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April 2003 Archives

Printable Issue 22  Today is Tuesday, April 1st, 2003; Karen's Korner #22

Yesterday I wrote a Letter to the Editor telling our past and present troops "thanks". And it touched a chord and some responded to it:

----------

(from a friend:)

Hi Karen,

I agree with you wholeheartedly. I am never for war but I will NEVER condemn the guys and gals who go put their lives on the line so I can walk about freely. I remember what the public was like after Vietnam. I feel now that we are in Iraq the least we can do for our service people is to back them 100%. Please thank your nephew for me also.

 

Thanks.

Marilyn Schutt

---------

 

(from an activatated National Guard reservist, working stateside:)

 

Hi Karen!

 

I just wanted to say thanks and I am glad to hear you are touching so many soldiers lives. Know your thanks means a lot. As a soldier, whether I agree or not, I have a duty to fullfill and I think a lot of civilians forget that. I think a lot of civilians think soldiers enjoy killing and fighting but the majority don't. We are here to protect our country and its freedoms and we are fighting now to give freedom to people who have been treated terribly for years. Sure we could turn our backs and ignore it, but would we want someone to do that to us if the tables were turned; and we were the ones who were living in fear every day. Scared our family members or ourselves my be executed for no reason.

I am glad there are people out there like you who understand.

Take care and God Bless

John F. Meyer

------

 

There were other responses, too, "couldn't agree more!"; "yes"; "thanks", etc. Bob Bartholomaus with a son who is Major (I think) and serving in the Iraq/Kuwait area..said thanks for the note and forwarded yesterday's Karen's Korner to his son.

---------

 

Two short thoughts for today:

 

* "You can't get honey unless you take a chance on
getting stung." - Author unknown

-------------

 

* "Instead of asking him to give
the things for which we pray,
All that we need to ask from God is this:
Show us the way." - James A. Bowman

 

I continue to send Karen's Korner on Monday - Friday each weekday; this is #22. Some of you have let me know that you have gotten some; not others. Who knows where stuff goes when it is sent into cyberspace. If you are missing some of the messages......I have them batched in 5's and would be happy to forward them to you, if you request it! kw
Printable Issue 23  Today is Wednesday, April 2nd, 2003; Karen's Korner #23

Allow me share something which I wrote last year:

 

Not Like It Appears

 

I take a couple-of-mile, late afternoon walk down our country road, south of our farm home. I am lost in thought as I walk. It has been a windy spring. Day after day it seems the winds are blowing. Several days’ winds have been reported at highest gusts on record for that particular day or month in our weather’s history.

 

As I walk back up the hill toward our house, I notice that some of the shingles on the south side of our home seem to have blown off. I hadn’t noticed that before. "That’s disappointing," I thought, as we had done an extensive re-roofing project last year. A phone call or two an insurance person and the roofers could get the problem corrected.

 

To my surprise, what appeared as a shingle problem from a distance was really lengthening shadows from our television antenna and a newly installed satellite dish on our roof.

 

How often do we do what I did and view things from a distance and make false assumptions? Do we jump to conclusions about what we see in our own lives and falsely believe it can never work out like we thought? Do we make idle comments about someone or something in others’ lives when we only know a portion of the story? Or do we ask God to view things from his viewpoint, which is never from a distance, but always close up?

 

I want to walk through my life with my head up, watching the things which are happening from a distance. But I also want to remember that the shingles of my life are intact, because God has nailed them down with his eternal hammer. Nothing that comes into our lives when God is the "Master Carpenter" will cause the shingles of our lives to fly apart, no matter how hard the wind blows.

 

And our house will be in good repair from now and through eternity.

Printable Issue 24  Today is Thursday, April 3rd, 2003; Karen's Korner #24

Psalms 91 is Jessie Shupe's favorite book of the Bible.

 

The theme: "God's protection in the midst of danger. God doesn't promise a world free from danger, but He does promise His Help whenever we face danger."

 

Appropriate for us as we are at war with Iraq; have loved ones there; and for the physical, mental, emotional battles which he fight daily, whether or not we have armed conflict with other nations.

 

1 - 6: "We live within the shadow of the Almighty, sheltered by the God who is above all gods. This I declare, that He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; He is my God, and I am trusting Him. For He rescues you from every trap, and protects you from the fatal plague. He will shield you with His wings! They will shelter you. His faithful promises are your armor. Now you don't need to be afraid of the dark any more, nor fear the dangers of the day, nor dread the plagues of darkness, nor disasters in the morning."

 

14 - 16: (which Jessie fondly calls her insurance policy!) "For the Lord says, "Because he loves me, I will rescue him; I will make him great because he trusts in my name. When he calls on me, I will answer; I will be with him in trouble, and rescue him and honor him. I will satisfy him with a full life and give him my salvation."

Printable Issue 25  Today is Friday, April 4th, 2003; Karen's Korner #25

I got this "pass around" email last night from Arlene Lockwood; sometimes this is the first time I have seen something like this one, other times it is the first time! Hope you read it and enjoy it---whether it is the first time or not!

 

10 Things to remember to have a successful life by George Carlin:


1. Throw out nonessential numbers. This includes age, weight and height.
Let the doctor worry about them. That is why you pay him/her.

2. Keep only cheerful friends. The grouches pull you down.

3. Keep learning. Learn more about the computer, crafts, gardening,
whatever. Never let the brain idle. " An idle mind is the devil's workshop."
And the devil's name is Alzheimer's.

4. Enjoy the simple things.

5. Laugh often, long and loud. Laugh until you gasp for breath.

6. The tears happen. Endure, grieve, and move on.
The only person who is with us our entire life, is ourselves.
Be ALIVE while you are alive.

7. Surround yourself with what you love, whether it's family, pets,
keepsakes, music, plants, hobbies, whatever. Your home is your refuge.

8. Cherish your health: If it is good, preserve it. If it is unstable,
improve it. If it is beyond what you can improve, get help.

9. Don't take guilt trips.
Take a trip to the mall, to the next county, to a foreign country,
but NOT to where the guilt is.

10. Tell the people you love that you love them, at every opportunity.

AND ALWAYS REMEMBER:

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take,
but by the moments that take our breath away.
Make it a great day!
Printable Issue 26  Today is Monday, April 7th, 2003; Karen's Korner #26

Some short thoughts from a variety of people:

-----------

 

Nancy Hall’s input from her collection of sayings:

"God isn't here to keep us out of trouble, but to get into trouble with us"

------------

 

"We don't need more to be thankful for,

we need to be more thankful." - Mr. Mom internet writing

-----------

 

Forwarded from Tanata LaRue: "All the great things are simple,

and many can be expressed in a single word:
freedom; justice; honor; duty; mercy; hope." - Sir Winston Churchill

-----------

 

From Emily Harris' forwarded e-mail:

"The will of God will never take you where the grace of God will not protect you!"

----------

 

"Don’t focus on what and who you are not; focus instead on what and who God is!"

- Karen Weld

Printable Issue 27  Today is Tuesday, April 8th, 2003; Karen's Korner #27

I get a daily Chicken Soup for the Soul message via e-mail; this is yesterday's:

 

Please Dress Me in Red
By Cindy Dee Holms

In my dual profession as an educator and health care
provider, I have worked with numerous children infected
with the virus that causes AIDS. The relationships that I
have had with these special kids have been gifts in my
life. They have taught me so many things, but I have
especially learned that great courage can be found in the
smallest of packages. Let me tell you about Tyler.

Tyler was born infected with HIV; his mother was also
infected. From the very beginning of his life, he was
dependent on medications to enable him to survive. When he
was five, he had a tube surgically inserted in a vein in
his chest. This tube was connected to a pump, which he
carried in a small backpack on his back. Medications were
hooked up to this pump and were continuously supplied
through this tube to his bloodstream. At times, he also
needed supplemental oxygen to support his breathing.

Tyler wasn't willing to give up one single moment of
his childhood to this deadly disease. It was not unusual
to find him playing and racing around his backyard, wearing
his medicine-laden backpack and dragging his tank of oxygen
behind him in his little wagon. All of us who knew Tyler
marveled at his pure joy in being alive and the energy it
gave him. Tyler's mom often teased him by telling him that
he moved so fast she needed to dress him in red. That way,
when she peered out the window to check on him playing in
the yard, she could quickly spot him.

This dreaded disease eventually wore down even the
likes of a little dynamo like Tyler. He grew quite ill
and, unfortunately, so did his HIV-infected mother. When
it became apparent that he wasn't going to survive, Tyler's
mom talked to him about death. She comforted him by
telling Tyler that she was dying too, and that she would be
with him soon in heaven.

A few days before his death, Tyler beckoned me over to
his hospital bed and whispered, "I might die soon. I'm not
scared. When I die, please dress me in red. Mom promised
she's coming to heaven, too. I'll be playing when she gets
there, and I want to make sure she can find me."

Printable Issue 28  Today is Wednesday, April 9th, 2003; Karen's Korner #28

Something that I wrote last week; thanks for allowing me to share!

 

Am I happy?

 

As foster parents doing ‘respite’ care for ‘real’ foster parents, my husband, Jim, and I call ourselves foster grandparents. Last week a six-year-old bundle of energy stayed overnight at our farm home.

 

On Saturday morning, we decided to travel to Waverly, an hour plus drive east of our house, to attend the semi-annual driving horse sale. Our little ‘charge’ was enthusiastic with the thought of seeing and petting the animals.

After sitting and watching the horses sell for a period of time, she and I left to go to the pens holding the horses and ponies of various sizes. The three of us agreed to bring some pop back to the selling arena, whenever we returned from the petting venture.

 

The little gal and I had an enjoyable time touching the beautiful animals of various sizes. Some were miniature ponies. Others were gigantic draft horses. Some were gentle. Others were nervous, so we would move on to another animal that was more cooperative.

 

Now off to the lunch stand to pick up the pop, return to the sale area, and meet up with Jim.

 

"What kind of pop would you like?" I asked, as I listed off the possibilities.

 

"I don’t want pop….I want Cheetos!" she whined. "I want Cheetos!" And her demands continued.

 

Our own children learned pretty quickly: whining at our house didn’t work. And it wasn’t going to work today. Asking for something from us, might bring a "yes", "no", or maybe a negotiated response. Whining would never bring a positive response.

 

"We are buying just pop right now," I said.

 

"No, I want Cheetos," was the response.

 

"Well, I will bring along an extra cup for you to share my pop," I added.

 

"I don’t want any pop," she demanded. "I want Cheetos!"

 

Now we headed back to the busy selling area. All the while we walked, I heard, "I want Cheetos. You have to buy me some Cheetos."

 

I continued to walk. She continued to remind me what it was I needed to do, but didn’t hesitate to come with me.

The barrage of reminders continued.

 

"I can’t take her back into the sale area," I thought. "She will drive people sitting around us nuts."

 

Thankfully, there was a smaller sales arena which is used for weekly livestock auctions, where people sit to eat their meals before returning to watch the horses sell. Some were eating their lunches. Two guys in striped overalls were sitting, talking, and enjoying one another’s company.

 

It was a perfect area for me and my young charge to sit for a spell.

 

"I want Cheetos," she continued. "You have to buy me Cheetos!!"

 

Since I wasn’t going to buy the chips, it was a perfect opportunity for me to pay no attention to what she had to say.

I began to dig in my purse. I retrieved my billfold. I had a nice time reading my driver’s license and studying my pizza coupon booklet.

 

I looked over at the cute kindergartener; now I saw a tear, caught in an indentation below her right eye.

 

I said to her, "It is too bad that you are so sad, because I am so happy!"

 

Her best whining efforts lasted about another 15 seconds and then there was silence. Learning that what she was doing wasn’t working, she moved up higher about four rows and began to enjoy her new vantage point. In a few minutes, she said, "You oughta come up here. You can really see better from here."

 

"Okay," I said, as I moved my pop, extra cup, license, and coupon book to be near her.

 

She began to survey her new surroundings and new people. She observed people moving around freely. Some of them kids about her age. "Can I move around here, too?" she asked.

 

"Sure, you can!" I said. "I just have to always be able to see you!"

 

And the fun began, she would go from one end of the seating area to another and each time wave at me, beckoning my return wave. Every now and then, she would come back to sit next to me and request "something to give me power", she would say (the pop she didn’t want!) The adventure lasted for more than an hour. She never did get the Cheetos.

 

As I watched her run, I thought, "God, do I sometimes do that to you? Do I whine, register my disappointment, disillusionment, or get depressed because I want what I want, when I want it? And do you look at me and say simply, ‘I don’t know why you are so said, because I am happy!’ Do you want me to forget what I don’t have and enjoy what I do have and to be happy no matter what is going on in my kingdom? Do you want me to run free and enjoy my surroundings..…and every now and then, wave to make sure that I am still in your view of protection? Do you want me to return to where you are for some of ‘your go power’ so I can ‘go’ again? Help me not to whine, be disappointed, or complain. I want to always remember that you are doing a good job taking care of me, no matter what happens or what direction my life might take!"

Printable Issue 29  Today is Thursday, April 10th, 2003; Karen's Korner #29

In Sunday School and church, we are in a "50 Day Adventure - Dare to Dream Again!". We each have student books and on Monday, we were to read Psalms 96 and answer 5 short questions.

I am going to share with you several verses from Psalms 96 in light of lots of things going on around our world.

 

Psalms 96:1 - 4: Sing a new song to the Lord! Sing it everywhere around the world! Sing out his praises! Bless his name. Each day tell someone that he saves. Publish his glorious acts throughout the earth. Tell everyone about the amazing things he does. For the Lord is great beyond description, and greatly to be praised.

 

11 - 13: Let the heavens be glad, the earth rejoice; let the vastness of the roaring seas demonstrate his glory. Praise him for the growing fields, for they display his greatness. Let the trees of the forest rustle with praise. For the Lord is coming to judge the earth; he will judge the nations fairly and with truth!

Printable Issue 30  Today is Friday, April 11th, 2003; Karen's Korner #30

".....when Merry died..." (third in a series)

 

Merry's car accident was on Wednesday. The visitation at the funeral home was Sunday night. The funeral was on Monday morning.

 

Even though this was the most terrible thing I had ever experienced in my 50-plus years, I had chosen not to turn my back on God. I knew that this was going to be an impossibility for me to handle and I knew that I was going to get through it only with "extra special" help. I had 2 choices to be mad at Him, which would result in my turning my back on Light, which meant I would walk in darkness; or I could walk toward Him and His Love, which would result in illumination of my future path.

 

I told God I couldn't possibly make it without His Help. It was going to be too difficult.

 

I learned that if a person makes that kind of choice in the darkest of hours, God will speak within our thoughts, emotions, and spirits.

 

I can recall two thoughts which were too outstanding to be my own.

 

The first one was at the funeral home. Because of Merry's young age (26), her activity level and involvement in the lives of lots of people in several communities, and Clarion being our hometown for more years than the Welds can count, people came to the visitation for hours. Merry's husband, Ed, had let us know that he wanted to be last person to leave the funeral home. We wanted to honor and respect that request.

 

As I was leaving the funeral home, I reached out to touch the knob of the back door and this is the thought that God gave me: "You raised Merry, you educated her, you loved her, and you returned her to Me, what more could any mother want!"

 

The second thought, both of which I term profound in the midst of loss and grief, was as we were leaving the funeral services. The Weld family attended, and were all members of, the Methodist Church in Clarion for the growing up years of both Jamie and Merry. Jim and I began attending the Church of Christ, near the time of Merry's high school graduation. The funeral would have been at the Church of Christ, but there was a street replacement project on the north side of the church. Not nearly enough places for people to park.

 

The decision was made for the funeral services to be at the Methodist Church. More parking. Bigger sanctuary. Even though Ed and Merry were active in the church near Amana, Merry was still a member of the Clarion Methodist Church.

 

As we were dismissed to leave the church, the Eastern Iowa Brass Band was playing a final hymn. One of the band members was also a pallbearer, so we stood at the back of the church and waited for Steve to come down from the balcony where the band was playing.

 

Standing there, the Thought came, "When you and Jim carried Merry into this church for the first time, she wasn't perfect. (She was born with a birth defect and had already had shunt surgery by the time she was six weeks old.) And now her friends are carrying her out of the church. For the first time in her existence, she is perfect!"

 

And I knew that Merry was loved and cared for, because I was!

 

........and we drove to the cemetery.....

Printable Issue 31  Today is Monday, April 14th, 2003; Karen's Korner #31

This is a "pass along" note from Bob and Nancy Hall. I don't know who Mary and Bill are. And it wasn't me who checked to see whether it is a hoax or not.....

 

Our church is currently studying together a topic titled "Daring to Dream again.." and one of the things we are asked to do is check for "God Sightings" as we "hunt for evidence of God and God's hand in our lives on a daily basis.

 

This certainly would be a God Sightings..

 

From the Halls:

 

I got this article from a friend and checked it to make sure it wasn't a hoax.


Sandstorms

I am sure that all of you heard about the sandstorm in Iraq (the worst in 100 years some say) and the drenching rain that followed the next day. Our troops were bogged down and couldn't move effectively.

The media was already wondering if the troops were in a "quagmire" and dire predictions of gloom and doom came from the left wing media.

What they didn't report was that, after the weather had cleared, the Marine group that was mired the worst looked out at the plain they were just about to cross. What did they see? Hundreds if not thousands of anti-tank and anti-personnel mines had been uncovered by the wind and then washed off by the rain. If they had proceeded as planned, many lives would have undoubtedly been lost.

As it was, they simply drove around them and let the demolition teams destroy them.

Thanks be to God! Thank you God, for protecting our young men and women!

One person once asked George Washington if he thought God was on his side. His reply is reported to be, "It is not that God should be on our side, but that we be on His."

I thought you might like this answer to prayer! We see God's provision and protection through wind, sand and rain! (Must have been a mighty army of angels stirring things up!)

Blessings, Mary & Bill

Printable Issue 32  Today is Tuesday, April 15th, 2003; Karen's Korner #32

Yesterday I e-mailed you an email, forwarded to me from Bob and Nancy Hall. Kathy Schnell mailed me information written by a minister in Mason City, which I share with you today:

 

***

Thanks for your inspirational messages. Here is one that if find speaks more for me. Kathy.

 

Praying every day

The Rev. Samuel Hamilton-Poore, Mason City

Every day I pray (many times) for a quick and peaceful resolution to the war in Iraq. I pray for our leaders and the leaders of the world; for the lives of our troops and the lives of Iraqi people.

This does not mean, however, that I “support” this war — either as a Christian or as a U.S. citizen. The men and women of our armed forces are people of great honor and courage, but our national leaders have sent them into a deadly sandstorm of moral and political confusion.

We pre-empt the work of those who are finding and destroying weapons in order to find and destroy weapons. We violate international law in order to enforce international law. Ignoring the democratic process of the United Nations, we become a rogue nation in order to bring democracy to a rogue nation.

We castigate dissenters and squelch free speech in order to bring free speech to a nation where it is not allowed. We declare a war “just,” even though most religious leaders throughout the world call it “unjust.”

We say this is not a religious war, and yet we label Sadaam as Satanic and pledge to bring Iraq “God’s gift of freedom” (President Bush’s speech on March 17).

We use our overwhelming might against a vastly inferior opponent to prove to them that might does not make right. We kill in order to heal, and destroy in order to rebuild.

And so, even though I cannot support this war, I do pray for the men and women who have been dispatched to fight it. They deserve our prayers, and they deserve better leaders.

 

*****

 

Anyone who has comments, I look forward to your sharing them with me!


*****

 

Our daughter, Jamie Champion, told us of a sixth grader from Des Moines, who is in their church: Mazie Johnson has a cousin in the military conflict. Mazie wanted to do something, so she began "Operation KISS (Kids in Support of Soldiers)". She is working to get kids to write letters to the military and she will see that they get to the troops. Anyone who has kids who want to write letters, get them to me and I will pass them to Mazie via Jamie. Yesterday, Jamie forwarded me a new web site that Mazie and her family are getting up and organized. The site is: www.operationkiss.com

Printable Issue 33  Today is Wednesday, April 16th, 2003; Karen's Korner #33

Since this is a relatively new venture, it has been fun sending you Monday's and yesterday's e-mails from two different people and their thoughts on the Iraq War. Here are replies to the Mason City minister's writings which I forwarded yesterday:

 

" The only thing I disagree with is that we need better leaders. I do not like war and I want peace but I think we need to support our leaders, our sons and

daughters in the military. I too pray for them many times a day; we must continue to pray for them and our country & the "enemy" as well. It is not the people who are our enemies." A reader.

 

----

This note is from Rod Toftey (in part):

 

"sorry Rev. Hamilton. I do not agree with you. Would you pass by a person on the road who was being tortured and say, 'gee, I hope the Lord does something to help that poor man out,' as you keep on walking and praying to the Lord, but doing nothing about it...I believe the whole purpose of these United States is not necessarily for us to live in comfort".. Rod went on to say that if we don't help the Iraqi people who will? "I truly believe that this will end up being a true blessing for the Iraqi people and hopefully for all of the people in the mideast," he said.

 

-----

We need to continue to pray for our country, our leaders, our service personnel, the emerging leadership for Iraq, and the Iraqi people. The days ahead may be as difficult as the days behind us.

 

The other day I was thinking about the people in the Mideast. One of the goals of the conflict was freeing the people of Iraq from a ruthless leader so that they can live in freedom and harmony and enjoy some of the things which freedom brings. It sounds like a big risk to me. They might not be able to handle it. It might be better if the Coalition Forces had never come.....

 

And in light of the Easter season, I thought of an even bigger risk taker: God sent us His Son and did more than put Him in harm's way: He sent Jesus for only one purpose---to die for us. So that we could be set free. To live in a new and better environment. One that would last for eternity. He knew some of us would accept Him, live under the Rule of the New Government, and enjoy our new freedom. Others wouldn't. But He took the risk anyway.

 

Some might say it was a foolish plan; others rejoice because Freedom Came At Easter.....

Printable Issue 34  Today is Thursday, April 17th, 2003; Karen's Korner #34

Short thoughts:

-----

 

"God isn't here to keep us out of trouble, but to get into trouble with us!" from Nancy Hall's collection

 

-----

 

Do you know what the word FAMILY means?

 

FAMILY = (F)ATHER (A)ND (M)OTHER (I) (L)OVE (Y)OU from Darcy Robb

 

-----

 

When you get to your wit's end, you'll find God lives there. from Emily Harris

-----

 

Opportunity may knock once, but temptation bangs on your front door forever.

 

from Karen Weld

 

-----

 

The world is made of stairs, and there are those
who go up and those who go down. from daily e-mail note

 

-----

 

Always a valley before a hill. --American Proverb
Printable Issue 35  Today is Friday, April 18th, 2003; Karen's Korner #35

Take us back to the time of the crucifixion at a place called "The Skull". There are three crosses. All three people on those crosses are guilty and need to give up their physical lives for what they have done.

 

A thief on the left side. A criminal on the right side. The one in the middle is a gal. She isn't as bad as those other two -- she thinks, society believes. But she is guilty for some of the things she has done; some of the things she hasn't done. Some of the things she thinks sometimes are pretty terrible. Her name is Karen, and she is just as guilty as those other two because she isn't, by God's standards, good enough: He only accepts perfection.

 

But part of the plan was for Jesus to be declared guilty, on her behalf, and to take her punishment instead. It doesn't seem fair, but that is the freedom we get, if we choose to take it. I choose! It is too good of an offer to pass up!

 

One of the criminals, also accepts Jesus' offer! The other continued his disbelief and scoffing.

 

Two of us are set free, because of what Jesus did and what we accept.

 

Two of us are born two times and will die only once. The cross loses.

 

One of us chose to be born one time and died two times.

 

We all have lots of choices .........

 

 

LUKE 23:39-43 -- "One of the criminals hanging beside Jesus scoffed, 'So you're the Messiah, are you? Prove it by saving yourself..and us, too, while you're at it!' But the other criminal protested, 'Don't you even fear God when you are dying? We deserve to die for our evil deeds, but this man hasn't done one thing wrong.' Then he said, 'Jesus,

remember me when you come into your Kingdom.' And Jesus replied, 'Today you will be with me in Paradise. This is a solemn promise.'

Printable Issue 36  Today is Monday, April 21st, 2003; Karen's Korner #36

Yesterday was Easter! The weather was too cold, too wet, and a little too cloudy. We like to see the sun, be able to be outside, and have at least 70 degree temperatures. But that isn't what we got this year!

As I headed out of the driveway for Sunrise Church Services, there was a beautifully colored rooster pheasant sitting along the side of our country road. He was just there, didn't move much as I drove by. Couldn't help but notice him, not much else bright and beautiful at the early morning hour and with the absence of the sun.

I turned to head west to finish the three miles of gravel road before hitting hard-surfaced road and the final handful of miles into Clarion. And there stood another pheasant; also on the right side of the road. Again in no hurry to fly off in any direction.

And before I got to the blacktop road, there was a third brightly-colored pheasant for me to observe.

Maybe because it was Easter morning, I thought of Jesus' disciple, Peter and roosters and what he promised Jesus in the final days of Jesus' life:

 

LUKE 22:33 -- Peter said, "Lord, I am ready to go to jail with you, and even to die with you." But Jesus said, "Peter, let me tell you something. Between now and tomorrow morning when the rooster crows, you will deny me three times, declaring that you don't even know me."

 

Dear Jesus, I am like Peter. I make you idle promises to always do this and to never do that. And then I take off and do my own things, my own way. When the going got tough Peter said, he'd never known you. I am sure I do that. But I have a confession this morning, Jesus. I think I am learning to lean on you when the journey is pretty tough...too hard for me to handle. It is when it is too easy, that I tend to mess up. No need for your help when my path appears to be smooth sailing. So just for today, whatever the path of my journey....from gravel roads to superhighways....I want to journey with you. Whether I idly believe I need you and your care or not. Thanks for always wanting to be my friend. Amen
Printable Issue 37  Today is Tuesday, April 22nd, 2003; Karen's Korner #37

How Much is Enough?

Taken from "Lessons & Insights"

Written by Anthony DeMello

 

The rich industrialist from the north was horrified to find the southern fisherman lying lazily beside his boat smoking a pipe.

 

“Why aren't you out fishing?" asked the industrialist.

 

"Because I have caught enough fish for the day," said the fisherman.

 

"Why don't you catch some more?:

 

"What would I do with them?"

 

"You could earn more money," was the industrialist's reply. "With that you could have a motor fixed to your boat and go into deeper waters and catch more fish. Then you would make enough to buy nylon nets. These would bring you more fish and more money. Soon you would have enough money to own two boats...maybe even a fleet of boats. Then you would be a rich man like me."

 

"What would I do then?" asked the fisherman.

 

"Then you could really enjoy life."

 

"What do you think I am doing right now?!"

Printable Issue 38  Today is Wednesday, April 23rd, 2003; Karen's Korner #38

The "U" in Jesus

 

Because U were thought of before time had begun,

God placed a U in the name of His Son.

And each time U pray, U will see that it’s true

U can’t spell out JesUs and not include U.

 

U are a pretty big part of His wonderful name,

For U, He was born; yes, that’s why He came.

His great love for U is the reason He died.

It even takes U to spell crUcified.

 

Isn’t it thrilling and splendidly grand

He arose from the dead with U in His plan!

The stone rolled away, the gold trUmpet blew,

‘Cause the word resUrrection is centered with U.

 

When JesUs left earth at His Upward ascension,

He felt there was one thing He just had to mention,

"Go into the world and tell them it’s trUe

That I love them all…..just like I love U."

 

It’s curious also, if U hadn’t noticed

His name ends in US because He was focUSed.

And those who accept Him will grow ‘caUSe the Dove,

Who is God’s Holy Spirit, instills in US love.

 

It’s trUe, many people aren’t spelled with a U,

But they have a need to know JesUS, too.

It now all depends on what U will do,

He wants to them to know, but it all starts with U.

 

--Author Unknown

Printable Issue 39  Today is Thursday, April 24th, 2003; Karen's Korner #39

Several short thoughts, which I have collected from a variety of people and places:

 

From Nancy Hall:

 

"Happiness depends on happenings...Joy depends on Jesus!"

 

Also, from Nancy:

 

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

 

**********

 

A favorite Bible verse of Jessie Shupe's: Revelation 7:17—"..and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes."

 

**********

 

From Emily Harris:

 

The will of God will never take you where the grace of God will not protect you!

**********

 

Several from Melvene Duitscher’s pass around e-mail:

 

"Pain and suffering are inevitable; but misery is optional."

 

"Life is what you make of it---kind of like Play-Doh!"

 

"Everything is always okay in the end; if it isn’t, it isn’t the end!

Printable Issue 40  Today is Friday, April 25th, 2003; Karen's Korner #40

A few years ago I subscribed to a daily "Chicken Soup for the Soul" writing. Most of you know about the Chicken Soup for the Soul books which include general editions, and specfic topics (like pet lovers, teenagers, golfers, and, and...). So each day's is quite different one from the other. This is the one that I received yesterday, which I enjoyed.

 

If you like these kinds of writings or you have enjoyed the Chicken Soup books and if you would enjoy receiving something like these writings daily, here is the address for you to subscribe: http://www.soupserver.com/friend.html

 

 

The Miracle of My Sister Laughing
By Deborah Hedstrom-Page

Some of the lowest days of my life came shortly after
my husband's death. While still grieving, I came face to
face with the reality of raising our four children alone.

The funeral was over, friends and family gone. It was the
kids and I, each of us grieving as our ages and
personalities allowed. One son angry, the other quiet; one
daughter demanding, the other mothering. And somehow I was
supposed to deal with it all. I was supposed to give the
sole direction, the lone understanding and single wise
responses.

While at the bottom of this inadequacy well, my sister
arrived. She'd planned it that way, saving her visit until
everyone else had left. Within hours, the closeness we had
shared in the past came flooding back. She let me talk and
cry but also helped me begin doing things. We got my kids
returned to school, and then started tackling projects. We
started with my closet since its half emptiness constantly
reminded me of my now-gone husband. We decided to install
a closet organizer, so I could add my sweaters and other
clothes to fill it up.

Things didn't go well. While she held one end, I'd
try to install and hammer the other. Nothing fit. As we
improvised, things got worse. Then in the midst of our
frustration, I noticed the picture on the organizer's box.

A two-dimensional woman smiled back from it while she
single-handedly installed what my sister and I were failing
to do. While still holding up my end, I said, "Hey Jeanne,
look at that picture. I wish!"

She took one look at the woman and said, "Yeah, right.
She's even wearing a dress." That's when it happened.

Somehow the whole situation turned into a joke.
Every fumble we made, every board that slipped, every
screw that refused to twist brought us back to the perfect
lady on the box and made us laugh. We laughed until the
tears came. We laughed until we had to drop the organizer
and run for the bathroom.

It was the first time I'd laughed in weeks.
That laughter happened fifteen years ago, yet I
remember it as if it happened yesterday. It changed
nothing, yet it changed everything. My kids were still
grieving. I was still hurting, overwhelmed and inadequate.

But when I hugged my sister good-bye, I knew God had used
her to give me a miracle. For in the hard months following
her departure, on my worst days, I inevitably opened my
closet and spotted my slightly tilting organizer. No
matter how I felt, I just couldn't help smiling.
Printable Issue 41  Today is Monday, April 28th, 2003; Karen's Korner #41

"I'M A CHRISTIAN"
 
When I say... "I am a Christian"
I'm not shouting "I'm clean livin'"
I'm whispering "I was lost",
Now I'm found and forgiven.
 
When I say..."I am a Christian"
I don't speak of this with pride.
I'm confessing that I stumble
and need CHRIST to be my guide.
 
When I say... "I am a Christian"
I'm not trying to be strong.
I'm professing that I'm weak
and need HIS strength to carry on.
 
When I say... "I am a Christian"
I'm not bragging of success.
I'm admitting I have failed
and need God to clean my mess.
 
When I say... "I am a Christian"
I'm not claiming to be perfect,
My flaws are far too visible
but, God believes I am worth it.
 
When I say... "I am a Christian"
I still feel the sting of pain,
I have my share of heartaches
So I call upon His name.
 
 When I say... "I am a Christian"
I'm not holier than thou,
I'm just a simple sinner
who received God's good grace, somehow.

 

-E-mail "pass along" from my sister, Eileen Zirbel

Printable Issue 42  Today is Tuesday, April 29th, 2003; Karen's Korner #42

Sometimes I like to think about heaven and compare it to the life that I know here on this earth!

 

In heaven we won't hear any words like 'Alzheimer's, cancer, diabetes, joints that need to be replaced, and.......' This time we will have new bodies. The kind designed to work and run forever.....

 

There won't be any 6 or 10 o'clock news reports of child abuse, inhumane cruelty of a country's leadership of their people, a spouse murdering his/her spouse, not enough food for some people in certain parts of the world. We will all live in harmony, love, filled with compassion one for the other.....

 

No phone calls in the middle of the night with words that we would just as soon not hear. No bad news. All the news will be good. Not just sometimes, nor now and then. But everything we hear will be good, great, and wonderful!

 

Every report will be as wonderful as when we hear exhilirating words, "It's a boy (or a girl)!"; "How do you like my new car, job, home, or....." No reports like "I was layed off!"; "How are we going to pay for health insurance?"; "He doesn't love me (she doesn't love me) any more!"; "I have been feeling depressed lately!:...

 

No, this time we will hear words like "loved forever", "feelings of great joy", "singing a new song", "new bodies", "new duties", "restored relationships".....

 

This winter after a week-plus in Florida, where the weather basically didn't dip below 70 degrees the entire time we were gone; we wanted to go back to our home in Iowa...to weather that was 50 degrees colder than where we had been. But after we have been gone awhile, we tend want to get back to our familiar surroundings, family, and friends...

 

Heaven is like that, too, I think. After we have been gone for a number of years, we tend to want to go back home.

Where there is always Love. Where the surroundings are familiar. Where there is always enough of everything for everyone, and never a lack. Where we can continue relationships of family and friends........

 

Where there are only "hellos," and never any "good-byes"....

Printable Issue 43  Today is Wednesday, April 30th, 2003; Karen's Korner #43

This is from "Chicken Soup for the Soul" which I received via e-mail this morning. It is quite lengthy. I hope you read it and enjoy it, if you have the time. If not, delete.....

 

The Wallet
By Arnold Fine

As I walked home one freezing day, I stumbled on a
wallet someone had lost in the street. I picked it up and
looked inside to find some identification so I could call
the owner. But the wallet contained only three dollars and
a crumpled letter that looked as if it had been in there
for years.

The envelope was worn and the only thing that was
legible on it was the return address. I started to open
the letter, hoping to find some clue. Then I saw the
dateline - 1924. The letter had been written almost sixty
years earlier.

It was written in a beautiful feminine handwriting, on
powder-blue stationery with a little flower in the left-
hand corner. It was a "Dear John" letter that told the
recipient, whose name appeared to be Michael, that the
writer could not see him any more because her mother
forbade it. Even so, she wrote that she would always love
him. It was signed Hannah.

It was a beautiful letter, but there was no way,
except for the name Michael, to identify the owner. Maybe
if I called information, the operator could find a phone
listing for the address on the envelope.

"Operator," I began, "this is an unusual request. I'm
trying to find the owner of a wallet that I found. Is
there any way you can tell me if there is a phone number
for an address that was on an envelope in the wallet?"

She suggested I speak with her supervisor, who
hesitated for a moment, then said, "Well, there is a phone
listing at that address, but I can't give you the number."
She said as a courtesy, she would call that number, explain
my story and ask whoever answered if the person wanted her
to connect me. I waited a few minutes and then the
supervisor was back on the line. "I have a party who will
speak with you."

I asked the woman on the other end of the line if she
knew anyone by the name of Hannah. She gasped. "Oh! We
bought this house from a family who had a daughter named
Hannah. But that was thirty years ago!"

"Would you know where that family could be located
now?" I asked.

"I remember that Hannah had to place her mother in a
nursing home some years ago," the woman said. "Maybe if
you got in touch with them, they might be able to track
down the daughter."

She gave me the name of the nursing home, and I called
the number. The woman on the phone told me the old lady
had passed away some years ago, but the nursing home did
have a phone number for where the daughter might be living.

I thanked the person at the nursing home and phoned
the number she gave me. The woman who answered explained
that Hannah herself was now living in a nursing home.

'This whole thing is stupid,' I thought to myself.
'Why am I making such a big deal over finding the owner of
a wallet that has only three dollars and a letter that is
almost sixty years old?'

Nevertheless, I called the nursing home in which
Hannah was supposed to be living, and the man who answered
the phone told me, "Yes, Hannah is staying with us."

Even though it was already 10 P.M., I asked if I could
come by to see her. "Well," he said hesitatingly, "if you
want to take a chance, she might be in the day room
watching television."

I thanked him and drove over to the nursing home. The
night nurse and a guard greeted me at the door. We went up
to the third floor of the large building. In the day room,
the nurse introduced me to Hannah. She was a sweet,
silver-haired old-timer with a warm smile and a twinkle in
her eye.

I told her about finding the wallet and showed her the
letter. The second she saw the powder-blue envelope with
that little flower on the left, she took a deep breath and
said, "Young man, this letter was the last contact I ever
had with Michael."

She looked away for a moment, deep in thought, and
then said softly, "I loved him very much. But I was only
sixteen at the time and my mother felt I was too young.

Oh, he was so handsome. He looked like Sean Connery, the
actor.

"Yes," she continued, "Michael Goldstein was a
wonderful person. If you should find him, tell him I think
of him often. And," she hesitated for a moment, almost
biting her lip, "tell him I still love him. You know," she
said, smiling as tears welled up in her eyes, "I never did
marry. I guess no one ever matched up to Michael..."

I thanked Hannah and said good-bye. I took the
elevator to the first floor and as I stood by the door, the
guard there asked, "Was the old lady able to help you?"
I told him she had given me a lead. "At least I have
a last name. But I think I'll let it go for a while. I
spent almost the whole day trying to find the owner of this
wallet."

I had taken out the wallet, which was a simple brown
leather case with red lacing on the side. When the guard
saw it, he said, "Hey, wait a minute! That's Mr.
Goldstein's wallet. I'd know it anywhere with that bright
red lacing. He's always losing that wallet. I must have
found it in the halls at least three times."

"Who's Mr. Goldstein?" I asked, as my hand began to
shake.

"He's one of the old-timers on the eighth floor.
That's Mike Goldstein's wallet for sure. He must have lost
it on one of his walks."

I thanked the guard and quickly ran back to the
nurse's office. I told her what the guard had said. We
went back to the elevator and got on. I prayed that Mr.
Goldstein would be up.

On the eighth floor, the floor nurse said, "I think
he's still in the day room. He likes to read at night.
He's a darling old man."

We went to the only room that had any lights on, and
there was a man reading a book. The nurse went over to him
and asked if he had lost his wallet. Mr. Goldstein looked
up with surprise, put his hand in his back pocket and said,

"Oh, it is missing!"

"This kind gentleman found a wallet and we wondered if
it could be yours."

I handed Mr. Goldstein the wallet, and the second he
saw it, he smiled with relief and said, "Yes, that's it!
It must have dropped out of my pocket this afternoon. I
want to give you a reward."

"No, thank you," I said. "But I have to tell you
something. I read the letter in the hope of finding out
who owned the wallet."

The smile on his face suddenly disappeared. "You read
that letter?"

"Not only did I read it, I think I know where Hannah
is."

He suddenly grew pale. "Hannah? You know where she
is? How is she? Is she still as pretty as she was?

Please, please tell me," he begged.

"She's fine...just as pretty as when you knew her," I
said softly.

The old man smiled with anticipation and asked, "Could
you tell me where she is? I want to call her tomorrow."

He grabbed my hand and said, "You know something, mister?
I was so in love with that girl that when that letter came,
my life literally ended. I never married. I guess I've
always loved her."

"Michael," I said, "come with me."

We took the elevator down to the third floor. The
hallways were darkened and only one or two little night
lights lit our way to the day room, where Hannah was
sitting alone, watching the television.

The nurse walked over to her.

"Hannah," she said softly, pointing to Michael, who
was waiting with me in the doorway. "Do you know this
man?"

She adjusted her glasses, looked for a moment, but
didn't say a word.

Michael said softly, almost in a whisper, "Hannah,
it's Michael. Do you remember me?"

She gasped. "Michael! I don't believe it! Michael!
It's you! My Michael!"

He walked slowly toward her, and they embraced. The
nurse and I left with tears streaming down our faces.

"See," I said. "See how the good Lord works! If it's
meant to be, it will be."

About three weeks later, I got a call at my office
from the nursing home. "Can you break away on Sunday to
attend a wedding? Michael and Hannah are going to tie the
knot!"

It was a beautiful wedding, with all the people at the
nursing home dressed up to join in the celebration. Hannah
wore a light beige dress and looked beautiful. Michael
wore a dark blue suit and stood tall. They made me their
best man.

The hospital gave them their own room, and if you ever
wanted to see a seventy-six-year-old bride and a seventy-
nine-year-old groom acting like two teenagers, you had to
see this couple.

A perfect ending for a love affair that had lasted

nearly sixty years.