Inspirational

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Posted 5/18/17 at 2:11 PM | George Smith

Travel Diary: Visiting the God’s Miraculous Creations in New Zealand

new zealand cardboard cathedral

New Zealand is divine. It is one of those must-go destinations for any Christian looking to relax and unwind as they enjoy the beauty that is in God’s magnificent creations. You remember instances you have marveled at nature and seen God’s architecture at play? Well, New Zealand will give you a lot of those moments.

As a first-time New Zealand tourist, I was faced with so many options of where to go and what to do - just look at some of the locations you can visit in New Zealand. I wanted a memorable trip and that is exactly what I got. Out of the many experiences I got from my New Zealand tours, below are some sites I would definitely recommend to anyone.

Lake Taupo

This was one of my favorites. It does not get as spiritual as water; it was there in the beginning after all. Lake Taupo is so large a lake that it becomes impossible to see what lays at the other ends of the shore. According to New Zealand history, it was formed after a volcanic eruption that happened almost 2000 years ago. There are so many things to do around this site. FULL POST

Posted 5/18/17 at 1:38 PM | Karen Kramer

Her Royal Highness, Mt. St. Helens

National Geographic

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 Kramer

Mom Malpractice

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

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

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 Kramer

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 4/22/17 at 3:56 AM | Diane Castro

"Come What May, I Will Run"

“Come what may, I will run.”

I picture every runner of the Boston Marathon echoing these words of Ahimaaz, who was determined to run to King David to deliver the news of victory in battle (2 Sam. 18:23). Each one has his or her own reasons and faces unique challenges and hardships, but all are absolutely determined to run the race, despite the obstacles.

In 1966, Roberta “Bobbi” Gibb applied to run the Marathon but was denied entry. “Women aren’t allowed, and furthermore are not physiologically able,” wrote the race director. At that time, AAU rules did not allow women to run more than a mile and a half competitively, but Gibb had been training for Boston every day for two years, sometimes running as much as 40 miles in a day. Fired up, she took a four-day trip on a Greyhound bus from her home in San Diego, arriving in Boston the day before the race. On race day, she slipped into the pack with the men and ran the entire route, becoming the first woman to complete the Boston Marathon. FULL POST

Posted 4/13/17 at 9:27 AM | Michael Bresciani

Jesus Resurrection – Proof that Death is a Failure

After centuries, the hordes that sit and swoon to the classicality of Shakespeare are yet unaware that William the bard of bards was woefully mistaken.

Shakespeare proclaimed:

“Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player

That struts and frets his hour upon the stage

And then is heard no more: it is a tale

Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,

Signifying nothing.”

Like everything else in this waning world of woe it is the one event called, the resurrection of Christ, which stops the flywheel of time and sends it in the other direction. Now it is death that is the poor player who struts and frets for his brief hour of time.

Death will be heard no more, the tale told by an enemy of God, a deceiver, an idiot, who thinks that his fury can forever cause men and angels to cower, fear, flee or fall into an unknown dark and foreboding eternal blackness. FULL POST

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

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 3/30/17 at 11:44 AM | Karen Kramer

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 Kramer

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

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