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July 2005 Archives

Printable Issue 580  Today is Friday, July 1st, 2005; Karen's Korner #580
Some of the gals at our church choose to be in a "Secret Sister" group annually. On Tuesday night, we learned who our "sis" for the year has been and drew for a "new sister" for the upcoming year.
I learned that mine had been Jennifer Lockwood. As part of the "unveiling", I received a couple of paperback books which Jennifer thought "could make good Karen's Korners in the future". I have read portions of one of the books in the past few days and she is right.
Here are few exerpts of "LIght for My Path for Grandparents"; if you aren't in the grandparents category, look over the shoulders of those of us who are........the words are just as meaningful. Each of the chapters has a one word title followed by several thoughts, Bible verses, prayers, etc.:
As grandparents, we stand at a point in our lives where we can look back and see clearly the many blessings God has given us down through the yeras. God has richly blessed us and our families and He will continue to bless us, now and forever.
"Our prayers should be for blesssings in general, for God know best what is good for us."
-- Socrates
"Heavenly Father,
You have abundantly blessed me.
Thank You for my precious children and grandchildren.
Make me a blessing in their lives,
as well as in the lives of everyone with whom I come in contact.
Although I'm thankful for my material possessions
You've given me,
I'm most grateful for the treasure of my family--
the only blessings that I can take to heaven with me.
As grandparents, many of us have retired from the careers that once filled so much of our lives. Those porfessional goals that once seemend important have now dropped away. But one goal is still with us, a spiritual goal that will continue to affect the choices we make:  we are called to live our lives like Christ lived His.
"Dear God,
I want my life to mirror You.
I'm grateful for the new life I have in You.
Fill me with Your Spirit daily,
so that I may be an effective witness of Your Lofe.
Life can be filled with troubles. We worry about our families, our children and grandchildren. We worry about our health. We worry about stretching our income to meet our financial needs. Yet how blessed we are to have a God big enough to handle all our worries! If we only allow Him, He will not fail to comfort our feartul hearts--and then we will be able to pass this holy comfort on to those around us.
"All you really need is the One who promised never to leave or forsake you--
the One who said,
"Lo, I am with you always."
-- Joni Eareckson Tada
I come to You for comfort.
Even my closest friends disappoint me at times,
but You will never fail me.
You are my dearest Friend,
and I ask that You comfort (and them!) now.
Printable Issue 581  Today is Monday, July 4th, 2005; Karen's Korner #581
Happy 4th of July!
A couple of thought taken from an annual flip calendar:
"But remember the Lord your God,
for it is He who gives you power to get wealth,
so that He may confirm His covenant that He swore to your ancestors,
as He is doing today."
~~ Deuteronomy 8:18
"This country cannot afford to be materially rich and spiritually poor."
~~ John F. Kennedy
Printable Issue 582  Today is Tuesday, July 5th, 2005; Karen's Korner #582
This is a Chicken Soup for the Soul which I received about a year ago; appropriate as our corn continues to grow and mature. It makes me think about a couple of age-old sayings: "seeing is believing"; "don't worry about anything"; "faith is........":
Tall Corn
By Gary Carter

Jim Carlton sat by his kitchen window.  He gazed across the hot afternoon at the corn that grew like a rising hedge around his single-story Iowa farmhouse.  This year's crop had jumped up tall and early.  Now, only the corn that crowded around the edge of the home site was visible from the house.

His wife, Sue, stood at the sink washing fresh-picked carrots with a dribble of cold water.  She eyed the sky uneasily as she worked, willing a cloud to appear.  It had been twenty-seven days since the last rainfall, and that, to use Jim's words, had been hardly enough to knock the fuzz off a dandelion.

Jim sighed, looking at the blank, blue sky.  "It's been too long.  We're going to start losing corn pretty soon.  And there's not a dang thing anyone can do about it except look for clouds and watch the leaves go soft..." He paused.  "But then, I guess worrying doesn't help any.  Just makes you see things worse than they really are."

Sue Carlton, a strong-looking woman in her early forties, set the carrots in the sink and dried her hands.  She walked over to her husband who sat in a wheelchair, one leg extended forward.  A month ago, Jim had been repairing the roof of the barn when a board gave way.  Along with shattered bones, the X rays had shown damage to his spine.  Just how much damage, and whether Jim would ever walk again, the doctors couldn't yet say.

Sue perched on the arm of a chair and stroked the side of Jim's neck.  "I reckon you're right about worrying," she said.  She looked down at him.  "Sometimes I think the drought's harder on the farmers than it is on the crops."

She looked out the window at her garden.  They had talked about letting part of the vegetable garden go dry, or selling some of the animals, but so far there seemed to be enough well water for their own use.  There just wasn't enough for three hundred acres of corn.

She bent down and kissed his head.  "We'll be okay," she said quietly.

The days rolled on and on, same after same like crystal-clear beads on a string; early heat, dry winds and spotless skies of beautiful heartbreaking blue.  Leaf edges began to brown and curl on the corn that hedged the Carltons' yard.

One day in mid-July, Jim called to his wife as she came in from the garden.  He told her he had just been on the phone with their neighbor Pappy Dickson.  Pappy's crop was failing; he couldn't see any ears at all and even the stalks were turning brown.

"Pappy says he's going to start plowing his corn under if it doesn't rain by the end of the week," Jim said in a worried voice.

"Plowing it in?" Sue stared at Jim.

"Sounds like it.  I think the worry must be getting to him. What he says is impossible.  We all planted the same seed at about the same time, and it looks to me like the corn's holding up pretty good."

A few days later, Sue returned from a trip to town.  Jim heard the screen door slap behind her but didn't call a greeting.  She came into the room, her eyes questioning.  Jim was sitting there as cool as a handful of rose petals, a big smile on his face.  She set down her packages.

"Don't tell me," she said.  "There's a rainstorm coming!"

"Better than that!  Doc Henderson called, says the new X rays look good, real good - a lot better than he expected."  Jim paused and his smile grew wider.  "He figures I could be walking by September."

"Walking...?"  She looked straight into her husband's eyes.  "He figures you'll be able to walk?"  She reached down and held his face in both hands.  "That's the best news you could have given me!" she said, laughing.  She jumped up and twirled a few times around the room, hugging herself with happiness.

"Better than a rainstorm?"

"Oh, honey!  A hundred times better," she laughed and fell into a chair beside him.

"You know," he said, reaching out and touching her arm, "a month ago I couldn't believe how our life was going.  I figured maybe we were praying in the wrong direction or something.  Then along comes the good news, and suddenly the drought hardly seems worth worrying about."

"Well, that's good.  Then I don't need to keep sneaking out at night to water."  Sue lifted her head and looked in Jim's eyes.

"The garden?"

"The garden and all the corn you can see from this house."

"Corn?"  Jim stared at her.

"What else could I do?" Sue smiled.  "You said it yourself, worrying doesn't help any.  It just makes you see things worse than they really are."

Printable Issue 583  Today is Wednesday, July 6th, 2005; Karen's Korner #583
Dear Father in Heaven,
Last night I sat at our local high school baseball game. During one of the first innings, I looked over my shoulder and I saw a young man walking away from the game.
I know who he is and I knew that there was a meeting at our church for the nearly two dozen people who are going on a nine-day mission trip to Mexico later this month. This teen has committed his life to Jesus and all You have to offer.
I notice that he quickened his walk toward the church, until he began to run. Might have started his journey too late and needed to hurry. Hard to tell why he started the run.
Father, help me to be like this young guy. Unafraid to follow You. Eager to go where you would have me go and to do what you would have me do. Help me not to have the tug to stay at the game with my friends and to have fun, if you have something else you would prefer that I do. Give me an eagerness to do Your Will for just me. Make me so willing that I run to do the work You have in mind for me!
Some time passes and I look into the stands. Here is this young teen back at the game....smiling, chatting, watching the action on the diamond. That is just like You, too! Just because we do what you want us to do, it doesn't mean that we have to give up all of the things and people we enjoy!
We love You. We serve You. And we want to share the love that You give back to us with others! Thanks for the Spirit and the Energy which you give to each of us as Your Children.
Printable Issue 584  Today is Thursday, July 7th, 2005; Karen's Korner #584
Sometimes I underline things in my Bible; sometimes I write a note above, below, or near what I have underlined. Not often but sometimes. Sometimes I write down the date when I made the markings.
Here is a one line verse and what I wrote. This one I didn't record a date:
Luke 7:23 - "Blessed is the one who does not lose his faith in me." (Jesus is speaking)
I wrote, "We lose faith, not because of who Jesus is, but because He does things differently than our human minds tell us is right.......more right than we can figure out on our own!"
And something that I received yesterday from a cousin, Marcia Ingham:
Sometimes in life, you find a special friend;
Someone who changes your life just by being part of it.
Someone who makes you laugh until you can't stop;
Someone who makes you believe that there really is good in the world.
Someone who convinces you that there really is an unlocked door just waiting for you to open.
Printable Issue 585  Today is Friday, July 8th, 2005; Karen's Korner #585
I received this "pass around email" from Susie Chapman a few weeks ago. The note said the information is from motivational speaker, Anthony Robbins. Sometimes these types of notes credit the right person; sometimes they don't. Doesn't matter. The list includes 21 tips to contribute to a successful, happy life:

ONE. Give people more than they expect and do it cheerfully.

TWO. Marry a man/woman you love to talk to. As you get older, their conversational skills will be as important as any other.

THREE. Don't believe all you hear, spend all you have, or sleep all you want.

FOUR. When you say, "I love you," mean it.

FIVE. When you say, "I'm sorry," look the person in the eye.

SIX. Be engaged at least six months before you get married.

SEVEN. Believe in love at first sight.

EIGHT. Never laugh at anyone's dreams. People who don't have dreams don't have much.

NINE. Love deeply and passionately. You might get hurt but it's the only way to live life completely.

TEN. In disagreements, fight fairly. No name calling.

ELEVEN. Don't judge people by their relatives.

TWELVE. Talk slowly but think quickly.

THIRTEEN. When someone asks you a question you don't want to answer, smile and ask, "Why do you want to know?"

FOURTEEN. Remember that great love and great achievements involve great risk.

FIFTEEN. Say "bless you" when you hear someone sneeze.

SIXTEEN. When you lose, don't lose the lesson

SEVENTEEN. Remember the three R's: Respect for self; Respect for others; and Responsibility for all your actions.

EIGHTEEN. Don't let a little dispute injure a great friendship.

NINETEEN. When you realize you've made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.

TWENTY. Smile when picking up the phone. The caller will hear it in your voice.

TWENTY-ONE. Spend some time alone.

Printable Issue 586  Today is Monday, July 11th, 2005; Karen's Korner #586
I stumbeld over this underlined verse in my Bible in Nehemiah yesterday. Who reads Nehemiah?
I underlined it on Valentines' Day in 1989. Have I seen it or read it since then! Who knows??
But it is today's Karen's Korner for you........and for me:
,,,"it is time to celebrate with a hearty meal,
and to send presents to those in need,
for the joy of the Lord is your strength.
You must not be dejected and sad!"
~~Nehemiah 8:10
Printable Issue 587  Today is Tuesday, July 12th, 2005; Karen's Korner #587
This is something that I received yesterday from Jim Bossard. It is written by Jeff White. I don't know if Jeff is a friend of Jim's or if it is an email that has been passed along to quite a number of people:

The heavens tell the glory of God.  Psalm 19:1
As I sit here writing you this morning, I'm watching the sun rise ouside my office window.  It is so beautiful and reminded me of the above verse.  Yes, the very heavens tell the glory of God.
Just look at the sun! Every square yard of the sun is constantly emitting 130,000 horse power, or the equivalent of 450 eight-cylinder automobile engines. And yet our sun, as powerful as it is, is but one minor star in the 100 billion orbs which make up our Milky Way Galaxy.  By showing us the heavens, Jesus is showing us his Father’s workshop.…
He taps us on the shoulder and says, “Your Father can handle that for you.”

Jeff White, Minister
Freeport Church of Christ
Printable Issue 588  Today is Wednesday, July 13th, 2005; Karen's Korner #588
I have a confession to make. I have had a case of the "I don't want to's"; "I don't have to do it"; or "it isn't my job or turn!" It happens to me now and then, but this time my "illness" has lasted longer than some other times.
I think I have more of a natural energy level than some. But I don't like the feeling of "making myself do something" or worse "not doing something, which I know I could, would, should do".
I am a part of our local Marys and Marthas group (M & Ms for short); a group of gals who do things for others in God's name as if He were here on earth; sharing His Spirit with people and organizations.
For the past three years, we have served a supper meal at our local Monday Night Concerts in the Park, a weekly event during the summer. Some under 100 usually eat. It looked like the concerts weren't going to be organized this year. Bummer....one less way for our group to make money.
A week or so ago, one gal decided she would organize the concerts and the meals. Our call came a day or so ago, would the M & Ms like to have a meal? How about Monday? That was the only day left?
I haven't had a chance to talk with our group. Would they still want to do it this year? Did we have enough volunteers to help? One thing I knew:  I wasn't going to do it..........I volunteered to do the bulk of it last year. Not me! Not this year!
I called another gal. "Lorna, should we do this or not?"
She thought for a bit, "Yes, we have to do it," she said. "Let's divide up the tasks and items we need. I'll ask for maidrites already made up and baked beans. I have paper products. You ask for people to furnish bars and buns and we will have it."
Rather than make calls, I put out an S.O.S. email. Anyone wanting to furnish a pan of bars or cake; two packages of hot dog or hamburger buns, email me back. Sent the email last night. Got enough helpers and food items. This morning I am turning down extra responses to help or furnish!
I can't wait for Monday as we draw all of our stuff together. We never charge for the meals; instead we have freewill offerings for the meals. It is an outreach to people who maybe have to pass up those meals with ticket sales. And yet we always make a nice sum of money!
This morning I am thinking about how close I came to saying, "No!"
Makes me think of the Bible verse, "Ask, and you will be given what you ask for......." (Matthew 7:7). Sometimes the receiving comes directly from God himself. And sometimes it comes from the hands of His Children and my friends!
Printable Issue 589  Today is Thursday, July 14th, 2005; Karen's Korner #589
Sometimes when I read the Bible I find a line, a verse, or a chapter, I think, "Wow! I didn't know that!!"
Here is something I read yesterday. It was at the end of Jesus' life and ministry - John chapter 17. My Bible commentary says, "This entire chapter is Jesus' prayer." Subheadings say, "Jesus prays for hiimself; Jesus prays for his disciples; and Jesus prays for future believers."
The verse that caught my eye is verse 10 (this is Jesus praying); 
"And all of them,
since they are mine, belong to You;
and You have given them back to me
with everything else of yours,
and so they are my glory!"
And the commentary states,
"Jesus said that his disciples are his glory.
What a fantastic truth,
that Jesus glories in us
and that our lives can bring him joy!"
What a good thought for this Thursday........Jesus glories in you and in me!!
Printable Issue 590  Today is Friday, July 15th, 2005; Karen's Korner #590
This is a "Chicken Soup for the Soul" which I have had in my "inbox" for a number of months now. It is a tale of two sisters and their two fathers. In a day when "permanent" relationships are more and more apt to be "temporary", this is a good "and they lived happily ever after" story:
A Tale of Two Fathers
By Kimberly Ripley

Our parents divorced when Karen was a toddler, and a few years later we were blessed with the best of a complicated world - a father and a stepfather.  The situation wound up a bit confusing later on down the road.  Especially when it was time for Karen to get married.

As sometimes happened in those days, long before shared custody and divorce mediation, we didn't maintain much contact with our natural father.  It was hoped that our new stepfather would grow to be the apple of our eyes.

Gordon was, in fact, a wonderful man.  He accepted us as his children and went on to nurture, counsel and play a major part in the raising of my sister and me.  He was the humor in an otherwise dry existence.  He was the fun where there often wasn't any.  And he was the true keeper of our hearts, with our best interests always at the center of his own.

I maintained ties with my natural father, too, although initially strained.  I saw the situation for what it was and did my best to mend all wounds.  Gordon supported this whole-heartedly.  Karen, being years younger than me, grew up without really knowing our natural father.

When Karen was in high school and I was married, living far away from home, we went through a second divorce.  This time, however, I was careful to maintain ties.  Gordon remained the father figure he'd always been and even became "Grandpa Gordon" to my firstborn.  Karen and Gordon grew apart some, but reestablished ties after graduation.

Gordon eventually remarried.  Carol was ideally suited to him and understood the complications of our situation.  When they both encouraged Karen to mend her severed ties with Dad, she bravely set about renewing a relationship she barely remembered.

Communication with Dad was, at its best, on the surface.  We knew he loved us and he knew we loved him, but the words were seldom spoken aloud.  And none of us ever mentioned our relationship with Gordon.

Before Karen announced her engagement, she voiced her concerns.  "I want Gordon to give me away when I get married."

"Mm-hmm," I replied.

"But I want Dad to give me away, too.  I don't want to hurt either one of them."

I knew Gordon would understand.  My father, however, would be a little harder to convince.  "Let me see what I can do."

A letter, I decided, felt right.  Gordon, of course, was privy to my plan and supported it.

Dear Dad,
     We were children when this all started, and the situation was completely out of our hands.  As adults now, we need and want you to be our father.  We love you and want you to be a part of our lives.
     But Gordon is a part of our lives, too.  He has been a good man, an honest man, and has done everything a father would do for his children.
     Karen is getting married in a few months.  It would mean the world to her, and to me, if you would walk her down the aisle - together with Gordon.
     Loving Gordon doesn't mean in any way that we love you any less.  There is plenty of room for two wonderful fathers in our lives.  Gordon always encouraged contact with you, never spoke a word against you or undermined our feelings for you.  We respect the fact that you never voiced negative feelings about Gordon.
     Give this some thought.  Remember both Karen and I love you and want our family ties to be restored.  Remember that in your absence, we established strong family ties with Gordon, and it would be unfair to all of us to expect that to stop.
     It would be a beautiful sight to watch Karen walking down the aisle on her wedding day, flanked by two wonderful fathers.  It would be an answer to prayer.
     I love you.

A couple of weeks later, Karen received a phone call from Dad.

"So where do I go to get measured for my tux?"

In late August, Karen walked down the aisle with a handsome father on each side of her.  They wore identical tuxedos with matching smiles and radiated the same fatherly love and joy.

The blessing to Karen and I was twofold.  In addition to ending years of confusion and estrangement, we learned to share the joy of being the proud daughters of two extraordinary fathers.

Printable Issue 591  Today is Monday, July 18th, 2005; Karen's Korner #591
In I Chronicles 16, David and his people are singing praises to God in the Tabernacle.
I think God likes it when we praise Him and say "thanks".......
another benefit is that we feel better and our attitude becomes more positive:
Verse 8 - 13:
"Oh, give thanks to the Lord and pray to Him," they sang.
"Tell the peoples of the world
About His might doings.
Sing to him; yes, sing His praises
And tell of His marvelous works.
Glory in His name;
Let all rejoice who seek the Lord.
Seek the Lord; yes, His strength
And seek His face untiringly.
O descendants of His servant Abraham,
O chosen sons of Jacob,
Remember His mighty miracles
And His marvelous miracles
And His authority:
He is the Lord our God!
His authority is seen throughout the earth."
"Does it ever seem that a simple "thank you" to God is not enough to express your appreciation? 
Four elements of true thanksgiving are found in this song:
1) remembering what God has done;
2) telling others about it;
3) showing God's glory to others;
4) offering gifts of self, time, and resources.
Get into the habit of fully expressing your thanks to God."
Printable Issue 592  Today is Tuesday, July 19th, 2005; Karen's Korner #592
Today's Karen's Korner was sent to me last weekend by my long-time friend Sharon Frank. The story appears to be passed along to her from others. I have no idea who wrote it; maybe it doesn't matter:


Just up the road from my home is a field,
with two horses in it.

From a distance, each looks like every other horse.
But if one stops the car, or is walking by,
one will notice something
quite amazing.

Looking into the eyes of one horse
will disclose that he is blind.
His  owner has chosen not to have him put down,
but has made a good home for him.
This alone is amazing.

Listening, one will hear the sound of a bell.
Looking around for the source of the sound,
one will see that it comes from
the smaller horse in the field.
Attached to her bridle is a small bell.
It lets her blind friend know where she is,
so he can follow her.

As one stands and watches these two friends,
one sees how she is always checking on him,
and that he will listen for her bell
and then slowly walk to where she is
trusting that she will not lead him astray.

Like the owners of these two horses,
God does not throw us away
just because we are not perfect
or because we have problems
or challenges.

He watches over us and even brings others
into our lives to help us when we are in need.

Sometimes we are the blind horse
being guided by God and those whom he places in our lives.
Other times we are the guide horse, helping others see God.
Printable Issue 593  Today is Wednesday, July 20th, 2005; Karen's Korner #593
This is a note that I emailed to our Marys and Martha (M & Ms for short) yesterday, but I think it deserves a bigger reading audience. It is a letter from 1st Lt. Brad Hanson. I don't know Brad; probably no one in our M & Ms group knows him either.
Before our June M & Ms meeting, we contacted people in our community asking, "Do you have a friend or relative who serves in our country's military? If you do, let us know his/her name and address." We wanted to thank people for doing what they do for us. And we signed and mailed cards to 14 service people.
Brad happens to be the grandson of Marilyn and Bob Marshall, who we do know, as they have lived in Clarion all their lives. But it is what Brad wrote that touches my heart and hopefully, it will touch yours.
All we did was 20 or so of us signed a card, said thanks, and passed along the same names and addresses for others to remember and to pray:
Written July 9, 2005:
Dear Ladies,
I just wanted to send a letter of thanks for your thoughs and prayers for myself and my fellow Marines out here in Iraq. This is my second time out here as I was here for five months in 2004.
I am a Communications Platoon Commander and have a platoon of 19 Marines. They are all a joy to be around and they keep my spirits high. I truly believe our presence here is important and a part of God's plan. First of all, on a personal level, my experiences here have led to a greater appreciation of all that I have been blessed with. I know we don't live in a perfect world, but it would be nice if everyone had the opportunity to enjoy the same freedoms we have as Americans.
Perhaps most importantly, it is important to prevent the types of attacks on our innocent citizens that we were a victim to four years ago.
For all of those reasons, it is important for us to be here. It helps when we receive notes of encouragement from our fellow Americans. Being separated from our families is the most challenging aspect, but we stick together and wait for our return to our families.
My wife, Raegan, is giving birth to our first child in late August. I am scheduled to return to California in late August, hopefully, just in time for the birth. As my grandmother, Marilyn, has probably told you, I have spent a great deal of time in Clarion. I worked four summers detasseling corn and spent a few years attending both Iowa State and UNI.
In closing, I would like to thank you one last time for your support. A small note of support means the world to us out here. God bless!
1st Lt. Brad Hanson
Printable Issue 594  Today is Thursday, July 21st, 2005; Karen's Korner #594
Forwarded to me from Bonnie Saxton:
Whatever our hands touch---
We leave fingerprints!
On walls, on furniture,
On doorknobs, dishes, books,
As we touch we leave our identity.

Oh please where ever I go today,
Help me leave heartprints!
Heartprints of compassion
Of understanding and love.
Heartprints of kindness
and genuine concern.

May my heart touch a lonely neighbor
Or a runaway daughter,
Or an anxious mother,
Or, perhaps, a dear friend!

I shall go out today
To leave heartprints,
And if someone should say
"I felt your touch,"
May that one sense be...YOUR LOVE
Touching through ME.
    --Author unknown



Printable Issue 595  Today is Friday, July 22nd, 2005; Karen's Korner #595
This is a "Chicken Soup for the Soul" which I enjoyed and hope that you do to. It is a snapshot of what 'love' sometimes looks like:
My Toughest Decision
By Kristina Dulcey

     Mistakes, mistakes, mistakes.  Everyone makes them.  No one saw mine coming.
     Overall, I was a really good kid.  At fifteen, I was a sophomore at a Catholic high school and a member of the National Honor Society.  I played softball and ran cross- country.  I had, and still have, aspirations of becoming a doctor.  If someone would have told me that at the age of fifteen I would become pregnant, I would have said they were crazy.  Why would anyone do something so foolish?  It's still hard for me to believe, but it happened.
     October 11, 1997, was the day my daughter was born.  I took one look at her, and it was love at first sight.  It was so overwhelming - a flood of emotions that I have never experienced.  I loved her in a way that could only be described as unconditional.  I looked at her, and in my heart I knew that I could not give her all the things that she needed and deserved to have, no matter how badly I wanted to.  Physically, emotionally and in every other way, I was not capable of being a mother.  I knew what had to be done.  Putting all my emotions aside and doing what I felt was best for my daughter, I decided to give her up for adoption.
     Placing my baby in the arms of her mother was the hardest thing I've ever had to do.  My very soul ached.  Even though I still get to see my daughter because I am blessed with having an open adoption, the pain is still there.  I can feel it burning inside me every day, when I think about Katelyn.  I only hope that when she gets older, she realizes how much I love her.  I love her more than anything in the world.
     Today is my daughter's first Christmas.  I won't be there to share with her the joy of this season, or to play Santa and open her presents for her (she's only two months old).  In fact, I won't be there to see her first step, or hear her first word.  I won't be there to take pictures on her first day of kindergarten.  When she cries for her mommy, it won't be me that she wants.      I know in my heart that I made the right choice.  I just wish with all my heart that it was a choice I never had to make.

Printable Issue 596  Today is Monday, July 25th, 2005; Karen's Korner #596
Friday's Karen's Korner was a favorite from "Chicken Soup for the Soul".
Remember? The title "My Toughest Decision" was written by a gal who had a baby at the age of 16. Because of her situation and a love for her young daughter, she made the "tough decision" to give her baby to a couple for adoption. Her final sentence read, "I know in my heart that I made the right choice.  I just wish with all my heart that it was a choice I never had to make."
What a special reply, I got from one reader:  Arlene Lockwood.  Here is some of what she wrote:  "WOW !!!! Your Karen's Korner sure hit home!!! I remember being sixteen and in those same shoes...and all the years of not knowing where our daughter was or how she was ....and missing out on all those milestones of her life."
Unlike the writer of the Chicken Soup for the Soul, who experienced an open adoption, Arlene and Jerry (who is the biological farther), didn't know anything about their daughter.
Arlene said, "The only thing that kept me going all those years was that one day we would be reunited. She said many times she would hear ringing in her ears, "Hope and trust in God."
 It was 26 years before Arlene would know what trusting had meant to their family. "God completed the circle of love when it was the best time in her life, and our lives... .in HIS timing!" wrote Arlene. "Then we got to look at the pictures of her steppingstones and milestones and could ask all the questions and get the answers. And she did too!  Like the author said, it's like all the puzzle pieces are there and fit together now; it is complete."
One more part of Arlene's story, when God whispered all of those years to "hope and trust". Arlene had named her baby "Hope Renee" ; her adoptive parents renamed her Sarah Christine. 
When Sarah had a baby girl in 2001, she named her baby the name given to her by her biological parents: HOPE Renee!!
God's hope had come full circle!!
Printable Issue 597  Today is Tuesday, July 26th, 2005; Karen's Korner #597
This morning when I was waking up and started thinking about my day.
What would God want me to do with it today, I wondered.
"God, what would you like me to do today?" I asked mentally.
"Love Me.
 Love yourself.
 Love others, " seemed to be His response.
"Hmmm. That should keep me busy all day today," I pondered.
Tomorrow when I ask Him again, He will probably give me the same list.
Silly me, sometimes I get busy doing a lot of other things.
And forget what is important to God and what is important to me.
What will please God 
And will make me both happy and successful!
Printable Issue 598  Today is Wednesday, July 27th, 2005; Karen's Korner #598
This is a "pass along" email that I received last week from Miriam Jensen:
God and the Spider

During World War II, a US marine was separated from his
unit on a Pacific island.  The fighting had been intense, and in the
smoke and the crossfire he had lost touch with his comrades.

Alone in the jungle, he could hear enemy soldiers coming in his
direction. Scrambling for cover, he found his way up a high ridge to
several small caves in the rock.  Quickly he crawled inside one of the caves.  
Although safe for the moment, he realized that once the enemy soldiers
looking for him swept up the ridge, they would quickly search all the
caves and he would be killed.

As he waited, he prayed, "Lord, if it be your will, please protect me.
Whatever your will though, I love you and trust you.  Amen."

After praying, he lay quietly listening to the enemy begin to draw close.
He thought, "Well, I guess the Lord isn't going to help me out of this
one." Then he saw a spider begin to build a web over the front of his cave.

As he watched, listening to the enemy searching for him all the while,
the spider layered strand after strand of web across the opening of the cave.
"Hah, he thought.  "What I need is a brick wall and what the Lord has
sent me is a spider web.  God does have a sense of humor."

As the enemy drew closer he watched from the darkness of his hideout and
could see them searching one cave after another.  As they came to his, he
got ready to make his last stand.  To his amazement, however, after
glancing in the direction of his cave, they moved on.  Suddenly, he realized that
with the spider web over the entrance, his cave looked as if no one had
entered for quite a while.  "Lord, forgive me," prayed the young man.  "I
had forgotten that in you a spider's web is stronger than a brick wall."

We all face times of great trouble.  When we do, it is so easy to forget
the victories that God would work in our lives, sometimes in the most
surprising ways.  
As the great leader, Nehemiah, reminded the people of Israel when they
faced the task of rebuilding Jerusalem, "In God we will have success!"
[Nehemiah 2:20]
Remember: Whatever is happening in your life, with God, a mere
spider's web can become a brick wall of protection
Printable Issue 599  Today is Thursday, July 28th, 2005; Karen's Korner #599
Six years ago today our son-in-law Ed called to tell us the life altering news, "Merry was killed in an auto accident late this afternoon." That was all the message we needed to begin our trip to their hometown of Amana.
Sometimes at an anniversary like today or other times of the year, I like to share some thoughts about Merry, things she did or shared, or what I have learned as her mom through Karen's Korner.
One person responded awhile ago, "I can tell that you are still grieving Merry's death."
Maybe I am. I know that it is important that I remember and not forget.
Two of the gifts which we received in the days following Merry's death:  a few friends gave us a framed plaque with the words, "When someone you love becomes a memory, the memory becomes a treasure"; another group of friends gave us a blank, hard-bound book, telling us, "Have people write down their memories of Merry in it." The pages filled up quickly in the few days, weeks, and months following her funeral. Now, an entry is only occasional. This morning I counted the number of blank pages: only 19 left. Eventually, we will have it filled.
One thought I had this morning about Merry which isn't in the "Merry Memories" book, I'll write in the near future (people are allowed more than one entry; moms can write a lot of them!): 
Along with teaching middle school music students for the Clear Creek-Amana School District, Merry also taught piano lessons in their home. About this time of year, Merry called one day to tell about her piano teaching experiences. One mother had contacted Merry to tell her that her son and daughter wouldn't be taking lessons that year. The gal worked with Merry at school, but was going through a divorce. There wouldn't be enough extra dollars for the lessons. Merry told 'mom', "Kids shouldn't have to suffer because of a divorce and changes in their family situation. I will teach them for free."  For the next year, Merry taught the two older elementary students without pay!
That was Merry - big heart, always caring about others, enjoying life to the fullest, always with a smile, a joke, a story.
It was about two months before Merry died that she and Ed set us up on email. Merry was the email "queen". If she was feeling good, we would receive lots of messages from "pass around" emails. If she wasn't, a few days would go by without any new ones. I received enough of them, that at times I would delete many to most of them.
I have nine of them left. If I would have known these would have been the last ones we would ever receive, I would have kept more (maybe all!) of them. Many of them were  thoughtful, heartful ones. Now and then some of them were marked, "Dad would enjoy this one!" Or as my mom would have called it, "salty humor".
This is one of the nine: 
German Baby

A doctor was having an affair with his nurse.  Shortly after
this started, she told him she was pregnant. Not wanting his wife
to know, he gave the nurse a large sum of money and asked her to go to
Germany and have the baby there. "But how will I let you know the baby is
born?"she asked. He replied " Just send me a postcard and write
"sauerkraut" on the back"
Not knowing what else to do, the nurse took the  money and
flew to Germany. Six months went by and then one day the doctor's wife
called him at the office and explained "Dear, you received a very strange
post card in the mail today and I don't understand what it 
The doctor  said "Just wait until I get home and read it and I
will explain it to  you".
Later that evening the doctor came home, read the  postcard,
fell to the floor with a heart attack-and died . So the wife picked  up the
card and read "Sauerkraut, Sauerkraut, Sauerkraut. Sauerkraut 
- Two with wieners, two without".
Printable Issue 600  Today is Friday, July 29th, 2005; Karen's Korner #600
Wow! 600 Karen's Korners!! Thanks for sticking with me for that number, or for joining me to share what I write or receive from others!
If at any time, you want to go back and read a "korner" from #1 until today's #600, they are all on my web site at www.karens-korner.com. Hit the "archives" button and they are listed by months since March 2003. If you can recall a topic (i.e.spider web, Nehemiah, Jeff, clouds), type in the word in the "search" section to the left and if there are any of those topics, it will bring that Karen's Korner on to the screen!
Thanks, too, for allowing me to share Merry's sixth anniversary of her death yesterday. And for those of you who typed me a note back! Below is something I received a month or so after her funeral. I have heard it said that people who have lost a loved one, recalling someone saying something to them shortly after the death which seem inconsiderate or inappropriate.
I can honestly say that didn't happen to us. Maybe it is because we were learning how to lose a child. And the people making the comments were learning, too, but caring enough to say things and write notes. What they wrote or said wasn't as important, as the care and concern.
Anyway, this piece is written by a pediatric nurse and was in an Ann Landers column. Someone emailed it to us:
When No Words Seem Appropriate
      I won't say, "I know how you feel" - because I don't. 
 I've lost parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends,
 but I've never lost a child.  So how can I say I know how
 you feel?
      I won't say, "You'll get over it" - because you won't. 
 Life will have to go on.  The washing, cooking, cleaning,
 the common routine.  These chores will take your mind off
 your loved one, but the hurt will still be there.
      I won't say, "Your other children will be a comfort to
 you" - because they may not be.  Many mothers I've talked to
 say that after they have lost a child, they easily lose
 their temper with their remaining children.  Some even feel
 resentful that they're alive and healthy when the other
 child is not.
      I won't say, "Never mind, you're young enough to have
 another baby" - because that won't help.  A new baby cannot
 replace the one that you've lost.  A new baby will fill your
 hours, keep you busy, give you sleepless nights.  But it
 will not replace the one you've lost.
      You may hear all these platitudes from your friends and
 relatives.  They think they are helping.  They don't know
 what else to say.  You will find out who your true friends
 are at this time   Many will avoid you because they can't
 face you.  Others will talk about the weather, the holidays
 and the school concert but never about how you're coping.
      So what will I say?
      I will say, "I'm here. I care.  Anytime. Anywhere."  I
 will talk about your loved one.  We'll laugh about the good
 memories.  I won't mind how long you grieve.  I won't tell
 you to pull yourself together.
      No, I don't know how you feel - but with sharing,
 perhaps I will learn a little of what you are going through. 
 And perhaps you'll feel comfortable with me and find your
 burden has eased.  Try me.