Today I’m so happy to welcome Carol Graham as a guest on Everyday Gyaan. Carol is a blogger I connected with less than a year ago, but she has impressed me with her writing, her tenacious spirit and her openness to learning. I’m grateful to have come to know Carol and look forward to getting to know her better. Today Carol shares a bit of her story with us.

never give up hope

Carol and her husband, Paul, have two children, three grand children and many four-legged family members. They own two jewelry stores but Carol’s passions are being a health coach for over 30 years and being a motivational speaker. She has much to share in the area of survival due to her intense life of outrageous traumatic events. She survived cancer over 40 years ago through alternative methods using vitamins and minerals; was a victim of rape and marital abuse; suffered the loss of a child; and had huge financial losses from fraud and greed of others. She strongly believes that laughter will get you through anything.

Carol recently had her memoir, Battered Hope, published. This fast paced memoir reads with all the elements of a good novel – character, conflict, suspense, and resolution. Follow her family through insurmountable hardships and witness the tenacity it takes for Carol to survive. It is a story of hope, perseverance, and faith.

Connect with Carol on her blog – Battered Hope, on Google Plus, Facebook and Twitter.

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Never Give Up Hope

Over the course of ten years of writing my memoir, I struggled to find the perfect title.  The message I wanted to convey to my readers was that it did not matter what you have gone through, there is always the expectancy that tomorrow will be a better day.  I received a lot of title suggestions from family and friends but nothing seemed to click until my daughter was designing the book cover and suggested ‘Battered Hope.’  The more I thought about it, the more I liked it.  I realized it told my entire story in two words.

My father was a minister who practiced what he believed.  He instilled a strong faith in his children; and I knew that no matter what happened in life, God would give me the strength to endure anything. My father taught me that in order to survive trials, I had to maintain a positive attitude of hope.  If I focused on hope instead of despair, I would be able to rise above the circumstances surrounding me.  He died many years before my struggles began and never knew that what he drilled into my psyche as a child would get me through the rough years.

The definition of hope is:  an optimistic attitude of mind based on an expectation of positive outcomes related to events and circumstances in one’s life or the world at large.

Hope is the expectation of positive outcome.  It is seeing your circumstances through the eyes of faith, believing for positive results.

The secret is to NEVER give up.  We have absolutely no idea what lies ahead.  What if we give up just prior to the answer manifesting itself?  It does not matter how threadbare our hope becomes, we can still hang onto it.

When I was in my twenties, I was told that I had cancer and without a hysterectomy, I would surely die within two years.  That is the choice the doctors gave me – hysterectomy or death.  I felt that I was born to be a mother and that is what I wanted more than anything else in my life.  Now a doctor was telling me I had no choice.  If I didn’t have surgery, I would die.

A determination welled up from within me and I stood up and said “No, I will not accept those choices.”

The doctor rose up and leaning over his desk spit the words at me, “Then, lady, go home….suffer and die.”  It was the best thing he could have said to me.  It made me angry.  Angry enough to find a cure.  As I was leaving his office, I turned back and in a staccato voice said, I….will….walk…in…here…. pregnant…one….day.”

I had no idea what I was going to do, but I knew that I wanted a baby.  I was determined to hang onto the hope that someday I would see the fulfillment of that dream.  That is the key.  Never allow anyone to disintegrate your dream, your hope, or your faith.  Keep it in front of you.  Focus on the answer and not the problem.

My decision was not met with an easy road ahead.  It was full of a lot of disappointments, heartbreak, pain and suffering.  But I held onto my belief that I would bear a child.  I kept that forefront in my thoughts and it created an attitude of hope — based on an expectation and a positive outcome.

Fourteen years later, I walked into that doctor’s office.  Pregnant.  Healthy.  Strong.  A winner.  A Victor and not a Victim.
What if I had given up?  I would not have my beautiful daughter and grandson.  I probably would not be flourishing today because I would not have changed my diet to gain my health.

My memoir is twelve chapters.  Each chapter has at least one traumatic event that battered any hope I thought I had.  When you are beaten down, stepped on, or kicked one too many times, it is human nature to give up.  As long as you do not give up but stay centered on a positive outcome, you have a very good chance of your circumstances turning around.

Has there been a time in your life when you felt hopeless but did not give up?  Did you ever feel like you were hanging on by a thread and so glad you did?