Ashley and Jadyn

And just like that 2018 is gone! I had such high hopes, I really thought this would be the year that we kicked it out of the park with BREWVANA. I also thought this year I would be welcoming a new member to my family. To say that 2018 was a disappointment would be an understatement.

If you know me, you’re probably aware that one of my greatest strengths is my optimism, it is also a weakness as well. I lack fear in the way that most people do. I see the good in people and situations and usually bank on favorable outcomes. Thinking positively can often help to result in the desired outcome, but not always. This is the year that I’ve learned that in the hardest way. I’ve unfortunately lost a bit of my optimism - but I’ve leanrned that it’s okay for things not to go as planned. It’s okay to have shit hit the fan. It’s okay to have to start over. It’s okay to admit that you were wrong. It’s okay to be upset and it’s okay not to be ok!

This years challenges were abundant - including but not limited to the following: a decrease in international toursism to the US, decreasing #s in the craft beer industry (demonstrated by the closing of several breweries in Portland), decrease in public tour sales at BREWVANA, bus issues including snow and closures, 2 new transmissions, a breakdown on interstate that got media attention, being married to a military man with increased responsibilities for his new role as company commander, the 2019 deployment finalized, financial challenges, trying to balance work and home life with minimal sacrafices to either, losing a baby, having to birth a stillborn baby at 29 weeks gestation, strep throat, saying goodbye to our dog (my first baby) Brutus and spending Christmas sick with the norovirus in someone elses house, just to name a few. I’ll stop there.

The good news is (see- I do have some of it left;) challenges can lead to growth and evolution, it is important to see the opportunity and be willing to make changes for the better. Some of the things I’ve learned this year is that things don’t always go as planned, so be prepared with a plan B and C. Be willing to move forward, or to the right or left - you may move in a direction you didn’t think you’d be going. I’ve learned that it’s ok to give up and/or start over from scratch. Nothing is for certain- be aware, be present. I’ve learned that tangible shit doesn’t matter, people matter. Our experiences matter - make memories! Life is short, enjoy every moment.

In thinking critically about what BREWVANA does that’s both true for public tours (mostly tourists) and private tours (usually locals celebrating, team building for company’s) I realized there’s one thing that’s important across the board that we’ve added to our values which is to __create memories__. People leave BREWVANA with an experience to remember and cherish with their family, friends or coworkers. Life is meant for enjoying. It’s meant for connecting, learning, growing and experiencing. That is the beautiful part about what we offer as a company - we truly enhance peoples lives by creating memories.

My daughter Jadyn will be four in March - she is the most important thing in my life and I try to embrace every second I spend with her. We are constantly doing and experiencing new things and creating memories together. My other daughter Lena Franklyn Lilypop didn’t have a chance to live outside my womb, but after she was stillborn - we got to spend time with her. The NICU nurse came to take photographs of her birth and the hours following. I cherish those photos because they are some of the only memories I have of Lena.

Although I have had a lot of challenges in 2018, I am (cautiously) optimistic about the future. I was willing to make changes and pivot when things didn’t go as planned and I’ve learned a lot about what’s important and what matters most. So on that note - my goal and focus for 2019 is to continue to move forward, stay optimistic and create new memories with the people in my life- whether they are guests on my tour, my family or my friends. I am stronger, more realistic with my expectations and more knowledgeable about my business. I value relationships more than ever and I’m willing and able to work hard, deal with new challenges and evolve.

From the words of Dolly Parton, “if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.” Wishing you lots of great memories with sunshine and rainbows in 2019.

Photo credit: Steven Shomler