Creating Our Own Normal


What is normal?

William Somerset Maugham said, “Normal is an ideal.  It is a picture that one fabricates of the average characteristics of men, and to find them all in a single man is hardly to be expected.”

That is why each of us creates our own normal.  Normal may be living with a disease, a handicap or the results of traumatic brain injury.  It’s the way we pursue our lives that creates our own normal.  Some will never walk without an artificial limb; some may never grow beyond age 12 mentally and socially, and some may be dependent on medicine to survive.  It’s what we do with our time here on earth that makes a difference, not only in our own lives, but those of others as well.

Unfortunately, anger can alter our time and alter the outcome like no other emotion – especially unexpressed anger.  I’ve been reading “8 Keys to Eliminating Passive-Aggressiveness” by Andrea Brandt.  It’s full of wonderful information and helpful tips on how to live your life without hidden anger.  And part of that hidden anger is admitting that we have it and forgiving ourselves and others who were unable to express it themselves.  We pass it from generation to generation and somewhere along the 4th or 5th generation we desperately need to break it down, call it out, and get over it while those we need to forgive are still alive.

Forgiving is the hardest part because we have to acknowledge that we haven’t done it right and need to.  Then we have to tell the person we forgive them, and then we can begin to move on.  A parent, a spouse, a child, a best friend, all can play into the drama we create in our heads. And that drama becomes all consuming.  It wasn’t until I took my own advice that I could move on – as a Congressional Aide I counseled people on issues from Social Security to building bridges.  So many times their dreams were based on getting even.  I would tell them, “You can move forward or get even, but there isn’t time, energy or money to do both”.

Without forgiveness, without expressing our anger in a healthy way, without sharing that growth with those you have forgiven, there can be no healing and we cannot find our own normal.  One beautiful woman in my life is learning about her own normal.  She’s diabetic – her day is dictated by test strips and needles.  Her bag of life weighs heavily on her shoulder or on the back of a very nearby chair.  It’s not fair, it’s not fun, it’s not easy – but she hasn’t lost her inner beauty.  It’s just the anger she harbors for her fate.  I have no doubt she’ll overcome this, in time, as she has so many other challenges she’s set her mind to.  Once she gets to forgiveness, she’ll get to expressing her anger and moving on.  It’s her own normal.

I’m Back

Dear Friends – - -

I’m sorry I haven’t posted for awhile.  I had planned to take a little time off this past winter to step back and regroup.  I did that, but then I agreed to help a local couple do a business plan and funding package for rebuilding the Escalante Show House and do live dinner theater performances beginning in 2015.  We’re almost ready to crowdsource it, just waiting for a couple of bids from contractors for the remodel costs.  They bought the property outright so now it’s finding the money for the rest.  A fun project.

I also spent the winter getting our retail establishment, Gallery Escalante, up to speed, completely turned around and a new sales counter area established.  That’s done and looks really nice.  It also makes it very clear for customers where they need to go and what is available for them.  It also makes the camera equipment safer being in the glass case.

Since I’m getting old I can only focus on one thing at a time – like a cat, I’m pretty single-minded at this point.  I have lists for lists and hope they don’t get lost.  But it’s been a wonderful winter and I hope yours has been as well.

Spring break is almost upon us and four days of it I’m headed to Las Vegas to holiday with family.  That will be fun as it is the only visit I’ve ever made there that is not connected to a trade show, either the jewelry and gift show or “CES”.  Both are fun in their own way, but very demanding time wise.  So I’ll go play tourist for four days and then come home and hit the ground running.  Hopefully we’ll get a little shopping done while there and play tourist.

I no sooner get home on the 13th and Tracy leaves for a photo excursion with friend for 4 days.  Then they return, a break in the travel and another of his photo buddies comes in for 5 days.  So March madness will be at our house too.  There won’t be any time to watch the real march madness (college basketball) until the final four.  I have several projects for myself while the “cats away”, we’ll see how much I get done.

This week is finish all the financials to get to the CPA before I leave on Sunday AM.  I’m close, but no cigar yet.            Until next time -

JR Signature013

New Moon and Walking Stars

Most of my energy and creativity has been focused on our store this past month.  After I got done moving my studio into a more creative space we decided to move the rest of the store around as well.  Now all that’s left is to put out the new merchandise we purchased on our trip the first of January and pickup and install a new sales counter.  It’s a fresh start for us after 8 years of looking at it the same old way.  We hope the customers will enjoy it as well.

For us, that new start begins with today’s new moon.  It brings new energy after the dark of the winter.  With fresh perspectives and new ideas we need to give ourselves permission to see our own starlight.  And we’ve physically done that, now for the spirits to go with.  For me there is nothing to replace the beauty of a star.

Jana Hassett's Intricate Beadwork

Beaded Walking Star

And walking stars help us stay grounded while enjoying their sparkle.  In Escalante you’ll see many walking stars on the side of houses.  They started out in Penn. as barn stars.  Placed on the ends of the barns once the builders got finished, they designated who built them by the style and color of the star.  They developed into a meaning of good fortune for the owner with the hope you’d like the barn and hire them to build one for you.  The beginnings of a trademark/logo.

Metal Walking Stars

I use walking stars in the store to decorate.  They remind me that anything’s possible if you put your mind to it.  When I was much younger I loved Perry Como’s song “Catch a falling star”. Written by Lee Pockriss and Paul Vance, it goes like this -

“Catch a falling star and put it in your pocket,  never let it fade away.
Catch a falling star and put it in your pocket, save it for a rainy day.”

Maybe I should bead a walking star for my pocket.  May your days be full of joy and watch for that falling star – it will fill your pocket with light.

2014 – Who will you be?


Today is a great day to reflect and plan for 2014.  Will you write your book this year?  Will you build a website for your business or self?  What will you set as your priority for the coming year?

That’s what winter is for, not to complain because it’s cold, lonely, dark, dreary, etc.  It’s to provide the opportunity for us to sit quietly and reflect on the past year and what we’d like to change for the coming year.  I’ve always done this for my business life, and now I’m using that same time for my personal life.  What do I want to spend time on this coming year?

First, these are not New Years Resolutions.  These are opportunities I plan to take ahold of and see what I can do based on them.  And writing my blog on a weekly basis is the first priority.  Getting in the habit of a new daily routine is imperative.  So, first few hours in the morning with a fresh brain, write.

Second, I will spend the next 5-6 hours working in my jewelry studio and producing product for our Gallery. If you don’t make money you can’t have a website to have a blog.  I enjoy the creative time to produce beadwoven jewelry and help visitors choose the necklace that enhances who they are the best.

When you have a talent of any kind, use it, take care of it, guard it.  (Sauk)

When you have a talent of any kind, use it, take care of it, guard it. (Sauk)

Third, I’ll spend the next three hours cooking, cleaning, sorting, and working around the little house I so enjoy.  It’s just big enough to enjoy but not too big to have to spend hours and hours cleaning.  In the summer (which doesn’t really start here until Mother’s Day) I’ll spend time planting, trimming, and having potted gardens on the deck.  The rest of the yard is Xeroscaped and doesn’t need water.

Lastly, I’ll spend the rest of the evening with my spouse and best friend.  We tend to sit and read, talk, I’ll knit, or watch PBS.  We keep track of the weather for the tourists that visit each and every day, and bizarre events of the world.  It’s these hours that keep us connected, even though we’re within a stones reach all day every day.

We purchased a “new to us” pickup this winter and plan to take a couple of trips this year when we acquire a travel trailer to go with it.  That gives Tracy a chance to photograph the spots he so enjoys, time for me to make double-wall reed and cedar bark Cherokee baskets while we’re out and about, and a “get away” from the daily routine.

And 2014 will at least start with personal responsibility and giving birth to “new”.  Staying alert to my feelings and above all – being patient.  That’s the most challenging part!  LOL

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”                                                                                               Ralph Waldo Emerson

Until next week!    -  Jana

Garfield County School District, UT – Usage Fees run amuck!!!

When school districts forget about people and become just another government agency they need reminders like this.  I wrote this at the request of Jason Porter.  I hope it helps.
Garfield County School District
cc:  Business Administrator:
cc:  School Board Rep:
I salute you in your efforts to standardize the building rental policy and procedures in an attempt to obtain fairness and equality.  That works in urban districts where the environments are equal.  It does not work in districts with isolated communities.
Small rural districts have unique challenges because of limited resources, volunteers and funding.  This requires partnerships with cities, businesses, and volunteers.  Escalante has always stepped up to those challenges.
When Fire Station #1 was built in Town Center Park it displaced the “ball park”.  The school district partnered with the volunteers and allowed unused and undeveloped property to be developed for the purpose of a “ball park” for the bantom league.  There was, to my knowledge, no discussion about fees, etc.,  it was a community effort.  When Potato Valley Lions Club donated $750 for materials to build the dugouts, there was no discussion of usage fees.  When the business community donated  time and equipment to level the field, install fencing, and grade an access road, there was no mention of fees.  And when efforts by members of various organizations helped the district lay water pipe for irrigation water, they didn’t ask to get paid.
I believe you need to revisit your decision regarding the excessive, on-going fees that are being proposed for use of the “community field”.  Liability insurance needs to be provided by those using the field, but in good faith the school board needs, in my opinion, to recognize the hundreds of dollars of in-kind work and other funds and allow use of the field by the bantom program for a set amount of time without additional fees.  It should not be forever, but it should be fair.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Jana Hassett,
Past President – Potato Valley Lions Club
Escalante Business Owner