Hope Wissel

Birthday Reflections

Another year, another milestone….. believe it or not, today is my 63rd birthday!  Do I feel 63?  Nope, not this year!  I kicked MS to the curb A LOT this year.

I wasn’t going to do my annual reflection BUT last night I decided I had so much to be grateful for this year – I would!

Despite the craziness of the “shelter in place” order, I have been content.  I never realized what an introvert I truly was or should I say am!  I don’t mind staying home… sure I miss the hugs at NA meetings  and the running to the store when I get an angel idea to grab materials BUT overall I have learned so much about me through this process.  I enjoy cooking meals – even three times a day!  LOL.  I enjoy staying home because I can always find something to do…yup I squirreled!

I am blessed to have woken up this morning.  No matter what the day may bring, I know it will be WONDERFUL!  Am I always this optimistic – NOPE!   I’m determined to be positive and make the most of each day.  Brain fog mornings have been few and far between.  Physical therapy this year helped with the “shuffle” as hubby calls it.  LOL.  The brace has made long walks possible without dragging my foot.  I haven’t lost any of the weight gained because of my MS meds but I haven’t gained anymore either.  I guess that is a win.

Truth be told for many years “birthdays” were just another day.  I was filled with low self-esteem, a lack of confidence and a LOT of nasty inner gremlins which made me feel like I didn’t deserve a celebration. Today, I was blessed to wake up without expectations.  I have learned this year expectations lead to hurt feelings and resentments.  I have a little bit more confidence and am starting to like myself a little more each day.  I am sometimes still self-centered but I can actually spot when it happens.  I am grateful for whatever the day may bring.  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.

This year, my Disability was approved as a result of a change in my diagnosis.  I went from RRMS to Primary Progressive.  It was a hard pill to swallow but it does explain so many things.  As a result, changes needed to be made in my life.  Changes which made me put on my “big girl panties” and do…..

I made the decision to step down as a Director with Thirty One.  I will always be a Thirty One girl but I felt I was not giving my best to my customers or my team.  Trying to keep up with all of the exciting things happening in the company was taking its toll on me.  Doing home parties are tough from carrying things into the house to remember prints/products to processing all of the conversations which go on.  A hard decision but a necessary one.

Angels by Hope took off during the holiday season.  I love sharing my angels with everyone.  New ideas continue to come along…. some are a success while others are definite flops.  Allowing the creative juices to flow again has been exciting.  It helps with processing the same as working my puzzles help with eye hand coordination.

I have come to terms with more lost memories and struggling to find the right words to say.  Hubby’s guitar playing has helped with some memories as he plays songs which have meaning in our life.  As I look through old pictures, there is frustration with the occasional glimmer of a tiny memory.  The normal question of “do you remember…….?” when I see old friends or family brings stress and frustration because most times, I don’t remember.

Through it all I hold fast to the mantra “every day is a gift from God with a blessing to be found.”  WOW! I feel like this is turning into one of those “holiday letters” you get from people you only hear from once a year…. LOL.

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

  • To my NA friends and family…………thank you for your support and guidance this year.  You have helped this “hot mess” become a better person.  Actually you have helped me to find the person I lost so many years ago.  To those who take my texts at all hours of the night, to those who listen even when I repeat myself, to those who put up with this “old lady”…… I am grateful and blessed to have you in my life.  God willing, we will have two years on the 22nd!
  • To my daughter, Belinda.  God could not have given me a greater gift than to be your mom.  Has the road been rocky the last few years?  I think that’s an understatement!  My relapse created a wall between us which I never thought would happen. You have grown into an amazing woman who I am so proud of.  Today, I feel like we are on the road to rebuilding our relationship.  I know it will not be the same but I’m sure it will be better.
  • To my mom….You are my best friend. I don’t know what to say, you are always there for me.  I’m looking forward to the time when the miles no longer separate us.  Till then, I know you are a phone call or a short drive away.  You are one of my biggest cheerleaders.  I can’t tell you how grateful I am for the support you have given me during my relapse and recovery.  I know dealing with my MS memory issues is tough but you are a trooper.
  • Lastly, to my hubby (who probably won’t see this)…who is my ROCK!  This past year has been amazing.  There are days I feel like we are back to when we were first dating (yup, that is a good thing).  I know I am not the easiest person to live with (imagine?) but you are always there, standing strong and supporting me.  I’m looking forward to your retirement this year, selling the condo and moving to our forever home.  Together we will do amazing things.

I’m sure there are many more people I could (and probably should) thank or talk about from this past year.  Please don’t feel slighted…  This has been a great year and I am looking forward to the blessings God has for me in this new year.  I can’t believe I am actually 63 years old – okay, so it is only a number, right?

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Have a blessed day!

Party Ideas

How To Create a Cute Pumpkin

Fall means Halloween is just around the corner, with witches, ghosts and monsters galore. I used to love this holiday because I got to make some fun costumes for Belinda and her friends.  You can start getting in the spooky spirit with Halloween totes, pillows and embroidery designs in Thirty One’s Fall Catalog – and this easy DIY pumpkin painting craft that’s perfect for big and little ghouls alike.

What you’ll need:

  • Small pumpkins or gourds
  • Acrylic paint
  • Alphabet craft stickers
  • Assorted paintbrushes
  • Paper plates
  • Newspaper
  • Paper towels
  • Cups of water

Optional:

  • Glitter
  • Rhinestones
  • Glue

Directions:

Lay down newspaper to keep your table or counter mess-free. Use paper plates as paint palettes and squeeze out the colors of paint you want to use. Then, get painting! When you need to switch to a new paint color, just rinse out your brush in a cup of water and dry it on a paper towel.

These pumpkins can be as simple or as funky as you want! Go for one neutral color palette, or let the kids go to town by choosing the colors for their own personal pumpkins.

Spell out spooky words like “Boo!” or “Trick or treat” by placing letter stickers on your pumpkin before painting it, then peeling them off after the paint dries. Or go for a bedazzled look with glitter and rhinestones attached with glue. Check out Hallmark’s Think. Make. Share. blog for more pumpkin-painting inspiration.

Bonus tip: Opt to paint your pumpkins this year to save on the mess and cleanup of carving! Decorate your windowsill or mantelpiece with mini pumpkins, or use them as a festive Halloween centerpiece on the dining room table. Plus, they stay fresh much longer than carved pumpkins.

Looking for some place to store all of your craft supplies.  Check out Thirty One’s Get Creative line.  The Get Creative Caddy is great for crafts, work, or church. Craft time is any time when you pack up our specially designed shoulder bag with paper crafts, knitting, crochet, scrapbooking, painting and more. The stylish Get Creative Caddy has three compartments and seven pockets to organize and transport crafting and sewing items as well as toiletries, toys and travel essentials. These craft caddies partner beautifully with our Get Creative pouches and cylinders.

The Get Creative Carry-All is my favorite.  I carry craft supplies to show and have plenty of room for lots of “stuff”.  I have home health aides who use this to carry their supplies.  Teachers love it because it is roomy. Don’t leave home without your favorite project in this craft bag or sewing bag! Pack up your yarn, paper crafting and scrapbooking items, art supplies and more in this stylish and sturdy travel craft bag. The structured satchel top stays open for easy access to projects while you work, while eight pockets organize crochet hooks, knitting needles, markers, brushes and more. This craft bag can be personalized to make a distinctive and special gift.

Share your pumpkin creations with us…. Have a blessed day!

Thankful Thursday

Thankful Thursday: 31 Mom Hacks

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Just a few household items, some creativity, and you can make those long summer parenting days just a little easier while keeping the kids happy, too!

Did you know according to a NEW Groupon survey, most parents are ready to send their kids BACK to school after 13 days of summer vacation?  Are you one of those parents?  I would have to disagree with this survey.  When Belinda was growing up, I loved summers.  It was a nice break from the craziness of school, sports, competitions and more.  When she was younger, she spend mid-week in Ocean Grove with family and weekends at home.  Once she got hooked on gymnastics – life changed but summers were fun.

These hacks may not change your life, but they might save your sanity – and give you more time for the things which really matter.

  1. Save time in the morning by putting your children to bed in their school clothes. (Boy moms, especially, swear by this one!)  Would you do this?
  2. Recycle used coffee creamer containers or use our Hide & Peek Pouch for on-the-go snacks. They fit perfectly in diaper bag bottle pockets and car cup holders.
  3. Place two layers of fitted sheets and waterproof mattress pads over your little ones’ beds for easier cleanup of overnight accidents.  Genius!
  4. Keep a portable, Cinch Sac or a Picnic Thermal Tote in your car for wet or soiled baby clothes.
  5. Did you know the shoulder tabs on infant bodysuits are meant to help you pull a soiled outfit down instead of up over the baby’s head? Who would know this? LOL!
  6. Save trips from the car to the house by keeping a Deluxe Utility Tote in your trunk for all of your shopping bags.
  7. Use a makeup brush to apply diaper rash cream to help keep your hands clean.
  8. Poke your ice pop’s stick through a cupcake liner to catch drippy messes and keep hands and clothes clean.
  9. Cupcake liners are also an easy way to protect kids’ drinks from bugs during picnics. Just put one over a plastic cup and pop a straw through the top.
  10. Make more room in your diaper bag by keeping an Essential Storage Tote, packed with an extra blanket, toys and a change of clothes, in the car.
  11. Lay painter’s tape over your door locks to prevent toddlers from locking themselves in their room.
  12. A pool noodle under the fitted sheet makes a great impromptu bedrail.
  13. You can also cut a pool noodle in half lengthwise and wrap it around a door to prevent slammed fingers.
  14. Line a collapsible Stand Tall Bin with a garbage bag to create an on-the-go trash can for camping trips.
  15. Use a hanging shoe storage bag to organize blocks and other small toys.
  16. Keep a sliced apple from browning before lunch by wrapping it in plastic wrap.
  17. Detangle doll hair with a little dish soap and conditioner. OMG!  I wish I knew this before….
  18. Use a pizza cutter to slice pancakes and waffles into bite-sized pieces for little fingers.
  19. Make any footed PJs slip-proof with a little puffy paint on the soles of the feet.
  20. Sunshine can be a surprisingly effective baby stain remover. Just leave the item of clothing outside to dry and watch the stain fade in just a few hours.

 

  1. Fill a Double Duty Caddy with art supplies so it’s ready to go on rainy days.
  2. You can machine wash your kids’ plastic building blocks and other toys in a mesh delicates bag. (Just don’t put them in the dryer!)
  3. Hang bibs on the back of a highchair using removable hooks.
  4. Free up space in your child’s lunch bag by using a frozen juice box as an ice pack.  Did you know lunch thermals were on sale this month????
  5. In a pinch, you can quickly childproof cabinets with hair ties.
  6. Store ice pops vertically in the freezer to make them easier to cut open.
  7. An empty blow-up kiddie pool makes an impromptu play pen indoors or outdoors.
  8. Pack kids’ outfits – tops, pants, socks and accessories – in individual bags or Zipper Pouches for easier travel.
  9. Give each child his or her own Large Utility Tote to carry their laundry to the washer and back from the dryer.
  10. Freeze homemade baby food in an ice cube tray for perfect portion sizes.
  11. Create a giant dry erase mat with a dollar-store shower curtain.

What are some of YOUR favorite mom hacks? Share them with us….

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Family

Happy 4th of July

According to Wickapedia “Independence Day, commonly known as the Fourth of July, is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, declaring independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain”.

This year, the 4th seems to be a bigger struggle than last year….there seems to be a few more memories missing as a result of the MS.  I went on a hunt to find some pictures to go with the post and struggled to remember.  I pulled our the scrapbook I made for Belinda for her 16th birthday and was overwhelmed.  The pictures looked familiar but the memories of the experiences have slowly slipped away. It is times like this I am glad I started blogging before things were too bad because it helps me to remember at least a little bit….

Hubby and I were just talking about life in Ocean Grove  and how we would love to live there again.  The 4th of July was always a whirlwind of fun and excitement filled with July 4th parades and bar-b-ques with family. Sitting on Main Street waiting for the parade and the barrage of candy thrown by the floats as they traveled down the street. Grams worried Belinda would get too close to the  trucks. Belinda hiding and covering her ears as the fire trucks came by – her sensitive ears were always a concern for Grams.

Then came the years Belinda was in the parade in an array of costumes. Costumes made by me – Ariel (The Little Mermaid), Pocahontas, Peter Pan… are you getting the Disney theme? Yes, we were obsessed with Disney and we wore out many VHS tapes before DVDs came around. Then as Belinda got older, it was decorating her bicycle. Cards in the spokes to make the flipping sounds – okay, am I really showing my age now? Red, white and blue shirts, shorts, and hats…

Life in Ocean Grove was fun and is filled with many memories.  I am grateful for scrapbooks – mostly since Belinda was born but at least there are some.  There was actually a time when ALL of us lived in Ocean Grove on Broadway – Edythe, then Grams, Pop-pop & Elsie then closest to the beach was mom and I. Okay, so it was BEFORE Belinda but it was always a lot of fun. Yes, I squirreled!

Best wishes for a ThirtyOne-derful day with friends and family. Enjoy the moments and treasure them….

Hope Wissel, Unclutter Your Life

Thankful Thursday

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Today is Thankful Thursday.  I know the rest of the social media world thinks of today as “Throwback Thursday” but today I want to be “thankful”.

I am thankful for:

  • My Mom who loves me unconditionally
  • Being a child of divorce
  • My loving hubby
  • Being a mom
  • My guardian angels who always guide me
  • A family who supports me despite my faults and bad decisions
  • Mistakes I made in high school which changed my life
  • Mistakes I made in college which shaped my future
  • The variety of jobs as I looked for me
  • The friends who have come for a season and those who have stayed
  • My addiction
  • My relapse and recovery
  • My lack of confidence
  • My business and its roller coaster journey
  • My  weightloss struggle
  • My love of writing
  • My passion for helping others
  • My rocky walk with God
  • My MS
  • The rocky and winding road to find myself
  • and al of the other good, bad and ugly parts of my life

Thankful-for

My life has not been perfect, but today, I am deciding to view it through the lens of thankfulness and gratitude.  For it is those things which have helped to shape me.  It is those imperfections which have helped me to become the woman I am today.  Some days those same things take me on a dark journey of negativity BUT today is NOT one of them.

TODAY, I am thankful for the struggles because without them I would not be able to make a difference in the life of someone else. I would not be able to be compassionate. I would not have the desire to make others smile.

TODAY, I am thankful for a loving God who not only has forgiven me for my mistakes but continues to guide me.  I have faith and trust with Him, all things are possible.

So, what are you thankful for today?  Share with us and let’s celebrate our imperfections together.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!