I’m an eternal optimist. Brent is more of a realist. The longer we’re together the more we seem to rub off on one another. We especially noticed it this year as 2018 has been a year of reflection for us. While we are incredibly blessed, at a personal and global level, the past couple of years have been challenging. This year we took a step back to process and reflect.
Life is tough, but it is also sweet. When faced with the challenges life has to offer it can be difficult to imagine life beyond the challenge. And then a moment carries you away. Here are a few of the moments that carried us away in 2018 giving you a glimpse into our year.
Our nephew was born. He joins his two older sisters as well as his mom and dad rounding out their family.
Brent had been working at Facebook for a few months when Cambridge Analytica first hit the press. To say it’s been a challenging year for Facebook and for Brent is an incredible understatement. Friends of ours have held heated debates with us over it, and strangers stopped us in the street when we were wearing Facebook sweatshirts to comment on how disappointed they are in the company. At the same time, Brent and an extraordinary group of people at Facebook have been taking a long, hard look in the mirror and are reinventing what it means to run the largest social media network in the world.
Wynd, Brent’s parent, graduated from her Doctorate of Ministry program at Hebrew Union College. Brent joined her for the graduation festivities. Her learning journey continues with an MSW program. We were so proud of her for her accomplishment and most of all for her continued curiosity and dedication to learning.
Elise’s, my mom, right leg was paralyzed following the car crash last May. On July 4th this year she moved her leg on command for the first time! Dave, my dad, found her a wonderful acupuncture doctor in New York and he’s helped her to relieve some pain and gain some movement in her right leg.
I’m blessed to lead the Stanford Executive Program team at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. August 3rd was graduation day. My first year as the program director for what is arguably the most challenging year for the program recently. We faced staffing issues, personal issues, challenges in the program, and yet, it was the most successful year of the program in recent memory. We graduated an incredible class of 220 talented and inspiring executives who remind us of the importance of our mission at the GSB. Standing on stage this year I fought back tears several times. It was an honor to have been a part of the program and the team that made it possible. Graduation day is always bittersweet. Sweet for the rest I’m so close to getting. Bitter for the loss of daily interactions with students and staff alike.
The view from the top of Pigne d’Arolla in the Swiss Alps is breathtaking. Brent and I were guided by Eric Paternot and Paul. Brent and I made it despite the fact that I accidentally hit myself in the head with the blunt end of the ice ax. Never having summited a technical climb before it was a challenge and truly exhilarating.
Visiting Mia, my grandmother, for a few days. When I visit we always go to the movies and dine on a dinner of Friendly’s ice cream. Yum! She’s 97 and I treasure our time together. She inspires me with her stories, words of wisdom, and laughter. Even through she’s Stephen’s, my dad, Mom. Dave, my dad, and Elise, my mom visited her to thank her for the weekly letters of support and encouragement she sends to Elise.
Christmas with Stephen, my dad, Lisa, Stevie, and Wyatt in Jackson, WY. We skied together on a cold, snowy day. Then we watched the movie Die Hard, opened presents, and ate a holiday ham. After three years of international travel and holidays on our own, it was nice to drive out to Jackson and enjoy hugs with family.
Horseback riding in the snow at Triple Creek in Montana before ringing in 2019. The snow was falling thinly all around us as we rode down the mountain trail.
As the year comes to an end we’re looking forward to the future with hope and doing our best to accept the bitterness that comes with the passing of time. Like my grandmother, Mia, says, getting old isn’t for sissies. As we are in our mid to late 30’s we hope to have many more miles to go.
A special thank you to all of you – our friends and family. We are blessed all year to have incredible friends to join us in laughter, tears, and adventure. We are grateful for all of the joy and support we rely on from each of you all year long. Cheers to 2019!