Lost

Kesleigh and DadSurrounded by strangers, my mind raced. . . .she’s not here? My heart sank. I went into denial. She has to be here. There’s nowhere else she can be. My heart sank deeper. No. It can’t be. No! No. No. No. My baby is missing. The tears started rolling down my face as I slammed my face into my hands.

My extended family (brother, sister, in-laws, nephews, nieces) was skiing in Angelfire, New Mexico and Kesleigh (6yrs old) was a brand new skier. We all started at the top of the mountain together and headed down a run we had done together multiple times that day. My son Kasen had a little spill and so I stopped to help him and allowed my daughter, Kesleigh to continue down the slope with our group. After getting Kasen settled, we raced toward the rest of our group and caught up with my brother about 1/3rd of the way down. He pointed Kesleigh out to me quite a ways down so I sped up and headed in her direction flying past lots of other skiers. I could see her with my sister as she turned a corner. When I made it to the turn, I saw my sister helping her son get up but didn’t see Kesleigh anywhere. She told me that she must have followed the others on down to the ski lift. There was only one ski lift at the bottom of that hill and she had been skiing with our group all morning long so I felt pretty good about meeting her at the bottom, but raced down to catch her anyway.

That’s when my mind started racing and my heart sank. She wasn’t there. Where could she have gone? What could have happened? Maybe it’s irrational, but I imagined some crazy abduction case or that maybe she had not made it down the mountain and was stuck hanging over the edge of some cliff. Why did I leave her? How could I have let her go on without me? Why? OK…….OK….Calm down. What should I do? OK – be smart. Alright. I asked my family to head up the lift looking for her and then to make another run down sweeping the area in search while I waited at the bottom in case she came down in the meantime. Waiting. . . . Oh, this can’t be. What kind of father are you? Is she alone? Please God. Keep her safe. Bring her back to us. Time moved so slowly. Please God. If I can’t be with her, please put someone else with her to help. My phone started ringing. My sister. She said they had seen Kesleigh from the lift and that she would come over the hill at any moment where would be able to see her. Thank you God. Thank you God. Thank you God. Oh. . . . there she is. As she approached, I could see her whole body quivering from her cry. She skied right into my arms and held her quivering dad who couldn’t control his own crying.

Evidently, she had crashed near my sister in between some trees where no one could see her. By God’s grace, and as an answer to prayer, another skier just “happened” to stop a few feet away from her and heard her crying. She helped Kesleigh out of the trees and got her back on her skis. After waiting a few minutes for someone to come looking for her, they decided that we must be waiting at the bottom. She told me that she knew she’d find some very worried parent at the lift. She was right. I couldn’t thank her enough and have prayed for God to bless she and her family many times since that day. She was an answer to prayer.

After the whole incident, Kesleigh and I talked about it and she forgave me for not being there. She also learned that God is watching over us and helping us even when no one else is. God never leaves us or forsakes us. Even when we are alone, we are NOT alone.

Thank God.

Legacy

Me and grandma 1983
Me and grandma 1983

My grandma died last year at the age of 97 and she never snow skiied. She traveled all over the country and did all kinds of things, but she never went on a ski trip. Well…….. maybe she did……. just last week. She was there. I saw her almost everywhere I looked. When I broke open mom’s haystack candy, I saw grandma nibbling on one of her own. When the kids had a snowball fight, I saw grandma throwing one off the deck at me accompanied by her laugh and smile which both hit me harder than her snowball. When we played board games at the table, I watched her nimble hands slide the exact card into place to win the game. One morning

There's that smile I saw last week. 1982
There’s that smile I saw last week. 1982

we had cinnamon rolls and they got burned because ovens cook differently in high altitudes, but I couldn’t help but see grandma’s cinnamon rolls sitting on that countertop. When I looked around the room at all my family, grandma’s influence was evident. She didn’t put up with arguing, and you know what? I don’t think we had any. We learned that from her. She loved spending time with family and so do all of us. She laughed often and it just hung in the room there like it was a permanent fixture.

 

 

When grandma’s estate was divided, my mom used some of her portion to take us on this trip. There were 17 of us: Mom, Me, Miranda, Kasen, Kesleigh, Roger, Kathy, Tyler, Betsy, Tucker, Tanner, Brenda, Schonn, Brianna, Ethan, Jaycee, and Tristian.

Grandma took all of us skiing…………. but we also took her. And we will take her everywhere we go.

Grandma left some things behind for us, but the most important things aren’t things at all. She left her mark on us. We have her in us. We became at least partly who she influenced us to become. Influence – that’s grandma’s greatest gift and the greatest inheritance anyone can leave for their loved ones. Love you Grandma! Miss you!

Thank you Mom for passing this precious gift along to us. Love you.

Here are a few pics. If you want more, check out facebook, shutterfly, or google+ sm - 01sm - 02IMG_1448IMG_1425 (3)

Family Update & Videos

Here are some fun things to tell you about:
I got up to go to the bathroom the other day and when I returned, this is what I found. Isn’t she the cutest thing you’ve ever seen?

Kesleigh loves Kleenex from Steve Corn on Vimeo.


Kasen has been watchin’ the Olympics this past week and when he heard his cousins were skiing this weekend, he decided to go skiing too. Here’s what resulted:

Kasen Skiing from Steve Corn on Vimeo.


The other BIG News is that Kasen pooped in the potty today for the very first time. We rewarded him with a “Big Sucker” and he chose the Mickey Mouse Sucker. Here’s a pic of his poo poo (long pause) . . . . reward:


For those of you who are still reading and who want to know some of the deeper things going on with us, I thought I’d update you on a few things too:

1.) I have officially become unemployed. Sundays are strange. We have visited a few churches and will continue to do so until we find the place that’s right for us. Neither Miranda nor I has ever chosen a church to be involved in. We’ve always been chosen by the church and welcomed with more than open arms. Now, we’re not staff people. Now, we experience what everybody else in the world experiences when they walk into a church. There’s something kinda fun about it though too. It’s nice to be in a worship service without feeling like you had to be “on” or be weary of the neverending saga of politics which surround church staff people each week.

2.) I am currently in the midst of an alternative certification program for teachers. This week I passed the 4-8th Generalist content exam which makes me eligible to get a teaching job. I’m able to teach anything 4-8th grade. The exam was much more difficult than I had imagined, but I ended up scoring well. 282 out of 300 and the passing grade was only 240. I’m excited about the possibility of teaching. My favorite parts of youth ministry have always been the times with students and this way I’ll be able to be with them every day of the week. I’m also excited about having a schedule similar to my kids as they grow older and having Sundays off so that we can be involved wherever we’d like. We’re prayin’ that I can get a teaching job before the end of this school year – preferably close to home too.


No Room at the Inn & Pentecost

A few years ago (before I was married & had kids), the Corn family decided to go on a ski trip during the Christmas holidays. We had planned to drive to Colorado from my mom’s house near Ft Worth, TX. The weather in west Texas didn’t look good, but we decided to brave it anyway. Ski trips are a pretty high priority among the Corn’s. Anyway, as we drove through west Texas, ice began forming on the roads and we started seeing more and more cars that had spun out and were in the ditches. When we reached Quanah, TX they closed the road
Quanah 2ahead of us. The road home was also closed so we were stuck in Quanah. Not only that, but there were so many other people stranded, that there were no hotel rooms left in the whole city. It was Christmas and we were stuck in a town where there was no room at the inn. A gas station attendant suggested that we check with the First Baptist Church of Quanah. WE followed his directions (just a couple of blocks) and discovered that they were receiving people. Many other travelers were there. The church people hosted us well. They had a few tables full of homemade food and Christmas goodies and offered to let us sleep in their gym using blankets which many of their members had brought from home. The other refugees were from all over the place, but most were on their way to some family get together. Some had their pets with them. In the end, the Christmas story came to life for us that year. There was no room at the inn so we slept with the animals.

Now, what’s all that got to do with Pentecost? I think my experience that year might have been similar to what the disciples felt the day we know and celebrate as Pentecost. Here’s what I mean: Pentecost had always been a celebration of the time that God had given the Law to Moses. He spoke to Israel that day. 50 days after the crossing of the Red Sea. According to Exodus 19:16, God descended on the mountain with fire/lightning and with “voices” (the Hebrew word translated “thunder” is more accurately translated “voices”) Each year, the Israelites celebrated Pentecost, remembered God’s intervention, and rededicated themselves to the study and practice of His word.

Now, let’s jump forward to the New Testament. The disciples were celebrating Pentecost and would have read the Exodus passages recalling the original events of Pentecost. It was 50 days after Jesus’ resurrection. The Holy Spirit descends upon them like fire and they begin to speak in tongues. Sounds a lot like the lightning and voices in Exodus to me. Make no mistake that these Godly men, saw the similarities too. Like me as I snuggled into that blanket in that gym with the animals, I’m sure they felt like they were experiencing something amazing – something that meant more than the surface experience. There was something going on much deeper. Check out this little table:

Pentecost

The Christian church celebrates Pentecost each year as the birth of the church and the time when the Holy Spirit was given. But I wonder if we are missing out on the rich history of it all? Like the Jews, maybe we should also use this time to thank God for His word. We even have more to be grateful for since it’s been written on our hearts by the Holy Spirit. Maybe we could celebrate and appreciate the Scriptures by studying more intently or with a focused time of applying them to our lives? If the original holiday was centered around God’s word, why isn’t our celebration of it?

The Israelites celebrated Pentecost by remembering God’s intervention with His Word, and rededicated themselves to the study and practice of it. We would be wise to do likewise with the addition of celebrating the birth of the church and the giving of the Holy Spirit. Somehow we got turned around – today, most churches only celebrate these “additional” blessings. I’m just trying to say that the original gift (His Word) is still worth celebrating too.

5 Life-Changing Experiences – Peace

Philippians 4:7 says that the peace of God transcends all understanding. I don’t understand it either, but I’ve experienced it. First of all, you should know that the Hebrew/Jewish understanding of this word “Peace” ultimately comes from their understanding of the word “Shalom.” It was a word used as a greeting, but it was so much more than “hello.” (Shout out to my “Cardinal Rise” friends – they wrote a song called “more than hello”). Anyway, “Shalom” was not just “peace.” It was all-encompassing. It was like saying “God be with you!” – May God Himself, in all His glory, shadow your every move granting you His favor and blessing throughout your life. “Peace” was huge!! It was a colossal concept of walking in the constant blessing and favor of God.

OK – on with the story. Sept 11 was normally a happy day for me. Sept 11 is my birthday!! But Sept 11, 1996 was different. (So was 2001) That day I received a call from my mom wishing me a Happy Birthday, but there was another message too. She also said that my dad had been diagnosed with leukemia. I didn’t really know what that meant, but I knew it wasn’t good. I soon discovered that it was the most aggressive type of leukemia and that dad would be going through radiation and chemotherapy. They weren’t sure how long they could deter the disease. That year was strange. I lived 5 hours away but got to see him quite a few times. He was always the same dad I had always known except he didn’t have quite as much hair. Although I know he had his down times, he had a great attitude about it around me. He even wore a baseball cap with dreadlocks hanging out when he’d go the the hospital. Mom said the nurses always laughed.

Aspen Ski Trip - Dec '96
Aspen Ski Trip - Dec '96

The doctors arranged for dad to be on an uphill swing during Christmas break so we could take a ski trip together. We had a great time – like normal – but not so normal either. There was always something sort of hanging in the air. It seemed harder to breathe during those days – not just for dad, but for all of us. In June of 1997, my sister and I were with a bunch of youth on a houseboat in the middle of Lake Texoma, when the boat rental people radioed to us with the message to call mom. Dad was on his deathbed. We immediately drove to the hospital in Ft Worth.

When we arrived, dad was on the breathing machine. He had contracted pneumonia and they couldn’t treat it because his body was so weak. They had also given him medications to paralyze him so his body wouldn’t fight the breathing machine. We wouldn’t be able to communicate. . . well. . .we could talk, but he wouldn’t be able to respond. Over the next 3-4 days (It’s a blur – I don’t know how many it actually was. Some of my facts may be wrong, but this is how I remember it.) we took turns going in and out of his room – telling him the things we should have said long before or just sitting with him in silence. I spent lots of time in the hospital chapel. There were lots of tears, little sleep, phone calls from friends, and something else. Something surprising. It was peace. What?!?!? at a time like this??? Peace? Yes. . . .peace. Peace that passes understanding. I cannot describe it. I only know I experienced it. . . . well, I experienced Him. Jesus was with us – in the midst of the tears, the sadness and grief, Jesus was present.

One of the last pics of dad. Taken on Father's Day June 20, 1997. He died about 2 weeks later.
One of the last pics of dad. Taken on Father's Day June 20, 1997. He died about 2 weeks later.

Eventually the doctors came and said the time had come to turn the machine off. It would be his one last chance to fight and breathe on his own – a chance to live. I can still picture the scene so clearly (and it’s been 12 years). I stood at his side and held his right hand. I told him that I loved him and that this world had not treated him well. (There’s another long story there.) I told him that he should go and be with Jesus ’cause this world was just not worth coming back to. I said goodbye. And. . . . something I never expected. . .dad squeezed my hand. Overpowering the paralyzing medication, he squeezed. He heard me! He knew what I had said! He loved me back! He agreed! Dad was still with us. . . . moments later . . .

Today, he is still with me. As I father my children, I do so by the examples I learned from him. As I love my bride, I do so in ways that resemble his ways. My dad was my Indian Guide leader, my little league coach, the parent who yelled the loudest at the swim meets. He took us on vacations and spent hours teaching us how to play sports, how to build things, or just simply playing with us. He loved us by being with us. I want to be that kind of dad. One who will truly invest in the lives of his family.

The words “Rest in Peace” resonate within me in new ways today. Dad has found ultimate “shalom” – I hope to follow his example. I hope to find it too.

5 Life-Changing Experiences – White Out

Me, Roger, and Brenda in front of the "chili wagon" - first day of school 1980
Me, Roger, and Brenda in front of the "chili wagon" - first day of school 1980

My first memory of God was truly dramatic!

My family had been skiing in Colorado and were traveling through New Mexico on our way home to Corpus Christi, when a snow storm came upon us. A “white out” is the term used when there’s is so much snow falling that visibility disappears. I was about 11-12 years old and had been laying in the back of the station wagon. (We called it the chili wagon.) Anyway, my parents thought my brother and I were sleeping back there. I think he was. . . but I was wide awake. I remember hearing my parents argue. Mom wanted dad to stop ’cause he couldn’t see the road and we could drive off a cliff. Dad was scared to stop for fear of being covered in the snow and freezing. I was young, but I was old enough to know we were in danger. Old enough to know to be scared. Old enough to realize that my parents were helpless and scared themselves.

I prayed. Dad kept pushing ahead slowly looking desperately for a place to stop, but we couldn’t see anything. We could have been within a few feet of a hotel or rest stop, and never seen it. It wasn’t too long before someone drove up behind us (we could make out the headlights) so dad stopped and a man came to knock on dad’s window. We heard the knock before we saw him. He was a local pastor on an indian reservation and was offering us a place to stay – there was an extra house on the reservation. We were saved! and it wasn’t my parents skills, resources, or abilities that did it. It was an act of God and God alone.

It’s the first time I remember experiencing God. Of course it wasn’t the first time God intervened in my life, but it was the first time I recognized it. As a result of this experience, at 11-12 years old, I began to understand His power, His love, and knew that He cared for me and my family. I also recognized that God used another man to do His work. These initial revelations/experiences laid the ground work for the day I would give my life to Him and for my life. Because He loved me first (expressed in this experience) I eventually began to love Him too and today I hope to serve Him with the rest of my life.

I thank God for snow, white outs, indian reservations, pastors, the chili wagon, ski trips, New Mexico, and my parents and family.

PS – If you want to read more about this experience check out the other blog I wrote a few years ago. My First Memory of God

A Brother from another Mother

StevedanielI have a new brother. Daniel Johnson has been volunteering with the youth ministry and went on our ski trip with us a few weeks ago. He is a teacher and coach by profession and so we have quite a bit in common in regards to working with students. He has been a great help in the youth programs and I realized on the ski trip how much it means to have another brother to come alongside me in shouldering this youth ministry. He’s also really good for me. As I watch the way he lives his life, I’m challenged to be more disciplined. (especially when it comes to my health and finances) Anyway, I just wanted to go on record saying that Daniel is my brother and I’m glad to have him around.

PS – Don’t you just love my “old-school 80s” ski jacket? And the way Daniel’s lift ticket (at first glance) makes it look like his fly is down?