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Times are tough right now. But Pamela Loxley Drake has seen tough times before.

COURTESY PHOTO - Pamela Loxley DrakeTough. Yep, times are tough. Sometimes it is hard to wrap your mind around all that is happening.

I grew up with people who knew about hard times. Farm families experience the fear of what nature will deal each year. Will there be enough money to feed the family and keep the stock well-fed? Will the crops yield?

Yes, I grew up surrounded by strong people who faced the unknown each year and stayed the course despite disappointment and failure. They were born to strength and determination.

A health department sign was placed on our backdoor, banning anyone from entering. Scarlet fever.

The Loxley family was hit, and hit hard. Mom cared for the family until exhaustion wore her down. Neighbors brought food, leaving it at the door. Mom and Dad cared for their family as well as they could until the disease passed. Strength and determination.

My sister June contracted rheumatic fever. She was bedridden for two years. Mom and Dad rubbed her legs every couple of hours, determined that she would walk again. She came through it with little damage from the disease. Strength and determination.

The newlyweds wanted to create the kind of farm they dreamed of. A barn was specially built that would house the milking parlor. Dad's new herd of cattle was his pride and joy. And then a cow became ill with Bang's disease. The disease infected the entire herd. The cows were shot and buried in a large pit. They lost the herd but not their determination to make the farm survive with what they did have. Strength and determination.

I have my Dad's bookkeeping notes during the earlier years of their marriage. There seemed to never be a way to come out ahead. At the end of the year, the money spent was always more than they brought in despite how frugally they lived. Yet they stayed the course and kept the farm. Strength and determination.

The doctor bills were high. Some years, crops were poor. Kids grew and needed clothing. The dollars and emotional toll must have seemed unbearable, but anyone who knew my parents knew that they would always be there for others and never feel defeated by their own circumstances. That, my friend is supreme strength and massive determination.

Yes, we are in a time when things pile up, and we find it difficult to find the good and hope in lives or ourselves.

It is easy to play the "me" card. It is easy to blame everything from country to weather to Mother Nature. For many, it is difficult to manage work and kids, the elderly, natural disaster, COVID.

So, what has happened to bring us so low? Where have we placed our strength and determination. For many it is in their faith or maybe their family. For many, it is in serving others.

Hm. How about me?

Yes, I find this time difficult and have hit bottom several times. But, I came from strong people who overcame trials and tribulation. I have the power to change.

To begin with, I had to recognize that I needed help. I took a step forward to talk to a therapist, who gave me that hand I needed to lift me out of the darkness.

I pray. I write to tell others that they are never alone or forgotten. I embrace nature with all that is in me. I will continue to do the beach cleanup and find other ways to serve this earth. I revel in my time with family. I abide by the mask rules for the safety of all of us. I look up instead of being dragged down.

Most of all, I do what I pledged to do long ago. I will love everyone I see every day whether they know it or not. I can look into the faces of strangers and let them know that they are seen and recognized. I can say positive words of caring and compassion.

Yes, I get to love. In truth, it is what keeps us going. It is the word that gives hope. It is the word that uplifts the heart.

Join me. Let's look at one another differently this year. Let's work together. You hold the power of change. Grab hold. We are strength and determination.

Pamela Loxley Drake is a Beaverton resident and self-described lifelong "farm girl." You can contact her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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