My daughter really wanted a puppy. She worked for two years trying to earn enough money to buy a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel but still wouldn’t have one if her sister hadn’t found Mickey. Even though Mickey didn’t come with papers, he came with a lot of personality and energy and hope. In fact, we call him “The Epitome of Hope.” That is because he sets a perfect example of what it means to never give up hoping for what you really want which for Mickey means hoping you will pet him, hold him, let him lick you, and play with him. And if you don’t do it, he keeps hoping you will and looks at you with his big brown eyes and keeps trying until you finally give in. He loves to sit on laps, hoping that someone will sit down and let him sit there. In fact, he is curled up on my lap right now sleeping. He has trained me well. I am glad that we have Mickey. He keeps reminding me to have hope. I have lived a life of comfort and have been really blessed to receive pretty much everything that I have ever hoped for. I have an amazing husband, beautiful children, freedoms and opportunities galore. Because of all that, however, it makes it even harder if I get discouraged since I know that I should just be grateful because of everything I have. There are things, however, that we hope for that don’t turn out the way we had planed, but I have discovered that there are amazing lessons to be learned when they don’t. Three years ago we moved from Alaska for me to come back to school to become a landscape designer so I could return to Alaska and help design the properties in our subdivisions. We had the perfect place picked out for our home (main blog picture is the view from this property) with the perfect neighbors who would live close by. The only problem was that we didn’t plan things perfectly with the economy and costs associated with the project. So last year rather than be foreclosed on, we let the property go. We tried to save things; in fact we brought on a lot of personal debt to try to save the business. (Main lesson learned here – DON’T take on personal debt to save a failing business). The reason I share this is because I have learned a really important lesson that I know will help others. This lesson is regarding hope. Rather than get discouraged and start throwing pity parties (which is easy to do when discouraged but only leads to feelings of hopelessness), let hope start the ball rolling the right direction. We are powerful creators and are capable of creating hope rather than discouragement. For us this meant that rather than leave the real estate world and go a different direction (and letting all we had learned be wasted) Lee got his realtors license and we began a real estate investment company called L&L Real Estate Solutions. We hope that our challenges and lessons learned can be shared with others in a way that will save them from some of the pain we have experienced. But the hardest part I found was letting go of negative thoughts. Kris Krohn, the founder of REIC, helped me learn the importance of doing this since this is where everything we are creating begins. (I will be sharing some of these lessons learned in future blogs). I have also been able to see how essential the Atonement of the Savior is in this process of removing whatever is holding us back. So what I have discovered about hope is that no matter what the situation is that you are in, it is possible to have hope, and with hope, ideas come as to how to get into a better situation. Without hope, despair comes and it is difficult to move forward at all. My hope has grown to a point that now I can visualize myself where I want to be (which is what faith is). Hope starts with being grateful for where you’re at right now and planning things will get better because ideas will come to help you move forward. Then along with the ideas comes the confidence and energy needed, bringing with it happiness and joy and miracles in your life. So, as with Mickey, by having hope the way is opened up. It may not be to where you had initially imagined, but you will be led to better views than you ever knew existed.