Flyover 2019

KPC Writers Group 2019 Word for the Year

I admit I had all sorts of preconceptions of what could happen when I chose FLY as my focus word for 2019. I hoped to experience freedom in a new way. That I would see life from a different—and higher—perspective. That I would sail through the year with joy and wonder.

I am by no means an artist, but each year I make a card featuring my focus word, so I can keep it in front of my eyes year-round. Certain quotes that especially strike my heart, images that inspire me—I include whatever I think will nudge and encourage me in the right direction.

The quotes for FLY included:

“Don’t let the fear of falling keep you from flying.”

“What good are wings without the courage to fly?”

“What if I fall?” “Oh, but darling, what if you fly?”

“One day she decided to stop letting fear hold her back and chose to live bravely. From then on, she flew.”

Wouldn’t you be amazed if I told you that 2019 embodied those quotes? That I reached the heights I had imagined and hoped for? That, perhaps, life had exceeded my imagination?

Sigh. Not so.

The year was a tough one in many ways. My dad was plagued with health issues. He fell and broke his arm near the shoulder so that it couldn’t be put in a cast. He was in agony for weeks, trying to hold his arm still, unable to take pain medication due to allergies. He was hospitalized on another occasion and spent time in rehab to regain his strength. He is still dealing with neck injuries. Now, bear in mind, my dad is very independent and active. He teaches and calls square dances several times a week, works out, and is always happy to go out. He’s not a whiner or pitiful in any way whatsoever. He’s optimistic and self-sufficient and doesn’t look to others (even his kids) to take care of him. What made these months so difficult was simply that I love my dad desperately. He’s an amazing father, and we all felt helpless and inadequate in making things easier for him. Seeing him in pain for so long is heartbreaking.

No flying there.

Rod, my cowboy, buried his first father-in-law the same week that his only remaining uncle and my Uncle Paul passed away (on the same day). Those occasions always leave me feeling ineffectual. While we were blessed to know that all three knew and loved the Lord, knowing what to say and do in the face of grief is hard. I can only reiterate what everyone already knows and believes, and it seems insufficient to assuage the heartache to any degree.

No flying there.

But interspersed with all of this, there was the moment when I signed the release paper for The Canary Cage, giving the publisher permission to send the manuscript to print. I had been through edit after edit and rejoiced with each improvement, each revision. Holding my published novel for the first time—feeling and seeing the tangible reality that my decades-old dream had indeed come true …

That was flying.

My beautiful friends and family helped me plan and execute a launch party for The Canary Cage. I was stunned by their love and generosity.  More people than I expected gathered for the event, and the excitement and spirit of celebration everyone exhibited was overwhelming.

That was flying.

 A ladies book club chose to read The Canary Cage and invited me to meet with them to answer questions and for discussion.

That was flying.

I spoke on forgiveness at a women’s conference at a local church … and that, for me, was flying.

My husband and I went on our first cruise together. Flying to Seattle (literally flying!), we traveled on the Norwegian Joy to Ketchikan, Juneau, Icy Strait Point (all in Alaska) and Victoria, British Columbia.

In Icy Strait Point, the Cowboy and I strapped ourselves in and enjoyed one of the longest and fastest ziplines down the mountain.

Now THAT was flying!

In November we flew (again, literally) to Oklahoma City and drove to Guthrie, the setting for The Canary Cage. Walking the streets I had researched and spent so long writing about was thrilling. Knowing that the buildings and streets still looked much as they did in 1899 added a depth to the experience of writing that surprised me. We were invited by the Oklahoma Territorial Museum for a book signing in the historic Carnegie Library and saw my novel on display in the giftshop.

That was flying.

And, I have to add, just being married to the Cowboy is flying. I’ve been told he should give “how to be a good husband” lessons, and I agree. He lifts me up with his love, support, encouragement, and care for me every day.

Right before Thanksgiving, I realized something was amiss with the vision in my left eye. Distortion. Not good. The distortion impacts reading … and writing … to an upsetting degree. I underwent surgery on December 26 to repair a macular hole. A gas bubble was injected, and I had to lay facedown for three days. Three. Entire. Days. And. Nights.

And that definitely was not flying. I can’t remember being more miserable. It was awful. Again, friends and family support, especially from the Cowboy, was amazing and kind. I felt loved and cared for in the midst of my misery.

I finally had to laugh. “Lord,” I fussed, “I said I wanted to fly … not LOOK like a fly!”

Healing is still in progress and could take quite a while. But I believe that He who began the good work will complete it. (Yes, I know that’s not the correct exegesis of the verse, but it works for me.)

Knowing that the Lord’s plans for my life are bigger and greater and higher than mine keeps my hope alive throughout all challenges. Knowing that His love for me is inescapable and vaster than I can understand … now THAT truly is flying!

Have you chosen a focus word for 2020? Stay tuned next week for mine!


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