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!

Hope Wissel

Tasty Tuesday: Flourless Pumpkin Pancakes

It is the Pumpkin Spice time of year from coffee to cookies to marshmallows….These yummy pancakes will surely be a hit in your house.

Nutrition facts for the entire recipe: 169 calories, 4g total fat (0.5g sat fat), 420mg sodium, 16g carbs, 6.5g fiber, 4.5g sugars, 19.5g protein

Prep5 minutes     Cook:  5 minutes     FreestyleSmartPoints® value 2*  Makes: 1 serving

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup powdered peanut butter
  • 1 packet natural no-calorie sweetener (like Truvia)
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 cup canned pure pumpkin
  • 1/4 cup (about 2 large) egg whites or fat-free liquid egg substitute
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

Seasonings:

  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • Optional toppings: lite pancake syrup, light butter

Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl, mix powdered peanut butter, sweetener, baking powder, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice.
  2. Add pumpkin, egg, and vanilla extract, and stir until uniform. (Batter will be thick.)
  3. Bring a large skillet sprayed with nonstick spray to medium heat.
  4. Add batter to form three medium pancakes (about 1/4 cup each).
  5. Cook until solid enough to flip, about 2 minutes. Gently flip, and cook until both sides are lightly browned and the inside is cooked through, about 2 minutes.

Need to go grocery shopping for your ingredients?  Why not check out Thirty One’s Pink Sky Super Solution Set..You can step up your grocery game with a great deal on the Deluxe Utility Tote in Charcoal Crosshatch, plus 2 Essential Storage Totes in Perfectly Plaid designed to fit right inside. This handpicked solution set is also perfect for sports or band practice, home or garage organization and toting all those holiday gifts. But hurry – limited quantities are available, and only until October 31, 2019! (Please note that this item is not eligible to qualify for the Monthly Customer Special) Personalization is not available for this set. No substitutions.  It usually retails for $110 but can be yours for $75!  Think of all of the possibilities.

Have a blessed day!

Favorite Products

How to Make a Gallery Wall

If your walls could talk, what stories would they tell? For some, like me, that would be a scary thought.  LOL.

For many of us, we would like them to simply share our milestones, memories and mottos, right?  I created one of these one our walls of our wedding pictures – some of the family who are in the pictures are no longer with us so it has great memories BUT is definitely doesn’t tell the whole story.  I am hoping to add some memories to it by using some of these tips.   Whether it’s in your kitchen, above your couch or along your staircase, choosing unique pieces is the key to making your display so special.

Here are some GREAT tips for adding one-of-a-kind elements to more traditional framed photographs and oversized initials – all to help you create something truly personalized.

1. Game boards & pieces

What was your favorite childhood sport to play? Which board games does your family reach for over and over on rainy evenings? Your local Goodwill or thrift store is a great place to score retro board games and sports equipment you can use to add character to your gallery wall or shelves. (That broken-in, well-loved look actually boosts the cool factor!)

2. Vintage numbers

Whether they’re antique license plates, framed playing cards, tin stencils or old scoreboard tags, vintage numerals are a fun way to express a number that holds a story or memory for your family. Do a quick online search or browse flea markets, yard sales and antique shops for the digits of your address, anniversary or favorite Bible verse.

3. Flowers & wreaths

Add a sweet touch to the gallery wall in a nursery, craft space, laundry room or even your front porch with an arrangement of dried flowers or an artificial wreath. Check your local craft store for oversized fabric blossoms to match your décor, swap in a seasonal sprig for a traditional frame, or create a cute wreath with fabric scraps – we tried this easy-to-make one from Kelly at Typically Simple. And faux greenery looks great mixed with antique window panes and grapevine wreaths arranged on an outdoor wall to welcome guests.

4. Quotes on canvas

Share the special names, dates and words in your life with customized Statement Canvas Wall Art. Scour a social site like Pinterest® for cute quote ideas, then choose from a variety of sizes and printed designs, including white text on black canvas, your choice of 16 colors on natural canvas and even your personal photos! Have a budding artist in the family? Scan your kids’ original artwork and have it printed on one of our durable canvases.

5. Shadowboxes

These deep-set frames are built to hold dimensional keepsakes and, depending on their size, the options are practically limitless. Highlight a single object like a sculpted key or bridal bouquet. Simply fill one with wine corks, seashells, fabric flowers, bottle caps or Christmas tree bulbs. Or adhere some items to the back, layering pieces over each other to add visual interest – think baby shoes, blocks and photos; use wooden letter game tiles to spell out names or places; arrange keys, ticket stubs, medals or pressed flowers; or design your own artwork out of buttons or plastic building blocks – even crayons! (Jamie at The Trendy Treehouse offers step-by-step instructions for putting together your own crayon letter shadowbox.)

6. Photo tag galleries

Turn moments to remember into personalized keepsakes to treasure with Thirty-One’s Close to Home™ Collection. We make it simple to tell your family’s story on your gallery wall with pieces like our Close to Home™ Table Gallery and 9″ Close to Home™ Round Frame, both available in Natural or Grey Wash Wood. It’s easy to switch out the keepsake-quality iron Photo Inserts for the season and to commemorate trips and events as your family grows. Remember to personalize the wood frame with your family name, saying or special date in your favorite laser-etched design.

Bonus tip: Don’t forget the sofa underneath!

Fluff up a few perfectly personalized Statement Canvas Pillows in black and natural – choose an embroidered monogram, printed design or your own family photos to continue your theme even below your gallery wall. Toss a cozy Super Soft Blanket over one arm of the sofa, and you’ll be ready to hibernate all winter!

Share your gallery wall with us….. Have a blessed day!

Unclutter Your Life

How to Simplify Your Morning

The school year is underway and for some the transition has been smooth sailing while for others, they are still trying to figure out the hectic morning routine.  I can barely remember those hectic mornings or getting Belinda out the door and me to work but I’m sure they were anything but smooth.

I know hitting the snooze button was always an option but when I rolled back over to eke out five more minutes of sleep I knew it was going o be a crazy morning.   The rest of the morning would fly by in a blur as I quickly got dressed, fed Belinda (who was not a morning person) and got out the door before being late to work.  Thankfully, I never had to punch a time clock or I would have definitely been in trouble!

Did you know by making a few simple tweaks to your morning routine, you can start every day off on the right foot. Give ’em a try if you’re ready to reclaim your morning sanity and actually feel joyful about the day to come.

1. Map out your morning menu

Skipping breakfast was always an option in our house since neither one of us were big breakfast eaters…. BUT they say it is the most important meal of the day and it is brain food, right?  Most kids and their tiny tummies wake up hungry, and they naturally all want something different to eat. By making note of what you (and your family members) will be eating each morning, it eliminates the chaos which comes with trying to throw something together at the last minute.

2. Steer clear of your cellphone

Electronics PERIOD!  That means your laptop, tablet or any other tools and toys. It’s no secret social media is a giant time-sucker, but tethering yourself to any technology in the morning eats away at minutes you could be spending in more productive ways. Remove it from the equation and you may be surprised at how much time you free up — enough, let’s say, to wash and style your hair before heading to work.

3. Make a checklist

It’s one thing to make mental notes of what you need to accomplish. It’s another thing altogether to have a physical list staring you in the face, practically begging for you to check off its items. The sheer satisfaction you’ll get from making it down the entire column of tasks should be incentive enough to keep your morning cruising down the right track.

4.Prepack your lunch

Meal planning makes life easier.  I just can’t seem to get the hang of planning for dinner.  I don’t know if it is an MS thing or if I just never had the skill.  We always did meals on what we “felt like” eating at the moment.  Lunch was always easy to pre-pack especially when I started on Weight Watchers.  When you wait until the eleventh hour to pack your lunch, you’re leaving a lot to chance — you won’t feel too rushed to grab something, you won’t forget, you’ll pack something relatively healthy… you get the gist. When you front-load your time and forethought into packing your lunch the night before, you can breeze through the morning with the peace of mind something yummy is waiting for you in the fridge.

5. Plan your daily pick-me-ups

If you’re anything like me, you need a little sumthin’ to look forward to in order to get through the day especially if I am spending lots of time in the car.  It doesn’t have to be a huge deal, just something simple to keep me motivated enough to keep pushing — and it’s gotta be a treat that doesn’t take a lot of morning prep time.  Plan it or always having a snack in your purse, it will definitely help.

6. Utilize double-duty products

This doesn’t mean to go out and stock up on mega-bottles of shampoo-plus-conditioner hybrids (I’m not a fan of these). It is more about two-for-one beauty products. Think a tinted moisturizer which also has your a.m. dose of SPF or a “stain” you can use on your lips and cheeks. It may not seem like much, but these double-duty beauty products can shave valuable minutes off your morning routine.  I’m more of the moisturizer, bronzer and some mascara kind of gal…. quick and easy.

7. Consider a capsule wardrobe

You’ve probably heard a hundred times how laying out your wardrobe the night before makes mornings much, much easier. There’s a reason for the repetition — it’s true, and it’s true largely because we all have more clothes than we really know what to do with. Simplifying your closet to create a capsule wardrobe, though, means you’ll spend less time fussing over what to wear. What is a capsule wardrobe you ask? It’s when you cut your options way, way down to some basics that are easy to mix and match. You may think having more clothes to choose from is the way to go, but it actually makes things more complicated — and any time we can make things less complicated, it’s a joyous occasion. For real — you’ll be surprised how much happier you will be through the rest of the day when you don’t start your morning with a closet war.  I’m working on this but I can’t seem to get it down…. just when I do, I find something I really like and I’m off buying some extras.

What is your morning routine like?  Do you have some tips you can add to this list?  Share with us your best tip….

Have a blessed day!