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!

Hope Wissel

60 Is Just a Number

Another milestone….. yes, believe it or not, today is my 60th birthday!  Do I feel 60? Nope!  Okay, well some days.  Today is going to be a day of reflection and probably some tears. I am blessed to celebrate waking up this morning.  No matter what the day may bring, I know it will be WONDERFUL!  I’m determined to be positive and make the most of it.  I’m excited I get to spend the day with my mom.

Birthdays are milestones in our lives.  As children, they are a day (or sometimes a week or even a month) where the focus is on us.  Filled with presents, parties, family, friends and of course cake and ice cream.  As the years go by, life “happens” and things change.

The past year has been filled with ups and downs.  Ongoing health challenges, giving up my JOB to work my business full-time, more memory loss and most recently the loss of my dad.  Through it all I believe every day is a gift from God with a blessing to be found.

Truth be told for many years “birthdays” were just another day when low self-esteem and lack of confidence and those nasty inner gremlins made me feel like I didn’t deserve a celebration. I have always been great at giving but I’m not very good at receiving.  Today, I am looking at them a little differently – have I grown up?  Don’t count on it!  My dad was all about living life to the fullest and his passing is probably one of the reasons why TODAY is the day I stop saying “it is just another day”.   Today is a gift from God  to be able to spend another day with family and friends.  The celebration doesn’t need to be big, it doesn’t need to have lots of presents (maybe just one or two)

As a child, one of my favorite celebrations was the annual trip to New York City to see the Ringling Brothers and Barnum Bailey Circus. This annual tradition was a treat from Edythe and Elsie. It included the circus and dinner in NY. I always felt so grown up! Both of them are now our guardians angels in heaven and the circus performed for the last time last month.

I have to admit the tears are starting to flow, tears of joy mixed with some sadness:

  • I grateful for my daughter, Belinda.  She has grown into an AMAZING woman who I am proud to call my friend.  Life was not always easy but she turned adversity into a learning lesson.  God could not have given me a greater gift then to be her mom.
  • To my mom….thank you for always being there.  We are not just mother and daughter, but we are friends.  The miles may separate us but I know you are only a phone call away or a short drive to Mays Landing.  You are always one of my biggest cheerleaders.
  • To my dad….who is now watching over me from heaven.  It was a rough year but through it all, you encouraged and supported me.  You taught me to embrace life, living it to the fullest every day and to chose JOY, even on a bad day so everything will be okay. I miss you daddy!
  • To my bestie, Stephanie. Who would have thought when our daughters met in pre-school, became best friends – we would be besties?  I am so blessed to have you in my life.  We have been through good times and bad but through it all, we were there to support and encourage each other.
  • To my Thirty One family.  An amazing group of women who have loved and supported me in my darkest days.  My team is AWESOME and they inspire me daily.  My hostesses and customers are so much more than just “orders”, building friendships with many of them.   They all hold a special place in my heart.  It is with their help and support I am able to work my business full-time.
  • Lastly, to my hubby (who probably won’t read this)…who is my ROCK!  I know I am not the easiest to live with (imagine that?) but you are always there, standing strong and supporting me.  Your support and encouragement in my Thirty One “business” gives me the confidence to step out of my comfort zone. Thank you for being one of my greatest cheerleaders.

There are many more people I could (and probably should) thank or talk about from this year.  It has been an AMAZING journey for me and I am looking forward to the blessings God has for me in this new year.  I can’t believe I am actually 60 years old – okay, so it is only a number, right?

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Hope you have ThirtyOne-derful day!

Family

Happy Birthday Mom!

mom1I’m super excited I get to spend the day with mom… the first time in many years we have actually spent the day together on her birthday.  Yup, today is mom’s birthday.  Not to worry, I tell how old you are because honestly, no one would believe me.

Despite the memory gaps as a result of the MS, I actually have some memories of life with mom.

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I will admit I was a spoiled only child.  I could be difficult at times – like when I refused to move to our new house during middle school.  I actually thought it was my mother’s plot to ruin my life.

Despite the heartache and headaches I gave my parents growing up, Mom was always there. She opened our home to my friends without giving it a second thought.  Ours was the house to go to after a basketball game or when there was no place else to go. The house was always stocked with snacks whether I brought 2, 10, 25 or more people.  I was not always thrilled but I was grateful. After my Junior Prom, my parents made breakfast for over 300 kids. Yes, the parade of non-stop kids through the house was a little more than this teenager was ready for but mom stood strong.  Dad cooking, mom cleaning up and making sure everyone was fed.

My college years brought some struggles. Freshman year, my parents divorced and it wasn’t easy. I was in Rhode Island while mom was home holding down the fort. Scrimping pennies to make sure I had a home to come back to. They were tough years but we had fun. She often traveled to Rhode Island for a weekend where we toured the mansions of Newport, shopped in Fall River and she even camped out in my dorm room. After college, when I moved home to work locally, I moved in with mom. We spent endless nights walking the boardwalk in Ocean Grove.

Fast forward to changing jobs and moving to Atlantic County.  The road got a little rough.  Most struggle during their teen years but our struggles came in my late 20’s and 30’s.  It was during these years, my addiction took hold.  I pulled away and mom practiced some tough love but our relationship survived the test. Then along came Belinda.  There were struggles but through it all – mom was there. She helped emotionally, financially and physically. Despite some differences and hiccups in the road – she was there.

When Belinda left for college and I moved to Brick, it was a rough time for both of us. Lives changed – I had a new hubby and the one hour drive to Mays Landing sometimes feels like an eternity. We don’t spend as much time together as I would like but we do try to plan at least once a month mom and me day.

I probably don’t say it a lot and I am sure at times she wonders what I am thinking but the truth is I learned ALOT from my mom. She taught me: how to be strong when life is rough, how to save and budget (okay, a lesson I still struggle with), the importance of family and about being a mom. She reminds me to believe in myself.  She encourages me to reach for my dreams.  I can honestly say my mom is one of my best friends.xmas-2016-2

Thank you for all you have done and continue to do. Thank you for always being there for me. I love you! I hope you 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

Gives Program

Operation Zipper Pouch

USA Hero

May is Military Appreciate Month.  I want to THANK our Vets for all that they have done and do for us every day. I want to show those who have come home after serving our country and have been forgotten that we appreciate their sacrifices for us.

When was the last time that you thanked a service man or woman?  Bought them a cup of coffee for no reason.  For me despite the fact that I “heard” the stories from my dad and step-dad about their time serving our country, it never really clicked.  I never really thought about how it directly affected me.

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Then came “Operation Freedom” some 15 years ago.  This is when the commitment of our military men and women and their families HIT HOME! My best friend’s husband, Bill, was deployed for what they said would be 30 days. There were the 3 boys – Sean, Ryan and Shane as well as Jen who were all in school, active in various activities and not really understanding what would be dad’s first deployment. The days leading up to Bill’s deployment were filled with lots of paperwork – wills, living wills, etc. The weeks after Bill left were full of emotions – tears, anger, frustration – it was just too hard for the kids to understand that dad wouldn’t be home for awhile. A 30 day deployment turned into 6 months. Tough times for everyone – financially and emotionally.

When Bill returned home, there were struggles.  Not just financially but emotionally for everyone.  There would develop a new sense of normal in the house.  It was then that I realized what the battle scars of war were all about –   the toughest was the emotional toll which leaves a permanent mark.  On the outside, all may be well but on the inside they carry memories that will haunt them forever.

a million thanks

Over the last five years, with the help of my family, friends, customers and hostesses, I have been blessed to make donations to various causes near and dear to my heart.  So, I am again asking for your help to make a difference in the lives of the men and women who have protected our freedoms.

For just $25 you can sponsor a personalized Zipper Pouch. I will use 100% of my commission to fill them with candy, trail mix, gum, crossword puzzle book, a thank you card and a small American flag. My goal is 31 zipper pouches sponsored by April 28th.  The bags will be stuffed and delivered to a local program that works with Veterans and their family.   Payments can be sent via Paypal to hopesgiftcloset@comcast.net – you don’t need to have a Paypal account to do this.  If you want, I can invoice you, it that is easier.

So, who is with me? For $25 you can bring a smile to the face of one of our honored Veterans.

If you see someone in the military – stop and thank them, let them know that you appreciate what they are doing for this country.  Remember to STOP and say a prayer asking for the safety of our men and women near and far who serve this country.  Won’t you help to make a difference today?

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Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!