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May 2003 Archives

Printable Issue 44  Today is Thursday, May 1st, 2003; Karen's Korner #44

Today is recognized as the annual National Day of Prayer. I am sending you a prayer which I wrote in June of last year, in honor of this "national day":

 

Waiting to say "Good Morning"

 

Dear Lord,

 

Today is the day of our long-awaited Sunday School class potluck picnic at Judy’s house, after Sunday School and late church. On our list of possible activities for the group, more of the members listed "going out to eat or have a picnic" than any other event or activity. Surely there would be a good attendance.

 

And I didn’t realize how much I was looking forward to it until Saturday, when Beth called to say she had to work as a nurse at a care center and wouldn’t be able to come. Carolyn e-mailed to let me know that the weather wouldn’t work for her and her health condition. We already knew that Bob and Sandy couldn’t attend. They were on vacation with family in North Carolina. My husband, Jim, wasn’t going to be coming either. He had an opportunity to go fishing for the week with friends in Minnesota.

 

When I got to church, Judy had her own list of regrets. There was a Christian Education meeting immediately following church service. Cathy and family couldn’t be there. Nor Tim, our minister and his family. He would be involved with the same committee meeting. His wife and kids were headed out for church camp for the week.

 

As I sat in church, I tried not to be disappointed. And then, I thought of You. How many times are you excited about the prospects of our church family showing up for worship together on Sunday morning? Sometimes our reasons are as good as those of our Sunday School class and their other commitments. Other times to we give You feeble reasons for not being there? Are You discouraged or disappointed with our waning need or desire to be together and grow up as members of Your Family?

 

What about me and my time daily to be spent with You? Do You get excited and pull up a chair waiting for me to show up and talk to You each day? Or listen to You as I read Your Words in the Bible? Are you disappointed when I make out my "daily to do" list? All wonderful and important things, but Your name isn’t on it? Are You discouraged?

 

One-by-one the vehicles pull up to Judy’s house. Several tables of people attend. We have a wonderful time, eating and chatting together for more than a couple of hours. Wish there would have been more, but I am no longer disappointed.

 

Are You like that? Do You want more of us to be together to worship You? Or are You happy for those who do get together as Your Family? Do You celebrate my arrival every time I sit down to read Your holy words and pray? Or are You disappointed by my lack of consistency or silly notation that I can thrive in our world today without an intimate relationship with You?

 

Thank You for never giving up on me – or us! Thank You that You are loving and kind, filled with compassion for each one of us. Thank You that You have added Your Spirit on to my feeble spirit; that You have given me things to do, people to see, and places to go. Forgive me of my shortcomings and help me to be and to do the things You would have me to do. Thank You for teaching me that when I don’t take time to spend with You either in weekly worship as a family at church, or daily worship of You at home, it is not You who loses, but me!

 

In Your Son’s Name Who made lots of things possible for us who are Your Children, Amen.

 

*If you enjoy Karen's Korner each day and know of someone in your address book who might enjoy them, too; don't hesitate to get their addresses to me. If you find you are not having time to read these daily notes, please let me know and I will delete your address from my Karen's Korner e-mail listing.

Printable Issue 45  Today is Friday, May 2nd, 2003; Karen's Korner #45

How long has it been since you have thought of yourself as "perfect" (dictionary definition: complete in all respects, flawless)? Anyone ever tell you that? Is that how you see yourself?

 

Did you know that is how God sees you and me?

 

The writer of Hebrew says in the 10th chapter, beginning with the 11th verse, says:

 

"Under the old agreement the priests stood before the altar day after day offering sacrifices that could never take away our sins. But Christ gave himself to God for our sins as one sacrifice for all time, and then sat down in the place of highest honor at God's right hand, waiting for his enemies to be laid under his feet. For by that one offering he made forever perfect in the sight of God all those whom he is making holy."

 

Comments at the bottom of my Bible state: ..."Christ once for all made his believers perfect in God's sight........God never remembers our sins. If, in Christ, forgiveness is complete...as believers, we can be confident that our sins -- past, present, and future -- have been forgiven and forgotten."

 

Doesn't make any difference what others think about me, what somebody else might tell me, what I might think about myself..... what I have done, or not done, or should do..........God says in his sight I am perfect because of Christ.........and so are you..........

 

What an amazing thought! Hang on to it.......and have a "perfectly" wonderful day!

Printable Issue 46  Today is Monday, May 5th, 2003; Karen's Korner #46

Saturday was my birthday....it wasn't any special birthday. Not one that ends in either a 5 or a 0, but it was my best birthday ever!

It started out that our "birthday party" group, which gets together to celebrate one another's big day each year, had planned to go out to eat together early...not on May 3, but on Wednesday, April 23.....to avoid another friend's close birth date and corn planting for several gals. It didn't work out for enough schedules, so we moved it to Monday, April 28 instead.

I've noticed when people get older, they tend to celebrate more than one day.....so that is when I decided to participate in "12 days of celebrating Karen's birthday"...from April 23 until yesterday, Sunday, May 4...

In that time, I have gotten lots of cards........and I mailed (and e-mailed) about as many to people who I know who have birthdays near my own. I received more than my share of gifts....from my family, my birthday "group".....from unexpected people and places, and a surprise birthday dinner at noon on my "real day"! Jim and I took several people out for meals; some were Dutch treat, several we picked up the tab........several times it was me and another friend or relative who went out to eat or traveled some place special together .....

I had fun making lots of "fun size" M & M candy treats into "May baskets" by tying a ribbon handle on them and giving them to different individuals and groups for May baskets and as birthday treats... like I used to do when I was in grade school. And a group of Marys and Marthas (M & Ms...for short, a new group of gals to which I am proud to associate....with hearts as big as Chicago and.....who do great things for others, all the time) helped Jim and I pick up our adopt-a-highway road ditches which we have cleaned up for begiinig our 4th year in memory of Merry...on Saturday, my real day...

So thanks for all the memories and allowing me to be a part of each of your lives.

I don't have much time to reflect on all of this though.....because starting yesterday, since I love the job title of "being a mom", I am celebrating "10 Days of Mother's Day".......

Printable Issue 47  Today is Tuesday, May 6th, 2003; Karen's Korner #47

..."when Merry died".....(part 4)

 

It wasn't very long after Merry was killed, maybe the next day that I thought, "Now, I am a part of a group that I never wanted to join!" I had a new title "parent who lost a child".

As I have mentioned in the other three writings, I had many, many thoughts immediately after her death - which are recorded in my mind like a photo and/or recording.

One of the thoughts came several days after her funeral. I was walking through the kitchen when this thought came flying through my mind, "this is so hard, it would have been better if Merry had never been born!" That thought lasted all of 10 seconds and I knew what a lie it was! Even though it was the hardest thing I had ever had to deal with in my life...even though the loss was overwhelming.... the 26-plus years of knowing, loving, and "experiencing" Merry, of being a mom to two kids.........was so terrific....I wouldn't erase all of that to avoid the pain and sense of loss I was feeling that day. That "terrible negative" was so tiny..........in comparison to all the memories, all the experiences, all the learning that was a part of my life because of Merry.....I knew that thought, ever so fleeting, was a lie; and I wasn't going to embrace it!

Now was not the time to run away from life and love and experiences, because they might be painful another day. When Jim came home at noon, I said to him, "We need to get a dog!"

"Why do my need a dog?" Jim asked me.

I don't know if I explained myself in detail or not; but I wanted something else to love, to care for, to experience. No, he (who turned out to be Elmo) might come into our life, give us lots of experiences.........and like dogs have a tendency to do die before you are ready! But no matter.....life is for the living, giving, and loving. And then when it is over.....you are happy that life didn't scare you; and life gave you more than it took away....

Elmo died last summer....and we loved him, and we miss him, and we have a whole bunch of experiences.....and we laugh and talk about Elmo...

So now we have another dog (Lady).......

And we have welcomed more friends....we have added a son-in-law Tim........and Merry's husband has a new wife Heather..........and we have foster kids who came and stay with us sometimes........and some of them might leave me (us) some time and maybe it doesn't matter, if you love them a lot while they are around........and it doesn't scare you if they might leave.....and you know you will hurt when they are gone...........but the hurt doesn't outweigh the memories.........

Another thing that I have learned since Merry has been gone almost four years. There is a myth that is repeated in our society often, "There is nothing worse than losing a child!" I found that not to be a true statement. While I would just as soon not be in my new group as a "parent who has lost a child", there are all kinds of titles in our society that are also "the worst": "divored", "abused", "widow (widower)", "betrayed", "addicted", "bankrupted", "abandoned", "cancer survivor (or a myriad of other diseases)", and the list goes on..........all groups which many of us are asked to belong, which we didn't want to join!

And all things which we can't handle on our own. All things which are impossible. Exactly where God wants us. He knows we can't handle any of these things on our own. He is here to help us through each and every one of them. They are all impossibilities.

There are lots of other impossibilities in our lives, too; but many times we are too stupid to know we can't handle them...."marriage", "raising children", "jobs", "managing money".....really, when you come to it.....there isn't much we are very good at doing! God knew that. That is how we are made: impossible people with impossible lives which can only be lived with God in charge. Sounds like a plan to me...a very good plan. Too bad I am such a slow learner.....
Printable Issue 48  Today is Wednesday, May 7th, 2003; Karen's Korner #48

Several short thoughts for the day:

 

*****

 

The Lord will drench you with His showers,
but he will dry you with His sun.
--Czech Proverb

 

******

 

And a couple of favorites from Nancy Hall's collection:

 

******

 

Faith is believing in advance what only makes sense in reverse."

(Nancy notes that she really like this one!)

 

*******

 

"Cheap grace says God justifies the sin. True grace says God justifies the sinner."

 

******

 

"We bring You guilt, You give us grace and call it even!"

 

Thanks, Nancy, for sharing those couple of thoughts! I hope everyone has a great day!!

Printable Issue 49  Today is Thursday, May 8th, 2003; Karen's Korner #49

This was a forwarded e-mail from my sister, Eileen. Hope you will enjoy it!

 

This article was written by Mr. Cornel Nistorescu and published

under the title "C"ntarea Americii meaning
("Ode To America") in the Romanian newspaper
Evenimentul zilei("The Daily Event" or "News of the Day").

~An Ode to America~

Why are Americans so united? They would not resemble one another even if you
painted them all one color! They speak all the languages of the world and
form an astonishing mixture of civilizations and religious beliefs.

Still, the American tragedy of September 11 turned three hundred million people
into a hand put on the heart. Nobody rushed to accuse the White House, the army,

and the secret services that they are only a bunch of losers. Nobody rushed to
empty their bank accounts. Nobody rushed out onto the streets nearby to gape
about. The Americans volunteered to donate blood and to give a helping
hand.

After the first moments of panic, they raised their flag over the smoking
ruins, putting on T-shirts, caps and ties in the colors of the national
flag. They placed flags on buildings and cars as if in every place and on
every car a government official or the president was passing. On every
occasion they started singing their traditional song: "God Bless America!"

I watched the live broadcast and rerun after rerun for hours listening to
the story of the guy who went down one hundred floors with a woman in a
wheelchair without knowing who she was, or of the Californian hockey player,
who gave his life fighting with the terrorists and prevented the plane from
hitting a target that could have killed other hundreds or thousands of
people.

How on earth were they able to respond united as one human being?
Imperceptibly, with every word and musical note, the memory of some turned
into a modern myth of tragic heroes. And with every phone call, millions and
millions of dollars were put in a collection aimed at rewarding not a man or a family,

but a spirit, which no money can buy.

What on earth can unite the Americans in such a way? Their land? Their
galloping history? Their economic Power? Money? I tried for hours to find an
answer, humming songs and murmuring phrases with the risk of sounding
commonplace.

I thought things over, but I reached only one conclusion... Only FREEDOM can
work such miracles!

Printable Issue 50  Today is Friday, May 9th, 2003; Karen's Korner #50

To celebrate Mother's Day on Sunday, I am sharing three writings which I have received in the past couple of weeks; one is from Jim's sister Melvene and two are from Rowan/Lake Cornelia resident Jack Burt. I forget which ones are which! (Way too long, read any, all you have time for!)

 

 #1: MOM - Job Description

POSITION: Mother, Mom, Mama

JOB DESCRIPTION: Long term, team players needed, for challenging permanent work in an, often chaotic environment. Candidates must possess excellent communication and organizational skills and be willing to
work variable hours, which will include evenings and weekends and frequent 24-hour shifts on call. Some overnight travel required, including trips to primitive camping sites on rainy weekends and endless sports tournaments in far away cities. Travel expenses not reimbursed. Extensive courier duties also required.


RESPONSIBILITIES: The rest of your life. Must be willing to be hated, at least temporarily, until someone needs $5. Must be willing to bite tongue repeatedly. Also, must possess the physical stamina of a pack mule and be able to go from zero to 60 mph in three seconds flat in case, this time, the screams from the backyard are not someone just crying wolf. Must be willing to face stimulating technical challenges, such as small gadget repair, mysteriously sluggish toilets and stuck zippers. Must screen phone calls, maintain calendars and coordinate production of multiple homework projects. Must have ability to plan and organize social gatherings for clients of all ages and mental outlooks. Must be willing to be indispensable one minute, an embarrassment the next. Must handle assembly and product safety testing of a half million cheap, plastic toys, and battery operated devices.

POSSIBILITY FOR ADVANCEMENT & PROMOTION: Virtually none. Your job is to remain in the same position for years, without complaining, constantly retraining and updating your skills, so that those in your charge can ultimately surpass you.

PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE: None required unfortunately. On-the-job training offered on a continually exhausting basis.

WAGES AND COMPENSATION: Get this! You pay them! Offering frequent raises and bonuses. A balloon payment is due when they turn 18 because of the assumption that college will help them become financially independent. When you die, you give them whatever is left. The oddest thing about this reverse-salary scheme is that you actually enjoy it and wish you could only do more.

BENEFITS: While no health or dental insurance, no pension, no tuition reimbursement, no paid holidays and no stock options are offered; this job supplies limitless opportunities for personal growth and free hugs for life, if you play your cards right.

 

 

#2: MOTHERS

 

Is there a magic cutoff period when offspring become accountable for their own actions? Is there a wonderful moment when parents can become detached spectators in the lives of their children and shrug, "It’s their life," and feel nothing?

When I was in my twenties, I stood in a hospital corridor waiting for doctors to put a few stitches in my son’s head. I asked, "When do you stop worrying?" The nurse said, "When they get out of the accident stage." My mother just smiled faintly and said nothing.

When I was in my thirties, I sat on a little chair in a classroom and heard how one of my children talked incessantly, disrupted the class, and was headed for a career making license plates. As if to read my mind, a teacher said, "Don’t worry, they all go through the stage and then you can sit back, relax and enjoy them." My mother just smiled faintly and said nothing.

When I was in my forties, I spent a lifetime waiting for the phone to ring, the cars to come home, the front door to open. A friend said, "They’re trying to find themselves. Don’t worry in a few years, you can stop worrying. They’ll be adults." My mother just smiled faintly and said nothing.

By the time I was 50, I was sick and tired of being vulnerable. I was still worrying over my children, but there was a new wrinkle---there was nothing I could do about it. My mother just smiled faintly and said nothing.

I continued to anguish over their failures, be tormented by their frustrations and absorbed in their appointments. My friends said that when my kids got married I could stop worrying and lead my own life. I wanted to believe that, but I was haunted by my mother’s warm smile and her occasional, "You look pale. Are you all right? Call me the minute you get home. Are you depressed about something?"

Can it be that parents are sentenced to a lifetime of worry? Is concern for one another handed down like a torch to blaze the trail of human frailties and the fears of the unknown? Is concern a curse or is it a virtue that elevates us to the highest form of life?

One of my children became quite irritable recently, saying to me, "Where were you? I’ve been calling for three days, and no one answered. I was worried."

I smiled a warm smile. The torch has been passed!

 

 

#3: A Mothers Love

After 21 years of marriage, I discovered a new way of keeping alive the spark of love.

A little while ago I had started to go out with another woman. It was really my wife's idea.

"I know that you love her," she said one day, taking me by surprise.

"But I love YOU," I protested.

"I know, but you also love her."

The other woman that my wife wanted me to visit was my mother, who has been a widow for 19 years, but the demands of my work and my three children had made it possible to visit her only occasionally. That night I called to invite her to go out for dinner and a movie.

"What's wrong, are you well," she asked? My mother is the type of woman who suspects that a late night call or a surprise invitation is a sign of bad news.

"I thought that it would be pleasant to pass some time with you," I responded.

"Just the two of us." She thought about it for a moment, then said, "I would like that very much."

That Friday after work, as I drove over to pick her up I was a bit nervous.
When I arrived at her house, I noticed that she, too, seemed to be nervous about our date. She waited in the door with her coat on. She had curled her hair and was wearing the dress that she had worn to celebrate her last wedding anniversary. She smiled from a face that was as radiant as an angel's.

"I told my friends that I was going to go out with my son, and they were impressed," she said, as she got into the car. "They can't wait to hear about our meeting".

We went to a restaurant that, although not elegant, was very nice and cozy.
My mother took my arm as if she were the First Lady. After we sat down, I had to read the menu. Her eyes could only read large print. Half way through the entrées, I lifted my eyes and saw Mom sitting there staring at me. A nostalgic smile was on her lips.

"It was I who used to have to read the menu when you were small," she said.

"Then it's time that you relax and let me return the favor," I responded.
During the dinner we had an agreeable conversation -nothing extraordinary -
but catching up on recent events of each others life.

We talked so much that we missed the movie. As we arrived at her house later, she said, "I'll go out with you again, but only if you let me invite you".

I agreed.

"How was your dinner date?" asked my wife when I got home.

"Very nice. Much more so than I could have imagined," I answered.

A few days later my mother died of a massive heart attack. It happened so suddenly that I didn't have a chance to do anything for her.

Some time later I received an envelope with a copy of a restaurant receipt from the same place mother and I had dined. An attached note said: "I paid this bill in advance. I was almost sure that I couldn't be there but, never-the-less, I paid for two plates - one for you and the other for your wife. You will never know what that night meant for me. I love you."

At that moment I understood the importance of saying, in time:
"I LOVE YOU" and to give our loved ones the time that they deserve. Nothing in life is more important than God and your family.


Give them the time they deserve, because these things cannot be put off till "some other time".

 

 

.. and tacked on to the bottom of that same note were these words of wisdom…

*Somebody said it takes about six weeks to get back to normal after you've had a baby ...somebody doesn't know that once you're a mother, "normal", is history.

*Somebody said you learn how to be a mother by instinct ...somebody never took a three-year-old shopping.

*Somebody said being a mother is boring ...somebody never rode in a car driven by a teenager with a driver's permit.

*Somebody said if you're a "good" mother, your child will "turn out good"...somebody thinks a child comes with directions and a guarantee.

*Somebody said "good" mothers never raise their voices ...somebody never came out the back door just in time to see her child hit a golf ball through the neighbor's kitchen window.

*Somebody said you don't need an education to be a mother ...somebody never helped a fourth grader with his math.

*Somebody said you can't love the fifth child as much as you love the first .....somebody doesn't have five children.

*Somebody said a mother can find all the answers to her child-rearing questions in the books ...somebody never had a child stuff beans up his nose or in his ears.

*Somebody said the hardest part of being a mother is labor and delivery .....somebody never watched her "baby" get on the bus for the first day of kindergarten ... or on a plane headed for military "boot camp"

*Somebody said a mother can do her job with her eyes closed and one hand tied behind her back ...somebody never organized seven giggling Brownies to sell cookies.

*Somebody said a mother can stop worrying after her child gets married .....somebody doesn't know that marriage adds a new son or daughter-in-law to a mother's heartstrings.

*Somebody said a mother's job is done when her last child leaves home .....somebody never had grandchildren.

*Somebody said your mother knows you love her, so you don't need to tell her ......somebody isn't a mother.

Printable Issue 51  Today is Monday, May 12th, 2003; Karen's Korner #51

Yesterday in our Sunday School class, we looked at Jesus’ first miracle: turning water into wine at the wedding feast in Cana. According to the story (John Chapter 2), the wine had run out and Jesus' mother, Mary, had asked Him to help with the situation. Jesus said His time of miracles hadn’t come yet. Mary told the wedding servants to "do whatever Jesus’ tells you to." Mary didn’t know how Jesus would handle the situation. But she believed He would do something to help with the problem. Jesus then turned six stone waterpots of water into the best wine the wedding master of ceremonies had every tasted. "This is wonderful stuff!" he said. "…..usually a host uses the best wine first………..but you have kept the best for last!"

 

The Bible commentary we looked at together said (in part):

 

"People look everywhere but to God for excitement and meaning. They somehow expect God to be dull and lifeless. Just as the wine Jesus made was the best, so life in Him is better than life on our own. Why wait until everything else runs out before trying God? Why save the best until last? … miracles are not merely superhuman happenings, but happenings that demonstrate God’s power. Almost every miracle Jesus did was a renewal of fallen creation…restoring sight, making the lame to walk, even restoring life to the dead. Believe in Him, not because He is superhuman, but because He is God continuing His creation, even in those of us who are poor, or weak, or crippled, or orphaned, or blind, or lame, or with some other desperate need to be re-created……"

 

I have a bookmark stuffed into my Bible which simply states: "Miracles happen every day!"

 

Do they? Who do miracles happen for? When do they happen? Do they still happen today? Do they happen only to "the right group of people"?

 

I think miracles happen to anyone who believes FIRST! Believe that a miracle is going to happen to each of us today and every day. Keep watch for them. Thank God for them. And then, like the wedding in Cana, we will be surprised when we witness them……

 

I am challenging you, and I am challenging myself, to look for a miracle today. Tonight before I go to bed I am going to ask God to show me my miracle. Sometimes they are big things; some times they aren’t!

 

Sometimes they are physical. Sometimes they are emotional. Sometimes they are spiritual. I am looking forward to Him reminding me of "my miracle today", just in case I missed it when it happens….

Let the adventure begin….

Printable Issue 52  Today is Tuesday, May 13th, 2003; Karen's Korner #52

The following story I received yesterday from Kathy Schnell. I liked it; hope you do too:

 

Written by Heather Stettnichs, USD School of Medicine, Sioux Falls, S.D.:

 

I try not to be biased, but I had my doubts about hiring Stevie. His placement counselor assured me that he would be a good, reliable busboy. But I had never had a mentally handicapped employee and wasn't sure I wanted one. I wasn't sure how my customers would react to Stevie. He was short, a little dumpy with the smooth facial features and thick tongued speech of Down syndrome. I wasn't worried about most of my trucker customers because truckers don't generally care who buses tables as long as the meat loaf platter is good and the pies are homemade.

 

The four wheeler drivers were the ones who concerned me; the mouthy college kids traveling to school;

the yuppie snobs who secretly polish their silverware with their napkins for fear of catching some dreaded

"truck stop germ"; the pairs of white shirted business men on expense accounts who think every truck stop waitress wants to be flirted with. I knew those people would be uncomfortable around Stevie so I closely watched him for the first few weeks. I shouldn't have worried.

 

After the first week, Stevie had my staff wrapped around his stubby little finger, and within a month

my truck regulars had adopted him as their official truck stop mascot. After that, I really didn't care what the rest of the customers thought of him. He was like a 21-year-old in blue jeans and Nikes, eager to laugh and eager to please, but fierce in his attention to his duties. Every salt and pepper shaker was exactly in its place, not a bread crumb or coffee spill was visible when Stevie got done with the table. Our only problem was persuading him to wait to clean a table until after the customers were finished. He would hover in the background, shifting his weight from one foot to the other, scanning the dining room until a table was empty. Then he would scurry to the empty table and carefully bus dishes and glasses onto his cart and meticulously wipe the table up with a practiced swish of his rag. If he thought a customer was watching, his brow would pucker with added concentration. He took pride in doing his job exactly right, and you had to love how hard he tried to please each and every person he met.

 

Over time, we learned that he lived with his mother, a widow who was disabled after repeated surgeries for cancer. They lived on their Social Security benefits in public housing two miles from the truck stop. The social worker, which stopped to check on him every so often, admitted they had fallen between the cracks. Money was tight, and what I paid him was probably the difference between them being able to live together and Stevie being sent to a group home.

 

That's why the restaurant was a gloomy place that morning last August, the first morning in three years that Stevie had work. He was at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester getting a new valve or something put in his heart. His social worker said that people with Down syndrome often had heart problems at an early age so this wasn't unexpected, and there was a good chance he would come through the surgery in good shape and be back at work in a few months.

 

A ripple of excitement ran through the staff later that morning when word came that he was out of surgery, in recovery and doing fine. Frannie, my head waitress, let out a war hoop and did a little dance in the aisle when she heard the good news. Belle Ringer, one of our regular trucker customers, stared at the sight of the 50-year-old grandmother of four doing a victory shimmy beside his table. Frannie blushed, smoothed her apron and shot Belle Ringer a withering look. "We just got word that Stevie is out of surgery and going to be okay."

 

"I was wondering where he was. I had a new joke to tell him. What was the surgery about?" Belle Ringer said. Frannie quickly told Belle Ringer and the other two drivers sitting at his booth about Stevie's surgery, then sighed. "Yeah, I'm glad he is going to be OK", she said. "But I don't know how he and his Mom are going to handle all the bills. From what I hear, they're barely getting by as it is." Belle Ringer nodded thoughtfully, and Frannie hurried off to wait on the rest of her tables.

 

Since I hadn't had time to round up a busboy to replace Steve and really didn't want to replace him, the girls were busing their own tables that day until we decided what to do. After the morning rush, Frannie walked, into my office. She had a couple of paper napkins in her hand a funny look on her face. "What's up?" I asked.

 

"I didn't get that table where Belle Ringer and his friends were sitting cleared off after they left, and Pony Pete and Tony Tipper were sitting there when I got back to clean it off" she said. "This was folded and tucked under a coffee cup." She handed the napkin to me, and three $20 bills fell onto my desk when I opened it. On the outside, in big, bold letters, was printed "Something For Stevie."

 

"Pony Pete asked me what that was all about," she said, "so I told him about Stevie and his mom and everything, and Pete looked at Tony and Tony looked at Pete, and they ended up giving me this." She handed me another paper napkin that had "Something For Stevie" scrawled on its outside. Two $50 bills were tucked within its folds. Frannie looked at me with wet, shiny eyes, shook her head and said simply "truckers."

That was three months ago. Today is Thanksgiving, the first day Stevie is supposed to be back to work. His placement worker said he'd been counting the days until the doctor said he could work, and it didn't matter at all that it was a holiday. He called 10 times in the past week, making sure we knew he was coming, fearful that we had forgotten him or that his job was in jeopardy. I arranged to have his mother bring him to work, met them in the parking lot and invited them both to celebrate his day back.

 

Stevie was thinner and paler, but couldn't stop grinning as he pushed through the doors and headed for the back room where his apron and busing cart were waiting. "Hold up there, Stevie, not so fast," I said. I took him and his mother by their arms. "Work can wait for a minute. To celebrate you coming back, breakfast for you and your mother are on me." I led them toward a large corner booth at the rear of the room. I could feel and hear the rest of the staff following behind as we marched through the dining room.

 

Glancing over my shoulder, I saw booth after booth of grinning truckers empty and join the procession.. We stopped in front of the big table. Its surface was covered with coffee cups, saucers and dinner plates, all sitting slightly crooked on dozens of folded paper napkins. "First thing you have to do, Steve, is clean up this mess," I said. I tried to sound stern. Stevie looked at me, and then at his mother, then pulled out one of the napkins.

 

It had "Something for Stevie" printed on the outside. As he picked it up, two $10 bills fell onto the table. Stevie stared at the money, then at all the napkins peeking from beneath the tableware, each with his name printed or scrawled on it. I turned to his mother.

 

"There's more than $10,000 in cash and checks on that table, all from truckers and trucking companies that heard about your problems. Happy Thanksgiving!" Well, it got real noisy about that time, with everybody hollering and shouting, and there were a few tears, as well. But you know what's funny? While everybody else was busy shaking hands and hugging each other, Stevie, with a big, big smile on his face, was busy clearing all the cups and dishes from the table.

 

Best worker I ever hired.

Printable Issue 53  Today is Wednesday, May 14th, 2003; Karen's Korner #53

In the last few years, I have been given a couple of daily, flip calendars with sayings on them. One calendar contains all sayings by Mother Theresa, called "Heart of Joy". Today I am sharing three May sayings written by one of the most recognizable religious leaders in recent history:

 

**"I praise the tenderness and the love of God, because every little one, in a poor family or rich family, is a child of God, created by the Creator of all things."

 

**""May we all have hearts over-flowing with love as a reflection of God's love. God's love is what can save our families, our country, our world."

 

**"Let's not pray long, drawn-out prayers, but let's pray short ones full of love."

Printable Issue 54  Today is Thursday, May 15th, 2003; Karen's Korner #54

Yesterday Diane Schroeder e-mailed me a listing of these one-liners. I have included a portion of the note. I hope that you enjoy them. Have a great day! :

 

  • Man's way leads to a hopeless end; God's way leads to an endless hope.
  • In the sentence of life, the devil may be a comma; never let him be the period.
  • Don't put a question mark where God puts a period.
  • Are you wrinkled with burden? Come to the church for a face-lift.
  • When praying, don't give God instructions - just report for duty.
  • We don't change God's message -- His message changes us.
  • Most people want to serve God, but only in an advisory position.
  • Never give the devil a ride - he will always want to drive.
  • Nothing else ruins the truth like stretching it.
  • Compassion is difficult to give away, because it keeps coming back.
  • Worry is the darkroom in which negatives can develop.
  • Give Satan an inch & he'll be a ruler.
  • God doesn't call the qualified, He qualifies the called.  
(Jim and I are going to be gone overnight tonight, so Friday's Karen's Korner #55 - I will forward to you on Saturday or Sunday, so they keep coming out even in weekly sets of 5!)

Printable Issue 55  Today is Saturday, May 17th, 2003; Karen's Korner #55

(to make up for no Friday edition!)

 

For those of you who get e-mails sometimes from Carol Meyer who works at Wright Medical Center in Clarion, this is old news. These two writings are at the bottom of her e-mails. I think they are good sayings:

 

*****

This world is not conclusion;
A sequel stands beyond,

Invisible, as music,

But positive, as sound.

~ Emily Dickinson

*****

 

To laugh often and much; To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; To earn the appreciation of honest critics; and endure the betrayal of false friends; To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; To know even one life has breathed easier because you lived. This is to have succeeded.

- Author Unknown
Printable Issue 56  Today is Monday, May 19th, 2003; Karen's Korner #56

Here is a "pass along" email from Jim's cousin, John and Cathy Weld. One of the closing lines after the note, I have moved to the top:

 

"Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we are here we might as well dance!"

 

Dear Bertha, I'm reading more and dusting less. I'm sitting in the yard and admiring the view without fussing about the weeds in the garden. I'm spending more time with my family and friends and less time working. Whenever possible, life should be a pattern of experiences to savor, not to endure. I'm trying to recognize these moments now and cherish them.

I'm not "saving" anything; we use our good china and crystal for every special event such as losing a pound, getting the sink unstopped, or the first Amaryllis blossom. I wear my good blazer to the market. My theory is if I look prosperous, I can shell out $28.49 for one small bag of groceries.

I'm not saving my good perfume for special parties, but wearing it for clerks in the hardware store and tellers at the bank. "Someday" and "one of these days" are losing their grip on my vocabulary. If it's worth seeing or hearing or doing, I want to see and hear and do it now.

I'm not sure what others would've done had they known they wouldn't be here for the tomorrow that we all take for granted. I think they would have called family members and a few close friends. They might have called a few former friends to apologize and mend fences for past squabbles. I like to think they would have gone out for a Chinese dinner or for whatever their favorite food was. I'm guessing; I'll never know.

It's those little things left, that would make me angry if I knew my hours were limited. Angry because I hadn't written certain letters that I intended to write one of these days. Angry and sorry that I didn't tell my husband and parents often enough how much I truly love them. I'm trying very hard not to put off, hold back, or save anything that would add laughter and luster to our lives. And every morning when I open ! my eyes, tell myself that it is special. Every day, every minute, every breath truly is a gift from God.
Printable Issue 57  Today is Tuesday, May 20th, 2003; Karen's Korner #57

..."when Merry died"....(part 5)

 

One of the feelings I had after Merry died, was that somehow I (we) were being asked to move ahead with our lives and we were leaving Merry "behind". Life has a way: it just keeps moving.

Something we are taught repeatedly in the Christian faith is that many things are backwards in our spiritual worlds from what we experience in our physical worlds: those who are first will be last; those who are last will be first; those who are weak are strong.....

And then I knew: Merry wasn't behind! She had been propelled ahead........

Whether we are Bible scholars or not, most of us have heard or read the story of Moses and his leading the oppressed people of Israel toward the Promised Land. If no place else, we watched Charleton Heston's role as Moses in "The Ten Commandments".

When the people had moved out of Egypt, they were free for the first time. But it wasn't too long before the pharoah sent troops after Moses and his people to get them to return to the land they had left. To make matters worse, the new pilgrims were situated against the Red Sea with no where to turn. They were trapped and their futures looked bleak.

That is when God opened the Red Sea and allowed the Children of Israel to escape from what appeared to be a hopeless situation. They walked through the sea bed safely on dry ground, while God held back the water. When the soldiers followed behind, they were drowned in the water. The losers became winners; and the winners became losers!

As I thought about this story, it seemed like God was showing me that this story is our story: the story of each of our lives. He is the leader. We are the children. We reach impossible situations, dead ends, death! But that isn't the end of the story. He holds back the waters of life & death and we walk through safely on dry ground. Our job is to keep moving!

And in my mind's eye, I could see Merry....I could visualize her with her short legs, running to reach the Promised Land. She was not behind, but was moving ahead....faster. And as she ran........she never looked back; no backward glances over her shoulder! She was focused on her final destination!

And the rest of us? We continue to walk.........in the same direction, with the same destination, but we are moving slower! We, too, are asked to continue our forward focus and not look back....each of our arrival dates safely on to a new shore, and a new land will vary. But we have only one goal, one journey: keep moving!!

At the same time, I would visualize this.........it seemed like God would say to me, "More people will be in heaven, because Merry lived shorter you would have liked!"

Like everything God does, I am not sure how all this is being accomplished. But this I am sure...like everything God does, He is faithful and keeps His promises.....

Printable Issue 58  Today is Wednesday, May 21st, 2003; Karen's Korner #58

Sent to me from Al and Ron Bennett:

 

An Irish Blessing

 

*Always remember to forget the things that made you sad,
But remember the things that made you glad.


*Always remember to forget the friends that proved untrue,
But don't forget to remember those that have stuck by you.


*Always remember to forget the trouble that passed away,
But never forget to remember the blessings that come each day.

Printable Issue 59  Today is Thursday, May 22nd, 2003; Karen's Korner #59

Each of the 150 chapters of Psalms has a theme; the theme for Psalms 40: "Doing God's will sometimes means waiting patiently. While we wait, we can love God, serve others, and tell others about Him."

 

Are we waiting patiently for a new job opportunity, medical test results, physical healing, repaired relationships, a new family member, help with our family's finances, emotional healing, freedom from some addictive behavior...........?

 

Psalms 40:1-3 -- "I waited patiently for God to help me; then He listened and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair; out from the bog and the mire, and set my feet on a hard, firm path and steadied me as I walked along. He has given me a new song to sing, of praises to our God. Now many will hear of the glorious things He did for me, and stand in awe before the Lord, and put their trust in Him."

 

Bible commentary - "Waiting for God to help us is not easy, but David (writer of Psalms) received four benefits from waiting on God: (1) God lifted him out of his despair; (2) God set his feet on frim ground; (3) God steadied his walk; and (4) God gave him a new purpose. Often blessings cannot be received unless we go through the trial of waiting."

 

When did David start to praise and thank God? He asked God, told God what he wanted to have happen. And then while he waited for God's response or reply.........he started to praise God, thank God, serve God by serving others. It gave him something to do while He waited (patiently?). David still didn't know what the outcome of God's help was going to be. But emotionally and spiritually - He trusted God; He no longer was in despair; He continued his life's journey; and He sang praises to God as He walked - confident that God was going to do something, he just didn't know what!

 

Today is a good day to praise God for what He has done for us in the past; what He is going to do for and with us today; and what is going to do in our future! His plans are better than our plans! They are different than our plans! He has a better vantage point than we do; His lasts all the way into forever!

Printable Issue 60  Today is Friday, May 23rd, 2003; Karen's Korner #60

This is a story which was passed along to me from Betty and Ray Hults. Betty said she liked it and wanted me to share it with others. Here it is:

 

A Valuable Lesson

A story tells that two friends were walking through the desert. During some
point of the journey they had an argument, and one friend slapped the other
one in the face.

The one who got slapped was hurt, but without saying anything, wrote in the
sand:

"TODAY MY BEST FRIEND SLAPPED ME IN THE FACE."

They kept on walking until they found an oasis, where they decided to take
a bath. The one who had been slapped got stuck in the mire and started
drowning, but the friend saved him.

After he recovered from the near drowning, he wrote on a stone:

"TODAY MY BEST FRIEND SAVED MY LIFE."

The friend who had slapped and saved his best friend asked him, "After I
hurt you, you wrote in the sand and now, you write on a stone, why?" The
other friend replied "When someone hurts us we should write it down in sand
where winds of forgiveness can erase it away. But, when someone does
something good for us, we must engrave it in stone where no wind can ever
erase it."

LEARN TO WRITE YOUR HURTS IN THE SAND AND TO CARVE YOUR BENEFITS IN STONE!!
Printable Issue 61  Today is Monday, May 26th, 2003; Karen's Korner #61

Four more Mother Theresa sayings from my May daily calendar:

* Christians need to learn to forgive. How do we learn to forgive? By knowing that we too need to be forgiven.

* Who is the church? You and I. The church are those who follow Jesus.

* Vocation, for a Christian, is Jesus. Our means, how we spend our time, may be different, but it is still our love for Jesus in action.

* We are all called to be saints. We all have been created in the image of God to love and to be loved.

Have a good holiday!

Printable Issue 62  Today is Tuesday, May 27th, 2003; Karen's Korner #62

I am sharing a thought which I wrote last October:

 

Help me!

 

Our dog, Lady, likes to be turned outside to romp around our farmstead. She rolls in the grass; checks out the neighbor’s dogs; passes through my flowerbeds; and enjoys the world around her. We let her go. Eventually, she will be done and want to come back into our house.

 

First thing I know, there is a scratch, scratch, scratch at our dining room door….and then silence.

 

I get up from my chair or leave what I doing, to let Lady in. When I look through the door glass, I see a dog sitting on our step patiently waiting. I open the door, and she runs through. She begins a ritual of running around the house – happy to be back inside.

 

As I watched her several day ago, I compared her to us asking God for help by praying. There is no way that Lady can get into the house on her own. She has no hands. If she did, the door knob is way too high for her to reach. She can’t get in without someone else’s help.

 

We are like that. The world deals us problems and troubles that we have no way of handling. We don’t have the hands to open the door for a solution! And if we did, the door knob is out of our reach. But we know Someone who will let us in with answers and solutions.

 

Lady waits patiently because she knows that inside of the house are some people who love her and will take care of her. She has scratched on the door and we have let her in every time before. That is faith.

When we pray, we can trust God to answer us because we have trusted Him before and this time is no different. We have to "scratch and wait patiently for our answer".

 

Sometimes I don’t hear Lady’s first "scratch" or I am preoccupied doing something else. Lady never barks, complains, or loses her patience. A few more minutes will pass….and she scratches again. This time she gets my attention and help.

 

We, too, sometimes re-ask God for help with a situation. Like Lady, we know God loves us and will take care of us. We know what is inside "His House": His love and care. We have to scratch and wait for the door to open. We want to be inside where all that attention and help is.

 

And God always lets us in. Because that is what love and relationships as His Children are like.

Printable Issue 63  Today is Wednesday, May 28th, 2003; Karen's Korner #63

For those of you who read Chicken Soup for th Soul books, or subscribe to the daily "Chicken Soup" daily e-mails, you may have read this one before (this is today's email). If not, enjoy:

 

Night Watch

By Roy Popkin

"Your son is here," the nurse said to the old man.
She had to repeat the words several times before the man's
eyes opened. He was heavily sedated and only partially
conscious after a massive heart attack he had suffered the
night before. He could see the dim outline of a young man
in a Marine Corps uniform, standing alongside his bed.

The old man reached out his hand. The Marine wrapped
his toughened fingers around the old man's limp hand and
squeezed gently. The nurse brought a chair, and the tired
serviceman sat down at the bedside.

All through the night, the young Marine sat in the
poorly lighted ward, holding the old man's hand and
offering words of encouragement. The dying man said
nothing, but kept a feeble grip on the young man's hand.

Oblivious to the noise of the oxygen tank, the moans of the
other patients, and the bustle of the night staff coming in
and out of the ward, the Marine remained at the old man's
side.

Every now and then, when she stopped by to check on
her patients, the nurse heard the young Marine whisper a
few comforting words to the old man. Several times in the
course of that long night, she returned and suggested that
the Marine leave to rest for a while. But every time, the
young man refused.

Near dawn the old man died. The Marine placed the old
man's lifeless hand on the bed and left to find the nurse.

While the nurse took the old man away and attended to the
necessary duties, the young man waited. When the nurse
returned, she began to offer words of sympathy, but the
Marine interrupted her.

"Who was that man?" he asked.

Startled, the nurse replied, "He was your father."

"No, he wasn't," the young man said. "I've never seen
him before in my life."

"Then why didn't you say something when I took you to
him?"

"I knew there had been a mistake by the people who
sent me home on an emergency furlough. What happened was,
there were two of us with the same name, from the same town
and we had similar serial numbers. They sent me by
mistake," the young man explained. "But I also knew he
needed his son, and his son wasn't there. I could tell he
was too sick to know whether I was his son or not. When I
realized how much he needed to have someone there, I just
decided to stay."

Printable Issue 64  Today is Thursday, May 29th, 2003; Karen's Korner #64

The following is an e-mail pass-along from Beth Severson; thanks Beth:

 

Have you ever....

 

* Have you ever been just sitting there and all of a sudden you
feel like doing something nice for someone you care for. . . THAT'S GOD!

He talks to you through the Holy Spirit.

* Have you ever been down and out and nobody seems to be around
for you to talk to. . . THAT'S GOD!

He wants you to talk to Him.

* Have you ever been thinking about somebody that you haven't
seen in a long time, and then next thing you know you see them or receive a phone
call from them. . . THAT'S GOD!

There is no such thing as coincidence.

* Have you ever received something wonderful that you didn't even
ask for, like money in the mail, a debt that had mysteriously been cleared, or
a coupon to a department store where you had just seen something you
wanted, but couldn't afford. . . THAT'S GOD!

He knows the desires of your heart.

* Have you ever been in a situation and you had no clue how it is
going to get better, but now you look back on it. . THAT'S GOD!

He passes us through tribulation to see a brighter day.

Printable Issue 65  Today is Friday, May 30th, 2003; Karen's Korner #65

I am forwarding to you an e-mail message from our daughter, Merry, sent to
us a part of week before she was killed in the summer of 1999. She and her
husband, Ed, had gotten us into the 20th century several months before, when
they installed new computers for us and got us onto an internet service!

Merry was someone who would batch us a dozen e-mails at one time, several
times a week. They were everything from silly to sentimental. Merry was
both! We would read them, pass some on to others, and dump most of them. I
have 9 of them which I had saved at the time of her death. I probably would
have saved many more of them, if I would have known these would have been
the last.......

Sunday, June 1 is her 30th birthday. Thanks for allowing me to share....

-----Original Message-----


From: Merry S Dick <looneytuneme@juno.com>

Date: Wednesday, July 21, 1999 3:51 PM

Subject: From me to you


Peace



Do not undermine your worth
by comparing yourself with others.
It is because we are different
that each of us is special.

Do not set your goals
by what other people deem important.
Only you know
what is best for you.

Do not take for granted
the things closest to your heart.
Cling to them as you would your life,
for without them,
life is meaningless.

Do not let your life
slip through your fingers
by living in the past
nor for the future.
By living your life one day at a time,
you live all the days of your life.

Do not give up
when you still have something to give.
Nothing is really over
until the moment you stop trying.
It is a fragile thread
that binds us to each other.

Do not be afraid to encounter risks.
It is by taking chances
that we learn how to be brave.

Do not shut love out of your life
by saying it is impossible to find.
The quickest way to receive love
is to give love;
The fastest way to lose love
is to hold it too tightly.

To dismiss your dreams.
To be without dreams
is to be without hope;
To be without hope
is to be without purpose.

Do not run through life
so fast that you forget
not only where you have been,
but also where you are going.
Life is not a race,
but a journey to be savored
each step of the way.