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April 2004 Archives

Printable Issue 264  Today is Thursday, April 1st, 2004; Karen's Korner #264

 Don't let anyone catch you in an April Fool's joke!!

 Several weeks ago we looked and words in a 1880 copy of Noah Webster's Student Dictionary. Were they there? What did they mean more than one hundred years ago?

I asked at that time, if anyone had words which they would like to see defined from 1880 to let me know.* 

Diana Barron had a list of 14 words, so we will look at the definitions together:

integrity - wholeness, uprightness, purity.

humility - lowness of mind, modesty.

truth - conformity to reality or fact; fidelity; voracity; honesty; an established priciple.

 

lie - a false statement uttered to deceive; a falsehood.

responsibility - liability to answer or pay.

discipline - education and government; order; rule; to instruct and govern; regulate; capable of instruction.

love - to regard with affection; an affection excited by beauty or whatever is pleasing; attachment; fondness; yearning.

faith - belief; object of belief; creed; fidelity; promise given.

wisdom - knowledge and the capacity to make due use of it; prudence; sagacity (quick discernment).

compassion - pity; mercy.

courtesy - politeness; civility.

creativity - having the power to create (bring into existence);

leader - one who leads (go before, guide, direct);

counselor - one who gives advice; lawyer.

 * If you didn't get that Karen's Korner or can't recall it, please let me know and I will get you a copy!
Printable Issue 265  Today is Friday, April 2nd, 2004; Karen's Korner #265

This is a "Chicken Soup for the Soul" which I received via email a month ago today:

You Can Do Anything!
By Susan M. Goldberg

I was a twenty-year-old nursing student in 1968, preparing for a rotation through the pediatric unit. Compared to cardiac units or the operating room, how hard would this be? After all, I'd always cared for and played with children. This rotation would be a snap. I'd breeze right through it and be one step closer to graduation.

Chris was an eight-year-old bundle of energy who excelled in every sport he played. Disobeying his parents' instructions, he explored a neighbor's construction site, climbed a ladder and fell. His broken arm was casted too tightly, leading to infection, sepsis and gangrene. Sadly, his condition required amputation.

I was assigned as his postoperative nurse.

The first few days passed quickly. I provided Chris's physical care with forced cheerfulness. His parents stayed with him around the clock.

As his need for medication decreased, his level of awareness increased, as did his moodiness. When I saw how alert he seemed as he watched me bring in supplies for a sponge bath, I offered him the washcloth and suggested he take over. He washed his face and neck, then quit. I finished.

The next day, I announced he'd be in charge of his whole bath. He balked. I insisted. He was more than halfway through when he slumped down and said, "I'm too tired."

"You won't be in the hospital much longer," I urged gently. "You need to learn to take care of yourself."

"Well, I can't," he scowled. "How can I do anything with just one hand?"

Putting on my brightest face, I groped for a silver lining. Finally I said, "Sure you can do it, Chris. At least you have your right hand."

He turned his face away and muttered, "I'm left-handed. At least I used to be." He glared at me. "Now what?"

Suddenly, I didn't feel so snappy. I felt phony and insincere, and not very helpful. How could I have taken right-handedness for granted? It seemed he and I both had a lot to learn.

The next morning I greeted Chris with a big smile and a rubber band. He looked at me suspiciously. Wrapping the rubber band loosely around my wrist, I said, "You're left-handed and I'm right-handed. I am going to put my right hand behind my back and keep it there by winding the rubber band around my uniform buttons. Every time I ask you to do something with your right hand, I will do it first, with my left hand. And I promise not to practice before I see you. What should we try first?"

"I just woke up," he grumbled. "I need to brush my teeth."

I managed to screw the top off the toothpaste, then placed his toothbrush on the overbed table. Awkwardly, I tried to squirt toothpaste onto the woobly toothbrush. The harder I struggled, the more interested he became. After almost ten minutes, and a lot of wasted toothpaste, I succeeded.

"I can do it faster than that!" Chris declared. And when he did, his triumphant grin was just as real as mine.

The next two weeks passed quickly. We tackled his daily activities with enthusiasm and a competitive spirit. We buttoned his shirts, buttered his bread and never really mastered tying his shoes. Despite our age difference, we were playing a game as equal competitors.

By the time my rotation ended, he was almost ready for discharge, and ready to face the world with more confidence. We hugged each other good-bye with sincere friendship and tears.

More than thirty years have passed since our time together. I've encountered some ups and downs in my life, but I've never let a physical challenge pass without thinking of Chris and wondering how he would cope. Sometimes I put a hand behind my back, hook my thumb in my belt and give it a try.

And anytime I feel sorry for myself, for some petty grievance or another, I take myself into the bathroom and try once again to brush my teeth with my left hand.
Printable Issue 266  Today is Monday, April 5th, 2004; Karen's Korner #266

My oldest sister, Jan, tells that when her first grandchild was born 18 years ago, she couldn't take her eyes off of her.

 

"When Ashley was born, I watched her all the time," she said. "The whole family would make comments, like, 'Mom can't get anything done now. She has to watch Ashley!'  It was true! I couldn't get enough of simply looking at her...whether she was asleep or awake; doing something or doing nothing.  It didn't matter."

 

Our grandson, Luke, is two months old today. And the trait must not fall from the tree, because I am finding myself doing the same thing Jan did when Luke is around.

 

The other day I thought, "This is exactly what God does to each one of us as His Children. He is filled with love and joy for each one of us as His Creation."

 

To date, Luke hasn't done much to receive that kind of adulation from his mom and dad; grandparents or other family members.  He simply gets it because of our love for Him, as we happily welcome him into our family.

 

Same thing for us, as God welcomes us into His family. He can't take His eyes off of us!!

 

When we compare what God has done and does do for us, to what we have done for Him, we come up on the short end of the stick!

 

(Before Luke was born, dad built a "Luke" web site. It used to get lots of entries. There haven't been in new photos on it for one month until today...if you have time and are interested, the web address is http://champ.home.mchsi.com/. Click on gallery, newest photos are at the end!)

 

Psalms 149:4 - "For the Lord takes pleasure in His people; He adorns the humble (meek, not proud) with victory."

Printable Issue 267  Today is Tuesday, April 6th, 2004; Karen's Korner #267

A couple of short thoughts and a joke:

 

Shared by Kim Lee, from her daily calendar last week:

 

It's a wonderful world, and it always will be if we keep our eyes open and focused to see the wonderful things man is capable of when he opens his heart to God and His love.

     ~~~ Helen Steiner Rice

 

**

 

From the day you were born till you ride in a hearse, 
there's nothing so bad but it might have been worse.
   -- American Proverb 

**

The greatest discovery of my generation is that a 
 human being can alter his life by altering his 
attitude.
    -- William James

 

**

 

  Subject: How do you get to heaven?

 I was testing the children in my Sunday school class
to  see if they understood the concept of getting to
heaven.
 
 I asked them, "If I sold my house and my car, had a
big garage sale and gave all my money to the church,
would that get me into Heaven?"

  "NO!" the children answered.
 
 "If I cleaned the church every day, mowed the yard,
and kept everything neat and tidy, would that get me
into Heaven?"

 Again, the answer was, "NO!"

 By now I was starting to smile. Hey, this was fun!
 "Well, then, if I was kind to animals and gave candy
to  all the children, and loved my husband, would that
get me  into Heaven?" I asked them again.

 Again, they all answered, "NO!"

 I was just bursting with pride for them.
Well, I continued, "then how can I get into Heaven?"
A five-year-old boy shouted out, 
"YOU GOTTA BE DEAD." 
Printable Issue 268  Today is Wednesday, April 7th, 2004; Karen's Korner #268

Have you ever had things come into your life which you respond, "I can't!" or "That's impossible!"  Or maybe that is your thought response.

 

A quote which I read one time:

 

"God's comments, 'You have never made it happen in the past; you can't make it happen today; and you can't make it happen in the future.'"

 

 

That is why He likes to call us 'His Children!'  He knows there are way too many things which are happening and can happen to us.....and we can't handle them!

 

He wants to take care of all of our life's situations and He wants very much to take care of us!
Printable Issue 269  Today is Thursday, April 8th, 2004; Karen's Korner #269

This was forwarded to me by Vicky Boyington; appropriate for Easter, I think, as today is Maundy Thursday:

 

MY ATTORNEY


After living what I felt was a "decent" life, my time on earth came to the end. The first thing I remember is sitting on a bench in the waiting room of that I thought to be a court house. The doors opened and I was instructed
to come in and have a seat by the defense table.


As I looked around I saw the "prosecutor." He was a villainous looking gent who snarled as he stared at me. He definitely was the most evil person I have ever seen.  I sat down and looked to my left and there sat My Attorney, a kind and gentle looking man whose appearance seemed so familiar to me, I felt I
knew Him.


 

The corner door flew open and there appeared the Judge in full flowing robes. He commanded an awesome presence as He moved across the room. I couldn't take my eyes off of Him. As He took His seat behind the bench, He said, "Let us begin."


 

The prosecutor rose and said, "My name is Satan and I am here to show you why this sinner belongs in hell." He proceeded to tell of lies that I told, things that I stole, and in the past when I cheated others. Satan told of other horrible perversions that were once in my life and the more he spoke, the further down in my seat I sank. I was so embarrassed that I couldn't look at anyone, even my own Attorney, as the Devil told of sins that even I had completely forgotten about. As upset as I was at Satan for telling all these things about me, I was equally upset at My Attorney who sat there silently not offering any form of defense at all. I know I had been guilty of those things, but I had done some good in my life - couldn't that at least equal out part of the harm I'd done?

 

Satan finished with a fury and said, "This sinner belongs in hell, and is guilty of all that I have charged and there is not a person who can prove otherwise."

When it was His turn, My Attorney first asked if He might approach the bench. The Judge allowed this over the strong objection of Satan, and beckoned Him to come forward.

 

As He got up and started walking, I was able to see Him in His full splendor and majesty. I realized why He seemed so familiar; this was Jesus representing me, my Lord and my Savior. He stopped at the bench and softly said to the Judge, "Hi, Dad," and then He turned to address the court. "Satan was correct in saying that this man had sinned, I won't deny any of these allegations. And, yes, the wage of sin is death, and this sinner deserves to be punished."

 

 Jesus took a deep breath and turned to His Father with outstretched arms and proclaimed, "However, I died on the cross so that this person might have eternal life and he has accepted Me as his Savior, so he is Mine."


My Lord continued with, "His name is written in the book of life and no one can snatch him from Me. Satan still does not understand yet. This man is not to be given justice, but rather mercy."

 

As Jesus sat down, He quietly paused, looked at His Father and said, "There is nothing else that needs to be done. I've done it all."

 

The Judge lifted His mighty hand and slammed the gavel down. The following words resounded from His lips... "This man is free. The penalty for him has already been paid in full. Case dismissed."

 

As my Lord embraced me and led me away, I could hear Satan ranting and raving, "I won't give up, I will win the next one."  I asked Jesus as He gave me my instructions where to go next, "

Have you ever lost a case?" Christ lovingly smiled and said, "Everyone that has come to Me and asked Me to represent them has received the same verdict as you,
"PAID IN FULL."



Count your blessings, not your problems.
Printable Issue 270  Today is Friday, April 9th, 2004; Karen's Korner #270

Our minister, Tim Platt, said last night that today is Good Friday, "Not good" for Jesus, but "good" for us!

 

Matthew 27:45-46; 50-52: 

 

"That afternoon, the whole earth was covered with darkness for three hours, from noon until three o'clock.

 

About three o'clock, Jesus shouted, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"

 

Then Jesus shouted out again, dismissed his spirit, and died.

 

And look! The curtain secluding the Holiest Place in the Temple was split apart from top to bottom; and the earth shook, and the rocks broke, and tombs opened, and many godly men and women who had died cam back to life again."

 

Commentary of verses 52,53:  Christ's death was accompanied by at least four miraculous events:  darkness, the splitting of the curtain in the Temple, an earthquake, and dead people rising from their tombs. Jesus' death, therefore, could not have gone unnoticed. Everyone knew something significant had happened.

Printable Issue 271  Today is Monday, April 12th, 2004; Karen's Korner #271

Yesterday we celebrated Easter. If we would have lived at the time, this might have been today's headlines after Jesus was crucified:

 

Mark 16:9 - 14:  "It was early on Sunday morning when Jesus came back to life, and the first person who saw Him was Mary Magdalene--the woman from whom He had cast out seven demons. She found the disciples wet-eyed with grief and exclaimed that she had seen Jesus, and He was alive. But they didn't believe her!

    Later that day He appeared to two who were walking from Jerusalem into the country, but they didn't recognize Him at first because He had changed His appearance. When they finally realized who He was, they rushed back to Jerusalem to tell the others, but no on believed them.

    Still later He appeared to the eleven disciples as they were eating together. He rebuked them for their unbelief--their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen Him alive from the dead."

 

Commentary - "When the two men finally realized who Jesus was they rushed back to Jerusalem. It's not enough to read about Christ as a personality or to study His teaching. By believing that He is God, you trust Him to save you and accept Him as Lord of your life. This is the difference between knowing Jesus and knowing about Him. Only when you know Him will you be motivated to share with others what He has done for you.

    Jesus told His disciples to 'go into all the world' telling everyone He paid the penalty for sin and that those who believe in Him can be forgiven and live eternally with God. Christian disciples today are living in all parts of the world, telling this good news to people who haven't heard it. The driving power that carries missionaries around the world and sets Christ's church in motion is the faith that comes from the resurrection. Do you ever feel you don't have the skill or determination to be a witness for Christ? You must personally realize that Jesus rose from the dead and lives for you today. As you grow in your relationship with Him, He will provide you with both the opportunities and the inner strength to tell His message."
Printable Issue 272  Today is Tuesday, April 13th, 2004; Karen's Korner #272

Here is a wonderful "Chicken Soup for the Soul" email:

 

Casey
By Kati Dori

His older brother, Justin, was just getting over chicken pox on Casey's second birthday. Poor Justin missed the party while he was quarantined from the other kids. Casey loved his brother and took each gift he opened upstairs to let Justin play with it. After cutting the cake, Casey took the first piece up to his brother. In fact, he spent most of his birthday going up and down the stairs to Justin's room.

Casey had the cutest lisp when he talked, and he stuttered when he was excited. His blond hair lay in wisps across his forehead, and his smile could warm the coldest heart. He was so innocent. No one could have predicted what was about to happen to this precious child.

One week following his birthday, Casey was plastered with nasty red spots, and then he spiked a fever. He was flat in bed, unable to keep any food or fluids down, becoming more and more dehydrated every minute. It was a Sunday night and I couldn't break his 105-degree fever. I rushed him to the emergency room.

The doctor told me Casey was just going through a normal reaction to chicken pox and sent us home, against my better judgment. The next day, Casey was almost lifeless, and he was admitted to the hospital with severe dehydration and an internal infection from his chicken pox.

I sat by my mother, tears flowing down my face, as she lifted my son and all his tubes into my arms. I felt weak and numb all over. Casey briefly opened his eyes, looked into mine and drifted off again. The doctor told us that Casey's chicken pox had caused a poison in his bloodstream and they were unsure what to do, except continue intravenous (IV) fluids and antibiotics, and try to keep his fever under control. The nurses rolled a bed into his room to enable me to stay with him. I was awake all night holding my precious boy.

In the morning the doctor came in to check Casey again. Four nurses followed and hooked up more wires to my son. Casey was unresponsive, though everyone tried waking him. I kept looking at the heart monitor which would speed up and slow down, then speed up again.

The doctor started making more frequent visits and the nurses were in constantly. Later that evening, the doctor told me Casey was slipping into a coma. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. For the next four days, I never left Casey's side. I didn't even go home to shower and change my clothes. There was just no improvement. Family members drifted in and out. My mother was there most frequently.

Every moment of every day I prayed for my son's life and health. The doctors were baffled. No one had ever heard of chicken pox making anyone this desperately ill. I noticed on Friday that the heart monitor kept elevating and not decreasing at all. The doctor was called in immediately.

I leaned against the wall in the hallway, emotionally exhausted, as the doctor put his hand on my shoulder. "Lisa," he stated, "Casey's on the verge of heart failure and there's nothing more we can do." I felt my whole body go numb. His voice grew farther away and echoed. "Is there any family you would like to call that's not already here?"

The only person I called was my pastor. Then for the next forty-five minutes, I sat in a daze, rocking my son and staring into his blank, pale, yet peaceful face.

Pastor George walked into the room. His face was sober, but reassuring. My mother took Casey from me so I could get up and greet George. He reached out and put his arms around me as I quietly trembled and sobbed. George then went to Casey, kneeled down and kissed his forehead. All of our family gathered in a circle with Casey still in my mother's arms. We joined hands and George prayed for Casey's recovery. We continued to pray fervently, and then sat as George comforted us.

Twenty minutes later, Casey sneezed. His heart monitor went nuts, and then he opened his eyes for the first time in four days. He smiled and reached up to touch his grandmother's tear-streamed face. My mother nearly screamed with joy. "Hello, my sweet boy!"

Casey looked at me. "Mama." He reached his arms out for me.

"Hi, my baby boy!" I whispered between sobs of joy and relief. "You were sleeping for a long time."

Casey sat up and said, "I'm hungry." His voice was raspy from not speaking for so long. He looked around his room and spotted my half-eaten hoagie. "I want that," he pointed.

The doctor stood in the doorway and exclaimed, "Give him whatever he wants. Hey, big guy!" The doctor just shook his head and smiled. "I don't believe this," he said. He stepped over to Casey and listened to his heart. "Perfect! I have never seen anything like this in my entire medical career. His heart rate is perfect."

It seemed the entire hospital staff was talking about the miracle which happened before their eyes. Nurses kept coming into Casey's room to say hello and kiss him on the cheek.

Two days later, I brought Casey home. Justin was thrilled to see his brother and nearly knocked him down as he came through the door.

Casey has his tenth birthday coming up. He gets straight A's in school, and he and Justin are still extremely close. So if anyone ever doubts that God performs miracles, you tell them to see me.
Printable Issue 273  Today is Wednesday, April 14th, 2004; Karen's Korner #273

A couple of "holy humor" items:

Little Johnny and his family were having Sunday dinner at his
Grandmother's house. Everyone was seated around the table as the food
was being served. When little Johnny received his plate, he started
eating right away. "Johnny wait until we say our prayer." his mother
reminded him.

"I don't have to." The boy replied.

"Of course, you do," his mother insisted. "We say a prayer before
eating at our house"

"That's at our house," Johnny explained. "But this is Grandma's
house, and she knows how to cook"
 

****

There were several more items on this listing forwarded to me by Jessica Fletcher.

I edited for you to read the best ones or items you may not have read before. Enjoy:

 

Let us give thanks for the church ladies who prepare church bulletins and fail to proof their work. The following excerpts actually
appeared in church bulletins, or were read from
bulletins as announcements...

Bertha Belch, a missionary from Africa, will be
speaking tonight at Calvary Methodist. Come hear
Bertha Belch all the way from Africa.

"Ladies, don't forget the rummage sale. It's a
chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping
around the house. Don't forget your husbands."

The peacemaking meeting scheduled for today has
been canceled due to a conflict.

Smile at someone who is hard to love. Say "hell" to
someone who doesn't care much about you.

Don't let worry kill you off...let the Church help.

Next Thursday there will be tryouts for the choir.
They need all the help they can get.

Barbara remains in the hospital and needs blood
donors for more transfusions. She is also having
trouble sleeping and requests tapes of Pastor Jack's
sermons.

Irving Benson and Jessie Carter were married on
October 24 in the church. So ends a friendship that
began in their school days.

Scouts are saving aluminum cans, bottles, and
other items to be recycled.  Proceeds will be used to
cripple children.

The church will host an evening of fine dining,
superb entertainment, and gracious hostility. Potluck
supper is Sunday at 5:00p.m. Prayer and medication will
follow.

Ladies Bible Study will be held Thursday morning
at 10. All ladies are invited to lunch in the
Fellowship Hall after the B.S. is done.

Our next song is "Angels We Have Heard Get High"
Printable Issue 274  Today is Thursday, April 15th, 2004; Karen's Korner #274

I am sure all of us have read the Footprints in the Sand writing. This one, which I received from Shelley Fletcher recently, has a new twist:

FOOTPRINTS...A New Version

Imagine you and the Lord Jesus are walking down the road together. For much of the way, the Lord's footprints go along steadily, consistently, rarely varying the pace. But your footprints are a disorganized stream of zigzags, starts, stops, turnarounds, circles, departures, and returns.

For much of the way, it seems to go like this, but gradually your footprints come more in line with the Lord's, soon paralleling His consistently. You and Jesus are walking as true friends! This seems perfect, but then an interesting thing happens: Your footprints that once etched the sand next to Jesus' are now walking precisely in His steps. Inside His larger footprints are your smaller ones, you and Jesus are becoming one. This goes on for many miles, but gradually you notice another change.

The footprints inside the large footprints seem to grow larger. Eventually they disappear altogether. There is only one set of footprints they have become one. This goes on for a long time, but suddenly the second set of footprints is back. This time it seems even worse! Zigzags all over the place. Stops. Starts. Gashes in the sand. A variable mess of prints. You are amazed and shocked.

Your dream ends.

Now you pray: "Lord, I understand the first scene, with zigzags and fits. I was a new Christian; I was just learning. But You walked on through the storm and helped me learn to walk with You."

"That is correct."

"And when the smaller footprints were inside of Yours, I was actually learning to walk in Your steps, following You very closely."

"Very good. You have understood everything so far."

When the smaller footprints grew and filled in Yours, I suppose that I was becoming like You in every way."

"Precisely."

"So, Lord, was there a regression or something? The footprints separated, and this time it was worse than at first."

There is a pause as the Lord answers, with a smile in His voice. "You didn't know? It was then that we danced!"

 

"To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven: A time to weep, a time to laugh, A time to mourn, and a time to dance."

Ecclesiastes 3:1,4
Printable Issue 275  Today is Friday, April 16th, 2004; Karen's Korner #275

Not long ago, we had a 12-year-old guest stay at our house for several weeks. In that time, we did lots of normal things the Welds were doing.  One of the things in which I was involved was giving a program as part of one of our local church services.

 

This program I have given a couple of dozen times in various locations. It includes lots of boxes illustrating all the gifts God gives all of us as His Children. The gift-wrapped boxes are several sizes and represent all kinds of things like:  gentleness, kindness, power, joy, peace, patience, wisdom. And we can't talk much about God's gifts without including love. That was one of the gifts in the stash as part of my talk.

 

Included in the congregation that Sunday morning was my husband, Jim; our temporary houseguest and one of her friends. I wondered what she might have taken home from the presentation.

 

Yesterday when I was digging through an upstairs closet, I found the little package marked "love". It had been opened to learn what was inside. This peppy little pre-teen is now back to her home. Was it she who opened the gift? Was she looking to find out if there was anything inside?

 

Don't know for sure. All I know is that somebody did!

 

And I thought to myself, "Is that what all of us do?  Do we wonder what love looks like? Do we wonder where to find love?"

 

The Bible is such a gift! It is wrapped up for each one of us directly from God. The gift tag has our name on it. And like my box, it is marked "love". That book just oozes with love and it written just for me! Just for you! 

 

God is waiting for each one of us to eagerly rip off the wrapping, so we can look to find out what's inside. 
Printable Issue 276  Today is Monday, April 19th, 2004; Karen's Korner #276

Many of you who read these daily emails, know that I am a proud member of the Marys and Marthas, a relatively new group of more than 100 gals in Clarion, who meet for one hour per month....come when they can, contribute time and $$ as their calendars and pocketbooks allow. We do magnificent things, as we do what our purpose says, "to become the hearts and hands of Jesus".

 

For a second time, we were the organizing force for Make a Difference Day in Clarion - October 25 last year. The national event attracted 3 million volunteers. We were able to work a total of nearly 1100 hours, using 445 volunteers (due to how we reported our work, volunteers were recorded from 1 - 4 times). Our tasks included painting two houses, delivering soup and cookies to 80 people, a warm clothing free coat drive and distribution, general clean up for individuals who requested it, a wheelchair parade for care center residents, to name but a few.

 

Yesterday, we were recognized by the USA Weekend magazine as one their Honorable Mention winners.....one of only six recognitions in the state of Iowa!  So congratulations to my M & Ms team and the rest of the Clarion volunteers who made it happen.

 

But we are not alone the volunteer spirit is found everywhere around the world. Here is a Chicken Soup for the Soul email which I thought exemplified that spirit:

 

Unexpected Blessings
By Cynthia Hummel

When the adoption agency said we were matched for a baby boy, we were overjoyed. We hugged and kissed in celebration that our dream was about to come true. So when the counselor said we should be ready to fly to the opposite coast for his due date on April 27, just over a week away, we didn't hesitate for a second in saying we would be there.

Most expectant mothers have nine months to prepare – we had just nine days. We had been expecting a full two-year wait for a child. We were shocked when the call came just three months after we completed the paperwork. "Is the nursery ready?" asked a business associate. Well, not exactly. In fact, we had nothing for a baby. The would-be nursery in our 1840s fixer-upper farmhouse was water damaged and very badly in need of rewiring as well as new walls, a new ceiling and floor. Once the room was finished, we could begin purchasing items for our future addition to the family.

Nine days? We could do it! After all, it's not every day that a couple can fulfill their dream of bringing a baby into their lives.

We worked during the day and worked like mad by night. The thought of finally having a child of our own kept us going. As the baby's due date neared, we were almost finished restoring the room. We made a whirlwind trip through two stores to buy the basic necessities – a diaper bag, diapers, baby wipes and blankets. Friends, family and sometimes even complete strangers who had heard our story showed up with used baby furniture, clothes and a host of other necessities to help us be ready in time.

As we boarded the flight with a stocked diaper bag and borrowed car seat in hand, we had accomplished nearly all of our goals – except for painting and putting up the last of the wood trim work in the nursery. The baby's room would not be exactly as we had pictured it, but somehow we thought our son would not notice if a few final touches came later.

Three weeks and a long airplane ride later, my husband and I walked through the door of our home with our new son. The moment was one of indescribable joy for us. As we put our son to sleep in his cousin's crib, we noticed an unexpected surprise: the painting was completed and the trim work placed! The nursery was finished! Next, we noticed that the refrigerator had been stocked with several meals for us.

Friends and family came throughout the next few days to see our new son and continued to bring items we needed, such as a playpen and a highchair. When our son went through a bout of colic, my mother-in-law gave us one of the best gifts of all – the opportunity to get some precious sleep.

Reflecting on our first few hours home as family, we now realize that our blessings extended far beyond our new son. Little did we realize, we had already been part of a caring extended family, larger than we could have ever imagined.
Printable Issue 277  Today is Tuesday, April 20th, 2004; Karen's Korner #277

Emailed to me recently by my uncle who lives in Tennessee:

 

THE DEVIL'S BEATITUDES


If the devil were to write his beatitudes, they would probably go
something like this:

1. Blessed are those who are too tired, too busy, too distracted
to spend an  hour once a week with their fellow Christians--they are
my best workers.

2. Blessed are those Christians who wait to be asked and expect to
be thanked -- I can use them.

3. Blessed are the touchy that stop going to church -- they are my
missionaries.

4. Blessed are the troublemakers -- they shall be called my
children.

5. Blessed are the complainers -- I'm all ears to them.

6. Blessed are those who are bored with the minister's mannerisms
and mistakes for they get nothing out of his/her sermons.

7. Blessed is the church member who expects to be invited to his/her
own church for he/she is a part of the problem instead of the solution.

8. Blessed are those who gossip -- for they shall cause strife and
division that please me.

9. Blessed are those who are easily offended -- for they will soon
 get angry and quit.

10. Blessed are those who do not give their offering to carry on
God's work for they are my helpers.

 

11. Blessed is he/she who professes to love God but hates his/her brother
and sister for he/she shall be with me forever.

12. Blessed are you who, when you read this, think it is about
other people and not yourself -- I've got you too!

Printable Issue 278  Today is Wednesday, April 21st, 2004; Karen's Korner #278

Several short thoughts:

 

     A wise man cares not for what he cannot have.
          -- Italian Proverb

****
   
     Until you make peace with who you are, you'll never
     be content with what you have.
          -- Doris Mortman

 

****

 

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands
     in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he
     stands at times of challenge and controversy.
          -- Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

****

 

Forwarded by Dan and Margaret Cramer:

"We are not free, separate, and independent entities, but like links in a chain, and we could not by any means be what we are without those who went before us and showed us the way." - Thomas Mann
Printable Issue 279  Today is Thursday, April 22nd, 2004; Karen's Korner #279

This email was forwarded to me by Darcy Robb....and I may have seen it before for another person or two, too. I really like it:

 

A young man learns what's most important in life from the guy next door.
It had been some time since Jack had seen the old man. College, girls,
career, and life itself got in the way. In fact, Jack moved clear across
the country in pursuit of his dreams.   There, in the rush of his busy
life, Jack had little time to think about the past and often no time to
spend with those important to him. He was working on his future, and
nothing could stop him.

Over the phone, his mother told him, "Mr.. Belser died last night.  The
funeral is Wednesday." Memories flashed through his mind like an old
newsreel as he sat quietly remembering his childhood days. "Jack, did you
hear me?"

"Oh, sorry, Mom. Yes, I heard you. It's been so long since I thought of
him. I'm sorry, but I honestly thought he died years ago," Jack said.
"Well, he didn't forget you. Every time I saw him he'd ask how you were
doing. He'd reminisce about the many days you spent over "his side of the
fence" as he put it," Mom told him. "I loved that old house he lived in,"
Jack said.

"You know, Jack, after your father died, Mr.Belser stepped in to make
sure you had a man's influence in your life," she said.   "He's the one who
taught me carpentry," he said. "I wouldn't be in this business if it
weren't for him. He spent a lot of time teaching me things he thought were
important...Mom, I'll be there for the funeral," Jack said.

As busy as he was, he kept his word. Jack caught the next flight to his
hometown. Mr. Belser's funeral was small and uneventful. He had no
children of his own, and most of his relatives had passed away.   The night before
he had to return home, Jack and his Mom stopped by to see the old house
next door one more time.   Standing in the doorway, Jack paused for a
moment. It was like crossing over into another dimension, a leap through
space and time.

The house was exactly as he remembered. Every step held memories. Every
picture, every piece of furniture....Jack stopped suddenly. "What's wrong,
Jack?" his Mom asked.   "The box is gone," he said.   "What box? " Mom
asked.

"There was a small gold box that he kept locked on top of his desk.  I
must have asked him a thousand times what was inside. All he'd ever tell
me was 'the thing I value most,'" Jack said.   It was gone. Everything about
the house was exactly how Jack remembered it, except for the box. He
figured someone from the Belser family had taken it.   "Now I'll never
know what was so valuable to him," Jack said. "I better get some sleep. I have
an early flight home, Mom."

It had been about two weeks since Mr. Belser died. Returning home from
work one day Jack discovered a note in his mailbox.  "Signature required
on a package. No one at home. Please stop by the main post office within the
next three days," the note read.

Early the next day Jack retrieved the package. The small box was old and
looked like it had been mailed a hundred years ago.  The handwriting was
difficult to read, but the return address caught his attention. "Mr. Harold
Belser" it read.  Jack took the box out to his car and ripped open the
package.  There inside was the gold box and an envelope. Jack's hands
shook as he read the note inside.

"Upon my death, please forward this box and its contents to Jack Bennett.
It's the thing I valued most in my life." A small key was taped to the
letter. His heart racing, as tears filling his eyes, Jack carefully
unlocked the box. There inside he found a beautiful gold pocket watch.
Running his fingers slowly over the finely etched casing, he unlatched the
cover. Inside he found these words engraved: "Jack, Thanks for your time!
- Harold Belser."

"The thing he valued most...was...my time."

Jack held the watch for a few minutes, then called his office and cleared
his appointments for the next two days. "Why?"  Janet, his assistant
asked.

"I need some time to spend with my son,"  he said. "Oh, by the way,
Janet...thanks for your time!"

 

--


"Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take but by the moments
that take our breath away,"
Printable Issue 280  Today is Friday, April 23rd, 2004; Karen's Korner #280

Our church is studying the best-selling book "The Purpose Driven Life" by Rick Warren. I am sharing a couple of paragraphs from Chapter 6 titled "Life is a Temporary Assignment":

 

An old story is often repeated of a retiring missionary coming home to America on the same boat as the president of the United States. Cheering crowds, a military band, a red carpet, banners, and the media welcomed the president home, but the missionary slipped off the ship unnoticed. Feeling self-pity and resentment, he began complaining to God. Then God gently reminded him, "But my child, you're not home yet."

 

You will not be in heaven two seconds before you cry out, "Why did I place so much importance on things that were so temporary? What was I thinking? Why did I waste so much time, energy, and concern on what wasn't going to last?"

 

When life gets tough, when you're overwhelmed with doubt, or when you wonder if living for Christ is worth the effort, remember that you are not home yet. At death, you won't leave home---you'll go home.
Printable Issue 281  Today is Monday, April 26th, 2004; Karen's Korner #281

This is a "Chicken Soup for the Soul"; a little longer than I usually prefer for busy people to have to read.....but if you have the time, I think you will like it!  You might need a hanky:

 

Vital Chatter
By Leona Lipari Lee

Every Tuesday and Thursday, between 3:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m., I picked up the phone and called my sister, Diane, who was slowly dying from the complications of diabetes. I didn't call on Mondays, Wednesdays or Fridays because those were her dialysis days, and she was always too drained and exhausted to talk. I also didn't call her on weekends because Saturdays and Sundays were designated as immediate-family and recovery days. I didn't mind about weekends since we had our own special time.

I was never sure if Diane's beauty parlor appointment was on Tuesday or Thursday at 2:00 p.m. since it changed from week to week. What didn't change is Diane never missed getting her hair done no matter how sick she was. And when she returned home, we'd have our precious time to visit with each other privately by telephone as we'd done for most of our adult lives.

The only times we didn't keep those phone dates was when she had a doctor's appointment or was in the ICU. We didn't let her numerous hospitalizations stop us. It surprised other members of our family that Diane and I seldom talked about how she was feeling, about the latest lab test or surgical procedure, or about how well her heart and lungs or kidneys were functioning. Right to the end, we carried on our typical conversations - sister to sister, friend to friend.

We spent most of our time on the phone gossiping. I left home when I was eighteen years old, and Diane was my anchor to the small Southern town where we were born and the close-knit Italian family I had left behind. She filled me in on whose husband was running around, on the latest family squabble, on who was sick and who had died. She announced the new additions to the family. Told me who got engaged, married, divorced or separated. She loved describing the weddings I missed. Also the funerals, especially if we didn't think too much of the person who had died.

Diane and I laughed a lot during those phone conversations, which often lasted an hour or so in the beginning. We consoled each other when one or the other was down.

We talked about everything from her beloved New Orleans Saints team to our favorite Danielle Steele novel to our favored "Barb" singers - she loved Mandrell while I preferred Streisand.

The last Thursday I talked with Diane she told me about a spat her husband and one of our other sisters had about her dialysis. She raved about the delicious hot tamales she'd eaten for dinner the night before. She told me about the progress yet another sister was making in her pursuit of a divorce. She asked about my kids and grandkids and told me about her daughter's latest love interest. Her voice was stronger than it had been in a long time, and I was encouraged that she would keep beating the odds.

The next Tuesday, I didn't get to talk with Diane because she was in the ICU. On Wednesday she was asleep when I called the hospital. Her husband said he'd have her call me from home after she was discharged later in the day. She never did. She died on Thursday, early in the morning.

And so, it's Tuesday again as I pick up the phone to call her and write this instead. What would we talk about today? What would I want to say to her? To hear her say? I know. We'd talk about her funeral.

I'd tell her how the whole town turned out because she was so well-loved. How everyone in the family, even those who'd been feuding for years, had made peace with each other. At least for the day. I'd tell her how really sad I was, but that as I looked at my new grandson sleeping peacefully in the pew beside me, I felt everything was okay with this new phase of her being.

I'd tell her about her daughter getting up and talking about all the things she had been taught by her mother. And how her husband even donned a suit for one of the few times in his life to stand in front of her friends and relatives and profess his undying love for her. I'd tell her how I didn't listen while her husband spoke of their special relationship because I was remembering our own special bonds. How she was a large part of my support system. My link to my past. My confidante. More than my sister. My dear friend.

I would tell Diane about the two priests who said kind things about her. And how glad I was when my two-year-old granddaughter decided to babble loudly while one priest was extolling her virtues and how that made me smile instead of cry.

I'd tell her that Mama was too heartbroken to attend her funeral, but everyone else was there. Her six siblings and our children and grandchildren. I'd say how much we all loved her and are going to miss her, and I'd try to make her laugh. I'd tell her about the strong incense that almost knocked me out as the priest sprinkled it around her coffin and my head. I'd mention the fact that all of her panic-attack-prone sisters and brothers who usually sit in the back of the church ended up right next to her in the front, and not one of us passed out.

I'd describe the beautiful flowers on the altar because toward the end of her life when she'd lost her vision, it bothered her that she could only smell the wonderful floral creations of our Lord. I would finally stop and wait for her to talk to me. What would she tell me, I wondered? And I knew.

She'd tell me she knew all that because she'd hung around to make sure everyone was okay. She'd tell me that she was there in the form of a butterfly when Mama visited her grave that afternoon. And that Mama smiled when she saw the butterfly because she knew what it meant. She'd tell me how she rang the disconnected doorbell of one of our sisters to help console her because she had a special love for this sister and wanted to reassure her of life after death. She'd tell me how when all the roses were gathered so rosaries could be made from them, she made sure one single yellow rose was left so that another sister would know by prearranged signal that she was still alive.

And then, just before we'd hang up for the last time, I'd tell her how much I love her and how much I was going to miss her presence, her bravery, her sweetness, her sense of humor. And she would say, "Yes, I'm going to miss you, too. But I need to start my journey." She'd say she needed to find Daddy and Grandma and about twenty or so other relatives and friends and she hoped they were in heaven 'cause that's where she was going.

And I would reluctantly say, "Okay. Bye, then. But every Tuesday and Thursday between 3:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m., I'll be calling you up in my mind, and I will never, never forget how much you meant to me."
Printable Issue 282  Today is Tuesday, April 27th, 2004; Karen's Korner #282

A couple of short thoughts (several from a recent Lighten Up Iowa weekly email) and a joke:

 

 

* What is told in the ear of a man is often heard
     100 miles away.
          -- Chinese Proverb 

*    Three may keep a secret if two of them are dead.
          -- Benjamin Franklin

 

*  Always remember that the future comes one day at a time.

        -- Dean Acheson

   In prosperity our friends know us; in adversity we know our friends.

-          - John Churton Collins  

           

*  No matter how much pressure you feel at work, if you could find ways to relax  for at least five minutes every hour, you'd be more productive.

- Dr. Joyce Brothers

 

***

 

A panda walks into a café. He orders a sandwich, eats it, then draws a
gun and fires two shots in the air.

"Why?" asks the confused waiter, as the panda makes towards the exit.
The panda produces a badly punctuated wildife manual and tosses it
over his shoulder.

"I'm a panda," he says, at the door. "Look it up."

The waiter turns to the relevant entry and, sure enough, finds an
explanation. "Panda. Large black-and-white bear-like mammal, native to China. Eats, shoots and leaves."
Printable Issue 283  Today is Wednesday, April 28th, 2004; Karen's Korner #283

This is something which I wrote awhile ago; I have updated it to reflect how old our dog, Lady is at the present time:

 

Running Free

            Our family has had Lady, a nearly five-year-old, mid-sized dog for almost two years now. After a short stay in the Des Moines pound, we adopted Lady and brought her to our farm home.

            Many times farm dogs can run free. But for the first few months, when we would leave for a short period of time we would tie her up. She didn’t know where home was and would follow us down our gravel road farther than we thought was safe for her and for her return home.

            Now, she knows where home is. When we leave, she is left free to roam. If she wants to go outside when we are here, we let her go. She runs over to the neighbor’s to visit their two dogs – Flash and Bagel. Sometimes Lady digs into a brush pile in our back grove; maybe she chases a bird or rabbit. She enjoys running around and we enjoy letting her. She enjoys her world!

            But this new freedom is not without drawbacks! When some of the dried weeds and their seeds in our grove get tangled up in her hair, she comes back to us with matted ears, tail, and haunches. My husband, Jim, and I hang on to her and with scissors or a knife, we hack and whittle on Lady until all of her hair can be combed again.

            This morning I noticed, she looks like she has been given a haircut by one of daughters when they were three years old. Lots of hair on ear. A blunt cut on the other. The tip of her tail is butched off.  The hair on her haunches isn’t as thick, sleek and flowing as it used to be. But Jim and I aren’t willing to tie her up, so she “looks” better. We like to allow her the freedom to enjoy and explore her world.

            I wonder if that is the kind of relationship we have with God. He knows if He would tie us up or tie us down, we have the potential to be more “beautiful”. But He really wants us to explore and enjoy the world He has given to us. He takes big risks that we will forget where home is. We might run away. He lets us run. He never makes us pray or worship Him.

            Whenever we come back home and scratch on the door for Him to let us in – yukky hair and all, He does what Jim and I do to Lady – He opens the door and lets us in. If we need some weed seeds removed from us, He can comb and cut them out. We might look a bit more scraggly than we did before. But that is a risk God is willing to take!

            And like Lady, our hair coats will re-grow and we will just as beautiful as before we were allowed to run free! The next time we want to go out and explore our world – once again He opens the door!
Printable Issue 284  Today is Thursday, April 29th, 2004; Karen's Korner #284

This is yesterday's Chicken Soup for the Soul email. Some of us seem to know these lessons naturally; some of us have to learn them.....and re-learn them:

 

Fishing With Robby
By Ferris Robinson

My son Robby opens his tackle box and shows me his fishing lures. Each is in its own little compartment like an expensive box of chocolates. He names them, carefully holding them up between his fingers and turning them, like he is seeing them for the first time himself. Rapala, Broken Back, Jitterbug, Rattle Trap . . .

Fishing has brought out a new side to my son. He hoards his equipment like it's gold, preferring his old rusted fishing rod and reel than any harm coming to his new set. And this child, the same one who loses important math papers and tennis shoes, hates losing a lure to a branch on the bottom of the lake, so much so that he won't even use them.

The other day, I was stressed out and not looking forward to my evening, wondering if I would ever get to bed. Robby asked me to go out in the paddleboat with him and watch him fish. Torn, I sighed and began to apologize for how much I had to do that night.

"It's okay," he said disappointedly.

One look at his eyes and, reluctantly, I went along, all the while thinking of how much this little excursion was going to put me behind.

We paddled out to the middle of the lake, and he cast. It was long and smooth and landed with a plop about three yards from where a fish had just jumped.

"See, I don't want it right on top where that fish jumped because he'll know it's a fake worm. He won't believe a worm just dropped out of the sky right in front of him. You want him to swim to it," he explained in a low voice.

We sat quietly for a while, my son scanning the lake for his target before he drew back his arm and, in one fluid motion, floated his bait far out into the lake. I looked out over the water, beyond where he had cast. A blue heron was standing on a log by the shore, one leg pulled up under his body, his long neck smooth and elegant. He was still, like a statue. I pointed him out to Robby, and, as if the bird could sense that he was detected, it took off, its wings barely flicking the water. We watched him fly, his long neck curved in like the letter S.

"He likes that log over there," my son whispered. "He'll be back." I nodded, wondering why I'd never noticed the heron before.

"Here go the crickets," he said.

I was suddenly aware of crickets surrounding us from all sides, their grinding melody as deep as the woods themselves. I realized how much I'd been insulated by air conditioning lately, how little I'd heard of the outdoors. I closed my eyes and listened.

I heard the deep croak of bullfrogs and the far-away call of a morning dove. I heard a fish splash now and then, sometimes near us and sometimes far across the lake. And over and over, there was the slow squeak of my son reeling in the line, then a gentle whir as he cast it out again.

"I like this time of day," I said, my to-do list long forgotten.

"Just wait," he said. "In a little while the trees and the sunset will reflect off the water. It is so beautiful."

"I will wait," I said, and I thought about what I would have missed if Robby hadn't asked me to join him. I leaned back in my seat and watched my little boy, the one who, in finding his own way, is helping me find mine.

Printable Issue 285  Today is Friday, April 30th, 2004; Karen's Korner #285

This is an email that I received recently from Darcy Robb. Clarion-Goldfield prom is Saturday night.......other area high school proms have been or are coming up in the near future. I thought this was appropriate for the spring season:

 

 

JENNY

 

Jenny was so happy about the house they had found.

For once in her life 'twas on the right side of town.

She unpacked her things with such great ease.

As she watched her new curtains blow in the breeze.

 

How wonderful it was to have her own room.

School would be starting; she'd have friends over soon.

There'd be sleep-overs, and parties; she was so happy

It's just the way she wanted her life to be.

 

On the first day of school, everything went great.

She made new friends and even got a date!

She thought, "I want to be popular and I'm going to be,

Because I just got a date with the star of the team!"

 

To be known in this school you had to have clout,

And dating this guy would sure help her out.

There was only one problem stopping her fate.

Her parents had said she was too young to date.

 

"Well I just won't tell them the entire truth.

They won't know the difference; what's there to lose?"

Jenny asked to stay with her friends that night.

Her parents frowned but said, "All right."

 

Excited, she got ready for the big event

But as she rushed around like she had no sense,

She began to feel guilty about all the lies,

But what's a pizza, a party, and a moonlight ride?

 

Well the pizza was good, and the party was great,

But the moonlight ride would have to wait.

For Dan was half drunk by this time.

But he kissed her and said that he was just fine.

 

Then the room filled with smoked and Dan took a puff.

Jenny couldn't believe he was smoking that stuff.

Now Dan was ready to ride to the point

But only after he'd smoked another joint.

 

They jumped in the car for the moonlight ride,

Not thinking that he was too drunk to drive.

They finally made it to the point at last,

And Dan started trying to make a pass.

 

A pass is not what Jenny wanted at all

(and by a pass, I don't mean playing football.)

"Perhaps my parents were right....maybe I am too young.

Boy, how could I ever, ever be so dumb."

 

With all of her might, she pushed Dan away:

"Please take me home, I don't want to stay."

Dan cranked up the engine and floored the gas.

In a matter of seconds they were going too fast.

 

As Dan drove on in a fit of wild anger,

Jenny knew that her life was in danger.

She begged and pleaded for him to slow down,

But he just got faster as they neared the town.

 

"Just let me get home! I'll confess that I lied.

I really went out for a moonlight ride."

Then all of a sudden, she saw a big flash. "

Oh God, Please help us! We're going to crash!"

 

She doesn't remember the force of impact.

Just that everything all of a sudden went black.

She felt someone remove her from the twisted rubble,

 And heard, "call an ambulance! These kids are in trouble!

 

Voices she heard...a few words at best.

But she knew there were two cars involved in the wreck.

Then wondered to herself if Dan was all right,

And if the people in the other car was alive.

 

She awoke in the hospital to faces so sad. "

You've been in a wreck and it looks pretty bad."

These voices echoed inside her head,

As they gently told her that Dan was dead.

 

They said "Jenny, we've done all we can do.

But it looks as if we'll lose you too."

"But the people in the other car!?"

Jenny cried. "We're sorry, Jenny, they also died."

 

 Jenny prayed, "God, forgive me for what I've done

I only wanted to have just one night of fun."

"Tell those people's family, I've made their lives dim,

And wish I could return their families to them."

 

"Tell Mom and Dad I'm sorry I lied,

And that it's my fault so many have died.

Oh, nurse, won't you please tell them that for me?"

The nurse just stood there-she never agreed.

 

But took Jenny's hand with tears in her eyes.

And a few moments later Jenny died.

A man asked the nurse, "Why didn't you do your best

To bid that girl her one last request?"

 

She looked at the man with eyes so sad.

"Because the people in the other car were her mom and dad."

 

This story is sad and unpleasant but true,

So young people take heed, it could have been you.