You are currently viewing Margaret Mizushima on Being Grateful

Margaret Mizushima on Being Grateful

Margaret Mizushima is the author of the Timber Creek K-9 series. You can find out more about her on her website, or by clicking here, see her last post here, and buy her books here.

Last time I posted on our Blackbird Writers blog, I wrote about my husband and I moving from a small ranch in Colorado to a rented apartment in a Washington state river valley. After forty years at our Colorado home, reducing our belongings to one container and a horse trailer was no small task.

View of woods from Washington State, taken by Margaret Mizushima

We’re grateful that our landlady shared her beautiful property with us for several months while we searched for a place of our own. And I’m so happy to report that in October, we found the right spot for us on the Olympic Peninsula and we completed the final stages of our move. Whew!  

Year 2022 was a grueling challenge for us, both emotionally and physically. It was hard to leave the home where we’d worked, raised our children, and cared for a multitude of animals, not to mention the physical work of sorting and packing. Now…after settling into our new home, I’m grateful we’ve completed this step in our journey. And this view from the window of my new office fills me with joy.

During our two year moving process, I needed an extra six months between books, but I managed to complete my eighth Timber Creek K-9 Mystery. Standing Dead comes out March 7 and is available for preorder now from your favorite bookseller. I’m grateful for the support of my publisher and agent during these stressful times.

Cover for the upcoming novel Standing Dead by Margaret Mizushima

I bet you’ve recognized the theme of gratitude that runs through this post about my life and writer’s life. The two meshed as I worked with my editors during this period. We finished up the manuscript’s developmental edit before my moving date the end of June. A couple weeks later, after I had settled into our apartment, I received line edits to work before sending back a revised draft; then came copy edits; and then we finished up two rounds of proofreading. My publisher’s editorial assistant kept us on track, and we met all our deadlines. How wonderful is that?

Around the turn of the century I found a book by Sarah Ban Breathnach that helped me transition from a career in speech pathology, which focused on the science of language development and restoration, to a career in fiction writing with its focus on the creative use of language. Called Simple Abundance: 365 Days to a Balanced and Joyful Life, this book was originally published in 1995 and remains a touchstone for many folks today. It helped me develop an attitude of gratitude, focusing on the joys of the here and now, living in the present moment, and practicing gratitude for what we have in our lives even during times of chaos.

I must admit I’m a work in progress. I can still get caught up in the hubbub of striving to keep up with too many things to do. But now that my husband has retired and we’ve finished our move, I’m focusing on taking stock and making changes during 2023 to achieve a healthy and happy work/life balance. What do you do to maintain happiness and balance in your life?

Margaret Mizushima

Margaret Mizushima is the author of the award-winning Timber Creek K-9 Mysteries, police procedurals featuring a deputy, her K-9 partner, and a veterinarian who live in the Colorado Rockies. You can find out more about her on her website,, or follow her on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

This Post Has 32 Comments

  1. Tracey Phillips
    Tracey Phillips

    Hi Margaret, what a wonderful reminder. This year is all about what brings me joy, and I too am a work in progress when it comes to focusing on the present moment. Daily, I take time to to do yoga and calm my mind. It helps when I’m super busy to sit on my mat and focus on my breath and movement. I try to bring breath practice to other aspects of my life. It keeps me here and now.

    1. Margaret Mizushima
      Margaret Mizushima

      This is a wonderful way to keep a healthy balance in life. Thanks for this reminder–I’ll get back to my yoga practice now too. Namaste!

  2. Anne Louise Bannon
    Anne Louise Bannon

    A big part of my journaling practice is asking myself what I’m grateful for. It’s always a few small things, but it makes a huge difference in my attitude. Thanks for the great post, Margaret!

    1. Margaret Mizushima
      Margaret Mizushima

      Again, I used to have a journaling practice but gave it up when things became too busy and too intense. This is another great way to keep a good life balance. So glad for your comment!

  3. Laurie Buchanan
    Laurie Buchanan

    Margaret — WOW! I love the view from your office window. And I love your attitude of gratitude. My daily walks help me maintain happiness and balance in my life.

    1. Margaret Mizushima
      Margaret Mizushima

      Almost every time I take a walk now I think of you, Laurie, and wonder if you’re out on one of your dailies as well. Thanks for your comment. And I love your posts filled with beautiful pictures of the PNW.

  4. Avatar

    In this day and age, and at this stage in life, it can be challenging to keep a positive attitude. I’ve seen what the alternative does to people, however, and I’ve cultivated the habit of finding the best part, the silver lining, the most hopeful outlook. Three things that help me stay on track with gratitude are a healthy diet, exercise, and sleep.

    1. Margaret Mizushima
      Margaret Mizushima

      Oh yes, sleep is also so important. Sometimes with me at this age it becomes a vicious cycle, sleep helps ease my aches and pains but often my aches and pains keep me awake. Thanks so much for your comment, Saralyn.

  5. John DeDakis
    John DeDakis

    Thanks for your post, Margaret, and especially for your reminder about gratitude. Good luck with your next novel, and congratulations. ~JD

  6. Christine DeSmet
    Christine DeSmet

    Congratulations on your move and with handling all the emotions that come with that. I’m glad you found a perfect place to call home; your view is wonderful. To maintain balance in my life I say “No, thanks” to things that aren’t really going to matter in the long run or sell one more book. We writers get caught up in time-consuming things too easily that only sell one book or something and just suck time. So I’m being watchful about my time and all the “rules” out there to “do this, do that, you MUST etc.” To feel joyful and relax I walk in nature and experience colorful things and people. A walk in nature or through a good museum changes my ions every time.

    1. Margaret Mizushima
      Margaret Mizushima

      Very good input, Christine. Sometimes we all need to stop the madness and just say no. Walking is a great way to regain perspective! Thank you!

  7. Avatar

    I don’t know what I’m more impressed with, your ability to leave your home after forty years to start fresh, or your attitude in doing so. That must be where your character gets her grit. 🙂

    1. Margaret Mizushima
      Margaret Mizushima

      Oh, thank you so much, Jackie. I think sometimes that I borrow grit from my character! I appreciate your comment so much!

  8. Avatar
    Sharon Michalove

    Thanks so much for an inspiring look at the changes in your life. I read Sara Ban Breathnach’s book years ago and loved it.

  9. Avatar
    Laurie's Story

    What a good post. We are all a work in progress, and you stated so nicely how you’ve adapted to those big changes. Brava!

    1. Margaret Mizushima
      Margaret Mizushima

      Thanks, Laurie. Life gets a little crazy sometimes, doesn’t it? I’m especially glad that 2022 is over! LOL

  10. Sharon Lynn
    Sharon Lynn

    Wonderful post and I love that view! As a yoga instructor, one of the things I tell my students is that if they want to change their lives for the better, start every day by writing down something they are grateful for. I had one stubborn Gulf War vet who spent a solid month writing only, “I’m alive.” But one day, he expanded to “Saw a funny movie,” and from that point he found something new every day, and he became joyful. Eventually, he met a lovely woman and is now happily married with a beautiful son. It can start small, but joy is for everyone!

    1. Margaret Mizushima
      Margaret Mizushima

      This is a wonderful story, Sharon. Thank you for sharing! Powerful stuff.

  11. Sheila Lowe
    Sheila Lowe

    All of us are works in progress, Margaret. Gratitude is the basis of wisdom, I think. I just read your new book and am happy to recommend it.

  12. Avatar
    Terry Sceli

    I recognize the view! Happy to hear you are now settled in to the beautiful NW. I was there 40+ years and now enjoying the desert. A new gratitude fills me with every sunrise over the open expanse. Thanks for the delightful book series.

    1. Margaret Mizushima
      Margaret Mizushima

      Terry, thanks for your comment. Sunrise and sunset are definitely joyful experiences. I’m so glad you enjoy the series and thank you for reading the books!

  13. Sherrill Joseph
    Sherrill Joseph

    Margaret, congratulations on your courageous move west! And thanks for your timely post. February is my month to get organized and find a healthy work/life balance since those bring me joy and peace. I practice gratitude on my daily walks as I look around and realize my abundant blessings. Best wishes for your book’s upcoming release on March 7! I look forward to reading it.

    1. Margaret Mizushima
      Margaret Mizushima

      Oh, thank you, Sherrill. At the time I didn’t think it was courageous because of the circumstances: they were building a school right outside our doorstep and we felt we had to move. After 40 years in the country, a three school campus adjacent to our yard didn’t feel compatible. But as the two year process unspooled, I did start feeling like our relocation took some courage. Or at least some gumption! lol Thanks for your comment.

  14. Avatar
    Pamela Ruth Meyer

    Loved this, Margaret, it stirred my thinking and reflection. I lived in Kirkland outside Seattle for four or five years and loved it. I worked at a top Hunter/Jumper barn at the time–C & M Farms. You mentioned you had a horse trailer. Did you and your husband bring a horse or horses with you out west?
    My ways to bring happiness and balance into my life are, like many others said above, to go for a walk and also to read a book.
    Here’s to enjoying the view,

    1. Margaret Mizushima
      Margaret Mizushima

      Oh wow, Pamela. You have lived what I once thought would be my dream life! I didn’t ever work in that type of barn but hung out one year taking lessons. My job and the fact that I was never that good interfered with my dream of being on the Olympic Riding Team. LOL (Read this as never jumped anything higher than two feet.) But no, we sold our horses before we sold the cows. Since we hope to do some traveling now, I don’t think we’ll take on a horse again. Thank you so much for your comment!

  15. Avatar
    Donna Rewolinski

    Great post. I find that whenever I get into a ‘poor me’ mind set, I discover someone at work, who is truly facing challenges and it makes me aware of the positive in my life. I’m an oncology social worker and daily meet with people who are embracing what’s good right now and letting go of what they can’t control.

    1. Margaret Mizushima
      Margaret Mizushima

      Yes! Practicing gratitude definitely increases the positive in life. I love that so many of the comments this week involve people who have actively used this type of practice in their life. You are doing sacred work, Donna. I appreciate it and you!

  16. joyribar

    Hi Margaret. I’m late getting to the table here, but boy, did I need the reminder of expressing gratitude in difficult times. Like you, I have uprooted my life from 37 years in the same house to full time in a motorhome (starting November 26th). It has not been easy but it has been glorious and momentous. I’m trying to celebrate it all. Thank you for sharing the book title about simple joys and kudos on your new book! What do I do to maintain balance? Yoga, cardio dance, swimming, and walking. Movement is the theme here. Ha!

  17. Margaret Mizushima
    Margaret Mizushima

    Oh Joy! Leaving home to live in a motorhome is very brave. I’m sure you had to downsize like crazy and I wonder if you ended up putting things in storage. I hope you have a wonderful time…sounds like you are! We almost bought a motorhome to live in instead of renting but changed our minds when our daughter found the apartment down the road from her house.

Leave a Reply