Weenie

January 26th, 2022 — 4:22pm


On Monday we let go of Dexter, our little dachshund. He had several health issues and was rapidly declining. Josh dug the grave for him in our side yard, near the garden. Because of Covid, our vet’s office was only allowing one of us in at a time so Josh and I waited in the car while Honor went in with him. The vet wrapped him in his favorite blanket—a knitted one that I purchased long ago at Target and was my inspiration for learning to knit. When we got home we placed his wrapped body in the grave and had a zoom funeral with Eden, each of us saying kind and funny words about him. Honor wanted to be the one to bury him. When the weather warms up we will plant carrots on top of his grave. They were his favorite vegetable.

 

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2020 and 2021 Years in Review

January 2nd, 2022 — 7:40pm

This is my sixteenth and seventeenth annual year in review. To read past reviews click here.

If I were to describe these last two years in one word, you’d not be very surprised: COVID … or maybe division. 

For two years now we’ve lived in a pandemic. I remember thinking in early March 2020 that I hoped the lockdown would last a full month. That may tell you how completely spent I was and how very thankful I was to be stuck in my house, forced to slow way down. It’s hard to remember what it was like to wish for that because all I wish now is for it to be over. It’s kind of hard to imagine what a return to normal would even be like at this point. These last few years have been so hard. I’m sure that is true for almost every single human on earth.

I entered 2020 knowing that we had precious little time left with the children at home. I’ve had these specific ideas about how that would go and what it would be like. We would celebrate their graduations. We’d move them to college. We’d enter into the next phase, freshly into our 40s and ready to start the next chapter of life anew… Both children are now finished with high school but other than that not much has gone according to plan. But also: we got so much extra time with them, all stuck together in the same house. That is something we will cherish always.

In the early months of the pandemic I spent my time furiously sewing masks for healthcare workers and friends. My final total was right at 400. I distracted myself by turning our 300 lavender-plant labyrinth that we inherited when we bought the house into an insane flower and vegetable garden. Though I’ve always grown at least a small salsa garden, I’ve never grown so much at this scale. I love the magic of growing plants, everyday finding something to be delighted by. And I LOVE, love, love growing an overabundance of flowers. In 2020, I canned and canned and canned the bounty my garden, setting us up with a stocked pantry that will last well into 2022. I 2021, I gave the veggies away, feeding about a dozen families.

The last two years have been marked by more sickness than I would like. At the end of October 2020, I suffered a concussion by falling out of an inversion table onto the top of my head.  Nearly a year of post-concussion syndrome followed. And I finally figured out why I always feel so terrible but no amount of medical tests could show a reason: A chronic inflammatory condition that’s triggered by a genetic susceptibility to mold. That condition got much worse before it started to get better just a couple of weeks ago. I really struggled these last few months with managing feeling so sick and trying to hold everything together. It can be very hard to deal with an invisible illness.

Eden graduated, we moved her to college, then home again, and then back again to Ft. Collins. Though her graduation ceremony didn’t happen until mid-summer, we celebrated with a drive-by party where we had friends and family drive down our driveway with banners and balloons, stopping for us to hand them milk and cookies and send their well wishes through rolled down car windows. It was actually perfect for an introvert like Eden. She’s doing well in Ft. Collins, working full time and about to start part time at the community college there. We miss her, but are so thankful that she’s thriving.

Honor got to act in one final play at the beginning of his junior year and just recently finished his high school career. He’s hated these last two years of school and we were happy for him to finish up early and get out of a place where he felt he so clearly didn’t belong. We’ll celebrate however we can in May when he will walk with the rest of his class in a graduation ceremony. He’s now a barista, working at a progressive coffee shop in town. He continues to be obsessed with board games and has turned into quite the photographer. We will see where he goes with his new freedom, but I suspect that it won’t be long before he takes the step to live on his own.

Josh hosted TEDxGJ just days before we went into lockdown. The event went great and he was so grateful to get to host it—if it had been a week later, he and his fellow organizers would have lost a lot of money. He took a small corner of our garage and turned into an office. He went through a bit of an internal transformation in 2020, using the downtime to work on himself with a therapist. In 2021 he was diagnosed with diabetes which he reversed in three months by making a major diet change. I’m so impressed with the discipline he’s learned in these past few years and so grateful for the man he continues to become. He completed a massive project for work that frankly took too much out of him. He spent a month this year on sabbatical resting up and recovering from the huge push that changed, for the better, the future of the company.

We traveled, a lot in the first 3 months of 2020 and then not as much after lockdown. Before COVID took hold we went to Denver for the Gen XYZ awards ceremony and then back a few weeks later to take the kids to see the spectacular Monet exhibit at the Denver Art Museum. Josh and I went to Charlotte, NC to meet with a company that Proximity acquired and then right to Wyoming for my 99 year old step-grandfather’s funeral. Eden and I went to Little Rock, AK with a few other choir kids and their moms so they could perform in an honor choir just a week before lockdown. We had the best time wandering the city, utterly charmed in the most unexpected way. After lockdown started, we spent time in Denver, masked and distanced and a little sad. The city was such a shell of its normal self, boarded up from riots and empty because of the virus.

Josh and I traveled to Portland and Seattle after we were fully vaccinated, emboldened by our newfound freedom and so grateful to visit dear friends and family and finally stretch our wings again. We also took the kids to L.A. for some much-needed beach time, enjoying what it’s like to vacation with adult children, each of us doing whatever sounded fun for the day, coming together for meals and having zero expectations of who should do what and when.

What else?

  • We brought home the most adorable coonhound puppy, Hardy, the dog love of my life.
  • One of us got Covid though all of us are vaccinated—making the case relatively mild. (Can we talk about how relieved and thankful we were to get vaccinated?)
  • We’ve walked into stage 4 cancer with some very dear friends. The feeling of helplessness to watch people we love go through this is unrelenting.
  • We celebrated when Trump lost the election and wept when the capitol was breeched. We also wept as we saw black lives taken, one after the other, in ways that have happened for years and years and years. We continue to do our best to understand privilege and our unintended biases and fight for the those that have unfairly been forced to live in the margins. We have much to unlearn and much to improve.
  • My now 94 year old grandmother moved here from Wyoming.
  • We lived through a kitchen flood; a major remodel of our kitchen, bathroom and bedroom; complete mold remediation; and some necessary and beautiful upgrades to our property and exterior of the house. I loved designing everything—it was such an important creative outlet for me. Now that all that’s about done, we probably want to move. We need to live in a place that loves us and these last pandemic- and politically-fraught years have shown us that this community that we’ve poured so much into is just not that into us. We’re tired of being so lonely.
  • Josh built an online directory of hot springs across the country called Drench.
  • Eden is now 19, Honor is 18, Josh and I are both 40. We’ve now been married 7 years.

I’m not sure that I can say that I enter 2022 as evolved as I had hoped to be by this point, by the time I was 40. I regret some of this time languishing through the pandemic, wishing in hindsight that I would have made more of every second. But that’s hard to do when you’re walking around with an emotional sunburn, being so sensitive to the touch. (A friend once described going through the pandemic that way and I think it couldn’t be more true.) Nevertheless, I can say that I still grew. That I learned and became and endured. And I am proud of that.

In 2022 I want to not be sick. Not be lonely. Not be afraid of other people getting me more sick. Not be angry at those who follow Jesus but ignore his teachings to love their neighbor.

I want this world to love. Love each other, love the planet, love me, love the marginalized, the widow, the orphan.

I want joy to be the theme. I want to live in hope and not despair. I want to make and grow beautiful things and spend every moment delighting in all of it, the bitter and the sweet—in this gift that is life.

Happy New Year! 

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2019 Year in Review

December 31st, 2021 — 12:54pm

This is my fifteenth annual year in review. To read past reviews click here.

If I were to describe 2019 in one word it would be growth or possibly college.

I struggle with what to say about the past year and instead keep finding myself with clarity about how I am leaving it. It was certainly not the year I had imagined 365 days ago. 2019 met us with unexpected trials that, at times, seemed insurmountable. But in trial and pain is where we find our best teacher and in those moments growth comes exponentially rather than linearly. And even though much of the year was hard, it was also so full of joy. I know that my perspective slipped a few times, but I was able to regain it by using the tools I’ve amassed over these 38 years. In knowing myself more, I’m able to see the times that I need to send myself to a quiet moment in the early hours of the morning with a journal, a cup of coffee and a resolve to find the light.

I’ve now been the COO of Proximity for a little over one year. What I’ve learned about operating a tech startup is that there is no manual for such things. We have to blaze the way and figure it out as we go and resolve that as we learn, we will make better mistakes tomorrow.  I’m learning how to keep our collective gaze firmly on our goals, that work is supposed to be hard, and that 24 hours is about all the radio silence I can expect to have from this growing company. I often remind myself that not many people get this kind of opportunity or this view of the world and I am constantly grateful for what I’m learning.

Generally, when people have caused me harm it has been because of their own brokenness and without intent. But towards the end of this year, we had the unique experience of a cruel, vicious and intentional undoing of something precious to us. I’m not even sure what else to say about it other than this is my resolve: I will not let hate make me hate, I have a deep believe that karma knows what it is doing, and there is beautiful redemption in even the worst nightmares.

Our children are almost grown and we’ve enjoyed them immensely this year. There is a special delight in watching (not-so) small humans step into the fullness of who they are.  I feel so grateful for the people Eden and Honor are becoming and also so proud. It is amazing to watch evolution in action—the generation after us building upon the lessons we learned to be more evolved, more emotionally intelligent and full of wisdom.

This year was about college. While Eden was searching for her perfect fit, FACTORY was moving from our downtown location to the campus of CMU. It’s been fun viewing this whole other world, imagining what life will be like for Eden in 9 short months and at the same time experiencing a bit of campus life ourselves.

Me

  • Spoke on three panels about my work and being a woman in business.
  • Hiked quite a bit – mostly with Brooke. We celebrated her 40th birthday on the Oh Be Joyful trail in Crested Butte.
  • Traveled for work to Dallas, Chicago, and Denver to train one of our enterprise customers.
  • Took some of the team to Denver to tour coworking spaces.
  • Created food and hats and quilts and pickles and jam and tinctures and hot sauce (with my cousin!).
  • Turned 38.
  • Traveled to Casper, WY with my cousin to visit our grandmother.
  • Was nominated for the GenXYZ awards and is in the top 50 finalists.
  • Participated in the Christmas Crawl and sold hats and napkins.

Eden

  • Performed in Chicago
  • Got a tattoo
  • Turned 17
  • Had a summer internship at Proximity
  • Finished her junior year and started her senior year
  • Got accepted to many colleges and chose CSU.
  • Baked a lot.
  • Made it into several honor choirs.
  • In a series of necessary life lessons that I’ve been working on with Eden and her friend, learned to make jam, lasagne, a hat, pie crust, and candy cane cookies.

Honor

  • Got his permit
  • Became a marketing and dev intern at Proximity. (Gave himself the title of Head Dev Intern.)
  • Finished his freshman year and started his sophomore year.
  • Starred in The Odd Couple
  • Started competing in League
  • Turned 16
  • Spent quite a bit of time learning to cook.
  • Hosted many, many game nights with his friends.

Josh

  • Produced the 2nd TedXGJ event.
  • Built a beautiful patio in our back yard.
  • Had the most challenging year of his life.
  • Built a beautiful wall in the new Factory location.
  • Started rock climbing.

We

  • Celebrated five years of marriage
  • Started meal prepping every Sunday so we could eat healthy food throughout the week.
  • Escaped to Denver a few times for some much-needed downtime.
  • Snuck in a few extra days in Chicago so I could see Josh’s old stomping grounds.
  • Visited Canyonlands national park.
  • Hosted two Proximity dev retreats at our house.
  • Survived the moth invasion of 2019.
  • Celebrated the 4th of July with some of our Proximity pals in Ouray.
  • Camped in Crested Butte for Brooke’s 40th.
  • Joined a wine club.
  • Took the kids to the college fair in Aspen.
  • Toured three front range colleges with the kids.
  • Hosted our annual Proximity Pool Party, the Pumpkin carving party, Pie for Breakfast™, and The Christmas party.

I leave 2019 knowing more of who I am. I’m resolved to take from life what I want from it, to work a little less, stress a lot less and keep my gaze firmly on gratitude and joy.

Note: I wrote this in 2019 but it’s remained unpublished until now. I’m not exactly sure why I never hit publish, but here it is!

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Happy Holidays 2019!!

December 24th, 2019 — 2:56pm

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Playlist – year 37

September 14th, 2019 — 5:44pm

On this, the last day of my 37th year, I’m gathering together a list of all of the albums that I’ve listened to over and over again in the last year. I’ve listened to lots of music over the last year, but this is what has stuck with me and climbed into my heart, marking important lessons, changes, and seasons. Everyone one of these albums is tied to such a feeling of gratitude.

In no particular order, my 37th year playlist:

When We All Fall Asleep – Billie Eilish

The Weatherman – Gregory Alan Isakov

Words I Never Said – Ella Vos

Lemonade – Beyonce

Phase – Jack Garratt

Shake the Spirit – Elle King

Delta – Mumford & Sons

Cuz I Love You – Lizzo

Vide Noir – Lord Huron

Lover – Taylor Swift

Awaken, My Love – Childish Gambino

A Moment Apart – Odesza

Everything is Love – The Carters

Pink Moon – Nick Drake

III – The Lumineers

And I’m never not listening to:

The Head and the Heart

and everything by Jay-Z

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phoenix

April 21st, 2019 — 6:20am

phoenix

It’s been raining. Everything is turning green and my lilacs and apple trees are right on the verge of blooming. I’m one cup of coffee into my weekend morning ritual of drinking coffee by the open window, wrapped up in the first quilt I ever made, listening to the birds chirp whenever the rain breaks, focusing on the things for which I am so very grateful.

It’s Easter. The Super Bowl of Christianity. Churches all over have hustled hard to bump up attendance so they can share crackers and grape juice with the lost souls of our communities. Yesterday was Passover and I miss that ritual. The rich history of wine and herbs and unleavened bread broken with loved ones. Why does it seem like modern-day Christianity cheapens everything that was once holy?

I feel such a complicated mixture of emotions when I think of Christianity—the tradition from which I once drew my identity. When I consider this religion, I think of guilt and foreboding, fear so strong that it prompts people to disown their loved ones, friendships where worthiness comes from bible study attendance, a bible that’s used as a weapon, and the Christian Republican Party who elected, and loves, Donald J. Trump. (Are you angry? I’m angry.)

While this all but ensures I’ll never attend church again, I also know church has nothing to do with the Divine. So I try hard to see past this religion that has caused so, so much damage. I think about this: How I’ve had to lose my life to save it. The many times I have I risen from the ashes. If there is a hell that we’re rescued from, it’s the one here on earth that we make for ourselves and each other. And whatever or whoever God is, he is the one who is always, always with us.

Maybe today, for me, is about remembering the resiliency of the human spirit—our ability to rise from the dead again and again. Isn’t that such a miracle? And maybe it should be a celebration of this one wild and beautiful life—this magnificent gift we’ve all been given and the only chance we know we’re guaranteed. So let’s take this one chance and squeeze every last drop out of it.

Happy Easter

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Here’s what you should do

January 21st, 2019 — 6:18am

Here’s what you should do: you should create something. Any time your heart hurts or you’re stretched thin or you need some space, you should make. Because that’s what you were made to do.

As you’re creating, you should use that time to hold what you’re making, and your whole life, loosely.

Into your craft you should pour your hopes and fears and dreams and wishes.

Relax, be calm, trust.

Stitch your stitches or make your music or build your masterpiece. What is in your hands, however imperfect, will turn out beautifully if you just relax your grip on it. (Your life, however imperfect, will turn out beautifully too — if you just relax your grip on it.)

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2018 Year in Review

January 1st, 2019 — 1:20pm

This is my 14th annual year in review. To read past reviews, click here.

ACS_0128
If I were to describe 2018 in a word, I think it would be delightful or maybe Proximity.

While this year has not been without its trials and challenges and many, many lessons learned, I leave it in utter delight. Which is a feeling I have not had for many years. It’s like the lessons of these last five years have finally been brought to a point. Or one might say all those years I couldn’t see the forest for the trees…those trees now make so much sense. Maybe that’s because I am now thirty-seven and I finally have the benefit of a little wisdom. Here’s also what I think may have happened: I think I might be incredibly blessed, incredibly lucky, and the benefactor of a very radical shift in perspective. For all of which I cannot be more grateful. 

There were hard lessons learned this year, for sure, like when I resigned from my Downtown job only to watch all of the hard work I had done for three years be undone, and for no reason other than of convenience with a good dose of manipulation on the side. I learned the very hard life lesson that what is right does not always win. And my once stalwart faith in local government began to match my (lack of) faith in national government. Corrupt people are, unfortunately, everywhere. It was a hard, and unexpected loss, that took me quite a while to work through. 

Though we certainly had our share of hard things this year, for me, there were fewer hard things than usual. Less loss, less heartache, less abandonment, less fear. And maybe all of those things were there, the bitter with the sweet, but the sweetness of this life shone through brighter. My gratitude for it continues to be unyielding.

We’ve experienced so much this year. Building a thriving tech company that Josh co-founded has been challenging, with so many important lessons, and it has been SO fun. We work with a team of 30 remarkable people and are doing work and living a life that I couldn’t have imagined. I have been fortunate to have had many amazing jobs in my life, and getting to be the COO for Proximity is right there at the top of the list, a position I didn’t imagine I would have when I started back in March and one that I now know I was made to do. 

The kids are exactly where you might think they’d be. Eden is driving and thinking about college. Honor is just starting out his high school career, figuring how who he is and who he wants to be. As a family, we experienced some amazing things and places this year, memories that are forever seared into my mind.

This life just continues to feel like such a remarkable gift and I am in awe that I’ve been entrusted with such a gift.

Travel
• We took Eden and a gaggle of girls up to the Mesa to stay in a cabin for her 16th birthday. It was snowing and magical.

• Josh and I didn’t take our usual vacation with just the two of us this year, however, we spent several weekends in Denver, traveling over both for work and fun. We had the privilege of representing Proximity at the Governor’s Mansion when we were nominated as a 2018 Colorado Company to Watch.

• We had great fun traveling with the Prox team to Denver for the Colorado Companies to Watch gala in May.

• Josh traveled to Florida and Portland and Durango for work, enjoying his time with the team. And marveling that the sun really does rise every day. (Inside joke!)

• Eden went to NYC with her choir and got to perform at Carnegie Hall. They toured the city, taking in all the important sites and several Broadway shows.

• I traveled to Portland with Brooke to explore the PNW and attend a mindfulness retreat hosted by my aunt and cousin at my cousin’s flower farm. It was delightful.

• Not long after, Josh, the kids, and I traveled back to the PNW to explore Portland, Seattle, Bainbridge Island, and Vancouver, BC. I fell in love with island-life, marveling at the ferry, the Puget Sound, Gamble Bay and everything in between.

• We camped and rafted and took solace in our mountains and nearby towns when the heat, and smoke, in town became unbearable.

• Brooke and I traveled to Denver in November to see Rob Bell finish up the last leg of his Holy Shift tour. It was a poignant time for both of us and we had a great time.

Me
• A lot of what I did this year centered around work. I’m always happy when I have something huge to throw myself into. When I first talked to our CEO about coming to work for Proximity, my only caveat was that the position needed to be hard enough. I need a challenge. And it’s been a challenge! I’ve had the opportunity to help shape the company. I’ve done the majority of the hiring, helping the team grow from about 12 to 30 since March. I’m proud that we’ve built an entire marketing brand from the ground up, helping this company – a leader in our industry – tell our story and convey our values: that people and connection and community matter most.

• Before I left Downtown, I got to launch a project that I’d been working on for years, free WiFi in DTGJ. And I got to see the Mayor present a check to our local United Way for over $14,000, a direct result of a parking project that I spearheaded.

• Celebrated my 37th birthday on our backyard, surrounded by people who love me.

• Had my fallopian tubes removed.

• Discovered that I’m allergic to wasp stings.

• Went to my first coffee cupping. And judged a latte art throwdown.

• Broke my damn toe, which turned out to be a much bigger deal than one would think!

• Cooked so, so many amazing meals. Creating is always so life-giving for me.

Josh
• Produced and hosted Grand Junction’s first-ever TEDx.

Turned 37.

• Started building his Design department at Prox.

• Worked on several house projects. Built many awesome things.

• Got a drum set and returned to his passion after a several-year hiatus.

• Designed the graphics, posters, and programs for Eden’s holiday choir concert.

• Started to prioritize time for himself and took a little bit of time away.

Eden
Turned 16

• Won first place at the Altrusa Art Fair.

Finished 10th grade and started 11th.

• Performed her own music publicly for the first time, at an #enough rally with her fellow students.

• Got her driver’s license.

• Had her first real relationship.

• Went to prom and homecoming.

• Sang and sang and sang. In 10th grade, she was in 2 choirs. In 11th grade, she’s in 4. She also started recording her music (including a song she wrote for me!).

Honor
• Was student of the month.

• Was accepted into the IB Programme for high school.

• Attended his 8th grade semi-formal.

Finished 8th grade and started 9th.

Turned 15.

• Got his very own cello thanks to a generous friend. (Thanks, Charles!)

• Prepped our entire lavender field for spring. (for .$75/plant)

• Won a poetry contest that the library hosted.

We
Marched in the Women’s March (except for me because I was home sick.)

• Celebrated our 4th anniversary.

• Attended the pride festival.

• Hosted our annual Pumpkin carving party.

• Hosted 4th of July, the Prox Pool Party, all of our birthdays, Pie for Breakfast, Thanksgiving, THE Christmas Party, and Christmas at our house. Our hearts, and home, are always overflowing.

• Went most of the year without our pool. We were finally able to get the pool company to come out and replace our liner and enjoyed the last month of summer. Just in time for several pool parties.

• Had an exceptionally magical fall in western Colorado. The sky was more vibrant than usual and we had stunning weather, amazing colors, fog (!)… it was beautiful.

• Remodeled our laundry room.

• Witnessed as the kids participated in the nationwide school walkout after the Parkland shooting.

• The kids had their annual school’s out All-nighter.

• Celebrated Brian and Bonnie’s wedding on a rainy October evening and it was perfect.

• Got a hot tub! Something that connects us and allows us to unplug and be together. It’s been so awesome.

• Enjoyed a fun and wintry visit from my cousin HaLee and her husband, Dave.

We move into 2019 more rested and more hopeful than we’ve been in past years. We’ll take some downtime in the next couple of months and recharge for the wildness that will come in the spring and summer months. We’ll settle in and do puzzles and play card games and lay by the fire reading books. And we’ll also be working hard, excited for what’s to come with Proximity – I have a feeling it’s going to be something amazing. We don’t have much time left with Eden living at home so we’ll keep trying to squeeze in all of the things we want to do with the kids before she’s gone, mentally checking off the list, hoping we’ll get it all in. Our house will be full; we’ll cook and prep and plan and clean and it will be exhausting and exhilarating and such great fun. And we’ll travel, I’m not sure where yet, maybe to Alaska to visit my aunt and uncle and/or maybe somewhere else. I’m sure we’ll be checking out some colleges. I’m sure we’ll be up to the mountains and down to the ocean too. No matter what, we’ll drink it all in, hearts and eyes wide open, grateful for the gift of this life and all the people that make up the pieces of it. We are so very lucky.

Our year in Instagram.

Our year in Instagram Stories.

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Happy Holidays from us!

December 22nd, 2018 — 1:01pm

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A post shared by Allison Blevins (@pretendingsanity) on

See past videos here.

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COO

November 15th, 2018 — 9:00am

IMG_0775

 

On Monday I was named Chief Operating Officer of Proximity! I’m so excited that I’m part of a company that values people and relationships above everything. That I am entrusted with the day-to-day operations of Proximity is such an honor and I am ready and excited for the challenge. My gratitude for this team of extraordinary people (29 and counting!) is immeasurable and I am so thankful that each and every one of them is a part of my life.

This life I’m living is such a gift and I never, ever stop being in awe of it. Life is hard and good and beautiful and exhausting and thrilling and everything in between and I am so very, very grateful.

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