Gives Program

How You Can Make A Difference

October has arrived and it is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  This is a cause near and dear to my heart….

Since the age of 18, my aunt Elsie dealt with little lumps on her breasts.  They were always removed and thankfully they were benign.  In 1989, she was diagnosed with breast cancer.  She had a mastectomy and an implant.  Life was good and she was placed on tamoxifen for five years.  When she stopped taking it and it worked its way out of her system,  they discovered a problem with the implant.  PLUS her cancer test came back positive.  Studies now show how tamoxifen can give false positives.  Another surgery including reconstructing her breast from a tummy tuck.  Those days, there weren’t many options.  Life was good for a little while after the surgery, she fulfilled her dream to have her own business and was doing treatments.  Then things started to change – her eyesight got worse (glasses weren’t even helping), and the pain throughout her body was taking its toll. After a trip to Maine with some friends, she lost the battle and ultimately  the will to live in May, 1999.  She was my buddy, my friend and one of my biggest cheerleaders.  Maybe my favorite color is pink for this reason – she is always close to my heart.

Thirty One is donating all Round Ups this month in support of Breast Cancer Awareness.  So be sure to round up when you place an order. 

How can you make a difference with your business?  Here are some ideas:

  • Fundraising for local organizations.  This helps to not only get your name out to the community but also helps the organization raise much needed funds.  It is a win-win situation.
  • Be a sponsor.  It may be a table at an event or advertising when they hold an awareness program – whatever it is be a part of it.  I have taken ads in program journals, donated gift baskets for auctions, sponsored “water” for a run – think outside the box.  Get creative.
  • Promote Local Causes.  I need to do this more.  Tag a cause on my Facebook Page to help publicize their work or mention their cause when talking to customers.  Distribute flyers when your favorite cause is hosting an event.  It will help to build good-will and ultimately, your business.
  • Volunteer.  I know, no time, right?  Make a Difference Day is in October with MANY ways to get involved.  It may be making bags at a local food pantry, pulling weeds, building a home – whatever time you can spare is appreciated by the organizations.  While you are volunteering, wear your company tee shirt.

How are YOU going to MAKE a DIFFERENCE this month?  Stay tuned for more details on this month’s Chemo Comfort Bags for Southern Ocean Medical Center.

I would love to hear about your favorite causes…

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Family, Unclutter Your Life

Feel Good Friday!

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Today is a day filled with mixed emotions….Today would have been my Aunt Elsie’s 68th birthday.  She was my mom’s baby sister.  She was Belinda’s “buddy“.  She became a Weston angel in 1999.  My past blogs on this day have focused on family and been all about Elsie’s cancer journey. Today I decided to change it up and talk about a path to happiness.  Yes, I miss Elsie – everyday.  I realized that she would not want me dwelling on the past – she would want me to be happy, enjoying the moment while remembering the good times and not the struggle.

Elsie

With the help of some tips from Valerie Burton, we are going to talk about journaling to reflect and shift your attitude in a positive direction.

In her book, Successful Women Think Differently, Valerie talks about the research of Dr. Laura King, a professor at University of Missouri, who discovered that writing about “your best possible future self” actually has health benefits such as boosting your immune system.  Apparently, writing about your life has a very positive impact on your emotions. Then when you combine that with some powerful questions, you will be prompted towards happiness triggers and you’ll feel a shift in your emotions in a matter of minutes.

Here are three questions to do just that:

1. What are you looking forward to tomorrow? (Or tonight/this week/this season?)

No matter what you are looking forward to – dinner with friends, a favorite show or vacation – thinking about it makes you smile.  Anticipation is a happiness trigger. So, the inner gremlins are squashed.  The positive emotions create positive energy.

2. What was your favorite moment of the day and why was it meaningful to you?

It is all about gratitude. It may not be easy but you need to sift through the moments of your day and find the shiny, golden nugget.  No matter how small it may be, find that golden nugget.  Then to deepen the positive emotion created, then reflect upon why you are grateful for it.

3. What achievement are you most proud of (in your relationship/career/finances/health) and why?

Alright, I know the eyes are rolling! Many of you have the tendency to gloss over your efforts or beat yourself up when things aren’t perfect, right? When was the last time you reflected on something you are proud of?  Overachievers and people with high standards tend to take themselves for granted and with the feeling that you’ve never done enough, despite your best efforts, your progress isn’t worthy of celebration yet. BOOO!!!  You push through obstacles and challenges every day and continue moving forward. That is an achievement. Pick something from your life and journal about what you are most proud of and why you’re so proud. What did it take for you to get there, what did you have to push through, and what does it tell you about your ability to handle the opportunities and challenges that lie before you now?

My challenge is to journal yourself to a happier place. I will be journal into a happy place knowing that Elsie is with me.  I have so many memories but her strength stands out the most.  Her fight, her commitment to our family and her ability to dream big are what help me to keep going when my faith starts to waiver. I DREAM BIG and hold fast for I know that in God’s time, my Weston angels will help me to reach my dreams and my goals. I step out of my comfort zone and I know that she is right behind me cheering me on.

Happy Birthday, Elsie. I miss you and I know that even though you don’t like parties – there is one going on in heaven today just for you.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Business Tips and Tricks, Hope Wissel, Personal Causes

Making a Difference

October has arrived and with it many causes that are celebrated for their hard work and dedication.  The first that always comes to mind is Breast Cancer Awareness.  This touched me directly when Elsie, my aunt, was diagnosed in the ’80s. Options were limited and she fought a long hard battle but ultimately lost the will in 1999.   Maybe my favorite color is pink for this reason – she is always close to my heart.

Gives-DV-shirtThirty One supports Domestic Violence Awareness during the month of October.  Truth be told, this cause also has a special place in my heart.  I couldn’t put a name to it growing up and I never talked about because “what happened in the house, stayed in the house” but there was some violence in our home.  My dad was an alcoholic and mom seemed to know just the right buttons to push (I don’t even think she realized it sometimes).  I remember some late night battles between my parents that left me feeling lost and scared.  Mom took the blunt of the battle – physical and verbal abuse – but on the outside everything seemed to be picture perfect.  An occasional bruise was easily explained away.  Thankfully, things have changed and those who have or are experiencing this now have a voice.  Thirty One is “Standing Strong for Her”.

How can you make a difference with your business?  Here are some ideas:

  • Fundraising for local organizations.  This helps to not only get your name out to the community but also helps the organization raise much needed funds.  It is a win-win situation.
  • Be a sponsor.  It may be a table at an event or advertising when they hold an awareness program – whatever it is be a part of it.  I have taken ads in program journals, donated gift baskets for auctions, sponsored “water” for a run – think outside the box.  Get creative.
  • Promote Local Causes.  I need to do this more.  Tag a cause on my Facebook Page to help publicize their work or mention their cause when talking to customers.  Distribute flyers when your favorite cause is hosting an event.  It will help to build good-will and ultimately, your business.
  • Volunteer.  I know, no time, right?  Make a Difference Day is in October with MANY ways to get involved.  It may be making bags at a local food pantry, pulling weeds, building a home – whatever time you can spare is appreciated by the organizations.  While you are volunteering, wear your company tee shirt.

How are YOU going to MAKE a DIFFERENCE this month?  I would love to hear about your favorite causes…

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Hope Wissel

Memories of My Buddy

I can hardly believe it has been 14 years since I heard your voice.  Fourteen years since I smelled snickerdoodles baking in the kitchen (I love to cook but am not a good baker). Fourteen years since we spent hours talking.  Elsie Marie Weston, my mom’s baby sister, lost her battle with breast cancer 14 years ago and will forever be known as one of the strongest women I had the pleasure of knowing.  

Elsie’s battle with lumps on her breast started when she was about 18 years old.  Always removed and always were not cancerous, then the diagnosis came – you have breast cancer.  She had her first mastectomy about 1990 while she was working in Atlantic City at the Claridge Casino.   Her second reconstructive surgery about 5 plus years later to replace a leaking implant, bone cancer and finally the loss of her eyesight.  She went through medication regimines, chemotherapy and physical therapy.  She continued to fight through it all.

Sure, Elsie was family – my Aunt but she was also my best friend.  Growing up, Elsie was privilege to some of my deepest secrets.  I may have been the pesty niece that she was forced to babysit when I was little but that changed.  She visited me in college.  We partied at the Headliner when we both worked for Neptune Township.  We both went to Atlantic City to open the Claridge Casino.  We were roomates – Tuckerton and Somers Point.  We weathered hurricanes, blizzards and life itself.    Elsie was there when Belinda Heldreth  was born – she even cut the cord before heading out to attend a wedding.

Elsie and Belinda were buddies.  From the time Belinda was born she was there to help.  When I was in detox and rehab, she made sure life remained as normal as possible.  I remember being in detox, not being able to have visitors – she helped Belinda make a sign and they stood outside the hospital window to show their support.  When I came home from rehab, Elsie took us in as we had been temporarily (3 months) evicted from our own home.

When Elsie left the Claridge and opened Small Wonders, a gift shop in Ocean Grove, Belinda and I traveled up on weekends to help out in the store.  Belinda spent many hours with Elsie and her sister, Edythe.  They traveled, taught Belinda to cook and bake while spending countless hours watching Disney videos.  As the cancer spread, life got a little tougher for Elsie.  She began to loose her eyesight but she was still determined to work every day in her store.  We all helped – Belinda even learned how to work the register and run credit cards at the ripe old age of 10 so that she could work in the store as Elsie was going blind.

Belinda put together one of her famous surprise parties for Elsie’s 50th birthday.  Elsie was mad at first but she never stayed mad at Belinda for long.  That would be her last birthday with us.  On May 23rd, Elsie was admitted into the hospital – she had lost 95% of her eyesight to cancer and had given up her will to live.  Seven days later she became another Weston Angel – joining her parents in heaven.

The imprint that she left on the world will long be remembered by all of us.  She was a fighter.  She was loving & kind.  She was Belinda’s Buddy!  A day doesn’t go by that I don’t think about her.  As I was sitting in Jersey Shore with Rob this week, the last week with Elsie replayed in my head.  Memories flooded in but then a calm came over me and I knew that everything would be okay – see all my Weston angels were with me as I spent the night – Mom-mom, Pop-pop, Elsie and Edythe.  Thank you my angels for being with me this week as we sat in the same hospital during the same week 14 years ago…the blessing, Rob is home.

Elsie, I miss you and I am sure that I didn’t tell you enough how much I loved you. Belinda made this montage of pictures.  Elsie & Belinda (top); Belinda & I (middle) and Edythe & Belinda (bottom).  Cherish the moments today – the good, the bad and the ugly for life is precious.  Have a ThirtyOne-derful day.