My 2015 Favs: Books, Movies, Music and Photos

In the spirit of year end Favs, for my final blog of the year I will share with you an assortment of my FAV books, movies, music and photos of 2015. I hope you enjoy the list.



I don’t watch very much TV. Instead, on a weekend evening and when I have the time, I enjoy watching a movie. I’ve seen some clunkers and some spellbinders. A few spellbinders I saw this year were:


To Kill a Mockingbird with Gregory Peck. This 1962 movie is set in the rural south where a widowed lawyer chooses to defend a black man on trial for fabricated rape charges. This was a compelling movie as it brought to light the banality of racism and stereotyping. If you haven’t seen it, it is considered one of the top 100 films of all time.


Whiplash co-starring Golden Globe winner J.K. Simmons for his unrelenting role as the jazz ensemble’s ruthless director. This 2014 movie brought up a lot of questions for me, like: How far is too far to go in pursuing a dream? How far is too far in pushing others to their best/success? How do we disconnect from that magnetic yet harmful personality of a ruthless leader? It was a very haunting movie focused on the relationship between the director and the aspiring and talented jazz drummer played by Miles Teller. When I watched the trailers earlier in the year I thought it might be too manipulative but it wasn’t. It was haunting.


Inside Out, a 2015 Disney animation which surprisingly worked. When I first realized we were inside someone’s brain and watching their key emotions, from the inside out, I thought it was going to quickly resolve into simple and safe clichés. It didn’t. This story inside the mind of 11 year-old Ripley worked…very well. Kudos to Pete Docter, the writer, who took 4 years grappling with which emotions to develop and which to drop to get the story down just right.  I think it will be an Oscar nominee.



I have been a prolific reader for the past 7 years as I search for the books that reveal to me direction, strategy, support and information to benefit me, my work and those I serve.


Shame: The Power of Caring by Gershan Kaufman is a book about shame, how it occurs, develops and as importantly how one can disengage from it. Kaufman provided a lot of in depth descriptions and examples of how shame manifests and affects people’s lives. I found it to be an insightful and easy read.  I appreciated the depth of understanding the author had of shame. He wrote that to live with shame is to feel alienated and defeated, never quite good enough to belong. “The result of such differential shaming on identity is striking: women are left to seek their identity through relatedness and identification whereas men must continually seek their identity through power and differentiation.”


The Dhando Investor: The Low Risk Value Method to High Returns by Mohnish Pabrai. He tells us: “We have all been taught that earning high rates of return requires taking on greater risks. Dhando flips this concept around. Dhando is all about the minimization of risk while maximizing the reward.” It may sound easy but it the analysis it takes to find the investments worthy of succeeding with this strategy takes discipline, fortitude and courage. His examples were clear and relevant. He brought both the passion and the experience to back up his perspective. I like the logic in this style of investing.


Where the Red Fern Grows: The Story of Two Dogs and a Boy by Wilson Rawls. I was told this book was a great book…for 8-14 year olds. I thought, “Let me see if I can relate.” And sure enough… As I shared with others how much I enjoyed this book, I was amazed at how many adults had already read this 1961 novel and loved it. It is a story about a boy who finally is able to save the money he needs to buy himself a coon. Set in the Ozarks, Rawl takes his readers through a journey of relationships between the boy and his dogs, his grandfather, other kids, his parents, his sister and himself. It was a book about facing challenges, building confidence, and most of all a story of a boy’s love for and life with his dogs sharing adversity, triumph, life and death. This was my favorite book of the year.



Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto #1 with Van Cliburn at the piano. When I play this concerto, I can’t help but play it over and over again. I love the time changes, I love the beginning, I love the end. I love the 15 minutes in between with its power, its softness, and its majesty.


I love melody and I love a strong female voice. When I put the two together, the genre where I find artists, because melody lives there, is country. Because I am drawn to a strong voice, I really liked Carrie Underwood’s “Something’s in the Water.” I felt she nailed that song.


I have written some tunes and one that returned to my playlist and live performances was Road to Liberation, a song I wrote in the 1980s. A line that jumps out early and I love is: “There is no forest that is too rough to clear, there is no torment that cannot be healed.”


What is on your list? Let me know. I would love to hear from you.

And as a bonus, I give you these two photos as fav photos I took this year:

raindrops at practice2013.06.02.Kirkland.Juanita Bay Park.duck042 final bvt

Happy 2016!!!!!!!









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