into the raw truth about girls fifth through 12th-grade and their perception, it is also an opportunity for us to look for ways to be mentors and be a positive influence in their lives.

The mission of ROX (Ruling Our eXperiences, Inc.) a Columbus, Ohio-headquartered nonprofit organization is:

TO EQUIP GIRLS WITH THE KNOWLEDGE AND SKILLS NECESSARY TO LIVE HEALTHY, INDEPENDENT, PRODUCTIVE AND VIOLENCE-FREE LIVES.

ROX announced the findings of their study from The Girls’ Index: New Insights into the Complex World of Today’s Girls a few months ago.  This national survey was taken of 10,678 fifth- through 12th-grade girls with the sole purpose of capturing the girls’ perceptions and experiences around fitting in, body image, peer pressure, academics, friendships and relationships. The report is a comprehensive picture for parents and educators on the thoughts, beliefs and behaviors of girls across the country.  The demographics are from every walk of life – cultural, ethnic, socioeconomic of the school district, and the type for school for a broad spectrum of girls.

The findings of The Girls’ Index include:

#1 Most girls like to be in charge, but self-doubt can impact their pursuit of leadership.  A surprising 46% of the girls reported they don’t say what they are thinking or disagree with other peers.  WHY?   Because they want to be liked with 1 in 3 girls being afraid to be a leader because they don’t want others to think they are bossy.

#2 30% of the girls with the highest grade point averages (4.0 or above),  don’t think they’re smart enough for their dream careers. Despite their high academic achievements, they are still filled with confidence issues.

#3 Girls who spend the most time using technology (8 hrs./day) are 5x more likely to be sad or depressed nearly every day compared to the girls who spend four or fewer hours.  If this isn’t a reason to restrict technology time, I don’t know what is.  Technology and social media greatly impact girls’ relationships, achievement, confidence, mood and school engagement.

#4 By high school, sexting is common and prevalent with 2 out of 3 girls reporting by 12th grade they have been asked to send a sexually explicit photo to another person.  I am so grateful cell phones weren’t popular when my daughter was growing up.

#5  Girls who have strong and trusting friendships with other girls fare better and report significantly lower levels of sadness and depression.

ROX concluded “girls who have strong and trusting friendships fare better, it is crucial girls receive the opportunities and tools they need to forge the positive friendships which safeguard their emotions and experiences.

This study shakes me to my core.  I grew up lacking confidence.  I had friends but not the kind of strong trusting friendships which helped me to battle sadness and depression.  Those emotions and experiences traveled with me through my college years straight through to my years of addiction.  My goal was for my daughter’s life to be different.  She was blessed to have one or two strong, trusting friendships growing up yet on the inside she lacked confidence despite the outward strong appearance.

The bottom line is we as parents, teachers and coaches are missing out on at least half of what girls think, know and believe.  YIKES!  We are losing the creativity, contributions and impact these young girls can make on the world.

As these studies become public, as awareness grows, we have an obligation to do better and a responsibility to make the world a place where girls can feel confident and capable.

Thirty-One Gifts proudly partner with ROX to provide girls with opportunities to talk candidly and openly about their experiences, while arming them with tools to positively and safely use social media, navigate relationships and manage pressure to ultimately develop a positive self-concept. Learn more about ROX, including ways you can get involved, at rulingourexperiences.com.

Share some of the products from Thirty One’s URU collection.  The Be the Give! Littles Carry-All Caddy comes with a special message “Love who you were born to be”.   A great way to encourage and celebrate the young girl in your life for Valentine’s Day or Easter or just as a “thinking of you” gift.  It is also the perfect solution for organizing the little things in your life. From office supplies to eating utensils and cosmetics, this caddy helps keep your life in order by keeping everything right at your fingertips. Great for gifts, small toys, crafts, office desks and candy.

Won’t you help to make a difference in the live of a young girl?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Do You Struggle with Confidence?

Are you a people pleaser?  If so, you may struggle with confidence.  Why do I say that?  Well, as people pleasers, our world can be crushed when some says “they are disappointed in us” or they get upset with us.  Our confidence is shaken and the inner gremlins begin to bounce around in our head.

As we start a new year, it is time to work towards a new you.  One who is confident and believes you are good enough.  My goal in life has always been to bring a smile to the face of others.  Somewhere along the way, the people pleaser side took over and I lost myself.

Last year, I caught glimpses of how talented I was yet there was something deep inside me which believed I wasn’t good enough.  On the days I feel confident, I know I am good at running my businesses and the joy shines out for all to see.  On the days those inner gremlins are chipping away at my confidence, I sit in wonder and doubt about everything I have done in my life or am planning on doing.  Those days can be crippling.

I’m sure I am not alone.  Many of us have been taught to “fake it until we make it”.  For some it works – they can mask their lack of confidence closing the door on those inner gremlins.  There are others (like me) who wear their emotions on their sleeve.  How many times have you been told “get over it”, “pull yourself together”, or the one which makes me the craziest “you should be over this already”.

Sometimes it is more complicated.  Sometimes, it is tough to get over the self-limiting beliefs which have haunted us for years.  We can overcome them with compassion, and patience.

#1 Get to the heart of it

Your struggle with confidence exists for a reason. Maybe someone told you once you weren’t good enough. Maybe you weren’t nurtured growing up. Maybe you were crushed too many times.  Painful, horrible, heartbreaking things can happen in our lives. Some big, some small, which all affect how we feel about ourselves.  Diving deep into these experiences and our stories can help us connect the dots to see where we are now.

#2 But don’t live there

We get stuck!   Once we own the things which shaped and affected our confidence, it’s easy to feel defeated, overwhelmed, and even a little angry.  But we can’t stay in there because we can’t thrive if we do.  It’s our job to move forward, rewriting the stories we’ve told ourselves.  We need to grow confidence in our skills and in ourselves moving forward every day.  The most important part is  letting go of the things which don’t serve us along the way.

#3 Surround yourself with the right things

Everything we surround ourselves with shapes our perspective and experience – it all matters.  We need to surround ourselves with people who believe in us, who inspire us, and who cheer us on every step of the way.  Look for ways to push yourself to be the very best version of you.  STOMP out those inner gremlins which make you feel small or overwhelmed. It is important to nurture your mind and your body. Fill your days with the things which bring you joy, inspires you to take action, and supports you to show up with a whole heart to your work and your life.

#4 Focus on you, not your fears

Fear can be healthy and it is an unavoidable part of living life. But when we devote our time and energy to honing, growing, and nurturing ourselves, we can grow confident in our creative work and life.  The more we show ourselves what we’re capable of, the more we build grow and the more confident we become.  Don’t let self-doubt and fear distract you from becoming the crazy-awesome creative person you’re meant to be.

#5 You’re the one who your lack of confidence hurts the most

OUCH!  This is and was the toughest realization for me.  If I give into my fears, if I let my self-doubt take the wheel, the person who suffers the most is me.  Believe me is won’t be easy – facing ourselves, our biggest fears, and our toughest experiences.  By believing we are capable of more, and we are worthy of running in the direction of a life which feels true to us takes a whole lot of courage.  Becoming confident takes time.  We need to show up every day, even when this inner gremlins in our head are telling us we should quit.  We need to push through the crap so we can get to the good stuff.

The truth is: it’s always, always, worth it.  When we believe in ourselves, once we bear witness to our gifts, strengths, and creativity, we can start to do incredible work in the world and  build a life which is impactful, fulfilling, and sustainable.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!