Family

Giving Thanks on Thanksgiving

Today is going to be a day filled with lots of emotions…as usual, I will be spending a lot of time crying.   Tears of gratitude for the blessings of this year mixed with tears of sadness.

This is the first Thanksgiving without my dad.  Since Belinda was a baby, we locked in two holidays which we always spent with dad, Father’s Day and Thanksgiving.  We will be spending the day with my step-mom and extended family but it will be a struggle.  Belinda is in NC celebrating Thanksgiving with her in-laws.  As I watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade, I struggle with memories of past years filled with high school football games, homecoming floats, dinner at Grams with the entire family.

Today I am counting my blessings….  Blessed to have a supportive hubby. I am grateful we will enjoy Thanksgiving together.  I am grateful my family is healthy. The year has been filled with many trials.. I am listening to Laura Story’s song…

Thirty One continues to bless my life. Who would have thought 6 plus years ago, a $99 kit would make such a difference?  A growing business with an amazing team of women who continue to inspire me with their strength and friendship.  An income which allows me to still earn an income despite the challenges of MS.  A multitude of women who have gone from customers and hostesses to friends.  The greatest blessing is the ability to share with those who are struggling by giving back to our community.

Words can’t express how grateful I am today and every day. My wish is each of you have a blessed Thanksgiving – enjoy the time with your friends and family. Cherish the moments for all the years to come.

A Thanksgiving Prayer by Gwen Smith…

Dear Lord:

We come with hearts of gratitude today to bless Your name and to ask that Your hand of blessing would be upon us. THANK YOU, Father, for loving us with an eternal love that stands firm, even when we are unlovable. THANK YOU for being faithful, righteous, holy and just, yet willing to see us, Your children, through divine eyes of compassion, mercy, forgiveness and grace. THANK YOU for being a God of restoration and renewal in the midst of a broken, pain-filled world. THANK YOU for providing for our needs, directing our paths, and establishing our steps.

We acknowledge Your sovereignty, Lord, and freshly submit to Your will today. We ask Your BLESSING and GUIDANCE over our children, grandchildren, marriages, families, and loved ones. We ask Your BLESSING and GUIDANCE over our country, president, governors, senators, representatives, and local officials. We ask Your BLESSING and GUIDANCE over our communities, churches, schools, work places, decisions, and opportunities. Please FILL US with the presence of Your joy, peace, patience, goodness, gentleness, and self control today. HELP US to see as You see and to love as You love. HELP US to serve others humbly for the sake of Your name. HELP US to be light that shines in the darkness. HELP US to follow Your ways and continually seek Your leading.

You are our hope and our strength, Lord. We give you THANKS in all of this and ask for the fullness of Your BLESSING in all these things, according to the power of Jesus Christ who is at work within us through Your Holy Spirit.

Amen

Have a ThirtyOne-derful Thanksgiving!

Relax, Reflect, Recharge

As a Child in the Presence of a Loving Father

Today we lay my dad to rest.  We will gather together as a family to say good-by again as your ashes are buried.  I can’t believe it has been almost seven months since I heard your voice.  I know you are near every time I hear talk about the “aliens”.  Miss you dad….

Thank you Michele Cushatt for today’s message.

The second the bus stopped at the corner, my little girl climbed off and ran as fast as she could toward where I stood.
Something wasn’t right. She was crying.
Immediately my mind jumped to worst-case scenarios.

Not quite so dramatic, someone told her they didn’t like her anymore. In typical grade-school fashion, the mood of the relationship had turned sour on the playground. As a result, my girl fell out of the other girl’s affection.

There on the street corner, I held her close while she cried. I was glad she told me. But what made me most proud is what she said next: “When we get home, can we cuddle?”

For years I’ve been working with my girl to learn how to ask for what she needs. It’s hard for her, tough girl that she is. Typically she either guts it out or reverts to theatrics. Instead, we’ve discussed how to use words to communicate needs.

That day, on the street corner, she did just that.

If only I could learn to do the same.

Most days I’m glad to be an adult. I mean, really. Who wants to travel back to the days of diapers or pimples?

When I’m hurt or discouraged or afraid, however, my adult skin wears thin.

When bills demand paying and parenting proves impossible. When marriage is hard, friendships struggle, and doctor’s appointments fill a calendar.

Then I wish to travel back in time, when a girl’s greatest fears could be soothed in a mama’s arms. Held close, all was well. To a child, there’s nothing greater than a parent’s ability to comfort.

But comfort doesn’t come so easily to us grownups.

Where do you and I go when relationships wound and the injustice of life stings?

We adults carry such responsibility, don’t we? Such blunt knowledge of the unfairness and volatility of this life. Even if we avoid news and media, fear and pain still have a way of finding us. We can’t escape them.

Ourselves, more often than not. We either erect a false front of strength or cave in to a pattern of complaining. But neither brings much relief.

There’s a better way.

The Bible is rich with examples of men who voiced their needs and asked God for His comfort.

Even better, the Bible nearly explodes with examples of God’s corresponding tireless affection. At times He comforted those He loved through their circumstances, and other times He comforted them in their circumstances:

– To the leader Joshua, overwhelmed by his new task: “Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged” (Josh. 1:9).

– To the Israelites enslaved by ruthless Egyptians: “I am concerned about their suffering” (Ex. 3:7).

– To the widow who’d lost her only son: “Don’t cry” (Luke7:13).

– To the adulteress caught in her shameful sin: “Neither do I 
condemn you” (John 8:11).

– To the blind man longing to see: “Receive your sight; your faithhas healed you” (Luke 18:42).

– To the disciples, who ached because their friend would be leaving them, Jesus said: “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matt. 28:20).

– And to those of us who wade through the deep waters of this modern life, longing for a world we’ve heard about but have not yet seen, Jesus promises: “I am going there to prepare a place for you” (John 14:2).

Regardless of your pain—whether physical, emotional, or spiritual— you don’t have to pretend to be strong, nor do you need to succumb to your tears. Become a child in the presence of a comforting Father.

Don’t be afraid to expose your need and ask God for comfort.

Then, count on Him to deliver.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Gives Program

3rd Annual Chemo Care Totes Campaign

When I began my journey with Thirty One in 2011, my goal was to make a difference.  My spiritual gifts as “helps and encouragement” so I want to continue to do just that!

Today is the kickoff of my “3rd Annual CHEMO CARES TOTES” Campaign. 

Here is the message I received from last year’s recipients:

Wanted to let you know I have handed out all of the beautiful bags you had donated for women battling breast cancer. Each person loved the bag and it put a smile on their face to know someone was kind and providing a sense of support as they started their chemotherapy treatments. Thank you again for supporting our patients.

Yes, I cried!… Now, I get goosebumps every time I read this.  Cancer has touched each of us in someone way – a friend, a family member, a sister, a mother, a father, a child, and the list goes on.

This project is near and dear to my heart.  It is a tribute to my family who fought a good fight against this dreaded disease and lost: Edythe (kidney cancer), Elsie (breast cancer), Pop-pop (lung cancer) and the most recent angel, my dad (prostrate cancer). I spent many hours in the Oncology Units with Elsie and Edythe as they underwent chemo treatments.  I held their hand when they struggled with the insertion of the needles in their pic line.  I was there when they were sick from the chemo and sat by their bedside when they were too weak to go out.  As a friend said #cancersucks.  It takes many from us long before their time.  It ravages families.  It leaves children parentless.  It has parents burying children way to soon.

Recently due to my own health struggles, I have spent many hours in the infusion units of the local hospitals.  I am blessed to only have to be there a short time – time for blood work and special testing.  The many women I have seen are not there for a one time visit, they are there for weeks of painful treatments.  They smile and carry on conversations  while encouraging each other.  My heart breaks and the tears come each time I leave the unit for I know what their struggles are like.

Your gift/ sponsorship of $25 will pay for the bag and I will use 100% of my commission to fill them with a variety of things like a blanket/scarf, notepad, pen, bottle of water, lotion, warm socks, chap stick and crossword puzzle book. Donations will again be delivered to the local Cancer Care Center to bring a smile to the face of those who are fighting this dreadful disease.

chemo bagsLast year, we delivered 31 bags to Southern Ocean Medical Center. This year, my goal is again 31 BUT I would love to make it 50.  I know it is a HUGE jump but I am confident we are up for the challenge. So, who is with me? For $25 you can bring a smile to someone who is fighting the cancer battle.

You can sponsor a bag in memory of someone, in honor of someone or just anonymously. Payments can be made via check or through Paypal at hopesgiftcloset@@comcast.net as a friend/family. I can also accept credit card payments directly.

Won’t you help to make a difference today?

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.

Family

A Tribute to Dad!

Today will be a rough day…. we say good bye to my Dad, Robert Milfred Heldreth (aka Milfred Lee or Bob).  I’ve gone back and forth trying to decide what to write.  I have decided to be true to sharing my strengths, hopes and experiences with my readers.

Dad was born in El Monte, CA, as Milfred Lee Heldreth (otherwise known as Bob) where he joined the Army when he was 15.  Of course he had to change his birth certificate so he could serve his country. He served for 7 years and was a member of A Troop 66th Squadron 6th Regiment serving in Dergendorf, Germany for two years.  Dad told this story often but the reality hit when we found the “corrected” discharge papers from the Army.

He loved working with his hands and held a variety of jobs – a real “jack of all trades”. He was always building something.  He changed our garage into a family room.  He built a deck off the house.  He even built a trailer which we used when we traveled cross country.  And then there was the endless hours spent working on cars.  He bought my first car and spray painted it blue for me.  I was not initially happy with it because it was a stick shift BUT I learned to love it.  He taught me how to change a tire, and check my oil so when Belinda got her license they were things I taught her before she could go out on her own driving.  His garage and his tools are a true testament to his love of fixing things. Dad’s jobs came with perks…. being the manager of the Monmouth Bottle Shop got us a trip to Acapulco when I was 13 years old.

He was a ham radio operator with the call letters WA2IAE. He loved connecting with people all across the world and being able to help others. Many of my school projects were done with the help of dad’s connections.  Postcards and items from across the country were always good for bonus points.

Dad was loving and kind, nonjudgmental and accepting. Yes, there were tough times with  years of anger and hurt when my parents divorced.  Dad was not perfect.  He admitted his faults, and even with memories of bad times, I forgave him.  No matter how bad a situation was, he always found the silver lining and worked through it.

Dad loved to tell stories which always left us wondering if they were true or just a tall tale.  Did he really eat bugs as a kid growing up?  He shared many stories with my daughter who as a child was always ready to share them with her classmates.  Of course, the teachers sometimes wondered if they were true too.He leaves a legacy filled with memories for his family and friends. Dad liked to cook especially on the grill.  Didn’t matter if there was snow or rain, he found a way to grill.  He was best known for his mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving – no lumps.  Despite our best efforts, none of us have ever gotten the hang to it.  Then there were his potato pancakes made with the left over mashed potatoes.  Mom and dad actually served breakfast to the entire Junior Class of OTHS after the Prom in 1974.  Yes, the entire class.

He was a Past Master of Asbury Lodge #142 F&AM, a Past Patron of Neptune Chapter #214 and a past member of the Advisory Board for Iris Assembly #31, Order of the Rainbow for Girls.

Dad taught me many lessons which have helped to mold me into the person I am today.  I love you dad!