Friday, January 20, 2017

1 of 48: BLE Flagstaff

1 of 48:  BLE Flagstaff  

Today our journey begins. The first of forty-eight months. Deep breaths, everyone. Now is the time to get started.

A little bit of housekeeping since this is our first outing as Every month, Jacki and I will select an organization and reach out to its board to set up a time to meet. We’ll get to know each other, figure out the organization’s needs, and then share what we have learned with all of you. The first part of our post will be some nuts and bolts information about the organization as well as our suggested action items. Then you’ll hear from one or both of us about how this organization has personally touched or affected us. Now I know what you are thinking. This is an excuse for Jacki and I to hang out, and drink wine. Listen, we do what we have to do. You’re welcome to join us.

Jacki and I spent a lot of time talking through this beginning. Where do we start? What will be inclusive and make the largest audience want to participate in our 48Months initiative? We talked and talked, and the light bulb came on. BLE Flagstaff. Of course. We believe the infectious positivity of this nonprofit is just the place to start. We met with Jake Bacon, a beloved member of the Flagstaff community and BLE Flagstaff Board Member, to learn more about the organization. We invite you to read on, and learn more about this incredible group of individuals who took a tragedy and turned it into not only an incredibly meaningful memorial, but also an organization bent on infusing our world with positivity.

History/Mission of BLE Flagstaff:  Nate Avery was born and raised in Flagstaff, Arizona.  He went on to become a talented and gifted neurosurgeon who returned to practice in Flagstaff in 2001. He was loved and respected by the community, his family, his friends, colleagues and anyone who had the honor of knowing him. His favorite saying after any adventure was “that was the Best Day Ever!”

A tragic accident on August 18, 2012 took Nate away too soon and left his family and the Flagstaff community with a huge loss. At his celebration of life, it was noted that he would no doubt acknowledge his life as the “Best Life Ever” and from that, BLE was born. BLE is a reminder of his mischievous grin, loving ways, prankster actions, kind heart, open ears willing to listen, being a true friend and much more. It’s a constant reminder to all - to live your BEST LIFE EVER!

What do they do?  Every member of the BLE Board has a discretionary fund. They move quietly around our community with these funds and spread love through random acts of kindness.They are like ninjas of crazy awesomeness. Buying groceries for the person in front of them at Basha’s; tucking money into books at thrift stores with a note from BLE; showing up at a sporting event and buying a ticket for every person in line; and much more.   Nate Avery had a habit of doing unexpected things for friends and strangers. Their goal is to perpetuate Nate’s playfulness and whimsy, and build upon who he was. BLE Flagstaff asserts that random acts of kindness create a ripple effect… you never know how the small thing you have done will multiply. Every action matters.

  1. CASH:  Let’s face it, cash money gets the work done, and maybe you have a day full of meetings and that’s what you can do and that is amazing. If you want to just throw a few bucks to BLE Flagstaff, you can trust that they will put it to good use. Every dollar matters. Donate here!
  2. Like the BLE Flagstaff Facebook page so you can keep up to date on events. Their big fundraiser is the "BLE Super Epic, Self-Timed, Sorta 5-Kish, Mega Party Run, Walk or Stand." This is a start line we can all embrace. It usually happens in September and you should totally come and join this party.
  3. Buy a BLE Flagstaff sticker and slap it on your car or water bottle. They sell them at an amazing local downtown business, Mountain Sports. Head on down there. If you live out of town message us and we’ll send you one.
  4. Get on those random acts of kindness. I think you guys are probably pretty smart because you found your way here, and you probably are already writing down ways to get it done. If you need ideas, just talk to Google. Involve your kids, they get super excited about this stuff.   
  5. OUT OF TOWN FRIENDS…  we want you with us, and we understand if a cash donation to our local org doesn’t move you. Do your random act of kindness in your own town or look up or if giving cashola is your thing.  
  6. Finally, let’s be a community. Post what you do and hashtag it with #BLE and #48months. Being a part of something larger than yourself will make you feel less alone.


Three Little Letters.  January 19, 2017

Snow falls in Flagstaff tonight, and I can’t help but think that it’s the heavens above, letting us know that us “Special Snowflakes” are not alone. We are surrounded by an army of fluffy flakes, lining up for battle.   

This week has been a bittersweet walk down memory lane with the beautiful pictures of the Obamas and their children, the Joe/Barack memes, and the many tributes from our close, personal celebrity friends all over social media. Seeing pictures of Barack in the snow with Sasha and Malia, Michelle passionately advocating for children, and Joe and Barack giggling together… it is time to say goodbye to our Camelot and embark on the next 48 months.   

Tonight the Obamas spend their last night in the White House. Tomorrow, the Others move in. My heart is heavy, but I also know that staying in bed and crying all day tomorrow (despite the snow day) is not an option. President Obama has told us to lace up, get to work. For me, what does that mean?

It means taking my liberal values and putting them to work.It’s time to walk that walk, and back up all that talk. The BLE Foundation embodies our amazing Flagstaff community. My heart is so full from this mountain town. Its people, the San Francisco peaks that frame every photograph, the passionate dialogue, the values that bond so many of us together, even when we disagree. My heart is full of friends like Jake Bacon and the others involved with BLE Flagstaff, who have taken their own personal tragedy and have transformed their grief into love and action.

I met the Avery family only peripherally over the years through mutual friends, and would certainly not claim them as “mine." I know that Dr. Avery embodied the values that make Flagstaff so special. I saw friends devastated by his death, and mourned that loss of what he meant to our community alongside them. I have watched BLE Flagstaff become a powerful force of positivity in our community. The stickers are everywhere, and always make me smile. Three little letters that have the power to compel us…. actually REQUIRE us… to put out that random act of kindness.

Choose what you will for January 20th. It might not be on our list, but choose SOMETHING to combat your fear and anger. I choose to make a donation to BLE Flagstaff. I choose to take my kids out on a snow day and sprinkle our town with some random acts of kindness. I choose to turn OFF the news and not give my bandwidth to the Others.

Snow falls in Flagstaff tonight. Tomorrow we wake up to a world blanketed with those who want to see something different for our children and our world. Tomorrow we live our Best Life Ever and get to work.

With all of our love and hope for the future,
Cristy and Jacki

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