Side Effects Of The Pollyanna Principle


You out there that’s bummed out, this is for you.

Most of my life I have had a Pollyanna view of the world. This is the tendency to remember pleasant items more accurately than unpleasant ones. Certain personalities are more prone to looking at life through jolly lenses.

The word “Pollyanna” actually comes from a 1913 children’s book written by Eleanor H. Porter which was made famous by the popular Disney movie. A young girl, even after she experiences hard times, tries to always find something positive in every situation, using something she calls “the Glad Game.”

In the story, Pollyanna goes through a time in her life when it was a true struggle to be positive. She was unable to enjoy some things in her life that used to make her happy. Her light dimmed. Real problems and zero control to fix them.

Can’t we all relate to that?

Having this optimistic view of the world is a very rare thing to find as we get older. I still practice it, but it has adapted over the years as I’ve grown in wisdom.

There are side effects of the Pollyanna Principle when the positive perspective is placed in the wrong things. Plug in your own “thing.” My error was expecting too much from people who either did not have the ability to give what I expected or chose not to.

As a result, the side effects manifested can involve a very guarded heart, callousness, negativity, depression, anger and all other kinds of emotions.

The danger isn’t necessarily in the reality check of how this world and human nature operate, it’s in the pattern of how we react to it. After all, the Prince of this world isn’t the good guy. We can stay in a proverbial state of negativity very easily if we don’t actively change our mindset.

Let’s be honest here. The very people we would never think could do terrible evils, end up being people we are close to, are related to, those in positions that should know better or possibly, it even originates from within ourselves.

Never trust human nature. One can go through life with a positive perspective but only when we are equipped with a heavenly end goal. Otherwise, we will be disappointed on a daily basis.

“Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in His wonderful face.
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.”

That old hymn can to mind this morning. As we grow up and learn where to place our trust, the bad stuff in this world doesn’t consume us as much anymore. That takes time, is a process, but makes complete and total sense.

We all need reminding of that. Your present icky situation is temporary and life can be viewed from a Pollyanna perspective again. As Pollyanna learned how her position on life has side effects and greatly impacted those around here, for better or for worse, it’s important that we adapt ourselves for those around us and for own own state of mind.

As a mother, I hope I’m successful in teaching my kids this valuable truth.

Happy Friday!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When The Holidays Aren’t So Jolly Part 2: Almost Tragedy

Why God allows untimely deaths and then intervenes to save others is a mystery. Our family has had our share of pain just like many of you, enduring the ramifications of untimely death.

However, I almost lost someone 21 years ago during the holidays and there isn’t a Christmas season that goes by that it doesn’t affect me.

I was a sophomore in college and had returned home for the holidays in my blue Chevy Corsica. That car had zero cool factor but, hey, it was free. The air was cool and the forecast was sunny. No clouds in the sky.

My mom and brother had just headed to town mid-morning and my dad and I remained at the house. The younger sibling was set to play in his first varsity basketball game that night so I think they had gone to town to shop for some kind of gear.

Not too many minutes after they had left, the phone rang. Dad answered. The conversation was short. That was nothing new. However, he hung up the phone abruptly and bolted for the back door, grabbing his car keys. “Let’s go NOW. Karen and Colby have been in a wreck. He has blood on his face.”

I grabbed a towel for the blood, my purse with ID and off we sped.

It’s always been interesting to me how the mind remembers stressful events. Maybe you can relate. When I recall the insanity of that day, I don’t always see memories through my own eyes. I remember angles of scenes that would have been impossible for me to have viewed from where I was. Maybe it was the trauma of the moment. Maybe my mind pieced together descriptions of what others had said happened. Regardless, I remember what I remember.

An elderly man had run a stop sign coming from their right transporting pigs (it’s farming country), my mom had seen him and tried to slam on brakes (correction: no time to brake…thanks mom) and took a hard left to minimize the impact. She had tried to outrun him. Never braking, he t-boned them directly into the passenger side where my brother was riding.

Based on final reports, their blue Ford Explorer had gone air born and flipped three times before landing in a person’s yard at the intersection.

My mind vividly remembers the following:

  • Dad opening his truck door and putting his left leg out of the vehicle while it was still moving
  • I saw the mangled up car first, still smoking, all windows imploded, wheels bent out, the passenger side almost completely caved in
  • My mother on her knees several feet from the car in a maroon (correction: GREEN…thanks mom) sweatshirt and jeans, bleeding from the side of her head
  • The elderly man alive, laying in the ditch beside the house with these huge hogs all over the place. Some were squealing and some were not.
  • My brother laying on his back with his knees up breathing irregularly in pain but alert and alive
  • The EMTs drawing a purple circle around his abdomen
  • He had a cut on his right ear that was bleeding. I took the towel I had brought and tried to cauterize it. The weird things we do.
  • Everybody loading up in ambulances and setting course for the hospital. That is, everybody EXCEPT FOR ME! I was seriously stranded. No car, no keys and I couldn’t very well hop onto one of those hogs now could I?
  • Some nice guy driving me to the hospital in his pickup truck. To this day, I don’t remember his name or much of the car ride. I think his last name was Ingram. It was a few days before Christmas so I’m sure he had better things to do. That kindness is still remembered and appreciated.
  • Mom fainting in the hospital hallway
  • Me having to be the one to tell all the people in the waiting room that my brother’s surgery had been successful at stopping the internal bleeding. I told them he was going to be okay. I didn’t know that for sure. I guess I said that for encouragement. I was so young. They all just stared.
  • Awkward! People stopped by to sing us Christmas songs in the waiting room. Literally, it was just me and two other people. It seemed to go on for hours. That was weird. Wouldn’t recommend that.
  • Mrs. Beverly Popwell and my friend Elizabeth driving me down to my house  in the dark to get clothes for everyone. They helped keep my spirits up.
  • In the ICU, my brother kept begging for a Sprite but he wasn’t allowed one yet. So, I kept telling him “I’ll go get you one right now” and then clicked the morphine pain pump. I may or may not have done that several times.
  • Also in the ICU, I was sitting with him and all of a sudden he started having these horrendous body convulsions so I urgently grabbed the nurse. She woke him up only to discover that he was being attacked by this rather large, grotesque spider that was trying to stab him with claw like arms. Got to love pain medicine.
  • I vowed to drop out of school to help take care of everybody but, of course, my parents wouldn’t hear of that
  • After returning to school, I couldn’t get ahold of my parents one day and I tracked them down at the hospital ER, with my brother back in for a recurrent bleed. I have mad PI skills.
  • That next year, my sorority sisters kept asking me to take trips with them and all I wanted to do was to go home and be with my family. They didn’t understand and I worried that they took it as rejection.

Sometimes when there are tragedies and, in this case, an almost tragedy, it can later be clearly seen how God moves and activates spiritual forces on our behalf.

Remember when I mentioned the passenger side was almost completely caved in? My brother had his seat belt on that day. For some unknown reason, the seat belt came unclasped on the second car flip, throwing him out of the car right before his side of the car was crushed on the third rotation.

Also, there were the right people present at the right time. His internal injuries garnished an 80% fatality rate. What happened to his liver and the hepatic artery that feeds it was like throwing a pancake off of a three-story building. Ker-splat. To top it off, the liver is a very porous organ and the bleeding was extensive.

Dr. Randy Nichols (we heart him) happened to come on shift around the time they arrived at the hospital. The previous attending physician wanted to wait to take him back to surgery. If Nichols had not shown up early that day and had not immediately taken him back to surgery to stop the bleeding, this story would not be a happy one. In fact, the doctor said forty-five more minutes of waiting and he would not have been able to save him.

I was messed up for a while. We all were. My brother went through so many ups, and mostly downs, those next several years. You don’t go through all that he went through and remain unaffected on many levels. But the bad times can grow you if we let them.

I had to forgive the hog farmer that ran the stop sign and who had continued to fail to yield even after the wreck.

Once I came to that point of reconciliation of forgiveness I’ll never forget what I heard spoken to me in my mind. “If he had died would you have still forgiven him then?” I began learning not to give too much credit to myself after that. No matter how much we advance our hearts, there will always be great room for improvement.

In conclusion, there is so much more to this story but the big picture is that we just were able to celebrate the holidays with my brother, his precious wife and their five month old baby boy. Memories that could have easily been taken from us if God had not intervened. As I said before, the mysteries of whose bodies are saved from untimely death and those that are not I think are understandings we may not grasp this side of heaven. Either way, it doesn’t mean we are loved any more or less.

Count your blessings. They can always be found.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This Is Ridunkulous

I’m laughing HYSTERICALLY in stitches one minute and then I’m slamming potatoes onto the counter top mid-meal prep screaming aloud “Do you people really think we are that stupid?” Apparently, they do and some are and I miss the days of my youth when we were gushing over with national pride. Come to think of it, I’m certain that pride was misplaced.

The state of our country, our world, is, well, RIDUNKULOUS.

unknown-7

For the past six months, I have thoroughly enjoyed putting fingers to keyboard and expressing the ups and downs of parenting through writing. It’s therapy and to date the journey has been a fabulous creative outlet.

However, I’ve found myself in a bit of a rut lately. What can I write about at the moment that is truly humorous? The problem is that I haven’t been very successful at finding the positive. Why? Like you, life has gotten especially busy, crowded even, and with all that’s transpiring in the world around us, well, enough said.

The good news is that I had a breakthrough today. I share it in hopes that it helps you.

So check this out…

The kids and I just got back home from taking my family lunch because they work themselves to death on the family farm each year to deliver a quality product. It’s rough guys. No joking about it. Like almost every other small business in this country, overhead is increasing at insane rates, laziness and apathy abound in workers, product ROI has declined and government regulations are at an all time high.

I feel so POSITIVE right now. I promise it gets better.

So back to the story.

The kids and I were in the car just now. I don’t have XM radio on the trashed family mobile so we are limited to radio or the one CD that my youngest hasn’t scratched or destroyed, Brittney Spears’ “Oops I Did It Again.” (Those upbeat VBS ones were golden…sniff.)

I know, I KNOW. That’s so 1990’s or early 2000s…whenever that came out. Baby girl found it the other day stashed in a drawer, immediately began flicking her hair with coordinated hand motions, and then MY ELDEST SON jumped in singing right along with it too. Whateva! At least it’s not “I’m A Slave For You,” with the heavy breathing and all that wholesomeness.

Today, they passed on the CD (whoop) and then every single radio channel we clicked on simultaneously said something to the extent of “I wanna kiss you all over.” Sheesh! It’s a conspiracy to ruin all of our brains! Nothing on the local Christian radio channel. The song literally put me to sleep in 3.4 seconds. ZZZZZ

So, talk radio it is! Holy schnikes. Within a couple of minutes into the blurb about the latest and greatest political smear, the radio host described an in-depth sexual advance allegation and then the “P” word describing male genitalia. (insert annoyed emoji) Off the radio went.

So, I stand at a crossroad. I’m asking myself, “Why am I having such a difficult time finding the fun…the good?”

Ding ding! It just hit me. I’ve remained distracted for too long. As long as any outside form of communication is on, the negativity attempts to seduce us in. I have let it control me.

I’ve placed too high expectations on man and systems. The facts are just this: the corruption, the lies, the unwholesome garbage that gets bombarded our way each and every day is just that…TRASH. It’s an all out WAR to refocus on God, to live joyfully in the presence of such RIDUNKULOUS standards.

The bad stuff it just really bad right now and it WILL get worse. You can’t stop it. I can’t stop it. People of power don’t want to stop it.

It’ll take sheer determination, but here is what we CAN do:

#1: PRIORITIZE QUIETNESS

If I have to get up early and sit on my back porch smelling the dairy cows before daylight then I will. If the only quiet that I can muster is three minutes alone in my closet then I’ll make it happen.

I’m one of those that likes to know what goes on in the world. To face problems head on and not choose to live in an ignorant bubble. So, when I’ve had all that my heart and stomach can handle, then “off” it will all have to go.

#2: FOCUS ON WHAT YOU CAN CONTROL

I hate to break it to you with your options here but there are less than two. You do have complete control over ONE THING. Your soul. That’s it. You can’t 100% control your kids, your family, strangers and not even your own feelings and actions because they deceive us. Only you determine where you spend your existence outside of earthly confinements. No one, no government, no crisis controls that.  We have to make it count. Get it right.

#3: FIND THE GOOD IN OPPRESSION

Some of the very best GOOD that’s ever been done in this world came about because of the depravity of man: Jesus Christ, Martin Luther King, Jr., Horatio Stafford and little Anne Frank are those I think of.

Most know the messages her diary communicated, even long after her physical body became a victim to the very enemy she feared. Her words echo what a lot of us internalize and her circumstances were intensely dire.

“Why do I constantly dream and think about the worst things and just want to scream for fear? Because I still don’t have faith enough in God. He has given me so much that I certainly haven’t deserved, yet everyday I do so much wrong.”  Anne Frank December 29, 1943

I rarely ever learn life lessons from someone who proposes to know it all or those with a lofty countenance. Cliche statements on encouragement come across disingenuous. Her words teach.

Most of us haven’t even caught a glimpse of what this little girl was up against, yet she had those mature words to say.

It all reminds me that it’s human nature to get off track. Also, it’s imperative to refocus the thoughts…what I dwell on.

In conclusion, we can get beyond the junk out there, develop humility to accept the little control we really have and sincerely seek out the goodness that God so generously gives.

It’s a RINDUKULOUS world but we are only passing through it. It only controls me if I let it.

Anddd I think I can start today by burning some new CDs for those long rides in the family vehicle (and hide them from my destruction prone child).

🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

Experiencing Loss In A Wicked World

loss“I’ve heard it said
That people come into our lives for a reason
Bringing something we must learn
And we are led
To those who help us most to grow
If we let them
And we help them in return
Well, I don’t know if I believe that’s true
But I know I’m who I am today
Because I knew you…”

Every day across the world, someone is losing something. Money, relationships, preferences, confidence, self esteem, positions, jobs, and even purpose. Although much tougher for some than others, all these things are replaceable and people generally find a way to move on.

But when it’s a person that we lose that was an integral part of our very existence, we never forget and we never fully move on. In these bodies, in this life, in this dimension, it is impossible.

Every day around the world, communities gather to grieve loss. Today, friends near and dear to my heart did the same. There are never the right words to say and not enough kind actions that can be done that can fill the void.

The quote above is, ironically, from a musical called “Wicked,” which is a humorous take off on “The Wizard of Oz.” It’s my absolute favorite Broadway soundtrack…ever.

It came to mind today, along with several other instances that often do when tragic loss occurs.

Experiencing loss in a wicked world.

God never intended this to be our experience but yet it is. I have lost many but not a child. There is no greater grief.

Over the years, watching several friends wrestle with it the remainder of their earthly lives, these are memories forever etched into memory. I can recall them like I could a show I just watched five minutes ago.

I do believe that people come into our lives for reasons to make us wiser, stronger, compassionate and fiercer. To test our character, to stretch our resolve and to force us to determine what and who we will live our lives for.

There is one experience I will NEVER, ever forget.

The words of a friend of mine who had just lost her son in a tragic car accident:

I met her years ago during a random cold call. While working a sales route in my first job straight out of college, I bounced right in to her office armed and ready to sell her some undeniably awesome staffing options.

There was an instant connection. Kindred spirits maybe. You couldn’t forget her. I never will. Impressively red hair and an undeniable instinct for business. Although she never had a need for the company’s services at that time, we still remained in contact.

She was fun! I met her family. We hung out.

One random night, I felt I needed to call her. As soon as the ringing stopped and she breathed into the phone, I knew something was terribly wrong.

“Uh..are you OK?”

“My son…he’s gone.”

She had literally just gotten the worst phone call of her entire existence right before.

I then watched her grieve the loss of her son, then the loss of her father, the loss of her marriage, the loss of her business and then the loss of her church…all in the course of a few months time.

I had nothing to offer her during that hot mess of a Job season, except my ear. Her journey through that horrible time is what I envision families and communities endure when a tragic loss occurs.

Today, she is happily remarried and is a thriving business owner once again.

Understandably, the loss of her own flesh and blood is the one thing she has not, and never will, fully recover from.

One day I asked her how she moves forward and made peace with the anger she felt towards God.

“Well, I finally figured me and God have something in common now. We both lost a child on this earth. If anybody gets me, He does.” And she MEANT it.

A wicked world and the powers behind it threw everything it had in a matter of days to destroy her.

What an example.

To all those who hurt today, I have no words except that I’m sorry.

May someone find comfort in her tested love for God.

Beauty in the Darkness

Our little speck in the universe. Although Earth has looked particularly hideous from the planet’s surface lately, especially today, the bird’s eye view reveals an undeniable truth. Look for the beauty. It’s still there. Sometimes it’s just harder to see. Darkness hides. Light reveals. Perspective.

earth-from-space

On a humorous note, my son just suggested I change this meme to say: “Parenting is like fighting a Polar Bear with no clothes on in the snow…LOL.” I agree son. I agree. Validation. Here you go buddy.

polar bear

Top 8 Funny Work Stories

workstoriesWhen the chaotic mundaneness of parenting leaves me feeling as though I’m sporting a temporary straight jacket in a psych ward, I try to ponder the funnies of life. One particular area of my former life has lots of humorous material: paid employment. The following Human Resources and Medical Sales stories have either been experienced by myself or someone close to me. As always, keeping it real.

#1 – Employee work call in excuse: “My grandmama died so I won’t be at work for two weeks.” After getting called out for this being the third time the employee’s grandmother has died, “uh…(click)”, the person hangs up, never to be heard from again. RIP fake grandma.

#2 – Urine Analysis: It’s always a plus to be able to pass a required drug test when seeking employment. This one time, a potential employee walked out of the restroom and handed over a sample of red, bubbling urine. The response? “Oh, I just drank some Kool-aid.” Uh, FAIL.

#3 – Entitled staff: As pharmaceutical reps, catering a meal used to get you quality time with a physician. Doctors are busy and you have to do what is ethically available to sell a product. Rarely, as a result of this setup, offices come to expect and even demand certain preferences as to what food is brought in. This one time, one of the staff members didn’t approve of the meal that was catered. She walked in, flipped open a couple of the food items, threw the tops back on and with a disapproving snare said, “We don’t like this food.” Girlfriend crossed her arms and snubbed her nose at the $400 meal sitting in front of her. My response to her, with a hint of sass and a smile, was “Well, I wouldn’t be complaining if I were you. It’s FREE!” She stared, stood for a moment, and then quietly got her a plate of the disgusting food. Vindication.

#4 – Unruly program attendee: While overseeing a key speaker program put together for top community influencers, one attendee became particularly combative to the well-respected speaker. It was ugly, unprofessional and almost ended with the speaker and attendee coming to blows. I was mortified. Later, it would come out that the unruly, MARRIED attendee was a customer for the cheating site, Ashley Madison. Busted. Went down with Duggar. I know it’s not nice to laugh. Ha ha ha ha.

#5 – Weapons possession: Employee claimed another employee was hitting on her man. The scene started to look like a tabloid talk show episode. The angry employee proceeded to grab blades from her bra, scissors from her purse and a tire iron from her car! The tire iron was forcefully ripped from the person’s grasp, fired on the spot and sent home. When the woman’s boyfriend was questioned, he calmly replied “It’s just a SLIGHT misunderstanding.” Oh, and the lady was in the later stages of her THIRD trimester. Because that’s what all women about to give birth do…risk their unborn child with bra blades and tire irons. If you ever feel like a bad mother…

#6 – Another urine sample: Applicant tested positive for COCAINE. Wasn’t happy about that. Applicant became loud and boisterous and pulled out a Lortab prescription saying that the positive drug screen was null and void because a doctor prescribed the product. A valid point except that Lortab makes one test positive for OPIODS not COCAINE. Brilliant.

#7 – On the job injury: Accidents on the job happen. That’s what worker’s compensation is for. An employee came to the office insisting she was injured and needed to go to the Emergency Room right then. Why? She had a HANG NAIL. Uh, no. Here’s a band-aid.

#8 – Employee work excuse: “I really need to go to my girlfriend’s ultrasound because this one is real important to me. I don’t have any kids and I lost my first one to a still birth.” Understandable. Tug at the heart-strings. Approved. Forty eight hours later, child support paperwork comes across the desk for his “stillborn” child. Praise the Lord, it’s a MIRACLE!

Smile! Share with your coworkers. Jobs, paid or not, have some stressful moments but the humorous ones make us appreciate the now. 🙂