Dead Boy’s Devoted Daddy

Editor's Note: This will be my last post on Patheos. I am grateful for the opportunity provided but I feel that my readers will be better served at an ad-free site. Please make note of the new blog address:  I hope you will join me there. Thank you for all your years of engagement. I hope we can continue the dialogue at  Peter was a friend of my husband.  They were both educators. They coached soccer together for several years. So imagine … [Read More...]

Urban Intellect talks Comedy: Jelani Greenidge

I knew of Jelani Greenidge long before I met him. We were friends in Social Media, drawn together by faith and community. So imagine my delight at the Faith and Culture Conference when Jelani and I finally had a chance to connect in real time."Aren't you Karen?" he asked.I don't know how he ever picked me out in a room full of blondes. We all look the same.And thus it began, a conversation that ran smack dab up to the conference we were there to attend, but we kept talking … [Read More...]

The Holiness of a Place

Can you see the holiness of a place beyond the "No Trespass" sign?That moment  when you knew the things unknown even to the "Video Surveillance"?Bowed your heart                         in silent gratitude because words                            nor song were enough.Only sucked … [Read More...]

Appearances: Bristol, Johnson City, & Knoxville

 I am on the road this week. I have a couple of book events lined up in Tennessee. If you are around for either of them, I'd love to see you. Come on out. Bring your friends. Tell your librarians & book clubs. Author SigningJun 22, 2014 2:00 PMBarnes & Noble … [Read More...]

The Problem with Evil

I have been intentionally silent.  Instead of blogging, I have spent time listening to the ramblings  of Elliot Rodger. I watched the news reports of Richard Martinez grieving for his beautiful son, Christopher, one of Rodger’s victims.Mostly I have sat in silence and grieved for the dead and the … [Read More...]

A Soul Void

Let’s get something clear, okay? Hatred is not a mental illness. It is a soul rotted. A soul void ofkindnessgentlenessgoodnessthoughtfulnessempathyA lot of mentally ill folks are good and kind, gentle and thoughtful.Not all, mind you, but most mentally ill folks don’t g … [Read More...]

Elliot Rodger’s Right

 I have been sitting here in silence.Silence broken by birds chirping, dogs barking and this loud bursting of fireworks going off in my head. Behind the veil of gray matter, beauty and terror reside, a couple at cross-hairs. One chillingly silent in the presence of the other's … [Read More...]

Do Something Sacred

 When I went to Vietnam the one thing that disturbed me was the way the Vietnamese exploited their own children for the sake of a dollar. I encountered girls as young as 7 or 8 out on the streets of Saigon (nobody but the press calls it Ho Chi Minh City. HCMC  is a political statement) late … [Read More...]

Summers at Christian Bend, TN

        Wild dogwoods were in bloom when Mama’s Aunt Cil died in spring 1968, and it nearly broke her heart. Aunt Cil was her last physical connection to her mama, Granny Ruth, and with those two matriarchs gone, Mama’s world just crumbled around her. Frank, Linda and I had spent a good bit of … [Read More...]

A Soldier’s Funeral

  The funeral service was held Wednesday morning, August 3, 1966, at McCloud Baptist Church. Mama was up at daybreak. I don’t think she’d slept at all the night before. I could hear her trying to move quietly around the trailer, so as not to wake any of us.Shortly before the sun … [Read More...]

Running on Empty

I had a dentist appointment in Tri-Cities yesterday afternoon. It was one of those appointments in the middle of the day so that whatever writing I was doing had to be put aside until later in the day. I've had a lot of my mind lately in addition to the writing. A lot of things to be praying … [Read More...]

The Lost Father

Today (Saturday, May 17) is my father's birthday. Had he lived we would be celebrating his 82nd birthday. It is a fact that my father has been dead years longer than he was ever alive. He's been dead long enough for the politicians who started the American War in Vietnam to admit to their own … [Read More...]

God loves us like a toddler does

 I awoke with a start early. Just popped up eyes wide open. I used to do that more when I was the mother of young kids. Not so much anymore. Usually these days I wake like a panhandler in need of drink, foggy-headed and aching.It might have been the temperature. Too warm despite having … [Read More...]

About Emily Letts & that Abortion Video

  Writing about the pros and cons of abortion always makes me feel like a hypocrite. How can I possible advise others when I know how wrenching and personal such a decision can be?On one hand I don’t feel the least bit qualified to offer up thoughts about abortion. And on the o … [Read More...]

Holy & Mesmerizing Fiction

   The kindly looking fellow in the light blue shirt pulled me aside moments before my presentation at the library.Your book has made me do a lot of thinking, he said.Oh? I replied.Yes. About mental illness. My mother took  her life. My brother is a … [Read More...]

Dear Mommy Dearest

 I am not getting my mother anything for Mother’s Day, the boy proclaimed. I wouldn’t know where to send it if I did. Instead I’m getting Dad a bunch of frilly things.I’d already heard the story of how the kid’s momma abandoned her son, ran off with another man. The boy is hurt and angry … [Read More...]