Entertaining Angels Unaware?
By Kay Walburger



Angels are known to appear in various shapes and disguises!  So it is with Karen Carter, a real ‘Earth Angel.’  Before I met her, another elderly friend kept singing her praises and telling me how amazing she is. One day I met Karen for myself and my life has been blessed many times over just to know her and her many acts of kindheartedness!

The Angel Issue of Awareness is one of my favorites. I love to write about “Angels” and was looking for a good story to share. Suddenly I saw Karen telling me of some ‘loving kindness’ (my words, not hers) she had done for elders in a nursing home where she takes ‘communion’ to patients every Friday morning, and I saw my real live ‘Earth Angel’ right be-fore my eyes! She is an Angel disguised as my friend.

It is interesting how often we are surrounded by our ‘Angels,’ but do not recognize them because of the disguises they wear. Karen is known for spreading Love, Kindness, and Compassion everywhere she goes! Her daughter Tracy told me she has seen her mother travel many places, meet someone and make a new life-long friend.

What is it that makes Karen so extra special? We all have love and kindness in us. Some show it more than others but Karen show hers all the time. It’s ‘Second Nature’ to her, and while she is sweet she is also ‘mischievous and playful.’ No one loves jokes or cartoons more than she.

For years she discovered that my husband loved puzzles and cartoons, so she would save up a batch from her newspaper and send them to him by mail. He loved her thoughtfulness and when he was very ill in the hospital, she sent him get-well cards filled with puzzles and cartoons to cheer him up!  

There was our ‘Earth Angel’ reaching out with amazing cheerfulness in his darkest time and reminding him of the power of Love in our lives to comfort us and give us the strength to bear up for what is before us.

After my husband passed, I found Karen’s cards and letters filled with cartoons in his memorabilia box where he kept his treasures like a child keeps a security blanket near by.

Karen is the middle child of seven because her twin brother was born two minutes before she was. She had five sisters and they are remarkably close to this very day! Each year they get together for travel adventures and have an outrageous time being silly and playing games!  

The whole family was unusually close from the very start of family life and Karen believes that her mother and father set the tone and taught appreciation and acceptance for each individual member. They played together, worked together, and prayed together every evening.

The family lived on a farm for a good part of Karen’s life and she loved to be in ‘Nature’ and out of the house as much as possible. Karen liked to play and explore wild places around her family home. Her youngest sister Nancy had Down Syndrome, and while she was more work for mother, Karen and her siblings loved to play with Nancy because she was so sweet and fun loving.

She loved to laugh and Karen adored making her giggle and clap her hands with pure childish glee, and that made everyone’s heart sing with joyfulness!  Nancy got so much love and positive attention that she lived much longer then expected. Now all the sisters and brother refer to Nancy as their Angel in Heaven and feel blessed by her loving presence at many very unexpected times.

From early childhood, Karen was a helper. From age 7-10 she helped her aunt and uncle. At age 12 she started working in a grocery store and later a local café to save money for college, one of the few in her area to do so.

After her own four children grew up, she began care-taking for the elderly. For the last twenty years she has helped a dozen or more elderly people live a quality of life that made them feel appreciated, loved and joyful! Some as they get older become ‘grumpy’ and most often even family members don’t want to care for them.

Karen took on the ones no one else wanted and brought out the best in them! She brought roses from her garden. Told them jokes or played games with them that they loved!  Best of all she listened to them and marveled at their life stories!  Their last days on earth were happy because they had a real loving and caring ‘Earth Angel’ in Karen!

“It is wonderful that you see Karen as I do. Our friendship started back in the 60’s when we were unmarried girls and just moved from Iowa to California working for the same company. I have always felt that one of my biggest blessings was our friendship and it is as strong today as the first day we met. In all the years I have known Karen I have also enjoyed her own most wonderful and close family. I have never heard a cross word between her children as they all practice their deep faith in their church.

Love and respect abounds and has been the anchor in her marriage to her soul mate. Karen is also married to a man who does angel work. Whenever possible they go down to Mexico and help build homes for the homeless with their church. They celebrate giving in the true Christian way. Karen is always there for you and angel work is her favorite job. God leads her and she is there for Him. I can see it and if you look, you can see it too.”

“I have known Karen for over 20 years and have never known a sweeter person. I’ve never heard a bad word from her, only kind and friendly words. Always first to help and lend a hand no matter what comes up. I always feel good around her, even when things are going bad for me. She is and will always be my beloved friend.”  
— Mike

“Words cannot describe what a wonderful person she is.”
— Coach Woods

It is amazing how ‘Small’ and “Random Acts of Kindness & Senseless Beauty” add up into a lifetime of Service to Humankind!  I wonder how many times she has heard, “Oh, Karen, you are an angel!”

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