Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Recognizing Blessings

I'm sure that you have all read about and heard or seen the seemingly endless misfortune we have endured over the last few years. I have been hoping to see those promised blessings come to fruition for a while now, wondering what it was that I hadn't learned or done that was holding them back. I am not convinced that it has been a very noticeable change, but I have really been trying to change my thought process for the past little while. I'm definitely not perfect at it and have times where I slip back into it, but I have really been putting an effort into having hope and optimism. This is not easy for me as I have literally had to change almost everything I have ever known to do it. 

 I am still very discouraged with my abilities as a mother. I recognize that I am being too hard on myself and I really try to feel differently about it, but the fact is that my kids are still spiraling downward in many ways. Especially academically. I have to throw out a thank you to Elisabeth Shelley for expressing her feelings as a mother. If she has had similar experiences and still has some encouragement somewhere, then it gives me a little hope. Our kids are doing leaps and bounds better in so many other ways at the school we put them in this year but they are struggling. I have discovered that they have not been taught some of the fundamentals that they need to excel, especially math. We have tried everything, homework trackers, conferences with the teachers, I mean everything. I am so worried that especially Kyler is not going to have the experience of graduating and then he will have an extremely hard life ahead of him, even more than he is already going to have. I'm sure that a lot of these things are normal feelings for a mother with 3 teenagers and a 10 year old, but I'm learning and some days are just too much. On the positive side of this, I think that we are slowly regaining somewhat of a relationship with our kids that has been lost for a while.

Dan got a promotion at work in January. It has been hard for him as he not only has to learn his new job, but is expected to do his old job as well because they can't hire anyone to do it. It's very stressful as Dan is a perfectionist at work and simply cannot do everything he needs/wants to get done. He is finally getting noticed as a photographer in a good way. He has done a wedding now and has another one coming up. Has done a few bridal sessions, and they are gorgeous. I'm proud of him and envy him for chasing a dream and making it real. Obviously I'm glad he has toned things down a bit ;-)

For about the past 2 years, we have been fighting to keep our van running. Funny how it got REALLY bad about the time we paid it off. Anyway, we have replaced multiple things on it. When we bought it, we had done some homework on it and it was VERY highly rated and was only 3 years old so we felt pretty good that we had made a good decision. I think we should have painted it yellow, because everything started going wrong with it one right after another, sometimes 2 at once. Well, last week after having it die on me 3 times, 2 of them on very busy streets, we decided that we had better not drive it anymore. After getting the news from the mechanic that we would have to replace the transmission and various other important parts just to make it safe (not good, just safe and no guarantee of passing inspection) we decided that we just needed to get rid of it. We then took it to the Pic a Part and literally sold it for parts. They gave us enough to take care of a couple of things and spend a little on ourselves for our temple anniversary that was last Friday.  The reason I tell you all of this is because at this point we needed another vehicle (thanks to my sisters and BIL's that let us use their cars in the in between) but knew finding one that we had any chance of getting and having it be usable was going to be a major challenge. So Friday I was looking through the cars for sale on KSL when I came across this one.
Dan and I talked for a while at which point we decided it was too good to be true. After a while of feeling uneasy about not calling, I called about it anyway. I talked to the man who told me that he had bought it for his growing family from an older couple who used it to travel but needed to downsize. I then wondered why he was selling it and he said that it was too big for his wife to handle (apparently she is even shorter than me, REALLY??)  and that they had bought something smaller. So that seemed cool. He told me that he had just replaced a bunch of stuff (Pretty much everything, including a radiator) except the transmission and engine. That he was a mechanic and just liked it to be running in top shape. So we went to look at it on Friday night but missed them being at home. Dan looked all over the outside and through the windows and couldn't find any problems. We left still thinking it was too good to be true, but went back on Saturday morning and were able to drive it. While we were out driving it finding no problems and commenting on the pristine condition of the interior, the man called us and said that we were really nice people and really needed it so he wanted only a certain amount for it, which was $500 less than the original price and that we should keep it in mind. Dan and I looked at each other in shock and said "well that was weird." We haven't had things like this happen for us in a LONG time. So we took some $$ to him and drove our vehicle home. He then gave us a bunch of antifreeze, etc that he had bought for it and the one part he hadn't put in yet and told us that he had just registered it in February so to check and see if we could just transfer the emissions and inspection. We feel very blessed that we were able to get what we wanted and were able to get it at all. We have really been trying to make some things right lately and for me I feel that this has been a faith building experience and has strengthened me conviction to keep trying. I don't speak for Dan, but he is grateful for the generosity and human decency that has been shown us lately.  We don't have to pay for anything but the taxes and registration because of this man and because I have handicapped plates, we are able to transfer them instead of having to pay for new ones. Insurance will also be about the same. It seems it has been a good thing all of the way around.

So, I have had a few days to reflect on a few things. For the most part, I am doing pretty well at seeing things in a new light, that there are blessings coming our way. I have days where I don't do as well as others, but all I can do is try my best. That's all that anyone should be expected to do.