The Flowering of The Cross

March 27, 2016
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flowering -of -the - crossThe Flowering of the Cross is an Easter tradition that touches my heart. What is it? Each Easter, churches ask their parishioners to bring flowers from their gardens to decorate the Cross.

The flowers symbolize the Easter promise: the resurrection of hope and new life after the pain Jesus experienced dying on the cross.

Click the MORE button and be uplifted by beauty! Happy Easter!
I love the simplicity of the picture below, and how seniors and children and parents are participating in this together.
What a wonderful memory for everyone.

Screen Shot 2016-03-27 at 5.14.48 AMI also love how all of these different congregations, be they Presbyterian, Methodist, Lutheran, Baptist, etc, all , in their own unique ways, and despite their differences, create these beautiful flower crosses on Easter that symbolize the resurrection of hope and new life.
Screen Shot 2016-03-27 at 5.15.29 AMDoes this tradition touch you as much as it does me? 
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the-flowering-of-the-crossIn this last picture below, it’s hard to know what’s going through his young mind as he’s placing his flower on the Cross, but whatever it is, this memory, this image, will be with him through a lifetime.
He will always be able to look at it and remember that no matter what trials he may be facing, Jesus faced those trials for him already, and through simple faith in the promise of the Cross, he will always be forgiven and given another chance.
And so will we all.
Happy Easter to each of you! 

” messages of hope – giving hope a home by giving back – forever “


If you’d like to read a lovely post on how to make a small flowering Easter cross,
perhaps for someone you know in a nursing home or in the hospital,
please click


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One Word

January 5, 2016
What one word will guide you in 2016-

What one word will guide you in 2016-Every year, for the past 7 years, I’ve chosen one word to guide my actions for the year.  Last year, in 2015, that word was *strength.*

Choosing #oneword is a wonderful tool for lending intentional clarity to the decisions you’re asked to make – or have to make – throughout the year.

For instance, here’s a little story about how I used this tool in 2015.

During the last quarter of 2015, my Mother got very,very,very sick. We almost lost her.

I spent my time in the hospital with her, at rehab with her and taking care of all she wasn’t able to do. The week before this happened, I had just helped move her into her new *forever* home, so there was a lot to do.

It was my joy to help take care of her, be with her and to help her heal as best I could, and I’m happy to share that today she’s back to playing duplicate bridge and enjoying her life, as much as she can, in her new home.

During that same time, though, I had to make a decision to move.


I wanted and needed to reduce my rent, which was raised to a sky high amount, more than the mortgage on most houses in my area.

As fate would have it, the perfect place for me opened up, in the perfect location, right across the street from the lake I love and down the street from the bird sanctuary I enjoy so much, BUT it was much smaller than where I had been living.

That meant downsizing, a lot. It meant more *things to do* in a life already crammed full of *things to do* during this time I was caring for Mom.

I knew it would be stress-FULL.

Then, I thought about my #oneword: strength. And I filtered this decision through that word.

I prayed for the strength, both physically and emotionally, to be able to accomplish this move during this already extremely stressful time in my life.

And, then, I did it.

I moved. It was hard, SO HARD, but now, with much less *stuff* in a smaller home, it means more, for me, of the luxury I value most:


Now, for 2016, my #oneword is *faith*.

What will your #oneword be for 2016?

What one word will help you clarify what you should do, when you’re asked to or need to, make a decision this year?


I leave you with this image I took on my morning walk across the street to the lake.

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Have a blessed New Year ahead, dear readers, and know > you are never alone.

There are so many stories we know nothing about.

Everyone is going through something, but, with faith {and friends}, we pull through.

And…if you need to be lifted up right now,

I invite you to join the community of kind, caring people who leave positive comments over on Messages of Hope’s Facebook Page at


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The Hem of His Garment

December 25, 2015
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Image Credit: Jaana Uolamo , the Northern Lights, Finland Wherever you are in the world, may this day, Christmas Day 2015, be the day you reach up to touch the hem of his garment, knowing you are meant to receive the gifts that are waiting just for you.

Just as the Three Kings delivered to Him the gifts that were meant to be his, the miracle of His birth delivered to us the gift He was meant to bring to us…

the promise of His love… for all races, all religions, all the people on this beautiful planet of ours – no matter what.

~ Merry Christmas ~
Image Credit:

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A Christmas Message For C

December 16, 2015
Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — Leslie Carothers @ 11:22 am
Screen Shot 2015-12-16 at 4.56.46 AM || Image Credit: This post is for my real life friend, C.

At this moment in time, right before Christmas, C is having a difficult week with her chemotherapy for breast cancer.

Her 10 year old daughter, also a C, helped C by decorating their home for Christmas and on C‘s good days, she and her husband and daughter are out celebrating all the joys of this season together.

C is being so courageous through all of this, and we who are her friends in real life, and online, are praying that she feels well enough to get on a plane to spend Christmas in Florida with her parents, where they are preparing to help her celebrate a milestone birthday next week.


Friends of mine in real life who may be reading this and friends of Messages of Hope:

What I know and have witnessed in my life, and you probably have to, is that the most important C of all, Jesus Christ – can perform miracles.

His birth itself was a miracle and that miracle is the reason we celebrate Christmas.

Please join with all of us who know C in real life in praying that C has a beautiful Christmas with her young daughter, her husband, and her family –  full of joy, love, and peace.

Please pray for her complete healing.


And friends of this blog, I know that many of you who are reading this are also praying for a miracle this Christmas season for yourselves, a loved one or a friend.

And what can I tell you that I’ve experienced in my own life? What message of hope can I give all of YOU this Christmas?

Christ has an unlimited supply of miracles, all freely available to all of us, all the time, through clarity in prayer. “

“In Christ alone my hope is found, He is my light, my strength, my song.”

Screen Shot 2015-12-16 at 4.01.37 AMMay your Christmas be blessed, C, despite all you are enduring now, and may you rest, surrounded in the comfort and care of the loving arms of Jesus Christ and your real life family and friends.

You are a shining light to all of us who are lucky enough to know you. || Image Credit:





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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.

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 ||  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….

You've Got This ||
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 ||

#positivewords #makeadifference & #beautyheals

Have a blessed day, full of J O Y




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Beautiful Bible Journaling Pages

November 4, 2015
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Bible Journaling || Image Credit: morning, friends of Messages of Hope. How are you? It’s been a little while since I’ve written a post because I’ve been spending almost every spare minute of the past two months either working at my main business, taking care of my mother and the *things of her life* because she got terribly sick { but who, through the grace of God and good nursing care recovered and is just now back home as of yesterday } and downsizing dramatically and moving into a new home, myself.

I had so much to do and many times I felt overwhelmed. What helped me get through it all was prayer, eating clean so my own mind and body stayed clear and healthy through it all and the prayers, positive words, thoughts and deeds of my friends on Facebook and in real life.

However, yesterday afternoon, I had an emotional meltdown. Moving my Mom back into her own home from rehab was extremely tough – and it ended in a bad way. I felt terrible, she felt terrible, and yet it happened.

The tears would not stop. I walked out and got in my car and just wanted to run away – forever.

What happened next, though, was this:

I didn’t start my car, I just sat in it and cried and cried. And then, a tiny voice within me came through and said to me, “Leslie, you have to go back upstairs to your Mom’s front door and knock on it and not leave things like this. What if she dies overnight? Do you want this to be the way it ends?

And I did go back upstairs. And the fact that I was able to do that, {because I was angry – very angry at that moment, which is the emotion that pops up when you feel hurt and/or wounded} was simply through the grace of God.
Bible Journaling || when I knocked on the door, Mom answered, and, although she was still upset, too, she put a cool cloth on my forehead and poured me a glass of chocolate milk.

Bible Journaling || And because I also believe in the power of synchronicity, when I woke up this morning, still feeling tender, this is the very first thing I saw when I sat down to check on my friends on Facebook.
Screen Shot 2015-11-04 at 6.10.14 AMFriends, we all know that millions of people the world over are caregivers or are the ones being cared for. I know that this tiny *slice of my life story* that I’ve shared with you today, is but one drop in a very, very big sea of stories just like it.

I know, though, that when I pray and a tiny space of forgiveness opens up, for myself and for the *other*, I always find comfort. I hope the same can be true for you if you’re dealing with something similar.
Bible Journaling || Image Credit: This describes things perfectly this morning.
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And this is what I plan to do today, and I hope you will join me.
Screen Shot 2015-11-04 at 5.06.42 AMMy sincere thanks to the women who created these beautiful Bible Journaling pages I’ve shared here today and if you’d like to find a Bible journaling image to help you through a challenging time, too, please see this Pinterest board where you can find more:

And just one more of these, because I love them so.
Screen Shot 2015-11-04 at 5.36.37 AMHave a blessed day.




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You are Beautiful Just The Way You Are

October 5, 2015 (3) || #messagesofhope || || ||
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?





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What Helps You Live Happy?

October 2, 2015
MOH_Happy || FB/MessagesofHope1 || INSTA/Messagesof_HOPE || Twitter: Messagesof_HOPE Life doesn’t always take us in the direction we want it to take us, and sometimes it can be really hard and throw us way off track.

When that happens, as has happened to me recently due to my Mom getting very sick and having to go into the hospital after major surgery and then into rehab, I search for ways to get back, as fast as possible, to what brings me joy.

One of the things that brings me joy is color.

Another thing that brings me joy is writing.

Another thing that brings me joy is expressions of creativity in illustration, so I decided to combine my loves today and find illustrations about ways to live happy.

Just writing this post, reading the words on these illustrations and making these pretty, colorful collages to share with you has improved my own happiness quotient by 50% already today!

I hope looking at them and reading the words in them help you find ways to live happier today, too, no matter what you might be facing. || FB/MessagesofHope1 || INSTA/Messagesof_HOPE || Twitter: Messagesof_HOPE || FB/MessagesofHope1 || INSTA/Messagesof_HOPE || Twitter: Messagesof_HOPE
And, if you have a little more time, here are links to two posts I read that really helped me.

The first one is about what you can do to live happier, based on the neuroscience behind happiness. Please don’t miss reading this, I think you might find it really interesting, too, as the author shares why certain actions really can make you happier, based on what happens to your brain chemistry when you take those actions.

and this one has beautiful, colorful graphics [one is at the bottom of this post] and lots of good tips


Please let me know in the comments how you get back to your center of happiness and balance when you’re having a rough stretch in your life, either here in the comments or over on: 

Thank you!

Have a blessed day.
In gratitude.



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Rely On Him

September 3, 2015
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Quotes || #TheHopeBlog || 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 || || 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.





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The Legacy of Dr. Wayne Dyer

August 31, 2015
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Rest In Peace Dr. Wayne Dyer || || Image Credit and Collage: Leslie Carothers


Were you as influenced by the writings of Dr. Wayne Dyer as I was? His notions of personal responsibility and spirituality changed my life when I was young.

I was numb when I heard yesterday that he passed away. His family posted this note on his Facebook Page.
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As we begin the week, and with Labor Day a week from today, I want to start by asking you, dear readers, to spend a moment in silence, wishing this beautiful man and soul a peaceful transition into the next phase of his life.

One thing that’s for certain?

The legacy of Dr. Wayne Dyer will live on forever.

Many will write about his books, his speeches, his famous friends etc. but…

Did you know he was raised in a series of foster homes and that his father, an alcoholic, abandoned his family when he was 3 years old?

Did you know that, over his lifetime, he helped raise over 100 million dollars for public broadcasting?

He changed his life, and in so doing, he changed ours.

He WAS #messagesofhope for millions of us, the world over.

Here are two of my favorite quotes of his that have influenced and inspired me over the years. I invite you to please share yours, too, in the comments or over on the Facebook Page of Messages of Hope at

Dr. Wayne Dyer Quote ||

Image Credit: *watercoloring* on Zazzle || Dr. Wayne Dyer quote ||

Image Credit: *watercoloring* on Zazzle. [ Please click here if you’d like to purchase her map images.]

I hope you will join me in sending deepest condolences to Dr. Dyer’s family and all who care so deeply for him over on his Facebook Page at:

He was a transformational spiritual leader and a great humanitarian who had a gift for turning complex ideas into words that could pierce our souls and #makeadifference.

May he rest in eternal peace.

Leslie Carothers 

Opening image credit: my own. 

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