Hope Inspires, Hope Wissel, Recovery

Anniversaries – Celebrations With Reflection

This past week I celebrated two anniversaries both filled with emotions and the struggle to remember.  Two milestones in my life which changed me forever.

On Friday, hubby and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary.  We have been together 18+ years BUT only married 10.  If you know our story, you get it.  🙂

I generally blog about our story BUT this year,  I want to share the gratitude I have for this man.  Our road has been a rocky one – from his commuting for 5 years, to living together to marriage.  It all seems so basic, right?  But add to it – recovery on the road to relapse, a perceived loss of independence, his congestive heart failure, my diagnosis of MS and now his retirement.  Life on life’s terms which is something I’m not really good at.  It has been a true test for both of us of our wedding vows.  He has been my rock on my most difficult days.  I have tested his patience and he has learned how to communicate just a little bit better. We have grown together in so many ways…

As we sat at dinner the other night, the subject drifted to the one question to be sure about a relationship.  I had never heard this and honestly, I was scared. But he continued saying it is “do you bring out the best of each person?”….. Of course I had to know what he thought about us because honestly my memory is awful and fear was creeping in.  My immediate reaction was to feel less than. Not worthy of his unconditional love.  Instead of blurting things out, I prayed to be quiet while he finished.  He said “our life has been a balance –  sometimes we have brought out the best in each other while there are times, we have brought out the worst.  He said it is life but the true test is how you get through it.  We have made it.  WOW!  I didn’t get defensive.  I didn’t try to over analyze.  I just was grateful I kept my mouth SHUT and for how far we have both come. I may have already forgotten much of the night, I pray his words about our life together stay with me forever.

Jump ahead to Saturday and another celebration…. WE HAVE 3 YEARS!  I look back on where I was three years ago… a hot mess on the verge of losing my hubby, a mound of credit card debt, a victim mentality while I isolated feeling less than everyone else, broken emotionally, mentally and spiritually.  Appearing confident (often cocky) on the outside while a scared child on the inside.  I had walked this road before and relapse became part of my story.  I had let down my family, my friends but most of all I had let myself down.  The strong confident person was gone.  What was left was a broken, shell of my former self.  Sadly, I didn’t notice it – I thought I hid it well.  I blamed everyone else for what was wrong in my life when the only one who was to blame was me.

As I sit here writing, unable to feel anything but sadness (MS seems to play with my emotions as well as taken my memories) I struggle to remember how bad it was.  Not just this time but the first time (my first clean date was 10/26/91).  Hubby often says, God took the memories because it was too unbearable for me to remember.  God gives me glimpses at times but when it becomes overwhelming for me, they fade and only segments remain.  So instead of struggling to remember, I try each day to be a better person than I was yesterday. Does it always work? NOPE!  I know with God’s help, it will.  I continue to go to meetings – I need to hear the struggles, I need to share my blind faith, I need to be surrounded by people who have been where I have been and I need to remember  “never” should not be part of my vocabulary.

Today, the credit card debt is paid off.  Today, I am trying to connect with local women in recovery.  Today, I accept I am an introvert but it does not mean I need to isolate.  Today, I know my ride & die gals who have been with me since the first night 3 years ago are just a phone call away.  Just for today, I like myself.  Today, I don’t beat myself up over the weight or how I think “I should look”.  My life is blessed in so many ways.  Yes, MS kicks my butt BUT it is not an excuse to go back to those old destructive behaviors.  Living life on life’s terms is not always easy but WE do recovery together.

Thank you to everyone who has walked these many roads with us.  We are grateful for the part you have played and continued to play in our lives.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Hope Inspires, Hope Wissel

One Word Not a Resolution

In looking back over the last year, I realized in all of the craziness I forgot about my “word”.  Honestly, I don’t even remember what it was for 2020.  Life got away from me – COVID, recovery, selling our condo, buying our new forever home, settling in and living life with hubby in retirement.  A whirlwind of a year which is coming to an end….So, I’m planning 2021.

It is just a few days before Christmas and already some are looking forward to the new year.  There are hopes of a better year, for some type of normal to return to our lives.  For some, this has brought up the idea of New Year’s Resolutions, right?  Most people usually pick a resolution by a problem which has plagued them (sometimes for years) and vow to change it.  Has it worked for you in the past?  I know it never did for me.  Here is usually how it goes:

January – motivated, committed and on track to keep resolution

February – some motivation, mostly on track

March – motivation gone and Resolution forgotten

Does this sound like you?  Well, in 2012 my Director with Thirty One asked us to pick a word for the upcoming year. It was the first year, I tried it and it worked!  My word was  FAITH:  Faith to believe when the way is rough and faith to hang on when the going is tough.  faith will never fail to pull us through and bring us strength and comfort too. Helen Steiner Rice. 

That one word got me through so much during the year….FAITH helped me when business was slow.  FAITH helped me to step outside my comfort zone to grow my business.  FAITH helped me to stay on track with Weight Watchers.  FAITH helped me to overcome doubt and when I took on a part-time job.  FAITH got me through as hubby suffered congestive heart failure.  FAITH got me through when fear gripped my heart at the thought I might lose him. FAITH gave me strength when Rob had oral surgery.  FAITH kept me calm as I overcame my fear of dentists.  My FAITH grew each day as I sought God’s guidance before I made major decisions in my personal and business life.  My FAITH has got me through.  Each year after, I selected a word. Some years I was more focused then others either way, I was blessed in so many ways.

This “One Word” experiment moved me from the long list of changes to ONE WORD.  It helped me to take all my big plans, narrow them down into a single focus and create a vision.   When things got tough, when Doubtful Debbie and Negative Nellie visited; I went back to my ONE WORD and gained focus.  It wasn’t always easy but it helped me focus on the goals I had for the year.  Notice I didn’t say resolutions, I said goals.  I am still praying on my word for 2021.  I know God will nudge me in the direction I need to go.  This ONE word will be my guide as I strive for the goals I have for 2021 in my personal, and business life.

What will your ONE WORD for 2021 be?  Or are you still in the “resolution list” mode?  Either way, share them with us.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Unclutter Your Life

Give Yourself Permission to Make a Change

 

Change – it’s not something which is easy for me – or most people.  I am again learning how I can’t change the past, I can’t go back an get a new beginning.  BUT what I can do is start a new start today and make a new ending.

At the ripe old age of 61 with MS kicking my butt a lot of days, I wonder if it is to late to make changes.  I think back to the many changes I made in my career – I started out looking at law school to fight for those who couldn’t fight for themselves, then it was off to Atlantic City to work in the hotel/casinos.  As my addiction progressed and finally sent me to my knees, a new passion emerged and my life as a social worker was born.  A career I would not change for the world.  I learned so much and it gave me a chance to make difference in the lives of others.  I know I am squirreling…..

How often have you asked yourself if it is too late to change careers and pursue something you are  more passionate about.  The truth is “It’s never too late,”!  If you feel led in a new direction, make a plan to transition and go for it!

Whether you are in your twenties, or  in your sixties — it is never too late.  Life is too short to settle and be unhappy.  So whether you want to change jobs, save a relationship or start planning for retirement – DO IT!  I know, easier said then done, right?

The first thing you need to do is LET GO of the idea it’s too late to change the course of your life.  Stop comparing yourself to others and where they are.  Give up the shoulda, coulda and woulda.  The world pressures us to believe everything has to happen in a certain time frame, and when we want to go a different route, FEAR steps in.  It can feel as though it is “against the rules” to follow a path outside the norm.  Who is to say what the “norm” is?   Fear will keep you stuck where you are, thinking it is wrong to change your mind about what you want in life. God will often lead you in a new direction when you have learned all you were supposed to learn at a particular stage of your life.  Have you learned everything you could for your current stage of life?

Our experiences develop us into a unique person and our path doesn’t look like anyone else’s and it shouldn’t. Believe it or not, the mistakes you’ve made – you can learn from them and use those lessons to make a change sometimes for the better..

Is it time to reconsider the things you had decided it was too late to do?  Why not rekindle your desire for change.  Give yourself permission to dream a bigger dream,  walking a divinely inspired path which is uniquely yours.  It’s not too late to try something new.  In fact, life becomes stale when you get stuck in a rut.  I know, it’s tempting to give up on the idea you could have what you really want in your life, but you don’t have to give in to temptation. Your journey becomes richer and more joyful when you remain open to your possibilities.

Here are some things it’s not too late for you to do:

  • Change careers
  • Go back to school
  • Fall in love
  • Apologize to someone you hurt
  • Forgive someone who hurt you
  • Plan a trip to your dream destination
  • Have children (even if it’s biologically impossible, the child you were meant to have may be waiting to be adopted by you)
  • Start saving for retirement
  • Get fit
  • Start taking better care of yourself
  • Turn your finances around
  • Deepen your relationship with God
  • Change your attitude or your perspective on life

Today is a NEW day and I am letting go of the thoughts of “it’s too late”.  Just for today, I am going to focus on the positive and where I want to be in my life.  I am going to open my mind to new possibilities. I’m going to take a step in the direction to achieve my potential.

Share with us, what you decided it’s too late to do.  Then tell us what steps you are going to take to move toward it? You are not alone… We can do this together.

Have ThirtyOne-derful day!

Budgeting

Penny Wise, Dollar Foolish

Penny wise and dollar foolish is a saying I have heard since I was little.  I will admit, it has been me on occasion – okay, maybe more occasions then I care to admit!  🙂

Halfway through the year and starting a new fiscal year at Thirty One this month is when review my goals and my finances.  Doing it mid-year check helps me keep things in balance or get back on track if I have wavered.

Life with MS (#MSwillnotdefineme) has been interesting to say the least.  No excuses, just the realization processing things doesn’t work unless I have a system.  A system to stay on track with bills.  A system to work my business.  Admittedly, the the money system faltered some in the first few months but I have grabbed the bull by the horns and am back on track with a new plan.

I hate to admit I am still learning money matters in my 60’s, but there are a few things I wish I had learned in my 20’s.  Learning is an ongoing process and I am determined not to give up on my goal.

#1 A bigger and better job doesn’t mean you get to spend more.  By keeping your costs the same when you increase your salary you’ll be able to save some.  I always thought more money meant I could spend more.  Silly me!

#2 Never spend more than what comes in.  And limit your cards to the lowest amount possible. This has been the toughest for this recovering addict to conquer. 

#3 Pay off any debt first.  Pay your credit card debt as soon as possible, those high interests won’t be doing you any good. Then once they are paid off DON”T use them anymore.

 

#4 Student loans on autopilot.  Students loans usually have a really small interest rate so make regular, steady payments to pay off your loan and it’ll soon be a thing of the past.  Check out too if you are eligible for a “forgiveness program”.  Make 120 payments on time & the balance of your loan is forgiven.  Works for the kids but not the parents.

#5 Build a back-up.  YES, saving is still important even if you have debt.  Make sure you always have a few hundred set aside for unexpected costs and bills.

#6 Insuring yourself is essential.  A crashed laptop, unforeseen doctors bill or stolen bike can wreak financial havoc if you’re not insured. The cost per month will pay off in the long run for any unexpected mishaps.

#7 Set long term goals to help you focus on what you really want. Figure out how much you’re gonna need and start saving now.

#8 Monetize your talent if you can.  Write blogposts, take photographs or try to monetize your special skills as (additional) income.  I have been a crafter for as long as I can remember.  I just wish I had of saved some of that money.

 

#9 Think about retirement.  This is especially important if you are your own boss.  Sadly, I learned too late it’s essential to put away money for the future.

#10 Lastly, here is a marvelous piece of advice given by StickleyMan on Thought Catalog. It’s reaaaaaally good.

Take some more chances. You know that idea that’s been ruminating in the back of your mind for years? That one that doesn’t have anything to do with your job or your mortgage. That one that falls outside your schema of living and routine and that you shrug off as some immature or impractical idea; as just some silly fantasy. Maybe it’s a crazy business idea or a trip to go live in a hut in India for three months or to breed Pygmy hippos or to become a juggling street performer. Whatever it is, explore it. Maybe even try it. I don’t mean take a stupid, life-threatening risk. I’m not suggesting a trying a lifestyle of meth addiction and bare-knuckle Fight Clubs. But something outside your comfort zone. Try it. Maybe you’ll fail miserably at it. But just try it. Because in about a decade when you’re responsible for more things and more people, you won’t be able to. And you’ll find yourself in a self-imposed mental prison of ‘what-ifs’. And take it for someone who didn’t because I was too scared, too embroiled in my own insecurities and addictions, and so heavily conditioned to fear failure – you’ll wish you did.

Any cash lessons you learned in the past year? Tell us in the comments, we’d love to hear how you spend and save.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Business Tips and Tricks

Goodie Bags

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What comes to mind when you think of “goodie bags”?  Do you have visions of cello bags filled with candy?  I remember growing up, every party had a goodie bag – something for the guests to take home to remember the fun they had at the party.  Or if you are in direct sales, maybe you think of the bags you give out to potential customers.  Goodie bags are a great what to share your business with some chocolates or other treats.

Gift bags have become an important part of every milestone – baby showers, bridal showers, Sweet 16 parties, weddings, retirement, graduation and the list goes on, right?  We are always trying to figure out what to put in them especially in these days of food allergies and political correctness.  Why not reach out to your favorite direct sellers and ask them for samples?  Interesting thought right?

Almost every business has samples of some kind that they would love to share with your friends and family.  From samples of soap, nail decor, perfume, lipstick, candy, bookmarks, coloring sheets, etc.  Business people LOVE the free advertising and as “Hosts”, we love the opportunity to save money.  If you are in a business where samples are not available,you can print out bookmarks, recipe cards, candy wrappers, gift bag tags, shopping lists, chore charts, etc all with pretty designs on them along with your business card and a coupon.  Depending on the party or event, would determine what would be donated.3885229a

Do one of these special events happen in the next few months while we are in the midst of the busiest season of the year?  Why not make those goodie bags a little more special with a reusable bag.  These festive holiday bags are by Thirty One! Available for a limited time only, each set includes one large pouch and one small pouch, each with a drawstring closure. Large Approx. 15 ¼”H x 13 ½”L Small Approx. 7 ¾”H x 6 ¾”L.  The best part, they are only $5 for the set!

So reach out to your friends in direct sales, help them to promote their business while putting together some unique goodie bags.

I do a goodie bag for kids that includes a coloring sheet, a few crayons, my business card and a mini catalog.  See a mom struggling with a fussy child, share the goodie bag with them.  What fussy child is not quieted by a colorful bag to play with?

What is your next event, you will need a goodie bag for?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day