My, how 2012 has unfolded.
At this time last year I had a book in hand and a trip overseas planned. I had a dream – but would not have guessed the places I was to go, and the people I would meet. It’s been a wild ride, but one that I cherish and that I treasure.
A few highlights:
In February: I went on a trip to the Philippines with CODE 3 International to bring the Courageous movie to over 5000 Philippine National Police officers. That was incredible.
In April: I had a huge book signing in my hometown, Chico, California. Lost count of how many came. I met some wonderful girls who told me of the needs there. In November, I went back for a conference that several of them put together, and now I hear there are new relationships that have formed, and there are tentative plans to do another in the area, and talk of doing it statewide.
In May: I traveled to Washington DC for Police Week with CODE 3 International. What an incredible week. Thousands of police officers and their families. Made connections and sold many books. I also entered into contract with a client to write a second book.
In August: I loved speaking to the San Diego Wives Club and going to dinner with the leadership. They are a truly lovely group of women. I still get all warm and fuzzy when I think of them.
In July and October: I visited Texas, Kentucky and Tennessee for interviews with Army service members for my next book.
In between these significant events, I have connected with several of you over the course of the year, networking, helping, mentoring, listening, and working together on projects. I love what I do because of you.
This year I’ve had a theme word that I kept in mind all year long. It was SPEAK. When I chose it last year as the theme of 2012, it was just about self-explanatory. I’d just come out with a book and had speaking engagements on the horizon. But then in August, a precious girl spoke up after I’d spoken in San Diego. “What if we do the things you’re suggesting, but our LEO still holds onto the remote?” This was a response to cops who veg on the couch in the coming down phase of hypervigilance. I had talked about this phenomenon, and we agreed it was difficult on a marriage. Without thinking, I blurted out – “You stand in front of the TV!”
This brought on a whole new meaning to my theme word, and I incorporated my theme more deeply in my marriage and role as a mom. To speak is to be courageous. To be in touch with our relationships. To dare to realize that there are areas that need improvement and then communicate this with our spouse and children. We can initiate change if we find our voice.
In the course of the year, I’ve also discovered that to speak wisely, it is also imperative to listen. In the interview process of this next book, Selfish Prayer, I flew to different parts of the country to ask questions of soldiers who were in Afghanistan. Because I don’t have a military background, I had to listen quite intently, learning as I went. I had to decipher the language of the Army, medical terminology, and listen to the personalities of the men involved so that I could accurately and creatively tell their story. And then as I translated it all to paper, I realized I had listened well, but still had much to learn of their experience.
I’ve learned much through this year about communication. To SPEAK is to dare to suppose I have something to offer the world. But in this I also learned that humble confidence is key to SPEAKING WELL. Whether it’s before an audience of a thousand, or one.
I have a new word for 2013. It is FEARLESS.
More on that tomorrow…