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  • The Power of Love

Hope Works

How often have we said, “Enough is enough, when does it end?”, after more bad news from doctors.  Is Hope elusive? It can seem that way as the struggle for answers takes place yet Hope is just what we need. For four years the fight goes on to find the end of the road for surgeries and pain. ‘Stage 4 cancer’, heartbreaking words […]

Readers Stories Short|
  • IMG_0170

Why Love Is Always the Answer

We all need Love and we all have Love to give. Love exists in many forms and is expressed in countless ways. It’s the fuel, sustenance and nourishment we need to thrive in this world. Every act of kindness is love in action. As is each prayer, meditation, and positive thought you have. Feeling overwhelmed by all the problems in the world and wondering what you can do? Give a stranger a huge smile. Imagine how many strangers you can love in just one day with that incredible smile. Then there’s romantic Love, of course, the kind that gets us into trouble but keeps us coming back for more. When it works it’s smashing, isn’t it?  What’s the cure for a broken heart? Love, of course, but maybe a different kind of Love this time around. The tender, loving kind of self Love that helps to mend aching hearts. Sometimes it feels like life is constantly asking something of us and it’s overwhelming at times. Choices to make, dilemmas to figure out, decisions to face. When the question is “What do I do?” the answer is “Do the most loving thing.” Most of us have experienced loneliness in life and know how hard this can be. The cure for loneliness is Love. Not only ‘relationship love’ either, for some of the loneliest people on earth are in relationships. Sometimes we don’t open ourselves up or reach out because we feel vulnerable and are trying to protect our hearts. Yet we ache for connection because people need people. We can form all kinds of connections with all kinds of people with all kinds of closeness and intimacy. Many of us thrive with other connections, too, including with nature, pets, and a higher power. Sometimes in life we start to feel disheartened with all the struggles that come our way and hope starts to fade. If Hope starts to fade it’s time to surrender to Love. Literally imagine leaning into Love and it will carry you through. Be open to Love and Love openly. The world needs your Love, never underestimate how much or how powerful that can be. Donna Sales Founder of Hope Cafe For more posts from the Inspiration Station click here.          Donna Sales is a Registered Psychologist and writer living in Calgary, Canada. Her website is www.donnasales.ca. She is the founder of Hope Café.

Inspiration Station|
  • Holiday Stress Busters

Holiday Stress Busters

The holidays. Such a wonderful time of year, right? A little louder, I can’t hear you. Parties, gifts, Christmas music and lights. Eating, drinking, decorating, and family get- togethers. This time of year offers a smorgasbord of opportunity for fun, comfort and delight. Yet there’s something else that’s bustling out there, and that’s counselling offices. This time of year is prime breeding ground for stress and this stress can trigger a series of chemical reactions in the brain that leads to all kinds of emotional and physical symptoms. It turns out that stress can be the biggest Scrooge of all, zapping the joy out of the season and leaving us feeling depleted, even empty. The good news is that there are many things within our control we can do to help make the holidays a pleasant, relaxing time of year. Holiday Stress Buster #1 Realistic Expectations Is ‘wonderful’ too much to strive for? Or is it enough to have a ‘nice’ or ‘pleasant’ holiday? Realistic expectations can help to take the pressure off, leaving less room for disappointment in ourselves and others. Holiday Stress Buster #2 Prioritize Which gatherings are most important to attend? Who must you buy presents for? How much baking is really necessary? How many people would you like to have over? Which charities or organizations do you want to donate your time or money to right now? Remember we have all year to make time for important people in our lives, get busy in the kitchen and be kind and giving. Holiday Stress Buster #3 Enjoying Family The family gathering is one of those rare events that brings a very different group of people together with the expectation that everyone will not only get along but have a wonderful (there’s that word again) time. Family gatherings can be nice. But they can also stir up not so nice feelings. In preparation, it can help to stay focused on the present moment while visiting with family, getting caught up, listening to their stories, sharing your own, and enjoying their company. Holiday Stress Buster # 4 Careful with the Dough Spending within our means significantly helps to minimize stress during the holidays. We can be our own worst enemy, thinking we have to spend more than we can afford to make other people happy with gifts. How would you feel if you knew someone spent more money on you than they can comfortably afford? How many gifts do kids need to find under the tree to have a good Christmas? What message are we giving them if we go overboard? Advertisements can mislead us into thinking we must purchase things but we have total control over what we choose to buy or not buy and how we view it. Holiday Stress Buster # 5 Say “ha, ha, ha” Laughing helps to relieve stress, lighten things up and enjoy the moment. It’s contagious, too! Humour can be found in almost any situation. Holiday Stress Buster # 6 Go with the Flow Accepting that everything won’t go as planned will help to avoid disappointment and adapt to new situations as they arise. Being gentle with ourselves and others will also help. Holiday Stress Buster # 7 Be Part of the Community Spirit Fill a thermos with hot chocolate and find the best Christmas light displays in town. Strap on some ice skates. Get outside for a nice long walk. Attend community events that look like fun. Participating in these kinds of activities can help us to feel grounded and relaxed over the holidays. Holiday Stress Buster # 8 Practice Self Care Even with all the challenges on time and energy (especially with all the challenges on time and energy) at this time of year, getting enough sleep, eating regular nourishing meals and exercising are important. So is taking breaks and making time to relax and do nothing. Holiday Stress Buster # 9 Give Give. Pay it forward. Buy coffee for the person behind you in the Tim Horton’s drive through. Buy lunch for a homeless person. Sponsor a family. Donate to a charity. Volunteer your time. Shovel your neighbour’s driveway. Leave an anonymous gift on a doorstep. Hope you enjoy the holidays! Donna Sales          Donna Sales is a Registered Psychologist and writer living in Calgary, Canada. Her website is www.donnasales.ca. She is the founder of Hope Café.

  • Coffee Love

When Love Trumps Fear

When love trumps fear the heart opens to let the light shine in. When the light shines in we see the beauty in all living things. When we see the beauty in all living things we feel connected. When we feel connected we grow to understand each other. When we understand each other we care about each other. When we care about each other we are kind to one another. When we are kind to one another there is peace on earth. And it all started with love. Donna Sales For more posts from the Inspiration Station click here.          Donna Sales is a Registered Psychologist and writer living in Calgary, Canada. Her website is www.donnasales.ca. She is the founder of Hope Café.

Inspiration Station|

Video: A Van That Delivers Human Kindness

Kindness in Motion. The delight of giving is at the heart of retirement for couple Peter Grazier and Nance Cheifetz. They sold their Lexus and converted a 1990 Volkswagon into a kindness van in the streets of San Francisco.

Tidbits|
  • Spinach Phyllo Rolls

Spinach Phyllo Rolls

SO delicious and super nutritious, too. These amazing rolls make for a terrific snack, lunch, side dish or appetizer. If you haven’t worked with phyllo much and are a little hesitant, don’t be, it’s much easier than you think and a short video has been included to show how they are rolled up.  Have fun and enjoy. Getting Ready to Make Spinach Phyllo Rolls Ingredients: One package phyllo dough thawed to room temperature (16 ounces/454 grams) 600 grams of fresh spinach (approximately), coarsely chopped 5 green onions, finely chopped 1 small white onion, finely chopped 1 cup fresh mint, finely chopped (or 2 Tbsp. dried) 300 grams feta cheese, crumbled ½ cup extra virgin olive oil 1 cup lemon juice 2 tsp. salt 1. Preheat oven to 400° F. 2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 3. Combine all ingredients thoroughly (except phyllo dough, of course) 4. Fold one sheet of phyllo in half. Place a large spoonful of the mixture at one end. Fold both sides in and roll up. Place on baking sheet and brush generously with melted butter. 5. Bake on lowest rack for 10 – 15 minutes, until the bottom of the rolls are brown and a little crispy. Broil the tops if needed to a golden brown colour. 6. Remove from oven, let sit for a few minutes and use a spatula to lift the rolls to a cooling rack. 7. These are so good when enjoyed hot from the oven. But are also yummy at room temperature or directly from the fridge, too. *meat free *can be dairy free if the feta cheese is eliminated or substituted Recipe by Donna Sales from the Hope Café Kitchen.  Let us know what you think of this recipe by sharing your comments below. Share this recipe with friends! See options below.

  • When was the last time you played like your dog does?

Things We Can Learn From a Dog

🐶  Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride. 🐶  Delight in the simple joy of a long walk. Holly asking for a walk. Can't say 'no' to that face. 🐶  When loved ones come home, always run to greet them. 🐶  Eat with gusto and enthusiasm. 🐶  If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it. 🐶  Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure ecstasy. 🐶  Be loyal. 🐶  Run, romp and play daily. 🐶  When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by and nuzzle them gently. 🐶  Avoid biting when a simple growl will do. 🐶  When you’re happy, dance around and wag your entire body. 🐶  No matter how often you’re scolded, don’t buy into the guilt thing and pout…run right back and make friends. 🐶  When it’s in your best interest, practice obedience. 🐶  Let others know when they’ve invaded your territory. 🐶  Take naps and stretch before rising. 🐶  Never pretend to be something you’re not. 🐶  Thrive on attention and let people touch you. 🐶  On hot days, drink lots of water and lay under a shady tree. Author Unknown

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  • Daisy is a Rescue Dog (she rescued me) submitted by Ian Whitehead.

Daisy is a Rescue Dog (she rescued me)

Daisy is a rescue dog. Daisy is one of my best friends. I fell in love with her from the very first moment we met. She makes me laugh and she makes me cry. She listens to my troubles. she runs, plays and jumps with me. Her heart is pure and she has an old soul. Daisy is a rescue dog; she rescued me. Ian Whitehead Calgary, AB

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  • Laguna Sunset sent in by Katelyn South

Laguna Sunset

I love sunsets but don't often have the time to simply enjoy them. I took this photo on a recent trip to Laguna Beach, CA. Special moments like these are so easily missed because of the business consuming our lives. This photo reminds me to stop every now and then to appreciate the natural beauty in the world. Katelyn South, Calgary, AB

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  • Best Buds.

Our Love Affair With Dogs

“Dogs have a way of finding people who need them…and filling an emptiness we didn't even know we had.” ~ Unknown Dogs love and accept us unconditionally. We are the center of their universe. All we have to do is show up and they’re ecstatic. Our family and friends, they may be happy to see us, but never that happy. Being adored so completely probably fills us up more than we realize. Dogs give so much and expect so little. And they buffer us from loneliness. Research has found that when humans and dogs look into each other’s eyes they both get a boost of oxytocin, the ‘feel good’ hormone, also known as the ‘love’ or ‘cuddle’ hormone. No wonder why we’re so bonded to each other! Dogs can bring out our playful side. Have us rolling in the grass, laughing our heads off. Acting silly and forgetting to make dinner. They can immerse in the present moment easier and quicker than any meditation class can. By just being their own silly selves we can be silly, too, and feel the tension of the world fall away. Our beautiful boy Leo who brought the "Leoshine" into our lives. He's been gone for seven years but we still miss him so much♡ Like so many of you, the love I have for my dog is immense and I can’t imagine life without her. What is it about our precious companions that make them so special to us? Extensive research only confirms what we already know firsthand. Dogs calm us down and being around them and petting them relaxes us. Their companionship brings us comfort and a sense of security. Walking them and taking them to the dog park makes us move more (which is good for our bodies), get outdoors more (which is good for our soul) and interact more with other people (which is good for our spirit). Perhaps it's the simplicity of it that binds us to them so strongly. Unlike many of our personal and professional relationships, we know exactly what it takes to make our canine companions happy, and it isn’t much - love, attention, food and exercise. Dogs are easy to please. I’ve always loved hearing stories from clients whose well-being is enhanced significantly by their pets. Sometimes I joke that the world needs more dogs and fewer human therapists but there’s definitely a part of me that believes this, too. Approximately 37% of Canadian households have at least one dog and about 30% have at least one cat. Homes all over the globe have furry friends, of course, but millions of companion animals still enter shelters each year and millions more are out on the street as strays. To the shelter care workers and advocates who dedicate so much time and love to animals, we are deeply grateful for the tremendous work you do! Holly lounging on the porch. Aside from being awesome companions, how about all the hard working dogs out there dedicated to helping humans in need? We’ve always relied on dogs to be our protectors but we call on them to do so much more, too. Their loyalty and work ethic is remarkable. There are guide dogs, hearing dogs, and service dogs specifically trained to assist people with autism, seizures, severe allergies, diabetes and mobility issues. Many dogs specialize in mental health support and help veterans recover from post-traumatic stress disorder, calm people with anxiety disorders, and remind others to take medication on time. There are police dogs, search and rescue dogs and military dogs, too. And finally, we have therapy dogs that provide comfort and affection to people in hospitals, retirement and nursing homes, schools, and disaster zones. What on earth would we do without dogs? A transformation takes place in people when a dog enters the room. Just watch the smile it brings as the joy bubbles over. There's a reason they're called man's best friend and we're so lucky to have them in our lives. Are you a dog lover, too? This month’s theme at Hope Café is dedicated to our furry friends and we welcome you to share your comments, stories and photos with us by: 1.     Commenting below. 2.     Following and commenting on our brand new Instagram page.   www.instagram.com/_hopecafe 3.     Liking and commenting on Facebook.   https://www.facebook.com/HopeCafeFix/ 4.     Submitting a photo. Email me at donna@hopecafe.net 5.     Submitting a story. Email me at donna@hopecafe.net Share this link with other dog lovers, too, by choosing your platform below! Yours, as always, in hope, Donna September, 2016 For more posts from the Inspiration Station click here.          Donna Sales is a Registered Psychologist and writer living in Calgary, Canada. Her website is www.donnasales.ca. She is the founder of Hope Café.

Inspiration Station|