Robert Miller is a stalwart figure in my life.

Black clad tallness. Weird architect glasses. His smile blazes across a continent.

Love has many facets. Romantic and passionate.
Stalwart and faithful.

And I love Robert in the stalwart, faithful way.

robert mtm and me

For almost a decade, MTM and I shared a close life with Robert and his wife Sharon O’Driscoll. We walked to their house for dinners, drinks and conversation. We laughed together about Quirks of the Architect. In the classroom, Robert and MTM sat on numerous reviews, teaching architecture’s future how to design a built environment that will be remembered.

Everything changed when Robert and Sharon moved to Tucson, Arizona. Robert is the Director of the School of Architecture at the University of Arizona, a well-deserved promotion. Two thousand miles away.

Even though he’s one of the busiest people I know, Robert took the time to write a Make a Memory submission. That’s the kind of friend he is. MTM and I miss him and Sharon.

Every day.

Make a Memory. In Robert’s words.

I used to have two good friends. The three of us were, or had once been, university professors. We were all married, rode bicycles, and had other common interests. We never had time for ourselves.

So once a month, every month, one of us treated the other two to lunch at a French restaurant.

We always ordered the same thing—with wine. We sat at the same table. We told the same bad jokes, at which we perpetually laughed.

I now live in a different city. It doesn’t have a French restaurant. And I don’t have two such friends. But I smile when I remember those outings. Every time.

robert miller aiaRobert Miller, AIA, is the Director of the School of Architecture at the University of Arizona (2010). Holding a BA in Architecture from Clemson (1976) and an M.ARCH with a Certificate in Urban Design from Rice (1979), Miller worked for several firms in the south before starting his own practice in 1986. An adjunct at the Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University, he taught at Clemson University from 1990-2010, serving as Professor-in-Residence at the Daniel Center in Genoa, Italy (1997-1999) and Director of the Clemson Architecture Center in Charleston (2000-2010). For more about Robert, click HERE.

Make a Memory is a movement, a challenge to turn I wish I had into I’m glad I did in 2015. Reach out and claim an adventure this year. Make a Memory before it’s too late.

Who would you invite to Make a Memory? What would you do together?

Share your invitations on social media with the hashtag #MakeaMemory. Tag your loved ones. Make a Memory in 2015. To get started, click HERE.

Kate Gross died Christmas morning. 2014.

kate gross

A young mother, struck in the prime of life by colon cancer. Her boys missed saying goodbye by 10 minutes.

It’s a testament to her fortitude that they awoke on Christmas morning concerned about what was in their stockings, not about whether their mum would be there.

Kate made many memories in her brief life. With her husband, she created two incredible boys. She worked as a public servant. She founded an incredible charity, Africa Governance Initiative.

latefragmentsAnd before she died, she wrote a book. Late Fragments: Everything I Want to Tell You About This Magnificent Life. It’s available HERE.

Kate was 36 years old.

I’m not writing these posts to depress you in the new year, Dear Reader. Far from it.

We aren’t guaranteed tomorrow.

We put things off. We decide important things really could be done later. We rationalize. We avoid tough people and situations.

We don’t want to be vulnerable.

But Life is about embracing those messy things. It’s making a cache of memories that matter.

Our lives are our stories to write.

Read more about Kate Gross HERE. Perhaps her story will inspire you to Make a Memory in 2015.

And if it does, please share that memory with me.

photo credit: AGI

Today’s the day.

Get your copy of Not Without My Father: One Woman’s 444-Mile Walk of the Natchez Trace.

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Andra's Father

Andra’s Father

Can an epic adventure succeed without a hero? 

Andra Watkins needed a wingman to help her become the first living person to walk the historic 444-mile Natchez Trace as the pioneers did. She planned to walk fifteen miles a day. For thirty-four days.

After striking out with everyone in her life, she was left with her disinterested eighty-year-old father. And his gas. The slope apnea machine and self-scratching. Sharing a bathroom with a man whose gut obliterated his aim.

As Watkins trudged America’s forgotten highway, she lost herself in despair and pain. Nothing happened according to plan, and her tenuous connection to her father started to unravel. Through arguments and laughter, tears and fried chicken, they fought to rebuild their relationship before it was too late. In Not Without My Father: One Woman’s 444-Mile Walk of the Natchez Trace, Watkins invites readers to join her dysfunctional family adventure in a humorous and heartbreaking memoir that asks if one can really turn I wish I had into I’m glad I did.

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