God's daughter. Woman of faith. Wife. Mother. Grandmother. Servant to the King.
Posted 11/28/16 at 4:49 PM | Karen Kramer
Grandpa had once been a United States Diplomat in post-war Germany. Hand-picked by the FBI’s J. Edgar Hoover, he led a year’s worth of top secret missions as the Iron Curtain draped itself over Eastern Europe.
He went to the grave with the secrets he’d been sworn to keep. But he knew the evil of political revolutionaries and communist governments.
As a teen, I’d see him reading thick books and espousing on events half way across the world—a world he’d personally explored and studied.
He’d pound his fist in anger over brutal dictators and the wars they caused. Not interested in running for public office, he’d chosen to rant to a captive audience—students in his college courses and me—since I’d ask questions that would get him riled. FULL POST
Posted 11/24/16 at 11:43 AM | Karen Kramer
It’s gift giving season, so I asked God to help me see that life is about you and not about me.
While waiting impatiently for the library to open, I checked my lengthy to-do list. I’d already gotten groceries and gas.
Looking up, I noticed a woman step out of an old car in the parking lot.
She stretched, folded a sleeping bag that covered the front seat, and walked towards the library.
I had my busy agenda, and her agenda was homeless subsistence.
Yet she still smiled.
Whenever I long for what I don’t have, may I remember those who may long for all that I do have.
Dear Lord, give me eyes to see what matters most to You.
Posted 11/17/16 at 11:19 AM | Karen Kramer
Post-Election Emotionalism Disorder is rampant. It’s okay to grieve and ponder the future; it’s another to destroy property in unruly protests.
It would seem things can only get worse.
But there’s a cure—spend time with a younger child.
Here’s an example: My tween-aged grandson plays sports and that commitment means going to all the practices—even the rainy, muddy ones, going to all the games—even in a losing season, and always making time for his real work—school.
And school is where he’s required to meet new academic standards—complete with nightly homework, extra reading, and projects.
Good grades aren’t easily earned.
Chores are part of his daily life too. Like most families, they work hard all day and come home tired. FULL POST
Posted 11/10/16 at 12:09 PM | Karen Kramer
Gathered around the table, they scooted closer to make room for the newest member.
Downcast, Trudy slid into the chair with a sigh. The others nodded their compassion, having walked that painful road too.
Anyone observing the group might wonder what brought them together. Different stories, but the same destination of despair. Welcome to the Broken Lives Club—the weekly meeting of the discouraged.
Divorce, disease, despondency, disappointment, and despair from deceit—sat around the table. The Broken Lives Club isn’t exclusive.
Live long enough and there will be a reason to seek membership.
The meeting was called to order by the oldest member. Harold’s burden of brokenness had been carried the most miles. He’d lost his wife to another man decades ago. FULL POST
Posted 11/8/16 at 4:30 PM | Karen Kramer
It’s not a question of whether the United Nations has lost its effectiveness; it’s whether it really had any to begin with.
Having recently celebrated its 71st birthday, the UN has quite a startling record of misfortune. Since its inception in 1945 there have been 150 wars across the globe with over 100 million casualties.
During the 2016 US presidential election, Donald Trump highlighted the need for American allies to participate in the cost of their own defense. Simply put, America is too broke to pay the bills for national defense beyond its own borders. He also indicated that America’s taxpayers are footing too much of the cost for the United Nations.
The U.N.’s $20 billion annual budget covers a broad range of activities, and some have been traced to nefarious ones. Naturally, there is no auditing mechanism in place to account for any of the U.N. expenditures. Is there a better way to negotiate peace and maintain it? While a war weary world created the United Nations, it’s now a far different global climate. Communists openly trade with democratic nations. China owns much of the United States debt. FULL POST
Posted 11/3/16 at 10:53 AM | Karen Kramer
A couple years ago my husband and I were interested in purchasing some property with an amazing view of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. It was quiet and pristine.
With over fifty grassy acres, our salesman suggested we take the parcel near the crest of the bluff—no one would ever block our view.
My husband and I smiled at one another.
The friendly salesman pointed out the walkway that led to the beach far below and the benches placed along the bluff so folks could sit and enjoy the panoramic view of Mount Baker and the blue waters of the Strait.
After signing all the paperwork, we became the proud owners of two water view cemetery plots. Shaking hands, he encouraged us to come back and visit as often as we wanted—we had yet to do so.
Until this week, when a friend was laid to rest. At my friend’s gravesite, I listened to the words spoken about his life. He served his nation in Viet Nam and continued serving his family and community the rest of his life. FULL POST
Posted 10/30/16 at 9:57 PM | Karen Kramer
Washington State is famous for Starbucks, Microsoft, the Space Needle, and decades of Democrats at the helm.
Residents in the Evergreen State have legalized some of the most liberal abortion, pot-smoking, and mercy-killing laws on the books. It begins young too. Kindergarten students learn about tolerance and gender discrimination before they learn to read.
On the ballot November 8, is a carbon tax initiative. Hidden under layers of rhetoric and promises to reduce the state sales and business taxes, is a new carbon tax on businesses that burn fossil fuels.
The tax rate starts at $15.00 per metric ton increasing 3.5% per year until it reaches $100.00 per metric ton—levied against any business polluters.
But will it really help reduce greenhouse gas?
Using the Environmental Protection Agency’s climate model this sweeping carbon tax would reduce temperatures by twenty-five one-hundred-thousandths of a degree. FULL POST
Posted 10/27/16 at 11:33 AM | Karen Kramer
November 8 can’t come soon enough. Here’s my election prediction…..
Advanced math was my personal nightmare. My teacher was as frustrated with me as I was with advanced math.
After weeks of floundering, we tried an experiment: Independent Study was relatively new back in the dark ages before personal computers.
I was handed an Algebra course in five thick spiral notebooks and told to report to the library instead of a classroom.
The program was neatly designed to assist hopeless math students like myself—taking me step by step through hundreds of complicated problems.
I started freshman year and ended my senior year in calculus. Every time I got a wrong answer, I got the bold-faced suggestion—Think Again. I couldn’t go on until I got it right.
I saw Think Again so many times during my four years of math, but it didn’t mean quit; it meant go back and figure out the right answer. FULL POST
Posted 10/20/16 at 2:20 PM | Karen Kramer
We hope that love and truth will live together.
That doesn't always happen.
”The most valuable thing in the world is truth. It's so valuable it’s often hidden by a bodyguard of lies." Winston Churchill
I sat with my friend in the crowded coffee shop. We were in the back where we could observe all the other conversations, smiles, laughter, and busyness.
But as I sat there, I wondered how to answer her question:
Should you ever lie to someone you love?
Talk about a loaded question.
I had two words: Be honest.
Truth is the most valuable asset you’ll ever have together. While love is critical, lying is a form of betrayal. FULL POST
Posted 10/19/16 at 3:41 PM | Karen Kramer
If only we’d learn our history, we might avoid repeating it—particularly Roman history.
Way back in the fourth century, B.C. leaders in the Roman government set price controls on wheat. When there were shortages, the government would buy up stockpiles and then sell it at a fixed price below market price.
Farmers were not able to do anything about the government control. Then the government took even more control and decided to give away grain to Roman citizens. With such a terrific deal for all the citizens, the farmers decided to just give up farming and head to the city for free food.
It didn’t take long for one-third of the Roman citizenry to be taking the hand-outs.
What to do with so much cost to the government? The Roman officials decided to just debase the currency. They soon learned that devaluing the currency came with a bite: inflation.
But whatever you do, don’t review the bad decisions, just compound them. FULL POST