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!

 

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!

Party Ideas

Your Wedding Registry

Do you know someone getting married in the coming months?  Maybe it is you or a close friend or family member, whoever it is wedding registries are part of the planning process.  Just like shopping for rings or meeting with the florist, registering for gifts is one of the time-honored to-dos brides and grooms check off their list as they count down to their upcoming wedding.  I will admit, I had more fun doing this than hubby did.

But like lots of couples (us included), you may have been on your own for almost a decade (or more) and already have a fully outfitted kitchen and bedroom. Sure, you don’t “need” anything, but your wedding guests still want to give you something personal, beautiful or useful for your big day.

Although there will always be some non-negotiables when it comes to wedding etiquette (thank-you notes are a must), couples have more freedom than ever in building a wish list which fits their needs. Here are five ideas for making your registry your own:

#1 Enjoy an experience

If you truly can’t think of any “things” you want or need, make your first year as a married couple more memorable by registering for experiences like cooking classes, zip-lining excursions or dancing lessons. You can also create a special registry to help fund your honeymoon – everything from flights and hotels to sightseeing tours and fine dining.

#2 Upgrade what you already have

If your place is full of hand-me-downs, college-era furniture and the mismatched plates have seen better days, now is the time to upgrade to the higher-end cookware and linens you’ve coveted but wouldn’t necessarily buy for yourself. Think stand mixers, eco-friendly cookware and hello, 1000-thread-count sheets! Guests will love they can gift you with something you’ll use every day.

#3 Outfit your honeymoon

You’ve planned the trip of a lifetime, and you need the luggage to get you there! Ditch the beat-up suitcase you took to summer camp and register for a luxe matching set. Or let each of your personalities shine through with monogrammed travel bags from Thirty-One: the All Packed Duffle and new Away for the Weekender come in stylish prints and classic solids. Add a coordinated Glamour Case for your toiletries.

#4 Think outside the house

All set on dishes, towels and sheets? More retailers than ever are getting into the registry game to offer products outside the realm of bed and bath. If homeownership is in your near future, consider registering for gardening tools or even a lawnmower to make yardwork less of a chore, or create a welcoming patio area with furniture or a grill. Does a night under the stars sound romantic? Take your registry to the great outdoors with camping, hiking and fishing gear.

#5 Entertain Your Way

Sure, the fine china set is gorgeous, but when was the last time you hosted a formal dinner party for 12 – and wanted to hand-wash the dishes after? Save the cabinet space and register for the entertaining items you’ll actually use, like board games for casual nights in with friends, beer glasses for your favorite brews or a turntable for your vinyl collection. Build your wine and cheese spread on a personalized Close To Home™ Round Tray – so chic!

I am happy to set up a Thirty One Gift Registry for you which friends can easily access.  Make your wish list, reach out and I will set things up for you.  Need gifts for the bridal party?  Let me help you create one of a kind personalized gifts they will treasure forever.

Have  a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Favorite Products

How to Treasure Your Memories

 

Memories…. there was a time when I thought I would NEVER forget special moments –  the little ones like funny faces, hanging out, shopping, cheering competitions, field hockey games with Belinda, and the list goes on. Then MS entered my life.  In the beginning, I thought the loss of some memories were just the result of my past drug use, so I wrote it off.  I knew the BIG moments/ memories would always be there.  SMACK!  Here I am almost 5 years later and there are so many memories which are gone – the big ones and the little ones.  I look at pictures and some jog my memory while others are a just pictures.  Yup, I squirreled! LOL

Here is a great way to hold onto those special moments – the ones you want to last forever –  the birth of a baby, graduations, weddings, anniversaries and holidays.  How many of you have captured those moments in pictures and now they are tucked away in albums or maybe a few of them are in frames?

I always envy those who artistically share their photos, and especially those who change up their pictures as the years go by….  I love the fact Thirty-One has opened up a new world of possibilities for you (and me) to share our favorite moments with Photo by Thirty-One.

You can place your favorite photos on an array of products from home décor to jewelry to commemorate a special moment, tell a story or create a personalized gift.  It’s lets you decorate your home with comforting images and keep memories alive for everyone in your family. Anyone invited into your home will instantly see the strong bonds you share with your family and how much they mean to you. And for you, it’s a constant reminder of the good times you’ve shared together.

Life is a journey. As your story continues to change and grow year after year, you want to keep up. The Close To Home Table Gallery and Photo Inserts are perfect for tracking the lives of our kids or grandkids or fur-babies from babyhood through school years and beyond: a marriage, an annual family vacation, successive birthdays or anything you want to commemorate.

The Table Gallery holds up to three square Photo Inserts you can customize with your favorite photos. The natural wood base can be personalized with a name, short phrase or other saying (up to 16 characters) in the design of your choice from our Simply Etched personalization options.

You can either buy another Table Gallery to add to your story or opt to switch out inserts to keep your story current. It’s totally up to you, but whatever you decide, you’ll find easy step-by-step instructions for submitting photos below.

Tip:  Start a family tradition by designing a custom photo gift, then gifting new Photo Inserts for each holiday or celebration!

I remember one of my Grandmother’s favorite pieces of jewelry was a necklace with a picture of her and Belinda.  She wore it every day and when Alzheimer’s took most of her memories, she still held on to it.  Her “little princess” was always close to her heart.  You can do the same with a Just Write Large Circle Charm. This is customizable photo charm which makes a great gift for a daughter, granddaughter, sister or friend! You can express your special mother-daughter bond, sisterly love or best friends forever status, the Just Write Large Circle Charm is a gift with endless sentimental value. You can add more jewelry charms to trace your history through the years together and keep your story going.

Tip: No kids? No problem! Snap a shot of your adorable pet to keep close to your heart on a gold-tone or silver-tone Charm Catcher Necklace.

Home is where the heart is, but it’s also true of memories. We hold fond memories close to our hearts, so what better place to display those happy times than in the place we spend most of our time? With our Statement Canvas Wall Art and Statement Canvas Pillow custom home décor, you can cozy up with your loved ones in your family room surrounded by the lasting memories you created together. Add text to any throw pillow or custom wall art piece to further commemorate the special occasion depicted in your family photo.

Need a great gift idea for a wedding, birthday or graduation? Any of these products are a thoughtful choice. Photo by Thirty-One instantly turns an ordinary gift into something special and unique – one that’s attached to treasured memories.

Tip: For a fun display or great kid, grandparent or teacher gift, scan in some of your child’s artwork. Place it on our Statement Canvas Wall Art or Statement Canvas Pillow for a budding artist’s gallery!

Ready to start your photo journey? Just choose your product and design, upload your photo, adjust it to your liking and add a meaningful message.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Tasty Tuesday Recipes

Tasty Tuesday: Veggie-Loaded Quinoa Stir Fry  

Thank you Hungry Girl for another YUMMY recipe.  I LOVE this one.

MAKES 4 SERVINGS: 1/4th of recipe (about 2 cups): 323 calories, 4g total fat (<0.5g sat fat), 788mg sodium, 59g carbs, 8.5g fiber, 18.5g sugars, 12.5g protein.  SmartPoints® value 8*

Prep: 5 minutes     Cook: 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed thoroughly
  • 1 tbsp. chopped garlic
  • 6 cups frozen stir-fry veggies
  • 4 cups broccoli florets
  • 1/2 cup all-natural thick teriyaki marinade or sauce (like the kind by Annie Chun’s)

Directions

  • In a medium pot, combine quinoa, 1/2 tbsp. garlic, and 2 cups water. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to low. Cover and let simmer for 15 minutes, or until water has been absorbed and quinoa is fully cooked. Transfer to a large bowl, and cover to keep warm.
  • Bring a very large skillet sprayed with nonstick spray to medium heat. Add remaining 1/2 tbsp. garlic, stir-fry veggies, broccoli, and 1/4 cup water. Cover and cook until veggies have mostly softened, 6 – 8 minutes.
  • Uncover, and cook and stir until excess liquid has evaporated and veggies are fully softened, about 2 minutes.
  • Add teriyaki sauce and cooked quinoa and mix well. Cook and stir until hot, about 1 minute. Serve up and enjoy!

Have leftovers?  What better what to take them to work the next day then in a Thirty One Thermal?  Did you know they are on special in June?  50% off any thermal with a $35 purchase.  The Go-To Thermal is great for kids (and messy adults)….

It can be yours for $9 with a $35 purchase.  Get a jump on the back to school sales.  Grab a gift for an upcoming wedding, anniversary or birthday.

Remember to share your favorite recipe with us…

Have  a ThirtyOne-derful day!