Friday Tidings

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Posted 5/4/17 at 11:02 AM | Karen Farris

For the Love of the Future

Pinterest Ivan Welton Fitzwater

After a few weeks in the classroom, Anne knows which kids are struggling.

Sometimes its money.

She has a ready supply of pens, paper, & binders to give away.

Kids come to school ill-equipped for cold weather. She hits the secondhand stores for an assortment of warm sweaters, coats, and boots.

And before the high school’s spring dance, she’s scanning consignment racks for cute prom dresses and guy’s dress shirts. Her students won’t be left out because they didn’t have anything to wear.

Some students need more time than a class period. So, Anne keeps her door open so students have a place to go after school. Sometimes she’ll even ask a student to stay after school.

It’s more than just homework catch-up, it’s because she cares about their future. She knows that school is their ticket to a hopeful future. FULL POST

Posted 4/27/17 at 1:03 PM | Karen Farris

More Years = More Stories

I loved playing tennis as a teenager. When I was learning how, my dad and I practiced on a dilapidated court next to the town’s nearly abandoned airport. No one was around to watch us and we’d make up games as we played. I think we laughed more than anything.

For my 15th birthday, Mom even created a tennis racket shaped cake. I can’t recall the wishes I made before blowing out the candles, but with all the erratic expectations of youth, anything was possible.

A couple birthdays later, I remember staying after class for help on my English essay. My teacher sat on the edge of her desk, and in a thoughtful way cautioned me that taking school too seriously wouldn’t be good for my health.

Life was more than school. She was right, but I hadn’t experienced enough life to understand what she meant.

Two birthdays after that, when I had discovered that life was indeed much more than school, I went to a college that focused less on grades and more on the love of learning. FULL POST

Posted 4/20/17 at 11:31 AM | Karen Farris

Prodigal Nation

Keep Calm

While waiting for a repair, I noticed an elderly man reading the Wall Street Journal. As he folded the paper, our eyes met and I commented on the headlines.

He raised a bushy eyebrow.

I ventured to ask what he thought about the North Korean threat. He frowned, but then in what must have been a time-honored tradition of respect, the old man rose, bowed slightly, and politely shared that his name was Sidney.

Sidney counted off the fourteen presidents he’d lived through—recalling their achievements and enumerating their faults.

As a veteran, he also knew every American overseas military engagement. He explained that nuclear threats aren’t new, but there are now more diabolical players in the game.

Wikimedia

“Did you hear that Iran’s Ahmadinejad wants to be president again?” he asked. FULL POST

Posted 4/11/17 at 7:29 PM | Karen Farris

The Sacred Thin Places

I learned about “thin places” when a pastor explained that it’s where the veil between heaven and earth becomes so thin you can feel God’s closeness in a new way.

The pastor’s thin place was a circle of enormous redwood trees.

I’ve been on mountain tops and in lush valleys. Near quiet lakes and places so pristine that I wondered if anyone had set foot there before.

But I wouldn’t say I experienced being in a thin place. Maybe I’m too earthy to feel much heavenly closeness.

Then I remembered a tiny room in an old trailer home we lived in decades ago. We’d brought our premature daughter home in the middle of a very cold winter.

We had to keep our baby warm and feed her 3 ounces of milk every ninety minutes. After one early morning feeding, I was holding her, rubbing her tiny back as she writhed in pain trying to digest the small amount. Tears slid down my cheeks as I wondered why it had be so hard for her. FULL POST

Posted 4/6/17 at 3:04 PM | Karen Farris

Porn Wins Marriage Loses

“My marriage was a complete lie.” my friend wrote.

I could sense the tears that came with those words. The beautiful beginning—complete with a flowing white gown, ring bearer and flower girl, had come to this twisted ending.

She then wrote, “We were doomed from the start, because I didn’t know what he was hiding.”

The story came out in staggering sentences. It’s one thing to sit on the other side of a table, reach across to hold a hand and offer a measure of comfort. It’s totally another to read the devastation, line by line in an email.

Chalk up another one on the side of Porn Wins.

She found out about her husband’s porn use when he’d inadvertently left his favorite computer site open by mistake. Upon questioning, there was a confession, apologies, and a sincere desire to quit.

“But that was a lie too. He never quit, he just found different ways to deceive me.”

Yet, the marriage continued with grace and forgiveness. Then came his slightly accusatory statements, like, “You need to trust me.” “You’re making it a bigger deal than it is.” “You need to get over it.” FULL POST

Posted 3/30/17 at 11:44 AM | Karen Farris

America’s Pastime

Baseball’s opening day is nearly here, but fewer people care. Will a new generation even give it a chance?


Our son loved baseball. A day at the ballpark brought plenty of excitement. Well, back then it was easier to keep a kid’s attention before the hyper-digital age.

Besides the aura of the stadium and seeing a live game, some of the friendly MLB players would take time to sign autographs beforehand.

Talk about inspiring a young ball player! Recently a sportswriter lamented that baseball has lost its appeal.

We just don’t move at a nine-inning pace anymore. That may be true, but listen to how much we talk baseball:

For the successful sales team: “They hit it out of the park”

How about when we need a rough estimate of a repair: “Can you ballpark it?” FULL POST

Posted 3/22/17 at 4:47 PM | Karen Farris

Passing the Baton

It’s track season once again. I loved watching my son compete—and his individual events were so exciting.

But there was something special about his relay races. In the dicey “exchange zone” the baton is passed from one runner to the next. They have mere seconds to make a clean exchange in the zone, without dropping the baton or taking precious seconds off their time.

It’s a skill the team routinely practices and in competition; their mission isn’t just passing the baton, but winning the race.

I was wondering how Millennials are feeling as they reach behind to grab the baton from our generation (Boomers)?

Just how are we doing in the exchange zone? This much is certain: we are passing a baton weighted down with national debt. A debt they didn’t create on their own. FULL POST

Posted 3/16/17 at 1:23 PM | Karen Farris

When I Lost One for the Team

I learned the hard way that it’s not always what you say, but how you say it.

I stood before the tribunal of unsmiling judges. Having completed the debate competition was hard enough, to now face their criticism was worse.

My teammate and I had argued our case about America’s broken welfare system against a formidable twosome.

Now the four of us had to stand and listen to why we’d won or lost. To say it was humbling is mild. The judges could tell us we were sloppy in our presentation, or worse, that our arguments were unfounded—a polite way of saying that we were blowing smoke and didn’t know what we were talking about. You couldn’t fool the judges—they could shoot holes in your logic, and would expose any shoddy research.

Sweat was sliding down my back as it became my turn to hear their critique. Later, I would wonder why this was something I enjoyed doing, but for now, I respectfully stood and listened. FULL POST

Posted 3/9/17 at 10:53 AM | Karen Farris

Deliberate Act of Kindness

In my typical manic effort to get in and get out of the grocery store quickly, I nearly missed something that made my whole day.

While standing two grocery carts behind an elderly woman’s full cart, I mentally calculated the odds of getting faster service at the self-checkout.

But the self-checkout line snaked back into the aisles leading up to it. Who knew how far back it went. I had more than the 15-item maximum for the quick line, so I stayed put.

The elderly woman closely observed every item as it was scanned and the price that it charged. Even though the little payment machine kept beeping at her, she made no attempt to put her card in the chip reader.

The clerk announced the grand total and the woman slowly opened her purse and pulled out a wallet. Focusing her eyes on the bills inside she carefully started counting out the amount owed.

I noticed that all of us behind her were watching those shaky hands methodically lay down dollar bills—one by one. FULL POST

Posted 3/6/17 at 2:13 PM | Karen Farris

Thank you, Christian Post

Only God could have known what this naïve blogger would experience in her time with Christian Post.

Back when I first inquired if I could post on your blog page, I had just begun my blogging journey. Christian Post Blog Editor Barry Bowen, read some of my work and sent me a welcome email.

Friday Tidings was official.

I was a small writer among some amazing bloggers—Tim Challies, Phil Cooke, and Robin Schumacher.

I read more blog posts than I ever wrote. I honed my craft, cringed at some of the comments I received, and developed my own voice.

Thank you for the chance to share.

There were some high points—when I was asked to write about some hot button issues in the news. The lowest point was a blog I posted during the Travon Martin trial. Insensitivity ruled, with a glaringly honest appraisal of his upbringing rather than imagining the cost to a family that had lost a son. FULL POST

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