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 

http://messagesofhope.com

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Designing A Life You Love

October 12, 2015
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#TheHopeBlog || www.messagesofhope.com || Illustration by Patricia Alix -Villa of www.fancygirldesignstudio.com in SingaporeAs we all begin a new work week today, I ran across these wonderful illustrations created by Patricia Alix-Villa.

The words in the one above started me thinking:

Am I consciously designing, little by little and step by step, the life I want to live?

I have to say, for many years of my life, I did not, consciously, design a life I would want to live. I let spontaneity and the needs of others rule.

Today, I AM mindfully designing the life I love…and want to live for the rest of my years, but it’s taken me a long time to get here.  I am in the process of de-cluttering and moving into a much smaller [ 750 sq.feet! ] home that puts me across the street from the place that brings me the most joy, the place where I can watch the sun rise over the lake by crossing the street and ride my bike to the bird sanctuary 1/4 mile away.

This makes me happy!!

Are any of you de-cluttering and living with less? Are you designing the life you want to live, a life you will love?

If you are, friends and readers, I’d love to know, in the comments, what you’re doing, how you’re doing it and what made you decide to do it. Your story is as important to me as it is to everyone reading #TheHopeBlog. You never know how – or when – or where – your words will have an impact on someone else’s life, but for sure they will.

#TheHopeBlog || www.messagesofhope.com || Illustration by Patricia Alix -Villa of www.fancygirldesignstudio.com in SingaporeSometimes, it’s easy to forget what this illustration says, below, when we’re not mindful of designing the life we want to live, right?
#TheHopeBlog || www.messagesofhope.com || Illustration by Patricia Alix -Villa of www.fancygirldesignstudio.com in Singapore
And I’m adding this, because I just love this illustration of Patricia’s.
#TheHopeBlog || www.messagesofhope.com || Illustration by Patricia Alix -Villa of www.fancygirldesignstudio.com in Singapore
Have a beauty -FULL week ahead!

Thank you for being. I appreciate YOU.

Leslie
~~~
#TheHopeBlog

#messagesofhope 

www.messagesofhope.com 

~~~
Please join me in spreading messages of hope to those in need on..

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And gratitude to you, Patricia, for your beautiful illustrations that can be found on:

fancygirldesignstudio.com

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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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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!

http://messagesofhope.com
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.

http://facebook.com/messagesofhope1 
FB/MessagesofHope1

http://twitter.com/messagesof_HOPE
TW/@messagesof_HOPE

http://instagram.com/messagesof_HOPE
INSTA/messagesof_HOPE 

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

www.messagesofhope.com

#givinghopeahome…by giving back….forever 

 

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