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Never Give Up Hope

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?

39 Comments

  1. Andrew Andrew December 3, 2014

    Wow Carol,

    This really is a sad but uplifting story you shared. I can’t believe that doctor actually said that to you. That’s truly horrible, but as horrible as that was, it was good because it made you angry. And from that anger, you motivated yourself to find a cure for yourself and prove that doctor wrong. And look at you now.

    This is truly inspirational indeed. Great guest post here sharing your story.

    – Andrew

  2. Debbie Debbie July 1, 2014

    Hi Carol & Corinne;
    This story is incredible and a testimonial to what the power of positive thinking can accomplish. You are truly a wonder, Carol! I did read your book and was so thrilled for you when you marched into that doctor’s office to announce your pregnancy. His reaction was completely unexpected! Thanks for sharing your story. I can imagine how painful that must have been for you to write.
    Debbie recently posted..PHOTO FRIDAY: GREENMy Profile

    • Carol Graham Carol Graham July 1, 2014

      Thank you so much Debbie. I was so pleased to hear you read my book and that you could appreciate the difficulty in writing some of the chapters.
      Carol Graham recently posted..BEWARE – Email WarningsMy Profile

  3. Pixie Pixie June 25, 2014

    Hope, Faith and the tenacity to fight are all that we need 🙂
    wonderfully inspiring post Carol.
    thank you Corinne for hosting such an inspiration 🙂

  4. Becky Becky June 24, 2014

    Carol, thank you for going through whatever pain and work you did in order to provide inspiration for the rest of us! I am inspired to look at the difficulties I’m going through with a different perspective. I have always been big in self-pity, and I hate that and want to end that cycle. Yours is the opposite way, and the best way. Thank you for helping me see a different path to work towards. I so admire people like you!

    • Carol Graham Carol Graham June 24, 2014

      Even though it took 10 years to complete my memoir and it was a great struggle — opening old wounds, etc. the purpose is what drove me to finish it. It was to provide hope to the hopeless and encouragement to the discouraged. From all the dozens of reviews thus far, that is exactly what is happening. Thank you for letting me know and I appreciate your words
      Carol Graham recently posted..My New BFF – Hurley the SheepMy Profile

  5. Greg Pattridge Greg Pattridge June 20, 2014

    It’s stories like yours that help so many. Thanks for your inspirational words. I’ve sent this link to many of my favorite people.

    • Carol Graham Carol Graham June 20, 2014

      Thank you Greg. I have a multitude of these stories in my memoir. I appreciate you passing this on to your favorite people. Thank you for connecting with me.
      Carol Graham recently posted..Oh! To Be A Fly On The WallMy Profile

  6. G Angela G Angela June 20, 2014

    Thank you carol for inspiring me today with your story ! I am glad to read this and I agree with you 100% never to give up ! thanks corinne for bringing in carol here !

    • Carol Graham Carol Graham June 20, 2014

      Thank you for your comments. I am happy that I gave you a bit of inspiration. I thank Corinne as well. G Angela

  7. Shilpa Garg Shilpa Garg June 19, 2014

    Hi Carol. So good to see you here and thank you for sharing such an inspiring post! Goes on to prove once again that hope and self belief can move the mountains! They say that hope is a powerful force. When you know what you hope for most and hold it like a light within you, you can make things happen, and that’s what you did! Kudos to you! ♥
    Shilpa Garg recently posted..Haveli by Zeenat MahalMy Profile

    • Carol Graham Carol Graham June 20, 2014

      Thank you Shilpa. You are right — there is power in hope just like the opposite is true as well. That is where the battle is — holding on to what you know to be true and not be swayed by circumstances.
      Carol Graham recently posted..Never Give Up Hope – Guest PostMy Profile

  8. Kathy Combs Kathy Combs June 19, 2014

    I am so glad you were able to prove him wrong. What a horrible doctor to be so rude and cruel. You are inspiring.
    Kathy Combs recently posted..Daddy Knows BestMy Profile

    • Carol Graham Carol Graham June 19, 2014

      One of the high lights of my life was that day back to the doctor’s office with my husband and the story that followed was hilarious. Yes, he was cruel but his ego was bigger than his brain and that is why he reacted as he did. Thank you Kathy for reading and commenting – always appreciated.
      Carol Graham recently posted..Never Give Up Hope – Guest PostMy Profile

  9. Carol Graham Carol Graham June 18, 2014

    I believe you are right Dorothy. Children are so resilient and we can learn a lot from them. They seem to be able to shake off the problems so much easier and then move forward. To be resilient we have to stay focused on a positive outcome or we will get swallowed up in adversity. I loved what you said about the pain not being wasted. I have kept that thought in the forefront for many years — and it always proves true. When people tell me of their hardships, it is so easy to empathize and encourage them if you have walked in their shoes. Thank you
    Carol Graham recently posted..Never Give Up Hope – Guest PostMy Profile

  10. Dorothy Johnson Dorothy Johnson June 18, 2014

    Thank you for sharing both your experiences of pain and victory. I recently read something about resilience and how it is a key factor in survival in the face great hardships. Hope must surely be a major facet of resilience. I agree that it can be painful to revisit past experiences, especially major trauma, but when it helps someone else, we know the pain was not wasted, nor does it win. I am grateful that through all the difficult things I also expected things to get better. Just wish everyone could do so.

  11. vishalbheeroo vishalbheeroo June 18, 2014

    What I can say, your life is inspiring, uplifting and a conqueror in the face of adversity. It do get to me from time to time, that all doors are closed to me and there is no light at the tunnel..but deep inside, I know it’s ain’t true. What’s your take and why things get to us? The suffering that makes us dead inside…
    Thanks Carol and Corinne:)

    • Carol Graham Carol Graham June 18, 2014

      Never forget in the darkness what you have seen in the light. You said you know it ain’t true and you are right. Keep focused on a positive outcome. My strength came from God – there is no way I would have been able to endure so many struggles without knowing that God loved me and would get me through it. I think the answer to your question as to why things “get” to us is this — we allow it. Plain and simple. I know it is not easy but when we change our focus and expect things to improve rather than dwelling on the negatives — they do improve and our attitude improves as well.
      Carol Graham recently posted..Never Give Up Hope – Guest PostMy Profile

  12. richmiraclefiles richmiraclefiles June 18, 2014

    Hi Carol,
    This is the best message I am taking from your real life story:-
    ” 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. ”
    I also believe that there are three essential steps we need to take to grow from strength to strength:-

    1.Nothing Moves Without You.There can be no growth,evolution,fulfillment,need,desire,memory,aspiration,fear,or
    fulfillment without you.

    2.Take Care of You.So its wise to nurture your own self.And then you will find every other criteria of happiness and fulfillment settling into equilibrium.

    3.Evolve Yourself.Instead of focussing on others,and outside;concentrate on improving your own self.Fulfill yourself,enable yourself,empower yourself.Then,and only then,will you recognise the shift in reality outside yourself as well.
    Thanks for inspiring
    Mona

  13. Vinodini Iyer Vinodini Iyer June 18, 2014

    Your story is truly motivating for someone like me who still is going through a rough ride in life. I totally agree on your belief that laughter can get you through anything. Hanging on to hope is the best medicine and cure to the worst of the situation.
    The world is full of people like your doctor who pull you down but kudos to your grit in proving him wrong and rising above your situation. I’m genuinely inspired by your courage and hope. Thank you so much for sharing this Carol.
    Corinne, love you for getting Carol to share this much needed dose of motivation 🙂
    Vinodini Iyer recently posted..Dhobi Ka Kutta | The Washerman’s DogMy Profile

    • Carol Graham Carol Graham June 18, 2014

      Thank you Vinodini for your kind words. If I can give you any encouragement to help you in your struggles, than I am thrilled and very glad I shared my woes. They say that trauma makes you stronger and I am sure that sometimes you feel like you would like to be weak without problems instead of getting stronger as a result of them. Am I right?
      Carol Graham recently posted..Never Give Up Hope – Guest PostMy Profile

  14. Aditi Aditi June 18, 2014

    Carol this is such an inspiring post! The way you made your own choices and didn’t let the world choose for you. The way you found hope even in the cruel and painful circumstances. Applaud you for who you are, for what you have achieved and for what you teach others from your not-so-easy life learnings.
    Aditi recently posted..A Woman’s Portrait (Chapter 1)My Profile

    • Carol Graham Carol Graham June 18, 2014

      Thank you Aditi. I like the way you said “not letting the world choose for you” Often it is a lot easier said than done — but worth it in the end!
      Carol Graham recently posted..Never Give Up Hope – Guest PostMy Profile

  15. Suzy Suzy June 18, 2014

    Very touching story Carol. What an awful thing to say to someone – suffer and die. So glad you never gave up. Stay blessed.
    Suzy recently posted..Inspiration from Maya AngelouMy Profile

    • Carol Graham Carol Graham June 18, 2014

      Thank you Suzy. The doctor was so angry that I did not take his advice that he spit those words at me. I, too, am glad I did not give up. I have a beautiful family as a result.
      Carol Graham recently posted..Never Give Up Hope – Guest PostMy Profile

  16. Beloo Mehra Beloo Mehra June 18, 2014

    This is really an inspiring, uplifting post, Carol. Thanks so much for writing about your struggles and the way you met those extreme challenges and setbacks with your sheer determination and strong will, coupled with your father’s firm teaching in keeping up the faith and hope. That’s truly awesome. Thank you 🙂
    And thanks Corrine for having Carol on your blog today 🙂
    Beloo Mehra recently posted..“All Art is Quite Useless”: What a Wild(e) Idea!My Profile

  17. Roshan R Roshan R June 18, 2014

    There is so much from your story that inspires… not just this but your life story. How you just kept getting back up… I’ve been through some stuff that noone else has had to face under normal circumstances and was not expected to make it but I did against the odds… the one thing that I both regret and appreciate conversely is how much it changed me – forced me to give up my innocence and be realistic about how tough the world could be to get what it wants.
    One other thing that I dont think gets appreciated enough: that you relive this story every time you write it down or talk about it to us. For all the words Ive written, I dont think I can revisit my bad times even in my mind… the pain and sense of loss and betrayal would just hurt so bad. You are truly exceptional.
    Roshan R recently posted..Who’s gonna win the FIFA 2014 World Cup?My Profile

    • Carol Graham Carol Graham June 18, 2014

      You have utterly taken me by surprise – by both of your comments. You brought out two points that no one else has ever said to me and I am almost sobbing from your kindness. First, I empathize with you. I understand how trauma can change you. I would give almost anything to be the person I used to be and not tainted by all the pain. I understand that we become stronger and wiser but my heart aches for you and so many like you that have had to endure so much. Thank you for sharing that and I would love to talk to you more if you want to PM me.
      Secondly, it is and has been difficult to relive the many aspects of my story over and over. This is the main reason it took me 10 years to write my memoir. Yet, I am amazed at how many people have contacted me and will open up to share their pain and ask for advice, prayer or a shoulder to cry on. For that, I am so grateful I took the step and published the book.
      Carol Graham recently posted..Never Give Up Hope – Guest PostMy Profile

  18. Nikky44 Nikky44 June 18, 2014

    I have been in that situations so many times and each time I get out of it, I feel grateful that I kept going. The thing is that each problem you face seems harder to handle than previous ones and it’s only after you get over it that you realize it wasn’t that bad.
    Nikky44 recently posted..Ego versus SoulMy Profile

    • Carol Graham Carol Graham June 18, 2014

      Thank you Nikky44. That is wonderful that you did keep going instead of giving up. In hindsight, many times we realize it wasn’t so bad, just as you said. Other times, I wonder how I ever survived and realized it was a lot worse than I had thought at the time.
      Carol Graham recently posted..Never Give Up Hope – Guest PostMy Profile

  19. My Inner Chick My Inner Chick June 18, 2014

    **Then, lady, go home….suffer and die.”**

    Did the doctor really say that? Did you go back to the same one? Appalling.

    Superb, Uplifting post. Thank you, Corinne & Carol. x

    • Carol Graham Carol Graham June 18, 2014

      Those were his exact words. This is one of many traumatic events in my memoir — too long to share the whole story here. However, I DID go back 14 years later to the same doctor and his reaction was incredible. Thank you for your kind comment.
      Carol Graham recently posted..Never Give Up Hope – Guest PostMy Profile

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