Category Archives for "Karla’s Korner"

Karla’s Korner: Dusty Memories

Karla’s Korner: Dusty Memories

Karla's Korner: Dusty Memories

Dusty Memories….

She was strong, tough as nails, sometimes loud, opinionated and on occasion ornery. She was funny, faithful, determined and if she loved you she loved you with everything she had; she loved me. She was my grandmother. Today (June 1) would have been her 93rd birthday; oh how I miss her.

I remember how she and my grandfather were always there for us, not spoiling us with things, rather taking time with us, talking, sharing stories or a piece of homemade “rock candy”. “Just take one” she would say, you can have more another day.” In the winter months you could always find her in her rocking chair in my Pap’s little workshop crochet needles in hand creating a blanket for someone she cared about. All of us got one for Christmas over the years, as did neighbors and friends. She spent countless hours in that rocking chair leaving him only to go in to fix a meal, fold laundry or make bread. If we were lucky we would arrive when she pulled a fresh loaf out of the oven and smear it with real butter. Once in a while she would surprise us with cookies, lemon crackers or banana bread.

Now that I am grown with children of my own I sometimes find myself wishing for just one more day, one more time I could hear her call me “Karla Anne” and finish it with some sort of instruction as to what I should do or where I should go. Our last conversation was just two weeks after her birthday; I had no idea she would be gone so soon. I listened on the phone as she shared that her time was very short and told me all of the things she wanted me to know. She loved me “beyond words” and never had to worry about me because she knew I was in good hands with my husband. She instructed me to make sure my children knew how much she loved them, to never stop visiting my grandfather in the nursing home and not to cry when she was gone. I kept most of those promises, the crying part; well I couldn’t keep that one.

But, like everything else she did her death was on her terms. For nearly two years she kept her illness a secret. Never telling any of us that she knew something was wrong because as she put it “if I told you all you’d hover and I don’t like hovering…” Stubborn to the end, she embraced death the way she lived life, head on with no fear. We buried her in her pajamas the day after she died as per instructions because she didn’t want a big fuss “nobody has time for funerals and crying” she said.

As I quietly remember my sweet, stubborn, beautiful grandmother a song comes on my playlist that in some odd way reminds me of her. “Fight Song” by Rachel Platten is about fighting through the tough stuff in life and while we may not be big and mighty we can still make a difference. “Like a small boat on the ocean sending big waves into motion, like how a single word can make a heart open, I might only have one match but I can make an explosion…” For my grandmother life was not easy but she never stopped fighting. She made big waves in her world when she became an unwed mother choosing to keep the baby and not move away. Eventually she would meet and marry my grandfather and have three more children

My grandmother was a small boat on the ocean of life, but she made big waves in the lives around her and as I plod through life sometimes feeling as if what I do isn’t all that grand I remind myself of the little things she did that made a great impact on me. Sharing a glass of sweet tea on the porch seemed like an ordinary thing back then but now I know that it was so much more. Those times together are now the memories tucked away in my heart like an old novel on a dusty bookshelf. Once in a while I make time to blow off the dust and re-read a few chapters. It’s those memories that soften the hard knocks of life keeping me humble in knowing that her spirit lives on in me and those she loved so much.

Whatever it is that brings you joy no matter how small it may be I encourage you to do it. Life comes around just once and it’s up to us to make those big waves, speak the words that can open someone’s heart and live authentically. My grandmother was such a simple woman yet the impact her simplicity had on my life is immeasurable. Eleanor Roosevelt once said “People grow through experience if they meet life honestly and courageously. This is how character is built.” Be honest. Be courageous. Be authentic. Make memories. Be happy and write your own fight song…

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: Be the Tree

Karla’s Korner: Be the Tree

Karla's Korner: Be the Tree

Be the Tree….

On a recent late spring afternoon I sat quietly under an old oak tree in my back yard. Our yard is
full of little critters scurrying about building their nests, feeding new babies and on occasion playing in the trees. As I sat in the stillness of the afternoon I noticed a tiny tree poking through the lava rocks surround the deck steps. I move in to take a closer look and see the tiny sprig that if left in the ground would one day become a big strong tree trunk; the base for many branches and an umbrella of green to shade the yard and provide a home for lots of critters. (Unfortunately it will have to be removed because it is not in an ideal place to grow a large oak tree.) Reflecting on the smallness of the tiny trunk (sprig) that has somehow made its way through the hard soil and rocks I relate it to life and how we need to use force sometimes to get through the rocky times.Continue reading

Karla’s Korner: Telling Our Story

Karla’s Korner: Telling Our Story

telling story

Telling Our Story…

A milestone is defined as “an action or event marking a significant change or stage in development; a significant achievement. This past weekend as I sat on the lawn of The University of Virginia sandwiched between my husband and son searching for my daughter in a sea of approximately 2,800 graduating fourth year students (Thomas Jefferson insisted that students are identified by years of learning instead of freshmen, sophomores, etc.) I thought back to the day she moved into her first dorm room; it was August 22, 2011. I wrote about that experience sharing how difficult it was to leave her behind as she prepared to write a new chapter in her life book without me. Nearly four years have passed; she has earned her Bachelor of Arts degree and will begin the application process for graduate school next year. She has reached a significant milestone in her life; she is preparing to write another chapter.

An unknown author wrote “Telling your story is important because that’s where you hide your dreams and fears”. Everyone has a story to tell if they choose to tell it. Everyone has their own unique set of life events that sets them apart from anyone else. While we all have similarities, yet we are all different. One of the speakers quoted Aristotle saying that “We (the whole) is greater than the sum of our parts” and as I thought about that relating it to the culmination of events that brought my daughter to this sacred place, this place of honor, this place where life and learning meet creating transformation of mind, body and spirit I see a young woman who used to be my little girl gearing up to write a new chapter in life book. She has a story to write and a story to tell. The sum of her experiences will be the whole of her story; the place where she hides her dreams and fears.

Wanting our children’s lives to be perfect we must acknowledge that perfection is not attainable. Life is messy. Life is complicated. Life is hard and it is exhausting. Life is also amazing and filled with endless opportunities for growth, love and fulfillment. Life is our one shot at being who we are meant to be whether it is a wife, mother, life partner, parent, teacher, doctor, garbage collector or ditch digger. Life does not sit still and wait for us; it goes on with or without us. Life is filled with stress, anxiety and stumbling blocks that can weigh us down leaving us broken and battered. But life is also a grand adventure where we learn, work, play, grow and love when we choose to do so. I believe that all of these things are necessary to make life complete. A whole life is not always filled with rainbows and sparkles. A whole life is one in which we embrace the tough stuff, the hurts, disappointments and fears knowing that on the other side of those things lie the good stuff; happiness, success, joy and love.

For my daughter college is a milestone reached. The past four years have been sprinkled with good stuff that encouraged her to be who she is without hesitation, to live authentically and embrace the challenges that being her brings. It has also taught her how to face those challenges and struggles with determination, endurance and perseverance; it taught her to never give up. For me her college experience has taught me that letting go is difficult but necessary and that a parents role is an ever changing process that requires an open mind and the ability to step back and allow our children to take charge of life; after all it’s their life.

As we prepared to stuff the last bag into the back of my Dodge Journey her brother and I climbed in, carefully shut the doors and sat quietly as the tears began to fall down my sweet girls cheeks. Graduation is a highly anticipated end to a time in our lives that bridges the gap between teenager and young adult. The pomp and circumstance is exciting but can be daunting as well. For those whose children are graduating from high school or college I encourage you to take a step back and let reality to set in. Allow your graduating student time to think, time to reflect and time to grieve for all they are leaving behind and then encourage them to celebrate the future and all it may bring. The time for them to begin writing and telling their own story is now, however, it is also time for you to close out this chapter in your life book, turn the page and begin the next chapter keeping in mind that they will return in your story but will no longer be the main character; the time has come for you to share your story in your own unique way in your own time, in your own way. Live it. Love it. Embrace it. Be it; tell your story not someone else’s.

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: Ten Lessons I Learned From Being a Mother

Karla’s Korner: Ten Lessons I Learned From Being a Mother

Ten Lessons I Learned From Being a Mother

Ten Lessons I Learned From Being a Mother…

This week as I sat around the table at a local restaurant for Mother’s Day dinner my mind drifted back to the day I became a momma. My daughter was born two days before Mother’s Day that year; she came home from the hospital Mother’s Day morning. That day was the beginning of many where I would find myself searching for answers to a bajillion questions and realizing that the whole motherhood thing was a learn as you go adventure where quite often the answers to those questions would change depending on the ages and stages my children were in. In less than a week my firstborn, will put on a cap and gown, receive her Bachelor’s degree and begin the next chapter in the book of her life; I am so proud of her.

Reflecting on my years of motherhood I realize that while it is my job to teach my children life lessons they have taught me as well. Because of my children I am a better person and wish to share what I believe are ten of the most important lessons I have learned so far; in no particular order.

  1. I do not have all of the answers. Parenting is a learn as you go, fly by the seat of your pants adventure that will provide you with the necessary answers on an as needed basis and quite often those answers are a result of something your child taught you. Acknowledging the fact that sometimes your child will be smarter than you makes it much easier to accept and move on.
  2. “Mom, I have something to tell you” will be a phrase that you hear often and each time you do you will hold your breath until they tell you. No matter what they tell you be glad that they are comfortable enough to tell you and that they are not keeping secrets from you. Providing a safe place for them to share their fears, hopes, dreams, mistakes and victories is important and will make those crazy teen years a bit more bearable.
  3. “Mom, I forgot to tell you something” will be said nearly as often as #2. There will be times when you find yourself racing to the store for poster board, string, cupcake mix or a number of other last minute items because they forgot about a science project or party donation. Keeping such items on hand will make those mad dashes in your pajamas less frequent.
  4. Saying “NO” is just as important as saying “YES”. Learning to accept disappointment is an essential part of life. Children who never experience disappointment will struggle later in life with rejection, disappointment and sadness.
  5. Your plans for your children’s lives will more than likely not be theirs. Your job is to love them, teach them, nurture them and allow them to make their own life choices. This will be a difficult task because you know they will get hurt or disappointed but you have to let them fail. Failure is a great life lesson that must be learned and not avoided.
  6. Each child is unique to themselves; never compare your child to a sibling or anyone else. Encourage them to embrace their uniqueness and individuality with the understanding that they may not always agree with you.
  7. You are your child’s parent, not their friend. There will be plenty of time for friendship with your adult children but until then it is your job to establish rules, create boundaries and follow through with consequences.
  8. No matter how difficult it is to admit your children will break your heart. They will say and do things that will disappoint and hurt you sometimes bringing you to your knees and no matter how many times you get hurt your heart will mend and you will learn and grow together.
  9. Perfection is not attainable, especially in parenthood. Let go of the idea that your child will always leave the house in matching socks, clean underwear and perfectly coiffed hair. As long as they are relatively clean and dressed it is a good day.
  10. Never ever give up on your child. The most important thing you can give your child is to love them through everything. Giving your child the gift of unconditional love and acceptance will allow them to learn, grow and become the adult they are supposed to be.

American author Joyce Maynard wrote “It’s not only children who grow. Parents do too. As much as we watch to see what our children do with their lives, they are watching us to see what we do with ours. I can’t tell my children to reach for the sun. All I can do is reach for it, myself”. I encourage you to embrace whatever stage of life you are in as parent and child knowing that there are lessons to be learned and lived. Live well. Laugh as often as you can and love with all that you have….

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: Choose Love….

Karla’s Korner: Choose Love….

love

Choose Love….

Rambling through the backyard on a recent Saturday afternoon I stop, breathe deep, close my eyes and let the air slowly seep out of my lungs. Springtime in rural Virginia is a wonderful mix of crisp mornings and beautiful warm afternoons. Sometimes I think if I listen hard enough I can hear the buds on the trees burst open displaying tiny new leaves that will grow and provide cool shade in the heat of the summer. On this particular afternoon the dogwood blooms were slowly drifting to the ground and one in particular caught my eye. Lying in the moss covered damp dirt between the shadows cast from the deck rails the heart shaped bloom appeared to be behind bars. As I thought about this image I was reminded that quite often we feel as though life is a prison of sorts confining us to hardships and struggles. In the middle of all of that is love. Love from God. Love from family. Love from friends and love from ourselves. It’s the love that gets us through the tough stuff and allows us to break out so to speak.

In Baltimore this week riots broke out as a result of a young man losing his life while in police custody. Unable to imagine the grief their community suffers I watched with a broken heart as anger, hate and rage tore through the city. Life for me has never included such tragedy; I wish no one had to go through situations such as that, however, anger, hate, rage exists but in the midst of it all there was some hope. As a group of onlookers joined hands and hearts and chose to stand with police offers forming a unity line I saw hope for restoration. As one mother in particular was seen removing her son from the violence it was apparent that her love for him was far greater than anger or hate. She stated in an interview that he was her only son and she was not going to let him die in a state of anger and hate. She chose love.

Elvis Summers a 37 year old man from California saw 60 year old Irene McGhee sleeping in the dirt. Knowing she was homeless he would often give her recyclables to trade for cash but for Summers that wasn’t enough. He decided to build McGhee a tiny house. With $500 worth of lumber and donations of roofing materials Summers spent several days creating a warm, safe place for McGhee to reside. The house, tiny in size is a huge gesture of love. The two have become great friends and McGhee says now she will try to find a job. Because Summers chose to love, McGhee’s life is forever changed.

All too often, whether we want to admit it or not we forget to choose love. Sometimes we allow our own selfishness to stand in the way of loving one another in spite of our differences. At the age of 16 a young girl courageously shared with her parents that she was gay. Filled with emotions her mother refused to accept it; she allowed anger and fear to rule over the love she had for her child and as a result nearly drove her daughter away. A heavy silence lived between them for nearly two years. It took a lot of patience, conversation, prayer and love to remind that mother that while she may not fully understand the lifestyle nothing was more important than loving her daughter. Today, that young woman and her mother are grateful for second chances, for love that has no conditions and for the ability to forgive and to grow in spite of differences. That mother chose love; I am that mother.

Life is full of tragedy and events that leave us hurt, confused and angry. It is necessary for us to remember that the negatives in life can leave us feeling as if we are in prison, bound up within the confines of fear, anger, hate and uncertainty. Choosing anger (or hate) is a lot of work. My grandmother used to say that it takes fewer muscles to smile than it does to frown. She’s right. Choosing to live in love requires dedication and commitment but it also provides us with positive energy and the ability I think to focus on what’s important. Martin Luther King, Jr., once said “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.” I encourage you to let go of the burdens you carry, the burdens that hold you back from being the person you were created to be. A life lived in love is a life well lived. It’s not easy to always love; nothing worth having is ever easy. As writer Jonathan Lockwood Huie once said “Choose the world you see and see the world you choose”; I encourage you to see and choose a world of love.

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: Raise Em Up

Karla’s Korner: Raise Em Up

Karla's Korner: Raise Em Up

Raise Em Up…

“….So you meet someone
The only one
You take her by the hand
Make a stand
Buy some land
Make some love
And then babies come
Raise em’ up…”

These words from country music singer Keith Urban’s new song “Raise Em Up” has resonated in my head and heart this past week. As I sat outside of the dressing room at the tuxedo shop on Wednesday waiting for my son to emerge so the sales associate could make sure everything fit properly on his prom tux I found myself filled with emotions. The dressing room door swung up and out stepped a handsome young man who used to be my little boy. With my heart in my throat and tears waiting to erupt from my eyes, I grabbed my phone and snapped a few pictures. “Oh my gosh mom, really?!…don’t be ridiculous!” he said as he rolled his eyes and shoved his hands in the pockets of his pants. Sitting quietly in the corner I watched as the sales associate showed him how to attach the cuff links, button covers, and bow tie. In my head I knew that this was supposed to happen, however, my heart keeps pulling me back to a time of Tonka trucks, tricycles, building blocks and me being the center of his little world.

Sharing my experience and feelings with a friend a few days later our conversation led to her sharing similar feelings as she raised her seven children many years ago. “Oh honey”, she says, “they all grow up and if you’re lucky they will come back and help take care of you when you’re old”. As parents it is our job to teach our children to be kind, caring, considerate, responsible adults who will in turn do the same for their children. We know going into the whole parenting gig that children are supposed to grow up and leave home, but somehow it seems to take us by surprise when they do. I think maybe we get so caught up in life that time gets away from us and we find ourselves struggling with the thought of an empty nest.

Parenting is one of the most gratifying jobs we can ever have; it’s never ending requiring us to change roles as our children grow and develop. Being a parent is endlessly demanding taking up energy we don’t even know we have and yet we find ourselves wishing we had more time. Going through the early years of sleepless nights, runny noses and skinned knees we believe we can’t wait until they grow up. Then one day you find yourself sitting in a tuxedo shop (or a dress shop) watching your big kid prepare for the prom. You begin to realize that while you will always be the parent their need of you is changing and wishing that just for a while they were little again and realizing that your nest is about to be empty.

With one graduating college in a few short weeks and the other finishing his junior year in high school, I have come to the conclusion that my job as the momma has changed from the chief navigator of my children’s lives to spectator and sometimes coach on the sidelines watching and reveling in the job their dad and I have done raising and preparing them for the big time also known as their future.

As our nests empty little by little, we as parents must let them go while embracing the future and welcome our own new opportunities. Our job as a parent will not go away but our duties will definitely change.

Whatever stage you find yourself in today, I encourage you to make the most of it because it all goes by quickly. Welcome each day as an opportunity to learn, grow and play in the moment while moving toward the next. While I am not there yet, I am learning to prepare myself for the day that I come home after work and find just my husband waiting for me. Some days that excites me knowing that we will only have each other to look after and other days the thought of my children being out of my house causes me to grieve a little. Taking each day as it comes, learning to live authentically and purposefully keeping love for one another at the forefront will allow us to transition our life stages and find peace and joy along the way. Oliver Wendell Holmes once wrote “Where we love is home, home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts” which reminds us that while our children may leave home love will keep us connected.

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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