Be more here

Before going to bed each night, I opened the shades. So I could wake up to tall snowy mountains peeking in my windows. I’ve spent the past three days in Joseph, Oregon, at The Bronze Antler Bed & Breakfast.

Hubby and I had talked about visiting Joseph and hiking in the Wallowa Mountains. But we ran out of time. And so here I am. My November brave-making venture.



Photo credit:


The small town of Joseph — population roughly 1,100 — boasts, among other things, a gorgeous lake, a range of local artists, a range of mountains that have been referred to as the Oregon Alps, and a bronze foundry that created the WWII Memorial in Washington, D.C. And that’s quite a lot to boast about.

There’s a pop culture sentiment going around about the importance of being present. In a recent conversation, Daughter Summer pointed out that being present oftentimes isn’t enough. We need to be present and engaged. Engaged in conversation. Engaged in interaction with each other. Because without the engagement, the being-here-ness is not as valuable.

Before Hubby’s cancer, I was quite frequently off to the next project or adventure. And then cancer said to us, Be here now. With each other. While we still have each other.

There’s a Dixie commercial on Pandora that ends with this tagline:

Be more here.

Don’t ask me what being more here has to do with the purchasing of Dixie paper products—obviously they’re advertising to the segment of the holiday crowd that will end up washing dishes—but I love the thought: Be more here.

It says to me, Don’t just be present inside your physical frame; be present and available and participating with everyone else who is here — heart, soul and spirit.

As fearless as I’d like to think I am, I need these ongoing brave-making ventures. Because it can get awfully cozy staying home.

And so here in Joseph, I did a short hike within sound of Hurricane Creek — and I was fully present and aware of the movement of my arms my legs my lungs, aware of the beauty of sight and sound and spray.

And later, at Arrowhead Chocolates, I was actively engaged over a quiche made from cage-free eggs, asiago cheese, local fresh greens, sautéed garlic potatoes and fresh dill. And this white hot chocolate topped with house-made whipped cream. Believe me when I say I was totally present and engaged.



Photo credit: me


I also toured through Valley Bronze foundry — fascinating, highly-recommended — fully attentive, asking questions, amazed, because your average person (that would be me) has no idea how many steps and processes there are to hand-crafting a beautiful bronze piece.

(Confession: I’m still working on this be-more-here concept. When I stopped to photograph this barn—definitely a fixer-upper, but did you notice the views?—I imagined it as my next house and how the window over the kitchen sink would need to face the mountains. And there I was — off living in the future. Not that there’s anything wrong with dreaming, but the idea is not to dream away the present.)



Photo credit: me


But every morning in this lovely bed & breakfast, I chatted with fellow guests. Fully there and engaged at the dining table, the grand mountains beyond. No rush.

Enjoying the breakfast guests; and innkeepers Bill and Heather who are remarkably attentive, gracious, informative, attention-to-detail, porcelain-teapot-sharing hosts.

Enjoying the exceptional food — yesterday, a fresh spinach omelet with cheese and sautéed mushrooms; and, on the side, fresh apple pieces topped with homemade vanilla-liqueur-flavored whipped cream, crispy bacon, marinated sliced tomatoes, and Killer Dave’s toast.

The Dixie paper products commercial goes well with my brave-making campaign: Be more here.

I’m going to keep trying things that intimidate me (like, speaking at IGNITE Bend last month), and I’m not going to be afraid to go places alone that I’ve only ever gone with the love of my life, and I’m not going to stop trying new things Hubby and I had planned to do before we ran out of time.

Because all this stirs up courage in me. And the bonus is meeting people and making new friends along the way (I’m thinking of my fellow Swiss Alps trekkers, and the fabulous hosts and guests here at the Bronze Antler B&B).

I’m going to be utterly present and engaged in all these places, with all these people. Because we only have this day, this moment.

This morning, I’m on my way to Idaho for Thanksgiving. There are in-laws there — a few dozen, to be exact — and I’d like to be present and engaged with them. While we still have the time.

Here’s wishing you all a Thanksgiving setting filled with love and gratitude and memorable food. But mostly fabulous people with whom you can be fully present and engaged.

What about you? Any unusual Thanksgiving plans that would still allow for engagement? I’d love to hear about them.

P.S. An example of Bill and Heather’s gracious hosting: They arranged for snow to magically fall this morning before I pulled out of town. You see what I mean by *attention to detail.*


Why this day is monumental


Top 14 arguments for why you are needed


  1. sally slick

    I was right there with you Marlys! I have been thinking about you the last few days and wondering how Joseph suits you – and I guess it does!

    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family….

    Hugs to you, my friend!

    • Have you been to Joseph?! It truly is a special place (although this girl isn’t planning on leaving Bend!). Wishing you a fabulous Thanksgiving season, Sally!

      • sally slick

        Haven’t been there yet Marlys – but I will go now that I have read your blog here and seen the pics!

  2. Peter Howe B.E.M.

    Good morning Marlys & your readers, it’s that English fella’. Reading ‘Be more here’ I thought about how I might contribute and there it was, your word ‘fearless’, which caused me to ‘be more here’ as I thought about that word ‘fearless’. You wrote, ‘As fearless as I think I am,….’. I remembered words like ‘fear’, ‘care’, ‘meaning’ and a host of many more. Now, you used the word ‘fearless’, what if you had said, ‘fearful’. So it is with other words like the ones I’ve mentioned. If you were to say, ‘careful’ instead of ‘careless’ or ‘meaningful’ instead of ‘meaningless’ and all the other words where you can add ‘less’ or ‘full’ your/my/our whole outlook on life in action/doing/being has that positiveness, I do believe. A simple example would be, if something has ‘meaning’ why not make it ‘meaningful’ rather than ‘meaningless’. So as we communicate, interact and live our lives, as you say, we should ‘be more here’ and surely our lives will be more interesting and ‘meaningful’.
    Never did get to go to Joseph on my/our travels so thank you for this blog which helps me appreciate such beauty, however I’m so content with the Oregon I’ve come to know…. riding McKenzie Pass on the bike, I do now believe, has to be a ‘fearless’ act for any ‘fearful’ person and I can honestly look back at how doing this and many other challenges has changed my life. Love your thought provoking words, for us all to share. God Bless, Barbara & Peter.

  3. Peter Howe B.E.M.

    I just had to read through again….. it took me through Baker, John Day, Halfway and through Hell’s Canyon before reaching Brownlee and my thoughts were of those days, leading up to the Boise fires of ’92 BUT our father God kept us safe and your blog took me there. Thank you… ‘here’ so much was ‘more’ for me to ‘be’ in those places. God Bless. Barbara & Peter.

  4. Barbara Winterfeld

    This Thanksgiving was full of unexpected engagement; at my dinner table was my son, Greg, and his friend and business associate, Emilio. That wasn’t unexpected, but the next two days had unplanned events. Greg and his friends who came to CO from Brazil, Hawaii, Pendleton and San Francisco were looking at properties in LaPine and Prineville. At the end of the day they came by my house for turkey sandwiches and the real reason – dessert – my pies. We sat around the dining room table while the fellows shared special memories of earlier events which brought rollicking laughter. Such a bonus for me! His friends retired to Sunriver where they were staying, one friend remained. Saturday morning Greg prepared breakfast, as is his habit. After frying bacon he asked me to hold a coffee cup in which he poured the grease. He continued
    preparing the rest of the breakfast. I left the kitchen only to hear his agony; he had taken a gulp of what he thought was coffee, swallowed, took another gulp and immediately ran to the sink to spit it out! Yes, you got it! It was the bacon grease. I’m sure that story will be added to the next time the five friends gather and share stories of years past.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Copyright © 2024 Marlys Johnson