Re-Embracing Joy

November 18, 2015
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Image Credit: UK artist Peter Crawley, done to support Maggie's Caring Cancer Centres I don’t know about you, my friends, but I know I’m still reeling from seeing the images of all the attacks on people in Paris and around the world.

In a world as visual as ours is, images are everything, and the images now seared into my brain have had a profound impact on my personal sense of JOY this week.

So, I’m writing this post to share words and images that make me happy and have helped me to re-embrace JOY, because I know I’m not alone in how I feel…and as I saw it said online by someone who lives in Paris,Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 4.26.47 AMHere are the top 5 things that have helped me to re-embrace JOY this week. 

1. Seeing that a friend of a friend’s child was found and is safe, after having been lost for 6 days in the forest during a hiking trip!!

2.  Seeing that two other friends are celebrating their first grandchildren.

3. Going for my morning walks around the lake and taking the time to shop for and prepare all of my *clean eating* food for the week {this will be the subject of another post }. 
Image Credit: Leslie Carothers aka @tkpleslie } View: Mud Lake, an offshoot of Clear Lake, in Houston, TX4. Knowing that another friend’s painful and difficult series of radiation treatments for breast cancer is now over. She’s an interior designer in Boston, and during her treatments, she took on a design challenge called the *One Room Challenge* to keep her mind focused on what was beautiful, affirming and positive in her life.

She really inspired {inspires} me with her hope-FULL attitude, despite all she’s been through.

The #OneRoomChallenge [ #ORC } was a challenge to re-design one room in your own home in 6 weeks.

Here’s the before and after of what Linda accomplished.

Before
The *Before* of Boston interior designer Linda Holt's living room for the #OneRoomChallenge || http://lindaholtinteriors.comAfter
*AFTER* of Boston interior designer Linda Holt's living room for the #OneRoomChallenge || http://lindaholtinteriors.com  Color and a beautifully designed room or home, full of things we love and cherish is such a powerful way to bring JOY back into our lives, isn’t it?

5. Knowing my Mother will be playing duplicate bridge today for the first time in 3 months, after not playing for that long due to her hospitalization and subsequent rehabilation. Bridge is  an important part of her life.

She’s one of our country’s top amateur duplicate bridge players and has played every week since she was about 18 years old. She’s a little nervous since she hasn’t played in a while, but….

Mom:
You've Got This || http://messagesofhope.com
What’s especially joy -FULL for me to think about, is that today, her fellow bridge players are celebrating Thanksgiving after the game, and many of them are bringing delicious home-cooked special food to share with everyone. She will have a yummy feast to enjoy, after her triumphant return. 

What could be better?

And now, as we all get ready to go on about our own days and the rest of the week, I hope this beautiful children’s book illustration will show you one more thing, that no matter what else is happening, always brings me JOY…
Illustration: Alison Edgson

The twin gifts of friendship {yours} and play. 

What’s brought you joy this week? Please let all reading this post know in the comments because…

The World Needs Your Messages || http://messagesofhope.com

#positivewords #makeadifference & #beautyheals
~~~

Have a blessed day, full of J O Y

Leslie

#messagesofhope 

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You are Beautiful Just The Way You Are

October 5, 2015
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www.messagesofhope.com || #messagesofhope || http://instagram.com/Messagesof_HOPE || http://twitter.com/messagesof_hope || http://facebook.com/messagesofhope1
This pretty pink illustration says it all for me today. I hope you will really take its message into your heart, as I have, despite all that is going in my life right now:

You are incredible,adorable, lovable, wonderful, powerful, perfectly beautiful, just exactly the way you are….and I would add: inside and out, always.

I believe words, read into our minds, have the power to heal, do you?

~~~ 
Leslie 

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Rely On Him

September 3, 2015
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Quotes || #TheHopeBlog || www.messagesofhope.com These past few days, I’ve been helping my Mom move into her new home. She’s 85 and this is her *forever home.* I know many of you have done the same thing, or are planning for the same thing, or are in the midst of the same thing. 

If it all seems a little overwhelming to you, or exhausting, as it has to me at times, I hope you will look back and reflect on this quote I’m sharing today and know, as I know, that when you’ve reached your limit, He never has…and never will.

No matter what you may be going through, know:

You are safe.

You are not alone.

Hope quotes || You are not alone || http://messagesofhope.com || Image Credit: Katrina Maxwell Photography

You can ALWAYS rely on Him, and until He answers… maybe you could call a friend, call anyone, write in a journal, enjoy your favorite activity or go for a walk in nature to regain balance and perspective?  I’ve done all of these things, and I can share:

It all helps ease the overwhelm.

What do you do when you feel overwhelmed by what life is throwing at you?

I’d love it if you’d share your own ways of coping, in the comments. Whatever you share is sure to help someone who may need your words of wisdom, who is reading this post.

In Gratitude.

~~~ 
Leslie 

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Imagine

August 20, 2015
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Image Credit: Kunito Imai || www.messagesofhope.com
My encounter with a homeless man, and how it impacted me, is the topic of today’s post, dear readers.

Here’s the story.

Last weekend, I saw a homeless man at my local street corner with this sign,

“I’m not a drunk, I’m not a drug addict, I’m a former Marine trying to get by.”
image of homeless man || Collage created by Leslie Carothers || http://messagesofhope.com

That stopped me cold and this was the next thought that ran through my mind, “Even if this man’s sign is a lie to get money, what if it’s true?” and then my next 2 thoughts were:

“Who am I to judge because there but for the grace of God go I?”

“What if he’s a homeless veteran that fought for me so I could sit here in my air conditioned car in the middle of 100 degree heat about to turn in to this parking lot so I can buy fresh food for the week?”

I rolled down my window and dug to the bottom of my purse to give him money. The smile he flashed to thank me lit up my world. It was pure sunshine. 

After that happened, I started thinking about The Butterfly Effect, Edward Lorenz’s famous discovery that a very small change in initial conditions can and will create a significantly different outcome. I started thinking about how many homeless people think they don’t matter, that they don’t make a difference, and never will again.

This man didn’t have anything material to give, but because he gave me his smile, he changed my thought patterns. He made a difference.

What if just 3 of us, like the 3 butterflies whose wings are fluttering in tandem in the opening picture of this post, practiced non judgement towards the homeless we see?

Could we help them know they still matter, that they are not alone? Could that be the key to unlocking their sense of hope for a better future – and ours?
John Lennon Monument - NYC || Image Credit: Ramy Majouji || www.messagesofhope.com

If you love John Lennon’s famous song like I do and have a few extra minutes, click the image above to listen to and see the original video of him singing IMAGINE.

It has been viewed over 20 million times.

#andtheworldwillbeone
#messagesofhope

~~~
Leslie Carothers
www.messagesofhope.com

#GivingHopeAHomeByGivingBack – Forever – To The Charities You Care Most About
~~~

If you would like to read about the entire vision for Messages of Hope, please click the link below.
http://messagesofhope.com/the-story-of-messages-of-hope-2

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