Tidings readers dish on what they're most grateful for, just in time for the holiday

FILE PHOTO - Family, friends, travel: Our readers had plenty to be thankful for this year.We count family and friends among our most precious gifts, delighting in the simple pleasures of laughter and love, of quiet acts of kindness, of smiles and handshakes and greetings happily shared.

We are in awe of the bounty and beauty of the seasons. And we are overcome by the pure joy of a walk in the woods, a chance to row on the river or run through Wilderness Park.

As we gather in the spirit of Thanksgiving this week, our hearts are filled with gratitude for all of the blessings of lives lived in this special and wondrous place called West Linn.

— The Tidings

I'm grateful that the love of my life is my husband of almost 30 years. It doesn't work out that way for everyone. I am happy that he and I decided to make a park of the White Oak Savanna by saving it from development. Those 14 years of our lives were worth it.

I am thankful that we live in a democracy, flawed as it may be right now, and we have a chance to help to save that, too, by voting for the people who have not lost their moral compass. In our America, we choose love, thankfully.

— Roberta Schwarz

We all know what it's like: the ritual, the routine. Rising with the sun and grabbing a large, piping hot Americano (pick your poison) before heading to work. While I love my job and the community I work and live in, I am thankful for the opportunity to travel.

I believe in the importance of a mental reset. It's my goal to breathe in nature's scent, slow down, explore our world's beauty and experience cultures other than my own. So this Thanksgiving, I am grateful for the legs that carry me, the heart that guides me and the people who accompany me.

— Clara Howell

It's never too early to be thankful. I am thankful for the editor of our local newspaper.

You are generous and thoughtful of us citizens to include our articles in the paper. I am reading a new book called "Squeezed: Why Our Families Can't Afford America" by Alissa Quart. It's a real eye opener and covers not just who we think of as poor but also those in the middle class with good educations.

I mention this because there are middle class families and seniors living in West Linn struggling with these issues in secret. I don't know if this is a good place to discuss this, but I think it is something that should be talked about and brought out into the open.

— Peggy Kirkendall

I try to live my life in gratitude. I'm thankful for a job I enjoy, and for energetic, committed co-workers. I'm grateful for good health and my recent recovery from a partially detached retina.

I'm thankful for a loving family that supports me, where each member has exciting new purposes of their own. I'm grateful for an active church life that involves and engages all my family members.

And I'm thankful to live in an era of prosperity, a time of peace and in a country that gives people the opportunity to pursue happiness.

— Miles Vance

This year I'm thankful for the opportunity to positively change the lives of our community through education.

As a native of Clackamas County and the first person in my family to complete college, I am grateful for the opportunities this community provided me. 

As the new President of Clackamas Community College, I know the work we do has a positive impact on our students, our businesses and the Wilsonville community.

— Dr. Tim Cook

Gratitude, like grief, comes in waves. I recall grieving the loss of a job, but am grateful that what followed was a new direction leading to a rewarding professional career, sustained for a period of over 30 years.

I am saddened by a difficult situation, but am grateful for the insight and wisdom born of that challenge. My greatest teachers have been the most difficult people in my life.

I have learned, over a long lifetime, to value all of it ... everything that makes up the slaw of life. It is through contrast that full appreciation for our blessings is achieved.

—Rosalyn Kliot

I could give you a long list of the things that I've been blessed with. Things that I have been given and things that I've earned through hard work and sheer will power. But what I recognize is that each year that goes by I am reminded that the gift of tomorrow — the chance to do better and start over, the chance to see your loved ones again and the chance to experience, is beyond valuable. I am grateful for my legs which carry me around, I am grateful for my family who supports me (both my biological and chosen family) and I am grateful for the continued opportunity to live my best life, choosing and achieving my dreams.

— Angela Patrick

Thanksgiving is always a good time to stop and reflect on things we should be thankful for. Having lived in another country for a while, I realize how very fortunate I am to live in this one. We are blessed with electricity, running water, food, and technology. We have the freedom to choose what kind of life we will strive for. In addition, we have the everyday conveniences of washing machines, air conditioners, furnaces, cars and an abundance of other things that are easy to take for granted.

My family and I have access to modern medicine and the freedom to attend the church of our choice without being persecuted.

In some ways, we are not as safe as we once were, but we can be grateful that we are not caught in the vise of war and starvation that afflict so many people around the world.

We are indeed blessed.

— Kay Jewett

Iremain grateful for collective support of public education and kids in West Linn and Wilsonville.  From educators, to families and students, to the extended community - it truly is a group effort and is deeply appreciated.

— Betty Reynolds

What I'm thankful for: Having a three-generation household that allows me a "do over", helping raise children as they explore life and strive to reach their full potential. I'm thankful that we live in a city and state that honors diversity, respects all races and religions, along with respect for each other, even though we may have a difference in option on some issues.

Finally, I'm thankful for living in the Pacific Northwest where we've worked to clean up our environment so our grandchildren may enjoy having the beauty of the earth that is just outside their doors.

— Jim Farrell

This holiday season I am thankful for dumb luck and good choices. As my children inch their way into adulthood I am increasingly struck by what great human beings they are.

And while I'd like to think this is largely because of wise parenting choices I made while raising them, I am well aware it is equally due to some lucky breaks and inherent personality traits my children possess.

Nonetheless, as they grow older — and wiser — they seek me out more and more for my company and wisdom and for that I am eternally grateful (and perhaps undeserving).

— Leslie Pugmire Hole

I am so thankful for my wonderful family. My husband and I celebrated 50 years of marriage this year and I am thankful to have him by my side, my best friend and the love of my life. My three sons make me proud every day for the wonderful men that they have become and my three grandchildren are the light of my life. I'm thankful that all my family is well and healthy. In this holiday season, my thoughts and prayers also go to all those people who have lost their homes and some their lives in the terrible fires in California. We are so lucky to live in the safe and beautiful city of West Linn.

— Brenda Perry

This year, along with the usual staples like family, friends and good health, I find myself feeling thankful for silver linings.

2018 has been a strange and at times difficult year for me, both personally and professionally. I covered some stories that I wanted to forget as soon as I wrote them (how crime reporters do it, I don't know), and felt helpless as some close family members and friends battled illnesses.

In January, it felt as though the sky was literally falling on me when a maintenance worker plunged through my bedroom ceiling.

But let's get back to those silver linings. No matter what turmoil was going on at work (it's a difficult time to be a journalist, for many reasons), I could always count on support, inspiration and good humor from my amazing colleagues. Similarly, I'm thankful every day for the wonderful family and friends who bolster me through good times and bad. And let's admit it: now that my ceiling is (mostly) fixed, it's hard not to laugh at the memory.

Time doesn't heal wounds, but with a healthy dose of perspective you can find those silver linings that make life's pitfalls easier to deal with. So I'm thankful for all of the silver linings in my life, and for better days ahead.

— Patrick Malee

Firstly, and most importantly I am grateful for my gorgeous daughter Lady Victoria Isabelle Mallory who will turn sixteen in January.

Secondly, I am grateful this year for so much it is hard to prioritize the list! However, let me start with our beautiful City of West Linn.

A dear friend of mine, Margo Faucette, first introduced me to our City three or so years ago. I will never forget walking down Main Street and telling Margo how it was the closest thing I had seen to an English village since my arrival in America. I knew that day I had to live in West Linn, and so I did and so I still do.

As an active member of the West Linn community these days I have been able to see things from a resident's perspective and not just as an admirer or visitor. I see huge opportunity looming for all of us that work and live here ... and for that...we all should be very grateful! Change is inevitable and I am grateful for it.

Thank you West Linn for allowing me to serve you.

— Andrew Mallory

Since I just turned 80 a few months ago I am most thankful that I am still alive, my physical and mental health still good. I view life as an ongoing drama. I look forward to what is ahead and, at least in my lifetime, experiencing how this drama continues to unfold.

I grew up in an idyllic, post WWII setting, one in which most around me looked the same, one needn't lock their doors and my friends saw the future as hopeful and positive.

Definitely times have changed, but I continue to be thankful for those young people around me who work to make the world a better place.

— David Hawbecker

As another year comes to a close, there is so much to be grateful for — new and old friends to connect with and, of course, family. Seeing our children grow and becoming more independent and integrated in our community is heartwarming. I am continually thankful for our wonderful community that continues to grow and provide families with opportunities for our children.

— Thomas Frank

West Linn is a great place to work, live and play. I'm grateful to get to lead the team of really great people at City Hall who devote their time and talent making it all happen.

— Eileen Stein

Willamette Falls Heritage Area Coalition is grateful for the news that our Feasibility Study meets all 10 criteria established by the National Park Service for National Heritage Area Status. This is a testament to the hard work and collaborative approach of our Board of Directors. We are grateful for the support of the mayor and the City Council to repurpose the old West Linn City Hall into a Cultural Center. The Center will be the gateway to the National Heritage Area with visitors information, cultural exhibits, interpretive displays, art exhibits and office space for our heritage and arts organizations and a community meeting room. We are grateful for council's commitment to a letter of intent to move forward on the project and begin the revitalization of a critical component of West Linn's history.

— Siobhan Taylor

As my term of office draws to a close, I am tremendously thankful to the citizens of West Linn for the opportunity you gave me to participate in city government. I am thankful for all the supportive citizens who made the past ten years such a joy. Whether it was staff, fellow volunteers, or concerned citizens, I remained impressed by and thankful for the mature, thoughtful and courteous approach to solving problems.

West Linn is blessed with abundant natural beauty, great schools and parks, but in my experience, our greatest asset is our people. Thank you for the opportunity to serve.

— Bob Martin

I'm grateful that we have individuals who are willing to give so freely of their time and capabilities for the wildlife that live in and those who enjoy our Mary S Young Park. This last year we have seen over 750 citizens volunteer to maintain our trails, pick up litter, put in a pollinator garden, and remove invasive plants and replace them with natives in the park. These citizens are making a big difference and I for one am very thankful for all they have done to improve our beautiful park.

— David Kleinke

This Thanksgiving, after all of these contentious elections, I find myself feeling grateful and thankful for this great country that we call home. The free political debate and discourse that we're able to engage in with people on both sides of the issues is something that not many other countries in the world have. Daily, we see examples of countries where the citizenry and press are not free to speak their mind and hold the government to account, and here in America we are able to do that through our rights afforded to us by the Constitution. That's something I think all of us should appreciate and be thankful for regardless of our differing ideologies and opinions.

— Rory Bialostosky

This year my grandfather Jim Baker turned 94 and was able to join his four sons and two grandsons on a trip to Montana for a week of fly fishing. I feel thankful that he was able to return to his favorite stream to cast a fly in the water and for all of the 20-plus annual trips to Big Sky Country that we have had together as a family.

It is a precious gift to be 36 years old and have a grandfather still around for chats and adventures.

— David Baker

Huge thanks for 2018: Funny stories after Peggy sits with 2½ yrs old Ollie Monday and Friday.

Those who support Friends of McLean all year plus the board and staff.

The Walking Over the Hill gang daily chatter. Problem solved. No politics.

Ladies Walk and Talk group Tuesday/Thursday.

WL Lions: many ways to serve West Linn.

VA /Hospice for my dear brother.

WL Park and Recreation Department for all they do making us play harder.

Neighbors who wave and smile back.

Tree lights at Maddax Woods and those who put them up.

Thanks for 43 years of health, love and happiness.

— Mike and Peggy Watters

How awesome it is to work a with a team of generous and talented people as we prepare to launch WLLO (pronounced Willow) Village! This 'virtual' village will bring services and friendship to our older residents in West Linn, Lake Oswego and Stafford Hamlet beginning in June 2019, allowing them to thrive in their homes as long as possible. The foundation is almost laid as we do outreach, recruit volunteers, raise funds to support our outreach efforts, etc.

Once launched, vetted volunteers will give our members rides for errands, doctor appointments, social events. We'll help with household chores like turning a mattress or climbing a ladder or getting the cat into the carrier for a visit to the vet.

Perhaps you could use some help using your smart phone, tablet or computer? Endless possibilities! Grateful hearts!

— Becky Crew

This is a special time of year because it provides many opportunities for us to help others in meaningful ways. This year, I am thankful that I was able to run for City Council with the tremendous support of my friends, family and community. I am grateful to live in West Linn — a beautiful place with excellent schools and abundant parks that I enjoy with my family. Most of all, I love having all my children under one roof, even if it's just for a week. I wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving.

— Jules Walters

I'm grateful for my children and our family and friends. I'm grateful for each day on this remarkable planet. The oceans, the mountains, all wildlife and the vast landscapes in between carved by erosion. I'm grateful for my health, and I'm praying for the healing of my good friend John Collins.

I so appreciate the knowledge and information available to us today. My hope is that people will treat each other with more respect and appreciate the many challenges and different perspectives we share.

We need to honor and celebrate our diversity and fill the world with more love.

— Russ Axelrod

Life tends to become busy, sometimes too busy, to thank those around us for all they do and the joy they bring to our lives. I would like to thank my wife Julie for her patience — yes, the boat is still in the garage — and her sensitivity and caring, particularly for our family.

I am thankful that our kids are exploring their various paths in life; it's not always an easy journey nor is it a race to the finish line.

As always, we are supported through life by extended family and a number of very special friends who provide a touchstone during the hard times.

I also feel fortunate to live in a community where the residents are active in its "social fabric" and come together in various ways to work for the greater good. Happy Holidays!

— Gary Walvatne

My heart has been most grateful, full and blessed by love, prayers, honors, support and caring of my family near and far, my Church family, my long time friends and West Linn neighbors through this year — a hard, but wonderful year of transition, reflections, travel, thankfulness and thoughts of how God has been so very good to me.

My husband would agree if he could, and as he always did!!!

To top off my gratefulness, this past Saturday, a multitude of all of the above mentioned and more came down to Maddax Woods to put up all the lights for the Lighting of the Woods — all with cheerful hearts, willing and helpful hands, under great coordinated direction, and having fun working together to accomplish this 15th year of the Friends of Maddax Lighting. Thank you to all of you.

— Alma Coston

We should all be grateful and appreciative for the scenic beauty of West Linn. In particular, the viewpoint on Veterans Memorial Highway 205 is a great spot to look over at Mt. Hood, the Willamette River below and think about our veterans who are honored with the Blue Star Memorial Marker.

The National Garden Club instigated the Blue Star Marker program in 1944 to honor veterans returning from the war. Now a ribbon of blue winds across our great nation, with 82 markers in Oregon.

You will see these in public gardens, parks, waysides and along memorial highways. The West Linn Garden Club presented this marker to the City of West Linn in 2013 to commemorate the WL Centennial.

— Jane Sercombe

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