Showing category "9" (Show all posts)

A Mail Carrier Remembers 9/11

Posted by Karen Hessen on Wednesday, September 11, 2013, In : 9/11 

            On Tuesday morning, September 11, 2001, most of us here on the Pacific coast, left our homes before we knew America was under attack. Some of us with longer commutes heard the news on our car radios. Others, like me who lived just a few blocks from the post office, didn’t know anything was amiss in the United States until my co-workers; unusually sullen and reserved, began arriving and talking.

            In the small Forest Grove post office, our staff included fifteen mail...


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Thoughts about Daddy

Posted by Karen Hessen on Saturday, June 15, 2013, In : Father's Day 
My dad and great granddaughter, Kamille

    I don’t do this often, but yesterday I went to Willamette National Cemetery to visit my dad’s gravesite. Doug and I were in the area for a doctor’s appointment, so I thought I would stop by. I know Daddy’s not there, just the old physical shell that housed his spirit, his personality, the man who was my daddy for sixty years - who will always be my "daddy." 

    Willamette National Cemetery is the burial site for thousands of military vete...


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This and That

Posted by on Saturday, June 8, 2013, In : writing 

            Doug and I and Kurtis had a speedy, but wonderful trip to Placerville. We went to present a copy of When God Makes Lemonade to Tom, Kurtis’ pediatric physical therapist of thirty years ago. “The Little Biker That Could” is published in that collection of inspirational stories and tells how Tom taught Kurtis to ride a “two-wheeler.” We had a great reunion with Tom and enjoyed meeting his wife Tina.



            As a bonus, before heading back to Oregon, we had breakfast w...


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Mother's Day

Posted by Karen Hessen on Saturday, May 11, 2013, In : Mother's Day 
    I've never been a big fan of Mother's Day. We made a big deal of it when I was a kid. Daddy always made sure my sister and I bought an appropriate gift for Mother. We also always had a corsage for her to wear to church - red or pink flowers before my grandmother died, white after. I guess even as a child I felt some ambivalence about the day. I always tried to please my mother. At a very early age, I decided not to ever hurt her or do anything to disappoint her or make her cry. But Mother...
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Rounding Up (or down)

Posted by Karen Hessen on Friday, May 3, 2013, In : Image 
 My husband rounds-up. If you ask him how old he is he tells you the next age that would be evenly divisable by ten. So when he was sixty-one he claimed to be seventy. Lots of things about Doug don't make much sense, so don't ask me why he does this, but I suppose people think he really looks good for his age. Me, on the other hand, I've always been just fine with whatever age I find myself at. And, yes, I am a couple years older than Doug.

Age is one thing, but height and weight are another ...
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Bad Backs

Posted by Karen Hessen on Friday, April 19, 2013, In : Doug 
I will probably never be allowed to forget that while I was in Colorado attending the "Writing for the Soul" conference, my husband, Doug, fell and herniated a disc in his back. My being home would not have changed the reality one bit, but, oh well.., I did have a very good time, so I am willing to shoulder a little misplaced blame. I will not, however, accept any guilt. 

So, after eight weeks of unfathomable pain, Doug has had his disc removed and is now comfortably pain free, at home.

Doug is...
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Grieving for My "Kidney Friends"

Posted by Karen Hessen on Wednesday, April 10, 2013, In : grief 
I have two women friends of long-standing - women I raised my children with. The three of us have four children, no twins, that our forty years old. I call these women, "My Kidney Friends," because I believe we care enough for each to give up one of our kidneys should one of us need it. We have laughed, cried, prayed, cooked, dieted, worked, played, cleaned, and worshiped together. We have rafted a class IV river and pulled enough weeds to earn the fees for the rafting trip. These women were ...
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Observations and Ramifications

Posted by Karen Hessen on Wednesday, March 27, 2013, In : child abuse 
I was running errands yesterday and while I waited at a red light Kurtis walked across the intersection. He doesn't recognize our new car yet, so did not see me watching him. He is such a handsome young man - as attractive as any male model you would find on a magazine cover. But he limps,...badly. It is his unusual gait that sets him apart. When Kurtis' abusive father hit him over the head with a chair, a large portion of his brain on the right side was damaged and did not send growth messag...
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Bullies and a Change of Heart

Posted by Karen Hessen on Saturday, March 23, 2013, In : Bullies 
I enjoyed my monthly lunch with my sister, Amy, yesterday. It is always pleasant to revisit our past and to look at the things our adult children have accomplished, the challenges they have overcome and to champion them on as they continue to face obstacles in their lives. I had the privilege of meeting Amy's new puppy, Tytan. He promises to provide future fodder for my column "Out of the Ark." 
  

Amy is older than me by five years. I have always depended on her counsel. When we were growing u...
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Good News and Bad Bugs

Posted by Karen Hessen on Friday, March 22, 2013, In : Kurtis 
I received word today that the author's copies of the new edition of the God Makes Lemonade books will be delivered anyday. My contribution to this book "The Little Biker That Could," was my first attempt at writing. It has been a long wait getting it published. It is a delightful story about Tom, a wonderful physical therapist, teaching my son, Kurtis, to ride a bicycle. Kurtis essentially only has one functional leg and teaching him to ride was no simple task. I hope to be able to take Kurt...
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Traditions

Posted by Karen Hessen on Tuesday, March 19, 2013, In : traditions 
St. Patrick's Day is one of my favorite holidays - not because I'm Irish - I'm not. It is because I really enjoy corned beef and cabbage.

I remember when I was a little girl asking my dad what nationality he was. "English and Scotch," he said.

"Then I must be Butterscotch," I answered.

I know Daddy was also "Pennsylvania" Dutch. Mother was German and Jewish. Her cousins say the family is Prussian. I am probably other nationalities I am not aware of. My husband, Doug, Is half Syrian, half French-...
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Validations

Posted by Karen Hessen on Sunday, March 17, 2013, In : health 
We are just completing a week that was filled with doctor's appointments dealing with health issues my husband has been facing. Four out of the five weekdays we were at medical facilities somewhere in the Portland area. While nothing has changed as far as how Doug manages day-to-day, we did get a diagnosis. As I suspected for a long time, there is a reason he feels so bad so much of the time and why his overall condition has seemed to deteriorate. It is not - as his family has accused, that I...
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Daylight Savings

Posted by Karen Hessen on Tuesday, March 12, 2013, In : child abuse 
I always have to remind my son, Kurtis, that time has changed. I probably don't give him enough credit. Most likely he would remember and take care of changing his clocks and watch without me prompting him.  But he has some disabilities as a result of his child abuse and I am used to checking and double checking to make sure all Kurtis' T's are crossed and his I's are dotted. Kurtis' employer would like to fire him, just because he does not work as fast as other workers. My fear is, he will f...
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Waiting to Catchup

Posted by Karen Hessen on Thursday, January 19, 2012, In : humor 

            Lately, I’ve been thinking about catchup. I don’t eat much catchup but my husband likes it on his fries. I had a college professor who lost 12 pounds in one year by giving-up catchup. I should lose some weight. If I ate catchup, I’d just give it up and watch the pounds melt away.

            Really, it is the catchup bottles that have sparked my interest. The restaurant, where we like to eat, serves catchup in those upside-down bottles. I surveyed my house. Lots of thing...


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The Belly of the Whale

Posted by Karen Hessen on Tuesday, November 15, 2011, In : devotion 

I thought you might enjoy reading this devotion I wrote recently. I shared this with my writers group where I was encouraged to change the wording to insure readers would understand the story of Jonah is "just a myth." However, Jesus, himself, told the story of Jonah during his eartly ministry which validates its truth. The Bible refers to the whale as a Behemoth and in more modern translations a big fish. Whale is a term we can visualize and are familiar with, but may not be correct. 

Jonah 1...


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Fifteenth Anniversary

Posted by Karen Hessen on Tuesday, November 8, 2011, In : Lighthouse 



Doug and I spent a couple of days at the Point No Point lighthouse in Hansville, Washington to celebrate or fifteenth anniversary. Surely there is not a more peaceful, romantic, scenic place on this continent.

We found the "Cup of Joy" in Hansville to be a delightful place to get a bite to eat. The pastries looked yummy and the panini were scrumptious. Kathy, Katrina, and Joy are a companiable and competent trio who make you feel right at home in the inviting environment. The sign above the do...
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Happy Birthday Tina

Posted by Karen Hessen on Wednesday, October 12, 2011, In : Tina 
    October 9th was Tina's birthday. She is fourteen years older than she was ever going to be. You know how kids are - they pick an age which seems ancient when they are about ten and claim they will never surpass that age. That's how Tina was. No matter how old she is she still looks about seventeen.

    Tina was nine and a half months old when her father and I adopted her. Such a beautiful baby - such a bright sensible Christian woman. I'm glad she's my daughter. ...
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Driver's License Renewal

Posted by Karen Hessen on Sunday, October 2, 2011, In : humor 
It is time to renew my driver's license. No big deal, right? Wrong!! Everything was going smoothly until it was time to pose for my new picture. They told me I had to take my glasses off. Well, I have very poor eyesight. I have to wear corrective lenses for driving. It has been that way for forty-seven years. I am getting older and change is difficult. In addition to correcting my vision, my glasses adorn my face. Do you have any idea how much I paid for these glasses? I do not wear  much mak...
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Just As I Am

Posted by Karen Hessen on Wednesday, September 21, 2011, In : writing 

Hopefully, you will find inspiration in this devotional I wrote recently.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations. Jeremiah 1:5 (NIV)

 

 

            I saw a bumper sticker the other day which stated one of my favorite Bible verses; “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you.” Jeremiah 1:5a. This verse always produces a mental picture of God working in a lab poring over my parents ...


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A Mail Carrier Remembers 9/11

Posted by Karen Hessen on Sunday, September 11, 2011, In : writing 

Remembering 9/11

by Karen R. Hessen

 

            On Tuesday morning, September 11, 2001, most of us here on the Pacific coast, left our homes before we knew America was under attack. Some of us with longer commutes heard the news on our car radios. Others, like me who lived just a few blocks from the post office, didn’t know anything was amiss in the United States until my co-workers; unusually sullen and reserved, began arriving and talking.

            In the small Forest Grove post ...


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Child Abuse at the Grand Canyon

Posted by Karen Hessen on Friday, September 9, 2011, In : child abuse 
My husband and I traveled to the Grand Canyon recently. It is impossible to stand there on the rim and not be in awe of the majesty of God's creation. It is also not possible to stand there and not face the reality of the canyon's rugged and treacherous terrain. The elements that make it lovely to look at also make it deadly to venture into. While there, I purchased a book, Over the Edge: Death in the Grand Canyon, by Michael P. Ghiglieri and Thomas M. Myers. The book goes into detail about e...
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Child Abuse and Neglect

Posted by Karen Hessen on Thursday, September 1, 2011, In : adoption, child abuse 
I received official word this week that the story I submitted to Chicken Soup for the Soul about my son Kurtis' years of hunger has been selected for their upcoming book, Chicken Soup for the Soul: Food and Love. This story tells of how Kurtis had a ravenous appetite when we adopted him because he had frequently gone without food in his young life. I titled the story, "The Way to a Boy's Stomach is Through His Heart." In the wisdom of the folks at Chicken Soup, the story has been retitiled, "...
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Child Abuse?

Posted by Karen Hessen on Tuesday, August 23, 2011, In : child abuse 
Doug and I have been vacationing. Our destination was Minneapolis, Minnesota. We were in Minneapolis to see the NY Yankees play the Minnesota Twins, but as good tourists we had to take in other sights as well. The sights included a trip to the Mall of America.

While walking through the Mall a child's screaming caught my attention. A little girl of about 4 or 5 years was being wrestled into position to have her ears pierced. The child was totally distraught, the mother totally determined. I cou...
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Consumer Alert

Posted by Karen Hessen on Monday, August 15, 2011, In : humor 
My husband has been wanting a minute timer to use in the bathroom. He rinses his mouth with some anti-plaque stuff and he is supposed to rinse for a minute. It isn't easy to find a minute timer. He didn't want a little plastic hour glass type timer. He wanted wood and brass. So the hunt was on. We finally settled on one we found online. I ordered two, one for his bathroom in each house, in time for them to be here for Father's Day. The package arrived last week. They were worth waiting for. V...
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Easy as 1-2-3

Posted by Karen Hessen on Sunday, August 7, 2011, In : humor 
I thought you would enjoy seeing a humor piece that will be published in Vista, November 6, 2011.
I enjoyed writing it. I hope you enjoy reading it.

Easy as 1-2-3

by Karen R. Hessen

             When I see a do-it-yourself project kit with “Easy as 1-2-3” boldly written across the box under the picture of the handy homemaker wearing pumps and a string of pearls as she holds the drill in both hands aimed like she is fixing to shoot the lights out of the stars, I have hope. Hope even I ca...


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Cankles, Tremors and Monkeys

Posted by Karen Hessen on Sunday, July 31, 2011, In : humor 
I like words, so when my husband came across the word "cankles" in a comic strip in the Oregonian I had to look it up. I thought maybe it would lend itself to a piece of humor writing. Cankles is the condition in which there is no tapering of the calf at the point of the body where the calf and ankle meet. Well, I'm sure people who have cankles do not think it is humorous, and like Charlie Rice, former Youth Pastor, always said, "It isn't nice to have fun at someone else's expense.

I don't ha...
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Infinitely Trees

Posted by Karen Hessen on Sunday, July 24, 2011, In : Infinitely Trees, 
I am nearly finished with the Apprentice Course offered through the Christian Writer's Guild. It has been, on some levels, challenging, but on all levels rewarding. I plan to continue on with the Journeyman course, but first I have to decide whether to concentrate on fiction or nonfiction. I am leaning towards fiction since that is what "real writers" write.

My manuscript for Infinitely Trees is coming along. It is emotionally challenging to relive some of the more painful parenting moments of...
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Books, Blogs and Berries

Posted by Karen Hessen on Saturday, July 16, 2011, In : blueberries 
This hasn't been a good trip to Seaside as far as computers go. When we arrived and hooked up my laptop and Doug;s desktop we had no internet service. Seems our modem/router bit the dust sometime during our four day absence. I can take my laptop to the library, which is where I am now. Amazing how, dependent we have become on internet access 24/7. "Qwest, soon to become Century Link" is sending us a new router. So next weekend we should be in business again. 

When I packed up and came to the l...
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Bits and Pieces

Posted by Karen Hessen on Sunday, July 10, 2011, In : writing 
The author reading scheduled for the 16th has been postponed until later this summer. Barnes and Noble had a staffing issue and asked us to change dates. As soon as a new time is arranged, I will post it on the schedule page.

I sold another humor piece to Vista. YEAH!! It is titled "Saving Daylight," and will be published in June, 2012.

The weather has been gorgeous at the beach. Each weekend we say "this is the best ever." This is the best ever.
Wish you were here.




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The Berry Best

Posted by Karen Hessen on Friday, July 1, 2011, In : Strawberry 
    I'm a CA. According to a fellow US Postal Service retiree, I am a "Dad Burned CA." A "CA" is a Californian. A "Dad Burned CA" is a Californian who has moved to Oregon, taken all the best jobs, bought all the best houses, and married all the best (in my case) men. Okay, so I am guilty of all those things, but if an Oregonian had beat me to it, the jobs, houses and men would have been taken before I arrived. 
    I didn't intend to come to Oregon. I got  here by default. For years after arri...
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Reading and Writing

Posted by Karen Hessen on Sunday, June 26, 2011, In : writing 



This is a picture of our "little cabin in the woods," which is not in the woods at all, but in Seaside, Oregon. It didn't look anything like this twelve years ago when we bought it. If it had we wouldn't have been able to afford it. It was a true "fixer-upper." Now that we are retired, we spend half of our time here, logging three and a half days each in Seaside and Forest Grove. The weather in Seaside this weekend has been absolutely perfect. Beachy!!

Check out my updated schedule on the "sch...
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Child Abuse

Posted by Karen Hessen on Saturday, June 18, 2011, In : adoption, child abuse 
Does anybody still doubt the size of the child abuse issue?

The headlines this week have been full of child abuse stories. There is the Casey Anthony trial. And the woman who is charged with killing the daughter of her boyfriend. These innocent children were killed. How many more stories do not make it to the headlines?

How many children were abused last week who will carry physical and emotional scars the rest of their lives? 

If it takes a village to raise a child what does it take to protect...
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Forgiveness

Posted by Karen Hessen on Sunday, June 12, 2011, In : writing 

I thought you might enjoy reading the devotional I wrote that is published in the current, Summer 2011, Secret Place.
I hope you find it inspirational. The revelation that led up to my writing it has changed my life.  Blessings, Karen


Matthew 6:9-15 (NRSV)                                                                                                 Forgiven

 

THOUGHT FOR TODAY:  “But if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”  Matthew 6:15 (NRSV)

...


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Clamming

Posted by Karen Hessen on Sunday, June 5, 2011, In : razor clams 

This picture is our Boston Terrier "Gracie." She loves to hide under the covers of our bed. Many times the only way we know she is there is by hearing her snore. 

We are spending this weekend in Seaside, Oregon. We went out clamming this morning, too early for retired people to be out and about. But we joined the crowds of several hundred clammers out on the beach. It was not a good day for clamming. The little bivalves were keeping a low profile today. I got a clam in the first hole I dug. Th...
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May Flowers

Posted by Karen Hessen on Friday, May 27, 2011, In : Spring 


Isn't this gorgeous? A field of red clover near our home.

I look forward to this every spring. The area we live in grows crops for seed. Red clover is one of those crops and undoubtedly the most gorgeous. 

The big May birthday event is over for our family. Doug is busy trying out all of his new gismos and gadgets. 

I have had a devotional published in the Secret Place, Summer, 2011 edition. You can pick up a Secret Place at any American Baptist or First Christian (Disciples of Christ) Church.

Tin...
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A Busy Week

Posted by Karen Hessen on Wednesday, May 18, 2011, In : writing 



This is a very dark picture of my sister, Amy, my aunt, Francie, and I enjoying lunch at Claim Jumpers a couple of weeks ago. My aunt was visiting her grandson and family in Portland. Amy and I then drove Francie to Susanville, CA where she finished her vacation with her son and another grandson's family. We had a wonderful visit.

I found out this week that I sold one of my favorite pieces of writing, "A Match Made in Mud," to Lemonade Books. The book will be published and available in Septemb...


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Good News!

Posted by Karen Hessen on Thursday, May 12, 2011, In : Kurtis 


Kurtis, Doug and I spent Mother's Day with Doug's mom, Louise. She will be 92 in a couple of weeks.

I think this picture of Kurtis is a good one. He is quite handsome, and that is not just a mom talking. For the first time, I am seeing Kurtis at his actual age, 35. I don't know why I have never seen him like that before. He has always been about 19 in my eyes.

The physiatrist thinks Kurtis may have a tiny amount of movement in his frozen left ankle now. Kurtis has been diligent about exercisin...
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Mother's Day Wishes for Bio Moms

Posted by Karen Hessen on Friday, May 6, 2011, In : Adoption 


Isn't this flowering cherry tree in our yard beautiful? The tree is over 50 years old and never disappoints us with its beauty.

It is nearly Mother's Day. This is the time of year when I think the most about the biological mothers of my children. Tina's mother passed away a few years ago from breast cancer. Tina had spoken to her on the phone and has met some of her bio mom's siblings. Kurtis' mom still lives in Oklahoma to the best of my knowledge.

I can not help but wonder what goes through ...


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Easter Musings - Discipline

Posted by Karen Hessen on Wednesday, April 27, 2011, In : Easter 
Well, Doug and I totally missed Easter this year. We both had some viral thing which, for Doug, became pneumonia. We are blessed to have family that entertained our adult children fron Grant's Pass and made sure Easter happened without us.

This was not my worst Easter. 19 years ago on Easter, my then husband asked for a divorce. It's hard to top something like that.

I was telling a story yesterday about a problem we had with door slamming when the children were young. The listener to my story ...
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Child Abuse

Posted by Karen Hessen on Tuesday, April 19, 2011, In : adoption, child abuse 
    April is child abuse prevention month. "

    What can I do?" you ask;

    First of all, acknowledge that child abuse is a huge problem. It happens in every school, every church, every town, every neighborhood and likely, in every family. It happened in my family in the early 1970's. A niece had a child out of wedlock. She wanted to give the child to us for adoption but her parents said "No grandchild of theirs would be put up for adoption." She felt she had no option and kept the baby. When...
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Spring

Posted by Karen Hessen on Saturday, April 9, 2011, In : Spring 
It is finally Spring in Oregon. Yesterday was gorgeous and today is very nice. We are in Seaside today and the town is full of people enjoying the first nice Saturday we have had in months. 

I don't know about your neighborhood, but where I live, war has been declared. The annual battle against the dandelion. It is a love-hate thing with people and dandelions. When I was a mail carrier, there was one customer whose yard was nothing but dandelions. Do not as much as set one toe on her "dandelaw...
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A Good Read

Posted by Karen Hessen on Sunday, April 3, 2011, In : reading 
I just finished reading Journey to Riverbend by Henry McLaughlin. What a great book! Good job Henry!

Journey to Riverbend is a little bit romance and a lot western but every bit enjoyable. Henry Mclaughlin was the winner of the 2009 Christian Writers Guild First Novel Competition with Journey to Riverbend. An honor well bestowed.

Sorry, I can't lend you my copy. It's autographed. Pick up a copy for yourself. You won't be sorry. Published by Tyndale.
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Update!

Posted by Karen Hessen on Wednesday, March 23, 2011, In : Kurtis 
I have been working diligently on the manuscript for Infinitely Trees. It is coming along.

I took Kurtis to the podiatrist last week for an evaluation of the pain he has been having in his foot. The doctor referred us to physiatry for additional tests but thinks Kurtis may be in for more surgery. (This is the foot disabled because of child abuse.) My goal for the immediate future is to keep Kurtis working. He loves his job and does not want to lose it or be unable to do it. It took him nine ye...
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St. Patrick's Day

Posted by Karen Hessen on Thursday, March 17, 2011, In : writing 

I thought  you might enjoy seeing this photo taken of me reading at Lend an Ear last Saturday. I was reading the children's story, The Tail of Scrappy Doo.  This was my first attempt at writing a children's story.  Scrappy Doo is fiction but is based on a toy dog Tina had as a child. Scrappy Doo was a very special toy and we're sorry that he got lost over time.

I have my corned beef and cabbage cooking in the Crock Pot. We will wake up to the seductive Irish aroma tomorrow morning. This is the...


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Infinitely Trees

Posted by Karen Hessen on Friday, March 11, 2011, In : Infinitely Trees, 
I have been working on the book proposal for Infinitely Trees. Finally, It is finished and emailed to the potential publisher. Now two months of nailbiting while I wait to hear.

My uncle, Sid, passed away in San Diego over the weekend. My sister and I had a wonderful visit with him in September. His death was not a surprize but it still leaves a hole in my heart. Sid was a Christian and I know that he is waiting by the gate for his loved ones. Our pastor often says that this life here on earth...
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Lend an Ear, Come and Hear

Posted by Karen Hessen on Friday, March 4, 2011, In : writing 
I'm excited about reading at the "Lend an Ear, Come and Hear" event on Saturday, March 12.

For this family friendly event, sponsored by Writers in the Grove, I have written a children's story, "The Tail of Scrappy Doo."  This is my first children's piece. I am pleased that the jury accepted it for inclusion in the program. 

When my daughter, Tina, was a young child and her father and I were having a tough time financially, I made her a stuffed dog named Scrappy Doo. Scrappy Doo became her favor...
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Hungry Children

Posted by Karen Hessen on Friday, February 25, 2011, In : adoption, child abuse 
I was writing an article the other day about food and I was reminded of how Kurtis ate when we first adopted him. 

Kurtis had been hungry and was never sure if he would have another meal or when he would have it, so he ate. And he ate!
And he ate! It didn't matter what I cooked he ate it with enthusiasm. It was pretty sad to see him drag along the table with his withered leg and pick crumbs up, popping them in his mouth like delicacies. 

This ravenous appetite lasted for a several months before...
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Bird's Nest Treat

Posted by Karen Hessen on Tuesday, February 22, 2011, In : Tina 



 I found a candy bar in a bird's nest this morning. And you ask, "how did it get there?"
 
My daughter, Tina, knows I have a craving for Cup O' Gold candy bars. They are a little hard to find but they are available at our local Fred Meyer stores here in Oregon. When she comes to visit she brings a stash of Cup O' Golds and hides them around the house before she leaves. The bird's nest is behind glass in an antique lawyer's book case in our living room. She is very cleaver. Last time she was her...


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Happy Birthday, Kurtis!

Posted by Karen Hessen on Friday, February 18, 2011, In : adoption, child abuse 
Kurtis turned 35 on February 17th. He is not exactly the same kid I adopted in 1978. At that time he was the most severly abused child to survive in the United States. Today he works at Jennings McCall residential facility in Forest Grove. He is as lovely on the inside as he is handsome on the outside. That's mom talk.
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Kurtis' Birthday

Posted by Karen Hessen on Friday, February 18, 2011, In : adoption, child abuse 
Kurtis and his Aunt Patty at Nonna Emilias Ristorante in Aloha, Oregon.
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Writing for the Soul

Posted by Karen Hessen on Wednesday, February 16, 2011, In : adoption, child abuse 
I recently returned from Denver, where I attended the Writing for the Soul conference. I have truly been spiritually fed.

In addition to my article wiritng and the incidentals I write from time to time, I have been working on a book titled, Infinitely Trees. Infinitely Trees is the story of my son Kurtis, who at the time of his adoption was the most severely abused child to survive in the United States. It is also the story of how God works in our lives to bring us hope, courage and forgivenes...

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Showing category "9" (Show all posts)

A Mail Carrier Remembers 9/11

Posted by Karen Hessen on Wednesday, September 11, 2013, In : 9/11 

            On Tuesday morning, September 11, 2001, most of us here on the Pacific coast, left our homes before we knew America was under attack. Some of us with longer commutes heard the news on our car radios. Others, like me who lived just a few blocks from the post office, didn’t know anything was amiss in the United States until my co-workers; unusually sullen and reserved, began arriving and talking.

            In the small Forest Grove post office, our staff included fifteen mail...


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Thoughts about Daddy

Posted by Karen Hessen on Saturday, June 15, 2013, In : Father's Day 
My dad and great granddaughter, Kamille

    I don’t do this often, but yesterday I went to Willamette National Cemetery to visit my dad’s gravesite. Doug and I were in the area for a doctor’s appointment, so I thought I would stop by. I know Daddy’s not there, just the old physical shell that housed his spirit, his personality, the man who was my daddy for sixty years - who will always be my "daddy." 

    Willamette National Cemetery is the burial site for thousands of military vete...


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This and That

Posted by on Saturday, June 8, 2013, In : writing 

            Doug and I and Kurtis had a speedy, but wonderful trip to Placerville. We went to present a copy of When God Makes Lemonade to Tom, Kurtis’ pediatric physical therapist of thirty years ago. “The Little Biker That Could” is published in that collection of inspirational stories and tells how Tom taught Kurtis to ride a “two-wheeler.” We had a great reunion with Tom and enjoyed meeting his wife Tina.



            As a bonus, before heading back to Oregon, we had breakfast w...


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Mother's Day

Posted by Karen Hessen on Saturday, May 11, 2013, In : Mother's Day 
    I've never been a big fan of Mother's Day. We made a big deal of it when I was a kid. Daddy always made sure my sister and I bought an appropriate gift for Mother. We also always had a corsage for her to wear to church - red or pink flowers before my grandmother died, white after. I guess even as a child I felt some ambivalence about the day. I always tried to please my mother. At a very early age, I decided not to ever hurt her or do anything to disappoint her or make her cry. But Mother...
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Rounding Up (or down)

Posted by Karen Hessen on Friday, May 3, 2013, In : Image 
 My husband rounds-up. If you ask him how old he is he tells you the next age that would be evenly divisable by ten. So when he was sixty-one he claimed to be seventy. Lots of things about Doug don't make much sense, so don't ask me why he does this, but I suppose people think he really looks good for his age. Me, on the other hand, I've always been just fine with whatever age I find myself at. And, yes, I am a couple years older than Doug.

Age is one thing, but height and weight are another ...
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Bad Backs

Posted by Karen Hessen on Friday, April 19, 2013, In : Doug 
I will probably never be allowed to forget that while I was in Colorado attending the "Writing for the Soul" conference, my husband, Doug, fell and herniated a disc in his back. My being home would not have changed the reality one bit, but, oh well.., I did have a very good time, so I am willing to shoulder a little misplaced blame. I will not, however, accept any guilt. 

So, after eight weeks of unfathomable pain, Doug has had his disc removed and is now comfortably pain free, at home.

Doug is...
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Grieving for My "Kidney Friends"

Posted by Karen Hessen on Wednesday, April 10, 2013, In : grief 
I have two women friends of long-standing - women I raised my children with. The three of us have four children, no twins, that our forty years old. I call these women, "My Kidney Friends," because I believe we care enough for each to give up one of our kidneys should one of us need it. We have laughed, cried, prayed, cooked, dieted, worked, played, cleaned, and worshiped together. We have rafted a class IV river and pulled enough weeds to earn the fees for the rafting trip. These women were ...
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Observations and Ramifications

Posted by Karen Hessen on Wednesday, March 27, 2013, In : child abuse 
I was running errands yesterday and while I waited at a red light Kurtis walked across the intersection. He doesn't recognize our new car yet, so did not see me watching him. He is such a handsome young man - as attractive as any male model you would find on a magazine cover. But he limps,...badly. It is his unusual gait that sets him apart. When Kurtis' abusive father hit him over the head with a chair, a large portion of his brain on the right side was damaged and did not send growth messag...
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Bullies and a Change of Heart

Posted by Karen Hessen on Saturday, March 23, 2013, In : Bullies 
I enjoyed my monthly lunch with my sister, Amy, yesterday. It is always pleasant to revisit our past and to look at the things our adult children have accomplished, the challenges they have overcome and to champion them on as they continue to face obstacles in their lives. I had the privilege of meeting Amy's new puppy, Tytan. He promises to provide future fodder for my column "Out of the Ark." 
  

Amy is older than me by five years. I have always depended on her counsel. When we were growing u...
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Good News and Bad Bugs

Posted by Karen Hessen on Friday, March 22, 2013, In : Kurtis 
I received word today that the author's copies of the new edition of the God Makes Lemonade books will be delivered anyday. My contribution to this book "The Little Biker That Could," was my first attempt at writing. It has been a long wait getting it published. It is a delightful story about Tom, a wonderful physical therapist, teaching my son, Kurtis, to ride a bicycle. Kurtis essentially only has one functional leg and teaching him to ride was no simple task. I hope to be able to take Kurt...
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Traditions

Posted by Karen Hessen on Tuesday, March 19, 2013, In : traditions 
St. Patrick's Day is one of my favorite holidays - not because I'm Irish - I'm not. It is because I really enjoy corned beef and cabbage.

I remember when I was a little girl asking my dad what nationality he was. "English and Scotch," he said.

"Then I must be Butterscotch," I answered.

I know Daddy was also "Pennsylvania" Dutch. Mother was German and Jewish. Her cousins say the family is Prussian. I am probably other nationalities I am not aware of. My husband, Doug, Is half Syrian, half French-...
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Validations

Posted by Karen Hessen on Sunday, March 17, 2013, In : health 
We are just completing a week that was filled with doctor's appointments dealing with health issues my husband has been facing. Four out of the five weekdays we were at medical facilities somewhere in the Portland area. While nothing has changed as far as how Doug manages day-to-day, we did get a diagnosis. As I suspected for a long time, there is a reason he feels so bad so much of the time and why his overall condition has seemed to deteriorate. It is not - as his family has accused, that I...
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Daylight Savings

Posted by Karen Hessen on Tuesday, March 12, 2013, In : child abuse 
I always have to remind my son, Kurtis, that time has changed. I probably don't give him enough credit. Most likely he would remember and take care of changing his clocks and watch without me prompting him.  But he has some disabilities as a result of his child abuse and I am used to checking and double checking to make sure all Kurtis' T's are crossed and his I's are dotted. Kurtis' employer would like to fire him, just because he does not work as fast as other workers. My fear is, he will f...
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Waiting to Catchup

Posted by Karen Hessen on Thursday, January 19, 2012, In : humor 

            Lately, I’ve been thinking about catchup. I don’t eat much catchup but my husband likes it on his fries. I had a college professor who lost 12 pounds in one year by giving-up catchup. I should lose some weight. If I ate catchup, I’d just give it up and watch the pounds melt away.

            Really, it is the catchup bottles that have sparked my interest. The restaurant, where we like to eat, serves catchup in those upside-down bottles. I surveyed my house. Lots of thing...


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The Belly of the Whale

Posted by Karen Hessen on Tuesday, November 15, 2011, In : devotion 

I thought you might enjoy reading this devotion I wrote recently. I shared this with my writers group where I was encouraged to change the wording to insure readers would understand the story of Jonah is "just a myth." However, Jesus, himself, told the story of Jonah during his eartly ministry which validates its truth. The Bible refers to the whale as a Behemoth and in more modern translations a big fish. Whale is a term we can visualize and are familiar with, but may not be correct. 

Jonah 1...


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Fifteenth Anniversary

Posted by Karen Hessen on Tuesday, November 8, 2011, In : Lighthouse 



Doug and I spent a couple of days at the Point No Point lighthouse in Hansville, Washington to celebrate or fifteenth anniversary. Surely there is not a more peaceful, romantic, scenic place on this continent.

We found the "Cup of Joy" in Hansville to be a delightful place to get a bite to eat. The pastries looked yummy and the panini were scrumptious. Kathy, Katrina, and Joy are a companiable and competent trio who make you feel right at home in the inviting environment. The sign above the do...
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Happy Birthday Tina

Posted by Karen Hessen on Wednesday, October 12, 2011, In : Tina 
    October 9th was Tina's birthday. She is fourteen years older than she was ever going to be. You know how kids are - they pick an age which seems ancient when they are about ten and claim they will never surpass that age. That's how Tina was. No matter how old she is she still looks about seventeen.

    Tina was nine and a half months old when her father and I adopted her. Such a beautiful baby - such a bright sensible Christian woman. I'm glad she's my daughter. ...
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Driver's License Renewal

Posted by Karen Hessen on Sunday, October 2, 2011, In : humor 
It is time to renew my driver's license. No big deal, right? Wrong!! Everything was going smoothly until it was time to pose for my new picture. They told me I had to take my glasses off. Well, I have very poor eyesight. I have to wear corrective lenses for driving. It has been that way for forty-seven years. I am getting older and change is difficult. In addition to correcting my vision, my glasses adorn my face. Do you have any idea how much I paid for these glasses? I do not wear  much mak...
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Just As I Am

Posted by Karen Hessen on Wednesday, September 21, 2011, In : writing 

Hopefully, you will find inspiration in this devotional I wrote recently.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations. Jeremiah 1:5 (NIV)

 

 

            I saw a bumper sticker the other day which stated one of my favorite Bible verses; “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you.” Jeremiah 1:5a. This verse always produces a mental picture of God working in a lab poring over my parents ...


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A Mail Carrier Remembers 9/11

Posted by Karen Hessen on Sunday, September 11, 2011, In : writing 

Remembering 9/11

by Karen R. Hessen

 

            On Tuesday morning, September 11, 2001, most of us here on the Pacific coast, left our homes before we knew America was under attack. Some of us with longer commutes heard the news on our car radios. Others, like me who lived just a few blocks from the post office, didn’t know anything was amiss in the United States until my co-workers; unusually sullen and reserved, began arriving and talking.

            In the small Forest Grove post ...


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Child Abuse at the Grand Canyon

Posted by Karen Hessen on Friday, September 9, 2011, In : child abuse 
My husband and I traveled to the Grand Canyon recently. It is impossible to stand there on the rim and not be in awe of the majesty of God's creation. It is also not possible to stand there and not face the reality of the canyon's rugged and treacherous terrain. The elements that make it lovely to look at also make it deadly to venture into. While there, I purchased a book, Over the Edge: Death in the Grand Canyon, by Michael P. Ghiglieri and Thomas M. Myers. The book goes into detail about e...
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Child Abuse and Neglect

Posted by Karen Hessen on Thursday, September 1, 2011, In : adoption, child abuse 
I received official word this week that the story I submitted to Chicken Soup for the Soul about my son Kurtis' years of hunger has been selected for their upcoming book, Chicken Soup for the Soul: Food and Love. This story tells of how Kurtis had a ravenous appetite when we adopted him because he had frequently gone without food in his young life. I titled the story, "The Way to a Boy's Stomach is Through His Heart." In the wisdom of the folks at Chicken Soup, the story has been retitiled, "...
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Child Abuse?

Posted by Karen Hessen on Tuesday, August 23, 2011, In : child abuse 
Doug and I have been vacationing. Our destination was Minneapolis, Minnesota. We were in Minneapolis to see the NY Yankees play the Minnesota Twins, but as good tourists we had to take in other sights as well. The sights included a trip to the Mall of America.

While walking through the Mall a child's screaming caught my attention. A little girl of about 4 or 5 years was being wrestled into position to have her ears pierced. The child was totally distraught, the mother totally determined. I cou...
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Consumer Alert

Posted by Karen Hessen on Monday, August 15, 2011, In : humor 
My husband has been wanting a minute timer to use in the bathroom. He rinses his mouth with some anti-plaque stuff and he is supposed to rinse for a minute. It isn't easy to find a minute timer. He didn't want a little plastic hour glass type timer. He wanted wood and brass. So the hunt was on. We finally settled on one we found online. I ordered two, one for his bathroom in each house, in time for them to be here for Father's Day. The package arrived last week. They were worth waiting for. V...
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Easy as 1-2-3

Posted by Karen Hessen on Sunday, August 7, 2011, In : humor 
I thought you would enjoy seeing a humor piece that will be published in Vista, November 6, 2011.
I enjoyed writing it. I hope you enjoy reading it.

Easy as 1-2-3

by Karen R. Hessen

             When I see a do-it-yourself project kit with “Easy as 1-2-3” boldly written across the box under the picture of the handy homemaker wearing pumps and a string of pearls as she holds the drill in both hands aimed like she is fixing to shoot the lights out of the stars, I have hope. Hope even I ca...


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Cankles, Tremors and Monkeys

Posted by Karen Hessen on Sunday, July 31, 2011, In : humor 
I like words, so when my husband came across the word "cankles" in a comic strip in the Oregonian I had to look it up. I thought maybe it would lend itself to a piece of humor writing. Cankles is the condition in which there is no tapering of the calf at the point of the body where the calf and ankle meet. Well, I'm sure people who have cankles do not think it is humorous, and like Charlie Rice, former Youth Pastor, always said, "It isn't nice to have fun at someone else's expense.

I don't ha...
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Infinitely Trees

Posted by Karen Hessen on Sunday, July 24, 2011, In : Infinitely Trees, 
I am nearly finished with the Apprentice Course offered through the Christian Writer's Guild. It has been, on some levels, challenging, but on all levels rewarding. I plan to continue on with the Journeyman course, but first I have to decide whether to concentrate on fiction or nonfiction. I am leaning towards fiction since that is what "real writers" write.

My manuscript for Infinitely Trees is coming along. It is emotionally challenging to relive some of the more painful parenting moments of...
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Books, Blogs and Berries

Posted by Karen Hessen on Saturday, July 16, 2011, In : blueberries 
This hasn't been a good trip to Seaside as far as computers go. When we arrived and hooked up my laptop and Doug;s desktop we had no internet service. Seems our modem/router bit the dust sometime during our four day absence. I can take my laptop to the library, which is where I am now. Amazing how, dependent we have become on internet access 24/7. "Qwest, soon to become Century Link" is sending us a new router. So next weekend we should be in business again. 

When I packed up and came to the l...
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Bits and Pieces

Posted by Karen Hessen on Sunday, July 10, 2011, In : writing 
The author reading scheduled for the 16th has been postponed until later this summer. Barnes and Noble had a staffing issue and asked us to change dates. As soon as a new time is arranged, I will post it on the schedule page.

I sold another humor piece to Vista. YEAH!! It is titled "Saving Daylight," and will be published in June, 2012.

The weather has been gorgeous at the beach. Each weekend we say "this is the best ever." This is the best ever.
Wish you were here.




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The Berry Best

Posted by Karen Hessen on Friday, July 1, 2011, In : Strawberry 
    I'm a CA. According to a fellow US Postal Service retiree, I am a "Dad Burned CA." A "CA" is a Californian. A "Dad Burned CA" is a Californian who has moved to Oregon, taken all the best jobs, bought all the best houses, and married all the best (in my case) men. Okay, so I am guilty of all those things, but if an Oregonian had beat me to it, the jobs, houses and men would have been taken before I arrived. 
    I didn't intend to come to Oregon. I got  here by default. For years after arri...
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Reading and Writing

Posted by Karen Hessen on Sunday, June 26, 2011, In : writing 



This is a picture of our "little cabin in the woods," which is not in the woods at all, but in Seaside, Oregon. It didn't look anything like this twelve years ago when we bought it. If it had we wouldn't have been able to afford it. It was a true "fixer-upper." Now that we are retired, we spend half of our time here, logging three and a half days each in Seaside and Forest Grove. The weather in Seaside this weekend has been absolutely perfect. Beachy!!

Check out my updated schedule on the "sch...
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Child Abuse

Posted by Karen Hessen on Saturday, June 18, 2011, In : adoption, child abuse 
Does anybody still doubt the size of the child abuse issue?

The headlines this week have been full of child abuse stories. There is the Casey Anthony trial. And the woman who is charged with killing the daughter of her boyfriend. These innocent children were killed. How many more stories do not make it to the headlines?

How many children were abused last week who will carry physical and emotional scars the rest of their lives? 

If it takes a village to raise a child what does it take to protect...
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Forgiveness

Posted by Karen Hessen on Sunday, June 12, 2011, In : writing 

I thought you might enjoy reading the devotional I wrote that is published in the current, Summer 2011, Secret Place.
I hope you find it inspirational. The revelation that led up to my writing it has changed my life.  Blessings, Karen


Matthew 6:9-15 (NRSV)                                                                                                 Forgiven

 

THOUGHT FOR TODAY:  “But if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”  Matthew 6:15 (NRSV)

...


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Clamming

Posted by Karen Hessen on Sunday, June 5, 2011, In : razor clams 

This picture is our Boston Terrier "Gracie." She loves to hide under the covers of our bed. Many times the only way we know she is there is by hearing her snore. 

We are spending this weekend in Seaside, Oregon. We went out clamming this morning, too early for retired people to be out and about. But we joined the crowds of several hundred clammers out on the beach. It was not a good day for clamming. The little bivalves were keeping a low profile today. I got a clam in the first hole I dug. Th...
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May Flowers

Posted by Karen Hessen on Friday, May 27, 2011, In : Spring 


Isn't this gorgeous? A field of red clover near our home.

I look forward to this every spring. The area we live in grows crops for seed. Red clover is one of those crops and undoubtedly the most gorgeous. 

The big May birthday event is over for our family. Doug is busy trying out all of his new gismos and gadgets. 

I have had a devotional published in the Secret Place, Summer, 2011 edition. You can pick up a Secret Place at any American Baptist or First Christian (Disciples of Christ) Church.

Tin...
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A Busy Week

Posted by Karen Hessen on Wednesday, May 18, 2011, In : writing 



This is a very dark picture of my sister, Amy, my aunt, Francie, and I enjoying lunch at Claim Jumpers a couple of weeks ago. My aunt was visiting her grandson and family in Portland. Amy and I then drove Francie to Susanville, CA where she finished her vacation with her son and another grandson's family. We had a wonderful visit.

I found out this week that I sold one of my favorite pieces of writing, "A Match Made in Mud," to Lemonade Books. The book will be published and available in Septemb...


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Good News!

Posted by Karen Hessen on Thursday, May 12, 2011, In : Kurtis 


Kurtis, Doug and I spent Mother's Day with Doug's mom, Louise. She will be 92 in a couple of weeks.

I think this picture of Kurtis is a good one. He is quite handsome, and that is not just a mom talking. For the first time, I am seeing Kurtis at his actual age, 35. I don't know why I have never seen him like that before. He has always been about 19 in my eyes.

The physiatrist thinks Kurtis may have a tiny amount of movement in his frozen left ankle now. Kurtis has been diligent about exercisin...
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Mother's Day Wishes for Bio Moms

Posted by Karen Hessen on Friday, May 6, 2011, In : Adoption 


Isn't this flowering cherry tree in our yard beautiful? The tree is over 50 years old and never disappoints us with its beauty.

It is nearly Mother's Day. This is the time of year when I think the most about the biological mothers of my children. Tina's mother passed away a few years ago from breast cancer. Tina had spoken to her on the phone and has met some of her bio mom's siblings. Kurtis' mom still lives in Oklahoma to the best of my knowledge.

I can not help but wonder what goes through ...


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Easter Musings - Discipline

Posted by Karen Hessen on Wednesday, April 27, 2011, In : Easter 
Well, Doug and I totally missed Easter this year. We both had some viral thing which, for Doug, became pneumonia. We are blessed to have family that entertained our adult children fron Grant's Pass and made sure Easter happened without us.

This was not my worst Easter. 19 years ago on Easter, my then husband asked for a divorce. It's hard to top something like that.

I was telling a story yesterday about a problem we had with door slamming when the children were young. The listener to my story ...
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Child Abuse

Posted by Karen Hessen on Tuesday, April 19, 2011, In : adoption, child abuse 
    April is child abuse prevention month. "

    What can I do?" you ask;

    First of all, acknowledge that child abuse is a huge problem. It happens in every school, every church, every town, every neighborhood and likely, in every family. It happened in my family in the early 1970's. A niece had a child out of wedlock. She wanted to give the child to us for adoption but her parents said "No grandchild of theirs would be put up for adoption." She felt she had no option and kept the baby. When...
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Spring

Posted by Karen Hessen on Saturday, April 9, 2011, In : Spring 
It is finally Spring in Oregon. Yesterday was gorgeous and today is very nice. We are in Seaside today and the town is full of people enjoying the first nice Saturday we have had in months. 

I don't know about your neighborhood, but where I live, war has been declared. The annual battle against the dandelion. It is a love-hate thing with people and dandelions. When I was a mail carrier, there was one customer whose yard was nothing but dandelions. Do not as much as set one toe on her "dandelaw...
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A Good Read

Posted by Karen Hessen on Sunday, April 3, 2011, In : reading 
I just finished reading Journey to Riverbend by Henry McLaughlin. What a great book! Good job Henry!

Journey to Riverbend is a little bit romance and a lot western but every bit enjoyable. Henry Mclaughlin was the winner of the 2009 Christian Writers Guild First Novel Competition with Journey to Riverbend. An honor well bestowed.

Sorry, I can't lend you my copy. It's autographed. Pick up a copy for yourself. You won't be sorry. Published by Tyndale.
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Update!

Posted by Karen Hessen on Wednesday, March 23, 2011, In : Kurtis 
I have been working diligently on the manuscript for Infinitely Trees. It is coming along.

I took Kurtis to the podiatrist last week for an evaluation of the pain he has been having in his foot. The doctor referred us to physiatry for additional tests but thinks Kurtis may be in for more surgery. (This is the foot disabled because of child abuse.) My goal for the immediate future is to keep Kurtis working. He loves his job and does not want to lose it or be unable to do it. It took him nine ye...
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St. Patrick's Day

Posted by Karen Hessen on Thursday, March 17, 2011, In : writing 

I thought  you might enjoy seeing this photo taken of me reading at Lend an Ear last Saturday. I was reading the children's story, The Tail of Scrappy Doo.  This was my first attempt at writing a children's story.  Scrappy Doo is fiction but is based on a toy dog Tina had as a child. Scrappy Doo was a very special toy and we're sorry that he got lost over time.

I have my corned beef and cabbage cooking in the Crock Pot. We will wake up to the seductive Irish aroma tomorrow morning. This is the...


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Infinitely Trees

Posted by Karen Hessen on Friday, March 11, 2011, In : Infinitely Trees, 
I have been working on the book proposal for Infinitely Trees. Finally, It is finished and emailed to the potential publisher. Now two months of nailbiting while I wait to hear.

My uncle, Sid, passed away in San Diego over the weekend. My sister and I had a wonderful visit with him in September. His death was not a surprize but it still leaves a hole in my heart. Sid was a Christian and I know that he is waiting by the gate for his loved ones. Our pastor often says that this life here on earth...
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Lend an Ear, Come and Hear

Posted by Karen Hessen on Friday, March 4, 2011, In : writing 
I'm excited about reading at the "Lend an Ear, Come and Hear" event on Saturday, March 12.

For this family friendly event, sponsored by Writers in the Grove, I have written a children's story, "The Tail of Scrappy Doo."  This is my first children's piece. I am pleased that the jury accepted it for inclusion in the program. 

When my daughter, Tina, was a young child and her father and I were having a tough time financially, I made her a stuffed dog named Scrappy Doo. Scrappy Doo became her favor...
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Hungry Children

Posted by Karen Hessen on Friday, February 25, 2011, In : adoption, child abuse 
I was writing an article the other day about food and I was reminded of how Kurtis ate when we first adopted him. 

Kurtis had been hungry and was never sure if he would have another meal or when he would have it, so he ate. And he ate!
And he ate! It didn't matter what I cooked he ate it with enthusiasm. It was pretty sad to see him drag along the table with his withered leg and pick crumbs up, popping them in his mouth like delicacies. 

This ravenous appetite lasted for a several months before...
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Bird's Nest Treat

Posted by Karen Hessen on Tuesday, February 22, 2011, In : Tina 



 I found a candy bar in a bird's nest this morning. And you ask, "how did it get there?"
 
My daughter, Tina, knows I have a craving for Cup O' Gold candy bars. They are a little hard to find but they are available at our local Fred Meyer stores here in Oregon. When she comes to visit she brings a stash of Cup O' Golds and hides them around the house before she leaves. The bird's nest is behind glass in an antique lawyer's book case in our living room. She is very cleaver. Last time she was her...


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Happy Birthday, Kurtis!

Posted by Karen Hessen on Friday, February 18, 2011, In : adoption, child abuse 
Kurtis turned 35 on February 17th. He is not exactly the same kid I adopted in 1978. At that time he was the most severly abused child to survive in the United States. Today he works at Jennings McCall residential facility in Forest Grove. He is as lovely on the inside as he is handsome on the outside. That's mom talk.
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Kurtis' Birthday

Posted by Karen Hessen on Friday, February 18, 2011, In : adoption, child abuse 
Kurtis and his Aunt Patty at Nonna Emilias Ristorante in Aloha, Oregon.
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Writing for the Soul

Posted by Karen Hessen on Wednesday, February 16, 2011, In : adoption, child abuse 
I recently returned from Denver, where I attended the Writing for the Soul conference. I have truly been spiritually fed.

In addition to my article wiritng and the incidentals I write from time to time, I have been working on a book titled, Infinitely Trees. Infinitely Trees is the story of my son Kurtis, who at the time of his adoption was the most severely abused child to survive in the United States. It is also the story of how God works in our lives to bring us hope, courage and forgivenes...

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Showing category "9" (Show all posts)

A Mail Carrier Remembers 9/11

Posted by Karen Hessen on Wednesday, September 11, 2013, In : 9/11 

            On Tuesday morning, September 11, 2001, most of us here on the Pacific coast, left our homes before we knew America was under attack. Some of us with longer commutes heard the news on our car radios. Others, like me who lived just a few blocks from the post office, didn’t know anything was amiss in the United States until my co-workers; unusually sullen and reserved, began arriving and talking.

            In the small Forest Grove post office, our staff included fifteen mail...


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Thoughts about Daddy

Posted by Karen Hessen on Saturday, June 15, 2013, In : Father's Day 
My dad and great granddaughter, Kamille

    I don’t do this often, but yesterday I went to Willamette National Cemetery to visit my dad’s gravesite. Doug and I were in the area for a doctor’s appointment, so I thought I would stop by. I know Daddy’s not there, just the old physical shell that housed his spirit, his personality, the man who was my daddy for sixty years - who will always be my "daddy." 

    Willamette National Cemetery is the burial site for thousands of military vete...


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This and That

Posted by on Saturday, June 8, 2013, In : writing 

            Doug and I and Kurtis had a speedy, but wonderful trip to Placerville. We went to present a copy of When God Makes Lemonade to Tom, Kurtis’ pediatric physical therapist of thirty years ago. “The Little Biker That Could” is published in that collection of inspirational stories and tells how Tom taught Kurtis to ride a “two-wheeler.” We had a great reunion with Tom and enjoyed meeting his wife Tina.



            As a bonus, before heading back to Oregon, we had breakfast w...


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Mother's Day

Posted by Karen Hessen on Saturday, May 11, 2013, In : Mother's Day 
    I've never been a big fan of Mother's Day. We made a big deal of it when I was a kid. Daddy always made sure my sister and I bought an appropriate gift for Mother. We also always had a corsage for her to wear to church - red or pink flowers before my grandmother died, white after. I guess even as a child I felt some ambivalence about the day. I always tried to please my mother. At a very early age, I decided not to ever hurt her or do anything to disappoint her or make her cry. But Mother...
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Rounding Up (or down)

Posted by Karen Hessen on Friday, May 3, 2013, In : Image 
 My husband rounds-up. If you ask him how old he is he tells you the next age that would be evenly divisable by ten. So when he was sixty-one he claimed to be seventy. Lots of things about Doug don't make much sense, so don't ask me why he does this, but I suppose people think he really looks good for his age. Me, on the other hand, I've always been just fine with whatever age I find myself at. And, yes, I am a couple years older than Doug.

Age is one thing, but height and weight are another ...
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Bad Backs

Posted by Karen Hessen on Friday, April 19, 2013, In : Doug 
I will probably never be allowed to forget that while I was in Colorado attending the "Writing for the Soul" conference, my husband, Doug, fell and herniated a disc in his back. My being home would not have changed the reality one bit, but, oh well.., I did have a very good time, so I am willing to shoulder a little misplaced blame. I will not, however, accept any guilt. 

So, after eight weeks of unfathomable pain, Doug has had his disc removed and is now comfortably pain free, at home.

Doug is...
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Grieving for My "Kidney Friends"

Posted by Karen Hessen on Wednesday, April 10, 2013, In : grief 
I have two women friends of long-standing - women I raised my children with. The three of us have four children, no twins, that our forty years old. I call these women, "My Kidney Friends," because I believe we care enough for each to give up one of our kidneys should one of us need it. We have laughed, cried, prayed, cooked, dieted, worked, played, cleaned, and worshiped together. We have rafted a class IV river and pulled enough weeds to earn the fees for the rafting trip. These women were ...
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Observations and Ramifications

Posted by Karen Hessen on Wednesday, March 27, 2013, In : child abuse 
I was running errands yesterday and while I waited at a red light Kurtis walked across the intersection. He doesn't recognize our new car yet, so did not see me watching him. He is such a handsome young man - as attractive as any male model you would find on a magazine cover. But he limps,...badly. It is his unusual gait that sets him apart. When Kurtis' abusive father hit him over the head with a chair, a large portion of his brain on the right side was damaged and did not send growth messag...
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Bullies and a Change of Heart

Posted by Karen Hessen on Saturday, March 23, 2013, In : Bullies 
I enjoyed my monthly lunch with my sister, Amy, yesterday. It is always pleasant to revisit our past and to look at the things our adult children have accomplished, the challenges they have overcome and to champion them on as they continue to face obstacles in their lives. I had the privilege of meeting Amy's new puppy, Tytan. He promises to provide future fodder for my column "Out of the Ark." 
  

Amy is older than me by five years. I have always depended on her counsel. When we were growing u...
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Good News and Bad Bugs

Posted by Karen Hessen on Friday, March 22, 2013, In : Kurtis 
I received word today that the author's copies of the new edition of the God Makes Lemonade books will be delivered anyday. My contribution to this book "The Little Biker That Could," was my first attempt at writing. It has been a long wait getting it published. It is a delightful story about Tom, a wonderful physical therapist, teaching my son, Kurtis, to ride a bicycle. Kurtis essentially only has one functional leg and teaching him to ride was no simple task. I hope to be able to take Kurt...
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Traditions

Posted by Karen Hessen on Tuesday, March 19, 2013, In : traditions 
St. Patrick's Day is one of my favorite holidays - not because I'm Irish - I'm not. It is because I really enjoy corned beef and cabbage.

I remember when I was a little girl asking my dad what nationality he was. "English and Scotch," he said.

"Then I must be Butterscotch," I answered.

I know Daddy was also "Pennsylvania" Dutch. Mother was German and Jewish. Her cousins say the family is Prussian. I am probably other nationalities I am not aware of. My husband, Doug, Is half Syrian, half French-...
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Validations

Posted by Karen Hessen on Sunday, March 17, 2013, In : health 
We are just completing a week that was filled with doctor's appointments dealing with health issues my husband has been facing. Four out of the five weekdays we were at medical facilities somewhere in the Portland area. While nothing has changed as far as how Doug manages day-to-day, we did get a diagnosis. As I suspected for a long time, there is a reason he feels so bad so much of the time and why his overall condition has seemed to deteriorate. It is not - as his family has accused, that I...
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Daylight Savings

Posted by Karen Hessen on Tuesday, March 12, 2013, In : child abuse 
I always have to remind my son, Kurtis, that time has changed. I probably don't give him enough credit. Most likely he would remember and take care of changing his clocks and watch without me prompting him.  But he has some disabilities as a result of his child abuse and I am used to checking and double checking to make sure all Kurtis' T's are crossed and his I's are dotted. Kurtis' employer would like to fire him, just because he does not work as fast as other workers. My fear is, he will f...
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Waiting to Catchup

Posted by Karen Hessen on Thursday, January 19, 2012, In : humor 

            Lately, I’ve been thinking about catchup. I don’t eat much catchup but my husband likes it on his fries. I had a college professor who lost 12 pounds in one year by giving-up catchup. I should lose some weight. If I ate catchup, I’d just give it up and watch the pounds melt away.

            Really, it is the catchup bottles that have sparked my interest. The restaurant, where we like to eat, serves catchup in those upside-down bottles. I surveyed my house. Lots of thing...


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The Belly of the Whale

Posted by Karen Hessen on Tuesday, November 15, 2011, In : devotion 

I thought you might enjoy reading this devotion I wrote recently. I shared this with my writers group where I was encouraged to change the wording to insure readers would understand the story of Jonah is "just a myth." However, Jesus, himself, told the story of Jonah during his eartly ministry which validates its truth. The Bible refers to the whale as a Behemoth and in more modern translations a big fish. Whale is a term we can visualize and are familiar with, but may not be correct. 

Jonah 1...


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Fifteenth Anniversary

Posted by Karen Hessen on Tuesday, November 8, 2011, In : Lighthouse 



Doug and I spent a couple of days at the Point No Point lighthouse in Hansville, Washington to celebrate or fifteenth anniversary. Surely there is not a more peaceful, romantic, scenic place on this continent.

We found the "Cup of Joy" in Hansville to be a delightful place to get a bite to eat. The pastries looked yummy and the panini were scrumptious. Kathy, Katrina, and Joy are a companiable and competent trio who make you feel right at home in the inviting environment. The sign above the do...
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Happy Birthday Tina

Posted by Karen Hessen on Wednesday, October 12, 2011, In : Tina 
    October 9th was Tina's birthday. She is fourteen years older than she was ever going to be. You know how kids are - they pick an age which seems ancient when they are about ten and claim they will never surpass that age. That's how Tina was. No matter how old she is she still looks about seventeen.

    Tina was nine and a half months old when her father and I adopted her. Such a beautiful baby - such a bright sensible Christian woman. I'm glad she's my daughter. ...
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Driver's License Renewal

Posted by Karen Hessen on Sunday, October 2, 2011, In : humor 
It is time to renew my driver's license. No big deal, right? Wrong!! Everything was going smoothly until it was time to pose for my new picture. They told me I had to take my glasses off. Well, I have very poor eyesight. I have to wear corrective lenses for driving. It has been that way for forty-seven years. I am getting older and change is difficult. In addition to correcting my vision, my glasses adorn my face. Do you have any idea how much I paid for these glasses? I do not wear  much mak...
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Just As I Am

Posted by Karen Hessen on Wednesday, September 21, 2011, In : writing 

Hopefully, you will find inspiration in this devotional I wrote recently.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations. Jeremiah 1:5 (NIV)

 

 

            I saw a bumper sticker the other day which stated one of my favorite Bible verses; “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you.” Jeremiah 1:5a. This verse always produces a mental picture of God working in a lab poring over my parents ...


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A Mail Carrier Remembers 9/11

Posted by Karen Hessen on Sunday, September 11, 2011, In : writing 

Remembering 9/11

by Karen R. Hessen

 

            On Tuesday morning, September 11, 2001, most of us here on the Pacific coast, left our homes before we knew America was under attack. Some of us with longer commutes heard the news on our car radios. Others, like me who lived just a few blocks from the post office, didn’t know anything was amiss in the United States until my co-workers; unusually sullen and reserved, began arriving and talking.

            In the small Forest Grove post ...


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Child Abuse at the Grand Canyon

Posted by Karen Hessen on Friday, September 9, 2011, In : child abuse 
My husband and I traveled to the Grand Canyon recently. It is impossible to stand there on the rim and not be in awe of the majesty of God's creation. It is also not possible to stand there and not face the reality of the canyon's rugged and treacherous terrain. The elements that make it lovely to look at also make it deadly to venture into. While there, I purchased a book, Over the Edge: Death in the Grand Canyon, by Michael P. Ghiglieri and Thomas M. Myers. The book goes into detail about e...
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Child Abuse and Neglect

Posted by Karen Hessen on Thursday, September 1, 2011, In : adoption, child abuse 
I received official word this week that the story I submitted to Chicken Soup for the Soul about my son Kurtis' years of hunger has been selected for their upcoming book, Chicken Soup for the Soul: Food and Love. This story tells of how Kurtis had a ravenous appetite when we adopted him because he had frequently gone without food in his young life. I titled the story, "The Way to a Boy's Stomach is Through His Heart." In the wisdom of the folks at Chicken Soup, the story has been retitiled, "...
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Child Abuse?

Posted by Karen Hessen on Tuesday, August 23, 2011, In : child abuse 
Doug and I have been vacationing. Our destination was Minneapolis, Minnesota. We were in Minneapolis to see the NY Yankees play the Minnesota Twins, but as good tourists we had to take in other sights as well. The sights included a trip to the Mall of America.

While walking through the Mall a child's screaming caught my attention. A little girl of about 4 or 5 years was being wrestled into position to have her ears pierced. The child was totally distraught, the mother totally determined. I cou...
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Consumer Alert

Posted by Karen Hessen on Monday, August 15, 2011, In : humor 
My husband has been wanting a minute timer to use in the bathroom. He rinses his mouth with some anti-plaque stuff and he is supposed to rinse for a minute. It isn't easy to find a minute timer. He didn't want a little plastic hour glass type timer. He wanted wood and brass. So the hunt was on. We finally settled on one we found online. I ordered two, one for his bathroom in each house, in time for them to be here for Father's Day. The package arrived last week. They were worth waiting for. V...
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Easy as 1-2-3

Posted by Karen Hessen on Sunday, August 7, 2011, In : humor 
I thought you would enjoy seeing a humor piece that will be published in Vista, November 6, 2011.
I enjoyed writing it. I hope you enjoy reading it.

Easy as 1-2-3

by Karen R. Hessen

             When I see a do-it-yourself project kit with “Easy as 1-2-3” boldly written across the box under the picture of the handy homemaker wearing pumps and a string of pearls as she holds the drill in both hands aimed like she is fixing to shoot the lights out of the stars, I have hope. Hope even I ca...


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Cankles, Tremors and Monkeys

Posted by Karen Hessen on Sunday, July 31, 2011, In : humor 
I like words, so when my husband came across the word "cankles" in a comic strip in the Oregonian I had to look it up. I thought maybe it would lend itself to a piece of humor writing. Cankles is the condition in which there is no tapering of the calf at the point of the body where the calf and ankle meet. Well, I'm sure people who have cankles do not think it is humorous, and like Charlie Rice, former Youth Pastor, always said, "It isn't nice to have fun at someone else's expense.

I don't ha...
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Infinitely Trees

Posted by Karen Hessen on Sunday, July 24, 2011, In : Infinitely Trees, 
I am nearly finished with the Apprentice Course offered through the Christian Writer's Guild. It has been, on some levels, challenging, but on all levels rewarding. I plan to continue on with the Journeyman course, but first I have to decide whether to concentrate on fiction or nonfiction. I am leaning towards fiction since that is what "real writers" write.

My manuscript for Infinitely Trees is coming along. It is emotionally challenging to relive some of the more painful parenting moments of...
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Books, Blogs and Berries

Posted by Karen Hessen on Saturday, July 16, 2011, In : blueberries 
This hasn't been a good trip to Seaside as far as computers go. When we arrived and hooked up my laptop and Doug;s desktop we had no internet service. Seems our modem/router bit the dust sometime during our four day absence. I can take my laptop to the library, which is where I am now. Amazing how, dependent we have become on internet access 24/7. "Qwest, soon to become Century Link" is sending us a new router. So next weekend we should be in business again. 

When I packed up and came to the l...
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Bits and Pieces

Posted by Karen Hessen on Sunday, July 10, 2011, In : writing 
The author reading scheduled for the 16th has been postponed until later this summer. Barnes and Noble had a staffing issue and asked us to change dates. As soon as a new time is arranged, I will post it on the schedule page.

I sold another humor piece to Vista. YEAH!! It is titled "Saving Daylight," and will be published in June, 2012.

The weather has been gorgeous at the beach. Each weekend we say "this is the best ever." This is the best ever.
Wish you were here.




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The Berry Best

Posted by Karen Hessen on Friday, July 1, 2011, In : Strawberry 
    I'm a CA. According to a fellow US Postal Service retiree, I am a "Dad Burned CA." A "CA" is a Californian. A "Dad Burned CA" is a Californian who has moved to Oregon, taken all the best jobs, bought all the best houses, and married all the best (in my case) men. Okay, so I am guilty of all those things, but if an Oregonian had beat me to it, the jobs, houses and men would have been taken before I arrived. 
    I didn't intend to come to Oregon. I got  here by default. For years after arri...
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Reading and Writing

Posted by Karen Hessen on Sunday, June 26, 2011, In : writing 



This is a picture of our "little cabin in the woods," which is not in the woods at all, but in Seaside, Oregon. It didn't look anything like this twelve years ago when we bought it. If it had we wouldn't have been able to afford it. It was a true "fixer-upper." Now that we are retired, we spend half of our time here, logging three and a half days each in Seaside and Forest Grove. The weather in Seaside this weekend has been absolutely perfect. Beachy!!

Check out my updated schedule on the "sch...
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Child Abuse

Posted by Karen Hessen on Saturday, June 18, 2011, In : adoption, child abuse 
Does anybody still doubt the size of the child abuse issue?

The headlines this week have been full of child abuse stories. There is the Casey Anthony trial. And the woman who is charged with killing the daughter of her boyfriend. These innocent children were killed. How many more stories do not make it to the headlines?

How many children were abused last week who will carry physical and emotional scars the rest of their lives? 

If it takes a village to raise a child what does it take to protect...
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Forgiveness

Posted by Karen Hessen on Sunday, June 12, 2011, In : writing 

I thought you might enjoy reading the devotional I wrote that is published in the current, Summer 2011, Secret Place.
I hope you find it inspirational. The revelation that led up to my writing it has changed my life.  Blessings, Karen


Matthew 6:9-15 (NRSV)                                                                                                 Forgiven

 

THOUGHT FOR TODAY:  “But if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”  Matthew 6:15 (NRSV)

...


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Clamming

Posted by Karen Hessen on Sunday, June 5, 2011, In : razor clams 

This picture is our Boston Terrier "Gracie." She loves to hide under the covers of our bed. Many times the only way we know she is there is by hearing her snore. 

We are spending this weekend in Seaside, Oregon. We went out clamming this morning, too early for retired people to be out and about. But we joined the crowds of several hundred clammers out on the beach. It was not a good day for clamming. The little bivalves were keeping a low profile today. I got a clam in the first hole I dug. Th...
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May Flowers

Posted by Karen Hessen on Friday, May 27, 2011, In : Spring 


Isn't this gorgeous? A field of red clover near our home.

I look forward to this every spring. The area we live in grows crops for seed. Red clover is one of those crops and undoubtedly the most gorgeous. 

The big May birthday event is over for our family. Doug is busy trying out all of his new gismos and gadgets. 

I have had a devotional published in the Secret Place, Summer, 2011 edition. You can pick up a Secret Place at any American Baptist or First Christian (Disciples of Christ) Church.

Tin...
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A Busy Week

Posted by Karen Hessen on Wednesday, May 18, 2011, In : writing 



This is a very dark picture of my sister, Amy, my aunt, Francie, and I enjoying lunch at Claim Jumpers a couple of weeks ago. My aunt was visiting her grandson and family in Portland. Amy and I then drove Francie to Susanville, CA where she finished her vacation with her son and another grandson's family. We had a wonderful visit.

I found out this week that I sold one of my favorite pieces of writing, "A Match Made in Mud," to Lemonade Books. The book will be published and available in Septemb...


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Good News!

Posted by Karen Hessen on Thursday, May 12, 2011, In : Kurtis 


Kurtis, Doug and I spent Mother's Day with Doug's mom, Louise. She will be 92 in a couple of weeks.

I think this picture of Kurtis is a good one. He is quite handsome, and that is not just a mom talking. For the first time, I am seeing Kurtis at his actual age, 35. I don't know why I have never seen him like that before. He has always been about 19 in my eyes.

The physiatrist thinks Kurtis may have a tiny amount of movement in his frozen left ankle now. Kurtis has been diligent about exercisin...
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Mother's Day Wishes for Bio Moms

Posted by Karen Hessen on Friday, May 6, 2011, In : Adoption 


Isn't this flowering cherry tree in our yard beautiful? The tree is over 50 years old and never disappoints us with its beauty.

It is nearly Mother's Day. This is the time of year when I think the most about the biological mothers of my children. Tina's mother passed away a few years ago from breast cancer. Tina had spoken to her on the phone and has met some of her bio mom's siblings. Kurtis' mom still lives in Oklahoma to the best of my knowledge.

I can not help but wonder what goes through ...


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Easter Musings - Discipline

Posted by Karen Hessen on Wednesday, April 27, 2011, In : Easter 
Well, Doug and I totally missed Easter this year. We both had some viral thing which, for Doug, became pneumonia. We are blessed to have family that entertained our adult children fron Grant's Pass and made sure Easter happened without us.

This was not my worst Easter. 19 years ago on Easter, my then husband asked for a divorce. It's hard to top something like that.

I was telling a story yesterday about a problem we had with door slamming when the children were young. The listener to my story ...
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Child Abuse

Posted by Karen Hessen on Tuesday, April 19, 2011, In : adoption, child abuse 
    April is child abuse prevention month. "

    What can I do?" you ask;

    First of all, acknowledge that child abuse is a huge problem. It happens in every school, every church, every town, every neighborhood and likely, in every family. It happened in my family in the early 1970's. A niece had a child out of wedlock. She wanted to give the child to us for adoption but her parents said "No grandchild of theirs would be put up for adoption." She felt she had no option and kept the baby. When...
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Spring

Posted by Karen Hessen on Saturday, April 9, 2011, In : Spring 
It is finally Spring in Oregon. Yesterday was gorgeous and today is very nice. We are in Seaside today and the town is full of people enjoying the first nice Saturday we have had in months. 

I don't know about your neighborhood, but where I live, war has been declared. The annual battle against the dandelion. It is a love-hate thing with people and dandelions. When I was a mail carrier, there was one customer whose yard was nothing but dandelions. Do not as much as set one toe on her "dandelaw...
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A Good Read

Posted by Karen Hessen on Sunday, April 3, 2011, In : reading 
I just finished reading Journey to Riverbend by Henry McLaughlin. What a great book! Good job Henry!

Journey to Riverbend is a little bit romance and a lot western but every bit enjoyable. Henry Mclaughlin was the winner of the 2009 Christian Writers Guild First Novel Competition with Journey to Riverbend. An honor well bestowed.

Sorry, I can't lend you my copy. It's autographed. Pick up a copy for yourself. You won't be sorry. Published by Tyndale.
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Update!

Posted by Karen Hessen on Wednesday, March 23, 2011, In : Kurtis 
I have been working diligently on the manuscript for Infinitely Trees. It is coming along.

I took Kurtis to the podiatrist last week for an evaluation of the pain he has been having in his foot. The doctor referred us to physiatry for additional tests but thinks Kurtis may be in for more surgery. (This is the foot disabled because of child abuse.) My goal for the immediate future is to keep Kurtis working. He loves his job and does not want to lose it or be unable to do it. It took him nine ye...
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St. Patrick's Day

Posted by Karen Hessen on Thursday, March 17, 2011, In : writing 

I thought  you might enjoy seeing this photo taken of me reading at Lend an Ear last Saturday. I was reading the children's story, The Tail of Scrappy Doo.  This was my first attempt at writing a children's story.  Scrappy Doo is fiction but is based on a toy dog Tina had as a child. Scrappy Doo was a very special toy and we're sorry that he got lost over time.

I have my corned beef and cabbage cooking in the Crock Pot. We will wake up to the seductive Irish aroma tomorrow morning. This is the...


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Infinitely Trees

Posted by Karen Hessen on Friday, March 11, 2011, In : Infinitely Trees, 
I have been working on the book proposal for Infinitely Trees. Finally, It is finished and emailed to the potential publisher. Now two months of nailbiting while I wait to hear.

My uncle, Sid, passed away in San Diego over the weekend. My sister and I had a wonderful visit with him in September. His death was not a surprize but it still leaves a hole in my heart. Sid was a Christian and I know that he is waiting by the gate for his loved ones. Our pastor often says that this life here on earth...
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Lend an Ear, Come and Hear

Posted by Karen Hessen on Friday, March 4, 2011, In : writing 
I'm excited about reading at the "Lend an Ear, Come and Hear" event on Saturday, March 12.

For this family friendly event, sponsored by Writers in the Grove, I have written a children's story, "The Tail of Scrappy Doo."  This is my first children's piece. I am pleased that the jury accepted it for inclusion in the program. 

When my daughter, Tina, was a young child and her father and I were having a tough time financially, I made her a stuffed dog named Scrappy Doo. Scrappy Doo became her favor...
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Hungry Children

Posted by Karen Hessen on Friday, February 25, 2011, In : adoption, child abuse 
I was writing an article the other day about food and I was reminded of how Kurtis ate when we first adopted him. 

Kurtis had been hungry and was never sure if he would have another meal or when he would have it, so he ate. And he ate!
And he ate! It didn't matter what I cooked he ate it with enthusiasm. It was pretty sad to see him drag along the table with his withered leg and pick crumbs up, popping them in his mouth like delicacies. 

This ravenous appetite lasted for a several months before...
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Bird's Nest Treat

Posted by Karen Hessen on Tuesday, February 22, 2011, In : Tina 



 I found a candy bar in a bird's nest this morning. And you ask, "how did it get there?"
 
My daughter, Tina, knows I have a craving for Cup O' Gold candy bars. They are a little hard to find but they are available at our local Fred Meyer stores here in Oregon. When she comes to visit she brings a stash of Cup O' Golds and hides them around the house before she leaves. The bird's nest is behind glass in an antique lawyer's book case in our living room. She is very cleaver. Last time she was her...


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Happy Birthday, Kurtis!

Posted by Karen Hessen on Friday, February 18, 2011, In : adoption, child abuse 
Kurtis turned 35 on February 17th. He is not exactly the same kid I adopted in 1978. At that time he was the most severly abused child to survive in the United States. Today he works at Jennings McCall residential facility in Forest Grove. He is as lovely on the inside as he is handsome on the outside. That's mom talk.
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Kurtis' Birthday

Posted by Karen Hessen on Friday, February 18, 2011, In : adoption, child abuse 
Kurtis and his Aunt Patty at Nonna Emilias Ristorante in Aloha, Oregon.
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Writing for the Soul

Posted by Karen Hessen on Wednesday, February 16, 2011, In : adoption, child abuse 
I recently returned from Denver, where I attended the Writing for the Soul conference. I have truly been spiritually fed.

In addition to my article wiritng and the incidentals I write from time to time, I have been working on a book titled, Infinitely Trees. Infinitely Trees is the story of my son Kurtis, who at the time of his adoption was the most severely abused child to survive in the United States. It is also the story of how God works in our lives to bring us hope, courage and forgivenes...

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Showing category "9" (Show all posts)

A Mail Carrier Remembers 9/11

Posted by Karen Hessen on Wednesday, September 11, 2013, In : 9/11 

            On Tuesday morning, September 11, 2001, most of us here on the Pacific coast, left our homes before we knew America was under attack. Some of us with longer commutes heard the news on our car radios. Others, like me who lived just a few blocks from the post office, didn’t know anything was amiss in the United States until my co-workers; unusually sullen and reserved, began arriving and talking.

            In the small Forest Grove post office, our staff included fifteen mail...


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Thoughts about Daddy

Posted by Karen Hessen on Saturday, June 15, 2013, In : Father's Day 
My dad and great granddaughter, Kamille

    I don’t do this often, but yesterday I went to Willamette National Cemetery to visit my dad’s gravesite. Doug and I were in the area for a doctor’s appointment, so I thought I would stop by. I know Daddy’s not there, just the old physical shell that housed his spirit, his personality, the man who was my daddy for sixty years - who will always be my "daddy." 

    Willamette National Cemetery is the burial site for thousands of military vete...


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This and That

Posted by on Saturday, June 8, 2013, In : writing 

            Doug and I and Kurtis had a speedy, but wonderful trip to Placerville. We went to present a copy of When God Makes Lemonade to Tom, Kurtis’ pediatric physical therapist of thirty years ago. “The Little Biker That Could” is published in that collection of inspirational stories and tells how Tom taught Kurtis to ride a “two-wheeler.” We had a great reunion with Tom and enjoyed meeting his wife Tina.



            As a bonus, before heading back to Oregon, we had breakfast w...


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Mother's Day

Posted by Karen Hessen on Saturday, May 11, 2013, In : Mother's Day 
    I've never been a big fan of Mother's Day. We made a big deal of it when I was a kid. Daddy always made sure my sister and I bought an appropriate gift for Mother. We also always had a corsage for her to wear to church - red or pink flowers before my grandmother died, white after. I guess even as a child I felt some ambivalence about the day. I always tried to please my mother. At a very early age, I decided not to ever hurt her or do anything to disappoint her or make her cry. But Mother...
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Rounding Up (or down)

Posted by Karen Hessen on Friday, May 3, 2013, In : Image 
 My husband rounds-up. If you ask him how old he is he tells you the next age that would be evenly divisable by ten. So when he was sixty-one he claimed to be seventy. Lots of things about Doug don't make much sense, so don't ask me why he does this, but I suppose people think he really looks good for his age. Me, on the other hand, I've always been just fine with whatever age I find myself at. And, yes, I am a couple years older than Doug.

Age is one thing, but height and weight are another ...
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Bad Backs

Posted by Karen Hessen on Friday, April 19, 2013, In : Doug 
I will probably never be allowed to forget that while I was in Colorado attending the "Writing for the Soul" conference, my husband, Doug, fell and herniated a disc in his back. My being home would not have changed the reality one bit, but, oh well.., I did have a very good time, so I am willing to shoulder a little misplaced blame. I will not, however, accept any guilt. 

So, after eight weeks of unfathomable pain, Doug has had his disc removed and is now comfortably pain free, at home.

Doug is...
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Grieving for My "Kidney Friends"

Posted by Karen Hessen on Wednesday, April 10, 2013, In : grief 
I have two women friends of long-standing - women I raised my children with. The three of us have four children, no twins, that our forty years old. I call these women, "My Kidney Friends," because I believe we care enough for each to give up one of our kidneys should one of us need it. We have laughed, cried, prayed, cooked, dieted, worked, played, cleaned, and worshiped together. We have rafted a class IV river and pulled enough weeds to earn the fees for the rafting trip. These women were ...
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Observations and Ramifications

Posted by Karen Hessen on Wednesday, March 27, 2013, In : child abuse 
I was running errands yesterday and while I waited at a red light Kurtis walked across the intersection. He doesn't recognize our new car yet, so did not see me watching him. He is such a handsome young man - as attractive as any male model you would find on a magazine cover. But he limps,...badly. It is his unusual gait that sets him apart. When Kurtis' abusive father hit him over the head with a chair, a large portion of his brain on the right side was damaged and did not send growth messag...
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Bullies and a Change of Heart

Posted by Karen Hessen on Saturday, March 23, 2013, In : Bullies 
I enjoyed my monthly lunch with my sister, Amy, yesterday. It is always pleasant to revisit our past and to look at the things our adult children have accomplished, the challenges they have overcome and to champion them on as they continue to face obstacles in their lives. I had the privilege of meeting Amy's new puppy, Tytan. He promises to provide future fodder for my column "Out of the Ark." 
  

Amy is older than me by five years. I have always depended on her counsel. When we were growing u...
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Good News and Bad Bugs

Posted by Karen Hessen on Friday, March 22, 2013, In : Kurtis 
I received word today that the author's copies of the new edition of the God Makes Lemonade books will be delivered anyday. My contribution to this book "The Little Biker That Could," was my first attempt at writing. It has been a long wait getting it published. It is a delightful story about Tom, a wonderful physical therapist, teaching my son, Kurtis, to ride a bicycle. Kurtis essentially only has one functional leg and teaching him to ride was no simple task. I hope to be able to take Kurt...
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Traditions

Posted by Karen Hessen on Tuesday, March 19, 2013, In : traditions 
St. Patrick's Day is one of my favorite holidays - not because I'm Irish - I'm not. It is because I really enjoy corned beef and cabbage.

I remember when I was a little girl asking my dad what nationality he was. "English and Scotch," he said.

"Then I must be Butterscotch," I answered.

I know Daddy was also "Pennsylvania" Dutch. Mother was German and Jewish. Her cousins say the family is Prussian. I am probably other nationalities I am not aware of. My husband, Doug, Is half Syrian, half French-...
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Validations

Posted by Karen Hessen on Sunday, March 17, 2013, In : health 
We are just completing a week that was filled with doctor's appointments dealing with health issues my husband has been facing. Four out of the five weekdays we were at medical facilities somewhere in the Portland area. While nothing has changed as far as how Doug manages day-to-day, we did get a diagnosis. As I suspected for a long time, there is a reason he feels so bad so much of the time and why his overall condition has seemed to deteriorate. It is not - as his family has accused, that I...
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Daylight Savings

Posted by Karen Hessen on Tuesday, March 12, 2013, In : child abuse 
I always have to remind my son, Kurtis, that time has changed. I probably don't give him enough credit. Most likely he would remember and take care of changing his clocks and watch without me prompting him.  But he has some disabilities as a result of his child abuse and I am used to checking and double checking to make sure all Kurtis' T's are crossed and his I's are dotted. Kurtis' employer would like to fire him, just because he does not work as fast as other workers. My fear is, he will f...
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Waiting to Catchup

Posted by Karen Hessen on Thursday, January 19, 2012, In : humor 

            Lately, I’ve been thinking about catchup. I don’t eat much catchup but my husband likes it on his fries. I had a college professor who lost 12 pounds in one year by giving-up catchup. I should lose some weight. If I ate catchup, I’d just give it up and watch the pounds melt away.

            Really, it is the catchup bottles that have sparked my interest. The restaurant, where we like to eat, serves catchup in those upside-down bottles. I surveyed my house. Lots of thing...


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The Belly of the Whale

Posted by Karen Hessen on Tuesday, November 15, 2011, In : devotion 

I thought you might enjoy reading this devotion I wrote recently. I shared this with my writers group where I was encouraged to change the wording to insure readers would understand the story of Jonah is "just a myth." However, Jesus, himself, told the story of Jonah during his eartly ministry which validates its truth. The Bible refers to the whale as a Behemoth and in more modern translations a big fish. Whale is a term we can visualize and are familiar with, but may not be correct. 

Jonah 1...


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Fifteenth Anniversary

Posted by Karen Hessen on Tuesday, November 8, 2011, In : Lighthouse 



Doug and I spent a couple of days at the Point No Point lighthouse in Hansville, Washington to celebrate or fifteenth anniversary. Surely there is not a more peaceful, romantic, scenic place on this continent.

We found the "Cup of Joy" in Hansville to be a delightful place to get a bite to eat. The pastries looked yummy and the panini were scrumptious. Kathy, Katrina, and Joy are a companiable and competent trio who make you feel right at home in the inviting environment. The sign above the do...
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Happy Birthday Tina

Posted by Karen Hessen on Wednesday, October 12, 2011, In : Tina 
    October 9th was Tina's birthday. She is fourteen years older than she was ever going to be. You know how kids are - they pick an age which seems ancient when they are about ten and claim they will never surpass that age. That's how Tina was. No matter how old she is she still looks about seventeen.

    Tina was nine and a half months old when her father and I adopted her. Such a beautiful baby - such a bright sensible Christian woman. I'm glad she's my daughter. ...
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Driver's License Renewal

Posted by Karen Hessen on Sunday, October 2, 2011, In : humor 
It is time to renew my driver's license. No big deal, right? Wrong!! Everything was going smoothly until it was time to pose for my new picture. They told me I had to take my glasses off. Well, I have very poor eyesight. I have to wear corrective lenses for driving. It has been that way for forty-seven years. I am getting older and change is difficult. In addition to correcting my vision, my glasses adorn my face. Do you have any idea how much I paid for these glasses? I do not wear  much mak...
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Just As I Am

Posted by Karen Hessen on Wednesday, September 21, 2011, In : writing 

Hopefully, you will find inspiration in this devotional I wrote recently.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations. Jeremiah 1:5 (NIV)

 

 

            I saw a bumper sticker the other day which stated one of my favorite Bible verses; “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you.” Jeremiah 1:5a. This verse always produces a mental picture of God working in a lab poring over my parents ...


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A Mail Carrier Remembers 9/11

Posted by Karen Hessen on Sunday, September 11, 2011, In : writing 

Remembering 9/11

by Karen R. Hessen

 

            On Tuesday morning, September 11, 2001, most of us here on the Pacific coast, left our homes before we knew America was under attack. Some of us with longer commutes heard the news on our car radios. Others, like me who lived just a few blocks from the post office, didn’t know anything was amiss in the United States until my co-workers; unusually sullen and reserved, began arriving and talking.

            In the small Forest Grove post ...


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Child Abuse at the Grand Canyon

Posted by Karen Hessen on Friday, September 9, 2011, In : child abuse 
My husband and I traveled to the Grand Canyon recently. It is impossible to stand there on the rim and not be in awe of the majesty of God's creation. It is also not possible to stand there and not face the reality of the canyon's rugged and treacherous terrain. The elements that make it lovely to look at also make it deadly to venture into. While there, I purchased a book, Over the Edge: Death in the Grand Canyon, by Michael P. Ghiglieri and Thomas M. Myers. The book goes into detail about e...
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Child Abuse and Neglect

Posted by Karen Hessen on Thursday, September 1, 2011, In : adoption, child abuse 
I received official word this week that the story I submitted to Chicken Soup for the Soul about my son Kurtis' years of hunger has been selected for their upcoming book, Chicken Soup for the Soul: Food and Love. This story tells of how Kurtis had a ravenous appetite when we adopted him because he had frequently gone without food in his young life. I titled the story, "The Way to a Boy's Stomach is Through His Heart." In the wisdom of the folks at Chicken Soup, the story has been retitiled, "...
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Child Abuse?

Posted by Karen Hessen on Tuesday, August 23, 2011, In : child abuse 
Doug and I have been vacationing. Our destination was Minneapolis, Minnesota. We were in Minneapolis to see the NY Yankees play the Minnesota Twins, but as good tourists we had to take in other sights as well. The sights included a trip to the Mall of America.

While walking through the Mall a child's screaming caught my attention. A little girl of about 4 or 5 years was being wrestled into position to have her ears pierced. The child was totally distraught, the mother totally determined. I cou...
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Consumer Alert

Posted by Karen Hessen on Monday, August 15, 2011, In : humor 
My husband has been wanting a minute timer to use in the bathroom. He rinses his mouth with some anti-plaque stuff and he is supposed to rinse for a minute. It isn't easy to find a minute timer. He didn't want a little plastic hour glass type timer. He wanted wood and brass. So the hunt was on. We finally settled on one we found online. I ordered two, one for his bathroom in each house, in time for them to be here for Father's Day. The package arrived last week. They were worth waiting for. V...
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Easy as 1-2-3

Posted by Karen Hessen on Sunday, August 7, 2011, In : humor 
I thought you would enjoy seeing a humor piece that will be published in Vista, November 6, 2011.
I enjoyed writing it. I hope you enjoy reading it.

Easy as 1-2-3

by Karen R. Hessen

             When I see a do-it-yourself project kit with “Easy as 1-2-3” boldly written across the box under the picture of the handy homemaker wearing pumps and a string of pearls as she holds the drill in both hands aimed like she is fixing to shoot the lights out of the stars, I have hope. Hope even I ca...


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Cankles, Tremors and Monkeys

Posted by Karen Hessen on Sunday, July 31, 2011, In : humor 
I like words, so when my husband came across the word "cankles" in a comic strip in the Oregonian I had to look it up. I thought maybe it would lend itself to a piece of humor writing. Cankles is the condition in which there is no tapering of the calf at the point of the body where the calf and ankle meet. Well, I'm sure people who have cankles do not think it is humorous, and like Charlie Rice, former Youth Pastor, always said, "It isn't nice to have fun at someone else's expense.

I don't ha...
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Infinitely Trees

Posted by Karen Hessen on Sunday, July 24, 2011, In : Infinitely Trees, 
I am nearly finished with the Apprentice Course offered through the Christian Writer's Guild. It has been, on some levels, challenging, but on all levels rewarding. I plan to continue on with the Journeyman course, but first I have to decide whether to concentrate on fiction or nonfiction. I am leaning towards fiction since that is what "real writers" write.

My manuscript for Infinitely Trees is coming along. It is emotionally challenging to relive some of the more painful parenting moments of...
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Books, Blogs and Berries

Posted by Karen Hessen on Saturday, July 16, 2011, In : blueberries 
This hasn't been a good trip to Seaside as far as computers go. When we arrived and hooked up my laptop and Doug;s desktop we had no internet service. Seems our modem/router bit the dust sometime during our four day absence. I can take my laptop to the library, which is where I am now. Amazing how, dependent we have become on internet access 24/7. "Qwest, soon to become Century Link" is sending us a new router. So next weekend we should be in business again. 

When I packed up and came to the l...
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Bits and Pieces

Posted by Karen Hessen on Sunday, July 10, 2011, In : writing 
The author reading scheduled for the 16th has been postponed until later this summer. Barnes and Noble had a staffing issue and asked us to change dates. As soon as a new time is arranged, I will post it on the schedule page.

I sold another humor piece to Vista. YEAH!! It is titled "Saving Daylight," and will be published in June, 2012.

The weather has been gorgeous at the beach. Each weekend we say "this is the best ever." This is the best ever.
Wish you were here.




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The Berry Best

Posted by Karen Hessen on Friday, July 1, 2011, In : Strawberry 
    I'm a CA. According to a fellow US Postal Service retiree, I am a "Dad Burned CA." A "CA" is a Californian. A "Dad Burned CA" is a Californian who has moved to Oregon, taken all the best jobs, bought all the best houses, and married all the best (in my case) men. Okay, so I am guilty of all those things, but if an Oregonian had beat me to it, the jobs, houses and men would have been taken before I arrived. 
    I didn't intend to come to Oregon. I got  here by default. For years after arri...
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Reading and Writing

Posted by Karen Hessen on Sunday, June 26, 2011, In : writing 



This is a picture of our "little cabin in the woods," which is not in the woods at all, but in Seaside, Oregon. It didn't look anything like this twelve years ago when we bought it. If it had we wouldn't have been able to afford it. It was a true "fixer-upper." Now that we are retired, we spend half of our time here, logging three and a half days each in Seaside and Forest Grove. The weather in Seaside this weekend has been absolutely perfect. Beachy!!

Check out my updated schedule on the "sch...
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Child Abuse

Posted by Karen Hessen on Saturday, June 18, 2011, In : adoption, child abuse 
Does anybody still doubt the size of the child abuse issue?

The headlines this week have been full of child abuse stories. There is the Casey Anthony trial. And the woman who is charged with killing the daughter of her boyfriend. These innocent children were killed. How many more stories do not make it to the headlines?

How many children were abused last week who will carry physical and emotional scars the rest of their lives? 

If it takes a village to raise a child what does it take to protect...
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Forgiveness

Posted by Karen Hessen on Sunday, June 12, 2011, In : writing 

I thought you might enjoy reading the devotional I wrote that is published in the current, Summer 2011, Secret Place.
I hope you find it inspirational. The revelation that led up to my writing it has changed my life.  Blessings, Karen


Matthew 6:9-15 (NRSV)                                                                                                 Forgiven

 

THOUGHT FOR TODAY:  “But if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”  Matthew 6:15 (NRSV)

...


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Clamming

Posted by Karen Hessen on Sunday, June 5, 2011, In : razor clams 

This picture is our Boston Terrier "Gracie." She loves to hide under the covers of our bed. Many times the only way we know she is there is by hearing her snore. 

We are spending this weekend in Seaside, Oregon. We went out clamming this morning, too early for retired people to be out and about. But we joined the crowds of several hundred clammers out on the beach. It was not a good day for clamming. The little bivalves were keeping a low profile today. I got a clam in the first hole I dug. Th...
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May Flowers

Posted by Karen Hessen on Friday, May 27, 2011, In : Spring 


Isn't this gorgeous? A field of red clover near our home.

I look forward to this every spring. The area we live in grows crops for seed. Red clover is one of those crops and undoubtedly the most gorgeous. 

The big May birthday event is over for our family. Doug is busy trying out all of his new gismos and gadgets. 

I have had a devotional published in the Secret Place, Summer, 2011 edition. You can pick up a Secret Place at any American Baptist or First Christian (Disciples of Christ) Church.

Tin...
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A Busy Week

Posted by Karen Hessen on Wednesday, May 18, 2011, In : writing 



This is a very dark picture of my sister, Amy, my aunt, Francie, and I enjoying lunch at Claim Jumpers a couple of weeks ago. My aunt was visiting her grandson and family in Portland. Amy and I then drove Francie to Susanville, CA where she finished her vacation with her son and another grandson's family. We had a wonderful visit.

I found out this week that I sold one of my favorite pieces of writing, "A Match Made in Mud," to Lemonade Books. The book will be published and available in Septemb...


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Good News!

Posted by Karen Hessen on Thursday, May 12, 2011, In : Kurtis 


Kurtis, Doug and I spent Mother's Day with Doug's mom, Louise. She will be 92 in a couple of weeks.

I think this picture of Kurtis is a good one. He is quite handsome, and that is not just a mom talking. For the first time, I am seeing Kurtis at his actual age, 35. I don't know why I have never seen him like that before. He has always been about 19 in my eyes.

The physiatrist thinks Kurtis may have a tiny amount of movement in his frozen left ankle now. Kurtis has been diligent about exercisin...
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Mother's Day Wishes for Bio Moms

Posted by Karen Hessen on Friday, May 6, 2011, In : Adoption 


Isn't this flowering cherry tree in our yard beautiful? The tree is over 50 years old and never disappoints us with its beauty.

It is nearly Mother's Day. This is the time of year when I think the most about the biological mothers of my children. Tina's mother passed away a few years ago from breast cancer. Tina had spoken to her on the phone and has met some of her bio mom's siblings. Kurtis' mom still lives in Oklahoma to the best of my knowledge.

I can not help but wonder what goes through ...


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Easter Musings - Discipline

Posted by Karen Hessen on Wednesday, April 27, 2011, In : Easter 
Well, Doug and I totally missed Easter this year. We both had some viral thing which, for Doug, became pneumonia. We are blessed to have family that entertained our adult children fron Grant's Pass and made sure Easter happened without us.

This was not my worst Easter. 19 years ago on Easter, my then husband asked for a divorce. It's hard to top something like that.

I was telling a story yesterday about a problem we had with door slamming when the children were young. The listener to my story ...
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Child Abuse

Posted by Karen Hessen on Tuesday, April 19, 2011, In : adoption, child abuse 
    April is child abuse prevention month. "

    What can I do?" you ask;

    First of all, acknowledge that child abuse is a huge problem. It happens in every school, every church, every town, every neighborhood and likely, in every family. It happened in my family in the early 1970's. A niece had a child out of wedlock. She wanted to give the child to us for adoption but her parents said "No grandchild of theirs would be put up for adoption." She felt she had no option and kept the baby. When...
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Spring

Posted by Karen Hessen on Saturday, April 9, 2011, In : Spring 
It is finally Spring in Oregon. Yesterday was gorgeous and today is very nice. We are in Seaside today and the town is full of people enjoying the first nice Saturday we have had in months. 

I don't know about your neighborhood, but where I live, war has been declared. The annual battle against the dandelion. It is a love-hate thing with people and dandelions. When I was a mail carrier, there was one customer whose yard was nothing but dandelions. Do not as much as set one toe on her "dandelaw...
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A Good Read

Posted by Karen Hessen on Sunday, April 3, 2011, In : reading 
I just finished reading Journey to Riverbend by Henry McLaughlin. What a great book! Good job Henry!

Journey to Riverbend is a little bit romance and a lot western but every bit enjoyable. Henry Mclaughlin was the winner of the 2009 Christian Writers Guild First Novel Competition with Journey to Riverbend. An honor well bestowed.

Sorry, I can't lend you my copy. It's autographed. Pick up a copy for yourself. You won't be sorry. Published by Tyndale.
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Update!

Posted by Karen Hessen on Wednesday, March 23, 2011, In : Kurtis 
I have been working diligently on the manuscript for Infinitely Trees. It is coming along.

I took Kurtis to the podiatrist last week for an evaluation of the pain he has been having in his foot. The doctor referred us to physiatry for additional tests but thinks Kurtis may be in for more surgery. (This is the foot disabled because of child abuse.) My goal for the immediate future is to keep Kurtis working. He loves his job and does not want to lose it or be unable to do it. It took him nine ye...
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St. Patrick's Day

Posted by Karen Hessen on Thursday, March 17, 2011, In : writing 

I thought  you might enjoy seeing this photo taken of me reading at Lend an Ear last Saturday. I was reading the children's story, The Tail of Scrappy Doo.  This was my first attempt at writing a children's story.  Scrappy Doo is fiction but is based on a toy dog Tina had as a child. Scrappy Doo was a very special toy and we're sorry that he got lost over time.

I have my corned beef and cabbage cooking in the Crock Pot. We will wake up to the seductive Irish aroma tomorrow morning. This is the...


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Infinitely Trees

Posted by Karen Hessen on Friday, March 11, 2011, In : Infinitely Trees, 
I have been working on the book proposal for Infinitely Trees. Finally, It is finished and emailed to the potential publisher. Now two months of nailbiting while I wait to hear.

My uncle, Sid, passed away in San Diego over the weekend. My sister and I had a wonderful visit with him in September. His death was not a surprize but it still leaves a hole in my heart. Sid was a Christian and I know that he is waiting by the gate for his loved ones. Our pastor often says that this life here on earth...
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Lend an Ear, Come and Hear

Posted by Karen Hessen on Friday, March 4, 2011, In : writing 
I'm excited about reading at the "Lend an Ear, Come and Hear" event on Saturday, March 12.

For this family friendly event, sponsored by Writers in the Grove, I have written a children's story, "The Tail of Scrappy Doo."  This is my first children's piece. I am pleased that the jury accepted it for inclusion in the program. 

When my daughter, Tina, was a young child and her father and I were having a tough time financially, I made her a stuffed dog named Scrappy Doo. Scrappy Doo became her favor...
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Hungry Children

Posted by Karen Hessen on Friday, February 25, 2011, In : adoption, child abuse 
I was writing an article the other day about food and I was reminded of how Kurtis ate when we first adopted him. 

Kurtis had been hungry and was never sure if he would have another meal or when he would have it, so he ate. And he ate!
And he ate! It didn't matter what I cooked he ate it with enthusiasm. It was pretty sad to see him drag along the table with his withered leg and pick crumbs up, popping them in his mouth like delicacies. 

This ravenous appetite lasted for a several months before...
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Bird's Nest Treat

Posted by Karen Hessen on Tuesday, February 22, 2011, In : Tina 



 I found a candy bar in a bird's nest this morning. And you ask, "how did it get there?"
 
My daughter, Tina, knows I have a craving for Cup O' Gold candy bars. They are a little hard to find but they are available at our local Fred Meyer stores here in Oregon. When she comes to visit she brings a stash of Cup O' Golds and hides them around the house before she leaves. The bird's nest is behind glass in an antique lawyer's book case in our living room. She is very cleaver. Last time she was her...


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Happy Birthday, Kurtis!

Posted by Karen Hessen on Friday, February 18, 2011, In : adoption, child abuse 
Kurtis turned 35 on February 17th. He is not exactly the same kid I adopted in 1978. At that time he was the most severly abused child to survive in the United States. Today he works at Jennings McCall residential facility in Forest Grove. He is as lovely on the inside as he is handsome on the outside. That's mom talk.
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Kurtis' Birthday

Posted by Karen Hessen on Friday, February 18, 2011, In : adoption, child abuse 
Kurtis and his Aunt Patty at Nonna Emilias Ristorante in Aloha, Oregon.
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Writing for the Soul

Posted by Karen Hessen on Wednesday, February 16, 2011, In : adoption, child abuse 
I recently returned from Denver, where I attended the Writing for the Soul conference. I have truly been spiritually fed.

In addition to my article wiritng and the incidentals I write from time to time, I have been working on a book titled, Infinitely Trees. Infinitely Trees is the story of my son Kurtis, who at the time of his adoption was the most severely abused child to survive in the United States. It is also the story of how God works in our lives to bring us hope, courage and forgivenes...

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Showing category "9" (Show all posts)

A Mail Carrier Remembers 9/11

Posted by Karen Hessen on Wednesday, September 11, 2013, In : 9/11 

            On Tuesday morning, September 11, 2001, most of us here on the Pacific coast, left our homes before we knew America was under attack. Some of us with longer commutes heard the news on our car radios. Others, like me who lived just a few blocks from the post office, didn’t know anything was amiss in the United States until my co-workers; unusually sullen and reserved, began arriving and talking.

            In the small Forest Grove post office, our staff included fifteen mail...


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Thoughts about Daddy

Posted by Karen Hessen on Saturday, June 15, 2013, In : Father's Day 
My dad and great granddaughter, Kamille

    I don’t do this often, but yesterday I went to Willamette National Cemetery to visit my dad’s gravesite. Doug and I were in the area for a doctor’s appointment, so I thought I would stop by. I know Daddy’s not there, just the old physical shell that housed his spirit, his personality, the man who was my daddy for sixty years - who will always be my "daddy." 

    Willamette National Cemetery is the burial site for thousands of military vete...


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This and That

Posted by on Saturday, June 8, 2013, In : writing 

            Doug and I and Kurtis had a speedy, but wonderful trip to Placerville. We went to present a copy of When God Makes Lemonade to Tom, Kurtis’ pediatric physical therapist of thirty years ago. “The Little Biker That Could” is published in that collection of inspirational stories and tells how Tom taught Kurtis to ride a “two-wheeler.” We had a great reunion with Tom and enjoyed meeting his wife Tina.



            As a bonus, before heading back to Oregon, we had breakfast w...


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Mother's Day

Posted by Karen Hessen on Saturday, May 11, 2013, In : Mother's Day 
    I've never been a big fan of Mother's Day. We made a big deal of it when I was a kid. Daddy always made sure my sister and I bought an appropriate gift for Mother. We also always had a corsage for her to wear to church - red or pink flowers before my grandmother died, white after. I guess even as a child I felt some ambivalence about the day. I always tried to please my mother. At a very early age, I decided not to ever hurt her or do anything to disappoint her or make her cry. But Mother...
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Rounding Up (or down)

Posted by Karen Hessen on Friday, May 3, 2013, In : Image 
 My husband rounds-up. If you ask him how old he is he tells you the next age that would be evenly divisable by ten. So when he was sixty-one he claimed to be seventy. Lots of things about Doug don't make much sense, so don't ask me why he does this, but I suppose people think he really looks good for his age. Me, on the other hand, I've always been just fine with whatever age I find myself at. And, yes, I am a couple years older than Doug.

Age is one thing, but height and weight are another ...
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Bad Backs

Posted by Karen Hessen on Friday, April 19, 2013, In : Doug 
I will probably never be allowed to forget that while I was in Colorado attending the "Writing for the Soul" conference, my husband, Doug, fell and herniated a disc in his back. My being home would not have changed the reality one bit, but, oh well.., I did have a very good time, so I am willing to shoulder a little misplaced blame. I will not, however, accept any guilt. 

So, after eight weeks of unfathomable pain, Doug has had his disc removed and is now comfortably pain free, at home.

Doug is...
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Grieving for My "Kidney Friends"

Posted by Karen Hessen on Wednesday, April 10, 2013, In : grief 
I have two women friends of long-standing - women I raised my children with. The three of us have four children, no twins, that our forty years old. I call these women, "My Kidney Friends," because I believe we care enough for each to give up one of our kidneys should one of us need it. We have laughed, cried, prayed, cooked, dieted, worked, played, cleaned, and worshiped together. We have rafted a class IV river and pulled enough weeds to earn the fees for the rafting trip. These women were ...
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Observations and Ramifications

Posted by Karen Hessen on Wednesday, March 27, 2013, In : child abuse 
I was running errands yesterday and while I waited at a red light Kurtis walked across the intersection. He doesn't recognize our new car yet, so did not see me watching him. He is such a handsome young man - as attractive as any male model you would find on a magazine cover. But he limps,...badly. It is his unusual gait that sets him apart. When Kurtis' abusive father hit him over the head with a chair, a large portion of his brain on the right side was damaged and did not send growth messag...
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Bullies and a Change of Heart

Posted by Karen Hessen on Saturday, March 23, 2013, In : Bullies 
I enjoyed my monthly lunch with my sister, Amy, yesterday. It is always pleasant to revisit our past and to look at the things our adult children have accomplished, the challenges they have overcome and to champion them on as they continue to face obstacles in their lives. I had the privilege of meeting Amy's new puppy, Tytan. He promises to provide future fodder for my column "Out of the Ark." 
  

Amy is older than me by five years. I have always depended on her counsel. When we were growing u...
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Good News and Bad Bugs

Posted by Karen Hessen on Friday, March 22, 2013, In : Kurtis 
I received word today that the author's copies of the new edition of the God Makes Lemonade books will be delivered anyday. My contribution to this book "The Little Biker That Could," was my first attempt at writing. It has been a long wait getting it published. It is a delightful story about Tom, a wonderful physical therapist, teaching my son, Kurtis, to ride a bicycle. Kurtis essentially only has one functional leg and teaching him to ride was no simple task. I hope to be able to take Kurt...
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Traditions

Posted by Karen Hessen on Tuesday, March 19, 2013, In : traditions 
St. Patrick's Day is one of my favorite holidays - not because I'm Irish - I'm not. It is because I really enjoy corned beef and cabbage.

I remember when I was a little girl asking my dad what nationality he was. "English and Scotch," he said.

"Then I must be Butterscotch," I answered.

I know Daddy was also "Pennsylvania" Dutch. Mother was German and Jewish. Her cousins say the family is Prussian. I am probably other nationalities I am not aware of. My husband, Doug, Is half Syrian, half French-...
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Validations

Posted by Karen Hessen on Sunday, March 17, 2013, In : health 
We are just completing a week that was filled with doctor's appointments dealing with health issues my husband has been facing. Four out of the five weekdays we were at medical facilities somewhere in the Portland area. While nothing has changed as far as how Doug manages day-to-day, we did get a diagnosis. As I suspected for a long time, there is a reason he feels so bad so much of the time and why his overall condition has seemed to deteriorate. It is not - as his family has accused, that I...
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Daylight Savings

Posted by Karen Hessen on Tuesday, March 12, 2013, In : child abuse 
I always have to remind my son, Kurtis, that time has changed. I probably don't give him enough credit. Most likely he would remember and take care of changing his clocks and watch without me prompting him.  But he has some disabilities as a result of his child abuse and I am used to checking and double checking to make sure all Kurtis' T's are crossed and his I's are dotted. Kurtis' employer would like to fire him, just because he does not work as fast as other workers. My fear is, he will f...
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Waiting to Catchup

Posted by Karen Hessen on Thursday, January 19, 2012, In : humor 

            Lately, I’ve been thinking about catchup. I don’t eat much catchup but my husband likes it on his fries. I had a college professor who lost 12 pounds in one year by giving-up catchup. I should lose some weight. If I ate catchup, I’d just give it up and watch the pounds melt away.

            Really, it is the catchup bottles that have sparked my interest. The restaurant, where we like to eat, serves catchup in those upside-down bottles. I surveyed my house. Lots of thing...


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The Belly of the Whale

Posted by Karen Hessen on Tuesday, November 15, 2011, In : devotion 

I thought you might enjoy reading this devotion I wrote recently. I shared this with my writers group where I was encouraged to change the wording to insure readers would understand the story of Jonah is "just a myth." However, Jesus, himself, told the story of Jonah during his eartly ministry which validates its truth. The Bible refers to the whale as a Behemoth and in more modern translations a big fish. Whale is a term we can visualize and are familiar with, but may not be correct. 

Jonah 1...


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Fifteenth Anniversary

Posted by Karen Hessen on Tuesday, November 8, 2011, In : Lighthouse 



Doug and I spent a couple of days at the Point No Point lighthouse in Hansville, Washington to celebrate or fifteenth anniversary. Surely there is not a more peaceful, romantic, scenic place on this continent.

We found the "Cup of Joy" in Hansville to be a delightful place to get a bite to eat. The pastries looked yummy and the panini were scrumptious. Kathy, Katrina, and Joy are a companiable and competent trio who make you feel right at home in the inviting environment. The sign above the do...
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Happy Birthday Tina

Posted by Karen Hessen on Wednesday, October 12, 2011, In : Tina 
    October 9th was Tina's birthday. She is fourteen years older than she was ever going to be. You know how kids are - they pick an age which seems ancient when they are about ten and claim they will never surpass that age. That's how Tina was. No matter how old she is she still looks about seventeen.

    Tina was nine and a half months old when her father and I adopted her. Such a beautiful baby - such a bright sensible Christian woman. I'm glad she's my daughter. ...
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Driver's License Renewal

Posted by Karen Hessen on Sunday, October 2, 2011, In : humor 
It is time to renew my driver's license. No big deal, right? Wrong!! Everything was going smoothly until it was time to pose for my new picture. They told me I had to take my glasses off. Well, I have very poor eyesight. I have to wear corrective lenses for driving. It has been that way for forty-seven years. I am getting older and change is difficult. In addition to correcting my vision, my glasses adorn my face. Do you have any idea how much I paid for these glasses? I do not wear  much mak...
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Just As I Am

Posted by Karen Hessen on Wednesday, September 21, 2011, In : writing 

Hopefully, you will find inspiration in this devotional I wrote recently.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations. Jeremiah 1:5 (NIV)

 

 

            I saw a bumper sticker the other day which stated one of my favorite Bible verses; “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you.” Jeremiah 1:5a. This verse always produces a mental picture of God working in a lab poring over my parents ...


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A Mail Carrier Remembers 9/11

Posted by Karen Hessen on Sunday, September 11, 2011, In : writing 

Remembering 9/11

by Karen R. Hessen

 

            On Tuesday morning, September 11, 2001, most of us here on the Pacific coast, left our homes before we knew America was under attack. Some of us with longer commutes heard the news on our car radios. Others, like me who lived just a few blocks from the post office, didn’t know anything was amiss in the United States until my co-workers; unusually sullen and reserved, began arriving and talking.

            In the small Forest Grove post ...


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Child Abuse at the Grand Canyon

Posted by Karen Hessen on Friday, September 9, 2011, In : child abuse 
My husband and I traveled to the Grand Canyon recently. It is impossible to stand there on the rim and not be in awe of the majesty of God's creation. It is also not possible to stand there and not face the reality of the canyon's rugged and treacherous terrain. The elements that make it lovely to look at also make it deadly to venture into. While there, I purchased a book, Over the Edge: Death in the Grand Canyon, by Michael P. Ghiglieri and Thomas M. Myers. The book goes into detail about e...
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Child Abuse and Neglect

Posted by Karen Hessen on Thursday, September 1, 2011, In : adoption, child abuse 
I received official word this week that the story I submitted to Chicken Soup for the Soul about my son Kurtis' years of hunger has been selected for their upcoming book, Chicken Soup for the Soul: Food and Love. This story tells of how Kurtis had a ravenous appetite when we adopted him because he had frequently gone without food in his young life. I titled the story, "The Way to a Boy's Stomach is Through His Heart." In the wisdom of the folks at Chicken Soup, the story has been retitiled, "...
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Child Abuse?

Posted by Karen Hessen on Tuesday, August 23, 2011, In : child abuse 
Doug and I have been vacationing. Our destination was Minneapolis, Minnesota. We were in Minneapolis to see the NY Yankees play the Minnesota Twins, but as good tourists we had to take in other sights as well. The sights included a trip to the Mall of America.

While walking through the Mall a child's screaming caught my attention. A little girl of about 4 or 5 years was being wrestled into position to have her ears pierced. The child was totally distraught, the mother totally determined. I cou...
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Consumer Alert

Posted by Karen Hessen on Monday, August 15, 2011, In : humor 
My husband has been wanting a minute timer to use in the bathroom. He rinses his mouth with some anti-plaque stuff and he is supposed to rinse for a minute. It isn't easy to find a minute timer. He didn't want a little plastic hour glass type timer. He wanted wood and brass. So the hunt was on. We finally settled on one we found online. I ordered two, one for his bathroom in each house, in time for them to be here for Father's Day. The package arrived last week. They were worth waiting for. V...
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Easy as 1-2-3

Posted by Karen Hessen on Sunday, August 7, 2011, In : humor 
I thought you would enjoy seeing a humor piece that will be published in Vista, November 6, 2011.
I enjoyed writing it. I hope you enjoy reading it.

Easy as 1-2-3

by Karen R. Hessen

             When I see a do-it-yourself project kit with “Easy as 1-2-3” boldly written across the box under the picture of the handy homemaker wearing pumps and a string of pearls as she holds the drill in both hands aimed like she is fixing to shoot the lights out of the stars, I have hope. Hope even I ca...


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Cankles, Tremors and Monkeys

Posted by Karen Hessen on Sunday, July 31, 2011, In : humor 
I like words, so when my husband came across the word "cankles" in a comic strip in the Oregonian I had to look it up. I thought maybe it would lend itself to a piece of humor writing. Cankles is the condition in which there is no tapering of the calf at the point of the body where the calf and ankle meet. Well, I'm sure people who have cankles do not think it is humorous, and like Charlie Rice, former Youth Pastor, always said, "It isn't nice to have fun at someone else's expense.

I don't ha...
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Infinitely Trees

Posted by Karen Hessen on Sunday, July 24, 2011, In : Infinitely Trees, 
I am nearly finished with the Apprentice Course offered through the Christian Writer's Guild. It has been, on some levels, challenging, but on all levels rewarding. I plan to continue on with the Journeyman course, but first I have to decide whether to concentrate on fiction or nonfiction. I am leaning towards fiction since that is what "real writers" write.

My manuscript for Infinitely Trees is coming along. It is emotionally challenging to relive some of the more painful parenting moments of...
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Books, Blogs and Berries

Posted by Karen Hessen on Saturday, July 16, 2011, In : blueberries 
This hasn't been a good trip to Seaside as far as computers go. When we arrived and hooked up my laptop and Doug;s desktop we had no internet service. Seems our modem/router bit the dust sometime during our four day absence. I can take my laptop to the library, which is where I am now. Amazing how, dependent we have become on internet access 24/7. "Qwest, soon to become Century Link" is sending us a new router. So next weekend we should be in business again. 

When I packed up and came to the l...
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Bits and Pieces

Posted by Karen Hessen on Sunday, July 10, 2011, In : writing 
The author reading scheduled for the 16th has been postponed until later this summer. Barnes and Noble had a staffing issue and asked us to change dates. As soon as a new time is arranged, I will post it on the schedule page.

I sold another humor piece to Vista. YEAH!! It is titled "Saving Daylight," and will be published in June, 2012.

The weather has been gorgeous at the beach. Each weekend we say "this is the best ever." This is the best ever.
Wish you were here.




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The Berry Best

Posted by Karen Hessen on Friday, July 1, 2011, In : Strawberry 
    I'm a CA. According to a fellow US Postal Service retiree, I am a "Dad Burned CA." A "CA" is a Californian. A "Dad Burned CA" is a Californian who has moved to Oregon, taken all the best jobs, bought all the best houses, and married all the best (in my case) men. Okay, so I am guilty of all those things, but if an Oregonian had beat me to it, the jobs, houses and men would have been taken before I arrived. 
    I didn't intend to come to Oregon. I got  here by default. For years after arri...
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Reading and Writing

Posted by Karen Hessen on Sunday, June 26, 2011, In : writing 



This is a picture of our "little cabin in the woods," which is not in the woods at all, but in Seaside, Oregon. It didn't look anything like this twelve years ago when we bought it. If it had we wouldn't have been able to afford it. It was a true "fixer-upper." Now that we are retired, we spend half of our time here, logging three and a half days each in Seaside and Forest Grove. The weather in Seaside this weekend has been absolutely perfect. Beachy!!

Check out my updated schedule on the "sch...
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Child Abuse

Posted by Karen Hessen on Saturday, June 18, 2011, In : adoption, child abuse 
Does anybody still doubt the size of the child abuse issue?

The headlines this week have been full of child abuse stories. There is the Casey Anthony trial. And the woman who is charged with killing the daughter of her boyfriend. These innocent children were killed. How many more stories do not make it to the headlines?

How many children were abused last week who will carry physical and emotional scars the rest of their lives? 

If it takes a village to raise a child what does it take to protect...
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Forgiveness

Posted by Karen Hessen on Sunday, June 12, 2011, In : writing 

I thought you might enjoy reading the devotional I wrote that is published in the current, Summer 2011, Secret Place.
I hope you find it inspirational. The revelation that led up to my writing it has changed my life.  Blessings, Karen


Matthew 6:9-15 (NRSV)                                                                                                 Forgiven

 

THOUGHT FOR TODAY:  “But if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”  Matthew 6:15 (NRSV)

...


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Clamming

Posted by Karen Hessen on Sunday, June 5, 2011, In : razor clams 

This picture is our Boston Terrier "Gracie." She loves to hide under the covers of our bed. Many times the only way we know she is there is by hearing her snore. 

We are spending this weekend in Seaside, Oregon. We went out clamming this morning, too early for retired people to be out and about. But we joined the crowds of several hundred clammers out on the beach. It was not a good day for clamming. The little bivalves were keeping a low profile today. I got a clam in the first hole I dug. Th...
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May Flowers

Posted by Karen Hessen on Friday, May 27, 2011, In : Spring 


Isn't this gorgeous? A field of red clover near our home.

I look forward to this every spring. The area we live in grows crops for seed. Red clover is one of those crops and undoubtedly the most gorgeous. 

The big May birthday event is over for our family. Doug is busy trying out all of his new gismos and gadgets. 

I have had a devotional published in the Secret Place, Summer, 2011 edition. You can pick up a Secret Place at any American Baptist or First Christian (Disciples of Christ) Church.

Tin...
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A Busy Week

Posted by Karen Hessen on Wednesday, May 18, 2011, In : writing 



This is a very dark picture of my sister, Amy, my aunt, Francie, and I enjoying lunch at Claim Jumpers a couple of weeks ago. My aunt was visiting her grandson and family in Portland. Amy and I then drove Francie to Susanville, CA where she finished her vacation with her son and another grandson's family. We had a wonderful visit.

I found out this week that I sold one of my favorite pieces of writing, "A Match Made in Mud," to Lemonade Books. The book will be published and available in Septemb...


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Good News!

Posted by Karen Hessen on Thursday, May 12, 2011, In : Kurtis 


Kurtis, Doug and I spent Mother's Day with Doug's mom, Louise. She will be 92 in a couple of weeks.

I think this picture of Kurtis is a good one. He is quite handsome, and that is not just a mom talking. For the first time, I am seeing Kurtis at his actual age, 35. I don't know why I have never seen him like that before. He has always been about 19 in my eyes.

The physiatrist thinks Kurtis may have a tiny amount of movement in his frozen left ankle now. Kurtis has been diligent about exercisin...
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Mother's Day Wishes for Bio Moms

Posted by Karen Hessen on Friday, May 6, 2011, In : Adoption 


Isn't this flowering cherry tree in our yard beautiful? The tree is over 50 years old and never disappoints us with its beauty.

It is nearly Mother's Day. This is the time of year when I think the most about the biological mothers of my children. Tina's mother passed away a few years ago from breast cancer. Tina had spoken to her on the phone and has met some of her bio mom's siblings. Kurtis' mom still lives in Oklahoma to the best of my knowledge.

I can not help but wonder what goes through ...


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Easter Musings - Discipline

Posted by Karen Hessen on Wednesday, April 27, 2011, In : Easter 
Well, Doug and I totally missed Easter this year. We both had some viral thing which, for Doug, became pneumonia. We are blessed to have family that entertained our adult children fron Grant's Pass and made sure Easter happened without us.

This was not my worst Easter. 19 years ago on Easter, my then husband asked for a divorce. It's hard to top something like that.

I was telling a story yesterday about a problem we had with door slamming when the children were young. The listener to my story ...
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Child Abuse

Posted by Karen Hessen on Tuesday, April 19, 2011, In : adoption, child abuse 
    April is child abuse prevention month. "

    What can I do?" you ask;

    First of all, acknowledge that child abuse is a huge problem. It happens in every school, every church, every town, every neighborhood and likely, in every family. It happened in my family in the early 1970's. A niece had a child out of wedlock. She wanted to give the child to us for adoption but her parents said "No grandchild of theirs would be put up for adoption." She felt she had no option and kept the baby. When...
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Spring

Posted by Karen Hessen on Saturday, April 9, 2011, In : Spring 
It is finally Spring in Oregon. Yesterday was gorgeous and today is very nice. We are in Seaside today and the town is full of people enjoying the first nice Saturday we have had in months. 

I don't know about your neighborhood, but where I live, war has been declared. The annual battle against the dandelion. It is a love-hate thing with people and dandelions. When I was a mail carrier, there was one customer whose yard was nothing but dandelions. Do not as much as set one toe on her "dandelaw...
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A Good Read

Posted by Karen Hessen on Sunday, April 3, 2011, In : reading 
I just finished reading Journey to Riverbend by Henry McLaughlin. What a great book! Good job Henry!

Journey to Riverbend is a little bit romance and a lot western but every bit enjoyable. Henry Mclaughlin was the winner of the 2009 Christian Writers Guild First Novel Competition with Journey to Riverbend. An honor well bestowed.

Sorry, I can't lend you my copy. It's autographed. Pick up a copy for yourself. You won't be sorry. Published by Tyndale.
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Update!

Posted by Karen Hessen on Wednesday, March 23, 2011, In : Kurtis 
I have been working diligently on the manuscript for Infinitely Trees. It is coming along.

I took Kurtis to the podiatrist last week for an evaluation of the pain he has been having in his foot. The doctor referred us to physiatry for additional tests but thinks Kurtis may be in for more surgery. (This is the foot disabled because of child abuse.) My goal for the immediate future is to keep Kurtis working. He loves his job and does not want to lose it or be unable to do it. It took him nine ye...
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St. Patrick's Day

Posted by Karen Hessen on Thursday, March 17, 2011, In : writing 

I thought  you might enjoy seeing this photo taken of me reading at Lend an Ear last Saturday. I was reading the children's story, The Tail of Scrappy Doo.  This was my first attempt at writing a children's story.  Scrappy Doo is fiction but is based on a toy dog Tina had as a child. Scrappy Doo was a very special toy and we're sorry that he got lost over time.

I have my corned beef and cabbage cooking in the Crock Pot. We will wake up to the seductive Irish aroma tomorrow morning. This is the...


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Infinitely Trees

Posted by Karen Hessen on Friday, March 11, 2011, In : Infinitely Trees, 
I have been working on the book proposal for Infinitely Trees. Finally, It is finished and emailed to the potential publisher. Now two months of nailbiting while I wait to hear.

My uncle, Sid, passed away in San Diego over the weekend. My sister and I had a wonderful visit with him in September. His death was not a surprize but it still leaves a hole in my heart. Sid was a Christian and I know that he is waiting by the gate for his loved ones. Our pastor often says that this life here on earth...
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Lend an Ear, Come and Hear

Posted by Karen Hessen on Friday, March 4, 2011, In : writing 
I'm excited about reading at the "Lend an Ear, Come and Hear" event on Saturday, March 12.

For this family friendly event, sponsored by Writers in the Grove, I have written a children's story, "The Tail of Scrappy Doo."  This is my first children's piece. I am pleased that the jury accepted it for inclusion in the program. 

When my daughter, Tina, was a young child and her father and I were having a tough time financially, I made her a stuffed dog named Scrappy Doo. Scrappy Doo became her favor...
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Hungry Children

Posted by Karen Hessen on Friday, February 25, 2011, In : adoption, child abuse 
I was writing an article the other day about food and I was reminded of how Kurtis ate when we first adopted him. 

Kurtis had been hungry and was never sure if he would have another meal or when he would have it, so he ate. And he ate!
And he ate! It didn't matter what I cooked he ate it with enthusiasm. It was pretty sad to see him drag along the table with his withered leg and pick crumbs up, popping them in his mouth like delicacies. 

This ravenous appetite lasted for a several months before...
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Bird's Nest Treat

Posted by Karen Hessen on Tuesday, February 22, 2011, In : Tina 



 I found a candy bar in a bird's nest this morning. And you ask, "how did it get there?"
 
My daughter, Tina, knows I have a craving for Cup O' Gold candy bars. They are a little hard to find but they are available at our local Fred Meyer stores here in Oregon. When she comes to visit she brings a stash of Cup O' Golds and hides them around the house before she leaves. The bird's nest is behind glass in an antique lawyer's book case in our living room. She is very cleaver. Last time she was her...


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Happy Birthday, Kurtis!

Posted by Karen Hessen on Friday, February 18, 2011, In : adoption, child abuse 
Kurtis turned 35 on February 17th. He is not exactly the same kid I adopted in 1978. At that time he was the most severly abused child to survive in the United States. Today he works at Jennings McCall residential facility in Forest Grove. He is as lovely on the inside as he is handsome on the outside. That's mom talk.
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Kurtis' Birthday

Posted by Karen Hessen on Friday, February 18, 2011, In : adoption, child abuse 
Kurtis and his Aunt Patty at Nonna Emilias Ristorante in Aloha, Oregon.
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Writing for the Soul

Posted by Karen Hessen on Wednesday, February 16, 2011, In : adoption, child abuse 
I recently returned from Denver, where I attended the Writing for the Soul conference. I have truly been spiritually fed.

In addition to my article wiritng and the incidentals I write from time to time, I have been working on a book titled, Infinitely Trees. Infinitely Trees is the story of my son Kurtis, who at the time of his adoption was the most severely abused child to survive in the United States. It is also the story of how God works in our lives to bring us hope, courage and forgivenes...

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