Hope Wissel

The Struggle of an Optimist

Stomping out inner gremlins and banishing ANTs (automatic negative thoughts) from my life is an ongoing battle. When a crisis occurs, I jump into Social Worker mode.  Handle things, take care of everyone, and make sure nothing slips through the cracks… you get the picture, right?  I mean every crisis needs a person like this, right?  On the outside, I look like a rock while on the inside I am falling apart.

When I started blogging over 4 years ago, it was about my life – the good, the bad and the ugly.  Somewhere along the way it changed to sharing tips and tricks for organizing, business coaching tips and more.  Don’t get me wrong, I love writing and helping others but I believe in my heart I can also help people by sharing my strengths, hopes and experiences.  Why am I saying all of this?  Because today is about getting through a life crisis.

My dad is currently in a rehab and has been placed on hospice for end stage COPD.  Dad played hard during his life and it has caught up with him at the ripe age of 86.  On his good days, he still has his smart answers for the nurses but he is tired of fighting.  The pain has gotten too great.  So, on Friday, “social worker” mode kicked in.  I truly believed I was handling things well.  A10-minute meltdown after getting the call from the rehab about his condition and I was done.  Then on Sunday at church. a friend said “are you okay? you look like you are going to cry”.  The water works started again.

Today, I am practicing some of the things I would have told family members of clients many years ago when a crisis occurred:

Limit Your Pity Party:

A wise friend gave me some sage advise:  “Every now and then you have to have a good cry, your own little pity party to get your feelings out. Then the next day you feel renewed in your fight and battle on.”  

So, I let the tears fall, went to bed and woke up ready to conquer the world.  I am learning to share the details of what is happening without putting any negativity into the Universe.  Leaning on God for his strength to get me through the tough days.

Do What You Don’t Want to Do:  

A crisis hits and what do we do?  Crawl in bed and pull the sheets over our head?  Avoid friends, and family?  Stop working? Not eating or sleeping?  Maybe even turn to a drink or two to help numb the pain?

Guess what? None of it will help in the long run.  It will send you down a path which is hard to come out of.  For me, I have a business to run so I can’t just hide.  For those who work for someone else, going to work is a great way to keep some normalcy in your life.  For those of us with our own business, we need to find ways to keep moving through the tough stuff.  Here are some things I have been doing:

  • Feed your body fresh, organic food (hubby says my nose is starting to twitch like a bunny)
  • Walking more every day.  Got to get my steps in.
  • Read a book which inspires you.  I keep it to something short because my attention span is short.
  • Watch a comedy show and laugh.  I am grateful for hubby’s ability to find old comedy shows on Amazon Prime
  • I treated myself to a new outfit.  A way to give myself a little pampering.

Take Care of Yourself Before You Take Care of Others

Yup, I am the proverbial care giver.  Taking care of the rest of the world while I tend to forget about me.  My “me time” consists of early morning hours in my office for devotions and to work on my business.  As the day moves on, I tend to struggle with balancing how to care for others while getting things done I need to do. Then I get annoyed when I don’t get my “to do” list done.  Crazy right?  I know I am not alone.

The truth is to help anyone, you must put yourself first. If you don’t take care of you, who will? When a crisis drops in your lap, you will be better able to tackle it if you have been taking care of yourself — giving back to you. Never forget how much you matter. You cannot fully give to others, including your work, if you haven’t taken care of yourself.  A lesson I am learning (sometimes the hard way).

Relive Stress and Release Anxiety

For some this is writing?  Or exercise? Or work? Or cooking?  The key is to do something to help you release anxiety before it has its way with you.  For me, I have to start my day with a cup of coffee and devotions or I am a mess the rest of the day.  I stop for about a half hour to send positive energy into the Universe.  Writing also helps.  Blogging daily has helped me personally, as well as for my business. Find what works for you –  take up writing, or an art of some kind, or learning a new skill, or take up an exercise like power walking, yoga or kayaking. Choose an activity that causes you to thoroughly focus and helps you let go of tension or pent-up anxiety.  It is also important you get enough sleep. Overtired, overstressed and increased anxiety are your own personal crisis waiting to happen.

A long post but in my heart I know someone needs to hear this – even if it is just me.  Have  a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Hope Wissel

Memories of September 11th


Today is in honor of September 11th.   Do you remember where you were on September 11th?

I remember that day as if it was yesterday.  I was working at Mia’s Christmas Shop in Ocean City, NJ. We had just opened when I was called into the office by Charlie, the owner, who had the television on showing the attacks. Charlie immediately started to collect money for those whose families and lives would be changed as a result of this horrific event.  I got to share the events of the morning with many people who were on vacation and CLUELESS about what was happening on that day.  Those days were filled with words like: Hero, Compassion, Love, Kindness, and Bravery.

In 2011, September 11th took on a new meaning in our family.  Heaven gained another Weston angel – Edythe, my aunt, my friend and my mom’s middle sister.  Growing up, I  Edythe (and Elsie) were my babysitters. As the years went on, they were a BIG part of my support system.  Edythe (along with the rest of my family) helped to raise Belinda. Lives changed – the world moved a little faster and we lost touch with the exception of holidays.

In July, 2010, a call from a family friend caught me by surprise.  Edythe had gone to the ER for what she thought was pneumonia only to find out that she had cancer.  As tough as it was to take those first steps, stuff the years of negative feelings – I headed to the hospital, unsure of what to expect.  Awkward moments followed but over the next year or more, we would come to peace with the feelings of abandonment and of losing a friend. Edythe had a tumor adjacent to her kidney. Kidney cancer that moved to her lungs and her brain. No pain, no symptoms so through God’s grace a simple case of the flu took her to the ER. The next year plus would be filled with chemo, multiple doctor visits as well as long stints in Centra State Hospital.

On May 21st, 2011, Edythe attended our wedding after a brief stay in the hospital. She was DETERMINED to be there and she was – thankfully. The days leading up to September 11th were filled with many emotions. Edythe had been doing well and talked about going home. With a blink of an eye, things changed – the pain intensified until the only relief made her sick and almost comatose. She decided that this was not quality of life. Within  36 hours of asking for Hospice, Edythe was called home to join the rest of the Weston clan – Mom-mom, Pop-pop and Elsie on September 11th.

The words that described those involved in the September 11th attack and recovery efforts describe Edythe:

1. Hero who continued to fight despite the pain. Edythe still remained active in Eastern Star and Rainbow.  She gave her time to encourage and inspire others.  She was a beautician (I know I am showing my age now) who bought Tempo Hairdressers in Ocean Grove where she worked for many years. I was always in awe of the way that she managed money. Not making a lot by today’s standards, she managed to be debt free, have a home (rental property with a mortgage), a thriving business and live life to the fullest. I wish that some of that money management had of rubbed of on me!  Edythe was a HERO!

2. Compassion, Love, Kindness – all have different meanings but are so intertwined. Edythe never had an unkind word for anyone. She would give you the shirt off her back, if you needed it.  A trait that we all learned from my grandfather – thank you Pop-pop.  This is my mission with my business.  Showing compassion, kindness and love to those who are struggling to help them smile!

3. Bravery – Edythe was brave in many areas of her life long before the cancer hit. Some see it as business savvy.   She stepped out of the box to create the life she wanted, against all odds.  Her strength in those final weeks were beyond belief.

As we reflect on this day, hug the ones you love, forgive the ones who you believe have done you wrong and enjoy the moment with those you love.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!