August 20, 2015
Screen Shot 2015-08-20 at 3.41.05 AM

Image Credit: Kunito Imai ||
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 ||

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 ||

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.


Leslie Carothers

#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.

G+ Community

Like & Share

    Share Button


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.

G+ Community


Like & Share

    Share Button

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.

G+ Community


Like & Share

    Share Button

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.

G+ Community


Like & Share

    Share Button

How Do You Recharge?

August 5, 2015
- Nature does not hurry, yet everything

- Nature does not hurry, yet everything

Good morning!  As I look at this image I’m sharing with you today, I am reminded of the famous quote by Lao-Tse:

“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.”

I’m the kind of person who gets anxious when I have a long to-do list, I want to get it all done, right now.  Are you this same kind of person? I need to remind myself that usually, at the end of every work week, everything on my to-do list, that seemed overwhelming at the first of the week, did actually get accomplished – or most of it.

In the middle of a busy week, a busy day, a busy moment, I we might not be able to go to the beach and sit in a bright red Adirondack chair for hours on end, but I we can stand up and take a walk for a few minutes in nature and breathe deeply of fresh air and remind myself ourselves, that I am we are making progress. This is my way of re-charging and re-focusing and it helps.

I think sending our body’s cells little #messagesofhope and affirmations is a good thing to do. Do you?

Do you say positive things to yourself, to thank yourself for being such a hard worker, whether you’re working inside your home and living by yourself, or working inside your home and in the community as a Mom or Dad taking care of kids and/or elderly parents and volunteering, or whether you’re working outside of your home, taking care of the needs of a business and then going home and tending to the needs of yourself and others?

What is your #redchair moment each day? How do you relax and recharge? What positive things do you say to yourself to remind yourself that you’re doing the best you can – even on those days when laying on the sofa is the best you can do? And PS: we all have those days – trust me on that one.

Please share your ideas with me on the tag #redchair and, with your permission, I will share your first name + last inital and your ideas in a future post so we can all learn and be inspired by each other about how we each recharge to keep ourselves in a positive, hope-FULL frame of mind!
I invite you to also share your re-charge ideas with me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram with the tags: #messagesofhope + #redchair – so I can see them and re-share them with the friends of Messages of Hope on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram. 

I wish you a wonderful day ahead, full of tiny re-charging moments that re-energize you, and, if you’d like to pin or share this beautiful image taken by Pamela Koudelka, with the quote on it by Lao-Tse, please pop on over to http://messagesofhope/hope-quotes, where you will find it.

Thank you!

Leslie Carothers

#givinghopeahome…by giving back….forever 


Like & Share

    Share Button

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,, 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!

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,

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 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…

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 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 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.'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.'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,, [ 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.


For more information on how to have your favorite charity possibly added to, 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  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, 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 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, 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! ]


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.
Screen Shot 2015-07-28 at 5.40.00 AM

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!

Screen Shot 2015-07-28 at 5.33.10 AM
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 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

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,, that, backwards, MOH’s initials are…


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:

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

#GivingHopeAHomeByGivingBack – Forever.



Like & Share

    Share Button

« Newer Posts