Hope Wissel

Reflecting on 2021

A new year………….

I’m not sure what happened to 2021.  LOL.  I actually had to flip through my planner to see what went on.  The memory is not what it used to be.  It seemed to pass in the blink of an eye.

We spent the year working on the house – our forever home.  Not a lot needed to be done but it is those little things that catch you off guard.  Lots of outside projects got done.  I’m looking forward to our first “crop” of fresh garlic which should be ready in the spring.  Who knew growing garlic could happen outside in the winter????  We shall see.

The MS life seems to be changing again.  There have been more “mini” MS flare ups – foggy brain, unable to process thoughts along with the tingling in my fingers.  I have resigned myself to wearing my brace more often when I am out and about.  I have to also be careful NOT to overwhelm myself with trying to do lots of things – the realization came after spending a week prepping for Thanksgiving only to have a meltdown and having to take it easy for the rest of the weekend.  Not too bad since I got to fur-baby sit.  I’m learning new things like: my mind is often “blank” so I spend more time in quiet instead of trying to carry on conversations.  Emotions blindside me – out of nowhere there are tears or smiles.

With 3 1/2+ years in recovery, I am feeling better about me.  Most days I even like me despite the fact I am struggling to get back to goal weight.  Life on life’s terms is not always easy but I’m grateful I found an amazing home group, a new sponsor and attend meetings regularly.  Lunchtime meetings work great for this old lady.  LOL. ❤  Working through the steps has been eye opener.  God has allowed me remember things (in tiny pieces) – in his time not mine when he knows I am ready to face things.

My side hustle as a bag lady is going strong. I’m grateful for the wonderful people it has brought into my life – customers and hostesses who I am blessed to now call friends.   I am venturing out in the “food” world.  Good food, fast and easy with the ability to tweak the recipes to count my WW points.  I love sharing new recipes along with the #epiclife.  Of course, having a bigger kitchen has helped because now I actually ENJOY cooking again.   I have also been working on new angel designs for the Spring craft season and can’t wait to share them.  They will probably show up on the Etsy site soon.

I will admit, I still get stuck in my head with the “woulda, coulda, shoulda” or the comparison game.  I’m learning one day at a time to enjoy the moment and know the only person I should be comparing myself to is me, the day before.  My basic goal is to just be a better person today than I was yesterday.

Over the last 10 years, I have picked a word – a theme to the year.  Last year’s word was GRATITUDE!  Gratitude is defined as “the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.“.  I learned to practice gratitude every night or at least I tried to.  It was easy to have gratitude for the good things but a struggle during the challenges of the year.  I know through the challenges, I learn and grow, for that I am grateful.

Finding a word for this year was a little tougher than I thought it would be.  No matter how hard I have tried to avoid it “acceptance” keeps popping up. So I guess I better take the God wink as a sign….. ACCEPTANCE is defined as “the action of consenting to receive something offered or being received as adequate or suitable“. Dictionary definitions sometimes baffle me.  I hate when they use part of the word in the definition.  Grateful, I found an article while I was looking for a definition called “The 5 Things Everyone Should  Know About Acceptance“.  These words stood out for me:

Acceptance doesn’t mean you can’t work on changing things.

Okay, I got the message!   LOL.  Guess there will be a lot of posts on this topic because I don’t think I am the only one who struggles with it!  Change is something I tend to struggle with when it comes quickly, my brain doesn’t adjust easily.  BUT change over time is a whole lot easier.

What will your world for this year be?  Share it with us…Best wishes for a safe healthy and happy New Year from our house to yours!

Hope Inspires, Hope Wissel, Recovery

Blind Faith

potholes

Blind faith is defined as ““belief without true understanding, perception, or discrimination.” It wasn’t until recently it was pointed out to me, this is what I have.  A positive thing instead of the negative thing I would have described it as.

“It will all work out” has been one of my favorite lines for years.  As a single mom, I always believed things would work out.  I didn’t know how, I didn’t know why – I just believed they would.  I actually believe my relationship with God was pretty much nonexistent through HS, college and later in life.  During my early years, I was active in church and a Rainbow Girl.  I believed in God just didn’t have a relationship with him.  Weird, right?

God was there even when I didn’t see or believe it.  He had his hand on everything which is why I believe through my years of addiction, I was saved.  I had a blind faith deep in my soul despite the odds.  My first time in the rooms, I always said I was “spiritual” not religious.  The Serenity Prayer was the closest I got to having a conversation with God.  It was the thing which kept me going even when I was on the road to relapse and during my relapse.  I thought it was more of a foxhole prayer at that point since I had made such a mess of my life.

Now, I have a relationship with God. Are there still potholes in my path? YES!  Do I wonder if I am on the right road or following his purpose for me? YES!  Do I still struggle with fear?  YES! Do I still play the comparison game? YES!  Fear and doubt didn’t not magically go away because of my faith.  Satan loves to play with me especially on days when my MS flares up.

Every morning, I read my “Just for Today” and pause for a moment to thank God for his many blessings.  Truth be told (have you heard this amazing song?), I don’t STOP and wait to LISTEN for God’s message.

 

There are some days, it is more obvious than others I haven’t listened.  The days when the doubts come.  The days when resentments build.  The days when frustration and anger get the best of me.   Those days, I wonder what happened to the belief God would take care of things?

Those are the days, when I forget it’s not my job to fix the potholes in my trail. I need to let God lead, and He will smooth the way.  Whatever the path looks like, God has a plan for every step (Jeremiah 29:11).  The path may be filled with potholes but no matter where I am headed, God is aware of every gap in the road He’s established for me.

Hubby pointed out to me recently “you have a blind faith”.  I was shocked because I never thought about it.  I used to believe people judged me for the decisions I made.  Many times my decisions were not based on solid facts, just a feeling I had things would be okay.  Sometimes they were and sometimes they weren’t.  It wasn’t until I took my will back and stopped letting God lead the way, the road to relapse became a downhill spiral.  Me trying to figure things out or fix things led me to a path filled with potholes.  It kept me from letting my light shine and making a difference in the lives of other people.

It is time to embrace my blind faith.  Time to stop trying to fix the potholes.  Time to stop trying to figure things out on my own.  Time to let God lead, have faith and let him show me the path he has prepared for me.  It is “his will for my life, not mine”.

Are you trying to fix the potholes in your life or are you “letting go and letting God”?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

 

Unclutter Your Life

How Do You Stay Positive?

How do you feel when you hit a goal?  Maybe your goal weight?  Maybe you ran a marathon?  Maybe you hit your sales goals?  Whatever it was, do you remember how you felt?  The excitement of achieving something you have been working for – were you giddy with happiness, or are you like me and cry tears of joy?

Now, how did you feel working towards the goal?  Frustrated?  Overwhelmed?

May is full of celebrations – my birthday, my 10th wedding anniversary and God willing, my 3rd year in recovery.  May is the end of the ThirtyOne fiscal year and I have already hit my HIGHEST year in personal sales since I started with the company.  With all of these exciting things, you would think it would be easy for me to stay positive, right? The truth is I struggle with staying positive.

So many of us work hard in pursuit of big bold goals – because it feels so good when we make them happen, right?  The truth is BIG wins don’t happen every day.  Sometimes not even every month, quarter, or year. Sometimes big dreamy goals take time, patience, and a whole lot of devotion to make happen. And it’s okay, it’s how it’s supposed to be.

But are we supposed to defer our happiness, our joy, and our contentment until those BIG dreams happen?  How many of you actually celebrate or give yourself credit for the baby steps you made on the way to your BIG goal?

Most of us (me included) forget to feel proud of ourselves in the here and now – in the moment BEFORE we reach the big goal. It is important for us to allow ourselves to enjoy the moment. We can make ourselves crazy if we continue to defer our happiness until some day in the future when we make those big dreams happen.

So what if we started to obsess over our little wins instead of the big ones?  What if we reconnected with the things which truly matter most in my life – the present, the here and now.  When we show up each day for our work and our life while taking care of ourself, our family, and our business – these are the things which truly matter most. The big wins are then the icing on the cake.  The little wins are the ones which truly shape and define a well lived successful life.  One of my biggest struggles in recovery (combined with the MS) is living in the moment.

What do some of your little wins look like? Do any of these look like yours?

I paid my bills this month on time and am reducing my debt.  That’s awesome.

One of my favorite customer/hostess wants to host another party. That’s amazing.

I got 6 hours of sleep a few nights this week! Go me.

I gave myself time and space to read an incredible book this month.  Woo hoo!

I created and shared original posts on social media this month I’m proud of.  I sure did.

I embraced guilt-free rest this week whenever I needed it.  Yes!

              I didn’t beat myself up with I made a mistake. Yes!

             I rode my stationary bike 3 times this week. Yes!

Do any of these sound like baby steps you took?

Maybe you got up, showered & dressed at least twice this week?  Maybe you you reached out when you were struggling?

So, what happens when you think about the little steps you took this week?  Were you energized, excited, and aligned?

Believe it or not, when you are focused on the little wins, you are less attached to the outcome.  You can feel proud of the hard work and devotion it took to make the BIG dreams happen without diminishing what it took to make the little, everyday wins happen too.

I’m challenging you to obsess about your little wins instead of the big ones.

What are five things you’re really proud of this week?  No matter what they are, embrace the positive feelings about the little wins.  Enjoy the feelings as you celebrate showing up each day and giving your life everything you’ve got.  Because it’s what really matters in the end.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Hope Wissel, Recovery, Weigh to Goal

Jiggle Thighs and Acceptance

Once a month, I am doing a “me blog post”.  Basically, sharing my strength, hope and experience about something.  I looked back on past blog posts for inspiration when I stumbled on one I did in April 2013.

I am learning to accept me for me.  Not easy since I have had a negative self image for as long as I can remember.  Why is it the negative is easier to remember with my MS than the positive things?  A post for another time….

For as long as I can remember, I have had “bumps” on the top of my thighs and my thighs jiggled.  Yes, they got smaller with the loss of 105 pounds but they are still there!  There was even a time when I was working at WAWA where I think they were not as obvious – at least to me.  I mean standing on your feet and doing lots of walking (15,000 steps a day) had some benefits even though I usually felt like a MAC truck hit me.  As my MS reared its ugly head, I struggled with walking long distances.  I struggled with being on my feet a lot so of course working was no long an option. What is a girl to do?  I ride a stationary bike at least 3 times a week, I walk when I can but probably not nearly as much as I should. Opps, there is that word “should”.  I hate wearing my brace on walks because I am forced to accept my limitations due to my MS.

Since COVID and the move, I have been living in yoga/leggings.  I have maintained my BIG weight loss and am about 10 pounds from my original goal weight yet the “jiggle thighs” seem to still be there.  Of course, to me they are really obvious because my waist shrinks (the first place I lose weight) and nothing is in proportion.  So maybe this isn’t your problem area, maybe it is the “jiggle arms” or the muffin top or the roll our bra creates – no matter what we all seem to judge ourselves when we look in the mirror.

How about this thought….My jiggle thighs (or your problem area) are evidence of God’s goodness in my life! Sounds crazy, right? Mind you I never notice this or any other problem area on other people, just on myself.  Most people don’t mention it – okay maybe an occasional child who is curious but why wouldn’t they be – I’m curious as to know why God has blessed me with these wonderful thighs.  LOL.

 
I read something awhile ago by Jen Wilken who wrote The expectation of physical perfection hits modern females early and often”.  Expectations, OMG!  I have learned in my recovery journey, expectations are not good.   She goes on to say Increasingly, physical perfection is the legacy of womanhood in our culture, handed down with meticulous care from mother to daughter, with more faithful instruction in word and deed than we can trouble to devote to cultivating kindness, peacemaking, and acceptance that characterize unfading, inner beauty.”
 
I say all this to say – let’s not torture ourselves with lies about the need to have a perfect body or to be an ideal weight.  I am not saying – don’t be healthy, what I am saying is strive for a goal that is reachable for you.  I am learning to accept me for me – jiggle thighs and all – knowing I am beautifully made by God.  I am not less than because it has taken me a “LONG” time to reach my goal weight.  I am not less than because my body is not a perfect size 10.  There will be ups and downs in my weight loss journey just like there is in life.  Consider those “downs” as blessings where we learn more about ourselves and our relationship with our Higher Power. Learning to love myself is one of the hardest things I have ever done!  
 
Today, I am living in the hope, security and the arms of a Higher Power who loves me unconditionally.  Give yourself a break today and know as long as you are trying your best – that is all that God is asking of you.
 
For tips on healthy weight loss check out – Weight Watchers. This is the program I lost all of my weight on.  It took me longer than I expected. There are those “expectations” again.  I compared myself to others (guess that is a character defect I will need to deal with, LOL) and still do in many areas of my life.  Just for today, I looked in the mirror and actual like the person I am.  Give yourself a break.  If you can’t love yourself totally, find at least ONE area you can love (great smile, pretty eyes, great personality) and count your blessings.  Have patience, and think positive thoughts.
 
Have ThirtyOne-derful day.
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!