August 14, 2015 (3)

breathe || hope quotes || www.messagesofhope.comWhen I’m feeling anxious, I breathe. Long, deep breathes. In……out….. in……out…… in……out. No matter where I am, and no matter what’s going on around me, I can always rely on deep breathing to center and calm me.

Could this maybe work for you, too? If you’re not used to taking long, deep, breathes, I would like to encourage you to try it. It may not work the first, second or third time to calm you down and make you less anxious or fearful or whatever you might be feeling, but, I promise, if you make it a regular practice, your own breathe will become your best friend in reducing your stress levels and allowing you to think more clearly.

Breathing helps because when you’re concentrating on taking those long, deep breaths, your mind isn’t focused on whatever else is occupying it and you are supplying your body with oxygen.

You can sit at your desk or in bed, or on the couch, or anywhere, and take long, deep breaths….in….out….in….out.

Soon, your mind will become as clear and calm as this.
calm ocean ||
And if you want to, add in prayer and/or meditation to your breathing.

If you do, you will see and feel, over time, your ability to calmly handle the stress and/or calamities that come your way, [and we all have them] – shift.

Breathing is free.

Breathing deeply heals.
the cross || prayer ||

Has a deep breathing practice shifted your life? If you’d like, please share your story in the comments. Many will see it and your story might be just the story to help someone make it through another day.

YOU can #makeadifference

#givinghopeahomebygiving back – forever- to the charities you care most about.

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Meet 12 Year Old Artist Kaia Miller

August 12, 2015
artist- 12 year old Kaia Miller - insta- (2)

artist - 12 yo Kaia Miller || Instagram: growingrainbows || www.messagesofhope.comWith her mother’s written permission to use her images, I’d like to introduce you today to 12 year old artist, Kaia Miller. Kaia lives in New York City and on Sept. 17th, will be in her first gallery show at Ricco/Maresca in NYC.

When I first saw Kaia’s images, thanks to the INSTA feed of my real life friend, Lynn Byrne, author of the blog, Decor Arts Now, I was immediately drawn to them. When I found out Kaia is only 12 years old, I felt a real sense of hope about the future.

If young children can be/are… this in tune with their world/our world/the world, I believe, despite all the negative news we are all bombarded with everyday, that everything will all be ok.

For me, looking at art, beautiful interiors, reading literature and listening to fine music have always been ways to tune out the negative and tune in to what feeds and heals my soul, at a deep level.

Kaia, shown below in this self portrait she made, has an intuitive artist’s eye that captured my heart. When I emailed with Kaia’s Mom, Emily, about permission to use Kaia’s images in this post, I asked if she could have Kaia give me an artist’s statement.

What I received back was a voice recording from Kaia, which is beyond wonderful to have, but I haven’t figured out how to upload a voice recording so I can’t share it yet. When I figure that out, I will include it. I can share, though, four of the things Kaia said in it:

1. Hi, my name is Kaia and I make self portraits.
2. I make these images on my phone.
3. My inspiration comes to me in my dreams or from just walking around.
4. I make one once a day.

artist- 12 year old Kaia Miller | Insta: growingrainbows |
If you love Kaia’s images, too, please follow her on Instagram at

Kaia said in her voice recording that she would like to have lots of people following her on Instagram so she could inspire more people.

Here is another image of hers that I love.
Artist- 12 year old Kaia Miller | Insta: growingrainbows | www.messagesofhope.comIf you happen to live in New York City, and/or will be there on Sept. 17th, I invite you to meet Kaia in person on Sept. 17th, where she is one of the artists in *ME*, the show opening the fall season at Ricco/Maresca.

The gallery is located at

529 West 20th Street, 3rd Floor,
in the 529 Arts Building in between 10th and 11th ave.

Kaia’s Mom and I are fine tuning the details right now, but Kaia will be one of the artists with ecards on, when the ecard/ecommerce portion of my site launches later this year.

If you choose to send one of Kaia’s images as an ecard to a friend, Kaia can make money from her art, which will inspire other young artists to create , too,  and 20% of my own net profits on your purchase will go to any charity you choose and care about, from the long list of charities that will be available on the dropdown list at checkout.


I hope you have been as awed and inspired by Kaia’s art as I have been.

If so, please help your friends know of Kaia’s gift by sharing this post and following her on Instagram.


Good luck with your first show and thank you for your permission, via your Mom, to share your beautiful images with my readers.

You inspire me with your vision for our world and I wish you every success in your first show.

artist- 12 year old Kaia Miller || insta: growingrainbows ||

Leslie Carothers

#givinghopeahomebygiving back – forever- to the charities you care most about.

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Following Your Intuition

August 9, 2015
Screen Shot 2015-08-09 at 1.42.18 PM

Angels in clouds || Image Credit: Leslie Carothers ||
This morning, Sunday morning, August 9, 2015, I participated in Kumud Ajmani’s #SpiritChat on Twitter, something I’ve been doing for years now, along with people from all over the world and from all walks of life, who come together for an uplifting hour of conversation and sharing about topics of spiritual interest to them.

This morning’s chat, guest hosted by nationally known career coach @MaggieMistal, [formally the director of learning and development for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia ] was on the wonderful topic of intuition. I don’t know Maggie in real life, but I really enjoyed her thought provoking questions and reading everyone’s responses to them.
Trust your instincts ||
I’ve long felt, but now know, after reading everyone’s answers to Maggie’s  questions, that intuition is always with us, but we may not be ready for, or always like, the intuitive guidance we *know*, in our hearts, we are receiving.

Have you ever been stuck – in fear – that if you act on your intuition, the rest of your life might fall apart, as you know it?  Has that thought ever stopped you from acting on strong internal guidance?

I have and I’ve delayed my own flow because I haven’t been ready to trust. I haven’t been ready to let go of my fear. What if? What if? What if? plagued me, and sometimes continues to plague me.

And I now know, for sure, I’m not alone.

However, when you are truly following your intuition, even through your fear, there are sometimes signs that seem to be unmistakable. To help you feel less afraid. Signs that seem to come from above, that say “Just trust.” Just trust that everything will work out.

Just…have faith. 

On the day I launched this site last weekend, I was out taking my normal morning walk. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky. I was thinking to myself, ” In just an hour or so, I’m going to be sharing with everyone I know this site I’ve been working on [and delaying out of fear ] for 2 years –  is actually now live on the web.”

The logo for

Internally, I was excited, but I was also scared. It felt so personal to me. Like giving birth to my baby. Almost too public. I wondered if it would resonate? Would people like it or would they just ignore it?

So, I did what I do. I prayed while taking my morning walk that people would not ignore it. That they would understand the vision and the mission of #givinghopeahomebygivingback -forever, and that they would want to help me create this vision to help the charities they care about receive money – forever.

And the big elephant in the room?

Would they support it even though they knew it also meant I might make money?

Would people understand and be ok with the idea that Messages of Hope is right now, a for-profit *social good* site  until I die, when I can then give 75% of the net profits [versus 20% now, when the ecard portion launches this fall ] to the charities people care about, forever, since I don’t have children to leave anything to when I go?

I didn’t know and I still don’t know. I am simply acting on faith.

Screen Shot 2015-08-09 at 12.38.33 PM
As I was thinking these thoughts, I looked up.

And saw the angel wing cloud in the opening photo of this post that continued and continued to grow, right in front of my eyes. I took 6 videos of it, so I could always have them to remember the moment. I’d never seen anything else like it. It was the only cloud in the entire sky.
Angel cloud from
I got chills all over, and I’m getting chills again, thinking about it, as I type this.

It was, for me, an unmistakable sign that intuition has guided me on the right path, even though I can’t see one step ahead to what will become of this.

Many of you don’t know I’m a trained labyrinth facilitator through the program Dr. Lauren Artress founded at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco.

Image Credit:, yoga at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco on the labyrinth
If there’s anything that walking the labyrinth so many times, and holding the energy as I witness others doing the same has taught me over the years, it is this:

just put one foot in front of the other, and you WILL reach the center, even when you can’t see it.

This picture by famed yoga photographer, Wari Om Yoga Photography, [and the one above it showing people doing yoga on the labyrinth ] shows how we simply sometimes have to stretch ourselves to believe it, act on it and have faith that, by following our heart felt intuition, we are on the right path.
yoga on the beach
Friends, I’d love to hear, in the comments, your thoughts on how you’ve followed/or are following your intuition, your own inner guidance, despite fear.

Please don’t be shy. The more honestly and vulnerably we share, the more we help each other grow into living our best lives.

Leslie Carothers

Messages of Hope

#givinghopeahomebygiving back – forever- to the charities you care most about.

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