Who do you want to be in the New Year?

new-year-resolutionsA new year is upon us and with it, a chance to renew.  Many of us are getting ready to make resolutions to change something about our lives in the new year. The top resolutions for me were always losing weight, eating healthy and getting more organized. As good as my intentions are, by mid-March I usually forget the resolutions and don’t think about them again till years end (or bathing suit season-ugh) only to promise myself, “this will be the year I achieve these goals!”.

01smarter-resolutions-facebookJumboNew Year is a chance to start fresh, so this year I am going to try something different and start the year off right with small, manageable changes to my lifestyle. Seriously, who is this person I believe I will become if I finally organize my house, lose the 40 lbs., join a gym, etc.? These are my LIFE goals and daily struggles not my New Year’s resolutions.  So, I started to ask myself, “Who do you actually want to become within this new year?” And the answer is an impactful positive influencer who is giving and gracious.

newyearresolutions2016-1200x630Here is my plan for achieving my resolutions. I am going to practice gratitude by taking time to notice and reflect upon all things I am thankful for.  I will start prioritizing the people that matter most in my life and make more time for them. I plan to remember important dates, be present in the moment, promote positivity by showing others small tokens of appreciation, practice daily acts of kindness, affect change by inspiring others and I will learn to be kind to myself. Whew!

Sixty-and-Me-6-New-Years-Resolution-Ideas-for-Amazing-Women-Over-60Now that I have my plan, I can think of ways to achieve my goals. Volunteering will always be a huge part of my life and can be as big or small a commitment as time allows, but it’s always time worth spending. By donating your time, energy, and money to others, you’re practicing selflessness and kindness. Please consider volunteering for a cause close to your heart at least once a year.  Helping others can improve your well-being and give you a great sense of fulfillment. There is no greater gift than helping others. You’re not just making a positive impact—you’re being positively impacted, too.

new-years-day-open-houseIf you are looking for ways to help others this year and do not have time to volunteer, one of the easiest things you can do is to donate your clothes instead of throwing them out. Donating things that you do not use or have in excess can help many that are homeless, fire victims and in a financial crisis right in your own neighborhood.

960x0Also, make your spare change count. Save up coins and then donate them to a good cause once you’ve accumulated a sizable amount. Our Girl Talk chapter saves our change and donates the funds to children in our school’s lunch accounts. Another suggestion is spending time with the elderly, or helping the disabled or underprivileged. Help combat loneliness by spending an hour a week with someone who needs a friend. We all have a special skill or ability. Share your talents and offer your skills to a non-profit that could benefit from your help.

newyear2018_25As I work on my plan, I hope you will think of your own and how you can improve someone else’s life and make the world a better place. By helping others, being kind and spreading love to those around you, the world would be a much happier place. Happy New Year!

 

~MB

Queen of Wishful Thinkin

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Will YOU Give Back this Holiday Season?

joyThis is one of my favorite times of the year, it is not the weather I like (I prefer the sun and beach), but it’s the season of giving I adore.  Although giving back is a great thing to do all year round, everyone seems a little more generous and charitable as the holidays draw near. Our country has been through so much with recent devastation to millions of families from hurricanes, flooding, wildfires, and other disasters, now is a great time to help.

5a1ddc36ca37b.image.jpgIt is easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle that the season brings. The endless commercials and advertisements combined with the pressures to shop, bake, decorate and wrap overshadow the true meaning of the holiday and can turn anyone into a Grinch. But take a second to stop and breathe. Count your blessings- your family, your friends, your job, and all that you have to celebrate. Just things we take for granted. Many people in our community do not have it as lucky as we do-and YES, even in our town.

give_6152c.jpgOne of the best things I believe you can do is teach your children that the holiday season isn’t just about getting gifts. Start some new holiday traditions by engaging your family in community service projects. Spend one day thinking of others and to help spread your holiday cheer to more than just your family. Donate some non-perishable foods to help community members facing food insecurity during the holiday season. No matter your income level, you can find time to donate to others.  Find ways to practice kindness, a kind word or smile to a homeless person, serving others during the holidays, drawing a picture, writing a note, or comforting a friend or family member does not cost a thing but will be priceless.5a1cb02a75e46

Enjoying the little things, special moments, and the people in your life is a great way to celebrate the holiday season. But there’s nothing like the warm and fuzzy feeling you get from making someone else happy, and that taps into the true meaning of the holiday season.

If you would like some ideas to help local families this holiday season, please reach out to me at GirlTalkMarlton@gmail.com

Happy Holidays to you & yours,

Mary Beth

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HALLOWEEN -A TWEEN GIRL PARENTS NIGHTMARE

This weekend as I was perusing the aisles at the local Halloween store, I overheard a parent and a young girl, who couldn’t have been more than 6 years of age, arguing over her costume choice. It was hard to ignore, as the girl was very vocal in her choice of a sexy police girl costume. WHAT?!SEXY” police girl costume for a 6-year-old?! NO! I identify with this mom’s concern and admire her for telling her daughter no.

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Of course, the child did not take no for an answer and kept throwing her tantrum in the crammed aisle. As I got closer, I noticed these sexy police girl costumes, in a size 4-6x, come with a mini skirt, black thigh highs and a low-cut top. FOR A CHILD?! The mom looked tired, frustrated and defeated by her daughter and the pressure from the selections of costumes the store had to offer. I leaned in to the girl and said, “I never saw a police woman wearing a skirt or any of those clothes, you won’t look like a real cop.” She looked up at me confused so I googled DIY police woman costumes and showed her how she could look like a real police woman at almost no cost. Mom smiled at me and the two of them started discussing how they were going to go home and make their own costume that looked like a real police woman. They both thanked me and were on their way.

Leopards-1024x804.jpgIt’s estimated that more than $1 billion dollars will be spent on Halloween costumes for kids this year. Halloween is meant to be fun, and dressing up should be creative but age-appropriate. Halloween costumes are a great way for kids to have fun expressing themselves and show their creativity, but sometimes it can cross the line — especially for the girls. The pressure to wear a sexualized Halloween costume is increasing both in the marketing industry and among peers. Sexy Halloween costumes, long popular with adults, are now turning up in the kiddie aisle. Revealing getups are now available for girls as young as 3 and 4. WHY?

We want our daughters to grow up feeling comfortable in her sexuality -whatever form that takes -and to have the freedom to express that however she so desires. But that doesn’t mean it’s ok with them being taught at such a young age that her sexuality and looks are more valued above all other traits — on Halloween or any other day of the year.

Pirates-1024x702.jpgIt’s normal for girls to use Halloween to want to look more grown up, but there’s a fine line between enforcing family rules and shaming girls for their clothing choices. So how do you negotiate kids’ outfits without killing their Halloween fun?

If you are a parent of a tween, (I will pray for you-lol) Halloween just got a hell of a lot more problematic for you with all the provocative costumes available. Before you decide to take your daughter shopping for a costume, have a conversation. You are going to have to help your daughter manage the image she’s putting forth with her costume. This is a parenting moment. Our children rely on us to set boundaries for them, so do it. Set clear expectations and share your values. Encourage her to express her creativity and have fun, but in a way, that is appropriate. Pre-teens/Tweens have no real comprehension of the negative message they’re sending when they put on a sexy Halloween costume. They are way too young to dress sexy, don’t give in to this.

If you are a parent of a teen (I will pray for you A LOT-lol), it’s normal for them to want to experiment with dressing provocatively, and Halloween is a prime opportunity for them to try to get away with it. As a parent, I don’t like it, but we need to understand it. As the girls are now into their teen years there are big changes in their bodies that we want them to love and accept. Adolescent girls should be able to expose a little bit of skin – whether it’s Halloween or not -without feeling ashamed or vulnerable. This is another great parenting moment. Although we want our young ladies to love their developing bodies, it is also a great opportunity to revisit and share your values with your daughter. Help your daughter to explore her creativity and choose a tasteful costume that also satisfies her desire to fit in, explaining that it doesn’t need to be focused on sexuality.

There’s something sad about the world that the trend in young girls’ clothing is so sexual. They grow up quick enough. Let them have a childhood that is free from worrying about who society expects them to be.  Our girls deserve to be free to discover who they are on their own. All these provocative costumes do is bring negative and unwanted sexual attention to our little girls. They are too young to comprehend the ramifications and it is our job, as parents, to protect them. There is never a reason a kindergartener should be dressing as a “sexy police girl” costume for Halloween.

Have a Happy& Safe Halloween

Mary Beth

REMEMBERING THE DAY OUR WHOLE NATION HAD TO BE BRAVE

World Trade Center Attacked
A fiery blast rocks the World Trade Center after being hit by two planes September 11, 2001 in New York City. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

On the 16th anniversary of the World Trade Center attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, we are remembering the day our whole nation had to be brave. On that day, 2,977 innocent people were killed due to a coordinated, terrorist attack by Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda jihadists. This physical assault on the U.S., targeting New York City and Washington, D.C., wounded us deeply as a whole country, both physically and mentally. But on that day, we became united in being Americans.

Smoke Pours From The World Trade Center After Being Hit By Two Planes September 11 2001
Smoke Pours From The World Trade Center After Being Hit By Two Planes September 11, 2001 In New York City. (Photo By Craig Allen/Getty Images)

If you are old enough to remember the event, you remember all those feeling you had- the pain, the fear, the horror, the anger and wanting revenge. I don’t like remembering these feelings, it was a scary time, but I will never ever forget.

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Brooklyn firefighters George Johnson, left, of ladder 157, Dan McWilliams, center, of ladder 157, and Billy Eisengrein, right, of Rescue 2, raise a flag at the World Trade Center in New York, Sept. 11, 2001. (AP Photo/ Copyright 2001 The Record (Bergen County, NJ), Thomas E. Franklin, Staff Photographer/FILE)

I hope all Americans will also always remember those innocents that died (and their families), honor the heroes who rescued so many, and continue to respect the emergency personnel and members of armed forces who answered the call to defend this country after those awful attacks. Thousands of brave men and women in our military have given their lives since that day in what seems to be a fight with no end.

President Obama, Officials Attend 9/11 Memorial Museum Opening Ceremony
The South reflecting pool is viewed at the Ground Zero memorial site of National September 11 Memorial Museum in New York May 15, 2014 in New York City. The museum spans seven stories, mostly underground, and contains artifacts from the attack on the World Trade Center Towers on September 11, 2001 that include the 80 ft high tridents, the so-called-Ground Zero. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

The important lesson we should still recall from 9/11 is that of unity and that freedom is NOT free.

Mary Beth-Girl Talk Marlton

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HAPPINESS is an Inside Job

happiness-is-a-choiceHappiness is an attitude and a choice that begins within you. Don’t wait for bliss to come to you, with just a few adjustments to your outlook on life, happiness can enter your soul. How you let the world around you, affect you, could be the key to your happiness. You can’t control everything that happens in life, but you can choose how you respond. Learn to see opportunity where others see misfortune. It is not easy to do this, but you CAN do this. Start by changing the way you react to situations and your life can become stress-free and happy, IF you choose.6

We tend to depend on external things to make us happy. Like our favorite food, movie or music, but those are just temporary. To experience true happiness, you need to dig deeper inside yourself. This may feel undoable at first, but just breathe, relax and follow these few steps. And remember every day is a new day, and that is a blessing within itself.

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First recognize what makes you happy, find out what inspires you, whether it is hanging out with friends, going to the beach, or getting a great night’s sleep. Look at what you’re good at, particularly what you lose yourself in – whether it’s writing, travelling, cooking, reading, sports. Whatever it is, make a list and get those things into your daily routines. These activities that you enjoy will make you happy – do them more.

c762e6048a5436970066d1d7d3f73f53--quotes-about-happiness-quotes-about-lifeBegin to foster positive emotions, such as empathy, serenity, and especially gratitude. Start speaking positive words and compliment others. Learn to trust others, start being more open and loving, even to strangers. Help others and give to those less fortunate. Gratitude is a part of being happy. Be thankful for all the blessings that you have in your life and what is going well. Learn to listen to others and become genuinely interested in all they want to say, this shows compassion. Choose to forgive those who have hurt you. Forgiveness is an act of kindness and you will feel that burden lifted.

happy-smile-happiness-quotesShow appreciation and respect for all the good in your life. You ARE blessed, know it. Focus on being the best version of yourself. Nobody in the world can beat you at being you. Be who you are and confident in the real you. Fill your inner circle with those who accept you the way you are and radiate positivity. The people around you should love you, challenge you, and lift you higher. Some people just suck the life right out of you. Simply let them go, now.

c5efbff3d26263126315439829345a07--happy-quotes-wise-quotesEmbrace change. Where there is resistance, flow around it. Where there is opportunity, flow right through it. Let go of your fears, they aren’t real. Live in the now. Find out your life’s true purpose, whatever it is, focus in on what actions you can take to move towards this higher purpose. Become someone who makes a lasting impression on the world with your own amazing creations.

be-happyTake the lessons learned from past mistakes, life is all about trial and error. Learn to let go of what you cannot control and allow peace to enter your life. Don’t look to others to validate who you are or affect you in any way. We’ve all got weaknesses and areas in which we lack confidence, accept them and don’t get hung up on them. Know who you are and be confident. Get rid of the negative emotions such as pessimism, resentment, and anger. The world has enough negativity. Don’t contribute to it anymore.

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAKXAAAAJDRkYTczM2Q3LWEwZjktNDI3Yi05NGE4LWIzNjQwY2IxNDc1ZQAccept responsibility for everything in your life. Never blame others for your unhappiness. Tell yourself it’s in your hands, because it IS. We have the power and ability to control our own thoughts and feelings, regardless of what is happening to us externally. Feeling in control internally is highly liberating and will make you feel happier. Remember, YOU are enough, and nobody deserves happiness more than you.

 

3b079527fa45dce6c713d4b410c6578015971ad886ed008cdc9034aee0d4abaa--happy-wife-happy-dayFinal Thought:

I know, sounds great, right? Who doesn’t want to be happy. Easier said than done. I never said being happy will be easy to achieve but it will be worth it. Try the steps, if you fail-and you will, we all do-try again. Keep trying. Every day is a new day and a new opportunity to become a happier you. 😊

The purpose of life is to discover your gift. The meaning of life is to give your gift away.”

-David Viscott

~Mary Beth Iannarella

Girl Talk Marlton

 

I believe a world without childhood cancer IS possible

I am a very faith filled and spiritual person but many things throughout my life have had me question my faith. My religion tells me that I am not supposed to question my God and ask “why”, but sometimes I just don’t understand. My recent questions involve childhood cancer. Now, I know this is not a topic people want to talk about because it hurts to read the effects of this horrible disease on precious young lives, but we must start.

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Last year I met an amazing 9-year-old boy (now 10), battling cancer, from Blackwood NJ, who has melted hearts and opened eyes to the nasty disease of childhood cancer. Nico was diagnosed with stage IV high risk neuroblastoma in August 2010 at the age of 3. Nico has had a rough life full of doctor appointments, hospital visits and needles but through it all he has remained an outgoing, fun, energetic, friendly, little boy…with cancer.

Nico dubbed himself a “soldier” and his family his “army, and with that Nico’s Army was formed. They come together to help support Nico and his family in the fight of his life, for his life.

“An army fights not because they hate what is in front of him, but because they love what is behind them”-G.K. Chesterton

With meeting Nico, I learned so much about childhood cancer that I had no idea existed. I even found out that it effected a Girl Talk Marlton members sister and took her young life years ago. They started the Alexa Nawrocki Pediatric Cancer Foundation, Inc http://www.alexasfriends.com and help families that are now suffering through the same heartache they went through-amazing.

According to childrenscancer.org, each year more than 15,000 kids and young adults are diagnosed with cancer—that’s about 42 per day. Though the 5-year-survival rate for childhood cancers has reached 80 percent, nearly 2,000 kids under age 19 die each year. And that’s just in the United States. In 2016, over 300,000 kids and young adults were diagnosed worldwide. Childhood cancer occurs regularly, randomly and spares no ethnic group; socioeconomic class; or geographic region. Childhood cancer research is vastly and consistently underfunded. Childhood cancer is the leading cause of death by disease in children under the age of 15 in the U.S. Despite this, less than 4% of the federal government’s total funding for cancer research is dedicated to childhood cancers each year. WHAT?!

2015-childhod-cancer-facts-infographicLifesaving and innovative research on childhood cancer is crucial. Awareness and education, along with fundraising to help support research can cure this disease. With funding in lifesaving, leading-edge research for new treatments and cures, we can help in the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and (one day) cure of childhood cancers and end the suffering for so many innocent lives. 

I believe a world without childhood cancer IS possible, and I encourage and hope to empower others to get involved and make a difference for children with cancer. The world needs devoted volunteers to bring awareness and education to people who have not been effected by this disease and just do not understand all the pain and suffering. Get involved, make a difference, YOU have the power within you to do so. Even the smallest gesture starts a ripple.

As Nico spends his remaining days at home with family and friends, surrounded by all that he loves, I ask that you join me in prayer to fill the family with the strength they will need to get through this difficult time. Nico and his family have graciously shared their battle throughout this disease- the pain, the laughs and now the sorrow. They are all true hero’s and Nico forever an amazing warrior. Prayers and love to Nico and his Army, now and always.

~Mary Beth Iannarella

Please help support:
Army Logo

Nico’s Army
P.O. Box 1442
Blackwood, NJ 08012

bannerAlexa Nawrocki Pediatric Cancer Foundation, Inc.
P.O. Box 628
Marlton, NJ 08053

Summer Lovin’

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Summer is the time to enjoy late night dinner with friends, strolls on the beach, and back yard BBQ’s! There’s something about getting home from work when it’s still light out that gives you bundles of energy! Summer is a time of leisure and good times with the people you love. There’s so much to do every night of the week in the summer and when the evenings are longer why not get out there and have some fun. Sleep is for winter-get out there and enjoy summer!

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The beach is my number one favorite thing about summer. I love everything from the glowing hot sun, the various striped and colored umbrellas titled in the burning sand, the refreshing cool salty water, and the hunt for beautiful seashells. I can look for hours into the ocean hoping to see dolphins and watching the waves. It is my happy place.

 

The boardwalk is quite entertaining. The food, the drinks, the Ice-cream and the peoplewatching. I used to love the rides but in my old age I prefer a nice safe arcade game instead.

Early sunshine and late sunsets, vacations, holidays, baseball games, fireworks, flip flops, why-i-love-summer-break.jpgbonfires, summer storms, tanned skin, sweet corn on the cob, sunglasses, sangria, blooming flowers, fruits & vegetables, dog parks, ice coffee, driving with the windows open and music loud, stepping out into the sun after sitting in a/c all day, floating in the pool, rainy movie days, sleeping in the a/c with a blanket. Late nights, long sleep-ins, catch-ups with family and friends, happy hours, new hobbies and craft projects, home revamps and new experiences to be etched in our memories forever.

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We are lucky here in NJ that we are close to many major cities including New York and Philadelphia, dozens of beaches and boardwalks, state parks, amusement parks and the mountains. There are so many summer activities from outdoor concerts and movies, festivals, fairs and carnivals, drive-in movie theaters, zoos, museums, farmers markets, lakes, lighthouses and more. So, if you are bored, it is your own fault. Get out your phone and look up to see what is going on in your neck of the woods. Go out and enjoy the summer and have some fun!

~Mary Beth Iannarella

Girl Talk Marlton

 

100 Reasons to LOVE SUMMER  ♥ ocean ♥ sand♥ sun ♥ warmth ♥ beach days ♥ ice cream ♥ popsicles ♥ smoothies ♥ BBQs ♥ green grass ♥ salty air ♥ salty skin ♥ sandy feet ♥ bare feet ♥ relaxation ♥ vacations ♥ road trips ♥ visiting the lake house ♥ long nights ♥ star gazing ♥ fireworks ♥ sparklers ♥ bonfires ♥ s’mores ♥ blooming flowers/trees ♥ morning walks ♥ sunsets ♥ surf boarding ♥ boogie boarding ♥ paddle boarding ♥ tubing ♥ boat cruises ♥ outdoor concerts/festivals ♥ cliff jumping into water ♥ swimming pools ♥ yard games ♥ flip flops ♥ sun dresses ♥ shorts ♥ t shirts ♥ waves ♥ a nice tan ♥ naps ♥ naps in hammocks ♥ time for reading ♥ blasting music with the windows down ♥ reuniting with old friends/family ♥ bike rides ♥ thunderstorms ♥ kayaking ♥ sailboats ♥ corn ♥ watermelon ♥ seafood ♥ golf ♥ tiki torches ♥ late night swims ♥ spontaneous adventures ♥ fourth of July ♥ carnivals ♥ fishing ♥ laying under an umbrella ♥ laying in the sand ♥ beach chairs ♥ floating on rafts ♥ fresh air ♥ constantly wearing your bathing suit under your clothes ♥ laying in the shade ♥ puzzles and board games on the rainy days ♥ rainy movie/Netflix days ♥ camping ♥ building tents ♥ carefree ♥ lemonade ♥ picnics ♥ eating outside ♥ shell/sea glass collecting ♥ picking flowers ♥ hikes ♥ day trips to the city ♥ outdoor markets/festivals ♥ parades ♥ rollerblading ♥ pie ♥ chips and salsa ♥ bubbles ♥ running through the sprinkler ♥ snorkeling ♥ smell of sunscreen and bug spray ♥ refreshing ♥ swims/showers ♥ sand castles ♥ drive-in movies ♥ climbing trees ♥ fresh fruit ♥ coconut ♥ sea creatures ♥ car washes ♥ flying kites ♥buzzing bees ♥ trips to the park ♥ Hawaiian shirts ♥ dancing

 

Happy Dads Day!

Happy-Fathers-Day-Quotes-Images-5 copyFather’s Day is celebrated worldwide to recognize the contribution that fathers and father figures make in the lives of their children. This day celebrates fatherhood and male parenting. The words ‘dad’ and ‘father’ are very similar on the surface and yet, I think to many people, they hold very different meanings. Father’s Day seems to ignite something in a lot of people, as it did with me. I believe there is a huge difference between the word father and dad. Now of course, this is only my opinion, so you may not agree.

father

/’ˈfather/

noun

a reproductive term referring to the male biological parent of a child

A father need only contribute the biological components necessary to reproduce the child. After that, their role and their obligation to the child is over-except financially. I am referring to the relationship bond that will never be developed and the mutual love and admiration that will never be shared. A father is absent.

dad

/dad/

noun informal

a male parental figure that is present and participating in a child’s life

Happy-Dads-Day-D4A dad is someone that is there for his children every step of the way. A dad actively participates in their children’s lives- the good times and bad times. A dad helps them grow up, raises them, nurtures them, attends school functions and baseball games. In one word, a dad is present.

I had a father growing up, a bad one at that. But I met my dad when I was 18 years old. He was everything that I had imagined a dad would be and more. There was a mutual love and relationship bond like I have never known. I felt truly blessed to have him in my life and my children’s lives until his passing a couple years ago. I think of him every day and miss his laugh and hugs. I am forever grateful for my dad and those that shared him with me.1003073_891103107586190_7670757260184381123_n

If you are lucky enough to have a dad (granddad, etc.) in your life, be sure to let him know how much you love and appreciate him- especially on Sunday. If you have a father, have pity on them for their ignorant decision and know that they missed out on something wonderful. I wish all fathers would man up, step up and be dads to their children!

 

Mary Beth Iannarella

Girl Talk Marlton

Moving Forward After Tragedy

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David Becker/Getty

The horrific mass shooting in Las Vegas on Sunday night killed 59 people and injured more than 500 others. After events like this senseless attack, many Americans feel sad, helpless and fearful. We are only human, it affects us emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually.

The Las Vegas tragedy comes after weeks of devastating stories from storm-ravaged areas across our nation, which can be a lot of tragedy to process all at once. The shock and devastation of any tragedy leaves us feeling stunned and vulnerable. We know that life is fragile, but it is not supposed to be this way.

1506991109747.pngTragedy and grief are devastating.  But it doesn’t have to get the best of you. The news overwhelms us with stories, pictures, videos and interviews around the clock showing every intimate detail of these tragedies. It is like reliving it over and over. Shut it off and regroup. Never underestimate the importance of your mindset. Get yourself refocused in a positive direction.

Don’t forget your children’s feelings and emotions during this time too. When it comes to any tragedy, most adults either feel the need to talk a lot to their kids or think they shouldn’t talk at all. The best place is somewhere in between. First, ask what they think happened. Kids get information from many different sources, not all are reliable. Let your child’s questions to you be your guide. Reassure them of their safety, spare them the scary details and be sure not to lie to them. Don’t allow young children to watch the news. Empower your kids to take positive action in the wake of a tragic event by doing something positive for the victims and survivors. This will help you both heal.

today-las-vegas-140709-vid.jpgLife is unpredictable and uncertain. What we have today can be taken away in a moment. Let’s just accept the fact that life is unfair sometimes.  This, however, doesn’t mean that we give up. When the world is falling apart around us, it’s tough to see the ray of hope at the end of the tunnel. But, that is exactly what we must do. Take this time to reflect on the life you have and make any necessary positive changes to your life starting today.

1507054518676Life is for living, not worrying about dying, so don’t be fearful to live it to your fullest potential. None of us know how long our life will be, but we all get to choose what we make of each day. See the beauty, not the darkness. Focus on the good, not the bad. Many things are out of our control but you can control how you will react to situations, how you will treat others and how you will live your day. Make it a great one.

MB

 

The Aftermath of Harvey

 

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You may get a chuckle out of this picture of a cat swimming because we all know how much cats hate water, but once you realize that this cat had no choice and is a survivor of Hurricane Harvey it isn’t quite funny. Photographer Scott Olson captured this deeply pissed off pussycat paddling through the water, and it didn’t take long for it to go viral. This feline has now become an online poster child for resilience, adapting to adversity with strength, resolve and sass.

lead_960On Friday, August 25, 2017 Hurricane Harvey made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane, with wind gusts observed up to 132 mph along the Gulf Coast, causing mass devastation and catastrophic flooding to communities in Texas and Louisiana. The local National Weather Service office in Houston observed an all-time record daily rainfall accumulation on both August 26 and 27, measured at 14.4 inches and 16.08 inches respectively. Harvey made landfall 3 times– twice as a hurricane in Texas and once more as a tropical storm in southwestern Louisiana.

Harvey has caused at least 66 confirmed deaths; including a Houston police officer, a family trapped in a van beneath surging floodwater, and a mother whose shivering 3-year-old was found clinging to her unresponsive body. One million people were forced to evacuate their homes as water inundated hundreds of thousands of homes, displaced more than 30,000 people, and prompted more than 17,000 rescues including pets. According to the American Red Cross, approximately 32,000 people were displaced in shelters across the state of Texas by August 31 with no idea when they can return home.

170903152456-path-of-harvey-van-vleck-super-169.jpgWith its torrential rain, devastating winds and widespread flooding, Hurricane Harvey could potentially be the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history. FEMA director Brock Long called Harvey the worst disaster in the state of Texas history, and expected the recovery to take many years. Economic losses are preliminarily estimated at between $70 to $190 billion, with a large portion of the losses sustained by uninsured homeowners-80 percent of Texans don’t have flood insurance. The Texas Department of Public Safety stated more than 185,000 homes were damaged, 9,000 destroyed and nearly 700 businesses were damaged as well.

It is one week after the storm and the danger isn’t over. Survivors face hurdles and consequences left by Harvey. There are debris everywhere-junked cars, houses full of mold, furniture and items destroyed. I worry about their state of mind during this time, things can be replaced-sure, but it is your great grandmothers ring you will never get to pass on to your daughter or your fathers WWII memorabilia that your grandkids will never see. Those heirlooms, precious memories, etc. that are now lost forever.

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The floodwaters that people are walking thru contain many hazards to the environment and human health. The Houston Health Department stated that “millions of contaminants” were present in floodwaters, not to mention the snakes and alligators- YIKES!

There were many positive stories that also came out of this disaster. Many unsung heroes emerged during the storm and volunteer efforts continue to grow throughout the United States. Organizations are helping victims every way they can. On Friday, FEMA distributed over 1,900,000 meals and 1,960,000 liters of water. The American Red Cross, Salvation Army, United States Equestrian Federation, Humane Society of the United States, Catholic Charities USA, AmeriCares, Operation BBQ relief, many celebrities, and many other charitable organizations have provided and continue to help to the victims of the storm. The need is great, and our desire to help is strong in times of disaster, but be sure to donate responsibly. Donate money and time to trusted, reputable, voluntary or charitable organizations only.

170901-george-brown-convention-center-ac-831p_83a5acdeb063d9251c6d9a32582add63.nbcnews-ux-600-480.jpgThe survivors will struggle for a long time with the aftermath of Harvey, keep them in your thoughts and prayers.

To do our part, Girl Talk Marlton in conjunction with The Unforgotten Haven, will be collecting feminine products. If you would like to donate, please email girltalkmarlton@gmail.com or visit our site www.girltalkmarlton.org Thank you!

Mary Beth of Girl Talk Marlton