Friday, March 30, 2012

Joy Comes With the Momentum of Habit

 When The New Year came, I told myself that I was going to focus on "Joy" as my word for 2012.  It hasn't been easy so far, because I am facing a lot of changes I don't want but have no choice over.  Kids growing up and moving out, parents growing old, debt piled up dealing with both.

But then I have made progress, and it is coming in baby steps.

I have been learning the truth of the fact that attitude is so important in shaping your life.  And every time I start bogging down in depression and a sense of being overwhelmed, I have turned the thoughts off by asking myself, "What is the happiest thing I know this moment?"
Often the answer to that is something simple and yet powerful to change the course of theta moment, and through on into the entire day.

Often the answer is the people in my life, my husband, my children, a friend whose offhanded compliment makes me grin for days.


often the answer is the places where I choose to see beauty.

I live in an incredibly beautiful area, but also one of poverty and problems

 So what I see, depends on what I choose to look for.

Beauty is always there, and seeing it refills the deep well of Joy that I am drawing into my life each choice I make.

It has created its own momentum.  I don't have to remind myself to look for the positive now.  When I wake up and my brain starts, "I hate . . ." even before it can add, "Mornings"

My momentum has turned it around in its tracks and started listing the abundant treasures that exist in my life.

It is also about habits and movement.  Last year, you might find me indulging in a hot bath in the middle of the day, then settling into my recliner with book and a plate of snacks  -  then feeling depressed because my house was cluttered and the jobs had not been done, and we had spent more than the income we brought in.

Deciding to be responsible for my own joy, meant I had to get up and get dressed, wash the dishes I was blessed to have dirtied with our abundant food. And look for ways to bring that peace and joy into my life.

Baby Steps, one pile decluttered, one step done in creating a resume, one day when I went out looking for beauty.  It adds up quickly into someone who is a better person, and happier, and joy slips in quietly and lifts my here in gratitude.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

One Year after the Tsunami, we shared with Japan

 Most everyone knows that the Tsunami was major and that the impact of it upon Japan is inconceivable on so many levels.  Our Small, Northern California and Southern Oregon harbors had a bit more than sympathy pains for our Japanese brothers and sisters.
Starting between 7 and 8 AM, we began to experience our own Tsunami, and the waves cycled through the commercial boat harbor, destroying boats and docks and peoples incomes, but most devastatingly of all, Pulling two people into the sea, in Southern Oregon at Pistol River (They managed to get ashore) and destroying the life of one young man who was pulled out to sea in Northern California, but who's body was found long weeks later in Washington.
 His Father, Jon Weber, is hiking the route from where his son's body was found, to here where his son was pulled into the sea, that story in the Del Norte Triplicate at

There were several crabbing and fishing boats left shattered on the harbor floor, so this big crane was bright in to help raise the broken boats from the harbor.  

This is a picture I took of my TV screen when they were showing how the water from the harbor was being sucked out of the harbor and then came flooding back in in 10 minute cycles

My Aunt sent me this paper with our hometown on the front page news, from her home near Pittsburgh PA

Although surviving the Tsunami is not a free card other, this sailboat survived the big tsunami, only to lie broken on the rocks in the spring rains and flooding of January 2011

 This smaller crane was here just last month to help fix the channel markers which were broken and moved and have caused a headache for boats coming in and out ever sine

 This dredge loaded up barge after barge of the silt which had been deposited in the harbor and filled the boat basin during the tsunami

Crescent City won one of the $10, 000 prizes from Reader's Digest in the We Hear You America Contest to help with the rebuilding, but as the Curry Coastal Pilot said

"Visitors to Crescent City Harbor this week will find a port that is a shadow of its former self, the surviving boats in the fleet crowding around a handful of new docks. 
Emergency funds to repair and replace docks and other facilities have been hindered by state and federal bureaucracy. Crescent City’s port was one of three California ports to be damaged by the tsunami, while Brookings’ port was the only one in Oregon.
Still, the work completed so far is impressive: the removal of 61 pilings, the dredging of 83 barge-loads of silt deposited by the tsunami, and the repair of about 500 feet of protective rock slope, all at a cost of around $5.1 million. 
“It’s been kind of a remarkable year for what we have accomplished since the tsunami,” Young said. "

To see that whole story go to

Monday, March 5, 2012

Mid-Night Worrying

Philippians 4:6-7 Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. (NLT)

 2:45 AM and I am awake, regretfully wide eyed by the knowledge of the bills due in days, again, heart pounding, blood cold, and all the past success forgotten in the worrying. It isn't like I have ever not had bills that equal or exceed the income or that I am in danger of going homeless or hungry but the constant balancing act is exhausting.  Suddenly even the little indulgences feel like extravagances I need to avoid.  We used to go to the movies a lot, or rent videos and now we are thinking of cutting out even the TV. The Cost of everything keeps climbing but the paycheck stays the same or even shrinks.
Finally I Remember an exercise in meditation that I learned from a wonderful Drama Teacher back in Northwest Community College days. I close my eyes and imagine that I am walking down 100 stairs to a beautiful beach, and as I slowly count my way down the stairs, I breath and focus on leaving my troubles behind me.  I visualize getting closer to peaceful beauty and feeling the breeze and smelling the salt air and hearing the waves and the gulls.  Soon I am breathing easily and relaxed enough to go back to bed.

Of course, being able to sleep doesn't mean that the problems are solved, but it does mean I can drop the incapacitating panic and find the energy to ask myself where the solutions lie.  My problems are not new, and I'm not in them alone.  I have a old, rattletrap home and enough food to pack on more weight than I should carry and make me need to wash dirty dishes on a regular basis.  I have a family to support, and they love me.  My problems might feel overwhelming, but really they are not problems at all.  They are merely a side-effect of being alive.

I am so grateful for the people and the places in my life, when I remind myself to be.  Learning to be positive is so much of the battle.  I feel alone and overwhelmed and then my head goes round and round and I get nowhere.  I have some o the same problems I had 20 years ago because I am afraid of changing them.  How dumb is that?  I have a wonderful husband who has walked beside me since 1982 and loved me when I worked full time, and when I was so depressed I didn't get out of bed.  When I was eager and happy, and when I was angry and a Bitch.

We are having a hard time financially and I hate it.  I feel like this daffodil trying to bloom in the middle of bare thorny ground.  I gave up a full time job and stayed home with my toddlers.  I am so glad I had that time with them, and when they went to school, I went as a substitute and a parent volunteer.  And it worked.  I have been a success.  My husband and I have raised two wonderful young men, and that is a major achievement.  We have stayed together and loved each other for thirty years.  That is success.  I wrote and published two novels and people love them.  My husband has been the most loved and amazing music teacher for 23 years.  We are successful, unless you check the bank account, and look at what we can give the boys to start their adult life.  And so my brain begins again to feel guilty and second guess the past decisions, I should have worked full time, I should have saved for their college instead of taking them to Wyoming every year to visit the grandparents.  They did not need to go to Disneyland.  BUT YES, they did!

They needed to experiences and the attention and the love that made them who they are today.
I just wish it was more.

I wish I could make everything smooth and easy, but even as I wish it, I know that the most exhausting, difficult times of my life are the times I was most alive.  I know I have rarely had everything I wanted, but always had everything I needed and I try to trust that they will too.  The news makes trust hard, so I turn off the news and talk to the people.
The people and the world around me make trust easy.

Life is beautiful, and good, and HARD and so Worth it.

And spring always comes back, and Joy comes in the morning.