This process of writing this book has required a long deep dive into the inner sanctum of my life. So many of you many of you have helped along and to you I owe a great debt of gratitude.
First I start with Jacob Stuart who challenged me with his words, “you must write your book and I will give you the name of the woman who will help you do so.” Your words felt like a lightning bolt message from God above that the time had come to take the message I had spoken for so many years, and turn my story into this book.
To Wendy Kurtz at Elizabeth Charles and Associates who IS that woman who made my book a reality. Starting with our first strategy session, I knew Wendy and her editor Juli Baldwin were the perfect match for me. Wendy, you challenged, coached and pushed me to go deeper into myself to access my story in new way. Through countless hours of draft development, editing and always telling me to “add more emotion!” you and Juli picked me up when I hit the ground knowing all along that you would bring out the best in me. You did and I thank you.
To my dear friend Saralyn Archibald, granddaughter of WASP Betty Archibald, thank you for bringing our friendship to a whole new level. Through your expertise as a theater teacher, you helped me bring a range of emotions – joy, sadness, anger and exhilaration – into this work and into my life. You have true WASP DNA. Never forget that!
And to author and dear friend Molly Davis, you taught me much about the process of writing and so much more about the process of becoming more of who I am and how I want to be in this world. Your books Letters to Our Daughters (written along with Kristine Van Raden) and Blush taught me that writing from the heart matters most.
To my many friends whom I consider family, you have been my key encouragers through my entire adult life. From my USNA roommates Millie and Karen, to my closest Navy colleagues including J.R. Brown and my dearest friend Harry Robinson, you have served as ongoing witnesses to my life. You were there from the beginning to the end of my naval career and continue to be an ever-present force in my life. While I cannot name everyone who influenced me during my career in the Navy, you get the call out this time.
To my friends in Nashville, Jo and Jimmy in particular. Jo, woman of fire, you wrote with me at the coffee shop when this was book was merely an outline and cheered me on through our weekly breakfast meetings at Thistle Farms Café. Jimmy, you encouraged me as both a friend and as a single parent. Then, created an incredible website to frame my work!
To my brothers Jim and Dan, and my recently departed mom and dad, you have been there from the beginning. Thank you.
And finally, to my team at Advantage/Forbes. You took the manuscript Wendy and I delivered several months ago, sculpted it with your incredible expertise, wrapped it in a beautiful cover and launched it into the atmosphere. Let’s fly high!