Keep on the Sunny Side

“Keep on the sunny side,

“Always on the sunny side,

“Keep on the sunny side of life…”☀🎵

“Do you always smile?” This question has been asked of me many times in my life.  My answer is typically, “I sure try.”   And don’t we all smile at times we don’t feel like it?  

Are you optimistic?  Can you think yourself happy?  What do you do to cheer yourself up (or can you?)?  We’ve been taught “we are what we think”. Do you allow the energy of your mind to be taken over by toxic thoughts that keep swirling your brain?

Are you anxious, moody, or nervous?  Are you struggling with finding your purpose?  Or are you running on auto, numb to anything, because you feel you have no control over your situation?   

What have you learned because of the pandemic?  Do you feel stunted and fearful? Or are you exhausted?   I’m going to supply my own statistics.  Out of 10 friends in which I’ve asked simply, “How are you?, 100% shared that things are challenging.  Friends, we need to get real with one another.  The pandemic, and life in general, has put us all back on our heels at times.

This last week for me has been full of fun, friendship, and fellowship.  It had been a year since I experienced such a full week of activities with others.   All of us came crawling out from under the heavy rocks of restriction together (and wearing our masks and being wise 😉).   This was not a dangerous game of chance with the virus (and every sneeze of allergy season being treated as such).  But it was still a matter of health.  Of mental health, physical health, emotional health, and spiritual health.  While we have all stayed “hunkered” down the cases of anxiety, depression, and other mental stresses have risen.  Nearly 70% of the country suffered together with the wicked winter storms and I would guess 100% of us would say 2020 brought new challenges.  And the storms of life will keep brewing on–for all of humanity.  If we’ve learned anything it’s that we ultimately can only control ourselves and our reactions. When will we let go of what we can’t control?  Do you try to stay busy to just stay distracted?  Are you trying to keep a routine, whether healthy or unhealthy, because it’s the only normal you have in your life?  I’ve always tried to be a “glass half-full” human.  Even if I drank the other half (and I’m thankful just to have a glass). I’m ok being called Pollykarla. My comeback is optimism with a huge tank of faith and hope. The alternative is misery.

We know joy because of pain.  We become wiser because of poor choices.   Our circumstances are all different. We view only through the lenses of our experiences-can we all wear glasses of grace? Don’t expect others to understand YOUR story. You’re more than just the role you keep-you’re more than a paycheck and what you can do for somebody else, you’re more than just being a caregiver, you’re more than just being a worker, you’re more than just a filler for someone else’s loneliness, you’re more than what the world tells you that you have to be, you’re more than an invisible person that no one can see, you’re more than just a diagnosis, you’re more than just survivor, you’re more than just a spouse, parent, or loved one. You are everything; without anything. 🤍

Do not let someone else dismiss your feelings.  If you’ve been minimalized, shamed, or invalidated, I’m sorry.  Feelings aren’t right or wrong.  What we do with them can lead us down a path of danger or serenity.  We can exhale a collective sigh that we’re in it together.  We can nod our head and smile at a stranger (keeping in mind that we have no idea what he or she is facing).  It may have taken EVERYTHING in them to just get out.   And to those who are trying to go so fast to avoid stopping to feel ANYTHING, know that there are people out there willing to give you space to slow down, breathe deep, and recollect your thoughts and actions (versus giving up).   We want it all, we want it fast and now, and we forget that we’re missing out on just living in the moment.  Worry is consuming; and on the opposite end, complacency can creep into creation.

I have faith.  And when I end my posts with those two words, I’m not dismissing the fact some of you may not have it.   You may not have hope. May the void in your life become filled with a presence of a Spirit and a love that is unexplainable.  That void for me is in Christ alone; it’s true love.

I have faith in you.  I still have faith in humanity.  Don’t lose hope.  Know you are loved.  I hear you and I see you.  No one else can give you your happiness-do you know where it lives inside you?   Surrender to the sweet spot meant only for you.  Not because you feel forced or pressured.  Use your 6-foot space to truly stand apart from anything that is keeping your hope hostage.  Use boundaries to be your best; and respect the rules of engagement with others. Don’t just know someone; understand them. While you’re swimming so hard for others, don’t let yourself drown.  We’ve all swirled in the waves of uncertainty, fear, health, relationships, and other dangerous “rocks” in the river of life.  Throw a life preserver and support a soul.  Don’t pull someone under because of your own riptides of repression.  Give them a hand of hope. 

 I smile thinking of my family (great news-I’m going to have another grandbaby in August 😊).  I do love smiling.  And if I cry, I’m ok with it.  Tears feel good sometimes; they’re needed.  And I give myself space to sit with my emotions.  And by taking care of myself mentally, physically, spiritually, and emotionally, I’m better prepared for the jagged jams on my river journey.   The sun is shining bright today.  I think I’ll just think about that and soak it in while it’s here-care to join me?

Have faith 🤍

Restoration

“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of – throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.”

― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

With Finley in my arms I walked to the neighbor’s house. Seeing their Class C motorhome excited me when I first moved in. Having explorers as neighbors is right up my alley! A cute dog (whom I’ve seen checking out my yard many times) was looking out the bay window. A beautiful tall lady comes to the door. Her name is Sara.

“My name is Karla; I’m your neighbor. This is my dog Finley.”

“I’m sorry we haven’t been over to meet you. We both had Covid as soon as you moved in.”

“I completely understand! Are you both better?”

And so we sat together. Finley, being curious as a cat ;-), walked around to investigate. Their sweet dog was in the kennel (I’m certain she and Finley’s friendship will bud with our trees in the spring).

Vern, Sara’s husband, shared interesting facts about them. The light and joy in both of them bubbled me up a bit more. Having spent 3 years on the road they chose to settle in our little town after health issues crept in a bit. We shared exciting stories of travel and of course, family.

Vern shared all about the little house I bought. “Would you like to come and see it?” We sat in my living room to visit more and concluded with shared sentiments. My home restoration turned out beautifully and we’re all happy to be neighbors and new friends.

My little house in my little town is home. And as I sit today with new writing goals (and a wonderful new coaching author/ publisher, Lisa) I have an overwhelming spirit of hope. I’m reminded of how restoration didn’t solely occur for my house; it happened in my soul.

My foundation is good. My walls have crumbled, floors caved in, and windows broken. Using the wrong tools, I’d try to rebuild. The material was all wrong. Each time I relied on the wrong general contractor. “This time it will be perfect! I’ll withstand any wind and storm and provide a place of comfort where I can be what God designed me to be!” Confidence was shattered and I felt I couldn’t do things alone. And the minute the house was empty, so was hope for true restoration. It felt like rejection each time. And so, like dressing a pig as they say in these parts, I’d find a way to build confidence and feel accepted. Slap some new paint and throw in some pictures-it would be perfect. And I’d use the wrong materials; I’d damage my own dwelling and disintegrate the diggings. For I only felt needed to provide for others. My abode felt abandoned.

Standing alone is never easy. If there are two, side by side, people seem to think you’re stronger or better. And so, tiny was my perfect life, and solo became my greatest strength. In it, I found the epitome of my existence. Quietly I’ve sought truth. In my small life I’ve never stopped dreaming. The days of my own childhood and motherhood no longer exist; but linger as the beautiful aroma that daily diffuses my dwelling and I’m gripped as a grandma. My own faith is deepened from the miracles I’ve experienced. My values, which have been my core, co-exist with my movements. There’s no need to make a home in a place undesigned for me.

Perhaps 2020 guided my grit to gridlock my goals. I’ve always had hope in a humanity without hate; and a fair shake for restoration for all. My life is quiet with music and words. And loud with love of God, family, friends, and of course, nature. There’s a knocking on my heart and front door. “Come in,” I say to my true General Contractor.

I’ve been restored.

Have faith💚