About Hope Wissel

I am a wife, a mom or mommy as my daughter prefers to call me, a daughter, blogger and entrepreneur. I am traveling this road called life with its twists and turns, bumps in the road and dead ends. With God's help, I start each day with a positive outlook, seeking his guidance believing that all things are possible. Have a Thirty One-derful day!

Tasty Tuesday: Slow Cooker Butternut Black Bean Chili

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Thank you Hungry Girl for another YUMMY recipe!

Prep: 15 minutes     Cook: 3 – 4 hours on high or 7 – 8 hours on low  Serves: 8 FreestyleSmartPoints® value 0*

1/8th of recipe (about 1 heaping cup): 173 calories, 0.5g total fat (0g sat fat), 532mg sodium, 35g carbs, 9g fiber, 8.5g sugars, 8g protein

Ingredients:

One 14.5-oz. can fire-roasted tomatoes (not drained)
2 1/2 cups canned crushed tomatoes
2 tsp. chopped garlic
2 tsp. chili powder
1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/8 tsp. salt
Two 15-oz. cans black beans, drained and rinsed
4 cups peeled butternut squash, cut into bite-sized pieces (about 3/4 of a medium squash)
1 cup chopped red onion
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/4 cup seeded and chopped jalapeño pepper (about 1 medium pepper)
Optional toppings: fresh cilantro, light sour cream

Directions:

  • Pour both types of tomatoes into a slow cooker. Add garlic and seasonings. Mix well.
  • Add remaining ingredients, and gently stir.
  • Cover and cook on high for 3 – 4 hours or on low for 7 – 8 hours, until veggies have softened.

HG Tips: Look for pre-cut butternut squash in the produce aisle, or click here for squash-cutting tips. And when handling jalapeños, don’t touch your eyes (pepper juice can sting), and wash your hands well immediately afterward.

Tailgating season may be over BUT it won’t be long before the summer barbecues start…Why not grab a Fresh Market Thermal now?  The Fresh Market Thermal is a stylish, portable thermal large enough to hold two 9″x13″ casserole dishes. A must-have for family picnics, tailgating, trips to the beach, days on the boat, potlucks, grocery shopping or weekend camping. Its water-resistant Leak Lock thermal lining means you can add ice to this cooler bag to keep food and drinks cold. Need more room? The sides unsnap and expand to give you more space inside. Long handles allow you to carry it over your shoulder when you need to be hands-free. The Fresh Market Thermal also features a zipper closure for securing contents and an exterior front pocket to hold other important items. Monogramming and personalization options available.  Approx. 10.5″H, 15″H with top extended x 15.5″L x 10″D

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Spread Too Thin


Thank you Logan Wolfram  for today’s message.  

“I know I don’t look it…but I feel thin, sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread.”  Bilbo’s words from Lord of the Rings rattle in my head. You’ve probably felt the same way at some point too, right?

Even the basic demands of life can leave us feeling over extended and stretched out. You spread thin across jobs, spouses, children, church, extracurriculars, and whatever else wants to suck time and energy away from you. Sometimes what’s left of us is so thin it feels as if we have become nearly translucent. Eventually, to avoid anything that requires more, we began to avoid anyone who wants more too.  All the spreading thin will eventually scrape away even the good parts life. When you have nothing left to give, if you give at all, people just get whatever is left over.

But here’s the thing, you may look ok. The pieces that are visible from the outside appear put together. But instead of running your life, it seems more accurate that life is running you.

I know you get this. You’re living and loving and doing your thing and somehow find yourself in a place where you hardly even know what’s happening anymore. Life isn’t happening with you, it’s happening to you.  One day you’re doing the planning, and then something weird happens and all the planning is now the ruling factor of your life.  Jobs, kids, spouses, sports, carpools, church, friends…it is all too much and you become mechanical in your execution of tasks or you shut down completely.

I get it friend. I burned the candle at both ends for a long time.  Somewhere in there though the candle broke in half and I found myself burning both sides of the candle at both ends and whatever was left in the middle got burned up.  Which really means that I burned out.

And what probably burned me out more than anything else was when I inadvertently started burning bridges that I didn’t even mean to set fire to at all. I hurt friends because I didn’t make time for them. I felt alone because I was so overwhelmed that I disconnected myself from the people and activities around me that I loved. I stopped doing things that I enjoyed like art, or creative projects, even cooking dinners that tasted good.  But dinner wasn’t the only thing that had lost it’s seasoning, my entire life had begun to feel that way too.

When it comes to making extra space for neighbors or friends or even just one more person, sometimes it feels like you just can’t.

2 Corinthians 12:5 reminds us that we need not boast about ourselves, except about our weaknesses.  Because it is in our weakness, that the Lord makes us strong. In a very area of his life where Paul struggled and asked the Lord to remove the struggle, Jesus said to him “ “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” He goes on to declare that he would “boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.1

I know what it is to be worn out, spread too thin, stretched beyond my limits, and I know that’s not the way you want to begin a new year either.

Scripture is full of people who felt not enough and spread thin across too much. But as we begin to search the Word of God to find more in our thin places, it seems most often the greatest thing God asks is that we trust Him even (and especially) when we come up short.

He asks us to offer what little we have to him so that He can make much of our offering. And in doing so, He makes much of His goodness to us. In the places where we have little, he promises to make more. In the areas we feel weak, when we lean into Him instead of ourselves, he promises to make us strong. He takes the moment we come with little left to give and blesses us with a Kingdom kind of leftovers that aren’t so much all that remains, as they show God’s abundance, excess, sufficiency, and strength.

Maybe spread too thin is the very place that God wants to show us exactly how much abundance there is for us? That instead of trying to spread ourselves over the world around us, we can uncover what can be when we spread our lives across the abundance that is the Bread of Heaven himself.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

What is the Link Between Self-Esteem & Technology in Girls?

I am excited to tell you about a groundbreaking study of more than 10,000 U.S. girls which Thirty One Gifts cosponsored with Ruling Out eXperiences, Inc. (ROX).  It is the largest of its kind and revealed surprising information on the role of technology on girls’ self-esteem. I know we have all heard about cyber bullying or “the mean girls” on social media and for some, they say “it won’t be my kid”.  Well, I felt the same way many years ago, until I read something my daughter wrote about being bullied.  You can read the story on my very first blog post “Bullying – The Visible vs The Invisible“.

The findings of this study is heartbreaking.  While they give us a glimpse into the raw truth about girls fifth through 12th-grade and their perception, it is also an opportunity for us to look for ways to be mentors and be a positive influence in their lives.

The mission of ROX (Ruling Our eXperiences, Inc.) a Columbus, Ohio-headquartered nonprofit organization is:

TO EQUIP GIRLS WITH THE KNOWLEDGE AND SKILLS NECESSARY TO LIVE HEALTHY, INDEPENDENT, PRODUCTIVE AND VIOLENCE-FREE LIVES.

ROX announced the findings of their study from The Girls’ Index: New Insights into the Complex World of Today’s Girls a few months ago.  This national survey was taken of 10,678 fifth- through 12th-grade girls with the sole purpose of capturing the girls’ perceptions and experiences around fitting in, body image, peer pressure, academics, friendships and relationships. The report is a comprehensive picture for parents and educators on the thoughts, beliefs and behaviors of girls across the country.  The demographics are from every walk of life – cultural, ethnic, socioeconomic of the school district, and the type for school for a broad spectrum of girls.

The findings of The Girls’ Index include:

#1 Most girls like to be in charge, but self-doubt can impact their pursuit of leadership.  A surprising 46% of the girls reported they don’t say what they are thinking or disagree with other peers.  WHY?   Because they want to be liked with 1 in 3 girls being afraid to be a leader because they don’t want others to think they are bossy.

#2 30% of the girls with the highest grade point averages (4.0 or above),  don’t think they’re smart enough for their dream careers. Despite their high academic achievements, they are still filled with confidence issues.

#3 Girls who spend the most time using technology (8 hrs./day) are 5x more likely to be sad or depressed nearly every day compared to the girls who spend four or fewer hours.  If this isn’t a reason to restrict technology time, I don’t know what is.  Technology and social media greatly impact girls’ relationships, achievement, confidence, mood and school engagement.

#4 By high school, sexting is common and prevalent with 2 out of 3 girls reporting by 12th grade they have been asked to send a sexually explicit photo to another person.  I am so grateful cell phones weren’t popular when my daughter was growing up.

#5  Girls who have strong and trusting friendships with other girls fare better and report significantly lower levels of sadness and depression.

ROX concluded “girls who have strong and trusting friendships fare better, it is crucial girls receive the opportunities and tools they need to forge the positive friendships which safeguard their emotions and experiences.

This study shakes me to my core.  I grew up lacking confidence.  I had friends but not the kind of strong trusting friendships which helped me to battle sadness and depression.  Those emotions and experiences traveled with me through my college years straight through to my years of addiction.  My goal was for my daughter’s life to be different.  She was blessed to have one or two strong, trusting friendships growing up yet on the inside she lacked confidence despite the outward strong appearance.

The bottom line is we as parents, teachers and coaches are missing out on at least half of what girls think, know and believe.  YIKES!  We are losing the creativity, contributions and impact these young girls can make on the world.

As these studies become public, as awareness grows, we have an obligation to do better and a responsibility to make the world a place where girls can feel confident and capable.

Thirty-One Gifts proudly partner with ROX to provide girls with opportunities to talk candidly and openly about their experiences, while arming them with tools to positively and safely use social media, navigate relationships and manage pressure to ultimately develop a positive self-concept. Learn more about ROX, including ways you can get involved, at rulingourexperiences.com.

Share some of the products from Thirty One’s URU collection.  The Be the Give! Littles Carry-All Caddy comes with a special message “Love who you were born to be”.   A great way to encourage and celebrate the young girl in your life for Valentine’s Day or Easter or just as a “thinking of you” gift.  It is also the perfect solution for organizing the little things in your life. From office supplies to eating utensils and cosmetics, this caddy helps keep your life in order by keeping everything right at your fingertips. Great for gifts, small toys, crafts, office desks and candy.

Won’t you help to make a difference in the live of a young girl?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Share the Love

What does Valentine’s Day mean to you? Flowers? Chocolate? A special dinner out? OR are you one of thousands who are single, thinking this is just a stupid celebration?UR Loved card

Whether you are in a relationship or not, today is all about LOVE…. in a relationship – GREAT!  Not in one, how about loving on yourself today.  

I am happily married BUT for many years, this day invited Negative Nelly to visit and often camp out for days.  I didn’t love myself, in fact on most days I didn’t even like me.  Years have passed, and I have learned to accept me for me.  Sure, there are days when I beat myself up but then I bless and release.

I celebrate the gift of love in my life…

The people who are there for me when the going gets tough.  The people who help me celebrate the milestones in my life – large and small.  The people who accept me for me. The ones who inspire and encourage me.  Some I see or talk to every day while others are part of my journey this season.  And even some are now gone, their season has passed.  Through it all, they loved me and I loved them for who we are and the difference we made in each other’s lives.

To day is the day I honor LOVE. Remember 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.

In a random act of kindness, I am looking to share the love with some children who have been the silent victims of domestic violence…

Will you be a sponsor and help us to make a difference in the lives of a few children?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Tasty Tuesday: Lasagna Stuffed Portabellas

Hungry Girl's Healthy Lasagna Stuffed Portabella Recipe

Thank you Hungry Girl for another YUMMY recipe…

1/2 of recipe (1 stuffed mushroom): 203 calories, 6.5g total fat (3.5g sat fat), 464mg sodium, 15.5g carbs, 4g fiber, 6.5g sugars, 22.5g protein  FreestyleSmartPoints® value 4*

Prep: 10 minutes. Cook: 20 minutes    MAKES 2 SERVINGS

Ingredients:

2 large portabella mushroom caps (stems removed)
1/2 cup canned crushed tomatoes
3 tbsp. light/low-fat ricotta cheese
3/4 tsp. chopped garlic
3/4 tsp. onion powder
3/4 tsp. Italian seasoning
Dash ground nutmeg
2 dashes each salt and black pepper
4 oz. raw extra-lean ground beef (4% fat or less)
2 tbsp. finely chopped onion
1 1/2 cups roughly chopped spinach
1/4 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1 tbsp. finely chopped fresh basil

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lay a large piece of heavy-duty foil on a baking sheet and spray with nonstick spray.
  • Place mushroom caps in the center, rounded sides down. Top with another large piece of foil. Fold together and seal all four edges of the two foil pieces, forming a well-sealed packet. Bake for 12 minutes, or until slightly tender.
  • Meanwhile, prepare the filling. In a medium bowl, combine crushed tomatoes, ricotta, garlic, onion powder, Italian seasoning, nutmeg, and a dash each salt and pepper. Mix until uniform.
  • Bring a skillet sprayed with nonstick spray to medium-high heat. Add beef, and sprinkle with remaining dash each salt and pepper. Add onion, and cook and crumble until beef is fully cooked and onion has softened, about 4 minutes.
  • Reduce heat to medium low. Add spinach and tomato/ricotta mixture. Cook and stir until spinach has wilted and mixture is hot, about 1 minute.
  • Cut foil packet to release steam before opening entirely. Remove top foil, and carefully drain excess liquid. Thoroughly blot excess moisture from mushroom caps.
  • Evenly fill mushrooms with filling. Sprinkle with mozzarella, and bake until mushrooms are tender and cheese has melted, about 8 minutes.
  • Top with basil.

What is the best way to enjoy this YUMMY meal again?  Take it for lunch in one of Thirty One’s thermal lunch totes.  How about the Around the Clock Thermal…

Want to know why you’ll love it?  It is great for lunch or snacks anytime, anywhere—work, school, festivals, road trips, poolside, beachfront, golf course, boating, or sporting events. It will fit a 6-pack with a little room for a snack.  The water-resistant thermal lining keeps contents cool and makes clean up easier. A removable shoulder strap means you can carry it any number of ways, including cross-body for hands-free movement. An interior mesh pocket and exterior front zipper pocket provide separate storage options when needed. Makes a great gift for friends, neighbors, kids’ teachers, and everyone else on the go! Best part… it holds up to 15 lbs. and can be it monogrammed and personalization.

Have a yummy recipe?  Share it with us…

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!