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August 2009 Archives

Printable Issue 1625  Today is Sunday, August 2nd, 2009; Karen's Korner #1625
(To make 'five', finish off last week and make up for the 'korner' missed on Friday!)
 
A couple of short thoughts from Shirley Choat and a couple of others:
 
***
 
"I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me."  ~ Philippians 3:14
 
***
 
The important thing in this world is not where we stand, but in what direction we move.
 
***
 
Onward and upward your course plan today,
Seeking new heights as you walk Jesus' way;
Heed not past failures, but strive for the prize,
Aiming for goals fit for His holy eyes.
 
***
 
If you keep looking back, you can't make spiritual progress.
 
***
 
In anything we do or say, think, "Am I part of the problem or part of the solution?"
 
***
Printable Issue 1626  Today is Monday, August 3rd, 2009; Karen's Korner #1626
A Bible I was given for Christmas last year has an introduction to each chapter.
 
Here is a portion of the introduction to the New Testament book of JAMES:
 
"When Christian believers gather in churches, everything that can go wrong sooner or later does. Outsiders, on observing this, conclude that there is nothing to the religion business except, perhaps business -- and dishonest business at that. Insiders see it differently. Just as a hospital collects the sick under one roof and labels them as such, the church collects sinners. Many of the people outside of the hospital are every bit as sick as the ones inside, but their illnesses are either undiagnosed or disguised. It's similar with sinners outside the church. So Christian churches are not, as a rule, model communities of good behavior. They are, rather, places where human misbehavior is brought out in the open, faced, and dealt with.
 
"The letter of James shows one of the church's early pastors skillfully going about his work of confronting, diagnosing, and dealing with areas of misbelieve and misbehavior that had turned up in congregations committed to his care. Deep and living wisdom is on display here, wisdom both rare and essential. Wisdom is not primarily knowing the truth, although it certainly includes that, it is skill in living. For, what good is a truth if we don't know how to live it? What good is an intention if we can't sustain it?
 
"According to church traditions, James carried the nickname 'Old Camel Knees' because of the thick calluses built up on his knees for many years of determined prayer. The prayer is foundational to the wisdom. Prayer is always foundational to wisdom.
 
"It was customary for the sender of a letter (book of James) to list his credentials up front. James identified himself simply as a 'slave of God and the Master of Jesus'. He neglected to mention that he was Jesus' brother (in an era when family ties counted for a lot) and the leader of the original church in Jerusalem. During Jesus' lifetime, James and the rest of the family had been embarrassed by their loony brother, the traveling preacher-healer. But when the resurrected Jesus appeared to him in person, James came to grips with how wrong he'd been."
 
**
 
"So give yourselves humbly to God.
Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
And when you draw close to God,
God will draw close to you."
~~ James 4:7 & 8
 
**
 
"Remember, too, that knowing what is right to do
and not doing it is sin."
~~ James 4:17
 
**
 
"Admit your faults to one another
and pray for each other so that you may be healed.
The earnest prayer of a righteous man
has great power and wonderful results."
~~ James 5:16
 
**
 
Printable Issue 1627  Today is Tuesday, August 4th, 2009; Karen's Korner #1627
This is the back cover story of the OUR IOWA magazine, the most recent issue for August/September 2009. The magazine, about two years in existence, features lots of photos and stories of people and places in Iowa, with not necessarily a mainstream and big city emphasis.
 
My apologies to any of you who get the magazine. Those of you who don't subscribe or haven't seen it yet, I know you will enjoy it:
 
A 'Feel Good' Story Worth Emulating?
 
"We received this personal story in an E-mail, from someone who asked not to be identified and it seem worth sharing:
 
"Last night my wife and I were having a sandwich at a restaurant when we noticed a family in a nearby booth with seven kids. They were all neat and enjoying themselves, and the kids were very well behaved.
 
"Reminded of when we took our six kids out to eat, I called the manager to our booth and told him I'd like to pick up the tab for that family.
 
"He seemed puzzled, and I gave him my usual explanation: 'It's just something we like to do now and then when the opportunity presents itself. But be sure you don't tell them until after we'ved left, so they don't think we are stalkers or something.
 
"Then just explain that someone here wanted to simply give them a small reward for being good parents.
 
"So the manager headed to the kitchen to check on the bill. A few minutes later, he returned and said, 'I talked it over with the kitchen staff, and they were so moved by what you wanted to do that we're going to pick up not only the bill for that family, but your bill as well for suggesting it.'
 
"'Well, that's a first!' we responded. We objected, but we couldn't talk him out of it. Then, after we insisted he not identify us, we had the privilege of watching him deliver the news to that family.
 
"The parents looked at him curiously, trying to understand, then smiled slowly. Next we could see them explaining the whole thing to the kids........that their good behavior had resulted in a nice reward.
 
"Then they all began smilig proudly, chatting and looking around the restarurant for who these 'angels' might be.
 
"As we walked out, the manager and assistant manager were waiting just outside the front door. They shook our hands and said, 'Thanks. You made our day, too.'
 
"With that, we two angels smugly headed home. We share this in the hope that some of your readers might want to emulate it."
Printable Issue 1628  Today is Wednesday, August 5th, 2009; Karen's Korner #1628
This spring I bought a hanging basket of multi-colored petunias. They were full-bloom and beautiful.
 
Their show continued into the summer months.
 
Several weeks ago they had begun to outgrow their beauty. Decline was eminent. Some of the green foliage began to turn brown around the edges.
 
The best thing to do to retard the process is to cut back the blooms. I gave the flowery basket a haircut.
 
I began to think maybe I should toss out the not-so-pretty pot of stems.
 
Middle of last week, I noticed a new white flower.
 
After being gone for a handful of days on a short-term mission trip, I walked up our sidewalk to witness a whole pot full of red, white, and blue petunias. Stems still somerwhat depleted. But you should see it! I can't believe my eyes. All kinds of blooms; a second run at a second season of flowers!
 
Ever feel like that in our lives? We just run out of gas. Not as much enthusiasm. Wealth or health are dimished. Age is catching up with us. The job, the family, relationships are depleted.....
 
Maybe what we are going through is a ' haircut in life' and God can use that 'trimming process' to burst us forth with new blooms - brown stems and all!
 
Dear Father in Heaven, thank You that You are a God of second chances. You give us opportunities for new life, new hope, new help, and new focus. Thank You that we can bloom where we are planted, no matter where we our roots are. Thank You that You make beauty out of stems and dry leaves. Thank You for a future and a hope. Amen.
Printable Issue 1629  Today is Thursday, August 6th, 2009; Karen's Korner #1629
Someone forwarded me this Rick Warren devotional thought; it was sent the first part of March. But today it triggered a new thought for me and needed to be forwarded.
 
Serving from the Heart

From now on if you listen obediently to the commandments that I am commanding you today, love God, your God, and serve him with everything you have within you, he'll take charge of sending the rain at the right time .... Deuteronomy 11:13-14 (MSG)

Repeatedly, the Bible says to "serve the Lord with all your heart." God wants you to serve him passionately, not dutifully. People rarely excel at tasks they don't enjoy doing or feel passionate about. God wants you to use your natural interests to serve him and others.

How do you know when you're serving God from your heart?

The first telltale sign is enthusiasm. When you're doing what you love to do, no one has to motivate you, or challenge you, or check up on you. You do it for the sheer enjoyment. You don't need rewards, or applause, or to be paid, because you love serving in this way.

The opposite is also true: When you don't have a heart for what you're doing, you're easily discouraged.

One characteristic of serving God from your heart is effectiveness: whenever you do what God wired you to love to do, you get good at it. Passion drives perfection. If you don't care about a task, it is unlikely that you'll excel at it.

On the other hand, the highest achievers in any field are those who do it because of passion, not duty or profit.

We've all heard people say, "I took a job I hate in order to make a lot of money, so someday I can quit and do what I love to do." That's a big mistake. Don't waste your life in a job that doesn't express your heart.

Remember, the greatest things in life are not things. Meaning is far more important than money. The richest man in the world once said, "A simple life in the fear-of-God is better than a rich life with a ton of headaches" (Proverbs 15:16 MSG).

Don't settle for achieving "the good life," because the good life is not good enough. Ultimately, it doesn't satisfy. You can have a lot to live on, and still have nothing to live for. Aim instead for "the better life" - serving God in a way that expresses your heart.

Figure out what you love to do - that which God gave you a heart for - and then do it for his glory!

***

Printable Issue 1630  Today is Friday, August 7th, 2009; Karen's Korner #1630
This is Psalms chapter 146; the theme is "the help of man versus the help of God. Help from man is temporal and unstable, but help from God is lasting and complete".
 

Psalm 146 - New Living Translation

Praise the Lord!

   Let all that I am praise the Lord.
    I will praise the Lord as long as I live.
      I will sing praises to my God with my dying breath.

Don’t put your confidence in powerful people;
      there is no help for you there.

 When they breathe their last, they return to the earth,
      and all their plans die with them.
 But joyful are those who have the God of Israel[a] as their helper,
      whose hope is in the Lord their God.

 He made heaven and earth,
      the sea, and everything in them.
      He keeps every promise forever.
 He gives justice to the oppressed
      and food to the hungry.

   The Lord frees the prisoners.
    The Lord opens the eyes of the blind.
   The Lord lifts up those who are weighed down.
      The Lord loves the godly.
 The Lord protects the foreigners among us.
      He cares for the orphans and widows,
      but he frustrates the plans of the wicked.

The Lord will reign forever.
      He will be your God, O Jerusalem, throughout the generations.

   Praise the Lord!

***

Printable Issue 1631  Today is Monday, August 10th, 2009; Karen's Korner #1631
Last Wednesday, August 8, Karen's Korner #1628 told about my 'regrowing blooms' on the hanging basket in front of our farm home. If you would like to review that particular writing, go to www.karens-korner.com and scan down a couple of past Karen's Korners. A friend asked me to see a photo of my 'blooming treasure'. I took several photos and forwarded them to her and a couple of other people. If you would like to see them, email me and I will forward them to you. Might not seem like a big deal to you, but I SAW how bad they were before and now I see AFTER!
 
 
Now is the time we begin to receive FREE calendars from groups we tend to support financially throughout the year; and some from groups we haven't heard of!
 
Here are a handful of sayings from the 2010 calendar with the title "Living from the Heart" sponsored by the United Spinal Association, a group I know nothing about:
 
***
 
"To love someone is to know the song in their heart,
and to sing it to them when they have forgotten the words.
 
***
 
Keep your eyes open....
you never know where you'll find surprises.
~ Kathi Hron Muleahy
 
***
 
Make a big deal...
Out of little pleasures.
 
***
 
Free yourself by dancing with the wild flowers
wherever you find them.
 
***
 
Live with an open heart.
 
***
 
Sometimes our dreams,
like a cat's whisker,
are soft and elusive....
 
And sometimes we build them,
stitch by stitch
like a well loved quilt.
 
***
Printable Issue 1632  Today is Tuesday, August 11th, 2009; Karen's Korner #1632

I call myself the writer and editor of Karen's Korner. I like all kinds of writings and ideas; things people might share.

 I especially like it when a reader writes something and then shares it with me.
 
This is the case for today's Karen's Korner. Mary Tesdahl, retired school teacher from the Clarion-Goldfield Schools, has two children who both live in Colorado, each has one of Mary and Al's grandchildren. Here is a thought shared by Mary:
 
 
"Our grandson, Tanner, loves the sirens and horn noises of emergency vehicles.  He doesn't understand the whole concept, but knows that a 'tire tuck', is something to be excited about.  His voice, his delivery, and his expectant expression are filled to overflowing with his excitement. 
 
"Do we allow ourselves permission as adults to experience that kind of excitement from everyday activities or have 
we allowed our daily life to lose its zest? 
 
"Just as others cannot make us angry or sad or happy, - we do that to ourselves - we need to continue to search for and appreciate those simple things in life that can make every day of our lives a 'fire truck' kind of day."
Printable Issue 1633  Today is Wednesday, August 12th, 2009; Karen's Korner #1633
This is an email inspirational thought from Joel and Victoria Osteen, sent on Monday. It speaks of fear. Who hasn't been or isn't overwhelmed with fear in their lives? Fear of money reverses or job losses? Fear of being alone or maybe not loved? Of getting some dreadful disease or death? Or? Or? The list can be long.
 
Freedom comes from walking away from fear:
 

Power Over Fear

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline."
(II Timothy 1:7, NLT)

God's desire is that we continually progress, that we reach higher heights and go to new levels. Oftentimes, as soon as we make the decision to step out in faith and obey God, the enemy brings in fear to try to stop us. He'll bring thoughts like, "What if you fail? What are other people going to think? You don't have what it takes." He'll do his best to use fear to try to convince us to shrink back and stay where we are.

The Bible says that fear is a spirit. It plays on our emotions and holds us back. But the good news is that we have power over fear! The Bible says that perfect love casts out all fear. When we receive God's perfect love, we will have confidence about the future because we know His plans are for our good. I've heard it said that fear is an acronym for False Evidence Appearing Real. Understand that fear is a lie. Today, choose to believe God's Word and receive His love so that you can overcome fear and move forward into the good life He has prepared for you.

Father in heaven, thank You for giving me power, love, and a sound mind. I open my heart to You and receive Your perfect love. Fill me with Your confidence and assurance to embrace everything You have for me. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

Printable Issue 1634  Today is Thursday, August 13th, 2009; Karen's Korner #1634
A short thought and a prayer shared, written, and forwarded to me by Shirley Choat several weeks ago. Today is a good day to pick out one school child or more to pray for us they head to the school environment this fall:
 
 
GOOD MORNING
 
  You may give children your love
but not your thoughts,
for they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies
but not their souls,
for their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit,
not even in your dreams.
~ By Kahlil Gibran
 
**
 
    Almighty God, I thank You, for the fact that success is Your idea.
I am discovering anew my reason for living and Your purpose for my life.
Affirm the divine destiny that You ordained for me before I was even born.
Then I know I shall succeed, for You planned it that way.
In Jesus' name.  Amen
 
**
Printable Issue 1635  Today is Friday, August 14th, 2009; Karen's Korner #1635
Judy Watne read this Psalm, #61 at a prayer group this week. I wanted to share it today. There are 150 chapters in the book of Psalms; many of them hit the spot when you are sad, mad, or glad! Lots of Bibles have a listing in the front or the back which direct a reader to the right places for the right times:
 

Psalm 61

A David Psalm
God, listen to me shout, bend an ear to my prayer.
   When I'm far from anywhere,
      down to my last gasp,
   I call out, "Guide me
      up High Rock Mountain!" 

You've always given me breathing room,
      a place to get away from it all,
   A lifetime pass to your safe-house,
      an open invitation as your guest.
   You've always taken me seriously, God,
      made me welcome among those who know and love you. 

 Let the days of the king add up
      to years and years of good rule.
   Set his throne in the full light of God;
      post Steady Love and Good Faith as lookouts,
   And I'll be the poet who sings your glory—
      and live what I sing every day.
 
***
Printable Issue 1636  Today is Sunday, August 16th, 2009; Karen's Korner #1636
(Emailed on Sunday, one day early, as we will be gone overight, among other places - the Iowa State Fair!)
 
Something forwarded to me last week by Karen Hobbie; it didn't include the name of the writer:
 
The Sack Lunches
 
I put my carry-on in the luggage compartment and sat down in my assigned seat. It was going to be a long flight. "I'm glad I have a good book to read. Perhaps I will get a short nap," I thought.
 
Just before take-off, a line of soldiers came down the aisle and filled all the vacant seats, totally surrounding me. I decided to start a conversation. "Where are you headed?" I asked the soldier seated nearest to me.
 
"Petawawa. We'll be there for two weeks for special training and then we're being deployed to Afghanistan," was his reply.
 
After flying for about an hour, an announcement was made that sack lunches were available for five dollars. It would be several hours before we reached the east, and I quickly decided a lunch would help pass the time......
 
As I reached for my wallet, I overhead a soldier ask his buddy if he planned to buy lunch.
 
"No, that seems like a lot of money for just a sack lunch. Probably wouldn't be worth five bucks. I'll wait till we get to base."
 
His friend agreed.
 
I looked around at the other soldiers.
 
None were buying lunch. I walked to the back of the plane and handed the flight attendant a $50 bill. "Take a lunch to all those soldiers," I said.
 
She grabbed my arm and squeezed tightly. Her eyes wet with tears, she thanked me, "My son was a soldier in Iraq; it's almost like you are doing it for him."
 
Pikckng up ten sacks, she headed up the aisle to where the soldiers were seated. She stopped at my seat and asked, "Which do you like best? Beef or chicken?"
 
"Chicken," I replied, wondering why she asked. She turned and went  to the front of the plane, returning a minute later with a dinner plate from first class. "This is your thanks......."
 
After we finished eating, I went again to the back of the plane, heading for the restroom. A man stopped me. "I saw what you did. I want to be part of it. Here, take this."
 
 He handed me $25. Soon after I returned to my seat. I saw the Flight Captain coming down the aisle, looking at the aisle numbers as he walked, I hoped he was not looking for me, but noticed he was looking at the numbers only on my side of the plane. When he got to my row, he stopped, smiled, held out his hand, and said, "I want to shake your hand."
 
Quickly unfastening my seatbelt, I stood and took the Captain's hand. With a booming voice, he said, "I was a soldier in the military, serving as a pilot. Once, someone bought me a lunch. It was an act of kindness I never forgot."
 
I was embarrassed when applause was heard from all of the passengers.
 
Later I walked to the front of the plane so I could stretch my legs. A man who was seated about six rows in front of me reached out his hand, wanting to shake mine. He left another $25 in my palm.
 
When we landed, I gathered my belongings and started to deplane. Waiting just inside the airplane door was a man who stopped me, put something in my shirt pocket, turned, and walked away without saying a word. Another $25!
 
Upon entering the terminal, I saw the soldiers gathering for their trip to the base.
 
I walked over to the and handed them $75.
 
"It will take you some time to reach the base. It will about time for a sandwich God bless you."
 
Ten young men left that flight feeling the love and respect of their fellow travelers. As I walked briskly to my car, I whispered a prayer for their safe return. These soldiers were giving their all for our country....
 
I could only help to give them a couple of meals. It seemed so little.....
 
Printable Issue 1637  Today is Tuesday, August 18th, 2009; Karen's Korner #1637
On Sunday, our communion meditation was given by Leon Betts. He read something taken from their hometown newspaper, the Riceville Recorder and written by Joni Erickson Tada. It is titled '3-foot fall' and tells about our trusting God in the 'big' stuff and failing to trust Him in the 'small' things, the kind we think we can handle.
 
The reason I liked it so well:  it sort of describes me to the letter. I don't have as much trouble trusting God for the things I know I can't handle as with those I turn in to 'do it myself' projects:
 
Three-Foot Fall
 
Trust in Him, at all times, you people.
~ Psalm 62:8
 
A construction worker was welding on top of a water tower outside Chicago when he unhooked his safety gear to reach for some pipes. At the same time, a metal cage slipped and bumped the scaffolding he was on, sending him to the ground in a 110-foot fall where he landed on a pile of dirt. When the paramedics arrived and carried him off on a stretcher, he had one humorous request, "Don't drop me."
 
Sometimes we are like that construction worker in our faith; trusting God to save us from the long fall of our sins, yet fretting over the three-foot falls of every-day details. It is easy to trust God with the big things we don't fully understand, but a lot of us have a difficult time putting our trust in Almighty God for the small and personal issues we deal with on a daily basis. The Bible tells us to trust Go for everything because He knows our need even before we ask Him (Matthew 6:8).
 
If you haven't fully put your turst in the Lord, spend some time casting ALL your cares upon Him for He knows you intimately, loves you perfectly, and is worthy of your trust in every situation.
 
It is a glorious thing to know that your Father God make no mistakes in directing or permitting that which crosses the path of your life. It is our glory to trust Him no matter what.
 
 
Printable Issue 1638  Today is Wednesday, August 19th, 2009; Karen's Korner #1638
Merridy Hill
1926 - 2009
 
Today is my Aunt Merridy's funeral; she was my dad's younger sister.
 
Anyone  who identifies themselves as a Christian has someone or several someones who probably most impacted his/her life. Mine is two aunts - my mom's older sister Helen, now 93 and living in a care center in Clear Lake and suffering from some sort of dementia; and Merridy, 83, who died Saturday night.
 
Helen taught me in the middle school years in Sunday School; I don't remember much about what she tried to teach our class members. I do remember that what she was teaching was very important to her. Must be pretty important, I can remember thinking.
 
Merridy wasn't my teacher but tended to work with the younger kids in our church family.
 
It was how she lived her life that most impacted me over the years.
 
If you could name something which could happen to a person, chances are pretty good it happened to Merridy. Parents to four kids; she and George had Scott in their advancing years. Scott had every kind of physical deformity imaginable; he lived and loved their family members for 26 years.
 
When Scott was about 12, his older brother Randy, fell from a grain elevator silo about 70 feet, trying to save the life of a buddy. Randy lived; his friend did not. When Merridy and George rushed to Randy's bedside, he was not expected to live. Merridy called back to their church asking for prayers saying, "I don't know if I can take two boys both in wheelchairs." While Randy is not in a wheelchair, he has had last siding effects of the long fall.
 
Sometimes there were job and money challenges.
 
And then there were other health issues for other family members, as well as her. Merridy had to deal with cancer, heart problems, diabetes. But she 'took a licking, and kept ticking' as the old watch commercial used to tell. Less than ten years ago, she sold her home and moved to senior housing - one more thing she loved and the people with whom she lived. She spent less than three weeks in a care center and/or hospice.
 
All the time, she stood fast in her faith in a Big God who always comforted and took care of her.
 
There were relationships which were broken or strained. Merridy would ignore the role she could play, instead took a higher road whether it was justified by other players or not.
 
Thankfully several years ago on cue from some book I had read or some group in which I was a part, I was encouraged to write notes to both of my aunts to tell them what they had meant to me.
 
She may not have left this world with lots of material possessions.
 
I would term Merridy as one of the wealthiest people I know.
 
Portions of Proverbs 31:10 -31
 
"A good woman is hard to find,
and worth far more than diamonds...
 
Never spiteful, she treats (her husband) generously
all her life long....
 
She's up before dawn, preparing breakfast
for her family and organizing her day.....
 
First thing in the mornng, she dresses for work,
rolls up her sleeves, eager to get started....
 
She's quick to assist anyone in need,
reaches out to help the poor.....
 
When she speaks she has something worthwhile to say,
and she always says it kindly....
 
Her children respect and bless her,
her husband joins in with words of praise......
 
Charm can mislead and beauty soon fades.
The woman to be admired and praised
is the woman who lives in the Fear (awe!) of God....."
 
***
Printable Issue 1639  Today is Thursday, August 20th, 2009; Karen's Korner #1639
On Monday, Jim and I went to the Iowa State Fair with daughter, Jamie, and her three young children. We spent our time seeing the normal sights of the fair.
 
Noah, who is 1 1/2, spent most of his time riding in the stroller. One of the times when he was 'unhooked'. He spent a few minutes ambling around the sidewalk near the ag building and facing into the midway. There were lots of people milling around, but not an unhealthy crush.
 
In a few minutes, Noah was streaking across the sidewalk. Next he was standing at the edge of the curb, crying.
 
As I looked ahead to what he was watching, I spotted a young woman walking away from him - wearing a red short-sleeved shirt, tan shorts, and white tennis shoes.
 
I knew exactly what he was thinking, "There goes mom!"
 
Jamie was wearing the same colored clothes and shoes!
 
In less than a minute, Jamie returned from another direction where she and daughter, Molly, had been buying apple cookies. She picked up Noah and reassured him that everything was okay; him included.
 
Since I have thought about us. Are we like Noah? Sometimes following after somebody or something that holds our attention, but isn't  our Caregiver? Who doesn't have our best interest at heart? But distracts our attention? Leaves us standing at the curb of life? Walking away from us?
 
All the time the Person who gives us life is near? Ready to aid and comfort us? Give our life direction? Love and security?
 
It isn't just Noah who has needs, wants, and cares, it's all of us!
 
Dear Father in Heaven, thank You that You can be counted on and trusted. Thank You that You love us and that we are never out of Your sight or care. Help us, Father God, to not be distracted by the sights and sounds of this world which sometimes appear to be our 'mom' but turn out to be a 'stranger'. We seek You, both at the times we are riding in the comfort of life's stroller and when we are standing on the curb of life in tears. Be with us just today and protect us from our own folly. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Printable Issue 1640  Today is Friday, August 21st, 2009; Karen's Korner #1640
Something forwarded to me about a month ago by Shirley Choat:

It Don’t Cost Nuthin’ to be Nice

 

At a Touchdown Club meeting many years before his death, Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant told the following story:

 

I had just been named the new head coach at Alabama and was off in my old car down in South Alabama recruiting a prospect who was supposed to have been a pretty good player and I was havin’ trouble finding the place. Getting hungry I spied an old cinder block building with a small sign out front that simply said “Restaurant.”

 

I pull up, go in and every head in the place turns to stare at me. Seems I’m the only white fella in the place. But the food smelled good so I skip a table and go up to a cement bar and sit. A big ole man in a tee shirt and cap comes over and says, “What do you need?”

 

I told him I needed lunch and what did they have today?

 

He says, “You probably won’t like it here, today we’re having chitlins, collared greens and black eyed peas with cornbread. I’ll bet you don’t even know what chitlins (small intestines of hogs prepared as food in the deep South) are, do you?”

 

I looked him square in the eye and said, “I’m from Arkansas , I’ve probably eaten a mile of them. Sounds like I’m in the right place.” They all smiled as he left to serve me up a big plate.

 

When he comes back he says, “You ain’t from around here then?”

 

I explain I’m the new football coach up in Tuscaloosa at the University and I’m here to find whatever that boy’s name was and he says, yeah I’ve heard of him, he’s supposed to be pretty good. And he gives me directions to the school so I can meet him and his coach.

 

As I’m paying up to leave, I remember my manners and leave a tip, not too big to be flashy, but a good one and he told me lunch was on him, but I told him for a lunch that good, I felt I should pay.

 

The big man asked me if I had a photograph or something he could hang up to show I’d been there. I was so new that I didn’t have any yet. It really wasn’t that big a thing back then to be asked for, but I took a napkin and wrote his name and address on it and told him I’d get him one.

 

I met the kid I was lookin’ for later that afternoon and I don’t remember his name, but do remember I didn’t think much of him when I met him. I had wasted a day, or so I thought.

 

When I got back to Tuscaloosa late that night, I took that napkin from my shirt pocket and put it under my keys so I wouldn’t forget it. Back then I was excited that anybody would want a picture of me. The next day we found a picture and I wrote on it, “Thanks for the best lunch I’ve ever had.”

 

Now let’s go a whole buncha years down the road. Now we have black players at Alabama and I’m back down in that part of the country scouting an offensive lineman we sure needed. Y’all remember, (and I forget the name, but it’s not important to the story), well anyway, he’s got two friends going to Auburn and he tells me he’s got his heart set on Auburn too, so I leave empty handed and go on see some others while I’m down there.

 

Two days later, I’m in my office in Tuscaloosa and the phone rings and it’s this kid who just turned me down, and he says, “Coach, do you still want me at Alabama ?”

 

And I said, “Yes I sure do.”

 

And he says OK, he’ll come.

 

And I say, “Well son, what changed your mind?”

 

And he said, “When my grandpa found out that I had a chance to play for you and said no, he pitched a fit and told me I wasn’t going nowhere but Alabama, and wasn’t playing for nobody but you. He thinks a lot of you and has ever since y’all met.”

 

Well, I didn’t know his granddad from Adam’s housecat so I asked him who his granddaddy was and he said, “You probably don’t remember him, but you ate in his restaurant your first year at Alabama and you sent him a picture that he’s had hung in that place ever since. That picture’s his pride and joy and he still tells everybody about the day that Bear Bryant came in and had chitlins with him.”

 

“My grandpa said that when you left there, he never expected you to remember him or to send him that picture, but you kept your word to him and to Grandpa, that’s everything. He said you could teach me more than football and I had to play for a man like you, so I guess I’m going to.”

 

I was floored. But I learned that the lessons my mama taught me were always right. It don’t cost nuthin’ to be nice. It don’t cost nuthin’ to do the right thing most of the time, and it costs a lot to lose your good name by breakin’ your word to someone.

 

When I went back to sign that boy, I looked up his Grandpa and he’s still running that place, but it looks a lot better now; and he didn’t have chitlins that day, but he had some ribs that woulda made Dreamland proud and I made sure I posed for a lot of pictures; and don’t think I didn’t leave some new ones for him, too, along with a signed football.

 

I made it clear to all my assistants to keep this story and these lessons in mind when they’re out on the road. If you remember anything else from me, remember this. It really doesn’t cost anything to be nice, and the rewards can be unimaginable.

 

~ Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant ~

 

Printable Issue 1641  Today is Monday, August 24th, 2009; Karen's Korner #1641
 
This is an inspirational thought send in April by Joel and Victoria Osteen. Sometimes when we pray and ask Gof for things, we 'know' exactly how God needs to answer our request. Sometimes He answers differently than we think is the 'right' answer.
 
He always answers. He can be trusted. We need to praise and thank God, in advance. He will give us peace, joy, and hope. No matter what we are seeing today; no matter how the situation turns out:
 

Armloads of Blessings

"It seemed like a dream, too good to be true, when God [gave us the victory]…Now, God, do it again… so those with heavy hearts will come out laughing, with armloads of blessing."
(Psalm 126, The Message)

 

When you have a heavy heart, when life deals you a difficult blow, God wants to turn things around in your favor. Not only does He want to bring you out, but He wants to bring you out with a smile and better off than you were before. He wants to give you the victory and fill you with armloads of blessings!

You might be thinking, “That sounds too good to be true. You don’t know my situation.” But understand, God wants to overwhelm you with His goodness. He wants you to feel like you are living in a dream. The scripture says that He delights in the prosperity of His people. In other words, it gives Him great joy to bless you. You can be certain that when you stand in faith, even when it’s difficult, God will reward you. He’ll fill you with His peace. He’ll give you supernatural strength. He’ll give you the grace you need to face those challenges. You can be sure that He’ll always lead you into victory and fill you with armloads of blessings!

Father in heaven, thank You for Your promise of victory and blessing. I choose to keep my heart and mind focused on You. Have Your way in me and lead me into the life of blessing You have in store for me. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Printable Issue 1642  Today is Tuesday, August 25th, 2009; Karen's Korner #1642
Something forwarded to me by Kim Lee and written by Pastor Rick Warren:
 

Three Benefits of Margin

By Rick Warren

 

"One handful of peaceful repose is better than two fistfuls of worried work..."

(Ecclesiastes 4:6 MSG).

Image removed by sender.

 

Margin is the space between your load and your limit. Your load should never be heavier than your limit. But the truth is, most of us are far more overloaded than we can handle; we have no margin for error in our lives.

Dr. Richard Swenson explains, "Marginless is not having time to finish the book you're reading on stress. Margin is having the time to read it twice. Marginless is our culture. Margin is counterculture, having some space in your life and schedule. Marginless is the disease of our decade and margin is the cure."

Here are three immediate benefits you'll receive by building margin into your life:

1. Better health. Unrelenting stress harms our bodies. We all know that, yet we let it continue day after day after day. Many times the only time we get margin in our lives is when the heart attack almost happens (or does happen) or the blood pressure skyrockets. Why do we wait until our health plummets before we make this decision? Why not realize that we need to build some margin into our lives now? The truth is, your body needs downtime in order to heal.

2. Stronger relationships. Lack of margin is one big reason for the collapse of the American family today. When we don't make relationships a priority and make time for each other, our relationships suffer. The truth is relationships take time, and margin provides that time to sit and talk, to listen and enjoy one another, and to provide the comfort we each need.

3. Usefulness in ministry. When you're overloaded by activity, you can only think of yourself. You're in survival mode, just trying to make it through another day. But being available to God for his use makes all the difference in this world.

When you have no margin in your life and God taps you on the shoulder, saying, "I'd like you to do this for Me," your first response isn't joy. Your first response is, "Oh, no! Another thing to do! Sorry, God, I'd like to do that, but I'm just too busy."

We end up resenting the great opportunities God brings into our lives. But when you have margin, you're available for God to use.

You don't have to live on overload. You don't have to live in survival mode. Begin today to build a buffer around your schedule, then enjoy the benefits of margin and see what God does next!

Printable Issue 1643  Today is Wednesday, August 26th, 2009; Karen's Korner #1643
Last week my sister Amy related this personal story to me about a co-worker; they both are employed by a credit union in Burnsville, Minnesota.
 
Dorothy has a twenty-something year old son, Adam, who is part of a duo working for "Two Men & A Truck". On July 1st, Adam badly sprained his ankle and couldn't go to work. He took some over-the-counter pain remedies and waited to get better. He continued to be around his parent's home complaining of his pain. On the 3rd of July, he began telling his dad about his back hurting as well.
 
Dad encouraged Adam to go to the doctor to avoid needing extra medical attention over the 4th of July holiday. Dad and Adam drove to the hospital where the doctors admitted him, administering some pretty heavy duty pain killers.
 
Mom and Dad arrived at the hospital the next day to find Adam moved to intensive care. They learned that overnight Adam's liver was beginning to shut down, he could no longer breathe well on his own, and by the end of the day he needed a ventilator. He was moved from their area hospital to the downtown university hospital, where he slipped into a coma.
 
Day after day, Adam didn't improve and the coma continued. Amy recounted in mid-August, Dorothy mentioning they didn't know what was going to happen next and that it had been '40 days' since their world had been tipped upside down. "She said it had been the longest 40 days of her life," told Amy.
 
That evening the couple was making their daily trek to the hospital. It had been a rainy day. There was clearing from the west. A rainbow came into view. Driving into Minneapolis from the south, the lay of the land is such that the rainbow seemed to be touching the hospital where they were heading.
 
Dorothy held the thought, "I hope this is a sign from God!"
 
She mentioned it to her husband, who looked at her like she was grasping at straws. "I always have been taught that rainbows are a sign from God," she told him.
 
Walking into the hospital room, followed by her husband, Dorothy stepped up to Adam's bedside who said for the first time, "Mom" and grabbed her hand.
 
Did Adam jump out of bed the next day and walk out of the hospital after a week? No, but he continues to improve! He is in rehabilitation as he needs to be taught how to learn to breathe and walk again on his own. One by one they are removing his life supports. There may be several lasting side effects.
 
It seems Adam had taken a combination of too many over-the-counter prescriptions which contributed to his lengthy illness.
 
But the bottom line: 
 
Adam is getting well!
 
And God is good!!
 
Printable Issue 1644  Today is Thursday, August 27th, 2009; Karen's Korner #1644

Wake Up from Your Sleep

 Watch what God does,

and then you do it,

like children who learn proper behavior from their parents.

Mostly what God does is love you.

Keep company with him and learn a life of love.

Observe how Christ loved us.

His love was not cautious but extravagant.

He didn't love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us.

Love like that.

~ Ephesians 5:1,2 (The Message)
 
 
Bible Commentary:  Just as children imitate their parents, we should imitate Christ. His great love for us led him to sacrifice himself so that we might live. Our love for others should be of the same kind--a love that goes beyond affection to self-sacrifice service.
Printable Issue 1645  Today is Friday, August 28th, 2009; Karen's Korner #1645
A collection of a few sayings:
 
"Teach a child to choose the right path,
and when he is older
he will remain upon it."
~~ Proverbs 22:6,
as we begin the new school year for 2009-2010
 
**
 
"The time we spend in having our
daily audience with God is the most
precious part of the whole day."
 
~taken from a flip calendar for August 28th
Heart of Joy - thoughts and saying by Mother Teresa
 
**
"Be patient
and you will finally win,
for a soft tongue
can break hard bones."
~ Proverbs 25: 15
 
**
 
"Faith is not believing God can,
    but it is
     knowing that God will".
 
~ emailed by Lee & Wilma Gamblin
 
**
 
"Sing to the Lord, all the earth!
Sing of his glorious name!
Tell the world how wonderful He is."
~ Psalm 66: 1,2
 
***
Printable Issue 1646  Today is Monday, August 31st, 2009; Karen's Korner #1646
A couple of thoughts emailed to me by Shirley Choat:
 
I've missed more than nine thousand shots in my career.
I've lost almost three hundred games.
Twenty-six times, I've been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed.
I've failed over and over again in my life.
And that is why I succeed.
  (Michael Jordan)
 
**
 
    LORD of Light and Love, for those to whom this day seems dark and dreary, send the brightness of Your love. Is it a hospital room? Is it a prison cell? May the victory over depression be their special gift as a child of God. Thank You, that we are Your children, that Your presence brightens the corner where we are, for You are Light and You are Love Incarnate.  In Jesus' name. Amen
 
***