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July 2003 Archives

Printable Issue 82  Today is Tuesday, July 1st, 2003; Karen's Korner #82

This is something that I wrote about a year ago. Hope that you enjoy it!

 

Letting Go of the String

A recent "The Family Circus" cartoon pictures Jeffy and his dad outside flying kites. Jeffyís kite has been launched and it is flying off into the distance. He says, "Look, Daddy! If you let go of the string, the kite goes higher!"

 

As I looked at the sketch in the comic section of our daily paper, I thought, "Is that what God says to us, Ďif you let go of the control strings of your life, your life will go higher!í"

 

So if we let go of our string, who will be in control?

 

It is God!

 

He wants to untangle the strings of broken relationships and impossible tasks. He wants to take our talents and abilities, which are flying along pretty well; to be released to His Control, so that they can fly to even higher, more lofty heights.God can be trusted, as we get to know Him better and better. We know that He loves us and will take care of us. All of the time. From today and through eternity. If we let go of our life kite strings, we will soar to the new levels for which He created each of us!

Printable Issue 83  Today is Wednesday, July 2nd, 2003; Karen's Korner #83

I got a nice note from a friend a couple of weeks ago. Along with the note, he had stuck in a bookmark that had these words on it:

 

If....we could cast the gift of a

lovely thought into the heart of a friend,

that would be giving as angels give.

-George Macdonald

 

The note and the bookmark said a lot to me, as I thought about the sender.

Today I want to cast the gift of a lovely thought to you!

Can I challenge you to stop for a moment to think of 5 people in your life and think a "lovely thought" of each of them. If each of us do that and turn it into a one word or one sentence "prayer", think what it might do for many wonderful people in our lives and in our world.

 

Think what it is going to do for those of us who do it!

Printable Issue 84  Today is Thursday, July 3rd, 2003; Karen's Korner #84

From Lisa Kluss - "Religous Alphabet --

 

Although things are not perfect
Because of trial or pain
Continue in thanksgiving
Do not begin to blame
Even when the times are hard
Fierce winds are bound to blow
God is forever able
Hold on to what you know
Imagine life without His love
Joy would cease to be
Keep thanking Him for all the things
Love imparts to thee
Move out of "Camp Complaining"
No weapon that is known
On earth can yield the power
Praise can do alone
Quit looking at the future
Redeem the time at hand
Start every day with worship
To "thank" is a command
Until we see Him coming
Victorious in the sky
We'll run the race with gratitude
Xalting God most high
Yes, there'll be good times and yes some will be bad, but...
Zion waits in glory...where none are ever sad!

Printable Issue 85  Today is Friday, July 4th, 2003; Karen's Korner #85

From "sayings and proverbs" which I received today:

 

Happy 227th Birthday America!

If the American Revolution had produced nothing but
the Declaration of Independence, it would have been
worthwhile.
--Samuel Eliot Morison

The American dream is not over.
America is an adventure.
--Theodore White

America did not invent human rights. In a very real
sense, it is the other way around. Human rights
invented America.
--Jimmy Carter

Give the American people a good cause, and there's
nothing they can't lick.
--John Wayne

What the people want is very simple - they want an
America as good as its promise.
--Barbara Jordan

Printable Issue 86  Today is Monday, July 7th, 2003; Karen's Korner #86

Holding Hands During the Storm

 

We had the opportunity to apply our "foster grandparenting" skills for a few days over the Independence Day holiday. Three sisters came to stay with us Ė the twins were nine and the youngest was five. Probably because of the number of times they had spent in homes like ours, they chose to call us "mom" and "dad".

 

It was the first night when both twins started talking about the clouds that were forming and parts of the weather forecast they were hearing. "I donít think it is going to rain, do you, mom?" said one of the twins. "It doesnít look like it will storm, does it?" Always looking for a positive answer from either Jim or I.

 

"We donít think it will rain," we assured her. "You will be all right."

 

Shortly after midnight as thunder vibrated the house on occasion and as the dark skies were illuminated for a few seconds at a time, I heard our bedroom door open. "Mom, I canít sleep," said one. "I am scared. Can I sleep with you and dad?"

 

"Go get your blanket and pillow," I said.

 

Not knowing how many more we might have in bed with us later, I told her, "Just put the pillow and blanket on the floor beside me. You can sleep there. You will be okay."

 

"I want to hold your hand," she said, as she began to settle down and get ready to go back to sleep. Rain, thunder, and lightning continued.

 

Sometimes storm clouds gather in my life. The forecast doesnít look too good. And I plead to God, "It isnít going to rain, is it?" Thunder and lightning sometimes scare me and I donít want to be afraid. Since God controls the weather, it would be to my liking if I could get Him to change his mind and give me only "good" weather.

 

Sometimes in the middle of the darkness, I holler, "God, I am frightened. Can I come and sleep with you?" I know He is preparing a place for all of his children. But His big bed isnít ready for us just yet!

Instead He says to me, "Get your blanket and pillow and lay down. You can rest. I will hold your hand and you will be okay." And He reaches down and puts His big gentle hand into my cold and clammy one.

 

Sometimes God doesnít change the forecast, choosing instead to allow the thunder and lightning to roll. I donít always need sunshine. Sometimes I need rain, too. Not much grows on dry, parched ground.

The difference is I have ahold of His HandÖ.

Printable Issue 87  Today is Tuesday, July 8th, 2003; Karen's Korner #87

A couple of sayings or proverbs that might touch your mind and heart today:

 

* Fewer things are harder to put up with than
the annoyance of a good example.
--Mark Twain


*If you have much, give of your wealth;
if you have little, give of your heart.
--Arab Proverb

* The words of God are not like the oak leaf which
dies and falls to the earth, but like the pine tree
which stays green forever.
--Native American Proverb

 

* Always be joyful. Always keep on praying.

No Matter what happens, always be thankful,

for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

-- I Thessalonians 5: 16 - 18

Printable Issue 88  Today is Wednesday, July 9th, 2003; Karen's Korner #88

When our younger daughter, Merry, was in her senior year of college, she chose to study abroad for a few weeks as a part of the school's May term program. She and some of her friends chose to go to the Holy Land. Like many travelers, she brought home some souvenirs. She brought Jim and I an 8 - 9" inch olive wood figure of a shepherd carrying a lamb over his shoulders.

 

Many of us have seen the pictures of Jesus carrying one lamb as He walks among the rest of His flock. The figurine is a replica.

 

I heard a speaker last week tell about shepherds carrying their sheep. He said sometimes a shepherds who has a sheep that repeatedly strays will break one of the sheep's legs, once the sheep is found. He then carries the sheep across his shoulders. Once the leg is healed, the shepherd puts the sheep down. Not only does the lamb no longer wander, it stays closer to the shepherd than most of the others, because the two have developed such a bond.

 

Sounded kind of cruel to me. But I thought as parents, we sometimes do the same things...maybe not to that extent. We can scold a child for wandering away from us in a store when they become lost. Even if we are a bit hesitant about spanking, we might give children a swat or 2 if we find them walking on a busy street where they were told not to play. A child's tears aren't as important to us as his/her safety. We don't want them to be in danger.

 

The speaker went on to tell that sheep left to themselves without the care of the shepherd will certainly die because of lack of food or attack of a predator. A broken leg which can heal is a great alternative. He told that while Jesus isn't in the business of breaking legs, many times life hobbles us. As the Good Shepherd, He picks us up and carries us until our legs heal. When He puts us back down, we remain closer to Him because we have developed a caring relationship. We no longer want to be far away from the pack or stray by ourselves. We know where and from whom our protection comes.

 

A number of year ago as I watched members of our church congregation file to the front for communion, I can recall thinking about them individually. Many of them had been handed heartbreaking life stories yet here they were among the most faithful.......broken legs and all.........carried by the Shepherd

Printable Issue 89  Today is Thursday, July 10th, 2003; Karen's Korner #89

This is a pretty popular pass around email right now. I got this particular note from Dr. Jon Ahrendsen, who received it from his sister. If you have read it before, delete; if not, enjoy:

 

Different Type of Prayer:


Heavenly Father, Help us remember that the jerk
who cut us off in traffic last night, is a single mother
who worked nine hours that day and is rushing home to
cook dinner, help with homework, do the laundry and
spend a few precious moments with her children.

Help us to remember that the pierced, tattooed, disinterested
young man who can't make change
correctly is a worried 19-year-old college student,
balancing his apprehension over final exams with his
fear of not getting his student loans for next semester.

Remind us, Lord, that the scary looking bum, begging
for money in the same spot every day (who really ought
to get a job!) is a slave to addictions that we can only
imagine in our worst nightmares.

Help us to remember that the old couple walking annoyingly
slow through the store aisles and blocking our shopping
progress are savoring this moment, knowing that, based on
the biopsy report she got back last week, this will be the last
year that they go shopping together.

Heavenly Father, remind us each day that, of all the gifts you
give us, the greatest gift is love. It is not enough to share that
love with those we hold dear. Open our hearts not to just those
who are close to us, but to all humanity. Let us be slow to
judge
and quick to forgive, show patience, empathy and love.


"Do not spoil what you have, by desiring what you have not;
remember
that what you now have was once among the things only hoped for."

Printable Issue 90  Today is Friday, July 11th, 2003; Karen's Korner #90

Someone emailed me "the old phone", but I don't recall who it was. I have enjoyed it and I hope that you do, too:

 

THE OLD PHONE


When I was quite young, my father had one of the first telephones in our neighborhood. I remember the polished, old case fastened to the wall. The shiny receiver hung on the side of the box. I was too little to reach the telephone, but used to listen with fascination when my mother talked to it.

Then I discovered that somewhere inside the wonderful device lived an amazing person. Her name was "Information Please" and there was nothing she did not know. Information Please could supply anyone's number and the correct time My personal experience with the genie-in-a-bottle came one day while my mother was visiting a neighbor.

Amusing myself at the tool bench in the basement, I whacked my finger with a hammer, the pain was terrible, but there seemed no point in crying because there was no one home to give sympathy.

I walked around the house sucking my throbbing finger, finally arriving at the stairway. The telephone! Quickly, I ran for the footstool in the parlor and dragged it to the landing. Climbing up, I unhooked the receiver in the parlor and held it to my ear. "Information, please" I said into the mouthpiece just above my head. A click or two and a small clear voice spoke into my ear.

"Information." "My name is John and I hurt my finger..." I wailed into the phone, the tears came readily enough now that I had an audience. "Isn't your mother home?" came the question.

 

"Nobody's home but me," I blubbered.

 

"Are you bleeding?" the voice asked.

 

"No," I replied. "I hit my finger with the hammer and it hurts."

 

"Can you open the icebox?" she asked. I said I could. "Then chip off a little bit of ice and hold it to your finger," said the voice. After that, I called "Information Please" for everything.

I asked her for help with my geography, and she told me where
Philadelphia was. She helped me with my math. She told me my pet chipmunk that I had caught in the park just the day before, would eat fruit and nuts.

Then, there was the time Petey, our pet canary, died. I called, Information Please," and told her the sad story. She listened, and then said things grown-ups say to soothe a child. But I was not consoled.

I asked her, "Why is it that birds should sing so beautifully and bring joy to all families, only to end up as a heap of feathers on the bottom of a cage?"

She must have sensed my deep concern, for she said quietly, "John, always remember that there are other worlds to sing in."

Somehow I felt better. Another day I was on the telephone, "Information Please."

"Information," said in the now familiar voice. "How do I spell fix?" I asked.

All this took place in a small town in the Pacific Northwest. When I was nine years old, we moved across the country to Boston. I missed my friend very much. "Information Please" belonged in that old wooden box back home and I somehow never thought of trying the shiny new phone that sat on the table in the hall. As I grew into my teens, the memories of those childhood conversations never really left me. Often, in moments of doubt and perplexity I would recall the serene sense of security I had then. I appreciated now how patient, understanding, and kind she was to have spent her time on a little boy.

A few years later, on my way west to college, my plane put down in Seattle. I had about a half-hour or so between planes. I spent 15 minutes or so on the phone with my sister, who lived there now. Then without thinking what I was doing, I dialed my hometown operator and said, "Information Please."

Miraculously, I heard the small, clear voice I knew so well.

"Information."

I hadn't planned this, but I heard myself saying, "Could you please tell me how to spell fix?"

There was a long pause. Then came the soft spoken answer, "I guess your finger must have healed by now."

I laughed, "So it's really you," I said. "I wonder if you have any idea how much you meant to me during that time?"

I wonder," she said, "if you know how much your call meant to me. I never had any children and I used to look forward to your calls." I told her how often I had thought of her over the years and I asked if I could call her again when I came back to visit my sister.

"Please do", she said. "Just ask for Sally."

 

Three months later I was back in Seattle. A different voice answered, "Information."

I asked for Sally.

 

"Are you a friend?" she said.

"Yes, my name is John and I am a very old friend," I answered.

 

"I'm sorry to have to tell you this," she said. "Sally had been working part-time the last few years because she was sick. She died five weeks ago."

Before I could hang up she said, "Wait a minute, did you say your name was John?"

 

"Yes." I answered.

"Well, Sally left a message for you. She wrote it down in case you called. Let me read it to you." The note said, "Tell him there are other worlds to sing in.. He'll know what I mean."

I thanked her and hung up. I knew what Sally meant.

 

Never underestimate the impression you may make on others. Whose life have you touched today?

Remember: Life is a journey ... NOT a guided tour.

Printable Issue 91  Today is Monday, July 14th, 2003; Karen's Korner #91

A "pass along" email form Joanne Schleck:


...and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the
prayers of the saints. Revelation 5:8

Hurriedly, I was trying to retrieve e-mail I had deleted by mistake. No
such luck. It was gone from that big E- mailbox in the sky. I was
reminded of old science fiction movies where a martian, or other
outer-space individual, would get zapped. One beam of light and he was
deleted. Gone.

This week my husband was sharing how much his spiritual heritage means
to him. "Just think," he said, "of all the prayers that have been said for
me by my parents, grandparents, and others. Who knows where I'd be if
it weren't for all those prayers!"

Later, I thought about what Ben had said. None of the prayers offered
in his name has ever been deleted. No prayer he has prayed has been
erased, either. Nor mine. Nor yours.

It says in the final book of the Bible that all our prayers are stored
in huge golden bowls in God's throne room. All.

What an honor, privilege, and blessing to pray. Each and every prayer
is heard by God Himself. And not one of them will ever be deleted. Not
even by accident.

Printable Issue 92  Today is Tuesday, July 15th, 2003; Karen's Korner #92

Will Rogers is one of my favorite writers of "one liners".

 

Here are a few of his tidbits of wisdom:

 

The Wisdom of Will Rogers

* Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes
from bad judgment.

* Lettin' the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier 'n puttin'
it back in.

* If you're ridin' ahead of the herd, take a look back every now
and then to make sure it's still there.

* If you get to thinkin' you're a person of some influence, try
orderin' somebody else's dog around.

* If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop
diggin'.

* When you give a lesson in meanness to a critter or a person,
don't be surprised if they learn their lesson.

 

* Never miss a good chance to shut up.

Printable Issue 93  Today is Wednesday, July 16th, 2003; Karen's Korner #93

Yesterday I received my daily e-mail from "Chicken Soup for the Soul".

 

The short story was written by an Olympic swimming coach and told about one of his young swimmers who always failed to make the swim team for the first seven years of his coaching career.

 

The young girl would always start quickly and be in the lead at the beginning of the race, but would "die" in the last 25 yards of the butterfly stroke swim race. In the finals of his eighth year of coaching year, he told the swimmer to change her thinking and to swim with as much enthusiasm and confidence as she did the first 25 yards.

 

But he did more than that, he positioned the balance of the swim team near the edge of the pool. When their team member hit the 75 yard mark, in unison they yelled, "NOW!" The coach wrote that he couldn't hear anything in the swimming area as the entire team was yelling at the top of their lungs, as she stroked her way to the finish line.

 

This time her results were different. In one race, she had moved her time in the butterfly race from 64th in the world to #1!!

 

How about us? Where are we in the race of life? Many of us are nearing the end of the race, but are we swimming with the same enthusiasm, hope, love, and joy as we did in the beginning of the race?

 

Have we started strong but now are tiring from the length of the race? Are we sprinters but not very good long distance swimmers?

 

Is God, as our coach, and are angels both on this earth and in heaven yelling from the sides of the pool, "NOW!" as they encourage us to swim just as strong as we did when we first dived into the pool?

We can finish as strong as we started and win the race God has set out for us..........one strong stroke at a time!

Printable Issue 94  Today is Thursday, July 17th, 2003; Karen's Korner #94

This is a poem shared by Pat Holtapp. Pat says she sometimes tucks it into sympathy cards:

 

I give you this

one thought to keep -

I am with you still,

I do not sleep.

 

I am a thousand winds that blow,

I am the diamond glints on snow,

I am the sunlight on ripened grain,

I am the gentle autumn rain.

 

When you awaken

in the morning's hush,

I am the swift, uplifting rush

of quiet birds in circled flight,

I am the soft stars

that shine at night.

 

Do not think of me as gone.

I am with you still,

in each new dawn.

 

-Native American Prayer

Printable Issue 95  Today is Friday, July 18th, 2003; Karen's Korner #95

This is a writing shared from Joanne Schleck:

 

Genesis 28:15: "What's more, I am with you, and will protect you wherever
you go."

We always enjoy the majestic view from our condo in Carefree, Ariz. The
backdrop is magnificent, as the mountain ranges display all their beauty
from afar. I enjoy the overall view, but am really more interested in
the foreground. The jackrabbits and birds abound, and it is fun to watch
them frolic and look for food.

Our first evening on the porch filled us with awe as we absorbed the
beauty and enjoyed the animals. Before long, the rabbits perked their
ears and took off at a dead run. The birds took to flight also.

As we wondered what was going on, a coyote soon came into view. The
predator. On the prowl. Looking for something to consume. Slinking
stealthy along at a brisk pace; he was definitely after prey.

God has given animals a special sense of predator danger, and that is
why the rabbits and birds dispersed. Oh, that we would be as aware as our
animal friends: Satan is the predator in our lives, and he is always on
the prowl, looking to consume us. He is the destroyer, and nothing good
ever comes from him. He is the author of death and disease, misery and
heartache, and every sinful thing in this world. He sneaks up upon us,
and will grab and devours us unless we are protected. That's why I put
on God's armor every single day, giving me protection from the evil one. I
still must be on the lookout... for Satan's ways are devious, and it is
easy to fall prey to his conniving schemes.

 

May we call upon God for His protection for He is ready and willing to help meet our every need.
Printable Issue 96  Today is Monday, July 21st, 2003; Karen's Korner #96

Several short thoughts:

 

         If you put out another's candle, you also will
be in the dark.
--German Proverb

 

          Half the world is composed of people who have
something to say and can't and the other half
who have nothing to say and keep on saying it.
--Robert Frost

 

         The greatest good you can do for another is not just
to share your riches but to reveal to him his own.
--Benjamin Disraeli

 

Kids Author and Lecturer Leo Buscaglia once talked about a contest he was asked to judge. The purpose of the contest was to find the most caring child. The winner was a four year old child whose next door neighbor was an elderly gentleman who had recently lost his wife. Upon seeing the man cry, the little boy went into the old gentleman's yard, climbed onto his lap, and just sat there. When his mother asked him what he had said to the neighbor, the little boy said, "Nothing, I just helped him cry."

 

(Yesterday my dad, Stanley Zirbel, died. In failing health for the past 18 years, he had told my mom earlier this year he wanted to celebrate his 85th birthday, which he did on May 17; and their 60th anniversary, which we did on Saturday, July 12 - the real date was Sunday, the 13th. He must have figured his list was complete!)

Printable Issue 97  Today is Tuesday, July 22nd, 2003; Karen's Korner #97

This morning I was thinking about God and how wonderful He is! How He always wants the best for us as His Children.

 

In my third devotional booklet "God's Love is Higher, Deeper, and Wider", I wrote about God being the author of addition and multiplication; never of subtraction and division. Probably because my dad died on Sunday and because we are working on upcoming funeral services, some of those "adding" and "multiplying" thoughts were coming up again in my thinking today.

 

Have you ever noticed how our human nature always wants more? We want more! We want to live a long, full life. We want long lives for our family and our friends. We desire people to live happily ever after. My dad had both - 85 years old; 60 years of marriage to my mom. A friend emailed me yesterday, "What a wonderful life! I'd take 60 years with Les!"

 

God is the author of those thoughts and desires. And He answers our prayers by adding and multiplying. We have good medicines, wonderful surgeries. He helps us to overcome shortcomings and addictions, which we could never tackle on our own. And amounts of times are extended. But those extensions are just a glimpse of the multiplication and addition God has in mind for each of us.

 

He has forever in mind!

 

I can't image what that looks like. All I know is that God gives us enough added days and added years to show us the things He has planned for each of our futures. He knew we can't handle things like death and funerals, so He has designed things for us that will last for eternity. Sounds like a good plan to me!

 

"Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His lovingkindness continues forever!" - Psalms 136:1

Printable Issue 98  Today is Wednesday, July 23rd, 2003; Karen's Korner #98

For those of you who get weekday "Chicken Soup for the Soul" stories via email, sorry for the duplication. This was yesterday's. I thought it was good:

 

A Moment Can Last Forever

By Graham Porter

Loading the car with the paraphernalia of our
youngsters, ages three to nine, was hardly my idea of fun.
But precisely on schedule - and at a very early hour - I
had performed that miracle. With our vacation stay on Lake
Michigan now over, I hurried back into the cottage to find
my wife Evie sweeping the last of the sand from the floor.
"It's six-thirty - time to leave," I said. "Where are
the kids?"

Evie put away the broom. "I let them run down to the
beach for one last look."

I shook my head, annoyed by this encroachment on my
carefully planned schedule. Why had we bothered to rise at
dawn if we weren't to get rolling before the worst of the
traffic hit? After all, the children had already spent two
carefree weeks building sand castles and ambling for miles
along the lakeside in search of magic rocks. And today
they had only to relax in the car - sleep if they liked -
while I alone fought the long road home.

I strode across the porch and out the screen door.
There, down past the rolling dunes, I spotted my four
youngsters on the beach. They had discarded their shoes
and were tiptoeing into the water, laughing and leaping
each time a wave broke over their legs, the point obviously
being to see how far into the lake they could wade without
drenching their clothes. It only riled me more to realize
that all their dry garments were locked, heaven knew where,
in the overstuffed car trunk.

With the firmness of a master sergeant, I cupped my
hands to my mouth to order my children up to the car at
once. But somehow the scolding words stopped short of my
lips. The sun, still low in the morning sky, etched a gold
silhouette around each of the four young figures at play.

For them there was left only this tiny fragment of time for
draining the last drop of joy from the sun and the water
and the sky.

The longer I watched, the more the scene before me
assumed a magic aura, for it would never be duplicated
again. What changes might we expect in our lives after the
passing of another year, another ten years? The only
reality was this moment, this glistening beach and these
children - my children - with the sunlight trapped in their
hair and the sound of their laughter mixing with the wind
and the waves.

'Why,' I asked myself, 'had I been so intent on
leaving at six-thirty that I had rushed from the cottage to
scold them?' Did I have constructive discipline in mind,
or was I simply in the mood to nag because a long day's
drive lay ahead? After all, no prizes were to be won by
leaving precisely on the dot. If we arrived at our motel
an hour later than planned, no forty-piece band was going
to be kept waiting. And how could I hope to maintain
communication with my children, now and in later years, if
I failed to keep my own youthful memory alive?

At the water's edge far below, my oldest daughter was
motioning for me to join them. Then the others began
waving, too, calling for Evie and me to share their fun. I
hesitated for only a moment, then ran to the cottage to
grab my wife's hand. Half running, half sliding down the
dunes, we were soon at the beach, kicking off our shoes.
With gleeful bravado, we waded far out past our youngsters,
Evie holding up her skirt and I my trouser cuffs, until
Evie's foot slipped and she plunged squealing into the
water, purposely dragging me with her.

Today, years later, my heart still warms to recall our
young children's laughter that day - how full-bellied and
gloriously companionable it was. And not infrequently,
when they air their fondest memories, those few long-ago
moments - all but denied them - are among their most
precious.
Printable Issue 99  Today is Thursday, July 24th, 2003; Karen's Korner #99

This is something which I wrote about a year ago. I am sure that it will be in another devotional booklet when I print it:

Rescued

August 7, 2002

 

We have a new dog at our house. Since we got the three-year-old from the Des Moines city pound, we didnít know her name, we decided to call her "Lady".

 

The month of July was either the best or worst month in Ladyís life. She was picked up by the police force as a stray and landed in the pound. A few days later she gave birth to two puppies: one born dead, the other lived for several days until he met the same fate as his litter mate. No one came to claim Lady. In order to get out of the facility and be "adopted", Iowa state law requires that Lady be neutered.

When we arrived at the animal shelter, she still had stitches in her belly from her recent surgery. But she was available for adoption now. We would have to visit the vet once we got home and few more days had passed when we would have her stitches removed.

 

We signed the necessary papers the last weekend in July. Now she has a home. She can spend her days lying near our couch - waiting for a pat, a walk, some tasty morsels. Lady has Jim and my undivided attention at times. What a way of life! She has been rescued by us.

 

How has your last month been? How has mine? Did we lose a lot of money in the stock market, which has been bouncing around? Are our jobs secure or was the last round of job cuts or hour cuts coming to our families? Did someone learn their health isnít what it was the month before? Is last month or this month a "bad" month?

 

When things come into our life that we would just as soon not have happen to us, Jesus does for us what we did for Lady Ė He rescues us! We can talk with Him and tell Him what we would like to have happen if we were in control of the situation. We can lay the situation at His feet or place it into His hands. Sometimes He changes the situation. Sometimes He changes us.

 

He always goes with us through the circumstance. Because He loves and cares for us. We, like Lady, are rescued! And because nothing is too hard for Him; nothing is too hard for us!

Printable Issue 100  Today is Friday, July 25th, 2003; Karen's Korner #100

(Thanks for the "centennial" Karen's Korner and for allowing me to write my thoughts and share those writings by others! I have added a number of names to my daily emailing list and subtract a few off at their request. At any rate, thanks for the journey!)

 

Dear Lord,

 

Thank You for so many wonderful friends and relatives. How could I be so fortunate!

 

I love to be around people and listen to what they have to say and have them return the favor by them listening to me. There is so much to enjoy and learn by the communication exchange.

 

Sometimes another person can start a conversation and I butt in a finish the thought or word. Or I begin to share a similar experience, when I should be listening. Do I do that to You, Lord?

 

Sometimes I am around people and there really isn't conversation. One person "holds court"; has a lot to say. No one else has the opportunity to say anything. I know sometimes that is me, too. Is that what we tend to do when pray, God? Do we hit You with our lists of Your "marching orders" of what You should be doing for us and for others? And never give You a chance to tell us what You are thinking or wanting for us?

 

Sometimes when someone is talking, I become distracted. Maybe by another conversation. Maybe by another event happening in a close proximity. Maybe by another thought which I am having. I know that my body language is screaming that I am paying limited attention to what is being said. I don't like it when I do it and I don't appreciate it when it is being done to me. How often do I do that to You? Do I toss You random thoughts and distracted attention?

 

Sometimes when I am around a friend, or a group of friends, the talk and chatter is rich and meaningful. We are together and we wish the time could continue indefinitely. After our planned or chance meeting, we recall the exchanges as if they were suspended into forever. The dialogue was more than idle chatter. We went much deeper into our hearts, minds and souls with things that matter to each of us.

 

Sometimes that has happened to me when I talk with You. But too many times I am tossing up air balls. Help me to be a communicator with You. Sometimes listening. Sometimes talking. Sometimes learning. Sometimes loving. Sometimes learning to love. Sometimes being thankful. Sometimes being filled with your joy. Sometimes enjoying today. Sometimes looking forward to tomorrow. You have a storehouse of all of these things. None of which every run empty.

 

Thank You, God, for being You!

 

Karen

Printable Issue 101  Today is Monday, July 28th, 2003; Karen's Korner #101

Four years ago today Merry was killed.

 

As many of you know, I have nine emails leftover in my computer "inbox" from her. This is one of them. At the end of the writing, as with many "pass around emails", it said something like "pass this on to anyone who........and don't forget to return it to the one who sent you". Don't know if I sent it to others; most times I don't know. Probably didn't return it to Merry either..........:

 

" THE LITTLE GIRL IN THE PARK "

There was this little girl one day sitting in the park.
Everyone passed and never stopped to see why she looked so sad.
Dressed in a worn pink dress, bare foot and dirty, the girl just
sat and watched the people go by.

She never tried to speak, she never said a word.

Many people passed, but never did one person stop. Just so
happens the next day I decided to go back to the park, in
curiosity, to see if the little girl would still be there. Right
in the very spot as she was yesterday she sat perched on high,
with the saddest look in her eyes.

Today I was to make my own move and walk over to the little
girl. For as we all know a park full of strange people is not a
place for young children to play alone.

As I got closer I could see the back of the little girl's dress
was obscenely shaped. I figured that was a reason the people
just passed by and made no effort to help. Having deformities
was a low blow to our society and, "heaven help you" if you make
a step toward assisting someone who is different.

As I got closer the little girl slightly lowered her eyes to
avoid my intent stare. As I approached her, I could see the
obscene shape of her back more clearly. It was grotesquely
shaped in a humped over form.

I smiled to let her know it was ok, I was there to help, to
talk. I sat down beside her and opened with a simple "Hello".

The little girl acted shocked and stammered a "Hi" after a long
stare into my eyes. I smiled and she shyly smiled back. We
talked till darkness fell and the park was completely empty.
Everyone was gone and we at once were alone.

I asked the girl why she was so sad. The little girl looked at
me and with a sad face said, "Because I'm different." I
immediately said, "That you are!" and smiled. The little girl
acted even sadder, she said, "I know."

"Little girl," I said, "You remind me of an angel, sweet and
innocent."

She looked at me and smiled, slowly she got to her feet and
said, "Really?"

"Yes ma'am, you're like a little guardian angel sent to watch
over all those people walking by."

She shook her head yes and smiled, with that she spread her
wings and said, "I'm your guardian angel," with a twinkle in her
eye.

I was speechless...sure I was seeing things. She said, "For
once you thought of someone other than yourself. My job here is
done." I jumped to my feet and said, "Wait, so why did no one
stop to help an angel?"

She looked at me and smiled, "You're the only one that could see
me. You believe, it's in your heart!" And she was gone.

And with that my life was changed dramatically.

 

We all need someone.

 

Every one of your friends is an angel in their own way.

 

These angels are always watching over you, too.

Thanks for being one of my angels!

Printable Issue 102  Today is Tuesday, July 29th, 2003; Karen's Korner #102

A number of years ago my Aunt Helen gave me a copy of the Living Bible. This particular edition has comments at the bottom of each page in smaller type, which tell something extra about some of the Bible verses printed higher on that same page. I like that because many times it tells me extra things about the historical setting of a particular verse or expands on it to help me understand something better.  

This verse in Romans was written by Paul, but the commentary I really liked:

Romans 7:11 - "Sin fooled me by taking the good laws of God and using them to make me guilty of death."

Bible commentary:

"Sin has always fooled people by misusing the law. When Eve encountered the serpent in the Garden of Eden, the sepent fooled her by taking her focus off the freedom God had given her and putting it on the one restriction he had made.

Ever since then, we have all been rebels.

Sin looks good to us precisely because God has said it is bad. Instead of paying attention to his warnings, we use them as a "to do" list. When we feel rebellious, we need to back off and look at the law from a wider perspective--in the light of God's grace and mercy. If we focus on his great love for us, we will understand why he asks us to restrict our behavior. He only restricts us from things that ultimately will harm us."

Printable Issue 103  Today is Wednesday, July 30th, 2003; Karen's Korner #103

Cute joke; passed on to me by someone - I thought it was cute!

One Sunday morning, a mother went in to wake her son and tell him it
was time to get ready for church, to which he replied, "I'm not going."

"Why not?" she asked.

"I'll give you two good reasons," he said. "One, they don't like me,
and two, I don't like them."

His mother replied, "I'll give YOU two good reasons why you SHOULD
go to church. One, you're 54 years old, and two, you're the preacher!"

Printable Issue 104  Today is Thursday, July 31st, 2003; Karen's Korner #104

This is an e-mail that I received from Don Lloyd; hope that you enjoy it:

The words of an old Hasidic rabbi, on his deathbed, remain true...

"When I was young, I set out to change the world. When I grew older,
I perceived that this was too ambitious, so I set out to change my state.
This, too, I realized as I grew older was too ambitious, so I set out to
change my town. When I realized I could not even do this, I tried to
change my family.

Now as an old man, I know that I should have started by changing myself.
If I had started with myself, maybe then I would have succeeded in changing
my family, the town, or even the state -- and who knows, maybe even the
world!"

Taken From "Family Ties That Bind" by Ronald W. Richardson