Archive - apologies RSS Feed

The problem with ordinary gods

From USA Today:

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. – They gathered around the bronze statue of their former football coach shortly after the news spread Sunday morning. Less than a mile away from Beaver Stadium, Joe Paterno died at Mount Nittany Medical Center at the age of 85.

I went back and forth about whether to write about the passing of Penn State coach and football legend Joe Paterno. In an era of pay for play college football scandals, Joe Paterno demanded and received more from his players. There is no shortage of praise and admiration for this man who loved the game and loved his players. He did so many things right.

“I wish I had done more.”
– Joe Paterno (in the aftermath of the Jerry Sandusky scandal)

“This is a sad day! Our family, Dottie and I would like to convey our deepest sympathy to Sue and her family. Nobody did more for the academic reputation of Penn State than Joe Paterno. He maintained a high standard in a very difficult profession. Joe preached toughness, hard work and clean competition. Most importantly, he had the courage to practice what he preached. Nobody will be able to take away the memories we all shared of a great man, his family, and all the wonderful people who were a part of his life.”
– Jerry Sandusky (in a statement released by his lawyer)

A bitterly ironic statement coming from the man whose actions and Paterno’s subsequent inaction lead to a sizable black mark on a bigger than life legacy.

In State College, PA football is a religion and Joe Paterno was their god.

But the problem with ordinary gods is that they are fallible. Ordinary gods must make difficult decisions. And sometimes they choose badly.

After 62 years of coaching, serving as a much beloved, respected role model, the last 11 weeks of Paterno’s life were filled with physical and emotional challenges.

“I just can’t help but think he died of a broken heart.”
– Mike Millen, former Penn State player

Many will say that nothing will take away from Paterno’s legacy. But for me, some mistakes are bigger than others. Much bigger. I mourn the loss of a great coach, and my heart aches when I think about the shame and regret that must have shadowed his final days.

If Joe Paterno was the man that his legions of fans believed him to be, I can’t help but wonder if the cancer that ate away at his lungs was miniscule in comparison to the one which crept into his heart on that fateful day in 2002 when he chose not stand up for the least of these.

We fight for those who can’t fight for themselves.

Beyond reputation, beyond glory, there is great honor in doing what is right.

We serve a just and merciful God. I pray for Coach Paterno’s family. May he finally rest in peace.

The not so Merry Christmas confession

image courtesy of

If you were to revisit posts I’ve written in past years around this time of year, the majority of them would be brimming with Christmas spirit. Like the song says, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year”, right? Right?

Well, I’m coming clean. For me, it’s really not. Oh, it’s my fault. I allow all the things that shouldn’t matter much matter much more than what should. Take teacher gifts, for example.

Earlier this week I purchased what I thought would be great gifts for both of my daughter’s teachers–Starbucks gift cards with cute little Starbucks coffee cup ornaments. Teachers like coffee, right? The only problem with these gifts was that I failed to ask my daughter what she wanted to get for her teachers, and she had very specific ideas about said gifts. Neither of which involved coffee.

After a few tears and gnashing of teeth from both involved parties, it was off to the mall for a Bath & Body Works gift for one teacher and Walmart for an action figure for another. We only lacked one small gift to include with the action figure. A gift that needed to be made with supplies not readily available at Walmart, the mall or at home. With my stress level high, I dropped off my daughter at home so she could eat dinner and I headed to Michael’s Arts and Crafts. I found what we needed, drove home, gave the supplies to my daughter and left again for praise team practice. I arrived home after ten and immediately went to my daughter’s craft table to check on the progress of the project. It was incomplete and my daughter was in bed. So I did what any involved, slightly perfectionist artist/mother would do. I finished it.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

The next morning I stood in the kitchen with the completed gift awaiting praise and gratitude from my daughter for finishing it for her. What I got instead was anger from her for not allowing her to do it herself.

More tears and gnashing of teeth from both parties. Feelings hurt. Apologies given and accepted. Real, honest heartfelt apologies. Breaking through the veil of you need to be happy because it’s Christmas feelings to the real stuff. The love we often take for granted. Another bittersweet Christmas memory for the books. I think it will be more sweet than bitter in the remembering.

Oh, the last final gift?

Marcel the Shell

What’s that? You don’t know who Marcel the Shell is?

Only the cutest shell EVER!

P. S. – Marcel was a big hit at the class party.

Everybody hurts sometimes

image courtesy of

This has been a busy, crazy week. As most of you know by now, I spent much of my time in the virtual world helping to promote the release of Paper Angels, Billy Coffey’s second novel. It’s been an atypical week in other ways as well. Work has required that my husband travel out of town more frequently than usual, and the stress of single parenting–albeit temporary–has left me more than a little emotionally drained at times.

In the midst of a rather chaotic morning, I received an email notification for a post I had written last year. My initial assumption was that it was a spam comment which had made its way through the filter.

It wasn’t.

It was an author who took offense to the title of my post, which happened to be the same as a book she had written and claimed to have copyrights to. Mine was a silly post about ugly Christmas sweaters with a deceptively serious title (Y’all know how I am.) Her book, which shared the same title as my post was her story of child abuse and prostitution. In the comment, she informed me that I did not have her permission to use her book title as the name of my blog post, that “she would contact her copywrite  the following day”, and that “it was not something I wanted to get involved in”. She also stated that her (past) life was hell.

I could have argued with her, because the title is a very common phrase, and since I didn’t even know of the existence of her book when I wrote the post, my blog post title mirroring the title to her book was completely coincidental. For the briefest of moments, I considered challenging her, but sometimes the best argument is no argument at all. She was obviously upset, and challenging her would only serve to upset her more, especially considering the serious nature of her book versus the lighthearted nature of my blog post. I removed the post and sent her an email telling her as much. She sent me a brief but gracious email thanking me for doing so.

That brief exchange this week served as a much needed reminder that we all carry burdens, we all hurt, just because we don’t intend to hurt anyone doesn’t mean we don’t, and that sometimes we say we’re sorry not because we did something wrong, but simply because we didn’t know any better.

Wild Kingdom, Part 2: Dear Carrot

It is with great joy and relief a heavy heart that I share the news that the newest member of our household, a gecko lizard named Carrot (don’t ask–I have no idea), has been released into the wilds of our front flower bed. It was the right thing to do. It was the expensive thing to do, because I had to bribe my daughter with a fish tank in order to agree to set Carrot free. Things got a little dicy at the Petsmart when my daughter wandered toward the hamsters, but I held my ground. It was a fish or nothing. My kids may be stubborn, but their stubbornness pales in comparison to mine, especially when the prospect of cleaning up more poop is involved.

I think it’s only fitting that I write a farewell letter to Carrot. May he or she live a long and happy lizard life.

Dear Carrot:

I suppose it’s a small miracle that we found you in our house, not that finding geckos in our house is that uncommon, but typically the cat finds them first, and well, let’s just say they’re usually missing some parts when I find them. I know you’re a young lizard, but these are the hard facts of life for a gecko who wanders away from his natural habitat.

I know we barely got to know you, but those two days we will remember fondly, even if you did hide behind a rock most of the time. You will be missed, but your place is in the wild, not in a plastic storage container filled with dirt and Jenga game pieces.

So today we set you free.

You were hesitant at first, not sure what it all meant.

But then instinct kicked in and you scurried under a plant without looking back.

I hope you don’t mind, but we got a new pet.

Captain the beta fish will never replace you, he’s just a little less disgusting (no offense) and his food comes prepackaged. I think we’d be kidding ourselves if we seriously entertained the idea that anyone was going to catch and feed you live insects, and crushed up salad toppings are not the proper diet for a growing gecko.

You are welcome to live out your lizard life in our flower beds. A word of warning, though. I know it’s tempting to hang around the door close to where the porch light is and therefore where the insects fly at night, but I would strongly advise against it. If you don’t take my word for it, just go see for yourself what happens to geckos who choose the dangerous life of a door climber.

Take care of yourself. Watch out for mockingbirds and blue jays. We’ll leave the light on for you, but please stay outside?


The Richards Family

Pardon me while I rant incessantly: Lame apologies

I’m cranky. I blame the heat.

And I’m sick and tired of people lying.

Last week it was Anthony Weiner. While I certainly don’t condone his irresponsible and icky behavior, everybody does stupid stuff they later regret. What I took great issue with was not only his denial, but his vehement denial; calling representatives from all the major networks into his office and claiming he was a victim of a Twitter hacker. That lasted until the other pictures surfaced. Only then did he call a press conference with his tearful apology. I’m pretty sure Representative Weiner is sorry. Sorry he got caught. Lame apology.

Then Sunday afternoon, NBC ran a patriotic opening at the beginning of the U.S. Open which they later apologized for during the broadcast. The following is a clip from Fox News. There were other clips on YouTube, but this was the only one I found where both the audio and video were clear. If you don’t want to listen to the commentary that follows, simply stop the video:

Shortly after the piece aired, NBC Sports host Dan Hicks apologized for the cut:

“We began our coverage of this final round just about three hours ago and when we did it was our intent to begin the coverage of this U.S. Open Championship with a feature that captured the patriotism of our national championship being held in our nation’s capital for the third time,” Hicks said. “Regrettably, a portion of the Pledge of Allegiance that was in that feature was edited out. It was not done to upset anyone and we’d like to apologize to those of you who were offended by it.”


Am I upset that they intentionally took “Under God” out of the piece? Yeah, it upsets me. But it certainly doesn’t surprise me. It’s pretty much par for the course these days. It matters not that those words are actually part of the official pledge.

Someone on staff at NBC took it upon themselves to intentionally omit those words and the powers that be at NBC thought they could slide it by viewers without taking much heat for it. It was a bad miscalculation on their part. They apologized because the outrage was such that they had to cover their asses, but I don’t think anyone mistook the apology as sincere. I actually think it was worded so as to come across as insincere. It sounded like something Bart Simpson would write on the blackboard at the beginning of The Simpsons.

image courtesy of

Spare me and everyone else the lame apologies NBC. If you don’t believe in God or do believe in Him and hate him, or encourage free speech but only when it fits your political leanings, then fine. Do that. Knock yourself out. But don’t try to play both sides of the fence. Nobody’s buying it, and I for one am tired of being treated like I don’t know any better.

And I’ll let you in on a little secret: People aren’t as stupid and ignorant as you think they are.

End of katrant.