The F-words

My flannel fits. And the precious jewels of faith, family, friends, fifty, and even failures, hang proudly around my neck~they form the letter K. It’s me, Karla. I don’t mean to flaunt, but it’s all the flair I’ve got.

Flannel with Faith

It’s like looking in a mirror. We would stare at each other for hours before drifting off to sleep. How strange we began as one. We formed. We split. You had my nose. I had your ears. My smile was more crooked. Your eyes looked bigger. Our hands were the same.

Can you imagine my parents’ reaction learning there would be TWO of us? (they only found out after two heartbeats were heard about two weeks before our birth). My poor older sister was doomed. She was so beautiful and alone. Ironically her four years of solitude ended just four days after Independence Day 1970. I’ve been apologizing ever since.

Great-Grandma Verda Davis

Greens, blues, and yellow were good for me. Pinks, reds, and purples suited her. Or that was the way they could tell us apart. It’s no wonder I love nature colors. Giggling was a gift and we still open it A LOT. Simultaneously we do many things. The question “Do twins really FEEL what the other is feeling?” is answered emphatically “yes” by us. Once she was in an accident. I knew. If I hurt, she hurt~and vice versa.

Fifty years have almost passed since the day we first separated. There are several stories I could share. Like the one where we switched our shirts when we arrived to school (they had our names). By the end of the day we confessed. The teacher couldn’t get angry as she was stumped she hadn’t noticed. It was all out of fun. Except for the time when I had her pretend to be me on the phone since our voices sounded identical. Truly I could write a book about being a twin.

Fifty years doesn’t seem like a lot when I feel I’ve lived such a full life. To some of you I’m as young as morn; to others, I’m no spring chicken. Today as I soak in the paper of my past, it’s the family, friends, and fragments of failures that create the pictures I hold in my hands. Not the ones on the tiny screen. The pleasant aroma of memories lingers. The taste of yesteryears is so sweet. To preserve them (for hopefully the next fifty years) I safely bag them. And to my delight I even purchased a new picture frame. Can you imagine which pictures will be placed in these multiple cavities?

My grandparents lived through the Depression. My parents remember John F. Kennedy being shot. This morning I thumbed through a school yearbook. It was 2001. And I was just a 31 year old “young” elementary Principal trying to wade through the difficulties of 9/11 with the rest of the world. My oldest was in 3rd grade and the youngest in 1st. My children have children; what will they remember of 2020?

We’re halfway through the year. In five days I’m halfway to 100. I’m not confident we’re at any halfway point of human healing. It’s a new life. I’m embracing this stage. As I put on a mask for safety, I happily strip off the mask that hid my flaws. Do you see my eyes smile? Or do you see the tears that sometimes wet the cheeks when the mask feels suffocating? Will we remain out of touch? Or will we, in rebellion, spread the infectiousness of the ghostly viruses that swirl among us?

Lessons learned, wisdom made, and questions still to be answered power my passion to forge ahead. To fight with faith~To take a snap and actually print it out~To let go of what I can’t control~Smile when I don’t feel like it~ Cry because I can and should~Laugh for no reason as often as possible~Walk away from unnecessary stress~Embrace nature everyday~Show love to family, friends, and strangers even when I don’t feel like it~To be better than I was yesterday~To learn from every mistake~To inhale slowly and breathe deeply~To appreciate failures to reveal success~To judge nothing by appearance~To shake it off and accept it.

When I look into the eyes of my twin I ponder how we began as one. I stare in my mirror and looking back is a reservoir of reflections that embodies my experiences and satisfies my soul.

Faith, family, friends, …and fifty. It just fits.

Have faith💚

The best decision I ever made in life was to follow Christ. He doesn’t expect perfection. And he doesn’t tolerate hate. He’s not into “denominations” and could care less about the color of your skin. HE is your only chance at 2nd chances and many more thereafter. He doesn’t care what you say but what you do. He loves you no matter what. When you’re at your wit’s end HE IS THERE. You are loved.❣

“Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.”-Hebrews 10:24

Newsworthy

The news I waited on four days ago was worth every second. Patiently I tried to keep busy knowing that my granddaughter would soon be making her grand appearance. At 11 p.m. that evening my eyes brightened at her beauty (viewed on my tiny screen). Longing to be there, I was still “over the moon” with her pictures. Such a tiny little princess was delivered into this crazy wonderful world! “Welcome to your life precious Whitley from Washington. I can’t wait for you to meet your first cousin, Asher from Alaska (his beautiful arrival last July officially made me “Grammy K”). And of course your great-grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and many others.” I’m blissfully blessed.

Most news I don’t care to know about~ does anyone else try to avoid it? The inquisitive side of me~the learner, the researcher, and the “want-to-knower”~wants to stay on top of current affairs. And this “dread” is felt, I’m sure, by many. And then yesterday happened.

I did it. I tuned in the news on T.V. (R.V. living requires a literal “tune”-a twist of the antenna). Proven were the reasons why I shouldn’t. There wasn’t ONE thing learned that impacted my plans for the day (except the weather-but that changes every hour too). The latest headlines seem to always contain controversy-beliefs cemented by a political stance, where you live, the color of your skin, and decisions made by our higher authorities. Karla, turn it off. Slowly I opened the camper door. The birds were singing and the sky was still in place. Happily I headed out to escort my sister to a doctor’s appointment.

Despite my frustrations with drivers driving the last few weeks I considered myself, or so I thought, positively prepped. Listening to uplifting music and glueing on my smile I zipped onto the 2-way lane of life. Oh boy. Just like my newborn grandbaby, I did not feel prepared for entry.

Just like the news, the headlines on the highway were controversial (to say the least). The right lane didn’t like the left lane. The left lane tried to pass the right lane~the fuel of their discontent clouded my view even from a short distance. Apparently the speed limit signs are suggestions only. And if you recall my personality type, I’m not a speeder. Within 40 minutes I felt closer to my maker than I had the whole morning. Safely, I landed at the pick-up point. The remaining 20 minutes on the road with a happy companion made for a better trip.

Unfortunately the air around the health center was pretty stale. Rudeness, discourtesy, and unprofessionalism; they grate my skin like the sound of someone chewing on styrofoam. What REALLY had me hot under the collar (or even hotter under my required mask) was the nonverbal communication towards my sister (I’m protective to a fault, my background is special education, ALL OF US have challenges, and I have too high of expectations for kindness). And then I tell myself, “All God’s children have a place in the choir”!

“Father God, humble me, give me strength, and thank you for loving me and everyone in this place,” I pray to myself. Have we relied so much on “behind the screen” communication that we’ve forgotten that our NONVERBAL is just as powerful (insert eyeroll here if you want; but include tone of voice, loudness, inflection, etc…)? I was so appreciative of the kind and professional individuals that helped us. They deserve praise and a raise! Their kindness definitely helped soothe the sting of the rude ones.

Isn’t this our world anyway? Not to sound too simplistic, but some folks are nice, some aren't. Some hate their jobs or themselves so much they’re going to deflect their feelings on everyone around them. This isn’t “new” news; it is sad news though. Some come from abusive backgrounds, broken relationships, financial crisis, loss of loved ones, or other things in their lives that have caused sorrow and pain to turn to anger and lack of empathy (or sympathy). Perhaps their hope is gone? They can’t see it in this topsy-turvy world. Sometimes a glimpse of hope is all you need to spark a flame of faith.

My sister and I said good-bye. Soon after completing a call, I noticed a police officer loading his trunk. There was a voice whispering, “Encourage him.”

“Officer, I’m sorry to bother you. But I just wanted to tell you that I appreciate all that you do.”

“Thank you, Ma’am. I don’t always hear that.”

“Have a great day and stay safe!”

“You too. Thank you again!”

As I was leaving a man walked out of the gas station extending his hand to the officer. Tears immediately filled my eyes. Quickly I put my car in park and got out. They both looked at me when I said, “This is the hope I needed to see today.”

“We’re not all alike and we don’t all believe or act the same!” the man exclaimed.

“And we’re not all that bad either,” the officer said.

I stated, “I love you both for who you are.”

I have good news. There’s someone that loves you NO MATTER WHAT. There is love when you don’t feel like you deserve it. There was a sacrifice beyond my comprehension. We don’t have to understand it. We just have to believe it. It’s free. And you my friends are worthy.

Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.

Hebrews 11:1

Have faith 💚