Category Archives for "Karla’s Korner"

Karla’s Korner – My Girl: A Lesson in Inner Strength

A Lesson in Inner Strength

inner strength

My Girl: A Lesson in Inner Strength

One of the greatest joys in my life is being a mother. When my daughter was born 21 years ago I found myself in the “learn as I go” mode most of the time. As a matter of fact, I still learn as I go because just when I think I have it all figured out somebody changes the game plan. Somehow we’ve managed to learn and grow together as mother and daughter. From the time she was born it was apparent that she would march to the beat of her own life drum; I was there to offer advice, lend a hand or sit quietly and listen to the music.

In the early years of our journey together, she blessed me with her wit and humor and as she grew in size, so did the amount of love and compassion that grew in her heart. I knew early on that she was special, not because she was mine rather in spite of being mine; her love for others was unconditional, deep and full of purpose. When she was in middle school she was physically assaulted by a male classmate and instead of following mine and her daddy’s lead of wanting the boy punished she offered forgiveness and asked administration to give him a second chance. She continued to bless those around her with an unconditional love that at times filled my soul with pride and other times left me feeling inferior because quite frankly I struggled with that; she became my teacher, my inspiration.

Today my girl is no longer little; she is 21. Soon she will begin her fourth year of college, something most would think an ordinary event, and however, for her the road to year four has been full of bumps and surprises. In the past six months she has endured sickness, medical tests, emergency room visits, and a fear of not knowing what it was that holding her body hostage and making her so sick that at times she could barely move. The diagnosis finally came, a rare condition brought on by mono. Filled with relief we rejoice that in time her body will heal and she will be whole again we take each day one step at a time focusing on her, our family and how this experience has changed us; it has made us better. We are a stronger family unit appreciating the most ordinary of events knowing that each moment is a gift to be treasured.

Reflecting on this experience (up to this point) I stand in awe of my girl. Not once did she think about giving up. Her dad and I suggested she take a medical withdrawal from school, something we thought to be logical and practical. “I think I can do this”, she said “I’m not ready to give up”. She persevered, taking the necessary steps to insure that she was granted a medical extension and finished her semester with passing grades; an accomplishment I would not have been able to do. She is strong, determined and focused. To say that I am proud of her would be an understatement. Her determination and focus surpass anything I could have imagined. Nights spent in the hospital emergency room, days of being unable to get to class, studying from her bed, enduring weight loss and more, she never gave up. Once again she proved that she is made of the tough stuff.

When she entered college I couldn’t imagine what life would throw our way in such a short time. I was proud of her then and even more so today, not because of her academic accomplishments (that’s a given) but because of who she is, what she stands and for her enduring spirit that never gives up. She is one of the greatest joys of my life, the best part of her dad and I and a beacon of light for so many who face challenges. She has taught me more than I could ever imagine; sometimes those lessons were difficult to learn but necessary none the less.

I remember reading Winnie the Pooh books to my girl when she was little. She loved those stories and would often ask me to read them again and again. So in honor of her I share one of my favorite quotes from her childhood; one that I shared with her often. “Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” ~Christopher Robin to Winnie the Pooh.

For those of you who face challenges I encourage you to reach deep into your soul to find the strength that I know you have. Embrace challenges as a gift; one that will make you stronger and allow you to overcome. We all possess inner strength; it’s up to us to find it and use in order to be our very best.

Peace,
Karla

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I am proud to introduce a new column to Madame Deals! I think we all need a touch point a place we can go to be inspired. Karla is my children’s teacher, a good friend, and a person with a heart of gold. I hope that her words will inspire you to do more. We are only as good as the people we surround ourselves with. It is important to listen with your heart and proceed with your eyes open. Enjoy!

Read more Karla’s Korner , also please visit Karla’s Lifetime Moms page and read her articles.

Check out Karla’s 24 Day Advocare Challenge updates!

Karla’s Korner: Front Porch Moments

Karla’s Korner

Front Porch Moments

front-porch

Front Porch Moments: Making the Effort to be a Front Porch friend….

So there we were riding through North Carolina recently on our way to spend a few days with our family. With my husband at the wheel I have nothing but time as we zip in and out of small towns and wind our way through miles and miles of fields full of crops; corn, cotton, soy beans and tobacco. Much of the time I am gawking out the window playing the game “Oh look at that pretty house” while the husband tries to reply as kindly as he can “Not now, I’m driving!” We came to a stop light which in my mind meant he had time to look around and appreciate the old southern homes that lined the streets in a beautiful little town. As we began to proceed through the traffic light I commented on several old homes with large wrap around porches and how I wish I had a house like that. “The porch” I said “makes that house more charming; more inviting” to which the husband replied “yeah, they just don’t make them like that anymore.” At that point my brain went into overdrive as I began to ponder the porch. Farther down the road I spy a row of simple small cottage type homes lining the outer edge of a tobacco field. Each little house looks like the others complete with chairs on the small front porch. Allowing my mind to think about these little houses it’s apparent that they were more than likely homes used by farm workers many years ago and quite possibly could still serve the same purpose. With the homes placed closed together I imagine that at night the families would gather outside to look at the stars, catch a few fireflies, eat some homemade ice cream, play a guitar and sing or just sit in the quiet darkness and reflect on the activities of the day.

Out of curiosity I searched the significance of the American front porch and what I discovered is that the front porch once served a cultural purpose. It was where families gathered to socialize and share the news of the day. It was where neighbors visited with one another and where ideas were shared. People knew each other and what was going on, because of the front porch. The front porch was like their outdoor living room; everyone felt welcome. Flash forward a few decades and take a look around. While most homes have a front porch few people utilize that space. Oh sure most front porches are tastefully decorated with rocking chairs, gliding swings and hanging baskets filled with beautiful flowers, but the front porch, it seems, has become nothing more than the means to gain access through the front door. Why is it that something that used to be so vital, so important and such a focal point to the life of a family has all but disappeared in its purpose? Why don’t people choose to sit outside and communicate with those around us? I wonder and can only come up with the assumption that we have allowed our lives to become so full of other “stuff” we simply do not have time to become front porch dwellers. Our lives have become so full of responsibility that we cannot seem to find the time to enjoy the front porch.

Imagine what life would be like if we all took a seat on our front porches after dinner and merely waited for someone to stop by. Imagine what life would be like if we took the time to get to know those around us sharing a spot on the front porch swing while waiting for a cool evening breeze to take our minds off the troubles of the day. Imagine the possibilities and opportunities life could offer to us if we just embraced a few front porch moments. Sit with a friend, share a cool beverage, talk about the news of the day or simply sit still and do absolutely nothing; because after all the front porch is a great gathering place. Enjoy your front porch moments.

Knowing that life is full of responsibilities I encourage you to take time out of your busy life and spend a few moments on your front porch. For those who do not have a front porch I encourage you to create a space that is inviting to those on the outside looking in. Knowing that life, our lives, tend to pass each year too quickly I challenge you to take time out on the front porch. Gather as a family, a neighborhood or community and embrace the strains of each day knowing that the front porch, your front porch, is a place to rejuvenate re-coup and recognize the need for front porch moments. The front porch has lost a lot of its luster and attraction to today’s society, therefore, I challenge you to create a space on your front porch that invites family and friends to come in a sit a spell. Take time to meet those around you creating a sense of community and purpose for one another. Break down the walls of unfamiliarity and build a sense of belonging and relationship with others. Life isn’t meant to be lived inside the house; carry yourself outside onto the porch and allow yourself to be part of the change that will definitely take place as you embrace the front porch moments of your life.

Peace,
Karla

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I am proud to introduce a new column to Madame Deals! I think we all need a touch point a place we can go to be inspired. Karla is my children’s teacher, a good friend, and a person with a heart of gold. I hope that her words will inspire you to do more. We are only as good as the people we surround ourselves with. It is important to listen with your heart and proceed with your eyes open. Enjoy!

Read more Karla’s Korner , also please visit Karla’s Lifetime Moms page and read her articles.

Check out Karla’s 24 Day Advocare Challenge updates!

Karla’s Korner: The Geese in the Road

Karla’s Korner

The Geese in the Road

geese

The Geese in the Road: Embracing Life’s Disruptions

Having spent the weekend at a conference in Hampton, Virginia I found myself sitting in busy traffic watching the chaos of the city. Zipping through busy intersections trying to find our way around I was beyond thankful that my husband was behind the wheel. On our way to dinner on Saturday evening traffic came to an abrupt stop in the middle of a busy intersection. Much to our surprise the reason behind the traffic tie up was a gaggle of geese casually strutting across the street. What appeared to be a few adults and a slew of youngsters following their lead we watched as they headed toward a decorative fountain on the other side of the road. For a brief moment everything stood still while the geese made their way to their destination. I have a hunch that this was not the first trip this feathered family made that particular trek. Grabbing my IPhone I snapped a few pictures as they reached the other side of the road. And just like that the moment was over and traffic began to move.

Reflecting on the highlights of the weekend my mind drifted back to the geese and how with a single step they managed to stop three lanes of city traffic to reach their destination. Naturally drivers could have chosen to keep going causing harm to the geese but they didn’t. Not one car moved until all of the geese were safely on the other side. Everyone did the right thing; they put things on hold for the right reasons. Those seemingly insignificant geese caused life as we knew it to stop briefly and adjust to their schedule.

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As my husband and I sat patiently waiting for the geese to cross the road, snapping pictures and chuckling at the way they took their time, beaks raised a bit in a rather sophisticated way I wondered how many of the other drivers were enjoying the break; how many were angry for the delay? So what do these geese represent? What relevance did their presence have in the day’s events? Is it possible that the geese represent the need to slow down from our routines so that we can take time to reflect, ponder and spend time with people who matter to us? Were they there to remind us to embrace disruptions instead of become angry because of them? I wonder.

While I am sure some people waiting for the geese to cross were probably angry because it was delaying them from where they were going, I imagine others welcomed the minute to enjoy the song on the radio, think back to a fond memory the song reminds them of or just enjoy a moment of stillness. They (the geese) remind us to take a moment out of our routine to think, reflect or just be still; refreshing our soul. Those geese were not there by accident, I believe they were placed there as a reminder to slow down. American author, educator, and clergyman Henry van Dyke once said “As long as habit and routine dictate the pattern of living, new dimensions of the soul will not emerge.” When God puts a flock of geese in your way I encourage you to take a gander and enjoy the break, nourish your soul and welcome the disruption. You will find that the routine will be waiting for your return.

Peace,
Karla

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I am proud to introduce a new column to Madame Deals! I think we all need a touch point a place we can go to be inspired. Karla is my children’s teacher, a good friend, and a person with a heart of gold. I hope that her words will inspire you to do more. We are only as good as the people we surround ourselves with. It is important to listen with your heart and proceed with your eyes open. Enjoy!

Read more Karla’s Korner , also please visit Karla’s Lifetime Moms page and read her articles.

Check out Karla’s 24 Day Advocare Challenge updates!

Karla’s Korner: Lessons in Living an Ordinary Life

Karla’s Korner

The Prayer Box: Lessons in Living an Ordinary Life

karla

The Prayer Box: Lessons in Living an Ordinary Life

It’s early morning; my family is sleeping soundly as I stare out the window from my usual writing spot. With ear buds spilling worship music into my ears and heart, I sip my coffee and reflect on the week’s events and the “to do” list written in my mind. There are runners, dog walkers and a few robins bouncing by my window; scenes of a simple Saturday morning in rural Virginia. It’s times like this I wonder if I am missing out; why am I stuck in a one stop light town where tractors hauling hay bales clog up one lane roads and everybody knows everything about everybody. How did I end up in such a quiet little corner of the world; a corner filled with rich history, quiet beauty and starry nights so clear that if you look close enough you just might see the man in the moon? Why can’t my world be filled with excitement, parties and weekend concerts? Am I missing out? Am I stuck in a rut or am I one of the lucky ones? Is the grass greener on the other side of where it is that I am not? Is this relatively simple life envied by those who live their lives in the fast lane? I wonder.

Looking across the room I catch a glimpse of a simple green box atop dresser. There’s nothing unique about this box; it’s cardboard, it’s green; it’s a box. However, the meaning behind this box is more than magical to me; it’s one of my most cherished things. It’s my prayer box, a gift from my treasured friend, Sweetie, a reminder that I am loved beyond measure by my Creator. Inside this simple box are small scraps of paper with my worries, concerns, prayers scribbled on them. Sweetie gave me the box on my last visit with her. She apologized for not decorating it, “It’s from you so it’s perfect” I told her. My words were not empty, I meant them. The love behind her gift means more than she will ever know. That simple green box is a symbol of the faith we share in God and the bond we have through that faith. It’s simply perfect.

Once in a while the topic of my prayer box comes up in our Friday afternoon conversations. Quite often she reminds me to put my concerns in the box and “offer them up” in prayer. She still tells me that she wishes the box was prettier instead of plain and simple. As I sit and stare at my treasured box I know that decorations would not make the box better; it would just be decorated. The meaning or purpose wouldn’t be any better than it is right now. There is no need for decorations. It serves its purpose just the way it is. And then like a lightning bolt to my soul it hits me; my ahh haa moment for the week. I am exactly where I am supposed to be for now. This simple life that fills my days with routine and familiarity like my box is plain and ordinary on the outside but filled with treasures on the inside; memories tucked away in my hearts corner for eternity. I am one of the lucky ones. Living life in a small town allows me time to sit on the deck on a cool spring evening watching squirrels frolic in the back yard listening to the birds chatter from the tree tops as the smell of a charcoal grill floats by on the evening breeze and sweet laughter and baby giggles spill from a neighbors open windows. At night it’s dark outside, so dark and quiet that you can almost hear the stars twinkle. It is here where I share my world with my husband, children and close friends. It’s where I worship, where I pray, where I grieve, where I celebrate; where I leave my heart wide open for all possibilities. It’s simple. It’s ordinary. It’s mine.

Life doesn’t always afford everyone a plain ordinary life but I believe it is possible to create ordinary wherever you are. I encourage you to set aside time each day to live a few ordinary, mundane undecorated moments that allow you think without interruption, listen to the beat of your own heart, settle the thoughts in your mind, whisper a prayer or just be in the moment. Like my undecorated box life doesn’t have to be full of bells whistles and fireworks all the time to have meaning. Some of our greatest moments often come from the simplest of things. Take time to be simple. Take time to be free from clutter of mind, body and spirit. Author Mitch Albom once said “You can find something truly important in an ordinary minute.” Be blessed by your own ordinary.

Peace,
Karla

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I am proud to introduce a new column to Madame Deals! I think we all need a touch point a place we can go to be inspired. Karla is my children’s teacher, a good friend, and a person with a heart of gold. I hope that her words will inspire you to do more. We are only as good as the people we surround ourselves with. It is important to listen with your heart and proceed with your eyes open. Enjoy!

Read more Karla’s Korner , also please visit Karla’s Lifetime Moms page and read her articles.

Check out Karla’s 24 Day Advocare Challenge updates!

Karla’s Korner: The Hole in the Fence

Karla’s Korner: The Hole in the Fence

karla

The Hole in the Fence: Staying Focused on Life’s Journey

Earlier this week while I was on the playground with my preschoolers I noticed a couple of birds frolicking around in the wooded area just beyond the fence. Several students noticed the commotion in the mulch and ran to the fence to watch. In a few quick seconds the birds were perched on the fence and then on the inside of the play area. Flying back and forth, seemingly chasing one another across the playground they charged one after the other making their way perfectly through the hole in the chain link fence. As this scenario played out for the rest of recess the children and I talked about the birds and much fun it was to watch them play. One little boy asked if I thought the birds liked watching us play too. Assuring him that I was certain the birds enjoyed hearing us play, laugh and sing as much as we do watching and listening to them he was satisfied and went about his game of make believe. I, however, spent a few moments alone on the bench pondering the precision and focus of the birds as they zipped through the holes in the fence; their intense focus was quite intriguing. Not once did they miss their mark. Their focus was impeccable.

Reflecting on life and the busy-ness it brings about to our everyday routines quite often causing stress and anxiety I wondered what it would be like if we had the intense focus and confidence as the birds. Intending to stay on track with daily tasks or working toward a long term goal we often find ourselves distracted to the point that we either give up or become so distracted we forget what our initial intentions or desires were. Instead of moving forward at a focused steady pace we begin to look around to see what everyone else is doing and lose our focus; we lose sight of the hole in the fence. The hole in the fence, I think represents the pathway to peace and freedom within our inner selves. We all want to find that inner peace yet we flounder around like a fish out of water aimlessly searching for what others have instead of working toward what is best for ourselves.

Once a student asked his teacher if he worked very hard and was diligent how long would it take for him to find enlightenment in his life. The teacher confidently replied “ten years”. The student then asks if he worked very very hard and really applied himself to learn fast how long would take; the teacher replied “twenty years”. Confused the student asked if he really really really worked hard how long would it take then. A bit exasperated the teacher replied “thirty years”. Bewildered the student explained that he didn’t understand and asked the teacher to clarify so that he might understand and find the enlightenment he desired. Without hesitation the teacher explained that when you have one eye on the goal you only have one eye on the path. We need to keep both eyes on the path. Demonstrating, that unlike any other experience in our lives, enlightenment is truly about the journey and not the destination. We need to have patience in order to stay focused on what we want to do. There are no short cuts.

If the birds on the playground had lost their focus they would not have been able to make it through the small hole in the fence. Looking away and losing sight of where we need to go will only get us lost or crashing into life’s fence leaving us bewildered and unfulfilled. I encourage to search deep within your soul to determine where it is you want your life to take you. It’s up to you to choose the path you take; however, you must keep your eyes on the path in order to enjoy the journey. The end destination is merely a bi-product of our life journey. Remaining focused throughout the process will allow us to absorb the entire journey knowing that there will be tough times once in a while. Tough times are necessary for us to appreciate the good times that follow.

Motivational speaker Anthony Robbins once said “One reason so few of us achieve what we truly want is that we never direct our focus; we never concentrate our power. Most people dabble their way through life, never deciding to master anything in particular.” Stay focused and enjoy your journey.

Peace,
Karla

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I am proud to introduce a new column to Madame Deals! I think we all need a touch point a place we can go to be inspired. Karla is my children’s teacher, a good friend, and a person with a heart of gold. I hope that her words will inspire you to do more. We are only as good as the people we surround ourselves with. It is important to listen with your heart and proceed with your eyes open. Enjoy!

Read more Karla’s Korner , also please visit Karla’s Lifetime Moms page and read her articles.

Check out Karla’s 24 Day Advocare Challenge updates!

Karla’s Korner: Embracing Change

Embracing Change

embracing-change

Embracing Change: Celebrating the Milestones in Our Children’s Lives

It’s graduation season and social media is filled celebratory pictures. From preschool to high school parents are uploading scores of pictures to share with the world of their graduate. One picture posted this week settled deep within my soul as I studied it not for its pomp and circumstance but for what it wasn’t; it wasn’t celebratory rather random and simple. This photograph was of a young man who recently completed the 8th grade and is in his backyard disassembling his childhood play set. As I stare at this candid photograph taken by his father I realize that this is about more than tearing apart a play set; it’s a symbol of the changes that are taking place for this young man. He’s completed grade school; and will enter high school in the fall. The screwdriver in his hand is not only allowing him to tackle the physical task at hand but it is allowing him to make his mark, to take steps in the direction his life is leading him; a new path is being forged. He is putting his early childhood away; preparing for the next chapter in his life book.

As exciting as this time is for him, my guess is that it also brings about bittersweet emotions for his parents. The little boy who once waited anxiously for his daddy to push him high upon the swing, take make believe adventures in the backyard, or climb into his momma’s lap for comfort and a cuddle is dismantling the swing while tucking the memories in the corners of his heart where he can pull them out and remember a childhood filled with laughter, love and fun. I imagine the young man’s parents gazing at the empty space where little people once played and wonder how they are coping. This child, their third, is a reminder that along with celebrating the exciting times that lie ahead of him, their lives are changing too. Gone are the days of little kid toys, skinned up knees, piggy back rides and make believe. In the months and years ahead of him life will bring big kid challenges and adventures that will help him map out his future; one that belongs to him and him alone. Their roles as parents are changing putting them more on the sidelines as cheerleader and/or coach.

When we become parents we find ourselves at times overwhelmed, sleep deprived with little or no time to take care of our own needs believing we want them to grow up, however, quite often when these things begin to happen an odd sense of sadness settles within our soul because we are not really ready to let them go. In reality letting go of those little people is one of the most difficult things parents must do. I say must because there are no real options we have to let go. Holding them back, keeping them from reaching their potential is simply unfair. As our children work toward a new phase in their lives we must tuck away our own insecurities, fears and grief and celebrate them. Being a parent I believe is never about the parent. Being a parent means that we nurture, encourage, guide and refrain from holding on too tight; we must prepare our children to spread their wings and fly toward their own future.

If you find yourself staring at the empty spot in your yard where the play set once stood longing for the sound of little kid giggles, make believe and midnight snuggles in your bed, I encourage you to acknowledge the grief you feel as a real part of parenting while celebrating the big kid who stands in your presence ready to begin a new chapter in his book of life. Life is full of experiences, good and bad, that help mold you into the person you are meant to be. Grab hold of those experiences with everything you have and when the time comes to grieve, do it. It is okay to be sad and to grieve. But when the grieving is over, embrace the new experiences that life has given you, pick up your life book and start a new chapter, welcoming the new experiences that come your way with your big kid. In the words of teen writer and Holocaust victim Anne Frank “Parents can only give good advice or put them on the right paths, but the final forming of a person’s character lies in their own hands.” Letting go is difficult but equally wonderful when you get to know the big kid who shows up to take on the world.

parenting

Peace,
Karla

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I am proud to introduce a new column to Madame Deals! I think we all need a touch point a place we can go to be inspired. Karla is my children’s teacher, a good friend, and a person with a heart of gold. I hope that her words will inspire you to do more. We are only as good as the people we surround ourselves with. It is important to listen with your heart and proceed with your eyes open. Enjoy!

Read more Karla’s Korner , also please visit Karla’s Lifetime Moms page and read her articles.

Check out Karla’s 24 Day Advocare Challenge updates!