Friday Tidings

CP Blogs do not necessarily reflect the views of The Christian Post. Opinions expressed are solely those of the author(s).

Posted 6/21/17 at 3:10 PM | Karen Kramer

For the Love of Atheists

The mid-day crowds at the ferry terminal were sparse because the next boat wouldn’t arrive for a while.

Without anyone to engage, I watched a young woman take her protest sign, prop it up against a bench, and sit down in the shade.

One side of the sign stated in bold letters Seattle Atheists. The flipside read: Religion Causes War.

Since I was waiting for the ferry, I decided to sit in the shade with her and ask what she meant.

She was happy to talk and declared emphatically, “People are brainwashed by religion. Look at how many have been killed because of it.”

“Do you think atheism is the answer?” I asked respectfully.

“Look, people kill those that don’t follow their religion. You see it ALL the time.” She spoke loudly, although no one was close enough to hear. FULL POST

Posted 6/15/17 at 12:31 PM | Karen Kramer

The Father You Can Be

The card arrived in the mail the day before Father’s Day.

Hallmark’s eloquent words would have been enough sentiment, but Dad’s handwritten words of encouragement to his son-in-law on his first Father’s Day, made me swallow back my tears.

Without fail, those cards came each year until my Dad passed on.

Being a good father was something my dad learned the hard way. Today, divorce and single-parenting are common, but in 1937, not so much.

As a young boy, Dad moved from everything he knew in sunny Chico, California—with its paved, tree-lined streets to a dusty farm in Eastern Washington.

He wouldn’t see his father again for 15 years. When his mom remarried, his step-father became the only dad he’d have—an honest, hard-working man. FULL POST

Posted 6/7/17 at 11:42 AM | Karen Kramer

Three Words I had to Learn

“Why do you think I wasn’t selected?” I had slid into his classroom after school because I knew this teacher was brutally honest.

“Not everyone likes you.” He was referring to the faculty selection committee.

My approval addiction was rearing its ugly head.

He went on, “You know how to succeed, but you haven’t learned about failure. Better learn it now or life will teach you.”

He was right.

Just over a year later, I listened to the keynote speaker at my high school graduation....a prosperous businessman. He congratulated us for our hard work and said we’d be successful if we continued to work hard.

Yes! I knew how to work hard. Success would be mine.

Went to college, worked hard. Found my best friend, Tom.

When I turned 21, I married him. Success assured.

And then my high school teacher’s predictions happened. FULL POST

Posted 6/1/17 at 12:24 PM | Karen Kramer

Desperate and Determined

Looking over my shoulder into the shadows I sensed someone was there. There had to be somewhere safe to hide.

Someone was following me; I ran swiftly ahead in the dark.

Coming around the side of a building I saw a couple kids huddled together under an eave. An older woman watched over them—they reminded me of chicks tucked safely next to a mother hen—but the woman glared at me with suspicion.

Who could blame her when it was so dark. I tried to squeeze in next to them. She hissed like a cat. I looked at her and then back towards the unknown assailant lurking out there.

My eyes pleaded with her to let me stay. Her hand moved swiftly, and a knife was thrust close to my face. I jumped back and started running.

Looking back, I saw there wasn’t one assailant, but two. My feet sounded loud on the pavement as I ran. The alley was so dark I thought maybe I could hide. FULL POST

Posted 5/24/17 at 12:22 PM | Karen Kramer

Gold Star Love

Several years ago, I read about Betsy Schultz in the local newspaper. Her son, Captain Joseph Schultz, died on Memorial Day 2011—killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan.

Even before Joseph’s burial in Arlington Cemetery, Betsy began working on an idea to convert her large Tudor-styled bed and breakfast into a respite home for grieving Gold Star families.

Losing her only child left her with unimaginable sorrow, but not without purpose. To meet Betsy is to be introduced to inspiration. Even though her son made the ultimate sacrifice for his country, as a Gold Star Mom, Betsy now dedicates her life comforting other Gold Star families.

Over the past few years I’ve watched hundreds of volunteers and thousands of donated dollars come in to renovate this century-old home. Many of the volunteers are war veterans themselves.

Fundraising efforts stretch across our country—just as the loss for Gold Star Families does. Betsy’s heart knows the deepest of pains. But after spending just a few minutes with her you’ll feel her spirit of compassion. FULL POST

Posted 5/18/17 at 1:38 PM | Karen Kramer

Her Royal Highness, Mt. St. Helens

National Geographic

At age 13 I announced I wanted to be a mountain climber. My parents probably thought it was a phase, but signed me up for a mountaineering course.

My instructor, Glenn, was a retired Air Force colonel and a legend in the eyes of climbing community—he’d been caught in an avalanche and lived to make it an instructional lesson.

Besides climbing techniques, we tackled rigorous physical conditioning—running up steep hills.

I wanted to climb Mt. Rainier. Glenn shook his head no. Our first big climb would be what he affectionately called The Queen: Mt. St. Helens.

At nearly 10,000 feet, it had plenty of challenge with jagged rocks, dangerous crevasses, and ice shelves that could become an avalanche.

At 4:30 AM on a crisp February morn, with headlamps beaming, we began our ascent. FULL POST

Posted 5/10/17 at 2:11 PM | Karen Kramer

Mom Malpractice

When I became a mother, Mom told me my life would never be my own again. She was right, and it has been a most amazing, life-changing journey.

And the lessons I’d learn….

It was one of those long nights with a sick child. By the time my 16-month-old daughter finally went to sleep, I collapsed in bed exhausted.

But I’d inadvertently left the cap off a nearly empty bottle of children’s chewable Tylenol pills.

As fate would have it, this was also the night my child learned how to climb out of her crib.

Not quite satisfied with that jail break, she toddled into the kitchen, spied the bottle of Tylenol on the counter, pushed a chair over and climbed up.

She woke me a few minutes later babbling about an empty bottle. A frantic call to the poison control center followed. FULL POST

Posted 5/4/17 at 11:02 AM | Karen Kramer

For the Love of the Future

Pinterest Ivan Welton Fitzwater

After a few weeks in the classroom, Anne knows which kids are struggling.

Sometimes its money.

She has a ready supply of pens, paper, & binders to give away.

Kids come to school ill-equipped for cold weather. She hits the secondhand stores for an assortment of warm sweaters, coats, and boots.

And before the high school’s spring dance, she’s scanning consignment racks for cute prom dresses and guy’s dress shirts. Her students won’t be left out because they didn’t have anything to wear.

Some students need more time than a class period. So, Anne keeps her door open so students have a place to go after school. Sometimes she’ll even ask a student to stay after school.

It’s more than just homework catch-up, it’s because she cares about their future. She knows that school is their ticket to a hopeful future. FULL POST

Posted 4/27/17 at 1:03 PM | Karen Kramer

More Years = More Stories

I loved playing tennis as a teenager. When I was learning how, my dad and I practiced on a dilapidated court next to the town’s nearly abandoned airport. No one was around to watch us and we’d make up games as we played. I think we laughed more than anything.

For my 15th birthday, Mom even created a tennis racket shaped cake. I can’t recall the wishes I made before blowing out the candles, but with all the erratic expectations of youth, anything was possible.

A couple birthdays later, I remember staying after class for help on my English essay. My teacher sat on the edge of her desk, and in a thoughtful way cautioned me that taking school too seriously wouldn’t be good for my health.

Life was more than school. She was right, but I hadn’t experienced enough life to understand what she meant.

Two birthdays after that, when I had discovered that life was indeed much more than school, I went to a college that focused less on grades and more on the love of learning. FULL POST

Posted 4/20/17 at 11:31 AM | Karen Kramer

Prodigal Nation

Keep Calm

While waiting for a repair, I noticed an elderly man reading the Wall Street Journal. As he folded the paper, our eyes met and I commented on the headlines.

He raised a bushy eyebrow.

I ventured to ask what he thought about the North Korean threat. He frowned, but then in what must have been a time-honored tradition of respect, the old man rose, bowed slightly, and politely shared that his name was Sidney.

Sidney counted off the fourteen presidents he’d lived through—recalling their achievements and enumerating their faults.

As a veteran, he also knew every American overseas military engagement. He explained that nuclear threats aren’t new, but there are now more diabolical players in the game.

Wikimedia

“Did you hear that Iran’s Ahmadinejad wants to be president again?” he asked. FULL POST

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