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November 2004 Archives

Printable Issue 406  Today is Monday, November 1st, 2004; Karen's Korner #406

From a Chicken Soup for the Soul-

Hugging Is

Hugging is healthy. It helps the immune system, cures depression, reduces stress and induces sleep. It's invigorating, rejuvenating and has no unpleasant side effects. Hugging is nothing less than a miracle drug.

Hugging is all natural. It is organic, naturally sweet, no artificial ingredients, non-polluting, environmentally friendly and 100 percent wholesome.

Hugging is the ideal gift. Great for any occasion, fun to give and receive, shows you care, comes with its own wrapping and, of course, fully returnable.

Hugging is practically perfect. No batteries to wear out, inflation-proof, non-fattening, no monthly payments, theft-proof and nontaxable.

Hugging is an underutilized resource with magical powers. When we open our hearts and arms we encourage others to do the same.

Think of the people in your life. Are there any words you'd like to say? Are there any hugs you want to share? Are
you waiting and hoping someone else will ask first?

Please don't wait! Initiate!

Printable Issue 407  Today is Tuesday, November 2nd, 2004; Karen's Korner #407

Another Chicken Soup email:

The Last Runner

      The annual marathon in my town usually occurs during a heat
wave. My job was to follow behind the runners in an ambulance
in case any of them needed medical attention. The driver and I
were in an air-conditioned ambulance behind approximately one
hundred athletes waiting to hear the sharp crack of the starting
gun.
      "We're supposed to stay behind the last runner, so take it
slowly," I said to the driver, Doug, as we began to creep
forward.
      "Let's just hope the last runner is fast!" he laughed.
      As they began to pace themselves, the front runners started
to disappear. It was then that my eyes were drawn to the woman
in blue silk running shorts and a baggy white T-shirt.
      "Doug, look!"
      We knew we were already watching our "last runner."  Her
feet were turned in, yet her left knee was turned out.  Her legs
were so crippled and bent that it seemed impossible for her to
be able to walk, let alone run a marathon.
      Doug and I watched in silence as she slowly moved forward. 
We didn't say a thing.  We would move forward a little bit, then
stop and wait for her to gain some distance.  Then we'd slowly
move forward a little bit more.
      As I watched her struggle to put one foot in front of the
other, I found myself breathing for her and urging her forward. 
I wanted her to stop, and at the same time, I prayed that she
wouldn't.
      Finally, she was the only runner left in sight.  Tears
streamed down my face as I sat on the edge of my seat and
watched with awe, amazement and even reverence as she pushed
forward with sheer determination through the last miles.
      When the finish line came into sight, trash lay everywhere
and the cheering crowds had long gone home.  Yet, standing
straight and ever so proud waited a lone man. He was holding
one end of a ribbon of crepe paper tied to a post.  She slowly
crossed through, leaving both ends of the paper fluttering
behind her.
      I do not know this woman's name, but that day she became a
part of my life - a part I often depend on.  For her, it wasn't
about beating the other runners or winning a trophy, it was
about finishing what she had set out to do, no matter what. 
When I think things are too difficult or too time-consuming, I
get those "I-just-can't-do-its," I think of the last runner. 
Then I realize how easy the task before me really is.

Printable Issue 408  Today is Wednesday, November 3rd, 2004; Karen's Korner #408

THAT'S GOD

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 through tribulation to see a brighter day...

DO YOU THINK THAT THIS E-MAIL WAS ACCIDENTALLY SENT TO YOU? NOPE!  I was thinking of You!

Please pass this along and share the Power of God . . . In all that we do, we should totally give HIM thanks and our blessings will continue to multiply.

Printable Issue 409  Today is Thursday, November 4th, 2004; Karen's Korner #409

A good email that I've saved for a long time.  Maybe the next time that it rains will make you think differently.

Windshield Message from a child


One rainy afternoon I was driving along one of the main streets of town, taking those extra precautions necessary when the roads are wet and slick. Suddenly, my daughter, Aspen, spoke up from her relaxed position in her seat. "Dad, I'm thinking of something."
This announcement usually meant she had been pondering some fact for a while, and was now ready to expound all that her six-year-old mind had discovered. I was eager to hear.
"What are you thinking?" I asked.
"The rain;" she began, "is like sin, and the windshield wipers are like God wiping our sins away." After the chill bumps raced up my arms I was able to respond. "That's really good, Aspen."
Then my curiosity broke in. How far would this little girl take this revelation?
So I asked... "Do you notice how the rain keeps on coming? What does that tell you?"
Aspen didn't hesitate one moment with her answer: "We keep on sinning, and God just keeps on forgiving us."
I will always remember this whenever I turn my wipers on.

Printable Issue 410  Today is Friday, November 5th, 2004; Karen's Korner #410

POTATO CHIPS


Does God dance on your potato chips?
 I never looked at in quite this way, but the answer is "YES."

God dancing on your potato chips?  Help is on the way!!!!!!!!!!!

Not too long ago I had "one of those days." I was feeling pressure from a writing deadline.  I had company arriving in a couple days and the toilet was clogged.  I went to the bank, and the trainee teller processing my deposit had to start over three times.  I swung by the supermarket to pick up a few things and the lines were serpentine.  By
the time I got home, I was frazzled and sweaty and in a hurry to get something on the table for dinner.

Deciding on Campbell's Cream of Mushroom soup, I grabbed a can opener, cranked open the can, then remembered I had forgotten to buy milk at the store.  Nix the soup idea.  Setting the can aside, I went to plan B,
which was leftover baked beans. I grabbed a Tupperware from the fridge, popped the seal, took a look and groaned.  My husband isn't a picky eater, but even HE won't eat baked beans that look like caterpillars.  Really
frustrated now, I decided on a menu that promised to be as foolproof as it is nutrition-free: hot dogs and potato chips.

Retrieving a brand new bag of chips from the cupboard, I grabbed thecellophane and gave a hearty pull.  The bag didn't open.  I tried again. Nothing happened.  I took a breath, doubled my muscle, and gave the bag a hearty wrestle.  With a loud pop, the cellophane suddenly gave way, ripping wide from top to bottom. Chips flew sky high.  I was left holding the bag, and it was empty.  It was the final straw.  I let out a blood curdling scream.

"I CAN'T TAKE IT ANYMORE!!!!"

My husband heard my unorthodox cry for help. Within minutes he was standing at the doorway to the kitchen, where he surveyed the damage: an opened can of soup, melting groceries, moldy baked beans, and one
quivering wife standing ankle deep in potato chips.  My husband did the most helpful thing he could think of at the moment. He took a flying leap, landing flat-footed in the pile of chips. And then he began to stomp and dance and
twirl, grinding those chips into my linoleum in the process!

I stared.  I fumed.  Pretty soon I was working to stifle a smile. Eventually I had to laugh. And finally I decided to
join him. I, too, took a leap onto the chips. And then I danced.  Now I'll be the first to admit that my husband's response wasn't the one I was looking for. But the truth is, it was exactly what I needed. I didn't need a cleanup crew as much as I needed an attitude adjustment, and the laughter from that rather funky moment provided just that.

So now I have a question for you, and it's simply this: Has God ever stomped on your chips?

I know that, in my life, there have been plenty of times when I've gotten myself into frustrating situations and I've cried out for help, all the while hoping God would show up with a celestial broom and clean up the mess. I've made of things.   What often happens instead is that God dances on my chips, answering my prayer in a completely
different manner than I had expected, but in the manner that is best for me after all.  Sometimes I can see right away that God's response was the best one after all. Sometimes I have to wait weeks or months before I begin to understand how and why God answered a particular prayer the way he did.  There are even some situations that, years later, I'm still trying to understand.  I figure God will fill me in sooner or later, either this side of Heaven or
beyond.

Do I trust Him?  Even when he's answering my prayers in a way that is completely different from my expectations?  Even when he's dancing and stomping instead of sweeping and mopping?  Can I embrace what He's offering? Can I let His joy adjust my attitude?  Am I going to stand on the sidelines and sulk, or am I willing to learn the
steps of the dance he's dancin' with my needs in mind?

I'll be honest with you:  Sometimes I sulk. Sometimes I dance.  I'm working on doing more of the latter than the
former.  I guess the older I get the more I realize that He really does know what He's doing.  He loves me and I can trust Him.  Even when the chips are down.

Printable Issue 411  Today is Sunday, November 7th, 2004; Karen's Korner #411

Jim and I spent a few days traveling west to see friends and sights. Who, going across South Dakota, hasn't stopped at Wall Drug? When we were there, I stopped in to the small chapel and spotted an upcoming copy of the daily devotional "Our Daily Bread".

Here is one of the daily thoughts written by Dennis De Haan titled "Afraid to be afraid":

A young woman was waiting for a bus in a crime-ridden area when a rookie policeman approached her and asked, "Do you want me to wait with you?"  "That's not necessary," she replied. "I'm not afraid."  "Well, I am," he grinned. "Would you mind waiting with me?"

Like that policeman, we as Christians must be willing to admit that sometimes we become fearful -- about dying, about getting cancer, about losing our mind, about losing our job, about our children getting in trouble, about getting old. We don't like to confess it, so we may ignore, deny, or repress those fears. But to overcome our fear, we must first acknowledge it.

The psalm writer regonized his fears. "Whenever I am afraid," he said, "I will trust You" (Psalm 56:3). This trust in the Lord gave him a growing confidence. "I will not fear," he said. (vs. 4). And again, "I will not be afraid" (vs. 11). This was much more than self-talk. It was a conscious decision to trust in God:  "I will."

We can conquer our fears. To admit that we are afraid is to admit that we are humans. But to admit being afraid and then trusting the Lord and going forward will take the fear out of fear.

 

Printable Issue 412  Today is Tuesday, November 9th, 2004; Karen's Korner #412
I have been thinking some in the past few days about life and how I think it compares to a baseball game. Visualize this with me:
 
Because our life expectancy is some short of 80 years now, it divides into four major parts. Our base hit takes 20 years. In that time period, we are "learning" from our parents, our friends, our schools, our churches, and who knows what else. From first to second base, we are in the second phase of our life in the years between 20 and 40. This is called the "loving" stage. We take what we have learned and share it with our children, our spouse, our families, our friends.
 
Moving from second to third base and our 40 - 60 years, we are in the "launching" stage. Our kids leave home. We might have a career change, a health change, it is a time of change in some area of our lives for all of us. Now, we pick up speed as we head for home plate. This I'd like to call the "leaving" stage. We have to get ready to leave this life.....we leave behind our family, our friends, our successes, our failures, our treasures...our bodies which don't work as well as they used to. Get ready because it is going to happen.
 
Now the important thing is what team we are on. If we are on God's team, we win! Every thing and every time! As long as we are on this earth, we are either on the field running the bases or we are in the dugout cheering on others who are on our "team". We play against the "devil's" team. The good news is that we always win!
 
Satan's team always loses. His team drops fly balls, can't throw the ball home successfully, misses the throw to first, or watches as the ball goes over the fence. Does that look like a team you would want to be a part of? It is our choice!
 
Even if the devil's plays look good, they aren't because you know who the umpires are?  God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit. What a deal! No matter what happens as we play.......We win!! The last say is always from the officials.....
 
And the crowd in the stands? They are people in our lives who have gone ahead of us to heaven. They are watching. They are cheering. They are smiling. They "high five" one another. We are coming home and they know it!
 
And what about people who don't get the luxury of 80 years? People who have a shorter life, like our daughter, Merry who lived only 26 years?
 
Ever heard of a grand slam homer?!?
Printable Issue 413  Today is Wednesday, November 10th, 2004; Karen's Korner #413
Several short thoughts for today's Karen's Korner. The first one was in our church bulletin last week. A thought as we come up to Veteran's Day tomorrow and as fighting continues in several "hot spots" around the wordl:
 
 
"Freedom is never more than one generation away from
extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the
bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed
on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our
sunset years telling our children and our children's
children what it was once like in the United States where
men were free."

-- President Ronald Reagan
 
****
 
#2 is a 'pass around' that I have received several times in the past week or so. This one is from Tim and Shelley Fletcher:
 
 
God's best friend !!!!
 
A dog had followed his owner to school. His owner was a fourth grader at a public elementary school. However, when the bell rang, the dog sidled inside the building and made it all the way to the child's classroom before a teacher noticed and shooed him outside, closing the door behind him. 

The dog sat down, whimpered and stared at the closed doors.

Then God appeared beside the dog, patted his head, and said, "Don't feel bad fella'.... they won't let ME in either."
 
*****
 
And #3 is from Kevin Rayner, who writes a periodic email column called "Off the Church Walls":
 
A young father pushed the shopping cart carrying the screaming baby through the super market muttering gently under his breath. "Easy, Freddy, calm down now. Everything's all right, boy. Come on, Freddy, don't get upset." A lady customer commented approvingly to him, "You are very patient with little Freddy." The young father looked up glumly, "Lady, I am Freddy."
 
Printable Issue 414  Today is Thursday, November 11th, 2004; Karen's Korner #414
Since today is Veteran's Day, I am going to share another item from the book "God Bless America:  Prayers & Reflections For Our Country", which was given to me by Rosemary, John, and Don Weld at our recent Weld Cousin Reunion:
 
The Original Pledge of Allegiance:
 
I pledge allegiance to my Flag,
and the Republic for which it stands,
one nation indivisible--with liberty
and justice for all.
    -- Francis Bellamy, 1892
 
 
At the first National Flag Conference in Washington D.C., on June 14, 1923, a change was made for clarity:  the words "the Flag of the United States" replaced "my flag".
 
In 1942 Congress officially recognized the Pledge of Allegiance.
 
In June of 1954 and amendment was made to add the words "under God". President Dwight D. Eisenhower said, "In this way we are reaffirming the transcendence of religious faith in America's heritage and future; in the this way we shall constantly strengthen those spiritual weapons which forever will be our country's most powerful resource in peace and war."
 
 
The Pledge of Allegiance
 
I pledge allegiance to the flag
of the United States of America.
And to the republic for which it stands,
one nation, under God, indivisible,
With liberty and justice for all.
Printable Issue 415  Today is Friday, November 12th, 2004; Karen's Korner #415
A couple of nights ago,  I happened to catch part of a Christian television interview with Ruth Graham. No, not Billy's wife, but his daughter by the same name. She has just written a book titled, "In Every Pew There's a Broken Heart".
 
 
I knew there were several Graham children, but until the interview I had never heard of her. It sounded like she lived the fairy tale life of daughter, wife, mother, volunteer.......until her husband was unfaithful, which led to a divorce. She returned to college in her early 40s. Her teenage daughter wound up pregnant, which resulted in her first grandchild being adopted into another family. There was another teenage pregnancy. She was overcome with depression, and with counseling, listening, learning, and time.........life has taught her much.
 
One line in her interview I really liked. And this is the thought I would like to give to you today:
 
She said, "I have found most people with all the answers, don't know all the questions."
 
Printable Issue 416  Today is Monday, November 15th, 2004; Karen's Korner #416

I had been doing some things outside last week when I decided to walk a couple of miles. Since it was a bit chilly, I had been wearing my ancient insulated coveralls. With time, the duds include a worn right knee which has nearly manifested itself into a hole through all the layers of material, plus years and years of spattered paint from numerous projects. Sensing a bit of a breeze, I decided I'd better find some head gear. A stocking cap didn't work. Too much breeze down the back of my neck. The coveralls don't have a hood. But my snowmobile suit does. I'd just tie on that hood.

Boy, was I cute! Paint spattered, holey gray coveralls and a blue hood. To complete the outfit, I put on mismatched gloves and sunglasses to keep the sun glare to a minimum........maybe no one in the neighborhood would recognize who I was in my fashion ensemble! But our dog, Lady, knew! She was jumping around like normal, excited about the possibility of walking. She didn't notice my lack of clothing coordination. She was happy about what we were going to be doing together!! She accepted who I was in the inside with no judgement of my outside appearances.

I had the opportunity to return the favor to Lady several days later. When we are home, Lady spends most of her time in the house. When we are gone, she rambles freely out-of-doors. That particular morning, she wanted out early and stayed outside. I took a trip to town and there was no Lady. When I got back home, there she was burrs and weed seeds stuck everywhere in her hair coat. Sometimes Jim and I can comb them out. We set out on the work of combing, trimming. Some could be pulled out on her back. Lady, left to her own accord, could work some of them off her feet and legs. But there was nothing that could be done to the thick matting in her feather-like hair on her tail. It had turned into one thick mass. Same things around her ears, which she can't reach; and some the lengthy hair on her back legs. I held her down while Jim wielding the scissors and began the butching process. I guess an appropriate nickname for her now might be "Stubby".

But like the favor Lady did for me a few days ago of accepting me exactly as she saw me, we are returning that unconditional love to Lady.....not for what we are looking at right now, but for the dog that we know that she is with or without a beautiful hair coat.

As I look at Lady and think back to our last week's walk, it reminds me of how God accepts each one of us...exactly as we are..........hair or no hair; beautfiul clothing or not! He sees who we are and loves us.........whether we are Lady and Karen..........or Stubby and Ugly!

What a God!!

 

Printable Issue 417  Today is Tuesday, November 16th, 2004; Karen's Korner #417
This is a Chicken Soup for the Soul I received a while back. It has been several months since school started. Some families are experiencing an "empty nest" where one child has gone off to school. Still others are experiencing a "real" empty nest where there isn't anyone left at home any more:
 
View from an Empty Nest
By June Cerza Kolf

Years ago when I first heard the term "empty nest," it sounded like a pleasant position to be in.  I had three toddlers and the thought of waking up in the morning fully rested, instead of having my eyes pried open by tiny fingers, was quite attractive.

I correctly assumed that in an empty nest, I could wear clothes without spit-up stains, finish sentences when speaking to my husband, and carry a purse without squeak toys, or pacifiers, or cookie crumbs.

Oh, the beauty of dinnertime without spilled milk, a house without the background sounds of crying, walls without sticky fingerprints, and being able to sleep through an entire night.  I could push a shopping cart that was filled with groceries instead of children!

However, when I reached that sought-after goal, it was rather a disappointment.  Up close, the empty nest no longer looked quite as attractive.  This was partly because the ensuing years had automatically solved many of the distasteful parts of motherhood.  For some time, no one had been spitting up on me or crying to be fed in the middle of the night.  Nobody needed to be bathed or dressed or have their shoes tied ten times a day.  Just when the children became pleasant company, they moved out.  Is there no justice?

I tried not to look into the three empty bedrooms as I passed by them.  Even though the beds were all neatly made, the rooms lacked character.  The one-eyed teddy bear was missing from his favorite spot on the floor.  School books, papers, and cans of hair spray had all disappeared.  The closet doors covered vacant areas that at one time had been stuffed beyond their limits.

When I finally crept out of my depression to take a peek around me, I noticed my dear husband, Jack, looking almost the same as when I had fallen wildly in love with him.  Except for showing a bit of wear and tear, the years had been good to him.  I fondly looked at the gray hairs at his temple, knowing exactly where they had come from.  I caught myself grinning when I realized that the creases on his face were smile lines, not worry wrinkles.

As I sat gazing at him, I realized my nest was not empty after all.  It still held the one special person I had chosen to share my life with.  In the quiet of the empty nest, it might be easier for us to find each other.  As I looked at him I wondered if maybe, just maybe, we could rekindle the sparks we had originally ignited.  And then, as if to answer my unspoken question, he looked up at me and winked.

Printable Issue 418  Today is Wednesday, November 17th, 2004; Karen's Korner #418

Today I want to share a few verses from Psalms 147. The theme written above the chapter says, "What gives God joy. Although God created everything, His greatest joy comes from our geniune worship and trust."  As we head toward the Thanksgiving season, it is a time to be grateful and say thanks:

From 147:  "Hallelujah! Yes, praise the Lord! How good it is to sing His praises! How delightful and how right!.........He heals the broken hearted, binding up their wounds. He counts the stars and calls them by name. How great He is! His power is absolute! His understanding is unlimited.......Sing out your thanks to Him; sing praises to our God........He covers the heavens with clouds, sends down the showers and makes the green grass grow in mountain pastures. He feeds the wild animals and the young ravens cry to Him for food. But His joy is in in those who reverence Him, those who expect Him to be loving and kind......He has fortified your gates against all enemies, and blessed your children. He sends peace across your nation and fills your barns with plenty of the finest wheat.......Hallelujah! Yes, praise the Lord!"

My Bible commentary on these verses:  "Sometimes we feel as if we don't understand ourselves--what we want, how we feel, what's wrong with us, or what we should do about it. But God's understanding is unlimited and therefore He understands us fully. If you feel troubled and don't understand yourself, remember that God understands you perfectly. Take your mind off yourself and focus it on God. Strive to become more and more like Him. The more you learn about God and His ways, the better you will understand yourself."

(As most of you know daily Karen's Korners can be found on my new site www.karens-korner.com  If you have a favorite you would like to share with someone or you need copies of several for a church program, copies can be printed. Each inspirational thought has a heading in dark blue. On the right of the blue band, you will see a small icon of a computer printer. Click on that and you will be able to print any copy you would like.)

Printable Issue 419  Today is Thursday, November 18th, 2004; Karen's Korner #419

 A pass along email which I received this morning from Dorothy Reikens:

Subject: IMPORTANT RECALL NOTICE

The Maker of all human beings is recalling all manufactured units,
regardless of make or year, due to a serious defect in the primary and
central component of the heart.  This is due to a malfunction in the
original prototype units, code named Adam and Eve, resulting in
reproduction of the same defect in all subsequent units.

This defect has been termed Sub-sequential Internal Non-morality, or
more commonly known as SIN.  Symptoms of SIN include:
Loss of direction
Amnesia of origin
Lack of peace and joy
Selfish or violent behavior
Depression or confusion
Fearfulness
Idolatry
Rebellion
Foul vocal emissions

The Manufacturer, Who is neither liable nor at fault for this defect, is
providing factory authorized repair and service, free of charge, to
correct this SIN defect.  The Repair Technician, Jesus, has most generously
offered to bear the entire burden of the staggering cost of these repairs.
There is no additional fee required.  The toll-free number to call for repair
in all areas is: P-R-A-Y-E-R.

Once connected, please upload your burden of SIN following the
REPENTANCE procedure.  Next, download ATONEMENT from Jesus,
directly into the heart
component.  No matter how big or small the SIN defect is, Jesus will
replace it with:
Love
Joy
Peace
Patience
Kindness
Goodness
Faithfulness
Gentleness
Self-Control

Please see the operating manual, HOLY BIBLE, for further details on the
use of these fixes.

As an added upgrade, the Manufacturer has made available to all repaired
units, a facility enabling direct monitoring and assistance from a
resident Maintenance Technician, the Holy Spirit.  Repaired units need only make
Him welcome, and He will take up permanent residence on the premises.

WARNING: Continuing to operate the human being unit without correction
voids the Manufacturer's warranty, exposing the unit to dangers and
problems too numerous to list, and will result in human unit being
permanently impounded.  For free emergency service, call Jesus 24/7.

Thank you for your attention.  Please assist where possible by notifying
others of this important recall.

Printable Issue 420  Today is Friday, November 19th, 2004; Karen's Korner #420

A couple of Bible verses from Psalms, as we head into the Thanksgiving weekend:

Psalms 19: 7 - 11:  "God's laws are perfect. They protect us, make us wise, and give us joy and light. God's laws are pure, eternal, just. They are more desirable than gold. They are sweeter than honey dripping from a honeycomb. For they warn us away from harm and give success to those who obey them."

Bible Commentary:  "When we think of the Law, we often think of something that keep us from having fun. But here we see the opposite--laws that free us, protect us, make us wise, and bring joy and light. That's because God's laws are guidelines and lights on our path, rather than chains on our hands and feet. They point at harm and warn us, then point at success and guide us."

Printable Issue 421  Today is Monday, November 22nd, 2004; Karen's Korner #421

This is Thanksgiving week so it is an extra special time to be "thankful".

And I want you, as readers, to help. Email things for which you are thankful. "Always be Thankful" will be the name of my new devotional booklet which will be published and distributed shortly after the first of the year. I want to use "your thankfulness" as a part of it in some way; maybe not all of them will be included. But at least some will.

Several years ago as a Sunday School project, we interviewed one another. Along with names, addresses, family members, etc., we asked one another questions like 'one childhood memory you liked and one you would have changed if you could. And one adult memory that was a favorite and one that you didn't like.' I can still recall Roger Sumners reply to a favorite adult thing which had happened to him:  his Parkinson's. A disease which he has had for more than 20 years. Surprised me, I would have thought the affliction would have been in the 'not like' pile.

Have you every noticed how we are grateful for the good things that come our way. But don't add the "bad stuff" on to our thankful lists. What would happen if we told God "thank you" for everything?

After about three surgeries in not very many months for Merry and we were being called to the hospital again, I can recall telling God how I didn't want to do this and I certainly didn't want Merry to go through it. In my mind, I could hear Him say, "Tell me thank you."

My mental response was, "But I don't like this!"

And the thought which rattled through my head was, "I never said you had to like it!"

Must be what it means in the Bible when it says, "Always be thankful" (I Thessalonians 5:18).

So send me your thankful lists; now and then toss in something you really don't like!

Printable Issue 422  Today is Tuesday, November 23rd, 2004; Karen's Korner #422

Thursday is Thanksgiving! And yesterday I asked you to tell some things for which you are thankful. Not necessarily the "good" things, but the "bad" times as well.

I got an assortment of answers. You got it!! I think I had about as much reflection on things people have experienced that they probably didn't like at the time, as the things that they have been grateful for. At first, I was going to sort them by "good" and "bad", but you didn't. And I found that I couldn't, so here they are without references as to who wrote them:

 

For a blessed easy life; for God's teachings and His leadership; for His Spirit which indwells us as believers; for illnesses and surgeries; for learning to be thankful; for a son's Hodgkin's diagnosis; for my breast cancer and being able to find humor in its treatments; for times I have experienced rejection, hurt, and being misunderstood.

For dealing with anxiety; for what I have learned from life's experiences which teaches me understanding of those who have similar situations; for His strength, endurance, love, power; for God's wisdom; for His ways of teaching me to walk with Jesus; for God in my life; for allowing God to carry me through trying times of my life; being shaped by God through trials; being shaped into God's image and becoming all God wants me to be; for tough stuff in my life; for family; for friends; for living in the United States of America; for my church family and my church friends.

For knowing who God is; for experiencing His love; for growing up in the happy, innocent 1950s; for my family moving during my school days and thinking I wouldn't like my new hometown; for the trials of growing up fat and the sneers and jeers that went with it; for aunts, uncles, cousins, and the rest of my extended family; for being part of a loving and caring family; for memories of those who are no longer with us and the hope that we have of seeing them again.

For the "parents which God entrusted to me and for being told I'm just like my dad with his dry sense of humor. If I could have picked the man I would most be like, it would be my dad."

 

Thanks for helping me write today's Karen's Korner. I am sure that I will get some more responses in the next few days! The twists and turns that life hands us don't necessarily have to be easy nor make us bitter; ALL THINGS can make us better if we choose to let them...and it appears we have let them!!

Printable Issue 423  Today is Wednesday, November 24th, 2004; Karen's Korner #423

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving so I decided to look up the word a  Bible concordance, listing every word with "thanksgiving" found in the Bible. Surely there wouldn't be too many. Wrong!

There are 26 verses with the word thanksgiving in them; along with verses with words like "thank, thanked, thankful, thankfulness, thanking, thankworthy, thanks, and thanksgivings (plural). Not one word using "thankless" (like saying, "well, this is sure a thankless job!"). 

Must be thanks, thankful, thanksgiving is important in our daily lives! Must add to our contentment, our emotional, our mental, and/or spiritual state of being!

So here are two of the "thanksgiving" verses:

Psalms 95:2 -- "Let us come into His presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to Him with songs of praise!"

Philippians 4:6 -- "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God."

Printable Issue 424  Today is Thursday, November 25th, 2004; Karen's Korner #424

Today is Thanksgiving! Have a happy, happy day!!

Each year the president of the United States delivers a speech for Thanksgiving. Sometimes we hear it on the radio or television. Or we see it printed in the newspaper. Most times we don't know what he said.

This is Abraham Lincoln's for Thanksgiving in 1863 while we were still in the midst of the Civil War and our country was divided on more than one issue:

"It is the duty of nations as well as of men to own their
dependence upon the overruling power of God; to confess
their sins and transgressions in humble sorrow, yet with
assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy
and pardon; and to recognize the sublime truth, announced
in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that
those nations are blessed whose God is the Lord.

"We know that by His divine law, nations, like
individuals, are subjected to punishments and
chastisements in this world. May we not justly fear that
the awful calamity of civil war which now desolates the
land may be a punishment inflicted upon us for our
presumptuous sins, to the needful end of our national
reformation as a whole people?

"We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of
heaven; we have been preserved these many years in peace
and prosperity; we have grown in numbers, wealth and power
as no other nation has ever grown.
"But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious
hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and
enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined,
in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these
blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue
of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have
become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of
redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the
God that made us.
 
"It has seemed to me fit and proper that God should be
solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged, as with
one heart and one voice, by the whole American people. I
do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of
the United States, and also those who are at sea and those
who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and
observe the last Thursday of November as a day of
Thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father Who
dwelleth in the heavens."

-- Abraham Lincoln, Thanksgiving proclamation, Oct. 3,
1863
Printable Issue 425  Today is Friday, November 26th, 2004; Karen's Korner #425

A couple of more thoughts on being thankful and Thanksgiving.

These are from a flip calendar of mine on dates near the end of November:

*  Thanksgiving was never meant to be shut up in a single day.

* The music that can deepest reach, and cure all ill, is cordial speech. -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

* Seeds of discouragement will not grow in the thankful heart.

 

And then some more of your comments of things which you are thankful - good and bad things:

God taking good care of me; all God has given me over the years; for the medical profession, medical researchers, and lots of medicines and medical procedures; for breast cancer diagnosis this spring; for doctors, hospitals, and clinics; for special friends; for a special mentor; for grandparents and grandchildren; for a successful surgery and for physical therapy; for bodies that can heal; for the simple smiles of others who we meet as we walk on the streets of our local community, shop, and run our errands; for peace time and for wars; for strife in the world; for those dedicating their lives to protecting us and for defending our freedoms; for everyday challenges and difficulties; for learning how to trust God when things don't come my way (the way I want them!); for needing God in my life; and for Him always being there for me.

 

Printable Issue 426  Today is Monday, November 29th, 2004; Karen's Korner #426
Over the Thanksgiving holiday, Tiffany Cramer shared a favorite book with me. It is titled, "Father Timothy A. Kavanagh", written by Jan Karon. 
 
Karon has developed a series of fictional novels centered in the small rural community of Mitford, North Carolina. Father Tim is a prinicipal character in the series. This particular book is written as if the Episcopal priest kept a journal of favorite quotes by "real" philosophers, wise thinkers, and poets. 
 
Four of "Father Tim's" favorite quotes are by Winston Churchill and are included:
 
*  "If you have an important point to make, don't try to be subtle or clever. Use the pile driver. Hit the point once. Then come back and hit it again. Then hit it a third time with a tremendous whack.
 
* Man will occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of the time he will pick himself up and continue on.
 
* One ought never to turn one's back on a threatened danger and try to run away from it. If you do that, you will double the danger. But if you meet it promptly and without flinching, you will reduce the danger by half. Never run away from anything. Never!!
 
*  I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which had never happened.
 
 
I am going to share one more of "Father Tim's" favorites in tomorrow's Karen's Korner.
Printable Issue 427  Today is Tuesday, November 30th, 2004; Karen's Korner #427

This is the journal entry by fictional character "Father Timothy A. Kavanagh" that I promised yesterday. The book is written by Jan Karon:

"The older theology tended to produce character. By the end of the twentieth century, we have become God's demanding little brats. In church, we must be entertained. Our emotions must be charged. We must be offered amusing programs. We give up a lot to become Christians and what little teaching we do get must cater to our pragmatic, self-centered interests. Preaching must be filled with clever anecdotes and colorful illustrations with nothing more than passing references to doctorine.

I want to know what this means for me in my daily experience. Have we fogotten that God is a monarch? He is the king, by whom and for whom all things were made and by whose sovereign power they are sustained. We exist for His pleasure, not His for ours. We are on this earth to entertain Him, please Him, adore Him, bring Him satisfaction, excitement and joy.

Any gospel that seeks to answer the question, "What's in this for me?" has it all backwards.

The question is, "What's in it for God?"

---Mike Horton