January 2004 Archives
Today is Thursday, January 1st, 2004; Karen's Korner #209|
Happy new year!!
As we begin the new year, I am typing the first five verses of Psalms 72. It was written by a king
asking God to help his son as the son began to lead their people:
PSALMS 72:1-5: "O God, help the king to judge as you would, and help his son to walk in godliness. Help him to give justice to your people, even to the poor. May the mountains and hills flourish in prosperity because of his good reign. Help him to defend the poor and needy and to crush their oppressors. May the poor and needy revere you constantly, as long as sun and moon continue in the skies! Yes, forever!"
The Commentary says: "What qualities do we want most in our rulers? God desires all who rule under him to walk in godliness and to be just toward their people. As you think of world leaders today, think how the world would change if they would commit themselves to these two qualities. Perhaps we should commit ourselves to pray that they will!"
As we think of people who lead us either here at various levels of government or others throughout the world, we can think of some pretty good leaders, and we don't have to think very hard to come up with some leaders near to around the world who are pretty terrible to their people. If you could, think of one or two leaders, and pray for them, as we begin the new year!
Today is Friday, January 2nd, 2004; Karen's Korner #210|
This is something that I received a few months ago from Shirley Southard; and probably a year or more ago from Jana Burkheimer. I like it as I think about so many "friends"(I think it is a writing for us 'girls'):
Subject: Get Yourself a Girlfriend!
I sat under a pecan tree in the hot Texas sun on a summer day,
drinking iced tea and getting to know my new sister-in-law, Estelle.
Not much older than I, but already the mother of three, Estelle seemed to me
experienced and wise.
"Get yourself some girlfriends," she advised, clinking the ice
cubes in her glass. "You are going to need girlfriends. Go places
with them; do things with them."
What a funny piece of advice, I thought. Hadn't I just gotten married?
Hadn't I just joined the couple-world? I was a married woman,
for goodness sake, not a young girl who needed girlfriends.
But I listened to this new sister-in-law. I got myself some
As the years tumbled by, one after another, gradually I came to
understand that Estelle knew what she was talking about.
Here is what I know about them:
* Girlfriends bring casseroles and scrub your bathroom when you are
* Girlfriends keep your children and keep your secrets.
* Girlfriends give advice when you ask for it. Sometimes you take it,
sometimes you don't.
* Girlfriends don't always tell you that you're right, but they're
*Girlfriends still love you, even when they don't agree with your
*Girlfriends might send you a birthday card, but they might not.
It does not matter in the least.
* Girlfriends laugh with you, and you don't need canned jokes to
start the laughter.
* Girlfriends pull you out of jams.
* Girlfriends don't keep a calendar that lets them know who hosted
the other last.
* Girlfriends are there for you, in an instant and truly, when
the hard times come.
* Girlfriends listen when you lose a job or a husband.
* Girlfriends listen when your children break your heart.
*Girlfriends listen when your parents' minds and bodies fail.
My girlfriends bless my life.
Once we were young, with no idea of the incredible joys or the
icredible sorrows that lay ahead. Nor did we know how much we
would need each other.
Pass this on to a girlfirned or two; remember that relatives can be girlfriends,
too! Let them know how much you appreciate them.
Today is Monday, January 5th, 2004; Karen's Korner #211|
Addicted or Not?
New Year's week is a time to reassess, re-evaluate---make new plans, take steps for new traditions.
When we think about human natures, it is hard to not notice how many "addictive" tendencies we constantly fight against. We can become addicted to: lots of kinds of food, eating - too much or too little, work, sex, pornography, abusive or unhealthy relationships, money, gambling, power, shopping, credit card spending, watching or playing sports, time spent with computers, drinking too much coffee or pop, alcohol abuse or using drugs of any kind. You name it -- we start something -- there is a chance we can become obsessed with it and have a hard time breaking that obsession.
What about God and the supernatural kingdom He offers us? He wants us to have extra doses of love, patience, kindness, His goodness and mercy. He offers us a life that extends into eternity. If He had his way, I would always think of my fellowman ahead of myself, talk to Him everyday about a myriad of topics, and pick up His Words to find out about His plans for me and my future together with Him. He gives each of us His strength and power to break those unhealthy tendencies.
But because our relationshps with Him and the desires He has for us, are supernatural--we will neve get addicted to any of it!
From Billy Graham or Mother Theresa to someone who became a Christian yestrday, each new day of our Christian lives -- we start over. Seeking God. Worshipping Him. Following in His footsteps. We choose. We are never addicted. It is God's design: we are always free to follow Him and we are always free to go!
Today is Tuesday, January 6th, 2004; Karen's Korner #212|
I got this several months ago from Gretta Bauman. I hope that you enjoy it as much as I did:
A young man was getting ready to graduate from college. For many months he had admired
a beautiful sports car in a dealer's showroom, and knowing his father could well afford it,
he told him that was all he wanted.
As Graduation Day approached, the young man awaited signs that his father
had purchased the car. Finally, on the morning of his graduation, his
father called him into his private study. His father told him how proud he
was to have such a fine son, and told him how much he loved him. He handed
his son a beautifully wrapped gift box.
Curious, but somewhat disappointed, the young man opened the box and found
a lovely, leather-bound Bible, with the young man's name embossed in gold.
Angrily, he raised his voice to his father and said, "With all your money
you give me a Bible? and stormed out of the house, leaving the Bible.
Many years passed and the young man was very successful in business. He had
a beautiful home and wonderful family, but realized his father was very
old, and thought perhaps he should go to him. He had not seen him since
that graduation day. Before he could make arrangements, he received a
telegram telling him his father had passed away, and willed all of his
possessions to his son. He needed to come home immediately and take care of
things. When he arrived at his father's house, sudden sadness and regret
filled his heart.
He began to search through his father's important papers and saw the still
new Bible, just as he had left it years ago. With tears, he opened the
Bible and began to turn the pages. His father had carefully underlined a
verse, Matt 7:11, "And if ye, being evil know how to give good gifts to
your children, how much more shall your Heavenly father which is in heaven,
give to those who ask Him?" As he read those words, a car key dropped from
the back of the Bible. It had a tag with the dealer's name, the same dealer
who had the sports car he had desired. On the tag was the date of his
graduation, and the words...PAID IN FULL.
How many times do we miss God's blessings because they are not packaged as
Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; but remember that
what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for...
IF YOUR GIFT IS NOT PACKED THE WAY YOU WANT IT, IT'S BECAUSE IT IS BETTER
PACKED THAT WAY!
Today is Wednesday, January 7th, 2004; Karen's Korner #213|
I received this from Tanata LaRue more than a month ago. I didn't see the show; I trust that what was written is true and actually happened; sounds like Oprah and Billy Graham:
Subject: Billy Graham & Oprah
Last year I watched Billy Graham being interviewed by Oprah Winfrey on
television. Oprah told him that in her childhood home, she use to watch him
preach on a little black and white TV while sitting on a linoleum floor.
She went on to the tell viewers that in his lifetime Billy has
preached to twenty-million people around the world, not to mention the
countless numbers who have heard him whenever his crusades are broadcast.
When she asked if he got nervous before facing a crowd, Billy replied
humbly, "No, don't get nervous before crowds, but I did today before I was
going to meet with you."
Oprah's show is broadcast to twenty-million people every day. She is
comfortable with famous stars and celebrities but seemed in awe of Dr.
When the interview ended, she told the audience, "You don't often see
this on my show, but we're going to pray." Then she asked Billy to close in
prayer. The camera panned the studio audience as they bowed their heads and
closed their eyes just like in one of his crusades. Oprah sang the first
line from the song that is his hallmark "Just as I am, without a plea,"
misreading the line and singing off'-key, but her voice was full of emotion
and almost cracked.
When Billy stood up after the show, instead of hugging her guest,
Oprah's usual custom, she went over and just nestled against him.
Billy wrapped his arm around her and pulled her under his shoulder. She
stood in his fatherly embrace with a look of sheer contentment.
I once read the book "Nestle, Don't Wrestle" by Corrie Ten Boom. The
power of nestling was evident on the TV screen that day. Billy Graham was
not the least bit condemning, distant, or hesitant to embrace a public
personality who may not fit the evangelistic mold. His grace and courage
are sometimes stunning.
In an interview with Hugh Downs, on the 20/20 program, the subject
turned to homosexuality. Hugh looked directly at Billy and said, "If
you had a homosexual child, would you love him?"
Billy didn't miss a beat. He replied with sincerity and gentleness,
"Why, I would love that one even more."
The title of Billy's autobiography, "Just As I Am," says it all. His
life goes before him speaking as eloquently as that charming southern
drawl for which he is known. If, when I am eighty years old, my
autobiography were to be titled "Just As I Am," I wonder how I would live
now? Do I have the courage to be me?
I'll never be a Billy Graham, the elegant man who draws people to the
Lord through a simple one-point message, but I hope to be a person who is
real and compassionate and who might draw people to nestle within God's
Do you make it a point to speak to a visitor or person who shows up
alone at church, buy a hamburger for a homeless man, call your mother on
Sunday afternoons, pick daisies with a little girl, or take a fatherless
boy to a baseball game?
Did anyone ever tell you how beautiful you look when you're looking
for what's beautiful in someone else?
Billy complimented Oprah when asked what he was most thankful for; he
said, "Salvation given to us in Jesus Christ" then added, "and the way you
have made people all over this country aware of the power of being
When asked his secret of love, being married fifty-four years to the
same person, he said, "Ruth and I are happily incompatible."
How unexpected. We would all live more comfortably with everybody around
us if we would find the strength in being grateful and happily
Let's take the things that set us apart, that make us different, that
cause us to disagree, and make them an occasion to compliment each other
and be thankful for each other. Let us be big enough to be smaller than our
neighbor, spouse, friends, and strangers.
Every day, may we Nestle, not Wrestle!
Today is Thursday, January 8th, 2004; Karen's Korner #214|
It is fun to be able to share my original writings and "pass along emails" which I receive from others. It is especially fun to share an original writing, which I receive from someone who reads Karen's Korners.
This one is written by Margaret Cramer. Quite a different style from how I write. I hope that you enjoy it!
The Power of Jesus
A- Abased, abandoned and abject person that I am
B- blinded because of greed
C- causing me to flail in the wind.
D- Dragging me beyond the reach of help.
E- Every day a struggle,
F- Following the loudest voice.
H-Heartache has been the pattern
I- Inside and out. Where do I turn?
J- Just Jesus - Just JESUS
K- Killed Him, didnít we?
L- Leave me alone ------------
M- Memories haunt me,
N- Never will I get out of this trap.
O- Only Jesus saves???
P- Pardons me? --Ö.
Q- Questions plague me,
R- Remove the schism from me, and
S- Secure me in your bosom
T- Tempest, Be Subdued.
U- Undefiled now in your sight;
V- valued as your child
W- Waiting now as you surround me with a
X- xenolith. (Look it up)
Y- Yeomanís service be my calling.
Z- Zenith point has been observed
In the still small place
That I call home.
Thank you, Jesus
Today is Friday, January 9th, 2004; Karen's Korner #215|
This is a "Chicken Soup for the Soul" daily email, which I have had for more than a year. It is hanky one. Meaningful that it is set in Iowa. Not all hanky ones are bad ones, when we work on God's timetable and not our limited one. Thank God that He chooses to "talk" with each of us, now and then, in special ways that make sense only to us personally:
I'm Okay, Mom and Dad
By Lark Whittemore Ricklefs
When I returned home from the funeral of a church
member, my grown daughter, Jenny, asked me about the
service. I had been very moved by a story the priest told
about a dragonfly, so I shared it with Jen.
A group of water bugs was talking one day about how
they saw other water bugs climb up a lily pad and disappear
from sight. They wondered where the other bugs could have
gone. They promised one another that if one of them ever
went up the lily pad and disappeared, it would come back
and tell the others where it had gone.
About a week later one of the water bugs climbed up
the lily pad and emerged on the other side. As it sat
there, it transformed into a dragonfly. Its body took on
an iridescent sheen, and four beautiful wings sprouted from
its back. The dragonfly flapped its wings and took off in
flight, doing loops and spins through the sunlit sky. In
the midst of its joyful flight, it remembered the promise
it had made to return and tell the other bugs where it had
gone. So the dragonfly swooped down to the surface of the
water and tried to reenter the water, but try as it would,
it could not return.
The dragonfly said to itself, 'Well, I tried to keep
my promise, but even if I did return, the others wouldn't
recognize me in my new glorious body. I guess they will
just have to wait until they climb the lily pad to find out
where I have gone and what I have become.'
When I had finished relating the short story, my
daughter said, with tears running down her cheeks, "Mom,
that's really beautiful!" I agreed, and we talked for a
while about it.
Two days later, early Sunday morning, Jenny came into
my room, waking me to say good-bye before leaving for work
at a resort on Lake Okoboji. I hugged and kissed her and
told her I would see her that night when I joined her for a
week's vacation at the lake. I asked her if she had eaten
breakfast and if she was wide awake, as we had been out
late the night before. I knew she was tired. "Yes, Mom,
I'll see you later!"
Several hours later, our worst nightmare began. Jenny
had been involved in a head-on collision and was flown to
Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Thoughts crowded in on me: 'Why
hadn't I fixed her breakfast? Did I tell her I loved her?
If I'd kept her with me a few minutes longer, would things
have turned out differently? Why hadn't I hugged her a
little longer? Why hadn't I kept her home with me that
summer instead of letting her work at the lake? Why? Why?
We flew to Sioux Falls and arrived at noon. Our Jen
was hurt mortally, and at ten o'clock that night, she died.
If God had given me a choice, I would have traded places
with her in a second. Jenny had so much to give this
world. She was so bright, beautiful and loving.
On Friday of that week, my husband and I drove to the
lake to see family, and we stopped to see where the
accident had occurred. I don't remember a lot, but I know
I was hysterical trying to figure out what had happened and
Leaving the scene of the accident, I asked my husband
to take me to a greenhouse, as I needed to be around
beautiful flowers. I just couldn't face anyone yet.
Walking to the back of the hothouse, I heard the
fluttering of wings as if a bird or hummingbird was hitting
the top of the roof. I was looking at a beautiful rose
when a beautiful, large dragonfly landed within arm's
length of me. I stood there looking at this lovely
creature, and I cried. My husband walked in. I looked at
him and said, "Jenny is telling us that she's okay." We
stood and looked at the lovely dragonfly for a long time,
and as we walked out of the hothouse, the dragonfly
remained on the rose.
A couple of weeks later, my husband came running into
the house telling me to come outside quickly. When I
walked out our door, I could not believe what I saw. There
were hundreds of dragonflies flying in front of our house
and between ours and the neighbor's. I have never seen
that many dragonflies at once in town, and the strangest
thing about it was that they were only by our house.
There is no way these two experiences were just
coincidences. They were more than that. They were
messages from Jen.
Each time I see a dragonfly, beautiful memories of my
daughter kiss my grieving heart.
Today is Monday, January 12th, 2004; Karen's Korner #216|
Two short thoughts and two jokes:
** The person who pursues revenge should dig two graves.
-- English Proverb
** Revenge has no more quenching effect on emotions
than salt water has on thirst.
-- Walter Weckler
A Doctor was addressing a large audience in Miami, Florida. "The material
we put into our stomachs is enough to have killed most of us sitting here.
Red meat is awful. Soft drinks corrode your stomach lining. Chinese food is
loaded with MSG. High fat diets can be disastrous, and none of us realizes
the long-term harm caused by the germs in our drinking water.
"But there is one thing that is the most dangerous of all, and we all
have, or will, eat it. Would anyone care to guess what food causes the most
grief and suffering for years after eating it?"
After several seconds of quiet, a small 75-year-old man in the front
row, raised his hand and said, "Wedding Cake?"
A Baptist preacher and his wife decided they needed a dog.
Ever mindful of the congregation, they knew the dog must
also be Baptist.
They visited an expensive kennel and explained their needs
to the manager, who assured them he had just the dog for
them. The dog was produced and the manager said, "Fetch
The dog bounded to the bookshelf, scrutinized the books,
located the Bible, and brought it to the manager. The manager
then said "Find Psalms 23". The dog, showing marvelous
dexterity with his paws, leafed thru the Bible, found the correct
passage, and pointed to it with his paw. Duly impressed, the
couple purchased the dog.
That evening a group of parishioners came to visit. The preacher
and his wife began to show off the dog, having him locate
several Bible verses. The visitors were amazed. Finally, one
man asked, "Can he do normal dog tricks too?"
"Let's see" said the preacher. Pointing his finger at the dog, he
commanded "Heel!" The dog immediately jumped up on a chair,
placed one paw on the preacher's forehead and began to howl.
The preacher turned to his wife and exclaimed "Good grief,
we've bought a Pentecostal dog!"
Today is Tuesday, January 13th, 2004; Karen's Korner #217|
Got this recently from my sister, Eileen; thought it was good And since we get to add on "grandparents" to our resume within the month.........!
The government recently calculated the cost of raising a child from birth
THE COST OF RAISING A CHILD - ANOTHER PERSPECTIVE
to 18 and came up with $160,140.00 for a middle income family.
Talk about sticker shock! That doesn't even touch college tuition.
But $160,140 isn't so bad if you break it down. It translates into $8,896 a
year, $741.38 a month, or $171.08 a week. That's a mere $24.24 a day!
Just over a dollar an hour.
Still, you might think the best financial advice says don't have children
if you want to be "rich." It is just the opposite. What do your get for your
* Naming rights --- First, middle, and last!
* Glimpses of God everyday.
* Giggles and outright, deep belly, flat out infectious laughter more times
than one would ever believe. More love than your heart can hold.
* Butterfly kisses and Velcro hugs.
* Endless wonder and pleasure over the simple things: rocks, ants, clouds,
and warm cookies.
* A hand to hold.
* A partner for blowing bubbles, flying kites, building sand castles, and
skipping down the sidewalk in the pouring rain.
* Someone to laugh yourself silly with no matter what the boss said or how
your stocks performed that day.
* For $160,140, you can live through your childhood again; You get to
finger-paint, carve pumpkins, play hide-and-seek, catch lightning bugs, and
believe in Santa Claus for a while again.
*You have an excuse to keep reading the Adventures of Piglet and Pooh,
watching Saturday morning cartoons, going to DisneyLand, and wishing on
* You get to frame rainbows, hearts, and flowers under refrigerator magnets
and collect spray painted noodle wreaths for Christmas, hand prints set in
clay for Mother's Day, and cards with backward letters for Father's Day.
* For $160,140, there is no greater bang for your buck.
* You get to be a hero just for retrieving a Frisbee off the garage roof,
taking the training wheels off the bike, kissing a hurt, filling a wading
pool, and coaching a baseball team that never wins but always gets treated
to ice cream regardless.
* You get a front row seat to history to witness the first step, first word,
first bra, first date, and first time behind the wheel.
* You get to be immortal.
* You get another branch added to your family tree, and if you're lucky, a
long list of limbs in your obituary called grandchildren..
* You get an education in psychology, nursing, criminal justice,
communications, and human sexuality that no college can match.
* In the eyes of a child, you rank right up there with God. You have all the
power to heal a boo-boo, scare away the monsters under the bed, patch a
broken heart, police a slumber party, ground them forever, and love them
without limits, so one day they will, like you, love without counting the
Today is Wednesday, January 14th, 2004; Karen's Korner #218|
This is something that I received a week ago from Shirley Southard:
TWENTY TRUTHS TO LIVE BY:
1. Faith is the ability to not panic.
2. If you worry, you didn't pray. If you pray, don't worry.
3. As a child of God, prayer is kind of like calling home every day.
4. Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape.
5. When we get tangled up in our problems, be still. God wants us to
be still so God can untangle the knot.
6. Do the math. Count your blessings.
7. God wants spiritual fruit, not religious nuts.
8. Dear God: I have a problem. It's me.
9. Silence is often misinterpreted, but never misquoted.
10. Laugh every day. It's like inner jogging.
11. The most important things in your home are the people.
12. Growing old is inevitable. Growing up is optional.
13. There is no key to happiness. The door is always open.
14. A grudge is a heavy thing to carry.
15. He who dies with the most toys is still dead.
16. We do not remember days, but moments. Life moves
too fast, so enjoy your precious moments.
17. Nothing is real to you until you experience it;
otherwise it's just hearsay.
18. It's all right to sit on your pity pot every now
and again. Just flush when you are done.
19. Surviving and living your life successfully
requires courage. The goals and dreams you're seeking require
courage and risk taking. Learn from the turtle -- it only makes
progress when it sticks out its neck.
20. Be more concerned with your character than your reputation,
because your character is what you really are, while your
reputation is merely what others think you are.
Today is Thursday, January 15th, 2004; Karen's Korner #219|
Taken from a "Mr. Mom" daily email:
Taking a Trip . .
I had not really planned on taking a trip this time of year,
and yet I found myself packing rather hurriedly.
This trip was going to be unpleasant and I knew in advance
that no real good would come of it.
I'm talking about my annual "Guilt Trip."
I got tickets to fly there on "WISHIHAD" airlines.
It was an extremely short flight.
I got my baggage, which I could not check.
I chose to carry it myself all the way.
It was weighted down with a thousand memories . . . of what might have been.
No one greeted me as I entered the terminal
to the Regret City International Airport.
I say international because people from all over the world come to this
As I checked into the Last Resort Hotel,
I noticed that they would be hosting the year's most important event,
the Annual Pity Party.
I wasn't going to miss that great social occasion.
Many of the towns leading citizens would be there.
First, there would be the Done family. . .
you know, Should Have, Would Have and Could Have.
Then came the I Had family.
You probably know ol' Wish and his clan.
Of course, the Opportunities would be
present, Missed and Lost.
The biggest family would be the Yesterday's.
There are far too many of them to count,
but each one would have a very sad story to share.
Then Shattered Dreams would surely make an appearance.
And It's Their Fault would regale us with stories (excuses)
about how things had failed in his life,
and each story would be loudly applauded by
Don't Blame Me and I Couldn't Help It.
Well, to make a long story short,
I went to this depressing party ...
knowing that there would be no real benefit in doing so.
And, as usual, I became very depressed.
But as I thought about all of the stories
of failures brought back from the past,
it occurred to me that all of this trip
and subsequent "pity parties" could be canceled by ME!
I started to truly realize that I did not have to be there.
I didn't have to be depressed.
One thing kept going through my mind.
I CAN'T CHANGE YESTERDAY,
BUT I DO HAVE THE POWER
TO MAKE TODAY A WONDERFUL DAY.
I can be happy,
as well as encouraging.
Knowing this, I left the City of Regret immediately
and left no forwarding address.
Am I sorry for mistakes I've made in the past? YES!
But there is no physical way to undo them.
So, if you're planning a trip back to the City of Regret,
. . . please cancel all your reservations now.
Instead, take a trip to a place called, Starting Again.
I liked it so much ...
that I have now taken up permanent residence there.
My neighbors ...
the I Forgive Myself and the New Starts
are so very helpful.
By the way, you don't have to carry around heavy baggage,
because the load is lifted from your shoulders upon arrival.
God bless you in finding this great town.
If you can find it . . . it's in your own heart
. . . please look me up.
I live on I CAN DO IT street.
Today is Friday, January 16th, 2004; Karen's Korner #220|
I got this information from a minister in Primghar recently. I don't know if it something which he wrote or if it is something which he is passing along to others. The message is have "A HAPPY NEW YEAR":
Accept the word planted in you which can save you (James 1:21)
Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord (James 4:10)
And he shall lift you up (James 4:10)
Pray without ceasing (I Thessalonians 5:17)
Peace to all of you who are in Christ (I Peter 4:14)
You are the light of the world (Matthew 5:14)
Now we pray to God that you will not do anything wrong (II Corinthians 13:7)
Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith (II Corinthians 13:5)
We are God's workmanship (Ephesians 2:10)
Yes, and I will continue to rejoice (Philippines 1:18)
Encourage one another (I Thessalonians 5:11)
Above all, love each other deeply (I Peter 4:8)
Rejoice, for great is your reward in heaven (Matthew 5:12)
Today is Monday, January 19th, 2004; Karen's Korner #221|
"The Size of Your Heart" forwarded by Pat Holtapp:
THE SIZE OF YOUR HEART
It isn't the size of your house as such
That matters so much at all.
It's the gentle hand and its loving touch,
That make it great or small.
The friends who come and the hour they
Who out of your house depart,
Will judge it not by the style you show,
But rather by the size of your heart.
It isn't the size of your head so much,
It isn't the wealth you found.
That will make you happy -- it's how you touch
The lives that are all around.
For making money is not hard --
To live life well is an art:
How people love you, how they regard,
Is all in the size of your heart.
Today is Tuesday, January 20th, 2004; Karen's Korner #222|
I like it when people write something and then want to share it. Kathy Schnell forwarded this story to me. It is written by her sister, Luanne Krabbe, and is being shared with Luanne's permission:
Abou Ben Adhem
Some years ago I knew a man in his 80's who recited a poem for me. He was of an age when children learned "recitations" and he loved to amaze me in that he could still recite after so many years. The poem that lodged in my mind after hearing it only one time was beautiful in a mysterious mixture of Arabian Nights, humor and holiness. The first line began with a strange exotic name which I could never remember, but the haunting & righteous message of the poem never left me.
The old man passed on and so did ten years or more. I never saw him again after hearing that particular poem. I wondered if I would ever find that poem again, knowing only the spirit of it, but not enough words, not the title or author.
One day as I walked into the public library, I met another old friend. Pearl Larson was a retired missionary who had lived 30 years in Cameroon, in West Africa.
Pearl was 28 and an unmarried or "maiden lady" when she went to Africa. It was at the beginning of WWII and transportation was not by air, but by ship. When she got there, she was not sure what she would be doing. For the first 2 years she tried to teach and start a school, but she knew only English, not French, so it was not working out very well.
A visiting clergyman "volunteered" Pearl to adopt an orphaned new born who no one in the community would take. In fact, the child was on the point of being put into the grave with its mother. With no refrigeration, no extra food, there was no way for the family members to raise an orphan. In that land, "kwashikoror" is the name of starvation of the toddler age child who is displaced at the breast of the mother with a new born.
Mothers sometimes have the awful choice to make of which of her own babies to feed. Pearl had no choice. She bought goat's milk from a tribe of Swahili shepherds and boiled milk every morning & every night, cooled it and fed the baby. It did not take long for more orphans to be left on Pearl's proverbial doorstep. There were times when she would have 25 bottle fed infants. She told me that when she would wake up in the morning, and think that she'd have a minute to say her prayers, she'd be interrupted because everyone needed something from her.
By the time Pearl returned to Iowa, she had raised to adulthood almost 300 new born and orphaned children who really were what we'd have to call "throw away children" because their fate was to have been to be buried with their dead mothers.
So back to the day at the library...Pearl greeted me with the words,"I'm so excited. I just found the poem that I've been looking for."
I said, "I wonder if it's the same one that I've been looking for."
The page she showed me began "Abou Ben Adhem, (may his tribe increase)...." and was indeed that poem, by Leigh Hunt, that I hoped would come back to me again.
Pearl's funeral was today and I honor the sacred way that Pearl & Ben Adhem lived. In the moonlit room I keep in my soul, she is a lily in bloom.
Copyright by Luanne Krabbe
Abou Ben Adhem
by Leigh Hunt
Abou Ben Adhem (may his tribe increase!)
Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace,
And saw, within the moonlight of his room,
Making it rich, and like a lily in bloom,
An angel writing in a book of gold.
Exceeding peace had made Ben Adhem bold,
And to the presence in the room he said,
'What writest thou?' - The vision raised its head,
And with a look made of all sweet accord,
Answered 'The names of those who love the Lord.'
'And is mine one?' said Abou. 'Nay, not so,'
Replied the angel. Abou spoke more low,
But cheerily still; and said 'I pray thee then,
Write me as one that loves his fellow-men.'
The angel wrote, and vanished. The next night
It came again with a great wakening light,
And showed the names who love of God had blessed,
And lo! Ben Adhem's name led all the rest.
Today is Saturday, January 24th, 2004; Karen's Korner #223|
(Sorry for no Karen's Korners for the past few days; our computer lost its memory and needed "brain surgery":
This is something that Jack Burt forwarded to me a while ago. I hope that the graphics forward to you too:
Donna's fourth-grade classroom looked like many others I had seen in the past. Students sat in five rows of six desks. The teacher's desk was in the front and faced the students. The bulletin board featured student work. In most respects it appeared to be a typically traditional elementary classroom. Yet, something seemed different that day I entered it for the first time. There seemed to be an undercurrent of excitement.
Donna was a veteran small-town Michigan schoolteacher only two years away from retirement. In addition, she was a volunteer participant in a countywide development project I had organized and facilitated. The training focused on language arts ideas that would empower students to feel good about them and take charge of their lives. Donna's job was to attend training sessions and implement the concepts presented. My job was to make classroom visitations and encourage implementation.
I took an empty seat in the back and watched. All the students were working on a task, filling a sheet of notebook paper with thoughts and ideas. The ten-year-old student closest to me was filling her page with "I Can'ts."
"I can't kick the soccer ball pass second base."
"I can't do long division with more than three numbers."
"I can't get Debbie to like me."
Her page was half full and she showed no signs of letting up. She worked on with determination and persistence.
I walked down the row glancing at students' papers. Everyone was writing sentences, describing things they couldn't do.
"I can't do ten pushups."
"I can't hit over the left-field fence."
"I can't eat only one cookie."
By this time, the activity engaged my curiosity, so I decided to check with the teacher to see what was going on. As I approached her, I noticed that she too was busy writing. I felt it best not to interrupt.
"I can't get John's mother to come in for a teacher conference."
"I can't get my daughter to put gas in the car."
"I can't get Alan to use words instead of fists."
Thwarted in my efforts to determine why students and teacher were dwelling on the negative instead of the positive "I Can't" statements, I returned to my seat and continued my observations. Students wrote for ten minutes. Most filled their page. Some started another.
"Finish the one you're on and don't start a new one," were the instructions Donna used to signal the end of the activity. Students were then instructed to fold their papers in half and bring them to the front. When students reached the desk, they placed their "I Can't" statements into an empty shoe box.
When all of the student papers were collected, Donna added hers. She put the lid on the box, tucked it under her arm and headed out the door and down the hall. Students followed the teacher. I followed the students.
Halfway down the hall the procession stopped. Donna entered the custodian's room, rummaged around and came out with a shovel. Shovel in one hand, shoebox in the other, Donna marched the students out of the school to the farthest corner of the playground. There they began to dig.
They were going to bury their "I Cant's!" The digging took over ten minutes because most of the fourth graders wanted a turn. When the hole approached three-foot deep, the digging ended. The box of "I Cant's" was placed at the bottom of the hole and quickly covered with dirt.
Thirty-one 10- and 11-year-olds stood around the freshly dug gravesite. Each had at least one page full of "I Cant's" in the shoebox, three-feet under. So did their teacher.
At this point Donna announced, "Boys and girls, please join hands and bow your heads." The students complied. They quickly formed a circle around the grave, creating a bond with their hands. They lowered their heads and waited. Donna delivered the eulogy.
"Friends, we gather today to honor the memory of "I Can't." While he was with us on earth, he touched the lives of everyone, some more than others. His names, unfortunately, has been spoken in every public building - schools, city halls, and state capitols and yes, even The White House.
We have provided "I Can't" with a final resting place and headstone that contains his epitaph. He is survived by his brothers and sisters, "I can, 'I will' and "I'm going to Right Away.' They are not as well known as their famous relative and are certainly not as strong and powerful yet. Perhaps someday, with your help, they will make and even bigger mark on the world. May 'I Can't' rest in peace and may everyone present pick up their lives and move forward in his absence. Amen."
As I listened to the eulogy I realized that these students would never forget this day. The activity was symbolic, a metaphor for life. It was a right-brain experience that would stick in the unconscious and conscious mind forever.
Writing "I Can'ts," burying them and hearing the eulogy. That was a major effort on the part of this teacher. And she wasn't done yet. At the conclusion of the eulogy she turned the students around, marched them back into the classroom and held a wake.
They celebrated the passing of "I Can't" with cookies, popcorn and fruit juices. Donna cut out a tombstone from butcher paper. She wrote the words "I Can't" at the top and put RIP in the middle the date was added at the bottom, "3/28/80."
The paper tombstone hung in Donna's classroom for the remainder of the year. On those rare occasions when a student forgot and said, "I Can't," Donna simply pointed to the RIP sign. The student then remembered that "I Can't" was dead and chose to rephrase the statement.
I wasn't one of Donna's students. She was one of mine. Yet that day I learned an enduring lesson from her.
Now, years later, whenever I hear the phrase, "I Can't," I see images of that fourth-grade funeral. Like the students, I remember that "I Can't" is dead.
~ Phillip B. Childs ~
Today is Sunday, January 25th, 2004; Karen's Korner #225|
* A person who doesn't know but knows he doesn't know is
a student; teach him..
A person who knows but who doesn't know that he knows
is asleep; awaken him..
But a person who knows and knows that he knows is wise;
-- Asian Proverb
* I am not young enough to know everything.
-- Oscar Wilde
Today is Sunday, January 25th, 2004; Karen's Korner #224|
I never send Karen's Korners on Saturdays and Sundays; I don't send 2 Karen's Korners on the same day. These two will be brief!
Because of my computer malfunction, I didn't mail any for 3 days. Sent one yesterday; two together today! Since I mail 5 per week, they fit nicely into weekly folders. And Mondays are always either numbers which end in a "1" or a "6"and so on........now they wouldn't work right.........
I was explaining what I was doing to Jim and he thinks I am nuts! What difference does it make what days are numbered what, is his rationale.......
These aren't what I normally would have sent; they are short. Indulge me......
Tomorrow (if my computer works), they will be back to "normal" and so will I ??
Short thoughts #1 on money (or #224):
* Money is a good servant but a bad master.
-- French Proverb
* When a man says money can do anything, that settles it;
he hasn't any.
-- Ed Howe
Today is Monday, January 26th, 2004; Karen's Korner #226|
This was forwarded to us by Ray and Betty Hults who used to live in Clarion. According to someone introducing the writer, the author, Rick Mathes, is a well known prison ministry leader. Interesting thoughts:
Allah or Jesus?
By Rick Mathes
Last month I attended my annual training session that's required for
maintaining my state prison security clearance. During the training session
there was a presentation by three speakers representing the Roman Catholic,
Protestant and Muslim faiths who explained their belief systems.
I was particularly interested in what the Islamic Imam had to say. The
Imam gave a great presentation of the basics of Islam, complete with a
video. After the presentations, time was provided for questions and answers.
When it was my turn, I directed my question to the Imam and asked:
"Please, correct me if I'm wrong, but I understand that most Imams and
clerics of Islam have declared a holy jihad [Holy war] against the infidels
of the world. And, that by killing an infidel, which is a command to all
Muslims, they are assured of a place in heaven. If that's the case, can you
give me the definition of an infidel?"
There was no disagreement with my statements and without hesitation he
I responded, "So, let me make sure I have this straight. All followers of
Allah have been commanded to kill everyone who is not of your faith so they
can go to Heaven. Is that correct?"
The __ expression on his face changed from one of authority and command to
that of a little boy who had just gotten caught with his hand in the cookie
jar. He sheepishly replied, "Yes."
I then stated, "Well, sir, I have a real problem trying to imagine Pope
John Paul commanding all Catholics to kill those of your faith or Pat
Robertson or Dr. Stanley ordering Protestants to do the same in order to go
to Heaven!" The Imam was speechless.
I continued, "I also have problem with being your friend when you and your
brother clerics are telling your followers to kill me. Let me ask you a
question. Would you rather have your Allah who tells you to kill me in
order to go to Heaven or my Jesus who tells me to love you because I am
going to Heaven and wants you to be with me?"
You could have heard a pin drop as the Imam hung his head in shame. Chuck
Colson once told me something that has sustained me these 20 years of prison
ministry. He said to me, "Rick, remember that the truth will prevail." And
May God Bless each of you.
Today is Tuesday, January 27th, 2004; Karen's Korner #227|
This is something that I wrote a week or so ago. I hope you enjoy the message:
"She Knew What She Was Getting"
Our son-in-law, Ed, who was married to our daughter Merry before she was killed, is now married to Heather. We enjoy the company of both of them.
While there are many activities and topics of conversation at the times we are together, invariably Merry is mentioned. Sometimes we exchange items which need to go back to the Weld family. There have been scholarship and memorial dollars to be given or dispensed. Ed makes a trip to Clarion a time or two a year to put flowers on his first wife's grave.
One time as the conversation ebbed toward some of those "Merry topics", I said to Heather, "I don't know how you can put up with us when we are discussing this stuff."
And Ed piped up, "She knew what she was getting when she got me!"
Because Ed and Heather have a secure love relationship and because she knows that we also care for her, she is not threatened or envious of Ed's previous marriage to our daughter.
It makes me think of God and my relationship to Him. Sometimes I think He is pretty lucky to have me....when I am doing, thinking, believing the things which I think He wants me to do or how He wants me to trust Him.
But what about the times when I am not so trusting or kind. God knows and always knew, "I knew what I was getting when I got her!" What a secure, kind, loving relationship I have with my Heavenly Father.........not that I have done much to deserve it! He just wants me to nestle down and enjoy His daily care!
Today is Wednesday, January 28th, 2004; Karen's Korner #228|
It is 4 1/2 years ago today that Merry was killed. So I am sharing one of|
the nine emails I have saved, which she sent to us several days before her
----- Original Message -----
From: "Merry S Dick" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Monday, July 26, 1999 1:31 PM
Subject: The faith of a child.
When a mother saw a thunderstorm forming in mid-afternoon, she worried
about her seven year old daughter who would be walking three blocks home
Deciding to meet her, the mother saw her walking nonchalantly
along, stopping to smile every time the lightening flashed.
Seeing her mother, the little girl ran to her, explaining happily.
"All the way home, God's been taking my picture!"
Today is Thursday, January 29th, 2004; Karen's Korner #229|
Emailed to me awhile back from Jim's sister Melvene:
The World is Mine
Today, upon a bus, I saw a very beautiful woman.
And wished I were as beautiful.
When suddenly she rose to leave,
I saw her hobble down the aisle.
She had one leg and wore a crutch.
But as she passed, she passed a smile.
Oh, God, forgive me when I whine.
I have two legs; the world is mine.
I stopped to buy some candy.
The lad who sold it had such charm.
I talked with him, he seemed so glad.
If I were late, it'd do no harm.
And as I left, he said to me, "I thank you,
you've been so kind.
It's nice to talk with folks like you.
You see," he said, "I'm blind."
Oh, God, forgive me when I whine.
I have two eyes; the world is mine.
Later while walking down the street,
I saw a child I knew.
He stood and watched the others play,
but he did not know what to do.
I stopped a moment and then I said,
"Why don't you join them dear?"
He looked ahead without a word.
I forgot, he couldn't hear.
Oh, God, forgive me when I whine.
I have two ears; the world is mine.
With feet to take me where I'd go.
With eyes to see the sunset's glow.
With ears to hear what I'd know.
Oh, God, forgive me when I whine.
I've been blessed indeed, the world is mine.
Today is Friday, January 30th, 2004; Karen's Korner #230|
This is from a daily email of "Chicken Soup for the Soul", which I have had for a number of years. As we look at campaign rhetorics of governments needing to help people. it is an appropriate story. I know that not every person or family can be as self-sufficient as this family:
Willing To Pay The Price
When my wife Maryanne and I were building our Greenspoint
Mall hair salon 13 years ago, a Vietnamese fellow would stop by
each day to sell us doughnuts. He spoke hardly any English, but
he was always friendly and through smiles and sign language we
got to know each other. His name was Le Van Vu.
During the day Le worked in a bakery and at night he and his
wife listened to audio tapes to learn English. I later learned
that they slept on sacks full of sawdust on the floor of the back
room of the bakery.
In Vietnam the Van Vu family was one of the wealthiest in
Southeast Asia. They owned almost one-third of North Vietnam,
including huge holdings in industry and real estate. However,
after his father was brutally murdered, Le moved to South Vietnam
with his mother, where he went to school and eventually became a
Like his father before him, Le prospered. He saw an
opportunity to construct buildings to accommodate the ever-
expanding American presence in South Vietnam and soon became one
of the most successful builders in the country.
On a trip to the North, however, Le was captured by the
North Vietnamese and thrown into prison for three years. He
escaped by killing five soldiers and made his way back to South
Vietnam where he was arrested again. The South Vietnamese
government had assumed he was a "plant" from the North.
After serving time in prison, Le got out and started a
fishing company, eventually becoming the largest canner in South
When Le learned that the U.S. troops and embassy personnel
were about to pull out of his country, he made a life-changing
He took all of the gold he had hoarded, loaded it aboard one
of his fishing vessels and sailed with his wife out to the
American ships in the harbor. He then exchanged all his riches
for safe passage out of Vietnam to the Philippines, where he and
his wife were taken into a refugee camp.
After gaining access to the president of the Philippines, Le
convinced him to make one of his boats available for fishing and
Le was back in business again. Before he left the Philippines two
years later en route for America (his ultimate dream), Le had
successfully developed the entire fishing industry in the
But en route to America, Le became distraught and depressed
about having to start over again with nothing. His wife tells of
how she found him near the railing of the ship, about to jump
"Le," she told him, "If you do jump, whatever will become of
me? We've been together for so long and through so much. We can
do this together." It was all the encouragement that Le Van Vu
When he and his wife arrived in Houston in 1972, they were
flat broke and spoke no English. In Vietnam, family takes care of
family, and Le and his wife found themselves ensconced in the
back room of his cousin's bakery in the Greenspoint Mall. We were
building our salon just a couple of hundred feet away.
Now, as they say, here comes the "message" part of this
Le's cousin offered both Le and his wife jobs in the bakery.
After taxes, Le would take home $175 per week, his wife $125.
Their total annual income, in other words, was $15,600. Further,
his cousin offered to sell them the bakery whenever they could
come up with a $30,000 down payment. The cousin would finance the
remainder with a note for $90,000.
Here's what Le and his wife did:
Even with a weekly income of $300, they decided to continue
to live in the back room. They kept clean by taking sponge baths
for two years in the mall's restrooms. For two years their diet
consisted almost entirely of bakery goods. Each year, for two
years, they lived on a total, that's right, a total of $600,
saving $30,000 for the down payment.
Le later explained his reasoning, "If we got ourselves an
apartment, which we could afford on $300 per week, we'd have to
pay the rent. Then, of course, we'd have to buy furniture. Then
we'd have to have transportation to and from work, so that meant
we'd have to buy a car. Then we'd have to buy gasoline for the
car as well as insurance. Then we'd probably want to go places in
the car, so that meant we'd need to buy clothes and toiletries.
So I knew that if we got that apartment, we'd never get our
Now, if you think you've heard everything about Le, let me
tell you, there's more: After he and his wife had saved the
$30,000 and bought the bakery, Le once again sat down with his
wife for a serious chat. They still owed $90,000 to his cousin,
he said, and as difficult as the past two years had been, they
had to remain living in that back room for one more year.
I'm proud to tell you that in one year, my friend and mentor
Le Van Vu and his wife, saving virtually every nickel of profit
from the business, paid off the $90,000 note, and in just three
years, owned an extremely profitable business free and clear.
Then, and only then, the Van Vus went out and got their
first apartment. To this day, they continue to save on a regular
basis, live on an extremely small percentage of their income,
and, of course, always pay cash for any of their purchases.
Do you think that Le Van Vu is a millionaire today? I am
happy to tell you, many times over.
By John McCormack
from Chicken Soup for the Soul
Copyright 1993 by Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen