Saturday, November 24, 2012

Great Christmas Tree Tour: Judith Sanders

White House decorations for the 2011 holiday season in the Blue Room honor military families. They were shown on Wednesday, November 30, 2011, in Washington, DC. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/MCT).  

There is always a great celebration around the lighting of the Christmas Tree on the White House lawn.  Yet, little attention was given last year to the tribute to our military families in the decoration of the Blue Room of the White House, a part of which was captured in this photo by Olivier Douliery. 

Earlier this month, I had the privilege of hosting an event to raise funds for a charity that honors our troops in a special way.  The charity,, supports families by providing professional photos of deploying soldiers with their families free of charge and not only giving the family a set of photos but providing the solider with a tri-fold version of those photos that is water, mud and nearly war-proof that can be folded and put in a pocket or helmut to keep with them while deployed.

So, as we approach this December holiday season and I think about those soldiers pulling their photos out of their pockets, I can't help but wish and pray that they could all be at home with their families. 

Until that day, whenever our military members are in harm's way, I believe that those troops and their families need our support and attention with the best equipment, best ways to stay connected to one another, and our best services when they return as veterans.  And I ask everyone to consider that when you hear or speak the words "military", "troops", or "soldiers" you should stop and think of these men and women not as "soldiers" but as the sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, wives, husbands, and friends that they are in our lives.  For it is because of their service and the umbrella of safety that they provide to us that we have our homes, our jobs, our religions, all of our very special freedoms.

As for my Christmas list to Santa, I have one wish, one that I borrow from President Franklin Delano Roosevelt who said "More than an end to war, we want an end to the beginning of all wars…"

In His Stead explores the tension, devastation, strength, and love of service families during wartime through the story of one man, Retired Army Ranger Thomas Lane, as he attempts to make the greatest sacrifice for his son.

Lane once burned for the taste of gunpowder and thrill of the battle. But as he struggles to cope with his own PTSD and the death of his eldest son who was killed by an IED in Afghanistan, Lane learns that the price of war is far too dear. Now the National Guard is calling on Lane’s youngest son to serve. Consumed with sorrow, Lane knows he will do anything to save his child—even if it means going in his place.

In His Stead follows the tumultuous battle of Thomas Lane as he navigates the United States Army, its JAG corps, a vengeful officer, the very son he is desperate to save, and his own wife, who has the Solomon like choice of losing either a husband or a son. Capturing the essence of family life in wartime—the good, the bad, and the hopeful—In His Stead explores what it means to be a father and a man.

Judith Sanders received her BS from Graceland College and worked as a registered nurse for many years, including serving the military as a nurse in Maryland and Texas. Sanders, a mother of three boys, now makes writing her full time career and divides her time between her homes in New Hampshire and North Carolina.



  1. This was a lovely start to the Christmas Tree tour.

  2. Very lovely start. Both the tree and the book look wonderful.

  3. What a beautiful way to honor and support our troops!

  4. Thank you for being my guest today, Judith!