Friday Tidings

CP Blogs do not necessarily reflect the views of The Christian Post. Opinions expressed are solely those of the author(s).

Posted 11/2/12 at 9:14 AM | Karen Farris

Kindergarten Tolerance

I felt I had an advantage since my sister had already been in Mrs. Dayton’s Kindergarten class two years prior. I knew all about the toys and the fun things we’d do. I couldn’t wait for the first day of school. I confess, as the youngest at home, I was spoiled. I won most of the sisterly spats because I whined more convincingly. But once in school, it wasn’t long before Mrs. Dayton sternly warned me to share the miniature furniture in the dollhouse. I was told I needed to wait patiently in the recess line, play by the rules in classroom games, and not repeat the names kids made up to tease other kids.

About mid-year, as another girl and I faced a frowning Mrs. Dayton, I learned there were two sides to every story, and my side didn’t seem to matter right then. As I went back to my desk, Mrs. Dayton admonished, “Karen, you can be nice even when you don’t get your way.”

On numerous occasions, I carried a note home from Mrs. Dayton. Those notes meant my punishment would extend beyond the classroom. Along with learning numbers, letters, and coloring in the lines, I was learning how to get along with others. Back then it wasn’t called being tolerant of others; it was called obeying the Golden Rule. Kindergarten wasn’t my humble beginning; it was the beginning of my being humbled. I can look back now and smile, but at the time it took real effort to want to share, to be thoughtful, and play by the rules. FULL POST

Posted 10/27/12 at 7:26 PM | Karen Farris

The Apocalypse & End Times Prophesy

Some family members used to think I was a bit “tweaked” when it came to end-times prophesy, those wars and rumors of war, the Mark of the Beast, and the dreaded Antichrist. I confess, I read dozens of prophesy books, highlighted passages in the Book of Revelation and then applied it to all of the “signs of the times”. But that was waaaay back in the 70’s & 80’s. I’ve chilled out considerably since then.

However, what I see now reminds me of what I read a long time ago. I’m several decades older and less prone to exaggeration and fear mongering. But the melt down in the Middle East harkens to some very real end-times scenarios. Believe me, I’m all for freedom and ousting despot rulers but I’m troubled about the power struggle that may follow from Islamic extremists. And the Apocalypse is all about extremism at its worst.

Middle East governments are woven together with their religious beliefs. Often there’s nearly no tolerance for faiths other than Islam. I’ll grant that many Muslims live in peace all over the world. But we are negligent not to consider those who profess faith in Allah and consider us infidels. In 2003, I looked into the cavity of what was once the World Trade Centers. Hate manifested itself on 9/11. Reality is that Islamic extremists have two options: do it their way or die. FULL POST

Posted 10/26/12 at 5:43 PM | Karen Farris

Truth Tellers

“And I tell you that on the Judgment Day people will be responsible for every careless thing they have said.” (Matthew 12:36) I wonder if political campaign rhetoric is considered “careless”. Why not?

We’ve come to rely on fact-checkers to determine if those who hold the highest positions in the land are telling us the truth. Then we suspect that the fact-checkers aren’t reliable enough to tell the truth. A long campaign season can get you entranced, jaded, or disheartened. I lean towards the last one.

We’re grown-ups and can understand tough stuff. We’re taxpayers paying for this government monstrosity. Why can’t our political leaders honestly tell us the cost of our debt? No wonder there’s so much uncertainty amongst us. No one knows what to believe or whom to believe. We need the truth. We always have needed it and God knows that it’s the only way we’ll ever be free. For the God-honoring among us, knowing God’s truth and telling the truth go together. So what’s missing in today’s political arena? Perhaps it’s God. FULL POST

Posted 10/26/12 at 9:58 AM | Karen Farris

Dental Chair Perspective

Thanks to an intense fear of getting cavities, I became a manic toothbrusher as soon as I could hold a toothbrush. Throughout my youth my teeth had nary a filling. But one rather humorous escapade changed all that. A couple decades ago when we were broke farmers, my husband and I were demolishing an ugly shed that we’d built.

In this process, my husband didn’t see me and as he swung a large 2 x 4, it connected squarely to the back of my head. It didn’t rattle my brain too much but the impact cracked my four back teeth. Thankfully the teeth didn’t cause any immediate problems but my dentist prophesized that eventually they would. He was right.

Recently, as I sat in the dentist chair with my mouth propped open, I began calculating the cost of four cracked teeth. Not much I could do about it now, so I thought about something else seemingly as hopeless: the US job market.

I observed the new dental assistant, who hoped one day to return to school to be a hygienist. My dentist was young and capable. Certainly there will always be needy teeth. Finding work shouldn’t be a problem for these two. But I have many friends, younger and older, who are out of work. I also see retirees going back to work as checkout clerks because they need money. FULL POST

Posted 10/21/12 at 7:58 PM | Karen Farris

Five Year Old Faith

There’s something incredibly refreshing about the faith of young children. Some might call it gullibility or naïveté. But I see it differently. Sure, you can tell them something untrue and they don’t have enough understanding to doubt you, but if you ever want to experience a different peace, get down on a five year old level and ponder life.

In our daily busyness, we can miss the chances children give us to see their unique perspective. Sometimes their insights can only be described as “inspired”. Younger kids haven’t faced enough rejection and ridicule, so they speak the truth they know. There’s nothing quite like it. And honestly, I’ve missed it.

But my grandson has given me another chance. This past summer he came for a visit and as we sat in the loft of the cabin (where I keep the toys) he asked me about Heaven. I thought for a moment how best to respond, but he offered his own thoughts:

Heaven is soft and warm and everyone smiles. It’s yellow and blue with lots of other colors too. You can run or swim and if you want to you can sleep in. Heaven is the place where everyday is a weekend. FULL POST

Posted 10/19/12 at 9:15 AM | Karen Farris

Sex Slaves: A prison with chains we can’t see

I didn’t recognize the email address but I could tell it wasn’t spam. Several paragraphs quickly explained the unusual request. She’d gotten my contact info from a friend of a friend. Isn’t that how it works? Just enough of a connection that I was compelled to respond. But her words had already shattered my shallow world.

At 14, Tina ran away from home. She had to. Her mom was a druggie and Tina was pretty much on her own anyway. She hated life at home. When her mom combined booze and drugs she’d pass out but the men she brought home didn’t. To those deadbeats, Tina was always the next in line. So she split.

Tina’s face never made it to a missing child poster, because her mom never bothered to report her missing. For Tina, life’s realities hit quickly without a place to go and food to eat. She hitchhiked to the city thinking it would get easier. Little did she know she’d walked into a prison that she wouldn’t escape for ten years. FULL POST

Posted 10/18/12 at 12:50 PM | Karen Farris

Money Can’t Buy You Fans

We’ve been a baseball family since our son was in T-ball. The closest major league team was the Seattle Mariners and our young son loved a rookie named Alex Rodriguez. It wasn’t long before he emulated Alex’s baseball stance and longed to be a shortstop. Young Alex was the consummate baseball idol.

Hey Alex, those Seattle years were magical. We willingly drove the five-hour roundtrip to watch you play. The old Kingdome resonated with cheers for your amazing talents in the field and you were clutch at the plate. You inspired a generation of young ball players.

What happened Alex? We were in the stands during your return as a Texas Ranger. We watched the monopoly money float down from the upper deck as you came to the plate. The boos and catcalls were resounding. You seemed to have chosen money over character. And the fans knew it.

It didn’t change in New York did it Alex? Your personal life fell apart too. When you left your wife and two children that ruined it for me—but for all the young kids who were now old enough to be making their own choices —what about them? FULL POST

Posted 10/12/12 at 9:13 AM | Karen Farris

Spontaneous Vacation

On a whim, which isn’t how I normally operate, my husband suggested a twelve-hour vacation. Time was limited so we knew exactly where to go. Just seventeen nautical miles across from us on the Strait of Juan de Fuca Victoria, British Columbia awaits.

Brilliant blue skies, calm waters and very few October tourists made our escape perfect. Within a couple hours we arrived at the historic Butchart Gardens.

Back in the early 1900’s Jennie Butchart used a depleted lime deposit left over from the family’s lucrative cement company and created a lush flowering garden. Over the years she kept adding more blossoming acreage.

The garden’s cobbled pathways, with assorted colors and fragrances invite a slow measured pace. A sanctuary of flowers and shrubs, waterfalls and fountains invite reflection—which we sorely needed. FULL POST

Posted 10/5/12 at 9:08 AM | Karen Farris

Contagious Hope

A friend told me about an amazing turn around. She offered her time and it was all that was needed to change a life. This is a story where hope really can invite change. ~Karen

Over the two decades Sheila had taught school, she never tired of the classroom. Each night she faced stacks of student papers but she didn’t mind because she felt every student deserved her best. But one incorrigible teen was determined to make her life miserable.

With Craig, each day was a trial. Sheila sensed there was more to him than his failing grades. As the tardy bell rang she could expect Craig and his surly attitude to arrive. Discipline never worked because it was an excuse to leave class. Praising his effort, when he showed any, was met with a mocking smile and a flippant response. Sheila couldn’t seem to reach inside his stubborn resolve to hate school.

Facing the prospect of flunking Craig for the second year in a row, she asked him to stay after class. She’d tried to offer assistance throughout the months, but Craig always shrugged it off. Now she watched him take the news of failure with total nonchalance. Leaning back in his chair, Craig gave his usual mocking smile. He rose and walked out of the room. He might not show it, but she knew he had to feel the despair. The thing about despair is that it’s contagious. Sheila laid her head down on her desk. She’d had difficult students before. But something about Craig tugged at her. She began to cry. At first the tears were for Craig, but then she cried for all the other Craigs who walked out of school defeated. Sheila felt the same defeat. FULL POST

Posted 9/28/12 at 8:35 AM | Karen Farris

Election Depression: You Choose You Lose

What’s election depression? It’s feeling that regardless who wins in November, we all will lose. Presidential elections are about bringing the right person at the right time to make the right changes. But our problems are no longer problems, they’re crises.

It also seems that campaign hostility has gone beyond the candidates. The anger and disappointment, the expectations and the failures are causing a bigger divide among us. No wonder we escape to our media distractions.

Consider our nation’s debt. We can’t keep borrowing. The government isn’t able to do all we expect it to do. Paying back 16 trillion in debt involves higher taxes and more cut backs. Then notice how minority issues cause major strife. We’ll never be able agree on the ideas to fix our nation until we can agree on the ideals we have for our nation. Our biggest ideal should be our freedom. No other nation has ever had as much freedom and privilege. FULL POST

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