Posts Tagged ‘Karen Spears Zacharias’

Jesus Light of the WorldThe thing about traveling as much as I do is that it is very easy to get lost. I’ve been lost in about every city in every state I’ve ever been in. How many of you can say that?

I got turned around coming out of the Atlanta airport the other night and even though the road signs pointed in one direction, I just knew in my bones that wasn’t the right way to go. So I made a U-turn and went the way my gut told me to go and turns out I was right.

“Bad signage,” I said to my sister-in-law. It’s a terminology I use alot. I stole it from Shelby who stole it from an essay that author Bob Welch wrote.

Life can be like that. Full of bad signage.You think you are headed down the right path and then you find out, ohmygosh, where was it I was headed? Andy Stanley, pastor of North Point in Atlanta, says that it’s our direction, not our intention, that determines our destination.

If one of your destinations, however, is this blog, please take note. My website has undergone a change. One for the better, I hope. I hate to do this to you, but please make note of the new website: karenzach.com.

This blog will be appearing at the new site from here on out. For those of  you who have this bookmarked, all you have to do is to shorten it by taking out the “wordpress.”  So please join the discussions at karenzach.com

Hopefully, you’ll like the new direction I’ve taken.


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march4 (2)

My nephew Zach made it through basic training. He graduates on Friday but today his mom, Gloria, and I attended the Turning Blue Ceremony.


Commander Beachman opened the shindig with a slide presentation. I'd call it a briefing but when it comes to the military, briefings are a misnomer. Still, there was standing room only at the family orientation.


I met a man from Pennsylvania who had two sons graduating. One was 27 and the other 29. He said he wouldn’t have been so surprised if they had done this out of high school, but it’s different when they are older. The economy is lending to the upsurge in recruitment.
It isn’t affecting the number of hats people are buying, however. I saw several women wearing hats today.



nude dress

But take my word for it, this last gal? It wasn’t her hat that everyone was staring at. Especially those troops who hadn’t seen a girl for 10 weeks. At Sand Hill, there isn’t a girl in sight, except the cashiers at the PX.

The Cmdr. said the Turning Blue Ceremony signified the move from recruit to the Infantry. He said the training of previous generations was inadequate, but now the military has seen the errors of their ways and are now acting as “coaches, teachers and mentors” and turning out “products” “Mules” “House” & a “weapon system” that knows how to “destroy the target.”

The Cmdr. noted that there had been “a lot of injuries to lower extremeties” due to the intense training. I translated that for Gloria: “That means he busted their balls.”

As the Cmdr. continued to give a detailed explanation of all the ways these boys had become men in the past 14 weeks, men capable of taking the lead in battle, I walked outside and noticed this sign which tickled me. So, let me get this straight. These men, the ones who are going to fight the war on terror, have to have a sign to remind them not to hurl lugis in public? Shouldn’t they have learned that in first-grade? I’m just saying…


Other than all that it was a very moving ceremony. Gloria began to weep soon as she saw her boys. I made friends with a couple of little girls, one knick-named Tater Head who stood up during the ceremony and yelled out in her loudest 3-year old voice, “HEY CHRISTOPHER.” And another, Abgail, who came dressed to the hilt with matching purse and all for her brother’s ceremony.

It was very sweet. All of it. We are all proud of Zachary for making it through Basic Training.




Is that the best spit-shine you could manage, Son?



Gloria got to put the blue cord on her boy.




Abigail brought along her beautiful purse to her brother’s ceremony.

Lemme Help

And what kind of Infantryman would let a woman walk in heels across a muddy field? Here, Miss, lemme give you a hand with that.

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I don’t know the man personally but I like the man from afar.  The man I’m speaking of is Donald Miller. Miller is the author of Blue Like Jazz,which earned him a cult following among Christians. If you haven’t read BLJ yet, get it now. It’s a terrific book. Donald’s a fine writer. And he’s a decent person, or seems to be, who really knows how decent any of us are in any given moment?

Donald is a Texas native and Oregon transplant. He tells you all that in his book. And although we are both writers and Christians who grew up in the south and now live in the great Northwest, we aren’t like pals or anything. I suppose we could be but it’s not likely to happen given our schedules and age gap and well, Donald is closer to my kids’ age. Not that that makes any difference. Jenny Lynn is younger than some of my kids and she’s still a good friend of mine. But Jenny Lynn worked for Laura Bush, too. She’s unconventional in all sorts of ways.

Ever since we met, back when she was 14, Jenny Lynn  and I have had these spirited conversations. We can talk about anything, frankly. She calls me for advice. I call her for advice. Yes. A mature (by that I mean menopausal) woman can take advice from a younger woman, and probably should do so more often.

There are times when we know to back off the conversation and return to our core values — like during this last election. As you can imagine Jenny Lynn is a huge Bush fan. She was respectful about Obama but we simply could not have a discussion about politics. Every now and then we’d wade into those waters, but not often.

Whenever we did, we’d remind each other how much we love each other and that it’s okay for good friends to disagree. I don’t want friends who only agree with me. (When it comes to MY kids, I feel differently. Then the mom in me comes out.) I love that Jenny Lynn disagrees with me and can articulate why she does and I don’t ever feel like I have all the right answers and she doesn’t know anything because she’s young.

I don’t feel that way about Donald Miller, either, even though he is young. The Vietnam War probably feels like ancient history to him. I’m married to a high school history teacher so I figure if Donald grew up in Texas he spent more time studying the Alamo and the Civil War than he did the Vietnam War. 

I might be wrong. He might have read dozens of books by Stanley Karnow or Joe Galloway or David Halberstam or any number of writers who’ve dedicated their careers or at least a few years of it to dissecting the Vietnam War. Myself included.

But I was surprised by a recent post on Donald Miller’s blog in which he refers to Robert McNamara as doing something noble. That is just not a word that I would ever apply to McNamara. I said as much in the comment section of Miller’s blog. I said plenty, in fact. Maybe too much, given that Miller and I don’t have the luxury of being friends first.

I mean no disrespect but I am still conflicted over Miller’s post and several of the responses to it.

I don’t think that person can go through their life abusing the hell out of others and then, when they are old and lonely, just up and decide, hey maybe I ought to have behaved better and just because they say that, everything is hunky-dorey.

I’m not sure that’s what Miller means either. But he did say that he thought McNamara had done a noble thing because he admitted he was wrong. And even cried over it, apparently, in that Fog of War flick of his that I refused to see.  

My buddy Joe Galloway would likely call those tears of McNamara’s crocodile tears and I’m prone to side with Joe on this one. One of Miller’s blog readers referred to McNamara’s confession as “radical honesty.”  That makes my heart hurt. Physically hurt.

I don’t think Bob McNamara was noble. I don’t know whether he was truly repentant or not. That’s between Bob and his Maker. I don’t hate the man. I don’t feel anything toward him one way or another, except sad.

Sad that so many thousands of lives were destroyed because of Bob McNamara and his deceitful ways.

If I had to choose a word to sum up McNamara it wouldn’t be a nice word and Mama always said if you can’t say something nice, just don’t say anything at all.

I still like Donald Miller. I just think his characterization of Robert McNamara is more fiction than truth. But then that was always the case for Robert McNamara, wasn’t it?


Robert McNamara

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Poe and I may need counseling. I’ll have to check with Susan Isaacs to see how this therapy stuff works out. But we are having some serious issues. If there was a home to send errant dogs to, the way you can with teens, I’d have his bags packed tonight. Instead, he’s going to spend four days in the kennel while I head off to Fort Benning later this week.

Without my phone.

Tim took me on a date tonight. We went to see The Proposal with Sandra Bullock. It’s a great flick. I loved it. Loved it. The dance scene alone is worth the price of the ticket.

But not the price of a replacement phone.

I didn’t take my phone with me. No need for it in a movie theatre, right?

I left it at home.

On the table. Or in my purse. Or on the counter somewhere. I can’t recall. I had spoken to Shelby. Then Konnie and that’s the last call that phone will ever get because Poe ate the phone.

Chewed it up.

Demolished it.

There is nothing this dog won’t put in his slimy mouth. Not a thing.

I love Poe. Love him like a son. Just like a son, come to think of it.

But I be dadgum if I can afford him. He’s eating me out of house and phone.

There are some things a writer just can’t live without. The Love of God, family and the reliability of a computer and cell phone. I mean how will I find my way around Fort Benning without a cell phone in my pocket.

I don’t even know my own kids’ phone numbers. They are all plugged into my phone.

The one Poe ate.

He knew he did a bad thing, too. He knew it. Tim had been calling my phone, trying to help me find it when Poe started for the back yard, but remembering that’s where he had trashed my phone, he turned and ran back to the living room. Acting all the while like “Gosh, who did that? Wasn’t me. Must’ve been that Jack Russell that was hanging in the hood earlier.”

“BAD DOG!” Tim yelled. Then, “I think we solved your phone problem. BAD DOG!”

Pray for Poe. He is in serious need of repentance and forgiveness.

Four days in the kennel will do him some good. Give him time to think about his errant ways.

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Uncle Buck and Tay just got back from Alaska but before they left they planned a surprise 50th birthday party for Sister Tater. Tay made a wonderful Smurf cake. When Uncle Buck and Sister Tater were first dating they collected Smurfs and gave them to each other as gifts. Tay remembered her mom telling that story so she made a Smurf cake.


Uncle Buck, a former cook with the Coast Guard, planned all the food.

Linda. Surprise

Mannie brought his mama. Tater was completely surprised. Her first words were,”I’m not even fixed up.” That Southern speak for I don’t have my face on.

Gabe & me

I found a fella to hang with. This little guy is Gabe. He was named for my nephew Gabe.

Brothers and Baby

That’s Gabe on the left and Mannie on the right. This is with their baby cousin once removed. Sister Tater runs a daycare/preschool for the church so her kids love babies.

Pastor Myron praying

Pastor Myron led the prayer and asked God to give Sister Tater another 50.

Linda, me, Gabe

Yes. She really is my sister. And yes, we really have the same father and mother.

Linda. Pinata

Sister Tater is dangerous with a baseball bat.

Linda with cake

But give her a cake and she’s all smiles.

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So what is former Gov. Palin up to? Has she stepped down because she’s prepping to step up?

NPR reported that Palin said her family weighed heavily in her decision.

“I polled the most important people in my life, my kids, where the count was unanimous,” she said. “Well, in response to asking, ‘Hey, you want me to make a positive difference and fight for all our children’s future from outside the governor’s office?’ It was four yeses and one ‘Hell, yeah!” And the ‘Hell, yeah’ sealed it.”

But just for some more insight, I offer this up. Uncle Buck, the family fisherman, LOVES Sarah Palin. “Anybody who looks that good in a string bikini gets my vote,” Uncle Buck says. “Besides I think she’s a nice lady.”

Family rumor has it that perhaps the reason Palin has stepped down is because of Uncle Buck.


The Cook

He’s just returned from a week in Alaska, where he claims to have been fishing. But we find it compelling that Buck had only been home two days and Palin stepped down. “Do you think maybe she’s pregnant again and Todd isn’t the father?” one family member asked.

Sister Tater doesn’t seem riled by either the possiblity of an affair between her husband and Sarah Palin, or the thought that Sarah may have set her sights on bigger fish.

“I don’t think she’s going to make a run for President,” she said.

What do you think?

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This is a story from my buddy Joe Galloway. I thought it fitting to share as a reminder that war and this freedom we banter about comes at a great cost, then and now.

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