God's daughter. Woman of faith. Wife of Tom. Mother of two. Grandmother of one. Volunteer to many.
Posted 3/11/14 at 9:57 AM | Karen Farris
Millions of young girls play imaginary games with the impossibly thin Barbie, complete with her stick-straight legs, and a waistline that only a corset could make possible.
No wonder girls are confused when adolescence brings curving changes not resembling her beloved Barbie.
Developing a healthy female body image is challenging in a media-saturated culture with silicone-enhanced, air-brushed bodies.
And Barbie is where it all begins.
Wanting to give young girls an alternative, Nickolay Lamm took his skills as an artist and researcher and began developing a doll that more accurately reflects a teen girl. Using the average body measurements of 19 year-old girls (statistics from the Center for Disease Control) Lamm created a realistic doll for young girls and his goal was to show that “average” really is beautiful.
The Lammily dolls are healthy, fit, and shaped like most teens girls we know. Lamm hopes that as young girls play with these “average-shaped” dolls their minds will develop realistic expectations. Young girls will see the Lammily doll as real and those photo-shopped models in glossy advertisements as fakes. FULL POST
Posted 3/8/14 at 9:51 AM | Karen Farris |
In the corner of the garden are three rows of blackberries. The fruit I love, taking care of their thorny canes, not so much. In late winter, with long sleeves, thick gloves, and a sharpened sniper I face the gnarled mess.
My inclination is to walk away, but instead, I begin snipping off last year’s browned and brittle canes. I quickly discern that I’m tardy to the party.
New growth is already happily growing over last year’s decaying jumble and rooting itself where it doesn’t belong.
Blackberry therapy is all about cutting off the old while firmly attaching the new to the heavy-duty wire supports. The blackberry patch is a lot like me—complete with brittle, old brambles needing to be pruned off and thorny branches attaching themselves far away from the sturdy vine. Carefully avoiding the thorns, I affix each haphazard young branch close to the main vine—so it can thrive near its source of nutrients.
The fiercely independent blackberries are not easily tamed. Reluctant obedience—just like my own can be. Blackberry thorns routinely embed themselves in thumbs and fingers. Days of painful festering follow. I wonder how many of my thorny words have caused festering wounds? Just another way I share the bramble-like world of blackberries. FULL POST
Posted 3/5/14 at 9:34 AM | Karen Farris |
Last year a pastor challenged me to use the forty days leading up to Good Friday as a way to prepare my heart for Easter, maybe sacrifice something, fast, get rid of a bad habit or develop a good one. Living Lent became my new starting point to celebrating Easter.
Throughout those 40 days, I asked the Lord to help me think of someone who might be hurting, or struggling with a problem, or just needing a cheerful reminder that he or she was special. I’d visit, send them a letter or an email. Since then, I’ve continued to seek out those who could use encouragement. But while that was thoughtful and kind, I knew I hadn't challenged myself.
As another season of Lent begins it’s another forty-day opportunity to examine my life. While I don’t think I have glaringly bad habits, I was reminded of something I’ve tried to avoid, ignore, and deny, but sensed that Lent could be a time to reveal it—my selfish pride. FULL POST
Posted 3/4/14 at 2:09 PM | Karen Farris
The legal team for the Romeike family, the German homeschooling family who had been denied legal status in the United States, were just informed by the Department of Homeland Security that they can remain in the United States. It is referred to as an “indefinite deferred status” meaning that the family can stay permanently unless they are convicted of a crime. Those who supported this family as they sought sanctuary here in America credit God for this amazing resolution, especially after the Supreme Court denied reviewing the Romeike case. The Home School Legal Defense Association appreciates all the prayers and those signing the petition to help this family.
Posted 3/3/14 at 10:07 AM | Karen Farris |
Even in a virtual world, we still need real money. Bitcoins—a global virtual currency, recently came within inches of an all out collapse. Mt. Gox, one of the world’s largest Bitcoin exchanges, couldn’t account for 850,000 coins—an amount of $425 million—and quickly filed for bankruptcy in Japan.
They released a statement saying, “The company believes there is a high possibility that the Bitcoins were stolen.” Gives depositors a warm fuzzy feeling, I’m sure.
Bitcoins have been used in the global online world for several years, but being unregulated and open to speculators causes tremendous fluctuations in its valuations.
Without regulations, it’s hard to convert fiat currency into a virtual bitcoin deposit. Imagine buying something for $100.00, but by the time your transaction completes fifteen minutes later, your bitcoins are only worth $25.00? Fluctuating speculation backs bitcoin’s value, thus it’s not a reliable medium of exchange. FULL POST
Posted 2/28/14 at 9:47 AM | Karen Farris
First of all I'd like to thank you. What you did was something I hope that I'd do for your dad if he lived in my town.
He’d come to the courthouse to pay his car license fees, but not knowing where to go, he entered the wrong end of the monolithic building.
I’m sure you could see he was elderly, but then you must have noticed how tired he seemed.
When he asked you where he needed to go, instead of pointing the way, you had him sit in a nearby chair. You walked the lengthy hallways to complete his transaction. I'm not sure why, but I cried when I heard what you did.
Maybe it was a small act, something you'd have done regardless, but it was your kindness that touched me so deeply.
How often have I brushed past the aging in my own community in my rush to complete my own to-do list? FULL POST
Posted 2/26/14 at 10:36 AM | Karen Farris |
The Austin Institute for the Study of Family and Culture produced a ten-minute video explaining the dynamics of sex and how it impacts relationships. Reducing sex to an economic commodity was not God’s idea, but it has happened. As this video circulates on social media, it could create a much needed debate about why sex is being so abused. It’s a cultural war and one that won’t be won without consensus among the ones that it affects the most—and that’s women. Watch and see what you think.
Posted 2/24/14 at 11:24 AM | Karen Farris
Gloomy, rainy Mondays can stifle even the most cheerful, but there’s an elderly man walking the streets who will change all that. I met him.
He has a clicker in his pocket and as he walks his five daily miles, he tracks how many smiles per hour he gets.
Going in grocery stores he walks the aisles to see who will shine their light for him. At the cash register he notices that the checker’s smile can bring a smile to the shopper.
Then the old man can get two clicks at once.
I asked him where he sees the most smiles—at the coffee shops and toy stores. No kidding.
Isn’t that where we can relax enough to realize that life is more than our desk, or our work station? It’s the people we see.
And just like the old man, we can either add to the smiles per hour, or leave those we see with the gloominess of a face without a smile.
He said it best, “You don’t have to feel like smiling to do so, but when you smile, you can’t help but feel better.” Happy Monday.
Posted 2/21/14 at 9:41 AM | Karen Farris
It was several years ago, but in my mind the scene could have been yesterday.
A friend had been blindsided by a bottle of pills. An overdose.
This wasn’t some anonymous person I would read about in tomorrow’s newspaper, but my friend’s daughter.
Standing on either side of a gurney, our hushed hospital voices pleaded for God’s mercy. We looked past the IV tubes and the machines bleeping their numerical stats and remembered a much younger girl twirling around the living room pretending to be a ballerina.
Driving home from the hospital, I asked myself all the questions I couldn’t ask in the hospital. When had this precious little ballerina become a drug addict and why?
My friend’s daughter hadn’t been smoking pot, snorting cocaine, doing meth, or shooting heroin. She’d been buying prescription drugs from friends of friends. The journey from the emergency room to one treatment center after another was a long one. Getting past the opiate bondage wasn’t easy or cheap. It seemed like her life was a constant rerun of a horrible movie. And it was a movie her whole family had to watch too. FULL POST
Posted 2/17/14 at 8:33 AM | Karen Farris |
This week newsstands will be graced with the annual Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue.
Since it’s the golden anniversary the editors seem to have lowered the smut bar even further. The cover shows three topless girls (with backs to the camera) accentuating their thong bikini bottoms—and a revealing side view of one young woman’s voluptuous breast.
The annual swimsuit issue always outsells all other SI editions. And after fifty years, SI has progressively become more risqué. Soft porn is an accurate classification.
Yet, this issue will be prominently displayed at grocery and convenience store checkout stands nationwide. While adults may be immune to the skin show, kids can’t help but see this blatant indecent exposure, robbing more of their innocence, yet again. FULL POST