Make a Difference For Mother’s Day

As you know if you follow my blog, a HUGE part of my journey with Thirty One is to help others.  Sometimes it is a fundraising project, or a donation to an event or giving to someone who was just in need of some loving.  It doesn’t matter whether it’s a small goal or a HUGE goal, I want to help.  As a result, I have been able to donate to various causes throughout the years.

This is not to toot my own horn. None of these projects would be possible if it were not for the support of my friends, family and customers.  Individuals who believe in the cause, or just want to help. Okay, can you guess where this is leading…. YOU GOT IT!

For Easter, we donated 25 Easter Baskets to Dottie’s House.  Dottie’s House is a transitional housing facility designed to aid women and children who have survived domestic violence. They proactively help these families develop the life skills needed to become self-sufficient for their future financial and emotional independence.

While delivering them, I was sharing stories of my days as a Social Worker with the South Jersey AIDS Alliance when SMACK!  Mother’s Day was quickly approaching and I wanted these moms to feel some love.

If you have children, think about how your hubby or your family make sure you have a special Mother’s Day.  For many of the women at Dottie’s House, they do not have the same support system so Mother’s Day could be just another day.  I want them to know they are special too.

So, again with the help of my family, friends and customers, we are putting together “pampering bags” as Mother’s Day Gifts for these ladies.  The goal is 18 since there are 18 units at Dottie’s House.  So far we are halfway there.

The $20 sponsorship will pay for the actual bag and I will use 100% of my commission to fill them with a variety of things like a fuzzy socks, notepad, pen, lotion, and chap stick.  My friends in direct sales will also be adding pampering products to make these hardworking mommas feel special.   

In addition, I am selling Domestic Violence Angel Awareness magnets for $5 with the proceeds being donated to Dottie’s House.

Since I began my “give back program”, almost $10,000 in products and cash donations have been made to various causes.  It fills my cup to know we have made the difference in the lives of so many people.

So, who is with me? For $20 you can bring a smile to a mom who is a survivor of domestic violence.   The cut-off is April 20th so the bags will arrive in time to be stuffed and delivered on May 9th.  This project is near and dear to my heart.  It is a tribute to the women I know who have escaped and survived domestic violence.

You can sponsor a bag in memory of someone, in honor of someone or just anonymously. Payments can be made via check or through Paypal at hopesgiftcloset@@comcast.net as a friend/family.  I can also accept credit card payments directly.  Please complete the form for more details:

Won’t you help to make a difference today?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

The Struggle of an Optimist

Stomping out inner gremlins and banishing ANTs (automatic negative thoughts) from my life is an ongoing battle. When a crisis occurs, I jump into Social Worker mode.  Handle things, take care of everyone, and make sure nothing slips through the cracks… you get the picture, right?  I mean every crisis needs a person like this, right?  On the outside, I look like a rock while on the inside I am falling apart.

When I started blogging over 4 years ago, it was about my life – the good, the bad and the ugly.  Somewhere along the way it changed to sharing tips and tricks for organizing, business coaching tips and more.  Don’t get me wrong, I love writing and helping others but I believe in my heart I can also help people by sharing my strengths, hopes and experiences.  Why am I saying all of this?  Because today is about getting through a life crisis.

My dad is currently in a rehab and has been placed on hospice for end stage COPD.  Dad played hard during his life and it has caught up with him at the ripe age of 86.  On his good days, he still has his smart answers for the nurses but he is tired of fighting.  The pain has gotten too great.  So, on Friday, “social worker” mode kicked in.  I truly believed I was handling things well.  A10-minute meltdown after getting the call from the rehab about his condition and I was done.  Then on Sunday at church. a friend said “are you okay? you look like you are going to cry”.  The water works started again.

Today, I am practicing some of the things I would have told family members of clients many years ago when a crisis occurred:

Limit Your Pity Party:

A wise friend gave me some sage advise:  “Every now and then you have to have a good cry, your own little pity party to get your feelings out. Then the next day you feel renewed in your fight and battle on.”  

So, I let the tears fall, went to bed and woke up ready to conquer the world.  I am learning to share the details of what is happening without putting any negativity into the Universe.  Leaning on God for his strength to get me through the tough days.

Do What You Don’t Want to Do:  

A crisis hits and what do we do?  Crawl in bed and pull the sheets over our head?  Avoid friends, and family?  Stop working? Not eating or sleeping?  Maybe even turn to a drink or two to help numb the pain?

Guess what? None of it will help in the long run.  It will send you down a path which is hard to come out of.  For me, I have a business to run so I can’t just hide.  For those who work for someone else, going to work is a great way to keep some normalcy in your life.  For those of us with our own business, we need to find ways to keep moving through the tough stuff.  Here are some things I have been doing:

  • Feed your body fresh, organic food (hubby says my nose is starting to twitch like a bunny)
  • Walking more every day.  Got to get my steps in.
  • Read a book which inspires you.  I keep it to something short because my attention span is short.
  • Watch a comedy show and laugh.  I am grateful for hubby’s ability to find old comedy shows on Amazon Prime
  • I treated myself to a new outfit.  A way to give myself a little pampering.

Take Care of Yourself Before You Take Care of Others

Yup, I am the proverbial care giver.  Taking care of the rest of the world while I tend to forget about me.  My “me time” consists of early morning hours in my office for devotions and to work on my business.  As the day moves on, I tend to struggle with balancing how to care for others while getting things done I need to do. Then I get annoyed when I don’t get my “to do” list done.  Crazy right?  I know I am not alone.

The truth is to help anyone, you must put yourself first. If you don’t take care of you, who will? When a crisis drops in your lap, you will be better able to tackle it if you have been taking care of yourself — giving back to you. Never forget how much you matter. You cannot fully give to others, including your work, if you haven’t taken care of yourself.  A lesson I am learning (sometimes the hard way).

Relive Stress and Release Anxiety

For some this is writing?  Or exercise? Or work? Or cooking?  The key is to do something to help you release anxiety before it has its way with you.  For me, I have to start my day with a cup of coffee and devotions or I am a mess the rest of the day.  I stop for about a half hour to send positive energy into the Universe.  Writing also helps.  Blogging daily has helped me personally, as well as for my business. Find what works for you –  take up writing, or an art of some kind, or learning a new skill, or take up an exercise like power walking, yoga or kayaking. Choose an activity that causes you to thoroughly focus and helps you let go of tension or pent-up anxiety.  It is also important you get enough sleep. Overtired, overstressed and increased anxiety are your own personal crisis waiting to happen.

A long post but in my heart I know someone needs to hear this – even if it is just me.  Have  a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Secrets to Success  

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Do you know what today is?  YUP, it is HUMP Day. Halfway to the weekend.

Since the beginning of the year, I have been working on personal development in an effort to grow my business.  I know it probably sounds crazy to some BUT I am finding when I grow personally, I am blessed in both my personal life and my business.  I set up a morning routine which includes checking off those things I felt were absolutely necessary to be consistent (plus they are usually the things I let slip by or forget to do).

Here are some tips I have implemented based on the suggestions of other successful people:

Unknown1) They wake up early.

The early bird catches the worm, right?  I committed to waking up early.  Since the onset of health issues, early for me is 6 or 6:30AM so I can take the LONG commute (down the stairs) to be in the office by 7AM.  Why?  Because it allows me to get things done. By getting in the office by 7AM, I am able to put in at least 2 hours (or more) of uninterrupted work which makes all the difference in the world as I attack the rest of the day.  When I worked in the non-profit world, this was my key to success.  Arriving before staff came in to ensure I could clear my head before the craziness of the day.  I believe it was this routine which helped me to move up the ladder from volunteer to a Chief Operating Officer.  So, why would I not do it in my own business, right?   I challenge you to start waking up early everyday!

2) Say “No” often.

I am still working on this one since I have alway been the proverbial “people pleaser”. I am learning how to evaluate every request when it comes to my time and my business.  With every request you have to ask yourself is this going to help me get to my end goal. If the answer is “no” it’s likely you need to answer “no”. Of course there are always exceptions.  When you know your goal, it is easier to do this.

planner pic3) Plan ahead of time.

Every successful person plans ahead. Guaranteed. They have a clear path to get to their end goal.  They only veer from the path if the plan needs adjusting because their results aren’t going as planned. They know how to stick to their plans and pivot when needed.  I will admit this one is tough for me but I am working on it.

4) Be consistent.

This is a challenge for me all areas of my life.   When I plan, consistency becomes much easier.  I find it is easier to be consistent in my business which tends to then roll over into my personal life.

goal5) Set goals and see them through.

Goal seeing it not one of my strong points.  I think it has more to do with fear of not succeeding then anything else.  I also tend to play the comparison game and worry about how I measure up to others.  Having an accountability partner and setting small goals every day is helping.   The key is to set your goals, write them down and follow a plan to achieve them.  Everyone’s goals are different and so is the route they take to achieve them! Set them anyway, make a plan and be consistent.

6) Ignore what others are doing.

Do you always check to see what others are doing? Do you spend countless hours on Facebook reading posts, trying to figure out how to get ahead? I was amazed to find out successful people don’t do this – they just don’t care what others are doing.  They have their blinders on and their heads down focused on their goal. They have a plan and are consistently working it.

Those who are successful aren’t following the crowd, they are continuing to learn new things.  Once they learn something new, they figure out how it can be used to help them reach their individual goals.  Whatever your goal, are you willing to invest some time into learning how to make it happen?  Whether it is reaching your goal weight, having a successful business, or reaching the top in your field – it all is achieved when we are willing to invest in ourselves.

What is your best tip for success?  Please share it with us.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

What is Your Purpose?

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During a recent conversation with a good friend, I had an AHA moment.  You know the moment when you realize what your purpose is?  Or at least you think you do!!

As I get closer to my 6th Anniversary with Thirty One, I wonder how is someone’s life better because they crossed my path?  Why now?  Because I love to inspire, encourage and do things for others to make them smile.  Hubby said “you should have married a wealthy man so you could just do what you love – helping others without having to worry about bills or money.”  Would I change my life – NEVER.  Although I do want to fulfill my purpose.

So, do you know why are you here?  I don’t mean right this second, I mean in the BIG picture.  The why are you here on this planet at this time, born into the family you were born into, with your unique gifts and talents, with your experiences? There is indeed a reason we are here.  I struggle with the answer sometimes.

Many would call this our purpose or our mission in life.  We all have one. For many years (okay most of my career) I defined myself as my job.  I was a Social Worker, and a single mom.  As time passed, I became a wife and a “retired” Social Worker.    The truth was there was more to my purpose on this planet.

My deepest desire is to discover my purpose and live it. When I get to the end of my life, I want to be able to say, “Mission accomplished”? My mission gets fuzzy, what about you?  I tend to feel lost, despite the rest of the world thinking I have it all together.  I have been blessed with awards and honors not only in my previous career, but also in my pink bubble yet I long to know if I am really making a difference.  Not necessarily a huge footprint on the world but just in each person’s life I come in contact with every day.  External accolades of success are wonderful, but some times there is an empty place in your soul longing for true fulfillment.  The true fulfillment comes when you are living your purpose.

So, can you answer this one question? “How is someone’s life better when they cross your path?”  Without a lot thought and hunting for what you think the answer should be.  Don’t spend hours analyzing it – just answer from your gut.

We are all here for a reason – leaving the world a better place is our purpose. The fun part is we get to do this by using our own uniqueness – our gifts, strengths, passion and experiences.  Your mission does not have to be unique.  You do not have to be the ONLY person in the world with your particular mission.  The difference is you are the only one who can accomplish it the way you can.

God placed people in our lives who we are uniquely able to impact. They connect with you. They are around you. They are impacted by you.  I was blessed this past weekend to see this in action.  I was at an event, sharing the gift of Thirty One when I began talking about Thirty One Gives and Girl Talk. This wonderful woman explained how her school could use this program.  I have always wanted to start a Girl Talk Chapter BUT have always hesitated thinking it was beyond my gifts and talents.  God opened a door and I am running through it.

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I’m not the only person whose mission is to encourage struggling women to live fulfilling lives.  For some reason, right now, something caused us to connect. Whether it be to let you know you are not alone? Or to make you smile.

In this moment, I get to live out my mission. I challenge you to write your purpose in one simple sentence.  Answer the question:

How is someone’s life better because they crossed your path? 

Thank you for letting me continue to share my strengths, hope and experience with you in the hope it sill make a difference to you or someone you know.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

How It All Began – The Bullying Story

On March 29th, 2013 I started my blog journey.  It was a challenge by Vanessa Coppes as a way to grow my business.  I didn’t get it.  How could blogging grow my business?  But I was up for a challenge.  Here is my first blog, one that touched the heart of many of my readers.

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I just wanted to share how “bullying” can be hidden by our children. It doesn’t mean you are a bad parent, it just means that you may have taught your child the coping skills they need deal with the bullying from school mates. Bear with me as I share some background information..

I was a single mom for 14 years who worked full-time trying to provide all of the things that I had when I was growing up and more for my daughter, Belinda.  Isn’t that every parent’s wish – to give their child more?  I moved to a double wide trailer in a trailer park in an area that had a good school district, lots of children my daughter’s age and it was affordable.  My daughter was involved in a lot of activities outside of school – first competitive gymnastics, then field hockey then all-star cheering. This was my way of making sure Belinda stayed away from the “wrong crowd”. She went to public school until she was a Sophomore in HS when she asked to be changed to a private Christian school where our Pastor’s family taught and her friends went to school. Her reasons made sense so we juggled the budget and Belinda graduated from Pilgrim Academy – smiling, happy, ready for college & still living in the trailer park. Belinda traveled 13 hours to go college – Western Carolina University. I was heart-broken that she was so far away but after the first semester, she excelled – graduated with honors in the Honors College program.

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Here is when the “clueless mom” found out what had really been happening…My daughter is a social worker that loves working with troubled kids. As she was preparing her applications for grad school for her Masters in Macro-Social Work, she had to write some essays as to why she felt she would belonged in this field. Since I am a grant-writer, she asked me to review her essays (like she usually did) to check grammar, etc. This is when I found out the “horror” of my daughter’s school years….

Belinda recounts many tales of verbal abuse from school mates because we lived in a trailer park that as the years passed became like the “projects” of the Township. She only invited her closest friends back to our house for sleep overs, parties, etc. I never really thought about it since I was working, juggling her activities and making sure that her homework was done. The truth was very few parents wanted their children to come over because of where we lived – not necessarily our home but the neighborhood. Belinda talks about how people used to call her “trailer trash”. The outside sports activities along with my example of what a strong woman could do is what she attributes to her success. Some called her a “snob” because she was involved in outside sports.  Then when she became active in church, more verbal abuse came.  Some of her friends from the trailer park fell into the lives that people expected – sexually active, lots of unsupervised parties, drugs, alcohol and more. I was blessed, Belinda didn’t do any of that. 

Many believe that if I was clueless about the verbal abuse, I would be clueless about everything else…My daughter and I had and still have an amazing relationship. When I asked her why she never told me, her response “I didn’t want to hurt you because I knew you were doing the best you could. The material things didn’t matter because you were always there for me”. My daughter has amazing attributes – self confidence, speaks her mind (sometimes without tack) and is forever looking to help the underserved youth in her community.  She tells me on a regular basis how she hopes to accomplish all that I have both professionally and personally. 

I wanted to share this to let people know that bullying isn’t always visible, it can happen to any child. As I travel back to our old hometown, I look around and ask my husband – was I that “clueless” about what life was like. His response is always the same – “You did what you had to do to make sure that Belinda had everything she needed even if it wasn’t always what she wanted. As a result, she is a bright, intelligent & confident woman who wants to take on the world to make it a better place”.

Since signing up to be a part of the Family Wellness & Beauty Day (event is over) for Kickin’ It Kids AntiBullying, God has pressed on my heart to share this story. This is an amazing cause and I truly believe that children who are visibly and “in’visibly” bullied can benefit from this type of program.

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Have a ThirtyOne-derful day1