Over the last week, I have had three separate situations that have been less than ideal.
And yet, in all three instances, I was able to find humor.
Last Tuesday morning, we had a 10:00 a.m. start at school because of the temperatures. However, I had to be to school for a meeting around 7:00 a.m. I rolled into the parking lot and got out of my vehicle at 7:03. The meeting was supposed to start at 7:15 and I was feeling good about being there early.
As I headed towards the school building, I stepped down off of the curb onto one of the only patches of ice in the parking lot. I went down to the ground and I went down fast. I fell straight forward and as I tried to save my Sonic drink, my right elbow took the brunt of my fall.
Because there were two witnesses to the humiliating experience, I bounced right up and pretended like everything was fine. I had smashed my cup under the weight of my body and I was soaking wet with ice cold water and bits of strawberry all over my coat. I started the trek into the building and that is when a thought popped into my head.
We have surveillance cameras that will have caught this entire disastrous situation.
We got through our meeting and I immediately headed down to my colleague's office to pull up the camera footage and have a look.
It was awful.
It was terrible.
It was absolutely hilarious.
We laughed and laughed and laughed. We called our coworkers and I sent the file via text to my family. I ended up posting the video on Facebook and it has gotten over 1,800 hits, so far.
It was a painful situation that turned into an almost joyful occasion for everyone who got to witness it.
I’m sharing the video here to give you a laugh if you didn't get to see it on my Facebook page.
Wednesday morning, although I woke up sore from the fall, I knew I needed to leave the house by 5:50 to make it to the school by 6:30 to leave for a conference. I walked outside at 5:40 to start the car and Mr. Farmhouse asked me to start his truck also.
"Sure," I mumbled, as I faced the freezing temps on the deck.
I got my vehicle started and went to his old farm truck.
It's a manual. The parking brake apparently doesn't work all the time. AND the little map of what gear you are in is all worn off the gear-shifter.
So I get the truck started and try to put on the emergency brake. Nothing.
I take my foot off the clutch and start to roll.
Try the brake. Nothing. Roll.
I repeated this process AT LEAST 15 times.
No matter how far I moved up or back, I couldn't find a flat enough place to keep the truck from rolling.
I didn't have my cell phone on me to call Mr. Farmhouse and see what his advice would be, so I started honking the horn.
You have to understand that the horn DOES NOT HONK like a normal horn. It sounds like Beaker off the Muppets.
I honked and honked and honked...no response from Mr. Farmhouse.
I tried the parking brake about ten more times and FINALLY it took.
I got back inside and looked at Mr. Farmhouse.
Me: Could you not hear me for the last 15 minutes honking the horn on the feed truck?
Mr. Farmhouse: Oh, is that what that noise was?
Me: Uh, yeah. The parking brake wouldn't stick.
Mr. Farmhouse: Yeah, it does that sometimes. It's so annoying.
Me: Yes, yes it is. And now I'm almost twenty minutes later than I wanted to be.
Mr. Farmhouse: Not good.
I got the girls in my vehicle (that was PLENTY warm at this point) and I dropped them off to my parents.
And then I started laughing.
The mental image and leftover soreness from the fall the previous day, combined with the situation of me literally being stuck in the feed truck for 20 minutes with no help just got to me.
I giggled almost all the way to work to meet my coworker that I needed to go to the meeting with (I was only three minutes late!).
At this time, we hopped into the car quickly (no icy parking lot this time, thank goodness!) and headed north to pick up another colleague.
We put his home address into Google Maps and started following the directions.
The navigation system took us northeast of the school about 35 minutes and when we pulled into the driveway, nobody came out.
We assessed the situation.
We were in the driveway of a house (I thought this coworker lived in an apartment).
An unfamiliar car in the driveway.
Christmas lights on the porch.
I called him. No answer.
I thought I remembered this coworker living in Overland Park...not Grandview.
So we accepted the fact that GPS has led us astray and we started heading in the opposite direction of where we needed to go.
I kept trying to call and text our coworker, but to no avail.
We hit MAJOR rush hour traffic going west on I-435 and we had resigned ourselves to the fact that we were going to be late.
The driver who I was riding with was NOT happy.
He is ALWAYS at least 20 minutes early when he needs to go somewhere. He is prompt for every meeting and it makes him crazy to walk in late somewhere.
So the fact that we were sitting in traffic facing west when our meeting was east just struck me as funny.
I started giggling and looked over at him.
Not even a crack of a smile.
Which made it even funnier to me.
I ended up Facetiming Mr. Farmhouse to share our situation with him and he didn't think it was funny...until I turned the camera to Mr. Grumpy Pants in the driver's seat.
Still no smile.
Now I absolutely cannot control the laughter.
The elbow pain from my fall the previous morning,
the 15-minutes in the feed truck rolling frontwards and backwards as I tried to engage the parking brake,
and now the mix-up on the address of our co-worker.
It was all too much.
And then my cell phone rang.
It was the guy we were picking up.
Me: Hey! You finally found your phone and saw my missed calls and text messages! We got a little mixed up, but I think we're headed to your house now. What city do you live in? The address didn't have a town listed on there.
Coworker: It's actually a KCMO address, but basically Grandview.
Me: Uh. Do you have a little brown car in the driveway and Christmas lights on your porch?
Coworker: That's the one...are you here?
Me: Not exactly. Give us half an hour.
Driver: You've got to be kidding me.
Sometimes you just have to laugh.
Still laughing in the farmhouse a week later,
There's no question about it.
Autumn is my favorite season.
It's often short-lived here in Missouri and we often spend a day or two each September with a taste of Autumn before jumping back into high temperatures for another week or so.
However, I am hopeful that yesterday was our last day in the 80's for a while.
Bring on the colorful leaves, misty mornings, Pumpkin Spice-everything, scarves, and cozy hooded sweatshirts.
Since making my decision to put down the camera and focus solely on my new role at school this year, I've had a lot more weekend time at home.
It's not basketball season yet and our nephew's football games have been in the evenings, so I have been able to wake up on Saturday mornings and spend some time in the quiet of the farmhouse front porch, taking in the crisp, cool morning breeze.
When the long summer days start to get shorter and the hot, humid days start to get cooler, I feel a renewed sense of urgency for enjoying every moment in my home with Mr. Farmhouse and the girls.
I start to think more about crock pots with simmering soup, evenings spent around the fire pit, and the smell of fresh-baked cookies wafting through the house.
I've been listening to the audio-broadcast of a conference called "Masterful Leadership: Leading Like Jesus" on my Audible App as I drive to and from work each day.
It's been enlightening...encouraging...and challenging.
I've paused the "book" to take notes.
I've pushed the "back" button to listen to a specific segment again more times than I can count.
And I've said "yes", "hmmm...", and "preach" right out loud to myself in my car several times.
I listened to one particular section three different times.
This section was on the concept of the "mood elevator", which was developed by a man named Larry Senn.
Larry Senn is a leader in the field of corporate leadership and has written a book called, Up the Mood Elevator to describe and teach this decision-making concept.
The Mood Elevator is a book that, admittedly, I haven't finished yet.
But when I heard the mood elevator concept in the message from the "Lead Like Jesus" conference, I just had to share it because it was mind-blowing to me!
I mean...what mood is there that would be higher on the elevator than joy???
Joy is "a feeling of great pleasure and happiness".
That seemed like the top option, as far as mood is concerned.
Until the speaker shared with the audience that the top of the mood elevator is being grateful.
Gratitude. Thankfulness. Appreciation.
We make the best decisions when we are grateful.
It made so much sense to me that I spoke out loud and said, "Oh, duh!"
I think it's important here that we talk about how quickly we can take a trip up or down the mood elevator, if we're not careful.
We can hear one negative comment that, if left unchecked, can quickly take us spiraling into an irritated, anxious, insecure state of mind that eventually could lead to anger and depression.
It's so necessary that we keep our thoughts in check every day and focus on gratitude.
During this last sermon series at church, our minister preached a sermon called "Don't Forget to Pray".
In this sermon, he talked about staying alert to things in our lives that we need to take to the Father.
He talked about being devoted daily to prayer.
And he also talked about the importance of being thankful.
I deeply appreciated his admission that there are days where it's very hard to find something to be thankful for.
Sometimes we have to open our eyes and look hard to find opportunities to be thankful.
In every circumstance, we can find gratitude.
This attitude of being grateful in all situations goes hand-in-hand with the time we spend at the top of the mood elevator.
And the more time we spend at the top of the mood elevator, the more peace and contentment we will find in our daily lives.
So today and every day, let's be intentional about finding gratitude.
Let's give thanks in all circumstances.
Let's ride that mood elevator to the top floor and be the best we can be.
Giving thanks from the farmhouse tonight.