Posted 3/22/17 at 4:47 PM | Karen Kramer
It’s track season once again. I loved watching my son compete—and his individual events were so exciting.
But there was something special about his relay races. In the dicey “exchange zone” the baton is passed from one runner to the next. They have mere seconds to make a clean exchange in the zone, without dropping the baton or taking precious seconds off their time.
It’s a skill the team routinely practices and in competition; their mission isn’t just passing the baton, but winning the race.
I was wondering how Millennials are feeling as they reach behind to grab the baton from our generation (Boomers)?
Just how are we doing in the exchange zone? This much is certain: we are passing a baton weighted down with national debt. A debt they didn’t create on their own. FULL POST
Posted 3/16/17 at 1:23 PM | Karen Kramer
I learned the hard way that it’s not always what you say, but how you say it.
I stood before the tribunal of unsmiling judges. Having completed the debate competition was hard enough, to now face their criticism was worse.
My teammate and I had argued our case about America’s broken welfare system against a formidable twosome.
Now the four of us had to stand and listen to why we’d won or lost. To say it was humbling is mild. The judges could tell us we were sloppy in our presentation, or worse, that our arguments were unfounded—a polite way of saying that we were blowing smoke and didn’t know what we were talking about. You couldn’t fool the judges—they could shoot holes in your logic, and would expose any shoddy research.
Sweat was sliding down my back as it became my turn to hear their critique. Later, I would wonder why this was something I enjoyed doing, but for now, I respectfully stood and listened. FULL POST
Posted 3/9/17 at 10:53 AM | Karen Kramer
In my typical manic effort to get in and get out of the grocery store quickly, I nearly missed something that made my whole day.
While standing two grocery carts behind an elderly woman’s full cart, I mentally calculated the odds of getting faster service at the self-checkout.
But the self-checkout line snaked back into the aisles leading up to it. Who knew how far back it went. I had more than the 15-item maximum for the quick line, so I stayed put.
The elderly woman closely observed every item as it was scanned and the price that it charged. Even though the little payment machine kept beeping at her, she made no attempt to put her card in the chip reader.
The clerk announced the grand total and the woman slowly opened her purse and pulled out a wallet. Focusing her eyes on the bills inside she carefully started counting out the amount owed.
I noticed that all of us behind her were watching those shaky hands methodically lay down dollar bills—one by one. FULL POST
Posted 3/6/17 at 2:13 PM | Karen Kramer
Only God could have known what this naïve blogger would experience in her time with Christian Post.
Back when I first inquired if I could post on your blog page, I had just begun my blogging journey. Christian Post Blog Editor Barry Bowen, read some of my work and sent me a welcome email.
Friday Tidings was official.
I was a small writer among some amazing bloggers—Tim Challies, Phil Cooke, and Robin Schumacher.
I read more blog posts than I ever wrote. I honed my craft, cringed at some of the comments I received, and developed my own voice.
Thank you for the chance to share.
There were some high points—when I was asked to write about some hot button issues in the news. The lowest point was a blog I posted during the Travon Martin trial. Insensitivity ruled, with a glaringly honest appraisal of his upbringing rather than imagining the cost to a family that had lost a son. FULL POST
Posted 3/2/17 at 11:28 AM | Karen Kramer
Wheat harvest meant working from sunrise until well after sundown. The summer heat felt oppressive even as I sat in the shade for a quick break.
I watched the steady rhythm of the windmill. Up and down. Up and down. Pulling up fresh water from deep down. Regardless of the relentless heat it pumped fresh water.
Grabbing some jugs, I filled them full, slung them in the back of the truck, and drove out to meet the harvest crew.
I pulled onto a dirt track cut into the side of wheat field. The dust rose behind me as I came up alongside the equipment. I heaved the jugs out of the back and watched as the crew enjoyed the cool water.
After dinner, as Grandpa sat resting outside, I asked if the well would go dry since it was so hot. He had me follow him to the truck. We drove a few miles and then turned up a dirt road.
After a dusty stretch we reached a creek. I slid out and walked over. Bending down I felt its coolness. “This water feeds the wells around here.” Grandpa explained. “We dug down deep and it’s never run dry.” FULL POST
Posted 2/23/17 at 1:52 PM | Karen Kramer
Okay, I am one of those die hard, hold outs, who clings to an ancient flip phone for my cell communications.
No, I cannot ask my phone questions, or view cute videos. Nor can I do my banking, emails, post selfies, or Facetime family and friends.
Yes, I am in the dark ages of digital communications.
Smartphone users have the latest and the greatest. Me, not so much. But I am happy on my lonely island. But Nokia just announced…..hold onto your ever loving smartphone…..they are reintroducing their dumb phone.
There are enough people who desire a phone with a battery life longer than a few hours. People are tired of broken screens and want to carry a virtually indestructible, compact phone. And then there’s this—the latest iPhone 8 is retailing for ONE GRAND.
I am sorry smartphone users, that must really hurt. The new Nokia is going to retail for under seventy bucks. FULL POST
Posted 2/16/17 at 11:54 AM | Karen Kramer
While recess gave our teachers a well-deserved break, the playground taught us life lessons no classroom ever could.
Our mid-1960’s playground was equipped with 12-foot monkey bars with nothing but asphalt below. Kids took turns on the swings and merry-go-round—with the object to swing as high or go around as fast as possible—again with asphalt to catch any mishaps.
No worries though, teachers routinely cleansed open wounds with iodine and a stinging yellow liquid we all dreaded—merthiolate.
Fiercely competitive tetherball and Four-Square games often would outlast recess. The coveted server’s corner was hard-earned and only displaced by losing a game.
A pasture grass field adjacent to the playground worked well for fifteen minute games of kickball, Red Rover, tag, or for indoor recess the most formidable—dodgeball. FULL POST
Posted 2/9/17 at 11:38 AM | Karen Kramer
In a rural Romanian village, baby Anastasia was born. An ocean away in a small Washington town, beautiful Dana cradled newborn Aria.
Amazing joy comes to families as they welcome a child. Aria and Anastasia looked adorable wearing darling bows and the cutest outfits.
Dressing up baby girls is something special no matter what part of the world you live in.
Yet, within months both girls were diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), an incurable, terminal disease.
While it would be easy to spiral into despair, Aria’s family bonded even closer, friends surrounded them, and they purposed to make treasured memories.
When Dana reached out to other SMA families she met Dani, Anastasia’s mother. As the disease affecting their precious daughters became more real, they encouraged one another through terribly frightening days. FULL POST
Posted 2/2/17 at 1:32 PM | Karen Kramer
Her long black hair and strikingly luminous dark eyes were a contrast to her delicate Indian accent.
Standing before a hundred teens at the leadership camp, she introduced herself,
“Hello, my name is America.”
None of us would ever forget her name, or how her sweet accent slightly altered its pronunciation. She was a first-generation American citizen, and her parents had named her for the freedom and opportunity America offered.
I was in that crowd of teens—where we’d come to learn how to help our schools be places of learning, compassion, and purpose.
We were divided up, and America wasn’t in my group, but I observed her animated energy as she bounded between activities. I had one occasion to stand next to her—as we waited in the dinner line.
We talked about camp, our schools, and the anxious sense that being a high school junior brought. For America, I could tell it meant high expectations. Her parents owned a dry-cleaning store. FULL POST
Posted 1/26/17 at 10:53 PM | Karen Kramer
No one knows who created National Spouses Day on January 26th, but I love the chance to honor mine.
It was easy to fall in love with the bearded, songwriting, guitar playing guy.
He’d leave sweet love notes for me in my college books (this was waaaay before texting) and play songs for me while I did homework.
He was therapy for my Type A uptightness. But sound engineering was his true forte. He knew how to blend 24 tracks of recorded music into incredible musical productions.
Yet, when the music scene meant living apart, he gave it all up and moved to a farm where we could work together.
Then he poured his life into the farm every hour it required and worked extra jobs to pay the bills.
When we were spending too much time apart, he wanted to find another way.
Who knew that a songwriter-farmer could be such a terrific apple salesman? (Check out that first generation cell phone in his hand). FULL POST