For the last five years, I have created a top 10 list featuring moments, highlights and announcements that made the year memorable for the Ahlquist fam. Some were hard, most were super happy. That’s the ride of life.
The Ahlquist Top 10 of 2018
1. Celebrating 40 Years of Marriage
No not Lloyd and I silly, my parents! 40 years of marriage called for a family outing so we all packed up and headed to mountains of Wyoming; Yellowstone National Park, the Tetons, and Jackson Hole. Lloyd and I loved getting some fresh air, and spending quality time with my parents, brother Cody, sister-in-law Suzi and of course a lil’ lady we are so in love with – our niece Madeline! Lloyd and I also checked off a bucket list item, going white water rafting. Lloyd fell off – on purpose – and got to float down the Yellowstone River.
2. Kings of Influence
3. LinkedIn’s Top Voices in Education x 2
For the second year in a row, I was caught totally by surprise, when I was selected as one of LinkedIn’s Top Voices in Education. While my engagement online is not meant to attract recognition or awards, this is definitely an honor and I hope to continue acting as a role model on how to use the platform for a purpose. And of course, connect with me on LinkedIn here!
4. A Farewell to our Dakota
Highlights are not always happy. July struck us with heartbreak. We tragically had to say goodbye to Dakota who died due to a complication from a routine surgery. As I write this we are still licking our wounds of grief. While we only had her for three years, we were lucky for the love she so generously gave us. I know now we gave her the best life we possibly could.
Everything she was to our family was pure love and we are so thankful.
Run, rest and bark in peace Dakota.
5. Hosting Kiddos
Our family is spread out throughout the country, so it was a special treat to host my sister-in-law Tiffany and our niece Satori and nephew Ryken for over a week in Los Angeles this summer. This also fell around the halfway mark of Lloyd’s brother Travis deployment in Dubai. We quickly realized just how much our home was NOT childproof, so we did lots of exploring around the city and the beach! We can’t wait to see these kiddos again soon.
6. Sunday 16’s
As Epic Rap Battles of History was on hiatus for most of 2018, Lloyd found a few other ways to get creative throughout the year. To keep his writing and music skills sharp he started a mini-series on his YouTube channel called “Sunday 16’s” where he would write, record and video a new 16 bar song every Sunday. While these pieces were not meant to be final products many of them came out really well and you can keep an eye out for them in their fully polished form sometime in 2019. Here’s a video of one of our favorites from the run called “Kids are Stealing All My Friends“.
7. Hall of Fame
In September I was honored to be inducted into my high school hall of fame, the Newcastle High School Hall of Fame. The event fell over homecoming weekend and my good friend Ashley flew back home to Newcastle, WY with me to celebrate and also explore the Black Hills for the first time. While the plaque, flowers and embroidered swag were pretty darn sweet, the best part was getting to thank my parents in my acceptance remarks – who are the real hall of fame in my life.
8. Epic Rap Battles of History Returns
After a much-needed two-year break, Epic Rap Battles of History is back! In the late fall, they released a bonus video and announced that season six would kick off in the spring of 2019. The crew has 1000x more creativity and drive, so there is bound to be new opportunities and projects brewing into the new year and beyond.
And from what we can tell, the internet has celebrated the return – with the top comment on the video inserted below 🙂 Find more ERB geekery on the ERB Wiki page, which is completely community driven.
9. Dr. Josie, Inc.
My business continues to evolve and grow, with speaking, consulting and coaching about digital engagement and leadership for primarily colleges and universities. I say I live in Los Angeles, but I also spend a good amount of time “living” on United Airlines. Between speaking engagements, writing filled the pages of my 2018 calendar as I edged closer to the completion of my first solo book which I hope to release in mid-2019. The podcast also brought on many inspiring guests, including presidents, provosts, and bright college students.
Also, without much announcement online, I finally created a legit stand-alone company, Dr. Josie, Inc. I feel very lucky and honored to be doing this type of work and serve so many across the country. Thank you to all that have supported my business journey over the last four years!!
10. Introducing Luna
Just days before Christmas, Lloyd and I welcomed, with big open arms, the newest member of the Ahlquist fur family – Luna! She is so very sweet. She’s always up for a cuddle, wants desperately to be friends with our cat Izzy (who has zero interest) and became instant pals with Parker. Thanks very much to all the good folks at Adopt & Shop for introducing us to our new addition and for doing some much good for animals here in Los Angeles.
What’s Next in 2019?
Lloyd and I always have something up our sleeves. But I think a major lesson lately has been about self-care and sustainability for our creative juices and to each other. I know for me, I’m going to be approaching 2019 through the lens of simplicity in order to minimize burnout.
That being said, the start of 2019 will be the final push to get my first book completed and hopefully put in motion my ideas for a second book about digital leadership for teens and young adults. I’m also reimagining the podcast, again through the filter of simplifying my creative processes.
On a personal note, I hope to get back on the “road” to train for another triathlon. I’ve also recently discovered Tarot cards, which Lloyd may or may not be very skeptical about 😉
Lloyd and I love being able to get the heck out of LA, such as our trip to Lake Tahoe this fall. So, we hope to continue to find time for quick trips and hopefully someday a longer stay far far away.
But while we are in Los Angeles, we are lucky to have a family of friends to enjoy a good meal, game of cards or playing with the lil’ new additions including Idella and Anabelle.
With the return of Epic Rap Battles and the new success of Kings of Influence, Lloyd has plenty to keep him moving. There is talk of a book also in his future, and I wouldn’t be surprised if shows and/or a tour comes together soon. M.i.’s Westside Comedy Theater will always be part of his community, and he continues to teach and produces the shows there such as Pass the Mic.
Thank you for joining us on this ride of life – whether we’ve known each other for decades, we just connected recently or you’re a fan of my work (okay, or Lloyd’s too). We appreciate you.
From our corner of the world to yours,
Josie & Lloyd
…and the rest of the Ahlquist Animal House: Izzy, Parker & Luna