Category Archives for "Karla’s Korner"

Karla’s Korner: Living Intentionally

Happiness is a choice.

Living Intentionally…

Searching for something to pass the time while on the exercise bike this week I discovered the documentary “Happy”. This film takes the viewer on a rather intriguing journey from the swamps of Louisiana to Kolkata India interviewing people who have found happiness. What I found interesting is that happiness is defined in many different ways by many different people, yet all claim to be happy. Following what many would consider an extremely poor man in Kolkata as he wakes in his makeshift tent style home, eats a minimal breakfast with his family before walking off to work as a rickshaw driver (a man powered cart) he shares his happiness. “My home is good” he says “It is open on one side which allows the breeze to blow through nicely”. He goes on to say that other than the fact that the rain blows in the open side during monsoon season “other than that we live well” His children and wife bring him great joy. Being greeted by them when he returns home from work in the late afternoons makes him happy. Pausing the film I find myself wondering if I could find happiness living a life similar to this man; I’m not so sure I could.

According to a “happiness expert” 50% of our happiness is genetic; a set point range of being happy. Ironically only 10% of our happiness comes from circumstances; where we live, our job, social status and income. We tend to believe that it is those circumstantial things are the things that make us happy, however, according to the experts we are wrong. So where does the remaining 40% come from? It comes from intentional activity; things that we can do to be happy on a continual basis. Another interesting concept is that we can find happiness even in the midst of adversity or hardship. It’s how we handle and process those things that allow us to be happy afterward. For example, relationships can and do often fall apart. I believe that if we learn from a broken relationship and can grow from the experience then it’s worth going through. Learning and appreciating those life altering experiences and embracing the tough stuff allows us to be emotionally healthy and happier. Seeing beyond the initial hurt to find the positives not only brings about a life lesson but allows us to release the hurt and anger and move on in a positive direction.

The idea of intentional living or incorporating intentional activities in our daily lives can be a bit confusing at times. I believe it is easy to make the decision to be intentional in our lives but quite often find it difficult to follow through. Intentional activities can be as simple as driving home using a different route, taking the longer scenic route when, using a new recipe for dinner, unplugging from technology, spending time alone, reading a book, exercising or some other meaningful experience.

We all want to be happy to feel good about ourselves and the lives we are living. However, even though we have the power and the ability to find happiness, we usually go about it in the wrong way. We pursue the wrong things. We are conditioned to believe that job promotions, money, fancy cars, fairy tale relationships will bring us increased happiness. According to the experts these things will leave us less than happy. Learning to identify those things that are meaningful to us will often be the things that are intentional. Examples of intentional living are appreciating and literally savoring the joyful moments of life, setting goals and working toward achieving them and then celebrating those achievements, and engaging in activities that completely absorb your attention for moments in time; exercise is one such activity for me. Finding myself in the “zone” while I am at the gym allows me to completely escape from the chaos of life and focus solely on myself physically and spiritually. Allowing ourselves time to re-connect with ourselves is not only intentional but necessary. When we are in optimal shape (both physically and emotionally) we will be happy and able to share that happiness with the world around us.

This week I encourage you to begin to make intentional life choices. Carve out time just for yourself; be intentional. Leo Baubata of Zen Habits (a blog about happiness, simplifying life, motivation and more) says of intentional living: “When I do it, my life is different, more purposeful more consciously lived, more content with any action”. Be purposeful. Be conscious. Be mindful. Be intentional. Be well…

Peace,
Karla

Karla

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!

Find out how Karla transformed her life and lost over 80 lbs.. it all started with Advocare!

Karla’s Korner: Hum a Little

Karla’s Korner: Hum a Little

share a smile

Hum a little…..

She stands a little over five feet tall, has long dark hair flowing down her petite shoulders, wears glasses and is humming every time I see her. I don’t know her name but every time I shop at the local K-Mart I find myself trying to get in her checkout lane. Like most folks I find holiday shopping exhausting. The crowds of people pushing and shoving their way through stores searching for the “perfect” gift takes a toll on me. I’m not a fan of shopping to begin with and when I have to do it I strive to get in and get done as quickly as possible. As I stand in her checkout line I find myself smiling because in all of the chaos of the day she manages to smile and hum as she assists each shopper with their purchase. On this particular day I have a sizeable pile of stuff on the belt and like always she is humming away. At the end of the transaction I swipe my debit card and ask her to check my rewards card for any credits I may have. Without warning she claps her hands and in her best broken English (she has an Asian accent) she says “how wonderful you have $9.30 credits!” She was truly excited for me that I was saving a few dollars on my purchase. Her job would remain the same for the remainder of the day, nothing I’m sure was going to be any different and yet she found great joy in my $9.30 reward.Continue reading

Karla’s Korner: The Reality of Judgment

The Reality of Judgment

Judgment

The Reality of Judgment: Fear of Being Different

Walking into the local grocery store I follow a twenty-something young woman dressed in a leather jacket and knit hat. It’s winter and I find myself wishing I could pull off wearing a hat like that; maybe I could. Walking past the deli I notice a familiar face and as I prepare to smile and acknowledge the acquaintance and her husband I nearly stop in my tracks as the rolls her eyes, gets her husband’s attention, points at the young woman ahead of me and begins talking about her. What was it about the young woman that made her find it necessary to gossip? Was it the leather jacket? Was it the knit cap? Was it the fact that she wasn’t dressed in conventional female attire? Choosing not to approach I will never know the answer but it was apparent that something set the young woman apart. That something I believe was not the young woman minding her business and shopping rather the deli dweller who found fault in the young woman. She chose to openly judge her based on what I believe are prejudices. I wish I would have approached the woman, however, I’m not so sure it would have mattered.Continue reading

Karla’s Korner: Finding Victory in Struggle

Karla’s Korner: Finding Victory in Struggle

victory in struggle

Finding Victory in Struggle

English American author and political activist Thomas Paine wrote: “The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly; it is dearness only that gives everything its value. I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress and grow.”

In 2014 Kayla Montgomery clinched the North Carolina high school state title in the 3,200-meter race placing her 21st in the country. Kayla has multiple sclerosis (MS) an autoimmune disease that affects the brain and spinal cord that will eventually leave Kayla unable to walk. As she begins to run her body heats up causing her to lose all feeling in her feet and legs and yet she continues to run. Learning to pace herself without physically feeling her legs has been a real challenge but she does it and has become one of the fastest long distance runners in the country.

I first heard about Kayla while watching an ESPN documentary titled “Catching Kayla”. Intrigued and completely in awe of her determination to run and defy the odds as long as possible it became evident that her support system was equally as incredible as Kayla herself. Because the feeling in her legs disappears Kayla struggles to cross the finish line and slow down. Instead she relies on her coach to literally catch her as she finishes each race. When she stops to rest her body temperature returns to normal and the MS symptoms subside. Kayla knows that the likelihood that MS will one day cause her to lose her ability to run is high but she refuses to stop and wait for the disease to win; for now she is winning. During her last high school race Kayla took a fall, something that would cause most to give up the hope of winning. However, with her determination and encouragement from her family, friends and coach Kayla got up, caught up and won. Referring to Paine’s quote, Kayla’s conflict was hard but by working harder she was triumphant; Kayla is a winner.

How often do we stop doing something because it’s too hard or too difficult? What is it that makes us give up working and expect life to hand us what we want? For more than twenty years I attempted to lose weight and get healthy; for nearly twenty years I failed miserably. Trying every quick fix, hurry now and get two for the price of one fad diets available it wasn’t until I realized that in order for me to have success I had to work for it. There are no permanent quick fixes; it takes time, hard work, faith, determination and desire to reach our goals; success is not free. Once in a while when I feel like staying home and not working out I remind myself of Kayla and others who have worked through their conflicts and struggles to obtain what Thomas Paine says is “glorious triumph”. When we work for something we are more likely to appreciate it more because we have a vested interest in it. Like Kayla the victory is sweeter I think because she has worked extremely hard to defy the odds and run.

This week and throughout the New Year I encourage you to set goals for yourself personally and/or professionally. Determine what it is you will have to do in order to achieve those goals and then get busy working toward them. Life is short and full of opportunity and it is up to each of us to make the most of the life we have. If we sit on the sidelines of the game of life and wait for stuff to happen we will be missing out on playing the game and enjoy victory. When asked why she runs Kayla replied: “Running makes me feel normal, and whole, it’s difficult to live with a disease where your own body’s fighting against yourself; so when I’m running I feel like I’m battling that, I feel like I’m safe from myself. As long as I’m running, everything’s fine.” Ready. Set. Run……

Peace,
Karla

Karla

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!

Find out how Karla transformed her life and lost over 80 lbs.. it all started with Advocare!

Karla’s Korner: Farewell 2014

Farewell 2014

2014

Farewell 2014: Lessons and Resolutions

There are just a few days left to reflect on 2014 and make resolutions for 2015; if you’re into resolutions. As I began to think about my final article for the year my initial thought was “Farewell 2014…You Sucked”, however, as I began to think about all that has taken place I realize that it really didn’t suck at all. As a matter of fact, 2014 was a year filled with blessings, life lessons and a whole lotta love.

The Dalai Lama once said: “Hardship, in forcing us to exercise greater patience and forbearance in daily life, actually makes us stronger and more robust. From the daily experience of hardship comes a greater capacity to accept difficulties without losing our sense of inner calm. Of course, I do not advocate seeking out hardship as a way of life, but merely wish to suggest that, if you relate to it constructively, it can bring greater inner strength and fortitude.”

Much like the Dalai Lama I do not advocate seeking out hardships but in the event that they appear I believe facing them head on with the willingness to find the positives in each one will bring about great lessons, inner peace and an enriched life. For example, with my weight loss journey I have met it head on and am now 90 pounds lighter, wearing clothes that are five sizes smaller, my pants have zippers, my shirts fit on hangers without falling off and I feel better than I have in twenty years! Going through the anxiety of food addiction wanting desperately to climb into the pantry and eat everything in sight at times, I realize I have the strength to walk away and make healthy choices and conquer the illness that had weighed me down for much of my adult life. The transformation to becoming Karla 2.0 (K2) has at times nearly knocked me off of my feet but through prayer, supportive family and friends and my own determination I am well on my way.

I recently read about a father who in trying to encourage his daughter shared with her the story of a potato, an egg and coffee. The father placed three pots of water on the stove to boil. In the first pot he placed the potato, the egg in the second and coffee in the third. After twenty minutes he turned off the burner and put the potato and the egg each in a bowl and ladled the coffee in a cup. He asked his daughter what she saw. Her answer was simple: “a potato, an egg and coffee” He told her to look closer and touch the potato. She noted it was soft. She took the egg and broke it and observed that it had gotten hard. She sipped the coffee and smiled at the taste and the aroma. Confused she asked her father what it all meant. He explained that the potato, the egg and coffee beans had each faced the same adversity-the boiling water. However, each one reacted differently. The potato went in strong, hard and unrelenting, but in boiling water, it became soft and weak. The egg was fragile, with the thin outer shell protecting its liquid interior until it was put in the boiling water. Then the inside of the egg became hard. However, the ground coffee beans were unique as they changed the water and created something new.

In each difficult situation we are faced with we must decide if we are like the potato when in the heat of the moment turns soft and falls apart, the egg that becomes stronger or the coffee that turns into something else altogether . Sometimes I believe that certain situations require us to become softer, more compassionate. Having the ability to reach out and share ourselves in love and acceptance is vital not only to others but to ourselves. Like the egg that turns solid, we also need to learn to stand our ground when faced with challenges. Learning to stand firm and not lose sight of who we are or what we believe is just as important as our potato moments. The transformation of the coffee beans I believe is simply the icing on the cake of life. Enriching the lives of others will in fact enrich our own. In life, things happen all around us, things happen to us, but the only thing that truly matters is how we choose to react and what we make out of it. Life is about learning, adopting and converting our struggles into something positive.

As you prepare to bid farewell to 2014 I encourage you to reflect and find the silver lining in the tough stuff that clouded your sunny days. Make a list of lessons you learned from the struggles that you overcame. Make a resolution to face the obstacles that the new year will bring (because it will) head on with the determination to come through each one learning lessons that will bring about great joy and peace in your life and the lives of those around you. For me, I will continue to work toward improved health and fitness as well as deepening my faith journey and my walk with my Creator.

I thank each of you for continuing to support me through this writing adventure. To my family and close friends who share ideas, tolerate my many questions, proof read my posts, encourage and love me thank you from the bottom of my heart. Farewell 2014…you did not suck. In fact you were the best teacher yet. Hello 2015! I hope you are ready because K2 and company is on the move!

Peace,
Karla

Karla

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!

Find out how Karla transformed her life and lost over 80 lbs.. it all started with Advocare!

Karla’s Korner: Holiday Traditions….Again

Holiday Traditions

Holiday Traditions

With Christmas just a few days away I decided to re-share my thoughts on holiday traditions. As you prepare for your Christmas celebration I encourage you take time to create your own family traditions knowing that there are no right or wrong ways to celebrate. Life is meant to be enjoyed, shared and celebrated with others, so do it. American author Oren Arnold wrote: Christmas gift suggestions: To your enemy, forgiveness. To an opponent, tolerance. To a friend, your heart. To a customer, service. To all, charity. To every child, a good example. To yourself, respect. Whatever your Christmas traditions are I wish you all the best. Merry Christmas!

Read my thoughts on Holiday Traditions

Peace,

Karla

Karla

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!

Find out how Karla transformed her life and lost over 80 lbs.. it all started with Advocare!

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