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!

Travel Tips

Summer Travel Tips

Summer has arrived and it is time for vacations.  Did you know the last two weeks in July and the first two weeks in August are when most people go on vacation?  Where are you headed on your next vacation?

We are planning to travel in the fall when the weather is a little cooler and the kids are back to school.  Hopefully there will be less traffic.  I don’t know about you but I am the proverbial last minute packer,  I always change my mind a zillion times before we finally leave for a trip. Between changes in the weather, my moods and what our plans will be while we are away – I pile all of the “maybes” together and then sort through them the day before.

I love to travel even though it is a bit of a struggle these days. When Belinda was younger, I used to spend weeks getting things together – snacks, clothes, accessories, etc.  I checked and double checked to make sure we didn’t forget anything.  Of course, we usually did.  Now traveling with hubby, I seem to do the same thing – planning things out since both of us have health issues but when it comes to clothes I wait till the last few days to get things together.  When I travel on my own, you will find me packing on the last day..

Here are some travel tips courtesy of “iheartnaptime.net“.  I use her free printable packing list so I don’t forget anything.

Tip 1: Fill a pill case with any medicines you might need and label them.  This is for all of those “just in case” medicines so you aren’t hunting for things while you are traveling.  This is a HUGE help with those things you always seem to forget or don’t think you will need.

Tip 2: Use a contact case to store smaller items like earrings. It also works great to fill with makeup, like foundation so you don’t need to bring the whole container.

 

Tip 3:Place a garbage sack in your suitcase to fill with dirty clothes. In the past, we definitely would have have been know to use the plastic laundry bags from the hotel but I prefer to use a Thirty One large utility tote especially on a road trip!  Plop the bag in the car and just carry it right to the laundry room when you get home.

Tip 4: Place your necklaces between two pieces of sticky (plastic) wrap, so they don’t get tangled.  Then you can place them in Thirty One’s zipper pouch or glamour case.

Tip 5: Fill travel containers with shampoo and lotions. Then keep them in a bag in your suit case so it’s already packed.  This is so much cheaper than buying the travel size bottles, too.  I leave mine all ready to go in Thirty One’s Hanging Traveler Case.  It is even big enough to handle some full size bottles if you are traveling with the family.

Tip 6: Place a fabric softener sheet in your suitcase to keep everything smelling fresh and clean.

Tip 7: Place your shoes in a zip top bag to prevent dirt from getting on your clothes. OR use those throw plastic shower caps you can get at the dollar store.  Thirty One’s All Packed Duffle is a perfect solution for this since it has a separate compartment just for shoes!  So, it works for travel or for the gym.

Tip 8: Place your favorite snack bars (mine are Aloha bars or Graze snacks) in a snack bag on a  so you always have a tasty and healthy snack.  Check out Thirty One’s Beach Ready Tote which is a great alternative.  It has a wipeable interior and can hold up to 8 beach towels.  So when you unpack all of the goodies, you can use it to head to the beach or pool.

 

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Thirty One’s July Customer Special offers your favorite lunch-sized thermals for either $10 or $15.    You can get one item on sale for every $35 you spend!  Gather some friends together either in your home, at a local happy hour, on Facebook or  have a texting party……. to get some FREE products along with a great HOSTESS SPECIAL which  is  the  NEW  Family  Picnic  Thermal  for  just  $20.

The NEW Fall Winter catalog will be out too soon be sure to click the link, fill out the simple survey and get your copy along with a coupon on your order.

Bonus: Print out a packing list from “iheartnaptime” to keep track of everything. It is a HUGE help for me.

Source: 10 Essential Travel Tips + Free Printable Packing List – I Heart Nap Time

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

 

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Hope Wissel

Tasty Tuesday: Country Style Pork Ribs

Summer is here (well, almost) and everyone is pulling out the grill….I will admit, it is one of the things I miss from our old house.  As soon as it got warm, we started grilling EVERYTHING!  In the condo, the rules are so crazy about storing one, it just isn’t worth it.  
This recipe is from Rachel at Wicked Good Spice Mixes Company.  Be sure to check out her website. The spices can be used for so many different things – veggies, potatoes, dipping sauces and more..
Ingredients:
Instructions:  
  1. Grill or oven temp 375 degrees
  2. Rinse ribs thoroughly and pat dry.
  3. Rub both sides of ribs with olive oil and then rub Achilles blend on both sides.
  4. Grill  or roast  on both sides until nicely browned .
  5. Check with meat thermometer  for an internal temp of 145 degrees.
Serve with Tuscan potatoes and roasted veggies
Rachel started this company to show people how easy, healthy and fun it can be to make a delicious meal at home!  Rachel always thought the hardest thing about cooking is how much of this spice and how much of spice you should add.  So go ahead and throw all of those spices you use infrequently and start using our spice blends! They are fresh and economical!  Our blends are perfectly formulated to use for just about everything you like to cook.

Live in Brick? OR travel to the Farmer’s Market on Saturday from 9AM – 2PM. Be sure to stop by and sample some of the vinegars or spices at their table.  If you can’t make it, check out these awesome products at these local stores.

502 Baking Company, 502 Brick Blvd, Brick, NJ 08724 (732) 477-4502

Berry Fresh Farms, 151 Brick Blvd, Brick NJ 08723  (732)477-0606

Cream Ridge Winery, 145 Route 539 (PO Box 98), Cream Ridge, NJ 08514 (609) 259-9797

Dearborn Farm Market, 2170 Rt 35, Holmdel, NJ 07733  (732)264-0256

Delicious Orchards, 320 Route 34, Colts Neck, NJ  (732) 462-1989

New Egypt Marketplace, 53 Main Street, New Egypt, NJ 08533 (609) 458-7900

The Lusty Lobster, 88 Bay Ave. Highlands, NJ 07732 (732) 291-1548

Twin Ponds, Rt 9 Howell, NJ 07731

Lovelandtown Grocery and Provisions, 219 Bridge Ave, Point Pleasant,NJ 08742  (732)903-6855
Princes Farm Market , 1123 Mountain Ave, Mountainside, NJ 07092
(908)358-3311
Have a great recipe you want to share?  We would love to feature YOU (and your business)!  If you try this, let us know what you think…
Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!
Woohoo Wednesday

What is Your Life Purpose?

 

Have you ever wondered why you are here?  I don’t mean just in this house? Or in this job? Or with this person/ spouse/ partner?

In the movie The Color Purple, there is a scene in which Miss Celie finally musters the courage to leave Mister. He’d just finished saying some pretty nasty things to her (paraphrasing): “You’re poor. You’re black. You’re ugly. Nobody wants you.”

To which Miss Celie replied, “I’m poor. I’m black. I might even be ugly. But I’m here!”

There is a reason each of us is here.  Honestly, most days I wonder what my purpose is….I’m sure many have lost family and friends who were here last year and who aren’t now.  Many have passed on fulfilling their purpose on this earth.  But you are still here. And your most important job in life is to know why.  I know pretty heavy for early morning, right?

I have been pondering this question for the last few weeks.  What is my purpose in life?  There are days (very few) when I think I know but more times then not, I’m clueless. I could blame it on the MS or the lack of memory or 100 different things but the truth is some days I feel lost.  Torn between what I think I “should be” doing and what I really want to do.  Torn between having the confidence to work my angel business releasing my creativity or just sticking with what I know works in my direct sales business.  Some may say do both BUT my MS requires me to keep things simple.  What about you, do you know your purpose?

Can you state your purpose in a single, simple sentence?  I know I can’t!  If you are like me, ask yourself this question:

How is someone’s life better when they cross your path?

Whatever your answer, is, can you say it quickly – in under 15 seconds.  Why so fast?  Because in most cases we only have a few seconds to share with people we meet.

I believe my purpose is “bringing hope and a smile to those who are struggling, reminding them they are special”. I like to help people.  Maybe it is the people pleaser in me.  Maybe it is just the “helper gene” LOL.  Or maybe it is just the fact someone was nice to me when I was struggling.

For some, it may sound kind of cheesy.  The simple gesture of bringing a smile to the face of others makes a difference in their life (and in mine).  It can make a dark day sunny.  It can dry a tear in their eye.  It can change their negative mindset to positive.  YES!  A simple smile can do it.

Your purpose is about how you uniquely serve the world and make it better in some way. It uses your unique gifts, strengths and experiences. It is something you do well. And it comes naturally to you.  It means you are willing to share your gifts and talents with others.  I am seeing new gifts develop or at least come out again – my creativity in making angels.  Seeing how putting the pieces together to form something wish brings memories to life is so humbling.

I think about my success as a Social Work….I know I made a difference. Some may think I am being conceited but I actually saw the difference I was making.   I am actually humbled by the blessing I am able to give to others.  Even when things are tight for me, there is a way to give back – a cup of coffee, a ride to a meeting, a smile, a thank you – everything makes a difference.

Today, I challenge you to take a few minutes and answer the question….Once you get the answer, write it down. Don’t forget it. Make it your mantra. A fulfilling life is a life lived with purpose.

How is someone’s life better because they cross your path?  Share your life’s purpose with us.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Business Tips and Tricks

Is Your Business “Mobile-Friendly”?

My instant response is always “OF COURSE!”.  I mean I have a website for my DS business, right?  I am a walking billboard for my angels and my Thirty One business.  But is that enough to qualify for being “mobile-friendly”?

Whether you are in DS or have your own business website, do you know if it is mobile-friendly?  I don’t mean able to take it on the road but is your website “mobile (phone) friendly”?  Did you know 57% of all US web traffic comes from smartphones and tablets, and it is only growing every day. People are using the internet on desktops and laptops less and less – which means your business needs to keep up.

So, if your website isn’t mobile-friendly, here are some reasons to change it quickly!

#1 – Easy to View on a Small Screen

Take a moment to visit your website on your smartphone. I’ll wait. LOL.

Now, answer these questions:

  • Was it easy to navigate?
  • Was it difficult to scroll sideways to view the entire page?
  • Did it feel cramped with all the information squeezed into a small screen?

I honestly never thought about the difference between how things are viewed on a desktop vs. a smartphone.  Thankfully, my DS company takes care of all of those things.  BUT, as I consider setting up something for “The Angel Connection” this is something I need to consider.  Visitors to your website on a desktop is very different than mobile visitors, so you need to consider it with a responsive website. What does that mean?  The site needs to adapt to the size screen it’s being viewed on. Or maybe you can have a mobile-first site, which is a version of your website with fewer menu options but easy to navigate to key information.

#2 – Simple to Find in Search

I never knew this….. there are different search engine options (SEO) for desktops and mobile-friendly devices.  I had a hard enough time figuring out desktop SEOs.

The key for mobile is 75% of people searching for local businesses will visit the store within one day. So, if your business isn’t set up with local SEO, you’re missing out on business.  Now, if you don’t have a store-front, be sure to let people know where locally they can find you – vendor events, business partners, online only, etc.

People using a mobile search might say “where can I get my comforter dry cleaned?”.  So it’s important to include keyword phrases people would say when using voice search on a mobile device to capture new business.  Google maps tends to prioritize mobile-friendly websites in their search results. This means sites which are easy to navigate on smartphones are at the top of the search results, while those lagging behind would slip farther out of view. Where will your business fall?

#3 – More Sales

This is KEY for those who sell primarily online!  Estimates who by 2021, nearly 72.9% of all e-commerce sales will occur on mobile devices. WOW!!  So, it should be mega simple for mobile visitors to your site to make a purchase without having to go to their computers.

Is your checkout form simple?  It can be rough on the eyes and fingers to see and fill out many tiny fields.  Does you credit card payment system syncs with your traditional website, mobile website, and even payments collected on the go.

#4 – Make Google (and Customers) Happy

Did you know, Google will give preference to websites which have a responsive or mobile-friendly web design?  This is HUGE because you will now have an which is an opportunity to rank higher in the search results.  Don’t you usually grab the first few businesses when you do a search?  Many customers expect businesses to have an easy-to-navigate mobile web experience, so if you deliver, chances are you’ll see more business and referrals.

So, are you panicking?  Ne need to….. It’s not difficult to get a mobile-friendly web design.  If you use a legitimate website designer, they should be well-versed in creating versions of your site for mobile, including SEO.  Are you a more DIY website builder?  They also have tools so you don’t even have to worry about creating a second site which is mobile-friendly.  It will be created automatically as part of your chosen theme.

This is not the future, but is happening right now. If you want to grow your business, you’ve have to make sure it’s easy for people to both find you in mobile search and navigate your site on their mobile devices.

Share your website with us so we can check to see if it is mobile-friendly.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!