30 Things that Give Me Hope

By Doug Ankerman

Fitting with this month’s theme, here are 30 things that give ME hope…

Falling asleep before the legs begin to dance
Elastic waistbands
Good hair day
Stoplights turning green
Summer shade
Kohl’s Cash
Puppy licks
Slippers on a cold morning

Zippers with large pulls
Curbside pickup
Low threshold doorways
Laxatives
Red sky at night
Slow news day
Finding money in a pocket
Automatic toilet that doesn’t flush five times
Staying awake past 9:00
Open drive-thru lane at the bank

Getting one final squeeze from the tube
Opening chip bag without ripping
Springtime
Coming Attractions
Food I can cut with a fork
“You May Already Be A Winner”
Air conditioning
Inaugurations
Zip closure bags that stay zip closed
A vaccine
Working shake machine at McDonalds

And finally…

Bathroom scale that is “light” (but you don’t know it)

Did I leave something out? Leave a comment by sharing what gives YOU hope.

*Doug is a member of the MS class of 1996.  He writes silly stuff about multiple sclerosis and other junk on his humor blog at myoddsock.com.

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Don’t Give Up Hope

Hope

Hope is defined by the Oxford Dictionary, as a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen. Another definition of hope is to desire with expectation of obtainment or fulfillment. Hope can be a helpful and beneficial tool to have in this New Year. It will leave you with an expectation and desire for the fulfillment of the very thing you want to happen. Don’t Give Up Hope.

When circumstances come your way, you can use hope as a tool until the outcome you desire comes to pass. It’s simple and easy to do. In high school I played soccer, and my coach would always say to us “don’t give up hope”. There were times when our team would be down 2 points with very little time left on the clock but the resounding noise from the sideline, would be our coach yelling “Don’t give up hope!”

“Don’t give up hope!”

I understand now that he was teaching us a principle that we could use every day. He was showing us that no matter what life throws at us, we will always have the ability to desire and expect an outcome that we desire. As we hoped and unified as a team on a singular outcome, we would somehow find a way to change the outcome of the game. We would win!

Let’s break down hope a little more, shall we? When you think of hope, also think of conception and imagination. When you hope for something, you are imagining your desire until what you hope for is manifested. As you imagine the outcome, you will find that your imagination is accompanied by a positive emotion or feeling.

The benefits of hope gives you confident ammunition to combat stress, anxiety, fear, depression, or any unfavorable circumstance that may occur. Hope will help you kick those negative feelings to the curb.

So as you hope for things in this New Year, remember hope is a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.

Like my high school soccer coach would say “Don’t give up hope.”

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Learning About Hope

By Stacie Prada

Learning about hope gives me hope. Hope, faith, endurance, resilience, conviction and belief, they all contribute to my level of hopefulness.  They help me feel like I can make it through hard times.  The conditions I’m enduring will subside, or I’ll figure out a way for it not to hurt as much.

Hope

I’m learning that people with hope do better physically.  I’m realizing that it’s not a feel-good thing or coincidence that at my neurologist appointment, the questionnaire asks me how many times in the last month I’ve felt hopeless. You may be familiar with this question. It reads: “During the last 30 days, about how often did you feel hopeless?  Choose among the answers: All of the time, Most of the time, Some of the time, A little of the time or None of the time.”

Some internet research has shown me that this question is from the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale.  It is a measure of exactly that, distress.  People who are hopeful live with less distress.  It doesn’t mean their lives are less challenging or easier.  Actually, they’ve learned that life conditions don’t have a correlation to how hopeful a person is.  People with similar challenges can have vastly different levels of hope, and even the same person can have different levels of hope at different times in their life.  I’ve learned it takes effort to be hopeful, but our circumstances don’t dictate our well-being.

There are things we can do if we’re feeling hopeless.  Hope and motivation do well with ongoing support and inspiration, and often they involve other people. Tell someone you trust, talk to a counselor, reach out, and lose any guilt or shame for needing help.  Answer the question honestly when the doctor’s questionnaire asks you.

We’re all going to have different things touch our souls and give us hope. Just looking for things that make me hopeful leads me to find reasons to be hopeful.  Being clear about what is possible and what is probable narrows my focus for where to direct my attention productively.

I’m excessively aware that I can’t control most of things in life.  I can‘t control what others do, I can’t control the pace of scientific advancements, and I can’t control my body’s multiple sclerosis advancement.

I can’t unilaterally fix the world’s injustices, but I can contribute a little in every interaction I have.

I can’t prevent MS progression and disability in my body, but I can live in a way that gives me the best odds of doing as well as possible.

I can’t speed up medical advancements, but I can stay informed, participate in studies and contribute to causes that are doing that work.

Acknowledging the many areas where I lack control and the few where I can contribute eases my stress level.  It lessens the degree of responsibility to a manageable level where I feel like I can do something that matters. That gives me hope.

*Stacie Prada was diagnosed with RRMS in 2008 just shy of 38 years old.  Her blog, “Keep Doing What You’re Doing” is a compilation of inspiration, exploration, and practical tips for living with Multiple Sclerosis while living a full, productive, and healthy life with a positive perspective. It includes musings on things that help her adapt, cope and rejoice in this adventure on earth. Please visit her at http://stacieprada.blogspot.com/

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Things that Give Me Hope

By Lauren Kovacs

After 2020, my hope bucket has changed. Simple is the way to go. Smaller goals and a smaller court or field.

Waking up to sunshine is a cause for hope. Sunshine gives me hope of the smile of a new day. No matter how cold it might be, sunshine gives me hope to move and helps me begin my day. Even if my to do list is crushed by MS fatigue, I had hope.

I am not blind to the struggles of MS. I have times when Continue reading

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Tasty and Healthy Yogurt Parfait Recipe

Parfaits are a great choice for a grab-and-go breakfast or snack. You can prepare them in advance or make them quickly and easily when needed. Parfaits include yogurt layered with fruit of your choice and granola.

With the new year upon us, I know many of you are trying to start it off right by creating some healthy meal prep options. Why not give this easy yogurt parfait recipe a try! Continue reading

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A Hopeful 2021

When the countdown to New Year was upon us and the clock finally struck midnight on January 1st, I felt hopeful and optimistic about the new year ahead. Seriously, after a year like 2020 you could do nothing but believe that 2021 must be better, right? Well, we can certainly hope so!

We haven’t rid ourselves of the pandemic, but with the distribution and development of several vaccines hopefully Continue reading

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Jessica Vega – January 2021 Artist of the Month

Each year, MSAA features the work of artists affected by multiple sclerosis in our annual MSAA Art Showcase. We also highlight one artist each month as our Artist of the Month. This month, we are proud to feature artist Jessica Vega of Ooltewah, TN:

Jessica Vega Contemplation artwork

“Contemplation”

About the Artist Continue reading

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Longing for Belonging: Advice from the MS Community

A person looking at the clock on their phone while laying on the couch getting ready to watch a movie.

Living with multiple sclerosis (MS) can be very isolating. This condition often creates feelings of being disconnected from others and the world. Many feel the longing to belong and forge relationships as they could before their diagnosis.

After posting an article written by MS advocate Devlin Garlit, we received an overwhelming response from community members. As Garlit said, Continue reading

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Find Your Inner Peace

“Peace on earth…” a common phrase we hear during this time of the year, but what happens when the earth is in the middle of a crisis called COVID? I have the answer. Find your inner peace.

Whether it’s COVID, an unpaid bill, or an encounter with the “Grinch,” there will always be someone or something that will come along and try to steal your peace. However, just like there are opportunities to focus on the ongoing chaos we see in the world, there are also opportunities to focus on the positive things in life that can help us find and keep our inner peace. If you want to live a peaceful life, a great way to start is by establishing some mental boundaries. You are the boss. You are in charge. You have the final say as to what you will allow your mind to focus on and what you won’t allow your mind to focus on. It’s all about perspective. If you shift your perspective, you can reach a deeper level of inner peace.

How can you find your inner peace?

Fill your mind and focus it on things that are good, honest, respectable, and gracious. Focus on the best of a situation, instead of the worst. Focus on the beautiful things in life; the things that are worth smiling about. Your perspective is the filter on your reality that directly affects your level of inner peace. Whether you see the glass half full or half empty, you are right. So why not see it half full? There are so many things that we might not be able to change. However, the one thing we can change is our perspective and whether we will allow our inner peace to be taken from us.

My answer is no, and my hope for you is that you will find your peace on earth and never let it go.

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays

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Joy: It’s the Little Things

By Stacie Prada

It’s a season of wishing glad tidings of comfort and joy. I’ve never really thought about what that means, so I looked it up. Tidings means delivering news or making an announcement. I don’t think I’ve ever used the phrase, but I probably used it wrong if I did. I thought it was wishing someone else comfort and joy, but technically it means to deliver good news. It’s sharing our own good news, because we think they’ll be glad to hear it.

I think celebrating and sharing our joyful moments brightens the day for many. I experience joy when I Continue reading

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