God's daughter. Woman of faith. Wife. Mother. Grandmother. Servant to the King.
Posted 8/26/15 at 11:08 PM | Karen Kramer
We hear it all the time—don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today. It’s the Type A mantra that I know all too well. It took on new meaning for JJ, a young woman I met as she waited to see her oncologist team.
She told me her cancer came on like a wildfire—making reference to the massive fires consuming Eastern Washington. Looking back she admits she missed some symptoms.
After treatment failed, her doctors offered some trial therapies. JJ decided to lay her cards down and push away from the table. If the game was nearly up, why keep taking chances that tomorrow will be better—especially while you have today?
JJ purposely didn’t ask how much time she had left, or what she faced. She had today and was living life on purpose.
Her new mission was to thank every person who’d been part of her life. She’d come in today to thank the medical team for their efforts. She wanted them to remember her smiling face. Even though JJ was young, I suspect she’d had her share of disappointment, challenges, and bitterness. Cancer could easily bring all three. But she’s not wasting time on any of that. It just steals moments JJ never used to bother to count. FULL POST
Posted 8/24/15 at 7:25 PM | Karen Kramer
Black Monday August 24, 2015 will be remembered as the biggest loss since the precipitous fall in October 2008. And the fall could be even more grievous with a stock market that’s been pumped full of cash at the hands of government stimulus, quantitative easing, and Fed treasury buy-back policies.
Plus, with the interconnectedness with our greatest lender—China, we are going down right alongside their stock market. With record-high stock prices, there is plenty of room to go down. And back up and back down. Better buckle up.
As we watch the stock ticker on this fiscal roller coaster, we wonder if the government mandated bank policies will be able to prevent financial collapse and bank runs. It’s supposed to be foolproof, right? We’ll find out. The Federal Reserve has already used up the biggest guns in their arsenal. We are in uncharted fiscal territory.
The financial talking heads are encouraging people to check up on their 401K’s and see if there is a 10% stopgap in place to prevent potential catastrophic losses. Having some cash on hand wouldn’t be a bad thing if America becomes Greece—where the people were restricted from withdrawing funds until things stabilized. And when the banks re-opened patrons were given limited funds. So visit your ATM. FULL POST
Posted 8/21/15 at 12:02 AM | Karen Kramer
Every time I visit the gritty city, I look for someone special. One time it was a homeless vet with a sign that said, “Look, I’m a man not a monster”. Another time it was an older woman dispensing cheerful morning greetings to the walking commuters as she peddled cheap newspapers. This time it was Sally.
Sally’s daily route takes her down dark alleys—long after paying customers go home.
Each night she loads restaurant leftovers into her old dependable hatchback.
Seeing a man with vacant eyes slumped in a doorway, she offers a sandwich. Hope flickers in his rummy eyes. Smiling at him, she drives away.
She takes her nightly bounty to the Salvation Army mission where she carefully parcels every last morsel into take-out containers.
Mornings and late afternoons, she walks the streets—handing out hope. No one knows Sally’s story, but what she cares about most is her daily route.
She says she doesn’t have money to give away, but she has lots of time. To her, everyone deserves some hope and she intends to deliver it as long as she can. FULL POST
Posted 8/17/15 at 11:49 AM | Karen Kramer
Youth of today face incredible challenges. Living in a sound bite world and an anything goes mantra, young people search aimlessly for truth. The American Family Radio and Revival Fires International celebrate fifteen years of bringing “Truth for Youth”. Giving away thousands of New Testament copies in God’s Word translation reaches those who are searching. It also contains an additional 100 pages of color comic stories with absolute truth with the gritty reality teens see everyday. Teens are can compare what they see with the truth God provides.
Many are coping with street level issues of pornography, drugs, alcohol, sexual abuse, and school violence, all while attempting to put the pieces of their own life in order. Truth For Youth is a week-long effort to reach the 53.8 million youth in America. This is real. Over 2 million New Testaments have been distributed and over 25,000 have committed their lives to Christ. You can receive a free copy of Truth For Youth to give away in school or on the street. Call 1-800-733-4737 or go on line at Revival Fires International. Our youth need God’s truth desperately. Don’t we all.
Posted 8/14/15 at 8:12 AM | Karen Kramer
Dana’s pregnancy was exciting to follow—from the earliest baby-bump pictures all the way to the arrival of her firstborn—Aria, a perfectly beautiful baby girl.
Dressed in pink with a ribbon-adorned headband, Aria instantly captured the hearts of her mom, dad CJ, and adoring family and friends. I loved the picture-post updates of this precious baby with her luminously expressive eyes.
At Aria’s two-month check-up, the doctors became concerned about her small size and poor muscle tone.
Tests, specialists, and tense waiting followed. Just a couple weeks later, the doctors confirmed the worst news—she had Type 1 spinal muscular atrophy (SMA)—a terminal disease with no cure.
Aria’s grandma Veda describes SMA as a children’s Lou Gehrig’s disease. As horrible and daunting as that sounds, this family treasures each day they have with Aria and are sharing her story to raise awareness about SMA—the genetic disorder that claims the lives of infants and children. FULL POST
Posted 8/12/15 at 11:16 AM | Karen Kramer
Controversial commentator Glenn Beck shared his Top Ten cities that he feels will “melt down when trouble comes”. Each city has much in common—such as size and progressive government. Here’s the list:
10. Los Angeles, CA
9. Boston, MA
8. Detroit, MI
7. Columbus, Ohio
6. St. Petersburg, Fl
5. Phoenix, AZ
4. Denver, Co
3. Seattle, WA
2. San Francisco, CA
1. Portland, OR
Beck says to avoid these cities like the plague when trouble strikes—especially Portland—that bastion of liberal thinkers. When questioned about why he selected the cities, Beck pointed to their “progressive” politics—but even more telling is the fact these cities are the LEAST religious in America.
In times of crisis, having a God-inspired foundation makes all the difference. We know from His Word that tribulation will come. May the Christians dwelling in the Top Ten cities take heart and ask God to shine His light through their lives. And may the rest of us pray for wisdom as we navigate these turbulent times.
Posted 8/7/15 at 12:39 PM | Karen Kramer
Finally retailers are getting the message that too much is too much. With Cosmo’s racy covers and highly suggestive tag lines luring teens to buy and find out what’s inside, parental patrons have complained loud enough to make a difference.
Walmart along with Rite Aid and Food Lion are putting Cosmopolitan behind blinders. Our kids need to be protected from Cosmo targeting young girls. Cosmo is filled with all the “juicy details” of various sexual acts and seeks to titillate folks standing in the check-out aisle.
Thanks to the national Cosmo Harms Minors campaign more retailers are getting the message that the magazine doesn’t deserve the prominence it has received front and center in the store. And it also appears that Cosmo is getting a clue that if their magazines are covered they won’t sell as well. Cosmo editors seem to be toning down their shock and awe sexy headlines. The outcry works, America. Speak up. Things can change if we are willing to join together for the right changes.
Posted 8/7/15 at 8:55 AM | Karen Kramer
Thanks to social media, millions are fully aware of poor Cecil the lion’s demise. News reports, blogs, and demonstrators said it all.
But the bigger story was missed. And it’s vastly more important than Cecil. It’s about Cecil’s homeland and the suffering people living in Zimbabwe.
The story goes way back to 1980 when Robert Mugabe became president. A country that was once the proud breadbasket of southern Africa became one the poorest nations in the world. In less than 30 years Mugabe destroyed the economy. With 90% of his population unemployed and a national inflation rate of 250 million percent, the utter hopelessness caused 2 million people to flee.
Besides economic disaster, Mugabe unleashed horrific brutalities on his people. He’s been blamed for the bloody massacre of over 20,000 people of the Ndebele tribe that opposed him. During elections hundreds of opposition supporters have been killed and thousands were beaten and intimidated. FULL POST
Posted 8/4/15 at 1:23 PM | Karen Kramer
Many in the Millennial generation are disconnected from Jesus. Some raised in the church have disengaged at one of the most critical parts of the journey.
Others never knew Jesus and now face a daunting world of career and relationships. Reaching Millennials is the mission of Engage. The American Family Association recognized the need to build a platform for the 20-somethings in our culture to share their experiences and relate God’s truth to the changing culture they now must work and raise their families.
Offering God’s Word, and perspective from those sharing this journey gives readers the opportunity to talk about families, money, ministry, TV, books, entertainment, and all the other influences surrounding them. Launched on Facebook and Twitter, Engage seeks out those longing for true spiritual connections in a time where some have given up on church. The goal? No matter what the topic, Engage hopes to help build a Biblical worldview with its readers. This is the generation likely to direct the course of our post-Christian nation. Perhaps, God willing, the Millennials could reverse our downward course.
Posted 7/31/15 at 11:05 AM | Karen Kramer
Our dreams give us hope for our future. But what happens when our dreams do not work out? Could be that God has a better dream for us.
Long, long ago as financially strapped newlyweds, our dreams gave us hope for a future we could not see.
Our day job was not what we wanted to do with our lives. It was just the means to pay our bills and buy music gear so we could do what we really wanted to do, which was to be famous musicians.
How easy it is to look ahead and forget to appreciate where we are.
While our music dreams would mean working together, making money at what we loved doing, we often overlooked that we were already working together and making money, even if it was not writing and performing music.
Could we appreciate what we had even if it meant never making it in the music world?
I gave up first. Playing music in a lounge was not my idea of success. Writing catchy advertisement jingles seemed to cheapen it even more. I will not even discuss my brief stint as a DJ. My music dream was not delayed; it had died. FULL POST