I have nothing against the typical “New Year, New You” blog posts being published this time of year. They can be introspective and inspirational, no doubt. I’ve just never had the urge to actually write one. Probably because looking back on an entire year’s worth of thoughts and memories seems daunting, and making projections about the year to come feels a bit assuming.
But this was not the typical start to a new year. And for that reason…here I am. Writing my “not-so-typical” stereotypical New Year’s day post.
The thing is, today…I started to feel sorry for myself. In fact, just after tucking our toddler into bed (after a prolonged evening of arguing with her about eating her dinner, picking up her toys, not sucking her thumb, etc., etc.) …I declared to my husband that this was the worst start to a new year EVER. Yes, I said E.V.E.R. Dramatic much?
In my defense, it had been a long couple of days. Yesterday we got home late after five days on the road and a combined total of 30+ hours in the car in that timeframe. With a potty training toddler. I mean really, who signs up for that kind of misery?
So we got home, late, to frigid -10 degree temps. And at some point during the day, the heater in our sow barn / farrowing room malfunctioned. So not only were the waterlines frozen (cutting off the water supply to all of our pigs), but one line actually busted right above a sow whose litter is not but two weeks old. Not. Ideal. We weren’t asking for a whole lot out of our New Year’s Eve, but that scenario did not make the top ten list of things we’d hoped to be doing.
This morning we all woke up with a barn mostly put back in order (thank you, husband). We decided since it was New Year’s day, we’d cook some cinnamon rolls for breakfast. Nope. Not gonna happen. Because the oven was mysteriously not working. And we had no food because we hadn’t been home since December 21st. Ok, nbd…we can improvise.
Fast forward a few hours. Husband commented that it felt a little cold in the house. Even though I had kind of thought the same thing, I basically told him to “toughen up and put another layer on.” Because I’m so empathetic. About an hour later, he realized that although our thermostat was set on 70, the actual temp. in the house had dropped into the low 60s. He was right…our house was getting cold. And sure enough…our furnace was out. As in Not. Working. At. All. Did I mention the temperature outside? Seriously.
So we get our cold, cranky toddler down for a nap thinking we’d call someone about the furnace, catch up on work and just reset. Then, out of nowhere, the smoke alarm outside her room started “chirping” like it had a low battery. But the smoke alarms are supposed to be hard wired into the house. So….yeah. Not sure about that one. To prevent an epic wake-up/meltdown, the hubs drug out the step stool to investigate. We could already hear her stirring. Then, it happened. Every smoke alarm in the house started SCREECHING this horrible sound proclaiming, “FIRE, FIRE!!” and that was that. She was no longer napping. And we had no clue what had just happened.
We survived the day with no furnace, no oven and malfunctioning smoke alarms. And there I sat feeling really tired and really cranky about our circumstances. Until…it was time for bedtime prayers with my daughter. And, as we usually do, we started lifting up in prayer those who are less fortunate than us. And then there I sat, eating crow, thinking of all the things I had to be thankful for in the middle of our chaos.
Instead of complaining about being exhausted from a long road trip with my family, I should have been thankful that…
- We have a reliable vehicle that allows us to travel anywhere we want
- We have family to visit who loves us and is excited to have us there
- We have flexible jobs that allow us to travel on days we don’t have “off”
Instead of being upset that the barn heater quit and we had frozen water pipes, I should have remembered how lucky we are that…
- My husband gets to pursue one of his greatest passions, regardless of the set-backs
- We have alternatives to feed/water our pigs when needed, even if it takes a little extra effort
Instead of complaining about our oven not working and not getting cinnamon rolls for breakfast, I should have been thinking about how fortunate we are to…
- Have a gas stove top and microwave that still allow us to cook food
- Even have food…seriously…sometimes we forget
- Have a fridge and pantry full of things to get us by until we figure things out
Instead of worrying so much about the furnace (even though yes, it is a big deal) I should have been so, so grateful that…
- We have a wood-burning stove that can keep our house warm for the night
- I have a a husband who worked diligently throughout the summer and fall to make sure we had enough firewood chopped for the winter…because a wood-burning stove is useless without wood
- Even if we didn’t have the ability to heat our house, we’d have places we could go to keep warm until the furnace got fixed
These are just a few of the many, many things I know I overlook on the daily that, in all reality, I should be so thankful for. And even though it took a hard day (or two… or three) and a blog novel to get to this place…I’m here.
And I wanted to share incase your start to the new year wasn’t quite what you expected, either. Here’s to the next 364 days…not of better luck, but of greater perspective.