iOS app Android app

Susan Kraus
Susan Kraus, MSW, is a therapist, mediator and travel writer. Her novel All God's Children, book two in the Grace McDonald series, centers on a custody battle over a child who has been raised in the Westboro Baptist Church, and is scheduled to be released in late September, 2014. Susan lives in Lawrence, Kansas, with her husband, Frank Barthell. For more on her novels and travel writing, go to

Entries by Susan Kraus

Christmas According to the Westboro Baptist Church

(41) Comments | Posted December 23, 2014 | 11:18 AM

Silent night, awful night,
You have no peace; you're full of fright,
God's righteous anger is close and near,
His hate for this nation is painfully clear,
Behold the wrath of the lamb, Behold the wrath of the lamb.

When we first hear the voices,...

Read Post

Why the United States Needs a "Ladenschlussgesetz"

(0) Comments | Posted December 15, 2014 | 12:26 PM

This past November, most major retailers opened on Thanksgiving Day. Without fanfare, the one non-religious holiday dedicated to family, sitting around a table laden with food and good will, sharing with our friends, going for a walk or taking a nap ... the day for appreciating what we have instead...

Read Post

A Year After the Flood, Estes Park Is Back

(1) Comments | Posted September 25, 2014 | 3:51 PM

It was, at first, back in September of 2013, just a rainy day. Then another. Then another. It's hard to say exactly when a few rainy days became more than coffee-shop complaints, more than "Getting pretty wet around here." Hard to pinpoint when irritation became worry and worry flipped into...

Read Post

'The Divorce Girl': A Novel for Divorcing Parents

(1) Comments | Posted August 21, 2014 | 12:28 PM

Divorce fiction is hot. There are categories for women's divorce fiction and teen divorce fiction and kid divorce fiction and even men's divorce fiction. Parents buy kid divorce fiction to help kids cope as their lives get turned inside-out. I'm not sure who buys teen divorce fiction as the teens...

Read Post

Wine-Tasting, Hiking, Rudesheim and the Rheingau (Why Rick Steves Might Want to Reconsider)

(0) Comments | Posted June 11, 2014 | 5:07 PM

I was smack in the middle of wrapping up work, deciding on what to pack and squeezing in a few last-minute doctor appointments when it hit me: "I need a Rick Steves," I thought. Two minutes on Amazon, and it was done. Rick Steve's "Germany" would be delivered the day...

Read Post

Wiesbaden (Why I Like It and Why Rick Steves Should Reconsider)

(0) Comments | Posted June 7, 2014 | 3:51 PM

I was smack in the middle of wrapping up loose ends with work, deciding on what to pack and squeezing in a few last-minute doctor appointments when it hit me. "I need a Rick Steves," I thought. Two minutes on Amazon and it was done. Rick Steve's "Germany" would be...

Read Post

Why Rick Steves Is Wrong About Wiesbaden, Mainz and Rudesheim

(1) Comments | Posted June 2, 2014 | 4:20 PM

I was smack in the middle of wrapping up loose ends with work, deciding on what to pack and squeezing in a few last-minute doctor appointments when it hit me. "I need a Rick Steves," I thought. Two minutes on Amazon and it was done. Rick Steve's "Germany" would be...

Read Post

Paris: Pickpocket Angst and Random Acts of Kindness

(0) Comments | Posted May 28, 2014 | 1:02 PM

There's been a lot written about the pickpocket problems in Paris. Prior to a recent long weekend, I was treated to descriptions of how co-workers, or their friends, had been ripped off.

"We were in the Metro," one explained, her voice rising with indignation, "and had our bags under...

Read Post

Serendipity at the Musee d'Orsay

(1) Comments | Posted May 27, 2014 | 1:09 PM

Tourists often feel compelled to see famous art. They stand in line for hours for the Mona Lisa in the Louvre in Paris, for Michelangelo's Pieta in Rome. But more interesting, as a traveler, is to seek out the originals of whatever art you have hanging on your walls. Learn...

Read Post

What's Really Going On With the Westboro Baptist Church? An Interview With Rebecca Barrett-Fox, WBC Expert

(6) Comments | Posted March 20, 2014 | 4:03 PM

Editor's note: This interview was conducted before news broke that Westboro Baptist Church founder and longtime leader Fred Phelps has died.

The following is an interview with Rebecca Barrett-Fox, Ph.D., who spent years studying the Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) and their position in both theological and cultural traditions....

Read Post

The Last Time I Saw Fred Phelps: Inside the WBC

(0) Comments | Posted March 18, 2014 | 4:26 PM

The last time I saw Fred Phelps was last year when I attended services a few times at the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka.

No, I am not a religious bigot in search of like-minded souls. I went for research.

The church was unassuming. Fake wood paneled...

Read Post

Travel Insurance That Can Save Your Life

(1) Comments | Posted March 17, 2014 | 9:52 AM

Dan Kundin was an independent guy, even at age 89. So, when he decided to go on a round-the-world cruise, his daughters, Liz and Susan, didn't see a big problem as long as he had travel insurance. No one really fretted about what could go wrong.

Until it did....

Read Post

Getting Naked With Strangers: The Baths of Baden-Baden

(3) Comments | Posted March 14, 2014 | 6:17 PM

It's tough for many women to go naked in our 60s. The once perky parts slope downwards. There are stretch marks and cesarean scars, droopy tummies and thighs that move at their own pace. In U.S. society, while the young and firm can parade in thongs, there is no place...

Read Post

Budget Vacation? Try Language School

(0) Comments | Posted November 16, 2013 | 1:54 PM

Aqui was mi problema: "Quiero apprender mas espanol porque hablo solamente un little y solamante en el presente." I was tense challenged.

Think very bad Spanglish.

No matter. I wanted to upgrade my Spanish, to see if the old brain could still learn to conjugate. And with only a week...

Read Post

Armistice Day, Ieper and the Last Post

(0) Comments | Posted November 11, 2013 | 11:09 AM

This year marks the 95th anniversary of Armistice Day. On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 an armistice was signed by the Germans and Allies to stop the trench warfare on the Western Front. In countries around the world, people pause at 11...

Read Post

Post-Pageant: What's 'America's Choice' Doing Now?

(0) Comments | Posted October 18, 2013 | 3:53 PM

It's been just over a month since Theresa Vail, Miss Kansas, Sgt. Vail, the only Miss America contestant in the military, won the "America's Choice" vote-of-the-people at the Miss America pageant in Atlantic City. It was the first time ever that a small state won the America's Choice as it...

Read Post

Live From Boardwalk Hall: Miss America!

(0) Comments | Posted September 16, 2013 | 4:21 PM

Tip # 1: Bring binoculars. Even though they have giant screens for the thousands in attendance, there is lot happening on the very big stage, and all around the hall, that's a lot more interesting than what is being shown on national TV.

Tip #2: If you have ever...

Read Post

Miss America Parade Is Home in Atlantic City

(0) Comments | Posted September 16, 2013 | 11:13 AM

Atlantic City, the "Boardwalk Empire," is in high gear with the return of the Miss America Pageant. To listen to locals, it would seem as if Miss America were kidnapped back in 2006 when the venue was moved to Las Vegas.

"Miss America has a history of being here,"...

Read Post

Will the Next Miss America Wear Combat Boots?

(19) Comments | Posted September 3, 2013 | 5:45 PM

There is a Miss America contestant this year whose platform is "Empowering Women: Overcoming Stereotypes and Breaking Barriers."


Her name is Theresa Marie Vail, Miss Kansas, and she'll be breaking a few barriers herself.
Theresa is in the military....

Read Post