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June 2009 Archives

Printable Issue 1581  Today is Monday, June 1st, 2009; Karen's Korner #1581
It was 36 years ago today that our younger daughter Merry was born.
As promised, I am repeating several Karen's Korners written of memories, as 2009 marks the tenth anniversary of her death.
Memory #2 was a Karen's Korner in March of 2003. As I re-read it, I am making a few updates in my thoughts:
Tuesday, March 25th, 2003; Karen's Korner #17:

..."when Merry died".....*


It had been a summer unlike any other I had experienced. Hospitalizations for both Merry and Jim. Each time they recovered quickly. Each time we believed surgeries to be successful. We had made travel plans to go to Europe, but changed our minds until Merry's condition appeared to be settled down.


We decided to travel to Wisconsin, stay overnight, enjoy the Mississipi, catch up with Jim's niece and family, and come back home the next day.


It was while we were at Deb's house that Jim and I replied to Ed's message, left on her phone recorder. His one sentence said it all, "Merry was killed late this afternoon in a car accident." That was all the details we heard, asked, or knew. We hurried around their home trying to figure out the quickest way to Amana.


Jim seemed to be able to take in the reality of what was happening in. This new reality had a hard time settling in for me. Maybe we should try to find a charter flight back to Iowa? Getting "home" as soon as possible was the goal.


Getting in the car and driving seemed to be the best plan.


As much as we wanted to get to Amana, it was as we drove through Cedar Rapids and passed the hospital and Merry's "home-away-from-home" too many times that summer, that I felt like I wanted everything to go into slow motion. The closer we got to Amana and Merry and Ed's apartment, I wanted things to go even slower. Not getting there would somehow make the reality of the situation disappear!


Now it was late into the evening, only Jamie and Ed were there. Talk. Tears. Plans were beginning to take shape. Would anyone be able to sleep? Surprisingly, after tossing and turning----all four us slept some....


Early the next morning, Jamie and I took to the streets of Amana to walk. The morning was bright, clear, and still. All the normal sounds which take place inside my head were strangely quiet - the thoughts, the running internal dialogue had been silenced. It was if I had, too, had died: emotionally, intellectually, mentally, maybe even physically. I can recall telling several friends in the upcoming few days that I felt like a part of me had died.......and then I knew: "it (she) had!"


There was only one thing in my life still standing:  the spiritual part of me. And that part remained strong and tall. All of the things that I had been taught for years in Sunday School and church; all the things I said I believed.........seemed absolutely real. I had a peace that I can't explain; some may call it shock and it may have been. But for the first time in my life, I knew without a doubt that all of that stuff was true!


Normally, I have questioned things........now, not only did I not have any answers; my questions had also stopped.


This was not the time to turn my back on God.......He was going to be my only anwer! He would be my strength.


Some might ask, "How did you/do you know?" I just knew. I guess it is called faith. I had a choice. I have a choice! Believing or not believing. Life, and certainly death, don't make much sense without it.


God seemed unbelievably real to me. Heaven was no longer something to be talked about. It had become a real place, where real people now lived....not only old people who had lived a long and fruitful life, but young people with energy, talents, and an enthusiasm for life which they wanted to share with others....


I knew I was loved. I knew He was taking care of Merry. And I knew that He was taking care of me.


I was entering a new phase of my life.........trusting God.......one day, one minute, one step at a time.........




Several months ago I read an autobiography by Denise Jackson, wife of country music superstar Alan Jackson. She recounted how their marriage had fallen completely apart and how God had put it and them back together.


Her thoughts reminded me of our losing Merry:


"When everything is going well, we often can't hear God, because the music all around us is turned up too loud. But when the party stops---in those moments of crashing pain, sorrow, and sudden silence---we begin to hear His voice. I've learned that if I listen and lean on His strength, He can help me climb out of the wreckage. As I do, I have new perspectives about what is precious and what is truly important."
~ by Denise Jackson, from "It's All About Him"
Printable Issue 1582  Today is Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009; Karen's Korner #1582
Excerpts from I Corninthians chapter 10, The Message Bible:
"Remember our history, friends, and be warned.
All our ancestors were led by the providential Cloud
and taken miraculously through the Sea.....
But just experiencing God's wonder and grace didn't seem to mean much--
most of them were defeated by temptation during the hard times in the desert,
and God was not pleased.
The same thing could happen to us.
We must be on guard so that we never get caught up in wanting our way as they did.
And we must not turn our religion into a circus as they did....
We must never try to get Christ to serve us instead of us serving Him;
they tried it;
and God launched an epidemic of poisonous snakes....
These are all warning markers - DANGER - in  our history books,
written down so that we don't repeat their mistakes...
we are just as capable of messing it up as they were.
Don't be so naive and self-confident.
You're not exempt.
You could fall flat on your face as easily as anyone else.
Forget about self-confidence, it's useless.
Cultivate God-confidence.
Looking at it one way, you could say,
'Anything goes.
Because of God's immense generosity and grace...
But the point is not to just get by.
We want to live well,
but our foremost efforts should be to
help others live well."
BiBle Commentary:  Today's pressures make it easy to ignore or forget the lessons of the past. But Paul cautions us to remember the lessons the Israelites learned about God so we can avoid repeating their errors. The key is to study the Bible regularly so that these lessons become continual reminders of how God wants us to live. We need not repeat their mistakes.
As followers of Christ we must give him our total allegiance. We cannot, as Paul explains eat 'both at the Lord's table and Satan's'. Are we trying to lead two lives, following the desires of both Christ and the crowd? The Bible says we can't do both at the same time.
A forwarded message yesterday from Darcy Robb:
(minus the 'forward to otherss' and 'deletes')

Look back and thank God.

Look forward and trust God.

Look around and serve God.

Look within and find God!"

God closes doors no man can open;

God opens doors no man can close.

Printable Issue 1583  Today is Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009; Karen's Korner #1583
This is the daily devotional email from Joel and Victoria Osteen sent out today. It seemed appropriate for what I have been thinking and feeling the last few days. It seems that evil (bad things, negative thoughts, bad behaviors) has a way of destroying people's lives and I have seen and sensed it up close and personally the last bit. I don't like to see people destroyed, and I am guessing you don't either:

Take Hold of Your Freedom

"It was for freedom that Christ set us free;
therefore keep standing firm
and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery"
~ (Galatians 5:1, NAS).

"So many people today are missing out on the freedom that God has in store for them simply because they’re always running from their adversities. They’re continually running from their challenges or difficulties, content to stay right where they are. And I know that it’s sometimes difficult to stand against the enemy. It can be uncomfortable to confront our challenges in order to take hold of freedom. But I believe that it is actually more difficult to run from our challenges than it is to stand and face them.

"See, if you’ll face your challenges, then it will only be a temporary difficulty. But if you spend your whole life running from your challenges, it’s as if they never go away—like a ball and chain around your ankle, those challenges will follow you everywhere you go. But that doesn’t have to be you! Instead, stand firm on God’s promises. Declare His Word over your life. Ask God to give you wisdom and direction as you face the difficulties in your life so that you can take hold of the freedom He has prepared for you!"

Father in heaven, thank You for freedom through Christ Jesus. I choose today to stand firm on Your promises. I choose an attitude of faith and expectancy knowing that You are leading me in paths of victory all the days of my life. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Printable Issue 1584  Today is Thursday, June 4th, 2009; Karen's Korner #1584
A writing by Rick Warren of "Purpose Driven Life" fame; forwarded to me several months ago by Kim Lee. Don't know if you (or I) will write down your (my) 'life's lessons' but it is certainly food for thought:
Sharing Your Life Message

“Those who believe in the Son of God have the testimony of God in them.”

(1 John 5:10a GW)


“Your lives are echoing the Master’s Word .... The news of your faith in God is out. We don’t even have to say anything anymore – you’re the message!”

(1 Thessalonians 1:8 MSG)


When you became a believer, you also became God’s messenger. God wants to speak to the world through you. Paul said, “We speak the truth before God, as messengers of God.” (2 Corinthians 2:17b NCV)

Your Life Message includes your life lessons. These are insights you’ve learned about God, relationships, problems, temptations, and other aspects of life. David prayed, “God, teach me lessons for living so I can stay the course.” (Psalm 119:33 MSG)

Sadly, we never learn from a lot that happens to us. Of the Israelites, the Bible says, “Over and over God rescued them, but they never learned – until finally their sins destroyed them.” (Psalms 106:43 MSG) You’ve probably met people like that.

While it is wise to learn from experience, it is wiser to learn from the experiences of others. There isn’t enough time to learn everything in life by trial and error. We must learn from the life lessons of one another. The Bible says, “A warning given by an experienced person to someone willing to listen is more valuable than … jewelry made of the finest gold.” (Proverbs 25:12 TEV)

Write down the major life lessons you’ve learned so you can share them with others. We should be grateful Solomon did this, because it gave us the books of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes, which are filled with practical lessons on living. Imagine how much needless frustration could be avoided if we learned from each other’s life lessons.

Mature people develop the habit of extracting lessons from everyday experiences. I urge you to make a list of your life lessons. You haven’t really thought about them thoroughly unless you’ve written them down. Below are a few questions to jog your memory and get your started:

So what?

  • What has God taught me from failure?
  • What has God taught me from a lack of money?
  • What has God taught me from pain or sorrow or depression?
  • What has God taught me through waiting?
  • What has God taught me through illness?
  • What has God taught me from disappointment?
  • What have I learned from my family, my church, my relationships, my small group, my critics?
Printable Issue 1585  Today is Friday, June 5th, 2009; Karen's Korner #1585
"You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you FREE!
~ John 8:32
Setting something free makes me think of a prison guard taking the keys and letting the prisoner out of their jail. With that act, the person is returned to freedom and the ability to do what he/she wants to do. Freedom from a past of limitations.
But it seems like being set free by Jesus is just the opposite!
People on the 'outside" of His Kingdom, while 'free' to do about anything, seek a new chosen way of life which escapes bullies, wars, diseases, death, addictions, split relationships.........
Once we learn that THE TRUTH is Jesus and His Kingdom, we learn, that by accepting His limitations, we can walk past the security guard into His more limited, restricted Kingdom. Here we find love, lack of some of the miserable things that drag us down in our daily lives, all kinds of care, and leadership by Jesus and His Truth.
We are set free in our new guarded and more restricted emvironment.
Who can get into this new FREE kingdom?
Anyone who asks! We are given a password, an identity code, and we walk into our new Safety Zone! Sure we have walls; we have restrictions, safety guards......not to keep us in but to keep things which will harm us out......
Want to join our FREE band (aka as Christians)?
Tell God you want to join "His Club"; let Him know that you don't deserve entrance. Mention that you want His security, safety, love and care. He will give you a new identity, new freedoms, and a new password to allow entrance into His Kingdom.
Dear Father in Heaven, thank You that You have a plan for each one of our lives. Thank You for Your love and Your care. We confess to You that we have done nothing and given You no reason to take us into Your Kingdom. We don't deserve You and membership in Your Family.  We accept Your love and Your life which You gave to allow my/our passage into Your Kingdom. While it may seem to some that entering into Your World, will be more restricted, in reality we will be FREER than we have ever been in our existence. Thank You for our new identities and new passwords that allow our memberships into Your Way of Life. Thank You that we can now walk freely into Your Forever Kingdom, as  FREE people. Amen.
Printable Issue 1586  Today is Monday, June 8th, 2009; Karen's Korner #1586
A follow up of the Bible verse I mentioned in Friday's Karen's Korner:
"You will know the truth and the truth will set you free"
~ a quote by Jesus in John 8:32
Bible Commentary:  "Jesus himself is the truth that sets us free. He is the source of truth, the perfect standard of what is right. He frees us from the consequences of sin, from self-deception, and from deception by Satan. He shows us clearly the way to eternal life with God. Thus Jesus does not give us freedom to do what we want, but freedom to follow God. As we seek to live for God, Jesus' perfect truth frees us to be all that God meant us to be.
"Sin has a way of enslaving us, controlling us, dominating us, and dictating our actions. Jesus can free us from this slavery that keeps us from becoming the person God created us to be. If sin is restraining, mastering, or enslaving us, Jesus can break its power over our lives."
Printable Issue 1587  Today is Tuesday, June 9th, 2009; Karen's Korner #1587
I was playing the card game of hearts on our computer a few days ago. I was doing pretty well; until I started to get some not-so-good cards. All of the sudden my good score went from first to my being in fourth place.
"I think I am losing," I thought. "This isn't as much fun. Think I will quit!"
But who determined I was losing? I was definitely behind, but the game wasn't over!
It was me who concluded I wasn't going to win. I needed to keep playing, not toss in the towel.
I decided to keep going. Did I win? No, I wound up in second place. But I wasn't the 'loser' I had thought I might be when I wanted to quit.
I wonder how many of us have lives like my hearts card game?
Things go along pretty well. Then we get some bad cards. Life isn't as much fun as it once was. We feel like dropping out; giving up; hitting the X button on our computer screen.
But what happens if we are Christian and we have Christ in our lives?
He always loves us, cares for us, hangs on to our hand when things 'don't go well'. While things may or may not 'turn out the way we anticipated or even asked God for', we are assured it is God's best for our lives and the way that we are fitting into His Kingdom.
We are always in His Collection of 'winners' and He wants us to help direct some others to become 'His One-of-A-Kind Collection' of family members.
Dear Father in Heaven, thank You for the plans You have for each one of us. Thank You that You are in charge of every detail of our lives; even the ones we think unnecessary, too hard, or give us the thought that we are 'losing'. You are God. You turn every life situation into some good, positive thing. Thank You that because of You, regardless of what may be happening to us at this moment, we will come out on top. We are Your Children; we are Winners; we are loved and cared for by You. Thank You, Amen.
Printable Issue 1588  Today is Wednesday, June 10th, 2009; Karen's Korner #1588
What We Really Want to Know
    Here is what we want to know. We want to know how long God's love will endure....  Not just on Easter Sunday when our shoes are shined and our hair is fixed. We want to know (deep within, don't we really want to know?), how does God feel about me when I'm a jerk? Not when I'm peppy and positive and ready to tackle world hunger. Not then. I know how he feels about me then. Even I like me then.
    I want to know how he feels about me when I snap at anything that moves, when my thoughts are gutter-level, when my tongue is sharp enough to slice a rock. How does he feel about me then? ...
    That's what we want to know.....
    Untethered by time, he sees us all. From the backwoods of Virginia to the business district of London.... Vagabonds and ragamuffins all, he saw us before we were born.
    And he loves what he sees. Flooded by emotion. Overcome by pride, the Starmaker turns to us, one by one, andy says, "You are my child. I love you dearly. I'm aware that someday you'll turn from me and walk away. But I want you to know I've already provided you a way back."
By Max Lucado
Taken from In the Grip of Grace
Printable Issue 1589  Today is Thursday, June 11th, 2009; Karen's Korner #1589
Just received "TODAY" this morning from Shirley Choat; hope you enjoy it as much as I do. It is written by 'Mark'; I don't know who Mark is. But thanks, Mark:
Today, I will delete from my journal two days:
yesterday and tomorrow
 Yesterday, was to learn from and tomorrow...
well, that will be the consequence of what I can do today.
Today, I will face life with the sure knowledge
that this day will never return.
Today, is the last opportunity I have to live intensely, 
as no one can assure me that I will see tomorrow's sunrise.
Today, I will be brave enough not to let any opportunity pass me by,
 my only alternative is to succeed.
Today, I will invest my most valuable resource:
my time
in the most transcendental work: 
my life...
Today, I will spend each minute passionately,
to make today a different and unique day in my life.
Today, I will defy every obstacle that appears
on trusting I will succeed.
Today, I will resist pessism and will conquer
the world with a smile and a positive attitude
of always expecting the best.
Today, I will make of every ordinary task
a sublime expression.
Today, I will have my feet on the ground
understanding reality
and the stars' gaze,
and thus will invent my future.
Today, I will take the time to be happy
and will leave my footprints and my presence
in the hearts of others,
not just in the sands of time.
Today, I invite you to begin a new season
where we can dream
that everything we undertake is possible
and we fulfill that dream, with joy and dignity.
Today, why not perfrom a random act of kindness?
And if there are those that you love, tell them...
you don't know when it might be your last opportunity.
Tell them, as I have just done.....
Printable Issue 1590  Today is Friday, June 12th, 2009; Karen's Korner #1590
From "An Invitation to PRAYER for Mothers":
"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for,
the evidence of things not seen.
By faith we understand that the worlds
were formed by the word of God,
so that the things which are seen
were not made of things which are visible."
~~ Hebrews 11:1,3
Father, help me to live by faith and not by sight. I recognize that faith is not my wishful thinking, but an inward conviction that You will always do what You promise regardless of my circumstances. Through faith, I declare my weaknesses and at the same time proclaim the abolute trustworthiness of God and Your complete and willing ability to do what I cannot. Help me, Lord, not to have foolish confidence in myself, but always look to You in every part of my life. For You are always faithful and I can count on You. Praise God. Amen.
Printable Issue 1591  Today is Monday, June 15th, 2009; Karen's Korner #1591
A writing from "Chicken Soup for the Soul of America", featuring stories surrounding times right after September 11, 2001 (in part):
Twin Saving at the Twin Towers
Kenneth Summers was one of the few people who were seriously injured and lived to see another day, only because someone stepped forward in sacrifice.
An early bird, Summers arrived at his desk on the 27th floor of the North Tower......around 7:15 a.m. After clearing up is busywork, he took the elevator down to the soaring glass lobby of the World Trade Center to mail some personal bills. What a perfect day, he thought. Crystal clear sky, cool air. The kind of day you feel happy to be alive.
"I wasn't outside for more than ten seconds, when I thought I heard something like a massive train rushing past. Then boom! I looked to the right and saw someone I knew from upstairs racing for cover," he recalled. "I don't even know if I took the time to look up."
To take cover for himself, he rushed back to the revolving door leading into the North Tower. Inside that swirling door, Summers immediately noticed the space around him filling up with orange-yellowish colored fumes. "A second later, all hell broke lose," he continued. Shards of glass were flying everywhere as the force of an explosion lifted him up and out onto the street.
"I ws on my back and on fire. I frantically looked to see if I had fingers or toes. I was lying next to the big planters outside and I kept saying to myself, I'm okay. I'm okay. Then I realized I was bleeding from my hands to my head, and I was covered in burns."
He beat his clothers and his hair with his hands to extinquish the flames that engulfed him. Once he put the fire out, he staggered across the street, looked up and saw the black smoke billowing from the top floors of the Tower. Was it anothe bomb, like in 1993? he thought. Or maybe a plane had hit the towers. People on the sidewalk around him seemed frozen. Summers pleaded with strangers to help him, but understandably everyone seemed too stunned to respond.
A split second later, there was a swoosh over his head, and he heard a second explosion. Suddenly the South Tower was ablaze. Fiery debris rained down and Summers began to run. His skin was smoking and smoldering, peeling off in sheets. He was charred black and going into shock.
That's when a stranger with a kind face started calming Summers. "I want to help you. My name is Stephen Newman. I want to be your guide," he offered.
A 36-year-old banker for Merrill Lynch, Newman wasn't sure what motivated him. He knew Summers needed medical attention fast. "We have to get across the river," he said to the badly injured man who was getting weaker by the moment.
Staggering, Summers slumped more and more with every step. But Newman's calm persistence pushed him on. The hobbling man and his newfound guide were the last two people to board the ferry leaving for Jersey City. As the ferry pulled away, the South Tower collapsed.
Medical help was waiting for the critically injured when they reached their destination. Summers was one of the few lucky ones. He lived. Had Newman not stopped amidst all the panic that surrounded them, Summers is certain he would have perished. "Steve save my life," Summers said.
Yet, in a startling revelation, Newman made the same declaration to him. "You probably saved my life, too," he replied. "If I hadn't helped you, we both might have been there when the buildings fell."
Through the sacrifice of one, two lives were saved. It was volunteering of the tallest order.
~~ Robin Gaby Fisher
Printable Issue 1592  Today is Tuesday, June 16th, 2009; Karen's Korner #1592
Sometimes I receive pass-along emails which I really enjoy; this one is from Al Bennett:
Clay  Balls       

A man was exploring caves by the seashore.  In one of the caves he found
a canvas bag with a bunch of hardened clay balls.  It was like someone
had rolled clay balls and left them out in the sun to bake.  They didn't
look like much, but they intrigued the man, so he took the bag out of
the cave with him.  As he strolled along the beach, he would throw the
clay balls one at a time out into the ocean as far as he could. 
He thought little about it, until he dropped one of the clay balls and
it cracked open on a rock .  Inside was a beautiful, precious stone!
Excited, the man started breaking open the remaining clay balls.  Each
contained a similar treasure.  He found thousands of dollars worth of
jewels in the 20 or so clay balls he had left.  
Then it struck him.  He had been on the beach a long time. He had thrown
maybe 50 or 60 of the clay balls with their hidden treasure into the
ocean waves.  Instead of thousands of dollars in treasure, he could have
taken home tens of thousands, but he had just thrown it away! 
It's like that with people.  We look at someone, maybe even ourselves,
and we see the external clay vessel.  It doesn't look like much from the
outside.  It isn't always beautiful or sparkling, so we discount it. 
We see that person as less important than someone more beautiful or
stylish or well known or wealthy.  But we have not taken the time to
find the treasure hidden inside that person. 
There is a treasure in each and every one of us.  If we take the time to
get to know that person, and if we ask God to show us that person the
way He sees them, then the clay begins to peel away and the brilliant
gem begins to shine forth. 
May we not come to the end of our lives and find out that we have thrown
away a fortune in friendships because the gems were hidden in bits of
Printable Issue 1593  Today is Wednesday, June 17th, 2009; Karen's Korner #1593
Today is my sister, Amy's birthday. She is the middle sister of the five of us girls. Along with being her birthday, it is also the day that Ed and Merry were married in 1995. At their wedding, more than once Amy would say, "Thanks so much for coming to my birthday party!"
So in an anniversary honor, here is #3 in a series of Merry's memories at the time of her death. In case, you wrongly believe that this is so sad to remember; instead it is a time for me to recall 'God experieces' surrounding that time.
One of the reasons I started Karen's Korners:  so I never forgot......always remembered:
Karen's Korner #30


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

Printable Issue 1594  Today is Thursday, June 18th, 2009; Karen's Korner #1594
Several weeks ago my mom asked me to do a program for her local club which has been in existence for more than one hundred years! What was a "Home Improvement" club, now features whatever the hostess for the month sets.
She asked me to be their program for June. What would I do or tell them? I have a couple of programs which I have given a number of places. Several of the members would have heard the presentations.
Then I knew. Club members range in age from the early 70s to the mid-90s. Why rely on my thoughts, when they had all of their wisdom and life experiences. I would interview them and use it? I wasn't sure how.
I asked them five questions which I would like to share a portion of the ten-member responses who attended that day.
Recall one vivid memory of the depression.
Several remembered being able to buy patches (like a car tire patch) for soles of shoes when they wore out; cost 10 cents each from either a dime store or a grocery store. Lots of stories of people being out of work and not being able to find a job. One lady told of her father not having a job and moving with the family from South Dakota to Iowa to live with her grandparents. The federal CCC camps for men who were out of work and for kids graduating from high school. Pay was $22, but they couldn't recall if that was per week or per month. Lots of the camp structures are still in use today.Seventy-five year old Mary Woerver recalls her dad selling two big cars for a total of $17.
Recollections of living through World War II.
Because of the age span, some of the ladies were in school. Some were working or newly marrried at the time. They remembered sugar, coffee, bananas, oranges, and gas being rationed (as well as porbably other things). My mom, Kit Zirbel (90) said, "All tires were listed by the rationing board by serial number. Used tires (with matching serial numbers) had to be turned in to get another tire." Speed limit was 35 mph to save gasoline. Mom told, "You haven't lived until you travel from South Carolina to Iowa (my dad was in the Army and was being shipped to Europe), driving 35 mph with a six-month-old baby." The first thing she had to do was get enough gas stamps from the rationing board for the trip and then make sure they stretched far enough to make the trip.
"We planted victory gardens," said Nadine Drenan (71), "to produce our own food rather than using others to produce food for us."  Donna Furleigh (75) said, "I was always sure the Germans were going to come and get us any minute." They recalled 'black out' drills, practicing to shut off all lights in case they needed to ever not be seen by any enemies from the air. Kids who were in school would bring small amounts of change to school and buy war bond stamps. Once the stamp book was filled, they would be turned in to a $25 U.S. savings bond (war bond) to help finance the war. Lots of $$ back then.
Thoughts about life/culture/economy/government today.
They recalled the country 'coming together as one' after 9/11 but unfortunately it didn't last long.
They can't understand changing things which have stood the test of time:  i.e. marriages, use of money and credit. Several mentioned, "We may not have had much money, but we didn't spend what we didn't have." Living beyond ones means - families and governments, they have a hard time accepting.
Because of all of the changes, they believe we are living in a 'scary' time. Collectively, they recall lots of sharing: i.e.sharing bedrooms with up to four siblings. One said, "Today kids are so used to have things like their own bedroom, etc. When they get married, I don't know if they know what it is like to share." Another said there are too many elected leaders who are only concerned about getting re-elected and not representing the people and their needs. They hope that the number of job losses will not get more serious.
One change/new invention which has most impacted your life.
Donna Furleigh:  microwaves. Lenita Houdek (86) recalled hardly being able to study because when she got home from school they would have electricity (not like switches, but pull strings from lights in the middle of the room. Several said, "Running water". My mom, who moved from town (which had indoor plumbing) to the farm when she got married, said, "Hot Water". Gertrude Larsen (91) said, "Wrinkle free fabric."
Several nodded their agreement that two inventions were both great and unnecessary:
computers and cell phones.  Computers are good for communication but can reveal more information that anyone needs. Cell phones would have been 'nice when we were farming and I had to walk a couple of miles to get where I needed to go', said Nadine Drennan, or "when we were in the excavating business," said Jennie McNelson (81). But why do some of the younger ones have a cell phone up to their ear at all times, rather than talking with their friend right next to them.
An unnecessary invention/technology.
Along with the computers and cell phones at times. Who needs an iPod? So many fast food places to eat?? Does the world need all of the types of armaments that we have which could be used on one another? One said, "Credit cards are nice, but they certainly aren't a gift from Santa Claus. Pay day is coming."
And there were other comments. But a nice voice of past, present and future wisdom.
Printable Issue 1595  Today is Friday, June 19th, 2009; Karen's Korner #1595
A few days before Memorial Day, Luke and Molly, our five- and three-year-old grandchildren spent a couple of days at grandma and grandpa's house.
When we got ready to go to bed the first night, I said a prayer with them. I said a few words thanking God for blessing us, for the day we had spent and would be spending the next day.
Molly said she wanted a turn and then Luke wanted to add something.
In the middle of Luke's prayer, he made his request known to God. ".....God, I really would like for You to get me a dog. Little boys need a dog. I know You can do it, God....."
Was it a pep talk? Or a little boy making his request known to God?
I loved what Luke had to say, because he let God know what was on his heart and mind. He took his case to a 'higher court' and is trusting God to give him his heart's desire.
Reminded me to tell God my needs, sometimes I hang on to them or attempt to do things myself. Things outside my limited abilities.
James 5:16 says that 'the earnest prayer of a righteous man (woman, little child!) has great power and wonderful results'.
Does Luke have a dog? No. Is he going to get one? I don't know. We will see what God has in store for him. We know that it will be what is best.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the heartfelt prayers of little children. Thank You for allowing them to teach me. Help me to be like Luke and to bring all of my needs and wants to You. Give me the patience to wait on Your answers. Some of them will be answered just like I asked. Some will be a 'no' because You know better than I do from my limited perspective. And some of them will be wildly bigger and better than I could ever dream or imagine. Help me to have the 'big faith of  a small child'. Amen.
Printable Issue 1596  Today is Monday, June 22nd, 2009; Karen's Korner #1596
A writing published in "Chicken Soup for the Soul of America", featuring the times surrounding 9/11.
It is titled "The Crumpled Blue Ribbon" (in part); it seems appropriate for Fathers' Day weekend:
"The Crumpled Blue Ribbon"
Helice Bridges
Mrs. Green, a fourth-grade teacher, was grief-stricken as she watched the news on television. As a twenty-two year teacher, she had never known such despair. But then she had another thought, she would purchase blue ribbon for the students to make "Who I am Makes a Difference" ribbons.
She told each student in her class how unique and special they each were as she placed a blue ribbon just above each one's heart.
As they left her classroom, she handed out extra blue ribbons saying, "Go home and tell your parents, brothers, sisters -- everybody -- how much you love them. Tell them today! Place a blue ribbon above their heart."
Less than a week later, a parent stormed into her classroom unannounced.
"I'm Timmy's father," he declared. "Was this year idea to do this blue ribbon project?"
"Yes," Mrs. Green answered.
"Well," the father mumbled, pulling out a crumpled blue ribbon from his pocket, "my son came home the other day and told me how much he loved me and what a good father I am. I've come here to tell you that I'm not a good father. I'm an alcoholic. But something happened to me when my son told me how much he loved me. At that moment, I decided to go to AA for the first time. I even attended church this past Sunday. You see," he said as he turned toward the door, "the world might be hurting, but I don't need to add to the pain. In fact," he said, "from now on I'm going to become the father my son thinks I am......."
Printable Issue 1597  Today is Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009; Karen's Korner #1597
A good Joel and Victoria Osteen daily email. With lots of changes swirling around us, we might need to refocus on God and what He has in store for us, regardless of our ages, our employment, our family structure/size:

His Call Remains

 For God’s gifts and His call can never be withdrawn
 (Romans 11:29, NLT).

What is the vision that you have for your future? Maybe at one time you were excited about your life—you had big goals, big dreams, but you went through some disappointments or life didn’t turn out the way you planned and now you’ve just settled where you are. But understand, God’s plan for your life didn’t go away just because you had some disappointments, setbacks, or because somebody treated you unfairly. God didn’t write you off just because you made some poor decisions. No, He knew every mistake you’d ever make; He knew every person who would wrong you, and He still called you. He still designed a perfect plan for your life. No matter what’s happened in your past, God’s plan for your good remains. He still has a bright future in store for you. If you will get your hopes back and get your vision in line with God’s Word, then the rest of your life will be the best of your life! Keep standing, keep believing, and get a vision for your future because the Lord has an amazing future in store for you!

Heavenly Father, thank You for loving me. Thank you for calling me and giving my life purpose. I choose to shake off the past; I choose to forgive those who have hurt me, and I choose to keep my eyes on You, knowing that You will complete the good work You started in my life. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Printable Issue 1598  Today is Wednesday, June 24th, 2009; Karen's Korner #1598
Where would we be without God's care, protection, and love?
He helps us by giving us so many things - i.e. strength, joy, hope, love.
Changes me for the better. And no one knows better than God that I need His help!
Psalms 28:6 - 9 (New International Version) says:
6 Praise be to the LORD,
       for he has heard my cry for mercy.

 7 The LORD is my strength and my shield;
       my heart trusts in him, and I am helped.
       My heart leaps for joy
       and I will give thanks to him in song.

 8 The LORD is the strength of his people,
       a fortress of salvation for his anointed one.

 9 Save your people and bless your inheritance;
       be their shepherd and carry them forever.


Printable Issue 1599  Today is Thursday, June 25th, 2009; Karen's Korner #1599
I received this pass-along email from Clarissa Johnson about Billy Graham. Some of these which we pass around, turn out not to be factual; hard to tell about this one. If it isn't true, it sounds like Billy Graham:
Billy Graham is now 90 years old with Parkinson's disease. 

In January 2000, leaders in Charlotte , North Carolina , 
invited their favorite son, Billy Graham, to a luncheon in 
his honor. 

Billy initially hesitated to accept the invitation because he 
struggles with Parkinson's disease. But the Charlotte  
leaders said, 'We don 't expect a major address. Just 
come and let us honor you.' 
So he agreed. 

After wonderful things were said about him, Dr. Graham 
stepped to the rostrum, looked at the crowd, and said, 
'I'm reminded today of Albert Einstein, the great physicist who 
this month has been honored by Time magazine as the 
Man of the Century.  Einstein was once traveling from 
Princeton on a train when the conductor came down the 
aisle, punching the tickets of every passenger.  When he 
came to Einstein, Einstein reached in his vest pocket. He 
couldn't find his ticket, so he reached in his trouser pockets. 
It wasn't there, so he looked in his briefcase but couldn't find it. 
Then he looked in the seat beside him.    
He still couldn't find it. 

The conductor said, 'Dr Einstein, I know who you are.    
We all know who you are. I'm sure you bought a ticket. 
Don't worry about it.' 
Einstein nodded appreciatively. The conductor continued 
down the aisle punching tickets. As he was ready to 
move to the next car, 
he turned around and saw the great physicist down on his hands 
and knees looking under his 
seat for his ticket. 

The conductor rushed back and said, 'Dr. Einstein, 
Dr. Einstein, don't worry, I know who you are. No problem. 
You don't need a ticket. 
I'm sure you bought one.' 

Einstein looked at him and said, 'Young man, I too, know who I am. 
What I don't know is where I'm going.'' 

Having said that Billy Graham continued, 
'See the suit I'm wearing? It's a brand new suit.    
My wife, my children, and my grandchildren are telling me 
I've gotten a little slovenly in 
my old age. I used to be a bit more fastidious. So I went 
out and bought a new suit for this luncheon and one more occasion. 

You know what that occasion is? This is the suit in which 
I'll be buried. But when you hear I'm dead, I don't want 
you to immediately remember the suit I'm wearing. 
I want you to remember this: 

I not only know who I am ... I also know where I'm going.' 
Printable Issue 1600  Today is Friday, June 26th, 2009; Karen's Korner #1600
Wow! Another milestone in Karen's Korner history. What would be a good 'korner' for #1600?
I decided to share one more 'when Merry died' writings from more than six years ago. Stay tuned for another writing in the future......


Today is Tuesday, May 20th, 2003; Karen's Korner #57

..."when Merry died"....(part 5)


One of the feelings I had after Merry died, was that somehow I (we) were being asked to move ahead with our lives and we were leaving Merry "behind". Life has a way: it just keeps moving.

Something we are taught repeatedly in the Christian faith is that many things are backwards in our spiritual worlds from what we experience in our physical worlds: those who are first will be last; those who are last will be first; those who are weak are strong.....

And then I knew: Merry wasn't behind! She had been propelled ahead........

Whether we are Bible scholars or not, most of us have heard or read the story of Moses and his leading the oppressed people of Israel toward the Promised Land. If no place else, we watched Charleton Heston's role as Moses in "The Ten Commandments".

When the people had moved out of Egypt, they were free for the first time. But it wasn't too long before the pharoah sent troops after Moses and his people to get them to return to the land they had left. To make matters worse, the new pilgrims were situated against the Red Sea with no where to turn. They were trapped and their futures looked bleak.

That is when God opened the Red Sea and allowed the Children of Israel to escape from what appeared to be a hopeless situation. They walked through the sea bed safely on dry ground, while God held back the water. When the soldiers followed behind, they were drowned in the water. The losers became winners; and the winners became losers!

As I thought about this story, it seemed like God was showing me that this story is our story: the story of each of our lives. He is the leader. We are the children. We reach impossible situations, dead ends, death! But that isn't the end of the story. He holds back the waters of life & death and we walk through safely on dry ground. Our job is to keep moving!

And in my mind's eye, I could see Merry....I could visualize her with her short legs, running to reach the Promised Land. She was not behind, but was moving ahead....faster. And as she ran........she never looked back; no backward glances over her shoulder! She was focused on her final destination!

And the rest of us? We continue to walk.........in the same direction, with the same destination, but we are moving slower! We, too, are asked to continue our forward focus and not look back....each of our arrival dates safely on to a new shore, and a new land will vary. But we have only one goal, one journey: keep moving!!

At the same time, I would visualize this.........it seemed like God would say to me, "More people will be in heaven, because Merry lived shorter you would have liked!"

Like everything God does, I am not sure how all this is being accomplished. But this I am sure...like everything God does, He is faithful and keeps His promises..

Printable Issue 1601  Today is Monday, June 29th, 2009; Karen's Korner #1601
We received a note from a Fertile/Forest City school classmate, Elsie Felland, one day last week.
It seems the Forest City Summit has a column titled "Summit Yesteryears" and this particular issue stated that 45 years ago on June 25, 1964 "Mr and Mrs Stanley Zirbel lost 16 out of a pen of 19 geese to foxes Saturday.  A den of foxes were found on the Zirbel farm."
That would have be my mom and dad and it would have been our farm. Elsie inquired if I remembered the incident.
No, couldn't recall it.
It made me think about life then and life now.
Probably at the time, it was a 'family tragedy', causing our family trauma, distraction, concern, worry.
Today I can't even remember it!
I wonder what it might be today that is capturing your/my attention, which we won't even remember in the short or distant future.
Maybe it is one of the reasons that God tells us 'not to worry about anything', wanting us to trust Him with our today and our tomorrow. All of our tomorrows.
Chances are pretty good we couldn't handle lots of things in the past. Things on our plate today. What might be slid onto our table tomorrow.
But He knows. He cares. He can....
"This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it."
~ Psalms 118:24
Praise be to God!
Printable Issue 1602  Today is Tuesday, June 30th, 2009; Karen's Korner #1602
Today's thought is from Max Lucado in his book titled, "In the Grip of Grace". We don't have to look very many days backward or probably many days into our future, until we hear some horrific story in the news and we think to ourselves, "How could anyone do that?"
Lucado offers a thought on the matter:
The Soul Killer
Sin is a fatal disease
Sin has sentenced us to a slow, painful death.
Sin does to life what shears do to a flower. a cut at the stem separates a flower from the source of life. Initially the flower is attractive, still colorful and strong. But watch that flower over a period of time, and the leaves will wilt and the petals will drop. No matter what you do, the flower will never live again. Surround it with water. Stick the stem in soil. Baptize it with fertilizer. Glue the flower back on the stem. Do what you wish. The flower is dead......
A dead soul has no life.
Cut off from God, the soul withers and dies. The consequence of sin is not a bad day or a bad mood but a dead soul. The sign of a dead soul is clear:  poisoned lips and cursing mouths, feet that lead to violence and eyes that don't see God.
Now you know how people can be so vulgar, their souls are dead. Now you see how some religions can be so oppressive. They have no life. Now you understand how the drug peddler can sleep at night and the dictator can live with his conscience. He has none.
The finished work of sin is to kill the soul.