February 2005 Archives
Today is Tuesday, February 1st, 2005; Karen's Korner #472|
A couple of short thoughts today:
"Should not the Bible regain the place it once held as a
schoolbook? Its morals are pure, its examples are
captivating and noble."
-- Massachusetts Congressman Fisher Ames (1758-1808)
"I have wondered at times about what
the Ten Commandments would have
looked like if Moses had run them
through the U.S. Congress."
- Ronald Reagan
Shared by Newt Draheim:
The clock of life is wound but once
And no man has the power
To tell just when the hands will stop
At late or early hour.
Now is the only time you own.
Live, love, toil with a will.
Place no faith in time.
For the clock may soon be still.
Shared from my sister, Amy Van Note:
After a church service on Sunday morning,
a young boy suddenly announced to his mother,
"Mom, I've decided to become a minister When I grow up."
"That's okay with us, but what made you decide that?"
"Well," said the little boy, "I have to go to church on
Sunday anyway, and I figure it will be more fun to stand up and
yell, than to sit and listen."
Today is Wednesday, February 2nd, 2005; Karen's Korner #473|
Just before Christmas, Jim and I purchased several individual solar lights that encircle the perimeter of the south and west sides of our farm home. No need for electrical wires. They aren't connected one to the other. We just shoved the stakes of the seven lights into the ground.
The lights are just there during the day. Soaking up any of the sun's rays which are available that day. But at night, they shine. How bright they are and how long they are on, depends on the day and how much light from the sun they have collected.
As I walked up the sidewalk last night, I thought, "Is this like us and our Christian lives? Are we to soak up God's love and all the things He has to offer during the bright, sunshiny days of our lives?
"But is it in the dark times, that we shine the brightest? Not because of any light that we might have on our own. But because we are simply reflecting the light that we are holding in reserve....from God and His Son Jesus? Is the Holy Spirit which resides in each of us as Christians, our 'solar' collector panel?"
We shine not because of who we are, but because of Who He is to and for us!
Dear Father in Heaven, helps us to be hearers and doers of the words that you speak to us! Helps us to believe what you tell us. And trust you.....whether the days are bright and sunny; or whether there is darkness of the night. You light the paths for both times of each day. Thank you. Amen
Today is Thursday, February 3rd, 2005; Karen's Korner #474|
As we move close to Valentine's Day, I thought this Chicken Soup for the Soul was a good one!
In the Sack By Carol McAdoo Rehme
"You want to go where, Grandma?"
"You heard me. Here. Right here." She pointed.
"Here? Are you sure?"
"Here." Grandma Vic was adamant.
With a sigh, Jenna shrugged the strap of her purse higher on her shoulder as she steered the wheelchair up the mall ramp and turned towards the store Grandma indicated. But she paused at the entrance.
"Grandma, you do understand what they sell here, don't you?"
"I'm neither blind nor stupid, dear. And, contrary to what you might be thinking, I still have all my marbles. I know exactly what I'm doing." Victoria – Grandma Vic – took a deep, audible breath, cocked her silvered head even higher, and ordered, "Now, push me in."
Jenna shook her head in dismay. In all the years she'd cared for her grandparents, run their errands, and taken them on excursions, nothing had prepared her for this demand. Nothing. It was downright embarrassing. Grandma Vic was asking too much of her this time. What would people think? What if they saw someone they knew? This was . . . awkward.
She sighed again then wheeled her stubborn grandma right into . . . Fredrick's of Hollywood. But Jenna stalled just inside the door, her own jaw was dragging the floor.
While her arms hung limp at her sides, Jenna absorbed the displays of intimate apparel. She hadn't been in Frederick's in a few years herself. A lot had changed. A lot. Everything was skimpier. More transparent. More daring. Why, some might even call it obscene! She should never have agreed to escort an elderly . . .
It was several moments before she realized that Grandma Vic had impatiently self-propelled the wheelchair to a mannequin. She studied the risqué lingerie.
"Hmmph. That's the new-fangled underwear? Why, I've got bandaids that cover more," Grandma Vic tsked with an ornery grin into Jenna's stunned face. "I want to see it all – everything in the store."
"Grandma Vic . . . " Jenna was amazed to find a blush staining her own thirty-three-year-old cheeks.
"All of it, dear."
Row after sexy row, rack after sensuous rack, the two toured the store with Grandma delivering more spicy one-liners than a standup comic.
"You say it's called a 'thong?' How odd. We used to wear those on our feet!"
"They're bustiers? They look as painful as my mother's corset. Of course, hers didn't come in leather . . . or leopard skin."
"Why would they call it a teddy? The trim doesn't look like bear fur to me."
"Flavored lotions and edible undies? Why don't they just print up a menu?"
Jenna flinched. Customers grinned. Sales clerks eyed them doubtfully. At last, Jenna leaned into Grandma's face and looked her squarely in the eyes. "Now, are you ready to tell me what this is all about?"
"Jenna, you've always been so good to tend to our needs. Shopping, chauffeuring, even putting up the Christmas tree so we can celebrate the holidays. You're the only one in the family I could trust with this errand."
Grandma's chin sank a little further onto her ample bosom and she sighed. After a thoughtful silence, she spoke low and falteringly into her lap.
"Our sixty-fifth wedding anniversary is just around the corner. I want to surprise your grampa. For just a few hours, I want to be young and whole again. Or, at least, look that way. For Grampa. For . . . me."
Grandma glanced up with new determination. "I might be old and . . . broken . . . but I'm not dead. I need a new nightie, something . . . suggestive . . . and I want to buy it here. At Frederick's."
Jenna bit her lip. Not in vexation. Not in embarrassment. Certainly not to stifle a giggle. She bit her lip to prevent it from trembling and hinting at the tears that threatened.
"Why, you old romantic!" She hugged Grandma. "I guess it's never too late to re-invent love."
Without hesitation, Jenna pushed the chrome wheelchair to a display of naughty nightwear and watched a pair of aged, corded hands lovingly caress diaphanous baby-dolls, sheer chemises, and velvet camisoles.
"This one." Grandma's dove-gray eyes sparkled.
With a conspiratorial smile, the middle-aged salesclerk folded the full-length spaghetti-strapped nightgown, rang up the sale, and complimented them on their choice. As Jenna steered her out the door and through the mall, Grandma Vic wore a smug look. And she made certain the sack from Frederick's of Hollywood perched prominently on her lap. When shoppers turned to stare, she winked devilishly. "Let them guess – this Victoria's not keeping anything secret!"
Today is Friday, February 4th, 2005; Karen's Korner #475|
A number of years ago my aunt, Helen, gave me a Bible which I really like. Along with the familiar words, there are commentaries about the verses at the bottom of each page. Sometimes there is a character assessment of some Bible person. Other times there are some expanded thinking on a part of what is being written.
In one section near Galatians chapter 5, there is a comparison of what is written at the tail end of that chapter. It is titled "Vices and Virtues". The writer lists one versus the other:
VICES (neglecting God and others) - impure thoughts, lust, hatred, fighting, jealousy, anger, trying to be first, complaining, criticizing, thinking you are always right, envy, murder, idolatry, spiritism, drunkenness, wild parties, cheating, adultery, homosexuality, greed, stealing, lying.
VIRTUES (the by-products of living for God) - love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.
When I look at the list of "vices", I can either feel pretty good about myself because some of them I would never do. But then there are others...... Funny thing is God sees one on the list in the same light as any of the others. He doesn't like it!
And then the virtues. Sometimes I think God is pretty lucky to have somebody like me as His Child. Other days I wonder if He had any idea what He was getting when He got me!
Thank you, God.for your gift of love! For me and for everyone else in my world and yours!!
Today is Monday, February 7th, 2005; Karen's Korner #476|
Many of you who live in the Clarion area know that Jim and I are taking a "trip of a lifetime" for the balance of the month of February to Australia and New Zealand. Leaving from Minneapolis later today!
Nowadays since our son-in-law Tim built me a web site (www.karens-korner.com), I send my 'korners' through the web site. If I wanted to look for a computer terminal every day in Australia or New Zealand, I could email daily Karen's Korners from there!
But we have another plan! Our daughter, Jamie, has agreed to write, edit, share Karen's Korners for the rest of this month. She begins tomorrow. We hope you enjoy the shift!! Maybe we should change the title for the upcoming few days to "Jamie's Jottings"!!??
In studying the book "The Purpose Driven Life", our Sunday School class is learning the importance of our family, our friends, our church family.
When we have problems, difficulties, temptations, it is easier for us if we share the trying times with someone (several someones!) else. Our troubles are "divided" if we share them with others.
We did that yesterday, when several shared some of their fears and their difficulties with which they are struggling.
When we have some exciting things happening to us, some joys, personal highlights, an answer to our prayers, these are the same people we have the opportunity to share with. Our high times are "mulitiplied" as we get to share with other people; and they in turn can share with us.
We did that yesterday, too. One family shared about a two-year-old from half way around the world and for whom many of us had been praying, who could have died due to a fall into a backyard pond, instead he got sent home from the hospital. Another young man walked back in to church after experiencing a serious reaction to some medicine. His health could have been hampered; instead he is alive and well.
And we shared.....together we have half the burdens; and twice the joys!
Today is Tuesday, February 8th, 2005; Karen's Korner #477|
Hello there! Glad that I can fill in for my mom for a few weeks. Please email me if you have a good (or great) email that you would like to share! My email address is email@example.com
I'm sure that it will take me a day or two to get used to posting things on the web site. Please be patient with me!
I look forward for the opportunity to be creative and write some things also. It sounds like fun!!
Here is something that I have had in my in box for a long time. Enjoy!
IF YOU COULD SEE
While reading one of Dr. Bernie Siegal's books, I ran across an interesting question. Blind Helen Keller once asked her blind friends, "If you could see for just 24 hours, what would you choose?"
I pondered that question for days, then decided to try to write it on paper, and asked some friends and a couple of patients of mine who were interested, to try it with me. I learned an enormous amount about myself, as did those working on their own list.
I divided my paper into two columns. The first, at what I would choose to look. The second, the number of minutes I would spend looking at each thing.
Remember, only 24 hours to look.
Oh, my list grew very large rapidly, trying to imagine the things I would want to see, all the wonders of our modern world: airplanes, TV, autos, artworks, architectural styles, trains, computers, ocean liners, variety of clothes, furniture, appliances, rocket launches, and the
list was very long. I sorted and resorted, changed time allotments, but as time progressed over the next several months (yes, months) my priorities changed radically from those I had started on the list.
NOW, it was not the wonders of the modern world at all, but the wonders of nature that headed the list and occupied the majority of my 24 hours! Trees, grass, sky, mountains, oceans, stars and planets, clouds, thunderstorms and rain, flowers and shrubs, and just plain dirt were highest in the ratings, but also were the animals, especially the small ones: rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks, birds, dogs, cats, fish, and others occupied a large chunk of time. Of course, the large animals were included, but less time allotment. Which is more interesting to watch, a lion or a cat? A giraffe or a chipmunk? A bear or a rabbit?
And, of course, there had to be time allotments for friends, and family. I had so little time left to see the man-made wonders, there was little I could really see.
Everyone's list will differ, as ours did, also, but they were astonishingly similar. But this beautiful world of ours is more fascinating, more miraculous, and more interesting than all the rest added together.
As I sit on my log home porch in the mountains and look out over a valley, I view the small animals, feel the gentle breeze, smell the clean pine-scented air, watching a sunset, I am reminded of what Helen Keller might have meant in asking that question. Perhaps she knew the wonders of nature would far exceed those of man.
I encourage each one of you to pick up a pencil and paper and start your list. You will be amazed at the resulting list, and will learn more about yourself than you ever dreamed; and, amazingly, your list will besimilar to mine.
Enjoy this world. The minutes continue to slip by, one by one. Never cease to stop, look, and smell the roses. It only takes a second. The are here, just for us.
Today is Wednesday, February 9th, 2005; Karen's Korner #478|
Here's a good email I received from my friend, Kirsten. Remember that we are all special in God's eyes!!
A well-known speaker started off his seminar by
holding up a $20.00 bill. In the room of 200, he asked,
"Who would like this $20 bill?"
Hands started going up.
He said, "I am going to give this $20 to one of you
but first, let me do this.
He proceeded to crumple up the $20 dollar bill.
He then asked, "Who still wants it?"
Still the hands were up in the air.
Well, he replied, "What if I do this?"
And he dropped it on the ground
and started to grind it into the floor with his shoe.
He picked it up, now crumpled and dirty.
"Now, who still wants it?"
Still the hands went into the air.
My friends, we have all learned a very valuable lesson.
No matter what I did to the money, you still wanted it
because it did not decrease in value.
It was still worth $20.
Many times in our lives,
we are dropped, crumpled, and ground into the dirt
by the decisions we make and
the circumstances that come our way.
We feel as though we are worthless.
But no matter what has happened or
what will happen, you will never lose your value.
Dirty or clean, crumpled or finely creased,
you are still priceless to those who DO LOVE you.
The worth of our lives comes not in what we do or who we know,
but by WHO WE ARE.
You are special- Don't EVER forget it."
Today is Thursday, February 10th, 2005; Karen's Korner #479|
A little boy was selling newspapers on the corner, the people were in and out of the cold. The little boy was so cold that he wasn't trying to sell many papers. He walked up to a policeman and said, "Mister, you wouldn't happen to know where a poor boy could find a warm place to sleep tonight would you? You see, I sleep in a box up around the corner there and down the alley and it's awful cold in there for tonight. Sure would be nice to have a warm place to stay."
The policeman looked down at the little boy and said, "you go down the street to that big white house and you knock on the door. When they come out the door you just say John 3:16, and they will let you in."
So he did. He walked up the steps and knocked on the door, and a lady answered. He looked up and said, "John 3:16." The lady said, "Come on in, Son." She took him in and she sat him down in a split bottom rocker in front of a great big old fireplace, and she went off. The boy sat there for a while and thought to himself: John 3:16...I don't understand it, but it sure makes a cold boy warm.
Later she came back and asked him "Are you hungry?" He said, "Well, just a little. I haven't eaten in a couple of days, and I guess I could stand a little bit of food," The lady took him in the kitchen and sat him down to a table full of wonderful food. He ate and ate until he couldn't eat any more. Then he thought to himself: John 3:16...Boy, I sure don't understand it but it sure makes a hungry boy full.
She took him upstairs to a bathroom to a huge bathtub filled with warm water, and he sat there and soaked for a while. As he soaked, he thought to himself: John 3:16... I sure don't understand it, but it sure makes a dirty boy clean. You know, I've not had a bath, a real bath, in my whole life. The only bath I ever had was when I stood in front of that big old fire hydrant as they flushed it out.The lady came in and got him. She took him to a room, tucked him into a big old feather bed, pulled the covers up around his neck, kissed him goodnight and turned out the lights. As he lay in the darkness and looked out the window at the snow coming down on that cold night, he thought to himself: John 3:16...I don't understand it but it sure makes a tired boy rested.
The next morning the lady came back up and took him down again to that same big table full of food. After he ate, she took him back to that same big old split bottom rocker in front of the fireplace and picked up a big old Bible. She sat down in front of him and looked into his young face. "Do you understand John 3:16?" she asked gently. He replied, "No, Ma'am, I don't. The first time I ever heard it was last night when the policeman told me to use it," She opened the Bible to John 3:16 and began to explain to him about Jesus. Right there, in front of that big old fireplace, he gave his heart and life to Jesus. He sat there and thought: John 3:16....don't understand it, but it sure makes a lost boy feel safe.
You know, I have to confess I don't understand it either, how God was willing to send His Son to die for me, and how Jesus would agree to do such a thing. I don't understand the agony of the Father and every angel in heaven as they watched Jesus suffer and die. I don't understand the intense love for ME that kept Jesus on the cross till the end. I don't understand it, but it sure does make life worth living.
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Today is Friday, February 11th, 2005; Karen's Korner #480|
I went to the dentist earlier this week. As I waited in the waiting room, I grabbed a magazine to look at for a few minutes. I looked at an issue of Time. The cover story was the 25 most Influential Evangelicals in America. This list included Rick Warren, Billy and Franklin Graham, T.D Jakes; Senator Rick Santorum (PA) among others. One person on this list was Roberta Ahmonson, origionally from Perry, Iowa. She and her husband gave a large sum of money to several causes, including the Hotel Pattee in Perry.
The list of people were impressive and influential. They have power and the ability to make and create change in every aspect of our culture, business and politics in America.
As I thought about this article and these people the rest of the day, I was both in awe and somewhat intimidated. Then my thoughts were changed. I'm not on an influential list of people in the city of Des Moines, but God allows me to be a blessing to my circle of friends, family or random people that I meet during the business of my life. That is something that I pray for daily that God would make me a blessing to at least one person each day. Sometimes I see it or know that it's happening, but other times, I don't know if or when it may happen. The wonderful thing is that God knows.
May God be a blessing to you, or through you today!
Today is Monday, February 14th, 2005; Karen's Korner #481|
Here is a good email that I have saved for a while. Enjoy!
The Image of the Cross
Nestled deep in the Rocky Mountains of North America stands a rugged peak. For nine months each year, it lies robed in snow, indistinguishable from a dozen others surrounding it. But as summer arrives and the air warms, the mountain slowly sheds its blanket of white, revealing a massive emblem. High above the neighboring valleys, an 1100-foot vertical gouge bisects a 400-foot horizontal groove, forming an almost perfect image of a cross. This sight is so impressive that famous American artist Thomas Moran visited the mountain to paint it in 1875. The peak is aptly named "The Mountain of the Holy Cross."
In winter, only an expert could single out this particular peak from those around it. But in summer, any child could look at these mountains and easily choose "the one with the cross on it." The only real difference in this mountain and the all the others is the enormous image etched into its face.
We spend much of our lives creating a thick layer of "achievements." We climb the career ladder, push our kids to excel, move to a better neighborhood, pursue another degree or promotion, all in the hope that we will somehow become more popular, wealthy, powerful, or influential. Like a thick blanket of snow, our conquests and achievements cover us, deposited one flake at a time until we are totally obscured. For many of us, self-esteem and self-wort come from what we have accomplished or how much we can buy or who we know.
Yet one day, we will awaken to a new reality, an endless day in which all our values will be turned upside down. All that we have done, said, created, bought, and built will be brushed away, melted like snow under the gaze of our eternal Father. Deep within each one of us He will seek the one thing, the only thing He truly cares about: the imprint of the cross, the mark of His Son.
Nothing else matters to Him. And on that day, nothing else will matter to you. Do you possess the one thing that really matters?
by Mark Phillips
Today is Tuesday, February 15th, 2005; Karen's Korner #482|
I heard from my parents via email this weekend. They are having a wonderful time in Australia! Here is something that is short and sweet.|
I wish you a day of ordinary miracles
A fresh pot of coffee you didn't make yourself.
An unexpected phone call from an old friend.
Green stoplights on your way to work or shop.
I wish you a day of little things to rejoice in...
The fastest line at the grocery store.
A good sing-along song on the radio.
Your keys right where you look.
I wish you a day of happiness and perfection---little bite-size pieces of perfection that give you the funny feeling that the Lord is smiling on you, holding you so gently because you are someone special and rare.
Today is Wednesday, February 16th, 2005; Karen's Korner #483|
My Six Most Favorite Characteristics of God!|
He is Knowable!
The God who created this universe in all of its minor details can be known by me! He has told me about Himself through the Bible (His Word), through examples of other people’s lives, through answered and unanswered prayers, through minor and not so minor miracles, and all the other
things I so easily overlook! Even so, He goes beyond that. He welcomes me into a relationship with Him so that I can personally get to know Him. Not only can I know about Him, I can know Him intimately. (Jeremiah 9:23-24)
He is Approachable!
God invites me to talk to Him and engage Him in what concerns me. And my favorite part is I don’t have to get it all together first. He is the friend that never fails me, that can always be counted on, and is genuinely interested in everything I have to say. I don’t have to always be polite. I don’t have to be theologically or politically correct. I don’t have to be pure and holy. I don’t have to be anything other than who I am and He loves me just as is—no alterations requested. It is His nature to love me and be accepting when I go to Him, which will keep me
coming back. (Psalm 145:18 )
He is Creative!
Everything I am is put together with every touch of Him. Every thing I make is put together with existing materials or built on pre-existing thoughts (pretty crafty!). God has the capacity to speak things into existence. God is an artist—one of a kind—who has the ability to create far better than anyone on this earth. After all, He created me, an exquisite piece of work! Each piece of this universe is uniquelydifferent—not one the same! He is creative for me (and you). His power is something He wants me (and you) to be aware of and to rely on. (Psalm 147:5)
He is Forgiving!
I’m a sinner—not a shocker. I tend to attempt daily to do things my way,not His. I seem to think my way is better than His. I tend to forget He is all-knowing, not me. And He sees it all. He does not merely overlook my sin but is prepared to judge and condemn me for my sin (pretty
scary). However, He is forgiving. He has forgiven me from the moment I began my relationship with Him. Jesus, His Son, paid for my sin on the cross and had I been the only one, He still would have died for me. (Romans 3:22-25)
He is Honest!
Just like a blunt and straightforward person, God clearly tells me about himself—no gray areas! He is always honest. Everything He says about Himself, or about me, or what is to come, or has already happened—it’s all reliable information. Though I often doubt what He says about me, I
don’t doubt it’s true as much as that I don’t feel what He says about me. Truer than my thoughts, feeling, and perceptions, He is 100% accurate and honest in what He says. Every promise to me can be fully counted on and I know (deep within) He means it! I can hold Him to His word!
He is Capable!
Wouldn’t I love to always be 100% right about everything? God is! His wisdom is unlimited. He understands all elements of every situation I encounter, including the history and future events related to it. I don’t have to update Him, counsel Him, persuade Him or ask Him to do the right
thing (it’s the other way around). He always does what is best for me because His motives are pure. Regardless of whether or not I trust Him, He will never make a mistake or deceive me. He can fully be trusted to do what is right for me in all circumstances, at all times. Easier said
than done! (Psalm 25:3).
I love God! I don’t think I could love anything or anyone any more than I love Him. He is my Father, my Creator, who created all things I love from friends and family down to simple things like peanut butter! Though sometimes hard to fathom, He is first and last, beginning and end. He always was, always is, and always will be the unmoved, unchanged, and undefeated. I will never forget and forever be thankful of His bruising, piercing, persecution, and ultimately His death. Because of His great sacrifice, He brought me healing, freedom, and life. Even though the world can’t understand (I think it’s more they won’t) and schools have disregarded Him, He makes enough sense to me.
More characteristics—He is light, love, longevity, goodness, kindness, gentle, mighty, holy, righteous, powerful yet pure. Though I fight it daily, His ways are right, His words are eternal, His will is the same, He keeps His eye on me, I’m always on His mind. He is my Savior (I’m all over the place). I can find comfort in Him, along with peace, and joy. I’m bonded to Him by love (the greatest and strongest glue—eat your heart out Elmer!). Forget all the goals I set—His goal for me is abundance and an intimate relationship with Him. He will never leave me, never forget me, ultimate leader! To some I may be a dot in this world but to Him I’m a valuable treasure. He is my biggest fan because I am His, and on the flip side He is mine!
Funny how He means all these things to me yet I don’t always make him a priority. You’d think everything would come after Him. Who wouldn’t want all these things? And He even knows I feel this way about all these things.
Bottom line—He is who He says He is—and that’s more than enough for me!
Today is Thursday, February 17th, 2005; Karen's Korner #484|
Here's an email from Chicken Soup for the Soul. |
My Father's Son
By Mel Donalson
It was one of those excruciatingly cold New England mornings in 1964. A four-day-old snow had turned to ice as it pressed against my bedroom window. In my twelve-year-old sleepiness, I staggered through the dark hallway into the bathroom, hearing the truck's engine idling audibly outside.
Peering out, I saw his figure - a dark shadow moving against the white background, his breath clouding the air when he exhaled. I heard his work boots crunching the hard snow with his giant steps. I saw his dark face hidden beneath a knit cap, the upturned coat collar, the woolen scarf wrapped around his neck and chin. One gloved hand guided the ice scraper across the truck's windshield; the other brushed the shavings like a crystal beard from the truck's old weathered face.
Daddy. Moving with a quick purpose, driven by a commitment and a responsibility taught him thirty-five years earlier in Depression-era Georgia. Daddy. A silent gladiator who was stepping once more into the hostile arena of the day's battle. Daddy. Awake while the rest of the world slept. And as he slid behind the steering wheel, driving carefully from the driveway onto the street, the truck was swallowed up by dawn's dimness. As I returned to the warmth of my blankets - in my own bed, in my own room - I knew I could go back to sleep, to dream, because Daddy was outside facing the cold.
Throughout the many junior- and senior-high mornings I watched my father go to work, I never told him how that vision affected me. I simply wondered at his ability to do what he did: keeping the kitchen filled with food, making the payments on my music lessons, covering the car insurance so I could drive during my senior year, piling the Christmas gifts beneath the tree, taking me to Boston to buy new clothes, dragging me to church on Sundays, driving me to visit college campuses on his day off, kissing and teasing my mother in the living room, and nodding off in his easy chair in the middle of a sentence. Perhaps it was because these scenes seemed so ordinary that I never spoke of them, never weighed them beyond my own selfish adolescent needs.
And then at college, away from him - when his presence became merely the voice over the phone during weekend calls or the name scribbled at the bottom of the weekly letter stuffed with a ten-dollar bill - I thought other men were more significant than Daddy. Those men who taught my classes in polysyllabic words, wrote articles in journals and explained complex theorems and philosophies. Daddy never did any of that - he couldn't with only a high school education. My hero worship made me a disciple to Ivy League scholars who ignited my dormant ideas and dead men whose names were printed on book covers, buildings and the currency I hungered to possess.
Then, as I traveled to Europe in my later college years, I realized I had seen more, had traveled farther and had achieved greater distinctions than Daddy ever had. I was filled with a sense of self-importance, puffed up with grad-school grants, deluded with degrees and accolades assigned to my name.
Then, I entered the formidable arena - the job, the relationships, the creditors, the pressures and the indignities of racial politics. As I reached my late twenties, I looked forward to returning home, talking with Daddy, sharing a ball game, watching an old Western on television, drinking a beer, listening to a story about his childhood days in Georgia and hearing his warm, fulfilling laughter. I rediscovered Daddy again - not as a boy in awe, but with respect as a man. And I realized a truth that I could not articulate as a child - Daddy was always there for me. Unlike the professors, the books, the celebrity heroes, the mentors, he was always there. He was my father, a man who committed himself to a thankless job in a society that had written him off with statistics and stereotypes.
When I reached my early thirties, when I became a father myself, I saw my own father with greater clarity. As I awoke in the early morning hours, compromised my wants, dealt with insults and worked overtime in order to give my son his own room - with his own bed and his own dreams - I realized I was able to do those things because my father had done them for me.
And now, at age forty-seven, when I spend precious moments with my own thirteen-year-old son, when we spend fleeting moments together at a movie, on a basketball court, in church or on the highway, I wonder what he thinks of me. At what point will I slip away from his world of important men, and will there be a point when he'll return to me with a nod of understanding? How will he measure my weaknesses and strengths, my flaws and distinctions, my nightmares and dreams? Will he claim me in the name of love and respect?
Sometimes the simple lessons are the most difficult to teach. Sometimes the most essential truths are the most difficult to learn. I hope my son will one day cherish all the lessons and truths that have flowed to him, through me, from his grandfather. And as my son grows older, I believe that he, too, will measure his steps by the strides I have made for him, just as I have achieved my goals because of the strides my father has made for me. When my son does this, perhaps he will feel the same pride and fulfillment that I do when I say, "I am my father's son."
Today is Friday, February 18th, 2005; Karen's Korner #485|
It's amazing to see how fast the week goes as I fill in for my mom. I have talked to them twice in the last few days. They haven't seen a kangaroo yet, but they will be having breakfast with them sometime next week!|
I have also been in contact with them because of personal reasons. We are going to be having a baby in August and there were some concerns with an ultrasound that we had the end of January. The further testing that we had today looked much more favorable. HOORAY!
During the past few weeks, it's been a little challenging for my emotions. The waiting has been tough. I am thankful that my emotions aren't what keeps me going. The prayers that have been spoken are a strength that gives me strength that supersedes emotional roller coasters. Amen for that!
God is God no matter the outcome of the test that we had today. That is also reassuring and a blessing to me.
We will happily be adding a baby girl to our family in August. Luke (who is 12 months) will have to learn how to share mommy and daddy:)
Today is Monday, February 21st, 2005; Karen's Korner #486|
Here is a good Chicken Soup for the Soul.
Safety Pins and Postmen
By Janet Lynn Mitchell
"What can I do to help?" Joel, my ten-year-old son asked. The shocking news of September 11, 2001, spread fast - even to ears thought too young to comprehend. But Joel did understand. He knew that his nation was wounded and that many lives had been changed forever. He understood that people were needing each other in a way that he had never seen before.
"But, really Mom, what can I do? What can I do to help the families, the kids and grown-ups?"
"Joel, you can pray. You know, praying is probably the most powerful thing you can do."
"Mom, I've already prayed, and more than one time a day! I want to know what my hands can do to help!"
I was now thinking on overload. I had no idea what a ten-year-old could do to help this situation, much less use his hands to do it with! I added to my prayer list, "An idea for Joel so that he can help victims of September 11th."
A day later, the thought came. "Joel, I've got it! Do you remember the beaded cross pin that you made at camp a couple of summers ago?"
"The one that was made of safety pins?"
"Yes! Why can't you try to design an American flag? You know, stringing red, white and blue beads onto safety pins. Then maybe you could collect donations to help the victims' families."
Off to the craft store we went, buying each and every pack of red, white and blue beads that we could find. Like on a scavenger hunt, we shopped for and bought safety pins. Seventeen thousand safety pins to be exact. Joel named his project "Helping Hands," and even found some friends who were willing to help assemble the flag pins. Joel then made signs that boldly read, "My Gift to You When You Donate to the Red Cross." Within weeks, Joel had managed to collect $5,000 in donations.
After such an overwhelming task, Joel's hands were tired. His fingers were tender. They had not yet recovered from accidental pokes from the sharp point of each safety pin, when he heard the horrific news - a postal worker had died from anthrax!
Again, the questions came flying. "Mom, what is anthrax? How did it get there? Aren't the postmen and women scared?"
I answered each question to the best of my knowledge. But then came a question that I had no answer to, "Mom, what's the name of our postman?"
A lump formed in my throat as I realized that we had lived in our home for ten years, and I had no idea who had delivered our mail each day!
"Do you think our postman is scared?" Joel asked.
The next afternoon Joel stood next to our mailbox, singing to himself to pass the time until he saw the wheels of the U.S. mail truck. With a smile, he introduced himself to the mail carrier.
"Hi, I'm Joel. I live here."
"Glad to meet you, Joel. My name's Jimmy."
"Are ya scared?"
"Yeah, about the anthrax."
"We're doing our jobs, and we're being extra careful. Thanks for asking," Jimmy said, just before he drove away.
I heard the door shut with gusto. "Mom!" Joel shouted. "His name is Jimmy! Our mailman's name is Jimmy!"
Within seconds, Joel met me in the kitchen. "I want to do more. Mom, I want to do something for Jimmy. Just how many friends at the post office do you think Jimmy has?"
"Maybe twenty?" I guessed as I got on the phone and called the post office. Two hundred and five was the count the postal worker gave. Evidently, Jimmy was both well-known and well-liked at the post office!
Again, Joel and I went to the craft stores to buy every red, white and blue bead we found. Due to their shortage of safety pins, we made calls, buying pins directly from the manufacturer. Joel rehung his sign, and "Helping Hands" was back in business.
This time it was different. Joel was not collecting donations. He was making gifts of encouragement - a flag pin for every postal worker in the city of Orange, California! After completing his task, Joel typed a note and printed it out two hundred and five times.
"I have made you this flag pin to remind you that people in our city appreciate the work you do for us. I am praying for you as you deliver our mail. I know that God will bless America! Love, Joel."
It was while Joel was attaching the notes to the flag pins that Allison, a neighbor friend, stopped by. "Hey, can I help?" she asked.
"Yeah. You've come just in time. I want to get these in the mailbox before the mailman comes!"
Joel quickly grabbed a pen, and Allison added her name to the notes. Sitting side-by-side, they worked until each flag pin was accompanied by a note. They then boxed up the couple hundred flag pins, tied a bow around them, and added a card that read, "To: Jimmy and Friends." They placed the package in our mailbox, and raised the red flag.
With a task well done, Joel and Allison went off to play. It was not until later that afternoon that I got the call.
"Hi, are you Joel's mom?" the voice asked.
"Well, you must be very proud of your son. I am the postmaster in Orange, and I'd like to know if you would bring Joel and Allison to the post office tomorrow morning at about nine. I thought it would be great if they themselves could pass out the flag pins to the mail carriers."
The next morning came. The postmaster divided the 205 postal workers into three groups. Three times Joel and Allison took front stage encouraging the mail carriers and handing out pins.
Tears gathered in some of the postal workers' eyes as they received their pins from Joel and Allison. "I think it's fantastic that you two took the time to do this and come and talk to us," one man said while shaking Joel's hand. Others offered hugs and words of thanks. Before the morning was over, Joel and Allison were made honorary mail carriers of Orange, California.
Through this experience Joel has taught me many lessons. I've learned that the only requirements needed to help another are a set of "helping hands and a willing heart." Allison has reminded me that when my fingers are cracked and tender, it's time for me to call on a friend! Through the lives of two ten-years-olds, I am now assured that each of us can do something to help our nation heal. From saying a prayer for those who pass you by to writing a letter to an unknown serviceman or stringing small beads, these gifts of time and love deeply affect those they touch.
"But, really Mom, what can I do? What can my hands do to help?" Joel asked.
I am proud of my son for doing something that never crossed my mind - for taking the time to care about others he had never met.
Today is Tuesday, February 22nd, 2005; Karen's Korner #487|
NO ORDINARY BLANKET|
He bought it at the Sav-On Drugstore for $4.97.
It was an unassuming wool blanket -- red tartan plaid with fringe on each end. When new, it was starchy and its colors vivid; but after nearly twenty years of service, the colors were faded and so threadbare in places you could see right through it. I thought the blanket itchy and hot,
but Dad stubbornly defended its merits.
"This is no ordinary blanket," he would say.
Commonly known as a stadium blanket, we called it our "car blanket" because that's where it resided between outings and vacations. It lay folded neatly in the back of our '68 Chevy station wagon, ready and waiting to be called into service. Most of its use came as a picnic blanket, a
groundcover over the rocks, sand, and pine needles of my childhood.
My father's blanket began its distinguished career shortly after he and my mother were married. They were driving along a wooded highway when they noticed smoke rising in the distance. What my parents assumed was a harmless campfire turned out to be a smoldering brush fire threatening a nearby trailer home. With no one around and no time to spare, they fought
the small fire - just Dad, Mom, and the car blanket. After that, it was a little worse for the wear, but Dad just said the discolorations gave the blanket "character."
A few years later, Dad passed a blue sedan parked along the side of a city street. A few seconds down the road he got the notion that something wasn't quite right with the scene, and he turned around to have a closer look. There, in the dim light of evening and within sight of the
speeding cars, a woman was having a baby. Dad lent a helping hand, the use of his blanket, and a ride to the hospital. The couple was deeply grateful for the unsolicited help of a stranger.
For a while the blanket returned to its familiar role. We watched fireworks on it, and drive-in movies. It protected my father's backside during an unexpected roadside tire-change. Once, when a spring trip to the beach turned unseasonably chilly, I recall huddling beneath its
protection with my sisters, grateful for Dad and his scratchy old blanket.
Several years later, my father was the first one at the scene of a serious accident. Instinctively, he stopped and approached the mangled car where a young woman was inside, trembling and bloody. He thought of his own five daughters as he wrapped the blanket around her and comforted her. The warmth of the wool helped prevent shock from setting in and kept
her calm until the ambulance arrived.
The car blanket ended its remarkable sojourn with our family one brisk December morning. A homeless man, a "regular" outside Dad's office building, asked him for some spare change. Almost as an afterthought, my father went back to his car, got the blanket from its resting place, and
presented it to the man. The last time my father saw the red plaid blanket was around his shoulders.
My mom bought a new car blanket soon after that, but it just wasn't the same. It was blue and soft; it had no stickers or threadbare patches, no grease stains or singed edges.
The old wool blanket had earned its place in our family mythology. It was, after all, no ordinary blanket.
Today is Wednesday, February 23rd, 2005; Karen's Korner #488|
I have a small gift book that I got several years ago from a friend. It's called In the Arms of God by Dr. James Dobson. |
It has several passages along with short comments from Dr. Dobson. I want to share a couple with you. I really enjoy Dr. Dobson and hope that you are encouraged by these words today!
We are promised throughout scripture that we are never to fight our battles alone. That is great news for all who are weary and burdened by the stresses of life.
Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 5:1 NKJV
In God's value system we are all important. He loves every one of us the same.
No longer will they call you Deserted, or name your land Desolate....for the Lord will take delight in you. Isaiah 62:4
There are purposes that you cannot perceive or comprehend. You may never understand-at least not in this life-but you must never let go of your faith.
Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1
Today is Thursday, February 24th, 2005; Karen's Korner #489|
A couple more selections from the Dr. Dobson book, In the Arms of God.|
God hears the faintest cry of the sick, the lonely, the despised of the world. And He cares-deeply-about each one.
I waited patiently for the Lord, and he inclined to me, and heard my cry. Psalm 40:1 KJV
Sometimes the Lord offers no explanation or interpretation of His response to our requests and cries, except by inference, "This is My will for you Life."
The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him. Lamantations 3:25 NKJV
Scripture tells us that we lack the capacity to grasp God's infinite mind or the way He intervenes in our lives.
The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law. Deuteronomy 29:29
Today is Friday, February 25th, 2005; Karen's Korner #490|
My parents are now in New Zealand. They will be on both islands over the next week. They did have breakfast with kangaroos before they left Australia. The kangaroos were not afraid of people, but they kept a distance from the group. Sounds like quite an adventure!|
Here is a good list of one-liners. It looks like something that would be on a church marque. Enjoy!
26 Beautiful One-liners
1. Give God what's right -- not what's left.
2. Man's way leads to a hopeless end -- God's way leads to an endless hope.
3. A lot of kneeling will keep you in good standing.
4. He who kneels before God can stand before anyone.
5. In the sentence of life, the devil may be a comma--but never let him be the period.
6. Don't put a question mark where God puts a period.
7. Are you wrinkled with burden? Come to the church for a face-lift.
8. When praying, don't give God instructions - just report for duty.
9. Don't wait for six strong men to take you to church.
10. We don't change God's message -- His message changes us.
11. The church is prayer-conditioned.
12. When God ordains, He sustains.
13. WARNING: Exposure to the Son may prevent burning.
14. Plan ahead -- It wasn't raining when Noah built the ark.
15. Most people want to serve God, but only in an advisory position.
16. Suffering from truth decay? Brush up on your Bible.
17. Exercise daily -- walk with the Lord.
18. Never give the devil a ride -- he will always want to drive.
19. Nothing else ruins the truth like stretching it.
20. Compassion is difficult to give away because it keeps coming back.
21. He who angers you controls you.
22. Worry is the darkroom in which negatives can develop.
23. Give Satan an inch & he'll be a ruler.
24. Be ye fishers of men -- you catch them & He'll clean them.
25. God doesn't call the qualified, He qualifies the called.
26. Read the Bible -- It will scare the heck out of you.
Today is Monday, February 28th, 2005; Karen's Korner #491|
I have enjoyed music as long as I can remember. I have sung in choirs in school and church. Something about music helps me remember things more clearly. This is absolutely the truth when it comes to biblical verses or themes. One of my favorite Contemporary Christian artists in Steven Curtis Chapman. Here is the lyrics to one of his songs. If you've heard of him before, you'll be "tapping your toes", and if not, treat it like a poem. The chorus is a simple reminder that of actions we should be doing daily :)|
I think I'll share a few more song lyrics later this week. If you have a song that speaks to you, share it with me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Let Us Pray
by S.C. Chapman
from "Signs of Life"
I hear you say your heart is achin'
You've got trouble in the making
And you ask if I'd be praying for you please
And in keeping with convictions
I say here's for good intentions
To pray lately making mention of your needs
Since we have this moment here at heaven's door
We should start knocking now so what are we waiting for
Let us pray, let us pray
Everywhere and every way
Every moment of the day
It is the right time
For the father above
He is listening with love
And he wants to answer us
So let us pray
So if you feel the spirit movin'
Prompting, prodding and behooving
There is no time to be losing let us pray
Let the Father hear us saying
What we need to be conveying
Even while this song is playing let us pray
And just because we say the words amen
It doesn't mean this conversation needs to end
Let us pray, let us pray
Everywhere and every way
Every moment of the day
It is the right time
Let us pray without end
And when we finish start again
Like breathing out and breathing in,
let us pray
Let us approach the throne of grace with confidence
As our prayers draw us near to the one who knows our need
Before we even call his name