Relax, Reflect, Recharge

Happy Easter 2019

EASTER cross

“For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him.”  

On this day, let’s remember the true meaning of Easter as we visit with family and friends.  Treasure the moments for the days go by quickly, loved ones are gone and kids grow up.  Today holds so many mixed feelings for me…..

Growing up, I used to go to my grandparents while my parents and aunts went to sunrise service on the beach.  Then home to get ready for church.  Totally new outfits to wear to church.  Sometimes even a trip to the Boardwalk for the Easter Parade in Asbury Park.  Then back to my grandparents for a traditional Easter dinner with the whole family.  Easter baskets overflowing with candy from the “Carmel Shop” and “Old Monmouth”.  Happy memories of my childhood.

Fast forward (many years) to having my own home with my daughter, Belinda.  Easter took on a different meaning.   Gone were the tradition of church.  For the first 3 Easters, I was still in my addiction so it was dinner with family and an Easter basket for Belinda.  When I entered recovery, things changed slightly – I had a relationship with God but still did not have a church.  As Belinda got a little older, we did Easter baskets but they were filled with toys and games because she didn’t like chocolate.  I know can you believe it!  She did like white chocolate but only in small amounts.  And of course “stale” marshmallow peeps.  It was a treasure hunt to find the basket with clues left in Easter eggs throughout the house.  I can still remember the squeals of excitement as she found the basket.  I even remember making her Easter outfits (I know she hates this picture but I think it is cute!) and heading to Atlantic City for the Easter parade.  Dinners were a little smaller but family was still together.

Now, as the miles stretch between us, we each celebrate Easter with our extended family.  Gone are the Easter baskets filled with candy.  Gone is the traditional family Easter dinner.  There will be loved ones in heaven celebrating together while those of us left behind still struggle with making new traditions.  The true meaning of Easter begins to shine through…

After relapsing and returning to recovery, my relationship with God has grown a little stronger.  I am grateful he loved me enough to sacrifice his son for my sins.  Today, I will count my blessings and treasure the memories I can remember.  I miss the traditional family holidays (what little I can remember) but am learning to create new memories with each passing day.

Share your Easter memories with us.  Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Clear the Clutter

Throwback Thursday: Spring Cleaning the Closest!

When it doubt what to post, I always go back to the first year I started blogging – 2013.  I can’t believe how long it has been.  The timing for this post is perfect given the crazy weather we have been having in Jersey….. well everywhere.  

Over the last few days, I have begun to do some spring cleaning – my first stop is always my closet.  (Honestly, mine isn’t this bad but it is getting there.)  A chance to put away the heavy sweaters, pull out my capri pants, flip flops and short sleeve shirts.  Okay, so the weather may still be a little cool, down right cold,  but to me – spring is here!  

While doing this, I came upon some things I bought and still had the price tag on them.
(5 years later and this is still the case!)  You know – the perfect sale, something which seemed right at the time or the never ending impulse buying.  So, I have a Closet Filled with  (some) Regrets.  I saw an article the other day which made me stop and think about what is in my closet, the opener said – 

Only about 20% of clothes in the average person’s closet are worn on a regular basis, says Ginny Snook Scott, chief design officer of California Closets, the designer of customized closets and storage spaces. That’s especially the case for women since “men tend to wear more of their wardrobe, as they stereotypically have less,” she says. “They tend to have less than 10 pairs of shoes that they rotate fairly well, whereas women have four to five times that amount, on average.”

WOW!  This made me take a look at my closet again.  What were the things I wore on a regular basis?  I am a jeans girl all the way in the winter so why do I insist on buying skirts/dresses which never seem to make it out of the closet?  Since I am still on my weight loss journey, (at doctor’s goal but still looking to go lower) I have not been buying as many clothes – holding out for milestones in my journey to treat myself to something new. The St. Paul’s Church Rummage Sale is coming up in May so as I clean out my closet, I add to the pile of things to be donated.  My impulse shopping may be just the right thing for someone else.  What will you do with the “regrets” in your closet?  Do you have a favorite charity to donate to or is there something else you do with them?

I saw a tip somewhere on a blog or Facebook, I can’t remember which which someone shared which I think is going to be my new rule of thumb:


My grandmother always says you should wear something once for every dollar you spend on it. I thought it was silly the first time I heard it, but now I find myself holding up items and thinking “Will I really wear this 25 times?” It definitely helps my impulse buys! G-E-N-I-U-S! 

What tactics do you use to avoid purchase regrets?  

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Relax, Reflect, Recharge

Happy Easter 2018

EASTER cross

“For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him.”  

On this day, let’s remember the true meaning of Easter as we visit with family and friends.  Treasure the moments for the days go by quickly, loved ones are gone and kids grow up.  This day holds so many mixed feelings for me…..

Growing up going to my grandparents while my parents and aunts went to sunrise service on the beach.  Then home to get ready for church.  Totally new outfits to wear to church.  Sometimes even a trip to the Boardwalk for the Easter Parade in Asbury Park.  Then back to my grandparents for a traditional Easter dinner with the whole family.  Easter baskets overflowing with candy from the “Carmel Shop” and “Old Monmouth”.  Happy memories of my childhood.

Fast forward (many years) to having my own home with my daughter, Belinda.  Easter took on a different meaning.  As an infant, I had lost touch with God, feeling like I didn’t deserve his unconditional love.  Easter was still about dinner with family but gone were the traditions of church and the Easter parade.  When I entered recovery, things changed ever so slightly – now I was entering into a relationship with God but still did not have a church.  As Belinda got a little older, we did Easter baskets but they were filled with toys and games because she didn’t like chocolate.  I know can you believe it!  She did like white chocolate but only in small amounts.  And of course “stale” marshmallow peeps.  It was a treasure hunt to find the basket with clues left in Easter eggs throughout the house.  I can still remember the squeals of excitement as she found the basket.  I even remember making her Easter outfits and heading to Atlantic City for the traditional Easter parade.  Dinners were a little smaller but family was still together.

Now, as the miles stretch between us, we each celebrate Easter with our extended family.  Gone are the Easter baskets filled with candy.  Gone is the traditional family Easter dinner.  There will be loved ones in heaven celebrating together while those of us left behind still struggle with making new traditions.  The true meaning of Easter begins to shine through…

My relationship with God has grown and I am grateful he loved me enough to sacrifice his son for my sins.  Today, I will head to church then hubby and I will head to Atlantic City to have brunch with mom and my step dad.  I miss those traditional family holidays (those I remember) but am learning to create new memories with each passing day.

Share your Easter memories with us.  Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Budgeting

Clothes Shopping on a Budget

Today, I am excited to be helping out at St. Paul’s UMC Rummage Sale.  This annual event is HUGE.  People stand in line just to get in the door and grab some deals.  WHY?  Seasons are changing – finally.  Warmer weather is coming and we can always use something new (at least to us)

You know the saying “one woman’s junk is another woman’s treasure”, right? I will admit, clothes shopping is not something I really enjoy. Yes, I have lost most of the weight so I can shop off the racks BUT I still see the “fat” person of yester year.

Growing up, we didn’t shop in thrift stores. In fact, I am not even sure they were around in the 60’s and 70’s. I do remember donating items to those who were less fortunate but I don’t think I ever saw where they ended up.

As a single mom, thrift stores were a fun place to go – not just for me but also for my daughter. We checked out rummage sales at the local churches and scoured the thrift stores for goodies. From toys to books to kitchen stuff to clothes. We always found some treasure which would make the day a success.

There are two sides to most thrift stores – you get to help out a charity by donating and then again when buying from them. You get to make a difference in the lives of others. When donating items you no longer need or want the charity is then able to sell it to someone who needs or wants the item. The money raised helps others in need with food or other essentials. A win-win for everyone.

Let me say, I do know there are some “not so good” charities or thrift stores.  The ones who sell items to feed the pockets of their administration staff or some corporate big wig.  I am not talking about those because honestly, the best deals are not usually found at those “stores”.  I am talking about the local church rummage sales or the thrift store whose money goes directly to help those in need.

Here are some myths about thrift store shopping we are going to BUST!

Myth #1: It is shameful to go into a thrift shop.

Remember you are giving to a great cause and getting yourself a bargain at the same time. The items you are getting aren’t dirty but have been carefully sorted. Give your items a quick wash once you’ve bought them and they will be just like new. I even think for a period of time, this was the preferred way to shop.

Myth #2: Sometimes thrift shops can be considered ‘expensive’

I know, kind of crazy, right? The truth is everything is not “cheap” – a dollar or two. Things will be cheaper then buying brand new but there are those occasions when they could be a little bit more expensive than what you expected. Thrift store employees know value too. Their goal is to offer items at a reasonable price while helping raise funds for their cause. So, the designer dress may be cheaper than a brand new one but it is not going to be given away for just a few dollars.

Myth #3: You should just stick to one thrift store

The truth is frequenting the same thrift store on a regular basis is good. Don’t limit yourself to just one – find your favorites and stick with them. How else are you going to bag yourself some amazing bargains? Check in once a week to see what they have new. Every once in awhile, mom and I will spend the day exploring some new thrift stores. We meet some great people, and get some bargains.

Myth #4: You can’t try the stuff on!

Yes, you can actually try the clothes on in most. Don’t see a dressing room, ask if they have one. If they don’t, ask what their return policy is so you can try it on at home and return it if it doesn’t fit. Don’t be afraid to ask!

Just like shopping at the mall. the most important part of all this is to have fun. Thrift store shopping isn’t grimy or dirty. It’s a fun thing to do while grabbing bargains at the same time.

Remember to keep to your budget. It can be just as easy over-shopping in a thrift store as it is at the mall. The idea is to keep within a budget, when the purse strings are a little tight. Don’t go overboard otherwise you’ll defeat the objective of thrift shopping!

Heading out for a day of shopping.  Grab your Thirty One Large Utility Tote to keep all of your treasures in.  You’ll be amazed at how much this classic tote can hold. The structured metal frame keeps it open for bulky items and provides strength for durability. Use it to keep your closet in order, carry toys or groceries while you’re on the go, haul camping gear and so much more. It even collapses for easy storage!  The best part is they are on sale this month!

Let me know what you think about second hand shopping. Share some of your favorite places with us.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Unclutter Your Life

Throwback Thursday: Dream Big

I was scrolling through old blog posts for inspiration.  Sometimes I get stuck – wondering what to write about or if any one would notice if I recycled an old post then SMACK, I remember I would would know the difference.  Sometimes an old post pertains to what is happening now in my life so it could stand another look…

Back in 2014, St. Pauls’ UMC did a church-wide study during Lent called “Daring to Dream”.  Back then, I was in the midst of letting fear keep me from letting my dreams soar.  Funny, I am back in the same spot and I am not even sure why.

On Easter Sunday, Pastor gave a sermon entitled “Dream Busters – Dream Builders” which in a nutshell was about faith, hope and the love of Christ which enables us to fly on the wings of God’s dreams for us.  I looked back at my notes from the sermon and at the book we were reading and it was yet another wake up call for me.  I say it a lot but God is always working in my life, allowing me glimpses of what he has in store for me.   Yes, I get scared but not scared enough to keep me from reaching for those dreams. Sometimes it is just enough fear to keep me focused and working towards his dreams for me.Here are the three dream busters which keep us from reaching our full potential:

  1. Yesterday’s failures. I know I am not alone in allowing the shackles of guilt and shame to continue to bind me. Of course, not as often as they used to but guilt about past mistakes do continue to haunt me.  I rehash the mistake over and over until I finally turn it over to God and let it go.  Sound familiar?
  2. Today’s frustration.  Are my personal expectations too high? YES! Do I compare myself to others (personally and professionally)? YES!  Perfect Polly creeps in on occasion and convinces me if I’m not “perfect”, I will never achieve my dreams. WRONG! It is NOT about perfection, it is about the journey. One of my favorite mantras.
  3. Tomorrow fears. Some days, I don’t even know what I am fearful of – fear of success, fear of not measuring up, fear of disappointing others or fear of failing?  Or is fear just an excuse for not trying?

Once we know what is busting our dreams, when can figure out how to change the dream busters into dream builders?

  1. Doubts dispelled. I need to remind myself daily with God all things are possible. Remember the mustard seed? I keep a mustard seed jar close (a gift from my Director) to remind me of this message.  Because as long as you have a small amount of faith, things are possible.
  2. Despair dispersed with confidence and hope.  I never realized what a control person I was until someone called me on it.  Let Go and Let God because he alone can provide for our needs.  Really?  It goes back to faith as small as a mustard seed.  Be confident God will provide for our needs.  He will also be there to wrap his arms around us and give us hope when we feel weak.
  3. Security of Love. Have you ever doubted God’s love?  Be honest!  I know in my darkest days, I wondered how he could possible love me.  The truth is God’s love has lifted me up from the depths of addiction along with my sometimes shady past and he continues to love me on a daily basis.

Are these some of the barriers holding you back from dreaming BIG? I have found as long as I open my heart to God and his love, I am able to DARE to DREAM.  Pause for a moment and think about your dream.  Picture it.  Feel the feelings you would have if you reached it.  Haven’t dreamed in a long time?  It may take some practice but be still and listen to your heart.

What are your barriers to dreaming big? Share them with us…

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!