Friday, October 19, 2018

Treason? Not so fast . . .


I am a former naval aviator who served in the Persian Gulf and I am compelled to address Martha McSally’s accusation of treason leveled at Kyrsten Sinema. It was a deplorable, desperate attempt to change the subject in a debate where McSally was clearly outclassed.

It worked. The media gobbled up the word ‘treason’ like catnip. The perfect headline. And in this case, the perfect word to provide cover for what McSally’s debate arguments lacked. This attack was derived from a statement Sinema made during an interview fifteen years ago that was pulled out of context and further mischaracterized by McSally. But that single word has now clouded the previous fifty-nine minutes of debate where Sinema shined.

McSally calls herself a patriot, and Sinema, a protester. But veterans like McSally and myself served precisely to ensure the right of all Americans to protest—a fundamental tenet of our democracy—but it makes us no more patriotic than Sinema or anyone else who exercises this constitutional right.

While I respect McSally’s military accomplishments, I was not impressed with her evasiveness and dubious debate tactics. But Sinema required no such antics. As I watched her give thoughtful answers in a measured, civil tone, offering solutions, not insults, I saw a future United States Senator in action.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Friends in the Hills luncheon


Thank you to Friends in the Hills for a wonderful luncheon last week. I gave a slide show presentation to over 100 members and the women were just delightful. This is a fantastic, welcoming group in Fountain Hills! Thank you Kathleen Rubin and Kathy Dietz!







Friday, September 14, 2018

Mesa Public Library - Red Mountain Branch - September 15th


I'll be at the Red Mountain Branch of the Mesa Public Library tomorrow, Sep 15th, at 1pm, to give a slide show presentation and discuss my navy experience and how it influenced the writing of my books, HOVER and CLEAR TO LIFT.

Would love to have you there!

For more info: https://www.facebook.com/events/678969072465233/

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Wednesdays for Women


Please join me at Sole Sports Running Zone in Tempe on Wednesday, September 19th, at 6:30pm, for Wednesdays 4 Women. I'll be speaking about Finding your Passion Whatever your Age.

Normally, when I find myself at a running or triathlon store, I'm speaking about all things triathlon. This will be a little different, talking mostly about writing and books. So if you're interested in something a little different to break up your week, you should come out to the Tempe store and join us!

Monday, September 3, 2018

John McCain - Maverick, even in death



I’m compelled to comment once more on the passing of John McCain. As was the case with my first post, it’s nothing that hasn’t already been said. But I was compelled just the same, moved by the events from this week that honored the man’s life and legacy. 

A week that included a heart wrenching eulogy from former Vice President Joe Biden in Phoenix, the solemn return of Senator McCain’s casket to the U.S. Capitol Rotunda, the poignant, sometimes funny, sometimes fiery tributes voiced with such eloquence at Washington National Cathedral. 

Oh, that eloquence. 

Complete sentences. Absent hyperbole. Without reference to self. Words spoken with class, dignity, and intelligence. With courage.

And with truth.

I’d forgotten. . . . 

But I digress. 

I’m compelled to write because I need to offer more than just a solemn, ever grateful, and most respectful salute to John McCain. I need to offer a tip of the hat, as well. “Chapeau,” the French would say. Well done.

McCain was a maverick, yes, but a shrewd one, too. A maverick who, in a sublime master stroke, carefully planned his own string of memorial events with the express purpose of delivering a pointed message, not only to his fellow policy makers in Congress, but Americans across the country:  Stop the madness. Wake up, America. Remember who you are.

He orchestrated the delivery of his message with acute intention by hand-picking those who would eulogize him. Cherished colleagues, friends and family, even political rivals—rivals, not enemies—from one end of the ideological spectrum to the other, from all backgrounds, races, religions and creeds. 

He designated the order and location of events, selected the music, and decided who would receive invitations. Every detail attended to. 

Every detail designed to give voice to something that desperately needed saying. And to an audience who desperately needed to hear it. 

At Washington National Cathedral, both sides of the political aisle sat literally right next to each other. Hawks and doves, liberals and conservatives, friends and . . . well, people who needed a littler reminder about American ideals. He sat them down—sat the country down writ large—like an old-fashioned schoolmarm to deliver a classroom lesson.

Sometimes the message was spoken aloud. But really—and what resonated most deeply—was what went unsaid. Not just the implicit condemnation of the current administration. That rebuke rang crystal. But the reminder of what John McCain aspired to. What we should aspire to as Americans. Honor, dignity, integrity. Those morals, those standards, those values were in the air the congregation breathed. They were in the pauses between words. A buzz. A pulse. A drum beat. 

America, remember who you are. . . .
 
John McCain is fighting for our country still. Reminding us that America is an ideal. A promise. And it’s worth fighting for, by all sides. By anyone who cares about freedom and the core premise that all men are created equal.

After the service at the cathedral, I did a cursory scroll through my news feed, spying page after page of the same ugly, rancorous rhetoric, led by the same ugly, rancorous person. A person who is swirling down a dark drain of depravity and is pulling us down with him.  

John McCain saw this. Felt this. And he sent the country a sorely needed wake-up call. Our nation, our ideals, our morals are at stake, just as our standing in the world as the global leader of freedom and human rights hangs in the balance. I can only hope that this reminder of what is good and right in our country is reverberating as strongly through the hearts of my fellow Americans as it is in me. I can only hope that John McCain’s death will galvanize our nation. Send people to the polls in November to right this listing ship. 

To be clear, this is not about voting Republican or Democrat. It’s about standing up as an American to restore the principles and values that transcend party and politics. It’s about finding people who will actually talk to each other once in elected office. A return to some modicum of decency. A relationship model a la Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neill.  

To quote former President George W. Bush from his eulogy, “John's voice will always come as a whisper over our shoulder: We are better than this. America is better than this.” 

John McCain lived, fought, and died with honor. He respected his fellow man, regardless of creed, gender, or color. He inspired others to do the same. 

And he is telling us to own this. Calling us to task. Because collectively, as a nation, we know we’re sliding in the wrong direction. 

More than anything, John McCain was an optimist. So that’s where I’ll leave this. With hope. You can speak your voice and your conscience with your vote. This is in our hands. We can do this. 

This is John McCain’s America.

This is our America. 

Let’s reclaim it.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Weeping for the loss of Senator John McCain


I cannot write any more eloquently about Senator John McCain than what has already been posted in thousands of penned tributes. So, I write today for a somewhat selfish purpose—to vent.

I was not prepared for the emotions that percolated to the surface with the passing of Senator McCain. Weepy episodes that I haven’t experienced since my own mother passed away. Tears that have come unexpectedly, triggered by any number of otherwise benign catalysts. Perhaps, it is that, as a fellow Naval Academy graduate and Naval Aviator, I feel a special kinship with him.

But the more I reflect on why the tears continue to leak, I realize it is more than just the death of this giant of a man. I grieve for the loss of a stalwart vanguard against those who would destroy what makes this country great. Who would excise, with almost scalpel-like precision, the underlying tenets of our democracy. Who do not know honor or decency or civility. Who cannot possibly understand service to country above service to self. Who lack any moral template or resolve whatsoever.

I weep, because who is left to stand up to this?

Our elected officials have a sworn obligation to do so, but I haven’t seen it yet. In fact, I have to wonder, when the majority party sits in Washington National Cathedral on Saturday at Senator McCain’s funeral, if they might fast forward to their own eulogies. What will someone say on their behalf? If written today, I suspect they wouldn’t be too proud of what was said. Or rather, what wasn’t.

I weep, because who is left as a role model for our children? For my own sons?

It is a travesty that my husband and I cannot hold up our president or anyone in his administration as worthy of emulating. It is a shame that we cannot point to Congress and say, “You see, kids, this is what it looks like to act in a bipartisan way. To stand up for what is decent and right. This is what it looks like to put country above party. To put the good of democracy above the good of self.”

I weep, because it is difficult to fathom that the one person who lived and breathed and bled honor is not here anymore.

Because it’s not just my sons I’m worried about. Young men and women across the country are moving through their formative years without any living examples of what good leadership looks like. What good leadership acts like.

They see only an administration that humiliates, denigrates, and eviscerates anyone who disagrees with them. They see only a political majority in the House and Senate who have served as nothing more than flaccid carpets for the mud-soaked boots of this administration.

They see only a president with a vacuous soul, one shockingly absent of empathy, compassion, and love. A president without one shred of self-esteem. A president so petty, so small, he could not honor Senator McCain with a simple “thank you for your service” tweet. Or even keep the flag at half-staff in his honor, until the outcry was so great, he finally caved to the pressure.

I weep, because who do we look to? Who is going to step up?

I don’t think it’s possible to fill Senator McCain’s shoes, but our elected officials could certainly follow his example. They could pull their shoulders back, take a deep breath, and wade into the moral vacuum that is this administration, then roll up their sleeves and get on with it. The history books still have plenty of room left for one or more heroes to stand up for this country, just as Senator McCain did.  

In the meantime, even as my boys gently tease, “Mom, are you tearing up again?” I have to believe that the vast majority of people in this country—even the nebulous, notorious, always-pandered-to “base”—know the difference between right and wrong. Honor and infamy. Hero and hack.

I would like to think I can keep the faith. I would like to think I can continue to hope. I would like to think I can stand strong for my boys in the face of this existential threat to our democracy.

John McCain would keep the faith.
John McCain would continue to hope.
John McCain would stand strong.

No more weeping.

I will do the same.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Rio Verde Book Club


Had a fantastic meeting with the members of the Rio Verde Book Club yesterday. Rapid-fire questions from an animated and awesome group! Thanks for selecting HOVER for your March 2018 read. Most appreciated!

Friday, March 2, 2018

Fountain Hills Book Club


Had a fabulous time with the ladies from the Fountain Hills book club on Wednesday. Awesome questions. Great discussion. Thank you so much!

Saturday, February 24, 2018

St. Bernard of Clairvoux Senior Group


Enjoyed speaking with the Senior Group from St. Bernard of Clairvaux on Wednesday. Thank you for your wonderful welcome and the yummy lunch!

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Avid Readers Book Club



What a great way to begin the New Year by meeting with the Avid Readers Book Club in Scottsdale! Coffee, dessert, thoughtful questions, and a wonderful discussion about books. What could be better? Thank you, Avid Readers. You were wonderful!