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Welcome to Mirth and Motivation! This is a Lifestyle/Motivational blog offering an eclectic mix of mirthful and motivational pieces: Life Tips / Advice, Affirmations/Wellness, Women’s Lives, Food, Travel, Interviews, Inspirational posts, Reviews, Peace, AND Social Media ruminations on people, places, and events that shape our lives. I invite you to stay awhile, read some posts, and share your thoughts with this growing online blog community.
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Something I know for sure is that we all want to be heard, appreciated and respected; I know that sincere, positive, and empowering messages are far more appealing than incendiary angling for blog attention. If your blogosphere surfing brings you here, relax, kick back, and share a positive tidbit on your worldview.
So, How should we handle the global economic shift? How do we stay mirthful and motivated?
“Hope is the only bee that makes honey without flowers.” Robert Green Ingersoll
What is hope but a feeling of optimism, a thought that says things will improve, it won’t always be bleak, there’s a way to rise above the present circumstances. Hope is an internal awareness that you do not have to suffer forever, and that somehow, somewhere there is a remedy for despair that you will come upon if you can only maintain this expectancy in your heart. Wayne W. Dyer
What does HOPE mean to you? This weekend, two of my favorite inspiring and brilliant authors/teachers passed away. Dr. Wayne Dyer was a motivational speaker/teacher and author of many books including bestsellers;The Power of Intention and Your Erroneous Zone. Dr Oliver Sacks was a neurologist and author whose bestselling book, The Awakenings, was made into an Academy Award nominated movie starring the late Robin Williams and Robert De Niro. I chose to mention both men, in this piece, because their life’s work gave lots of people – Hope and Encouragement – during their darkest hours. Whether it was a person inspired by Wayne’s speaking engagements or a mental health patient encouraged by Oliver’s expertise, these two great souls spread their light in dark places and gave hope to so many. When I think about the meaning of the Word, Hope, what comes to mind is an unflinching expectation of an outcome that will ease my worries. Sometimes, our outcomes might not be what we hoped for but, because we didn’t give up, our hope had a resonance of success in the face of great challenge. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary, defines HOPE as a “desire with expectation of obtainment…to cherish a desire with anticipation.” When you consider this definition, it becomes crystal clear that our motivation to get up and pursue our dreams and goals is fueled by HOPE. We might not think about it that way but it is a key component on the road to personal achievement and resilience.
A Story: The 10th HOPE
When I met Hope Ten, about 15 years ago, I was curious to learn more about her. Aside from the fact that she had a bubbly spirit and a keen wit, she was always ready to her others in the classroom. One day, I suggested an exercise on naming and had each student write and share a vignette (a brief account) on how they got their name. The students were excited because they all claimed they had the best story to share on naming and so they set to work writing their short stories. I set the timer for 15 minutes and, once it went off, they stopped writing and took turns sharing their stories… They were varied, engaging, even amusing stories, and we all laughed, ooh-ed and aah-ed, and clapped as each story was shared. When it was Hope Ten’s turn, she stood up and asked if she could stand in front of the class to share her short story. I agreed. The class grew quiet as her classmates sat up straight, eager to hear how Hope Ten got her name. Hope gave a slight nervous cough and in a steady yet quiet voice, she shared her vignette.
Hope: I am the 10th child of my parents, and the only one born alive. My dad came from a large family of 8 kids and my Mom was an only child. As a child, Mom always wanted siblings but had to be content with cousins and school friends. She had plans to someday have a houseful of her own kids. When my parents got married, they were excited about having their own kids. Mom got pregnant fairly quickly but lost the baby at birth. It was a girl, and my heartbroken parents named her Hope before burying her on the family plot in the local cemetery. Subsequent pregnancies followed and Mom lost every single one; she either miscarried them or had stillbirths. Two almost made it but died at birth. All were girls, all were named Hope, and by the third stillbirth, my Mom added numbers after each Hope.
The loss took a toll on my parents and they gave up when Hope Seven died. They took a much-needed trip away from home and, somewhere along the way, near the Atlantic Shore, they met a lovely lady who asked them if they had any kids. When they shared their woeful story with her, she told them to never give up Hope. ” You will have a child that will live and give you much love and joy into your old age. Don’t give up Hope!’ She said. My parents were encouraged by the stranger they met on vacation. And so, they persevered. Hope 8 and 9 didn’t make it but I, Hope Ten, did. Till this day, my parents remind me that I am the best blessing and gift in their lives and that I should never give up Hope no matter how bad things might seem. I live that advice daily – Don’t Ever Give Up Hope! © Copyrighted By E.Obih-Frank
“Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.” Desmond Tutu
We have all of us been hoping so intensely that this month would see your return to health; but, alas! this was not to be.
My heart is torn when I hear of your weakness, your misery — and, now, your longing to die. You, who have always loved life, and been such a source of strength and life to so many, can face death, even choose it, with serenity and courage, mixed, of course, with the grief of all passing. We, I, can much less bear the thought of losing you. You have been as dear to me as anyone in this world.
I shall hope against hope that you may weather this misery, and be restored again to the joy of full living. But if this is not to be, I must thank you — thank you, once again, and for the last time, for living — for being you.
Love, Oliver (excerpt from – On The Move: A LIFE by Dr Oliver Sacks. This is a Letter to his dying Aunt Lennie)
What gives you HOPE? Every day, we get up in anticipation of things to come. Most of us stay expectant for positive outcomes from our actions and effort. Others stay hopeful that a bad turn will result in a good outcome or a good twist of faith. Whichever way we choose to look at it, what stays current is our spirit of expectation and anticipation of an outcome. Hope creates that buffer that allows us to experience our lives while staying expectant that things can only get better. It is for this reason that we are encouraged to practice Affirmations, yoga, prayer or any other tools that help us stay focused, positive and hope-filled. Without hope, we fall into an abyss of sadness and dejection and so Hope is a very powerful motivator in life. If we can see that glimmer of light at the end of a dark tunnel, we have connected with the flame of hope inside of our being. As the letter of hope to Aunt Lennie and The 10th Hope story above have made clear, Do not ever give up hope. When all else fails, Hope can see us through the toughest moments.
A Story: Hope In Sand and Stone…
Two friends were walking through the desert. At some point of the journey, they had an argument; and one friend slapped the other in the face. The one who got slapped was hurt, but without saying anything, wrote in the sand: “Today, my best friend slapped me in the face.” They kept walking, until they found an oasis where they decided to take a bath. The friend who had been slapped got stuck in the mire, and started drowning, the other friend saved him. After he recovered, he wrote on a stone: “Today my best friend saved my life.” The friend who had slapped and saved his best friend asked, “After I hurt you, you wrote in the sand and now you write on stone. Why?” The friend replied, “When someone hurts us, we should write it down in sand, where winds of forgiveness can erase it away. But when someone does something good for us, we must engrave it in stone where no wind can ever erase it.” Learn to write your hurts in the sand and to carve your benefits in stone. They say it takes a minute to find a special person, an hour to appreciate them, a day to love them but an entire life to forget them. “Gratitude is merely the secret hope of further favors.” François de la Rochefoucauld
The details for Motivation Mondays are below. Join in! The themes for July and August are:
07/06 – FREEDOM
07/13 – WORRY
07/20 – WEALTH
07/27 – GRACE
08/03 – TIME
08/10 – CONTROL
08/17 – PURPOSE
08/24 – FAILURE
08/31 – HOPE
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“If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you…” Rudyard Kipling
IF — By Rudyard Kipling Source: A Choice of Kipling’s Verse (1943) via Poetry Foundation.org
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
Rudyard Kipling was born in Mumbai, India, of British parentage. His father was the head of a school and he grew up to become one of Britain’s beloved children’s book authors and poet. “IF —“ was a very popular poem that I read at school and always loved. For some reason, it popped up in my head today as I looked at the assignment for the Daily Post on staying Forever Young. While staying young in spirit is feasible and recommended, staying young in the physical sense is not. If we could have one thing over the other, what would it matter? How would it change our lives? What would we do differently? Read the wisdom of this poem and let me know what you think.
“If you can dream—and not make dreams your master; If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim…” Rudyard Kipling
If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’
How do you handle life’s trials and tribulations? We all experience sadness and joy and the secret to a fulfilling life is to treat, as Kipling suggests, “Triumph and Disaster… those two impostors just the same.” If we could look around us and find some semblance of good in all that we do and see, we will be less troubled by the vagaries of life and even by the aging process. The Fountain of Youth is a fantasy, and we can enjoy that fantasy while staying firmly grounded in the real world of aches, pains and joys. If we can pick up the pieces and keep moving forward, we have achieved something of deep value. Hold On!
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“Good art is art that allows you to enter it from a variety of angles and to emerge with a variety of views.” Mary Schmich
Even the dullest bird or face becomes interesting when you give it a good look in the wild/flesh. The way the shadow drops across the cheek, the light hits an eyebrow, etc… there are many more angles, positions etc. than you can ever imagine. My heart always makes a little jump when I see things in birds or faces that surprise me. Siegfried Woldhek
These photos speak for themselves. When I saw today’s photo challenge – From Every Angle – I thought of a few things and decided on the collection of pictures here. I considered food but, I wanted a bit more movement and this first shot fit the bill. In case you are wondering, I took the pictures from a Tour of Manhattan bus that was a hilarious ride… more on that later. The break-dancer gave us a street show and I captured what I could from a slow-moving bus. We live in a 3 dimensional world, and we might as well capture as much of it as we can and pay attention to everything!. My smartphone camera took most of the photos for this challenge.
“A figure with curves always offers a lot of interesting angles.” Wesley Ruggles
The landscape is like being there with a powerful personality and I’m searching for just the right angles to make that portrait come across as meaningfully as possible. Galen Rowell
I know, I know, I know… It is a very tacky looking Xmas tree that I saw in a hospital waiting room. Yet, something about it was very charming. I figured that a few different angle shots of it would be entertaining… I hope it made you laugh out loud as it did me… Yep, I saw it today!
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