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Published:May 8th, 2007 13:47 EST

Carolee in Wonderland

By Carolee Kaufold

My mother used to say I wore rose colored glasses. I always wanted things to be perfect, happy and romantic. I saw flowers, rainbow and sunsets. I never heard augments, bad thoughts or fighting. As an only child, I would retreat into a make believe world. I had dolls, doll houses, and paper cut-outs to play with. I had a make-believe friend, Lilly. She and I would play with my toys and laugh and sing.

My favorite book was The Secret Garden. I liked that there was an old garden that was turned into a wondrous place, filled with color and fragrance. I loved to picture myself as the girl who fond the key to the Garden. I was Carolee in Wonderland. I wanted to fall into the dark hole and see the magic it held. But life happened.

I married Prince Charming, and we went hand and hand into marriage. We had a fairy tale wedding, and are living happily ever after. But, getting to the ever after " part was not easy. Many of the bad things that happen to most people happened to us, too. We lost homes, family and money. But we never lost our sense of humor or our faith. We kept holding hands; we stood straight and walked through many storms. We keep our belief in God. Many times it wasn`t until the 11th hour before we received our blessing.

There was no Mad Hatter, no Queen of Hearts and no Cheshire cat. But there was a Dirty Dog, a Jack of Spades and Bald meanie. I wouldn`t let anything take me down. I would have a minute of fear and an hour of courage. I would go walking in a dark place and start looking for a rainbow. There would be days I would want to pack it all in, but then I would remember tomorrow would be a whole lot better. So, wearing rose colored glasses helped.

Having faith and hope didn`t hurt. Being positive was the key. Hanging around negative folks was not what I needed. One bad word can bring you down, while a word of encouragement can bring healing.

I don`t wear pinafores or have long blonde hair. I don`t drink tea or eat little cakes. I don`t talk to rabbits or cats. I do pray about everything. I do smile because I feel like smiling. And I do color my hair blonde because I want to color my hair.

I may seem, to most of you, like a Pollyanna. But, I don`t know how to be anything else. I remember when I had my cataract removed from my left eye, I saw grass differently. I saw the sky cloudless and I saw the color red for the first time. That is how I chose to live my life. I want to see things for the first time, all the time. I live near Disney World and like the fantasy of seeing everything as a child. I am Peter Pan all grown up. Tinker Bell lives near by, and drops star dust on me.

I guess the lesson I learned is: God is taking care of me, so why should I stay up all night worrying about where my life is going. I have been lucky and unlucky. Some people will fold under the weight of problems we all must endure; and, some people will shine. We have chosen to shine.  We have had nail biting times and soul searching times. We have had laid-back times and sitting in the sun times. Being on the up side of life is always better.

I am a realist, too. I know bad things happen. But I don`t live under a cloud and pout. I turn it around to learn a good lesson. Don`t be blaming bad times on bad things. Each time a problem arises, fight the urge to complain. Try to see what lesson you can learn. If there is sadness in your life, turn it around into gladness. Bring out the rose colored glasses and sit in the sun.

Don`t be fooled into thinking that life stinks. Join support groups, start being happy. Have fun and run on a beach. If you lose a loved one, think of the joy you had in knowing them and how you have been enriched by their presence. If you were hurt by another`s actions, pray that good comes into their lives so they will never hurt again. It really works, all the tips I am sharing with you. I am not trying to preach to you. I am only sharing what has worked in my life.

I have had things happen to me that could have made me a sour person. I have had troubles and problems. I will not accept being told what I can`t do. I will fight and hold on to what I see as a good solution to a bad situation. You cannot be me and I cannot turn you into something you are not. But I can try to show you what life looks like behind my rose colored glasses.