Friday Tidings

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

Posted 8/10/17 at 11:28 AM | Karen Kramer

When Darkness Comes

Not until it was so dark I couldn’t see did I find the One who showed me the way.


She unlocked her apartment door after another horrendous day. Weariness combined with utter disappointment.

Sliding onto the couch, emotional darkness settled in. Nothing really mattered at this point.

Then the phone rang. Not wanting to answer, she did anyway. And it was someone who wanted to listen.

In the comforting veil of darkness, her words of sadness flowed. In that dark place, with the bleakest outlook and a listening ear, seeds of hope finally emerged.

With a trail of bad days and hopeless nights behind her, she stood and went to the mirror.

Give up or go on?

In that moment, as she stared at her reflection, her weakness became a strong resolve to change. FULL POST

Posted 8/2/17 at 1:35 PM | Karen Kramer

Taxing the Givers

They say numbers don’t lie. So here it is: $1.2 trillion dollars are contributed annually to our US economy by religious folks.

The money supports programs aimed at the hurting, helpless, hungry, and the people that support them.

Google, Apple, Microsoft, and the other top tech companies don’t put as much money into our economy.

When the idea is tossed around that churches need to be taxed, it’s important to look at the real dollars churches provide to our nation.

People are giving money away to help those in need. Churches provide their buildings for childcare centers, soup kitchens, job training, free clothing outlets, medical clinics, and that’s in addition to the direct dollars spent on the poor.

Besides money, churches coordinate 7.5 million volunteers in 1.5 million social programs aimed at helping those who need it most.

In the past 15 years, religious giving to the needy has tripled. While taxing churches could bring in money, it will only impact the amount they already give away.

One needs to ask how well the government would manage those tax dollars.

This much is certain: with $1.2 trillion being offered through religious groups each year, it reveals the generous hearts of millions of people. They aren’t giving because they’re required to, they are giving because they want to.

Posted 7/27/17 at 7:29 PM | Karen Kramer

There's a Reason

A few miles from where I went to college, a friend of ours had a plot of land with a creek running through it. He’d timbered a portion of the property and even though the land was a bit scarred up, it was open to the sunshine—with ample fresh water.

Digging out a garden was a tough challenge. Ironically, it was also a difficult season in our lives.

The garden came to represent our hope in a future we couldn’t see. We planted seeds, nurtured them, and waited.

When the earth yielded succulent veggies, it was worth the effort.

In late fall, we moved to my mom’s property and decided to create a new garden—in another area riddled with tree roots and rocks. We cultivated the ground, and the fresh earth was ready for seeds, but it wasn’t planting season. Waiting had never been easy for me.

The garden was teaching me patience. But we moved before we had a chance to plant—our effort would help someone else’s garden.

New gardens were planted every time I moved—mostly small plots, with big hopes. It seemed that however long I stayed, there needed to be the promise of growth.

Life and gardening both have seasons—some easier than others. I’ve learned there’s a reason for every difficult season. FULL POST

Posted 7/19/17 at 12:55 PM | Karen Kramer

Driving Under the Influence of Stupidity

Washington State drivers have a new “Driving Under the Influence of Electronics” law. Keep your hands off your phone—don’t even read that text message at a stop light. We are limited to a single finger (not that one) to “trigger a voice-activated application”.

Okay, I understand distraction, but how about reckless stupidity?

A few weeks ago, I witnessed a near-miss collision and it had nothing to do a phone. My rural highway leads to some spectacular camping spots. Tourists flock here every summer.

Thirty foot motorhomes and trucks pulling huge trailers routinely drive slower than the speed limit.

Most of them are unfamiliar with our curvy highway. I was behind a car that was tailgating a truck and travel trailer. But the slow-moving driver was almost going the speed limit—just a couple miles per hour under the limit. FULL POST

Posted 7/11/17 at 7:42 PM | Karen Kramer

Carrying the Burden

David Soder

I was one of fifty volunteers who carried a Fallen Hero banner in our local July 4th parade.

As part of the Fallen Heroes Banner Project, these traveling banners are carried in parades and celebrations across America—honoring soldiers lost since 9/11.

I held Army Sergeant Nathan Wyrick’s banner. Once I got home I looked up his obituary online.

He’d been sent to Iraq twice, and died in Afghanistan in 2011. He’d been a dutiful dad to his four young sons and was always helping others.

He loved serving in kid’s ministry at New Hope Community Church. A close friend said, “He was a dad first and foremost, and a soldier second.”

When military friends were deployed, Nathan acted as a dad for other families’ kids. His generous heart touched many.

That generous heart stopped beating when he was just thirty-four. FULL POST

Posted 7/5/17 at 6:15 PM | Karen Kramer

Digital Assassination

We know the power of words. Now we’ve weaponized them through the power of social media. ~karen

True, it was just a local Facebook group—nothing of interest to anyone beyond the city limits.

But when someone posted an angry complaint about a business it quickly escalated to a collective rant. I read the original complaint and then kept scrolling down as each new gripe was added.

It was like passing the scene of a car accident—knowing it didn’t help to look, but unable to stop gaping.

In social media land, bad reviews are a target over the heart of a business. And these arrows hit their mark. The business owner had been thoroughly humiliated.

In the old days, pre-Twitter (#badreview) and Facebook, a customer would ask to speak to a manager, call customer service, or maybe write a letter to the company.

Now all that’s needed is a hastily written post where people can heap on their own garbage. FULL POST

Posted 6/29/17 at 11:13 AM | Karen Kramer

Half Over

On Tuesday I saw a friend in the grocery aisle and she lamented that life needed to slow down.

Back home while unpacking my groceries, I looked at June 30th on the calendar and realized the year was half over.

Later, I read a pastor’s blog and he said we’re all looking for longevity—to live many years and be remembered well. Sure, while I run around doing errands, let me find time for a legacy.

The following morning while doing my workout, someone on TV was talking about Alfred Nobel.

Wikipedia

The elderly Nobel was perusing his morning newspaper and was shocked to read his own obituary (actually, his brother had died, but the reporter thought it was Alfred).

The writer credited Alfred Nobel as the inventor of dynamite—making it possible for more men than ever before to be killed in war. The obituary said his invention had made him incredibly wealthy. FULL POST

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

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