Entrepreneurial Think Tank for Moms, Unclutter Your Life

How Blogging Can Change Your Life

Do I have your attention???

8 years ago I took a  challenge.  If you have been reading my blog for awhile, you know the story…

I met an amazing group of women, The Entrepreneurial Think Tank for Moms (now for Woman) founded by Lynette Barberi and Vanessa Coppes.  I wanted to grow my business.  I wanted to make a difference in the lives of others.  I wanted a full-time income from my direct sales business.  The question was, was I willing to work for it?  My immediate answer was YES!  But, it meant I had to step out of my comfort zone.  Not something I was very good at and even struggle with today.  Vanessa challenged me to start blogging.  Who would want to read what I had to say?  What would I write about?  FEAR crept in but the people pleaser in me wanted to be accepted by this group of women so I was willing to do whatever it took to have what they had.

My first blog post “Bullying – The Visible vs the Invisible” was first published on March 29th, 2013.  It was probably the hardest thing I had written up until that point BUT the feedback I got was amazing!  So, I jumped in with both feet and starting writing daily for years.  When my MS flared – my memory and the words became more difficult.  I stepped back to only a few times a week then I actually stopped writing altogether.  There was only so much I could write – who wants to hear about the struggles? Was I really making a difference?  Fear and doubt crept in again.

In January of this year, I decided I would start again.  Once a week was all I could handle.  I would share some tips and on occasion write about life.  It is good for me to get things out.  I figure if my ramblings can help just one person, it is worth it. I’m stepping out in faith instead of letting fear rule in this area of my life.

I have been blessed over the last few months and despite heartache which has come from losing loved ones…. I’m feeling pretty good (minor MS stuff), my ThirtyOne business is thriving and I’m rebuilding key relationships in my life.  God has blessed me beyond my dreams.  God willing, I will celebrate 3 years clean in May.  I have stopped beating myself up (most days) for the mistakes of the past.  I actually like myself (most days) which has helped with the stress eating (not necessarily showing on the scale BUT it is okay). I have found joy in cooking (who would have thought? LOL). I’m looking forward to warmer weather and spending time with hubby working on the yard at the new house and maybe even some mini trips.

What does all of it have to do with blogging??? Probably very little except I found my voice by blogging.  The ability to share feelings which I don’t deal with very well with others. The ability to step out of my comfort zone because when I do, the magic happens.

Do you journal?  Have you thought about blogging?  Blogging has helped my business and me grow personally in so many ways.  I’m always amazed when someone in my pick bubble googles a word or something and my blog or my name comes up towards the top of the list.  If they are finding it so are others, right?  I have gained customers and insiders (aka hostesses) through the link to my blog.  Have a business?  Why not give blogging a try?  Share recipes, share tips & tricks about your products, share how to’s….. just give it a shot.  I’m grateful I took the challenge so many years ago and still do some writing.  It will not be a magic wand of instant success but it will make a difference when you are consistent – monthly, weekly, daily whatever you decide to do.  When you do start (or if you already do) share your link with us…

Here is to another year…. have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

 

Family, Relax, Reflect, Recharge

Fun Family Winter Activities

Don’t let winter get you down! Even if you live where the weather is frightful, there are plenty of delightful activities for you and your family to do. We compiled a list of some of our favorite ideas here, along with a few tips and useful products to help you get the most out of your experience!

Outdoor Activities with Snow

  • Build a snowman or a snow fort
  • Go sledding or snow tubing
  • Go skiing
  • Make snow angels
  • Have a snowball fight
  • Snow paint (see details below!)

How do you snow paint?

All you need is empty spray bottles, water and food coloring! Rinse out the bottles, fill them with water and add 20 drops of food coloring to each bottle. Start with 1 bottle each of red, blue and yellow. If you have more bottles, you can create more colors by combining them (just like in art class)!

  • 10 drops of red + 10 drops of blue = purple
  • 10 drops of red + 10 drops of yellow = orange
  • 10 drops of blue + 10 drops of yellow = green

Your kids will love spray painting snow men, snowballs or just drawing pictures on that big white snow canvas!

Outdoor Activities (No Snow Required)

  • Rent a cabin in the woods
  • Go on a self-guided holiday light tour
  • Collect pinecones and small evergreen branches to create a centerpiece
  • Take a hike through the woods
  • Blow bubbles and watch them freeze (below 32° F)
  • Set up an “ice gem” treasure hunt for the kids (see details below!)

What are “ice gems”?

Ice gems are simply ice cubes that have been made with food coloring. Fill an ice tray with water, add 2 or 3 drops of food coloring to each compartment and put it in the freezer. Use different colors to represent different types of gems (rubies, emeralds, sapphires, etc.).

Indoor Activities

  • Build a cozy blanket fort with lights
  • Set up an indoor scavenger hunt
  • Bake cookies
  • Make paper snowflakes
  • Make bird feeders (see below for details!)

Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter (softened)
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped nuts, if desired

Steps

  1. Heat oven to 375°F. In small bowl, mix flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  2. In large bowl, beat softened butter and sugars with electric mixer on medium speed or with spoon until fluffy.
  3. Beat in the egg and vanilla until smooth. Stir in flour mixture just until blended and dough is stiff. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts.
  4. Drop rounded tablespoons of dough 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheet.
  5. Bake 8-10 minutes or until light brown (center will be soft). Cool 2 minutes. Remove cookies and place on cooling rack for about 30 minutes.  

If you would like to add this recipe to your collection, download the Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe card.

This blot post was courtesy of Thirty One Gifts. Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

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, Recovery

Peace Within

Hi blog followers….. I still haven’t figured out the road I want to take with my blog but this was on my heart today…,  Are you wondering “how can she did she get peace within”? LOL.  I have been wondering the same question.

I have 21 months clean today. I have a calmness I haven’t felt in a REALLY long time.  Is everything perfect in my life?  NOPE!  Honestly, what in life is perfect?  The difference has been my daily practice of the first three NA steps .Actually, I am grateful for a strong third step which says “We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him”.

On those moments I’m alone at home or driving in the car admiring the beauty of the sky, I think about how peaceful life has become.  I am grateful for my relapse. No, I am not grateful for the pain and heartache it caused. BUT it has helped me in so many ways to really appreciate the gift of life.  It has helped me to put my life with MS in perspective and not let it control me.

Over the last few weeks, I have been blessed with a clear head and vey little brain fog.  I have completed physical and occupational therapy – actually graduated out because I was doing so well. YEAH!!  Planning our vacation in April.  Clearing out the clutter so we can put the condo on the market by early summer.  Creating new angel designs.  Tracking my food even though the scale doesn’t seem to be moving much.  Sadly, I had to find a new sponsor which has its growing pains.  LOL. I am taking it one day at a time and enjoying whatever life brings.

Whether you are in recovery or not, here are some simple steps to help you find peace within…

Stop Thinking about Your Past. … 

I will admit for me this is a little easier than for most.  I don’t remember a lot of things –  thank you MS.  I have let go of the “woulda, coulda, shoulda” kind of thinking.  I have stopped beating myself up for the mistakes I made which I can’t change.  Yes, I have regrets.  Yes, I get sad about broken relationships. Yes, the pain and heartache I caused is in my thoughts.  The difference is, I don’t focus on them.  I have faith relationships will be healed.  Definitely not in my time but when God sees fit to make it happen (I will be ready).  I stop focusing on the past and am enjoying the moment of today.

Don’t Push Yourself Hard for Something. …

As not only a recovering addict BUT also a recovering workaholic, this can be tough.  MS has taught me many things – don’t push yourself too hard because you will crash and burn (okay, not literally).  Do I still have goals?  Yup.  The difference now is I am enjoying the journey and where it takes me.  See, God has a plan for my life (and yours) so why not just let it unfold.  This can be rough for a planner (an old grant writing habit).  You can still set goals but don’t push so hard you forget about….

Spend Quality Time with Loved Ones.

Loved ones can be family, friends or someone who are important in your life.  I am learning to enjoy the quiet times. Don’t get me wrong, I always enjoyed spending time with loved ones.  The difference is NOW I am in the moment focusing on them and our time together.  I no longer am thinking about the next thing I need to do.  I am grateful for time with hubby – looking forward to his retirement.  I am grateful for the days (not as many as I would like) I get to spend with momma.  I am grateful for the time spent with my fellow women in recovery.  Are there some I don’t get to spend quality time with?  YUP!  Do I mess them?  ABSOLUTELY!  Still I am at peace.  I can’t control others so fix, managing and controlling everything is a quality I have learned to let go of (there are still some days – LOL). I know in time, the day will come when I will get to spend quality time with ALL my loved ones.

Lastly, focus your attention on those things you can control. …

I have always been a peacekeeper, really “a people pleaser”.  I stuffed my feelings when they didn’t agree with what others thought or did.  I tried to fix, manage and control things.  It was how I hid my feelings as well as my addiction.  If I am focusing on others, I didn’t have to think about me. YIKES!  It used to scare the hell out of me.  I didn’t know who I was.  I didn’t like me.  NOW, I am grateful for being able to look inside and see me (most days).  Yes, there are still days I don’t ‘like myself.  There are days the number on the scale makes me crazy despite my best efforts.  The difference is now, I focus on the things I can control.  I watch what I eat  since eating healthier makes me feel better despite the scale.  I talk to others when those inner gremlins creep in instead of stuffing them behind a closed door.  I wake up asking for guidance and go to sleep being grateful for the day.

A long post but I know in my heart someone needed to hear it.  Have a blessed day!