Hope Wissel

You Don’t Look Sick? 

The last week or so has been a challenge.  We got back from vacation where I had some really good days.  Some aches but nothing major so I was feeling like “I’m okay”.  The false security of being able to go back to the way I used to do things – constantly on the go.

Fast forward a week later.  The aches have turned into not sleeping, exhaustion, tingling in my arms and legs along with the ever changing mood swings.  Now there are more tests scheduled and the 6 month round of MRIs.  Now there is talk of looking for a comprehensive hospital specializing in “difficult cases”.  I just love hearing I am a difficult case.

I was talking with a friend who was truly trying to understand my struggles when I shared  “the spoon theory”.  The Spoon Theory written by Christine Miserandino was used to describe her battle with Lupus to a friend.  It is a great way to explain those silent diseases. You know, the ones where we don’t look sick.

My days go 50/50.  Some are great while there are days when I struggle.  I walk a little slower.   But don’t most people creeping towards 60.  Breathing issues come with weight gain but really I didn’t have this much trouble when I was almost 300 pounds.  Yes I was!  Memory issues – we all have them, right? Senior moments have progressed to not remembering key events in my life.  The unexplained mood swings and actually having to talk yourself into getting up in the morning because you just don’t have the energy to move.

There is frustration when people make comparisons to our struggles seeming like it is no big deal.  Our struggles are real.  Isolated symptoms are manageable but when they are all put together it is a nightmare.  The difference in being sick and being healthy is having to consciously think about things when the rest of the world doesn’t have to. The healthy have the luxury of a life without choices, a gift most people take for granted.

So what is the spoon theory?  Start with a handful of spoons (say 12)…

If you are healthy, you have a never-ending supply of “spoons”.  But when a silent disease forces you to plan your day, you need to budget those “spoons” throughout the day. So you start with 12 spoons.  You always have to be conscious of how many you have, and don’t drop them because you can’t forget you have _________ (fill in the blank with your hidden diagnosis).

Now, list all your tasks for the day, including the simplest one – the ones you don’t even realize take any effort to do.  Each task will cost you a spoon. Yes, each and every one of them.

Crack open your eyes and take a mental assessment of your body.  Getting out of bed is an effort because you didn’t sleep well (1 spoon).  Get a shower (1 spoon). Wash your hair (1 spoon). Get dressed (another spoon). You are already down 4 spoons and you haven’t even made it to the kitchen. Two more spoons to make breakfast and clean up.  You are down to 6 spoons and you haven’t gone to work.

Commuting to work (1 spoon).  Sitting too long, one of the toughest things for me (another spoon),  Lunchtime – skipping could cost you a spoon.  Three more gone and half a day of work left. More long hours sitting or a hectic day at the office will cost you another spoon.

Commute home (1 spoon).  We are now down to 1 spoon.  Dinner to prepare, laundry, prep for the next day at work or maybe you were supposed to meet friends for a movie.  You may not be able to do it all.  OR, if you do it all, who knows what tomorrow will bring.

So, what happens when the spoons are gone?  We are done – unable to push any further and it is time to rest or crash.  Regardless of what your silent disease is, we live with the looming thought tomorrow may be a better day BUT it could be worse.

The hardest thing for me is slowing down.  I want to do it all. I want my old life.  I hate missing out on things. I get frustrated,  I need to think about the whole day’s plans before I can attack any one thing.  I miss the freedom of just doing. . I miss never having to count “spoons”.

I share this not for sympathy but so others can understand the challenges of those with a silent disease.  I see this as a blessing just as I saw my addiction as a blessing. I am forced to think about everything I do. I am forced to be in the moment and not waste time or energy.

Do you know someone who is struggling with a silent disease?  Take a moment and give them a hug to let them know you NOW get it.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!


Hope Wissel

To My Love

What does Valentine’s Day mean to you? Flowers? Chocolate? A special dinner out?

UR Loved card

For me, it is a day to celebrate the gift of love in my life that I have sometimes taken for granted.

Parents – I know you are thinking of course, they love us they are our parents, right?  Many are not blessed with this gift of unconditional love. My parents have stood by and supported me even through the roughest of times.

My Daughter – Belinda.  The day she was born, I finally GOT it!  The 6 months of bed rest, the struggles with her biological dad, the days of being a struggling single mom – I got it!  I understood about the sacrifices that a parent makes for their child no matter how it hurts.  I understood that you would do anything to take care of and protect that little person. I LOVE the woman that she has grown up to be who wants to make the world a better place.

love of my life

My hubby – a love story for the ages.  When we met back in high school, he was this blond haired, guitar playing, quiet with a smile that gave me chills kind of guy. He was from Neptune and I was Ocean Township. Our schools were rivals and it didn’t take long for me to succumb to peer pressure. See, I was a people pleaser way back then too! We went our separate ways. We never talked again…

Fast forward 30 years, to the summer of 2002, a roadside memorial with the name “HOPE” on it sent this amazing man on a hunt to make sure it wasn’t me. Emailing led to dinner led to days off together and shall we say that the rest is history.

Life has tossed us some curve balls over the last 3 years.  The health struggles that we thought we wouldn’t have until we were OLD-er.  This overly independent woman is learning what the true meaning of “unconditional love” is all about from this amazing man.  I know there are times that he believes that I don’t need him, that he is “a pain in my butt” but the truth is, I can’t imagine my life without him. He is my Ying to my Yang. He keeps me grounded when I am ready to fly in the wind.  He is there to keep me optimistic when all I want to do is runaway and hide.

To day is the day that I honor LOVE. Remember that LOVE is an intense feeling with deep affection and we are meant to share it with others – family, friends or just a random act of kindness to a stranger.  I challenge you to put a smile on someone’s face to day.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Relax, Reflect, Recharge

Making Wine from Lemons



GOTCHA!  You really thought I was going to tell you how to make wine from lemons, right?

It is Thursday and we are only in the 2nd week of the New Year, what could possibly be stressing you out, right?

Maybe those holiday bills have started to come in.  Maybe work is not all you want it to be.  Maybe there are health issues.  Maybe there are relationship issues.  Whatever is stressing and upsetting you – you can OVERCOME it.


Now, I am not advocating drinking your troubles away BUT a nice glass of wine is a great way to relax for some.

crystal ball

Did you know that you can OVERCOME anything if you put your mind to it and believe you can.

Here’s 3 tips that will help YOU!

#1 Take Time To Yourself!  I get it.  It is hard to take time for yourself when it feels like the world is falling around you.  The truth is that despite the “mess”, you deserve time for yourself.  Okay, so an hour out of each day may sound CRAZY.  So start small with 15 minutes and work your way up to a full hour. During  this time, don’t worry about anything, fill your mind with positive thoughts, and do something you enjoy.


#2 Be Loyal And Respect Yourself!   I know that I am talking about this A LOT lately but it is so important.  Being loyal to yourself means that you are true to who you are, and never be sorry for it.  That means NEVER apologizing for being you.  You are AWESOME. Some may like you.  Others may not.  Isn’t that why we have 31 flavors of ice cream?  Respecting yourself means that you will not let people walk over you. That means “NO PEOPLE PLEASING”.  If there is something that you don’t want to do, respect yourself enough to say NO!


#3 Be Solution Driven! Life is a roller coaster full of up’s and down’s!  Everyone’s life has a roller coaster even if you don’t see it.  The best way  to power through life’s roller coaster of down’s is by learning to find solutions.  What can you do to work through the struggles you’re having?  Can’t see a solution? Make a list of pro’s and con’s and see what you come up with.  Maybe that will help you come to conclusion or maybe not. Either way, at least you will be able to say you did your best.  Who knows you may begin to see the rainbow at the end of the storm.

What kind of Wine Are You Making With Your Lemons?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!


Hope Wissel

An Act of Kindness


Today’s blog was inspired by Lori Deschene….

As we approach the last few shopping days till Christmas, I have noticed a few things: tempers are shorter, people are in a hurry, while store employees are tired and feeling unappreciated.  The happiest time of the year has become the “let’s just get through this season”.  No, I am not being Negative Nelly just stating some observations while I was out shopping the other night.

The holiday season has taken on a new meaning for me.  I can’t explain it – hubby would say it is old age.  LOL.  I have found myself NOT just being a gift because I need to get something.  I am NOT spending tons of money to show how I feel about someone.  I have found myself showing compassion and understanding more than ever before. I am surprised at their response.

Over the years, I have been shown kindness in many ways from friends and family but the kindness of strangers has taught me lasting lessons.  Think about it as you check out at the register.  Smile and greet the cashier.  Ask them how they are doing.  Maybe give someone a tip that they weren’t expecting.

They all have struggles, and dreams, and goals, and responsibilities, and they too could benefit from someone showing them patience, kindness, and understanding if they’re a little slow or less than friendly.

The other day I was with hubby as he stopped for gas.  He ALWAYS pays cash.  The total was $16 and he told the attendant to keep the change.  Okay, so $4 isn’t a big deal but the smile that spread across the attendant’s face was priceless.  He couldn’t thank us enough.  A random act of kindness made a difference in someone’s day.

The world is a better place when we see people beyond their nametags, and visualize everyone as someone who truly is doing their best.

We’re all a little scared and a little rough around the edges.

We’re all looking for love, support, acceptance, and appreciation.

And we can all get and give these things every day, one tiny act at a time.

Has the power of tiny acts of kindness, forgiveness, and acceptance made a difference in your own life?  Here are some suggestions from Tiny Buddha’s 365 Love Challenges of small acts that we can all do:

Be patient and understanding with people who serve you, especially if they have a lot of customers to tend to.

Compliment someone who serves you in some way (for example, a waiter, barista, or bus driver) on how well they do their job.

Empathizing instead of criticizing is a big thing. Getting up to help instead of sitting back and judging is a big thing.

Keep an eye out for someone who looks sad—a friend, coworker, or even stranger—and say something that might make them laugh or smile.

It may seem like a tiny thing, but sometimes the tiny things are the big things.  And it’s big things like these that help us all feel seen, appreciated, and loved—and far happier for it.

What Random Act of Kindness will you do today?  Share it with us and let us all celebrate the spirit of Christmas this holiday season.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!




Relax, Reflect, Recharge

Peace Be With You


As a man thinks in heart, so is he. – Proverbs 23:7

Some days I struggle with what to write.  Some days the words just don’t come.  Today was one of those days.  I always thought that Sundays would be easy – my day to reflect and share God’s grace and love.  Today, that wasn’t the case.  I hunted as I did morning devotions.  I hunted as I worked through my Leadership Bible.  I hunted but I didn’t LISTEN.

The word “Peace” kept coming up.  I kept thinking “what should I write about?” Peace be with you.  Why am I struggling?  Peace be with you.  I have struggled the last few days with Negative Nellie.    She has been sitting on my doorstep waiting for a crack in the door.  Peace be with you.  You would think that I would get it but then it hit me – SMACK!  Share the need for PEACE in our lives.

I have been doing a lot of personal development work as a Leader and it has raised ALOT of questions about my style, my abilities and even my desire to be a Leader.  As I work through the 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, the same questions have come up.  I pray for guidance.  I pray for wisdom.  I pray for answers.  I pray for help.  But the one thing I didn’t pray for was peace.  The peace that comes with knowing that I am just where God wants me to be.  The peace that comes with trusting in him.  The peace that comes with believing in him whether I can see the plan on not.  PEACE.

PEACE is defined as freedom from disturbance; tranquility and quiet.   Why does that peace allude me?  Today’s verse says it all “As a man thinks in heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7).  The questions that I have are deep in my heart and so I struggle unwilling to turn them over and find peace.  Why?  Will peace give me answers that I don’t want to hear?  Will peace give me a path I don’t want to take?  Will peace be against MY WILL for my life and my business?  OUCH!

What if I shifted my mindset?  Yes, there are some of us that need to do that on a daily basis.  What if I put EVERYTHING in God’s hands?  What if I spoke my desires into the Universe?  What if I kept the door locked and refused to let Negative Nellie in?  What if I let PEACE invade my heart, my mind and my soul believing in God’s plan?  I know that God has a plan for each of us.  I trust that he has brought me through the trials to help others.  It is just some days that I don’t actually believe in my heart because fear has claimed a corner of it.

What about you?  Do you have peace in you life?  I don’t mean in the physical aspects of the day because let’s admit it – life can be crazy with work, kids and home.  I mean that deep inner peace that when all is said and done, you know that everything will be okay.

Let’s focus today on the beauty around us.  Let’s focus on the blessings in our lives.  Let’s focus on gaining an inner peace that transcends all understanding.

Peace be with you, today!

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!