opportunities

September 26th, 2017 — 10:33am

This is why I believe in public school: tonight we got to watch all of the musical kids at Palisade High School perform, all the bands and orchestras and choirs. Eden sang in two of the choirs and we marveled at the way her confidence to perform has changed over these last few years.

The night ended with the marching band filing into the auditorium, lining the room, and filling it with so much sound that you could feel it in your chest. As those kids marched in, joy exuding from them because of the music they were making, I teared up a little. I always tear up at my kids’ concerts, in rooms full of music that they are making. I can’t help but be eternally thankful for the opportunities that they have been given because of public school and I love to watch how it continues to make them grow.

Tonight I’ve been thinking about the opportunities that ALL kids get because of public school. Rich and poor alike they get the chance to make something beautiful, to learn to be on a team, to be a part of something bigger than themselves. They get the chance to fill school auditoriums, and football fields, with beauty that they make, together. And that is one of the greatest gifts we can give our kids, ALL of our kids.

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Eden

September 24th, 2017 — 10:41am

You guys, I can’t even. I can’t believe I made this child.

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Nashville

August 30th, 2017 — 10:47am

I struggle to understand why it is so important to be so concerned with what other people do? I mean, I was raised to believe this way so I am familiar with the preoccupation with other people’s actions, especially whenever sex is involved. But, really. Why is it so important to be so worried about who someone else loves?
[Also, millennials don’t buy into a religion that builds a wall between “us” and “them” (in SO many ways.) We’re witnessing the death of Christianity and I think this, hypocrisy, is why.]

Washington Post: Nashville Statement

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editorial

August 17th, 2017 — 10:52am

Printed in the August 17, 2017 edition of the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel.

____

As the the director of the Downtown Business Improvement District, and a longtime lover of these tree-lined streets in the center of our valley, I’m always fascinated by what visitors and those new to our community have to say about downtown. Most visitors wander our award-winning streets in awe, enjoying our little slice of heaven here in the western Colorado high desert. It’s fun to watch. Things are thriving here in downtown Grand Junction

So far in 2017 we’ve had 17 businesses either open or plan to open in our district. Our businesses are reporting that sales are up and vacancies are down. The new Mesa Theater owners have revitalized our music scene. The new outdoor dining patio at Barons has revitalized our night life. Tacoparty and Kiln Coffee Bar have drawn millennials and boomers alike. Pretty soon we’ll have a skate shop on Colorado Avenue and a western Colorado-made bath product shop on Main. Our beloved retailers, the staples of downtown, are changing things up too. Thirty of them got together this summer and expanded their hours on Fridays until 8 p.m. through the summer in a promotion called Fridays After Five.

Pinnacle, the company managing Two Rivers and the Avalon, has been a breath of fresh air, bringing fun, new ideas to downtown like the Sunset Patio concerts during the Fairway Independent Mortgage Farmers Market and expanding Dinner and a Movie on Tuesday nights to also include shopping. (Did you know that? Now on Tuesdays you can bring a receipt from any downtown business dated that day to the Avalon for two free movie tickets that night.)

The DDA board recently voted to move forward with a contract with Colorado developer REgeneration to build 36 unique townhouses on the empty lot at the old R-5 high school. Housing in downtown has long been a goal of the board and DDA/BID constituents and we’re about to see that come to fruition.

As of this spring, you can pay for parking on your phone (technology that many major cities have yet to adopt). You can also drop in to Factory and work for the day with access to gigabit internet or become a permanent member and work daily with like-minded entrepreneurs. The ultra-modern building that Factory occupies at 750 Main St., is full of all kinds of creative businesses, all which have made downtown their home in the last year.

Which brings me to, perhaps, my favorite thing: The #WestSlopeBestSlope hashtag that downtown spearheaded as part of a community pride initiative has been used more than 100,000 times on social media. Our community has taken extraordinary pride in this place we live, and downtown is at the heart of it all.

I’m incredibly proud to support and represent our diverse selection of businesses, restaurants and retailers. I don’t think there has ever been a better time to be a part of our vibrant and growing downtown community. More and more we see it’s true: Life happens here!

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proximity and fear

July 28th, 2017 — 10:55am

I’ve been sitting at Human Services for the last two hours, helping a family member get some much needed help. Watching the people in our community who are trying to wade though a really difficult government process, being helped by some very kind people who are truly on the front lines, only further reiterates to me how incredibly grateful I am today that millions of people are not losing their healthcare.

Glennon says that proximity and fear can’t live together, and it’s so true. When you hear the stories of the people who need help, it changes the way you view them. When you get face to face with someone, it changes your worldview.
It’s love that wins, my friends.

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Three years

June 7th, 2017 — 4:34pm

IMG_0115

Today Josh and I celebrate our 3rd wedding anniversary. Many of you know that I was previously married, for 12 years. The stunning result of which is Eden and Honor plus some pretty big scars on my heart. It’s hard to fully explain the pain that I went through during the undoing of that marriage.

It’s also hard to put words to the example of redemption that I have experienced in my relationship with Josh. I am constantly awed by the gift that we have in his love, encouragement, strength, hard-working spirit, and enduring patience. It is a truly remarkable man who will take two kids and love them just like they were his own.

One thing I know about making marriage work is that it happens when two people refuse to give up. I’ve learned that the hardest thing about marriage is that you can’t force someone else to do the work, no matter how hard you yourself are willing to work. And I learned how beautiful it can be when you find someone who chooses every day to be on your team, no matter how hard they might have to work to be there.

The story of humanity is told in second chances. And I am so very grateful today, and everyday, for mine.

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love

February 7th, 2017 — 7:07pm

Today I lost my grandmother who I didn’t really know and here’s what I’ve been thinking:

Love is always going to cost you something. And sometimes it can be so expensive. I have scars on my heart and stretch marks on my stomach to prove how much love can cost.

But, gosh, we only have one chance to do this life. And every morning we wake up to a choice.

Love or not.

Invest or not.

Try or not.

Before you are your people, and they will surely cost you. But it will always, always be worth it.

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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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Uncle David

December 24th, 2016 — 9:22am

I woke up early this morning thinking about my uncle. Uncle David died very unexpectedly last Christmas. It’s been so hard on my family, missing their dad, husband, brother and uncle. What a day to lose someone.

I’ve been thinking about what is probably my favorite memory of him: When my marriage fell apart I kept it to myself for several months. We were still living together in the same house and I could keep up appearances pretty well. I think I was disillusioned enough to think there was something I could do to fix it. It was not my proudest season of life.

When I decided to tell my family about what was going on, I went over to my aunt and uncle’s house to talk with them. I remember sitting in their living room on the couch, anxious to drop the news that my marriage had fallen apart, that I had been betrayed. Every time I told someone, it made it more real.

Upon hearing the news, my uncle put his head in his hand and sobbed huge, heaving sobs, so sad for me and the kids. And when he was able to speak again, he, along with my aunt, prayed earnestly for my little family. I knew they would be there (and they were) for anything I needed in that heartbreaking season.

This is the kind of man that he was. One who loved us all so deeply. He was there for nearly every significant moment in my life and many, many insignificant ones too.

He taught me to love my people deeply and that showing up and being present counts for everything. I know that we’re all missing him so much right now. But more than anything, I am so, incredibly thankful for the mark he made on my life and the legacy he left in the people he loved.

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Happy Everything! 2016

December 4th, 2016 — 7:49pm

Happy Everything! 2016 #tradition

A video posted by Allison Blevins (@pretendingsanity) on

2015

Happy holidays, 2015 version.

A video posted by Allison Blevins (@pretendingsanity) on

2014

Happy holidays, ya'll!

A video posted by Allison Blevins (@pretendingsanity) on

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