Ever had one of those "poor me" weeks? I guess mine started last week really and so I have had a bit of time to ponder. Last week I was driving our van around picking up and dropping off kids when I noticed it wasn't shifting great. Three years ago we put in a new transmission (2007 Toyota Sienna) and so I recognized the symptoms of transmission problems. After taking the van into the shop we find that we are going to need to replace the 4th and 5th gears which will cost an arm and leg. Two days later Tyler got an ultra-flat tire in his car and with Birch and Tyler both out-of-town for the day (and no cell reception) I had to figure out what to do on my own (and yes, the spare tire was flat too). Later I thought I would make a nice crockpot of dinner for my family and then come in a few hours later into the kitchen and found the ceramic insert had totally split and broth was pouring all over the counter. Then I go to drive the riding lawn mower and I am reminded that it too is on its' last leg. The transmission is also on it's way out and so each time we mow we know we are blessed when it makes it through one more mowing. Then I go to pay for a printing job and find that someone has paid me previously in a fake $5 bill (first time experience for me) and so I am out another $5 (and a little bit of embarrassment too). Lastly, I've been driving Birch's car for the week while the van is in the shop and the "check engine" light pops on. Today we go outside in the backyard and find that one of our large trees has split in half and fallen over without even any crazy winds.
Well, you'd think that would be enough to throw anyone into throwing an all-nighter pity party. I have entertained the thought a bit. In fact, I may have uttered a few times "I thought you were supposed to be blessed when you have a missionary out serving." Then my mind is sent into a frenzy realizing how much I am blessed. First of all, there is no place I'd rather Elder Alex Ditto be right now. Sure we miss him but I LOVE what he is learning and how much he is growing from all his Romanian experiences.
Almost exactly a year ago our hot water heater blew up. The emergency valve blew out at 11:30 pm. The entire house ended up having to drain through that little one inch hole and so I spent several hours squatted on a upside down bucket holding a hose trying to help direct the gushing water from totally flooding the basement. Shortly after I was chatting (possibly whining a tad about missions and blessing, etc... and this looming $5000 bill in putting in a new water heater) with a friend. Being a wise woman she shared that when her seven children were serving missions she was extremely blessed. She shared that instead of the car getting a flat tire miles away from home it happened in their driveway, etc...
And so I have spent the week thinking of how each annoyance has been a tender mercy.
1- the van ran smoothly while we traveled the previously weekend to Utah for my brother's wedding
2- we got a $400 discount on the new transmission (granite this doesn't feel like much when the previous one only lasted three years and the warranty just ended) but it is something
3- while I was frustrated that Birch was out-of-town for helping with Tyler's flat tire and the roadside assistance we were paying for wasn't super convenient and the spare tire was flat -- I was blessed with our Bishop and his wife spending a couple of hours of their precious Saturday to help me get the tire fixed.
4- the whole fake money thing was a bit comical and lame but really I was blessed that it was only $5 and that I wasn't arrested for trying to use fake money.
5- I was able to buy a new insert for my crockpot and really reflect on how many meals I have been able to make for my family and many others over the years in my trusty crockpot.
6- While we know we will have to buy a new riding mower next year, I have been able to feel gratitude each week when I mow and I am able to complete the job (yes, it takes four times longer than it used to). If it can just hold out another month!!!
7- I took Birch's car in to have them check out why the "check engine" light went on. I have only driven his car a few times since we bought it last year. Since I knew I was going to be driving it a bunch this week I filled it up with gas on Monday. Turns out when you don't turn the gas cap until it clicks the "check engine" light comes on when you reach 3/4 a tank. So...the car was totally fine...I was just dumb. Tender mercy was that the car was fine AND they didn't charge me for figuring out the issue (bonus blessing: they washed the car for free).
8- The tree....hum, the tender mercy (meaning the divine signature of God's hand) is that Alysee is babysitting a family of three little girls at the house right now. They had all been playing outside on the playground having a great time but decided to come in for a snack. Somewhere in that short amount of time the tree decided to come crashing down. I am SO thankful that no one was hurt. And as a bonus I'm thankful that our fence seems to still be standing!
While you might still find me with a stray tear every once-in-a-while this week -- I have mostly been able to laugh about it all and remember how blessed I really am. Perhaps this week we shall replace the split tree and plant a money tree instead But honestly, I feel the touch of God's hand in my life. I feel blessed to have a son spreading joy and God's love in Romania. I feel blessed to have an able bodied husband that can borrow a chain saw (anyone have one?) and chop up that tree next week. I feel blessed to have my family gather around the dinner table each night. I am blessed.
(And if you are still reading this I am impressed. I had to hurry and get my thoughts down before I have a change of heart and curl up in bed with an episode of "Highway to Heaven."