Karen's Korner - Daily Inspirational Stories by Karen Weld
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April 2005 Archives

Printable Issue 515  Today is Friday, April 1st, 2005; Karen's Korner #515
Today's Karen's Korner is a favorite "Chicken Soup for the Soul". Sometimes I hesitate to send something as long as this one is as many readers are quite busy, but I like this one.
If today is a busy day for you, hang on to this one and read it later..........or delete!
Otherwise, here it is!
Super Roy
By Jeff Heisler

     "You're a halfback."
     I looked over my shoulder at the empty field behind me.  "Me?" I asked, pointing to my chest.
     "Yes," the coach said again.  "You're a halfback.  Yep, no doubt about it."
     The coach's name was Super Roy.  Someone told me his real name once, but it never stuck.  In my mind he'll always be Super Roy - football coach, mentor, philosopher and role model.  He was the man who made a halfback out of a scrawny, scared little fellow on his first day of pony league practice.  He was the man who shaped my life.
     When I got to practice that day I was a small kid with little athletic experience or skill.  I wondered if I belonged there at all.  When I left I was the team's halfback, and I wondered what Super Roy had seen in me that I didn't see in myself.
     "Are you sure I'm a halfback?" I asked him the next day.
     "Let me see," he said, standing back to have a good glance at me.  "Yep.  You're a halfback.  Might as well get used to it."
     "Okay," I said, puzzled but beginning to accept the idea, strange as it seemed.
     Later that day we started running plays.  Time after time the quarterback put the ball right in my hands.  Me, the nerdy fellow who had to be reminded how many points a touchdown was worth.  I expected to go all season without touching the ball.  I expected to be a bench warmer, and now the ball was in my hands - literally.
     Super Roy had a routine he did every day.  As practice wound down he would pick one of the players to step forward.  The player had to recite a quote Super Roy had given him the day before.  It was a very important moment in practice.  No one wanted to forget his quote in front of the whole team.
     After practice was over one day, Super Roy summoned me.  "Your turn tomorrow," he said.  "Ready for your quote?"
     "Okay," I said, straining in deep concentration.  "I'm ready."
     "Well, here it is: 'It's not the size of the man you play, it's how you play the man.'  Got it?"
     "Yes, Coach."
     Super Roy winked at me and gave me a pat on the shoulder.
     The next day my mind played like a broken record.  "It's not the size of the man you play, it's how you play the man."  I repeated it to myself in the morning while I waited for the bus.  I wrote it down time and time again during breaks in school, and all during practice I mumbled the quote to myself after each hit, just to be sure it hadn't been knocked out of my head.
     When the time came I stepped forward proudly.  "It's not the size of the man you play," I told my teammates, "it's how you play the man."
     Super Roy gave me another smile and a wink.
     I remembered my quote - I always will.
     Years later I came to understand the genius of Super Roy's methods.  He was the kind of coach who brought out the greatness in his players.  He was a coach who understood what sports can do to shape character.
     That year a scrawny little kid learned to believe in himself, to learn there is no problem so big he can't handle.  It was a lesson that shaped my life.
     Long after my pony league days were over I became a teacher at a school for troubled boys.  Super Roy's lessons were never far from my mind, and I borrowed from him freely.  Every day there was a new quote for a young man to remember, a quote made just for him.  And I always looked for the good in my students that they never saw in themselves.
     There was a young man in my class who had a gifted mind and a superb voice for public speaking.  One day he gave a great answer to a question I'd posed to the class.  "Good point, Mr. President," I told him.
     After class he stopped me in the hallway. "Mr. Heisler, why did you call me Mr. President?"
     "Because you are a president.  It's just a matter of time.  Might as well get used to it."
     I gave him a wink and a pat on the shoulder.  Super Roy would have been proud.

Printable Issue 516  Today is Monday, April 4th, 2005; Karen's Korner #516
I looked in my stash of emails which I have. Don't know why I didn't share this with others sooner, because I received from someone in the fall of 1999:
The Day I Finally Cried
      I didn't cry when I learned that I was the parent of  a mentally handicapped child. I just sat still and  didn't say anything while my husband and I were informed  that two-year-old Kristi was - as we suspected -  retarded.
      "Go ahead and cry," the doctor advised kindly.  "Helps prevent serious emotional difficulties."
      Serious difficulties not withstanding, I couldn't  cry then nor during the months that followed.
      When Kristi was old enough to attend school, we  enrolled her in our neighborhood kindergarten at age seven.
      It would have been comforting to cry that day I left  her in that room full of self-assured, eager, alert  five-year-olds.  Kristi had spent hours upon hours  playing by herself, but this moment, when she was the different child among twenty, was probably the loneliest  she had ever known.
      However, positive things began to happen to Kristi in her school and to her schoolmates too.  When boasting of their own accomplishments, Kristi's classmates always took pains to praise her as well: "Kristi got all her spelling words right today."  No one bothered to add that her spelling list was easier then anyone else's.
      During Kristi's second year in school, she faced a very traumatic experience.  The big public event of the term was a competition based on a culmination of the year's music and physical education activities.  Kristi was way behind in both music and motor coordination.  My husband and I dreaded the day as well.
        On the day of the program, Kristi pretended to be sick. Desperately I wanted to keep her home. Why let Kristi fail in a gymnasium filled with parents, students and teachers? What a simple solution it would be just to let my child stay home.  Surely missing one program
 couldn't matter.  But my conscience wouldn't let me off that easily.  So I practically shoved a pale, reluctant Kristi onto the school bus and proceeded to be sick myself.
      Just as I had forced my daughter to go to school, now I forced myself to go to the program.  It seemed that it would never be time for Kristi's group to perform. When at last they did, I knew why Kristi had been worried.  Her class was divided into relay teams.  With  her limp and slow, clumsy reactions, she would surely hold up her team.
      The performance went surprising well, though, until it was time for the gunnysack race.  Now each child had to climb into the sack from a standing position, hop to a goal line, return and climb out of the sack.
      I watched Kristi standing near the end of her line of players, looking frantic. But as Kristi's turn to practice neared, a change took place in her team.  The tallest boy in the line
stepped behind Kristi and placed his hands on her waist. Two other boys stood a little ahead of her.  The moment the player in front of Kristi stepped for the sack, those two boys grabbed the sack and held it open while the tall boy lifted Kristi and dropped her neatly into it.  A girl in front of Kristi took her hand and supported her briefly until Kristi gained her balance.  Then off she hopped, smiling and proud.
      Amid the cheers of teachers, schoolmates and parents, I crept off by myself to thank God for the warm, understanding people in life who make it possible for my disabled daughter to be like her fellow human beings.
      Then I finally cried.
  By Meg Hill
Printable Issue 517  Today is Tuesday, April 5th, 2005; Karen's Korner #517
I have a perpetual flip calendar on my dresser in our bedroom with daily thoughts written by Mother Teresa. Don't look at the items everyday; in fact I hadn't look at it for quite awhile.
I don't know if it has to do with the death of Pope John Paul II or what, but I brought the calendar downstairs and began to read the thoughts more like a book.
Few people have impacted our last century like Pope John Paul II and Mother Teresa!
I am sharing four of her short thoughts. I hope that at least one impacts each of our thinking for the day:
*  "I don't think there is anyone who needs God's help and grace as much as I do. Sometimes I feel so helpless and weak. I think that is why God uses me. Because I cannot depend on my own strength, I rely on him twenty-four hours a day."
* "God still loves the world. He continues loving without fail. God so loved the world that He gave His only Son. God still loves the world and today He continues to give Jesus to the world through you and me."
* "Let's focus more on the things we ought to do in serving our husband, our wife, our children, our brothers--rather than on their shortcomings."
* "The poor are great people worthy of love. Do you know the poor who live next door to you? Poverty is not only to be hungry for something to eat, to lack clothing, or not to have a home. Poverty is even greater when it is a poverty of the heart."
Printable Issue 518  Today is Wednesday, April 6th, 2005; Karen's Korner #518
When Jamie and Merry were elementary school-aged kids (and maybe even older!), we would go to church as a family nearly every Sunday. And without fail, on the way home Merry would begin her sales pitch.
"Mom, do you have anything started for dinner? Today might be a good day to eat uptown!" she would say.
Or maybe, "Dad, we haven't eaten in town for a long time. Don't you think it would be a good day to eat at..........?" And her added sentences would continue while we drove and pondered.
Did she get us to say "yes" all of the time? No.
But her asking plus her pitch got us to stop the car at the local A & W or some other restaurant more often than we might have otherwise. She didn't seem to mind the "nos", because she knew if she asked the question enough times, there would be "yeses" and that was good enough for her! She would get what she wanted!!
I wonder if God wants the same barrage of questions from us, of the things we want for ourselves and others. I wonder if that is what He means when He says, "Ask and you will be given what you ask for. Seek and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened. For anyone who asks, receives. Anyone who seeks, finds. If only you will knock, the door will open."  (Matthew 7:7)
Printable Issue 519  Today is Thursday, April 7th, 2005; Karen's Korner #519
Any of you who have read Karen's Korner for very long know that I enjoy Chicken Soup for the Soul writings and that I get a daily email "chicken soup".
The one I am sharing with you today I received yesterday. I thought about holding on to it until little league baseball/softball season starts, but it is too good to hold on to!
This is for everyone who aren't natural athletes. And for those who had to wait a long time to be chosen to be on a team at recess time. Or had a friend or child who had to endure the wait.
Some of you will foward it on. I guarantee it!
Rules of the Game
By Laura Ishler

     Sports.  A six-letter word for failure.  Maybe it wasn't so in your dictionary, but that was my definition.  I was a skinny, gangly girl growing up in the seventies.
     Sports at our Catholic grade school consisted of taking a walk around the parking lot during recess.  As we got older, we would don mustard-colored gym suits and flat sneakers and do sit-ups on the cold gym floor.  There were no dance classes, aerobics or swimming lessons.
     Then came high school and sports got ugly.  "Mr. Luther" was a swaggering little man who felt that teaching girls was his punishment for having been evil in his previous life.
     First sport: baseball.  Mr. Luther's practices all began the same: "Now listen up.  These are the rules: you do what you are told.  You goof off, you answer to me.  Y'understand?  Any questions?"  Stony silence.  "All right, you pansy girls, get running - NOW!  If it's not too much trouble," he sneered.
     Nowhere in "the rules" were there any directions on how to play the game.  You were supposed to know that.  If not, you were stupid.  For all his years of teaching, he didn't know that children do not learn without being taught.
     Mr. Luther put a bat in my hand and barked, "Don't you even know how to hold a bat?"  I was too shy to explain that it was my first time.  I held the bat out, hoping miraculously that it would hit his fastball and not the air.  No miracle here.  Mr. Luther shook his head in disgust.  I didn't make his A team.
     Catching practice was worse.  I was finally relegated to right field.  That was fine with me.  I stayed out there and prayed that no balls would come my way.  I squinted into the sun, checking my watch, just waiting for it to be over.  And I waited throughout high school for gym class and all sports to be over.
     Leaving high school meant leaving those memories of failure.  Or so I thought.
     Fast-forward twenty-some years, to another day, another town.  My son was six and he wanted to play baseball.
     Now whether you admit it or not, we all relive our past through our children.  Their experiences trigger our own pain—things we thought we had buried years ago.  I vowed my son would not suffer the same fate I had.
     First day of practice and I was ready for the coach - whoever he was.  No way would he destroy my son's confidence before it had a chance to grow.  I was ready for battle.  If you ever saw a mama bear with her cub, you'll know how I felt.  The coach had no idea what he was in for if he messed with my kid's head.
     The coach walked over and addressed the parents.  "Now here's the team rules."  My heart clutched.  Oh no, not again.  Did all men have to say that?  The coach continued, "This is a noncompetitive league - we're not keeping score.  Anyone who yells at the kids will be asked to leave.  Remember, the purpose of this game is to let the kids have some fun."
     I was stunned!  What did he say?  Did I hear right?  Had coaches really changed so much?  Or was it just their line for the parents?  I wasn't about to let down my guard just yet.
     My son came up to bat, and I held my breath.  The coach slowly pitched to him - right over the plate.  He pitched, and pitched and pitched.  After ten pitches with no hit, he handed the ball to the assistant coach.  My heart froze as he walked over to my child.  Oh no, here comes the lecture, I thought, willing myself to stay seated.
     The coach walked behind my son and put his arms around him.  He signaled for a pitch.  Together, the coach and my son hit the ball.  My kid let out a whoop and went flying to first base.  Parents were cheering, and the coach was smiling from ear to ear.  "ATTABOY!" he yelled.
     By the end of the game, everyone who got a hit was allowed to run all the bases.  With the coach's help, everyone did get a hit.  Home runs for all!  The kids were ecstatic.  They went home that night pumped up with the thrill of playing baseball.
     I came back for each practice, marveling at the patience and gentleness of the coach.  Some moms were obviously frustrated with the league.  One ex-cheerleader was frantically trying to keep score so she could prove her child had won and was the star.  She was not happy.  Someone had changed all the rules on her.
     By the end of the season, all the kids had improved their skills.  And the next year, they would learn more of the "official" rules.  But for that first season, they learned how to love baseball.
     For all the nostalgia for "the good old days," we forget that some things are better now.  And therein lies the hope for our children.
     Thank you, Coach, for giving my son - and me - the love of baseball.

Printable Issue 520  Today is Friday, April 8th, 2005; Karen's Korner #520
I had the opportunity to talk with a friend in the last few days. She is a Christian gal who continually looks to God for His answers, attends church to learn and grow, and wants to do what is the right thing.
She has blown it in the past and is in the middle of making some hard choices which will affect her future. One thing I heard her say, "I don't know if my Christian friends will like me when they find out what I am going to do. I don't know if my church family will still accept me........"
There are some things on her list of God's "dos and don'ts; shalls and shall nots" where she has done the opposite of what she knows is the right thing.
Most Christian people know the reason for the teachings of the Bible: if we do what it says (with God's help!), we will be happier and have a more satisfying life. They are written down for a purpose.
But what about when we screw up?
As I left our conversation, I thought, "God help me; help our church family to be a safe place to come to when we fail. Help me, help our church family to be a soft place to fall."
I want to be less judgemental, more accepting, more loving and kind....of both those outside the church family and those inside it, who should no better. Because I need others to do that for me.
The God with all the rules and all the right answers does that for us all the time. He catches is when we fall and He holds on to us when we fail. That is a God worth hanging on to, worth worshipping, worth walking along with on into forever!
Printable Issue 521  Today is Monday, April 11th, 2005; Karen's Korner #521
Our Sunday School class is finishing up the final few chapters of the popular book "The Purpose Drive Life" by Rick Warren. We are looking at one of the five purposes for anyone's life:  we are shaped for serving God.
This is what a paragraph said about serving:
"If you're not involved in any service or ministry, what excuse have you been using?  Abraham was old, Jacob was insecure, Leah was unattractive, Jospeh was abused, Moses stuttered, Gideon was poor, Samson was codependent, Rahab was immoral, David had an affair and all kinds of family problems, Elijah was suicidal, Jeremiah was depressed, Jonah was reluctant, Naomi was a widow, John the Baptist was eccentric to say the least, Peter was impulsive and hot-tempered, Martha worried a lot, the Samaritan woman had several failed marriages, Zacchaeus was unpopular, Thomas had doubts, Paul had poor health, and Timothy was timid. That is quite a variety of misfits, but God used each of them in His service. He will use you, too, if you stop making excuses."
Printable Issue 522  Today is Tuesday, April 12th, 2005; Karen's Korner #522
Last night a friend gave me a bookmark with a Bible verse on it. It says, "But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint." -- Isaiah 40:31
The commentary in my Bible states about the verse:  "Even the strongest people get tired at times, but God's power and strength never diminish. He is never too tired or too busy to help and listen. His strength is our source of strength. When you feel all of life crushing you and you cannot go another step, remember that you can call upon God to renew your strength."
"We all need regular times to listen to God. Waiting on the Lord is expecting his promised strength to help us rise above life's distractions and difficulties. Listening to God helps us to be prepared when he speaks to us, to be patient when he asks us to wait, and to expect him to fulfill his promises found in his Word."
Printable Issue 523  Today is Wednesday, April 13th, 2005; Karen's Korner #523
Our daughter, Jamie, and grandson, Luke, were coming to spend the night with us last night. She said they should be there some time near noon. I had a regular six-month exam dental appointment yesterday morning, getting me out of the dentist office just a few minutes before noon.
I was hurrying out of town on a county road black top, south from Clarion. Passed a residential section and the hospital which is a 25 miles per hour speed zone. Heading into a 35 miles per hour speed zone, to a 45 mph area, and finally to a 55 miles per hour roadway and the wide open spaces.
I met a police officer in the 25 mile hour zone and I was driving faster. I looked back into my review mirror. He turned around and turned on his lights!
I pulled over. As he walked up to the car, I began to roll down my window.
He informed me that I was driving about 20 miles over the limit in the slower limit area.
I offered no apologies because I knew it was true.
"Can I see your driver's license and your insurance papers?" he asked.
I obliged and gave them both to me. Luckily, I had fastened my seat belt!
He walked back to his vehicle.
I thought, "Now I am later than ever! Later than I want to be! I wonder what the fine will be? Goody, I get my name in the paper! Does my insurance rate go up?"
A few minutes later, the law enforcement officer returned to my vehicle, handing back my two driver pieces and these words, "I am not going to give you a ticket this time. You travel this road often. Think about your speed in here," he said.
Good news!!
Most of the time I drive the speed limit. Most of the time I put on my seat belt. But yesterday, I was guilty of violating the speed limit and I knew it! I don't know why law enforcement officers don't give out tickets every time, but sometimes they let offenders off the hook.........and yesterday, I was one of them!!
As I drove away, I thought about our sermon on Sunday and our minister talking about grace (not getting what we deserve) and mercy (getting what we don't deserve). And how God gives us both all of the time!
Like my speeding offense, the officer gave me his grace by not giving me what I deserved (a ticket and a fine) and mercy (another chance to do better).........God does the same for me and for all of his children all the time!
I deserve to be punished for my sins (what I do that I shouldn't) and for my lack of things He wants me to do, that I don't bother doing.
Lucky me, lucky you! As Christian people, we drive on with a clean record........filled with His grace and His mercy!! And a bigger dose of appreciation for His love and His care!!
Printable Issue 524  Today is Thursday, April 14th, 2005; Karen's Korner #524

I like the fact that some of you email me your favorites with the note that you hope that I can use it for an upcoming Karen's Korner!

This one I have seen before but I don't think it has ever been in a "korner". It was forwarded to me by Jim's cousin, John and Cathy Weld:

The Carpenter

The elderly carpenter was ready to retire. He told his employer-contractor of his plans to leave the house-building business and live a more leisurely life with his wife enjoying his extended family. He would miss the paycheck, but he needed to retire. They could get by.

The contractor was sorry to see his good worker go and asked if he could build just one more house as a personal favor. The carpenter said yes, but in time it was easy to see that his heart was not in his work. He resorted to shoddy workmanship and used inferior materials. It was an unfortunate way to end a dedicated career.

When the carpenter finished his work the employer came to inspect the house. He handed the front-door key to the carpenter.

"This is your house," he said, "my gift to you."

The carpenter was shocked! What a shame!

If he had only known he was building his own house, he would have done it all so differently..

So it is with us. We build our lives, a day at a time, often putting less than our best into the building. Then with a shock we realize we have to live in the house we have built. If we could do it over, we'd do it much differently. But we cannot go back.

You are the carpenter.. Each day you hammer a nail, place a board, or erect a wall. "Life is a do-it-yourself project," someone has said. Your attitudes and the choices you make today, build the "house" you live in tomorrow. Build wisely!

~Author Unknown~

Printable Issue 525  Today is Friday, April 15th, 2005; Karen's Korner #525
This quote is written by Marlo Morgan in her book "Mutant Message Down Under", recounting her experiences of going from a successful business executive to living off the land (and not very good land at that!) with aboriginal people in Australia. Learning how to survive by listening to others who handed down their time honored traditions for survival; living in tandem with the physical, emotional, and spiritual forces she experienced. And then returning to her career in America and all that it had to offer:
"Perhaps the future of the world would be in better hands if we forgot about discovering something new and concentrated on recovering our past."
Printable Issue 526  Today is Monday, April 18th, 2005; Karen's Korner #526
Last year at the Iowa Mothers' Convention, Cindee Schnekloth gave me a small coffee table book titled "A Little Spoonful of Chicken Soup for the Woman's Soul".
In it is a writing titled "Grandma Ruby":
    Being a mother of two very active boys, ages seven and one, I am sometimes worried about their making a shambles of my carefully decorated home. In their innocence and play, they occasionally knock over my favorite lamp or upset my well-designed arrangements. In these moments when nothing feels sacred, I remember the lesson I learned from my wise mother-in-law, Ruby.
    Ruby is the mother of six and grandmother of thirteen. She is the embodiment of gentleness, patience, and love.
    One Christmas, all the children and grandchildren were gathered as usual at Ruby's home. Just the month before, Ruby had bought beautiful new white carpeting after living with the "same old carpet" for over 25 years. She was overjoyed wiht the new look it gave her home.
    My brother-in-law, Arnie, had just distributed his gifts for all the nieces and nephews--prized homemade honey from his beehives. They were excited. But as fate would have it, eight-year-old Sheena spilled her tub of honey on Grandma's new carpeting and trailed it through the entire downstairs of the house.
    Crying, Sheena ran into the kitchen and into Grandma Ruby's arms. "Grandma, I've spilled my honey all over  your brand new carpet."
    Grandma Ruby knelt down, looked tenderly into Sheena's tearful eyes and said, "Don't worry, sweetheart, we can get you more honey."
Printable Issue 527  Today is Tuesday, April 19th, 2005; Karen's Korner #527
As we experience rain this morning here in Iowa. As we get ready for a new growing season. As the farmers till and begin to plant:
Psalms 96:1,2,11,12 - "Sing a new song to the Lord! Sing it everywhere around the world! Sing out His praises! Bless His name.
Let the heavens be glad, the earth rejoice; let the vastness of the roaring seas demonstrate His glory.
Praise Him for the growing fields, for they display His greatness......."
Printable Issue 528  Today is Wednesday, April 20th, 2005; Karen's Korner #528
This is one of those forwarded, forwarded emails; I received it from my sister Amy last week:
 Live in peace

Peace is not something that happens to you. Peace is a part of who you are.

Peace is not something that can be taken away from you. Peace comes from the way you choose to be.

Though the world around you may be filled with confusion, noise and turmoil, you can choose to be peaceful in your own heart. Though life is filled with difficult challenges and setbacks that pop up out of nowhere, you can choose to move through each moment with a peaceful heart.

When you live only for the shallow, fleeting, frivolous things, then true peace will most certainly elude you. The way to choose peace is by investing yourself in real and lasting values.

No one can force your heart to be at peace. And no one can chase true peace away from you when it is there.

Imagine how powerful it would be to live each day with peace in your heart. And know that it is always there for you to choose.

-- Ralph Marston

Printable Issue 529  Today is Thursday, April 21st, 2005; Karen's Korner #529
 I woke up in the middle of the night last night. A glass of apple juice seemed like a good idea. I wandered into the T.V. room. Set my glass on our six-sided table between our couch and easy chair. Oops, the magazine on which I placed the glass was part on the table. Part hanging off. Down goes the glass.........and juice everywhere!
Run get a wet cloth and a dry rag. But as I was heading for the kitchen, I decided to get more juice. The mess would still be there, after I got a sip of juice.
Juice. Cloth. Rag. Back to the chair. Sit down for a minute and then wipe and scrub!
As I was mopping, I was thinking, "God is always with us..........when we do the right thing........and when we mess up!" He wants us to direct our thinking towards Him, to allow Him to help us as we mop up any of our messes, and to sit down with Him to celebrate our lives....whether it goes exactly like we anticipated or not.......He wants to be a part of it........no matter the good, the bad, or the ugly..........and then we can smile.........every time!
Printable Issue 530  Today is Friday, April 22nd, 2005; Karen's Korner #530
Two short thoughts for today's "korner".
* the first one is a  cute "Chicken Soup for the Soul":
No Response
By Donna Parisi

     It was the third day my husband, Joe, had been in the intensive care unit following his fifth surgery for the removal of most of his remaining small intestine.  The surgery took many more hours than expected.  Joe was older and weaker, and he wasn’t responding.
     As I sat beside his bed, two nurses tried repeatedly to get him to cough, open his eyes, move a finger - anything to let them know he could hear them. He didn’t respond.  I sat praying to God to please help Joe respond - any sign that he might survive.
     Finally, one of the nurses turned to me and suggested that perhaps if she knew something personal about our family, she could try to stimulate his response with that knowledge.  She said, “Maybe you, as his daughter, could help us with such information.”  I smiled and said, “I’ll be happy to give you personal information, and thank you for the compliment, but I’m his wife of forty-three years, not his daughter, and we’re about the same age.”  The nurse looked at me and said, “The entire staff thought you were his daughter and had even commented how wonderful they thought it was that his daughter was with him all the time.”
     As they were expressing how I looked so young, a little cough came from my husband, and we all turned to stare at him.  He didn’t open his eyes, but loud and clear he said, “She dyes her hair!”


* the second was at the bottom of "pass-along" email forwarded by Linda Sorenson:

" I am too blessed to be stressed!"

The shortest distance between a problem and a solution is the distance between your knees and the floor.

The one who kneels to the Lord can stand up to anything.

Love and peace be with you forever.


Printable Issue 531  Today is Monday, April 25th, 2005; Karen's Korner #531
My walking partner, Margaret, asked a couple of weeks ago, "When is a good time to start planting flowers?" Probably wanted to know as her son is graduating toward the end of May. Just as well make their farm home look nice. Why have little flowers when you can have bigger, nicer ones!
"Can't plant them until at least my birthday, May 3," I said.
I told Margaret that because I had done it wrong a few years ago. What would it hurt to put a few starter plants out around our house? I put some in some crocks under our overhang and some right next to our basement door. It was at the end of April, nearly the first of May.
The weather changed from really warm to really chilly. The petunias stayed okay, but the marigolds turned black. It didn't kill them, but they looked terrible. They started to re-green in the centers. I replanted them away from the house, so I didn't have to look at them try to catch up all spring.
This year's weather had been really nice. It was even hot a week ago. But the last few days were pretty chilly here in north central Iowa. Looks like my advice and experience were right!
The gal at the greenhouse said sometimes it is even a little early until the 10th of May. My sister who lives in Rochester, MInnesota said it is better for them to wait until at least the 10th each year because they are that much farther north. "They don't grow much until the 15th of May here any way," she said.
Some of our knowledge and wisdom comes from life experiences. I know some things because I have done it wrong in the past. Some things I know because someone who is smarter than me with more experience knows the answer. The greenhouse lady knows some things and I choose to listen to her.
And then there is God who created all things and knows how all things work. He wrote it down in the "Owner's Manual" for us to read and study, to learn how the universe operates. He tells us how to develop the best relationships, how to live, how to love, what gives us joy and what doesn't, and about life in a new realm called "heaven and eternity". He knows. We don't.
One more place to get pieces of helpful advice for enjoying the trip through life.
Printable Issue 532  Today is Tuesday, April 26th, 2005; Karen's Korner #532
Here is a "pass around" email which I received from Emily Harris last week. It is a good one:
A Good Apple
A few years ago a group of salesmen went to a regional sales convention
in Chicago. They had assured their wives that they would be home in
plenty of time for Friday night's dinner.

In their rush, with tickets and briefcases, one of these salesmen
inadvertently kicked over a table which held a display of apples. Apples
flew everywhere. Without stopping or looking back, they all managed to
reach the plane in time for their nearly missed boarding. All but one.
He paused, took a deep breath, got in touch with his feelings, and
experienced a twinge of compassion for the girl whose apple stand had
been overturned.

He told his buddies to go on without him, waved goodbye, told one of
them to call his wife when they arrived at their home destination and
explain his taking a later flight. Then he returned to the terminal
where the apples were all over the terminal floor. He was glad he did.

The 16 year old girl was totally blind! She was softly crying, tears
running down her cheeks in frustration, and at the same time helplessly
groping for her spilled produce as the crowd swirled about her, no one
stopping, and no one to care for her plight.

The salesman knelt on the floor with her, gathered up the apples, put
them back on the table and helped organize her display. As he did this,
he noticed that many of them had become battered and bruised; these he
set aside in another basket.

When he had finished, he pulled out his wallet and said to the girl,
"Here, please take this $40 for the damage we did. Are you okay?"

She nodded through her tears. He continued on with, "I hope we didn't
spoil your day too badly." As the salesman started to walk away, the
bewildered blind girl called out to him, "Mister...." He paused and
turned to look back into those blind eyes. She continued, "Are you

He stopped in mid-stride, and he wondered. Then slowly he made his way
to catch the later flight with that question burning and bouncing about
in his soul: "Are you Jesus?"

Do people mistake you for Jesus? That's our destiny, is it not? To be so
much like Jesus that people cannot tell the difference as we live and
interact with a world that is blind to His love, life and grace. If we
claim to know Him, we should live, walk and act as He would. Knowing Him
is more than simply quoting Scripture and going to church. It's actually
living the Word as life unfolds day to day.

You are the apple of His eye even though we, too, have been bruised by a
fall. He stopped what He was doing and picked you and me up on a hill
called Calvary and paid in full for our damaged fruit.

 Let us live like we are worth the price He paid.

Printable Issue 533  Today is Wednesday, April 27th, 2005; Karen's Korner #533
Here are a couple of Bible verses plus commentary for those of us who have a tendency to be worriers, either by genetics or by learned behavior:
Philippians 4:6,7 - "Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything; tell God your needs and don't forget to thank him for his answers. If you do this you will experience God's peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will keep your thoughts and your hearts quiet and at rest as you trust in Christ Jesus."
Commentary - "Imagine never having to worry about anything! It seems like an impossibility--we all have worries on the job, in our homes, at school. But Paul's advice is to turn your worries into prayers. Do you want to worry less? Then pray more! Whenever you start to worry, stop and pray.
"God's peace is different from the world's peace. It is not found in positive thinking, in absence of conflict, or in good feelings. Real peace comes from knowing that because God is in control, our citizenship in Christ's Kingdom is sure, our destiny is set, and our victory over sin is certain."
Printable Issue 534  Today is Thursday, April 28th, 2005; Karen's Korner #534

In the last few weeks, I have been having fun giving away my most recent devotional booklet, "Always Be Thankful". They are gifts, but sometimes people give me gifts in return: some are gifts of money to put toward printing more devotional books in the future; sometimes I am given other gifts.

I gave several booklets to Pat and Jay Tomson. Pat mailed me a CD of The St. Olaf Choir titled, "Great Hymns of Faith". There are 18 songs on it. Most of them are ones that are recognized by nearly all of us:  "Amazing Grace", "Hark! The Hearld Angels Sing", "All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name".

One of the songs, "Jesus Loves Me", all of us have heard and sung, from the time we attended Sunday School as little kids. I know the first verse, but don't know the next two.

So this is "Karen's Korner" for today. All the verses. Why not sing the song some time today?

Verse #1:

Jesus loves me! This I know, for the Bible tells me so,
Little ones to him belong; they are weak, but he is strong.
Yes, Jesus love me! Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me! The Bible tells me so.
Verse #2:
Jesus loves me! This I know, as he loved so long ago,
taking children on his knee, saying, "Let them come to me."
Verse #3:
Jesus loves me still today, walking with me on my way,
wanting as a friend to give light and love to all who live.


Printable Issue 535  Today is Friday, April 29th, 2005; Karen's Korner #535
Our Sunday School class is on the final chapters of the popular book "The Purpose Driven Life" by Rick Warren. He tells that we all have five purposes in our life and we are looking at the last one: "you are made for mission".
Many of us falsely believe that "missions" are some place half-way around the world and in some foreign country. Warren believes otherwise.
Below is a "Chicken Soup for the Soul" and some gals who were "missionaries" to their friend:
The Love Squad
By Virelle Kidder

     "Oh, no!  Not company!" I groaned, the moment my car rounded the corner and our house came into full view.  Usually I'd be thrilled to see four cars lined up in our driveway, but after I spent a weeklong vigil at the hospital with an ill child, my house was a colossal mess.  Turning off the car engine, I dragged myself to the front door.
     "What are you doing home so soon?" my friend Judie called from the kitchen.  "We weren't expecting you for another hour!  We thought we'd be long gone before you got home."  She walked toward me and gave me a hug, then asked softly, "How are you doing?"
     Was this my house?  Was I dreaming?  Everything looked so clean.  Where did these flowers come from?
     Suddenly more voices, more hugs. Lorraine, smiling and wiping beads of perspiration from her forehead, came up from the family room where she had just finished ironing a mountain of clean clothes.  Regina peeked into the kitchen, having finished vacuuming rugs and polishing and dusting furniture in every room in the house.  Joan, still upstairs wrestling with the boys' bunk-bed sheets, called down her "Hello," having already brought order out of chaos in all four bedrooms.
     "When did you guys get here?" was my last coherent sentence.  My tears came in great heaving waves.  "How come...how come...you did all this?" I cried unashamedly, every ounce of resistance gone.
     I had spent the week praying through a health crisis, begging God for a sense of his presence at the hospital.  Instead, he laid a mantle of order, beauty and loving care into our home through these four "angels."
     "You rest a while, Virelle," Lorraine said firmly.  "Here's your dinner for tonight - there are more meals in the freezer."  The table was set with flowers and fancy napkins, and a little gift was at my place.  A small banquet was arranged, complete with salad and dessert.
     "Don't you worry; we're all praying," my friends said.  "God has everything under control."
     After my friends left, I wandered from room to room, still sobbing from the enormity of their gift of time and work.  I found beautiful floral arrangements in every room...and little wrapped gifts on each bed.  More tears.
     In the living room I found a note under a vase filled with peonies.  I was to have come home and found it as their only identity: "The Love Squad was here."
     And I knew that God had everything under control.