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July 2004 Archives

Printable Issue 324  Today is Thursday, July 1st, 2004; Karen's Korner #324

Something I received in an email yesterday. It is a wonderful thought. I especially liked the title.

 

God wants us to remember that "what we are (who we are!) is as important as what we do":

 

 

What You Are Is As Important As What You Do
By Patricia Fripp

It was a sunny Saturday afternoon in Oklahoma City. My friend and proud father Bobby Lewis was taking his two little boys to play miniature golf. He walked up to the fellow at the ticket counter and said, "How much is it to get in?"

The young man replied, "$3.00 for you and $3.00 for any kid who is older than six. We let them in free if they are six or younger. How old are they?"

Bobby replied, "The lawyer here is three and the doctor is seven, so I guess I owe you $6.00."

The man at the ticket counter said, "Hey, Mister, did you just win the lottery or something? You could have saved yourself three bucks. You could have told me that the older one was six; I wouldn't have known the difference."

Bobby replied, "Yes, that may be true, but the kids would have known the difference."

As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "Who you are speaks so loudly I can't hear what you're saying." In challenging times when ethics are more important than ever before, make sure you set a good example for everyone you work and live with.
Printable Issue 325  Today is Friday, July 2nd, 2004; Karen's Korner #325

As you can probably tell, I am making my way through the book of Proverbs, reading a chapter from there now and again.

 

This Bible verse caught my eye:

 

Proverbs 29: 18 -- "Where there is ignorance of God, crime runs wild; but what a wonderful thing it is for a nation to know and keep His laws."

 

My Bible commentary on this verse -- "These proverbs were written under a monarchy. If the king was law-abiding, the people tended to follow suit. In a democracy, the people themselves are the leaders. When they turn to a standard higher than themselves and keep God's moral laws, the nation becomes strong. When everyone does whatever seems 'right in his own eyes (Judges 17:6)', the nation becomes weak and can no longer effectively protect its citizens. Don't be ashamed of your high moral standards -- they are making your country a better place."

 

 

My prayer -- "Dear Father in Heaven, As we celebrate our country's birthday this weekend, help us reflect on You, Your strength, Your power, Your will for each one of us. Help us to listen to You and to follow You. We can't, but You can. Thank You that You have plans for each one of us, and for us collectively as a nation. One action, one person at a time, we can make a difference in our country. Be with us and protect us as we travel, spend time with friends and family, and enjoy many activities of the holiday weekend. Amen."

 

 

Happy a great 4th of July weekend!!
Printable Issue 326  Today is Monday, July 5th, 2004; Karen's Korner #326

I heard a speaker over the weekend talking about his family as a point of illustration. He said that while he had seen some pretty "ugly" babies in his day, his own three boys were absolutely "beautiful". His kids aren't old enough to have kids of their own, but he is sure that his grandchildren are going to be "gorgeous".

 

He then asked his audience for a show of hands, if they had kids and grandchildren. And the hands went up. "Now if any of you think these kids are the most cute kids you have ever seen. Keep your hands up."  The vote was 100%. They were all recipients of good looking family members.

 

I can recall Jim saying when Jamie was a couple of days old, "I always thought newborn babies all looked the same. And none of them were very cute. Too red and wrinkled. But she is really cute already!"

 

And now we have another survey member, Luke, our five-month-old grandson, is well (what can I say) "cute"!

 

The speaker went on to say, "Of all of my kin-folk, I have never seen one that isn't absolutely adorable!"

 

If that is how moms, dads, and grandparents think about their children, I wonder how God thinks about each of us as "His Kids"? If we can't help but be attracted to our family's members, God must be doing the same thing!

 

In Psalms 139, it says, "You chart the path ahead of me...every moment you know where I am.....I can never be lost to your Spirit...You made all the part of my body and knit them together in my mother's womb.....thank you for making my so wonderfully complex........how precious it is Lord, to realize that you are thinking about me constantly!"

 

So here is an assignment for the day, a handful of times when you pass by a mirror say out loud, "I am absolutely beautiful!"

 

Because that is what God, as Your Heavenly Father, thinks of each of us. He only wants us to agree with Him!

Printable Issue 327  Today is Tuesday, July 6th, 2004; Karen's Korner #327

This is something I received last month in an email. Right now there are lots of all kinds of ball games going on at dozens of age levels, and I thought it was pretty good. Hope that you enjoy it as well:

 

Just Me
By Tom Krause

From the time I was little, I knew I was great
'cause the people would tell me, "You'll make it
just wait."
But they never did tell me how great I would be
if I ever played someone who was greater than me.

When I'm in the back yard, I'm king with the ball.
To swish all those baskets is no sweat at all.
But all of a sudden there's a man in my face
who doesn't seem to realize that I'm king of this place.

So the pressure gets to me; I rush with the ball.
My passes to teammates could go through the wall.
My jumpers not falling, my dribbles not sure.
My hand is not steady, my eye is not pure.

The fault is my teammates - they don't understand.
The fault is my coaches - what a terrible plan.
The fault is the call by that blind referee.
But the fault is not mine; I'm the greatest, you see.

Then finally it hit me when I started to see
that the face in the mirror looked exactly like me.
It wasn't my teammates who were dropping the ball,
and it wasn't my coach shooting bricks at the wall.

That face in the mirror that was always so great
had some room for improvement instead of just hate.
So I stopped blaming others and I started to grow.
My play got much better and it started to show.

And all of my teammates didn't seem quite so bad.
I learned to depend on the good friends I had.
Now I like myself better since I started to see
that I was lousy being great - I'm much better being me.

Printable Issue 328  Today is Wednesday, July 7th, 2004; Karen's Korner #328

Some words of wisdom from Mother Theresa. She is desribing what it means to be "holy":

 

 

To be holy, doesn't mean to do extraordinary things,

    to understand big things,

 

But it is a simple acceptance, because I have given myself to God,

    because I belong to Him --

            My total surrender.

 

He could put me here.

    He could put me there.

    He can use me.

    He can not use me.

 

It doesn't matter

    because I belong so totally to Him

    that He can do just what He wants to do

    with me.
Printable Issue 329  Today is Thursday, July 8th, 2004; Karen's Korner #329

A couple of miscellaneous thoughts, words of wisdom:

 

 

  * If you wish your merit to be known, acknowledge
        that of other people.
          -- Oriental Proverb 


   *   The essence of being human is that one does
         not seek perfection.
          -- George Orwell

 

 

    * The highest glory of the American Revolution was this: it
        connected, in one indissoluble bond, the principles of
            civil government with the principles of Christianity.
                    -- John Quincy Adams

 

 

*  A truly happy person is one who enjoys the scenery on a detour.

            -- Author unknown

 

 

* You know it's going to be a bad day when your teenager knocks on your

bedroom door first thing in the morning and says, "Today is Nerd Day at

school, Pop. Can I borrow some of your clothes?"

        -- from Chicken Soup for the Soul, written by Ron Chapman
Printable Issue 330  Today is Friday, July 9th, 2004; Karen's Korner #330

I have never done this before.

 

I have a thought but it isn't complete. I'll write the first part. If you have some thoughts from your past experiences, church or S.S. teachings -- maybe you can finish it.

 

 

 

For a number of years, I have had only one pair of glasses. Since my high school days when I was diagnosed as nearsighted, I have worn glasses part of the time. I have never been restricted to driving with glasses, but I wear them most of the time when I drive. And other times I want to see better, long distances.

 

As I get older, I need to wear them more to see better at a few other things, too. I still don't like them on when I use the computer. Glasses get in my way when I am in the kitchen or doing a lot of other household tasks.

 

Consequently Jim has had to put up with my searches just before we do something new or go some place.

 

"What are you looking for?" he might ask.

 

Almost always, my reply is the same, "I can't find my glasses."  Or "Have you seen my glasses?"  And the search begins.

 

Last summer I got another pair of glasses to upgrade my prescription. Now I have two pairs of glasses. New pair. Old pair. And they are always around some place.

 

Never have to look for my glasses now. There is always a pair....on the computer desk, on the kitchen table, next to the chair I watch television from most of the time. In fact, much of the time the two pairs are together. If I toss in my sunglasses which I have pulled off and tossed some place, we have quite a gathering in one spot frequently.

 

Now is your turn to finish the rest of the story.

 

Is it something about "where two or more are gathered in My Name", Jesus said, "there I will be in their midst?"

 

Or is it something like "the little boy with the loaves and the fishes" and what you have in the Christian world tends to mulitiply? And one plus one doesn't turn out to be two, but a whole bunch?

 

I am interested to learn any of your responses. Whatever I get back, I will share with others......because whatever happens in God's Kingdom has a tendency to grow.....
Printable Issue 331  Today is Monday, July 12th, 2004; Karen's Korner #331

This is something which I received from Lois Lesher last week which I liked a lot. It is titled

 

"Buzzards, Bats and Bumble Bees":

 

If you put a buzzard in a pen six or eight feet square and entirely open at the top, the bird, in spite of his ability to fly, will be an absolute prisoner. The reason is that a buzzard always begins a flight from the ground with a run of ten or twelve feet. Without space to run, as is his habit, he will not even attempt to fly, but will remain a prisoner for life in a small jail with no top.

The ordinary bat that flies around at night, a remarkably nimble creature in the air, cannot take off from a level place. If it is placed on the floor or flat ground, all it can do is shuffle about helplessly and, no doubt, painfully, until it reaches some slight elevation from which it can throw itself into the air. Then, at once, it takes off like a flash.

A bumblebee, if dropped into an open tumbler will be there until it dies unless it is taken out. It never sees the means of escape at the top, but persists in trying to find some way out through the sides or near the bottom. It will seek a way where none exists, until it completely destroys itself.

In many ways, there are lots of people like the buzzard, the bat and the bee. They are struggling about with all their problems and frustrations, not realizing that if they look up, they'll find the answer.
Printable Issue 332  Today is Tuesday, July 13th, 2004; Karen's Korner #332

On Friday, Karen's Korner asked for your responses on what it means for me to constantly misplace one pair of glasses. But once I had two pairs of glasses, I can find both most of the time and toss in a pair of sunglasses, too. Now I can find a pile of glasses!

 

I asked for you to finish the story of what it might mean to you in God's Kingdom. Could it parallel the "two or three gathered in My midst, there I will be"; or could it be "the loaves and fishes and always having enough or more than enough"? Or?

 

 

Several of your responses were from Shirley Southard who said she has one pair of glasses and she always knows where they are:  on her dresser or on her face........

 

 

Cindee Schnekloth said:  'I think this story lends itself to God being available wherever and whenever we need him, even in the littlest things. We always seem to think that we only should "bother" Him with the big problems, but I think that God wants to be involved in every aspect of our lives, be it big or little.  After all, he knows the number of hairs on our head, so we shouldn't be surprised that he wants us to share every little detail with him on a daily basis.'

 

 

Val Neubauer said she sees it as the little boy with the loaves and fishes. "Our church owns a house a couple of doors away.  Several members of our congregation had spent some time renovating it while trying to figure out a good use for it.  We are located in a poor section of our city. Last fall another church was looking for a building for a food pantry as they were having to leave the building they were using.  We joined forces in October. Now we have a purpose.  We are only open on Tuesdays from 3:30 to 5 p.m., but we are serving over  one hundred people in that time period.  The name of our food pantry is Loaves and Fishes."

    She gave an example of some lady buying 100 packages of HyVee weiners for 20 cents a package. It seems they were jalapeno flavored and weren't selling well, but they had no trouble finding takers for the tasty morsels at the pantry.

     "We also have no trouble staffing the pantry, she said. "Everyone is volunteering to take a turn, especially families. It is wonderful seeing God at work as we extend a helping hand in the neighborhood. Not only do we have a Presbyterian church working with an Episcopal church in a joint project, but we have church members growing closer together."

 

 

Diana Barron recalled a childhood memory of her own of walking home with her friend Sylvia. It seems Sylvia's mom was older than most of the other moms. Diana recalls the lady as a 'tiny grandmotherly woman who loved to sew'. 

    "Often, we'd arrive at Sylvia's to find her mom scouring the place for her eyeglasses, having taken them off when she left to do do other things," said Diana. "She would say to us, 'Oh, girls, I'ms so glad you're here. Help me find my glasses. I put them down somewhere and lost them again. I've looked everywhere!' Sylvia, a foot taller than her mom, would walk over and kiss her mom's cheek and present the eyeglasses, which had been perched on top of mother's head! We always had a good laugh."

    Diana stated now that she is 50,  she doesn't know how funny she thinks that is! "But thanks for stirring up a very happy memory," she said.

 

    Thinking farther, Diana said my question "illustrates more about the limits of habit than age and the human quirkiness to keep doing what we are doing. "A wise person once told me," Diana said, "'if at first you don't succeed....try something different!'"                 Diana went on to say the lesson in our spiritual lives might be to avoid becoming bound by habit or rigid in our thinking; automatic in our practice. "In today' jargon, we need to think outside the box," Diana emailed. "Today, when habit would be the more comfortable way to respond, I am going to make a point to do things differently to stretch my faith in new directions. I am going to entertain different ways of thinking about things and put my faith into practice in at least three new ways."

 

 

Thanks to everyone for sharing!
Printable Issue 333  Today is Wednesday, July 14th, 2004; Karen's Korner #333

I received this email from Tim and Shelley Fletcher several days ago. I really liked it. I have no way of knowing whether it is true or not; it says at the end that it is. I trust that it is:

 

"Faith and Love"


John Powell, a professor at Loyola University in Chicago writes
about a student named Tommy in his "Theology of Faith" class:

Some 40 years ago, I stood watching my university students file
into the classroom for our first session in the Theology of Faith. That was
the day I first saw Tommy. My eyes and my mind both blinked.
 
He was combing his long flaxen hair, which hung six inches below his
shoulders. It was the first time I had ever seen a boy with hair that long.
I guess it was just coming into fashion then. I know in my mind that it
isn't what's on your head but what's in it that counts; but on that day I
was unprepared and my emotions flipped. I immediately filed Tommy under 'S'
for strange, very strange.

Tommy turned out to be the "atheist in residence" in my Theology
of Faith course. He constantly objected to, smirked at, or whined about
the possibility of an unconditionally loving Father/God. We lived
with each other in relative peace for one semester, although I admit he
was, for me at times, a serious pain in the back pew.

When he came up at the end of the course to turn in his final
exam, he asked in a slightly cynical tone, "Do you think I'll ever find
God?"  I decided instantly on a little shock therapy. "No!" I said very
emphatically. "Oh," he responded, "I thought that was the product you were
pushing." I let him get five steps from the classroom door, then called
out,  "Tommy! I don't think you'll ever find Him, but I am absolutely
certain that He will find you!" He shrugged a little and left my class and
my life.

I felt slightly disappointed at the thought that he had missed my clever
line: "He will find you!" At least I thought it was clever.

Later I heard that Tommy had graduated, and I was duly grateful.
Then a sad report came. I heard Tommy had terminal cancer. Before I could
search him out, he came to see me. When he walked into my office, his
body was very badly wasted, and the long hair had all fallen out as a
result of chemotherapy, but his eyes were bright, and his voice was firm
for the first time, I believe.

"Tommy, I've thought about you so often. I hear you are sick," I
blurted out. "Oh, yes, very sick. I have cancer in both lungs. It's a
matter of weeks."

"Can you talk about it, Tom?" I asked.

"Sure, what would you like to know?" he replied.

"What's it like to be only twenty-four and dying?"

"Well, it could be worse."

"Like what?"

"Well, like being fifty and having no values or ideals; like being
fifty and thinking that booze, seducing women, and making money
are the real 'biggies' in life." I began to look through my mental file
cabinet under 'S' where I had filed Tommy as strange. It seems as though
everybody I try to reject by classification, God sends back into my
life to educate me.)

"But what I really came to see you about," Tom said, "is something
you said to me on the last day of class." (He remembered, I thought!)
He continued, "I asked you if you thought I would ever find God,
and you said, 'No! 'which surprised me. Then you said, 'But He will
find you.' I thought about that a lot, even though my search for God was
hardly intense at that time. (My clever line... He thought about that a lot!)
"But when the doctors removed a lump from my groin and told me that it
was malignant, that's when I got serious about locating God. And when
the malignancy spread into my vital organs, I really began banging
bloody fists against the bronze doors of heaven, but God did not come
out. In fact, nothing happened. Did you ever try something for a long time
with great effort and with no success? You get psychologically glutted; fed
up with trying. And then you quit.

Well, one day I woke up, and instead of throwing a few more futile
appeals over that high brick wall to a God who may or may not be there,
I just quit. I decided that I didn't really care about God, about an
afterlife, or anything like that. I decided to spend what time I had
left doing something more profitable. I thought about you and your
class, and I remembered something else you had said: 'The essential sadness
is to go through life without loving. But it would be almost equally sad to
go through life and leave this world without ever telling those you
loved that you had loved them.' So, I began with the hardest one, my
Dad. He was reading the newspaper when I approached him.

"Dad."

"Yes, what?" he asked without lowering the newspaper.

"Dad, I would like to talk with you."

"Well, talk."

"I mean it's really important."

The newspaper came down three slow inches. "What is it?"

"Dad, I love you. I just wanted you to know that."
(Tom smiled at me and said it with obvious satisfaction, as though
he  felt a warm and secret joy flowing inside of him.)

"The newspaper fluttered to the floor. Then my father did two
things I could never remember him ever doing before. He cried and he hugged
me.  We talked all night, even though he had to go to work the next
morning. It felt so good to be close to my father, to see his tears, to
feel his hug, to hear him say that he loved me.

It was easier with my mother and little brother. They cried with me,
too, and we hugged each other, and started saying really nice things
to each other. We shared the things we had been keeping secret for so
many years.  I was only sorry about one thing - that I had waited so long.
Here I was, just beginning to open up to all the people I had actually
been close to.

Then, one day, I turned around and God was there!  He didn't come to me
when I pleaded with Him.  I guess I was like an animal trainer holding
out a hoop; 'C'mon, jump through.  C'mon, I'll give you three days,
three weeks.' Apparently God does things in His own way and at His own
hour. But the important thing is that He was there. He found me. You were
right. He found me even after I stopped looking for Him."

"Tommy," I practically gasped, "I think you are saying something very
important and much more universal than you realize.  To me, at least,
you are saying that the surest way to find God is not to make Him a
private  possession, a problem solver, or an instant consolation
in time of need, but rather to open up to love.  You know, the Apostle
John said that. He said: 'God is love, and anyone who lives in love is
living with God and God is living in him.'

Tom, could I ask you a favor? You know, when I had you in class
you were a real pain. But (laughingly) you can make it all up to me
now.  Would you come into my present Theology of Faith course and tell them
what you have just told me?  If I told them the same thing it wouldn't be half
as effective as if you were to tell them."

"Ooh ... I was ready for you, but I don't know if I'm ready for your
class."  "Tom, think about it. If and when you are ready, give me
a call." In a few days, Tom called, said he was ready for the class, that
he wanted to do that for God and for me.  So we scheduled a date,
but he never made it. He had another appointment, far more important
than the one with me and my class.

Of course, his life was not really ended by his death, only
changed. He made the great step from faith into vision. He found a life far
more beautiful than the eye of man has ever seen or the ear of man has
ever heard, or the mind of man has ever imagined. Before he died, we talked
one last time.

"I'm not going to make it to your class," he said.

"I know, Tom."

"Will you tell them for me? Will you...tell the whole world for me?"

"I will, Tom. I'll tell them. I'll do my best."

So, to all of you who have been kind enough to read this simple
statement about love, thank you.  And to you, Tommy, somewhere in
the sunlit, verdant hills of heaven - I told them, Tommy, as best I
could.

If this story means anything to you, please pass it on to a
friend or two. It is a true story and is not enhanced for publicity
purposes.

With thanks,

John Powell, Professor Loyola University, Chicago
Printable Issue 334  Today is Thursday, July 15th, 2004; Karen's Korner #334

Since it is summer and golf season, here is a writing I thought was really good:

 

The Special Gift
By Adel Guzzo

Sean was just a little kid, about eight years old. When I first met him one summer day he wore a Chicago Bulls cap and baggy shorts that needed a belt. He carried a bag stocked with four golf clubs and plenty of balls. Once when he took off his cap, I noticed he had no hair. He was a lot smaller than other kids his age. Still, he always seemed to be smiling whenever I would see him with his pals, trying his darndest to hit as far as they did.

I played with Sean once in a while. He told me that he always had the best chance when playing a par-3 because he could usually make it to the green.

A year or so passed and I hadn't seen Sean around the course. I had heard that his cancer was getting the best of him. Still, his friends said he was going to try to get out and play a few times before fall.

Sure enough, he was there the following week. My group went out just ahead of him. I noticed that one of his buddies was carrying Sean's bag. "Watch out!" I heard Sean tell his pals. "I feel kinda lucky today!"

Despite his words, Sean was having an awful time trying to drive the ball. He and his friends arrived at the last par-3. His friends had all hit, and Sean was up on the tee. He brought his club back and hit the ball as hard as his fragile body would allow. It flew up to the green and out of sight. One of his friends helped Sean walk up to the green. It was a tough walk because the green was higher than the tee. I could see Sean searching for his ball as he stopped to catch his breath.

Sean's buddies were looking for their balls behind the green. Out of the corner of my eye I saw one of his friends pick up Sean's ball and drop it in the hole. Then he ran and pretended to look for his own ball. He caught me staring at him and winked.

When Sean finally got to the green he was disappointed because he thought he hit over. Then he glanced in the hole. What a smile lit up his face! The boys looked at each other and said, "You can't tell me it's a hole-in-one!" "No way, Sean, that you put it in there!"

"No, really! Look!" he said. They all acted surprised and as I watched, I thought Sean looked like the happiest guy I had ever seen. I never saw Sean or his friends after that day. But it was then that I learned just what golf should be.

It's not about what score you get or how far you drive. It is about caring for the friends you play with and enjoying the time you have with them.

~~

True friendship is like sound health; the value of
     it is seldom known until it is lost.
          -- Charles Caleb Colton

~~

And two more comments from Karen's Korner readers on "finding my glasses":

From Mary Tesdahl:

"I thought it might be - God gives us blessings in unexpected places or we don't always take care of what God gives us, but we can always trust that God will take care of us..Thanks for stretching our thinking."

And from Dorothy Balder:

"At my age (81) I am so grateful for learning the power of prayer.  It is not unusual for me to lay my glasses down & not remember just where I did that...however, I give that problem, as I do other problems...and say, "Lord, I give up.show me the way." and I come across them ...He's there for us, no matter how big or small our concern is.."
Printable Issue 335  Today is Friday, July 16th, 2004; Karen's Korner #335

This is something Pat Holtapp emailed to me yesterday:

 

Sleeping when the wind blows!

 

Years ago a farmer owned land along the Atlantic seacoast. He constantly
advertised for hired hands. Most people were reluctant to work on farms
along the Atlantic. They dreaded the awful storms that raged across the
Atlantic, wreaking havoc on the buildings and crops. As the farmer interviewed
applicants for the job, he received a steady stream of refusals.

 

Finally, a short, thin man, well past middle age, approached the farmer.

"Are you a good farmhand?" the farmer asked him.

 

"Well, I can sleep when the wind blows," answered the little man.

 

Although puzzled by this answer, the farmer, desperate for help, hired him.
The little man worked well around the farm, busy from dawn to dusk, and
the farmer felt satisfied with the man's work.

 

Then one night the wind howled loudly in from offshore. Jumping out of bed,

the farmer grabbed a lantern and rushed next door to the hired hand's sleeping

quarters. He shook the little man and yelled, "Get up! A storm is coming!

Tie things down before they blow away!"

 

The little man rolled over in bed and said firmly, "No sir. I told you,

I can sleep when the wind blows."

Enraged by the response, the farmer was tempted to fire him on the spot.
Instead, he hurried outside to prepare for the storm. To his amazement,
he discovered that all of the haystacks had been covered with tarpaulins.
The cows were in the barn, the chickens were in the coops, and the doors were
barred.  The shutters were tightly secured. Everything was tied down. Nothing
could blow away.

 

The farmer then understood what his hired hand meant,

so he returned to his bed to also sleep while the wind blew.


 


MORAL: When you're prepared, spiritually, mentally, and physically, you
have nothing to fear. Can you sleep when the wind blows through your
life?

 

The hired hand was able to sleep because he had secured the farm
against the storm. We can secure ourselves against the storms of life by
grounding ourselves in the Word of God. We don't need to understand, we
just need to hold His hand to have peace in the midst of the storms. ...

 

I hope you sleep well!

 

~~

 

Makes me think of meeting a highway patrolman at two different times: 

when we are speeding and without wearing our seat belts

or when we are going the speed limit and buckled in.

Only one of the times, do we wave at the law enforcement officer.....

 

(No Karen's Korners for this upcoming week as we are going to Branson for a few days for a family vacation!)

Printable Issue 336  Today is Monday, July 26th, 2004; Karen's Korner #336

When we got back from our short trip to Missouri, I had quite a number of emails. This was one of them, which I received from two different people.  Hope that you like it; I did:

 

The Yellow shirt

The baggy yellow shirt had long sleeves, four extra-large pockets
trimmed in black thread and snaps up the front.  It was faded from years
of wear, but still in decent shape.  I found it in 1963 when I was home
from college on Christmas break, rummaging through bags of clothes Mom
intended to give away.  "You're not taking that old thing, are you?" Mom
said when she saw me packing the yellow shirt. "I wore that when I was
pregnant with your brother in 1954!"

"It's just the thing to wear over my clothes during art class,Mom.
Thanks!"  I slipped it into my suitcase before she could object.
The yellow shirt became a part of my college wardrobe.  I loved it.
After graduation, I wore the shirt the day I moved into my new apartment
and on Saturday mornings when I cleaned.

The next year, I married.  When I became pregnant, I wore the yellow
shirt during big-belly days.  I missed Mom and the rest of my family,
since we were in Colorado and they were in Illinois. But that shirt
helped.  I smiled, remembering that Mother had worn it when she was
pregnant, 15 years earlier.  That Christmas, mindful of the warm
feelings the shirt had given me, I patched one elbow, wrapped it in
holiday paper and sent it to Mom.  When Mom wrote to thank me for her
"real" gifts, she said the yellow shirt was lovely.  She never mentioned
it again.

The next year, my husband, daughter and I stopped at Mom and Dad's to
pick up some furniture.  Days later, when we uncrated the kitchen table,
I noticed something yellow taped to its bottom.  The shirt!

And so the pattern was set.

On our next visit home, I secretly placed the shirt under Mom and Dad's
mattress.  I don't know how long it took for her to find it, but almost
two years passed before I discovered it under the base of our
living-room floor lamp.  The yellow shirt was just what I needed now
while refinishing furniture.  The walnut stains added character.

In 1975 my husband and I divorced.  With my three children,prepared to
move back to Illinois.  As I packed, a deep depression overtook me. I
wondered if I could make it on my own.  I wondered if I would find a
job.  I paged through the Bible, looking for comfort.  In Ephesians, I
read, "So use every piece of God's armor to resist the enemy whenever he
attacks, and when it is all over, you will be standing up."

I tried to picture myself wearing God's armor, but all I saw was the
stained yellow shirt.  Slowly, it dawned on me.  Wasn't my mother's love
a piece of God's armor?  My courage was renewed.

Unpacking in our new home, I knew I had to get the shirt back to
Mother.  The next time I visited her, I tucked it in her bottom dresser
drawer.

Meanwhile, I found a good job at a radio station.  A year later I
discovered the yellow shirt hidden in a rag bag in my cleaning closet.
Something new had been added.  Embroidered in bright green across the
breast pocket were the words "I BELONG TO PAT."

Not to be outdone, I got out my own embroidery materials and added an
apostrophe and seven more letters.  Now the shirt proudly proclaimed, "I
BELONG TO PAT'S MOTHER."  But I didn't stop there. I zig-zagged all the
frayed seams, then had a friend mail the shirt in a fancy box to Mom
from Arlington, VA.  We enclosed an official looking letter from "The
Institute for the Destitute," announcing that she was the recipient of
an award for good deeds. I would have given anything to see Mom's face
when she opened the box.  But, of course, she never mentioned it.

Two years later, in 1978, I remarried.  The day of our wedding, Harold
and I put our car in a friend's garage to avoid practical jokers.  After
the wedding, while my husband drove us to our honeymoon suite, I reached
for a pillow in the car to rest my head. It felt lumpy.  I unzipped the
case and found, wrapped in wedding paper, the yellow shirt.  Inside a
pocket was a note:  "Read John 14:27-29.  I love you both, Mother."

That night I paged through the Bible in a hotel room and found the
verses:  "I am leaving you with a gift: peace of mind and heart. And the
peace I give isn't fragile like the peace the world gives. So don't be
troubled or afraid.  Remember what I told you: I am going away, but I
will come back to you again.  If you really love me, you will be very
happy for me, for now I can go to the Father, who is greater than I am.
I have told you these things before they happen so that when they do,you
will believe in me."

The shirt was Mother's final gift.  She had known for three months that
she had terminal Lou Gehrig's disease.  Mother died the following year
at age 57.

I was tempted to send the yellow shirt with her to her grave.  But I'm
glad I didn't, because it is a vivid reminder of the love-filled game
she and I played for 16 years.  Besides, my older daughter is in college
now, majoring in art.  And every art student needs a baggy yellow shirt
with big pockets.

Printable Issue 337  Today is Tuesday, July 27th, 2004; Karen's Korner #337

This summer since I don't have to organize Sunday School classes and I am not in any Bible study group, I decided to study the book of "Luke" (because it is our grandson's new name!).

 

Yesterday I was reading this part of chapter 6; verses 32 - 36:

 

"If you love only the people who love you, why should you receive a blessing? Even sinners love those who love them! And if you do good only to those who do good to you, why should you receive a blessing? Even sinners do that! And if you lend only to those from whom you hope to get it back, why should you receive a blessing? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount! No! Love your enemies and do good to them; lend and expect nothing back. You will then have a great reward, and you will be sons of the Most High God. For He is good to the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful just as your Father is merciful."

 

 

Some of the lesson commentary said this:

 

"True righeousness is love in action--love to both friends and foe. It is an attitude which always thinks of giving rather than receiving. A Christian loves, not only farmily, Christian friends, and neighbors, but he is also to love enemies. This kind of love is not an emotion, but an act of the will. It means we decide to love others. We are asked to do good to those who dislike and mistreat us, as we work to win them to Christ. In our relationship with others, God tells us we are to conduct ourselves as He does. He is full of mercy. We, too, should be merciful. He treats friends and enemies alike. As His Children, we should do the same."

 

 

Only one way we can do this:  ask Him to help!

Printable Issue 338  Today is Wednesday, July 28th, 2004; Karen's Korner #338

When Jim's parents died, he and his sister were executors of both of their estates. It was good that we had our local attorney handling the legal aspects of the work, because none of us knew much about how to do the paperwork necessary to settle their estates.

 

When our attorney would call, we would go up to the office and listen to what he had to tell us. We waited when we were told to wait a few more weeks or few more months. When Jim or Melvene were told to sign certain documents, they showed up and signed them.

 

Today we don't know any more about handling estate matters than we did a dozen years ago. Our family let someone who knows what he is doing, handle matters for us.

 

The other day a friend called me to say that her cousin had lost a 19-year-old son earlier this year and the cousin wasn't doing very well handling her grief, could I help? Since we have five years experience* since losing our daughter, Merry, maybe we know how to do it. 

 

I tried to call this gal who lives in Missouri a couple of days ago and I am going to try to call her again today. I am going to listen to what she has to say and I am going to tell her:  I don't know how it is done. But like our local attorney with our estate work, I know Someone who knows how to handle death and loss. Jesus has been through more than I have. God has designed our bodies, our minds, and our hearts so we can lean on Him and He makes the impossible, possible.

 

He is helping us to make the journey one day at a time, adding love and joy as we go. Moving ahead day-by-day until our family will one day be reunited. Spending time collecting more people as we head toward heaven and eternity. Showing us how to enjoy the trip.

 

(* Merry was killed five years ago today. Thanks for allowing me to share!)

Printable Issue 339  Today is Thursday, July 29th, 2004; Karen's Korner #339

Three proverbs from three different areas of the world:

 

 

** A rich child often sits in a poor mother's lap.
          -- Danish Proverb

 

** Vision without action is a daydream.
     Action without vision is a nightmare.
          -- Japanese Proverb

 

** When there is no enemy within, the enemies outside   
     cannot hurt you.
          -- African Proverb

 

~~

 

...and a short joke from "Off the Church Walls":

 

The Front Row, Please

An elderly woman walked into the local country church. The friendly usher greeted her at the door. "Where would you like to sit?" he asked politely.

"The front row, please," she answered.

"You really don't want to do that," the usher said. "The pastor is really boring."

"Do you happen to know who I am?" the woman inquired.

"No," he said.

"I'm the pastor's mother," she replied indignantly.

"Do you know who I am?" he asked.

"No," she said.

"Good," he answered.
Printable Issue 340  Today is Friday, July 30th, 2004; Karen's Korner #340

Dear Father in Heaven,

 

Thank you for today and for the future and the hope that you give to each one of us....every new day! Thank you that you care of each part of every day. Thank you that you have plans for me, and each one of us........for forever, but best of all just today. And each day.......one day at a time!

 

Thank you for all of your blessings. So many we could never list them all. Thank you that we can know you, see you and your handiwork everywhere we look.

 

When we look at some of the things in our world today, we can become discouraged. But when we look at them through your filter of life, love and eternity, our vision lengthens..........and we put the things we don't like and would change if we could, into your hands!

 

Thanks for taking care of the things in our lives that we can't take care of ourselves. And best of all, thank you for taking care of each of us...

 

Help each one of us to take the gifts of Your Love, Your Power, Your Hope, and Your Joy to the streets of our lives...........and change the world like you did, Jesus. Help us to know, show, go, and believe.

 

Thank you, Jesus.

 

Amen