I live and write on Lingít Aaní, and gratefully acknowledge the past, present and future caretakers of this beautiful place, the Jilkaat Kwaan and Jilkoot Kwaan.

I do get teased, especially now that I am on the borough assembly, about that title Find the Good. I should have predicted that. But now the funny thing is that I’ve cultivated the habit of doing it a lot more than I used to. I mean, I meant to, but, you know what they say about well made plans and all.

Still, the best defense is a good offense– so, yesterday I had to sift through emails related to the former borough manager’s firing, and send them off to the attorney, as the former manager requested them to decide if he should sue us. (His friends are trying to raise 35,000 on a Go Fund Me site and Facebook for his legal expenses, and threatening a recall.)

I am a tad disorganized when it comes to computers and devices, so even though there weren’t a lot, it took me forever, I missed lunch at school with my granddaughter, and was late for a hospice board meeting, and it was so frustrating to click and miss or resend or double check that I hadn’t already sent that one– yet I had  to err on the side of extra care in searching, and assume that more is better than less, since I don’t want to be like Hillary and her email kerfluffle.

The good here, is that in the middle of a task I didn’t want to do, that I believe is probably a huge waste of time and money (professionals read and gather these, right?) I came upon a lot of fan mail– both old and new like this one:

“As I prepared my long list of things that I was grateful for over the past year, “reading Heather Lende” made the
list. So, thank you.  Words matter.  Writing matters.  You are touching lives. ” 

She said Find the Good made her life better–  in a real way. She took my advice and got a dog. I mean, honestly!  Does the writer of those words have any idea how much they matter, and how very much I needed to read them, just when I did? Words matter, and writing matters, and that’s what I do. (Turns out that I am not  a total bumbler!) Another email asked how I was enjoying the assembly.

It has been challenging. More so than I anticipated. Mainly because of the vitriol of the opposition to the change in assembly make up and our recent decisions.  If you think following the national political news is difficult, the name calling and bullying and misinformation– try sitting a few feet away while someone you know is yelling awful, personal things at you and the rest of the assembly.

Words matter. You bet they do. 

And I don’t want to preach here, but I tell you what, I know for certain that reasoned, thoughtful words, matter the most. 

I also know I will never be the leader who makes a grand new budget plan, or rewrites code, or comes up with a brilliant solution to solid waste management in Haines. My goal is to show the next generation that they can sit on the assembly– that they can take over the leadership of this one small town– and that it’s not so hard to do. If I can, they can. 

Well, now my daughters and their friends are looking me like I’m insane when I suggest they consider the school board, say.

What they don’t know, is that they helped me during the meeting the other night. As I anticipated the way it would play in some sectors of the community, and started to wilt, I thought, “Hold it. I have survived five teenagers! I had to make some tough calls and we all still love each other.”

So, I haven’t given up. It’s still early. Change takes time. And at every meeting– every single one– I take out a piece a paper before the public comments begin and write down: “Meet hostility with courtesy. Be kind. Be Brave. Be Thankful.” It’s the least, and the most, I think that I can do.

Also, I did want to let you know the Police are having an open house today beginning at noon, and there is choir practice tonight, First Friday tomorrow, and home basketball games this weekend. The wind is supposed to pick up something fierce, so batten down the hatches, and burn the Christmas tree before it impales the neighbor’s shed. They are putting down ice at the fair rink, and one friend said Chilkoot is good, but check, and be careful. The ski club has tracks at 25 mile, Chilkoot, and the Golf Course. There’s also some nice snow shoe tracks around.