Hope Wissel

Reflecting on 2021

A new year………….

I’m not sure what happened to 2021.  LOL.  I actually had to flip through my planner to see what went on.  The memory is not what it used to be.  It seemed to pass in the blink of an eye.

We spent the year working on the house – our forever home.  Not a lot needed to be done but it is those little things that catch you off guard.  Lots of outside projects got done.  I’m looking forward to our first “crop” of fresh garlic which should be ready in the spring.  Who knew growing garlic could happen outside in the winter????  We shall see.

The MS life seems to be changing again.  There have been more “mini” MS flare ups – foggy brain, unable to process thoughts along with the tingling in my fingers.  I have resigned myself to wearing my brace more often when I am out and about.  I have to also be careful NOT to overwhelm myself with trying to do lots of things – the realization came after spending a week prepping for Thanksgiving only to have a meltdown and having to take it easy for the rest of the weekend.  Not too bad since I got to fur-baby sit.  I’m learning new things like: my mind is often “blank” so I spend more time in quiet instead of trying to carry on conversations.  Emotions blindside me – out of nowhere there are tears or smiles.

With 3 1/2+ years in recovery, I am feeling better about me.  Most days I even like me despite the fact I am struggling to get back to goal weight.  Life on life’s terms is not always easy but I’m grateful I found an amazing home group, a new sponsor and attend meetings regularly.  Lunchtime meetings work great for this old lady.  LOL. ❤  Working through the steps has been eye opener.  God has allowed me remember things (in tiny pieces) – in his time not mine when he knows I am ready to face things.

My side hustle as a bag lady is going strong. I’m grateful for the wonderful people it has brought into my life – customers and hostesses who I am blessed to now call friends.   I am venturing out in the “food” world.  Good food, fast and easy with the ability to tweak the recipes to count my WW points.  I love sharing new recipes along with the #epiclife.  Of course, having a bigger kitchen has helped because now I actually ENJOY cooking again.   I have also been working on new angel designs for the Spring craft season and can’t wait to share them.  They will probably show up on the Etsy site soon.

I will admit, I still get stuck in my head with the “woulda, coulda, shoulda” or the comparison game.  I’m learning one day at a time to enjoy the moment and know the only person I should be comparing myself to is me, the day before.  My basic goal is to just be a better person today than I was yesterday.

Over the last 10 years, I have picked a word – a theme to the year.  Last year’s word was GRATITUDE!  Gratitude is defined as “the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.“.  I learned to practice gratitude every night or at least I tried to.  It was easy to have gratitude for the good things but a struggle during the challenges of the year.  I know through the challenges, I learn and grow, for that I am grateful.

Finding a word for this year was a little tougher than I thought it would be.  No matter how hard I have tried to avoid it “acceptance” keeps popping up. So I guess I better take the God wink as a sign….. ACCEPTANCE is defined as “the action of consenting to receive something offered or being received as adequate or suitable“. Dictionary definitions sometimes baffle me.  I hate when they use part of the word in the definition.  Grateful, I found an article while I was looking for a definition called “The 5 Things Everyone Should  Know About Acceptance“.  These words stood out for me:

Acceptance doesn’t mean you can’t work on changing things.

Okay, I got the message!   LOL.  Guess there will be a lot of posts on this topic because I don’t think I am the only one who struggles with it!  Change is something I tend to struggle with when it comes quickly, my brain doesn’t adjust easily.  BUT change over time is a whole lot easier.

What will your world for this year be?  Share it with us…Best wishes for a safe healthy and happy New Year from our house to yours!

Hope Wissel

Reflecting on 2019

 Happy 2020!  A new decade, a new year, a new month and a new day!  A clean slate all around….

It seems weird writing a blog post today since it has been about a month or so since my last one. For my regular readers, I am sorry I did not give you a heads up.  I needed a break after 6+ years of writing, I was empty.  I didn’t think I had anything more to say.  I’m still not sure I do but we will see what 2020 brings….

Last night I saw all of the posts talking about the last decade and it got me to thinking.  At first, I stressed over what I couldn’t remember then I asked for guidance and some memories came back.  So here goes my decade in review….

In 2010, I saw my daughter graduate from college with honors.  I was working full-time at a job I loved and commuting crazy hours to get work.

2011 was a roller coaster year.  I started my direct sales career with Thirty One.  We planned our wedding and after a 9 year engagement walked down the aisle.  Edythe, one of the rocks in my life passed away.  I retired from my job as COO at Bethel Development. We ended the year with a cruise for our honeymoon with family.

2012 is kind of a blur. Hubby had congestive heart failure and spent 13 days in the hospital.  I promoted to Director with Thirty One and walked across the stage to celebrate with my daughter.  I spent lots of time trying to figure out what I really wanted to do.

2013 – 2016 were a definitely blur. There was lots of testing to determine what was going on with me.  I was losing my memory (even more), leg spasms, depressed, and more I can’t remember.  I spend time working part-time jobs at WaWa and Wall Storage. Relapse was a strong part of these years. We planned Belinda’s wedding and celebrated their beautiful day in the mountains of NC.  Shopping, spending money, and drinking was my way of filling a void in my life.  I got the “unofficial diagnosis of MS” – grateful to finally have answers

2017 started rough as my Dad spent much of his time in the hospital and then passed in April.  I started Angels by Hope as an official business.  Still looking for ways to fill the void. My MS diagnosis became official and I started on medications (3 times a week injections).

2018 brought the smack in the face I needed to face the unmanageability of my life.  Credit card debt was high, income from my business was dropping and I was an emotional mess.  I walked back into the rooms of NA in May looking for the joy I once I had.

2019 brought a change in diagnosis to “progressive MS” and with it a cane and a brace for my left ankle.  Recovery has been a blessing as I am slowing rebuilding relationships with family.  I am blessed to still have both my Thirty One business and Angels by Hope going strong.

So, this is just a glimpse at the last 10 years.  I am grateful for Facebook memories and this blog (since March 2013) to help me remember when I can’t.

I have been searching and for a word for 2020.  Last year’s was Courage and it definitely fit the year I had.  Courage in so many areas of my life to step out on faith, out of my comfort zone.  This year’s word didn’t come so easily.  I prayed.  I took those “word tests”.

My word for 2020 is GRATITUDE!  Gratitude is defined as “the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.“.  I know when I practice gratitude, everything else in my life will be okay.  Not just gratitude for the good things but also for the challenges.  Through the challenges, I will learn and grow.

Best wishes for a safe healthy and happy New Year.

Making a Difference

Actually, I Can Movement

I don’t know about you but I am my own worst critic.  I tend to believe things which simply aren’t true. You know those horrible inner gremlins which want to keep you from feeling the JOY of every day.  What if you WERE good enough, just the way you are? What if failure wasn’t an option? What if you believed, “Actually, I Can”?

STOP right now and take a minute to think about all the things you’re capable of .  I BELIEVE you can do anything you put your mind to!  NOW share the positivity with the women around you.

Thirty-One is launching an ALL IN campaign this fall to inspire others to believe in themselves. When we take time to better ourselves from within, we inspire others to believe – “Actually, I Can.”

 

Write a love letter to yourself

 

Play this fill-in-the-blank  game to get yourself in a positive headspace! Without reading the story, fill in the blanks with a word of your choosing. When you’ve filled them all in, read it back to yourself and feel the love.  I would love to have you share YOURS with us…

 

Wear your confidence close to your heart

 

Design an “Actually, I Can” charm to wear (or gift!) as a reminder to keep moving forward, no matter what life tosses your way. Our Personalization Studio makes it easy to create a custom piece of jewelry that makes a statement, like a personalized Just Write™ Rectangle Charm on a long Dainty Rolo Chain.  I have two of them I were every day – “Just for Today” as a reminder of my recover after relapse and “Courage” because it is my word for this year.  The both remind me of how far I have come over the last 16 months…

 

Pin up these mantra cards

 

Are you a fan of mantras?  Did you know when you repeat a positive mantra every day for 21 days, if will actually become something you believe in?  Positive energy draws more positive energy so why not give these mantras a try.  Use these fun, printable mantra cards to spread the love and keep the positivity going! Hang them on your mirror or leave them for others to find as a reminder of all the amazing things you and others are capable of.

Help survivors of domestic violence
I have shared my story before of being a child of domestic violence – something not talked about back then but it was.  Whether it is physical, emotional or verbal – more than 1 in 3 women will experience some form of domestic violence in her lifetime. This fall, Thirty One is  standing with survivors by supporting an issue which affects so many.

Throughout the entire fall season, Thirty-One Gives wants to empower women to believe in themselves, find safety and rebuild their lives. During October and November, you can Round Up! your Thirty-One purchase to the next nearest dollar (after tax and shipping) or make a donation of any amount to support survivors of domestic violence through our partners: National Network to End Domestic Violence in the United States.

Funds raised by the Round Up! campaign will go to specific programs run by these organizations to help survivors of domestic violence get back on their feet.

In the United States, funds will support the Independence Project through National Network to End Domestic Violence, a credit-building microloan program that helps survivors of domestic violence rebuild after experiencing financial abuse. Women can receive a zero-fee, zero- interest loan of $100 to boost their credit scores. By paying back just $10 for 10 months, she can get approved to sign a lease, buy a car and get started on her new, safe life!

Share your giving heart this season by participating in Round Up! this season – your donations will make an enormous difference in the lives of survivors of domestic violence.

Have a blessed day!

Relax, Reflect, Recharge

Fear Has a Really Big Mouth!

Thank you Gwen Smith for today’s message…

I often try to quiet fear by pretending it doesn’t exist. Clever… I know. But alas, it does exist and that’s not always a bad thing. To the contrary, it can actually keep us safe in proper context. When my house was struck by lightning and lit with fire, fear sounded an emotional alarm, insisting that I escape – and fast. In this instance, fear was good. It kept me safe.

In many instances, however, fear is not good.

I’ve found that while it’s natural to be afraid at times – human, even – it’s best to not allow feelings of fear to consume and control large spaces of real estate in my heart. David handles the intersection of his fear and faith nicely.

In Psalm 56, captured by the Philistines in Gath, and in Psalm 57, hiding in a cave to escape the pursuit of Saul, David sifted through honest feelings of vulnerability and desperation. I imagine his reality was one of shaky hands, pulse raging wild and brows soaked in sweat. Yet fear was silenced as he made the powerful decision to redirect his emotions toward a more productive, more faith-filled response when David chose to trust God.

By choosing to trust God in the hiding and in the chains, David’s fear shifted to faith.

Faith shuts the mouth of fear.

“When I am afraid, I will trust you.” (Psalm 56:3, CSB)

“You yourself have recorded my wanderings. Put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book? Then my enemies will retreat on the day when I call. This I know: God is for me.” (Psalm 56:8-9, CSB)

These weren’t just flippant statements or memorized verses.

These were sturdy declarations.

Deliberate choices made by a deeply determined worshiper. The kind of choices that change and calm a frantic heart. The kind of choices that speak peace to anxiousness. The kind of choices we can make when we’re afraid. The kind of choice we can make when fear screams loud within.

Bring it.

Fear is a liar.

We can choose faith, knowing God is for us.

Decision made.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Relax, Reflect, Recharge

In God’s Waiting Room

 

Thank you Rachel Wojo for today’s message…

I have a confession to make. I’m terrible at waiting. Whether in a doctor’s office waiting room, parent pickup line, or restaurant waiting area, I strategize ways to wait the least amount of time.

If you can use an app and wait less time than standing in line? I use it. If you can order ahead and potentially wait less time? I do it. Now I realize that this is not all bad; I certainly don’t want everything in life to be a journey. But what if the desire for instant gratification is so strong that it makes me miss important parts of growth and relationship?

At some points in my life, I’ve felt like I was sitting in God’s waiting room. Oh, I know; there were no magazines and no chairs. But for reasons unknown to me, I was waiting on God. To send answers. To open an opportunity. To create a new situation.  Whatever the circumstance, it was outside my control and I felt tempted to stomp my foot like a toddler. I sometimes felt tempted to try to make a change without God’s help. Have you ever sat in God’s waiting room? I know you have.

Why does God place us there? While I’m still learning how to wait patiently on God, I’ve combed the Word for hints on embracing this concept. One of those hints is that God wants to prepare us for the answer.

If I gave my 13-year-old son a car for his birthday this year, what would happen? Most likely something horrible since he’s not qualified to drive a car. He hasn’t taken a single driving lesson. He doesn’t know how the equipment functions. He barely understands how to unlock and start the car. My son would have to wait to truly unwrap that gift because he’s just not ready for it.

God alone knows when we are ready for the answer for which we are waiting. He wants us to be equipped for the answer He is providing. He knows that catastrophe could lie ahead if we move on without preparation. He knows how hard it would be to sit and stare at the answer while we continue to work on our qualifications.

Today’s verse provides the encouragement we need to keep going through the waiting period. So often our focus is either on the wait or the result we desire. But while our focus is on the wait, God’s focus is on the work. Be strong and courageous, Friend. God will provide the answers in his perfect timing.

When we begin to view life from a faith-filled perspective, we can look back over the course of the journey and realize that God was there all along. We  weren’t waiting for no reason! Spiritual hindsight comes as we adjust our lenses to see as God sees. Although we can’t see things to come, we recognize that just as God had a purpose for the wait in the past, so can He be trusted with the future.

Perhaps today you are waiting on God to provide a new job, heal a sickness, or mend a broken relationship. The journey has been long, and you are flat-out tired of waiting. Take heart. The God who loves you beyond measure is right there with you in your wait. He longs to provide the strength you need to keep from barging ahead on your own. He has not left you alone in the wait.

What we perceive as waiting on God is actually his wooing. He longs to draw you close and equip you well.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!