Category: year in review


2017 Year in Review

December 29th, 2017 — 4:49pm

This is my 13th annual Year in Review. To read past reviews, click here.

2017 in a nutshell: so, so busy. Or the year we bought our house.

I’m of double mind about 2017. There was both so much bitterness and so much sweetness, as life always is. On one hand it was the year that I saw the culmination of years of my own personal growth. On the other hand it was such a stressful year, especially for Josh. There were so, so many challenges and stressors and there were times that I wasn’t sure how we were going to get through it. Josh found himself with three thriving businesses and not nearly enough time to make them all work. In the midst of it all he moved his mother here from Austin, TX and she ended up living in our house much longer than we had originally planned.

We also embarked on the super-stressful process of purchasing the Mid Century house that we’ve been living in for the past two years. Let me tell you, getting a mortgage when you’re self-employed is no joke. On the other hand the kids nothing short of blossomed. They are thriving more than ever and are both just coming into their real selves, unashamed of, and confident in, who they are. Josh merged FACTORY with the coworking space in Montrose, Proximity Space, taking on the role of Chief Creative Officer in a startup that has every chance of becoming something huge. He’s doing work that he’s excited to do every, single day and it’s so fun to watch.

Year three was a hard year for our marriage. I feel like our newlywed bubble finally popped. Some days, and nights, were so hard. But in the end, we’re getting past the butterflies and heart-eyes and into the grit and heart and sweat and tears that make a real marriage. It has been so amazing to be with someone who is dedicated to fighting through whatever comes our way. And it means more than I can say that there is someone who loves me so much that he will do everything he can to never leave my side. We find ourselves at the end of 2017 stronger than ever and with a little more of that all-knowing wisdom behind our eyes that only comes from having walked through fire.

The best word that I can use to describe myself this year would be Solid. Sometimes we grow in inches, or even millimeters, and sometimes we grow in leaps and bounds. This year was leaps and bounds and it happened in ways that seemed so easy, like the final pieces of a puzzle clicking into place. Some of the experiences that I had, I’d still rather not have had, but I was able to use them to connect the lines to lessons I’ve been learning over these past several years. I’ve come to really know that the only way any of us truly fill the holes in ourselves is only with ourselves. That no one else can do that for us and we will always be needy and searching until we understand that. This year I learned to stand up for myself, to have confrontation (so much confrontation thanks to my job) and to trust myself. I just really do feel so solid. I’ve found that there are times in life that we let life happen to us and there are times what we make our lives happen. This year I chose to make my life happen.

In 2017 I learned to Look Up. It started with a phrase that continually rolled through my head. And every time I heeded it I was astonished. Sometimes all we need is just to interrupt ourselves, to see, actually see, where we are. Sometimes the only solution is to get some perspective and to practice thankfulness. And sometimes those astonishing things are just there as a gift. Reminding myself to be thankful and to take in this gift that is the earth beneath my feet has been transformational. Seeing that everyone and every situation in my life is there to be my teacher has changed my whole perspective. When I remember this, when I practice this, I get to live in the fullness of who I truly am. And that makes life, even when things are bitter, so very sweet too.

Travel:
We didn’t stray quite as far from home as we usually do but we did take a few trips over the mountains to Boulder and Denver for GoCode’s Mentor Weekend. We camped in Moab during spring break and spent a day exploring Arches National Park. (For as close as we live to Arches, I’m ashamed to say this was everyone’s first time.) I joined a group of our friends to float Ruby Horsethief in May while Josh took some needed downtime and the kids went to Mexico with their dad. We camped and floated on the Moab Daily section of the Colorado River outside of Moab, Utah in June for our 5th annual Riverpalooza (rPal) with our dear friends. And we only camped once more on the Grand Mesa before school started. Josh and I travelled to San Diego for my birthday in September where we spent everyday laying on the beach and got the chance to snorkel with sea lions after climbing cliffs in La Jolla. We took a day trip to Aspen so Eden could attend the college fair (yes, we’re already at THAT life stage). Aside from that we managed to sneak away into a mountain town or two a few times throughout the year.

Me
• My job continues to keep me on my toes with big challenges and successes, especially in the area of Downtown’s public parking system (aka the “P” word). I saw a lot of successes in my marketing efforts and saw our district thriving more than it has in years. I struggled to not take criticism and crazy people personally but learned to hold things loosely and focus on the good work that I’m doing and the ways that I can make things better. Public service continues to be of constant fascination to me and I am never, ever bored.
• Turned 36.
• Had an op-ed published in the newspaper.
• Started hosting my own monthly radio show on our community radio station.
• Hiked the lower and upper monument trail (12 miles) with my workout girls in May.
Lost my grandmother – my dad’s mom in February.
• Made some dear new friends after reaching out over Instagram to some like-minded ladies. We now get together monthly in my kitchen to create.
• Got to pet TWO Great Danes. (life dream)

Eden
• Participated with 5,000 other people in the Women’s March down our Main Street.
• Turned 15.
• Went to her first Winter Formal and homecoming.
• Performed a solo during the Solo/Small Ensemble week the school district hosts.
• Played golf on her high school golf team.
• Got her permit.
• Got her braces off.
• Finished 9th grade and started 10th.
• Got accepted into the Show Choir along with continuing in the advanced women’s choir.
• Busked for the first time on Main Street.
• Performed 18 days in a row during Christmas with her two choirs.
• Wrote a book.
• Posted her first video on YouTube
• Got a new cat named Leo.

Josh
• Saw his coworking space, FACTORY, really thrive after their soft opening in December 2016. The grand opening party saw hundreds of people. It has been so cool to see how this community has embraced this new (to us) concept.
• Josh and his partner, Brian, merged FACTORY with Proximity Space with it bringing them 5 new business partners, two more coworking spaces, new friends, and a kick-ass company that provides hardware and software for managing coworking spaces and communities all over the world.
• Hosted the Western Colorado portion of the Colorado Secretary of State’s coding competition, called Go Code, at Factory in the spring. We sent two teams to compete in the finals in Denver.
• Turned 36.
• Started winding down his company, FastPXL.
• Perfected his smoked brisket recipe.
• Built an amazing wood plank wall at FACTORY.
• Started going to Montrose once a week so he could work in-person with the Prox team.

Honor
• Continued to spend a lot of time honing his card game playing skills at our local game shop. His new favorite game is called Star Wars Destiny.
• Took over running the after-school D&D group at his school.
• Anchored the weather on his school’s news channel.
• Turned 14.
• Grew taller first than his sister and then taller than his mom too.
• Got braces.
• Finished 7th grade and started 8th.
• Really turned into a hard worker, helping his mom a lot during Downtown Events.
• Started a political satire blog. SassyFashion.horse
• Learned to solve a rubix cube in about 4 minutes.

We
• Celebrated my Grandma’s 90th birthday and my family reunion (mom’s side) this year at our house. We had so much fun with cousins and aunts and uncles playing in the pool and lounging in the back yard.
• Added a new honorary member to the family when my event coordinator, Caitlyn, lived with us for a couple of weeks while she found a new place to live. She’s become like a little sister to Josh and I and a big sister to Eden and Honor.
• Celebrated a pool party with all the Proximity business partners, a back-to-school pool party with the kid’s friends, pumpkin carving, Thanksgiving (including Pie for Breakfast™), THE Christmas Party, and Christmas Day at our house.
• Participated in the Inside-Out Project, taking poster-sized pictures of ourselves and pasting them up, along with 250 other community members, on the outside of FACTORY in support of the Dream Act and all of the Dreamers in our country.
• Voted in two local elections, losing the first and winning the second. Feeling hope start to seep into this community that has historically said NO to everything.

We go into next year with a plan to rest more, to focus in on the few things we know we’re supposed to be doing so we can leave behind some of the frantic and stress from 2017. We will keep remembering to #lookup and take a minute to learn the lesson and see the gift that is before us. We’ll paint some walls and change some things in our new house now that we own it. And we’ll focus in on the teenagers because we are realizing just how little time we have with them before they embark on adventures of their own. And we’ll continue to always, always be thankful for this life – this redemption – that we have, knowing just how precious it and just how lucky we are that we get to live it together.

Au Revoir 2017!

Every pic I posted to Instagram in 2017:

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2016 Year in Review

December 28th, 2016 — 11:07pm

This is my 12th annual year in review. To read past reviews, click here.

2016 in a nutshell: Exactly where we should be. Or the year we closed Tangle.

2016 was a year of joys and sorrows, life being equal parts normal, hard, and exciting. Many people on social media are lamenting that 2016 was the worst year ever, but there are enough bright, shining moments in this past year that I’ll have to respectfully disagree. Yes, there has been a lot that was hard and a lot that makes the future seem a little bleak, but there has also been so much good. Life is always good and bad, hard and easy (and hard again), bitter and sweet. I think this year proves that again and again.

For me this year has been about identity. I’ve had to take a good, hard look at myself and be honest about who I am and who I am not. I’m doing the slow, hard work to begin to trust my quiet, and timid, inner voice over the loud and screaming voices of others. Some of these lessons have been very, very hard, knocking the wind out of me in ways I never saw coming. I’ve spent too much time worrying about what other people think of me, feeling un-liked and unloved and left out for reasons I don’t understand. And I am learning imperfectly and too slowly that I have to fully embrace who I am, whether it’s liked or not, to both do my job and my life well. It’s slow work, but exactly what I need to be doing.

This fall, while driving up to the mountains to camp, we learned about the Enneagram personality test and it changed our family. While Honor’s still not quite ready to embrace the nerdiness that is the personality test, the rest of us learned so much about ourselves and each other. My results did not come as any surprise to me, but did force me to take a look at who I truly am and embrace rather than fight it.

Marriage to Josh has continued to be life’s sweetest surprise. I marvel that he loves me so deeply and that he is enduringly committed to making our life together work so well. It is the biggest joy to be on the same team. I never imagined I could find someone who would love both me and the kids like he does. It is not lost on me how beautiful redemption can be, in so many ways that you can’t even imagine.

Travel:
• In February, we flew to Austin, TX to visit Josh’s mom and sister. We had a great time exploring the city and I have yet to perfect my recipe for authentic Austin BBQ beans. (But I’m getting closer!)
• Josh and I went over to Boulder with the Western Colorado teams that won our local Go Code competition while they worked on their pitches for the finals in Denver.
• We, along with Eden’s BFF, went with 40 of our closest friends to Green River, Utah to camp and raft along the Green River in our fourth annual Riverpalooza aka rPAL.
• My youngest cousin got married in Rapid City, South Dakota so we drove, via a quick trip in Wyoming to see my Grandma, to the wedding. We really enjoyed our time at Mt. Rushmore and Reptile Gardens, where we got to pet a baby alligator, and then popped over to Denver to see my sister on the way home. 1425 miles.
• A week later we traveled back to Denver so I could attend a very exciting Parking Conference.
• Took the kids to their first big concert. We were so fortunate to see Coldplay, up very close, in Salt Lake City. It was a memory we will all cherish forever.
• Josh and I travelled to my cousin’s wedding in Portland, OR. We decided to drive so we could really experience new parts of the country. We stayed in Boise along the way and were amazed by the Columbia River Gorge. We spent time along the coast and fell in love with Portland (especially the food). We got to tour our first Frank Lloyd Wright house as well as one of Oregon’s few working lighthouses. 2400 miles.
• We were back over to Denver before Thanksgiving to load up on Ikea furniture for FACTORY.

Me:
• Had the opportunity to walk the Governor around Main Street and talk to him about the things we’re doing in Downtown GJ.
• Decided, after 10 years in business, to move on to the next chapter and close Tangle. It was hard and many people were sad but it’s been the best decision. There’s a season for everything.
• Hiked the Ouray Perimeter trail with my workout buddies. It was gorgeous.
• Became the Executive Director for the Downtown Business Improvement District. A few of this year’s proud moments at my job include adding three new properties to our district and having my proposal to launch a pilot program for a parking app in the Downtown area accepted by the city. I really love my job.
• Turned 35.
• Found myself in some really sweet and special friendships that have been so meaningful to me.
• Really enjoyed making this house our own, scouring second-hand shops for midcentury modern pieces that we could afford and spending way too much time at Target.

Josh:
• Moved from a shared office to his own office on Main Street. With his expanded space he was able to hire two new employees and an intern.
• Along with his partner Brian, did a fantastic job hosting the second Go Code competition for Western Colorado. (You should really watch the video, it’s fantastic.)
• Joined the Food Bank board.
• Created and launched an app called Wild Colorado that our local library commissioned.
• Discussed tech entrepreneurship in western Colorado with Governor Hickenlooper.
• Flew a plane.
• Turned 35.
• After years of working, saw his goals achieved by opening Grand Junction’s first coworking space, FACTORY.
• Got to ride up on the ladder of a fire truck to take photos during Downtown’s Tree Lighting.

Eden:
• As part of her extensive orthodontic work, had surgery on her mouth.
• Turned 14.
• Had blonde then purple then blonde then blue then blonde then magenta hair.
• Had her first boyfriend.
• Won the directors award in choir (again).
• Graduated 8th Grade and started HIGH SCHOOL.
• Became a vegetarian.
• Went to her first homecoming.
• Was accepted into the Women’s audition-choir in High School.

Honor:
• Stopped being a vegetarian. (Coincidentally grew several inches when he started eating meat again.)
• Celebrated the beginning of Summer by having his second annual All-Nighter with his sister.
• Along with his sister, celebrated their dad’s wedding in June.
• Got really into gaming, learning how to play D&D, Magic and all kinds of other games that his mother doesn’t understand. His favorite thing to do is meet his friends at our Downtown gaming shop to play games for hours and hours.
• Graduated 6th Grade and started 7th.
• Turned 13.
• Became a yo-yo expert.
• Started shaving.

We:
• Participated in our first presidential caucus. I was an alternate delegate and we enjoyed learning about the whole process during the local democratic convention. The kids came along with us to the caucus and enjoyed it far less than we did.
• Bought a raft.
• Celebrated Mothers Day on the river, in the rain (again).
• Celebrated our 2nd anniversary during a lovely, quick trip to Aspen.
• Successfully grew a small vegetable garden. All credit going to our automatic sprinkler system.
• Had our hearts broken over the election results.
• Celebrated birthdays, Fourth of July, Pumpkin Carving, Pie for Breakfast, Thanksgiving and Christmas at our house. We love that it’s a party house. We love filling it with our people (and good food!).

We go into this next year of double mind. Hopeful for what’s to come in our personal lives and cautious for what’s in store for our country. We’ll be focusing in on fewer things so we can do each of them better. And we will be resting more too. We will be working on ways to help our local community, looking for common ground and practicing radical love. Peace is a word that resonates deeply with me for the next year. We will continue to pray for it and do our part to bring it, in all aspects of life.

And finally, to sum it all up:
Life is sweet. And hard. And love always, always wins.

Every Instagram photo from 2016:

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