Friday Tidings

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Posted 3/2/17 at 11:28 AM | Karen Farris

Digging Deeper

Wheat harvest meant working from sunrise until well after sundown. The summer heat felt oppressive even as I sat in the shade for a quick break.

I watched the steady rhythm of the windmill. Up and down. Up and down. Pulling up fresh water from deep down. Regardless of the relentless heat it pumped fresh water.

Grabbing some jugs, I filled them full, slung them in the back of the truck, and drove out to meet the harvest crew.

I pulled onto a dirt track cut into the side of wheat field. The dust rose behind me as I came up alongside the equipment. I heaved the jugs out of the back and watched as the crew enjoyed the cool water.

After dinner, as Grandpa sat resting outside, I asked if the well would go dry since it was so hot. He had me follow him to the truck. We drove a few miles and then turned up a dirt road.

After a dusty stretch we reached a creek. I slid out and walked over. Bending down I felt its coolness. “This water feeds the wells around here.” Grandpa explained. “We dug down deep and it’s never run dry.” FULL POST

Posted 2/23/17 at 1:52 PM | Karen Farris

For the love of Flip Phones

Okay, I am one of those die hard, hold outs, who clings to an ancient flip phone for my cell communications.

No, I cannot ask my phone questions, or view cute videos. Nor can I do my banking, emails, post selfies, or Facetime family and friends.

Yes, I am in the dark ages of digital communications.

Smartphone users have the latest and the greatest. Me, not so much. But I am happy on my lonely island. But Nokia just announced…..hold onto your ever loving smartphone…..they are reintroducing their dumb phone.

There are enough people who desire a phone with a battery life longer than a few hours. People are tired of broken screens and want to carry a virtually indestructible, compact phone. And then there’s this—the latest iPhone 8 is retailing for ONE GRAND.

I am sorry smartphone users, that must really hurt. The new Nokia is going to retail for under seventy bucks. FULL POST

Posted 2/16/17 at 11:54 AM | Karen Farris

Time for Recess

While recess gave our teachers a well-deserved break, the playground taught us life lessons no classroom ever could.


Our mid-1960’s playground was equipped with 12-foot monkey bars with nothing but asphalt below. Kids took turns on the swings and merry-go-round—with the object to swing as high or go around as fast as possible—again with asphalt to catch any mishaps.

No worries though, teachers routinely cleansed open wounds with iodine and a stinging yellow liquid we all dreaded—merthiolate.

Fiercely competitive tetherball and Four-Square games often would outlast recess. The coveted server’s corner was hard-earned and only displaced by losing a game.

A pasture grass field adjacent to the playground worked well for fifteen minute games of kickball, Red Rover, tag, or for indoor recess the most formidable—dodgeball. FULL POST

Posted 2/9/17 at 11:38 AM | Karen Farris

Giving Birth to Love

In a rural Romanian village, baby Anastasia was born. An ocean away in a small Washington town, beautiful Dana cradled newborn Aria.

Amazing joy comes to families as they welcome a child. Aria and Anastasia looked adorable wearing darling bows and the cutest outfits.

Dressing up baby girls is something special no matter what part of the world you live in.

Yet, within months both girls were diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), an incurable, terminal disease.

While it would be easy to spiral into despair, Aria’s family bonded even closer, friends surrounded them, and they purposed to make treasured memories.

When Dana reached out to other SMA families she met Dani, Anastasia’s mother. As the disease affecting their precious daughters became more real, they encouraged one another through terribly frightening days. FULL POST

Posted 2/2/17 at 1:32 PM | Karen Farris

Her Name Was America

Her long black hair and strikingly luminous dark eyes were a contrast to her delicate Indian accent.

Standing before a hundred teens at the leadership camp, she introduced herself,

“Hello, my name is America.”

None of us would ever forget her name, or how her sweet accent slightly altered its pronunciation. She was a first-generation American citizen, and her parents had named her for the freedom and opportunity America offered.

I was in that crowd of teens—where we’d come to learn how to help our schools be places of learning, compassion, and purpose.

We were divided up, and America wasn’t in my group, but I observed her animated energy as she bounded between activities. I had one occasion to stand next to her—as we waited in the dinner line.

We talked about camp, our schools, and the anxious sense that being a high school junior brought. For America, I could tell it meant high expectations. Her parents owned a dry-cleaning store. FULL POST

Posted 1/26/17 at 10:53 PM | Karen Farris

National Spouse Day

No one knows who created National Spouses Day on January 26th, but I love the chance to honor mine.

It was easy to fall in love with the bearded, songwriting, guitar playing guy.

He’d leave sweet love notes for me in my college books (this was waaaay before texting) and play songs for me while I did homework.

He was therapy for my Type A uptightness. But sound engineering was his true forte. He knew how to blend 24 tracks of recorded music into incredible musical productions.

Yet, when the music scene meant living apart, he gave it all up and moved to a farm where we could work together.

Then he poured his life into the farm every hour it required and worked extra jobs to pay the bills.

When we were spending too much time apart, he wanted to find another way.

Who knew that a songwriter-farmer could be such a terrific apple salesman? (Check out that first generation cell phone in his hand). FULL POST

Posted 1/17/17 at 8:44 PM | Karen Farris

Dear Thief

The muddy footprints you left behind after breaking into my daughter’s home have been cleaned, the broken windows fixed, and the insurance company will replace many of the items you stole.

But the jewelry box you grabbed held a special gold ring—a lovely garnet with two small diamonds on each side.

You may not be interested, but those diamonds have a story to tell.

My great-great grandmother squirreled away the money for them during a severe European depression.

No fickle currency for her; diamonds meant security.

Eventually the family sought a better life in America. The diamonds sailed across the Atlantic in the hem of her skirt.

In time, she gave them to my feisty, hard-working great-grandmother—another woman born of steel.

My grandfather secretly called her The Battleax—but he admired her courage in hard times. FULL POST

Posted 1/13/17 at 8:46 AM | Karen Farris

The Power of Love.

Dressed in shiny black shoes, a flowered knee-length dress, white gloves, and a small hat worn atop her curly grey hair, she seemed to step right out of a 1950’s church service.

Widowed for over a dozen years, the elderly woman lived a solitary rural life. But despite the dated clothes, she knew exactly what her son was up to and it wasn’t good.

Thus, her reason to visit us.

Her son was our nearby neighbor. His life had been a zig-zagging road of challenges. Let’s just say that law enforcement knew his name and location.

But he had a mama who loved him. She knew we’d helped him out a time or two.

Now, she’d driven 80 country miles to see us. She wasn’t asking that we give him money—but could we somehow encourage him and give him some hope?

I felt sorry for this woman; she was far too old to deal with broken lives. She didn’t have the means to pay her son’s fines and bail—nor was she hinting that we should offer. FULL POST

Posted 1/4/17 at 9:10 PM | Karen Farris

The Mulligan Lesson

There’s always plenty of New Year’s advice, but I gave my grandson the mulligan lesson.

Dear O,

This is my first letter to you in the New Year! Every year is a fresh beginning and every day is a new start.

As much as you love sports, I thought you might like to learn something about a sport I played. In golf, you can take a mulligan if you blow your first shot.

A mulligan gives you a fresh start if your hit off the first tee is awful. It’s nice because your golf game doesn’t begin badly—you get the gift of a second chance.

In life, we get mulligans too. Sometimes teachers give them if you do poorly on a test when they know you tried hard.

Sometimes coaches give you a mulligan when they see that you have what it takes, even after some missed shots.

Your parents are quick to give you a mulligan if you’re honestly doing what you can to help. FULL POST

Posted 12/29/16 at 6:02 PM | Karen Farris

Our Greatest Epidemic

It’s not heart disease, cancer or diabetes. By 2020 our greatest epidemic will be depression. Neuropsychologist Dr. Michelle Bengston says the number suffering from depression will be greater than heart disease, cancer, and diabetes combined.

Why such an increase?

Medical researchers don’t know. It’s far easier to see the connection between diet and diabetes or exercise and heart disease.

Perhaps depression is increasing because of our comparison complex. Can Facebook take some blame for our nation’s depression?

There is a dark side to social media. Beth Moore said,

“Our social media world is training us up for our greatest complex. We think not only do we need to be great, we need others to know it.”

Futurama Meme

When did we make the mistake that thinking good is not good enough? FULL POST

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