Entrepreneurial Think Tank for Moms, Unclutter Your Life

How Blogging Can Change Your Life

Do I have your attention???

8 years ago I took a  challenge.  If you have been reading my blog for awhile, you know the story…

I met an amazing group of women, The Entrepreneurial Think Tank for Moms (now for Woman) founded by Lynette Barberi and Vanessa Coppes.  I wanted to grow my business.  I wanted to make a difference in the lives of others.  I wanted a full-time income from my direct sales business.  The question was, was I willing to work for it?  My immediate answer was YES!  But, it meant I had to step out of my comfort zone.  Not something I was very good at and even struggle with today.  Vanessa challenged me to start blogging.  Who would want to read what I had to say?  What would I write about?  FEAR crept in but the people pleaser in me wanted to be accepted by this group of women so I was willing to do whatever it took to have what they had.

My first blog post “Bullying – The Visible vs the Invisible” was first published on March 29th, 2013.  It was probably the hardest thing I had written up until that point BUT the feedback I got was amazing!  So, I jumped in with both feet and starting writing daily for years.  When my MS flared – my memory and the words became more difficult.  I stepped back to only a few times a week then I actually stopped writing altogether.  There was only so much I could write – who wants to hear about the struggles? Was I really making a difference?  Fear and doubt crept in again.

In January of this year, I decided I would start again.  Once a week was all I could handle.  I would share some tips and on occasion write about life.  It is good for me to get things out.  I figure if my ramblings can help just one person, it is worth it. I’m stepping out in faith instead of letting fear rule in this area of my life.

I have been blessed over the last few months and despite heartache which has come from losing loved ones…. I’m feeling pretty good (minor MS stuff), my ThirtyOne business is thriving and I’m rebuilding key relationships in my life.  God has blessed me beyond my dreams.  God willing, I will celebrate 3 years clean in May.  I have stopped beating myself up (most days) for the mistakes of the past.  I actually like myself (most days) which has helped with the stress eating (not necessarily showing on the scale BUT it is okay). I have found joy in cooking (who would have thought? LOL). I’m looking forward to warmer weather and spending time with hubby working on the yard at the new house and maybe even some mini trips.

What does all of it have to do with blogging??? Probably very little except I found my voice by blogging.  The ability to share feelings which I don’t deal with very well with others. The ability to step out of my comfort zone because when I do, the magic happens.

Do you journal?  Have you thought about blogging?  Blogging has helped my business and me grow personally in so many ways.  I’m always amazed when someone in my pick bubble googles a word or something and my blog or my name comes up towards the top of the list.  If they are finding it so are others, right?  I have gained customers and insiders (aka hostesses) through the link to my blog.  Have a business?  Why not give blogging a try?  Share recipes, share tips & tricks about your products, share how to’s….. just give it a shot.  I’m grateful I took the challenge so many years ago and still do some writing.  It will not be a magic wand of instant success but it will make a difference when you are consistent – monthly, weekly, daily whatever you decide to do.  When you do start (or if you already do) share your link with us…

Here is to another year…. have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

 

Throwback Thursday

#TBT: Bullying – The Visible vs the Invisible

I can hardly believe it has been 6 years since I started this blog.  For those of you who don’t know, it was started as a result of a challenge by Vanessa Coppes as a way to grow my business.

For those of you who have ever thought about blogging – do it!  It hasn’t just been good for my business but it has been good for my soul.  Sharing my strength, hope and experience with others has been amazing.  I’m not sure what the future holds for my when it comes to blogging since my MS plays havoc on processing thoughts BUT I will continue in some way!

So, as I celebrate heading into year number 7, here is a throwback to my very first post:

I wanted to share how “bullying” can be hidden by our children. It doesn’t mean you are a bad parent, it just means you may have taught your child coping skills to help 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 I had when I was growing up and give my daughter, Belinda, more. Isn’t it every parent’s wish – to give their child more?  We lived in a double wide trailer in a trailer park in an area with a good school district, lots of children my daughter’s age and 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 change to a private Christian school where our Pastor’s family taught and 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 she was so far away but after the first semester, she excelled – graduated with honors in the Honors College program.

It was then, the “clueless mom” found out what had really been happening…My daughter is a social worker who loves working with troubled kids (she now works for the State helping disabled individuals). 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 which 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 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 talked 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 people expected – sexually active, lots of unsupervised parties, drugs, alcohol and more. I was blessed, Belinda didn’t head in that direction. 

Many believe 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 I have both professionally and personally. 

I wanted to share this to let people know 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 “clueless” about what life was like. His response is always the same – “You did what you had to do to make sure Belinda had everything she needed even if it wasn’t always what she wanted. As a result, she is a bright, intelligent and 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 for Kickin’ It Kids AntiBullying, God has pressed on my heart to share this story. 

I know this was a a LONG post but it will always be a part of my story.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Relax, Reflect, Recharge

Will God Really Help Me?

Thank you Kelly Balarie for today’s message….

“Jesus said, ‘It is finished.’ With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” John 19:30, NIV

I want to rescue him.

That’s what I thought on school field day, as I stood on that white painted gym-floor line getting ready to race.

I want to save him from all the bullying, taunting, and discouragement that destroyed him at his last school. Because, I know his pain. If we win, my little guy will finally see He’s worthy of love.

At the sound of “Go!” I exploded off the line with all the weight of a six-year-old boy loaded up on my back. It was amazing. With everything in me, my body seemed to run faster than itself. So much so, that I’m sure I was close to twisting my ankle. In fact, we nearly toppled over two times, but I didn’t care. No sooner had I crossed the line to win, a mom turned to me to say, “I didn’t know if you two were going to make it…and then, you did.”

“And then, we did…”

We made it. And I felt happy. On my back, I carried my son’s pain because I believed in his redemption.
Likewise, on Jesus’ back, He carried our pain because He believed in our redemption.

Jesus ran His race fully invested in our victory, and He won. He carried our pains, faults, and tears-to-come. Taking all the guilt, shame, and self-reproach we are prone to heap on our back.

“Jesus said, ‘It is finished.’ With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” (John 19:30, NIV)

Jesus gave up His life, so we could find ours. Jesus gave up His life, so we could find true hope. Jesus gave up His life, so we could be set free. This is redemption-life.

Oxford dictionary defines redemption as, “the action of gaining possession of something in exchange for payment, or clearing a debt.”

New friend in Christ, your debt has been cleared. Every old mistakes, trauma, humiliation, and embarrassment has been carried and covered by the love of Jesus. Redemption ran the race and paid the price – for you. You have “new life,” Choose today to believe in it.

“New life” believes the following:

– I have been forgiven, and I am free indeed.
– Jesus loves me, and I am entirely loved.
– Jesus saved m, and I cannot be un-saved.
– God wants me and will not reject me.
– God’s gift and call on my life are irrevocable (see: Romans 11:29)
– I am no longer enslaved to my flesh, but alive to the Holy Spirit.

By Jesus’ stripes we are healed. Praise be to God! It is done.

No longer dwell on days of old, for today is a new day. It is full of “new life.” Go forth and live in the joy of your Savior. He has given much to love you.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Celebrate and Connect, Gives Program

What is the Link Between Self-Esteem & Technology in Girls?

I am excited to tell you about a groundbreaking study of more than 10,000 U.S. girls which Thirty One Gifts cosponsored with Ruling Out eXperiences, Inc. (ROX).  It is the largest of its kind and revealed surprising information on the role of technology on girls’ self-esteem. I know we have all heard about cyber bullying or “the mean girls” on social media and for some, they say “it won’t be my kid”.  Well, I felt the same way many years ago, until I read something my daughter wrote about being bullied.  You can read the story on my very first blog post “Bullying – The Visible vs The Invisible“.

The findings of this study is heartbreaking.  While they give us a glimpse into the raw truth about girls fifth through 12th-grade and their perception, it is also an opportunity for us to look for ways to be mentors and be a positive influence in their lives.

The mission of ROX (Ruling Our eXperiences, Inc.) a Columbus, Ohio-headquartered nonprofit organization is:

TO EQUIP GIRLS WITH THE KNOWLEDGE AND SKILLS NECESSARY TO LIVE HEALTHY, INDEPENDENT, PRODUCTIVE AND VIOLENCE-FREE LIVES.

ROX announced the findings of their study from The Girls’ Index: New Insights into the Complex World of Today’s Girls a few months ago.  This national survey was taken of 10,678 fifth- through 12th-grade girls with the sole purpose of capturing the girls’ perceptions and experiences around fitting in, body image, peer pressure, academics, friendships and relationships. The report is a comprehensive picture for parents and educators on the thoughts, beliefs and behaviors of girls across the country.  The demographics are from every walk of life – cultural, ethnic, socioeconomic of the school district, and the type for school for a broad spectrum of girls.

The findings of The Girls’ Index include:

#1 Most girls like to be in charge, but self-doubt can impact their pursuit of leadership.  A surprising 46% of the girls reported they don’t say what they are thinking or disagree with other peers.  WHY?   Because they want to be liked with 1 in 3 girls being afraid to be a leader because they don’t want others to think they are bossy.

#2 30% of the girls with the highest grade point averages (4.0 or above),  don’t think they’re smart enough for their dream careers. Despite their high academic achievements, they are still filled with confidence issues.

#3 Girls who spend the most time using technology (8 hrs./day) are 5x more likely to be sad or depressed nearly every day compared to the girls who spend four or fewer hours.  If this isn’t a reason to restrict technology time, I don’t know what is.  Technology and social media greatly impact girls’ relationships, achievement, confidence, mood and school engagement.

#4 By high school, sexting is common and prevalent with 2 out of 3 girls reporting by 12th grade they have been asked to send a sexually explicit photo to another person.  I am so grateful cell phones weren’t popular when my daughter was growing up.

#5  Girls who have strong and trusting friendships with other girls fare better and report significantly lower levels of sadness and depression.

ROX concluded “girls who have strong and trusting friendships fare better, it is crucial girls receive the opportunities and tools they need to forge the positive friendships which safeguard their emotions and experiences.

This study shakes me to my core.  I grew up lacking confidence.  I had friends but not the kind of strong trusting friendships which helped me to battle sadness and depression.  Those emotions and experiences traveled with me through my college years straight through to my years of addiction.  My goal was for my daughter’s life to be different.  She was blessed to have one or two strong, trusting friendships growing up yet on the inside she lacked confidence despite the outward strong appearance.

The bottom line is we as parents, teachers and coaches are missing out on at least half of what girls think, know and believe.  YIKES!  We are losing the creativity, contributions and impact these young girls can make on the world.

As these studies become public, as awareness grows, we have an obligation to do better and a responsibility to make the world a place where girls can feel confident and capable.

Thirty-One Gifts proudly partner with ROX to provide girls with opportunities to talk candidly and openly about their experiences, while arming them with tools to positively and safely use social media, navigate relationships and manage pressure to ultimately develop a positive self-concept. Learn more about ROX, including ways you can get involved, at rulingourexperiences.com.

Share some of the products from Thirty One’s URU collection.  The Be the Give! Littles Carry-All Caddy comes with a special message “Love who you were born to be”.   A great way to encourage and celebrate the young girl in your life for Valentine’s Day or Easter or just as a “thinking of you” gift.  It is also the perfect solution for organizing the little things in your life. From office supplies to eating utensils and cosmetics, this caddy helps keep your life in order by keeping everything right at your fingertips. Great for gifts, small toys, crafts, office desks and candy.

Won’t you help to make a difference in the live of a young girl?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Blogging

How It All Began

I has been 4 years… four years of blogging daily sharing my strengths, hopes and experiences.  Sometimes I wonder if I should continue.  Sometimes I wonder if anyone would notice.  Then I think back to what started it all and the response I got from the first post.

This is my first blog post from March, 2013.  Thank you Vanessa Coppes for encouraging me to not only share my story but to start writing again.  I know in my heart, I make a difference to at least one person each day with what I write.

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 coping skills to help deal with the bullying from school mates. Bear with me as I share some background information..

As 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 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.

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 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.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!