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March 2007 Archives

Printable Issue 1009  Today is Thursday, March 1st, 2007; Karen's Korner #1009
Last week our daughter Jamie and her children, Luke and Molly, came to spend some time and stay overnight. Luke has just turned 3. Sister Molly is 1 1/2. Both kids really like books and will corner people for a story if they get a chance.
Molly doesn't know a lot of words, but now and then she will come toteing one or several books with the request, "Read a book." If the first request doesn't work, how about one more, or maybe another. She and brother Luke, usually get what they want.
One time, here comes Molly. "Read a book," she said. She was carrying a 200-page book which Jim had just gotten done reading. Lots of words. No pictures. Molly didn't know and didn't care. It was a book. Something good was bound to be inside.
A year ago she didn't know about books. But somebody, or lots of somebodies, have taught her there are some good things inside. Things she and the reader will probably enjoy.
Every day God does the same thing to us that Molly did to Grandma. He totes His Book our direction and says, "Read a Book!"
By now, we should have had enough teachers, readings, help, and life experiences that we know there is something good inside it for us..
If God is saying to you today, "Read a Book!"; here are a couple of chapters you might consider:  Exodus chapter 2; Psalms 139; and/or John 17. Might be something good inside for you, just for today!
Printable Issue 1010  Today is Saturday, March 3rd, 2007; Karen's Korner #1010

Should have been Friday's; one day late. First, no electricity and then we were snowed out for two nights!

An email daily devotional from Joel and Victoria Osteen:

"A cheerful heart does good like medicine, but a broken spirit makes one sick." -- (Proverbs 17:22)

God has given you a great prescription for living a long, healthy, and happy life: Laugh, and laugh a lot! The "medicine" of laughter is within everyone, but you may need to start taking it. Recent studies have shown that laughter boosts the body's immune system, reduces stress, reduces the risk of heart attack, and even acts as a natural tranquilizer. Those are health benefits everyone needs. That's why it's tragic to go through life with a stone face. The enemy has convinced too many into thinking that they need to be somber and serious in order to be a Christian. But don't fall for that trick. God wants you to laugh and live well!

"Lord, thank You for a sense of humor and for laughter. Teach me how to enjoy this wonderful gift and share it with others. In Jesus' name. Amen."

Printable Issue 1011  Today is Monday, March 5th, 2007; Karen's Korner #1011
One more quote from Max Lucado's book, "Facing Your Giants". It is from the last chapter titled "Take Goliath Down!".
Lucado states that it wasn't just David who faced the giant, Goliath; we all do and have them in our lives daily:
"...he breathes down your neck as you eat your breakfast, whispers in your ear as you walk out the door, shadows your steps, and sticks to your hip. He checks your calendar, reads your mail, and talks more trash than players in an inner-city basketball league.
"'You ain't got what it takes.'
"'You come from a long line of losers.'
"'Fold you cards and leave the table. You've been dealt a bad hand.'
"He's your giant, your Goliath. Given half a chance, he'll turn your day into his Vally of Elah, taunting, teasing, boasting, and echoing claims from one hillside to the other. Remember how Goliath misbehaved? 'For forty days, twice a day, morning and evening, the Philistine giant strutted in front of the Israelite army. (I Samuel 17:16)'
"Goliath still roams our world. Debt. Disaster. Dialysis. Danger. Deceit. Disease. Depression. Super-size challenges still swagger and strut, still pilfer sleep and embezzle peace and liposuction joy. But they can't dominate you. You know how to deal with them You face giants by facing God first.
"Focus on giants -- you stumble.
"Focus on God--your giants tumble."
Printable Issue 1012  Today is Tuesday, March 6th, 2007; Karen's Korner #1012
Our church has a prayer group which meets each week at Sandy Stephenson's home. Sandy found a greeting card which she shared with the group. It said volumes to each of us who were attending:
The front cover said,

"Cast your cares on the Lord
and He will sustain you;
He will never let
the RIGHTEOUS fall."
~~ Psalm 55:22
The inside verse said,
"There is something very special
about our prayer time with the Lord.
We have His full attention and He has ours.
He listens with the heart of a father,
understands with the compassion of a friend,
and fills the conversation with peace, wisdom, and hope.
When we lift up the lives of others
and ask Him to meet their needs,
He gently reminds us--
'I care for them even more than you do.'
"EVERYTHING the Lord has
in His heart for you is good--
He loves you so much,
and cares for you completely."
Printable Issue 1013  Today is Wednesday, March 7th, 2007; Karen's Korner #1013
An email daily devotional from Shirley Choat:
 Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning. - Psalm 30:5
  Too often we allow the future to be colored by our present circumstances. We have a tendency to become so absorbed with our current difficulties that we forget God's faithfulness in the past. And in so doing, a future bright with promises becomes obscured by doubt and despair. We see only the shadows and forget that behind the clouds the sun is shining in all its glory.
  Sometimes only deep valleys seem to lie ahead in our lives. The gray skies of grief overshadow our days, and our nights are filled with the darkness of trial. But what appears as utter defeat could well be God's process of preparing us for a glorious triumph. So let's trust Him, for "joy comes in the morning."  When the clouds are lifted, we'll see that victory signals have been there all the time.
    Only wait and trust Him
    Just a little while;
    After evening teardrops
    Comes the morning smile.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY - The darker the night, the nearer the dawn.
Printable Issue 1014  Today is Thursday, March 8th, 2007; Karen's Korner #1014
An email daily devotional from Jeff White. It is a  familar verse from the 23rd Psalm. In Jeff's comments, he mentions "obey"; the word we tend not to like to hear. One of the dictionary definitons of obey is "to hear, to listen". God simply wants us to obey by hearing and listening to what He has to say:

Surely goodness and mercy
shall follow me all the days of my life.
And I will dwell in the house
of the Lord forever.

Psalm 23:6 nkjv


     What a surprising way to describe God. A God who pursues us.  Our God follows us  every step of the way during every minute of every day.

     Does it change your vision of God to know that it is not what we must do, but what he does.  He pursues, he gives grace, he made the sacrifice...and we?  We must only obey and accept.

Printable Issue 1015  Today is Friday, March 9th, 2007; Karen's Korner #1015
Several short thoughts:
The first one is shared by Alice Hiles:
** Friends are like the walls of a house:
Sometimes they hold you up;
Sometimes you lean on them.
But sometimes, it's enough to know
they're just standing by.

-- Author unknown


The second one is shared by Pat Holtapp:
** Anger is a condition which the tongue
works faster than the mind.
** You can't change the past
but you can ruin the present
by worrying over the future.
-- A couple of wise words from a list by Tweety
(You remember the cartoon bird who was always
pursued by Sylvester the cat!)
The final one is from a daily calendar (yesterday's thoughts):
** "We too often focus only on the aspects of life.
If we were more willing to see the good and the beautiful things that surround us,
we would be able to transform our families.
From there, we would change our next door neighbors
and then others who live in our neighborhood or city.
We would be able to bring peace and love to our world
which hungers so much for these things."
-- Mother Teresa
Printable Issue 1016  Today is Monday, March 12th, 2007; Karen's Korner #1016
For the Easter season, our church is looking at Rick Warren's book "Better Together", moving one step further beyond his best-seller book, "Purpose Driven Life". It is a study of 40 Days, 'learning how to live and work together' more successfully. Our Lenten sermons are taken from the book. We are encouraged to be in small groups during the same time period.
Yesterday's sermon was "What destroys relationships and what builds them?"
Four things were sighted as destroying them:
* selfishness;
* pride;
* insecurity;
* resentment.
And the possible cures:
* selflessness;
* humility;
* love;
* forgiveness.
The first four we tend to have naturally; we are born with them. The next list has to be learned and chances are pretty good we can't do them on our own. We are going to need help. And God is willing and able to teach us, cure us, and help us to do what we can't do on our own:  through His Spirit and by His Supernatural Help.
Dear Father in Heaven, we want our relationships to work:  in our families, with our friends, in our churches, and the other groups with which we are involved. Help us, lead us, guide us. We want to be selfless in our relationships, filled with your love and forgiveness. Walk with us. Just for today. We will back for more help.......tomorrow! In the name of Your Son, Jesus. Amen.
Printable Issue 1017  Today is Tuesday, March 13th, 2007; Karen's Korner #1017
I can't recall who forwarded this email to me; it was titled "The Post Office Really Knows How to Deliver":

Our dog Abbey died August 23, and the day after Abbey died, my four year old, Meredith, was SO upset. She wanted to write a letter to God so that God would recognize Abbey in heaven. She told me what to write,  and I did 
Then she put two pictures of Abbey in the envelope. We addressed it to God in Heaven, put two stamps on it (because, as she said, it could be a long Way to heaven). We put our return address on it, and I let her put it in the drop box at the post office that afternoon..She was absolutely sure that letter would get to heaven, and I wasn't about to disillusion her.
So today is Labor Day. We took the kids to the museum in Austin, and when we came home, there was a package wrapped in gold on our front porch. It was addressed to Meredith. So, she took it inside and opened it.

Inside was a book, 'When Your Pet Dies', by Mr. Rogers (Fred Rogers). On the front cover was the letter we had written to God, in its envelope (opened). On the opposite page was one of the pictures of  Abbey taped on the page. On the back page was the other picture of  Abbey, and this handwritten note on pink paper:

"Dear Meredith,
I know that you will be happy to find out that Abbey arrived safely and soundly in heaven. Having the pictures you sent to me was a big help! I recognized Abbey right away! You know, Meredith, she isn't sick anymore. Her spirit is here with me (just like it stays in your heart) young and running and playing. Abbey loved being your dog, you know. Since we don't need our bodies in heaven, I don't have any pockets to keep things in-- so I am sending you your beautiful letter back with the pictures--so that you will have this little memory book to keep.
One of my angels is taking care of this for me. I hope this little Book will help. Thank you for your beautiful letter. Thank your mother for sending it. What a wonderful mother you have. I picked her especially for you.

God blesses you every day and remember, I love you very much. By the way, I am in heaven and everywhere there is love.

God, and one of his special angels (who wrote this letter after God told HER the words)."
How wonderful is that! I never knew there were angels working in the Post Office.
Printable Issue 1018  Today is Wednesday, March 14th, 2007; Karen's Korner #1018
I like it when my friends try their hand at writing some of their thoughts and then want to share it with others! Chris Lousias is such a friend. Here is something she wrote:

Preserve us, Oh Lord!


Leviticus 2:13:  “Season all your grain offerings with salt. Do not leave the salt of the covenant of your God out of your grain offerings; add salt to all your offerings.”


“Please pass the salt.”  How many times have we heard that at the supper table?  Salt has such a rich and fascinating history.  There is an intense, historical, economic value associated with salt. 


In Ancient Rome, salt was so valuable it was used as a form of money.  The term “salary” came from a Latin word which is a derivative of salt.  The discovery of the use of salt as a preservative eliminated the seasonal dependency of food.  Salt was a component of the growth of the Roman Empire.  Roads were specifically built to make transportation of salt to the capital city easier.


Salt played a perceptively noticeable role in American history.  In the Revolutionary War, the British used Tories to intercept the rebels' salt supply and destroy their ability to preserve food.  Salt value diminished greatly throughout time as new supplies were discovered.


Today we use salt as a flavoring and as a preservative.  It is so common to us we don’t think about it, unless we discover an empty shaker just when we need it most!


When Jesus told the disciples in Matthew 5:13 that "You are the salt of the earth.” they could understand the value Jesus was putting on them with that comparison.  We use that saying today as a complement to describe someone who is of particular value to society.


As believers, every time we show Christ’s love through our actions or words, we are helping to preserve our fellow believers and we are adding “flavor” to the lives of those who are yet to be believers.


The key verse of Leviticus 2:13 are words from God to His people.  A "covenant of salt" signifies an everlasting covenant.  The connotation is a covenant of perpetual obligation. 


What is our perpetual obligation as believers?  We made a covenant with God if we chose His Son as our hope and life.  John spells out God’s part of the covenant in 1 John 4:9.  He wrote:  “This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.”  Our earnest desire in return should be “since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”  (1 John 4:11)


"Lord God Almighty, Father of our hearts and Giver of joy and Life, help us today to sprinkle the flavor of the likeness of Your Son over every aspect of our lives.  We ask the Holy Spirit to guide us to the tasteless areas of our family and community so that we may shake bursts of flavor over other people’s lives.  Help us to be  preservers of life to those who are drowning in the enemy waters.  You give us Life Father, You give us flavor, You gave us Your Son.  Praise You God and Praise Jesus’ Holy name, Amen "

Printable Issue 1019  Today is Thursday, March 15th, 2007; Karen's Korner #1019
An Easter pass along email from Dorothy Riekens:
"He Carried His Cross For Me!"
God's redeeming work is done
He shed His blood, the battle is won,
He lives forever our Glorious King,
We share His love and praises sing.
He carried His cross for all to see
Up Calvary's rugged hill that day,
He gave His all and took my place,
Someday I'll look upon His beautiful face.
When I look upon a cross
It reminds me of the price He paid,
Such love He gave that day for me,
Died for my sin, and set me free.
Three crosses are empty on Calvary's hill
Jesus died, and obeyed His Fathers will,
He bore the stripes, and took my pain,
So no one will die for me ever again.
Behold your Savior of mankind
Who willingly, hung on the cross
Oh, How He took our sin and strife,
He gave the best, to give us life.
It's done the price has been paid
Forgive them Lord.... "He cries,"
He then bows, His sacred head,
Gave up the ghost and died.

~~ Bernice Ward
Printable Issue 1020  Today is Friday, March 16th, 2007; Karen's Korner #1020
Tomorrow is St. Patrick's Day, the day we celebrate each year on March 17th. Is it only wearing green, shamrocks, lucky leprechauns, or kissing the blarney stone? How did the celebration all begin?*
Saint Patrick, born Maewyn Succat near the end of the fourth century, took on the Patrick name when he became a priest later in his life. Succat was kidnapped from his native land of Britian by a band of pirates at the age of sixteen. He was sold into slavery in Ireland where he worked as a shepherd. He turned to religion for solace. After six long years, he escaped to the northern coast of Gaul.
It was while he was in Gaul that he became "Patrick", as he studied for twelve years in a monestery there. He believed his calling was to convert pagans of Ireland to Christianity. St. Palladius was appointed to go to Ireland first, but transferred to Scotland two years later, opening the door for Patrick. He was about sixty years old when he arrived in Ireland. With the help of his winning personality, he began to win converts. He used the shamrock, a three-leafed clover, to help explain the concept of the Trinity: father, son, and holy spirit.
Patrick was arrested several times, but escaped each time. He traveled throughout Ireland, establishing monasteries and setting up schools and churches to aid in converting the Irish country to Christianity. Patrick's mission in Ireland lasted thirty years. In a population of 300,000 in Ireland at the time, St. Patrick personally baptized more than 120,000 people! He retired to County Down and died on March 17, 461 AD, the day they began celebrating both his life and his death.
** Taken from information given on an internet web site.
Printable Issue 1021  Today is Monday, March 19th, 2007; Karen's Korner #1021
One paragraph from Joel Osteen's bestselling book "Your Best Life Now:  7 Steps to Living at Your Full Potential". It is from the chapter titled "Happiness is a Choice":
"The apostle Paul wrote more than half of the New Testament while incarcerated, often in tiny prison cells not much bigger than a small bathroom. Some historians and Bible commentators believe that the sewage system of that day ran right through one of the dungeons in which he was imprisoned. Some commentaries state that it's possible that he could have written some of the great passages of what we now know as the New Testament standing in raw sewage that at tmes came all the way up to his waist. Yet Paul wrote such amazing faith-filled words as, 'I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.' And, 'Thanks be to God, who always causes us to triumph,' and 'Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I say, rejoice!' Notice, we are to rejoice and be happy at all times. In your difficulties, when things aren't going your way, instead of having a pity party and thinking about how unfair life is treating you, instead of feeling sorry for yourself, make a decision to rejoice in the Lord. Choose to be happy! Choose to stay full of joy."
Printable Issue 1022  Today is Tuesday, March 20th, 2007; Karen's Korner #1022
Our church's small groups are wandering our way through Rick Warren's "Better Together" book on churches as communities. This book is also a 40-day adventure like his best-selling "Purpose Driven Life".
Several thoughts taken from Day 18, "We are Chosen to Fellowship Together" is the theme of the week; with this particular day titled "...by supporting each other......":
"'.all of you should be of one mind, full of sympathy toward each other,
loving one another with tender hearts and humble minds.'
 - I Peter 3:18
"God enables us to love the fear out of one another.
"We drive fear from our community by loving one another so supportively that each member feels safe inside the group (I John 4:18). This safety allows us to bring our humanity into the group--including all our joy and pain, our ups and downs, our victories and defeats.
"We exhibit tender hearts when we say to one another:
:"It's OK to have a bad day; It's OK to be tired: It's OK to admit your mistakes; It's OK to say your marriage is failing: It's OK to confess your addictions; It's OK to share you're scared; It's OK to want a day away from your toddler; It's OK to grieve this loss; It's OK to doubt, to be confused, to cry.
"We exhibit humble minds when we say to one another:
"It's OK be happy you got a new car; It's OK to celebrate that you got a HUGE raise; It's OK to joyfully tell us you lost seventeen pounds; It's OK to say you won the sales competition; It's OK to shout 'hallelujah' because God's presence in your life is so good."
Printable Issue 1023  Today is Wednesday, March 21st, 2007; Karen's Korner #1023
Here's a fun Karen's Korner! An email forward from Aunt Tillie and Uncle Bud who live in Tennesse. No one can explain God, Jesus, and/or angels like kids can!
"Angels Explained by Children"
 I only know the names of two angels. Hark and Harold.
Gregory, 5
Everybody's got it all wrong. Angels don't wear halos anymore. 
I forget why, but scientists are working on it.
Olive, 9
It's not easy to become an angel! First, you die. Then you go to 
heaven, and then there's still the flight training to go through. And 
then you got to agree to wear those angel clothes.
Matthew, 9
Angels work for God and watch over kids when God has to go do 
something else.
Mitchell, 7
My guardian angel helps me with math, but he's not much good 
for science.
Henry, 8
Angels don't eat, but they drink milk from Holy Cows!!!
Jack, 6
Angels talk all the way while they're flying you up to heaven. 
The main subject is where you went wrong before you got dead.
Daniel, 9
When an angel gets mad, he takes a deep breath and counts to 
ten. And when he lets out his breath, somewhere there's a tornado.
Reagan, 10
Angels have a lot to do and they keep very busy. If you lose a 
tooth, an angel comes in through your window and leaves money under your 
pillow. Then when it gets cold, angels go north for the winter.
Sara, 6
Angels live in cloud houses made by God and his son, who's a very 
good carpenter.
Jared, 8
All angels are girls because they gotta wear dresses and boys 
didn't go for it.
Antonio, 9
My angel is my grandma who died last year. She got a big
head start on helping me while she was still down here on earth.
Katelynn, 9
Some of the angels are in charge of helping heal sick animals 
and pets. And if they don't make the animals get better, they help the 
child get over it.
 Vicki, 8
What I don't get about angels is why, when someone is in love, 
they shoot arrows at them.
Sarah, 7

Printable Issue 1024  Today is Thursday, March 22nd, 2007; Karen's Korner #1024
It's only 10# of potatoes!
We have Marys and Marthas (M & Ms) tomorrow over the noon hour! The group is the proud owners of some pieces of leftover ham; it's in my freezer. I told the group last month that I would make scalloped potatoes and ham for the March meeting. I am cooking for about 25 - 30 people. Hard to tell how many people are coming for sure.
I don't know why, but I have been praying for a good price on the potatoes which I would be using. Potatoes seem to be a little higher priced this time of year. "Please, God, I would like to have potatoes be on sale for the M & Ms meeting!", I would mentally think over the past few weeks.
God gives us what we need and want, when we need it. Not before nor after. Two weeks ago, potatoes weren't on sale. Last week, they weren't. When I picked up our local paper yesterday, I thought, "I wonder if there is a special on potatoes this week?"
When I opened the eight-page colored flyer, there on page two: 10# bags of Russet potatoes - $1.99!
Could I have a paid a higher amount? Yes, if that was what God would have wanted! But He evidently wanted me to trust him for cheaper potatoes, a day before I needed them!
And an added bonus, which I ddin't ask for:  family-sized cans of cream of mushroom soups, which I use to make my potatoes and ham. Also on sale! A big size I could never use for just Jim and me.
God must have thrown that in as a bonus for my agreeing to cook for a couple dozen of my friends.
Thank you, God, for your generosity and your care. You take care of every detail of our lives if we just ask; and trust You with the answers. Thanks for surprising me with Your provision, and Your blessings. Amen.
Printable Issue 1025  Today is Friday, March 23rd, 2007; Karen's Korner #1025
I have had this email daily devotional for awhile from Jeff White. He is a minister from Wisconsin who I have only met through his emails; usually they are daily haven't gotten one from him for awhile. He is either busy, traveling, camping, or has taken a hiatus; could be that my SPAM blocker is too good! Here's Jeff:

You will be my witnesses—in Jerusalem,
in all of Judea, in Samaria, and in every
part of the world.

Acts 1:8


     You just don’t know.  It’s hard being a preacher.  Everything you do, everywhere you go, people watch.  You really do live in a glass house.  Sometimes I feel like my presence makes people uncomfortable, sometimes I think they are waiting for me to make a mistake.  Feel sorry for me yet?

     The reality is you are being watched that way too.  Jesus didn’t just charge preachers to be his witness; he charged you too.

     I’ve got a question for you; is your daily witness helpful to the cause of Christ or not?

Printable Issue 1026  Today is Monday, March 26th, 2007; Karen's Korner #1026
An email forward from Shirley Choat:
"Jesus went up on a mountain side and sat down,
His disciples came to Him and He began to teach them, saying,  
'Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness,
for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will shown  mercy.
Blessed are the pure of heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are peacemakers
Blessed are those who ar persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you,
and falsely say all kinds of evil against you,
because of me.
Rejoice and be glad,
because great is your reward in heaven,
for in the same way they persecuted
the prophets who were before you.'
~~ Matthew 5:2 -12
  Each beatitude tells how to be blessed, "Blessed" means more than happiness. It implies the fortunate or enviable state of those who are in God's kingdom. The Beatitudes don't promise laughter, pleasure, or earthly prosperity. To Jesus, "Blessed" means the experience of hope and joy, independent of outward circumstances. To find hope and joy, the deepest form of happiness, follow Jesus no matter what the cost.
  There are least four ways to understand the Beatitudes. (1) They are a code of ethics for the disciples and a standard of conduct for all believers. (2) They contrast kingdom values (eternal) with worldly values (temporary). (3) They contrast the superficial "faith" of the Pharisees with the real faith Christ wants. (4) They show how the Old Testament expectations will be fulfilled in the new kingdom. These beatitudes are not multiple choice, pick what you like and leave the rest. They must be taken as a whole. They describe what we should be like as Christ's followers.
     Since there is no complete goodness on earth, there can be no complete happiness. The central happiness of the Christian, however, includes this, that he sees God busy with the problems that destroy happiness. Evil speaks of His patience, nature of His glory, and the Cross of the Crown.
     "Rejoice in Him!" Again, again
     The Spirit speaks the word,
     And faith takes up the happy strain:
     "Our joy is in the LORD."
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY - The Christian's happiness is not determined by happenings.
Printable Issue 1027  Today is Tuesday, March 27th, 2007; Karen's Korner #1027
A couple of short thoughts for the day:
From Kim Lee via Pam Watne:
** “For attractive lips, speak words of kindness,
     For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people.”
Taken from the fourth video in a series of six titled "Better Together" by Rick Warren:
** If you aren't part of the problem nor part of the solution,
    then it is GOSSIP."
From "God's Daily Inspirations" flip calendar for March 27:
** "I gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience
    in which I must stop and look fear in the face."
        ~~ Eleanor Roosevelt
** "So we can say with confidence, "The Lord is my helper.
     I will not be afraid? What can anyone do to me?"
        ~~ Hebrews 13:6
Printable Issue 1028  Today is Wednesday, March 28th, 2007; Karen's Korner #1028
I received this email from my sister, Amy, yesterday. I really liked it:
In September of 2005, a social studies school teacher from Arkansas did something not to be forgotten. On the first day of school, with permission of the school superintendent, the principal, and the building supervisor, she took all of the desks out of the classroom.

The kids came into first period, they walked in; there were no desks. They obviously looked around and said, "Where's our desks?"

The teacher said, "You can't have a desk until you tell me how you earn them."

They thought, "Well, maybe it's our grades."

"No," she said.

"Maybe it's our behavior."

And she told them, "No, it's not even your behavior."

And so they came and went in the first period, still no desks in the classroom. Second period, same thing. Third period. By early afternoon television news crews had gathered in the class to find out about this crazy teacher who had taken all the desks out of the classroom. The last period of the day, the instructor gathered her class.

They were at this time sitting on the floor around the sides of the room.

She said, "Throughout the day no one has really understood how you earn the desks that sit in this classroom ordinarily.Now I'm going to tell you."

She went over to the door of her classroom and opened it, and as she did 27 U.S. veterans, wearing their uniforms, walked into that classroom, each one carrying a school desk. And they placed those school desks in rows, and then they stood along the wall. By the time they had finished placing the desks, those kids for the first time I think perhaps in their lives understood how they earned those desks. 

Their teacher said, "You don't have to earn those desks. These guys did it for you. They put them out there for you, but it's up to you to sit here responsibly, to learn, to be good students and good citizens, because they paid a price for you to have that desk, and don't ever forget it."

Printable Issue 1029  Today is Thursday, March 29th, 2007; Karen's Korner #1029
Last week, I took a walk south and east of our farm home. It was a nice sunny, pre-spring day with the wind blowing at my back. The breeze pushed me along as I walked. It was an enjoyable time, but I knew when I turned around, it wouldn't be as easy.
My walk continued for a mile-plus.
When I turned for home, the walk wasn't as much fun. I still had the sun in my face but the breeze was more brisk than I had first thought. As I turned the quarter plus mile north toward home, the sun was also at my back.
I couldn't help but think about our lives. In the first portion of our lives, the sun may be in our faces and the wind most likely is at our backs. It can be easy and enjoyable. We don't necessarily feel that we need much help!
But begin turning the pages to the 40s, 50s, 60s, we turn around to begin our journey home. The breeze is now in our faces. We may still enjoy the journey but it isn't as easy. Do we stop or continue on?
If we haven't believed we needed help in the past, we might look for aid as we continue walking. God wants to hold our hand; He wants us to focus on Him as we begin our victory lap toward home. He will help; He will be there for us!
On our own, it probably won't be as easy a trek as the first portion of our lives. But if we reach out to Him, our 'aging years' may be the most enjoyable part.
THOUGHT:  If you haven't grabbed hold of God's hand at the beginning of your life's journey, today is a good day to reach out and take ahold of if! He's your loving Heavenly Father and He's waiting for your touch!!
Deart Father in Heaven, thank You for who You are and how much You love each one of us! Forgive us for our independence. Thank You for Your willingness to take care of us, as Your Children and for leading us back to our eternal home. Amen. 
Printable Issue 1030  Today is Friday, March 30th, 2007; Karen's Korner #1030
Yesterday's Karen's Korner prompted Diana Barron to email this timely story about aging:
"Watch out! You nearly broad-side that car!" my father yelled at me. "Can't you do anything right?" Those words hurt worse than blows. I turned my head toward the elderly man in the seat beside me, daring me to challenge him. A lump rose in my throat as I averted the eyes. I wasn't prepared for another battle.
"I saw the car, Dad. Please don't yell at me when I'm driving." My voice was measured and steady, sounding far calmer than I really felt. Dad glared at me, then turned away and settled back.
At home, I left Dad in front of the television and went outside to collect my thoughts. Dark, heavy clouds hung in the air with the promise of rain. The rumble of distant thunder seemed to echo my inner turmoil. What could I do about him?
Dad had been a lumberjack in Washington and Oregon. He had enjoyed being outdoors and reveled in pitting his strength against the forces of nature. He had entered grueling lumberjack competitions, and had placed often. The shelves in his house were filled with trophies that attested to his prowess.
The years matched on relentlessly. The first time he couldn't lift a heavy log, he joked about it. But later that same day, I saw him outside alone, straining to lift it. He became irritable whenever anyone teased him about his advancing age or when he couldn't do something he had done as a younger man.
Four days after his sixty-seventh birthday, he had a heart attack. An ambulance sped him to the hospital while a paramedic administered CPR to keep blood and oxygen flowing.
At the hosptial, Dad was rushed into an operating room. He was lucky; he survived. But something inside Dad died. His zest for life was gone. He obstinately refused to follow doctors orders. Suggestions and offers of help were turned aside with sarcasm and insults. The number of visitors thinned, then finally stopped altogether. Dad was left alone.
My husband, Rick, and I asked Dad to come live with us on our small farm. We hoped the fresh air and rustic atmosphere would help him adjust. Within a week after he move in, I regretted the invitation. It seemed nothing was satisfactory. He criticized everything I did. I becams frustrated and moody. Soon I was taking my pent-up anger out on Rick. We began to bicker and argue.
Alarmed, Rick sought out our pastor and explained the situation. The clergyman set up weekly counseling appointments for us. At the close of each session, he prayed asking God to soothe Dad's troubled mind. But the months wore on and God was silent.
A raindrop struck my cheek. I looked up into the gray sky. Somewhere up there was 'God'. Although I believe a Supreme Being had created the universe, I had difficulty believing that God cared about the tiny human beings on this earth. I was tired of waiting for a God who did not answer. Something had to be done and it was up to me to do it. The next day I sat down with the phone book and methodically called each of the mental health clinics listed in the Yellow Pages. I explained my problem in vain to each of the sympathetic voices that answered.
Just when I was giving up hope, one of the voices suddenly exclaimed, " I just read something that might help you! Let me go get the article." I listened as she read. The article described a remarkable study done at a nursing home. All of the patients were under treatment for chronic depression. Yet their attitudes had improved dramatically when they were given responsibility for a dog.
I drove to the animal shelter that afternoon. After I filled out a questionnaire, a uniformed officer led me to the kennels. The odor of disimfectamt stung my nostrils as I moved down the row of pens. Each contained five to seven dogs. Long-haired dogs, curly-haired doge, black dogs, spotted dogs - all jumped up, trying to reach me. I studied each one but rejected one after the other for various reasons:  too big, too small, too much hair. As I neared the last pen, a dog in the shadows of the far coner struggled to his feet, waddled to the front of the run and sat down. It was a pointer, one of the dog world's artistocrats. But this was a caricature of the breed. Years had etched his face and muzzle with shades of gray. His hipbones jutted out in lopsided triangles But it was his eyes that caught and held my attention. Calm and clear, they beheld my unwaveringly. I pointed to the dog. "Can you tell me about him?"
The officer looked, then shook his head in puzzlement. "He's a funny one - appeared out of nowhere and sat in front of the gate. We brought him in, figuring someone would be right down to claim him. That was two weeks ago and we've heard nothing. His time is up tomorrow." He gestured helpfessly.
As the words sank in, I turned to the man in horror. "You mean you're going to kill him?"
"Ma'am," he said gently, "that's our policy. We don't have room for every unclaimed dog."
I looked at the pointer again. The calm brown eyes awaited my decision. "I'll take him, " I said. I drove home with the dog on the front seat beside me. When I reached the house, I honked the horn twice. I was helping my prize out of the car when Dad shuffled onto the front porch
"Ta-da! Look what I got for you, Dad!" I said excitedly.
Dad looked, then wrinkled his face in disgust. "If I had wanted a dog, I would have gotten one. And I would have picked out a better specimen than that bag of bones. Keep it! I don't want it." Dad waved his arm scornfully and turned back toward the house.
Anger rose inside me. It squeezed together my throat muscles and pounded into my temples. "You'd better get used to him, Dad. He's staying!" Dad ignored me.
"Did you her me?" I screamed.
At those words, Dad whirled angrily, his hands clenched at his sides, his eyes narrowed and blazing with hate. We stood glaring at each other like duelists, when suddenly the pointer pulled free from my grasp. He wobbled toward my dad and sat down in front of him. Then slowly, carefully, he raised his paw. Dad's lower jaw trembled as he stared at the uplifted paw. Confusion replaced the anger in his eyes. The pointer waited patiently. Then Dad was on his knees, hugging the animal. It was the beginning of a warm and intimate friendship.
Dad named the pointer Cheyenne. Together the two explored the community. They spent long hours walking down dusty lanes. They spent reflective moments on the banks of streams, angling for tasty trout. They even started to attend Sunday services together, Dad sitting in a pew and Cheyenne lying quietly at his feet.
Dad and Cheyenne were inseparable throughout the next three years. Dad's bitterness faded, and he and Cheyenne made many friends.
Then late one night, I started to feel Cheyenne's cold nose burrowing through our bed covers. He had never before come into our bedroom at night. I woke Rick, put on my robe and ran into my father's room. Dad lay in his bed, his face serene; his spirit had left quietly sometime during the night.
Two days later my shock and grief deepend when I discovered Cheyenne lying dead beside Dad's bed. I wrapped his still form in the rag rug he had slept on. As Rick and I buried him near a favorite fishing hole, I silently thanked the dog for the help he had given me in restoring Dad's peace of mind.
The morning of Dad's funeral dawned overcast and dreary. This day looks like the way I feel, I thought, as I walked down the aisle to the pews reserved for family. I was surprised to see the many friends Dad and Cheyenne had made filling the church.
The pastor began his eulogy. It was a tribute to both Dad and the dog who had changed his life. And then the pastor turned to Hebrews 13:2, "Be not forgetful to entertain strangers...."
"I've often thanked God for sending that angel," he said.
For me, the past dropped into place, completing a puzzle that I had not seen before:  the sympathetic voice that had just read the right article; Cheyenne's unexpected appearance at the animal shelter; his calm acceptance and complete devotion to my father; and the proximity of their deaths.
And suddenly I understood. I knew that God had answered my prayers after all.