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!

MS will Not Define Me

Feeling Defeated???

If you feel defeated or have ever felt like it, know you are not alone!

Since March when COVID became our way of life, I’ve seen many posts about people who feel like their whole life is falling apart.  I will admit, I had those fleeting moments too.  You know the feeling when it seems like no matter how hard you try, you aren’t able to do anything about it.  We want to fix, manage and control things.  The very people you thought would stand beside you forever turned and walked away.   Those days when the waves of hopelessness flooded your heart and clouded your mind, inching you closer and closer to simply giving up.   The mere thought of facing one more day filled your heart with pain, fear and too much uncertainty to manage.  Who has been there? Maybe not during COVID but at other times in your life….

As a recovering addict who battles with MS, I will admit those days still happen.  I want you to know you are not alone.  There are others who have already been there.

People who know me, know I’m not a quitter…I never have been.  I usual face things with the confidence I will overcome and things will get better.  Honestly, there have been times when I’ve felt like giving up and waving the white flag of defeat. I’m not immune to having the feelings of being overwhelmed, weak and uncertain.  I have tried to do things my way only to find out I created more of a mess.  Those days when MS kicks my butt with brain fog, confusion and aching throughout my body.  Or the days when I  feel as if I’m not “enough” – frustrated with my weight loss efforts and life in general.  I struggle with admitting I’m powerless.  I struggle with wanting things my way.  

Recently, I saw a post about Emperor Tamerlane who was badly defeated in battle. He ran from the battle and hid in a barn. Enemy troops searched the countryside for him. By this time he was depressed, his troops had been terribly defeated and scattered, and he didn’t know what he was going to do.

It was then he noticed an ant trying to push a giant kernel of corn up over a stone wall. As he watched this ant attempt to do the impossible, he counted its futile efforts to see how many times the ant would try until it gave up.

One, two, three… twenty… forty… sixty-nine times the ant tried and failed to push the kernel over the wall. But in one last push, on the seventieth try, the ant made it. Leaping to his feet, Tamerlane excitedly said to the ant, “If you can do it, then so can I.” That day he changed his outlook, reorganized his forces, went back and defeated the enemy.

This story reminded me of the “Little Engine that Could” book I was given my first time in recovery by a friend who was also my boss at the time.  It was this book which helped to remind me on a daily basis things would get better.  Life did get better and then I thought I had things under control.  BIG mistake…..I know I squirreled but I do when I am writing (or talking, LOL).

I know you have probably heard it a million times but you can do it too!  On the outside, people don’t understand every day living with MS is a struggle for me.  On the outside things look easy but on the inside I am attempting the impossible – searching for memories, struggling to find the right words, and trying to carry on conversations.  Add my character defects (yup, I have them) linked to being a recovering addict and you have a “hot mess”.  just like the ant I failed more than once…but I don’t quit.  

I push, get exhausted, try some more, fail, rest, but still get up and try again.  I admit I am powerless in trying to fix, manage and control things.  I push through weakness, dizziness, muscle spasms, and a lack of sleep.  I push through going to meetings because I need to know I am not alone.  I push through feelings of comparison when it comes to my business.  I push and keep on pushing at everything I do. There are days when even a simple trip to the mailbox is a struggle.  

Do I still craft?  YES!  Do I still do puzzles? YES!  Do I still plan meals?  YES (if I didn’t, I never know what we would eat, LOL).  Do I still work my business?  YES (most days)!  Why do I keep pushing….. I think of the little ant who reminds us we can do it. The fight is worth it.  We can make it. Even though things look as if they are impossible, there is still some possibility there. Today, let me be the ant for you.  Remember “impossible” is actually “I’m possible”.

Don’t let the fact a situation, a person, an addiction or a health issue cause you to feel defeated. You can’t stop trying. You can’t stop pushing. Don’t let it win…now PUSH!

I haven’t written in awhile, not sure what to say or what to write about.  This morning, this was heavy on my heart so I figured someone needed to hear it.  I was also surprised by the number of people who keep stopping by my blog to check it out even though I haven’t been writing.  I’m grateful for my readers.  I’m grateful for those who support my business.  It is because I can make a difference in the life of one person I keep on pushing….

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Hope Wissel

Reflecting on 2019

 Happy 2020!  A new decade, a new year, a new month and a new day!  A clean slate all around….

It seems weird writing a blog post today since it has been about a month or so since my last one. For my regular readers, I am sorry I did not give you a heads up.  I needed a break after 6+ years of writing, I was empty.  I didn’t think I had anything more to say.  I’m still not sure I do but we will see what 2020 brings….

Last night I saw all of the posts talking about the last decade and it got me to thinking.  At first, I stressed over what I couldn’t remember then I asked for guidance and some memories came back.  So here goes my decade in review….

In 2010, I saw my daughter graduate from college with honors.  I was working full-time at a job I loved and commuting crazy hours to get work.

2011 was a roller coaster year.  I started my direct sales career with Thirty One.  We planned our wedding and after a 9 year engagement walked down the aisle.  Edythe, one of the rocks in my life passed away.  I retired from my job as COO at Bethel Development. We ended the year with a cruise for our honeymoon with family.

2012 is kind of a blur. Hubby had congestive heart failure and spent 13 days in the hospital.  I promoted to Director with Thirty One and walked across the stage to celebrate with my daughter.  I spent lots of time trying to figure out what I really wanted to do.

2013 – 2016 were a definitely blur. There was lots of testing to determine what was going on with me.  I was losing my memory (even more), leg spasms, depressed, and more I can’t remember.  I spend time working part-time jobs at WaWa and Wall Storage. Relapse was a strong part of these years. We planned Belinda’s wedding and celebrated their beautiful day in the mountains of NC.  Shopping, spending money, and drinking was my way of filling a void in my life.  I got the “unofficial diagnosis of MS” – grateful to finally have answers

2017 started rough as my Dad spent much of his time in the hospital and then passed in April.  I started Angels by Hope as an official business.  Still looking for ways to fill the void. My MS diagnosis became official and I started on medications (3 times a week injections).

2018 brought the smack in the face I needed to face the unmanageability of my life.  Credit card debt was high, income from my business was dropping and I was an emotional mess.  I walked back into the rooms of NA in May looking for the joy I once I had.

2019 brought a change in diagnosis to “progressive MS” and with it a cane and a brace for my left ankle.  Recovery has been a blessing as I am slowing rebuilding relationships with family.  I am blessed to still have both my Thirty One business and Angels by Hope going strong.

So, this is just a glimpse at the last 10 years.  I am grateful for Facebook memories and this blog (since March 2013) to help me remember when I can’t.

I have been searching and for a word for 2020.  Last year’s was Courage and it definitely fit the year I had.  Courage in so many areas of my life to step out on faith, out of my comfort zone.  This year’s word didn’t come so easily.  I prayed.  I took those “word tests”.

My word for 2020 is GRATITUDE!  Gratitude is defined as “the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.“.  I know when I practice gratitude, everything else in my life will be okay.  Not just gratitude for the good things but also for the challenges.  Through the challenges, I will learn and grow.

Best wishes for a safe healthy and happy New Year.