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June 2004 Archives

Printable Issue 306  Today is Monday, June 7th, 2004; Karen's Korner #306

Back after a few days away!

 

 

A bit of light humor, passed along from Jack Burt, in honor of D-Day veterans:

 

An elderly American gentleman arrived in Paris by plane. At French

Customs, he fumbled for his passport.   You 'ave been to France before,

Monsieur?" the customs officer asked sarcastically.  The old gent

admitted that he had been to France previously.   "Zen, you should know

enough to 'ave your passport ready for inspection." 

 

  The American said, "The last time I was here, I didn't have to show it"

 

"Impossible.  You Americans alwayz 'ave to show your passports on

arrival in France!"  

 

The American senior gave the Frenchman a long hard look. Then he quietly explained. "No, when I came ashore at Omaha Beach on D-Day in '44, I couldn't find any  Frenchmen to show it to."

 

***

 

In honor of his death this weekend, something Ronald Reagan once said:

 

"Most of us would agree that God should never have been expelled from our children's classrooms. We are a nation under God. And as George Washington said, 'Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports.' " 

 

******

 

A brief quote from Mother Theresa:

 

"We need to work for Christ with a humble heart, with the humility of Christ. He comes and uses us to be His love and compassion in the world, in spite of our weaknesses and frailities."
Printable Issue 307  Today is Tuesday, June 8th, 2004; Karen's Korner #307

I received this email from my Tennessee uncle.

 

Our church has just studied the book "The Purpose Driven Life", like many of you have, either read or studied the book as a church family. It tells that we are put here on earth to complete "God's purpose(s)".

 

If you are looking for a "purpose", this could be one of them:

 

 

Thought you might like to share in this...

In W.W. II there was an advisor to Churchill who organized
a group of people who dropped what they were doing every
day at a prescribed hour for one minute to collectively pray
for the safety of England, its people and peace.

There is now a group of people organizing the same thing
here in America. If you would like to participate, every
evening at 8:00 p.m. Central Time, stop whatever you are
doing and spend one minute praying for the safety of the
United States, our troops, our citizens, for peace in the
world, and for God's wisdom for our nations leaders.

If you know anyone else who would like to participate, please
pass this along. Our prayers are the most powerful asset we
have.

Together, we CAN make a difference!

Thank You, and may God Bless America.

 

*****

(If this is something you would like to do but are afraid you will never remember at 8 p.m., ask God to remind you. That's what I sometimes do. It is amazing when it comes to my mind.........after I have forgotten!)
Printable Issue 308  Today is Wednesday, June 9th, 2004; Karen's Korner #308

For my birthday last month, several of my friends gave me the book, "Traveling Light" by Max Lucado. He takes apart the 23rd Psalm with each chapter talking about a portion of it. You know it, "the Lord is my shepherd.......he leads....he lets me rest.......he restores........."

 

Chapter #15 talks about the last verse (6):  "I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever."

 

Here is what Max writes on page 155. Maybe it is because it was my birthday; and maybe its because my friends and I are getting older (aren't we all??), I thought it was especially good:

 

"Aging. It's no fun. The way we try to avoid it, you'd think we could. We paint the body, preserve the body, protect the body. And well we should. These bodies are God's gifts. We should be responsible. But we should also be realistic. This body must die so the new body can live.  "Flesh and blood cannot have a part in the kingdom of God. Something that will ruin cannot have a part in something that never ruins."  (I Corinthians 15:50)

 

Aging is God's idea. It's one of the ways he keeps us headed homeward. We can't change the process, but we can change our attitude. Here is a thought. What if we looked at the aging body as we look at the growth of a tulip?

 

Do you ever see anyone mourning over the passing of the tulip bulb? Do gardeners weep as the bulb begins to weaken? Of course not. We don't purchase tulip girdles or petal wrinkle cream or consult plastic-leaf surgeons. We don't mourn the passing of the bulb; we celebrate it. Tulip lovers rejoice the minute the bulb weakens. "Watch that one," they say. "It's about to blossom."

 

Could it be heaven does the same? The angels point to our bodies. The more frail we become, the more excited they become. "Watch that lady in the hospital," they say. "She's about to blossom."  "Keep an eye on the fellow with the bad heart. He'll be coming home soon."

 

"We are waiting for God to finish making us his own children, which means our bodies will be made free" (Romans 8:23).

 

Are our bodies now free? No. Paul describes them as our "earthly bodies" (Philippians 3:21)

Printable Issue 309  Today is Thursday, June 10th, 2004; Karen's Korner #309

Psalms 34:1 says, "I will bless the Lord at all time; His praise shall continually be in my mouth."

 

Bless. I have been hearing that word a lot lately. But what does it mean? In my dictionary, there are many definitions for bless, blessed, blessing. Several of them are:  to ask for divine favor; to make happy or prosperous; to protect from evil, harm, etc.

 

I have a Bible concordance listing Bible verses using those same three words. And it fills six columns in some of the smallest print possible. At the same time, many other words take up only a line or two; maybe a short paragraph.

 

When I ask God to "bless" someone, I am asking for God to divinely do a favor such as protecting them, making them happy or prosperous, or giving them some other divine gift.

 

But why does this Psalm ask me to "bless God". He already has all of this stuff?

 

I think there is a lot about God and what He wants from me.....from all of us...that I don't understand. From what I do understand and know from life experiences:  While God wants our blessings, God doesn't need our blessings. Instead WE need to bless God, so that WE have peace of mind, peace of heart, freedom from some of our inner turmoil, confusion, or whatever might be confronting us at the moment. God always knows how it works, even if we can't always understand it!  WE need to bless others and God will see to it that we receive so many blessings from Him in return.

 

Bless and blessing must be pretty important. I think I need to learn more about it.....

 

Dear God, This morning I would like to bless You for Your wisdom, Your understanding, Your care, Your many gifts to each one of us. Bless each reader this morning with Your protection and prosperity; give each one of us hope for today as we go about our daily tasks. Amen.

Printable Issue 310  Today is Friday, June 11th, 2004; Karen's Korner #310

This Karen's Korner is about "grandmothers". As most of you know, I am a new grandma....beginning in February when Luke was born.

 

But these new grandmas are coming fast and furious. Since the first part of May, I have gotten messages from people about new births at the rate of two or three a week. Some are grandmas (moms) for the first time; others are grandmas again!

 

The messages are coming faster than I can keep all of the facts straight. How big are they? What are the new names? Any special birth facts? Sometimes I can even remember whether it is a new boy or a girl.........but all of them are good news!

 

I want to share two email grandma stories.........just for fun!

 

 

The first one was a short Chicken Soup for the Soul from several days ago. I thought it was so good that I saved it. Some way it must have gotten deleted. So I will attempt to retell the story:

 

 

    A widowed grandmother was pleased to announce to her family her intentions to be remarried in a few months. She told her seven-year-old twin grandsons the news.

    "Does this mean you are going to have more children?" one twin asked.

    Before grandma could reply, the second grandson chided his brother by saying, "Don't be silly. Having children is sort of like having chicken pox. Once you've had them you can't get them again."

 

~~~

 

The second one is a pass-along email, which I received recently. I can't recall who mailed it to me:

   Grandmothers observation.

  A grandmother's observation: I just spent several
hours observing teenagers who were hanging out at
our local mall. 


  I came to the conclusion that many teenagers in
America are living in poverty. Most of the young men

  I observed didn't even own a belt; there was not
one among the whole group. But that wasn't the sad
part . . .
  many of them were wearing their daddy's jeans.
 
Some of these jeans were so big and baggy that they
   hung low on their hips, exposing their underwear.

I know some of them must have been ashamed
  their daddy was short, because his jeans hardly
went below their knees. They weren't even their
daddies'  good jeans, for most of them had holes ripped in
the knees and had a dirty look to them. It grieved me
that in a modern, affluent society like America,
there are people who can't afford a decent pair of jeans.
 
I have been thinking about asking my church to
start a jeans drive for the "poor kids at the mall."

Then on Christmas Eve, I could go Christmas
caroling and distribute jeans to these poor teenagers.

   I don't think this group of guys had even had much
  to eat, because as they were walking, their heads
  leaned to one side as if they didn't have enough
  strength to keep them up. Oh, they tried. With each step,
  they tried to lift them up, but to no avail; they
  always dropped back to the side. This group of guys
  must be from the same family, because they all
  walked with their heads bobbing together in the same
  manner.

  But that wasn't the saddest part. It was the girls
they were hanging out with that disturbed me the most.

  I have never in all of my life seen such "poor"
girls. These girls had the opposite problem of the
guys . .

  they all had to wear their little sisters'
clothes. Their jeans were about five sizes too small. I don't know
how they could even put them on, let alone button
them up. Their jeans barely went over their hipbones.

   Most of them also had on their little sister's
   top; it hardly covered their midsection. Oh, they were trying
   to hold their heads up with pride, but it was a
   sad sight to see these almost grown women wearing
   children's clothes. However, it was their
   underwear that bothered me the most. They, like the
   boys, because of the improper fitting of their clothes,
   also had their underwear exposed. I have never seen
   anything like it. It looked like their underwear
   was only held together by a single piece of . . string.
   I know it also saddens your heart to receive this
   report on the condition of our American teenagers.

  While I go to bed every night with a closet full
of clothes nearby, there are millions of "mall
girls"  who barely have enough material to keep it
together. I think their "poorness" is why these two groups
gather at the mall, the boys with their short
daddies' ripped jeans, and the girls wearing their
younger sisters' clothes. The mall is one place where they
can find acceptance. So, the next time you are
at the mall doing your shopping and you pass by
some of these poor teenagers, would you say a prayer for them?

  And one more thing . . . Will you pray that the
guys' pants won't fall down, and the girls' strings won't break?!
Printable Issue 311  Today is Monday, June 14th, 2004; Karen's Korner #311

I'd like to call this week:   "Dad's Week", as we move forward to Father's Day on Sunday. Sometimes we do pretty well celebrating Mother's Day, but sort of glide past Father's Day. I have been seeing some pretty good "dad" and "father" stories. So I want to share them.

 

Today's is a daily email Chicken Soup for the Soul, which I got on my birthday:

 

The Hymnbook
By Arthur Bowler

I watched intently as my little brother was caught in the act. He sat in the corner of the living room, a pen in one hand and my father's hymnbook in the other. As my father walked into the room, my brother cowered slightly; he sensed that he had done something wrong. From a distance, I saw that he had opened my father's brand-new book and scribbled across the length and breadth of the entire first page with a pen. Now, staring at my father fearfully, he and I both waited for his punishment.

My father picked up his prized hymnal, looked at it carefully, and then sat down without saying a word. Books were precious to him; he was a clergyman and the holder of several degrees. For him, books were knowledge, and yet, he loved his children. What he did in the next few minutes was remarkable. Instead of punishing my brother, instead of scolding or yelling or reprimanding, he sat down, took the pen from my brother's hand and then wrote in the book himself, alongside the scribbles John had made: "John's word 1959, age two. How many times have I looked into your beautiful face and into your warm, alert eyes looking up at me and thanked God for the one who has now scribbled in my new hymnal? You have made the book sacred as have your brothers and sister to so much of my life." Wow, I thought. This is punishment?

From time to time I take a book down - not just a cheesy paperback but a real book that I know I will have for many years to come - and I give it to one of my children to scribble or write their names in. And as I look at their artwork, I think about my father, and how he taught me about what really matters in life: people, not objects; tolerance, not judgment; love which is at the very heart of a family. I think about these things, and I smile. And I whisper, "Thank you, Dad."
Printable Issue 312  Today is Tuesday, June 15th, 2004; Karen's Korner #312

Number 2 on our Father's Day salute this week; short story with a neat point:

 

 

Two Dimes
By The Christian Athlete

During the 196667 football season, Green Bay quarterback Bart Starr had a little incentive scheme going with his oldest son. For every perfect paper that Bart Jr. brought home from school, his dad gave him ten cents. After one particularly rough game, in which Starr felt he had performed poorly, he returned home weary and battered late at night after a long plane ride. But he couldn't help feeling better when he went to his bedroom.

There, attached to his pillow, was a note: "Dear Dad, I thought you played a great game. Love, Bart." Taped to the note were two dimes.
Printable Issue 313  Today is Wednesday, June 16th, 2004; Karen's Korner #313

Day #3 of our salute to Fathers and the upcoming Father's Day weekend. This is something emailed to me from Chicken Soup for the Soul:

 

 

 

The Promise
By Mel Lees

I looked up from our base camp on Mt. Shasta and saw that the heavens were almost white, so filled with stars. Our party was alone except for a single tent perched on the snow nearby. Its occupant was a young man about twenty-two years old.

Occasionally, I glanced over and saw him packing his daypack for the next morning's climb. First he put in a small box, then two bottles and a lunch. He saw me staring and waved. I returned the greeting and got busy with my own preparations.

The next morning, the sun greeted the crisp dawn. After breakfast, my companions and I eagerly started our ascent. I went into my slow, steady trudge, trailing the others.

After a little while, the young man from base camp drew beside me and asked if it was okay to hike along. I hesitated. I really didn't want any company. Besides, I noticed that he limped; and I wasn't certain whether he could reach the top. I didn't want to abort my attempt at the summit to aid him.

"I'm glad for the company," I replied, in spite of my misgivings.

His name was Walt, and he told me that it was his third attempt to reach the top.

"When I was about twelve," he explained, "my father brought me here and we started up, but the weather got bad, and we were forced to turn back."

Pausing, he smiled proudly. "Dad was a great outdoorsman and a wonderful climber."

We traversed for a short way in silence before Walt continued.

"I was born with a problem with my left leg, so I've always had trouble walking and running. But Dad refused to let that keep me back. When I was just a tiny kid, he used to take me into the Sierra to teach me to fish. I remember the first time I baited my own hook and hauled in a trout. He insisted that I clean it myself. It was the best fish I ever tasted."

We stopped by the side of the trail to put on our crampons. As we moved higher, he carried on with his story.

"When I got to be about nine, Dad started taking me into the mountains. Gradually, my leg became stronger, and eventually I could keep up with him. Last summer he called and asked if I would like to try for the summit again. We hadn't seen much of each other since my parents' divorce, and I jumped at the chance to be with him."

Walt looked down toward our base camp.

"We camped where you saw my tent. Neither of us was really in a hurry to climb. We just wanted to be together and catch up on the years we had missed. He told me that all he ever wanted was to live with his family and grow old among his children and grandchildren. Dad had long silent spells, and there was a sad aura about him."

I spoke little. I was trying to save my breath for the steeper incline. As we climbed higher, Walt kicked the steps, making my work easier. We came to a steep chute, narrow and icy, and it seemed to me that his limp was hardly noticeable.

"Why don't you lead?" he asked. "I remember that rocks tend to break away here, and I'd hate to knock one loose and have it hit you."

Ten minutes later, we stopped for a rest. By then I knew he was all of twenty-one, married and had a three-month-old son.

"My father and I got this far last time when I became ill from the altitude and my leg buckled under me. The pain got so bad, I couldn't go on. Dad hoisted me onto his back and, somehow, he brought us both into camp before getting help. The search and rescue team carried me to the hospital. Dad and I promised each other that we would try again."

Then Walt looked down and squeezed back a tear. "But we never got to do it. He died last month."

After a solemn moment, we trekked onward, and just below the summit, we rested again on a small rock outcropping. The sky blazed blue, and I could see at least 180 degrees to eternity. The sun was high, and its rays warmed me as I ate some trail food.

A few feet away, Walt sat on a boulder holding in both hands the box he had packed the night before. He whispered, "We're going to make it this time. You carried me last time, and now it's my turn to carry you."

At that point, Walt rose abruptly, and with no further word he headed to the peak. I stared into his face as he strode past me. He seemed to be in a trance with an almost beatific smile lighting his face. I followed.

Finally, he reached the top. I was only a few steps behind.

Carefully, Walt knelt on the snow, reached into his pack and reverently removed the box. Then, after digging a hole about fifteen inches deep and attentively pouring some of his father's ashes into it, he covered the hole and built a small stone cairn over it.

When he stood up, he faced north, then east, south and west. Turning his body toward each direction once again, he reached into the box and gently sprinkled some ashes to each compass point.

Walt's face was painted with joy and triumph behind a rush of tears. He flung the last of the remains into the wind and shouted, "We made it, Dad, we made it! Rest on our mountaintop. I promise I'll be back when your grandson can meet you here."
Printable Issue 314  Today is Thursday, June 17th, 2004; Karen's Korner #314

Number 4 of 5 "Father's Day" type stories. This one I have seen several times. It is currently a popular pass-around email:

 

 

THE PICKLE JAR

 

    The pickle jar as far back as I can remember sat on the floor beside the
dresser in my parents' bedroom. When he got ready for bed, Dad would
empty his pockets and toss his coins into the jar. As a small boy I was
always fascinated at the sounds the coins made as they were dropped into
the jar. They landed with a merry jingle when the jar was almost empty.
Then the tones gradually muted to a dull thud as the jar was filled.

 

    I used to squat on the floor in front of the jar and admire the copper and
silver circles that glinted like a pirate's treasure when the sun poured
through the bedroom window. When the jar was filled, Dad would sit at the

kitchen table and roll the coins before taking them to the bank. Taking
the coins to the bank was always a big production. Stacked neatly in a
small cardboard box, the coins were placed between Dad and me on the seat

of his old truck.

    Each and every time, as we drove to the bank, Dad would look at me
hopefully. "Those coins are going to keep you out of the textile mill,
son. You're going to do better than me. This old mill town's not going to
hold you back."

    Also, each and every time, as he slid the box of rolled coins across the
counter at the bank toward the cashier, he would grin proudly. "These are
for my son's college fund. He'll never work at the mill all his life like
me."

    We would always celebrate each deposit by stopping for an ice cream cone.

I always got chocolate. Dad always got vanilla. When the clerk at the ice cream

parlor handed Dad his change, he would show me the few coins nestled in his palm.

"When we get home, we'll start filling the jar again." He always let me drop the first

coins into the empty jar. As they rattled around with a brief, happy jingle, we grinned

at each other. "You'll get to college on pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters," he said.
"But you'll get there. I'll see to that."

    The years passed, and I finished college and took a job in another town.
Once, while visiting my parents, I used the phone in their bedroom, and
noticed that the pickle jar was gone. It had served its purpose and had
been removed.   

    A lump rose in my throat as I stared at the spot beside the dresser where the jar

had always stood. My dad was a man of few words, and never lectured me on the

values of determination, perseverance, and faith. The pickle jar had taught me all

these virtues far more eloquently than the most flowery of words could have done.

When I married, I told my wife Susan about the significant part the lowly pickle jar

had played in my life as a boy. In my mind, it defined, more than anything else, how much
my dad had loved me.

    No matter how rough things got at home, Dad continued to doggedly drop his c

oins into the jar. Even the summer when Dad got laid off from the
mill, and Mama had to serve dried beans several times a week, not a
single dime was taken from the jar. To the contrary, as Dad looked across
the table at me, pouring catsup over my beans to make them more
palatable, he became more determined than ever to make a way out for me.

 

    "When you finish college, Son," he told me, his eyes glistening, "You'll
never have to eat beans again...unless you want to."

    The first Christmas after our daughter Jessica was born, we spent the
holiday with my parents. After dinner, Mom and Dad sat next to each other

on the sofa, taking turns cuddling their first grandchild. Jessica began
to whimper softly, and Susan took her from Dad's arms. "She probably
needs to be changed," she said, carrying the baby into my parents'
bedroom to diaper her. When Susan came back into the living room, there
was a strange mist in her eyes.

    She handed Jessica back to Dad before taking my hand and leading me

into the room. "Look," she said softly, her eyes directing me to a spot on the floor

beside the dresser. To my amazement, there, as if it had never been removed,

 stood the old pickle jar, the bottom already covered with coins.

 

    I walked over to the pickle jar, dug down into my pocket, and pulled out a fistful

of coins. With a gamut of emotions choking me, I dropped the
coins into the jar. I looked up and saw that Dad, carrying Jessica, had
slipped quietly into the room. Our eyes locked, and I knew he was feeling
the same emotions I felt. Neither one of us could speak.

~~

 

The best and most beautiful things cannot be seen or touched - they must
be felt with the heart ~ Helen Keller

~~

Shared by Joanne Schleck

Printable Issue 315  Today is Friday, June 18th, 2004; Karen's Korner #315

This is our final father's day story, as we salute dads on their day! It is another one taken from a Chicken Soup for the Soul awhile ago.

 

As I have been typing these notes, I think about those of us who had terrific fathers, grandpas, husbands who are wonderful dads to us or our own children. But what about those of us who didn't? What about dads who weren't always loving, kind, generous?? Or even worse what about those who weren't even there. For a number of reasons, they might not have been part of our growing up days??

 

Dads, like moms, are on a continuim........some are absolutely terrific (a 100% parent) and on the other end of the spectrum (not in our lives at all). Most parents fall some place in the middle........terrifc personality but maybe does a terrible job of money management; good provider but maybe has a terrible temper and takes out frustrations on his family, to the place it is almost abusive.

 

If you have  parents, grandparents, a spouse who fall into the "most" category and this week's stories don't come close to what you have experienced, don't despair. I think our "less-than-perfect" mother/father relationships teach us to be thankful for what we DID have and to recognize what could or should have been different. And any and all experiences can point us to turn our attentions to a Heavenly Father.........who has the anwers, the care, the love which we may or may not have gotten from earthly relationships!

 

For the record, this is my first Father's Day without my dad, who died in July last year at age 85!

 

 

Marking the Trail
By Tim Chaney as told to
LeAnn Thieman

I sat in the front pew holding hands with my mom and sister as the choir sang, "I go before you always, come follow me. . . ." I took a few deep breaths to quiet my pounding heart and allowed my mind to wander to one of my favorite memories.

I loved that early morning hike with Dad. The smell of Rocky Mountain pine and the chilly air filled me with energy as I hustled behind him on the trail. I had hiked with Dad a dozen times in my eleven years, but I still worried when the trail disappeared.

"Is there a trail, Dad? I can't find it." I ducked under the aspen branch he held back with his large, sturdy frame. "The scouts and their dads following us are never gonna find us," I said, with mixed delight and concern. "If you weren't here, how would I ever find the way?"

He gave my shoulder a reassuring squeeze. "We'll mark our trail."

On his instruction, I gathered rocks and stacked them in a pile. Next, we arranged stones to form an arrow pointing uphill. "This shows anybody behind us which way to go," he coached.

Around the next bend I collected stones and formed them in another small heap. "Now they can follow us easily," I beamed.

We repeated these rock formations several times as I panted and stumbled over the steep terrain, following his big footprints in the soft dirt.

Feeling more exhilarated than tired, we reached the summit. There we sat in silence on the rocky peak listening to nature's concert. Wildflowers blanketed the meadow stretching between the rolling foothills. Dad gestured toward an eagle soaring in the cobalt sky.

I knew my dad created these moments especially for me. I was always the youngest scout and frequently missed out on adventures my older brother and sister experienced. Dad loved his role as an adult leader because it allowed him to combine the three loves of his life - family, faith and the great outdoors.

Storm clouds gathered over a faraway ridge. Thunder rumbled as the distant clouds collided in a clash of lightning.

"Did I ever tell you about how I really found God during the war?" Dad asked, breaking the silence. I knew he enjoyed telling that story almost as much I as enjoyed hearing it over and over again.

I knew it by heart. He had taken a break from maintaining the generators that provided electricity for his platoon. Sitting atop a hill, he watched the Earth burning in patches below. When a magnificent lightning storm illuminated the blackened sky, he realized no man-made electricity could compare to that of the Divine Creator. "That's when I knew, and I have never doubted Him since," Dad nodded with a smile.

I reached for his hand and held it tight as we watched power sparks in the distance.

When he said it was time to leave, I groaned in protest. I didn't want this treasured moment to end. He reminded me that, while we loved the trail, there are often better things at the end. "Like Mom and her pancakes waiting back at camp!"

Before beginning our trek back, Dad arranged rocks in a circle then placed a single rock in the center. "This marks the end of the trail," he said. "This will tell those who follow that we went home."

Several years later, Dad was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease. His most difficult path of life lay ahead. We learned all we could about the incurable, debilitating illness, while Dad's ability to eat and speak gradually diminished. Accepting his impending death with courage and faith, he still showed me the way.

He led me through earning my Eagle Scout award.

I followed in his footsteps when I was confirmed in my faith.

He guided me through the rocky path of high-school graduation and choosing a college.

He gathered me with my mom, grandma, aunt and uncle to pray together after church every Sunday.

In written notes, he told us that, while he loved life's journey, he looked forward to eternity with the Master Electrician.

My sister tugged gently on my hand. The choir ended the refrain, and the piano played softly as Father Bob offered the final funeral prayer. Dozens of scouts and former scouts came forward, placing a circle of rocks on the altar. Together my sister, brother and I placed the single rock in the center.

It was the end of the trail.

Dad had gone home.
Printable Issue 316  Today is Monday, June 21st, 2004; Karen's Korner #316

The front page of our Des Moines Register last Sunday featured a two-page story about 13-year-old Eric Fischer from Dubuque. It told of his struggle with cancer beginning two year's earlier, about his family and him, and his hobbies and interests.

 

He and his family liked everything connected with baseball. On his list of "things he wanted to do', Eric wanted to go to New York to see a Yankees baseball game. And as so many times happens, someone in New York got their family "hard-to-find" Yankees tickets To top everything off, he got to meet his baseball hero Roger Clemens.and received a baseball signed by his hero.

 

As a guest speaker at a Make-A-Wish fundraiser back home some time later, Eric did the unthinkable.....he offered to put his prized possession up for sale to help with the fund drive.

 

He hoped the ball would help raise $100, but the auction started with an opening bid of $1,000. One man bid and a table of friends bid back. On and on the bidding process went until the last bid of $4200 went to the strange man in the midst, not the friends. The article concluded, "The man rose from his seat and came forward. He took the ball from Eric----the boy's most prized possession in the whole world...........then be gave it back."

 

I read the story and couldn't help but feel overwhelmed by all the people written about.

 

Then I thought, "This is exactly what Jesus did for me.....and for all of us. He asks us to put our lives on the auction block. To give up all that we have. To know that we are giving away something very valuable. But just when we think the auction is over and our prized possession is gone.......He rises and says, 'I am giving your life back to you to be used for my purposes!'

 

Like the gang in Dubuque who has more dollars for Make-A-Wish Foundation and the autographed ball, we too have our lives and lots more added to it.....

Printable Issue 317  Today is Tuesday, June 22nd, 2004; Karen's Korner #317

Here are a couple of short thoughts and a funny story:

 

 

*  "We all take different paths in life, but no matter where we go, we take a

        little of each other everywhere.

            -- Tim McGraw

 

*  A wise man never knows all, only fools know everything.
          -- African Proverb 


*     The biggest cause of trouble in the world today is
        that the stupid people are so sure about things and
        the intelligent folks are so full of doubts.
              -- Bertrand Russell
~~

 

Honest is the best policy, don't they say?  Read on:

 

 Bake Sale

Alice was to bake a cake for the church ladies' group bake sale, but she forgot to do it until the last minute. She baked an angel food cake and when she took it from the oven, the center had dropped flat.

 

She said, "Oh dear, there's no time to bake another cake." So, she looked around the house for something to build up the center of the cake.

Alice found it in the bathroom, a roll of toilet paper. She plunked it in and covered it with icing.  The finished product looked beautiful, so she rushed it to the church. Alice then gave her daughter some money and instructions to be at the sale the minute it opened and to buy that cake and bring it home.

 

When the daughter arrived at the sale, the attractive cake had already been sold. Alice was beside herself.

A couple of days later, Alice was invited to a friend's home where two tables of bridge were to be played that afternoon. After the game a fancy lunch was served, and to top it off, the cake in question was presented for dessert. 

 

Alice saw the cake, she started to get off her chair to rush into the kitchen to tell her hostess all about it, but before she could get to her feet, one of the other ladies said, "What a beautiful cake!"

Alice sat back in her chair when she heard the hostess say, "Thank you, I baked it myself."
Printable Issue 318  Today is Wednesday, June 23rd, 2004; Karen's Korner #318

This is an item Murray Wise, former Clarion resident and owner of Westchester Group, included in his third quarter newsletter featuring many agricultural stories (he said he couldn't be sure of the source or the writer):

 

"At about the time our original 13 states adopted their new constitution, in the year 1787, Alexander Tyler, a Scottish professor at the University of Edinburgh, had this to say about 'The Fall of the Athenian Republic' some 2,000 years prior `

 

'A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury.'

 

'From that moment on, the majority always votes for candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship.'

 

'The average age of the world's greatest civilization from the beginning of history, has been about 200 years. During those 200 years, these nations always progressed through the following sequence:

 

    From bondage to spiritual faith;

    From spiritual faith to great courage;

    From courage to liberty;

    From liberty to abundance;

    From abundance to complacency;

    From complacency to apathy;

    From apathy to dependence;

    From dependence back into bondage.

Printable Issue 319  Today is Thursday, June 24th, 2004; Karen's Korner #319

Since we featured moms on Mother's Day and dads on their day, here are a couple of things about kids:

 

   ** Train a child in the way he should go, and walk
        there yourself once in a while.
             -- American Proverb


   **  My father didn't tell me how to live; he lived,
             and let me watch him do it.
                  -- Clarence Budington Kelland

 

..........or as Tim Platt said in his sermon on Sunday,

"Kids won't do what they are told to do...........they'll do what they see you do.

They will do what you do!"

 

~~

 

..........and shared by Colleen and Ron Hackley:

 

 

TWELVE GOLDEN RULES FOR

    BRINGING UP CHILDREN

 

1.  Remember that a child is a gift from God, the richest of

     blessings.

2.  Don't crush a child's spirit when he fails.

3.  Remember that anger and hostility are natural emotions.

4.  Discipline your child with firmness and reason.

5.  Remember that each child needs two parents.

6.  Do not hand your child everything his/her little heart desires.

7.  Do not set yourself up as the epitome of perfection.

8.  Do not make threats in anger, or impossible promises when

     you are in a generous mood.

9.  Do not smother your child with superficial manifestations of

     "love."

10. Teach your child there is a dignity in hard work, whether it is

      performed with callused hands that shovel coal or skilled

      fingers.

11. Do not try to protect your child against every small blow or

      disappointment.

12.  Teach your child to love God and to love his fellow man.

Printable Issue 320  Today is Friday, June 25th, 2004; Karen's Korner #320

This is something I received awhile ago from my sister, Amy. It's short and to the point; I liked it.  It also contained some instructions about sending it to at least seven people and then you will receive a miracle or some such thing.

 

Most times I like the emails. Never care much for the things I am told to do at the end .....

 

 

"7 Second Prayer"

 

"Lord, I love you and I need you, come into my heart, and bless me, my
family, my home, and my friends, in Jesus' name. Amen."
Printable Issue 321  Today is Monday, June 28th, 2004; Karen's Korner #321

This is an editorial written by Kathleen Parker and in some of our newspapers on Saturday. An editorial is just that, one person's viewpoint, but I thought that it gives us cause for pause.  It is titled 'church, state in historic clash':

 

 

    As the U.S. Senate prepares to vote in a couple of weeks on whether to consider a constitutional ban on gay marriage. Americans are curiously quiet even though a majority oppose gay marriage.

    A nationwide Gallup Poll last month found that 55% oppose same sex marriage (down from 65% in December) and 42% in favor (up from 31% in December)......

    Whatever one may think of homosexual marriage in the abstract, the idea that a redefinition of marriage will have "no effect" is laughable, but not funny. After the nosegay has faded, the issue is neither solely about love nor affirmation, but about serious legal consequences that all Americans may wish to consider before tuning out preachers and embracing gay activists....

    Of particular concern even for the nonreligious is the effect gay marriage could have on two of our founding principles:  religious freedom and freedom of speech. Once the courts recognize gay marriage as equal in all ways to heterosexual marriage, then everyone else -- including churches -- has to recognize gay marriage as equal too.

    Any opposition will be deemed hateful by definition, and anyone who opposes gay marriage will be a hatemonger. Given that many religions and denominations teach that homosexuality is a sin, church attendance alone could suggest you're homophobic. To the extent that one believes or preaches scripture, one is a bigot.

    Hence some of the deep concern among legal professionals, as well as theologians, A secular world that ratifies homosexual marriage would provide a legal foundation that would open the floodgates to civil litigation against religious leaders, institutions, and worshippers.

    In such an environment, churches might be sued for declining to provide their sanctuaries for gay marriages, for example. Ministers could be sued for hate speech for giving a sermon on moral behavior. Churches that protest homosexual unions could face revocation of their tax exemption status....

    Either we believe in separation of church and state of we don't, but you can't have it both ways.

    The July 12 debate is really a discussion about "cloture" - the process by which the Senate puts a time limit on filibuster, thereby allowing a bill to be voted on. In this case, 60 senators have to vote in favor of cloture for the Federal Marriage Amendment, defining marriage as between one man and one woman, to go to the floor.

    Many senators prefer to delay voting rather than make their position public before the November election. But advocates for the amendment predict that November may be too late, that if President George W. Bush loses re-election, the amendment will be dead and marriage as we know it will be history.

Printable Issue 322  Today is Tuesday, June 29th, 2004; Karen's Korner #322

I am including three single sentence verses from the book of Proverbs.  Proverbs is a collection of single thoughts; one not necessarily following the other. These are from Chapter 18 and then comments written in my Bible at the bottom of the page:

 

22 - "The man who finds a wife finds a good thing; she is a blessing to him for the Lord."

 

Commentary - "When you announce marriage plans, don't expect praise from the world. A lot of people nowadays view a permanent tie to one spouse as a loss of freedom. But today's emphasis on individual freedom is misguided. Strong marriages produce strong children, and healthy families are the backbone of healthy nations. God created marriage and He pronounced it good.

 

23 - "The poor man pleads and the rich man answers with insults."

 

Commentary - This verse is not telling us to insult the poor; it is simply recording an unfortunate fact of life. It is wrong for rich people to treat the less fortunate with contempt and arrogance, and God will judge such actions severely.

 

24 - "There are 'friends' who pretend to be friends, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother."

 

Commentary - Loneliness is rampant. Many people today feel cut off and alienated from others. Being in a crowd, just makes people more aware of their isolation. Lonely people don't need to hear "Have a nice day." They need friends who will stick close, listen, care, and offer help when it is needed -- in good times and bad. It is better to have one such friend than dozens of superficial acquaintances. Instead of wishing you could find a true friend, seek to become one yourself. There are people who need your friendship. Ask God to reveal them to you, and then take on the challenge of being a true friend.

Printable Issue 323  Today is Wednesday, June 30th, 2004; Karen's Korner #323

This is something that Linda Sorenson forwarded to me several weeks ago. I think I have seen it before, but it is good and sometimes we need to be reminded! It is titled "Woman to Woman Encouragement", but most of the things are also true for men...just add the appropriate minor word changes.......

 

 

Woman to Woman Encouragement

Someone will always be prettier. They will always be smarter. Their house will be bigger. They will drive a better car. Their children will do better in school. And their husband will fix more things around the house.

So let it go, and love you and your circumstances. Think about it. The prettiest woman in the world can have hell in her heart. And the most highly favored woman at your job may be unable to have children. And the richest woman you know -- she's got the car, the house, the clothes -- might be lonely.

And God's Word says if I have not Love, I am nothing. So, again, love you. Love who you are right now and let God be your barometer. Mirror Him. Look in the mirror in the morning and see how much of God you see. He's the only standard and even when you come up short; He will not leave you or forsake you.

Smile and may God continue to BLESS YOU!!

 

"I am too blessed to be stressed and too anointed to be disappointed!"

 

The shortest distance between a problem and a solution is the distance between your knees and the floor.

 

"Winners make things happen. Losers let things happen." 

"To the world you might be one person, but to one person you just might be the world".