Friday Tidings

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

Posted 10/24/14 at 8:07 AM | Karen Farris

School Hunger and the Cafeteria Controversy

My friend’s email subject line caught my attention: You Won’t Believe What Happened Now. Janice has two school age kids and like many families she juggles her work schedule to get everyone out the door on time each morning. It isn’t easy. But it’s gotten a whole lot harder since —wait for it— the school lunch revolution.

She used to go online, put money in her kid’s lunch account and not think twice about it. They never complained. Well, sometimes they didn’t like the food, but it wasn’t often. Until this school year.

Now her son (who weighs more than Janice) is parceled out a paltry 500 calories for his high school noon meal. By the time mid-afternoon football practice rolls around he’s hungry and doesn’t have access to food until he gets home. By then he’s a hungry teenager (read: cranky and incorrigible).

Her elementary-aged daughter gets a slightly smaller ration and here’s the kicker—kids can’t share their food. Under the watchful eyes of the lunchroom monitor, no one can offer anything to anyone. Ever. FULL POST

Posted 10/22/14 at 9:58 PM | Karen Farris

Ebola Rumors Circulating

A new social media rumor titled “CDC Whistleblower Exposes Ebola Vaccinations Containing RFID Chips” needs to be stopped. Purportedly, a new Ebola vaccine will also include an RFID chip (an implantable radiofrequency transponder) and Americans will be required to receive the vaccine to prevent an Ebola pandemic.

Sad to say, social media can be a breeding ground for conspiracy theories and false reports. Snopes has clarified the matter, but people sometimes only read the stark headlines. Indeed, the respectably named “National Report” continues to issue blatantly false articles. In a time of information overload, it’s even more important to filter out truth from fiction.

Some Christians are concerned about end-times prophetic signs, specifically the mark of the beast from Revelation 13:16-18. While the RFID chips could one day be used as a way to prevent anyone from buying or selling, there are more pressing matters to concern ourselves with right now—mainly sharing God’s truth and salvation through Christ Jesus. Please don’t click “share” unless you know it’s true.

Posted 10/21/14 at 7:55 AM | Karen Farris

Viagra: Good for the Heart

In research recently published in BMC Medicine, Viagra, the drug commonly prescribed for erectile dysfunction, is showing its effectiveness in the treatment of heart disease.

Viagra’s key ingredient, Phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitor also prevents the relaxation of the heart’s smooth muscle tissue and can offer heart protection with few side effects.

In studies over the past ten years, involving 1622 patients from mixed populations, scientists were able to study the effects of the Viagra inhibitor on the heart.

The lead author of the study, Andrea Isidori indicated that Viagra could be used, “as an effective, safe treatment for several patients with heart disease.” She also stressed that with these “encouraging findings” large clinical trials are urgently needed.

Viagra could eventually be prescribed to men who suffer from heart muscle thickening and early-stage heart failure. However, more study is needed to verify what the sex-specific long-term responses might be. Viagra may make its way out of the bedroom and help fight heart disease—which continues to be a lethal battle for many men.

Posted 10/17/14 at 8:25 AM | Karen Farris

Hope for Hard Times

Hard times happen. It’s what we become through our hard times that matters most.

It was a long drive from our dusty farm to Grandma’s lakeside cabin. Each mile brought memories of my idyllic childhood, but the peaceful thoughts quickly evaporated remembering our eminent financial demise.

My husband and I were nearly broke. Taking this trip had been cost-foolish, but it was too late to save what we were losing. Now I was grasping for anything leftover to believe in.

Grandma had always been pragmatic and ambitious. She’d worked full time while putting herself through nursing school. Having two small daughters to care for in the midst Great Depression, she and her husband knew about sacrifice. She believed in God and marriage—and holding onto both when life got hard. Who better to bring my financial lament?

I sat in the kitchen with Grandma. My expression told the story, but as I explained how bad things were, Grandma went to work. FULL POST

Posted 10/16/14 at 8:16 AM | Karen Farris

The Crash of the Stock Market Wave

One way or another we all have skin in the game on Wall Street.

Banks, small and large businesses, private and public retirement accounts—they’re using stocks for the gains, but when the losses come, we all suffer.

Read the financial news and it looks like it’s time to circle the wagons around your 401K. We’re in for a refresher course on how to ride the wave of a stock market crash. While no one knows when the huge sell-off could happen, more experts are preparing their exit strategy.

MSN Screen Shot

Red flags are flying and here are some of the technical signs:

We’re seeing rallies and self-offs with more regularity. But with the Russell 2000 already in a 10% correction, the S & P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average shouldn’t be too far behind. FULL POST

Posted 10/15/14 at 8:30 AM | Karen Farris

The Ebola Emergency

BBC News

Perhaps you’ve seen the scary predictions about the potential of a worldwide Ebola pandemic. Consider this: it’s estimated that 10,000 people have now contracted Ebola.

And each Ebola victim could infect another 1.8 people. In three more weeks the crisis could escalate to 28,000 victims and every three weeks it could exponentially grow.

Some have taken those calculations to the ultimate extreme with the world’s population of nearly 7 billion people potentially being infected by January 2016.

The Center for Disease Control and the National Institute of Health, the Department of Homeland Security, and many others are huddling together to put together Ebola prevention and treatment protocols. They are clearly concerned, but is it enough?

According to a recent poll nearly 70% of Americans favor a travel ban from the “hot zone” of the Ebola infected nations. One can only imagine what would happen in our nation with a serious outbreak. Quarantines would be established much like they’ve had to do in West Africa. The difference is that our fragile economy would be solidly rocked. And no one wants to think about Ebola being deliberately spread by terrorists. FULL POST

Posted 10/10/14 at 8:08 AM | Karen Farris

Born to be Sexy?

Several hundred people were riding the Seattle ferry back home after an afternoon of football.

Tired fans were watching the fading sun as it cast purple shadows across Mt. Rainier. It really was a beautiful evening on the water. I was riding solo, so I enjoyed watching others enjoy themselves. Then I noticed another solo passenger.

She was probably in her mid teens. Even though it had been a nice autumn day, it wasn’t hot, yet she was wearing the shortest cut-offs. They covered more than a swimsuit, but barely. And let’s just say her crop top matched her shorts. She was taking laps around the ferry deck, staring straight ahead—seemingly oblivious to the stares she was getting.

Oh sure, on a beach her outfit would blend right in. But not on an evening ferry. This isn’t a judgment call, but perhaps it is—on all of us. Because we are either wearing it, staring at it, judging it, or saying it doesn’t really matter. Is the skin show a game? If so, who wins? I don’t think women do. FULL POST

Posted 10/8/14 at 9:40 AM | Karen Farris

The Dark Side of Online Quizzes

Bing Images

Internet quizzes seem fun. They also populate my Facebook newsfeed. Answer some questions and find out what Classic Rock band you are, or personality type.

I noticed one of my friends had taken an online IQ quiz. I was tempted to do it too, but what if my IQ was lower than I hoped?

But what else is happening as we answer the quiz questions? According to PCWorld.com, these online quizzes are designed to collect data—our data, in ways we might not realize. And then, when we decide to “share” the results, we don’t know where all that information goes. Before it can be shared, we agree to give access to a lot of personal information. Besides sharing our Facebook friend’s list, we are also sharing what our preferences are—everything from music to politics.

The idea behind these quizzes is to collect data and then build analytics. The information we share via quizzes make inferences on our personal buying habits, vacation choices, technology spending, political preferences, and even how we parent our kids. FULL POST

Posted 10/7/14 at 8:10 AM | Karen Farris

Grace-Based Blogging

Friday Tidings began as a place to share “thoughts for the journey”. The daily news, current trends, and lifestyle choices were all topics for discussion. But it became an easy journey from sharing thoughtful words to a criticizing blogger. God’s Word says we’ll be held accountable for every careless word spoken (Matthew 12:36). I should also hold myself accountable for every careless word I write.

As a Christian, who am I to point a finger at anyone else—especially those who have stumbled and fallen? Certainly the famous are easy targets for blistering blogs. But why? Do I have the privilege to exacerbate someone else’s pain when they’ve already has been disgraced or discouraged? No.

A long time ago, I pledged to pray before I post. I’m taking it a step further. I want to write with the grace Jesus has offered me. If we are forgiven people, living beneath the provision of Jesus’ grace, I should offer my hand to help someone who is down. Never should my words push the hurting down further. FULL POST

Posted 10/3/14 at 8:03 AM | Karen Farris

Avoiding Campus Rape

I remember flying across the country and depositing my almost eighteen-year-old daughter on a small college campus in upstate New York.

Besides setting up a local bank account, campus meal service, and an Ethernet connection, I gave her absolutely no life-saving information should she truly need it.

What was I thinking? Did I imagine that the small community she’d live in would be as safe as my own? Did I expect that ALL her new friends would consider her as special and worthy as I did?

As I flew home, I never imagined she could be raped in a dorm room, or be abducted as she walked home from the library in the dark. Thank God she wasn’t. But many young women have.

As I’ve read about the apparent abduction of Hannah Graham, the straight A, University of Virginia student, I can only imagine how devastated her parents must feel. FULL POST

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