January 2011 Archives
Today is Monday, January 3rd, 2011; Karen's Korner #1981|
Clarion resident Ania is a friend to about everyone she meets. Her winning smile, sparkly eyes, and winning conversation makes her hard not to like.
For the last year plus she has been dealing with cancer. Her latest check up found some cancer cells which needed to be attacked. Now she waits another three months to learn if the treatment worked.
Sharing with her son, her desire to 'be here' for him and for grandchildren, and maybe shedding a tear surrounding her fears, Nicky said, "Mom, do you remember when we moved from the small house to our bigger house? Did you shed any tears about leaving behind the small house?"
All of us as her friends are praying that Ania will remain well and this is God's will for her life. We want her around to be with us and her family for more years.
But Nicky is right, as Christians, Ania (and the rest of us) will be upgrading when we leave this world to live with Jesus in our "forever home".
"In my Father's house are many mansions;
if it were not so, I would have told you.
I go to prepare a place for you."
~ (Jesus speaking) - John 14:2 KJV
"Dear Father in Heaven, thank You for Ania being in our lives. We ask that You might heal her of her cancer; we want her to be in our lives here on earth for another number of years. Thank You that You came to show us Your love and Your way. Thank You that You have gone to heaven to prepare a 'mansion' for each of us as Your followers; and today and everyday, You are preparing each of us for that place. In Jesus' Name. Amen."
Today is Tuesday, January 4th, 2011; Karen's Korner #1982|
A short message and thought by Shirley Choat:
"Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you." ~ 1 Peter 5:6,7
"Some have said this is a century of fear and an age of anxiety. Are you ever anxious and cumbered with a load of care? The apostle provides a remedy.
"'Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God,' he tells us. Much anxiety stems from the fierce competitive struggle to get ahead. Humbly recognizing our limitations, we should develop and use our God-given abilities to serve our neighbor and God. If, like our LORD, we live not to be served but to serve, we will have no time to worry about keeping ahead of the Joneses.
"'No one seems to care what happens to us,' you may hear others say.
"Your well-meaning friends might say to you; Don't worry, forget it. But the apostle give sounder counsel: 'Cast all your care on God, for He cares about you.' God cares, for He is 'the God of all grace who has called us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus'.
Jesus shares your worries and cares
You'll never be left all alone,
For He stands beside you to comfort and guide you,
He always looks out for His own.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY - God cares about our cares because He cares about us.
Today is Wednesday, January 5th, 2011; Karen's Korner #1983|
Taken from "In God We Still Trust", a 365-day devotional by Dr. Richard G. Lee. An entry from several days ago:
True History or Fraud?
"If Christ is not risen, your faith is futile.
~ I Corinthians 15:17
"Hear the confident declaration of American statesman Daniel Webster (1782-1852):
'The Gospel is either true history, or it is a consummate fraud; it is either a reality or an imposition. Christ was what He professed to be, or He was an imposter. There is no other alternative. His spotless life in His earnest enforcement of the truth--His suffering in its defense, forbid us to suppose that He was suffering an illusion of a heated brain. Every act of His pure and holy life shows that He was the author of truth, the advocate of truth, the earnest defender of truth, and the uncompromising sufferer for truth. Now, considering the purity of His doctrines, the simplicity of His life, and the sublimity of His death, is it possible that He would have died for an illusion? In all His preaching the Savior made no popular appeals. His discourses were always directed to the individual. Christ and His apostles sought to impress upon every man the conviction that he must stand or fall alone--he must live for himself and die for himself, and give up his account to the omniscient God as thought he were the only dependent creature in the universe. The Gospel leaves the individual sinner alone with himself and his God.'
Gracious Father, thank You for sending Jesus to die for sinners, myself among them.
"In Isaiah 9:6, God promised to send His Son. 'His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace'. Promise fulfilled!
Today is Thursday, January 6th, 2011; Karen's Korner #1984|
At the beginning of the new year with new beginnings, I decided that I might begin reading not only Genesis but also Matthew: grabbing a chapter out of each, daily.
Looking yesterday at Matthew, my Life Application Bible introduces the Bible book telling about five 'megathemes', recounting Jesus' life (Jesus Christ; the King; The Messiah; Kingdom of God; Teachings; Resurrection).
Several sentences describing the explanation and importance of Jesus' Resurrection:
"When Jesus rose from the dead,
He rose in power as The True King.
In His victory over death,
He established His credentials
and His power and authority over evil.
"The resurrection shows Jesus' all powerful life for us --
not even death could stop His plan of offering eternal life.
Those who believe in Jesus can hope for a
resurrection like His.
Our role is to tell His story
to all the earth
so that everyone may share in His Victory."
Today is Friday, January 7th, 2011; Karen's Korner #1985|
A handful of quotes from Mother Teresa, as we begin our march into the new year:
"Joy is a need and a power for us.
A Christian who has cultivated a spirit of joy
feels less tired and is always ready to go doing good.
A Christian filled with joy preaches
without preachin. She/He is like the sunshine
of God's love, the hope of eternal happiness,
the flame of burning love.
"Never let anything so fill you with pain
or sorrow so as to make you forget
the joy of the Christ Risen.
"When you are cooking, washing clothes,
working hard in the office, do it all with joy.
That will be your love for God in action!
"People are trying to make God
a relic from the past. But you, by your love,
by the purity of your lives and your compassion
can prove to the world that God is up-to-date.
"God loves me. I'm not here just to fill a place,
just to be a number. He has chosen me for a purpose.
I know it. He will fulfill it if I don't put an
obstacle in his way. He will not force me,
but he want me to say yes."
Today is Monday, January 10th, 2011; Karen's Korner #1986|
On Friday, we buried Karl Watne: neighbor for more than 40 years; classmate of Jim's.
If funeral services are good, his one of the best, as friends and family members paid tribute to a loving husband, father, grandfather, family member and friend. His was one of constants. Married for nearly 50 years. Farming with three other brothers for almost as long. In a throw-away society, those are pretty impressive statistics.
There are 'nominal' Christians; and there are 'committed' Christians. Karl was the latter. He and his family have helped me to 'see a living Jesus' over the years.
So his service one of celebration of a life well-lived.
On the morning of Karl's funeral, I kept thinking about the women on their way to Jesus' tomb, the day after Jesus' was crucified. And these words of 'two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them saying, "Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; He is risen!"' (Luke 24:5,6 NIV)
Same story for Karl and Christ's followers like him. He is no longer here; he has risen......
Praise be to God!
Today is Tuesday, January 11th, 2011; Karen's Korner #1987|
Today's 'korner' is taken from a fall newsletter written by Billy Graham's daughter, Anne Graham Lotz, who has a ministry: AnGeL Ministries (as she plays on the letters from her name). Here is some of what she wrote:
"He will command His angels concerning you to
guard you in all your ways....
~ Psalm 91:11
"During the past year, I have been aware of God's protection in so many personal ways. He has directed and guarded me.
"Daily I face, along with so many of you, the burden of knowing what time it is in human history. The oppression of seeing our nation officially in rebellion against God, unable to connect the dots of the environmental disasters, terrorist threats, brutal crimes, political scandal, corporate corruption, and economic recession, to the removal of His hand of blessing, is a heavy weight on my spirit.
"As the stress ratchets up in my life and the world unravels around me, God has led me to saturate myself in His Word....I have heard Zechariah's (minor prophet) echoing down through the centuries in the chambers of my soul, Rejoice greatly, O daughter.....! See, your King comes to you..... Praise God. Not only is He coming ! He did come to me through the words of the prophet!
"He comes not because of what I (you) have done or have failed to do. Not because of who my (your) family is, or is not. Not because of my (your) ability or lack of it. Not because of my (your) knowledge or ignorance. But because of the covenant I have with you (God speaking in Zechariah).
"Can you hear His voice, too? For those of you, like me, who are going through hard times. Who are experiencing a rising degree of pressure. Or to whom life is just unfair. Who are living out a picture that you never would have dreamed would be yours because of its nightmarish qualities. Would you also join me in praising God for His embrace?! Because our hope does not rest in our ability to cling to Him, but in His power to hold onto us. His everlasting arms are our shield......our hiding place!
"In Psalms it says blessed are those whose strength is in You, who have set their hearts on a pilgrimage.....as I pass through the Valley of Weeping.....I will make it a place of springs......going from strength to strength....These words are not a lament but a praise.
"It is a message to those of you who are still wrestling with job loss, bankruptcy, health issues, divorce, death, demons, prodigals, violent weather, crime and a host of pressures and stress that I would never be able to guess. The message is this: God is on His Throne! He is in control! You are in His grip!"
Today is Wednesday, January 12th, 2011; Karen's Korner #1988|
Today is the day one year ago that a devastating earthquake hit the country of Haiti; more than 230,000 people died and 1.3 million residents remain displaced.
Our local Catholic cluster (with church families in Belmond, Clarion, and Eagle Grove) are requesting that people pause for 35 seconds (length of time of the earthquake) at 3:53 p.m. today: to ring bells, to pray, or for those moments of silence to remember.
People from these local churches have more than a casual interest in Haiti: they adopted a community a number of years ago there; built a school in the town; and delegations have traveled Haiti multiple times to work and conduct medical clinics.
Mark your day planners for this afternoon at 3: 53 p.m. today!
Answer me when I call to you,
my righteous God.
Give me relief from my distress;
have mercy on me and hear my prayer.
Offer the sacrifices of the righteous
and trust in the LORD.
Fill my heart with joy ...
In peace I will lie down and sleep,
for you alone, LORD,
make me dwell in safety.
~ Psalm 4 (in part)
Today is Thursday, January 13th, 2011; Karen's Korner #1989|
Some thoughts from Joel and Victoria Osteen:
He Set the Course for Victory
"He holds victory in store for the upright, He is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for He guards the course of the just and protects the way of His faithful ones" (Proverbs 2:7-8, NIV).
"Are you facing a challenge or difficulty that seems overwhelming? When you stand strong and remain faithful to God, He promises to set your course for victory! And victory doesn´t necessarily mean everything is going to go our way all the time or work out the way we planned.
"The Bible says that the real battle we face isn´t in our circumstances, it´s in our minds. The enemy is after your thoughts. He´s after your peace and joy. He knows that when you have peace, it´s a sign that you are connected to the Father. When you hold on to your peace and choose to be joyful, you are walking in victory, and it´s just a matter of time before your circumstances line up!
"Remember, God knew every person who would wrong you, and He´s already laid out your vindication. God knew every disappointment, and He´s already laid out new opportunities. God knew everything that would be stolen, and He has already laid out your restoration. Rejoice today knowing that He has set your course for victory in every area of your life!
"Father in heaven, thank You for the victory You have in store for me. I choose to be faithful; I choose to walk humbly before You. I stand in faith knowing You are working all things together for my good because You love me. In Jesus´ Name. Amen."
Today is Friday, January 14th, 2011; Karen's Korner #1990|
Today is a good day to praise God; every day is!
You might be saying to yourself, "Easy for you to say. Everything is good right for you!"
Not true; not true for anyone. There is always something which we would like to have be going better/different.
Praising God daily is a choice: one of blessing to Him; one to improve our own thinking/emotional/spiritual health.
It is written by King David:
Psalm 66 (NIV)
Shout for joy to God, all the earth!
Sing the glory of his name;
make his praise glorious.
Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds!
So great is your power
that your enemies cringe before you.
All the earth bows down to you;
they sing praise to you,
they sing the praises of your name.”
Come and see what God has done,
his awesome deeds for mankind!
He turned the sea into dry land,
they passed through the waters on foot—
come, let us rejoice in him.
He rules forever by his power,
his eyes watch the nations—
let not the rebellious rise up against him.
Praise our God, all peoples,
let the sound of his praise be heard;
he has preserved our lives
and kept our feet from slipping.
For you, God, tested us;
you refined us like silver.
You brought us into prison
and laid burdens on our backs.
You let people ride over our heads;
we went through fire and water,
but you brought us to a place of abundance.
I will come to your temple with burnt offerings
and fulfill my vows to you—
vows my lips promised and my mouth spoke
when I was in trouble.
I will sacrifice fat animals to you
and an offering of rams;
I will offer bulls and goats.
Come and hear, all you who fear God;
let me tell you what he has done for me.
I cried out to him with my mouth;
his praise was on my tongue.
If I had cherished sin in my heart,
the Lord would not have listened;
but God has surely listened
and has heard my prayer.
Praise be to God,
who has not rejected my prayer
or withheld his love from me!
Today is Monday, January 17th, 2011; Karen's Korner #1991|
Today is the 25th anniversary of the celebration of Martin Luther King Jr's birthday.
This writing is taken from "In God We Still Trust", a 365-day devotional, by Dr. Richard G. Lee:
"Set in order the things that are lacking,
and appoint elders in every city
as I commanded you."
~ Titus 1:5
"As a young pastor, Titus faced the difficult assignment of setting in order the church at Crete. Paul advised him to appoint elders, men of proven spiritual character in their homes and businesses, to do the work of the church. In addition, Paul discussed in his letter to Titus that men and women, young and old, all have vital functions to fulfill in the church if they are to be living examples of the doctrine they profess.
"Consider the wisdom of this statement attributed to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the great civil rights leader of the twentieth century: 'Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.' If King did not say it, he certainly lived it. Likewise, Paul told Titus that he could not be silent about the greatest matter in human history: 'the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men' (2:11). Paul charged Titus to 'speak these things, exhort, and rebuke with all authority.' (2:15)
"Father in heaven, please grant me wisdom and courage to speak about Your great and gracious plan of salvation. Keep from me a spirit of fear or timidity. And, by the power of Your Spirit, go before me to soften hearts and open minds to Your truth.
"'My soul finds rest in God alone' my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress. I will never be shaken' (Psalm 62:1-2)."
Taken from an Iowa agency on volunteerism:
"Everybody can be great. Because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve.... You don't have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love."
—Martin Luther King, Jr.
DON’T FORGET!! Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday has become one of the biggest national days of service by using one simple guiding principle: “Make it a day ON, not a day off!”
Today is Tuesday, January 18th, 2011; Karen's Korner #1992|
Our Sunday School classes have been studying the book of Hebrews for the past fall/winter months. Sunday was the last week, as we looked at the final chapter: number 13.
Here are a few verses from it:
"Stay away from the love of money;
be satisfied with what you have.
For God has said,
'I will never, never fail you nor forsake you.
That is why we can say without a doubt or fear.
'The Lord is my Helper
and I am not afraid of anything
that mere man can do to me.'
Remember your leaders who have taught you
the Word of God.
Think of all the good that has come from their lives,
and try to trust the Lord as they do."
~ Hebrews 13:5-7 LB
Bible Commentary: We are contented when we realize God's sufficiency for our needs. Christians today who become materialistic are saying with their lives that God can't take care of them--or at least won't take care of them the way they want. Insecurity can lead to the love of money, whether we are rich or poor. The only antidote is to trust God to met all our needs.
If you are a Christian, you owe much to others who have taught you and modeled for you what you needed to know about the gospel and living the Christian life. Continue following the good examples of those who have invested a part of themselves in you. A part of following their example is to pass on the faith to others--to invest your life through evangelism, service, and Christian education.
Today is Wednesday, January 19th, 2011; Karen's Korner #1993|
A couple of short thoughts shared by Shirley Choat, a number of weeks ago.
"Often when we need others most, we tend to pull back. It is happening today as Christians, discouraged by the economy and other factors, stay away from the local church. The best place for Christians to be encouraged and motivated in difficult times is with the corporate
Body of Christ."
~ Dr. David Jeremiah
Hebrews 10:24-25: "Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of His return is drawing near."
"I love Thy kingdom, LORD,
The house of Thine abode,
The Church our blest Redeemer saved
With His own precious blood."
Today is Thursday, January 20th, 2011; Karen's Korner #1994|
Last week I decided to clean the carpets in our dining and television rooms; cleaning half of each room, each day, as we moved furniture to one side of the room to the other.
On the second day, our year-and-a-half dog Rocky, who lives in our house when we are home and outside when we are not, decided to 'wee' on the dining room carpet near our marble-topped chest. The next day, he did the same thing next to our computer desk.
His was not normal behavior; the good thing was that I still had the carpet cleaner out.
Needless to say, I was not/am not happy to have a 'betsy-wetsy' dog in our house.
We really love our dog, but he isn't going to be allowed to have such behavior and live with us in our house. He is spending more time outside, at least for now.
How can we be so judgmental?
Easy; we make the rules for our house. Piddling in it by animals isn't on it.
Sometimes all of us have heard, others say (or said it ourselves), "How can a loving God be so judgmental?"
Easy; it is His Kingdom. Not ours. Some behaviors are not allowed in 'His House'; He drives what is and is not acceptable.
Jesus said, "If anyone hears me and doesn't obey me, I am not his judge--for I have come to save the world and not judge it. But all who reject me and my message will be judged at the Day of Judgment by the truths I have spoken. For these are not my own ideas, but I have told you what the Father said to tell you. And I know that His instructions lead to eternal life...." (John 12:47-49 LB).
And commenting on Jesus' words: "The purpose of Jesus' first mission on earth was not to judge people but to show them the way to find salvation and eternal life. When He comes again, one of His main purposes will be to judge people for how they lived on earth. On the Day of Judgment, those who lived Jesus' way will be raised to eternal life; those who rejected Jesus and lived any way they pleased will face eternal punishment. Decide now which side you'll be on, for the consequences of your decision last forever."
Today is Friday, January 21st, 2011; Karen's Korner #1995|
Several more nuggets of wisdom from Mother Teresa:
"Within the church some do one thing,
others do a different thing.
What is important is that all of us remain united,
each one of us developing his/her own specific task.
"To possess God we must allow him
to possess our souls. How poor we would be
if God had not given us the power of giving
ourselves to him; how rich we are now!
"We shall not waste our time in looking
for extraordinary experiences in our life but
live by pure faith, ever watchful and ready
for his coming by doing our day-to-day
duties with extraordinary love and devotion.
"Bring prayer in your family, bring it to your
little children. Teach them to pray.
For a child that prays is a happy child.
A family that prays is a united family.
""In loving and serving, we prove that we have
been created in the likeness of God,
for God is love and when we love we are like God.
This is what Jesus meant when he said,
'Be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect.'
"Gandhi once said that if Christians
were really Christians, there would be no
Hindus in India. People expect us to
fully live our Christian life."
Today is Monday, January 24th, 2011; Karen's Korner #1996|
First day of the week, a good opportunity to share a couple of 'Holy Humor' items, taken from an email forwarded by Mariel Betts:
A Sunday School teacher began her lesson with a question, "Boys and girls, what do we know about God?"
A hand shot up in the air. "He is an artist!" said the kindergarten boy.
"Really? How do you know?" the teacher asked.
"You know - Our Father, who does art in Heaven... "
People want the front of the bus, the back of the church, and the center of attention.
Sunday after church, a Mom asked her very young daughter what the lesson was about.
The daughter answered, "Don't be scared, you'll get your quilt."
Needless to say, the Mom was perplexed. Later in the day, the pastor stopped by for tea and the Mom asked him what that morning's Sunday school lesson was about.
He said "Be not afraid, thy comforter is coming."
The minister was preoccupied with thoughts of how he was going to ask the congregation to come up with more money than they were expecting for repairs to the church building. Therefore, he was annoyed to find that the regular organist was sick and a substitute had been brought in at the last minute. The substitute wanted to know what to play.
"Here's a copy of the service," he said impatiently. "But, you'll have to think of something to play after I make the announcement about the finances."
During the service, the minister paused and said, "Brothers and Sisters, we are in great difficulty; the roof repairs cost twice as much as we expected and we need $4,000 more. Any of you who can pledge $100 or more, please stand up."
At that moment, the substitute organist played "The Star Spangled Banner."
And that is how the substitute became the regular organist!
And something forwarded to us by Jana Burkheimer (we had just heard about this from my sister and brother-in-law a few hours before):
This year we will experience 4 unusual dates....
1/1/11, 1/11/11, 11/1/11,
NOW go figure this out ....
take the last 2 digits of the year you were born
plus the age you will be this year,
and it WILL EQUAL .... 111!
NO MATTER HOW YOU DO IT, IT'S 111 .... Strange!!
Today is Tuesday, January 25th, 2011; Karen's Korner #1997|
Something forwarded to me yesterday by Jerry Temeyer; he asked if I had seen it before. I hadn't:
Ever wonder what would happen if we treated our Bible like we treat our cell phone?
What if we carried it around in our purses or pockets?
What if we flipped through it several time a day?
What if we turned back to go get it if we forgot it?
What if we used it to receive messages from the text?
What if we treated it like we couldn't live without it?
What if we gave it to kids as gifts?
What if we used it when we traveled?
What if we used it in case of emergency?
This is something to make you go....hmm...where is my Bible?
Oh, and one more thing.
Unlike our cell phone, we don't have to worry about our Bible being
Disconnected because Jesus already paid the bill.
Makes you stop and think 'where are my priorities'? And no dropped calls!
When Jesus died for us, he was thinking of you!
God blesses those who bless Him;
we praise You, Heavenly Father!
Today is Wednesday, January 26th, 2011; Karen's Korner #1998|
(In part, The Message translation)
"Hallelujah! It's a good thing to sing praise to our God;
praise is beautiful, praise is fitting.
He heals the heartbroken
and bandages their wounds.
He counts the stars
and assigns each a name.
Our Lord is great, with limitless strength;
we'll never comprehend what he knows and does.
God puts the fallen on their feet again
and pushes the wicked into the ditch.
Sing to God a thanksgiving hymn,
play music on your instruments to God,
Who fills the sky with clouds,
preparing rain for the earth,
Then turning the mountains green with grass,
feeding both cattle and crows.
He's not impressed with horsepower;
the size of our muscles means little to him.
Those who fear God get God's attention;
they can depend on his strength.
He keeps the peace at your borders,
he puts the best bread on your tables.
He launches his promises earthward—
how swift and sure they come!
He spreads snow like a white fleece,
he scatters frost like ashes,
He broadcasts hail like birdseed—
who can survive his winter?
Then he gives the command and it all melts;
he breathes on winter—suddenly it's spring!
Today is Thursday, January 27th, 2011; Karen's Korner #1999|
We received this email from a friend yesterday; didn't check to see if it is a true story or not. Also I can't recall if had seen it before or not. At any rate, I think you will enjoy it; grab a tissue. It is rather lengthy:
The Folded Napkin - A Trucker Stop Story.
If this doesn't light your fire, your wood is wet!
I try not to be biased, but I had my doubts about hiring Stevie. His placement counselor assured me that he would be a good, reliable busboy. But I had never had a mentally handicapped employee and wasn't sure I wanted one. I wasn't sure how my customers would react to Stevie.
He was short, a little dumpy with the smooth facial features and thick-tongued speech of Downs Syndrome.I wasn't worried about most of my trucker customers because truckers don't generally care who buses tables as long as the meatloaf platter is good and the pies are homemade.
The ones who concerned me were the mouthy college kids traveling to school; the yuppie snobs who secretly polish their silverware with their napkins for fear of catching some dreaded 'truck stop germ'; the pairs of white-shirted business men on expense accounts who think every truck stop waitress wants to be flirted with. I knew those people would be uncomfortable around Stevie so I closely watched him for the first few weeks...
I shouldn't have worried. After the first week, Stevie had my staff wrapped around his stubby little finger, and within a month my truck regulars had adopted him as their official truck stop mascot.
After that, I really didn't care what the rest of the customers thought of him. He was like a 21-year-old in blue jeans and Nikes, eager to laugh and eager to please, but fierce in his attention to his duties. Every salt and peppershaker was exactly in its place. Not a breadcrumb or coffee spill was visible when Stevie got done with the table.
Our only problem was persuading him to wait to clean a table until after the customers were finished. He would hover in the background, shifting his weight from one foot to the other, scanning the dining room until a table was empty. Then he would scurry to the empty table and carefully bus dishes and glasses onto his cart and meticulously wipe the table up
with a practiced flourish of his rag.
If he thought a customer was watching, his brow would pucker with added concentration. He took pride in doing his job exactly right, and you had to love how hard he tried to please each and every person he met.
Over time, we learned that he lived with his mother, a widow who was disabled after repeated surgeries for cancer. They lived on their Social Security benefits in public housing two miles from the truck stop. Their social worker, who stopped to check on him every so often, admitted they had fallen between the cracks. Money was tight, and what I paid him
was probably the difference between them being able to live together and Stevie being sent to a group home. That's why the restaurant was a gloomy place that morning last August, the first morning in three years that Stevie missed work.
He was at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester getting a new valve or something put in his heart. His social worker said that people with Downs Syndrome often have heart problems at an early age so this wasn't unexpected, and there was a good chance he would come through the surgery in good shape and be back at work in a few months.
A ripple of excitement ran through the staff later that morning when word came that he was out of surgery, in recovery, and doing fine Frannie, the head waitress, let out a war hoop and did a little dance in the aisle when she heard the good news. Bell Ringer, one of our regular trucker customers, stared at the sight of this 50-year-old grandmother of four doing a victory shimmy beside his table. Frannie blushed, smoothed her apron and shot Bell Ringer a withering look.
He grinned. 'OK, Frannie, what was that all about?' he asked..
'We just got word that Stevie is out of surgery and going to be okay.'
'I was wondering where he was. I had a new joke to tell him. What was the surgery about?'
Frannie quickly told Bell Ringer and the other two drivers sitting at his booth about Stevie's surgery then sighed: 'Yeah, I'm glad he is going to be OK,' she said. 'But I don't know how he and his Mom are going to handle all the bills. From what I hear, they're barely getting by as it is.' Bell Ringer nodded thoughtfully, and Frannie hurried off to wait on the rest of her tables. Since I hadn't had time to round up a busboy to replace Stevie and really didn't want to replace him, the girls were busing their own tables that day until we decided what to do.
After the morning rush, Frannie walked into my office. She had a couple of paper napkins in her hand and a funny look on her face.
'What's up?' I asked.
'I didn't get that table where Bell Ringer and his friends were sitting cleared off after they left, and Pony Pete and Tony
Tipper were sitting there when I got back to clean it off,' she said. 'This was folded and tucked under a coffee cup.'
She handed the napkin to me, and three $20 bills fell onto my desk when I opened it. On the outside, in big, bold letters, was printed 'Something For Stevie'.
'Pony Pete asked me what that was all about,' she said, 'so I told him about Stevie and his Mom and everything, and Pete looked at Tony and Tony looked at Pete, and they ended up giving me this.'
She handed me another paper napkin that had 'Something For Stevie' scrawled on its outside. Two $50 bills were tucked within its folds.Frannie looked at me with wet, shiny eyes, shook her head and said simply: 'Truckers!!'
That was three months ago. Today is Thanksgiving, the first day Stevie is supposed to be back to work. His placement worker said he's been counting the days until the doctor said he could work, and it didn't matter at all that it was a
holiday. He called ten times in the past week, making sure we knew he was coming, fearful that we had forgotten him or that his job was in jeopardy.
I arranged to have his mother bring him to work. I then met them in the parking lot and invited them both to celebrate his day back.
Stevie was thinner and paler, but couldn't stop grinning as he pushed through the doors and headed for the back room where his apron and busing cart were waiting
'Hold up there, Stevie, not so fast,' I said. I took him and his mother by their arms. 'Work can wait for a minute. To celebrate you coming back, breakfast for you and your mother is on me!' I led them toward a large corner booth at the rear of the room.
I could feel and hear the rest of the staff following behind as we marched through the dining room. Glancing over my shoulder, I saw booth after booth of grinning truckers empty and join the procession. We stopped in front of the big table. Its surface was covered with coffee cups, saucers and dinner plates, all sitting slightly crooked on dozens of folded paper napkins 'First thing you have to do, Stevie, is clean up this mess,' I said. I tried to sound stern.
Stevie looked at me, and then at his mother, then pulled out one of the napkins. It had 'Something for Stevie' printed on the outside. As he picked it up, two $10 bills fell onto the table.
Stevie stared at the money, then at all the napkins peeking from beneath the tableware, each with his name printed or scrawled on it. I turned to his mother. 'There's more than $10,000 in cash and checks on that table, all from truckers and trucking companies that heard about your problems. 'Happy Thanksgiving.'
Well, it got real noisy about that time, with everybody hollering and shouting, and there were a few tears, as well. But you know what's funny? While everybody else was busy shaking hands and hugging each other, Stevie, with a big, big smile on his face, was busy clearing all the cups and dishes from the table....
Best worker I ever hired.
Today is Friday, January 28th, 2011; Karen's Korner #2000|
Wow! Here we are at 2000 Karen's Korners!
Time to take a minute to walk down 'memory lane'.
I started to write Karen's Korner in March 2003. I write items, share what others have written, send a pass-along, or snag a few verses from the Bible which I happen to find meaningful around the time I send out a Karen's Korner. They are only sent on weekdays, except for the times we are on vacation or I have a computer malfunction.
The main reason I started was that God had been very real to me at the time Merry was killed and I wanted to type what He seemed to be telling me, before they were lost from my memory.
Many probably think that I am doing these as a service to others. When any of you email me or tell me how meaningful something I have written or shared is to you, I am blessed and thankful. But it is me who receives the biggest blessing, as it keeps my mind and heart focused on God and His Love and Help. Otherwise I am afraid I would have a bigger challenge in allowing life to cause me to wander.
A big thank you to our son-in-law Tim who designed my Karen's Korner web site: www.karens-korner.com . Emails are sent from it. Every Karen's Korner is archived there. If you have a favorite, you might be able to find it in the 'files'. If you know the date or number, you could retrieve it by either typing in the number or going to 'archives' and clicking on the particular month. If you can recall a prominent word or two, you could type it in the box titled 'search' and see if it would come up.
So I am thankful; some of you have been along for the ride for all of the years. Others of you are relatively new readers. Thanks to both groups of readers.
Several mornings ago when I woke up, I just felt such a sense of joy and hope and peace. I tried to think what was coming up or going on. Nothing special; not going any place. Not working on anything. Not meeting anyone. Where was that coming from? Had to be a 'God thing'.
You never know what a day might bring; might bring bad news or good news. Who would know for sure?
One thing I have learned and many of us know: God will be there - good or bad!
A Bible verse that I have shared in 'korners' more than once was a gift that God to me when Jim was in the hospital not knowing where he could have bypass surgery or not in the fall of 1976:
"I want you to trust me in your times of trouble,
for I will rescue you,
and you will give me glory."
~ Psalm 50:15
A few days later, doctors said they wanted to try the 'then pretty experimental type' surgery; and it was a success.
But it isn't just in those times. When Merry was killed, God again rescued me. Not from the tragedy nor from what was happening to me in the physical realm. But in the spiritual realm. We are always rescued.
I am a different person because of Him.
"This is the day that the Lord has made,
I will rejoice and be glad in it!"
- Psalm 118:24
Today is Monday, January 31st, 2011; Karen's Korner #2001|
Yesterday was our church sermon #3 on various aspects of fear; good topic. It has to be on our minds often. If we escape, chances are pretty good there will be something lurking just around the corner that causes us to be 'afraid'. If it isn't something about it us, it will be something happening to someone else in our world:
"So my counsel (Jesus is speaking):
'Don't worry about things -- food, drink, and clothes.
For you already have life and a body --
and they are far more important than what to eat and wear.
Look at the birds!
They don't worry about what to eat --
they don't need to sow or reap or store up food --
for your heavenly Father feeds them.
And you are far more valuable to him than they are.
Will all your worries add a single moment to your life?'"
~ Matthew 6:25-27 LB
Bible Commentary: Because of all its ill effects, Jesus tells us not to worry about those needs that God promises to supply. How many ill are you experiencing? Worry (1) affects you physically--making you unable to sleep or eat; (2) causes the object of your worry to consume your thoughts, (3) disrupts your productivity; (4) negatively affects the way you treat others; (5) reduces your ability to trust in God. Here is the difference between worry and genuine concern-- worry immobilizes, but concern moves you to action.
Father in Heaven, we want to trust You. We want to believe You and believe in You, but we are human and sometimes we can't get that done, so we ask for Your Help to trust You, to allow You to guide us. You have stood the test of time and have not let us down. You have always done what you said You will do. Free us from worry and fear. Today is a day that we choose to celebrate! We ask these things in Jesus' Name. Amen.