Posted 3/22/17 at 4:47 PM | Karen Kramer
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 3/19/17 at 9:15 PM | Brittney Moses
“Please don’t let this be another cliché ‘there’s purpose in your pain’ posts” you think, “because I’ve heard it everywhere and it’s becoming white noise. I know scripture. I can quote the usual inspiration in my sleep. But still I am gripped by my pain and this haze won’t go away, things aren’t getting better and this whole ‘having a purpose’ thing seems to be for everyone else but not me. Not like this.”
Between you and me, that’s real.
And this isn’t some 5-part how-to post with magical steps that will remove your experience or guarantee your deliverance by the end of it. That wouldn’t be honest.
But I can be fair enough to say that I get it. You’re not alone in this and you certainly don’t need to shame yourself for where you are. None of us are immune to the tribulations that come with our humanity, even Christians, and it’s time that we start embracing honesty so that we can experience true recovery. And that’s what I hope to offer you- honesty and understanding that will prayerfully lead to a real road of recovery. Because it’s the truth that sets us free. FULL POST
Posted 3/16/17 at 1:23 PM | Karen Kramer
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 Kramer
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 3/4/17 at 2:22 PM | Donna B. Comeaux
WAITING FOR THE MESSIAH
(a fictional short story based on Bible truths and ancient customs)
"Beulah, I do not understand why Avi does it—sit there day after day weaving away, hardly sleeping."
"Shh, Ephah, she will hear you. Let her be. Whatever Avi is doing she has her mind fixed on it and there is nothing we can say to change her purpose. Now, come," Beulah said as she tugged on Ephah's arm.
Ephah pulled away and reached for the long cloth covering Avi's open door. "I think we should go in and sit with her and find out what she is doing, Beulah."
"No! Ephah, do not."
"Are you not curious?" FULL POST
Posted 3/2/17 at 11:28 AM | Karen Kramer
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 2/16/17 at 11:54 AM | Karen Kramer
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 Kramer
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 1/17/17 at 8:44 PM | Karen Kramer
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 Kramer
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