The Story of Messages of Hope

July 29, 2015
Image Credit: Leslie Carothers, Nassau Bay, Houston, Texas, Clear Lake

Image Credit: Leslie Carothers, Nassau Bay, Houston, Texas, Clear Lake

Does anything signify messages of hope more than a rose, whose bud is just about to unfold and bloom in the light of the early morning sun?

Welcome, friends, to Messages of Hope’s blog on, http://messagesofhope.com, a place on the web where I hope you will feel happy, peaceful and comfortable, a place where I will do my best to bring you a little bit of beauty and happiness each day, whether through sharing inspiring stories with you of people making a difference in the world, sharing images and videos that bring you smiles and beauty or simply through sharing a quote I love that I think you might, too, a *Hope Quote* to tuck away into your mind, to pull out whenever you need a little boost!

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This is my new home on the web, and I hope you will feel at home with me here, too.

Here’s the story of how Messages of Hope came to be.

10 years ago this month, at age 49, my father passed away of pancreatic cancer, suddenly and quickly. My mother and brother and I cared for him in his last days at home, with the help of hospice.

That event, combined with a few others, turned my life upside down and inside out, dramatically, with the end result being that I ended up in Minneapolis, and turned the kaleidoscope of my life in a brand new direction, at age 52.

In the spring of that first year in Minneapolis, 2008, I had a very powerful dream one night. I heard a voice in my dream tell me to get out of bed and buy the domain name,

 messagesofhope.com

It was such powerful guidance that it woke me up and so I did get out of bed and I padded over to sit down at my computer at 3 am and then proceeded to enter messagesofhope.com into Go Daddy…and, lo and behold, it was available!!!!…. BUT the domain name was so expensive that I could not bring myself to buy it at that moment. I did not have enough…

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Has that ever happened to you? Where you get extremely powerful guidance to do something when you’re in a sleeping state, but you just don’t have enough faith to follow that message?

Anyhow, that next morning, I still vividly remembered my dream and, after my first cup of coffee, I thought to myself, “I need to do this.” And so, I sat back down at my computer and entered the domain name again…and it was sold!!! In the space of 5 hours or so!

I could not believe it. I had let it slip through my fingers because I had not trusted the guidance I received through that dream.

As the months passed, though, and I got busy with work and new friends, I never forgot my dream. It stayed with me day and night.

And so, months later, once more in the middle of the night, I got up and sat back down at my computer and entered the domain name again…just to gaze at what could have been. And, lo and behold, it was AVAILABLE.  I could not believe it! You have never seen someone buy something so fast in your life!

It was meant to be. But, the next question was: “What was it meant to be?” What was messagesofhope.com meant to be? I did not know. I had a few inklings, but I had not received clear guidance about it and as I got busier and busier with my work, I decided to wait until I received an answer to my prayers about what I should do with this domain name.

I felt like this:
Screen Shot 2015-07-26 at 6.04.08 PMFast forward 3 years, to 2011, and now I’m back in the Clear Lake area of Houston to live closer to my mother [who had sold her home in Florida and moved to Houston], my brother, sister-in-law and my 3 nephews. Since I don’t have children of my own, it felt right to be together, all in one place, as a family.

And then…just as suddenly as that initial dream had happened, I was taking a shower one morning [the best ideas always come in the shower for some reason, don’t they?] and into my head and heart, fully formed, popped the guidance and vision for what messagesofhope.com should be.

I received the guidance that the domain name should be used to create a giving circle. A place on the web that could help charities – forever. 

As soon as this guidance was received, I set to work to make it happen and what you are seeing here, today, is Phase 1.

How will Messages of Hope deliver on its mission of #givinghopeahomebygivingback – forever? 

When the e-card portion of the site launches later this year, you will be able to buy over 500 e-cards containing images of hope or inspiration. You will be able to choose your colors, your fonts, your messages of hope – or write your own- and to insert pictures and videos [maybe music, too! ]. All of the c-cards have been created and the database is complete. The e-card images have been created by talented artists, creatives and photographers from all over the world.

http://messagesofhope.com's ecard banner image

There is also a special section containing e-cards for all different types of cancer, all done in the colors associated with those different types of cancer.

When you purchase an e-card of hope or inspiration to send to a friend, you will be able to select from many well known charities from a dropdown menu that will be next to each e-card at checkout.

http://messagesofhope.com's ecard launch button
[Do you use Amazon’s SMILE program when you make a purchase there?  It will work in a very similar manner!]

Quarterly, I will send 20% of my own net profits to the charities you care about and choose. The cancelled checks will be shared on Messages of Hope’s Facebook Page, http://facebook.com/MessagesofHope1, [ FB/MessagesofHope1] so you will see proof the money has been sent.

Messages of Hope's Facebook Page
One of the first charities to be listed on the checkout dropdown will be Dallas headquartered charity, Dwell with Dignity, a charity that exemplifies what #givinghopeahomebygivingback – forever, means.

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For more information on how to have your favorite charity possibly added to messagesofhope.com, please click here. Please know I would love! to add your favorite charity and am happy to send money to them quarterly, I just need to have a way to independently verify your charity will use the money they will receive in accordance with http://charitynavigator.org  guidelines.

[ Friends: Please help your favorite charities know they can receive 20% of my net profits for every e-card purchased, as long as their supporters choose their charity at checkout, and, after I pass on, 75% ]  

messages of hope add your charity button
The creatives, artists, illustrators and photographers who are providing me with the e-cards will also receive full payment for their work, and in this way, by buying their e-cards, you are also able to also help support them and spread the message that creativity, art and beauty matter, deeply, and are powerful forces for creating hope and healing in our world.

As for me? Right now, http://messagesofhope.com will be a for-profit *social good* business, but, since I don’t have children, I have set it up in my will that, upon my passing, 75% [versus 20% now] of the net profits from sales on the site will go to any charity you care about and choose from the dropdown menu next to each hope ecard at checkout – forever.

I thought long and hard about whether I should launch the blog portion of the site only, first, or whether I should launch it all at once as a full fledged e-commerce site, and in the end, I decided to launch just the blog first, because:

1. I could afford to do it that way. Launching an e-commerce site with e-card functionality is more expensive, difficult and time-consuming than I had originally thought it would be!  

2. I have the time to do it this way since I still have another business that takes much of my time.

3. It is my hope that launching the blog first might help me attract some sponsors that want to be associated with helping me share the stories of their  own charity endeavors that are creating #messagesofhope for others and who also believe in Messages of Hope’s mission of #givinghopeahomebygivingback -forever.

Over 900,000 people a month search the word “hope” on Google. It’s my hope that they…and you… will find this blog when searching and have their day brightened and, that, when the hope e-card portion of the site launches, that those people finding messagesofhope.com might be inspired to help create a forever giving circle for the charities they care about and choose when purchasing an e-card.

Launching a brand new blog into a world full of blogs is a true leap of faith, but I believe that we all need a place where we can go on the web, to find images, quotes and stories that bring us more beauty, happiness, joy, smiles, laughter and a little bit of extra hope. That’s what I need, and what inspires me, and I’m trusting my intuition that maybe you do, too. 

It’s been a labor of love to make this site as beautiful as possible for you, dear readers, and I would now like to thank some very special people that have been involved from the beginning and who have put not only their professional efforts into helping me build out www.messsagesofhope.com, but their hearts and souls:

The creator of Messages of Hope’s mark 

Houston artist and webmaster, Aidan Sinclair [who prefers to not have me share his picture, but who is immensely talented! ]

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Messages of Hope’s website coding and development team lead: 

Umang Bagla [shown below], CEO of  The Web Artistswho was endlessly patient in educating me and who was incredibly responsive to my every question 24/7. I recommend Umang and his 150 person web coding and development team so highly if you need affordable help with a website.
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The creator of the visual identity for the site,  

Leslie Ink, President of Lesli Ink  and her creative lead, David Kim, whose patience with my perfectionistic tendencies knew no bounds! Their tagline is: “A creative studio with heart”…and that was SO true. Thank you Lesli and David!

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The key volunteer [and now dear friend] who has dedicated hundreds and hundreds of hours to helping me with the e-card database and who has created many  of the e-cards for the site:

Retired teacher and visual creative extraordinaire: Pamela Koudelka

and lastly I would like to thank all the artists, photographers and visual creatives who have provided the images for the e-cards you will see this fall:

Robin Pedrero
Bruce Barone
Eddie Wood
Pamela Koudelka 
Tonya Stone Phillips
Anne Redden
Pamela Copeman
Linda Holt
Peggy Hamman Oberlin
Mari Robeson
Carina Okula
Michael Van Zeyl 
Jennifer Morss

I am deeply appreciative of their faith and support in the mission of Messages of Hope. Thank you, each one of you.

And of course, YOU. You, my friends, who might be reading this, each of you who have been supportive of what I’m doing and who have buoyed my spirits when they were flagging throughout this long process of birthing this dream.

You know who you are, but I’d especially like to thank:

Interior designer Leslie Hendrix Wood of  the award winning blog Hadley Court, rocket scientist, Dr. Kumud Ajmani, the founder of #SpiritChat on Twitter at 9 am ET each Sunday morning, author and spiritual intuitive, Amy Oscar, the founder of the #SoulCall chat on Twitter each Sunday morning at 10 am ET,  my dear friend, Diane Opperman Tate, who does more than almost anyone else in this country to help #keepmusicalive through her volunteer work on behalf of the GREAT PERFORMER series of the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra each spring, Gloria Battista Collins, a friend to my heart, and the founder of gbcstyle.com and of course, my family:

my Mom, Marilyn LeBoy [one of the USA’s top amateur duplicate bridge players for the past 65 years], my brother David LeBoy [real estate agent, husband, father and brother extraordinaiire ], my sister-in-law, Anne, whose quiet ways belie a heart as compassionate as they come, and my 3 wonderful nephews, Charlie, Luke and Neil, who are always doing tiny acts of kindness and giving to others – they give me hope for the future.

And the young woman who has given messages of hope to so many around the world, quietly now for years, while surviving and living with breast cancer,  and without whose help my entire career may have taken a very different path and 1 of the 3 people this site is dedicated to:

Sasha Kane. Please meet her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SashaKane19.

Lastly [and thank you if you’ve read this far! Future posts won’t be this long!

I didn’t realize until years after I’d bought the domain name, messagesofhope.com, that, backwards, MOH’s initials are…

H.O.M. 

In my mind, that missing *E* stands for E.nergy – yours, because it’s only with your help, dear readers and friends, that this vision I was given can come full circle.. and become a place where #givinghopeahome – forever, can become reality.

And so now I ask of you, readers and friends, to help me celebrate!!! the launch of Messages of Hope by please:

1. Copying and pasting the link to this 1st blog post and sharing it with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc:

http://messagesofhope.com/the-story-of-messages-of-hope-2

2. Subscribing to Messages of Hope’s blog by entering your email address on the right hand sidebar – if you’re reading this on a desktop, or scrolling down and doing it, if you’re reading this on your mobile phone. I promise I will never sell or share your email!

3. Signing up for a notification for Messages of Hope’s e-card launch in the fall on the right hand sidebar if you’re seeing this on your desktop or scrolling down and entering it, if you’re reading this on your mobile phone. 

Please know if you do, I will be: 

so grateful.

Thank you so much and may your day be bright and beautiful and full of hope!

Screen Shot 2015-04-05 at 4.49.15 PMImage credit: Maggie Tranquila

~~~

Leslie Carothers, Founder

http://messagesofhope.com

#GivingHopeAHomeByGivingBack – Forever.
#messagesofhope

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