God's daughter. Woman of faith. Wife. Mother. Grandmother. Servant to the King.
Posted 7/11/17 at 7:42 PM | Karen Farris
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 Farris
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 Farris
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.
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 Farris
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 Farris
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 Farris
“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
Posted 6/1/17 at 12:24 PM | Karen Farris
Looking over my shoulder into the shadows I sensed someone was there. There had to be somewhere safe to hide.
Someone was following me; I ran swiftly ahead in the dark.
Coming around the side of a building I saw a couple kids huddled together under an eave. An older woman watched over them—they reminded me of chicks tucked safely next to a mother hen—but the woman glared at me with suspicion.
Who could blame her when it was so dark. I tried to squeeze in next to them. She hissed like a cat. I looked at her and then back towards the unknown assailant lurking out there.
My eyes pleaded with her to let me stay. Her hand moved swiftly, and a knife was thrust close to my face. I jumped back and started running.
Looking back, I saw there wasn’t one assailant, but two. My feet sounded loud on the pavement as I ran. The alley was so dark I thought maybe I could hide. FULL POST
Posted 5/24/17 at 12:22 PM | Karen Farris
Several years ago, I read about Betsy Schultz in the local newspaper. Her son, Captain Joseph Schultz, died on Memorial Day 2011—killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan.
Even before Joseph’s burial in Arlington Cemetery, Betsy began working on an idea to convert her large Tudor-styled bed and breakfast into a respite home for grieving Gold Star families.
Losing her only child left her with unimaginable sorrow, but not without purpose. To meet Betsy is to be introduced to inspiration. Even though her son made the ultimate sacrifice for his country, as a Gold Star Mom, Betsy now dedicates her life comforting other Gold Star families.
Over the past few years I’ve watched hundreds of volunteers and thousands of donated dollars come in to renovate this century-old home. Many of the volunteers are war veterans themselves.
Fundraising efforts stretch across our country—just as the loss for Gold Star Families does. Betsy’s heart knows the deepest of pains. But after spending just a few minutes with her you’ll feel her spirit of compassion. FULL POST
Posted 5/18/17 at 1:38 PM | Karen Farris
At age 13 I announced I wanted to be a mountain climber. My parents probably thought it was a phase, but signed me up for a mountaineering course.
My instructor, Glenn, was a retired Air Force colonel and a legend in the eyes of climbing community—he’d been caught in an avalanche and lived to make it an instructional lesson.
Besides climbing techniques, we tackled rigorous physical conditioning—running up steep hills.
I wanted to climb Mt. Rainier. Glenn shook his head no. Our first big climb would be what he affectionately called The Queen: Mt. St. Helens.
At nearly 10,000 feet, it had plenty of challenge with jagged rocks, dangerous crevasses, and ice shelves that could become an avalanche.
At 4:30 AM on a crisp February morn, with headlamps beaming, we began our ascent. FULL POST
Posted 5/10/17 at 2:11 PM | Karen Farris
When I became a mother, Mom told me my life would never be my own again. She was right, and it has been a most amazing, life-changing journey.
And the lessons I’d learn….
It was one of those long nights with a sick child. By the time my 16-month-old daughter finally went to sleep, I collapsed in bed exhausted.
But I’d inadvertently left the cap off a nearly empty bottle of children’s chewable Tylenol pills.
As fate would have it, this was also the night my child learned how to climb out of her crib.
Not quite satisfied with that jail break, she toddled into the kitchen, spied the bottle of Tylenol on the counter, pushed a chair over and climbed up.
She woke me a few minutes later babbling about an empty bottle. A frantic call to the poison control center followed. FULL POST