Friday Tidings

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Posted 9/1/14 at 8:42 AM | Karen Farris |


Labor Day’s Celebration of a Minimum Wage Life

Sadly, she couldn’t be with her son on Labor Day as she hustled between two different jobs. But Labor Day was no different than any other day.

I could tell she’d reached critical mass. No smile today. Her rigid jaw seemed frozen. I slid into the booth across from her and didn’t bother with the formalities. Splayed across the small table were piles of bills.

“There’s no way I can pay rent and buy food.” Carlie jabbed her finger at just one glaring example of financial ruin—her power bill. Even though she wasn’t using air conditioning, her summertime bill was more than she spent on groceries.

Cutting costs? Don’t even mention her car. She can’t afford her car and can’t afford not having it. Her two minimum wage jobs are miles from her low-rent apartment and the bus doesn’t run after hours—when she gets off work. Without a car, she’d be late to work after dropping her son off at the government-subsidized daycare. And by the time she pays for the mandatory car insurance, frequent repairs, and fuel, NOTHING is left over for life’s incidentals. FULL POST

Posted 8/29/14 at 9:40 AM | Karen Farris

School Buddies not Bullies

As a new school year begins, the seeds of bullying are planted at elementary schools everywhere.

Back in the day when girls wore dresses to school each day, my homemade dresses with dangling sashes tied in a neat bow were a tantalizing lure for the grade school bully.

I became terrified of recess. Staying inside wasn’t an option. Lined up and sent outdoors every morning, noon, and mid-afternoon was my elementary fate.

Hovering around the playground teacher helped some, but over the next several school years, I’d come home with ripped sashes and skinned knees. I could never outrun the faster, stronger legs of the older boy.

Other kids came back from recess unscathed. Not me. My school life was divided between the security of the classroom and the nightmare at recess.

Schools across America are welcoming young kids for another year. Some will face tough playground challenges—which can easily extend into hallways, lunchrooms, and bus rides. Bullying is wrong, but sometimes kids are afraid to tell. FULL POST

Posted 8/27/14 at 9:34 AM | Karen Farris

10 Minutes to World War III

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I confess, I get as distracted as any other American. It’s easy to ignore the flashing yellow caution light up ahead when you can watch pre-season football and see school buses on the road again. Nice and normal. But those caution lights are a warning we best not ignore. The jihadist threat is real.

You have to wonder how effective ISIS would be without the use of social media. While Americans were horrified that one of our own was brutally beheaded—filmed for You Tube, thousands of Iraqis and Syrians have been slaughtered as well. The mistake we make is to think that ISIS is a political organization. They are not. Politicians play with their words and tell you what you want to hear. ISIS is an ideology and they believe what they say. We may not like their brand of truth, but we can’t say they didn’t warn us about what they will do. FULL POST

Posted 8/22/14 at 8:58 AM | Karen Farris

Breaking Certain Rules

On one of those perfectly sunny, grandma-babysitting days, we set off to play in a nearby park.

Kids were enjoying the merry-go-round and the jungle gym. But what attracted my four-year-old grandson was the fenced-off tennis court.

Two kids were riding their bikes in and out of the lines on the newly finished courts.

Their parents watched on a bench just inside the gated entrance. The kids laughed as they raced one another, occasionally crashing into the net between the two sides.

A sign was clearly posted on the entrance—No Bicycles Allowed.

Just beginning his reading quest, my grandson already knew the word “No”. He asked me what words came next.

I whispered that the sign asked people not to ride bikes on the tennis court. He may have only been four, but he could clearly see two kids riding their bikes where they shouldn’t have been.

We watched awhile longer and then he reached up to open the gate. I helped lift the latch thinking that he wanted to watch the kids. Instead, he walked straight over to the couple and asked if they knew what the sign said. FULL POST

Posted 8/19/14 at 8:15 AM | Karen Farris

Palcohol: Potent Powder

Think of the convenience. Just a lightweight package in your backpack.

Open the small packet of white powder. Pour it into some cool water and instantly you can have wine beside the campfire on your hiking trip.

Totally portable and easily hidden, it could also spell trouble for parents.

Palcohol is due on store shelves this fall—just in time for those Friday nights after the high school football games. It’s raising concern from doctors to congressmen. This could be the “Kool-Aid of teenage binge drinking” according to Sen. Charles Schumer, D-NY.

The risk of misuse—perhaps even snorting the powder could create immediate intoxication. The powder could also be mixed in highly concentrated amounts leading to a hazardous potency. Palcohol’s inventor, Mark Phillips, explains that convenience outweighs any possible misuse. Imagine air travel with your own portable wine? Responsible adults should have no fear because they can follow the easy-to-mix directions. FULL POST

Posted 8/15/14 at 9:43 AM | Karen Farris

Marriage Test: DIY Projects

Our latest home improvement project exposed more work that needed to be done—and it was all in my heart.

Instead of lounging on a sunny beach this summer, our marital togetherness was spent re-staining our home. Sharing a paint bucket and scaffolding gave us many hours to contemplate if we felt bonded or in bondage. Every log on our cabin was tediously sanded down to bare wood, and so were our nerves.

Behind my safety-goggled eyes, I observed that over the years, my husband had become like me. My perfectionist tendencies were on full display—in him. How did this happen? I was now the sloppy one and my lack of painting skills revealed it. My husband seemed to care more about the correct form of back brushing than me….was saving thousands of dollars on labor worth the exasperation we felt for one another?

Yes. And here’s why:

Marriage is work. Just like the work of staining our home. Hours of sanding exposed the beauty of the natural wood again. A good marriage requires occasional sanding too. We needed to get beneath the layers of his expectations and my selfishness, but as we did, our amazing bond of love was revealed again. FULL POST

Posted 8/12/14 at 8:54 AM | Karen Farris |


Scrolling Past Beheadings on Facebook

Iraqi child sleeping. Barnabas Fund website

Social media newsfeeds are now featuring what’s for dinner, summer vacation pictures and horrifying images of ISIS atrocities. Even though we can scroll past the beheading of children and the slaughter of Christians, it doesn’t make it less real.

While enjoying my cozy life here, people across the world are running for their lives. Evil and ruthless killers are determined to establish an ever-expanding caliphate. While foreign policy experts debate how to limit the carnage, how can Christians help? Money and prayers.

Money helps when it gets in the hands of organizations that are situated in the crisis zone. Here are two organizations with boots on the ground providing food, shelter, care, and prayers.

Open Doors  Barnabas Fund FULL POST

Posted 8/8/14 at 9:43 AM | Karen Farris

Hope in Ebola and Everything Else

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This summer has had some awful and discouraging news—the missile downing a civilian jet, increasing Russian aggression in the Ukraine, Hamas attacking Israel, ISIS Middle East atrocities—including the beheading of Christian children, our Border Crisis.

And then the news about Ebola nearly pushed me over the edge.

Ebola was already very real in my mind. About ten years ago, a visiting missionary explained in horrifyingly graphic detail what Ebola did to a tiny African village. But I’d put that scenario in the “Over There Not Here” file. Until now.

Listening to the sensationalized media reports that the Ebola outbreak could lead to a global epidemic, or be used for terrorism—it was no longer an ”Over There Not Here” problem.

This is a time to pray for those suffering and seek God's infinite wisdom. I sensed that I needed to take time to look away from what’s bad in order to remember what’s good.I needed a time-out to give thanks for all that is truly good. FULL POST

Posted 8/5/14 at 10:40 AM | Karen Farris

Got Satisfaction?

USA Network's Satisfaction

                                               “They have everything but are still not satisfied.”

Summertime viewers on USA channel (10:00 pm Thursdays) are finding how wayward spouses can find some Satisfaction. The show is chock full of adultery, lies, drugs, and cheating. And this is the foundation for satisfaction? Apparently it is for Hollywood.

Explicit sex scenes give this show a pornographic appeal for desperately lost souls. The show’s main characters have zero remorse over their adultery as they continue their search for satisfaction. It’s no surprise that Hollywood continues to push a diet heavily laden with casual sex with multiple partners.

While Christians find this reprehensible, do we remain silent while these shows air? One way to make our voices heard is through demanding better television standards from Satisfaction’s sponsors—Dyson, Jaguar, Geico, State Farm, Target, and Subaru. One Million Moms makes it easy. Click Here to send your letter and join others in standing up to a Satisfaction that we know will never satisfy.

Posted 8/1/14 at 9:49 AM | Karen Farris |


World Without America

The nearly empty theater told its own story. No crowds tonight.

We slid into an otherwise empty row to watch America: Imagine the World Without Her.

Dinesh D’Souza, the movie’s co-creator, is an America-loving Indian immigrant. He was a policy advisor to President Reagan, college president, historian, and now he’s a feisty whistle blower on those he feels are undermining America.

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In the documentary, he respectfully interviewed those who believe our nation was created through premeditated evil. In turn, he digs into the history we don’t often hear anymore, reflecting on the inspirational narrative many in my generation remember.

Near the end of the film things get icy cold. In addition to a nation that is “transforming” through its educational system, could the IRS, the NSA and others be snooping on private American citizens? Is our government collecting data on each of us? D’Souza makes a compelling case that the government can make life rough for those who don’t agree—and he uses his own experience getting arrested for campaign donation violations. It makes one think twice before speaking out. FULL POST

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