Happy 4th of July

According to Wickapedia “Independence Day, commonly known as the Fourth of July, is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, declaring independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain”.

This year, the 4th seems to be a bigger struggle than last year….there seems to be a few more memories missing as a result of the MS.  I went on a hunt to find some pictures to go with the post and struggled to remember.  I pulled our the scrapbook I made for Belinda for her 16th birthday and was overwhelmed.  The pictures looked familiar but the memories of the experiences have slowly slipped away. It is times like this I am glad I started blogging before things were too bad because it helps me to remember at least a little bit….

Hubby and I were just talking about life in Ocean Grove  and how we would love to live there again.  The 4th of July was always a whirlwind of fun and excitement filled with July 4th parades and bar-b-ques with family. Sitting on Main Street waiting for the parade and the barrage of candy thrown by the floats as they traveled down the street. Grams worried Belinda would get too close to the  trucks. Belinda hiding and covering her ears as the fire trucks came by – her sensitive ears were always a concern for Grams.

Then came the years Belinda was in the parade in an array of costumes. Costumes made by me – Ariel (The Little Mermaid), Pocahontas, Peter Pan… are you getting the Disney theme? Yes, we were obsessed with Disney and we wore out many VHS tapes before DVDs came around. Then as Belinda got older, it was decorating her bicycle. Cards in the spokes to make the flipping sounds – okay, am I really showing my age now? Red, white and blue shirts, shorts, and hats…

Life in Ocean Grove was fun and is filled with many memories.  I am grateful for scrapbooks – mostly since Belinda was born but at least there are some.  There was actually a time when ALL of us lived in Ocean Grove on Broadway – Edythe, then Grams, Pop-pop & Elsie then closest to the beach was mom and I. Okay, so it was BEFORE Belinda but it was always a lot of fun. Yes, I squirreled!

Best wishes for a ThirtyOne-derful day with friends and family. Enjoy the moments and treasure them….

Celebrating the 4th of July

According to Wickapedia “Independence Day, commonly known as the Fourth of July, is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, declaring independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain”.

For me, the 4th brings up bittersweet memories….. I’m grateful for them since living with MS has robbed me of many of them.  The many pictures I have of these celebrations allow me to reflect and remember.

Life in Ocean Grove over the 4th of July was a whirlwind of fun and excitement. I can remember many July 4th parades and bar-b-ques with family.  Belinda was always in the parade in an array of costumes. Costumes made by me – Ariel (The Little Mermaid), Pocahontas, Peter Pan… are you getting the Disney theme? Yes, we were obsessed with Disney and we wore out many VHS tapes before DVDs came around. Then as Belinda got older, it was decorating her bicycle. Cards in the spokes to make the flipping sounds – okay, am I really showing my age now? Red, white and blue shirts, shorts, and hats…

Sitting on Main Street waiting for the parade and the barrage of candy thrown by the floats as they traveled down the street. Grams worried Belinda would get too close to the  trucks. Belinda hiding and covering her ears as the fire trucks came by – her sensitive ears were always a concern for Grams.

Life in Ocean Grove was fun and has lot of memories for us. I mean there was a time when ALL of us lived in Ocean Grove on Broadway – Edythe, then Grams, Pop-pop & Elsie then closest to the beach was mom and I. Okay, so it was BEFORE Belinda but it was always a lot of fun. Believe it or not, I miss living in Ocean Grove… Yes, I squirreled!

Want to check out a GREAT “Christmas in July” sale?  Stop by my Thirty One website to grab some awesome deals.  The sale goes through July 11th.

Best wishes for a ThirtyOne-derful day with friends and family celebrating today…

September 11th

Edythe

Today is in honor of September 11th.  For some, this day may be all about the World Trade Center and how the events of that day transformed our lives.  I remember that day as if it were yesterday.  I was working at Mia’s Christmas Shop in Ocean City, NJ.  We had just opened when I was called into the office by Charlie, the owner, who had the television on showing the attacks.  Charlie immediately started to collect money for those whose families and lives would be changed as a result of this horrific event.  I got to share the events of the morning with many people who were on vacation and CLUELESS about what was happening on that day.  Those days were filled with words like: Hero, Compassion, Love, Kindness, and Bravery.

September 11th took on a new meaning in 2011.  Heaven gained another Weston angel – Edythe, my aunt, my friend  and my mom’s middle sister.  Growing up, I spent ALOT of time with Edythe (and Elsie).  When I was younger, they were my babysitters.  As the years went on, they were a BIG part of my support system.  Edythe (along with the rest of my family) helped to raise Belinda. As Belinda grew up, lives changed – the world moved a little faster and we lost touch with the exception of holidays.

July, 2010, a family friend told me Edythe had gone to the ER for what they thought was pneumonia only to find out that she had cancer.  As tough as it was to take those first steps, stuff all of the negative feelings that had grown over the years – I headed to the hospital, unsure of what to expect.  Awkward moments followed but over the next year or more, we would talk come to peace with the feelings of abandonment and of losing a friend.  Edythe had a tumor adjacent to her kidney. Kidney cancer that moved to her lungs and her brain.  No pain, no symptoms so through God’s grace a simple case of the flu took her to the ER.  The next year plus would be filled with chemo, multiple doctor visits as well as long stints in Centra State Hospital.

Edythe was at our wedding in May, 2011 after a brief stay in the hospital.  She was DETERMINED to be there and she was – thankfully.  The days leading up to September 11th were filled with many emotions.  Edythe had been doing well and talked about going home.  With a blink of an eye, things changed – the pain intensified until the only relief made her sick and almost comatose. She decided that this was not quality of life.  Within about 36 hours of asking for Hospice, Edythe was called home to join the rest of the Weston clan – Mom-mom, Pop-pop and Elsie on September 11th.

The words that described those involved in the September 11th attacks and recovery efforts could now relate to Edythe:

1.  Hero who continued to fight despite the pain.  Edythe still remained active in Eastern Star and Rainbow.  Edythe was a HERO to me.  She was a beautician (I know I am showing my age now) who bought the business (Tempo Hairdressers) in Ocean Grove where she worked for many years.  I was always in awe of the way that she managed money.  Not making a lot by today’s standards, she managed to be debt free, have a home (rental property with a mortgage), a thriving business and live life to the fullest.  I wish that some of that money management had of rubbed of on me!

2.  Compassion, Love, Kindness – all have different meanings but are so intertwined.  Edythe never had an unkind word for anyone.  She would give you the shirt off her back, if you needed it.  A trait that we all learned from my grandfather – thank you Pop-pop.

3.  Bravery – Edythe was brave in many areas of her life long before the cancer hit.  Some see it as business savvy but to me, she was brave.  She stepped out of the box in so many ways but her strength in those final weeks were beyond belief

As we reflect on this day, hug the ones you love, forgive the ones who you believe have done you wrong and enjoy the moment with those you love.  Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!