Month: February 2015

How Will Brian Williams Celebrate Valentine’s Day?


heartI have to admit that I have no idea. I hope he celebrates with someone he loves more than himself, surrounded by people who love him. On this Valentine’s Day above all others, he needs love.

Love is in the air (click here for the bad 1970s song), and I was, too. I flew back late yesterday from an eldercare visit. If you saw last week’s blog, you know that my parents have been hog-tied by the bonds of holy matrimony for sixty-five years. (My in-laws are holding at a mere sixty-one.) As with any partnership of any kind, there have been good years and bad ones, joy and anger, mountain peaks and valleys.

As I watch them, with Dad on a walker and Mom acting as his caregiver, I see one primary trait: selflessness. Their Valentine’s Day won’t be about red roses and flowers and champagne with dinner. (For one thing, they’d probably hurt themselves trying to remove the cork.)

Except for sharing my gifts of chocolates (truffles for her, caramels for him), today will be like yesterday. They’ll talk about when they dated and argue about whether or not my mother winked at my dad to attract his attention before they were introduced. Dad will tell Mom she is his sweetheart, and she will kiss the top of his bald head as he sits in the chair by the window, watching the world pass by.

They’re not always happy about being selfless. Dad hurts and gets grumpy. Mom gets tired of Dad being grumpy and gets tired. Every day, they get up and do everything all over again. Long-suffering. Consistent. Committed.

My parents exhibit the selfless love of Christ. They remind me that every day should be Valentine’s Day as we exhibit His love in our world.

Fifty Shades of Brian Williams

February is proving to be a disappointing month.

Fifty Shades of Grey is coming to the big screen near you, offering titillating tales of twisted sexual relations disconnected from the daily boredom of love. And Brian Williams’ military mishaps (two) have been revealed, validating his  $13,000,000 annual salary for work on the small screen.

As inherently disgusting as both events are, my deepest contempt stems from their mockery of “the real thing.”

DSC01139While you’re reading this, I’m on an eldercare visit to assist two octogenarians who have been hog-tied by the holy bonds of matrimony for sixty-five years. Have they had sex? Yes, at least twice. (I have a brother.) Have they experienced bondage? Yes. Dad’s bondage is in the form of a walker and two canes (on a good day). Mother’s is as Dad’s caregiver, and her patient resolve is admirable.

They also feel hurt and pain and exhaustion. And humiliation: Dad believed he’s a spectacle every time he leaves the house.

Then there’s Williams. Let’s discard the “everybody makes a mistake” argument. flagHe’s had two hallucinations involving a helicopter. His arrogance discredits and diminishes every service man or woman who rides a craft into the ground. Every soldier or pilot in Afghanistan. Every person deployed to West Africa to fight Ebola. Every border patrol officer and National Guard member. (I’m drawing the line at TSA employees.)

And here’s Williams’ contrite (NOT!) response as he takes a leave of absence. This guy can’t even humble himself to admit he lied!

“In the midst of a career spent covering and consuming news, it has become painfully apparent to me that I am presently too much a part of the news, due to my actions.

As Managing Editor of NBC Nightly News, I have decided to take myself off of my daily broadcast for the next several days, and Lester Holt has kindly agreed to sit in for me to allow us to adequately deal with this issue. Upon my return, I will continue my career-long effort to be worthy of the trust of those who place their trust in us.”

Will I ever have confidence in Williams again? Never. Could a relationship like that depicted in Fifty Shades of Grey ever result in the caring, sacrificial, sustaining relationship I’ll witness this week? Not a chance.

Truth or consequences isn’t just a childhood game or small town in New Mexico. It’s how we’re supposed to live: honestly, with integrity and dignity. Expecting consequences when we fail or fall short. Hopefully, those repercussions cause us to grow and mature, and enable us to contribute to the common good.

I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of imitations. I think it’s time we demand the real thing—from those around us, from those who lead, and from ourselves.

Back in the Saddle

P1000884_2Let me be perfectly honest: I cannot ride a horse. But I do enjoy a smooth camel ride, a preference I share with my protagonist, archaeologist Grace Madison, in When Camels Fly and The Brothers’ Keepers.

Now that the holidays are over, I’m climbing back into the blog-writing saddle while finishing the draft of book 3 in the Parched series. (Yee haw!)  With the help of talented professionals, I’m strategically narrowing my blogging focus so that it reflects the truly amazing and bizarre world I inhabit.

That means no more blogs about the writing process. Plenty of people do those well, and I’m happy to leave writing about writing to them. I may post updates on my work-in-progress because I’m super-excited about Grace’s next adventure in the Near East, which I hope to release in January 2016.

P1030540I’ll post blogs about religion: yours, mine, and theirs. Opinions about archaeology and women’s issues. And posts about environmental stewardship, particularly when it impacts other topics that are important to me—like the Red-tailed hawks soaring outside my office at this moment, or the mountain lion that left her calling card outside the front door. (For the record, be very afraid of the mountain lion. She is a creeper in the fatal sense.)

My goal is to post a blog a week, but never more. And I’ve also begun a monthly newsletter to highlight special offers, sample chapters, global developments—what’s happening in my world.

As always, I’d love to hear from you. Let’s make 2015 spectacular by living vigorously and sharing joy!

(Please note that the e-book of The Brothers’ Keepers is about to end an Amazon exclusive listing, and is $1.99 through February 7.)