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A Ray of Sunshine Personified!

I ‘met’ Hope through social media and I feel eternally grateful that she took time from her busy schedule as a creative and a carer to answer some questions for the Sustainability In Style readers. Hope is the kind of person whose positivity shines through any medium despite facing situations that many may find challenging on a daily basis. She and her husband Steve share a love story that doesn’t fit our media driven social norms and although there are physical and emotional drawbacks to their circumstances they are kindred souls whose love transcends all barriers. I have to admit that Hope and Steve’s love story and Hopes eternally positive social media posts have had me in tears more than once. If you are anything like me there is a good chance you will wiping away some tears once you have heard from this remarkable woman so have some recycled paper tissues or a handkerchief close by!

For all of those out there who are yet to meet you can you please give us a run down on your e-store Hopie Hippie, the woman behind it, and what it is that drives you to share your creativity with the world.

2 and a half years ago my husband’s ALS became so advanced that we were unable to travel to eventually barely leaving the house.  So I started painting and creating.  First dream catchers then malas (Hope Mala) to now weaving.  I’m an early lover so I try to make as little of impact and use as much recycled or organic materials that I possible can.  Creating all that you will find on Hopie Hippie (a nickname I’ve had for years) gives me joy to be able to release creative energy as well as providing me peace.  The more I created the more I wanted to create.  That energy you get while in the flow is something I wish I could bottle up for everyone.  It’s full of passion and curiosity and dreaming!

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Can you explain more about your husband Steve’s battle with ALS so that we can better understand how the disease works and what you face as a couple.

My husband was diagnosed in Aug 2011 and he proposed 2 days later.  Initially we assumed because Steve was a young athlete his progression would be slow, however just 6 months after diagnosis Steve was in a wheelchair full time.  He had an emergency tracheotomy in early 2013 after dying on me twice.  His resiliency has had him overcome the complications that have been added to the already rapid progression of ALS such as gastroparesis (inability to empty Stomach to the severity of no longer tolerating anything by stomach) to infections.

Steve’s story has been documented in the award winning and heartfelt film ‘Hope for Steve’ (trailer above and you can order a copy here). Can you tell us a little about how the documentary came into fruition and how it feels to be part of  such an amazing and strong partnership between two beautiful souls?

The documentary was something that happened early on.  We said we want to share our story & everything that goes into it; the good and bad.  We didn’t know what would come of it but we started filming lots and as we talked to some friends about it, we got more and more people involved in the project and suddenly the documentary was born.  It’s great for us to be able to share our story because we hope our honest and hopeful approach with life’s challenges will inspire others to rally through the rough and celebrate the good!  And share it both. Our love is one I never saw possible for myself.  Growing up I didn’t have the best role models for a healthy marriage and I honestly thought I would never get married and then I married Steve and felt something life changing his true love and me loving him, deeply, all of him.  It’s a connection and bond I know I’ll never have again in life and it’s the most special part of my life.  He’s empowered me to be the best version of myself and has opened my heart to the love I’ve always wanted to give and receive.

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Your social media feed is so overwhelmingly honest and positive (image above of Hope in a sweater Steve painted for her from Facebook). What are your top three recommendations on staying happy and loving life?

Top 3:

  1. Stay in the moment. And accept it. Learning to give your attention to only what is happening right now you learn to eliminate the overwhelming realities that sometimes come with life. Then whatever that moment is accepting it without comparison will help you to embrace life as its thrown at you.
  2. Gratitude.  The more you find what you appreciate in the life the more you will find things to be grateful for.  Putting things in perspective that yes something may be happening negative but you still have this, that, & everything to be grateful for.
  3. Meditate.  Take at least 15 minutes in the beginning of the day to set your intentions for the day and to allow yourself to create the space to make the best of whatever your day brings you.

The ‘Thoughts from Hope‘ blog documents personal refections along with your journey towards a sustainable Ayurveda lifestyle. Do you have any sustainable living tips that you would like to share with Sustainability in Style readers?

Less is more. Not only is it so easy to fall into the consumerism world we live it, it’s almost more hard not to.  It’s constantly presented to us that we need one more new dress/car/etc.  it’s hard being a creative mind to let go of things but learning to live with less and having a simple life is a beautiful way of living.

Also, it’s not hard to turn off that light when you live the room, or to recycle!  The excuses I’ve heard from people to not recycle are astounding.  I’m a full time caregiver to a fully dependent man and I have a small business yet I find time to recycle.

Choose organic in everything you can.  I have hopes to have a garden this year.  I want to live off my land more and utilize the beautiful gifts nature has to offer.  I am completely vegetarian and almost vegan.  Haha I have roaming chicken eggs when I feel like I need some more substance.  But no dairy or meat.  I try to be mindful in most all of my decisions on the kind of impact I am having on our planet.

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The web shop at Hopie Hippie has a beautiful collection of art works. Can you explain the/any process that you take when painting them or what inspires you?

Painting started as a therapy for me. I never thought I was a very good painter but it was never about that for me so I continued to create whatever came to me that now I usually really enjoy what I create.  I do a little meditation before creating anything and then just flow. Sometimes using nature to inspire me.  My favorite things to paint are sunsets and flowers.

You create such powerful Mala necklaces for your e-store. Can you share your creation process with us and how you infuse them with intentions and healing.

I began creating malas while I was learning more about stones and gems and the energies they hold.  I then became drawn to creating what I call feeling pieces. This makes me feel grounded calm love inspired.  Etc.  so not only am I using stoned that may create that energy I also trust my instincts and flow.  They have all meant so much to me which is why sometimes it takes me longer to create them because I put so much energy into them providing the same good feels for others as they do me.

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And finally… the all important fun question. If you had the opportunity to invite and three people (present or past) to dinner party at your home who would they be an why?

  1. My grandmother.  She weaved, did macramé, beading, all kinds of creations.  When I was younger my interests were different and she passed away a few years before I discovered I had creativity inside of me wanting to come out.
  2. The Dali Lama.  I am inspired and in awe with everything he teaches as well as his love and kindness that oozes from him.  I want to show the same love and kindness to others that he does and would be honored to spend time with him.
  3. Jimmy Hendrix. He oozes that cool that is just effortless and classic and timeless.  His style, his voice, his passion.  I named my VW vanagon because I love Hendrix so much.

A massive thank you to Hope for her time! Let us know if this post pulled at your heart strings and remember that you can show your support by shopping Hopie Hippie, ordering a copy of Hope for Steve, or by spreading the word about ALS.