Hope Wissel

Throwback Thursday: More About Me

I decided to step back in time.  I realized there may be some who have not been on this roller coaster journey with me since the beginning.  Blogging started as a challenge for me in March of 2013, and 1,547 posts later I am still blogging.  Things have changes some but I am still sharing my strengths, hopes and experiences with you.

So let’s go back to June 22, 2013 and see what was happening:

It has been 84 days of blogging – sharing all of the random tidbits of information that have been stored away in my brain for all of these years.  Sometimes I don’t even know what I know.  Crazy, right?  Today’s post is going to let you get to know me a little bit better.  I know I may loose some readers here but it is a chance I am willing to take since I don’t do it often.  I figure every few weeks, I would share some personal stuff to let you in on life as Hope.

After graduating from Ocean Township High School, I headed off to Roger Williams College (which is now a University) in Bristol, Rhode Island.  A small school on the coast of Rhode Island about 20 minutes from Newport.  I started out in Education but quickly changed my major to Administration of Justice.  I actually excelled in these classes, unlike my first semester of freshman year when I almost flunked out.  This Jersey Girl never let the sand leave my shoes even when I wasn’t in NJ, I was always close to a beach.  After graduation, I stayed in Rhode Island to work for the Governor’s Justice Commission.  A fancy title for a Program person that wrote evaluations and recommendations on services that were available in the Juvenile Justice system for at risk youth in Rhode Island.  My first “funded” position through a grant and I had no clue what it all meant.  I truly thought that I could make a difference.  About 6-months into the job, my Aunt Elsie sent me a job posting for Neptune Township for the Police Department.  I applied and actually got the job!  WOW!  I was headed back home.

Don’t get nervous folks, I wasn’t a police officer – I was a Crime Prevention Specialist.   Fancy title, huh?  Basically, I along with Howard O’Neill who was a cop, were to do crime prevention seminars, rape prevention classes, home safety checks, etc in the community.  You remember McGruff the Crime Dog?  We were partners with him.  It was a job back home and I enjoyed being home, close to family and back at my roots on the Jersey Shore.  For those that have heard me tell the story of why I answer to the name “Heather” this is why.  It was at this job that the Police Commissioner for the ENTIRE time I worked there called me Heather.  I guess that she either didn’t like my name or really wanted Heather for the job.

The casinos opened in Atlantic City and I went to AC for the first time to see the casinos.  There was lots of excitement and the listings for available jobs was long.  At this point, the only casino was Resorts but there were many building and looking for employees. I came back to Neptune and put my resume together.  Never thinking that I had shot.  You guessed it, I got called for an interview by the Director of Security, Gordon Jenkins, for the Claridge Casino Hotel.  The interview was at a little coffee shop in AC at one of the converted motels that was being used for offices.  Gordon was from Las Vegas and was brought in to set things up.  A sweet man who was looking for a secretary that could transition into an Administrator as they go closer to opening.  He always had a smile on his face and loved to have breakfast meetings.  In fact, this is where I developed the habit of putting strawberry jam on cheese omelets.  Don’t knock it till you tried it!  He offered me the job and I jumped on it.  More money.  The excitement of AC.  This was when commuting became a part of my life.  I traveled 5 days a week from Ocean Grove to AC for many months….This was the first part of what I often call “my previous” life.

Treasure your memories, learn from your past and your mistakes, then use the things your have learned to grow in your personal development which will help you in your business.

As I look back on old posts, it helps me to remember.  Memories have been slowly disappearing as a result of the lesions on my brain.  Little did I know how much blogging would help me to catch glimpses of the past.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Hope Wissel

Happy Father’s Day


Father’s Day is a celebration honoring fathers; celebrating fatherhood, paternal bonds, and the influence of fathers in society.

aae4e-dad Father’s Day this year will be different.  For the last 26 years, we have spent Father’s Day with my dad.  It was one of dad’s holidays when Belinda was growing up.  This year, I’m at a loss.  A void in my life which I feel on so many days.  It is weird, dad and I could go for weeks without talking yet just knowing he was there was okay.  In an instant, he was gone.  Heaven gained an angel on April 15th and there is a hole in my heart I struggle to fill.

Life with my dad had its ups and downs. Growing up was filled with family vacations and holidays.  MS has taken many of those memories away but we have told the stories many times but truly remembering is tough.  There are flashes some days but they are few and far between.

Dad was a HAM radio operator and I always had the BEST reports in school because he would reach out to friends far and wide for their help.  He bought me my first car for $100 and spray painted it blue. It was a stick shift, so he had to teach me – a true experience. The Chevy Nova lasted a long time and held many memories.  My junior year, he and my mom, cooked breakfast for the ENTIRE Junior Class of Ocean Twp HS after the prom.

Dad’s battle with alcoholism and those demons brought some really rough times. When my parents divorced, I was angry and hurt.  I wanted nothing to do with my dad. On Pop-pop’s death bed, he told me “it is time to forgive your dad”.  I wasn’t ready but every once in awhile I would get a nudge from my Weston angels it was time.  I never listened and it will be one of the regrets of my life.

My drug addiction brought us together and it was a gift.  My dad came to visit which was the first time we had spoken in 16 YEARS! He found out where I was and he traveled to Pennsylvania to see me. It is when the healing began.  No judgement.  No questions.  Just ready to fill the gaps of the missing years.


What a blessing it was to have him walk me down the aisle the day I got married.  He was the proud father as he walked me down the aisle.  A rough day for him due to health issues but one he would not have missed to anything.

I love this picture (even though we are missing some of the family bush). We have always said, it isn’t a family tree – it’s a bush and it was a blessing to have 4 generations in the same picture which is not always an easy task.  

I miss you Dad!

So today, I will spend time with hubby and cherish the memories.  I know my angels – dad and pop-pop – are enjoying the day together.

Take a moment today and thank the “fathers” in your life.  Some may be your biological dads, your adopted dads, some may be your friends dad’s, some may be a man who helped to shape your life – whoever it is, THANK them.  They have given you many blessings.  Remember blessings are sometimes in the form trials and it is all of those things which make you the person you are today.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day.

Hope Wissel

An Act of Kindness


Today is Throwback Thursday and I got to thinking…. I know scary, right?

I am going WAY back to about 8th grade and freshman year in High School.  I had a good friend, A.  We spent lots of time together.  We shared secrets.  Our boyfriends were friends.  We walked to the beach almost every day in the summer.

Then my memory gets a little foggy.  Somewhere during our high school years we grew apart.  Hubby and I talked about her once in awhile, wondering what had happened to her.  Fast forward to our 40th HS reunion.  I saw her name on the list and couldn’t wait to reconnect. It was awkward at first but I wanted to hear all about her life.

reunion picture

In the midst of talking, she shared that she would be starting chemo treatments when she got home.  The realization that the dreaded “c” was wrecking havoc on another friend’s life hit me hard.  After the reunion, she was headed home but the thought that she was going to be going through life long chemo kept nagging at me.  I reached out to someone on the Reunion committee for her address.

I talked with hubby and we agreed that we wanted to do something that would hopefully encourage her as she traveled this long road.  I ordered the bag above and had it shipped directly to her.  I didn’t include a note – just the packing slip would be included in the box.  I wasn’t looking for accolades, I just wanted to make her smile.  I wanted her to know that someone cared.  I wanted her to know that her friendship all those years ago meant so much to me.

Then I forgot about the order.  I didn’t even get a shipping notice so I didn’t know when it would be delivered.  Then I get a “tag” notice on Facebook.  A announced to everyone that I had sent her this gift and what it meant to her.  It makes me smile even today as I think of the blessing that I was able  to give someone else.  As she started chemo, she shared how the bag was packed and ready to go.  She was taking it with her all the time.  A constant reminder of her “courageous“-ness.

Okay, so what is the point of this story, right?  It is not about selling a bag.  It is not about the thanks we received.  It is about bringing a smile to the face of someone who is struggling.  That is my mission….

The mission of my business is to CELEBRATE – ENCOURAGE – REWARD women (children too).  To bring a smile to their face when they are struggling.  To share my strength, hope and experiences that they might know that they are not alone.  It can be with a coffee/tea break, happy mail, a gift of a product, some business tips or a girl’s night out.  I want those who are struggling (and maybe don’t even realize it) to SPARKLE!

Do you know someone who could use some sparkle?  Let’s see if we can turn that frown into a SMILE!

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Hope Wissel, Unclutter Your Life

The Bully in Your Head


TGIF!  This is the start of an exciting (and emotional) weekend – it is my 40th HS Reunion.  Yes, I graduated HS in 1975.  Over the last several weeks, there have been lots of pictures floating around including the one above from the 4th grade.  I am in the back row, 2nd from the right.

I am excited to see many old friends, introduce hubby to them and finally SQUASH the inner gremlin bully that lurks in my head.  Maybe you have one too.  “Who do you think you are?”  “You aren’t as good as ….”  Some days the bully is loud and intimidating while on other days he sleeps.  Yet without fail, he shows up to shake your confidence.  Mine has slept a lot over the last few months resting for this weekend.

Maybe you can relate.  Maybe you are applying for a new job, asking for a raise or starting your own business.  Maybe you are seeing friends and family who push your buttons. You know that you are successful.  You have awesome skills.  You have a business (or the job) that you love. You are confident.  Just as you walk in the door  — the bully rears its ugly head. “You’re not good enough, people are going to laugh at you,” What do you do? “No, what is your real job”  Do you retreat and go home?  Or do you fight the bully?

Thank you to the AWESOME Traci Bild for these five strategies that will calm the noise in your head:

1. Stay focused on what it is you want:  Talk to the Universe putting ONLY the positives out.  Move into the driver’s seat and redirect your thoughts to focus on what it is you want, what you can do, will have and are capable of.  Positive thoughts NOT negative ones.  Remember, you get what you put your focus on.

2. Restate damaging thoughts:  So what do you do when those negative thoughts creep in? The next time the bully shows up, take the damaging thoughts or words and restate them to emphasize what you want. If your thought is, “You will never have a successful business!” Restate to, “I am a success because I can pay my bills and enjoy my life as a result of it.”  Say it over and over because it’s going to feel odd, it will work.  You may have to “fake it till you make it” but as you speak the positive into the Universe, good things will come to you.

3. Retrain your brain:  How? Surround yourself by positive or inspiring thought patterns. Placed laminated quotes, images and inspiring words on your vanity mirror the refrigerator, and in your office.  As your mind naturally wonders to them, reading them multiple times a day, you are re-training your brain, every day, to focus on what it is you can do, and are capable of.  You are giving yourself the tools to battle the bully in your head. Over time, your mind will naturally focus on what you can do rather than what you can’t and that is power!

4. Protect your dream:  This one really surprised me but makes perfect sense.  Be careful who you share your dreams with. People are quick to remind you of “what you can’t do or why” because they haven’t defeated the bully in their own head. Confide only in those who support and encourage you or else risk another bully- this one outside of your head and in your circle of influence.

5. Use the risk-reward formula: Whenever you’re making a big decision ask yourself  — what’s the worst thing that can happen? If you can live with the worst case scenario, take the risk and move forward. If  you can’t then don’t; it’s that simple.

Will this squash the bully forever?  Probably not, he will will return to test the waters, to see if you’ve weakened your resolve and if it’s able to penetrate your mind enough to derail you. Be sure to fight back. Focus on what you want, can do, will have and the way it will feel once you’ve accomplished your goal.

Who is ready to reach for their goals and STOMP out that inner gremlin?

stomp goose egg

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Hope Wissel

Graduation Day

5 lessons dr. seuss

Congratulations to all of the Graduates in Brick (and everyone else too)!  Last night was graduation for both Brick high schools.  I don’t get the idea of having both graduations on the same day even though they are at different times but who am I to question tradition, right?

It was 39 years ago, that I graduated from Ocean Township High School.  Yes, next year we are celebrating our 40th Reunion – I can’t believe it.  I remember the night of graduation like it was yesterday.  I don’t remember a lot of things (you know momentary senior moments) but that night stands out.

The day started of a mix of sun and clouds with a prediction of rain for later in the evening.  Graduation at OTHS was always outside on the field.  The graduates sat on the field facing family and friends in the stands.  I was particularly nervous because I had to SPEAK!  No, nothing like Valedictorian – I was co-Editor of the Yearbook and had to present it to the school principle. Sound simple enough right?  But that meant standing in front of people, speaking – my lack of confidence can be traced all the way back to high school (probably about my Sophomore year).  I could do this!

As we lined up to walk onto the fields, the clouds started to roll in a little thicker.  The Administrators, in their infinite wisdom, felt that we could get through this BEFORE the rain started.  Okay, I mean we were only the 400+ students walking out onto the field with no covering.  Family and friends came armed with umbrellas just in case the heavens had a different plan for the day.  The gym was set-up as a back up plan.  Chairs in place for the guests and the bleachers ready to hold the graduates.  The problem was that if we moved inside, many of the guests would not see graduation as seating was limited to only 4 tickets per student.

I am sure you can see where this is going… we walked out onto the field and I think we made it through maybe 1 or even 2 speeches when the heavens opened up.  Now the mad dash to the gym…it was crazy.  Now there would be no walking across the stage to get our diplomas (or empty cases).  I did get to make my speech but after the calamity of scurrying inside, who could be nervous, right?

What is your favorite memory from graduation?  Share it with us…

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!