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Perfect Storm

June 25, 2012 2 Comments

This weekend was truly a roller coaster ride…thrilling…scary…heart-pounding…and definitely had lots of ups and downs!  Here’s the rundown of events and the lessons I learned from it all.  Enjoy!

  • In preparation for my husband being away for a week-long business trip, I went “big” grocery shopping on Friday so that I would have enough food for the week for the boys (ages 3 and 1.5) and would not have to run back and forth to the store with both of them in tow.  I was feeling good because I thought I was ahead of the game!
  • Before I left the house to pick up the boys from school, something told me to turn the air conditioning down to a lower temperature so that the house would be cooler.
  • Friday evening, while I was cleaning up after dinner with the boys, the sky got very dark and the wind started blowing like crazy.  It started raining really hard and the wind picked up so much that debris was flying into the windows.  My 3 year old was super excited and my 1.5 year old was just staring bug-eyed at the window.  I hustled the boys upstairs to put them in their night clothes (it was almost bedtime) and then the electricity cut off!
  • I was on the phone with my husband while this happened (thank God!), and he reminded me of where the flashlight was and told me how to use it (it can be switched from a flashlight to a lantern).  I tried to turn it on and the light was very faint.  The battery was almost dead and we didn’t have anymore D batteries.   Shoot!
  • At this point, I was really hurrying to get the boys in their night clothes, get their teeth brushed, and to read them a bedtime story while there was still a little bit of light outside.  The 1.5 year old was cooperative, but my 3-year old did not want to go to sleep…especially without his nightlight (which was clearly not working).  I didn’t want to leave the flashlight in there because then we wouldn’t have any light at all.  He gave me a really hard time, but eventually went to bed (he was really excited about his first day of soccer camp, so I told him if he didn’t go to sleep he wouldn’t be able to go…hey, gotta do what you gotta do)
  • On Saturday morning, I dropped the boys of at the babysitter so that I could run some errands before taking the boys to play soccer.  Well, I didn’t get to do half of the things I wanted to do because so many roads were cut off because of trees being down in the area.  I was bummed about that because that was going to be my only free time to myself for the weekend.  I was hoping to lift my spirits by going back to the house to find that the power was back on, but I pulled up and noticed that the outside light was still off (I turned it on so that I could just drive by to see if it was back on).  I went inside to check the temperature and it was really hot in the house…we definitely could not stay there that night.
  • On my way to pick up the boys from the babysitter, I was praying and thanking God in advance for providing a cool, comfortable resting place for us that night (silently wishing for it to be my own home).  I was also thinking about what to do with the boys after soccer practice if the power was still not back on.  (I was REALLY hoping it would be back on…for comfort…and to save all that food that I had just purchased)
  • We went to the place where soccer camp is held and we were running about 10 minutes late so I was expecting to see a bunch of little kids running around on the field, but no one was out there.  We got out of the car and went inside the gymnasium to see if they were playing indoors because of the heat, but there were no kids in there either.  My 3-year old is very upset at this point because he was SO excited about playing (and I promised that if he went to bed the night before that he would get to play).  He was like “where are the kids?…where are the soccer balls, mommy??”.  Then he started running all over the building we were in and screaming “I WANT TO PLAY SOCCER!!!!”.  I called the group that organizes the soccer camp and no one answered.  Finally, I checked online and realized that it starts next Saturday.  I felt SO bad!
  • To make up for the soccer mistake, I decided to take the boys to an indoor play area and to get some ice cream.  I figured this could help kill some time too since the place was a half hour away from where we were.  We had some great mini-sundaes and then the boys played for a while.  When it was time to go, my 3-year old had a meltdown and ran out of the play area while I was trying to get my 1.5 year old ready to go (putting his shoes back on, etc.).  I left all of my stuff in the playroom (except for my little guy) and ran after him, losing my flip flop in the process.  Who knew I could run like that with a baby in tow!  We finally got out of there…but it took a lot of kicking and screaming.  At this point, I’m starting to feel myself lose my cool but I tried to counter the feeling with positive thoughts about the power being back on when we got home.
  • I drove home and was praying that the power would be back on.  I was on the phone with my husband and was really trying not to tell him every little thing that was seemingly going wrong that day because I didn’t want him to feel bad about being away.  He was encouraging, as always, and suggested that I get a hotel because he called the power company and they didn’t estimate that the power would be on until Monday.  I really didn’t want to believe that, so I was resistant to booking a hotel (we decided on a hotel verses staying with friends or family so that they boys could just run freely).  He still searched options for me and found a location near church so that it would be convenient for me in the morning.  (In my head, I was like…”I prayed about this…God is going to work it out!”)
  • Needless to say, given the way the weekend had been going, the power was NOT back on when we got home.  I left the boys in the air-conditioned car (they were sleeping and I was not going to wake them up and bring them in that hot house) while I went in the house to pack our things.
  • On the way to the hotel, I picked up some fast food for the boys (this was the third fast food meal they had over the weekend…I was feeling bad about that) so they could eat in the car and almost be ready to go to bed by the time we checked.  My 1.5 year old was crying the whole way there…I think he was just frustrated with being in the car seat and stroller most of the day.  Poor baby (and poor mommy’s ears :-)).
  • That evening and the following morning at the hotel was challenging, a bit frustrating, and expensive for me.  Valet parking was $29 which I thought was pretty crazy.  We got to the room and I thought I’d be “nice” and let my 3 year old play the video game in the room (I’m pretty picky about the video games I let him play) even thought it was $8.50 for an hour of play time (ridiculous!).  Getting him to stop playing the game (despite my 15-minute and 5-minute warning, which normally works for him) was terribly challenging (another round of kicking and screaming).  The boys didn’t want to go to sleep…they were bouncing all over the room…throwing things (they only broke one thing, a cup, thankfully :-))…and play-fighting each other.  They thought it was hilarious…I thought I was going to burst with frustration!  (At this point, I was exhausted and ready for meditation and sleep)  In the morning, I got them ready and we went down for breakfast where my 3-year old thought it would be fun to run away from the table and out into the hallway of the hotel.  Once again, it was a wild goose chase involving me losing my flip-flop and, this time, my cool.  I pinched him very hard, got on his level, and told him not to ever run away from me like that again (mind you, my 1.5 year old is still at the table in the restaurant).  Oh, did I mention breakfast was $28?  I could have sworn breakfast was included, but apparently not.  AHHHHHHHH!! (that’s what was going on in my head)
  • It was still early (maybe 8:30) and church wasn’t until 11, so we had some time to kill.  We went back to the room and watched cartoons for about 30 minutes, but they were antsy and were ready to go.  We made it out of the hotel without causing too much havoc, but my 3-year old did have another meltdown on the way out because he didn’t want to hold my hand…he was screaming and yelling “I CAN DO IT MYSELF!”.  Oh, the joys of toddler independence.  We went to the airport to watch planes take off for a while, but that only kept them focused for a little bit so we started to make our way to church.
  • I needed gas, so I pulled over and while at the gas station I pulled out A Course in Miracles and started reading.  I also read a little bit of “This Thing Called You” by Ernest Holmes.  I also read through the latest quotes I posted on the blog Facebook page to lift my spirits.  Yep, I was ministering to myself!  I needed to renew my spirit and release the negative energy that was building up inside of me.  What came to me during that reading, meditation, and prayer time was the word “acceptance”.  That’s exactly what I needed to hear!  I needed to accept the situation for what it was and not hope it was different and try to change it…instead, I needed to just “be” with it.

“The Mind within me, being God, is not afraid of anything.  It does not remember any unhappy experience, nor does it anticipate any.  At the center of my being there is complete poise, perfect faith and confidence.” ~Affirmation from Ernest Holmes’ This Thing Called You (this is the quote that I ended up posting on the blog Facebook page while at the gas station…what a great reminder!)

“Praise and blame, gain and loss, pleasure and sorrow come and go like the wind.  To be happy, rest like a great tree in the midst of them all” ~The Buddha (One of the quotes I read on the blog Facebook page that helped me with “acceptance” of what is)

  • In that spirit, I went to church and received a super-warm welcome from the minister which felt nice (this is only our fourth time going to this spiritual community…I really like it).  I had a feeling the message would be directed right at me today.  I went up to the kids room to get the boys settled and, no matter how hard I tried (and what snacks I gave), my 1.5 year old was NOT staying in there.  I tried for about 15-20 minutes (while missing service) with no success.  Finally, I just brought him with me.  The seat where I was sitting before, and had left my journal and program, was now taken so I sat somewhere else.  I caught the tail end of service and one of the things the minister was talking about was being the “Chief Possibility Officer” of your own life…that was exactly what I needed to hear.  I started thinking about the possibilities I could create for myself – even in this stressful time.
  • We got settled in the car, after some struggles getting them in the car, and I immediately called my husband for a word of encouragement.  After driving about 10 minutes I realized I left my journal!  (Seriously?)  I turned around to get it and at first no one could find it.  I was trying to keep my cool, but this is my journal will all my notes from the spiritual development classes I’ve taken over the last 6 months, blog ideas, brainstorming for future projects, etc.  I took a few deep breaths and went back in to look a few more times.  There it was, sitting on a chair on the side of the room. Thank you, God!!!
  • The electric company still hadn’t called to say our power was back on (we set up an automatic notification), so I decided to take to boys to the movies.  On our way there, I was still feeling like I needed a spirit-lifter and I thought about a song I used to play when I was going through rough times – “I Told the Storm“.  I played the song and I cried.  I sang every lyric and really felt what the song was saying – the storm will not last!  I needed that release so bad and especially needed the reminder that the storm is only temporary.

Even though your winds blow

I want you to know

You cause me no alarm

Cause I’m safe in His arms

  • We went to the movies and had only a few meltdown moments and then went home only to find out that the power was still off :-(.  I re-packed our bags and booked another hotel room – this time one with breakfast included.
  • Finally at 1:00am, I got a call from the electric company to let us know the power was back on!  YES!  I got the boys ready in the morning and was just about ready to take them down for breakfast when I noticed my 1.5 year old was soaking wet on one side.  I have no idea where it came from because it didn’t smell like pee.  At this point, I just had to laugh…I was like “what’s next?”.
  • I was at home working, after coming home and throwing away all of the food that spoiled (easily $100 worth of food).  I was in a good groove and the power went back off.  I knew something had to be next…the storm was not yet over :-).  Thankfully it went off right after I sent a proposal to my co-worker (literally, just a couple minutes after I sent it!).   My mind almost went to “oh no, not another night of hotel and eating out!!”, but I called the power company and they said they expected it to come back on by 6pm this evening.  (It’s back on already!  Whew!)

Needless to say, after all of this, I was more that a little bit flustered.  One of the things that helped me to lift my mood throughout all of this, though, was my gratefulness practice.  See below for some of the things I am grateful for after this experience.

  • Having power in the first place.
  • There was no damage to our home (I drove by houses with windows broken, trees on their roof, etc.).
  • Two healthy boys.
  • The financial means to cover hotel costs, food, and entertainment.
  • Remembering my lesson in “accepting what is” instead of trying to push to have things be the way I want them…going with the flow!
  • My husband is coming back and doesn’t have another business trip for the remainder of the year!
  • My 3-year old being pretty understanding about me mixing up the day for his first day of summer camp once he calmed down – “oh you forgot, mommy…it’s okay”.
  • Playing a fun video game with my 3 year old and him saying “this is fun, mommy!”.
  • Delicious free cookies from the hotel (I used to order tins of these cookies – they’re that good :-))!
  • Our waitress at breakfast who gave me two more free cookies “for the boys” (nope…for mommy!).
  • The woman at church who rubbed my back and said “you’re doing great” when she saw me dealing with one of my 3 year olds tantrums (sometimes you just need a little encouragement!)
  • My 1.5 year old being the star of church service when the choir was singing and he was clapping and dancing…it was SO cute!  He was really feeling it.  There was definitely a reason for him not staying in the play room!
  • The show “Pequenos Gigantes” on Univision which had the boys doing some hilarious dance routines before they went to bed!
  • Fun bathtime with the boys splashing and playing with their happy meal toys.
  • My 1.5 year old giving me kisses and smiling at me as he fell asleep next to me.
  • The person in the room next to us that went to the bathroom at 11:45pm last night and woke me up…I had fallen asleep with my clothes and makeup on.
  • The 12:00a.m. 20-minute yoga routine I snuck in when I couldn’t fall back asleep last night.
  • Blackout curtains at the hotel helping the boys sleep in a little. (Note to self:  buy some blackout curtains immediately)
  • The woman at the hotel this morning who said “you have such well-mannered boys” (bless her heart for seeing the light in them!).
  • The power is back on!!
  • The beetle that appeared in my bathroom and what it symbolizes (beetles symbolize gradual, steady progress; remind us to appreciate the simple things in life; and to build the the best opportunities even among the “dung” in life).

The beetle really sums this all up.  Our response to the trials that come up in life is everything.  There’s no question that ups and downs will come our way and, in fact, if we don’t get the lessons from them the first time they will re-appear in different form for us to learn from.  I think I got my lessons this time.  Slowly, but surely, I will become a constant “calm in the storm”.  I don’t have to beat myself up for not always feeling happy or responding peacefully…Like the beetle symbolizes, I am making “gradual, steady progress” and that’s okay.  So, I’m ready for the next challenge.  I know I’ll do even better next time, as I’m continuing to build my spiritual muscle.  Until the next perfect storm…keep shining!


Filed in: Gratitude, Inner Peace

About the Author:

I used to live life shackled by fear, doubt, and worry. I put on a happy face while navigating my day-to-day duties, but I was emotionally drained, stressed, and unhappy. When I hit rock bottom, and was diagnosed with depression and anxiety, I was determined to live life differently. I knew there had to be another way. Out of that determination, and guidance from Spirit, the "Living in the Light" blog was born. It documents my spiritual journey out of the darkness and into the Light. After nine months of publicly sharing my journey, and consciously releasing my attachment to the ego, I experienced a powerful spiritual awakening. I went from living in fear, doubt, worry, and stress to complete inner peace. My greatest passion has become assisting others on their own journey to inner peace. My spiritual memoir, From Stress to Peace: An Intimate Journal on the Journey from Living in Darkness to Living in the Light, is available now on Amazon and Click the tabs at the top of the page to learn more about the From Stress to Peace 21-Day Challenge, Living in the Light Retreats, 1:1 sessions, and the Living in the Light Community - all of which are designed to support your journey to inner peace. I appreciate you taking the time to visit the blog and look forward to supporting you in any way I can!