Gives Program

Thank You for Your Service

Today is officially Veteran’s Day even though the federal holiday was celebrated yesterday.

What is Veteran’s Day?

“We remember those who died BUT Veterans Day is the day set aside to thank and honor ALL those who served honorably in the military – in wartime or peacetime,” It is a holiday “is largely intended to thank LIVING veterans for their service, to acknowledge their contributions to our national security, and to underscore the fact all those who served – not only those who died – have sacrificed and done their duty.”

Would you like to make a difference in the lives of our military families?

Every week, households across the country get the Sunday paper which is typically filled manufacturer coupons.  Some cut out what we can use while others simply put the entire batch in the recycling bin never to be seen again.  Did you know you could help our military families and all it would cost you would be the postage?

Recycling coupons is a GREAT way to “give back” to our military families. Military families can use current and EXPIRED (up to 3 months from the expiration date) manufacturers coupons at the BX/PX.  Such an easy way to help others who risk their lives for us every day.

I never realized how much the “small” things we take for granted are appreciated by our military families and our troops until about 14 years ago.  My best friend’s husband, Bill, was deployed to Bagram in the early days of “Operation Freedom”.

A one month deployment turned into a 6 month stint during a time when there was no family support groups – just friends and family who got Stephanie and the four kids (Jen, Sean, Ryan & Shane) through the many days and long nights.  Every penny counted and believe it or not, coupons helped. Here is a quote from her Facebook page on Veteran’s Day –

” On Veterans Day, don’t count the days or the months. Just please remember every family of every soldier – and if you don’t know what to say, just do a random act of kindness like taking out the trash for a soldier’s wife while her husband is at home. Small things mean a lot. I know.  November 11, 2012 at 8:37pm  

Today, there are many businesses saluting veterans and active-duty military personnel.  They’re offering freebies and special discounts to show their appreciation for all those who have sacrificed for their country.  Proof of service such as a military ID is typically required and a few businesses will allow dressing in uniform as a form of identification.
Check with your location to see if they are participating:

Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill: Free meal from a special menu Saturday at any of the nearly 1,800 locations.

Bob Evans: Free meal from a special menu available all day Saturday at all locations.

Bonefish Grill: Free Bang Bang Shrimp appetizer.

Buffalo Wild Wings: Free small order of traditional or boneless wings with a side of fries.

Chili’s: Free meal from a special menu.

Cracker Barrel: Free slice of Double Chocolate Fudge Coca-Cola Cake.

Dunkin’ Donuts: Free doughnut of choice, while supplies last.

Friendly’s: Free meal from a special menu at participating locations.

Little Caesars: Free Hot-N-Ready lunch combo from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

LongHorn Steakhouse: Free appetizer or dessert. Plus guests dining with veterans will receive 10% off their meals.

Muscle Maker Grill: Free meal at participating locations.

Olive Garden: Free meal from a select menu.

Outback Steakhouse: Free Bloomin’ Onion and non-alcoholic beverage.

Panera Bread: Free breakfast sandwiches until 10 a.m. Saturday at participating locations. After 10 a.m., military members get a coupon for a free pastry to use on a future visit.

Red Lobster: Free appetizer or dessert.

Red Robin: Free Red’s Tavern Double Burger with bottomless fries.

Ruby Tuesday: Free appetizer up to $10.

TGI Friday’s: Free lunch menu item up to $12 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. Plus get a coupon for $5 off next meal.

Wawa: Free coffee, any size, all day Saturday for veterans, active military and family members.

Great Clips: Veterans and active duty get a free haircut on Veterans Day or pick up a free haircut card to use through Dec. 31. Also non-veterans who get a haircut Saturday get a free haircut card to give to a veteran.

Many stores offer military discounts year-round, but a handful are only on Veterans Day.

A.C. Moore: 15% off your total regular and sale price purchase with valid ID every day.

Home Depot: 10% discount.

Jo-Ann Fabric: 10% discount for military service members and their families year round.

Lowe’s: 10% discount.

Michaels: 15% discount for military families every day.

Have you served in the military?  You can get your ID card at most county office buildings with a copy of your DD214.

Do you know a vet who could use some cheering up?  I have HERO bags made up and ready to send out.  Complete the form below and I will send them out or if local, I would be happy to drop it off to bring a smile and a thank you to one of our Veterans.

 

If you should see someone from the military today – Thank them!  They don’t just sacrifice their lives on Veteran’s Day but EVERY DAY!

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Family

Happy Father’s Day

 

Father’s Day is a celebration honoring fathers; celebrating fatherhood, paternal bonds, and the influence of fathers in society.

aae4e-dad Father’s Day this year will be different.  For the last 26 years, we have spent Father’s Day with my dad.  It was one of dad’s holidays when Belinda was growing up.  This year, I’m at a loss.  A void in my life which I feel on so many days.  It is weird, dad and I could go for weeks without talking yet just knowing he was there was okay.  In an instant, he was gone.  Heaven gained an angel on April 15th and there is a hole in my heart I struggle to fill.

Life with my dad had its ups and downs. Growing up was filled with family vacations and holidays.  MS has taken many of those memories away but we have told the stories many times but truly remembering is tough.  There are flashes some days but they are few and far between.

Dad was a HAM radio operator and I always had the BEST reports in school because he would reach out to friends far and wide for their help.  He bought me my first car for $100 and spray painted it blue. It was a stick shift, so he had to teach me – a true experience. The Chevy Nova lasted a long time and held many memories.  My junior year, he and my mom, cooked breakfast for the ENTIRE Junior Class of Ocean Twp HS after the prom.

Dad’s battle with alcoholism and those demons brought some really rough times. When my parents divorced, I was angry and hurt.  I wanted nothing to do with my dad. On Pop-pop’s death bed, he told me “it is time to forgive your dad”.  I wasn’t ready but every once in awhile I would get a nudge from my Weston angels it was time.  I never listened and it will be one of the regrets of my life.

My drug addiction brought us together and it was a gift.  My dad came to visit which was the first time we had spoken in 16 YEARS! He found out where I was and he traveled to Pennsylvania to see me. It is when the healing began.  No judgement.  No questions.  Just ready to fill the gaps of the missing years.

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What a blessing it was to have him walk me down the aisle the day I got married.  He was the proud father as he walked me down the aisle.  A rough day for him due to health issues but one he would not have missed to anything.

I love this picture (even though we are missing some of the family bush). We have always said, it isn’t a family tree – it’s a bush and it was a blessing to have 4 generations in the same picture which is not always an easy task.  

I miss you Dad!

So today, I will spend time with hubby and cherish the memories.  I know my angels – dad and pop-pop – are enjoying the day together.

Take a moment today and thank the “fathers” in your life.  Some may be your biological dads, your adopted dads, some may be your friends dad’s, some may be a man who helped to shape your life – whoever it is, THANK them.  They have given you many blessings.  Remember blessings are sometimes in the form trials and it is all of those things which make you the person you are today.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day.

Gives Program

Thank a Vet

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Veterans Day is an official United States holiday honoring people who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces, also known as veterans.

Today, I want to thank those who have given the ultimate sacrifice for their country.  I want to thank the dedicated soldiers at home and deployed across the seas for defending our freedom.  I want to thank the families of these dedicated men and women – see they pay the ultimate price too as they share their loved ones with us. Life for a military family isn’t easy either so today I honor them too for their service.

My dad served in the Army. He never really talked a lot about it but I do know he changed his birthdate on his birth certificate so that he could join the Army.  It is one of those stories we always wondered if it was true.  My dad is great for TALL tales….. I never really knew many in the military growing up.

I do remember one year, we had a few soldiers come for a holiday dinner.  Dad picked them up and they spent the whole day with us while they enjoyed a home cooked meal.  Then I would have to fast-forward to my next real encounter with the military – enter my best friend – Steph, her hubby – Bill and their kids – Jen, Sean, Ryan and Shane.  Our families become melded into one during Bill’s deployment during Operation Freedom.  It was my first up close and personal experience of the sacrifices made by our military and their families.

Now, my nephew, Jimmy, is one of those men serving our country.  I am again faced with the reality of the sacrifices of our military men and women along with their family.

This day is for you… if you should see someone from the military today, thank them.  Better yet, buy them a cup of coffee or lunch.  What better way to thank them for their selfless service than with a random act of kindness.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day

Personal Causes

Happy Memorial Day

USA Hero

Happy Memorial Day! For some today is an extra day off. For others it is spending time with family and friends kicking off the summer season…Today is really about remembering the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. Those who gave their lives so that we might live in freedom. It is about celebrating the lives of those who dedicated themselves to serving our country and who never returned home to their families.

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As the sun rises on Memorial Day, STOP and say a prayer asking for the safety of our men and women near and far who serve this country. Say a prayer for the families who have an empty seat at their barbecues.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Family

Wedding Day Jitters

We are praying for nice weather today – the prediction was 85 degrees with only a 10% chance of rain.  So let’s see what happens – yes, this blog was written early.  I assure you that I will be back to my usual blog posts on Monday. But today, we are going to do some celebrating:

belinda & me wedding

This is Belinda and I at hubby and my wedding in 2011.  She was my Maid of Honor and she was awesome.  Of course, she always is but I guess I am kind of partial since she is my only child.

jen's wedding

Belinda was a bridesmaid in her best friend’s wedding.  Now Jen, the bride, is Belinda’s Matron of Honor.  I can’t believe that these two have been friends since they were 3 years old.  Yes, they met at Apple Acres and the rest is history.  When they became friends, our extended family grew to include the Loder clan and I was blessed to find my best friend too.  I am so glad that Steph and Bill are going to be joining us today in North Carolina for the festivities.

belinda and ashley

Fast forward to today and the happy couple.  It is the day that my baby – okay she is 27 so she isn’t a baby – gets married.  I can’t believe that it is really here.  It seems like we have been talking about it for months.  If you know Belinda, you know that is probably not the case.  She is very easy going and seldom worries about things kind of girl.  I, on the other hand, have been trying to make everything perfect.  The truth is – it doesn’t have to be.  It is a day of celebrating and that is what we are going to do.

If you are friends with me on Facebook, I apologize already for blowing up your newsfeed with pictures….Off to enjoy the celebrations.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!