Hope Wissel

Thankful Thursday: Labels

Thank you  for inspiring today’s message…..
Who are you? I mean your “identity” beyond titles, labels and your history?  For me, this is a tough one because I never knew who I was so I was always used a “label”……

 

“Who are you?” is a really powerful question.  With so many of us are looking for personal growth you would think it would be an easy one to answer.  What is the first thing you think of when you are asked this question????

For me, I would usually answer: what I did – mom or social worker or now retired.  Occasionally I would say self-employed.  I have friends who would answer with one of these:

  • what we are working, wishing and hoping for (nope this one wasn’t for me)
  • who means the most to us and
  • where we’ve been and how we got to where we are

But, who are you? Think about it for a moment. Can you answer the question without rattling off your rank, title or accomplishments?  I know I can’t or at least I couldn’t before walking back into the doors of NA 16 months ago.  I was always a label, never knowing who I was.  A pretty scary thought.  I may not have an answer but I am working on one…https://deanafarrell.com/do-you-know-who-you-really-are-beyond-titles-labels-and-history/

I’m a wife, a mom, retired social worker, MS warrior, grant writer, Jesus lover, entrepreneur, reader, blogger, daughter, sister, friend, encourager, crafter, recovering addict,  jean wearing, often a hot mess who is making progress to being a better version of me! If I really thought about it, I’m sure the list could go on and on…. just like yours, right?

My list reflects my story,  labels given to me by others, some I cherish while others I struggle with.  I remember (vaguely) a time when I had it all right – years ago my first time around in recovery.  I was confident in who I was and where I was going.  I didn’t let what others think control who I was or what I was doing.  I realize when I had my identity right, everything else fell into place.

Is who you are defined by labels or are you defined by the core values you cherish?  Are you a reflection of who you were created to be or are you still struggling with finding yourself?  I will admit, I was eager to work my fourth step because it I wanted to get to gut-honest.  I wanted to take a “searching and fearless moral inventory of myself”….. be careful what you wish for.  LOL. I may be struggling through the process but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.  I know once I can identify who I am beyond the titles, labels and my history – I will be a better strong version of myself able to make decisions – even the touch ones.

I love these words from Deana:

You will find yourself very clear on the direction you want to go, even if you’re not sure of what it will take to get there, because you know WHO you need to be in order to get there.

Stop trying to fit in. If nothing else today, take some time to ponder this BIG question “Who are you?”.

I know by continuing on this journey, I will become the person God meant for me to be.  Believe me, I am right there with you Working on making progress toward what I need to do in order to live out who I was created to BE !

Have a blessed day!

 

Thankful Thursday

Thankful Thursday: Dreams

Dreams are defined in two ways:  #1 – a series of thoughts, images, and sensations occurring in a person’s mind during sleep. and #2 – a cherished aspiration, ambition, or ideal.

I will admit I don’t often remember the dreams I had when I am sleeping.  I guess it is part of the MS or maybe I don’t dream.  But there was a time when I had goals – dreaming big for success in my professional and personal life.  Of course, I’m not sure I really knew what success was.

What do you dream of?  Exotic vacations?  A successful business? A romantic relationship?  Kids? Friends?  What did you dream about doing when you were little?  I don’t remember much of my childhood so what my dreams were, I don’t know.  I have glimpses of past dreams – some of which I met.  Those glimpses come with the help of others who remind of my successes.  Now, my dream is to wake up one morning with memories (all of them) and not have MS.  I dream of being able to process thoughts and have feelings again besides the extremes of sadness and joy.  It’s more wishful thinking than anything, but who knows, if not today, maybe tomorrow. There’s always hope for tomorrow.

I never grew up dreaming I would have a life with a chronic illness filled with body weakness, loss of memory and pain. I don’t think anyone ever does. Cancer took many of my family members so I actually figured one day it would take me…..but I stuffed the thought and lived my life.  I’m not sure what my choice would have been on career day but I’m sure MS wasn’t an option.  I remember wanting to be a lawyer and ended up in the casinos. Then addiction and recovery changed my life.  I went from the casino to being a social worker.  Something which might have been God’s plan all along.  I loved helping people and it became my calling.  I am grateful for the pictures and the memories others share with me of those many years making a difference in the live of others.  I love creating things – angels of all types and sewing.

Now, because of MS, my thoughts get jumbled and the words I’m thinking aren’t always the ones that come out.  I don’t remember people so remember details about their life is a struggle.  Helping others is more difficult since I can barely help myself some days.  I trust others memories of my hopes and dreams.  I  rely on them to help me remember my past.

I may not talk a lot in public since my worlds get jumbled BUT I do love writing. Writing my thoughts down gives me enough time to pause in order to keep from jumbling words up too bad. I still make a ton of writing errors, but they are easier to correct than losing my train of thought in the middle of a conversation.  It’s really funny when I jot something down and then go back and read it later – I am usually puzzled wondering what was I thinking.

Creating my angels has become therapy.  It takes a lot longer than it used to but I still love spending the time using those creative juices.  The colors may not always work, the design may be a bit off but the end result is a unique angel design.  I have to be more patient with my hands when they won’t stay steady. Or the numbness/tingling causes me to drop things.   That makes it a challenge, but somehow I still get things done.

Because of MS, I have learned to appreciate the things I am still able to do. I can’t let the fact that I can’t do something now get me down. There’s always a way if I get creative enough.

Have you given up on a dream?  Maybe it is because of a chronic illness.  Maybe it is because life showed up and things got detoured.  Don’t loose hope in succeeding in finding your dream. Never stop pursuing your dreams just because something gets in the way.  Life happens.  Dreams keep us going and yes, they do change.

Never lose the ability to dream – for me, it just means writing them down.  It means not “thinking” the passion will keep the dream alive because the truth is, by tomorrow I will forget what the dream was.

Remember…Go out there and conquer your day today.  Reach for your dreams – large or small. taking one step closer to them every day.

Have a blessed day!

Hope Wissel

Recovery After Relapse

 I have gone back and forth trying to decide whether or not I wanted to share this post.   I have been  a people pleaser most of my life and I didn’t want any one to be angry with me. Others will stop reading.  BUT there may be one or two who will be encouraged or know recovery is actually possible.

My first time in recovery, I shared with everyone.  I didn’t care who knew because NA and the people I met saved my life.  They helped me to learn about me which made me confident.  Some would say I got cocky, since after two plus years of daily meetings I walked away from the program thinking I was “better” and was healed.  I was given back all of the tangibles in my life – family, a career, a house, car and so much more.

If you read my blog regularly, you may have noticed I have referenced my relapse and my walk back into recovery.  Pride and ego gets the best of me as I worry about what people will think.  BUT there may be someone out there who needs to hear this story….

When I started blogging in 2013, I shared the story of my addiction. The story of getting clean in 1991 was a blessing.  I was blessed with many years in recovery – from drugs.  Of course, I now know I substituted work for my drug of choice.  I became a workaholic – and some wondered if I cared more about my clients then I did my family.  As a workaholic, I had an occasional glass of wine figuring I had things under control.  Little did I know, it was the beginning of making a total mess of my life again.  See, I forgot one simple thing from those early meetings – a drug is a drug is a drug.  The truth is, anything we become obsessive about is a form of addiction.  So, as I worked for many years at a job I loved; I was able to “manage” my work – addiction.

When for health reasons I had to give up my crazy commute (4 hours a day round trip) and a job I loved – I was lost.  I had no real identity or at least I didn’t think so.  The first year wasn’t bad.  I worked on my direct sales business, and collected unemployment while I looked for something close to home.  The truth was being 54 with LOTS of experience was not an appealing trait for most employers.  All they saw was someone who was “older” and who they thought would quit when a better opportunity came along.

Over the next 7 years, my life would be like a roller coaster ride.  Taking jobs to fill the void and pay the bills.  But each time, my MS (not yet diagnosed) reared its ugly head, and I had to give my notice.  During 4+ of those years, not only did I struggle to find a job but I endured endless testing to determine what was going on health-wise with me.

Financial unmanageability was starting to wreck havoc in my life without a steady income.  MS started affecting my memory, my moods, my balance and my life. The unmanageability throughout my life got worse.  No steady income.  An inconsistent commission check from my direct sales business.  Using credit cards to pay for things or to shop or to keep up appearances.  Drinking wine to relax.  The old behaviors and feelings from my early days of using came back really fast.  Stuffing my feelings again.  Feeling like I didn’t belong.  Feeling alone.  Feeling like a victim.  Feeling unworthy of anything.  Playing the comparison game and never winning.  Being self-centered (I want what I want when I want it).  Angry. Letting pride rule. Jealousy.  All of those things I thought I had dealt with long ago.

See, the reality was I gave up the drugs but I never really worked on me.  I substituted work for drugs.  I identified as a Social Worker.  I identified as mom.  But I never identified as Hope – the person.  Looking back, I was happy with my life BUT I don’t think I was ever really happy with me!

One year ago, I walked back into the rooms of NA, I felt as broken and lost as the first day I walked into the rooms on October 26, 1991.  I have learned so much in the last year.  This year has been a turning point in my life…. you would think at 62 I would have finally gotten it together. LOL.

Are things perfect?  No but they are getting better.  I am learning to like me for me.  I still tend to play the comparison in my business but it is getting better. I am working on re-building broken relationships. I am building a network of strong women who I can lean on.   I am learning to accept my MS diagnosis and truly believe #mswillnotdefineme.

Why am I sharing this?  I want to help someone else who may be struggling.  I am coming face to face with my inner demons so I can move on from the past and embrace the future.

Have a blessed day!

Gives Program

Make a Difference For Mother’s Day

If you follow my blog you know, a HUGE part of my journey with Thirty One is to help others.  Sometimes it is a fundraising project, or a donation to an event or giving to someone who was just in need of some loving.  It doesn’t matter whether it’s a small goal or a HUGE goal, I want to help.  As a result, I have been able to donate to various causes throughout the years.

This is not to toot my own horn. None of these projects would be possible if it were not for the support of my friends, family and customers.  Individuals who believe in the cause, or just want to help. Okay, can you guess where this is leading…. YOU GOT IT!

Last year, for Easter, and for Mother’s Day we donated baskets to Dottie’s House.  Dottie’s House is a transitional housing facility designed to aid women and children who have survived domestic violence. They proactively help these families develop the life skills needed to become self-sufficient for their future financial and emotional independence.

Why is Dottie’s House so special to me?  I was a child of domestic violence……..  behind the doors of our seemingly normal middle class family, the was abuse.  My dad was an alcoholic and my mom suffered the consequences sometimes – physically and verbally.  Mom never left.  In fact there was a time when dad left and because I was so clueless as to what was happening, I begged for him to come back.  My mom took him back.  My mom was brave for enduring the struggle.  These women at Dottie’s House are brave for taking their kids and fleeing.  

If you have children, think about how your hubby or your family make sure you have a special Mother’s Day.  For many of the women at Dottie’s House, they do not have the same support system so Mother’s Day could be just another day.  I want them to know they are special too.

So with the help of my family, friends and customers, we are putting together “pampering pouches” as Mother’s Day Gifts for these ladies.  The goal is 31 since – 18 for the 18 units at Dottie’s House and the balance for the moms who have moved into their forever homes with Homes Now, Inc.

The $20 sponsorship will pay for the actual bag and I will use 100% of my commission to fill them with a variety of things like a fuzzy socks, notepad, pen, lotion, and chap stick.  My friends in direct sales will also be adding pampering products to make these hardworking mommas feel special.

Since I began my “give back program”, over $10,000 in products and cash donations have been made to various causes.  It fills my cup to know we have made the difference in the lives of so many people.

In addition, I am selling Domestic Violence Angel Awareness charms for $7 with the proceeds being donated to Dottie’s House.

Who is with me? For $20 you can bring a smile to a mom who is a survivor of domestic violence.   The cut-off is April 20th so the bags will arrive in time to be stuffed and delivered on May 12th.  This project is near and dear to my heart.  It is a tribute to the women I know who have escaped and survived domestic violence.

You can sponsor a bag in memory of someone, in honor of someone or just anonymously. Payments can be made via check or through Paypal at hopesgiftcloset@@comcast.net as a friend/family.  I can also accept credit card payments directly.  Please complete the form for more details:

Won’t you help to make a difference today?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Business Tips and Tricks

How To Have a Productive Day

We’ve all been there. Days you don’t want to tackle the “To Do” list, right?   I used to think it was easier when I was working full-time and juggling my DS business on nights and weekends.  I knew I only had a limited about of time to be productive before I crashed for the night.  I was focused and had a plan.

Now I work from home full time and hubby works the swing shift.  It is easy to blow off at least part of the day till he goes to work, hanging out and ignoring my business completely.  I have learned (the hard way)  I won’t achieve my goals this way.  When I worked at home as a grant writer, it was easier because there were deadlines.  Belinda went to school, I worked.  Of course some would say I always worked.  I had lots of deadlines and a passion in my soul to make a difference.  Now to use some of those same tricks in my DS business at home.

Having health issues and working at home full time, some days I need an extra little push in the right direction to get me going.  What about you?  Maybe you are crazy busy and you want to learn how to be more productive so you can get back on track with your goals.  Here are some tips which might help you….

#1 – Figure out the feelings.

I’m great at stuffing them so this one is sometimes tough for me.  Are you feeling burnt out? Are you dreading one (or more!) of the tasks on your To Do list? Do you lack inspiration?  Do you over analyze everything so you suffer from “Analysis Paralysis?”.  The truth is by figuring out why you are feeling the way you are,  you can acknowledge it and then work to solve it.  Change up the routine.  Have an impromptu dance party in the living room to get the juices flowing.

#2 Accomplish Something – ANYTHING – First Thing In The Morning

I’m usually up and in my office for by 7AM.  I have a checklist of daily things I have to get done a a bare minimum.  This gets the ball rolling for me. For you,  it can be a simple task like cleaning up the kitchen while enjoying your morning coffee.  On rough days, making the bed is my one accomplishment.  Pick one thing each morning and accomplish it.  Once you are done, spend a moment enjoying how it feels to have completed the task.

#3 Adjust your Morning Routine

Start your morning off on the right foot so you have a productive mindset.  Be sure you eat something healthy with some protein in it to start your day off right.   I’m not a big breakfast person but grabbing a hard boiled egg with my coffee helps.  While you’re enjoying a healthy breakfast option, start writing down your priority list. For me, I take the top 3 things I need to do and get them done!  You may want to start with the easiest task and work up to the more difficult ones.  When you use preparing a to-do list based on priority levels as part of your morning routine, you’ll naturally start to have a more productive day.

#4 Allow Breaks during the Day

I’m learning when I take breaks during the day, I am more productive.  It’s okay to take breaks throughout your day, especially if you have a heavy workload.  Breaks like 15 – 30 minutes not 2 – 3 hours.  Once you finish a task, reward yourself.  Take a break. Grab a snack.  Put on some music and dance around.  By giving yourself rewards (breaks) when a task is completed you will maintain your confidence and motivation. It’s great to take a break in between tasks because it helps transition your mind from one priority item to another.  Just because you work from home doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a regular lunch break each day.  Get away from the office.  Clear your head.  You will be amazed at how much you get accomplished.

#5 Manage Your Distractions

There are LOTS of distractions when we work from home BUT the biggest distraction is social media.   The “just want to check one thing” on Facebook, Pinterest or Instagram then it is 3 hours later and nothing has gotten done.  I’ve even used the excuse of “I’m working on my business”!  I need to remind myself, if I was working for someone else, I wouldn’t be able to take personal calls or texts, so why do I do it during my business hours?  Schedule your social media time so you can still maintain your online presence without having to be logged in at all times.

It is possible to have a more productive day – every day.  When you practice these tips, you will create habits which will lead to success!  What is your best tip for having a productive day?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!