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Lost in Memories of Winters Past

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Snow. We don't see much of that in Texas.

My hubby and I lived on 10 acres adjacent to a large area of Army Core of Engineers property that ringed Stillhouse Hollow Lake. This is where we raised our sons. It was a wooded area, high on a hill overlooking the headwaters of the lake. We could see the "weather" coming from the other side of the lake, long before it arrived at our house.

On the rare occasions we did have snow, it truly opened up another world. Besides all the usual beauty of snow on the ground, the trees, etc., suddenly there were hundreds of tracks all over the place! What was once invisible was now a clear picture before our eyes.

Hubby was an avid hunter all his life and a Game Warden for 25 years, so identifying the tracks was not a problem. I always knew we had deer and cottontails there, but now we saw the dance they did played out all over the open expanse we called our yard.

And we saw the fox who were drawn by the rabbits, and the deadly game played out there, which we could then track to its final destination, thanks to the snow. Well, the destination was final for the rabbit, anyway.

We found one fairly large cat print, a bobcat who had come in our back gate which opened to the hills around the lake. And racoons, of course, making pawprints everywhere as they "felt" of everything, especially near the pond. We also had a couple of ringtails. In case you've never seen one: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ring-tailed_ca
t

I petted a caged one once and it had fur as soft as my Rosie who gets brushed every day.

This all without leaving our place. Out in the wilder areas there was more, of course, and you could follow tracks and see a story unfold before your eyes. Sometimes a joyful dance of life. Sometimes final fearful minutes for whomever was lower on the food chain.

Wow, someone mentioned snow and I guess I got lost in snowy memories of winters past.

Karen

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MORTICIAADDAMS 1/28/2013 11:20AM

    We are always surprised at all of the activity in our yard too when there is snow on the ground. We expected the deer, dogs, cats, rabbits, and squirrels but were surprised that the turkeys and raccoons were so close to the house. The really fun thing is that all the animals use the path though the woods and yard that my husband made for me. LOL.

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FISHINGLADY66 1/27/2013 10:01PM

    I loved reading this blog Karen. It reminds me of our lake property. We see all the wildlife you mentioned almost every weekend, but following the tracks in November during deer season is so awesome. The past two yrs has been so warm and there were a lot more bobcats around. I am very fearful of our 20 lb dog being out there but he just loves it and refuses to come into the camper with us when we go in to eat our meals. He is always on the hunt himself. LOL Thanks for the memories.

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PURPLELVR7 1/27/2013 8:34AM

    wonderful memories

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KICK-SS 1/26/2013 6:48PM

    Awesome Karen, Makes one feel like they were there observing with you!

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MADAMES 1/26/2013 6:26PM

    What nice memories!

emoticon emoticon

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PJSTIME 1/26/2013 5:41PM

    I am with the rest you painted a beautiful picture and very descriptive I will remember in the future when we have snow on the ground.

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ZEEDRA 1/26/2013 3:22PM

    Karen: I agree with Jeanne. Your writing creates clear pictures for the reader. I can see this recent story in a memoir. I have several books written by women, usually on their own. But when you're writing, it's the same as being on your own, right?

You might be interested in reading someone whose books I read quite a while back: May Sarton. She wrote memoirs and also poetry. Her memoirs usually have lovely but simple pictures of her seaside home in the New England area.

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MOTHER-NATURE 1/26/2013 3:11PM

    I love winter, summer, spring, and fall emoticon thank you for sharing your memories of winter, they were beautiful.

Hugs

Niki

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2BEHEALTHYAGAIN 1/26/2013 2:24PM

    What an awesome place you must have! emoticon for sharing.
emoticon

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JEANNE229 1/26/2013 2:08PM

    You are an artist on canvas, but also on the written page. Loved getting lost with you in the descriptions of winters past.

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GABY1948 1/26/2013 1:16PM

    What a beautiful description, Karen! I'm IN the snow and you had me lookiing at it in a much different way! Thank you for taking me on such a eautiful trip, even if only for a few short minutes!

Have a wonderful and blessed weekend, dear friend! emoticon

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KINEPS 1/26/2013 10:50AM

    Karen - what a beautiful description of what snow can show you!! Our town is surrounded by forest preserves and every now and then we have a lost deer roaming down the street. It brings all the neighbors out with their cameras - lol!!

Maryann

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WOUBBIE 1/26/2013 10:39AM

    I love your description of the invisible world made visible. We have a lot of wildlife in our neighborhood, but so much of it is hidden - as it intended to be! Always a surprise when you see those unusual tracks in the snow!

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KAYYVAUGHN 1/26/2013 10:19AM

    Sounds like a wonderful place to raise a family.

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PJBONARRIGO 1/26/2013 10:18AM

    It sounds like you brought your boys up in a truly wonderful place. It is amazing what the snow reveals- sort of a hidden life. The ringtail was totally new to me. Thanks for posting this and taking us all for a walk down your memory lane. emoticon

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Last Week's Fun With Watercolor

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Small floral watercolors are a fairly new thing for me and I'm having a lot of fun with them!
Now and then I'm really happy with some of them, other times, not so much, lol.
And quite a few of them end up in the trash.
I also wish I was good at photography because these look better in person. Cheap camera, unexperienced photographer, improper lighting, and I just have no interest in taking photos.

Anyway, I had a good time. So did Rosie, who sits on the corner of my desk where I paint and, if I don't keep an eye on her, dips her paw into the wet paint. Maybe I could let her create a painting, hmm?





  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

IFATFIRST77 1/15/2013 8:12PM

    really pretty Karen! emoticon

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MORTICIAADDAMS 1/9/2013 8:01PM

    Very nice!! I'm looking forward to seeing Rosie's paintings too. LOL.

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DEMETERSCO 1/8/2013 9:37AM

    They are lovely, Karen. Almost an oriental feel to them. Keep painting!

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JENNY888 1/8/2013 2:24AM

    These paintings are beautiful as usual. You are very talented. Thanks for sharing. I always look forward to seeing your watercolors.

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GABY1948 1/7/2013 12:10PM

    They are BEAUTIFUL, Karen....now, this is ONE thing I can't follow you in...except to look at them and enjoy! emoticon

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FISHINGLADY66 1/7/2013 8:20AM

    emoticon Absolutely beautiful. I really really do Love your painting. You are so talented. Not me! emoticon

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PURPLELVR7 1/7/2013 7:35AM

    love the paintings

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ZEEDRA 1/6/2013 8:39PM

    Love your paintings, Karen. Do you do them from your imagination or from books or photographs?
Love the lonely little tree on the mountain. I'd like to sit up there some days.
You have a very steady hand for all those slim stems!
Hugs, Sandra

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--KREN 1/6/2013 5:37PM

    Thanks for all the kind words! I may sell Rosie's paintings one day, but I don't sell mine. Doubt that I ever will. Just do it for the fun of it.
Karen

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2BEHEALTHYAGAIN 1/6/2013 4:49PM

    Love them! I especially like the third one (with the butterfly). You're a very talented lady. Thanks for sharing!
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
Brenda

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PJSTIME 1/6/2013 3:04PM

    THese look great to me. I am so glad you enjoying playing with your watercolors. You know sometimes animals talents like painting interesting. Maybe you can let her paint too and sell painting from both of you.

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KAYYVAUGHN 1/6/2013 1:50PM

    Those are beautiful. You need a show to display them.

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MEME102 1/6/2013 1:43PM

    Oh my -- you did a great job!!! I love the colors....

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MADAMES 1/6/2013 1:40PM

   
Beautiful! I especially love the second one and the one with the butterfly!

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LIVINMYDREAMS 1/6/2013 12:10PM

    Beautiful!

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JEANNE229 1/6/2013 12:05PM

    Karen, I LOVE these! I'm so glad you shared your talented results. Rosie's would be fun, too.

Comment edited on: 1/6/2013 12:05:56 PM

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End of year countdown - Day 58

Friday, December 28, 2012

Well, I've made it through Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays and all the baking in between with no weight gain. Just a few days to go! The solution for me to accomplish that was ATTENTION. Just staying aware of what/when/why I'm eating and spending a lot of effort to stay focused and aware.

I woke up today thinking about starting a new healthy year. I'm a little early, but it's on my mind. Last year I focused on nutrition until I found a healthy way to eat that brought all my "numbers" into really desireable, healthy ranges. My blood work verified I was on the right track.

This new year I'll be zeroing in on improving/not losing bone density. This is a challenge for me since the common most load bearing exercises result in pain for me due to a bad hip when done in any consistent, effective manner.

So I'll be searching for no or very low impact exercises that are still effective for building bone density. After an entire life of more physical activity (read that "hard labor") than your average woman, I never thought this would be an issue for me. But here I am. Not critical, but slipping some in bone density, and determined to correct that.

If you have a favorite dvd, exercise or any thoughts at all on this, feel free to pass them my way!

Karen

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WOUBBIE 12/28/2012 8:12PM

    Nice link to get some ideas:

http://www.thesportjo
urnal.org/article/training-impr
ove-bone-density-adults-review-
and-recommendations

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PJSTIME 12/28/2012 4:12PM

    I do have several Leslie Sansone DVD. Maybe you can borrow one from someone or the library and try before you buy. Maybe the library would have other things you can borrow too.

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KAYYVAUGHN 12/28/2012 2:36PM

    To me, Leslie's DVDs are very good low impact exercise. You can do 1 mile or more. She is positive and tells you to just walk when one of the moves is too much.
She also has one with wrists weights that I like. I use the 2 pound weights.

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KAYYVAUGHN 12/28/2012 2:36PM

    To me, Leslie's DVDs are very good low impact exercise. You can do 1 mile or more. She is positive and tells you to just walk when one of the moves is too much.
She also has one with wrists weights that I like. I use the 2 pound weights.

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DS9KIE 12/28/2012 11:36AM

    Leslie Sansone DVD's are great and some she has light weight lifting which is good for your bones

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CATHY629 12/28/2012 10:08AM

    Thanks karen,a timely reminder to get my bone density checked,i was 50 when i last had mine checked,gosh that was 15 years ago,how time flies.
Cathy
emoticon emoticon

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NOMIS1 12/28/2012 9:40AM

    The new Jane Fonda DVDs for us "old folks" are good.

I know you can do anything you set your mind to.

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MORTICIAADDAMS 12/28/2012 9:34AM

    I think it's very prudent for all women over a certain age to do this.

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GABY1948 12/28/2012 9:28AM

    This is so funny, whenever I have something that I need help with, up you pop with information. First, the sugar abstinence...still strong and still working on not eating "too much" of anything else...but it has been such an improvement. Now, after being told 3 months ago that I have the start of "osteopenia" which is the precursor of osteoporosis, I started Calcium with D. But, I have lagged in my regular walking cardio for other things...have had a bum knee of late but get huge amounts of cardio working around and doing CHORE type things but need to walk more.

DH did buy me a Tony Little Gazelle because it basically has no impact on joints and is supposed to be good but I don't know in our cases about the bone density. And I have a hard time with getting really comfortable with it because I have always been uncoordinated!

Irene is so correct...I am so proud of you and that I even know you and call you friend! Have a WONDERFUL New Year, dear Friend! emoticon

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FISHINGLADY66 12/28/2012 8:48AM

    emoticon Karen, your doing a great job on keeping your body healthy. Congratulation on your blood work and your numbers this year. You are on your way to a healthier you. I'm proud of you. emoticon

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NOT A CREATURE WAS STIRRING. . .

Saturday, December 22, 2012


NOT EVEN A MOUSE!

This is Luna, a stray cat I rescued and gave to my son. She is known locally as the Mighty Huntress!

Karen

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MORTICIAADDAMS 12/25/2012 2:58PM

    Here we call them mousers and we love a good mouser. She is definitely a keeper!

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XNANNY 12/24/2012 8:19PM

    Useful cats are the only kind I have ever care for. The hunters are the best cats to have.

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NAYPOOIE 12/23/2012 4:25PM

    One time when a mouse (a slow one) got into my house, my daughter's cats followed it all around, unable to figure out what this new self-animated toy was. They weren't chasing it, just following.

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KAYYVAUGHN 12/23/2012 5:24AM

    She is precious.

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FISHINGLADY66 12/22/2012 9:08PM

    Oh how cute and very fitting for the season. emoticon

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JEANNE229 12/22/2012 1:01PM

    I have one of those. She leaves me "gifts" almost every night....taking care of her family.

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CTUPTON 12/22/2012 12:11PM

    emoticon

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WOUBBIE 12/22/2012 10:53AM

    Good kitty!

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CAT609 12/22/2012 10:10AM

    There is one proud kitty!

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PJSTIME 12/22/2012 9:24AM

    And a good hunter it appears

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GABY1948 12/22/2012 9:12AM

    Beautiful cat and GOOD for her! She's a keeper for sure!

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NELLJONES 12/22/2012 8:48AM

    Go Luna!!

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My true Christmas Story

Saturday, December 22, 2012

One year, after my sons had gone to live and work on their own and Christmas was approaching, I was looking around trying to think of what to buy my husband for Christmas. After I while I realized I was really trying hard to dream up a gift for him. I knew heíd be having an even harder time thinking of what to give me.

This got me to thinking about the whole meaning of giving and of Christmas. Iíll try not to make this terribly long, but this is the idea that came to me and what we actually did for Christmas that year -

My husband was a Game Warden. He often confiscated game killed illegally. What happens to it? We tried giving it to facilities like orphanages, but too many government and health regulations kept that from happening. So he always had a list of people he found who were down on their luck and needed food for their families. Most were country boys who could come retrieve the game and dress it and prepare it for eating. This included venison, wild duck, goose, quail, doves, sometimes fish.

Many of these people in our rural area supported their families off the land, too. They hunted and trapped and sold hides. So Jim would also stop when he saw a hide-bearing animal on the roadside - hit by a car - retrieve it and give it to someone so they could sell the hide. This little extra money made a big difference to some families.

Christmas was close and Jim found a huge raccoon that had been killed so he took it to the house of a construction worker who had hurt his back and was out of work. He knew the man would get a nice sum of money for it, enough to buy a few groceries for his wife and 5 kids. The next week Jim stopped by the manís house and the kids came running out to greet him. One little boy said, ďMr. Jim. Thanks so much for the raccoon. We havenít had meat in a long time.Ē

When Jim told me this, we were both horrified. These people were not only eating something most of us wouldnít, it was a road kill, intended for the hide sale only. But they hadnít wasted any of it! Iíve eaten roasted raccoon and itís ok, but not what I look forward to having for dinner, and certainly not when itís picked up off the roadside.

So here is the plan I put forward to my husband: This year we will not exchange gifts. We will use the money we would have spent on each other and weíll buy groceries for this manís family. The important parts of this are:

1. We are not just giving food to a poor family at Christmas. We are doing this instead of giving to each other. You and I will NOT exchange gifts.

2. We will not tell anyone about this.
A part of the Bible that has always made a huge impression on me is Matthew, Chapter 6, Vs 1-7. To put it in the vernacular - Do your good works in secret, donít blow your own horn.
There was a friend at our house when we were discussing this. He did not like the idea because this man was often arrested for one thing or another - misdemeanor crimes. Jim knew lots of people like this and helped them feed their families anyway. They knew if he caught them breaking the law, heíd take them to jail and then take some food to their families. We talked about it for a while and before he left, our friend added his own money to the contribution.

SO, on December 23rd, I left work early and went to the grocery store. I mentally prepared meals for that family of parents and 5 children - 7 days' worth, and bought everything that would be needed to prepare them all. That included a turkey dinner for Christmas day and dessert and candy for the kids. I had more than one grocery cart filled. Christmas Eve morning Jim delivered the entire load, including cash we had collected from our friend. I didnít go.

He came home crying. The gratitude of the entire family just overwhelmed him. It overwhelmed me, too. The father came to our house later to thank me himself and tell me how hard times had been and what this meant to his family. I canít tell you the deep joy that filled me that Christmas. It was THE most wonderful Christmas I ever had. It became a tradition I repeated many times, but that first time was the most awesome.

So why am I telling you about this now? I want you, most of all, to hear the SEQUEL. The very next year, this man and his family were in better shape. He came to our house again, to let us know that he and his family were doing the same thing for someone they knew that was in bad shape! He was so thankful to us, not only for the gift of food and money, but for the gift of the GIFT. Of seeing the GIFT in action. I went on to hear, in subsequent years, how the GIFT was being passed on, throughout a community of working poor, and yes, people who were often in our jail for one thing or another. Still people with families to feed and needs to be met.

Even though we didnít tell anyone what we did, the word spread around, mostly through a community of people that most good citizens ignored or wouldnít associate with. I still hear about it now and then, 25 yrs later. I certainly still reap benefits un-imagined from it. The memory of that first time still gives me chills.

Jim is long gone from this earth. We were married for 31 years. Remembering our Christmas story keeps him close to me.

Thatís my Christmas Story.

Karen

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DS9KIE 12/28/2012 11:33AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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SAMMIESMOM13 12/28/2012 10:50AM

    Finally getting to read this. What a lovely and touching story. Did you read my recent blog, Can Money Buy Happiness? (actually listen to it). I think it fits with this and you might enjoy hearing it.
Thanks for the post.
Carol

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MORTICIAADDAMS 12/25/2012 2:56PM

    Hubby and I like to do similar things. Rather than give money to some nameless, faceless person it's nice to actually give to someone you know has a need. You can see what your gift accomplishes and feel good that you really made someone happy.

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BUGLET- 12/23/2012 6:15PM

    Wonderful story. Bless you and those you help..♥

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PURPLELVR7 12/23/2012 8:45AM

    Thank you so much for sharing this awesome story.
This is the true spirit of Christmas
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FISHINGLADY66 12/22/2012 9:42PM

    How awesome Karen!. That is exactly what I have been doing the past few years. I pick up food from Harvesters and deliver it to the needy in our neighborhood. The look, the smile, the joy on their faces makes my Christmas all worth while. DH and I haven't exchanged gifts since our kids left home. We do still buy for our grand kids tho. Have a Very Merry Christmas.
God bless you.

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XNANNY 12/22/2012 4:52PM

    Beautiful story and well told. You understand Christmas in a way that most do not. Thank you for sharing.

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AVANELL 12/22/2012 1:18PM

    Karen, I want you to know how much this story touched my heart. I appreciate you sharing it with us. You never know how it might motivate someone else to pass on the GIFT! Not just the gift of food or something necessary for sustaining their family, but for the GIFT of Jesus Christ coming to save them from their sin! You see, that giving heart of yours and Jim's is representative of the Father's heart of giving. It sparks within people the essence of what God did for us when He gave Jesus to die for us. We celebrate at this time of the year the birth of the greatest GIFT ever given! And yes, we give because He gave!

Thank you for giving!

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DEMETERSCO 12/22/2012 1:10PM

    That was beautiful, Karen. Your Jim was quite a guy and you are one special lady! The ripples that were created by your generous act traveled far and are probably still in motion today.
Christmas joy to you emoticon

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JEANNE229 12/22/2012 1:06PM

    What a wonderful memory that lives on and on. Paying it forward, those you have helped also make the world better for others. (I'm tearing up here).

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SCOOTDOG 12/22/2012 11:02AM

    Now that's the true meaning of Christmas.

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GABY1948 12/22/2012 8:30AM

    Karen, this is THE most beautiful Christmas story I have ever heard! I thank you for it even though I sit here with tears streaming down my cheeks. Thank you for giving many of us a most wonderful idea to pass on your story!

Have a VERY Merry Christmas!
Gaye

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MADAMES 12/22/2012 8:09AM

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful story with us. This is very touching and it does convey the true meaning of Christmas.
emoticon emoticon

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KAYYVAUGHN 12/22/2012 7:48AM

    Karen, that's a beautiful story. It's similar to Pay it Forward.
Many blessings will come your way.
Kay

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PJSTIME 12/22/2012 7:36AM

    And that my friend is what Christmas is SUPPOSED to be about. How many of us forget the true meaning of this season.
Thank you so much for sharing this precious memory with us and I am wishing you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.


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