I once heard bad things happen in threes. Well I’m here to tell you, that isn’t true! At least not for our family. In the last four months, our family has had one bad thing after another happen. It can be downright discouraging, depressing and overwhelming to think about it all. Especially when the crappy stuff keeps happening. I realized last month that the culmination of all these crappy things had sunk me down pretty low and I was having a really hard time thinking any positive thoughts. So I decided to do something about it. I began a personal campaign I like to call “The Power of Positive Thinking on the Homestead”.
I hesitated to share this here on the blog since it is very personal. Back in the spring I shared about the financial challenges of homesteading and offered a peek into some of the frustrations on our new homestead. But this post is a bit more personal. It is real life. As a blogger I have control over what I share with you all, but sharing only happy posts about growing food, canning and foraging in the woods doesn’t paint a true picture of what our lives are really like. Crappy stuff happens, and sometimes it happens a lot.
I don’t often mention the crappy stuff in this space since I have a tendency to be more of a private, introverted person. I don’t like to show my weakness, to sound like I’m whining. But I’ve faced some pretty challenging, traumatic experiences in my lifetime and I’ve overcome them. I’ve picked myself up, squared my shoulders, put one foot in front of the other and moved forward. I faced the challenges and slowly muddled through. My hope in sharing this very personal post is that it may help and inspire someone else out there who may also be struggling with how to keep a positive attitude. To help others face life’s challenges when the crappy stuff keeps piling up and burying you in a dark pit.
My personal campaign “The Power of Positive Thinking on the Homestead” was influenced by this book that I discovered at a second hand store many years ago. It pulled me through some pretty dark, rough times. Last month after my five day hospital stay, I discovered it tucked away on my bookshelf. I pulled it out and read a few pages. It didn’t speak to me the way it did twenty years ago, but what it did do was give me the idea for my new positive thinking campaign. Homesteading is tough work to begin with, but add in a string of back luck and it can sink you down into a deep, dark pit of despair.
You may be wondering just what all happened to us the last few months. Here’s the rundown of what led to my need to create my little campaign “The Power of Positive Thinking on the Homestead”:
1. The Well pump and pipe. It all first began back in June when I woke up one morning to the sound of the pressure tank constantly running and little to no water pressure. My husband cut power to the water system and searched in the crawl space under the house for any leaks. Nothing. We called a well pump company who came out that morning. They discovered that over the years, a small hole had been worn through the side of our well pipe that ran over 200 feet into the earth. Over time that hole got bigger, making the well pump work harder. Until that morning when the pump quit working. So we had to fork out over $2000 to have a new well pump and pipe installed (at the time we told oursleves that at least we didn’t have to dig a new welll which would’ve cost over $20,000!)
2. The dog incident. About two weeks after the well pipe issue, our dogs got off our property. Someone visiting our neighbor’s house shot one of our dogs in the leg with a .22 and destroyed her leg. She was standing in a wheat field and there were no livestock or other animals on this property. She had emergency surgery to pin her leg back together since the vet thought there was hope for bone to regrow instead of amputating it. It has been very slow to regrow and here we are four months later and her leg is still pinned and veeerrrryyyy slowly growing back together. Our vet bills so far are over $1000 and growing. I started having intense anxiety about going outside and to this day get anxious when I take our dogs outside. If I don’t have eyes on them every second they’re outside, I about have an anxiety attack. There for a little while I was intent on moving from here as soon as possible. My love for this place had quickly gone down the toilet.
3. The car. About a week after the dog incident, we started noticing that our car (our most reliable vehicle) was not accelerating properly. It seemed overly sluggish, especially when it was really hot out and going up hills. We have a Jetta TDI (turbo diesel) and my husband started changing out parts trying to fix it. Nothing was helping so he took it to a mechanic who couldn’t figure it out. The mechanic said maybe we should try replacing the turbo, which is a really expensive repair, and even then that might not fix it. The car started having more problems and we finally decided it just wasn’t safe to drive it anymore so we decided it was safer not to drive it until it could be figured out.
4. Emergency surgery and hospitalization. A few weeks after the car incident was when I ended up at the ER and hospitalized for five days after having emergency surgery (here’s the article about it if you missed it) This was at the height of our gardening season. For me this was the breaking point. This was “bad thing number four” and I became so depressed. I sat in my hospital bed and cried and cried for several days. I was so discouraged by all these bad things happening to us. I kept asking “why?” and tried to wrap my brain around all this negativity and how to move beyond it. I struggled immensely.
5. The cat death. We adopted this amazing mouser cat this winter. My hsuband installed a cat door on the shop so she had a warm place to stay. She was so sweet and friendly but most importantly she was an amazing mouser. One day this summer I noticed I hadn’t seen her for a few hours, which led to a few days with no kitty sightings. Then about a week later, my husband found her dead along the road near our house, hit by a car. Little A still asks about her kitty sometimes, even though we tried to explain to her that her kitty had died. What a hard concept for a three year old to understand!
6. The other vehicles break down. Then the brakes went out on our old 4 Runner. This was the vehicle I was primarily driving now that the car was not running. Luckily my husband is a good mechanic and was able to replace them himself with a days worth of work. This helped immensely cut the costs for repairs. A few days later, my husband went out to get in his old work truck to go to town and it wouldn’t start. Are you kidding me?! Surprisingly I just started laughing. It was all so crappy that I couldn’t help but laugh because it was just so unreal. We had to spend over $100 for a new battery to get that truck running (although it also needs a new transmission so we’re keeping our fingers crossed it holds out a little longer.)
7. The sink incident. In June my husband gutted and remodeled the old, non functioning main bathroom in the house. We had saved up some money and brought a brand new vanity with a sink. We put a medicine cabinet above the sink and I put my jars of homemade salve inside. Last month my husband got stung by a bee while checking our beehives. When he came back, he went to the bathroom to put on some homemade medicinal yarrow salve. When he opened the medicne cabinet, one of the glass jars slipped out, fell into the sink and shattered the sink. It will cost close to $200 to buy a replacement sink. For now we just turned off the water to the sink and use a different one in the house.
8. The incision infection. A little over a month after my emergency surgery, one of my four incisions that was slow to heal became infected. I had to go into the surgeon to get it checked out and was told my body was likely rejecting the deep muscle sutures that wouldn’t dissolve for another two months. They gave me some antibiotic cream to put on the area and I took Oregano Oil for about two weeks. We’re hoping it will get rid of the infection. Otherwise I have to go back to the surgeon and they have to try to surgically go in and remove the offending suture. My immune system has been weakened by this so on top of it all it seems I get every cold bug going around and pretty much feel sick all the time.
So now that you know all the crappy stuff that happened to us in a short four month period of time, maybe you can understand how we’ve been feeling pretty discouraged by all of this. Sometimes it just feels like we can’t get a break. That life just keeps throwing us one challenge and struggle after another. I used to tell myself that the struggles make us stronger, but with a string of so many crappy things happening I started to lose faith in that thinking.
Enter “The Power of Positive Thinking on the Homestead” campaign: 10 things I did to boost my positive outlook on life
I realized one day that for my sanity and our family’s sanity, we needed to reshape the way we were looking at all these crappy things. We needed to shift to a more positive way of thinking. So what did I do to shift my thinking?
1. I sat down and made a long list of all the things I love about where we live and all the positive things in our life.
2. I started intentionally pausing throughout my day to think of positive things, to adopt “an attitude of gratitude.” When I think of it, I write down my daily gratitudes in my journal. Focusing on the good things in our lives makes the crappy stuff seem less overwhelming.
3. I began to sit on the bench behind our greenhouse overlooking the garden at sunset to meditate and appreciate the beauty around us.
4. I stopped myself from dwelling on negative thoughts. It is amazing how negative thoughts can build and snowball. They can overtake your thinking, your being, and make you pretty darn depressed and discouraged. But stopping those thoughts in your head and replacing them with positive thoughts can make a pretty huge difference!
5. I signed up for several yoga and meditation workshops in town. I participated in an amazing restorative yoga class that is held monthly. What a cleansing and rejuvenating experience for mind, body and soul!
6. I attended a workshop on mindfulness and intentional living. This helped me to create a plan for how to have better flow and positivity in my daily routines. Since taking this class last month, I’ve been doing a 10-15 minute yoga routine of strength poses every morning when I first wake up, before I even have my first cup of tea. I incorporate prayer, meditation and positive affirmations into this morning practice. It is amazing how incorporating this short practice into my day has helped me have better focus, balance and positivity in my life!
7. Our family started making a conscious effort to find the positives in every situation. So when the truck battery died, we emphasized how wonderful it was that the engine didn’t blow up. When my incision became infected, we emphasized how wonderful it was that I wasn’t so sick to require being admitted to the hospital and instead I could be at home. You get the idea? You can always find something positive in every situation, no matter how crappy it is.
8. I joined a mama’s small group that meets at a church in town once a month. We talk about the challenges we face and how to work through those challenges to find balance and focus in our lives.
9. I created several positive self-statements that I think about throughout the day to help reinforce my positive outlook. It is simply amazing how positive self-statements can make a world of difference when you’ve been feeling down and overwhelmed with life’s challenges!
10. I found several songs that really spoke to me that had a positive, inspiring message. I began singing them and listening to them throughout the day, in the car driving to town, singing to Little A when she goes to sleep at night, singing while I was working in the garden. Music speaks to my soul, and these songs helped to lift my spirits and face these challenges with a more positive attitude.
I’m sure more crappy things will happen. It is part of life. I’m hoping that the crappy stuff starts to happen less often, but when it does I feel more prepared to handle it. More prepared to keep my head up and keep moving forward and not let the crappy stuff drag me down again. The power of positive thinking has a made a huge difference in my life and hopefully it will in yours too!
What about you, what things do you do to keep a positive outlook on life and face life’s challenges?
This post shared on: The Homestead Barn Hop,