Friday, January 18, 2019

What Would Blake Do?



The world lost a truly extraordinary human being on January 2, 2019. The sudden and unexpected passing of Blake Nordstrom after a very short battle with cancer has stunned our community and me personally. Blake was my client for the past 4 years. He hired me to help tell the story of his beloved University of Washington Rowing program. He pushed me to be a better person and a better professional. It feels like I lost a friend, client, mentor, and father figure all in one. Blake touched so many people's lives and I feel grateful for the opportunity to work with such a truly amazing leader. 

As we navigate "life after Blake," I keep thinking What Would Blake Do? So I have a new mantra "WWBD?" 

Blake would be kind always and treat everyone with respect and dignity.

Blake would expect the highest from himself and others.

Blake would work hard.

Blake would make time for his community.

Blake would show appreciation for big and small things alike.

Blake would be generous with his time and resources.

Blake would have a wide circle of friends from all walks of life.

Blake would pursue his passions (cool cards and old boats!).

Blake would dress impeccably with his shoes always shined!

Blake would smile wide and often! (Maybe that was his secret to happiness.)

Blake would extend himself.

One of the traditions of Washington Rowing is to honor a deceased teammate with a seven-man row. You can watch this poignant and touching tribute here

While I am filled with deep sadness, I am also filled with deep gratitude for knowing such an extraordinary man.

RIP Blake W. Nordstrom. We miss you so much.






Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Favorite Books of 2018



Happy New Year friends! I am feeling very optimistic about 2019. 

I start every day with inspiration from two amazing, wise women who have lived a lot longer than me and who have beautiful lessons to share for living a meaningful life. 

My morning ritual of "poem before phone" includes randomly opening to a page in one of Kathryn Carole Ellison's books of poems of life and love (including Awakenings pictured above). Whether a message of "giving and receiving," "your life story," or "you are wonderful," the poem I select - or rather which is selected for me - is ALWAYS the exact message I need that day. Then I read one of Maria Shriver's reflections, prayers and meditations from her book "I've Been Thinking." Both books offer quick doses of inspiration and wisdom that help me start my day. 

I read a lot of great books in 2018, which I'd like to share with you. Some of my friends tell me they don't know how I have so much time to read. (Hint: I make it!) Books are food for my soul, my entertainment, my inspiration, my escape, my hobby. 

They say you can tell a lot about people by the company they keep. I think you can also tell a lot about what's important to people by the books they love too. I'm not sure what these favorites say about me, but it was a good, enriching year. I hope you enjoy my selections. Read on!

BEST NOVELS

The Great Alone: A Novel

The Storyteller's Secret: A Novel

Trail of Broken Wings


BEST MEMOIRES

Becoming by Michelle Obama

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis


BEST SELF-CARE

Make Time: How to Focus on What Matters Every Day

Pussy: A Reclamation

I've Decided to Live 120 Years: The Ancient Secret to Longevity, Vitality, and Life Transformation

Your Life in Color: Empowering Your Soul Through the Energy of Color


BEST PARENTING



UP NEXT

Here's what I'm reading or plan to read in the coming year.









Please let me know if you have any "must reads" to add to my list! Especially if you have some good "beach reads"!


FAVORITE PODCASTS

And for those of you who "don't read" or prefer audio, I recommend the following podcasts. I love to listen to them on my walks!




And, finally, I heard a rumor that Maria Shriver is launching her own podcast in 2019. I can't wait!


Wishing you a beautiful happy new year!

Xo,

Amy









Thursday, September 20, 2018

Dahlias In Living Color



Almost every year that I've written this blog, I've posted about the dahlias at Volunteer Park. They are usually in full bloom in late August through September. This year, they bloomed in early August, but the summer got away from me and I'm just now sharing them. The colors and shapes are too good not to share. I hope you enjoy nature's colorful bounty! 




























"When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it's your world for the moment. I want to give that world to someone else. Most people in the city rush around so, they have no time to look at a flower. I want them to see it whether they want to or not." 
-Georgia O'Keefe







Friday, June 29, 2018

Savor Summer



Summer is a feeling. It’s a state of mind. It’s lazy and active in the same breath.

It’s sunshine (hopefully!), sleepovers and s’mores! And sundresses and suntans and soft serve!

In a word, summer is FUN!

I recently got the idea from Lemon Stripes to create a summer bucket list. Last year, I made a vision board and I had a great summer. This year I’m trying the bucket list! Hopefully this inspires you to create your own bucket list and have an awesome summer!

Design Your Summer

For me, my priorities for summer (and life) come down to 3 F’s: Family, friends and fun! So I’ve categorized my bucket list accordingly.

FAMILY
Take a family hike
Kayak date at College Club with Geoff at least once a month
Plan a weekly adventure with Sofia that is fun for both of us! (West Seattle, Vashon, Golden Gardens, Port Townsend)
Ride bikes across 520 bridge to pool
Delancey dinner date with Geoff
Family picnics in Arboretum and Volunteer Park
Anniversary date at Snoqualmie Falls with Geoff

FRIENDS
Hang out with friends at the pool and lake – a lot!
Host girls Rosé garden party
Go roller skating with friends
Walla Walla girls trip
Organize team for Obliteride walk. Everyone is welcome. Join or donate here!
Happy hour at the rooftop bar at Mbar

FUN
Summer Fridays - stop working at noon
Do something that scares me - in a good way! (Seaplane?)
See live music at least once a month
Move my body every day 
Make peach and avocado bruschetta
Visit friends in Olympia (my hometown) with Sofia
Water color plein air in garden and/or park
Visit an art gallery or museum at least once a month
Go to Olympus Spa when Sofia is at sleepaway camp

The following doesn't fall into a category, but overall I want to BE SPONTANEOUS AND SAVOR SUMMER!

Finally, a quote I heard recently that I will likely need to repeat many times this summer!

 “Remember, this is supposed to be fun!”
-Gretchen Rubin, Happier Podcast

What's on your summer bucket list?



Friday, June 22, 2018

Transitions





This has been a BIG week for so many people I know. Friends and family graduating from college, high school, 8th grade, 5th grade, kindergarten, pre-school, even. It’s a big deal. Life is a series of moments and milestones and changes and transitions. 

Why is it that changes and transitions can be so hard? Even the good ones.

Transitions signal an end. They also welcome new, unknown changes that can be stressful and disorienting. It's through these transitions that we grow. And that's the whole point of life, right? 

Two poems I read this week helped comfort me as I've experienced a roller coaster of emotions during Sofia's last week of elementary school. So I wanted to share them with you. Whether you're going through a transition now, or not, as we all know, the only constant is change. So I hope these help you now - or at some point in the future - as much as they've helped me this week. 


TURNING POINTS

The turning points along your path
Are marked by loss of direction.
For what you took for granted once
You now must seek correction.

In nature, growth involves vast change.
The eggshell cracks, the nest must crumble;
The tadpole's tail will always fall off.
The scope of change makes you humble.

For humans, the signs are not as clear
When transition occurs without warning
Disorientation seems to be the norm,
Until you can experience a dawning.

To cope with change, you grasp at straws,
And repeat old familiar acts.
You need to see from new perspectives,
So as to learn a new set of facts.

What's learned is that transition is
Set in motion by an ending,
You must learn to let go of outdated things
To accept the new ones pending.

Confusion abounds in the middle of it all,
What identified you once, now does not.
What has ended will ultimately be replaced,
But the wonder is a tender spot.

Following all forms of mass confusion
You can make a brand new start …
A new beginning that sets you free
To follow your own heart.








TO LIVE IS TO CHANGE

Change is always for the best
Although you may not agree.
Without it all things would remain stagnant
And die, every human and tree.
For a conscious being, to exist is to change,
And to change is to mature.
To mature is to go on creating
Yourself, in all you endure.

In your art and in daily living;
In your work and in your play,
There's always room for improvement.
There's always a better way.
The trick is to flow with each step
And not try to skip one or two.
The last step always builds on the first,
And you are creating.

To live is to change, there's no disagreement;
The facts are there in plain sight.
And to live well is to have changed often.
It is our natural birthright.
Perfection is a goal to keep in mind.
Why else would we change and try again?
The joy is in the pursuit as much
As it's in the prize we obtain.




I’m trying to think of this transition from elementary school to middle school in the fall like finishing a good book and being excited to read the sequel! This is the natural order of life. Growing up is good. Change is good. Transitions are still hard. 'The wonder is a tender spot.' Follow your heart! 

Xo,

Amy


Poems from SOJOURNS by Kathryn Carole Ellison

Images from one of my favorite journals.
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