Personalize Holiday Gifts

Finding gifts for friends and family used to be easy for me….. I would note things there were interested in or wanted and probably wouldn’t buy for themselves or it would be something that triggered a memory.  Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons (mainly the MS) this has become more and more difficult.  If I don’t buy it or write it down when I am thinking of it….it is gone out of my head never to return.

I love giving things that are personal to friends and family.  I know it can be the difference between giving something they enjoy and something truly unforgettable. No matter how long your shopping list is this holiday season, these fun and creative ideas can add a personal touch which makes your gift one they’ll never forget! 

The holidays are a great time to celebrate the hardworking loved ones in your life. Maybe they’re driving the kids to and from practice and need some extra storage. Or they’re educating little ones and need a place to put all their classroom supplies. Or they’re nurses and need to be extra prepared for those extra-long shifts. Regardless, a Large Utility Tote or Medium Utility Tote will be a perfect fit for their busy schedules.  Here are some fun ways to personalize their bags:

For moms:

    • Chaos Coordinator
    • Too blessed to be stressed
    • Bless this Hot Mess
    • Wife. Mom. Boss.
    • Mom Life
    • Messy bun & gettin’ things done

For teachers:

    • Prepare to get schooled
    • Stop. Grammar time!
    • Because I’m the teacher, that’s why.
    • The influence of a great teacher cannot be erased
    • Teach, Love, Inspire

For nurses:

    • Work Hard. Stay Humble.
    • Sleep all day, Nurse all night
    • Boo Boo Crew
    • Hair up, Scrubs on
    • Comfort & Joy

 

Home is where the heart is, so help your friends and family make their space festive for the holidays with some of these keepsake decorations. Our Statement Canvas Pillow Cover is perfect for any room – and with so many options for embroidered or printed personalization, you can be sure to find something for that special person in mind.

Here are a few ideas for personalization:

    • Choose a Christmas Tree with the phrase “Home for the Holidays”
    • Use a festive lyric like “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”
    • Add a name along with a snowglobe or snowflake design
    • Insert Baby’s name with the phrase “First Christmas”

Other products like the Close to Home™ Round Tray are perfect for those who love to host friends and family for those big holiday meals. And with the endless possibilities of playful personalized phrases that can be added, their guests are sure to be served well.

    • Eat, Drink & Be Merry
    • Let’s eat!
    • All are welcome
    • The Miller Family
    • Gather Here
    • Eat, Pray, Love
    • Bless this Home

 

For all those people in your life who have a flair for the dramatic, our bold products and prints are sure to fit their personal style. Plus, by adding some sassy personalization to go with it, their one-of-a-kind bag can complete any look.

Our classic Cindy Tote™ Ltd., casual Retro Metro® Bag or new Festival Mini Backpackall make great gifts for those who want to stay on trend this season.

Personalization makes any bag mean even more:

Whatever you pick, remember about 90% of Thirty One’s products can be personalized… make the gift you give this holiday season one they will remember.

Have a blessed day!

 

Thankful Thursday: Gratitude

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Gratitude is defined as “the quality of being thankful”…..or I think this one better “an emotion expressing appreciation for what one has”.

I will admit this has been a struggle for me.  There have been moments when I have appreciated what I have, not comparing myself to others or wishing for something better or different.  For many years, I never lived in the moment – I was always planning the future or regretting something in the past.  Over the last 18 months, life has become very different.  Recovery is teaching me (again) how to live in the moment and be grateful for what I have.  Do I slip into those moments of comparing myself to others?  ABSOLUTELY!!!

Every night as I relax and reflect on the day, I have been thanking God for the blessings he has given me.  Even on my worst days, there is a blessing to be had or a lesson to be learned.  Taking a gratitude walk through my day has helped me to appreciate where I am instead of regretting the past or wishing for the future.  It helps me to not miss out on the special moments of the day.  Have you ever taken a gratitude walk?

November is the kickoff to a season full of gratitude.  Some feel they have nothing to be thankful for.  Others are too busy trying to fit into a role others have set for them to appreciate what they have.  Some are dreading the holidays as this will be their first holiday with out their special someone. Some are just thankful they have lived to see another day. What ever your frame of mind is, I am hoping this video clip from Kid President will make you smile – I know it always brings a smile to my face.

How many of these have you forgotten to say sometimes? As we approach the holiday season and begin to consider our blessings, maybe it is also time to add some of these “words” back into our everyday conversations. It is amazing what a simple “thank you” can do to change a person’s perspective on a day. What was your favorite one?

Have a blessed day!

Choose to Praise God

Thank you Mary Southerland for today’s message:

I once saw a refrigerator magnet that said, “I know that God promises to never give me more than I can handle. But sometimes, I just wish He didn’t trust me so much.” When trials come and life seems hard, we plead with God to deliver us from the problem when many times, His plan is to deliver us in the problem. Praise does not depend upon an understanding of the circumstance or trial. Praise depends upon an understanding of and faith in God.

As humans, we will never fully understand God – this side of heaven. God is holy and without blemish. God is all powerful and omniscient. He is Creator of the universe and yet lives in me. He is the only true, living God! We may understand some of His ways and comprehend the reasoning behind some of His plans. We may even come to the place of knowing him on what we call an intimate level, but a full understanding of God is reserved for heaven. Until then, we walk by faith, not by sight. We praise him in the darkness, knowing that the light is just ahead. We trust him for things we cannot see and turn to him in the valleys. Honestly, the thought of serving and relying on a God I can understand is not a reassuring thought.

Most people who know me well would describe me as a strong person, someone who can usually handle what life holds. I thought the same thing until, in 1995, I found myself a powerless, prisoner of the darkness as I battled clinical depression. It took me two long years to climb out of that pit and not a day goes by that I am not reminded of that wonderful, horrible time.

One of the many lessons I learned from my “pit experience” was that I cannot depend upon my own strength or my fickle emotions. God often asked me to praise him when, as far as I could tell, there wasn’t a whole lot to praise him for! I didn’t feel like praising him.

I began to understand that praise is not a feeling but a choice, a step of obedience taken without the assurance of a changed circumstance or the elimination of a trial. Praise focuses on God, not the circumstance, and fixes its gaze upon God’s truth and God’s character instead of the trial at hand or just ahead. That is why we can celebrate the battle before it begins. The outcome is neither our responsibility nor our goal. Praise begins and ends with faith in the very nature, personality and integrity of God … and that never changes.

No matter what lies ahead, God is faithful. No matter how hot the fiery trial may be, God will deliver us. No matter what man says or does, God loves and accepts us. So praise God! Thank Him today for every victory tomorrow holds! Celebrate – knowing that the battle belongs to God and because of that single truth, victory is certain.

Have a blessed day!

Thankful Thursday: Feelings

 Happy Halloween….I was flipping through the photo albums trying to remember Halloween’s gone by.  I remember the costumes, I remember the faces BUT I don’t remember the feelings attached to them.  Some days I struggle with feelings…. Some days I feel numb unable to feel anything.  I wonder if the MS not only stole my memories but also stole some of my ability to feel???

Well, today is all about feelings….. so what are feelings?  We all have them, right?  Feelings is defined as “an emotional state or reaction“.

Many of us have spent our whole lives stuffing feelings (okay, so some of us).  I know I am not alone in this.  One of the reasons addicts become addicts is because they don’t want to feel anymore.  Pretty much we don’t know how to cope with whatever the feeling is we are feeling.  I don’t mean just drug or alcohol addicts…. there are those who stuff their feelings by eating, or shopping or having sex or the list goes on.  Basically an addict is anyone who does something to not feel feelings.   I usually say, anything I can get obsessive and compulsive about to help me not feel is an addiction….. I know I squirreled. LOL.

I am writing on my Fourth Step which is all about feelings.  It is actually about taking a moral inventory of myself.  When it came to the part about feelings, I was lost.  The only feelings I ever remember having were shame, guilt, fear and anger.  Were there any others???  See I had beat myself up for so long over the mistakes I had made in my life I didn’t know how to cope with my feelings.  So, I went from drugs to alcohol to shopping and credit card debt. Anything to help me step out of those feelings I didn’t want to have and feel better about me.  It worked for awhile but then life got unmanageable.  We can only stuff the feelings for so long before they start to bubble up and create a mess in our lives.

I actually had to do a Google search for what types of feelings there were..  I was clueless.  I was amazed at the list I found….pleasant feelings vs difficult or unpleasant feelings.  I had actually felt a lot of them.  The tough part came when I had to remember the time when I felt them and describe the event.  MS has stolen so many memories.  I remember bits and pieces but not always the details.

MS along with my relapse/recover brought about so many negative emotions I am learning NOT to stuff on a daily basis.  The reason I started Thankful Thursday was to turn the things which I tend to view as negative into a positive.  By looking at the blessing associated with the negative situation, I can get a better perspective on my life.

Shame is “a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior“.  This one is HUGE for me.  We all do stupid things growing up, right?  Some worse than others but at some point, we need to let go of the shame.  I thought I had my first time in recovery BUT there is still some things buried deep down I have never let go of.  I actually think I wasn’t ready to deal with them until now.  I need to forgive myself and take the positive aspects of the situation and learn from them.  It may be easier said than done but I am giving it a try.

One of the toughest feelings I have to deal with is resentment.  Resentment is “bitter indignation at having been treated unfairly“.  Have I really been treated unfairly? In most cases… NO.  I didn’t know what resentment was for a long time.  There were obvious situations where I resented people but many of those cases I had been treated unfairly.  Now,  when I am talking about a situation with anger and frustration, my sponsor is quick to say this is growing into a resentment.  WHAT!?!?!   Think about the invisible score card you keep in your head of the things you have done for someone.  They do something against you and you want to automatically run down the list of things you have done for them.  Guess what, you have a resentment!  When I do things truly out of love and caring, I forget about them and the invisible list in my head goes away.  Who do you have an invisible score card on?

Feelings are emotions, they are not fact.  When we talk about them, we let them go. Well, most of us try to…. Wrap yourself in the positive feelings…

Have a blessed day!

 

Tasty Tuesday: Italian beef and Lentil Stew

Thank you Weight Watchers USA for today’s recipe……

Last week, I took the plunge!  I signed back up for WW Online.  I know going to meetings can be overwhelming for me and it is hard to focus BUT I wanted to get off the few pounds which crept back on over the last year or so.  I am determined to get back to my goal weight.  It will help with the walking issues I am having with MS and I will feel better about ME!  So, watch for some YUMMy recipes to come your way….

The weather is getting colder and I am a soup/stew nut!  I could eat it for lunch and dinner   every day…. Slow-simmer soup is a cold-weather comfort food and makes the house smell so GOOD! This one takes just 20 minutes of prep and your slow cooker does the rest.  The result is a flavorful soup with tender pieces of beef. For the lentils, opt for green or brown lentils. They hold their shape better and add more texture than red lentils, which dissolve as they cook (ideal for a smoother soup). Dry lentils don’t need to soak like dried beans do before adding them to the soup.   It is a good idea to rinse them and remove any debris. You can substitute 2 cups of fresh green beans, cut into 2-inch lengths, for the zucchini, and 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh parsley for the basil.
Total Time:  7 hr 20 min     Prep:  20 min     Cook: 7 hr     Serves:  6

Ingredients

  • 1 small, chopped uncooked onion(s)
  • 1 medium clove(s), minced garlic clove(s)
  • 1 large, diced uncooked zucchini
  • uncooked lean beef round: 16 oz, cut into 1-inch chunks, or 1 pound
  • ½ tsp, crushed dried oregano
  • 14½ oz, undrained canned diced tomatoes
  • 1 Tbsp canned tomato paste
  • ¾ cup(s) dry lentils
  • 4 cup(s) canned beef broth
  • 1 tsp table salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ cup(s), fresh, slivered basil
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients except basil in 5- to 6-quart slow cooker; stir well. Cook on Low until beef is very tender, 6−7 hours.
  2. Stir in basil and cook 5 minutes longer.
  3. Serving size: 1½ cups

Headed to a tailgate party.  What better way to warm up then with a cup of soup!  Thirty One’s Market Thermal is the perfect way to keep things HOT….The Fresh Market Thermal is a stylish, portable thermal that’s large enough to hold two 9″x13″ casserole dishes. A must-have for family picnics, tailgating, trips to the beach, days on the boat, potlucks, grocery shopping or weekend camping. Its water-resistant Leak Lock® thermal lining means you can add ice to this cooler bag to keep food and drinks cold. Need more room? The sides unsnap and expand to give you more space inside. Long handles allow you to carry it over your shoulder when you need to be hands-free. The Fresh Market Thermal also features a zipper closure for securing contents and an exterior front pocket to hold other important items.

Have a blessed day!