Today as I look out the window, snow is falling in Annapolis. With stops and starts, the rain becomes snow and the snow becomes rain again. Thanks to a great playlist, Christmas music plays softly then jauntily in the background. The lights and ornaments sparkle on the tree. One ornament catches my eye and in it I see my reflection. The image serves as reminder to pause and reflect on both the goodness and challenges there have been in my life this past year.

Life is neither all good nor all bad, but a mixture of both. Like the snow and rain outside I suspect.

Of course, this year I released my book Flight Lessons and have received wonderful feedback, especially from my Naval Academy classmates. Writing my book was a deep dive into the inner sanctum of my life and sharing it with the world (via Amazon) was a courageous act of vulnerability. Would my story be well received? Would others discount my experiences? I told some hard truths and my classmates responded with nothing but support. My story helped to validate the experiences of many of my women classmates and for the men, it helped them understand the extreme challenges we faced as pioneers. As a result, healing and ongoing conversations opened for many of us. This was one of the gifts of telling my truth and publishing my book.

I continued my teaching at Vanderbilt assisting over 100 undergrads in their personal leadership development. As I shared my stories with my students, they shared theirs with me. Vulnerability begets vulnerability and leads to deep connection.

My Naval Academy roommate Millie, classmate Sean and my dear Greg (I accidentally refereed to him as my “drear Greg” in one of my previous posts – oops!) came to class as guest speakers, further demonstrating the impact of servant leadership in our world. I feel privileged and honored to teach at Vanderbilt and to develop our next generation of leaders.

On the home front, my daughter is approaching her final semester in high school while my son wrestles with the challenge of finding his place in the adult world.

I recognize that not everyone celebrates Christmas but this holiday season, I hope you too will have time to reflect on all that you have had going on in your life – both the rain and the snow.

As for me, I will be celebrating Christmas and honoring the birth of Jesus along with the Joy he brought to the world.

Merry Christmas to all and to all my blessing for the New Year,


Photo by Todd Trapani on Unsplash

Photo by Todd Trapani on Unsplash