August 2003 Archives
Today is Friday, August 1st, 2003; Karen's Korner #105|
A number of years ago I spent a limited amount of time working as a consultant for small businesses. One of the things, which we learned and shared with small business owners, is that for any business to succeed, the people owning or operating it need to possess 10 skills. Things like producing the product, selling their inventory or services, accounting, managing time. A person or team will possess between 3 and 6 of those skills naturally, without classes or help of any kind. But if even one of those skills is missing it can take the business down and cause it to fail.
When I would talk with people, we wouldn’t talk about "if" they were missing several of those necessary skills. Instead we would try to identify which ones they were missing. There wasn’t something wrong with them as business owners. They were normal. Nobody had all the necessary skills and interests to be successful. By identifying "shortcomings", people could take the necessary steps to work toward the magic number 10 to enhance their business success.
I wonder if that is the way we all are in our personal lives, too. Do we naturally possess a certain number of skills? But no one person possesses enough of them to be "successful"? We know of people who are wonderful providers, but turn into workaholics and neglect their families. Or how about a superstar who has millions of dollars but for some reason takes drugs to enhance their happiness. We wonder how they could possible be unhappy, given their fame and fortune. And we have our own lists, even if we "look good" to others.
Is it possible that God made us this way on purpose? That we aren’t complete without Him and His Love? That we can do 3 – 6 things okay on our own, but we can’t seem to get to #10 which provide us ultimate love, peace, and joy?
I think He likes it when we tell Him about all things we are and all of the things we aren’t. Then He begins to change our focus, changes our perspective, and adds some "extra" things on to what we already are. He likes, too, to enhance our strengths, our positives, and make them even better than they were before. God loves us just the way we are, but knows we can be more than we are today.
We can become, not because of who or what we are; but because of Who and What He is!
Today is Monday, August 4th, 2003; Karen's Korner #106|
Last week Irene Hunst acknowledged one Karen's Korner and returned a writing to me, which helps to impact her daily life. Church denominations sometimes use a variety of words; some we are more familiar with than others. But the Christian message remains the same:
PRAYER TO THE HOLY SPIRIT
(Written by Cardinal Mercier)
' I am going to reveal to you the secret of sanctity and happiness. Every day for five minutes control your imagination and close your eyes to the things of sense and your ears to all the noises of the world, in order to enter into yourself. Then, in the sanctity of your baptized soul (which is the temple of the Holy Spirit) speak to that Divine Spirit, saying to Him:
"O, Holy Spirit, beloved of my soul,...I adore You. Enlighten me, guide me, strengthen me, console me. Tell me what I should do....give me Your orders, I promise to submit myself to all that You desire of me and to accept all that You permit to happen to me. Let me only know Your will."
If you do this, your life will flow along happily, serenely and full of consolation, even in the midst of trials. Grace will be proportioned to the trial, giving you the strength to carry it and you will arrive at the gate of Paradise, laden with merit. This submission to the Holy Spirit is the secret of sanctity.'
Today is Tuesday, August 5th, 2003; Karen's Korner #107|
This is today's Chicken Soup for the Soul email. It is somewhat lengthy, if you have the time to read
it, I think you will enjoy it:
The Ring I Really Want
By Rachel Wallace-Oberle
"Oh, I love your diamond," Janet said admiringly as we
served lunch to the children in the school gym. "It's
"Thanks," I said, and then I confessed. "It's not
real; it's just a cubic zirconia."
Her eyes widened. "Wow. I would never have guessed."
I have always had a passion for collecting fine
jewelry, but I also own a few quality fake pieces, which
generally fool everyone. Janet eyed my large sparkling
ring. "I've never owned anything like that," she sighed,
looking down at the plain thin wedding band on her hand.
We finished serving the children their Thanksgiving
turkey lunch, but Janet's words stayed with me. I knew she
and her husband could not afford even the small luxuries of
life; they are a Christian family who lives down the street
with four boys, and they work hard to make ends meet.
The idea of giving my ring to Janet came to me the
next day. I pushed it away immediately. Although the 14-
carat gold ring was only a cubic zirconia, I liked it and
wore it often with my wedding band. The thought of
knocking on Janet's door and presenting her with my ring
seemed ridiculous. I tried to shrug the notion off, but
the thought persisted. It bothered me for a week. I had
no peace until finally I prayed: "Lord, if this is
something you want me to do, I'll do it, but please go with
me and let her be home when I go." I reasoned that if I
knocked on the door and Janet wasn't home, which she often
wasn't, I would take it as a sign that I didn't have to
part with my ring. I felt a little better but was still
unenthusiastic about this errand.
The next morning I put the ring in its little blue
velvet box, wrapped it up in tissue paper and walked down
the street to Janet's house, my heart pounding. 'She'll
think I'm crazy,' I thought. 'What kind of neighbor gives
someone a 14-carat gold ring? I don't even know her that
I felt like turning around and going home but forced
myself to climb the steps to Janet's house. I knocked
quietly on the door. No one answered. I stood on her
porch, waiting uncomfortably. Knock again, God's spirit
prompted. Reluctantly I knocked again. No one answered.
I felt the stirrings of relief. Maybe she was away
and I could forget about this whole thing. Just as I stood
there contemplating my escape, I heard the doorknob rattle.
Janet looked incredibly surprised to see me. "Hi," she
"Good morning," I said, struggling not to blush with
discomfort. I handed her the small package. "I have
something for you."
She looked astounded. "For me?"
I nodded. "The Lord has been telling me all week to
give this to you."
She took it and as her fingers closed over the
contours of the box, she realized what it was. To my
immense surprise, her eyes filled with tears and her hands
began to shake. "No," her voice quavered. "I can't accept
this. It's too much. I can't accept this."
An immense peace and joy descended upon me there on
Janet's front porch. "You're my sister in Christ and I
want you to have it," I said, unable to keep the delight
from spreading over my face.
Janet unwrapped the ring and cried. I hugged her, my
eyes full of tears. She hugged me back. It took a bit of
convincing on my part, but she finally agreed to keep the
ring. "If you ever change your mind, just tell me and I'll
give it back," she promised. It was a few sizes too small
for her, so I told her to have it adjusted at the nearby
jewelry store, which had extremely reasonable prices.
I thought that was the end of the story, but several
weeks later as I was walking past Janet's house, she flew
out the door, across the porch and out to the sidewalk.
"I have a present for you," she said breathlessly.
She thrust a little package at me.
"Janet, you don't have to do that," I protested.
"Open it," she said, grinning.
I opened it and found a little blue velvet box with my
ring in it. I looked up at her, puzzled and slightly
disappointed that she had chosen not to keep it.
"I went to the jewelry store you told me about to get
it sized," she explained, "but the clerk didn't think it
would be good for the claws and setting to enlarge it that
many sizes. I was devastated. I finally had something
beautiful and I couldn't even wear it."
Janet's smile was incongruent with her story.
"I don't understand," I admitted.
On the sidewalk, in the late afternoon, with the sun
slanting through the maple tree in Janet's yard, she told
me what had happened. For years, her set of wedding bands
had lain in a dresser drawer in her bedroom. She had lost
the diamond solitaire, and the rings needed repairs and
sizing. It was a gorgeous antique set but she had been
unable to wear it. Every Mother's Day, birthday and
Christmas, she had quietly gone to that dresser drawer and
examined her rings, hoping her husband had surprised her by
getting them fixed. And every time she went to the drawer,
she was disappointed. Repairing and restoring the rings
were simply too expensive. She and her husband had
received estimates from jewelers of nearly one thousand
dollars for the work. They couldn't afford to spend their
money on something so frivolous. My gift had touched her
heart, but what she wanted most was to wear her own wedding
On a whim, Janet asked the clerk in the jewelry store
about getting her wedding rings fixed. She had given up
hope that it would ever happen. It had never occurred to
her to consider a synthetic gem - until now. Janet's rings
were sized and repaired and the center stone replaced with
a cubic zirconia for under $100. She held her hand out to
show me. Her rings sparkled in the sunlight. Rows of
glittering diamonds encircled a solitaire that flashed with
brilliant fire. They were stunning.
"For the first time in seven years, I am wearing my
rings again," she said, her voice breaking. "Thank you for
your gift. Thank you more than you'll ever know - but
these are the only rings I really want."
I walked home in a daze. It took quite a while for
the whole extraordinary sequence of events to sink in. I
have concluded that God's intricate plans are altogether
too incredible to anticipate or comprehend. The next time
He wants to entwine my life with another, I will do as He
asks - without questions, without doubts - and with trust.
Today is Wednesday, August 6th, 2003; Karen's Korner #108|
This is something that I wrote last month and would like to share with you today:
July 1, 2003
Time to make dinner, but what? Within the last week, the same flower gardens in which I normally enjoy working, seem like work, rather than pleasure. Don’t know why but some of the things I usually enjoy doing, I’m not.
What is going on? I am the guy who makes multiple calls to line up people to do a variety of tasks. Picking up the phone sounds like work. Maybe I will do it tomorrow.
How long is this feeling and thought process going to last?
As quickly as these negative thoughts and actions come my way, they are gone. Now I am back to my "normal?" self. Enjoying my same hobbies and people in my life. I want to be "happy" and "positive" all of the time. Doesn’t happen.
But God moves the "good" closer together, and makes the "bad" shorter and farther apart. He has given me a new nature, His nature. But as long as I am in this life, I will sometimes demand my own way. My body will scream at times to do only things, which are self-centered and sometimes self-destructive.
In Romans, chapter 7 and verse 31 says, "Who will free me from my slavery to this deadly lower nature? Thank God! It has been done by Jesus Christ our Lord. He has set me free."
As God’s children, He has given each of us new natures…….I have a new nature……..hmm, sometimes I forget!
Today is Thursday, August 7th, 2003; Karen's Korner #109|
Four short thoughts:
· It is one of the beautiful compensations of this
life that no one can sincerely try to help another
without helping himself.
--Charles Dudley Warner
· The difference between adults and children is that
adults don't ask questions.
* Children are not things to be molded,
but are people to be unfolded.
· The way I see it, if you want the rainbow,
you gotta put up with the rain.
Today is Friday, August 8th, 2003; Karen's Korner #110|
Shared by Sharon Frank...
Did you know that an eagle knows when a storm is
approaching long before it breaks? The eagle will fly to
some high spot and wait for the winds to come. When the
storm hits, it sets its wings so that the wind will pick it
up and lift it above the storm. While the storm rages
below, the eagle is soaring above it. The eagle does not
escape the storm. It simply uses the storm to lift it
higher. It rises on the winds that bring the storm.
When the storms of life come upon us - and all of us will
experience them - we can rise above them by setting our
minds and our belief toward God. The storms do not have to
overcome us. We can allow God's power to lift us above
them. God enables us to ride the winds of the storm that
bring sickness, tragedy, failure, and disappointment in
our lives. We can soar above the storm.
Remember, it is not the burdens of life that weigh us down,
it is how we handle them. The Bible says, "Those who hope
in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on
wings like eagles." Isaiah 40:31
Today is Monday, August 11th, 2003; Karen's Korner #111|
A pass around email from Judy and Kevin Ofstethun:
Sometimes we wonder, "What did I do to deserve this", or "Why did God have
to do this to me". Here is a wonderful explanation!
A daughter is telling her Mother how everything is going wrong, she's
failing algebra, her boyfriend broke up with her and her best friend is
Meanwhile, her Mother is baking a cake and asks her daughter if she would
like a snack, and the daughter says, "Absolutely Mom, I love your cake."
"Here, have some cooking oil," her Mother offers.
"Yuck" says her daughter.
"How about a couple raw eggs?"
"Would you like some flour then? Or maybe baking soda?"
"Mom, those are all yucky!"
To which the mother replies: "Yes, all those things seem bad all by
themselves. But when they are put together in the right way, they make a
wonderfully delicious cake!"
God works the same way. Many times we wonder why He would let us go
through such bad and difficult times. But God knows
that when He puts these things all in His order, they always work for
good! We just have to trust Him and, eventually, they will all make
Today is Tuesday, August 12th, 2003; Karen's Korner #112|
Psalms 40:17 - "I am poor and weak, yet the Lord is thinking about me right now! O my God, you are my helper. You are my Savior; come quickly, and save me. Please don't delay!"
Bible Commentary on that verse: "The leader of your country probably does not know you by name, let alone think about you. But the King of all creation, the Ruler of the universe is thinking about you right now. Allow this truth to buoy your self-esteem. If God always has us in his thoughts, perhaps we could do more to keep HIm in our thoughts."
My thoughts: There are lots of places we can be "poor and weak" outside of money and health. What a thought to know that God always is thinking about us...........and He doesn't think 'bad thoughts' about us either! Sometimes when I think badly of myself for something I said, or didn't say; did, or should have done, I think, "But God what do you think about me?" And it seems, He gently reminds me.........how wonderful I am and how much He loves me.............now that is a loving, caring Heavenly Father!
Today is Wednesday, August 13th, 2003; Karen's Korner #113|
Pass along email from Maureen and Vern Elston:
What if God couldn't take the time to bless us today
because we couldn't take the time to thank Him yesterday?
What if God decided to stop leading us tomorrow
because we didn't follow Him today?
What if we never saw another flower bloom
because we grumbled when God sent the rain?
What if God didn't walk with us today
because we failed to recognize it as His day?
What if God took away the Bible tomorrow
because we would not read it today?
What if God took away His message
because we failed to listen to the messenger?
What if God didn't send His only begotten Son
because He wanted us to be prepared to pay the price for sin.
What if the door of the church was closed
because we did not open the door of our heart?
What if God stopped loving and caring for us
because we failed to love and care for others?
What if God would not hear us today
because we would not listen to Him?
What if God answered our prayers
the way we answer His call to service?
What if God met our needs
the way we give Him our lives???
Today is Thursday, August 14th, 2003; Karen's Korner #114|
This is a Chicken Soup for the Soul daily email which I received several weeks ago;
hope that you enjoy it as much as I did!
Afraid of the Night
By Nancy Harless
Death came to call most often in the early morning
hours. Sometimes peacefully, taking my patient as he
dreamed. Sometimes violently, with a rattle deep in the
throat. Sometimes Death came like a refreshing breeze and
carried away my long-suffering patient like a buoyant kite
cut loose in the wind, leaving her pain behind. Sometimes
it was only after much pumping and pounding and fluids and
medications and electrical shocking that we allowed Death
to come. But, for whatever rationale, it was my personal
observation that Death came to call most frequently in the
early morning hours, and for that solitary reason I came to
dread the night shift.
Olga was a terminal-cancer patient whose family could
no longer endure the hardship of caring for her at home.
It was the family decision, with this strong matriarch
leading the family, to place her in one of the beds our
tiny hospital designated for long-term, palliative care.
Olga firmly insisted they pay only for thirty days because
she had chosen the fourth of July to be her "freedom day" -
her chosen day to die. Her doctor, on the other hand,
stated his expectations. Although she was terminal, she
would probably live three to six months, and her demise
would be a slow and probably very painful process. He gave
orders to provide comfort measures and allow complete
freedom for family visitation.
The family came faithfully every day, often staying
for hours talking or just sitting with Olga and listening
to the radio perpetually playing the Christian music she
loved. When the song "I Give You Love" would play, Olga
smiled broadly and announced, "That's my favorite song.
That's the last song I want to hear when I die."
On the night of July third, I came on duty as charge
nurse for the night shift. According to report, Olga's
family had been in to see her that evening and left
instructions for the nurses not to call them if "it
happened," as they had all said their good-byes. "Please
allow Reverend Steve to sit with her," they said. "He
wants to accompany her in her passage."
With the warped humor only nurses understand, the evening shift joked,
"Olga's vital signs are stable and there's nothing
physiologically to indicate her death is imminent. Lucky
you. You're going to have to deal with Olga in the
morning, and boy is she going to be mad that she's still
But, things are different at night. Night is when we
are closer to ourselves, and closer to our cardinal truths
and ideas. I checked on Olga and, pulling her covers up
around her shoulders, whispered, "Good night, beautiful
Olga smiled and whispered back, "Good night and good-
bye. You know, tomorrow is my freedom day." A warm sense
of calm settled about my shoulders - a strong but strangely
comforting awareness that she might be right, even though
it went against logic, reason and educated predications.
Though her vital signs were unchanged, I left the room
feeling Olga was very much in control of her destiny.
Throughout the night, Mary, the other nurse on duty,
and I turned Olga and provided care. Reverend Steve sat
holding her hand, and together they listened as the radio
softly played one song after another. When we returned to
her room mid-shift, Olga did not arouse as we gently
At 6:00 a.m., just as the sun cast a warm rosy glow
through the windows, Mary and I returned to her room.
Reverend Steve requested we wait just a few minutes as he
felt Olga was "almost through her passage." As I stood at
the foot of her bed watching this young minister
accompanying Olga to her journey's door, I was filled with
awe and a sense of envy of the mastery this strong and
beautiful woman had over her life. Out of habit, I checked
my watch and began counting her respirations, one - two -
three. At that moment, a song began on the radio and a
smile spread over Olga's sleeping face. "I Give You Love"
- four - five - six. . . .
Olga accomplished not one, but two of her last life
goals. The Fourth of July was her day of freedom from the
pain of her disease. And the last song she ever heard was
I have often remembered that night over the years and
felt that Olga's story should be told. Because this strong
and beautiful woman chose not to "rage against the dying of
the light," but to accept it - even welcome it - as entry
into the light. Because of Olga I have a much deeper
appreciation for endings and beginnings, for the cycles of
life and death.
And, because of Olga, I no longer fear the night.
Today is Friday, August 15th, 2003; Karen's Korner #115|
A pass along email from: Bonnie and Vaughn Saxton----
Subject: Philippians 4:13 -- "I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me."
The road to success is not straight. There is a curve called Failure, a loop called Confusion, speed bumps called Friends, red lights called Enemies, caution lights called Family. You will have flats called Jobs. But, if you have a spare called Determination, an engine called Perseverance, insurance called Faith, and a driver called Jesus, you will make it to a place called Success.
Today is Monday, August 18th, 2003; Karen's Korner #116|
This is a Bible verse that is probably the most popular and well-known verse in the Bible:
John 3:16 - "For God loved the world so much that He gave His only Son so that anyone who believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life."
Here is the Bible Commentary on that verse: "Many people are repulsed by thinking about living forever because their lives are miserable. But eternal life is not the extension of man's miserable, mortal life; eternal life is God's life, embodied in Christ, given to all believers now, as a guarantee that they will live forever. In this (new) life there is no death, sickness, enemies, evil, and sin. When we don't know Christ, we make choices as though this life were all we have. In reality, this life is just the introduction to eternity. Begin, then, to evaluate all that happens from an eternal perspective."
My thoughts: Most of us have experienced people, places, and things which we would change if we could. But that is not the whole story..............we have a future coming.........and it is unbelievably wonderful! We have a future and a hope........and that future begins.............today!!
Today is Tuesday, August 19th, 2003; Karen's Korner #117|
This was sent to me from my sister, Eileen, a few months ago. It's a pass around email and says "Author Unknown":
"The Old Weathered Barn"
A stranger came by the other day with an offer that set me to thinking. He wanted to buy the old barn that sits out by the highway. I told him right off he was crazy. He was a city type, you could tell by his clothes, his car, his hands, and the way he talked. He said he was driving by and saw that beautiful barn sitting out in the tall grass and wanted to know if it was for sale. I told him he had a funny idea of beauty.
Sure, it was a handsome building in its day. But then, there's been a lot of winters pass with their snow and ice and howling wind. The summer sun's beat down on that old barn till all the paint's gone, and the wood has turned silver gray. Now the old building leans a good deal, looking kind of tired. Yet, that fellow called it beautiful.
That set me to thinking. I walked out to the field and just stood there, gazing at that old barn. The stranger said he planned to use the lumber to line the walls of his den in a new country home he's building down the road. He said you couldn't get paint that beautiful. Only years of standing in the weather, bearing the storms and scorching sun, only that can produce beautiful barn wood.
It came to me then. We're a lot like that, you and I. Only it's on the inside that the beauty grows with us. Sure we turn silver gray too ... and lean a bit more than we did when we were young and full of sap. But the Good Lord knows what He's doing. And as the years pass He's busy using the hard wealth of our lives, the dry spells and the stormy seasons, to do a job of beautifying our souls that nothing else can produce. And to think how often folks holler because they want life easy!
They took the old barn down today and hauled it away to beautify a rich man's house. And I reckon someday you and I'll be hauled off to Heaven to take on whatever chores the Good Lord has for us on the Great Sky Ranch.
And I suspect we'll be more beautiful then for the seasons we've been through here ..... and just maybe even add a bit of beauty to our Father's house.
"May today there be peace within you."
"I believe that friends are quiet angels who lift us to our feet when our wings have trouble remembering how to fly."
Today is Wednesday, August 20th, 2003; Karen's Korner #118|
Earlier this spring Deb Stewart forwarded this email to several people because "she liked it"; and I forward it to you today because "I like it":
Andy and His Best Friend
Once in a small farming town in Oklahoma, there lived a poor fourth grade
boy, named Andy, who would follow this route to school everyday. He
had to cross the rugged plains and a dangerous highway where vehicles
recklessly drove to and fro.
Once past this highway, the boy would take a short cut, by passing by the
Church every morning, just to say hi to Jesus, and faithfully say his
morning prayers. He was being watched by the pastor, who always found the
boy's sincerity and innocence so uplifting in the morning.
"Hello Andy, how are you today", he would say greeting the child.
"I'm fine Pastor Thompson. How are you?" he would say, flashing his
Seeing the way that Andy went to school, the pastor was so concerned,
one day he talked to him. "From school ...", he advised " do not cross
the highway alone. You can pass through the Church and, then, I will
accompany you to the other side of the road. That way, I can see that you get
"Thank you Pastor."
"Why don't you go straight home? Why do you stay in this church right
Andy replied, "I just want to say "Hi" to my friend, Jesus."
So, the pastor would leave the boy to spend time praying by himself beside the
But one day, out of curiosity, he hid behind the altar to listen to what this boy had to say.
"You know, my math exam was pretty bad today. But, I did not cheat -
although, my seat mate was bullying me for notes. You know, Dad's had a bad farming
season, so far, this year. So, we don't have much food. But, I ate some bread and drank
my water. Thank you for this! I saw a poor kitten who was hungry. I know how he feels.
So, I gave some of my bread to him. Funny, but, I am not that hungry.
Look, this is my last pair of shoes. I may have to walk barefoot next week. You see,
this is about to be broken. But, it is okay. At least, I am still able to go to school.
Some say we will have a hard season this month and some of my classmates have
had to stop going to school to help with the farms. Please help them get to school again.
Please, Jesus? Oh, you know, Dad hit me, again. It is painful. But, I know this pain
will pass away. At least, I still have a Dad. You want to see my bruises?
I know you can heal them ... here...here and....oh ...blood. I guess you knew about this one, huh?
Please don't be mad at Dad. He is just tired and worries about putting food
on our table and my schooling. That is why he hits me.
Oh, I think I am in love. There's this pretty girl in my class? Her name is Anita.
Do you think she will like me? Anyway, at least, I know you will always like me.
I don't have to be anybody just to please you. You are my very best friend!
Hey, your birthday is just one week from now!!! Aren't you excited? I am!
Wait 'til you see. I have a gift for you. But, it is a surprise! I hope you will like it!
Oooops, I have to go..."
Then, he stood up and calls out, "Pastor, I am finished talking to my friend.
Can you accompany me to the other side of the road now"?
This routine happened everyday. Andy never failed to visit the church.
Pastor Thompson shared this every Sunday to the people in his church
because he had never before seen such pure faith and trust in God, and such
a very positive outlook in such negative circumstances.
The day before Christmas, Pastor Thompson became very ill and was sent
to the hospital. The Church was left to a substitute Pastor who had little
patience for children or for any interruptions in his work. He would not
smile and could always find fault in what other people were doing.
On Christmas Day, he was in the Pastor's Study when Andy, coming from
his Christmas party, playfully dashed into the church calling, "Hi, Jesus!!!!!"
"Who are you child and what are you doing in here", the pastor yelled out
Poor Andy was so terrified, "Where's Pastor Thompson? He always
helps me cross the street ... and not only that, I have to greet Jesus. It's
His birthday. I have a gift right here."
Just as he was about to get the gift out of his shirt, the pastor grabbed
Andy by the shoulder and pushed him out the door of the church.
"I cannot be bothered right now. I am preparing my sermon for the Christmas
service tonight. Also, next time, be more reverent when you come into the
church", the man yelled, as he closed the door behind Andy.
So, the boy had no choice but to cross the dangerous side of the road,
in front of the church, by himself.
As he crossed a fast moving bus came in. There was a blind curve.
The boy was protecting his gift inside his shirt. So, he was not looking.
There was so little time. Andy died on the spot.
As people crowded around the body of the poor, lifeless, young boy...
Suddenly, out of nowhere , a tall man appeared in a pure white shirt and
pants, a face so mild and gentle, but with eyes full of tears. He came
and carried the boy in His arms. He was crying.
Curious bystanders nudged the man in white, and asked, "Excuse me,
sir. Are you related to the child? Do you know him?"
The man in white, His face mourning and in agony, answered, "He was
my best friend," was all he said. He took the badly wrapped gift from the
shirt of the lifeless boy and placed it near his heart. He stood up and
carried the boy away and they both disappeared from sight.
The crowd was curious...
On New Years Eve, when Pastor Thompson returned home from the hospital,
he learned of the shocking news. He went to visit Andy's parents and
to ask them about the man in white he had been told about. He consulted
the parents of Andy, "How did you first learn of your sons death?"
"A man in white brought him here," sobbed the mother.
"What did he say?"
The father answered, "He did not say anything. He was mourning. We
do not know him and, yet, he was very lonely at our son's death, as if he
knew our son very well. But, there was something peaceful and unexplainable
about him. He gave me my son and then he smiled peacefully. He rubbed my
son's hair away from his face and kissed him on his forehead. Then, he
"What did he say?"
"He said to my boy," the father began, "Thank you for the gift. I
will see you soon. You will be with me." The father of the boy continued,
"And you know, for a while, it felt so wonderful. I cried. But, I do not
know why. All I know is, I cried tears of joy. I could not explain it.
But when that man left, something peaceful came over me. I felt a deep sense
of love inside. I could not explain the joy in my heart. I know my boy is in heaven, now.
But tell me, who was this man that my son talked to everyday in your church?
You should know, because you are always there ... except at the time of his death."
Pastor Thompson suddenly felt the tears welling in his eyes, with trembling knees,
he murmured, "He was talking to Jesus."
- author unknown –
Today is Thursday, August 21st, 2003; Karen's Korner #119|
Pass along email from Jack and Bea Burt:
The Emperor's Seeds
An emperor in the Far East was growing old and knew it was time to
choose His successor. Instead of choosing one of his assistants or
his children, he decided something different. He called young people
in the kingdom together one day.
He said, "It is time for me to step down and choose the next emperor.
I have decided to choose one of you." The kids were shocked! But the
emperor continued. "I am going to give each one of you a seed today,
one very special seed. I want you to plant the seed, water it and
come back here one year from today with what you have grown from
this one seed. I will then judge the plants that you bring, and the
one I choose will be the next emperor!"
One boy named Ling was there that day, and he, like the others,
received a seed. He went home and excitedly told his mother the
story. She helped him get a pot and planting soil, and he planted the
seed and watered it carefully. Every day he would water it and watch
to see if it had grown.
After about three weeks, some of the other youths began to talk about
their seeds and the plants that were beginning to grow. Ling kept
checking his seed, but nothing ever grew. Three weeks, 4 weeks, 5
weeks went by. Still nothing.
By now, others were talking about their plants but Ling didn't have a
plant, and he felt like a failure. Six months went by; still nothing
in Ling's pot.
He just knew he had killed his seed. Everyone else had trees and tall
plants, but he had nothing. Ling didn't say anything to his friends,
however. He just kept waiting for his seed to grow.
A year finally went by and all the youths of the kingdom brought
their plants to the emperor for inspection. Ling told his mother that
he wasn't going to take an empty pot,
but his Mother said he must be honest about what happened.
Ling felt sick to his stomach, but he knew his Mother was right. He
took his empty pot to the palace.
When Ling arrived, he was amazed at the variety of plants grown by
the other youths. They were beautiful - in all shapes and sizes. Ling
put his empty pot on the floor and many of the other kinds laughed at
him. A few felt sorry for him and said, "Hey nice try."
When the emperor arrived, he surveyed the room and greeted the young
people. Ling just tried to hide in the back. "My, what great plants,
trees and flowers you have grown," said the emperor. "Today, one of
you will be appointed the next emperor!"
All of a sudden, the emperor spotted Ling at the back of the room
with his empty pot. He ordered his guards to bring him to the front.
Ling was terrified. "The emperor knows I'm a failure! Maybe he will
have me killed!"
When Ling got to the front, the Emperor asked his name. "My name is
Ling," he replied. All the kids were laughing and making fun of him.
The emperor asked everyone to quiet down. He looked at Ling, a
nd then announced to the crowd, "Behold your new emperor! His name is Ling!"
Ling couldn't believe it. Ling couldn't even grow his seed. How could he be the new emperor?
Then the emperor said, "One year ago today, I gave everyone here a
seed. I told you to take the seed, plant it, water it and bring it
back to me today. But I gave you all boiled seeds, which would not
grow. All of you, except Ling, have brought me trees and plants and
flowers. When the rest of you found that the seed would not grow, you
substituted another seed for the one I gave you. Ling was the only
one with the courage and honesty to bring me a pot with my seed in
it. Therefore, he is the one who will be the new emperor!"
If you plant honesty, You shall reap trust.
If you plant goodness, You shall reap friends.
If you plant humility, You shall reap greatness.
If you plant perseverance, You shall reap victory.
If you plant consideration, You shall reap harmony.
If you plant hard work, You shall reap success.
If you plant forgiveness, You shall reap reconciliation.
If you plant openness, You shall reap intimacy.
If you plant patience, You shall reap improvements.
If you plant faith, You shall reap miracles
If you plant dishonesty, You shall reap distrust.
If you plant selfishness, You shall reap loneliness
If you plant pride, You shall reap destruction.
If you plant envy, You shall reap trouble.
If you plant laziness, You shall reap stagnation.
If you plant bitterness, You shall reap isolation.
If you plant greed, You shall reap loss.
If you plant gossip, You shall reap enemies.
If you plant worries, You shall reap wrinkles.
If you plant sin, You shall reap guilt.
Today is Friday, August 22nd, 2003; Karen's Korner #120|
This summer a series of our church sermons were titled "Summer Joy!" Our minister reminded us that sometimes joy comes from doing things differently or daring to do something we hadn't done before or at least for a long time! Since we had had early worship services near our local lake for eight weeks, he dared those of us in attedance at the last service to "jump into the lake" following the services.........clothes and all.
Several of us "jumped" in. Some completely wet. Some up to our knees. Not your normal church services.
Here is a "Chicken Soup for the Soul" I received a couple of days ago. Not your normal gal, celebrating her birthday, ordinarily...........
The Birthday Tiara
By Deborah M. Ritz
For my thirtieth birthday, I threw myself a soiree to
celebrate. My friend Sarah arrived early, sat me down and
handed me a white cake box. A crown drawn in gold ink
decorated the top. My heart leapt. After all, this was
from Sarah, someone who gave the most meaningful gifts.
I peeled back the lid. Nestled amidst star-splattered
tissue paper was my very own crown. Brightly colored
candles sprouted from a framework of iridescent pipe
"It's a birthday tiara," said Sarah. "And you have to
I laughed. She knew I needed permission.
And so, for one night, I felt like a celebrity
surrounded by adoring fans. But after the festivities, I
packed up my treasure and stowed it away. I'd had my night
Several years later, I remembered my tiara. I decided
to display it amidst the children's books in my study.
Glancing up from my computer, I'd notice it and smile.
Then came another birthday. My thirty-fourth. They
were all beginning to feel the same. After I opened my
gifts from my husband John, I told myself, 'This will just
be a nice day.'
I said my morning prayers. Sitting up from where I
had reclined on the rug, I spied the crown. 'Should I?' I
thought. 'No. That's silly.'
But then I heard a louder voice. 'John's gone to work
. . . I'm home alone . . .Why not?'
I plunked it on my head. Chuckling, I smiled ear to
ear. I felt lighthearted as I got ready for work, like I'd
been zapped with a tiny current of energy and joy. Was
that me twirling around the kitchen?
Singing goodbye to the kitties, I grabbed my car keys
and purse. Then a voice in my head yelled, 'Stop! You're
not wearing that out, are you?'
I froze. What would people think? I must be nuts.
'But wait,' said the new, fun-loving me. 'It'll be an
experiment. To see how many motorists notice.'
I was bitterly disappointed when not a soul looked my
way during my commute. 'Now what?' I thought, sitting in
the parking lot at work. 'Do I wear it in?'
Stares of disbelief greeted me at the museum staff
entrance. The security supervisor trailed me, a grin on
his face. He pummeled me with questions like, "What is
that thing? Does it light up? How old are you?" I
answered the first two and ignored the third.
My female colleagues embraced my new look. "I love
it," they exclaimed, showering me with accolades. "You
have to wear it for your school group."
I met the fourth-graders from Fairfax and immediately
addressed a few open mouths and wide eyes. "Does anyone
know why I'm wearing this?"
A hand shot up. "You wanna look silly?" blurted out a
A chorus of giggles met my feigned hurt look.
Another student, as if to make amends for his rude
classmate, asked if they could sing that "Happy Birthday
song" to me.
"At the end of the tour," I promised, tickled.
Walking next door to meet my friend Brittney for
lunch, I thought about my headpiece. 'It's really like a
hat,' I rationalized. 'Hey! I can wear those now!' I'd
always been envious of the stylish creations worn by older
women at church.
I shared with Brittney what I'd observed so far.
"Women congratulate me. I think they all secretly long to
wear one. Children stare or ignore it. They're the most
polite. Men try and guess my age, then ask, 'Does it light
up?' I'm getting sick of that one. Guys and their toys!"
"It's lit from within," said Brittney. Girls are so
My tiara slipped off that afternoon. I insisted my
stylist wear it while she cut my hair.
"You don't need it, Miriam," teased her boss. "You
already think you're a queen."
By the time I drove to meet my husband at his office,
I'd practically forgotten what was on my head. But he
"You've worn that all day?" he asked in disbelief.
"Yup," I replied. "And I'm not taking it off now."
He threatened to bail out on our evening together, but
I was armed. "It's my birthday. One day out of 365."
He knew he was beat.
At the restaurant I was greeted with the typical
responses I'd heard all day. Except for one. En route to
the restroom, a very vocal woman shouted at me, "When you
gonna light your candles?"
"I can't," I told her, amused. "They're plastic."
Her face fell in disappointment.
It was after midnight when I finally returned my tiara
to its spot on the bookcase. Another birthday had come and
gone. But a very different one. Why? Because I had made
it so. I had risked. Tiptoeing at first, tempted to turn
back, I had ventured beyond the safe and secure. I'd found
courage within myself. As one friend remarked, I was
"gutsy and glorious." And this was only the start.
As adults most of us get the "rights and responsibilities" thing down pretty well. That's good! But who says we can't act like children now and then and just have a good time!! Go for it!!!
Today is Monday, August 25th, 2003; Karen's Korner #121|
If you have had your computer long enough with email service and you have a "normal" amount of friends and relatives who have one, too, sooner or later we get some "pass around" emails. And if they are good enough and people like them well enough, sometimes you get a copy of one more than once.
Last week I got this one from JoAnn Kramer. I knew that I had seen it before; maybe even a couple of times.
The first time I read it, it came from Merry's husband Ed - in April of 2002. Here it is:
"I don't normally forward things like this, but I couldn't help but get a little choked up by this one. I wish you enough..."
I Wish You Enough
At an airport I overheard a father and daughter in their last moments together. They had announced her plane's departure and standing near the security gate, they hugged and he said, " I love you. I wish you enough."
She said, "Daddy, our life together has been more than enough. Your love is all I ever needed. I wish you enough, too, Daddy." They kissed good-bye and she left.
He walked over toward the window where I was seated. Standing there I could see he wanted and needed to cry. I tried not to intrude on his privacy, but he welcomed me in by asking, "Did you ever say good-bye to someone knowing it would be forever?"
"Yes, I have," I replied. Saying that brought back memories I had of expressing my love and appreciation for all my Dad had done for me. Recognizing that his days were limited, I took the time to tell him face to face how much he meant to me. So I knew what this man was experiencing. "Forgive me for asking, but why is this a forever good-bye?" I asked.
"I am old and she lives much too far away. I have challenges ahead and the reality is, her next trip back will be for my funeral, " he said.
"When you were saying good-bye I heard you say, ‘I wish you enough.’ May I ask what that means?"
He began to smile. "That's a wish that has been handed down from other generations. My parents used to say it to everyone." He paused for a moment and looking up as if trying to remember it in detail, he smiled even more. "When we said 'I wish you enough,' we were wanting the other person to have a life filled with enough good things to sustain them," he continued and then turning toward me he shared the following as if he were reciting it from memory.
I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright.
I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more.
I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive.
I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much bigger.
I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.
I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.
I wish enough "Hello's" to get you through the final "Good-bye."
He then began to sob and walked away.
My friends and loved ones, I wish you ENOUGH!!!
Today is Tuesday, August 26th, 2003; Karen's Korner #122|
(Sorry this is coming to you so late in the day--computer problems this a.m.!)
Several years ago I typed up the information below and made up some baggies and put the materials listed in each one for our Sunday School class at Christmas time. Since that time, I have had the list forwarded to me several times with cute little graphics. The list is still the same.
If you want to do a 10-minute search, look up the Bible verses listed to find out how each one made the list:
AN EVERYDAY SURVIVAL KIT
TOOTHPICK – Each day remember to pick out the good qualities in others. Matthew 7:1
RUBBERBAND – Remember to be flexible. Romans 8:28
BAND AID – Use it to remind you to heal yours, and others, hurt feelings. Colossians 3:12-14
PENCIL – Each day remember to list your blessings. Ephesians 1:3
ERASER – Also remember that everyone makes mistakes. Genesis 50:15 – 21
CHEWING GUM – The gum will remind you that by sticking together, we can accomplish anything. Philippians 4:13
MINT – Each day remember that you are worth a mint to your Heavenly Father. John 3: 16 – 17
CANDY KISSES – Remember that everyone needs a kiss or a hug every day. I John 4:7
HERB TEA BAG – Relax daily and go over that list of God’s blessings. I Thessalonians 5:18
This is a gift of love to you. May God richly bless you. Pass His love around!
Today is Wednesday, August 27th, 2003; Karen's Korner #123|
Today I am sending "Christian One Liners" from Jim's cousin, John and Cathy Weld. Some are funny; some are too true.
But first I am going to forward something I got last week. Can remember from who. This is what it said:
I think I'd like this verse in my obit notice --
" life is not a journey to the grave
with the intention of arriving safely
in a pretty and well preserved piece,
but rather to skid in broadside,
thoroughly used up,
totally worn out,
and loudly proclaiming--
"WOW-WHAT A RIDE!"
***** CHRISTIAN ONE-LINERS....
Some people are kind, polite, and sweet-spirited, until you try to sit in their pews.
It is easier to preach 10 sermons than it is to live one.
The good Lord didn't create anything without a purpose, but mosquitoes come
When you get to your wit's end, you'll find God lives there.
People are funny, they want the front of the bus, the middle of the road,
and the back of the church.
Opportunity may knock once, but temptation bangs on your front door forever.
Quit griping about your church; if it was perfect, you couldn't belong.
The phrase that is guaranteed to wake up an audience: "And in conclusion."
If the church wants a better preacher, it only needs to pray for the one it has.
God Himself does not propose to judge a man until he is dead. So why
To make a long story short, don't tell it.
Some minds are like concrete, thoroughly mixed up and permanently set.
Peace starts with a smile.
I don't know why some people change churches; what difference does it make
which one you stay home from?
A lot of church members who are singing "Standing on the Promises" are just
sitting on the premises.
Coincidence is when God chooses to remain anonymous.
Don't put a question mark where God put a period.
Forbidden fruits create many jams.
God doesn't call the qualified, He qualifies the called.
God grades on the cross, not the curve.
God promises a safe landing, not a calm passage.
He who angers you, controls you!
If God is your Co-pilot - swap seats!
Prayer: Don't give God instructions - just report for duty!
The task ahead of us is never as great as the Power behind us.
The Will of God will never take you to where the Grace of God will not
We don't change the message, the message changes us.
You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage him.
Today is Thursday, August 28th, 2003; Karen's Korner #124|
This is a email I got from Gene Ballantine. Since Gene passes lots of emails on to others, some of you have read it before! It came to me with cute computer graphics, but they don't cut and paste well.......so this is just the list.........
It is the "10 Commandments - Cajun style"....some of the ones I have seen say "hillbilly". Doesn't matter.......I thought with all the news about the Alabame Chief Justice and the standoff with whether the 10 Commandments should be on display in Alabama courthouse or not..........it is in the news.......
Last night on some news show, the interviewer was asking high school kids if they could name the 10 commandments. Some knew a few. Some young people knew none of them. A couple of kids didn't even know what the person asking the questions was talking about....
"Ten Commandments - Cajun style"
1. God is number one.......and das' All!
2. Don't pray to nuttin' or nobody.....jus' God!
3. Don't cuss nobody....'specially da Good Lord!
4. When it be Sunday.....pass yo'self by God's House.
5. Yo mama an' yo daddy dun did it all....lissen to dem.
6. Killin' duck an' fish...das OK........people - NO!
7. God done give you a wife. Sleep wit' jus' her.
8. Don't take nobody's boat....or nuttin' else.
9. Don't go wantin' somebody's stuff.
10. Stop lyin'...yo tongue gonna fall outta you mouf!
Today is Friday, August 29th, 2003; Karen's Korner #125|
Today I am typing a chapter of the Bible and a commentary on it; in case you are ready to "delete" because it will certainly be too long.........it is the shortest chapter in the Bible........2 verses!
Enjoy and have a great Labor Day holiday weekend!!
Psalms chapter 117:
Praise the Lord, all nations everywhere. Praise Him, all the peoples of the earth. For He loves us very dearly, and His truth endures. Praise the Lord .
Psalm 117 is not only the shortest chapter in the Bible, but the middle chapter. Have you ever said, "I can't think of anything God has done for me. How can I praise him?" This psalm gives two reasons for praising God: "He loves us very much" and "His truth endures". If He did nothing else for us our whole lives, He would still be worthy of our highest praise.